Volume 3 Chapter 117: An Illusion of a Fake Archibald City

Olsylvia Academy, North Campus, Filomena Nobility Academy’s Student Quarters, in the peripheral area of one of the Olsylvia Academy’s Nine Midnight Forbidden Grounds – McPherson Monastery.

In no time at all, Bella and her team began experiencing more problems. They had been walking towards the monastery for a while now, but the distance didn’t seem to close. Just like the moon, they could obviously see it, but they were unable to reach it.

“Everyone, stop. I suspect that we may have run into ghosts… It’s the Evil Spirit’s Eternal Loop!”

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“The road leading back to our starting point has disappeared too. I’m sure I made markings to direct us back!”

No one knew exactly why the path which Bella and the others had come from had also disappeared. Back then, the author of the Olsylvia Academy’s Midnight Unbelievable Tales had made his final stop at the McPherson Monastery. He had died within the outer gardens before he even had the chance to see what lies inside the monastery.

Other than the missing path, various black shadows would drift past them along with the blooming flowers. All sorts of horror elements existed within the McPherson Monastery. Bella knew from her previous life that the only way to break a ghost’s eternal loop was to use a young boy’s urine. However, since the team solely consisted of girls, there was no way that this method could be used.

“What should we do? These are malicious spirits. Does this mean that we will have to find a new route to the garden?”

“I doubt that we have any choice in the matter. The spirits, on the other side, seem to be directing us into the garden. Cynthia, hold on to my hand when we go in as tightly as you can. Elaine, Noreya, you can do as you please!”

After some consideration, Bella decided that the best course of action would be to proceed into the gardens to reach the McPherson Monastery, but with caution. Among her companions, she was most worried about Cynthia. Noreya and Elaine would be able to handle themselves as they were not normal humans. Even after walking up to this point, they did not even feel an ounce of fear.

As Bella held her hand, she could feel a hint of a chill from Cynthia. She might seem calm and collected on the surface, but it was clear that Cynthia was panicking inside.

No matter how strong Cynthia was, she was still a human girl. It was inevitable that she would feel frightened in the face of such dark evil beings. It became apparent that Cynthia was losing her composure when her holy crucifix had failed against those evil beings.

“Bella, what kind of expression is that? I’m not scared at all! Why should I hold on to your hand?”

“In that case, who’s that behind you….”

“Don’t try to scare me. There’s no one… no one behind me!”

After being frightened by Bella’s words, Cynthia’s leg had started to shake, which Bella noticed. Of course, there were no malicious spirits behind her. With Elaine around, none of those spirits would dare to approach and seek their release.

A strange scent permeated the gardens of the McPherson Monastery. After being exposed to it, one would begin to feel rather dizzy. The group continued to make their way into the gardens with Bella and Cynthia leading the group, while Noreya and Elaine were at the back. Before they could make any headway, puffs of black smoke emerged from the flowerbeds and began to fill the area. In a matter of seconds, the four of them were completely surrounded by the smoke.

Bella was worried that the smoke might be toxic and held her breath. At the same time, she pulled Cynthia into her embrace. As for Noreya and Elaine, they still had some of the precious objects that Bella had given them earlier, which would be sufficient to deal with any unexpected situations.

Olsylvia Academy, North Campus, Filomena Nobility Academy’s Student Quarters, at the front gates of one of the Olsylvia Academy’s Nine Midnight Forbidden Grounds – McPherson Monastery.

Lisha was trying to hold back a group who wanted to enter the McPherson Monastery. It was evident that this group did not come with good intentions as they appeared not long before Bella and the others had entered.

“Princess Lisha, please let us pass. As the representatives from the Doors of Truth, we need to search the area. This place is not included in the societies’ territory wars. It’s against the rules for the Rose Society to explore this area!”

“We have letters of authorization. You are being unreasonable!”

Lisha stared fearlessly at the dozens of members from the Doors of Truth in front of her. The person who was leading the group was the Assistant Director of the Doors of Truth, Norris. The handsome priest held a golden bible in his hands while attempting to talk some sense into Lisha.

“Lisha, just let them enter the compound! Since the authorization documents are with Bella, there’s no harm in allowing them to go in to verify things.”

“Well… Alright.”

Lolita, who had been hiding in the shadows, briefly emerged to prompt Lisha before returning to the darkness again, and Lisha had immediately allowed the group to enter. As Lolita and Bella were able to communicate telepathically, her words would equate to Bella’s.

“Princess Lisha, your understanding is very much appreciated. Please do not worry, I will not make things difficult for your friends from the Rose Society. We just wish to ensure that Cynthia is still here.”

Ever since Norris was chased out of the Main Student Union Building by Cynthia – the Holy Swordsman, he had wanted to get rid of her. This time, if he were successful, he would finally get the chance to report that President Maria of the St Louis Church Academy Student Union had fallen. This was far too important to delay any further.

This illegal trespassing of the McPherson Monastery, which was one of the Olsylvia Academy’s Nine Midnight Forbidden Grounds. If the Academy were to find out about this, as Cynthia carried the highest post among the intruders, she would at least be imprisoned for a while.

“Lolita, are you sure that this is a good idea? If we allow them to enter, wouldn’t the issue that Older Sister Bella was trespassing be…”

“It’s fine. These blokes have technically forced their way in as well. Don’t worry Lisha, Bella needs some cannon fodder to attract those malicious spirits. Furthermore, this place is where the dreams begin, let them enjoy their dreams then!”

Lolita watched Norris and his group walk into the darkness with a sinister grin. Lisha was a little scared by her expression but decided that it would be a bad idea to enquire the reasons behind the smile.

Every other student who walked past by could not help but cast their curious looks. The reason why the McPherson Monastery had been sealed was a complete mystery to them. Everyone was curious to know what secrets were held within the compound, but none of them had the nerve to break the rules set by the Olsylvia Academy.

Olsylvia Academy, North Campus, Filomena Nobility Academy’s Student Quarters, in the unexplored territories of one of the Olsylvia Academy’s Nine Midnight Forbidden Grounds – McPherson Monastery.

When the wave of black fog hit, Bella had shut her eyes. She tried to open them afterward but the glaring sunlight prevented her from doing so. When she recovered, she realized that Cynthia, who was holding on to her, and her other teammates, Noreya and Elaine had vanished.

“Long Live Your Majesty, King Terence! Long Live the Octavia Empire!”

“Praise the Radiant Gods for their blessings. Our empire’s knights have returned victorious!”

The din of the crowd on both sides of the road pulled Bella back to the world she was currently in. This was an enormous city. The pavements lining the roads were crowded with people who were celebrating and cheering while they waved the Octavia Empire’s flag in the air.

Somehow this was… the capital of the Octavia Empire, Archibald City. According to Felia, who was Bella’s body double, this city was the largest one in the northern part of the human continent. The city was named after the first dragon knight in human history, Archibald, who was believed to have existed thousands of years ago. The Dragon Knight Archibald was hailed as one of the legendary heroes in human folklore.

Wait, this was wrong. Wasn’t she just at the McPherson Monastery? How did she get teleported so far north to the Octavia Empire? The Olsylvia Academy was situated at the central region of the human empire, within the Manasvir Empire. There was quite a distance between these places.

Bella was now seated on an alabaster steed as she moved along with a group of Octavia Empire’s soldiers. The Olsylvia Academy’s uniform that she was wearing had mysteriously disappeared as well. Instead, she was wearing a suit of the Octavia Empire’s royal armor and was not wearing the mask that Felia had used to cover her face.

“Princess Felia, are you alright? Are you not feeling well?”

“Mm, I’m fine. What’s the occasion?”

The soldier behind her stared at Bella with an incredulous look on his face. Despite his shock, he still managed to answer her question.

Actually, it was the Day of Triumph for the troops who had fought valiantly for the Octavia Empire against the Demon Race and emerged as victorious. During this war, the Octavian army defeated the invading expedition troops that tried to enter the human continent. In addition, they killed the expedition troop’s general, one of the Demon Princesses – Dolores.

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Bella managed to calm down a little after hearing the soldier’s explanations. As Dolores was now the Sky Demon King, it would be ridiculous if she were to be killed by such a minor attack. Bella was trying to determine if this were a fantasy world or a parallel world. Even without ruling out the possibility of a parallel world, Dolores was on the expedition fleets before she had met Bella.

Amongst the groups of knights, Bella spotted Princess Irene, Princess Luce, and Princess Lisha who all appeared solemn as they passed through the crowd. They did not react to Bella either, who was watching them.

After a detailed sweep of the crowd, Bella found that Roland was in the team as well. Hadn’t she, the young lady of the Randall family, been groomed as one of her dedicated little slaves? Why was she here?

There were many giant dragons soaring above in the sky. Each dragon had a Dragon Knight on its back as a rider. The Dragon Knight at the helm was the Crown Prince of the Octavia Empire, Terrence Octavio. Other than being the prince that could direct the Octavia Empire into the future, he was also a genius as he was the first of his generation of Octavian royalty to become a Dragon Knight.

All other great Dragon Knights that came after him, like Shawn Roland, could not even be compared to Terence in terms of strength and ability. During this new semester at the Olsylvia Academy, he was busy at the frontlines of the human’s war against the Demon Race and would only return after the situation had turned more stable. Bella had already known this information while she was at the Olsylvia Academy. However, the problem was that she still had no clue if the Terence that she saw was real or not.

If her memory served her right, even though her body double, Princess Felia, did not have a boyfriend, but she always had a secret crush on Prince Terence. Somehow, such incestual relationships were not seen as too extreme in this Other World. If Princess Felia had not died back then, she might have confessed her feelings to him one day.

Amongst the many Dragon Knights in the sky, Bella recognized many familiar people like Shawn, Roland’s Older Brother, as well as her own teacher, the Dragon Knight, Ingrid. Everything seemed so realistic here that even Bella was tempted to give in to the illusion and act as though she was the real Princess Felia.

However, Bella quickly came to her senses and realized that this was not real. If this was a parallel world, she would not be a deity, the Sacred Demon God. She could still feel the Demon God within her.

To ensure she had covered all the bases, Bella decided to use the most primitive method to determine if any of this was real. Her hand reached towards her face and gave it a pinch. As she had expected, it did not hurt at all. Now, she knew for a fact that everything here was fake. Bella had almost been taken in by the pretense.

Since the real Princess Felia was no longer around, Bella could not be fooled by the environment as she was just impersonating the princess. Unlike real people, which would immediately think of it as reality.

Immediately, Bella hopped off her battle steed and ran towards where the city gates were located. Despite her actions, the entire company continued to move forward, even the knight who had spoken to her earlier. It was as though they could not see her at all.

“Seems like, this is just an illusion which mechanically repeats specific scenes.”

Bella turned and watched the company disappear into the distance. No one had expressed any surprise at her actions as these people were merely illusions. She also realized that no matter how much she tried, she could not walk in front of the cheering crowd. Seems like it was an illusion as well.

Fortunately, the city gates were not an illusion. After a short run, Bella finally made it to the city gates. Even though it had appeared to be quite a distance away, it did not take long to run there. Not even a single soldier was stationed at the city gates. It seemed like the person who created this did not have much depth of skill as they were not meticulous enough to cover every part of the supposed illusion.

At the edge of the gates, Bella could see a large expanse of desolate desert outside the city. This proved to Bella that this place was definitely fake as the real Archibald City was in the middle of the grasslands. Even in a parallel world, it would not make sense to shift a city from the grasslands to the desert.

“Felia, why are you leaving? Didn’t we agree that I would propose our marriage to Father and you would be promised to me?”

“You… Who are you?!”

Bella bit back the bile that was threatening to rise in her throat and turned to see Prince Terence standing in front of her. At more than two meters tall, Terence was much taller than Princess Felia. Although Bella did not care much for how males looked, she had to admit that this Prince Terrence was one of the best-looking people she had ever seen.

“Felia, don’t go. I promise that Father would agree to our marriage. With the results of the most recent battle where we defeated the Demon Race’s expedition team, I’m sure it will be sufficient to…”

“That’s enough, I’m not here to listen to you profess your feelings. Furthermore, didn’t we agree that if you wanted to take me as your wife, you would have to defeat me first?”

“This… I don’t think we have talked about this before… Felia, don’t be such a nuisance anymore. We should probably head back and propose the issue of our marriage to Father…”

Of course, when he heard Bella declare that they were going to fight it out, Prince Terence’s handsome face paled immediately. He started to babble and made no sense at all. After all, this guy was an illusion, and his true ability was probably next to nothing and was afraid to meet Bella in a fight.”

“Who said we didn’t? You even talked about giving me ten thousand gold coins during the proposal as a gift. Also, you were going to give me three divine artifacts… it was that night, three years ago. Why don’t you remember anything?!”

Making up stories was anyone’s game. After Bella’s nonsensical tirade, the fake Terence had been fooled completely and went along with her instead.

As Princess Felia was just Bella’s body double, this illusion was created based on the invader’s memories. When Bella took over Felia’s body, her remaining memories were incomplete, thus allowing various loopholes to appear in this illusion.

“Princess Felia, I’m really here to… propose our marriage. Stop making a fuss… you…”

“I suspect that you are a fake. With just that bit of ability…”

With a slash of Bella’s hand, the so-called number one Dragon Knight of the Octavia Empire, Terence, was sliced in two. If he was a real person, it would not have happened as Dragon Knights were not so vulnerable.

No blood came out of the split illusory figure and he shattered into countless little pieces and disappeared along with all the surroundings.

Yet again, Bella was plunged into darkness before returning to the light. This time, the image before her eyes was the Radiant Church’s Holy City. Bella had read about the core city of the Radiant Church, the Holy City, in the Church’s books and records. As such, she was able to recognize that she was now within the Holy City.

This should be an illusion that belonged to one of the others. When Bella had broken out of her own illusion, she must have accidentally crashed into someone else’s.

For a moment, Bella was unable to guess who this illusion belonged to. Noreya was an assassin and Elaine was a puppet master, so it would not make sense for their illusions to have anything to do with the Radiant Church. Could it be Cynthia’s? Wasn’t she a swordsman, why would she have memories related to the Church?

- my thoughts:
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