Ultimate Level 1

Chapter 117: Golden Axe
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Chapter 117: Golden Axe

Gods, that was awful, groaned Fowl as he took his helmet off and stored it. It was like my brain shut off for a moment. All I remember was something pounding my chest over and over, and then the next thing I knew, Seth had me over his shoulder like a sack of flour.

Im guessing that is a no for now, Max said, looking at the portal they had just exited. I didnt expect it to be anywhere near that difficult.

The creatures are getting smarter, that is for sure, added Tanila. How they dropped out of the trees and surrounded us proves it. If there had been four

Everyone nodded as she trailed off.

No chance we can find a fifth party member, can we?

Batrire glanced at Max and saw the smirk on his face as he asked that question. Somehow, I doubt it would solve our problem if we did.

He nodded and pulled out a sheet of paper from his storage. The only other dungeon in this area of town for us to try would be the spider one

No one said anything for a moment after he stopped talking, each of them seeing the look on Batrires face at the idea of dealing with a poison-based creature.

Or we can take a day and go visit with the Golden Axe Faction and see what we think about them. It is going to be time for that soon.

Grunting, Fowl bobbed his head.

Riding a carriage into the inner city, Max considered what he knew about Dexic and her Faction.

He had done some research and knew they would have to choose soon. The next ten levels were considered some of the toughest as the dynamics and resistances of the monsters and creatures changed. They still needed to fight and kill the bosses of the previous dungeons, but it was time to plan for the future, and everything started here.

Gods, these people act like gold is as common as water, mumbled Fowl as they rode up to the gate for the Faction.

Each of the twelve factions had a property within the central part of the city. Each one was set at a different position around the outer edge near the water. Twelve houses, each equally spaced around the city so that if a need arose, a group would always be ready to respond to the call.

The Golden Axe Faction had twenty-foot-high walls with gold decorations inlaid along the outside of the property, and at the entrance stood three statues that shone in the sun. An elf, dwarf, and human statue, each outfitted with golden armor and holding a massive golden axe, watched all those who entered their home.

The wooden doors had a pair of crossed golden axes on both sides.

Rumor is it the Lightning Brotherhood has lightning arcing around the gates, Tanila said. Each of the Factions likes to make sure you know how powerful they are.

Nodding, Max waited for Batrire to get out of the carriage. He saw the four guards watching them as they prepared to move toward the gates.

Welcome, adventurers, to the Golden Axe. I am Biscuit. How can I help you?

Fowl coughed, and Max heard Batrire grunt at him.

Biscuit was a stocky dwarf, wearing golden armor just like Dexic had, and his beard was white, even though it was apparent he couldnt be that old.

I am Seth Pendal, and these are my party members, Batrire, Fowl, and Tanila. Dexic gave me this card to come by and visit her faction as we get closer to the level of choosing where to call home.

A wide smile covered the dwarf's face as he bobbed his head and reached out, taking the card Max held out for him. Glancing at it briefly, the dwarf snapped his fingers, and an elven woman moved forward to where they were standing.

Welcome! I had hoped you four might come. Dexic has spoken highly of you. If you would like, Isarrel will show you around the property. Sadly, Dexic isnt here as she is currently in the tower with a few other members.

Max knew his eyes betrayed him as they went wide momentarily and saw a twinkle in Biscuits eye.

Tower teams go out occasionally, and when they do, it can often be for weeks or sometimes even longer than that. No worries. When she returns, I am sure she will search you out and be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Isarrel moved forward, her blond hair braid laying over the golden chain mail armor she wore.

If you four would follow me, I would happily show you the property and share a little history about our Faction.

Our Faction is one of the older ones in the capital, over one thousand years old. Only a few others are older, as many have risen and fallen for different reasons.

This tale has been pilfered from Royal Road. If found on Amazon, kindly file a report.

As Isarrel walked, she continued talking and pointing out different parts of the property. She had already shown them the outside training area where ten members were actively dueling each other.

The speed and ferocity of their movements were beyond belief, and Max realized that at least half of them were above level fifty.

Daily, we offer sparring matches with different instructors and provide a multitude of obstacle courses for our members to practice on. One of the hardest parts of the tower is that one never knows what they will encounter. We have certain floors mapped out, but occasionally, the tower will change a floor, and when it does, everything you think you knew is old news.

Max nodded, watching two women with swords and shields moving at speeds that made it hard for him to follow. The sounds of their blades against the shields and weapons rang out across the courtyard.

How high are they? Fowl asked, not ashamed in the least to ask a question most wouldnt dare.

Smiling, Isarrel chuckled before pointing at the human woman with a chain helmet. Grace is one of our members from another part of the world. She is above level sixty and amazing when it comes to tactics some might not appreciate.

As she spoke, Grace spun, kicking her foot at the woman she was dueling shield. In the same movement, Max saw her grab a handful of dirt from the ground, her sword vanishing into her dimensional storage. As she spun, the dirt flew at her opponent, and the second it was gone from her hand, her sword was back out, coming at the woman.

A kick came from Grace the moment her sword connected with the other womans, striking her opponent's knee and sending the woman crashing to the ground.

Graces shield flashed, and she darted forward. A charge attack came a second after the woman was put out of position, sending her flying backward as their shields connected, tumbling across the field.

So much power here imagine the possibilities

Max shuddered, the hunger he hadnt felt in a while suddenly roaring to life.

Isarrel saw his body shake and smiled, thinking he was nervous at the power being demonstrated.

She whistled, getting the attention of the duelists, and motioned to Grace, who nodded and gave a bow toward her partner, who had stood up and was dusting herself off.

Grace walked toward them, one moment covered in chain armor and the next, wearing leather clothes. Her black skin glistened with a sheen of sweat from the workout. Even more impressive was the fact she stood almost seven feet tall.

Grace, come meet some possible new recruits! Isarrel shouted, using her hands to motion toward Max and the others.

Smiling, Grace quickly jogged over and gave a slight nod of her head. Welcome to the Golden Axe. A group?

Max bobbed his head, picking up the slight hint of a twang in her voice. We are. Dexic invited us. That was impressive.

The woman smiled even more and winked at Isarrel. She is not being honest. I was actually training her, so it looks like Im better than I really am.

Fowl stood there, mouth slightly open, and stared up at the woman. Gods, you are tall.

A hearty laugh came from the warrior as she nodded. And you are short my dwarven friend, but I wont point that out.

Red color filled Fowls cheeks when he realized he had spoken out loud.

Forgive him, Batrire said with a groan. We still havent housebroken him yet. You are from across the sea?

A flask of water appeared in her hand. Grace nodded before taking a drink and putting the water away. I am. I have been here about a year and am excited to be a part of this Faction and the constant climbing they do in the tower. I am glad that

A whistle came from the woman she had sent flying, and Grace rolled her eyes and shrugged. Forgive me, my time is up. I need to get back to training. I wish you four the best of luck choosing a home. This one is rather great, I believe.

The warrior waved at them as she ran back to her training partner, armor and weapon reappearing instantly.

I really need one of those, muttered Max as Grace immediately started attacking the other woman.

They are acquired once most reach the tower, Isarrel said as she motioned for them to follow her inside the main house. One of the perks of being an adventurer for our Faction is that we want you always to be prepared to fight.

The inside of the house was just as impressive. It was four stories tall and had multiple wings for housing, studies, crafting, and more.

We do everything we can inside the Faction, as all do, to help cut down on costs while also keeping certain secrets within our walls, Isarrel stated as she pointed down a hallway. Down here is where many of our different crafters spend time working on new things and mastering old ones.

Can I ask what level most of your crafters are?

Isarrel turned and looked at Fowl, who continued to be unconcerned at asking questions whenever something popped into his head.

That is a tricky question, she replied, taking a deep breath. The truth is, leveling a crafter is hard work. As Im sure you all know, leveling is hard. We cant take lower-level crafters through easy dungeons as they would get no experience. This means paying someone to help get them experience early on. The few that can hit level thirty are much easier to bring along, but even then, you four must know how hard it is to fight with only four people.

Max nodded without realizing it.

Have you four considered finding a fifth teammate?

That question seemed so easy to answer, yet the four of them looked at each other, almost confused for a moment.

We have, Tanila replied. It is hard to find someone we all feel would work well and not mess up our balance. Sometimes we wished for another, yet the experience we gain with just the four of us is rather nice.

Motioning for them to continue walking, Isarrel led them upstairs and didnt bother pushing the question further.

When I heard that you will have a chance to meet the Faction head. Dexics recommendation apparently carried more weight than I had anticipated.

Max glanced at the other three, who all seemed shocked as well. None of them had expected to meet any of the heads of a Faction until they actually committed to one.

It seems word of your deeds in the dungeon, as well as in the arena, has reached his ears, Isarrel said, motioning at a pair of massive doors down the hall from the stairs that had come up. Just know, I can only think of a few other times he has met with someone before they committed to join.

Tanila leaned over and elbowed Max gently. You know we will blame you for this if things go bad.

Max nodded, ignoring Batrires laugh.

Look at those doors, muttered Fowl.

Up ahead stood two massive ten-foot doors, each with an actual golden axe set into the wood.

Isarrel led them to the doors and knocked. A sound from inside had her turn and give them a wink. Good luck, you four!

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