William shook off the dizziness that came from being flung away as he got to his feet. He obviously hadn’t had enough real fights lately, and he got sloppy. He should have been able to completely avoid the dire bear’s swipe, but instead he almost got his staff broken, and it would have been if he hadn’t been able to muster his meager ki to strengthen it. That wasn’t something he’d ever had to deal with when he had Chris.
Another point was he had treated it as if he had to fight the dire bear from up close. Perhaps that would have been fine, if he was in top form… and preferably if he could also use ki as well as the peak of his former life. Now, his ki was not particularly impressive… but he did have something else. Though magic had become part of his everyday life, it was so much so that he almost forgot it could be used in combat. No, he had forgotten, and just now remembered clearly. It had only been a handful of seconds, but it could have cost him his life.
Now, he began chanting. He didn’t bother thinking up a chant that would make sense in gevai, but just used one from Ostana. “Oh, Astrapamancy, heed my call. Destroy my enemies with the power of lightning!” While William knew that specific chants were ultimately useless… they still were convenient for focusing the mind. As he chanted, he knew he was chanting about lightning, and that was also the thing that he was preparing to make. He felt and saw the mana around him gathering, flowing through him, and through the staff in his hands. Of course, the dire bear didn’t wait for him to finish his spell before rushing toward him once again. William hadn’t actually finished the entire chant when he dodged to the side… but he had gathered all the mana he intended to. Other wizards would have still said the last few words, since they believed they needed to, and thus did need to… but he just released the spell.
He’d dodged to the left, which unfortunately put him to the bear’s right, making his intended target of the heart not optimal. Still, it didn’t hurt to aim for it… it would just have to go through more flesh and probably a lung first. In his second life, he’d come up with a technique to pierce lightning through things it really didn’t want to go through. The natural inclination of electricity was to seek the path of least resistance, which was usually the ground directly below. Thus, wizards guided the lightning by making their own path of least resistance, whether they did it intentionally or not. Making a straight line that went through- or attempted to go through- a particular space was rather simple. However, targeting a particular part of a moving creature was not so simple. William’s lightning had an intended line that went from the tip of his staff, through the bear’s chest, and then finally out the other side. However, before that, William wanted it to strike the heart, and to do that he had to guide the electricity inside it… which meant he had to create the path as the lightning made it inside. Living creatures resisted controlled mana inside of them, otherwise he could have just burned the bear’s lungs from the inside out, or more directly targeted the heart with his lightning. In an instant, William’s lightning struck, and he had the idea that mana would flow along with the lightning, guiding it to a particular spot.
Now, William realized why Chris complained about it being hard to do. Given how difficult it was for Chris to use magic on his own anyway, doing that and then the complicated details William had wanted was actually very impressive. The point being, William lost control almost immediately upon the lightning striking the fur and flesh of the dire bear. The lightning still scorched it, but there was a lot of dire bear to go around. It didn’t continue through it, either to the heart or out the other side, because of the distance to the rest of the ‘trail’ and the resistance to the flow of electricity the bear’s flesh had. All flesh did, to some extent, but the dire bear’s was more so. William started chanting again, and repeated much the same thing. The feeling was slightly better this time, and he actually saw some blood flowing, though most of the wound was cauterized. William still had to dodge the dire bear as it came for him, but he was getting used to it, and it didn’t possess very complicated tactics. Charge, and swipe or slap or bite or some of all of those things. The third time, William tried going for an eye. Either by intent or coincidence, it blinked as he did so. This left it with a terribly burnt eyelid… and a mostly fine eye. On a normal bear, its whole head would have been fried… but such large specimens were not only larger, but a special kind of tough.
William’s parents hadn’t been idle. They were busy firing their bows, and were filling the bear’s sides with arrows. They hit other places too, but the bear seemed to be mostly side. Well, there was a lot of top but they were shooting directly toward it so the arrows never hit there, but that didn’t really matter anyway. The point is, it was turning into a very big pincushion… but it was only just starting to slow down.
A fourth time… William dodged left. He’d been thinking about how he could do what he wanted to do better. He’d probably improved over the few times, but not enough to succeed this time. He’d have to practice this kind of thing when he wasn’t in danger of dying, at least enough to get the basics down better. Regardless, William thought of something that could make his job a bit easier. Electricity liked to flow to metal… and there were plenty of metal arrowheads around. The flow of electricity was fast enough that William didn’t really get to see the results of his spell, but he could tell it worked, at least somewhat. He had first targeted one arrow, and used that as an entry point. He could stop the electricity from flowing back along its path, so his next step was to try to direct it toward the heart. He felt that it had gone that way for a moment, before snapping toward the nearest arrowhead. There, William had set up another path for it to follow- back into the dire bear. Now, there were two scorch marks, and definitely some scorched insides. Unfortunately, William hadn’t been to concentrate on more to the magic at the same time, and thus it ended there. Still, he felt there had been some progress. In fact, instead of trying to hit the heart, he felt that scorching up its insides was perfectly fine. If he did it right… a fifth lightning bolt should be good enough.