The Immortal Berserker Chapter 109

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As the winner of the tournament, Nilima was surrounded by many people asking her about herself. Barrett could only hang around and watch as she awkwardly answered them. The most common questions were who taught her, was she in a school, etc. “Mistress Joshi taught me.” Then quite a few people didn’t know about her. Nilima was only rescued when Mistress Joshi herself came out and dispersed the crowd with a look. Barrett himself almost backed away  and she didn’t even look at him.

“Congratulations.” Barrett said. “You did great!”

Nilima’s fact almost smiled before she returned to a blank face. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I? I was taught by the great Mistress Ishita Joshi herself!”

Mistress Joshi smiled, “Indeed, why would my student not win?” Then she leaned down slightly to put herself face to face with Nilima. “There’s just one thing.” She grabbed one of the corners of Nilima’s mouth where she had been cut. “I don’t remember teaching anyone to catch swords in their mouth.

Nilima tried to pull away to no effect, then mumbled. “… worked didn’t it?”

Mistress Joshi flicked Nilima’s forehead, causing Nilima to clutch her head in her hands. “We don’t do things that ‘work’. We do things the right way. I already give you a lot of leeway on your actions and attitude… but I can’t have you misusing my style in such a way. Looks like you could use some reminders on how it works.” She grabbed Nilima by the ear and started swiftly walking away, Nilima moving along behind her at an awkward angle to keep up. “Oh, Barrett. Give my regards to Master Hykel. We might not return to Stredo before next year.”

—–

Barrett found Master Hykel in one of the dining halls and delivered the message to him. Master Hykel nodded seriously. “Next year’s tournament should be interesting. I’d love to see how I match up. I’ve never had a chance to seriously fight people at fifth tier.”

Barrett blinked in surprise, “Really?”

“Of course. Well, not when I was also fifth tier.”

“Not even in the previous tournaments?”

“You know, fifth tier tournaments only happen once every decade.”

“Ah…” Barrett nodded, “You were in Etron. What about the one before that? Weren’t you still in Stredo?”

Master Hykel raised an eyebrow, “Is this how you think about me? I wasn’t even fifth tier then you know!”

“Oh right…” Barrett scratched the back of his head. He hadn’t really thought about how Master Hykel was also training and improving. He didn’t really see most of it.”

Master Hykel crossed his arms and attempted a serious face. “I gave up my first chance at the tournament and spent a decade there waiting for you. I hope you appreciate it.”

“I do!” Barrett nodded seriously. “Without you, I would have been weak still… or dead, more likely. Though I wasn’t really that far away… you could have come to find me!”

“If only it were that easy. Well, that’s alright. I would really rather not have tried to train a toddler.”

Barrett sighed, “I wouldn’t have been a very good candidate then anyway. I was kind of…”

“Pathetic?”

“Inexperienced in the ways of the world. It might have been nice to stay that way, not knowing how inconsequential I was.”

Master Hykel nodded, “Would you go back to that life, given the chance?”

“Not with what I know now. I do wish my parents had that opportunity though… Actually, what about your parents?”

“They’re dead.”

“Oh… sorry.”

Master Hykel shrugged, “Don’t worry about it. They had other kids and grandkids and died happy.”

“Wait… does that mean you have siblings and nephews and nieces?”

“And great niblings, and great great niblings.”

“Niblings?”

“Nieces and nephews,” Master Hykel nodded sagely, “Saves a few syllables. Very useful when you already have to add in so many greats. I might need even more soon…”

“Do you… visit your family?”

Master Hykel shook his head, “No. They probably think I’m dead, actually. I’m the crazy one who went off to be a berserker. It’s alright though. I just like knowing that they exist. It reminds me of one of the best reasons to become strong. So that they can just live peaceful lives not worrying about any of this. Not everyone is content just to better themselves. They want to take over… and most of them make things miserable for other people. Real righteous sects work to deal with problems caused by anything others can’t handle… from the lowest peasant all the way up to cultivators who just aren’t strong enough. Speaking of which… I’m behind on my mission quota.” Master Hykel looked at Barrett, “At some point just training won’t be enough. Real world experience is necessary. You have a fair amount of that, but you’ll definitely reach that point sooner or later. Maybe a year or two. You always must experience the world… though at the moment that might be a bad idea for you. Outside of the jurisdiction of Stredo the Silver Blade will try to get back at you.”

“What about you? It’s not like you weren’t involved.”

“True, but I can handle myself. They don’t have enough people on my level to shadow my every move. However, they have many disciples at second and third tier out in surrounding cities and such. I have no doubt your face has been distributed to all of them… and they are competent assassins. Outside of Stredo, they might even be able to avoid detection.” Master Hykel patted Barrett on the shoulder, “Every little bit of strength helps. If your training stagnates, you have to go, but just be cautious. Maybe don’t go alone. Travelling with others makes you more obvious, but also able to handle multiple enemies. Being more obvious can also be good, because even if they can’t always do something about it, other cities don’t like assassins operating in them. For the most part.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. For now though, I’m still learning a lot. Actually, I did have a request. Do you know anyone who specialized in unarmed combat? I feel I would like to learn more in that field.”

“Did somebody say unarmed combat?” Alnherr scuttled over from one of the nearby tables, his toothless grin almost touching his ears. “The ultimate expression of combat prowess, pitting just your body alone against the enemy?”

Barrett smiled awkwardly. “… I did say unarmed combat. Not the rest of that stuff though.”

“That’s okay. I’m sure you’ll come around to my line of thinking when I’m done with you,” Alnherr turned to Master Hykel, “With your permission of course.”

“Go ahead. It’s not like Barrett is going to forget me just because other people are teaching him things. I wouldn’t be a very good master if I didn’t allow him to grow.”

“Good. Let’s go.” Alnherr’s thin, bony hand grabbed onto Barrett’s shoulder and half dragged him along. “There are so many things to learn. Can’t waste a moment.”

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One Reply to “The Immortal Berserker Chapter 109”

  1. Probably the best teacher he could get, even within the Immortal Berserker sect.

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