How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 162

𝐒𝐮𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐚𝐥 (3)

The envoys’ reactions to the unexpected situation were all similar. First of all, they insisted on meeting the person who said it while denying it and trying to somehow grasp the situation.  

If they got to meet the person who said it, they would have been able to somehow understand the situation while protesting or making excuses.

“Your Excellency. The people of the Republic are greedy, crafty, and cunning! You must not believe everything they say.”  

There was no sign of a lie in the envoy’s voice. He really seemed to genuinely believe it.  

‘𝘈𝘩, 𝘐 𝘴𝘦𝘦.’

Come to think of it, it was unlikely that the envoys knew the truth. After all, it was about creating a fake royal family member. It was enough for only the related nobles and some people in the imperial palace to know.  

From the envoys’ perspective, it must have felt like a bolt from the blue, but it couldn’t be helped. Johan began to lash out with the information he had heard from Horamric.  

“I’ve already heard about Agarpos’s family. He’s the fourth son of the Hadonus family, isn’t he? Did you think that just because he was a dragon beastman I wouldn’t be able to trace his bloodline?”

“??!!”  

The envoys who were listening were stunned as Johan spoke in detail about the powerful noble families in the empire.  

It turned out Johan knew far more about the situation inside the empire than they had thought.  

Moreover, hearing him talk extensively and in detail about who Agarpos was made them really wonder if Agarpos had not actually been royalty after all.  

“Is this making any sense? Could it really be that Agarpos-gong was not royalty?”

“. . .Um. I don’t really know much about things inside the imperial palace. . .”

What went on inside the imperial palace was difficult to find out about unless one was royalty, a eunuch, or one of the top officials. So from the outside, it would be hard to verify if someone brought in a minor noble and claimed he was fake.  

“Surely the chamberlain could not have planned such a thing. . .”

“. . .That’s not to say he couldn’t have.”

“. . .That’s right. It certainly. . .”

“Are you admitting it?”

“?!!”

The envoys were shocked by Johan’s words. They were speaking in the ancient imperial language at the time.

As descendants of the empire, the Vynashchtym’s nobles naturally used the ancient imperial language. When exchanging private words outside, they would instinctively use the ancient language. . .  

Yet Johan was comprehending and responding far too naturally.  

How could this knight from the Holy Empire, who was no better than a barbarian, possibly. . .!

“There’s no need to watch any longer. Imprison the envoys and confiscate the assets they had on them! I will send envoys to Vynashchtym to reprimand them about this matter. If they cannot give a proper explanation, they shall face my sword!”  

“Your Excellency! Your Excellency, please wait a moment. . .”  

The envoys desperately tried to quell Johan’s anger, but it was futile. Johan wasn’t angry in the first place.  

If Johan had really been a noble, he would have been furious and resentful at the lost opportunity to connect with the esteemed bloodline. But in fact, Johan had little interest in the ancient empire’s lineage.  

Everyone makes such a big fuss about the dragon beastman bloodline, but I don’t even know what’s so great about it. . .  

‘𝘜𝘯𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘳𝘢𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘪𝘳𝘦, 𝘪𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘯𝘴, 𝘦𝘺𝘦𝘴, 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘱𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘢𝘭𝘮 𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴? 𝘗𝘭𝘶𝘴 𝘢 𝘧𝘦𝘸 𝘴𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘰𝘥𝘺. 𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘭𝘶𝘤𝘬𝘺 𝘑𝘺𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘢.’

At a glance, Jyanina, who was also a snake beastman, looked similar to the dragon beastmen. Of course, saying this out loud in Vynashchtym would get you stabbed in broad daylight.   

In any case, while Johan could not empathize, he did understand the symbolism and legitimacy that this lineage possessed. Anything lasting long enough gains authority.  

So now was the time to be furious at the scammers trying to take advantage of it.  

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸  

After detaining the envoys, Johan called Horamric to applaud and praise him. He also gifted him one of the beautiful treasures from among the spoils of the hundred kingdoms.  

Loyalty must be reciprocated tit for tat in order to be maintained well.

Horamric sobbed and swore fealty to Johan. Johan boosted him up a few more times before getting to the main point.   

“In what the envoys were saying, the chamberlain person came up. Do you happen to know who he is?”

“Ah. . . that man. Yes, I know him. He’s the power broker in the empire.”  

At a glance it was easy to mistake, but high-ranking nobles’ chamberlains were similarly prestigious positions held by nobles. The position of Head Chamberlain overseeing those chamberlains was one of the core roles in any court.

“Currently, Vynashchtym is ruled by two co-emperors. However, both are quite young, so their uncle is in the position of Head Chamberlain, helping out as regent.”  

“Are they very young? Around ten years old?”

“The older brother would be in his twenties.”  

“. . .I see.”

Johan almost asked Horamric if he had forgotten how old he himself was.   

Vynashchtym had a unique political system. Having multiple emperors was also a convention that was frequently seen, and the people accepted it matter-of-factly.   

And in fact, being in one’s twenties was not an odd age to have a regent ruling on one’s behalf. Having little political experience would be nothing out of the ordinary at that age.

“This uncle seems quite ambitious?”  

“Yes. Leoanos-gong has a reputation for. . . being very capable.” 

“Isn’t he trying to sit on the throne himself instead?”  

Johan was puzzled. Young emperor(s) and an ambitious uncle. It would be nothing strange for the uncle to draw his sword and usurp the throne.   

Moreover, from what he had heard, regime changes happened very frequently in Vynashchtym. With enough support, it would be easy pickings.  

“Hahaha. That’s impossible. For one, Leoanos-gong is of illegitimate birth, and also does not have dragon blood in him. . .” 

“If he is politically inconvenient, there must be more distant relatives of royal blood besides those two. Could he not incite a rebellion by bringing one of them in?”

“. . .Ah. You’re right.”  

Horamric was rendered speechless. On reflection, what Johan said made sense.   

“I thought it was just a rumor, but hearing you say that, it seems there was reason behind the whispers going around.”  

“As expected, Horamric-gong is a truly capable talent.”   

Horamric giggled at Johan’s praise. His abilities with numbers and paperwork were decent, but it turns out his political instincts were lacking.   

‘𝘞𝘦𝘭𝘭, 𝘯𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳.’  

There was no need for one person to possess every skill. Johan promised Horamric the finance official position he had so desired. With several new fiefdoms obtained, appointing one finance official would be easy.

Once more amidst tears, Horamric swore his allegiance.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“In the name of St. Gratedi, a toast to the Giepol family!”

“To the Giepol family!”

The people of the republic cheered and applauded Giada’s family. Giada looked bewildered.

“I must report this to the homeland. Although some accused you, I did not believe it. Were you not the fastest to sail ships and bring the most profit? Well done in your work.”

“Y-Yes, thank you.”

“To the humble Giepol family!”

“To the Vynashchtym scammers!”

At first, the people of the republic were in a state of panic, but after hearing the news, they regained their composure.

It turned out that the Vynashchtym scoundrels had tried to scam but were caught and jailed. From the republic’s point of view, it was a stroke of luck and a miracle.

How did Count Yeats know about it?

It was undoubtedly because Giada of the renowned Giepol family, a close acquaintance of the republic, swiftly gathered information and reported it.

“Long live Giada! Long live the republic!”

“Keep quiet, you flock of lambs!”

“If you keep yelling like this I’ll call the soldiers!”

As the drunk people of the republic were shouted out of the hall, merchants from other countries in the next hall hurled insults. The republic and their drunkenness meant nothing to them.

“What a joke. The most favored here in this port is still our republic. . .”

“Oh hey, are those soldiers coming over?”

“. . . . . .”

The republic merchants fell silent instantly. In front of other merchants they boasted ‘𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘤 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘯𝘰𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵’, but Count Yeats’ temper was a different story.

It wouldn’t do to boast of favor and get banished or fined. . .

“Giada-nim of the Giepol family? His Excellency requests your presence.”

“Oh, yes. I’ll go right away.”

“Giada. He’s surely calling to commend you for this matter. Go well!”

The drunken people of the republic cheerfully sent Giada off as if it were their own business. But of course for Giada it was an utterly absurd situation.

‘𝘐 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘥𝘰 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘺𝘰𝘶 *𝘴𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘬𝘴. . .’

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Ah. That. I have connections within the empire, so I got a tip.”

” . . .!”

Johan’s simple and concise explanation gave Giada chills. While it was easy to say, establishing an intelligence network across the sea in the empire was by no means an easy task.  

The republic’s relatively good understanding of Vynashchtym’s situation was thanks to the republic’s long-standing relationships. The republic’s embassies and residential areas in Vynashchtym dated back several hundred years.

However, Johan was still a foreigner in this peninsula, and had built up his own power and influence through force and the sword, just the same. And yet he was one step ahead of the republic in obtaining information.  

He didn’t even have a guess as to when and how he had accomplished that. It was awe-inspiring.

“Why are you making that face?”

“It’s nothing, Count. Now then, what can I assist you with?”

Johan smiled slyly. Giada’s pragmatic attitude suited Johan’s personality well. They could get right down to business. 

“Since things have turned out this way, I’d like to get as much as I can. But I don’t know much about how things work in Vynashchtym, do I? I want to hear your advice.”

“Truly humble of you, Your Excellency.” 

“? ”  

Johan wondered what he meant. Why humility?

From Giada’s perspective, given that Johan already knew Vynashchtym well, asking for advice seemed different. 

Even though he already knew a lot, the humility to still seek counsel for reassurance made him tense up a little as he opened his mouth.

“What exactly are you looking for, Your Excellency? Is it the ancient empire’s royal bloodline, I presume?”

The ancient empire’s royal bloodline had value not only for its symbolism and legitimacy, but also one more thing.   

And that was the right to compete for the Vynashchtym succession!

There was a reason why Vynashchtym was wary about its royal bloodline leaking outwards. 

“No, I have little interest in that.”

However, Johan had little interest in the position of the emperor in Vynashchtym. Frankly, it would be better if another feudal lord took over, having to balance and govern while appeasing countless factions. Besides, Johan was a foreigner among foreigners, so it would be much more difficult.  

“If you don’t want the bloodline, it will be much easier.”

“I want an official apology and compensation. Do you think that’s possible?”

“One will be difficult, I think.”

“Is compensation the hard part then?”  

Johan said regretfully. He had already confiscated the gold brought by the envoys. If Johan was in the empire’s shoes, he probably wouldn’t want to provide additional compensation either. 

“Oh no, Your Excellency. Compensation will be easy.”

“Didn’t I say I confiscated the envoys’ gold?”

“. . .Your Excellency, Vynashchtym is the wealthiest place in the world. We people of the republic are reluctant to admit it, but Vynashchtym’s capital is several times larger and more beautiful than the republic’s, and they have enough gold stored in their treasuries to fill up the entire city.”

Although they had lost much territory and weakened militarily, Vynashchtym was still wealthy. Thanks to its divinely blessed location, goods and treasures from all over the world flowed into the city’s ports.  

Not only people from the republic, but merchants from every foreign nation came to Vynashchtym to trade for a reason.

“. . .!”  

Upon hearing this, Johan was slightly shaken. He had heard they were wealthy and rich, but didn’t realize they had that much gold.

“So the amount of gold offered to Your Excellency will be easy for them to pay out. On the other hand, formally apologizing is a bit. . .”

“You mean it will be difficult. I understand what you mean.”

The more destitute a place became, the stronger its pride tended to be. This wasn’t something that could be resolved through rational logic. 

Being exposed by an upstart count was humiliating enough without having to apologize too?

The nobles within the Vynashchtym Empire would immediately fly into a rage.  

“In fact, what I really want is gold. I can take an unofficial apology.”

“Then it should be quite possible, no? If you do not receive it. . .”

“If not?”

“You could bring your army there and simply demonstrate, that would be enough. Seeing it in person will have an impact. But will things go that far?”

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