"How was it? Did you two get a good harvest?" Suyass seemed quite pleased with himself, likely because he had gotten some good stuff.
"Haha, so-so." Lin Yun chuckled but didn't elaborate. He only glanced at the distant Fran. Ever since he signed the contract with the Crystal Scales, Fran had become quite different. The mana fluctuations of the 5th Rank High Mage had been ordinary before, but now, Lin Yun could feel a surge of mana fluctuations, just like an unending tide...
Lin Yun knew that this was the power granted to him by the Crystal Scales.
Although Fran was only a 5th Rank High Mage, with the Crystal Scales equipped, he could display the power of an Archmage anytime. His power was at least five times greater than before.
The leap in strength gave Fran boundless confidence.
He was completely different from before, no longer acting meek in front of Lin Yun, and instead, he was now proudly smiling.
"Well, Mafa Merlin, Solomon, you two are ten minutes late. You can leave the nonsense for later, let's first go to the 4th floor. That's the most important part of the stone tower." Fran bluntly criticized the two energetically.
Lin Yun and Solomon didn't say anything in reply, but Suyass frowned as he looked at Fran, his gaze carrying apparent dissatisfaction.
But Fran was too conceited now, so how could he care about Suyass' dissatisfaction?
The group of four found a path leading to the 4th floor at the edge of the Magic Iron Forge. They could see how distorted the space in the stone tower was, as the path to the 4th floor took no less than an hour to traverse.
Both sides of the path were filled with metal cages. It was unknown what these metal cages had once held, but they were now empty. On the way, they saw a few hundred cages, some of which were especially huge, and there were even some shocking residual mana fluctuations left.
"This should be where Vaughn kept magic beasts locked up..." Solomon wasn't unfamiliar with these kinds of metal cages as the master of the Sage Tower. In fact, whether it was the Sage Tower or the Cloud Tower, they both had areas specialized for imprisoning magic beasts.
"Yes, this should be a place used for experiments..." Lin Yun nodded. It wasn't strange for an alchemist like Vaughn to do some experimentation on magic beasts. After all, it was even rumored that the Dark Sage himself had once captured a Demon Lord to complete an experiment.
"What... What about the magic beasts?" Solomon suddenly froze and gulped. Everyone knew that the magic beasts used for experiments were usually well-watched. But the hundreds of metal cages were all empty...
For this to happen meant that a large number of magic beasts had escaped.
Thus, the question was... Where had they fled to?
There had been no signs of magic beasts in the first three floors...
Moreover, with the eight flying puppets patrolling around the tower, even flying magic beasts might not necessarily be able to escape. The was only one possibility left...
And as he thought of it, Solomon looked up.
Indeed. The 4th floor was the only place the magic beasts could have gone to.
"It's fine, it's fine. Vaughn was only an Archmage, even if he caught a few magic beasts for experimentation, they wouldn't be too powerful." Solomon could only comfort himself like this.
"That isn't certain..." But Lin Yun bluntly poured cold water over him. Although Vaughn only had the strength of an Archmage, one shouldn't forget that he had inherited the legacy of the Dark Sage. The three Heaven Rank puppets were almost unequalled in that era. Numerous Heaven Rank powerhouses had no choice but to bow their heads in front of Vaughn. Not many magic beasts would be able to escape if he wanted to catch one.
As the two discussed, Fran bluntly reprimanded, "What's the point of saying that? There is no trace of any magic beasts. You are spineless, if you are afraid you can stay here while Suyass and I go to the 4th floor."
"Haha..." Lin Yun only chuckled again. Fran wanted to put on a show. Let alone magic beasts escaping, even if a Demon Lord escaped, he would have used that opportunity to put him down.
After walking for an hour, the path that felt endless to the group of four finally reached its end.
'Worthy of Vaughn...' Lin Yun inwardly sighed when he finally stepped onto the 4th floor of the stone tower. The final Artisan of the 3rd Dynasty had truly reached an outrageous level in the field of alchemy and spent a great amount of effort on this stone tower.
This was proven by the scenery in front of them.
Blue sky, white clouds, forests, rivers, mountains...
Everything felt like the real world!
Standing there, who would have thought that this was merely a place inside the stone tower?
All this was even enough to stun Lin Yun, to the point that he felt somewhat doubtful. Was Vaughn really only an Artisan? After all, world creation belonged to the domain of Saint Alchemists.
"There is movement ahead..." As Lin Yun sighed in admiration, Suyass cast a Mage Eye and quickly sent it to the forest. A short moment after, the Archmage looked amazed. "It's Lys and all the others!"
"Ah?" Suyass' words startled Lin Yun.
He originally thought that the Fortune Box had sent Lys and the others to different locations in the laboratory, but he hadn't expected them to all be teleported to the 4th floor.
Surprised, Lin Yun cast a Mage Eye of his own.
Sure enough, the other members of the joint exploration team were about a kilometer ahead, in the forest. Lin Yun looked around and saw Lys, Badrack, Xiuban, William, and the others.
It's just that the sixteen of them weren't in a very optimistic position.
To be more precise, they were caught in a dangerous battle.
They were fighting over a hundred Thunderbirds.
Moreover, the birds were each at least level 20 and seemed to be going wild as they assailed the group. The wings of the leading Thunderbird were ten meters long when stretched out, and it looked like a golden cloud when diving down. For magic beasts like Thunderbirds, the higher level they were, the bigger they would be. Lin Yun estimated that this Thunderbird was already level 25...
Along with its hundred subordinates, that battle could only be described as frightening. Lightning could be seen spreading for a few hundred meters. The team had gathered together as closely as possible, relying on Sasu's shield and the Runic Shield jointly cast by the few High Mages to keep the group of Thunderbirds at bay.
But counterattacking was impossible.
Lin Yun estimated that the way it was going, they would only last five more minutes. At that point, the High Mages would suffer from mana exhaustion and the Runic Shield would dissipate. Sasu's shield wouldn't be enough to hold back those frightening Thunderbirds.
"Let's help them as fast as possible." Suyass cast Flight as he said that. He turned into a sharp arrow, piercing towards the forest.
Lin Yun and Solomon used Elemental Incarnation and arrived in the forest after a few Flame Flashes.
The fight was already at its most critical juncture when the group of four entered the forest. Two of the High Mages had already suffered from mana exhaustion, causing a good part of the Runic Shield to start cracking. A few Thunderbirds rushed down and the intense current in their claws made a mess of the formation.
Suyass fortunately arrived on time.
He cast a Freeze spell at the flock of birds, turning three of the Thunderbirds that had rushed in into ice statues. Suyass didn't waste time and quickly cast an Elemental Shield before rushing to engage the biggest Thunderbird.
He was rather straightforward, planning to have the greatest effect by dealing with the leader of the Thunderbirds.
But the Alpha Thunderbird was level 25, and when it saw Suyass rush over, it didn't even try to avoid him. It unfolded its ten-meters-long wings and a berserk electrical current was discharged.
One was a newly advanced Archmage, and the other was a level 25 Alpha Thunderbird. When they clashed, only a burst of electrical current and scattering magic runes could be seen.
Lin Yun and Solomon rushed over at this time. They didn't say anything to the others before quickly filling the spots of the two High Mages and mending the cracks of the Runic Shield.
But Lin Yun and Solomon were much stronger than the two High Mages they were replacing, so with the addition of Suyass pinning down the Alpha Thunderbird, the battle was well on its way to being turned around. Not only was the Runic Shield mended, but the joint exploration team was now able to counterattack.
"Merlin, how come you are here?" Lys finally had enough leeway to ask.
"We just walked up from the 1st floor of the stone tower."
"What?" But they hadn't expected that such a mundane answer would make Lys cry out in alarm. "This isn't Gaugass?"