(Patreon) Wizard! Chapter 374

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William spoke with Lorelei through their phones. He was extremely glad that he had made it work, because they couldn’t have this conversation very well one letter at a time. “I’m just tired of waiting. Nothing’s going to get better this way.”

“We need more time to solidify our position. Otherwise, this whole thing will fall apart.”

William shrugged, before forgetting he couldn’t be seen. “That’s true, but… if I don’t have an army anymore, or too many die in this pointless war before we act, our plan won’t work out so well anyway.”

“Dammit William.” Nothing was said for a few moments, but William sensed Lorelei had more to say. “You’re right. How long do I have to get ready?”

“I’m planning to act in the morning. So, however fast news travels. Maybe a week or two, depending.”

“Fine… I hate to rush, but it can’t be helped. Listen, just promise me one thing.”

“What is it?”

“…Don’t die.”

“Of course. I don’t want to ruin the plan by disappearing for a long time.” There was silence for a handful of seconds before William continued, “Did you forget I would reincarnate for sure? Dying for me is just like a bad injury. Speaking of which… you aren’t allowed to get yourself injured.”

“Because it would ruin the plan?”

“Because I love you and don’t want you to get hurt.”

“Right. Listen, I-” Lorelei took a deep breath, “I wasn’t thinking about the plan there either, okay? I also…” Lorelei breathed out slowly, “I also love you, William.” Then Lorelei laughed, “It’s stupid. It’s been so long since I’ve said those words to anyone but my brother… and even to him.”

“I understand. I’ve been lucky to be around family recently so I have more practice. I really mean it though.” William paused for a few moments, “I really should get to sleep. I have a lot of work to do in the morning. We’ll talk again soon.”

“Indeed. It’s funny, thinking that we’re so far away and can talk so easily. The rest of the world could use this.”

“As soon as we can get everyone to stop killing each other, I agree. I’d love to spend some time in the lab with you again.”

“Oh? Sure you don’t want to spend the time somewhere else instead? I can think of a few places.”

“… Well, we don’t have to only be in the lab. I really do have to sleep now. Goodnight.”

“Goodnight, and good luck.”

—–

The first thing Jordan saw upon leaving his tent was Lord Rutten. “Greetings, sir.”

“Good morning. I’m heading into the pass again. I’ll be around the bend, so you won’t see me, but keep the men ready. However, don’t follow me. Just keep ready in case you see me coming followed by an army.”

“What, gonna go yell at them that they’re cowards that won’t come out of their keep?”

“Ha, not particularly. If everything goes well, I won’t be much closer than shouting distance though.”

Jordan shrugged, “Good luck then. I’ll keep the men ready.”

Jordan watched as Lord Rutten walked off into the pass. More than an hour passed, which was enough time to walk to the end and back. That meant he was probably still scouting around for some special method to victory. Jordan doubted one existed. He didn’t relish the idea of losing good men that they spent so much effort training over nothing, but there didn’t seem to be other options. Perhaps if they did nothing, they might actually save lives… but Lord Rutten and Jordan himself would almost certainly be executed. Then the army would be under someone else’s command, and they would lose more lives than if they attacked. Jordan didn’t like that idea at all, and wasn’t planning to die for others anyway. He had his own ambitions to fulfill still.

A booming sound echoed through the pass, just barely audible to Jordan’s ears. It clearly came from far away. Was it the echoes of shouting? Perhaps the entire enemy army was yelling for some reason. It could have been something else instead, because it wasn’t clear enough for Jordan to recognize for certain if it was even speech. The sounds continued for about an hour. Sometimes, they were louder, sometimes they faded to almost nothing or stopped entirely.

“Sir?” one of the battalion commanders asked Jordan, “What’s going on? Should we go to assist Lord Rutten?”

Jordan shook his head, “Our orders are to wait here, at the ready. If Lord Rutten requires assistance he will send a message or return.”

A few minutes later, another soldier arrived. “Sir.” He saluted Jordan. “The mages have some concerns they would like to bring to your attention.”

“Very well. I shall go see them.” It took less than a minute for Jordan to ride over to the contingent of mages. In a battle, they would be spread out according to need, but for the moment they were organized as one group. “You had something for me to hear?”

The captain of the trained mages nodded, “That’s correct sir. Everyone has noticed the noises, of course, but I believe we have seen something the others might have missed.”

“And that is?”

“You can see mana and use magic, of course, but it is our primary job to do so. Whereas you might not take note of it in your daily life, we are quite keen on changes from the norm.” Jordan didn’t say anything more, but raised an eyebrow. “Ah, the thing is sir… The mana here is thinning. It’s just a little bit, but looking at it, it’s much, much thinner as we look toward the bend in the valley, and the mana is flowing that way. Here it’s not so noticeable, but if you concentrate hard you might see a more significant flow off in the distance. We’re worried that Lord Rutten might be under the bombardment of a large number of mages.”

“I see.” Jordan nodded, “We are under orders not to follow him, but I understand your concerns. I will go myself to take a closer look… but first, I must deal with something else.” He nodded toward the company of gevai that was approaching from the fort with Lord Kendrick at the head, then turned back to the mages as he rode off. “Keep an eye out to see if the situation changes any.”

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