It seemed like things should have gotten better for Nilima, but they didn’t. Every day more and more berserk energy was produced inside of her and she had to spend more effort removing it. She could feel her body being taken over, first just her heart but then spreading out from there to her lungs and ribcage and the rest of her organs. Soon enough it would spread to her limbs and head as well. This was all Barrett’s fault. If he hadn’t done anything she would have just died but now both of them were going to. Well, Barrett might still live. Master Hykel and Reina were off at the Valley of All Souls finding the way to save him. Meanwhile, she was feeling her body constantly breaking down from berserk energy. It seemed to be recovering at approximately the same rate but it was still extremely painful.
“Sorry, Barrett.” Master Hykel shook his head, “I searched the whole place. I didn’t find anything. I’ll be heading back, but I don’t know what I could find. That’s the thing about prophecies… does ‘might’ mean I can fail? Maybe I was already too late.”
Doctor Stiber shook his head, “I haven’t found any methods either. I spoke with the Pure Body Temperer, Master Alnherr. The body can only keep up with so much, and Barrett is reaching that limit. He said he might be able to take over Barrett’s functionality as his heart… or kill them both. I have procured a heart but I have become more doubtful that a replacement would be successful. I tried some micro-transplants… bits of skin and tissue and such to see how his body handles it. They seemed to have been actively expelled from his body and broke down quickly afterwards.”
“He doesn’t even have any berserk energy… I’m not sure why that would happen.” Master Hykel sighed, “Perhaps it’s related to having a True Immortal Body?”
The Valley of All Souls didn’t look like much of anything to Nilima. It was just a bunch of rocks and dirt. That is, it didn’t seem to be anything until she stepped foot into it. Immediately as she stepped inside she felt the death energy that suffused through the place. No wonder there were no trees or even bits of grass in the area. She circulated her energy around her body, protecting herself from the draining death energy.
It didn’t seem like a place where there would be anything to find. If there was anything, it would stand out. Like that one boulder… Nilima pushed on it, rolling it off its place. Underneath was… more dirt and rocks.
After about an hour of wandering and trying to find something under a rock or a cave or something, she had to leave the area. Her energy was running low and she still had to fend off the berserk energy inside her. Using her energy for this was just going to let it spread faster, but she would rather not have them both die. It would be a waste of his efforts.
She stabilized her energy and returned back into the valley. She had no idea how this place could be so full of death energy. A powerful necromancer or something must have been here… or someone or something else powerful died with resentment. Maybe a battle? However, there weren’t any bodies or bones or leftover bits of equipment. Underneath the ground she didn’t sense anything either, though extending her senses far through the death energy just resulted in the extended gentle energy she cultivated getting eaten up. That meant she had to leave to go recover more quickly.
Berserk energy was so hard to deal with. She had to constantly fight with it to keep it from tearing her apart from the inside, so she just pushed it out as soon as she could. Once outside her, it just dispersed chaotically into the surroundings. If there had been anything around to damage it may have been a concern, but what did it matter if a few rocks and dirt got damaged?
Nilima didn’t want to sleep. She knew that she would wake up in the morning with a large amount of berserk energy to deal with. Had Barrett had so much inside him that his heart still had more to come out of it? No, she’d seen him and fought with him so much before then. Even though he’d advanced to fourth tier he wouldn’t have that much left after the fight with the necromancer- she’d felt him using up his energy as they fought. Besides, it wasn’t coming out but being produced. What was she supposed to do about that? She couldn’t exactly live without Barrett’s heart in there now, but could she live with it?
After one more expedition, Nilima ran into a problem. She’d misjudged her depth into the valley and ran out of energy as she was dealing with the built up berserk energy. Now she was without any protection from the berserk energy. It was building up inside and she could feel it was causing damage faster than she could heal. Her new heart wasn’t really in trouble but her original lungs around it would soon break under the stress. If they got punctured or started filling up with blood it would be hard to recover. If only she could get the berserk energy out of her body. Nilima gritted her teeth… and felt the berserk energy fly out of her chest through her sternum. She learned two things from that. First, she could control the berserk energy… and second that doing so inexpertly would cause more damage than doing nothing. Her sternum was basically shattered which made every breath hurt as her lungs and the muscles around them pulled on her ribcage… something she never noticed when she was healthy. She’d had broken ribs before but nothing quite like this.
Since all of the berserk energy was gone for the moment she took some healing pills and ate some rations. She had thought she brought enough of those, even accounting for her increased appetite, but she was going to run out at some point. If she wanted to hunt something for food she needed to leave the Valley of All Souls… which didn’t seem to have any souls in it, at least not currently. As she digested her meal she drifted off to sleep. In the morning she would have more of her own energy to deal with the berserk energy buildup… and she could figure out what to do then.