William no longer lived in the castle. Not that he’d spent much more than half of his nights there over the years anyway, but as he was no longer king he no longer had a reason to stay there at all. It was more comfortable to stay in a modern home anyway. The castle was now used as a tourist attraction for the most part. It wasn’t designed to be an efficient location for politicians to meet, so there were other buildings constructed for that purpose. They also had more modern security measures, though if it was strictly based on the ability to keep people out the Demon King’s castle would win. It had modern wards and defenses, and would be able to be used as a shelter in the case of any large scale attacks. That said, such attacks were unlikely after the foundation of the World Council.
Lorelei still worked in research of various kinds- whatever interested her most at the moment. It was her passion after all. That meant she came home at odd hours and with varied schedules, but she and William still found time to spend together.
“Do you think I’m a hypocrite?” William asked Lorelei.
“Everyone’s a little bit of a hypocrite. I don’t think you’re worse than most.”
“I might be…” William sighed, “I want the country to be well managed, but I don’t want to do it myself. I want people to not destroy souls or even study it, but I’m probably the foremost expert in that area.”
“You’re not the ruler type. Too straightforward and honest. It took far too much practice for you not to call people idiots to their faces.”
“Or kill them. I also want people to follow the laws, but I made it so I didn’t have to.”
“I’m not the best person for that one.” Lorelei shrugged, “I find killing people to be a much more simple and effective solution than anything else. You know that. As for the souls thing… we already talked about that, right? People deserve the consequences of their actions.”
“But I could have just killed them normally. They would have forgotten and everything would have been fine.”
“Maybe.” Lorelei shrugged, “There’s no proof that personality does or does not survive reincarnation without memories. Nor are you a perfect judge of who will keep memories. If you want someone to tell you to stop, to restrain yourself… ask someone else. Like someone with more experience with souls than yourself.”
“But I just said there isn’t anyone else…” William frowned, “Maybe Galen, from some perspectives. He certainly has… a lot of practical experience. Even with just a fraction of it remaining.”
“Then… talk to him, and consider for yourself… then make up your own mind on things. From my personal perspective, as long as you keep the effects small enough to avoid disrupting the cycle of things, it’s fine enough.”
William sighed, “I hate talking to Galen. It’s so awkward.”
“That happens when you’ve tried to obliterate someone from existence. You succeeded pretty well too, given the circumstances.”
The World Council met regularly to discuss issues pertaining to the various countries and settle disputes. So far, they had managed to avoid wars of any significant scale for dozens of years. It wasn’t possible to handle all disputes to the satisfaction of every party, but they worked to protect the interests of the world as a whole.
One issue arose as technology developed. Though they had never been used in war, weapons of mass destruction- both magical and purely technological- had come into existence and seen testing in various countries. While the World Council had managed to keep the peace, that didn’t mean some countries didn’t have their grudges. This included some older countries as well as new countries formed as people expanded throughout the globe. Naval technology had advanced such that worrying about deep sea monsters was a thing of the past- though commercial vessels still had to stay to charted seaways.
The World Council members as a whole might have preferred that no weapons of mass destruction existed at all, but it was impractical to completely forbid their construction. Some countries just didn’t trust other countries without some way to get back at them if things turned for the worst. However, even if that was the case they still managed to pass laws limiting the total production and stockpiling of such weapons, and completely forbidding their use, except in the most extreme of circumstances.
One thing that could make the general populace less worried was that defenses had advanced such that most such attacks could be prevented entirely if necessary. While it took an extraordinarily large amount of energy, shields could be deployed that would block such attacks, and there were also systems in place to destroy any such weapons as they travelled through the air before they could be properly detonated. There were similar defenses for subterranean weapons, though the potential for damaging their own areas was worse for subterranean civilizations- of which there were now several.
The spokesman for the council addressed the councilmembers, “Now that we have voted to forbid any destruction of sapient souls and severely limited any methods involving the destruction of lesser souls… how shall we enforce it? We have a proposal to treat any violations similarly to violations of the laws concerning weapons of mass destruction.”
“I believe I have an idea,” someone spoke up.
“I don’t believe I called upon you to speak, councilman…” the spokesman frowned.
“Oh, I’m not a councilman, but yes, you do recognize me.” William stepped forward, “Former king of the Cruonia and all that, Josef Rutten. Yes, I know I’m not officially allowed here anymore now that I stepped down from my position… which is somewhat my point. I still made it in here without anyone being able to stop me. Don’t worry, everyone’s healthy and I doubt anyone else would stand a chance. I’m not saying it was easy. But, regardless, you need me.”
The spokesman kept his face calm and impassive, “What is it that you think we need you for, then?”
“Why, the very issue of which you just spoke. Enforcement of the laws concerning souls and their destruction. It’s a big mess, isn’t it? Absolutely crazy. However, I have some experience with that area myself.” William shrugged, “I’m sure telling specific details wouldn’t particularly make people happier, so I will just say I have methods to determine whether or not people are complicit. Of course, I’m not here to tell you what you have to do. I’m sure you’ll come up with some methods that you find satisfactory. However, I’m here to tell you what I will be doing, and perhaps to threaten. Not any of you… but anyone who takes interest in destroying souls for any reason. I came here first just so you can all prepare when I publically announce it. Let me just say this- I destroyed the Demon King for it. But wait, you say, wasn’t he destroyed before you were even born? Don’t worry about that. I have a book coming out soon all about it. Well, that’s about all I have to say. Thanks for listening.” William grinned, “Oh, and don’t worry about your security. It was fine, really.”