Wizard! Chapter 124
“I won’t.” William said, his voice firm.
“You can’t?” Knight Commander Tyler frowned slightly. “I didn’t believe you, but you sounded confident. You’ve had several weeks of practice, surely you should have some results.”
William shook his head. “That’s not it at all. I said I won’t.”
“He’s a murderer, you know. He’s been tried and convicted- fairly. More than fairly, maybe.”
“Even if he has killed. Even if he killed ten… a hundred… or a thousand… I would not do it. Do you understand what I would be doing? Destruction of the soul… bringing him out of the cycle of reincarnation. It’s much worse than murder. It’s why the Demon King has to be stopped- not just because he kills people.”
Tyler looked at William. “That’s… I didn’t understand that, exactly. Sorry. However, that leaves us in a strange situation. I need something from you, and you can’t or won’t demonstrate that you can do it…”
“Ah… there’s another less… moral reason that I won’t.” He looked Tyler directly in the eyes. “I’d die.” He fiddled around with his hands, trying to figure out how to articulate his point. “Well, he’d blow up. Right? Normally, that a soul doesn’t interact with physical things, but at certain levels of energy, that’s not exactly true. More importantly, even if it was just a soul explosion… I’d be right next to it. My soul would likely be torn to shreds. It wouldn’t cause a chain reaction… probably… but that would be it for me.” His voice became even more serious. “Now… if that were the Demon King… I’d do it. Even though it would certainly kill me, and worse.”
“Ok.” Tyler said. “Well…” She stroked her chin. “Look, I want this to work out. I’d really like you alive, but I have to be pragmatic about this. Especially with you talking about how serious destroying souls is. So, I’d really like you to come up with something. I’ll try too. If we don’t, though… I just can’t. Sorry.”
William nodded. “I don’t like it… but I understand.” He swatted at a bee or wasp buzzing near him. He wasn’t sure if it would sting him, so he coated his hand with some ki as he swatted it, both to protect his hand and to be able to actually hit it. It was crushed, and flung off to the side. “Say… do you think all living things have a soul? What about insects?”
“This isn’t really a great time to discuss philosophy.”
“Philosophy? No. This is SCIENCE!” William shouted that last word… in English. “Umm… natural law.” Since magic was involved in this world, they phrased things differently. Although there was study, it didn’t have the same feeling of “science”. Especially the dubious kind that required the quotes.
“So… what? I’m not sure I understand exactly.”
“I think… I think I’d be okay trying it on an insect. Both morally and physically. Though, I’m not exactly certain on either.”
Tyler tilted her head and thought seriously. “Well, you can try. I’ll be the one to judge whether or not you satisfy… something. Still, it’s a start.”
“Okay. Fine. First… we might want to clear the courtyard.”
“Well. If insects have souls, which they might… I have no idea how much energy they contain. It’s possible they’re stronger than human ones. I really have no way to know. They don’t cultivate ki, and even that doesn’t exactly give me the right feeling.”
Tyler shrugged. “Might as well. We can execute this guy later.”
Although it wasn’t something he could have even considered in his first life, William caught a bee in his bare hand. Then, he used a tiny amount of ki to stun it. Then he caught a second one, and managed not to squish that one. He brought it to the center of the courtyard. It was really hard for him to take killing an insect seriously… but nonetheless, he did. He lay it down, then gathered his energy. Some ki he converted using the method in Shattering the Soul… and everything else he used to protect himself from the possible resulting explosion. Fortunately, he would only look a bit silly if he failed. That would be fine… but it would mean he had to find some other way to be useful. Still, he didn’t want to fail. He thought he could use it, so if he failed… well, he hoped it would be just because insects didn’t have souls. He reached forward, a single finger extended. Then, he released the energy. His finger connected with the bee.
There was a slight pop. The bee’s body exploded. Then, suddenly, William was flung backwards, and he couldn’t see or hear. He impacted on the edge of the courtyard, he thought, but he couldn’t see. The protective layer of ki had been completely obliterated, and William felt his soul, or his spiritual sea at least, ache. That was probably a good sign. At least it was an ache instead of terrible agony. He could also still feel, which was good. Then he blacked out.
He woke up with water splashed on his face. The armored form of Tyler was standing over him with a bucket. “Hey. Awake now?” Her voice was slightly muted.
William held his head. “I guess? I think I popped my eardrums.”
“What was that?” She held her hand up to her ear. “I think the explosion damaged my hearing.” William pointed to his own ear and nodded. “Right. Well. So. We’ve learned some things today. You can absolutely use that technique, and bees have souls. I… I’ve been practicing it, but I didn’t really make any progress. However, upon seeing it, I knew that was it.” She sighed. “Now you’re too valuable to kill. Let’s hope my politics are up to snuff.” She reached a hand down and pulled William to his feet.
He looked at the center of the courtyard, where there was a small crater in the stone. “I’m so glad I didn’t suggest a dog. I like dogs.”
Tyler patted William on the shoulder. “I can’t promise you a dog… but we’ll get you somewhere safe. Sorry about threatening to kill you a bunch.”
“Don’t worry about it, it’s happened before.” In fact, more than a threat had happened.