How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 179

𝐑𝐨𝐚𝐝 𝐇𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 (6)

Only then did the mercenaries understand why Johan had said he would lead them.

That count was confident he could catch it, which is why he said that!

In the way he calmly examined the manticore’s corpse while holding an oddly huge warhammer, the dignified bearing of an experienced knight that could never be shown after hunting monsters just once or twice could be glimpsed. 

‘𝘏𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵. . .!’

“Is it dead?”

“It’s dead. Fortunately, the thing was more stupid than I thought. Many would have died if it had thrashed around.”

“I worry that if I stay with Your Excellency, my hands will become numb. If you take them down like that alone, when will we ever get a chance to step up?”

The centaurs complained.  

Originally, monster hunting wasn’t about knocking them down in one blow like this. It was about chasing the enemy, gradually injuring it and weakening it.

That process was long and dangerous, but it was a process warriors who went hunting had to naturally endure. And it’s through experiencing that that a warrior grows more.

But to sneak up from behind and smash its face like this. . .

“Should I bring the dead one back to life then?”

“Ah, why do you say that? I only complained a little.”

“Frankly, it’s better that a thing like manticore was dealt with quickly, Your Excellency. Who knows what nonsense it could have stirred up if left alone.”

The centaurs skillfully placated him as they approached manticore. Euclyia stabbed manticore’s neck and chest to peel off its skin. Its muscles were so incredibly steel-like that it wasn’t easy.

“Can we eat its organs?”

“It’s probably poisonous so I don’t think you should.”  

The centaurs, who would have normally torn out the liver or lungs, were dealing with manticore for the first time as well. Rather than eating something unknown and getting hurt, they chose safety.

That being the case, although they had caught it with such effort, there wasn’t much left that was worth taking. Its head was crushed, its skin that had looked so splendid wasn’t actually that good without the muscular body underneath it. . .

“But its sinews are good.”

“And its claws are hard and sharp too. They might be useful.” 

“Be careful extracting the stingers on its back. Gotta drain the poison.”

The centaurs were skilled at handling poison. The toxins from monsters were much more powerful and deadly than herbs that grew in nature.  

Johan asked with interest as well.

“Save me some poison if you extract it.”

“What. . . why does Your Excellency need poison?”

The centaurs asked, seemingly baffled. Why use poison when you have good weapons?

The mercenaries observing on the side were anxious. No matter how generous the count was, the centaurs were being too brazen, it seemed. 

Besides, the Johan who joked around with the mercenaries and the Johan who smashed the manticore’s body while holding a warhammer felt like two completely different people.

However, Johan didn’t get angry at the centaurs even once and wrapped up. Only then did he look back at the mercenaries.

“Take care of the corpse. We should head back to camp.”

“Y-Yes! We’ll move right now!”

From the quick-witted mercenaries to the obtuse ones, from the most senior mercenary to the greenest, they became one body and yelled out simultaneously while moving.

They hastily took the manticore’s body and then ran ahead in front. 

“Why are you all in such a hurry? You can go slowly.” 

“Sorry! We’ll move faster!”

“No, I said you can move slowly. . .”

“Sorry! We’ll stop!”

“Am I speaking unclearly right now?”

It was good that the mercenaries were tense but they seemed too tense. They were treating Johan as if he were a monster wearing a human mask.

“Your Excellency, Your Excellency,”  

Euclyia whispered into Johan’s ear.

“I don’t know much about managing people but I think it’d be good if you washed the blood off that warhammer first before talking, Your Excellency.”

“Ah.”

Only then did Johan realize he was still holding the warhammer. To the mercenaries, he must have looked scary enough to piss themselves.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

Whether it was fear or anything else, loyalty was a good thing. The mercenary captain had never seen mercenaries who didn’t look away even once and tried their best like this while running around as mercenaries so far.

Originally, mercenaries were the kind of people who really didn’t listen to a single word among many.  

While others were plowing fields and raising pigs in their hometowns, the ones who ran out alone, holding a weapon in one hand and a few coppers in the other, bragging about how great they were, it was even stranger if they listened well. Most of them were arrogant with unfounded confidence, even new recruits who had never caught a single goblin before.

Nevertheless, one of the three mercenaries now was a newly hired guy, but he didn’t complain at all and sweated profusely as he moved his feet.

Originally there should have been words coming slowly from behind like “Damn it, let’s take a break” or “You’re the mercenary captain? I’ve participated in battles three times too.”

“Are you really okay without taking a break?”

The centaurs and Johan were riding horses, but the mercenaries were not. It looked very unusual to see them desperately running through the uncleared forest.

“It’s okay! It’s okay!” 

“I can move more!”

“Aren’t those guys going to kick the bucket if they keep doing that?”

One of the centaurs muttered in a low voice.

“If they kick the bucket, should we tie them up and drag them?”

“We wouldn’t have to carry them on our backs, would we?”

“Are you crazy? The count would never give us such an insult. He’ll just leave them in the woods.”

“Yeah, right.”

While Johan was worrying about whether he should tie them up or abandon them if they suddenly kick the bucket, the mercenaries’ forced march brought unexpected results.

“. . .Why is the atmosphere like this?”

Johan frowned. Something was wrong with the atmosphere near the barracks. Soldiers were running around busily everywhere, and the groans of the wounded leaked from inside.

“What happened? Is Your Majesty okay?”

“I’m fine.”

Before the frightened soldier could answer, the emperor came out from inside when he heard that Johan and the mercenaries had returned. Seeing that Johan was unharmed, the emperor sighed in relief.

“Were you worried? You didn’t believe in my skills.”  

“Is that something to say now?”

The emperor asked back as if he was absurd at Johan’s words. Apparently the young count didn’t know what had happened.

Originally, when Johan volunteered to catch the manticore, the emperor was not too worried.

According to Johan’s claim, he had hunted several strong monsters before, and the emperor had seen Johan’s skills with his own eyes, which were simply tremendous.  

With that level, even if the opponent was a manticore, it wouldn’t be so dangerous, he judged.

However, that idea was immediately reversed. Thanks to witnessing the manticore himself.

“Did the manticore come here?”

“Yes. It came and went on a rampage.”  

While Johan was away, the manticore attacked the camp and left.

The soldiers and guards were not weak enough to hand over the emperor to the manticore, but it was enough just to see it from a distance. It toyed with the soldiers like a lion mauling a flock of sheep.

The spears stabbed by the soldiers could not penetrate its thick skin, and every time the manticore breathed out, the soldiers’ faces turned blue as they screamed.

If the knights had not charged in anger, the damage would have been much greater.

Although the St. Guntsalva knights were arrogant, cocky, and did not listen to the emperor well, still they were knights after all. There were none who fled at the sight of a monster.  

Wearing armor and grasping spears, they charged at the manticore as if to prove something.

“So did you catch it?”

“Would we be like this if we caught it?”

The emperor answered in a dissatisfied voice. One look and you could tell they didn’t catch it. 

Although the spears of the knights pierced the manticore’s skin and inflicted wounds, that was it. They failed to penetrate deep into the muscles.  

The wounded manticore raged violently as if to prove they had just played with it until now. It rushed in like crazy.  

In an instant, the knights were smashed, shattered and blown away. Every time its claws flashed, shields were severed and armor was torn.

Even while rampaging like that, it did not lose its wit. It seemed to notice the soldiers gathering around it, so it quickly retreated after seeing enough blood. 

Carrying several injured knights on its back, holding some in its front paws, and some in its mouth.

“As if saying, ‘𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘳𝘢𝘥𝘦𝘴 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬, 𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸 𝘮𝘦’ right?”

“That’s probably it. Of course we’re not stupid enough to follow it. I didn’t want the knights to get hurt so badly, although they were annoying. . .”  

The emperor clicked his tongue. The manticore was much stronger than he thought. He wondered if he should call the wizards from the imperial palace or summon hunters separately.

“How was the search?”  

“Um. We did catch a manticore.”

“I see. You caught a manticore. . . what?”

The emperor, who had asked without much thought, doubted his ears. They caught one?

“We found a manticore lying in ambush during our search and caught it. I guess there were two.”  

“You caught what??”

“Look back there. The mercenaries are bringing it.”

The emperor turned his head quickly. As Johan said, the mercenaries were dragging the corpse of a huge monster. Although the head was missing and could not be seen, the body was definitely that of a manticore.

“You caught the manticore?”  

“No way. . . *gasp*.”

The soldiers around them also gasped when they saw the manticore’s corpse. Those who saw it directly could all feel it.  

This is a real manticore!

“Hey. How did you catch it? How did you guys do it?”

The soldiers did not dare to ask Johan or the centaurs, but grabbed the harmless mercenaries and asked. The mercenaries felt good as the soldiers, who usually bragged about their rank and authority, clamored and asked like this.

“He was nothing special. An easy target for us.” 

𝐓𝐡𝐰𝐚𝐜𝐤! 

“Ugh. . .”

“Who does this mercenary punk think he is. . .to make light of a captain’s name? Can’t even speak properly?”

They immediately let the mercenary know his place for acting arrogantly. This was a military base and the mercenaries were just hired hands. Even a mercenary captain would be lower ranked than a soldier, let alone a regular mercenary.  

“H-His Excellency the count caught him.”  

“With what? How?”

“Swung his warhammer and took him out in one blow. . .”  

The mercenary made a decapitation gesture and said. This angered the soldiers even more.  

Their comrades were already injured and bedridden, and he still dared to spout nonsense.  

“This won’t do. Bring me a whip.”  

“Ah, no, I’m telling the truth! Really! It’s true!”  

“They don’t seem to be lying. Leave them be.”  

The passing centaurs interjected. The mercenaries were moved to tears.  

“R-Really?”  

“Are you saying the count is lying then, huh?”  

The centaurs were even more hot-tempered than the soldiers. Seeing them immediately reach for their swords, the soldiers panicked and shouted.  

“No, no!”  

“Watch your mouth. You Vynashchtym punks. And don’t forget to spread the word. . . of the great Yeats family’s name. . .”

While the centaurs prattled on, Johan called out from afar.  

“What’re you doing? Aren’t you coming?”  

“Ah, yes! Coming! We’re coming now!”

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

The knights’ faces were covered with humiliation, shame, frustration, despair and agony.

Johan had wanted to prod the mercenary captain about the tax evasion case he heard about, but the other’s expression was so stiff that it was hard to bring up.  

‘𝘛𝘳𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘢 𝘸𝘦𝘢𝘬 𝘱𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘵 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘧𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘥. . .’

“It’s not your fault. I was just lucky.”

“. . . . . .”

“. . . . . .”

“Isn’t it up to God whether an attack can hit one’s vital point or not? Don’t be like that.”  

Despite Johan’s consolation, the knights could not raise their heads. The emperor found the sight both absurd and unbelievable.  

He had wanted to take them down a peg, but not like this.

“I. . . I am not qualified to be a knight. I’m just trash.”

“Why say that? It was just bad luck.”  

“My comrade fell and I couldn’t charge. . . I’m just ashamed in front of St. Guntsalva.”

“Not blindly charging against a stronger opponent is the act of a wise man.”

“I’m not qualified as a knight. . .”

“Oh, stop your whining. Annoyingly whiny.”

“??!”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *