How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 45

𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐚𝐧'𝐬 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬 (𝟔)

𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐚𝐧’𝐬 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬 (𝟔)

While Doris was in despair, Johan moved relentlessly.

There were still things to be done to lead this caravan.

“Call them.”

“Yes.”

The veteran mercenaries and guards, still unaware of the situation.

Unlike the newly hired mercenaries, these had a direct relationship with their employer. If left alone, they might act unpredictably.

“What do you want. . .ugh.”

“I saw the call and came. . .ugh.”

Every time someone entered the tent, Johan mercilessly swung his club, knocking them out. It seemed they hadn’t imagined that a knight would notice first and take Doris hostage.

“Tie them up and lock them inside. Kill them if they try anything funny. Doris, are you ready?”

“. . .Yes. . .”

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

The surprise attack at night ended more quietly than expected.

The only change was that the mercenaries guarding Doris were replaced by the newly arrived knights and their subordinates.

They stuck close to Doris, leaving no room for error.

Astute merchants noticed some mercenaries were missing, but, being shrewd, kept quiet.

The brave mercenaries hired before the journey realized their employer was missing, but, true to their nature, remained silent.

And one more thing.

“This is unexpected. . .”

Johan clicked his tongue.

It turned out that Doris and Johan had the same destination.

Well, slightly different.

Johan’s destination was the fortress in Count Jarpen’s territory where the Count resided. . .

While Doris was heading to the army of Countess Abner, surrounding that fortress.

“They’re really besieging it?”

“Yes. . .”

“Sir Knight. He might be lying. We should interrogate more. . .”

“No need. Thinking about it, a convoy this size would naturally be heading to a stationed army.”

Johan had planned to comfortably lead the caravan into Count Jarpen’s territory and meet the Count, but now they were going to encounter Countess Abner’s army first.

Johan felt things getting more complicated.

‘𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨. . .’

To think that accepting Count Jarpen’s invitation would lead to this situation.

In truth, he could have avoided this trouble by retreating and accepting some damage to his honor. . .

But now that things had come this far, he had no intention of backing down.

He was determined to gain something from this!

“Sir. . . Sir Knight. If you stop here, I swear to God I won’t seek revenge. . .”

“You were planning to?”

“N-No, it’s not like that.”

Before Johan could say anything, the mercenaries silenced him. Doris silently screamed in frustration, his mouth gagged.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

Near the Boson Castle, over a thousand troops were deployed. Not all of them were well-armed soldiers, of course. If that were the case, Countess Abner would have gone bankrupt long ago.

There were about two to three hundred soldiers, the rest were a collection of mercenaries and hastily conscripted serfs, along with other non-visionary combatants.

Of course, this was still a considerable force. . .

But it was woefully insufficient to take down a prepared castle.

No, in this era, conquering a prepared castle was nearly impossible.

An era where defensive strategies overwhelmingly outweighed offensive ones!

The easiest and best strategy for the attackers was simply to besiege. They would seize the surrounding villages and farmlands, surround the castle, and just wait, hoping for it to collapse from within.

Absurd, but this was the most realistic approach.

What if the defenders still didn’t crumble?

Then it was the attackers who ended up collapsing first.

“I heard another deserter appeared last night. What are you doing!”

A young nobleman was furiously yelling inside a tent. It was Stephen, the third son of Countess Abner.

In an Empire where the eldest inherited everything, the younger siblings had to find their own paths. Being completely neglected like Johan was rare; usually, they were somehow guided.

For Stephen, being granted a knighthood and sent to the military was the Countess’s way of taking care.

The problem was that Stephen had hardly received any knightly training!

Without proper training, just going through a ceremony and declaring ‘𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘢 𝘬𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵’ didn’t suddenly endow him with abilities.

It was the subordinates who suffered.

“Sorry, sir.”

“I don’t need your apologies! Just take down that castle now!”

The faces of the knights and mercenary captains were grim.

Count Jarpen had dealt with the situation with annoying wisdom.

Rather than fighting with pride outside, he gathered all the resources, took his elite troops, and retreated inside the castle.

The moat under the castle was deep, the walls were solid, and the inside was stocked with supplies. The soldiers guarding the walls were well-trained elites.

A frontal attack seemed like a sure way to get everyone killed.

‘𝘐𝘧 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘳, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘧𝘦𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮.’

To pay the troops, they needed to capture the castle or catch the Count to extort money.

In such a situation, there was no way to get money.

The soldiers were being prioritized for payments, but it was only a matter of time before the funds ran out.

“Sir! The merchants have arrived. The merchant wants to greet and speak with you!”

“Ah, good. Let them in!”

Stephen’s face brightened, and so did everyone else’s. Amidst the frustration, this was welcome news.

The arrival of new merchants in the camp boosted the soldiers’ morale. Forget about wages, once people eat, drink, and enjoy themselves, discontent tends to disappear.

Additionally, it pressured those inside the castle.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Leave your weapons before entering.”

“I didn’t bring any in the first place.”

Johan confidently surrendered his body for inspection, proving he had no weapons. The guards nodded in satisfaction.

“Enter. And don’t forget to behave in front of the commander.”

“I. . . I understand.”

If the guard had been more observant, he might have noticed how unusually pale Doris was. But he didn’t.

‘𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵. . . 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘰?’

Doris shivered internally, staring at Johan, clueless about his intentions. There was only one thing he knew.

Whatever Johan was plotting, if he failed, it was highly likely he would die too!

‘𝘎𝘰𝘥, 𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦. . . 𝘐𝘧 𝘐 𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯, 𝘐’𝘭𝘭 𝘥𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘢 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘳𝘥, 𝘯𝘰, 𝘢 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘮𝘺 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶.’

“It is an honor to meet you, Stephen-nim.”

“Yes. Why did you want to see me?”

Stephen looked at Doris with anticipation. When the head merchant requested a meeting with the commander, there were already expectations.

Suitable bribes and customs.

“Actually, it’s. . .”

“Sorry, but let me speak first. I am Johan of the Yeats family.”

“?”

Stephen frowned. A knight dastard from an unknown family suddenly stepping forward was displeasing.

“So? Want to earn merits under me? I don’t accept just anyone.”

“It’s not about that. I was invited by Count Jarpen and was heading to his territory. Accepting a noble’s invitation is a knight’s honor. But this merchant tried to ambush me.”

“. . . . . .”

Stephen didn’t understand, but nearby knights and mercenary captains immediately grasped the situation.

‘𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘵 *𝘴𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘦. . .’

‘𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘮𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘩, 𝘢𝘵 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘥𝘰 𝘪𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘭𝘺. 𝘞𝘩𝘰 𝘨𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘰𝘵 𝘢 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘵?’

The idea was to take the merchant as a hostage and claim allegiance to Count Jarpen, but it backfired.

“I captured this merchant and acquired legitimate rights granted by God over what he had. So please allow me to enter Count Jarpen’s castle with this man’s belongings.”

━𝐀𝐛𝐬𝐨𝐥𝐮𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐧𝐨𝐭.

One of the mercenary captains signaled with his eyes. Regardless of how much Doris had, allowing these resources into a besieged castle was absurd.

“No. We’re at war. We can’t allow supplies to go to the enemy.”

“I understand. Then buy my share of goods. I’ll go to Count Jarpen empty-handed.”

This was an acceptable proposal. The siege wasn’t about a fight to the death with the Count, but rather to make him surrender and ransom him. Allowing one knight to meet him was no issue.

The problem was. . .

━𝐍𝐨.

Their current financial situation was dire. They could hardly afford to buy the goods from Doris, let alone spare any funds.

“No. Our weakness might be exposed to Count Jarpen.”

“If that’s not possible, I’ll return with the property.”

“No. That’s not possible. I can’t believe that a merchant attacked you in the first place. Who’s to say you didn’t attack the merchant and capture him?”

As he spoke, Stephen gestured with his eyes. It was a signal for Doris to speak up. If Doris insisted it was true now, Johan would be cornered.

However, Doris said nothing.

‘𝘚𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢 𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘱𝘪𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘰𝘭?’

The fact that a merchant could be so foolish. Stephen didn’t realize that Doris was too scared and confused to think straight.

“I swear on my knightly honor and in the name of God, I have not lied. Are you now trusting a mere merchant’s word over a knight?”

“This merchant is an honorable merchant licensed by Countess Abner. Compared to him, you are an unknown knight. I cannot trust your words, so when this is over, go to Countess Abner’s domain and protest. If you want, I’ll let you stand trial in the name of a knight. Meanwhile, I’ll hold onto the property and the merchant. 

You have one day to leave the camp.”

Stephen’s words were met with nods from the mercenary captains and knights.

It went surprisingly well than expected.

Having given the naive knight an escape route, the knight, frustrated and wronged, had no choice but to leave empty-handed.

Even if he goes to Countess Abner’s domain later and demands a trial, such an unknown knight had no chance of winning.

“You have insulted my honor.”

“Careful with your words, knave. Your honor is not equal to mine, and my decisions are above your honor. Be thankful that I am sparing your life out of respect for your honor.”

Johan lifted his head. This tedious dialogue was all to build a pretext.

Attacking Stephen outright at night would have made Johan no better than a rogue knight, but by asserting his rights and building a pretext this way, it was a different story.

Everyone present was probably thinking that Johan had a point. They just wouldn’t acknowledge it for practical gains.

𝐓𝐡𝐮𝐝!

“Huh?”

Johan threw Doris to the left and then hoisted the nearest mercenary captain on his right, swinging him around. The giant figure whirled quickly, causing a mess around.

“W-What are you doing. . .!”

A shocked knight drew his sword. Unlike the mercenaries, knights could carry swords inside the tent. Johan didn’t hesitate to swing the mercenary captain.

𝐓𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐩!

The knight couldn’t bring himself to thrust his sword and was struck instead. Johan continued to whirl the mercenary captain around like a windmill, clearing a path. Stephen, who should have been escaping, was stunned and stared at Johan with his sword drawn.

“Move! Sir!”

Realizing what Johan was up to, a knight screamed, but by then, Johan had already thrown the mercenary captain and reached Stephen. Stephen swung his sword, but Johan dodged and grabbed Stephen’s neck, twisting his hand to disarm him.

“Say it again. Sir. What about my honor?”


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