"It's actually you!"
Linq's expression grew fearful immediately. While he hadn't known Annelotte for long, he developed an instinctive sense of terror for her.
He hadn't fought her before, nor had he even seen her fight. Yet, he was simply afraid of her. Why? Was it because of Leguna, who was technically his junior disciple, defeated him so easily? Either way, during the days he spent in the human empire, Linq heard that Annelotte was considered to be the strongest human youth. If that was the case, she was definitely more powerful than Leguna, so he had a good reason to fear her.
Jayla squinted. As the top warrior of House Elvin, she had tons of battle experience, so she developed an acute sense of danger. She could tell that the human girl before her was not to be trifled with and could even be stronger than Angelista.
"Is this your teacher, Miss Angelista?" Brani asked oddly. If she wasn't mistaken, the girl was only a 17th stratum magus. Yet, she managed to dictate her spells before everyone else to trick even Sala and Wesley.
"Yes. I've just recently made up my mind to learn magic from her," Angelista happily replied. She was famous for her arrogance, but she seemed rather toned down before Annelotte.
"I offered to teach her magic willingly on my part too," Annelotte said, "Human and dark elf magic have slight differences and I'm interested in them. I hope to be able to more often interact with Miss Angelista in the long term."
"That's right. We are both each other's teachers," she said as she came to Annelotte. In a suggestive voice, she said, "I can also teach you lots when it comes to… that thing… Then, you won't fare so awkwardly when the time comes. You see… Ouch!"
Annelotte didn't let her finish and shot her down with an accurate strike. Leguna wondered what Angelista had said to her to make her so mad.
Brani didn't care who taught who. She was only concerned with the potential repercussions of Angelista's departure. "Mister Leguna, I can't be bothered to pursue the matter of bringing another person here instead of Eirinn. What I want to know is whether you'll make it up to us by taking Angelista away. Otherwise, can I take that as you violating our alliance's terms?"
"We will make it up to you." Leguna turned to Jayla. "Miss Jayla, I wonder how the situation at the mithril mines is going?"
"I couldn't be bothered with the mines when such a great deal is happening here at the house. We've lost a lot of ground in negotiations to the other houses. So, when I left, they only agreed to hand us a tenth of the yield, and we aren't even certain we'll receive that."
"Then, why don't we go back to negotiate?" Leguna said.
"You mean, you're going to use the power of the human empire to get House Elvin the mines?" Jayla mulled it over and shook her head. "It's impossible. Even if you help us take the mines, we can't offend all the other houses here in Darklight. This will make it hard for us to keep operating in the city. Unless… you're saying you have a way to give us total control over the city?"
"Our empire is already at war, so there's no way we can send any extra forces to help you take the mines. Darklight is also too out of reach, so there'd be no way we can help you conquer it either." Leguna shook his head mysteriously.
"Then what in the world are you suggesting?" Gassos asked.
"It's simple. We hope House Elvin can convince a few other factions to work with the Hocke Empire. As far as I know, the Dusk Zone is rich in mineral ores and we also appreciate the high craftsmanship of dark elven weapons. I hope that our empire can purchase weapons Darklight produces in large quantities. After all, we're going to need lots of those arms for our war. If our warriors are equipped with your weapons, I'm sure our empire's might would undergo a fundamental change. Naturally, we're willing to buy them for a reasonable price."
"A slight correction: the metalwork is usually done by the lowly dwarves. We dark elves only deal with adjustment and enchantment," Jayla said.
"Ah… fine." Leguna blushed slightly. He had wanted to show off what little he knew about the dark elves only for it to backfire.
Leguna had been considering the matter of that trade ever since he heard about the mithril mines near Darklight. He hadn't been sitting idly for the last couple of days. He used Annelotte's magic to communicate with Larwin and the emperor agreed with his trade proposal. He ordered Leguna and Annelotte to probe the conditions and if it was suitable, it wouldn't hurt to have a trade deal with them.
Brani had been quietly considering the matter. Leguna's proposal was quite tempting to her. The Dusk Zone did indeed produce quite a lot fo mineral ore and House Elvin alone had thousands of unused weapons after years of accumulation.
They were mostly normal, unenchanted weapons that were phased out of popular use. But as they were of dwarven make, they were still decent enough on the base plane.
However, most dark elves thought of them as nothing but garbage. But if they could trade them with the humans for a good deal, at least they wouldn't go to waste.
Not to mention, Brani knew that this was only the beginning. What the human empire desperately needed were properly enchanted weapons. Even in the Dusk Zone, a weapon with a normal enchantment was easily multiple times better than unenchanted scrap metal. If the house produced those weapons on a large scale, it would stand to profit hugely!
Leguna quietly waited with his arms crossed. He knew that his trade couldn't be turned down, so he didn't feel any worry. But he still gave her enough time to think it through.
"So, Mister Leguna," Wesley said, "Even if the human empire trades with Darklight, I don't think that makes up to use for losing Miss Angelista."
"The empire doesn't let our allies down," Leguna said, "We can make House Elvin the sole representative for all trades in Darklight."
"What benefits does that offer us?" Jayla asked.`
"Far too much," Leguna said with a look of a sneaky merchant, "The empire isn't going to buy just anything from you. The prices the weapons are sold for are also decided by the house. So, if you become the sole trade representative, then you'll have a huge say in Darklight. How you want to use that power is up to you. I hope you don't go too far with it either since that would only earn you the ire of the other houses."
"With that, you can also resolve the grudges and conflict you have with the other houses," Annelotte added.
"I wonder what kinds of weapons you need specifically?" Gassos asked. "While each dark elf house definitely has a stockpile of weapons, they can be quite different from one another."
"Any enchanted with good craftsmanship numbering up to 150 thousand of them. We also need around a thousand sets of enchanted armor." Leguna had ran the figures before, so he was confident in their accuracy. "This is a long term trade, so it doesn't have to be done in one go. The empire wouldn't be able to afford to take them all in one trade either."
"But Mister Leguna," Linq said, "Before coming to the base plane, I've done some of my own investigations and found that the Hocke Empire's finances are in the red due to war with Stok. How are you able to pay for the weapons?"
"If gold coins are all you find valuable, then I'm afraid I might have to apologize," Leguna shamelessly admitted, "I doubt the empire can even afford to take out ten thousand gold coins."
"You call this a trade?! It's robbery!" Gassos cried.
"We can trade using goods," Leguna said, "I know the Dusk Zone lacks water, wood, plants and so on. These things are practically everywhere on the base plane."
"Don't be so naive, Mister Leguna," Wesley said, shaking his head in disappointment, "There's only a limited amount of matter that can be transported across the planes. Sending weapons to your plane already pushes the limit. Transporting large amounts of water and other wood resources will exceed that."
"I might have a way to deal with that," Annelotte suggested.Previous Chapter Next Chapter