Nilima tilted her head as she looked at Barrett, “Since you have your throat back, why are you still sitting in bed?”
“My lower spine still has a few issues.”
“How?” She raised an eyebrow, “You already recovered like… half a neck! How could some tiny little things stop you?”
“People don’t just recover from severed spinal cord, you know.”
“People also don’t just recover from slashed jugular veins and open windpipes either!” Nilima stomped her foot down, then grimaced. “It’s not like it was a little cut. They were completely severed! Yet somehow your blood kept flowing and didn’t just fill up your lungs or spill onto the ground like it should have.”
Barrett raised an eyebrow. “Well, sorry I didn’t die like you expected, I guess.”
“Hmph.” Nilima turned and actually left, taking awkward steps to avoid further injuring her foot.
Kaylani came to see Barrett later, “Congratulations on a successful mission. Both you and Nilima performed extraordinarily well. There will be an additional reward for you both.” She glanced down slightly then returned to looking Barrett in the eye. “While we aren’t responsible for any injuries you sustained while working for us… we would like to offer what help we can. We don’t have any particularly special medical abilities, but the Immortal Berserker Sect has the best knowledge on how to recover from… significant injuries. Still, if we can help secure any materials that would be useful, we would be happy to.”
Barrett nodded, “Thank you. I’m not sure what materials will be necessary in this case, but I will keep it in mind.”
“Good.” Kaylani reached into a bag she had brought with her and pulled out a glass bottle, about a liter in size. “This is another gift. Just a reminder of what you were fighting for here.”
Barrett took the bottle which was full of a silvery liquid… and heavy. Not that it was a problem for him, but it weighed about quarter as much as a basic suit of armor. It was at least ten kilograms, and most of that would be from the liquid inside instead of the thick glass. Barrett had seen the mercury spring, but he hadn’t held any of it. “It’s different than I imagined…” he said as he sloshed it around slowly.
“It’s rather strange, isn’t it? Be careful though. Too much force will break the bottle, and it is toxic. It can seep in through the skin, and is a pain to get out of the body… even if you regularly deal with controlling metal.”
“Noted.” Barrett nodded, “Thanks again.”
“You’re welcome… and thank you for your assistance. Now onto less pleasant matters…” Kaylani crossed her arms in front of her. “We found some communication tokens on the SIlver Blades. They had several remaining, so it is likely they already used at least one. That means they probably know you’re here. While we will do our best to protect you, we can’t guarantee anything. If they try anything in the future, we can guarantee we will retaliate… but that doesn’t do much good if you’re dead. We can take you back to the main house, which is safer… or escort you back to Stredo, but…”
“But the closer I get to Stredo, the more power they have,” Barrett nodded, “Of course, that’s also true of the Immortal Berserker Sect. However, the Silver Blade will be out looking for me and the Immortal Berserker Sect will not. Actually, I had a single communication token. I already used it to ask them to watch for any mobilizations by the Silver Blade. However, I now have no way to communicate my current state.” Barrett shrugged, “But such is life. If you could help me get a message to them, I’ll head off to somewhere the Silver Blade won’t expect. They can’t exactly search everywhere for me.”
Kaylani nodded, “That we can do. We would have already sent a message, but advertising that you were in a weakened state wouldn’t do you much good if it was intercepted.”
“I think I can do something about that. We don’t exactly have established codes…”
Master Hykel read the letter again, as he had done many times since he received it the previous day. He couldn’t help but worry about his disciple. He always managed to find himself in serious trouble… but it wasn’t that he made dumb decisions. Instead, trouble just found him. That meant his future would be impressive if he survived… and the prophecy he’d received never said that his disciple would survive, only where he would find a perfect one. Sadly, he couldn’t just go rescue his disciple. That might be harmful to his growth- but more importantly he should already have been gone for a month, based on how the letter traveled to him.
“Master Hykel. I have successfully completed my first mission. It went fairly well, though I am reminded of the aftermath of that tournament in Ember. I still have a scar on my back from that, and a slight twinge in my legs.
I was surprised to find our forces facing off against several members of the Silver Blades as they attacked our defensive position. I am happy to report a half dozen of their third tier members are dead- though mostly not by my own hand.
I am planning to remain away for some time to temper myself. Perhaps I shall go west to the Fire Plains. I hear they have all manner of interesting beasts and terrain there.
Remember to thank Master Alnherr for me. His teaching has been invaluable.”
Master Hykel wasn’t even sure where Barrett might have gone. It almost certainly wasn’t the Fire Plains. Barrett didn’t have much fondness for fire, even though he was now quite able to deal with it. He was apparently injured somehow, in some way that wouldn’t heal quickly. He didn’t have any scars left from anything for long- and there were certainly none remaining from that incident, as many as there had once been. Barrett being injured Made Master Hykel want to go rescue him even more… but for the moment the best thing he could do was cause trouble for the SIlver Blades. It wouldn’t be too hard to convince some others to help him, either. Even though the current actions were for his personal disciple, they had already long been enemies with the Silver Blade. Now would be a good opportunity to further weaken them. Master Hykel wondered how many of them he could get to attack him just by showing up in the right places…