William woke up with a headache. The headache wasn’t good, but at least it showed he was alive. Well, the same was true after he observed his surroundings. They existed, and that hadn’t been the case when he wasn’t alive. In a grim way, they even indicated that he would continue to be alive at least for a while. Otherwise, there was no point in chaining someone. It was dark, but there was some kind of light source outside the cell, perhaps down a hallway a bit. Maybe a torch- magical or conventional- William couldn’t be sure.
Something felt strange about the whole situation. Not that he had been imprisoned much before. That wasn’t it. It just felt like something was missing. Ah, that was it. Though he’d gone without for several lifespans, a mere two dozen years had gotten him used to the sight of mana. Now, there was none. William sighed. The thought that he was probably going to be killed soon wasn’t as dispiriting as that he would do so without magic.
William’s head hurt. That was why he took longer to actually think about what was going on. Why would anyone want to kill him? That didn’t make sense. It was likely a misunderstanding. Furthermore, as far as he knew there was no way to remove the magical abilities from someone. Even removing a demon’s horns just weakened it. He’d had such a discussion with Lorelei. She wouldn’t have a reason to kill him… but she didn’t know who he was. On the other hand, she wouldn’t have a reason to kill Josef either.
William looked around. It wasn’t that he couldn’t see mana anymore… but rather there was no mana in the cell. Outside the bars, there was mana as normal. It just wasn’t so obvious, because William had gotten used to it filling up his entire vision. So, those were two good things, but that didn’t explain why he was here, or why Chris would have knocked him out. He should have been able to tell it was him when he allowed the link through. William wasn’t sure why Chris had been hiding it to begin with.
William tugged at his chains. He wasn’t going to try to escape just yet, but he wanted to get some idea of their strength. They were heavy, and pulled taut to different corners of the room. This kept William’s arms uncomfortably stretched, but there wasn’t much to be done about that. He didn’t recognize the metal, but it seemed strong. Even so… it wasn’t magical. There was something odd about them that William couldn’t quite figure out. Maybe more than one thing. Then, he figured one out. There were no keyholes on the manacles attached to his wrists. They were solid bands, as if they were never made to open. That wasn’t a good sign. He couldn’t use ki to pick the locks if there weren’t any.
Actually, he couldn’t use ki anyway. That was more than just the fact that he wasn’t in the best state for that, but he really couldn’t. All of his ki had been drained out somehow. He was like an empty fuel tank, not that it made much difference from how he had been in this life anyway. Still, combined with everything else, it was clear that this prison wasn’t messing around. Except… there was no guard outside the cell. That was either careless, or meant they were absolutely confident that he couldn’t escape.
After observing his surroundings in detail, William realized he was hungry… and bored. He could handle being bored and hungry, but just sitting around doing nothing would get to him. “Hello? Is anyone there?” he called out. There was no point in pretending he wasn’t awake, and if he could get anyone to listen it would speed things up… which would hopefully mean his release. Unfortunately, nobody responded.
William waited a few minutes and called out again. Still nothing. He kept up with it for what seemed like hours… but could have been more or less. It was hard to tell with no reference to time. Finally, he heard footsteps… and then Headmistress Lorenz was standing in front of his cell. “You’re awake, huh?”
“I have been for a while, headmistress. I don’t suppose you could let me out of here? Or at least explain why I’m in here?”
She tilted her head. “Let you out? Sorry, not gonna happen.” Her expression was much less pleasant than it normally was. “As for why you’re in there, you’re really going to pretend not to know? Are you really as stupid as I was told?”
“I… don’t know who told you I was stupid. I wasn’t exactly given any clues, just knocked out. I don’t suppose I could talk with that teacher of yours? If I talk to her, I’m sure she’d let me out.”
“Not likely. She’s the reason you’re in here, after all. Still, she’ll probably talk to you.” Headmistress Lorenz walked off without saying anything more.
“Oh, could you bring some food and water? Please?” William called after her. He didn’t hear a response. Then, it was back to waiting.
Fortunately, it wasn’t very long before he heard footsteps again. Lorelei stood in front of the cell, with Chris next to her. William noted that she wasn’t carrying Chris, but he was moving along himself. That felt like it meant something, but he had other things to think about first. Before William could think of what to say, she spoke. “Still can’t figure out why you’re in there? Even with this staff here? Don’t you remember it? You should. I believe it was one of the last things you saw.” That was technically true, but William didn’t understand what it had to do with what was being said. He tried to speak, but she cut him off. “No, I’m not going to let you out. We’re just keeping you there until someone can deal with you properly.” She smiled… but unlike the other times William had seen her do so, it didn’t make him feel the slightest bit good. “This time, please stay dead, Demon King.”