Showing pain wasn’t a form of weakness, but showing it in front of enemies in battle was. That included future opponents, so Barrett walked carefully out of the arena until nobody could see him. The beams of concentrated light only did damage to him for a short part of a second, but they were still not in a good state. Someone with a weaker body would have been permanently blinded- or more likely, would have to take some medicines to deal with it. It’s possible that the light mage would have just won the battle instantly against someone with a weaker body, if they hadn’t been ready with magic or energy to defend their eyes in particular. Barrett’s eyelids had also been damaged- but as long as he kept his eyes closed they barely hurt.
The leather of his armor under his armpits had been burned through and there was even some damage to the back of his knees that he hadn’t noticed- pretty much any weak spot had been targeted, but it hadn’t been long enough to cause significant damage. At least, Barrett’s tendons and muscles were still mostly intact… enough for him to have won the fight. Given another handful of seconds of attack, perhaps Barrett would not have been able to move at all.
His biggest injury was still what damage was left to his chest and sternum, but he needed to recover everything to a certain point to fight properly the next day. For that, he needed to eat more and spend time actively recovering… which sounded antithetical, but with pure body tempering he could concentrate on healing just the right places. There were only a few rounds left… and he just had to get through them.
By the time of the semifinal round, Barrett had managed to scrape by with only gaining new ‘minor’ wounds, anything that could recover normally within the span of a year for a non-cultivator. He was left with only the scars remaining from the tournament- slight stiffness and twinging pain, especially in the center of his chest. They would heal given time, but before that Barrett had an important battle to fight.
Across from him in the arena stood Nilima. It would have been nice to meet up in the finals, but they were not in charge of the tournament… and there was some chance they would lose to another opponent anyway.
They didn’t speak as the match started- both of them moved straight to the fight. Barrett had debated between wearing armor or not for this fight. The actual material would do no good against Nilima’s attacks, but enchanted armor could reduce the effectiveness of her energy as it penetrated through. Ultimately, Barrett had decided the increased mobility would be better than the slight defensive increase. She was swift enough that swinging a big heavy axe wouldn’t be useful, and he’d grown used to fighting her unarmed. His boots would still be of use in maneuvering, though he suspected she had some magical items of her own. Though they didn’t fit perfectly, she wore a loose fitting shirt and trousers that were of too fine a make- and too lacking in permanent battle damage- to not be magical.
Barrett tossed a lead ball as he and Nilima approached each other, not expecting it to actually hit her or deal damage but merely to throw off her momentum before they reached each other in melee. Barrett started off with a cross body kick as they met. Nilima ducked underneath the attack while reaching up a hand to strike Barrett’s knee, her energy reaching into his body to try to break it. Barrett felt the energy bouncing around inside, but he had been prepared for such a reaction, using some stamina to reinforce his leg with toughness from elsewhere in his body.
The two traded blows back and forth- Nilima mostly dodging or deflecting Barrett’s attacks. When she made her own attacks, Barrett dodged or gathered berserk energy to counterattack, keeping her at bay.
When he found an opening, Barrett struck with his knee towards the torso of the somewhat shorter woman. She couldn’t directly change her direction to dodge, but she threw up a hand to block, using the momentum from the attack to throw herself backwards in a very familiar maneuver. Barrett was smiling in spite of himself, remembering fond memories of previous fights… and some less fond memories of some of the times he had lost and the recovery afterwards.
Aches and pains filled Barrett’s joints where Nilima had struck him, but he knew some of his berserk energy had slipped through her defenses- not much, but it didn’t take much. She seemed to have recovered fully from her fight with Kaylani, but now she was showing slight damage to her hands and legs where she had come in contact with him.
As Nilima was flying back, Barrett activated his boots to catch up to her, trying to catch her off guard as she was landing. He kicked out towards her, berserk energy flaring off of his foot to try to damage her even if she dodged. Even with her off balance from just landing, she leaned towards him, a cut appearing on her face as she leaned past his attack. As she did so, her fingers extended like a sword towards his abdomen. Her fingers struck Barrett, energy flowing from her fingers into his body and into his right kidney… or where his kidney normally would have been. He was only barely able to change his momentum to avoid the attack, but internally he slightly shifted his organs away from the attack such that his kidney was only grazed instead of pierced through.
The momentum of the two combatants carried them past each other as they turned to face each other again. Nilima searched Barrett’s face for some signs of pain, then grimaced as she saw how little damage he had taken. She wiped her face of the trail of blood, “That new trick isn’t bad.”