Wizard! Chapter 172
After William had a week to relax in Liaoyang, he discussed future plans with his grandfather, Yu Jian. “About the clan in the west… is there anything I can do to help there?”
Yu Jian shook his head. “I don’t think there is anything in particular you can do. A single person more or less won’t change things, and you don’t have any infiltration skills to speak of.” William nodded. He was still pretty inexperienced in the area of subtlety. “However, we have received information about things coming to a head in Ostana. There has been commotion among the various noble families, and the royal family… and the knights and wizards are also involved. I am not sure if there is anything you can do… or even if returning to Ostana would be wise. However, I felt that you should know. As for whether you go or not, that is something you should decide after you think carefully.”
William sat in his room, thinking. He supposed he should have been thinking about whether or not it was a good idea to go to Ostana, but instead he was just thinking about his room. It wasn’t very large, and contained only a simple bed, a small cabinet where he stored his clothes, and a desk. The desk currently had a half written letter on it. It was to go to Amelia in Eclea. Though they did have others ways to communicate now, the method William had devised involving the disks was not only new but also only for emergencies. William supposed that whoever was watching the disks would be waiting anyway, but it seemed like a bad precedent to set to send letters that could really wait.
Beyond the essentials, William didn’t have much of anything else in his room. When he had been Archmage he’d had piles of notes, but he didn’t really have that many at the current time. Of course, he’d only been around for eighteen years this time, so he hadn’t had that much time to collect notes. Most of what he had were musings on cultivation, though since the recent trip to Eclea, he had some thoughts on magic now as well. What kinds of things could be done with magic that he hadn’t considered? It had to be said that while computers were quite complex, they were that way because they were a collection of almost unfathomably large numbers of simple things. Not that William was planning to try to make a computer, for various reasons, but simply adding more transistors displaying a binary “on” or “off” could produce incredible results. The disks were much the same way, but nobody had seen it. It wasn’t that they were stupid, but rather just that they weren’t looking for it. William thought he might have missed it too, but he just happened to be in the right state of mind. As the Archmage, he’d been too fixated on the thoughts of the world being a sort of medieval fantasy type world to actually come up with any advances.
Of course, before he’d been archmage he had been a researcher, but that had mostly been in theoretical areas that weren’t yet of practical use. Perhaps they never would be. The biggest thing he’d done was try to make his students truly learn what he was trying to teach, and moreso how to think. William couldn’t say he accomplished that in most cases, but Eclea was headed in the right direction. He had been in contact with Eclea, but he wasn’t sure if he could take credit for how things turned out at all. At the very least, they were responsible for their own achievements, even if he had encouraged them to think along the right path. William couldn’t actually remember the details of any letters that had been exchanged, only that there were occasionally interesting problems sent back and forth, looking for different perspectives. Unfortunately, William had only lived until about forty-five years old, when he’d died in a battle with a demon lord. Well, he’d actually died after the battle, killed by the Lockridge family, but the last thing he remembered was the demon lord.
William had spent more than twice the amount of time in Ostana as he had been alive in this life, and that wasn’t even counting that almost a third of this life was spent there as well. He was wanted in Ostana, and even though he was older he was still recognizable as the same person. However, upon even just a little bit of thinking he knew this wasn’t going to stop him from going back. He didn’t have to think about that, but rather only had to think about how. Though he could get past the border, that would only do so much good for him. He could of course visit the Cyril family, there was no reason that they wouldn’t welcome his presence. However, even though in the capital of Canta the knights would be fine with his presence, they wouldn’t be fine if people knew they were letting a wanted criminal roam around free.
He could try the simple approach and wear a mask, but that would limit the areas he could go, and only arouse more suspicions. He thought of using magic to disguise his features, but Chris wasn’t capable of using such fine manipulation of magic. As for doing the same thing with ki, William didn’t know any disguise techniques. He couldn’t think of any way that it would be done with ki, either. He could produce a bright effect, and glow with light, but subtle manipulations of light were much harder. Producing a disguise with magic was actually also quite difficult, but William imagined that the demoness had been practicing magic for a very long time. Even between when she’d seen him as Archmage and when he’d met her again at the Cyril manor, over 150 years had passed, which was enough time to practice anything. William knew that with 150 years, or 15… or even a few, William knew he could develop a ki technique that would work for disguising. However, that didn’t seem like a good use of his time. Thus, he went to ask someone he thought would know.
“You want to not be noticed?” Dong Xin grinned after hearing William’s request. “I’d say that you should let your hair get messy, grow some stubble, and wear rags. That will make people act as if you don’t exist. However, since you’re thinking of going to Ostana, well… a bum with the features of someone from Liaoyang would just stick out like a sore thumb. The solution is still rather simple in your case. Grow a beard. You’re at the point where you can grow a real one… more or less. That will cover up the shape of your face… and with the six years of difference, nobody will be able to definitively say that you are the one in the wanted posters. Maybe if they shave your face… but I’m sure you can keep them from doing that. If anyone actually accuses you, you can just say that they think that everyone from Liaoyang looks the same. Counter accusations might not fool the smart ones… but most of the smart ones are on your side, I believe.”
William had considered a beard, but since he’d been recognized by bounty hunters in Eclea, he had thought it wouldn’t be enough. However, they might have also been guessing somewhat at his identity. Since he had interrupted their ‘work’ and had looked vaguely like one of the more expensive wanted posters, they might have been willing to just assume his identity and sort things out later. With the addition of a beard, he should be different enough. If things went poorly… well, the only ones William expected to be able to catch him weren’t invested in it, so he should be fine. Not that he was planning to rush into things without more thought.