Chapter 44.  Deal and Alliance (3)

“I’d like to hear more of the story.”

He needed to know what situation Lee Chae Rin was in.  Only then, could he either decide to make a deal or help.

“Should we go somewhere else?”

“That would be good.”

“We could go to my hotel room.  It is a good place to chat in private.”

“Let’s go.”

The two moved to the Hotel Koryo in Bucheon, where Lee Chae Rin was staying.  Rooftop wasn’t a suitable place to conduct a discussion between a monarch and a queen.

Lee Chae Rin’s room was the presidential suite.  She was said to have a lot of money, and certainly, the room was fit for a queen with wealth.

“Would you like a drink?”

Perhaps, due to being emotionally tormented, as soon as Lee Chae Rin entered the room, she took a bottle of Hennessy PARDIS. (Hennessey PARDIS, which is an upscale cognac from Hennessy Inc.  It is an expensive brandy that would cost 800,000 Won in retail)

“Not a fan of cognac.”

After replying that way, Kang Chul-In called room service.

“Single Malt, the most expensive one.”

Kang Chul-In preferred whiskey.

“First, let me share the mini-map.  It will make our discussion easier.”

“Can the mini-map be shared, too?”

“Of course.  Did your assistant not inform you that?”

“There are so many things that I don’t know…..”

“Use this time as a learning opportunity.”

Kang Chul-In turned on the [mini-map], which was the lower menu in the [map] menu.

“This is my mini-map.  Centering my territory, it marks the miniaturized terrain features of all the places that I have surveyed.  My location is at the west end of the Pandemonium region, which is a remote region of the frontier.”

Kang Chul-In explained.

“Your mini-map.”

“Yes.”

Lee Chae Rin turned on the mini-map.

“Share mini-map.”

“Share mini-map.”

As both recited the command, their mini-maps overlapped with each other and the location information was shared.

“This thing also works….”

“Quiet.”

Kang Chul-In cut off Lee Chae Rin’s exclaiming appreciation.

“I’ll take a look.”

While Lee Chae Rin took a sip of the cognac, Kang Chul-In’s eyes swiftly scanned the shared map.

‘It’s close to me.  The area is about 50km away from the south east end of the Dark Forest… This green dot is Lee Chae Rin’s territory.  To both sides… red dots, they are other monarch’s territories.  It’s unfavorably sandwiched in between, not good, but… there is no need for a territorial war yet.  Why is that, why?’

Every conflict has a reason, there could be smoke from a chimney even if there wasn’t a fire, but there is no war without reason.

‘With Lee Chae Rin’s economic might, there was no reason for her to be in such a dire state of mind just because a monarch was launching an attack.  It’s more accurate to assume that she is being hit by both monarchs from the two sides… How did both sides come to attack her… Wait.’

While he was thinking, something significant came into Kang Chul-In’s eyes.

“This.”

“Yes?”

“Is it because of this mine?”

“…..!”

Lee Chae Rin was flabbergasted in surprise.  Just by scanning a simple mini-map once, he has accurately analyzed the situation that she was in, so she was obviously surprised by that.

“How, How did you…”

However, Lee Chae Rin could not continue.  It was because, right at that time, Kang Chul-In moved away as the room service came to the door.

‘Can’t tell… It is strange that a person has changed, but how can this…’

Fixing her eyes on the back of Kang Chul-In, Lee Chae Rin was filled with odd mixed emotions.

That was only appropriate.

If someone, who didn’t talk much, but very kind to others, has at one moment become a cold hearted emperor, anyone would consider it strange.

“As you were saying, do continue.”

Kang Chul-In poured whiskey into the glass filled with ice.

“Don’t drink.”

“Ok.”

Facing each other, the man and the woman held their respective whiskey and cognac in their glasses.

“My conclusion is this.”

Quickly emptying his glass and putting the mini-map on the table, Kang Chul-In pointed his finger to Lee Chae Rin’s territory, in the shared mini-map.

“Next to the territory, this mountain.  Although I’m not sure what kind of mountain this is, but I’m sure that this is a mine, where precious resources are being mined.”

“That’s right.”

“And these two bastards.”

Kang Chul-In’s fingers touched the other two monarchs’ territories at the northwest and east of Lee Chae Rin’s region.

“The two of them formed an alliance and are going after your mine.”

“Is that… all visible to you?”

Lee Chae Rin was in awe.

Anyone could have simply guessed that she was under the attack of the two allied monarchs, but a random person would not be able to pinpoint the reason behind it as accurately as was done.

“Your response and mini-map.  With those two things, it isn’t that hard to demonstrate this level of insight.”

“Hugh… it is a very difficult idea to me.”

“It’s an obvious situation.”

“…..?”

“It is easy to have a discerning perspective, after having lived a tough life to just survive.  You’re just not used to it yet, not that you are foolish.”

“I, I see….”

“Anyhow.”

Kang Chul-In stopped at that point to take another sip of whiskey, before continuing.

“My honest feeling is… that it is totally incomprehensible.”

“…..!”

“No matter what the two’s inclinations are and what their military combination was like, it is impossible, for a queen with wealth, to concurrently face 2 wars at the same time.”

“Uh, how could you say something that makes no sense at all…!”

“Why doesn’t it make sense?  Just by purchasing some military and having them placed at the enemy camp would have prevented the situation from getting this difficult. Even by simply leading the battles to a war of attrition, the winner in the end will be you with your wealth, not those two bastards.”

In the past, Kang Chul-In had a teeth gnashing experience against Kuhlbaig Alliance’s great economic power and the enormous output of that economic power. He knew the awesome power of wealth better than anyone else.

“Then there can be two conclusions in the end.  First, the condition is not ripe for a war of attrition, or the enemy monarchs have some special powers… if not that…”

Kang Chul-In fiercely stared at Lee Chae Rin.

“The mine has been lost and in order to reclaim it, siege warfare is being carried out.  It is being carried out against a foe with a far superior position, thus reclaiming he mine is impossible, no matter however many military units are sacrificed.”

“You are reading… that far, Chul-In.”

Lee Chae Rin acknowledged immediately.

“If you have already lost the mine, you could cut it off cleanly, give it up and by focusing on protecting your palace, you can sustain for a while.  Why are you obsessed with the mine?  Is the mine more important than your own life?”

“At this rate, your life is at their mercy.  Either lose your head, or lose the title of a queen.  There is no doubt you’ll be ruined.  Lee Chae Rin, give up the mine.”

Kang Chul-In spoke of the predetermined outcome.

If he does not interfere, Lee Chae Rin’s life will pass as he has just predicted.

Perhaps… The Lee Chae Rin, of previous life, did not give up that mine.  Therefore, she couldn’t have attended the first monarchs’ meetings.

“It is wise to give up at this juncture.  With wealth, even without that mine, there would be no issue with running a territory.”

Kang Chul-In advised.

“I… I too… want to do that.”

Unexpectedly, a strange response came from Lee Chae Rin.

“That mine, I don’t need it either.  If they want it, I can always hand it over to them.”

“…..?”

It was hard to understand why she was struggling so much for such a mine, unnecessary mine, a mine that can be given away.

“Your words and actions do not synch up.  Why do you obsessively spending military for something that can just be given up?”

“It’s not my will.”

“…..!”

At that moment, an expression of shock appeared in Kang Chul-In’s eyes.

‘What is this bullshit…’

It’s not by her will?

It does not make any sense. It wasn’t even laughable.

The full authority over a territory certainly belongs to the monarch.  It is a sacred and inviolable domain that no one else can intrude upon.  Who would dare meddle with the monarch’s authority?

It was not comprehensible.

It was more so to Kang Chul-In, who had strong pride in belonging to the class of monarchy.

Who would dare?

Kang Chul-In was certain that he would either behead or even to take it a step further, hand down a punishment of physical dismemberment (by tying the guilty to horses for drawing and quartering, or being broken on the wheel) to those who would dare to intrude on his authority.

“Need explanation.”

Kang Chul-In urged Lee Chae Rin.

“It does not make sense at all.”

Then Lee Chae Rin poured another glass of cognac and drank it roughly, before speaking.

“It is the will of my subordinates and the citizens of the territory.”

“…..?”

“The name of the mountain is Nidavellir, besides the tombs of the dwarfs that make up the 60% of the territory’s population, it is a gold mine at the same time and precious stones are mined there as well.  If I was to live as the queen…, I must reclaim that area.”

The significances of the mine with respect to monetary and symbolic values were enormous beyond his thought.

“…Was it.”

Kang Chul-In could finally understand the situation that Lee Chae Rin was in.

It was a mutiny, in which the monarch was being dragged by the dwarf residents of the territory.

#

The details of the story were too long to hear.  Furthermore, more accurate assessment can be made after a personal visit, rather than getting the story from Lee Chae Rin.  Thus, putting off the discussion of the whole story to a later time in Pangaea, for now, a decision was made to informally negotiate the terms of the deal.

“It is not a problem that can be resolved with simple assistance.  It is an issue to be dealt with from one monarch to another monarch.”

Any issues that must be discussed must be dealt first before proceeding.

“I understand.  It’s not an easy problem.”

Lee Chae Rin nodded her head.

“I, too, consider this dealing with Kang Chul-In, the monarch, rather than Kang Chul-In that I know.”

“The discussion should be easier since you understand that.”

“Of course.”

“There will follow a formal contract, but the basic outline is this.  I help you to overcome the difficulty that you are in and in return, you will make payments to me.  That is the terms of the contract.”

“Agreed.”

Kang Chul-In shook his head.

“Making deals with me is costly.”

“I’m already at the edge of a cliff.  If I can overcome my situation, I am prepared to offer you anything that you want.”

Having determined to live as a monarch, Lee Chae Rin strongly stated her own volition to overcome this difficulty at any cost.

“Then.”

Downing the whiskey, Kang Chul-In spoke.

“The work will begin after 1 week.  Within a month, I will eliminate the two bastards, reclaim Nidavellir and return stability of the territory back to you.  In return, my condition is a 30% payment of all the goods mined from the mine for the next 5 years.”

It was certainly expensive.

Nidavellir Mountain was not only a gold mine, but also the place where the warp stones, which is the substance needed for the warp gate from Pangaea to Earth, are mined.

A 30% share for the next 5 years from an enormously valuable mine would come to billions.”

‘That would be the required minimum.’

However, Kang Chul-In certainly did not think this requirement was excessive.

It goes beyond just assisting Lee Chae Rin to overcome her difficulties, in the long run, it will save her life as well.

Furthermore, by helping her, as the loss of his time would be massive as well, he needed to recover it.

Kang Chul-In’s one month was on a different scale than other monarchs.  Since he has reincarnated, one month time would allow him unimaginable profits.  As he was using such precious time in helping Lee Chae Rin, he needed to be paid at least that much.

As a matter of fact, 30% amount was very fair.  Even if 80% requirement was called, Lee Chae Rin would have accepted it under these circumstances.

Kang Chul-In was very considerate for not stabbing her on her back based on the intel.  The debt he had in the past, he was determined to pay it back in this way.

“Agreed.”

Lee Chae Rin readily accepted Kang Chul-In’s proposal.  In addition, she took a step further.

“I have one more condition to add.”

“Speak.”

“Be my ally for the next 10 years.  Although I have money, I do not have the ability to utilize them.  Perhaps, my capability is specialized in domestic management.”

That was true.

As Kang Chul-In was weak in domestic management although he was a peerless general, so demonstrating strong domestic management abilities, it was unavoidable for Lee Chae Rin to have shortcomings in military skills.

“If you agree to become my ally, I will add 10% and give you 40% for the next 10 years, not 5 years.  At such terms, could we not smile about the deal between you and me?”

It was a rather forthcoming proposal, but also very logical and shrewd one as well.

It’s not bad.”

A small subtle smile came to Kang Chul-In’s lips.

“At least, you know how to deal like a monarch.”

“Is…that so?”

Lee Chae Rin spoke and suddenly thought that Kang Chul-In’s cold-hearted posture may not be 100% sincere.

‘Perhaps…, is Chul-In attempting to teach me?’

It appeared that was so after a careful deliberation.  All words that Kang Chul-In spoke would become her food and nutrition.

The words that were spoken before the subject of the mine came up,

Do not thoughtlessly request for reinforcements, do not readily trust other monarchs, reinforcements are not the only solution, etc… looking back, they were the words that led her to open her immature eyes and make prudent decisions.

It was a lesson in the harsh form of ‘hear and learn according to your own ability’, but Lee Chae Rin came to understand the meaning behind those words.

Further, when she demonstrated audaciousness, a subtle smile appeared around Kang Chul-In’s mouth as well?

‘I see… Chul-In… you have not forgotten me.  Thank you, Chul-In.’

Her hardened heart has melted like snow.

Lee Chae Rin felt appreciative towards Kang Chul-In, but did not show it.  It was because she knew that Kang Chul-In’s lesson has not ended.  At least until this deal is completed.

“Chul-In.”

Lee Chae Rin extended her hand out.

“From now on, we are allies.  I am glad to form an alliance with you Kang Chul-in, the monarch.”

“I, too.”

Kang Chul-In grabbed Lee Chae Rin’s hand.

“I’d like to show a sign of gratitude.”

“…..?”

“Trade.”

Lee Chae Rin recited a command.

“Gold coin, convey, 2000 gold, Kang Chul-In, the monarch.”

Then, 2000 gold coins were transferred from Lee Chae Rin’s inventory to Kang Chul-In’s inventory.  Nearly 800 million won worth of gold coins were transferred without anything in return.  Although looking a bit immature, Lee Chae Rin also held the capacity for decisive action, worthy of a monarch.

“Consider it a down payment.  For the strength of our alliance.”

Lee Chae Rin smiled widely.

“I will accept in gratitude, I shall use it well.”

Kang Chul-In also smiled.  No one would dislike when someone gives you money, especially when showing such a level of appreciation at that.

“However…,”

Lee Chae Rin spoke as if she was curious about something.

“What is your plan, how you will help me, Chul-In?”

“I am going straight for the roots.”

How am I going to help?

Kang Chul-In was not interested in disclosing how he will help her at this time.  He wanted to show it in person.

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