"Oh?" Lin Yun slowly withdrew his hand and his smile gradually faded away from his face as he looked at Fran.
"Merlin, Merlin, there is something I need to tell you..." When Lys saw that situation, he was suddenly startled. He hurriedly moved in between the two while secretly pulling at Lin Yun's sleeve, pleading with his eyes.
"..." When Lin Yun saw Lys acting like this, he felt a bit embarrassed, as he didn't wish to cause trouble for Lys. Leader Lys had always been nice to him, so Lin Yun couldn't reject him.
Thus, his cold expression slowly eased up.
"Come, come, Merlin, I have a few words to tell you..." After managing to persuade Lin Yun, Lys didn't dare to let the two talk to each other any further so he dragged Lin Yun to an empty corner of the room.
"Merlin, do me a favor, don't lower yourself to argue with Fran, he... He has some mental issues." Lys didn't say more as he criticized Fran.
'He certainly must have some mental issues, or else he wouldn't cause trouble for Merlin... How can we have a joint exploration if a Master Alchemist dies before it even starts?'
It wasn't recent news, so almost every member of the expedition knew of Merlin's destructive power...
'This Fran is really... The Mercury Tower sent you over for technical support, not to let you kill yourself... Why would you try to rush to your death?'
"Okay, I understand, Leader Lys. I'll let you handle this." Lin Yun understood Lys' situation. A Master Alchemist from the Mercury Tower had come, and a disciple of Artisan Nolan at that. Regardless of what Lys thought, he had to keep this guest safe.
This was why Lin Yun didn't make things difficult for Lys. He smiled and looked for an excuse to leave when he saw Solomon waving at him, which was exactly what he wanted. "Leader Lys, please excuse me," he said, tilting his head at Solomon.
Lin walked through the reception room to reach a small area with a few chairs spread in a circle. Solomon was sitting at the head seat, and Lin Yun recognized the Viper Nest's Bell, the Black Horn Auction House's Cadgar, the Silver Moon Mercenaries' Barry, the Crystal chamber of commerce's Darian... All were peak mages of Thousand Sails City and Lin Yun understood with one glance that this was a gathering of peak mages with Solomon at the core.
When he saw Lin Yun coming over, Solomon pulled up a chair and set it next to himself. "Merlin, come sit here."
"Okay." Lin Yun greeted the mages he was familiar with while sitting next to Solomon.
But Solomon's actions startled some mages, making them have seem thoughtful as they greeted Lin Yun.
Only Thousand Sails City's peak mages could sit in that circle. The weakest of the weakest was on the level of the Viper Nest's Bell. Even Ryan Monchi, who had become a Great Mage at his young age, wasn't qualified to sit there. It reflected power and status.
It looked as if Solomon was only getting a chair, but the fact that he let Lin Yun sit next to him was like expressing that this young mage already had the qualifications to be next to him... Or the strength.
In the past, those mages wouldn't have thought that way.
But it was completely different now.
In recent days, Mafa Merlin's achievements had spread far and wide. Now, few people would think of him as only the son of Locke Merlin, because in their minds, Mafa's recent achievements far surpassed those of his father, Locke Merlin.
The sudden rise of the Gilded Rose had already become legendary in Thousand Sails City. There would be someone in nearly every tavern narrating the story of the Gilded Rose while adding some extra details, recounting everything as if they had experienced it themselves.
But to these major forces of Thousand Sails City, what really mattered had always been Lin Yun's own strength.
At first, they only knew that this young Great Mage had single-handedly charged into the Poison Fog Canyon to take back a few Apprentice Alchemists belonging to the Gilded Rose, while also using a method that could only be described as rude and unreasonable to force Sauss to open a trade route for him.
Many people were shocked back then, but afterwards, they only felt that this young Great Mage had a promising future, more promising than Ryan's.
That was all...
But they soon felt that something was wrong...
Because it didn't take long for them to learn about the 9th Rank Great Mage from the Watson Family being beaten back by him, forcing everyone to pay more attention to him. That was a 9th Rank Great Mage, someone that might soon become a High Mage if given a bit of time, yet he had been sent running back with his face swollen. Didn't that mean that Mafa Merlin had strength near that of a High Mage?
But before they could react, the Watson Family sent a High Mage!
They had all been sure that Mafa Merlin would be in trouble.
But that High Mage was also sent back to Okland by Merlin, and this cause huge tremors to spread among the major forces of Thousand Sails City. They started warning all their subordinates to be careful when dealing with the Gilded Rose, and that they definitely couldn't annoy Mafa Merlin, because he was at least strong enough to defeat a High Mage.
Then, Cadgar, Monchi, and Sauss brought them even more eye-opening information.
Star Sage Jouyi himself acknowledged that Mafa Merlin already had the strength to take down a 9th Rank High Mage with him if backed into a corner!
The 2nd rate and 3rd rate forces of Thousand Sails city might only feel that Mafa Merlin was strong, but the true peak forces already knew that the strength of that man far surpassed the Great Mage realm to the point that no one knew his true limits. They only knew of the estimate that he could contend with a 9th Rank High Mage.
Thus, Solomon letting Lin Yun sit together with him only startled them for a bit. When they recovered, the tones they used when addressing Lin Yun were more enthusiastic and deferential.
"What happened, Merlin, why do you seem to be in such a bad mood?" Even though Lin Yun had been a bit far away, Solomon's eyesight was very good and he noticed quite a few things.
"It's nothing, just that Master Fran being unfriendly." Lin Yun didn't hide it.
"Haha, Fran?" Solomon threw a glance at Fran before saying, "It's pretty normal for Fran to be unfriendly towards you..."
"Oh?" Lin Yun wrinkled his brow. It seemed that Solomon knew some hidden information.
"There are two reasons." Solomon leaned against his chair to get into a more comfortable position before raising one finger. "The first reason is that there has been news coming from Okland saying that the Merlin Family already publicly revealed your existence and planned on finding a suitable time to let you return to the family."
"The Merlin Family..." Lin Yun frowned. He didn't care much why Fran was targeting him. Fran was only a 5th Rank High Mage, and no matter what he tried, he would be far from being a threat.
'No, when we are in the Vaughn Laboratory, I should find a chance to get rid of him.'
In fact, the moves from the Merlin Family baffled Lin Yun.
The Merlin Family was a millennium-old family, how could they be in such a rush that they would let William Merlin try to convince him while openly announcing the news? Did the Merlin Family care about him that much?
Or was it for another reason?
"Fran doesn't get along with the Merlin Family, this is an open secret in Okland."
"Furthermore, Fran had originally applied to be the one in charge of breaking the arrays, but because the price he was asking was too high, he was turned down by Lys..." Solomon couldn't help chuckling as he stopped there. "Do you know what Fran asked for? Half of the harvest from the entire trip to Vaughn's Treasury..."
"..." Lin Yun originally thought that asking to have loot priority on magic materials was biting off more than he could chew, but he had never expected that someone would be even hungrier. 'Half of Vaughn's Laboratory, are you not afraid of bursting from being too full...?'
"And there you are, a descendant of the Merlin Family taking his deal from him, it would be strange for Fran to greet you happily..."
"So it was like this." Lin Yun nodded with a smile and quickly threw Fran to the back of his mind.
But that wasn't the case for Fran, on the other side of the reception room.
At this time, Lys and Fran were sitting next to the fireplace.
"Lys, I have to say, you made a big mistake. I wondered who it was, but it turns out to be that Mafa Merlin who studied under Seth. You were actually convinced by a kid... You'll regret it after reaching Vaughn's Treasury..."
"Haha, Nolan, the price you asked was far too great, I couldn't convince the others..." Lys was still smiling, but he had already cursed Fran and all his ancestors in his heart. 'Damn, I actually wanted to believe in you, but who would accept the price you demanded?
'All of Thousand Sails City's major forces dispatched their troops and spared no effort to come to Vaughn's Treasury, yet you wanted to pop in, break the arrays, and leave with half the harvest! And you want me to explain that to the others?