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At the beginning of the first month of the year, the Month of Beginning, while the cold weather was still dominating Allyn, the trees around Douglas still looked dark green.In front of the black iron gate f ancient style, Woods asked the gatekeeper eagerly, "I’m Woods, from Common Arcana, and I am a friend of the headmaster. I’m looking for Mr. Lucien Evans.""We have two Mr. Lucien Evans here, but neither of them is in the school right now," answered the gatekeeper, an iron golem, in a mechanical manner, "They left for Rentato together.""Then when did they leave and when they’ll be coming back? I mean… I’m looking for Lucien Evans X, when will he be coming back?" Woods hurriedly explained, "Why they’re headed for Rentato?""They left about an hour ago," said the iron golem. "No idea when they’ll be back."
Hearing the gatekeeper’s answer, Woods pressed his black top hat a bit annoyedly, as he knew that Lucien would be already in Rentato by now. As the capital of Holm, Rentato was a big and a very busy city, which meant that his magic could not really help him find Lucien with limited information."If Mr. Evans X is back, please tell him that Common Arcana wishes to publish his paper on this month’s issue, and we’re eagerly looking forward to his reply. If he doesn’t mind, we want to invite him to visit our headquarter again." In the cold wind, as Woods was speaking, his breaths produced white gas in the air.Then, he went back to his coach and left.Rentato, on the second floor of the restaurant called Oak.In the vip room, Lucian looked through the window at the beautiful night with countless snowflakes falling down from the sky, and watched the people walking by in the snow. Some of them were in a hurry, some were walking slowly side by side, some were trying to catch some snowflakes, and others bent over to make some snowballs...Igna, a tall and thin level four arcanist, fifth circle elemental sorcerer, was sitting opposite to him. He had defined facial features and some white hair above both sides of his ears.If K had not told Lucien first, Lucien would think Igna was fifty something, however, in fact, Igna was well over a hundred years old.When Igna was seventy, he spent all his savings on some very expensive magic rite and expanded his life. It looked like now he was doing pretty good, despite the fact that he had already been staying at middle-rank stage for sixty years."Cheers, for our wonderful dinner." Igna raised his glass, as his light brown eyes first looked at Lucien, and then K.After finishing his drink, K excused himself and went to the restroom. Apparently, he did not do well with alcohol.After K left, Igna looked at Lucien and said, "Evans, I’ve read your paper before dinner, and I gotta say that this paper has both advantages and disadvantages, and it’s definitely insightful. Unfortunately, Element this month cannot accept any more papers except those ones from the conference."Before Lucien opened his mouth, Igna gently shook his glass and added, "However, as K is gonna be Mr. Larry’s student soon, and because Mr. Larry and I are good friends, I have to do something for you, young man. So I’m planning on suggesting to Mr. Rava, the chief-editor of Element, to make this month’s issue a special edition, so we can still accept papers from elsewhere. I’m not sure whether he will listen to me though. Obviously, it’s not easy."Hearing that, Lucien found his hope again, but he felt that Igna was implying something to him.As he expected, Igna looked outside of the window and sighed, "Being young is surely nice, especially in an old man’s eyes. Now I have very slight hope in further upgrading myself with coming up with some groundbreaking papers, but some powerful ancient rites might still be able to help me. However, the materials required by these rites are very, very expensive."Then he stopped but started sipping the wine with a smile on his face.Lucien understood that he needed to pay for what he was asking for, so he said carefully, "Sometimes getting some arcana points isn’t very difficult, and sometimes we just need some good luck… Say, I earned quite a few points with my last paper."Igna took a glance at Lucien satisfactorily, "Such a good young man, and I’m falling behind now… I’m still struggling with the last three hundred arcana points to buy Crown Stone.""I venture to ask…" said Lucien, trying not to feel disgusted with himself, "if you’re willing to accept my points, Mr. Igna? I don’t want to see a great sorcerer be bothered by money and thus not be able to go further."Lucien knew that publishing his paper on Element could bring him a way better chance than on Common Arcana."Then wish both of us success." Igna elegantly raised his glass again and smiled.K was happy to see that Igna and Lucien had a great conversation when he came back.Maybe it was because Igna was really doing his job, or maybe it was because Element was already preparing a special edition, when Lucien and K were about to leave the hotel on the next day, Lucien received the letter from Element, informing that his paper had been chosen."Thank you, K. Without your help, there’s no way that I could publish my paper." Lucien thanked K sincerely on the platform.K scratched his hair a bit shyly, "Your paper’s valuable."He could not make his comment more specifically, as he never read anyone’s paper before it was published."Yeah… three hundred points…" Lucien thought to himself, but as long as the paper could be read by other arcanists as soon as possible, Lucien knew it was worth it."You’re not coming back with me?" asked Lucien, as he was going back to Douglas to continue his experiments.K shook his head, and he looked a bit sad, "I’ve already left the school, actually, and before I become Mr. Larry’s student, I need to go back to Granlin to get something done first, my hometown."Granlin was the most remote one among the eight counties of Holm."I see. I bet we’ll see each other again very soon." Lucien nodded, "Do you need any help when you’re back?"K shook his head, "Nothing big.""Alright… If you need any help, K, just send me a letter," said Lucien. Seeing the train coming, Lucien waved to him.Before K got on the train, Lucien said to him vaguely, "When you have the time… you probably want to measure some elements again…"K was quite confused, but he still nodded before he left.In the headquarter of Common Arcana."What a pity…" murmured Woods regretfully, "Element finally got your paper, uh…"Right now, Lucien was standing in front of him in the office. Knowing that Mr. Woods had visited the school in person, Lucien came to thank him, "I’m sorry, Mr. Woods. If I had known it, I definitely would not go to Rentato."He did not mention that he could have also saved three hundred points."It’s okay, and if I were you, I would choose Element as well. For your paper, Element is only second to Arcana," said Woods generously. "Although Common Arcana has always been progressing in the past ten years, we’re still not even close to Element in this specific field."Lucien slightly nodded. In most cases, he would choose Common Arcana because of Mr. Woods’ appreciation towards him, but this time, it was different."Hope I can have more opportunities with Common Arcana," said Lucien."Welcome." Woods responded politely, "By the way, Evans, I want to publish my paper with regards to the corrected atomic weight of the elements on this issue’s Common Arcana as well, and of course, I’m gonna cite your paper… Do you mind?""Of course not." Lucien smiled, "My pleasure."After going back to the school, Lucien wrote letters to Rock, Jerome and Lazar and told them which elements could be measured wrong.Lucien was doing this not because he wanted his friends to get some credits, but also hoped them to better support his own paper. That was why Lucien had to make sure that his paper needed to be published first.On friday evening, Lucien came back to his place after several more unsuccessful experiments trying to find new elements from many different ores.When he opened the door, Lucien saw a letter on the floor."Who’s writing to me?" Lucien carefully checked the letter and then opened it curiously."Dear Mr. Lucien Evans,"As a junior-rank sorcerer, your contribution to the field of Element is impressive. Therefore, we would like to invite you to the Annual Conference of Element and Alchemy at Rose Garden, located beside the beautiful Swan Lake, at nine on Saturday morning, January 27th."The Will of Elements & Holm Royal Magic Academy"And the letter was sent three days before.Lucien was very surprised. He wondered whether his paper had already got the attention of the Will of Elements.