How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 181

𝐑𝐨𝐚𝐝 𝐇𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 (8)

Johan wasn’t so sure about this course of action either. 

Although he had learned a lot about monsters as a hunter, he didn’t know everything about every monster.

Still, he knew ferocious monsters often shared certain traits, so he tried to exploit those weaknesses. He didn’t have much to lose by trying, and it proved surprisingly effective.  

The manticore had probably never been provoked by a human before. It seemed really pissed off.   

“Your excellency is amazing!”  

The knights of St. Guntsalva shouted in awe, drawing their weapons. Johan’s unbelievable wisdom had given them courage.

When facing the manticore, its intelligence, ferocity, or lethal physique weren’t the most difficult things to overcome. However powerful a monster it was, it would have trouble easily fighting dozens of well-armed, trained humans.  

The hardest thing about facing the manticore was the fear it provoked.  

Facing a monster they had never encountered before was terrifying.  

Even veteran knights would freeze up and tremble unless they had exceptionally strong spirits.

That trauma still lingered among the knights. But when Johan lured out the manticore with blood and words, it seemed to wash away.  

What stood before them was not an invincible monster, but a mere monster.

“Strike it down! Avenge your comrades!”  

“In St. Guntsalva’s name, charge!”

The knights charged fearlessly, gripping their spears and swords. Their courage, regained, made them bold.  

The manticore, which had been charging at them, faltered in the face of their unexpected attack. It reared up threateningly, looking around to assess the situation.  

“I told you to draw its attention, not to charge.” 

Johan shouted in disbelief from behind them, but the knights were already stabbing it with their blessed weapons. They stabbed skillfully and then pulled back.  

‘𝘏𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘭𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘴?’  

Charging was good, but why so recklessly?  

If the manticore regained its composure, half the knights would be slaughtered.  

Seeing the reckless charge of the knights, the prosecutors’ blood boiled as well, and they couldn’t resist joining despite being prisoners. Moving nimbly, they targeted the manticore’s vital points.  

“. . .What are they up to?”  

“Trying to get pardoned, I bet.”  

“. . .”  

Come to think of it, that made sense. The emperor had promised pardons, so staying put would have been stranger. At least they had to make a show of risking their lives to earn a pardon.  

As a result, almost everyone present ended up charging the manticore. 

Lacking blessed weapons like the knights, the prosecutors had only their quick feet and sharp swordsmanship. They annoyed the manticore by targeting its wing membranes and sinister tail. Their speed even impressed the knights.  

But that was it.  

The manticore, which had paused in confusion, seemed to realize their attacks weren’t that strong. It turned its head with bristling fur and a stiff, venomous tail.  

And a boulder flew through the air.  

“What?!”  

The centaurs aiming arrows at the manticore’s blubber and eyes gaped. A heavy boulder whizzed through the air with a whoosh.  

It flew swift and sharp, as if launched from a skilled sling. The only difference was it being a giant rock rather than a stone.  

“Oh, I see!”

The centaurs who had been wondering earlier could now understand why Johan had said “Stop here.”

He had found a place with many boulders to throw!

With a dull thud, the manticore that was about to charge rolled to the side. A boulder had hit it squarely in the body.

The manticore’s body was so tough and strong that it managed to withstand the blow, but the impact was unavoidable. The knights and swordsmen who had been flinching at the manticore’s counterattacks wore puzzled expressions.

“What the—?”

But that was just the beginning.

“Retreat!”

Boulder after boulder flew through the air. Johan threw and threw and threw at the fallen manticore. The manticore screamed in pain every time it was hit.

Originally, the best way to defeat the manticore would have been to approach it from behind and blow its head off in one shot. However, unlike the manticore, Johan did not overestimate himself.

He thought that the manticore was also a cunning creature and might notice or suspect something.

That’s why he had found things that could be thrown to inflict damage. If the manticore would not allow him to approach, he had planned to knock it down this way.

‘𝘙𝘰𝘤𝘬𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴.’

The manticore was able to move around even with a spear stuck in its body, so he had chosen rocks. It seemed like a good decision. The manticore was staggering and unable to get up.

“What are you doing? Shoot!”

“S-Sorry!”

The centaurs finally came to their senses and aimed at the manticore’s eyes and mouth. It was unbelievable that these experienced hunters had made such a mistake. But they also had an excuse.

No matter how much better rocks were than spears, where was there a human who would prepare boulders and throw them alone?

Even now, as they drew back their bows, they were still stunned.

“Got it!”

The centaurs roared. Poisoned arrows that smeared venom into manticore’s eyes flew and pierced it. Even though it was resistant to poison, losing its eyes must have greatly weakened it.

Originally, it would not have easily exposed its vital spots, but the shock from the baptism of rocks must have been great since it was still staggering.  

“It’s our chance! It has been weakened! Charge and cut off its breath!”

“Stop this foolishness and retreat!”

One knight either did not hear Johan’s words or heard them but ignored them, turned to the side of the beast with a longsword in hand. His eyes twinkled with greed for honor and achievements. 

𝐒𝐰𝐢𝐬𝐡!

Even while falling and staggering, manticore swung its tail and pierced through the knight’s body. The knight screamed as he coughed up blood and died.  

“Didn’t I tell you to retreat?!”

Only then did the knights seem to regain their senses as they hurriedly retreated. It was as if cold water had been poured on them upon that meaningless death.

“Your Excellency, it is dangerous to approach that creature. . .!”

Even before the words were finished, Johan charged in like an arrow and smashed the bleeding manticore’s head with his warhammer. With a boom, manticore’s body collapsed limply like a puppet whose strings had been cut.

“Check on that fallen knight over there.”  

“He has already passed away.”

“Tch.”  

Johan clicked his tongue as if unsatisfied. He had witnessed a meaningless death.

“It was an honorable death, Your Excellency.”

‘𝘚𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴.’  

“We will mourn his death. Recover the body. The nest of those beasts is not far, go and recover any other bodies.”

Johan did not blame or reprimand the already fallen knight for not obeying orders or listening. His heart wanted to scold these knight b*stards with ‘𝘞𝘩𝘰 𝘵𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘨𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘬𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘭𝘺?’ but. . .

He figured it would be useless anyway no matter what he said. Knights charging recklessly on their own was a chronic problem everywhere.

Johan magnanimously decided to give them credit.  

“This achievement could never have been possible without the dedication of the Order of Knights.” 

“Hey, that’s not…”

“Shut up.”

A clumsy centaur tried to speak but was hit on the back of the head by his companion and fell silent. The prisoners, who seemed to have noticed the situation, suppressed their laughter.

To be honest, it was questionable whether the knights were even necessary, considering Johan’s overwhelming strength. Even if only soldiers had been deployed, the damage would have been slightly reduced, but Johan would have been able to catch it.

However, the knights did not realize that such a silent conversation was taking place.

They were simply moved by Johan’s praise and nodded with intoxicated expressions. The heat of a fierce battle easily intoxicated the knights. They were convinced that they were in a scene from an epic.

“No, Your Excellency. It was possible only because you led us.”

“That’s right.”

“Shut up, I told you.”

Ignoring the whispers of the centaurs, Johan continued.

“I will give credit for the capture of the manticore today to the Order of St. Guntsalva. The body of this manticore will prove for generations to come the achievements of the knights today, so may God bless their bravery!”

“!!”

“Thank you, Your Excellency! Thank you!”

Some knights even made the sign of the cross, overwhelmed with unexpected favor. They had not expected for him to even cede rights over the corpse.

In monster hunting, the monster’s body was the greatest proof of achievement that could only be taken by whoever made the biggest contribution. Nobles would have it taxidermied or painted on tapestry to pass down for generations.  

Despite being able to fully claim it as his own, the count’s gesture of goodwill moved the knights to the point tears welled up in gratitude.  

That count fully understood what true knightly honor was to overflowing extents. He was a foreigner but even the feudal lords of Vynashchtym could not compare in nobility.

“May we take the manticore corpse?”

“. . .Didn’t you say there was hardly anything worthwhile? You’re not saying there actually is something worthwhile now, are you?”

Johan’s expression hardened. He had shown good faith based solely on the centaurs’ words.  

If the centaurs had said ‘𝘖𝘰𝘱𝘴, 𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘣𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘵 𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘴!’ then even for centaurs he would not have let it slide.

“N-No. Only things like the muscles, claws, and tail are somewhat worthwhile for it.”  

“If it’s to that degree then fine. The outer skin I’m giving to the Order is meaningless to me anyway.”  

“And also the head. . .”

“That can’t be helped so make do somehow.”

The most crucial part to boast one’s feat was the outer skin when preserving it for taxidermy. Things inside like the muscles, claws, and tail could be taken by Johan. The Order of Knights would not be so shameless as to be greedy over such things.  

There was no big deal allowing the Order the glory of taxidermy and boasting rights. Johan already had more than plenty.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

It was confirmed that the second manticore’s airway was completely cut off, and a banquet was held to celebrate after the knights’ corpses were recovered.  

In this world, banquets were held for many diverse reasons. To prove one’s authority, to entertain guests, to celebrate happy events, to mourn sad events. . .

The castellan should have come out, but the emperor ignored it. With the emperor acting like that, no one bothered to point it out.  

In fact, compared to killing the monster, the castellan not coming out was no big deal.

“Thank you for speaking well, count.”  

“I just said what had to be said.”

And Johan was surrounded by several people before he could even get to his seat, receiving words of gratitude.  

The prisoners who participated in the raid were able to be released thanks to Johan’s words. They kept bowing their heads repeatedly.

“When you arrive at the capital, you’ll be able to tour that beautiful city, so please be sure to visit the theater.”

“I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity, but understood.”

The mercenaries also came over to express their gratitude. Having heard that the manticore ran wild while they were resting after returning, the mercenaries realized how dangerous the place was where they had stuck their necks in. If not for the count’s mercy and bravery, most of them would have died.  

“If you call, I will lead the mercenaries to participate in battle at any time.”

“And get paid?”

“Money. . . money, well. . . if I don’t get paid my men will try to kill me. . . I’ll scrape together all my assets.”

“I’m joking. It won’t come to that.”  

“T-Thank you, Your Excellency! And since you seem curious about the St. Guntsalva Knights, I brought a mercenary who worked there as a soldier. If you need him. . .”

“Oh. Tell him to come to my tent.”

Only after dealing with those who couldn’t find a seat was Johan able to sit next to the emperor. As the emperor personally poured drinks, he said,  

“You really went through a lot.” 

“I was lucky in many ways.”

“. . .You should be careful of those knight b*stards.”  

The emperor was worried about Johan, who was unfamiliar with Vynashchtym’s customs. That’s how Vynashchtym’s nobles were, not easily accepting outsiders’ achievements.  

“Be careful of the knights?”

“Yes. Now that the manticore b*stard’s been caught, they’ll show their true colors. They’ll try to tear you down out of jealousy.”

“. . .?”  

Johan tilted his head.

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