William was nervous again, though he wasn’t doing anything dangerous or even painful. It was just that he had forgotten something about the awards ceremony. The reason he had tried so hard in the tournament was to get second place, and thus second pick from the items. That was because there were only really two things he had wanted. Everything else was only really useful if he had the ability to cast magic. After all, rings that help with controlling mana were great, but only if he could control mana in the first place. Likewise, everything else enhanced magical control or power in some way, except for one pair of defensive robes, and a very sturdy looking staff. The staff was for amplifying earth magic, and thus was tougher than other staffs would be, which was the only appeal to William.
Except, he no longer cared about the staff. After all, Chris was the best staff William could ask for… as long as the curse didn’t do anything to him. He still needed to figure that out. Maybe he did need another staff. However, he didn’t want another staff. Chris was awesome. Regardless, that wasn’t the problem at the current time. The problem was that he no longer needed the staff, thus there was only one thing he wanted. Lila was going to choose before him, and was currently in the room. If she chose the robe, he would be out of luck. He hadn’t thought about it before. He could have asked her to pick something else. If she chose the robe, though, he didn’t want to ask her to trade for something else, because it would be what she wanted most, and she had won. Plus, she didn’t have anything good, since she couldn’t afford to buy anything.
In a few minutes, William learned he was worried for nothing. Lila came out with a staff topped with a ruby. The wood was made out of a red wood, presumably able to enhance fire magic like the ruby. After seeing it, William wasn’t sure why he had even thought she would take anything else. She was able to cast defensive spells if she needed to, but having even more control of offensive spells suited her more. In addition, the staff would help with other types of magic than fire, just not as much.
Next, it was William’s turn to enter the selection area. The choices were arrayed across various tables. There were a few teachers watching, partly as a precaution, but they could also explain the abilities of the items. William already knew what he wanted though. His eyes settled on the robe. It was white, but had green runes down the sleeves, as well as two trails down the back of the robe. William confirmed its abilities with one of the teachers. It protected the wearer from attacks, both magical and physical. In addition, it had some self repair abilities. However, it could only protect from a certain amount of damage before it ran out of energy, and needed to recharge, which it would do by absorbing mana from the surroundings. Though it was a robe, it still looked easy to move in, which was also important.
After William, Marius chose a ring that helped with magic control. It wasn’t as powerful as a staff, but Marius explained that accessories such as rings were harder to make, and thus more expensive, even with less effect. Thus, it was worth more than any staff. This meant that he could buy a staff of similar quality to the ones offered as prizes for much less than the price of the ring. He had been saving up money to do such for some time. Although he was a noble like Geoff, his family was either poorer, or just less wasteful with the money. William thought it was a little bit of both, but more of the second. William didn’t wait around to see what anyone else chose.
William was outside with Chris. He had been trying to get specific information from him, but was finding it difficult. Not that Chris wasn’t willing to answer questions, but since he had only a limited choice of answers, he couldn’t communicate well. However, William had finally come up with an idea. Chris could move on his own. William had asked if he could write, and after a few questions, he determined that Chris knew his letters. At first, Chris had said no, but William determined that it was because he didn’t have hands, which was a reasonable reason to not be able to write. However, nothing was stopping Chris from scrawling answers in the dirt.
William started with the most pertinent question. “Earlier, you responded to my question about being cursed with something like ‘partly’. Is there any dangers I have to watch out for?”
Chris started writing on the ground. “No. People just called me cursed because I refused to let them use me and beat them up. It’s not like holding me will make you go crazy, or drain your life force, or cause you to grown an extra arm, or go bald early.” William wasn’t sure why Chris needed to give so many examples, but he thought maybe Chris just liked being able to express himself again. “Anyway, the curse is different. Basically, I’m a staff.”
“Right, so the curse is…?”
“Umm, that I’m a staff. Probably. I was a human, I think? I don’t really remember though. Anyway, then I was a staff.”
William felt that there was a lot of story skipped over. “Err, can you be un-cursed?”
“Probably not. Honestly, I don’t care, it’s been so long. I think I like being a staff just fine.”
“Umm, don’t you get bored? You were just waiting around for… a long time.”
“Bored?” Chris stopped to think for a while. “Nope. Not really.”
“Right… so, you’re okay with just being a staff now?”
“Yeah. I’ve been a staff way longer than I was a human. Though it was a little bit lonely not being able to talk to anybody.”
“… A little bit?”
“Well, I didn’t particularly like that being around people all that much. Besides, I got to see a few people around here and it was kind of fun to watch. Though, there have been less people around for the last bit. A few? Or maybe less, I don’t keep much track of time.”
“… How long have you been a staff?”
“No idea. Pretty long though. Not that I’ve done much. Though that’s changed recently. I hadn’t found anyone worth of wielding me before.”
“Can I ask what makes me worthy?”
Chris rolled across the ground to smooth out the patch he was writing on, then shook the dust off. He then started writing again. “Well, you talked to me. Then I felt, yeah, this person will be fine.”
“… That’s it?”
“You’d be surprised how few people actually tried to talk to me without commanding me to do something. Even those few that did, I didn’t feel like answering. Until you.”
William sighed to himself. It seemed it was just a stupid coincidence that he was able to, or rather allowed to, wield Chris. “Well, I think you’re pretty awesome, can I still keep using you as a staff? It doesn’t bother you.”
“I am a staff, so it would be a shame not to. Don’t worry about asking me to do things, if I don’t want to, you’ll know.”
William nodded to himself. Chris certainly had been able to show his displeasure with people in the past, and wasn’t shy about it. William was just glad that the curse wasn’t a problem, though personally William thought he would have wanted to become a human again.