265 196. Start of Negotiations Part 1.


    As a Communication Crystal transferred the message, Luke sighed with relief as he got confirmation from Plato about Antonio and how he would be dealt. He thought, "It seems they are finally thinking with their brains and not muscles. I guess Lord Irmela's Oracle too might have an effect on them and hence they are becoming cautious of the Radiant Church. During the last Oracle, they created havoc and also assassinated the king. I guess this time, their spear will turn towards Lord John so we are safe for a while but they will eventually turn their spear towards us as well as they would try to rule us. It seems the Gods are finally going to move and this might have nerved the King. I better go and meet Taylor already, who knows if he changes his mind on the deal. Those elders will blame me if the deal isn't successful and they don't get those mana restoring pills."

    After finally being able to arrange a meeting with Taylor. both immediately got down to business.

    Taylor immediately asked Luke who was in a hurry to meet him, "I am sure you are not here to chit-chat. are you?"

    Luke sighed as he looked at Taylor with a new light since their last conversation before the war started, "Nope, it is business. Our ministers have agreed to Sky's request and we want to renegotiate. Antonio won't be treated unfairly. As far as trade is concerned, We have also relaxed the ban on trade from Sky and our ministers have started the groundwork. After the peace deal is signed, Apart from the core industries i.e. Magic stones and ores that are always low in quantity.  All the items of trade will be relaxed, in return, we hope to get buying rights in Mana restoring pills and those medicinal cures which you invented recently like the other countries. We hope to trade in almost everything. If there are special circumstances we are also willing to trade in core industries. Currently, we are more interested in the ships built by you guys. Inferior ones are ok aswell. But we want ones that are better in quality as compared to Duke Fjord Laguna. This you have to make sure."

    Taylor was quite shocked as he asked surprisingly, "Aren't you worried about offending two lobbies together, one the Healthcare and other Duke Fjord's shipbuilding."

    Taylor thought, 'I thought the negotiations would take quite some time. I guess we can complete it real early this time around.'

    Shooking his head, Luke answered, "Nope, I think you guys might also be aware of Lord Irmela's Oracle. We are going to curb the radiant church and its influence via using the medicines from Sky. As for Duke Fjord, he has long been blackmailing both us Aelius and the Dwarves because of his Shipbuilding tech. The last war anyway exposed your ships as well as the performance of Duke Fjord's ships. So we are going to teach him a lesson. Previously we made wrong choices and supported Duke Fjord which offended Lord John which in turn led to the secession of North-frontier City. After my previous conversation with you, I understood that your Lord certainly has some principles when it comes to Loyalty to state as he wouldn't secede on dubious reasons. I guess he purposely baited and exploited Aelius's greed and Prince Hector's petty behavior to his benefit to secede rightfully. Well, this is politics and I can't blame him."

    Luke continued as he sighed looking at the development of Sky, "Getting back to the point, so what do you say about our cooperation to reduce Radiant Church's influence and Duke Fjord's influence too."

    Taylor was quite shocked after hearing such a juicy proposal, "Though it is inappropriate for me to speak. Aren't you guys worried about our increased influence in your kingdom when it comes to healthcare?"

    Luke smiled mysteriously as he sipped his wine and spoke, "Nope, rather than having one tiger on the mountain who is always ready to chew us out when we are injured, Defense Minister Plato would rather have 2 wolves fighting each other and not worry about getting injured when one tries to stab us. Your cheap medicines as compared to the services of Radiant church would also help us tarnish the image of the Radiant Church's despicable behavior. In this propaganda, we will help you.

    If you guys want to open a printing press, It will be under our jurisdiction when it comes to politics. Meanwhile, you guys can openly tarnish the image of Radiant Church and Duke Fjord. However, When it comes to Prince Hector, Only Opinions from King John himself or top ministers like you will be allowed as both of them have a grudge and we can let it slide. As for King, Queen and his concubines, you guys can't comment. However, we won't force you to tarnish the image of our political opponents as well. Currently, We will also be subsidizing the medicines and open Government operational stores to the common public so that this increases the use of medicines for the common public."

    Taylor thought of the previous report sent by Dearil and spoke, "Now this is interesting. I guess you guys are preparing for a war against Radiant Church. Well, what if Prince Hector tries to kill Antonio. Won't all of your plans be ruined?"

    Hearing Taylor's tone, Luke was sure that his spies got some information on Prince Hector, he worriedly spoke, "What? He is moving already?"

    Looking at Taylor, he hurriedly asked, "How did you guys know about it?"

    Taylor smiled mysteriously and gave vague answers, "Well, we have our sources. It seems he has employed the Radiant Church's men to deal with Antonio."

    For the first time, Luke cursed, "Curse that bastard. He will ruin all of our relations and lead this country to ruin."

    He worriedly asked, "Do you guys have any way to stop this assassination."

    Taylor thought a bit and spoke, "Well yeah, but if we stop this assassination. Antonio will have to be transferred to Sky."

    Luke furiously shook his head and spoke, "No, that is impossible. This will be a slap on our face. This is an internal matter no matter what. We can't let this happen when we are improving relations."

    Taylor smiled and spoke calmly as he watched Luke's reaction which was within expectation, "Well, He can die as well. His assassination will most probably be started this afternoon. I am sure you know how the guards don't interfere in political matters and are easy to bribe."

    Taylor pretended to thought a bit and spoke, "How about this, Transfer Antonio to Dolores under his father. because this problem will persist as long as Prince Hector is determined to get rid of him. However, We will not stop this assassination for free. My King already knows this situation and has given me the full rights to handle it as I see fit. So what is your decision?"

    Luke thought a bit and spoke, "Ok, this is acceptable. What do you need in return."

    Taylor, "People."

    Looking confused, Luke asked, "What do you mean by people? Political pawns?"

    Taylor spoke, "Well, I mean exactly what I said. Not political pawns. Currently, we have a vast land now thanks to expanding the other areas and we are in a shortage of labor. Well, the races of people don't matter. Meanwhile, we will be keeping the prisoners if you don't agree and this includes General Endo and other noble sons. We will be paying 10 gold coins for each person if you agree."

    Watching the carrot and stick tactics, Luke almost vomited and thought as if he was standing in front of Plato and negotiating. He spoke without caring, "Races don't matter, correct? Ok, we will agree."

    Taylor smiled as he watched Luke agreeing to his wishes, "You guys don't have to worry about transportation and food costs. It will be borne by us. However, if you are sending slaves, you better free them before they are handed over to us. Remember, this is not a slave trade so they must be treated appropriately. So choose people wisely. And yes, I won't remind you again so remember it thoroughly if other nobles of your kingdom visit our kingdom and discriminate races or try to bring physical harm or bring their own slaves and discriminate them, it will still be regarded as the breaking of a law. So tell them beforehand when they travel here."

    Taylor continued, "You must understand that the founding of our kingdom is based on certain ideals and they will be pursued to ends even if it means breaking our foreign relations. Being of Noble birth won't give anyone privileges However your action would. I know you understand this since you have spent a lot of time here. However, you must issue a travel advisory to the nobles who would think otherwise."

    Luke thought a bit understood, "I guess this discrimination is also the result of Radiant Church's influence over the years. From the historical books, I understand we had quite good relations with other races apart from Demons since both us demons and humans vied for hegemony. I will talk to king, Lionheart and Minister Plato about this. Maybe we can use this as propaganda against Radiant Church. As for people, you don't have to worry, we will transfer enough people. You only have to keep your wallets ready."

    Luke smiled and thought, 'Well, I guess king won't be worried since he would be earning 10 gold coins for every person. those guys won't be paying 10 gold coins in taxes in whole lives anyway since many are slaves.'

    Taylor spoke, "I forgot to mention, the soldiers' families would have to redeem themselves based on their position in the army or their influence in kingdom politics."
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