Wizard! Chapter 198
William walked up behind Lorelei and tapped her on the shoulder. He was immediately met by an elbow to his jaw, as well as a leg sweeping out to trip him. However, he allowed himself to fall back away from her, out of reach. As she turned around with a scowl on her face, William just grinned. As she recognized him, her expression returned to neutral. “I almost killed you, you know.”
“It’s not that easy to kill me. So, what do you think?”
“I think it’s not a good idea to sneak up on people.” She brought her finger to her chin in thought. “Though, in practical terms, it’s quite good. I didn’t hear you at all, and you did an excellent job of hiding your ki.” She looked at William carefully. “It also seems it didn’t make you incapable of defense. I felt my blow dampen. I suppose it’s a pass. Don’t do that again though.”
“I won’t. However, if I told you I was going to sneak up on you, it wouldn’t really be a good first test. Though, would you mind…”
Over several tests, it was determined that she couldn’t hear him even when she was listening… though of course if she turned her head, she could see him just fine. Although his ki was hidden, if she was actively using ki to perceive the area around her, she would still notice him. Fortunately, that wasn’t something that could be kept up all the time… and William also didn’t need to worry about that at the moment.
Though he could now sneak past a person who was looking the other way, William wasn’t particularly satisfied with his abilities. After all, they only had to turn and look, and anywhere worth guarding should have more than one guards, and they should be arranged in such a way as to see the most area possible. Of course, William knew that things weren’t always done logically, but counting on others to be inept for his own success wasn’t a particularly good plan.
At night, it would be easier to sneak around, but the moon could be bright or the area could be lit up. There wasn’t too much to do about that except learn some conventional sneakiness. Lorelei helped him practice that, and though it was training for an actual purpose… it also felt kind of like playing hide and seek. William found his success rates getting better, but then suddenly worse as Lorelei took the time to make her actions more subtle so that he couldn’t move to a better hiding position when he saw her coming or pass by. Occasionally other people would notice William, but he decided to treat them like additional hazards. He thought he might have gotten a reputation for being strange… but that wouldn’t really have been incorrect anyway.
William was having particular trouble avoiding Lorelei for a while, before he finally figured out how she was managing to sneak around. She was hiding her ki from him, but that wasn’t unexpected. It would be fairly easy for him to sense her around otherwise. She now took particular care, so that he had to actively be searching for her to find her. However, he still had trouble pinpointing her locations, and occasionally she seemed to come from nowhere.
It took some time for William to realize how that happened… she had used magic to become invisible. William knew that invisibility required a lot of concentration, and in addition to that she was using ki to conceal the sound of her movements and even to try to convince his ki senses that she was somewhere else. That was an interesting technique that William would be sure to try to learn, but he was more amazed at how she could do so many things at once. She had certainly spent a long time developing her practical skills during her life… though William also noted that she had also quickly picked up his method for concealing sound.
Eventually, though, William managed to more consistently find her presence and avoid her. He managed to develop a similar technique to make his presence feel like it was elsewhere, which seemed to work… somewhat. Her invisibility wasn’t perfect either, though. It was impossible, or at least astoundingly difficult, to completely perfectly bend light around someone or something. That said, William only say slight distortions at the edge of where she was bending light, and only because he was looking for something like that. Then, eventually both of them ran out of tricks, and William felt he couldn’t easily improve further, except perhaps in one area.
William’s thoughts drifted back into the area of invisibility. Though magic could manipulate the light to flow around a person and out the opposite side (or close enough), that was because it was guided by mana and intent. Ki functioned differently enough that, although William could stop or deflect light, having it flow around him wasn’t feasible. He would have to almost individually guide each light particle around him. That wasn’t quite true, but it felt like that. Then there was the problem that if he deflected light coming to him, he couldn’t see. Lorelei explained some ways to circumvent that. In the case of walls and other people, ki sense were good enough to navigate. If she wanted to recognize someone’s face, that would be a different matter, but just walking around wasn’t a problem. As for how she actually found him, once she got near to seeing him, she actually saw the magic fluctuations from his robe. Although she was bending light around her, her eyes could still see mana. William thought seeing mana would be very useful… once again. However, he couldn’t, and wouldn’t be able to. Thus, he had to live with what he had.
In the area of invisibility, that meant he had a few options. If it was dark, William could actually just capture all the light coming to him. This would leave him as a black void, but if the area around was dark, then it would be fine. In fact, the darker it was the more he could use that ability, until in pitch blackness it was pointless. However, in semi-darkness, if he absorbed just some of the light, he was harder to pick out unless someone was specifically looking for that effect.