(Patreon) Strength Chapter 17

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I faced off against the wolf. My body was too tense… but I couldn’t do anything about it. For all the fact that horned rabbits had sharp horns… there was only so much force they could muster behind their attacks. A wolf, on the other hand… it could certainly do much more.

Time seemed to stretch on, and everything stood still… until everything happened at once. The wolf sprang forward, and I swung my club overhead. There was contact and then… I found myself lying on my back.

The snow was so thin it only touched the back of my ears, but it was slippery enough that I had trouble getting to my feet. It didn’t help that I was hurrying, because the wolf would surely attack again… However once my footing was firm, I saw the wolf just laying in the snow. There was a small area of red snow near its head. I supposed I had hit it in the nose… but the force had knocked both of us backwards. Even without the snow making things slippery, my footing hadn’t been solid enough.

The wolf was only a couple steps away. I took a step forward, then leaned down to see if it was dead. There was a flash of movement, and I threw my left arm in front of me. Sharp pain pierced through me as the wolf bit into my forearm… but at least it wasn’t my neck. The wolf twisted its head, trying to pull and tear… but the light bracers I had kept most of my flesh intact.

When I’d hit the wolf earlier, I had used a full powered Bash, but it was still able to move. With just one hand, I wouldn’t be able to hit as hard… but at least I could be sure of hitting it. I had enough mana or whatever for a few more uses of Bash… and fortunately I was right handed. My club swung around the side. I was only able to hit it in the flank, but the solid sound of impact was satisfying. My success was marred only by the increasing sharpness of the pain in my wrist. The wolf had still not let go, so I continued to hit it… and hit it. Soon, I was out of mana. A few blows after that, it let go… but I continued hitting the wolf until I could barely move my arm.

Then I breathed out, my breath showing up as a light mist in the chilling air. I looked down at the wolf. Its face was bloody from the single hit… and the rest of it was mangled from my further actions. My left wrist… it had a number of punctures and tears, but it would be fine. Maybe. With healing magic, it certainly could be. I wrapped it with bandages… it was hard to do with just one hand and my mouth to hold onto things, but I got bandages all the way around. They were soaking up the blood, at least. Hopefully they would reduce how much it bled as well…

I clipped my club to my belt. Then, somehow I managed to shove the wolf into my sack. Well, part of the way inside, anyway. I was so exhausted I couldn’t lift it, but I grabbed the edge of the sack and pulled it along behind me. I wasn’t just going to leave it behind, after all.

On my way back to town, I didn’t run into anything else. Well, I had to go significantly further to find horned rabbits, and wolves wouldn’t come this far. I still made sure to look behind me occasionally in case I was being followed. I thought back on the fight… or perhaps it was more correctly a brawl.

The start had been manageable. Once the wolf was down, I should have just finished it off instead of leaning down to look at it. After that, it had just been a mess. Still, the wolf was terrifyingly resilient. Were all wolves this tough? No wonder Sgar told me to wait until I had a class to fight them.  

I knew all of the gate guards by this point, so they just gave me a look when I dragged my bag into the city. My speed had actually started to pick up, because my arm actually got a bit less tired. Dragging was a different kind of work than swinging a club… and I was quite strong, even if I didn’t look like it. By the time I got to the guild, all off the blood had been wiped off in the snow behind me. That was good, because they preferred to keep things somewhat cleaner… not that they could do much with people bringing in body parts of various creatures.

I left my bag where the bounties could be counted… then scurried off to the healer’s area. By that point, my arms was pulsing with pain. When I stepped in, Kantrilla came running over. I hadn’t seen her for over a week after the first time, but she was often here in the days afterwards.

“Llyr! Your arm is hurt!”

I couldn’t help but laugh, “I know. That’s why I came here, after all.”

“Oh, right!” She sat me down and started to undo my bandages. That stung a little bit, but it was when it came to removing the remains of my bracer that it really became painful. Some of the bits were in the wound, and though she tried to be careful when pulling them out, I couldn’t help but wince. While she worked, she asked me what happened, so I told her that I had gone a bit further than normal to try to find horned rabbits, and a wolf found me. She frowned, “How unfortunate!” Then she cast a spell. The glowing energy was much less than the previous one I had seen… but that was entirely reasonable. After all, I wasn’t being cured of Muscular Dystrophy, but just some wounds. When the spell settled on my arm… I felt like nothing happened. The pain didn’t change, and it didn’t appear to be healing.

“Umm… did it work?”

“It should have!” She smiled, “but you wouldn’t be able to tell. That one was because it was a wolf bite. We don’t want you getting sick. Healing is next!”

“Oh, rabies?” I nodded. I hadn’t even thought about that. She cast another spell… and this time the glowing energy was very soothing as it went into my arm. When it was done… my arm was still clearly injured, but all of the flesh was in the right place. Then she wrapped it in bandages carefully. “All done! Don’t use that arm for a couple days. You should also come back to get the bandages changed so we can make sure it’s healing properly.”

I nodded. I could use a day or two off after that anyway. I had enough money that it wasn’t a problem… though the healing expenses would set me back a bit there.

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