How to Live as a Wandering Knight โ€“ Chapter 163

๐’๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ฉ๐ข๐œ๐ข๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐๐ซ๐จ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐š๐ฅ (4)

Giada was confident that the Vynashchtym would look for a diplomatic solution.

Those bordering Vynashchtymโ€™s long border were all either enemies or competitors. They could not confront them all with the limited soldiers.ย ย 

Besides, diplomacy was the empireโ€™s specialty. With abundant wealth and powerful symbolism, Vynashchtym had always been skilled at dealing with and appeasing surrounding powers.

Even though it was revealed to be false, the fact that they sent such an envoy to Johan itself meant they saw Johan as an interlocutor they could talk to.ย ย 

There was no need to add fuel to the fire here. They would somehow appease him one way or another.

โ€œGiada. What do you think of me?โ€

โ€œYou were born with the heart of a lion and the cunning of a fox, a hero beloved by God.โ€

โ€œ. . .Did you memorize that to say?โ€ย ย 

Johan was also surprised that such flattery came out in 1 second flat after asking. Johan shook off the surprise and continued speaking.

โ€œAs I felt during the hundred kingdoms expedition, apart from the nobles and priests of the Peninsula who met me face to face, there were unexpectedly many who looked down on me.โ€

It was a world where it was difficult to properly confirm what was happening even in the neighboring fiefdoms. Information was conveyed narrowly, slowly and uncertainly, and most of it was false rumors.

It wasnโ€™t because the former Count of the hundred kingdoms was particularly arrogant that he ignored Johan, but because in his common sense Johan seemed really insignificant.

How could one know if the guy sending a letter with mercenaries led by a young knight who suddenly appeared, not from an old family, was really the dominant power in the south, or just a lucky mercenary captain?

To Johan, Vynashchtym didnโ€™t look much different either. There would still be many nobles doubting and questioning Johanโ€™s power and fame.ย 

โ€œI understand what you mean, but still they wonโ€™t act stupidly like the Hundred Kingdoms. Vynashchtym is different from the Hundred Kingdoms.โ€

Vynashchtym was much bigger, much older, with many more figures than the Hundred Kingdoms. Giada had no doubts that Vynashchtym would make wise judgments.ย ย 

โ€œStill preparations should be made. Where would be good if we have to demonstrate military force?โ€

โ€œFirst we have to cross the Edene Sea and land, so. . .โ€ย ย 

Like a captain well-versed in sailing, Giada contemplated. Vynashchtym was an opponent of a completely different class than the Hundred Kingdoms.ย 

With the Hundred Kingdoms it was possible to suddenly land and go catch feudal lords, but that itself was impossible with Vynashchtym. The purpose of the demonstration of force was also closer to drawing the opponent into negotiations.ย ย 

As such, the expedition had to be prepared with careful consideration.

A place realistic enough to aim at, and profitable once occupied, that would make Vynashchtym flinch and come to negotiations.ย ย 

โ€œWouldnโ€™t the port cities on the west coast of the Peninsula be good?โ€

Port cities were always wealthy, coveted places. Vynashchtymโ€™s west coast port cities had been staunchly holding up despite threats from barbarian petty kingdoms above and pagan empires below.ย ย 

โ€œI heard Vynashchtymโ€™s fleet is formidable.โ€ย ย 

โ€œAh. You donโ€™t have to worry about Vynashchtymโ€™s fleet because most of it is on the Eastern Empire side.โ€

The Vynashchtym fleet in the Edene Sea was insignificant. The main force was further east, deployed near the capital and surrounding islands, to fight the pagans.ย ย 

โ€œHowever, um. . . itโ€™s a bit risky to sail straight there and land right away. The waters are treacherous with frequent storms. I think we should first conquer somewhere that can be used as a bridgehead. . . Should I have my subordinates look for a suitable island?โ€

โ€œI would appreciate that. Oh, speaking of which. . .โ€

๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ

Johan called Horamric again. He needed his help.

โ€œGong, if I remember correctly, you had a few islands in the Edene Sea as your fiefdoms. Is that right?โ€

โ€œAh. . . yes.โ€ย ย 

Horamric nodded.

The Duke Brduhe gave fiefdoms to his children to test their abilities. Some showed great abilities, but Horamric did not.ย 

โ€œIf I were to lead a fleet and sail, would it be alright for me to stop at those islands?โ€

โ€œ. . .I-Iโ€™m sorry. No.โ€

โ€œ!โ€ย ย 

Rather than being upset by Horamricโ€™s refusal, Johan was surprised. He did not expect Horamric to refuse.

โ€œIs it because you are wary of the Vynashchtymโ€™s reaction? If you are concerned about the Vynashchtymโ€™s reaction, you can tell me that they have occupied the islands.โ€

โ€œThatโ€™s not why. . . itโ€™s just. . . โ€œ

Hesitating, Horamric eventually closed his eyes tightly and said. . .

โ€œ. . .They have already been taken away. . .โ€

โ€œ. . . . . .โ€

Johan was at a loss for words.

The places the duke gave to his children were all places to test their abilities. The small islands in the turbulent southern Edene Sea, swarming with pagan pirates and warriors, were even more brutal.

Originally, he should have hired mercenaries, then gone to the island and fortified it before holding out, but the master had left it half abandoned, so it was a wonder he had held out this long.

โ€œYou mean pirates have occupied it? Donโ€™t you plan to recapture it?โ€

โ€œTo recapture it, I would have to gather mercenaries, and to gather mercenaries, I would need gold, and to get gold, I would have to go into debt, which is a bit. . .โ€

Horamricโ€™s strength was his realistic judgment. Another nobleman would have gone into debt to hire mercenaries and then attacked, but Horamric simply gave up.

โ€˜๐˜๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต.โ€™

โ€œThen it works out perfectly. When we go on the expedition, we will recapture those islands.โ€

โ€œ!!โ€

Horamric was surprised. It was an unexpected favor.ย ย 

โ€œThank you, Your Excellency! Thank you!โ€

โ€œIsnโ€™t it natural for someone of the same faith to recapture fiefdoms from pagans?โ€

Since this was the case, Johan decided to secure the islands first. The justification was sufficient, there was no need to worry about suppressing those pirate b*stards.

The envoys who had gone to Vynashchtym had not yet returned, so the external reason was the subjugation of the pagan pirates. The priests of the Order were ecstatic.

โ€œThe islands are not that big, and even if you add them all up, there are only hundreds of people, so you donโ€™t need to mobilize a large force. A thousand-man unit should be enough.โ€ย ย 

Johan asked if any of the mercenaries who had returned from the expedition wanted to participate. All of them, even those who had just returned from the expedition, wanted to participate.

โ€œWith burning loyalty to you, I will follow you even into hell!โ€ย 

โ€œ. . . . . .โ€

The eyes of the shouting mercenary glinted with greed for gold.

So far, none of the expeditions Johan had undertaken had failed, and none had been unprofitable. They felt this suppression of pirates would be the same.

โ€œExclude those who have not been back long from the expedition.โ€

โ€œNo. . .!โ€

โ€œSub-captains, pick out decent ones from the newly recruited mercenaries. And mobilize a hundred-man unit from the slave soldiers as well.โ€

The veteran mercenaries grumbled, but Johanโ€™s order did not change. Nimble galleys were prepared in the port and the mercenaries prepared for the expedition with swollen faces.ย ย 

โ€œ. . . . . .โ€ย 

โ€œIselia. I want to go together. . .โ€

โ€œOf course, my dear! . . .But is that okay?โ€

โ€œYou should have asked before agreeing if you were going to ask if itโ€™s okay or not.โ€ย ย 

At Johanโ€™s words, Iselia bowed her head as if embarrassed.

โ€œNow that you are not holding your position as acting count and the fiefdom is running well without you, there is no harm in you participating in the expedition with me.โ€

It was natural for the fiefdom to run well after he had ruthlessly beaten the administrative officials. In fact, Iseliaโ€™s administrative abilities were lacking. . . at the level of an average elf knight. . .

Blushing with tears of joy in her eyes, Iselia was delighted. She took Johanโ€™s hand and said,

โ€œI. . . I will. . . surely dedicate the first head I take and the spoils to you. Watch me.โ€ย 

โ€œ. . . . . .โ€

Why was she saying such brutal things in such an affectionate voice. . .?ย ย 

Iselia waited shyly for Johanโ€™s reply. She seemed to think she had said something very romantic.

โ€˜๐˜ž๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ, ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ช๐˜ต, ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ ๐˜ ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ. . .โ€™

โ€œI look forward to the head you dedicate. Iselia.โ€

Iselia hugged Johan tightly. Her embrace was filled with trust and anticipation. Stroking her long hair, Johan comforted her.

๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ๐Ÿ”ธ

โ€œYour Highness. We have reforged the Twilight once more.โ€

โ€œExcellent. Volandrunt. I will bestow additional rewards.โ€ย ย 

As Johan gestured, gold from the Hundred Kingdoms was placed before them. Volandrunt and his disciples bowed their heads in gratitude. Better than an employer who could appraise weapons was one who could appraise weapons and was also generous with his purse.

The armor was easily completed, but Duke Brduheโ€™s silver sword was not so simple. It was due to the magic contained within. Only after employing every method could Volandrunt and his disciples complete it.ย ย ย 

โ€œHowever, the color is. . .โ€

At Johanโ€™s words, Volandrunt flinched. The originally pure silver blade now had a red glow swirling about it.

โ€œI have committed a mortal sin, Your Highness!โ€

โ€œNo. . . As long as the sword swings well, that will suffice.โ€

Johan brandished it, testing the balance. The magical power he felt from the sword remained, as did the sharpness of the blade and balance. He would not forgo using the dwarf over the silver color changing a bit.ย ย 

โ€œWhy did this happen?โ€

โ€œWith my limited knowledge, I suspect the lingering grudge of the cyclopsโ€™ blood affected it. . . but that is only my guess.โ€ย ย 

โ€œDoes this happen often?โ€

โ€œSometimes powerful monsters leave traces on weapons. I tried to remove it but failed.โ€

โ€œLeave it be. I shall use it as it is.โ€

Johan sheathed the Twilight at his waist. With Johan relatively frequently confronting monsters, the Twilight was always a useful weapon. He would not refrain from using it over the silver color changing.

โ”๐–๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ž๐ฑ๐š๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐ž๐ ๐ข๐ญ, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐๐ข๐ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž๐ฆ ๐ญ๐จ ๐›๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐ข๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ ๐›๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐œ๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐›๐ž ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐›๐ฅ๐ž๐ฆ๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ž ๐Ÿ๐š๐ข๐ฅ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ข๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ฒ. ๐๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ฌ๐ž ๐›๐ž ๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ.

Johan drew the Twilight and aimed it at Jyanina. Jyanina was startled and cried out.ย ย 

โ€œI havenโ€™t done anything yet!โ€

โ€œYet?โ€

โ€œI havenโ€™t done anything, Your Excellency!โ€

โ€œI see. Understood.โ€ย ย 

โ€œ. . .Ah. So thatโ€™s what it was.โ€

Jyanina heaved a sigh of relief. She had been shocked thinking Johan would cut her down as soon as she boarded.ย 

When Johan said he would lead an expedition to subjugate the pirates, Jyanina directly appealed to Suetlg, โ€˜๐˜š๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฏโ€™๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ป๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฏ?โ€™ย ย 

One could never know what evil spells the pagan pirates might attempt.

โ”๐ˆ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž. ๐–๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ฌ๐š๐ข๐. ๐’๐ž๐ง๐ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ง ๐Ÿ๐ข๐ž๐Ÿ๐ฌ, ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐š๐œ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐š๐ง ๐ž๐ฑ๐œ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ณ๐š๐ซ๐ ๐ฌ๐ž๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ณ๐š๐ซ๐ ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž.ย ย 

โ”๐ˆ๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ง๐ž๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐š๐ซ? ๐ˆโ€™๐ฆ ๐š๐ฅ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐๐ฒ ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž.ย ย 

โ”๐Ž๐ก. . . ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก ๐ญ๐จ ๐ ๐จ?

โ”. . .๐–๐ก๐ฒ ๐๐จ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐š๐ฌ๐ค?ย ย 

โ”๐‡๐ซ๐ฆ๐ฆ. ๐ˆ๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ง๐ž๐œ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ ๐จ?

โ”๐€๐ก, ๐ฐ๐ก๐ฒ??!

Because she did not know even one word of the ancient imperial language, Suetlg doubted Jyaninaโ€™s abilities. Through desperate persuasion and boasting of her skills, Jyanina was able to join the expedition.ย ย 

โ€˜๐˜‹๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด, ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฌ, ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ด๐˜ค๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด.โ€™ย ย 

The expedition would not afford as much luxury as here but Jyanina needed the change of pace. The letters flickered before her eyes to the point of madness.

โ€œCould it be. . . the lingering blood of a monster touched the broken sword?โ€ย ย 

Jyanina altered her tone of voice and gazed at Johan strangely, a sight only a wizard could present.ย 

โ€˜๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ!โ€™

In truth, she had not divined anything by magic.ย ย 

For a dubious wizard risen from the lower rungs to survive at an emperorโ€™s court, she had to be skilled with rumors. With a single rumor, the looks directed at a wizard would change.

Jyanina had already heard while working as a scribe that the Twilight had broken and was being reforged. It was insignificant gossip but utilized well, she could be acknowledged as an amazing wizard.ย ย 

As expected, Iselia looked upon Jyanina with admiring eyes.ย ย 

โ€œDid you hear rumors from the fiefs yet pretend to know nothing? Wish to be chased off this ship?โ€

โ€œ. . .I just wanted to check and make sure. . .โ€ย ย 

But Johan was one step ahead. With an indifferent tone, he brushed Jyanina off and she swallowed her words.ย ย 

Jyanina explained in a drained voice.

โ€œTypically, weapons touched by the lingering blood of monsters take on aspects of those monsters.โ€

โ€œAnd how might that be verified?โ€ย ย ย 

โ€œAs I am no knight I do not know precisely but knights say weapons acknowledge knights as they wield them over time. Then the power contained in the weapon. . .โ€

Johan grasped her meaning. Mysteries did not impart power to unworthy masters.ย ย ย 

Of course, it was a different story for Johan.

Johan summoned Valkalmur and forcibly drew out the power contained in the Twilight. The power sealed in the Twilight screamed as it was dragged out.

โ€œ. . .It doesnโ€™t seem to have changed at all?โ€

โ€œAh, no, thatโ€™s impossible. . .?โ€

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