Six months after his first destruction, Barrett considered his condition and frowned. It’s not that it was bad… but just the opposite. “I’m healed.” He took careful stock of every part of his body… and all of the pain that had been lingering, if slowly fading… was gone.
Master Hykel seemed to have overheard Barrett’s observation, “You’re not healed yet. Instead, you’re back to the normal level of functioning.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought but… I feel healed. The pain wasn’t supposed to be completely gone until I was fully recovered, and it is.”
“Hmm…” Master Hykel got a serious look on his face. Then he started poking and prodding Barrett. Some of that was mere physical observation, though Barrett could also feel some energy fluctuations. “You are healed.” That was Master Hykel’s final declaration.
“Umm… wasn’t it supposed to take a year? What does that mean?”
Master Hykel thought for a few moments. “Well, I can think of a few things. How long did it take you to recover from injuries when you were a kid?”
“Normal amounts? I think. I didn’t exactly keep track of everything.” Barrett had a somewhat better idea of how long things had taken at his cousin’s place… but there were many factors involved that could affect healing.
“Of couse you didn’t.” Master Hykel shook his head, “Normal people wouldn’t. Well, people heal at different rates. Unlike the special cases of immortal bodies, it’s not usually so visible. Given various conditions, people heal at different rates. If we consider 1 to be the normal value, over ninety percent of people would usually range from about 0.8 to 1.2… though in extreme cases it can be between 0.5 and 3. Again, this doesn’t count immortal bodies, medicines, or specific diseases. Anyway, this would put you at about a 2.”
“… In that case, does that mean my recovery will always be twice as fast?”
Master Hykel shook his head, “That would be ridiculous. If you take the technique into account, what normally happens is you go from 1 to 2. In your case, you would go from 2 to 3.” Master Hykel shrugged, “It’s not unheard of. You just saved six months. Though… you still have many things to learn before you can move on. Still, this will allow you to return to training your energy… and perhaps you can succeed at and recover from your second destruction in the same timeframe as I have planned.”
“Will the second time hurt less?”
Master Hykel frowned, “Well… yes and no.”
“That is a completely useless answer.”
He nodded, “That’s right. You’ll understand when you get there.”
So far, Master Hykel had never been wrong about such things. Barrett still wondered why he couldn’t just tell him beforehand.
“Alright kid,” Master Hykel hefted a rather large and surprisingly ornate axe on his shoulder, “Today we start your training with the axe. Give me a reason why you’ll learn to use an axe.”
“Because it’s an optimal weapon both for weight and sharpness.”
“Hmm, that’s a good answer. The real answer is… because I know how to use axes. Thus, you will learn how to use axes. Later, you can try out a number of weapons. Anything that can stand up to the force you produce and berserk energy will do the trick, if you know how to use it. If not, you have a broken weapon. At that point, you have to fight with your body.” Master Hykel shrugged, “You’ll be learning how to fight without weapons to, for various reasons. Maybe you break one, maybe you couldn’t bring one somewhere, maybe you just want a way to incapacitate someone without chopping them in half. A proper weapon is always better, if you have one… but knowing how to fight without a weapon is still better than not.”
The first thing Master Hykel had Barrett do was try to lift his axe. Master Hykel put it down flat on the ground, and Barrett could tell it had a lot of weight. Still, he had been training his strength. He could certainly at least pick it up. He put his hand under the head and tried to lift… and found he couldn’t. It was like it was stuck to the ground. However, he pushed against the handle, and it moved… though with some effort. It also left a slight groove in the ground. Since he couldn’t pick it up the way he wanted, he went down to the end of the handle and lifted. It took some strain, but after a moment it became easier. Then, the axe was standing vertically with the head down. Barrett took a stance and tried again with both hands around the shaft and managed to just barely lift the axe off the ground. Then he couldn’t do anymore, and it fell to the ground, leaving a significant depression.
Master Hykel nodded, “Decent technique. I see you’ve been listening. You could have thrown out your back if you did it wrong. So, what does this tell you about the axe?”
“Umm… the weight is mostly in the head and… heavier is better?”
“Is it better though? You can’t even really pick it up.”
“If I could though, it would carry more force.”
“Well… perhaps.” Master Hykel bent down and easily lifted the axe. Then, he gave it a few swings. Barrett heard the sound of it whistling through the air. Then Master Hykel turned serious… and he heard the whistling of the axe, and felt the breeze… but he couldn’t see the axe itself during the swing, except as a blur. “What did you learn about force? Heavier objects have more force… but faster objects are even more. You actually want a weapon that you can swing as fast as possible- while also being strong enough to stand up to that force. Such sturdiness generally results in more mass… barring magic and other factors.” Master Hykel trailed some runes on the axehead with his finger, “Actually, this one is magical.” Master Hykel went and pulled out another slightly smaller axe. “This one is as well. Give it a try.”
Barrett found it was much lighter than the other one- more than just the size difference would explain. However, this one felt more right in terms of weight. It seemed like he expected an axe to be. He swung it a few times, but couldn’t tell what the magic did. Maybe it just made it sturdy? Then he ran his thumb along the blade… and surprisingly it didn’t cut his skin. “Oh. This one is made so I don’t hurt myself.”
Master Hykel shook his head, “Not quite. It’s made so you don’t kill yourself. If you get hurt… well, that’s actually training.” He grinned… and Barrett paled slightly. He had the feeling this wasn’t going to be easy.