Chapter 74: Surrender
As we were moving along the road, a group of roughnecks suddenly intercepted us from both sides.
There were fifty of them in front of us and fifty behind us, making a total of about a hundred.
All of them were armed and had the look of someone who was accustomed to the rough stuff.
I put my hand on Shirley’s head and implied that she should remain where she was.
I jumped down from the carriage and said out loud.
“My name is Millace Truth. As you can see, I’m a merchant. What can I do for you?”
At this, a young man stepped forward from the fifty people in front.
He looked the same as the rest who were accustomed to rough trade, but his eyes had a certain calmness to them.
“I know you’re a merchant. Thought I’d take a little toll from you.”
“A toll, huh?”
“That’s right. You’re a merchant, you know how things work, don’t you?”
The man said with a smile.
“What if I don’t pay?”
“It’s not like you can’t pay, right?”
The man continued to smile.
I was sure that he had heard about my behavior at the inn yesterday.
“You’d better pay up. That way you won’t have to deal with any rough stuff.”
“I’m afraid I’m not going to pay.”
The man’s smile disappeared quickly.
His subordinates began to rustle.
They thought it was unimaginable that a simple merchant would reject their demands like this.
“Well then, I guess we’re going to have to hurt you a little. Oi.”
The man jerked his chin, and three of his men came out from behind him, cracking their hands and necks.
“Look at him, he’s got a pretty face.”
“I hate this kind of young man.”
“If you’re going to cry, you’d better do it early.”
The men were saying these things amongst themselves as they attacked me.
All three of them drew their raggedy long swords at their waists and slashed at me.
I wrapped Bahamut’s flames in my fist and slashed them away without a second thought.
Their long swords were swept away, and the blades melted off more than half of them at once.
Juu …… and the bright red molten iron that scorches the ground.
The men could not understand the situation at all.
I quickly punched the three of them in the face.
The men were blown away as they appeared to be just a big fireball of flames.
Shirley cheered on the carriage as expected.
“…… Looks like, you really want us to hurt you.”
The bandits attacked in unison as the group leader, the young man, said.
I wrapped Bahamut’s flames around my hands and intercepted them.
Melting their weapons and blowing them away in a huge fireball.
One by one, the enemies are knocked down, and they fall to the ground in agony.
All of them were coming at me.
And I was wondering why they weren’t going in that direction.
“Don’t move! E-Else this woman is done for!”
Suddenly, the threat stopped me and the bandits from moving.
Slowly turning around, I found one of the bandits jumped on top of the carriage, took Shirley as a hostage, shackled her from behind, and put the blade of the sword to her throat.
I didn’t answer.
“H-Head. Do it while you’re at it!”
Seeing that I had stopped moving, the man said to the young leader.
The young man silently drew his sword and walked away – slipping past me.
And without any hesitation at all, he cut down his subordinate.
The man who had been cut down and rolled off the wagon looked at his boss with a look of disbelief.
“Shame on you for taking a woman hostage!”
The young man said as he spat, then turned to Shirley.
“It’s all right now. …… Eh?”
And now he was in for a surprise.
To his surprise, the sword was stuck to Shirley’s neck.
The sword that was pressed against her by the man who had taken her hostage was stuck to her neck.
“As expected of Master. No matter what happens, I don’t expect to get hurt at all.”
Shirley gave me a look of respect.
The applause I had just given Shirley was something I had told her in advance and made her do.
It would be good if the eyes went to Shirley from the start, but even if they didn’t, Shirley would raise her voice to get their attention.
I wanted to see what would happen.
Of course, I linked the Armor Ring with Leviathan, my most loyal and fiercest dog, so that Shirley would not be injured, and I made him focus on protecting her.
The result of this was the sight of the sword pressed against her throat and sticking.
The young man who saw this was very surprised and looked at me fearfully.
“Who the hell are you, ……?”
I could tell from his eyes that he was starting to figure things out.
At least he doesn’t think I’m just a merchant anymore.
“Raymond Gryph Daley.”
The young man was greatly surprised.
”Griff?” Among the subordinates, a series of questioning voices began to buzz.
“For the past twenty years you’ve only been known as Raymond Daley, so you wonder how I know your full name? You stopped using that name after your father died in prison, didn’t you?”
“How did you …… know that?”
It was a different voice from before, a croaky voice that seemed to be squeezing out of the back of his throat.
“After your father died, you became a beggar and then a bandit. You lived peacefully, but one day, the leader of the bandits tried to forcibly rape the wife of one of his men, you lost your temper and killed the leader, and then you were promoted to the position of leader.”
“…… You’ve done your research. Who the hell are you?”
His achievements since joining the bandits in the latter part of his life are probably an open secret that he is not hiding and that all of his current subordinates know about, and after I mentioned it to him, Raymond became much calmer.
“At this rate, you’ll never get a decent death.”
“I’ve been prepared for this since I started this line of work. It’s the life I was born with.”
“What if I told you there was another way?”
“I doubt there is, you know.”
“I had your father investigated. He was imprisoned for distributing food to refugees during a famine. Discretion is still discretion, but it’s treated differently under different Emperors.”
“What difference does it make?”
Raymond asks back as if he were spitting.
“To the extent that I’m going to give you a Rank of Baron.”
“…… Who are you really?”
Raymond’s eyes become even more quizzical.
Shirley nodded and launched a signal bomb into the sky.
It was like a hand-held firework, and it shot up in a straight line, emitting a blast of light that was clearly visible even in daylight.
Less than a minute later, we heard footsteps that sounded like the rumbling of the earth.
After another minute or so, the soldiers appeared.
Two thousand soldiers suddenly appeared, surrounding me with another hundred bandits.
After that, Sheryl came in front of me.
“Sheryl Hyde, I’ve just arrived, Your Majesty.”
Sheryl knelt as she said so.
At the same time, two thousand soldiers also knelt before me.
Two thousand regular troops, properly attired.
Seeing them all kneel to me at once, the bandits, including Raymond, turned pale.
“Y-Your Majesty, …… you, no you, …….”[TN: He first says ‘Omae’ then changes to polite ‘anata’]
“Noah Ararat. Emperor of the Empire”
Raymond took a step back as if he had been struck by lightning.
He froze for about ten seconds.
Then he knelt and gave a neat bow per etiquette.
Then, the bandits kneeled one after another.
Shirley also jumped down from the carriage and knelt down.
Out of the total of 2,100 people, everyone was kneeling, and I was the only one standing.
It was a scene that could only happen to an Emperor.
In the midst of all this, I looked at Raymond, magnanimously.
“I had them check you out, and I saw what you did earlier.”
“A man too good to be left to die. Would you be willing to work for me?”
Raymond huffed and looked up.
“T-That my father’s…”
“It doesn’t matter. That honor is already restored.”
Raymond was more and more surprised and at the same time, his eyes were filled with gratitude.
Raymond bowed his head as one of the women murmured.
“As you wish, sire. Use this life in any way you see fit.”
Name: Noah Ararat
Level: 15 + 1 / ∞
[TN: His intelligence increased from ‘D+C’ to ‘D+B’]
His Mind and Body, both bowed before me.
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