All students had the responsibility to properly represent their sect. That meant not causing trouble with the wrong people… but also not avoiding trouble when it involved standing up for their own sect. They hadn’t started anything- Yamanu had even admitted she stole from their younger sister and injured her. They couldn’t do anything less than attempt proper retaliation.
But it was still intimidating to even think about fighting a third tier cultivator when they didn’t have one.
Urvi was the one to finally trigger the fight. “Well then, since your reactions are completely unrepentant… I’m afraid we have to be the ones to enforce morality.” She stopped leaning on her weapon, the axe and spike end on the ground suddenly lifting in a way that belied her age. Her weapon swung forward, colliding with the large metal club carried by Yamanu. Berserk energy crackled as both sides used their energy.
Simran took stock of the situation. The rest of the forces were balanced for the most part. Urvi was pushed a step back and clearly needed assistance. It wasn’t unfair for two second tiers to fight a third tier. She stepped forward, stabbing out with her spear.
A moment later, Yamanu swept her heavy club with its metal studs across her two opponents, sending Urvi reeling back and causing Simran to contort her body out of the way. She wanted to keep her position, so she leaned her upper body back, bending her spine while at the same time stabbing out with her spear. The angle was bad for her own attack, but she managed to draw a faint line of blood along Yamanu’s left side. The large woman with horns and tusks nearly growled in frustration.
Yamanu’s club came swinging back lower, forcing Simran to block with the butt of her spear pressed to the ground. There was no way for her arms to withstand the forces in play… her body had grown stronger, but it still had a long way to go. Even so, she withstood more than her spear… and even as her spear snapped, Urvi built up momentum with her own weapon.
The double ended axe spun over Urvi’s head, slicing down across Yamanu’s ribs. There was a moment of surprise as those very ribs withstood the attack. Then an instant later the next attack came with a crack sending Yamanu staggering back with some visible damage.
“Pfeh.” Yamanu exhaled as she steadied herself with her club. “Enough of this.”
Urvi continued to swing her weapon, keeping it at optimal momentum but didn’t press the attack. “You surrender?”
“Of course not.” Yamanu frowned, “I’m a chosen of Heavenly Mountain. Master Rao!” she called out.
“So that’s your name, is it? Master Rao?” Some distance away, a soft voice spoke. “Well, aren’t you going to respond? I don’t mind if you get involved in the battle. I could use a fight.”
Master Rao was a large man. Fully two and a half meters tall. He had horns that curled around repeatedly, making his head seem three times as wide. His tusks stretched halfway up his cheeks. The energy of Heavenly Mountain promoted bone growth, the foundation upon which muscles and ligaments were laid. A great container for berserk energy. He stood with both hands on the end of his large metal club, the traditional weapon of Heavenly Mountain. He stood stoically… and one might have thought he was completely unfazed. Until they saw the sweat.
It was as if he had been fighting for hours, or just taken a soak in a lake. It dripped off of him and out of him continuously. Then there was an extremely faint tremble in his hands.
“What’s wrong? I know you’re two tiers higher than the next person on our side, but that’s fine.” The woman in front of him was very generously one and two-thirds meters tall. Her arms weren’t quite as twiglike as they had once been, but they certainly didn’t show much muscle. It might take ten of her to fill out as much space as the man. “Don’t worry, I’ll go easy on you if you join. One or two organs burst, tops! Or I might just break one of those biceps you’re so proud of. It would probably heal eventually!” Seeing no reaction, Nilima clicked her tongue. “You know, I understand having guardians and all, but your Sky Peaks or whatever really needs to teach your younger generation better. It’s pathetic. It’s one thing to go around causing trouble, but they can’t even deal with it on their own? It’s like you’re afraid of a few broken bones! I know someone who was impaled by like a dozen spears in one battle. I liquified all the bones and muscles in his arm once. And-” Nilima stopped herself. “I don’t know why I’d bother to talk to you. Looks like they’re about done. So why don’t you take these sacks of stupid back up your hill and retrain them. Don’t forget, you began this conflict.”
Yamanu lay on the ground, umoving. Breathing still, if painfully, but unable to get up and fight. Her berserk energy was exhausted. Urvi looked through her magic bag. “What’s this? You have so much currency in here. You could have found an equivalent treasure a dozen times over.” Urvi shook her head. “It looks like you’ve already consumed our sister’s purchase. I’d take double repayment, but we aren’t thieves.” Urvi looked over at the metal club with a shattered handle. “But you do need some sort of lesson besides a few bruises.” Urvi poured out the gold and silver coins as well as crystals and cultivation materials. Then she stuck her hand atop the pile and it dissolved.
Technically, even as the pile shrunk in size, everything was still there. It was just turned to dust, and the wind started to carry away flecks of gold, silver, and other wealth.
The remaining members of Heavenly Mountain had already been defeated or surrendered. However, their wealth was left alone. The group of ‘sisters’ walked away with their heads held high… though some of them needed help with the walking part. None of them were without injuries themselves, though the style of injuries varied greatly.
Suddenly on the road in front of them appeared a figure. “I give you a seven… six out of ten.” Nilima looked over the group. She tapped the side of her head, “Gentle energy can destroy the canals in the inner ear. I know I’ve said that. If you’re not killing people, it’s a great option. Or just mess up their liver a bit or churn their guts. People can be incapacitated way faster.” She looked to the practitioners of berserk energy, “You treated people as too fragile. You have to know how hard you can hit them. If you hold back too much worried that people might die, it’s just a waste. You should have seen they had tough bodies that could handle more.” Nilima’s eyes flicked past Simran and a couple others. “I have no idea how Pure Body Tempering works. So I’ll assume you did fine. But, if you guys won against a slightly better force… why not an eight or nine? Easy. It wasn’t a slightly better force. It was an overwhelming one. Nobody even thought to look for a hidden guardian. That Nunu even said they had a grandmaster in their sect. Why wouldn’t they have a master hanging around? You almost all died. And now we might be at war with Heavenly Mountain.” Nilima grinned, “So I guess you can have an extra point for that. Seven out of ten. And if you’re ever in the wrong don’t forget I’ll let your asses get beat into the ground just like you did with those guys.”
“You know,” Barrett shook his head at Nilima. “You could have tried to avoid pissing them off more.”
“Do you think it would have worked?” Nilima raised an eyebrow.
Barrett sighed. “No. And honestly, not even injuring that master even a little bit was already extreme progress from how you used to be. I just would have really preferred not being in a big conflict.” He thought for a few moments, “Were we too nice? Was I supposed to kill more people already?”
Nilima waved her hand dismissively. “Nah, we made the right choices. Now we’ll just get the chance to take out the assholes on top.”
“Or die to a grandmaster,” Barrett commented.
“Oh please.” Nilima rolled her eyes. “I stopped believing in your ability to die a while ago.”
“You could die,” Barrett pointed out.
“To a grandmaster? All it takes is two sixth tiers, and we’ve got three.”
Barrett pointed to himself. “One.” He pointed to Nilima. “Two…?” He tilted his head inquisitively.
“And three,” Nilima also pointed to herself. “In terms of energy capacity, I’m basically a full berserk energy cultivator and a full gentle energy cultivator. Then the rest is technique. I don’t think I’ll lose to someone from… uh… some stupid berserker sect.”
“Yeah, them!” Nilima nodded, “And you’re here to get my back if I’m overestimating myself. But I’m this close to being a grandmaster myself. I assume you are too, but it’s pretty hard to read.”
Barrett nodded in confirmation. “Yeah… just a bit more time. But I’m worried about the students. They’ll get the bad side of this conflict. We can’t always be there watching over them.”
“You’re right. We can’t. So we might as well get them used to that in the next few years, right?”
Barrett had to agree, but he didn’t have to like it.