1107 Chapter 1218 - Talks Conclude pt 3

As it turned out, it did not 'sound good', to the brathians.

[Twenty percent! That's usury,] she declared flatly.

[Isn't that the percentage you were offering us?] Anthony pointed out.

[This was a number we arrived at after a lengthy discussion of the costs and risks of conducting business. I would be happy to go over them with you….]

Anthony scratched at his head as Enid did all she could to contain her smile, regardless of how hard it threatened to creep over her face.

[We are the ones making the stuff,] he insisted. [Without us, there's no trade for you to profit from at all, you'll have no goods. All you have to do is receive the stuff and take it somewhere you can sell it, which is something you already do. As I understand it, you have a network of caravans, merchants, markets and stores already, so you don't have to establish anything new, this is just another source of goods for you to plug into your pipeline.]

Eran tried a different tack.

[It's true we have an exceptionally successful business spread over multiple strata, and a strong presence in some of the biggest markets in the fourth stratum, including the Silver City. We deal with many, many suppliers as well as create our own artisanal products for sale. This isn't a trade that we need,] she spoke with just the right amount of deprecation, insinuating that she was doing them a favour. [Access to our conglomerate is worth paying a heavy price.]

Surprisingly, Anthony nodded.

[That's persuasive, you've done a lot of work and we would benefit from that. We can't have hard work be unrewarded.]

Eran Thouris eased ever so slightly in her chair. Clearly, she thought she was finally getting somewhere. Enid knew better.

[Soooo. You can have twenty-five percent,] the Ant announced with an air of finality. [That seems fair to me.]

The brathian reeled, but collected herself a fraction of a second later. Enid was impressed. This woman was tough. Dealing with Anthony was enough to send a teenager grey.

[You added five percent in recognition of our input?] she sought to clarify, a little coldly.

[Of course not,] Anthony replied reasonably. [Before, I was giving you twenty percent, but fifteen of that was just because I'm nice. Now I think you actually deserve twenty five. It's a totally different calculation.]

There was open confusion on the face of the brathian negotiator now. Her Skills weren't working as they should, and the direction of the conversation had gone far from what she had intended. Enid almost felt sorry for her. It was only going to go downhill from here.

She threatened to walk away from the deal if the percentage wasn't better. Anthony didn't care.

She demanded they begin negotiating prices at fifty percent, no lower. Anthony threatened to walk away.

She tried to talk down the quality of the produce and thus diminish its price. Anthony didn't believe her, stating anything his siblings made was either the best in the world, or soon would be.

She tried to emphasise the power of the conglomerate and the influence they had. She hinted they could ban the Colony from ever trading in the fourth if they so chose. Again, Anthony didn't care. The ants were perfectly content making things just to decorate their nests and insisted they would find other ways to procure the cores they needed. He made it clear in no uncertain terms that he considered this deal to be the Colony doing the Brathian Island Conglomerate a favour, and not the other way around.

She protested. He shrugged.

She needled. He got bored.

She marshalled her words and went into battle, eloquently and viciously. He stopped listening.

It went on for hours with the giant ant growing more and more irritated and the brathian delegation growing more and more desperate. Finally, one of them cracked.

[Fine! You can have forty percent, alright? We'll pack and ship the goods to you ourselves, you can station people here in the nest to make sure it's done to your satisfaction and then you can deal with it from there.]

A major concession from Anthony's perspective, an insulting offer from his opponent's. Eran Thouris' mouth tightened to a thin line. Before she could say anything over the mind-bridge, Anthony cut her off.

[Considering we are doing all of the creating, and you are only doing the selling, I consider forty percent to be just shy of robbing us. I'm going to emphasise this point. Take it or leave it. The conditions aren't going to get any better than this. In fact, if you agree in the next thirty seconds, I'll extend the conditions of this deal to five years before it's renegotiated and throw in a fine set of knives delivered directly to your door. If you don't agree in thirty seconds, then we shake hands and go our separate ways, it wasn't meant to be.]

Finally, the ant had reached the end of his patience and Enid knew that he had bent as far as he was going to. She caught the eye of her opponent across the table and gave her a subtle nod. He meant what he'd said. Eran needed to think and think quickly.

She smiled and sipped her tea.

[It seems as though we have a deal,] she said.

The brathians around the table and in the chamber looked pained, as if they'd just been forced to digest something truly unpleasant, and honestly, Anthony radiated the same kind of energy. A successful negotiation, nobody was happy!

It all worked out better than she'd expected.

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