It didn’t take long for Barrett to return to peak condition after arriving back at the Leipeka clan. His wounds were already healed- including the internal bleeding- by the time they had brought Kail there to rest. It did take a bit more time to recover all of his energy and stamina, but he hadn’t been seriously injured and the corrosive atmosphere of the Metal Sea barely affected him now, not that he would choose to stay there all the time.
Kail took longer- while he was a body temperer and recovered wounds slightly faster than normal, the real problem was his energy. He had drained himself dry and even overdrafted himself to keep himself alive. It took a week before he could even really move about- though his body was fine, trying to recover his energy sapped him of the ability to do much else but lie in bed.
After the one week he could move, and while Kail wasn’t fully recovered Barrett could sense that the ordeal hadn’t done too much permanent damage- Kail was still stabilized at the third tier of energy cultivation. “So,” Barrett asked, “What exactly happened?”
Kail shrugged, “Nothing much. I was out at the Metal Sea cultivating and broke through to the third tier. I spent another week or two cultivating a bit more… all that metal essence is just perfect for the Anakoni clan’s technique. Anyway, after that I sensed the metal hearts and followed them… and then I got trapped on the way out, and you know the rest.”
“Was it worth it?” Barrett asked.
“Absolutely. Even if I had ruined my cultivation and had to start over from the beginning and lost all my arms and legs… a metal heart is worth it. Not that it would be of much use to you though.” Kail shifted his position on the bed, the sheeting making a crinkling sound as he did so. While the Metal Sea traded with those from the outside and got materials that way, the Leipeka clan was more traditional for the most part- and thus the bedsheets were made out of woven metal fibers. They still kept people warm enough, but they also didn’t seem nearly as cozy to Barrett as wool or real cloth. Kail didn’t seem to mind though- he probably thought non-metal cloth was somewhat weird instead.
“That useful huh? What do they do?”
Kail shrugged, “It’s hard to explain. As you saw, they can convert metal energy into materials- at least temporary ones. Having one around also can speed up cultivation, or at least smooth it out. Less hangups to get stuck on. Of course, that’s only useful for metal cultivators, though it could let someone who wouldn’t otherwise have much affinity give an attempt at cultivating metal energy or magic.”
“Sounds excellent, and highly coveted.”
“It is. That’s why I’m glad the Leipeka clan is a righteous clan…” Kail scratched his head, “Though it helps that you have a good relationship with them. Anybody can get tempted. That said, since I’m selling one to them even a regular clan wouldn’t want to risk the fallout if they got caught… nobody wants to trade with people who break their deals. Too risky, or too expensive to hire that many guards. Honestly, I’m sure they’ll be thrilled to get one for just money.”
“Sounds like it. You know, you don’t have to sell it to them if you don’t want to…”
Kail shook his head, “I’m just talking. I don’t think they’d try to steal it. In a way, the sale is good for me. I’ll be in the good graces of a powerful clan- more powerful with the metal heart. When I go to avenge the Anakoni clan, it will be good to have support around the Metal Sea. Plus, Kaylani herself did come with you to save me. I don’t have any way to thank you though…”
Barrett laughed, “Well, maybe I just want a powerful friend in the future. I don’t know about you, but I’m planning to become a grandmaster. Eventually.”
“That’s some confidence,” Kail grinned, “Before I got this… I would have been doubtful about my chances. I’ll still have to work at it, but unless I do something really stupid I’m guaranteed to become a master now. Grandmasters are something else though.”
Barrett nodded, “It’s not easy. We have five seventh tier members, but all I have to do to reach grandmaster is not die before I do. That’s pretty much how the Immortal Berserker Technique works. Sounds easy, right?”
Kail raised an eyebrow, “Knowing you… it will be very easy and very hard at the same time.”
The two of them returned to Stredo together. Kaylani and a group from the Leipeka clan would be coming later to trade for the metal heart. The Leipeka clan didn’t just have resources ready to hand over… or an easy way for Kail to transport the amount. Though it was a decently large journey, they had accounts in Stredo and could also exchange materials or other resources to make up the money. While Kail trusted them… it wasn’t enough to just hand over the metal heart without them paying.
Barrett returned to training at the Immortal Berserker Sect, though as soon as he returned he was itching to go back out. Training in safety could only go so far… while actually going out to do something was the most effective. Of course, it also came with the most risk. Thus, it was important to maintain the right balance. Without enough proper training he might get killed on the outside… and it was always possible to run into remnants of the Silver Blades. A few members of the sect had died in conflict with them outside of the area controlled by Stredo, and a few more hadn’t returned from missions- though that could have been for any number of reasons.
Barrett also wanted to go check on Clara and Jack in Sashor. He hadn’t seen them in some time. Actually, he could probably send a letter- with the Tornado Plains being much less… tornadoy… people actually went back and forth. However, though he knew where they lived he wouldn’t be quite sure how to address it, and it would be just as fast or even faster to go himself.