The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 161

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“Spiders,” Ehlark said. He spoke plainly, clearly not comfortable with speaking Othyan. “They are pests. I don’t like the webs. Sometimes they get out of the dungeon, and then I kill them.” Ehlark shook his head, “I can’t deal with the dungeon myself.” He waved his hand around him to the trees and vines that surrounded us, “These are my weapons… and I can’t bring them into the dungeon. There are many, but they are… not dangerous. Maybe C rank… but destroying a dungeon is harder.”

Not being able to use most of their abilities in a dungeon really would hinder a druid… but there were still all the monsters outside of the dungeons to make them very useful indeed. Of course, that didn’t even count regeneration which other classes couldn’t learn- or at least not as easily, even if they were also high level.

Kantrilla grimaced, “Ugh, I don’t like spiders.”

“Me neither,” Ehlark smiled. “That’s why I want you to kill them.”

Khyrmin looked over the party, “It won’t be easy. Destroying a dungeon is always dangerous. Not just the fighting, but rushing back out at the end… it’s easy to get turned around.”

“Well,” Alhorn spoke up, “We are here to help Kasner, are we not? We never expected this to be easy, but it sounds like something we can do.”

“T-that’s right!” Halette nodded her head. “We have to help him… even if that means fighting s-spiders.” I hadn’t expected Halette to be the one who sounded the most nervous.

“Yeah!” Kantrilla chimed in, “We have to try!”

“Obviously I’m in as well,” I answered. “Kasner’s one of us. He came to help us in Escait as soon as he heard we needed help.”

Kasner grinned from ear to ear, “Great! I’m not going to say something stupid like you shouldn’t take risks for my sake. Let’s just make sure we’re as safe as we can be in there.”

“It’s decided then,” Khyrmin nodded and turned to Ehlark. “Show us where it is, then. Depending on how large it is, I expect it to take a few days… minimum.”

Ehlark nodded and started walking, “It’s not far. How big is it?” Ehlark thought for a few moments, then spoke in elven to Khyrmin.

“He says based on the rate of spiders that leave, it is probably just one or two floors. He doesn’t know what kind of traps might be inside, besides webs. He hasn’t really explored it, after all. He also says we can camp near his hut, and he can help heal us of any wounds… or venom.”

“That’s not really making me feel better about this whole thing…” Kasner looked down at himself. “I’m pretty small so venom is something of a problem.”

“I think we’ll all do our best to avoid being bitten,” Alhorn commented.

“Y-yeah!” Halette nodded, “No getting b-bitten by spiders. Or caught up in their w-webs… or anything…” I was starting to doubt Halette’s capability of actually fighting the spiders, but her eyes suddenly went wide, then her bow was being drawn. Arrow after arrow flew towards a target I could barely see in the distance. Halette shot at least a half dozen arrows, and then stopped, taking a deep breath. I was still moving closer… and then I got to the point I could see the spider. It was about two feet from head to toe, and with its legs out normally it would have been about three feet wide. In fact, it did have exactly six arrows in it, directly shot into six of its eyes. I wondered if it was a coincidence that the two biggest eyes were untouched.

Halette gingerly retrieved her arrows- she didn’t want to actually look at the spider as she did so, but she also didn’t want to touch it. After watching her try to spot the arrows out of the corner of her eye for half a minute, I helped pull out the rest, wiping them off on the spider’s back. It was hairy, like a tarantula. Or maybe all spiders were like that and it was just more obvious when they were larger.

“Well,” Khyrmin commented, “It seems they aren’t much danger from afar. In the dungeon we’ll have to watch out for them hiding, but individually they aren’t that strong. Make sure to take advantage of reach.”

I nodded. I had a spear for that, but even Alhorn’s sword could stab a spider pretty easily. They might be able to spring forward quickly, but just having a weapon in front of them would be an excellent defense. There was the problem of them having exoskeletons, but they were small enough that would hopefully not be an issue. It was sort of weird to think of these giant spiders as ‘small’, but at their size the thickness of the exoskeleton couldn’t be worse than dealing with iron armor and it would definitely be less trouble than the dire tiger’s hide. 

I’d almost forgotten how dark the inside of a dungeon was, but as we approached the dark structure that stood out starkly from the greens behind it, I remembered. The dungeon itself was like a void in space, and looking in produced much the same effect. Of course, there weren’t any convenient carpets laid down to show where the steps were, but presumably they were there.

Khyrmin pulled out a brooch that glowed brightly, clipping it on. “Alright then. We need to take special care of the paths we take and the distances. There’s no one to come bail us out if we get lost.” She looked at Carlos, “We can bring extra food and water down with us, but then we have to protect Carlos. There are pros and cons to both options. For today, we should just explore near the entrance, to see what sort of variety there is with the monsters and traps. Socks can probably sniff our way back out…” Socks barked in confirmation, “… but we’ll need a few people to do their best to keep track of what direction the exit is, and the path to get there. After a few days we’ll have the basic layout memorized, but today we’ll plan to leave early so we don’t get tired and turned around. Any questions?”

I didn’t have any. Khyrmins was the one with the most experience- destroying dungeons, just exploring them, and life in general. She spoke confidently about what she knew, and for those things she didn’t she deferred to others. I hoped we could defeat this dungeon quickly, for both Kasner and Halette’s sake, but rushing wouldn’t do us any good.

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