“Dunno,” Master Alnherr shrugged when Barrett showed him the stone. “I only saw a small bit of living metal. What I know is that it takes a while to form a connection. After all, it’s not really a part of your body, is it? People talk about using weapons like they’re extra limbs, but that’s usually an exaggeration. You don’t even think about moving an arm- you just tell your arm to move. You don’t tell it to move this muscle and this tendon just this precise amount…” Master Alnherr grinned, “Though we can if we want to. Anyway, I would suggest keeping it on your person at all times, not in a magic bag. If nothing else, you’ll be familiar with their weight if you use them as throwing weapons.”
Barrett nodded, “I wish there was more information on Pure Body Tempering.”
“Me too,” Master Alnherr laughed, “If I had a grandmaster teaching me, maybe I could reach that point. Maybe I would have taken part in that tournament if I were just a decade younger… but time doesn’t work that way. I wish I had secret information to give you, but honestly you know most everything I can teach… the rest is just what works for me personally.”
Barrett found himself getting back into the rhythm of training his body, going through destructions, and sparring. It took some time to get used to not having berserk energy. He had actually spent the majority of his life with it, using it to fight, and it was strange to not feel it. Even after more than a year he wasn’t quite used to it. Swinging a weapon was an odd feeling. He couldn’t use berserk energy to augment its power… and while he could use Pure Body Tempering to enhance the swing, it was always slightly off swinging something outside his body. Not that weapons weren’t better than not having weapons. The very fact that they focused the force into a smaller point- and thus could cause more damage- made up for the weirdness in swinging them. He wouldn’t always be able to get into a grapple- especially when there were multiple opponents it might leave him open. Maybe not for long, if he was ruthless enough with his attacks, but every moment counted in combat. He’d been the one taking advantage of that to keep winning up until now… or at least surviving, when he didn’t win.
Barrett started taking up missions for the sect, little things to start with. He went on guard duty, which didn’t mean much really. Around the sect there were very few incidents that needed handling- guards were only there to make sure it stayed that way. Nobody would be crazy enough to actually attack, because even if they could beat the Immortal Berserker Sect somehow, Stredo wouldn’t allow such an attack in their territory. The sect was in good standing with the laws as well, and though Stredo was still far from perfect they wouldn’t have any reason to act against them.
Guard duty was mostly a period of rest where he just happened to be standing around… and he used it as training for his senses, before expanding to other training in that area. Without energy he couldn’t feel things happening out of his sight, but that didn’t mean it was impossible to sense certain things. Pure Body Tempering was all about making the impossible possible, and this wasn’t even stretching things. If he tried, Barrett could hear the movements of insects digging through the ground… which was more than he needed, but that level of sensitivity was possible. More relevantly was listening for invisible enemies. The walls of the sect were enchanted to prevent people from climbing over and from sneaking inside invisibly, but it was possible he would run into more invisible enemies in the future. He needed to be able to hear their heartbeat, their breathing… or if they could conceal those, the slight sounds of disturbed air they left behind as they moved. If they left none of those, then things got even more difficult. Barrett would have to listen for the wind not blowing through a particular area… or something to that effect.
To get practice with that, he trained with some people from the Palace of One Thousand Eyes. It was good practice for him… and for them. They primarily used illusions, and that included invisibility. Though the Palace of One Thousand Eyes would be keeping some of their techniques concealed from Barrett, he could improve his senses and make some of them learn to make better illusions.
Below third tier, it was easy to pick them out, either because they were merely invisible- but still making sounds- or because the silence where they were was so blatant. He only faced off against second tier people at the request of the Palace, just so they could have a chance to realize that they weren’t that amazing yet.
Third tier members were better, but they still had some flaws… like sometimes completely forgetting scent. It was a hard sense to get used to using, and at first he had just overwhelmed himself with all the scents around… but it was hard to prevent scent from moving on the air. The only real way to conceal it was to control the whole area with illusory magic, making every scent fake. In that case, however, Barrett could immediately tell there was an illusion, even if he couldn’t detect the person doing it. There were so many small scents that they never even knew were in the air and thus couldn’t replicate. Only very experienced illusionists could get rid of only their own scent without disturbing anything else.
Of course, Barrett also faced fourth tier people as well- masters like himself. In that case, it was a test of how long it would take before he could discover them. Sometimes, it was tiny little things. They would often launch illusory- or real- attacks at him. None of them were particularly dangerous, but the point was how real they felt anyway. Their ability to disguise the mana used was very well developed and they could hide killing intent… but there were always small sensory things they didn’t think of or couldn’t produce perfectly. For example, they might overestimate the amount of damage that an attack would do, letting Barrett know it was an illusion. That was especially the case against him, since he was a Pure Body Temperer and thus they had less experience against people like him. However, even when they got most feeling exactly right… a real attack would impart some momentum to him, and that feeling was hard to replicate. It could be done, but Barrett had an extremely good sense of what was actually happening to his own body. Sometimes he could trace back the trajectory of attacks… and rarely he could even tell how the spell curved in the air to try to throw him off. Every time he discovered the illusionists, he would point out what gave them away so they could learn. That would make it harder for himself the next time, but it wouldn’t be training if it were easy.