(Patreon) Strength Chapter 94

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We watched to make sure the minotaur’s body disappeared before we moved closer, releasing a large cloud of experience.  As we did so, I thought about Carlos and the fact that we were trapped in this hallway. Carlos generally stayed back, which meant he hadn’t been in this hallway when the walls… appeared? Fell? The loud sound made it likely they dropped into place. I hoped he was alright, and not just because I didn’t want to carry all the loot back.

The minotaur had extremely oversized and strangely shaped armor, his axe, a large magic crystal… and interestingly enough one more thing. Based on where it had appeared, it was an armband for the minotaur. It was a huge ring of metal, big enough to slip around someone’s head and wear as a very stiff necklace. It probably wasn’t of much use to anyone not the minotaur’s size, unless its magic worked when placed incorrectly. Assuming it was even magic.

Together, Alhorn and I lugged everything back toward the rest of the party… only to see a rather unpleasant sight.

“Stop touching!” Kasner snapped at Kantrilla, “You can’t fix it right now! That’s why I did this.” He gestured to his leg, which was coated in thick ice from thigh down. It was thick enough that I couldn’t see his leg through it, at least not in the dim light.

“I can help!” Kantrilla said, “Just let me look at it!”

“You can’t.” Kasner said, “and even if you could, you shouldn’t do it here! I don’t want you exhausting all of your mana while we’re down here… and you would. I can keep it… the same… until we get out of the dungeon. If we can get out.” Kasner from where he sat against the wall, toward where the light stopped- a wall.

“Yeah,” Halette said, “We need to deal with that first of all. I can’t believe I didn’t notice it. There should have been some obvious signs… or… Llyr, hit it!”

I presumed she meant with my heavy mace… because I certainly wasn’t going to punch it, even with gauntlets on. I put a good solid swing behind my mace… and was almost thrown off balance when part of the wall broke away.

“Hmm.” Halette reached down and picked up a chunk. “It’s a few inches thick. Good enough to stop most people, for a while- but not enough to have extremely obvious seams on the ceiling or floor. At least, not with this weird material. Plus, if dungeons just trapped people in rooms with unbreakable walls everyone would be dead already.”

With a few more swings, I broke through most of the wall, revealing a worried Carlos behind it.

Alhorn looked at Kasner. “You can’t walk, I bet. Maybe we can strap you onto Carlos…”

Carlos wasn’t really set up for carrying people, but Kasner was small. The biggest problem was finding somewhere he could be put with one leg covered in a solid block of ice- at least as far as I could see under his robe. Kasner winced when Alhorn held him up, which said something about how bad it was- even with the leg numb and barely able to move.

—–

On the way out, we had whispered discussions about what had happened. Halette shook her head, “Was that a boss? It only had two minions. On the other hand, it was definitely boss sized.”

I shrugged, “It was probably a special exception that nobody mentioned.”

“Yeah.” Kasner agreed, “Things like that are probably why so many adventurers die.” Then he sighed, “I can’t believe how many unique things we keep running into.”

“Sorry.” Kantrilla said.

Kasner shook his head, “It’s not your fault. Even if you Luck causes us to get into rare, dangerous circumstances… it probably helps save us from the common circumstances. Even getting hit by a regular minotaur would spell the end for me… getting my leg stepped on isn’t so bad.”

“Its… it looked pretty bad.”

“Well… yeah,” Kasner sighed, “But not dead bad.” Kasner winced as Carlos bounced slightly more than normal.

“It’s probably best not to talk. Just hold on until we get to the entrance,” Alhorn said.

“Right, leave the fighting to us,” Halette confirmed.

I saw Kantrilla occasionally using small bits of magic on Kasner. He looked a bit pale, and I saw what I thought was alternating healing and stamina restoration magic. Even if she couldn’t actually work on his leg while it was covered in ice, she could keep the rest of him… better.

We ran into a few groups on the way out. Although it was less simple to deal with them without ice or lightning magic assisting, it wasn’t necessary for him to do so. Fortunately, my spear had survived the whole ordeal, which made things easier. If there were multiple minotaurs, I would always attack the one on the far right, and Halette would start on the far left. Alhorn readied himself to slow them down as they finished getting to us, before they realized they were dead- and occasionally Socks jumped onto them.

Though it had been short, the fight with the minotaur boss had been intense, taking a lot out of me. The wound on my chest didn’t really help, but when compared to what happened to Kasner… I got off easy.

By the time we reached the entrance, Socks was limping- probably from when she had been kicked away by the boss. Kasner was barely remaining conscious as we stepped out into the light.

Alhorn went running for the healers on duty.

Kasner looked at the rest of us. “You’re… you’re going to have to cut it off,” Kasner said through gritted teeth.

“We can heal it!” Kantrilla insisted, “There are other healers right here, higher level than me! We have money-”

“You can’t… can’t afford it, even if they could do it.” Kasner shook his head, “Just look.” Kasner waved his hand, revealing his leg. As the ice fell away into liquid water, the leg was revealed. Above the knee looked fairly normal, but the knee itself was basically gone, and the lower part of his leg was held on by only a thin strip of flesh and muscle. “C-can’t heal that.” Then he collapsed into unconsciousness.

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