Chapter 21 – The Conclusion of the Negotiation
Franko’s mood changed naturally, as the tribal chief assumed the role of the negotiator.
His overwhelming aura, which could be sensed until now, turned into ‘Let’s hear it out.’
You could notice the change of attitude in the voices coming from the people who were sitting, as well as those observing.
As Eiji noticed that he was not allowed to leave the table, he felt disappointed.
However, it wouldn’t end with just that.
If there were any lacks in oneself, one should consider filling them up by learning.
When he decided to concentrate, he put his ear toward the negotiation between both of them.
Their negotiation started with a quiet tone coming from the tribal chief, which was more suppressed than usual.
– Franko, I have a little suggestion coming from me, however…
– Let’s hear it out.
– Since you’ve already made an investigation, you should know the best, but this guy is exceptional. He’s made a range of new things and has put them to use.
– It seems to be so. Still half of year has passed since he arrived, right?
– That’s right. I will ask you, but, do you really think that there is room for making new inventions if we are restrained with heavy taxes?
– If you freeze the number of laborers, you will be able to reduce the burden.
– Eiji is the only one responsible for supplying us with raw materials, production, and processing. At least forward us with your people, so that we can devote ourselves more towards production.
Hearing the tribal chief’s words, Franko kept silent.
It was probably the sort of talk which you wouldn’t insert in as a condition.
– I shall send you several people if I can have him com—
– Eiji is a member of this village. Do you honestly think I would let you have him? Can’t you figure out what will happen to him if I let him go?
What will happen?
It feels as though one couldn’t picture that.
For Eiji, who held some doubts about it, the next words coming from the tribal chief’s mouth were full of surprise.
The tribal chief shot a look to Eiji, telling him to pay more attention.
– I can imagine him being confined in your city and forced to do labor. You wouldn’t have the slightest intention of letting him return to the village, so you would probably just pass a verbal message at your own convenience, and sooner or later use a roundabout way to request Tanya for a divorce. Of course Eiji, they would report that by saying that the request came from you.
– W-wouldn’t such thing be actually the first to be exposed with?
– Eiji, you are still young. No, rather I would say that you still don’t know your true value.
The tribal chief’s face became stunned at Eiji, who was trying to deny that it’s not possible.
He too understood from looking at her face that she doesn’t comprehend him.
This person just says what he thinks. – she thought.
Through the muscles along his spine he felt a chill, which somehow couldn’t be expressed in words. Eiji could feel the pores of his skin expanding.
It was fearsome and above all else he was unable to comprehend it.
Eiji was filled with emotions of disbelief, saying that his skills couldn’t be that valuable.
The tribal chief and Franko’s way of reasoning was running contrary to his sense of values.
– If it’s this guy, then he’s capable of doing so. Of course, he won’t do that using brute force, but rather use skillful words in order to create such a situation, in which you won’t be able to react. If I were in his shoes, I would do the same. Furthermore, since he has traveled between various villages, he would possess quite a large amount of experience. I intend to make sure of the truth.
– I feel troubled for forcing a talk based on assumptions on you. Eiji, please be at ease. I can assure you that such things won’t happen.
– Even if you wanted to, you wouldn’t be able. However, if you dare to do so, I shall not remain silent. I wonder whether it will even turn into a war.
– That’s why I say it’s a delusion unlikely to occur.
Siena village has a population of 250 something. On the other hand, the city of Nazioni, where the feudal reside, has a number which is around a little more than 400 and a dozen.
One could say that it wasn’t an overwhelming difference.
The city of Nazioni has been the ruling side thanks to the difference of power in technology based on bronze smithing. Therefore, they would consider Eiji, who is able to handle iron manufacture, a threat.
For that reason, they would want to keep someone like Eiji on their side if possible – is what the tribal chief told Eiji.
– Were you to tie him up in such a half-baked way, you would probably not prosper from having all those new items. Rather than that, don’t you think it would it be much more profitable to let him do as he please in making new items?
– I shall acknowledge that. Nevertheless, there’s no real guarantee that he will be able to make those new things.
– Do you have any other ideas which you could use to make new things?
Eiji knew what kind of answer the tribal chief was expecting.
Furthermore, he knew it would relate to the constraints placed on him depending on what kind of answer he gives.
– Well then, if it’s a small thing…The item which comes into my mind right now is…If it’s right now… considering what the village need, wouldn’t it be horseshoes?
– Horseshoes? What’s that? I’d like you to explain it to me in details.
– They’re shoes made from iron used to cover a horse’s feet, you see. It protects the horse’s hooves, making it harder to sustain injuries.
Wild horses have hard hooves; therefore they won’t get simply injured. However, a horse that became domesticated has a meek hoof and are more susceptible to injury.
What’s more, they are used for labor, such as plowing and pulling carts, making their hooves easily to wear out as a result.
During their daily activities in Siena, Eiji heard from the farmer, Bernard, who complained about the weak constitution of his horse. It was then that he came across the idea of making horseshoes.
Of course, there’s no proof that it will immediately become a good item just because he says that he will make it.
His craftsmanship will vary depending on the shape and the thickness, which might decide whether or not it will be easy to walk.
Nevertheless, it was something that could be amended. If he could achieve such a result using his skills, then it would be fine.
Hearing Eiji’s words, the tribal chief regained her senses and nodded deeply.
– Just like this, with little questioning he was able to come out with an idea of making a new object. I think this should be more than enough for proof.
– …I can’t help but to accept that. Eiji-san.
– When you create new items, you don’t just make one, do you?
– In order to test them out, I make several patterns.
– Then, please consider them as paying taxes.
– Won’t the tax ratio change with that?
– Your burden will reduce. Also, I have to make sure you make up for that excuse, you see.
– Ah, of course if it’s something small that requires very little time to make, I’d like to have a specific amount of them.
Surely, with such a tax structure, he will be definitely able to get hold of new technologies.
At the same time, assuming that Eiji makes more than three items of the same type, there will be a chance to reduce the tax ratio naturally.
Compared with the talk until now, it didn’t seem to be half bad idea – he thought.
– There’s one more thing.
– Still there’s something else you want?
– This is vital as well. Even though you say paying taxes, it’s not like paying with anything will do. I want to specify it, for instance, that farmers pay using wheat, shepherds – with cheese and meat, animal dung, and fur.
– I got it….
This is a society which is made up of exchanging goods.
Normally, If there is a monetary system, then paying with money would be considered rather convenient. Nevertheless, it’s not always true.
If so, then food, which takes time to grow, would be collected less frequently in a form of taxes, rather than money.
If he intends to impose taxes on special products of every single village, then minimalizing the time of pay between taxes would probably give a relief for villagers.
– Speaking of which, Eiji-san, I want you to pay me, apart from your inventions, with 500 something of arrowheads, as well as, 10 spearheads.
– Be that as it may with arrowheads… but I refuse to make spearheads.
– Why is that?
– I don’t want to make tools which intend to take away human lives.
– Nonetheless, tools like nata and hatchets can also be used to kill people? Why is it fine with arrowhead?
– Because it can be applied in villages for hunting. Its main purpose isn’t to be used in a war. I understand that it can be made into a weapon, depending on its user. Still, I wish to create items which solely focus on making life wealthier.
It was a condition which Eiji couldn’t yield in.
Based on the history he knows, there used to be lots of blacksmiths who made their living forging weapons, such as swords, armors, and guns.
Despite that, Eiji’s main principle, since his birth and until now, was to forge iron tools while watching people smiling.
That applied to his father, whom he saw in his faint dream, as well.
Eiji looked into Franko’s eyes as if expressing his determination.
This time he wouldn’t avert his eyes.
– Still, you can use them to maintain the peace?
– Regardless of that, a weapon is a weapon.
The silence continued for a while
Eiji wouldn’t change his opinion.
In the worst case, he would have the eyes on him, leading to worsening his status, or even being in a life endangering position.
But be that what it may, it was something he couldn’t consent to.
– (sigh)… I cannot win against someone who’s prepared to throw his life away like this. In that case, I’ll have you to make natas, instead of spears.
– Sorry for being selfish, but this is something I can’t consent to.
By swinging with a nata, one could turn it into a malicious weapon.
However, Eiji couldn’t be suspicious of that matter.
Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to make anything if he were to consider what user it is.
– In addition, please do your best in order to produce large amounts of soap. Right now it’s a rare item, so the exchange rate is extremely high. What’s more, if it’s effective against epidemic diseases, then we absolutely do need it. These are things the tribal chief would support as well, I believe.
– I’ll promise to cooperate with you. Accordingly, I’ll have you reduce the tax ratio imposed on wheat.
– If it’s a decrease similar to the exchange rate, then I can’t do it, but I’ll make sure that you get a discount.
The talk concluded.
Franko will get his hands on the new technology together with iron-made hoes and natas
Besides, at the beginning, there will be no assigned members to be deployed from Eiji’s side.
Considering that Franko didn’t hold an overwhelming power in the system of government, you could say that he produced a superb result.
Later, the negotiation will be completed with some minor regulations between these two.
In the end, Eiji couldn’t grasp how the negotiations work.
Because there was a big difference in their sense of values, it was hard for him to grab its principles.
The only thing which was clear is that as long as you don’t clearly state your own intentions, you will be swallowed amidst the negotiations, or so they say.
Truly, Eiji, who felt inferior, couldn’t look up at someone as skilled as the tribal chief.
After the negotiation concluded, everyone drank the alcohol together in the friendly atmosphere.
Compared with before, Franko felt less tension and seemed to have quite a loose posture.
Even the tribal chief softened her stern attitude, and instead adopted one with a friendly reception.
This too was a part of negotiations.
Tomorrow, after Franko goes on a stroll in order to ascertain any changes to the harvest fields, he will set off to another village.
Because he visited villages 2-3 times a year, it was said that for half of the year his duty would mostly be travelling and lodging.
As he tried to talk, he expressed his grievances for being unable to meet his wife and children. It seemed that he was just a common type of guy as well.
After Franko returned to his lodge, Eiji decided to go back home as well. Nevertheless, he was held back by the tribal chief.
– Thank you for your hard work today. You were probably surprised by this sudden negotiation talk when you returned from doing the trade.
– It’s truly as you say. I didn’t know whether it was a tax collector or an inspector.
– We had an unexpectedly bad timing, so it was vexing. On top of that, that guy is actually quite bright. Nonetheless, in the end, he seemed to compromise, so we firmly achieved our goal.
– Is that so?
– Yes, while he was walking around as if being resisted by me, he cleverly managed to exact the tax from us. Well, I do not plan to stay silent and keep watching. We will build up our strength and endeavor so as to gain equal status.
For the sake of that to happen, they had to bind firmly on progressing development and creating circumstances, which would prevent any chance of proposing tax increases.
Eiji believed that the results yielded from these aims would be superb, and there was no doubt about that.
– In negotiations, it’s essential to be prepared, and at the same time, force the enemy to make a blunder while striking at that right moment. This time we were not prepared well enough, so Franko didn’t slip up, but still, it should be fine to force the enemy as much as possible and attack when it becomes inconsistent and weak.
– But to do that in such a short time, isn’t that hard?
– You can grow accustomed to anything.
It seemed that the lesson regarding negotiations ended with that.
The silence continued for a while until the tribal chief spoke her doubt as if remembering something.
– You still haven’t regained your memories completely?
– Only a part of them. Still, they’re not clear enough.
-Is that so…? Drop by my house tomorrow once it’s past noon. There’s something I wish to show you.
– Something you wish to show me?
– Yeah. Perhaps, it could help you to regain your memories.
Eiji nodded, expressing his innermost thoughts to the tribal chief who had a stern expression.
The thing which she wanted to show was related to his own memories.
Just what in the world could it be – Eiji couldn’t guess.
That day, thinking about the negotiation and his lost memories, Eiji spent the night sleepless.