Chapter 39: To The Capital (2)

The bullies’ true level was obvious to Trike. No matter how much Trike specialized in archery, he was confident he could stomp any number of these chumps.

If he was still a mercenary, he would already have jumped into the fray and simply fled to another country. Now that he was a knight, he had no choice but to hold it all in.

The three briskly chose suitable uniforms and went to purchase them.

“That will be 6 gold altogether.”

“Pardon?”

Rick was astonished.

2 gold a piece. He had no idea that knight apparel was so expensive.

Though Milton had certainly given them enough funds, to Rick – who had lived modestly within his means all his life – paying for a single piece of clothing at this price made him tremble.

‘Isn’t this almost as much as armor? What sort of cloth could possibly…’

Unable to wrap his head around the price, Rick asked the salesclerk doubtfully.

“Is this price correct? A little expensive, no?”

As soon as he said this…

“Puahahahaha!”

The knights who were watching the situation unfold roared with laughter, as if they were watching a jester play a joke.

“Expensive? Puaha… a uniform that’s barely two gold is expensive?”

“I’m laughing so hard it hurts…”

“Is it a specialty of the Southern knights to kill their enemies with laughter?”

Rick turned beetroot red as they continued to deride him.

The salesclerk assured Rick in a down-to-business tone.

“Sir, the prices of all our garments here are set beforehand.”

“I see. I’ll buy this one.”

Rick did not want to stay here any longer. He only desired to get what he came for and get out, fast.

Regardless, the capital knights continued their mockery of him from behind.

“Are you sure you can afford that?”

“I’m telling you in advance, but we don’t accept bread or porkchops as payment like you do back home.”

“Hahahaha!”

Rick purchased the clothes hurriedly, and the three of them made their way to the exit of this unpleasant space.

But the capital knights closed off their path, standing in front of Rick.

“What are you doing?”

“Nah, it’s nothing – I’m just really curious about something. May I ask just one question?”

“I do not wish to answer.”

Rick tried to turn them down and pass by, but the bullies blocked the store door and refused to step aside.

“Move.”

Rick firmly demanded, but they simply grinned and did not budge.

Rather…

“No no, you just need to answer my question.”

“Didn’t I say to move?”

“I’ll move as soon as you answer the question. Or you can scuttle off through my legs, if you want.”

Something snapped inside Rick, and he felt a fiery rage he had never felt in his entire life. But along with that rage was also deep disappointment.

‘These guys are knights? These guys are the capital’s knights that have received a complete education at an Academy?’

Rick was a knight who hailed from a commoner background, but Sansen had drilled him since he was a boy to never tarnish the knight’s code.

Valor, sincerity, honor, etiquette, modesty, protecting the weak, and so on…

The seasoned knight that was Sansen scrupulously focused on pruning his successors’ dignity and cast of mind just as much as their skills on the battlefield. Rick came to assume that all knights of this world were expected to behave that way.

So what was this?

Their behavior was no different than some local drunkards picking a fight.

He could not believe that such individuals were called knights in the capital.

“Move. If you don’t…”

Rick was about to explode, but…

“Rick.”

Once again, he was held back by Tommy.

“Tommy, how could you not even be mad?”

Rick was about to vent, but Tommy stayed in front of Rick with a stern expression.

“Did you forget why we’ve come here?”

“Ugh…”

Remembering their objective, Rick shut his eyes tightly. He himself could not care less about being punished for causing public disorder – but they could not afford to ruin their liege’s ascension ceremony.

Rick displayed the most patience he had ever mustered in his life, while Rick faced them instead.

“I do not know what your question is, but things are starting to turn unpleasant so please move.”

The instigator snorted and responded.

“It’s nothing, just that I heard an unbelievable rumor going around. Oh! don’t believe it, for one. I don’t, but… I can’t help but think it may be the truth seeing how you folks behave.”

“Your opening is too long. Get to the point please.”

“Mmm, then if I were to say it straight, you blokes wouldn’t come from a commoner background, would you?”

“…and if we were?”

At Tommy’s answer, his opponent caused a scene.

“By golly! It was true?”

“Fair enough that you didn’t go to an Academy, but common fish becoming a knight?”

“Unbelievable. What sort of unruly devildom is the South?”

Rick and Trike ground their teeth as they were ridiculed.

‘These little shits really want to get some…’

‘Should I whoop them?’

As the two’s rage began to manifest into a murderous aura, Tommy spoke firmly.

“Now that we’ve answered your question, please move.”

“Hmph… alright. Buzz off.”

“Looks like I can’t come to this shop anymore – I can’t be frequenting the same place as some commoner.”

They continued to mock the three of them even as they stepped aside.

As the trio were already one foot out the door, however, one of them finally crossed the line.

“They said the Forrest lordship, right? Figures that their liege is a f**king retard. Knighting a commoner is… KUH!”

POW!

He didn’t get to finish, as a fist struck explosively into his face.

Furthermore, the one who swung wasn’t the short-tempered Rick, or Trike with his mercenary background.

“How dare you insult our lord? You are wishing for your deaths!”

The ever patient and cautious Tommy was the first to swing. The wrath he was exuding was night and day compared to his usual self – and he had more left in the tank where that came from.

“What do these Southern bumpkins think they’re doing?!”

“Do you not know your place?”

“I’ll teach you some manners.”

The capital knights rushed at Tommy.

And so…

“Whatever, screw it.”

“F**k, it’ll work itself out.”

Rick and Trike joined Tommy, realizing that they had come too far already.

“Die, you bastards!”

“Say your prayers!”

And that was how the brawl happened.

“I am sincerely sorry, my lord. I will accept any punishment that you see fit.”

Finishing his recount, Tommy bowed his head again and apologized.

“My lord, try as Tommy may to suppress his anger, the scoundrels insulted your good name…”

“With all due respect, my lord, we did not have much choice at that point. I implore you to forgive Sir Croix.”

Rick and Trike sided with Tommy. 

Milton finally spoke with a heavy expression.

“I’ll only ask you one thing.”

“Please.”

“Surely you didn’t lose, did you?”

The three’s faces lit up at Milton’s words.

“It was 5 on 3, but we still wiped the floor with them.” Rick answered.

“Then there will be no punishments. You’re free to come out.”

“Yes!”

The three of them fought to protect their liege’s honor as knights.

Then how could he scold them as their sovereign?

‘Of course I’ll forgive them.’

Milton was not perturbed in the slightest. In fact, he was positively bubbling.

He gladly paid the bail and returned together with his knights.

“You foolish little things! Is that why all of you are in this sorry state?!”

One man who looked to be in his later years was thundering at the knights in front of him.

In truth, these men were a little too unsightly to be called knights.

Their faces were bruised black and blue, and they were wrapped with bandages all around their body; presumably to caress broken bones. All around, they were battered quite badly.

These men were the knights that Tommy and his company had wiped the floor with at the boutique just a moment ago.

The name of the man before them, moustache trembling with anger, was Kevin Librador.

He was a noble with the peerage of Count and hailed from one of the typical well-established Houses of the capital, himself working with the Central Administrative Office.

His pride was strong, and he hated being looked down on by others as he had a strong sense of self-authority.

He believed that nobles were rightfully of a different class to commoners; and that even out of the nobles, the ones involved in bureaucracy at the Capital were cut from a different cloth. He was so proud of his identity that he categorized nobles further like such.

And today, that pride was greatly wounded. 

His knights had been one-sidedly assaulted. Technically, it was not an assault but a brawl. In fact, Count Librador’s knights outnumbered them.

But his knights had been so completely rendered into a wretched state, that there was no other word for it but an assault.

His knights had been so severely injured that they needed half an year at the minimum to rehabilitate – yet their opponents were completely fine.

To a noble, his knights were a symbol and measuring yardstick of his strength.

If the news got out that knights under his command were completely pummeled by another noble’s knights, it was obvious that he would become a target of ridicule.

What angered Count Librador even more was that their opponents served a hillbilly noble that he had never heard of before.

“Where did you say they are affiliated with?”

“The Fo-Forrest lordship.”

“Are you saying you lost to some damn bumpkins from the deep South? And when you outnumbered them at that?!”

The knights only fidgeted without objection at his chiding.

‘To think they would be this strong…’

‘Damn it, they were a bunch of hillbillies that’ve never stepped foot inside an Academy…’

‘How humiliating is this?’

They did not understand that all Academies were not built equal.

The standards for a Knight Academy in a peaceful nation such as the Lester Kingdom were as expected. The staff themselves were not particularly capable, while the students were, indeed, not as engaged in the teaching. It would not be a tall tale to say that the current rendition of Academy-trained knights from the Lester Kingdom were noble children that entered the school simply as a matter of formality, and obtained their graduation certificate after filling the necessary time.

On the other hand, Rick and Tommy were rigorously trained by the scrupulous Sansen since childhood, after which they followed Milton to the Strabus Kingdom to partake in a war. And there was not much to be said about Trike, who had worked as a mercenary and was involved in real combat for an extensive amount of time.

The three’s past experiences put them on a different level to these flowers that had grown inside a greenhouse. The capital knights could not acknowledge it, but they were assured to lose a hundred fights if they fought a hundred times.

Count Librador could not acknowledge this fact either.

It was a matter of pride that a bureaucratic noble from the Royal Capital such as himself, that had real sway in the country’s affairs, would be beat by a no-name noble from some corner of the South.

“The Forrest lordship, huh… I do not know who you are, but I shall make you regret crossing my path.”

Count Librador decided to find out what sort of person the noble of the Forrest lordship was at once.

There were some hiccups, but Milton stayed faithful to his original objective in coming here.

First, he applied for entrance into the Royal Palace and waited until he was allocated his date and time, which took as long as four days.

Soon enough, Milton and his knights were sitting in the waiting room of the royal office for their turn at an audience.

Meanwhile, Trike asked Milton a question that revealed his boredom with the whole process.

“Is the procedure for entering the Royal Palace normally this complicated?”

“Well, that depends on the noble requesting entrance. I presume that the more influential nobles would skip over most of this complex process.”

“So sure enough, it’s because your position isn’t that high yet.”

Trike nodded as if in understanding and Milton sighed. 

“Could you not express things a bit more delicately?”

“What can I do about how I’ve always spoken? Please just give it a pass.”

“True…”

Milton had no intention of forcefully instilling a proper knight’s etiquette in Trike. His skills as an archer were too valuable to scorn him over such a trivial gripe. If someone’s competence was tried and true, he was flexible enough to pass over any number of small issues.

“Still, try to be careful with your words in front of Jerome or Sansen.”

“Ah… that mister… he really didn’t know when to give up. I told him that me and manners don’t mix so he should call it a day, but…”

“Sansen is a dedicated one indeed.”

Now an elder statesman of the Forrest lordship, Sansen was a straight-laced man who believed the character and etiquette of a knight, rather than their strength, was a reflection of their identity.

These days, he was giving it all in disciplining Trike. It was as if he had taken it upon himself as his remaining life’s work to teach discipline and etiquette to this strong – but mannerless – knight.

Consequently, Trike squirmed anxiously whenever he so much as sensed Sansen approaching.

“Can’t you do something about him, my lord?”

“Well, I’m not sure he would even listen to me on this matter.”

Rick and Tommy nodded in agreement.

“Ugh… I don’t quite feel like returning to the estate.”

It soon became Milton’s turn while they were chatting.

“Viscount Milton Forrest, you may enter.”

“Yes.”

Receiving the attendant’s directions, Milton rose to have his audience with the king of the land.

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