"It's almost done. There are two places which are a bit of a trouble. The buyers are biting onto the prices and not willing to compromise; I've sent someone to negotiate with them, so we should be expecting some good news soon."
Cromwell's expression was respectful, but there was a triumphant glint in his eyes. He had always wanted to prove that he was capable of managing the family in addition to his magical talent, so he had done his best to be perfect in the real estate disposal. In just one day, five properties worth more than 180,000 gold coins were disposed of; in such an urgent situation, he made sure the family did not suffer much loss.
In Cromwell's opinion, it would have been difficult even for his father to do it better than him.
"Fool!" But it was Old Merlin's angry outburst that awaited him. The wine gla.s.s in the old man's hands fell to the floor again, and the fingers pointing at Cromwell were shaking slightly, accompanied by the sound of rapid breathing. "Who told you to negotiate with them? Who gave you the rights to negotiate with them? Do you know that this is a matter of life and death for the Merlin Family?! You actually took the liberty of making such decisions on your own… do you still have any regard for me?"
"Father…" Cromwell was completely dumbfounded. Old Merlin's anger was like a stick in the dark, beating him into bafflement. For a moment, the feeling of injustice welled up in his heart, and he just stood there speechless for a long time.
"Ai…" It was his own son after all. After the scolding, Matthew's anger had subsided a little. The old man sighed helplessly. "Why do you not think over it? If I hadn't been pressed for time, how could I have sold the properties in the center of the city? Did you really think us, the Merlin Family, would be lacking in money? What we are lacking is time! The amount of time left for us is too short: only two days. After two days, those 30 bottles of Arcane Magic Potion will appear on the auction. It'd be better if they could delay a few more days and I could dispose of some more properties. This way, our odds would be better during the auction…"
"But…" Cromwell had no idea that Old Merlin would be so determined this time. "Are those 30 bottles of Arcane Magic Potion really so important to our family? Even without the potions, we already have 40 mages level-five and above. Other than the Guild of Magic, no one else in Jarrosus has this kind of power. Why do we need to fight so hard for 30 bottles of Arcane Magic Potion?"
"Hmph…" Old Merlin rolled his eyes. He shot an exasperated look at Cromwell, a look that also expressed that he'd expected better from him. "I've long told you not to hang out with those old fellows in the family, why won't you listen? Look at what they've taught you, these short-sighted geezers… 40 mages above level-five… It only looks nice! With these 30 bottles of Arcane Magic Potion, what we will come to have are 70 real mages, and not some ridiculous mage apprentices!"
Old Merlin had a murderous glint in his eyes at the mention of this. "Also, has it ever crossed your mind what will become of our Merlin Family if these Arcane Magic Potions fall into the hands of other families?"
Old Merlin's words plunged Cromwell into deep thoughts. He stood there, absorbed in the meaning of his father's words. Cromwell was not an idiot, and after a few moments, he began to grasp the key to his words. Cromwell felt his limbs turn cold at once, and as he opened his mouth to speak, he felt his throat was unusually dry. "You… you mean… Merlin Family… will… will be replaced by other powers?"
"Yes." Old Merlin's expression was serious. "The 30 bottles of Arcane Magic Potion may be an opportunity or a disaster for our Merlin Family…"
"I get it, Father!"
"These two days, other than disposing of the properties as soon as possible, it'll be better to hang around the Guild of Magic as well. It'll be good if you can get to know the origin of this batch of Arcane Magic Potion. Even if you can't, you'll first have to establish a good relations.h.i.+p with the Guild of Magic. This time, they have most likely gotten themselves a potion master. When you go, bring those few level-fourteen spells from the family with you. Gerian will likely understand my intentions…" Old Merlin sounded a little dejected. "From now on, the Guild of Magic is not the Guild of Magic of the past…"
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"Okay, I'll get right down to it!"
"Small character of little significance…" Old Merlin shook his head. "Your fault is that you shouldn't have let Gerian know about it. Try to see if you can rope him in this time when you go; if you can't, then…"
As he spoke, his gaunt fingers ran across the neck, indicating he was to "eliminate" the problem.
"Remember, if you do it, do it cleanly."
Although he had been berated, Cromwell was in a good mood when he left Old Merlin's study. What could only have been done in secret was unintentionally approved of by Old Merlin. To Cromwell, this was more important than anything else. With the strong support of the Merlin Family, it was easier to kill a derelict of a mage than to crush an ant.
As for trying to woo him… This had never crossed Cromwell's mind at all. As long as he took out those level-fourteen spells, even Gerian had to take him seriously. Was there any need for him to woo a down-and-out low-level mage?
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