When William was twenty years old, he was extremely used to calculating that age as twelve and eight, instead of two tens. Though, no matter how he calculated it, the importance of what happened was the same. William received, somewhat unexpectedly, the first response to the flyers he had created. He wasn’t even very hopeful that there would be anyone else reincarnated from Earth.
Of course, it could also be someone trying to cheat there way to a reward. There had been a few of those in the past, but William had confirmed they really didn’t know anything. This time, however, he had a good feeling. The person who showed up was a well dressed merchant. William would have called his features “Asian”, though there was no Asia here. However, there was a country called Liaoyang to the west, and people from around there tended to have features similar to what William thought of as Asian.
William invited the man into his office. Though he called it an office, it was little more than a room with a desk and two chairs. After some greetings, William got to the main point. “Now then, since you are here, I’ll need to verify your information. [Do you speak English?]”
The man looked confused briefly, then started thinking. “Umm… [Not… very… well.] English… wasn’t my first language.”
“That accent… is it… Indian?”
“That’s right, and even though I was alright before, I haven’t spoken English in, well, twenty-two years.”
“That’s understandable. Now, if I could just get a final confirmation…” William pulled out a globe. He’d had someone make the globe itself, then painted a… roughly accurate drawing of Earth on it. “If you could point to where you were from?”
The man rotated the globe and pointed straight to India. “Here, approximately.”
“Good, I just wanted to make sure… “ William rotated the globe, and pointed at the west coast of the United States. “I was from California… before… well, I died.”
William confirmed some things with the man, Zhan Shengrui, that he was curious about. It turns out that William had actually died earlier than Zhan Shengrui by a few months, but was reincarnated here about two years later. William also acquired one of the globes to test for magical potential. Unlike William, his potential was pretty bad. Which, sadly, made it better. It also allowed William to cross one thing off his list of reasons why he might not have magical potential.
Zhan Shengrui was a merchant, basically, because he had memories and prior education, which allowed him to get a step up. He felt it suited him better than any other choices he could make, and he had the talent to make a living. Unlike William, though, he seemed to have some gaps in his memory. William wasn’t sure if it was related to how he died (a car crash) or something else. However, at least he now had two data points. That was much more than he’d had before.
After paying the reward money (even if he had mostly come to satisfy his own curiosity, the man was, after all, a merchant) William arranged a dinner with his parents. After all, merchants could always use contacts in different countries, and Zhan Shengrui would be travelling many places, so perhaps they could both benefit. He also asked him to look into a book, manual, or some such on staff techniques. Having someone who could directly obtain it would be better than hoping to find something through barely-known merchants.
Over the weeks that Zhan Shengrui stayed in town, they met several times. After all, there weren’t many chanced to meet with other reincarnated people, and they both had questions for each other. Zhan Shengrui promised to visit again, when future trips brought him to Ostana.
William was currently watching Lila in a duel. He sighed. The sighing wasn’t just because the duel was rather one sided and boring. There were other reasons involved as well. Lately, his parents had been hinting that he should get married, or at least look in that direction. William didn’t have any particular objections to the idea itself. Lila was quite attractive, as well as some other girls he knew. However, even though he had now lived a second life all the way into early adulthood, he still felt much older.
If he had to marry someone, he wanted her to be at at least a somewhat similar maturity level. This made things very awkward for him. If they were around his physical age, they were generally going to be less mature. On the other hand, if they had the emotional maturity he wanted, they would probably be at least twice as old as him physically. William couldn’t do anything about the fact that both situations felt weird.
In the particular case of Lila, he liked her, but not in such a way to want to marry her. Besides the fact that she was still rather childish, she really just felt like a little sister. Though, she was technically slightly older.
Though he wouldn’t object a relationship with someone if he came across a good opportunity, he personally had different priorities. Soon (relatively, anyway), he would be able to access some of the formerly restricted sections of the library. William almost couldn’t wait. It wasn’t a process that could be rushed, however. It required a minimum of three years teaching or research experience. It also required showing a certain amount of responsibility.
Some of the books were restricted because they were delicate and hard to reproduce. There were also many that were restricted because the knowledge could end up with someone hurting himself or others. Some… were just in those sections because they required more experience to be safe, or even useful. Those could be lent out by someone with access, though it was very rarely done. William thought what he wanted was likely in the latter category, but it was easiest if he had the access himself. In addition, he wanted to keep at least a few things secret, even from those he trusted like Professor Pierce, because it wouldn’t benefit them to know but could cause problems for William if the information got out.