"Why?" William Merlin was a bit worried. Sauss was his last hope in Thousand Sails City! If even Sauss couldn't help him, then his only remaining option would be to force himself to face Mafa Merlin directly.
"William, I still have something to do. I won't be able to keep you company. Say hello to your father when you return." Sauss' voice was a bit apologetic. He truly felt sorry that he couldn't help William. He couldn't repay his friendship and wouldn't be able to take advantage of this chance to get closer to the Merlin Family.
But Sauss would rather be sorry than become Mafa Merlin's enemy.
Sauss awkwardly chuckled and then left the wooden house.
"Gr-Great Mage Bell, wha... What is going on?" William was stunned for a while. After recovering, he asked Bell, still at a loss.
"Less than a month ago, Mafa Merlin came to the Poison Fog Canyon, killed dozens of people, exploded two sentry towers, and then had Leader Sauss open up a trade route for him."
Once he was done explaining, Bell also left.
Only William was left in the spacious wooden house. Firewood was cracking in the fireplace and the cold of winter couldn't be felt in the room, but at this moment, William Merlin felt an intense chill.
He had been looking down on his younger cousin all along, but it turned out that he was actually someone that could make Sauss shrink away in fear.
That was Sauss.
The leader of the number one underground power of Thousand Sails City, which was said to have several thousand subordinates ready to give up their lives for him, jumped up from fear at the mere mention of Mafa Merlin's name!
William felt that the world was becoming crazy...
After returning to Thousand Sails City, he felt that he didn't have enough information concerning his cousin.
Since Sauss had refused to help, he would have to rely on his own ability to figure things out.
He had no confidence to face his younger cousin.
But whether or not he had any confidence didn't matter at this point. He could only try to get a better understanding of his cousin.
Thus, William Merlin spent the entire afternoon outside, walking around half of Thousand Sails City, asking everywhere about his younger cousin.
While William wandered through Thousand Sails City, Lin Yun was working hard in the Gilded Rose.
The test tube of Obsidian Flower Sap was placed in front of Lin Yun, along with a huge pile of discarded draft papers. A lot of alchemy arrays were drawn on these discarded pieces of paper. Some were completed while some only had a few lines.
'It's no good, the addition of the gloom array would destroy the cycle of mana..." Another draft paper was crumpled and thrown on the refining table.
This was already the 30th design that Lin Yun had discarded.
Lin Yun spent a whole day in the alchemy laboratory, repeating this process, designing, drafting, and discarding.
In fact, these designs were all just short of perfection. If they spread about and were seen by others, they would make many Great Alchemists go crazy with fervor.
But Lin Yun was still dissatisfied.
Because he wanted to use the Obsidian Flower Sap this time!
Lin Yun had extracted some sap by taking advantage of the fact that the Obsidian Flower had just been planted so its toxicity hadn't reached its peak yet. Lin Yun thought that he could use it to compound some potions. If a potion was successfully compounded from that, it would inevitably be a Master Alchemist Rank Masterpiece.
But Lin Yun quickly found out...
He didn't have materials formidable enough to pair with it. The Obsidian Flower's toxicity was truly too frightening. Lin Yun had rummaged through his collection, but he hadn't been able to find one that would work.
In the end, Lin Yun had no choice but to give up on compounding a potion and started working on a Magic Tool.
But ultimately, after over twenty designs, he still hadn't been able to come up with one that satisfied him.
It was troublesome because the Obsidian Flower Sap's toxicity was truly too fierce. If that Magic Tool could be crafted, it would definitely have the power of a High Mage, but at the same time, there couldn't be a single mistake during the crafting process. The design would also have to be perfect, as even a negligible flaw could create a huge accident.
By the evening, Lin Yun had discarded 36 designs.
After throwing away another draft, Lin Yun didn't prepare a new piece of paper. He massaged his eyes and looked away from the table for the first time since he had started working on this.
Lin Yun knew that it would take more than a day if he wanted to use the Obsidian Flower Sap to make a Magic Tool. Seeing the color of the sky, Lin Yun started packing, ready to wrap up for the time being.
"Knock, knock, knock." The sound echoed from the door.
"Come in." Lin Yun cleared away the draft papers while acknowledging the arrival. Knocking at this time in such a respectful way, it should either be Faleau or Remy.
The doors to the alchemy laboratory opened, but contrary to Lin Yun's expectations, it was neither of those two. Instead, it was his older cousin that he hadn't seen for the whole day.
"It's you?" Lin Yun slightly frowned. To be honest, this uninvited older cousin was giving him quite a headache. Becoming hostile didn't work, yet appeasing him didn't work either. That guy had a lot of pride, gesticulating and talking all day, making Lin Yun quite angry in the past two days.
But he couldn't just drive him away...
Because Lin Yun had yet to figure out why the formidable Merlin Family residing in Okland was interested in him. The answer to that question lay with William Merlin.
William had said that the Merlin Family couldn't tolerate his "situation"...
But Lin Yun knew that this was purely an attempt to coax a child. What kind of major force was the Merlin Family? There were hundreds of Merlin children each generation, so how could they care about tending to all of the scattered members? Here, a child of the main branch had rushed over to help him settle his debt and propel him to the Mage Rank, what was that?
Thus Lin Yun was waiting, waiting for William to be straightforward...
"This... That..." But what surprised Lin Yun was that today's William didn't seem to be in a good state. As he stood outside the alchemy laboratory, he was cowering slightly, as if the presence of a monster in the laboratory was preventing him from taking a few steps forward.
Lin Yun didn't know that his guess was actually right.
Now, in William's eyes, this younger cousin from outside the main clan was similar to a monster.
For the entire afternoon, William had kept asking about Mafa Merlin through half of Thousand Sails City.
And the more he asked, the more his fear grew.
William Merlin finally knew why the Merlin Family's intelligence was so inconsistent...
It was because Mafa Merlin had indeed been a worthless Magic Apprentice just a few months ago, and moreover, one that had been stuck at the 9th Rank for many years. A few months ago, the Gilded Rose was a mere empty husk, and aside from a few poor magic materials, it only had an empty lobby.
Yet, everything seemed to have changed a few months ago.
The originally listless Mafa Merlin seemed to have transformed in one night. He broke away from his status as a Magic Apprentice and became a true Mage. Afterwards, he spent over a million golds, won four rare magic materials, and then the Hope Potion, Dragon Strength Potion, and Meditation Potion were compounded, and the Gilded Rose underwent an extremely fast spurt of growth and was now the biggest alchemy shop of Thousand Sails City. It wasn't far behind that year's Flashing Gold chamber of commerce.
The most frightening part was that...
For unknown reasons, that Mafa Merlin had managed to get some sort of a relationship with many peak existences of Thousand Sails City. He went to Lion Monarch Street and reached a cooperative agreement with the Silver Moon Mercenaries, and then, when he took a trip to the Black Horn Auction, Cadgar had regarded him as an important guest and even sent Faleau, who he treated like a son, to the Gilded Rose. There was also the Sage Tower, with Solomon himself going to the Gilded Rose and scolding a member of the Alchemist Guild's market supervision team for making trouble for Mafa.
William couldn't understand all this.
If High Mage Solomon scolded a member of the Alchemist Guild on Mafa Merlin's behalf, then why did Mafa still have such a good relationship with the Alchemist Guild? Not only had Great Alchemist Bassoro frequently visited the Gilded Rose, but even Master Alchemist Lys personally visited him. Wasn't that a bit too illogical?
William Merlin was truly frightened.
Now that he was standing in front of Mafa Merlin, William didn't even know what he should say. Should he mention the previous slaps? Or the earlier attempt to framing him through Leader Lys?
"If you have something on your mind, just say it..." Lin Yun shook his head in exasperation. Though this older cousin felt like a different person compared to before, Lin Yun managed to adapt.
"I... Can I come in?"
"Come in." Lin Yun looked at the time, and noticing that it was still quite early, he wasn't in a rush to leave. He wanted to hear what his cousin had come here to say.
After entering the alchemy laboratory, William Merlin noticed the draft papers on the alchemy table and the blood suddenly drained from his pale face.