(Patreon) Wizard! Chapter 377

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Jordan stood at attention, “I know you might not believe me, but I did not betray you. This was merely the best way to make sure the men were kept safe. If I’d said something to warn you…”

William looked over Jordan. “Alternatively, if I had lost you could have declared your loyalty to the other side.”

“I stand by my earlier words, sir. I had no doubt about your ability to defeat anyone in single combat.”

William nodded. “I really like you as a subordinate Jordan. You’re a great commander. That’s why I’m sorry about this.” He reached out his hand toward Jordan… who then collapsed to the ground. William looked around at the rest of his troops. “The rest of you were merely following orders. In fact, even those of you who followed Jordan’s commands didn’t listen to an order to harm me. You may return to your duties.”

—–

Jordan felt the rush of energy, flowing into the deepest reaches of his soul. He hadn’t thought about the soul much, and wasn’t even sure if they were real until he felt it. However, he became aware they were both very real and could experience pain. Fortunately, the pain was short and quick. If only he didn’t have to die. He should have said something more. He should have known Lord Rutten would be quick and decisive in his actions.

—–

Someone was groaning. Jordan clutched his head and was going to shout at them to shut up. His splitting headache made loud noises in the morning even worse. Then he realized he was the one groaning, and opened his eyes. He couldn’t really think or say anything, but could only stare at the sky. Then, he saw Lord Rutten’s face staring down at him… followed by a grin.

“You alright, commander? I’ll admit I’m not that good at that, so it probably hurts like hell.”

Jordan slowly set up. “Good… at what?”

“Well… just a quick test of loyalty. I didn’t think you were the type to betray me… but I had to check. You know, it would have been best to tell me about those times you went off while I was out scouting. You must have made a plan with him, right?”

“Well… yes. He wanted me to betray you. I just didn’t tell you because…” Jordan frowned, “I was afraid you might give it away. It would be a good opportunity. If I’d said something at the end our men would have been embroiled in the fight and…”

“You couldn’t have said something about the poison in the wine? You should have known about that.”

Jordan blinked. “With all due respect sir, aren’t you the one who told me never to drink things I wasn’t sure were safe? That was during one of your rants about how it’s not all that great to be a lord.”

Lord Rutten shrugged, “Well, I suppose that’s true. Come on, we’ve got to get going.”

“Why? We still have a few weeks before the end of the month… and with Lord Kendrick dead we can stretch out the timeframe as much as we want.”

“Are you kidding? I’m not staying here. I’ve got things to do. All the soldiers here in the fort also need to pack up and get going too.”

“… I will concede that we do not need to finish our mission as stated, but shouldn’t we leave defenders behind?”

“To defend what? Empty fields? Threat neutralized. I was serious about that. Though, instead of ‘having a plan’ it would be more accurate to say that I had already gone through with my plan.”

—–

William stroked his chin. Rifling through other’s memories wasn’t polite or fun for anyone, but sometimes it had to be done. He also didn’t have much experience with it… but having had his own memories searched through plus a little work with Marek, he got the basics. Fortunately, he only had to get information from the past two weeks, and only surface data. It was enough to know that Jordan truly hadn’t intended to betray him. At least, probably not. William didn’t get any actual memories, but merely the idea of them. It was hard to explain, but since William already trusted Jordan, ‘probably’ being sincere was good enough. It indicated that Jordan wasn’t just telling a convincing lie… and for someone in Jordan’s position he couldn’t be too cautious.

While a commander of Jordan’s caliber was extremely valuable, William didn’t think he would want one who could become his enemy. If he’d retained suspicions… Jordan wouldn’t have gotten to wake back up. It was still possible for them to become enemies- but Jordan seemed to believe in similar ideals. William would rather have a competent ally that he believe was on his side than a less competent ally who couldn’t be proven to be particularly more trustworthy. Except for this incident, Jordan had been completely loyal. Even though William believed Jordan hadn’t actually betrayed him, he decided to become slightly more cautious. If not Jordan, there could be others.

—–

As the troops were getting ready, Jordan came to William. “I’m sorry sir. I was wrong.”

“Wrong about what? I’m already over that little thing before.”

“Ah, it’s not about that. It’s just… I said I was confident that you could defeat anyone in single combat, but couldn’t take on an army. I was wrong. I am now fully confident you could take on an army alone.”

“Why do you think that? Armies are pretty big, you know. Even I’d get tired after a while.”

“Well, maybe not on an open field… but if there are mountains nearby for you to drop on them they wouldn’t be so lucky. I went to see the pass… Just around the corner until the fort is full of rubble, dozens of feet deep. As for the mountains… good chunks of them are shorn off. I wouldn’t even call it a pass anymore.”

William nodded, “Threat neutralized. So, if an army waits around in just the right place for a few hours, letting me do magic all around them, and doesn’t run away from the landslides, I could defeat them. It’s not exactly the same.”

“The earthquake wasn’t a coincidence, though, was it? You can create earthquakes. That kind of power…”

“I can’t create earthquakes.”

“Really? But I thought… the timing.”

William waved his hand. “I’m not saying I didn’t cause it. However, I didn’t make the land tremble under my own power. I just… encouraged an earthquake that was almost ready.”

“Even so… that kind of power is on the level of… the very best. I am glad to be serving under you.”

“Is that so?” William raised an eyebrow. “I’m glad to have you. You want to change this country, right?”

Jordan nodded, “With you, I believe we can make a change for the better, given time.”

“I’ll need you for some things I have planned. Also… it’s too late to back out.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

“Hah. Let me know how you feel in a year or two.”

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