The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 150

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“Hmm…” Khyrmin looked at the progress of our group after a hard month of work. “Good enough, I suppose. I just need one more thing from your group before we go.”

“Sure, what is it?” Alhorn asked.

Khyrmin tossed him an axe. And Halette, and me. She almost tossed one to Socks. “You want us to cut down some more trees?”

Khyrmin shook her head, “Not this time. We’ll just work with that one you already cut down.” Khyrmin had an axe of her own, and she brought us to where the tree I had chopped down still lay. Then she chopped a gouge into it, about thirty feet from the bottom cut. “We need to cut this off here. Two of you work on the other side.”

I worked on the same side as Khyrmin, as we both chopped a large wedge in the tree. It was still thicker than we were tall, so it took a lot of work. Even with two people working from the other side and all of us having Strength at or beyond normal human limits, it was hard work. It made me miss my several hundred Strength I had lost. At least the axes were very sturdy and sharp. Once we got about two thirds of the way through, Khyrmin brought out a large saw. We still needed to saw through several feet of wood, but we weren’t worried about it binding up since the wood could pull away to either side.

Once we were done, we were left with two gigantic logs- one of them was just much smaller at only about thirty feet long and maybe a third of that high. “Now we push,” Khyrmin pointed, “To the dungeon.”

So we pushed. Socks was able to help with that. Kantrilla had already provided everyone with a Blessing of Strength, but she renewed it. Kasner… practiced some of his new wind magic to help us cool off. He shrugged, “I doubt you want me to make the log slippery, so this is what you get.”

Since we were trying to roll it… slippery wouldn’t be better. Not unless we got it going down a hill, but there weren’t any of those. Not that we wanted it to go down anyway. It was amazing how large a foot of dirt here or there felt when you had to push a building sized log over it. It wasn’t even more than a mile or two, but it took us all day. Khyrmin must have had a lot of help to make her cabin. 

Finally, we got it to the dungeon, and pushed it in front of the entrance. Then a thought occurred to me. “Isn’t blocking off a dungeon bad?”

Khyrmin shrugged, “Long term? Yes. For this… it will be fine for many months. We’ll just have to deal with more metal spirits when we come back. Tomorrow… we can come back and finish this.”

“Finish it?” Then I looked at it. It was a giant log. The entrance to the dungeon was over a dozen feet tall, but a big cylinder didn’t exactly block that off. The end of the tree wasn’t wide enough, so we couldn’t just turn it- and it wasn’t flat anyway. I could still walk in on either side with it the long way, since it left everything open. So could Alhorn and Socks, though they had to lean a bit more.

—–

The next day we got up early, spent the whole morning molding the log to actually block the dungeon. “Good enough,” Khyrmin commented.

I wasn’t actually sure how much had to be blocked off to prevent incorporeal things that inhabited weapons and armor from getting out. They normally couldn’t leave the dungeon anyway, but perhaps there were special circumstances. Or maybe Khyrmin just didn’t want anyone going in to her dungeon.

We packed up and prepared to go, but before we started Khyrmin pulled Alhorn aside. “Here,” she handed him a sword. “Your father sold his equipment to pay for your family to live well. I bought the sword back without telling him. It’s elven steel, which is both flexible and durable.” Khyrmin wasn’t exactly speaking to everyone, but she wasn’t being quiet about it either and we were in the same room. I could see there were traces of gold worked into the blade, and both the hilt and crossguard were very ornate. “It will serve you well for a time. If you outgrow it, just pass it on to someone else who can respect it.”

It was clear that Alhorn didn’t know what to say. “… Thank you,” was all he could get out.

Khyrmin nodded, “I knew he didn’t want to raise his children to be adventurers… but it’s in our blood… even if the two of you chose to be Paladins.” Khyrmin turned to the rest of the party, “I have something for you as well.” We came over, and Khyrmin started with Halette. “I don’t have any bows. The dungeon doesn’t make them.” She pointed to a suit of armor on a stand next to her bed, “Take that armor.” The armor in question was a full set of flexible leather in green and brown, clearly meant for both mobility and camouflage.”

Halette’s eyes went wide, “Isn’t that… yours?”

Khyrmin shrugged, “I own it, but I don’t use it. Just because I’m an elf doesn’t mean I’m a ranger. It just looks good there.” Khyrmin looked to Kantrilla next, “You… I didn’t give you anything last time. It would be a waste to give you a sword.” She walked over to a pile half- hidden behind her bed, coming back with a wooden shield. However, it was clearly not just a sloppily made shield. “This is livewood. As its name applies… it retains its living nature even when formed into something else.” Khyrmin gestured to some roots hanging down from the bottom, “Give it sun and water, and it will repair itself. Even if these roots die, it can regrow them with a bit of care. Though not so cumbersome as a metal shield, it is still quite strong.”

“Thank you,” Kantrilla smiled. I loved seeing that still, especially when it was so genuine unlike it sometimes had been recently.

Khyrmin next looked down at Kasner. “There really isn’t much I can give you but…” She brought out a staff. “If you wish to practice more wind magic, this staff can help. It is not any more oversized than the regular staff you bring with you anyway.” Khyrmin swung the staff over Kasner’s head, creating a breeze, “However, it is not particularly for magic. It’s a fighting staff.”

Khyrmin turned towards me… and her eyes went past me to Socks. “You probably already smell your present,” Khyrmin said, “It’s outside. The best cuts of a giant elk.” Khyrmin patted Socks on the snout, “Go ahead and go get it.”

Socks howled, then dashed out of the room. It was a good thing she could open doors on her own. Knobs were hard, but still possible.

Khyrmin looked to me, finally. “You…” Khyrmin looked at me, then closed her eyes and shook her head, “You lost my sword.”

I sighed, “It was stolen, technically… but I’m sorry.” I really was. I wished we had time to look for my stuff- and Kantrilla’s- but we hadn’t been sure nobody would come. 

Khyrmin sighed, “Well, whatever. It was just a sword. I have tons of them.” Khyrmin looked around, “I doubt you even used it. In that case…” Khyrmin looked at various suits of armor around, “No, these won’t fit. Ah, I have just the thing.” Khyrmin started down towards one of the lower floors. Hopefully she wasn’t going for the eleventh or tenth floor that mostly had junk… but if that was what I got, I probably deserved it anyway.

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