The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 202

Previous ChapterTable of ContentsNext Chapter

Until we had gotten back into the dungeon fighting goblins, I had nearly forgotten Alhorn’s armor was lightning resistant. After all, if one did not come up against lightning, lightning resistance wasn’t anything. Only perhaps a third of the goblin mages used lightning, but it was also the hardest thing to effectively block or dodge… so the armor really showed its value. As for me, I had to guess and rely on Kantrilla’s barriers.

Fire and ice and arrows I could block or dodge, and there were plenty of those coming- though we only actually faced less than half of the room at the moment. We were in the hallway, so we didn’t have to worry about the goblin boss archer who was in the corner, and we even had some cover from the spells.

Since we had gotten the attention of the minotaurs, we planned to back up into the hallway and have them chase after us. As I did my part of that, I tossed my throwing dagger at the closest archer- he didn’t have armor, but even if he did it wouldn’t have stopped the dagger going into his neck. With Return Weapon, I quickly pulled it back to me as I backed away.

The minotaurs weren’t slow, and they reached the entrance to the room while we had only gotten a handful of steps back. We hadn’t expected to get much farther. There was just one complication… as the minotaur boss approached, its weapon began to glow. It wasn’t fire or lightning or even something that looked like ice, “What is that?” I asked, hoping someone else would know. All I could see was a pure white glowing outline around the weapon, making it seem bigger. 

“Just don’t get hit by it!” Kasner called out. He wasn’t very helpful… except of course his magic. He created ice under the feet of the boss, slowing it down while letting the smaller minotaurs get ahead. It sadly didn’t trip, but that gave us a few moments.

I threw my dagger again, straight into the head of one of the minotaurs. Fortunately the blade was just long enough for that to work. It was also unreasonably sharp… better than a magic weapon, really. Before I had time to pull it back, I had to deflect an attack from another minotaur. Alhorn blocked one, and Socks pounced on the other. Halette shot towards the minotaur boss’s head, aiming for the opening in its helmet. Sadly her accuracy wasn’t as uncannily high as when something had too many eyes, but her arrow did fly straight and true, sticking into the metal of the helmet. She was quite strong after all- a longbow was made to pierce through armor. It was just that if the arrow had been misaligned it would have easily deflected.

Kantrilla was blocking arrows and gouts of fire. Her shield was made of livewood, which one might think would be bad against fire… but that simply wasn’t the case. The ‘secret’ was in the name. It was livewood- actually living, and thus containing significant quantities of water. Unless there was a raging inferno, it wouldn’t catch on fire- forest fires mostly grew from dead trees and leaves and branches on the ground. Unfortunately, that same benefit made the shield able to conduct electricity… but that was no worse than a metal shield.

I quickly pulled my dagger back towards me, but I also drew my mace. The minotaur in front of me regained its balance after my block as I did so, but a standard minotaur wasn’t too dangerous on its own. Though it was terrifying, all I had to do was step inside its reach and it couldn’t attack me with its axe. It might try to grab me or stomp on me… but as my mace came into its leg it didn’t have much opportunity. Of course, I didn’t do all of that without a little bit of Martial Trance backing me up.

Kasner redirected a lightning bolt from one of the goblin mages back into the minotaur Alhorn was fighting- they either didn’t have a good angle on Alhorn or had realized their magic didn’t work, and Kasner had become the next target. The shock gave Alhorn a chance to stab his sword into its eye, and in just a couple moments all the minotaurs were dead- Socks had taken care of the one she pounced on.

It was good we were so speedy, because the minotaur boss was upon us. Fortunately its bulk blocked some of the attacks from the goblins- I didn’t see any sign that it noticed their attacks, but at least they didn’t reach us. Alhorn moved up on the left, and I moved in on the right, after taking a moment to pick up my dagger and sheath it.

It wasn’t clear whether my moment of delay had been good or bad for us. It was good for me personally since I wasn’t the target of the boss’ attack, but Alhorn had to block it instead. Not that he wasn’t quite capable of that. Of course, since the boss was about ten feet tall he didn’t block the attack head on- instead deflecting it with his shield. It looked like a perfect deflection to me, but Alhorn cried out in pain as the axe slid along the shield, and I saw Kantrilla’s barrier break. Alhorn stepped back, glancing down at his arm. “It hit me through the shield! Be careful!”

I didn’t know exactly what that meant… except that I had to be careful blocking. Even so, I stepped forward towards the minotaur… because I saw Kasner had coated its head in ice- specifically less pure ice around its eyes. Actually freezing the minotaur’s head would be outside of his capabilities, but creating a shell around it was easy enough. With that opportunity, I swung my mace at its thigh- the easiest target to reach- and smashed into it. Its armor dented… but it didn’t seem like I broke anything.

I ducked to the side as the minotaur swung blindly at me, taking special care to stay out of reach of the glowing part of the axe- since apparently Alhorn’s shield didn’t block that properly. As I dodged, Socks leaped onto the minotaur, grabbing one leg and pulling. The minotaur boss somehow managed to keep on its feet, and it slashed at Socks… who went flying. Socks flew into the wall, hitting with a thud and a whimper… but then she followed up with a loud and determined growl. I saw some blood, but she was immediately back in the action.

Alhorn had pulled back for a moment to get Kantrilla to heal his arm- which was worrying but I didn’t have time to think about it. She wouldn’t be doing any diagnosing in combat, but she could stop bleeding and delay other problems.

The minotaur smashed its head against a wall, breaking the ice, and I managed a strike on its hip… but it was insanely tough. The armor was dented, but it wasn’t going to go down in just a hit or two. The minotaur boss also didn’t hesitate to swing its axe at any opportunity, not really caring about defense. I had to almost throw myself on the floor to avoid the axe as it swept horizontally, and I was still just a tiny bit slow… the axe clipped my temple, right through my helmet.

I half-crawled and half rolled away, reaching up to feel my head… and only felt solid helmet. So that was what he meant. It hadn’t broken through Alhorn’s shield at all, just ignored it. I couldn’t see it, but the cut on my head probably wasn’t too bad… though I did feel blood trickling down.

Halette continued to shoot arrows- not at the boss now, but at the goblin mages down the hallway, and she’d taken out the ones directly in view. That made things a bit easier for us.

“Let’s take this thing down!” Alhorn shouted. Sounded like he was back in the fight, so hopefully his wound hadn’t been that serious. The minotaur’s axe came back for me once more, but I was in a better position… and as I stepped back, the axe crashed into the wall. I doubted it would get stuck there for long, but we had a good opportunity. I could already see Socks leaping out of the corner of my eye, and I lunged forward as well.

Previous ChapterTable of ContentsNext Chapter

Leave a Reply