At the time, William had felt that this mission was truly a simple one.
That Mafa Merlin was in such a difficult situation. Not only did he have a debt of 8,000 golds, but he was also still a mere Magic Apprentice. The chance to be able to gain the acknowledgement of the Merlin Family, and furthermore, as a direct child, was like reaching heaven in a single step, something that would only happen in dreams.
William Merlin felt that the task was too easy. He only had to take a trip to Thousand Sails City and directly express his intentions. Would Mafa dare to reject the Merlin Family? Once he had control of the Nether Iron Vein, he would give the poor fellow some pointers to let him smoothly become a Mage, and as for the debt... That was a joke, how could 8,000 be regarded as a debt?
Moreover, William felt that he was quite considerate. Thinking of Mafa's future source of income, he specifically brought Angma from Okland. He was a Great Alchemist, and once he started working in the Gilded Rose, business was sure to boom.
Such a perfect plan... Meticulous planning...
It all went up in smoke...
'Cousin, Cousin, I came to help you. Why didn't you understand? And you even slapped me!'
William felt like he had been wronged.
'Damn, this is too troublesome... It's fine if you don't need my help, but you can still give me the Nether Iron Vein! Without the Nether Iron Vein, how can I report to the Merlin Family?'
Before what he had experienced today, William would have been willing to fight for it, but when facing a monster like Mafa Merlin, William truly didn't dare to think of fighting him now. No kidding, he was a Great Mage that could complete the Elemental Incarnation spell while being attacked by the Cold Death and Wind Python spells.
Although William was quite proud of being known as a genius when it came to magic, he didn't have any confidence in front of this younger cousin.
'At his age, wasn't I a 7th or 8th Rank Mage?' Should I find someone to help?'
William remembered that before he left, his father had specifically told him that he had some acquaintances in Thousand Sails City. If he ran into any trouble, he should look for a particular person's help. That person was called Sauss, and he was apparently the leader of the biggest underground force.
Recalling this, William Merlin's eyes shone. The leader of Thousand Sails City's biggest underground force should have some weight behind him. It might not matter to Leader Lys or High Mage Solomon, but there shouldn't be any issue with exerting some influence on his younger cousin, right?
In fact, he didn't need Sauss to help him too much. As long as he was willing to put a bit of pressure on Mafa Merlin to have him discuss the Nether Iron Vein with him, William would be able to use all kinds of conditions. He didn't believe that Mafa would refuse at that point.
'But... How should I contact that Sauss?'
When his father mentioned Sauss, it was only in passing. He never could have expected that William would actually run into any trouble in Thousand Sails City, so he hadn't even told him how to contact Sauss.
'Doesn't matter, I'll ask around.'
William left the guest room. Just as he was about to ask a servant, he suddenly noticed Faleau walking in from outside.
"How did it go? Did you thank Leader Lys?" Faleau smiled at William.
Faleau wasn't magnanimous. He had been humiliated earlier, so now that he had the chance, how could he not return the favor?
"You are annoying!" William felt a vein twitching on his forehead. 'Fuck, that's a low blow. He definitely knows that I have been scolded by Leader Lys, yet he still asked if I thanked him... Bastard!'
But after stewing in his anger for a few moments, William thought of something.
'Hold on, aren't I looking for someone that can tell me about Sauss?'
As he considered his goal, William's gloomy expression gradually eased, and eventually, he managed to squeeze out a stiff smile.
"Hmm, Faleau right?"
"Yes..." Faleau sat on a chair, nearly closing his eyes. His voice was so soft that it was almost imperceptible, to the point that if one didn't look closely, they would think that he had fallen asleep.
'Damn, that bastard is definitely doing this on purpose!'
William Merlin took a deep breath to suppress the anger rushing to his head. Maintaining his stiff smile, he asked, "Faleau, is there someone called Sauss in Thousand Sails City?"
"Sauss? You are looking for Sauss of the Viper Nest?"
"Sauss' force is called the Viper Nest?" William's eyes shone. Once he got the name of the group, the problem would be a lot easier. He could just go out and ask anyone. Why would he need to ask a snake like Faleau? William didn't even bother to keep up his smile anymore. "Did anyone ever tell you that you are as annoying as a chatty vegetable-selling auntie!?"
William left with those parting words.
"..." Faleau was stunned for a moment, but then he couldn't help laughing. 'Want to get Sauss to help you out? Wait until you see him and you'll understand...'
After leaving, William caught a passerby and asked him for information. He quickly learnt that the Viper Nest was located in the Poison Fog Canyon north of Thousand Sails City. He unhesitantly called for a carriage to leave straight for the Poison Fog Canyon.
Arriving outside the Poison Fog Canyon, William threw a hundred golds to the driver without looking back, before looking for one of the sentries.
"I am William Merlin, I wish to see Leader Sauss!"
The hands of that sentry shook when he heard the "Merlin" name. He shot one signal arrow into the sky and the entire camp acted as if they had seen a great enemy. Several hundreds of bows and crossbows were readied on the dozens of sentry towers, all taking aim at William Merlin. Inside the camp, an entire square formation of fighters with swords and shields in hand was ready to charge at any time. There was also a group of mages behind them... Which seemed to be casting already!
'Damn, this isn't fun!' William was feeling sweaty. 'What is this? Father shouldn't have tricked me, didn't he say that he had a decent friendship with that Sauss? Why do these guys look like a great enemy has come to their doorstep?'
"Don't be impulsive! Don't be impulsive!" William waved his hands crazily while hurriedly taking a few steps back. "I have no evil intent, I only want to meet Leader Sauss!"
Fortunately, Sauss came out.
"William? How come you are here?" Sauss was surprised to see William here. He hurriedly shouted to his nervous subordinates before inviting William back to his wooden house to have a cordial discussion.
A few years ago, Sauss had received a lot of help from William Merlin's father, and he also wanted to rely on the major force known as the Merlin Family, so he was very amicable with William.
So when William asked "Uncle Sauss" for a small favor, Sauss straightforwardly agreed.
"No problem, William. Your Uncle Sauss could be considered a bit influential in Thousand Sails City. When I faces some troubles in the past, your father helped me. I'll also help you."
"Thank you very much, Uncle Sauss."
"So polite..." Sauss smiled.
"It's like this, Uncle Sauss, I recently got into a small issue in Thousand Sails City, a guy named Mafa Merlin..."
"Wait, wait, what Merlin?"
"Mafa Merlin." William threw Sauss a strange look before patiently repeating himself.
"Mafa Merlin!" William didn't expect that Sauss would suddenly jump up when he heard that name. "Fuck, Mafa Merlin, you said Mafa Merlin!"
"Yes, Mafa Merlin... Uncle Sauss, what's wrong?"
"Hmm, William..." After sitting back down, Sauss' expression wasn't as natural as before. "What's going on with Mafa Merlin?"
"It's like this, Uncle Sauss, I have a bit of business I need to discuss with Mafa Merlin, but he seems to be rejecting me, not giving me any chance to talk. So I wanted to use Uncle Sauss' power in Thousand Sails City to put some pressure on him..."
"Pressure!" Sauss suddenly cried out in alarm, sweat flowing down his forehead.
He felt like cursing as he looked at William.
'Damnit, didn't you call me uncle? How about I call you uncle and you let me go? Asking me to put pressure on that Mafa Merlin... Do you think I don't have enough problems in the Poison Fog Canyon? Last time I put pressure on him because of the Hope Potion and ended up suffering badly. He single-handedly killed his way in and bombed two sentry towers, forcing me to open up a trade route.'
Sauss shuddered at the memory of those events.
'And you want ME to pressure HIM... Do you want me to waste all the time I invested in the Poison Fog Canyon?'
To be honest, Sauss was very willing to help him with most things, as he was friends with William's father and could build a relationship with the Merlin Family.
But when William asked him to pressure Mafa, Sauss only felt like seeing him out quickly.
"William, I am unable to help you this time." It wasn't that he couldn't help, but that he didn't dare to. Sauss clearly remembered the two potions in Mafa Merlin's hands.
One was called Magic Spring, and Sauss had already tried it and found it very useful. Putting a bottle in a ventilated room would make all of the members of the Viper Nest immune to the effects of the Poison Fog for about three days.
But Sauss would rather never learn of the name of the other potion, because he knew that the appearance of that potion would signal the end of the Viper Nest.
'Pressuring him... Who is pressuring who?'