"Spatial crack?" Suyass had also noticed. In the face of a dangerous, hidden trap like that, the newly advanced Archmage also didn't dare to be careless. He cast True Sight, and his expression became grave. "There are seven spatial cracks, how could they have gathered like that?"
"It probably didn't happen naturally." After the last two encounters with the puppets, Lin Yun had already made some mental preparations for the strange laboratory. Although the seven spatial cracks were treacherous, they weren't threatening enough to make Lin Yun worry.
A few magic runes had already appeared as the two were chatting, and the seven spatial cracks were marked one by one. This was to make it easier on Solomon and Fran. Their mastery of True Sight wasn't as good as Suyass' ability with it, and they didn't have Lin Yun's abnormal Magic Array, so they could only rely on the magic runes released by the other two to guide their path.
With their help, moving through the hall wasn't a big issue. Soon, the party of four crossed the pitch-black hallway and started climbing the stairs leading to the second floor. They didn't meet any real danger on the way, although there occasionally were a few trap arrays, which were cracked by Suyass.
The space in the stone tower's interior had clearly been expanded by an array. On the outside, it seemed to be only a hundred meters tall, but the second floor was an extremely wide expanse. There were as many as five libraries covering over several hundred meters of space, along with the discarded workshops on both sides and the various laboratory storerooms. Altogether, the entire 2nd floor was almost as big as the Victorious Return Street.
Unfortunately, the second floor had clearly been deserted for many years. Whether it was the libraries or the workshops, everything was covered in dust and spider webs. The four of them spent a lot of effort scouring the area to get a few intact books and materials from these places. And the laboratory storerooms were even worse. They were all empty, only filled with dust.
"How could Vaughn be so stingy..." Their gains were far too poor... How could the laboratory of an Artisan look like that? Solomon couldn't accept it.
"This isn't Vaughn being stingy..." Lin Yun wasn't surprised.
From the Maze Array to the two encounters with the puppets, and now these absolutely empty storerooms... Lin Yun had already made some conjectures about the situation of the laboratory, but it was inconvenient to talk about his guesses before having a confirmation.
"Okay, stop complaining and let's check the 3rd floor. I feel that there will be a great surprise on the 3rd floor..."
"Do you really think so?" Solomon had a dubious expression on his face. It wasn't that he didn't believe Lin Yun, but after seeing the empty first two floors, how could he have any expectations for the 3rd floor?
As a result, Solomon was gobsmacked when the party of four reached the top of the next flight of stairs.
"Where... Where is this?"
The 3rd floor was an entire workshop. In the center was a huge Magic Iron Forge, while several dozen workshops were producing different parts, forming an assembly line with the Magic Iron Forge as their core. There was an alchemy puppet at each post. Some were welding, some were assembling, and some were monitoring.
This was definitely a huge workshop used to produce puppets. Moreover, the scale was huge, far greater than anything the four had ever seen. If such a huge workshop was running at full production, it might be able to manufacture a huge puppet legion in a single night.
The huge Magic Iron Forge didn't let off a single spark, as the assembly line had already stopped. The puppets had already used their last bits of mana.
The huge workshop had already been shut down.
"Now we know why the 2nd floor was completely empty..."
"This scale is so frightening. If production were reinstated, would it make enough puppets to attack Thousand Sails City?" Solomon was stunned, and just seeing a workshop of this size frightened him.
"Three of Thousand Sails City still wouldn't be able to resist."
While the two talked, Fran suddenly looked like he was suffering. "I... I'm feeling a bit dizzy..."
"What's going on?" Suyass suddenly frowned. Although he wasn't fond of this fellow disciple, they were both from the Mercury Tower. Seeing Fran like this, Suyass immediately became nervous. After carefully checking on him, he sighed in relief. "It's not that severe, it might just be that you aren't able to stand the radiation of that magic metal. You should look for a place to rest and stay away from the Magic Iron Forge."
"Ah..." Fran nodded. As he left, the other three could clearly see him dragging his feet as he staggered along his way.
"Master Fran needs to strengthen his body..." Lin Yun smiled as he said that after seeing Fran leave.
"Yeah..." Suyass helplessly shook his head. Fran had already left, so they could speak boldly about him. "When he was young, Fran clashed with the Merlin Family a few times. He was severely injured during one of the clashes and never truly recovered. The effects of his injury still resurface from time to time, and because of this, he would always be very hostile with the Merlin Family. Merlin, I apologize on Fran's behalf if he did anything to offend you, but please don't lower yourself to his level..."
"Haha, this is a trivial matter..." Lin Yun smiled while gazing at Fran's back and thinking about the irony of that statement...
Eventually, Lin Yun turned back to the other two. "We can see the size of this workshop. If I'm not wrong, the materials from the 2nd floor's storerooms should be here. It would be better to split up again and see what we can harvest, don't you think?"
"Okay, like before, let's gather here in an hour."
"Very well, let's do it as before...."
Solomon did as he said, a few minutes after they went their separate ways, the 9th Rank High Mage once again returned to Lin Yun's side and was welcomed by Lin Yun rolling his eyes at him. Solomon straightforwardly said, "Like earlier, you pick what you'd like and I'll take the scraps..."
"You are very stubborn..."
"Don't think I don't know why you wanted to get rid of Suyass that fast, you definitely found something!" After cooperating with him for a few times, Solomon already had a good understanding of Merlin. Solomon knew that regardless of the circumstances, as long as he followed that young Great Mage, even if he only got the scraps, his harvest would far exceed what he would have gotten otherwise.
"Then you definitely guessed wrong this time..."
"Really. This time, I plan on following Master Fran."
"Fran?" Solomon looked suspiciously at Lin Yun. "Fran didn't go rest?"
"No, did you believe those words? An esteemed 5th Rank High Mage being unable to bear the radiation of magic metals? I think this is only an excuse used to deceive Suyass, but I didn't expect even you to get deceived..."
As the two were talking, Fran was already getting further away.
After leaving the other three, the anguished expression had disappeared from Fran's face. His steps were also more lively. He was following the assembly lines towards the center of the workshop.
'Hmpf, Mafa Merlin...' As he got closer and closer to the Magic Iron Forge, the smile on his face grew wider and wider.
Before, in order to ask for help from the Mercury Tower, Fran wrote a letter to Nolan. In the letter, he mentioned that he had found some information that suggested that this place might be Vaughn's laboratory. When reading the letter, Nolan and Karon had both felt that this had been a pretext used by Fran.
Only Fran himself knew.
He had truly conducted some research about it.
But that had been a long time ago, when he was still a mere Great Alchemist, and it had been a coincidence. He had obtained some partially incomplete information.
The author of the notes had once participated in the construction of the stone tower. It was just that everyone was killed after the tower was completed. The incomplete notes managed to circulate before landing in Fran's hands.
Thus, Fran understood some secrets of the stone tower...
The problem was that finding a never-before-seen stone tower was easier said than done. Fran only studied it for a while when he initially got the information, but then forgot about it.
He hadn't expected that this expedition would lead him to find the stone tower by entering Vaughn's laboratory, let alone that the stone tower would be the actual laboratory itself. At this time, Fran started paying attention to his surroundings and was shocked to find out that everything was exactly as it had been described in the notes...
That discovery made Fran feel overjoyed.
But Fran felt the need to be prudent here. When discovering this shocking fact, he didn't tell anyone and only endured as they went through the first two floors. When they reached the 3rd floor, Fran knew that he had to find a chance to move on his own. Because the most important thing written on the notes was regarding the 3rd floor of the stone tower...
That's why he feigned being dizzy as an excuse.
But unfortunately, he didn't know...
He wasn't the only one that had seen these notes...