How to Live as a Wandering Knight – Chapter 79.2

𝐄𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐄𝐦𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐞 (𝟑)

“Isn’t he skilled?”

“What kind of person is the Duke?”

“I haven’t met all the nobles. The Duke is. . .”

“He can be called an outstanding ruler.”

Caenerna joined in. She looked at Johan, asking with her eyes if she could stand next to him. Johan graciously made room. Caenerna, driving her horse closer, said,

“The East is the roughest and most barbaric part of the Empire’s territory. Having governed such a place for over twenty years without any problems, it’s natural for people to praise the Duke, isn’t it?”

“True words indeed. Moreover, there’s a saying that the Brduhe family line is blessed.”

“Blessed, what do you mean?”

Caenerna spoke dismissively.

“It’s a rumor spread because generation after generation of geniuses have emerged from the Duke’s family. Probably a tale spun by the Duke’s house.”

“Spreading such a rumor is also a skill. . .”

The Duke called Johan after the conversation. Johan responded with respectful courtesy.

“I’ve been looking forward to this since I received the Count ‘s letter. I hear you caught a troll. . . My knights say it’s rare to find a knight who can take down a troll alone. You’re an exceptional knight.”

“Thank you for the compliment.”

“I should be the one thanking you. To send such an outstanding knight to me, I feel like I’m stealing Count Jarpen’s glory.”

Duke Brduhe welcomed Johan with a down-to-earth and friendly attitude, unlike the arrogance and dignity expected of his title.

Such an attitude towards a knight yet to be formally appointed was an excessive honor. Any other knight would have cried tears of loyalty.

But Johan’s heart remained unshaken, maintaining his composure. His intuition was telling him something.

‘𝘑𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴.’

There was no sincerity in the praises directed at Johan. Others might see it as a warm scene, but Johan’s keen intuition caught the lack of sincerity.

Of course, Johan wasn’t hurt by this. After all, he came for the Duke’s authority and name.

Even if he had to tolerate insults for the sake of a knighthood, insincere praises were a reward.

And pleasantries weren’t necessarily bad. It would be strange to blindly trust the reputation of a knight you’ve only heard of. The Duke was showing his best behavior in his position.

Duke Brduhe embraced Johan and whispered softly.

“I’m most looking forward to your performance at the appointment ceremony.”

“. . .I will do my best.”

‘𝘋𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘩𝘦 𝘥𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘬𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵?’

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‘𝘊𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵 𝘑𝘢𝘳𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘬 𝘯𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘦.’

Next to where Duke was sitting, his bloodline, his proud children, were seated.

“What are you thinking about, Duke?”

“It’s nothing.”

The Duke was thinking about Johan. Among the many knights he met today, Johan had left a particularly deep impression.

Was it because of Count Jarpen’s recommendation?

“I’d like to hear your opinions. Speak one by one.”

“I think Lucas from the Lachio family will perform well.”

“Why?”

“As a knight who has served since childhood in Lord Karpati’s lineage, Lucas has shown his prowess in the last campaign.”

“Not bad.”

“I would recommend Boriska from the Petreo family.”

“Why?”

“In the upcoming tournament at the investiture ceremony, horsemanship is crucial. The Petreo family is famous for it. . .”

“Not bad.”

Duke’s children took turns naming the knight they thought would perform best at the upcoming investiture ceremony.

“I choose Achladda from the Alcia tribe.”

“Why?”

“Duke, you wish for them to excel.”

The other children looked defeated. Indeed, the Duke had been working hard to appease and tame the nomadic tribes.

The Duke looked pleased.

“You’re quick-witted.”

“Duke, surely. . .”

The investiture ceremony was not just attended by knights from the eastern noble families, but also by influential figures and young warriors from the nomadic tribes.

However, the Duke’s children had overlooked them. It wasn’t intentional; as typical of the Empire, they had naturally failed to notice them.

“Yes. This ceremony is also an event to bestow upon those tribes.”

“. . . . . .”

“. . . . . .”

Some were visibly displeased but didn’t voice their complaints. The Duke was generous and faithful, but he wasn’t weak enough to tolerate disrespect to his authority.

“But that’s if the tribal warriors show their worth. If they fail to do so, your prediction will be wrong.”

“Whom have you chosen, Duke? I’d like to hear your opinion.”

The second child spoke ingratiatingly. Duke smiled wryly.

What was the point in guessing correctly here? To boost his children’s spirits, Duke decided to choose an unrelated candidate.

“Let’s go with Johan from the Yeats family.”

“. . .?”

“The knight recommended by the Jarpen family.”

“Ah, that Jarpen family. . . Was he such an outstanding knight?”

“Count Jarpen wouldn’t speak nonsense, would he?”

Although the Duke said this, his children couldn’t hide their puzzlement.

Count Jarpen, an excellent soldier and warrior, usually exaggerated in his recommendations. Therefore, the recipients didn’t fully believe the contents, just noted the sender’s name.

Moreover, the tournament at the investiture ceremony valued not only skill but also connections.

A knight from the west was unlikely to be favored by those from the east. Being targeted first was almost a given. . .

“If the Duke says so, he must be a remarkable young knight.”

“I’d like to meet him.”

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“This is really fascinating.”

“In what way?”

“That Stephen is welcomed while I am treated with caution.”

Suetlg had to suppress a laugh.

“Well, you are a knight entering the tournament, and Stephen is not.”

The knights of the Eastern House openly distrusted Johan. They didn’t insult him, given his family’s name, but glaring eyes and sarcastic tones were common. The most amusing was the one who tried to show off his strength in front of Johan.

The man, attempting to flex his strength, suddenly grimaced, clenching his teeth.

“Remember, the rules are a bit different in the West.”

“Ah, yes.”

In truth, Johan wasn’t too concerned.

He had never tried it in the West anyway!

In the West, they favored one-on-one jousting, but it was rare in the East.

Eastern tournaments mainly involved group combat. Knights gathered and split into two factions, charging at each other with blunted weapons.

“There’s no need to stand out too much, right? I plan to fight moderately and bide my time.”

“That’s smart.”

Suetlg smiled and nodded. Johan was always clever, uncharacteristic of a knight, which was appreciated. There was never a need to repeat things with him.


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