Barrett found himself caught up in training, barely aware of the passage of time. Though it could be hard, it was also satisfying and sometimes even fun.
The only thing that really made him feel the passage of time is when his training buddies left. First Lamont and his master returned to their home. That made sense, because part of their training needed to be in the right areas.
After that, Nilima also left. She and her mistress were wanderers to begin with, so it wasn’t strange that they would leave.
The thought of where they might be going made Barrett wonder, and brought to mind some questions he’d had. “Master Hykel, are we ever going to leave and meet up with the main body of the Immortal Berserker Sect?”
“Well…” He scratched his chin and nodded, “At some point, yes. I’m just not sure when. I’m waiting for… something… before I go back. When I do go back, you’ll of course come with me. You’ll have good opportunities to grow stronger there. Here you are somewhat lacking of appropriate opponents your age… but you’ll be fine for a bit longer. Actually, there’s a good opportunity coming up soon. There’s a tournament for those aged thirty and under. Mistress Seviren thought you and Reina could gain some good experience there and broaden your experience. If you can manage to place well, the prizes aren’t bad.”
“Oh? Sounds great! When do we leave?” Barrett liked the idea of fighting new people. It would let him broaden his horizons… and let him see how strong he really was.
“Well, it’s in a couple months, but to allow for travel time you’ll be leaving at the end of this month. Mistress Seviren will take you and Reina, but I will be staying here. Be good for her, won’t you?”
“Am I ever not good?” Barrett raised an eyebrow, “Don’t worry.I’ll stay out of trouble.” Barrett wished Master Hykel were coming, but he knew he still had important business here… just not what it was. However, it was enough for him to spend a decade waiting, which meant it definitely wasn’t just a whim of some sort.
Barrett looked back at the entrance to the Immortal Berserker Sect as he walked out past it. The sign hadn’t been changed in the four years he had come, and it was starting to look a bit shabby… but the sign wasn’t the important thing. The important part was Master Hykel and the training that Barrett had done.
When he had first arrived he was admittedly quite weak. He hadn’t had any choice but to let himself be oppressed by his cousin and aunt, and had just barely managed to escape that life. Now, he was seventeen years old- closer to eighteen. He could be considered a real man now by age or by accomplishments.
He thought about his parents and the city they had run. Though he hadn’t noticed it at the time, their state of luxury and power had been rather tenuous. On a personal level they weren’t that strong, and they hadn’t really had an army or many guards to protect themselves from other lords, and that wasn’t even considering a war between two countries. They had been rather weak… not that being weak was wrong.
If the world functioned as it should without greedy and powerful people trying to take everything for themselves, being weak wouldn’t be an issue. However, there were evil people in the world. There were the types who burned down noble manors to kill the people inside, and those who would treat their own family members like dirt- except nobody actively tried to harm dirt.
Barrett knew that his family’s manor burning down hadn’t been an accident, and the probability that his Denton and Melody had been completely uninvolved was low. Either way, someone took over his father’s position and was running his cities… and Denton and Melody were still sitting happily in their own city.
Barrett made a fist. Before, getting back at them had seemed like a dream… but now he was strong enough to do something. He was going to ask Master Hykel for some time off of training after the tournament and then… he would do something. He wasn’t sure exactly what, except that he would take back what was owed to him, and likewise give them what they deserved. He had kept track of all of the details there. Lately, he’d been thinking about it more and more… to the point it was interfering with his training. Master Hykel had even noticed… but waiting until after the tournament would be fine.
It wasn’t like his training had gone poorly. He had passed twenty destructions now- though fortunately since they came in pairs he’d only had to add on a handful of unpleasant experiences instead of nearly doubling them. While it seemed like a lot of progress, it was more similar like a single destruction for when he had just started training. After all, each of them took less time- but for him to be considered a third tier Immortal Berserker he had to reach one hundred destructions. A year and a half seemed like a pretty reasonable time for how far he had come since reaching the second tier.
Barrett looked over at Reina. Part of the reason he had been thinking about those events so much recently was her. She was affected by the events as well. Since she’d been raised as their servant she was basically like family. Barrett wondered if she had managed to move past it… but he knew he couldn’t without doing something.
Finally, Barrett looked at the path ahead. Actually, it was currently going the wrong direction. They were facing south, and would wind back and forth as they went down the mountain. Eventually, though, they would head north- out of Etron, through Padrein until one country further to Voscea. Barrett didn’t know much about the country, except that it was inhospitable. Most of their territory was mountainous… but in addition to that some of them were active volcanoes. While this made it pretty much impossible for normal people to live there, there were still a number of warriors, mages and martial artists who gathered there- especially those who trained in fire. That made Barrett somewhat nervous, but the tournament would have people from many ‘nearby’ countries, so he would hopefully not have to face too many fire users.