Link had always been an unconventional existence in the Merlin Family. He would almost never appear and instead just remain hidden in the shadows. If Ofran didn't summon him, he might not be seen for a year or two. Even Ofran, the Patriarch himself, didn't know much about Link. Ofran only knew that Link was very powerful, but just how powerful... He didn't know. If he had to describe his strength, he would use the word "unfathomable".
That was right, Link felt unfathomable to Ofran.
For as long as Ofran could remember, Link had never gone all-out against someone. He would always act discreetly and smoothly, to the point that Ofran didn't even know what realm he had reached.
Ofran only knew that Link had lived for at least five hundred years.
Link was already in the Merlin Family during the era of Santon, always hiding behind Santon like a shadow, rarely making a move. But every time he did, it was at a crucial moment.
After Santon disappeared, Link remained in the Merlin Family and acted even less than before, only listening to the words of the Patriarch.
Only when the Patriarch's position was being handed over would the previous Patriarch tell this secret to the future Patriarch.
Ofran finally relaxed after sending out Link.
At this time, in the courtyard of a huge manor, a young mage in his thirties was sitting down with a smile on his face. A middle-aged man in his forties wearing a black robe with a red pattern on the cuffs was standing beside him. This was the symbol of a High Mage. But at this moment, the Great Mage was sitting while the High Mage was standing. That High Mage was even slightly bowing with a fawning expression on his face.
Even a blind person could see that the younger mage had far higher status than the middle-aged High Mage.
"Anthony, I sent you to check on my younger cousin, how is it?"
"Young Master Aube, this..." The High Mage named Anthony froze and the smile on his face became awkward. "I investigated a bit... I heard you say that this Mafa Merlin had been studying under Seth, so I used some channels and made some inquiries on Seth's side, but..."
"According to Seth, this Mafa Merlin doesn't stand out and might remain a Magic Apprentice all his life..."
"Magic Apprentice?" Aube was a strong contender to be the successor of the Merlin Family. Among the numerous geniuses of Okland, Aube Merlin was ranked at the forefront.
Hearing High Mage Anthony's report, Aube showed some amazement before quickly shaking his head, "This is impossible. If he truly had the strength of a Magic Apprentice, then no matter how wealthy he was, his wealth would immediately be seized. A Magic Apprentice is an ant, even in Thousand Sails City. If he wants to keep his wealth, he would need the power to defend himself..."
"Yes, Young Master Aube, I also feel that it is impossible for him to be just a Magic Apprentice..." Anthony fawned over Aube before continuing, "Moreover, a few of Seth's students belong to the side branches of the Merlin Family and are already Mages. They joined the Family's Mercenary Group. I went to look for them early this morning and from what they remembered, that Mafa Merlin always seemed cowardly when he studied under Seth. He was even bullied, yet he didn't dare to say anything. He would also keep to himself most of the time, this doesn't seem to..."
Anthony glanced awkwardly at Aube after saying this.
"Haha, you are trying to say that it doesn't match the current Mafa?"
"Yes, Young Master Aube. According to your description, Mafa watched what happened between William and Jason without saying a word. He wasn't scared by Jason and didn't try to dissuade William... This doesn't seem to match his former behavior..."
"Anthony, you are overthinking it. People change..." Aube smiled confidently, giving the feeling of having everything within the palm of his hand. "Thinking about it, it's been almost a year since Mafa left Seth's tower. During that year, Locke Merlin died in a shipwreck and the Flashing Gold chamber of commerce suddenly collapsed. Even if Locke left him some capital to make a comeback, making the Gilded Rose operate at this level isn't something that could be done in a day or two. How could Mafa Merlin not mature during this year? Not being pulled around by emotions is the most basic quality for a merchant..."
Aube paused for a moment before adding, "Naturally, his character can't change completely. Just as you said, Mafa didn't say anything after being humiliated by Jason and needed William to help him. I never thought that our younger cousin William would be this bold. The one standing behind Jason is someone that can give headaches to the Patriarch, Elder Logan, yet William dared to raise a hand against Jason."
"Maybe he gave up so he doesn't care anymore..."
"This is also possible. William will never have the opportunity to sit on the Patriarch's seat. No matter how troublesome Elder Logan can be, it wouldn't be that bad for him. But Ross, Leon, and I can't afford to offend Elder Logan..."
"Young Master Aube..." Anthony seemed to have thought of something. "This is an opportunity, if you can deal with this for Elder Logan, wouldn't you have one more ally in the Elder Council?"
"Haha..." Aube sneered when he heard this. "That old fox has been in the Elder Council for a few decades, how could he be moved by such a trivial thing? He would only support those that are strong enough, favors would be useless. It's a pity that Ross doesn't understand something so simple. I heard that he just sent someone to deal with Mafa..."
"We don't need to do anything. Just watch, let Ross take the initiative. In fact, I'm more interested in William. He does seem a lot stronger now, maybe he'll enter the High Mage realm soon and compete for the Patriarch seat with us, giving us one more contender..."
"Wasn't William a 5th Rank Great Mage when he left Okland? How could..."
"Haha, maybe it's due to some stroke of luck or some fortuitous encounter? It's not that hard to believe. At that time, Ross was only a child from a side branch and his bloodline wasn't very pure, but after having a fortuitous encounter, he suddenly joined the competition for the position of Successor..."
"Understood, Young Master Aube, I'll pay more attention to William Merlin."
While the two were talking, the door to William's courtyard was kicked open.
Indeed, it wasn't pushed, it was kicked.
A loud sound could be heard echoing outside.
The Draconic Beastman had been waiting for Lin Yun and William for a while and was quite impatient, pacing back and forth the whole time. When that sound echoed, his two ears stood up straight. He grabbed the Gold Essence Two-handed Hammer and stood still, confusion apparent on his dark red face...
Before Xiuban could recover, a group of people entered the courtyard.
There were about ten of them and they all seemed overbearing. They wore dark red leather armor that had a crest in the shape of a bloody longsword, displaying their status as the warriors of the Merlin Family's subordinate Dragon Slayer Mercenary Group.
The one in the lead was actually a mage. He was in his twenties, and from the silver line on his cuff, he ought to be a Great Mage.
After this Great Mage entered, he saw the Draconic Beastman holding his Gold Essence Hammer and froze. He then looked ecstatic as he said, "Good, William Merlin dares to shelter a Dark Flame Beastman in his home!"
In the past few years, the Dark Flame Beastmen continuously attacked the Gaugass' fortifications and forced their way into Andlusa three times. The king, in his anger, announced a bounty seven times, increasing the price of the head of a Dark Flame Beastman every time. Nowadays, an ordinary Dark Flame Beastman's head could be taken to mages for a huge sum of gold. In the bigger cities of the Andlusa Kingdom, no one dared to shelter Dark Flame Beastmen, because if found, they would have to eat prison food for a few years.
As for Xiuban, he was actually a Highland Beastman, the Beastmen known as the thieves and swindlers of the Beastman race. They never had any bounties placed on them in the Andlusa Kingdom.
The problem was that Xiuban's skin had already turned from green to dark red due to the fusion with the blood of the Three-Headed Golden Dragon. But this was also one of the characteristics of Dark Flame Beastmen...
Thus, that young Great Mage who was obviously looking for trouble seemed pleased when he saw Xiuban.
"What are you looking at? Start moving! Seize that damn Dark Flame Beastman!"