At that time, a training session was taking place at Dmitry’s training hall.
It was Chris.
Chris, who was watching his opponent with focused eyes, tried to attack with his lightning-fast movement.
The attack was missed.
Chris’s attack was so fast that it was hard to see, but Roman let the opponent come and move with precise timing.
Yet Chris wasn’t too shocked.
As if he had expected this, he blocked Roman’s retreat by using linked attacks.
A sharp attack.
The soldiers watching held their breaths, and Chris, who had been continuously attacking, saw an opportunity in an instant.
At that moment…
Suddenly, Roman came forward.
The timing that he thought was perfect—a single counterattack—messed up Chris’s breathing, and he got pushed back until he fell to the ground.
“Your aim was good, Chris. There was nothing wrong with the process of predicting the attack of your opponent and cornering your opponent for a counterattack. The problem is your timing on when you do it. During the momentary burst of power in your attacks, gaps between your attacks will occur. It is a problem that cannot be solved by ordinary means. If your opponent is strong enough to break through that, then you need to have another hit to bring him down.”
“… I will keep that in mind.”
There was no resentment. It was a natural result. Roman never wavered in the face of the attacks, so Chris went ahead and attacked him.
The failure gave him experience. Roman Dmitry showed Chris how a stronger opponent could hit him back, and Chris showed no signs of shame as he stumbled down.
The other soldiers did the same.
People praised Chris and the other soldiers for their performance on the Southern Front and their achievements there and in the tournament, but no matter how much they were praised, they didn’t lose their confidence in front of Roman.
Out of this world. Roman had an overwhelming presence in their eyes. Those who followed such an existence didn’t dare to show a lazy and careless attitude.
The training continued after Chris, Kevin, McBurney, Henderson, and others. And they all collapsed afterwards. Sparring with Roman was a part of their daily training, and no one could defeat him.
Still, they fought hard. They knew that the more they fought against Roman, the stronger they became, and they learned a lot from it.
Dmitry’s training hall was stained with rough-breathing men. And when the long training was done, Hans, who was waiting in the distance, approached.
“Young Master. We have a guest.”
He knew who it was.
When Roman shifted his gaze, he looked at Marquis Valentino, who was waiting.
The wait was long. Marquis Valentino waited for two hours, but during that time, he wasn’t truly bored.
‘Is this the class of Roman Dmitry?’
Chris and the others—no one was mediocre here. They proved their skills in the tournament, and each of them showed their ability to hold a strong position in a noble family, especially Chris. He was overwhelming. He was moving so fast that his eyes couldn’t keep up, and he thought that Chris could even take control of the northeast.
Yet he wasn’t a rival for Roman. The strong presence of the swordsmen faded away like nothing when they were in front of Roman.
‘There is a topic that is getting much attention in Cairo. Roman Dmitry defeated the second-place ranker of the Hector Kingdom. People are skeptical and have suggested that he must have been lucky enough to get the chance to take down Butler, but Roman, whom I witnessed now, isn’t someone to be underestimated. A presence that can defeat even talented people like Chris. He possesses more overwhelming skills than the public knows of.’
His heart was beating fast, and if it weren’t for his outstanding presence, Marquis Valentino wouldn’t have been so excited.
‘He is the greatest talent of Cairo, and the sword he made is with me.’
It was such a great sign. At the thought of meeting such a person, he was thrilled, as if he would meet a beautiful woman, and he walked to the waiting room.
Leaving behind the name of Marquis Valentino, he wanted to look good as one human to another.
“I am Roman Dmitry.”
And he is here.
Roman approached him and extended his hands.
At that moment, it felt like his heart would explode inside of him.
Thinking about the great sword he made with these hands, Marquis Valentino wiped his sweaty hands on his pants and held Roman’s hands.
“I am Marquis Valentino.”
“Please sit down.”
Such a strange atmosphere. The two of them were meeting for the first time today, but the room seemed to be heating up due to Marquis Valentino’s eyes.
Marquis Valentino could hardly hide his emotions. It was his first meeting with Roman Dmitry, but he had already felt a connection with him.
And he said,
“The reason I came to Mr. Roman is because of Blaze. I think you know what Blaze is. I was surprised to find such a great treasure at the auction house, and I made sure to get it. To be honest, I’ve been to many places to find out who made it. And today, I came to Dmitry as my final destination.”
His voice was slightly high. People said Marquis Valentino had too much hope and too many wishes for a collector. His feelings were pure and genuine, and that was why he didn’t assert his power here.
“Mr. Roman, are you really the one who made Blaze?”
He asked straight out, his eyes full of longing. It was quite an odd situation. He never expected that his intention to find out the value of the sword would lead him here.
‘People call him the greedy collector.’
Blaze was auctioned off anonymously. He tried to hide his identity in the hope that the value of his name would not have a greater impact on the value of the sword.
“You are right.”
There was no reason to hide it now.
The statement he was waiting for came, and Marquis Valentino couldn’t hold back his joy anymore.
Marquis Valentino. No one in Cairo didn’t know him. Aside from his title as ‘greedy collector,’ he was always mentioned when the power system in Cairo was explained.
‘He has the most power among the neutral forces.’
There were four sides—the royalists, nobles, Kronos, and Valhalla. They shared the power in the Cairo Kingdom, and each of them always wanted to be the one with the upper hand.
In the process, Marquis Valentino received quite an attractive offer. His financial power took control over Cairo’s local businesses, and he held the power to upset the power dynamics, but he showed his stubbornness by staying neutral all these years.
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“I am not interested in power. No matter who is in power, I want the Valentino family to always be in the same position.”
He made a clever choice. Everything he does is bound to turn into a battle the moment he firmly supports one side. So he stayed neutral.
He covered his eyes and stayed silent. Whatever Cairo did or didn’t do, he made money and only focused on his hobbies.
He was a key figure in Cairo. He was someone who was strong. And such a great person reacted like a girl to Roman’s words.
“As I thought! Mr. Roman is the owner of Blaze! What an honor! You don’t know how much I wanted to meet you! The first time I saw Blaze at the auction house, it felt like I was hit by lightning. How did you make such a famous sword? Dmitry has always been called the holy land for blacksmiths. Did you get this from your father’s amazing bloodline?”
Questions followed questions. There were no malicious intentions. He just wanted to meet the owner, who turned out to be Roman, and he looked at Roman’s sword.
“… if it isn’t too rude, can I please take a look at your sword?”
Asking to see his sword. If they were on a battlefield, it wouldn’t be allowed. However, Roman handed him his sword. It wasn’t to show trust but to understand Marquis Valentino’s intention.
And he took the sword.
Marquis Valentino gulped.
As if accepting some huge treasure, he carefully touched the sword and checked it out.
‘… this is.’
He was shocked. Blaze and Salamander—they were great swords. That alone made him respect Roman, but this…. Darkness was on a whole different level.
It was a heavy sword that seemed to hold darkness. The eyes of the Marquis, who had witnessed numerous famous swords, recognized the true value of Darkness at once.
Roman Dmitry was a great craftsman. It wasn’t something like a flame cooling down to display the result, but it was a gradual development.
The first sword Salamander.
The second Blaze.
The third Darkness.
‘Every time a new sword is made, there is rapid growth that can be noticed. If Roman Dmitry is called the greatest genius of all time as a swordsman, it should be the same as a blacksmith. How much greater will the swords he creates in the future be? And if Roman Dmitry continues to gain fame, the swords he creates will become extremely valuable.’
This was a shock.
Blaze. People thought he spent too much on a sword. He wasn’t sure what it was, but when he saw Darkness, Marquis Valentino felt like he saw the future.
Roman Dmitry was going to be the best swordsman and craftsman in the world.
He placed the sword down and looked at Roman with a serious face.
“Even if I asked you to sell this sword, I doubt you would agree. Which is why I will say this, could you please grant me a special request?”
The special request had two conditions.
“First, if you’re going to sell the sword, give me a chance to obtain it.”
A personal desire. If Roman would let go of Darkness as he did with Blaze, then Marquis Valentino wanted to be the one to get it.
“Second, please let me know if a new sword is made. No, if possible, I would like to see the swords you’ve made. The place and time don’t matter. Be it in Dmitry, some faraway nation, or a remote area that doesn’t allow humans. If Mr. Roman allows it, I’d like to come and check the state of the swords.”
His eyes gleamed with longing. But Roman didn’t answer him.
Marquis Valentino, Cairo’s business tycoon, was burning. Rather than asking questions to know his intentions, Roman waited for him to spill them.
“If you promise me two things, the Valentino family will support Dmitry in the future.”
Those words were more than he expected. He made a statement about giving up his neutral position simply because he was a collector.
It was fun.
Roman looked into Marquis Valentino’s eyes.
“Do you really know what that means?”
“Of course I do. The Valentino family has maintained a neutral position. Thanks to that, there were no problems when running the guild, and people ended up calling us the most wealthy family.”
“Then why support Dmitry? I don’t think this is just a desire to collect. To meet your desires, your family will have to make too many sacrifices.”
A neutral force taking a side. Even if the opponents weren’t the four factions, this would be inconvenient for those in power in Cairo.
Marquis Valentino said,
“I will be honest. Actually, the four factions have been putting pressure on us. In a situation where the power struggle in Cairo is turning intense, we cannot hold onto the neutral position anymore. So I was pondering which side to support. Would I prefer the nobles or Kronos or Valhalla? When I was deep in thought, I overheard the rumors about Roman Dmitry. They say you defeated the lords of the north and established the Dmitry Alliance.”
His request wasn’t something he decided on the spot. Until meeting Roman, he calculated the profit and loss.
“People call me a greedy collector. I pay a fair price for good things of value, but I am not limited to that alone. I like investing in people. When a person who is still undervalued develops and achieves something, it gives me tremendous pleasure.”
Roman Dmitry and his unexpected actions. People only paid attention to how he defeated his enemies, but he noticed the leadership he showed.
And the Dmitry Alliance. Dmitry, who was in a neutral position like him, also showed their intention to change.
“Of the four factions, there is none that follows. But with Roman, it is a different story. Seeing how you took control of the northeast, which was a mess, I decided that Mr. Roman leading Dmitry is worth investing in. Furthermore, I even confirmed that you are the one who made Blaze, so why wouldn’t I like you?”
“Dmitry has a lot of money. Is there any reason to accept the Valentino family as an ally when the Central Government will keep checking on us?”
Marquis Valentino knew that the other person had no intention of following the trend, and he had the courage to act unconventionally.
The richest man in Cairo.
He wasn’t as he expected.
“I am very aware of how much wealth Dmitry has. But…”
Marquis Valentino smiled.
“Isn’t it better to have more money? I am not asking for much. If we can build a relationship with Roman, then as long as Valentino is alive and in Cairo, we will do anything for Dmitry.”
The collector’s instinct—the sense that brought Marquis Valentino to his current position—desired Roman Dmitry.