“… I thought I would die.”
“Ah, my bad.”
Chrono goes down the hill while lending his shoulders to Kein. Kein received an arrow on his shoulder and was slashed on his back, but it seems it was not life-threatening. Kein’s subordinates too…
“You… It seems Chrono-dono’s subordinates have come to pick you up.”
Chrono raised his face and he saw Leila ran up the hill.
“Chrono-sama, I was worried.”
Leila said those words with moist eyes.
“How was the situation?”
“yes, we manage to take care of the cavalry that tries to run away.”
Leila stretches her back…
“How about the rest?”
“We’re calling rick to surrender…”
“… I see.”
Chrono sighed as he went down the hill. Over there, Rick was being surrounded by Mino and Lizardman.
“Chrono! I will hit you once! Fight against me! If I win, let me go!”
Rick shouted as he noticed Chrono.
Lizardo then walked toward Chrono.
“I leave Kein in your hand.”
“Are you going to respond to his challenge?”
Chrono entrusted Kein to Lizardo and walks up to the encircled Rick. Then the enclosure broke off then Rick pulled out his sword.
He was smiling, it might be because was confident in his sword art.
“I have something to ask, was what you said yesterday true?”
“No way. What I realized was that the great aristocrats would always squeeze the people without thinking. No way I am willing to die for those guys. What’s wrong with me running away?”
“… I see.”
He didn’t expect it from the beginning but, it seems Rick has no intention of rebuilding the country.
“How far do you intend to escape with the stolen money?”
“United Free City-States. If you have money, you can live in luxury there. The other guys also have the same idea!” [TLN: I just realize, the country name, that is basically the United States isn’t it?]
“Then, you should just escape without stealing.”
“Shut up! To live, you need money isn’t it?!”
“… That is true.”
Chrono sighed and pulled out his sword.
“Hehehehe, don’t forget your promise.”
“Archers, shot him to death.”
“Chrono! The promise was different!”
Following Chrono’s orders, the archers fired their arrows all at once.
Arrows pierced Rick’s whole body and he fell in the spot.
However, he was still breathing as he glared at Chrono with a muddy gaze.
“Why are you different from me? Why you become a lord, and I become like this?”
“Because I didn’t run away.”
Chrono said those words as he touched his right eye.
“Chi, damn it, you’re supposed to run away you know? Even that Pig also run away… Damn it”
That was Rick back then… Chrono looked up at the sky and sighed.
“… You can’t do anything, it’s over…”
Looking back, Kein was about to leave Lizardo.
He dragged his body toward Rick’s corpse and knelt beside him.
“I told you not to do this, and I would take the responsibility for everything too…”
Kein closed Rick’s eyes and sat down there.
“We may be not good people, but I was responsible for everything. So, please pardon everyone in exchange for my life.”
“That sure is a selfish phrase…”
The one who answered was Tyria. She was in charge of commanding the rear guard, but she probably decided that there was no need for that anymore.
“I know that I am selfish. But, those guys are pitiful guys. As for me, I have no home, family… I have nothing.”
“Why? Aren’t you a soldier before this?”
“That is unrelated no?”
Chrono silently stared at Kein. After a while, Kein opened his mouth.
“… It was the usual story. When our family couldn’t pay the tax due to the bad harvest, my parents, my father, and mother went to ask the lord to reduce the tax.”
“Are you talking about the previous Marquis Erakis?”
Kein shook his head.
“But, both, my father and mother ended up killed. It seems they were struck by a spear before even he managed to ask the tax reduction. Then, my sister and I run away from the village.”
“She’s dead. After that, I was picked up by a mercenary corps in this country… I gathered those guys who had a similar situation as I do, and set up a mercenary corps in the United Free City-States.”
Mercenaries were considered as a criminal in the Empire of Cepheus but were recognized as full-time soldiers in the united free city-states.
At least in the United Free City-states, they could work diligently.
“Then, why did you kidnap the slaves?”
“There were kids among those slaves. I thought it would be better to divide them… In fact, I’ve been working to achieve that. However, the trader rejected my suggestion violently. Damn it, looking at those kids reminds me of my sister.”
Kein scratched his head.
“And when I did what I did, those guys didn’t blame me. That is why I wish to put my life on the line for them. I know what I said sounded selfish. Still, please pardon them…”
Kein dropped his head. Chrono pulled the sword from the scabbard.
“Kein-dono, no, Kein, raise your head.”
Chrono throws his sword toward Kein as he raised his face.
Kein received the sword in a hurry.
“W-What is going on?”
“If you are going to die anyway, work for me. I wanted a person who could ride a horse, and if you are familiar with underground work, I would like to consult something…”
“… But, I am just a poor thief…”
“You are already my subordinate. You do pick up the sword after all, no?”
Kein stared at Chrono and the sword, then he saw the emblem of the imperial crest engraved on the handle of the sword.
“Oh, about that, it seems the first Marquis Erakis had received it from his Majesty the Emperor.”
“Usually, for a normal aristocrat, that item would be regarded as a treasure you know, Chrono?”
Chrono shrugged as Tyria chided him, who had stood by his side before he knew it.
Kein was not stupid enough that he didn’t understand the meaning behind handing over a treasure like that.
“Can you give me a reply right now?”
After a long silence, Kein nodded his head.