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Chapter 190

I wasn’t sure how to go about fighting bandits. After all, they weren’t like ghosts or undead. These were living people. They had brains and could strategize. I suppose I should start by creating a fireball and striking in the middle of them. They’re probably prepared for that. At best, it might cause them to flinch.

Celeste could throw out a wind attack, possibly blinding them for a moment. I’d have Miki attack their spirit. When it came to combat outside of a ghost, a spiritualist’s main weapon was weakening the enemies will power. She could induce fear, create hesitation, and weaken strikes. Basically, she’d be the equivalent of a shaman or something casting negative status alignments. While we attack their physical body, she can attack their spirit.

Hopefully, with a well-timed attempt to spread confusion, that will be enough time for each of us to strike one of the bandits. I reckoned if we were really lucky, each of us could knock out our opponent in a single hit. Then, the next move would be four on six. It still left us in dire straits, but if we pulled together and used all of our strength, we might just make it.

“Master, we’re done.”

“Huh?” I looked around me to find all ten bandits were already knocked out.

The girls were casually stretching as ten men, even the scary-looking guy with the ax, were on the floor, foam leaking from their mouths. A few of them looked pretty badly beat up too, and at least three had been struck by Lydia’s blade and were bleeding out.  In fact, it looked like two of them had been knocked out by me. I had been moving on instinct, but the fight was over in an instant. This left me really confused.

“Wasn’t that a little easy?” I asked.

“Master…” Miki said, scratching her cheek. “I’ve been wondering this, but does master know how difficult it is to reach the bottom of a dungeon? Even a small one?”

“Eh? Well, I mean, beating dungeons require a lot of work, even I acknowledge that but…”

“How do I say this, Master… um… the knights of this world are a second-tier job. They start out as swordsman and reach knighthood through various factors. This happens around level 50. The upper-tier knights are around level 30, and a knight could easily dispatch a group of regular bandits.”

Ah… so it was like that. Celeste alone was at a 4th tier, although she didn’t have 80 levels combined. That wasn’t to look down at Lydia or Miki either, who were unique variants and powerful in their own right. Apparently, when it came to simple bandits, they sat at around level 20. They were only slightly stronger than your standard villager. What they lacked in strength, they usually made up for in ruthlessness.

Meanwhile, my girls weren’t simply unique variants with powerful, synergistic jobs, but they were equipped with magical items. An entire bandit group might see a single magical item a year, and our group was equipped with over a half dozen of them casually. It was no wonder we drew attention.

However, these bandits apparently met their match. Unlike actual people, ghosts and the undead didn’t care about their own self-preservation. Monsters fought far more savagely and less restrained. The four of us had trained to fight in dungeons, not in a practice field. Even soldiers in this world didn’t have to fear permanent death if they had proper insurance. Yet, in the dungeon, every battle was a life and death battle, thus none of us really knew how to hold back either.

“Um… how about we tie them up?” I suggested.

The girls tied the bandits up. A few of them seriously looked like they were dying! I sighed and started healing them. Well, we had hurt them in the first place, so it was simply the right thing to do.

Chapter 191

In all the books you read, people who come to another world seem to easily jump on murdering people. Take any hero, and he’ll slaughter countless hordes of animals and people in the pursuit of justice. However, that’s still killing people, and killing is scary. I don’t care who you are, if you haven’t murdered someone personally, you should probably shut the hell up, and if murder fulfills some wanton desire deep inside you, please seek therapy and let’s never meet.

At least, that’s what I believe. In reality, these men had done nothing to me. They were only guilty of conspiracy to commit crimes against me, at best. Even those words were probably mostly big talk. When you think you are in control, you say and do all kinds of things to boast. I was a little angry at the big guy for targeting the girls, but it was a product of the company he kept, and at the end of the day, his threats were completely idle. That’s why I had no intention of taking it out on these people.

“M-master! You’re stepping on his head!” Celeste sputtered.

“Ah… sorry… I was just healing the big guy and my foot slipped, I swear.”

“…”

Well, I was in control at the moment, so I guess even I acted a little full of myself. I had no intention of killing these men, but that left the question of what I was going to do with them. I could always do the standard of abandoning them naked and stealing all their stuff. That would be a lesson learned on stealing.

What about the other people they might hurt in the future? When did I suddenly become the police? And no, I didn’t agree to become a vigilante either. I defended myself and my party. Despite the job, I’ve made it abundantly clear I’m not a hero. These were human beings, not mobs, and yes, I made a distinction. So far, I had only killed ghosts and undead. I even worried a little if I’d have the ability to kill other monsters, but even if I did, monsters came from curses, and curses came from dungeons. When you killed them, they disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Actually, being as I had never killed a person, I didn’t know if bandits would disappear with a puff of smoke either. From what I understood, they would not. Only monsters would do that. Humans and animals would die much like they die in real life. That’s bloody and messy. I mean, I died once, and my body remained behind for the resurrection. It was the same for Miki.

That actually brings up the final reason that killing bandits was a bad idea. Let’s say these guys knew a dark priest so that when they were found dead, they were then brought back again. That would mean that I accomplished nothing by killing them. Actually, worse… I’ve made a lifelong enemy. It may not be personal right now, but if I tortured or killed these bandits, you could be damn sure it’d be personal after they came back.

I suspected that the opposite was also true. As much as the big guy talked, he likely only thought of taking my girls exactly because he saw them as only slaves. In a world where people didn’t stay dead, it would stand to reason that wronging a potentially rich Lord too much wouldn’t go good for any bandit. In reality, they were only really able to take a little bit less than it’d be worth to hunt them down. A bandits life must be tough.

 “So, I have some questions I need you guys to answer.” My voice finally broke through the encampment of men, all tied up and pushed into a circle. “And I suggest you answer.”

I actually didn’t mean it as a threat, but all the girls started stroking their weapons and a few of the smaller bandits started shaking in their boots. Ah, once again, my girls can be scary sometimes.

Chapter 192

“Well, it’s not like we want to be thieves…” The bandit said, picking up a piece of chicken and biting into it. “Oh, my god, this is amazing!”

It was near daybreak, so I started a campfire and made food for everyone. The bandits were still tied up, but I put them into a sitting position and gave them enough room to be able to hold plates and eat. A full belly made everyone happier and more talkative. This was a tactic too!

“Thanks, I think I’m getting better at it.” I smiled.

There were few cooks in this world who did it enough to maintain that job. Likely, when it came to a bandit, they’d never find one in their entire lives. I didn’t think my cooking was anything special, but it was improving and still better than most people would taste on the road.

“When I was ten, my dad died in a bar scuffle, and my mom was loaded with debts and became a prostitute. I had no choice but to steal for my food.” One guy said, suddenly sniffling. “I just wanted to steal enough to pull my ma out of that situation! Next thing I know, my status swapped from commoner to thief, and the entire town turned their back on me!”

“Aw… I’m so sorry…” Lydia was patting his back while he cried.

The other girls were similarly comforting the other bandits who were in similar states. Once I got them talking, the floodgates opened and they began to reveal pains hidden deep inside them. It seemed like every bandit had a painful backstory more pitiable than the last. It seemed like once you got the scarlet letter of a thief, there was no going back.

These guys even revealed that if you murder a human, it does leave a mark on you, but that thieves, bandits, pirates, and other dirty jobs were an exception to the rule. In other words, any adventurer, knight, or even a commoner was free to murder a thief or bandit without repercussions. I found that to be a bit unreasonable.

“The whole system is against us!” One of the guys cried out.

“It’s fine if you had a normal life, but what poor person hasn’t had to commit crimes in their youth just to survive?”

“Ah… well.” I sighed. “It does sound really bad. But if you guys could leave it all behind, would you?”

Other than Balrack, who had remained quiet throughout the ordeal while silently glaring at us, the rest of them all nodded excitedly and said they’d definitely want to do something else if they could only go back and restart.

“Here, let me see…” I went to one of the thieves, “Join my party for a second.”

“Eh? Okay…” He shook my hand, looking confused.

While party mechanics worked in this world, people didn’t see the same text I saw, so parties were rarely formally made like I did it. As soon as I had him join my party, I could see his jobs and everything.

“Oh… you got a couple of levels in Merchant.”

“Merchant?” The man asked, and then his eyes grew teary. “My father was a Merchant.”

“Well, what do you think? You want a shot at selling legit?”

“Re-really?” His expression was filled with wonder, but just a hint of disbelief.

 I switched his job and then disbanded him from my party. “There, your job is now Merchant.”

“What?”

“He’s a priest?”

“No, must be a dark priest!”

“Impossible!”

“Hey, you got that job checking stone, don’t you, hand it to him!” One of the bandits nodded excitedly and gestured to a bag. Miki looked in it and then handed some kind of magic stone to the new Merchant.

He looked at the stone for a solid minute while the other Bandits stared on in anticipation. Finally he burst out into large wet tears.

“It’s true! I’m really a Merchant!”

“Ah… if you go back to banditry, your job will return to bandit pretty easily. “I warned. “But as long as you don’t commit crimes.

“No, sir! I won’t, sir!” He started shaking my hand while crying.

It became a really emotional scene. After that, the bandits began to eagerly wait one after another for their turn. By the forth, text popped up in my screen.

{You’ve put the dark deeds behind these men and have given them a second lease on life. Dark Priest has been unlocked.}

Ah, that was unexpected.

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