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Two h.e.l.l Cores!
There could only be one h.e.l.l Core behind a h.e.l.l gate. This was common knowledge to all alchemists. No matter how formidable an alchemist was, no matter how deep his understanding of alchemy was, this was something that was immutable.
No alchemist could make two h.e.l.l Cores coexist within a h.e.l.l Gate. This was a basic fact inherent to the structure of a h.e.l.l Gate. h.e.l.l Gates would directly collapse if this structure was changed, and a large number of creatures would then come pouring into Noscent, creating a disaster.
But Merlin was clearly holding two h.e.l.l Cores.
What did that mean?
Could it be that the h.e.l.l Core that Fran couldn't find was in Merlin's hands?
This thought made Suya.s.s feel a chill.
This was too frightening if it was true.
The two h.e.l.l Cores in Merlin's hands meant that Merlin already went through the second h.e.l.l Gate without anyone noticing and wordlessly s.n.a.t.c.hed away the second h.e.l.l Core.
Suya.s.s was too afraid to think of the difficulty involved.
Although Suya.s.s had never personally met one of the creatures behind the h.e.l.l Gates, it was mentioned in all kinds of sources that even an Archmage might not come out unscathed after facing the creatures within. Fran's appearance was the best proof. He had the power of an Archmage, yet he was injured before he could find the h.e.l.l Core, yet Merlin crossed the two h.e.l.l Gates in such a short time and s.n.a.t.c.hed both h.e.l.l Cores.
His strength was unfathomable.
"High Mage Fran, I already told you twice... You are being too excessive…" Lin Yun stood in front of Fran and put the two h.e.l.l Cores back in his pocket. A large amount of mana gathered within the Elemental Amber at the tip of his magic staff.
"Merlin!" Suya.s.s was startled by this action. With his keen sense of magic, how could he not feel the mana gathering on his magic staff and targeting Fran!?
'This is bad.'
Fran was half-dead, and he couldn't muster up any decent defensive spells. He would definitely die if that power burst out at him.
"What?" Lin Yun held his magic staff, maintaining the power he'd gathered as he glanced at Suya.s.s with a faint smile. "Suya.s.s, do you plan to stop me?"
"Merlin…" Suya.s.s hurriedly called his name, planning to try to persuade him, but he suddenly realized something wrong with the way Merlin had addressed him...
That young Great Mage had always respectfully referred to him as "Sir" when talking to him before, even when the two of them had bet their arms.
But that "Sir" was omitted now.
Suya.s.s hadn't noticed it at first, but he understood that this signified a change in att.i.tude.
He knew that this young Great Mage was dissatisfied with him.
Indeed, although he hadn't clearly stated his position earlier during the quarrel between Fran and the joint exploration team, his words showed that he had stood on Fran's side.
Moreover, he had cast an Ice Wall to protect Fran.
This wasn't something trivial. He had directly interfered in the one-on-one fight between them and had clearly shown who he was siding with. This could already be seen as a provocation against another mage.
These thoughts made Suya.s.s sweat.
The words he had planned to say were swallowed back. After mumbling for a bit, Suya.s.s stiffly smiled. "It's a misunderstanding, it's a misunderstanding, Merlin, I truly didn't intend to stop you…"
"Eh?" Lin Yun looked at Suya.s.s with an enigmatic smile. "I'm a bit confused, if you don't want to stop me, then what was that Ice Wall for?"
"This…" Suya.s.s' heart tightened. 'Sure enough, it was because of that Ice Wall…' He couldn't help forcing a smile when he thought about that.
Fran's conduct was indeed terrible, especially today. He was completely unscrupulous in order to get loot priority, not caring about his own reputation or the Mercury Tower's. If it had been some stranger, Suya.s.s wouldn't even bother to look at them, let alone cast an Ice Wall to save them.
The problem was that Fran wasn't someone else... Fran came from the Mercury Tower just like him.
How could he just watch him being burnt to death?
He couldn't help making a move...
But Suya.s.s knew that no matter how reasonable this was, it wouldn't matter to that young Great Mage. Why would he care about Fran's fate? He wasn't from the Mercury Tower.
At any other time, Suya.s.s could have used his power as an Archmage to get Fran out of this situation, and even if that batch of magic materials couldn't be taken away, Suya.s.s would have still been able to save Fran.
But the battle just now, as well as the two h.e.l.l Cores, made Suya.s.s cross this idea out.
Suya.s.s was already convinced that this young Great Mage's strength was at the Archmage level, and he also had that strange and unfathomable flame. Even if he personally acted, he probably wouldn't do much better than Fran had.
Not to mention that the joint exploration team also had two peak High Mages as well as the experienced veterans, Sasu and Badrack. The strength of both sides had already been inverted. He could only save Fran by convincing the young Great Mage.
As he thought of that, Suya.s.s humbled himself.
"Merlin, can you, for my sake… For the sake of my teacher Nolan, give a chance to Fran?" At first, Suya.s.s only wanted to use his own reputation, but he remembered that he didn't have any in front of that young Great Mage, so he changed his sentence and added his teacher.
Lin Yun chuckled grimly. Suya.s.s felt pained when he heard that. With that young Great Mage's character, he didn't need to say anything. This chuckle already showed his resolve. Even if Fran didn't die this time, he would suffer tremendously at the very least.
But Suya.s.s had no other choice, he could only make an appeal for Fran. "Merlin…"
"Okay, Sir Suya.s.s, you don't have to say any more." Lin Yun helplessly shook his head and addressed Suya.s.s as "Sir" once more. But the mana gathered within the Elemental Amber showed no sign of dissipating. "You are helping your fellow disciple, this is something I can understand. But Fran shouldn't have made a move against Leader Lys. Leader Lys has helped me quite a bit, and he is someone I respect."
"I will apologize to Leader Lys on Fran's behalf."
"Leader Lys doesn't need an apology."
"Then… Then I'll make Fran compensate Leader Lys for his loss!"
"Oh?" Lin Yun didn't refuse this time, but he didn't agree either. He only smiled at Suya.s.s, waiting for him to elaborate on the compensation.
"Leader Lys, I know that you always wanted the set of Artisan notes inherited by the Mercury Tower for generations. I can make the call to lend those to you. Moreover, your Alchemist Guild can obtain three slots to send people to study at the Mercury Tower every year. Apart from this, I can also represent the Mercury Tower to gift our earnings from this joint exploration to the Alchemist Guild and the Gilded Rose. Does Leader Lys accept this show of good faith?"
Each and every one of these generous conditions had been something Leader Lys had long been yearning for. In a normal situation, even if he had been beaten until he was on the verge of death, Lys would have unhesitatingly agreed, let alone just being lightly wounded by Fran.
But Lys could clearly see what had happened. These generous conditions had been won for him by the young Great Mage. He didn't have the power to agree with or reject these conditions... Only the young Great Mage had the right to make the call. Thus, despite hearing these generous conditions, Lys resisted his urge to nod and gave an inquiring look at Lin Yun instead. "Merlin, you see…"
"Leader Lys, this is the Mercury Tower's compensation for you, if you feel that those terms are good, then you can agree."
"It's good, it's good…" Hearing this, Lys promptly nodded. "It's a deal then."
"Thank you, Leader Lys." Hearing that Lys was willing to accept the deal, Suya.s.s relaxed. "Merlin, what are your conditions?"
"Don't worry Sir Suya.s.s, I still need some things from Fran…" After Lin Yun said that, he scattered the mana he had acc.u.mulated, but at the same time, the flame that had alarmed Suya.s.s so much before once again floated within Lin Yun's hand.
"What things!?" Suya.s.s' heart sank when he saw that flame, and he hurriedly exclaimed in panic, but he was too late.
That flame gently swayed and transformed into two blazing rays that crossed each other.
Then, Fran's blood-curdling scream pierced the air. Everyone watched as Fran's two ring fingers were cut by the rays of flames.
"No… No… You can't take them away, Mafa Merlin, you can't take them away!" Fran almost went crazy after his ring fingers were cut off and pounced towards Lin Yun. But unfortunately, he was seriously injured and couldn't even cast a decent spell.
Moreover, his two ring fingers had been cut off, which meant that Fran lost the power of the Crystal Scales and only had the power of his Time Hand and the normal power of a 5th Rank High Mage.
He wasn't Lin Yun's match as an Archmage, let alone now that he returned to his original level of power. Lin Yun didn't even spare him a glance. He only waved his Spiritual Magic Staff and erected an Ice Wall between them, leaving Fran shouting on the other side of the wall. Lin Yun ignored him and only paid attention to the two rings, as well as the staff that Fran had dropped.
'The power of the Crystal Scales is indeed amazing…" Lin Yun felt a surge of power when he got his hands on the set of three items. If Lin Yun could grasp this power, he would be able to control the power of an Archmage, just as Fran had.
But unfortunately, that power wasn't that easy to control.
Moreover, as far as Lin Yun was concerned, the true function of the Crystal Scales wasn't to increase one's strength.
In this era, only Lin Yun knew that the true form of the Crystal Scales was that of a key.