Chapter 36 Away to Rafael!
An underground pioneer was 2000000000 jin of rice. Their insurance included a guarantee to fix, to return, to exchange. The duration was a year: after the installment payments were completed, the Wrench Tribe would no longer be responsible for maintenance of the underground pioneer. After that, they chose twenty bright warriors to receive training from the dwarves. The training period was unlimited, and they were to be taught until they learned.
At the same time, the Wrench Tribe was in charge of making tweaks to the control system, changing it to a manual system to suit humans’ habits. Because their own training in battle was terrible, their system ended up being more complicated than need be. A single “proceed” button required ten different buttons, hence why only masters could pick it up. But humans were different. With their strong intent to battle, they were able to complete many discrete actions, lowering the difficulty of the movements.
Now that they’d figured out the underground pioneer’s post-sales issues, everyone drank water, cleared their throats, preparing for the next round of negotiations. McQueen and Lance opened their eyes at the same time, their sharp gaze streaking through the air and colliding, producing sparks.
“Master craftsman, you see how much the underground pioneer has cost us. Oh dear, I’m sure we’ll have to tighten our belts for the upcoming year. You’re a generous man so I’m sure you understand the tight spot we’re in.” McQueen frowned, sighing.
Lance nodded in agreement, saying with a flourish. “Castellan McQueen, I understand your difficulties very well. I’m willing to reduce your burden. The Wrench Tribe has always been generous toward our friends. Just speak and let me know what I can do for you.”
Yo, Lance was really speaking out in the open now. McQueen wondered if he’d finally found his conscience?
“Craftsman Lance, you’re too kind. How about this: totem cannons, just this price–1000000000 jin of rice per cannon. We’ll be taking nine of them. That way we’ll have two on the side of our city walls, one in the center of the city. What do you think of that?” McQueen asked testily. He was curious if Lance really had discovered his conscience.
Lance immediately followed up. “Good. With a setup like that, Toss City will be incredibly stable. I’m willing to support Toss City at the cost of 1000000000 jin of rice…”
“Master Craftsman, that’s too low. We need at least 10 times that for something we originally weren’t open to selling. It’s still a big risk even after departing from the Great Fixer.” Franco interrupted bluntly.
Lance’s brows furrowed. “Franco, we’ve already departed. Toss City are our allies now. We have reason to help them.”
“Even so, we’re still dwarves. The moment Gelbin and Sico have settled things about who’s the true repairman, we’ll return to them. Please think further.” Youngor* on the side tried to persuade him.
Lance immediately flamed up. “The Wrench Tribe is independent. We don’t have to look to anyone else for approval for our own rules. Toss City are our friends, not Gelbin and that traitor. Have you forgotten why we came to this place to live in the first place?”
Franco stood up and bowed. “Of course not. Please don’t be angry. But I still must insist. We can’t sell for less than 10000000000 jin of rice.”
“You…” Lance was so angry he didn’t know what to say. Pointing at Franco, his whole body shuddered.
McQueen could only stand up quickly and dissuade him. “Master Craftsman, everything they’re saying has rationale, so don’t be angry. Don’t break up the unity of the Wrench Tribe. The price can be negotiated, friendship is priceless.” Even saying this, McQueen was cursing in his heart. When in the world did this group of old dwarves learn to act. It’s just that they weren’t great at it, if I didn’t pick up their slack, Lance wouldn’t even know how to follow up. No hope for a best actor nomination.
“Yes, we feel your affection, as well as your hardships. Let’s sit down and negotiate for a price everyone is happy with.” Bruce was here to round things out too.
Although the dwarves weren’t the best actors, the effect was strong and practical enough for them. If McQueen and the others had really managed to push the pricing down to that level, they probably would be embarrassed. The head technician had already said they shouldn’t even speak up if they were going lower than 10000000000 jin of rice, and that’s where the dwarves opened up their pricing.
Taking advantage of the talking point that the cannons were high in fuel demands, McQueen and his party talked for hours before finally settling on the price of 7000000000 jin of rice per cannon, nine cannons, also each for installment payments within a year. This included lessons on how to operate and maintenance. To prove their generosity, the dwarves even gifted an ultimate magic beast’s crystal nucleus: the one that had been fired off once and still retained two thirds of its energies.
“Damn, what a deal. No wonder these dwarves aren’t willing to do exchange with gold. They’re all clammed up in their own world. Just this one crystal nucleus is worth more than 50000000 golden coins! And they’re just giving it away? I really do love doing business with partners like these. I swear I’ll never go back on our friendship.” Holding the crystal nucleus in his hands as it shimmered mysteriously, McQueen suddenly didn’t know how to thank them. His hands were even trembling.
After all that, him and his troupe returned to their dwellings. None of this felt quite real. Was this how business could be conducted?
“Bruce, can you pinch Will to see if we’re dreaming?” McQueen studied the crystal nucleus intently underneath the steam lamp. Was it possible they’d passed a fake off to him?
Bruce was still dizzy too. How could McQueen be so lucky: first it was the spiritual wind stone, then the Wrench Tribe itself, now this nucleus. Although they’d lost out occasionally on this path, it was nothing compared to what they had gained.
“Ah, why are you pinching me?” Will’s eyes were so fixated on the nucleus that he didn’t even notice until Bruce had twisted the flesh on his leg.
“Uh, our castellan asked me to see if we were dreaming. Seeing that reaction, it doesn’t seem like we are.” Bruce said in a straightforward manner. Then he slapped Will. “What are you staring at, never seen a crystal nucleus before? It’s just an ultimate beast. Look at how ignorant you look.” Now Bruce had gotten his gung-ho attitude back too. After seeing several spiritual wind stones, he wasn’t going to make a big deal out of this tiny little ultimate crystal nucleus.
Only when Bruce said this did McQueen realize Will’s eyes were incredibly bright. They were filled with longing and suppression. Seemed like he wanted it quite a lot.
“If you want it, feel free to take it,” he said generously.
“What?” Will shouted in shock.
“Take it for a look,” McQueen clarified.
“Ah!” Will’s extended hands stiffened, uncertain where to fall.
“Just kidding. If you really want it that much, you can have it.” McQueen threw the nucleus at Will and turned around. “Get ready to leave first thing tomorrow morning. We’re going home tomorrow! Rafael, here we come!”
Looking at McQueen who was shouting in excitement, Will’s eyes grew moist. His hands gripped the nucleus tightly, determination rising in his heart. Toss City, Castellan McQueen…
Bruce, Bank, and the rest all felt the same emotions ripple through them. They knew Will needed the disruption of the crystal nucleus, but it was an ultimate crystal nucleus, not anything rudimentary. But McQueen hadn’t even blinked as he gifted the priceless nucleus to Will. How generous, how kind. Immediately they felt like the willingness to follow him, to die for him.
Following a leader like this was worth it. It was hope.
Toss City, Rafael, let’s go home!
*Couldn’t find previous romanizations of this character name?