Before William left for Qinshan, he had one more thing he needed to do. Those training in Shattering the Soul were told not to use it on anything living. Of course, this made the training process more difficult, since practical experience was the best way to learn. Though they could be told why they shouldn’t, such as it being dangerous, being told something wasn’t the same as seeing or experiencing something themselves. This group included Yu Huan, though she had at least had personal conversations with William about what it was like to use Shattering the Soul.
Although William would prefer that Shattering the Soul never get used, even on the Demon King if there were any other ways to stop him, he realized practical experience was necessary. It didn’t need to be a large amount of practical experience, just enough to know the technique really worked. A few sacrifices to stop thousands or even possibly millions of destroyed if the Demon King won the war would be worth it. More importantly, William felt the souls of insects were less valuable. Maybe to the insects they were important, but he didn’t think he would ever know. It seemed that each type of creature had a type of soul that went with it, but maybe whatever body they were in changed how souls felt. Regardless, William knew there were trillions of insects, compared to millions of humans. A few souls wouldn’t destabilize the reincarnation process. To reach a similar level as when he had first reincarnated to this world even if the souls were counted equally to human souls thousands of insects would have to be killed and for a similar proportion and possibly total strength of soul, if that mattered, millions or possibly billions.
Of course, nobody would bat an eye at killing insects, even in large numbers. William just knew that Shattering the Soul was much worse than killing something. He didn’t necessarily believe in karma or any kind of cosmic retribution… but that didn’t mean things couldn’t still be wrong. Destroying things in a permanent manner without reason fell into that category, though that was the extreme end. People could argue philosophy and morality all day, but regardless of that destroying the Demon King’s soul was also highly practical for the humans.
William took all of those training in Shattering the Soul to an empty field. Nearby were a few small boxes, and a rather conspicuous cage containing a wolf. William spoke to everyone present. “We are here today to show you why you have been forbidden to practice Shattering the Soul on anything living. You already know that it is dangerous, but describing how it is dangerous is not the same as seeing it. In addition to that, I hope you will see why destroying a soul is not something that should be taken lightly. Watch with both your eyes and your ki senses.”
Upon opening one of the small boxes, William revealed a number of tiny glass bottles. He took one out and passed it around among the participants to show that it contained an ordinary spider. Then he took the bottle about a dozen meters away from the group. He then backed a few meters away from it himself. He took a stance, then struck out with a palm. The movements were almost entirely for show, since he wasn’t making physical contact. At best, his outstretched arm reduced the distance between him and the target. A wave of energy flowed out. Perhaps it couldn’t even really be called a wave, since it was almost more like a laser pinpoint, or a beam. Of course, light was in fact a wave, but that wasn’t something most people in this world knew. Regardless, the beam of energy struck the spider in the glass bottle.
The resulting explosion gouged out a section of earth almost up to where William had been standing. However, the explosion still carried beyond that, even to the point where the rest of those training in Shattering the Soul were standing. There, it wasn’t enough to injure them, but it was enough for them to feel how powerful it had been. William had defended himself with ki, on in both a physical manner as well as protecting his soul, and allowed himself to be pushed back. “Look carefully at the result. In front of you are the remnants of a soul… and you should be able to see why it is not to be used lightly.”
There were many nodded heads and murmurs among those watching. Those with weaker perceptions, however, realized there was something they were missing, beyond just the power of the explosion. Those around them explained how the fading remnants of soul looked- and felt. Yu Huan was rather pale, but the first to vomit was a young man. This time, William’s stomach was stable… but perhaps only because he completely avoided looking at the results.
“Perhaps the experience of watching Shattering the Soul performed was enough, or even too much for all of you. Now, at least, you can understand exactly how serious it is. You can leave, but if you wish to stay each of you will have a chance to perform Shattering the Soul once, and watch it be performed. Again, you can leave at any time.” William would have been leery of giving people the chance to actually perform Shattering the Soul, if he wasn’t sure they were loyal and trustworthy. He couldn’t be completely sure that they were “good” people, since he did not know them personally, but he knew that the Order had carefully screened the participants. It wouldn’t be good for this technique to end up in the wrong hands… though William supposed that most would never be able to use it on a human anyway.
Some participants left right away. There were also those who passed on their option to actually try the technique, for various reasons. Some of them weren’t sure that they could safely perform the technique, having seen the resulting explosion and determining that they would have to actually be directly adjacent to the spider. Some left after observing one or two more uses of Shattering the Soul. There was also one who slightly overestimated his ability, and was somewhat injured in the resulting explosion. It would take some time for him to recover, but William could tell there would be no permanent harm. Yu Huan also took her turn, but left quickly afterwards, very pale. William didn’t fault her for that, since the whole process was unpleasant… even though the subjects were just spiders.