Wizard! Chapter 158
After knocking out the last bounty hunter, William looked around for the guards that had been always in the tavern at the same time as Amelia. After he specifically mentioned them, they stepped out from the far end of the alleyway. “We’re not slow. You seemed perfectly fine to us.”
William shook his head. “Sure, I was fine, but what about her?” he gestured to Amelia.
“We were going to act the same moment you arrived… and then we were no longer needed.” One of the two gestured to a bow they were holding. “It’s not like we couldn’t have helped at any moment.
William shrugged, and turned to Amelia. “Are you alright?”
Amelia briefly rubbed her throat. “I’m fine, thank you. I must say, I didn’t expect an apprentice wizard to be so… proficient at melee combat.”
William shrugged. “Liaoyang doesn’t really produce much in the way of wizards. In fact, I’m still not much of a wizard. However, we do have other things.” He looked down at the bodies. “What do we do with these guys?”
Amelia’s guards shrugged. “While bounty hunting is legal… it’s not legal to hunt bounties from other countries that aren’t also valid here. It’s likely these fellows knew that, and thus they’ll have to pay a small fine of their heads after we interrogate them. We especially don’t like those who go after honorable members of the wizard’s guild.”
Amelia turned to William. “Thank you for your help, though I might ask how you knew that I needed help…”
William answered, “You were late, so I searched around with a ki ability… actually, I noticed these fellows first.” William gestured to the men lying on the ground, who were currently being tied up. “They had been hanging around the same cafe for a few days, seeming a bit suspicious since it seemed a bit… fancy… for them. Today they seemed especially suspicious, so I followed them, and then found you.”
Amelia was wrapped up in taking care of the incident, so she ended up leaving and not coming to the cafe that day. She also didn’t show up for the next few days. William presumed that she was busy with other things as well, because it had sounded like the incident with the bounty hunters would be rather easily wrapped up.
He thought back on that incident, and was worried that they had mentioned him. Had they somehow recognized him from old bounty posters? That was unlikely, but unfortunately they did have his real name on them. It was unlikely they had been primarily after him, but since he knew his bounty was rather large, any worthwhile bounty hunters from Ostana would at least be aware of the incident, and they might be willing to investigate any people from Liaoyang they saw.
What bothered William most, however, was that it was mentioned in front of Amelia. That could cause problems. Perhaps normal guards might not care about a bounty from Ostana that Eclea had decided wasn’t valid, but that didn’t mean that wizards wouldn’t be somewhat wary of two people accused of killing an Archmage entering their country. Then again, maybe the worries were for nothing, since if anything was going to be done it would have likely already happened.
However, when Amelia showed up with a serious look on her face, William’s hope slightly started to fade. William wasn’t really sure what he was going to do. He’d thought about various situations, and how he would react in them, but in the end he couldn’t really say what would actually happen. It ranged between almost as bad to possibly even worse than being completely unprepared. One thing that did give William a bit of confidence is that she hadn’t shown up with a group of people prepared to arrest him, though he did see her two normal guards take places elsewhere in the cafe as normal.
“You don’t look like you’re just here to chat.” William decided to be as straightforward as possible.
“Wouldn’t that be nice.” She sat down across from him, half glaring at him, though he didn’t feel as if she were particularly angry at him. He couldn’t say for sure, though.
“Well, some people want answers to some relatively stupid questions, but they also don’t want me to take the time to do my job properly. Since attempting to bring you in for interrogation would be stupid, and both trying and succeeding would be unpleasant for both of us, I’m just going to be straightforward. I’ve already concluded that you aren’t a threat, but some people aren’t satisfied yet, so you’re going to help me come up with reasons that might penetrate some thick skulls.”
William nodded. “That sounds fine… did it get quieter?” That wasn’t exactly a question, since William could tell that the sound around had muted… in fact, they had stopped entirely. He could still see people lips moving, however.
“It’s better to not say too many things for everyone to hear,” She shrugged. “First question. Are you a demon, and how can you prove you aren’t?”
William just stared for a few moments. “Wow, that is a stupid question. Besides the fact that enchantments were dispelled on me at the border and I still look just like this… let’s see… I don’t have horns.” He leaned forward, and Amelia touched around on his forehead.
“That’s a quite good start. Then… how did you, as a wizard, defeat four people with just a staff?”
“I used ki. I’m mostly a ki cultivator, just like basically everyone from Liaoyang who can fight. These guys only used a really bad method of body training, so though they were rather fast and tough, they weren’t anywhere near the level of knights from Ostana or presumably your guards.” William paused for a moment. “I know this is off topic, but I have a question. How are you getting the energy to maintain this sound dampening field?”
“You’re right… that is off topic.” Amelia shrugged, “I suppose I can answer… but how do you think it works?”
William had already been thinking about that very subject, and it had been distracting him, which was why he had to ask. He hadn’t actually been able to tell when she even chanted, which meant that either it was being produced by some kind of magical item, or she knew that magic could be used without a specific chant. However, which of those it was didn’t matter. “Well, if this field was set up with a magical item, it could have some amount of stored mana, but the area seems a bit too specific for that. So, maybe it’s using the energy from the sound absorbed as an energy source somehow.”
Amelia nodded. “The second one, as you can see.”
William shook his head. “I actually can’t. It takes more than just a little concentration for me to be able to see mana at all. I’m not a great wizard.” William wasn’t sure what it would take more than concentration, but whether it was a little or a lot of concentration, he couldn’t see mana. He still had some ideas about what it was that allowed wizards to see mana, but still hadn’t confirmed any of them.
“…Interesting. I suppose we should continue with the questions. What do you know about the death of the Archmage Cecil Lockridge?”
William had thought that question would come up. He knew that the bounty hunters would have told about his bounty, if Amelia hadn’t already had knowledge of it. He could say he was falsely accused, which wasn’t even close to the truth but was a lie William felt was perfectly acceptable. He also had some other idea in mind, but for some reason his mouth spoke without authorization from his brain. “Oh, that? I kicked his pretentious, fat body out of his window.”
Amelia just stared for a moment, as if she had expected almost any other answer. “Sorry, what?”