William appreciated the feeling of a full rucksack. This one wasn’t exactly full, but it was weighed down by some heavier things which gave a similar feel. These were the pieces for what was probably the final formation William would be building for his parent’s farm. Perhaps they would want more if the farm expanded, but there was only so much fresh food they could sell off-season. After it left the farm, it still expired as normal, so it couldn’t really be traded to other cities, at least not any large ones. It would be possible to make a wagon that kept things fresh, much like a freezer van… but that would be a bit too public. Coming up with fresh food in the off season was a bit strange, but it was not on a particularly noteworthy scale. It would be hard to keep the secret if they tried to expand. That could cause various kinds of trouble. William wasn’t planning to keep it a secret forever, but when it was no longer a secret, he wanted to sell it. He could make a good profit installing them, and soon Stefan would be able to as well. He’d already discussed a price with his parents. The installation costs would be the largest factor in the price, or they could purchase the method itself if they were confident in being able to use it… but for a much higher price.
William looked down at Stefan, who had come with him to purchase all the materials. He was still a little kid, merely ten, but he was smart. He was basically qualified to put one of the formations together. That didn’t mean he was knowledgeable about magic formations in general, but he knew this one quite well. Actually, he would be the one to put this formation together, with William supervising. William expected some mistakes, but since Stefan was going to be responsible for them in the future he needed the practice. He would also be responsible for their maintenance, such as it was, over the next few years. They were profitable enough that William would be able to go to Ducson… though he’d have to earn some money of his own while there. Still, he would at least be covered for the first year. Beyond that, William would know whether there was anything worth learning there… or if he would have to find somewhere else. Anywhere else would be much further, but William wouldn’t have anything to learn from a mediocre institution if it came to that.
There were people following William… though he’d known that the whole trip to the city. These weren’t spies, but rather farmer’s kids and people hired cheaply to keep an eye on him. William was pretty sure they would have seemed obvious in his first life, let alone in his fourth. No doubt they had kept track of all the materials he purchased, hoping to figure out his family’s secret for fresh produce in the off seasons without having to pay the price. In previous years they had followed his parents, who merely bought and sold things as usual. William wasn’t worried about them stealing his methods. After all, they wouldn’t know what he did with the materials. If they could figure it out from just the materials involved… then they already had enough proficiency in creating magical formations that they could have created something similar. Perhaps they might bring the information to a trained wizard and have them try to figure it out, but that would cost more than just buying the secret. As for them using means beyond not-so-sneakily observing him, William wasn’t worried. It wasn’t valuable enough to the farmers that they would risk breaking the law, unless this stalking counted, and everyone knew where it came from.
As for others finding out and wanting it, William couldn’t think of many who would want it, let alone pay attention to farmers. However, if there was someone who really did, they would reasonably try to purchase the secret first. At some point, someone would give in and purchase at least an installation of some sort. Maybe they would be able to recreate it from there, but William doubted there were many trained wizards among the farmers. Besides, without knowing about bacteria, some of the parts of the magical formation would be baffling. He supposed someone who copied it badly could make it dangerous… that would be on their own head, but perhaps a warning would be necessary.
When William reached the wagon where his parents waited, those following him quickly left. If he were actually planning to do anything covertly, now would be the time… but there was really no reason for him to do so. For all of the magic involved in this life… William was still a farmer… for now. While working on a farm had some interesting things for him to learn, he didn’t want to stay a farmer for his whole life. Now he had a chance to become a proper wizard, one who didn’t just study magic but actually practiced it. He supposed he could call himself that now… but he knew he could do better. If the academy had nothing to teach him… it at least might have some information he wanted. William knew of one source that definitely had knowledge he hadn’t learned yet. Lorelei… or whatever name she went by here. He supposed it had been a cover name, so it shouldn’t have been her real name. Still, with nothing else to think of her as, she was Lorelei. He honestly probably wouldn’t be able to easily stop using that name if they met again… when they met again, hopefully. Explaining his current situation would be a bit bothersome, since explaining it as another ‘regular’ reincarnation would be suspect. After all, he still remembered… many things, and the things he didn’t were slowly coming back. He was pretty sure this wasn’t like what Zhan Shengrui and the other reincarnators he had met experienced. Maybe it was, and he just wanted to feel special. William couldn’t really claim that he didn’t want to be special in some way, and though he felt he had achieved that in two lives, he still wanted more.