Anthony has been reborn! Placed into the remarkable game-like world of Pangera. However, something seems a little off. What's with these skills? Bite? Dig? Wait.... I've been reborn as a WHAT?! Follow Anthony as he attempts to adjust to his new life, to survive and grow in his new Dungeon home!

RinoZ · Fantasy
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1243 Chs

Chapter 1217 - Talks Conclude Pt 2

Already, Enid could detect the faint signs of tightness around Eran Thouris' eyes. She controlled her face. She didn't want to appear smug during the negotiations.

[I am simply communicating the many difficulties that we will incur in order to facilitate this transaction,] Eran patiently explained.

[Hey, if it's too hard for you, we can just call the whole thing off,] Anthony replied cheerfully. [We don't want to impose. No need to endure any hardship on our account.]

It was already the fourth time he'd suggested ending the talks in three minutes of dialogue.

[Wouldn't it be a shame for your Colony to miss this opportunity to gain cores? I can only imagine how precious they are to you and your family.]

[Oh, of course. We need, like, infinity cores.] The giant ant shrugged his antennae. [But if this doesn't work, we'll figure something else out. We're pretty creative and hardworking. I mean, we're ants.]

[But since this opportunity is here in front of you, don't you want to make the most of it?]

Anthony scratched at his carapace with one antenna, confused.

[I mean, sure? I'm trying to understand if you want this trade or not, if I'm honest. You won't stop talking about how hard it is for your side to make it happen and compensation, so I suggest we call it off, and then you won't stop insisting on how the Colony will be missing out. I've told you several times already, there's no need to worry about us, we're doing fine. If anything, it sounds like your conglomerate are the ones who need help. Is there anything we can do for you? You need food? Protection? We can have fifty thousand ants deployed in an hour if you need them. We… uh… just can't go underwater. Yet.]

Enid laughed and then disguised it as a cough, patting herself on the chest and picking up her cup to sip her tea. There was a bare hint of floral notes to this blend, with just the right amount of sugar stirred in. 

In one fell swoop, Anthony had punctured through Eran's talk of difficulties by questioning the strength of the brathian Conglomerate, and then threatened them with an army fifty thousand strong which would arrive at their territory before the delegation returned home. Best of all, he hadn't intended any of it.

Perhaps it was because he was a monster, or just because he was Anthony, but he was maddingly immune to the effects of social Skills. Enid had never noticed any effect from her own, and it seemed even someone as talented and highly ranked as Eran couldn't make a dent in him. The frustration was starting to mount, Enid could detect a slight darkening of the scales around the brathian's neck.

[Well, perhaps we should go over some of the prices your negotiator and I have established so we can find some common ground. I think you'll find they are most fair.]

[You've got a list or something, Enid?]

[Yes. Yes I do.]

The old woman grimaced. It wasn't a list she could be proud of. She'd held on as best she could, but that didn't detract from the absolute drubbing she'd received.

[Firstly, let us look at the household items, starting with the carpets. Naturally, we need to take into account the weight and delicate nature of such goods when transporting them, as well as finding customers for your… unique designs.]

Eran launched into a detailed explanation of the many costs involved in collecting, checking, storing and transporting the goods, but Anthony was shifting uncomfortably after a minute.

[We can do all of that,] he said, a little irritation bleeding through. [Show us how you want it packed and we'll get it done. We can transport it and provide the security ourselves if it's so difficult. How many guards do you need for a caravan? Ten? Twenty?]

The brathian permitted herself a small smile.

[We would usually have two hundred guards, minimum, for a caravan of any value.]

The giant ant waggled his antennae in confusion.

[I was talking thousands. Ten thousand, or twenty thousand guards. You only need two hundred? That's… not many?]

Eran blinked.

[Let's not worry about all the talk about difficulties,] Anthony said, smoothly attempting to divert the conversation away from boring details. [Just give me the percentages. In terms of how much you will sell the product for, what percentage will the Colony earn?]

[Such a crude manner of examining commerce does not take into account the many nuances involved…] Eran sputtered.

Which is exactly why Anthony likes it, Enid thought smugly to herself.

[I assumed you might want something like this, so I took the liberty of enquiring after these numbers. I have them here if you want them.]

[Oh? Thanks, Enid! Hit me.]

[H-hit… you?]

[Tell me the numbers.]

[Oh. Well, for the carpets and rugs, the Colony would receive twenty percent of the final sale price.]

Ants never moved much, when they didn't want to. Aside from assiduously cleaning their antennae, they weren't moving all that much during these talks, but right now, Anthony grew perfectly still. He didn't move at all, for a long, awkward moment.

[Twenty?] he said, finally, his mental tone curiously flat. [We harvest the raw materials, do all the Skilled labour, enchant it, bring it down to the fourth and we get… twenty percent?]

The gigantic ant actually stood, turning to face the brathians directly, his enormous and menacing mandibles pointing directly at them. The scaled guards were not pleased with this development, though the Eran herself remained admirably cool.

[Are you wanting to break our legs as well?] the ant demanded.

Eran blinked.

[No? Why would we want to break your legs? We don't want to hurt you at all.]

[Then why do I feel so much pain right now?]

He communicated to Enid directly.

[These aren't fish, these are sharks!]

[I tried to warn you,] she said. [Commerce is their life. They love the process of making money just as much as they love the wealth they generate. They'll squeeze as hard as they can.]


He reopened communication to Eran.

[Yeah. I'm thinking we get eighty percent, since we do all the work? You can skim twenty off the top for your trouble. Sound good?]