(Patreon) Strength Chapter 55

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I woke up to a knocking on my door. “Come on Llyr! Get up! It’s time for the festival!”

I groggily rolled out of bed and started getting dressed, “Okay… just a minute!”

I vaguely recalled something about a festival being told to me, but I didn’t know what it was for. I guess… mid-spring? There was probably a better reason for it than that, or at least a real holiday or something.

When I opened the door I was met by a grinning Kantrilla, who immediately grabbed my wrist and dragged me along. Figuratively, anyway. If I planted my feet she wouldn’t be able to move me at all. With my muscle, I probably weighed more than her even though she was a foot taller… and my center of gravity was lower.

Pretty soon we were in the market square. While there were still many people selling things, it was different for the festival. There were more stalls selling various sorts of food. There were also various places set up with games. “Isn’t this more like a carnival than a festival?”

Kantrilla tilted her head. “I don’t know what a ‘carnival’ is… but this is the festival of spring. The celebration of the god of games and competition, and the goddesses of fertility and Luck! Don’t tell me they don’t have the spring festival where you come from?”

“Okay.” I nodded, “I won’t tell you.”

“Seriously, where do you come from?”

“Another world. Didn’t I tell you that?” Hadn’t I told her? Thinking back, I guess I had forgotten about that. I intended to after Sgar found out but it never came up.

“Haha! That’s a good one!” She patted me on the head. I didn’t really like taller people touching me on the head… but in her case it didn’t bother me that much.

“I’m serious you know. I’m an otherworlder.”

Kantrilla blinked, “Whaaaaaaaaaat? Really? No way!”

I raised an eyebrow, “Is it really so hard to believe?”

“But you… hmm.” She put a finger to her lips. “You showed up in Trona out of nowhere and didn’t know anything… I guess it makes sense. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I told you just now.”

“Yeah but like… a while ago!”

“We’ve only known each other half a year,” I shrugged.

“That’s… a good point.” Kantrilla nodded seriously, “It just felt like longer because you saved my life twice… outside of adventuring. I feel like we’ve known each other forever…”

“The very first time we met you made Father Thomas cure me. I had to at least help you out when I could…” Not that I would have let someone die in front of me anyway, but especially not someone so nice as her. When I tried to imagine adventuring with just 200 Strength… it would be very difficult. Having a lot of Strength made up for not being able to distribute bonus points elsewhere. If my base Strength couldn’t grow… I would have to hunt horned rabbits for the rest of my life.

“It’s a Lucky thing we met, then! You’re going to have to tell me all about your world… after the festival!”

I was glad that Kantrilla was the type that took everything in stride. I hadn’t exactly wanted to hide it for so long… but at first I almost doubted that anyone could be as happy as her all the time. Not that I had anything against happy people, but it seemed a little bit fake. Now that I knew her a bit better, I realized that she chose to make the best of everything… because wallowing in sadness wouldn’t help.

—–

Looking at some of the games, I couldn’t help but continue to draw parallels to carnival games on Earth. Or rather, they were straight up ripped off, weren’t they? I doubted it was a coincidence that they were so similar… the ideas probably came from someone on Earth. At least, I hadn’t heard of any world transfers in the other direction…

The only differences were the materials things were made out of  and the lack of any flashing lights- because there were no electronics. There weren’t any plastics or anything so wiffle balls were replaced by light wooden balls. They weren’t exactly the same, but that just made most games less rigged.

Carnival games being favored to those who ran them was just a fact of life- they needed to make money somehow after all. Some of them were rigged to different degrees, which ranged from “fair” to those that were literally cheating or impossible. As I went around and watched people play, these seemed difficult or almost impossible to win… but that was considering normal humans. Normal humans weren’t playing these games, however, but adventurers- and even civilians had some levels under their belt putting them above what I would consider a ‘normal’ human.

Instead of handing out stuffed animals as prizes, people usually bet a small number of copper on the games. Sometimes a food stall and a game stall worked together- winners at the game stall could be rewarded with a meal if they won.

Adventurers, however, didn’t pay fees at the carnival games. In return they got a token when they won, which could apparently be used to get some sort of reward from the guild- though only one token per game per person was available.

Kantrilla started to tear through the games one after another. She didn’t really care about winning and was just there for fun… but she usually won anyway. Tossing a ring onto the neck of a bottle that was basically the same size required either extreme precision… or Luck. When Kantrilla flipped the ring toward the bottles, it bounce off of the top of the one she was aiming at and ricocheted off of a handful of others before somehow landing perfectly on a bottle. Kantrilla thought it was very fun to watch the bouncing and played several times- though she could only win one token.

Anything that involved bouncing or precision- even accidental precision- was Kantrilla’s domain. I had fun watching her for a while- and failing to win at the same games- but then I found myself watching something else. There was a high striker game- swing a hammer to launch a pin up and ring a bell. As something akin to a test of Strength I was very much interested in it… especially now that I could stand up and lift a hammer.

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