「Now then Chief…why did you bring your family, a wagon, valuable items, and money as you tried to leave the village in a hurry late at night?」
「I was…..that’s right…I was trying to go to Erin to buy food like we used to. I was uneasy about the emergency reserves and the food that Cyril stole. I was bringing the alcohol and pepper to make up for whatever funds I lacked.」
「Oh is that so? I had thought that you were running away to Erin with all the village’s valuables before we started fighting the Empire.」
Before we fell under the control of the Empire we occasionally sent goods off to Erin. Erin was a city under the control of the Corrine Kingdom. We would take our crops, dried meats, animal skins, and various goods to sell and we would then use that money to buy all the goods we needed except salt. We were able to obtain our salt from the Fire Fox village by trading various goods.
The Chief objected to my words and insisted.
「I, I wouldn’t do such a thing, I’m the Chief.」
「I see, since the Chief is saying this much…what does everyone else think? I think this poor excuse is a joke. It’s offensive.」
The villagers’ eyes were grim as they stared at the Chief murderously.
In what world would a man be stupid enough take his entire family along on a journey to trade with a neighboring city?
And what reason was there to try and slip out late in the night?
What reason would there be to take two weeks worth of food?
In the first place the Chief would never be the one to go trading anyways.
The suspicious points were way too numerous…there was no way anyone would believe him.
「I am…I am!」
「Chief…give it up. You can’t patch this up. You betrayed the village in your position as Chief. You tried to steal the village’s valuables and save yourself. There’s no way we can forgive that…surely you know this!?」
I passionately declared. On the inside I was sneering. He was acting exactly as I predicted.
This man was not suitable as Chief. He was simply substituted for my father when he died. After that he was simply a tool that moved as the Empire ordered. During that time he didn’t think, he just grew fat under the fear of the Empire. Not just that,
I’m sure he was comfortable with his position of choosing which Elves would be killed. He felt like a spectator because he knew him and his family were safe.
There was no way someone like this could find the will to fight. Unlike everyone else here he had no hatred for the Empire.
There’s no way he could tolerate the villagers continually pressing him to fight.
He is a man who can’t handle the dissatisfaction of the villagers.
In the midst of his worries, suddenly he discovers a large amount of money. With that much he would be able to make a new life in a different land. He began to dream. This was the poisonous bait I spread.
He wouldn’t decide to escape to Erin all on his own. It was a result of some information I had leaked to one of his close associates. This was all so I could peacefully remove this troublesome Chief and make it much easier to influence and mobilize the village.
「That’s right, I was running away! Is that wrong!? I’m the Chief. This village is mine! What’s wrong with doing as I please with what’s mine!? It’s thanks to me that this village lasted so long without being destroyed! This kind of benefit should be fine! I don’t want to die….I’m sick of fighting the Empire!」
Each word he said struck the nerves of the villagers, irritating them and angering them.
I suspected whether he was doing this on purpose…but I could tell from his bloodshot eyes and flushed face that he was serious.
「I can understand that you don’t want to fight. It’s fine…you can run.」
It’s about time I lead him to the conclusion.
The Chief’s face relaxed at my words.
「However, I can’t forgive you taking the village’s fortune along with you in that wagon. The honey mead, pepper, wheat, and dried meat would’ve eventually been provided to you as well before winter began so I can even allow you to take what you would have been allotted. I can provide a bag to carry them with.」
「Wh-what are you saying!? What kind of authority do you have to say something like this!?」
「Let me ask you instead….what kind of power do you have as a Chief who tried to escape the village? We are no longer your villagers. Even giving you this much is merciful.」
He reacted like a pigeon shot with a pea-shooter.
「Everyone is alright with this right? Even if it’s him it’s hard for us to kill another villager.」
「Wait…please wait, that’s like telling me to die! How am I supposed to get to Erin without even a horse!?」
「I don’t know and I don’t care.」
I said hardheartedly.
There wasn’t anyone here who would cover for him. A person who would steal all our valuables and run away…only a Saint could forgive him.
「I-I changed my mind! I changed it so please forgive me! That’s right! If I’m not here who will manage the village!? You’ll be troubled without a leader right?」
He stopped playing tough and began begging.
Erin was only 150 Km away and was closer than the Empire. However, the road to the Empire was smooth and clear while the road to Erin was unpaved and went over a steep mountain.
Even with a horse it would be difficult to get there. Asking him to walk was no joke.
This was a big reason why the Corrine Kingdom never tried to conquer the Elf villages. Even if it was possible to cross the mountains using a single wagon it’d be impossible to do the same with a whole army.
「It’s fine, we’ll manage without you somehow. Did you forget? My father trained me to take over the position as Chief. I can assist the next Village Chief and whatever is lacking can be overcome with the rest of us working together.」