How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 51

𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐛𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 (𝟓)

𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐛𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 (𝟓)

Price was a factor, but it seemed like the option with the least repercussions.

Johan realized this while watching the Jarpen and Abner families fight.

‘𝘐𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦’𝘴 𝘯𝘰 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦’𝘴 𝘯𝘰 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺.’

Even in a favorable position, the Jarpen family extended their hand first.

The reason was simple.

If they weren’t planning to fight to the death with the Abner family, they had to work together anyway.

Countess Abner, despite feeling bitter and angry, accepted the proposal immediately.

Nobles sometimes fight to the death, but such ‘trivial’ disputes were different. Regardless of win or loss, they had to respect each other’s pride to some extent.

Imagine handling matters well and gaining tax rights. The moment you sell it to someone else, it would eventually reach Ulrike’s ears.

At that moment, Ulrike would grasp the situation and explode with anger.

“. . .So the first one to sell to should be Ulrike-gong.”

“What kind of nonsense is that?! Why would Ulrike buy that!”

Stephen was shocked.

Even if Johan was overly confident, he couldn’t force Ulrike’s twisted personality to change with power.

“She won’t buy it!”

“Why?”

“Because Ulrike dislikes me! She won’t listen to my proposal.”

“Apart from disliking, Ulrike-gong knows how to see reality.”

‘𝘚𝘰, 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘴𝘢𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘐 𝘤𝘢𝘯’𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺?!’

“If the rights to a fiefdom will complicate things by going to others, she’ll compromise. Am I wrong?”

“Ugh.”

Stephen couldn’t argue. It made sense when put that way.

“Unless it’s a trade guild, selling it to another nearby feudal lord would give Ulrike a real headache.”

“Hey, that’s a bit. . .”

Even as a member of the Abner family, Stephen was flustered. That was a bit too much.

“This is how negotiations are done. Got it? Of course, I don’t want to sell it off like that and create hostility, but. . .”

“So, are you going to negotiate now?”

“No. This is just a scenario if things go well. Trying to negotiate with something that doesn’t exist yet will only lead to mockery. In the worst case, it might even cause interference.”

“That’s true. Good point. . .”

Stephen mumbled, then looking at Johan, he said,

“But it’s really good to have a knight like you. I can’t trust the other knight dastards of the family at all.”

“I haven’t agreed to do it yet.”

“What?!”

“Bring the map. I’ll decide after hearing the details.”

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸      

Ultimately, Johan accepted Stephen’s proposal.

‘𝘕𝘰𝘵 𝘢 𝘣𝘢𝘥 𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘧𝘥𝘰𝘮.’

Although Stephen said it was a small town, that was by Stephen’s standards; it was actually quite a large town. Being over a few hundred in population was considered large.

“Anyway, this map is really. . .”

The maps of this era were terrible. Johan sometimes wondered if he was looking at a map or scribbles.

“𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘹 𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘣𝘢𝘥 𝘦𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳.”

Having followed Priest Valberga in managing the fiefdom’s taxes and population registry, Johan had useful experience in this area. Stephen, who was without a scribe or priest, looked at Johan reading the documents alone with amazement.

‘𝘐𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘥𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘥, 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘥𝘦 𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘯𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘣𝘺 𝘧𝘪𝘦𝘧𝘥𝘰𝘮𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺, 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘭𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺. . . 𝘕𝘰, 𝘐 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘱 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦.’

Having never owned a fiefdom, Johan had developed a habit of contemplating how to develop any fiefdom that came into his hands. If it was something Johan could do, others would have tried it a few times as well.

What Johan was facing now was not a future matter but an immediate subjugation.

‘𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘣𝘫𝘶𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴, 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘦𝘥. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘢 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘨𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘶𝘱 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥.’

It was a common occurrence.

If the monsters were defeated and peace returned to the area, it was fortunate, but if not, the fight had to continue. From the employer’s perspective, weighing options was inevitable.

Mercenaries cost money from the moment they are hired.

In a situation with no end in sight, pouring money into it rather than withdrawing could be more beneficial.

But Johan was different.

“It would have been easier if it was just one strong monster causing the failure. This seems easy but is actually difficult.”

Still, Johan decided to go ahead with it.

A significant factor was that all the money would come from Stephen’s pocket.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸      

Countess Abner looked at Johan and Stephen as if amazed.

“Although I granted privilege out of respect for honor. . .”

Countess Abner felt a headache coming on at the sight of the knight who brought a strange plan after seeking reconciliation.

‘𝘕𝘰. 𝘛𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘨𝘶𝘺 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦.’

Johan is an outsider. It was unlikely that he would have led such a plan. The cause was clearly Stephen.

A last desperate attempt to avoid going to the monastery!

It was both annoying and pitiful.

Still, she was the most cherished child in her youth. . .

“Heincut town has failed thrice in subjugation. Some priests say the land is cursed, as it’s infested with monsters. Do we really need to hire mercenaries and ensure its subjugation?”

“Yes. Please trust and leave it to me. I have already agreed with Sir Johan.”

‘𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘚𝘵𝘦𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘯.’

Sincerity was felt in those recent words. ‘𝘑𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦, 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺.’ Of course, Stephen didn’t notice at all.

“There will be no support from the family. Do not ask for any help if the mercenaries’ wages are delayed.”

“I am doing this to elevate my honor! How could I ask the family for help!”

Stephen exclaimed, pounding his chest. It was a knightly attitude, but no one in the room took him seriously.

‘𝘍𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨.’

‘𝘑𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘴𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘴’𝘴 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺.’

‘𝘑𝘰𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘮𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘢 𝘴𝘬𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘬𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘚𝘵𝘦𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘯? 𝘜𝘯𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘵 𝘶𝘱 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯.’

“. . .If anyone here wishes to join this honorable expedition, speak now. I will consider it.”

Silence followed Countess’s words. It signified their unwillingness to get involved in trouble with Stephen.

“Countess, please give me and my son a chance!”

“Sir Inno. Is Sir Gerdolf fully recovered?”

“He wasn’t injured at all! Give us a chance, and we will redeem ourselves.”

“Granted.”

‘𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘉𝘶𝘵𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘳’ 𝘎𝘦𝘳𝘥𝘰𝘭𝘧 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘧𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳, 𝘢 𝘬𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵, 𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘥 𝘶𝘱. 𝘙𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘜𝘭𝘳𝘪𝘬𝘦-𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘨’𝘴 𝘰𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘯𝘰 𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘫𝘰𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘸𝘢𝘴𝘩 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘯𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘴𝘶𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵’𝘴 𝘧𝘢𝘷𝘰𝘳.

For them, with neither a noteworthy fiefdom nor family, The Countess was the only reliable entity.

‘𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘊𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘚𝘵𝘦𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘯.’

Johan clicked his tongue at the Countess’s effort to include and help the knight. Nobility’s rule might be heartless and tearless, but as humans, it’s not always possible to be that way.

“With the Butcher. . . Cough. Sorry. I should have stopped it.”

“. . .What nonsense are you talking about?”

“???”

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸      

Nearly two hundred mercenaries were hired. Considering Stephen’s finances, it would be a disaster if the campaign wasn’t concluded within half a year.

Count Jarpen’s emissaries, particularly the knights, regretted not participating in Johan’s expedition. It was thanks to Johan’s reputation and connections.

━𝐒𝐢𝐫, 𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐨𝐫 𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐤𝐧𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐨 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐚 𝐤𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭’𝐬 𝐝𝐮𝐭𝐲. 𝐃𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐲 𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐨 𝐥𝐨𝐧𝐠. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠.

Count Jarpen might understand, but he couldn’t be kept waiting for too long. For both Johan and Stephen, time was of the essence.

“So that’s why you called me?”

“Yes, Suetlg-nim.”

“You’re undervaluing a wizard’s worth.”

“How can I equate friendship with gold?”

Suetlg looked incredulous at Johan’s easygoing response.

“This monster hunt desperately needs your experienced advice, Suetlg-nim.”

“. . .You seem to think my magical secrets are akin to a hunter’s experience, but I assure you they’re not.”

If you want to know how to deal with a monster hunt, summon an experienced hunter or a mercenary captain. It’s like using a catapult to hunt goblins.

But Johan, undeterred, asked, 

“What do you think is the reason for the endless appearance of monsters?”

“There are various reasons. . . maybe we haven’t found the breeding dens. Creatures like goblins, known for their fertility, often do this. They’re adept at hiding their dens. Though different, ghouls are also troublesome if their source isn’t found, continually rising from the dead.”

“Ghouls? How do they usually come about?”

“Well, everyone says something different. . . I think they emerge when a corpse with a strong grudge is buried improperly, but priests believe they arise from committing sacrilege. . . I’m not sure. It’s not my area of expertise. What else could there be? Ah. In the case of clever monsters, some flee when the hunters arrive and then return. 

Beasts as clever as wolves you’re asking about are good at detecting human presence. If the hunt has failed a few times, there should be records of what kind of creatures appeared.”

“Mostly goblins. Apparently, they’re particularly clever and even control boars.”

“Those pests are surprisingly skilled in that regard.”

Suetlg clicked his tongue. Goblins, being monsters, were inherently brutal and cruel, but that didn’t necessarily mean they were stupid. Depending on the tribe, there were plenty of clever ones.

“Now that I think about it, there’s one more possibility.”

“What is it?”

“Mercenaries pretending to work, failing to hunt, and then embezzling the money. It’s surprisingly common.”

“Looking at the Countess, anyone doing that would have met a gruesome end.”

“You know well. Indeed, Countess Abner is famous. Once, she hanged a group of mercenary captains.”

“. . . . . .”

Johan was relieved to meet Countess Abner as a knight, not a mercenary.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸      

“No, captain. You’ve received such a large sum of money and still not resting? You keep working.”

“When did I tell you to come? If you want to rest, go and rest.”

“How can I be absent where the captain goes?”

The mercenaries grumbled but their faces were very bright.

Thanks to Goran and Khan’s choice, they had earned several years’ worth of salary at once.

At first, when they heard that Goran and Khan were involved in a complicated matter, they were horrified.

━𝐀𝐡, 𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧! 𝐀𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐜𝐫𝐚𝐳𝐲? 𝐓𝐨 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐯𝐨𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐚 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠!

━𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐝𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐩𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐫. 𝐊𝐡𝐚𝐧?!

Such reactions changed to the opposite after the reward they received upon arriving at Count Jarpen’s territory.

━𝐀𝐬 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐨𝐩 𝐢𝐬 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭.

━𝐇𝐞𝐡𝐞, 𝐈’𝐯𝐞 𝐧𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐝𝐨𝐮𝐛𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐌𝐫. 𝐊𝐡𝐚𝐧. . .

The soldiers currently escorting Johan in the punitive force were the mercenaries they had hired when they left the city.

It was much more reliable than hiring new mercenaries.

When they heard about the punitive mission, the mercenaries unanimously decided.

They wanted to follow this fortunate employer and earn even bigger!

Who would be crazy enough to step back from such a golden opportunity to rest? The same went for Goran’s mercenary group.

“Stop! We rest here today. Summon one sub-captain each!”

“Is that Heincut town over there?”

“Seems like it. It’s gloomy.”

“All abandoned towns are gloomy.”

The punitive force set up camp a little away from the town. It was risky to enter the monster-infested town, especially as the sun was setting.

“Please give my son a chance, Sir Stephen.”

“. . .You’re asking for a chance for your own son, what do you think, Sir Johan?”

“. . . . . .”

Although Inno brought it up himself, he regretted participating here with Gerdolf, wondering if it was a mistake.

It’s hard to find a knight as unreliable as that!


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