The Biography of Albrecht – Chapter 44
Though they won the first battle, they had yet to win the war. But perhaps the enemy were disconcerted, so they didn’t rush to leave their own garrison.
Albrecht followed his previous routine. He joined the meetings in the morning, had lunch with the soldiers at noon, and trained the knights in the afternoon.
After the first battle, the knights had changed the way they saw Albrecht. They fought with a great hero and were proud to fight along with such a legend. This naturally led to them being loyal to Albrecht. Although Albrecht had long considered them as his comrades, he found their current relationship quite burdensome.
On the 21st of March, he turned 16. He didn’t really care about his birthday. He was just counting his age.
Besides, what kind of birthday party would he have in this kind of place? Nevertheless, he couldn’t help but feel strange. He wanted to do something in celebration.
As the weather had cleared, after training the knights, Albrecht rounded them up to talk with them amid the cool, windy afternoon.
“I don’t know if you’re aware of this but Randolph’s not actually a knight. He’s my squire.”
Not all of the knights were nobles but they were all treated like quasi-nobles. Randolph had been serving as Albrecht’s adjutant and he even had a crest drawn on his surcoat so they thought he was a knight. However, they weren’t particularly upset about finding out. They were just surprised. After all, he was already a comrade that fought together with them.
“No wonder you look so young. How old are you, little boy?”
Albrecht was taken aback by the term that was used but he pretended to keep his composure.
Randolph didn’t feel embarrassed; instead, his blue eyes showed a mischievous plan.
He smiled at the knight and boldly answered back.
“If you’re curious about my age, why don’t you ask me with your sword?”
The knights clamored with an ‘Ooooooh’. All kinds of lewd comments were heard because the knights were actually like gangsters under their skin.
“Are your hairs down there long enough now, huh? Little boy.”
“Have you gotten your ‘sword’ wet yet?”
“I can see that you haven’t yet. You’re quite prettier and better than a whore. Let me eat up that ass.”
Even the bright Randolphed was perplexed when he heard their indecent comments. Albrecht smiled and stopped the knights.
“Now, now, there’s actually a reason why I brought it up. Randolph will be knighted here now. You all will act as witnesses.”
Randolph’s eyes widened and he stared at Albrecht in surprise. Albrecht simply smiled at him before speaking seriously.
“Kneel on your right knee.”
Randolph was stunned for a moment, and then hurriedly knelt down on his right knee. Albrecht drew the sword his father gave him and placed it on Randolph’s shoulder.
“You should always be honest. To preserve your honesty, you must be prepared to risk your life. This is how the mindset of a knight should be.”
As he spoke, Albrecht remembered that time when his father conferred knighthood upon him. Emotions he felt back then came flooding back, making him quite discomposed. Afraid of choking up, he hurriedly placed the sword on Randolph’s left shoulder.
“You should not bully the weak. This is a principle that a knight should keep. Protect those who are innocent. That is the knight’s duty.”
Albrecht gripped the hilt of the sword with both hands and pointed the sword towards the ground. However, the overwhelming emotions that came to his heart became harder to control. He wanted to hurry up and leave.
“By means of this, you are now officially knighted. All the knights here serve as your witnesses. Stand up.”
Randolph stood up and looked at Albrecht with trembling eyes. Albrecht, unable to look at him directly because of his current emotional state, only stared at the ground and gently patted Randolph’s shoulder.
The knights watching wondered if that was the end of it. Their expressions seemed to be saying that they wanted to do more. Actually, the conferment of knighthood was usually followed by some kind of initiation.
Only, since they found Albrecht as an unusual character, it wasn’t surprising to see that his way of conferment was unusual as well. It was done solemnly but it was cool. They didn’t know what everything he said meant but they thought it was cool.
Albrecht stared at the ground to hide his face as he hurriedly got on Schwarz’s back and left. Although everyone was left puzzled, lewd remarks were heard from them once again. They thought that if he couldn’t hit Randolph physically, they’d just hit him verbally.
It made Albrecht smile, but it didn’t make his melancholic feelings go away.
Father really has made a very difficult decision back then… I miss them…
Albrecht felt like a loser but he also wondered if he’d ever have the chance to see his parents again outside their estate. He couldn’t accept the reality that he couldn’t see them until they died.
Albrecht returned to his tent, sipping wine and drowning out his thoughts. Then Randolph came in.
Albrecht continued staring at his glass with an aloof expression, not even turning his head to look at Randolph.
“‘Master’, what nonsense. No need to call me that. Though I’m a noble, I’ve been kicked out of our estate. You and I are on the same level now.”
Randolph’s eyes widened in surprise.
“You’ve been kicked out of the estate? Why?”
Albrecht spoke with a gloomy expression.
“I killed an innocent man. So I came all the way here to look for Penbacht, and now I’m even involved in a war. It’s funny.”
Randolph was left speechless. He was smart and quick-witted so he knew that something was wrong when his Master was appointing him as a knight. He probably remembered his homeland. Randolph thought that he needed to say something to ease his Master’s mind.
“Umm, I really think that Master’s a really cool guy.”
Albrecht smiled and looked at him.
“Don’t tell me that you have a thing for men, do you?”
Randolph was startled and waved his hand.
“No. Even Master too, stop teasing me. I’ve already had enough of this kind of joke. What I mean to say is that, there’s something different about you. It’s like you’re not from this world. It’s not because of your strength. It’s like when you released the prisoners, or when you decided to fight for our village. That’s when I think you’re cool. I want to be like you, Master.”
Albrecht took a sip of the wine.
“It’s just a luxury. A luxury that only I can afford.”
Albrecht finished the rest of his drink and laid in bed.
“That’s it… I’m going to sleep…”
Randolph looked at his seemingly powerless Master with pity and walked out of the tent.
Albrecht felt restless the next day. He attended the meeting in that state. He checked and confirmed the changes then tried to leave.
However, one of Sigmund’s vassals said something strange to him before he could even leave.
“Sir Albrecht. Your support for the Great Lord is almost as good as mine. I’m very grateful. Haha.”
Albrecht wondered what he meant. Though the word ‘support’ could be used since they were fighting together, its nuance seemed different.
“What do you mean by ‘support’?”
When Albrecht expressed that he didn’t understand, the lord who spoke became confused.
“No, I mean, didn’t you refuse Lord Otto before he died to protect the king? Doesn’t that mean that you’re going to support Great Lord Sigmund rather than the king?”
Albrecht didn’t expect him to say those words.
What kind of bullshit is this? Not protecting the king is one thing, but supporting Sigmund is another. How did I become one of Sigmund’s supporters?
Suddenly his expression changed. He turned his head and glared at Sigmund.
“What the hell is he talking about? Great Lord.”
The lord became alarmed at Albrecht’s unexpected reaction. The other lords stayed to watch the unusual turn of events. Sigmund shrugged his eyebrows as if it was no big deal.
“It’s the first time I’ve heard of this. I, too, have no idea what he’s talking about.”
Albrecht fumed at Sigmund’s hypocritical response. No, he didn’t feel guilty refusing Otto’s dying request. But when it was used to get him entangled in such a dirty trick, a fire rose in his heart.
He pulled out his axe and slammed it on the table. The corners were completely smashed and the table became a mess. Albrecht glared at Sigmund, his eyes seemed like it was about to spit fire.
“How far are you willing to go to get what you want? Tell me now.”
Realizing their intentions, Albrecht couldn’t stop his tyrannical disposition from emerging.
Just like when he first came to the Wolf’s Den and killed the giant man, not one of those who acted cocky in front of him remained unscathed. Once he lost his cool, he became uncontrollable.
The lords who were keeping a close watch on the situation were extremely surprised. Should they call for some soldiers now? But doing so might irritate him more. Albrecht was not someone who could be stopped by a few knights.
Sigmund took off his mask and looked at Albrecht with a blank expression, exuding a unique charm.
Despite being told to leave, the lords only hesitated to move and stayed. However, Sigmund’s expression became distorted.
“I said leave!”
Only then did the lords make haste to leave. They probably didn’t go too far, eavesdropping.
The knights and soldiers passing by the command post wondered what was going on when they heard a loud bang and Sigmund’s roar.
In a world that didn’t have an educational system, even the knights and soldiers knew that it wouldn’t be good if the commander-in-chief and their great hero confronted each other.
Albrecht stared at Sigmund as if he was ready to kill him. Sigmund stared back at him defiantly. Both men were pretty good at this. If they were ordinary people, they would scare the shit out of each other.
A moment later, a lord came in and said, “U-um, King Leopold’s army was seen on the horizon. They’re probably headed this way.”
Although they heard that the enemy was coming, Albrecht and Sigmund continued to stare at each other.
After a long while, Sigmund broke the silence.
“I’m not planning to kill anyone. Is that enough?”
Albrecht silently took his axe and left the command post without saying a word.
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