In Barrett’s second match, he faced off against an ice user. They froze the entire arena around them- which wasn’t as effective against Barrett as they might have hoped- but they also conjured ice creatures to bite and claw and otherwise attack Barrett constantly. However, even though it was just a single arena… the cold was actually even more piercing than Bittercold Peak during the winter. Barrett just didn’t have to stay in it for an entire season. Barrett found himself gradually covered in wounds caused by the ice creatures- even through his armor- but he managed to use a stone pit to attack his opponent behind their ice creatures. There was a limit to what his opponent could handle at once- creating so many creatures limited how much they could defend themselves, and Barrett’s resistance to the cold without needing to expend much stamina to combat it meant they were behind in efficiency. It didn’t seem to bother them when Barrett shattered one ice creature after another, but eventually they were worn down. Barrett did have to admit the wounds on him would have killed a regular person- and greatly inconvenienced most warriors of the same tier in the next round- but there was nothing that would take five or more years to recover… so he would be fine for the next match.
Barrett managed to find Nilima’s second round match and observe it. Her opponent was a giant woman from Stinebertarrwan- a country far to the south. Normally Barrett would have considered someone of over two meters tall potentially a giant, but in the case of Stinebertarrwan it was more literal. While not all of them were monstrously large, Nilima’s opponent in particular was almost three and a half meters. Needless to say, they had many cultivators in Stinebertarrwan, and they were also primarily warriors. Even the smallest people were Barrett’s size- a bit less than two meters tall, and he’d actually grown a bit taller and broader than he would have because of body training.
Upon watching the fight Barrett found the large woman- Cordula seemed to be her name- didn’t actually rely on her size primarily. It certainly served to enhance her attacks with her spear but the energy she cultivated seemed to be the basis of her abilities. Barrett would have called a sort of stoic energy- tough and durable but not with the same feeling as a rock or metal.
On the other side, Nilima didn’t feel powerful at all- at least not at first. Gentle energy was deceptive in that way, even if it wasn’t intentionally concealing anything. Nilima clearly wouldn’t be relying on her body to fight, though Barrett saw she looked a bit sturdier than before… which wasn’t saying that much. At the very least, she wasn’t quite as skinny and breakable looking as before, though she was still quite thin.
Cordula had quite a massive advantage in reach- She could easily reach seven or eight meters away with her spear, though that distance wasn’t quite as long as it sounded like. After all, for a cultivator at fourth tier they could likely cover that distance in a fraction of a second. Even so, it made things more difficult for Nilima.
While it might have seemed like she could just dodge a thrust and make her way in afterwards, Cordula had sufficient technique with her spear to make that difficult. It was already something that Nilima cleanly dodged the thrusts coming her way as they were in no way slow or inaccurate. However, as she tried to move forward Cordula retracted her grip on the spear, allowing her to guard closer. In addition, she could sweep with the spear… and while it wouldn’t be quite so deadly as a hit with the point, a sweep could certainly cause damage.
Even so, Barrett saw supreme confidence on Nilima’s face. She momentarily appeared to stumble, leading Cordula to attack slightly less cautiously… and as Nilima slipped by the spear, she held out her hand and pushed down just behind the head. While the motion of her muscles wasn’t liable to even register as trying to move the spear- Barrett doubted her entire weight would prove much of a hindrance- the spearhead crashed into the ground. Nilima’s gentle energy wasn’t much for tossing things around, but it was what had been concealed underneath that did it. Berserk energy poured out as it was no longer restrained by Nilima’s gentle energy, and the head of the spear embedded nearly half a meter in the ground. Not that Nilima stood around to watch- she sprang forward with such force that she damaged the arena floor underneath her, likewise leaving berserk energy behind her. Barrett hadn’t realized quite how much berserk energy she had been keeping inside- but he supposed it was just as plentiful as the gentle energy she had. In fact, from what he could feel she seemed to have more than half of a normal cultivator’s amount of each- compared to the amount of energy he expected an early to mid fourth tier cultivator to have, she had perhaps an extra third total, which meant each individual energy was approximately as plentiful as two thirds of someone else’s. Of course, the fact that Nilima could actually handle that much energy was the most impressive part.
In an instant she had reached Cordula. Her palm struck out towards Cordula’s guts- approximately the highest point Nilima could reach without her feet leaving the ground and leaving herself open. Barrett felt the gentle energy weave its way through the Cordula’s armor and into her body, hindered by her stoic energy but not completely stopped. Then the energy exploded inside of Cordula, the gentle energy having brought with it berserk energy. Normally, berserk energy had to break its way through from the outside… and the effects on the inside of a body not trained to resist it were significant. The only thing that saved Cordula was her great size and Nilima not being able to reach anything vital. However, the damage wasn’t negligible either. She couldn’t pull back her spear in time, so she kicked out at Nilima, catching her with the energy she extended from either side of her foot.
Nilima absorbed the impact and rolled away to the side, but then rebounded off of the ground and back at Cordula. She seemed more like a malleable ball than a solid person… though that was more due to her control of energy than actually changing her body. Barrett briefly wondered if that would be useful. For her part, Cordula managed to gather her energy to defend against Nilima’s unexpected rebound attack… but it wasn’t quite enough. Even though Nilima’s gentle energy surrounding it, Barrett could feel how much berserk energy was hidden in the attack- and both gentle and berserk energy were gathered swiftly and cleanly. Nilima struck at an upwards angle, and if the arena’s restrictions hadn’t stopped it Barrett imagined her attack would have completely destroyed Cordula’s heart, lungs, and stomach. Nilima walked away the victor… though Barrett could tell she had used much of her energy and would need to furiously cultivate to recover for the next match.