Reina looked down from the back of the horse she was on. “You’re sure you want to run, Barrett? We do have another horse.”
Mistress Seviren shook her head, “Don’t discourage him. Being focused on constant training is an admirable trait, and part of the reason why those from the Immortal Berserker Sect are so strong. They don’t waste time. Running might not be an appropriate course of training for us… but I’m sure I could think of something to do during the day. Perhaps magic control.”
Reina scratched the back of her head, “Ah… I did this to myself, didn’t I?”
Barrett nodded, but was too focused on his breathing to say anything. Keeping consistent breathing patterns made endurance running easier… and anything he could do to make it easier was critical when running in armor. Barrett enjoyed the feeling of sweat evaporating off of him and even the aches in his muscles. Both of them reminded him that he was bettering himself and growing stronger. Besides, muscle aches were never severe enough to make him actually consider them real pain. The armor made the day feel much hotter than it otherwise would have been… but it made the training better.
“Now then Reina, we shall practice endurance and power. Start by creating as strong of a wind as you can, even if you can’t hold it for long.”
Barrett had hoped to learn something about magic by listening, but sadly any conversation was beyond what he could even try. He understood that mana was the core component, but they didn’t discuss how to control it or sense it. Not that they would have any reason to, because they both already clearly understood the basic concepts. Barrett did appreciate the strong winds blowing away some of his heat… but it was only for a few moments. It barely did anything to really cool him down in his armor. Shortly afterwards, however, the sustained breeze did a lot more to help. “Mmm, thanks!”
Reina smiled, “Enjoy the next… hour or so.”
They came to the border to Voscea rather quickly. They travelled fast, but the mountainous paths of Voscea would be somewhat harder to traverse. The guards at the border stopped them. “Papers, please.” Mistress Seviren handed them something that they looked over carefully. “Going to the tournament? Carry on then.” With that, they were waved through.
From there, they merely continued along the main road toward the capital of Voscea, Darith. The road was good, but still involved a steady slope that made Barrett’s life more difficult. It also became harder to breathe, as these mountains were much higher than the one Barrett normally lived on, which was more at the height of a large hill.
The journey as a whole was just long enough to allow Barrett time to recover from a final round of Destructions. While his training and berserk energy levels were good enough he probably could have done more, he wanted to end up at top shape for the tournament. He even rode for the last day.
Barrett wasn’t sure what he had expected to find… except more people. “Hmm, it feels kind of… empty.”
Mistress Seviren nodded, “Darith had never had a large population. Though many people will be here for the tournament… that is mostly participants. Those who would come to observe are mostly those with personal investments in the participants. Common people can’t afford to make the difficult journey or pay to watch.”
Upon thinking about it, Barrett came to understanding. For a capital, Darith was rather small- more like a mid sized city. On the other hand, he had to admit it had pretty impressive walls. Inside the city, all of the buildings were sturdy- and most were more than a single floor tall- but the total number of them was small.
It made sense, though. While many strong people lived in the country, that was just in proportion to a normal country. The dominant part of the population was still regular people or those who were barely in the first tier of power. Without spectators coming, a few hundred or thousand people wouldn’t create the same bustling impression as tens of thousands.
The tournament area itself was much busier, with people crowding around to sign up for the tournament. Barrett hadn’t realized how little power his father had held, when the captain of the guard was probably just about as strong as some of the weakest of the participants here- and they were all young. Thirty years old was the cutoff for this particular tournament.
As they stood in line, Mistress Seviren pointed out several groups of locals. “That group is from Eastern Lotus Temple. They’re monks who focus on cultivating energy first and their body secondarily. Their attacks contain surprising power without a large windup. You will recognize some others from the training exercise in Temperpine Forest. Over there are the wizards of Storm Tower. They focus on wind, ice, and lightning magic. A common tactic is to create a small area of blinding fog or swirling ice to make their enemies unable to see, but their straightforward offensive power is also not insignificant. The Raging Fire Sect trains berserkers that also cultivate fire type energy. They can be quite dangerous, just like any berserkers. However, of special note is Ruben Vaduva. He’s a favored candidate to win this tournament. He has a Tier 1 immortal body, which gives him a huge advantage. He’s also at the late second tier with his training, which puts him among the top handful in that regard.”
Barrett nodded. He could understand Ruben being a favored candidate. While Barrett could easily recover after battles over the course of a few days at worst, in combat he had to rely on his toughness and not recovery. Healing twenty times as fast wasn’t that relevant over the course of a few minutes. A tier 1 immortal body, however, healed at 10,000 times the normal rate. One minute was equal to about a week of recovery. It was the same healing rate that Barrett would have to train to the fifth tier for- the same level as Master Hykel. Of course, that didn’t mean he would be as strong as someone at the fifth tier. Besides recovery, attack power, dodging, defenses, and other special skills had to be considered. Even so, having a tier 1 immortal body was a significant advantage as it didn’t require any training time and merely added onto capabilities. Barrett thought Ruben was pretty lucky, but he knew that training until the late second tier- and probably further- was still not easy.