The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 156

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I watched as Alhorn went to face off against one of the elves. Khyrmin stood between them, holding up a hand. She said something in elven- probably the same thing she subsequently explained to Alhorn. “When I swing my arm down, the spar will start. Remember, disarm him as fast as possible.” The second part was actually probably just to Alhorn. However, the elves probably didn’t speak any more Othyan than I did elven, so it didn’t matter.

For this particular spar, Alhorn wasn’t using his shield. This was fencing or duelist style… except people were still wearing real armor. For one thing, removing armor wasn’t that easy… and for another, even sparring weapons were dangerous.

Khyrmin’s arm went down, and Alhorn took a half step forward. His elven opponent, seeing him within range, lunged… and lost his sword as Alhorn parried and twisted his own around it, flinging it off to the side. Khyrmin said something, and the next elf stepped up. Much the same thing happened. With the third, Alhorn took the initiative, even stabbing the opponent in his breastplate- not a powerful blow, but just to show that he could hit. His opponent was late on the counterattack and by the time his attack had momentum Alhorn was already pulling away… but he slowed down to flick the opponent’s sword away to the left.

Khyrmin’s training hadn’t been easy. Even when she was basically just letting us disarm her, it had been quite a task. In comparison, these elves seemed to be standing still. Sure, they might have had more Dexterity than the average human, but they clearly hadn’t done that much training of that or their sword skills.

The fourth and final elf started moving before Khyrmin’s arm had finished dropping. His sword stabbed straight towards Alhorn’s heart… where it slid under his arm. Alhorn’s left hand grabbed that wrist, and he pulled his opponent forward, elbowing him in the teeth. He could have also driven him through with the sword in that hand, but despite his opponent’s actions it was still a spar, after all.

The elf’s mouth was a mess of blood and broken and twisted teeth. It was something a sufficiently powerful cleric could fix just fine. In fact, Kantrilla could do it if she wanted to- though she hadn’t reached class advancement, she certainly wasn’t a novice. She loved to help people… but just shook her head as she watched what happened. 

The other three young elves started yelling, though they stopped quickly as one of them got a prick from Khyrmin’s sword on the tip of his nose. I didn’t speak elvish, but I was pretty sure she was calling them stupid idiots. Maybe that was just what I wanted her to say, though. Either way, Khyrmin eventually said something and gestured towards me, after which I got three glares. The fourth elf picked up a few teeth, and then he ran off- presumably to go see the on-duty cleric.

Khyrmin pointed towards me and one of the elves. “You’re next, Llyr. They don’t think a short, puny human can beat them.”

“Did they call me short and puny or are you saying they did just so I’m less inclined to go easy on them? Also, Alhorn is half human.”

“Both. Alhorn also happens to be half elf. Especially when elves lose to him.”

It might have just been Khyrmin, but it worked still. Before I stepped up to face off against my first opponent, I took a look to the left and the right. It was clear. Good.

As soon as Khyrmin’s arm reached its lowest point, I moved forward. My opponent was hanging back, likely to rely on his reach. However, a couple quick shuffled steps brought me inside his reach. He started to move into a lunge. I used Martial Trance to catch one moment, then I was another step forward. The second moment his sword was passing to my side. I was pretty sure official fencing rules said something about not being able to step to the side. Logical dueling rules said if it was effective to step to the side, you should. Thus, I took a half step to avoid his sword. The third moment I saw was the tip of my sword touching right next to the hilt of his sword. I twisted around and leveraged all my Strength- short of using rage, anyway.

His sword flew to the side like a missile. It hit directly against a wall of the training ground, a dozen yards away. Nobody was standing there, and there were no doors or windows… and anyone who was even vaguely close backed away as they watched the spars.

There was nothing exciting about the second elf, except he actually managed to slightly resist my movements. He realized we were only disarming them and not going for anything else. However, his ability to do anything about it was limited. He just barely managed to keep his sword from flinging as violently- instead it just went skidding across the ground.

“How fancy should I be?” I asked Khyrmin as the third opponent approached with a determined look on his face.

Khyrmin shrugged, “Whatever you do, be successful at it.”

“Right…”

My third opponent was the one with the tiny spot of blood on his nose. He was very serious, and we moved at exactly the same time. He drove his sword towards me from above- using momentum and gravity to augment his strike. It was a fine idea, but he only had… two hundred and some Strength. I thought I was part of the way to learning Analyze Dexterity, but regardless it around mine or at least not much more- 300 would have been about the limit.

As his sword came down, mine came up. The flat of my blade met his edge, then with a spin his sword was flying in the air. I reached out to tap his breastplate before stepping back and catching his sword. My original plan had been to try to take his scabbard from him and catch his sword in it… but that involved too much messing with belts.

I handed the sword back to my opponent, and he surprised me. He actually bowed… and it took me a moment to respond in kind.

“He says he is humbled to see what a higher level adventurer is capable of,” Khyrmin smirked, “He also says he will diligently train to reach that level.”

I nodded, “Tell him that if he puts in the effort, he can certainly become an amazing duelist.”

Khyrmin translated. Then the elf said something else. Khyrmin turned towards Halette, “He says he would like to see your archery technique for comparison.” Then Khyrmin turned towards the other two elves, who were sneaking towards the exit of the training ground. She shouted something at them and they scrambled over towards the archery targets.

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