A Royal Knight—As the Royal Knights served the King himself, it was the highest honor that could be granted to a knight.
As it was not a position that would be offered to just anyone, Bentner added with a voice full of pride, “Actually, it is extremely unusual to directly give this proposal to anyone. Usually, one can only enjoy the glory of joining the Royal Knights if they pass both the personality and skills test, which is administered by the Royal Family themselves. However, I want to grant an exception to you, Mr. Roman Dmitry. If you come to the capital right now and kneel before His Majesty while swearing allegiance to him, you can join the Royal Knights without giving any test.”
If he was a child who didn’t know how the world worked, then Roman would have been moved by this proposal and would have accepted it without a second thought.
However, as he knew quite a bit about the world, Roman’s reaction was different than Bentner expected.
“Is that all?”
“…Are you going to refuse?”
Bentner was embarrassed at his response.
Nevertheless, Roman said with a smile, “Isn’t it natural to say no? I never wanted the honor of being a knight. As the eldest son of the Dmitry family, I have lived in the North-East region of Cairo without any shortage of resources and having my wishes fulfilled due to my kind parents since birth, so why do I need to go to the capital and make sacrifices to be a Royal Knight? Your suggestion was wrong from the start. You wouldn’t have even made such an offer if you had known that the Dmitry family is the wealthiest in the North-East region of Cairo.”
Hearing the unexpected answer, Bentner felt lost. What was a Royal Knight? It was a glorious position everyone wanted. He thought even the Dmitry family would be thrilled about it, but Roman’s reaction was as cold as ice.
He wanted to turn away in anger. However, as he knew the circumstances of the King who gave him the order, he let go of his pride.
“…If there is anything you want, please tell me. His Majesty wishes for you to be appointed as a Royal Knight of the Royal Family. So, maybe a noble title? If you prove your loyalty as a Royal Knight, Dmitry will get a new title. A mansion will be prepared for you in the capital, and you will enjoy many things, including fame. Think carefully. The moment you say yes, you will live a completely different life from the one you have lived here.”
He took a step back to recruit Roman.
Bentner had now given him the best offer he could.
“Is that the best the Royal Family can do?”
Roman was still being cynical.
Bentner’s expression became stiff when he heard that response of Roman. He could understand Roman rejecting the first proposal. The proposal of becoming a Royal Knight might not have been as attractive to him, who would become the successor of the Dmitry family.
However, that wasn’t the case for the second proposal. He was being promised wealth and honor on the condition of faithfully serving the King of Cairo, staying by his side, and making sure no one could touch him.
Betner answered, “You seem to have misunderstood something. His Majesty the King wants you because he values the possibilities of the future, not the present. A Royal Knight, a new title, a mansion in the capital; those are all rewards just for that. But you still give such an answer? What a greedy person you are, so greedy that there aren’t even any limits!”
His patience finally exploded.
Even though Roman became a 3-Star at the age of 20, there was no guarantee that he would grow into a 5-Star Aura Swordsman. On the other hand, the Royal Knights were the best armed group in the Cairo Kingdom, but Roman was still overestimating himself.
The atmosphere turned cold instantly.
Nevertheless, despite Bentner’s angry eyes, Roman’s expression didn’t change in the slightest.
“The one misunderstanding something is you, not me.”
“…What do you mean?!”
“Five days ago, a member of Count Gregory’s family came to see me. In return for the oath of allegiance to him, I was promised a mansion in the capital, as well as thousands of acres of land and treasures of gold and silver. And he also hoped to turn our relationship into that of blood with marriage.”
When he heard the name of Gregory, Bentner’s expression flickered.
‘Those on the side of Kronos have already moved?’
Gregory was not a royalist. He was an open-minded follower of Kronos, and from Bentner’s perspective, he should not allow his offer to succeed.
However, Roman’s words didn’t end just there.
“Three days ago, the Denver family sent someone. They said they wanted to be my supporter. Along with providing the equipment I needed to improve my swordsmanship, they proposed that we become friends rather than have a master-slave relationship. You know what? That’s not all. I just met a member of the Benedict family last evening. They also made an offer that was far more radical than yours. They sought to establish close ties with family through the process of arranged marriage, and the Dmitry family was promised to become one of them within the next month. Naturally, as a basic compensation, the reward of the mansion in the capital and the gold and silver treasures were also included.”
Denver House was a member of the Valhalla Empire. And not to mention the Benedict family—It was the center of the Noble Faction and, in fact, was the most direct threat to the Royal Family if one excluded both the Empires.
‘The devil’s magic has come here!’
It was flustering.
Bentner felt his mind go blank.
He thought he had checked everything and moved so quickly, but everyone had already made a move.
Now he could understand why Roman turned down his proposal and why he didn’t even blink at his suggestions. If he had been in Roman’s position, then even he wouldn’t have been attracted to the proposal of the Royal Family.
Roman continued, “The reason I turned down your proposal is not simply because it isn’t special. I didn’t just reject your proposal because it wasn’t particularly special. The Royal Family naively made a proposal while the three factions presented commendable ones. The Royal Family was ignorant of what was happening inside Dmitry. So allow me to ask you. Is it actually appropriate for me to decline the first three offers simply for the honor that being a Royal Knight would bring?”
When Roman said those words, Bentner’s heart sank instantly. It was over. There was no way he could convince Roman now. As his incompetence despite being from the Royal Family was shown to him, he had no choice but to accept the reality before him.
“…We were one step late.”
He sighed. He looked at Roman with a face that looked like he had given up, and he said, “I admit that we were incompetent. Still, what I said was the best the Royal Family can do right now. Marquis Benedict, who’s being supported by other nobles, Count Gregory, who’s supporting the Kronos Empire, and Denver, who’s supporting Valhalla, as well, are all vicious tyrants trying to devour the entire Cairo Kingdom. They seized the kingdom’s power and blocked any flow of information to not let the Royal Family know what was happening around them and are trying their hardest to exclude them from the political discussions. At least the Royal Knights are called the best armed forces, so we are trying to suppress the rebellion, but it was impossible for us to move faster than the three factions no matter how much we tried.”
Seeing that Roman wouldn’t join them easily anyway, he decided to tell him the truth. Honestly, it seemed like all his confidence had died down, and he looked as if he would burst into tears at any moment.
“Cairo is a small nation. In fact, even though I made that proposal to you, I cannot predict when you will be granted the title of nobility. And yet, the only reason that I have come this far is because now, only physical force can protect His Majesty. Finally, I beg you. Can you not give your strength for the sake of His Majesty the King? If, in the future, all the tyrants are defeated and the throne is firmly established, then I will never forget today’s choice.”
Talking about the distant future—It was an uncertain promise. Still, appealing to emotions was the only option he had left.
‘It’s one kingdom, and there are four factions.’
Roman was used to it. The Heavenly Demon Sect was a huge group that was divided into numerous factions in which many were trying to reach the apex position.
Being the 12th son of the Heavenly Demon, Baek Joong-hyuk received numerous suggestions and proposals from the moment he revealed his worth. Everyone made attractive offers and wanted Baek Joong-hyuk under them.
Then, what decision did he make? Did he accept the strongest and most beneficial one? Or did he show a hostile reaction to everyone?
Actually, it was neither of them.
He knew from his past experience that if he accepted any proposal, problems would definitely arise.
Roman answered, “The previous proposals and the proposal of the Royal Family are not attractive to me. Thus, I have no intention of accepting any of them. If the day comes when I choose a faction and swear allegiance to them, it will be because I have experienced them myself and decided they were worth it. So you can head back for today and show whether those really are your intentions through your actions. If you do that, then I will personally visit the Royal Family and swear allegiance to them.”
Roman chose to stay neutral. He turned down all the offers.
Because there was no hostile relationship between them till now, he didn’t refuse directly. He left the possibility open to all four factions.
“Are you being serious?”
Bentner’s expression brightened instantly. He understood that the possibility of discussion still remained. That alone was good news. And for Bentner, who thought things had already ended, this was quite a good choice.
“Alright. The Cairo Royal Family will make every effort not to give up the nation’s sovereignty. So we will wait. If the day comes when you swear allegiance to His Majesty the King, then we will welcome you with open arms.”
Bentner didn’t give up till the end.This chapter made its debut appearance via N0v3lB1n.
Even while hearing those words, Roman smiled, but he did not hold out the hand extended toward him.
He had rejected all four proposals. Obviously, the reactions varied from person to person. Unlike Bentner, who was full of hope and ended the discussion with a smile, there were those who tried to pressure him with threats as well.
Nevertheless, Roman stayed calm.
‘I have no intention of swearing allegiance to any faction. If they are going to turn hostile to me, leaving them alive is only to buy some time. Until my purpose becomes clear to them, I need to build up my strength while keeping these relationships ambiguous.’
He left room for all factions. It was because the others would undoubtedly resent him when he chose one side. That was the problem. However, Roman didn’t need to worry about that now. Even if they later found out that Roman was not someone who would swear allegiance to anyone, Roman would have completed all his preparations for war by then. Thus, it could be said that the current situation in Cairo was favorable to Roman. Even though Roman had expressed himself as such, no one would try to trample him immediately because of being conscious of the other factions.
While standing on a tight-knit single rope, Roman would take over the stage.
People would still try to convince him, unaware that he was a predator. Nevertheless, the sure thing was that the ripple effect of rankings was truly great. Even though he was still an Unofficial Ranker, the entire Dmitry was thrilled seeing the people who wanted him on their side.
This was the reason why people wanted to become a Ranker. Wealth and honor were guaranteed to those whose names were on the Rankings. That was why people relentlessly tried to get their name on the Rankings.
Was the commotion finally over? Not yet.
Everyone who had come to see Roman made a suggestion based on common sense, and no one gambled just because of the future possibilities of Roman. Nevertheless, that was only until a few days later, the people of Valhalla visited Roman again.
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Editor’s Thoughts: It seems the Royal Family’s in quite a tough situation as of now. It will be exciting to see Roman’s next actions for them. Also, what a cliffhanger—Valhalla already knows that Roman is a 4-Star Aura Swordsman, so they might make an amazing proposal to him. Still, I doubt Roman will accept it lol.