“Be careful with that!” Siti cried out in terror.
At this point, the last of the villagers had already left, and it was just me, the Grand Master, Siti, and the girls. Salicia was staring at the dagger while Terra was holding it out extremely casually. Siti reached out and plucked it from her fingers extremely cautiously. Terra looked at her with a confused look.
“This knife is poison to anyone from this world!” Siti explained.
“Is it the knife you’re looking for?” I asked worriedly. “Is this the one you were talking about.”
Siti looked at the knife carefully and then nodded. “This is it!”
I looked at the knife in her hands. It was made out of a material that resembled obsidian glass. There was something strangely odd about it, and I noticed that it seemed to have some kind of aura around it. The light immediately around the blade just looked slightly darker than everywhere else. I supposed if there was some kind of dark soul-reaving blade, it would look like that.
“What is it, anyway?” Miki asked, the knife clearly making her uncomfortable.
To a Spiritualist, a soul-reaving knife must have an inherent wrongness to it. As something that could kill the soul on contact, it was an extremely terrifying weapon.
“If this knife cuts someone, it will immediately begin to corrode their soul. After being infected by its essence, you will no longer be able to access mana or use magic. Typically, if the wound is left untreated, the curse will kill you within a day or two. If the wound is fatal or the curse kills you, there is no chance of resurrection, as the soul would already have rotted. Furthermore, those that are killed with this curse are highly likely to end up as curses themselves and become… well…”
“Dungeons.” I finished her words.
I didn’t know that the knife was so deadly. It had a lot of interesting abilities, and it also seemed to have some strange connection with dungeons. I just didn’t know enough about it to know what it meant.
“Then, shouldn’t we destroy the knife now?” Miki asked, still eyeing the blade nervously.
“Not here!” The Grand Master said. “We’ll take it somewhere safe first, and then destroy it there.”
Siti nodded. “It will take me some time to be able to perform the spell that will toss it into the void.”
I nodded. “Fine. Once we’re in Deeksville, I want it destroyed immediately.”
I didn’t mean it to sound like an order, but just looking at that knife gave me the creeps. I couldn’t imagine what someone would do if they obtained the knife with nefarious purposes. I lifted my hands and immediately began to create a Portal. Once it was finished, I started ushering everyone through. There was no saying when the bandits might attack again, especially since the wall no longer had any soldiers on it.
As if having that thought triggered their presence, I heard a trumpet call out, and then the sound of heavy footsteps racing toward the city. It looked like we were going to abandon Regency just in time. The girls started to jump through the Portal one at a time. As the Grand Master came up for his turn, he looked at me and shook his head with a frown.
“After all that looking, you were able to obtain it in seconds. I don’t know what to say.” He sighed. “Perhaps, if I hadn’t been so snobbish and secretive in the beginning, we could have saved a lot of time and lives.”
“It’s fine.” I smiled at him and then held out my hand. “Let’s keep working together in the future. For Aberis.”
He looked down at my arm, and then reached out and grabbed it. “For Abe- geh…”
He suddenly jerked. His eyes looked extremely surprised. I stared at him in confusion as his eyes widened in shock and surprise. Then… I saw a dark blackness creeping up his veins from within his body. His mouth opened, but no words came out. He fell back, and despite my best efforts to hold to his arm clasping mine, he collapsed to the ground, dead.
At this point, all of the girls had gone through except for Salicia, Siti, myself, and the Grand Master. With the Grand Master dead, that left Siti. She had actually used the knife to kill her own Master? That was when a thought suddenly came to me. Maybe, she had been a traitor all along! How had I been so foolish? I had thought that if we moved quickly enough, that we’d resolve this problem before it became an issue, and I ended up handing the knife to the exact person that I didn’t want to.
Siti seemed like she wanted to say something, but her mouth was opened and she didn’t seem to be able to get any words out. Pulling my sword, I walked past Salicia, holding the sword up to Siti’s neck. I was careful to keep my distance. Her hands were behind her back, and she seemed to be fumbling for what was presumably the knife. If she made a lunge at me, I couldn’t even allow her to scratch me!
“How could you do this?” I demanded.
“H-h… I-I…” She was stuttering, her expression changing strangely panicked.
I started to feel like something was off. We had given the knife to her. That was undeniable, but she didn’t look like someone who had deliberately murdered her own Master. Did she accidently kill him? Was she just walking with it out and then ran into him when he stopped? That sounded ridiculous the second I thought it.
“Where is the knife?” I decided to demand for that instead.
If I could get the knife into my Inventory, then, at least we’d all be safe for the immediate future. However, the more I pressed her, the more terrified she seemed to get. She was backing away while her mouth flapped open. Suddenly, her eyes widened and she started to cast a spell. I lifted my sword to strike her, but she didn’t stop. It seemed like she was willing to let me strike her as long as she finished the spell.
“Look out!” She cried.
Those words were what stopped me from attacking. At just that moment, a massive force slammed into me from the side. I realized it was some kind of spatial attack. I went flying to the side, from the massive hit, slamming into a nearby building. It was enough force that I went right through it. This was a structure that had already been on fire and put out. Structurally, it wasn’t very strong. My form being slammed through the brittle charred walls was enough that the entire place collapsed. Thankfully, it didn’t have much of a ceiling, and other than a giant puff of smoke and ash in the air, I wasn’t hurt too bad.
I healed myself immediately, while berating myself for holding back. Just because she said something that confused me, I allowed her to hit me. I started crawling out of the wreckage, but just as I peered out at Siti, I was immediately frozen by the scene. Salicia was standing across from Siti, but it wasn’t Siti holding the dagger, it was Salicia.
“Why did you kill Master?” Siti was crying, holding up her hands and backing away defensively.
“Hmm? Why?” Salicia asked, her voice strangely filled with malice. “Perhaps, because it was fun!”
“Salicia… how could you!”
“Salicia?” She seemed confused for a second. “Ah! You must be talking about this body. Is that the name she was going under? Sorry, perhaps it’s better if you just call me by my real name. My name is Calypso. I’m the Bandit Hero.”
“Aren’t you a pretty little thing?” Salicia said, looking Siti up and down in a salacious manner. “You know, I happen to favor women.”
Siti blushed, backing up a bit more. “Stay away.”
“Aren’t you interested in playing with a Hero?” Salicia smirked, seemingly completely calm despite everything.
“H-how are you a Hero?” Siti cried out in disbelief.
As the pair were talking, I was too stunned to move. I barely noticed that the walls of Regency had already been breached, and the so-called town was being ransacked. There wasn’t much left behind to take, but that didn’t stop the Bandits from going into any house that wasn’t burned down and trashing the place, or setting even more fires to finish off the once largest city in the west. Thankfully, the ashen ruins of my own location held no interest, and covered in ash as I was, no one seemed to notice me.
“Well, to be fair, this body is just my puppet. Don’t worry. You’ll be meeting the real me soon. As for why I’m a Hero, I’m going to be taking care of a problem for all of you.” Salicia, or she was calling herself Calypso now, spoke with an evil grin. “My son, the Demon Lord Aberis, I will be the one to kill him.”
What did she say? Demon Lord Aberis? Wasn’t he killed by Elaya? How could he still be alive? She called him her son! I also couldn’t help but wonder about the name Calypso. Calypso’s tower was the monument to the death of the real Bandit Hero. He had been betrayed by a woman named Calypso. Was this the same woman? If that was the case, how old was she?
No! What was I even suggesting? This was Salicia? This was Carmine’s sister? What the heck was going on? I could still feel her bond.
It was then that I felt a sudden surge of pain in my back. I was already weak, but I suddenly felt even weaker. I felt like I was being drained. It was then that I realized what had happened. Salicia had attempted to attack me from behind. Siti had used a spell tossing me to the side. I had still managed to get grazed by the knife. That my only extremely weak soul was being further corroded by that knife. I might die for real any moment.
I desperately started trying to use healing, only to find to my horror that my connection to mana had been cut off. I pulled out a vial of Waters of Life and drank it. As I did so, I watched as my energy continued to decline more and more. In a last-ditch effort, I switched my jobs over. I equipped Dark Priest, Dungeon Builder, and Demon Knight, sacrificing the job I normally would have gotten from True Hero. These were all miasma related jobs. For some reason, I thought that they might be able to protect me in the end.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to remain conscious long enough to realize if it worked. I didn’t know how long I was unconscious, or what happened with Siti, but I heard yelling that jolted me awake. The cut on my back felt like a dull ache. The yelling seemed hollow and distant.
“Where did he go? The one I cut?”
Someone suddenly grabbed me and started pulling me from the wreckage. I felt so weak I couldn’t resist a thing. I felt myself being dropped onto the ground.
“He seemed to have disappeared, however, we did find this girl.”
“It doesn’t matter. With that cut, he’s already dead.” A beautiful woman looked down at me. “She’s pretty and to my liking. Conquering two beauties in a single battle, I must be lucky. Put her with the other one. They’ll make good concubines for my harem.”
“Wh-who…” I barely managed to get the words out.
The woman reached out and stroked my face. “Little girl, you seemed to be hurt when that building burned down and you were left behind. Their loss, my gain. I am Calypso, your new Master. I will teach you… so many things.”
I felt her lips press against mine, and I passed out just as I felt a tongue entering my mouth.