Chapter 198: Negotiations

Ten Red Ants, will that really be enough? Frankly speaking, I can’t really estimate how much my level will go up by.

I won’t be able to catch up with the hero. Backing down is an option, but…… If I can’t catch up with the hero by defeating those ten Red Ants, I’ll be at a considerable disadvantage.

Should I forcibly restart the negotiations? The other party must want to avoid death after all. They threatened to commit suicide, but if they are cornered to that extent, it might be just a matter of obstinacy whether they go through with it. Well, but……

[Can you not accept this condition after all?]

I don’t understand the mentality of my negotiation partner. Is it a bluff, or is it their last resort? I did not expect to lose to the Red Ants in negotiations.

Hey, Ball Rabbit! Can’t you read my opponent’s intentions with [[Telepathy]]? Like, how serious are they with the the threat of suicide……

[Think maybe it used to…… can control self, don’t open think.]

……Well, the Queen Ant’s [[Telepathy]] skill level is higher. Then might it be possible that our side’s information has been one-sidedly revealed? According to the previous explanation, it sensed our intent to this extent…… I suppose if the skill level is that high, then the gap widens. If this drags on, wouldn’t that be disadvantageous for me?

What should I do? Should I probe the situation from a different angle while changing my approach? But will that work against this one? Would this superficial tactic not fall apart if it were to be discovered by the mind reading ability of [[Telepathy]]? Even if it is so, I really don’t know as to what extent [[Telepathy]] can do so……

I need some kind of alternative……

[……You wanted experience points, but I cannot grant you any more Red Ants than this…… But it’s not as if there aren’t any other alternatives.]

Noticing that I’m troubled, it makes a new proposal.

[It is a bit further away, but there exists another swarm of Red Ants. How would it be if I were to tell you its location?]

Having me overlook their hive by selling out another one, is that it…… ? A frontal assault on a hive of perfectly healthy Red Ants is a bit too risky. There’s also the chance of that being a lie. If I were to head out and search for the Red Ant hive, it would not be strange if you were to flee from the nest during that time.

Also, It’s doubtful whether Ball Rabbit’s lie detection ability could take on this one based on their skill levels. It might be an attractive proposal, but the risk is too high.

[Hmm…… Then I will lend you my soldiers. Save for my escort of five Ants, they shall join you.]

Is that alright? But you mentioned only ten earlier……

[It is not like it is a certainty that they will die. Besides, there is territory at stake. To that degree, a compromise is possible.]

The Queen Ant appears to be slightly vexed. This really seemed to be its last resort.

We’ve been deep in talk until now, and there’s something bitter about being declined while being forced to compromise. I probably can’t expect the terms to become any more favourable than this. If this drags out, I’ll be probed by the mind reading capabilities of [[Telepathy]]. It’s possible that my weakness would be further laid bare.

Then is this the point of compromise? I’ll still be treading on a dangerous path, but I’ll also have the Red Ants backing me up.

[There is little time. Now, let us leave this place. I will immediately send my soldiers to the surface.]

Before that, bring the injured Red Ants before me. It must be a lot of effort to have them leave the Nest. I’ll have them recover completely with my recovery magic.

[……Oh, understood.]

After entering the depths of the nest, the Queen Ant returns with about twenty Ants that are on the verge of dying. It seemed that there were some wounds from when the passage caved in that can’t be healed. If it were just Red Ants with miscellaneous injuries, then there seemed to be more than 40 in total.

The Red Ants approached me cautiously. I glanced over at my partner.


No, why do you seem like something was about to happen? Only you can use restoration magic.

After I pointed forward, the situation seemed to dawn on my partner.

……As expected, you aren’t that bright, are you? Who do you take after? M-me? That can’t be right?

“Ghaa! Ghaa!”

My partner casts [[High Rest]] in quick succession. I don’t know if they can be fully recovered just by using this, but looking at them now, the Red Ants are a valuable military force. I want to take them with me in perfect condition.

“Kucha?” “Kucha, Kuchaa!”

[Level of Normal Skill [[High Rest]] has increased from Lv3 to 4.]

By using restoration magic in rapid succession, its skill level increased. I don’t know how long the march to the other hive will actually take, so let’s head there at once.

It feels very mean to not properly apologize, but I’m sorry, Queen Ant.

[I just do the utmost to secure the survival of the hive.]

I turned my back towards the Ant Queen and started walking. A swarm of Red Ants followed after me.

When calmly reflecting upon the situation, haven’t I found myself being threatened during negotiations, as well as having been put in the awkward situation of my objective being thoroughly changed?

Have I been had by any chance? Right from the beginning, wasn’t it the insistence on granting me no more than ten Red Ants that forced through this plan and put me at a loss? It’s a negotiation theory of initially wanting to go through with something unreasonable and then presenting an alternative that is less objectionable than the previous one.

When I think about it, the decisiveness of the subsequent plan was oddly beneficial to me. The fact that the Queen Ant who said that she could give me no more than ten Red Ants is now easily assigning a large quantity of Red Ants to me also fills me with a sense of discomfort. What if the fact that the Queen wanted to have most of the ants remain was originally meant as a preparation in order to fight another Red Ant hive?
Then there was no reason to reduce the number of Red Ants assigned to me……

It’s beyond imagination, but if you think about it this way, there are many fitting aspects. Lastly, the meaning of arguing back and forth with the Queen Ant would also change depending on one’s true motive.

I have been slightly outwitted. Even though the ants the Queen Ant wanted to have remain in the Hive were military forces for the purpose of fighting against another Red Ant hive, there might have been no choice but to break it off had it been any other agreement…… Not being outwitted by an opponent carrying the [[Telepathy]] skill sounds nice. Ball Rabbit must raise the level of this skill.

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