How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 180

𝐑𝐨𝐚𝐝 𝐇𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 (7)

The emperor looked at Johan with a bewildered expression. His eyes seemed to say ‘𝘈𝘳𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘤𝘳𝘢𝘻𝘺?’.

Of course, the emperor was also very dissatisfied with the stiff nobles of the Order of St. Guntzalva, but he did not insult them to their faces. So there was nothing good about it.

What does he mean by saying that in front of them? No matter how defeated a knight is, he should draw his sword and. . .

“. . .I’m sorry.”  

“??!”

Instead of drawing his sword, the knight next to him apologized, making the emperor even more dumbfounded.

Where did the arrogant guy who said ‘𝘞𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘤𝘩 𝘪𝘵’ in front of the emperor go, is this the group talking so calmly?

He seemed like a different knight.

“Count! Isn’t what you said too harsh! Sir Leocos is not whining!”

There were not only Johan and the knights who were chattering, but also those with relatively high status among the Order of St. Guntzalva were in the tent.  

In fact, except for the leader, the organization of the Order was an almost equal organization. Since most of the knights were of noble origin, there was no one giving orders to anyone.

Therefore, the fame of the family or the length of the career became proof of status within the knight order. When Sir Leocos was insulted, the knights who had not talked with Johan reacted as if it was their own matter.  

“No, it’s not the count’s fault.”

“That’s right. The count didn’t mean any harm, so you shouldn’t misunderstand.”

“. . .??!?!”

Starting with Sir Leocos himself, the other knights took Johan’s side. The angry knight shut his mouth in frustration.

“I’ll give you a chance to clear your dishonor. You just have to chase down and dispose of the fleeing Manticore.”

The people present shuddered. It was something everyone had thought in their heads but no one dared say out loud.

The Order of St. Guntzalva, who were arrogant enough about hunting monsters, were beyond their imagination when it came to manticores. 

The techniques and visions they had honed collapsed completely in front of a mere monster.

But Johan was different. As if the rumors that he hunted Manticores were true, he confidently suggested catching another one without any fear.

“It’s just a monster after all. If you know how to catch it, it’s not that scary.”  

“. . .I will go with you!”

“I will regain the honor of the Order!”

Before the knights knew it, they shouted as they sprang from their seats. As if their previous fear was a lie, the knights grew passionate.  

‘𝘐 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘤𝘢𝘯’𝘵 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘨𝘶𝘺𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘶𝘱 𝘵𝘰.’  

The emperor shook his head from side to side.

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“Get off your horses and walk.”

As the knights were of noble origin, they brought with them several horses and servants. Riding a horse was a kind of privilege.  

However, Johan said they had to get off their horses and walk.

“If we meet the Manticore, the horses will be startled. It would be good if we don’t get thrown off.”

“You’re right.”

Having already experienced it, the knights did not complain about Johan’s words. A knight should be able to fight even when dismounted.

“The mercenaries. . . have collapsed from fatigue.” 

The mercenaries were exhausted from carrying corpses and forced marching. They could not be brought along again.

“How about asking His Majesty to conscript some soldiers?”

“Unlike you who care about honor, the soldiers are more likely to run away in fear. You saw the chaos back then.”

The knights made embarrassed expressions and looked proud. Of course, Johan did not say this to please the knights. 

‘𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘯 𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘳’𝘴 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.’

The situation was different from when he took the centaurs and mercenaries to hunt. Back then, the purpose was reconnaissance, and the opponent did not know much about Johan.  

In the worst case, he thought the damage would come from among the mercenaries.

But now, the opponent was openly waiting for them. The likelihood of damage had increased. He did not want to take his men or the emperor’s imperial guards to such a place.  

‘𝘕𝘰𝘵 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘥𝘢𝘮𝘢𝘨𝘦, 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘭𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨.’

“Are the servants not enough?”

Although called servants, the servants who followed the knights were practically half retainers. They were also decently armed and knew how to fight fairly well. They were better than mediocre mercenaries or conscripts.  

“If it’s your servants, I can trust their skills.”

“No, they’re not that good. Ahem.”

Johan was about to accept the proposal to boost the knights’ morale, but he flinched. He had a thought that suddenly came to mind.

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“Ask for the prisoners?”

“Won’t it be bad to use them?”  

“Of course it will be bad! What if they escape?”

“If they escape, we’ll have to kill them.”

Johan was talking about the prosecutors who had been employed by the chamberlain and were now captured as prisoners. They were the actors and dancers from Vynashchtym who had been arrested and were being transported as prisoners because of their ties to the chamberlain.  

When the emperor frowned, Johan took a step back. If he disliked it that much, there was no need to insist on using them.  

“If your grudge isn’t resolved, forget what I just said.”  

“I don’t have any grudges. Why would I harbor grudges against lowly scums? I’m just questioning whether we need to use people like them. What if they stab you in the back?”

“Oh. . . I didn’t think of that.”  

“No, why didn’t you think of that?”

“Well, I didn’t think they were capable of something like that.”   

Johan’s words were full of absolute confidence. The emperor was overwhelmed by that confidence for a moment. Something absurd sounded convincing.   

“I have centaurs guarding me and knights as well. Prisoners won’t be able to sneak up and slit my throat no matter how skilled they are. Well. . . they may be able to escape, but they’ll be caught right away if they try to escape around here.”  

After hearing Johan’s explanation, the emperor had a much more convinced expression.  

“After all, they are excellent in swordsmanship. Besides, they are prisoners so there’s no room for complaint even if they die.”  

“Do you understand I’m trying to spare the imperial guards?”   

“I’m so grateful I’m moved to tears. . . But are you really confident you can catch the monster?”

“Do I have to catch the monster?”  

“. . .We do have to catch the monster but not necessarily at all costs.”   

Johan understood what the emperor was saying. It would be great to capture the monster as a military exploit since the monster was causing havoc here, but sacrificing the knights all the way up to Johan to catch the monster was another story.  

“I know because I’ve caught the monster once. It’s not so hard I can’t catch the monster. Just. . .”

“Just?”  

“It’ll be hard to catch the monster alone. Since the monster is so observant, he’ll notice if I approach him alone. Others need to distract the monster’s attention. Not too weak or else the monster will notice, but strong enough.”   

“. . .You mean the knights and the prisoners?”

“The knights and prisoners, yes. I’ll do my best to catch the monster but there may be some damage. Keep that in mind.”   

“Doesn’t matter as long as you don’t get hurt. Getting hurt trying to catch the likes of manticore would be foolish.”  

The emperor had little interest in the honor or glory of knighthood. What he liked was not a knight charging in alone with a spear, but an organized army as a group.   

“What if the knights are. . . No, they won’t be dissatisfied.”  

He was worried the knights might be dissatisfied, but on second thought it didn’t seem likely. He didn’t know how Johan handled them, but the knights didn’t show much dissatisfaction with Johan commanding despite being an outsider.   

It wasn’t simply because of the feat of capturing manticore. If they were the type to be so nonchalant about someone capturing manticore when they themselves failed, it would have been much easier to deal with them.  

‘𝘐 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺’𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘧𝘶𝘴𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘬𝘴 𝘣𝘶𝘵. . .’

“What are you thinking?”

“I was briefly worried the knights might be dissatisfied.”  

“We’ll have to be careful about that.”  

‘𝘋𝘰𝘦𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘮 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘸𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘶𝘭.’

“Tell the prisoners their crimes will be pardoned and they’ll be released if they distinguish themselves.”  

“Do we have to? Is that okay?”  

“We need them to fight harder. This much I can promise them at least.”

To Johan, going after the monster himself but not even keeping this promise was not just a matter of pride but conscience. Johan nodded at the emperor’s words. He had no reason to decline if it was offered.

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On a moonlit night, bless water filled in a silver chalice positioned to capture the moon’s reflection. Let it boil and wait until. . .

Johan was listening very seriously to the knights’ vision. The vision of the Order of St. Gonsalvo was also something Johan wanted to know.

Although it wasn’t enough to suffocate the manticores, the tips of their spears pierced the muscles and inflicted wounds. It was powerful enough magic. 

“. . .after singing the hymn three times and praying, weapons blessed by God for about a week, becoming extremely sharp.”

“I see. Are the spears and swords you’re holding now blessed in that way?”

“Yes.”

Johan thought it seemed like pagan magic, but he didn’t say it out loud out of consideration for the knights.

“Count, thank you for the opportunity.”

“Whether it becomes an opportunity or not remains to be seen. Have you seen the manticore going wild?”

The muscular prosecutors shook their heads. The prisoners were tied up behind them, so they hadn’t seen the manticore directly. 

If they had seen them directly, they would have been much more afraid and terrified.

“You mainly use shortswords?”

“Yes. I can use other swords too, but I mainly use shortswords.”

They knew how to use several swords, but these actor-turned-prosecutors were most accustomed to one-handed swords. Johan held up small shields one by one.

“No need to inflict wounds, just attract its attention and dodge its body. You’re confident in your movements, right?”

The prosecutors smiled confidently. It was a smile that said they could show it if given the opportunity.

At the banquet, they were surrounded without even having a chance to draw a sword, but the people here were confident in their swordsmanship. 

Even against the count in front of them, they were confident they could win in a one-on-one sword fight.

“Of course, Your Excellency!”

“Count, don’t you think those guys are being a bit arrogant?”

Seeing the bragging prosecutors, the centaurs had displeased expressions. 

The Silk Corridor prosecutors had sturdy builds, which did not seem very trustworthy to the centaurs.

They may boast about their superior swordsmanship, but what good would that do against monsters? No matter how much they practiced swords with other humans, fighting monsters was a completely different matter.

“You think they’ll run away?”

“That’s not what I meant. . . Oh, of course, they might run away if a monster appears.”

“Since their purpose is just to attract its attention anyway, don’t be too harsh on them. As long as they dodge quickly, that’s good enough.”

Johan did not have high expectations for the knights or prosecutors here. While they were thinking of ways to inflict wounds on the manticore , what was the point of doing that?

The only chance was for Johan to get an opportunity to strike it down. If he grabbed that chance just once, he could suffocate it. 

“Alright, stop here.”

It wasn’t difficult to track the target. It had left a clear trail, as if inviting them to follow. Moreover, as they got closer. . .

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