Volume 2 Chapter 56: A Different Type of Dormitory District…?

In the student council office of the Olsyvia Academy’s royalty branch, the Euphemia branch Academy. Ese, the president of the Euphemia branch’s student council, looked at the golden-haired female knight in front of her desk with inquisitive eyes, ‘So this is the rumoured Duchess Bellina who has been blacklisted by the Disciplinary Committee? But no matter how I look at her, she just seems to be an ordinary girl, I wonder how she became friends with those princesses.’{1}

Bella had came here as part of the application process for the special dorm that she was planning to share with the princesses, she didn’t expect to find not only the student council president of Euphemia branch Academy but also that of the Filomina branch Academy of which Bella was attending, president Lucia. It was a surprise to Bella to find Lucia here, but it was quite a welcome one, as it would save her the hassle of having to go find Lucia back at the Filomina branch’s student council office later.

Ese’s hair was a mysterious violet that seemed quite enchanting beneath the gentle light cast by the office’s magical lamps. This was the second beauty that Bella had encountered with purplish hair, with the demon princess Dolores being the first.

It seemed that only beauties could become student council presidents in the Olsyvia Academy. If Bella had never encountered Kriss and the others, Ese would have been the most beautiful girl that Bella had ever seen. Now that Bella had seen so many beauties already, however, she was able to look at Ese quite calmly and naturally.

The student council president of the Filomina branch Academy, Lucia, was a loli with golden twintails and looks that could be considered that of a beauty. It was just that there were simply too many beautiful girls in the academy that Lucia seemed rather normal in comparison. It was a shame that Lucia wasn’t flat-chested, it seemed flat-chested lolis were something that only existed in the 2d world

Kriss also happened to be here and seemed to have been waiting for quite a while already. A smile crept onto Kriss’ face when Bella had entered the room, but she had refrained from immediately coming and greeting Bella, most likely due to the presence of the two student council presidents in the room.

“So you are Duchess Bellina who, on her first day, has already gotten the Disciplinary Committee’s…”

“President Ese, that’s false accusation, I was definitely framed!”

“Your name is even making headlines on the academy newspaper…”

“President Ese, I’m here to request a special dormitory. My interactions with the Disciplinary Committee shouldn’t affect me applying for a dorm at all. Head-chair Natasha also lacks any physical evidence to convict me of any crimes, is it that you’re afraid of the disciplinary council?”

“You’re… questioning my authority?”

“I wouldn’t dare, Ese-senpai. I believe that you are a fair and equitable president that definitely wouldn’t be tricked by those baseless rumours!”

“Alright, I’ll be blunt with you. You know that Lisha and Kriss are very talented right? Well, it’s very likely that they become the elites of the Olsyvia Academy. Our academy has topped the yearly ‘12 Academy Competition’ ran by the Academy Alliance for the past 9 years, and we’re looking to continue that record this year. Based on my knowledge, the abilities of you and the other princesses compared to that of Kriss and Lisha…”

After hearing Ese’s long and ‘tactful’ explanation, she finally understood that Ese was afraid of Bella and the other ‘problem students’ leading the ‘good students’ Kriss and Lisha astray. It surprised Bella that president Ese’s opinion of Ariel, Noreya, and Elaine were all quite low and even considered them ‘problem students’ before the school year had even officially begun. It also seemed that she hadn’t realized the true powers of her sister from another mother, Elaine, perhaps it was due to Ese’s overconfidence in her own abilities or maybe she had already noticed it but was trying to help keep it a secret.

However, Lisha and Kriss had already openly told Ese that they wanted to dorm with Bella, threatening to drop out of the Olsyvia Academy if they were stopped from doing so. Ese had originally planned to have the two live together with the Euphemia branch’s ‘Elite Class’, so that they would have some competition and would then be motivated to better themselves at a faster pace. It was a shame that both Lisha and Kriss were dead set on sharing a dorm with Bella and had completely turned down Ese’s suggestion.

“Alright, how about this, I’ll let you dorm together for the next three months. Here’s the catch, at the end of those three months, there will be a friendly competition with our neighbouring academy, the Alexander Academy. If your dorm can achieve a decent performance during the competition, by decent I expect everyone apart from Kriss and Lisha to at least make the finals for the freshman division. If your dormitory can meet that requisite, I’ll have no more complaints of you girls living together and the Euphemia branch will completely pay the 1st school year’s rent for your dorm!”

“I don’t lack money at all, president Ese, please allow me to turn down your request. How about this, I’ll pay twice the rent, I can even pay thrice if you really want me to. Just pretend that nothing happened.”

“You… why is that you always rely on gold… gold isn’t omnipotent, if you…”

“It’s just that your reward for achieving such an arduous task is something that I completely don’t need. How about I make a bet with you, Ese-senpai?”

“What are we betting, I’m making it clear now, I’m not betting gold…”

“Not gold, I have plenty of that, I want to bet…”

___

After some time, Bella and the other girls left the student council office of the Euphemia branch with satisfied looks on their face, leaving behind a slightly angry president Ese. President Lucia who had witnessed the entire course of events without speaking a word looked strangely at Ese, seemingly confused at the bet that she had made with Bella.

“President Ese, you really agreed to such a preposterous bet?”

“Hmph, that girl is too arrogant, placing such… a strange bet!”

“Yet you still agreed to it! If, I mean if, you lose…”

“It’s just being her maid for a month, she’s putting her own peerage and fief on the line, so what have I got to be afraid of! If I don’t take the bet, it would be like admitting that us royalty aren’t as bold and audacious as them nobles. Anyways, to beat me, not only does she have to claim 1st place in the friendly competition’s freshmen competition, but also at this school year’s 5 Branch tournament. There’s no way she’s going to win.”

“Both Lisha and Kriss stand with Bellina, isn’t it a possibility for the two of them to purposely throw their match against her?”

“You don’t have to worry about that Lucia, I’ll be participating in the 5 Branch tournament as well, as will the head chair of the Disciplinary Committee, Natasha, and it’s quite evident that Natasha doesn’t have the best relations with Bellina, so there’s no chance that Bellina will even reach the finals!”

“That’s true, I guess. You’ve been undefeated ever since your first day in the academy, I don’t think our academy will lose our first place at the 12 Academies tournament if you’re there.”

“It’s too early to make such bold predictions, Lucia. You should pay attention to the neighbouring Alexander Academy as they’ve always been our fiercest rival. In last year’s tournament, they were only ten points away from taking the crown over us. We need to keep improving ourselves, as I’m sure that the elites at the Alexander Academy are doing as well, we can’t let our the hard work of our predecessors be ruined by us being too arrogant.”

“You’re right, as soon as I get back I’ll start organizing some people to go and investigate the abilities of the Alexander Academy’s new students. It’s fortunate that they start the school a month after us, I hope that it’s not too late to mix in some infiltrators.”

“Sorry to inconvenience you, president Lucia.”

“It’s nothing, our two branches have been staunch friends for as long as the academy has existed, helping you is like helping us!”

After seeing off president Lucia. Ese walked towards the office’s window and looked out at the new students hustling and bustling in the courtyard below and sunk into thought. She wasn’t thinking of her bet with Bellina, as Ese’s impression of her was that of an arrogant ‘new money’ and wasn’t someone that possessed any real ability.

The only things that could really be taken from her victory over the forces under Duke Brandon’s command was that she had a large amount of capable retainers under her and not much else. There was also the chance that Duke Brandon had been scheming with her and the invasion had all been an act, but none of this pointed towards Duchess Bellina having any extraordinary ability herself.

“I hope it’s just my misperception, but it seems as if there are a few existences in the Alexander Academy this year that are out of my perception. It’s a shame that their academy is completely closed off to those who aren’t members of the facility, or else it would have been so easy to just send a few capable people to scout the details.”

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___

The new dorm that Bella and the others were to move into was constructed on the common border between the Euphemia branch and the Filomina branch, in the North-West part of the Olsyvia Academy. Even though it was an academy residential district, but it didn’t have much difference from a district of private residences that one would find in the central regions of an empire’s capital.

The special district was constructed in a considerably hidden place, with those entering have to walk some distance through small, winding, forested paths to reach the district. On the way were quite a few guards in black cloaks patrolling and standing guard, each of these guards had their faces covered by a black mask that served the purpose of keeping their identities secret from prying eyes.

These guards were a force under the direct control of the Olsyvia Academy’s main student council, each of the members having been carefully chosen and trained. These guards were in charge of protecting important facilities within the academy and were jokingly referred to as the ‘secret service’ by the normal students due to the secrecy and mysteriousness of their profession.

It took quite some time for Bella and the others, following the directions on the map that Ese had provided, to arrive in the special residential district. The dorms in this district were comprised of rows upon rows of multistory buildings that looked like small hotels and were arranged alongside a lake.

The district was constructed around the biggest of the Olsyvia Academy’s 6 lakes, Lake Virginia, also called the ‘Starry Lake’ due to the crystal clear mirror surface that reflected the stars at night and the mysterious lights that danced like fireflies above the water’s surface. One of the academy’s legends was that the lake was created by a celestial body that had crashed long, long ago, and the lake was still imbued with its mysterious power.

Bella was too busy to think about whether that legend was true or not, as all of her attention had been attracted by the district’s buildings.

Each of the individual buildings’ exteriors was painted with warm and flirtatious colours. If one were to remove the sign that said ‘Student Residences’ from the main entrance and replace them with some others, the district would seem like one of Earth’s infamous ‘love hotel streets’. The Olsyvia Academy sure was something to be able to construct a dormitory district into something that looks strikingly similar to a love hotel district.

“I welcome your arrival, Duchess Bellina. I am Duke Brack, the manager of this hotel… residential district. I’ve heard quite a bit about you from your father, Sir Clement, we’ve been good business partners for a while now. If you have anything that you need here, you can talk to me about it.”

Bella was a little surprised to find out that the manager of a mere residential district had the peerage of Duke, perhaps this district wasn’t as simple as Bella had thought. Through Clement, Bella had some understanding of this Duke Brack, he was a noble of the Manasville Empire and was originally a wealthy and renowned merchant who had also purchased his peerage. The amount that he spent was definitely on par with that as Bella, as he had also purchased the peerage of Duke upfront.

Duke Brack had made his fortune by buying and selling real estate, and also possesses the seat of vice-president of the Coristel continent’s ‘Rich and Powerful Organization’. He had ascended to this position in his early-fifties by his sheer wealth, from this fact it was quite evident that real estate was quite lucrative even in this alternate world. Perhaps it was for a special purpose that he had constructed this residential district like this.

Of course, Bella didn’t lack money whatsoever. Her subordinate dark suzerain, Clement had begun unrestricted selling of the magic cores that Bella and the others from the Dark Sanctuary had collected, with Bella’s permission of course. On the surface, Sir Clement was a grain merchant, but in secret, Clement was the continent’s largest underground dealer of magic cores. The value of magic cores from mid-tier and above was calculated using gold coins, and as they were collected by the Dark Sanctuary’s numerous dark suzerains, the manpower costs involved in this business was near zero.

The extremely profitable business had brought in quite the amount of wealth for Bella, if it wasn’t for the sake of keeping lowkey and keeping all of the wealth under Clement’s name, Bella herself would have qualified to be part of the ‘Rich and Powerful Organization’ herself long ago.

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“Duchess Bellina, your father and I are part of the same organization and are good friends. If you don’t mind the traditions that those ‘proper’ nobles set in place, you can call me uncle.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Uncle Brack! Were you the one who built this… residential district?”

“Of course! This district was built for some specific groups of people after all. Hey little Bellina, you… Are you going to live here with them? They’re all girls! I thought that you had a boy…”

Bella’s suspicions were finally confirmed by Duke Brack, this residential district was basically a love hotel district built for those couples who were in rather special positions. Due to recognizing Duke Brack as an uncle, he allowed Bella to rent an entire ‘dormitory building’, normally something that only students of royalty had the privilege of doing and wasn’t something that a noble like Bella had the right to do. Life sure was a lot more convenient with you have connections.

Bella’s group were the first arrivals here, with none of the other wealthy and powerful having made their appearance yet. Because of this, she was able to not only rent out the dorm with the best position, but also the two dorms that neighboured it. This was Bella’s precaution against anyone else moving into them, as she planned on keeping them uninhabited and using them as buffers against anyone that may have any hostile intents against Bella and her dorm mates.

“Uncle Brack, in the future if any beautiful girls want to move in, could you please tell them that my dorm still has enough space for more people?”

“Anything for you, little Bellina, but your interests… I know the heads of basically every big family on the continent, and there are quite a few handsome and strong men amongst their sons. How about uncle Brack arrange for you to meet some of them?”

“I’m fine, uncle Brack, I don’t like… I don’t really have interest in handsome guys. But you know, if it were their family’s beautiful daughters, I’ll definitely welcome them with open arms…”

“Nevermind then, I don’t understand young people these days anymore. Just a couple days ago there were a few males of royal and noble birth who booked a rather secluded building here in advance and requesting me not to allow any females to move in around them, only handsome looking males.”

“Those who rented out these buildings years ago were all either one boy and several girls, or one girl and several boys. It seems that I’ve really gotten old, I just can’t keep up with new trends anymore…”

Bella had a strange look on her face as she watched Duke Brack slowly walk away while looking up at the sky. She hadn’t expected to find ♂philosophers♂ in this world, she was in awe at the sheer power of ♂ philosophy♂.

Bella had purposely chosen to have her conversation with Duke Brack some distance away from the princesses, meaning that they hadn’t been able to hear the discussion between the two. Due to the fact that Bella had been chosen by them as the ‘residence head’, there wasn’t anything strange about her talking with the manager of the residential district, so they didn’t think much of it.

Right as Bella was going to call the princesses over to go choose rooms, her sharp eyes discovered several beauties carrying luggage and walking in Bella’s direction. To Bella’s surprise, the girl at the front was someone who she had seen quite recently, the head chair of the Disciplinary Committee, Natasha. Bella hadn’t expected Natasha to not have been assigned a dorm yet, and it was unknown if she had came here on purpose or not.

—TL NOTES—
{1}: I’m going to put thoughts like this because moving italics from google docs to the site messes things up with the formatting.
—END—

- my thoughts:
IOU: 20+1
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