Anselma had not yet had the baby, but it would likely be within a few weeks. That left William with little to do but work on the farm. His family greatly appreciated it, because with Anselma resting, the farm was slightly behind on work. Everyone was rather surprised when Lorelei volunteered to help too, since she certainly didn’t have to. Though she was not familiar with most of the work, she was still a great help. She was both strong and talented in magic, so she was quite capable of all of the work once she new how.
William wasn’t at all surprised at her ability to do the work, but he was rather surprised at her willingness. She didn’t seem like a fan of such mundane work, but she did everything without complaint. Perhaps nobody would have asked if they knew she was the Archmage. Well, the carriage driver certainly knew, but he kept all of his thoughts to himself. William didn’t know him well, but Lorelei apparently trusted Dechen, which was good enough for him. He also helped around the farm, though his general lack of speech continued. There was the only occasional ‘of course’ or ‘right away’ that came out of his mouth.
William was here to see his family, so of course he caught up with his father and brother as they worked out in the fields, or on the magical arrays. His only chances to really talk to his mother was during the evenings- or when he was taking a break.
During one such break, Anselma asked William a surprisingly straightforward question, “Are you and Lorelei lovers?”
“What?” William was surprised at the bluntness for a moment, before replying. “No, we are not.”
“Why not? She’s smart and hardworking. You’re not gonna find that combination everywhere. You have to snatch her up before someone else does.”
“I… hadn’t much thought about it. I don’t really know how she’d feel about the idea, either.” Of course, William also wasn’t sure how he would feel about it. She was certainly attractive enough, but there were also some issues. For one thing, she was many times older than him. While a significant age gap might not matter much, she was probably at least a dozen times as him. That might be an issue.
“Well, I wouldn’t worry about how she feels. There must be something there, because otherwise rich young ladies don’t go out to stay on a farm with a young man. I don’t want to dictate your life, but if you’re interested… it’s much harder to win a woman away from another man, and I’d bet she has many suitors.”
William didn’t know about all of that. At the very least, being here to help with Demon King related problems was a reasonable excuse. Perhaps there was something more to it, but it wasn’t easy for William to tell. As for other suitors… William imagined they had all been intimidated away a long time before. Still, once the thought got in his head, he couldn’t get it out. ‘Why not?’… There were a few reasons, but William couldn’t even decide if any of them were valid. On the other hand, he wasn’t really sure if he had those kinds of feelings for Lorelei.
William had far too much time to think over the next few weeks, but fortunately a convenient distraction came up. His mother was going into labor. There was a lot of waiting, followed by moments of stress and panic, then more waiting.
Though William had lived several lives, he hadn’t been around many births. For at least one of Lila’s children, he had shown up only after it was over, so the only significant memories William had were of when Stefan was born. Those were relatively recent as things went, but he couldn’t say he was used to the birthing process. Even so, he still noticed something was wrong.
It was taking too long. Of course, sometimes that happened. William thought maybe he was losing track of time, or just exaggerating the problem in his mind. However, his father also looked worried. His mother… well, she was exhausted, and he couldn’t expect her expression to be pleasant anyway. William only really became worried when he saw a hint of concern on Lorelei’s face.
The first person to actually speak up was Barend, William’s father. “I think something is wrong. We need to go get a doctor.” They hadn’t already called a doctor because the town was so far away. William and Stefan had been delivered fine without, so they hadn’t been worried.
Lorelei shook her head, “It’s too late. Though, even if you had gone immediately, that would likely have still been true.”
The color drained from Barend’s face. This made him a pinkish color, which might have been amusing in any other situation, but William couldn’t find it humorous. “But-”
“It’s fine.” Lorelei waved her hand, “I’m a trained medical doctor. All I’m saying is it’s too late to go get one from town. Now, if all of you will get out of the room… I need to be free from distractions.”
Barend and Stefan looked at William for confirmation, and he nodded. “Don’t worry.” He didn’t actually know if she was trained as a doctor, but if she said it she was at least confident, and he could easily imagine her spending a couple dozen years trying to learn every useful skill.
“Everyone includes you too, William,” Lorelei said after the others had exited the room.
“I thought you might want my help.”
Lorelei sighed, “It wouldn’t be bad to have help, but…” She turned to Anselma and waved her hand, “Sleep.” Anselma’s exhausted form passed into unconsciousness, “As I was saying the medical procedure is slightly… disturbing. It would be best if you don’t watch.”
“Are you going to cut her open and take out the baby?”
Lorelei blinked. “Well… yes. It’s the only way. Please don’t stop me-”
“Why would I stop you? C-sections are pretty normal.”
“Is this… C-section the name from your world? Normally, people would call me a witch or something. While I don’t particularly mind that, if they stop me then it won’t do any good for the baby.”
“That’s right. With the proliferation of information… people became a bit more willing to accept different methods. If you’re actually sure whatever you plan to do is the best method, I trust you.”
“Alright then. I hope you don’t get squeamish around blood.”