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Chapter 855

When Calypso entered the tent, all conversation immediately died. All of the girls of her harem became silent and turned toward the woman herself. She looked from woman to woman as if evaluating them. When her eyes fell on a girl, she stopped breathing and didn’t start again until her eyes passed. It had the feel like Calypso was looking into their souls. When her eyes finally landed on me, she broke into a wide smile that reminded me of a cat who had caught a bird.

“You’re awake. You left me feeling very worried.” She spoke in a voice that sounded oddly sincere.

“You… saved me?” I asked, trying to get a feel for this strange woman.

Calypso was a beautiful woman with dark midnight hair and a fair complexion. Her skin was milky and smooth, making her appear much younger than she was. Actually, I didn’t know how young she was, but it should at least be thirty years based on the towers size. Then again, that curse could have been implanted at any point, and there was no saying when the events of the tower occurred. They were at least long enough that the original Bandit Hero was forgotten one, and she was able to take on the name of the modern Bandit Hero.

Her eyes were just as dark as her hair, and she had thin eyebrows and small beauty mark just under her eyes. Those eyes contained an unfathomable depth and wisdom to them that was likely what unnerved the other girls. Her lips were a deep red, which darkly contrasted the rest of her body.  Furthermore, she had a shapely body, with decent-sized breasts and wide hips. She wasn’t shapely in a muscular way like Lydia, but in a succulent way as if her body was crafted to tempt men.

“I did, my little crumpet. You will have to repay me.” She smirked as if my words amused her.

“You… burned down Regency!” I cried out, surprised that she was speaking so unreasonably.

She raised her nails, long and painted black to her chin and ran a nail down her cheek while her grin deepened. “So? I could have left you to burn. Instead, I took you, gave you medicine, fed, clothed, and boarded you. You will have to work for me.”

“Work?” I asked incredulously. “Like her?”

I nodded to Salicia, who had still not moved even after I attempted to contact her several times. She continued to sit in the chair, staring straight ahead like she was a zombie. To that point, I hadn’t gotten a single reaction out of her.

“Her? Oh, no… nothing like her.” Calypso laughed. “She’s just a puppet. I prefer my women be… a bit more interesting. As for work, every girl is assigned a duty. Siti here has been taking care of you, but since you’ve recovered, you’ll both need new jobs. Some girls clean my tent, others brush my hair, hmmm… is there anything you can do, Deedee?”

“Deedee?”

“I told your name. I’m sorry.” Siti spoke up, giving me a significant look.

I nodded. “Ah, I see…”

Calling me Deek in this situation wouldn’t do at all. Still, she could have come up with something a little more unique than Deedee. She looked slightly guilty about it, but I remained focused on Calypso.

“You see… as long as you take care of my needs.” She smirked provocatively. “I’ll take care of yours.”

“What about her?” I asked, once again nodding at Salicia. “What do you mean, a puppet?”

“I mean what I said, she’s nothing but air.”

“She’s a person, and her name is Salicia!” I responded coldly, and then immediately bit my tongue.

I had said that impulsively. Calypso’s eyes darkened, and I regretted saying too much.

Chapter 856

After looking at me with narrowed eyes, I gulped down my saliva. Siti was holding my arm, and her hands tightened as well. Since she had vouched for me, if it was revealed who I truly was, she would go down with me. In a way, our lives were now tied together, and so my impulsive nature would end up reflecting on her as well. After a brief moment of darkness, Calypso’s smile returned.

“You’re feisty. I like that. If I wanted a woman who didn’t challenge me, I’d use some miasmic creature like her.” She chuckled.

“Miasmic… are you saying a dungeon creature? How can she be a dungeon creature? She was a Bandit King, and she has a sister!”

Once again, I spoke impulsively, but at the moment, my only concern was finding out what happened to Salicia. I realized I was rather poor at being deceitful. Perhaps, the actor part of me had been the part that was lost in Alerith.

“Oh?” She raised an eyebrow. “So, you know her history? I suppose since she ended up enslaved to that noble I killed, you had chances to talk to her when she visited town?”

I nodded. “She-she was kind to me.”

“I doubt that.”

I knew the lie sounded fake, but thankfully, Calypso thought I was lying about her being nice, not lying about how we met.

“Please, I need to know what happened to her.” I found myself begging impatiently.

I remembered a time when I could take time and be more tactful, but that part of me had died when I lost a piece of my soul. The current me just didn’t have the patience or tact to slowly probe her for information. I needed to know what happened.

“Very well.” She chuckled. “Since you are new, I’ll allow you to be willful just once. I do like to spoil my girls. Salicia was a young warrior. A long time ago, I ransacked her village and killed her family. She trained and became a bandit with the intent to increase her rank and one day kill me. Of course, I knew her plan all along, which is why I killed her instead.”

“K-killed? But she’s right…” I looked at the puppet that stared ahead with no emotion.

“There are only a handful of ways to kill someone permanently without the risk of resurrection. The easiest way, and the way she attempted, was to lure me into a dungeon and ambush me. I killed her instead, and left her for the dungeon to eat.”

“It was a few years later when I returned to the dungeon that I was in for a surprise. You see, most people who die in dungeons, their souls are trapped forever in the dungeon, where they are eaten and converted into miasma to feed the dungeon curse. However, particularly resilient souls sometimes persevere. Rather than get eaten, the miasma corrupts their souls. These corrupted souls are called Karma.”

“Karma?”

I had only heard of the word very recently, but looking at my own skills, and the recently appearing Mimic job. Trying to understand what she said, I came to a sudden realization and gasped.

“You don’t mean…” “That’s right.” She nodded. “Salicia soul remained in the dungeon. Three years after I left her corpse there, she came back… as a dungeon boss!”

Chapter 857

“You see, when a curse is made, anyone who might be associated with that curse, whether alive or dead, has a chance of being copied.” Calypso explained, her eyes flashing excitedly as she grew increasingly invested in her explanation. “These copies are sometimes created from the person’s true soul that is left trapped in the dungeon, and sometimes it is created by soul fragments, memories, and mana imprints. They aren’t the original person, but a miasmic copy! Who knows? Maybe there is a miasmic copy of you or me in some dungeon out there.”

I did have some understanding of what she was explaining. After all, I had faced my own copy in the Widow’s Labyrinth, although that was a doppelganger. Lord Karr from Karr’s dungeon was an example of a miasmic copy created by a normal soul. It stood to reason that what I had been noticing previously, that the “first” time a boss is destroyed is their original form where each subsequent time was a copy, wasn’t entirely right.

What I was actually noticing were bosses created from corrupted souls. Once the creature was killed, the soul was released back into the dungeon again, where it would face further corrosion. Just like how every time a person is resurrected, their soul would get damaged, every time a boss was destroyed, the corrupted karmic soul would be whittled away too.

Then, there were cases like the giant who was a poor copy of Xin based not on her soul, but on memories and imprints of her. The dungeon would have slowly refined her, perhaps extracting more memories of her as time passed, but she would always be a poor imitation. Meanwhile, Salicia was actually a perfect miasmic copy of a woman who had died before I ever came to this world. I didn’t feel bad, because the Salicia who died I had never met, but I was shocked.

“So, you tamed Salicia with Monster Tamer?” I asked.

This was what made the most logical sense to me. I had taken several bosses from dungeons and had them serve me. However, as soon as I said it, I started to think that wasn’t quite right. Salicia didn’t act like the other monster’s I had tamed. She didn’t seem to have any free will at all. Calypso leaned forward like she was going to tell me, but then stopped and stepped back, a smile forming on her face.

“Monster taming is certainly a way. However, while I like free will among my women, I don’t like it among my servants. As for how, you should already know the answer.”

For a second, I thought that she had realized something about me. The worried look on my face only made her chuckle, though.

“Deedee, do you honestly not know why I saved your life?”

“B-because you wanted me in your harem?” I answered.

“You’re a cute girl, but I encounter many cute girls. The reason some become mine, while others are thrown to my men, is because of what they can do for me. Take Siti… for example.” Siti jerked as she gestured to the woman and continued. “She has the rather rare job, Blue Mage. With her Portals, I’ll be able to leave the Western edge of Aberis and my bandits will be able to attack anywhere! Every girl here offers me something that will help me gain power. Do you know what you offer?”

“M-me?”

“I can smell the miasma on you.” She chuckled.

“I-I’m not a dungeon monster!”

She shook her head. “No, you’re not, however, you are a Dark Priest!”

“…”

I didn’t expect her to be able to see that. I had been worried that she might have detected the cut, or my ability to produce mana, but not the job I had set. I was suddenly really glad I had left it selected.

Calypso reached out and grabbed my hands, pulling me toward her. “Do you know what I see when I look at you? I see a young version of myself. You have the gift to control miasma, just as I do. Together, we can accomplish miracles. I want to teach you everything I know.”

“Wh-why would you do that?”

“In time, I will defeat him, and conquer the five kingdoms, creating the empire he never could. I will become the eternal Bandit King. You… you will become my Bandit Queen!”

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