Andrew spent a few days in a state of constant fear. Even when sleeping at night, he would frequently be awakened by nightmares, afraid that when he woke up, he would have already become a public enemy of Thousand Sails City.
After spending three days in such torment, Andrew became thin and pallid, and many of his hairs whitened. On the 4th day, Andrew didn't keep to himself any longer and he went to the Victorious Main street. He waited an entire afternoon at the Gilded Rose's entrance.
He waited till the evening, when he saw Lin Yun coming from his home.
"Good... Good evening, Mage Merlin." After waiting for all this time, Andrew was cold and hungry. But when he saw Lin Yun, he hurriedly put on a smiling face to greet him.
"Good evening, Leader Andrew." Lin Yun didn't stop, only turning and nodding as he passed, as he considered it to be a simple greeting.
But the problem was that Andrew didn't come today only to greet him...
Thus, Andrew had no choice but to catch up to Lin Yun and put on his smiling face once again as he started, "Well, Mage Merlin, the Gilded Rose's business seems to be really good..."
Lin Yun only chuckled in response.
"..." At first, Andrew had planned to bring up the topic of the shop doing well to move onto the matter of the magic materials. After getting on that subject, Andrew would seize the opportunity to offer to continue their previous collaboration. At worst, he would admit his mistake. What was losing face compared to being driven away from Thousand Sails City by Sasu?
But Lin Yun only chuckled...
This chuckle made it very difficult for Andrew...
How should he reply to this? How could he take advantage of this?
'Esteemed Mage, please don't toy with me...'
Lin Yun wasn't actually toying with him. Since he established a partnership with the Silver Moon Mercenaries, he had many matters waiting for him to settle. In the past few days, Lin Yun had been busy running around, so how could he still have time to toy with someone he barely knew? After answering with a chuckle, he continued walking toward the entrance of the Gilded Rose...
"Mage Merlin, please wait." Andrew didn't look good as he hurriedly chased after Lin Yun.
"Is there something wrong, Leader Andrew?" Lin Yun stopped and sized up Andrew, feeling a bit surprised.
"..." Cold sweat trickled down Andrew's back. If he could, Andrew would have asked, 'Do I freaking look okay to you? I ran to the Gilded Rose and waited the whole afternoon, into the evening. Now I'm cold and starving. Do you really think I'm idle and have nothing better to do?'
But thinking of the possible consequences, Andrew didn't dare to say such things...
And not only did he not dare to complain, but he also did his best to pull on a fawning smile.
"Yes... Yes, Mage Merlin, I came over today to ask, does the Gilded Rose still need magic materials? Our Frost Wolf Mercenary Group recently did a few missions and gathered quite an amount of materials. I wonder if the Gilded Rose would like to help us dispose of it?"
In reality, the Frost Wolf Mercenaries hadn't actually gathered such materials...
But now wasn't the time to say that. In order to ease the tension with the Gilded Rose, no matter how harsh the conditions were, Andrew could only endure and buy the materials from the marketplace later on, probably at a loss...
"There is no problem in helping you dispose of them, but Leader Andrew, the funds of the Gilded Rose are quite lacking lately, so I might have to apologize to you about the price. I'll go talk to Uncle Pave and then we will proceed with helping you dispose of the materials. We will even give you 50% of their value as a symbolic gesture."
"5...50%?" Andrew almost stopped breathing.
If he could, Andrew would have loved to spit in Lin Yun's face.
This truly was too shameless. He had already lowered himself and looked around for him, eventually waiting an entire afternoon. Despite being cold and hungry, he spoke politely and smiled, but in the end, Merlin asked him for a 50% discount, and he even called it a symbolic gesture. 'Fuck your symbolic gesture!'
Andrew struggled for a long time before finally swallowing hard. There was nothing he could do about it, as he was clearly being taken advantage of by Merlin, who had become the partner of the Silver Moon Mercenaries. If he said something wrong, even if he didn't do anything, as long as Merlin pouted about it in front of Sasu, Andrew would have to deal with the consequences...
'Calm, I must remain calm!'
Andrew took a deep breath and secretly shed a tear as he did his best to maintain his stiff smile. "In that case... Thank you, Mage Merlin..."
"You're welcome." Lin Yun then politely excused himself before turning to enter the Gilded Rose.
"..." Andrew stood there lifelessly. That "You're welcome" felt like a slap to his face.
Lin Yun really didn't care about what Andrew thought.
Because Lin Yun had more important matters at hand...
Three days had passed, and the Mana Baptism had already transformed his body, so Lin Yun would no longer be bothered by the flaws of the body that Mafa Merlin had left behind. In other words, Lin Yun could attack the Great Mage realm anytime.
That was why he had come to the Gilded Rose.
The alchemy laboratory of the Gilded Rose was a place that Lin Yun carefully organized. Three magic traps were set up in the corridor. He didn't spare any mana on the entrance as he solidified two Mage Eyes and inscribed two alchemy arrays on it. This kind of setup couldn't be considered well fortified, but at least ordinary Mages wouldn't be able to enter. Let alone ordinary Mages, even most Great Mages would have to ask for Lin Yun's authorization before entering.
There shouldn't be anyone that would bother him while he advanced to become a Great Mage.
After going to the Gilded Rose, Lin Yun first greeted the old butler and spoke about Andrew's matter before heading for the laboratory.
After checking the traps at the entrance, he activated the alchemy array inside, and when he closed the door, he easily supplemented another Mage Eye. Once he was done, Lin Yun looked for a secluded place to start his longest meditation since becoming a Mage.
Lin Yun estimated that the meditation this time would take at least three days. It was completely different from ordinary meditation. Advancing to Great Mage required one to break through the limit and shatter their Mana Whirlpool. Only after crushing their Mana Whirlpool would they be able to have their own Magic Conducting Rune. This was the most important thing for a Great Mage. To some extent, a Magic Conducting Rune was the life imprint of a Great Mage. Not only did that imprint possess earthshaking power, but it would also continuously evolve with the Great Mage.
Thus, when preparing to advance to this rank, one would have to go through a very long meditation, during which they would have to purify their mana whirlpool.
Some Mages might use potions to help purify the mana whirlpool, such as the Spectrum Potions that Lin Yun crafted a while back, or the Colorful Potion Raymond once mentioned.
But Lin Yun wouldn't do so...
Coming from the last days of Noscent, he understood a lot more than the mages of this era. Once transformed into a Magic Conducting Rune, a Mana Whirlpool that had been purified solely relying on itself would be ten times stronger than one that had been purified through potions.
Purifying a Mana Whirlpool was an extremely painful process, during which Mages needed to extract impurities within the Mana Whirlpool bit by bit. To a Mage, this would feel like carving out bits of themselves. The entire process was full of pain and suffering.
When Lin Yun entered meditation, his Mana Whirlpool slowly started rotating. Time slowly passed while Lin Yun's calm face began to turn pale, and beads of sweat trickled down his forehead.
And this was just the beginning...
One day passed, two days passed...
On the third day, Lin Yun was in an extremely weak state, he was thin and pallid and emitted worrying mana fluctuations. It felt as if they might go out of control anytime.
But his eyes were brighter than before.
Lin Yun knew that he was in the most powerful state he had ever been in since appearing in this body. The accumulation of mana reached the limit, and after the Mana Whirlpool was purified, it could only be described as perfect. Those somewhat worrying mana fluctuations weren't because Lin Yun couldn't control his mana, but rather because his Mana Whirlpool was on the brink of shattering.
Lin Yun already stood at the entrance of the Great Mage realm, and only needed a small push.
After confirming his state, Lin Yun took a deep breath and slowly began to circulate the mana within his body. At the start, this mana was gentle and soothing, just like a flowing brook. Apart from its shocking purity, it was the same as ordinary meditation.
But unlike an ordinary meditation session, after that mana poured into the Mana Whirlpool, it didn't follow the Mana Whirlpool's normal pathways. Instead, it silently gathered at the center of the Mana Whirlpool.
Nothing happened at first, but as Lin Yun hastened it, a change appeared in the circulating mana, moving faster and faster. Ultimately, it turned into a surging river with thunderous, roaring waves coursing toward the center of the Mana Whirlpool.
Originally, when Lin Yun advanced to become a Mage, he used his powerful mana control to build this almost impeccable Mana Whirlpool. Otherwise, he wouldn't have managed to defeat that 9th Rank Mage of the Viper Nest so easily, nor would he have been able to forcibly use the Great Mage Level Elemental Incarnation in the Bone Plane.
But now, this almost impeccable Mana Whirlpool was slowly being deformed by the endless flow of mana.
If this happened to another Mage, they would be scared to death. It was common knowledge that a Mana Whirlpool needed to be stable, even when shattering it during the advancement to Great Mage.
To a Mage, the Mana Whirlpool was most important. Only when their Mana Whirlpool was stable enough would they be able to gather mana through meditation and transfer mana to cast spells. In Noscent, nearly every mages' first lesson to their disciples would be to cherish their Mana Whirlpool.
Because if there was a problem with their Mana Whirlpool, the path to magic would be severed...