Master Hykel stopped Barrett before they entered Durham, “There seems to be a problem.”
“What is it?”
“Wanted posters. For both of us.”
“Ah…” Barrett frowned, “I… messed up.”
Master Hykel nodded, “So, what do you think you can learn from this incident?”
Barrett scratched his head, “Being strong doesn’t give the right to do whatever you want.”
“Alright. What else?”
“Umm…” Barrett sighed, “People care more about laws than justice, maybe.”
Barrett shook his head. “I don’t know. I had more revenge I wanted to get up to, but now I can’t. Durham has tougher city guards. I… I’m not going to ask you to do anything. I’ve already caused you enough trouble, and I need to take care of this myself.” Barrett sighed, “But now I have to wait.” Barrett sat down on a nearby rock, “I guess you knew this would happen?”
Master Hykel shrugged, “Something like this anyway. I don’t mind getting in a little bit of trouble for something justified, but I agree you should handle this yourself. Maybe your next attempt will have more finesse or…”
“Or it will be faster.” Master Hykel crossed his arms and nodded. “You could have gotten into the city and done something if you traveled faster than the news.”
“Is that… an actual lesson? Let’s see…” Barrett stroked his chin, “Move swiftly and your enemies will be unprepared?”
“It doesn’t have to sound like fancy words of wisdom, but it doesn’t hurt. So, what next Barrett?”
Barrett shrugged, “I’m not sure. I think I’m done here. Trying to enter the city now would just be… too much trouble. Even if I was successful it would result in too much collateral damage, and too much relying on you… and I’m not even sure what I’d want to do.”
“In that case, let’s move on. The Raging Fire Sect needs a lesson taught to them. They either are completely lacking in oversight or intentionally turned a blind eye to their star pupil going around causing trouble. You managing to kill him is merely the base payment, but they still owe interest on their debts. Besides, ultimately, it will be good for them.” Master Hykel cracked his knuckles, “Besides, I probably won’t kill that many of them. Just enough to make them think about their actions. Whoever was that kid’s master, though… I don’t think I’ll be letting him off easy.”
In the interest of being able to get from place to place faster, Barrett was made to run quickly and for long distances, in heavy armor. Of course, this resulted in slower travel times for the current moment. That was because after Barrett ran for a while he would collapse into a heap for even longer.
“Come on Barrett, this isn’t moderation training!” Master Hykel shouted from next to him, “This is training to push your limits! So push!”
Was there more he could push himself? Barrett wasn’t sure. He was covered in sweat to the point that he felt like he was swimming through a river- but it was also evaporating so quickly he could almost see steam surrounding him. He felt the grating and itchy sensation of leftover salt covering him. His lungs strained with each breath, and the muscles in his legs felt like they were on fire- except not really, since Barrett had actually felt them on fire. Even so, it was not pleasant.
“Push harder!” Master Hykel shouted. He wasn’t angry, but the shouting was just so Barrett could hear him. Barrett was already at the limits- past the limits- but he pushed himself a more. He could go a little bit faster, maybe. Then something felt seriously wrong, and Barrett tumbled forward. He tried to stand up, but his legs felt like someone had sliced through them- a sensation he had far too much real experience with, if not necessarily in his legs. Even with all of his willpower to push through the pain, Barrett couldn’t stand up. His legs just wouldn’t listen to him.
Master Hykel stood over him. “Now you know what the limits are. Not the limits of pain, or endurance, or fatigue… but of your body itself. At some point, it doesn’t matter how much you want to do more, your body can’t handle it.”
Barrett grimaced in pain, trying to listen to Master Hykel’s words. His legs seemed to be trying to kill him with pain, and he felt like something was broken. His bone was fine but… other parts weren’t so much. “I… noticed…” Barrett managed to say through gritted teeth.
Master Hykel sighed, “Normally, this would happen on accident at some point, but I had to push you a bit more. You were still a bit short of your real limits. Now you know what they are- the point before your muscles and tendons snap.” Master Hykel crouched down next to Barrett. “Sorry about this.”
Barrett just grumbled through gritted teeth. His legs were constantly twitching, which caused great pain and ever more twitching and… continued in a cycle forever.
Master Hykel removed the lower parts of the armor Barrett was in. “There will be swelling. Internal bleeding too. It’s best to keep everything there free.” Then Master Hykel rubbed some ointment over Barrett’s legs.
Barrett’s legs went from feeling like they had been chopped through and set on fire to merely like they were being stabbed… and then to nothing at all. Barrett had to look down to make sure they really were still there. They had stopped moving, though he could see horrible red swelling already, especially near the back of his ankles. Everything looked so wrong he looked away. At least it didn’t hurt.
“Normally I say to tough out the pain… but leaving things like that would make it worse. Don’t consciously move your legs for a while.” Master Hykel scooped up Barrett. “You’ve earned yourself a break for the rest of today.”
Barrett didn’t like the sound of that. There was no way he was going to recover from this in just a day- and while Master Hykel wouldn’t make him do something that caused more damage, he could probably think of a number of things for Barrett to do that didn’t require legs. He took the chance to pass out so he wouldn’t have to think about it.