How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 40

𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐚𝐧'𝐬 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬 (𝟏)

𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐚𝐧’𝐬 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬 (𝟏)

The elf knights adeptly rode their horses, responding arrogantly to the cheers. They took these acclamations and celebrations for granted and considered them a source of pride.

These knights were fundamentally different from Johan, who was calculating in his head how much profit he had made from this expedition!

“Basic allowance, plus for being active, plus for distinction in battle, and of course, extra for the troll’s body, which is quite valuable, and the ransom for Baron Einbeck. . . quite a haul.”

The profit was so substantial that Johan couldn’t help but smile. Meanwhile, the elf knights were receiving gifts from the noblewomen and praising Johan.

“If it weren’t for this honorable knight here, I would have surely perished.”

“Hmm? Oh. Right.”

“A round of applause for the knight who knows honor! The praise he duly deserves!”

The elf knights firmly impressed Johan’s name upon the city nobles. It was different from just hearing about it through a captain’s report; publicly praising him in such a setting had a different impact.

With this, Johan was no longer seen as a knight who had just lucked into a feat coming from the Empire, but as a knight of skill and honor, endorsed by other knights.

The expedition turned out to be an overly profitable venture.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Was it something you aimed for?”

“Yes?”

“Just curious. About you saving the elf knights.”

After the victory parade, they rested at the mansion. While Johan was full of energy, Suetlg was weak from the effects of magic. Geoffrey, Johan’s slave, seemed to attend more to Suetlg.

‘But why don’t the wizard’s slaves do anything?’

Geoffrey didn’t know that the slaves were too afraid of the wizard to lay a hand on him. Had he known the full story, he would never have dared to intervene.

“Those arrogant elves were completely smitten. Even a girl in love wouldn’t act like that.”

“Who thinks about that, your Excellency? I just did it because I had to, considering what I’ve received.”

“If you didn’t do it with an ulterior motive, that’s impressive in itself. Wait. Is that perfume oil? What do you plan to use it for?”

“I’ll give it to Ibelka.”

“Who is Ibelka?”

“The maid who serves me.”

Suetlg was taken aback by Johan’s words.

“You’re not misunderstanding something, are you, your Excellency? That maid probably had a lover before you came and will find a new one soon after you leave. She’s different from a lady.”

Young men often mistakenly believe that once they’ve had intimate relations, the other person becomes theirs. But with someone who isn’t serious, such a mistake would only lead to embarrassment.

Moreover, a knight rising in honor had nothing to gain from a love feud over a maid.

“I know that, but?”

“. . .You know? Then why give the gift?”

“Suetlg, sir, do you think gifts are only given in deep relationships? You can just give them. And Ibelka has been very helpful in many ways.”

“That help wouldn’t happen to be of a certain. . . intimate nature, would it?”

“. . .What nonsense. . . I was talking about the rumors of the city. After all, I haven’t been in this city for long. Ibelka has many connections, so it’s easy to hear various rumors. Of course, as a maid affiliated with a trading company, there is a need to be discreet, but being treated nicely like this does make one’s lips a bit looser, doesn’t it?”

“. . .!!”

Suetlg was truly surprised by Johan’s words. He thought Johan was just a young, hot-blooded knight, but his way of thinking (your Excellency) seemed like that of a seasoned noble.

It was rare among knights to think like this (your Excellency). Usually, if one focuses solely on knightly training in a castle from a young age, their mindset tends to become rigid in that direction.

“Were you playing around with such thoughts from the beginning?”

“Playing around? Someone might misunderstand with such words. . . It’s just a by-product of doing something else. Giving a gift isn’t harmful, after all.”

“You always manage to surprise me. I’m not usually someone who gets surprised so often. . . Have you heard of the saying about the courage of a lion and the cunning of a fox?”

“What is that?”

“It’s a virtue a king should have. Being brave yet cunning. It’s rare to find someone possessing both qualities. Most knights usually have the former.”

“That’s certainly true.”

“But you seem to have a talent for both.”

“. . .I’m not cunning, though.”

“No, you definitely have the talent.”

Although it was a compliment, it oddly felt like an insult. Johan nodded with a bittersweet expression.

“You’ll do well even at the banquet hosted by the magistrate. I was a bit worried, actually.”

“I’ve looked into it, and it doesn’t seem to be a situation to be too concerned about, right?”

“At an event where even mercenary captains and monks are invited, you don’t have to worry much about formalities. Minor mistakes won’t matter. However, you should be cautious for other reasons. A young, talented knight with a weak background who has recently accomplished a feat. Who wouldn’t be tempted?”

“. . . . . .”

Johan was suddenly alert at Suetlg’s words. Indeed, it was a valid point. Johan’s position was still unstable, making him an easy target for exploitation.

“It would be fortunate if they regard you highly and make an offer, but such good fortune is rare in this world, especially among city nobles. Be very alert, and think deeply (your Excellency) about any offers you receive.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. I was already digging into some people to watch out for in Ibelka, but I’ll have to inquire more deeply.”

“. . .I guess I didn’t need to say it after all.”

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

Strictly speaking, the city nobility were not actually nobles. Those in power in the city could have been wealthy commoners, guild leaders, or even mercenary captains who had earned military glory.

However, in cities without a feudal lord, these individuals behaved like nobles and essentially received the same treatment as nobles.

The magistrate and the city council were central figures among these city nobles and also ruled the city. Although they were democratically elected, in reality, it was a system driven by money and power. Therefore, the magistrate and his family could be considered equivalent to a feudal lord and his family in the city.

“Dark elves. . . are they also from a noble family?”

Observing a middle-aged dark elf man, Johan thought to himself.

The lineage of elves and dark elves itself signified nobility in Erlans. Even without a fiefdom or title, they were treated as prestigious bloodlines.

Unlike human nobles of the Empire like Johan, who had to prove themselves through accent and demeanor, it was much easier and straightforward for the elves. No wonder elves were genuinely treated as ‘blue-blooded’.

“I offer my thanks for the conquest, and I dedicate this glory to the gods.”

“Thanks be to the gods!”

The banquet was definitely informal and comfortable. Even the mercenary captains who had performed special feats were seated at the end of the long table, obviously delighted and proud to be invited to such an event.

Johan reaffirmed his resolve as he reflected on the status of those seated around him.

“Come on, it’s a happy occasion. Aren’t you drinking too little? Here, drink freely.”

An elf knight from the Bellemen family generously filled Johan’s glass with wine. The most relaxed individuals at this event were probably these elf knights.

Having completed the conquest, now all that was left was to return to the Count and receive praise. . .

Still, having these individuals seated next to him made it easier for an outsider like Johan to chat freely. There was also an unexpected benefit.

“Sir Johan, I’ve heard about your troll hunt. To achieve such a feat at your age is truly remarkable. There’s a noble I’m deeply indebted to whose fiefdom is plagued by a cockatrice. What do you say? Are you interested in adding another illustrious achievement to your already shining honor?”

“Ha! If you want to catch a cockatrice, you should call insane paladins or hunters. That’s not a task for a noble knight! How disrespectful to suggest such a filthy and troublesome task to Sir Johan!”

The elf knights loudly clinked their glasses, causing wine to splash out. They were clearly tipsy, and in this city, they lacked nothing and spoke boldly, regardless of whether the other party was a city noble or someone else.

From Johan’s perspective, this was frankly refreshing!

“No, it was just a suggestion. I thought Sir Johan might be interested. . .”

“Interested? Do you think we don’t know how tedious and disgusting it is to catch a cockatrice? What do you take a knight’s honor for? Always these people cooped up in their rooms, fiddling with jewels!”

“. . . . . .”

The person who brought up the topic blushed and backed away. After such incidents occurred a few times, no one dared to make any more frivolous suggestions.

“Sir Johan. I speak of this because my nephew is of the right age and truly a good child. I think he might be suitable for you. . .”

“How many nephews do you have, Lord Morens? Didn’t you just send off one to marriage recently? Did her husband pass away since, or did you adopt a new daughter-in-law? No, this is a matter that needs clarity. Unless the girl comes from a decent background, surely you wouldn’t have picked up a street orphan and dressed her up, right? I remember hearing something about this. . .”

“These crazy fools.”

It seemed the elf knights had drunk enough wine to lose all restraint, hurling insults without a second thought.

Johan, indifferent, watched as those insulted turned red-faced and cursed the knights. They were truly reckless, not from this city.

“Indeed, the offers I received today were all quite peculiar.”

As Johan drank, he pondered over the proposals of the day. Most were attempts to exploit his abilities for a cheap deal.

Compared to these offers, the contract with the trading company felt generous.

Fame was important, but not enough. Without a solid background, one was prone to be swarmed by wild dogs like this.

“Sir Johan?”

“?”

“Your Excellency wishes to see you in private.”

“. . . . . .”

Thus, the proposal at the end of the banquet took Johan by surprise.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

Magistrate Vilaco, a solitary and inscrutable man, perhaps more so for being a dark elf.

“Do you know why you have been summoned alone, sir?”

“?”

Johan was intrigued by the magistrate’s direct approach, usually starting with formalities.

“You called me here to ask something that can’t be discussed in the presence of others, didn’t you?”

“What do you think that might be, Your Excellency?”

“Is it about the Emperor?”

The magistrate beamed with pleasure at Johan’s guess.

“Exactly. So, will you stand with the Emperor, or against him?”

“I am under the banner of the trading company and will follow their will.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, sir. Why would someone bite the hand that feeds them? No knight thinks of spending a lifetime with a trading company. It’s just a matter of convenience.”

“Are you dissatisfied with my allegiance to the trading company?”

“Look, sir. While the Katana Merchant Guild is a strong part of the city, honestly, if the Emperor offers more, they would side with him. I don’t trust such people easily.”


Image description Styled Links Random Banner
Advertisement

Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Options

not work with dark mode
Reset