Ultimate Level 1

Chapter 123: Two Choices

“It’s a skill ring,” Fowl whispered quietly.

“What?!” shouted Tanila, moving so she could stand next to Fowl and look at the ring cupped in his hand.

“It has the skill Taunt, rank uncommon on it,” he replied.

Max saw their reactions and remembered hearing that gear in the tower was way better than anything he could imagine, but his mind was racing, trying to understand how any of this was possible.

“Wait, everyone, stop for a second. Can someone tell me why we are getting these kinds of items now?” Max asked, snapping his fingers to get their attention as he spoke.

The three turned and looked at him, shock still etched on each face.

“It has to be…,” replied Batrire before turning to look at the ring Fowl held with as much tenderness as he might a baby. She pointed upward at the ceiling of the dungeon. “Someone up there.”

“But we aren’t in the tower! How can a chest like one from there show up?”

Fowl shrugged as he started to grin and then quickly slid the ring on his finger.

“Who the hell cares! I got a skill ring! I could sell this for, like, five hundred gold or more!”

Fowl’s explosive statement earned him a kick in the leg from Batrire, which bounced off his plate armor, and a harsh look from Tanila.

“You better not even think about doing that,” growled Batrire as she got in his face. “You and I both know that thos–”

“Woah, my sweet ball of fury,” Fowl said quickly, lifting his hand to Batrire’s cheek and cutting her words off so fast that Max thought she might bite her tongue. A rush of crimson colored her cheeks, and she glanced at Fowl, then at Tanila and Max, who were both smirking. “I won’t sell it. I’m just saying it’s that valuable.”

“I’d snip something if you did,’ Batrire replied, jerking her head back and stepping away to regain her composure.

Fowl didn’t react, instead turning to Max and motioning to the chest. “Get yours. We need to find out what it is!”

Without wasting a moment, Max moved to the chest and touched the last ring, feeling like those thirty seconds were an eternity till it appeared in his hand.

Pulling it out of the chest, Max looked at it momentarily before holding it out toward the others.

The ring was a dark brown like the boss’s body had been, and two crystal runes appeared to be stacked on top of each other.

“What is that writing?” Fowl asked as he cocked his head back and forth.

Batrire and Tanila looked at it, then shook their heads as they frowned.

“I’ve never seen runes written like that before,” Tanila replied slowly, “and you two know I have seen a lot of different runes.”

Max didn’t care. Turning the ring back toward him, he did what he had been waiting to do.

[Inspect Ring]


Ring of the Golem Prince

+4 Constitution

25% Resistance to Spells



Max groaned slightly and then saw the others waiting for him to share.

“So it adds four to my constitution, and I get a twenty-five percent resistance to spells.”

“Why in the gods did you groan?” asked Fowl. “That is an amazing ring!”

Grimacing, he slowly shrugged. “I wanted a skill ring like yours.”

“Mother elf humpin', orc lovin', piece of…” Fowl cursed, turning around as he walked away, continuing his tirade.

Batrire chuckled, and even Tanila couldn’t help but laugh a moment.

“Why is he so upset?” Max asked, looking at the two of them.

“Why do you need a ring that has a skill? You have more skills than the three of us combined.”

Tanila’s response seemed so simple, yet Max realized he hadn’t been very sensitive to Fowl.

Grimacing, he went to where his dwarven friend was still cursing under his breath and coughed. “Sorry, bud. I just wanted to be like you.”

Fowl turned around and groaned, rolling his eyes as he stared at Max. “You’re funny, you know that? Are you holding back and not telling us you have an entertainer skill? Because there is no way you want to be like me,” Fowl replied, motioning to himself.

“You got a nice beard and some great hair,” Max replied. “Look at me, bald all over.”

“Bald all over, you say,” Fowl replied, winking and smiling as he did. “You hear that, Tanila? This boy is bald all over! What do you think about that?”

Wincing, Max resisted the temptation to turn around and see how she had responded to that question, but the look on Fowl’s face told him she had reacted precisely how the dwarf intended.

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“How about we stop all this nonsense, collect these tokens, and get out of here?”

Max nodded, moving toward the chest and trying to keep from meeting Tanila’s eyes, whose face was redder than Batrire had been earlier.

Each of them pulled out a crystal ring, and Max put his in storage. “Are we going to be able to turn this one in?”

Biting her lip, Tanila winced. “Maybe we should check with someone at the Golden Axe and get their opinion. I’m sure Everett would know.”

Nodding, Max heard a whistle and turned to see what Fowl was motioning to.

Two portals had appeared after they looted the chest.

“Someone tell me this shouldn’t happen,” Max said.

“Not normal at all for most of the world… apparently a common thing with you,” Fowl replied.

“We need to go,” Tanila said, pointing at the portal on the right. It was blue, and they knew it would return them to the adventurers guild. Next to it was a deep red portal, pulsing with power and giving off a slight hum.

“That can’t be…” Batrire muttered.

“It is, and we need to go now. There is a dungeon break somewhere.”

Max turned and looked at Tanila. Her face was worried, and the wrinkles of concern that rarely ever showed up were all over her forehead.

“Why is it red? I mean, there has been no mention of a red portal in any of the books I read before.”

Tanila pointed at the blue portal. “We can talk later tonight in the inn. For now, we need to go back to the adventurers hall. There is no telling what is happening outside the city right now.”

Grumbling, Max nodded and moved to the blue portal. A part of him wanted to go inside the red one. It called to him, promising power and more.

As if sensing his hesitation and that he might change his mind, Fowl came up behind Max and pushed him through the blue portal.

“I’ve dodged enough already today… I’d rather not push it,” Fowl said before moving into the blue portal.

Batrire snorted and followed, leaving Tanila alone as she stared at the pulsing red one.

“Thuyja, if you’re listening, please stop these portals… I… I don’t want us to die.”

Done whispering the small prayer, she hurried through the blue portal and into the chaos outside.

“What is it?” Tanila asked as she heard the bells chiming.

“Dungeon break, just as you called it,” Fowl answered, motioning for them to hurry back to the main room of the adventurers hall.

Every adventurer present lined the room's outer edges inside the massive open area.

Five people in robes stood in the middle of the room, and everyone stood quietly whispering to each other as they waited to learn what was happening.

Multiple times, attendants ran up to an older woman in a blue robe trimmed with silver lines, each handing her a paper before running back to the counter.

The five whispered quietly amongst themselves until the bells stopped.

“ADVENTURERS!” a male dwarf in blue robes shouted, silencing the room instantly.

“I must inform each of you that multiple dungeon breaks have occurred outside the wall,” the older woman said, her voice carrying across the room and sounding as if she were standing right next to each person.

Murmurs and whispers broke out momentarily before a loud whistle from the dwarf silenced everyone.

“I must ask all who are willing and able to help to go quickly to the east! There are four breaks, and we will be responsible for the one on this side of the city!”

Her voice almost sounded like it cracked momentarily as she said four breaks.

This time, a large amount of conversation broke out and Max turned to see Tanila and the others grimacing. He had questions but knew now wasn’t the time.

“The dungeon we will be tasked to hold off and clear is an elite ogre one. They are obviously harder than the normal level thirty ogres and come in large packs of up to ten! Please consider joining another group and helping defend the city and its citizens! We have put out a call to all the Factions and expect some help in the coming hours. If all goes as planned, the boss will be defeated, and we can rest for another month or so. All those who are willing, please make your way toward the transportation room below!”

Max glanced at Tanila and mouthed the words transportation room as he gave her a puzzled look.

Nodding, Tanila held up her hand and motioned for him to wait.

“As always, we will not force anyone to help or expect trophies to be brought back. Just know that if you help, we will give bonus points, as always! Be safe, and thank you for your commitment to protecting the weak!”

After the woman spoke, the room erupted into loud shouts and questions as people began to decide what to do.

“Tell me what you three think,” Batrire said as she looked around, ensuring no one was paying attention to them.

“I’m game,” Fowl replied. “Even if we don’t have our skills available, we should be able to handle some ogres pretty easily.”

Max shrugged and looked at Tanila, who sighed as she nodded.

“It’s what we agreed to do as adventurers,” she replied. “Does anyone need anything before we go? Potions?”

Fowl glanced at Max, who held up two fingers. Nodding, the dwarf ran off toward the counter where the guild was quickly supplying them to those who answered the call for help.

“Listen,” Tanila said as she grabbed Max’s shoulder and pulled him close. “Fight smart, don’t be going crazy or doing stuff like last time. The people who will be near us won’t miss it like the others did when we fought during the last break. Stick with one thing and do it well. Understand?”

Nodding, he gave her his best smile. “I promise to behave.”

“That isn’t what I asked for, but I’ll take it knowing you and Fowl will break that promise soon enough.”

Once Fowl returned with the potions, the four of them moved to follow the stream of adventures, heading into a pair of doors Max had never really paid attention to before.

“How does a transportation room work?” he whispered.

“You’ve heard the stories of teleportation?” Tanila asked, making sure no one was paying attention.

“Those are true?”

She nodded and pointed at the massive room at the end of the hall they were in.

“In the capitals, they built these rooms, and the cost is hard to put a number to. They aren’t used often, mainly only for these breaks. The power this will take will require at least a month to replace.”

Max shook his head, pondering how much there was still for him to learn and how Tanila always seemed to have an answer. As they walked toward the massive room, Max realized there was a lot about Tanila he still didn’t know.

She saw him looking at her and pursed her lips. “That look on your face, what is wrong?”

Shaking his head, Max took a deep breath and smiled. “I’ll tell you later. I want to ask you something when we aren’t about to fight a horde of ogres.”

Raising an eyebrow, Tanila watched as Max turned his attention to the room they were about to enter.

Past the last set of doors was a massive room, easily fifty yards long and wide.

Thick, six-inch, clear crystal lines ran in geometrical patterns to a massive crystal shard in the middle of the room, sitting on a crystal pedestal.

Seeing it brought back memories of Max’s hometown and how this adventure started. Max almost stumbled but caught himself as he looked down at the crystal lines.

He absently followed Fowl and Batrire as they moved with the other adventurers to stand within a crystal square etched in the floor.

Adventures were squished together as they surrounded the shard and waited expectantly.

Unlike the rest, Max couldn’t help but study the lines on the floor. Once the rest of his party stopped, he bent down and touched one with his hand.

“Holy elf tits,” Max cursed quietly, getting a nudge from Fowl, who was looking at him with a frown.

Standing, Max shook his head and motioned for Fowl to wait.

He wanted them to be alone when he told them what he was about to say.

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