The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 173

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At the end of the ‘adventurer’s carnival’ I got many more tokens than I had the previous year, and Kantrilla got a similar amount to before, even with her slightly lower Luck. That showed we’d improved in other areas, which was good.

Kantrilla and I split up to look through the rewards. I had an idea in mind for what I wanted. The year before Kantrilla had bought everyone amulets. I didn’t have enough for everyone, but I could buy one good thing. I looked through the various accessories, amulets, gloves, bracers, rings… I steered away from that last one. Rings were still used to signify marriage here, and it would just be… awkward. Not that I didn’t want to maybe marry her, but it was too soon. We’d known each other for a year and a half. Or maybe it wasn’t too soon. Unfortunately, the person I would otherwise be comfortable asking such questions of was Kantrilla… which would just be awkward. Anyway, I didn’t want to rush into things, and while a practical ring would be nice, it wouldn’t be quite as special. At the very least, I didn’t want to get one as a prize. As for whether or not I really wanted to marry Kantrilla… I wasn’t sure how to tell. I certainly liked her a lot, I loved her… but was it the right way? For one of the first few times since I’d come to this world, I needed my parents. They were always full of good advice. I knew I wanted what was best for Kantrilla, I just wasn’t sure if that best was me.

I finally settled on a spell storing amulet. When she had extra mana, she could store it in there in the form of a specific spell- I was going to suggest Barrier for emergencies. I managed to redeem it while she wasn’t around, so it could be a surprise.

I waited by the exit of the token redemption area and saw Kantrilla walking up with a lumpy sack. 

“I have something-” I reached into my pocket as she held out the sack in her hand, saying “This is for-”

“Y-you go first,” Kantrilla smiled.

“I have something for you.” I held up the amulet, “It’s a spell storing amulet. I was thinking you could put a barrier spell in there, to keep yourself safe for emergencies. In case I can’t come help fast enough…” Barrier spells didn’t last long while under attack, but they could provide precious seconds, blocking a life-threatening hit or two.

Kantrilla took the amulet, her smile warming my heart like it always did. I kind of wanted to put it around her neck myself, but if I had to reach over her head it would have been… a little awkward. She was about a foot taller than me, after all. “Thank you! This… this is for you,” she held out the sack.

Inside was a helmet, shining and sparkling in its freshly made state. Of course, all the helmets offered here were shiny and new… but this one was more special than just a helmet. It wasn’t made out of just steel, and I could feel it was magical. I put it on my head and it fit in place snugly- I could feel it change size slightly as it did so. It made sense that it would resize to fit the wearer, or otherwise most equipment at this festival would be useless to those who wanted it. Not all magical items did that, but many did. In addition to that, I could feel the helmet was cool inside.

“It’s a helmet of comfort!” Kantrilla explained, “It’s also adamantine laced. It should be very strong and help with your stamina in battle.” She was right- it would help in battle. Much of the fatigue that came with armor was actually from the heat that built up. Helmets could be very sweaty… but of course taking one off in a dungeon was an insane idea when you could be attacked at any time.

“Thank you,” I smiled and hugged her… though not too tightly so the helmet didn’t dig into her shoulder.

“Oh, bought presents for each other?” Halette commented from nearby, causing me to jump in surprise. “Didn’t get anything for the rest of us?”

Kantrilla smiled awkwardly, “Well, um…”

Halette waved her hand, “I’m just kidding. You can spend your stuff on whatever you want. Besides,” she patted the amulet on her chest, “I’ve still got your gift from last year. Also, I spent everything on Socks so…” Halette shrugged, at the same time reaching out to scratch Socks on the head. Halette was carrying a bag of something. “Well, there’s also some things for Carlos and the horses.”

Kasner walked out from underneath Socks, barely having to duck at all. “I’ll have you know that I got something practical for us all.” Kasner waved a handful of bracelets, “These can be attuned to find each other, just in case we get separated. They also allow us to be aware of the others location in battle. I even have one for Socks. I think it should work…” 

—–

With the festival done and Alhorn not yet returned, I managed to convince Kantrilla to come with me back to Trona for a few days- not that it took anything more than just saying it out loud. Though it was only a couple days of travel, that was far enough to make it difficult for her to see her adopted father and the rest of the people she grew up with.

As the first city I’d come to in this world, it also had meaning to me… and there were several people there I wanted to talk to. Though I trusted Sage Norwood and could go to him for magical advice, I currently wanted advice of a different nature. I wasn’t sure if Sgar would be in town, but it would be good to see him, and perhaps he could help. If not, I knew Father Thomas could… and I needed to talk to him anyway. After all, it concerned his daughter Kantrilla, and he knew her best.

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