Garbage—At the remark that touched the pride of the craftsman, Hendrick’s eyebrows rose sharply.
“The ironwork from Dmitry is arguably the highest quality in the kingdom of Cairo. But you, who doesn’t even know how a blacksmith works, and has never sweated in front of a hot oven, dare judge the ironwork of Dmitry?!”—His voice rose. The things that Roman evaluated—by Dmitry’s standards, they are indeed garbage that cannot even be treated as low-rank armour and weapons. However, he just didn’t like that the remarks came from Roman.
In Hendrick’s memory, Roman was an incorrigible human, so his face flushed red due to his personal feelings.
“If it had not been for the request of your father, Baron Romero, I would not have given you anything, Roman Dmitry. You are the eldest son of the Dmitry family, who have made blacksmithing a lifelong business. When your younger brother, Rodwell Dmitry, worked for me for years and took over the chores, you went out on the road, coveting the white-skinned women and wasting your time. Do you know what that means? Being even worse than those things on the floor, Roman Dmitry, you are the garbage that cannot be fixed. They may be of poor quality, but if they find an owner, they will do their job, but as the eldest son of the Dmitry family, you are garbage, unable to do anything.”
It was a bittersweet rant. Dmitry’s roots were in the forge—The family’s eldest son, who denied them and neglected them, could not earn the respect of the workers who worked hard to build the family.
‘Is this the case again?’
Hendrick—It was the first time he had seen him. This is a face that Baek Joong-hyuk does not have in his memory, but he was voicing anger towards Roman Dmitry based on his own experience, not his prejudice. At his point, he was used to it. It didn’t take long for him to understand Roman Dmitry, but no one showed friendly feelings toward him from the start, wherever he met anyone.
Only one person—Only Hans was an exception. Hans was devoted to Roman, so he brought him into his fence for no particular reason.
‘It’s not that I don’t understand Hendrick’s reaction. If the eldest son of Dmitry was not interested in the smithy, but he came to me when he had a purpose like this and evaluated him, it’s natural to have bad feelings.’
Roman understood the other person’s thoughts and the other person’s heart. Hendrick’s anger was quite natural, but there was one thing that bothered Roman, who faced his anger.—‘Master Blacksmith. The real power of Dmitry and the craftsman who oversees the blacksmith. He deserves respect, but it’s a different story when you look at the current situation. He’s not denying that the things I’ve evaluated are garbage; he’s angry because the one who evaluated them was Roman Dmitry.’
Keeping Hendrick and Roman aside, the current circumstances were a separate issue.
Roman picked up the sword that was lying on the floor. Then, he walked outside and shined the sword in the sun.
“It’s not that I don’t understand your wrath, Master Hendrick. However, in the process of making this sword, the power transmission was so uneven that different shades could be seen just by shining the sun on it. It is probably the result of an inexperienced blacksmith messing with hammering. Therefore, it cannot be said that this is Dmitry’s iron. You cannot deny that fact, so you chose to criticize me instead of proving me wrong, didn’t you, Master Hendrick?”
“Master Hendrick.”—Roman cut him off.
Roman swung the sword in the air a few times, then looked at Hendrick with a hardened expression on his face.
“Just now, my soldier, who couldn’t cut the enemy’s flesh with this garbage sword, died. Due to the uneven surface of the blade, the flesh could not be cut cleanly, and the soldier who could not pull out the sword stuck in the enemy’s muscle was blown away by their sword with a bewildered expression. How embarrassing is that? He did his best to survive, but he had to die because the garbage Master Hendrick gave him was a trash weapon.”
Roman threw away the sword. This time he picked up an armour and showed it to Hendrick.
“Why do you think people wear armour, Master Hendrick? If one can protect themself from the enemy’s attacks even once, the armour is worth its hefty weight. However, a soldier wearing this chain mail which I supplied was betrayed by the armour he trusted and was killed. He believed that the tightly intertwined pieces of iron would protect his body, but the experimental work made by an unknown blacksmith could not stop the enemy’s attack. His flesh was pierced, holes were made, and his guts spilt through the chainmail.”
“What the hell are you talking about?!”
“You still don’t understand what I am saying?”
People’s prejudice? Roman understood that. As the previous owner lived like garbage, he was aware that he had to endure their prejudice. However, Hendrick had crossed the line. Due to his personal feelings, he didn’t realize what he had actually done.
“I asked you for weapons and armour to arm my soldiers, Master Hendrick. If I hadn’t noticed that the rubbish lying on the floor was trash, the soldiers who followed me might have entrusted their lives to these pieces of trash without knowing anything. This is not simply a matter of retaliation for personal feelings. It is a problem that would have cost the lives of 30 people, and you turned away from the truth even though you were aware of that fact, Master Hendrick. If that happened, could you still proudly call yourself Master Blacksmith, the craftsman representing Dmitry? Because of your personal feelings toward me, innocent people almost died!”
Hendrick was perplexed. Roman’s speech was absolutely correct. However, Hendrick hadn’t even thought of the situation like that. He simply didn’t want to give Roman anything good, and he didn’t know that soldiers would die due to that.
“Th-That wasn’t my intention!”
“Your intentions don’t matter. Weapons and armour have a clear purpose, and anyone can predict what the consequences will be when they give out garbage. That was why I asked not in the name of Roman Dmitry but in the name of my father, Baron Romero. I asked for the best weapons and armour possible; however, what you gave me is this garbage you see right now.”
Roman pushed away the iron pieces scattered on the floor with his feet. Hendrik realized what kind of mistake he had made at the sight of the sliding iron pieces.
“Your actions—May I take them as a protest against my father?”
Protest—Hearing that, for a moment, Hendrick felt his mind collapse. For the line that Roman thought of, Hendrick’s attitude didn’t matter. Master Blacksmith was on the same level as the eldest son of the Dmitry family. He thought that Roman crossed the line when he called the equipment trash; however, Roman respected Hendrick. He was a hard worker, and he needed to build a friendly relationship with him if he considered his future in the family.
“I know what Master Hendrick thinks of me. I think you simply didn’t want to give me good equipment and are not protesting against my father. The problem is—that in itself is insubordination. Master Hendrick, I got permission from my father and came to see the master. It is not a personal request, but the owner of this land has ordered you to provide good weapons and armour for me.”
The Heavenly Demon, Baek Joong-hyuk, had always lived his life as a ruler—He, who ruled over different types of humans, always adhered to only one principle in any situation—’Hierarchy—The moment the line between the master and the servant becomes ambiguous, the hierarchy and order are destroyed due to that single relationship.’
A faithful servant, and even servants who were like a friend—The moment they crossed the line, Baek Joong-hyuk gave them a harsh punishment with a cold expression. He was no different today. Even though he knew how important Hendrick was, Roman told the truth to the other person the moment he crossed the line. He tapped Hendrick’s head and pressed it down.
“I will ask you again. What you did to me—Should I take that as a protest against my father?”
“…What do you mean ‘a protest’?! Absolutely not!”
Hendrick exclaimed in anguish. He had worked for several decades before earning the title of Master Blacksmith. He was a friend of Baron Romero before he even became the owner of the Dmitry house. Once upon a time, they blazed with passion on the hearth. Hendrick truly respected Romero Dmitry. Now, he doesn’t hear much about the blacksmith because of his duties as a nobleman, but Baron Romero is undoubtedly Cairo’s best craftsman, recognized by even Hendrick. Hendrick swore allegiance to him. He thought that if it was Baron Romero, who was genuinely understanding and considerate of the blacksmiths, he was worthy of swearing allegiance.
Just then, the blacksmiths around the castle gathered around Roman. They couldn’t figure out what was going on at first, but their expressions turned harsh at Roman’s subsequent remarks.
“If it is not a protest, explain yourself. Why did you give me these things?”
“How dare you talk to Master Hendrick like that?!”
Naturally, the blacksmiths were furious. At the scene of a small kid scolding Master Hendrick, their anger exploded. The blacksmiths showed the attitude to attack him at any moment. Obviously, when a dozen men with great physiques surrounded Roman, the atmosphere became harsh, and the situation became one that would likely lead to violence.
There is a saying in the world—Even a vicious group like Blood Fang wouldn’t dare touch Dmitry’s blacksmiths.—As a blacksmith is a strong worker and often handles weapons such as knives, there have been cases in which certain organizations have collapsed because of an argument over nothing.
Nevertheless, seeing the current situation, Roman’s attitude was calm. He was neither embarrassed nor sensitive to the blacksmiths’ threats. He just looked at Hendrick. Looking forward to his answer, the blacksmiths’ patience reached its limit.
“I don’t know what’s going on right now, but I can’t watch Dmitry’s Fool dare to confront the master anymore.”
“Subdue him at once!”
Hendrick was like heaven to them.
Seeing the blacksmiths rushing in at once, Hendrick, who had been consistent with his silence, finally opened his mouth.
“I told you to stop.”
Hendrick’s expression hardened. He could not comprehend the current situation. The Roman he remembered was utterly different. He didn’t have the guts to argue with someone like Hendrick. Moreover, if it was the old Roman, in a situation where the blacksmiths were threatening him, he wouldn’t even have the courage to keep his back straight before them. However, the Roman in front of him was bold. Even though the blacksmiths were on the verge of attacking, Roman was looking straight at him without taking a step back.
‘One thing is certain.’
Hendrick said, “Sorry. This is entirely my mistake.”
When asked if he was protesting, Hendrick had no choice but to back off.