The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 117

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The guild- through the guildmaster, Timmy- was doing both much more than I expected and yet could have done so much more. If we looked at things from the perspective of the guild, one single D-rank adventurer wasn’t much. It was just barely at the level where they bothered to keep careful track of them. That meant she had some value, but on the other hand adventurers died every day. Maybe not D-rank adventurers… but then again, maybe they did. I wasn’t sure exactly how many there were. On the other hand… they usually died to monsters. Maybe that was why they were putting in so much effort… relatively. They didn’t have to do anything, so sending people to check out her location and alerting border security were nice. I could wish for them to do more, but I wasn’t really sure what that would be. I couldn’t exactly ask them to send everyone to comb every bit of countryside- and they had sent some G-rank people out to her last known card location. They just hadn’t been able to see through the precautions her kidnappers had taken.

If I thought about it, them devoting that much effort was already pretty Lucky- if I could call anything about the circumstances Lucky. While Kantrilla may have been special to me, to the guild she was just another adventurer- even if a promising one.

All the help was appreciated especially since Timmy had pretty much admitted this whole thing could become a diplomatic incident if things went wrong. Of course, he could have been trying to cover himself- but in that case he wouldn’t have given me so much help.

As I arrived at the stables to borrow the promised horse- a horse I only had a vague idea how to ride- Timmy was there to hasten the whole process. He also had a bundle of papers with him. “Here’s some information that might be useful… oh, and you’ll want this.” He handed me a guild card. Kantrilla’s guild card. “If you know what you’re doing, you can activate it to find her… if she’s nearby. I hope it helps.”

With that, they stuck me on a horse. It was brown with a white stripe down its nose. Pretty typical coloring, and pretty typical looking. “What’s it’s name?”

“She’s called Cass,” a nearby stablehand patted her snout. “She’s good. Solid, strong, smart… but well behaved. She’ll get you where you need to go. We already saddled her up and everything.”

“Cass, is it?” While the mare had a pack with plenty of room for small things, I had a lot of weapons… though eventually I figured everything out. I kept my bow and my magical heavy mace on my back, with the rapier at my side. I wasn’t sure how I was going to bring a halberd or spear, but then the stablehand pointed out the lance holder. I could only fit the spear, but I hadn’t even realized they existed. It was a weird little addon to the stirrup, but it held the spear just fine. That said, I did have to keep one hand on it to keep it from wobbling about. I left behind my other weapons, except the sling because that took up almost no space. I was wearing my armor, and I had been worried about being too heavy for the horse but she seemed fine.

Soon enough, I found myself riding out of the city… after I had taken a lap around the stable grounds while they taught me to control her. Fortunately, she only needed gentle guidance… and seemed to know the city streets pretty well.

As I rode, I had a lot of time to think. I thought about what I would do when I found them. There was a lot of imagining me strangling them- though more realistically they had a spear through them or a crushed head. However, that was all rather dumb. If I wanted things to go well… I probably shouldn’t fight them at all.

Maybe I would do better if they weren’t prepared to ambush me… but maybe not. I wasn’t sure about the others but whichever one was Enok Csorba was level 30ish. The others might be the same, and while it wasn’t out of the question to kill someone ahead of me in levels… killing a handful of them before they killed me became much harder. Optimally I’d play their own game and ambush them, killing at least one before they could react. I couldn’t make fakes of myself to distract them and I wasn’t particularly stealthy and I didn’t know where they were exactly and could only guess at where they were going… but trying to come up with advantages for myself was better than nothing.

I also thought about Kantrilla. What was she to me? A good friend, if nothing else. She was one of the first people I had met in this world, a party member. I’d saved her from death a few times, then we’d fought life and death together for a year. I was willing to risk my life to save her… as evidenced by the fact that I hadn’t even considered not trying to save her. Was that it, or was there more? It was clear that she was a woman… and I was a man. I had to admit there was some attraction there but… well, for various reasons I hadn’t thought about it that much. Maybe it was just that she was taller. A trivial reason, but one that felt significant to me. Then again… whether I just liked her as a friend or as something more- or just different- I had to go save her before it mattered. I would have given almost anything to have the rest of our party coming to help me… but by the time they even got my message I would already be out of the country… or dead. Maybe they would catch them before that… but I doubted that they would get caught at the border, if nothing else. There was no reason for them to go through the checkpoints if they were up to no good- it wasn’t like there was a single pass. Rather, it was open all the way, and just the safest parts with roads were guarded. Nothing would stop them from avoiding the road for a few miles or a couple days if they were determined.

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