One thing that was constant about life was insects. William supposed that in the coldest reaches, there would be very few insects… but that didn’t really matter too much. The point was, flies were annoying. That didn’t make what he was going to do to them justified… but he needed to know if he could do it.
He started chanting… then pointed toward a darting fly for dramatic effect. There was a small pop and a flicker of energy. William saw some of the energy gather toward him, but he swept it away with a though. His actions already sickened him enough, absorbing bits of soul would make it even worse.
He had already confirmed that he could use magic to destroy souls in addition to using ki. With what he knew now, he probably could have come up with a method to do so on his own, but the Demon King’s method seemed to work well enough.
The real question was what else he could do. William started chanting again. However, now his concentration was split up. He had to watch another fly, control mana… and gather and mold his ki to do what he wished.
He had learned to transition his ki into the most useful state for any given situation swiftly and without much wasted energy, and his powers of concentration in general had steadily grown. Even so, to do so at the same time as he was controlling mana was not easy… especially since he wasn’t doing something simple with either.
Several more flies met their demise, and William grimaced. He knew that a few flies wouldn’t destabilize the economy of souls- there were trillions of such flies and insects after all- but that didn’t make it better. Dumping a gallon of oil into the ocean wouldn’t destroy the ocean either… but that didn’t mean it was an appropriate course of action.
Neither would be destroying a few dozen gevai souls… but he was doing to do it. William had wondered if he still held the moral high ground over the Demon King with such plans… but his eventual conclusion had been- absolutely. The Demon King had destroyed hundreds to thousands of souls every incarnation. Some of the old lords had been involved with the destruction of souls more or less directly… for example the one who taught him how to do it and that he should.
Even if their souls were somehow equivalent to dozens each… and the Demon King was a gross or more himself… that added up to one lifetime at most. That didn’t make it good, and deciding morality based on mathematics wasn’t optimal, but it was what William had.
It took another handful of flies before William managed to successfully confirm that what he wanted was possible… and then even more before he got it right. He closed his eyes, trying to remember the exact feeling of mixing mana and ki to achieve what he wanted.
Was it useful? William thought it would be. If he practiced, it should be able to penetrate more defenses and use less of either type of energy. He thought it would be quite impossible if his soul were weaker, but he determined he should be able to manage it at a larger scale. Unless he ran into someone with a soul stronger than the Demon King… which seemed unlikely, since he was already quite an exceptional specimen.
William frowned and looked toward the corner of the room. He didn’t see anything there… or feel anything with his ki senses. There wasn’t anything in the room, but he felt there should have been something that direction. Maybe in the next room? No… it hadn’t been close at all.
“Is something wrong, Lord Rutten?”
“Hmm? Oh, sorry. I saw an insect had come in through a window.” William was currently engaged in a meeting with some of the other lords. There were many preparations to make before the coronation, and he also had to spend time with the various lords to make them feel special. He tried his best to remember what he could about each of them. A few minutes of conversation where he asked about their favorite hunting dog or newest child was more effective than an entire afternoon spent talking about nothing. Talk of war was generally left off the table, at least in the everyday routine.
A clandestine meeting was taking place in the city of Omoria. At least, it was meant to be clandestine. The large warehouse was filled to the brim with people, even spilling out onto the snowy streets. If Lord Landeau learned about it, they could be in quite serious trouble.
That was why the number of people attending such meetings had swelled significantly in the recent weeks. Lord Landeau and most of his loyal guards had left the territory. They would not be back for some time. The remaining guards wouldn’t notice anything happening if there wasn’t any trouble… and the meetings caused none.
Not yet, anyway. Nothing good would come if they rebelled now. Even if they managed to hold Lord Landeau’s castle against his guards, the other lords nearby wouldn’t stand for it. While it might lead to Lord Landeau’s demise, placing themselves under the authority of any of the others wasn’t any more appealing.
They also had no champion to take over the position of lord. As farmers, crafters, and other common folk they had no significant training or equipment- and certainly nothing worthy of going up against a lord in.
They had very little chance of succeeding at any sort of rebellion for the moment… but they would wait. What was a few more years? They heard of a real chance to live better lives. They would wait and prepare for the opportunity.
Few of them dared hope for the fulfillment of everything they had heard… but for those who couldn’t be in worse positions, they didn’t care. As long as there was a real chance of success, they would act.