As Barrett reached his arm out, the invisible opponent slashed across his throat with both daggers. Barrett didn’t have the capacity to dodge the attacks… but he had guessed at where his opponent was. At the same time as his jugular veins were cut open, Barrett’s hand grasped around his opponent’s neck… and crushed with all his might.
Then Barrett collapsed onto the floor. That was from a combination of factors. First, the blood loss was building up. Then there was the poison that had been in the air the whole time. Barrett briefly wondered if the recently appeared assassin had been the one who used that poison. Of course, the best reason for him to collapse was that his spinal cord had been cut some time before and he couldn’t afford to use any more stamina to make his legs work.
He needed that stamina to make the blood flow back into his neck… or at least most of it. Barrett was glad that Immortal Berserkers trained every vulnerable part of their body for toughness, and not just the easily trained ones. Otherwise, his neck would be cut halfway through instead of ‘merely’ through the jugular veins.
Barrett hoped the battle was over. If it wasn’t, he would be dead soon… but he couldn’t afford to pay attention to the battle because he needed everything to keep his blood mostly inside him… and to try to heal. He didn’t care about the rest of his body at the moment. Cuts all over his arms and leg were fine. Poison? Actually, he cared about that some. He tried to filter it out with some of the lost blood. Damaged spinal cord? That wasn’t going to kill him in the immediate future. Not directly, anyway.
Gaping neck wound? That would kill him. While he was sure the Leipeka clan had capable surgeons, he wasn’t sure they would be able to reach him in time to help if he only focused on blood flow. Thus, he did his best to drive all his healing into his neck. He didn’t have much stamina for that, but he did his best to draw everything available from everywhere he could. If it was possible to concentrate all of his healing into a single percent of his body, he could achieve ten thousand times normal healing… equivalent to a tier 1 immortal body, and just barely enough to be relevant in battle. He would have to do better than that.
Nilima chased after several members of the Bachon clan. “You’re running too you damn cowards? You guys are trash! Worthless! Garbage! You can’t even take a single hit!” She articulated her point by sliding her way past some flying needles and almost gently touching one on the neck. He immediately collapsed onto the ground. “You’re half assed cultivators at best! Your energy control sucks, your magic is pathetic, and your metal bodies are superficial! Your arteries can’t even withstand a single hit and your spinal cords are like string! I know someone who can withstand anything! He’s way better than- anyway you’re pathetic!”
Nilima used her energy to turn away a few more spikes that were thrown at her as she forced her way through, finally pressing her hand onto the head of the final cultivator. She maneuvered her energy past his own defenses and through his metal skull, before finally letting the energy rattle around inside.
“Damn… where did those other two get off two? They snuck by while I was busy…” Nilima rushed off toward the gatehouse. Inside, she saw Barrett collapsing to the floor. She was about to chastise him for getting taken out easily… but seeing the number of bodies immediately next to him and the state of his neck decided to give him a pass. Then one of the bodies started moving.
It was one of the third tier Bachon clan cultivators that had slipped by over the wall. It was nearly impossible to climb, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t use ladders or grappling hooks… especially while people were distracted. They were quick, and too many forces were needed elsewhere for Nilima to stop them all.
The cultivator stood over Barrett, and a spike flew up into the air over him, ready to stab down. He started his attack, but at the same felt a pain in his heart. There was no impact… and he barely even felt the gentle touch of a hand behind him… but it didn’t matter. His heart ceased regardless.
Barrett woke up. “Oh good,” he said. Or tried to say, anyway. He was met with astonishing amounts of pain as he moved his throat. He thought better of trying again. At least he had woken up. He hadn’t been sure that would happen.
He started to turn his head, then thought better of it. Instead, he turned his eyes. On both sides of him in beds were other injured people. He didn’t recognize any of them, but that didn’t mean much. He didn’t know anyone around well enough to recognize them out of the corner of his eye… and turning his head meant moving his neck, and it was still in pretty bad shape.
Barrett took stock of it. Everything was sewed shut. That was good. In fact, it was even stitched up inside. He supposed that was possible enough. Stitching needles were metal just as much as ten inch long ones meant to pierce through people’s brains. They didn’t even need to do that part first. His arms… were fine. They had been covered with styptic powder to stop the bleeding and wrapped in bandages, and that was all they really needed. Perhaps stitches would have been appropriate in other circumstances, but they would heal up pretty quickly all things considered.
His legs… Barrett had a harder time analyzing them. He couldn’t feel them, but that made sense. He also didn’t have any stamina left to try to bypass that momentarily. He assumed they were still there, but if not… well, he would have to take a very long break from training. The real issue was his spinal cord. He had a true immortal body, so it would recover… unless it didn’t. After all, there were limits to everything. There were medicines that could help him recover, but it would set him back months of training as well. Was it worth it for the experience? He wasn’t sure about that, but he also helped a friend. Or an acquaintance, at least.