Ultimate Level 1

Chapter 21: An invitation
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Chapter 21: An invitation

Staring at the ceiling in his room, Max was lying in the same position he had been in for over an hour.

A god other than Phaius? What other god could have the power to grant a skill like mine? Why even give it to me?

That woman had mentioned him growing stronger and getting the gods' attention. Why would one want the attention of the gods? It had been great yesterday, the experience of other adventurers clambering around him for defeating the kobold boss.

What would one have to do to gain the attention of the gods? What would the gods do if they noticed me?

Max shuddered, considering the other words that the woman had said.

Am I that big of a threat that people would want to kill me? How strong do I have to get to keep that from happening?

Turning his head, Max saw his two spears leaning against the wall.

The hero Seth Pendal entered his mind as Max stared at his weapons. That hero had killed two dragons, changing how the kingdoms interacted. The dwarves and elves realized the true power of a human, changing how many combat skills were granted after that. That act earned Seth Pendal the gods' attention.

How strong would I have to get to be able to do that?

He thought about that momentarily and then considered how strong he had already gotten. It had been dangerous and scary, but Max truly enjoyed it. He felt alive for the first time. The truth was when death was so close he almost liked it.

A knock on his door came, followed by a voice.

Seth. You in there?

Sighing, Max rolled off his bed and stood up. Moving to the door, he hesitated but turned the lock and opened the door.

Racha was standing in the hall; her face was downcast, and she had the letter he had written crumpled in her hands.

Did we do something wrong? she asked.

Max shook his head and then pointed to the letter. You read it?

She nodded and offered it to him. Your father knows?

Im sorry. I got word that my father has sent some people into town. I may not be here much longer, and I didnt want to risk you three. If you three got hurt Max swallowed, unable to finish that statement. If something happened to you because of me, I am not sure I could ever forgive myself. Do you understand?

Racha nodded, wiping a tear from her eye.

Brutus said he understood. Miles agreed with your choice, but I needed to ask you. Are you sure you wont change your mind? Racha dug her toe into the wooden floor in the hall and then took a deep breath. Our group was amazing with you in it. For the first time since we started, I felt I could be a real adventurer.

She chuckled and shook her head. Sounds stupid, doesnt it?

Reaching across the doorway, Max moved to her, put his hand on her shoulder, and smiled.

No, it doesnt. I had a dream once. It got taken away, but now Im on a new path. No matter what, Ill do what I must to make it happen. So no, it isnt stupid. You three are strong together. Find another and keep climbing. Maybe one day down the road, we can meet again.

Racha smiled, putting her hand on top of Maxs. Ill hold you to that. Thank you again.

She darted forward, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek before turning and moving down the hallway towards the stairs.

Max stood there stunned. Feeling his cheek where she had kissed him, Max knew it wasnt a romantic gesture, and yet it meant something special to him.

He had ignored all those feelings about Nancy. At this moment, his heart ached, knowing how quickly she had run away. Everything Nancy had promised about loving him and only him seemed hollow. Anger boiled up, beginning to ruin the good mood he had been in.

Giving himself a slight slap against his cheek, Max grunted, grabbed his room key out of his pocket, and locked his door after closing it.

It was time to get back to killing and getting stronger.

I was wondering where you had gone after this morning, Peter said as he picked up Maxs empty plate and cup. You look different. Like you have changed somehow.

Max nodded and leaned over the table toward Peter.

Thank you for your talk. I needed it.

Smiling, Peter gave a slight bow and then chuckled. Perhaps I should charge for my talks if they can bring the change I see in you right now.

Laughing, Max leaned back in his chair and nodded. The smart ones would pay for them.

Peter nodded and left with Maxs dirty dishes, checking in on other patrons as he made his way toward the kitchen.

Seth!

The hand on his shoulder and cheerful tone caught him off guard, causing him to jump.

Faylen? Max asked, even though he knew who it was before he saw those yellow eyes looking at him. Her smile was enchanting, and he couldnt help but feel he was smiling like a fool.

This story has been stolen from Royal Road. If you read it on Amazon, please report it

Glad you didnt forget my name when you became so famous! she stated, giving him a gentle hit on his shoulder before moving to the chair across from him. You mind if I join you?

Yeah! I mean, please Max felt like a fool, tripping over his words. He couldnt help but take in how beautiful she looked. Her silver hair was in a tight braid, hanging over her shoulder, and she wore a very tight blue leather top that accentuated her curves. Those brown pants she wore did nothing to hide her waist and backside.

She pulled the chair out and sat down. She looked around the room, and when she caught one of the server's attention, she held up two fingers.

Is Brindle joining us?

She shook her head no and let out a laugh. No. Did you forget we had talked about meeting tonight? I wanted to see if you would still join our party and attempt the goblin dungeon with us.

Max stammered and sat back, realizing he had forgotten about this meeting. You sure you want me?

Slamming her hand onto the table, she burst out in the most pleasant laughter he had ever heard.

Why wouldnt we? Everyone has heard about how you and your team took down a berserker kobold boss. That proves you have some strength!

She glanced around the room and leaned close, giving him a wink.

Any good loot?

Max nodded. I got a spear. We all got a weapon which was weird.

Nodding her head, Faylens eyes widened some as she leaned against the table. That is rare, but rumor had it the guild hall was going to send in a cleaner soon to reset the dungeon. The boss had killed too many people.

Max had heard that and knew how close their party had come to being another one of those lost.

So what were the stats, if I can ask, on your spear?

He paused for a second, and then Max smacked himself on the face harder than he had meant to, causing Faylen to laugh again as she shook her head.

Still havent had it identified? she teased.

No, he said with a growl. I forgot and I was a little busy today.

She shrugged and sat back as Peter walked up and put two cups on the table.

Max saw Peter wink as he walked away, flashing a thumbs up.

Doing his best to ignore that, Max reached for some coin.

Dont you dare try and pay, killer of kobold boss! Faylen said playfully. I called this meeting, and I owe you a drink. You can get the next one if you want.

She picked up her drink and took a long swig, motioning for him to enjoy his. After they both had drank a little, her face got serious.

So I need an answer. We would have four of us if you joined. If things go well tomorrow, we could try the goblin boss the day after. I know of a fifth who would come to help take down the boss. She extended her hand across the table. Are you wanting to join us?

Max took a deep breath and let it out as he looked at her hand and then at Faylens smiling face. She was stronger than the others he had grouped with and he imagined they were all probably stronger than him if they were considering the goblin boss. If he was going to become powerful enough to be safe, he needed to find a way to make that happen.

Im in! he said as he grabbed her hand and shook it.

She smiled and gave his hand a solid squeeze before releasing it and draining the rest of her drink.

Setting the cup down, she put a few copper coins on the table and stood up.

Tomorrow, meet at the adventurers guild an hour after sunrise. That should give you some time to get your spear identified and everything else settled.

Max started to stand up, but she put her hand on his shoulder and held him in his chair.

Sleep good! I cant wait to see how you handle yourself!

Max sat there, a little dazed, watching Faylen walk away, doing his best not to stare too long. A few minutes later, Peter came over and was all grins.

Hey there, he said, his voice suddenly drawing those words out long and low. Seems someone is moving up in the ranks of adventurers in more ways than one.

Snorting, Max shook his head no. Im not sure that is true. Im not anything special.

Peter laughed as he slid the coins on the table into his hand. Boy, that girl and her group have been here fer almost a month. Occasionally, a new elf joins their squad as one leaves, but if yer hunting with them, yer in a new league.

Scratching his chin, Max watched Peter smiling and rocking back and forth on his feet.

Why would they stay here for a month? If they are that good, wouldnt they move on?

Some like safe, easy farming, he replied with a shrug. Not everyone has a death wish, wanting to rush off to fight a boss that's been killing folks.

Peter grabbed Faylens empty cup and gave Max a gentle pat on the shoulder as he started to walk away. Just remember to focus on the creatures you fight and not her backside.

Max began to cough, turning red, feeling the heat from his cheeks to his bald scalp.

The magic shop was one Max had not even considered going into.

Max didnt know he was supposed to get the weapon identified, yet another fail in his missing the adventurer training program.

The price of magical gear was well out of his league. Most worthwhile gear for him would be at least twenty silver, and like a dumbass, he had not looted or taken a single trophy from all the creatures he had killed yesterday in his rampage.

Scanning the glass cases filled with rings and bracelets, he heard a cough and turned to see a young woman smiling at him.

Her dark green robes looked expensive, and she had on more jewelry than he could remember seeing anyone else ever wearing at one time. Even her blond hair had silver combs holding it in place on her head.

I was told you needed your weapon identified.

Unsure if she asked a question or was stating a fact, Max nodded and extended it toward her.

Yes, Maam. I just got it from the kobold boss.

The womans green eyes lit up, and she smiled, her red lips curving upward.

Ahh. I heard about you and your team. That was quite a feat. I take it this is your first magical item as well?

Max nodded and gave a perplexed look. How can you tell?

She turned and began walking toward a counter, motioning for him to follow with her hand. I have done this for a while. Its a gift.

As he followed her, she pulled out a purple cloth and unfurled it. Set it down on this and step back.

Max obeyed her instructions and watched as she put both of her hands on the shaft of his spear and closed her eyes. A soft pink light appeared around her hands. She stayed like that, not moving, rigid as a board for a bit before opening her eyes and smiling.

Very impressive, she said, her smile showing her perfect teeth. Did you do the killing blow?

Scrunching his eyebrows, Max nodded. How did you know?

She tapped the shaft of his spear. The stats. They are impressive. I would offer to buy this from you at a fair rate, but I know you wont be selling it.

It took a second for Max to realize his mouth was open. Actually, it took the woman tapping her chin to let him know it was open.

Closing it, he took his spear off the cloth.

Tell me what you think when you inspect it, she said with a grin.

[Inspect Weapon]

Max realized his mouth was open again.π‘“π“»β„―π‘’π‘€π˜¦π‘π‘›β„΄π“‹β„―π‘™.π˜€π“Έπ“‚

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