Wizard! Chapter 126
While the group travelled on the road, after the initial flight, Big Sister Li spoke up. “So, what exactly happened William? I mean, I heard what happened, but…”
William shrugged. “We went to visit the Archmage. He admitted to burning the records of the previous archmages instead of saying he disagreed with the records or found them to be inaccurate or stating any acceptable action. So I kicked the filthy traitor out of his big, fancy window.”
“Wait, you just kicked him out the window?” She paused. “Was it really that easy? I mean… he was an Archmage.”
“I’ll have you know Archmages have a long tradition of dying. Some of them quite easily. This one didn’t look like he took my advice on keeping up the practice of melee combat… though to be fair I didn’t really give him much of a chance to get ready.”
Yu Li nodded. “Okay. Umm, wasn’t the whole point to get the wizards to prepare for the war with the Demon King?”
“Well, based on his attitude, I’m pretty sure they’re closer to the goal than they were before. Since he was going in the wrong direction. Plus, there weren’t any wizards there. Just rich fops with the ability to do magic.”
“From everything I saw, they stopped taking students who weren’t of noble blood. Thus, they denied themselves the chance to recruit most wizards. I mean, even if they were horribly predisposed toward ‘commoners’, I would have expected them to at least give them the most menial jobs instead of not having them at all. Not that that would have been right, but it would have been more profitable. There is only so much you can do with a small number of wizards.” William paused to think for a few moments. “I wonder what happened to those with potential. We know they were hunting down some of those who practiced magic, but they wouldn’t have had the manpower or the ability to get away with hunting down everyone, including those who just had potential. Hopefully they wouldn’t have been able to get away with that either. So, there should be some who fled to other countries, practiced in secret, or who just gave up on the idea of practicing magic.” William pointed to some fields they were passing by. “These fields we have been passing by, I hadn’t realized until now, but they’re… underwhelming. Certainly, there are even more fields than when I lived here before, so food is not a problem. However, each field is… less. The plants are smaller, and less healthy looking. Except some fields, which seem to be properly growing.”
Yu Li replied, “These fields looks healthy enough to me.”
William waved his hand dismissively. “Oh sure, it’s healthy enough. It could just be doing so much better. You’ve seen a few of them.”
“I bet those fields have wizards to assist them in growing.”
William nodded. “Exactly. What do you think the wizards are doing to help those certain fields?”
“Umm… “ She furrowed her brow in thought. “Well, they could be using their magic to promote the growth of the individual plants, maybe, or enchanting the soil. Those both seem terribly inefficient, though. I’m not really an expert on plant life, so I can’t say how they would accomplish that, except perhaps a single field per wizard.”
William nodded. “It could also be done by having a wizard create, or really pull together a proper mixture of soil. However, that wouldn’t help that much. Instead, the best thing they could do is distribute the knowledge of how to properly do that without magic.” William shook his head. “I don’t know the details on that, though. Other than that, these fields seem to be all full, instead of properly rotating crops to let the ground naturally replenish its nutrients.” William coughed, then put on his best old man voice. “Back in my day,” he waggled his finger, “Wizards just advised farmers as a whole with the knowledge on how such things work.” William paused, and returned to his normal voice. “Now, it seems like the knowledge has been forgotten… or actively suppressed. That bugs me.”
“So… why do the fields matter? Except for probably making poor farmers stay poor and rich ones stay rich?”
“People need to eat. In war, people need to produce food efficiently. That’s not being done. Plus I just don’t like things being inefficient if it can be helped.”
Dong Xin spoke up some time later. “I understand your reasoning for your actions in the moment. However, now that you have had time to think about it, would you change your actions?”
William pondered for a few moments longer, then nodded. “Yeah. I’d warn you first. Other than that…” he shook his head. “Not that I’ll say I thought this far ahead at the time, but it’s really better to cause this chaos now while we have time than later. Sure, we could have tried to convict him with evidence, but something being gone is hard to show. It would have taken forever to make any progress, and then they would have been prepared. I’m sorry about ruining your alliance though. Hopefully the Cyril family will be willing to help us even after this… At least they seem to be on the right side, even if they don’t seem that powerful currently. Though, there must be something about them, or otherwise…” William just trailed off, thinking about the demoness. He might as well call her Lorelei. She wouldn’t just pick random people to help, though he didn’t really know what her requirements were. Besides being willing to try to kill the Demon King, possibly forever. The knights, or possibly just the Dragonfoe family, seemed to have kept up friendly relations with them, at least for a time. However, even with that, it had only been suggested that William could find refuge with them, but not guaranteed, though he brought with him a letter that might be helpful.
During the journey, the lack of people chasing bothered William. Not that it wasn’t good to not be followed, but he felt like there should be people after him. Even though he knew that nobody could come after him if they didn’t know where he went, or possibly even that he was gone. He still felt like he should have more trouble escaping… but then again, the knights had been the ones to capture him in the city, as well as the ones who let him go. They managed to find and capture him without even enough time to have much communication from the wizards guild. However, the wizards had mostly just been standing around dumbfounded. Now that they didn’t even know he was gone, there wasn’t really much they could do.
As they were travelling along, William was rather quiet, even on the topic of magic or ki cultivation. That wasn’t normal at all, so Dong Xin directly asked, “What is bothering you, William?”
William thought about that for a while. Then he sighed. “I’ve never killed someone outside of war or self defense. It’s bothering me, now that the whole situation is over and I have time to think about it. I was too busy with… other things during my whole imprisonment. Now that I’m relatively safe, it bothers me.”
“Really?” Dong Xin thought for a few moments. “If he deserved to die, then it doesn’t matter how it happened. Though, no matter how morally justified you might be, there are certainly consequences depending on the method, as you can see. Besides, this is war. Part of the ongoing war with the Demon King. In war, not to mention just negligence, but actively destroying information is a serious crime.”
“What if I kill someone who doesn’t deserve it?”
“Mistakes happen. That might get you killed. Hopefully, it won’t get anyone else killed.” He looked at William. “I’m not going to tell you that it’s better to kill everyone who deserves it, even if some innocents get involved, but I’m also not going to tell you that you shouldn’t. You know that actions have consequences. Therefore, you must act, or choose not to act. Either way, be deliberate, and live- or die with it. Whatever you do, make sure it is your choice.” He paused for a moment. “Though, in your case, you might have to both die and live with it.” That last part didn’t particularly make William feel better… but he understood the point. He needed to stop pretending he was back on Earth where he could ignore the wars that were happening because they wouldn’t affect him and he didn’t have the capacity to affect them.