Once back at the Immortal Berserker Sect, Barrett went to check on his students. He had only been gone for about a month, but a lot could happen in a month- especially near the beginning of cultivation. Those who had survived the first destruction were mostly doing well. Rolph and some of the others were recovering from their fifth destruction. Out of fifteen of them, only one had so far regressed a level- but that was just from the fourth destruction back to the third. It was unfortunate to lose four months of progression like that, but it happened still. Not everyone had True Immortal Bodies. Barrett hadn’t experienced that sort of setback, but Alexei knew that this happened to normal practitioners of the Immortal Berserker Style, and with several successes under his belt he was still confident in pushing forward.
Hayden was still managing to hang onto life- if just barely. He had failed the first destruction and only retained a tiny sliver of a normal fraction of healing- and the magic bandages couldn’t help him with that. Normally they provided an increase of a standard rate of healing… but for Hayden it was unclear if they were helping at all. Perhaps they were what kept him alive at whatever he was at- a tenth or a twentieth of the normal rate of healing, maybe. He couldn’t even sit up most days, even a year and nearly another half after his failed destruction. However, Barrett saw signs of something deep within his eyes. He couldn’t move much, and he could barely be considered to have survived… but his eyes still showed life on the inside. Barrett knew what those sort of eyes meant. He must have looked just like that, once. If Hayden managed to recover, he would certainly try for a destruction again, even though it would almost certainly kill him. It was one thing to try knowing the first destruction could kill you- but the chance was rather small for those who were suitable- five or ten percent at most. It was entirely another to have experienced near death and know that the same chances likely didn’t apply. In fact, it was expected for his survival rate to be reversed. Some people who experienced near death would cling to life with all their strength… and while Hayden certainly clung to life, he wouldn’t hesitate to throw it away at a chance to cultivate. Barrett wasn’t sure quite what motivated him, but he knew he wanted to help… but he didn’t know if there was any way to do so.
If there was anything that was known to increase the success rate of destructions, the Immortal Berserker Sect would have done everything in their power to track them down and obtain as many as possible. If it was some sort of magical fruit or herb, they would grow it in their gardens and fields. After all, increasing the success of future generations would make the whole Sect that much stronger.
Barrett knew he wouldn’t be able to find anything of the sort- he mostly had the records of the Immortal Berserker Sect to go off of after all. However, there might still be something to help Hayden. He hadn’t heard of people surviving after failing the first destruction- even those with a tiered Immortal Body might die at the loss of their fundamental healing rate. However, it was possible Hayden’s case was just rare. If that were true, there might be something that could help him. Increasing success rate of destruction was one thing… but mitigating his additional failure rate was something that might be possible instead.
“Ah, Master Ravenhall… I very rarely see you here.” Luther was an old man who watched over the records, and he greeted Barrett as he came in.
“I rarely have reason to come here…” Barrett shook his head. While the records could be useful, this place didn’t contain any cultivation methods or anything immediately relevant to it. That was why it was only watched over by this normal old man. Well, perhaps it was more correct to say he was a non-cultivator. Barrett knew that this old man knew the records quite well. “I was wondering if the records here had anything about someone surviving a failed first destruction.” It had been expected for Hayden to die- as everyone else who failed the first destruction. After there were signs he might survive, Barrett had asked around among the masters he knew- and had Master Hykel ask others. He’d also searched the cultivation information and found nothing… the records here were mostly related to statistics of various sorts and had little to do with cultivation for the most part… but there was a chance.
“Hmm…” the old man stroked his chin and shook his head, “As far as I know, that does not happen… but it is possible it happened before my time. I can certainly bring out the records for you. Do be careful with them…” Barrett followed as he started walking through the shelves filled with piles of scrolls.
“Aren’t they magically enchanted to prevent wear?”
“Indeed, but berserk energy is still not kind to them,” Luther replied.
“Ah, that won’t be a problem with me. I don’t have berserk energy anymore.”
“Truly? I had heard something about that, though I didn’t know it was you.” He bowed his head, “Forgive me for forgetting.”
“It’s quite alright. You remembered who I was, even though I haven’t really been here at all… especially since becoming a master.”
“Hmph. What good would I be if I couldn’t remember a few names?”
Barrett wouldn’t necessarily consider three hundred or more people ‘a few’. One thing that the Immortal Berserker Sect had was masters. Those who survived long enough would usually be able to become a master- but it was still fewer than ten percent of those who were first tier.
Luther gestured to full shelves, “This section contains most of the records on the personnel and their progress. I am fairly certain there won’t be anything of import in the last few decades, so I would suggest starting… here.” He moved to a particular section and pulled out a scroll. He partly unfurled it to check the dates at the top. “Yes, this would be about three decades ago.”
There were hundreds of scrolls at least- though Barrett supposed it made sense. Even the current number of cultivators in the Immortal Berserker Sect numbered almost six thousand- and that wasn’t counting those who had died. As he looked at the scroll, it contained information of what happened on various dates- members joining, successful destructions, and the like. A quick scan told Barrett it wasn’t entirely complete- not everyone reported on every destruction, after all. Mostly it kept track of advancements from one tier to another or at least significant progress within a tier. Barrett noticed Master Hykel’s name- and how he’d made some advances within fourth tier. It shouldn’t have been surprising at all, but it was somewhat strange to think Master Hykel had been a master before Barrett was even born.
There was so much information to look through Barrett wasn’t sure how long it would take… but perhaps he would get used to the format and be able to pick out what he wanted with some practice. As he took the scroll to a reading desk, Luther came along with another and sat down beside him. “You were interested in surviving a failed first destruction, correct? I may not know much about cultivation, but I know about records. As long as no one else needs my help, I can assist you.”
“Thank you,” Barrett nodded his head. While he had no problem with reading, going over so many records was an intimidating prospect. He couldn’t go too quickly or he might miss what he needed but there were also so many names and numbers to get used to. At least he had the help of someone who knew what he was doing.