Barrett had only traveled between Durham and Triridge a few times. The last time he had been unconscious. However, he was still confident that this time he was going to make the trip in a shorter amount of time than any other.
“C’mon, you can go faster than that!” Master Hykel cajoled, “What good’s an immortal body if you’re slow?”
“I’m… pretty sure… I can still… die from… exhaustion,” Barrett panted. He really didn’t think he could go much faster- at least not at a sustainable rate. “What… about… you?” Barrett asked. “You… aren’t… even… in… armor…”
Master Hykel laughed, “I’m carrying these.” He patted the bags on his waist.
“I’ll… trade… you.”
Master Hykel stopped, and Barrett almost ran into him, digging up some dirt along the side of the road as he abruptly stopped. “Really?” Master Hykel shrugged, “Alright.” He took one of the bags off of his waist and held it out.
“Of course.” Barrett caught his breath, “Why wouldn’t I trade heavy armor for a magic bag that reduces the size and weight of things placed in it?” The bag was the size of a small sack, though its mouth could widen out quite far to allow rather large items be placed in it. He reached out to take the bag… and found himself immediately pulled face first into the ground. “It… doesn’t seem to… reduce weight,” Barrett said with his face in the dirt, “Does it?”
Master Hykel shook his head. “Of course not! What’s the point in that? That’s a seriously expensive and unnecessary enchantment. Just reducing the size is plenty.”
Barrett repositioned himself on one knee, realizing why there was a shoulder strap for the bag. He placed it over his own shoulder, then attempted to stand.
His feet pressed into the dirt, and his muscles trembled. He felt like he was lifting a building… or perhaps a storehouse full of weapons and armor. As he pressed down and tried to lift his leg, his foot started to sink into the dirt. He noticed Master Hykel was standing just fine, which led him to remember one of his lessons.
It didn’t matter how much stronger Master Hykel was compared to Barrett. If he was carrying another bag of similar weight- which Barrett assumed the other one we was- he would also sink into the ground. There was something else at play.
Barrett gathered berserk energy to his feet- then spread it out like a platform to support him. At first he just managed to stir up the dirt around his feet, but eventually he got it right and stopped sinking… Now all he had to do was lift the bag up.
Barrett gritted his teeth and continued to try to stand up. His knees felt like they would crack. His calves strained, his thighs ached… but with a final burst of power he stood up. With another burst of energy he lifted the strap off of his shoulder. “You can have it back.”
Master Hykel held out his hand, and Barrett just managed to get the strap above his hand- and then the weight was gone.
Barrett tasted blood in his mouth. Had he bit his lip? No… that was definitely from broken teeth. He spit out blood and a few fragments of teeth.
“If this were some other circumstance, I would chastise you for not thinking about how you might hurt yourself… however, I supposed you considered it beforehand?”
Barrett nodded, “I didn’t expect…” He spit out a bit more blood, “This much, but I know I can recover. In the end… that’s good for training, right?”
Master Hykel nodded, “That’s right… though your form could use a tiny bit of work. Some of that damage was from an improper stance. However, when you recover from the rest you’ll be a bit tougher in areas that need it… assuming you have to lift overly heavy bags. Now, normally this would be the point where we stop so you can rest and recover so that we don’t exacerbate your wounds… but you’ll be fine. I can’t say for sure that true Immortal Bodies can actually recover from literally anything- but none of this is worse than what you’ve already experienced, even if you make it a bit worse. So, we’re going to continue. It’s good to experience having to press on through wounds.”
“…Yes, Master Hykel,” Barrett said solemnly. He didn’t like pain, but he had come to accept it. It was all in the name of making him strong. Barrett thought that he had gotten a good amount of practice dealing with moving while injured after the volcano incident… but he realized he had been too injured to actually feel the pain then.
Now, he could feel the aches in his knees, the strained muscles in his legs and a little bit in his back, the blood in his mouth… and they only got worse as they day went on.
Fortunately most of the damage was gone in the morning, along with a good portion of the muscle fatigue. That was what something just a bit short of thirty times normal healing rate would do for him.
They arrived outside of Durham in good time. Barrett looked over the city. It looked much the same as he remembered it- except where his family’s manor once stood there was some other structure he could barely see peeking over the other buildings.
Barrett wanted to stomp in and break it down, but that would be ill advised for several reasons. For one, he didn’t have any proof of the current owner of the manor’s involvement in the conspiracy that had led to his family’s manor being burned down. Though, he had some strong suspicions his Aunt Melody would be there, making anyone else at the very minimum complicit.
The other problems came from Durham being a larger city. It was the seat of the ruler of the region, and that and the size meant it came with a better city guard. At the very minimum some of the members should count as first tier warriors. Individually they would be little threat to Barrett, but he wanted to understand the situation before doing something reckless. Master Hykel might be able to bail him out of whatever trouble came, but Barrett would prefer to handle it himself if he could. If he couldn’t… he would think about it then.