How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 20.2

𝐊𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭, 𝐌𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐭, 𝐌𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲, 𝐒𝐥𝐚𝐯𝐞 (𝟓)

“Goran.”

“Mr. Khan. What’s the matter?”

“The newcomer is a bigger mess than I thought.”

“Is it that bad?”

Goran frowned. Khan had known Goran for quite some time and didn’t take his words lightly.

“I want to get rid of him. He seems like he could cause trouble if left alone.”

“Hmm. . . It’s a bit difficult right now. Eldans would not like it. It’s a time when even one person is needed.”

“Didn’t you see the fight earlier? When a fight broke out, he ran away and then sneakily came back.”

“I saw it. But even if we have to punish him, it should be done in the city, not before the work is finished. It would only tarnish our reputation. It’s better to monitor him until we return and then deal with him afterwards.”

“Damn it. Let’s do that. Where did you find such a guy. . . Next time bring someone experienced. No matter how cheap they are.”

“Understood.”

Fortunately, no more fights occurred after that. Two days later, the group was able to reach Rutzbeck.

“It’s Rutzbeck!”

‘𝘔𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘈𝘪𝘵𝘻 𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘧𝘥𝘰𝘮.’

“Can we go in right away?”

“It’s fine. I know the village chief and many of the villagers.”

The Aitz fiefdom, where a feudal lord like a knight lived and governed directly, was an exception. Usually, nobles didn’t live in their fiefdoms. They sent representatives to collect taxes when due.

In such cases, the town’s villagers managed things among themselves. The village chief, elected from among the wealthy serfs, handled major and minor matters, managing the town. Though it might seem trivial to modern eyes, for merchants, being on good terms with the village chief was crucial. Any issues with the chief could complicate matters.

“Have you been here before?”

“I have. They make quite good beer.”

Khan replied. Johan laughed.

“I like the sound of that. Anything else?”

“It’s better not to eat the food from the inn. Ask the brewery to bring something for you. Just give them a coin, and they’ll bring something decent along with the beer.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks.”

Johan said this and entered the town. The townspeople tensed up at the different atmosphere presented by the mercenaries. Murmurs were heard.

━𝐈𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚 𝐤𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭?

━𝐖𝐚𝐥𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬. . . 𝐈𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚 𝐰𝐚𝐫 𝐧𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐛𝐲?

━𝐇𝐞’𝐬 𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐠.

Though they tried to whisper, Johan heard everything. He shrugged his shoulders and tied his horse in the stable. As he entered the inn, the innkeeper hurried out.

“Welcome!”

In Aitz’s fiefdom, the innkeeper was unfriendly. To be precise, he was often absent. He had another job as his livelihood and only went to the inn to collect money when travelers came. He didn’t care much about them, so he was rude.

But here in Rutzbeck, the inn was decent enough. The innkeeper didn’t show any surprise when he saw a foreigner.

“Are you by chance a Sir Knight?”

“Johan of the Yeats family. More importantly, have knights ever visited here?”

“Occasionally, yes. Shouldn’t you, a knight, also stay?”

If he were a noble with money and power, he might rent a house from the village chief or choose a pleasing one in the town, but as a mere wandering knight, he had no choice but to stay at an inn.

“Last year, a few knights did stop by. They were here to participate in the tournament. Are you interested in the tournament as well, sir?”

“No. I am just passing through.”

Johan handed over half a coin of the Empire’s currency along with his horse. It was enough for lodging.

“If you wish to have a meal. . .”

“I’m fine without a meal.”

At Johan’s words, the innkeeper’s face was tinged with disappointment, evidently hoping to charge more.

Entering his room, Johan collapsed onto the bed. It wasn’t very soft, but it was enough. He hadn’t properly relaxed since escaping from the fiefdom.

‘𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘰𝘳 𝘪𝘴 𝘭𝘰𝘤𝘬𝘦𝘥. . . 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘢𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘢 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦.’

“I’ll think about the future plans after a good sleep,” thought Johan, as he closed his eyes and drifted into sleep.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Is that knight really so extraordinary?”

“Ah, indeed he is.”

Upon hearing Eldans’ words, village chief Atanka wore a disbelieving expression.

“I’ve never seen a decent person among wandering knights. Those who came last year were a mess too. Brimming with arrogance, those without a family name. . . Do you know what happened to them?”

“Were they beaten and driven away?”

“Yes. I tried to tolerate it, but they just crossed the line.”

Real nobility would have restrained themselves for fear of consequences, but a family-less wanderer knight was neither noble nor anything else. Just a mercenary proclaiming himself a knight.

Such men, thinking too highly of themselves, demanded the village chief’s house, free food and drink, and women, pushing the town’s patience to its limits.

Aitz’s fiefdom only had a few slaves, servants, and family members as soldiers, but Rutzbeck was different. It had its own militia. The town’s spirited youth, toughened by farming, overwhelmed the untrained wandering mercenaries.

“This man is different. He comes from a genuine knight’s family. And his skills are exceptional too.”

It was common for knights from noble families to be strong, but it was rare for someone as young as Johan to be so accomplished. Eldans thought it only possible with talent and rigorous training.

“Really? Why is he wandering alone then?”

It was unusual for nobility, even younger sons, to travel alone. It wouldn’t be strange to have a servant or two. Even self-proclaimed mercenary knights brought followers, calling them servants.

“There must be circumstances within his family.”

Whether a declining or a fallen family. Eldans implied subtly, and the village chief understood immediately. There was no need to openly criticize nobility in their absence.

Where there are no tigers, foxes reign. In places not directly governed by nobility, the village chief’s authority was significant.

However, this was only within the village. Even a mere official sent by a noble could make the village chief fawn obsequiously. The chief was well aware of his position. Political acumen was essential to be the chief of such a large town.


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