William couldn’t stand it. He looked at the fist gripping on his neck, choking him. His friends had died, and though it was always heart wrenching, he could have lived with it. He could have even died with that knowledge, peacefully. No, William couldn’t stand losing here. Losing anywhere else wasn’t a problem, but he had to win here. William could even come to terms with having his own soul destroyed… but if the Demon King didn’t have his soul destroyed as well, humanity would be wiped out… sooner or later. Though he couldn’t afford to lose, William also couldn’t do anything about it.
William saw the Demon King speak, and then felt it. He was being ripped apart. He could no longer see, but only felt the pain in his soul. He fought it with all of his will, but there was nothing to be done. The Demon King was too strong. Still, William struggled, no matter how futile it might be to resist his soul being destroyed. Then, William didn’t think about anything any more.
Tyler Dragonfoe saw the kid was in trouble. She couldn’t help but thinking of him as a kid, even though he was a man, and not even really a young one anymore. Still, he caused trouble like one… except the magnitude was more. Killing the Archmage… stirring up trouble with the nobles. It was all a pain… yet she was also glad that there was someone who did it. It was almost fun to get him out of trouble, until all the cleaning up started. Now, he was in trouble again. Theoretically, he was the one with the best chance of destroying the Demon King, but she couldn’t help but notice the Demon King was not destroyed… and had him gripped by the throat. Still, that outstretched arm was a nice target.
Her sword swung out, cleaving into the arm, through the armor… and into the flesh beneath. Unfortunately, it didn’t go through bones or sever the arm, and instead stopped. The Demon King turned back toward Tyler Dragonfoe, after tossing aside the boy’s body. As he did so, his movements tore the sword out of Tyler’s hand, gripped by the flesh of his arm. Then, a crystal staff came down toward her head, and though its speed wasn’t as fast as the Demon King’s spear, it was powerful nonetheless.
William found it was very noisy, and hard to sleep. He just wanted to sleep, everything hurt so much if he slept it might go away. However, the noise continued. What noise was it… then William remembered it was the sound of a battlefield. William opened his eyes, to see the Demon King swinging Chris around like a stick. Chris was obviously resisting, and the Demon King had been doing better with his spear, but the humans had been doing better when they had more elite soldiers alive. William did see the Demon King’s other arm was hanging at his side, not exactly limply, but he wasn’t using it to try to swing Chris.
William just sat, staring at the battle. He had no weapon now, and though there were swords and spears and various other weapons lying about the battlefield, nothing he saw was a staff… and they certainly weren’t Chris. The Demon King had him. What could William do? While he might not technically need a weapon to use Shattering the Soul, he would have to approach even closer to the Demon King… and even then he knew it wouldn’t work. As more people died in front of him, William somehow calmly analyzed his prior attack. Though it had pierced into the soul, it wasn’t enough. William knew it wasn’t something that more power was going to solve either, and he had less power now, without Chris. The attack needed to penetrate deeper, somehow, but even if William could hit precisely the same spot… he doubted his chance of success. He didn’t want to try, but instead just wanted to give up.
He could just give up. William could just die, and he would reincarnate. He didn’t think his soul could be accessed through his body after death… at least not significantly afterwards. He could live again. Then what… reincarnate into a world with no humans, or one where they would shortly be destroyed? He could face the Demon King again… or could he? If he gave up now, would he have that courage?
Speaking of courage, William wasn’t sure he actually had it. Analyzing his attack… although he had gone all out, he’d really kept something in reserve. He had still kept ki for defenses, wary of a counterattack… or something. Maybe he just didn’t want his soul to be destroyed in the aftershock. So… he probably could do a stronger attack, but what good was it without something more. Then William felt it. He had lost consciousness, and was no longer doing anything with his ki… including concealing himself from his connection with Chris… and the Demon King. Chris seemed to have stopped that as well, or William would have only been able to feel Chris. That was it.
William stood up. He walked toward the Demon King, step by step. His throat was crushed, making it hard to breathe… but if he took a breath he would just cough up blood anyway, so William didn’t. He just moved forward, gathering his ki on his palm. He walked up toward the Demon King… not his front or his back, since he was constantly turning, but just toward whatever was facing him at the time. Maneuvering for a better position felt pointless.
William looked down at his hand. That was all? Honestly, there was more ki than he imagined he had, but it didn’t feel like enough. How could he get more? Well, honestly, he wasn’t completely out of ki. There was always some in his spiritual sea, maintaining its structure. That was a waste. It’s not like he was going to use that part of him after today… so why not use that.
One reason was that it hurt. William’s soul already hurt, but it hurt more. It was like he had a bomb go off inside of him before, but now he felt like he was unravelling, and he wasn’t a ball of yarn. Still, what did it matter. He needed that energy. Just as William felt he really had everything this time, the Demon King turned toward him. William found it funny, since it seemed like the first time he had taken the initiative to attack someone specific. The Demon King said something, but William’s head hurt and he didn’t speak demon anyway so he ignored it.
What William couldn’t ignore was a powerful magic staff swinging toward him. He could probably block it, with all the ki he had gathered, but he most certainly couldn’t dodge it. His body wasn’t up for it, and he didn’t have any ki left to help with that. Blocking would use up a lot of energy, and if he didn’t block it he would die. He couldn’t afford the former, and the latter needed to wait a moment. Nonetheless, William’s hand came up to meet the staff.
The last thing William saw was Chris swinging toward him. He would have liked to think he looked Chris in the eye, but Chris was a staff and had no eyes. Still, he felt as if they looked at each other and nodded seriously. Then, William’s hand collided with Chris… and all of the energy William had gathered vanished, while the momentum of the staff and the Demon King’s ki coating intent on smashing him into oblivion. Still, William smiled grimly, as he felt his ki flow out of him, into Chris… and through Chris, it entered the Demon King’s soul. The staff crushed William’s arm… but never reached his head.
Official records of the death of the Demon King were fuzzy. However, it was clear that the survivors of the battle were mostly those who had run away. One of them recalled turning around only to see a bright light, and after that he was blind. Those who visited the battlefield only found some bodies around a large hole in the ground, more than a kilometer across. At the edges there were some remnants of those who had fallen, such as armor and what parts of the body was inside, but there were less and less remains toward the center. In the very middle, there was nothing recognizable except mangled terrain, with no remnants of anything, not even any scraps of magical armor. When word reached the leaders of the remaining armies, a victorious battle was declared, as well as the Demon King’s permanent demise.