How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 56

𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐛𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 (𝟏𝟎)

𝐏𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐀𝐛𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐥𝐲 (𝟏𝟎)

Suetlg was flawless.

The face was unfamiliar, and the fact that he was said to be Countess Abner’s son suggested he was either an imposter or a b*stard. Either way, there was no good in keeping him alive.

It would only incur Countess Abner’s enmity for no reason.

“Even if to kill, it would have been better to extract information first. . .”

“What would such a kid know anyway? Probably just foolishly used. It’s already been a hassle delaying this long, and it would get more complicated if someone from above comes in.”

The moment someone else from above saw this man, neither Johan nor Suetlg could hastily kill him. Especially with Stephen outside.

In this chaotic situation, it was essential to make sure he was dead.

Suetlg was thorough in this regard.

“You don’t think Countess Abner is involved, do you?”

“. . .I doubt it. If she were, she would have sent a punitive force, wouldn’t she?”

“That’s a relief at least.”

“Let’s hope she didn’t care much for the b*stard. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be in such a place to begin with.”

The slaves crushed the b*stard’s face and destroyed anything that could identify him. Meanwhile, Suetlg searched the wizard’s body.

“As expected, he was studying blood magic.”

Blood-related magic was referred to as blood magic. Among various magical fields, magic dealing with blood was particularly considered ominous and evil.

And then there were the shadows. . .

Even the most talented wizards couldn’t get proper recognition if they dealt with such magic.

“Do you have any idea what he was planning to do with these monsters?”

“Wizards are human too. Probably planned to sell them to nobles.”

“Even at the risk of being excommunicated?”

“If they don’t get caught, that’s the end of it. . . The Church tends to be more lenient towards nobles, doesn’t it?”

The life of a wizard unrecognized in public was miserable. Magic was a study that consumed all kinds of wealth, and without a patron, research was difficult. Especially blood magic required many sacrifices.

A wizard studying such magic would have desired a strong patron. Regardless of right or wrong, many nobles wanted powerful monsters infused with magic.

“Search the surroundings. Take out anything useful. We must search thoroughly before anyone arrives.”

The slaves moved busily. Soon, people would enter, and the temple would be completely burnt down. They had to gather anything useful before that.

The first thing Suetlg prioritized was the wizard’s research papers. For a wizard who could perceive mysteries, these papers were more precious than gold.

‘𝘏𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘮𝘢𝘥𝘮𝘢𝘯. . .’

Suetlg frowned. Even among wizards who explored mysteries, there were differences in methods. This wizard’s methods were those of a lunatic.

Feeding goblins to each other to strengthen them, collecting their blood for evil spells, controlling beasts. . .

The ultimate plan was to mix the strengthened goblins and beasts to create a robust monster.

The monster encountered in the temple corridor was the result of this. It was not maintained properly, but its combat power was indeed threatening.

“Is this. . . an Empire University bracelet?”

“Not surprising. There aren’t many places to learn magic in the first place.”

There weren’t many places to learn the mysteries of magic. Suetlg was lucky to learn the secrets of the Ipaël River passed down from his master, but not everyone was that fortunate.

“Yet, if one still desired to learn magic, they had to seek it anywhere. One such place was the Empire University.

Empire University, a hall of various disciplines such as law, astronomy, medicine, alchemy, theology, and numerology, was one of the most advanced educational institutions. Young intellectuals from across the continent traveled great distances to reach it.

“Do they teach magic?”

“Hardly. Magic isn’t that easy. If you’re lucky, you might find just the tip of it. This fellow here did the same.”

“What about universities in other cities?”

“Whether it’s Erlans or Catalia, it’s the same. Magic isn’t something you can learn just anywhere. Surely you’re not still harboring the vain hope of learning magic?”

“Does this Empire University bracelet sell for a high price?”

“Changing the subject. . . It’s more of a symbolic item, not a costly one. Rather, this ring would be better. Look, this ring. It would be best if you took it.”

“Eh? Why offer such a suspicious. . .”

“No, it’s not that suspicious.”

Suetlg wiped the ring with his robe before tossing it to Johan. The copper ring held a dark abyss at its center, which strangely flickered if stared at continuously.

“Cleverly encapsulated shadows. If it breaks, darkness will spread around. Good for deception.”

“Why didn’t you use it?”

“Because you’d blow your head off?”

“Ah.”

Johan gratefully accepted it. Although he didn’t know the extent, he figured it would be useful.

“There’s some gold from the Erlans Kingdom. Take this too.”

“Oh, can I really take all this?”

“I swore to repay you properly. Compared to this research, it’s nothing.”

To a wizard, mysteries and secrets were more valuable than gold. It didn’t matter much to give these to Johan.

‘𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦’𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦.’

Suetlg was frustrated. Searching this heretical temple was somewhat risky for Johan too. If a promise was made, it needed to be honored accordingly.

But nothing useful was in sight. This wizard seemed to have delved only into evil magic, owning things that were ominous or cursed.

In contrast, Johan was at ease. In fact, he had little intention of getting his investment back. He had already gained enough.

‘𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘣𝘫𝘶𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘥𝘦𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴.’

Just succeeding in the subjugation, which had failed numerous times before, was enough. Besides, more gold would soon come.

An anxious wizard and a leisurely knight.

It was the knight who made an unusual discovery. Johan noticed a red leather belt hanging on the wall and asked.

“What is this?”

“. . .Don’t touch it for a moment.”

Suetlg cautiously picked it up, swung it a few times, and clicked his tongue.

“Really trivial research.”

“What is it?”

“A weapon suited for an assassin. Desperate as one might be, creating such a thing to sell to nobles. . .”

The red leather belt transformed into a whip-like weapon when swung with force, draining blood from its target. It was an assassin’s tool.

Suetlg sighed, saddened by the desperate intent of the cornered wizard.

“Such a thing is not even worth giving to you.”

“No, I’ll make good use of it.”

“??!”

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸      

The news that Johan had successfully completed the subjugation was immediately delivered to Count ‘s ears.

It was surprising enough that the several failed subjugations had succeeded, but what was more surprising were the people behind it.

The report of the subjugation of the group left Countess Abner with no choice but to shake her expression. It was a background she truly hadn’t anticipated.

The vassals, who were equally astonished, regained their senses and exclaimed.

“Congratulations, Countess!”

“What could be the reason for the previous failed subjugations to succeed? It must be that God has chosen you, Countess.”

“I have always thought that Sir Stephen was a brave and outstanding knight. I am overjoyed that such an opportunity has come to prove it!”

“Stop talking nonsense.”

The noble who had opened his mouth at Countess Abner’s cold words blushed and had to bow his head.

“If Sir Stephen had the opportunity to show his ability, he would have shown it long ago. Don’t make unnecessary remarks. The matter now is about Johan.”

Honestly, it was good news that Stephen played an active role, but Countess Abner was not foolish enough to be deceived now.

The success of this subjugation was entirely due to Johan’s ability.

She thought that she should have placed Stephen among credible knights earlier. . .

But now, such assumptions were meaningless.

“The monks sent by Bishop Mocheau were lurking around the fiefdom. Ordinarily, I would have immediately expelled them and protested, but this time is different. I should send a messenger to express gratitude and make a donation.”

“. . . . . .”

The vassals wore dissatisfied expressions.

Normally, meddling in someone else’s fiefdom, even if done by a bishop, was not something that could be overlooked.

But the situation was different this time.

Since the monks had subjugated the heretics, it would have been an affront to the Countess’s dignity if she did not express gratitude. Generosity and piety were virtues of nobility.

“Countess, someone from the church has come to see you.”

“Let them in.”

A priest entered with a respectful demeanor, unfazed by the scornful looks of the nobles. If he were to be deterred by the gaze of lower nobles without fiefdoms, he wouldn’t have been able to be a priest.

“We are grateful for this subjugation, and Bishop Mocheau sends his thanks. Without the Countess’s decisive action, the subjugation would have been impossible. We plan to send a priest back to Heincut town to care for the people, hoping for the Countess’s magnanimity. Please show mercy.”

“…?”

Countess Abner, who was puzzled by the speech, realized the situation and cursed Stephen.

‘𝘚𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘢 𝘧𝘰𝘰𝘭. . .!’

Stephen had reported too briefly.

He reported finding all the goblin dens and that the monks came to subjugate the heretics, leading Countess Abner to assume, ‘𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘣𝘫𝘶𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘬𝘴.’

But now, it was clear that the heretics were also wiped out by the subjugation team. The priest’s words made it even more certain.

“. . .It was a duty that naturally had to be done. I will consider sending a priest positively.”

“Thank you, your grace.”

The priest politely stepped back as if he had come in. As the worries turned into luck, the expressions of the spirits present brightened.

What used to be a matter of owing a debt to the church had now become something that could be approached with enthusiasm.

“When Sir Stephen returns, he shall be rewarded. Let the treasurer prepare according to custom.”

“Yes!”

Upon witnessing this, the nobles thought to themselves.

‘𝘋𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘢𝘷𝘰𝘳 𝘚𝘪𝘳 𝘚𝘵𝘦𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘯?’

‘𝘊𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘪𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘦’𝘴 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘚𝘪𝘳 𝘚𝘵𝘦𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘢𝘨𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘶𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵. . .’

However, contrary to the nobles’ worries, Countess Abner was unfazed.

While she may have overestimated Johan, she never did so with Stephen.

“Are you sure about this?”

After the vassals had left, the head butler asked cautiously. Among the vassals, the head butler held a high-ranking position.

This position entailed managing the fiefdom and even acting as a representative in the lord’s absence.

Naturally, Countess Abner knew what she had given to Stephen.

Now that the campaign was successful, Stephen would certainly try to use the tax rights. After all, that was the purpose of starting the campaign.

And if Ulrike-gong found out. . .

“I have made my decision. The rest is up to Sir Stephen. Even if Ulrike-gong kills him, I won’t concern myself.”

“Yes. Understood.”

“. . .However, delivering this letter wouldn’t be a bad idea. Deliver this letter to Sir Johan.”

“I will do so.”

Though often deemed heartless, Stephen was an exception. Indeed, Stephen was favored by the Countess.

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸      

Johan and the expedition force were preparing to return with high morale.

Calling out the hidden villagers, repairing the town, and burning down the temple in front of the clergy. . .

Having completed these tasks, it was time to return.

Repairing the town wasn’t necessarily a duty of mercenaries, but they followed Johan’s command without much complaint. Sometimes, orders could be given without gold.

“Are you really going to meet Ulrike?”

“As I said, negotiating with Ulrike is the priority. Other matters come after.”

The best candidate to sell the tax rights to was Ulrike.

Of course, she was also the one most likely to be enraged upon learning the truth, but Johan believed that if Ulrike understood the situation properly, she would engage in the deal.

Unlike Stephen, she had that level of intelligence.


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