Chrono blocked the road at the foot of the hill.
The vanguard was a heavy infantry led by Mino and Lizardo, and the rearguard were archers led by Leila.
Tyria’s men were waiting behind them just in case if the bandits manage to get past them.
The troops were being concentrated in one place, but that was not a problem, since there was only one way that connects the fort.
“He’s late, that village chief.”
Chrono muttered those words while in the front row.
It’s has been several hours since the village chief left the village, but he hasn’t returned yet.
“General, why don’t you take a rest, we’ve set up your tent back there you know?”
“I will wait a little longer.”
After a while, he could see the village chief came down the hill.
“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.”
With that being said, the village chief knelt in front of Chrono.
“No, I am glad that you are safe. So, how was it? Did he fold his tail and run away?”
“… Kein-dono wishes to talk to you before surrendering.”
After a long silence, the village chief told him.
It was something that he had expected.
“Did he say the place where he wants to hold the discussion?”
“Discussion would be held in the fort, and he told me for you to bring two escorts.”
“General, you don’t have to respond to their demand.”
Mino said with an unpleasant tone.
“They might be testing me whether I am serious…”
“How long will they do that for?”
Mino then bent over and stretch his ears.
“Until we show them how serious we are.”
Mino sighed as if he was stunned.
“Chrono-sama, take me with you!”
Leila exclaimed when she arrives.
“Leila, it would be dangerous you know?”
“I’ve already prepared myself since I joined the army.”
Chrono frowned. If this was a trap, the three of them would be stuck inside the fort.
Chrono, a man, would be killed but, Leila a woman—…
“I know what Chrono-sama worried about.”
While saying that, Leila pulls out a short sword and put the blade on her neck.
“At that time, I would kill myself. Besides, if the enemy was a mercenary, then they will not let a half-elf like myself alive…”
“Only recruits, idiots and those who confident with their magic arts would try to capture us alive.”
Certainly, theoretically, one can do that if one has the necessary magic arts. Only idiots who don’t know anything would try to capture such an opponent alive.
“Leila put the dagger away.”
Leila put the dagger into the scabbard with a reluctant feeling.
“Leila, Mino-san, follow me.”
Chrono takes them up the hill. Along the way, they check the surroundings as well.
He didn’t realize it before but, the width of the road was quite wide.
It was enough for two horses to run side by side he thought.
Since the hill slope was quite high, if the charge was done properly, the siege may be broken.
If he had to fight then— With such thought they continue to climb.
“… This sure is such a good fort.”
Chrono looped up at the gate and muttered.
The walls of the fort were covered with moss, and the gate seems strong, if they try to attack, they need to prepare for considerable damage.
“What should we do now?”
“We just need to wait, someone will open the gate.”
Chrono was at loss but Mino looks relaxed.
Perhaps he was relaxed because he wants to loosen the tension.
After a while, the gate opened. It was a man in leather armor that opened the gate.
“… Get in.”
Prompted by the man, Chrono and his friends stepped into the fort.
He looked around to check the inside.
The inside of the fort was quite wide, and a stone building was being built in the center of the fort.
There was also a stable, where several men were taking care of the horses.
Were there about fifty horses? He thought he heard around 30 bandits but—…
“Oh, you’ve come with only three people as promised eh?!”
The voice sounded like a friendly one. Looking in the direction of the voice, a man approached him.
The man was taller than Chrono. His body was muscular and his skins were tanned.
If he didn’t have any beard, and together with a thin smile, he would pass as a handsome man.
He guessed that this man might be Kein.
Mino and Leila then stepped up in front of him to protect him.
“I won’t do anything you know? See, I don’t have any weapon, right?”
The man raised both of his arms slowly, then made a full turn on the spot.
“I’m Kein, the leader of the bandits.”
“I’m Chrono, the lord of the Erakis territory.”
Hearing his words, Klein opened his eyes wides.
“I heard Marquis Erakis is a fat man though?”
“That is my predecessor.”
“So, Chrono-dono is his child?”
“No, we’re a complete stranger. He was executed for the crime of embezzlement and turning his back against The Holy Argo Kingdom army, so I took over…”
Hearing Chrono’s words, Kein was left with a deep impression.
“Haa, I do hear that The Holy Argo Kingdom’s army was being repulsed, but I didn’t think a young man like you who did it.”
Kein smiled bitterly as he heard those words.
“You have something to say to me, right? Come inside…”
Mino and Leila asked for confirmation.
“We’re going in.”
As Chrono started walking, they obeyed him by following him.
As Kein led him into the fort, it was a room without any partition.
There were a large table and chairs in the center, and many beds lined up on the walls.
The bandits were either sitting on the bed or leaning against the walls.
Chrono found a familiar face among the bandits- Rick.
Instead of a military uniform, he wears thin, dirty half-sleeve clothes and trousers.
Perhaps it was because now his life was harsh, his cheeks were completely thin.
Even so, his eyes shine brightly. His eyes were more bandit like than Kein.
“You can sit anywhere.”
When Chrono sat on a nearby chair, Kein moves around the table and sit face-to-face.
Mino and Leila stand on the left and right of Chrono.
“So, the village mayor told me about surrender recommendation…”
“If you surrender, I would like to give you the opportunity to atone for your sins.”
“Surrender you say?”
“The ones who did bad things are the slave traders!”
“We just did the right thing!”
“You guys, be quiet.”
The bandits screamed, but when Kein raised his hand, they calmed down.
“Are you telling me to make it up with my life?”
“Fortunately, there were no deaths, so it was not yet regarded as a serious crime. At least, there will not be a death punishment.”
“Thank you for the offer, but how can I believe you?”
“Do you think you are in a position to present a condition?”
Mino stepped up and hit the table.
“I apologize if I offended you. I do not wish my subordinates to fight but, to defeat all of you, me alone is enough.”
As Kein turned his gaze, the bandits shrugged their shoulders.
“If you can’t accept our condition then, there’s no choice but to fight I guess?”
“It depends on the condition.”
“Of course it depends on the condition huh?!”
Kein tapped his tight.
“The condition is a full protection of the slaves we have kidnapped!”
“If that is difficult, you can buy them and give them their freedom!”
“If it’s that, I can.”
“Then, I am relieved.”
“You still have something to ask?”
Mino interjected Kein’s words.
“Ah, no, this is the last one.”
Kein scratched his head awkwardly.
“I want you to wait until tomorrow.”
“Such a request—…”
“Mino-san, let him finish until the end.”
Mino nodded with a reluctant feeling.
“Are you fine with us coming tomorrow around this time?”
“Sure, that is enough. I myself already decided but, I need some time to persuade my subordinates. It should be over by tomorrow.”
Kein smiled with satisfaction.
“Tomorrow, I’ll come to meet again.”
“I’m sorry for all the trouble.”
Chrono stood up silently and left the fort with Mino and Leila.
After a while—…
When his name was called, he saw Rick approaching him.
“Don’t get closer!”
As Mino shouted, Rick, stopped on his track while looking surprised.
“Mino-san, it’s fine.”
Chrono stepped forward, while his hand touching the handle of the sword.
“Rick, how are you?”
“Did you really drove away The Holy Argo Kingdom’s army?”
“It was not just my power alone. My subordinates, fought desperately so I was able to drive them away. You’ve become a bandit huh, Rick?”
“I’ve noticed when Marquis Erakis runs away. That the aristocrats have no power to protect the country anymore.”
He sure knows how to play innocent.
“You are aware of it, right? That this country is no longer good. That’s why it should be re-created. Into a country where those who make an effort will be rewarded.”
“Are you making money to pursue that?”
“Right now, I am just a small bandit, but if you cooperate… Ah, no, you’re Marquis Erakis now right? But, think what I say, alright?”
“If just think then…”
When I went outside of the fort, Leila asked me…
“Are you going to follow his suggestion?”
“As if, I don’t have a taste of riding on a mud boat. What does Leila think about that?”
“I’m not yet fully trust that Chrono-sama is someone who came from another world.”
Apparently, Leila doesn’t believe Chrono’s story. Hearing that, Chrono sighed in resignation a little.