How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 7

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐝 (𝟕)

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐄𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐝 (𝟕)

“Who’s there?”

Johan hesitated to enter the hall and looked around. There was no point in going inside, as he was bound to receive nothing but the disapproving gazes of his stepbrother and stepmother if he did.

Fortunately, Johan had his other foolish stepbrothers. He spoke mockingly to them.

“Do you guys even know who came?”

“What? Who doesn’t know that Sir Karamaf has arrived, you rascal! Are you looking for a fight?”

When alone, Johan doesn’t argue, but when the three brothers are together, they seem to gain courage. Fern, Jan, and Marcel, the three brothers who share the same mother, hurled insults at Johan.

“You can’t even talk back to Sir Karamaf?”

“Hmm.”

Johan pondered for a moment. A knight as famous as Karamaf must have solid connections.

But would he view Johan favorably?

Meanwhile, a cold conversation ensued inside. Johan, along with his brothers, eavesdropped at the door.

“Insane. Approaching him means death.”

Johan decisively gave up. Sir Karamaf was terribly cold, perhaps having been extorted by Sir Gessen.

“Amazing. . . That’s a real knight!”

“Right!”

“Idiots.”

Johan shook his head. These fools forgot whom Sir Karamaf was angry with.

“What are you doing there?”

“!”

A young, armed elf knight from the other end of the corridor sharply questioned. Judging by the youthful face, he was clearly a squire, around Johan’s age or slightly younger.

“A noble knight from Erlans Kingdom? Sir Karamaf’s offspring?”

If not Karamaf’s squire, he had no reason to be here. Johan quickly recognized him and decided to leave.

“You, the son of Sir Gessen?”

“And if I am?”

“I am Yein Rothtain. A noble offspring of Sir Karamaf and future knight of the Rothtain family.”

“I am Johan Aitz. Not exactly a knight to inherit a family.”

Yein stared intently at Johan, as if assessing his abilities. Johan’s appearance seemed to provoke a knight’s challenge.

“It’s hard to determine an elf’s gender.”

Elves are mostly beautiful, making it hard to distinguish between male and female. Plus, Yein had a thin voice and delicate features.

Johan’s half-brother chimed in.

“I am Fern Aitz. . .”

“I wasn’t asking you. I heard there are no decent knights among Sir Gessen’s sons, but now it seems otherwise. Care for a duel?”

“I’d rather not.”

Johan waved his hand, turning away to avoid trouble. Then Yein forcefully grabbed his hand.

“I haven’t finished. Why refuse a knight’s rightful request?”

Despite his boyish face, Yein’s hand was hard and strong. Johan internally scoffed. Even after being born and living long in this world, he couldn’t fully adapt to such a mindset.

Nobles born and raised as knights naturally thought this way.

For honorable knights, crossing swords was a matter of course!

Of course, for Johan, it was a pointless endeavor with no benefit. Even if he defeated Yein, Karamaf wouldn’t introduce Johan anywhere.

“Not in the mood.”

“Not in the mood?! Why?! Is something wrong? Are you hurt?”

“Uh. . . my heart.”

“Your heart! . . .Are you mocking me?”

Yein’s face scrunched up, and his grip tightened. But it was like boasting of strength in front of an elephant. Johan’s expression remained unchanged.

Realizing this, Yein exerted all his strength. Though still a squire, he was already a knight in all but name. She had trained as a knight for nearly a decade, and with a weapon, he could kill a dozen soldiers.

His strength was unbelievable for his small stature. If another half-brother had held his hand, their bones would have broken.

Yein’s face started to show shock. Johan had begun to exert his strength.

‘𝘐𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦. . .!’

Trained under Sir Karamaf, Yein had never been defeated in strength. Though small in stature, his strength was innate.

The other three half-brothers shouted.

“What are you doing, Johan! To Sir Karamaf’s protégé. . .”

“Have I won?”

“Not. . . not yet!”

Yein exerted her utmost strength, but it was no match.

Legendary giant-like strength!

Yein thought so inwardly. She couldn’t believe one of Sir Gessen’s sons possessed such monstrous strength.

Johan could have let go but maintained his grip until he surrendered. He knew from experience that people in this world would draw their swords if not defeated outright.

‘𝘐’𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘪𝘧 𝘐 𝘣𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘬 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘤𝘦.’

If Sir Karamaf heard his protégé’s hand bones were crushed, he wouldn’t stay quiet. It was dirty and low but he had to endure.

“I lost!”

“Right. It was a good fight. I’m glad to have battled a noble knight, Yein Rothtain.”

“What good fight are you talking about?!”

Yein, rubbing his hand, glared at Johan. It must have hurt quite a bit.

“Sorry, but I haven’t been properly trained as a knight. A fair fight would be difficult.”

“Is that so? My apologies.”

Yein said, surprised.

Not all children of knights were trained as knights. Some were just of knightly lineage.

“But you have the potential. It’s not too late to learn.”

“I’ll try.”

“If you do learn, let’s fight again!”

Johan’s half-brother, overhearing, interjected.

“I’m Fern Aitz, Yein Rothtain. Fight me. . .”

“You’re too weak. Train more before you come.”

“. . . . . .”

🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸

Yein was a well-taught apprentice knight. He didn’t show resentment after losing a fight he had initiated himself. Although it was a knight’s rule to behave so, not everyone in the world followed rules. By adhering to this rule, Yein earned a good reputation from Johan.

If Yein had held a grudge and spoken ill of Sir Karamaf, Johan would have been very tired.

Thus, there was no problem for Johan, but issues arose for the Aitz family.

The men who came with Sir Karamaf began to stay in the family’s fief. They did not blatantly cause trouble, but neither did they consider the Aitz family’s circumstances.

The servants of the house were on edge while serving these men. The situation was worsened by the conflict between the eldest son John, who insisted on sending Karamaf away, and Mrs. Aitz, who wanted to leverage Karamaf’s presence.

“This isn’t beer, it’s ditch water.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t you have wine?”

“Sorry. . .”

“I was foolish to expect more from such a place. Enough.”

“Even what’s available here smells foul.”

Johan wandered outside. Yein, seemingly fascinated by Johan’s talent, kept pestering him to teach swordsmanship. Johan could have shown his skill and then left Yein alone, but he chose not to.

Initially, Johan thought this would make Yein more bothersome, but then realized it wasn’t the case.

Johan was on guard against Sir Karamaf and his men.

“Oh. I never believed in superstitions.”

The words left by Kaegal bothered Johan. Displaying his swordsmanship to Yein and overpowering him would surely reach Karamaf’s ears. . .

Strangely, Johan was hesitant to reveal his skills.

“Joseph. Are you unwell?”

“Johan-nim.”

Johan noticed the hunter Joseph walking with a pale face.

“It’s nothing.”

Joseph hesitated to speak, fearing he might escalate the issue. Others in the town thought Joseph was close to Johan, but Joseph didn’t see it that way.

Just as a wolf and a deer don’t become friends, a noble and a serf can’t be close. Joseph knew that even a friendly noble could turn on him at any moment.

Among the nobles, Johan was known to be polite and kind, but Joseph never let his guard down. He maintained his distance, a wisdom acquired from his long life as a hunter.

“Is it a story you can’t share with me?”

“No, it’s not that! It’s just that I feel guilty telling Johan-nim. . .”

“I’m disappointed. A knight who can’t even listen to the troubles of his fief’s people.”

“Damn it.”

Joseph inwardly grumbled at Johan’s indirect torment. Unlike his brothers, Johan was deep and cunning. What could he do against such a noble? He just had to endure.

“There are knights who have come to the feudatory, you know.”

Strictly speaking, only a few of them were knights, the rest were cavalrymen following their orders, but for Joseph, there wasn’t much difference.

If someone on a horse, wearing armor and wielding a sword says ‘𝘐 𝘢𝘮 𝘢 𝘬𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵’, you have to prostrate and say ‘𝘈𝘩 𝘺𝘦𝘴, 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢 𝘬𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵’, rather than saying ‘𝘠𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘢 𝘬𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵’𝘴 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘺, 𝘯𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘰𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘬𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵, 𝘴𝘰 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘳 𝘮𝘦𝘳𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘢𝘳𝘺’, right?

“Those people heard the rumors about the black wolf and kept trying to enter the forest. . . So, I was assigned to guide them.”

Since entering deeper into the forest required permission, it was clear that the matter had already been settled between Philip and Mrs. Aitz. Neither of them were likely to refuse.

‘𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘭𝘦𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘪𝘯 𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘣𝘢𝘥 𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦.’

For Joseph, however, it was an unexpected predicament, in many ways.

First, the problem was entering a forest with a cunning monster like the black wolf. The knights might be confident in their strength, but he didn’t have the confidence to confront the black wolf directly. And would the knights protect him? He’d be lucky if he wasn’t used as bait.

And if they were lucky enough not to encounter the black wolf, that was also a problem. Where would the knights direct their frustration?

The serfs, like those of the feudal lord, were also property of the feudatory, so the sons of the Aitz family didn’t cross the line even when they caused trouble. But these knights were different. They had nothing to do with Joseph, and wouldn’t bat an eye if he died.

“Is that so? I’ll help.”

“What?!”

“I said I would help. Are you hard of hearing?”

“No, it’s not that. . .”

Joseph looked bewildered at Johan’s words. ‘𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘰𝘯 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱?’


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