How to Live as a Wandering Knight โ€“ Chapter 139.1

๐„๐ง๐ž๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐„๐ง๐ž๐ฆ๐ฒ (8)

Ahirโ€™s third son was taken aback and avoided his gaze. Harmonious relationships between married nobles were rare. It was the same in the East.

Usually political reasons took priority, so they just held the wedding ceremony for show and let each other be, which was common.

But looking at them, it seemed Johan genuinely cherished Iselia. The vampireโ€™s sense of aesthetics was similar to that of elves. It was quite odd to see a knight like Johan, flawless in every way, acting like this.ย ย 

โ€˜๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ด. . . ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฉ. ๐˜๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ?โ€™

Johanโ€™s religious devotion was renowned even among the pagan heathens across the strait. Naturally so, given the miracles he had shown. If he was acting this way because of the Churchโ€™s doctrine to be faithful to oneโ€™s spouse, it was understandable.

โ€œHmm. Iselia. Youโ€™re not asking to be let go. Did you take a liking to me?โ€ย ย 

โ€œAh, no. . .โ€

Johan smiled smugly, tightening his arms around Iselia. Iselia was about to protest but faltered.

โ€œYou granted my wish, so I wanted to grant yours too.โ€

โ€œReally? You want to fulfil my wish?โ€

Iselia nodded. Johan brought his mouth to her long ear and whispered. Hearing the unexpected words, Iseliaโ€™s face flushed red again.

โ€œCount. . .โ€ย 

โ€œOh. Sorry. I forgot you were here. Yes. Since the envoy is here, I must go greet them.โ€ย 

โ€˜๐˜๐˜ตโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ?โ€™

๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ

๐•’๐™ฌฤ—ฬ‡๐›๐•ค๐š๐จ๐ซ๐ข๐˜ฆs.๐™˜๐จ๐˜ฎ

The Mulc clan envoy courteously expressed his gratitude. Boxes filled with eastern gold coins and rare ancient jewelleries passed down from the Empire era were given as compensation for the Mulc bloodline.ย ย 

โ€œGood gracious. All this for the second son of the clan?โ€ย 

โ€œ. . . . . .โ€

Seeing Stephen murmur, Johan felt a little bad. Not all siblings of clans tried to kill each other.ย ย 

Although Ahir was the second son, he was militarily capable, had assisted his older brother, the Mulc clan head, achieving great feats several times, and had shown loyalty. It was only natural for the wealthy Mulc clan to pay this price.

โ€œAs you said, Your Excellency, I brought merchants as well but. . . are you sure this is alright?โ€ย ย 

โ€œItโ€™s fine.โ€

In this peculiar situation of a pagan envoy worrying over Johanโ€™s relationship with the order, Stephen looked at him curiously.ย ย 

But considering the debt of honour the Mulc clan had just paid, such worry was natural.ย ย ย 

โ€œThe republics and other petty kingdoms on the peninsula also trade with you. Iโ€™ve no reason not to trade with you also.โ€

Johan was starved for gold. Although thousands of fanatically loyal mercenaries were at his command, they did not come free. Johan had to pay their wages by next year.ย 

Moreover, Johanโ€™s personal elite heavy infantry, and the new slave soldiers he was raising.ย ย 

No matter how frugally Johan himself lived, this expense was unavoidable. To maintain that scale, he had to keep earning. And the best business in this age was war and. . .ย 

โ€˜๐˜ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ด. ๐˜”๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ด ๐˜ฅ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ.โ€™

. . .taxation.ย ย 

However, types of taxes were manifold. Taxes directly squeezed from serfs did not amount to much and only incited rebellion. Johan did not want to become that kind of fool.ย ย 

โ€˜๐˜–๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜น๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ.โ€™

Import duties, tolls, salt tax, liquor tax etc. โ€“ not only were these taxes less painfully felt, they were also very juicy.ย ย 

Johan would never understand feudal lords who refused foreign entry due to dislike, and did not have such worries.ย ย 

Bring in as many foreigners as possible to vitalize trade and milk taxes!ย ย 

The issue was the refusal shown by the order. . .ย ย 

Johan had already donated charity to nearby temples as well as removed administrative workload from priests by assigning it to scribes.ย ย 

Ostensibly it allowed priests to focus on their faith, but in truth it was to seize administrative power into Johanโ€™s hands. Whenever counting subjects and collecting taxes, help from priests was indispensable.ย ย 

Regardless of such ulterior motives, Johanโ€™s actions combined with his fame had earned absolute support. So absolute that even if Johan ransacked a temple priest for himself, people would still believe him.ย ย 

โ€œThe republics made intense demands. . . the Order will understand too.โ€

Finally, Johan had the republic shield. If he told the Church โ€˜๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ถ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ค ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ด ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฆโ€™, the order would turn their arrows on the republics instead of Johan.ย ย 

โ€˜๐˜ž๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ต. ๐˜‹๐˜ช๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ถ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ด?โ€™

During his stay, Stephen mingled with local lower nobles and merchants. Some were from the republics. The notion of republics making such demands was unheard of.

๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ

โ€œIt takes only a few hours to get to Jekyllid Hundred Kingdoms by the nearest sea route.โ€ย ย 

Gilsina City prospered as a hub of transportation and a prosperous city where all kinds of forces would stop by, thanks to its location. It took only a few hours to get there from the end of the peninsula.

A kind of free city that paid a huge amount of gold to the Count of Jekyllid and obtained autonomy!ย ย 

But it was still a city loyal to the Count of Jekyllid. As it was the best place to cross over, fighting was inevitable.

โ€œThe problem is. . .โ€

โ€œThe Emperorโ€™s fief.โ€

The Emperorโ€™s fief located in the corner of the southeast end of the peninsula. He felt uneasy leaving this place ruled by a viscount behind and crossing over.ย ย 

โ€œYes. Wouldnโ€™t it be better to take a ship directly from Jalleno City and land near Jekyllid Castle to target the count?โ€

Jalleno City was one of the cities Johan had newly acquired.ย ย 

While Coolia was a hub of eastern maritime traffic, Jalleno City was a hub of western maritime traffic.ย ย 

It was a prosperous port city, and the republic fleet also relied heavily on it.

Strike the enemyโ€™s head directly by landing right away without attacking far cities!ย ย 

Ahirโ€™s plan pleased Johan, but Johan had some doubts to resolve.

โ€œWhat if the countโ€™s vassals swarm in?โ€

โ€œCombined, they would be negligible compared to Your Majestyโ€™s army, and half of them wouldnโ€™t even show up. Just Gilsina City alone. . .โ€

โ€œThey are b*stards who will defect if I guarantee their interests?โ€ย ย 

Johan grinned wickedly. Ahir nodded. Cities always swayed like reeds in the wind for profit.

โ€œI like that. And I need guides familiar with the nearby sea routes and terrain around here. . .โ€ย ย 

โ€œI brought them in by sending envoys to the clans. The captains will guide the way.โ€ย ย 

Indeed, like a seasoned vampire who had rolled on the battlefield for decades, Ahirโ€™s plans were flawless.ย ย 

Once he decided to help Johan, he was providing solid assistance.

Johan asked one last question.ย ย 

โ€œLet me ask you one last thing.โ€

โ€œWhat is it?โ€

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