William practiced the inner energy, at least the best he knew how. By using it. Over a few weeks, it felt like he had a little bit more, and was more efficient at using it. Still, it wouldn’t be any good except for in short bursts. What was it? William wasn’t sure about that, but he was sure that his world had a seriously lack of detailed information on things. He wasn’t sure if anyone had the pieces of information he wanted, but if they did, it wasn’t available to him.
In addition to his physical training, which he felt was useful to keep up for various reasons, William also continued his academic studies. There were many things to learn, though the practical applications weren’t always apparent. His forays into alchemy let him come across some magical herbs, with effects that couldn’t be compared to normal medicine. Yet, they were very rare. More importantly, they were rarely solely beneficial. Most of them were poisonous to some degree or another, and this couldn’t be removed without also ruining the desired effects, such as fixing scar tissue. There was nothing truly miraculous, though. It wasn’t like with the right herbs you could make a potion that would just close up your wounds on the spot. Even healing magic mostly just promoted natural healing, putting the body in a state that it would recover from things it possibly wouldn’t have before.
As for his studies of soul magic, he felt ashamed to even call it study. It was more just vague guesses. It was bothering him enough that he even brought it up to Lila once. He hadn’t particularly been planning to tell her about it, and the reason he wanted it. However, once it was brought up, he couldn’t just tell half-truths. Lila would know, and wouldn’t appreciate him hiding it from her… longer. As it was, she was somewhat upset. Just somewhat, though. “I’ll have you know I’m not still an immature kid. Even if I’m reckless sometimes, I’m not going to just go to try and defeat the demon king on my own. Not that one’s around.”
“Yeah… sorry. It’s just hard to know who I should tell about these things. I’ll try to trust you more in the future.” In fact, he’d somewhat noticed her increased maturity. Not that she wasn’t still childish sometime, but she acted her age when it was important. Still, William felt like he’d made a mistake in letting her find out.
Lila was known to go out on missions spontaneously, disappearing for months at a time. Thus, when he didn’t see her for six months, he wasn’t particularly worried. Then, he started inquiring. She wasn’t on any monster hunting missions or anything now. She was just gone. He didn’t want to think that she was going to do something stupid, but that was what he felt. Still, she had just declared her maturity, so maybe he would have to trust in her. It didn’t stop him from worrying though. Why didn’t she say something?
That said… William couldn’t imagine her dying. Getting into dangerous situations? Yes. Doing foolish things that caused even more danger? Absolutely. Dying? No. He imagined her blasting all the danger with fireballs, and then beating it over the head with her staff for good measure. It wasn’t entirely unfounded confidence either. However, he could also imagine her getting hurt, and he didn’t like that thought.
He kind of wanted to go after her, but didn’t. There were many reasons for this. He didn’t know where she was. She was also long gone, so he didn’t have any confidence in catching up even if he knew where she was and was going to. Lastly, he would probably just make it into two people missing, instead of being able to help in anyway. Thus, he decided he would have to be patient. No matter how little he liked it, especially once she had been gone for a year.
William was working on his connections as well. Though he didn’t particularly like people, as a general thing, he knew they had information of all kinds. The things he wanted most in every area of his life at this time were information. He kept up contact with Zhan Shengrui, so that he could hopefully find information on what plans, if any, Liaoyang had for dealing with the Demon King. He also kept up his contact with the knights, and started to reach out to other schools of wizards, though they were all smaller than the Ostana Wizard’s Guild.
He didn’t have any way to contact the rulers or the military of other countries, but it also wouldn’t have done much good to do directly. He certainly didn’t have the status to do that at this time anyway.
William also had a few contacts, met through his parents, among the merchants of Ostana. In addition, through Marius, he knew a few nobles. Specifically, some of the better ones, if not necessarily more rich and powerful. Just, more deserving of their status… more noble, based on the actual meaning of the word.
Even just maintaining relationships with these various groups got him unexpected information. Even if the information should have been expected, sometimes he surprised himself with his ignorance. He idly brought up the subject of inner power with Zhan Shengrui, not intending to get anything from him. However, Zhan Shengrui actually had some information, though not necessarily something great for William.
“That, actually… it’s something that the warriors of Liaoyang use. Unfortunately beyond that… it’s a very well kept secret. The various sects all keep their methods secret. Even if you had a large quantity of money, I doubt I could get you a proper cultivation method.”
William realized once again that he was pretty terrible at magic. Sure, he understood that he had zero magical talent, but the fact that he accidentally- though not without effort- stumbled across the beginning steps of another combat method said something. Not that William was a genius at inner energy, either. He knew that, because the knights used it subconsciously too. He just happened to have a little bit of conscious control, but he could tell that it wasn’t very effective. Still, William could use Chris to more than make up for his various weaknesses, so it wasn’t like he was weak.
Beyond that, he once again realized how little information was available to the public. If the humans shared their various methods, maybe they would all be much stronger, and easily defeated the Demon King. Then again, maybe the Demon King would learn what they could do, and become even stronger. Maybe… maybe he was already doing that. That was a possibility that scared William, especially because he knew it was at least a little bit true. How true… well, he would have to go over the records to confirm his suspicions, but what he currently remembered didn’t indicate he was going to be happy about the results.