Barrett put aside one day of every week to learn magic… or rather, to see if he could. Not that he was planning to incorporate magic into his fighting. That was an additional level of complexity he didn’t need. However, he figured he might as well try it out to see if it could help him with controlling berserk energy and Pure Body Tempering abilities at the same time.
It wasn’t like he was going to lose training time. He had at least one day a week reserved for non-physical activity. It was either that or spend the whole day laid out flat in bed with nothing to do. It could either be the day immediately following a destruction or just taking some heavy injuries, but that averaged to about once a week usually. It still took a full ten days to recover from a destruction- but after the first day was over his recovery abilities were above a normal human’s again and he could go back to more physical activity.
Even if it didn’t help him with his other training as expected, learning more about magic would help when fighting it. He had already learned some, but more from the theoretical side than how to use it himself.
The Immortal Berserker Sect didn’t use magic. That wasn’t a rule, but more of a consequence of what they were. They were warriors, and they had methods for training the body and training berserk energy. More importantly, people suited to the berserk energy training tended to be those with strong bodies that did well with body training. However, to combine that with magical talent was rare, and though some of them might have had some magical talent it was either undiscovered or not quite enough to be worth the effort.
However, each Immortal Berserker developed their own way as they grew stronger, going out adventuring. Thus, in the entire Immortal Berserker Sect there was a single master who used magic. Or rather, a mistress.
Mistress Julie Abels was a fifth tier warrior, and somewhere around fourth tier magic user. It was hard to judge her actual magical ability, since she rarely used it offensively and her Immortal Berserker training meant that she had a solid body that would distort the effects of any duel. Her actual proficiency didn’t matter to Barrett beyond that she was good enough to teach him the basics.
She agreed to teach Barrett, even with the stipulation that he only wanted to learn to compare it, and not for any real use. She agreed easily enough, but Barrett suspected it was made easier by him being Master Hykel’s personal disciple instead of one of the other hundreds of second tier members of the Sect. She was a large woman, though not actually quite as tall or muscly as Katja.
They started with a basic test of affinity. It was possible he had no affinity for magic whatsoever… or only for a kind she could not teach, in which case there would be no point spending time. The test involved holding a number of special gemstones and looking at their reactions. Barrett could tell they were magical, because the glowed slightly even before he touched them- and more afterwards.
“Hmm… average,” Mistress Abels declared.
“That’s good, right?”
“Not really. In the world of cultivation, average isn’t good enough.” Mistress Abel shrugged her wide shoulders. “If you were actually trying to learn magic for real, this is where I would advise you to give up. At most you can make it to late second tier or early third tier- and that’s with a lifetime of practice. Your other option would be to continue training until you were strong enough to gather enough wealth to buy something that could increase your affinity… in which case you could give up on all that hard training and be not particularly brilliant in terms of magic.”
“It’s the way things are. You have nothing to complain about though. A majority of people wouldn’t be able to make it to where you are, and especially not to third tier, which I am sure you will have no trouble reaching even if you start slacking off. Don’t do that, by the way.”
“I have no plans to,” Barrett shook his head. “I know I’m fortunate to be where I am now. Even with my father being the lord of a city I didn’t even have any real notion of cultivators and how strong they were. Not that it was much of a city to speak of, compared to Stredo.”
“Most places aren’t. Few cities can compare to Stredo, and those are quite spread out throughout various countries. There are some areas with even more wealth and equivalent danger, but they tend to have a number of more reasonably sized cities. Regardless… you’ll do well enough learning magic, if you put as much dedication into it as you do your other training. At the very least, you’ll have no problem reaching the first tier.”
Mistress Abels was correct- reaching the first tier wasn’t a problem, though it still took him half a year with the smaller portion of his time devoted to training in magic. He devoted one day a week- and a few moments throughout the week- purely to training in magic. Soon enough he could move mud around, and then rocks- shaping them into what he desired… as long as what he desired wasn’t too complicated or large. Mistress Abels specialized in earth magic, so that was what Barrett learned as well. Earth magic was just adjacent to metal magic, so he also learned a few tricks to help defend against that, like the abilities used by those from the Metal Seas.
Other than that, Barrett continued his other training, and soon enough a year had passed. He had passed the sixtieth destruction, and his body training of both the normal and Pure Body Tempering continued to progress in ways that were somewhat harder to measure.
With the passing of a year, it was once more time for tournaments. However, this time wasn’t just any tournament, it was the once a decade appearance of the tournament for the fifth tier. Master Hykel had returned from performing missions, and he would be participating along with many others. Barrett looked forward to seeing it happen… though getting tickets would be rather difficult. He might only be able to watch a few matches, since Master Hykel could get him tickets to his own matches.