The kid didn't need to be told twice, grabbing his notebook as he got up and followed the Prince of Iron. Whether or not Okane knew it, this particular volume was dedicated entirely to him. Some people might have found distaste in his predisposition towards prioritizing the words and deeds of important people, but the simple fact of the matter was that not only did important people tend to say and do more, but there words also had effects that rippled across nations and eras. Of course, that didn't mean he left out the lesser people entirely, since he was aware of the "butterfly effect" and how seemingly insignificant things sometimes would rise up to contend with their betters in shaping the course of history. But there were a lot of butterflies and he was only one guy.
Ashitaka inspected the arch as went through it, adding it to the extensive character profile he was creating on the man. Of course, every particular sort of item went into its own section with notes referencing other sections as applied. A sketch of the arch was added on the next page after the gazebo. He was still listening though, and responded as the man finished speaking.
"No offense Sir, but I'd rather not surprise you if I can avoid it. In my experience, surprises tend to be... not favorably received." He took a moment to try to assess what Okane meant about his advantage during their negotiation of Ashitaka's contract. "I'm not sure that I can be a fair example of the advantage you held with this position. After all, I came here with little confidence in what I had to offer, and you doubtless had no shortage of it when it came to yours. But if I had to guess, do you mean that the palace will further illustrate that you have much to offer and little to gain in any exchange, even in the face of people having to board this flying island of yours to even talk with you?"
He didn't know what further advantages Okane felt he needed at this point, since he seemed to be trading on the level of nations, and they were falling apart at the seams. It was the biggest motivating factor for his pursuit of employment here anyway. The countries, both greater and lesser, were tempestuous. They bickered and fought among themselves, squandering lives and resources for prizes they could only hold for brief moments out of their long histories. Entire clans were taken in, torn apart, or thrown out over singular instances with no particular pattern for the observant to follow. As it happened, Ashitaka was as much a student of history as his sensei was. But he was by no means a fan of it. All he saw as he looked over the march of humanity against one another over the ages was a madness that stemmed from their trying to deny their own animal natures while deep in the throes of it. "Still, it never occurred to me that the title of 'Prince' could hold that kind of clout. To be perfectly honest, I don't even know what value it has, despite ostensibly bearing it myself. It appears to have garnered me little more respect than I can already muster through my own efforts in my village. Though perhaps that is an issue of being born from the wrong clan."
He paused and listened to the man. More offers were showered upon him, but now that the mask had slipped, even Ashitaka was able to catch on. None of this would be given freely, of course, and everything he accepted only incurred a greater debt than his initial contract had already applied. But the boy also knew that you didn't get the kind of support you needed to build an island in the sky and the open gates of every major nation paired with a mutual neutrality agreement with the sort of short-sighted greed that compelled everyone's contempt for the Market General.
"I'll have to get back to you on the actual location of my intended store, Okane-sensei. If I were to build one here, I'm afraid I'll drown before I learn to swim. But Konoha is... kind of in flux, as per usual. As to the armor crafting, I think I might hold off on that trade for now. There's only so much time in the day, and I still have to use it for the things I already know how to do. I do intend to do some actual ninja work for you, and meet some of your other employees while I'm here. I mean, I've heard that it's good to have friends in high places, and in low ones. I think at the end of the day though, it's just good to have friends, and I mean to make as many as I can!"
With that, he stepped forward and made a few hand seals, forming a gate to the palace reminiscent of one appropriate for a shinto shrine. In front of one leg of this gate, a statue rose out of the ground on a pedestal roughly a meter tall. The statue was a magnificent specimen of a stag, roughly 2.5 meters tall at the shoulder with antlers that reached for a full meter each from their bases to their furthest tips. Notably, these antlers had the exact same layout and arrangement of points as the one in the logo he was given to work with. The beast was given lifelike colors, stood with perfect dominant posture for such animals and stared imperiously down at any and all who approached the gate.