Wizard! Chapter 102
William faced off against the youth from the Song clan, who was still technically three or so years older than himself. Although his daggers were fast, they weren’t powerful, and the speed wasn’t something he couldn’t handle. As the battle stretched on, he began to look tired. William didn’t think that was a deception, unlike the way he moved and attacked. William continued to act cautiously, since although his opponent was wearing out faster than himself, he was almost certain the blades were poisoned, though he had no intention of testing that theory himself.
Sometimes during a battle, staying on the defensive was a path to defeat, and you just had to attack and defeat your enemy before they could defeat you. This was not one of those battles. He found the perfect opening. Maybe it was a trap, but it certainly appeared perfect. If it was a trap, William could just end his chain of actions. His opponent was fast, but William had enough ki remaining to increase his speed for a short burst, and still have a reasonable amount left over. His opponent’s daggers were coming in at just the right angles… His staff knocked one out of the hand on his left, then continued spinning and knocked the one on the right up into the air. Then, he spun it around into the stomach of the Song clan youth. The last part had very little force behind it, but it was enough to stun his opponent for a moment.
William marveled at his ability to actually execute these maneuvers. It was amazing what he could learn to do given an extra lifetime or two. However, he didn’t have long to marvel, as he had to release one hand from his staff… to catch the falling dagger. Then, he thrust it into his opponent’s guts. William didn’t know anything more about using a dagger than “the pointy end goes into the other man”, but that was good enough. He did know what areas were vital… and thus those that were not, so he could avoid killing his opponent. William stepped back, and watched the stunned, panicked look on his enemy’s face. William raised an eyebrow. “Not surrendering yet? That’s your own dagger, so you know what’s on it.”
The youth’s eyes went wide, “I surrender!” Then he moved off the stage as fast as he could manage in his injured state, heading toward some elders of the Song clan.
The referee announced William’s victory, and William brought him some of the other daggers. “Sir, is this poison?” William wasn’t an expert on poisons, but he was almost sure it was. He asked it that way to give the referee options in how to react. The referee took it and looked at it, then went around to other throwing daggers that were strewn about.
The next few minutes were a flurry of activity, with the accusations becoming official. The Song clan thrust all of the responsibility onto William’s opponent, saying he did it on his own. This was obviously untrue, but when he admitted to it there was little that could be said. The Song clan was still powerful after all. Nobody was willing to try searching their elders, except perhaps the Yu clan, but they had a conflict of interest. However, all of the Song clan participants in the tournament were searched, and would be watched closely. Mostly, the Song clan lost face for using the poison. The youth seemed like he would be… if not fine, at least alive. He had received an antidote, since the Song clan was not so cruel that they would let one of their own die if they could help it.
Yu Huan’s next match was also against a member of the Song clan, named Song Ping. He was perhaps sixteen or seventeen. After the match started, Yu Huan moved toward her opponent, but suddenly stopped halfway, and her opponent, who had been still up until that point, moved forward with his weapon draw. Then, Yu Huan, her voice strained with difficulty, called out “I surrender!” Then, she collapsed to one knee. Her opponent frowned slightly, but stopped.
William was shocked. He hadn’t seen a single attack… but he had felt something. An invisible ki attack. William went up and helped Yu Huan off the stage. As he did so, he reached out with his senses. Physically, she was fine. She was still conscious, but her face was strained and she didn’t speak. Then, William searched one step deeper. It was a breach of etiquette, to say the least, peering into someone else’s spiritual sea. However, William was instantly justified. Yu Huan’s spiritual sea felt like an area of energy in the void in space, similar to William’s own. However, she had clearly defined layers with barriers in between them. It was easy to discern the ki that belonged to Yu Huan… and also that which was not hers. William imagined those as black masses crawling over the surface of the outermost layer. He immediately sent in his own energy, attacking the masses. He found that they were rather fragile, and they popped like bubbles. William formed something like barriers around the intrusive ki, and removed it from the area. Then, he did one last sweep before carefully removing his own ki. Yu Huan turned to look at William. In her eyes he saw something like a mix of terror, confusion… and relief. “…Thanks,” she managed to voice, before passing out.
William brought Yu Huan toward the Yu clan elders who were also moving to him. Yu Jian spoke up first. “What happened?”
“I think she suffered some kind of… soul attack.”
“What?!” Yu Jian dashed forward. “She must be treated immediately!” William could sense Yu Jian’s energy entering into Yu Huan. Yu Jian frowned, but looked slightly relieved. “It seems we reached her in time. There should not be too many lasting effects.” Then Yu Jian turned toward William, and raised an eyebrow. William shrugged slightly. It was not something he wanted to explain in public.
The third round opponents were announced. William’s opponent was the same member of the Song clan. Perhaps one of the previous matches was a coincidence. There was even a very, very small chance that both had been coincidences. However, William was absolutely sure that this one was not. Yu Jian said to William, “You should surrender. It’s not shameful.”
William shook his head. “With all due respect… I’ve been told by someone who I believe to be correct that I have a strong soul. This is my chance to put it to use.”
Yu Jian sighed. “If you were someone else, I would absolutely forbid you. You are certain you want to do this?”
“At the very least, I can withstand a single attack. If things aren’t looking good… I’ll surrender.” William glared, vaguely in the same direction as the Song Ping.