How to Live as a Wandering Knight โ€“ Chapter 173

๐„๐ฑ๐œ๐ข๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐๐š๐ง๐ช๐ฎ๐ž๐ญ (2)

When the promised date came, the city and nearby nobles all came as expected. It was an opportunity to get on the emperorโ€™s good side.ย ย 

There were no fools stupid enough to miss such a joyous occasion celebrating victory.

โ€œWe hope the glory flowing through the dragonโ€™s bloodline continues endlessly, Your Majesty!โ€

โ€œWe thank you once again for saving the city, Count.โ€

People gathered around Johan as much as around the emperor. Everyone in the city knew the role Johan had played.

โ€œ. . .Thank you for overlooking this matter, Count.โ€ย 

โ€œIt was nothing.โ€

The young emperor seemed more nervous than Johan. His expression was unchanged, but his hands were sweaty.ย ย 

Come to think of it, the emperor was as young as Johan. He kept mistakenly thinking he was old because of his aged face, but it was natural for him to be nervous.

โ€˜๐˜ˆ๐˜ง๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ, ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฌ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜บ, ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜บ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ญ ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ด, ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ง ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜บ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜บ๐˜ด.โ€™

While the highest position was coveted by all, sometimes a rural feudal lord could be more carefree.

โ€œDo you have any other advice?โ€

โ€˜๐˜ž๐˜ฉ๐˜บโ€™๐˜ด ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ?โ€™

The emperor seemed to have strange expectations of Johanโ€™s abilities. While the high regard was good, the burden was also real.

If he were to fail and flee. . .who would they blame?

Johan decided to give some safe advice.

โ€œAre you wearing armor underneath?โ€

โ€œIโ€™m not.โ€

โ€œAnyway itโ€™d be hidden by your outer garments, and with the fighting over, who would scowl if you had some armor on.โ€

It was traditional to remove weapons and armor at feasts, but this much could be overlooked if discovered.

Besides, the emperor had a reputation for not following orders and fraternizing with his own soldiers. This rumor wouldnโ€™t change much.

โ€œI guess thereโ€™s no harm in wearing it. . .โ€

The emperor calmly put on the armor. It seemed unnecessary and could draw pointless complaints, but he trusted Johanโ€™s advice.

What meaning could it hold!


The plan was simple. The chamberlain sits down and when the alcohol circulates a bit, the emperor rebukes his rudeness and disloyalty and throws a glass to send a signal.ย ย 

โ”๐‚๐ก๐š๐ฆ๐›๐ž๐ซ๐ฅ๐š๐ข๐ง ๐‹๐ž๐จ๐š๐ง๐จ๐ฌ ๐ก๐š๐ฌ ๐›๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐ช๐ฎ๐ข๐ญ๐ž ๐š๐ง ๐ž๐ฌ๐œ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ, ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐Œ๐š๐ฃ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ฒ.

โ”๐“๐ก๐ž๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐จ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐›๐ž ๐š๐›๐ฅ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐ ๐ž๐ญ ๐ข๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ฒ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ.ย ย 

โ”๐“๐ก๐š๐ญโ€™๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ซ๐ฎ๐ž ๐›๐ฎ๐ญ. . .

โ”๐‰๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐š๐œ๐ญ ๐š๐ฌ ๐ˆ ๐ฌ๐š๐ข๐. ๐“๐ก๐ž๐ง ๐ง๐จ ๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐›๐ž ๐š๐›๐ฅ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐๐จ ๐ง๐จ๐ง๐ฌ๐ž๐ง๐ฌ๐ž ๐ง๐จ ๐ฆ๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐ฐ๐ก๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ฒ ๐š๐ซ๐ž.

Leoanos arrived at the front.ย ย 

Despite recent mistakes, the political authority held by the chamberlain was considerable. The surrounding nobles flocked to somehow get a word.ย ย 

Leoanos was pleased with the reaction.ย ย 

Whenever he saw this, he felt the power he had. Power is like a drug, once you grab it, you can never let it go.

โ€œLeave your weapons outside. The chamberlain can only bring one escort in.โ€

โ€œI know.โ€

Leoanos obediently left the escorts outside and went inside. A lower nobleman chamberlain followed him inside, holding Leoanosโ€™s hem.ย ย 

Seeing that, Johan wondered, holding a silver cup and stretching his neck.

โ€˜๐˜๐˜ด๐˜ฏโ€™๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ณ?โ€™

No matter if the escorts were swordsmanship masters or not, they had to get closer to do something. Shouldnโ€™t they be able to run right up and intervene?ย ย 

But the distance was too far.

โ€˜๐˜‹๐˜ช๐˜ฅ ๐˜ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ. . .โ€™

The chamberlain knelt down in front and kissed the emperorโ€™s hand. It was a sign of obedience and loyalty.

โ€œThank you for coming like this. Your Excellency.โ€ย ย 

โ€œIt was something I had to do.โ€

โ€œI appreciate the other people here as well.โ€ย ย 

โ€œDoes the person who knows that send an insult?โ€

Johan was sarcastic. Considering the major he set up this time and the soldiers he was leading, Johan was qualified to say this.

He was sarcastic openly, but the chamberlain couldnโ€™t refute. He nodded his head in acknowledgement.ย ย 

โ€œIโ€™m sorry. Your Excellency. It seems there was a misunderstanding. Would you accept my apology?โ€

โ€œWhether it was a misunderstanding or not, weโ€™ll have to check later to find out. Iโ€™ll decide whether to accept the apology then.โ€

He could have bothered him more, but Johan decided to leave him alone. The host of this place was the emperor, not him.ย ย 

Since Johan didnโ€™t say anything more, the chamberlain spat out a relieved curse mixed with profanity and withdrew. The music that had been interrupted resumed and the liquor began circulating again.

โ€œDidnโ€™t you request a duel?โ€ย 

โ€œWhat duel. . .not even the Holy Empire. . .and even if I requested it, they would only send out the decent warrior.โ€ย ย 

An unusual scene entered Johanโ€™s eyes as he chatted with Iselia next to him.ย ย 

The fingertips of the attendant Leoanos brought were darkly discolored. The eyes of the attendant and Johan met as he stared at it. The attendant quickly bowed his head, but Johan felt uncomfortable.

The discomfort of meeting a colleague who can do the same skills!

โ€˜๐˜ž๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ต? ๐˜—๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ?โ€™

He wondered if he had seen it wrong, but that possibility seemed small. Besides, if that attendant was the assassin Leoanos brought, it would be the right guess. It would have been more surprising if that sly guy came without any thoughts.

โ€˜๐˜–๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ, ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜ฏ. . .๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ข ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ถ๐˜ญ ๐˜ค๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ.โ€™ย ย 

The customs of Vynashchtym were really amazing. Johan was suddenly reminded of Kaegalโ€™s teachings.

โ”๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ฆ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ ๐๐ข๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ข๐œ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ ๐ฉ๐š๐ซ๐ญ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ ๐ž๐ญ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฅ๐จ๐œ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ฌ๐œ๐š๐ฉ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฌ๐š๐Ÿ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฒ. ๐€๐ฉ๐š๐ซ๐ญ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ๐จ ๐๐ข๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ข๐œ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ. ๐’๐ญ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ, ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฌ๐ก๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐š๐ฅ๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ๐ฌ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฉ๐จ๐ข๐ฌ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐จ๐ง ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐š๐ญ ๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž. ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐ค๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐›๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ก๐š๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐›๐ฎ๐ญ. . . ๐ฐ๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ข๐ญ ๐›๐ž ๐ช๐ฎ๐ข๐ž๐ญ๐ž๐ซ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฉ๐จ๐ข๐ฌ๐จ๐ง?ย ย 

โ”๐–๐ก๐ฒ ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฅ๐จ๐จ๐ค๐ข๐ง๐  ๐š๐ญ ๐ฆ๐ž ๐ฅ๐ข๐ค๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ?

โ”๐˜๐จ๐ฎ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐š๐œ๐ญ๐ข๐œ๐ž ๐ฆ๐š๐ค๐ข๐ง๐ , ๐ก๐ข๐๐ข๐ง๐ , ๐š๐ง๐ ๐š๐๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฉ๐จ๐ข๐ฌ๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ ๐ž๐ญ ๐ ๐จ๐จ๐ ๐š๐ญ ๐ข๐ญ. ๐€๐ฌ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ ๐š๐ข๐ง ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž, ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ก๐š๐ง๐๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž ๐ง๐š๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ. ๐€๐ง๐ ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ฆ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐๐ฌ ๐š๐ซ๐ž๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ซ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐จ๐ง๐ž๐ฌ โ€“ ๐ฆ๐ž๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐๐ฌ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž ๐๐ž๐ฉ๐ž๐ง๐๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฌ๐ข๐ญ๐ฎ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง. ๐Ž๐ง๐ž ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง ๐ˆ ๐ฆ๐ž๐ญ ๐ค๐ง๐ž๐ฐ ๐š ๐ญ๐ž๐œ๐ก๐ง๐ข๐ช๐ฎ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐ฉ๐จ๐ข๐ฌ๐จ๐ง ๐ฎ๐ง๐๐ž๐ซ ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ญ๐จ๐ง๐ ๐ฎ๐ž. ๐‰๐ฎ๐๐ ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐›๐ฒ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง, ๐ˆ ๐ก๐จ๐ฉ๐ž ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐š๐ซ๐ž๐งโ€™๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ค๐ข๐ง๐  โ€œ๐ˆ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ ๐ฌ๐ค๐ข๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฌ, ๐๐จ ๐ˆ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ง๐ž๐ž๐ ๐ฉ๐จ๐ข๐ฌ๐จ๐ง ๐ญ๐จ๐จ?โ€

โ”๐๐จ, ๐ˆโ€™๐ฆ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ค๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ.

Johan called Jusvan. Jusvan was so absorbed in the Vynashchtym dancer that he was clapping and laughing, but he came to his senses when he heard Johanโ€™s call.

โ€œWhat is it?โ€

โ€œJust in case, please tell His Majesty not to eat or drink anymore.โ€ย ย 

โ€œI understand.โ€

Jusvan had some tact. He quietly passed the message on to the emperor. The emperor looked like he wanted to ask โ€˜๐˜ž๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฌ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ต?โ€™ but he didnโ€™t ask again.ย ย 

โ€˜๐˜๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ฏโ€™๐˜ต ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ฌ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜บ?โ€™

The emperor had a surprised expression then nodded slightly at Johan. He seemed to have misunderstood something, as his eyes were full of gratitude.ย ย 

Johan felt a little embarrassed because he still wasnโ€™t sure if the other party had poisoned the drink yet.ย ย ย 

โ€œI didnโ€™t even consider that. Your Majesty. It should be enough for the slave to taste it first. But youโ€™re certainly right to be cautious.โ€

Once someone builds a reputation, their actions tend to be interpreted favorably. Bold actions become decisive, while timid ones seem prudent.ย ย 

Jusvan and the emperor seemed to understand and appreciate the misunderstanding.ย ย 

The one feeling anxious because the emperor wouldnโ€™t even lift the cup to his lips was Leoanos. He had gone through the trouble of pouring the wine, but the emperor wouldnโ€™t drink it.ย ย 

The poison he had brought with the assassin was quite intricate โ€“ it would take effect only after drinking several cups, twisting in the stomach before spewing out poison. But if he didnโ€™t drink at all, there was no poison to speak of.ย ย 

Leoanos licked his lips and waited, but the emperor didnโ€™t budge.ย ย 

โ€œWhatโ€™s wrong?โ€

โ€œThereโ€™s nothing we can do if he doesnโ€™t drink it.โ€ย ย 

Leoanos was sharp. From the emperorโ€™s stiff expression and tense posture, he sensed preparations in place.ย ย 

After the banquet ended, he might be ambushed on his way out or arrested. He had to make the first move.ย ย 

โ€œIf poison doesnโ€™t work, donโ€™t you have a dagger?โ€

โ€œTheyโ€™ll stop me as soon as I get close.โ€ย ย 

โ€œ. . .Fine. Hand over the dagger.โ€

Having secretly received the assassinโ€™s hidden dagger, Leoanos slipped it into his sleeve. He wanted to finish the job with poison if possible. . .

But it couldnโ€™t be helped now. Once the emperor collapsed, it would cause chaos, allowing him to escape with his guards in the confusion.ย ย 

That was why he had summoned guards in the first place โ€“ not to launch an attack, but to escape safely.ย ย 

When the song ended and the dance stopped, Leoanos approached the emperor with the box he had brought.ย ย 

โ€œYour Majesty. I want to present you with a treasure fitting of that song, as an expression of my gratitude. Please accept it.โ€

Leoanos carefully opened the box. The gems inside shone dazzlingly. Seeing nothing suspicious, the emperor nodded.ย ย 

At that moment, Leoanos swiftly pulled out his dagger and stabbed the emperorโ€™s chest. A dull thud โ€“ the dagger was blocked and didnโ€™t pierce him. But Leoanosโ€™ body moved instinctively. This time the dagger moved towards his face and neck.ย ย 

๐‚๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐ !ย ย 

Instead of the sound of a dagger piercing flesh, there was the dull thud of something smashing into a head. Still clutching his dagger, Leoanos dropped dead. Beside his head, a crushed silver cup had fallen.ย ย 

โ€œ. . .โ€ย ย 

โ€œ. . .โ€

The sudden series of events stunned everyone. Jusvan was the first to scream.ย ย 

โ€œAssassination attempt! Escort His Majesty inside!โ€ย ย 

Belatedly, the imperial guards behind rushed over.ย ย 

โ€œCut down anyone who moves! Donโ€™t move!โ€ย ย 

โ€œYour Majesty! Are you alright!โ€

โ€œI. . . Iโ€™m fine. What happened?โ€ย ย 

โ€œThe count saved Your Majestyโ€™s life. He. . . threw that cup.โ€ย ย 

Jusvan explained the situation then tripped over his words, seemingly finding it unbelievable himself.ย ย 

Jusvan, beside Johan, saw it clearly. The moment Leoanos stabbed with his dagger, Johan picked up a silver cup from the table and hurled it squarely at his head.ย ย 

He threw it with such force that his opponent smashed heads and couldnโ€™t get back up. It would have been legendary material for war annals if it hadnโ€™t been a mere silver cup. . .

โ€œI-I donโ€™t know anything! Today was my first time meeting the chamberlain.โ€ย ย 

โ€œWeโ€™ve only met once, years ago. . . we barely know each other.โ€

The nobles seated there hurriedly spewed excuses, afraid they might get involved with the chamberlain.ย ย 

The emperor shoved them aside and had all of the chamberlainโ€™s attendants arrested. He had no intention of interrogating the nearby nobles, but not the chamberlainโ€™s subordinates.ย ย 

โ€œOn your knees!โ€ย ย 

โ€œWe. . . we didnโ€™t know anything either! About his plans. . .โ€ย ย 

Violence rained down in response to their pleas. Screams erupted from all sides as Johanโ€™s slave troops rushed over. Johan signaled he was alright.ย ย 

โ€˜๐˜•๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ.โ€™ย ย 

And the belt.


While the emperor and his subordinates were oppressing guilty and innocent people alike, Johan waited. It was natural for there to be chaos for a while in such tumultuous times.ย 

When the situation had calmed down somewhat, Johan went with Jusvan.

โ€œAre you alright, Your Majesty?โ€

โ€œThanks to you I survived, Count.โ€ย 

It was not merely courteous words, but heartfelt sincerity. Those who had interrogated the emperorโ€™s attendant were shocked at first when told poison had been prepared.ย 

If not for Johanโ€™s advice, he could have collapsed much sooner.

โ€œNot only the poison, but the armor too. Did you happen to have some information beforehand?โ€

โ€œHow could that be so?โ€

โ€œYour Majesty, if Iโ€™d had such information, I would have told you first.โ€ย ย 

Jusvan spoke with the pride of a republican. The emperor nodded.

The emperor chatted about this and that before sending Jusvan out. Then he asked Johan,

โ€œCount, I heard from the viceroy that youโ€™d be staying in the city until autumn after receiving payment. Is that correct?โ€

โ€œYes, thatโ€™s right.โ€

โ€œIf itโ€™s alright with you, Iโ€™d like to buy out that contract.โ€

โ€œYour Majesty, my soldiers are expensive and great in number.โ€

โ€œI donโ€™t intend to hire them all. Half of the soldiers here would be sufficient.โ€

With only a thousand or so soldiers, what could be accomplished was limited. Johan immediately grasped what the emperor wanted.ย 

โ€˜๐˜๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ?โ€™

When oneโ€™s position was unstable, reliable soldiers were necessary.ย 

โ€œI will pay three times the amount the viceroy mentioned. And I will promise privileges at the harbor. Would this be enough as payment for the count and his brave subordinates?โ€

โ€œ. . .!โ€

For a moment, Johan envisioned piles of gold coins behind the emperor.

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