When Barrett next woke up, he could move his neck without excruciating levels of pain. Barrett could handle the pain, but making wounds worse was generally not a good idea. He could recover quickly but that didn’t mean he needed to be foolish on purpose. He sat up. It was a bit awkward without the help of his legs, but his upper body was pretty much fine. He was still a little dizzy from the blood loss.
His stomach growled as he looked around the room. He figured he should be in a large medical tent outside the tower. He didn’t see any doctors or attendants or around, so he sat and waited patiently.
As he did so he did his best to look over the wound in his spine again. He couldn’t tell whether it was healing or not. He would have to watch it carefully. If he’d been in a good state to take note of the damage earlier he could compare, but all he had was a vague memory of the time he’d woken up hours earlier. The damage around it certainly was healing- the skin had already scarred over and the bone was mending. Barrett would have tried to actively mend it some, but he still had basically no stamina. That would be because he hadn’t eaten anything yet.
After what felt like an eternity but was likely no more than fifteen minutes, a doctor walked into the room, looking around at the patients. Then his eyes stopped on Barrett. “Oh… you’re up!”
Barrett nodded, then spoke slowly and carefully. “I am an Immortal Berserker after all. If I couldn’t get up by now I would likely just be dead. I’m hungry. Could you have someone bring food? I need… about ten times as much as you think I could physically fit in my stomach.”
“Can you even eat? Your neck…”
Barrett pulled away the bandages around his neck. He knew the wounds would still be ugly and red- but clearly on the path to healing. “I’ll be fine. Eating is more important.”
“I know what is good for people and what isn’t… but that knowledge mostly extends to those who live around the Metal Sea and train in the sorts of cultivation methods common around here. I’ll get you your food… but don’t think I won’t watch to make sure you aren’t hurting yourself.”
Barrett nodded. He didn’t mind that at all. Soon enough, the doctor came back with several others, carrying ten heaping trays of food. One might have assumed the food around the Metal Sea was inedible to most, but they would only be half right. The people who lived around the Metal Sea were still more human than not, after all. There were some special cooking techniques to balance out the nutrition so that one didn’t consume too many heavy metals, though that didn’t necessarily apply to cultivators.
Barrett ate the first tray of food at a measured pace. One bite of food and a few chews, then the next bite was more of the same. The food was a bit softer and squishier than he might have liked, but suitable for a medical patient for not requiring much chewing. It was still better than trail rations either way.
It took perhaps ten minutes to finish the tray full of food. In some ways that could be considered a rapid eating pace, but it was quite slow for Barrett. He had to admit, his stomach was almost full to bursting. However, he used just the tiniest bit of stamina to digest the food more quickly… and that rewarded him with a great return on his investment. It was one minute later that he started on the second tray.
His first bite was at a normal speed, but he was now using his stamina to digest quickly and concentrate his healing capacity on his neck. As his neck started recovering more, he ate quicker bites. By the end of the third tray he was shoveling food into his mouth. However, even as he did so he was careful not to make a huge mess of things. He took only reasonable sized bites- but he only needed to give them a few very rapid chews before he swallowed them and took another bite. Master Hykel said it this way, “Remember… making a mess while eating wastes good food… and also makes me want to punch people in the face.” Not that Barrett ever had a problem with dining etiquette, when he wanted to follow it. He had been raised in a noble family after all.
After the fifth tray, he paused. His neck was healed. At least, it was mostly just scar tissue left. That would heal on its own eventually, and it wouldn’t cause him any more trouble. Barrett turned his concentration to his spine. It was different from just healing up a few cuts. Barrett’s body knew how to heal itself- as long as what was healing was possible- but concentrating the healing in just the right parts would get the largest effect, and he could still help guide it along.
It was only a total of twenty minutes before Barrett was done eating all ten trays of food. The doctor looked over Barrett intently and inquisitively, but the people who had carried the trays stood slack jawed. Barrett explained to the doctor, “It’s the Immortal Berserker Style’s healing… combined with some Pure Body Tempering.”
The doctor nodded, “That’s the sort of recovery speed everyone in the world might wish for… but they’d prefer to do it without lingering on the edge of death.”
Barrett shrugged, “Then they’d have to find some other technique.”
The doctor stayed a few more minutes until he was satisfied that Barrett wasn’t going to suddenly explode, then left.
Barrett took stock of his injury. He found the results were mixed. On one hand… he did see a measurable improvement in the injury. On the other hand… he judged it to be perhaps one percent healed. If he did the math, that was only one thousand trays of food and a little bit more than a day… but of course it wasn’t that easy. Even with the ability to quickly recover stamina from food, there was only so much a body could use in a single day without side effects. He could do the same for perhaps three or four meals per day, however. At that rate, it would take about a month to recover- but he couldn’t guarantee that a one-hundred percent recovery would be a perfect recovery. Yes, at that point his spinal cord would be attached back together. It would certainly work, but he couldn’t be sure it would be perfect. If it wasn’t, he would have to get special medicines from the Immortal Berserker Sect. Master Hykel would probably pay for it- but he knew that his overall contribution from the mission would end up negative.
Well, unless he counted the fact that there were now a half-dozen dead third tier Silver Blades. While he hadn’t done it all himself, the Sect would love to hear the news that a few percent of the Silver Blade’s third tier and higher members died. Even though they had many forces left, they wouldn’t be likely to take revenge against the Leipeka clan. The Silver Blade had many enemies, and if they mobilized a large force they might just find themselves in a situation they couldn’t handle. Besides, Barrett was sure the Leipeka clan had a few tricks up their sleeves at their main location.
Just as Barrett was contemplating taking a nap, Nilima entered the tent. If there was a door, Barrett could have been sure she would have thrown it open. “Hey, bandage boy! I heard you almost got yourself killed. What happened there?”
“What about you? That foot didn’t injure itself, did it… twig-girl.” Barrett looked down at her left foot. She had been walking gingerly on it… though trying not to look like she was.
“Hmph.” She turned around, “It’s nothing much compared to getting your neck chopped halfway through.” Then she spun back towards him, “Hey wait you cheater, you’re healed already!”