The Immortal Berserker Chapter 281

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Changing the material properties of one’s own body was one of the primary functions of Pure Body Tempering. Each little thing could be more or less useful depending on the circumstances. Barrett wanted his students to be able to see the inner workings of his body so he could show them a destruction. He could of course describe the exact points intended, but it was best if they could see it. Of course, with energy or magic he could point out the locations as well… but not all of the students could sense energy or magic. While berserk energy wasn’t hard to sense, Barrett no longer produced any of his own. One might say that what he practiced wasn’t the Immortal Berserker Technique anymore, but it was really just using berserk energy to elicit certain responses from the body. Based on what Barrett knew, the fact that berserk energy could also be used to attack was just an added benefit- the transformation of the body and its healing factor was the primary reason it was created. Regardless, even if the students could sense berserk energy that was left completely unconcealed, it might not be with the correct precision. That normally wasn’t a problem, because the first destruction was done by a master… but Barrett imagined it would be rather dangerous to physically reach inside people. Maybe once he was a grandmaster… but that was the sort of thing that was extremely difficult.

Even if he didn’t plan to show his students the inner workings of his body, now that he had the idea in his head Barrett couldn’t give it up. Was transparency something he could change? It was certainly a property of his body. It likely came with many other factors attached to it, but Barrett had a way to try it without any real risk. The first thing he started with was his thumbnail. Fingernails weren’t alive, but they were part of his body. They were also already partly transparent. Thus, they were the perfect candidate for what he wanted to try. If he messed it up, he wouldn’t be worried about crippling part of him. At worst, he’d have to wait for his nail to regrow.

The first few attempts Barrett made had no visible results- and visible results were the only ones that mattered in this case. He also didn’t feel like he’d done anything. He tried a few different methods, trying to figure out the right way to think about the task of making something transparent. Was there anything else besides fingernails he could observe? Eyelids came to mind. Of course, their entire purpose was to block light… but that didn’t mean they did so perfectly. Barrett got up to stick his head out the window, then closed his eyes and looked towards the sky. He could see the light through his eyelids. He looked back down, then at his hand. He recalled seeing something with the magic lights they had in the rooms- long term, they were only slightly more expensive than candles or torches, but they were better. Barrett closed the window and the blinds to make the room dark, then held the magic light in his hand. As he thought, he could see light through his hand… at least parts of it. He opened the blinds so he could see his window- made of glass, but good glass was relatively cheap when magic was plentiful. He wanted his fingernail to be as clear as that, or possibly even more.

Barrett thought for a while, then decided it would be easier to try to shift transparency from elsewhere… or shift opaqueness to elsewhere. He wasn’t sure which one was the correct idea. Barrett looked at his thumb, and tried again. It took several attempts and more stamina than it really should have, but after a half hour he made a section of his thumbnail more transparent, while having the immediately adjacent area become more opaque. It wasn’t much, but everything started with the concept being proved possible.

After a few weeks of practicing for a few hours each day, Barrett had moved on from fingernails to hair and then to skin. In addition to those being the least risky things to test, they also had a similar makeup forming the basics of their structure. Barrett noticed something interesting as he experimented with his new technique. Transparency happened just as he expected, but the reverse of it was different. He had expected his fingernails to grow dark… and they did, but they were also somewhat shiny. When he did the same with his hair, it gained an almost mirror like quality. However, his skin was hardly shiny at all. Was the opposite of transparency absorption of light or reflection? Apparently it was some of both. Perhaps it had something to do with smoothness- his skin was very much not smooth, his fingernails somewhat smooth, and his hairs nearly perfect cylinders. It was interesting, but not particularly useful… unless he needed very tiny mirrors that distorted the image completely.

—–

Barrett had finally reached the point where he could make his body transparent at will… or at least, parts of it. He couldn’t do much without relocating the opacity of parts of him, so there was no hope of becoming invisible… at least not at his level of control. His students had managed to begin actual Pure Body Tempering, and those who remained in the class- about two thirds of them- had decent control. It should be enough to attempt the first destruction. It was easier to weaken the body than to strengthen it, and the core part of a destruction was the weakening. Then the body would either recover… or it would not. Before he had the students attempt it, he wanted to show them him doing it… and give them a chance to change their mind. It wasn’t any less dangerous than the berserk energy method, just differently dangerous. Barrett still expected an unfortunately high chance of death.

Barrett sat in front of the group with his shirt off- he couldn’t exactly make his shirt transparent, and even if he could it would be a waste of effort. “Watch carefully. I will show you what a destruction looks like. Pay attention to the precise locations of everything.” Barrett would never attempt a major destruction while also performing any other Pure Body Tempering. It divided his attention. However, he’d undergone thousands of destructions now- or the equivalent, since they were usually done in batches. Thus, he was confident in his ability to demonstrate.

About half of Barrett’s chest became transparent- perhaps there was still some light blocked or distortion, but it was enough to see inside. Barrett intentionally left a few specific places opaque, then proceeded with the destruction. They always hurt, but at least he didn’t have to worry about wrestling berserk energy under control afterwards anymore. Barrett lost control of the transparency a few moments after the destruction, but he held it until then. In four hours or so, his healing would be recovered, though his stamina would take longer to return. Barrett looked out over the students, assessing their determination. One of them would have to be first… and that would be the highest risk, or at least perceived that way. He hoped it would be a success.

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