Barrett slowly came out of his meditation. Though it was far too early for sleep, he’d had no real sleep in months and was already tired from the day’s exertions. However, a guest had also shown up outside the room. Master Hykel was already letting her in.
“Hey, musclehead!” Nilima came in and crossed her arms in front of her. “I thought we were going to fight in the tournament, huh? Now you went and got the whole thing delayed!”
Barrett shrugged, “It seems I did.”
“Yeah, well, I came here to fight you anyway… but you look pretty bad so there’s no point in me beating you up now.”
“You try being cursed sometime. It’s not much fun.”
Nilima shrugged, “I’ll pass. I’m smart enough to not let myself get cursed.” She shook her head, “Well, see you at the next tournament I guess. This one’s basically cancelled now, and you’re not gonna make it to the later rounds anyway.” She turned and left, leaving Barrett slightly more exhausted than he already had been.
Barrett had used most of his berserk energy, and he could only very slowly wait for it to restore himself, unless he wanted to open himself up to being attacked by the curse. He could still feel it lurking around, waiting for a moment of weakness. Fortunately Master Hykel had made him eat a big meal before meditating. If it was just stamina at play, he was basically recovered.
Master Hykel came into the room where Barrett was resting- they were still in Stredo, since the incident was still ongoing. Barrett looked to Master Hykel, “So what’s been happening?”
“Sir Joston was quite enraged. Because of your earlier accusations, they watched a few people carefully and caught them tampering with the arena’s wards. There were some connections to the Silver Blade’s biggest defender… maybe not enough to do anything with if Sir Joston was anyone else. However, he has more authority when dealing with the arena.” Master Hykel grinned briefly, but then his smile faded, “All that led to a raid on the Silver Blade headquarters. I don’t have many details yet, except they found enough to ruin them. I doubt there were many documents, so we don’t know who has been hiring them, but they had several high tier members flee during the raid- people who shouldn’t have existed. Misrepresentation of their forces, resisting search of their property and arrest, killing guards… they’re not going to be able to survive this. Unfortunately, there were still some sixth tier and maybe a couple of seventh tier members who got away.”
“They had those?” Barrett shook his head, “They could have really caused a lot of trouble.”
“They still can. They’ll probably be out for revenge. The Immortal Berserker Sect will probably be on lockdown for a while. Stredo itself should be safe, since they’re watching out for them… and they won’t risk getting caught so easily. The important thing is whether we can eradicate enough of their supporters. By we, I mostly mean Stredo… though the Fourth Eye Seers are helping out with hunting some people down. Besides generally being allied with the Immortal Berserker Sect, some of their members were assassinated over the last decades, probably by members of the Silver Blade. So, things are looking good, for the most part. Thanks for being the catalyst.”
“You’re welcome, I guess?” Barrett shrugged, then touched his chest. “I’m just waiting for that ‘better’ to happen. I was hoping the curse would go away with Victoria’s defeat… or at least become weaker. Instead, it’s basically the same.”
“Eh, sometimes prophecies are over a longer time frame. I’d expect at least a few weeks before anything major happens at least.”
Barrett sat in front of a tiny sapling. It certainly didn’t appear to be months of growth, at just a handful of centimeters tall. He fed tiny bits of mana to it, which it greedily devoured. His level of magic wasn’t going to do anything against a curse, let alone it being earth magic, so it wasn’t a problem to use his small reserves of mana for this. This was his little plant, even if he wasn’t the primary caretaker.
Mistress Abels walked up behind him, “A strange little thing, isn’t it? It’s so small, but quite vibrant and healthy. I imagine it will take quite some time to grow.”
Barrett shrugged, “Maybe. Even if it dies out, I didn’t really do that much to get it. It’s just a bit of petty dead mages trying to outdo each other.”
“Speaking of petty dead mages, the Order of Four Winds has sent you a gift, for finding them the opportunity to receive the mage’s inheritance. That’s why I’m here to find you.”
“Oh?” Barrett pushed himself up to standing, “Is someone waiting for me?”
Mistress Abels shook her head, “No, they left it behind,” she waved him forward, “Come look. It should have been delivered to your room.”
Inside his room, Barrett saw a large box, about half a meter on each side. He opened it and pulled out a pair of boots. Inside there was also a note. ‘These boots are enchanted to let you run as fast as the wind.’ “Hmm…” Barrett narrowed his eyes, “How fast is the wind, really?”
“As fast as it wants to be, maybe.” Mistress Abels shrugged, “Either way, those boots should help you move faster in short bursts, and they will use their own mana for it. They’re custom made for you, made from heavier but more durable materials than normal. Can’t have your magic boots falling apart when you first run with berserk energy, now can we?”
Barrett found the boots fit him very well, and they were matched with the sabatons on his armor. “Did someone send them measurements?”
“Of course. It would be a shame for them to prepare something that didn’t fit. Everyone wants their presents to be good, and the Order of Four Winds is no exception.”
“Maybe I should get sucked into more tornadoes,” Barrett grinned. “Speaking of which… is the tornados still weakening?”
“That’s right. You have some friends in Sashor, correct? They will likely be fine for years to come… and even once the tornadoes fade, Stredo has little interest in expanding that way. Sashor should remain a peaceful country for some time.”
Barrett nodded, “Good. Some places need to stay peaceful, since everywhere else isn’t.”