The Emperor’s Daughter Chapter 64
I wore my cape and hood and went out of the carriage. Leon heard me and looked around with a serious face.
"Go back inside." Leon said with authority. If I were still the weak old Alicia, I would have listened obediently. But I know something that Leon does not know.
"Please believe in me." I calmly said to Leon. He looked at me seriously then sighed.
"I understand." Leon said but he didn't let his guard down.
I know that I will always be safe with Leon around. He might not know but I already knew about the men in the shadows working for him, thanks to Snow. The men working for him are strong and I am sure they are not far from us.
I haven't told Leon of my knowledge about his men. I am sure he has his reasons for not telling me. I just wish that he will explain it to me soon.
"Oh, is this the beautiful sister?" The young man with red hair said. "Let us see your beautiful face."
"I am not here to fulfill your wish mister." I said. "I am here to negotiate."
"What will you negotiate about?" The young man laughed. "You are not in the position to negotiate. As you can see, you are surrounded."
"I am afraid you are mistaken." I said. "You are the ones that are surrounded."
Not long men in black suits with their face covered came out from hiding. Arrows are all aimed at the bandits.
"Jack, we are surrounded!" A young lad who looks like the youngest in the group shouted.
"Don't you think I can see that?! Tsk!" The young man with red hair said.
"So your name is Jack." I said. "Now, Jack. Are you willing to negotiate?" I asked.
"You think I will let you win without a fight?" Jack said.
"Oh, I am sure you and the young men here are capable of fighting. But what about the old ones? They are not fighters as I look at it."
I have deduced this information the time I saw the bandits. Half of the bandits are old and looked like farmers rather than bandits.
And Snow has confirmed my suspicion. Not far from here is a small village. As Snow has described, the village was of farmers but it was in a poor condition. Only women and children are on the village now, meaning all the men they have are now here.
"How did you..." Jack was surprised with my deduction.
"It is not important how I knew. The important thing now is for you to hear me out." I said. "I suspect that the old ones here came from a farming village near by. I am not sure why you are resorting to thievery, but I would like to help. So please hear me out. I am sure these men would also want to go back to their families."
"I guess we have no other choice." Jack said in defeat.
"Put your weapons down first." Leon ordered.
"Tsk." Jack gestured to his men to put down their weapons.
"Let's meet at the center." Leon said.
Jack brought the young lad with him and Leon accompanied me.
When we were face to face I took my hood off to reveal my face. The two men in front of us were looking at me in awe.
"James she's really beautiful." I heard the young lad whisper to Jack.
"Shh." Jack whispered to him.
"I am Alicia and this here is Leon." I gestured.
"I am Jack and this here is Brad." Jack introduced.
"Then let us begin our negotiations." I started. "I know that these people are in a dire situation for them to engage in thievery. But as I can see you young people here are not farmers."
"You have good perception for a girl." Jack praised but with a sarcastic tone. "We are really bandits in these part of the forest, the 'Crimson Bandits' to be precise. The old ones with us here are farmers raising crops and vegetables. They have been good to us Crimson Bandits, giving us food every after harvest. But then two years ago the dry season started. It has gone to be a minor drought that can still be remedied if the officials did the proper action. We don't know what has happened these past two years that led them to forget the people who are waiting for their help. The farmers had poor harvest these past two years that led them to get hungry and starve. Without crops and vegetables to sell of eat there will be no income for them and they can starve to death."
"So these farmers asked you for help?" I asked. "And you thought them what you knew best." I said sarcastically.
"Hey lady, we might be bandits but we also have our own ethics." James said.
"Jack's right." Brad seconded. "We only steal from those filthy reach nobles that are always having feasts in their mansions while we common folks suffer from the drought and hunger."
"And as much as possible we don't like violence." Jack added. "We just scare people to get their money with no harm done."
"Then let's make a deal then." I offered. "I will help the villagers so that they can get what they need from the officials. I will see to it that they can make it through out this drought."
"You sure you can do that lady?" Jack asked. "I mean, no offense but you are just a young girl."
"Looks can be deceiving Mr. Jack. I give you my word." I said. "And please don't call me lady. I have a name."
"Okay, if you say so Alicia. But what do you want in return?" Jack asked. "As I can see, we are the ones with the short straw here." He gestured to the men in black that are still aiming their arrows at his men.
"I would like to form a partnership, or rather a friendship with you." I smiled wittingly.
"Hah?!" Jack looked confused and Brad surprised.
"What?!" Leon was looking at me questioningly.