Extra: Rental Fee Negotiations
Tsuia Mountain on the Pavueran side, Draco.
The merchant responsible for all of Golen’s finances, Dyne, arrived at the residence of Draco’s Village Chief.
Sitting in the still plain and unadorned sitting room in wait for their meeting was Draco’s Village Chief, Cid Pavuera. Although still a young child, this prodigy would personally tackle the business negotiations for renting the hot spring-producing magic tool.
“Thank you for coming, I am Village Chief Cid Pavuera.”
“Sir. You can call me Dyne, I am a merchant in Golen. I am pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“Dyne-dono. Allow me to once more thank you for your visit.”
“Oh, no, please don’t worry about that, Cid-sama. I am but a commoner, Cid-sama. Me bein’ the one to make the trip’s natural.”
Dyne smoothly slid into a Pavueran accent as his opening punch. As the side being visited would natural hold the upper hand, Dyne, the obvious underdog, used this maneuver to declare his intention to concede as much profit as possible.
By all rights, Cid could have been the one to negotiate in Golen. Although he’d wished to be the one to visually state that he was the underdog in the discussions, he’d wound up receiving a letter from Kehma stating the following: [My Village Sub-Chief told me to stop doing anything so I’m gonna send a merchant your way].
The moment he was told that there was a merchant being sent to him, Cid had no choice but to allow it to happen.
As merchants traveling to see Cid, an aristocrat, was an exceedingly common event, it wasn’t something he could just refuse without reason if he didn’t want to show his hand. On the other hand, given that Cid had intended to intrude upon Golen’s hospitality, this threw a huge wrench into his machinations.
Cid’s opening stance had been fixed the moment Kehma sent that letter. What method he should use from there to pay more money and have them take it back—through what form of money would he be able to repay his accumulating debt—would become the key to this negotiation. Commanding his facial muscles he’d trained as a member of the aristocracy, Cid smiled.
“Yeah. But today is a price negotiation. I would like for is to argue for a reasonable price as equals.”
“Yah, of course. That’s my job.”
“Allow me to repay you for your travel expenses.”
Saying that, Cid presented a pouch that made the sound of coins clinking inside it. Dyne, however, just smiled with a shake of his head after taking a single look at it and rejected the offer without taking a look inside.
“Hahaha, Cid-sama. Going with such a poor move?”
“… I suppose not.”
Cid clicked his tongue inwardly.
Although calling it travel expenses and everything was fine, the pouch had had much too many coins within it. To put it simply, it was a bribe.
Cid wished to use Dyne’s reaction to the bribe to gauge his caliber, as they would likely associate with one another many times in the future due to his relation with Golen.
First, the case in which he simply accepted it would make him a non-issue.
In this case, Cid would very likely be able to win him over somehow through his ability to negotiate. This would have been the easiest case.
Next, the case in which he refused all bribes due to being a merchant with a strong sense of justice.
In this case, he would be able to expect a sincerely fair bargain. This was also good.
And then there was the case in which he understood the intention behind it with his own skill and still accepted it.
There was the possibility of him then deliberately ignoring the purpose of the bribe and continuing as if nothing had happened as well. However, even if this did happen, he would have at least done as much as he could to put himself in the underdog’s position. It may have perhaps even turned into a sort of bargaining power of its own.
But then there was the final case—the case in which he was given the most troublesome reaction possible. The case in which his intentions were understood, yet still refused. He’d even been given a bit of warning advice.
In a sense, this was him stating that he had no intention to negotiate. As he definitely understood just who was in the overwhelmingly superior position, he knew that accepting a bribe would destroy that position and wreck the status quo.
Even without such a trifling bribe, he would still be able to gain profit from this.
Most of all, he could feel from his reaction that he held a strong connection with Golen’s Village Chief, Kehma.
“Sorry, I tested you a bit there. Please pretend it never happened.”
“Oh, no, don’t worry about it. I figured it was somethin’ like that. Our Village Chief—ah, Kehma-han trained me for that.”
He’d even managed to treat the matter of the attempted bribe as if he knew it would happen.
All that Cid could tell from this was that this merchant going by the name of Dyne was much more capable than he’d first assumed.
It could be said that nothing else should be expected from a merchant that Kehma put his faith in. Underestimating anyone Kehma trusts would lead to one finding the carpet yanked out from under them… no, perhaps even their feet broken.
Cid gulped at the thought.
“That accent, are you a Pavueran merchant, Dyne-dono?”
“Yeah. But right now I’d prefer ya seein’ me as a Golen merchant.”
“Hahaha, I wonder if I could ask for some leniency from a fellow Pavueran?”
“Yeah, ‘course. It’s my hometown, so I’ll make it very cheap. Keep it a secret from Village Chief Kehma.”
Knowing that Dyne knew what he was implying, Cid couldn’t keep the dryness from his laugh.
And so the negotiations began.
“First off, since I don’t understand how well it performs, I believe it would be best to set a fixed price for a few months then see from there.”
“Yeah, I asked Village Chief Kehma just in case and he said that the temperature should at least be hot enough to draw a bath, but since its upper and lower values’re a bit vague and ya don’t know where it’ll actually be, I think setting a fixed price would be dicey.”
“In that case, I would like to talk about what sort of income could be expected to come from the magic tool.”
“No objections here. I was thinking that too.”
Finally finding their first mutual agreement, the two smiled at each other. Their opening statements here would be important.
“I believe that we should take into account water fees, bathing fees for the bath house, et cetera. Nothing should be left out.”
“… Eighty percent. That should do it.”
“Hmph… Eighty percent of the sales? Sounds fine to me.”
Cid made his decision quickly and held out his hand. Although the negotiations would have come to a swift conclusion if Dyne accepted it, naturally, Dyne did not reciprocate.
“Oh, no, please don’t joke around. I’d never dream of askin’ for such a huge amount. I’m merely wantin’ eighty percent of the net profit, naturally.”
(Inner Voice: Ya mishear me? I was obviously talkin’ about net profit!)
“Oh, but wouldn’t there hardly be a profit in it for you?”
(Inner Voice: Kuh, I guess that was a bit much… But net profit is way too much of a concession!)
Although Cid’s [Sales] and Dyne’s [Net Profit] were both eighty percent, they meant the difference between heaven and earth.
Let’s explain it briefly.
Take for instance a box lunch sold for 500 yen. Upon selling a single box lunch, [Sales] would increase by 500 yen. [Net Profit], however, would be 500 yen minus various expenses including labor costs, material, and taxes, among others.
Assuming that the rate of profit for the box lunch was 25% (making for a profit of 125 yen per unit sold) and that unsold boxes are discarded (making for a loss of 375 yen per unit discarded), the [Net Profit] of the [Sales] of seventy-five out of one hundred units would add up to 0 yen of [Net Profit] and could have actually caused a debt if any less had sold.
What Dyne was asking for was eighty percent of this [Net Profit]. It was a value that could actually become an expenditure.
Obviously, this was not something Cid could accept. If he did, this would accumulate yet another debt of gratitude.
“Dyne-dono, as a merchant, I believe you should seek greater profits.”
(Inner Voice: No way I’m accepting that offer.)
“I’d love to have Draco accept a congratulatory gift if I can. Besides, it’s just a magic tool we had stored away and Village Chief Kehma’d said it was alright.”
(Inner Voice: Now listen here ya copycat, I’m just the messenger. Village Chief Kehma’s the one that actually owns this thing. I don’t care even if it’s barely any money. Aah? Get it?)
“Hmm. Still though, we’re talking about whether we could even continue without the magic tool. Wouldn’t it be better for you to take more money?”
(Inner Voice: Wait! If anything, at least take all of the profit!)
By all rights, all of the profit generated by the magic tool should have been Kehma’s to reap. After all, there would be no profit without that magic tool.
Dyne let out a sigh.
“This is a deal for our friendship, yah? The best way for us to be gettin’ along is for us to both to make a profit. To be honest with ya, I’d even be fine with sixty percent since we’re friends. Village Chief Kehma likes ya, too, he even allowed me as much discretion as possible. I could lower it about that much for ya.”
(Inner Voice: C’mon, don’t ya get it? The choices are [Friendly Relations] or [Friendly Relations]. It’s a great deal, ya can’t pass it up. Ah, I could even make it sixty percent.)
“Even if it’s for the sake of friendship, sixty percent is simply too low… Thinking about it like that, eighty percent sounds just right.”
(Inner Voice: Alright! I’ll agree! Eighty percent is fine.)
“Thanks. So we really went with eighty percent of net profit, huh. Phew, it’s great we decided so quickly.”
(Inner Voice: Ah, what’re ya gonna do at that eighty percent if ya get in the red?)
“Ooh, it’s nothing. Right, I’m Pavuera’s lord’s son, so you must have given me some amount of preferential treatment. I wouldn’t like to burden others, nor am I so shameless as to ever possibly push my failures onto Kehma-dono. I would prefer for the contract to take that into consideration, if possible.”
(Inner Voice: Please, please at least make it eighty percent of the surplus! B-Besides, I’m the son of Pavuera’s lord, I definitely won’t cause a loss! Just that much should be fine, right? Please listen to my request! I’m begging you!)
Dyna nodded to Cid’s desperate pleas as if he could read his mind.
“In that case, ya good with the contract bein’ for eighty percent of the profit?”
(Inner Voice: Hmm, ah well. Fine with me.)
“… And will there not be any security deposit required for the magic tool?”
(Inner Voice: Umm, can’t I at least give you a sum of money? How about it?)
“Don’t need it. Village Chief Kehma likes ya a good bit, Cid-sama.”
(Inner Voice: Just give up.)
And thus the negotiation over the magic tool’s rental fee was settled.
Cid and Dyne shook each other’s hands with a firm grip.