After seeing or experiencing Shattering the Soul there were a few who couldn’t handle it. William didn’t really blame them. If he hadn’t personally researched and heard so much about the Demon King, he wouldn’t be willing to use Shattering the Soul either. When a soul was destroyed, it left behind bits of residue that were reminders of both how terrible it actually was, and that it could happen to them. Of course, those who trained in Shattering the Soul were trustworthy enough not to use it on each other, ignoring the fact that they also weren’t suicidal. Still, the Demon King had something that accomplished similar results. Maybe the method was a bit different, but the end result would be a soul destroyed and turned into a mere mist of energy.
At least, William presumed they didn’t end up any better off than that. Lorelei hadn’t really had any details to give William. She stayed away from the battlefield, and elsewhere the Demon King kept secret how his method worked. At most, she had seen the fading remnants of his work. It seemed to really bother her to not know how something worked, so she got touchy when the subject was brought up. She wasn’t even sure whether it was magic or ki. The only thing that was certain is it wasn’t the result of some kind of magical item or artifact, because he had always been killed, and at least one time he wouldn’t have had time to hide anything before the battle.
William was on the road to Qinshan. He was again travelling with a caravan, though more for convenience than security. Most of the territory between eastern Liaoyang and Qinshan was populated, which meant it was safe from monsters. Bandits were rarely a problem either, since nobody would tolerate them in their regions, and there weren’t that many places for them to hide.
He was glad to be on his way to be doing something besides just traumatizing people. Of course, he was going back to rooting out corruption, which didn’t make him the happiest about humanity’s state as a whole, but he still wanted humanity to survive. After all, all of his friends were human, and he was as well. William thought of Lorelei again. Was she a friend? Well, regardless, humanity still had many good people. Most of those from Eclea and Ustil seemed decent, but perhaps they were just better at removing unpleasant people, or keeping it hidden.
William wondered what would happen to him if humanity was wiped out. Would his soul just float around… wherever souls went after death, forever? It seemed more likely that he would be taken to yet another world. On the other hand, there could be humans elsewhere in this world. After all, just because none had returned from their overseas voyages didn’t mean nobody landed somewhere and started a colony. Perhaps they were just incapable or not interested in finding their way back. There was another possibility, he supposed. There was talk of half-elves, and assuming they could have children, it was possible there were some with human blood among the presumably surviving elves. Did that matter though? What was the point at which a human soul became an elf soul? Were there souls that were specifically for half-elves? William didn’t know, and he wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell even if he met one.
Of course, humanity would probably only be wiped out if the Demon King wasn’t destroyed. It was still possible the remaining demons would keep the desire to destroy humanity after that, though… in which case William wouldn’t be reincarnated as anything. That was because he was going to be there when the Demon King’s soul was destroyed, and even if he didn’t do it himself he would be close enough that he knew he wouldn’t come out alive- or with his soul intact. That was the plan, anyway, grim as it was.
William realized he hadn’t been to the beach in this world. Of course, when he’d grown up in Ostana, that had been because there weren’t any beaches in the country, which rather put a damper on that sort of plan. In Liaoyang… he had still lived weeks away from the coast, so it wasn’t like he could just “go to the beach”. The Yu clan had been more interested in training their martial abilities than going on vacation, so there had never been an opportunity, and frankly William hadn’t even thought about it.
However, upon actually approaching Qinshan, he was reminded of all his memories of the beach. Not that there was anything particularly special, but the smell of saltwater was unmistakable. Qinshan was actually further north than Canta, as the mountain range that mostly separated the human and demon lands curved northwest inside the border of Liaoyang. That put it fairly close to the equator… at least, William thought so. He didn’t have a world map, if such a thing even existed. The size of the planet could be calculated, so as long as the distances along the roads and on maps were close to the actual numbers, it was near enough to the equator, though still probably south by a hundred or so miles.
The city of Qinshan itself was fairly impressive, being a port city. However, it was also the closest port to the demon lands, at least in Liaoyang- Eclea had one a similar distance away. Because of that, the port was also fortified, since the demons were likely to attack from the sea if they invaded. Over the centuries, Qinshan had been destroyed and rebuilt many times, but it was in a good enough location that it was always rebuilt. William supposed that the same would likely happen in the upcoming war, though of course it could also successfully defend itself. In its current state, it was quite populous and bustling with activity, which was good for William because one more person would not be noticed.