How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 153.2

It was a situation that could have caused panic, but the viscount kept his composure. Thanks to the viscount’s composure, his retainers also regained their composure to some extent. 

“Gather all the mercenaries. We must be prepared for any situation.”

“Don’t worry, Viscount. The castle walls are solid, high and we have a lot of stockpiled supplies. We can hold out for years.”

“The fight hasn’t started yet, has it? We need to know what the count’s intention is.”

“What would his intention be! He’s trying to take it by force with swords and spears.”

“If he wanted to fight, wouldn’t he have plundered the harbor first? I received a report that it is surprisingly quiet.”

“Then it could also be that he’s not trying to fight, but trying to boast of his might. He wants to gain an advantage in negotiation.”

“He dares come with an army and expect us to accept his negotiation? We can fight relying on the castle walls, we don’t need to accept such negotiations!”  

“Chief of Security. If we don’t accept the negotiation, the count may plunder everything around.”

“. . . . . .”

At that one remark, the retainers fell silent. While they could endure by hiding behind the castle walls, the surrounding towns would surely be plundered. 

To make matters worse, it was harvest season, an extremely advantageous situation for the opponent.

“Prepare to treat them. Call musicians, dancers, jesters and hold a feast.”  

The viscount also seemed to know that as he had no intention to break off the negotiation whatsoever. As per custom, no, even more lavish than custom, he decided to prepare to treat them.

As the host, the preparations reflected on their dignity. Although it would cost a fortune, no nobles would skimp on this.

“Will you call the count into the castle?”

“Then how else would I do it?”

“He came with those soldiers, and now only takes a few men into the castle. What could the count be dissatisfied about to do such a thing?”

“Why do you keep taking the count’s side?”

“That’s not my intention, I’m just thinking rationally!”

“Enough! He’s not wrong. Set up tents in the plains and prepare to treat them there. We also have soldiers here, so they can’t make empty threats.”

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Oh. Is it a festival period?”  

“It’s preparation to treat an honored guest.”

Aola answered simply, but her voice was full of pride.

The tents filling the plains, and people gathering to see them were a familiar sight. He had seen something similar in front of the duke’s castle.

However, the duke was wealthy, while the Emperor was continuously going into debt hiring large numbers of mercenaries in the Empire.

‘𝘐𝘴 𝘪𝘵 𝘰𝘬𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘦𝘹𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘷𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘯𝘵?’

Johan wondered. From various sources, he heard that the Emperor’s situation was not that affluent. If they held such a lavish feast like this. . .

Of course, he wasn’t the one who triggered this so it wasn’t his concern. 

“Ugh. . .”

“Is that the new Count?”

The mercenaries on the viscount’s side tensed up seeing the flags approaching from afar. They also knew of Johan’s fame. 

Also, the mercenaries under him were elites, so they couldn’t help but be nervous as fellow mercenaries. If a fight occurred, they would clash first.

As Johan approached, nobles came one after another, raising their flags and conveying greetings. Their attitudes varied. Some seemed to be spying, some wary, and some showed curiosity and goodwill at the same time.

“The Emperor has made too many mistakes. See, Your Excellency. Such figures are already appearing.”

“Do not harbor vain hopes about the viscount before even meeting him, Sir Giada.” 

“I know, Your Excellency. Of course, some want to keep him in check among them.”

Giada’s words soon became reality. After one of the nobles greeted Johan, he made a different suggestion.

“How about we determine the winner with archery?”

“It’s just a small entertainment, Count.”

The middle-aged dark elf who spoke to him exuded a sense of hostility and determination. He was adamant about scoring a hit against Johan. 

Seeing his one arm slightly more muscular, he was surely an excellent archer.

Aola seemed conflicted next to him, pondering whether to stop this or not.

While the talk was of simple entertainment, winning here would be a lifetime story to boast. It would also boost the morale of the viscount’s side as a bonus.

Though the setting was a banquet for hospitality and fellowship, in essence it was a battlefield without swinging swords. He absolutely could not show any weakness.

‘𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘶𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘰𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵?’

If the knight won, the count might get angry. She couldn’t be certain if this was the right choice.

“Fine, let’s have a match.”

“Will you call a representative?”

“No, I will shoot personally.”

Hearing Johan’s words, Gophredo smiled satisfiedly. While winning against the count’s representative would also be honorable, it couldn’t compare to defeating the count himself. 

Furthermore, Count Yeats was a worthwhile opponent overflowing with valor.

“Let’s compete here.”

“?”

At the suggestion to compete right here instead of going somewhere else, Gophredo nodded.

He was confident he could win anywhere, in any situation. Such was Gophredo’s skill as an archer.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

𝚊ẇ̇𝙚ḃ̇𝔰𝙩ȯ̇𝚛i̇̇𝘦𝘴.𝕔𝙤ᴍ

“. . . . . .”

‘𝘐 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭 𝘢 𝘣𝘪𝘵 𝘴𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘪𝘮.’

“It was a good match.”  

From the beginning when Johan accepted the match, he planned to borrow Valkalmur’s power. An archer could not overcome the archery blessed by the evil god and supported by malevolent spirits.

Gophredo was at a loss for words with an expression like he had seen a ghost. Only after his squire spoke up was he barely able to convey his greetings.

“Cough. . . An outstanding archery skill. Today was the first time I realized Your Excellency is also adept with the bow.”

“I was just fortunate. Sir’s skill was also excellent.”

At Johan’s words, people around cheered. Though from the viscount’s territory, applause usually went to the winner in such matches. 

Furthermore, Johan did not exercise particular caution against the viscount’s nobles or serfs and merchants under them. Rather, the rumor as an outstanding knight was more widespread.

Witnessing the exploits as such a knight, they couldn’t help but cheer. With a dejected expression, Gophredo withdrew. He intended to showcase his exploits for the viscount, but instead had the opposite effect.

“Master.”

“What’s wrong?”

“That archery skill is unbelievable.”

“The match is already over.”

At his squire’s words, Gophredo spoke resolutely. However, shaking his head, the squire replied.

“I know. If you didn’t borrow the power of magic, such archery skills wouldn’t make sense, right?”

“The choice to use a bow and arrows imbued with magical power is also the count’s freedom. Do you not know that nitpicking over it only makes me a laughingstock?”

“That’s not it. Doesn’t the count have a wizard in his camp who can imbue arrows with magical power? Just give the order and I will go to scout them out for recruitment.”

“!!”

Frankly, Gophredo didn’t pay attention to his squire’s remarks. The very fact that he attributed it to magic just because the opponent’s skill was outstanding was proof that he was still immature.

But if that was true. . .

“Enough. It was an already finished match.”

His squire clicked his tongue as if unsatisfied.

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