Ch 6: Investments

Conor arrived to find Pops counting out the till from last night. 

“Ah, umm, Conor. You are Mr. Cochan’s son-in-law, so I … I think I can trust you to be honest with this. Right?” He said hesitantly, handing Conor a bank bag with several thousand copper bills with the dragon emblem on it.

“Take these to the bank, and deposit them for me.” As if he has finally decided, Pops added, “And I warn you, Conor! Don’t get lost on the way! Mr. Cochan will have the city guard after you in minutes if he learns you swindled his till money. And I swear to make sure you get a dose of my own brand of punishment if you make me look the fool in front of him!”

“Yes sir.” Conor wasn’t thrilled about the task, but it got him out of the morning prep work. 

The bank held some humiliating memories for him. 

He couldn’t count the number of times he had visited Jinstain Bank and Trust in the past three years, only to be laughed out the doors. His most recent humiliation was his idea for selling socks in the packs of three. The time before, he’d pitched renting goats. 

Conor trudged to the bank and as soon as the tall glass doors came into view, the dread of rejection flowed through his veins. 

He froze, but after taking in a deep breath, he went in. 

However, the greeter who saw Conor stepped forward and blocked him with a wicked smile on his face. “Oh, Mr. Brantley, it’s you again?! Here to pitch us another grand idea?”

Conor glared at the greeter, but he managed to ignore the jab at his pride and pushed his way through to the clerk’s desk. The greeter snorted directly in Conor’s face, but decided not to cause to much of a scene.

When it was Conor’s turn, a friendly teller counted out the money from his till bag while Conor listened to the business happening all around him. He overheard a familiar scene start to unfold at the loan desk behind him.

“Sir, I just need 10,000 copper dragons to get my new camera! My old one just isn’t up to snuff. This idea will take off! I promise!” It was the plea of a desperate entrepreneur.

“Mr. Miros, this bank is not in the habit of loaning to untested businessmen. Perhaps your ‘stock photos’ business might take off, but you don’t even have a camera to offer us any proof you are capable.”

“I showed you my portfolio! With a better camera, I know I can make this work!” the man begged.

Conor suddenly had an odd vision cross his mind as if another being or consciousness was presenting an idea directly into his mind’s eye. The potential business model streamed out before his subconscious and all the ways such a business would indeed work became clear in an instant. 

He snapped himself back to reality, remembering all the failures he had wrought. 

The clerk returned the money pouch and a receipt for the deposit and he turned to leave. However, he saw Mr. Miros sobbing against the wall, photos strewn around him. Conor felt a tug again at his heartstrings and placed a hand on the man’s shoulder.

“I’ve been there, mate. I am sorry,” was all Conor could bring himself to say.

“I just need the 10k copper dragons for better camera equipment. I could get some steller lenses and a great flash. With a solid tripod, I could take photos anywhere.” Mr. Miros sobbed in explanation, holding up a few of the photos to Conor.

“I already managed to sell some of my photos, but the better quality images and variety would be perfect for stock photos for all the ads these companies do. It’s hardly even a half gold dragon that I am asking them for!” 

Conor glanced through them, then reached for more. These were really good! 

Conor was impressed with the detailed images of mountain scenes, city architecture, and local plant life. There were even a few with crowds engaged in everyday life around town in places he recognized.

That strange mental tug came again, as if a phantom was pulling him to take a chance. 

Unconsciously his hand slipped into his pocket, brushing two gold dragon coins with his fingertips. “How would such an investment work and what kind of terms are you looking for?” Conor asked.

The man looked up with sudden hope, but then took in Conor’s black apron, his greasy-looking uniform, and the Grizlhut logo. 

The man deflated but told Conor anyway, “I was preparing to offer 30% interest in my business. The start-up money would buy the equipment, and perhaps if I had been able to get a full dragon from the bank, I could offer 50% of the business, and the funds would fund the website for at least two years. It would have been enough.”

Conor thought fiercely before saying, “would you be willing to make that official?”

Mr. Miros looked up sharply. “Are… are you for real?”

Conor withdrew a single gold dragon coin and held it before Miros. “51% for one gold dragon. This should get you that good camera and equipment and enough to get your business off the ground right?”

“Yes, yes of course!” shouted Mr. Miros, drawing the attention of several staff and patrons. Conor quickly tucked his coin out of sight, not wanting to draw attention to them.

When the loan officer saw the two men walk over, he frowned with disgust. “I already gave you the bank’s answer”, and then he pointed towards Conor, a look of scorn crossing his face, “and this man as a business partner certainly doesn’t help your credibility.”

“Umm, right. Well, actually I just want you to work up the business agreement between myself and Mr…” Miros turned to Conor sheepishly, noticing that he hadn’t asked for Conor’s name before.

“Mr. Brantley,” Conor supplied.

“Right, well, Mr. Brantley is well known by the bank and doesn’t have assets to assist you,” sneered the loan officer, who looked at Conor as if he thought Conor finally found some sucker to cheat in a business deal. “I wouldnt want the responcibility or the liability of even touch any paperwork with HIS name on it.”

Conor, however, simply pulled one of the gold dragons back out, and flashed it before the loan officer, whose eyes widened in disbelief. In a deep voice almost not his own, Conor smiled mischievously, “You will regret rejecting our business.”

Where had that come from? Conor wondered, reeling at his own courage and audacity. 

He reached back into his pocket and pulled out a card with the name Liam Nuri on it and dialed it on his cellphone.

“Yes, Mr. Brantley, how can I help you?”

Mr. Nuri had his name in his phone? Was he expecting a call?

Conor cleared his throat. “Um, Mr. Nuri, I would like to invest in a business. Would you be able to write up the transfer of the shares?”

“Of course, Mr. Brantley. How much is the investment?”

Conner swallowed. For Mr. Nuri, such an investment that he was asking about was likely pocket money for most of his clients. No, it was likely the loose change they didn’t care to tip into a beggar’s hat on the street. 

“One gold dragon, for 51% ownership.”

Mr. Nuri paused for a moment before saying, “I will get the details together when I meet your new partner. I can be at the bank in 10 minutes if that works for you.”

“If that’s not too much trouble, that would be awesome.” Conor then glanced at his watch, “ Crap, I am supposed to be back at work soon!”

“Not to worry. I can save you some time by driving you to the Grizlhut. In the mean time, I must stress to you Mr. Brantley, do not transfer any funds to anyone until the paperwork is complete and signed. I will be there shortly.”

Conner gulped as the line went dead. Mr. Nuri even knew about the Grizlhut and was still willing to work with him? 

As Conor hung up, Peter Miros looked at him excitedly, “So this is really happening?”

“Mr. Nuri will be here shortly to sort it all out!”The loan officer just stared at them both dumbly.

“Did you say Mr. Nuri? As in “Dreadnaught Law Firm of Bayan?” he asked, almost breathless.

“Umm, yes? Do you know Mr. Nuri?”

“Do I? Do I know Mr. Nuri? Sir, he is a premier lawyer of the Dreadnaught Firm. Dreadnaught is likely the strongest firm in the whole kingdom!”  the loan officer said breathlessly.

 “As for Mr. Nuri, he works directly under the partners as the local lead lawyer and only handles the firm’s top clients! As if he would have a second to spare for someone in my position, let alone someone in yours! Do you seriously expect me to believe you have his personal number and that he knows you in any capacity other than to sue you for every copper dragon? HAHAHA.” The laughter brought tears to the loan officer’s eyes.

Conor’s face heated as a flood of memory of Mr. Nuri’s visit flooded over him. He had known that Dreadnaught Law Firm was a huge firm, but hadn’t realized to what extent or that Mr. Nuri was such a high figure there.

Mr. Miros beamed with excitement. “Don’t worry, Mr. Brantley. I will go with Mr. Nuri and get everything signed. I cannot thank you so much for this opportunity! I will not let you down!” Mr. Miros wrapped him in a tight hug that caught Conor completely off guard.

Just then, Conor heard the greeter at the front door, “Ah, Mr. Nuri! What brings you in today?”

“I am here to address some business. Is Mr. Brantley still here?”

“Brantley? Oh, Ah, serving him paper? About time that wife of his divorced him. He is right over there. Odd that you would be delivering such papers yourself. Figured that one only needed a lackey to deal with him.”

“Mr. Brantley is a VIP client of the Dreadnaught Firm. You would do well to watch your tone and words, especially in my presence. Should I hear such defamatory language directed at my client or his business again, you will be lucky to still have a job here, let alone anywhere in Bayan Province. Do I make myself clear?” 

“Yes, yes, of course, Mr. Nuri. Brantley is right over there sir,” gulped the greeter as he pointed at Conor.

Mr. Nuri strode over purposefully and held out his hand, “Good to see you again, Mr. Brantley. Getting started on investing quickly I see.” 

Conor shook his hand a bit sheepishly, but said, “I would like to invest with Mr. Miros here. But I am also going to be late getting back for my shift. Any chance we can discuss the details on the way back to the shop?”

“Of course. My driver has the car waiting. We can discuss the details in the car, and if he is available I can take Mr. Miros back to the office and get the paperwork written up. I can drop the documents off to you later today. Does that work?” Mr. Nuri asked.

Conor glanced at his watch and cursed inwardly. He had been here for over an hour. Pops would be furious when he returned. 

“I’m late for a shift but yes that should be fine. And, Mr. Nuri, Thank you,” Conor said sincerely. He motioned to Mr. Miros whole startled out of a trance. 

“Oh, right! Yes, I am available! Umm, I am sure I can catch a cab back to get my car later. Lead on!” 

The loan officer stood and held out his hand to Mr. Nuri. “I am so thrilled to meet you in person, Mr. Nuri. If you or your client ever need assistance, I would be happy to help and personally extend our bank’s services.”

“I am sure you are.” Mr. Nuri sneered. “However, if your greeter is any indication of this bank’s feelings toward Mr. Brantley, I doubt he will have any need of your services moving forward.”

“Well, Mr. Nuri, that was before we knew he had Dreadnaught Firm’s support. Your firm and of course, any of your clients, are always welcome here and we pride ourselves on top-notch customer service.” the loans officer preened.

Mr. Nuri scoffed, “I doubt that. You and your employees had best be aware of how they treat people. Some of my top clients may appear no different than a street beggar, yet their daily income is greater than your entire life is worth. Best keep that in mind.”

“Yes, of course, Mr. Nuri! I will remind the staff! If you have any needs, don’t hesitate to ask.”

“I doubt I will have need of you, sir. The next time I see you will likely be on the other side of a defamation hearing. Conor, let’s get you back. My car is waiting outside.”

Conor and Peter Miros followed Mr. Nuri out of the bank as the loan officer tried to chase after them shouting apologies. 

Mr. Nuri sat in the back of his car with Peter and Conor taking notes about the business plans as the driver made his way back to Grizlhut. 

As they pulled into the shop’s parking lot Mr. Nuri said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Brantley. I will take Mr. Miros here back to the office and draw up the final documents. When they are ready, I will personally bring them by later for your signature. Celia guide bless you”

“Thank you again Mr. Nuri for personally taking care of this!” Conor said as he exited. He was still amazed that Mr. Nuri would personally handle such a spur-of-the-moment task for someone like him without even questioning any of it. 

“Not a problem. And if your boss gives you trouble, just let me know. I am sure we can work something out with him.” Mr. Nuri closed the door then and the car slowly drove off.

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