What did William want or need from ki cultivation? That was the most important question. It could provide a boost to his melee combat capabilities… but it was less significant now that he was advancing so well in body training. More importantly, Chris already augmented attacks with his own ki. It was so natural William sometimes forgot, but it wasn’t an insignificant portion of his strength either- even discounting the fact that Chris allowed him to block attacks he shouldn’t have been able to. William wasn’t lacking utility or range either, magic covered that. Certainly, there were cases where he couldn’t use magic, but ki dropped off in efficiency over distance more quickly than magic did. If he was really worried, he could get a bow. Perhaps he should have a bow. He made a mental note to consider that.
What else did he use ki for? Senses, certainly. It was quite useful in that manner, usually letting him pick people out even if he wouldn’t have been able to see them with his eyes. Certainly, he could use magic to see around corners if he wanted, but that required him to know someone was there and took more active effort than with ki. He barely even needed to concentrate to spread out his senses, and he would actually pick some things up without even trying.
Senses were good, but sould attacks- and defenses- were another important part of what he did with ki. He could use magic for those as well, but the preparation time was more significant. Especially for defenses, this was important. He also would take some time before his skills in magic for those purposes could match, even if he only trained magic for that purpose and stopped training his ki any further.
William considered what he would need to accomplish what he wanted. For perception, his ki needed to be able to extend far, but it would also be best if it were subtle. In the case of hidden foes, if he knew they were there but they thought they were hidden, he would gain the advantage. A subtle quality could also allow him to gather his ki for an attack without being noticed as easily. Of course, the ki couldn’t be insubstantial, it still had to have some sort of power for soul attacks… but something not easily noticed could slip through the cracks of defenses in someone’s soul.
Upon considering it, William thought the idea sounded like something an assassin would want. Even so, it was the set of abilities he wanted, so there was nothing to do about it. It wasn’t like he was going to go around just killing people, but it would be nice if he could sometimes incapacitate people without them knowing it was him. More importantly, it would help his current circumstances somewhat if he could conceal things about himself without it seeming like that. Such as the horns. Nobody had tried to pry that much yet, but they might eventually, and he would rather them think they saw everything there was then have to overpower them.
So then, what form would this ki take? Form was merely a visual representation, but still important. It would also help him plan a cultivation technique that would support the creation and storage of something with the attributes he wanted, though there would be some experimentation over what actually worked.
What spread out and concealed vision? Smoke and fog came to mind first. Yet, even though they could be subtle, they were also extremely noticeable. He thought about a mirage in a desert. Most commonly one would see light reflecting off the water of an oasis, that was really just sand. Depending on how desperate and dehydrated the subject, there could be much more, but those were actual hallucinations and not a mirage. At least in those cases, it wasn’t immediately known that what they saw was not the truth. While confusing the senses was good, it wasn’t exactly reliable. People in good personal conditions were less susceptible, and while he could use a soul attack to make his opponent’s consciousness bleary, if they were careless or weak enough to allow that he could just knock them out with the same amount of effort.
William took a deep breath. Then, he slowly let it back out. A grin formed on his face. That was it. Air. Nobody noticed the air they breathed. Of course, something as unfocused as the air itself was also almost powerless. Still, it was the medium that smoke and fog stayed in, and differences in heat in the air were responsible for mirages. Still, air was invisible, barely tangible, but still quite real and capable of holding things that concealed. It was a good basis, though whether William could actually create a cultivation technique using that idea and what he wanted… that was a different question.
William had travelled everywhere in Liaoyang but had still not found any signs of the Demon King. However, it had only been a half-dozen years. It was too early to say that he would not show up, however, as the divination had indicated a good probability within a few dozen years. That meant it could be some time yet. He and Lorelei were in contact through communication disks, but the only news from her end had been “nothing”.
At this point, William needed to establish more contacts. He was becoming known enough as a wandering mercenary, but that didn’t mean anyone would give him information. Those who would have the information he wanted were the Order of the Watchful Sentry, but there were obvious reasons William would avoid them, assuming they were even still around. Thus, he decided to work on his connections with the various merchants organizations he knew. He would look for more permanent positions with one of them, though getting too deep in would get more scrutiny on him. Thus, he would aim for being a reliable and competent guard or something to that effect. He just wanted to make sure he could keep traveling, because that was how he could keep up with any new information. Plus, he enjoyed traveling.