It was nearly spring. Now, William had to make a choice. He had put a lot of work into his current project, and he judged it a success… but he wasn’t sure if he would reveal it to his parents. This wasn’t because it wasn’t good enough, but rather that it was too good. Unbelievably so. His parents knew he had been studying magic, but he didn’t have any way to explain how he made his project a success. Certainly, he could accept the label of “genius” but that was both incorrect, and possibly insufficient to explain. Then again, perhaps his project wouldn’t be seen as amazing as he thought it was. William found that hard to judge, because his standards were different, even after several lifetimes in this world. A refrigerator seemed rather mundane… but it was also something that hadn’t existed in this world before, as far as William knew.
He had been thinking about it, but couldn’t come up with a decision. Right now, he was exercising with a staff to try to help clear his mind. He had made the staff himself, but it wasn’t anything amazing. It was merely a shaped piece of sturdy wood. As a wizard’s staff, it was only marginally effective. William found that if he channeled mana through it, it was slightly easier to use magic at a longer range. If he’d had wood specifically meant for the purpose or gemstones to amplify the magic more, he knew the effects would be much better, but this was a staff for hitting things.
William practiced forms and stances. This inevitably made him think of his previous life as Yu Hui’Lam. Though he’d used a staff in his second life as well, his technique hadn’t been very refined until he learned from master Dong Xin. However, practicing with the staff made him think of something else as well, inevitably. Chris had been with him in both of his previous lives… for most of them, at least. William wondered where Chris was now.
He recognized that there was a chance he had been destroyed- died. At the moment he used Shattering the Soul to destroy the Demon King, he had channeled his energy through Chris. That probably shouldn’t have hurt him, but he couldn’t say it couldn’t have happened, or that the resulting explosion couldn’t have been enough to damage or destroy his crystalline body. Chris was only slightly closer to the Demon King, but he was in immediate contact with him, which could have significant effects. William hoped Chris was alright, but knew that nothing could be guaranteed.
Eventually, William made up his mind. There would be little point in his effort if he didn’t reveal it, and there wasn’t really much for him to lose. He could make up all kinds of things that could go wrong, but most of them wouldn’t, and he felt like he was wasting time. That was strange, because he had a large amount of time in this life, maybe as much as he wanted, but suddenly he was concerned about wasting it. William supposed he’d never really enjoyed wasted time, but that wasn’t necessarily by others definitions. Some might consider idle moments of relaxation or entertainment wasted time, but he considered those as necessary things. Instead, he felt that truly wasted time was time that you did nothing at all, and just let the time go past. Of course, one would still breathe, eat, drink, and sleep, but with no steps taken toward something productive, including making oneself or others happy or healthy, it was truly wasted.
William’s point was that he had finished his project, and didn’t have the money or resources to start another one. He could continue to train in magic, but he felt that going to an actual institute of learning would be more effective, and even if they didn’t know more than him he could learn from their failures. Any attempt to train in ki was fruitless. Any method he tried to cultivate ended up with pain, and William doubted it was the kind of pain that you had to push past to advance. Instead, he felt that it was the kind of pain that was the whole purpose of pain to begin with- to warn of straining something damaged or the potential to cause damage. His body training was actually progressing just fine, and if William had something to fight, that would be good enough… but without something he had to fight, he’d rather work toward actually bringing advancement to society. In his mind, that was best accomplished with magic, at least based on his talents.
Winter was the time that William’s current family had the most boring food. That couldn’t be helped, because by the end of winter only those things that lasted a long time were available. There weren’t many winter vegetables that could be grown, so the options were quite limited until spring, and the first harvest of early crops. Other than that, there were dried foods and pickled foods… but nothing fresh. Sometimes, the winter got cold enough to freeze some things, but it wasn’t like a true freezer which had a consistent and reliable temperature, and was well contained.
William’s ‘refrigerator’ was kind of like a big wooden box. He made the walls as thick as he could, so they would more easily keep the cold from dissipating- or more accurately keep heat from entering, since cold was merely the absence of heat. The actual magical part of it was made up of a few different pieces that were placed as something like a bounding box for the area that was to be made cold, as well as to keep out bacteria and fungi. He’d kept the formation in half of the box when he was testing for its ability to keep bacteria and fungi away, but the cold effectively permeated the whole area, as long as the box was kept closed. It wasn’t that large of a box, partly because of the limited area his magical formation could cover, but it still had a decent pile of various kinds of food, taken one at a time. William had taken them on the pretext that he was going to eat them… which was pretty much true, just not immediately. Now, he pulled out a few things like bell peppers. They would serve as a good example to his parents of what he could actually accomplish.