Alnherr grinned at Barrett, waiting for some sort of response.
Barrett stared back at him. “What is it?”
Alnherr kept grinning. “Figure it out!”
“Is it… some kind of exceptionally hard training?” Barrett didn’t like the idea of that… especially based on what sort of things he’d already been doing.
“Guess again.” Alnherr kept grinning his toothless grin.
Barrett scratched his head… then put his chin in his hand. He cycled through thinking gestures before shrugging and shaking his head. “I really have no idea what you’re grinning about. There’s nothing I’ve seen or heard that would make you…” Barrett blinked. “Is that… a tooth?”
“You’re darn right it is!” Alnherr finally relaxed his face. “Honestly, some people have no appreciation for a lot of hard work.”
“Congratulations on growing a tooth and all but… isn’t it a little small?”
Alnherr playfully thwacked Barrett on the top of his head. “Silly kid! You have to take things one step at a time! Humans grow baby teeth first, then adult teeth!”
“Oh. Right.” Barrett nodded. “Wait, you actually grew a new tooth?! Without special medicine or anything?”
Alnherr cackled, grinning again. He pointed at his tooth, “This baby represents months of hard work!” He clapped his hands together, “But more importantly… it represents the pinnacle of Pure Body Tempering. I don’t need any of your fancy energies or medicines! I can get by with just me!”
Barrett nodded more seriously. “It’s actually quite an accomplishment… does this mean you can do other things? Heal scars… regrow limbs?”
“Of course! Well… probably. Maybe.” Alnherr scratched the back of his head. “Humans naturally grow adult teeth after they’re born. Growing new teeth is just a reawakening of a process that only happens once. Some people might claim that this doesn’t prove anything… but to them I say this- Pure Body Tempering is all about doing the impossible! Just because nobody’s done it before doesn’t mean it can’t be done!” Alnherr took a few deep breaths. “Sorry about that. Had to get it off my chest.”
“Have you been walking around in Stredo?”
Alnherr nodded. “I expected normal people to call me crazy… but I found a few other Pure Body Temperers. Even they made fun of me… saying I was just a crazy old man with one foot in the grave. The worst part is they’re right. I might be dead before I can even grow in a full set of teeth… let alone try to grow back a finger or something.”
“Oh.” Barrett hadn’t really thought about how old Alnherr was. He was so enthusiastic and energetic… but the years would still be getting to him. It didn’t help that he’d spent years locked up in a dungeon, either. “Can you… reverse aging? Make yourself young again?”
“Nope.” Alnherr shook his head.
“But you just said Pure Body Tempering is all about doing the impossible!” Barrett protested.
“Look, there’s impossible, and then there’s impossible,” Alnherr shook his head, “Let me be clear… I’m not saying I believe it can’t be done, but I have to be realistic. Maybe I could figure it out, but that would be very difficult. It’s not that I haven’t considered trying… but being realistic, I know it would take longer than I have. Developing new techniques is hard.” Alnherr tapped his tooth, “Truth be told, I’d been trying to do something like this before. I’d just given up on it, and you inspired me to try again. I have no idea where to start with the aging thing… and I’d rather leave my mark with what I have.” Alnherr scratched the back of his head, “Maybe if I were fifth or sixth tier… but beyond what just having a healthy body will do my lifespan will be a normal human’s.”
“How do tiers work for Pure Body Tempering anyway? With energy it’s pretty obvious but…”
“It’s just like any body tempering really. Once you get to the point you can do things that normal humans can’t, you’re first tier. There aren’t any hard points to determine it, though there are some tests we have before we officially say someone’s increased in tier. You’d be a second tier Pure Body Temperer by the way.”
“What? But it took me years to reach second tier…”
“Sure, but you started with a body that could almost place you in the second tier by itself. Then you built on top of that and you could reasonably claim to be second tier even if you used no energy at all… and even without that unreasonable toughness and healing you guys cultivate.”
“Huh.” Barrett blinked, “I hadn’t noticed that really.”
“That’s how it is. With that and your other body training and that berserker energy, you have a pretty formidable setup. Of course, that’s assuming you can bring it all out in combat. Otherwise, it’s pointless. Well, not that a tough body is hard to use.”
“It is a bit difficult to pull off… berserk energy and bodily stamina move differently and I don’t always want them in the same place either. It’s kind of hard to use both.”
Alnherr shrugged, “Well, don’t come to me for advice on that. I’m a genuine pure body temperer. I don’t mess around with energy or mana.”
“Right.” Barrett nodded, “I’d ask Master Hykel for advice, but while he’s got much more experience controlling berserk energy, it’s not like he’s had more time with Pure Body Tempering than me. Though I suppose he might have some tips still…” Barrett stroked his chin, “But, in terms of controlling two sources of power at once, I do know someone I can ask. Reina cultivates energy and mana with the Sword of Four Winds Style. She might have some advice for that. Though it’s not exactly the same situation.” Barrett nodded slowly, “Well, anyway… congratulations on the tooth! I look forward to seeing a healthy set of teeth in your mouth any day now…” Barrett grinned, “Or maybe next year!”
“Ha! We’ll see. It shouldn’t take as long for the rest of them…”