Barrett had spent some time practicing energy control with Master Hykel, and now he was in a room filled with incense sticks. They were supposed to help him calm his mind… though in fact he felt a bit sluggish, like his senses were dulled. It might even actually be harder to perform the destruction smoothly… but that was a reasonable sacrifice. He’d already done the same thing for each destruction and there was nothing different up to that point with this one. It was what would happen after that was different, and apparently the incense would help with that.
There shouldn’t be any unexpected results. Master Hykel had trained in the technique himself, and the had the experiences of many others to build on. He said Barrett was prepared, so now was the best time to do it… and if he delayed he might not be recovered in time for the training excursion.
Everything went as normal. Barrett gathered berserk energy. At this point, it was easy to guide three streams of it at once… even with dulled senses. After he had gathered the proper amounts to each place, he detonated it. There was pain… but it wasn’t as bad as normal. That was strange, because every destruction had proved to be more painful than the last. Barrett wondered if he had failed… but he didn’t have time to think about that as he suddenly felt pain throughout his body.
Berserk energy rushed through him, coming out from every tiny piece of him. Barrett set his mind to controlling it as he had been taught. Apparently, this energy had been building up inside him during the entire process. It was mostly dormant, but now it was all being released at once. It was more than he had ever controlled before, and more than his body could handle. He could feel it tearing him apart from the inside, and he realized exactly why the incense seemed to dull his senses instead of helping him concentrate. The pain brought him back into focus… but it wasn’t enough to make him pass out. The incense dulled it just enough for that… so that it just felt like he was on fire from the inside. Well, not really. Barrett had been on fire, and it was a different feeling. It was just the only way he would have been able to describe it to someone else, though most other people probably hadn’t been on fire so much as burned once or twice.
Barrett wrestled with the berserk energy as it flowed through him. It was all he could do to keep himself together as it ravaged through his bones, muscles, and organs. Barrett thought he felt some of his veins pop, a feeling he wasn’t happy to have been previously acquainted with. His eyes felt like they might explode, like corn kernels on a fire.
During such an experience, Barrett’s understanding of time blurred. Was it seconds, or hours? It probably wasn’t days, but it felt like that as well. However, after a certain point, Barrett started gaining real control.
First, he started with the energy in his extremities. He took control of the berserk energy in his fingers and toes, then his palms and feet. Wrists, ankles, elbows, knees… a little bit at a time he took control and the energy settled down to a level where it wasn’t actively causing harm. Before he started on his torso, he worked on his head. He would have started there, but his head was more sensitive to mistakes, and he couldn’t be sure he wouldn’t make things worse until he’d actually had real experience, not just practice with Master Hykel. Finally, Barrett calmed the energy in his torso, and all of the organs there.
He breathed out heavily, and found himself soaked in sweat… with some blood mixed in. It was starting to pool on the floor slightly. Barrett stood up, shakily. Every movement hurt… but nothing was getting worse. All he was left was a throbbing pain- almost, but not quite unbearable. He would probably go pass out in bed… after he got some water.
As he was recovering, Master Hykel mentioned he had more pills if Barrett needed any, and all he could do was shake his head. Barrett had so many pills. He already didn’t need as many as he had. He could see how the most recent process had a good probability of something not healing perfectly, but as things were going he was confident of a full recovery.
Though he avoided actually using any berserk energy or doing any significant exercise, he could feel the increase in strength. It was significant, as he supposed breaking through to the second tier should be. He felt he could easily defeat the him from before. Of course, in a real battle anything could happen. Barrett wasn’t suddenly strong enough that he could be careless in such a fight, just that if both versions of him fought properly he would win fairly handily. He thought he might even have enough energy left over to do it again. On the other hand, facing two similar strength people at once would be much harder. It would be possible to win, but he would have to take the initiative to defeat one as quickly as possible.
Barrett wanted to test himself in a spar, but he needed to spend his full time recovering for the training excursion. Thus, he was limited to non-physical activities such as studying. Barrett was continuously surprised at how much detail was contained in the books he read. They were truly written by those who had mastered and perfected the human body… and how it could be damaged and healed. Unfortunately, unlike real medical books, it didn’t give him much insight on how to make something recover better- just whether it would be a problem or not. Beyond setting bones it gave little advice in that area… though part of that was that it advised seeing a doctor. Barrett knew he would soon start learning from actual medical books, but only for the sake of emergencies- bandages, stitching, and setting bones covered most of what was needed to let the body recover on its own. At least, with the toughness that the Immortal Berserker Style trained into those who used it.