Barrett woke up. That was nice, he supposed. His muscles hurt, and especially his fingers and toes… but they were just sore. It wasn’t actually that unpleasant. As for where he was… he wasn’t exactly sure. It was dark, and he was laying… on the floor? That was what he felt when he reached out to the side, though he had a thin mattress immediately beneath himself.
Barrett sat up. There was just enough light for him to navigate toward the door. He hadn’t been sure if he wanted to get up until he smelled food… and then he had been sure he wanted to. He seemed to have been in something like a small hut. It was dark outside as well, but he saw the flicker of a fire. As he walked toward it, he saw Master Hykel.
“Oh? Finally up?” Master Hykel patted the log next to him, “Come on over. It’s food time.”
“Great, I’m starving.” Barrett went over. He tried to remember what he had been doing before he woke up. Right, climbing the cliff. He had been going and then… he remembered falling? Maybe. That part wasn’t so clear.
“Congratulations on making it to the top. You did well.” Master Hykel took a bite of one of the sausages he had been cooking on the fire. “Tomorrow morning you can decide whether you want to go ahead with the actual training. If not… you can walk down the mountain into the town. It’s not a bad place. It even has some schools full of warriors. Now that you’ve toughened up a bit, one of them might take you in.”
Barrett wasn’t really sure he wanted to traverse that cliff again… but more importantly he didn’t want to give up now that he was here. “I’ll continue.”
Master Hylek waved his hand dismissively. “I told you, you can decide in the morning. I’ll be going over the details of the training… and why so many people die in the first week.”
Barrett nodded. There was still that. Dying would ruin the whole thing where he got stronger. Still, giving up and going to another place would be… well, it didn’t seem quite right. He would at least listen to the full explanation… but for now, he would eat.
The morning started with breakfast. Master Hykel would not start with the explanation until afterwards. Apparently, meals were sacred.
“Alright kid. Time for explanations. On the way here you’ve done basic training of your body. However, warriors need more than that. Oh, sure, your body can get you pretty far, but there are limits of various sorts. I won’t go into it all here, but believe me, I know. Your physical body is just one piece of the puzzle. Well, for wizards and stuff, the would rather do without that piece entirely.” Hykel shook his head, “Anyway, that wasn’t my point. The point is, you need more. A type of energy. Wizards call their mana, but we’ve got a different version much more suited to us. Even among warriors, there are different ways to generate it, and it gets used differently.” Master Hykel pointed to two pillars off in the distance. “As that sign says, we’re the Immortal Berserker Sect, so we use berserk energy.”
“The sign is facing the other way.”
“Of course it is!” Master Hykel grinned, “You don’t need to see it, it’s the people out there who do. Anyway, we use berserk energy. We generate it through anger and other intense feelings, and use it to crush our energy. It’s very strong, but… a bit dangerous to ourselves as well. Thus, we toughen up our bodies. We have a method for that… but it has a long recovery process.” Master Hykel took a breath, “But, we have a method for that. We’ll inevitably get injured whether we do it to ourselves or others do it to us, so we came up with a way to recover more quickly.” He took the knife he had been cutting with, and shoved it into his palm. Blood flowed out. “Look at this.”
Barrett leaned closer. It was actually not a very large injury. Just the tip of the knife had gone in. Still, blood dripped out. However, as he watched, the wound sealed up. Within a few seconds, the wound had sealed up. Over the course of the next minute, the wound had healed up as if it were never there.
“Ever heard of an immortal body, kid?” Barrett shook his head. “Of course not. Most people haven’t. Anyway, there are a very few people who are born with bodies that heal faster. We replicate that. What you just saw here was healing at about ten thousand times the normal rate. That’s what we call a tier 1 immortal body. That’s about the point where it becomes relevant in combat, about a day’s worth of healing every ten seconds. Tier 2 is about ten times that, one hundred thousand times the normal rate. You get about a day in a second. That means you can shrug off most wounds, as long as you don’t bleed to death… and if it’s even possible to recover. You’re not gonna grow back an arm or a head no matter how long you wait. Anyway, our school aims to duplicate that ability through training.” Master Hykel looked at his palm, “Of course, it’s not as good as being born with it. It took me decades to get this far. Still, it’s not the only thing we have going for us.”
Barrett nodded, “So, with all of this trying to make yourself die less… how does it become fatal?”
Master Hykel nodded seriously. “That’s the core of the whole thing. We increase the body’s ability to heal… by destroying some of the parts that let it heal. Of course, we use a special infusion of energy and a specific method, otherwise it would all be over. The end result is… there’s a chance to add on another level of healing to what you possess naturally. Everyone has different results. I have more than eight parts in ten chance of it working… and the rest of the time, I regress. This means I still make significant progress… but also that I had about a twenty percent chance of dying at the start of the training. If I was unlucky, I might have even gone back from the second stage to the first to… nothing.” He shook his head, “Needless to say, someone with no healing ability doesn’t last long. So, those who aren’t suited or just unlucky… they die. Still want to join?”