The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 80

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The hydras were spotted even before the people luring them closer- they weren’t that far behind and they were much bigger. The plan had been to bring as few hydras at a time as possible… but it seemed like that plan had failed. I wasn’t going to blame those whose job it was, however, because I certainly wasn’t brave enough to even try it. Sometimes, plans failed, and you found yourself facing off against a swarm of hydras.

The ground started trembling as the hydras approached like a vast wall. There was no way to count how many there were. It was hard, with so many long necks swaying everywhere. Some were the relatively smaller three headed kind, but more were four or five headed. Mixed in there were a few I presumed had six heads from their size, but I didn’t really have time to count heads. There was also a very large one in the back… It towered over all the others, even though some of them were the size of a decent house.

I readied myself to fight hydras… but they weren’t coming toward us, but still chasing after the people who had drawn them toward the middle.

Alhorn was the first I heard to properly react, “We need to draw them away! They can’t face that many alone, and they need to fight the boss!” Alhorn shouted as he shot one with a bow.

A moment later, dozens of arrows and spells flew out- either spurred on by Alhorn’s shout or their own realizations. A handful of hydras died, though many were targeted by more spells than necessary and probably resulted in wasted mana. Many more hydras were wounded, some heavily- and the attacks also gained their attention. The swarm of hydras started to split off to the sides.

“Rotate formations! Center back twenty paces!” The call came from the female magician who was part of the higher level groups. It was magically enhanced, so it was clearly heard even among all the other noise.

It took a moment for people to remember the few plans we had, but pretty soon we were moving the formation. As stated, the center went back… and drew the rest of the lines with it, to form a sort of V. With all the hydras coming mostly toward the center, it made sense. It let us meet them on a more individual level instead of just waiting for them to kill their way along.

Our party moved along with one side of the V a bit, then prepared to face the first hydra coming toward us. It was just a three headed one… Brought down by a few arrows, a spear from me, and a single spell by Kasner.

It was a good thing we finished it off quickly, because there was another hydra right behind it, a four headed one. I didn’t have time to retrieve my spear- or room to throw it- so I had to make do with my shield and glaive.

Kantrilla cast a blessing of some sort on everyone. This wasn’t a battle where we could conserve mana- though Kantrilla would still save enough mana to stop bleeding. Since she didn’t have any offensive spells to use against the hydras, she was actually unlikely to run out of mana as quickly unless we messed up.

Alhorn and I took our places on either side of the front of the hydra, with Socks taking her position behind it completing our little triangle. I couldn’t see it but, from the way the hydra thrashed about she had probably already caught its tail.

I moved in to swing my glaive at the rightmost neck… but the next one over came ramming down toward me. I blocked with my shield… and was sent flying. I landed on my back over a dozen feet away, though I was pretty much uninjured. If I hadn’t let the force of the blow push me but instead tried to stop it, I probably would have broken my shield arm. It might do some good and help train toughness… but I certainly wasn’t going to worry about training attributes in the middle of a big battle.

By the time I picked myself back up and moved forward again, Alhorn had stabbed his sword deep into one of the necks- based on how much blood was spouting out of the wound. I also saw a few arrows sticking out of another head, with one inside the mouth and one in an eye.

I moved forward and performed a whirlwind attack while all the heads were distracted by Alhorn for a moment… and chopped partway through the right three heads. I didn’t lop them clean off, but each head was cut through at least half a foot if not a full foot. I found myself covered in blood, and a moment later I found myself dodging falling hydra heads as it was finished off by some lightning from Kasner.

I quickly looked around for immediately pressing hydras, but saw nothing that required my immediate attention. At least, not before I wiped off some of the blood on my gauntlet and the haft of my glaive. I wanted to have good grip… and some of the scrub grass served the purpose well enough. That only took a few moments. “So, where should we go?” I looked around more. I briefly looked over at the hydra boss itself- long enough to see a spear fly all the way through one of its several foot thick necks. The hole left behind seemed almost insignificant. That battle was too far and too dangerous to get involved in, so I continued looking.

“There!” Halette pointed, indicating her direction by shooting an arrow at a hydra. A group a bit further away was engaged in combat with two four headed hydras… and a six headed one was approaching them. They already looked like they were barely managing, and nobody else looked free to fight another enemy. That left us.

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