In the Filomina Branch’s Jewel Campus’ 1st school building, the reception hall situated on the top floor, the meet and greet between the new and old students of the elite class officially began. Similar to how the opening assembly of schools back on Earth, the event began with a few words from those higher up in the echelons. However, the actual person in power at the Olsyvia Academy would only appear at the actual opening ceremony for the school year, the one who appeared to speak here was the student council president of the Filomina Branch, Lucia, as the branch’s student council were also the ones who organized this meet and greet and it was quite natural for her as the one in power to show up and give a few words.
“First of all, I would like to congratulate all the new 1st year students of the Olsyvia Academy’s northern branch, the Filomina Academy for nobles. As is tradition, I will first discuss the rules of our branch!”
“Us nobles aren’t like those at the Francis Branch nor the Olivia Branch, as civilized and educated people, fights in public are strictly prohibited, but I won’t dig into anything that takes place without any bystanders. Relationships are strictly to be kept off academy grounds, if discovered, us as the Filomina Branch’s student council will turn the perpetrators straight over to the Disciplinary Committee to deal with.”
President Lucia’s speech didn’t last for much longer and quickly wrapped up after listing a couple more of the branch’s rules. Bella had expected for Lucia to go on for much longer about life lessons and other needless hassles, but it seemed that she would be spared from all that.
After president Lucia, it was a member of the Brotherhood who spoke to the new students, a rather handsome boy that seemed to be of the cold type, Edmond. There was quite the commotion when Edmond took to the podium, as his looks gathered quite a bit of attention from the female students in the audience as they screamed his name at the top of their lungs as if they were fans seeing their favourite pop star taking the stage. Edmond was ranked 5th most handsome male student within the Olsyvia Academy and was quite popular with the female students.
Of course, Bella wasn’t one of those fans, even though she admitted that Edmond lived up to his title as one of the ten most handsome male students in the entire Olsyvia Academy, but with the knowledge that he was one of the members of the Brotherhood, all Bella could do was silently express her sorrow for all those female students who were his fans.
The screams mostly came from the 9th ranked Aesthetic Research Club that sat close to the front. The Aesthetic Research Club had members from every branch apart from the Church’s St. Louis Branch, having members in all four other branches.
The Aesthetic Research Club had both male and female members, and were the people with too much time on their hands that were behind the various rankings such as ‘10 most beautiful females’ and ‘10 most handsome males’. Them, along with the 8th ranked News and Information Association, were the ones who wrote all of the Olsyvia Academy’s gossip magazines.
As for the ‘10 most handsome males’ Bella naturally didn’t have much interest, but as for the ‘10 most beautiful females’, Bella had already seen four of them. The student council president of the Euphemia Branch, Ese; her dorm mate, princess Kriss; the head chair of the Disciplinary Committee, Natasha; as well as the president of the Filomina Branch’s student council who had just finished speaking, Lucia. They were all ranked on the ‘10 most beautiful females’ list.
The ranking wasn’t to be taken to seriously and its accuracy was questionable, after all, the members of the Aesthetic Research Club could only rank the beauties that they had seen. For example, the looks of girls like Noreya, Ariel, and Elaine were definitely on par with the ranked beauties like Kriss and Ese but were only unranked because no outsiders had actually seen how beautiful these girls were. Only after some more time would Bella realize that there were even more beauties within the academy that had somehow evaded being ranked on this list.
Even the 5 rich beauties from the Rose Society, while they couldn’t match up to the extreme beauties like Ese and Kriss, but when compared to the lower ranked ones like Lucia and Natasha, they weren’t far behind. The reason why the Aesthetic Research Club didn’t rank them was probably due to the fact that the girls from the Rose Society didn’t make too many public appearances.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll go straight to our main topic today. The entirety of the academy’s rules, as well as life lessons, will be given out to you all during the opening ceremony by the headmaster as well as later by your teachers, so I’ll spare you all that stuff for now. The main topic for today is to determine the ranking for the Entrance-level Nobility after the addition of this year’s new students.”
Behind Edmond, something like a display screen appeared behind him. This naturally wasn’t a plasma tv screen, but a magic crystal screen created through alchemy. On the screen was a blank list of names, and on the list were 30 spots.
The elite class of the Filomina Branch was split into three groups based on how many years they had been at the academy. The group of 1st and 2nd-year students were referred to as ‘entrance-level’, 3rd and 4th years were grouped as ‘advanced-level’, while only the 5th and 6th years could become one of the ‘graduate-level’. The rankings for each group of the elite class’ students was different.
After hearing a brief explanation of rules from Edmond, Bella was quite surprised. The student ranking for the elite class was decided by an auction, from the 2nd seat all the way to the 30th seat could be bought if one out bid everyone else for that seat. Of course, taking precautions to prevent wealthier nobles from crushing the more traditional nobles, the price limit for each seat was topped off at 1000 gold coins.
After reaching the limit, the competitors would enter the ‘treasure duelling’ stage, to see who can donate the more valuable item. The gold coins that they had bid previously would naturally be handed to the Filomina Branch’s student council, effectively becoming donations.
1000 gold coins were equivalent to 10 million Chinese yuan back on Earth, and from the 30 seats alone, president Lucia would have gained 300 million yuen, and this wasn’t even including the value of the treasures that the students would give later. It seemed that even in this world, there were quite a few people who had more money than they could figure out how to use.
Bella had initially thought that the ranking was determined by the students’ martial ability and not in such a civilized(?) manner. If she had known this earlier, she would have picked something more formal to wear as currently she was wearing a knight’s light plate and didn’t look much different from normal students. Any of the other noble students in the reception hall here were easily dressed more suitable for the occasion than her.
If it wasn’t for the fact that Bella had the noble sceptre crest of the Filomina Branch on her, the building’s guards would have thought that she was a student from the commoners’ Francis Branch and kicked her out. This ‘treasure duelling’ stripped down, was just another way for people to compare their wealth. Bella regretted not wearing that blindingly shiny suit of platinum armour here today, as it definitely would have blinded the eyes of every damn person here.
Just like what Bella expected, as soon as the auction began, on the display, the 30 slots quickly filled up, almost in seconds. Ranked 29th, Bella unexpected found the name ‘Bellina’, but she hadn’t even placed a bid, so how was it that her alias had appeared on the screen? Isn’t this straight up a robbery, stealing 1000 gold coins without Bella’s knowledge?
“Duchess Bellina, I purchased that seat for you, it’s on me so you don’t have to spend a single copper.”
“You sure are generous, Jenny-senpai. However, why don’t you buy yourself a spot? You are still a 2nd-year student, after all, meaning that you still have the right to take part in this auction yourself?”
“It’s fine, you probably don’t know it but only the year’s initial ranking is obtained through auction, and is auctioned off again at the beginning of every year. However, after the initial auction, there’s a chance for the seats to shift every weekend but that requires actual combat between students. Those who have just joined the ranking can spend another 1000 gold coins on their first week to avoid being challenged, but they will have to actually fight every time that they are challenged after the first week.
The 30 ranked seats weren’t fixed for the entire year, and if one was beaten by a challenger they could wait until next week and spend 1000 gold coins themselves to challenge someone who was ranked. Every challenger would have to pay 1000 gold coins as a ‘challenge fee’ that would not be returned whether they succeeded or failed in their challenge. There was also the possibility of multiple challengers setting their eyes on the same seat during at the same time, in which case after they all paid their ‘challenge fees’ they would have to first fight among themselves and then the winner would be the only one to challenge the student in actual possession of the seat.
This money making method sure was elaborate, as long as there were challengers, the Filomina Branch’s student council would never run out of gold. The only benefit to the students who held the top 30 seats was publicity, the Filomina Branch would post the top 30’s names around the branch academy in various places where it would be easy for others to see. The ranking system was basically spending money to have their name advertised in various places.
As the 30 seats quickly filled, the event quickly progressed to the stage of ‘treasure duelling’. Many new students took out the treasures and valuable items that they had brought today and placed it on the miniature teleportation formation after writing their name on a slip of paper and placing it with the item, the item would then be transported to someplace behind the scenes where some people skilled in appraising items would determine the value and whose item would be the most valuable and sending the item back to the display stand on stage. Due to the fact that every single seat around the stage possessed one of these miniature teleportation formations, Bella inferred that this reception hall as probably doubled as an auction hall at least a few times previously, or else there was no reason for the academy to use such an amount of wealth to create so many teleportation formations just for a meet and greet.
Bella had originally not wanted to take place in this money trap, so she didn’t place anything on her seat’s teleportation formation. Her name was quickly swept from the ranking’s top 30 by other names. The host of the ‘treasture duelling’ portion of the day was a beauty that Bella hadn’t seen yet and was probably one of the school beauties from the Antoinette Academy. Even though the girl was quite beautiful and there wasn’t any flaw that Bella could see in her looks, but her voice felt a little overexaggerated and fake to Bella.
“The current highest bidder is Abbot, the treasure that he donated is the magic core an E class monster, [Wind Wolf] as well as a set of equipment by the name of ‘Forest’s Protection’ crafted by the dwarven master smith, Sharpe, one of his most prized creations. If no other student can donate something more valuable, this year’s seat of honour will go to Mr.Abbot!”
To the eyes of other’s the magic core of an E class monster like [Wind Wolf] was rather hard to procure, but to Bella it was no different then the garbage swept to the side of the streets. What caught Bella’s interest was that set of knight’s armour ‘Forest’s Protection’ which was supposedly crafted by the dwarven master smith, Sharp.
“I almost forgot to mention, but this year’s first seat of honour will have the opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea with the Filomina Branch’s very own student council president, Miss Lucia!”
Being able to enjoy afternoon tea with one of the Olsyvia Academy’s ‘10 most beautiful females’ was quite the prize. Many male students were already regretting not bring any of their more valuable items here and so easily giving this once in a lifetime chance to that damn bastard Abbot. Abbot was from the 6th ranked Golden Legend and was one of their president, Carlos’s closest advisors.
Even though Abbot looked like quite the gentleman, but his habits weren’t so gentlemanly. He not only had unspeakable relations with many of the Antoinette Academy’s students but had also turned his eyes towards the female students of the Francis Academy, mostly those innocent and naive new students that had yet to see the evil and cruelty of the world. Due to the fact that he was close to the president of the Golden Legend, many students who had suffered at the hands of Abbot couldn’t do anything about him.
The female students from the Francis Academy who Abbot had gone after were all commoners without any connections and had absolutely no way of fighting against the power of the Golden Legend and could only keep their silence after receiving a silencing fee. Due to the lack of concrete evidence, the Disciplinary Committee didn’t have the authority to give any actual punishment to Abbot.
“If there aren’t any challengers wishing to show their hand, then the one who would receive the opportunity to enjoy tea with president Lucia…er, someone has sent a new treasure up…it’s the magic core… of an [Earth Bear]…”
Right as the host was about to declare Abbot’s victory, she quickly said a few words which caused Abbot’s smile to die before it even fully formed on his face, leaving him with a rather awkward expression. Even though [Earth Bear] was a C class monster, but it’s combat abilities, especially its attack, was on par with and even exceeded that of quite a few B class monsters. Due to this fact, the magic core of an [Earth Bear] was worth the same as a typical B class magic core.
The E class magic core of a [Wind Wolf] that Abbot handed in earlier was much lower in value and could only match the value of the [Earth Bear]’s magic core when combined with the suit of armour, ‘Forest’s Protection’. In the case that the two competitors’ treasures were valued at the same amount, the competitor who handed the smaller amount of treasure would win, after all, when one item from a competitor could match 2 or more of the other competitor’s in value, it was quite evident which side was the winner.
“I’ll add the master smith Sharpe’s ‘Forest Hunter’s Blade’ as well as ‘Forest Guardian’s Bucker’, both of these items are a set with the ‘Forest’s Protection’ armour that I donated earlier!”
This was all that that Abbot had, the set of equipment crafted by the legendary master smith Sharpe had costed him over 5000 gold coins. He would have given up already if it wasn’t for the request of Carlos that must obtain the chance to enjoy tea with president Lucia. All that Abbot could hope was that the mysterious challenger would stop bidding, as one who could so simply bring out the magic core of an [Earth Bear] wouldn’t be so simple.
However, it didn’t seem like the other side would give up. It didn’t take long before a dark blue magic core twice the size that of the [Earth Bear]’s to appear on the display stand, radiating an ocean’s aura. This magic core was definitely that of a sea monster’s. Most students present had already seen a monster’s magic core, but most of them had only seen that of a ground monster’s, and it was many of the students’ first time seeing a sea monster’s magic core.
“B class monster [Deep Sea Serpent]’s magic core, wow… I sure haven’t wasted my time coming to this meet and greet.”
“Abbot is one of the closest advisors to the Golden Legend’s president, who is brave enough to ‘treasure duel’ with him? They’re basically declaring war on the entire Golden Legend!”
“There’s a show to watch, where are the attendants? Hey I’m out of melon seeds, hurry and bring me some more, oh and bring me some peanuts as well!”
Abbot’s face changed colours, this deep sea monster’s magic core was so hard to get that not even Golden Legend’s president, Carlos, could procure at a moments notice. B level magic cores usually sold for 5000 gold coins on the market, but due to the rarity of deep sea monsters, the magic core of this [Deep Sea Serpent] could probably go for somewhere between 9000 and 10,000 gold coins.
“Er, due to the request of the request of our branch’s student council, we would like to invite this mysterious challenger to the stage so that everyone here can get to know you.”
However, this mysterious person didn’t take to the stage and the reception hall remained silent for a few minutes. Currently, the name on the head seat had changed to Bellina, and everyone present was speculating who this Bellina was and a few of the more knowledgeable students with connections turned their eyes to the rows of seats that were reserved for members of the Rose Society.
Bella had originally not wanted to take part in this bidding, but after hearing that the winner would be able to enjoy afternoon tea with president Lucia, she changed her mind. After all, president Lucia had moved into Bella’s dormitory building with Natasha, if she chose her dorm as the location for afternoon tea, it would be rather inconvenient, as Bella absolutely would not allow any male to step foot into her dormitory building.
“Er, the current highest bid goes to Duchess Bellina, but it seems that she is feeling a bit unwell and has chosen not to come and meet everyone. Are there any other students that wish to contest her?! If not, the new students’ seat of honour will go to Duchess Bellina.”
Seeing that Bella didn’t want to come up, the beautiful host could only awkwardly make an excuse for her. There really much that people could say about a Duchess not wanting to go up onto the stage, such was one of the benefits of having a high peerage.
Seated some distance behind the display stand, the head chair of the Disciplinary Committee, Natasha was sitting with the president of the Filomina Branch’s student council, Lucia, and together they were observing the scene before them. Carlos’ support had already arrived and three A+ level magic cores were delivered to the front, under Abbot’s name as he was one of Carlos’ trusted aides and it wouldn’t do well for his own face if Abbot was defeated in wealth here.
“Hmph, that problem student Bellina is trying something again. However, this time she shouldn’t be able to beat Carlos, he just sent up 3 A+ magic cores, even though the magic core of a [Deep Sea Serpent] is rare, it’s still only a level B core.”
“Why is it that you wish so strongly for Bellina to lose, Natasha?”
“I just don’t want to see a look of triumph on her face, even though that Abbot is quite dislikable himself. It’s all your fault, Lucia, adding such a factor for no reason.”
“All I want is to improve the treasury of our branch’s student council, or else we’re going to have trouble giving out a decent reward during this year’s 5 branch tournament…”
“I don’t really care, but as long as I can see Duchess Bellina getting defeated, I…”
Before the two girls could even finish speaking, Bellina sent up another item. Before Abbott could even ‘warm’ the seat of honour, Bellina had already predicted Carlos’ move and made one first, it just up to whether or not her item could beat the 3 A+ level magic cores fearsome monster, [Ground Dragon].