Barrett spent half of his advance payment on food, converting as much food to stamina as he safely could every day, which he used to finish the healing of his spine. He wasn’t sure if it would have healed as well if he hadn’t taken special care, and it certainly would have taken much longer. However, as far as he could tell it was perfectly healed. It might have healed faster if he took expensive medicine, but that would have set back his cultivation. Perhaps it wasn’t worth it for a small portion of his spine now being slightly more stab resistant, but it was excellent for his training in Pure Body Tempering, and that he knew it could be done.
Sure, he had a true immortal body. He also had made himself resistant to poisons by slowly ingesting parts of a hundred poisons pill- one that had about fifty poisons. Names weren’t everything. He’d grown back an arm… but damage to any individual part of his arm would have healed much more easily than his spine. Just because a true immortal body was supposed to be able to recover from anything didn’t mean it would- or that it would recover properly. However, that was only if he let things progress naturally. With Pure Body Tempering… he could do anything. He had to believe that, otherwise it wouldn’t work. Even if he found something he couldn’t do… it was entirely possible that he was just not yet good enough for it.
Barrett had started teaching Kail Pure Body Tempering purely out of necessity. He’d taken to it immediately, however it became clear that while he was talented in that area, he wasn’t as quick to learn as he’d immediately displayed. He was already specialized in metal, so removing mercury from his system had been easier for him. Barrett wasn’t sure if it was because he understood metal or if it was just the mental confidence from him being familiar with metal- or perhaps because it had been a crisis situation. Either way, he was making some progress in other areas, but he didn’t pick any of it up so instantaneously.
Barrett and Kail were travelling with Iokua and a shipment of good for the Kaleo Blacksmith Guild. Iokua had only been in Mahne for the opening of the new warehouse. He had other business to attend to in other cities, including going along with important shipments. Barrett couldn’t tell what was important about the particular one they were with, but it didn’t really matter. It was just a shipment of armor just like the guards wore.
Barrett scratched his chin and turned to Iokua, “I hadn’t really thought about it but… isn’t wearing metal armor dangerous?” He shook his head, “Though I suppose you shouldn’t always expect to run into human opponents.”
Iokua nodded, “Most people can’t rely on just their bodies to protect them, and against regular people or even first tier… it is still a significant benefit. There’s only worry around second tier or higher, and there won’t be enough of them to stop all of the guards at once. Besides, this armor is special.”
“Is it?” Barrett tilted his head. It looked normal enough, but he wasn’t a blacksmith.
“It is,” Iokua grinned, “It’s a special alloy that is more difficult to influence. Of course, it’s also more difficult to make for the same reason… and more expensive.”
“Oh. I wonder why nobody in Stredo has anything like that…” Barrett pondered.
“Some of them probably do. However, it’s not like they have to worry about most people having the ability to control metal in one way or another, right?”
“Right.” Barrett nodded, “That makes plenty of sense. What does something like that cost?”
“About five times as much… and the only thing you’re getting is something equivalent to normal steel. Things useful for cultivators carry a similar markup and are usually special ordered.”
“Ah… too bad I’m poor now,” Barrett shrugged.
“We do commission armor for long term guards… but it’s still owned by us,” Iokua shrugged, “We’re not that generous.”
“So…” Kail joined the conversation, “What sort of trouble are you expecting?”
Iokua sighed, “Hopefully none. Possibly a few monster attacks, though they generally shy away from large groups. However, with the incident at the warehouse… we can’t be sure. Those thugs weren’t even sure who they were working for. They just wanted to cause trouble for us, as far as they were told.” Iokua stroked his chin, which bristled with small metallic hairs, “If I were to guess, they’d really be interested in our products more than just causing us damage. As noted, these suits of armor are worth quite a bit.”
“Have there been any other attempts to steal them from you, or other guilds?”
“There are always attempts. The same is true for other guilds, but our formula is better.” Iokua held his head up high, “There are many people who would like to get their hands on a large shipment, either just to have the armor or to try to reverse-engineer it.”
Kail nodded, “I imagine that would be very hard… or it would have been done a long time ago. After all, it’s not like people couldn’t have bought one or two to take apart.”
“That’s right. The other guilds frequently send people to buy some for them. They can’t publicly purchase them because it is our technique… but if they actually manage to discern the technique without it obviously being stolen, they can say they came up with it on their own and we can’t do much. However, so far not even fifth tier metal cultivators have been able to figure it out. As for those who know how to do it… we keep their identities as secret as possible and pay them well enough it’s not worth it for them to give up the information.”
“Plus they’d be worried about retribution,” Barrett nodded.
Iokua held his head up high, “We wouldn’t dream of causing any trouble for our own members, and they can even choose to leave as long as they don’t distribute knowledge of secret techniques. However, traitors are not dealt with kindly.”