Since an attack could come at any moment- without even a minute’s warning- Barrett avoided attempting any more destructions. If a battle happened within the first hour afterwards… he could have issues.
Thus, Barrett limited himself to small things. Training to increase his control over berserk energy, some body training, and Pure Body Tempering practice. For the last of those, he focused most on enhancing his senses. Touch and taste weren’t much good for detecting an enemy’s approach, so he took from there to enhance hearing and sight. Smell… could still be a factor. There were all sorts of other senses Barrett might draw from, but it was already difficult enough to properly move two for two over any long period of time.
Another thing Barrett got to practice was patience. Waiting for a battle was mentally more difficult than being in a battle. The biggest factor was not knowing when it would happen. For fights in a tournament? Barrett didn’t worry about them much the day before. He might spend a lot of time thinking about them, but not worrying. When he’d been inappropriately drafted into Etron’s army, he’d only had one night before being thrust into battle. Now he was unsure if assassins might appear at any moment, or when a real battle might break out… though in the latter case he would at least have advance warning of their approach.
A few days passed without anything major occurring, except for Kaylani arriving from the main house. She brought reinforcements- mostly replacements for the third tiers who had been injured in the attack. Barrett once again appreciated how useful healing quickly was outside of isolated instances of combat. He hadn’t been injured significantly, and in two weeks there wouldn’t even be any scars… but even if he’d been as bad off as the one who almost died, he would be back to top shape and technically even slightly better.
Kaylani had stayed away from the battlefield at first. Apparently, that was because she had only recently broken through to third tier. Now she had stabilized somewhat, and they needed everyone they could spare. Kaylani was quite talented- Barrett could attest to that, even if he happened to be one of the worst opponents for her to fight. He had a tough body even without weapons or armor, and when he did have armor he suddenly changed where his weight was, throwing her off and letting him snatch the win. That still only worked because of the amount of damage he could cause with berserk energy.
There was another week of waiting before the Bachon clan’s army was seen approaching, a day away. The assassins from the Silver Blade had been tracked to that very same army, and they were likely still with them. It was still possible they would attack during the night, so the watch kept careful guard, now knowing they were watching for assassins and not just an army.
The next day, the army appeared on the horizon. It wasn’t much- it was at most a tenth the size of the army Padrein had brought against Etron- but they weren’t to be underestimated. After all, they were all cultivators. Just the first tier cultivators would likely demolish either or both of the armies in that battle. There were also some second tier and third tier members, or they wouldn’t bother attempting the attack.
Yet, overall… the army barely looked like an army. The battle lines were somewhere around thirty men wide and ten men deep. A few hundred. That was more than they had on their side- but they had the advantage of a defensive position. That wouldn’t mean much if they chose to go out and fight, but he doubted the Leipeka clan would be so stupid. All they had to do was hold the tower. While they couldn’t always leave all of their soldiers inside, they could fit them in the courtyard just fine for the duration of a battle.
A key factor in the defense were the ballistae on the walls. There were only a handful of them that could fire in any given direction, but that was enough. A single ballista could take out several men per shot- even first or second tier cultivators. Depending on a number of factors, anyway. These weren’t built to normal standards, either. While their firepower would only barely outmatch those that normal armies used, that was because of certain restrictions… such as the complete lack of metal in the design. That included the bolts themselves. Once the enemy army approached within a hundred meters they would be easy targets. Nobody would want to be the first to go in, and even third tier cultivators couldn’t feel safe. Perhaps if they rushed all together they might only lose a tenth of their numbers… but Barrett wouldn’t like to gamble with those odds.
Then when they got to the base of the tower, they would have to break into the gatehouse. While the ballistae couldn’t target them if they were directly next to the gatehouse, there were still archers. There were also smaller ballistae that could target them inside the first portcullis. The gatehouse wouldn’t be quite as effective as in a normal siege- with the ability to control their projectiles as they moved, attacking through arrow slits wasn’t impossible. That said, it was still more difficult to do while under attack, and anything metal they launched could be deflected.
Then once they were inside they would have to deal with all of the soldiers, including the second and third tier combatants. That was still from a disadvantageous position where they could be shot down on, and they couldn’t leverage their numbers. Barrett thought they would have to be pretty stupid or very determined to launch an attack… but perhaps the spring was worth that much to them. If they planned to show up and not attack, there wasn’t much point. They couldn’t starve them out with a siege- reinforcements could come from the main Leipeka clan within a couple days, and then they would be in a very precarious position. Barrett knew they must have a plan… but plans were made to be smashed to pieces.