How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 32

𝐈𝐭 𝐖𝐚𝐬 𝐖𝐚𝐫𝐦 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐘𝐞𝐚𝐫 (𝟔)

𝐈𝐭 𝐖𝐚𝐬 𝐖𝐚𝐫𝐦 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐘𝐞𝐚𝐫 (𝟔)

“Let’s go together.”

“Will you be alright?”

“In what sense do you ask?”

“I’m asking if you’re okay with going on a punitive expedition.”

Johan was also perceptive.

After agreeing to cooperate with the company, the fact that they were calling him following the failure of the punitive expedition meant that there was use for a knight.

It seemed that he would cooperate with the punitive expedition in the name of the company.

“Do I look like it’s my first time in a punitive force? I can take care of myself. Since I prophesied it, I should take responsibility.”

In the courtyard, Suetlg’s slave had finished preparing for departure. Geoffrey, with equal speed, quickly saddled a horse. It seemed he felt a sense of urgency because of the slaves under Suetlg’s command.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

The city of Marcel was run by an elected magistrate and other members of the council. Here, the council members were not ordinary city citizens but rather powerful people━composed of the city’s guilds and nobility.

Iaon, the branch manager of the company, was naturally a member of the council.

This meant that he naturally had to participate in the response to the failure of the punitive expedition.

However, Iaon was relaxed. He had prepared after hearing Suetlg’s prophecy. He had stockpiled goods that would increase in price due to road blockages and had mercenaries ready. Fortunately, it wasn’t him who had recommended the failed mercenary group.

In this situation, there was nothing to lose and only gain. It was the happiest time for a merchant.

━𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐎𝐚𝐤 𝐓𝐫𝐞𝐞 𝐌𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐆𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐩, 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧’𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮! 𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐡𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐦𝐞𝐧 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐝𝐮𝐞 𝐚 𝐛𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐮𝐞𝐬!

━𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐫𝐮𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐮𝐞𝐬. 𝐈𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬𝐧’𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐧𝐬𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐮𝐞𝐬 𝐮𝐧𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐡𝐞’𝐬 𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐝.

━𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐦 𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧. 𝐌𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐥 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐚 𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐮𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. 𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭.

━𝐖𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐮𝐩 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐚 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧! 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐝, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐚𝐥𝐭 𝐢𝐬𝐧’𝐭 𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡.

━𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞’𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐧.

━𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐣𝐨𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐧𝐨𝐰? 𝐖𝐡𝐨 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐜𝐨𝐬𝐭?

━𝐄𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡! 𝐀𝐬 𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞, 𝐈 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐩𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. 𝐈𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐮𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐮𝐞𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐞𝐝. 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐥 𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐦𝐨𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐨𝐩𝐬 𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐞𝐝. 𝐈 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐞𝐯𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐛𝐲 𝐩𝐚𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐚𝐱.

Upon hearing the magistrate’s words, the council members nodded. Whether they liked it or not, they agreed with the magistrate. The matter had to be resolved quickly.

Council members who had hoped to escape by paying the defense tax pursed their lips. The magistrate had preemptively blocked this route.

Hiring mediocre people was easy, but not for this situation. Considering the magistrate’s dignity, they had to hire proper mercenaries.

Iaon took this opportunity to start his business.

━𝐊𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐚 𝐌𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐆𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐲 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠. 𝐖𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧 𝐮𝐬?

━𝐎𝐡, 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭?

━𝐎𝐟 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞.

Paying the defense tax and escaping was not an option, but joining forces with other council members to hire mercenaries was acceptable. Iaon charged a considerable sum to a few council members and included their names.

━𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐡𝐢𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐊𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐚 𝐌𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐆𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝?

━𝐃𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐟 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬.

━. . .!

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“As you instructed, Sir Johan. The three were sold as laborers. And Gamson was executed.”

Johan nodded. The three men caught from the town were of no concern, but Gamson was the one who had led the operation directly. A definite punishment was necessary.

Gamson, beaten by the mercenaries, was executed in the name of the company before he could regain consciousness.

Johan accepted a purse offered by Iaon.

“It wasn’t necessary to reward those mercenaries. . . but as per your instruction, Sir Johan, I shared some silver with them.”

“One is rewarded by God for having a merciful heart.”

“. . . . . .”

As Johan made a joking remark, Iaon’s expression became subtle while Suetlg beside them found it absurd. What use was such talk in front of a merchant?

“Mercy? Do you not know that woman’s blood was golden?”

“It was just a joke.”

“Don’t joke with someone who can’t take it.”

While the two bantered, Iaon cleared his throat to draw attention.

“Sir Johan. You said you wouldn’t mind fighting under the company’s flag. Do you still stand by that decision?”

“Yes.”

“A force is being assembled in the city to hunt down a group of rogues. We plan to hire mercenaries and join. Please participate with us.”

Johan nodded. He had been prepared for this from the beginning.

Iaon, with a tense expression, swallowed and spoke. This next request was a bit daunting for her.

“And. . . we would like you to follow the command of our mercenary captain.”

“I will do so.”

“. . .?”

Iaon was momentarily startled then regained his composure. He was taken aback by how easily Johan agreed.

A knight from a noble family would not easily accept the command of a mercenary, no matter the circumstance. It was a matter of knightly pride.

But Johan had accepted it too easily. To Iaon, Johan’s calm expression started to feel like a mask worn by an enigmatic creature.

“Are you sure that’s alright? It’s unusual for a knight to follow a mercenary’s command.”

“If one receives something, one must give something in return. I’ve decided to think about pride later.”

‘. . .𝘏𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘢 𝘴𝘤𝘳𝘪𝘣𝘦 𝘰𝘳 𝘢 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘺, 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢 𝘬𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵.’

Suetlg thought disdainfully of the people of Johan’s former household. To train such a man as a knight. Well, it must have been due to his size. . .

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

The dwarves of the Dwarf Mountains were a beloved race of mercenaries due to their sturdy and robust physiques, along with their race’s characteristic stubbornness.

One such group was the <𝐂𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐈𝐫𝐨𝐧 𝐌𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐲>, a band of dwarf mercenaries under the Katana Merchant Guild. For this expedition, five units of ten dwarfs each and a Captain of a hundred men had arrived in Marcel.

Johan looked at the dwarves with wonder. Their appearance, with shields large enough to cover half their bodies and carrying huge axes on their backs, seemed like small, solid walls in motion.

“I am Captain Kumal. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sir Johan.”

A burly dwarf with a long, braided red beard greeted him respectfully. He had heard about Johan before arriving.

━𝐀 𝐤𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐮𝐬.

━𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐡 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐫, 𝐢𝐭’𝐬 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐧𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐞-𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐧 𝐤𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭.

━𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐤𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐣𝐨𝐢𝐧.

━. . .?

The branch manager, not one to speak idly, agreed to this, but as a Captain, he couldn’t help but be concerned.

“I look forward to working with you.”

“Sir Johan! Please speak freely.”

“Won’t that undermine your authority in front of your subordinates?”

“My men won’t doubt my authority just because the knight speaks casually. In fact, it makes me more uncomfortable.”

“Then let it be so.”

At Johan’s words, the dwarf nodded in bewilderment. He had worried about a clash of egos, but this was beyond his expectations.

“I Count on you, Suetlg-nim.”

“Yes, I’m counting on you too.”

Johan and Suetlg joined the dwarves. Meanwhile, mercenaries began gathering at a camping site near the city.

City guards and newly hired mercenaries would be the main force of this expedition. The force was approximately eight hundred strong, qualitatively much better than the previous Oak Tree Mercenary Group.

Moreover, the calamity society’s preparations were far from over.

“St. Iena Holy Knights’ Order, and St. Galanto Holy Knights’ Order. . .!”

Geoffrey exclaimed in surprise upon seeing the flags of the arriving paladins.

The Holy Knights’ Order, a group of devotees who, instead of living in seclusion, took up arms to fulfill the will of their deity.

Strictly speaking, they were not noble-born knights but devotees, yet no one underestimated them. The paladins, honing their skills within the monastery, were as formidable as well-trained knights.

“Are they famous?”

“Yes, milord. Both are renowned orders in this region. The St. Iena Holy Knights’ Order notably defeated a troll.”

About twenty female devotees arrived, followed by thirty male devotees. St. Iena Holy Knights’ Order comprised only women, while St. Galanto Holy Knights’ Order admitted only men.

They exchanged greetings with a flicker of motion and then took their places in an orderly fashion on opposite sides. The noisy mercenaries fell silent and hesitant in the presence of the Holy Knights’ Order.

“They look competent in both arms and skills.”

“They are unmounted. Nothing much compared to you, master. Hehe.”

Geoffrey was desperately flattering, driven by his anxiety.

Already needing to prove his worth, Geoffrey found himself stuck at Suetlg’s mansion when Johan was there. The servants at Suetlg’s mansion left Geoffrey with no opportunity to act.

“Skill is not determined by the presence of a horse.”

“Ah. Yes.”

Geoffrey despaired, feeling he had made another misstep.

‘𝘈𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘦, 𝘐’𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘰𝘧𝘧 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘭𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘳. . . 𝘖𝘩 𝘎𝘰𝘥. . .’

Oblivious to Geoffrey’s desperate heart, Johan surveyed the paladins. They were not mounted but were well-armed, a stark contrast to the mercenaries who were merely wrapped in leather armor with a few chains.

“Look, the knights are coming.”

“From the monastery again?”

“No. Knights like yourself.”

Suetlg pointed in the opposite direction. A group of about thirty, bearing a family crest, was approaching. Identifying the knights was easy; the three in front were heavily armed and mounted, while the others lightly armed and carrying baggage, leading the horses.

‘𝘛𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘦𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴.’

“Sent by Count Bartok, it seems.”

“Why would the Count send them to a city that’s not his?”

“Why indeed?”

Suetlg drew a circle indifferently. It meant that sending knights under one’s command cost money, so the Count must have struck a significant deal with the city.

Unlike the monastery knights, these approached the fiefdom slowly and showily. It was quite irritating. Watching them, Johan thought,

‘𝘞𝘢𝘪𝘵. . . 𝘸𝘩𝘰’𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘥?’

City guards’ Captain, leaders of the mercenaries, Holy Knights’ Order, real knights. . .

The command structure was already making him dizzy.

“What’s wrong?”

“I was thinking about who will command all these gathered.”

“Worrying about trivial things. The mercenaries will follow their Captain, the Holy Knights’ Order will manage themselves, and the knights will take care of themselves.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier if the command structure was unified?”

“Wouldn’t it be convenient to fly in the sky? Why don’t you fly?”

“. . . . . .”

“Don’t worry. The enemies will be just as disjointed.”

Suetlg was unfazed by the disorganized nature of the gathered groups. It was normal for him.

From Johan’s perspective, however, such chaos was unprecedented. An army should have a more orderly command structure. . .

‘𝘈𝘩 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭, 𝘐 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘥𝘰 𝘮𝘺 𝘫𝘰𝘣.’

Kill if seen, chase if fled, and stop if commanded.

Johan planned to work only as much as he was paid for in this campaign. Four Empire silver coins a day seemed fair enough.


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