Wizard! Chapter 109
The caravan had the good fortune to not run into any more bandits, though perhaps it wasn’t fortune at all. After all, there could only be so many bandits, and they would rather attack a less well defended caravan. Their path was also taking them deeper into the Endless Forest. It may not have been too dangerous to travel the roads, but living there was another matter.
The deeper forest was more likely to have things such as dire wolves. Incidentally, they cared very little about how well a caravan was defended in most cases. This was obvious to William when he found himself staring at nine dire wolves. Not by himself, of course. In fact, he didn’t even have to fight them. After all, he wasn’t part of this caravan as a guard.
He didn’t have to… but he wasn’t going to not fight. Since, he could, he felt it would be rude to not participate. Plus, he really, really wanted to fight. He wanted to hit something. He also wanted to see how he compared to himself from before, and this was a reasonable test. Dire wolves should hopefully be about the same strength as before, which would be a useful metric.
Although his hormones might have told him to run out to meet them, William was in fact smarter than that. He waited for them to engage the guards before he moved to assist one. This particular guard used a sword, which was quite common. William had to admit it was a good weapon. Unlike the knights he had fought with in the past, the caravan guard was lightly armored, though William knew there was also a layer of ki defending him. The guard was quite agile, dodging claws and teeth, and slashing with his sword as a counter. The fur of the dire wolves was almost like armor, however, so the wounds weren’t yet serious.
William moved in to the side of the wolf, thrusting with his staff. Although he didn’t have a systemized technique for it, William also added fire into his attack, as well as a layer of ki, as normal. The wolf, though agile for its size, was still a large target, so William’s attack connected more or less as intended. There was a nice solid impact, and the fur and side burned, though it didn’t contain enough force to move the wolf. William was disappointed in that, because he felt that he had hit harder before, without ki. On the other hand, the time he was thinking of he was an adult with a good amount of body training… and wielding Chris, which William realized would significantly skew any comparison he could have made.
The wolf obviously felt some pain from William’s attack, as it turned to focus on him, swiping with a claw. William retreated, swinging his staff at the paw, mostly as a deterrent. However, his staff was still coated in a layer of fire, which left a slight scorch on the paw, though it didn’t particularly lose any power. However, William had mostly been out of its reach to begin with.
The guard didn’t miss the opportunity to attack, and the dire wolf soon found itself with much worse wounds, as William and the caravan guard whittled it down. William couldn’t say that he was comparable to his previous self, but he thought that his previous self without Chris would at least not have been too much stronger. On the other hand, how strong was a wizard without magic, really?
After the battle, William couldn’t help thinking of Chris, becoming nostalgic. This was amplified by how close they were getting to Ostana. He couldn’t hide it, and Big Sister Li noticed.
“What are you thinking about?”
“That was… your staff?”
“And my friend.”
“Do you miss your friends often?”
William nodded. “I do. Though, not to sound morbid… I miss Chris more because everyone else I knew is dead… but he should still be around somewhere.”
Big Sister Li sat in thought for a few moments. “What about that demoness you met? She’s probably still alive.”
“Well, yeah. She’s not my friend though.”
“Really?” she tilted her head, “You seemed pretty happy when you were talking about your discussions with her.”
“I try not to be friends with people who had probably done gruesome experiments, and probably cursed one of my best friends.”
“Cursed? Oh, Chris?” She stroked her chin, “Thinking about it another way, you never would have met if that didn’t happen.”
“Coincidental goodness doesn’t make up for intentional evil.”
“You can say that all you want, but you don’t sound sure of whether she actually did anything. She did help you after all.” She patted William on the head. “Either way, Chris told you he was invincible, right? I’m sure you’ll meet him again.”
William nodded. “I’ll certainly try. However, there are more important things to do in Ostana.”
As the journey continued, it remained uneventful, though long. At the border, they were met by a checkpoint. Since the caravan had come through before, it was a relatively simple process. Everyone was still checked over, comparing to a few wanted posters, but they didn’t seem to actually expect to find anyone. Indeed, they didn’t. Those who weren’t part of the caravan’s merchants and guards still had to give reasons for entering the country. William, Dong Xin and Yu Li had prepared a story that wasn’t fictional, but not entirely true. Dong Xin and Yu Li were wizards on the way to visit the wizard’s guild, and William was there interpreter. The guards were slightly suspicious at William’s apparent age… but he spoke perfectly and without an accent, so he could obviously fulfill his role. Likewise, Dong Xin and Yu Li were wizards, though Dong Xin only barely qualified. He had slightly cleaned up his appearance so he wouldn’t look like a hobo.
After the fairly routine checks and some reasonable taxes, the caravan continued past the border. Though there was still some distance of the Endless Forest to go, it didn’t extend as far into Ostana. William was excited, as he would soon be able to see and recognize the country he had called home for his entire previous life.