Barett jumped over the five meter gorge. As he landed on the other side, he felt the waters from up the hill pushing back on him. He wasn’t going to lose to a little water, but it was one more concern to deal with. However, he wasn’t going to lose to a puny lightning strike.
Immediately after that, he got struck by lightning again. He just barely managed to keep his feet… and before he had time to recover, he sensed more. He pulled himself low and to the side… and whether that was enough or not, he wasn’t struck directly. The lightning hit uphill a dozen meters, and only a small portion of it reached him through the ground and water.
A few steps forward away from the gorge gave Barrett a better sense of confidence, because he didn’t want to be pulled into the rushing waters there- waters in which the lightning could still potentially strike him as he was pulled along.
Lightning continued to strike near Barrett several times per minute- sometimes individual strikes were within seconds. Sometimes it was far enough away to not matter, and other times he was struck… but at least once he actually maneuvered himself to avoid being the target.
Once more, lightning struck Barrett, coursing through him. He could definitely feel shock going out of himself as well as in. Each individual strike wasn’t much- even normal humans sometimes survived lightning strikes- but they kept adding up. Barrett’s muscles weren’t responding as easily, and the burns were piling up. He had to restart his heart once or twice, though with his experience in Pure Body Tempering it wasn’t so bad.
With the latest lightning strike, Barrett felt himself weakening… and he realized that if he was much more injured and tired out, the curse could prove to be a real danger to his life. He was about to call off the training- they would either go around somewhere safer or come back the next day. Master Hykel wasn’t going to force him to do anything Barrett thought was a danger to himself.
However… was he really at the limit? The Immortal Berserker Style was all about finding the very limits of what you could survive. The very first thing he had done was a reckless risk to his life- or at least it had seemed reckless. Each destruction was a danger to himself… but not an uncalculated danger. If he was in control, as long as he hadn’t regressed at the first destruction than there was a chance of him dying from destructions and especially tier advancements… but not a random chance. It was up to himself, his training, his control, and his sense of his own limits.
Could the curse kill him if he let himself get too weak? Absolutely. If he was caught with his guard down or without enough stamina to fight it off, the curse would kill him. However, he had been dealing with it for months. Even with its recent increase in strength, he still had a good measure of how much it would take to defeat. He could go for more.
Barrett continued to walk on ahead, dodging lightning when he could, being relieved when it wasn’t near him anyway… and when necessary, taking a hit. Master Hykel hadn’t raised his right arm up for no reason- if it was the highest part of Barrett’s body, the lightning would travel through there, and with it being the right arm it was slightly less likely to go through his heart on its way to the ground, which was just off center in his body to the left. If his heart was fine, then he didn’t have to spend any stamina dealing with it… though his body still grew tired as it recovered from the injuries, minor as they were individually.
Rain washed over Barrett, the water and lightning strike making it difficult to see… but the peak was approaching. Huge bolts of lightning almost continually struck the peak, and Barrett angled to go around it. There was no need to go directly over it. Maybe if he didn’t have to worry about the curse, but while Barrett wasn’t completely sure of his limits, facing lightning that was both more powerful and more frequent was off the table.
As he continued along, Barrett finally managed to sense the areas that were most likely to have lightning strike- well before it actually happened. It wasn’t anything he could sense on the ground, but instead up in the clouds. As lightning built up in particular areas, anything below that in a sort of cone was the most dangerous area. Barrett walked in what he felt was the safest route, though he still had to lower himself or take a hit occasionally.
Just as he was passing by the peak- a good hundred meters from the most dangerous region- the curse attacked once more. Barrett wrestled with it internally as he felt it dig into his insides as well as his life force. Lightning had passed through him so many times that everything was already tender and sore, and the damage from the curse was even more.
That fight took up enough concentration that he forgot to avoid the next lightning strike. That made everything even worse- the lightning coursed through his damaged internal organs and at the same time the curse landed an attack on him from the metaphysical space it was occupying.
Barrett tasted iron, which was always a bad sign when he hadn’t been hit in the face. That meant blood had come from somewhere else. Barrett wasn’t sure whether to stop where he was or sprint down the mountain… but then he noticed the curse was slightly sluggish. That gave him an idea.
The next time lightning came, he was ready for it. However, instead of trying to avoid it, he intentionally got hit. Beyond that, he tried to channel it through him into that metaphysical area. The curse had reacted to it… and it could damage his body… so why could it not work the other way?
Indeed, he accomplished the general idea for what he wanted, but since it was his first attempt he failed to direct the lightning properly. The energy that made it struck out at his life force directly instead of at the curse, and he had to leave another opening for the curse to prevent damage from the lightning.
However, the curse was still slightly affected. Why shouldn’t it have been? The only thing that was stopping him from using berserk energy had been damaging himself. It wasn’t invulnerable to other things. Currently he had barely any berserk energy, as the process of gathering more was too taxing on himself with the curse. However, he could still use that to drive off the curse. As he senses the next lightning gathering up above, Barrett moved to somewhere he would almost certainly be struck while gathering his berserk energy to attack the curse. Sure, he would damage himself… but as long as he hurt it more, he would come out on top.