Wizard! Chapter 101
William had to take some time to prepare himself mentally for the tournament. It was basically a war with rules. Though killing wasn’t allowed, there were always accidents, and “accidents”. There wasn’t anything to protect the contestants like the wizards had. William wasn’t even sure if it would be used if they had access to such an arena. There was a strong cultural idea that people should be able to take care of themselves.
As time had passed, William considered his reasons for participating in the tournament. It wasn’t much for the sake of his family. Besides Grandfather Jian and Big Sister Li, he was at best on friendly terms with his family. He didn’t think that he would win. Though the tournament had some rewards for winning, he wasn’t willing to risk his life for them, regardless of how the medicine might speed up his training. He wasn’t particularly in a rush. William also didn’t particularly care about the glory even if he could win. He did care about going against the Song clan. He hadn’t heard a single good thing about them, and not just because most of his information came from Yu clan sources. They all seemed just as bad as the few members he had conflict with. Either way, they certainly didn’t plan to leave him alone, so he didn’t plan to leave them alone either.
Perhaps William wouldn’t come into conflict with any members of the Song clan, though he doubted it. People wanted to see rivals fight, so whether it was through random chance, bribery, or a desire for spectacle he would most likely meet some of their members in the earlier parts of the tournament. If not… he would gracefully exit the tournament at some appropriate time. He would have a chance to leave before he faced any opponents out of his league.
The tournament area was the largest he had ever seen. It was for a city event, after all, but he had somewhat underestimated how many people would come. It seemed as if the whole city were around, but he couldn’t be sure. At the very least, it was tens of thousands of people, enough to fill up a sports stadium on Earth.
There were enough participants, over two hundred, that there was no way that they could all fight on a single stage and finish the tournament in any reasonable amount of time. Thus, there were six stages, and many fights would happen in parallel. For the first two rounds, contestants would be split up into their relative age groups. Then there would be three more rounds including everyone. Finally those who remained, less than a dozen, would have a smaller round robin tournament to determine their relative rankings. It was highly unlikely that there would be a number of participants that could continue with the former single-elimination style method in a fair manner, though it was not that single elimination was particularly fair anyway. It was, however, easy to organize and understand.
William’s first opponent was twelve. He wasn’t from a rival clan, so William let him be defeated gracefully. It was not that William was being arrogant, but more than twice the time training in ki was significant. He was still cautious, protecting himself with a significant amount of ki, but he wasn’t ruthless in his attacks. He was still quite decisive, however, defeating his opponent in a few exchanges of attacks.
Although there were other members of the Yu family in the tournament, William only really paid attention to Yu Huan. Although there were other members of the family that were more important, and even more likely to win, he only really cared about her results. If she were a few years older, he had no doubt she would be a contender against top positions, but 5 years of training versus a possible 10 was a huge gap to cross. Her opponent was a largish fellow, who was actually quite skilled in defensive techniques. However, he wasn’t fast, so he couldn’t lay a finger on her. It took her quite a bit of time, but eventually she used her light sword to inflict enough small wounds on her opponent that he had to surrender.
In the second round, William was matched up against a tall youth from the Song clan. He seemed to be at the upper end of the age range, 14 years old. Perhaps it was a coincidence, perhaps not, but either way William didn’t care. They exchanged no words, only glares. Then, the match started. William saw something streaking toward him, and he deflected it with his staff. A throwing dagger. The youth seemed to have plenty of them, as he kept throwing them, in many tricky manners, as William cautiously approached toward him. It was not too hard to deflect or dodge one at a time, but William could tell there would be something more. Indeed, as he approached close, the youth’s left hand moved at the same time as his right, throwing a pair. William could sense the ki coating them, and dodged one, while batting the other out of the air with his staff. He used enough ki to dissipate what the dagger had, and the extra power and control it had was gone, as it flew out of the arena.
William was only a step or two away from the youth, so he pulled out two different, shining daggers, these more suited for melee combat. William paused for a moment, then moved, as if he were stepping forward. Instead, he spun around in a circle, hitting the second flying knife, which had come back around under the control of the youth’s ki. However, he was unable to hide the feeling of ki, so William had felt its return. As he continued his spin, the Song clan youth dodged back out of his reach.
William studied the knives his opponent held, especially the shine on them. They were probably poisoned. That was completely against tournament rules, of course. William could call it out and get him disqualified… but he might be wrong. He considered his options. Then, he stepped forward as he activated Iron Mountain Defense. After his previous experience, he had worked on that technique, and was confident that he could use it to stop his opponent’s daggers. At least, any grazes wouldn’t be able to penetrate his defenses. William and the youth started exchanging blows, though his opponent mostly dodged, whereas William parried his opponents weapons. William wasn’t much experienced with fighting daggers, but Master Dong Xin’s staff was quicker and more agile. Not that William could keep up with that level. Still, William managed to keep from being injured by the probably-poisoned blades of his opponent. If William had to risk getting poisoned by something unknown, he would surrender, but he hadn’t reached a point of desperation yet. He was still testing his opponent.