I would have liked to say that the wyverns- unknowingly- causing Kantrilla pain led to their downfall entirely by my own hand… but instead I just more angrily and aggressively killed them as we fought them. That said, my contributions were just leading things to their inevitable ends more quickly. Without Halette, we would have been in more danger from surprise attacks- it was amazing how hard it was to spot something the size of a horse flying in the air when there were clouds. And, even once the combat became closer, Alhorn contributed more than me.
A wyvern flew in low towards us, fifty feet away… forty… thirty… I could see its tail tensing for an attack. Then, there was a flash of light. The wyvern didn’t quite crash into the ground… but it didn’t need to. All it needed was to be vulnerable for long enough for Socks to chomp onto its tail and pull it to the ground, and then I just had to chop its head off. That tactic didn’t work every time- but the blinding flash from Alhorn always made things easier. It wasn’t something that worked quite as well inside a dungeon- he had to keep focusing on the constant light output, and a bright flash there would likely blind all of us, even if he controlled it well. However, something that was up in the air could have the flash placed in such a way we were ready for it… and more importantly since we were aware of the enemies from further away than inside dungeons, the tactic was that much more effective.
It wasn’t really a fair way to fight… but we weren’t trying to be fair, we were trying to kill the wyverns and not die ourselves. That was working fairly well so far… but as time went on we realized we’d need all of our tricks. The base camp had to move further into wyvern territory, and even then we had to travel a few hours away at the bare minimum to find any wyverns… but we were now finding them in larger groups. Sometimes three or four… maybe six, with juveniles thrown in. Younger wyverns were easier to kill with a bow- thinner hides and such- but their stings could be just as dangerous.
The mission was almost at its closing point- but the next few days would be the most difficult. We were entering the area with the most wyverns, and while we didn’t have to exterminate them all… if there weren’t enough of them wiped out, then the problem would arise again in a year or two.
We started encountering wyvern nests- trees weren’t strong enough to support them, so they lived up at the top of cliffs similar to giant eagles. They would usually fly down to defend their nests, but sometimes they would remain above, waiting to see if we would climb up and threaten them. Since we needed to destroy the eggs… we couldn’t just leave them, but that meant some more trouble.
Fortunately, climbing was feasible with large amounts of Strength, even in armor. I could even carry someone on my back, though it wasn’t comfortable for either of us. Halette always remained down on the ground where she could shoot her bow in case they tried to attack while we were climbing up- which they often would. Well, three out of the handful of times we had actually done this.
Halette had spotted another nest halfway up a cliff face tucked into a cave of sorts there- the nest itself made out of sticks and sometimes whole tree branches torn off. We looked around for an easier route up, but our only real options were a few similar cliff faces… unless we spent the whole day going around in the hills to potentially climb down from above, which didn’t look any safer.
Alhorn was carrying Kasner on his back. Kasner was basically like a heavy backpack full of gear. On my back was Kantrilla. As one would expect from someone actually twice as tall, she was significantly heavier. Not twice, but closer to seven or eight times as much. That was how people worked, after all. I would never complain about her being heavy, but I would say that carrying someone on your back can be very awkward.
I climbed up the route I had picked before- there were adequate handholds and footholds, and while I sometimes had to put a lot of weight on a small area, the rock could handle it- and I could too. I was almost three times as strong as people on Earth could get at their peak. Maybe like two and a half, but I mean about huge dudes, the very upper end. Of course, I had magic helping me- at the very least to make my body capable of growing so strong. I wasn’t sure if bonus attribute points counted as magical. I suppose in a way, they were more magical than magic, because people understood how magic worked fairly well. The point was… some of those people would be carrying more weight with just themselves compared to me and my armor and Kantrilla. Sure, powerlifters weren’t known for rock climbing, but the idea was the same.
I glanced down at Socks- she had lifted us up to my starting point. I could see she really wanted to come, but there was no way she could climb up- and even I wasn’t anywhere near strong enough to carry her on my back up a cliff face. That barely even worked on solid ground, where walking was something I did unconsciously.
The climbing was rather silent- Alhorn and I occasionally glanced at each other, but nobody said anything. We didn’t want to make any extra noise, in case the wyvern up top noticed us mid climb, or just as we were getting over the top.
Hand, foot, hand, hand, foot, foot… I shifted my body up one bit at a time. Having short arms and legs made this worse, but at least I could hold myself up by just my fingers if necessary.
The cliff was maybe fifty feet tall compared to the surroundings, and the cave with the next was about thirty feet up. I could just barely see a few branches poking out above us. Clicks of boot and armor against stone, grunts of exertion, and breathing filled my ears.
Then, I reached the nest. Carefully, I found a purchase to leverage myself up and over, setting Kantrilla off to the side and standing up carefully. I looked towards the nest and saw… not a wyvern.
That was all my brain really registered at the time- I didn’t really have a good look at the whole creature immediately. All I could tell was that it wasn’t quite the right greenish color and that the teeth were far too big. I felt a similar amount of ferocity, but I didn’t really have time to think about what was different beyond that as a head the size of my torso opened up and roared at me. Acting on instinct, I brought my fist up into its jaw as it snapped towards me.