Once before, Barrett had found himself part of a military. However, this time it was his choice. In addition, even though the need was urgent, they didn’t forget to make sure everyone was trained. Obviously, as cultivators all of the members were quite capable in combat, but having better soldiers didn’t win wars on its own. They needed to be organized and work together to defeat the enemy.
Everyone was organized into squads according to what they could do. Warriors and duelists formed the bulk of the infantry. Their job was mostly to defend mages and archers from other infantry or cavalry. Meanwhile, those same archers and mages would be responsible for destroying as many enemies as possible. There were cavalry divisions as well, but Barrett didn’t have to be concerned with the overall tactics. His job was as part of a group of shock troopers.
Most of the enemy soldiers would just be doing their job- whether they signed up for it or not. The purpose of the shock trooper teams would be to take out enemy leaders, giving the army both motive and opportunity to retreat. Of course, that was in the case that the battle needed to be fought at all. Perhaps Ruclua would choose to retreat upon seeing the opposition to their forces. If no battle ever happened, that would be just as well. Currently, the Ruclua army was still moving towards the border- if they crossed in, the defense army would go meet them.
Barrett’s squad would be led by Mistress Abels. While the enemy probably didn’t have any fifth tier cultivators, there was no reason for them to not deploy some of their own. Grandmaster Zhubin would even be one of the generals. Overall, about a quarter of the Immortal Berserker Sect would be participating. About half of the members were out on missions of various sorts, and half of those left behind would be in training and taking care of the Sect grounds in general. It wasn’t impossible that someone would come to cause trouble if they left it mostly undefended, and Stredo’s laws wouldn’t do much good for people who died- and if there was no one around to determine who did what. The Immortal Berserker Sect still had a number of enemies… including whatever remnants there were of the Silver Blades.
Beyond Barrett and Mistress Abels, the squad had another dozen third tier Immortal Berserkers and two fourth tier members. There was also a similar complement of members of the Order of Four Winds. Reina wasn’t in that group, which was just fine. It would allow Barrett to focus more on the tasks at hand than unnecessarily worrying about her.
The general idea was that the Immortal Berserkers would help open up a path through the ranks of the enemies, mostly non-cultivators and first tier warriors. Once they got close to their target, those from the Order of Four Winds would be able to quickly take them out, or catch up to them if they were fleeing. However, they wouldn’t be able to move through the hundreds of people to get to that point without risk of injury. Meanwhile, any third tier Immortal Berserker could ignore attacks from non-cultivators entirely- though they still needed to kill them or otherwise get them out of the path.
They did several training runs against one battalion of first tier Immortal Berserkers. It wouldn’t be a perfect comparison, but it was what they had. Besides, getting a cracked rib or two from the training would be good for them. Many of them wouldn’t be going to the battlefield anyway. In the end, there were one hundred first tier Immortal Berserkers forming a company. Half of the higher tier squad then fought their way through, with the goal of reaching a point behind them. Then the injured soldiers were switched out and the other half of the squad took a turn.
The Ruclua army had stopped at the furthest point they could reasonably claim was the border of their territory. The past two days had been training by the various allied groups who were working to defend Sashor.
The squads were assigned to eat lunch together, as a further teambuilding exercise. Barrett noticed a large disparity in the amount of food on the plates of Immortal Berserkers compared to members of the Order of Four Winds. Some might have thought of it as the difference between muscular men and skinny women, but of course the Immortal Berserker Sect was not lacking in its own muscular women- Mistress Abels included- and there were also men in the Order of Four Winds. It was best for people to go with whatever suited their personality and build… though the training methods also shaped the second.
Barrett’s squad took up a few tables, and he sat down at one at random with his tray of food. It was actually slightly more than even most of the other Immortal Berserkers- with his extra emphasis on Pure Body Tempering, he consumed more calories. Across from Barrett sat a member of the Order of Four Winds with a tray of food that looked nearly empty- but was actually still more than a normal person would eat. The owner of the tray looked up. “Oh, hey. You’re Barrett, right? I’m Aurelia.”
Barrett nodded, “That’s right.”
“You’re the one who found the wind mage’s legacy, right?”
“By coincidence, yes.”
“My brother was there to get instruction from him,” she shrugged, “Though I hear he wasn’t that good at teaching. The masters have started teaching us a few lessons from that which are useful to us in particular.” Aurelia took a bite of her food, “Anyway, it’s that incident that lead to this. Though it’s not really our fault, we profited from that incident, and with that The Tornado started fading. Sashor relied on that seemingly unchanging feature to defend themselves… now it’s only fair that we’re helping them out.”
Barrett nodded, “I have some friends living there as well… they took care of me when I almost died in a volcano.”
Aurelia coughed and spit out some of her food- immediately catching it in the air with a bit of wind magic and covering it with a napkin. “Uh, sorry about that. That story was real? I thought Reina was joking about that.”
Barrett shrugged, “I couldn’t kill the guy, so I had to drop us both into the volcano. He was a real tough fight.”
“Then…” Aurelia scratched her chin, “Is it true you got eaten by a great worm and dumped out in the middle of the Metal Sea?”
“It wasn’t that far out, but it was still probably the third closest I’ve come to dying.”
“I see… so it is true that all Immortal Berserkers are insane. Good to know.”