The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 195

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It turned out that hitting a minotaur wasn’t actually that difficult, even while being carried. It was just doing meaningful damage that was difficult. Yuri’s first throwing dagger stuck in the minotaur’s stomach and it didn’t even seem to notice. Part of that was the angle of throwing was all wrong. Yuri wasn’t going to blame it on Larr’s frantic running, but he did think it was a pretty good excuse for his imprecision. He was bobbing up and down the whole time and that really threw off his aim.

However, since the above-average-sized- for a halfling- Larr was giving his all, Yuri kept throwing. Soon enough, one entire belt of a dozen throwing knives had impacted the minotaur… and it was just on the heels of Larr. As for the damage, the minotaur didn’t seem to be slowing down… but then again, it wasn’t getting faster either. 

Larr kept running forward. There was still light from Luth’s magic, but it was dim. He couldn’t see either of the two running ahead. Not that he blamed them- it was the right choice. He was the slowest in the group- well, Yuri was, but short legs and one leg didn’t make for fast running. Larr didn’t know how close the minotaur was except that he could hear its hooves just behind him. He put on a last burst of speed before his legs gave out and he toppled forward. Then the minotaur was on top of him.

There was some frenzied panicking on the part of Larr and Yuri, but their movements didn’t do any good. Bones broke, blood sprayed onto Larr’s face, the minotaur howled. Larr was just waiting to be impaled by a horn or chopped in half by the axe. His armor wouldn’t be enough to stop that. Then everything went quiet, and he realized the minotaur was only half on top of him now… and fading away.

Luth was collapsed onto the floor nearby, breathing heavily. His staff was covered in minotaur blood, and Arara was clutching at his side where he lay across the floor right next to a side passageway. “I thought when you said you were going to trip it…” Luth panted, “You meant with a rope or something?”

“What makes you think I have rope?” Arara groaned, “You have the rope. And what would we attach it to?”

“It’s a good thing it wasn’t actually trying to step on you…” Luth said as he poked Arara’s ribs. “Broken, eh?” he started using what healing magic he could. A lot of his mana had been used previously… and when pummeling the minotaur with his staff.

Yuri disentangled himself from under and over Larr, then started picking up his throwing knives. They were all still there, formerly buried in the minotaur. “Good thing it didn’t have any armor…”

The only thing left of the minotaur was a small magic core and an axe. Eventually, the group dragged themselves back to the surface to rest- and report the situation to the guild, and to me.

—–

The goblin dungeon was cleared out of adventurers as quickly as they could, and our group was among those to enter the dungeon to figure out what happened. It didn’t take that long- we had recently explored the goblin dungeon, were told approximately where to look… and were much stronger than necessary for killing goblins. What we found was… the minotaur dungeon. Not that there were distinguishing marking or anything. However, the relative dimensions and locations of the dungeons was known. Now, the two dungeons had connected. That was a phenomenon nobody had heard of… or at least, they hadn’t written it down somewhere easy to find. Sage Norwood was looking through old records he had, and Timmy and other guild members were looking through things, but unless they were extremely lucky they wouldn’t find anything useful quickly, assuming someone had even written it down. At least they would have some records of things that weren’t public knowledge… like dungeon cores.

The biggest immediate ramification was that it was no longer safe for B-rank adventurers to enter the goblin dungeon. A lone minotaur might be something they could defeat, but there was a possibility of more arriving. Beyond that, the minotaur dungeon… nobody could say it wasn’t connected to the third dungeon in Ekralas. The minotaur dungeon was approximately C-E tier, but the third dungeon was H tier- suitable for people approximately level 40. 

The third dungeon had oozes… which didn’t sound like a big deal, but really were. A pile of goop didn’t seem scare until it dissolved your weapon. Fortunately, some of them dissolved metal, some wood, but very few dissolved both… so proper weapons and magic could defeat them. However, they took quite a bit of work to defeat. Until it was clear they weren’t connected to the other dungeons, nobody below a certain level was allowed to enter the dungeons in Ekralas. This was bad for the city, but it wasn’t like that was the only source of adventuring loot flowing through the capital. There were people hunting monsters outside and dungeon… and most things passed through Ekralas, as the center of the country of Othya. That was how it became the capital. 

Just because we couldn’t be dungeon delving, it didn’t mean my party had nothing to do. We just spent some more time working at the academy and doing other training. I also did a lot of writing on the phenomenon of dungeons merging. Most of it was conjecture, but even if this didn’t go into a beginner’s adventuring guide… I wanted people to be able to find the information in the future. It was possible this had never happened before… but there were thousands of years of civilization built around dungeons on record. It seemed unlikely it was entirely new. It was unfortunate that it disrupted my leveling… I’d just started getting to less negative numbers!

As for the party who first discovered it, we were proud to say they went to our academy since they survived relatively unscathed. Sure, one minotaur wasn’t actually all that dangerous and they did panic… but they panicked in a productive way. They also made sure to report as well as they could… and for that they deserved a reward. Money wasn’t worth much… but maybe this was a good time to offer regeneration to Yuri. Kantrilla and I talked about it, but we hadn’t yet made up our minds… partly because she wasn’t sure if she could completely recover a whole arm and leg at this point. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in her abilities, but I knew how hard of a task that would be. Ehlark had only grown back about half of Kasner’s leg, and Kasner was a halfling… and while Yuri wasn’t full grown, it was still probably at least ten times as much body to grow back. Maybe more. For the moment, we did give the group as much praise as we could- we needed to think of actual rewards we could give, at least some sort of medal with a name- and the guild gave them actual monetary rewards.

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