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 A young mage in his twenties wearing a spotless white robe came in. His eyebrows looked similar to William's, but he looked a bit younger.

"You are?"

"I am Aube Merlin, you ought to call me Cousin." After the young mage named Aube entered the room, he sat across Lin Yun as he introduced himself while casually looking at the papers on the table.

"Hello." Lin Yun nodded, not stopping Aube. The true Elemental Tide was still in his hands, while the sheets left on the table had only been used for deduction. They were full of complex formulas and dull data, and moreover, no one apart from Lin Yun himself could understand the codes he had been using.

"Haha..." Sure enough, Aube only flipped through a few pages before putting them back in their original place, but not without displaying a mocking smile. "I hadn't expected you to be so hardworking..."

"It's just me passing the time." Lin Yun frowned once again. "I wonder Why Cousin Aube is looking for me?"

"Oh, right..." Aube leaned against the back of his chair and adjusted himself into a more comfortable position. "I came today for two matters. The first one is to make your acquaintance, Cousin Mafa. After all, there are plenty of Merlin children spread through various cities, but you are the only one to be summoned by Patriarch Ofran. As for the second matter..."

Aube Merlin paused there, before continuing, "The second matter is a business deal I would like to discuss with you."

"Eh?" Lin Yun was surprised at first, before smiling. "Why? Cousin Aube is also interested in the alchemy business?"

"Naturally..." Aube nodded as he smiled proudly. "Cousin Mafa, I believe you heard a bit about me after returning here. I think you should know that I am one of the most outstanding alchemists of the Merlin Family!"

"Haha..." Lin Yun had a noncommittal smile on his face.

"Alright, Cousin Mafa, let's not beat around the bush. I know you'll meet some trouble from the Elder Council, but I have a few allies in the Elder Council. There would be no problem if I said a few words..."

"Indeed, I would have to thank Cousin Aube in that case. But Cousin Aube, what would I have to do for you and your allies to speak on my behalf?

"Hahaha, speaking with someone smart is a lot easier..." After bursting into laughter, Aube slowly stood up from the chair. He put both hands on the table and looked at Lin Yun with an arrogant and prideful expression. "You would have to do something very simple... Let me become a shareholder of the Gilded Rose. I will use three millions to invest in the Gilded Rose for a 40% share!"

"Eh?" Lin Yun looked at Aube for a full ten seconds before smiling. "Cousin Aube, you sure are quite the jester..."

Three million golds.

Just for words!

"Haha, you don't have to agree." Aube's smile was filled with confidence.

In Aube Merlin's eyes, there was no question as to whether Lin Yun would accept the offer.

The entire Merlin Family knew that the Elder Council had already come to a consensus and wanted that kid to hand over the Gilded Rose. This wasn't the decision of an Elder, or a few Elders... This was the joint decision of the entire Elder Council.

And this was all due to the commotion Lin Yun had raised the previous month, back in the Black Horn Auction.

He spent millions for a handful of magic materials, to the point of making Hanson Charlotte spit out blood on the spot. This kind of wealth was very shocking, even in Okland. How could these old geezers of the Elder Council not be envious?

Hearing of this, Aube Merlin knew that his opportunity had arrived.

Everyone knew that the three geniuses of the Merlin Family's younger generation were competing to become the next patriarch. It wasn't just Ross and Aube, even Leon, who came from the Cloud Tower, had been working hard for a few years. Ross went through many planar wars and formed his Planar Legion while Leon gained the support of the Cloud Tower. The Cloud Tower would greatly help him if he asked.

Only Aube was left...

He was a 5th Rank High Mage and a Master Alchemist, but he didn't have enough support and could only watch as Ross Merlin's Planar Legion swept through one plane after the other, he could only watch as Leon solidified his support from the Cloud Tower, he could only watch as he was getting further and further away from becoming the patriarch.

But an opportunity finally appeared before him.

Indeed, this opportunity was the Gilded Rose.

Aube was a Master Alchemist, and he understood the Gilded Rose far more than those elders. Aube even personally went there and saw how that alchemy store monopolized the market with his own eyes.

It was hardly an exaggeration to say that it was a behemoth producing enormous amounts of wealth every day. Aube couldn't help becoming green with envy every time he saw those items with the mark of the Gilded Rose. How great would it be if that wealth were in his hands?

By relying on that wealth, he would be able to secure his position as the next patriarch and would lead the Merlin Family to crush their rivals, the Watson Family and the Charlotte Family, the latter of which was recently on the rise. He could even make the family rise to being one of the greatest forces of Andlusa.

In contrast...

Leaving that wealth in Mafa Merlin's hands was really wasteful.

It could clearly be seen from last month's auctions. Millions of golds had been used for a few magic materials. This proved that this cousin of his lacked ambition. Otherwise, he would have used that sum to arm a mercenary group. Even if that wasn't enough to take over a plane, it would be more than enough to protect the Gilded Rose. It would allow that behemoth to grow bigger and stronger. Wasn't this better than buying a few magic materials?

In Aube Merlin's eyes, this wealth could only be used properly in his own hands.

And now, he finally had his opportunity.

Those greedy elders were truly impatient. It hadn't even been two months since Mafa Merlin returned to the Family, yet they couldn't even wait and were about to force him to hand over the Gilded Rose.

This was incredibly stupid.

It hadn't been long enough since he returned and he didn't have anyone he was familiar with besides William. He had no sense of belonging to the Family... This was forcing him into a dead end.

From Aube's point of view, it would be better to wait a few years until Mafa Merlin had thoroughly assimilated into the Merlin Family to the point where they were both interlinked. Then, they would slowly get bits and pieces of the Gilded Rose by slowly nibbling away at it. At some point, even if the Merlin Family couldn't get the entire Gilded Rose, they would definitely occupy a key position in the alchemy market.

But unfortunately, those geezers of the Elder Council simply couldn't understand this logic.

But it was good, because it gave Aube a chance.

He could use this opportunity to strike a deal with Mafa Merlin.

He was relying on the help of some of these geezers who owed him a favor. Otherwise, he wouldn't rashly offer such a deal to Mafa Merlin, because he would certainly be declined without enough leverage. But now, unless Mafa Merlin was a fool, he wouldn't be able to refuse this offer due to the pressure of the Elder Council.

Thus, Aube was full of confidence, waiting silently.

Time slowly passed, but Aube wasn't in a hurry.

Because he knew that the other party was pondering over it and weighing the pros and cons.

But no matter how much he considered, Mafa Merlin's final choice couldn't stray from what he expected.

Sure enough, it didn't take more than three minutes before the young mage sitting on the other side of the table forced a smile. "It looks like not agreeing would be bad?"

"Haha..." Aube Merlin didn't say anything to this and only chuckled.

The young mage's smile felt even more forced.

In the end, he said under Aube's attentive gaze, "But I still won't agree..."

"Hmm?" Aube thought he had misheard at first, but after taking some time to digest the information, he understood that the response truly had been a refusal.

'How could he have refused?'

The calm Aube suddenly lost his cool.

"How could you not agree!?" Aube simply couldn't accept this outcome, he fiercely jumped up and looked at Lin Yun with a vicious gaze and ragged breath, simply forgetting himself.

"Because I have no need for it?" Lin Yun only looked at Aube a bit regretfully as he responded, "The Gilded Rose's business is very good right now, I don't need an additional shareholder. Why would I need one?"

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