William wanted to go to the academy in Ducson. The sooner the better… for him. For his family, that was probably not the case. His father was fully recovered, at least as far as William could tell. Perhaps he was being stubborn and not showing weakness, but if so William couldn’t tell nor could he do anything about it. The real problem was Stefan. Yes, he was intelligent. He learned quickly, and was quite competent. He could handle almost anything that needed to be done with the coolers- construction or maintenance. The only problem was that he was twelve. This wasn’t immediately a problem, but William could think of several issues that could arise. First, although he completely believed in Stefan’s competence, others might not. Then there was the matter of how well he could handle the responsibilities that were placed upon him. It was one thing for William at twelve years old to handle professional responsibility, because he wasn’t even close to truly being that old. It was quite another for Stefan, who was going through it all for the first time, including puberty.
At least, William assumed it was his first time. He hadn’t directly asked Stefan anything like that, mainly because of the same reasons he hadn’t already told his parents about himself. With the stigma of the Demon King, reincarnation would be a touchy subject. He had reasons to believe Stefan was not reincarnated, or more specifically didn’t retain any memories from such. First of all, as an infant he had acted exactly as expected, crying and eating and sleeping. William did almost the same, but with less crying. Stefan had learned how to speak fairly quickly, but it was nothing terribly unusual since he almost always had someone around him talking. He had definitely known nothing about magic before William started teaching him, and he’d had to learn everything starting with the basics. This included magical formations. Of course, he could have reincarnated from somewhere without magic, or where he hadn’t learned magic… but Stefan seemed like a normal, if intelligent, child. Well, now he was a dozen years old, which put him on that strange threshold of not being a child exactly, but also not being an adult.
William had plans for travelling to Ducson, but he didn’t even bring them up as the planned time came and went. It wasn’t a good time to go. Perhaps the next year- but no, that wouldn’t be any better. His parents were taking some time to learn what they needed of magical formations for the maintenance of the refrigerators, and they would know everything relevant to that specific use of magical formations soon enough. A year or two, anyway. It’s not that they were stupid, but they were more busy than Stefan- though Stefan had learned faster regardless. Stefan still wasn’t at the level where William thought he could teach them himself, either. There would be questions they had that he couldn’t answer, but would help with their comprehension of why the formations worked as they did.
It was just as well that William decided to stay, because Stefan ran into a situation he didn’t know how to handle when installing a formation at one of the other farms. He had successfully installed other formations, so William knew it wasn’t a problem of knowledge. “What’s wrong?”
Stefan shrugged, “I mean, if I knew that, I wouldn’t have to get you, would I? I set everything up, but the flow of mana is… weird. It’s not aligning like it should.”
“Did you check the materials for flaws?”
“I did.” Stefan shook his head. “I didn’t find anything wrong. Besides, the near finished version looked like it was working. It was only when I went there to set it up that it got weird.”
With just that information, William wasn’t sure what could be causing it. It should be something at the site, but he wasn’t sure what it could be.
Upon arriving, it became more clear why Stefan had called the flow of mana “weird”. In this formation, mana should be flowing more or less in straight patterns, with the strongest flows being at the corners of the box. Still, William couldn’t help but thinking about how useful it was to be able to see mana and how it flowed. It made magic so much easier. Well, it made it possible, but also much easier. He couldn’t see fine details unless he concentrated, and William imagined there were levels of mana flow that were too low for him to see even then, but as for getting a picture of what was going on at a significant level, it was great.
So, instead of flowing to create a rectangular prism, the mana flowing in the shape of a mushroom was weird. Perhaps it would be better to call it an inverse mushroom, since it was actually flowing down from the top corners and to below the middle. There were connections there, with the main anchor for the formation being where everything seemed to be flowing to in the middle and bottom… but it was as if the formation had collapsed. From another perspective, it was like a vortex with the mana draining out of the area… but that wasn’t quite right, because the mana wasn’t actually going away. If it was actually being drained by something, that would have been a much worse problem that William didn’t want to think about.
As for what was causing the current problem, William couldn’t directly tell, but it was rather simple to guess. The mana was flowing down into the ground, ergo something under the ground was probably causing this. Unfortunately, that meant digging… which was a pain, and even moreso because there was a building constructed on that location. Still, they couldn’t give up just because of an inconvenience, and William was curious as to what could be causing this phenomenon.