Chapter 77- Contract
***July 11th, 965 A.F.***
I nudged Leo with my elbow, signaling him to raise the bid. He immediately raised the bidding paddle. I enlisted Leo’s help using a single barrel of whiskey. I didn’t want to stand out as a kid bidding in the auction house.
I grinned when I heard the bid. The nibble on the bait turned into a big bite. I knew Michel’s number beforehand, so I knew he took the bait when he made the huge bid on the whiskeys. It was time to reel in the fish.
“Bid for 1000 more.”
“Are you sure, boy?”
“Sure as daylight.”
“It’s your money.”
I wasn’t afraid of overbidding and accidentally winning my item. The auction house takes 10% of the winning bid. Even if I win it here, I would only have to pay a couple of small silver coins. It is well within my acceptable loss. I would rather pay a bit more than set a low starting price for my whiskeys.
I was surprised that someone else started throwing in bids as well. Other fish must have smelled the blood in the water and took the bait as well. It was out of my expectation, but it is a welcomed surprise. After that, a flurry of bids happened one after another. Not surprisingly, my target won the bid.
“Going once! Going twice! Sold to number 91 for 12000 Rutes.
One gold coin and two large silvers were the final prices. It was still a bit lower than what I wanted. It's not bad considering I only had a few days to prepare for the advertising. If I had more time to prepare for everything, I could have made my whiskey more well known throughout the Capital before putting it up for auction. I guess I will just have to make the difference somewhere else. Before I knew it, the second batch was up for auction.
***July 11th, 965 A.F.***
“This way please, sir.”
Michel was led to another private room after the auction ended. He managed to secure all three batches of whiskey. Of course, he would have gotten it at a much lower price if it weren’t for the meddling Ajax that kept raising the bid.
“In this room, sir.”
He went into the empty room with nothing but two chairs and a table. At the center of the table lies the control that will be signed by both parties. The room was lit by a couple of windows with a wooden frame. Michel walked towards the window and stared outside at the busy street, as he waits for the other party to arrive.
Finally, after what seems to be an eternity, the door finally opened. Leo walked in with Geordie on his shoulder and Ajax followed behind. Leo let Geordie down before walking towards the table.
“I had a feeling it was you. Shouldn’t you let the children wait outside while we discuss business?”
“HAHAHA, you think you are talking business with me? You’d be wrong lad.”
Ajax sat down at one of two chairs and motioned Michel to take a seat.
“What is this, some kind of a joke?”
“I can promise you that this is not a joke, Mr. Rolland. Leo and Geordie, can you please wait outside? Thank you.”
“Hey! No fair! I want to stay!”
Leo escorted the reluctant Geordie out of the room. After the sound of Geordie’s protest had faded behind the closed door, Ajax took out a single letter and slid it across the table.
“Here, read this.“
“I hope for your sake that this will tell me everything I need.”
“I am waiting.”
Ajax smiled as he watched Michel’s face changes from all shades of emotion as he reads the introduction letter that Ajax received from Trevor, the guild master. After a long silence of staring at the letter, Michel finally spoke up.
“You didn’t forge this letter, did you?”
“Let’s assume that I did. What would that tell you?”
“It would imply that I should take you seriously anyway since you managed to forge this.”
Ajax grinned, silently affirming Michel’s observation and deduction.
“Yes. The barrel’s of whiskeys sent to the party last night using my name. The letter I received this morning. And finally, a contract for whiskeys for a year up for bid at the auction house. I assumed you arranged everything? You are quite talented at making schemes. What would you do if I didn’t come today?”
“Of course, you weren’t the only one that I sent the letter and invite to the auction house. It seems, though, you were the only one that came today. Perhaps, the others were still drunk from last night's party?"
This was a lie, of course. Ajax didn't want to come off as desperate. It would put him at a disadvantage in this negotiation.
"Anyway, my name is Ajax, as you might have read from the letter. Let’s skip the pleasantry and go straight to business shall we, Mr. Rolland?”
Ajax took a scroll from his bag and rolled it across the table. Michel caught the scroll, unrolled it and began reading it. Upon finishing, he showed a frown on his face.
“This isn’t what I expected.”
“Yes, I told you that the price whiskey was a lot lower than I expected. I had to make it up from somewhere else.”
“I was told from the bid that it was the average price of the whiskeys. This is not the average price. Two gold for three barrels was the highest price!”
“It is still the average. You are simply mistaken thinking that I was talking about the average mean of the price. You won the last two bids of the whiskey with two gold. Therefore, I am offering the average mode of the winning bid for the contract.”
Michel’s face twitched as he realized that he was bested by an eight years old at the game of words. He kept silent of his discontent as Michel cannot find a reason to counter Ajax’s logic. It was his fault for bidding the two batches for two gold each. Had he bid for a different amount, Ajax wouldn’t have been able to use this fact against him. Miche did, however, raise a different objection of the contract.
“I have to take care of the transportation cost as well? Everyone includes that cost when they do a quote for their product.”
“The price of both the contract and the whiskey were a lot lower than I expected. I was hoping to sell for a piece of gold per barrel at least. Look, I will be honest. The two gold you pay me for the batch? More than half of that is going towards the mayor of Caedona, and he isn’t doing anything except for lending out his name so that it makes things easier for me. Unfortunately, something happened, and the original contact that he provided is no longer available. That’s why I made the little schemes to rope you in. If I have to take care of the transportation cost, I would be making next to nothing.”
Michel sat in silence as he observed Ajax. Out of all the years, he had business dealings with a lot of different people, but he had never had the experience of having one with a child. Seeing that Michel is a bit confused and lost, Ajax decided to try to give Michel one last push.
“You are getting a monopoly on a new product that is highly sought after for a year. You can set the price of whiskey to whatever you want it to be. You won't lose any money. On top of that, the contract term is short. We can renegotiate after that if you find that the whiskey isn't selling well. It's a win-win for both of us."
After a long silence of consideration, Michel finally spoke up.
"Do you have a pen?"