Ultimate Level 1

Chapter 156: The Demon Champion
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Chapter 156: The Demon Champion

The four moved closer together, shuffling further along the tile floor to see what was around them.

Seats were filling up with demons of every kind, some like the ones they had fought, many like those Max had butchered, and yet even more, none had ever seen or imagined poured through portals.

“What is this?” Batrire whispered, her voice trembling slightly.

“I have no idea,” Tanila replied. “Nothing I have heard or read in the history of our people speaks of anything like this. Surely we cannot have been lied to…”

“Greetings mortals!” a voice boomed all around them. It sounded like an old man who could barely breathe, raspy and sending a shudder down their spine. “You have made it where none have in so long. Welcome to your death!”

Noises came from the demons surrounding them, and the tone suggested they were laughing and cheering at the message they had just heard.

A bell sounded, and the crowd of demons went silent. Then, a massive twenty-foot portal opened up across the arena where the spot nobility would usually watch from.

From it came a demon that looked like a man. A single massive eyeball, red in nature, covered the top front half of its head, and a single mouth with teeth so large they could make out the details from across the distance.

Its body looked armored like one Max had fought. Purple and black colors meshed together with the occasional line of red around the armored pieces of its skin.

Two large wings folded up along its back, the same black-purple swirled pattern appearing on the parts they could see.

“It has to be at least twenty feet tall,” Fowl said quietly. “Is that what we are going to fight?”

The demon who had just come from the portal started to laugh, its voice filling their ears and the Colosseum. It felt like someone dragging nails along a chalkboard, making them all wince as it vibrated through their body.

“You are not worthy to face me,” the demon said, its mouth never moving, but still, its words rang out across the Colosseum. “No, rules do not allow it… instead, you must fight one of mine who seeks to prove their worth… I am saddened by how you cheated my children.”

Max saw Fowl look at him and make a rope-climbing motion.

“Yes! You used brains when most would use brawn… very rare… rare indeed. And when you were surrounded, and your friends fled, you alone stood to fight.”

Suddenly, the demon was on the floor twenty yards away, gone from its previous spot and now peering down at them.

Max immediately leveled his weapon toward the demon.

“Put that toy away, or you will find I am not like my children at all. The rules say I cannot fight you, but if you were foolish enough to attack after I have warned you, it would be within my right to strike you down.”

“What rules?” Max shouted.

Rules established long before you can imagine…

The demon peered at Max, its head shifting side to side.

“You are different… stronger… much stronger than you should be to be in here, and yet,” it turned its eye upon the other three for a moment. “They too are stronger than those I have seen in so long. Are the adventurers of this world getting stronger?”

“Tell us, demon, what is your name.”

The demon laughed, pointing its finger at Tanila. A long, curved fingernail that looked sharper than any weapon the four of them had ever seen flicked around in the air as it drew a rune in the air. 𝒻𝓇ℯ𝘦𝘸𝑒𝑏𝓃𝑜𝓿𝘦𝑙.𝑐𝑜𝓶

Suddenly, Tanila’s hair changed color to her glowing golden form, and her eyes shone with the light that only came from one of her bloodline.

“A princess!” the demon hissed in delight, the crowd of demons echoing a similar noise as their leader. “It has been eons since one risked their life here! Tell me, why have you come?!”

Max watched as Tanila took a few steps toward the demon. Her posture had changed. Her shoulders were back, and her head held high. It seemed like minor things until he felt the aura she gave off. One of authority.

“We have come to challenge the boss of this floor. To claim the prize for those who defeat it so we can climb the tower with its boon. Do you deny us this chance?”

A hiss came from the lord of the arena, making a fist and digging its own nails into the palms of its hand. Blood seeped down onto the floor, black droplets that hissed and burned as the tile where they fell began to melt away.

“You are brave and foolish!” it growled. “If I was not bound–”

“But you are!” Tanila shouted, cutting off the demon as he spoke. “Bound by rules that cannot be changed. Now, where is the demon we must face and defeat to claim our boon?”

Like an animal held back by a chain, the demon leaned forward, its throat vibrating as it growled. Every ounce of its attention was upon Tanila. Slowly, it extended a finger once more at her.

“I have selected one for you to fight. If you defeat it, you shall gain the promised boon. When you die, however, your soul will be mine to torment for eternity.”

Tanila rolled her eyes, turning her back and moving to join her party.

Max watched as the demon tried to reach out, angered by how she ignored him. Its hand seemed to run into a wall a few yards before it reached Tanila.

It hissed and howled, snarling as it yanked its hand back.

“Prepare yourselves. The timer will begin.”

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It vanished, back to the space where its portal had appeared, reclining on a stone seat that fit its massive size.

A timer appeared above them, thirty seconds on the clock.

“Buffing,” Batrire said as she cast her spell.

“Tell me what we’re doing. I can’t see what we’re fighting yet!”

“Just get ready,” Max said, nervously checking the room. Whatever we fight, I doubt it comes until the timer is gone.”

Max shifted slightly, checking on Tanila and Batrire, motioning for them to get in the middle.

“Have that taunt ready.”

Fowl grunted, and when ten seconds remained, the crowd of demons started counting the time off.

The colosseum vibrated as the demons counted down the last three seconds, and when the timer hit zero, a standard-size portal appeared on the other side, close to the one in charge of this dungeon.

From it came a demon that looked more human than the others. Its body was built like a muscular woman, skin red and seemingly on fire, yet every muscle could be seen as she moved. A tail reached from its backside, running to the ground, something on the end, but they couldn’t tell from this distance.

Horns appeared, not large ones, on her head, and the demon carried a flaming sword and shield.

You are outclassed. What I sense from this demon is beyond what you should face. I cannot promise that the lord of this dungeon has broken a rule, and I cannot fight for you now… had I only known what lay beyond that portal, I would have made you fight on your own.

What do you mean you cannot fight? What changed?!

After you took control back, there is a period of time between when I can be given the reigns… there is not enough time for that to happen, so… I will expend the power I stored to help as much as possible.

[ Consume has Reset All Abilities ]

[ Stored Power has Decreased ]

Max blinked twice, seeing the notification and knowing what it possibly meant.

Focus, she is coming.

Like an arrow, the demon had come at them, blazing across the tiles like a projectile.

Max had missed her bowing to her lord as he had conversed with his skill. Pulling his shield from storage, Max calculated the time before the demon arrived.

“Seven seconds!”

He began to prepare his ice spell when suddenly the demon vanished.

“Where the–”

Fowl’s cursing was cut off as Max sensed the demon behind Tanila coming from a portal appearing in the air.

Lunging forward, he felt the new speed and strength in his legs as he covered the few steps in a moment, shield out ahead.

Instead of an attack through Tanila’s heart, the fire blade scraped against the shield, flames appearing as the sword pierced her left shoulder, coming through the front of her chest below her collarbone.

Max drove his weapon at the demon as she began to come through the portal, forcing her to jump back and pull its sword from where it had almost killed the woman he loved.

Applause rang out as the demons saw their champion score the first hit, almost killing one in the process.

Tanila fell to the ground, screaming in agony, and Batrire didn’t hesitate, healing as their friend's health bar plummeted to half.

The demon grinned at Max, using her shield to push away his weapon while bringing her sword at Max’s head.

She was slightly faster than him, but Max knew her sword skill was equal to his weapon mastery. He could read the movement, see it coming, and deftly blocked it, kicking with his leg as she came close.

Max saw the demon blink in surprise as his foot caught her knee, buckling it for a second. Then, snapping back, the flaming sword cut downward, trying to cut it off.

His mind raced as they traded jabs and attacks, each parrying or blocking the other with no successful attack landing.

She began to back up, and as Max started to give chase, he heard a warning.

Don’t! Don’t chase. Stay close to your allies. It’s a trap!

Max froze for a heartbeat, backing up as the demon took two more steps, frowning when he didn’t pursue.

“Afraid?” she taunted, waving her shield and sword.

Fowl started to rush past him, and Max held out his weapon, catching the dwarf.

“Stay back, protect Batrire, eyes on her back.!”

Coughing once from the impact, Fowl turned and moved to Batrire’s backside, almost backing up to her.

The demon's eyes seemed to burn with anger and fury.

“How?! How do you know?!”

Max’s brain knew the answer in a moment.

“Your portal trick won’t work against us,” he replied. Smiling when he saw the demon glare and snarl even more.

“Drink it!”

Max heard Batrire’s voice but didn’t need to look back. He could feel and see her giving the elf a potion.

“Cursed?” Max asked, not taking his eyes off the demon who seemed frustrated at its prey not playing the game it wanted.

“Yes,” Tanila moaned. Her voice was weak, and Max could feel her heartbeat was weak.

As the potion was consumed, Max sensed how Tanila’s body began to recover, and when she stood up, Max could sense the anger coming from Tanila.

“She’s mine,” their mage growled.

Max saw the demon look concerned for the first time since the fight started. It took another step back, and as Tanila’s Ice Nova went off, the demon quickly vanished backward through a portal.

“Be ready!”

Max scanned the room with his eyes, letting his sonar guide him.

The demon sword appeared again, and Max began casting his Ice Nova.

“Up!”

Above them, the demon came, plummeting from a few yards above toward Batrire.

Fowl didn’t hesitate.

He cast taunt and watched as the sword that had been going for his greatest treasure in all the world turned to him. Rage and anger filled the eyes of the demon, forced to attack even though she didn’t want to.

Her sword struck his shield, and the blade glanced off but not without striking back.

A few drops of black blood flowed down her arm as Fowl’s new skill took effect.

Whatever damage she hit with must have been massive to cause that much to her…

His spell went off as the demon landed, sword swinging again at the dwarven tank.

Dashing toward the demon, Max dashed toward her, swinging his blade while she was forced to focus on Fowl.

The blade slashed against her back, hitting a hard outer shell that cracked slightly, and a little more blood seeped from the wound, but nothing vital was done.

She turned, enveloped by Max’s spell, injured from the three attacks Fowl had parried and having suffered a blow to her back.

“Down!”

Ice began to form at the demon’s feet, and Max smiled as he swung again.

[ Power Strike ]

The demon flashed red. Her eyes saw his blade coming, and her shield somehow moved to where it was headed, even though she shouldn’t have been able to turn like she did.

His weapon collided with the shield.

A loud noise reverberated through his head, and Max felt himself flying backward.

[ Regeneration ]

His mind swirled, trying to figure out what had happened.

Warm liquid ran down his whole body, and Max tried to sit up but couldn’t.

Lifting his head up slightly from the ground, Max saw that his arms and legs were shattered, his whole body crushed somehow.

Laughter echoed through the Colosseum as he lay there unable to move.

“Healing!”

The world swirled, and blackness fought to take over.

Am I going to die?

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