Yu Huan steadied herself, and attacked the older man who was her opponent again. The second time, William saw more clearly what happened. The defenses of the older man didn’t feel like they were using a large amount of ki, and they shouldn’t have been able to stop the attack. Indeed, that was not what happened. Generally, a defense would require more energy than an attack. This was because it needed to cover a larger area. However, all of the energy from an attack would be consumed, and could no longer be used. Meanwhile, most of the ki used to defend would be available for continued use. Yet, the old man only used an approximately comparable amount of ki to defend against Yu Huan’s attack. Upon observing more closely, William saw how that could work. Yu Huan’s attack was sharp and strong, with a strong momentum of sorts behind it. It could likely pierce through a defense of similar strength without trouble, but the old man merely nudged the attack. He didn’t stop the momentum, but just diverted it off target.
The old man once again responded with a seemingly gentle attack, but as it seemed to sweep over Yu Huan, William felt a sudden surge of power at the very end, as all of the energy gathered on one place. Yu Huan staggered again, and appeared even weaker… but her eyes were still determined. The older man, meanwhile, was smiling slightly, and looked unruffled.
William thought her response was excellent. Her next attack was similar to the previous two, but it was launched simultaneously with another attack. William felt the old man call more energy than before on his defenses. He responded similarly with two concentrated areas of energy, like that he had used to block the previous attacks. William felt that these were a bit bigger and stronger than the last, though the attacks they faced were of the same strength. William watched as both attacks were seemingly easily deflected away from where they could do damage.
Yu Huan collapsed to her knees, and the older man prepared another attack. This one felt stronger, more like a rolling storm than the gentle feeling it had before… However, before the attack approached her, Yu Huan surrendered, and the attack gently faded away.
The older man laughed gently. “Good! Very good! It’s nice to see promising young folk.”
After the match, William found the man’s name was Han Xinya. The Order actually knew of him, but he hadn’t appeared in recent years. They had even approached him, asking him to join the Order, but he had refused. His reason was that he didn’t want to be tied down by responsibilities. The Order of the Watchful Senry didn’t have any intentions to force anyone to join, so they accepted his decision. After the Order learned about Shattering the Soul and confirmed it was the most likely possibility for defeating the Demon King permanently, they had looked for him since he was skilled in soul techniques. They hadn’t found him, but he had apparently been drawn in by their tournament.
As the tournament continued, he easily dominated the rest of the competition. It wasn’t just his age that gave him an advantage, because there had been several participants who were similarly around 40 or 50 years old. However, they were not specialized in the area of soul techniques, or not particularly talented.
In the end, though he won the tournament, he gave the prizes to the person in second place stating, “I’m only here to test the latest crop of young talents.”
William didn’t know if Han Xinya was planning to return to where he was after the tournament and he couldn’t risk that possibility so he immediately went to find him. “I request a spar.”
Han Xinya raised an eyebrow, “Oh, who are you?”
“I am Yu Hui’Lam. I have seen your skill in Soul Techniques, and was hoping I might be able to learn something from you in a spar.”
“Very straightforward. Very well, I have time in abundance.”
Thus, William found himself facing off against Han Xinya on the dueling stage. William wasn’t using Chris, since this wasn’t a battle of life or death. Chris would only give him a skewed view of how good he was. In fact, William’s staff was almost irrelevant, since this was a soul technique battle.
Han Xinya gave William the chance to attack first. With the defenses he had, William knew this wasn’t necessarily an advantage. William didn’t plan to use Shattering the Soul, obviously, but he also wasn’t going to use his killing technique. He didn’t think it would actually work, but it seemed rather rude for a spar, and if it succeeded the results would be unpleasant. William didn’t actually have a name for that technique yet, though he was considering something like Soul Severing, since it cut the soul off from the body. William had another option, though it wasn’t even developed enough to call it a technique yet. However, since he had been spending so much time working on his control over ki and using it for soul attacks, that didn’t mean this particular ability would be useless.
William struck out, leading with the staff he was carrying. However, the staff didn’t have any real power behind it. Instead, it only served as a familiar medium for transmitting the technique across a longer distance, further from William’s body without losing power. Han Xinya had already sensed William gathering his ki, and had begun building defenses in proportion. While Shattering the Soul was more like a spear, driving deep into the core of the soul. Soul Severing attacked the soul where it connected to the body. This wasn’t a physical location, nor was it even a metaphysical location in the soul. Instead, if William were to picture it, if the soul was a ball resting inside the body, he would be pushing the ball out of its resting place. However, for this technique it was more akin to smashing down with a great hammer, and without the intention to dislocate the soul, it would just cause a heavy impact. This would cause damage, but it would recover over time. Though, William supposed this could kill a person as well if their soul and defenses were too weak. Han Xinya was not weak in either of those ways, however.
William felt his attack strike against Han Xinya’s defenses. William was used to battering aside his opponent’s defenses… or straight through them, actually. When he sparred with Yu Huan, he was careful in how he attacked, so he held back, but he could still break her defenses. Here, his attack was actually stopped. William imagined Han Xinya carrying a great shield in front of him… and when William’s attack hit, he deflected it, and while he seemed to stagger back slightly, that was all. Meanwhile, William was thrown off balance since his attack didn’t continue in the way he expected. Of course, physically they seemed to be standing almost still. Han Xinya actually allowed William a moment to recover while he prepared his own attack in response.