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‘Looks like Father already knew about it long ago…’ Leylin immediately arrived at his own conclusion after listening to the baron’s words. Had he not promptly made the decision to send Isabel away, the baron would perhaps have dealt with her upon his return.
After that, terrible rumours might have spread, and his cousin might even have ‘died of illness’. After all, the churches in this world did not even slightly tolerate the followers of devils and demons, and even their friends and family would be implicated.
With a tacit mutual understanding, the father and son went to the banquet, as if they had completely forgotten about Isabel.
The banquet was bustling with noise and excitement. Xuno, that wandering bard who had been seen at the port lately, had come to perform. His voice was as sweet as a skylark’s, and the few short poems he recited earned cheers from the whole hall.
However, when it was over, Leylin saw that Xuno was invited to his father’s study room. It seemed like the Baron had not invited him purely for the performance.
However, that meant nothing to Leylin. He was planning to move out after the banquet, giving the pirates their orders and settling matters regarding the trade.
Of course, he had to ease the tension in his family’s relationship with Viscount Tim, handing over the prisoner and signing an agreement.
*Thump!* A crisp slap landed on a young man’s face, making his fair skin swell into a bruise.
“Gods, how could I have gotten such a stupid child like you!”
A furious middle-aged man dressed in exquisite noble attire stood in front of the youth. Complex designs were sewn in with golden thread on the fringe of his clothing, fully in the elven style. Exotic rings laden with precious gems lined all ten of his fingers in varying colours, and a few of them emitted powerful magical light.
This was the person controlling the Baltic archipelago, the younger blood brother of the Dambrath King. It was Marquis Louis.
The king obviously was not stingy when it came to titles, bestowing a dukedom upon him, but Louis evidently thirsted for power. Hereditary land was something even the children of the King might not be able to obtain.
Marquis Louis was very satisfied with the kingdom’s offshore development and the growing trade profits. The only thing that made him frown was that in this vast open sea, there was some land that belonged to small noble families, as well as a bunch of disobedient and barbaric pirates that were a thorn in his side. Hence, when his useless son begged for some territory, Marquis Louis had agreed.
However, looking at Viscount Tim in front of him now, he couldn’t help but feel resent for failing to meet his expectations. “You’re a disgrace! You do things without following any kind of rules. Not only do you try to assassinate someone on the continent, you can’t even take care of the sea! You even lost the Black Tigers…”
At this point, Marquis Louis felt a little sorry. While the deaths of those filthy despicable pirates didn’t faze him regardless of numbers, a rank 10 fighter like Steve was still a capable underling. On top of that, his own group of bandit assassins had been lost.
“Also!” Marquis Louis’ chest kept heaving up and down as he flung a letter at Tim’s face. “Look. This came specially for us from Griffith. Not only did you gain no advantages at all, you even pushed the Faulen Family towards those hicks!”
Tim let the letter smack on his face, feeling the unceasing stinging pain that caused his eyes to be filled with fiery fury.
Viscount Tim looked extremely similar to Marquis Louis, though he was much younger and had a pair of long and narrow eyes. He was now bowing respectfully, “Father, please give me another chance! As long as you assign Boruj to me, I can definitely…”
“Scram!” What answered him was only a hysterical yell from the Marquis.
The door slammed shut, and Tim gently caressed his swollen face. The stinging pain doubled the fury in his heart.
The surrounding maids and the like naturally did not dare provoke Tim, who was in this state. All of them fervently wanted to be ostriches so they could bury their heads in the carpet. However, another noble youth strolled in with a mocking expression.
“Haha… my beloved little brother, you seem to have met with some trouble!”
“Big brother!” Tim clutched his face, feeling dazed and awkward when looking at the new arrival. This was the marquis’ first son, born of his primary wife. Hee would one day take over the Baltic archipelago. Given that his mother was a noble as well, his status was much higher than that of Tim, who could only rely on the whims of the marquis.
“Oh my, are you injured? Quick, get a priest!” The young man shouted at the servant behind him, as if he was an elder brother caring for his younger brother. However, Tim could see the mockery deep inside his eyes…
“Damn it. Damn it!” Only when he’d walked out of the mansion did Tim’s expression darken. “I’ll never let the people who’ve humiliated me off. I swear on it!”
“And then there’s the Faulen Island, and that little noble called Leylin. I’ll definitely force you all to hell and have you repent there!” Tim’s expression was sinister, like a savage beast that was letting out howls of pain.
Leylin naturally knew nothing of this, but he could somewhat guess what was happening. However, his attention was now focused on other matters.
The place that Leylin had chosen to hide away in was at the other end of the Faulen Island. Since they hadn’t occupied this place for a long while, they didn’t have as many farmers and slaves as they’d need to occupy the whole island. Leylin chose this area because there were few people, and also because he favoured the low-lying shoal nearby. Such a level terrain was very rare on the Faulen Island, and enough for Leylin to do a great many things.
Up till now, Leylin had only built a few wooden plank houses nearby, as if preparing to go into training. He was kept updated on his family through Jacob.
“The prisoner was handed over, but Tim refused to sign an agreement?” Leylin stared at the coastline in the distance, his eyes flashing.
“Yes, young master!” Jacob stood behind Leylin, looking humble and respectful. After the few battles before, he was completely subservient to Leylin, and his loyalty could even be comprable to Baron Jonas’.
Staring at the blue surface of the sea for a long while, Leylin suddenly laughed and spoke slowly, “Seems like he’s unreconciled to this.”
“That’s for sure. However, he hinted that there would be no attacks against our family for now. The Baron has also agreed.”
“It’s just temporary peace. His plans were disrupted, so he needs to reorganise everything. We need to amass some strength here.” Leylin could already tell what this was. It was no peace, just a temporary armistice. Once they reorganised, they would definitely attack the family once again.
Of course, Leylin did not mind this, what he needed right now was time.
“How’s the preparations on the slaves we need, the coarse sugar and the fishing boats?” Leylin enquired. This was the preparation for the sugar and fish floss trade that he had brought up with the baron earlier.
“I’ve already found a merchant in the port, and he’s willing to give us a channel for the slaves and sugar. As for the fishermen and fishing boats, an announcement has been pasted on the territory; commoners who come willingly will get a discount from taxes…” Jacob reported deferentially.
“Good. Don’t worry about the finances. Steve’s little treasury should somewhat be enough for the initial investment. Father has already to let me use everything…” Before handing the slave over, Leylin had naturally squeezed out all the value that Steve had left and obtained his precious wealth.
He’d also learned of the locations that had treasured buried in them. Pirates usually used gold which was a stable currency, and the habit of hiding it on barren islands.
It all added up to around a thousand gold coins, which was enough early money. There would be more money required near the end, but Leylin had already prepared Isabel and the pirates for that.
“Slave trade? I’ll need slaves that are proficient at carpentry and masonry. I don’t mind if they’re pricy…” The Dambrath Kingdom was expanding into the seas, and numerous barren archipelagos were found.
There were many natives, tropical forests, minerals, primordial creatures on the islands. Of course, there were also many diseases and death. As the commoners of the continent rarely agreed to follow their master and find new land, slaves were essential if one wanted to completely develop an island.
Marquis Louis of the Baltic archipelago was the one with the most profits from the trade. He had a tremendous supply chain that had deals with pirates and its own slave hunting outfit.
Untrained slaves were naturally the lowest class, and could only be used in wrestling rings or as sacrifices to gods. Once they were tamed, natives would be worth twice as much, and if they could plow land or had skills with carpentry and masonry, the price would keep going up.
However, they were still the lowest of the low. High-grade slaves were actually Professionals, or gorgeous women who had gone through special training. Every one of them could be sold in the continent for an astronomical price!
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