The mission turned out to be a complete success. They sent out people and cleared our horse of the alcohol. The Bandits were happy to push everyone to drink heavily. Even the guards ended up with a bottle in their hand. I juggled my dungeon points and thus was immune to the alcoholic effects. I wouldn’t make the mistake come morning by removing my Poison Immunity, so all I had to do the rest of the night was act as drunk as everyone else.
I thought that this interruption would have made the money guys angry, but one of them ended up taking me aside as the night fell and the number of drunks increased.
“The names Grutch! You saved our asses there. Lord Reign has impeccable timing.”
“Yeah, those Bandits were trying to up their fees again. I’m not some Knight, and I don’t feel like having my throat cut so that Lord Reign can play his political games. Not that I’d speak ill of our employer! I’m just saying, my cut isn’t enough to deal with these cutthroats, but a well-placed drink and come morning they won’t even remember why they came. Well played. Give Lord Reign my compliments.”
“Yes, but don’t mention it to him directly, considering who he’s gifting this to…” I tried to cover myself over the overenthusiastic moneyman.
“O-of course! I know how to keep my mouth shut! I saw nothing!” With that, he grabbed and downed his cup of wine. “Now if you excuse me, I see another bottle with my name on it.”
No sooner had the moneyman left than a man threw his arm around me in a half hug with his other hand clenching a bottle. “Dede! This is all thanks to you, man!”
It was the leader who had previously started this whole thing in the first place and even invited me to join the Bandits.
“Ah, but Lord Reign…” I tried to deflect his overexuberance.
“Lord Reign!” He made a bitter face and shook his head. “That guy is a blowhard!”
He blinked, and then let out a laugh. “You’re alright. So, how about it, you join my band?”
“What about my slaves?”
“Bring them! The more, the merrier! Ah, it’s not like we’ll ask you to share them or anything. I wouldn’t give you my sword or my armor, so I wouldn’t expect you to give me your women. It’s every man for himself, that’s what I always say!”
“But… I heard that all the bandits are forming together in the southwest? What is that about?”
“That Bandit King!” He hissed.
I raised an eyebrow. “You don’t work for him?”
“No!” he shook his head vehemently. “Well, yes, sort of. My band has been tasked for being the convoy between Lord Reign and that Bandit King. Like you, we’re just the messengers. We deliver messages and we pick up and deliver the money. That King is also a bastard, always counts every coin, and holds us accountable for anything missing! We’re not even allowed to rob in the area! Alerith is the richest region thanks to their Northern backers, and we aren’t allowed to pillage a single house! Meanwhile, the Bandit King tries to be some kind of ruler.”
“You sound like you’re not happy about it.”
“I’m a bandit, damn it! I got into this for the money! I don’t want to conquer a country! Drink, money, a little bit of danger… that’s all I ever wanted! Ever since Bandit King Salicia went away, it’s just been shit.
“You’re one of Salicia’s men?”
“You’ve heard of her? Well, who in the west hasn’t!” he laughed. “She was a crazy woman too, but she was a crazy woman with class. At least, we always got some of the wealth when she was King!”
“Uh…” He suddenly keeled over.
I shot a look back. “Wh-what are you doing?”
“Eh? Wasn’t I putting everyone asleep while they were distracted?” Miki asked.
“Y-you…” I looked behind her where she was gesturing, and there were bodies scattered everywhere.
While I had been chatting with Grutch, Miki had gone forward with the plan and neutralized the entire mansion!
“What do we do, Master?” Miki cried worriedly while on her knees on the ground.
I hadn’t decided if I even wanted to go through with the plan. After all, I was already invited to become a Bandit. The goal was complete. The guy was just about to tell me everything, and then Miki came in and interrupted. I might have scolded her a bit after that, which I had immediately felt bad about. However, now that everyone was unconscious, it’d be very difficult to join the guy now.
I ended up calling the rest into the mansion, and we picked up and put all of the people where they wouldn’t be disturbed. Miki promised they wouldn’t wake up for a while.
“Some of these guys seem familiar,” Salicia muttered.
That was because they were some of her old team. I decided not to mention it though.
“So, what is the plan, Master? Are we still going to rob the place?”
After I had some time to calm down and think about it, I realized that we really ought to continue the plan. As this guy already suggested, his band was just the messengers. They were in no way close enough to the core banditry to help me if I joined their band. I’d be left just helping them carry messages.
On top of that, a lot of good could be done with that money. I checked, and there was 10,000 gold coins worth of money in this shipment. The greedier part of me considered taking it and adding it to Chalm’s coffers. It’d be nice for Chalm to use some money that wasn’t part of my wealth. However, deep down, I knew that this money came from the improper taxation on the citizens, or I suppose the exploitation of their desperation in gambling, and the best course of action was to return it to the people somehow.
“We’re going to take it all,” I responded.
Salicia, Shao, and Carmine began to move through the place, while I put our horses on the cart. Thankfully, they had never unloaded the carriage after starting their drinking party, so it was best to just steal it. Ruby helped, but she was more uneasy about it. I had offered her to stay back and not get involved, but she had insisted as our mentor that she take equal responsibility with our actions. She had the look of a woman who was pushing herself.
After she carved the design we had come up with, which was a dollar sign with an X through it, I came over and admired her work. In this world, the dollar sign didn’t mean money, so it was meaningless, but it was a distinct enough symbol to stand out, and it had a meaning if anyone asked. Looking at the frown on Ruby’s face, I patted her shoulder. I actually couldn’t reach her head.
“We’re doing the right thing.”
Rather than look relieved, she jerked, her cheeks turning red as she looked away from me.
I was going to inquire more when Shao suddenly came out. “Deek, you should see this.”
What was it now?
I followed Shao, who apparently had found something in the mansion. The mansion wasn’t a very impressive place. Compared to the topnotch decorating of Faeyna, it looked rather barebones and uninspired compared to my place. I needed to stop comparing mansions. It felt like I was being a bit conceited.
The place where Shao took me turned out to be the basement. A lot of thoughts ran through my head as Shao walked on ahead. Were there slaves down here? Or maybe some kind of underground torture chamber? What I did end up finding caused my mouth to drop open. There was a stock of supplies in barrels. These included food, firewood, and other supplies one might expect to run a mansion out in the middle of nowhere.
However, the thing that Shao wanted me to see was a table sitting in the corner. Gold coins were covering it. No, it wasn’t money. If it was just more money, Shao would have just taken the money and added it to what was in the cart. As I got closer to them, I started to realize that they were a bit bigger than a normal coin.
I grabbed one of the coins and picked it up, and I immediately began to recognize what it was. It had a similarity to other such token’s I had held in my life. One such token was called the Hero’s token. Each village had one, although I honestly had no clue where they got them from. That was probably something I should ask the mayor or Prince Aberis. The person who receives such a token instantly unlocks the special job, Hero. While True Hero could only be obtained by defeating a demon lord, any village could elect a village Hero.
These tokens, on the other hand, matched two tokens I had on my person. They were called Knight tokens. There use should be obvious. Giving them to someone unlocked the job Knight for him.
I had a feeling that tokens could exist for any job. Maybe, there was a time when jobs weren’t earned through feats but handed out by hand using these tokens. They were essentially a small little blessing in physical form. Once handed to someone and that person picked up the job, the token was just a useless coin. Although it was gold in color, it was not even made of gold. Rather, they were made of just normal iron, and they lost their golden color once they were used.
However, every single one of these coins was “active”. That meant that anyone who was handed such a coin would gain the job Knight. Knight was a strong fighting class superior to things like Swordsman. It was like me with White Mage, it allowed someone to jump past the basics, allowing them to exude more power than they previously could with a higher tier job and high tiered skills, right in front of me were nearly two hundred of them.
“I think we found out where Lord Reign is getting all of his Knights from,” Raissa said bitterly.
“Yeah, but where are the tokens coming from?” I shook my head. “We’ll take them. That’ll be a slap in Lord Reign’s face.”
An hour or two later, we had packed up everything of value in the mansion. I even took vases and paintings, reckoning that a real Bandit wouldn’t just take the cash. As we rode out of the mansion, a batch of words popped up in front of my vision.
[You have taken a large degree of wealth from the local population. You have unlocked the job, Bandit.]
So, I have become a Bandit. There is no denying it now.