ITSUJITA ~ C28: Bargaining
Chapter 28: Bargaining
"...... Mayor, what did you just say?"
"I said, 'I want you to forget we ever talked about setting up a branch here'."
Karen said with a strong tone and stared at Gabs.
I've only known her for a short time, but this is the first time I've ever seen her look so strict.
Gabs' eyes widened at her words.
"Hou. I wonder who it was that came all the way to the capital and begged me to set up a branch here."
"The Labyrinth Predators are the only guild who have reached out to this town. Your request has been turned down by several adventurer guilds, right? Do you understand that properly?"
Gabs spread his hands and raised the volume of his voice so that everyone here could hear him.
"Why do many adventurers' guilds don't want to set up a branch in this town? It's simple. It's because it's not worth it. The distance from the capital city. Transportation costs for personnel and materials. Securing communication with the central. Any one of these is unprofitable. Not in this remote area."
Gabs smiles mockingly.
He is completely making fun of this town's residents.
Even I am getting annoyed.
"Wait a minute, Gabs-san. I heard that there are rare monsters, medicinal herbs, and minerals in the forest. Isn't that alone enough to make it worth setting up a branch?"
It was Ryer who told me about it.
He also said that it is strange that there is no adventurer's guild in Ninorich.
"Hmm. It is true that there are rare monsters and materials in the great forest that stretches east of the town."
"That's right. Besides, there are many adventurers who come to this town. The adventurers in this town are proof that this town is worthy. It would be strange if the town doesn't have an adventurer's guild."
"Many ......? Kukuku...pfft...phuahahaha. What an ignorant ...... pfft, don't make me laugh. Oh my God, you're so ignorant."
Gabs laughed out loud at my comment.
"Let me tell you something for your ignorance. OK? There are at most 40 or 50 adventurers in this town. They are just small fish adventurers who can't make money in the capital or other big cities, so they come to the frontier where there are few competitors to earn some money."
"Gabs turns his pitying eyes to the adventurers in my store. I wonder why Ryer hasn't punched him. Is he worried about my store? Or, is he waiting for an opening to finish him off with a single blow?"
"And yet, what misunderstanding has led the Mayor here to believe that this town is valuable to adventurers? A town in the middle of nowhere, you know? It's ridiculous, pathetic and so funny."
Karen's face turned down, and her shoulder is trembling from Gabs's mockery.
Gabs snorted when he saw that and turned his eyes to me again.
"Do you understand shopkeeper? There is no reason or benefit for us to set up a branch in this town. BUUUUT..."
After a brief pause, Gabs approached me quickly.
His sudden approach is happening again.
"Can I say that you're the one who create this? If you can give me the rights to sell the matches you make, I'd be happy to set up a branch here in town."
"Gabs-dono, I have already rejected that offer..."
"Shut up, Mayor. I'm talking to the shopkeeper, the alchemist."
Karen fell silent and looked at me instead.
Her eyes, staring at me, looked like she wanted to say something.
"Well, what do you think, alchemist? The future of this town depends on your decision."
I had completely become an alchemist.
"......If I ask you to wait for a while, you won't wait. Am I right?"
"Of course. I am not free either. Let me hear your answer right here and right now."
Now, let's sort out the situation.
I am thinking.
According to the chronological order of events, there must have been talks about setting up a branch in Ninorich before I started doing business here.
The only reason they asked us not to have another adventurers' guild in town was so that they could monopolize the profits from the forest for themselves.
In other words, even if I exclude the matches' factor, there is still more than enough reason to have an adventurers' guild in Ninorich.
Considering Gabs' personality, whom I just met, I must think further.
He is trying to pressure his opponent and make absurd demands.
That's not a new thing for me. He's just like my former greedy boss at that black company.
If that's the case, I can guess what kind of person Gabs is and how he thinks.
In the beginning, he was probably trying to monopolize the profits by placing a branch office in this remote town through his reckless demands.
Then, the information about my matches came in...
I think matches have a high value as a commercial product in this world.
The very high sales are the proof of that.
That's why Gabs the greedy was thinking like this.
He wanted to monopolize the rights to sell matches by using the offer to set up a branch as a bait.
If he was spying on me, it was natural to assume that he knew that Karen and I are close friends and that I have a good relationship with this town's people.
That's why Gabs wanted to monopolize the match by using this town's future as a hostage.
Oh my God, he's so greedy.
Then my answer is fixed, isn't it?
"What will you do now? Do you want to continue selling matches in a remote town with no future? Or do you want to give priority rights to sell matches to us, the "Labyrinth Looters". You can earn a large amount of money for the rest of your life and develop the town where your close friends live. Well, if you have a common sense, there's no need to hesitate."
Gabs is waiting for my answer.
I look at Gabs and give him a big smile.
Gabs grins at me in return.
And then I...
"Of course, I'll have to decline."
I said to him.
Gabs' eyes widened, and he looked very surprised.
It was a good sight.
"Are you serious ......?
"Yes, I'm serious. Even if I accept your offer, I think it will be meaningless to have an adventurer's guild in this town.
Karen is also surprised, but she looks relieved.
"Meaningless? So you're saying that there is no reason or benefit for Adventurers' Guilds to set up a branch in this town."
"Eh? I'll ask you the other way around, is there any reason or benefit for the Labyrinth Looters to set up a branch here?"
I make a confused face and ask him back.
"If you don't mind, could you tell me what the benefit?
"I can't believe you are this dumb....... Listen. If we set up a branch, adventurers from the Labyrinth Looters will come to this town."
"What's the difference between that and now?"
"......Haa. The Looters of the Labyrinth is the best adventurer's guild in this country. The level of the adventurers is different from the weak adventurers who have been coming to this town. The level is different, and so is the amount of money they spend in this town will also be different."
"Eh? But it's only low-level adventurers who come to the remote areas, right?"
"Yeah! I heard it with my own ears, too. Weak adventurers."
Ryer took advantage of my comment.
The other adventurers also nodded their heads in agreement.
"............ In the first place it was strange. If this town doesn't have any potential for profit, why are you are trying to put a branch here on your terms?"
Nesca threw out a straightforward question.
Gabs gets impatient with unexpected comments and questions.
"Well, it's because of our good intentions."
"............ You're lying. You just want Shirou's matches."
"The infamous Labyrinth Looters have good intentions? Huh, you're just sleep talking, old man."
"Tsk. Don't interrupt me, you weak adventurers!"
"What did you say?"
Ryer was cracking his knuckles as he screamed.
It seems like he's about to swing his fist with all his might.
I immediately stop him.
"Wait a minute, Ryer-san!"
"No, no violence."
"Besides, I've given him my answer, and there's no point in talking about it in the first place. Isn't that right, Gabs-san?"
This time, I came closer to Gabs.
This is the third time we've been so close today.
"Even if I give you exclusive rights to sell, you're also asking for tax exemption and the building cost, right? After considering these factors, it is up to the Mayor to make the final decision. After all whether they can afford it or not, it's depending on the town's finances. As long as Karen-san refuses, there's no point in discussing it any further."
When I smiled and said that, Gabs made a face as if he had just realized something.
He so focused on the exclusive right to sell the matches that he didn't think about anything else.
"....If you can't afford the cost, we'll give you a loan."
"So, so you can charge us a high interest?"
"High, high interest sound bad. We will give you a fair interest rate."
"I don't want a loan."
Karen said with a strong tone.
In response, Gabs clicked his tongue.
He clicked his tongue.
I wonder if the " Labyrinth Looters" are too short on manpower to send someone like this to negotiate.
Or maybe it's because they've been taking advantage of people's weaknesses and forcing them to accept their demands until now.
Well, whatever the case...
"I believe we've reached a conclusion. Gabs-san, the exit is that way."
I pointed to the exit, and Aina quickly opened the door.
Although she doesn't say anything, Aina's cheeks are puffy, which means she is angry.
"Wait, please wait. Then how about you personally make a contract with us, the Labyrinth Looters? We'll buy it from you at your price!"
"Sorry. I'm intending to continue to do business modestly in Ninorich."
I said coolly.
"An-chan...... You little bastard ......."
"............ Shirou. Well said."
Everyone's reaction was superb.
"If you want, you can even open a store in the capital with our guild's help. If you need materials, we can have our adventurers gather them for you. Will you sign the contract with us?"
"I'm not good at bargaining, so I only do business with people I can trust. I'm sorry, but I don't trust Gabs-san. If you understand, please leave now. I have customers waiting for me."
"Come on, you're disturbing my business. Hurry, go back to the capital."
Ryer grabbed Gabs' scruff and...
Ryer threw him outside.
Then he slammed the door shut.
Gabs was banging on the door for a while, but he gave up or stopped making noise after some time.
"Shirou, I'm sorry."
Karen bows her head to me.
I waved my hand quickly.
"Don't worry about it. I mean, Karen, you've been through a lot. Did that man do any weird things to you?"
"...... He touched my breasts a little."
"Aina, bring me something hard and sharp. I'm going to finish him."
"An-chan, I'll give you a hand too."
"Shirou Onii-chan, is this OK?"
Aina brought me a knife from the shelf.
It is one of the most popular products among housewives.
"Little girl, get me one too."
"............ Both of you don't do anything stupid. Just leave that swindler alone."
As we finished that skit, suddenly the entrance door opened.
Is Gabs coming back? I look at the door and see the female adventurer I've met before.
"Excuse me. I heard the Mayor is here."
The female adventurer looked around the store.
It seems that she doesn't know which one is the Mayor.
"I'm the Mayor...... Who are you......?"
The female adventurer straightened her posture and bowed.
"My name is Ney Mirage. I am a Messenger from the adventurers' guild, the Silver Moon Apostles."
When he heard the name, Ryer whistled.
And then he whispers in my ear.
"That is the biggest guild in this country."
"I am Karen Schwartz, the Mayor of Ninorich. What business does Messenger of the Silver Moon have in my town?"
"Don't be so alarmed. It's just a simple matter. I've come to ask you if we could set up a branch of the Silver Moon Apostles in this town."
After a moment of silence...
Everyone in this room are surprised.