Magic didn’t work. Not in any real sense, anyway. William found he could in fact reach the mana outside the cell, and even gain control over some of it. Then… it would come toward him… and be absorbed by the bars- or the walls surrounding the cell. Or the floor or ceiling. That was a problem. A wizard didn’t necessarily need to gather all the mana they were going to exactly to them. Lightning bolts, for example, usually took advantage of mana distant from the wizard. However, there still needed to be a connection of mana to the wizard.
Why? Well, that was because… It just did. William supposed maybe it wasn’t necessary, but in that case it was exponentially more difficult. It was already hard to control mana further away. In the end, the only thing that William learned was they didn’t have any guard watching to stop him from trying magic- or they didn’t care if he tried.
William was glad to receive food and water. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean they weren’t going to kill him. In fact, he could imagine why they would be invested in keeping him alive for later. If he was the Demon King, they should be under the assumption that if he died he would reincarnate as normal. Or… in this case, a fragment, apparently. He hadn’t gotten much information about that, but it seemed that the Demon King’s soul had been fragmented, and they had destroyed part of it. How would that work? William wasn’t sure, but he supposed it was possible for different pieces of soul to end up in different bodies. Would they still be the same person? Would they share memories? William wasn’t sure. What he did know what that they had already destroyed one, but they were not with Lorelei at the moment. The person should be being contacted and on the way, thus he was left alive.
William couldn’t even say they would necessarily be wrong if their purpose was to destroy fragments of the Demon King’s soul. If that was what happened, then the plan to destroy him had almost worked, but Shattering the Soul just didn’t break him into small enough pieces. And they split off, maybe to become their own persons… or become attached to others, maybe. Like the part that was in him. Well, William supposed that the hypothesis about magic being tied to the soul like a special organ didn’t have to be wrong at all. If he had part of the Demon King in him… it could also be the part that did magic. Or part of the part? William sighed. Maybe it would have been better to be without magic.
William wasn’t sure when, but it was several days later that he was visited by Headmistress Lorenz. “Come to let me out?”
“Hardly.” She stood there with a neutral expression on her face, which was very disappointing to William. “I hear you claim to be William Stevenson?”
“I am William Stevenson.”
She shrugged. “Then tell me, when and where did we meet?”
“We met at…” the lake. Except that couldn’t have been the right answer. Otherwise, it would have been completely unrelated to William Stevenson. But he certainly hadn’t met her during his time as William Stevenson. So then, they met at the lake… William looked her over again. Could she have been in disguise? Well, if so, it had been good enough for him to not recognize it. Perhaps he might have been able to feel something if his ki senses were working, but he was completely drained right now. Yet, he seemed to be expected to figure it out. William’s eyes finally stopped on her staff. He’d never seen the staff before he met her- that was certain. But… he might have seen the gem atop it. A dragon heart. How many of those were there? How many of them were such a brilliant red?
William couldn’t help but recall a number of things that had seemed trivial at the time. He did in fact recall when they met at the lake, mourning a friend. An outburst of anger that nobody was coming to the primary school.
William also couldn’t help but think of his previous life. Lorelei kept going back to check on her secret apprentice… as if she was worried the apprentice might get in trouble without supervision. Then, for some reason he was in a battle. It was a dangerous moment, but suddenly lightning came from the sky.
She had mentioned a husband. Most women would have a husband at some point, so it seemed trivial… but he still thought of it.
Then… there was the Van Cann estate. He hadn’t gone to see it, but it probably wasn’t an accident. It would take someone very powerful to cause that kind of collapse… even if there were caves underneath the grounds. William had to agree with Lorelei that it was stupid. The kind of stupid thing he might have done if he had the power, and the kind of stupid thing she would do.
William shook his head to clear it. “Well, it’s not the first time we met, but I actually saw you before that, you know? You were two spaces ahead of me at the aptitude test. Of course, you probably didn’t notice me because nothing happened when it was my turn.” William smiled slightly, “Anyway, we officially first met later, after we both failed the entry exam to the school. You were crying because you couldn’t read, and I offered to teach you.” William paused. “Why’d you change the wood in your staff, Lila?”
“Wood breaks and rots, even magical wood. It got old. Besides, this is better stuff.”
“Oh, right. It has been that long, hasn’t it? I was dead for most of it, I guess.” William blinked. “You… don’t look like you’re going to let me go.”
Headmistress Lorenz, once known as Lila, just shook her head and turned to leave.