Wizard! Chapter 162
“I just need to know… are you the right one?” the old man asked William.
“Am I? How should I know? I don’t even know why or how you were looking for me.” William paused for a moment. “I do have important information though.” William supposed that they could have noticed him on the previous trip, or taken Dong Xin’s first trip into account, and decided they would listen to them. However, that wouldn’t explain why they were looking for Chris. William couldn’t be sure if they were looking for Chris when they passed through previously, because he had been fully covered up.
“If you have a message you think is important and that staff, then you are the right one.”
“How can you know that? What if someone else had this staff? What if someone faked it?” William thought for half a second, “Nevermind, don’t answer that, I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining.”
The old man chuckled slightly. “I can see that you actually care about those answers. While I can’t explain the precise details… it should not be easy for someone to fake having that staff, especially since they would have no reason for it. As for actually possessing it… it should be unlikely, or we would not be looking for whoever had it.”
“Ah… thank you for the explanation. You said listening to my message is not your job? Does that mean I should meet someone else?”
“That is correct.” The elder nodded to the group who had brought them here. “These men will escort you, and your companions if you wish, to the capital. Unless you have pressing business to attend to elsewhere?”
William shook his head. “Nothing that should be more important than this.”
“This is too easy.” William said to Dong Xin.
“Too easy?” Dong Xin gave William a doubting look. “What about getting arrested by the knights and then convincing them to help you?”
“They were very reasonable people. Besides, I was totally prepared to be executed.”
“What about saving the apprentice of the Archmage in Eclea even though you were being investigated by her?”
“To be honest I think that was just the final piece of the puzzle. Those in Eclea seem quite reasonable as well, and I had been working on showing myself to be useful and not a threat.”
“Fine, fine. What’s so bad about being taken directly to the capital, presumably to those we need to meet with?”
“It’s suspicious! Why were they looking for me? Well, for Chris? They shouldn’t even know about him! He’s been hidden from the public. Why aren’t you worried this could be a trap?”
Dong Xin shrugged. “It might be a trap, but I see no reason to worry if it is. You are quite a capable fighter now, and we have these two and myself. I think it is worth whatever risk you see.”
William shook his head. “Obviously I think so too… otherwise we wouldn’t be going. Still…”
Dong Xin had told William about the barrier… or ward… or whatever it was that kept people away from the capital city. William supposed it was a ward, since it didn’t physically prevent entrance to the city, but the name for it didn’t matter much. William kept an eye out for any of the pillars that would be part of the ward’s foundation, but he didn’t see any. On the other hand, it was highly probable that they would be both buried in the sand and out of the range of his sight anyway.
William did ask Dong Xin and Chris to watch for signs of it, since they were the only ones who would be able to see a magical barrier. After many days of travel toward where the capital was, they were close enough to actually start looking. Chris noticed it first, glowingly slightly to inform William. He couldn’t see or feel anything, but he believed it was there. Dong Xin confirmed it shortly. However, instead of anything William had expected, such as pulling out magical tokens or moving to a specific place, they just walked through the ward.
Now that Dong Xin was specifically looking, he could tell that the area inside was also actively doing something to confuse direction. It seemed like their guides were walking in a strange pattern, but it turned out to be that they were actually just continuing straight forward. Then, Dong Xin noted the end of the ward’s effect. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to figure out how it worked, but that was mostly William’s curiosity that made it important anyway.
Shortly, they came into sight of the city. Unlike Ostana and Eclea with their wizards towers, or even Liaoyang, the city of Jeim was very flat. The buildings appeared short and squat, but that was mostly in comparison. The city was bustling with people going about their day to day business, even in the evening when they arrived. The first thing they did was find an inn, which William was grateful for. Tents were tolerable, but he much preferred sleeping in a real building, on a real bed, even if both the building and bed were different than what he was used to.
When they mounted up on their camels in the morning, William had assumed they were going to meet with whoever it was that he was supposed to meet. However, he soon noticed that they were leaving the city. “Where are we going? I thought I was supposed to see someone in the capital?”
The man leading him nodded. “That is correct. We are heading to the capital.” He waved his hand to indicate the city they were leaving. “This city is merely the one that outsiders are allowed to know about, and have in the past been allowed to visit. The real capital is still almost a day’s journey away.”
“The real capital?” William turned to look at the city they had just left. Though it was smaller than Canta, it was still a sizable city, especially considering that the population of Ustil was much lower. “Why hide the real capital… as well as the ‘fake’ capital?”
The man shook his head. “I do not know why this city here is hidden… however you will understand why we wish to keep Jeim itself secret.”