The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 181

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The thing I learned most after healing with Kantrilla was that healing was exhausting. I had been prepared for the magical exhaustion. It was hard work, just like other magic. No, it was the people themselves that were exhausting. So many people needed help, and we could only do so much. Sometimes all they needed was some reassurance they would be okay, but some of them weren’t okay- and not all of them lived. The hardest part was that we couldn’t even try to save the worst cases, because we would just expend too much mana to do nothing. However, people with grave injuries or terminal illnesses were one thing- the worst part were the people who weren’t involved in accidents at all. Working with those who couldn’t afford to pay for a healer, it wasn’t surprising to get a few people who were injured in gang fights- but knife wounds weren’t that bad all things considered. 

A woman came in with a black eye and a split lip. As far as injuries went, they were trivial. Even without magic they would heal without too much trouble. However, they weren’t the sort of thing that would happen on accident. The woman didn’t say anything as Kantrilla asked questions, so she didn’t press her. “There, all done.” Kantrilla had applied an ointment as well as a bit of healing magic. The ointment would reduce the swelling, and the healing magic would reduce the healing time from a week to a day or less. “You can go now.”

The woman hesitated. Instead of just walking out, she stood there clutching her arm. Clearly she had something she wanted, but if she wouldn’t say anything we couldn’t really help.

“Sir, you can’t go into the treatment area!” a voice came from out front. 

After that, a man burst into the room. “There you are woman! I wasn’t done talking with you before you ran off!” He was a big man- probably around six feet tall and broad shouldered. He reached out and grabbed the woman by the arm.

I hesitated, making me a second slow to react… but as his other arm moved, my fighting instincts took over. “Sir, you can’t lay a hand on one of our patients,” is what I would have said if I had the time or the diplomatic inclination. Instead, all I got out was ‘hands off’, spoken after I had the man on the ground with one arm behind his back and a broken wrist. Was I able to do the same thing without breaking his wrist? Absolutely, but the thought hadn’t even entered into my head.

“Get off me you-!” the man tried to stand, but any movement shot pain down his arm. Besides, I was much heavier than I looked. The man might have been heavier than me, but I was at least two hundred pounds. Not that I did much standing on scales.

“Attacking someone in a hall of healing is absolutely forbidden.” I wanted to rip his arm off- I could have done it, too. However, the rational side of me remembered that such behavior was generally frowned upon. 

Kantrilla had already moved out out to the door, “You- go find the nearest city guard and bring them here!”

It was easy enough to keep the man pinned- I had the advantage of positioning as well as Strength. He had perhaps two hundred and fifty Strength- pretty good for a non-adventurer, but not amazing either. Besides, it was all wasted on him. Soon enough, the guards arrived. It was easy enough to have them bring the man away in manacles- the testimony of healers wasn’t something to be trifled with.

With that, we could have called it a victory. Day saved. Everything is well, and we can go home with the satisfaction of being good people. I would like to say I would have made the right choice, but I didn’t have to- Kantrilla beat me to it.

“What should we do?” Kantrilla whispered to me. The woman was still standing off to the side, not having left yet.

I shook my head. “I don’t know. She obviously doesn’t want to go back to wherever she was. What can we do?” Many people would have said nothing- this was just the way the world was. You can’t help everyone. My parents would have said that was a foolish notion. Obviously I couldn’t help everyone all at once. I myself couldn’t help everyone one at a time, even. However, I could help some people. If they went on to help others, simple math said it was a good thing. “Do you have any money?” I asked the woman.

She nodded, then pulled open her coin purse. She poured a small pile of coppers onto her hand- the entire contents- and held them out to me and Kantrilla.

I shook my head, “I don’t want it. This is a free clinic, remember?” I looked at the coins she had. Not much. Maybe twenty or thirty copper… two or three silver coins. Still, it was something. “You can stay an an inn near here.”

She shook her head, finally speaking. “… Too expensive.”

“Well, yes. However, adventurers actually get a discount at some inns. It would still be a silver a night, but that includes at least one meal.”

“… I’m not an adventurer.”

She clearly wasn’t… but that didn’t mean she couldn’t be. I looked to Kantrilla, and she nodded. She understood at least some of my plan now, and it would be easier for her to talk to the woman. This was a chance for her. While the adventurer’s guild wouldn’t like people abusing their system, if she actually became an adventurer they would have no complaints at all. It was possible for me to pay for her to stay at an inn- but that wasn’t as good. If she could pay for herself, even with what little she had, then it would give her a boost in the right direction. Not that I thought of all those details right then. Even so, the whole incident brought to mind an interesting plan. I just needed to talk to Sage Norwood… and Timmy.

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