After healing and changing the jobs of all of the bandits, I gave them a couple of silvers too to help them start. I had slightly over 1000 gold, with probably another 500 gold in silver and copper. In that respect, silver was plentiful. I was originally going to give them gold, but Miki warned me against it. If they knew we had that much money, they might get greedy, or something like that.
One bandit was released at a time, and they each ran off in a different direction. By the time the last guy took off, the sun had come up and it was about time to get moving again. I looked down at the big guy with the ax.
“Um… do you want your job changed too?” I asked uncertainly.
The reason I was uncertain was that he didn’t have any jobs that came off as normal work. There was no Commoner. He had the Thief Job. He had an Assassin Job. He had a job called Raider, and he had a job Berserker. None of these jobs sounded any better than any of the others.
“You think you’ve won?” He sneered. “If I don’t return with the stuff, the Bandit King will just send more.”
“The Bandit King?” I asked. “You have Kings? What is this country doing, seriously?”
“Hehe… they have a bounty on their head a hundred times larger than my own, so don’t think you can so easily defeat them!”
“Wait… you have a bounty on your head!”
I snapped my fingers. “So, that’s what we can do with him. I was seriously worried, but if we can just hand him in, then that will be fine.”
“Y-you bastard… don’t tell me you’re not bounty hunters!”
“Huh? Well, I mean, I wasn’t. Is that a job?” I felt a surge of excitement. “If I turn him in, maybe I can unlock that job. That’d be really cool.”
The guy seemed to be quieting up now that he realized he was causing more trouble for himself. On the other hand, trading them in for a bounty was an ideal thing to do. Let them rot in prison rather than get resurrected and form some vendetta against me. I didn’t really want to drag this guy to the closest town, but it seemed like the best option for him. He didn’t seem like a good guy at all, not like the other bandits.
We tied him up and I was glad to see he walked the direction we made him walk. I was worried he was going to drag his feet or do something annoying like that. If I had to carry him, things might end up differently. According to the map, the nearest town was about a five-hour walk, so it wasn’t too far from us. Thus, we headed in that direction. The trip went smoothly.
Upon approaching the town, I saw that it was surrounded by a small wall. The wall was only about ten feet tall. It certainly wasn’t enough to stop an invasion, but it would keep out wolves and discourage bandits. At the entrance, I encountered city guards for the first time.
“What is this here?” The guard demanded as we approached the entrance through the wall.
He was eying the big guy. Although he was tied up, he still looked the most intimidating and eye-catching of all of us.
“Ah… this guy attacked us, and I heard there is a bounty?”
The men looked skeptical when looking at me. I thought this world would be a little more understanding that looks could be deceiving in a world with job levels, but I guess common sense couldn’t overcome the fact that a guy like me with three girl slaves was able to overcome this guy.
“I guess we can take the bounty.” The guard said. “Usually, you’ll want to take bounties to larger towns, those with a bounty hunter guild. You have a bounty hunting license?”
“That I have!” I breathed a sigh of relief. “Is that okay?”
“Yeah, it’s fine. The bounty has a larger tax on it, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much.”
I was worried I was getting in trouble there for a second, but I guess Adventuring really was a Jack of All Trades kind of job. I was happy I signed all the paperwork back then. I handed the guy over and the guard put a collar around his neck which had a rune flash. It looked like a slave collar, which differed from the slave marks on my girls. I guess that was a way to keep him restrained. I was also worried if this city wasn’t big enough, he might overpower them and escape, but that didn’t appear to be an issue either.
I ended up collecting 10 silver. It wasn’t enough to pay back what I spent on the other bandits I let go, but It helped.
‘What should we do now Master?” Lydia asked. “Do we continue on to the city?”
“How about we have a date?”
We had already walked for half a day. We were in a town now. This was the second city I had seen since Old Chalm. It was about the same size, but the city walls gave it a more impressive feel. I thought it’d be nice to just check out the shops and taste the local cuisine.
I’d been told that since a lot of Chalm is freed beastkin, their diet is more in line with what Dioshin eats than what Aberis eats. Thus, I was at least interested in seeing the differences. We were only a few days travel into the country. We were still much closer to Dioshin border than the Capital City, but I was still curious.
“Master, look at this!” Lydia was excitedly looking in the window of the blacksmith.
There was a sword in the window that looked particularly wicked. Her face was pressed against the glass and her tail was swishing back and forth excitedly.
“Master, over here!” Miki cried out.
There was a street vendor sitting on the ground with a massive sheet. On the sheet were various bowls, each filled with a different substance. These all must be alchemy ingredients.
“Master, Master, buy me this!” Celeste had her wings put away and was grown to normal size, as to not surprise any of the people, but when she couldn’t fly, she had a tendency to jump a lot, causing her hair and bounce up and down.
She was at a food stall, where they were flipping some kind of fried bread in the air using a pair of giant chopsticks. He was putting on a show with the bread, but looking at Celeste salivating, she was definitely thinking with her stomach.
Suffice it to say, my 10 silver was drained very quickly as the girls danced around the town. Even though they were beastkin slaves, everyone who saw them seemed to have their day brighten. They were met with smiles and politeness. It seemed like the country of Aberis truly was okay with animalkin. I had worried they’d be treated with disgust or we’d be kicked out of establishments that didn’t allow slaves, but it actually seemed quite the opposite.
I supposed owning a slave usually meant the master had money. Knowing you had a potential rich customer, what owner would honestly want to disrespect their slaves. Rather, I felt the entire town was conspiring against me. A few of the merchants must have seen me helpless under the puppy-dog eyes of the girls and unwilling to say no, and soon they were spending their efforts selling to the impressionable women. If they could convince her she wanted it bad enough, sooner or later I ended up paying for it.
We finally ended up in the shop that I had the most interest in, magical accessories. I bought all three girls their own storage rings. The store barely had three. The man almost fainted when I said I’d take all of them. They weren’t as large as mine. Where mine was about the size of a walk-in closet, theirs were more the size of a trunk. Still, it’d allow them to bring along changes in clothing and things like that, so I was satisfied. The rings did cost 30 gold each though. After using the Haggle ability, I saved a bit, but it was still very pricey. If I wanted everyone decked out in magical items, I’d definitely need to tackle more dungeons.
After a day of running around, the girl’s storage rings were full of stuff. I was sitting in the common room with the fire blazing. It wasn’t that chilly, but I always liked to hear the roar of a fire. It was something relaxing for me. Lydia was rubbing my feet as a thank you for the date. Celeste was rubbing my shoulders. Miki was working on creating a poultice she read helped with muscle soreness.
I had only casually said my body was sore, and the girl’s decided this was necessary on their own. Well, it was okay to be pampered once in a while. I took a drink of the ice-cold beer. Of course, this world didn’t have the ability to get the beer that cold, but with Fire and Water Control, I managed to come up with a method of cooling it using mana. It probably used a lot more mana than a cold skill, but it did the trick for simple things.
While I was relaxing, I casually equipped the Dark Priest job. I had been ready to immediately switch it away. For some reason, I thought equipping it might cause a dark miasma to float out of me or immediately alert the guard. I was glad it was just unfounded paranoia. Instead, Dark Priest seemed to be just like any job. It was hated by the church, but that wasn’t really an issue for me. I planned to avoid any encounters with the church. The first skill of the Dark Priest was actually Steal Life. It feels a lot like the Slave Master skill.
However, Slave Master is accepted by the priesthood while Dark Priest is evil. I didn’t know how I felt about that. Meh, I wasn’t planning on toppling any regimes or reforming this world. After meeting the Bandits, I understood how unfair the system could be, labeling people and not giving them much choice. You were pigeonholed into any job you started with, and changing jobs was a complicated process that required money.
Well, in that respect, I supposed things were the same in my old world. Those with money had more options, and those that were poor were often forced into lives of crime. Something about this world though just felt a little pushier.
I was starting to drift off in front of the fire when the door outside burst open. The noise was enough that I woke up with a snort. There was a commotion as a man limped into the room and collapsed at a table.
“Adventurer! What happened?” One of the bartenders asked the man as he panted for breath, grimacing as he bled on the floor.
“Bandits! There are bandits surrounding the city!” The man called out.
My eyes opened immediately, and I glanced over at the man. This wasn’t something I had brought on the town, was it? I mean… Balrack did say they’d send others, but would they really attack an actual city? How many bandits would they need to amount an attack of that level? Was Balrack really worth that effort? Or… was there something else they were after?
It looked like my day off ended early.