When Demetrio arrives with his one hundred men in Fresnillo, he meets General Panfilo Natera, who is about to attack the town of Zacatecas. Natera greets him enthusiastically, and Cervantes brags, "With men like General Natera and Colonel Macias, we'll cover our country with glory". Cervantes's purpose in emphasizing Demetrio's importance is made evident when Natera begins to address Demetrio as "Colonel". One of Natera's men, a young fighter "with a frank, cordial face" named Alberto Solis, is an old acquaintance of Cervantes. Solis remembers when Cervantes was a correspondent for a Government newspaper, and wrote "furious articles" denouncing the rebels, so he is surprised to discover that Cervantes has embraced the revolutionary cause. Solis notes that Cervantes "still speak(s) with that faith and...enthusiasm (they) all had" when they first joined the rebels. He too had once "hoped to find a meadow at the end of the road", but has become disillusioned. Over time, Solis has found that "there are facts and...men that are pure poison...and that...enthusiasm, hopes, ideals, joys...all come to naught".
Demetrio then approaches the two men, and Solis congratulates him on his legendary accomplishments. Demetrio is charmed by his flattery, and that night, the two bands strike up friendships, and celebrate raucously. Alcohol flows freely, and quarrels erupt; in the morning, "a few people (wake) up dead". Demetrio is nonchalant about the casualties, telling Anastasio indifferently, "Psh!...Go ahead and bury them" (Part 1, Chapter 18).