The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 81

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I quickly went to the first hydra we killed and gave a sharp tug on the spear stuck in its chest. Fortunately, it came out without breaking, and the hydra hadn’t fallen on it. Then I started to hurry toward the six-headed hydra. It had been someone of a straggler, so it wasn’t yet attacking the group already busy with two four-headed hydras, but it was clearly heading for them.

I moved at an angle that approached the hydra but also moved away from the other group, so that we could hopefully keep it away from them. After checking to make sure the others had kept up, I used Piercing Spear to throw and hit the back of the hydra. Usually I attacked them from the front… but since the scales were just as strong on the back and they didn’t dodge, it seemed to make little difference. At least it noticed the spear, unlike the arrows Halette had shot.

The six-headed hydra turned toward me, angry. Getting its attention had been the point, but as it approached I wondered if it was a good idea. Even with barrier spells cast by Kantrilla, I wasn’t sure I wanted to face it. However, we couldn’t exactly let it attack the other group who was busy… and it was also already too late.

I barely managed to sidestep its initial attacks, and its heads slammed into the ground, making impressions nearly a foot deep. I swung down my glaive before the heads could retreat, but because of the awkward angle and the scales being harder than expected, I only managed to trace a faint bloody line along one neck.

The only good thing about a six-headed hydra being bigger was that its necks were bigger. That would normally be worse, but it meant they were less agile and got in each other’s way more. I wasn’t a fan of the bigger teeth, but I couldn’t do much about that.

I didn’t have time to pay attention to what everyone else was doing, but based on the fact that I only had to deal with a few heads at a time Alhorn was helping distract at least his fair share of heads. When I could, I slashed at the hydra’s necks… but I had to spend most of my time avoiding attacks.

Then one of the heads came at me from an angle I didn’t expect- and I was already busy dodging other heads. It came around from the side instead of above, and I barely had time to shift my shield as its jaws closed around me. I managed to wedge my shield widthwise between its teeth, and it even went just far enough to reach both sides of its mouth.

The good thing was that my body was pretty much protected from the other mouths… the bad thing was that I was pretty much entirely inside the hydra’s mouth, with my neck and lower legs around where its teeth would close if it managed to crush my shield. That was one of the reasons I had the shield, but it didn’t make the situation less terrifying.

What could I do? I wasn’t sure how my shield would hold up, so I needed all the time I could to think. I activated Martial Trance, and my mind raced. Somewhere along the way I had lost my glaive. I didn’t want to poke it with my bow… and I’d stopped carrying my heavy mace even if I could swing it inside the mouth. I supposed arrows might work… but then I noticed something much sharper and probably sturdier. There were dozens of them, actually.

I was glad hydras had horrible dentistry, because I managed to grab a tooth with a base that wasn’t quite lined up right. I ripped and pulled… then wiped my hand to get off some of the saliva. The second time I had a better grip, and the tooth came out. It was over a foot long, and I didn’t hesitate to drive it into the roof of the hydra’s mouth.

The hydra flailed its head and roared… and I found myself flying through the air. I didn’t have time to admire the view, and quickly looked around. I got some measure of my bearings with liberal applications of Martial Trance, and then there was some flailing so I didn’t land headfirst.

I landed right in front of Kantrilla… nearly on my feet, but my momentum carried me over to fall flat. The pain in my left arm told me something happened to it during the landing… or possibly when I was flung out of the hydra’s mouth. “Uugh.”

“Llyr!” Kantrilla didn’t bother with anything stupid like ‘are you alright’. It was pretty clear. She rolled me off my arm and unstrapped my shield. Then she used some magic to lower the pain, before looking it over.

I did my best to not move, but I craned my neck to watch the fight. Kantrilla had actually been about thirty feet back, around twice the reach of the hydra. That was good, but it also meant Alhorn and Socks were a bit shorthanded. From what I could see, at least the head that had captured me was limp now.

I was surprised to see Socks- I figured she would be clawing at the back of the hydra, but she had actually climbed up its back and was attacking its necks from behind. Alhorn was standing close to the hydra, exploiting its low flexibility. He still had to avoid it stepping on him to crush him, but at least the heads couldn’t easily reach him. He kept circling around to the side to keep it distracted.

One of the heads managed to lean back and turn, and struck out toward Socks. However, her reflexes were fast, and she pushed herself away. The head couldn’t follow any further backwards- but not before ripping and tearing a good chunk of neck to take with her.

Another head went limp… but the four remaining treelike necks gathered together and raised up. I wasn’t sure what they were going to do… but suddenly the necks slammed down together, toward Alhorn, trying to crush him between the heads and the hydra’s body.

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