William found that he missed another Soul Technique tournament while he was in Ostana. Not that it was important for him to attend. The point of the tournaments were to find people who were skilled in Soul Techniques, and the Order already knew about William.
That said, now that the tournament was expanding somewhat, he was still interested in participating, or at least being there to watch. The time for the next tournament was approaching, and it would encompass the entire Taijiang region. The Taijiang region included most of the eastern border of Liaoyang, and territory nearby. The tournament wasn’t actually restricted to those from the region, but it would only be publicized there. The Order was only planning to expand the tournament gradually, making it seem more of a natural growth in scale. That would make it seem less unnatural or suspicious if the Demon King or his spies heard of it. It was likely some spies would, but if they didn’t think it important, then it didn’t matter. It wasn’t that they were publicizing the fact that the true purpose was to find people who could help destroy the Demon King’s soul. Instead, they were just searching for people talented in Soul Techniques. Since such techniques and people who practiced them were relatively more rare, it made sense that they would be sought out by those interested. In this case, the tournaments had rewards available. The recruitment process was kept entirely separate, and the background of any participants was looked into to see if they might be suitable. Of course, a background check wouldn’t necessarily determine whether someone could or would keep the secret about the true purpose to destroy the Demon King, so recruits were only gradually introduced to the idea as they became trusted. William heard that those who had been scouted from the first tournament were still yet to find out the whole picture, and some had been weeded out for suspect activity, though since there was nothing concrete there weren’t any actions taken against them either. However, it was better to be overly cautious than to let the Demon King catch wind of their plans.
As for the fact that the countries were or would be making preparations for war, that could only be hidden for so long. However in the past the nations had gained some advance notice of the Demon King preparing for war, since he wasn’t exactly subtle. It shouldn’t appear too suspicious even if they were preparing a bit earlier than usual. Either way, the Demon King wasn’t afraid of armies or even getting killed. However, William assumed he would still be cautious of the threat of having his soul destroyed. That would likely be the only way for him to experience true death. William, at least, felt afraid of having his soul destroyed. He found he rather liked being alive, and while he wasn’t particularly comfortable with the idea of being killed, he felt that he had come to terms with the idea. Even if he lost his memories the next time, it would be somewhat comforting to know that he would still exist, in some way. Though William would like to live more, he knew he already had lived much more than most people ever had the chance to. If it was restricted just to humans, he doubted any of them had lived more than 140 years in this world, though there was some small possibility of that. On Earth, while people didn’t regularly reach 120 years old, it still happened sometimes. Here, people might surpass that.. Or they might not. William hadn’t heard about any specific cases though. Regardless of how he felt about ‘just’ dying, William was still quite terrified of having his soul destroyed and having not only a ‘real’ death, but something even more than that. Unless the Demon King was entirely without feelings, William thought he should be the same, though perhaps with less consciousness of it being a possibility. After all, he had lived for a very long time and was very powerful. He would only really be afraid if he considered it a serious threat.
That was William’s problem when thinking about the Demon King. He didn’t know how he actually thought. William imagined that having lived a very long time, he would think very differently from a normal person. For example, William suspected he hadn’t always managed to gain control of the demon lands and everyone in them and launch an almost-suicidal attack on the humans… or the elves or dwarves, when they were around. William suspected he had been rather surprised to reincarnate with his memories, just as he had. However he would always have the opportunity to slowly grow stronger. This could have been over multiple lives, or the same one. After all, demon lives were long, bordering on unlimited. William supposed the Demon King could have had enough drive and belief that demons were the only ones who deserved to survive that he could have reached his status in his first life, only to eventually get killed and find out he could reincarnate later. Unfortunately, most of the details from those times were lost, and even Lorelei had been uncertain.
William wasn’t certain of where the hatred of others came from. It could have been any number of things. Perhaps he had bad experiences with non-demons, and developed a hatred of them that way… or perhaps he just didn’t like them. William could even imagine a scenario where it was almost justified. Perhaps the other races tried to wipe out the demons. William couldn’t deny that the humans might do that if there was the possibility. However, nobody in the current generation, or the previous generation, or any of the dozens of generations recorded in the past had tried to do so. William hadn’t heard anything like that from Lorelei either, so this was at best him justifying it slightly. Even if that had been the case, going around destroying the souls of humans was probably even worse than just killing them all in a traditional manner, though of course neither of those options were acceptable. In the end, it wasn’t like William could ask the Demon King what he was thinking. He wasn’t even sure if they spoke any of the same languages… and the Demon King hadn’t been traditionally interested in diplomacy of any form.