I didn’t really like the idea of being bait. I’d always felt protective of Kantrilla… even more so after we got married. However, I was also even more in tune with her personality and her desires. From the very beginning she had always said that if Luck brought more trouble her way… that was a good thing because it meant others didn’t have it. That sort of selflessness was something I admired about her… and so instead of telling her she couldn’t try to be a good person, I just resolved to help defend her when that trouble inevitably came. Now, if I felt she was being manipulated- maliciously anyway, since humans always manipulated each other to get what they wanted- I would have stopped her… but Sage Norwood had only brought the subject up when she asked. Besides, being bait in this situation was something we could do… and it wasn’t like we weren’t already at least somewhat involved. After all, some of my first interactions with Kantrilla were when she was attacked by the assassins, though we didn’t really have any idea why at the time.
There wasn’t really any guarantee something would happen, but I still felt somewhat nervous. Fortunately Kantrilla’s general enthusiasm helped balance that out… as did Socks’ presence. As for why Socks was with us… well, she couldn’t exactly move around subtly. It would be obvious she was following us, so having her just be with us meant she could try to pick out suspicious people and remember their scents. She was smart enough to do that, even if she still had her wolfish instincts that reminded us she was an animal.
Acting normal is difficult if you’re thinking about it, but if you aren’t… well, it couldn’t be easier. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy to intentionally forget something. Still, I tried to get into the festival as much as I could. There were a few new events of different kinds, which were intended to let people show off particular attributes. Specifically, those who were bait like Kantrilla and I.
Having a few hundred Luck didn’t mean Kantrilla always won something Luck based- she lost fairly often… but she would always come out on top in the end. A one in ten chance could become as probable as one in five to one in three- though I couldn’t say we tracked things that closely. Either way, there were a few places Kantrilla got to display her Luck with long running chains of victories in coin tosses, tossing a ring on a bottle which only looked like it had some skill involved, and a number of other things.
As for me, Strength was my strong suit… and I could train it easily, though others could train Strength as well. The diversity of Strength among adventurers- from less than a hundred in some cases to seven hundred or more like myself- was much more than the amount that Luck normally varied, from approximately fifty to a hundred and fifty. Since it was so ephemeral, people rarely spent attribute points from levels on Luck.
Regardless, even though there were other strong people- and there were still a few people above my Strength- I was strong enough to stand out, especially when compared to my size. All of the others with five hundred plus Strength were higher level adventurers, having at least gone through class advancement and usually being over six feet tall and wide. My muscles were fairly obvious, but not to the extent that I looked like a bodybuilder- more like an athlete. The difference was that athletes couldn’t just put on bulk, since huge muscles limited mobility. I couldn’t say my training was actually that well balanced, but my body just didn’t put on huge muscles which was rather convenient. That said, most of the huge guys had more flexibility than their looks let on- actual high level adventuring needed some flexibility, or they just wouldn’t last.
Just in case people hadn’t been watching in previous years, I did the high striker again. It required technique to do right, but Strength was still important. The bell ringing was satisfying, but I couldn’t just hang around one place repeating my actions. Hopefully if anyone was watching they would pick up on my successes- and not be very subtle about it, so we could figure them out. A strangely specific hope, but if they didn’t know we were watching, we had the advantage. By we, of course, I meant my party and people from the guild and such. I tried my best to avoid scanning the crowd too much.
There were also wrestling matches, which while not entirely reliant on Strength were a good chance to display it. I was heavier than I looked… and I could pick up someone several times my size if I got the chance. My shorter limbs were a disadvantage, but I didn’t need to win, just be noticed. I did win some, but I ended up losing to a guy who wasn’t even stronger than me and not that much bigger… but much more experienced. Then I had an unofficial wrestling match with Socks because she seemed super excited to do it… and I was once again glad that I had hands because their utility was the only thing keeping me vaguely on par with her size. We didn’t really have an official winner, but we did both end up covered in dirt.
This world didn’t have huge tractor tires to drag, but they had carts and wagons and armor and even concrete pillars. It wasn’t exactly concrete like on Earth, but then again there were different types of concrete even there. The point was, big artificial rocks shaped into cylinders mostly. There was a lot of pushing those around and trying to lift them up to vertical. Actually lifting them entirely off the ground would be fruitless, though maybe Timmy could do it. At the very least, he probably had the best chance except for very high level adventurers… who didn’t really show themselves in public much. Not that Timmy wasn’t a high level, but as the guildmaster he didn’t do so much actually going out fighting monsters.
At the end of the first day, we only heard from our party- meeting up with random guild members would be suspicious- but Halette and the rest hadn’t seen anything in particular. Socks also indicated she hadn’t found anyone particularly suspicious. However, if people were around the same places for a second day when they might otherwise seem normal, we could possibly pick them out. Hopefully, the guild had more success… or maybe nobody was watching at all, though that seemed a little bit naive.