The wind valley Reina had been training in was quite a distance away. It was northeast of Voscea, which put it east of the Southern Metal Sea. However, the time it took the two to travel that distance was not all that long. They travelled by foot at a pace that even horses could not keep up with, but was still a comfortably sustainable speed for two masters. Reina helped relieve the air pressure in front of them- after a certain speed it started to become relevant, though it wouldn’t actually stop them.
It was less than a week before they arrived, and they could have been quicker if necessary. However, then they might have arrived exhausted… which was very far from what they wanted to do.
Unlike the Lightning Mountains or Earthquake Hills, this wind valley didn’t have a name to that effect. The locals would certainly have a name for it, but there were many similar locations to be found. On either side of this valley, the mountains rose sharply to high peaks. The shape and location was just right for there to be excessive amounts of wind- though of course the mana and energy contributed to the conditions as well.
Barrett had seen a tornado before. In fact, he had been in a tornado before. The wind in this valley was only slightly less than that. If he was just the slightest bit careless it could lift him off his feet and send him crashing to the end of the valley. Of course, that was only considering his own abilities without any special tricks. If he needed to he could lower his weight and reduce his drag so the wind would have less effect. However, with Reina’s help deflecting some of the wind from in front he just had to push as if he was running at top speed and he made about half the progress he would otherwise. Reina followed behind him, taking advantage of the wake Barrett left behind him. It still took several hours before they got close, but when they did Reina directed Barrett into the cave she had found, off to the side about halfway through the valley.
As they entered the cave, Reina shifted her focus to the entrance of the cave, reducing the howl of wind that made it inside the cave. “Now we can talk. This section is calm, but up ahead there is a chamber with strong winds- and the shards of metal I was speaking of.”
“Let’s go take a look…” Barrett said. It was actually a few hundred meters of winding tunnel before they came to the area Reina had described. As they got close, Barrett could no longer hear the sounds from outside… but he did hear the shrieking of metal upon metal. As they rounded a final corner, he could see the chamber she spoke of. The light he had with him reflected off of the myriad of metal shards, and he could only make out their general path from as they whipped around through a tunnel going into the ceiling. If he took a few steps forward, he would be in the storm of metal, and at that point the metal shards curved upwards to the top of the high chamber and then to the back- in a loop that was a few hundred meters across. The formation was actually rather similar to the trials beneath the Tornado Plains… but he could guess this metal was much sharper than the other cloud. Otherwise it wouldn’t have hindered Reina, after all. As he watched some of the shards slide against the edges of the chamber, Barrett noticed there were no sparks. That explained one thing- how they were not getting worn down, or destroying the walls. Both the metal shards and the walls were of sufficient hardness to not get worn down even at the speeds they were impacting. Barrett stepped forward and thrust his left arm into the storm of blades, then pulled it back a few seconds later. It was covered in bloody cuts. “Hmm,” Barrett nodded, “I see.”
“Damn…” Reina looked at his arm, “Is it too much? I was able to make it about fifty meters before I turned back…”
Barrett shook his head, “I wouldn’t go through alone… but I can resist it with your help.” The two of them pulled back from the chamber so they could hear each other better. “Once we rest to our peak forms, I can toughen my front and put on my armor… though my armor won’t hold up long without your help.”
Reina looked at Barrett’s bloody hand, “How long will it take to heal that?”
Barrett tilted his head, “Fifteen minutes? Though I’ll need a bit more time after that.”
“Ugh, a week in fifteen minutes… I suppose I should have been able to figure that out. You are mid fourth tier after all. I’ll probably need an hour to get to peak form.” Reina sat down to recover her spent energy and mana.
Barrett did the same, though he was recovering stamina instead. That meant he did some eating as well. The number of meals he had per day varied, but it was never fewer than a handful. He didn’t pay any attention to his hand beyond plucking out a few shards lodged in it- there were no critical wounds, so it would heal up just fine on its own. After he was rested, Barrett took out his armor and then moved his magic bag around to behind him. Even with durability enchantments, there was no guarantee it would remain safe in front of him. This was a third or fourth tier natural danger zone, after all. It was certainly enough to be dangerous to fourth tier cultivators, but its area was small enough that it may not get a fourth tier designation- people fought about such things all the time. The point was that it was significantly more dangerous than the lightning mountains- it wasn’t good for casual training, but an actual threat he would have to fight through. Fortunately there shouldn’t be any enemies around to take advantage, and of course Reina would make a significant difference as well.
Their plan was much the same as moving through the valley itself. Barrett would stand in front, but Reina would use her magic to split the winds around them. Of course, that wouldn’t be a perfect barrier, but it would reduce the number of impacts and their speed. Some shards would inevitably slip past Barrett and strike Reina as well- but she could defend herself with energy. She just wasn’t able to keep up against a constant bombardment.
Barrett felt Reina’s magic wrap around him and in front of him, and he covered his face with his arms as he stepped forward into the swirl of blades. He could already feel it chipping away at his armor, but that was a sacrifice he was willing to make. If he kept the pieces he could get it reforged… and if not, that was fine as well. The shards of metal that made it through his armor were then blocked by his skin and muscle, which he toughened by shifting his toughness from inside to outside. He wasn’t sure if the winds might suddenly change direction and strike from behind, and if the shards never penetrated inside him, he didn’t need toughness inside. There was no energy trying to penetrate into him, and the impacts weren’t heavy enough to break his bones even slightly weakened- they were just extremely sharp. Reina stepped behind Barrett, staying close to better maintain her barrier in front and to use Barrett’s wake to increase her own safety. That was the whole point of them working together, after all. The two of them could only move forward one step at a time, meaning it would take several minutes to get through the chamber. Barrett was confident they could at least get further than Reina alone.