For all that the first confrontation was full of power and operated at a high speed, it was still relatively easy to follow. Master Hykel and his opponent from the Golden Mountain Sect clashed head on and were tossed backwards. However, what followed wasn’t as easy to see.
Warriors weren’t known for their speed- that classification fell more towards assassins and duelists of various sorts. However, that didn’t mean they weren’t fast. The total force behind an attack was related to both mass and velocity. Barrett knew that, and he also knew that no matter how much force was behind an attack it wasn’t much good if your opponent could just easily move out of the way. While he had managed to react in time to do something with attacks from the old hag who was fourth tier, one of the times there was significant distance between them… and the first time he only managed to get his arms impaled instead of his heart.
Master Hykel and the hulking man weren’t assassins, but they were certainly powerful- and quick. It was only a moment after they were knocked away from each other that they met once again. Barrett wasn’t as clear on the details, but he thought Master Hykel ducked under his opponent’s hammer while the opponent jumped over his axe. There was only a moment where the giant man wasn’t touching the ground as he tumbled forward… and acrobatic feat that didn’t seem to fit his size.
A moment later, they had both turned around and clashed again. Barrett could feel the remnants of the energy flying off of them- even though they had control over it some of it was lost in every collision unintentionally, and more of it was used to provide the power and speed they had… beyond just their bodies. In the first collision between them, Barrett was sure Master Hykel had used more berserk energy than he had total… not much more, but more. More significantly, Barrett couldn’t bring it all into play at once.
As they moved, the arena floor started cracking. It was only very slight, but it was happening. It was magically reinforced as well, but not actively protected. Barrett wasn’t sure about the warrior, but he knew Master Hykel was using berserk energy to propel himself more quickly. No matter how quickly his legs could move, there was only so much friction on the ground… unless you dug in with energy of some kind.
Barrett tried not to miss a moment of the fight, but though it was impressive… it wasn’t much different from what he could do. Just faster and with more power. Of course, that was the whole point.
Barrett was going to have to talk to Master Hykel about the rules, however. Weren’t they supposed to dodge and avoid taking damage in the first place? Yet he saw him clash head on… and the second time they both landed a hit on the opponent’s left shoulder. Maybe it was just because it was an arena match… or perhaps it was also a matter of warrior’s pride.
Regardless, Barrett heard the impact of their strikes quite clearly, even from his position in the stands. He was more familiar than he would have liked with the sound of bending and cutting metal, and more painfully breaking bones and cutting flesh. In this case, the broken bones were from Master Hykel… that was at least a broken clavicle. Fortunately the strike also sent him flying back which dissipated some of the force. Meanwhile, his opponent didn’t get off easily. Master Hykel’s axe had also cut into his shoulder, and while his armor protected him somewhat better from the sharp edge of the axe… that just prevented it from severing the arm.
Needless to say, neither of them could use their left arms… though that didn’t stop them from swinging their weapons like madmen. Either of those attacks would have killed most people if they hit- and by that Barrett meant most cultivators he knew. Even so, they kept on fighting.
Barrett wasn’t sure how long they kept fighting, but it was fast and furious. There was no way they could keep up the pace for long. Well, Barrett supposed even at their prodigious energy expenditure rates they might last ten or fifteen minutes… but it could also be as little as two or three. It was hard to judge exactly how long they would last. There were stories of people fighting for days- but Master Hykel said they either weren’t trying or just weren’t capable of outputting sufficient force. No matter how much energy one had, there was an expenditure rate that would use it all in a short time… and without any time to recover, they would run out soon enough.
Barrett could see both of them were starting to sweat after another two minutes, evidenced only by the increased sheen on their armor and some small sweat drops he spotted lingering in the air behind them.
Then they both stopped for a moment, a handful of meters apart. It was only a moment, but Barrett saw them looking towards each other, and almost felt the acknowledgement that it would be the final clash. But maybe that was just retrospect from a moment later.
The two collided, and unlike the previous times where they allowed themselves to be tossed back, they stabilized themselves with low stances and the help of the arena floor. Barrett saw the telltale activation of the arena’s defenses, indicating there was a winner.
The two stepped back… and Master Hykel used both hands to pull his axe out of his opponent’s chest. It was at least an inch or two deep… though on a man that size it seemed rather shallow. The amount of blood pouring out of his chest was not small, however. Barrett was momentarily surprised there was a wound at all… because the arena had sensed Master Hykel’s attack. Then he remembered one of the reason they didn’t have sixth or seventh tier matches. Besides not having sufficient people for some of them… the arena couldn’t do much to prevent deaths. For Barrett’s level, it could completely negate attacks… but for fifth tier cultivators it just managed to save their lives.
Master Hykel’s opponent laughed. “I thought I broke that shoulder!”
“You did,” Master Hykel acknowledged.
The man coughed, sending gouts of blood flying everywhere before he re-covered the wounds with energy to stop the blood from flowing out. “Ah. Right. I forgot. Never fight an Immortal Berserker in a battle of attrition.” A moment later the healers were out on the arena, sewing him up and Master Hykel was walking out of the arena the victor.