Master Alnherr kept careful track of what each student could do. There was no way all of them would be at the same point in their training, and there weren’t so many of them that he couldn’t spare the time. As he watched Barrett train, his eyes lit up with surprise. Barrett clearly hadn’t been slacking in his training, and seemed to have even advanced significantly. He performed every test efficiently, and even did well on some new things Master Alnherr hadn’t had him try before. That showed a fundamental increase in understanding of how Pure Body Tempering worked. He was on the verge of third tier solely on the basis of Pure Body Tempering- or perhaps he had already reached it.
Alnherr might have wondered what he had been through to reach such a level at just twenty years of age, but he knew. Of course, the young man’s ability to recover might have contributed to his success, but it was certainly not solely responsible. Even if they could recover, most people could not manage pushing themselves to and past their limits so much. Barrett was willing to continue training even when in great pain. Of course, he was not the only determined student Master Alnherr had found at the Immortal Berserker Sect, but he was no less determined than anyone else. Even Herman- who wanted nothing more than to restore his arm- fell slightly behind, though perhaps for lack of practical experience.
Kail came to find Barrett a few days after his return. “I’ve made my decision?”
“Oh?” Barrett nodded, “That’s good.”
“Yes, well… I appreciate all that you’ve done for me, and I’ve seen the strength of others here… but I cannot join the Immortal Berserker Sect. As one of the few remaining practitioners of the Anakoni clan’s techniques, I need to continue the training for my family’s honor. Training in two types of energy will likely just result in problems.” Kail bowed, “Thank you for saving my life. I will be leaving in one week, I hope we meet again in the future.”
“Why?” Barrett tilted his head.
“I just told you, I can’t train in the Immortal Berserker Style.”
Barrett shrugged, “So, why leave? Half the people here don’t either. Granted, most of them are civilians or alchemists, but there are some other cultivators. As an auxiliary member you won’t receive much in the way of resources, but you can still earn some from missions, and the training grounds and protection of the Sect are still available.”
“I- that’s a possibility?”
“Of course. We could also attempt to introduce you to an allied sect, but since you will be training in your clan’s technique other places won’t really be much better.”
“No, I will stay here, if I can. I would especially like to continue to train with Master Alnherr. Pure Body Tempering is rather difficult, but I think it could be a good complement to my clan’s technique.”
“Then, tell him that. I will of course officially sponsor your application to join as well. Not that I think they would refuse someone like you. Not many people reach second tier before fifteen years of age. Congratulations, by the way.”
“Ah, you could tell? Well… I started training early.”
Barrett shook his head, “Being able to handle training at a young age is also a good trait.”
About a month after he returned to the Sect, Barrett found himself continuously uncomfortable. Not with anything that was happening- his recovery had completed and his training was going well. However, he couldn’t stop thinking about Kail, and about his clan. There wasn’t much to be done there- Barrett couldn’t take on an entire clan with just him and Kail, and he didn’t want to give the Silver Blades another chance. However, it did make him think about his own situation.
He’d somewhat dealt with his own family situation… but it was about half finished at best. Less than half, if he was honest. Destroying the house in Triridge was cathartic, but there was still Melody and his family’s stolen property. Denton was still alive too- though killing him would have been far too nice. A ruined smile and a crippled hand had been much more appropriate. Barrett doubted, even with his parent’s money, that Denton could have obtained medicine that would recover his wrist. Barrett had crushed it completely and even injected berserk energy. That pretty much negated its ability to recover even with good medicines. Even if they could afford it, Barrett doubted such medicine existed in Ashia. The head guard his family had as the ruler of a region was only a first tier warrior. Barrett could get such medicines for relatively cheap- but that was merely by virtue of being part of the Immortal Berserker Sect. More importantly, the prices of things for cultivators were on a different level. His new magic bag was worth almost as much as the mansion in Triridge including the property it was on.
The previous time he’d gone back to Durham he had spotted wanted posters- or rather, Master Hykel had. While Master Hykel could have kept him safe, he wanted to deal with that problem himself. It was family business. At the time, he hadn’t been strong enough to be confident in settling matters. Now, he was third tier. He should be able to handle any problem that cropped up in Ashia. Melody had gotten away for too long without suffering any consequences- and he didn’t count the mansion in Triridge or the injuries to Denton.
The Silver Blades had calmed down- or rather, they couldn’t afford to spend more resources on Barrett at the current time. They’d lost too many people going after him to no result, and that didn’t count the effort of Master Hykel and the others. His arrival back at the Immortal Berserker Sect was no secret, and as long as he kept his departure under wraps they would assume he was still training for some time. It was slightly possible that he would be traced back to Ashia, but there wasn’t much to tie him there but the Ravenhall name. Most people in Stredo wouldn’t place much importance on things happening in a mundane kingdom a few countries over.
However, Barrett didn’t plan to go alone. Having backup was good, and there could always be unexpected trouble from any source. Besides, there was at least one more person with a stake in revenge. Reina might have only been found by her master after Barrett’s home had burned down, but his family had treated her well and she might appreciate the chance for some revenge.