The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 65

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I dashed forward. The corridor floor was flat- they were always flat. Even if it wasn’t, I probably wouldn’t be able to see. Either way, that opened up my eyes for looking to my right, toward where the archers were. A brief instant of watching their arrows release. The next instant they were halfway to me… the next… I was staring into blackness itself.

That was a wall, of course. It was not unexpected. It was just… quicker than I had anticipated. Or rather, I had expected the need to dodge the arrows somewhat- but that turned out not to be true.

Halette and Socks came up just behind me a moment later, and we started forward.

It was a moment later when we came upon a half dozen goblins… but I took care of them all at once with one Whirlwind Attack. They were all flung into the walls, and then their bodies started fading out of existence. Everything worked together to make that possible- skill ranks, Strength, Weapon Mastery, and a magical weapon. Fighting goblins still wasn’t without risk, but defeating them in an instant actually helped mitigate that risk significantly.

“This side is the same,” I noted- though Halette could see it just as well as I could. It was looking just like a great four-way intersection through a circle. It would have been better if there were only one or two entrances to the boss room, but apparently that wasn’t going to be the case. Having not explored three of the possible entrances, we couldn’t be sure that there weren’t more goblins hiding down those corridors. We couldn’t discount the possibility that goblins would come from where we had either- but at least they would be further away.

Halette and I walked back around the curve, and Halette explained the situation across the corridor. “So, where do we go from here?”

Alhorn stood in thought for a few moments, “Well, we can’t afford to leave the rest of the ring unexplored. From here, each of our two groups could go around and clear to the opposite side. That way we can at least avoid missing any goblins who could come up behind us. Any coming from down the straight corridors will be further away, but we’ll need to watch for that.”

Everyone agreed. I had no objections either. We’d fought many bosses before, and while the situation was a bit different there were likely only a dozen or two more goblins in the ring. While facing them as a full group would be best, we couldn’t be sure they were clear if we went together. They could also theoretically move through the middle… but we could see the numbers on top had stayed the same- and they would have only had a few seconds to move in either case. Each quarter of the ring was only about sixty feet of curving hallway.

Halette sent Socks back across the corridor. Alhorn could use her in the front line, as he didn’t have as much offensive power as… me. Kasner did, but he would run out of mana very quickly if he was constantly casting. No arrows fired at Socks…

I poked me head into the corridor to look. With Martial Trance active, I got a good ‘long’ look at the goblins on the platform. They were the same as before- including the number of goblins with bows. Perhaps they had just decided to not waste arrows.

Halette and I walked quietly back to the next cross section on our side- or rather, Halette walked quietly, and I tried to be less loud. Hard boots and creaking armor didn’t help, but I did lighten my steps.

Then, I was sprinting again. I looked right- the goblins in the central area were only just turning to look at the sound. I looked left- no goblins as far as I could see, but I wasn’t sure how far that was except outside of the radius of light from my mace. Maybe there was a turn down there I couldn’t see.

As I got across the corridor, I could just see some goblins. I continued running forward, and heard Halette behind me- since she was running, she was no longer quiet.

My mace came across from the left of the corridor to the right. Against goblins I had the advantage of reach- and since I attacked first, I once again flung them about like bowling pins. A sudden stop like that combined with the momentum from a swing would normally throw me off balance, but my magical boots helped mitigate that problem. However, behind the front lines there were more goblins. There were a few archers… and a mage. I moved to rush toward the mage, but I had to build up speed again. Fortunately, an arrow from Halette took care of him, piercing right into his heart as he was about to zap me with lightning… or something.

There were still the arrows… but I just covered my face. Arrows bounced off of my armor. There would be dents, but goblin arrows and bows were cheap, and they weren’t that strong. They couldn’t penetrate armor. By the time they could draw another arrow, I was right in front of them- and they didn’t even have the slight benefit of being as big as the frontline goblins when being smashed by a magic mace.

I rushed up to the corner to look around- I didn’t see any movement from the goblins in the middle, though some of them had turned to face toward the ‘back’ of the room where I was.

“There’s no entrance here…” Halette pointed out.

“You’re right.” That was odd, but not completely unexpected. Most boss rooms didn’t have entrances on every possible side. I relaxed to catch my breath. Although it had only been less than a minute of activity, it was very vigorous. I wanted to be in top shape for the fight with the boss.

Meanwhile, Halette was looking over the back wall- from behind the safety of the side of the corridor. “It seems normal. I thought it might be a secret door or something to ambush us, but I’m finding no signs of that.”

I could hear Alhorn and the rest fighting, and then less than a minute later they came in sight. “Everything clear?” Alhorn asked.

I nodded. “Seems so.”

“Alright then. Time to plan our actual attack.”

Halette and I ran across the corridor to meet up with them. It wasn’t clear if goblins could understand Common, but whispering our more detailed plans was better anyway. That way, they couldn’t be sure when we were finished planning.

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