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 Of course, Lys was very pleased with Lin Yun's performance.

After all, Fran was a genuine Archmage.

"Merlin never takes risks..." While Lys was lost in his thoughts, Solomon unhurriedly mentioned this.

"Hmm?" Lys paused as he thought about this. 'Yes, Merlin never took risks...'

He carefully considered what he had seen, and realized that this truly had been the case ever since he had first come into contact with that young Great Mage due to the hearing over the Hope Potion a few months ago.

Everything that young Great Mage said, every matter he brought up, all of it seemed absurd, but later on, everyone would always find out that the decision had been made after careful consideration. He was rarely seen taking risks, and it was even more unlikely for him to do something out of desperation.

'Would it be the same this time?'

The fight was still ongoing, and the two sides remained in the same posture, one attacking, one defending. All that had changed was that Fran had gotten up from the ground.

But the experienced mages in the joint exploration team such as Suyass, Solomon, and Lys all knew that this battle had already entered its most dangerous stretch.

Although the young Great Mage had remained on the offensive this whole time and seemed to have the advantage, he was actually walking on a tightrope. One mistake could make him fall into a bottomless abyss. Fran was an Archmage, so if he found the opportunity to counterattack, with the crushing differential in power, he would easily tear his opponent to shreds.

In reality, Fran was also waiting for it.

To Fran, the course of this battle had been quite unexpected...

That sudden Flame Burst completely ruined Fran's rhythm, and it also ruined any semblance of reputation Fran had left, forcing him into acting like a passive punching bag.

But Fran believed that this situation would only be temporary.

As an Archmage, how could he be suppressed by a 9th Rank Great Mage? Every single one of an Archmage's moves would be imbued with formidable mana. A Great Mage wouldn't be able to resist some casually released mana from an Archmage... It was a crushing power.

He only had to endure for now.

As long as the other side eventually made a mistake, he would be able to reverse the tide of the battle and return everything he had endured with interest.

Fran couldn't help sneering as he thought, 'Mafa Merlin, you are truly naive, do you really think that you can contend with an Archmage without that special Flame Burst? This frantic attempt to suppress my spells is ridiculous.

'You are only a 9th Rank Great Mage, yet you want to defeat an Archmage with that power? You are dreaming! How much mana do you have left? How many spells can you cast? Even if you luckily managed to suppress me momentarily, how long will you be able to keep it up for?'

'So what if you can suppress me for thirty seconds? So what if you have the upper hand for a minute? As soon as you make a single mistake, I'll tear you apart. You don't have any chance to win this battle unless you can suppress me from start to finish so that I can't even cast a spell the whole time.

'But is that even possible? Could a 9th Rank Great Mage ever be able to keep suppressing an Archmage? Let alone you, even Suyass wouldn't be able to with such a difference in power.'

Thus, Fran remained calm amidst the continuous bombardment of spells. He kept protecting himself while patiently waiting for his opportunity, a sneer on his face.

But that sneer gradually faded.

Because for some reason, the attacks weren't letting up.

Three minutes had already, passed yet the other side had yet to make a mistake. He was like a machine, accurate and efficient. All his spells seemed to have come from a textbook, making it impossible for anyone to find a loophole.

This felt very uncomfortable.

Fran clearly saw that that the other side didn't try to burst him down; he only used basic spells and didn't even use metamagic.

But these common spells kept coming one after the other, giving Fran no room to breathe. He felt as if he had fallen into a swamp, and the more he struggled, the deeper he sank.

Fran started panicking.

'What's going on? I definitely reached the Archmage realm and that guy is clearly only a 9th Rank Great Mage, so why does this battle feel so difficult? ...Will I lose?' A sudden thought flashed through Fran's mind.

This was the first time it even occurred to him that he could lose this battle.

Fran was scared by this thought.

'How can I lose!?'

He never thought this could happen, he had never considered this a battle.

Who would describe a fight between an Archmage and a Great Mage as a battle?

But now, Fran had suddenly discovered that he might really lose.

Because that battle had already entered a rhythm that Fran couldn't break. The impeccable continuous suppression wasn't letting up, and it didn't give him any chance. This was no longer Fran waiting for the other side making a mistake in his offense, but rather Merlin waiting for Fran to make a mistake in his defense.

'What can I do?' Fran suddenly lost his nerve. He wouldn't be able to handle the consequences of losing that battle.

It wouldn't just be the loss of the loot priority.

This also involved the only thing Fran relied on, the Crystal Scales.

It was hardly an exaggeration to say that if Fran lost this battle, he might lose everything!

'No way, I can't let this continue!'

At this time, Fran no longer had the patience to wait for his opponent to make a mistake, and thus, he started gathering all his mana to burst out in a last-ditch effort.

But...

But Fran forgot that haste makes waste. For a mage, a hectic mind was the worst enemy.

Fran left a hole in his defenses when he gathered his power to attack. The Elemental Shield that he had managed to recast was about to disappear, but he didn't spend any mana making a Runic Shield to fill the gap, just so he could burst faster.

He was trying his luck. He thought that the other side wouldn't notice such a small gap, giving him enough time to attack.

But in the end, Fran was mistaken once again.

Right when the Elemental Shield disappeared, a flame appeared in Lin Yun's palm. It was finger-sized and was burning neither fiercely nor brightly, yet Suyass let out an alarmed cry the instant that flame appeared.

Because he recognized that flame. It was the flame Merlin had used in the forest to kill the Alpha Thunderbird.

Unfortunately, Suyass cry of alarm came too late.

That flame was already flying over before Fran could even launch an attack. It instantly transformed into a brilliant flame, and just like a whip, it fiercely lashed at Fran.

"Merlin!" Suyass reacted quickly. After his alarmed cry, Suyass had already started casting an Ice Wall around Fran, trying to protect him.

Ice Wall was a 6th Tier spell famous for its defensive power.

But the dazzling flame was only hindered by the Ice Wall for a mere moment before sweeping over Fran's body.

"Aaah!" Fran screamed as he was once again sent flying.

No one dared to talk... Or breathe in the treasury.

Time seemed to be frozen.

A loud "bang" could be heard as Fran landed with a heavy crash. After a while, Fran spat a mouthful of blood. He struggled, trying to get up, but he kept falling back on the ground.

It wasn't a Flame Burst this time.

It was the work of the Upper Rank Flame Spirit, a power close to the Archmage rank. It could kill an Alpha Thunderbird when unleashed, let alone Fran.

Without the protection from the Elemental Shield or Runic Shield, Fran only managed to survive due to the Ice Wall that Suyass had formed.

That Ice Wall had absorbed at least half of the Upper Rank Flame Spirit's force by cutting its momentum, while Fran took the rest of the damage head-on.

But even so, Fran nearly lost his life.

His robe had already been shredded by the berserk mana fluctuations and pieces were hanging down Fran's body. Blood and dust made him look rather pitiful. His right shoulder and arm were hanging down powerlessly, almost crippled.

"High Mage Fran..." Lin Yun slowly walked through the dust and smoke towards Fran. He felt around in his pocket and fished out two Hell Cores. "Do you still feel like calling me a cheater?"

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