𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐝 (𝟏)
The Aitz family, a knightly lineage of the Holy Empire.
The story of Kim Yo-han, a knight born with power in the Aitz family, a knightly family of the Holy Empire.
After dying in an unexpected accident, Kim Yo-han was reborn with dragon power in the Aitz family, a knightly family of the Holy Empire.
And then 17 years passed.
Kim Yo-han had no choice but to admit that life here was not so easy.
The Aitz family was among the many noble families in the Empire, but so small that it could hardly be considered significant in the family tree.
Unlike other knights who lacked a fiefdom, the Aitz family at least had a small town as their territory, which might be considered fortunate.
However, the chances of this town falling into Johan’s hands were slim. Gessen Aitz had too many children.
His eldest, second, and third sons from his fourth wife; his fourth and fifth from his third wife. . .
Johan’s mother, who gave birth to him, was Gessen’s second wife. She passed away shortly after his birth, leaving Johan without any memory of her.
“𝘈𝘵 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘐 𝘢𝘮 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢 𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘤𝘶𝘣𝘪𝘯𝘦. . .”
Still, his situation was difficult enough. It would have been even more complicated if he had been illegitimate.
The sons of Gessen’s fourth wife, being older, naturally despised Johan and the children from the other wives.
The current Mrs. Aitz also disliked Johan and the children from the other wives.
Excluded from the two main factions in the fiefdom, other than Sir Gessen himself, Johan’s life was inevitably hard. Unless Sir Gessen mediated, which he rarely did, as he showed little interest in the affairs of the fiefdom.
Sir Gessen spent most of the year away from the fiefdom. What he did during this time was unclear, but he seemed very busy. When he did return, he mostly indulged in strong drinks. Johan had rarely seen his father, Sir Gessen, himself.
Thus, the fiefdom was managed by Sir Gessen’s subordinates, his wife, and his older sons. . .
And caught in the middle were sons like Johan.
At least the other sons had brothers from the same mother for support, but Johan was truly alone. Had he been smaller, he would have been relentlessly bullied.
“Ah, Johan-nim. Hello.”
Johan greeted the serf.
Though the Aitz family had a fiefdom, they were a small and poor noble family, not owning an expensive castle. Their residence was a moderately-sized mansion adjacent to a village. Compared to the village houses, it seemed luxurious like a castle.
Consequently, the sons of the Aitz family had no choice but to interact closely with the villagers. Sons like Johan, who were more distant, even more so.
While most behaved arrogantly due to their noble status, Johan was different. It was not in his nature, and he saw no benefit in earning the wrath of the serfs.
As a result, the villagers liked Johan. Despite his youth, he had the stature of a knight and a commendable personality. In the village, there were talks that “Johan should succeed Sir Gessen.”
However, these words meant nothing. The serfs, tied to their fiefdom and farming, had no influence. Even if Sir Gessen suddenly passed away, the decision would be made by his retainers, wife, and older sons.
“What’s up? It’s Johan.”
“Don’t look. Idiot.”
Walking past the wheat fields near the village, there was a fairly dense forest. It was a dense forest that the elders of the village called the ‘Devil’s Forest’, where light did not enter even in broad daylight.
Unlike Earth, the Holy Empire was full of places that were not cleared like this. It was a world where you had to be afraid of beasts jumping out of the forest even on the road.
And there were only a few people in the village who could enter that forest. Most of the serfs were forbidden to enter the forest unless it was a special time. The trees and beasts of the forest belonged to the feudal lord.
Only the son of the feudal lord or the hunters who were allowed could enter the forest!
Naturally, it was his half-brothers who were telling Johan not to look at him now. Johan shook his head.
Such a quarrel was now pitiful. At first, he didn’t tolerate it and fought back, but now he was so annoyed that he ignored it and passed by.
‘𝘋𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘥?’
He knew that he shouldn’t do it with force, but the other side only quarreled with their mouths and didn’t come any closer. They knew very well that there was nothing good about bumping into Johan.
Johan ignored it and stood in front of the dense oak tree. He was thinking of doing what he did every day.
‘I don’t know if it’s okay to just train like this.’
Over 180cm physique. When he fought with other brothers, he was so powerful that he could win against four.
From the moment he was born, Johan had a blessed body.
It was a similar appearance to his previous life, but it attracted much more attention. Overall, people’s physiques were smaller. Even Johan’s half-brothers were sons of knights and ate and slept well, so their physiques were above average, but they looked poor compared to Johan.
Besides. . .
‘𝘐𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘮𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘵𝘩 𝘪𝘴 𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳.’
Johan clenched his fist. The grip felt stronger than before.
The Bergmann’s Law.
The law that the colder the animal lives, the bigger it gets.
Did the environment of this world increase Johan’s strength like that? He didn’t know why he felt stronger even though his physique was the same.
Johan stopped worrying and started exercising. It was a workout he had been doing since Earth. No matter how physically gifted he was, he couldn’t get stronger without training.
And in this part of the training, Johan was confident.
A person who is more familiar with modern and scientific training methods than anyone in the Empire!
Although there are no devices and it is difficult to adjust the diet, Johan made the maximum effort within his ability. The result was his current body.
The problem is that this is not a modern world, but a different world with a medieval feel.
It was not a world where you could succeed by being good at unarmed mixed martial arts, but a world where you could succeed by knowing how to swing a sword in armor.
And Johan didn’t learn this part at all. It wasn’t just Johan. Most of the other half-brothers were similar.
It was because Sir Gessen was so indifferent to his children.
It was okay to just wander around outside the fiefdom. There were many such people among the knights.
However, such knights usually sent their children to other knights for squire training. It was common for knights to exchange their children to train them into excellent knights.
A knight was not made overnight. From a young age, they consistently learned things necessary as a knight, such as swordsmanship, etiquette, tactics, and strategy.
Among Sir Gessen’s sons, only the eldest or second eldest received knight training, and the youngest son, now Mrs. Aitz’s son, was learning under a home tutor.
What about the rest?
They were just living comfortably.
‘𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘨𝘶𝘺𝘴 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦.’
Johan shook his head as he watched his half-brothers go hunting in the forest with their swords.
How nice it would have been if he could live comfortably like that.
But he couldn’t. Unlike them, who didn’t know their situation, Johan was fully aware of his situation.
‘𝘐𝘧 𝘐 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘮𝘺 𝘢𝘤𝘵 𝘵𝘰𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳, 𝘐 𝘮𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩. . .’
Think about it.
What if Sir Gessen dies?
Sir Gessen is already past middle age and looking at old age, and in this world, it’s rare for humans to live beyond 60 or 70, let alone 100. There was no such thing as a knight preventing aging with internal power, as in the fantasy novels Johan had read.
To Johan’s eyes, it seemed difficult for Sir Gessen to live more than ten years. He was extremely fat and old, but he still loved alcohol and women. . .
When Sir Gessen dies, one of the eldest or youngest sons will succeed the knight title. Johan didn’t know who it would be. Whoever wins the fight will take it.
The problem was the remaining sons like Johan.
If the brothers were close, they would have taken care of at least one feudatory position, but from Johan’s perspective, there was no chance. Whoever rises, the brothers with different mothers seemed likely to be driven out of the feudatory.
‘𝘐𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘦 𝘰𝘶𝘵, 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵’𝘴 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘦.’
Honestly, he didn’t think they would even do that.
In the past, he didn’t understand why the second and third sons of lower nobles in history went into the military so much, but now that he was experiencing it himself, he understood completely.
There was nothing else to do.
He was a son of a formal knight family, so he was a nobleman for now, and he didn’t think about doing business or farming, but he still needed money to eat and live. . .
If he had received training as a squire under a knight, he would have continued to run as a knight and aimed to enter under another nobleman who had a feudatory, but he had not received training, so there was no way.
‘Should I ask to be sent to another knight with a big heart? I’m still his child. . . Damn. I can’t try anything because he isn’t involved in the feudatory.’
Johan resented Sir Gessen. He couldn’t try anything because he was away all the time.
In the end, there was only one thing Johan could do.
He didn’t know how meaningful bare-handed martial arts would be, but he had to do it because he was anxious. How useful it would be when others were wearing armor and swinging swords. . .
And the other half-brothers laughed at Johan like that. In their eyes, Johan seemed to be doing strange things with his bare body.
“Are you bewitched by a witch? Hahaha!”
“Shh. If the new priest hears you, it’ll be a big deal.”
Hunter Joseph bowed politely. Johan was as courteous as a knight in a bard’s song, but that made him all the more cautious.
“Joseph, are you ready?”
Johan stared intently at Joseph. It was initially uncomfortable to treat a middle-aged man arrogantly, but he had gotten used to it now.
If he was unnecessarily kind, it would only make the other person feel more burdened, and if it reached others’ ears, it could cause unnecessary problems.
‘𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘤𝘢𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦.’
On the hunter’s waist were a crude dagger and a few pouches of medicine. These were unique medicines passed down among the hunters, ranging from painkillers to drugs used to lure animals.
In addition, a bow and arrows. That was all the weaponry a hunter had. There were no chainmail, gauntlets, metal boots, or even a thick cloth armor called a gambeson. If a hunter had such equipment, he would have sold it for money immediately.
He was worried about what would happen if he encountered a beast, but the hunter’s answer was simple.
━𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐠𝐨 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞.