Berserk energy was primarily cultivated by converting anger into berserk energy. That was just part of the process of increasing the maximum amount of berserk energy a practitioner of the Immortal Berserker Style could store. The body was also an important part of that- too much berserk energy in a weak body would destroy the cultivator. The body- and thus indirectly food- also provided the actual power. Training therefore left Barrett emotionally and physically drained.
It was when Barrett was wrestling a new batch of berserk energy under control that the curse flared up to its strongest point. Though he hadn’t directly used stamina, it came from his body’s overall condition… and thus that was weakened as well. Fortunately Barrett had some caution, so he hadn’t gone all in on his energy cultivation.
As the tendrils of the curse tried to pull apart his life force, he fought back, inwardly slashing and pulling at it. He didn’t have enough stamina left to try to destroy the curse, but he managed to keep it in a stalemate while at the same time settling the berserk energy inside of him. Finally, the curse went into a recession and Barrett had a chance to recover.
Barrett had expected something to that effect- not quite as dangerous, or he would have made more preparations, but the curse was obviously crafty enough to take advantage of his weaknesses. While he had beat it momentarily, he wasn’t sure if he would be successful every time. Even if he beat it off, it could cause lasting damage to his life force.
If he didn’t train berserk energy or stamina he could fight the curse off indefinitely… though since he couldn’t sleep he relied on meditating often to achieve rest. It was possible to maintain a state where he was half awake and half asleep, and while it wasn’t as good as actual sleep if he spent half a day meditating he could function decently for the rest of the day.
However, that left Barrett with something of a conundrum. He couldn’t safely train berserk energy or stamina, but if he didn’t improve he couldn’t fight off the curse. He did try training magic- he was able to do so because at any point he could cease his magical practice to deal with the curse. Everything was external to him, so if he dropped a rock or cracked one or failed to move a bit of mud, there were no real consequences. Berserk energy was not the same.
After training only in magic for a week, Barrett confirmed his progress was rather slow. He already knew that- and while he recognized being able to use magic at all was something most people would never achieve, he also knew he wouldn’t be able to keep up with his peers. At best, he might be able to keep up with soldiers from mundane kingdoms who used simple body training methods that occasionally got them to first or second tier.
He could still technically do simple uses of stamina. However, to really progress in his training he would need to take some risks. He didn’t want to do something that might get his wrist stuck backwards or his bones the wrong shape, even if he could later recover. At any point he could have to fight the curse. Even though more specialized uses of stamina like shifting his weight or strength to particular parts of his body would return to normal when he ceased concentrating, if he didn’t control the return in some way it caused shock to his body. That was something he couldn’t afford while a curse was trying to tear him apart from the inside.
It was still possible to train his bodily toughness by being injured. That didn’t require any active concentration from him, and though it consumed stamina he could remain ready to fight off the curse as long as he didn’t go too far. He was also still capable of doing regular exercise. Normally it was most efficient to do some energy cultivation and some body training when cultivating the Immortal Berserker Style, but he didn’t really have that option at the moment.
The next week, he spent most of his time exercising with heavy weights, losing spars to Katja or recovering from injuries of various sorts. Since he’d reached third tier, he could go almost even with Katja, but that was only when he could fight using berserk energy and stamina. Using just his body without any Pure Body Tempering tricks made him much less of a threat. Katja offered to fight him without using berserk energy, and they did that sometimes… but Barrett wanted to push himself. Besides, in a real fight no one would go easy on him just because he couldn’t use berserk energy.
Though he was making some progress, Barrett definitely felt his growth had slowed. Berserk energy was an important part of the regular tempering process, and without growing stronger in that area he would plateau eventually. It might not be for some time, but Barrett was still concerned. He needed better body training methods, and for that he went to Alnherr.
“Hmm… body training without any Pure Body Tempering techniques, eh?” Alnherr shook his head, “That curse is a real troublemaker, isn’t it? Of course I’ll help. The simplest option is to train with multisteel equipment. Most people don’t use it, but the Immortal Berserker Sect has some available anyway.”
“Multisteel?” Barrett shook his head, “I haven’t heard of that.”
“That’s because it’s crap metal. It weighs three to ten times as much as steel, but without the benefits one would expect from that density. In actual combat it can snap under its own weight if used improperly. Generally it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Even training weapons have to be made thicker for it to hold up, which can make it even more heavy. Most people aren’t ready to deal with equipment of that weight, and fourth tier or higher warriors often have better options to grow stronger. Regular sparring or energy assisted training.” Master Alnherr grinned, showing a few more teeth had grown in. “Pure Body Temperers use it though. You just haven’t needed that much weight- supporting your own body while unbalanced is enough at your level of Pure Body Tempering. Anyway, I did ask around for some for myself, and I found the Immortal Berserker Sect does have a few sets of weapons and armor available. You can train with some of that. I’d recommend starting with the light set… especially with the training plan I’ll make for you.”