The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 116

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When I next woke up it was still dark. I wiggled my fingers and toes and then moved my arms and legs. I still felt weak and tired… but not enough to stop me from getting out of bed. As long as I could stand up, I would. However, an invisible force stopped me from getting out of the bed, pressing back on my chest. As my mind cleared and my eyes came into focus, it turned into a completely visible force. “Mmm what are you doing here, Timmy?”

The giant- technically half-giant- man didn’t seem to be putting any effort at all to hold me down, but I couldn’t move. “Just performing my duties as a guildmaster.”

I pushed against him. I could actually push harder, but I was pretty sure my ribcage would give out first between that and Timmy’s massive arm. “I have to go find Kantrilla.”

“You’re in no state to go chasing people down. Besides, wouldn’t you like to hear what I’ve been doing?”

“Mmmaaaybe?” I wasn’t sure if I wanted to hear what he was doing. He was the guildmaster after all. It was probably boring, and wouldn’t help me find Kantrilla. At least, that was what my stupid tired brain thought.

“Just sit there and listen.” He held his fingers almost up to my face, but I could see a tiny little object clutched between his thumb and forefinger. “Enok Csorba is who this guild card belongs to. He’s from Escait. He’s an F-rank cleric. Whether or not he’s actually one of the men you saw isn’t clear… Unless you got a good look at them? Can you describe them now?”

Even with my mind clearing from sleep, I couldn’t put faces to any of them. I’d barely even seen them. “I think they covered the lower part of their face?” Normally I would have been able to give a decent description of someone even with that… but my memories weren’t exactly clear except Kantrilla getting kidnapped. That stood out so much more than what they looked like.

“I didn’t think so.” Timmy put the card on the bedside table. “As for Kantrilla… she was separated from her guild card before you arrived back in Ekralas. We checked as soon as we saw you stumble in. Your other party members don’t have D-rank certification yet so we couldn’t check on their location, but our records say they are out of town on their own personal business. Is that correct? They weren’t with you?”

I shook my head, “It was just Kantrilla and I. You said… separated from her card?”

Timmy nodded, the movement causing a small breeze to blow over me. “The cards keep track of a few things, such as location and whether their owners are alive or dead, and what other guild cards are near during such events. It’s effective at that for a few miles around. We already sent a group out and they retrieved her card.”

“Retrieved? Why didn’t they destroy it if it could carry such information?”

“Destroying a guild card carries with it some consequences. It would mark them and their guild cards just for being in the area. However, they aren’t set up to prevent theft, or react strongly if dropped to the ground. A guild card isn’t of much use to anyone else… but of course those who know the specifics can exploit that.”

“Then… why tell me this?”

“Oh, I’m sure you wouldn’t abuse this information, would you?” Timmy looked down at me seriously, “Anyway, the good news is she was alive at the time. More importantly, if they were interested in killing her they could have taken you both and separated you from your guild cards, then killed you together. As for why they didn’t do that with you… they likely didn’t have the time to walk a few miles away with your card then back to kill you. Or maybe they just thought you’d die from that Strength poison when they were far away. You could just be lucky.”

“I’m not. Kantrilla was the lucky one and she got kidnapped. I don’t even know why they would do that…”

Timmy frowned, “There have been a number of incidents in the past year involving clerics. In fact, in her home city of Trona there were killings of clerics. However, since they didn’t immediately kill her perhaps it is not related.”

“That’s… hmm… they tried to kill Kantrilla twice. Maybe three times if you count that time in the dungeon here. I…” I shrugged, “I don’t know if I can say they were connected though. That group in the dungeon wasn’t from Escait, right? I’m not sure about the first two…”

“They may be unrelated…” Timmy shrugged, “Or they may be an international problem. I have already informed the border to watch for anyone suspicious- and especially for Enok Csorba. If they are headed to Escait, we might be able to catch them. Otherwise, we have nowhere to start.”

“Can’t you track them? There must be beastmasters around…”

Timmy nodded, “They have abilities to hide both tracks and scent. They knew what they were doing. Perhaps if we had an animal already familiar with Kantrilla’s scent in particular…”

“Halette isn’t back? Socks could do it…” I shook my head, “But she hasn’t come back yet, has she?”

“We took the liberty of checking her messages for your party. The latest ones indicate she won’t return for at least another week.”

I slipped to the side instead of pressing directly against Timmy’s hand, sliding out of the bed and into another part of the room. “Then I have to get going as soon as I can to try to stop them!”

I had forgotten how agile Timmy was. He was also big enough to reach basically the whole room all at the same time, so I found myself tied up in the bed in mere moments. “You will stay here and rest… and in the morning, we will have a horse ready to take you to the border with Escait.” Timmy shook his head, “Perhaps we will catch them there, or before they arrive. Kantrilla is quite Lucky, after all. If not… there isn’t much else we can do. If you go into Escait there isn’t any support we can give. I can contact the guildmaster there but without any real proof against any specific individuals…” Timmy shook his head. “Enok Csorba might be a lead, or a red herring they left on purpose. Either way, he’s higher rank than you… and in Escait they are more likely to take his word over yours. If you can’t even pick out who he is… there isn’t much good you can do. Remember, he’s an F-rank cleric. That would put him around level 30.”

“Do you know what he specializes in, just so I might have a chance to recognize him?”

“We don’t have access to that information. Just that he took Shadow Priest as his advanced class.”

“…Can you help me look up information on their typical abilities? For in the morning?”

Timmy smiled, “Of course. We’ll have that ready for you.”

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