William’s assault on the fort was going well. Small groups of soldiers could do nothing to him, but they couldn’t bring enough soldiers to bear at once. Even if they stacked a corridor full of soldiers, William merely had to avoid them or attack from around a corner. Most of the magical defenses were designed to protect against outside intruders… and the ones inside the fort had already been disabled by William.
William took frequent breaks to replenish ki or let the mana in the area recover, not because he actually needed to but just because he wanted to remain in top form. Even if he was interrupted he was able to deal with it- and he could change locations quickly enough to deal with anyone coming to cut him off. For the most part the enemy soldiers had to see or hear William to know where he was, while he could know their locations with his ki senses, even several corridors away.
There were magical sensors as well, but he destroyed them as he went… and if he was in a rush and couldn’t stop, Chris could do it for him. William wasn’t worried about Chris being captured. Although the wizards of Ostana had managed to do so in the past, that was only when they were specifically prepared for him. While New Eclea might have had a bit more up their sleeves… Chris was also stronger now. Not that his functionality as a staff was much different- he was still functionally unbreakable and streamlined mana usage, but he was more capable of functioning on his own.
Chris was still not capable of performing significant magic on his own- he was somewhere on the level of an average wizard in terms of offensive power. However, his ki cultivation was enough to supplement his self-mobile abilities. It was possible for a knight in full armor to catch him with the assistance of others, but then they would have to struggle to hold onto him without rest, while Chris wouldn’t get tired. More importantly, he could use ki to escape or attack as necessary. If Chris was the only factor, then he would at most be extremely bothersome for the soldiers- and while some would die, they would eventually be able to stop him.
Of course, Chris was not alone. Even if William let him be a distraction for a few minutes, he could easily come free him. As long as he was within a dozen yards, William could incapacitate anyone holding onto Chris. For knights it might be a bit more difficult, but there weren’t that many highly trained individuals to be had. Most people simply couldn’t meet the standards necessary… and with guns involved, New Eclea hadn’t placed as much emphasis on physical training- not more than necessary for a basic soldier. They had a number of wizards, but they were even worse off than knights against Chris. They couldn’t damage him, and maintaining spells to try to hold him wasn’t possible for long without proper magical formations laid down.
Thus, most of the soldiers were defeated or had given up, and William expected he would have the for more or less on lock within the next half hour. That was when the first cannon shell hit the island.
William would have barely noticed it in time to dodge… but he didn’t have to. They weren’t sure of his exact location, so the just started shelling the island. While there hadn’t been any fleet immediately around the island, hours had passed so they could have been quite some distance away. Likewise, William hadn’t been able to secretly take out all of the soldiers, so the message of an attack had long since gone out. Apparently, they decided it was worth destroying everything just to take out William.
After the first shot, dozens of other cannons were firing. Clearly, they wanted to reduce everything to rubble… and then some. Unfortunately for them they had to defeat the outer defenses first. William hadn’t destroyed those, and since the base was under attack someone had activated them. There had likely been orders to lower the defenses- but nobody was in a state to act on them. William had seen a few people sneaking toward the controls, but hadn’t thought what their goals were at the time.
Now he had a few minutes to think about what he would do next. The first thing he crossed off his list was trying to stay around in the fort after the barrier fell. While he could dodge a shell or two… or more, keeping track of dozens at the same time was troublesome. More importantly, if they were smart they would just target everywhere he could possibly be and wear him down that way. Sure, an indirect hit wouldn’t kill him, but his robes could only take so much damage, and his ki defenses would eventually falter. William wasn’t going to bet on them running out of ammunition before he died.
An assault on the fleet? Unfortunately they were already watching for him and would have their ships defenses activated. If they didn’t mind shooting their own troops on land, they likely wouldn’t hesitate to bombard one of their own ships to take him out while he tried to break through the barrier. Perhaps he could use that to his advantage… but that was something he was going to hold off on.
That really only left the option to run. That was different from dodging in that he would move out of range- the island was all in range of their guns, but the ocean on the other side of the island would be at the end of their range. He could call the submarine… but since they weren’t sure if the submarines were actually known of yet he didn’t want to. The sea mines were arrayed in a way they could have been intended for a submarine… or just any ships in the shallow water, though the deeper mines indicated they had a guess.
William supposed he could start running immediately if he wanted to… but he figured he might as well place himself in the best state he could be and let the ships use up at least some of their ammunition before starting. Only when he felt the barrier start weakening did he leave cover of the buildings and run off to the far side of the island. He wasn’t sure if they could see him yet, but they would certainly be looking.