“Where did demons come from?” William asked Lorelei out of the blue.
“Hmm, that is a rather odd question.”
“Is it? Then, where did humans come from?”
“Another odd question. You might as well ask where elves and dwarves come from.”
“Yeah, but they don’t exist.”
Lorelei just stared at William and blinked a few times. “What? Of course they do… Ah. Well, you’ve heard of them, at least.”
“Sure, but only in old stories, not in any history books.” William shook his head. “Are you saying they exist?”
“They do. Or at least, they did.”
“Hmm, why do I feel like this has something to do with the Demon King?”
“That’s a good direction to think… though maybe not exactly what you were thinking. The Demon King actually tried to wipe them out… but failed. Actually, they fled across the ocean.”
“Oh, I remember that story… except it didn’t say they fled. There was just a story about the elves and dwarves sailing across the sea.”
“Well, that’s basically it. The Demon King was determined to wipe them out, but he pushed too far. Though he destroyed many of their cities and forced them to flee, he couldn’t then fight the humans. The humans weren’t interested in sheltering the elves and dwarves in their land, though they were ‘kind’ enough to provide them with vessels and supplies to go across the seas.”
“That… sounds like it would be very expensive, actually.”
“It would be… if the elves and dwarves had not been so confident in themselves, and too proud to run. Only a very small amount of them actually fled the Demon King and survived. The rest, well… they caused him no end of trouble and even managed to kill him, not that the word of that spread. Otherwise, they might have tried to return to their homelands. Instead, they fled across the oceans… and humans happily moved into some of their territories.”
“Wow. How come I’ve never heard most of this? Especially not from any reliable sources.”
“Who knows. Truth gets lost to time. People forget, works are lost… sometimes, people intentionally destroy knowledge. This information isn’t commonly known to my people, either. It is just that I have access to all the knowledge available to us…. Or at least, more than anyone else. Still, though the details aren’t well known, most of my people at least know that the elves and dwarves were real.”
William nodded. “Well, maybe the knowledge was lost in one of those ways, or perhaps humans were ashamed at not helping, and intentionally hid it. I suppose there might even be such knowledge… in Eclea, for example. I just haven’t had that long to learn everything.”
Lorelei smiled. “Indeed. A few dozen years isn’t enough to learn everything. Of course, a dozen times that is still not enough. Even I wouldn’t claim to know everything, not even all important events… but more than most.”
William spent the next few days, wondering what was across the oceans. What was out there? William only really knew of the one continent that the humans lived on, as well as a number of islands nearby. Occasionally people would explore beyond known territory, but they never found anything, or if they did they never returned. It was known that there was a significant distance with nothing significant. One problem with exploring the ocean was that, in addition to magical beast on land, there were some in the ocean. They could be very dangerous, and even if those on board could fight them… some of them could sink ships without ever coming above the water line. William supposed that magically strengthened ships could be constructed, but those would be very expensive. As it was, no country was interested in spending that kind of resources on exploration.
As for the elves and dwarves, William wondered whether they had found anything. He hoped so. Just because there hadn’t been any word from them didn’t mean they weren’t safe and prospering. In fact, William expected that they would not be interested in returning or even sending word. After all, it was not like they parted with humans on the best of terms. William thought that maybe he should have considered whether they were real much earlier. However, on Earth they were most certainly made up. That idea had stuck, and the fact that there were no good records had further solidified it. The biggest factor, though, had been that he was faced by the very real existence of magic, and of the demons.
Though William would very much have liked to spend all of his time talking with Lorelei, he knew he shouldn’t. After all, she had important jobs to do, and William himself proved to be very helpful to those training in Shattering the Soul. He even taught a few of the most level headed knights how to practice the cultivation method he used- Rotational Soul Pressure. After practicing it for a long time, William had thought that how much it could be used was based on the strength of the soul of the user. However, that turned out to be not quite correct. He was becoming relatively good at judging the strength of a person’s soul. At a glance, he would only be able to tell if there was a significant difference, which wasn’t true for the most part. If he spent some time analyzing a specific person, however, he could get a better grasp of how strong their soul was. William wasn’t sure if what he felt involved every factor that made a soul strong or useful, but he had at least some measure of strength. Of the half-dozen individuals he taught, the knight with the strongest soul actually hit his limit first, shortly before the one whose soul was weakest. Knight-commander Tyler was somewhere in the middle. Meanwhile, one of those with a weaker soul actually saw the most benefit from the method. William supposed that it was really working toward the potential strength of a soul. Perhaps it was related to affinity for soul-related techniques, but William wasn’t sure. Unlike affinity for things like fire, he was unsure if soul affinity even properly existed, and didn’t know if it could it be measured. William wasn’t even sure how affinity for ‘elements’ that were of course not really the base elements of anything worked. Fire was just heat added to carefully manipulated air. Maybe people with an affinity for it just had a knack for that kind of thing, but it seemed quite specific. On the other hand, mana seemed to actually have elements of that sort, though William couldn’t see it for himself. Regardless, testing affinity for soul techniques wasn’t possible- or at least it wasn’t know how, except through experiment.