"No, Laurent, maybe we still have a chance to work together."
Laurent looked at Reed in slight confusion. How could he have a chance to work with Master Reed when he was bankrupt?
As if suddenly thinking of something, he looked at Reed with a face full of excitement. "Master Reed, perhaps I have talents for being a mage?"
Goddess above, didn't they say that the older one gets, the weaker one's spellcasting talent was? Am I a genius of magic as said by the troubadours? Master Reed, I'm willing, I'm willing to be your apprentice."
Reed looked dumbstruck, for a person like you to have magical talents?
Your current talent as a beggar was definitely the strongest, just wait until you go bankrupt.
"No, Laurent, don't even bother about it. The Goddess of Magic isn't some magnanimous goddess."
"Rather than basic, I'm much more inclined to hand you the reins of Goldwheat Guild."
Laurent was obviously disappointed. Did I really have no talent for magic?
Then Reed's words had him baffled again, continue to hand him the reins of the Goldwheat Guild?
"Master Reed, are you saying that you want to invest in the guild? Goddess above, your vision is enough to make the Goddess of Wealth admire..."
Laurent had a sense of happiness that he was blessed by the Goddess of Wealth, that a mage that could be considered powerful in Grimm wanted to invest in his guild.
This was simply something far more exciting than him actually having any magical talents.
"No, Laurent, you are thinking way too much."
The words Reed slowly spat out had Laurent's mood from going from cloud nine to crash landing, as if his life-saving buoy had been cut off.
"Master Reed, you... you..."
Seeing his opposite number's desperate yet somewhat hopeful expression, Reed shook his head.
"I have no interest in injecting funds into Goldwheat Guild."
It was over.
Reed's words had completely extinguished whatever hope Laurent had harbored, and he was still a merchant that was going to go bankrupt.
"But I am interested in acquiring the Goldwheat Guild. I will help you repay all of your debts, and the Goldwheat Guild shall be mine. Be it the guild house, or the slaves the guild have, all will be my private property. And you, Laurent, will still be in control of the Goldwheat Guild, and I will pay you a salary of 10 gold Pykes a month."
"No, Master Reed, our guild house, slaves, and our sales channels are worth more than 200 gold Pykes. Even if Grimm's Chamber of Commerce were to take all of them back, I will not owe them more than a few gold Pykes."
"Heh, do you think those things will worth that much once you are unable to repay your debts? You should know how those nobles operate, they will suck your blood dry."
Reed finished the cup of hot milk in his hand, and looked directly at the silent Laurent with an assertive gaze.
"Master Laurent, there is only one chance. If it was not for the fact that I am acquainted with you, you would not be getting this favor from me. You should know that as a high mage in the city that has a place in the Lodge of Mages, if I want to form a guild myself, a single word alone will see many people handing out their guilds to me."
Reed was in full control on this asymmetric negotiation, and Laurent had no right to say no before him.
The choice of being a debtor that was worse than a beggar, or to latch onto a powerful person and be a steward of a guild.
A smart person would know what to choose.
While Reed's decision to acquire Goldwheat Guild was made on a whim, he had also considered the deeper issues that may follow.
Following the development of the castle, there will definitely be a large number of humans living in the castle in the near future.
At that moment, he would need to purchase a large number of living materials from the outside world.
If he did not have his own guild, while buying from an external guild was not too big a problem, but with time his activities would inevitably be exposed, and secondly, he would have to incur a lot of extra costs as a guild has to make money.
If he had a guild that was completely under his control, then these problems would not be a problem any longer.
The Goldwheat Guild just happened to be a coincidence, a guild that was going bankrupt due to the lack of funds, and had not lost its business channels was undoubtedly an excellent choice.
The most important thing was that in the Progenitor Vampire's memories, Laurent was a businessman without a background, plus he was not bad in doing business and was extremely shrewd.
If not for the fact that he lacked backing, and every time a share of his goods would be taken away by the various factions in the city, he would have made it far larger than what he had now.
And creating a new guild now was undoubtedly a waste of time where he had to start from scratch in terms of manpower, land, and even business channels, which was not in his current interests.
The fixed assets of Goldwheat Guild were more than enough to cover the 200 gold Pykes... but he had no ability to convince the nobles to recognize them.
Regardless, this investment would incur him no loss.
If he controlled it well, perhaps it may even be a powerful help in the future, so he decided to make a venture investment for the future.
This investment was less than 200 gold Pykes, and it did not matter if it failed, it was a sum he could afford to lose.
Laurent did not ponder too long as he had no bargaining chips to negotiate with Reed.
A high mage, this title alone was enough to make him swallow most of his bargaining lines back into his stomach.
"I'm willing, Master Reed. As long as you help me pay off the gold Pykes I owe, the Goldwheat Guild shall be yours."
Laurent felt a bitter taste in his mouth, but he still gritted his teeth and said the words out.
While he was quite distressed that the guild he had worked so hard to build in his lifetime would be someone else's, but after he said that, he felt relieved, and at the very least, he no longer had to bear the debt of 200 gold Pykes from the Grimm Chamber of Commerce.
The Grimm Chamber of Commerce was formed by the nobility, and he could imagine what he would face if he could not repay his debts.
His guild, house, wive, all of them will be taken by those dastardly nobles.
"A wise choice, after we get into the city, come to my mage tower to sign the contract. You will be someone with the backing of a high mage. And those underground factions will no longer find trouble with you, and neither will those difficult nobles will come to cause trouble with the Goldwheat Guild. All of this is what you get for making this wise decision."
After hearing that, Laurent suddenly felt that selling his guild off was not too bad after all.
Dealing with the various underground factions in Grimm was the most troublesome thing for a guild with no backing like the Goldwheat Guild, and at least sixty percent of the gold Pykes he earned every year would have been carved away by these factions.
Besides, the nobility were behind many of these underground factions, and so the merchants had no way to fight back/
"Master Reed, for this gracious gift, I, Laurent Orlando swears my fealty to you."
Laurent was also a man who could let go, and after confirming his position, he knelt direction on one knee before Reed and swore allegiance to him.
Laurent Orlando swears allegiance to you, do you wish to accept it?
Reed was taken aback when he heard the system in his ear. Was there such a function?
As he helped Laurent up, he opened the attribute panel in his mind.
Name: Laurent Orlando
Occupation: Merchant [Level: 12]
Talent Specialty: Business
Abilities: Observation, Negotiation, Intimidation, Parley, Bargaining, News Snooping.
Notes: This is an excellent merchant, and may be able to manage a large-sized guild.
Affiliation: The Vermillion Tower (Reed Kaschar)
Reed was a little surprised after he read Laurent's attributes. He did not expect this person to be a professional merchant, and that he was at Level 12, two whole levels higher than him.
He had the inexplicable feeling of finding a treasure.