Wizard! Chapter 417
The only good thing about becoming king was that Lorelei had an excuse to come visit William. Other than that he would have preferred not to. It would be excellent if he wasn’t responsible for a whole country and just for himself.
Well, he was responsible for half a country that was in a civil war with the other half. He hadn’t wanted this position, but he supposed anyone who did want the position probably wasn’t a good idea.
Not all that much actually changed before and after the coronation, except everything felt heavier. Now he was responsible for everything that was happening instead of some of it. On the other hand, he couldn’t really do anything about most of it. Battles still went on in other territories, some won and some lost, and he couldn’t really affect those. The most useful thing he could do was make sure the communication network stayed running… but as long as nobody physically broke anything, it was fine.
He didn’t have to relay any data himself, as he had communications officers. There was always someone monitoring all of the phones, except a few like the that connected to Lorelei. Though instantaneous communication was wonderful, it became clear why there was constant advancement in the area on Earth. With a few dozen phones, there were rarely two being used at the same time… but sometimes it happened. Fortunately, dealing with that wasn’t William’s job.
Overall, there were more victories than losses. A strong early start by the southern lords was the biggest contributing factor to that. Their forces steadily advanced northward, by land and by sea. In certain areas they could bypass a city by traveling on ships and use that for a pincer attack. That was a useful tactic, but it was limited by the enemy navy. It was also limited by the ocean itself.
Near the coast was generally safe, but further into the sea there was always a chance of monster attacks. While monsters could be killed, they could cause damage to ships of almost any size- and that wasn’t something that could be ignored. Many boats had been crippled and sunk in the past, which was why not much outside the continent was explored. There were some nearby islands, but little else was known. Perhaps that was also part of the cause of the constant wars, as space was limited. That would be important to consider after everything was over.
To capture the Eternal King’s castle, William had advanced further than the rest of the frontlines. Now he had to wait or risk overextending. Not that waiting meant he was doing nothing, or not fighting at all. The northern lords weren’t sitting around doing nothing, after all. Some of the closest to his territory continually tried to invade, but they were driven off by Jordan.
William would like to say he had something to do with that, but his participation in the battles had been limited. He couldn’t always be off fighting at the frontlines as other things required his attention. The only exception was when other lords were involved in the battle.
Now his castle was under siege. That was the right terminology for it, even if he didn’t have enemies pressing up against his walls. However, there was an army sitting outside that would be able to prevent reinforcements from entering the castle or anyone from leaving. At least, not without a fight. William had plenty of supplies to last until Jordan could send enough reinforcements to fight them off, but they didn’t seem interested in remaining around for that long.
This time, the enemy lord was the one who had issued the challenge. William found that rather refreshing. Usually he was the one who had to do it. Now that he was technically a king, it could be considered demeaning if he was the one who issued the challenge… though he wouldn’t care about that too much. If he won, they would be dead, and if he lost he would be dead.
If this was any normal lord, William would go out and be back in time for tea. Of course, it wasn’t just any lord. While the various lords might be overconfident in their abilities, William’s defeat of over a dozen lords had made it clear he wasn’t weak. With the total number of lords being less than two gross, William was personally responsible for a very significant reduction in the number of lords- though he was appointing new lords to leaderless territories.
William had defeated enough lords of different strengths to make it clear that he was near the top in terms of combat strength. At least, there would only be a dozen or two who could have defeated the same other lords without suffering any serious injuries.
Lord Stirling was one of those. He took a position near the top, but of course nobody was exactly sure what the rankings of power were. Political clout and territory wealth were hard to measure, but personal power was even less exact. If two lords fought to the death, it could be said that the winner was stronger… but there could have also been a similar chance of the other winning. If they didn’t fight to the death, they wouldn’t have showed all of their abilities and thus it couldn’t be judged for sure.
Regardless, William knew Lord Stirling was strong. He was one of the most established older lords, and he was on the list. William wasn’t sure exactly how strong he would be, only that it would be significantly more than the others he had fought. Perhaps he would be immensely stronger, and William would lose… in which case it was inevitable.
William supposed he could sit behind his army and let them weaken him first. That solution seemed logical, as it was more important to win than do so in personal combat. However, there were other factors to consider. If he looked weak, those on his own side might be inclined to betray him. Then there were the other factors to consider. An army might not stand in their way. While William doubted that any of them could defeat an army alone, moving through it to get to him was another matter entirely. William had seen the Demon King wade through an army of humans, and though his troops would fare better individually they were also less numerous. Besides, William knew he could fight his way through to an enemy lord himself if he needed to. There was no reason to think they couldn’t do the same.
The most important point, however, was that William wanted to kill them in single combat if it was at all possible. He didn’t want people to be swept up in soul explosions, he didn’t want to have many lives die for the sake of one.
Defeating them was still the most important. If he couldn’t win the duel… he might run away and change strategies. He didn’t want to run, but if he couldn’t even run then there was no hope of him destroying their souls and stopping them forever. This combat should let him get some idea of how strong they would be. From there, he would either be dead or not and decide his course toward the future.