Chapter 100

“I’m sorry for doubting you. I should have heeded your warning at that time…” Maheim said.

“Seeing them today, I feel that they’ve grown much stronger. Even if we prepared, the results would’ve been the same,” Sedum replied.

“Maybe…”

An awkward silence ensued for a moment.

“What happened to the Count’s people. Are they safe?” Biyeon suddenly asked Sedum.

Everyone’s gaze headed towards Biyeon. Sedum looked at Biyeon and saw curiosity in her eyes. Biyeon saw a pleasant smile spread on his face.

“They’re still in Porato. They are staying at the ‘Wildflower Inn’ near the Goddess Diana temple.”

“It must have been a while since we disappeared, but they still haven’t gone back?”

Biyeon’s clear eyes stared at Sedum. Sedum felt dizzy looking into her clear, heartfelt eyes.

“They are waiting for their two captains to come back.”

“Are they safe?”

“They are protected from two sources. Recently, oddly enough, they’ve been escorted by the Han-Sung Clan warriors. They were also quite high-level veteran warriors.”

“Did they sell everything we left behind?”

“I know that most of what they had was sold. We’ve also purchased some of their goods without their knowledge.”

“At what price?”

“We purchased the items at greater than market price. The deal was arranged in secret by our organization, but all the members of the crew knew how to write, calculate, and had relatively good combat power. I was very surprised. There was nothing else for me to help them with.”

“How much money did they make?”

“They should have collected at least 5,000 Tongbo. That’s a lot of money. It seems you left behind some quite expensive items?”

“They were gifts from the Akum. It’s a debt we need to pay later anyway. However, they wouldn’t be able to stay in Porato forever. When were they planning to leave?”

“It’s very dangerous for them to leave without a guardian. Even if they wanted to leave, they probably can't.”

“Why?”

“I didn’t know when they were planning to leave, so I kidnapped the youngest Essen household member, Yesil.”

“Oh… good, Biyeon said as she smiled.

“Honestly, not really,” Sedum said, pursing his lips.

“Maybe you had another purpose? Were you trying to use her as a bargaining hostage?”

“Against you two? I’m not a fool. Actually, I wanted to find clues about the remaining goods. I thought perhaps you decided to leave some of the goods with the Count’s children. Was I wrong?”

“You weren’t wrong. So, what happened? Did you find the hidden goods?” 

Biyeon asked as she suppressed her smile.

“It wasn’t difficult to find. However, you made it so that no one could see it without the presence of Priestess Dite. So, I raised my hands in surrender. I just… gave up cleanly.”

Sedum scratched his head awkwardly.

“Where’s Yesil?”

“I was very careful, so she shouldn’t have been uncomfortable. Actually, I just brought her here. She must have overheard everything, so the misunderstanding and misgivings she may have had about her captains should be resolved. I’ll also have to join your crew again, so our conversation just now should clear everything up.”

Sedum looked at the curtain behind him.

“Oh my gosh…” Yesil yelped. Yesil stood dumbstruck with her mouth hanging wide open as if she couldn’t be any more surprised.

***

“The goods are confirmed… Shall we make a deal now?" San asked Biyeon while rubbing his hands together. He had just confirmed all the goods he got back from the Dark Guilds.

“Look and review carefully. You’re acting as the representative for the Count’s family. Half is your family’s property…” Biyeon quietly told Yesil. 

“Yes…”

Yesil, who was only 18 years old, was still unable to calm herself down. In her head, everything that had happened in the past month was twirling around her mind. There were so many things that she couldn’t understand. But the thing was…

‘It’s true that everything is following our original purpose and objective. That’s right… but…’

The tears were still flowing down from her eyes. Her chest, which had grown hot from shock, showed no signs of being cooled.

Her head was spinning. She just felt overwhelmed. Only an unfamiliar feeling of great expectation was growing within her, making her body tremble…

“Where are you going to take your goods now?” Maheim asked San.

“First of all, I plan to negotiate the first set of goods and deliver it directly,” San replied. 

He changed his tone to something more accommodating. No longer having a hostile relationship with Maheim, San would respect the other person as the leader of an organization he and Biyeon were cooperating with.

“Who is the other party?” Sedum asked.

It’s the Han-Sung Clan, of course. They have the largest purse, right?”

“You mean… you’re going to do the negotiation and trade here?”

“What are you talking about? Didn’t you know that they were already here?” San said with a grin. He stared at the door. The expressions of Maheim and all the high-level guild officials quickly hardened. Their gazes were fixed where the two were looking. There, an old man, dressed in the clothes of a passing, common customer, slowly looked around and approached. Two younger people, who seemed to be servants, followed behind.

“In the end, you followed us to this place. You’re a persistent old fogey,” San muttered.

“It seems like my persistence will be a little rewarding today…” the old man responded. 

He was quite far away, but the sound of his voice was clear in everyone’s ears.

“Oh my god! ‘The Philosopher’s Sword’, it’s Hanyoung!”

Maheim was looking at the old man with a deep blue face. The person in front of him was a human who was so powerful that Maheim couldn’t do anything in retaliation even if he wanted to. Maheim turned his head towards San and Biyeon. All the Dark Guilds warriors were backing away as Maheim gave them a signal. The exposure of their base to the Han-Sung Clan was a disaster.

However, since there was reason to move due to what transpired today, there shouldn’t be any needless hostility to protect their secret base's location.

“First, check the goods, right?” San smiled and said.

“Yes…”

Hanyoung looked at the items stored in the box.

“It’s definitely genuine. However, the amount is very small. Is this all?”

“First off, only 10% of the total quantity is here. It is a sample.”

“And the rest of it?”

“I am keeping it in a safe place. I plan to sell it slowly based on the price and our budding trust.”

“How much do you want?”

“I think the amount of 20,000 Tongbo is appropriate for this set of goods…”

Hanyoung tilted his head. Did he hear wrong?

“Is it 200,000 Tongbo then for the entire stock?”

“Yes, doesn’t that sound reasonable?”

“Is that all? What more do you want?”

All those who were watching the proceeding negotiations dropped their jaws in unison. However, the reasons for their surprise were completely different based on who they were affiliated with.

‘200,000 Tongbo! It seems like he tried to say something higher than the going market price… But, if it’s the Han-Sung Clan, he could have started with 500,000…’ This was the thought of the Dark Guilds experts, including Maheim.

‘200,000 Tongbo!! That’s more than five times the annual budget of the Essen territory!’ Yesil thought.

‘It’s 200,000 notifications… What does this mean? They know that they can ask for at least a million Tongbo from the Han-Sung Clan…’ This was the thought of Hanyoung and his two grandchildren. They felt a fierce cold rising from their stomachs rather than a sense of satisfaction.

“Are there any other conditions?” Hanyoung asked.

“Of course, there are,” Biyeon replied with a smile. 

Hanyoung frowned. His two grandchildren closed their eyes tightly. Hanyoung felt that Biyeon’s smile no longer looked fresh and pretty, it was rather murderous…

While chasing these two for the past ten days, he faced a lot of trouble. In Hanyoung’s mind, the events of the past ten days were passing by like a moving picture, one difficult lesson after another. Thanks to them, he was tired of researching and studying the bottom rungs of society. His pursuits eventually led him to meet with the Dark Guilds, but this entire educational journey felt like it was done in a crash-course manner.

‘Why would it be any different… I haven’t had a comfortable day ever since I’ve met with you two, Hanyoung thought as he sighed.

“First listen and decide,” San stated.

“The delivery method of the goods is decided by us, and there will be a total of 10 separate deliveries, including this one. The trading location will change once a month. It will be a different location every time. The handover also takes place only where we designate it. Information on all items will be delivered immediately from the date the payment is deposited directly into the Count’s estate. However, all costs incurred in transporting the goods are borne by the Han-Sung clan. Those costs include transportation and tolls,” Biyeon explained.

“And?”

“The quality of the goods must be checked immediately upon delivery, and any problems arising after confirmation are the responsibility of your clan.”

“What’s next?”

“Well… that’s all. Any questions?” Biyeon said as she turned to Hanyoung.

Hanyoung was staring at Biyeon’s face. Suddenly, he felt an urge to slap her smug face. Could there be any people in the world nastier than her? A sharp pain went up his neck. He’d probably have some lingering neck pain in the near future. The price? It was cheap. There would be no complaints on his side regarding the price. So that’s why it would be weird if he didn’t agree to the terms. There seemed to be no logical reason to back out of the deal. Whatever the conditions, they knew he’d accept.

As for the conditions? The two took the most rational and safest way to trade in terms of Count Essen’s position and ability. If the Han-Sung Clan directly transported the goods, there weren’t many people in this world that would dare touch the returning convoy.

Handoff location? At first glance, it didn’t seem like much of a requirement, but this was the heart of the problem. They didn’t let go of their hand until the end. Under this clause, the Han-Sung Clan and their resources would be used and abused to a splendid degree. Thinking of all the cumbersome circumstances that they would have to go through…

Hanyoung smiled bitterly as he looked at Biyeon. Biyeon was still waiting for his answer with a seemingly innocent face. Hanyoung opened and closed his fists while locked in thought.

‘I don’t know the next handoff location and nine further transactions must be done until the last payment is paid. Not only that… It’s difficult to predict what will happen depending on where the designated handoff place is. If they played a joke of bringing us to a place where an enemy is, the Han-Sung Clan may have to engage in attack. Moreover, during the term of their contract, Count Essen must be protected from outside forces. Furthermore, Count Essen’s convoy must be protected as they make their way back to their estate. Anyway… it’s clever… it’s really clever! The price is not large, but in terms of asking for a full guarantee from the Han-Sung Clan for the Count’s safety for almost a year, the price cannot be said to be small. Who in this world would be able to ‘hire’ the Han-Sung Clan, the first Absolute Clan, as a protective force? In the meantime, the Count will be able to prepare a lot for his future in safety thanks to the toiling work of the Han-Sung Clan...’

Even though he was having these thoughts, Hanyoung’s face became bright. The worst shouldn’t happen. The other party was reasonable. The cost was cheap comparatively and the Han-Sung Clan would have done this much if not more for these items anyway.

It became more important than anything else to make a good relationship with these two.

“Shall we sign?” Hanyoung said. 

The signature was made amongst five people. Yesil signed on behalf of the Count. San and Biyeon signed and Hanyoung signed as the representative for the Han-Sung Clan. And for a very funny reason, Hanyoung requested, after understanding the power and role of the Dark Guilds, for Maheim to sign as a guarantor. In this way, the Dark Guilds took 10% of the total transaction amount as a guarantor fee and participated in overseeing the proper execution of the transaction.

Of course, Maheim would later pound on the ground and regret how much he left on the table, but since there was still more to gain from a strong partnership with the Han-Sung Clan, this decision would receive a very positive evaluation from the Dark Guilds people in the future.

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