Olsyvia Academy's northern Filomina branch for n.o.bility, a.s.sociation district, in the main office of the Rose Society.
This was a rather simplistic activities room, not much different from those that one came to expect from anime. When Bella had first entered, she found it hard to believe that such a frugal and simple room was the meeting place for the Olsyvia Academy's 3rd most wealthy student a.s.sociation. The room simply didn't match the wealth and position that the five absurdly rich girls from the Rose Society possessed, Bella didn't know if this was done by the Rose Society on purpose to keep themselves and their backgrounds on the low.
The other members of the Rose Society had already arrived before Bella and Jenny. Bella had seen those girls back at the reception hall, but as her seat was behind theirs, this was the first time that Bella was able to see the full view of these four girls who were so unworldly rich.
Sitting at the end of the rectangular meeting table was the president of the a.s.sociation, Augustine Nina. Nina was currently dressed in the attire of a diviner, her robes decorated with stars and other celestial objects. On the table in front of her was a golden plate engraved with various astrology symbols and mystic signs, beside the golden plate was a clear crystal ball.
Nina was the third silver-haired beauty not of the loli-family that Bella had encountered. Her silver hair was different from that of Ariel's or Kriss' in that her hair lacked the l.u.s.tre possessed by the two transmigrator beauties, and was more of a dark silver.
Nina was the daughter of the wealthiest man in the Kristoff Empire, Duke Augustine. The Augustine family was renowned throughout the human empires for producing the continent's best diviners and appraisers. In this world, divination actually worked and was even fairly accurate. Not even the Church of Light possessed any decent diviners, so when any of the five empire's emperors had something dire that they had to consult a diviner for, they sought out Duke Augustine for his abilities, regardless of the price that the Duke demanded.
However, even in this world divination was considered disclosing the secrets of the heavens and would be punished by the heavens when diviners used their abilities. As a long-running diviner, Duke Augustine had meddled with fate too many times and in response, the heavens took away many of his family members. Of all his sons and daughters, his youngest daughter Nina was the only one who had survived.
"Welcome, d.u.c.h.ess Bellina. Even though I would have loved to tell you about your future but, this crystal ball has made it clear to me that your future is something that my divination skills don't have the right to peek at. However, I would be happy to help if you were to require my appraisal skills for anything."
When Bella and her entourage had entered the activity room, Nina had quickly scanned all of them with her beautiful golden eyes and a slightly confused look had remained on her cold face ever since. Apart from Ivy, Nina's crystal ball had warned her not to use her divination abilities on any of these girls. It wasn't just Bella, the crystal ball had made it clear to Nina that even the futures of the four loli 'maidservants' were also something that she shouldn't attempt to view.
Human diviners were naturally unable to view the fortunes of higher beings like demon G.o.ds, and to attempt to do so was something that diviners must avoid if they valued their life. If they were to attempt such an action, the diviner in question would be smitten by the heavens regardless if they had failed or succeeded in viewing the fortune of the G.o.ds. One of the main reasons as to how the Church of Light had kept hidden the gruesome fate of the celestial world for over 10,000 years was that there weren't any freelancing diviners willing to trade their lives for a chance at knowing what happened to their G.o.ds.
Nina didn't think about the possibility that Bella and the others could be demon kings or demon G.o.ds simply because of the pure and natural aura that the green-haired 'maidservant', Betia, radiated. Such a strong essence of nature and new like was something that in Nina's opinion, would never appear on a demon.
Beside Nina sat another of the Rose Society's members, Kristen Marlie, a black-haired beauty from the Gabriel Empire. The Kristen family dominated the continent's mining industry but also produced and sold equipment for those whose profession required them to get up close and personal with their foe.
In fact, most of Kriss' armour sets were purchased from a store run by the Kristen family. After cleaning of the b.l.o.o.d.y remnants of the human forces following the 'fun' that the 6 void monarchs from the Dark Sanctuary had with them, Bella's forces had recovered quite the amount of equipment, much of it bearing the mark of the Kristen family. While most of the other recovered equipment was in relatively poor shape, the armour bearing the Kristen family mark were comparatively intact.
Marlie sat to the left of president Nina and was currently looking at Bella and the others curiously. Marlie wasn't wearing any armour and instead wore the Olsyvia Academy's student uniform that didn't suit her ident.i.ty as an arms dealer. When Bella looked a little closer, she noticed that Marlie's hands were pale and thin, as if she had ever held a weapon in her hands before, probably also the reason why she chose not to be a walking advertis.e.m.e.nt.
To Nina's right sat the daughter of the richest man in the Aldrich Empire, Duke Florence's successor, Florence Sharon. This beauty with dark-blue hair came from a family that made their fortune selling elixirs as well as magic equipment, one of the only dealers of some of the rarer magical items.
Sharon too wasn't wearing the equipment that her family sold, instead dressed in the attire of an alchemist. In this world, all of the equipment made for mages required the user to have a strong affinity with the magical elements, or else they would not be able to use the equipment.
From the fact that Sharon wasn't dressed in a mage's attire nor did she seem to have any magical items on her, Bella deduced that she simply didn't have an affinity for magic and was just unable to use the equipment that her family sold. Bella was a little curious as to how Sharon would go about promoting her family's merchandise if she was unable to use it.
Ariel came from the same empire as Sharon and had briefly talked with Bella about Sharon. Even though Sharon had a rather limited affinity with magic, she was an undisputed genius when it came to alchemy, having exceeded even her own father in the field.
Sharon was currently the only human alchemist to have successfully produced 'Elixir of Life' and if it wasn't for the rarity of the elixir's ingredients, Sharon would have been able to start ma.s.s producing the coveted elixir. Just last year Sharon had managed to produce an entire vial of the precious substance, sufficient to resurrect a few dozen people under favourable circ.u.mstances.
The last member of the Rose Society was someone that Bella, or rather he subst.i.tute, Felia, had a strong impression of. Before that fated expedition to the Alfred Continent, Felia had already met the beautiful Stenbeck Sh.e.l.ly, daughter of the Octavian Empire's richest man, Duke Stanbeck. The Stenbeck family mainly dealt with the sale of pets and mounts and it was in one of their stores that the newly anointed holy knight had encountered the beauty with snow-white hair while searching for a suitable mount.
During their encounter, Felia had been wearing a knight's mask so Sh.e.l.ly didn't know how she looked or who she was. That had all happened years ago and while Sh.e.l.ly might have forgotten the masked girl, but up until her death, Felia had never forgotten Sh.e.l.ly. As a new holy knight, Felia didn't have much money in her hands and found it hard to obtain a good mount, Sh.e.l.ly had helped Felia to purchase a pegasus at a much lower price than the astronomically high one that her father had set, so low that the Stenbeck family had barely made a profit off it.
Sh.e.l.ly had no talent as a knight, which was the biggest possible embarra.s.sment for someone born in the empire of knights. Sh.e.l.ly's longing look as she looked at Felia was something that had left a deep imprint on the Octavian Empire's princess.
At that time, Felia was still lost in the joy brought by her new mount and hadn't paid much heart to Sh.e.l.ly's look of longingness. If the two of them had talked more back then, perhaps the two of them could have become good friends.
At that time, Sh.e.l.ly had already used her outstanding talent as a summoner to obtain a few infant dragons and it was more than just a possibility for Sh.e.l.ly to have gifted one to Felia had the two of them gotten a little more intimate.
So when Bella saw Sh.e.l.ly now, she had secretly made it a goal to get Sh.e.l.ly as an ally. This was an admirer of Bella's subst.i.tute, Felia, who had already wasted her chance to obtain such a beauty years ago and Bella wasn't about to follow in her footsteps.
Lunch at the Rose Society was quite simple, made up of only some baked goods and sweets due to the fact that the Golden Legend had cut off their supply of goods. Even if Nina wanted to get some better food delivered, it wouldn't be able to reach them anyways.
"President Nina, does the Golden Legend have a strong background or something, to have pushed all the way to the Rose Society's front gates? Are there any deep animosities between the two a.s.sociations? Because I can't think of anything that they could gain from their actions worth p.i.s.sing off 5 of the Coristel Continent's richest girls."
"There's no need for you to call me president, there are only six girls in the entire Rose Society and that's including you. The president of the Golden Legend, Carlos, is the young master of the Karlosfield family that runs the Coristel Continent's black market. A family that has a black market as its main source of income isn't recognized openly and they have always been trying to swallow the enterprises of our families and we refuse to bring ourselves down to their level and do business with them. That's probably the reason that Carlos keeps making trouble for us."
"As for the Golden Legend's backing in this academy… Carlos has connections with a lot of powerful a.s.sociations, the Brotherhood excluded. I'll go over the details another time but I need to talk with you about the 'turf wars' here, they only happen at night time during the weekend and if nothing changes about our current situation, the Golden Legend will be coming for our main office next weekend and the Rose Society will be left homeless."
Due to the fact that everyone in the Filomina branch was of n.o.ble birth, the 'turf wars' here were mostly in the form of gambling. A martial compet.i.tion was also allowed but the fighters could only be from the other branches, a 'test' of the n.o.ble's connections. Carlos was acquainted with one of the Olivia branch's headmasters and he would always be able to receive the aid of the genius' branch's elite students. Most a.s.sociations that were provoked into a 'turf war' by the Golden Legend shied away from a martial compet.i.tion and instead resort to gambling in hopes of preserving their territory.
None of the beauties in the Rose Society could get any better fighters nor were they proficient enough at gambling to beat the skilled Carlos, so the Rose Society had been forced to cede their territory, piece by piece.
After lunch, Bella handed Nina a list of females that she wanted to add to the Rose Society. This was only the first batch of names that Bella had and if she found any more suitable candidates in the future, Bella planned to further the expansion of the Rose Society's numbers.
"d.u.c.h.ess Bellina, are the princesses Kriss and Lisha really your friends? They're quite famous heroes, even within the academy. Can you tell me how you met them?"
"That's one of my secrets, so please forgive me for not being able to tell you right now. Nina, if it's at all possible, I would like for everyone to just call me Bella like my friends. I just want to be a normal student in the academy and there's no need to be so formal with me now that we've all gotten to know each other."
Nina was a little confused by the list of names that Bella had handed her, she didn't have any problems with Kriss and Lisha joining, but the others… didn't have the best reputation.
"Bella, can you at least tell me the reason that you've chosen to recommend all of them to the Rose Society?"
"I'm familiar with all of them and I can a.s.sure you of their personalities. Another important factor is that they all have sufficient ability to deserve a spot here."
"Alright Bella, I trust your judgement. From now on you're an official member of the Rose Society, you can handle the task of expanding our numbers."
"Thanks, prez. Oh, I also have a few situations to help our a.s.sociation out of the perilous situation that we're currently in."
Bella had quickly thought of a way out of the Rose Society's current dilemma. The root cause as to why Nina and the others were losing ground to the less wealthy Carlos was simply because they were too kind-hearted and didn't use their superior wealth to its full potential.
Against the dregs of society like Carlos, sometimes you had to stoop down to their level for a chance at victory…
On the ground floor below the Rose Society's main office, for some reason, all of the Golden Legend's members were making haste for the exit, which Bella had blocked off with her seat. Due to the fact that the ground floor of the building was designed as a tea house, there was only one exit to the building and it had been completely blocked by Bella.
"d.u.c.h.ess Bellina, you are…"
"Keep drinking tea gentlemen, don't mind me. I'm just enjoying the shade her, the Rose Society and I have already rented out all the area around this doorway for the day~."
The faces of the Golden Legend members were strangely contorted, as not long after they had drunk their tea earlier, their stomachs had become restless. They hadn't noticed Betia pouring some strange powder into their drinks earlier and now they were experiencing its effects. The powder was produced by Betia herself and had essentially the same effects as extrstrength laxatives with a much longer duration. Still, the dosage had been watered down quite a few times as the original dosage would have killed all of them by rotting them from the inside out, suffering quite the slow and torturous death.
They were only still alive because Bella didn't want so many people to die beneath the Rose Society's main office to poison. Even though the Golden Legend's members had brought their own tea, it would still be rather quite hard for the Rose Society to explain simply do their location.
All of the Golden Legend members who had come to make trouble were male and it was fortunate that none of their female members had tagged along as even though the two a.s.sociations were on opposing sides, Bella didn't want to use such underhanded tricks on girls. Betia was the only one who could cure the powder's effects and it would be hard for anyone else to find any trace of tampering even if they knew what had happened.
Without Betia's help, these males from the Golden Legend would probably be stuck in their dormitory's washrooms until the opening ceremony next week. However, Bella didn't plan on letting them off so easily…
"Didn't I say that you shouldn't leave until you've all finished enjoying your tea?"
"d.u.c.h.ess Bellina, there's some urgent things that require our presence back at the a.s.sociation office, so we…"
"Then you can just invite president Carlos over for some tea as well! What a waste for you all to leave now after renting out this floor for the whole day, don't you think?"
After a few rounds of discussion, each member of the Golden Legend was able to leave after paying Bella 100 gold coins. 'Spending 100 gold coins for some afternoon tea… quite lavish indeed'. There was nothing else that they could do to d.u.c.h.ess Bellina at the moment to get her out of their way, as it would be a grave crime for them if they dared to physically harm a n.o.ble of a higher peerage.
Back on the sh.o.r.e of the Olsyvia Academy's largest lake, Lake Virginia. It was now early afternoon and Bella was helping Ivy move into the 'White Heaven', the dormitory building that was completely rented out by d.u.c.h.ess Bellina. Bella had just helped Ivy move out of her previous dormitory located in the female n.o.bility dormitory district of the Filomina branch.
It wasn't only Ivy, the five original members of the Rose Society had all agreed to move in as well, after a 'kind-hearted' suggestion from Bella. Golden Legend also had female members and it would be hard for Bella to guarantee the safety of Nina and the others if they remained in the Filomina female dorms, or so they were told. This special dormitory district also had a strong presence of the Brotherhood and not even the Golden Legend would dare to make enemies of them.
Ivy had moved into Irene's suite and after helping her settle in, Bella returned to her own suite that she shared with the transmigrator princesses. As soon as she opened the door, she was greeted by Lisha flying straight at her and Bella quickly caught her in an embrace. Lisha had been getting more and more into her role as a little sister recently.
"Bella, you've made the school gossip paper's headline again, the second time in just a few days. I'm sure the entire academy knows you by now."
Ariel handed Bella what seemed like a stack of newspapers and sure enough, the front page's headline was about how d.u.c.h.ess Bellina had claimed the seat of honour among the Filomina branch's entrance-level n.o.bility by auctioning off a mysterious treasure that was worth even more than three magic cores of the cla.s.s monster, [Ground Dragon].
The paper didn't mention what exactly the treasure was, probably because they were forced to keep it a secret by the academy's higher echelon. Such a large amount of 'Elixir of Life' appearing was something that would shake the entire continent. Bella believed that it wouldn't be long before some of the academy's higher-ups paid her a visit to ask about the origins of that golden bottle containing 'Elixir of Life', but Bella wasn't too worried about that.
Hey, do any of your girls have that book called 'Strange Happenings of the Olsyvia Academy at Midnight'? I want to read it."
"Why are you looking for that forbidden book, you should know that… nevermind, I don't have the book and it's best that you don't try and look for it."
"The main student council president should have it, she manages all of the academy's forbidden texts."
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