William coughed. Then, he spent some time staring at his hand. Perhaps it might have looked like he was thinking deep thoughts, but really he was just trying to process what he was seeing. That shouldn’t have required any effort, but he wasn’t willing to believe it at first. Finally, though, he had to admit that it was blood. Not a lot of blood, but any amount of blood from coughing wasn’t a good thing. William’s coughing had gotten worse, not better, as time had gone on. It was becoming obvious that it wasn’t just a regular cold or other illness.
After consulting some of the doctors that worked with the Yu Clan, he found out that his mother had also contracted this same illness. That meant they were already knowledgeable about it, which was good… but it wasn’t good enough. After all, his mother had still died from it. There hadn’t been a cure found. Some medicines could alleviate the symptoms, but it had progressively become worse. Even with the existence of healing magic, it couldn’t be cured.
William wondered why that was. Of course, healing magic didn’t just fix things on its own. It required some understanding of what was wrong in a body and how to make it right. At a basic level, it would provide the cells with more energy, allowing the body to fight off the sickness itself. Certain sicknesses or diseases were understood well enough to cure them, but even so it wasn’t an instantaneous thing. Instead, it would require multiple treatments. Sometimes, the magic was made to seek out the source of the sickness and destroy it. Although they might not have a concrete understanding of bacteria and viruses, it was still understood that there was an actual thing causing the problems.
Unfortunately, that left William still in a problematic area. His mother had the same illness, but it couldn’t be cured. Perhaps it was just poorly understood, but William thought there was another likely possibility. It could be a genetic disease. If that were the case, it couldn’t be cured. Well, William could imagine genetic code being re-written, but this world didn’t have that kind of understanding. They had the broad understanding that traits were inherited from parents and relatives, but it wasn’t at the detailed level of understanding DNA. Of course, William couldn’t say that even on Earth people really understood DNA. Very few things were actually tied entirely to a single gene, and even if one that caused a genetic disease was replaced with a “healthy” one, there would also be other changes. Perhaps they wouldn’t be noticeable, or they might be worth whatever consequences they had, but it would still be easier than just removing something bad. On Earth, humans had only been really starting to understand and be able to do something about such things.
William didn’t know if something like that would be possible with magic. It likely would, given enough understanding… and power. It certainly wouldn’t be easy. William imagined there would be unpleasant consequences if the body’s DNA was changed in a half-finished state, and likely many other unforeseen consequences even if it worked as intended. That was how such things worked. Then there was the question of whether it could actually be done… and whether it should be done. William wasn’t sure on either point. Of course, he would prefer to be healthy… but he could also think of all kinds of horrible consequences that could follow. Perhaps that was the cynical side of him speaking, but William imagined that such knowledge could easily be put to uses he wouldn’t like.
Then, there was the even more practical thing. William wasn’t an expert on DNA or genetics or even biology. While he could describe the basic thing that it was, that was about it. He couldn’t give detailed explanations, which might be the most important part in actually utilizing the information. On the other hand, just knowing about it, if people believed him, might have a significant impact. They could figure out ways to actually observe it on their own. Maybe wizards didn’t have electron microscopes, but if they knew there was benefit to observing things at tiny levels, they could come up with a way to do so. Eclea proved that innovation still existed even in this world.
Then, William consider what his motives would be, and the most probable short term results, of him trying to share this information. Though it would be useful to help people, he hadn’t seen that many with genetic diseases. No, he would really be doing it for himself, and any benefit to others was purely coincidence. Maybe he was important to the war against the Demon King. William didn’t think he was unimportant, but he also didn’t think he was critical. So, assuming he found people who he could trust, and who were accomplished enough to have a chance to succeed, what would be the end result? It would take time away from at least a few useful individuals. William had no illusions that it would be easy. Perhaps they might not even reach any useful results in the slightly more than a dozen years remaining. They might only accomplish wasted resources. If they succeeded… William might live. He might die before anything became practical, and he might die in the actual attempt to save his life.
William thought about all of those things. In the end, he didn’t fully accept or reject any idea. He knew he was currently in a somewhat distraught state. He might not make good decisions… and he was just very hesitant to do anything at the moment. Besides, he might actually live through the war with the Demon King. From what he’d found, his mother’s family had a few more instances of this disease, confirming in his mind that it was probably genetic. Some of them had lived more than a dozen years after being diagnosed… though some were like his mother and died within a few years.
However, though William was unsure of what he wanted to do in the short term, he had some ideas for the long term. William began writing down things he knew. Calling what he wrote books was a bit excessive. At best, he wrote piles of jumbled notes. He categorized them by types of knowledge. He wasn’t sure what he would do with it… but he had time to figure that out. For the moment, he just wrote down everything he could think of, whenever he thought of it, and considered who might want to know the information. William didn’t want the Demon King to have a chance to know some of these things… but either he would be destroyed this time, or the humans wouldn’t last long anyway. Besides, in its current state, only William knew about what he had written.