Port Venus was right up ahead. With the Pirates' Tide and the fall of the Baltic archipelago, the port was now booming. Countless shipping routes were opened up, and the closer one got to the port the more ships they could see.
The port had already expanded several times, and there was no issue with accommodating over a hundred ships now. This had been something Leylin had considered when choosing the location. His choice of a wide deepwater port showed his foresight.
The dock was crowded with people, though there was also a gathering of some who were out of the ordinary. A few people in the front were wearing gorgeous noble attire, and Leylin's excellent eyesight allowed him to vaguely see some familiar faces.
Right in front were Jonas and his wife. Madam Jonas was waving a white handkerchief in his direction, occasionally wiping away her tears.
The moment he got off the boat, Madam Jonas pounced into Leylin's arms before he could even greet her, "Oh... child! My child! How could you be so heartless as to leave us behind for so many years..."
Upon seeing this, Leylin could only nod towards Baron Jonas and begin to console his mother.
"Alright. That's enough, darling! Leylin's return is something to be happy about!" Baron Jonas looked much older now. The hair on his temples was already greying, but he seemed to be in good shape.
The stern decisiveness he had from his time in the military had dulled. What was left was grace, calmness and the steadiness of power.
"Father, I've returned!" Leylin smiled and bowed.
"It's great that you're back!" Baron Jonas nodded, and then led a pair of children who were around five or six years old over.
"These are your brother and sister, Jake and Sherlyn. Come, meet your brother!"
"Brother!" "Brother!" The two pairs of eyes held innocence and fear within them. They were still at an age of ignorance, but still listened to their father and sweetly called out for him.
"Mm." Leylin nodded. Leylin sensed his father's bloodline in these children, but they didn't have his mother's blood.
However, this was common among nobility. Children born of concubines had no status whatsoever, made obvious just from the fact that their mother had not come along.
As children of concubines, the most they could do was enter a god's church or become the housekeeper of another noble family, unless of course Leylin was willing to divide and hand over part of his territory to them.
As they posed no threat to Leylin's status, Madam Jonas was not hostile to them.
"Hello Jake. Hi, Sherlyn!" Leylin now acted like a gentle big brother. While had not known this would happen, he still managed to produce gifts quickly. A beautiful rag doll and intricate moccasins he produced caused the children to cheer.
Leylin had long since prepared a ship full of presents to distribute, and naturally wouldn't mind giving out two more.
"Seeing you being so friendly puts me at ease," Baron Jonas nodded in satisfaction. What Leylin was doing was making his stand clear. At the very least, he would not need to worry about how his children would be brought up after he passed away.
Based on his understanding of Leylin, he definitely knew that when it came to scheming and strength, the pair definitely could not match up to him.
'Now, I can only hope Jake and Sherlyn know to be content with what they have...' Baron Jonas sighed inside.
"Jacob! Leon!" Leylin greeted a few other people, passing them their presents.
"Young Master Leylin!" Jacob and Leon bowed respectfully, looking emotional. They looked to have aged a fair bit, and it was about time they retired.
"It's been hard on you!"
Leylin scanned the area, and then saw the Gold Priest of the Goddess of Wealth, Xena. "And Priest Xena! Long time no see!"
"It's really been a long time!" Xena still maintained her appearance as a young girl. The glory from the gods allowed her to slow her aging, to the point that she would retain her youthful looks even at death. The look in her eyes, however, showed how she had matured.
"I have many things to discuss with you regarding Port Venus and our future cooperation. By the looks of it, I think it'll be better for me to visit you in the future," The priest spoke considerately.
Leylin nodded. There hadn't been change in the management of the church of wealth here, but there was in the two others. There were new bishops for the God of Knowledge, Oghma, and the God of Suffering, Ilmater. They met up with Leylin individually, getting to know him as he did them,
"Come to the wizard tower tonight. I have something to show you!" Ernest was still the same as ever, leaving after throwing him a few words as if he had an important experiment to attend to.
The corner of Leylin's lips quirked slightly. At this point, the wizard tower should have been about finished. He was sure that his master wanted to discuss something related to that.
'When the time comes, I hope my progress doesn't scare him...' After the complicated and disorderly welcome ceremony, Leylin returned to his villa in Port Venus. With the maturation and development of this area, the core of the entire island had shifted to this area, turning the manor into a resort.
"Young master!" "Young master!" Two beautiful maids lay in wait inside the villa, their eyes reddening as they saw Leylin.
"Claire, Clara!" Leylin nodded. The pair seemed to have matured quite a bit, and looked on the verge of tears.
"The decorations in the room haven't changed at all." Leylin placed his hands behind his back and looked around. The arrangement of the furniture, carpets, curtains and the like were the same as when he'd left.
"Madam was afraid that young master would feel uncomfortable after your return, so we maintained the appearance of the room." Claire spoke softly. She had now grown into a strong woman.
Leylin sighed inside. At this age, most maids in the manor would probably have gotten married. The fact they were still here definitely had something to do with him. Before he said a word about this, even the father of these two beautiful sisters, the old housekeeper Leon, would not dare make any decisions.
Sometimes, a mere idea by someone with power could cause a huge change in the lives of the people below. However, Leylin had no other thoughts about this. What was past was past. At the most, he could just give them some more compensation.
"Boil some water, I'm going to take a bath before bed. I've had enough of life on the sea!" Leylin ordered, and the sisters quickly did as he said well.
Leylin didn't have much time left after a brief rest. Far too many things had piled up when he was gone.
First was the wine banquet at night to welcome his return, and it also included interaction with a few other powers. He had to go attend. After that, Leylin went to Baron Jonas' study room.
The baron's study room was much larger than before. There was a faint aroma from the dark red Semen Hoveniae, and it was illuminated with magic lights. The conditions were much better than before.
Baron Jonas sat at the desk and watched his son, "You did well, my child. You are my pride!
"It's a pity about the north. We've no choice but to let go of the Violet Territory, but the title of the Violet Baron can be passed to your other heirs..." Leylin had mentioned his title in the north to the baron before.
His Violet Territory was in the hands of either orcs or werecreatures, having become a part of the orc empire. It was impractical to expect to reclaim it. However, what Baron Jonas prioritised was the title of Baron that could be passed on through generations. This was much better than the titles of the nobles in the court, and could also be passed down through generations.
Leylin had lost his territory through the chaos of war, but his title had not been robbed from him. A loss of territory was an unspeakable humiliation for many nobles, but they still retained their titles. Already passing the threshold of status, they could climb up the ranks much more easily elsewhere.
Even with the loss of the land in the north, it wasn't difficult to gain it in Dambrath. There were still many deserted islands in the outer seas, and with some work Leylin's hereditary barony could well be transferred to Dambrath. In that case, the Faulen family would have two baronies to pass on, so in a sense their strength would double.
Perhaps the baron viewed the ability to pass down land as something worthy of being happy over.
"With our family's current strength and trade relations, it won't be difficult to influence the king. You're also a noble, and as long as your land is in the outer seas and doesn't affect the interests of the other nobles in the continent, there shouldn't be many going against you..." Baron Jonas spoke confidently.
Even now, his eyes were still trained on land of the nobles, as well as the profits from trade.
Leylin listened on, declining to answer. His only target was immortality, but different people had various paths and ideas. He would not force anything on the baron.
"How about Marquis Tim? Has he made any trouble for us?"
"Him... After coming back from the capital, he's become more honest... I actually called you back for other matters," Baron Jonas turned serious at this point.
"What is it?" The letter had only said that some issues had come up, so Leylin had no idea what this was about.
"Traces of devils and demons are becoming more common in the outer seas. Cyric's church is rising, and the Barbarians have returned and are expanding..." Baron Jonas spoke unenthusiastically.