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Chapter 613

“Salicia, any thoughts on this?”

“Eh? What do you mean by that?”

I poked the dead bandit with the tip of my foot, rolling him on his back. There was definitely a time where I would have been squeamish about this. Perhaps, my knowledge that these men could be reincarnated had numbed me to this kind of thing. Perhaps, it had been a result of my own deaths, and the countless people I had to kill. A not insignificant number of Knights had died thanks to my decisions. I had personally wielded the sword in several of those cases.

“I mean, you were the queen of the bandits in this area. You weren’t as powerful as they are now, but do you have a clue who their leader is? What methods he’ll employ? Any information that could help us defeat the bandits could help.”

“I never paid attention to that kind of stuff.” She waved her hand and laughed.

“Carmine, please hit her.”

“With pleasure, Master.”

“W-wait!” She held up her hand as Carmine prepared to shield-bash her sister into the ground. “It’s all coming back to me! What I meant to say was that the bandits had broken up into three territories. I was the Bandit King of the west. There was also the southwest and the south. Before we launched our assault on Penbrook to liberate dear sister, the Bandit King from the south sent me a missive. He wanted to meet to form an alliance. The southwestern were waiting to see what I did…”

“And you got captured and your bandits were scattered. Most of them went to join the other two gangs?” She nodded. “My capture probably would have scared the southwestern Bandit King, and so undoubtedly all three joined as one. That would be the only way the bandit activity would rise up in such an impressive manner.”

“What can you tell me about the other Kings?”

“Nothing.”

“Carmine.”

“Ah! I mean, I don’t remember much! One was a cautious coward. The other I didn’t share any territory with, so I only knew his reputation. I heard he was dangerous and unhinged! Unlike the rest of us, he fancied himself a true King. He wanted to conquer all of Aberis and found a country. Some said he used to be a former Hero!”

“A Hero? Seriously?”

“Y-yeah! They give him the name Bandit Hero now. He supposedly steals because he believes Demon Lord Aberis is still alive, and he wants to be ready for his return or something crazy like that!”

“…”

I didn’t know about any of that. The lore from Widow’s Dungeon had seen the Demon Lord Aberis die. Then again, lore could be inconsistent and incomplete. I could never forget that it was just a story, and stories weren’t necessarily true. Admittedly, a story would have to be true to elicit enough emotions to grow into a curse, but the narrators were unreliable, and falsehoods, exaggerations, and lies could spread just as badly as the evil.

I had no clue where Xin was, but she was probably the only real threat to Aberis. I presumed she was still in the Ost Republic, but almost thirty years had gone by since that time and there was no evidence that she was going to try to finish what she started. Was it all just crazy ramblings? If not, just who was the Bandit Hero, and where was this so-called Demon King?

Chapter 614

“What’s that?”

As I was innocently pondering things, the bodies in front of us began to glow with a strange light. After a few moments, there was a flash, and then they started to collapse into dust. In the span of a minute, the bandits went from being there to being gone. The group of us stared at the pile, completely confused as to what had just happened.

“Anyone have an explanation?” I asked, my eyes narrowed.

“Their spirits were called.” Miki said. “That was the Resurrection spell.”

“So quickly?” Ruby asked. “It’d usually take weeks for someone to get resurrected when they died out on the field.”

“Not if they have a pendant from health insurance.”

She snorted. “Yeah, if they’re rich enough… ah… not that I mean…”

I shrugged. I knew what she meant. Most normal people didn’t have the income I had managed to acquire. I was a noble, a Hero, and a Dungeon Diver. I was able to get health insurance, although I found out later that nobles had their own form of life insurance and I was just wasting my money. The result was that I had ended up worrying my party, since the castle was able to bring me back faster than the company.

However, these guys were not nobles. They were just a pair of scouts. They were weak, low-level thieves that would have no value to the Bandit King. Unless they happened to be his biological brothers by pure coincidence, no one would pay to give them a special pendant and watch over their life. Even with the pendant, it would likely take hours to realize someone died, find a Priest, and then resurrect the person. That’s assuming they wouldn’t take any effort to try to find the body and thus decrease the cost of Resurrection substantially.

Even ignoring all of that, they were also both resurrected simultaneously. Normally, one Priest would be working, and so they’d cast Resurrection one person at a time. That meant one body should disappear, and perhaps five minutes later another body would leave. Even if two Priests were working, what was the chance they both completed their ceremony within seconds of each other? Simply put, what we had just seen was something that shouldn’t have existed.

“Grand Master…”

“Master?” Miki asked, overhearing me.

“It’s just something that woman had said. She said that the bandits were an unceasing wave. There can’t be that many bandits out here. The numbers required would have to be 10,000, but I suspect there are only around 1000 bandits. They’re just being resurrected extremely quickly, to the point where they can rejoin battles before they were even finished.”

“B-but… if you die and your body is remade, then there is weakness, it takes days to recover.”

“True…”

In reality, I didn’t have any proof of this except two bodies disappearing too quickly. However, Bandits were just people who wanted wealth. They weren’t soldiers. They wouldn’t do large-scale wars, not usually. They definitely wouldn’t sacrifice their lives if they didn’t feel it was guaranteed. A soldier might have faith in their general, love of their country, and the support of their comrades. I couldn’t believe bandits could be held together the same way. It was definitely suspicious. I needed to talk to that Grand Master again. I felt like he might know something.

Chapter 615

“Salicia…” I found myself asking.

“Yes?”

“How did you convince a group of criminals to attack Penbrook together?”

“Ah, so, Master… you want to learn my secrets?” Salicia asked coyly.

“Does how you convinced them to throw their lives away so you could play with your sister involve how you became a Bandit King?”

She looked away. “You just ask like that…”

“Quit being difficult. I can always order you as my slave.” I responded.

“Now, you want to have master-slave play!”

“I am your Master!”

“So dominant!”

“Master, if I may…” Carmine spoke up just as I started to grow tempted to use some kind of slave punishment on her.

“What is it?” I demanded.

“I have tried futilely to learn about Sister’s past as well. Before Penbrook, the last time I had seen her was when she attacked our Paladin troop while I was still a trainee. We were doing some training exercises and clearing out a few monster dens when a group of Bandits attacked. Sister was their leader. She captured me and killed the rest. I was her prisoner for nearly a month. It was during that time that we formed our… current feelings toward each other. Eventually, more Paladins were sent out and wiped her group out. She killed herself and resurrected to avoid capture, while I was brought home.”

“At the time, her job class was only Marauder. It was three years later that I heard her name as a local Bandit King, and she subsequently attacked Penbrook only two years later.”

“Ah… sister… describing our first meeting so coldly.” Salicia held her cheeks. “It was such a magical time.”

I ignored her, glancing at Carmine instead. “What are you trying to say?”

“I’m saying that Salicia isn’t able to talk about her past. It might be because she doesn’t remember, or because she’s trying not to remember. Or, it might be because something is keeping her from recalling.”

The group of us ended up looking at Salicia. Rather than deny it, she just let out a laugh, scratching her head awkwardly. The fact that a woman like her had become a Bandit King had been bothering me since some time ago. She may be strong, but she didn’t really have the kind of charisma one would expect to be able to lead armies. It seemed like the more questions I asked, the more mysterious this all was.

It felt like a dungeon, with a bunch of clues that didn’t seem to connect at all. Xin, Salicia, Bandit Kings, an alliance, Penbrook, and now Regency. Perhaps, if I kept digging, there was a lore to be found here. However, it’d be a lore without a dungeon. Was that even possible? Well, lore was just a story, and stories appeared everywhere. They didn’t always fester into curses.  At that moment, a thought occurred to me.

“Is it possible this entire world is a curse?”

Ruby let out a laugh that was probably louder than it should be considering we were in bandit territory. “Sorry, you just sound like those dungeon philosophers. I read a book once that suggested that this entire world is just a dungeon created by a greater world. They call it the infinite dungeon theory.”

While she laughed it off, I suddenly wasn’t so sure. I had come to this world in a strange way. That video game was a lore. What if I had just fallen into a dungeon? What if this was just a place accessed by a dungeon on Earth?

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