Volume 3 Chapter 109: A Mission in Alcott Valley

Olsylvia Academy, South Campus. The front path leading up to the main entrance of the Filomena Nobility Academy’s club activity center.

Bella, Kriss, and Ariel were in the area to pick up their tasks for the Rose Society’s point accumulation. Within Olsylvia Academy, there were only two ways in which a society could accrue points. The first was the daily accumulation of points after occupying a territory.
The second method was winning points through point accumulation tasks, which were similar to mercenary missions. The societies would be rewarded with points once these tasks were completed. Other than the points, there were no other rewards, which meant that they were basically free labor for the Olsylvia Academy.
The commotion at one of the forbidden grounds within Olsylvia Academy’s Mount Vernon, the Scripps Cemetery, was far too disruptive. At the moment, these restricted areas were now under high security lockdown. Bella had no choice but to postpone her plans to contend for new territory for the society.
It was partially Bella’s fault that this had happened. After all, the only reason that Scott and the others had found Scripps Cemetery, which was one of the nine forbidden grounds of the Olsylvia Academy, was due to the subtle hints that Bella had dropped. If she had not revealed anything, they would have been able to continue with the plans to occupy new territories today.
“Bella, why did President Lucia speak to you earlier? It seemed rather mysterious. Furthermore, she brought both the Thunder Knight Daphne and Dusk Knight Aurora along.”
“Kriss, please do not tell me that you’re jealous. Lucia and Aurora were just hoping that I would show up at the student union soon. I am secretary after all, albeit in name. If I do not start participating, others will begin to gossip.”
“Bella, you’re mistaken. I’m not jealous at all. President Lucia is pretty amazing. I would not mind if you had any thoughts about her.”
While explaining herself to Bella, Kriss had been keeping her eye on Ariel, who had been following them. As usual, she was completely covered by her cloak and hood. She was also wearing a mask which concealed her entire face, preventing anyone from seeing her expressions.
Ariel remained silent as her delicate hand held on to Bella’s left hand, as though she was using this silent gesture to make her point. On Bella’s right, Kriss was holding on to her hand intimately. With the girls on each side, Bella could not help but feel a rush of satisfaction.
The three ladies were all dressed in Olsylvia Academy’s uniform. Even though Bella absolutely hated how conservative the uniform was, there were some benefits. Deep down, Bella was extremely possessive of the beautiful harem that she had acquired, though she rarely expressed this sentiment publicly. Thus, she did not wish for others to have even the smallest opportunity to ogle at her girls.
Along the way, there was quite a bit of attention being directed towards Bella. The students who walked past them naturally had their eye on Kriss. As a beautiful maiden with silver hair, she was extremely popular amongst most of the boys. In the human empire of the Other World, the boys actually preferred girls with such hair colors.
When a fruit is scarcest, its taste is the sweetest. Such concepts could be applied to the Other World as well. Even though the Radiant Church had always viewed maidens with silver hair as different, this was not within the church’s scope of influence. In addition, Bella had already claimed President Maria, the heir of the Radiant Church, as well as the church’s four holy maidens, as her own.

“Bella, stop staring at Big Sister Kriss! I know that you really like girls with silver hair, but I’m silver haired too! Why don’t you look at me instead? You’d better not be playing favorites among your roommates, otherwise I’m really going to be mad at you.”
“Ariel, calm down. All of you are my… I mean, you are all important to me. I will not be biased towards anyone. Let’s pick up our assignment first. We have been in the Rose Society for more than a week. If we do not start picking up the slack, we will have a hard time trying to explain ourselves to Director Nina!”
“Fine, I shall let you go this time. If I recall correctly, Director Nina is also a gorgeous silver haired maiden. Please don’t tell me that you are thinking of coveting our director!”
At this moment, Bella was quick witted enough to have chosen to remain silent as she entered the activity center while holding hands with Kriss and Ariel. As for Ariel’s earlier question, Bella was able to answer it. Honestly, if she had asked which girls Bella was not interested in, it would have been far easier to give a proper response as there were too many girls who had caught Bella’s interest.

The set up within the activity center was similar to the reception hall of the Mercenary Union. In essence, the work they did was almost the same, where they would receive their agreed upon remuneration after they had completed their tasks. The only difference was that the missions were assigned based on the mercenary’s levels. Thus a lower level mercenary would not be able to take up a high level assignment.
There were many novels from the previous world that depicted how the main character immediately progressed to an exponentially higher level after completing a death defying mercenary assignment. However, stories like this did not exist in this Other World. Within the activity center, the point accumulation tasks were separated into four levels – normal, difficult, expert, and master.
Regardless of their size and level of ability, all of the societies were allowed to accept point accumulation tasks of any difficulty level. The whole thing was a bit of a rip-off as there was not much difference in terms of reward for each difficulty level. Some of the master level tasks even awarded less points than the normal level ones.

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Also, there were many restrictions regarding the tasks. Each person was only allowed to take up three tasks per day. For the normal level tasks, only one could be taken up every day. Thus the other tasks would be from the difficult level onwards. In addition, each society could send a maximum of ten people to complete the point accumulation tasks. This was to balance out any advantage the larger clubs would have due to their available manpower.
Bella stood at the reception counter at the activity center and was checking out the acceptable tasks. She was practically rendered speechless at the amount of intolerable regulations set by the center and she had never seen a reward system so ridiculous. The amount of difficulty between the master and normal levels were almost negligible, which made it such a rip-off.
“Grand Duke Bellina, Princess Kriss, and Princess Ariel, is there anything that you are confused about? Please do not hesitate to clarify your doubts with me!”
“Miss, I am confused about everything! Seriously, the design of these point accumulation tasks are atrocious. A normal level task of finding someone has a reward of ten points, however, an expert level task like eradicating rock puppets from the quarries are only worth eight.”

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“Well, Grand Duke Bellina, these rules are set by the upper management, so I am unclear about this matter as well. I sincerely apologize if this has caused you any problems!”
The receptionist was a student from the “arts school” nearby, the Antoinette Academy. These girls had long histories of working part time within Olsylvia Academy. After some time here, they had learnt how to read people and act accordingly.
If it was anyone else, these receptionists would not be as enthusiastic. But between the three of them, Bella was a Grand Duke and the other two were princesses. The receptionist had never met anyone who held such high status, and naturally, she would not dare to slight them in any way.
A typical royal and noble would not turn up here. Most of them felt that participating in such activities would reflect poorly on their titles and social status. Usually, they would pay to employ commoners or freshmen from the Wizard Academy to rack up these points for them under the society’s name.
“Eh? President Ivy, you’re here too? Seems like we are truly fated to meet.”
“What fate? Don’t spout rubbish. I’m just here to visit.”
“President Ivy, weren’t we together that day…”
“Bella… you… you promised not to mention anything about us!”
On the other side of the counter, Bella saw a familiar figure wearing an assassin’s robes, President Ivy. This black, skin tight, assassin’s night suit hugged every curve of President Ivy’s perfect body. Behind her was a group of slack-jawed boys who could not keep their eyes off her. It was obvious how provocative it was when Ivy wore the assassin’s suit.

When Ivy had caught sight of Bella, she had every intention of hiding from her. However, Bella had saw through her act almost immediately. This lass, never mind the fact that she wore such an alluring outfit, but she had wanted to leave only after a glimpse of her body. She could forget about running away now. Since Bella had already seen her, she would have to ensure that Ivy joined her little impromptu team.
“President Ivy, perfect timing. Since I have you here, my team needs an assassin. Why don’t you join me! As Noreya and Lola are both not around, I desperately need one on my team.”
“As the assistant director of the Ironblood Cross Society, I am not a member of the Rose Society. I don’t think that would be a good idea!”
“President Ivy, stop trying to turn me down. Honestly, your position as the assistant director of the Ironblood Cross Society is simply a figurehead. If you refuse, I will march directly to your society to find you. President Britney had already agreed to join my Rose Society. In my opinion, you really should reconsider your future prospects.”
Feeling pressurized by Bella’s persistence, President Ivy eventually gave in and agreed to join Bella’s trio. She was only here because she had wanted to avoid any boys who wanted to hook up with her at the friendship convention. Due to the nature of her occupation as an assassin, she did not enjoy the hustle and bustle of such events.
Once she had formed her team of four, Bella’s task choices allowed them to consecutively complete three collection type tasks. The locations for these tasks were all within the Alcott Valley near Olsylvia Academy. Bella was not interested in tasks that involved being a courier that sought people out to deliver items or letters. However, their rewards were almost the same as the collection tasks, which, no matter how she thought about it, was a complete rip-off.
Just after Bella and the others had left, the Director of the Ironblood Cross Society, Alex, rushed over with a group of members. Apparently, he was related to the dean of the Filomena Nobility Academy, Prince Alex. This would technically make him part of the royal family. However, he went to the Olivia Wizard Academy instead.
“Director Alex, how may we assist you today?”
“Have you seen my assistant director, Ivy? Seriously, there are so many people waiting to speak to her at the friendship convention, but she ran away instead. She comes here often so I guessed she might have dropped by.”
“Director Alex, I did see President Ivy earlier. However, she left a while ago. She did not inform me of her next destination either. As you know, according to the requirements of my job, confidentiality is of utmost importance.”
Bella had already given the receptionist a generous tip of close to twenty gold coins. Regarding Alex’s questions, the receptionist had managed to placate him with a vague answer. Director Alex’s emotional intelligence obviously could not match up to his combat ability as he took the receptionist at her word and left without a second thought. If he had greased her palm with some gold coins, he might have been able to gather some information about Ivy’s whereabouts.
The outskirts of Olsylvia Academy, Alcott Valley.
The Alcott Valley was within Olivia Wizard Academy, which was on the suburbs of Olsylvia City. The perimeter of the valley was heavily guarded by the Manasvir Empire’s troops as the Simon Quarry was located in the valley. Because this quarry was one of the crucial stone supply points for the Manasvir Empire, there were thousands of troops permanently stationed at the valley.
Bella and her young maiden companions had begun their collection tasks. The three tasks that Bella had accepted were are related to the Alcott Valley. The requirements of these tasks were to collect the Kiwi Fruit, Six Colored Flower, and the Heart of Rock Magic from the central region of the valley.

The Kiwi Fruit and Six Colored Flower were part of the six main ingredients used in Alchemy. Since the task only required them to collect fifteen of each ingredient, any extras would belong to Bella. This was the only part that made this tedious task worth it.
As the Heart of Rock Magic was the most difficult one to procure, the task only required five of them. While the Kiwi Fruit and Six Colored Flower could be picked off the ground, the Heart of Rock Magic could only be retrieved from wild magical beasts such as the rock puppets. This ingredient acted as their “heart”, which was their source of power. The Heart of Rock Magic was the most crucial ingredient for Alchemists and Puppet Masters when creating their rock puppets.
In the Alcott Valley, Bella and her group encountered the target of their current task – the magical beasts called rock puppets which looked just like enormous stone men. Despite being referred to as such, it was still up for debate at the Mercenary Union if these creatures could be classified as magical beasts.
The “hearts” of these rock puppets did not function like those of a typical magical beast. Rather, they were more like energy stones. By the rankings of the Mercenary Union, the stone puppets ranged from C-class to S-class. Their physical defenses were extraordinarily tough to break through, which meant it was nearly impossible to cause any damage using a normal sword.
Their only weaknesses were the cracks that acted as joints between each rock. This was their Achilles heel. For combat type professions, there was only one way to cause any damage to these rock puppets, which was attacking these vital points.
As for magical type professions, there were not many forms of attack that could cause any substantial damage to these rock puppets. They were immune to most magical attacks, such as elemental type magic like fire or thunder. Still, some kinds of wood type and ice type magic could temporarily restrict their movement.
It was no easy feat to obtain the Heart of Rock Magic as not every rock puppet contained one to animate it. There was a seventy percent chance that the rock puppet was “empty” and there was no way to know if it contained a Heart until it was defeated. Attacking the wrong rock puppets might cause one to end up wasting an entire day.
Each Heart of Rock Magic’s market value was determined by using gold coins for each unit. The main goal of Bella and her team was to collect these Hearts. Even if they were not collecting them for the sake of point accumulation for the Rose Society, many of Bella’s lady friends needed this ingredient. Therefore hunting down rock puppets for the Heart was the obvious choice.
The entire central region of the Alcott Valley was amassed with rock puppets that were more than three meters tall. The grass patches at their feet were full of crisp green Kiwi Fruit and vibrant Six Colored Flowers. If they wanted to collect the ingredients with a peace of mind, the team would have to eliminate the surrounding rock puppets.
As the rock puppets were highly aggressive, anything that approached them would definitely be attacked. It made no difference if it was their own species or other living things. Fortunately, these puppets literally had rocks for brains and thus had no form of intelligence. If the rock puppets had been sentient beings, they would not have been left alone in the Alcott Valley by the various human empires for so long.
Other than the students of Olsylvia Academy, there were a number of mercenary groups nearby who were hunting the rock puppets as well. There was an increasing demand for the ingredient due to the ongoing eighth battle between the human race and the demon race. Most of the north frontier was engaged in battle and they needed a large supply of such magical ingredients. This led to the constantly rising prices of the Heart of Rock Magic.
When Bella and the others had first appeared in the valley, many of the mercenary group leaders had personally invited them to cooperate with them. Only a few of the groups had the capacity to engage a mage for their team as prices to employ mages were extremely steep.

Furthermore, due to some unspoken rule, a female mage would be at least twenty percent more expensive to hire than a male. If she was a beautiful maiden, the prices would increase exponentially. This was a low blow, especially for the large groups of weary mercenaries. Male mages preferred to fly solo, thus, despite being overcharged, they had no choice but to engage these female mages.
Ariel was the main reason for the popularity of Bella and her team. The hooded cloak that Ariel was wearing had covered her extremely well. It had practically hidden her figure and her hair from view. Thus the mercenaries were momentarily unable to determine her gender and had simply thought she was an “economical” male mage.

- my thoughts:
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