Surviving The Game As A Barbarian Episode 159

March 27, 2024 • 13 min read • 361 views

Negotiation (1)

Evening of the 17th.

The newly formed team had a meeting.

The meeting place was a three-story pub that had recently opened. Originally, we planned to meet at Mr. Bear’s store, but he refused.

Quite bluntly at that.

[Hmm, our store isn’t a good place for secretive talks.]

[It’s fine. We’re mainly going to talk about distribution rather than exploration plans—.]

[Stop, I know a place. Let’s go there.]

Thought I’d help boost his sales a bit.

Is refusing like that some kind of married man’s habit?

Mr. Bear is really something.

“Am I the last one here?”

Raven arrived, completing the group.

“There’s no need to apologize, just sit down.”

“I came on time, why should I say sorry?”

Oh, that’s true but…

Why is she so prickly today? Ah, is it because she is trying to assert dominance? Since it’s a meeting with strangers, after all?

‘She’s quite sharp in such situations.’

I had the thought that maybe she intentionally arrived at the last minute, but I didn’t voice it out loud.

The ink hasn’t dried on our agreement yet.

“Let’s just briefly introduce ourselves then.”

After ordering a few dishes and drinks, we took some time to get acquainted.

Aynar started off.

“I’m Aynar, the second daughter of Pheneline! Nice to meet you!”

“Nyah,Only Aynar? That seemed a bit short…”

“More, should I do more…? Sorry, I’m new to this kind of gathering…”

Aynar, becoming noticeably closer with Misha over the past few days, was embarrassed by Misha’s observation and scratched her head.

But no one pointed out her awkwardness.

After all, Aynar was acquainted with the entire team.

She had been through the Blood Tinted Castle with Raven, and Mr. Bear had made her acquaintance a few days ago when she visited his shop.

“Aynar, you’re… really the same as ever.”

“Thanks for the compliment. Mage, you seem the same too.”

“……”

Eventually, I ended up introducing Aynar on her behalf. What rank of explorer she is, what role she would play in the team, and so on.

“So, we have two swordsmen?”

After my briefing, Mr. Bear briefly shared his thoughts, and just as I was about to respond,

Aynar corrected him as if pointing out a mistake.

“Urakburak, I am a warrior, not a swordsman.”

“My name is Urichfried… no, as I said before, can’t you just call me Abman, please?”

“…I’ll try. It’s hard to pronounce.”

“The pronunciation is, difficult?”

“Is there a problem with that?”

Mr. Bear looked like he had a lot to say but ended the conversation with a deep sigh.

Seems he’s learning how to talk to a barbarian.

The best strategy is not to.

“You’re the only one I haven’t met yet. I’ve heard a lot about you from Bjorn. I’m Abman Urichfried.”

“I’m Alluva Raven. You’re a scout, right?”

The it was Misha’s turn

“Nyang, I’m Misha Karlstein.”

The remaining three introduced themselves and professionally exchanged information about their roles.

That marked the halfway point of our first meeting.

Just in time, our ordered food arrived, so we continued our conversation over drinks and a meal.

“Here, the food is quite nice and tasty.”

“If only my wife could cook half as well…”

“Mr. Urichfried, are you married?”

“Ah, I didn’t mention that. It’s been 3 years now.”

“Bjorn, this is squid. Want to try it? The texture is really unique.”

The overall atmosphere of the conversation was warm and friendly.

Until the topic shifted towards the labyrinth, just as the meal was winding down.

“Should we get to the main topic now?”

“Yes, that would be best. Bjorn, how are we going to distribute the loot?”

The mood shifted as the topic of money came up.

Or more precisely, everyone but Aynar.

“Shouldn’t we just take whatever Bjorn gives us?”

“Aynar would think so, yes. But that’s not the case for us.”

A mage quick with calculations and Mr. Bear with a family to protect.

Both were good people in private, but when the time came, they openly spoke up to defend their rights.

“Misha is one thing, but it’s problematic that Aynar is getting the same share. Isn’t she the least accomplished among us?”

Urakburak…! You, you see me like that! I, I trusted you!!! I thought of you as a precious comrade—!!!”

“Keep it down, will you? Bjorn will handle it. Okay? Be good, Nyang.”

“Ugh…!”

Aynar trembled with a sense of betrayal, and luckily, Misha managed to silence her in time.

Perhaps that made it even harder for Mr. Bear to speak up.

“Ahem…”

Mr. Bear coughed and averted his gaze.

It was then that Raven casually took over the baton and began her appeal.

“It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s Miss. Aynar or Miss. Karlstein. I’m a mage, after all”

“Go on.”

“With me, you can sell essence in test tubes, and since I’ve mastered ‘higher distortion,’ it’ll be much easier to get it, even if we’re after byproducts.”

“You’re asking for a higher share?”

“Yes. I should get 30%.”

Phew, starting off strong.

Dwalki had accepted an equal share with laughter and ease.

“30% is too much.”

“That’s what you think. The seniors all say they get that much.”

Where did they find such a naïve target?

Indeed, in the labyrinth, mages are treated well.

Assuming everyone is on equal footing.

“Those seniors, they must have joined teams lower than their own level.”

“Ah, so you’re saying I’m not?”

Raven, being a Rank 6 mage, deserves to be treated as a Rank 5 explorer.

Considering that I and Misha are rank 6, and Aynar is rank 7, she is clearly of a higher rank.

But…

“We’ll see after the exploration.”

I am confident.

Regardless of ranks, there will never be a scenario where she will have to unilaterally carry us.

“You joined this team thinking the same, didn’t you?”

“Uh, that is true.”

Surprisingly, Raven easily agreed.

But perhaps she was setting the stage for her next Argument?.

“Still, Miss. Karlstein and Miss. Aynar are less crucial than the three of us, right?”

“They’ll carry their weights soon enough.”

“Yes. I think so too. In a year… no, maybe in a few months. But why should I suffer losses until then?”

Raven proposed to reassess the shares once the two could rightfully claim their share in the future, and I somewhat agreed.

“The share will be 20% each. However, for special loot obtained through magic, you’ll get 40%.”

“Deal.”

Equal distribution with a magic loot-specific bonus rate.

Thus, Raven secured the usual conditions for a mage in a five-person team.

One down.

Now, it was Mr. Bear’s turn.

“I’ll take 5% from Aynar and give it to you.”

Considering he’s a scout, giving him an additional 10% wouldn’t be too much.

“Since we haven’t done our first exploration yet. Let’s settle for that for now.”

Mr. Bear readily accepted.

It must have been somewhat embarrassing for him to demand more openly.

He is a scout, but he has zero navigational skills..

“So, this issue is settled.”

Thus, the final distribution rates were set.

Me 20%.

Misha 20%

Aynar 15%

Raven 20% (special loot 40%)

Mr. Bear 25%

Ah, to note, this is for general loot.

For things obtained by defeating plunderers or such, we agreed to distribute it evenly.

‘Phew, I’m dying of regret’

I can see why explorers are so desperate for promotion.

Need to hit Rank 5 soon.

If all three of us had been Rank 5, they wouldn’t have even brought up distribution.

“…Well, this is within the expected range, anyway.”

I sipped my drink, erasing the disappointment.

I had considered the possibility that the two of them might be even greedier, but in the end, everyone kept to their lines.

“If I weren’t the leader, another team would have tried to take advantage much more blatantly.

‘Have we passed the most crucial hurdle then?’

With the distribution negotiation concluded, forming the team was practically confirmed. Though numerous issues remained to be discussed.

“Right, the team? When are we going to register it?”

“Tomorrow.”

“Then I can’t make it. I thought this might happen, so I wrote a letter of proxy. Go ahead without me.”

“…Alright.”

From simple administrative tasks to discussing various matters, we had to talk it all through.

“Are we going to collect team funds separately? Or just gather what’s needed as it comes?”

“We’ll collect a fixed amount every month.”

“How much?”

How much for the team funds.

What if the funds are insufficient?

Do we use the current distribution rate even when entering rifts or discovering mysterious treasures in labyrinths?

Whether to acknowledge personal contributions.

Are there any incentives, etc., etc., etc.

‘I didn’t go through all this with Team Halfling..’

When I came to, only Raven and I were actively exchanging ideas.

Drrrrr-!!

Aynar had fallen asleep, her head lolling.

Mr. Bear was sipping his drink alone, seemingly enjoying a rare moment of freedom, while Misha was scribbling in her notebook.

Not taking notes or anything…

Just a hobby. Something about her hands getting itchy because she can’t cook?

She started drawing a few days ago.

“…What are you drawing?”

“Ah, nothing much.”

“An orc?”

“Pffft!! Yes, an orc. Orc. Nyahaha.”

It was a somewhat unpleasant reaction, but before I could ask more, Raven called me.

“Mr. Jandel, we’re still talking…”

Ah, right.

Having used my brain for hours, my concentration was waning. I would have understood if it were an important topic, but with all the minute details we were sorting through, it felt even more draining.

Soon, I checked the time and spoke up.

“Raven, let’s call it a day.”

“Huh? But we still have more to go through.”

“…More?”

“The points we need to cover before forming the team. I prepared them in advance before coming.”

Asking how much was left, Raven answered that thirty-one items remained.

“…We haven’t even done half?”

Thinking about the remaining topics almost made me wish for death from boredom, but knowing her personality, these points would probably be somewhat helpful once addressed.

“Still, it’s too late. Let’s continue next time.”

“Okay.”

We scheduled to meet again in two days and parted ways.

I felt physically and mentally drained.

I thought I shared a similar personality type with mages, but…

“…Seeing the real deal, I can certainly tell.”

Thank goodness I chose a barbarian as my character.

***

The morning after our first meeting.

The four of us visited the Explorers’ Guild.

And with Raven’s proxy letter received yesterday, we officially completed our team registration.

“You are naming the team ’Bjorn’ ? Isn’t that a bit lazy?”

Aynar murmured her dissatisfaction, but I had simply followed convention.

The formal name of Team Halfling was just ‘Murad’ as well.

Usually, teams just use the leader’s surname or first name.

“Don’t be too disappointed. We can always change it later if we think of something suitable.”

“Can I try thinking of one too?”

“There’s no reason you can’t.”

“Really! I’ll think hard about it!!”

Though she says that, she’ll probably forget about it in a few hours…

But it doesn’t matter.

The team name isn’t that important.

“What about you, Abman? What will you do?”

“I need to return to the shop. My wife is waiting.”

“I see.”

As soon as the team formation was complete, Mr. Bear left, and we had a simple meal outside before returning to our lodgings.

After all, we all live here now.

I’m in apartment 201, Aynar is in 202, and Misha is right across in 207.

“Hey, Bjorn. There’s something in your mailbox, Nyang”

“Mail?”

Following Misha’s comment, I checked and found a letter inside.

A letter sealed with the emblem of the Leatlas Church.

‘Could it be that the appointment with the dragon tribe is set?’

I hurriedly went to my room to read the content.

But what’s this?

[He will call upon you.]

Opening it, there was only that single sentence.

The sender’s title, ‘Second Paladin Commander Paal Krobitz,’ was longer than the content itself.

‘What’s this?’

As I pondered, the letter burst into flames and turned to ash in an instant. While I appreciate the concern for security…

This made it rather difficult to understand.

“…”

I sat on the bed to gather my thoughts.

I had a rough idea who ‘He’ referred to. Probably the leader of the dragon tribe, the primordial dragon.

But one thing made no sense.

‘He will call upon me?’

It would have been easier to understand if it just listed a meeting time and place. I had requested the appointment to be arranged as secretly as possible.

‘How will he call? Are they coming to set up an appointment?’

As I lay down on the bed with these thoughts, a magic circle with a blue glow drew itself on the wooden floor.

“Huh?”

Before I could comprehend what it was, the magic circle emitted a brilliant light.

And when I came to…

‘It’s not like I was summoned to another world.’

I found myself in an unfamiliar space.

The location was a structure supported by giant pillars, reminiscent of a Greek temple.

‘The Dragon’s Temple.’

I quickly assessed the situation.

‘A spatial teleportation kind of dragon language? And the letter acted as a medium?’

The situation was somewhat clear.

Not bad.

This method would certainly make maintaining secrecy easier.

“You’re not surprised.”

I then focused ahead.

Scales sprouting from his skin, eyes reminiscent of reptiles.

A man possessing all the features of a dragon tribe was staring down at me. Behind the throne, shrouded in mist, dozens of glowing eyes flickered.

Could they all be dragon tribe?

How many did he summon here?

‘…Such intense gazes.’

It was a different kind of pressure than hostility.

A natural enemy. The feeling of coming face-to-face with another species you can never defeat.

‘Dragon Fear.’

The passive ability that dragon tribe possess.

‘They’re using that on me…’

I smiled wryly.

It seemed clear what their intentions were.

“Do you know? You’re not the first barbarian to visit here. However…”

“…”

“If you leave alive, you’ll be the first.”

A form of intimidation.

Given their species’ nature, it’s unlikely they would unjustly take the Dragon Slayer sword from a benefactor without fair compensation, but they probably felt the need to assert dominance.

Considering what outrageous demands a barbarian like me might make.

“…”

As the Dragon Fear intensified, I broke into a cold sweat.

But what of it?

A little sweat won’t make me lose my senses.

‘…Why do these people love power plays so much?’

This made it clear what I needed to do.

I never dreamed I would start with this before even making proper introductions…

But informing them quickly would save time.

Be it Dragon Fear or any form of intimidation.

“Bethel—raaaaaaaaa!!”

All their efforts were in vain.