How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 166

𝐒𝐮𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐚𝐥 (7)

The viceroy sighed as if in regret. 

Count Yeats and forming a personal alliance with him would have been reassuring, but it seemed the count did not feel the need for it.

It made sense. He had almost formed an alliance with the imperial bloodline, so there was no reason to form one separately with the viceroy. 

“It seems the viceroy has many complaints about the emperor.”

“Complaints? This is hardly worthy of being called a complaint.”

The viceroy snorted. Despite being criticized for what he said, he did not seem to care much about it.  

This level of expression was ordinary in Vynashchtym.

‘𝘏𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘢𝘥𝘢𝘱𝘵 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭.’

Even in the feudal Holy Empire, one did not casually address their lord in such a manner. Johan listened quietly to the viceroy’s words with a sense of freshness.

Even though he had poured Johan wine, the viceroy got drunk first. He opened his mouth with a slight slurred tongue. 

“Of. . . Of course, of course. I am grateful to His Majesty the emperor. I owe a great debt to the previous emperor as well.”

“Brother, you’re drunk.”

“Why? Let me be. It’s fun.”

“. . .”

The viceroy’s brother, Semeonus, withdrew in confusion. It was rare for only one side to get drunk when they drank together normally.  

The viceroy himself was no lightweight with alcohol and even whenever Johan’s glass was empty, a slave refilled it to the brim. . .

“Were you appointed by the previous emperor?” 

“Yes, that’s right. Those were truly. . . good times. But the current emperors, neither are very admirable.”

As an opportunity arose for Johan to hear from a high-ranking official in Vynashchtym, his interest was piqued. Based only on what he heard from Horamric or Giada, Vynashchtym seemed too vast and complex. Johan provoked the viceroy further. 

“Come on, spill it openly. What kind of people are the two?”

The viceroy hiccuped and opened his mouth. 

“His Majesty Gaïaros is. . . too frugal and miserly.”

“Frugal and miserly? In what way?”

“Just look at the clothes he wears. For an emperor to wear coarse green clothes, is that even possible?!”

Dyes to color clothes were precious commodities and the rarer the color, the more expensive it was. 

And green was one of the easier colors to obtain. It was not suitable for clothes meant for an emperor to wear.

“The previous emperor would always appear robed in crimson. When you saw his horns and eyes, you felt glory and splendor.” 

‘𝘢 𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘯𝘺 𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘳.’

Johan felt a slight fondness even for this Gaïaros he had never met. It was rare for him to find people who thought like him.

It couldn’t be helped. The way of thinking in this world was different from Johan’s. 

For nobles, extravagance and flaunting their dignity was not a choice but an obligation. If they had no money, they had to go into debt to be extravagant accordingly. 

How could one live in a way unfitting for the bloodline and authority they were born with?

Frugal nobles had no choice but to be called miserly tightwads or, like Johan, be seen as piously virtuous. 

At least in Johan’s case, he was from the Holy Empire so that was possible. But for Gaïaros the emperor, even that was impossible. Once in the position of emperor, splendor and dignity appropriate to the position were absolutely necessary.

“Ever since His Majesty Gaïaros ascended the throne, the banquets have decreased and even the reduced banquets he does not attend much. Gladiatorial games have decreased, chariot races have decreased, boxing matches have decreased, plays have decreased, what else decreased. . .”

“Yeah. It must be terribly sad with less entertainment. I understand your sad feelings.” 

The drunken viceroy was moved even by Johan’s taunting words. He kept nodding vigorously.

“Then what does His Majesty Gaïaros do?”

“He just stays in the barracks. He hardly stays in the imperial palace either! Even though he grew up and was raised in the military, is it even possible now to eat and sleep with the soldiers like before? Huh??”

“Perhaps he attends to state affairs while training the soldiers?”

“No, he attends to state affairs there too.” 

‘𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘶𝘴𝘴. . .?’

If the emperor trains soldiers and also attends to Empire state affairs, Johan found it nonsense for the viceroy to only complain without praise.

“In many ways, I sometimes think it would have been better if he just remained a general. Compared to the previous emperor, he seems too lacking. He’s short, not very handsome, and bald. . .” 

“. . .What’s wrong with baldness?”

“It lacks dignity.” 

The viceroy was very serious. For a popular emperor, splendor, grandeur, and a likable appearance were essential qualifications.  

They had to constantly appear before countless citizens and influence and cement their existence. 

“Compared to him, His Majesty Gaoalkana is still too young except for that. He has a sturdy and beautiful appearance. Dignified too.”

“Seeing how favorably you speak of him, I wonder if this person freely uses gold like water?”

“You got it right. His Majesty is very lavish.”

“!!”

Johan joked lightly, but the viceroy took it seriously at once, making Johan perplexed.  

“During the play ‘𝘌𝘹𝘱𝘶𝘭𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘔𝘢𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘰𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘚𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘑𝘶𝘭𝘪𝘶𝘴 𝘜𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘶𝘴,’ I saw him throwing gold coins around lavishly which everyone cheered at.” 

“Shouldn’t you hire soldiers with those gold coins?”

“Hahaha! Your Excellency, you joke well too. The soldiers can be hired separately. After all, don’t people drink water without drinking wine to eat grapes?” 

Without Johan asking, the viceroy proudly recounted the deeds of Gaoalkana.  

He hosted banquets wearing the most expensive jewelry and clothes imported from the East, and amazed the nobles attending with creative dishes like small birds inside big birds, and because all the actresses of the troupe became his lovers, there were even fights with swords inside. . . 

To Johan’s ear he was a tyrant, but the viceroy seemed to think ‘𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘢𝘭.’

It’s basically impossible for him not to be popular with the citizens of the capital anyway because of his personality.

“By the way, I heard the chamberlain is the ruling now.” 

“Ah. Leoanos-gong, right. Yes, that’s right. The chamberlain Leoanos-gong probably takes care of many state affairs. He’s been working since the previous dynasty and many nobles support him too. . .” 

“Then wouldn’t this chamberlain be involved in the false proposal from the palace? It’s hard to think he’s not involved.”

“Uh. . .” 

The viceroy suddenly wore a startled expression as if the alcohol had worn off. He hesitantly said. 

“That, that may be possible, Your Excellency.”

“It seems the chamberlain is scary?” 

“Not so much scary, but he has quite a fiery personality, you see. . .”

Seeing him look around furtively even though no one was around, it seems he really was scared. Young emperors may not be scary, but nasty underlings can be scary.

“I don’t fear Leoanos-gong at all, Your Excellency. I absolutely do not fear. . .him. . .it’s just. . .just. . .” 

The viceroy who had been stammering suddenly keeled over backward and smashed his forehead on the table. He seemed completely drunk. 

“Take the viceroy away. Today’s banquet was pleasant.”

“Thank you very much, Your Excellency.” 

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

Waking hungover from the alcohol, the hurried viceroy found Johan again after hasty preparations. Johan prevented the viceroy from proposing another banquet and cut to the core issue. 

“The treatment was good enough, no need to give more. I want to bring in more soldiers, and I’m curious about the viceroy’s opinion.”

“Of course, please bring in as many as you like.”

Having received a promise from Johan not to attack or loot the city, the viceroy readily agreed. Until now, it had been very advantageous for him considering Johan’s accumulated fame.  

If he had not shown such patience, the imperial house of Vynashchtym or the viceroy himself would not have considered Johan a negotiable partner.

“But. . . wouldn’t you face reprimands from above?” 

“Your Excellency. . .!”

The viceroy wore a touched expression at Johan’s words.

“Please don’t worry. It’s very easy to make excuses. Just say I hired Your Excellency with gold coins.” 

‘𝘞𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴?’ 

Surprisingly, it was a plausible excuse. The viceroy had that right. 

In any case, with the viceroy’s permission, there was no more reason to delay. The fleet began transporting soldiers from islands and the mainland. 

They started landing on Vynashchtym’s territory, from dwarves to eastern tribes. Each was well-trained, and there were over a thousand heavy infantry. Not to mention if you counted centaurs and eastern tribes, it was much more. 

Once landing seemed to end and camps were made, Johan sent out scouts around the area. The nimble scouts returned with astonishing news.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Are you out of your mind! Chamberlain!” 

The nobles gathered in the hall of the palace lashed out and attacked Leoanos.

“It is disgraceful enough to send dragon blood out, but to prepare a fake!”

While sending out the royal bloodline of the noble house was a disgraceful thing, it was something that could be endured as there were some precedents. 

Even the arrogant nobles acknowledged that it was something inevitable due to the times.

However, attempting to pass off a fake as dragon blood was a separate matter. If this came to light, even the lowliest citizens in the city would ridicule dragon blood.

“It’s a misunderstanding.”

“Do you take us for blind and deaf?! We’ve already interrogated the eunuchs and heard the story! Even if you are a guardian, this matter has crossed the line! Step down!”

“. . .”

Leoanos glared at the nobles, but the nobles only glared back at Leoanos as if threatening him. 

While Leoanos wielded absolute power, this mistake was something that could never be overlooked. 

If the citizens of the city came to know of it, all citizens would rise up saying Leoanos must be killed. 

‘𝘋𝘢𝘮𝘯 𝘪𝘵. . .’

Even before the envoy dispatched by Johan arrived, the republican merchants brought accusations to the nobles first upon hearing the news, and the young emperor accordingly sought Leoanos’ responsibility. 

Experienced but cornered Leoanos had no choice but to take a step back this time.

“I understand. I will retire from my position as Head Chamberlain and go into seclusion. . .”

Ironically, it was also Johan who saved Leoanos when he was in crisis despite being pushed into a tight spot because of Johan. 

It was because news of the landing arrived late.

“I’ve heard that the count’s army has landed on the western coast!” 

“!”

While it wasn’t an actual occupation but cooperation, that didn’t matter now. At the news that the ambitious young count had finally landed, the nobles’ faces hardened.

“If that ambitious Count Yeats really. . .!” 

“We need to send reinforcements to the mountain passes immediately. Add more soldiers to the checkpoints. . .”

“The checkpoints are already sufficient! That Count won’t be able to cross the mountains. The harbors along the connected coast are more dangerous!”

Most of Vynashchtym’s western region was mountainous and difficult to pass through, but the coast was separate. The harbor cities formed along the coast were passageways themselves with immense value.

“I will take charge. I will drive out and make the count pay the price for daring to set foot on Vynashchtym’s land.”

“. . . . . .”

While the nobles had complex expressions upon Leoanos’ offer, as he had committed offenses, allowing Leoanos to take charge was a temptation difficult to refuse. 

He had military experience and excellent generals under his personal fiefdom’s employed soldiers. In such a situation, there was no one more capable than Leoanos. 

In the end, the nobles permitted Leoanos to lead the soldiers towards the mountain passes. 

This was how Leoanos succeeded in escaping the capital and avoiding imminent crises of being lynched or assassinated.

“Leoanos-gong. I’ve heard the count’s army is formidable and ferocious. With just these soldiers, it may be difficult. . .”

“We just need to defend the mountain passes.” 

“. . .?”

“Originally, my aim was just to escape from the capital. I got lucky to narrowly avoid danger but am now outside. The emperor won’t casually trifle with me either.”

A general leading troops outside was not something an emperor could carelessly provoke. Let alone one so deeply rooted among the nobles as a royal by blood.

“But what if the count makes a move. . .” 

“The other cities also have garrison troops. They can handle themselves.” 

If the harbor cities fell, that was an opportunity in itself. It would damage the young emperor’s authority. For one watching for opportunities, it was a welcoming situation.

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“Did the emperor dispatch an envoy?”

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