(Patreon) Strength Chapter 23

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Somehow, I managed to remain very calm as I saw the wolves circling and growling. The first thing I had to do was help Kantrilla. While she could somewhat manage against two wolves, if I got distracted fighting the others, there was no guarantee that some of the rest wouldn’t swarm her. Since she couldn’t actually really hurt them, there wouldn’t be much she could do there…

I on the other hand specialized in killing things. That was what only having a massively high Strength would do for you. I didn’t want to spend more time thinking about tactics and let us get in an even more disadvantageous position… So I struck as soon as I could. My target was the second wolf, the one attacking Kantrilla from the side. I had already decided to attack as I spun around, and with the momentum from that, Strength, and Bash, it stood no chance. I didn’t slice completely through it… but the blade of the halberd went all the way in. Perhaps if I had a different weapon, I truly would have bisected it.

At that moment, seeing I was distracted, the three wolves I had been holding off charged me. I couldn’t do much with the butt of the halberd since its range was limited by the blade still being lodge in the ribcage of the other wolf. It was stuck… so I quickly made the decision to abandon it and pull out my club. I was just fast enough to pull it out swinging. I knocked away one wolf, dodged the second, and blocked the jaws of the third with the club itself. It quickly gave a shake, but found that it was no good. Though it bruised the wood, it wasn’t any danger to me.

It clawed me as it held onto the club, but I kicked out, and it let go and retreated. Now I was facing off against three wolves without my halberd… not optimal, but possible. Somehow, I was still able to keep up with all of their movements with some magic supporting me. One wolf was slightly injured from me knocking it back, but not to any serious degree. I knew it was better to act quickly, because the wolves worked well together. Catching them off guard was the best bet.

I lunged forward, with an overhead swing at the injured wolf. It was slowed down just enough from before. There was the sound of crunching bones… then I turned to the side just in time to hear the sound of teeth biting into flesh. That was my arm, of course. Optimally I would have deflected the wolf instead of letting it bite my arm, but it had other ideas. I managed to step to the side to avoid the third wolf. This included lifting the wolf biting my arm onto its hind legs and swiveling it around. It was great to be strong… though it would have been even better to not be bit.

As my left arm participated in what I thought the most painful game of tug would be like, I gripped my club in my right. The wolf that wasn’t holding onto my arm continued to attack me from the left, clawing at me. Mostly this resulted in a few scratches making their way through my armor. I couldn’t attack it optimally… but I pulled the wolf gripping my arm down, and swung my club over. It went without saying that I used Bash at full capacity. The wolf yelped and backed off. This gave me a chance to deal with the one on my arm.

Previously, I had beat one with my club, but it was an awkward angle and caused more tugging at my arm… and it was already going to need healing and a period of rest. I didn’t want to make it worse. Instead, I let go of my club, and with my right hand I gripped the wolf’s upper jaw. Then, I just squeezed and twisted as hard as I could. I would have gone for the eyes or ears, but I wouldn’t be able to get a good grip with just one hand. The jaw, however, was stationary with regard to my arm- and my arm was as still as I could hold it with a wolf thrashing about. That was actually… pretty still. My muscles strained in both arms, but I held firm.

Finally came a crack and its grip loosened, the wolf’s whimpering grating on my ears. I swiftly reached down to grab my club. With one arm I was almost as strong as two had been before my winter training session. A bash… and I was out of mana… but not out of endurance or more importantly adrenaline. The second wolf had just regained its courage to come back, but it was too late. A few quick but powerful swings later and they were down… then I finished off the one Kantrilla was dealing with. The thought went through my head that we really needed more members, so that she could be free to do… other Clerical stuff during combat. She had actually managed to land a few blows with her mace, as I could see… but her Strength wasn’t more than 100- and probably less. Without any particular skill, it would have taken her some time to beat the wolf.

Once everything was over, I checked to make sure the corpses were indeed corpses- by hitting them once each on the skull. Then, I collapsed onto my back. I was exhausted, but it was a good kind of exhaustion… and with it came the feeling of a level as the experience flowed over me and into me. I thought about how amazing classes better be to make up for all the pain, even as Kantrilla bound my arm and cast a healing spell on it- and the other scratches and scrapes all over me, some of which I had no idea how they got there.

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