They passed through various town and villages on the way to Canta, but William didn’t recognize any of them. They might have been new, or he might just not have remembered them. He honestly couldn’t say he remembered any of the names of the ones he had passed through before, though there were a few that were obviously new. He supposed that most structures from when he first came to this world would most definitely be new, even if the cities might still exist. After all, it had been almost three gross of years since he was born as William Stevenson.
When they approached Canta, William could actually point out specific differences. For one thing, the city stretched much further. Coming in from the north, that made him acutely aware of the low quality of the buildings on that side. He wouldn’t quite call them slums, but he couldn’t say they were much better. It did make sense, though. To the north, there wasn’t really any travel. All trade and most of the traffic came from the west, south, and east- anywhere but north. The money flowed through those areas of the city, and thus the land there became more valuable. Therefore, the cheaper housing would be elsewhere. Even so, the other parts of the city seemed larger as well.
William couldn’t exactly compare how much larger, because the skyline was different. The wizard’s tower was gone. At least, it wasn’t in the place he was accustomed to it. There were indeed other towers, but he didn’t know if any of them belonged to wizards. Many of them were likely just trying to save on land space, or look impressive to the surroundings. “Do you know the status of the Wizard’s guild?”
Lorelei thought for a few moments. “Hmm, it hasn’t changed much. Though, they did merge with the knights… shortly after the Demon King’s death.”
“What does that mean?”
“Well, it will be clear once you see it yourself. We just have to talk to the guards at the gate to the city proper first.”
It was easy enough to get past the guards. They were merely there to make sure no wanted criminals could just enter the city, and to collect taxes from merchants. They weren’t there to stop demons in disguise from entering their cities, though William thought that was perhaps the most important thing they could do. Not that he planned to give them any advice.
William and Lorelei soon enough arrived at their first destination. The sign read “The Royal Academy of Magical and Martial Arts”. They did indeed have a tower in there, and it was quite sturdy looking. William didn’t see any large windows on the top floors, or at least not from his current angle. “So, the royal family took control of the wizards? That’s probably for the best, as long as they have maintained their integrity.” William closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He felt out with his mind- or more accurately with his ki. Then, he nodded. “At the very least, there’s competent people there. They managed to keep up the practice of ki, and some of the people in there are no pushovers. On a related note, you probably shouldn’t spend too much time near here.”
Lorelei shook her head, “It’s not like I’m going to flaunt my ki at them, unlike some people.”
William grinned, “Hey now, do you think I’m that careless? Do you think you would have noticed anything if you hadn’t been watching me?”
“Hmm. Probably not.”
“That’s right! While I can’t claim to have been the absolute best in soul techniques in my previous life, I was near the top. Now, I’m almost recovered. If there was anyone who could sense me… well, we’d both have to leave this city, but it would have been dangerous for you to stay here anyway.”
“I suppose you’re right.” Lorelei turned and continued down the street, “I suppose we should find a place to stay. I have to start building up new contacts here, and you have to continue on into Liaoyang. It would be better to get some rest and wash off all this dirt first though.”
In the end, William spent a few days in Canta. He was pleased to find that the Cyril family was still around, though he didn’t know any of them anymore, and couldn’t even guarantee they would be the same. Still, it made him happy. Another thing he hadn’t exactly been expecting was that the Dragonfoe lineage continued. He’d known that Knight-Commander Tyler had no children, but apparently there had been a brother or cousin- it wasn’t clear exactly. He couldn’t blame the general public for that, because he hadn’t even known his great grandparents, in any life. In fact, he didn’t even know his grandparents in this life… what had happened to them? There hadn’t been any stories told to him about them either. Regardless, he couldn’t ask about that right now. William wondered if Lila would want to see her descendants. He couldn’t say for sure that she hadn’t, because she’d found him as Yu Hui’Lam, though he hadn’t known it at the time. Not that he thought Lila would actually want to be involved with her descendant’s lives. After all, besides the fact that she was a demon now, none of them had known her, or even anyone she knew. That was true even in his previous life, and now they were so far removed that they were basically strangers. Lila didn’t even technically share any genetics with them now.
William also toured around the city and found that there were some public schools. Even though they were called that, they did still require a fee to learn in, but such fees were relatively much cheaper than they had been. William wondered what things were like in Eclea- they had been very focused on education. Unfortunately, he couldn’t even step foot in the country without problems, so he had to go with what he could hear. All he could gather was that they did have state-sponsored education, and though it was supposed to be high quality, it was hard to really know without seeing it. Other than that, most of the news about Eclea was that they had all kinds of strange magical things.
William did notice one significant change that spoke of progress. Along the main streets there were lamps. That was not a new idea, but the point was that they were magical lamps to light the streets at night. William found that they were not as good as what he expected streetlights to be… but they were adequate enough. Still, it showed that Ostana was producing more useful magical works… or that the city of Canta was wealthy enough to purchase such from Eclea. Either one was good, but hopefully it was the first one. William liked the quality of life being better for people.