(Patreon) Strength Chapter 52

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I had no time to worry about Kasner’s lightning not working on the boss, as the large goblin was just about to reach me. He wielded the giant mace in both hands bringing it swinging down toward me. I concentrated, using Martial Trance. There wasn’t anything tricky about his attack at all. It really was just a downward swing… the easiest thing to dodge. I stepped to my right, away from Alhorn. At the same time, I brought my warhammer toward his head.

Two sounds rang out at the same time. The sound of his mace hitting the ground was a resounding thud… and the crunching of breaking bricks and stone. My warhammer impacted with his helmet at the same time, ringing out with a clanging.

Then… both of us staggered back. I could see a dent in the goblin boss’ helmet, but it wasn’t punctured. Hitting him had been like hitting a brick wall… except I could break brick walls now. He- and his helmet- were much tougher than a brick wall. He just barely staggered back a step, while I went a bit further from the rebound from my own blow.

Then the regular armored goblins arrived, and I had to deal with them too. Perhaps I had overestimated their tactics, as they seemed willing enough to enter the corridor we were in once we had started attacking them at ranged. They couldn’t surround us… but on the other hand the goblin boss himself controlled the corridor quire well. With one or two others on each side it was hard to deal with them.

Kasner had changed to target anything but the boss. The first pair of goblins to come past the boss found themselves on the ground twitching and smoking, even with armor dampening the spell. Kasner might have been overcompensating for not being able to harm the boss.

The next goblin to step forward came for me. He had a small warhammer, so I couldn’t just let it hit my armor with little fear, unlike slashing or piercing weapons. I dodged away so that he couldn’t get a solid blow on me… and found myself on the floor.

I’d forgotten about the large mace’s magic property… and thought that dodging it would be enough. However, it left ice on the floor and throwing myself into a dodge had caused me to lose my balance.

There was all sorts of yelling, but I couldn’t focus on it. Instead, I watched for the goblin boss’s mace. It was only a moment before it was swinging down for me. I barely managed to roll out of the way, but one of the smaller goblins was swinging toward my best dodging location. I brought my arms in front of my head to block… but there was only a slight impact.

I first heard Socks’ growling, then saw her shaking the goblin by the leg. There was a crunching sound as her teeth dug into the leg, crushing the armor in her jaw. It was only cheap iron, but it made me glad that Socks had only ever play-bitten me.

As  I staggered to my feet, I noticed that the goblin mages were launching all of their attacks at our own backline. While they didn’t seem to care too much if they accidentally injured other goblins, the boss was an exception.

Kantrilla was keeping up with her barriers, and the distance allowed them to avoid some of the spells, but they weren’t free to attack easily.

Halette especially found it hard to come up with a change to draw and fire her bow.

Just as I got to my feet, I saw Kasner hit by two lightning spells at once. I saw him trembling with lightning arcing off of him… and then he stretched out his arms back toward the very same goblin mages, returning even more powerful arcs of lightning.

I had to return to focusing on myself. Alhorn stabbed the goblin Socks had pulled down, just in time for her to dodge back from another attack by the boss. The goblin faded into nothingness, but Socks still had its vambraces in her jaw. She took the chance to shake her head rapidly to dislodge them.

Now that I was watching for icy patches, I wasn’t going to accidentally run into one again. Alhorn and Socks were managing to deal with all of the smaller goblins coming by, which allowed me to focus on the boss.

Whenever there was a chance, I would hit him wherever I could- head, body, even arms and legs. Each hit did very little damage, but once I found a good opening I would work on hitting one of the same points again, and perhaps break through the armor.

Of course, the goblin boss wouldn’t let me hit him for free. Though his attacks were slow, I couldn’t dodge as I pleased with the icy patches on the ground. A few of his attacks clipped me… and that meant I was pushed back or flung to the side. He hadn’t managed to get a solid hit, but even so my armor was beginning to resemble tin foil more than a suit of plate. His armor was a little better off… a result of him having both magical armor and a magical weapon.

“Damn… this ice is a pain.” I couldn’t help but grumble. We had been slowly backing down the hallway to keep away from the patches. It was fine for now, but if we ran into another group of goblins from behind we would be in big trouble.

“Oh, the ice?” I couldn’t see him, but I imagined a confident grin on Kasner’s face, “Leave it to me! It’s a trivial matter!”

Kasner was nothing if not confident… but I’d seen him using lightning magic. It looked quite painful sometimes, as if he was pushing himself. He also wasn’t made of mana, so I imagined he would soon start running short.

I couldn’t afford to look back toward him to see his expression, but I imagined a look of concentration. In front of me, I saw the ice turn into water, and then to steam… all the way up the corridor. Left behind was likely some unstable flooring from the broken bricks, but that wouldn’t be so bad.

I saw an arrow fly toward one of the goblin mages, striking him in the chest. The enemy mages were also running out of mana, so Halette was able to attack more than dodging now. Meanwhile, there were only a half dozen or so armored goblins along with the boss. This was our chance to push forward for victory!

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