Waking up from actual sleep was extremely refreshing for Barrett. He would have liked to sleep longer, but his hunger woke him up. He was in the room Master Hykel had rented, though Master Hykel himself was nowhere to be seen.
He took the time to check himself out. It was almost hard to believe the curse was gone. He’d been struggling against it for half a year, and in less than an hour of work Crenthor had completely annihilated it. Sure, Barrett helped some, but he’d never been able to do anything permanent. It just showed that he couldn’t do everything himself.
Since he found no traces of the curse, he started to train berserk energy, his first real chance since he’d been cursed. He had many sources of inspiration to generate anger. Stredo allowed the Silver Blades to exist in their city even though it was clear they violated the rules, just because a few people covered for them. Maybe more than a few- but the point was that Stredo as a whole didn’t really care as long as nobody caused too much trouble in public. The Silver Blade only ran into real trouble when they crossed the wrong powerful person, with little to no consequences for all the trouble they had caused to a myriad of those with less power. What good was power if it wasn’t used rightly? Barrett wanted none of it.
To its credit, the Immortal Berserker Sect itself held up to the righteous standards it set forth. Their actions supported their stated ideals, and they were straightforward and upright as possible- and they held their own members up to those standards more than outsiders. While there were still some internal conflicts, they were resolved… if not peacefully, at least nonlethally.
Barrett focused on some of the anger he felt for himself… and for others. That anger was converted into berserk energy, which Barrett finally felt flowing through him. Of course, it started without control, proceeding to go wild as was its nature. However, his practice with fighting off the curse allowed him to bring the berserk energy under control more easily than before. He couldn’t make up for six months of destructions he hadn’t performed, but better control was always good. In approximately six years, that control would help him advance to fourth tier- possibly a bit longer than six years if there were more setbacks.
Barrett lay back on the floor, exhausted… but it was a good sort of exhaustion. The fact that he could lie there exhausted without worrying about dying was wonderful. Not long after he finished his berserk energy training, Master Hykel returned.
“Good to see you up!” Master Hykel grinned, “How are you feeling?”
“Well, we can fix at least one of those easily… and the other will go away with time. Let’s go eat.”
They ate down below in the inn, ordering dish after dish. In Barrett’s case, he’d missed a day of food and still had a number of internal wounds to recover… not to mention the blood loss. The staff were familiar with their eating habits, so they just continued to bring food until they were done. They certainly had no reason to complain about additional profit, even if it meant more work.
“I went back to buy some more charms,” Master Hykel commented, “They won’t be quite as effective, but they can be activated at any time.” Master Hykel also pulled out a book, “I also got an introductory guide to charm crafting, and dealing with curses in general. Crenthor said most of it is low level crap that isn’t much good, but that it is all legitimate. Maybe someone at the sect can find some use of it.”
“I’d love to learn about dealing with curses… but I’m not much good at magic,” Barrett shook his head, “Berserk energy isn’t really good for smooth removals either.”
Master Hykel shrugged, “It wouldn’t hurt to look. Maybe someone will need a curse removed and it’s worth messing up their insides for it.”
“Yeah…” Barrett nodded, “And if I knew the proper techniques, at least I could do more good than harm… unlike when I was trying on myself before. It’s a good thing I learned some Pure Body Tempering.”
Master Hykel nodded, “You did quite well. It’s possible that if you had focused exclusively on training berserk energy, you could have achieved similar results… but everything has its own specialty. You’ve found a pretty good balance of things to train.”
“Except when I need to do things besides fighting…” Barrett shook his head.
Master Hykel shrugged, “At least you can do some other things. Some warriors don’t even bother to learn how to read… and that makes it harder to learn from others. Not everyone has time to teach all the time after all.”
“I’m lucky to be your direct student… but even you have to spend time for your own training.”
“That’s right!” Master Hykel slapped the table- not quite hard enough to actually damage it. “I’ve got my own things to do. I still need to become a grandmaster, after all.” Master Hykel puffed up his chest.
“I’m sure you can do it. You’re still… relatively young.” Master Hykel looked like he was early middle age, but he was at least sixty years old. “It should only take you… umm…” Barrett thought in his head, “Twenty… something years.”
“Twenty-five, approximately, with my success rate of destructions. During that time, you’ll become fifth tier. Or you’ll be dead.”
“Let’s just agree to not be dead then.” Barrett stuck out his hand.
Master Hykel grabbed onto Barrett’s forearm, “Deal. In a quarter century, I’ll be a grandmaster, and you have to keep training and survive.”
Some of the others eating looked over at the strange pair, but said nothing. They certainly weren’t going to tell a sixth tier master that he couldn’t become a grandmaster- both because he was much stronger than them, and because maybe he could. None of the rest of them were even masters, at best being third tier like Barrett- and those who were were much older.
“Well then,” Master Hykel said, “I suppose we should return home soon.”
Barrett nodded in agreement. He didn’t like seeing zombies around. At least they weren’t used to serve food. At least, not in this particular building.