Ultimate Level 1

Chapter 75: The bandit leader
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Chapter 75: The bandit leader

The woman nodded slowly as she read Maxs face. She could see that he was not like most men by how he stood there, both swords at his side and ready to be used.

Could Billy have been right? Could this man really have done all that on his own?

She had noticed only Max was covered in blood. The rest looked like they hadnt done a thing against her crew. Knowing he had taken out three of her men so quickly unnerved her even more. Worse yet, he hadnt flinched when she killed her own men.

Do you honestly think you can win?

Max smiled. Her voice had changed. She had stopped hiding behind the facade she would typically use around others and revealed the actual person behind that mask.

Its funny because I was going to ask you the same thing. You would be fighting four of us, and while I can see you are skilled and fast, I know my team. It would be fun to fight against you, but you wont stand a chance if this happens.

Max lifted his right sword slowly as he pointed it at her. Just know we will all gladly flag ourselves if we must. Im sure the guards would understand, especially when the caravan men agree with our report.

He watched her tap her fingers against her sword. She wanted to draw and use it but wasnt that dumb. If she attacked first, she would be in a bad spot.

Weighing the options, she saw that the odds of getting out of here alive were dropping quickly. She could try and run if there was no mage, but if that mage could stop her

Fine. What if I surrender?

Max watched her as she held her hands up, grinning again as she watched him.

We would tie you up and take you with us to town.

You think that would be a good decision? A trip for three days?

Tanila nodded behind the woman, and Max saw how Fowl and Batrire were standing. If he moved, they would move.

He sighed and shook his head slightly.

Im tired of this game. Choose now. Surrender and take your chances on the way back to town, or Ill start the fight, and we can see how things go from there.

But what if

No. Max interrupted her, and his voice was as deep as he could make it. He was tired, and he knew he would have to make that first move if she didn't take him seriously right now. There would be no surrender. Stop talking. Either surrender now, or I will start this.

She read his eye. His eye. How could a one-eyed man do this? She started to consider her chances again, but that one eye told her everything she needed to know. He would not hesitate.

Fine, I surrender. Holding her hands out in front of her, she winked. Come tie me up.

Max shook his head.

Not going to happen like that. First, drop all your weapons, then take off all your clothes and

Her eyes went dark, a bit of fury behind them. You expect me to strip naked!

I do. Until I ensure there isnt a weapon hidden anywhere on you, I wont believe you are serious.

But I wont

Then that leaves us with no other option. Max shifted his stance and brought both swords up slightly.

Her eyes went wide, and she almost reflexively went for her sword. She heard the movements behind her and knew there was no other choice.

Fine! Ill strip! But dont expect me to let you

I wont, Max growled. Im not the type to take advantage of others.

His insult hit home as she frowned, but her choices were gone. She hadnt lived this long to pick a fight and die like this. There would be other chances. Chances to survive and get revenge. Of that she was sure of.

Her weapons began to fall from her like rain. Her sword and four daggers were on her belt, two more in her boots, one under her armor, and a small one in her hair.

Max almost smiled as the impressive collection grew, amazed that so many weapons could be hidden like that.

Once the weapons were gone, she started to take her armor off, attempting to be seductive as she did it, but the way Max looked at her shut that down. It was apparent he wasnt going to be distracted. Underneath the armor, two more small knives fell out, and soon, all she had left was her undershirt and shorts.

Take them off.

She growled, not embarrassed by the thought of being naked but the fact that Max was so thorough. Grimacing, she took off the top, exposing herself and plucking a dagger that was tied to a small string from between her breasts. From there, her bottoms came off, and she smiled when she heard the dwarf behind her cough.

And now?

Batrire, go get me some rope, please.

The dwarf nodded and moved to search through some of the items in the camp. It took a few minutes, and finally, she held up a long coil of rope.

Take off the rings and your earrings, too.

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She started to protest but knew it wasnt going to change anything. Cursing to herself, she pulled them off, carefully setting them down on the ground next to her pile of weapons. She half considered trying to make a run for it, but that moment was gone.

I want those back, she growled as she stood up.

Max nodded and then pointed to an area a few yards from where she was. Move there.

It took Max five minutes to ensure he felt she was adequately tied up. Grateful for all those knot-tying lessons his father had given him, he used over twenty yards of rope to bind and rebind her hands, arms, and body. He then fetched a blanket and put it over her.

Pulling a backpack out from his storage, he stuffed all her items in it and then stored it with his weapons.

Lets go, Im tired and its late.

Fowl and the others nodded as Max held onto a small piece of rope tied around the womans neck.

You still havent told me your name, the woman said as she followed Fowl and Batrire.

I havent because you havent told me yours either.

She huffed and shook her head. My mother calls me Lydia.

Max grinned as he didnt believe that name for a moment. Well, everyone calls me Shade Slayer, he replied, turning around slightly to wink at Tanila, who rolled her eyes.

He felt the woman noticeably straighten up.

There was no doubt she would give up trying to run now.

The night had been a restless one. He had tied Lydias legs and bound her to the edge of the cart inside. She was given another blanket and they ignored her complaints, offering her a choice of being quiet or finding a sword in her throat. After that, she stopped talking and lay down.

Tanila had waited outside the cart as he cleaned up with some water the men had heated up.

All of the men from the caravan were in shock at the sight of the bound naked woman and him covered in blood. After being told to stay away from her, they all nodded, not wanting to have any part of what they were not involved with.

Are you ok? I mean, really ok? Tanila asked, making sure no one heard her.

Max nodded, continuing to wipe himself clean and occasionally dipping the rag in the pot of warm water.

It was not what I wanted to do, but I had to do it.

He felt her watching him and tried to ignore it. Blood kept coming off with every wipe of the cloth. It had been wrung out so many times and it seemed like there would be no end.

Im serious. We saw how you looked when you came rushing at Fowl. It was terrifying.

Max nodded, trying not to look at her but acknowledging the truth of that statement.

Im sorry. There werent a lot of choices. There were nine of them, and I got caught with my pants down.

Tanila couldnt hold back the chuckle, and she shook her head, glad to see him smile a little.

Should I ask what you got?

Max whispered, aware no one was nearby. Nine dexterity and three skills. I need to accept them, but I havent had a moment yet since I wasnt sure how I would react when I did.

He turned his head slightly and saw the look on her face. Oh, and two wisdom. I almost forgot about those.

Thats im.. Impossible I mean, it's not, but

Max just nodded and then stood straight, wiping his face and smiling. Can you watch over me while I accept them? In case something bad happens?

The worry disappeared from her face, and she smiled. Always.

Max pulled up the notifications, still waiting for an answer, and selected yes on the first one.

He winced a little as knowledge flooded his brain. The art of striking from behind seemed like second nature, and now he could see how to properly apply the most damage.

Nodding, he smiled at her and held up one finger.

Choosing yes on the next, his body and mind felt a rush of power. He understood how to dodge better and how to slip away from attacks. His mind was alive with knowledge, and he also knew an ability was waiting to be used with this knowledge.

Snorting, he chuckled, not nearly as affected this time around.

Holding a second finger, he focused on the last notification and chose yes. An understanding of how to use a bow seemed so simple now. He had never been good with one as a kid and didnt like to admit how many animals he had missed while hunting. For some reason, this skill barely impacted him.

All done, he stated, sitting on a log near the fire.

Tanila moved, sat next to him, and leaned over. So tell me what you got.

Backstab, Evasion and Archery.

Her mouth hung open as she stared at him.

Those are strong. Like really strong.

Max nodded. Give me a minute. I want to see the descriptions.

[Skill Description - Backstab]

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Backstab - Uncommon Skill: This skill provides bonus damage to attacks from behind. A max of 200% bonus damage may be applied if the user is hidden and strikes with a piercing weapon. The maximum bonus damage is 50% if the user is not hidden. Target type may affect damage done.

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[Skill Description - Evasion]

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Evasion - Uncommon Skill: The skill provides an increased understanding of evading all forms of attacks. This only applies to attacks that the skill owner is aware of. It may not be used against hidden attacks. Skill grants a usable ability: Parry. Parry will deflect all frontal and side attacks for two seconds. Attacks will be stopped, but the power behind the attack cannot be fully mitigated. Some magical spells can be blocked. This ability has a twenty-four-hour cooldown.

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[Skill Description - Archery]

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Archery - Common Skill: This skill provides mastery with bows and crossbows. Increased ability to load both weapons and have a greater chance of hitting the intended target.

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Tanila shook her head and just smiled as Max told her what each skill did. After a moment, she looked around once more and couldnt resist.

Seth, just how strong are you now?

Chuckling, Max grinned. Let me see.

[Simple Stats Check]

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Max Hoste

18-Year-old Human Male

Level 1

Exp 1/1000

HP: 340/340

MP: 95/95

Stamina: 170/170

STR: 31+6

DEX: 32+6

CON: 28+6

INT: 16+3

WIS: 11+2

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