The tournament for fifth tier would be twelve rounds. That didn’t sound like significantly fewer than the one for second tier… but each round cut out half the participants. That meant there were only a few thousand fifth tier cultivators. Furthermore, as the tournament was left often it was more significant and a larger percentage of the fifth tier cultivators participated. They also didn’t have to worry about not qualifying.
Even so, with fifty cultivators in the tournament, the Immortal Berserker Sect occupied a surprisingly large portion of those attending. Some groups had more people attending, but they were also larger than the Immortal Berserker Sect. With about half of the members actually being in supporting roles as blacksmiths, alchemists, groundskeepers and other duties, only about five thousand or so were cultivators. For one percent of them to reach fifth tier was actually quite high. On the other hand, that number didn’t count the initial thirty percent who had died immediately, the others who had dropped out near the beginning of training, or those who died along the way.
The death rate among the Immortal Berserker Sect was among the highest of those who never actually intended for any of their members to die. There were some evil sects that recruited large numbers of impressionable youngsters and had them fight to the death, but in those cases their death rates were constructed instead of coincidental, for the most part. Even when members of the Immortal Berserker Sect went on dangerous mission, it wasn’t assumed that many of them would die.
Regardless, fifty out of a few thousand thousand total fifth tier cultivators in Stredo was around ten times the average proportion, even counting that half of Stredo’s five to six million population were not directly cultivators. If one had suitable affinity and grit to survive Immortal Berserker Training, they could likely go far.
At least, that was what Barrett took from the whole thing. As for the tournament… he was going to see only a very small portion of it. At most, twelve matches. Barrett wasn’t going to make any claims about whether or not Master Hykel would actually make it to the end. Master Hykel was strong… he knew that, but so were others at the fifth tier. However, that was all he could say not having seen any of them fight.
Each participant had a handful of tickets for each match, but there were many other people than Barrett they would be giving them to. It wasn’t like Barrett was the personal disciple of all of them, and they had better people to give tickets to than a second tier cultivator they hardly knew. With the price of tickets being so high, Barrett was happy to have the chance at all. Each ticket was the price of a small city. Well, that wasn’t quite true. At the amount of money they cost, they could probably only buy a village or a town, not anything he would call an actual city… but it was still a lot of money. Personally, Barrett would rather outfit himself with a whole set of new armor and a weapon rather than buy tickets. While he’d gotten some money from the whole thing with the Silver Blades, it wasn’t like the old hag had carried around all of her wealth on her… and Barrett had only been entitled to what she was carrying and not whatever was left back at the sect or money in a bank. Actually, Barrett could have afforded a ticket or two, but he was planning to make better purchases than that. He would, once he decided on what he actually needed.
The first round, Master Hykel wouldn’t be matched up against another Immortal Berserker. Otherwise, there was a decent chance that someone from the sect would be matched up against someone else. The same didn’t hold true for later rounds, so it was possible it would occur later. Barrett actually hoped it would, because it would be both exciting and bring prestige to the sect, if it happened in one of the later rounds. The only other thing he knew was that Master Hykel’s opponent wasn’t going to be from the silver blades… because they were banned from the tournaments for quite some time. Barrett doubted the prohibitions would actually last the full 120 years as stated, but he could have been wrong. Either way, them missing out on the biggest tournament of a decade was still rather satisfying.
Master Hykel was facing off against a big hulk of a man from the Golden Mountain Sect. Now, members of the Immortal Berserker Sect weren’t known for their smallness… but as berserker types went, they were a bit more… compact than most. The man Master Hykel was facing stood two and a half meters tall and had biceps the size of Barrett’s waist, and Barrett’s waist wasn’t exactly thin. The man was decked out in armor containing enough metal to equip a squad of regular troops, and the ground shook as he walked. Probably. Barrett was actually too far away to feel that, but he could hear the thuds of his feet all the way from the stands. The man carried a massive hammer, though one that seemed normally proportioned when complimented with his figure.
Meanwhile, Master Hykel looked small at just two meters tall. However, Barrett knew that looks could be deceiving. Barrett knew the man from the Golden Mountain Sect was probably more massive than Master Hykel… but not by as much as it looked like. Immortal Berserkers trained their bodies to be very dense, and Master Hykel was certainly no exception.
As the match started, the hulking warrior charged toward Master Hykel, swinging his hammer down toward him. Meanwhile, Master Hykel swung his axe in return. The weapons collided at the handles, and both contestants were thrown back… but Master Hykel only moved about five meters while the larger man went ten. Barrett knew they could have resisted the motion if they had wished to, but they weren’t willing to go all in just yet. Even so, Barrett was surprised to see someone go head to head with Master Hykel and come away unscathed… and he realized why most people would avoid it. After all, most people weren’t two and a half meters tall and as wide as two normal doorways. Barrett leaned forward in his seat… as if a few centimeters would make a difference when he was already over a hundred meters away.