Barrett interrupted Master Hykel’s story. “Wait, do we really have seventh tier people in the sect?”
Master Hykel shrugged, “A few. It takes a good success rate and talent in cultivating berserk energy to get to that point. Of course, you also have to avoid getting killed or crippled in a conflict. They’re mostly over a hundred though.”
“… A hundred?”
“Yeah. At that point a hundred is just before middle age, by the way. I’m a bit more than sixty myself, and it’ll probably take more than thirty years before I reach seventh tier, if all goes well.”
“Hmm. You don’t look that old.”
“Of course not. Each tier generally extends lifespans by at least a decade… assuming you’re not causing permanent harm to your body. Hence the piles of medicine we go through. It takes a lot more if you want minimal side effects.” Master Hykel grinned, “The good news is… if you work hard you can probably be seventh tier before you’re eighty!”
“… That sounds like it’s quite some time away.”
The old man Barrett had released from the cells grinned, “It’s not that long. Try being cooped up in a prison for a few years though…”
Barrett frowned, “Oh yeah, umm… why are you still here?”
“I owe you for letting me out!”
“Oh. Uh, well, we sorta let everyone out. Don’t feel obligated.”
“Too late. I can’t help but feel that way.” The old man shrugged, “Besides, I thought maybe I could come with you. I’m not going to be making any breakthroughs or anything, and I’m helpless at energy cultivation… but I know a few good purely body training techniques.” He made a twisting motion with his fingers, reminding Barrett of him twisting the manacles, “I’d like to teach someone, and you two- and your sect- seem like excellent candidates.”
Master Hykel shrugged, “I don’t mind you coming with us… and if you really can teach something new that would be great.”
“Just don’t teach it to anyone from the Raging Fire Sect… or…” The old man shrugged, “Anyone like them. I don’t think they’ll be much of a real Sect after this.”
Master Hykel shoved a pillar out of another building, “Not if I have anything to say about it- and I do. Now, where was I in my story?”
Barrett answered, “You were charging toward the guy in dragon scale.”
“Ah, right. The sect head.”
Teran Hykel’s first attack knocked back the sect head, sending him flying through a stone wall as he barely managed to block the axe. If the wall had been a bit more sturdy, he would have found himself with more broken bones.
Immediately, the two other masters on either side of him charged forward, swinging flaming maces toward his head. One he blocked with his axe, and the other he grabbed. His fist tightened around the mace in his left hand, even as the elder of the Raging Fire Sect flared the fire surrounding it to his utmost ability.
Then from behind him came a dagger, stabbing into his left armpit where his armor was weakest. The dagger pierced toward his heart… but was stopped when he pulled his arm down, catching the dagger and hand with it, as well as jerking forward the elder holding the mace.
“I already said sneak attacks aren’t appropriate for a berserker sect. Honestly, you’re so terrible at them…” Hykel shoved away the opponent on his right, casually chopping down and severing the hand caught under his armpit. “Real assassins would be ashamed.” The man didn’t respond except by crying out in pain and gripping onto the stump of his hand, quickly backing away. Hykel shook his head, looking toward the man still holding onto the mace in his left hand, “Isn’t it pathetic?” Then he swung his axe toward the man.
The elder quickly retreated, leaving his weapon behind- but Hykel’s attack was more than just an overhead swing. As the man retreated, Hykel spun his body and it turned into a throw- and the large axe flew end over end for a single complete rotation before lodging itself in the man’s chest, cutting clean through his armor. He continued his spin, spinning the mace in his left hand and then smashing it into the skull of the other mace wielding elder as he charged back in.
He leaned into the blow, and the sect head’s halberd scraped along his armor, before being caught under his right elbow. “Too slow. This can barely even be called teamwork.” He turned his head over his left shoulder to see the sect head, “Maybe if you weren’t such a bunch of scum you could have practiced real teamwork.”
The sect head frowned, “How… are you not charred to ash right now?”
Hykel raised an eyebrow, “Huh? Just because I don’t train in fire energy doesn’t mean I can’t train resistance to it? My apprentice survived falling into a volcano! I’d be pretty pathetic if I couldn’t withstand something of this level.”
Teran Hykel looked over the sect head, then jerked him closer by tugging on the halberd. The man kept his footing, but Hykel dropped the mace and grabbed onto the sect head’s shoulder. Then he tore the halberd out of his grip, and flung it away. In a moment, the sect head was spun around, and Hykel was behind him… then the strong grips holding him switched from his shoulders to his head, and with a twisting motion his neck was snapped.
“You have pretty nice armor… I didn’t want to ruin it.” Hykel turned to look where he had thrown the halberd, with its spear point pierced through the sneaky elder, “You didn’t even run away properly.” Hykel shook his head.
“Then I looted some of their stuff, and broke a few things on the way to find you,” Master Hykel concluded.
“Ah. Aren’t you just fifth tier though? It shouldn’t be that easy to defeat five late fourth tier people.”
“Why not?” Master Hykel raised an eyebrow. “I’m mid fifth tier, have plenty of combat experience… and the Immortal Berserker Style isn’t just an average technique. Meanwhile, the Raging Fire Sect’s main advantage is easily countered by a little fire resistance training. Their muscles are strong, but their bodies aren’t tough enough to get by without armor. The only struggle they have to go through is the discomfort of fire… no risk of death except by stupidity. It stands to reason that they would be weaker.”
The old man nodded, “Indeed, they focused too strongly on killing the opponent first, with no regard for the fact that if that failed, and their armor was insufficient.” He shrugged, “Not that I can say much, since I was captured by them.”
“Speaking of which…” Master Hykel drew out his words, “Who are you, old man?”
“Me? Why, just a mere fourth tier pure body temperer.”