Ultimate Level 1

Chapter 74: A master of carnage
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Chapter 74: A master of carnage

Dear gods, Fowl mumbled as he held a torch over the corpses they were looking at. Im glad the caravan men let us inspect this area. I doubt they would have been able to handle this. fre𝚎w𝐞bn𝗼v𝗲𝐥.𝚌𝗼𝚖

Max stood there silently, taking in the carnage strewn around him.

Arms, heads, torsos, a leg. Blood everywhere. He wasnt sure if he was glad to have Fowl's light orb out as the scene was gruesome. Like something out of a horror story.

I only count eight, Tanila said, her voice steady as she spoke. I think I found the direction the one that escaped ran.

We should follow. We need to see if we can find their camp.

Fowl looked at Batrire and frowned. In the dark? You want to run through the woods in the dark and see if we can find their camp?

She nodded, and Fowl sighed when he saw the look she gave.

Do we loot first or?

We go now. There is no time to wait, Batrire repeated, glancing at Max, who was still taking in the scene. You going to be ok, Seth? Can you come with us?

Nodding slowly, Max pulled out his sword and shield and then sighed.

Sorry I didnt realize it would look like this.

Dont apologize, Tanila snapped, shaking her head at him. These men and woman were content to attack you and most likely us. The fact that you arent marked as an attacker tells us each was guilty of an offense. Now, lets go. We need to try and find them.

Nodding, Max moved to where Tanila had said the trail went, taking the lead as she came behind. Fowl put Batrire in the middle and took up the position at the rear.

The path was easy to follow, even in the dark. The one that had run did so without concern for stealth or hiding. The number of broken branches, scuffs on trees where they had run into a trunk, and torn-up dirt patches that marked a path to the north were almost comical. It took them over ten minutes to spot a glow up ahead through trees, where voices and shouts could be heard.

They put out the torches, and Fowl hid his light orb as they crept up to the camp.

What the hell do you mean dead?! That makes no sense! One man against the nine of you?!

A loud female voice rang out through the trees, her frustration at the story she heard not abated.

Other sounds were coming from the area, and Max tried to see as best he could through the trees, but the camp was hidden.

Stay here, he whispered. Ill check.

The other three crouched down and waited as Max activated stealth and moved closer. When he arrived at the treeline, the sight of what he found in the small clearing shocked him.

Five large wagons like the ones they were in were packed full inside the clearing. Horses were tied to a post, and a dozen tents were set up. A single fire was burning bright, and over the noise of shouting and movement, Max saw four more bandits moving around while one man took a tongue lashing from a massive woman in the middle of the camp.

She had to be almost seven feet tall and made most of the blacksmiths he had ever met look small in comparison. Her red hair hung loosely over her shoulders as she continued strapping on her armor. At no time did she stop berating the one who escaped.

Everyone in camp but that woman had a red aura around them, barely noticeable but there.

Moving back, Max got as far away as possible before his stealth expired.

What do we do? We can attack those five, but the woman isnt flagged.

Thats because she is the leader, Tanila answered. She most likely moves the goods and keeps them in line because she can kill them without having to get her hands dirty.

We need to catch them all, though. What if only Seth attacks her? Then we could protect him until it wears off.

Batrire glared at Fowl, who held his hands up in surrender.

Im fine with that, Max replied. If someone has to be flagged, it should be me. As long as I dont kill her, its only three days, right?

Tanila nodded and motioned to the camp. We dont have a lot of time before we lose the element of surprise.

Are you sure youre okay with this, Seth?

Smiling at Batrire, Max nodded. Family protects each other. I trust you with my secret and my life.

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She smiled and then nodded at Tanila. Lets go.

As the group got closer, Max pulled out his swords. If they had to take the woman captive, he didnt want everyone to know all the skills that he had.

Casting his enchantments again, he moved toward the clearing, finally paying attention to the notifications waiting to be read.

[ 3 Dexterity Consumed ]

[ 2 Wisdom Consumed ]

[ 1 Dexterity Consumed ]

[ 1 Dexterity Consumed ]

[ 1 Dexterity Consumed ]

[ 1 Dexterity Consumed ]

[Consume has successfully Consumed a skill]

[Would you like to learn [Backstab]?]

[ Yes / No]

[Consume has successfully Consumed a skill]

[Would you like to learn [Evasion]?]

[ Yes / No]

[Consume has successfully Consumed a skill]

[Would you like to learn [Archery]?]

[ Yes / No]

His mind struggled to acknowledge all those notifications. All the points in dexterity were impossible to even believe.

Three skills? I gained three skills

He wanted to click yes on all of them, but he couldnt. The fear of how his mind had responded when he learned weapon expertise held him back. The hunger he had felt earlier was gone, as if satisfied for now.

He noticed Tanila waving at him, turned, and gave a thumbs up, activating his stealth and moving through the bushes.

The camp was still in chaos as the bandits ran around, throwing items into a cart, and another started to get horses hitched up.

Moving quickly, Max dashed to the cart they were loading and waited for one of the bandits to come close. The stealth timer was red, but Max still had time and waited.

As the bandit arrived and prepared to throw a chest into the open back end, Max thrust his sword into the mans throat, cutting off the gurgling noise. The chest started to drop, but Max grabbed it, put it into the cart, and let the man slide off his sword and into the dirt.

No cold sensation came, and Max resigned himself to the idea that it most likely wouldnt since he had already gained nine dexterity points tonight.

Glancing at the tents, Max snuck over towards another bandit. He could sense two people near him. Both were throwing things in a trunk.

A large tent in the middle stood out, and he assumed the leader must be there.

Quickly moving to one of the tents, Max didnt worry much about noise with the hustle and bustle around him.

The dwarf inside was grumbling, cursing about the bitch and her attitude and how she could chew on a few ogre nuts.

Max moved into the tent. The second the flap opened, the man stiffened and went quiet. Max grinned as he slid his sword into the dwarf's back and covered his mouth. Undoubtedly, he had been concerned that the woman had come in behind him.

Only a tiny grunt came as the dwarf died. Max could sense no change in the man a few tents over and dropped the dwarf to the ground.

As he started to leave the tent, the massive womans presence entered his detection area, and he froze.

You fools need to hurry this up! And where the hell is Jenkins?

The woman stayed where she had stopped, and the man nearest to him came out of the tent.

He was taking something to the wagon. He should be back now unless he needed to take a piss.

Everyone to me now!

Sounds came as the three remaining bandits ran to her, and he heard the cursing as seconds passed and no one else came.

Get your weapons! Hes in the camp!

His heart was pounding, and Max knew it was time to act. This would be an exciting fight if that woman decided to join. He could sense how she stood, and it was different from the others.

A whistle came, and Max knew it was Fowl. The bandits turned to see where the whistle was coming from.

Activating stealth, Max moved out of the tent, slipping slowly past the flap.

You said it was one man who killed everyone! There are three of them out there, and that is a dwarf!

Boss, Im telling you, it was just one man! He carried two swords and cut down

A gurgle caught their attention from the bandit Max had just killed that had been closest to him and farther away from those two.

Max grinned as he let the body fall to the ground and saw them turn around.

Its him the bandit almost whispered, his voice trembling. Max realized the man was also pissing his pants.

The woman looked him up and down and then gave him a sneer.

Go get him! she ordered.

A bandit with a scar across his left cheek glanced at her and then at Max. It was apparent he wasnt sure which one was more dangerous, and his hesitation earned him a dagger to the throat.

Max had barely seen the attack. The woman struck so fast that it was a blur. Even his detection ability had struggled to catch that attack until it was in motion.

She glanced at the last of her crew, shaking and drenched in his own piss, and shook her head.

The dagger she had used to kill the bandit who hadnt obeyed flew from her hand into the mans eye.

He screamed for just a second until his brain stopped working.

She then slowly turned to face Max and smiled.

Well, you look exactly as that fool described you.

She didnt move, but everything about her told Max she was faster than him by a lot. Even with his buff and all his gear, there was no doubt she would not be like the rest of the bandits.

And who might you be? Max asked as he watched Fowl and the other two run behind her.

Just a helpless victim of a group of bandits. Grateful for you and your friends to save me.

Her voice was so sweet it bothered him. She gave a playful smile and then waved at the camp with one of her hands.

I was never sure if I could escape, but thanks to you, I can. Now, if you will excuse me.

She started to walk away, moving slowly, her eyes watching Max the entire time.

You just going to walk away? Max asked, taking a few steps in the direction she had moved.

Pausing, she turned and put her hands on her hips. She smiled in a way that felt almost dirty. Do you really plan on trying to stop me? It would mark you as the attacker, and then I would be free to do whatever I wanted to defend myself.

She rested her hand on the pommel of her sword at her waist.

Id prefer not to kill you, but part of me would be totally fine with that.

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