Reina easily defeated her opponent for the fifth round of the tournament- securing victory before Barrett even found her. Her opponent was a warrior that simply couldn’t keep up with her speed, finding themself unable to block or dodge her attacks. It was good for Reina to advance further in the tournament, but she didn’t gain much useful experience from the fight.
Watching the other matches, they knew that any opponent they faced would be much tougher from then on. While there were some somewhat weaker people who passed through the tournament, there was still a certain minimum strength expected from those at the mid second tier of power.
Barrett found himself faced against a troublesome opponent. She had stood out in the previous rounds for her strange fighting style. She was almost completely covered in armor, so if she hadn’t left her head free nobody would have known she was a woman. She had silvery skin and long silver hair- or perhaps it was steel hair. Barrett had seen it withstand a slash from a sword. She seemed to be able to control the hair, and some of it wrapped around her face to complete a sort of strange helmet. That was another part that led credence to it being metal, because she controlled metal to attack.
In addition to her armor, she sported a collection of small metal balls, spikes, and blades. This assortment of objects moved through the air seemingly at her whim. The truly troublesome part, however, was her ability to control other metal- such as her opponent’s weapons and armor. Though she could only move it around and couldn’t change its shape, that was already sufficiently disruptive for anyone who relied on metal weapons and armor.
Barrett had remembered her name and designation- Kalyani from the Southern Metal Sea. When he heard he was going up against her… he made some special preparations for fighting her. Though he considered it “special preparations”… Barrett actually just showed up to the match without his armor. He stepped onto the ring with armor padding, bandages, and his clothes covering him. Though her mouth was covered by her hair-helmet, he thought he saw a slight smirk when he stepped onto the ring.
Barrett had to make the first move- he only had melee attacks but the opponent had dozens of weapons they could use to attack him from any distance- or at least the distance of the combat arena. He moved forward and so did all of the small iron spikes, flying toward him in an ever shifting wall of pointy death.
He prepared to dodge just as they reached him- at the very least they would lose some momentum if they had to turn to hit him- but just as he did so his weapon was pulled into the air. He could let go and lose his weapon… but he decided to keep his grip on it. That placed him directly in the path of the many spikes.
Then the spikes flew by underneath him. Using the upward momentum of the pull and his own strength, he spun himself around so that he was sticking up above the head of his axe. A moment later he dropped to the floor.
Barrett nodded to himself. It was a rather terrifying ability, but it wasn’t without weaknesses. First, there was some sort of limit to how much could be controlled at once. Every sort of action- body movements, various sorts of energy, and magic- had some sort of limit. People could also only concentrate on so many things at once. Since he had been dropped shortly after the attack missed, holding him up probably took a large amount of energy- probably more than attacking with all of the various weapons Kalyani had at once. It also took enough concentration that she also couldn’t divert the spikes at the same time- or she couldn’t do that anyway.
Not that Barrett though he was safe. The efficiency of her abilities would probably increase as he grew closer, and she was capable of close combat as well… but it was good to confirm some of the limits.
Barrett continued to run forward. This time, the small blades were launched at him. Much the same thing as before happened… but not exactly the same. Barrett had noticed that the spikes behind him had only briefly landed on the ground before turning around to attack him from behind.
His arm was suddenly filled with spikes and covered in slashes. Though he avoided his body being hit… he hadn’t been prepared for them to change their trajectory toward something that wasn’t moving- his arm. He immediately lost his grip on his axe and fell to the ground. He couldn’t help but be glad Master Hykel hadn’t watched his stupid mistake- of course she would be ready the second time.
He didn’t have much time to spend thinking about that, however, as he felt spikes and blades digging into his arm. He coated his arms with berserk energy and started swiping away the spikes and blades. They scattered away, unable to individually withstand the sudden power.
Barrett sprang to his feet and sprinted at top speed toward Kalyani. His best chance was to outrun her weapons, and he wasn’t far away. She still had the metal balls, but he twisted to the side and barrelled through them. He’d have a half-dozen nasty bruises on his right side, but since when was that new?
Then he was in front of her. He stomped on the stone floor of the arena as he threw a punch- with his left arm, since it wasn’t bleeding nearly so much. When he found his arms wrapped in steel-like hairs… Barrett wasn’t surprised.
Helmets were invented for a reason. Anything that replaced them had to be more useful in some fashion- and in the hair’s case it was its ability to move and wrap around things.
Barrett shouted to gather momentum as he released berserk energy at maximum power, pulling back on his arm at the same time as his leg came up in a knee, striking against armor. At the same time, the dozens of spikes, blades, and metal balls struck him in the back.