Upon opening the door, Barrett realized that the logical answer to what would be awaiting him was more wind. However, along with that he found something else- or rather, someone else. It was the woman from the Silver Blade who had been part of the attack on him at the Southern Metal Sea. She had snuck off while he was cleaning up some of the last opponents. He still didn’t know her name- the Silver Blade wasn’t exactly public with the information of all their members, after all. It was a security risk even if they didn’t feel the need to be able to deny their membership. She also wasn’t important enough to be one of the known leaders. While being a third tier cultivator was a respectable accomplishment for anyone, the Silver Blade at least had members up to fifth tier- and possibly sixth, though Barrett wasn’t sure about that.
She was crawling along the ground, grasping onto rocks like she was climbing up a wall instead of along the floor. Barrett could understand that, since he could feel the wind pushing down the hallway even though he hadn’t really stepped in yet. He did see where it would circulate through up above, though the area was blocked off by a grate.
Barrett took a few steps forward… then suddenly found himself flung backwards, all the way into the door entering the chamber. The damage was more to his pride than to his body. The wind hadn’t seemed too strong, but then a gust had come up. He should have expected it, but he got careless… and while he was fairly certain the wind wasn’t meant to kill or even really harm him, that didn’t extend to the Silver Blade woman up ahead. She didn’t seem to hear him thudding against the wall- but then again the wind was howling and she was tens of meters ahead.
Barrett considered throwing something towards her- then he thought about how much he really didn’t want to dodge a lead ball full of berserk energy at the moment. He couldn’t imagine it getting to her unless he used all of his berserk energy, in which case it probably still wouldn’t reach her because it would have dissolved before then.
If he were closer… well, he would have a decent chance then. Barrett was no stranger to climbing- and even if the wind were blowing and gusting, it wasn’t like he actually had anywhere to fall off. Gravity was still down, after all. At most he’d bump and scrape against the rocks a bit, which couldn’t really cause him harm. Thus, he decided to follow the Silver Blade woman’s technique and got down on the floor.
One immediate benefit was that less wind was hitting him-it was more powerful in the center of the tunnel, and his front was touching the ground so there was practically no effect of the wind there. Unlike the bridge in the previous room, which was mostly flat, the ground here retained an uneven state- good for climbing.
Barrett moved along the ground, and in what felt like almost no time he was ten meters further in. While his weight was normally a disadvantage in climbing- he had to carry more of him- now his weight was supported by the actual floor, and just dragging himself along wasn’t that hard. It also made the wind’s effect on him relatively less. Even so, he had to be careful when gusts of wind came. If he didn’t have both of his hands in a strong grip or his feet placed as firmly as they could be, he could be pushed backwards- and once it got him moving, he would likely be pushed all the way to the entrance. He might even build up enough momentum to actually be hurt.
Then he felt the pain of something stabbing into his left hand- or rather, the premonition of it. Killing intent. He moved his hand- and with it lifted all of the left side of his body up just a bit. After all, every part of him there was in the trajectory of the flying needle. The needle, with its trajectory controlled by energy, moved past and under him… but at the same time a strong gust of wind came. With only one hand and one foot in non-optimal states and his body slightly lifted, the wind took him. He doubted the attack’s timing was a coincidence, as he started to tumble down the hallway.
He managed to right himself so that he was just ‘falling’ feet first. He’d had plenty of experience reorienting himself in wind in the tornado outside. He ‘landed’ on the door, catching his momentum with his legs. Then he fell onto his face as gravity caught up.
Barrett looked ahead at the Silver Blade woman. She wasn’t looking towards him- she probably couldn’t afford to be distracted- however she had noticed him somehow. Perhaps she had glanced backwards, or perhaps she had sensed his energy- he was keeping it in check, but he had no way to completely conceal it. Regardless, she now knew he was here. She’d been able to keep the needle aimed at her target, but either she hadn’t been able to continue concentrating on it more or changing its trajectory as he dodged had been too difficult- she would have had to fight more against the wind.
She was obviously in an advantageous state- she could attack him, but he couldn’t attack her. However, it wasn’t like she was able to freely attack him. She had limited needles and energy and she still had to deal with the wind herself. Barrett could just wait, hoping she tired herself out- she still had a good quarter of the room to go. On that thought process, following after her to provoke more attacks would tire her out more quickly. Barrett could tell she wasn’t managing to climb against the wind just based on her muscles alone. She was expending energy, even if only small amounts. Any attacks she made would make things harder for her. Of course, that left Barrett open to attacks. If he stayed at the end of the hallway, the wind wasn’t a threat to him and he could easily avoid any attacks. However, that brought into mind something else. There was likely a clear spot at the other end of the hallway, where she could wait and attack him as he was trying to proceed forward. Her attacks would still be limited by the wind, but she wouldn’t have to split her concentration and energy between climbing and attacking. It was pretty easy for Barrett to make a choice- he never liked sitting around waiting anyway. He would have to try to catch up to her.