Volume 5 Chapter 228: The Darkness Church’s Secret Gathering Point in the Middle of The Forest of Garand

In the central regions of the Forest of Garand, near one of the main cities of the Aldridge Empire, Angus City, was the the long lost Ancient Grace City’s central square. For some unknown reason, this place had been demarcated as a forbidden area by the Aldridge Empire. 


The area surrounding the Ancient Grace City was supposed to be sealed by magical barriers. Usually, people would not be able to enter at all. However, no one would have thought that the Listabel Academy and the Dimiost Academy would each bring a male Savior. With them around, no magical barrier or seal could stand in their way. 


From some unknown point in time, trespassing into forbidden territories became a necessary skill for interdimensional travelers to have. When Adelaide and Glaston both arrived with their teams, Bella and Ariel were nowhere to be seen. In addition, the gates to Grace Castle had been left wide open. 


The area in front of Grace Castle was filled with large numbers of demonic beast corpses which had been slaughtered in all sorts of horrifying ways. None of those corpses had been left whole. Even the powerful Grade-A demonic beasts like the Grim Giant Ape and the Grim Black Bear had been killed here as well. 


“How savage. This is clearly a simultaneous combined magical attack. In fact, this person is more practised at this than President Alephia. Who would be able to surpass her abilities?”


The God Chosen Mage Adelaide looked closely at the corpse of the Grim Giant Ape. The poor unfortunate demonic beast had a hole blown through its chest by a magical attack. Its magical core had been blown apart with its heart. It was obvious that the person who killed it did not hesitate for a moment. The killer was extremely deliberate and was not interested in the magical core at all. 


Once they saw that the gates to the Grace Castle had been left open, Adelaide and Glaston were afraid that they had been intercepted by a third party. As there was a chance that there were treasures buried within the castle, both of them fought to be the next one to enter the castle. 


Although this activity permitted a maximum of three students in a group, there were no restrictions with regards to the distance between each group. Adelaide and Glaston took advantage of this loophole and put their followers into groups of two and three. They would then combine their efforts and work together to achieve their goals. 


When Adelaide, Glaston, and their groups had gone into the castle, Bella and Ariel reappeared outside Grace Castle. Bella had only opened the doors. As for exploring the area and paving the way, it was better to let someone else do it on her behalf.


Those demonic beasts had been single handedly killed by Ariel. Something must have triggered her earlier as she had begun to hurl magical attacks at the demonic beasts as though mana was free. Before those demonic beasts could react, they had been blown up and killed by Ariel’s magic.


“This invisibility cape was definitely a worthwhile purchase. Eh, Ariel, you’re still pissed? Don’t be angry anymore.”


“Bella, when the next long break comes around, could you take me with you? It’s incredibly boring being in the imperial palace. Moreover, the Emperor has already spoken. Only one hundred gold coins are required as a betrothal gift in exchange for my hand in marriage. When I’m around you, I don’t have to purposely conceal myself anymore.”


“That’s not a problem. Although, one hundred gold coins is a little expensive. Hey… don’t leave. I’ll pay as many gold coins as you want.”


Once she realised that Ariel was truly angry, Bella did not tease her anymore. As Princess Ariel used to be too ugly, a betrothal gift of only one hundred gold coins was still unable to attract any noblemen to ask for her hand in marriage. Many heirs of the Mage families had reflected that even if they were offered ten thousand gold coins, they would not dare to marry Princess Ariel. 


What a joke. Using one hundred gold coins to “buy” Ariel was a steal. Considering future awkward situations where her dorm mates might be forced into a political marriage, Bella planned to find a legit political reason to “wed” them.


Bella still had no idea what monsters lay within the Grace Castle. As for the fact that she had broken past the seal, Bella did not know that she had entered into a forbidden area until she heard what Ariel had said. Bella had blamed the big green dragon for mindlessly leading them here before it died. 


“Bella, it’s been really quiet for awhile. Should we go in and take a look?”


“No need for that. We’ll find another entrance. Let’s head in through the windows! If we do meet someone we know, just hide behind me. I do not wish for anyone unnecessary to see you like this. If they do, they would definitely long for you.” 


“I understand, my Director…”


Ariel was extremely satisfied with the way that Bella asserted her dominance and agreed to Bella’s suggestion without hesitation. Using their flying carpet, they flew up to a random window on the second floor where they would enter the Grace Castle.


After weathering through nearly ten thousand years, the windows had already corroded beyond repair. Bella took the lead to enter the castle and Ariel followed closely behind. Once they entered the castle, the obvious aura of death filled their nostrils. As hidden dark bosses, they were extremely familiar with the putrid death aura. 


“That’s strange. Isn’t this castle built by the Elven Race? Why would there be such a strong death aura here?”


Bella was not against the death aura. However, this was too strong and cloying, even for her. She had no idea what was going on inside Grace Castle. In the darkness, Bella could feel many pairs of eyes staring at her and Ariel.


Even though it was dark, Bella could clearly spot figures. Taking a closer look, she found that there were many lifelike evil faces around her. Those strange faces seemed to grow on the walls, as though they were alive. 


“Ariel, what’s wrong…”


“No…Nothing. Bella, I think that there’s a Magic Forbidding Space here. At the moment, I can’t access my high level magic. Just give me a moment, I’ll be able to recover soon!”


Suddenly, a few large figures charged towards them. They must have thought that Bella was affected by the Magic Forbidding Space as well. Once a Mage was affected, they would be no different from a normal person. However, they did not expect Bella to be a knight. From the beginning, Bella had always detested those who would attack one of their own. 


Before those black figures could reach Bella, they had been hacked to death by her precious sword and fell to the ground in a heap of bodies. Without looking, Bella knew those were humans. She was speechless. After all this trouble, it was the Human Race, her own people, who had been playing tricks on them.


In the blink of an eye, the enemies who had been hiding in the dark struck again. This time, they had decided to use poisonous smoke to attack. Poisonous smoke and other substances began to spew out of those human sculptures’ faces. 


“What a stupid way to attack. Time to return it to you.”


Ariel had built up quite a bit of immunity to the Magic Forbidding Space and her magic had only been temporarily curbed. Once she had recovered all her magic, she initiated a wind-type magical attack. The poisonous smoke was then blown right back into the launch ports.


Within moments, streaks of blood began to stream out of every crevice of those human faces. The enemies inside the walls had been given a taste of their own medicine and had been suffocated to death by the poisonous smoke. 


Once she knew that her enemies were human, a murderous intent flashed across Bella’s eyes. Bella was afraid that someone here might see Ariel’s true appearance. To prevent any future complications, she planned to use this chance to permanently “silence” anyone who could potentially be trouble. 


At that moment, the corpses of the enemies who had been hacked to death by Bella slowly began to climb up. Bella stared at the headless corpse in front of her and she was beginning to feel like she had met a wizard who could control corpses. 


Bella did not wish to drag this out for too long. She signaled for Ariel to put up her black hood and pulled out the “Praise of Light” that the Creator of Light Vianne had given to her. The second floor of Grace Castle had instantly lit up as though it was broad daylight. 


Ten thousand years of darkness was immediately erased by the light. Those reanimated corpses had evaporated upon contact as well. This time, Bella had learnt her lesson. She had added a layer of special glass around the pearl which prevented her from being severely injured by her own treasure. 


“Aren’t these clothes from the Darkness Church? What are they doing here?”


Bella turned some of the dead bodies around and found an insignia that represented the Darkness Church. According to the information that Bella had obtained from one of the Darkness Church’s three holy maidens, Liz, she was sure of what she saw. 


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On the outfits of the Darkness Church members, there was another marking that was embroidered next to the church insignia. That insignia was different from the one that the Dark Holy Maiden Liz had. Bella guessed that those might have been designated insignias for Dark Holy Maidens. 


As everyone had been killed, Bella could not find anyone to interrogate. She had no choice but to proceed towards the main lobby of the Grace Castle on the first floor. She had planned to decide on her next move after she had met up with Adelaide and Glaston’s teams. 


Unexpectedly, both Adelaide and Glaston’s teams had been “wiped out” and the two Saviors are nowhere to be found. Well, it was not completely unexpected. Those two Saviors were heavily dependent on their magic and wizardry. Once their magic was forbidden, they were only half as useful as they would have normally been.


Adelaide and Glaston must have run as quickly as their legs could carry them. They had even left their team mates behind. Their team members were all female and they had clearly intended to show off. Once they had run off, the girls who had come along with them were in a world of trouble. 


The girls who had come out with Adelaide and Glaston were students from the Listabel and Dimiost Academies. They were all decent looking and could even be called beauties. After the two Saviors mysteriously disappeared, the female mages in the Magic Forbidding Space were no different from regular females and had all been captured by the members of the Darkness Church. 


Bella peeped into the main lobby on the first floor, trying to determine what the situation was like. However, all she saw in the spacious lobby were close to twenty girls from the Listabel and Dimiost Academies who had been stripped naked. Their hands had been tied behind their backs with thick ropes and there was a simple black collar around their necks. Each collar had a thin metal chain that was being held by a disciple of the Darkness Church.


Those disciples were herding those girls,whose eyes were filled with despair, into a large wooden box. Those boxes were used to transport female slaves in the underground slave markets. Once they got into the box and were blindfolded by black cloth, they would not expect to see sunlight again for the rest of their lives. 


The Dark Disciples had stripped them of their school uniforms to put them into the mix of female slaves to be sold. It was illegal to buy and sell girls who were still in school. However, no one really bothered to do a background check on the girls in the first place. Their snow white bodies trembled slightly in the dim flickering candlelight. 


To prevent the girls from making too much noise, their mouths were stuffed with a piece of cloth. If not for the fact that they would fetch a much higher price, the members of the Darkness Church would have taken their first time right there and then. As it was not bright enough, the girls could not be fully seen. At least the members of the Darkness Church could not see their full bodies. Under the dim light, they could only see the vague outline of the girls’ snow white figures. 


“Move faster, you’re walking too slowly. Do you believe that I would not dare to kill you…”


“Move faster if you do not wish to get whipped!”


“Captain, is this really okay? Didn’t Mistress Holy Maiden say…”


“Who cares about what she said? She’s not here anyway. Furthermore, the Holy Maiden is just a woman after all, what does she know? If we do not make any sales, how would we make money? Do you think that everyone is like the Third Holy Maiden Liz and would be able to get a windfall out of the blue? For some unknown reason, she has been receiving large amounts of money every single day!”


“Then again, once we have taken off their school uniforms, no one would ever know if there was a problem with those stocks or not. Those old geezers wouldn’t care anyway. As long as they are pretty enough…”


The team leader of the Darkness Church was coming up with different ways to sell off those girls without his superior’s knowledge. Since Mistress Holy Maiden was not here, he might as well make full use of this opportunity to make a fortune. Otherwise, no amount of regret could reverse anything if he had let this slip through his fingers. 


The team leader was so obsessed with his glee of being able to make large amounts of money that he had not noticed that the men he had assigned to the second floor did not assemble when called. The short burst of light from the second floor was not enough to catch his attention either. To him, less people meant more money for him. 


Bella hesitated as those girls were someone else’s “potential harem”. She turned around and looked at Ariel with pleading eyes. If her memory served her right, Ariel and those girls shared a dark history where they had mocked Ariel for being an ugly princess. If Ariel were to mind that, Bella would abandon those girls immediately.


“I don’t mind. However, those two guys who had left them behind are absolute jerks. Bella, I hope you will educate them properly once you save the girls!”


“Educate? Ariel, what do you mean? Can you be more specific?”


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“Naughty Bella, go save them first! You know what I meant better than I do.”


The members of the Darkness Church who were on the first floor of the Grace Castle were currently busy with other matters and were not ready to deal with a sudden attack. As Bella attacked, those fellows were still contemplating if they wanted to keep the light to take a good look at the problem. 


Without any hesitation, Bella and Ariel combined efforts and killed more than twenty members of the Darkness Church at the main lobby on the first floor. The only one left was the ringleader.


“Who are you? Wait, I will give you everything I have. Please don’t kill me. This is the access pass to the largest underground market in the continent. Take it, and you can sell these girls off for a high price.”


“Oh Black Knight, don’t…”


The Magic Forbidding Region was highly restrictive, even for the members of the Darkness Church. They were actually unable to use their magic but were still able to handle themselves against those helpless girls. However, the tables had turned against them when they had been put up against Bella, who was of a combat profession, and Ariel, who was a BUG that was not restricted by her surroundings.


The ringleader had thought that Bella was here as a villain to take out another villain. No one would believe that Bella was not part of any gangs as she was in a black cursed armor and was in full black gear. He hastily gave in and handed over all his goods. Bella took the identification card. Then, she cut off the ringleader’s head in one clean cut.


Those girls were so terrified that their legs gave way and they sank to the ground. As they watched Bella approach, the girls did not know if she was a bandit who was here to steal goods. Bella took a closer look at those girls. As a Demon King, her eyesight remained normal and was not affected by the dim light  


Bella had to admit that those two male Saviors had good taste. These girls that they had chosen to be part of their harem were clearly above average. 


“Bella, someone’s coming. It looks like they’re from the Darkness Church. They’re almost here, look…”


“Ariel, I don’t really want to kill any more people right now. By the way, what would happen to these girls?””


“This must be where the Darkness Church holds their secret ceremonies. Since they’ve found out the church’s secret, even if they were not killed, they would most likely be cultivated into dark live puppets instead.”


“Oh how pitiful, I want to save them… hold on, Ariel, how are you so familiar with the Darkness Church’s methods…”


“Lucky guess… it’s not as if I did not do anything like this in my past life… Wait, focus on saving them! How annoying, you’re so naughty, trying to take advantage of my lack of focus to get information from me.”

Since her attempt to obtain information had failed, Bella could only let it go and give up trying to unearth Ariel’s secrets for now and handed the invisibility cloak over to Ariel. Then, she walked into the midst of the group of girls and picked up the rope that was lying on the ground. 


“Take your pick, girls. Will you hand your fate over to me or to the Darkness Church? I will not sell you away. However, you will need to give me something in return!”


Between the two options, those girls chose to believe Bella. After all, she was a girl and was more trustworthy than those large hulking men from the Darkness Church. With their cooperation, Bella managed to get them into those boxes without a hitch. 


Once they were placed safely in the boxes, Bella put nearly twenty boxes together, covered them with a large black concealment cloth, and called it a day. As soon as she managed to deceive the members of the Darkness Church, she would then teleport them over to the hotel at Angus City. 


After making sure that everything was settled, Bella took out a mask that was specifically used by the Darkness Church to cover her face. Then, she put a badge with the church’s insignia on her armor. 


A large group of people from the Darkness Church suddenly charged into Grace Castle. The few who led the group were clearly female. Even the Darkness Priests’ robes that they were wearing did not manage to hide their voluptuous figures. Unfortunately, like Bella, they were wearing a black mask and she couldn’t see their faces at all. 


“What’s happening? Our base has been attacked! You are…”


“I’m one of you. I rushed over in a moment’s notice… look, this is proof of my identity.” 


“One of Liz’s? Based on your insignia, you must be one of her closest subordinates. That’s strange, since that lass moved her activities south, she barely has any contact with us. Why would she suddenly send someone over…”


Liz, who was one of the Darkness Church’s Holy Maidens, was already part of Bella’s collection. The insignia of a close subordinate was taken directly from Liz and was an authentic representation of her identity. 


Initially, Bella had taken the insignia from the Dark Holy Maiden Liz as a precaution. Little did she know that she would be able to put it to good use here. With this proof, Bella had given the upper management of the Darkness Church a basic assurance of her identity. 

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