Ultimate Level 1-Chapter 153: A Whole Different Dungeon Experience

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Chapter 153: A Whole Different Dungeon Experience

The dungeon was almost hard to look at sometimes, as where the sky should be was a swirling mist of different colors and lights constantly changing between darkness and light. Nothing made sense, and even the ground appeared to change occasionally. One section was twisted stone that suddenly turned into grey dirt and then into orange sand of some kind. The wind that blew was silent, but it occasionally left goosebumps on their skin, as if something was watching them from everywhere.

“What’s the plan?” Fowl asked as he rotated his shoulders a few times, holding his shield and hammer ready in case something came at them.

“We move along this weird path and try to find the next portal—all while trying not to die, obviously,” Max replied, earning a grunt and a glare from Batrire.

“What’s wrong, Seth?” Tanila asked. “Your voice is off slightly, and you’re tense. Don’t say it’s because of where we are.”

Max nodded and took a deep breath, wondering how to explain.

“I killed the demon, and I got a notification that I have acquired a Demonic Essense,” Max replied, seeing her and Batrire’s faces change at his words. “It said I have acquired one, so I’m not sure what that means or what it will do.”


Their elf mage shook her head, frowning at Batrire and her question. “I have no idea. I’ve never heard of that before… or at least not in a way I can explain right now. Besides, we need to move. The longer we are in here, the more demons will come, attracted by our presence.”

“Let’s go,” Fowl grunted. “If we’re going to do this, I’d rather move now.”

Max nodded. “Everyone spread out a few yards. My sonar will pick up if any try to sneak in. Fowl, you take point. I’ll keep checking behind us and above. Tanila, you check left, and Batrire, you’re watching our right side.”

Max put his weapon up as he spoke and took out a bow and quiver, attaching it to his hip.

“Gods, that looks sexy,” Tanila said with a wink. “A man with a real weapon.”

Smiling, Max nocked an arrow and got started watching behind them. “Let’s go.”

“Three ahead, seventy yards or so,” Fowl stated as he pointed to the three demons digging in the sand they were standing on. “What the hell are they doing?”

Max watched as the brown and grey demons, with massive claws as wide as Fowl, shifted and undulated around on the orange sand with their weird ribbed bodies. “I’m not sure, but I can shoot one, and then we can see how they react.”

“Think that’s best?” Batrire asked as she scanned the rocky landscape near them. “What if they bring friends?”

“I have no idea, but our options are limited. We can charge them, leave the rock we’re on, and get onto the sand, but something tells me that’s their strong point. It’s only been four minutes, and we’re about to start our first real fight. Something bad will happen at some point.”

“Ready here then,” Batrire replied.

Max turned and saw Tanila give him a thumbs up. “Alright, here goes nothing.”

Drawing back the arrow, Max smiled as his mind told him where to aim. It felt almost like cheating. He had struggled to hunt rabbits in the woods back home, and now, with the archery skill he hadn’t used but once to test, he felt as if he had been shot every day for his whole life.

The bow made a twang as the arrow sped away, arching and slamming into the demon in the middle before shattering.

Max already had his bow up and weapon out.

“Here they come!” Fowl shouted as the three began to charge toward them.

After a few strides, the demons jumped into the air and dove head-first into the sand, their claws sending up a cloud of orange dust as they disappeared beneath it.

“Be ready!” Max shouted as they stared at the edge of the sand twenty yards from them.

Seconds ticked past, and then at the edge where the rock and sand met, another dust cloud exploded into their sight as the three demons burst from the sand, landing a few yards onto the stone, and ran at them.

“Left!” Max shouted as he moved to the right.

Talina cast her ensnare spell, but nothing happened.

Max heard her curse, and a moment later, an ice prison started to form. The demon and its weird webbed feet began to slow down as ice surrounded its massive, muscular, brown, veiny legs.

Fowl charged forward, swinging his hammer, watching it get blocked by the middle demon with its massive claw. It then slammed its right claw at Fowl, shrieking as it hit Fowl’s shield and experienced the pain of his torn ability.

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The other demon ran to meet Max. One claw opened wide, sharp-looking edges prepared to snip something off, and the other held ready to bash him with.

Max swung his halberd, using its reach to see what it might do against these taller and tougher-looking demons.

The creature held its claw up, looking to parry and close the distance between them. Max’s axe blade on his weapon cut through the claw, the sound of a hard outer shell being crushed and slashed downward into the demon’s shoulder, sending a fountain of black blood everywhere.

Its other claw clamped onto the haft of Max’s weapon, preventing him from pulling it back as it cried in pain.

Jerking his weapon back, the demon moved with it, not letting go of the shaft, even though it meant the blade was still lodged in its shoulder.

Opening its mouth, the demon blasted orange sand at Max's face, forcing Max to close his eyes. When he did, the demon shoved Max’s weapon shaft upward and charged, using the distraction to charge Max.

His sonar skill told Max exactly where the creature was, and in a moment, he spun his weapon around. The hammer portion of the halberd came from underneath, and it slammed into the demon's chest, sending it flying backward.

A groan came, and Max knew Fowl was being pinched by one of the claws of the demon he faced. He was unable to see from the cloud that surrounded both of them.

Charging, Max brought his weapon down, cutting the demon’s head off, feeling the shiver of cold sweep through him.

[ 1 Demonic Essence Collected ]

The demon came back at Max, stumbling slightly, its only claw held out with the tip toward him. Max whirled and spun, creating momentum and power, delivering a blow with the hammer side that squashed the head of the demon like a bug under one’s boot.

Black gore spread out, and Max ignored the cold wave and notification he got.

As soon as the demon was dead, the cloud of sand fell to the ground, letting him and Fowl see again.

Turning to where the last one was, Max saw it was frozen, not moving, and its head was missing.

“What the?”

“Please,” Tanila said, smiling at him. “It’s amazing what a stone spike will do to an immobilized head.”

Batrire let out a sigh of relief and then chuckled. “Score one for the mage.”

“How you feeling, Fowl? Seemed like you two were getting close.”

“Bah, I’m fine. Keep those bad puns to yourself,” Fowl snapped back, smiling the entire time.

“That wasn’t bad–”

Max raced to where Talina was, his halberd out and moving in a slash. “To me!”

She didn’t hesitate, immediately running right at Max as he raced past her, his weapon almost whistling from the speed until it cut through nothing.

A pink head with no eyes but two massive ears and a huge mouth with hundreds of teeth fell to the ground. Just a moment later, a body with eight arms, all with spikes and barbs, appeared, its head missing, only a yard from where Tanila had been.


“Fire nova!”

Max cast his, moving toward Batrire. With his halberd, he sliced another head off, cutting down a second demon.

Shifting to his left again, he swung, three barbed pink arms falling to the ground before the demon who had previously owned them appeared, screeching at him.

His fire nova spell went off, flames rolling out, and six more demons like the other three could see appeared, all surrounding the group.

As one, with their stealth broken, rushed forward, teeth rotating in a circle, and a long tongue flicked in and out of the hole.

Tanila’s standard fire nova went off, her flames going further away. As the first group screamed in pain, ten more demons appeared.

“Be ready on that taunt!” Max shouted, cutting down two of the closest before moving back to the party to prepare for the rush that came at them.

“Casting! Ten!”

The assault on them began as Fowl did what he could to protect Batrire, swinging his hammer and bashing his shield, trying to keep any of the creatures focused on him and not the woman he loved.

Holding his halberd above his head, Max twirled it, creating an area of death if any of the demons got close, as one found out the hard way, losing three arms before the blade came around and cut its burnt body in two.

The demons screeched at them, pressing closer, trying to find a way to get at them when Tanila’s spell went off.

Massive spikes shot out from the ground at angles in a circle, impaling every creature for over fifteen yards. Barrels worth of black blood sprayed everywhere from the wounds she created, and after four seconds, the stone spikes disappeared, letting the creatures fall to the ground.

“Remove or destroy the heads!”

Max was already among the fallen, slicing and smashing the creatures' heads as quickly as he could. Fowl was bashing their heads in with his hammer and shield, ignoring their feeble attempts to grab hold of him with their barbs. The plate armor gave them no real place to hold on to, unlike the cloth-robed healer and mage would have.

“What in the gods was that?” Fowl shouted, looking at the carnage around them.

“Mage and healer killers,” Tanila said with a shudder. “If it wasn’t for Seth’s ability to sense them…”

“We’d be dead,” Batrire said. “They weren’t strong, but that many would have overpowered most groups.”

Max was breathing hard, not because of the effort but because of the number of essences he had acquired.

What are these? What are they used for?!

No reply came, but he feared what it might lead to.

“We need to move. The longer we stay somewhere, the more of a chance we run into these things. Stay close, and be ready.”

“Gods, this is insane,” Fowl stated as he smashed the last of the same pink creatures that had tried to attack for the third time. “How many are there of these?”

“Twenty-nine,” Tanila answered. “There was a second wave hiding after the first… if Seth hadn’t caught it, we might have been in trouble.”

“Their learning. This group came as those six-legged whatever demons attacked.”

Fowl kicked the massive demon Max had just mentioned. They were almost nine feet tall, with six massive short legs attached to a weird, misshapen long body. Their arms were nothing more than massive scythes. The white color of their bodies was hard to look at as they moved. Only two had come, but for a moment, Fowl wondered if they would actually be able to cut through his armor.

“It’s not even been an hour,” Fowl pointed out. “I still don’t see a portal, and I can’t stare that far ahead without this sky or whatever giving me a headache.”

“Enough complaining! We need to move,” Batrire hissed. The attacks will be less frequent if we keep moving!”

The four of them started moving again, each occasionally shifting their head or shuddering. Every step they took felt like someone was watching them.

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