How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 46

𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐚𝐧’𝐬 𝐂𝐡𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞 (𝟕)

𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐚𝐧’𝐬 𝐂𝐡𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞 (𝟕)

The hostage situation seemed natural, as if it had always been done.

Johan briefly wondered if his aptitude was not for a knight, but for a rogue knight.

A rogue knight who kidnaps passersby on the road and takes them to a fortress to demand a ransom!

“C-Calm down. Sir. Just calm down.”

“We respect your honor! Please calm down!”

The knights nearby panicked and tried to stop Johan. In one hand, Johan held a sharp sword, and in the other, he grasped Stephen’s throat.

But what worried them more than the dire situation was Johan’s monstrous strength.

How could he swing that massive body around so effortlessly? Was that really human strength?

“M-Marcel’s troll slayer!”

One of the knights, witnessing this strength, suddenly recalled and exclaimed. Was the rumor created during the chaotic troll hunt actually true?

“Was the troll slayer from Marcel a knight?!”

“Yes.”

“Calm down and put down your sword! I swear, no revenge will be taken.”

“What about my honor? My honor trampled by that merchant?”

“. . . . . .”

The knights fell silent.

Mercenaries might have ignored and threatened, ‘𝘗𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘥𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘦 𝘬𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘥!’ But these knights, born and trained as such, couldn’t argue against such a statement.

Why be a knight if one doesn’t draw their sword when honor is trampled?

“I came here to keep my promise to Count Jarpen, and I acted without shame in the process. But this noble scorned and mocked my honor.”

“C-Calm down. Please, just calm down.”

As the shortsword inched closer to his neck, Stephen trembled. He was a knight untrained for such situations, lacking the fortitude to handle them bravely.

“I. . . I misjudged you, sir. I apologize for disrespecting your honor. I apologize.”

‘𝘕𝘰!’

One of the knights internally screamed. Apologizing was not right. The moment Stephen apologized, it would confirm that he had insulted Johan’s honor.

Stephen, lacking patience, spoke out when he should have instead insisted it was a misunderstanding.

With the apology, everything from Doris’s assault on Johan to the knight’s claims became true.

“Do you acknowledge that Doris’s wealth and his life are mine as retribution?”

“Yes. I acknowledge it!”

“Good. As payment for his misdeeds, I’ll take his wealth and life, and for my honor, this man’s life.”

“?”

Stephen didn’t understand at first, but the knights grimaced as if they had anticipated this.

A knight who rose up for his tarnished honor wouldn’t just back down, especially after taking Stephen hostage.

“A-Aren’t you afraid of my family?!”

‘𝘋𝘢𝘮𝘯 𝘪𝘵. 𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘸𝘦 𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘶𝘱 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢 𝘧𝘰𝘰𝘭.’

The knights internally lamented.

What use was such a statement?

Even if Countess Abner was a high-ranking noble with a wide fiefdom, outside her own territory, there was little she could do. Even the Emperor had limited power outside his domain, so what could Countess Abner do?

Besides, they were dealing with a knight respected in Marcel. If he fled to Marcel, Countess Abner couldn’t send a pursuit party.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Captain, they are coming again.”

“Is it another envoy?”

Dwarf crossbowmen stationed on the ramparts squinted at the procession of dozens approaching from afar.

“Surely they aren’t foolish enough to attack with that force. Another envoy, perhaps?”

“As if my lord would surrender just like that.”

“I’ve never seen a human as tough as a dwarf before.”

The Dwarf mercenaries held Count Jarpen in high regard. He was timely with pay and had a dwarf-like personality. . .

Thanks to this, the Dwarf mercenaries didn’t waver even when the castle was besieged. Some fearless mercenaries were ready to shoot crossbows and bolt anyone who approached.

The Dwarf captain rushed to the ramparts upon receiving the report.

“Are they newcomers?”

“Perhaps a new envoy sent?”

“No. Go down and inform Count Jarpen.”

The castle gates opened, and an envoy from Count Jarpen’s side emerged. He seemed to be unaware of the situation.

“I am Johan of the Yeats family, invited by Count Jarpen.”

“Ah. . . Sir Johan?!”

As Johan handed over a seal-stamped letter to the envoy, who was surprised after reading it. Johan, a young knight who had distinguished himself in Marcel, was invited by the Count.

But given the current situation in the fiefdom, wasn’t his arrival expected much later?

“Are those in the procession behind you. . . your subordinates?”

The procession was oddly lavish for a knight, as if they had plundered merchant caravans.

“By my rightful claim, I have captured and taken hostage those who attacked and insulted me.”

“I-I see. . .”

The envoy was still unaware of whom Johan had taken as a hostage and asked something more urgent.

“How did you pass through Countess Abner’s army? Did they allow your entry?”

“Yes.”

“????”

How exactly?

Persuaded in the name of the family? Or bribed?

The reason became clear soon after.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

It wasn’t too difficult to get permission to enter the castle. After all, it was just a procession of a few dozen people.

The castle’s inhabitants suspected spies, wondering how they could enter under such impossible circumstances.

━𝐈𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐚 𝐬𝐩𝐲 𝐡𝐢𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦, 𝐨𝐫 𝐡𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐤𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐞𝐝?

━𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐝𝐨 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐝𝐨𝐳𝐞𝐧𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞? 𝐁𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐬, 𝐰𝐞’𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦.

━𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐞𝐱𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐠𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞?

But the suspicion was soon resolved.

An unbelievable hostage was among the group.

“H-Hey, isn’t that Countess Abner’s third son?”

“Yes! You lowlifes. As a son of the Abner family, I demand proper treatment!”

“A-Alright, we will treat you as a guest of the castle.”

Conflicts among nobles were far from brutal combat. It was a battle with long-established customs and rules.

A captured noble had to be treated properly as a hostage until ransom was paid. There were a few exceptions, but violations were rare.

Of course, that was one thing, and the Dwarf mercenaries were quite astonished.

“. . .How on earth was he captured?”

“What? That son of a b*itch?”

The dwarves murmured behind the walls. What foolish thing must one do to get captured by such a large group, as the commander?

Sensing the atmosphere, Stephen became even more irritated. He was aware of his own foolishness.

“Sir Stephen.”

“. . .Count Jarpen, it’s been a while.”

“Yes. It’s regrettable to meet like this.”

A middle-aged man with broad shoulders and scars across his face, clearly a veteran of many battles, emerged wearing armor.

Count Jarpen was a born knight and warrior, with achievements to match. Stephen felt intimidated under his gaze.

“I thought you were leading the siege. What happened here?”

“. . . . . .”

Stephen blushed, unable to respond.

“Since you’ve come to my castle, I’ll treat you as a guest.”

“. . .Thank you, sir.”

“But your fate lies with that young knight, not me.”

“Sir! This is your castle!”

Stephen exclaimed in surprise. It was better to be in Count Jarpen’s hands than in Johan’s. Count Jarpen was at least reasonable.

“Are you, a knight, begging for mercy from the enemy? Maintain your honor.”

At Count’s firm words, Stephen closed his mouth, unable to retort.

“Take him inside.”

After speaking, Count Jarpen looked at Johan, who greeted him respectfully.

“It’s an honor to meet you.”

“No, the honor is mine, meeting a young knight of such renown.”

Count Jarpen smiled, a smile that didn’t quite fit his stern face.

“Would you walk with me? I’d like to show you my castle.”

“Please.”

Count and Johan began walking slowly, followed by knights at a distance.

“Do you know why I called you here?”

“I thought you were seeking a knight for the war, but it seems that’s not the case.”

The condition of the castle was too good for someone seeking a mercenary. The besiegers would have fallen before Count needed to worry.

“Exactly. Why would I, even at a disadvantage, call unknown knights to fight for gold and fiefdom?”

“Then why did you call me?”

“Purely to meet a knight who killed a troll. I was curious if you were as good as they say. I’ve killed a troll in my youth, not alone though.”

Count Jarpen wore a unique leather armor, clearly made from a monster’s hide, a trophy from his own conquest.

“I was curious if you lived up to the rumors, but seeing you now, it seems they were an understatement.”

“You flatter me.”

“No. Modesty is a virtue, but too much modesty doesn’t suit a knight. If you’re too humble, the knights behind you won’t dare to lift their heads.”

The knights looked at Johan with eyes mixed with envy and admiration. The courage to enter enemy territory and capture their leader was an achievement not easily accomplished, even by the bravest of knights.

“Thanks to you, I find myself both grateful and in need of an apology to you.”

“I understand the gratitude, but why the apology?”

“Now, because of this, you have also incurred the wrath of Countess Abner’s court.”

“Of course, I was prepared for that.”

In committing such an act, it was impossible that he hadn’t prepared himself for the enmity it would bring upon his family. He had already braced himself for it.

After all, it wouldn’t matter much if he didn’t go into Countess Abner’s territory.

“It was Countess Abner who first tarnished my honor. For the sake of reclaiming it, I am willing to accept any enmity.”

“Excellent! Truly befitting a knight. Then, the only thing left for me to do is to reward a young knight like you.”

Upon hearing Count Jarpen’s words, Johan struggled to maintain a calm expression.

What else could be the reason for causing such turmoil and meeting the Count, if not for a reward that matched his newfound fame?

“I hear you captured a merchant along with Sir Stephen, but you’re not planning to return with his wealth. I’ll buy it from you for a fair price.”

“No, in fact, I was thinking of presenting it to you.”

“What are you saying? To simply accept the spoils a knight has earned. Do you see me as someone who doesn’t understand honor?”

Count Jarpen seemed infuriated, as if the idea was preposterous. At this, Johan realized that Count Jarpen was more affluent than he had thought.

‘𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵, 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘢 𝘣𝘪𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘭𝘦?’

If he hadn’t had wealth, he wouldn’t have offered to buy it outright. The morale of the mercenaries and the depth of Count Jarpen’s pockets clearly indicated his wealth.

“If I show off by buying goods, then I’m no different from a merchant. Listen, give the knight the finest warhorse in the castle, and a sword and shield made of quality steel.”

Offering a horse and weapons was the most honorable custom to welcome a worthy knight. It was a way to show respect for the knight by presenting these items.

Just this was enough to make his journey here worthwhile. Moreover, the ransoms for Doris and Stephen had yet to be calculated. . .

While Johan was contemplating his merchant-like schemes beneath his knightly facade, Count Jarpen brought up a shocking proposal.

“Have you considered receiving a knighthood ceremony?”


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