William’s letter to his parents and brother was more difficult to write than usual. He wasn’t really sure what he was supposed to say.
“The Academy was recently attacked by a baron, but we’re all fine and he’s dead.”
That didn’t seem particularly likely to make them not worried. Finally, he settled for something technically true, but a bit more palatable.
“The headmistress of the academy here in Ducson recently came into a conflict with the local baron, who has now been removed from his position.”
That wasn’t too bad. He purposefully left out the battle and his personal involvement. If they looked into it, they might find out about the battle, but that was just the way things would be. If he said nothing at all about the conflict and they found out, they would only end up even more worried, though there was nothing to worry about. He hadn’t been in any serious danger of dying. At least… not since he had been determined to not be part of the Demon King.
William found that he did have something he needed to deal with in relation to not dying. The black balls of goo in his soul would perhaps do that in a few dozen years. They seemed relatively safe and inert, but leaving something called “soul necrosis” alone didn’t seem optimal anyway. He would rather not find out how they would kill him, because he imagined it would involve the kind of death he’d never experienced yet, where he didn’t have memories after… or perhaps didn’t exist.
The only problem with destroying it was… everything. He couldn’t destroy it. Marek hadn’t provided any more advice on that subject. Perhaps he was waiting for William to try more options on his own, or didn’t care… or didn’t know. With his few words, it was hard to tell. Well, William wasn’t worried just yet.
Though he hadn’t finished the complete recovery of his soul, William found it was going fairly well. He felt fairly strong. William took his time to gather all the ki he could safely hold, then took to attacking one of the balls of soul necrosis. He’d tried various methods, but nothing worked particularly well. Of course, he couldn’t just punch it, since it was in his soul, but he did have soul attacks. However, wide area impact and piercing into its center both had no effect… except to distort the blob, even when done with all of his energy. That wasn’t the most efficient way to deform the blobs either. Still, William made serious efforts every few days, continuing until his ki wore down to almost nothing.
Over the course of more than a year, William had still made no progress with destroying the soul necrosis. This was slightly worrying since there was a vague if likely quite real time limit on it, but there wasn’t much to be done. William at least made advancements in other areas. William passed the tests to become an official magus. While that didn’t particularly mean much, having once held the position of archmage, it was rather more meaningful in that it was approved by Lorelei herself, who had very high standards.
He had expected her to leave, off to do whatever it was she did, or go looking for more fragments of the Demon King, but Lorelei was still around. Of course, unlike when William was a human, she wouldn’t be returning to her homelands to deal with problems because these were her homelands. This is where she went. As for chasing after the Demon King, when William asked about it he got a rather straightforward response.
“Where would I go, then? I have no information from my sources on any potential leads. I can’t even rely on Chris if I were to travel aimlessly, because now that you’re around I seriously doubt he would come with me.” Chris glowed in confirmation at that point.
“I could probably convince him to come with you,” William replied. “Not that I actually want you to go, but… it is rather important.” Chris also reluctantly glowed in confirmation at that.
“Yes, I’m sure you could, but the first point still remains. Besides, it can wait. Destroying fragments of the Demon King sooner would be better, but it will take him some time to build up momentum no matter where and with what memories he ended up. More importantly, it would be better if you could deal with any future fragments instead of Marek. Because, once you can… You’ll be able to do so without harm to yourself. It’s a much more… sustainable situation than we previously found ourselves in.” She smiled, “For that, you need to be stronger, in more ways than one. I can’t help you with ki, but…”
William found himself knocked back a dozen feet through the air. That wouldn’t have been a big deal if he had jumped back from the blow or cushioned it with ki, but he’d taken a direct hit. That kind of attack would have crushed his ribcage if he were a normal human, though he wasn’t a human anymore. It might have even still broken some ribs for a normal gevai, but he’d trained his body enough that his ribs merely threatened to break.
William understood how muscles worked, and training them to become stronger was quite natural, but training bones to be stronger… that wasn’t something he’d really considered before coming to this world. He knew that broken bones would grow back thicker around the break, which make them stronger, but it wasn’t the same thing. In this world, they could truly become stronger, without increasing in size. Though, some body training methods actually involved increasing size as well. Those interested in training their bodies usually started large, so it usually wasn’t much of a surprise when they got a bit larger. However, in humans, the changes in size were rather minimal. However, thinking back to the Demon King, he had been at least seven feet tall. According to Lorelei, given enough time, some gevai had grown to around nine feet. For the Demon King each new body had to be trained again so he merely reached whatever level intense training could reach before he decided to start, or perhaps continue, a war.
Lorelei obviously didn’t train in a technique that increased her in size, but it still wasn’t lacking in power. William rubbed his chest. It hurt, but it was nice to see the progress. While he could measure increase in muscle capacity from more progress in the admittedly gruelling training, other things were harder to measure. William was surprised to find out how much magic was involved in gevai’s body training techniques. He probably shouldn’t have been, since everyone had the potential to use magic, but he still was. Lorelei’s method relied heavily on magic, but only for those things that couldn’t be trained in other ways. She had taken other methods and progressed them, but had been worried about making too many changes, as she could possibly ruin her body. Thus, the training still involved a lot of sweat- and yes, sometimes blood and tears. That was the same for William as well.