Fire flowed around Barrett, exploding out in all directions and he blocked the compressed ball of fire. Just the force that reached him nearly knocked him off his feet, but he kept his balance and was merely pushed back. Another fireball flew over past him, aiming for the center of the squad members from the Order of the Four Winds… before passing through the group to fly up into the sky behind them where its power was unleashed.
“Looks like we still have some more work to do…” Mistress Abels commented. “Just remember- even if we’re here to block for you, we can’t block everything. The enemy can just aim over us.” Mistress Abels gestured to two of the duelists, “You two are designed to magic deflection… and you two to arrow deflection. Remember, this is a battlefield. You can’t just personally avoid danger- you need to protect the whole squad. A compressed fireball like that is vulnerable to redirecting when they are making it change direction like that- and of course you can all deal with a wall of flame more easily. Lightning you’ll just have to avoid- though it will lose some power if it has to go over anyone. Next time, I want to see some deflection. Up or to the side- never down, unless it’s far away.”
Aurelia spoke up, “If we deflect it to the side here… won’t it harm the buildings? They’re not enchanted…”
Mistress Abels folded her arms in front of her, “This is the Immortal Berserker Sect training grounds. Perhaps you don’t deal with as much collateral damage, but our buildings won’t fall apart so easily. Barrett- throw Johann at the wall!”
Barrett saluted, “Yes, Mistress Abels!” Johann grimaced and readied himself. Just because Barrett was going to throw him didn’t mean he had to make it easy. Unfortunately for Johann, he had just recently reached third tier, and his body training was behind Barrett as well. With a quick movement that seemed like Barrett should have been off balance, he grabbed Johann and threw him towards the wall five meters away. Johann hit the wall back first- distributing the force evenly. There was a tremendous thudding sound as the whole wall trembled slightly, and Johann slid to the ground.
“Why me?” Johann groaned.
“You were being lazy! Now then,” Mistress Abels turned back to the rest of the group, “Don’t worry about causing damage. These walls don’t need fancy enchantments to handle something like a second tier fireball.” She nodded towards Lamont, “Keep them coming at about that level of power, though save enough mana for at least one real third tier fireball.”
The last day they had been marching- not because they needed exercise, but because they were heading to the battlefield. Ruclua had passed their border despite the warnings, intent on advancing. Perhaps they were confident because they still retained a numerical advantage, despite having fewer higher tier or even mid tier cultivators. Maybe they just thought the cultivators wouldn’t wish to risk losing any of their young prospects. Barrett wasn’t sure, but they weren’t going to let them just walk through to conquer Sashor.
Barrett’s loadout for the battle was about the same as his normal equipment, except he had a shield. Normally Immortal Berserkers didn’t use shields, at least not as a whole. They relied on dodging attack or letting their armor or tough bodies absorb the damage. However, in the case of intentionally blocking magical attacks on a larger scale, shields made the most sense. Barrett’s shield was a big slab of enchanted steel, a tower shield. Along with the other Immortal Berserkers, it’s tall rectangular shape formed a nice wall with whatever shape they wanted- flat or a triangular formation for pushing forward through ranks of enemies.
Mistress Abels took a position at the front of the formation- she was the most important figure, but also the strongest and least likely to die. For their purposes, keeping her in the rear would be a waste of manpower. In battle, once they had a target they would form into the triangle formation, with Immortal Berserkers on the outside and the duelists behind. For the most part, they would just be rushing through the ranks of enemies. Barrett had a position second from the far right, a fourth tier named Owen taking the most critical position on the far right. He wouldn’t have anyone protecting his side with a shield. Even so, Owen- Master Owen, technically, probably had the least to worry about. Almost nobody would be strong enough to actually injure him unless he got careless… and those who could were probably the targets they intended to take out.
The cultivator army arrived in the foothills below Bittercold Peak. If the army from Ruclua changed their trajectory, the cultivators would be able to move to cut them off- they could certainly move faster as a whole. However, they were currently cutting as close to the mountains as they could, perhaps in the hopes of avoiding the cultivators… though certainly their scouts would soon catch notice of the approximately five thousand people. Even if the cultivators were doing their best to catch any enemy scouts, they weren’t perfect.
Waking up in the morning knowing he was going to battle might have been worse than the previous time when he hadn’t known, but this time Barrett had chosen to participate. He was much stronger and working with a capable squad. Some people would die on the battlefield- perhaps even some of them would be third tier cultivators like himself. However, it wouldn’t be him. That wasn’t Barrett ignoring the danger- that was him saying he wouldn’t let it happen. He knew full well that he could die. The fact that he was still alive was a rarity considering what had happened to him. At least two of the times he would have died if he hadn’t been picked up by some kind people. One of those times had been the last time he’d been in a real battle of armies. There, Shanta had picked him off the battlefield where he was meant to die, even though most people would have assumed that he already had. Shanta was here for this battle as well… but he made up his mind to strive to not require her services. Besides, she would already be busy hopefully saving many lives. Or maybe they would get lucky and the enemy army would give up and go home. Barrett held onto that hope until the sound of trumpets came from the enemy’s hill, and part of their group started advancing.