How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 53

𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐛𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 (𝟕)

𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐛𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 (𝟕)

“Indeed. . .! I did not expect there to be so many with the divine power bestowed by God!”

The monks were very pleased. To think that they would meet Marcel’s troll slayer in such a place.

The rumors of this world spread differently according to the class. Among the nobles, the commoners, the mercenaries, and the monks.

These rumors spread surprisingly fast and were also the only means for people to gather information.

“How did you hear about my story?”

“We heard it from the warriors of the monastic order who participated in the subjugation. It’s clear that God has guided us.”

‘𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘺 𝘧𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘭𝘺.’

Johan felt ambivalence towards the monks’ attitude. It was good that strangers were not hostile, but being too friendly was also disconcerting.

It seemed like they were treating Johan as if he were a leading monk or priest of their own.

“Do these monks know Sir Knight?”

“It doesn’t seem like it?”

The mercenaries who followed Johan were also murmuring in surprise.

Ordinarily, knights and monks, that is, the Church, were not close.

Politically, they were allies, but ideologically, they were complete opposites.

Knights pursued honor, ventured into battlefields, defeated enemies, and plundered gold. Although they professed faith, they rarely gave back to the real weak, the serfs. The Church frowned upon duels and tournaments that knights enjoyed.

Naturally, the Church and knights often clashed. One of the most common tasks of priests assigned to fiefdoms was to follow and preach to knights.

Of course, it was rare for knights to listen. For a knight, piety was merely a convenient ornament to elevate their honor.

But now, the monks’ attitude was as friendly as if they were dealing with a famous priest.

‘𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘮𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨. . .’

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

Johan led the monks outside. They couldn’t spend the night in a town where such a fight had occurred.

“Did the Bishop of Mohsho send you?”

“No, he didn’t send us. The bishop spoke to us, and we decided to come on our own accord.”

Mohsho was a fiefdom located to the west of Abner and Count Jarpen’s territory.

And it was a fiefdom of the Erlans Kingdom.

The Bishop of Mohsho, though governed by a bishop who was also a Count , remained a vassal and feudal lord of King Erlans.

Surprised, Johan asked Suetlg.

“Is it okay for a feudal lord to send people to another’s fiefdom like this?”

“Of course not. I know what kind of person the Bishop of Mohsho is. A man firmly armed with piety.”

“Then?”

“Hearing about the suffering of the serfs nearby, he must have sent armed monks without informing the Countess.”

“. . .”

Sending people for the serfs who had fled under Countess Abner’s rule was quite a risky move.

A feudal lord is like a king in his own fiefdom. Interfering in someone else’s fiefdom is naturally. . .

Knowing this, they acted without notifying the Count .

“These folks don’t seem very scared. . .”

“What would monks know about politics? Their only faith is in God, what else would they fear?”

Suetlg clicked his tongue. He wasn’t irreligious, but couldn’t compare to a monk.

The church’s monotheistic faith had a generous and lenient God, but those who believed in that faith weren’t always so. Suetlg found the zealotism shown by the monks and paladins disturbing, even if they came with good intentions this time.

“We must arrest them immediately, Sir! How dare they act without the Countess’s permission!”

Inno reacted vehemently. He was angered that the monks had acted without informing the Countess.

“What do you think?”

“Imprisoning them seems right, but you’ll be the one getting all the blame.”

“I was thinking the same.”

Imprisoning the monks, who came to do good deeds, would only bring criticism to Johan. Moreover, the monks’ attitude seemed oddly familiar, as if Johan’s reputation had been somewhat. . . distorted.

“Have you ever been involved with the monastic order?”

“Do I look like that sort of person to you?”

“Well. . .”

Suetlg was immediately convinced. Johan felt somewhat annoyed.

“We came to hunt monsters, we can’t imprison faithful monks. Let’s cooperate until the job is done.”

“But Sir. . .”

“I don’t have the right to punish them, do I? I’ll report to the Countess later.”

Seeing that he couldn’t persuade Johan, Inno turned to Stephen.

“Sir Stephen. They are acting recklessly. . .”

“It seems Sir Johan is right.”

“. . .Yes.”

With Stephen taking that stance, Inno had no choice. If the Countess interrogated him later, all he could say was, ‘𝘐 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘯 𝘩𝘪𝘮.’

Gerdolf, his son, awkwardly started speaking.

“I, I think. . .”

“!”

Inno was surprised when his son spoke. Could it be that Gerdolf, as a knight of the Countess, was trying to make a statement in this situation?

“. . .Sir’s words are correct. I think so.”

“Oh. Thank you, Sir Gerdolf. And well done in the recent battle.”

“Thank you.”

Gerdolf smiled contentedly, waving his hand. His torn hand didn’t hurt much, thanks to the cloth Johan had wrapped around it when he returned.

Inno looked at his son, dumbfounded. ‘𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘨𝘰𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘪𝘮?’

Meanwhile, Suetlg was lost in thought.

‘. . .𝘞𝘢𝘪𝘵. 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘬𝘪𝘥, 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘱𝘭𝘶𝘳𝘨𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘐 𝘨𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘩𝘪𝘮 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯. . .?’

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸      

“Indeed. Sending people into someone else’s fiefdom like that. . .”

“It’s not that surprising. The west of the Empire is influenced by the Erlans Kingdom, and the south is influenced by the city-states of Catalia. Even the Abner family is distantly related to the King of Erlans.”

Once a conflict breaks out in a fiefdom, kingdoms, the Empire, and city-states all secretly intervene.

The noble families are intertwined like a spiderweb. Nationality didn’t matter. There were cases where nobles from various countries competed for a single Count title.

“Of course, I doubt the bishop of Mohsho initiated this with a shallow plan to increase his influence by sending monks. The Countess knows this too, so even if it becomes known, it will be resolved. But what were you doing this morning? I didn’t see you around.”

“I was praying with the monks in the morning.”

“. . . . . .”

Suetlg clenched his mouth shut, trying to hold back his laughter.

“Did you really do it?”

“Would I not have done it there?”

“You? Really? Do you even know the prayers?”

“I know most of them by heart.”

Johan’s response surprised Suetlg once again.

‘𝘋𝘪𝘥 𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘢 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘨?’

The oblivious monks invited Johan to join them in morning prayers. The leading priest, even more clueless, gave Johan the honor of starting the first verse. . .

Johan began the prayer with verses he had learned from Priest Valberga.

“O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. . .”

“I don’t understand why the monks are acting like this. They treat me like some wandering ascetic knight.”

“Hmm. . . I was surprised too. It’s rare for monks to act like that. The Holy Knights’ Order members from the punitive force must have really thought highly of you. Anyway, it’s better than being criticized as corrupt.”

“You say it’s not bad to pray daily and live modestly?”

“It’s good for both body and soul. It’s okay to endure hardships when you’re young. You can indulge in desires when you’re older.”

Johan, annoyed by Suetlg’s uncharacteristic advice, gathered the mercenaries.

It was time to check the town, as dawn had broken.

The mercenaries were astounded anew at the size of the wild boar. It definitely seemed like a monster.

Catching it alone. . .

“Hard to tell who’s the real monster.”

“Are you crazy? Be careful with your words. If we all get whipped because of you. . .”

“N-No. It just slipped out.”

“Gather the goblin corpses on one side and burn them! The rest will search the town’s underground!”

The monks had camped in the ruined town, intending to find the goblin’s den. The remaining houses provided good shelter from the cold wind.

But as night fell, goblins suddenly sprang up everywhere in the town. It was clear they had been staying underground.

“Prepare to start a fire. We need to smoke them out.”

“Step aside. What a coward. Do you think smoke will work?”

The experienced mercenaries prepared to smoke out the goblins, knowing that if they threw burning green wood into the den, the goblins would emerge like a pack of dogs.

“. . .Aren’t they coming out?”

“What?”

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸      

“It’s clear they have fled.”

After finishing up in the town, Suetlg said this upon receiving the report. The faces of the mercenary captains were also filled with surprise.

“Usually. . . they don’t run away easily, those persistent ones.”

“Hmm.”

The goblins were known to stubbornly resist even when faced with a subjugation force. But now, they just vanished.

Suetlg simply stated,

“Seems like they really got scared.”

“Ah. . .!”

“Certainly. . .!”

The mercenaries at the scene immediately understood.

Honestly, even if they were goblins, they would have fled after seeing that!

“. . .I don’t know what Sir Johan did, but since the goblin creatures have fled, we need to think about what’s next.”

Suetlg pointed towards the mountains near the town and said,

“We’ll search the mountains.”

The mercenaries sighed. Whether experienced or not, searching the mountains for monster dens was a tedious and unwelcome task.

Moreover, this was a place where subjugation had failed several times before.

It would surely not be easy to find.

“Can’t we just use dogs to search?”

“Are you from the south? Goblins can fool dogs too. They mix mud and saliva and apply it. . .”

━𝐆𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐥.

The conversation among the mercenary captains halted. It was because Karamaf had let out a deep growl.

“Could Sir Knight’s wolf perhaps track them?”

“Seems confident.”

Karamaf raised his head proudly. The mercenaries admired the sight. Indeed, a wolf led by a knight seemed to be something special.

However, Johan was a bit worried. If he stepped forward boldly in front of the subjugation team and then failed. . .

‘𝘊𝘢𝘯 𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘭𝘺?’

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

━𝐈 𝐝𝐢𝐝𝐧’𝐭 𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬, 𝐛𝐮𝐭. . .

━?

━𝐈 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐈 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐤 𝐮𝐩. 𝐓𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐨𝐚𝐫𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐈 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐢𝐭, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐭 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐦𝐬.

━𝐘𝐨𝐮 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧, 𝐢𝐭’𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐠𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐬 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐞?

━𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝, 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐨𝐫𝐲. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐚𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐬 𝐈’𝐯𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞, 𝐧𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐟𝐢𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐞 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐬. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐠𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐜𝐚𝐧’𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧 𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫’𝐬 𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐲.

━𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐧. . .

-𝐈 𝐬𝐮𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞’𝐬 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐞𝐱𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐦𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧. 𝐒𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐩𝐭 𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐬.

━. . .𝐖𝐡𝐲 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐛𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐠𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐬?

━𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭’𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈’𝐦 𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨𝐨. 𝐖𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐬.

Johan moved, recalling what Suetlg had said. It made sense why the wizard only spoke to him. Mercenaries, despite their rough appearance, were often superstitious and easily frightened.

Suetlg’s words would have only scared them more.

━𝐆𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐥!

While tracking the scent of goblins, Karamaf, ascending the mountain, swiped the earth with his massive paws, revealing an entrance to a cave big enough for two or three people to pass through.

“Quite the skill, isn’t it?”

“How did he find a goblin den like this?”

The mercenaries buzzed in preparation for battle. Entering such caves and fighting was part of a mercenary’s job.

But Johan, along with Gerdolf, stood at the forefront.

“Sir Knight, you’re not planning to go inside, are you?”

“And if I am?”

“Well. . . it’s just. . .”

“Stop the pointless chatter and get the mercenaries ready to enter. We’ll go in as soon as we’re prepared.”

“I’ll fight with all my might.”

“Brave. That’s how a knight, Gerdolf, should be.”

Hearing that Johan was going in, the mercenaries involuntarily rechecked their arms.

A knight, especially in front of their employer, couldn’t afford to show any disgrace.

Especially a knight willing to enter such perilous terrain.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸      

Three hours later.

Johan came out of the cave with the mercenaries. Their shields and maces were caked with goblin blood.

“Is everyone out?”

“Yes!!”

“We’ll rest for a bit and then move to the next cave. Stay alert during the break.”

The mercenaries waiting outside were puzzled by the expressions of their comrades. They looked as if they had encountered a ghost inside.

“What happened? Did you run into a troll instead of goblins?”

“No, it’s not that. . .”

“???”

“Are they injured? No, they seem unharmed??”

“Didn’t they even draw their swords? Why is there no blood on them? Did they just go for a walk?”


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