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
Not enough ratings
1257 Chs

Chapter 1293 - Anthony On Tour pt 34

[Look, buzz off, will you?]

[We will not. You must come and meet us.]

[I must, eh? What if I must have a nap? Did you think about that?]

[For the future of your people and ours, we urge you to listen.]

[Not now. Sheesh! There's business to conduct. We'll be here for a few days, take your time. No need to come battering on my mind the moment I settle down.]

Ruthlessly, I cut the contact and my mind constructs fend off the half-hearted attempts to reconnect it. Talk about rude! The cultists of the Red Truth decided to try and arrange a meetup as soon as the Colony finished working on the nest and I managed to slip inside to put my legs up, metaphorically speaking.

They're being sneaky, using extensive methods to mask the hints of their mana from detection, but even so, I think they're taking a staggering risk. If they get caught reaching out to me, a monster subject to the Call, I can't imagine it's going to go well for them. So I continue to rebuff their advances until I can get a better sense for the lay of the land. We only just arrived on this island, and the ka'armodo aren't friendly with the Colony at the best of times, even when there isn't a full Legion sitting next door.

After the Colony gets settled, the brathians make their way over to us to discuss our next steps.

Compared to before, the air around Eran and her followers isn't quite as… positive. Faced with the opportunity to negotiate trade all over the fourth stratum, the lead deal-maker for the Brathian Island Conglomerate had been, not cheerful or energetic, but eager, hungry. That hunger remains, but it has clearly been tempered by caution. Marzban is on alert, as are his son and the rest of the soldiers, hands gripping weapon hilts at all times, eyes constantly scanning for threats.

[How's it all looking out there, Eran? I assume there's a long line of eager wizard-lizards ready to do business.]

She frowns at my jovial tone.

[There isn't,] she says. [What you've said shows a remarkable lack of understanding of ka'armodo culture. Don't you know anything about them?]

[Hey, it's not really my fault. Attitudes between them and us are a little frosty. We share a border with them in the third at present, and they don't seem to respect the line we've drawn in the sand. Well… not sand. The line we've drawn in the endlessly spawning horde of mini-demons.]

[Yes, I've been getting a sense that they aren't huge fans of the Colony,] she says wryly, and I feel like that might have been a massive understatement. [To clear up your confusion, the ka'armodo themselves do not engage in trade. Ever. They don't buy or sell. They don't haggle. They don't conduct any form of commerce. It's considered unseemly for a ka'armodo of any station to even mention money.]

Yeesh. I knew they were stuck up, but this takes it to a whole new level.

[I assume the setsulah are responsible for doing all of this.]

[Exactly. Every ka'armodo will have a setsulah who is responsible for managing their finances. Even though the product sold at a particular store is made by a ka'armodo, and the profit of that sale goes to them, they are not part of the transaction. That is all handled by their financier, or arkesh.]

So… we won't be dealing with the lizards at all? That might turn out to be a good thing. I put that idea to Eran and she shakes her head.

[Sorry to disappoint, but that's not really how it works. The arkesh are all skilled and trained negotiators, but they are not… independent. They will do exactly what their bonded-one tells them to do. Some of the… wizard-lizards… will be directing the talks themselves, looking through the eyes of their setsulah and communicating mentally with them.]

[Then what's the point of separating themselves from the business?! They make a big show of not caring about money, yet they actually care deeply! Isn't that just a catastrophic waste of time and energy?!]

[Yes. They have strange and unfortunate hangups when it comes to wealth. Ka'armodo, especially the older and more powerful mages, love to drape themselves in finery. Expensive tapestries and rugs hanging on their backs. Golden torques, rings, bands on their neck, legs, toes, through their noses, pinched through the skin. It's enough to make a satrap blush.]

That is true. Every ka'armodo I've ever met, and even most of the setsulah, were looking pretty… shiny… I guess, is the word. That reminds me.

[I'm pretty sure I heard the Colony had found a fairly sizeable gold mine in the third not that long ago. Molten Gold, they were calling the stuff. It's chock full of fire mana and quite… red. In a burny sort of way.]

Eran smiles wide.

[Suddenly, I'm feeling much better about our time here. Tomorrow, we will have an initial meeting with a delegation of setsulah arkesh. They'll be inspecting your goods and reporting back to their bonded-ones. A follow up session will be where the real business is conducted.]

[Why do you keep calling them 'bonded-ones'? Aren't they their masters?]

[Again… don't let them hear you say it that way. The relationship between a ka'armodo and their setsulah is… complex, and rooted in magic. There are many who would call the setsulah slaves, but even they would admit the dynamic is more… nuanced than that.]

If she says so. I know when to leave well enough alone, and this is one of those times. The Colony has enough on its plate to worry about. Speaking of which, I wonder how the preparations for invading the fifth are going. I'm going to bash some Krath to relieve the stress this trade mission has brought me.