Wizard! Chapter 84
The weapon selection was broad and fair enough that it even included staves. There weren’t any the optimal size for William to use, which he could have taken as some further attempt to make him at a disadvantage, but quite frankly the weapon organizer probably didn’t expect anybody approximately four feet tall to use a staff, or likely even participate in the tournament at all, unless they were exceptionally short. William wasn’t exceptionally short, just a few years younger than expected. Thus, he took the shortest staff, which was slightly too big, but not too much.
After choosing his staff, William stepped into the arena, where Yu Chao waited. Unlike the arenas the wizards had, there weren’t any magical wards in place protecting people. However, intentionally killing or crippling people was against the rules, and would bear heavy consequences. Leaving the area, either intentionally or by knockout, resulted in a loss, as well as being knocked unconscious or saying “I surrender”. The arena was a similar size to the one that William had fought in as a wizard. William looked at Yu Chao, who had picked a straight sword. Not a bad weapon, but not a choice that showed any uniqueness either. Yu Chao glared at William, but didn’t say anything. Presumably because “I’ll beat you this time, kid!” would be a terribly embarrassing thing to say. However, his glare might have said something like that. Either that, or just “I know I’m better than you.”
William looked back at him. “Ready to lose again?” The crowd had various reactions to this. Some just assumed it was a general taunt. Some people thought he was referring to the fact that Yu Chao had lost many times in previous tournaments. Nobody thought that he would have actually lost to William before though. In fact, they thought it was rather funny, since Yu Chao was fourteen years old, and William was just eight. Yu Chao, though, knew the actual story of his loss. He didn’t know that William had beat him twice, though. The first time, all he remembered was passing out in the hallway somehow.
Then, the starting gong and cry of “begin!” came. Yu Chao dashed forward. He couldn’t kill William, but he could injure him significantly. If it was in the initial exchange, he might be able to get away with a bit more. At least, that was his thought process. His sword stabbed out toward William, who hadn’t moved from his starting position. However, instead of stabbing into William’s gut, his sword was deflected off to the side by the staff in William’s hand, though the staff barely even moved. He was surprised that a small child had enough strength to accomplish that. He was much bigger, so he thought he could beat William just based on his physical prowess alone. Yu Chao was correct in one sense. He was, at least, physically stronger than William- though not by as much as he suspected.
From his own perspective, deflecting the attack took more effort than William made it look like, but it wasn’t that hard to deal with such a straightforward attack. With their size differences, reach might have been a problem, but William was using a staff, and even one slightly too big, which made up for it. The next attack came, a slice, and William also parried that. He had to use ki to reach the required force, but currently he was using very little. Yu Chao kept attacking, trying to keep William on the defensive. He started adding ki onto his own sword, realizing William was a real threat. However, though his ki would make it much more dangerous if he hit William, it wasn’t all that much harder to deflect. Ki could be used in various ways, and William was using his to add more strength and solidity to his staff, as well as to push harder against the sword. Meanwhile, Yu Chao had focused more on increasing the sharpness of his attacks. This also made his sword slightly faster, but it did little to prevent William from deflecting his attacks, except where his ki cut into William’s and forced him to add some more to “repair” the damage.
Though it was true that William was deflecting all of the attacks, the sharpness of the ki, even on a wooden sword, could be quite dangerous. However, he still remained on the defensive. This was not because he couldn’t do anything else, but rather because he had no reason to do anything else yet. The staff excelled in defense. All he had to do was wait for the right opening. Like the next slash from Yu Chao, which used too much force, and caused him to take longer to recover. At least, it would have, if William’s staff hadn’t twisted around the blade, flinging it out of his hand. This left him without a weapon. However, Yu Chao also knew how to fight unarmed. He quickly decided to abandon all finesse, and attacked William with a punch infused with a large amount of ki. William suspected it was almost everything he had.
For the first time in the match, William moved his feet. He stepped, not mostly to the side, but toward Yu Chao, and only leaned slightly to avoid the fist. His staff stabbed out like a spear, right into Yu Chao’s sternum. The move was called “Piercing the Boar”, a spear technique technically. However, this was a modified version that used the ki less in a piercing fashion. Instead, it was flattened out at the end, covering an area somewhat like a plate. This wasn’t particularly the appropriate way to do it, but the movements were the same. However, William also knew if he actually formed his ki into the proper piercing shape, it would probably kill Yu Chao, even with the small layer of defensive ki he still had. The modified version, however, just hit him like a hammer. Yu Chao went flying back. Well, perhaps flying was a bit too strong, but he found himself a full bodylength away from William, flat on his back. He tried to sit up, but couldn’t, realizing that several of his ribs were broken, and his breath was knocked out.
William waited patiently for him to get his breath back and surrender, but he didn’t. Yu Chao just glared at William, and kept trying to sit up, though it obviously caused him excruciating pain. Seeing this, William looked down at him. “Give up.”
“N-nev-er.” Yu Chao tried to sit up one more time, and almost made it, except William pressed his staff onto his chest. Just that touch caused his eyes to go wide with pain, though only for a brief moment as he passed out onto his back.
The elder overseeing the fight immediately announced, “Winner, Yu Hui’Lam.” William knew little about this elder, except that he was extremely strict with the rules. However, that suited William just fine. He had no intention to break any rules. Instead, he could be confident that the tournament would be at least mostly fair. If he hadn’t been confident in the elder, he wouldn’t have entered the ring at all.
As William left the ring, he got a lot of different looks. Many were of astonishment. Certainly, Yu Chao wasn’t the most shining example of his age category, but he was much older than William. In addition, most people didn’t even know William had been able to use ki, which made them astonished that he was in this tournament at all. There were a few who knew he could use ki, but he didn’t show any signs of having made any breakthroughs, whereas Yu Chao had at least completed the third minor one. In the distance, William saw Yu Xiao nod to himself, as if he had expected the outcome.