Barrett found himself in a ridiculous position, with his torso on a table and his legs dangling off. However, the very premise of the training was a ridiculous idea- just one he’d seen actually worked. After all, part of Alnherr’s teaching process was demonstrating everything himself.
Barrett pushed himself back… and fell off the table onto the floor. Again. Looking around at everyone else… they had the same results. It was to be expected. After the center of gravity moved past the edge of the table, people would fall off, unless they were holding onto it.
Alnherr had just one hand on the table… and the rest of him stretched out horizontally over nothing. “Just feel all the weight pulling down on you… your hands, your arms, your body, head, legs feet… and then it stops pressing down on your feet, instead pressing harder everywhere else. Then your legs. Your head becomes lighter. Your gut loses weight. Your lungs feel like they could almost float off. Now, your arms are heavy. So heavy. Now just your forearms… or your hand.”
Barrett tried again and again… but to no success. Not that he expected it after just an hour or two. Moving weight was an advanced concept, hard to pull off even with other Pure Body Tempering practice. Even so, it had very little risk associated with it… besides a few bumps and bruises that wouldn’t even be noticed by the people training, if they even got bruised with their tough bodies.
Around Barrett, the others also had no success. He wouldn’t have expected it. Katja was there, and while she was working hard and seemed quite talented, Barrett was the same- and had earlier practice with Pure Body Tempering’s weird techniques. Along with a handful of others Barrett hadn’t really become acquainted with there was one figure Barrett had seen around. It was the one armed man who had been sparring with Katja- Herman, so Barrett had been told.
Herman hadn’t really interacted with Barrett much, but Barrett got the feeling he wasn’t liked. Maybe Herman’s face was just always in a scowl, but it seemed to Barrett like it was directed at him personally. He didn’t know why, and he couldn’t just expect to get a straightforward answer if he asked. Actually, this was the Immortal Berserker Sect. He supposed it could work, but he wanted to be a bit cautious. If Herman had a problem with it, Barrett could think of what it might be… but not something he could do about it. Then again, maybe Barrett was reading too much into it.
Barrett took his position once again. He listened to Alnherr’s repeated descriptions. He gripped onto one side of the table, holding himself out straight. He felt gravity pulling down on him. That was the easy part- gravity worked on its own. It was also what he wanted to change… or at least, have his body change to make it seem different. He concentrated, starting with his feet and moving up. He would be lighter there, and heavier elsewhere. It was easy to delude himself into thinking it was working, because part of the process was actually believing it happened.
Barrett let go, and pushed his torso down, inch by inch. Then he fell onto the floor. Was it a bit further along? Barrett thought it might have been. He tried to capture the feeling, and did it again.
He found that having his arms in different places was the biggest factor. If they weren’t straight out above him, it threw off his results. Once he got that consistent found… maybe, just maybe, his center of gravity moved up a centimeter or so. Even if he achieved little in the way of visible results, Barrett found himself drained of stamina just from trying and covered in sweat- even though he’d barely done any real physical activity.
“Hmm…” Reina stared at Barrett’s hand, which had just finished healing. “That’s… neat, I guess. It reminds me why we put so much effort into not getting injured in the first place.”
Barrett nodded. The Sword of Four Winds Style that Reina practiced was swift and graceful. They really could avoid most injuries- especially if they managed to kill their opponents before they could attack. They weren’t assassins, but using speed to kill someone before they could retaliate was a useful strategy. They could strike at gaps in the opponent’s armor to whittle them down- but if they could hit the neck, they would. Any style would seek to target the opponent’s weak points- it was just what was counted as a weak point that changed in definition. “Alnherr… Master Alnherr,” Barrett was learning from him, so he deserved at least that respectful title, “Well, he’s full of interesting abilities. He can shift weight around without even using energy. It could be pretty useful with the Sword of Four Winds but… it might not be worth the time to learn it.”
“Oh?” Reina raised an eyebrow, “Tell me about it.”
“Well… I can shift maybe a few percent of my body weight, after weeks of training and prior experience with Pure Body Tempering stuff.” Barrett shrugged, “It’s not the only thing I’m doing though. I can do better with Berserk Energy though. Much better, if there’s something to latch onto and I don’t care about it breaking.”
Reina nodded, “We can do much the same with energy or magic… so it’s probably not that useful. It’s nice to hear you’re doing things other than getting injured. At least, not seriously.”
“It’s not like I do it on purpose,” Barrett shook his head, “So, learning anything interesting lately?”
Barrett found himself in the markets of Stredo. He had an unexpectedly large influx of wealth… though the old hag hadn’t been carrying all of her money or possessions around the city with her, Barrett had no use for almost anything she’d had, besides some inner armor that was light and strong. While the Immortal Berserker Sect would provide him with most things he needed, if he wanted anything special he had to purchase it himself- or ask Master Hykel, but at the current time Barrett expected his response to be “you have money for that”. Besides, he didn’t want to burden him. At least Master Hykel wasn’t spending so much on medicines for him now…
As he passed, Barrett looked at the various stalls. He didn’t really need anything. Maybe he could buy a nice weapon, but he didn’t really know what he wanted. He could use an axe, but he had been learning a few other weapons lately. He didn’t really need a better one at the moment anyway.
Then, something caught Barrett’s eye. Not something in the stalls, but a person. Barrett found himself adopting a fighting stance and gathering berserk energy. His fist came forward toward his opponent, just as a palm came in return.
Then Barrett stopped his fist short… and the palm stopped as well. “Ah… we probably shouldn’t fight in the city, huh?”
Nilima, skinny as ever, looked back at Barrett, “We should not. I have no desire to make Mistress Joshi upset at me.”
“I didn’t know you were here.”
“I could say the same of you… but I could have guessed. Mistress Joshi mentioned that the Immortal Berserker Sect is based out of this city, though.” Nilima crossed her arms in front of her.
“So…” Barrett scratched his chin, “Where are we going to fight? We could go to the arena, but fighting in the city or just outside would be a problem. The Immortal Berserker Sect has nice training grounds though.”
Nilima sighed, “I suppose I can visit you at the sect later, but it won’t be the same as being able to beat you up in a moment of carelessness.”
“I could say the same of you. Though you never really get that beat up.” Barrett frowned, “Sorry about the tooth, by the way. I had a bit of a misunderstanding… have you heard my teeth grow back on their own?”
“You’re a freak,” Nilima stated. After a short pause, she tilted her head, “Wait, really?”
Barrett shrugged, “Really. Just wait until you hear about the other stuff that happened.”