Volume 3 Chapter 102: An Unhappy Gamble

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Olsylvia Academy, North campus, within Filomena Nobility Academy’s amphitheater. Clifford, the Assassin, was stumped as Bella stood arrogantly in front of him. The Dragon Slaying Armor was as incredibly powerful as it sounded. Even though it had been purposely sprayed black to mislead others, the gleam emitting from the rare metal was unmistakable.

“Come on, Clifford, bring it. You’re our last shot at beating the Divine Grand Lady. Don’t chicken out on us now!”

“I bet all my lunch money on you. If you lose, I’m going to have to eat at your hostel tonight.”

“Banker, I bet on the Duke Bellina winning… what are you guys doing? Hey, don’t come any closer!”

“Brothers, we have a traitor in our midst. Let’s get him…”

In the spectator stands, a certain brave soul was being chased by a group of resentful boys. It was not true that the boys didn’t want to place their bets on Bella, but the male nobles had always been adamant about maintaining their ideal of male chauvinism. As for being a Knight, it had always been a man’s world. The fact that Bella, who was not even a Dragon Knight, was able to win dozens of rounds in a row had caused them to feel indignant. They had always thought that Bella had the advantage solely because of her equipment, which meant that she was not a qualified knight.

Fortunately, the “traitorous” boy who was being chased was an assassin by trade and was able to slip away before the violent horde managed to reach him. Bella could only plead innocence for the commotion that was going on in the stands. Until this moment, there were only a handful of people who had placed bets on her, probably because they did not approve of her methods of using her equipment to repress the other freshmen.

It was not against the rules to place bets during the freshmen competitions. According to the regulations, students who had already been given the title of Dragon Knight were not allowed to compete in order to allow a fair fight. As a Dragon Knight, they would definitely bring their steed into a fight, which would add to their combat ability, giving them an unfair advantage.

Bella had obviously made full use of the loophole. If her divine equipment were to be taken into consideration, her total combat ability would likely be comparable to any of the entry-level Dragon Knights. Within all of Olsylvia Academy, there were only a couple of new Dragon Knights. Among all the first, second, and third year students at Filomena Nobility Academy, the only ones who held the title were Natasha and Lisha. Since they were not eligible to join the competition, there was no one who was Bella’s match when it came to a fight.
  
“Grand Duke Bellina, my name is Clifford. I am an assassin, and the current twelfth place in the Elite Nobility freshman class. I am eighteen, single, and my father is the World Invader Marquis. My territory includes… f*ck, who hit me?!”

“Don’t leave your mark if you’re not going to fight. Seriously, are you here to compete or on a blind date? Grand Duke Bellina, I am the eldest son of Duke Dylan. This year… who hit me?!

“Brothers, we have another traitor here, let’s crush him…”

“Ahem, my dear classmates, the banker is now selling bricks and wooden rods at twenty bronze coins each. If you buy one, you get another free!”

“Banker, give me a set.”

Naturally, Clifford’s traitorous actions had ignited a lot of disapproval from the boys. One by one, they began to throw countless bottles of water and fruits into the arena. Before, Bella had wondered why there were so many fruits and drink bottles prepared in the spectator area. Now, she found out that they were there for the spectators to use under “special circumstances”. At this point, Clifford was looking rather downtrodden. Even though he had used his skills as an assassin to dodge most of the projectiles flying towards him, he still got hit by many of them.

As these items were only meant to be directed towards the males, no one dared to throw any of them at Bella. No matter how shamelessly ostentatious Bella was, she was still a belle. In the eyes of those humans in this Other World, unless it was way out of line, most indiscretions could be forgiven as long as one was beautiful enough.

“So, Miss Bella, why don’t we just announce you as the victor?”

“Teacher William, I don’t think that it would be a good idea. It would be best for us to keep going.”

“I understand. Silence! The competition shall continue!”

The Holy Knight William, who was in charge of supervising this event, had walked up to quietly ask for Bella’s opinion. Thereafter, he declared that the competition would proceed as usual.

“In that case, Grand Duke Bella, please excuse my incompetence.”
  
Just as Clifford had finished his sentence, he disappeared in a puff of smoke using Stealth, which was one of an assassin’s signature moves. In a past life, Bella had encountered this move being used while surfing the net. In her current reality, she had seen Noreya and Lola use it as well. At Clifford’s sudden disappearance, Bella simply remained calm and stood where she was, waiting for her opponent to attack.

If this were an actual fight, Bella would have made the wrong move. As a stationary target, she would have been an easy kill for any assassin. They would simply “backstab” – which meant that they would literally stab her in the back and pierce her heart, killing her on the spot. As most assassins mainly relied on sneak attacks, their forms of attack were often based on using daggers to kill their targets. Not many would use other instruments like Noreya, who preferred to utilize her modified concealed weapons and a set of bow and arrows.

While Clifford was moving stealthily, he was contemplating how to lose gracefully. Even if he had used freshly sharpened military grade daggers, he would barely be able to make a dent in Bella’s armor. Once his sneak attack had failed, he would definitely meet his demise. Bella’s previous opponents were all in a profession which involved physical warfare and none of them had caused her to move a single step.

Bella was not in the mood to play the “cat and mouse game” with Clifford. She was still hoping that she would have a stroke of luck and she might finally pick a female opponent. Then she could tease and have a little bit of fun with her. Clifford was taking far too long to attack. Bella did not care about the power behind his attacks; her only worry was that he would waste her time.

Bella concentrated her power in the special gauntlet in her right hand and sent out a massive punch towards the ground of the amphitheater. Instantly, the arena’s floor was filled with cracks from the powerful impact. Even the invigilator, Holy Knight William, was forced to retreat to the edge of the arena by the pure force of Bella’s attack.

“Teacher, if a knight uses the Earth Shattering Fist, which technically is a warrior’s move, isn’t it against the rules?”

“This Earth Shattering Fist is not… not something a regular student would be able to use. Can’t you see that even a Holy Knight was almost sent flying?”

“Oh my goodness, the year I had spent learning to be a warrior is now pointless. Teacher, I wish to change specializations.”

“Ahem, this is simply a test of the freshman’s abilities, there is no specific rule restricting them from using any moves from outside of their chosen specializations. The Olsylvia Academy has always encouraged their students to have a well rounded skill set. I now declare Grand Duke Bella as the victor.”

The student spectators only realized that Clifford had been blasted out of the amphitheater after the Holy Knight William announced the results. He had collapsed on the ground and was foaming at the mouth. The poor guy had met a fate far worse than Bella’s last opponent, the Archer John. At least John was able to fire dozens of his arrows before being knocked down; Clifford had been eliminated before he even had a chance to attack.

 “Bella, you have already won twelve rounds in a row. I’m sure that these nasty boys don’t even dare to look at you now. Also, I’ve just made a tidy sum from the earlier bets.”

“Jenny, you are the daughter of the richest tycoon in the Manasvir Empire. Do you need to bother about such measly sums?”

“Well, my personal winnings are different from the allowance given by the old man back home. Bella, just as you said earlier, it seems like your next opponent… might be someone you might enjoy fighting!”

When Bella had returned to the rest area, Jenny had divulged a very important piece of information to her while massaging her arms. Her next opponent was a girl! Nina, the astrologer, had already predicted her next opponent. Of course, Nina had only taken the freshmen in the amphitheater into consideration and whether their paths would cross with Bella’s to determine if they were going to go against each other. As a Demon King and a Demon God, an astrologer would not be able to predict her fate.

In the current rankings, Bella had risen swiftly to fifth place. Ahead of her were two beautiful female knights and two other individuals with magic related professions. After Bella, the sixth to tenth place had magical specializations. The other physical warfare related individuals had all been swept back past the tenth place.

Within the human empire, knights were sometimes affectionately called the “rightful sons of the arena”. As one of the main conditions, no one was allowed to aim for the kill. Thus the weapons held by the assassins and archers were basically rendered useless against the knights, who were usually covered head to toe with metal. Part of the reason why Bella could make it to the top was also a professional advantage.

Albert, who was the vice chief, had always eyed Bella’s position. However, as his chosen profession was a swordsman, he had been pushed out of the running for the top ten by those with magical professions. Now, he had lost his chance to vent his frustrations on Bella.

As for the two beautiful lady knights, Bella had gotten her hands on their information. One of them was Aurora, the Vice-President of the Filomena Student Union and one of the four beauties of Octavia Empire’s nobility. As Aurora and the other beautiful lady knights had never seen Felia in the flesh, Bella was not worried about the possibility that any of them would recognize her as the ninth princess.

Aurora had been dubbed the “Thunder Knight”. The reason for her fame was the color of her hair. Her navy blue tresses were likened to the midnight skies when lightning struck. Moreover, Aurora’s methods of attack were all thunder-type magic as well, contributing to the nickname.

Aurora was standing behind Lucia, the Student Union President, and Natasha, the chief of the Disciplinary Committee, when she realized that Bella was looking at her. As a noble, Aurora was aware of the basic etiquette and gave Bella a customary smile. At the sight of her smile, many naughty thoughts began to swirl through Bella’s mind.

However, Bella realized that her next opponent was not Aurora as she had not made any move to prepare for her appearance on the arena. Other than Aurora, the other beautiful lady knight was the “Dark Knight”, Daphne. She was also one of the four beauties of the Octavia Empire. She gained much of her popularity due to her gorgeous head of dark hair, which was the colour of the night sky at twilight.

Daphne was also at the amphitheater and was standing a little closer to Bella. The ebony haired, beautiful lady knight had her arms crossed in front of her chest, exuding an image of arrogance. Her eyes were focused on the competition arena. Bella guessed that Daphne was likely the ice queen type of beauty.

This babe was really something; rather than taking a seat, she was just standing there in all her sensual glory. Bella was about to approach her to talk some sense into her and invite her over to have a conversation about life. However, in that moment, the annoying voice of the invigilating Holy Knight, William, disrupted her plans by announcing that it was Bella’s turn to enter the arena.

“Grand Duke Bella, please come on stage to participate in this new competition. By the way, since you have already emerged victorious for eleven consecutive rounds, if you choose to forfeit this round, you will still be able to maintain your current position as first.”

The invigilator Holy Knight William’s reminder clearly had a hidden message. He was trying to inform Bella that she did not have to participate in this fight as Bella’s next opponent was a mage. Unlike knights, mages had been dubbed the “father of the arena”. In the arena, mages were given much more leeway for their attacks. They were even allowed to smash their magic scrolls and summon their indentured magical beasts to aid them in battle.

Furthermore, the most outrageous thing was how the physical warfare professions had to allow the mage one minute to prepare their castings to allow for a fair fight when they were pitted against each other. Many of them had been led to their certain defeat by this rule. By waiting for a full minute before attacking, the opponent already had the chance to send a powerful blow towards them.

In the competition thus far, Bella had not encountered any of the magical profession. Most of her opponents were of the physical warfare professions as the Holy Knight William had helped her to cheat during the balloting process. William had purposely helped Bella avoid those of the magical profession, allowing Bella to terrify her own kind. Even though he was being bribed, the Holy Knight William was still a man of his word and understood what he needed to after accepting Bella’s money.

“Mage versus Knight, a fight between a father and son, oh this should be fun to watch! Banker, I bet that the Mage Sylvia would win. I’ll pledge my dinner fund.”

“I… I bet on the Grand Duke Bella, knights never yield! Banker, I raise you an entire week of meals.”

“Well, do you have, I don’t know, a bet for both parties…. Hey, stop hitting me! I am an ally…”

“No, there isn’t. Scram! Didn’t you run away earlier, why are you back again? Beat him to a pulp…”

This time, Bella’s opponent was from the country of magic, the Aldridge Empire. The beautiful young lady mage was Sylvia, a descendent of one of the five Arcana aristocratic families and was amongst the five beauties of the Aldridge Empire’s nobility. Her nickname was similar to the ones given to the four beautiful lady knights. Apparently, it was a common pastime in the human empire to give such nicknames to beautiful young ladies.

Sylvia, the mage, had already been standing within the arena. She had won nine rounds in a row. The only reason why her position was higher than Bella’s was due to the manipulations of the Holy Knight William. The opponents in Bella’s first eight rounds were all cannon fodder who had placed beyond thirtieth place while Sylvia’s adversaries were at least in twenty-fifth place from the beginning. This caused her overall accumulated points to be much higher than Bella’s.

When Bella stepped into the arena, her armor momentarily stumped the onlooking students. When she was fighting the male competitors, her armor was thick and heavy. This time, she had changed into a platinum knight’s light armor. This light armor was in the feminine style and had an armored skirt specifically made for females.

Bella’s current suit of armor had unveiled her lithe figure. As the spectator stands were a good distance away from the main arena, the boys in the stands were unable to see Bella’s revealed thighs and arms. This time, they were not given the chance to enjoy this eye candy.

“Banker, I bet one hundred gold coins on the Grand Duke Bella. This helmet is worth at least that much.”

“Banker, I am betting five hundred gold coins on the Grand Duke Bella. What kind of man would I be if I did not make a bet?”

“I bet on the mage… hey, stop hitting me already. This is the third time!”

“This fellow… you’re just here to create trouble! Here come some of your brothers from the assassins; let’s see where else you can run to this time!”

At this point, the bank’s proprietor was conflicted. This group of gentlemen was too much. At first, most of the bets had been placed on Sylvia, the mage. Now, the bets were almost equal. Now, no matter who won, he would definitely have to make a loss.

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“Miss Sylvia, before the competition begins, may I ask you a personal question?”

“Grand Duke Bella, ask away. Just remember that I will not show mercy!”

“Well, do you have a boyfriend? If you do, I will admit defeat.”

“This question… I refuse to answer. Grand Duke Bella, as an upstanding lady knight, asking a prominent lady such a question, isn’t it rather…”

“In that case, I shall use my true prowess to convince you to tell me the answer personally.”

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- my thoughts:
As you've probably noticed, we started releasing the novel later as NU, for some reason, takes hours to update the manual release in the mornings, EST. By the time new readers could see it, the release is burried.
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