William looked up at the night sky. The tiny specs that were each of the myriad of stars twinkled. William thought about how mana looked somewhat like that… though with a lot more darting about. The most important part was how many stars there were. William was long since used to it, but back on Earth most of the time he could only see a small portion of them. He would have to go to a very rural area to see more. Here, even the cities had little enough light pollution that he could see the stars at night. Perhaps that would change at some point, but William wasn’t thinking about that now.
He was thinking about whether or not Earth was next to one of those stars. Was he even looking in the right direction? Was it close enough that the light would have reached? Was Earth even there at all? Perhaps this was a different universe. Though William had some nostalgic memories of Earth… he didn’t want to go back. He never had. After all, there was nothing there for him. He wouldn’t even go back for himself, because the person he was there didn’t have any meaning.
He could have had meaning, but he never did. Only when he was old and dying did he fully realize that he had to find meaning for himself. It wouldn’t come to him. His whole life had ended up almost pointless.
Then, he had been reborn here. It had magic… and he had wanted that. He quickly found a purpose… and also lost it. He couldn’t do magic. Even so, he still learned everything he could about it… and performed magic vicariously through Chris. It was part of what he wanted… but it wasn’t meaning. That didn’t really happen until he became Archmage. He had only sought the position because it was needed and no one else was qualified. Perhaps he had unconsciously wanted to see if any of the Archmage’s private notes had any clue on how he could use magic. Either way, he had found something else. The Demon King.
William didn’t care about war that much… until it was staring him in the face. Even so, he wouldn’t have chosen to lead anyone. Except he discovered that there was something more than just repeated wars. The relative number of wizards was going down, and with various records he had determined that the Demon King was destroying souls. At the time it had been partly a guess, but he had gathered more information to confirm it. He determined that the Demon King had to be stopped… and that had become his purpose. Then he had destroyed the Demon King, at least mostly. William wasn’t sure whether he could continue to be a danger, but he would deal with that and then… what?
William wasn’t sure, but he knew he could do better than “stop the world from becoming worse.” He could make it better. It would probably take a lot of work though.
William hadn’t come out to look at the stars because of that. He just liked doing it. It was a bit lonely though. He thought that he should get around to making something better for long communications than the disks, but the worked well enough for now. He sent a message to Lorelei. “The stars are beautiful tonight.”
He knew she got the message, or otherwise he wouldn’t have started to send it. There was a pattern of movement, flipping the unnaturally ‘heavy’ feeling disk to indicate a message was coming. Then, there would be a simple response. However, it was a few minutes before he received any sort of worded response. “Indeed.”
That was all it said… but that was enough. William imagined Lorelei sitting next to him, looking up at the stars. Even with a few gross miles between them, the stars they saw would be the same. William made a mental note to do the very same thing in person. Lorelei would even be willing to listen to his stupid, wandering thoughts as they did so.
Sarah had many questions for William… exclusively pertaining to magic. “Big brother Josef, what does this part do?”
“That directs the field removes the warm air and keeps it out,” William explained. “Actually, hasn’t Stefan or mother and father taught you this already?”
“Well… yeah. I guess. But you’re a real wizard. An official Mage, even!”
William raised an eyebrow, “So? It’s just a title. Did you not hear the same things from them.”
“Hmm…” her toe poked at the dirt, “I guess. But they’re just farmers.”
William looked sternly down at Sarah. “Just farmers? What do you eat every day?”
“Umm… food? Vegetables and fruit and stuff, and some meat and eggs, depending on the day.”
“Where does the food come from?”
“Our farm. Well, most of it anyway.”
“Where does everyone else’s food come from?”
“… Lots of farms? So what?”
“Farmers are important. Do you know anything about the various academies?”
“I know some.”
William nodded, “Alright, so… what do they do, and what have they done for people?”
“They teach people to do magic! They make wards to protect people and magic items and all sorts of amazing things!” Sarah’s eyes almost sparkled as she spoke.
“I see. Do you how many wards there are set on Caister’s walls, and what they do? How about magic items that help the city?”
Sarah shook her head, “I don’t know about the wards, but there must be a lot of them! As for magic items… there are lights that don’t make smoke and coolers and… other things.”
“The answer about the wards is… zero. Some individual shops or homes might have wards installed, but unless it is a noble’s castle it won’t have any significant protections. As for the coolers and lights… didn’t we make most of those? Well, maybe not all of the lights. Regardless, that has very little to do with the academies.”
“Oh. What do wizards at the academies do, then?”
“Sell things to rich people. However, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t do more. For example, in Ducson they run a free school.”
“That’s neat I guess. I don’t see how a school could change much though.”
William sighed. This could take some time.