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 Ritch wanted to kick Ross when he heard that. 'What do you mean you made a background check? Couldn't you go to Thousand Sails City yourself to see how influential the Gilded Rose is? To see what the famous figures of Thousand Sails City such as Solomon, Cadgar, or Lys think of your younger cousin? It's not that hard...

'Thousand Sails City is only a few days away from Okland, it would only have taken you a few days to visit Thousand Sails City and check! You would naturally have understood why your cousin isn't interested in what you offered... He is a Master Alchemist that isn't even 22! He is someone who beat an Archmage when he was only a 9th Rank Great Mage! All of Okland's geniuses are far inferior to your distant cousin. What Aube Merlin? What Leon Merlin? What Stan Watson? They are far inferior to him...

'If you had learnt this, would you still be willing to use your alchemy techniques and magic knowledge as a bargaining chip?'

Ritch really wanted to tell Ross the truth...

But he couldn't say anything...

Ritch's friendship with Ross was indeed special. He owed Ross a big favor from the Raging Flame Plane.

That was why he didn't mind telling Ross that he was meeting a special VIP, and even some of the matters concerning that VIP. These things were already known to many inside the Black Horn chamber of commerce, and it wasn't a secret with a higher level of confidentiality.

But the identity of the special VIP...

This definitely couldn't be shared.

No one else knew right now besides that guard leader and himself.

He had to report this matter to the higher-ups immediately and wait for them to decide to what extent this information should be kept secret. Before that, he definitely couldn't leak this, even to Ross.

The problem was that if he didn't say anything, Ross would most likely cause some trouble.

The current Ross didn't know how terrifying his distant cousin was. He thought that the young mage was only an ordinary person from a small, distant town, and he even wanted to offer such meager techniques and knowledge to trade for something.

That was too dangerous.

With Ritch's understanding of Ross Merlin, he could definitely affirm that if Ross' transaction failed, he would definitely move on to threats and using force to snatch that thing. At that time, Ross would be finished. Even if Patriarch Ofran personally appeared, he might not be able to protect him.

'What should I do...'

Ritch saw Ross' confidence as recklessness.

'How about I give him some hints?'

As he thought of this, Ritch coughed. "Well, Ross, I think that your distant younger cousin isn't that simple. Why else would your patriarch be in such a hurry to get him back?"

"Haha, that should be because of William," Ross sneered. He had been annoyed by William repeatedly blocking his path. "After going to Thousand Sails City, William kept sending information to the family, embellishing the Gilded Rose's power. Patriarch Ofran is already convinced that the Gilded Rose is unbelievably wealthy. He thinks that as long as he can control that wealth for the Merlin Family, he will be able to surpass the Watson Family in some respects. It's ridiculous! The struggle between the Merlin Family and the Watson Family has been going on for a millennium, how could it be decided by mere wealth..."

"You..." Ritch had risked unveiling that secret to give him a hint, but Ross was still clueless. So Ritch had no choice but to keep a smile on his face while prodding him with another hint. "This seems a bit arbitrary. You think your younger cousin would be able to gain so much wealth in Thousand Sails City just by relying on William?"

"Well..." Ross' expression sank as he thought of this. "My younger cousin is indeed in control of a frightening force. It is very likely that an Archmage is protecting him. You should have learnt about Stan Watson's death already. I suspect that it is the work of an Archmage at Mafa's side. I asked Anna of the Red Dragon Mercenary Group and she said that it was the work of someone very young, probably in his early twenties and holding a staff with an Elemental Amber embedded in it. Help me look for that person if you can. I suspect that this is a shadow following Mafa..."

"..." Ritch nearly blew up in rage. He looked at Ross for a long time before finally sighing, choosing not to say anything else.

'How come you are so smart during each of your planar expeditions, yet retarded when dealing with such a matter... The Red Dragon Mercenary, Anna, already said that it was a young mage in his early twenties, how could you not link that to your distant cousin? Isn't your cousin in his early twenties?'

Ritch truly wanted to take out his staff and hit Ross on the head, at least twice, just to see if it would straighten him up.

"Alright, let's not talk about this here..." Ross didn't notice any change in Ritch's expression and sighed before continuing, "Help me take a look at the guest list, I want to know where my younger cousin is sitting..."

"I..." Ritch's eyes were locked onto Ross. After a while, he ground his teeth and said, "Alright, I'll help you take a look at it..."

Ritch gave up...

Nothing could be done about it. What else could he do? Tell him directly that the distant cousin he kept talking about was actually the special VIP that had just entered? This might end up causing big trouble for himself...

All he could do now was to hope that Ross would restrain himself. He would be courting death if he threatened his cousin after the transaction failed. That young High Mage was holding the Black Horn chamber of commerce's Gold VIP Voucher. Only the few top executives had the power to deliver those. In the Black Horn chamber of commerce's territories, anyone holding a Gold VIP Voucher would be under their protection. Even if that person killed someone, the Black Horn chamber of commerce would do everything within their means to shield them.

This meant...

If Ross Merlin made a mistake, he would die to Mafa Merlin without the latter suffering any real consequences.

"He went in, 5th row. He is sitting with William." Ritch sighed as he told Ross. But he didn't feel too reassured with leaving the matter alone, so he urged, "Also, Ross, you can talk business with him, but don't act without thinking if it fails. This is the Black Horn chamber of commerce's territory. It will be very hard for me to do anything if there is a problem..."

"Thanks, Ritch." Ross patted Ritch's shoulder. "I understand, I won't make a move in there..."

"..." Ritch was already struggling to keep his composure. 'Fuck, you are a 5th Rank High Mage, how could you be so retarded? Did I tell you only to not make a move here? I am telling you that if you can't come to an agreement, you should get out of here. He isn't someone you can afford to offend!'

Unfortunately, Ritch couldn't afford to say this explicitly, while Ross was completely oblivious. With a friendly smile, he entered the auction hall.

"Fucking idiot..." Ritch cursed after seeing Ross leave. But after cursing, he couldn't help following after him.

In order to not be sensed by that young High Mage, Ritch sat especially far back. He absent-mindedly greeted a few guests he recognized while unblinkingly looking at Ross, afraid he would trigger a calamity.

The auction had already started, but only some ordinary things were on display for now: some common potions, Inheritance rank Magic Tools, all kinds of magic materials that couldn't be considered rare, those sorts of things. Lin Yun wasn't interested in those, so he just chatted with William.

"Cousin, do you know that guy we met outside?"

"The guy outside?" William was distracted at first before remembering. "Ah, you are talking about the one dressed in gold and jewelry that is blinding everyone? Of course I know him, that's Salen Charlotte. The Merlin Family and the Charlotte Family had been mortal enemies, but since the appearance of Santon Merlin and the death of Fussen Charlotte, they remained low key. Very few members of the Charlotte Family would participate in the struggle in Okland. But somehow, the Charlotte Family got some support in the recent years and their strength quickly rose up, just like a phoenix being reborn from ashes. In fact, they organized an expedition to the Raging Flame Plane a few years ago. I am very familiar with that Salen Charlotte..."

"Oh?"

"At that time, all the major forces of Okland participated in the battle for the Raging Flame Plane, and the Charlotte Family also sent their own planar army. Salen Charlotte was among them. I was Leon's second back then. We were tasked with attacking the Radiant Fort. But when I reached the Radiant Fort, I found out that it was already occupied by the Charlotte Family..."

"You saw Leon's character. How could he leave the Radiant Fort to the Charlotte Family? He directly ordered an attack. At the time, Salen's strength was similar to mine. We fought for half an hour and ended up in a tie. After Leon took over the Radiant Fort, he rushed over and dealt with Salen. I was wronged... Salen didn't dare to take revenge on Leon, so he settled for me. When I returned to Thousand Sails City last time, he kept provoking me for a few days..."

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