How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 43

𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐚𝐧'𝐬 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞 (𝟒)

𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐚𝐧’𝐬 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞 (𝟒)

There were two ways a noble could influence those beneath them.

One was to bestow generously in a manner befitting a noble.

And the other was to walk in step with the commoners despite being of noble status, thereby impressing them.

Johan was a knight who knew how to use both methods, not that he particularly intended to. . .

“So what happened?”

“What do you mean what happened! They dropped whatever they had looted and ran. They would’ve been killed on the spot if they got caught by the feudal lord’s heavily armed troops returning.”

At the campsite, the mercenaries were fond of Johan’s solid attitude, eating the coarse food with them and joining their conversations. What surprised them most was how a knight who fought so fiercely in battle could be so unpretentious.

“How in the world are you so strong, Sir Knight?”

“Hey, don’t speak irreverently. He must have been trained from a young age, how can you even say that?”

The training of knights was rigorous. Young nobles from various places sweated from morning till night under the steward’s command in the castle, and in some areas, external talents came to assist in their training.

They learned not only swordsmanship but also archery, horseback riding, swimming, hunting, playing chess, reciting poetry━and could even advance to rhetoric, arithmetic, and astronomy━developing both externally and internally into complete knights.

Of course, this was the story of knights training under high nobles with proper fiefdoms. Johan’s case was different.

So-called accelerated warrior training!

“I’m thinking of trying out the fencing guild, even if I can’t become a Sir Knight.”

“Weren’t you saying it’s a waste of money before?”

“Well, it seems that the ones who learned really do fight better.”

The fencing guild was an organization established with the city’s permission, where swordsmen gathered. Officially, it was for teaching swordsmanship and self-defense to good citizens, but many mercenaries and vagrants also knocked on their doors.

If you go further down the sinister path, it becomes an assassins guild like Kaegal, lurking with assassins.

“I saw a swordsman from St. Johnson’s regiment the other day. He was just a trainee, but he fought really well. He wasn’t pushed back even in a 1:2 fight.”

“Aren’t trainees the lowest rank?”

“That’s what I’m saying. If a trainee is that good, how well does a master fight?”

Johan listened with interest as he sprinkled powder around. It was a mix of herbs he learned from hunter Joseph, used to repel insects and snakes.

“Eh, Sir Knight. Have you ever met the eastern patrolmen?”

“?”

The eastern patrolmen.

The east of the Holy Empire was a wild land beyond the reach of the Empire’s influence. The Empire’s nobles wanted to subjugate the tribes there and become new feudal lords.

Naturally, battles were inevitable, and in the process, experienced warriors emerged in the east.

One of them was the eastern patrolmen.

Composed of experienced hunters, they freely roamed the eastern wilderness, dispatching monsters and warning of enemy invasions.

“What are you talking about?”

“The powder you just used, isn’t that what the eastern patrolmen use? I once saved a life and learned how to mix it.”

“. . .!”

Johan was surprised at these words.

Was Joseph originally from the eastern patrolmen?

Hearing this, it strangely made sense. Indeed, Joseph was too skilled to be just a rural hunter.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Sir Knight, there is a problem.”

A mercenary who had returned from scouting with Karamaf said with a troubled expression.

“Why? Are more mercenaries coming?”

“No. Merchants are coming.”

Not just a few merchants with carts, but a large caravan of merchants was heading this way. There seemed to be well over two hundred of them.

A large procession mixed with merchants, mercenaries, porters, jesters, nurses, laundresses, prostitutes, minstrels, gamblers, and travelers!

“Looks like they’re going for business.”

“Yes.”

These merchants followed the army, supplying various goods and conveniences. In practice, they were the ones responsible for logistics.

And there was only one reason for them to appear in such a place.

“It’s not a band of rogues, so is it right to wake up the mercenaries and move now?”

“It does seem so.”

Rest is essential during a journey, so unless facing a threatening army, there was no need to pack up and move again.

“But they will be concerned about us as well. Sir Knight.”

“Are you saying I should go and talk to them myself?”

“. . .Yes.”

The mercenary spoke cautiously. It was nerve-wracking to suggest to an employer to ‘go and negotiate personally,’ especially if that employer was a knight capable of beheading a troll with a single stroke.

Johan smirked.

“No need to worry about that. Speak freely. Let’s go.”

It was better to talk to them before the procession came too close. Johan, donning his armor and surcoat, headed towards the merchants’ caravan with a few mercenaries.

It was already dark, but the large number of people made the caravan visible from afar due to its lights.

“Halt! Identify yourselves!”

“I am Johan of the Yeats family. The warriors behind me are mercenaries employed in the name of the Marcel’s Katana Merchant Guild. And who are you?”

“We are mercenaries hired by Doris-nim. Doris-nim has a stamped permit, so I’d advise against any rash actions.”

The mercenaries were on guard, unsure of the size of Johan’s forces. Such a large group wouldn’t dare provoke deserters, but there were always crazies around.

“Foolish men. What are you doing to a Sir Knight of honor? Stop.”

Then, a portly man bellowed from behind. It was clear at a glance that he was Doris, dressed in fine silk and adorned with rings.

“Johan of the Yeats family, the renowned troll slayer of Marcel? Sir Knight?”

“That’s right.”

“Thanks be to the gods! To meet such a distinguished Sir Knight in a place like this. Allow me to offer you hospitality! Hey, what are you all doing? Lower your weapons!”

The mercenaries, who had their weapons raised, awkwardly lowered them. They were flustered as their employer acted in such a way, but what could they do? They had to follow orders.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

Goran, yawning with Khan, trudged forward. He was fatigued from checking the dark forest in various ways.

“Recon complete. Nothing ahead.”

“Good work. Go and rest.”

Although Goran was a captain leading his own mercenary group, that was only when they moved by themselves. When involved in larger convoys, there were higher-ranking mercenary captains in command.

Of course, it wasn’t a matter of dissatisfaction. As a mercenary, one couldn’t always be a captain. Being paid on time and not being used as cannon fodder was enough satisfaction.

“What’s that? Do we have a guest?”

Goran wondered as the tent where the employer stayed became noisy. A mercenary beside him spoke in a languid voice.

“They say he’s entertaining Sir Knight.”

“Sir Knight?”

“The knight who killed the troll in Marcel. Heard of him?”

“!”

Goran and Khan exchanged glances. They obviously knew, having traveled together.

They didn’t participate in the troll subjugation, having received ample rewards to rest in the city, but they had watched the victory parade from a distance.

“If you eat and drink like that, something might trickle down to us, right?”

“Oh? Ah, right.”

Goran nodded. While the top indulged in luxury, leftovers often fell below, but that wasn’t the issue now.

“Mr. Khan. We need to go greet him, right?”

“Don’t bother. Sir Johan may be approachable, but it doesn’t mean trouble won’t find us. Wait a minute. Goran. What are those guys doing?”

Khan pointed towards the tent. The most senior mercenaries were loitering near the employer as usual.

“What do you mean?”

“Are your eyes just for show? Why are some mercenaries heavily armed in the middle of the campsite?”

“!”

That did seem odd. Usually, guards would be lightly armed, patrolling the area, but these mercenaries were unusually fully armed.

“. . .What are they doing?”

“Stay put. I’ll go and find out.”

Khan, an experienced mercenary, was adept in these matters. He took a bottle of wine and walked forward, chatting with the mercenaries near the tent before returning.

“Those guys. . .”

“?”

“Seem to be planning to ambush the knight.”

“. . .?!”

Surprised by the unexpected news, Goran was shocked.

“W-Why would they do that?”

“How would I know?”

“Should we tell someone?”

“Hmm. . .”

Usually, they would have asked, ‘𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘥𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵?’ But this time was different. They could receive a reward for helping. Besides, both owed Johan a favor.

“Maybe we could subtly inform him.”

“Would that be okay?”

“Why, would you not do it if I said no?”

“Must you say it like that now? Damn.”

Goran looked around. It was clear who the group led by Johan was. Because the mercenaries he hadn’t seen before were mingling with others. They seemed quite experienced, refusing offers of drinks, but if the knight were captured, such caution would be futile.

“What if I interject over there?”

“It’s unclear when and how to speak, and even if I do, I’m not sure it’ll be conveyed properly. If a mercenary suddenly goes to that tent, Doris might get suspicious, right?”

“Then how do we deliver the message?”

“Give a bottle of wine and a silver coin.”

“What??”

“A bottle of wine and a silver coin. Then, I’ll show you some magic.”

“Well. . . I get the wine, but the silver coin. . .”

“If you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to.”

“Ah, damn it. What if we don’t get rewarded for this?”

“Goran. If I knew you were this clever, I would have retired from being a mercenary long ago.”

Khan chuckled as he collected the wine and silver coin. Despite everything, his reason for sticking with Goran for so long was because of his personality.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Such a magnificent wolf! Its name is Karamaf, even more impressive.”

━𝐆𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐥.

“Sorry about that. This creature has a bad temper.”

Karamaf growled and showed clear dislike whenever Doris came close. The wolf’s mood seemed to rub off on Johan, making him feel unnecessarily wary.

“Of course, a beast’s nature is foul! Sir Knight. Tell us how you caught the troll. I heard there were knights from the Belemen and Diore families there too! Oh, what are you doing! Sir Knight’s cup is empty!”

Doris urged the slaves beside him to refill Johan’s cup whenever it emptied. The poorly clothed slaves rubbed against each other as they poured the wine. The smell was strong, but Johan’s expression remained unchanged.

After moistening his lips with a sip, Johan discreetly poured the rest onto the ground. There was no poison, but he didn’t want to get drunk in front of this merchant.

‘𝘞𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘷𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦?’

Rejecting a host’s hospitality was almost like insulting them. He had accepted it, not wanting to make more enemies on a journey through hostile territory. . .

But being in the heart of the enemy’s land, if this merchant had ulterior motives, was concerning.

Yet, he couldn’t make the first move either. Karamaf’s dislike for this merchant could simply be due to the merchant’s greedy nature.

All he could do now was to stay alert while accepting the hospitality.

“Sir Knight!! Do you recognize me!!”

“??” 

At that moment, an old, slightly drunk mercenary pushed through the tent flap. It was Khan.


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