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And with that out of the way, here's today's chapter!
"... And finally, I refuse to participate in anything that could bring the Bat or the League's attention to me," I concluded my terms, pausing as I waited for Selina to process my words.
We had been discussing the terms for cooperation for the past hours, and it was mainly me stating things I was willing and unwilling to do. Thievery is a lucrative business, but it could spell the end of me if I stole something from someone powerful enough to track me down and wipe my sorry ass out of existence.
I also refused to steal anything that could harm the League, like kryptonite or any similar weapon, blueprint, or intelligence that could harm the League's members. That would instantly put me on their radar. I didn't want any part in that shit.
There was being greedy, and then there was being stupid, and stupid I was not. Not that stupid anyway. I've already committed my fair share of dumb fuckery.
Selina had good old Bat-daddy to rely on if things went south to bale her out of trouble, but I had no backing to rely on in such cases other than Richard, and that didn't look like his kind of thing.
We also agreed on the distribution of profits from any cooperation we might have in the future, with me getting a thirty percent share of the pure profit since I was a rookie and needed Selina to show me the ropes.
It might sound low, but it was, in fact, fair. Selina would not only have to find a target, but she would also have to scout the target, create a plan, and do most of the heavy lifting while teaching me to do the same.
People like Richard might take potential as payment, but Selina wasn't such a person, and even if she wasn't evil or psychopathic, she was still greedy and desired material gain.
"Do these terms sound agreeable to you, Selina?" I asked, after letting her think for a couple of minutes, smiling as she turned to me with a neutral expression.
"Agreeable enough," Selina replied, nodding her head as she regarded me with a hard-to-read expression on her face. She didn't agree but didn't outright refuse either.
"But?" I questioningly remarked, sensing a but coming. I raised an eyebrow and gave her a blank look. I'm already at my bottom line, and I won't give her any more compromises, so the entire thing might fall apart depending on the words to come out of her mouth next.
"You seem to know a lot about me, too much for that matter," Selina said, frowning as she gave me a pointed look. "And I know next to nothing about you..." she added, giving me a demanding look that grated on my nerves.
"This cooperation plan of yours, how quickly you got over your surprise when you saw me in your apartment..." Selina said, frowning deeper the more she spoke, looking directly into my eyes with a searching gaze, intently studying my expression.
"It all feels rather too convenient..." the brunette remarked, her eyebrows furrowed and expression bemused as I smiled in amusement at what she was hinting. "I can't help but feel you might have been targeting me somehow," Selina concluded, getting to the point. She raised an eyebrow as I let out a chuckle.
"Now that's just ridiculous," I replied, lightly chuckling as I shook my head. Selina's expression grew even more bemused at my words, likely taking offense.
"I meant no disrespect," I said, clearing my throat and shrugging my shoulder, but Selina's expression remained offended and somewhat annoyed. "You stumbled upon me that day by mere chance, and you came to my apartment with your own free will..." I added, gesturing to the side with my right in dismissal.
"The insinuation that I might have plotted such happenings is as ludicrous as it is flattering, so I couldn't help but laugh," I explained, letting out another chuckle as I watched Selina's expression ease up a bit.
"Other than that, I value my privacy highly, and I wouldn't risk exposing myself like that for such a reason as you might be suggesting," I concluded, shaking my head and pausing.
Damn, I was rocking these big words. If only I had a wine glass and a cigar, that would have been the best James Bond movie villain impression.
I immediately switched to a more refined form of speech when we started negotiating seriously to sell that whole mystery aura. I wanted to keep Selina guessing and not realize I was just some random fellow who knows too much since random fellas with too much knowledge tended to disappear one way or the other.
Let me tell you, keeping a straight face while talking like that without cringing was a bitch and a half, and I think I just discovered my talent as an actor. Too bad I had to die and transmigrate to another world before finding out about it. Man, the money I could have made.
"When you put it like that..." Selina said, sighing, and she even had the decency to at least look embarrassed as she uncomfortably and awkwardly shifted in her seat.
'Huh, she kind of looks cute when she's embarrassed...' I mused, quickly shaking off such thoughts, wishing someone would come and bonk the horny out of my hormone-addled brain and teenage body with a wooden club or something.
"In any case, I think the terms are fair to us both," I said, clearing my throat to snap her out of it and change the subject. Luckily, it worked, and she regained her calm as she turned to me, giving me her attention.
"So what do you say? Do we have a deal?" I asked, gesturing towards her with an open palm as I paused and awaited her answer. There was nothing else for me to do other than that, and there was no point in prolonging the conversation.
"I don't see why not..." Selina replied, somewhat hesitant as she nodded. She still seemed to have a good deal of suspicion towards me, which was reasonable and not really bad for me.
The more suspicious she gets, the more she wonders, and the more she wonders, the more her imagination goes wild since there was no reasonable explanation for my knowledge.
Selina would be basically misleading herself into believing I was some dangerous, hidden mastermind. She'll be more reluctant to double-cross me that way, or she might not overthink it and accept the situation, which wasn't a bad outcome for me either.
"However, I need time to set something up and clear my schedule before we can do anything meaningful," she concluded, nodding her head as she stood, indicating the end of the discussion.
"I understand. Please take your time and contact me when you are ready," I replied with a nod of understanding as I got up and slowly made for the door. "But before I leave..." I said as I remembered the USB stick I found in the duffle bag I stole from Black Mask's gang.
I reached toward Selina, making her tense up, mistaking my action for an attack. I smiled disarmingly to defuse the situation as I simultaneously flipped my palm and showed her the USB stick.
"I have reasons to believe this belongs to The Intergang," I added as I pinched the USB stick between my thumb and index finger to show it to Selina.
"It could be anything from a complicated computer virus to advanced weapon blueprints," I explained as I threw it at Selina. She caught it and sent me a confused look.
"I didn't check its contents, but it could be worth something," I remarked, shrugging my shoulder at her inquiring gaze. "You can sell it or pass it along to the Batman... Up to you, really," I concluded as I reached to open the door.
"Why are you giving it to me?" Selina asked, raising an eyebrow in genuine curiosity, causing me to pause with my hand on the door's handle as I turned to her.
"I don't have the time to find a buyer or figure out how to use it, so it's useless to me," I replied matter-of-factly, giving her the truth, to which she hesitated for a second before nodding and accepting it.
"I'll be seeing you then," I concluded as I opened the door and walked out of the room.
"You can count on it," Selina replied, resuming her easy-going, almost lazy tone as she watched me leave and close the door behind me.
'Huh... that went a lot better than I thought it would...' I mused as I exited the nightclub, sighing as I turned to the bodyguard, remembering my promise to leave him a generous tip.
"Keep up the good work, pal," I said as I reached into my pocket, taking ten $100 bills out of my inventory and stuffing them in the buff bouncer's jacket pocket before leaving.
It goes without saying that I was intensely reluctant to leave such a big tip, but it's an investment and a last show of goodwill to Selina, so I had to push down my reluctance and do it, anyway.
'It's getting late... I should head home before the crazies come of their hidey holes...' I sighed as I took out my phone to see the time and made for home, postponing my idea to go on a pick-pocketing spree to another day.
'Maybe a wallet or two on the way wouldn't hurt...'
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