Volume 2 Chapter 9-3: Negotiations

 


When morning came I let Kuu keep sleeping and got up to exit the workshop.

I went to show my face at Lucy and my home, but apparently Kemin and her little group had gone to tell Lucy that they were taking care of me because I had drank too much. Thanks to that she hadn’t worried about me.

I greeted Lucy and went inside to change before exiting our home.

As I walked out Lucy said…

「Cyril…you smell like Kuu-chan…or is that my imagination?」

She said, but I suspect there was no deeper meaning to it.

There shouldn’t be.

My body felt heavy from the leftover effects of the alcohol.

「{Metabolism Enhancement}」

I used my internal magic to activate my somatic cells and accelerated my metabolism.

That allowed the alcohol to leave my system more quickly and to remove the lingering effects.

By using this method to break down the alcohol in my system it allowed me to return to normal quickly, however as the price I had to undergo all the suffering of a hangover and the rest all at once.

If possible I didn’t want to use this kind of method, but from now on I would be entering another type of battlefield. I had to be fully ready.

After I finished experiencing my own personal hell, I walked over to the prison by the old village chief’s house.

「Good morning. Good work as always.」
「Good morning Cyril-sama.」

I called out to the elf who was guarding the prison before taking the key and unlocking the door. I entered the prison where I had kept the four Nobles…however because I had needed to torture and make an example of one of them, there were only three left.

We had a rotating guard so that there would always be someone here to watch them. They were a precious source of revenue so we had to treat them carefully.

We gave them food and water so they wouldn’t die and maintained their hygiene so they wouldn’t fall ill.

「Rejoice, today you’ll be leaving. The second son of the Count for 1,000 gold, the eldest son of the Viscount for 700 gold, and the Baron for 300 gold. Those are your prices and if the gold is payed you will all be released safely. How wonderful for you.」

In total we would gain 2,000 gold of revenue.

For a normal slave a healthy male adult would go for 20 gold at fair market price. If it was a Count’s second son rather than the first son you would only expect them to pay half of this amount since they were nothing more than a spare. For them to be willing to pay this much gold for them…I had to be grateful.

In fact what I had to be most grateful for was that they sent their precious sons to the battlefield. I wouldn’t lose any sleep over the stupid decisions of theses nobles.

「W-we can go back!?」
「Yes! Thank you for not abandoning me Mama!」
「Is this for real? Is this true!?」

They frolicked in high spirits. Of course the would. They were used to living lives of luxury as nobles so I’m sure their lives in this prison must have seemed like hell.

We took much into consideration and even let them eat better food than most elves…but even so it had been tough on them.

「As long as we properly make a deal you’ll go home safely. Don’t think of doing anything strange. Those collars were made specially so that only I can take them off. If you try to take them off carelessly you’ll die. If you try to run away before I get my money you’ll never be able to remove them for the rest of your life.」

The three nobles had received some magic training, so despite it being weak, they were able to use physical enhancement magic. Aside from me, the elves who were assigned to watch over them would be in danger so I had attached magic interference collars to their necks.

In the first place they had been items attached to us elves, but after I analyzed them I figured out how to remove them without destroying them. So I removed them one by one and now we had plenty of them in storage. I had modified some of them to use on the nobles.

「W-we understand already. We know we can’t go against you.」
「Hii hii we know so please don’t hurt us anymore.」

One of them I had literally tormented til they broke so he was quite obedient.

I went around binding each of their hands behind their backs.

「Also let me tell you this, but I can send a signal to the collars that will kill you. I thought it’d be best to tell you beforehand.」

That was why I modified them.

Just one activation key and that would be the end of them.

I stuffed the pale-faced nobles into a carriage and set of from Erucy.

I would be going alone today. It was almost certain that a fight would break out. In that situation I couldn’t afford anyone holding me back.
***********************
Our meeting place was 20km from Erucy on a hill that provided a good view. Though I say that, two sides of the hill had plenty of trees within 30 meters.

This place had been chosen because I could travel to it within a day and because it had very little cover.

I arrived a little before the arranged meeting at noon and saw around 5 carriages lined up with around 20 armored soldiers surrounding them.

Just in case I activated {Perception Expansion} and checked the surroundings and discovered light armored bow wielding soldiers hiding in the trees.

Their ability to conceal their presence was quite good. They must have been well trained. However, unless they could erase the disturbance their bodies caused in the air it was impossible to hide from me.

I checked the knife on my belt and the integrated short bow on the back of my wrist.

「I am deeply grateful for your attendance today Sir Imperial Soldiers. I am the representative of Erucy, Cyril. Unlike you I have no surname. I am simply Cyril. According to the letter your representative should be Baron Lurvish Florence…may I ask if he is in attendance?」

I greeted with a courteous smile.

However, it appears they did not appreciate my efforts as a large bear-like bearded man slowly got off his carriage and rolled his shoulders seeming angry.

「How dare you savages pretend to be human after demanding a ransom! What is with your noble-like speech!? Are you trying to hide your base and vile character through make-believe!?」
「I had no intentions of doing so. I simply acted with due propriety as the representative of Erucy. I have come to negotiate with all due courtesy.」

I said simply and bowed. That further added fuel to the fire as he seethed.

「What the hell is this Erucy?」
「That is the name of our humble country. As our village has become independent and left your hands we had need of a name.」
「I wondered what you’d say, but there is no way this will be acknowledged! You fools will always be nothing more than a rebellious village that will eventually be subjugated!」
「I can understand those thoughts of the Empire. However, there is no conceivable reality in which we stop calling ourselves Erucy.」

That is something we absolutely could not back down on. It was the foundation of our newly reclaimed pride.

By the way, the Empire had no other name other than The Empire.

It was the only country in the world ruled by an Emperor…so it was The Empire. Any other emperor other than the Emperor of the Empire was not acknowledged so there was no need for another name.

「If we continue to speak on this topic neither party will benefit. How about we begin the true discussion? Shall we begin the exchange of gold and hostages? The process is simple. First I will release everyone except the Count’s second son. Then you will hand over the ransom and finally I will release the last hostage.」
「Fine」

If you thought about it reasonably, the Empire was accepting conditions that they would normally never allow.

There was only one reason for this. The Empire did not especially care if this arrangement went through or not. So that meant…….

「Then let’s act as discussed.」

Our exchange proceeded.

I held onto the big bag full of gold. I checked that everything was in order and it truly was 2,000 gold coins.

I finished releasing all three of them. Surprisingly the exchange ended without trouble and I removed the collars from them.

「You, you said you were the Chief? You have no intention of obediently accepting the rule of the Empire? If you agree now to continue living as you have been and send 10 elves as tax I can forgive you.」
「That’s quite condescending isn’t it? I’m sure those words are a result of considering the profits that can be gained if you don’t have to spend military effort on recapturing Erucy. I’m sure it isn’t something said out of good will.」

Indeed war would cost a great deal. Even more so if the Empire had to send soldier to a remote region over 200km away. The costs would be heavy. Even 500 troops would be burdensome. The Empire would be in a deficit just by sending the necessary number of troops to ensure victory.

「Ohh, so you even know that much?」

For the first time today Baron Lurvish’s face changed into a smile.

「Yes indeed. Most likely the number of troops needed to achieve a pyrrhic victory would be around 2,000. In truth to secure a true victory you would have to send upwards of 3,000 troops. At that point the costs would far outweigh the benefits.」
「Hahaha, if you can speak with that much certainty there’s no longer any point in attempting to deceive you. That’s right. You got it. As you said throwing 3,000 soldiers at this would be a great loss. However….even so the Empire will do so.」

He said with a sudden sharp look in his eyes.

「This is an issue of pride. We can’t allow ourselves to lose to some simple savages in the backwoods. Once the winter ends and the spring begins, there will be 3,000 soldiers coming to subjugate Erucy.」

These words were simple truth.

His eyes, the feelings in his words, and his atmosphere didn’t allow me the luxury of pretending he was lying.

「Of course at that time you would have made preparations to deal with our bows of course. You might send disposable mercenaries as the vanguard carrying greatshields, or burn the forest to orchestrate an attack from all directions. You might even send a few hundred light armored soldiers ahead to attack us in a pincer…you’ve surely thought of these things correct?」
「Wh-you why do you?」

The Empire wasn’t stupid. There were a few soldiers who survived and returned back to report. They might have even brought back some arrows as evidence. If that was the case then it wasn’t strange that they had thought of countermeasures.

「Erucy is not underestimating the Empire. Furthermore the one who made those bows was me. Do you think I would be ignorant of their weaknesses? Then if I know those weaknesses did you think I would not come up with some countermeasures to the countermeasures you thought of? I’ll warn you now. Even if you send those soldiers to us with your countermeasures, there will be a repeat of the massacre from last time. The more soldiers you send, the greater your casualties will be.」

I was half bluffing and half serious with my warning.

Of course I did not believe that this would be enough to force them to pull back.

My purpose was to make them feel caution.

「Interesting…this is so interesting…there was an elf like you still around…..I changed my mind. Let’s hold some negotiations. I believe you are an opponent worthy of such. Offer us the Fire Fox bitches that you’re hiding in your village. If you do so then I will personally guarantee that the Empire will not extend its grasp towards your village. We can’t afford to have the Fire Foxes self destruct like they did back at the village. Just fool them and put on the magic collars and bring them to us. If it’s you you should be able to right? The fire magic stones are much more valuable than wind magic stones. They’re absolutely necessary for metal manufacturing. Our iron work requires many trees to fuel the fires, but our forests have already been cut bare. We’re at the limit for that. If you give us the source of the Fire magic stones then I can let you guys go. If we change the situation into you offering the Fire Foxes in exchange for your freedom the Empire can preserve its honor.」

If I thought about it from the perspective of the elves this was the best situation.

Originally Kuu and the rest could be considered a burden on us. Just by getting rid of them we could guarantee our own safety.

Truthfully I would be able to fool them easily. I could easily sneak a sleeping medicine into their food, put collars on them while they slept, and place them in carriages before giving them up.

However, there was no need to consider such things.

「I will have to refuse. Those girls are already citizens of Erucy.」

The bigger issue was how they knew that the Fire Foxes were in Erucy.

I had suspected this before, but now I knew for sure that there was an Elf leaking information in Erucy. Just by confirming that there was meaning in coming here today.

「Then we have no choice but to go to war. I have one final suggestion. How about if you alone come to the Empire? Your intelligence, courage, and your technique of making those iron bows. I was moved when I saw those arrows. Pure iron. All the arrows of similar quality. Items that can’t even be made in the Empire. You are a person who can become truly successful in the Empire. I wan to obtain you. I can’t help but feel that allowing you to die with the barbarians is far too pitiful.」

It looks like this man was truly confident of their victory.

He had the confidence that they would break my countermeasures.

He was a pretty interesting human. If he had been the one leading the 500 soldier force the other day I would have probably had to use four out of the five trump cards I had prepared.

「I will have to refuse that as well. I am the Leader of Erucy. I have the responsibility to protect my people.」
「I see…what a shame. To think a man like you would die a dog’s death out here. If you are to be our enemy then you’re too dangerous to be allowed to escape.」

At that moment the hidden bowmen pulled their bowstrings and let fly arrows from all directions.

My smile warped.

The Empire had never intended to exchange money for the hostages which is why they let this go through so easily.

Returning politeness with politeness, words with words, insults with insults, and force with force.

That was the basis of negotiations.


 

5 Comments

  1. Cyril better hope that Lucy ain’t the jealous type. She’s saying he smells like Kuu. Also does that mean what I think it means? That Cyril can’t hope to be a wizard?

    Anyways at least it’s good to know Cyril wasn’t naive enough to think the Empire would actually genuinely want to negotiate. Time to kill them all.

  2. So we not getting chapter 9.5?

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