Some things certainly are easy to resolve with violence such as dealing with the demon king. The small team of warriors doesn’t have to think about anything nor is there any conflict of interest. There are no chances to discuss a business deal with the demons either. All Veirya had to do was swing her sword to eliminate all of her enemies and then take the demon king’s head.
It was a simple mission and a simple era. Veirya didn’t have to think about anything. Her world only consisted of her comrades and the only one they were facing was the demon king. She’s been to many places. She travelled all the way from humanity’s territories to the end of them. She’s seen the snow in the north and the flowers in the south. But those people’s joy and sadness wasn’t part of her world. The confrontations and games in the palace had nothing to do with her. Queen Sisi, the elves and the gnomes competed to see who could get the glory of being the first to kill the demon king, which was the direction the alliance took. However, that wasn’t something the warriors had to concern themselves with.
Now though, the demon king is dead and Veirya is not needed anywhere. Veirya’s combat skills can’t resolve problems now. She could slaughter the entire village but what purpose would that serve? She’s no longer the warrior Veirya, and she wasn’t facing demons, but living humans. And she had a responsibility to watch over her people as the lord of the region.
Shedding blood here will only cause losses for both parties. They won’t get what they want and neither will we. Veirya can’t offer anything here now. It’s time for me to put my skills to use now.
With their guidance, I arrived at what looked like the tallest and most luxurious building in this town.
It looks like this group of deserters was eager to talk with me instead of getting violent as well, because they were very courteous toward me. Not only did they not restrain my hands, they didn’t hold a blade up against my neck either. They treated me much friendlier than Veirya which was quite ironic.
This must be where the new town-leader is residing. The buildings here really do give off the North’s vibe. The walls were high and thick. The windows weren’t large. All of the buildings faced in one direction. The homes of the commoners were small homes with flat roofs. They looked somewhat cute.
I entered the tall building. I looked at the deserters to my left and right and remarked: “This must be your leader’s residence, right? It doesn’t look like you’ve done anything besides looking after the town.”
“We just wanted to find somewhere to settle down. We don’t have a choice either. The people here detest demons way too much, and hate us too for deserting and fleeing from the demon they hated.”
The troop next to me looked very young. He was probably just a kid. He was excessively thin because his young body couldn’t handle the heavy armour and responsibilities. Dressed in his armour, he was wobbling like a scarecrow in the wind. It’s just that he didn’t look like he could drive away demons looking to kill humans. He touched his nose due to his fear. He kept sniffling due to the cold weather. He quietly said: “We didn’t want this to happen either…… We… we… we want to return home too… but… but… we… we never wanted to fight…… But we can’t return home now. The people here said they would report us which means that we’ll all be locked up……”
Another troop violently poked him in the back to stop him from saying anymore. I walked up the stairs and looked at the large door painted red. I chuckled and said: “The true lord has arrived so you don’t need to continue guarding this place anymore. I know what you’re thinking. Let’s discuss how to settle this matter properly.”
After I entered, I found myself in the main hall. It was very cold. It felt like I walked into the cold storage. It was indoors and yet it was colder than it was outside. There was nothing in the fireplace at the end of the hall. The black charcoal had virtually become a pile of frost. The people next to the pillars holding up the wall wore plain clothing and wrapped themselves up in what looked like burlap. There were men, women, elderly and children. It looks like these people are the people the troops locked up. Next to them were a few armed soldiers standing there rubbing their hands together. There was a table placed in the centre of the hall. A man dressed clearly differently with a red cape sat behind the chair and looked at me sternly.
I’m guessing he’s the commander of this platoon and also the person I’m going to be talking with now.
In my world, there are no such things as enemies. I’m not Veirya who must distinguish everything as black or white. Anybody might sit opposite me and we might end up being a team. Do your best not to view them as an enemy. Give each other a way out so that you may discuss things again in future.
I sat on the seat opposite him and looked at him with a smile. He looked like an extremely rough old man. I’d say he’s past middle-age. His face was buried in his big red beard. The hair on his temples was connected to his beard. His finger looked like it was rougher than two of mine combined. He moved his hand back and forth on the timber table like a rock was moving. His face showed he had lived a long life and had wounds. His small black eyes looked extremely steady.
He wore a metal helmet on his head and he was dressed in his filthy metal armour. His red cape wasn’t the thick type used to fend off the cold but more like for identification purposes.
He looked at me and then reached his hand out to pick up a dirty pot to the side. He poured me a cup of something and gave it to me. I’ve seen Veirya’s soldiers have this sort of standard horse-hooves-shaped cup. I took it and had a look. The strong smell of wine hit my nose.
It appears to be some sort of strong wine……
I waved my hand with a helpless smile and said; “Sorry, but I can’t handle this sort of strong wine. But let’s talk business first since the lord of this region is waiting at the entrance of the town. I basically understand your situation.”
“In what way are you related to the lord?”
He cut me off before I could finish. He daggered me and in his deep-masculine voice asked: “Is what you say your own ideas or is it the lords?”
Truthfully, I’m just a slave… though Veirya did let me come here without explicitly saying it aloud. She didn’t provide me with anything I needed either. In other words, his concern was legitimate. I could talk to him on friendly terms here and sign a deal, but that’s just me expressing my agreement. It doesn’t mean that Veirya agrees because Veirya and I never came to an agreement. Put another way, she just considers me a slave, not an assistant.
The conditions I name need to fulfil two conditions: one, that the man before me can accept them, and two, that Veirya can accept them.
“Let’s put it this way. The lord initially wanted to kill all of you. I was the one who stopped her before coming here to talk with you.”
I can’t lie.
One very important key in negotiations is to avoid lying. Sitting opposite you isn’t an ignorant child. Think of them as having better and more terrifying intel than you. Oftentimes, the lie you tell will become a weapon for the other party.
But not lying doesn’t mean you can’t hide information.
I told the truth.
My answer was sufficient for his question. ” I was the one who stopped her ” means that what I say to the lord holds weight, and “The lord initially wanted to kill all of you” reads as “if you don’t trust me, you’ll have to die.”
So I didn’t lie. I told the truth. But I was no longer some nobody they could do with or without.
And as I expected, he nodded. He then looked at me, waved his hand and said: “These people are the townsfolk of this town. We didn’t hurt them. We only brought them here. We had guessed there would be someone who’d come to subdue us, but isn’t it a little overboard to have the heroine who slayed the demon king come to kill us?”
“Lord Veira came here as the lord of the region. The rights to this place and the right to rule it belongs to Lord Veirya. However, you’re now occupying her territory, and you insulted the people under her jurisdiction. It’s not unreasonable if Lord Veirya hurts you.”
Don’t give the other party a retreat path. Don’t sympathise and don’t concern yourself with their feelings. There are some things you can’t be tolerant of. The bottom line in a negotiation is of utmost importance. You must have tolerance in a negotiation, but you must never selfishly give way when it pertains to the most important thing, particularly when it comes to your superior’s matters.
They are pitiable, but that’s not a reason for them to occupy Veirya’s territory.
I looked at him. While I can’t give way here, I can’t let the negotiation run into a dead-end either. Now you need a resolution. But what can I give them with my current status?
“We want a reasonable reason to return home. Nobody will mention what we did. We just want Lord Veirya to provide a testimony that we fought on the battlefield. It’s best if we could get some fees to return home as well.”
He gave his conditions while looking at me.
Honestly, he’s asking for a little too much. I take that back. It’s ridiculous.
You’re deserters. You’re occupying someone else’s territory and yet you want Veirya to give you money and ask you to leave? Veirya could rightfully hack you to pieces and you’re asking for money?
That’s an unreasonable request.
Any unreasonable request will lower the chances of a negotiation. The other party might even mock you. And such conditions will cause confusion as to who’s the one to gain in the negotiation. The party with the advantage is the one who has the right to suggest conditions. The disadvantaged party just needs to reject any unreasonable requests and protect their own bottom line.
But clearly, the disadvantaged party here doesn’t realise they’re at the disadvantage which is all the more reason we need to discuss this, for the disadvantaged party’s only hope is to reduce their losses via the negotiation. That’s precisely why the disadvantaged party must be as cautious as they possibly can or else there may be no more negotiations.
“I know that you want to return home. But you don’t have a legitimate reason to return home.” I looked at him and continued seriously, “You’re not going to be happy with the consequences you face when you get arrested as a deserter. Plus, not only are you guys deserters, you could even be considered rebels. It’s as simple as the click of a finger to establish your crimes. You’ll all be sent to the guillotine. It’s impossible for Lord Veirya to give you a testimony. The ones you betrayed were Lord Veirya, the brave warriors who fought with their lives and her majesty. There’s no way you’re getting the travel expenses you want either. This territory is Lord Veirya’s to begin with. She only needs to give her majesty money and no one else.”
The man opposite me clearly got hit where it hurt. He slammed his hand on the table hard and then roared at me: “Then what have you come to us to talk about?! You’re sending us to the guillotine right now! We’re doomed either way. Are you here just to ridicule us?!”
That’s a mistake you are never to make.
You must remain calm at all times. When you get worked up, your thinking won’t be optimal. In this sort of situation, you’re basically all ready to be killed whenever the other party pleases, just like the man before me.
I looked at him and calmly responded: “What we’re discussing here is how let you all return home in peace instead of being killed by Lord Veirya or getting sent to the guillotine. And we need to guarantee the safety of the townsfolk. Let me put it this way. Lord Veirya frankly really wants to kill you to deter others. If I didn’t think that it wasn’t a good decision since you two were forced, and I wasn’t considering the safety of the townsfolk, you’d all be dead already. Now, what other requests do you have?”
The man in front of me pressed his hands firmly on the table. His small eyes looked like they were going to pop out of his head. After a moment, he panted heavily. He sat in his chair with anger all over his face but he spoke to me in an unaccepting manner: “What idea do you have?”
“The question isn’t what idea I have, but how much sincerity you have. You should be glad you didn’t harm the people here. That’s why you still have a chance to make up for your mistakes. How should I put it…? Lord Veirya is a generous person. Take the initiative to go and see Lord Veira then Madam Veirya will be able to make proper arrangements. This is Lord Veirya’s territory after all. So if she doesn’t say anything, I don’t say anything and you don’t say anything, then no one will know. You can follow Lord Veirya’s escort who left which counts as an excuse to leave, right?”
Now it was my turn to stand up this time because I had won.
“You’re all from the same village, right? You came from this village too, right? Be considerate of your younger fellows then. I learnt from the young man outside that he wants to live. The war is over already. Can you face your conscience if your village loses a young man or has another widow because of you?”
This is also a threat which is derived from their internal affairs.
Sometimes your enemies’ words are the sharpest weapon because their internal conflicts can prove what they desire.
That boy just made a casual complaint, but that became my weapon to break down their leader’s last psychological line of defence.
I know what they’re thinking. I rejected their request, but then I gave them a bottom line that could satisfy their conditions.
Deep down, their greatest desire was to leave here alive and not get sent to the guillotine.
That’s the only path they can take.
“I’ve said about all I have to say. Do I need to remind you of what you need to do next?”