But... Was Leon's fighting strength too weak?
Even if he was only a 7th Rank High Mage, he could have fused with seven Spiritual Magic Tools, right? If he burst with the power of seven Spiritual Magic Tools, he could directly contend against an Archmage. But then, how come he was Mana Shackled so easily?
"Well, my Arcane Ring is incomplete..." Leon had an awkward expression as he explained, "I'm in the same situation as William. When he got the incomplete Elemental Tide, I got the incomplete Arcane Ring, but I had more clues than him. Thus, when I learnt that Ross was seeking the Elemental Tide, I knew that his destination was the same as mine, the Tulan Mountains...
"I already thought about approaching Ross to cooperate a few months ago, before I went to Thousand Sails City. But I wasn't very fortunate and got Mana Shackled by Cousin Mafa. Then, Teacher lectured me and brought me to the Pale Plane. I only returned recently and was planning on discussing it again with Ross, but I discovered that you were secluding yourself in the alchemy laboratory, Cousin Mafa, as if you were preparing for something. I ended up making a blind guess. I hadn't expected..."
"Alright, I got it." Lin Yun more or less understood. This news indeed came from Ross.
"Then, does that mean Cousin Mafa agrees?"
"I didn't say that..."
"Eh?" Leon became a little anxious as he entreated, "Cousin Mafa, I know I wasn't sensible enough back then and offended you, is it too late for me to apologize? You are so powerful, Thorne can't even match you, there is no need to care about small fry like myself. You shouldn't take such a matter to heart..."
"Is the Arcane Ring that important to you?"
"Very important, Cousin Mafa. With your insight, you should have noticed that I have already completed nine Arcane Rings, but I can't make these nine rings merge. In other words, although I appear to be a 7th Rank High Mage, my fighting power is closer to that of an ordinary 5th Rank High Mage. Only by completing the Arcane Rings would I be able to attack the Archmage realm in the future..."
"Since that's the case, I won't take you with me. A 5th Rank High Mage isn't enough in that place..."
"No, no, Cousin Mafa, I can prove my worth! Although my power is equivalent to that of an ordinary 5th Rank High Mage, I've spent the last few years gathering information on the Tulan Mountains, I know a lot more than Ross!"
"..." Ross was inwardly cursing, 'You shameless scoundrel, you're still throwing mud at me while making a case for yourself...'
"Oh?" Lin Yun stared blankly for a moment. "You know a lot about the Tulan Mountains? Let me hear it, I won't mind taking another person into the Tulan Mountains if you can prove your worth..."
"I know a shortcut!"
"From the Aurij Mountains to the Tulan Mountains, you have to go through the Traces of Misfortunes. Cousin Mafa should know that the Traces of Misfortunes are the most dangerous area in that region. Many high-level magic beasts are lurking in the depths there, and if not careful, one could end up dying pitifully. But I know of a shortcut to cross the Traces of Misfortunes, this should be enough to save a lot of time for you, Cousin Mafa!"
After saying this, Leon looked at Lin Yun with hope...
But Lin Yun only shook his head.
"This isn't enough..."
"..." Leon's expression darkened, but he didn't leave. He hesitated for a few moments before clenching his teeth. "I know a secret... The Gaugass might still be alive..."
"Eh?" Lin Yun suddenly seemed more interested. "Tell me more."
"I once read something in the Cloud Tower..." Leon unconsciously lowered his voice. "The information on it dates from several hundred years ago, before Sir Jouyi became the Star Sage. It was when the previous master of the Cloud Tower went into the depths of the Tulan Mountains..."
"You are talking about Sir Shuang Yu?" Lin Yun interjected...
"Yes, that was Sir Shuang Yu..." Leon nodded before continuing, "Many people knew that Sir Shuang Yu carried the bloodline of the 3rd Dynasty's royal family. But this bloodline was too thin, and Sir Shuang Yu didn't care about being King, so he never admitted to his identity as a descendant of the 3rd Dynasty's royal bloodline. But it was mentioned in those notes that in his later years, Sir Shuang Yu gathered a huge amount of information on Emperor Zhantui and also went into the depths of the Tulan Mountains a decade before his own death..."
"What does it have to do with whether the Gaugass King is alive or not?"
"Let me finish, Cousin Mafa. The note gathered at the time was incomplete. It only recorded the life of Sir Shuang Yu as well as his previous achievement of going through the Tulan Mountains, thus no one took the note seriously. But because of the Arcane Ring, I paid a lot of attention to everything linked to the Tulan Mountains. Thus, I looked for all kinds of ways to get the missing parts. I spent almost a year before I found another small section in the corner of the library. After putting the two together, I found out the words Sir Shuang Yu said before his death..."
"What did he say?"
"On his deathbed, Sir Shuang Yu grabbed the hand of his only disciple and shouted, 'The Gaugass King has yet to die, he is still in the Tulan Mountains...'"
"There is such a thing?" Lin Yun realized that something was wrong with that. "Hold on, you said the only disciple of Sir Shuang Yu? Isn't that the Sun Sage?"
"Yes, one of Okland's three Sages, Sun Sage Suhen..."
"No wonder he went missing..."
"Yes, I always believed that Sir Suhen's disappearance had something to do with the words Sir Shuang Yu said on his deathbed..."
Lin Yun thought for a bit while looking at Leon. After a full minute, he gently nodded. "Get ready, we are leaving in an hour!"
"Right away!" Leon bolted away.
In fact, less than an hour afterward, Leon Merlin returned, armed to the teeth. It could be seen from this that Leon had been preparing for this trip for a long time. How else would he have all his equipment ready?
Four talented youths of the Merlin Family, as well as the Draconic Beastman, Xiuban, left the Merlin Family Manor in the morning. By the afternoon, they were already halfway up the Aurij Mountains.
They were less than an hour away from the spot where Lin Yun had killed Stan Watson, and the magic beasts in the surroundings were getting more and more dangerous. Naturally, they would only be considered dangerous to common folk and ordinary Mercenary Groups. Lin Yun group consisted of mid-rank High Mages, so they didn't put those magic beasts in their eyes.
In fact, these four High Mages hadn't even made a move yet. Xiuban was the one in charge of clearing away the magic beasts.
"Why me?" The Draconic Beastman asked that question for the 3rd time.
"Because you slept for too long."
This was Lin Yun's immediate answer.
Naturally, Lin Yun's true goal was to get a feel on Xiuban's strength. Draconic Beastmen were abnormal existences, especially a strange one like Xiuban, whose strength greatly rose from being a 5th Rank Great Swordsman to being a 5th Rank Expert Swordsman just from sleeping all the time for several months after absorbing that drop of blood.
Moreover, Xiuban's power couldn't be compared to that of a 5th Rank Expert Swordsman.
He had both Beastman and Draconic bloodlines and was treading on two different paths. He got amazing power from his Beastman bloodline and casting ability from his Draconic bloodline, making him crush those on the same rank as him. Lin Yun estimated that even if Ross and Xiuban worked together, they might not be able to have a good fight against Xiuban, let alone Leon, who was only a pseudo-7th Rank High Mage.
Xiuban only lacked combat experience.
Thus, Lin Yun didn't allow the others to make a move and forced Xiuban to keep on fighting.
And Xiuban didn't disappoint him.
His Carnage in his hand was crushing everything in their path. Over a hundred magic beasts died on their way, and there was no lack of magic beasts with levels in the mid-twenties among them.
As he kept fighting, Xiuban got more and more familiar with his power. His strength could be seen increasing after each battle. When they were almost halfway up the mountain, Xiuban even killed a group of four Level 25 magic beasts.
A Level 25 magic beast was around Xiuban's own rank, and even Ross and William would have trouble facing four of those at the same time.
With Xiuban spearheading the group, they effortlessly reached the halfway point. At this time, Lin Yun looked at the sky and noticed that it was still early, so he urged the blood-soaked Xiuban, "Xiuban, hurry up, we need to reach the peak of the Aurij Mountains before dark..."
"Hurry up, hurry up... You are powerful enough to go first," Xiuban mumbled as he waved Carnage in his hand while pouncing towards his next target.
"Cousin, did you hear that sound?" At this time, William suddenly frowned.