More and more people came out of the portal. After Lin Yun and Suyass arrived, William, Xiuban, and Solomon appeared. They were then followed by Lys, Badrack, Sauss, and the others... It took about ten minutes before all twenty members of the joint exploration team reached the treasury.
Their expressions were all exactly the same. They were all stunned by the many chests of loot and the piles of magic materials. They all looked around like starving beasts looking at prey...
The atmosphere was too frightening.
"Merlin... Could... could you buy the entire Thousand Sails City with this?" Solomon stuttered.
"At least ten of it..."
Solomon held his breath.
"Worthy of Vaughn, worthy of Vaughn..." Lys rubbed his hands together, feeling excited and also relieved.
He had been feeling a lot of pressure for this whole trip.
The nine forces of Thousand Sails City had come out at full strength, an unprecedented event. As the organizer, Lys was under pressure that others couldn't imagine. Fortunately, this huge treasury was more than enough to vindicate his original recommendation.
But even though Lys was excited, he couldn't ignore his previous agreement with Lin Yun. He was rubbing his hands energetically, but he first said, "Merlin, according to our previous agreement, you have loot priority when it comes to magic materials, it's time..."
Although Lin Yun hadn't cracked many arrays, he had saved the group many times. When they entered the Maze Array, if Lin Yun hadn't mentioned that they were going in circles in the body of the Void Python, no one would have noticed that they were pacing back and forth on the verge of death.
It could be said that Lin Yun deserved a double share of the loot or more, not just the right to choose first.
A few leaders parroted Lys' words.
"Right, right, Merlin, you go first, you go first..."
But, while everyone else was speaking in unison, one inharmonious voice interrupted.
"Hold on!" Fran was obviously the one that wasn't satisfied.
In the current joint exploration team, even the Archmage Suyass wouldn't object to Lin Yun having loot priority. Only Fran would object at this time.
"High Mage Fran, what are you trying to do?" Lys' tone was extremely cold. After all, he had a pretty good relationship with Fran before the exploration, or else he wouldn't have introduced Lin Yun to Fran during the first meeting.
But that introduction had gone all wrong.
And now, the relationship between the two had changed dramatically. Lys felt that Fran was becoming more and more unfamiliar to him, and sometimes he even doubted whether he had truly known Fran before.
"I'm not trying to do anything, but Lys, everyone knows the value of that batch of magic materials. You can't decide the owner of such wealth with just a few sentences, can you?"
"What do you mean a few sentences? Everyone, including yourself, Fran, already agreed that Merlin was in charge of cracking arrays. In exchange, he would gain the first pick of magic materials. If you had any opinion about it, you should have said it then. You didn't speak up then, yet you don't agree now, I naturally have to ask you what you are trying to do, Fran!" Since things had reached this stage, Lys was very blunt.
"Haha, I agreed?" Unfortunately, Fran was decided on setting himself against them. With such a huge batch of magic materials, the difference between the one who would pick first and the one who would pick last could easily amount to ten million golds. Faced with such a huge potential disparity, how could the shameless Fran put his reputation before the valuable magic materials?
"Lys, try to remember, did I ever say that I agreed? From the beginning, it was your group from Thousand Sails City talking among yourselves. Did you ever care about Suyass' opinion or mine?"
"You..." Lys was so angry that he was almost at the point of spitting blood. Fran indeed never had said that he agreed. The problem was that Merlin's loot priority had already been decided before they arrived. Even after knowing this, Fran still joined the exploration team. This was already a default condition of joining. Saying that he had never agreed was utterly shameless.
The problem was that Lys truly couldn't say anything to the shameless Fran...
"What? Did you people from Thousand Sails City think our Mercury Tower is easy to bully?" Fran complacently asked when he saw Lys' expression.
"Fran, you shouldn't say that much." At this time, even Suyass couldn't keep watching from the side. But in Suyass' position, he had no reason to lessen his chance to get a larger share, so he only gave Fran a reminder before falling silent again.
"It's like this, Mafa Merlin, don't say that I didn't give you a chance." Fran proudly looked at Lin Yun before calmly continuing, "You originally asked for loot priority if you cracked the arrays, so I'll give you a chance..."
"Take a closer look. There is an uncracked array in this treasury. I'll give you a fair chance, if you can break that array before I do, I'll acknowledge your right to the loot priority. But if you break that array after me, then that loot priority comes to me..."
Fran finally exposed his real goal.
"Fran, you are counting your chickens before they hatch..." Lys sneered. "Merlin, you don't need to bother dealing with him. Your loot priority is something we all acknowledge. Fran doesn't represent everyone..."
"It's okay, Leader Lys." Lin Yun smiled at Lys before walking out from the group. "High Mage Fran, after you."
"Haha, you should find out what kind of array it is first..." Fran laughed proudly. If it had been before, Fran might have still rushed to try to get a head start, but he didn't see a need for it now. After obtaining the loyalty from the Crystal Scales, no one understood the treasury more than he did.
He had a clear understanding of that array. Now, with the help of the Crystal Scales, he had the alchemy knowledge of an Artisan. In time, he would use that knowledge to make Lin Yun embrace his defeat.
Mafa Merlin might still be looking for the array by the time Fran himself was able to finish cracking it.
"Alright then..." Lin Yun shook his head. "But, High Mage Fran, I hope that you don't regret it..."
"Me, regret it? Truly funny..."
"I hope so..." With that, Lin Yun ignored Fran and directly fished out a bottle of Melting Snow Ink before walking through the narrow passage in the middle of the treasury.
"Mafa Merlin, you should hurry up and look for the array..." Fran was smiling as he saw Lin Yun walking. He provoked him while rousing the power of the Crystal Scales...
"Ah?" At this time, Suyass felt something strange. As an Archmage, he was the most sensitive to changes in mana fluctuations. Just as Fran roused the power of the Crystal Scales, Suyass noticed that the mana fluctuations in the surroundings were becoming abnormal.
And as Fran's mana fluctuations grew fiercer, even Lys felt something wrong...
The mana fluctuations emitted by Fran were no longer those of a 5th Rank High Mage. At first, it seemed like only 6th Rank or 7th Rank, but soon, these fluctuations reached 8th Rank and showed signs of reaching 9th Rank.
'What's going on?' Lys was baffled. This was no joke. The mana fluctuations reached a level comparable to Solomon's. Compared to the previous Fran, it felt like two different people.
And it didn't stop there.
They were still growing stronger, and soon, they were just a step away from the Archmage realm.
'How could this be!' Lys didn't dare to believe what was happening. Fran had just been a 5th Rank High Mage, yet now, he had power on par with Solomon.
The rising power of the mana fluctuations showed no signs of stopping.
Lys suddenly had an ominous premonition.
'Don't tell me... Archmage?'
Just as Lys thought about it, the mana fluctuations within Fran's body broke through the limit and he instantly reached the Archmage realm! 'Heavens...' His face turned deathly white. 'Archmage, he... Archmage...! No wonder Fran showed such confidence! Turns out he already grasped the power of an Archmage...
'Over, it's all over.'
Although Merlin's strength was deep and unfathomable, he was only a 9th Rank Great Mage. How could he compete with an Archmage?