Chapter 118: Negotiations
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I cursed loudly as I woke up; I had planned to wake up at my usual time at dawn, to practice my new skills. 
Seeing what had happened on this trip. I wanted to be ready for anything that might come, but it seemed like I had been more tired than I had thought.
I had slept for twelve hours and now, I only have half an hour, before I have to meet Lancel and leave for the negotiations.
I did not waste any time and went to the bathroom. There I quickly freshen and finished the shower within five minutes, before coming out and changing into the suit.
Seeing I looked presentable; I walked out, but not before taking my sword. 
Today, I am alone. There is no Ida or Stone; she had left and taken Stone with her as I had asked her to do yesterday. 
I don’t like to be without my own guards, but I could take that risk here.
The Jalrux is safe as the city could be and not to mention after the incident of incursion dungeon; they are more careful about our safety.
I stepped out of my room and immediately activated the Rapid Steps; I have only five minutes to reach Lancel’s office and I don’t want to be late.
The skill is excellent. Its range has increased with advancement from the Quick Steps and so has its speed. With Sure Foot always active, I could do wonders with this skill when fighting.
In less than three seconds, I appeared by the elevator and stepped in.
When the elevator stopped, a couple of seconds later. I used the Rapid Steps again to move towards Lancel’s office.
“Adviser Silver, you can go inside,” said the assistant. I nodded and walked into the door. 
Lancel did not trust his assistants much; he would always keep them out in most meetings. They mostly act as his errand boys than the assistants, but the assistants are errand boys.
So, they are doing what they are paid to do.
“My lord,” I greeted as I appeared in the office. Everyone is already present, including Robin.
“Remus, take a seat,” said Lancel. “Thank you. My lord,” I said and sat down.
“Since Remus had arrived, we will go one more time on our strategy,” he said, and for the next hour, we discussed our strategy for today's negotiations, until it is time to leave.
At right ten, we all got up and walked out of the office. 
As we stepped out of the mansion, we walked into the carriages waiting for us. Lancel, Robin, and I sat in one carriage, while others sat in the other.
“We have to get a non-aggression pact for at least six months, and with that incident, we have some leverage,” said Lancel with a small smile on his face.
“My lord, we will try our all, but I hope you do not get your hopes up. Navr, rarely signs such pacts,” said Robin in an unusually blunt voice. 
He rarely speaks such direct words, at least to Lancel. Who tends to get angry too quickly, but it seemed like this time he is aware of the reality as well.
“I know it will be hard, but we will try for it,” Lancel said after a moment of silence.
Most of the carriage ride went in silence. All three of us, looked at our preparations silently. 
I am a little nervous thinking about the afternoon when I will be leading the negotiations. It will be the first time I will be leading any negotiation outside of Greltheaven.
Soon, we reached our destination and got out of the carriage.
The city hall.
“Navr is really rich,” said Lancel, barely able to hide the awe in his voice as he looked at the architectural marvel in front of us.
It is a huge palatial building, with detailed carving work done on it and painted with gold and precious metals. Some works even had a gem embedded in them.
Only the undead kingdom would dare to be this extravagant; other places did not dare to. There are thieves, high-leveled thieves.
It is not like Navr didn’t have high-leveled thieves, but here the density of powerhouses is also greater. Especially the dead kind, who can sniff those live rats.
We were admiring the work of art when a half-elf, who looked to be in his late thirties, appeared in front of us.
“Lord Wilstein,” he greeted Lancel, who turned to him, “You must be the attendant assigned to us,” said Lancel, hiding his embarrassment after getting caught admiring the city hall, like a bumpkin. 
“Yes, I am Loryn, I will be your attendant today,” he replied. 
“Lead the way,” said Lancel and he did. “Your meeting will be on the eighth floor of Saras wing,” he informed us as we entered the city hall through the door on the left side.
While following him, I couldn’t help but admire the beauty of its interior.
It is really a work of art that had been refined over nearly two thousand years. It is not something one can see everywhere.
We reach the elevator, which is wholly made of golden glass, and one could not see the slightest runic inscription on it. As we stepped inside, it begins to move up smoothly, giving us a clear view of each floor as we move above.
The elevator stopped, and we walked out; it is a floor filled with conference rooms.
Navr is a powerful kingdom on the scale of the entire world, and there are hundreds of kingdoms and empires and thousands of cities traded with it. We are the smallest city on its long list and the only thing that makes us valued is that we are part of the empire.
We are the first city from the empire to contact it. If they did well for us; the doors to the empire would open for them slowly.
We will also benefit tremendously, from being the first movers.
Navr needs trade; more trade is always better. If you remain stagnant, you are bound to fade in the annals of history and the undead understand that better than anyone. 
We passed through more than twenty conference rooms before we stopped in front of one.
Like the other conference rooms, it also has a colored glass wall. With a plate engraved with ‘26’ hanging by a blue glass wall.
“Administrator Rilug will come shortly for the meeting,” he said and opened the glass door of the doors for us.
We went inside and took the seats on the left side of the table. Lancel was first to sit, with Robin and I sitting on both sides of him; the others sat beside us.
We brought out our memos and folders. The topics and orders of today’s negotiations have also been decided. We only need to negotiate and come to understand that is agreeable to both sides, which is harder than it looked.
I looked at the time, and there were still ten minutes till the negotiations start, seeing that I opened the folder and read through a few things.
While I have nearly memorized the whole damn thing; I wanted to take a look at it again, in case I had missed something.
When it was one minute to time; a middle-aged grey orc wearing a white suit came inside and behind him, is a human.
I couldn’t help but be surprised to see only two of them; I thought they would have at least three people, but they only have two.
“Lord Wilstein; I am an administrator Rilug. I will represent our great city in today's negotiation,” he introduced himself as he sat down.
I wanted to curse the bastard; he had come alone; the human is his assistant. He is trying to show his power, which is a kind of offensive gesture.
I thought Lancel will burst into flames, but he had a smile on his face. 
He is not noble for nothing.
“Nice to meet you, administrator Rilug,” Lancel said as he shook the orc's hand over the table. 
There is no hesitation or repulsiveness; it is a first confident handshake.
“Now, the pleasantries are over. Let’s start with business; the thing is a non-aggression pact,” said the orc, looking at the document in front of him.
“This request had come from the entire region of Renwell. We hope Navr will agree on a yearlong, non-aggression pact and we are willing to provide many incentives for it,” said Robin, using every skill he could.
It is a very important point. If we are able to accomplish it, we will receive a hero’s welcome back home.
“My apologies, but the undead kingdom of Navr won’t sign any non-aggression pact with the life state,”
“Our wise leaders believe that life and death should always be in struggle, and we shouldn’t upset that balance.” He said, rejecting the request directly.
“How about six months, we are wil” 
“Navr will not accept any non-aggression pack, not even of one day,” said the grey orc, cutting the Robin, before he could complete the sentence.
I felt the full power of his skills and couldn’t help but become impressed. He is clearly at a higher level than Robin, and Robin is near Level 30.
“Since Navr is not interested, we will not speak about it further,” said Robin and changed the page; so, has the orc.
“The next point is the mobility of people,” said Robin. “We want three thousand people every from both sides,” said the Orc. “We do not have a problem with that, but we have some specific conditions,” Robin replied.
“The first one, we will not accept any undead, nor any necromancer. Any power…” Robin begins to state, one condition after another.
There are twenty-three conditions from barring the entry of any kind of undead necromancers to pre-arrival intimation of any powerhouses above level 30.
Fourteen conditions were agreed upon immediately, but for the other nine, we negotiated hard. It took more than two and a half hours before we agreed to the condition, which is satisfactory to both sides.
We then moved to another point, which nobody follows, but need to agree on.
The intelligence and infiltration. This condition is a kind of a joke; like on Earth, here everybody spies on everybody. Navr had one of the most extensive spy networks on the continent.
These bastards do not rely on their undead hordes alone to win the battles. They use intelligence, as well as weapons any army use. Cannons and all.
It is why the hordes of Navr are so damn hard to defeat. 
It is a good thing; it had just as powerful neighbors. The merchant states and Baxr dominion are not easy countries to deal with.
Even Navr thinks hard, before attacking them.
It fights wars; the war is the thing it loved the most. It is where it gets the powerful bodies that it needs. 
Hours passed, and soon, it was afternoon. 
“It was nice negotiating with you gentlemen; we will convene again in the evening,” he said, and the left with his assistant.
“He was one tough bastard,” said Rowling. “We had expected nothing less,” said Robin with a smile on his face. 
It may seem like negotiations went badly, but they went well. Aside from the first thing, we have got what we wanted.
“My lord, are staying for the trade negotiations?” I asked Lancel, to which he shook his head. “No, I have one important meeting to attend, and I will be taking Robin with me,” he replied and left the conference room with Robin.
He does not need to stay in negotiation earlier, too. He is the leader; he only needs to state the requirements and check the progress.
Good leaders stay out of actual negotiations or only do it with the people of their standing, but I will not say that to him.
In another way, it is also good he stayed. It is a learning experience for him, the reason the Count sent him and not someone else.
At this stage, he could afford to make mistakes; he will not have that luxury when he becomes a leader.