Both of the choices Roman gave to Viscount Barco were horrible. He knew that he couldn’t move according to his opponent’s intentions. However, he also knew that Roman wouldn’t allow him to move how he wanted to.
“I have directly presented two options to you. They are absolutely clear, and remember this—I won’t allow any exceptions. If you don’t choose the former option here today, as soon as I return to the Dmitry estate, I will speak with my father and tell him how I was threatened by your son, Anthony Barco. Obviously, after that, there will be no way you will be able to avoid a war with Dmitry. Anthony Barco’s atrocities have already given me good cause to wage war on Barco, and the Dmitry family will not back down until Barco clearly shows their repentance.”
Roman blocked any way Barco could have used to get out of the current situation. Initially, Viscount Barco wanted to turn away from the reality in front of him; however, after a while, he realized he couldn’t do that.
‘I can never even dare to choose the second choice he gave me.’
If there was an actual war with Dmitry, the side that would obtain victory and the site that would be defeated were clear as crystal. Even if he ignored losing the war against Lawrence despite borrowing money from the Golden Bank, Barco wasn’t so stupid that he would take the risk to wage war against the wealthiest man in the North-East region of Cairo. If he did that, it was evident that he would be defeated by an overwhelming margin. And even if it wasn’t that, if the Dmitry family attacked Barco after they fell into the abyss, he was sure the Barco family would go extinct then.
In the end, there was only one option left. Obviously, Roman was aware of this, as well, and that was exactly why he had presented those two choices to Barco.
‘What he wants is for people to know that someone from Dmitry barged into Barco’s estate by himself, and despite that, he got Barco on his knees. To come and punish the eldest child of Barco, Anthony Barco, in his own estate, will surely cause a huge mess within the nobles of the North-East. Barco’s defeat in the war has already led to their reputation being slumped, and he is planning to destroy any chance of it recovering in the future.’
Furthermore, the worst thing was that the current situation was taking place in front of Barco’s last connections. Roman was practically mocking them in their own estate.
‘I can’t believe he was so cruel.’
This was like disembowelment1 suicide.2 Nevertheless, the only difference was that Roman was the one who held the hilt. Finally, Viscount Barco let go of his pride and put his head down. He decided to take responsibility for his defeat and bring out the eldest child so that he would get his punishment. He didn’t say those words, but everyone around him understood the meaning of his actions.
His eyebrows trembled. As Viscount Barco, who once boasted unrivaled power, was a prideful man, he couldn’t simply bow down to a young man and completely let go of the pride he had built over many years.
And then, he realized it—There was only one way left to protect his pride. And that was to prepare for the destruction of the Barco family by executing Roman, who barged into his estate fearlessly.
However, he couldn’t take that action as he wanted to live longer, albeit how brief it would be. Viscount Barco’s strong desire to live eventually resulted in him accepting the reality in front of him.
“Anthony Barco’s actions aren’t a matter that should be escalated to a dispute between families. Thus, I will ask him to apologize directly. So, are we done now? By making the eldest son of Barco kneel down, is your anger finally appeased?” He shouted. The chance for the revival of the family had already gone down the drain. So, Viscount Barco, who had lost everything, spoke desperately with red, bloodshot eyes.
“When did I ever say anything like wanting Anthony Barco to get down on his knees?”
“…What do you mean?”
“How he has to be punished is in my hands. That choice obviously lies with me. Who in the world tells the perpetrator to choose the method of punishment for themself?”
Roman’s voice was unbelievably cold. Even after he had driven Viscount Barco to the edge of the cliff, as if he wasn’t satisfied, he revealed his ferocious teeth and said, “I want a Duel of Judgment with Anthony Barco.”
Duel of Judgement—Hearing those words, Viscount Barco’s expression turned stiff instantly. A Duel of Judgement wasn’t a common thing. It was equivalent to public execution—A way for one to atone for their sins with blood and death by placing the wrongdoer at the crossroads of life and death.
If Anthony had a Duel of Judgement with Roman, his chances of surviving against Roman were extremely slim.
‘Does he want to kill my son right in front of me?’
No, that cannot happen. If that happens, Roman will not be able to survive either. I guess Roman is just expressing his opinion that just kneeling isn’t enough for him to forgive Anthony for sins, and he wants him to be ready to be crippled. He is so f*cking cruel. Even though the Barco family has given up their pride and bowed their head in front of him, he wants Barco to actually receive the ‘price for Anthony’s sins.’
Viscount Barco felt dizzy. He understood what Roman was asking him—Will you risk the fate of the entire Barco family or abandon your eldest son? And obviously, Barco’s answer was clear. Even though Anthony Barco was the eldest child who would one day succeed Viscount Barco, if he could avoid a war with Dmitry by abandoning his eldest son, it was a deal he needed to accept.
He shut his eyes tightly. After losing the war with Lawrence, the debt he had to pay back was enormous, and albeit the choice to drive his son into a battle in which he would become limbless wasn’t easy to accept, he had to accept the reality.
After thinking for a long time, Viscount Barco told Roman he would accept his offer and left the conference room. Then, he told his son the truth about his future, who couldn’t believe what he had just heard.
“I am sorry.”
“No! Never! Isn’t Roman the person who won even against Homer in a one-on-one match? Are you truly going to put the life of Barco’s eldest son into the hands of someone else? Please, decline his offer. He will never spare me!”
Anthony Barco got down on his knees. Weeping, terrified of Roman, Anthony grabbed Viscount Barco’s clothes and begged him earnestly. He knew it as well—even if he survived the duel, there was no chance Roman would let him go back with a perfect body.
Barco’s eldest child, who his father thought had grown up with dignity, was now sobbing like a 3-year-old child and running away from reality. Seeing that, Viscount Barco said coldly, “Get yourself together. You are Barco’s eldest son. From the moment you said you wanted to succeed and take the position of Viscount, you should have been prepared to do anything for the family’s sake—Even if that meant putting your life in jeopardy. Roman will not kill you. If he had come here to kill you, he would at least have come with an escort that would help him go back alive. Be strong and accept this reality. Look straight into the face of Roman Dmitry and never forget today’s disgrace in order to get revenge against him in the future.”
“Anthony!” Viscount Barco yelled sternly. Then, Anthony finally realized that the duel was unavoidable.
Anthony Barco, who sat down on his seat, looked up at the sky, pale.
From now on, all he could do was hope that Roman would show mercy to him.
Anthony Barco—He was to be judged in front of Viscount Barco and the other nobles who attended the meeting.
His limbs were trembling crazily. His face looked as tired as a corpse, and his sword was shaking, as well. There was no meaning in this duel at all. Roman was someone who had defeated Homer with a single hit, so there was no way Anthony Barco, who didn’t even know how to use Aura, could survive this.The inaugural upload of this chapter took place via N0v3l-B1n.
However, he still decided to do this for a reason. He didn’t swing his sword to defeat Roman, but tried to appeal to him.
“R-Roman. I am sorry for what I did to you. I had no malice while doing that. You see—I was in love with Flora Lawrence so much that my reasoning shattered for a moment when I was told she was going to be married to you.” He said that in a desperate voice. It clearly showed that despite him not kneeling down, if Roman forgave him today, he would do anything for him in the future.
“We are friends. Even if things got messy because of Lawrence, we still had pretty fun times together. Roman—No! Sir Roman, please just let me off this one time. If you forgive me and let this go as if nothing happened, I, Anthony Barco, will never forget your grace and repay you for the rest of my life.”
It was embarrassing. What Anthony Barco was currently showing was something the eldest son of a noble family should never show. Naturally, all the other nobles looked at Viscount Barco, discomforted.
The Viscount’s face was red due to anger. He had already driven him into giving up his pride, but here, he was begging and crawling!
“You will never forget this grace and repay me for the rest of your life?” Roman asked as he slowly walked towards Anthony Barco, who was startled and was holding the sword tightly. He knew he wouldn’t be killed, but he didn’t want to be crippled, either. His pale face showed how he was not even a little bit ready to accept the reality in front of him.
Nevertheless, Roman continued, “How the hell are you going to repay me? The Barco family is already over. Even your connections with the Central Government can not help rectify your crimes, and obviously, Barco will lose everything they have just by repaying the money they borrowed from the Golden Bank. So, tell me—Why do I have to forgive you? You—who ignored me in front of countless others and trapped me with a selfish plan.”
At that moment, Viscount Barco had a strange feeling. An intense alarm rang in his head. And just as he was about to rush in and stop the duel, Roman looked straight into Viscount Barco’s eyes and swung his sword.
“That’s right. There is no need for me to forgive you.”
With the wind blowing, the feeling of something being cut could be felt, as well. In the current situation, Viscount Barco’s expression was stained with despair as blood splattered in the air.
He didn’t know Baek Joong-hyuk was someone who paid back things twofold. There was no way for someone who openly showed hostility toward him to stay alive, or even continue to live peacefully.
Baek Joong-hyuk withstood the threats of his brothers who tried to assassinate him every night, thrust his sword into their hearts each time, and killed them.
Then, one day, in a situation in which Baek Joong-hyuk was organizing his forces and himself to take on a good role within the sect, the eldest son, the strongest heir to the sect, came to him and said, “Joong-hyuk, do you know what your problem is? You don’t show even the slightest bit of compromise. The moment you acknowledge someone as your enemy, you do not even intend to take advantage of them and decide to drive them to their end as soon as possible. One day, that trait of yours will come and bite you back. Even if they are weaker than you, you do not know what someone you consider your enemy and are sure to kill will do when they get cornered. That is the fatal problem with you.”
The eldest son, Baek Ho-yeol, was quite strong. Furthermore, beyond simply being strong, he showed the tolerance to accept those he once considered enemies under him. Truly, he was a great human being. Baek Joong-hyuk, as well, had no choice but to acknowledge him; however, that didn’t mean that he agreed with everything Baek Ho-yeol chose to do.
Covered in blood from top to bottom, Baek Joong-hyuk looked up at Baek Ho-yeol and said, “As you said, compromise is often required. However, if I see someone being hostile toward me, the only way for me to continue living peacefully is by crushing them down entirely. So don’t say those words to me. I have lived like this from the time I was at the very bottom position in the Demonic Sect, and I will continue to live like this in the future, as well.”
Before reaching the peak, it was obvious that Baek Joong-hyuk would have to face a lot of enemies. However, if he killed everyone he met, obviously, Karma would catch up to him. Thus, Baek Ho-yeol often tried to advise him by saying that. Well, it wasn’t as if he was utterly wrong. Those who were once Baek Ho-yeol’s enemies had now become some of his most reliable allies.
However, Baek Joong-hyuk’s method for dealing with such situations was different. There was no reason to keep the enemy alive. Death was the only way to block the possibility of a variable, and moreover, he had earlier learned to use one’s fear.
The current situation wasn’t much different. Barco would always think of themselves as the main characters. Also, Roman knew that if he showed Anthony mercy now, obviously, Barco would later again attempt to direct such a situation with forged documents.
And finally, after finishing his thought process,
Roman Dmitry beheaded Anthony Barco. His face falling down the floor was simply stunned. While looking at Roman in disbelief, his body could only try to follow his last instincts—to try and stop the blood gushing out of his neck like a fountain with both of his hands.
Finally, after his body knelt down, Anthony fell forward on his face.3
The death of Anthony Barco was a result that no one had expected to happen within the viscount’s estate itself.