How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 4

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐝 (𝟒)

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐝 (𝟒)

“I feel filled with light when I think of your excellency watching.”

Johan said so and grumbled to himself.

Helping Valberga was not out of faith in God, nor was it to win Valberga’s favor. If the church here had been a bit bigger and more substantial, Johan might have tried to win some favor.

But the church here was small and humble, befitting the size of the estate. The only priest available was Valberga. This Valberga had to take on all the miscellaneous tasks of the estate, from baptism to mass, blessings, etc. There were some errand boys and servants to help, but Priest Valberga was the type to do as much of the work given by God himself.

It was best for Johan to learn while helping out, as there would be problems if Johan said, ‘Quit the estate job and teach me first.’

‘He’s a decent person, but I’m not going to be a priest or enter a monastery. . .’

priest Valberga was a pure priest who believed solely in God without any particular ties to the church. There wasn’t much he could do for Johan.

The reason Johan wanted to help was to learn literature.

If he learned the most difficult ‘ancient imperial language’ used by scholars and clergy on the continent or the elves of the Catalian Peninsula, ‘Holy Empire language’ or ‘Erlans Kingdom language’ was easy. They all had quite a few similarities.

Not many people knew how to write and read. Not only the serfs, but also the nobles. There was a lot of thinking like, ‘Why should I learn when I can hire someone who knows the letters.’

Those who could write and read were the clergy who had to read the scriptures of the church or the merchants of the city! Here, priest Valberga was the most educated person in the estate.

‘𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘷𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘐 𝘣𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘰𝘯 𝘌𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩.’

The religion was not much different in the Holy Empire. Our God, who is light and sun, is one, wants faith, the pope is the highest, so pay tithes. . .

Sometimes a great priest shows a miracle, but Johan didn’t have much faith. It seemed hard to believe until he saw it with his own eyes.

Rather, the letters he taught like this felt more amazing.

‘𝘐𝘧 𝘐 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘢 𝘩𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘨𝘦, 𝘐 𝘸𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦.’

Learning was a good thing. As you learn, fear disappears and confidence arises.

Knowing how to write and read the ancient imperial language, and moreover, Johan was proficient in calculations. The mathematical ability of a modern person who can do calculus was not common in this world. Valberga admired Johan’s talent given by God when he did the calculations necessary for estate management.

At first, when he was praised for doing some mental arithmetic, Johan thought, ‘𝘈𝘮 𝘐 𝘥𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘐’𝘮 𝘢 𝘬𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵’𝘴 𝘴𝘰𝘯?’ But soon he was able to realize the reason.

They didn’t use Arabic numerals here. Johan was shocked.

━𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐞𝐝 𝐃𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐬. . .!

In the ancient Empire, they used to calculate in a primitive way, writing one by one like I, II, III, without any zeros to align the digits. It was a mess and mistakes were common. Even now, it’s unbelievable when you think about it.

‘𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘥, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘦.’

The more abilities Johan has that others don’t, the easier it will be for him to survive.

Johan planned to scrape together whatever assets he had and head to a city with a port once Lord Aitz died. He thought there would be many places to work in a city with a port.

Whether using his body or his mind. . .

‘𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵?’

Walking from the church to the feudal lord’s office, Johan felt something was off. There was a prickling sensation on the back of his neck.

‘𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘩!’

He didn’t expect anyone to be lying in wait for him here, so his reaction was slow. Johan quickly tensed up and looked around.

“Impressive! You noticed.”

“. . .You’re not a wanderer.”

“I am a wanderer. I just didn’t come here for sightseeing. The way of the world is that things are not as they seem. Even though you’re the son of a pig, you’re like a lion.”

The old man stroked his chin and hesitated before opening his mouth.

“. . .Can I ask you something? This might be a bit rude. . .”

In this situation, throwing out such a question left Johan speechless. And it made him curious. What question would an old man, who was bold enough to lie in wait and ambush him in the dark evening, ask?

“What is it?”

“Are you really Lord Aitz’s son? No matter how I think about it, you seem different.”

“. . .Well, it’s possible for a lion to be born under a pig.”

At Johan’s words, Kaegal opened his mouth wide. And then he started laughing like a madman.

“Hahaha! Hahaha!”

“What’s so funny?”

“I never dreamed you’d answer like that!”

If he were the son of a knight, he would have charged in anger at the insult to his father and his family. Kaegal had expected Johan to do so.

But Johan casually brushed off the insult.

‘𝘐 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘪𝘵! 𝘐 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘪𝘵!’

It felt like the witch’s prophecy was coming true. Kaegal felt his heart pounding. He wanted to pass on his skills to the young man in front of him.

But he couldn’t just pass them on without any conditions.

Kaegal started to think. He had planned to subdue Johan when he attacked and then talk. . .

“So what’s your purpose? Just so you know, I don’t have anything. If you want to take some silver coins, it would be better to aim for the feudal lord’s office over there where the light is on.”

“Every word you say hits the mark. But I didn’t come here to collect silver coins. I have enough of those.”

At those words, Johan’s eyes sparkled.

“I came here to take a disciple.”

“A. . . disciple?”

Johan asked as if he found it strange.

“Yes. I am Kaegal, one of the masters of <𝐕𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐍𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐬>. Have you heard of me?”

“. . .I think I’ve heard of it.”

Johan had heard of it before. When a minstrel visited the feudatory, he sang about the great knight Sir Karamaf tearing apart the cowardly assassins from ‘Venom of Nessus’.

Assassin’s Guild!

“Knowing that, this conversation will be easier. You must learn from me. There’s no other choice.”

While speaking, Kaegal carefully observed Johan.

Naturally, someone raised in a knight’s family would first refuse to learn from a master of a dirty, unofficial guild.

But Kaegal had no intention of accepting a refusal.

He was determined to make him his disciple!

The old man saw little chance of finding another disciple as fitting as Johan. He was resolute to make him a disciple today, by any means necessary.

‘If he refuses, I’ll threaten his and his family’s lives to make him swear to learn as my disciple.’

A vow was sacred, and as a knight, he had no choice but to keep it, even if it was made under duress in a life-threatening situation.

That’s what knights were like.

Johan hesitated before speaking.

“Uh. . .”

“?”

“How much do I have to pay?”

“. . .What?”

And the words that came out of Johan’s mouth were completely beyond expectation.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

Johan was flabbergasted.

A master had come to teach him swordsmanship.

What had he eaten wrong?

Or was it because Johan had lived so diligently that God was finally blessing him?

Of course, that wasn’t the case. Johan asked cautiously,

“How much do I have to pay?”

“. . .What?”

“You won’t teach me without any compensation. . .”

“Hahahaha!”

Kaegal laughed until tears came out. The wrinkles on his face deepened.

When was the last time he laughed like this? He felt like he had never laughed as much as he did today.

“Do you think I’m a swordsmanship teacher? You’re really not Aitz’s son!”

“I am his son.”

“Say it again. Learning from me, one of the <𝐕𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐍𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐬> masters, means learning the swordsmanship of an assassin, not the honor of a knight. If a knight who knows honor sees this, he will despise you, and if a priest of the church sees you, he will curse you. Are you still ready to learn?”

“Where is good and evil in strength? When making a sword, do you make it by hammering steel, or do you decide who to kill and who to protect? Swordsmanship is just swordsmanship, it’s important who uses it. . . Wait. If I learn swordsmanship, do I have to join <𝐕𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐍𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐬>?”

“No. You can live without caring about <𝐕𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐍𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐬>. You just have to keep my swordsmanship from being interrupted.”

“Then I’m ready anytime.”

“. . .God is fair even to those who don’t believe. Follow me! I’ll teach you.”

Kaegal felt a surge of vitality in his body with joy. He realized that Johan sincerely regarded him as a teacher.

The son of a knight’s family respects such an assassin as a teacher. It was something he had never dreamed of.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Have you ever learned swordsmanship?”

“No.”

“Try to lift it comfortably and naturally.”

Johan lifted the sword towards his left shoulder.

“Left-handed. Left-handers can make good assassins.”

“I have no intention of assassinating.”

“That’s what you say. And who knows whether you’ll have to assassinate someone in your life? I didn’t decide to be an assassin from a young age either.”

Kaegal scanned Johan’s body. It was a terrifyingly well-built body. He didn’t need any training before giving him a sword.

“Swordsmanship is not difficult. Once you understand the basics, the rest is practice and proficiency. The problem is whether you can understand that basic. Most people swing their swords all their lives without understanding it.”

“What is the basic?”

“Raise your sword, touching your opponent. His sword does not touch yours. That’s it.”

Johan made a subtle expression. It was really basic.

“There are as many swordsmanship in the Empire as there are stars. You can’t know and respond to all of them. But if you understand, you can see what you’re trying to do just by looking at the opponent’s actions. So. . . understand!”

With his words, Kaegal cut the tree. Even in the dark where only the moonlight was visible, the sword light flashed. The falling leaves were pierced and fell one by one.

“Of course, I don’t expect you to master it right away. This kind of thing takes time. Don’t worry. I have plenty of time, so I’ll hammer it into your body.”

“Thank you for your warm words.”

“Don’t flatter me, use a stab. Show me your actions.”

Johan took the same action as Kaegal just did. And he stabbed. The air was torn and a cool wind blew. It was as fast as a flash. It was dark, but it felt like it was bright for a moment.

“. . .again.”

Johan stabbed again. Kaegal was astonished.

It was perfect.

To the point where there was no need to point out.

“Let’s move on to the next.”

“Huh? Aren’t you looking?”

“Let’s move on to the next. Do this too.”

Kaegal showed a technique called <𝐒𝐧𝐚𝐤𝐞’𝐬 𝐓𝐨𝐧𝐠𝐮𝐞> in the guild. At first glance, it looks like a normal diagonal cut, but it’s a brutal technique that targets the neck and face while coming down on the opponent’s weapon.


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