The Only Thing I Can Upgrade is Strength chapter 99

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All the talk about healing had made me wonder. At the time, I had just chalked it up to magic… but there was more to it than that. Heal fixed wounds, Cure removed poisons and diseases. I supposed Regenerate could grow back things that were gone. In that case, an appropriately powerful Cure could have explained fixing my condition, right?

There were just some problems with that. Muscular dystrophy wasn’t something I caught from someone else. It was genetic. Could that even happen? Perhaps it was one of those things that just worked. After all, experience was a literal mist that seemed to magically make people stronger. Mana existed and let me do things that were otherwise impossible in a different way. Changing genetics just seemed… different somehow.

I could have thought about it forever, but the easiest way was just to find a chance to speak to Father Thomas. His broad smile and peaceful demeanor had already helped me relax before he even spoke, “What is it you need to talk about, Llyr?”

“Umm, well, how you cured me.”

Father Thomas shrugged, “The Cure spell, decades of practice, and a lot of mana.”

“Well, yes, but…” I rubbed my eyes with one hand, “How was it even possible? It wasn’t something I picked up, but genetics. You know, traits inherited from patients.”

“I do know what genetics is,” Father Thomas nodded. I realized the word translated properly. “Of course sensible people have always known that children inherited traits from their parents, but calling it genetics was brought about by an otherworlder, oh… perhaps a century ago. The word isn’t something most people know, or the details. They have no need of it, but of course those who study healing also need to study people. That’s how I heard about it.” Father Thomas spread his hands, “Of course, I only know the surface level theory. Everything happens at a level far too small to actually see. To answer your real question… yes, your genetics were changed. That’s the only way to stay healthy. Though, it was only a very slight change, I believe.”

“Oh. Well.” I scratched the back of my head, “I mean, I didn’t particularly want bad genes anyway. Are there other uses of magic that change genes?”

“There are.” Father Thomas folded his hands, “But for the most part it’s not the sort of magic that is talked about in polite company. Usually it falls under the category of curses and other such unpleasant business.”

“Yeah, I can see that…” Spells used to weaken monsters were one thing- they might be called curses, they might not, but real curses were the sort of things people used on other people, with more lasting consequences. That was what I had been told, anyway. “Well, umm… thanks for curing me back then. Can I repay you somehow? The money for that would take some time to work up, but I could do it.”

Father Thomas’ smile brightened, “I was glad to. At the time it was just for Kantrilla, but having seen and heard more of you, I would do it for you as well. You haven’t wasted the opportunity. As for repayment… just do your best to help out your friend and others. Make the world a better place.” He shrugged, “Now, if you were some sort of snotty rich brat, I’d be more than glad to take your money and finally do some good with it. That’s the real reason there’s such a large asking price for that sort of magic… plus being out of commission and being unable to help others.”

“Okay, I’ll do that.” I was already going to help Kasner anyway, but having another reason to do so was nice. Thinking about the conversation, I muttered to myself, “… kind of wish I could meet more otherworlders.”

“Maybe you can.” Father Thomas shrugged, “While you aren’t too common, it’s not like you’re the only one. Why, the current Great Sage is an otherworlder. I’m almost surprised you didn’t hear about it while you were in Ekralas…” Father Thomas tilted his head, “I can’t say for sure he’d see you, but you have a chance.”

“Ah… I think I heard about the sages? Not that one was an otherworlder though.”

“Yes, well, it’s not exactly a secret, but not necessarily public either. Like I said though, he may or may not choose to see you if you went to visit. He’s a very busy man, but he is interested in rare skills. Your ‘All In’ skill might be useful there. It seems that it could even be exclusive to otherworlders… or close enough to exclusive. I haven’t heard of anyone spending ten levels without spending points only to put everything in a single attribute… so it’s extremely unlikely to happen for normal people.”

“That’s probably for the best. It would be nice to be able to distribute my attribute points as I pleased.” I wondered if I should go try to see the Great Sage. Maybe he knew someone who could heal Kasner. I shook my head. No, even if I got to meet him, I doubted he’d do me any favors right away.

—–

I didn’t like the smile on Sgar’s face. He looked down toward me. “So, regular training isn’t cutting it anymore? You need something… more? You’ve come to the right place!”

While Sgar’s prior training hadn’t been that bad, that was just training me as a beginner. I had the feeling he could come up with much more difficult things. “I hope I don’t regret this…”

“Haha, why would you ever regret trying to become stronger?” Sgar clapped his meaty hands together. “Now then, why don’t we start off with a test.” He gestured toward a hardwood table over to the side of the tavern section of the adventurer’s guild. He saw down and put one elbow on the table. “Come on then.”

I sat down and put my own arm on the table. I’d never arm wrestled Sgar before- not seriously anyway. Actually, I’d never arm wrestled anyone seriously. On Earth, it would have been an embarrassing display… and I’d never had the occasion to here. Sgar’s arm was bulkier and longer, but with the right angling we clasped hands… then with a squeeze of our grips we started.

As our arms strained against each other, I got the feel of how strong Sgar was. The answer was very strong… but he was also practical. He hadn’t dumped all of his points into Strength. Thus, he had a Strength in the low 600’s while mine was in the mid 700’s. An entire person’s worth of Strength was the difference between us, and even with the advantage of leverage from his longer arms he was being pushed back.

“Rrrrraaaaaaaargh!” Sgar shouted, not just in exertion. Then he started pushing back. I was momentarily confused at how his Strength had increased by around a hundred points… but he was a barbarian after all. My arm was starting to get tired… but that wasn’t going to be an issue for long. He slowly started to push back, ever increasing in intensity. Then my arm slammed down the last part, into the table… which collapsed. Everything was silent except for our heavy breathing- even the crowd around us that I hadn’t even noticed gathering. “N… not… Not bad, kid.”

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