(Patreon) Strength Chapter 92

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I brought my heavy mace down on the head of a prone minotaur. There wasn’t much different about the third floor, except it had somewhat more traps and more minotaurs. We hadn’t run into another rolling boulder trap, but we kept an eye out for that sort of stuff, and Halette helped us deal with the other ones. Sometimes, that just meant going a different path- but that was alright.

It was nice to adventure with less fear of dying. Not that a bit more Toughness would make me invincible, but it assuaged some of my worries. It provided more security, but it wasn’t like I was going to just let myself take hits. I didn’t like pain at all, and it was a terrible tactic anyway.

“So…” Alhorn asked, “Are we ready to fight a minotaur boss?”

“Hmm.” I scratched my chin- which ended up just being poking at my helmet in a simulation of that gesture. We’d been discussing the idea for a few days, but hadn’t actually made a decision. “I really don’t like the idea of fighting something with over a thousand Strength. It has to have at least that much. Probably more like twelve hundred.” I hadn’t actually seen a minotaur boss, but based on the regular minotaurs it should have been something like that. Not that any of the information we could find listed expected numbers. I was going to have to go back to add Strength values-  for each monster in my notes. I would add others, if I knew them- but I only had Analyze Strength.

“Just don’t get hit!” Alhorn laughed.

“Right.” I rolled my eyes. Actually, minotaurs were fond of big, wide swings and easy to predict movements… but even a graze could be dangerous enough. I was just glad they didn’t know any combat skills, though the information on the bosses indicated they spent some mana on charge attacks.

Unlike goblins, minotaurs didn’t have much in the way of variety. Among bosses, they might be differently equipped- but they would always be hulking mountains of muscle and flesh. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much more information than that. Minotaurs charged at people with weapons, the end.

“Well,” Alhorn shrugged, “We don’t have to fight one. We’re not likely to get much worthwhile out of it. I mean, sure, experience and money… but minotaurs don’t exactly carry equipment in our size. Especially not… extra large ones.”

I nodded. The most probable place to get magic items was from bosses, and for minotaurs that meant something literally twice as tall as a man. Well, an average sized man. While equipment could be refitted somewhat, there were limits on that. Even though I was… somewhat small… armor that fit Alhorn’s height could potentially fit me or a dwarf, but never a halfling like Kasner. Weapon size mattered too- even if I could lift and swing a minotaur’s axe, the grip was too big for it to be comfortable. They were still useful for larger people and scrap metal, while magic ones could have their magical bits recycled somewhat, used to make other magic items. Overlarge amulets pretty much always fit- since they just draped around the neck. Smaller ones could be too tight, however.

Kantrilla nodded in agreement, “If we’re not going to get anything useful, I don’t think it’s worth the risk. We’ve been alright against regular ones… but there have been some dangerous moments.”

“I highly doubt there would be anything a minotaur could have that I would want, so I agree,” Kasner answered.

Halette clapped her hands, “Then we’re all agreed. No need to fight a boss here.”

—–

With that being decided, we continued adventuring.

Socks growled, followed by three light barks.

“Three of them?” Halette asked, and Socks nodded, “Okay, thank you.”

Three minotaurs was a pretty routine fight, so we continued down the corridor. Then there was a loud thump behind us.

“I didn’t do it!” Kasner called out.

I turned to look, and saw… a wall. Probably. It was still black and light absorbing, but the motes of light Alhorn used didn’t continue beyond it.

Socks barked in front of us, and then came the sound of hooves echoing through the hallway.

“Well… damn,” Alhorn said, “Everybody ready!” Of course we were already planning to prepare ourselves, but it didn’t hurt to say it.

The first minotaur to come out of a darkness I chucked a spear at. There was the most wonderful sound of a spear flying through the air, and then the mixed sound of a spear impacting in flesh. In this case it was good, but the sound still wasn’t exactly pleasant because minotaur flesh sounded a lot like other flesh- including my own.

The second minotaur was sent slipping by an ice patch Kasner made… and then came the third one.

The third minotaur was almost the size of the whole hallway, and covered in heavy armor. He was still definitely a minotaur, however, because the shape of the helmet and the leg armor gave it away.

He continued building up speed, charging forward with no regard for anything. He even stepped on the fallen minotaur, causing a huge splatter of blood. I saw sheets of ice covering the ground, but each step he took caused cracks in the ice and didn’t seem to disrupt his balance.

“Dodge!” Alhorn called. That was our warning to let people know we weren’t going to be stopping it in its tracks… though they could have guessed that already.

As well as a warning, Alhorn’s words were a great idea. I dodged to the side, avoiding the middle of the corridor where the minotaur charged with its head down. Its arms also swung down at its sides, but I used Martial Trance to line up my movements to dodge those… and at the same time swing at the minotaur’s knee.

There was a loud clang as my heavy mace impacted, but the minotaur’s momentum didn’t stop as it continued down the corridor to the very end. As I looked I saw everyone had managed to throw themselves out of the way- some more literally than others- but the minotaur was turning around for another pass.

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