Oseta was the capital of Sashor, though Barrett found it to be even smaller than Durham. Sashor didn’t have much in the way of big cities and focused more on agriculture. Likewise, they didn’t have much need for warriors or other cultivators. With mountains surrounding them on three sides and the tornado plains on the fourth, making any sort of invasion rather difficult for normal soldiers. They also didn’t have any resources cultivators would be interested in, so they generally had few problems.
That lack of permanent cultivators made finding those traveling through much easier, and finding Reina was even easier. She was powerful and young, so Barrett only had to ask around for a short while before he found her. All he had to do was get nearby, and then he could sense her wind element energy. Likewise, he stopped restraining his berserk energy. Thus, before he could even go into the inn where she was, she came out to see him.
She was pristine. She had not a scratch on her face or on her clothes, and Barrett could tell they were the same outfit she had worn before. While having multiple outfits was preferred, it was not so easy to afford many outfits woven from enchanted giant spider silk that served as armor.
Meanwhile, Barrett was still covered in bandages and in an entirely different outfit. “I’m glad you made it just fine,” he opened.
“I’m glad you’re… fine… as well.”
Barrett pulled back the bandages on his arm, “It’s just scars now.”
“Looks like I didn’t need to worry at all… though I don’t want to know what could do that to you.”
“Then I won’t tell you what it feels like to get hit by something going at tornado speeds.”
Ashia was just over the mountains to the east. They were not easy for regular people to navigate, with only a single small road. The previous time Barrett had gone through a different pass with Master Hykel, which was a very different experience. There wasn’t really any danger with him around. Of course, the fact that normal people could go through the pass meant that it wasn’t much of a threat to two third-tier cultivators.
However, traders and the like chose to avoid going through the pass during the breeding season of the wyverns. The rest of the year it was basically safe, but the wyverns were very territorial during their mating season.
Wyverns were flying creatures more akin to dragons than they were to birds, covered in scales and not feathers… but they were not that close to dragons on practical levels. They did not have any form of elemental breath nor were they so large as dragons. Instead, they got by with their wicked teeth and their poisonous stingers on the end of their tails.
From his studies Barrett knew he should be able to survive some poison from a wyvern, but also that it would be an unpleasant experience. However, with over a dozen of them flying toward Reina and him, he was a bit more apprehensive about the whole idea.
“Should we run, or fight?” Barrett asked.
“Fighting is easier. In the short term we can outrun them, but they can probably continue to fly for some time. Besides, it’s good practical experience.”
“Practical experience, huh? I suppose even duelists care about that, even if they avoid some of the more visceral parts of combat.”
“If that’s your way of saying we prefer not to be injured… you’re correct.”
Wyverns didn’t use complicated tactics, instead preferring to swarm their targets and kill them quickly. Thus, they dove toward the pair of invaders down below.
They were at least smart enough to stay out of reach for the most part. They flew overhead with their tails down to stab the pair, but unfortunately for them their opponents were more than capable of dealing with them.
Since the stinger on the first tail was aimed for his chest, Barrett just leaned to the side to avoid it… at the same time, he reached his arm over and around the tail. Then he slammed the wyvern down into the dirt, where it broke into a crumpled heap. That was one thing that wyverns shared with birds- they were relatively fragile, even though their scales prevented them from being cut easily. They weren’t very heavy, or they couldn’t fly. Dragons used magic to assist them, but wyverns were non-magical.
The wyverns had huge wingspans, which meant they could only approach slightly staggered. Two of them moved to attack Reina, but she dashed towards them as she slashed at their tails- and even though they had protective scales, red blood poured out from long slashes on each tail. The two wyverns cried out and continued to fly past, pulling up and away.
Meanwhile, Barrett had to deal with more coming for him. Seeing that one of them had been defeated, two wyverns moved to land on either side of Barrett, hemming him in with their wings while they attacked with teeth and tail. Unfortunately for them they had the same problem as their other companion. Barrett grabbed the wyvern to his right, just below the base of its head. He pulled, flipping it up and over- into the tail and then all of the other wyvern. Barrett had enough strength to throw creatures weighing hundreds of kilograms- the wyverns, though larger than a horse, were only around a hundred. The difference in weight meant he could throw them much faster.
The wyverns weren’t especially smart, but they knew the sounds of pain from their brethren. The remaining wyverns- except for one, turned away and retreated. One determined wyvern moved to land on Reina with its talons… but just as it approached she easily moved around behind it, ducking under its wing and letting its momentum carry it forward. Barrett barely even saw the slash along its throat, though he could easily see the aftermath. Reina looked at the sky to make sure the remaining wyverns were indeed retreating, then turned to Barrett, “Are wyverns worth anything in Ashia?”
Barrett shrugged, “Maybe. I don’t think they get much chance to have them.” He looked towards the four bodies around them. “I can easily drag two, but I don’t have any more hands.”
“I was thinking we might skin them and collect their talons.”
“Ah. That’s also a good idea.” Barrett scratched his chin, “I should bring equipment for that in the future.”
“I have some… though if you want to drag two whole wyverns, we might be able to get something more.”
“It’s good training anyway,” Barrett nodded.