Sir Neumann.
A senior knight in the Barony of Frontera.
His swordsmanship level was at Low-Level Sword Expert.
In these rural territories, that was enough to be considered competent.

 

However, he was much more interested in his personal advancement rather than swordsmanship.
Money at his hand instead of loyalty to the Lord.
An immediate rise in status rather than a knight’s honor.
He was one who can do anything for that purpose.

 

‘No, he already did it.
He sold off Baron Frontera’s internal information to the swindlers.’

 

The beginning of the ‘Iron-Blooded Knight’ novel came to my mind.
The fall of the barony was the first ordeal which the protagonist, Javier, had to face in his early days.
Sir Neumann was behind all of that.
He sold the baron’s information to the con-artist.
Based on that information, the con-artist approached the baron.
He persuaded the baron to make a large investment with sweet words.
Eventually, he gobbled up the investment money and fled.
With that, the baron fell into a huge debt.
In other words, Sir Neumann’s betrayal triggered the baron’s downfall.

 

‘So, of course you’re also going to be disposed of.’

 

Lloyd softly bit his lips.
He transmigrated as the eldest son of a countryside noble, yet unable to live in prosperity and luxury comfortably because he was busy trying to settle his family’s debts.
Basically, all of that was because of this human being.

 

However, Lloyd didn’t reveal his feelings.
As he looked back at Sir Neumann, his expression had turned nonchalant.

 

“Sir Neumann? What do you mean by that?”

 

“Exactly as I said.”

 

The corner of Sir Neumann’s lips twitched.

 

“I’m here to talk to you about your unjust use of violence against Sir Ulrich this morning.”

 

“Unjust use of violence? Something to talk to me?”

 

“That’s right.”

 

“Then, give it a try.”

 

Go ahead and talk to your heart’s content.
Lloyd smiled leisurely.
Sir Neumann’s expression stiffened seeing this.

 

“As Lloyd-nim already knows, Sir Ulrich is undoubtedly the Lord’s knight.
He had made an oath according to the procedures and is entitled to the protection of his honor and rights.
Lloyd-nim, this means that he’s a person who can’t be treated recklessly because of some personal feelings.”

 

“Well, that’s true.”

 

“But, this morning Lloyd-nim didn’t have the slightest respect for Sir Ulrich’s honor and rights.”

 

“Well, I did.”

 

“As the first knight of this territory, I’d like to officially hear Lloyd-nim’s answer to this.
Do you feel anything about this situation?”

 

“Ummm, yes, I think so.”

 

“….”

 

I think he was mad.
Sir Neumann’s face was red, even to his neck.
Whereas Lloyd’s expression remained composed and brazen.

 

“Does my word sound like a joke, Lloyd-nim?”

 

“No.
Your words sound about right? So spot on.”

 

“….”

 

The corner of Sir Neumann’s eyes twitched.
Lloyd’s smile was getting bigger and bigger.

 

‘What the hell.
You’re mad at me just because of this?’

 

Seeing Sir Neumann’s reaction, a snort came out of my nose.
In fact, by Lloyd’s standard, this was nothing but a low-level provocation.
But he was already pissed off and didn’t know what to do.

 

‘If I let him play an online game in Korea, he’s going to die out of anger.’

 

I meant it.
The world of online games in South Korea, which he had experienced routinely since he was a child, was literally a battlefield where the chaos of the century’s end was tap dancing. 

 

Even a single mistake in taking a position could make all kinds of profanities from the team members pouring out.
It was a feast of personalized curse words and insults.
Cursing while acting like one’s parents was basic.
Still, what if you get angry?

 

‘The one who gets angry loses.
They will be ridiculed for being soft and getting mad.’

 

The world is unbalanced and harsh.
Here you can only survive by hitting harder with a decent insult ridden with profanities while smiling.
He was a picked elite who trained in such hell.
No, most gamers in South Korea would’ve gone through that too.

 

So, by his standards, what is the level of the provocation he just fired at Sir Neumann? It was nothing more than a cute greeting.
Nevertheless, it felt different for Sir Neumann.
For him, this insult must have been one of the greatest insults he ever encountered in his life.

 

 

‘What kind of person is this?’

 

He was so baffled it made him speechless.
He already knew from the beginning that Lloyd was a scumbag.
However, he didn’t think it was this bad.
Now that he looked at it, he was mistaken.
This madman seemed to see himself as a pushover.

 

“Do you mean to insult me just now?”

 

“Um, naturally.”

 

“You don’t even care about my honors and rights?”

 

“Umm, naturally.”

 

“Aren’t you worried about the future?”

 

“Ummm, naturally.”

 

 

That was absolutely reasonable.

 

Sir Neumann was a jerk who’d be gotten rid of anyway.
He sold his master’s information to the swindler through the back door.
However, he also was the one who was crying about noble honor and rights in front of me.
I couldn’t help but snort.

 

‘He’s just like a voice-phishing1Voice Phishing: is a fraudulent practice of extracting sensitive information over the phone.
jerk.
I think this is his trick to instigate the rest of the knights.’

 

The knight is bound to the Lord by an oath.
They didn’t pledge allegiance to the Lord’s son.
Therefore, it’s not possible to treat a knight recklessly just because he is the son of the Lord.
Perhaps, Sir Neumann was trying to incite the other knights by emphasizing that point.
Obviously, Lloyd was never worried about this at all.

 

‘Because I’m gonna get rid of them all anyway.
Except for Javier and Sir Bayern.’

 

Senior knight Sir Neumann.
Then followed by Sir Ulrich and Sir Conte.
They were the ones who would turn their backs when the baron collapsed.
I don’t have to worry if they’re rebelling now.

 

‘Now, it’s more important to create an excuse to get rid of them.’

 

Lloyd glanced around. 

 

Everyone was silent.
Is it because there was no one? No, it was the opposite.
There were skilled workers and soldiers who were organizing the site.
All of them were looking this way while their hands stopped working.

 

Then, when my eyes met theirs, they hurriedly turned their gaze away and pretended to work.
Even so, they still kept their ears open to my way.

 

‘Of course, this is a rare sight where the Lord’s son and the senior knight were arguing.’

 

Watching all of these dramas and fights are said to be the best.
Lloyd looked at Sir Neumann while recounting the truth of the incident.

 

“Then I’ll ask you one thing.”

 

Sir Neumann’s eyebrows twitched.
Then Lloyd asked.

 

“You know I’ve never learned swordsmanship, right?”

 

“I know.”

 

“But how can a knight get beaten by such a person like me?”

 

“….
Yes?”

 

Sir Neumann’s eyebrows were twitching even more.
I couldn’t help but laugh at the sight.

 

“Can a man who was trampled upon by someone who has never learned swordsmanship be called a knight?”

 

“That’s…”

 

“He’s not qualified.
Obviously.
What is the duty of the knight? To defend the territory with a sword that has been polished with hard work.
To protect the territory and the residents of the territory in case of an emergency.
And furthermore, to protect the Lord’s safety.
Aren’t these the main duty of the knights and the reason for their existence?”

 

“…..”

 

“But he lost to someone who had never learned swordsmanship properly.
Can we really trust and put such a knight under our command?”

 

“Now, what are you….”

 

“This means I have some doubts about his qualifications.”

 

“….
But, Lloyd-nim.”

 

“If you’re trying to defend Sir Ulrich, that’s it.
Now, I think I have to question your skills at least once too because you keep defending Sir Ulrich.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

Did he already get a vague idea of what I meant?

 

Sir Neumann’s face was stiff.
His expression made me laugh even more.
I affirmed his conjecture.

 

“Your guess is right.
Sir Neumann, who is trying to cover for Sir Ulrich by force.
I also have questions about your qualifications.”

 

“Surely you don’t mean you want to check my skills?”

 

“Now you understand.”

 

“It can’t be… Is this a request for a duel?”

 

“That’s right.”

 

“Are you serious?”

 

“Naturally.”

 

“….”

 

“Are you going to do it or not?”

 

Sir Neumann’s eyes, which looked this way, shook for the first time.
He was just trying to complain to the young master who was about to leave.
He tried to establish some sort of authority under the pretext of that incident.
He never imagined that he would be offered a formal duel by the young master who has never learned swordsmanship. 

 

Lloyd chuckled.
Sir Neumann was troubled by my words, which was unexpected.
So, I eagerly helped Sir Neumann to make his decision.

 

“Now, even the senior knight is looking like this.
You aren’t afraid to duel with me, are you?”

 

“….”

 

“If Sir had been confident, he would’ve certainly accepted the duel.”

 

“But Lloyd-nim is the heir of the territory and the eldest son of the Lord.
Lloyd-nim and I can’t fight with a sword under the guise of a duel…”

 

“Is that your excuse?”

 

“….”

 

“That was too pathetic for an excuse.
If you are confident in your skills, you should’ve been able to defeat me safely and lightly whilst fighting in a duel.
Don’t you even have the confidence to do that?”

 

“….”

 

“So disappointing.
This is why I have to question your qualifications.”

 

“….
Say, are you done?”

 

“No, I’m not done yet.”

 

“…..”

 

“I feel like a man such as Sir is the most pathetic.
A senior knight? You who don’t prove your strength yourself, have no courage to do so, and have no confidence in yourself.
You only rely on your title and act like you’re powerful.
Don’t you feel embarrassed for yourself?”

 

“….”

 

“What do all of you think?”

 

Sir Neumann kept his mouth shut.
I turned my gaze away from him and openly asked the soldiers who still kept their ears open to this side.
At that moment, I heard Sir Neumann gritted his teeth.
Lloyd laughed internally.

 

‘That’s right.’

 

An insult to one’s face would be even more disgraceful if the people around heard it too.
That’s how human psychology works.

 

This is also the case if someone is scolding you.
If you get scolded in a quiet place, you’ll think you just got scolded.
However, what if you’re getting scolded publicly in front of everyone who has lower status than you? Cue a broken mental.

 

And now, the effect came out properly.

 

“….
I accept it.”

 

Sir Neumann replied.
A smile bloomed at Lloyd’s mouth, as if he had been waiting for this answer.

 

“Will you do it? A duel?”

 

“That’s right.”

 

“Good thinking.
If there’s any conflict, you have to solve it like a man.
So, when would be a good date?”

 

“That’s up to Lloyd-nim’s decision.”

 

“A month later, in the mansion’s training ground.
How about that?”

 

“Very well.”

 

Sir Neumann nodded with a stiff face.

 

“Then, is there anything you want to ask based on the outcome that day?”

 

“Of course there is.”

 

Lloyd brought up the answer he had thought beforehand.

 

“If I win the duel that day, I’ll banish Sir.”

 

“Pardon?”

 

“I’ll demote you out of your position and kick you out of the territory.”

 

“….”

 

“Do you have any complaints?”

 

“None, only…”

 

“Only what?”

 

“Lloyd-nim has to bet something equivalent to that too.”

 

“Okay, I’ll bet on my seat too.”

 

“What do you mean by your seat?”

 

“The inheritance right as the eldest son of this territory’s Lord.
I’m going to give it up.”

 

“Are you serious?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Lloyd nodded cheerfully. 

 

“It’s not a lie, don’t worry.
The soldiers here will be the witnesses.
Practice hard so you won’t get stepped on like Sir Ulrich.”

 

“That being said, I hope you won’t have any regrets.”

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

In conclusion, this resulted in a duel.
Naturally, I have no regrets.
The secret plan to achieve victory had been drawn already.

 

I’m telling you for sure, I’m going to take this chance to beat these jerks without mercy.

 

“So, are you confident that you can win?”

 

“No.
Not really.”

 

“I see.”

 

This was two hours after that incident.
Javier then nodded.

 

This was Javier, who was unusually absent from Lloyd’s side all day long today.

 

 

I couldn’t help it though.
It was because of Baron Frontera’s order, the lord of this territory.

 

‘He suddenly summoned me this morning.
And for today, he ordered me to stop escorting Lloyd-nim.’

 

The exact reason was unknown.
I could only take a guess. 

 

Coincidentally, the only day I was away from Lloyd was the same day when he committed some crimes, as I’d heard from here and there.

 

‘He made a suitable excuse to assault Sir Ulrich and he asked for a duel with Sir Neumann, who came to inquire about it.’

 

Perhaps that’s why Lloyd intentionally separated himself from me today.
That was what I speculated.
This made me feel puzzled.

 

‘Why the hell?’

 

It didn’t make any sense.
Why did he touch the knights that were doing well? For what reason did he assault Sir Ulrich and ask for a duel with Sir Neumann?

 

‘Are you just messing around again?’

 

If you look at it at a glance, you might think so.
Although Lloyd’s words and actions have changed recently, a person’s nature doesn’t change easily.
Considering that, it could be seen as him having a fuss or a bad temper.

 

However, Javier didn’t think so.

 

‘Because it was too deliberate to dismiss it as just being naughty.’

 

Separating me with himself aside, what about the assault on Sir Ulrich’s aftermath? Sir Bayern was called in and entrusted with the site.

 

When Sir Neumann came, he asked for a duel as if he had been waiting for it.

 

Then what about Lloyd’s attitude now? He is shamelessly calm.
That was an attitude which could never be seen unless it had been intentionally and deliberately done.

 

‘Besides, given his recent performance, there must be some purpose…’

 

However, that was all Javier could think about.

 

Lloyd’s voice then shattered his thoughts.

 

“Hey.
Is that the end of your reaction? ‘I see’, just that?”

 

“It is the end of what? What do you mean?”

 

“Whatever.
I meant your reaction.”

 

Lloyd, who was having dinner, looked up my way and tilted his head.

 

“You asked, didn’t you? You asked if I am confident I can win the duel with Sir Neumann? So, what did I answer?”

 

“You said you weren’t confident.”

 

“Right?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“And then, you only said ‘I see’ to that.
For real?”

 

“….”

 

“Aren’t you going to nag me because you’re worried or ask me why I did it?”

 

“Why did I have to react like that?”

 

“You’re my escort.”

 

“That’s true, however.”

 

“However?”

 

“I know the duel was suggested by Lloyd-nim.”

 

“Hmm, does that mean your work on the day of the duel is not included in the escort service?

 

“Undoubtedly.”

 

It’s a matter of course.
That’s what a duel is.

 

“The fairest and most direct way to resolve conflicts is to fight out of status and positions between the conflicting parties with equal terms.
This is what duels are for.
Therefore, I have neither the authority nor obligation to interfere in the duel between Lloyd-nim and Sir Neumann.”

 

“Hmm, that’s the way it is, right?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Well then, how about you teach me swordsmanship for a month until the day of the duel?”

 

“Me teaching you?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“I don’t want to.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because personally, I’m unwilling to do it.”

 

It was an honest answer.
He was nothing but an escort.
There was no such thing as obligation to teach an unsympathetic fool his swordsmanship.

 

‘I might needlessly teach you swordsmanship but then you might do something even worse.’

 

That was why I felt like I shouldn’t teach him.

 

But, why? The young master, who heard his straightforward refusal, laughed rather maliciously.

 

“Riiight?”

 

“….”

 

It felt uncomfortable.

 

Somehow, Javier felt an ominous feeling that was creeping out from him.

 

The look on Lloyd’s face was unusual.
A look that felt like he knew something about me.
A smile that seemed so certain I would bend over and do as he intended. 

 

Soon, my ominous premonition became reality.

 

“If you teach me swordsmanship–”

 

Lloyd’s eyes sparkled.

 

“I’ll fix your insomnia.”

 

Lloyd then grinned.

 

“How about that?”

 

“….”

 

Secretly, Javier swallowed his saliva dryly.

 

A chronic insomnia.

 

That was his secret weakness which had plagued him for years.

 

1Voice Phishing: is a fraudulent practice of extracting sensitive information over the phone.

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