The wizened old man on the council continued to speak. “The four nations win the war against the fifth nation, yet nothing changes. Everything returns to equilibrium for a time… and then the fifth nation once again becomes the aggressor in a war, this time defeating the other nations in a resounding manner.” The old man shrugged in an exaggerated manner. “After a dozen years, there are still no results to be had from this divination, so it can certainly be considered useless.” The old man smiled again, in a sly manner. “However, after another dozen years… or two, or three… what might be found? Then, one might find a few details that stand out, seemingly unimportant and yet they are not. Minor details change, like what one eats for breakfast, or perhaps what year certain countries join into alliance. Still, there is one detail that appears, nagging at you for all its seeming insignificance. A simple, blue staff. Of course, the staff is not simple at all, but no matter how magical it is, one staff cannot change the tide of the war. Indeed, it doesn’t change the war. Sometimes, the staff never appears and yet the four nations defeat the fifth, and sometimes it appears and they are still defeated soundly.”
William continued listening intently. Obviously, this wasn’t just a theoretical divination that was being discussed. This was one they were expecting, and it involved Chris. What made Chris so important? Maybe it was just that he stood out in divinations. Chris was a highly potent staff, so it made sense that he would be easily seen by those using magic to try to discern the future.
“Beyond that, the bearer of the staff always has a plan to defeat the Demon King once and for all. Sometimes the plan works, and sometimes it doesn’t. The plan changes, as does the young man who carries the staff, but sometimes, the plan works. In those cases, even when the war is lost… the four nations survive, or at least remnants of them.”
William was actually slightly upset by the fact that Chris was sometimes wielded by someone else. He knew it was just a silly sense of jealously, but he still felt it. Still, he hoped his plan was one of those that worked. On the other hand, he wasn’t sure if the divination was actually real, but at least it had accurately predicted a few pieces of information. That is, Chris showed up carried by someone with a plan to defeat the Demon King. Since they had been looking for Chris, William supposed that particular detail was rather set. While William wasn’t sure if any of the rest of the prophecy would come true, he supposed that was really up to the implementation of his plan. “I certainly understand why you offered me unconditional support, then. I hope I can fulfill your expectations.”
Dong Xin took a look at William and shook his head. “Don’t look so upset about a success.”
“I feel like… They’re just helping us because of a prophecy, right? It feels like they aren’t really invested in the cause the same way.”
“Is that so?” Dong Xin raised an eyebrow. “It sounds to me like they’ve been doing what they think is most likely to keep humans from getting wiped out. I’d say that’s pretty invested. You just don’t like prophecy.”
“I don’t!” William flung his arms in the air. “It’s unreliable, that’s why Ostana and Eclea don’t practice it. Though I can’t say I agree with everything Ostana does…”
“It seemed pretty reliable to me. It predicted you coming here, after all.”
“Did it though? They didn’t know when I would show up… they didn’t really know anything about what my plan would be. They didn’t even really predict me, just Chris.”
“Hmm. Let us say for a moment that the prophecy is useless. Does it matter? It certainly won’t hurt to have full support here. You can just pretend the prophecy doesn’t exist, it shouldn’t affect what you are doing anyway. There is a plan and you- we need supporters for it. That is all.”
William sighed. “You’re right. It doesn’t matter.” William shook his head and sighed again, trying to calm himself down.
With knowledge of when the Demon King would be returning, at least approximately, the council of Ustil was able to provide good projections of what forces they would have available. Mostly, that meant soldiers. Unlike in Ostana where there was a clear divide between knights and regular troops, in Ustil the line was a bit more blurry. They had elite troops, but those were merely troops who took better to the body training methods they had available, who either grew faster naturally, practiced more, or both. In the case of the upcoming war with the Demon King, they would be preparing top-quality equipment for as many troops as possible. Although William wouldn’t have even considered that as a possibility, the country was much more prosperous than it seemed from the outside. William would say about half of the population lived in the capital- the real capital, and the areas around it.
The only thing that William found lacking about the support that Ustil would be providing was that there would be no wizards. Obviously they had some, who created and maintained their wards. They actively practiced divination. Granted, William didn’t expect many wizards, and without those details he would have expected none. When he inquired about the lack of wizards, politely, he was told that Ustil no longer practiced magic, with the exception of the wards which were necessary, and divination. Beyond that, all William was told that they “don’t practice magic anymore.” This implied that they had once practiced other magic before, though William didn’t remember seeing any mentions of that in records. It wasn’t that they couldn’t, with none capable being born. Nor was it that they had lost methods to use magic. They just didn’t. That puzzled William, but nobody seemed to want to speak about it. That made William feel it was probably something important, which made him want to know more… but he didn’t want to upset people, and calling on the “unconditional support” promised for something that didn’t matter to the effort of defeating the Demon King seemed wrong. Still, he couldn’t help but wonder.