Although the Watson Family came into contact with the Gilded Rose relatively late, they still went all-out with information gathering. The Watson Family even knew that Mafa Merlin might have been a distant child of the Merlin Family. But the information never said that this Merlin was acquainted with High Mage Hogg.
This happened so abruptly.
At this moment, Allen Watson really wanted to ask the one in charge of intelligence operations how he handled his fucking work. How could he have not discovered such an important matter?
'This is a 9th Rank High Mage, a huge wall, and I ran straight into it...'
Allen's face grew increasingly paler. He understood that if it was truly as he thought, then let alone seizing the Nether Iron Vein, even safely leaving would be an issue. Allen could only hope as he cautiously asked, "Can I ask what relation High Mage Hogg has with Great Mage Merlin?"
"What kind of relationship?" Hearing this, Hogg suddenly paid closer attention to this guest. He stared at Allen, sizing him up.
When he was outside the door earlier, Hogg had already heard some arguing inside the room and had been able to feel the fierce mana fluctuations. Even if he was slow, Hogg would still understand what had been going on now that Allen was asking him this question.
Hogg's expression didn't look too great.
'This Allen Watson is truly bold, he actually dares to quarrel with Great Mage Merlin, even trying to pressure him with his mana fluctuations. Doesn't that mean that he was about to make a move on Great Mage Merlin?'
Looking at Allen incredulously, Hogg really wanted to ask, 'Do you know who is standing in front of you? He is someone that was able to solve a dozen of the Fanrusen Formula's core spell matrices. The entire Cloud Tower cheered for him, three Archmages showed that they held him in high esteem and Star Sage Jouyi himself even bowed to him... Are you tired of living?'
Naturally, Hogg wouldn't say this himself because that was a big secret he was keeping in his heart.
After everyone left following that miraculous night, Hogg saw the three Archmages fighting over that young Great Mage with his own eyes. They burst into an intense struggle... it was an unmistakable scene.
As the only witness, Hogg was still very afraid.
Because he knew too much...
Hogg still remembered the three Archmages' faces contorting as they rolled up their sleeves and cursed at each other. No one would have thought that these three were Archmages standing at the peak of the kingdom based on their appearances at that time. These three had been no different from cursing aunties at the market.
If this spread out, who would believe it? Who could believe it?
But Hogg knew that it was true....
Although the three Archmages agreed to not say anything about that time ever again, and to not show any signs of trying to attract that young Great Mage, Hogg knew that a fierce shouting match had gone down in his own research room.
The three Archmages chose to shut up not because they gave up, but in order to wait...
Those three represented Okland's most powerful forces: the Cloud Tower, the Mercury Tower, and Okland Magic School. The fight between them was the same as a fight between the three major forces. This would be enough to influence the entire kingdom, and the consequences would be so grave that even those three Archmages might not necessarily be able to handle them.
Thus, they agreed to wait.
To wait for a suitable opportunity to let the young Great Mage choose.
Hogg saw everything and was even asked to be a witness, so he knew more than anyone how important this young Great Mage was in those three Archmages' hearts.
It could be said that as long as this Mafa Merlin gave the word, the three Archmages could even destroy a power like the Watson Family.
After recalling this memory, the thought that appeared in Hogg's mind when realizing that Allen wanted to act against that young Great Mage was, 'Allen, do you think that your Watson Family has been around for too long? This already can't be described as courting death, this is purely drawing misfortune towards the Watson Family!'
Naturally, Hogg couldn't say that to Allen Watson...
Not to mention speaking of it to Allen Watson, Hogg didn't want to talk about that in front of this young Great Mage.
Because Hogg would never dare to defy those three Archmages' instructions and reveal what he had seen.
However, Hogg felt that this was a rare opportunity.
"Merlin and I know each other." Hogg didn't dare to say too much. Mafa Merlin was an important person to those three Archmages. Even if he were bolder, Hogg wouldn't dare to carelessly claim to be friends.
When those words landed in Allen's ears, the High Mage's mind shook and a relieved smile appeared on his face.
Allen thought that High Mage Hogg was close to Merlin due to his familiar tone and had felt apprehensive due to that, but it now looked like their relations weren't as deep as he'd imagined. Otherwise, High Mage Hogg wouldn't have described it as just "knowing each other".
Knowing each other...
In other words, that might not mean they were real acquaintances!
'Oh right, I remember, Hogg's relationship with the Merlin Family is pretty good. This trip to Thousand Sails City should be some kind of favor to the Merlin Family, like helping them deliver a Magic Tool to that child stranded in Thousand Sails City. Hogg might not necessarily have been willing to come, it should have been a favor for the Merlin Family.'
High Mage Watson went further and further down this train of thought.
'I understand, I understand, they aren't even familiar with each other, I was worried for nothing!'
"Turns out it was like that..." Thinking he understood, Allen gave Hogg an expression of sympathy. The meaning behind it was, 'Hogg, I understand your troubles, being unable to back out of doing a favor is too annoying.'
"Allen Watson, what happened just now?" Hogg suddenly frowned. He didn't know why this person would look at him like that. 'I'm an esteemed 9th Rank High Mage, why would a 1st Rank High Mage give me that sort of a look?'
Unfortunately, Allen was unaware...
After hearing Hogg's question, Allen felt that this High Mage wanted to see a performance.
Allen didn't hide and explained the situation at once, but he embellished it, making the whole matter look like a fair deal.
After explaining, he casually added, "Perfect timing, High Mage Hogg, since you are here, could you advise young Merlin? You know that the Watson Family never treats a friend unfairly."
"..." But he didn't expect that Hogg's face would turn white after hearing that.
'Fuck, Allen Watson, we don't have any enmity, why would you try to frame me? Courting death by yourself isn't enough, you still want to drag me in? Advising young Merlin? Are you crazy?'
Hogg immediately thought of distancing himself from this reckless High Mage.
'That young Merlin could have three Archmages crush your Watson Family in an instant. Yet you are courting death and trying to take his Nether Iron Vein... What do you mean never treating a friend unfairly... You, Allen Watson, dare to act like Great Mage Merlin's friend? Isn't it time to wake up? This is no good, I can't be dragged down by that idiot.'
"Allen Watson, I'll give you a piece of advice. Immediately leave Thousand Sails City, don't invite a disaster onto your Watson Family." Hogg's face turned cold.
"Eh... H-H-H... High Mage Hogg, thi... This is..." Allen stared blankly. Seeing himself suddenly falling out with Hogg, Allen didn't manage to recover for some time. 'What happened? How did I offend High Mage Hogg? How could we fall out so quickly?' Allen was at a loss at first, not understanding what had offended Hog.
"I'll say it only once. Listen or don't listen, it's up to you." Hogg didn't give Allen any leeway.
"There is no but, Allen Watson. If you want to be Merlin's enemy, then you'll become my enemy. You should think carefully."
"I understand..." Noticing Hogg's cold face and Mafa Merlin's unchanged expression, Allen Watson ultimately clenched his teeth and chose to endure for the time being.
After all, Hogg was a true 9th Rank High Mage, while Allen was only a 1st Rank High Mage... He was truly no different from an ant in comparison. Hogg would only need one finger to kill him. Although Allen was full of grievance, he could only endure in silence.
Not to mention himself, besides a few elders, only the Patriarch with the strength of 9th Rank High Mage could negotiate with Hogg.
As for the rest, they didn't have the qualifications to do so.