Wizard! Chapter 135
William spent the better part of a week reacting very little. The first time he’d used Shattering the Soul, he had been too stunned by the resulting explosion and the results that followed that he hadn’t really had time to observe the aftermath. He was glad for that. Eventually, William returned to his training. Not because he was extremely motivated at the moment, but because of the very feelings of disgust, unpleasantness, pain, finality… and perhaps evil he’d felt from destroying a soul, and that was just one of a bee. The Demon King used a different method, but William doubted the results were any more pleasant, especially when considering the victims were humans instead of insects. William continued training various ki techniques, studying, learning languages… and just continuing with life. He noticed himself growing, and time passing, but it seemed quite rapid. The passage of time to him was now quite normal… so even another four years seemed rather small.
Dong Xin saw the border to Ustil. It wasn’t really a “border” so much as “the place designated as the border”. It was mostly just a series of guard towers placed at long distances. They didn’t have any capacity to actually stop anything, and that wasn’t their purpose. They were there as scouts. Though Ustil had not gone to war with Ostana in an extremely long time, it was still a possibility. In addition, bandits or magical beast attacks could occur. Thus, the guards were just there to keep watch, and they would send messages via eagle if something important happened.
What they weren’t there for was to keep people in or out. Though nominally they would watch for wanted criminals, if they were entering Ustil, nobody really cared. That was assuming they could even notice a lone traveller, which wasn’t usually the case. There was plenty of distance between the towers with almost six gross miles to cover.
Thus, Dong Xin had no trouble. He continued across the plains, as they gradually became sparser and sparser, finally turning into desert. There wasn’t any particular point where he could have exactly said that it happened, but it was not long before he found himself trudging through sand. At least, not in the grand scheme of things. It had been a good part of a day, and Dong Xin travelled quickly. Not quite as fast as a horse… but in the desert, a horse would likely be slower. He had heard that Ustil had other animals, camels, that they rode, but there weren’t any in Ostana, at least not publicly available. Perhaps if Ustil had any sort of resources to trade, there would have been some reason, but nobody wanted to enter Ustil, and apparently camels were just terrible horses if you weren’t in the desert. So he had heard, anyway.
Dong Xin had a map, though he knew it wouldn’t be the easiest thing to follow. After all, there were very few real landmarks in the desert. He had to rely on a compass, his sense of direction, the relative accuracy of the map, and a bit of luck. Though, he also had a starmap that could get him in generally the right area, though navigating by the stars wasn’t really specific enough for land travel. Dong Xin wasn’t worried about taking a bit longer wandering the desert before reaching his destination, however. He had food and water, and could obtain more.
Food was relatively “easier”. After all, it came to him… and tried to kill him. Though many desert creatures were poisonous or venomous… that didn’t mean they were dangerous to eat, so long as certain parts were avoided. Dong Xin had not been sitting idle in the year before he set out for Ustil, and he knew enough to survive. As for water, he might have had more trouble had he not learned magic.
Although he could create water using ki, it would generally be more effort than benefit. Generally, ki took on the properties of various things. It would act like flames (though this often caused ‘real’ flames as well), but it wasn’t the same as fire made by a wizard. It could create wind, but this was just moving the air around… the same as a wizard. It could be formed into a hard, rocklike defensive layer, but when it crumbled away it disappeared into nothingness. Meanwhile, with magic, he could call up a small defensive wall of earth. Its strength could be held by magic, or with more time and effort it could be made out of actual rock. According to William, the earth or rock was not created, but rather moved from elsewhere, though William grumbled something about energy whenever that sort of discussion happened. Still, regardless of the method, there was either a small pile of dirt or some amount of stone remaining. Finally, ki could take on the properties of water, but that was generally the limit of what was done. It could cushion against or deflect impacts as well as cool down flames. However, actually condensing water was much harder. Meanwhile, it was relatively easy with magic. That said, Dong Xin’s first thing to do upon reaching the desert was to test whether he could still create water. As he had been told, it was more difficult, but it was still possible. With Dong Xin’s talent, it may have been impossible with a normal length chant, but there was no reason he couldn’t take a minute or two to provide water for himself for a day or part of a day. The difficulty varied, but apparently water was available underground, sometimes very deep, but still there.
Thus, Dong Xin would survive just fine in the desert, unless he got careless and was killed by a scorpion, or lizard, or some such. However, even if he was stung by a scorpion, he would likely be able to expel the poison from his body before taking too much damage. He didn’t intend to find out, though.
After about two weeks of half-wandering through the desert, Dong Xin finally reached a village. It was small, merely a few dozen people. He found his reception was… rather rough. He wasn’t met with drawn blades- and they certainly had some of those, but he wasn’t greeted either. Though he’d learned the language, he wasn’t sure if he was speaking it poorly… or if they just chose to not listen to him. Perhaps it was a bit of both. Eventually, he determined it was pointless to stay in this particular village, for various reasons. They didn’t seem to have anybody extremely important here, either. Dong Xin needed to find the kinds of people who could make decisions about preparing for and going to war.