(Patreon) Strength Chapter 78

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A hydra boss was going to be different from those I’d faced before. That was to be expected, since horned rabbits and goblins were very different from hydras. They were also much weaker. Adding on more goblins when they were already fought in large numbers wasn’t easy, but hydras were generally solitary monsters. I wasn’t sure how many would be together, but it would be more than a few. That was also not counting the boss hydra itself.

I heard it had a dozen heads, and it was hard to imagine how big it might be. Possibly the size of a building- and not a small one either. I really didn’t want to fight that, but I wouldn’t have to. That was why F rank and higher adventurers- those who had undergone class advancement- had been showing up. That included Ruslan, and made me wonder how bad something could be that it required multiple people as strong as him… On the other hand, they might not all be necessary- it was better to have more people than needed to be safe. It was a bad idea to lose a seasoned adventurer or two in a desperate fight when more could have been hired to begin with. People could still die, but it was all about minimizing the risks.

Usually most of the adventurers in Amielas were out and about, not gathered in one place. Today, however, we were all gathered together and I could actually see how many there were. I didn’t get an exact count, but there looked to be about fifty parties, which came out to two to three hundred people. It didn’t seem like enough people to form a city, but there were more than just adventurers.

Each adventurer was supported indirectly by at least handful of others. There were people who brought food, people who cooked food… innkeepers and guild members who collected bounties. Then there were vendors of weapons and armor, and people who repaired weapons and armor. Adventurers weren’t easy on their equipment, and that meant someone always needed replacements for something.

That made Amielas a city- not a big city, and certainly nothing like what I was used to, but it was certainly larger than just a town by this world’s standards. At least, it would be a city until hydra hunting season was over- then almost all of the thousand plus residents would pack up and move out.

—–

The first part of our journey was rather boring. This time we were trudging through swamps and there were many others with us… but that didn’t make it much more interesting. The monotony wasn’t even broken up by the occasional hydra- both because they were rare and because our group was never the closest ones.

There wasn’t much to say about that day, just walking. Then we spent the night in the swamp. We set up camp in a huge formation of tents, with some people being assigned to keep watch.

As I lay in my tent trying to fall asleep, I couldn’t help but hope that nothing came… because I didn’t want to fight a hydra without armor on. I slapped my face. In the darkness, I couldn’t see whether or not I had gotten the pesky mosquito.

—–

In the morning I was covered in mosquito bites. They seemed to have gotten everywhere, even inside my bedroll and all over my arms and legs. It was probably preferable to having so many bites on just my head and neck… but that didn’t make it less itchy.

“Hey, Kantrilla, can you heal mosquito bites?”

She shook her head, “I can but… I’d have to heal each individual one. It doesn’t take much mana each but it wouldn’t be a trivial amount total…”

I sighed. “Alright. Umm, can you at least find out if they were carrying any diseases or anything?”

“These shouldn’t have any diseases. If you start feeling sick I can do something about it, but before then I can’t really tell…”

“Hmm. Okay.” I looked around at the rest of the group. Kasner couldn’t stop scratching at his face. Each bite looked extra large on his half-sized face. During the day he’d been safe from mosquitoes as he always had a bit of electricity flowing around him- that also seemed to work as a bug zapper. It was probably a waste of mana… but maybe it counted as training? He didn’t do it just for bugs, either. Socks seemed alright, but Halette was scratching her arms as well. Alhorn seemed fine… and so did Kantrilla. “Why aren’t you scratching, Alhorn?”

“I used a weak barrier spell. Before you ask… it’s not possible to maintain something like that on other people while asleep.”

I grumbled, but I still understood. Kantrilla… she might have done the same thing, or maybe she was just lucky. I hadn’t really expected her to be bitten anyway. Alhorn might have been fine even without a barrier spell because his Toughness would have been higher than mine… unless the mosquitoes were better than average, which could have been possible. As I swatted one I looked to see if it gave any experience, but I couldn’t be sure whether the tiny bit of white mist was my imagination or not.

As we started out on our march again, I wanted to scratch my arms, legs, and everything. The only thing that stopped me was my armor. I really couldn’t reach anything. I could have taken off my helmet but I preferred my face to remain… facelike. I could only imagine what too much scratching could do if I was careless.

Later that day, the frequency of hydras increased, but not by much. There were only a handful in the afternoon. We stopped a bit earlier to rest- the scouts reported that much further and we would enter the hydra boss’ territory. We wanted to be fresh in the morning, and even a couple hours of marching in the morning would still be better than fighting it at sundown after a long day’s march. More people had to go on watch for a shift, including myself. At least I could fend off mosquitoes for that part of the night…

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