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The moment he got off the ship, Leylin saw someone unexpected. The housekeeper of the manor, Leon, had come before him. It was evident that he had been waiting for a long time, and there were even water droplets on his clothes formed from the mist. “Young master, young master! The master is back, and he’s said that you are to notify him once you’re on shore!”
“Father has returned? Good, I’ll see him right away. Take care of the things here, as well as the spoils of war and the captives…” Compared to sneaking around during the last attack, Leylin was now strutting about boldly. He was even hoping to intimidate those who were harbouring unlawful thoughts with this victory.
However, the only ship entering the harbour was Leylin’s own warship. The Black Tiger itself had disappeared with his cousin Isabel, accompanied by a portion of the pirates.
Only a few unlucky pirates were here besides the few spoils of war. Of course, there was also the ex-captain, Steve.
“Understood, young master!” Leon bowed low. Just the injuries from the soldiers behind Leylin alone made it clear that this battle had been very intense.
“Mm. Jacob, get Steve. Let us be off!” Leylin got on the carriage by himself, followed by Jacob with their prisoner. Steve had a black sack over his head, as Leylin did not trust such a high-ranking captive to his subordinates. If he did, there was a chance of something going wrong.
“Father…” The moment the carriage got to the manor, Leylin saw his current parents, Baron Jonas and Lady Sarah. They stood in wait at the door of the manor, eyes full of worry.
Leylin immediately got off the carriage and was pulled into Mistress Sarah’s arms, “Oh, my poor child…” It was obvious that even though she somewhat had an idea of what Leylin had done, Mistress Sarah was still worried.
“It’s good that you’re alright!” Baron Jonas maintained his poise as a noble, though there was a hint of joy in his eyes.
Leylin looked past his father, and then at his mentor Ernest. The wizard gave him an encouraging look of approval, and dragged his wizard robe closer around himself, hiding with the crowd. Wizards weren’t that good at expressing themselves.
At this moment, Leylin saw numerous elite troops behind Baron Jonas, all wearing armour. Their cold gazes made him feel a sense of danger.
“Rank 5 warriors! And there are so many at that. Father, where did you get them from?” Leylin could see respect in the eyes of the fighters, especially from their leader, but there wasn’t the reliance and concern that their own men had. These troops were evidently reinforcements from an external source.
However, this was a trivial matter.
“Child, don’t get so reckless in the future. It’s unbecoming of a noble to rashly lead troops alone…” Jonas admonished Leylin. If his only successor were to die in this battle, he would not be able to handle it.
“By the way, Father, please allow me to show off my spoils as well as the captives…” Leylin clapped his hands, and Jacob himself brought Steve up.
Though his limbs had already been cut off, and he was basically a cripple without the help of high-level divine spells, he still needed to be watched.
“Oh?” Baron Jonas’ eyebrows lifted, not reacting at all to the captives and junk blades that Leylin showed.
In his opinion, Leylin had merely eliminated a small wave of pirates, maybe less than 20 in total. They were probably fishermen who had lost to their desire for wealth, which was why he didn’t pay much attention to them.
But then Leylin lifted the black sack over Steve’s head, exposing the malicious face to the daylight. Due to the blood loss, his face had paled, which did nothing to reduce the fear caused from looking at his face. Even Mistress Sarah shrieked, taking a few steps back in her shock and disgust.
“Leylin, you frightened your mother. You shouldn’t dirty the eyes of a noblewoman with such a lowly captive…” Baron Jonas had been born as a noble of a military family, and he did not feel uncomfortable when met with this situation. But even his brows furrowed slightly.
Jonas could not understand why Leylin had brought a disgusting captive with sweat, blood and grievous wounds in front of him. What he did not see was that the elite warriors behind him now had a different look in their eyes.
Although Steve was crippled, the thick calluses on his body and the firm muscles mixed with the powerful aura of a high-ranked fighter that had yet to dissipate. They had an inkling about what this was.
“This is Steve, leader of the Black Tigers.” Leylin said simply, but that caused Baron Jonas’ eyes to widen.
“Gods!” Baron Jonas no longer cared about the filth on Steve’s body as he approached him, pushing aside the messy hair at his forehead to size him up carefully.
“Indeed it’s him. This is the leader of the Black Tigers, rank 10 fighter Steve! Numerous large chambers of commerce have jointly set up a bounty of 500 gold coins for his capture! One of the bounty postings is even at our port, I couldn’t get it wrong…”
A long while later, the baron sighed and stared at his son with a complicated expression. This child seemed to always surprise him. His expedition might even have resulted in him being killed by assassins had Leylin not requested Ernest to come help out.
Still, he asked with disbelief, “Since Steve is here, where’s the Black Tigers?”
“They’ve been wiped out,” Leylin answered lightly. Jacob and the soldiers behind puffed up their chests in pride, staring hard at the elite warriors behind the Baron.
“Good! Seems like we need to have a serious talk.” Baron Jonas had a complicated expression on his face.
After Leylin came back, laughter and merriness returned to the manor once more. Even the housekeeper Leon, who always looked gloomy, revealed a rare smile as he directed Clara and Claire to prepare the banquet.
During this period of preparation, the baron stayed in his study room, having chased the maids out to leave only Leylin and Ernest behind other than himself.
“The information Leylin provided was very helpful. Even though I had to pay a huge price, I’ll take care of the issues with the church of knowledge…” Baron Jonas’ voice was hoarse and low. Leylin astutely noticed his bloodshot eyes and thebits of white hair near his ears.
It was obvious that being oppressed by a person of high status like Marquis Louis left the baron stressed and vexed. Though they could now act a bit more freely, the trauma from the Marquis’ actions had yet to dissipate.
“It’s only my duty. After all, I’m part of the Faulen Family!” Leylin appeared to be very humble.
This attitude had Baron Jonas nodding inside, “Since we know who our opponent is, things will be easier. Though I met with a few assassination attempts during the trip to the continent, I’m thankfully unharmed. I even got to see Earl Griffith!”
“Earl Griffith, the warlord of that place?” Leylin’s eyes twinkled, immediately remembering him. It seemed that Baron Jonas had paid a price, yielding a share of profits to acquire some support from the regional nobility.
“They’ve dispatched a group of horsemen with numerous rank 5 fighters. The leader is a rank 9, which will be enough to ensure the safety of our manor…” Baron Jonas watched Leylin with a sorry look in his eyes.
He believed that the assassination attempt on his son was because he had taken most of the elites. If not for that, he wouldn’t have been forced to struggle against a terrible group of pirates.
He had tried to leave behind Ernest and Jacob who were both Professionals to protect the port. However, relying on the protection of others was not a long-term solution. Leylin frowned slightly.
Baron Jonas saw all this, and it caused him to nod even more. ‘This child already has enough wisdom to lead our family.’
“Well then, how do you think Steve should be dealt with? After all, he is your prisoner…” Baron Jonas chuckled, wanting to see how Leylin would act.
“Dispatch a messenger to make negotiations and then return him to Marquis Louis. In exchange we can set up a peace treaty. How about that? Our family is quite weak after all…” Leylin did not hold back as he spoke.
“Good!” Baron Jonas was on the verge of applauding his child. He definitely had not been so rational at such an age; he would have complained about his vengeance after the humiliation.
Seeing this ability to give up and maintain a low profile, Baron Jonas would hand the family over to Leylin even if he was useless in other areas.
“Who do you think is the most suitable?”
“Bishop Tapris of the church of knowledge. He’s a friend to both sides, so he would make a suitable messenger.” Leylin emphasised that he was a ‘friend’, and Baron Jonas obviously could tell what Leylin was implying.
He muttered to himself, “He is a good choice…”
With his status as a bishop of the church of knowledge, Tapris was the most suitable mediator. He could even increase the prestige of the god of knowledge this way, so he probably wouldn’t reject them.
After everything was settled, Leylin mumbled, “Father, I still have some things to tell Master Ernest…”
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