After that, a "slap" echoed out while everything else in the entire lobby remained silent.
It was as if time had frozen. Ryan was tightly holding his magic staff, looking at this young mage in front of him, full of disbelief.
'That "slap" just now, where did that come from?'
As if to prove that this wasn't an illusion, another clear sound echoed out when Ryan had started thinking that it had been all a dream.
Another slap. The group of newly hired clerks looked dumbfounded at the scene, blankly thinking, 'No way?!'
"When you are still half-asleep like this, you should hurry back to bed instead of sleep-talking in the Gilded Rose. You'll have to compensate for interfering with my business." Lin Yun delivered some stinging words after slapping him twice.
The gap between a normal mage and a Great Mage was truly insurmountable. Even Lin Yun couldn't directly bridge that gap. But it was different for spells themselves. Lin Yun had more than a dozen ways to restrain the Blood Vines.
Thirty thousand years later in Noscent, Lin Yun had even struggled with the pernicious Abyssal Bloodsucking Vines. What was an insignificant imitation spell compared to that?
Lin Yun didn't even need to use a spell, he just threw out a wisp of Mana Seal Fire. Even those vines from the abyss would be burnt cleanly. Mana Seal Fire was the nemesis of the Bloodsucking Vines. Just a bit would be able to scorch an ocean of Bloodsucking Vines into ashes.
That wisp of Mana Seal Fire had been extracted from a Mana Seal Stone a few days ago by Lin Yun. He had wanted to use it to concoct a dose of Burning Panacea, but because Ryan had used the Blood Vines Spell, he could only use up that wisp ahead of time...
When he thought about this, Lin Yun felt extremely angry. 'If you want to help Mason out of his predicament, just do it, why do you have to talk about the prestige of the Monchi family? Is that even as valuable as a wisp of my Mana Seal Fire?'
At this moment, Ryan was still completely stunned by the two slaps, or perhaps, terrified.
He was in complete disbelief. How could he have been ruthlessly slapped by a newly advanced mage, and twice! What had just happened was too unexpected, to the point that Ryan even forgot to block or retaliate. He just stood there lifelessly, his gaze filled with confusion and bewilderment.
'How could this happen...'
'Wasn't it said that the power of Great Mages surpassed the power of the normal ones by tenfold, or even hundredfold? Isn't the gap between Great Mages and Mages something that could never be bridged? This guy clearly only just became a mage, why could he completely ignore my Blood Vines Spell? How did he do that without even using a spell? How can he slap?'
Countless questions appeared in Ryan's mind, but he couldn't find a rational explanation... Let alone a rational explanation, he couldn't even find a single excuse to comfort himself.
He clearly couldn't just say that he was "not prepared" or "careless" to make himself feel better...
If an elephant was careless, could it still be tossed aside by an ant?
It seemed like nobody in the lobby could move. Ryan stood there in a daze, anger gradually joining the confusion on his face. He wanted to use the Blood Vines Spell once again to prove that this gap was truly unbridgeable. But those countless questions in his mind kept reminding him to not just act without thinking.
During that time, the atmosphere in the lobby became even more strange and tense.
But that strange atmosphere didn't last long, because someone pushed the door to come in.
"Mage Merlin, congratulations..." The new arrival was Solomon's only disciple, Solon.
With Solon's high status, the reopening of a workshop like the Gilded Rose wasn't worthy of his attention. Solon wasn't just Solomon's sole disciple, he was also the successor of the Sage Tower chosen by the respected High Mage himself. He would become the new leader of the Mage Guild sooner or later. He represented not only himself, but also Solomon, and even the entire Sage Tower.
Even if he wanted to come to see this new shop, he would have to take into consideration the reactions of all the forces that might notice.
But today was truly a bit special.
After the discussion in the study yesterday, Solon decided that he would definitely have a proper discussion with that young mage the next day. Thus, Solon had waited in the library all day, but even after waiting for the whole morning, Lin Yun still didn't arrive.
In the end, he felt so fidgety and impatient that he sent someone to inquire. Only then did he find out that it was the day of the Gilded Rose's grand reopening, so the young mage wouldn't be visiting the library today.
This got Solon a bit worked up, who was thinking at the time, 'I have so many unsolved questions, how could you not come?'
'Forget it, I'll visit you myself.'
Thus, Solon took two scrolls of the Sage Tower as a congratulatory gift and rushed to the Gilded Rose, burning with anxiety.
The building itself seemed oddly damaged, but perhaps that was a choice of style?
When he opened the door, Solon felt as if his brain had short-circuited...
"What... What happened?"
'That young mage with both cheeks swelling, isn't he the famous son of the Monchi family? Great Mage Ryan of the Ash Tower?'
'How could he look so awkward? Both sides of his face have clear red imprints, has he been slapped by someone?'
'That can't be... Besides perhaps the big three of the Sage Tower, who would even be able to slap a Great Mage in Thousand Sails City? No no, this must definitely be some sort of a magic ritual I don't know about.'
'But in that case, why is Great Mage Ryan's expression so strange? ...Has he truly been slapped twice by someone?'
'Oh right, there is also that young mage, Mafa Merlin. Why is he standing in front of a Great Mage smiling so leisurely like that? Isn't that attitude a bit too arrogant?'
As he processed this strange scene, Solon started feeling rather regretful. 'Why did I have to arrive with such timing? Such a tense atmosphere doesn't bode well for our interaction.'
"Eh..." Solon gulped awkwardly and forced himself to break this deadlock. "Great Mage Ryan, such a coincidence! We haven't seen each other in a while, but you still look as elegant as last time."
"..." Solon merely said that out of politeness, but to Ryan, it didn't sound like that. This time, Ryan really wanted to swear. 'Do you fucking have to speak bullshit? I got slapped twice, how could this possibly appear elegant?'
"Ah, Great Mage Ryan, I didn't mean that." As soon as the words left his mouth, Solon had also realized that he had misspoken. He wanted to quickly remedy it, but he didn't know how he should do it.
"Never mind." After Ryan took a deep breath, using the opportunity created by Solon's appearance, Ryan regained his bearing.
As he calmed down, the bewilderment and confusion on his face slowly disappeared. Everything had happened too suddenly, he had been completely caught off guard by the circumstances. A mage had broken his Blood Vines Spell and then slapped him twice, leaving him in a stupor.
But Ryan was a genius who had broken through and become a Great Mage before he was even thirty, after all. After finally calming down, it wasn't hard to figure out that this fellow simply knew the weak point of Blood Vines and that he wasn't actually powerful enough to bridge the immense gap between Mages and Great Mages.
With this understanding, Ryan's mood finally calmed down. As long as this was the case, he would get back at him for everything that had happened today sooner or later.
But he definitely couldn't act today...
Because of Solon's appearance.
Solon himself was a Great Mage, and he was also High Mage Solomon's precious disciple. His arrival itself represented the Sage Tower's attitude. Ryan, who had just calmed down, was greatly agitated by this new discovery. Why would the Sage Tower suddenly display such goodwill for a young mage of a declining family? What did that mean?
'No good, I have to return and consult with father about this.'
"Mage Merlin, I hope you'll have such good luck again next time."
With these words, Ryan turned around and left, not even greeting Solon.
Upon hearing Ryan's parting words, Solon had stiffened in astonishment. 'It couldn't be... right?' His gaze drifted over to Lin Yun before stopping.
The sentence was self-explanatory. If Solon only had an inkling before, he was now certain. That Merlin was most likely the culprit behind the red imprints on the young Great Mage's face.
When he thought about this, Solon couldn't help holding his breath. That was a genuine Great Mage. Even if his hands and legs were tied, he would be easily able to kill a few novice mages just by opening his mouth. 'How could this be... How could he be slapped twice by someone like Mafa Merlin?'
'This is too irrational...'
'How many secrets does this young mage have?'
'I have to tell Teacher Solomon about this matter.'
"Congratulations, Mage Merlin, I hope that your business is ever-thriving, this is a small congratulatory gift, I hope you'll like it, see you later!"
After quickly blurting out these words, Solon didn't even wait for an answer as he thrust the two scrolls into Lin Yun's hands before running away.