William wished he could talk with Jordan about how the negotiations had gone, but Jordan was several days away. All he could do was send a messenger with the news that the first round of negotiations had passed and he would be waiting for more. He hoped they would come sooner rather than later, but he had little control over that.
He hoped that the rest of the human representatives weren’t too far away, because time was still important. It was frustrating that he’d had to go through a round of negotiations to even truly start negotiations, but he had avoided displaying that. Those from Ustil had actually shown up, after all, so they were not at fault. Besides, he actually wanted to make peace with the humans, so getting angry at them wasn’t productive.
William made sure to always keep men on watch. While he thought the representatives from Ustil were sincere, it wouldn’t hurt to be more careful. Besides, others might not agree with them. There were enough factions and infighting in an individual country, separate countries could be even more so. It was also possible- though unlikely- for there to be humans who had not heard about the peace negotiations in the area. That would only come about if they failed to keep track of their men, but William didn’t want to discount that possibility.
The dungeons were rather dark, but not actually damp. The temperature was also rather comfortable. Perhaps a bit chilly, but Marek was capable of warming himself with magic if necessary. He could even go stand out by the torches if he needed to.
Marek had considered leaving, but he wasn’t exactly in a great state. His injuries weren’t exactly light, and his soul needed time to stabilize. It was still in a state where it could fall apart at any moment, and Marek found much of his time and energy was devoted to holding it together.
He continued in that manner for several weeks as his wounds healed. The only thing he ever saw was several times per day the torches were changed and a meal was brought. The human who brought him his meal completely avoided looking at him, and also ignored the existence of the open cell door. The food was sufficient, if not necessarily to Marek’s tastes. The food was mostly bland, but considering that he was in a prison it was actually much better than expected.
Eventually, Marek declared himself sufficiently healed. He supposed it was time to leave. He wondered if anyone would stop him. He certainly didn’t get that feeling from the cell door- and he’d confirmed that the door would latch if it needed to, along with all of the others. Not that it would stop him or even significantly hinder him. With his body, even old as it was, he could bend or break iron bars. With ki, he could unlock any physical lock. With magic, he could do any number of things. However, if they truly intended to keep him, they would have at least chained him up or locked the door.
Marek decided he would just walk out. He didn’t know where he was, but certainly still in Ustil, from the looks of the one who brought him his meals. For the sake of himself and those who had taken care of him, he decided to disguise himself as he left. His magical equipment had been destroyed, but he could still keep up an illusion for some time. He could have gone without a disguise at all, but he doubted the general populace would tolerate a gevai- a demon- walking openly on their streets.
Outside his cell block stood two guards. They only acknowledged him with slick flickers of their eyes, but didn’t say anything or try to stop him from leaving. His ki senses extended behind him, and he found that they went into the cell block he had just left after he was out of sight.
It wasn’t hard to find his way to the outer door. Before he stepped out he considered what his plans should be. Where would he go? How would he survive? He didn’t particularly have any money, and he couldn’t maintain his disguise indefinitely. Living off of the land in the desert wasn’t easy, either. Jeim itself was hardly desert, but Marek didn’t plan to stay in Ustil, and thus he would be going through most of a country of desert. Water wasn’t too much of a problem with magic, but food might be. He couldn’t guarantee he would be attacked by giant scorpions or lizards.
Perhaps he would need to steal food. He didn’t like stealing, but he would to survive. He didn’t care that humans and gevai were at war, he still appreciated the work that went into producing food, and he had nothing against those particular people. On the other hand, it wouldn’t bother him too much in the grand scheme of things. Destroying the Demon King’s soul, no matter how much he deserved it, was a much worse crime than stealing to live.
Marek recreated his illusion and stepped out the door, where he found all his thinking had been for naught. The door opened out into an alleyway, and directly across from him was a travelling pack. It contained food, waterskins, a compass, a map, and even small tents. The possibility that a traveller lost his pack directly in front of this particular door- in the middle of a city- never even crossed his mind. The hooded clothing in the pack indicated it was someone who wanted him to get out of the city unnoticed- or at least not recognized for what he was.
It was almost too easy… but once again Marek considered how easy it would have been to kill him earlier. There weren’t any magical enchantments on the gear that would let them track him, so he took it to be a gift.
Maybe they just wanted to lure him into a false sense of security before slaying a demon in public. In that case, they needed to make sure he was alive and healthy for it to be believable. In that case, though, Marek would give them a run for their money. Unless he found himself surrounded by an actual army, he was confident he could escape anything- and there were plenty of buildings around for him to climb up and jump between if it came to that. For now, he would take the pack as a gift that he truly hoped it was.