The black-robed man was attentively watching the inside of the Flame Demon Fort, walking into it as if it was his own garden.
"Hurry, hurry and report to Sir Thorne and Sir Mafa, the Black Tower's Barok arrived..."
Lin Yun was in the laboratory and had ordered that unless the Flame Demon Fort was about to be destroyed, no one should disturb him, so the Merlins naturally wouldn't dare to disturb him. Considering this, they only notified Thorne.
Thorne looked quite upset when he heard this news.
Thorne hated Barok. The bitter experience of the Merlin Family for the past few months wasn't only due to the Watson Family; the Black Tower also targeted the Merlin Family together with them.
Their original Commanders all went to that world and didn't return for a few months, so those two forces naturally dispatched new Commanders. These people weren't happy when they saw that the Merlin Family had gotten so much despite having only a 5th Rank Sword Saint as a Commander and being much weaker overall. This ultimately had resulted in them conspiring against the Merlins.
Although Barok hadn't been there for long, he was very troublesome and rampant. The foolish Green Watson was an idiot with offensive words, but he wasn't as loathsome as Barok, who clearly let his contempt show.
Now, Barok was swaggering his way into the Merlin Family's Flame Demon Fort, but no one could stop him.
A bitter smile could be seen on Thorne's face, but he didn't dare to say anything.
'F*ck, that damned guy, such great luck. He was still at the peak of the 8th Rank when he came, but he advanced after three days. Not only is he the one in charge of the Black Tower in the Raging Flame Plane, but he is also the second strongest person in the Black Tower.
'Forget it, I might as well check it out, that guy isn't easy to deal with. It will be fine even if he has excessive requirements, as long as they don't go too far...
'Ugh, I really want to punch that f*cker...'
He had come to the Raging Flame Plane over a month ago and immediately continued working with the Watson Family to keep sending Merlins into dangerous areas.
In the end, when Green suggested sending Thorne to assassinate the Tribal Chief of the Fireblade Tribe, Barok unhesitantly agreed.
At the time, Barok had just advanced to the 9th Rank and was at a critical juncture. His Rank had yet to stabilize, and he couldn't control his mana. In the eyes of mages, this was like a lighthouse in the night, so he simply didn't dare to approach the battlefield.
Sending Thorne to assassinate Hoppet was a way to weaken the Merlin Family while conveniently buying time to stabilize his power, so he unhesitantly agreed.
After hearing that, Thorne had no choice but to grit his teeth and leave without saying anything. Now, that guy was brazenly rushing into the Flame Demon Fort. This was simply too crazy.
Thorne was extremely angry, but he also knew that he couldn't cause too much trouble right now. He had heard too many things concerning Barok during that time. That guy was very young for a 9th Rank Archmage. He was several decades younger than Chairman Harren.
Moreover, he was the 2nd Seat of the Black Tower, and once Harren joined the Holy Land of the Black Tower, Barok would definitely become the new Chairman. When the time came, the Black Tower would be under his complete control.
Now, in the Raging Flame Plane, all the decisions of the Black Tower were made by Barok. The Merlin Family's strength had greatly increased, but it had yet to catch up to their past peak before suffering so many losses. They were at their strongest a few months ago, if Mafa Merlin was added on top.
'This guy is so arrogant, despotic, and complacent. I heard a few days ago that just because an Archmage had a different opinion, he was immediately dispatched to the most dangerous area by Barok, and even a few of that Archmage's friends were sent along with him.'
Thorne walked to the entrance of the reception room and immediately heard the arrogant shouts coming from within.
"... What's going on? Since when is your Merlin Family so poor? You actually took fruits that are a few days old to welcome your guest, to welcome the future Chairman of the Black Tower..."
When Thorne heard the crashing sound, he steadied his face and opened the door to the reception room.
In the reception room, there was an oval-shaped desk that was over twenty meters long with seats at both ends. One seat was reserved for the Commander of the Merlin Family, while the other one was reserved for important guests or for negotiation.
And at this moment, Barok was sitting on the seat reserved to the leader of the Merlin Family, completely ignoring the fact that this was like stepping on the Merlin Family.
Unless it was a vassal-lord relationship, only the host could sit there, yet Barok was setting himself up as the master with two Merlins on the sides who didn't dare to speak.
There was a pile of fresh fruit on the ground, fruit that couldn't be produced in the Raging Flame Plane. Those were precious fruits from Noscent.
Each time supplies were brought, they were only able to get a bit, and at times, even the Commander wouldn't be able to eat any.
They had taken out a plate to receive Barok, but he dared to waste them and say that they were a few days old!
Thorne clenched his fists, a fire quickly rising in his eyes as he looked at the fruit. This type of fruit was called Calm Fruit and had great benefits for mages and swordsmen. It could make their mana and Aura become easier to control. It was a valuable item, especially in a long-lasting battle.
This time, ten had been delivered, and Thorne hadn't even had time to savor one. Eight of them had been brought out for Barok, yet Barok unexpectedly threw these Calm Fruits to the ground.
Thorne waved to these two mages and made them leave, before softly breathing in and out to suppress his anger.
"Sir Barok, I wonder why you have come?"
Barok suddenly slammed on the table and pointed at Thorne while scolding.
"Thorne, you have to give me an explanation today! Why were so many members of the Black Tower killed by your Family? And a few hundred, too, the weakest of which was a High Mage, and even two Archmages were killed!"
After saying that, Barok's mana rushed forth, fiercely suppressing Thorne.
Thorne's aura was sluggish, and he couldn't help taking two steps back while glaring angrily at Barok.
"Sir Barok, when did it happen? How could I not know? There have been no battles in recent days. How could the Black Tower lose so many people? And to say that it was the Merlin Family... Sir Barok must be jesting."
Thorne looked at Barok with a dark expression. 'That damned b*stard, that greedy and arrogant rat! He was using pompous pretexts before, but now he directly skipped to framing our Merlin Family? A few hundred High Mages? What a joke, since when did the Black Tower have so many High Mages?
'If your Black Tower could dispatch a few hundred High Mages, they would have already swept through the Raging Flame Plane! You wouldn't have bothered making agreements with other forces to deal with the Fireblade Tribe, and you wouldn't have struggled to deal with them for months.'
Barok sneered, and his aura suddenly rose, forcing Thorne back a few steps.
"Thorne, don't think I'm clueless. When dealing with the Fireblade Tribe's final stand, your Merlin Family used an attack that didn't distinguish between friend or foe, making our Black Tower lose a few hundred High Mages in vain. They were the future of our Black Tower, and they ended up ruined in your hands! If you don't give me an account... Don't blame me for being rude!"
Barok didn't put the Merlin Family in his eyes, and from the way he acted, he didn't even care that he was in the Flame Demon Fort. He seemed ready to flatten it if he was unsatisfied.
Barok felt proud as he saw Thorne's expression. 'The foolish Merlin Family actually gave me such a nice pretext. I just heard the news that during the battle, the Merlin Family killed many members of the Black Tower.
'The Horn of Fertility is the place with the rarest natural resources in the Raging Flame Plane. Giving a share of that area to the weak Merlin Family is too wasteful. These guys simply aren't fit to have these resources. Now, I have to make the fools of the Merlin Family give up that part of their benefits as compensation.
'Hmpf, if they dare to disagree, I might as well take over the Fort right now. Letting these idiots experience the might of a 9th Rank Archmage is a good plan.'
After hearing Barok's words, Thorne was suddenly enlightened, finally understanding what Barok was talking about.
'Damnit, when Sir Mafa returned, he used those frightening mana crystal cannons on the Fireblade Tribe's troops and unexpectedly killed many members of the Watson Family and the Black Tower. But wasn't that a while back? Why did Barok only come now?
'That damned b*stard, what hundreds of High Mages? There were at most a few hundred swordsmen that were being used as cannon fodder against the Raging Flame Beastmen. Only seven or eight High Mages died at most, and that that greedy b*stard actually says there were a few hundred High Mages?!
'Did Sir Zeuss keep the Watson Family under tight control? Why does this guy seem clueless?'
Thorne suddenly felt puzzled. When Sir Merlin appeared with the Intrepid, he destroyed the Raging Flame Beastmen with mana crystal cannons. This was something that everyone knew, so why did it look like Barok didn't know?
'That greedy and arrogant b*stard has come to blackmail the Merlin under false pretenses!'