Once they were out of the “customs” area, William was going to ask Chris about the danger he had sensed, but Yu Li spoke up first. “Something different happened when you stepped on the circle. Obviously, there was nothing at first, but when you touched your staff to the circle, it did something different. It was like it washed over you with something. It didn’t do that for either of us.”
“That… doesn’t sound good. The guards didn’t seem concerned though. Do you see any lingering effects?”
“Umm… I don’t see anything, but…”
“But that doesn’t mean something didn’t happen. I didn’t feel anything, but that’s pretty much what I expect in situations involving magic that doesn’t create fire or something.”
Dong Xin spoke up. “I think someone is following us.”
William sighed. “Sorry, I didn’t expect anything like this to happen.”
“It’s too late now,” Dong Xin shook his head, “I would suggest you split away from the group, but we’re obviously together for more than convenience of travel. It would be more unnatural to do that now.” He paused for a few moments, “I’m not sure if we could have predicted something would happen. However, it was also something that was easily detectable in how it happened, yet they didn’t immediately arrest us, so that means the results are perhaps unclear. It might even not be something negative… but I wouldn’t bet on it.”
Later, Chris wasn’t able to shed any more light on the situation, except that “something happened”, and beyond that he couldn’t give any better details than Yu Li had. It was only later when William was preparing to go to bed and got a small tear in his sleeve after it was caught on the back of a chair. That was strange, but for a moment he couldn’t figure out why. Then, it hit him. His robe shouldn’t get tears. It was magically strengthened, and in addition to that it should repair minor damage over time. However, this tear didn’t seem to be fixing itself.
He took off his robe to examine the magical runes on it. None of them seemed to be damaged, and they were made out of much tougher material than the rest of the robes. However, after conferring with Chris he determined that no mana was flowing into or through the robe. “Was it some kind of magic disrupting spell?” William looked to Chris.
After spinning around in thought for a few moments, Chris glowed two different colors, indicating “Yes-maybe” or “probably”. He couldn’t write because they were inside, and William didn’t happen to have any convenient large writing surfaces and ink.
William pondered for a few moments. “Maybe they thought I was magically disguised? Do you think that would stop spells like Lorelei used to hide her appearance?” Chris responded with a solid “yes”, and William considered that. “So, something made the circle think I was in disguise, maybe. It could have been the delay between stepping on the circle and it feeling a wizard. Maybe it just recognized that there were two of us… or it could have been something else.” William shook his head. “It could be any of those things. Hopefully it won’t lead to any problems… but that seems a bit too optimistic.”
In the morning, William was glad to find that the rip on his robe had started to repair itself, if somewhat sluggishly. He had been worried that his robe might be rendered permanently non-magical. As for Chris… he doubted there was anything that could affect him without causing a huge scene, certainly not a regular dispelling spell, though William wasn’t sure how Eclea even had a way to generally dispel magic. That wasn’t a technique he had ever heard about, but then again perhaps it was a secret… or alternatively, it could have been developed while he was dead. Considering how it seemed to work, it just seemed to remove the mana in the area, stopping anything currently active from functioning for a time. He couldn’t be sure, though. Yu Li agreed that his ideas seemed sound, but Dong Xin mentioned that no matter the reason… they were still being followed.
William couldn’t see who Dong Xin thought was following them… but that just meant they were good at it. That was worrisome, because that meant that they weren’t being ignored. Somebody still thought he was a threat, and while he probably was capable of being a threat, William really had no intentions of causing trouble. However, he felt this would probably make their purpose here harder to accomplish.
The group travelled toward the capital city of Kufra. That was where the main presence of the Eclea wizard’s guild was, and thus where they needed to go. William noted that the roads seemed to be very safe. At least, most of the other travellers had very little in the way of defenses. In addition to that, William noticed that there were plentiful fields on the way. They reminded him somewhat of fields of crops he had seen back on Earth. They were well organized and seemed to be growing very well. That didn’t mean they had anything to do with Earth, of course, but it did mean they were well taken care of. With what he had seen so far, William thought there might have been some magical assistance as well, but according to Yu Li there were no currently active magical effects. However, improving the soil quality wouldn’t leave traces of magic for long, nor would using it to level the ground. On the other hand, it was also possible that all of the work was done by hand, but either way William approved.
Riding camels along the roads wasn’t the most comfortable method of transportation, but selling them to buy horses only to have to obtain new camels for an eventual return trip wasn’t a great plan. William also didn’t find horse riding particularly comfortable, so it wasn’t that this was much worse. He might have liked a carriage, though, and he had seen several of those pass by as the trip carried on.