How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 50

𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐛𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 (𝟒)

𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐛𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 (𝟒)

Stephen was well aware of who this old man’s mentioned son in the recent article was.

‘The Butcher’ Gerdolf!

A knight of the Highan family, serving Countess Abner, Gerdolf was a brutal and fierce knight, aptly nicknamed ‘The Butcher’.

While not as notorious as Sir Karamaf, known as the ‘Noble Executioner’, Gerdolf was also a knight who had killed many in his career, no different than Countess Abner’s hound.

As Stephen tried to dissuade Johan, Countess Abner was also displeased. Although she would be relieved if Gerdolf overpowered Johan, the aftermath would be too bothersome.

Count Jarpen, known for his admiration of honorable knights, would be furiously enraged, potentially disrupting the recently amicable negotiations. While he might overlook a fiefdom feud, killing an invited knight was an insult no noble would tolerate.

Moreover, Johan was an up-and-coming knight, earning the nickname ‘troll slayer’. If Gerdolf were injured or defeated. . .

It was irritating to see someone trying to boost his family’s honor by picking fights, but now that it had come to this, the Countess could not refuse.

If Johan were to back down, then the Countess would consider it favorably. . .

“How can I refuse a challenge brought to me?”

‘𝘋𝘢𝘮𝘯 𝘪𝘵 𝘢𝘭𝘭.’

In any case, these knights were all infuriating, constantly grating on his nerves.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

‘𝘔𝘢𝘥𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴!’

Stephen watched the fight with a tense expression, annoyed by Johan’s attitude in accepting the challenge despite his advice.

There was a reason he tried to stop the fight with Gerdolf. Gerdolf embodied all the negative traits of a knight.

Cruel, deceitful, and savage.

While some knights were trained in honor and values from a young age, others, like Gerdolf, were bred in blood and slaughter.

If not for Countess Abner, Gerdolf, with his reckless behavior, would have long been hanged.

“Target. Kill. Target. Kill. I. Understood.”

A warrior, seemingly larger than Johan by a head or two, entered with a clumsy manner of speaking. Sir Inno, his father, tried hard to explain the situation, but the warrior seemed to understand less than half of it.

Gerdolf’s savagery was partly due to his low intelligence. Unlike other knights, his brain, incapable of considering consequences, made him more violent.

“Over 2 meters tall.”

Count Jarpen’s knights, familiar with Gerdolf’s name, became very serious. Whispers were heard, wondering how to stop him.

They wanted to intervene, fearing to seem rude to Johan.

“It seems he is not an unbeatable foe.”

Unlike his time in the fiefdom, with growing experience, he could now hear the whispers of his instincts.

How strong is the opponent, can he win, if they fight, how will the opponent attack. . . 

This led to a calm assessment.

Johan wielded a newly received longsword and shield, while Gerdolf, without a shield, held a two-handed sword. The greatsword seemed even larger, likely customized to his size.

Gerdolf’s desire to charge and strike was evident on his face. Johan surveyed him, considering that dragging out the fight might be advantageous given Gerdolf’s impatience.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

𝐂𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐤!

With the sound of bones crushing, Gerdolf howled in pain. The duel was over in a single move.

As Johan lunged into the reach of the greatsword, Gerdolf attempted combat wrestling, thinking he had caught Johan off guard, and Johan counterattacked in kind.

The two knights, confident in their strength, clashed with no finesse at all. . .

And the winner was, of course, Johan.

Gerdolf screamed in pain mixed with surprise, not having expected Johan to be stronger than him.

“My arm, my arm!”

‘𝘋𝘢𝘮𝘯 𝘪𝘵.’

Johan clicked his tongue.

The duel had ended too quickly due to Gerdolf’s brutish attack.

Originally, Johan had planned to exchange sword and shield blows before winning a tense fight. Even if he lost, it would save face for both.

He had just reconciled with the Countess and did not want to tarnish her reputation.

But when Gerdolf attacked with brute force, Johan had no choice but to respond. . .

And that led to the current situation. The people of the House of Countess Abner looked at Gerdolf with very crumpled expressions.

Though Gerdolf was a brutal knight who knew no honor, he had been respected for his continuous victories. Such a man loses all worth the moment he is defeated.

“Hang in there! Rather. . .”

Amidst the noise, Gerdolf’s father shouted. What he meant to say next was clear to everyone: ‘𝘙𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘥𝘪𝘦.’

But Gerdolf stammered out.

“I surrender, I surrender!”

Sighs erupted from all around. Johan released his arm and exclaimed.

“I thank the Countess for giving me the opportunity to duel with an honorable knight! It seems Sir Gerdolf wanted to test my strength in this manner, but had we properly clashed weapons, the outcome of the fight would have been uncertain!”

“. . . . . .”

“. . . . . .”

After a moment of silence, one quick-witted person started clapping and cheering to break the awkward atmosphere.

“Blessings on Sir Johan’s honor! Blessed in the name of God!”

“. . .A fight between honorable knights, well observed. A battle that would please the gods as well.”

Although no one really thought so, no one dared to speak out in front of the Count. Johan sensed the Count’s nod of thanks.

‘𝘉𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴, 𝘥𝘢𝘮𝘯 𝘵𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨.’

Continually weighing every action in front of high nobility was exhausting, even for someone with a body as strong as steel like Johan.

Fortunately, from then on, there was no need for Johan to step forward.

After Gerdolf was carried away, an envoy came out to talk with the Countess and exchange documents.

Johan also received the ransom he was promised.

Two hundred empire gold coins.

A reward well worth the trouble he had gone through.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Count! Ulrike is. . .”

“Ulrike-gong.”

“Yes?”

“You should call her Ulrike-gong.”

“Y-Yes. Ulrike-gong is trying to kill me. . .”

“Evidence? Do you have any evidence?”

“No evidence, but you know, Count. How much Ulrike-gong. . .”

“I have a proposal for you.”

“?”

Stephen’s eyes widened at Countess Abner’s words. What kind of proposal is she making?

“I spoke to the Sharkaz Monastery. They said they would accept you if sent. It will be safe there.”

“. . .!!!”

The Sharkaz Monastery, also known as ‘The Silent Monastery.’ Unlike other monasteries, this secluded one forbade its monks from any social activities.

Once entered, one cannot leave until death.

It was akin to social death.

“Countess, Countess, Countess. . .!”

Stephen trembled. He had heard rumors of disgraced nobles being sent to the Silent Monastery, but never thought it would happen to him.

“If you don’t want to go, you don’t have to. But this is the last chance I can offer you.”

At Countess Abner’s words, Stephen realized.

This failure meant Countess Abner had given up on him!

He had underestimated the situation.

Even familial bonds had limits, especially for a Countess who must lead a house.

“. . .I will think about it and respond.”

“You better decide quickly. For your own good.”

“. . .Yes.”

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

Johan and Count Jarpen’s emissaries were happily intoxicated.

Having completed their mission as emissaries, they were now just enjoying the hospitality before returning.

Countess Abner had served the finest wine and cuisine for the sake of her own reputation, impressing Johan. His refined palate had grown only more demanding over his travels.

“A toast to Sir Johan’s exploits! To the power blessed by the gods!”

“Hahaha! Who knew the knight could trample that butcher!”

The people of Countess Abner’s house entertained the emissaries with smiling faces despite their displeasure. They had to endure, having already made peace.

Victory is always the remedy for injustice.

“Hey, hey!”

“?”

Johan was puzzled when Stephen approached his table. He had already received the ransom, so why return?

“What’s the matter?”

“There’s something urgent I need to discuss!”

━𝐆𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐥.

“Karamaf doesn’t seem interested in listening.”

“Stop joking! It’s good news for you too! I swear!”

Johan’s interest piqued as Stephen insisted.

Had something gone wrong after meeting the Count?

“Alright. Let’s hear it.”

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

“Hmm. . . you’ve had a hard time. Farewell.”

Johan had already bid farewell. Once Stephen entered the monastery, it was likely they would never meet again.

“Don’t make such a dog-like joke! What are you talking about?!”

“So you’re saying you’ll bravely face the sword of Ulrike-gong? Well, that’s not bad either.”

Maybe Johan could, but Stephen was likely to die within a week, so much so that bets could be placed on it.

“Stop the nonsense and listen. I have a fiefdom. It’s a small town, but. . .”

“. . .???”

Johan thought Stephen had gone mad.

“Are you dreaming?”

“Didn’t I say listen? I really have a fiefdom. Technically, it’s not the fiefdom itself, but the right to collect taxes from that fiefdom. . .”

In this world, fiefdoms were usually entangled in complexities. The owner of the fiefdom might be A, managed by B, with the tax rights held by C, and the judicial authority with D. Nobles’ wars often arose over these entangled rights.

If it’s tax rights, it’s the right to collect taxes from the fiefdom. Practically, it was one of the most valuable rights. It was enough to claim ‘𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘺 𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘧𝘥𝘰𝘮’.

“Who gave it to you?”

“Countess Abner. . . in the past.”

“In front of others?”

“No. Secretly. Only one bishop as a witness.”

“. . .Now I see why Ulrike-gong wants to kill you.”

It was a serious statement, not a joke.

Nobles didn’t spare even their own parents and children. It wasn’t rare to see a firstborn wage war against their parents for not receiving their rightful fiefdom.

Even more so when a part of the fiefdom’s tax rights were secretly given to the third child.

If Ulrike knew, it would be serious enough to wage a war against Countess Abner based on this.

“Damn. How would I have known when I received it? I was young then!”

“Anyway, if you have the tax rights, isn’t that good? Just sell them at a suitable place and escape to the city.”

The price of the tax rights of a fiefdom was unimaginably high. With that money, one could settle in the city and live a life of luxury and ease.

“. . .I can’t sell it.”

“Because of pride?”

“No. The current state of that town is a mess. . .”

Stephen said with a mix of frustration. If the state of the town had been decent, he would have sold it long ago.

The number of monsters nearby had increased, and after repeated attacks, the townspeople had fled to the mountains, becoming slash-and-burn farmers.

With no people, there was naturally no tax to be collected.

“I’ll give you the entire tax rights of that fiefdom. Come with me to subdue the monsters of this fiefdom!”

“If you give away all the tax rights of that fiefdom, where will you get your income?”

“. . .I’ll give you half of the fiefdom’s tax rights.”

“. . . . . .”

Johan seriously contemplated whether it was safe to join hands with Stephen.

Teaming up with someone smart enough to deceive him was dangerous, but someone as foolish as this seemed risky in a different way.

“What about the troops? Surely you’re not thinking of making me hire soldiers.”

“. . . . . .”

‘𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘢 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴. 𝘚𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦.’

Stephen, apparently embarrassed by what he heard, blushed and changed his words.

“Y-Yes, I can hire mercenaries with the money I’ve prepared.”

“What about the knights? It would be much easier if we could mobilize the knights. Each would bring a certain number of soldiers too.”

“Are you crazy?! What do you think the knights of the family think of me!”

It would have been better if they despised or disliked him, but they could have been bribed by Ulrike to kill him.

“Then, assuming only the mercenaries participate. . . do I just need to join in person?”

“You caught a troll? Aren’t other monsters easier to catch?”

“It’s not that simple a problem.”

Johan fell into thought.

Anyway, let’s assume we go through this trouble and gain tax rights.

To whom should it be sold for the best profit?

“. . .Selling to Ulrike seems like it would fetch the highest price.”


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