At the Aldridge Empire’s seaside resort city of Oldrango, at Robin Village located in the outer region, the Oceanic Race’s invading forces relied on the strengths of their magic-guided cannons to defeat the human’s garrison army was just about to succeed. However, they were met with the attacks of pirates led by Bella, as the combined fleet of over tens of thousands of people was beaten up by just a few.
The frozen sea stopped the advance of the united fleet and blocked any possibility of their troops jumping into the ocean to escape. Mage Ariel’s field magic, “Deadly Frost,” sealed off a large section of the ocean. It was a hot summer day, yet she was able to create such terrifying temperatures by force. Under the attack of the cold air, the magic-guided cannons on the warships were all out of order. The magic launching mechanisms on the magic-guided cannons were all fire-based and were restrained by water type magic.
Bella, Kriss, and her little sister Dragon Knight Lisha launched their attack on the fleet’s flagship, the “Black Pearl,” while Collapsing Evil Dragon Emperor Lolita was in charge of providing rear support while covering Mage Ariel. With flight magic, Ariel brought Bella and the others above the “Black Pearl” and engaged in special airborne combat.
“To think the Human Race has fallen so far that they have to rely on women…”
Kriss waved her sword as an image of her blade cut through the deck of the “Black Pearl,” instantly annihilating a few dozen Oceanic Race soldiers in the blink of an eye. They had been cut right at the waist as their bodies were scattered all over the deck, dark blue blood staining the entire surface of the deck. It seemed to emit some sort of strange and fishy smell.
“Damn it, brother! Kill her…”
“Get out of the way! Don’t stand in the way of other people!”
After Lisha landed on the deck, she instantly launched her Knight’s Charge and rushed over with her shield, speeding over like a stream of air. The Oceanic Soldiers blocking the way were slammed straight into the air along with their weapons as they turned into a bloody mist as screams spread out on the deck.
As she charged, anyone who blocked her was blown away like a toppling bamboo. Stepping onto the deck of the “Black Pearl” was just like stepping into No Man’s Land. Compared to Kriss’ elegance, Lisha’s fighting style was on the wilder side with greater visual impact and psychological deterrent to her enemies. Many soldiers retreated under Lisha’s intimidation and abandoned the ship, jumping into the ocean to escape. But they were only able to jump onto the surface of the ice as they started running. The unfrozen pieces of ice were their only hope of survival now.
Bella singled out the commander of the fleet, Ocean General Sinir. He sized up the female mage standing in front of him without any fear. When did the Aldridge Empire’s gang of mages learn to become so fierce? To dare stand right in front of a warrior. In his impression, human mages were just a group of long-range units that only hid in the rear while releasing various skills.
“Little girl, your courage deserves admiration. But unfortunately, I…”
“Too weak. Are you sure you can hold up?”
“You… Did you get your clothes wrong?!”
Before Ocean General Sinir could even finish speaking, Bella had already forcefully attacked him. She didn’t try to put up any shows and took out her weapons for a fight. Bella swung the magic scepter in her hand, using it as a steel pipe. Ocean General Sinir raised his hand in an attempt to block it, but he was thrown a few steps back before he gradually stopped.
The great force he received from Bella’s scepter nearly caused Ocean General Sinir’s arm to break. This attack made him doubt his life. The burst of pain from his arm shook this Ocean General, who had seen many battles in his life. After so many years of fighting, this was the first time he had been injured by a whack from a mage’s scepter.
Being beaten by a mage’s physical attack was simply the greatest insult to their profession for warriors. Ocean General Sinir, who could feel his dignity being provoked, raised his longsword in an attempt to split the beautiful blonde mage in front of him with a vertical slash so that he could save some face.
But after a flit of light, Bella simply used her scepter as a spear, piercing Ocean General Sinir’s heart with one stab of the tip, which wasn’t even very sharp. Unable to react in time, Sinir was forced to retreat. When that large sword of his came down, it just brushed past Bella’s side and did not hurt her in the slightest.
“Too slow… Now, your fleet is mine for the taking.”
“But I… The Oceanic Race won’t forgive you! You…”
“Sorry, can’t hear you.”
With her other hand, Bella picked up Ocean General Sinir’s heavy greatsword and swung it, beheading the Ocean General clean off. Sinir’s face held a look of incredulity as if he could not believe that a warrior like himself would be bested by a mage wielding a scepter.
Ocean General Sinir’s head flew in a perfect arc in the air before falling directly into the sea. This Ocean General ranked relatively high in the Oceanic Race’s empires. Yet, he was buried as a “gutter ball” in the small fishing village of Robin near the sea, making it a mystery for the Oceanic Empire.
With the death of Ocean General Sinir, the tens of thousands of Oceanic Race troops instantly became leaderless as those who had lost the will to fight jumped in the ocean to escape. They longed only to get far away from this place as soon as possible. Anywhere was better than being near the horrible existences such as Bella and the others.
After watching the Oceanic Race’s forces retreat, the human army stationed at Robin Village took sighs of relief. When she saw these good-for-nothing human soldiers from a distance, Bella could only silently complain to herself. The commander of the coalition just doesn’t have the guts. If he had just a bit more courage back then and gave the timely order of pursuit, then not a single one of those tens of thousands of Oceanic Race soldiers would have been able to escape.
The Oceanic Army was now scattered in defeat and didn’t even bother with formations anymore. They were like a bunch of people rushing to jump into the ocean, all of them running one by one to the edge of the frozen ocean, all to stay alive. If the troops stationed at Robin Village could have given chase promptly, the war between the Aldridge Empire and the various Oceanic Race forces of the deep sea could have come to an early end.
By the time the human forces reacted, Mage Ariel had already lifted the ice magic from the ocean as the hundreds of warships in the Oceanic Race’s fleet were already emptied. With the ships being steered by the phantom ship crew summoned by Bella, they headed out to sea. At this time, the human army that had realized what happened felt nothing but regret. Each of the warships carried dozens of magic-guided cannons on both sides, considered a treasured and important war resource. Yet it was taken away by some people of unknown origins.
“The warship over there, stop quickly! I repeat, stop right there! Stop immediately and accept the Empire’s search!”
“According to the Imperial Union’s ‘Maritime Trade Laws,’ you are now sailing illegally!”
Bella stood on the deck, facing the imperial garrison troops who were shouting into magic voice amplification devices, but she didn’t bother to pay them any attention. Those mages did not know how to use magic-guided cannons, and if used together with artillery, it produced strange effects. The “Black Pearl” would need to go through a few rounds of remodeling. Those magic-guided cannons must be hidden to keep a low profile, as the paint job also had to be redone. They could not let the Oldrango City’s guards find out that these ships were modified from Oceanic Race warships. Things would be hard to explain then.
Bella chose to modify the “Black Pearl” on a nearby uninhabited island near Oldrango. She only planned to disassemble the hundreds of warships and combine them into a dozen luxury cruise ships similar to the ones on Earth. Bella and Lolita were responsible for exploring the “Black Pearl,” followed by a group of Phantom Guards behind them.
Kriss, Lisha, and Ariel, the three Renegades, were managing the course of the ship in the “Black Pearl’s” command room. It was easier to get used to captaining an Oceanic Race’s warship. Plus, it wouldn’t take long for a newbie to master the operation with maps and compasses all ready. Kriss and the girls were now indulging in the fun of captaining a ship and had no time dealing with anything else.
Bella and Lolita were in “Black Pearl’s” bottom cabins where they found a large number of wooden boxes that were chained up. At one glance, you could tell it was something like a coffin. Bella and Lolita observed the boxes from afar but didn’t go up to them because they could faintly hear screeching noises of nails scratching against the box.
“Lolita, do you think those boxes contain…”
“Yes, Mistress Bella. There should be various cursed corpses moved out from the Cursed Land inside. I just don’t know what the Oceanic Race was getting these things for.”
“Can you deal with them? I don’t want to just toss them into the ocean.”
“Yes, I can. I can just disintegrate all of them.”
After leaving things here to Lolita, Bella continued to explore the ship. She went straight to Ocean General Sinir’s captain cabin this time. In the crude cabin, Bella found the logbook left behind by Ocean General Sinir. Since Bella had captured one of the Oceanic Race’s princesses before, she could read their writing. Through this logbook, Bella finally figured out the Ocean Race’s goals and origins of those boxes.
It turned out that another gate that connected this world to the Cursed Land had opened a thousand years ago, and it was located on a certain island at sea. More than a thousand years ago, on the oceans, a certain distance from the Aldridge Empire’s eastern coastline, there existed a civilization at sea called the Bridges Kingdom. At its peak, the Bridges Kingdom could defend itself from the full force of the Aldridge Empire and almost became a second Nation of Arcana.
To prevent the emergence of a magic nation at sea that would threaten their status as the only magic nation on the human continent, the Aldridge Empire’s emperor thought of a vicious trick. He had slipped the book of forbidden spells sealed in the deepest part of the imperial capital’s underground library to the Bridges Kingdom under the guise of pirates.
The Bridges Kingdom’s monarch, King Bridges XV, who had no idea and thought he had picked up a treasure, ordered his men to study the forbidden spells in the book that night itself. Nobody knew how it happened, but they ended up opening the channel connecting the world to the Cursed Land. What happened after was not recorded by the Oceanic Race; they only wrote down that the result of the entire affair was that the Bridges Kingdom had faded like dust in history overnight, no longer to be remembered by anyone.
Traces of the formerly prosperous ocean civilization were nowhere to be found. The pirates of the Bridges Empire had been twisted and shattered by the curse’s power, forming the eastern coastal islands of the current Aldridge Empire. For example, Alan Island, where the twelve academy exchange tournament was to take place, used to be a part of the Bridges Kingdom before being converted to what it was now. The only place of the Bridges Kingdom completely under the control of the curse now was the capital, so the other areas could be reused.
The Cursed Land corpses the Oceanic Race brought with them were the ones that they brought out from the Cursed Land’s gate. The gate’s location was located in a place jokingly called “Phantom Island” by the Oceanic Race. This “Phantom Island” was the Bridges Kingdom’s capital. Due to the influences of the great number of curses inflicted on it, the location became unclear over time.
The ones secretly supporting the troublemaking of the Oceanic Race were those of the Dark Human Continent. During Bella’s last crusade at the Beastman Continent, she found traces of the Dark Humans there. Even though their plan failed during the last war at the Beastman Continent, they did not give up. When they saw that the Beastmen Race no longer had any value to them, they now turned around to support the Oceanic Race, which was butting heads against the humans.
With the Oceanic Race’s financial power, even if they didn’t have to worry about the capital, they couldn’t equip each warship with such precious magic-guided cannons without the relevant technical support. It seemed that these magic-guided cannons were sponsored by the Dark Humans so that they could stir trouble, as the Cursed Land’s corpses were what the Dark Humans needed.
“It seems the princesses of those Dark Humans need some good education again. I won’t be letting them go so simply this time.”
News of the battle that happened at Robin Village had been suppressed. By the time Bella and the girls returned with sixteen luxury commercial ships, the entire Oldrango City was abuzz. The humans had not seen such humongous commercial warships in years. These warships were the same size as the luxury cruises on Earth, as they were all brought forth by the Rose Society.
According to Bella’s instructions, the Rose Society’s Chairman Nina announced that these sixteen luxury commercial ships would be provided free of charge to the students of the Twelve Academies. As for the remaining four, one would be provided for the Antoinette Academy of the Arts for the students coming to spectate. The last three would be left for the other academies of other races not belonging to the Twelve Academies but came to spectate as well.
As for the free rental provided by the Rose Society, the students from the other academies did not question it and easily agreed. When the “cruise ship” arrived, many of the academies discovered a slightly awkward problem. When Bella reconstructed the “cruise ships,” she had deliberately designed the ships for ladies’ use only. The restrooms were all exclusively for girls. There wasn’t even a single male restroom.
This was like an invisible isolation towards the boys, and the ones who did know of Bella’s sinister intentions had already been pushed down by her, while the rest did not put it to heart. Hidden magical teleportation arrays had been set up in each presidential warship suite. If she wanted to, none of the beautiful student union presidents of the other academies could escape Bella’s “nightly attacks,” except for the presidents of the Alessandra Academy for the Foreign Races.
The boys of each academy took the merchant ships temporarily allocated by the Aldridge Empire. Many of the boys weren’t too happy with this arrangement. The large merchant ships allocated by the Aldridge Empire were simply too different when compared to the “cruise ships” rented by the Rose Society. It was simply a whole different class altogether.
The Aldridge Empire’s official in charge of the reception was a slick man who knew that neither side could be offended. Bella was a Grand Duchess of the Empire, so they could not point fingers at her. After promising that no boarding restrictions would be set on the boys’ merchant ships, the boys’ anger finally subsided, and they now even had inexplicable looks of anticipation. If there were no boarding restrictions, then even if there were no girls around, the boys could still privately bring their own female companions. Without any girls watching, many of the boys could finally expose their true natures.
In the early next morning, a dozen merchant ships bathed in the early morning sunlight and began to raise their anchors to head towards Alan Island. The tournament held by the human continent’s Twelve Academies would be held in Alan Island, as each ship was directly named for each academy. The one that served as the flagship of the fleet was the sponsor, the Olsylvia Academy’s “Olsylvia”. The honorary captain of the fleet was the Rose Society’s vice-chairman, Dragon Mage Grand Duke Baize, also known as Bella.
Bella lightly caressed the side of the ship as she stood on the observatory position in the front of the warship, accompanied by Princess Kriss by her side. The oncoming sea breeze caused their hair to flutter. One gold and one silver, their hair fluttered in the sea breeze, intertwining occasionally. It looked just like a beautiful painting. Right in front of Olsylvia was the human continent’s first resort island, Alan Island.
Bella wore a snow-white captain’s outfit and was daydreaming as she looked out towards the vast blue sky. It looked pretty normal, but Bella still had some concerns. This was all too normal. There was no need to mention anyone else, but she was sure the Oceanic Race and the Dark Humans would not give up on stirring trouble so easily. They weren’t doing anything now, but they might just be brewing up something even bigger.
Bella looked at the distant Alan Island. Since she had never been there before, she couldn’t see any huge issues with Alan Island. She could only vaguely feel under the sunlight that some places around Alan Island seemed to appear a little hazy and almost unrealistic. Moreover, for safety reasons, no demonic beasts existed on Alan Island. Bella could quite clearly sense the auras of many demonic beasts hidden there.
“Bella, there are beaches there. It’s a pity that we won’t be able to use the swimsuits you designed. The beach is nice, but the girls from the other academies may not necessarily be able to accept this form of new entertainment!”
“Kriss, you underestimate my abilities to push down a girl… No, I mean, my abilities to increase the sales. When I want to sell the swimsuits, not even God can stop me.”
“Uh, Bella. You… You didn’t do anything funny on the ships, did you? I was just wondering, why are all the equipment on the ships for ladies?”
“Well… We can talk about that next time. Leave a sense of mystery, you know?”