William sat by the bed of his friend as well as his grandfather in this life, Yu Jian. “Oh, don’t look like that boy. You knew this time had to come.”
William sighed. “I know. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.” He looked over his grandfather. There was nothing really wrong with him, except that he was old. “I’m not going to say, ‘You can’t die!’ or ‘There must be some way to save you!’, but I can at least be properly sad about it.”
“Good. I need you to live on for me. You can do that, right?”
William coughed. “I’m not sure.”
Yu Jian shook his head. “Don’t be like that. You can be stubborn if you want to. What does it matter if your body betrays you? You still have something to do with your life. As for me… I’m done. Even if I lived a few more years, it wouldn’t change anything. There’s no way I can live until the war. You, however… you can make it. It might be hard, but you need to. After all, what else would you be reincarnated for?”
“What else? Well, nothing, really. It doesn’t have a purpose. Still, I understand it would be a waste to give up.”
A few months later, there was a funeral for Yu Jian. There were a large number of people in attendance. Even Yu Li came from Ostana for the occasion. A number of people from the Order came as well, of course including Dong Xin. He was getting along in age himself, but he was a bit younger. It was a solemn affair, as expected from a funeral.
William couldn’t help but think of his friends who had died. Really, everyone from his previous life had done so, even if he hadn’t seen it. Professors Farman and Phineas Pierce had died during his life. William’s parents had actually still been alive. Gerald and Marius had survived the battle where William died… which left only Lila. He hadn’t been certain that she died before he died himself, but apparently she had. That was basically everyone he was close to. Well, William supposed Lorelei counted somewhat, not that he had a name for her in his first life. He wasn’t sure whether they had been friends or just colleagues, though now he certainly felt a sort of strange friendship with her. William hadn’t really thought about the fact that she had been alive the whole time, at least not really. At least he didn’t have to worry about her dying, though he wouldn’t stay around to miss anyone if things went as planned.
Then, there was Zhu Fang. He was the first friend from this life that had died, and it was William’s fault- even his choice. He couldn’t help but thinking about whether it was the right choice. The worst part was that he always ended on thinking it was the right choice. William didn’t want that kind of thing to ever be the right choice, and he certainly didn’t want to be the one making the choice.
The Yu clan went through a change in leadership, but William didn’t bother to pay attention to who became the next clan head. It didn’t matter to him, and nobody would bother him. Yu Huan was immensely talented, so whoever took over would continue to support her. Even if they made the stupid choice not to, the Order would support her, and they were already involved in her training anyway.
William went back to training. Both himself, under the tutelage of Dong Xin and Han Xinya, as well as others under his own guidance. In fact, he wholly immersed himself in the training. It helped him stop thinking about other things.
Before he had gone to Qinshan, William thought he would travel every few years to visit Ostana and Eclea. He had nobody he particularly cared to see in Ustil, so he hadn’t planned to visit there. Now, he wasn’t even interested in going anywhere. Just like that, years passed without him really knowing it.
William was training in Rotational Soul Pressure, as he always did. It was very relaxing, and it was nice to lose himself inside himself, where the scale of everything was hard to imagine. It made everything feel surreal, which was a nice change of pace. Then, William frowned. It felt different. Painful. William stopped, and reoriented himself. He tried again, but the pain returned. Then, William realized. This was it. He had reached his limits in the technique. He stopped training to relax for a while.
He wasn’t disappointed at all with the level he had reached. His training had led to his ki being about as powerful as someone who had passed the fourth major breakthrough in normal cultivation techniques. The fifth level was a huge barrier that very few ever passed, which put William at the top tier of those in Liaoyang. With Chris, he was confident in any one-on-one fight… with a human, anyway. Demons had some who had passed the fifth major breakthrough in their cultivation techniques, and such techniques were usually more domineering. The Demon King himself had passed at least the sixth, as well as being powerful in magic and having a powerful body, honed by good body training techniques. William could hope he was born into a sickly body in this reincarnation, but that seemed not worth hoping for. Either way, William knew there were a number of demons who could beat him in a one-on-one fight… especially if they dragged it out.
William sighed, and thought about the upcoming war. It was less than half a dozen years away. The preparations for war had ramped up on both sides, and the general populace even knew that there was a war with the demons coming up. William wasn’t involved with planning the strategy of the war, but he knew the Demon King’s movements would be tracked as closely as possible. Then, when there was an opportunity, those who were training in shattering the soul, along with an army to support them, would go to destroy the Demon King. William’s body found it hard to walk long distances or even spar for more than fifteen minutes at a time, but he knew he had to participate. He had already been ahead of others in the strength of his soul and his training in Shattering the Soul, and the gap had only increased as the years went on. William knew that there were only a handful people, including Yu Huan, who had the power to truly use Shattering the Soul at a level that would destroy a human soul, or a regular demon’s soul. The strengths were apparently not too far off. However, the Demon King’s soul was much stronger than a regular demon’s. Lorelei had said the Demon King’s soul was stronger than William’s already very strong soul, and that meant that everyone would be necessary. William just had to last until the opportunity arose. He was going to live, and he would get on that battlefield when it was time, even if Chris had to drag or push him across it. William just hoped it would come sooner rather than later, as much as he didn’t want the war to start before the humans were fully prepared.