The Biography of Albrecht – Chapter 31
As Albrecht became lost in his thoughts, he soon saw soldiers plundering villages from afar—still under the pretext of war requisition.
He heard helpless screams from the people of the village and the shouts of soldiers yelling ‘This isn’t enough’ as they beat the villagers. Even rape seemed to have been happening.
Should I tell them to stop? But this is their own territory and this is the way they handled things during this era. At least if it were in my territory, it would be different.
Soldiers became wary but were also clueless how to respond to the situation when Albrecht approached the village. Either a knight or their commander would be the one dealing with this; however, they were nowhere to be seen.
One soldier dashed in a hurry, probably planning to call their commander or another knight.
When Albrecht entered the village, soldiers looked at him as they secretly did their own business. Soon, a knight in a surcoat and chain armor and bearing a shield came out of the alley.
On the chest section of his surcoat was a shape of a heater shield and a white lily on a blue background. The same design was also seen on his shield. It seemed like a family’s crest.
The knight seemed to be in his 20s. He had reddish-brown hair and a short beard. He looked so relaxed yet tired at the same time. He was big—normal for a knight, but a bit smaller compared to Albrecht.
The knight looked at Albrecht calmly. He didn’t ask the latter to state his identity.
Tipping his chin towards the sword Albrecht got after killing Michael, he asked, “Where did you get that sword?”
“I had a duel with a man named Michael and won.”
The knight snickered and muttered to himself, “So he ended up dead.”
He looked again at Albrecht and said, “I am Ludwig von Vanhenheim. And you are?”
“Albrecht von Hoenkaltern.”
After raising a brow, Ludwig nodded.
“Your reputation precedes you. You may go.”
Albrecht asked before he left, “Don’t you want to avenge him? I heard that Michael is a member of the Vanhenheim family.”
Ludwig answered with a grin, “What are you saying? If he died in a duel, that means he was weak. There’s no one else to blame but him.”
He paused for a moment before continuing.
“My family respects those who are strong, but we abhor them at the same time. It was a pleasure to meet you. Farewell.”
Albrecht walked past him and passed through the village. Behind him, screams of people could still be heard.
Since he had no map, Albrecht had to ask people for directions to go to Penbacht. A few more days later, as the sun was setting, he saw more than a hundred soldiers stationed outside. It even seemed like a lot of people were following them.
Many of the soldiers who went to war took their families to the battlefield.
From a modern person’s point of view, it would be hard to understand that kind of logic. However, many people in this world seem to think that it would be safer to keep their families with them in their base than to leave them in a village.
Therefore, the number of merchants and the soldiers’ families surpassed the number of soldiers, adding up to almost 300 to 400 people. They looked like a village, or a small town, moving.
Albrecht was able to enter their bases to buy his supplies by stating his identity. Food prices were relatively low since the supplies were looted from other villages.
He bought himself more hard bread, jerky, dried fruits, salted dried fish and more. He bought a lot just in case something happened.
Albrecht asked a merchant he met for directions, “How far is Penbacht from here?”
The merchant he asked thought for a moment then answered, “Penbacht…I remember it being a lost village.”
Albrecht was taken aback by the merchant’s unexpected answer. Perhaps the village was badly plundered and pillaged in the war.
“What do you mean by ‘lost’?”
The merchant merely looked at him, ignoring his words and staying silent. Albrecht wondered why he didn’t answer until he remembered to take something out from his pocket and give the man some silver coins.
The merchant smiled brightly and hurriedly stuffed the silver coins into his pocket. Albrecht thought that the man really was bold to do business with soldiers, even more so with a knight.
“Penbacht has already disappeared for a long time. I think it has been 10 years? Or even more than that?”
Albrecht was surprised. Most of the people he asked for directions told him that they didn’t know a village called Penbacht. Those who knew of it only remembered Penbacht from a decade or so ago.
Diego hadn’t come here yet to do business, so he probably only talked about what he heard from other people.
Since they were near Penbacht, what the merchant was saying was most likely true. It was now gone. Since ten years ago. It was unexpected news.
“I don’t know much about it either, but I heard that a young man once killed the son of that village’s lord. It would have been good if the young man was caught and killed, but he escaped and was never caught. I heard that the angry lord of the village razed the village to the ground.”
Albrecht was at a loss and didn’t know what to do.
Did Eric’s mother survive? Did Eric think his mother would be safe after he ran away? Or did he worry and regret and let me visit his mother to find out whether she was still alive or dead?
Albrecht was really shocked by the story the merchant shared. The merchant saw Albrecht’s reaction and continued to speak.
“But that happened more than ten years ago. People may have started to rebuild it. Commoners are more resilient than you would think. It’s best to go and check it with your own eyes. I’ll show you the way.”
The merchant assumed that he would only get a few copper coins from Albrecht but instead he received silver coins. Now that he was in a good mood, he decided to do something for his customer even without being asked.
This merchant is better than I thought. I’ll go check it for now.
Albrecht was just about to mount his horse with the supplies he bought when the commander of the base approached him and urged him to join their army. When he refused, the man repeatedly offered a high salary. Still, Albrecht politely refused. Unexpectedly, he calmly let Albrecht go. Well, it wasn’t like he could do anything if he didn’t.
In the first place, those people in the army joined voluntarily and provided their own equipment. It was useless to persuade a person who didn’t want to volunteer whether that person was strong or weak.
Albrecht left the barracks—which almost seemed like a mobile village—and headed for Penbacht.
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