William didn’t like being dead. It wasn’t great. He also didn’t like his soul being damaged or almost destroyed. That was much, much worse. Thus, to avoid that end, he had redoubled his efforts to devise an escape plan. Now, he was chuckling slightly at the few motes of mana floating around in his cell. He’d put in so much effort for almost nothing, it was rather comedic. He couldn’t help but chuckle to himself… because he couldn’t bang his head against the wall.
He supposed he could bite off his tongue… but that might not kill him. If he did that and failed, he wouldn’t be able to do anything else to try to escape. Besides, he hadn’t given up just yet. He had a little mana… what was a little more?
Well, it was an awful lot of work. William began chanting again, gaining control of a small bit of mana outside of his cell. With the bars absorbing mana, one would think it would be a simple matter of moving the mana between them without touching… but of course it was not so easy. As the mana approached the bars or moved between them, it was sucked in and absorbed with more force than William could muster.
Still, a few motes made it through. This wasn’t a coincidence or luck, but rather careful manipulation. William had noticed that the mana was always pulled to the bar to his right. Even if it was nearly touching a bar more to the left, once it was between the bars it was immediately pulled in to the right. This took it out of his control, and then it was gone- or more likely, being transferred somewhere else, perhaps going off to power that very effect.
After observing for a while, he was reminded of the magnetic rock. The effects seemed a bit stronger, and these probably weren’t magnets. At least, they appeared to be the same material as his shackles and chains, and those weren’t magnetic. However, it was the same kind of thing. A magnetic field… or electric field… or magic field. Things were flowing in a particular manner.
His first attempts were merely to accelerate the mana to attempt to pass through the field quickly enough to keep control. However, he soon discovered that he would need much more extreme speeds for it to be effective. He could do better, especially in the right state… but he didn’t think he could achieve the required speeds even then.
Could he do something like polarize the mana so it wasn’t affected by the field? Was mana already polarized normally? Well, if he recalled correctly it was all different, or rather covered the whole spectrum. That was part of what made different ‘kinds’ of mana. He had experimented with many different ways of thinking, only to finally get a little bit through.
At least a month had passed, and William thought he had enough mana to sustain a light spell for a few seconds. Basically, nothing. Nobody was talking to him anymore, though he tried. It seemed the had made up their mind on him.
He couldn’t really do anything more. Though he was fed and brought water, that was only enough to sustain him. Plus, being chained up was not conducive to good sleep. His energy had been failing for some time… and he didn’t feel he was any closer to getting out. In terms of escape, he was less capable now than before, and in terms of convincing Lorelei and… Headmistress Lorenz- Lila- he wasn’t making any progress either.
It was almost a relief to see someone new, except he knew that it wasn’t a good sign. Lorelei and Headmistress Lorenz were there- calling her Lila felt too familiar, since they didn’t seem to be friends right now. With them was an old man. Old, wrinkly, with a balding head. William hadn’t seen many old demons, but this one was old. His reddish-brown skin sagged off of his emaciated frame. He looked like he could barely stand, yet William wouldn’t have called him weak. That was because he felt something. He didn’t have any ki available to him to actively sense anything, but this old man radiated an imposing force. It covered William, almost suffocating him.
The old man turned to Lorelei. “You’re sure?”
She nodded. “We can’t take the chance.” William wanted to say something, but he was too tired. Besides, what could he say to change her mind? In her situation, would he risk letting part of the Demon King live? He found he didn’t actually have an answer to that.
The old man turned his head back toward William, and stepped forward into the cell. This was William’s best opportunity to act, as he had access to mana with the door open. However, he did nothing. Was it giving up if he did nothing because he didn’t think he could succeed? Perhaps. If so, he had given up. Perhaps he could have done something- killed one of them. He didn’t want to kill two of them, and that would just convince them he was the Demon King. The old man… he probably couldn’t kill, and even if he could it would just be petty.
The wrinkled man put his hand on William’s forehead. He felt the power flow into him. Strong power, likely enough to destroy him or the Demon King at their peak strength. As he was now, destroying him would take only a little effort. As the power flowed into him, memories came to the forefront of his mind. His own lives, all four of them. Earth… his time as William Stevenson… Yu Hui’Lam… and the past couple dozen years. After that, there were memories of the Demon King. These were fewer and less prevalent, but still very real. Beyond that, there were other memories. A former Archmage. A wizard who studied on their own, without entering any academy. Many other humans, though only scattered wisps of memory from each.
Each memory surfaced, and then was gone. It wasn’t a pleasant process, but William wasn’t sure if he was screaming or not. He had no effort to spare for his physical body as his soul was ransacked. Finally, it seemed like every inch of him- every memory whether his or not- had been discarded. Then the pain stopped, and he felt nothing at all.