"What... What do you want to do!?" The young Great Mage became even paler as he looked at Xiuban's dark red face, which seemed very sinister to him. It was even more so after Xiuban laughed evilly while caressing his hammer, looking more and more perverted.
"What am I doing? Hehehehe..." Xiuban was already immersed in the pleasure of discovering such a powerful weapon. He couldn't stop giggling, and when the young Great Mage noticed his eerie smile, he almost peed his pants on the spot.
"D-Don't... Don't..." The young Great Mage took a few steps back, his eyes filled with fear as he retreated. "Don't come over..."
"Hehehehe..." Xiuban slowly walked closer to the Great Mage while holding his hammer.
This was an extremely strange scene.
And fortunately for Xiuban, William hadn't held much importance in the Merlin Family before. He was only one of the stronger members of the younger generation that couldn't participate in the succession fight, so usually, no one would visit his courtyard. Otherwise, they would catch Xiuban in the act.
Ten warriors on the ground, a Great Mage and a Beastman on the side, one retreating step by step, the other advancing step by step. The atmosphere in the courtyard was very weird.
Someone was there to save the young Great Mage.
William had returned.
"What's going on?" William's face sank when he discovered that someone had broken the door to his courtyard.
But... He soon saw that strange scene...
One retreating while stuttering threats, one advancing while giggling, it looked quite comical. William even forgot about his door and crossed his arms over his chest as he calmly watched.
"William, you, you... You dare shelter a Dark Flame Beastman! I'll report you to the Elder Council!" Seeing William, that young Great Mage shouted as if he was grasping at his last straw.
But the way he shouted was a bit wrong...
William originally wanted to stop Xiuban, but when he heard that shout, he swallowed his words and instead sneered, "Report me if you can."
"You..." The young Great Mage's expression became unsightly.
Although William wasn't as important as Aube or Ross, he was still a direct descendant of the Merlin Family. Sheltering a Dark Flame Beastman might send most people into prison for a few years, but the Merlin Family's descendants would at most be reprimanded. So what if he told the Elder Council?
His own situation was a lot more troublesome.
'That damned Dark Flame Beastman keeps approaching with its creepy smile while fondling that weapon, I'll be seriously injured if it touches me!'
"William, if... if you do this, Ross won't let you off!" The young Great Mage was panicking. He thought that by using his backer, he would be able to escape this situation.
Unfortunately, things didn't go as the young Great Mage imagined.
"Haha, Ross..." The name which held boundless respect in that Great Mage's heart was only worth a sneer in front of William.
William might have been afraid of the consequences in the past...
After all, he was one of the most talented geniuses of the Merlin Family. His strength and talent exceeded that of Aube and Leon, but because he was born in a side branch, he had only been suppressed by Aube.
Unfortunately for this young Great Mage, William was no longer the same.
Remaining in Thousand Sails City for half a year had let William reach a whole new level. William saw a 9th Rank Great Mage suppress an Archmage, so how could he care about Ross?
Moreover, William had acquired the Soul Inheritance from that damaged crest. He was completely reborn and had stepped in the High Mage realm. His future was boundless. Using Ross' name to pressure him was a wrong move.
"William, you seem a lot bolder after half a year..."
At this time, another group entered.
The one in the lead was a seemingly thirty-year-old man that looked quite carefree. Although there was a long scar on his face, it didn't make him ugly, but instead increased his charisma. As he stood there, whether it was the fallen Great Swordsmen, the retreating Great Mage, the pervert Beastman, or the reborn William, they all looked at him.
He gave the feeling of always being the center of attention.
"Ross, why did you come?" William's heart tightened. That name was a shadow that none of the younger Merlins could get rid of.
As long as they had the Merlin name, they couldn't ignore Ross' existence.
Born in the side branches, he didn't have powerful backing or outstanding talent. At 24, he was only a 5th Rank Mage. That power wasn't enough to enter the Gilded Rose's Mercenary Group. Who knew the name Ross Merlin back then?
But after he was 24, Ross Merlin rose up like a comet.
It only took him one year to reach the Great Mage realm. Five ranks in a single year, this caused a sensation in the Merlin Family.
But it wasn't over yet.
After rising those five ranks in one year, Ross kept quickly progressing and advanced even more ranks in another year, becoming a 5th Rank Great Mage. After two years, he stepped into the High Mage realm, and his Magic Conducting Rune was the Endless Spring that no one in the Merlin Family managed to form in five hundred years. Santon Merlin was the last person to form the Endless Spring in the Family, and was known for his endless reserves of mana.
After fusing Nine Endless Springs into one, Ross' mana reached a realm that a High Mage could never dream of. Just by relying on that Magic Conducting Rune that had never appeared in five hundred years, Ross sit at the number one position of the younger generation despite being a member of a side branch.
And this wasn't self-proclaimed...
Three years ago, Ross went deep into the Raging Flame Plane and single-handedly charged into a Crimson Fort occupied by over a thousand Raging Flame Beastmen. He fought for seven days and nights without rest before taking back the Crimson Fort.
After this fight, Ross' position in the Merlin Family skyrocketed, becoming one of the powerful contenders for the Successor position from his previous position as a mere side branch member.
Even his fellow contenders, Aube and Leon, were speechless about this.
Despite having been completely transformed in this half a year, William, who had been wondering if he could now stand up to Ross, couldn't help frowning when facing him.
It couldn't be helped, as Ross' battle in the Raging Flame Plane had left a deep shadow in his mind.
It was a subconscious reaction.
But his frown quickly disappeared.
William had realized that he was no longer the same, he had changed after everything he'd experienced since he left the family.
Nowadays, he was leading the Gilded Rose' Mercenary Group. He had fifty Great Mages under his command and had entered the laboratory of the final Artisan of the 3rd Dynasty. Let alone Ross, William even believed that Santon Merlin might not have had as many diverse experiences as him at this age.
Not to mention, there was still his unfathomable cousin, Mafa, standing behind him.
If there was one person who could make William feel dread, it was definitely Mafa Merlin. William knew more than anyone how terrifying his younger cousin could be.
Xiuban was a good example. With Carnage in his hand, a dozen Great Swordsmen were laying on the ground and one Great Mage almost peed his pants. Wasn't that frightening enough?
William himself was a good example. In just half a year, he advanced from 5th Rank Great Mage to 2nd Rank High Mage, and even now, he was still advancing at a frightening speed. He might even manage to become a 9th Rank High Mage before turning 40. Wasn't that miraculous enough?
But William knew that whether it was the frightening Xiuban or himself, they had both benefited from Mafa Merlin's training.
It could be Xiuban, it could be himself, but it also could have been others instead.
He and Xiuban had only been lucky enough to follow that younger cousin.
In contrast, what did Ross even count as?
He was only the number one of the Merlin Family's younger generation. He may have the Endless Spring Magic Conducting Rune, but he was still an ant in front of an Archmage.
But Mafa Merlin, while he was still a 9th Rank Great Mage, had already defeated Fran, who had reached the Archmage realm.
The gap between them was too great.
Since that was the case, how could he be nervous facing Ross?
"Haha, I heard from someone that you took our younger cousin back from Thousand Sails City and that I should come to check on him. Where is he?"
"Cousin?" William had already recovered, so he wasn't at all angered by Ross' condescending attitude. He only smiled as he replied, "Cousin Mafa went out to deal with something, he should be back soon."