Surviving The Game As A Barbarian Episode 160

March 27, 2024 • 13 min read • 890 views

Negotiation (2)

An awkward silence enveloped the space.

One might expect some inquiry after such a sudden shout, but…

The dragon elder simply closed his mouth after my outburst, maintaining a serious demeanor.

‘It’s getting awkward for me.’

The silence was getting uncomfortable.

“…Why did you suddenly shout?”

the brown-haired dragon elder asked, dispelling the dragon’s fear. His reptilian eyes made it hard to read his emotions, but he seemed genuinely curious.

Ah, so the elder was curious too.

I provided an answer without hesitation.

“I just felt like doing it. Why, is there a problem?”

The barbarian’s cheat code for when too lazy to explain every action in detail.

The dragon elder paused, seemingly in thought, then chuckled lightly.

“No, no problem at all. Barbarians are indeed an interesting race, as I’ve heard.”

His voice was dignified and deep.

Then, he waved his hand through the air.

Swoosh.

A whirlwind arose, clearing the mist away.

What lay beyond was quite different from what I had expected.

There was no one there.

I had thought the place was full of dragon tribe people because of the shimmering eyes.

When I gave him a questioning look, he averted his gaze awkwardly.

“I must admit, I was opposed to such childish tactics.”

“Opposed?”

“Ah, you know, ‘Crush their spirit at the first meeting to make negotiations easier’ or something?”

In simple terms, the shimmering eyes were all an illusion.

If I had thought about it calmly, I could have noticed earlier. The most important thing I emphasized to Krobitz was ‘keeping it a secret’ and…

The dragon tribe is a species with extremely limited numbers.

It wouldn’t make sense for dozens to gather just because of me.

“Anyway, I owe you an apology. Tsk, all this over a few pennies. What a waste. I told them it’s not right to treat a benefactor like that.”

His voice remained deep but his tone and aura became much lighter than before.

Was that an act, and this is his true self?

It seemed promising for meaningful conversation.

Still, I shouldn’t let my guard down. Even this could be an act.

“First off, let’s clarify. I am Bjorn, son of Jandel. Are you the chief of the dragon tribe?”

“Chief… Well, in your terms, yes. I haven’t been in the position for long, though.”

“Not for long?”

I couldn’t help but tilt my head.

I’d heard it was more than thirty years ago that the Dragon Slayer was cursed after slaying the Primordial Dragon…….

“Time is in the eye of the beholder.”

Ah, right. The Dragon tribe is known for their longevity.

It wasn’t a significant detail in the game, so I momentarily forgot about it..

Moving on to the main topic.

“Chief.”

“Feel free to call me Pirsaealidorvus for convenience.”

Is calling him that even feasible?

As I internally debated how to respond, the dragon elder laughed heartily and offered a simpler name.

“Just joking. Call me ‘Rapir.’ It’s my second name, used publicly.”

The second name, by the way, is a cultural thing among the dragons, due to their original names being excessively long. Necessary for living in cities.

‘Regal Vagos’ likely has a much longer real name too.

‘Well, that’s a relief.’

I sighed silently, grateful.

It was a formal meeting, after all.

Had he insisted on using his full name, it would have been quite bothersome.

“Rapir. Feel free to call me Jandel or Bjorn, whichever you find easier.”

“Jandel has a nice ring to it.”

Now that introductions were out of the way,

I opened my mouth to say something, but Rapir spoke first.

“Before we start talking, could I see the Dragon Slayer Sword? I’ve heard the whole story through the Leatlas Church, but it’s still hard to believe.”

A bitter smile crossed my lips instantly.

He had put it gently, but essentially, he was quite direct.

‘Right to my face, doubting it…’

I couldn’t blame him, though.

After all, He’s a member of Orcules, a big-time criminal with a bounty of hundreds of millions of stones on his head. It would have been hard for them to readily accept that a 4th-floor explorer like me managed to defeat him and take the sword.

Whoosh!

There was no need to explain in detail, so I pulled the dragon-slaying sword from my backpack and stabbed it into the ground.

‘Ow, that burns.’

Just holding it for about 3 seconds, and my skin is already peeling off.

The dragon elder descended from his throne, pulled out the sword, and held it, murmuring softly.

“It is true.”

That brief statement conveyed complex emotions. Was it a mixture of solemnity and loneliness, considering the story tied to this sword?

After holding the sword silently for a while, the dragon elder placed it back and asked,

“…What was he like? You must have met him most recently. I’d like to hear more about it.”

I recounted the events of that day, omitting details that might put me at a disadvantage.

“I see. So he ended up going that far… Thank you for telling me. As per your request, the return of the Dragon Sword will remain a secret.”

“Were you close to him?”

The dragon elder smiled bitterly at my question.

“He was… my brother.”

“What?”

“Yes… And I couldn’t stop him with my own power.”

I wanted to learn more about the Dragon Slayer, but it seemed the dragon elder didn’t want to dwell on the topic, quickly changing the subject.

“By the way, I haven’t said this yet. Bjorn, son of Jandel, thank you for returning the sword. Aside from the reward you’re asking for, we consider you a benefactor.”

His sincerity was evident, despite the reptilian nature of his gaze causing some confusion.

Being primarily motivated by the reward, this situation was somewhat embarrassing for me…

‘No need to refuse the benefactor treatment, I guess.’

I decided to inquire later about the specific benefits of being treated as a benefactor and focused on the current discussion.

“So, what do you desire?”

The core of our meeting.

I had pondered extensively on what to request in exchange for returning the Dragon Slayer Sword, a weapon made of 6th-tier material and akin to a sacred relic for the dragon tribe.

“What can you offer?”

Judging that there might be a proposal that could change my mind. Mr. Dragon opened his mouth without hesitation.

“First would be wealth.”

Money.

Not a bad option.

It was one of the three candidates I had considered before making a final decision. Considering that weapons of the 5th tier start at prices in the hundreds of millions, the compensation would undoubtedly allow me to equip myself with top-tier gear.

However…

“I don’t need money.”

The dragon elder looked puzzled by my response, apparently not expecting me to refuse this offer.

“Hmm, perhaps you don’t realize how much—”

“Let me repeat, I’m not interested in money.”

The amount was irrelevant.

After all, it wouldn’t be more valuable than the Dragon Slayer Sword.

It’s better to ask for something else.

Sensing my resolve, the dragon elder did not press further and instead presented the next reward option.

“Secondly, a companion.”

“A companion?”

“I heard from Sir Krobitzthat you are forming a new team.”

“Just get to the point.”

“One of our kind, for two years.”

It was an unexpected offer.

A companion as a reward?

They indeed know their worth as a race.

‘That’s certainly tempting.’

As shown in the battle with the Dragon Slayer.

Dragon speech enables feats no mage or priest can achieve.

Moreover, the dragon tribe have high base stats suitable for close combat, and some can even use magic typically reserved for humans.

However, my response remained the same.

“I’ve already gathered my companions.”

I don’t want to be rewarded with companions who will leave in two years. What I ultimately want is a tightly-knit team.

“Sh’s quite a charming child, though.”

And, so what?

Seeing my unimpressed gaze, the dragon elder awkwardly coughed and moved on.

“…Then onto the last offer.”

“Go ahead.”

“I will give you an Arc steel Artifact to be born next year.”

It was what I had anticipated.

Considering that Arc Steel is closely associated with the Dragon tribe.

Only the dragon tribe can handle Arc.

‘The setting was that they could make one each year through a ritual.’

In that sense, this reward was the most logical. Exchange an unusable Arc steel sword for usable Arc steel artifacts.

A trade where no one loses.

But…

‘If that was the case, I would have just taken the money.’

My response was consistent.

“That doesn’t seem appealing either.”

The dragon elder was taken aback by my refusal, seemingly at a loss for what to offer next…

So, I took the initiative.

“Forget all that, just give me a tattoo.”

Casually thrown out as if it was nothing significant.

“A tattoo?”

The dragon elder’s eyes widened in realization of what I meant.

“You mean, the Blessing of the Dragon?”

Yes, that.

As I nodded, the dragon elder’s expression changed dramatically.

“Jandel, where did you hear about that?”

Ah, now we’re getting to the real deal.

***

The Blessing of the Dragon.

Along with Dragon Speech, it’s what elevates the Dragon tribe to the rank of being considered overpowered characters.

“The elders were right. You are too greedy.”

The dragon elder wiped all traces of amusement from his face.

And he reignited the Dragon Fear that had been deactivated earlier.

He opened his mouth

“I should have done this from the start.”

The atmosphere became oppressively heavy, almost making it hard to breathe.

Is this his serious mode?

Opposing his childish tactics now seemed truly meaningful, as the intensity was on a whole other level.

But…

‘It’s not unbearable.’

Just like before.

Terrifying enough to make one shiver?

So, what then?

As long as the spirit of the ancestors is with me, a barbarian does not lose in a battle of wills.

“Bethel—raaaaaaaaa!!”

With a roar pulled from my diaphragm, I loosened my stiff neck, leaving the dragon elder staring in dumbfounded silence.

“What is this….”

The dragon’s fear had somehow been quelled.

Yes, he might have been serious, but it wasn’t really because he was annoyed.

“Sigh…”

Mr. Dragon relaxed his stern expression and sighed deeply.

“I will add a generous reward on top of the Arc Steel artifact. How about that?”

Thinking I wouldn’t be swayed by threats, he offered a new carrot.

By the way, I dislike carrots.

“I refuse!”

“No, you might not understand this, but it’s also for your own good. Your tribe would treat you as a traitor if they knew.”

I had already received the divine revelation anyway, so bringing it up again was unnecessary.

“So calm down—”

“Rapir! Aren’t you a descendant of dragons! Don’t act so meekly, do it! You said you owe me, can’t you do even this? That’s really stingy!”

Stunned by the outright ‘do it!’ tactic at the negotiation table, dragon uncle just stared blankly at me.

I seized the timing to hit his Achilles’ heel.

“The Goddess of Stars said that Regal Vargos and I would meet again. That a strong bad fate connects us.”

“…The Goddess of Stars? Is that true?”

“I need to become stronger. So I won’t lose another comrade to your brother.”

Though it was a low move, what does it matter?

Negotiations are won by those who don’t hesitate to use dirty cards.

And it’s not like what I said was untrue.

“Rapir, you said earlier you couldn’t stop your brother with your strength, right? Invest in me. I will do what you couldn’t.”

With that, I didn’t press any further.

Mr. Dragon went back into thinking mode, and it took a while.

“…Perhaps this too is my karma.”

He murmured as if sighing.

“Does that mean you’ll do it?”

“…First, we need to verify through the temple if the divine revelation is true. Then I’ll call you again. This is not something I can decide on my own.”

In that case.

“How long will it take?”

“I’m not sure. A month? Two months? I’ll give you an answer as soon as possible.”

“Then I’ll hold onto this until then.”

“Go ahead.”

A surprisingly cool acceptance.

I then sheathed the dragon-slayer sword back into my backpack and, after exchanging contact methods and asking a few more questions, concluded today’s negotiation.

“It’s a message stone. When I send a message, tear the paper I gave you. Then I’ll know where you are.”

“Will do.”

Mr. Dragon then used a space-transporting dragon spell to send me back to my room at the inn.

‘…Dragon spells really are cheat codes.’

With that thought, I started to undress and lay down on the bed for a rest.

Knock, knock, knock.

The sound of knocking.

It meant a visit from someone unfamiliar.

If it was Misha, she would have just entered, and if it was Aynar, it wouldn’t be a knock but a bang.

“Nice to see you.”

Upon opening the door, I was greeted by a familiar female face.

“Julian Urbans?”

Commonly known as the District Head‘s daughter.

A true rebel wishing for her father’s downfall for the sake of her own freedom.

“So, have you changed your mind?”

“What are you talking about?”

“I checked and found out the team was disbanded. That mage died too. Did Rotmiller do something?”

Ah, so that’s why she’s back without getting tired.

Indeed, from the outside, it could seem that way.

“That mage is not ‘that mage,’ it’s Leor Wuerv Dwalki. And yes, your father did try something, but Rotmiller wasn’t fooled.”

I simply pointed out the facts.

However, after saying that, I realized this issue also needed a solution soon.

Even if her father tried something again, I doubted Mr. Bear or Raven would fall for it…

But leaving it as it is could turn into a more bothersome problem.

‘Might as well take care of it now.’

“Where is your father now?”

“Uh, not sure. Around this time, he might be at the main office in Sector 7?”

After obtaining the necessary information from Miss Urbans, I sent her away.

“Go back home. And don’t come again. I’m not interested in getting involved in your family matters.”

“Huh? What do you mean by that…”

“Exactly what I said.”

When she first came to me, I thought she was just holding a grudge because of the prison break.

But thinking about it, the timing was too coincidental.

The reason the District Head suddenly became hostile towards me a few months ago was surely because of her.

“I told you before. Our interests align, don’t they?”

“Enough, leave.”

After kicking out Miss Urbans, I picked up the equipment I had cast off and got dressed.

Creak.

As I opened the door, there stood Miss Urbans, waiting outside.

“Are you going to see your father?”

“Yes. I’m going to have a word with him.”

“But why the weapons…”

I tilted my head in confusion.

Why would I leave my weapons behind when I’m going to confront him?