How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 133.2

“I think the title of duke is premature.”

“But Your Excellency. . .”

“God does not favor the arrogant. It’s not a title I should covet.”

Johan spoke decisively. The envoy of the order looked genuinely disappointed.

The order was similar to the republic. They hadn’t expected Johan to go so far.

Yet, the order still trusted Johan. Despite attempts at doubt, reports from the field were plastered with praise for Johan, leaving them no choice.

Moreover, the Emperor’s forces that had been threatening the south from the order vanished overnight. This was indeed a significant achievement.

Therefore, the order approached things differently than the republic. They intended to empower Johan further, making him a proper shield.

The result was the new grant of the duke title, ruling the south. It was meant to give him a status befitting the lord of the area, a true honor.

‘𝘐𝘯 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘦.’

With the title of duke, he could fight more, using his name as a pretext. Whether it was the Emperor’s fiefdom trapped in the south, the islands of pagans infested with pirates, or even the eastern peninsula. . .

It was a tempting proposition, but Johan restrained himself. Having already taken the title of count from the marquis was enough for now. He had no reason to cling to the honor of being a duke.

‘𝘕𝘰 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴.’

Already, there was a sense that Johan was being watched from all sides. There was no need to exacerbate that by gaining another honor.

‘𝘚𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘩𝘶𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘭𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴!’

The envoy of the order thought this to himself and withdrew. Any other young knight would have been intoxicated with honor, but Johan instead gave glory to God.

It was a beautiful gesture, but also a pity. Compared to other nobles without merit, Johan deserved the title.

“Refusing a good offer can be quite tiring.”

“But haven’t the nobles gone back now?”

“Yes. That’s some consolation.”

Achladda chewed on wild grass and laughed. His hands and neck were glittering with various ornaments. Not just Achladda, but Euclyia and other centaurs were the same.

‘𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘥. . .’

The eastern tribes preferred to carry their wealth in gold or treasures. Having plundered pirates, they adorned themselves with such spoils.

To Johan, it was aesthetically displeasing, but it seemed to be quite fashionable among the eastern tribes. The way they boasted to each other was astounding.

“Right, count. Euclyia was grumbling about why you’re raising such ridiculous people.”

“!!!”

Angered by the tattling, Euclyia attempted to kick Achladda with her front hoof. Johan waved his hand as if to calm her.

“Are you talking about the slave soldiers?”

The heap of captured pirates left Johan pondering their fate. The neatest way to deal with them was to sell them or distribute them among his vassals, but as he had more leeway, greed arose.

Well-trained soldiers were expensive. Even the cheapest mercenaries ate up daily silver coins, and conscripting serfs wasn’t even worth considering.

What if Johan had a personal guard loyal only to his commands?

This required a few conditions. They had to be young, with no other ties or places to rely on. . .

Upon reflection, it seemed like a good idea.

So, Johan selected relatively young pirates and encouraged them to convert. None were so foolish as to refuse a chance at life. He ended up choosing hundreds.

“Of course, they are weak compared to a great warrior like Euclyia.”

Euclyia beamed with joy at Johan’s praise, while Achladda clicked his tongue.

“But if they continue training like this, won’t they reach at least half of Euclyia’s level?”

“I. . . I was short-sighted. I’ll repay you by taking charge of their training.”

“Ah, it’s reassuring that Euclyia will train them.”

When Euclyia left, Achladda snorted.

“Isn’t that stupid?”

“Help out together. No more hunting. It’s an order.”

“. . . . . .”

Achladda looked taken aback. He hadn’t expected Euclyia’s foolishness to affect him too.

“My dear, I have some advice regarding training the slaves.”

Iselia approached Johan with this proposal, and he looked puzzled.

“Do you dislike teaching the slaves? I’m just trying it out as a hobby, so don’t feel too repulsed.”

“No. I’ve seen it, and I think we need to raise the training level. If you allow, I’ll step in and teach them myself.”

“. . .No, it’s fine.”

“. . . . . .”

Johan had carefully planned the curriculum himself. Starting with training fit for elven knights would leave half unable to get up.

But Iselia looked unusually downcast, so Johan had to reassure her.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

ᴀ𝙬ė̇ʙ𝐬𝕥𝔬𝐫𝕚𝙚s.𝙘ȯ̇𝔪

“Count Yeats, it is a great honor to meet you like this.”

The envoys greeted him with much more formality than their last meeting.

Johan nodded.

“The republic played a big role in this matter. I appreciate it.”

“Our contribution is nothing compared to the achievements you have made, Your Excellency.”

“I see.”

“?”

When Johan agreed and said nothing more, the envoys were perplexed. Weren’t they supposed to be lauded for their efforts?

But Johan remained silent. The sudden quiet made the envoys feel uneasy.

“. . . . . .”

The silence continued. It was so awkward that it was hard to tell who had started it. Just when Johan thought it was time, he spoke up.

“I heard the viscount sent an envoy to incite an attack against me.”

“. . .?”

“??!”

The envoys were shocked. It was conceivable that the visit of the viscount’s envoy had been exposed. Even discreet visits could become known.

But they hadn’t come with that intention. They had no idea where such a rumor had originated.

“No, Your Excellency!”

“What do you mean no? That the envoy didn’t come, or that they did but didn’t make such a proposal?”

“. . .The viscount’s envoy did come. But they never made such a proposal, and we did not accept any offers from the viscount!”

“Why didn’t you report it immediately?”

“It was a ludicrous offer, and we thought it was a trick to sow discord between us and Your Excellency, so it wasn’t worth reporting. . .”

“Enough of this nonsense. I’ve already been informed by the priests of the order. The knights of the confraternity interrogated the viscount’s envoy.”

“. . .??!”

Realizing the situation, the envoys’ eyes sparked with anger. They had thought they were in control, but the order had outmaneuvered them.

As much as they didn’t get along, it was clear that the order was trying to drive a wedge between the republic and Johan.

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