With the Faulen Family's prestige and reputation in the island, it wasn't difficult to cobble up a patrol. However, on the field where grain was drying, Leylin frowned at the sight of his subordinates.
"Getting fifty from the port and another thirty from the manor... Is this our limit?" A sparse crowd stood at the field, awaiting Leylin's inspection. While they had done all they could to rub their leather armour and weapons till they were sparkling clean and tried their best to stick their chests out, Leylin still felt they looked like nothing but a bunch of rowdy people.
'It's alright if you get them to patrol and maintain order, but once you bring them to a bloody battlefield...' Leylin shook his head inwardly, though the expression on his face showed excitement.
"Residents of the Faulen Island! There are a group of horrible, evil pirates about to reach the coast. They will slaughter your parents, steal your copper and bread, and humiliate your wives and daughters. Those low-lives are capable of anything!" Leylin did his best to sound agitated to stir up the masses.
Was there a need to announce what the pirates would do to them? The troops began to get restless and immediately knew that Leylin spoke the truth. It might even be an understatement.
"Well then... tell me! Are you willing to let this happen?" Leylin's sharp voice resounded in the field.
"No!" "No!" Though many of them were mercenaries who only worked when money was involved, most of them were farmers who had enlisted. Their families were here, and even the mercenaries had settled down here. At the very least, when it came to protecting one's family and wealth, these people were rather enthusiastic and hot-blooded.
Hence after being provoked, all of them were flush with anger as they roared with all the strength they had.
"Good! As the master of this territory, I call on you to pick up your weapons and prepare to fight bravely to protect your home!" Leylin spoke so loudly that his voice could be heard from every corner of the field.
In such a feverish atmosphere, there could be one or two who remained timid or rational, but they would soon be drowned out by the crowd, dragged along with the flow.
"Our Faulen Family will not treat any of you unfairly!" Leylin clapped his hands, and two bodyguards went up on stage with numerous boxes.
The large copper locks were opened, revealing brand new armour within. There was even some chainmail that was made of metal rings. Not only did this metal armour provide a greater defence than leather armour, it was more flexible to boot. It was practical, but there were high requirements on its forging so these items had no market.
Beside the armour were even greater quantities of shining weapons. Vorpal swords, curved blades, hammers, lances... there was anything one could need.
On top of that, these weapons were in good shape and they had a layer of oil on the surface. There were no signs of rust or corrosion, and they radiated a lustre from their sharp edges.
"All those who take part in this operation can choose a weapon of their own! Vice captains and those ranked above can all choose a set of armour!" Leylin's scanned the crowd. Evidently, these excellent weapons were attractive to the point that people would risk their lives for them. Leylin found a few fellows whose eyes were shining.
'Of course...' For this reason, he raised his voice intentionally, "If you can contribute in this battle, there is no reason why we can't reward you with these weapons and armour!"
With this promise, there was a huge uproar in the crowd below. In this age, metallic weapons and armour had a very high value and could even be said to be treasures passed down generations of knights. Many of them didn't dare to believe Leylin's promise.
"There's no need to doubt me, I vow in the name of the Faulen Family!" Leylin looked especially solemn, making this guarantee with his name as a noble. Though this meant nothing to him, with the values of the World of Gods the promise of a noble still held quite some value.
Hence, many soldiers could not help but begin to cheer.
Leylin cleared his throat and urged for the last time, "In addition... If there are injuries or even deaths in battle, I will offer compensation. If you die in battle, your rewards will be given to your family!"
"Faulen!" "Faulen!" The soldiers below began to cheer in their excitement. Injuries and death were the worst fates for veterans in a feudal age. Leylin was even willing to compensate them for it, which was something even churches didn't do!
'This should be able to somewhat boost their morale, right? Though... it's just this once!' Leylin stared at the soldiers whose moral was at the peak while laughing bitterly inside.
With his actions, he would suffer losses even if they won the battle. It was the entire reason why lords seldom did things like this. Those weapons and armour alone were the accumulations of the Faulen Family over the year, and a large part of the family's wealth.
However, this was a special circumstance, and Leylin had no choice but to do this. After all, if the Faulen Family were to cease existing, these items would be useless.
The soldiers outside began preparations for battle, while a small meeting was being held in the manor.
"We'll leave the manor to you, Uncle Leon," Leylin spoke to the housekeeper on his right, "I've already sent down the order that you'll be in charge of everything in the manor."
"I will definitely protect everything for you!" Leon's placed his right hand on his chest as he promised.
Leylin nodded, feeling assured. His mother, Claire, and Clara had all been sent to the church of knowledge at the port in secret.
With how shrewd Bishop Tapris was, it would probably be the best place for them on the island if he and his father met danger.
Based on what Mahnke said, the assassins he had captured were the only ones that the enemy had sent, but Leylin considered the fact that Viscount Tim might be driven to desperation.
After Leon left, only Isabel, Jacob and a few leaders with professions remained. They were the strongest, and Leylin had nothing to hide from them.
"Based on the information I've received, there are over a hundred people amongst the pirates, and the leader is a rank 10 Professional!" At this point, Leylin looked grim, and everyone except Isabel gasped.
"A hundred men, and a rank 10 Professional? This kind of strength isn't second to the power of a famous pirate crew! Why would they come here?" Jacob gasped.
In reality, the truly strong would not do something as beneath themselves and dangerous as become pirates. With their strength and reputation, they could become public security officers in any large city, and could even become nobles.
It was illogical for someone like them to attack the Faulen Family.
Leylin nodded as he sneered. "Hehe... This is a famous pirate group. Have you heard of the Black Tiger?"
"Black Tiger Pirates?" The shock in Jacob's eyes grew even more profound, "They... they operate in the seas of the Baltic archipelago, and they shouldn't have any grudges against our Faulen Family..."
"Sometimes, there needn't be grudges to start a fight for benefits. What aren't those greedy pigs capable of?" Isabel stood out, unsheathing the black longsword in her hands.
*Swish!* A flash of black light passed, splintering the table in front of them and splitting it apart.
"Or... are you scared?" There was a murderous glint in Isabel's eyes, as if she would kill if anyone dared say no.
"Ah, I forgot to tell all of you. My cousin is a rank 9 and will act with us!" Leylin cleared his throat.
'This strength... It's clearly above rank 5. I just don't know if she's a warrior or knight-errant...' Though Isabel looked like a little girl, these team leaders here did not dare belittle her. A rank 9 was enough to crush them.
Jacob nodded, a hint of glee flashing in his eyes.Since she was a rank 9, with a young master who was a wizard, taking care of a rank 10 was not entirely impossible.
If Jacob could see that, the old foxes were obviously aware of that too. Hence, they immediately knelt on one knee to express their loyalty to Leylin, "We are willing to be young master's blades and obey all your instructions!"
'These people...' Leylin shook his head instead, feeling a little fed up with the situation. However, he had no choice but to continue pretending.
"Good, we leave now! We have to strive to catch them off their guard!" With a traitor like Mahnke, Leylin knew the strength of the Black Tiger pirates and what they could be hiding like the back of his hand.
"It's too foolish to wait for them to reach the coast. I don't want the battles to affect this territory..." Leylin looked around, spreading out a yellowed map. It showed the detailed topology of the area surrounding Faulen Island, and even contained information about the ocean currents and wind directions.
Just this map alone had a value of over ten gold coins, and it was something the Faulen Family had gained over decades of hardship and exploration. It definitely was not to be sold outside.
"The Black Tiger pirates are now here." Leylin tapped at the map. This was an uninhabited island not far from the Faulan Island, and there wasn't any shipping route nearby. Even with their opponents on alert, it was still possible to hide for a period of time.