William found that his magical ability varied wildly. Most of the time, it was as normal. Around what he thought average power would be. Not amazing, but not weak. Then there were various circumstances where it was more significant. Sometimes it was only a slight increase, and sometimes it was like when he fought the dire bear, and his final spell. It couldn’t be explained just by better concentration either. Even when he reached the limit of his concentration, he still definitely felt that he had the normal amount of control. Sometimes though, he got additional power and control. He wasn’t sure he could explain it in words… or if he wanted to. Still, William took the time to get in some practice with combat magic, and he thought he could combat the dire bear much better if he had to face one again. He would prefer not to, because it could still turn out worse than before if he made a mistake. Besides, he’d grown sick of eating bear meat, even if he hadn’t had any recently.
His physical training slowed down, but that was expected as he reached the end of puberty. Though it hadn’t particularly become slow, William felt it could be faster. The only problem was he was used methods he had made up and what he had seen knights use. That didn’t make them especially suited to gevai, or more importantly he felt he was missing something.
As for ki, he just shook his head. He wasn’t going to be able to make any progress there, at least not soon… or without some kind of help. He wasn’t sure who he would be able to ask about that. While Liaoyang was overflowing with people who practiced ki cultivation, gevai territory was not. At least, Caister didn’t have much of anyone who cultivated ki. William had sensed a few people with traces, but nothing impressive. He felt they had to either be just starting, or more likely dabbled in ki cultivation and decided it wasn’t worth the effort.
William and Barend were in Caister, as usual for the end of the month. They would always come to buy some supplies they didn’t produce on their farm, even if they didn’t have anything to sell. Since William had created his refrigerator, they did have something to sell every time, even if it wasn’t always much. Anselma and Stefan were back on the farm, as there was always work to do there. Sending two people into town made it more efficient, and the trip less boring.
Today, there was an unusual ruckus on the street. While the market district was always lively, right now it was especially so. In fact, the difference seemed to come from one direction, and William and his father turned to look, and listen. Soon they heard cries which made clear what was going on. “Make way! Make way! A lord is coming!”
That explained it quite clearly. People would certainly be excited about that. William wasn’t sure if a lord had gone through Caister in his entire life. At least, he couldn’t recall it happening. There really weren’t that many of them, and they mostly stayed in their castles from what he had heard. That made William wonder what was going on at the Demon King’s castle. Hopefully nothing, since he’d destroyed him, but he couldn’t help but worry about it. Besides, he didn’t think the demon lords would give up the power that the Demon King had held so easily, so everyone would be expecting his return. After all, he had before, and it was still well within the time he could return. He wouldn’t though. William had destroyed him. Hopefully.
The shouts grew closer, and the crowds started moving off to the side of the street and in the paths between market stalls. William could see the demon lord’s retinue, as the crowd opened up. There were a few dozen riders on several kinds of vicious beasts, giant lizards and dire wolves included. William thought that horses or something similar would probably be better mounts, but he supposed those weren’t as impressive. There was a massive carriage, presumably carrying the demon lord himself, pulled by a dire bear. That was impressive, but William internally noted that the one he’d fought was bigger. This one seemed to be a juvenile of some sort, which just meant it was only as tall as a horse… and took up much more space.
William was near the front of the crowd so he had a good view of everything that was happening. He saw that after the carriage and the half-dozen trailing guards passed people quickly went back into the street, either to carry about their normal business or to gawk from a different view. He supposed the carriage was impressive and all, but its ornamentation wasn’t that skilled, and all it really had going for it was that it was big, taking up most of the street. If size were the only measure of impressiveness, William had seen semi trucks, which were much more impressive though usually less luxurious. Not that he could see the inside of the carriage, so it could have been desolate… and he’d heard of movie stars with very fancy trailers that could attach to a semi.
As William was thinking about trucks, much of the crowd was jostling around to keep out of the street or to get a good view of what was going on. As the mounts were about to go by, one person tripped, falling into another, and pushing a young girl a couple steps out into the street. William thought nothing of it, as she immediately returned to her position. However, one of the guards rode over to where she was, pulling out a hammer, almost casually. He swung down, and there was a loud crunch. All William saw was a number of the people in the area being knocked down, and he didn’t know how to react. Within a few moments, the guard had ridden off, and the carriage was passing. William leaned to get a closer look at what had happened. He hadn’t really been able to react, even if he’d thought to, with the crowds around him. He saw the figure of the girl standing there, shocked… and looking down at her feet. There, William’s father lay bleeding from his crushed chest.