How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 125

𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐆𝐨𝐝 (8)

𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐆𝐨𝐝 (8)

“Sir Knight! You can’t!” 

Achladda shouted urgently. In his haste, he blurted out the old title he used to call him.  

Achladda, with his sharp eyes, noticed something off about the minotaur’s bronze hide.   

Minotaurs are monsters cursed by the gods into madness. The stronger the curse, the tougher and more metallic their hides become.  

Unlike the one they caught earlier, this one had a much duller and darker color. There was a high chance their spear blades wouldn’t penetrate it properly.  

𝐓𝐡𝐰𝐚𝐜𝐤!  

But the spear Johan threw pierced deep into the minotaur’s belly and stuck fast. He threw it with such force that the spear tip burst out from the beast’s back.  

“???”  

“What the! Achladda! Did I see wrong?”

“No. . .”

“Shoot it! Protect the count!”  

The centaurs immediately drew their bows and took aim at the minotaur. Their unique archery, Solenarion, handled short and sharp arrows suited for taking down agile monsters.  

But all that resulted were dull thuds as the arrows failed to penetrate the thick hide. The usually penetrating arrows couldn’t get through. The centaurs looked at the beast in disbelief.   

“Didn’t I tell you!”  

The minotaur that had been charging madly suddenly stopped in its tracks. It was the first time in its life feeling such pain. It broke off the spear stuck in its belly and bellowed loudly.  

“Urgh!”  

“Gah!”  

Even the seasoned warriors covered their ears and grimaced. That’s how loud and intense the beast’s cries were. The centaurs only had to cover their ears, but Iselia’s horse was different.  

Iselia’s horse neighed in distress, bucked off its rider, then turned to flee. Iselia, flung to the ground, called out to her horse in confusion. For a warhorse that had fought countless monsters to desert like this.  

“Johan!”

‘𝘞𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘦’𝘴 𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘑𝘰𝘩𝘢𝘯?’  

Johan asked what her horse’s name was, but she didn’t answer him. And then suddenly reveals the name now?   

Well, it was probably named after some ancient hero from centuries ago. . .

“Run to Iselia, Fern!”  

Johan jumped off his horse and shouted. The horse ran towards Iselia at full speed. Johan looked around at the other knights who had fallen off their horses and said:

“Those who have lost their horses should get out!”

“Count, I can still fight. . .”

Annoyed, Johan grabbed the knight by the collar and threw him back. The knight screamed as he flew through the air.

The only weapons left were two longswords at his waist and two spears on his back. Johan’s blood boiled at the sight of the enemy.  

His hands twitched and his eyes shone like those of a hunter. The magical pendant around his neck vibrated like crazy.

“Aim for its eyes and mouth! The parts not covered by leather!”

The centaurs quickly weaved between the trees, provoking the minotaur. The minotaur was irritated but couldn’t catch the centaurs.  

“Who set Sir Knight on fire? Why are you just standing there?!”

“I’ll go set him on fire!”

Euclyia ran off quickly. Johan grabbed her shoulder and jumped on right away. The strong scent of Euclyia’s excitement from the heat of battle wafted strongly.  

Euclyia didn’t bother asking where they should go. Just Johan grabbing her shoulder and giving her strength was enough to convey his intent. Having approached the minotaur, Johan immediately threw his spear to inflict a second wound.

“Valkalmur!”

He had tried to pierce its throat but the reaction was astonishing. The minotaur blocked the spear with its left arm. It protected the vital point but the pain was severe.  

━■■■■■■!

‘𝘜𝘯𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘴, 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘥𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘥𝘪𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘦.’

While trolls have the regenerative power to heal all sorts of wounds, the minotaur had the endurance to withstand all sorts of wounds.  

Even amidst dozens of archers taking aim, it was certainly protecting its vital areas so no poison had entered.  

━■! ■!

The minotaur seemed to have clearly chosen its target. It realized Johan was the most dangerous. The beast began to desperately chase Johan with all its might.  

At that moment, Iselia jumped out from the side and rammed into it. Johan thought for a moment that she had gone crazy like an elf.  

But that wasn’t the case. Iselia had tilted her shield diagonally to deflect the impact to the side, throwing off the beast’s balance.  

For a stunt using someone else’s horse, it was truly an astounding feat of horsemanship.  

Rammed from the side while running at full speed, the minotaur’s legs got tangled and it tumbled forward. Iselia cleanly withdrew without indulging in needless greed. She was well aware that her spearhead wouldn’t penetrate the beast’s leather.  

Johan immediately threw his spear. Although the minotaur covered its head with its arms, Johan was aiming for the other side.  

The spear pierced the beast’s thigh and went through its knee.  

Unable to move, the minotaur swung its giant club in frustration. Whenever it swung once, the ground would shake and trees would scream. It was an overwhelming pressure that no one dared approach.  

However, Johan went in wielding his longsword like a stick. Noisy and ferocious as it was, it wasn’t so bad that he had to dodge. The Brduhe family’s sword, Twilight, shone brightly as it severed the minotaur’s wrist.  

Euclyia raised her spear and shoved it into the beast’s gaping maw. At the same time, Johan swung his sword and severed its neck in one fell swoop. Silver burned as it scorched the vile monster’s blood.  

“. . .Fortunately, there isn’t too much damage.”  

Since the centaurs led by Johan had rushed right over, if that hadn’t happened then all the knights in this area would probably have met a wretched end.  

As if she didn’t care about such things, Euclyia ignored that and collected the minotaur’s blood in a cup. Then in an innocent voice, she offered:

“Please have the first drink.”

“. . .Thank you.”

Being able to drink the prey’s blood first was a privilege. Since he was well aware of the centaurs’ customs, Johan couldn’t refuse.  

“It’s hot. I feel like my body is heating up?”

“Minotaur blood has fortifying effects, doesn’t it?”

“What?!”

What, it has effects like that?  

Johan stopped mid-drink, startled. It seemed better to share it with the other older vassals rather than the vigorous Johan.

🛑🛑🛑🛑🛑  

The remaining monsters were all dead or had fled. Nearby vassals gradually congregated towards Johan. Word of the minotaur kill had quickly spread.  

The gathered vassals witnessed Johan standing tall atop the corpse of a massive beast he had struck down. An almost mythological surreal sight.  

One vassal seemed enthralled as he unconsciously dismounted and knelt on one knee. Seeing that, the other vassals also followed suit, dismounting to kneel one by one.  

The new count encircled by kneeling vassals.  

A symbolic scene demonstrating just who was the new seat of power in the south.  

“You have had a hard time.”  

“Yes. Who could have expected a second minotaur to show up.”

Johan clicked his tongue. Luckily the casualties were light. Otherwise this gathering could have turned into one of consoling grieving families instead.  

But a good result is a good result, no matter how it turned out.  

The minotaur now was being expertly skinned and butchered by seasoned hands. Its hide and meat would become prize distributions for the vassals.  

“Would it be acceptable to share such spoils with us?”

“Those who put their lives front and center fighting deserve such rewards.” 

What most vassals wanted were the hides, the centaurs sought the sinews, Caenerna asked for peculiar parts like the eyeballs and bone marrow. . .

This two minotaur hunt turned out to be quite a windfall. Incomparable to mundane trolls.  

“My lord. Viscount Palmito has arrived to swear fealty at your side.”  

“Have him wait.”

With increased vassals, making latecomers wait a bit was reasonable. There should be some distinction between those who came promptly and those tardy.  

“My lord. Viscount Ginolen has sent envoys, however. . .”

“?”   

But for the caretaker Viscount overseeing the Emperor’s lands to send people to Johan was unexpected.  

I wonder what this is about?

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

Greetings Count Yeats. It is an honor to meet you. 

The envoy sent by the viscount was courteous and polite. You could feel the current power dynamics at play.  

Seeing this, the former vassals of the nearby marquis murmured among themselves.

The envoy felt bitter. As an envoy, he was well aware of how the situation was unfolding. Had not a large number of the marquis’s vassals defected and gone over to Count Yeats in the east?

This kind of courtesy now would only help Count Yeats. It would make clear who the real power holder was.  

But there was no choice. It’s not like he could be rude.

“We are honored that you personally led an army here to dispel the pagan pirates.”

“You have my thanks. For what purpose have you come?”

Compared to the chaos in the marquis’s territory, the Emperor’s fiefdom was relatively stable. It was located south of the marquis’s land, and being flanked by mountains to the west, it had suffered less from pirate raids.

“By the Emperor’s command, I have come to pay the ransom for Wizard Caenerna.”  

The envoy gestured. Slaves began placing large chests in front of him and opened them. Dazzling gold coins glittered.  

Despite himself, the envoy gasped at the enormous quantity. He had known, but seeing it again was still shocking.  

Now was not the time to spend this gold here. Of course Caenerna was an excellent wizard, the Emperor’s advisor, but he could not make thousands of troops retreat.

They should be hiring mercenaries to support the marquis instead. But the Emperor was stubborn.  

After several failures, the Marquis of Crucho was branded in the Emperor’s eyes.

“. . . . . .”

The vassals around him glared at the envoy. Only then did he realize he had lost his composure. He hastily cleared his throat and shouted.  

“I have prepared this according to custom. I hope you will accept it.”

Johan bit his tongue. He could not refuse payment of the ransom. To violate the customs between nobles would be unacceptable.  

Moreover, if he released Caenerna without accepting such a large ransom, it could raise suspicions about his relationship with Caenerna. It could lead to doubts that he had not been captured as a prisoner but had switched sides.  

‘𝘋𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘌𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴?’  

To be honest, it was unbelievable. He had assumed payment would be impossible, yet here it was in full.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“I guess it can’t be helped. I expected Cardirian would pay it. But I didn’t expect payment so soon.”  

Caenerna was not that surprised. The Emperor loved and was fascinated by magic. Naturally he would seek out the best wizard among those around him, which was her.  

But for him to pay such a ransom in gold at a time like this and come looking for her personally. . . Something was definitely driving him hard.  

‘𝘐𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘥𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘴. . .’  

Magic was cruel to those who became too enthralled by it. The more Cardirian clung to magic, the more fate would oppose him.

“Why the look on your face? Do you not want to go?”

“Honestly, it would be a lie to say I haven’t grown fond of you.”

Caenerna was genuinely surprised to hear those words from Johan’s mouth. Something prickly churned inside.  

“Even though you say you have no intention of showing me respect?”

“Even if you don’t demonstrate loyalty to me, friendship can still be shown. . . ”  

While he may not respect her as a wizard, the bond of having campaigned together still held as comrades. Johan’s words were not what a lord should say, but they resonated strongly.  

“I don’t intend to detain you. I’m just concerned, that’s all. Will you be alright under Cardirian?”

“. . .There’s no need to worry. I’ll be fine. . . My position at court is much higher than you think. . .”  

Seeing Johan look at Caenerna with worried eyes, the prickling feeling grew stronger. As if resisting the emotion, Caenerna hastily pulled out a treasure from her robe.

“. . .Why did you take out the iron necklace the emperor was going to give to his lover?”

“W-Wrong one.”  

What she had meant to take out was the Fire Goblet. Caenerna had explained to Johan how to check the Fire Goblet’s status and read the signals. It worked on a principle similar to Morse code.  

“You understood that quickly?”

“Is it okay to send messages like this?”

“It doesn’t matter. No one else can read it anyway.” 

“Instead of sending pointless messages, pay attention to your own safety.”

Johan was worried for Caenerna. Of course he had affection for Caenerna, but more than anything. . .  

‘𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘻𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘰𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘴.’  

Having seen Caenerna make mistakes over and over, Johan didn’t quite trust her to be reliable.  

If she knew he kept talking because of reasons like this, Caenerna would have been furious.

“I’ll give you the necklace as a bonus. Use it on that elf or something. Ah, to obtain such an interesting material and then. . . “

She could not take it back with her. Not only would she have to travel a long distance, the likelihood of damage was high.

“Just leave it as it is.”

“What?”

“You won’t be spending the rest of your life in the Empire anyway. I’ll return it to you later when you come back.”  

“. . . . . .”  

Caenerna forcibly swallowed the surge of loyalty arising within her and bowed her head in farewell.


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