At the north pole of the Metatrin Mainland, a massive sheet of ice upon the frozen sea had grown to a thickness greater than five miles. On top of this ice sheet was a town made entirely out of ice. In reality, this town was the well-functioning Mage Guild.
To have built a guild in such a freezing cold place must have been nothing short of arduous. The average temperature year round was below freezing – twenty degrees below freezing, to be exact. On sunny days, no signs of greenery could be seen. Even the most tenacious magical plants did not want to grow here.
The only exception was at the center of the Mage Guild. At the bottom of the magical tower was a huge statue. Surrounding the statue was a small garden.
This was a forbidden place within the Mage Guild. The statue was rumored to have been built in the likeness of the Lord of the Metatrin Mainland, Saleen. He was also the first ever dean of the Mage Guild. However, none of the students had ever seen him. Right from the initial establishment of the guild, this Dean had become a legendary figure.
The perimeter of the garden surrounding the statue was only a hundred meters wide. The temperature in the garden was above the freezing point, and because its surroundings were always foggy, only the face of the statue was visible. Within the garden, a little girl in her teens was watering the plants with a jade bottle. Hundreds of droplets sprinkled out evenly onto the soil as the water was poured out of the bottle. The barefooted girl, clad in a long skirt, stood out prominently in this icy landscape.
In the distance, whenever students walked past, someone would comment, "How pitiful."
A prerequisite for admission to the Mage Guild was that those who were grade-9 mages or higher had to continue their pursuits of the secrets of the world of magic. In the Metatrin Mainland, being a grade-9 mage did not mean much aside from signifying that one was a determined person who possessed strong perseverance.
The little girl's wordless movements attracted the pity of many mages, but none of them were aware of the impact it had on their own mental state.
Each time such a situation occurred, a hint of a smile would appear on the little girl's lips.
And afterwards, a beautiful young lady would appear to berate her. "Myers, do your work properly!"
The girl, whose name was Myers, would bow her head pitifully and continue her work.
Myers was indeed quite pitiful like this, but nobody dared rebuke that young lady, for whoever did so would suffer bad luck. Being left naked and freezing in the icy parade square was considered the lightest punishment. Some people just disappeared into thin air, never to be seen again. Those people had been punished for their disrespect towards the young lady.
The young lady was a notorious devil within the guild. It was rumored that she had close ties to the Dean.
There was no shortage of courageous beings on the Metatrin Mainland. It was just that it was rumored that Myers contained a devil sealed in her body, and that the one to cast this spell had been a mythical beast hidden in the frozen sea.
The guild released numerous missions every year, and there was only one mission that none of the students had been able to accomplish: to expel this devil, which involved the killing of that beast and the collection of its blood to purify the little girl.
The melodious bell rang. The guild became lively as many mages from the lower grades rushed excitedly to Water Element Hall to join in the fun.
The grade-9 mages – the students of the lowest grade – behaved like chattering little girls. It was not surprising, for since the guild's establishment a few thousand years ago, a Star of Magic had appeared less than ten times. There had not been a single one in the last three hundred years.
A Star of Magic not only needed to possess a unique bloodline and the ability to inherit powerful magic, but also needed to have powerful abilities in control, be skilled in alchemy, and make equipment by themselves in order to accomplish twelve different guild missions. These criteria by themselves were only the beginning of the selection of a Star of Magic, and many students were able to meet them. The outstanding masters found by this process were subsequently enrolled into the Arctic Guild.
This time, the manner in which the magic bell rang was unique. It rang three times in succession, with thirteen tones each time. This meant that the newly emerged Star of Magic was a grade-13 student.
In the Arctic Guild, the regular grade-9 students could graduate upon completing grade-12. However, they had the option of not leaving the guild and advancing their education as seniors instead. The seniors were in grade-13 to grade-15, with grade-13 being the lowest.
That being said, the Star of Magic this time was a grade-13 senior. So far, the highest grade to complete all the Star of Magic missions, as well as the final selection, had been grade-15.
There were not many people in the hall, only about three hundred. The dean appeared in the middle of the platform.
Francis was a grade-16 mage. It was said that Francis' aptitude had been average, but since he had followed the first Dean Saleen and received meticulous guidance, he had made significant achievements today.
However, this had not hindered Francis from becoming the idol of the students. He had lived for thousands of years and had participated in many great battles to bring peace to the Golden Plains.
It was said that the evil mage of the Golden Plains was very powerful, and because he had offered his soul to the devil, he had a body that feared nothing.
With a head of short golden hair, Francis looked like he was thirty-something years old. He looked at the young girl standing in front of him and said, "Mephisto, you are the first grade-13 student since the establishment of the Arctic Guild to have been awarded the Star of Magic. Here is your badge."
The young lady mage, Mephisto, gladly received the badge. On this badge, there was a blemish in the shape of a lightning bolt.
Why was it broken?
Frances noticed Mephisto's puzzled look and said, "Mephisto, the history of this seal dates back to the ancient times of the First Empire. In addition, the honorable mage Saleen used this badge as a symbol to represent his Metatrin clan."
Mephisto held on tightly to the badge in shock, fearing that Francis would confiscate it.
Although the Metatrin clan had bowed out of the historical stage, Metatrin City still existed as the holy land on the mainland. Items that Saleen had used at the beginning of his journey had become treasures to mages. There were many legends regarding this badge, and the most astounding one was that hidden in this badge was great power. The mighty Saleen had used this badge to slay countless evil gods in order to make the Metatrin Mainland a land of freedom.
Surely, that was just a legend. Mephisto regarded Saleen as her idol. The meaning behind this badge far outweighed its power a million times over.
There were whispers amongst the people in the hall. Everyone envied Mephisto, a talented young lady who had in ten years progressed from grade-10 to grade-13. She was considered to be the most outstanding master over the last few hundred years. Despite the fact that her grade was still considered low within the Arctic Guild, her power was equivalent to that of a grade-12 mage master during the Fifth Dynasty.
"Mephisto, do you have any requests?" Francis looked at the young lady, pleased. Despite her inherent flaws having limited her to the practice of Water Magic, she had attained such astounding results so early on. As her perseverance had enabled her to acquire the highly challenging Element Conversion skill, it was a most appropriate time for her to have progressed to this point.
"Yes. As you are the winner among the twelve students, you have the privilege of making a request."
Mephisto was ecstatic. She knew that although only she had received the Star of Magic, the other eleven students would also be honored. She was merely the lucky one.
"I wish to enter the Magical Element Tower to practice!"
"Sure, not a problem!"
"Hmph…" A cold voice was heard. It came from a student waiting behind her. He had been defeated by grade-13 Mephisto in the battle. It had been by accident. He was very depressed – a grade-15 master having been defeated by a grade-13 master. To others, it was an honor to be a runner-up, but to him, it was pure humiliation.
"Congratulations, Adam! You have achieved the good result of being the runner-up in the Star of Magic selection. The guild has decided to award you with this. Please treasure it." Francis was not bothered by Adam's attitude; mages were better off as mage controllers if they did not have their personality.
Frances took out a magic wand. Upon seeing the wand, Adam was appeased. Francis had not been lying. The reward for the runner-up, actually, was better than that of the winner's. It was a composite magic wand which had been refined using mysterious means and held a large dragonshard within it. The dragonshard had not been polished, but its sixty-four-facets were evenly distributed. This was indeed a huge dragonshard, usually meant for only grade-16 or above.
"Adam, you may also make a request."
Adam was taken aback, and then replied happily, "Dean, sir, I hope to set the little girl free."
"Little girl?" Francis was momentarily dumbfounded.
"Yes. Myers, the pitiful Myers." Tears almost welled up in Adam's eyes as he thought of the pitiful damsel imprisoned within the garden, allegedly for a few thousand years now. The devil in her body had been none of her business. The devil within her had nothing to do with her.
"This is impossible!"
"Dean, you said that I could make a request without restriction."
"Adam, your request should not be against my will, right?"
Adam looked at the Dean, puzzled. He could not understand why for the Dean, this was a difficult matter to resolve.
"That Myers is not under my custody. She is someone else's personal property," Francis said with a smile.