"Hey..." Lys couldn't help sighing again. Fran clearly didn't want to let it go. If he couldn't change his mind, the two would fight sooner or later. Moreover, the fight would most likely happen in the Vaughn "Treasury", which would implicate Lys as well...
Lys and Fran were old friends. They already knew each other when they were just Great Alchemists, so how could Lys not know of Fran's temperament? If he was in a good mood, then he would clearly differentiate between gratitude and grudges, while if he was in a bad mood, he would definitely retaliate with interest. That day, Merlin had stomped his head into the ground in front of many people. This was incredibly humiliating, and with Fran's temperament, he would definitely fight Merlin to the last breath.
Usually, Lys would try to persuade Lin Yun and have the young Great Mage apologize to Fran, effectively making the problem disappear. This would be the perfect option...
The problem was that Lys didn't dare to do so...
Lys clearly knew that Merlin wasn't the type of person to lower his head.
He had paid attention to this young Great Mage for a while, and from the guild's hearing concerning the Hope Potion to this joint exploration, Lys had never seen that person yield. He didn't even give others the opportunity to yield, crushing them completely and slapping their faces and destroying their reputation, without making a single miscalculation. It was to the point that Lys himself wondered if his next step would be to slap an Archmage...
Moreover, Lin Yun's importance in the joint exploration was a lot higher than Fran's. Let alone breaking the arrays, the key was that Merlin's combat power was terrifying. The fight against Fran two days ago clearly showed that point. Merlin's current fighting prowess might be already comparable to Solomon's.
So comparing all this, it was naturally more worthwhile to make Fran lower his head...
After all, aside from the fact that he was a friend of Fran, this Master Alchemist was serving as a backup in this joint exploration. If Merlin met difficulties breaking the arrays, Fran could supplement the effort, that was all.
Unfortunately, Fran never expected that his position in Lys' eyes had been demoted to being a mere reserve unit.
"That Mafa Merlin was definitely prompted by his family to humiliate me. I must let Teacher Nolan know of the sinister intentions of the Merlin Family after going back..."
"Fran... As far as I know, Mafa Merlin doesn't have a close connection with the Merlin Family..." Lys couldn't stand it anymore. The 9th Rank High Mage of the Cloud Tower took his disciple, Leon Merlin, to the Gilded Rose, but Sauss, Solomon, Monchi, and Cadgar had personally seen the state of the relationship between Mafa Merlin and the Merlin Family. It was far from being as harmonious as it might appear to others on the surface.
But Fran wasn't convinced...
"Lys, you only scratched the surface of their relationship..."
"..." Lys nearly spat blood. 'He used Mana Shackles on his own relative, who is scratching the surface!?'
Lys felt that he really needed to warn Fran, or else he might soon meet his end.
"Fran, listen to me. Although you are a 5th Rank High Mage who possesses Time Hand, your chances of success against Mafa Merlin are very low..."
"That's a joke..." Fran sneered, his laugh filled with contempt and disdain.
In fact, Fran didn't feel as if he had lost, he only felt that he had been careless...
In that earlier fight, he surely wouldn't have been defeated if he hadn't been so reckless in his attempt to make his opponent despair. Because he'd felt that victory was within his hands, he had relaxed. Otherwise, he definitely wouldn't have been defeated and humiliated.
He only lost because he'd never expected Mafa Merlin's casting speed to be so fast, even faster than the speed granted by Time Hand!
If it happened at another time, another location, he definitely wouldn't be that careless.
He was an esteemed 5th Rank High Mage, with his mastery of Time Hand, how could he lose against a Great Mage? Such a joke...
"You think I'm joking? Mafa Merlin's strength is deep and unmeasurable. You didn't come to Thousand Sails City before so you didn't hear that although Mafa Merlin became a Great Mage just this year, he can only be described as unbeatable. He already defeated two High Mages, and moreover, a 9th Rank High Mage from the Sage Tower called Hoen came, and Star Sage Jouyi himself concluded that they would both end up dead if they fought each other..."
"Hoen?" Even with Fran's self-confidence, he couldn't help frowning when he heard the name.
Hoen's name was very famous in Okland, as he was one of the 9th Rank High Mages with the greatest chance of advancing to Archmage. He had been fighting in the Pale Plane for the past few years, and only came back to Noscent two months ago because he was appointed as the Head of the Magic Department by Jouyi.
Although Fran was very confident in his strength, he had to admit that when compared to Hoen of the Cloud Tower, he was indeed inferior.
'Is Mafa Merlin really that powerful?' he wondered.
"Moreover, I heard Solomon say that Star Sage Jouyi cared a lot about Mafa Merlin. If you really make a move against him, I'm afraid that the Cloud Tower..."
"Star Sage?" Fran's heart suddenly tightened. 'The Star Sage is involved too?'
That was the strongest Archmage of the kingdom, and he could become a Heaven Mage anytime. If that kind of person was backing Merlin, then let alone Fran, even ten of him combined would be screwed.
"Anyway, you think about it carefully. We have been old friends for over a decade, I don't want you to bring a disaster onto yourself..." After Lys saw Fran's expression, he understood that his words had finally worked. Thus, he didn't say anything else about Merlin, and instead he just made small talk for a bit before leaving the carriage.
Fran's expression wasn't good after Lys left...
'Could it be that I really don't have the chance to retaliate?'
Fran closed his eyes as he leaned against the carriage. He kept seeing the same images over and over again, a foot heavily stomping on him as well as the sniggering of all the leaders of Thousand Sails City. Just thinking about it made Fran feel endless humiliation.
But Lys' words echoed once again in his mind...
Being able to hold his own against a 9th Rank High mage, as well as being supported by the strongest Archmage of the kingdom.
This was enough to make Fran afraid to act.
It would be fine if it was just Merlin that held some power. He could still use the Vaughn Treasury's arrays as traps and reverse the situation. But after handling the youth, he would have to face the retaliation of the strongest Archmage, Star Sage Jouyi. Fran would never be able to resist.
'Hold on, Cloud Tower, Star Sage Jouyi...' Thinking of this, Fran's eyes brightened. Mafa Merlin had the Cloud Tower and Star Sage Jouyi as backers, but that didn't mean that Fran didn't have backers of his own.
Behind him stood the Mercury Tower and his teacher, Nolan.
In terms of strength, the Mercury Tower wasn't that much inferior to the Cloud Tower, and the status of his teacher was not necessarily worse than that the Star Sage...
'But how could I make Teacher step forth on my behalf...? Teacher isn't the Star Sage...'
The way the Star Sage handled things never followed any rules or customs. He spent over two decades worth of his time in order to crack the Fanrusen Formula. Because of the injuries of his disciple, Solomon, he invaded the Black Tower. If it had been another Archmage, would they have done the same?
At least, he was sure that Nolan wouldn't...
Being in the Mercury Tower for decades, Fran was very clear about his teacher's temperament. Fran knew that unless there was a very compelling reason, his teacher wouldn't take the initiative to get him out of a predicament.
'A reason... I have one!'
Fran quickly fished out a magic letter and a quill from his pocket and started writing a message to his teacher in great haste.
In the letter, Fran claimed to have obtained some information regarding Vaughn Treasury. All the information clearly indicated that Vaughn Treasury wasn't an actual treasury, but rather, a laboratory left behind by the Artisan. This laboratory not only held all of Vaughn's alchemy knowledge, but there were also the True Spirit Magic Tools that Nolan had been eager to get his hands on.
But the exploration of the laboratory was too troublesome, and the alchemy arrays within already far exceeded his abilities. Thus, he was hoping that the Mercury Tower would send some support.
Fran knew that his teacher had been looking for these True Spirit Magic Tools for a very long time but had never found them. As long as he used that reason, even if his teacher didn't appear personally, he would at least send his senior disciple, Karon.
'What would a mere Mafa Merlin be in front of Brother Karon? He is a genuine Archmage, as well as someone Teacher personally nurtured. Even if something happens to Mafa Merlin and Star Sage Jouyi wants to retaliate, Teacher would definitely react.
'As for Brother Karon finding out that it wasn't a laboratory after coming, well, nothing could be done about it, I can only claim that my information was mistaken... At most I'll be reprimanded, but compared to the humiliation Mafa Merlin made me suffer, this isn't much.'
The hastily written letter was quickly sealed, and after Fran's incantation, light flashed from the ring on his right hand, making the letter instantly disappear.
This was the Mercury Tower's unique communication method. Fran's ring was an Inheritance level Spatial Magic Tool. Although it didn't really use the Spatial Law, it was still very useful for transmitting messages.