The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 9

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I woke up in the morning and stretched. The bed was stiff as a board, and I was too. After I sat up, I stretched more. It still surprised me, honestly. Sitting up so easily.


I went downstairs to find breakfast was meat. Was meat so cheap? It wasn’t rabbit- I was pretty clear on the taste of that, and would recognize it even if it was cooked more expertly. It wasn’t exactly what I would have chosen for breakfast, and it was kind of tough and stringy. I couldn’t say it was bad though. There was certainly enough to feel full.


When I found myself heading out of the city to fight horned rabbits, I supposed my mind was made up. I wasn’t going to quit after one day, at just the thought of facing adversity.


I headed toward one of the nearby farmsteads that surrounded the city. I’d had luck finding rabbits near those. The farmsteads grew crops surrounded by their own low walls, but they must have had something else to keep out the rabbits. After all, the walls were just that- low. A few feet tall, but these were rabbits we were talking about. They jumped… and burrowed, probably. Though, their horns would probably cause trouble there. This world seemed a bit crazy. Regardless, I had an idea of where to find them.


It still took some time, wandering around between a few farmsteads. When I saw the farmers I asked if they’d seen any horned rabbits, but none of them had yet. I moved a bit further from the city, and it took a while of searching before I found any.


If they were normal rabbits, I probably would have had to set traps to catch them, and wait hours- or perhaps leave the traps and come back for later days. Instead, once I found them and approached, they would attack me… and I would kill them. When I woke up in the forest, I killed them to survive, and now… I killed them for the same reason. To earn money, which would accomplish that goal. Besides, they always attacked first, from the very beginning. Not that I wouldn’t have ambushed them given the chance, but their ears worked well, and my sneaking skills did not.


Near the end of a day, I got a pretty bad gash across my upper arm. How bad it was… I wasn’t sure. It was definitely more than just a scratch, and it was bleeding, but I didn’t think it was going to kill me. Hopefully. Still, I remembered hearing about medics helping out adventurers at the guild. It wasn’t free of course, but I had some money… and not even bandages to bind the wound with.


The medic establishment was right next to the adventurer’s guild. It was mainly for their use, after all. Presumably there were more medical facilities elsewhere. I sure hoped so, but in this kind of world that wouldn’t necessarily be true. I really didn’t know that much yet.


I stepped inside, and it smelled more herby than hospital-y. I knew what hospitals smelled like. Still, that was only modern ones. I only saw one young woman inside, so I started walking toward her. As she heard the door close behind me she turned around. “Oh, you-” She quickly stepped forward to meet me, “Are you sick? How bad is it? You don’t look okay at all!”  Then she pulled back my sleeve and gasped, “You’re thin like a twig! You should have come here earlier! It’s dangerous to wait!”


I didn’t know what to say at first. I didn’t have a chance to talk, and I couldn’t get any words out. I was surprised by her intensity, but also by her size. She was big. Perhaps six feet tall. I hadn’t noticed before she approached, because she seemed normally proportioned… just big. I myself was tiny, so it meant I had to lean back to look into her eyes. Finally, I managed to stammer out something. “It’s this.” I pointed to my arm, “I’m here to get a bandage, or something.”


“Oh!” Her eyes lit up in surprise, “I didn’t see that!” I wondered if she was blind, because the red clearly stood out on the clothes around it. I definitely needed to be here… but maybe not being treated by this person.


Once she saw the wound, she quickly dragged me over to a chair. I was probably strong enough to stop her easily, but that would have been counterproductive. Once she sat me down, she got a serious look on her face and actually started carefully examining the wound. Then she brought over some bandages and rags. She cleaned the wound and wrapped it in bandages. “All done!”


“Umm… how much is it?”


“Just a copper for the bandages! It didn’t need any stitches or magic, so it’s cheap!”


That was cheap. It was literally the smallest unit of currency. Maybe. Maybe there were… half-coppers? I knew that kind of thing used to exist. Either way, it was good enough for peace of mind. I pulled out a copper and started to get up to leave.


“Wait right there! You’re still sick young man!” It was funny to hear those words from her. She barely looked older than me. Well, she looked significantly older, but she didn’t really look older than normal people my age.


I shook my head. “I’m fine.”


“You’re not fine! I’m surprised you can even stand up! I can’t let you go out there like that and fight monsters!”


Her enthusiasm was nice, but it didn’t help. I probably was still sick, but there wasn’t anything that could be done about it. “Even if I was sick, I don’t have much money.” I started walking toward the door. She grabbed my arm to stop me… but I just kept walking.


When our arms reached full length, she staggered forward. She probably wasn’t expecting me to be strong enough for that. Then, she planted her feet. “Staaayyy… heeere…” Her feet started dragging across the floor. It was kind of fun, being this strong. That is, stronger than another person. Any person.


“I don’t have money,” I said again, and continued walking.


“So you are sick! Father, there’s a sick person trying to leave!”


Father? I realized things might be about to get complicated for no good reason. Hopefully her father would be more reasonable.

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