The scroll simply read “For the teacher: Come to Crescent Grass Valley at the new moon of the eight month, and you shall gain the information you desire.” It also had some more specific details on location. It was otherwise an extremely cryptic message. Since Lila had obtained it, she should at least believe it would have a good chance of being beneficial. William calculated the time it would take to get there, and he would have a few days to prepare before he had to leave.
First, though, he would talk to Lila to try to figure out where she had been, and what she had to say about the message. He had to wait until the next day for that, though, since she was so exhausted that she didn’t come out of her room. Once she came out, he started asking. “So, where have you been, Lila?”
“Hmm.” She frowned, “Well, it’s a secret.”
Not the most helpful of answers. “Is there anything you can tell me about this message?”
“I didn’t read it, but that person… well, they weren’t willing to tell me anything. However, they asked some questions, and said they would talk to my teacher… to you. They didn’t say why it had to be you.”
William sighed. “Why did you disappear without telling anyone? I can tell wherever you went, it was dangerous.”
Lila frowned again. “Because you would have tried to stop me. It was dangerous, yes, but so what? William, I know you’re right. Humans might be wiped out if nothing is done.”
“… I could have gone with you.”
“Could you have, though?”
“I can fight, you know. I even beat you in duels.”
“You can fight, yes. I know you can’t maintain an illusion all the time though. You have responsibilities here, being a teacher and organizing things.” Lila slightly smiled. “Me? I’m the type that can run off and do stupid things. I know that.”
“Is… ‘that person’ trustworthy?”
Lila shrugged. “Maybe. It’s hard to tell. However, they definitely know things you need to know. I can’t say any reasons for it, but… I think they probably are. It’s worth the risk, and… I’d almost rather risk myself than you.”
“Almost.” Lila actually grinned this time.
“… Should I bring anyone with me?”
Lila shook her head. “I don’t think they’d like that. If they actually have bad intentions… well, I don’t think it would help.”
“Even if it was you?”
Lila looked around evasively. “Umm… I think… I probably shouldn’t be there.” William thought she looked… scared. That didn’t make William more comfortable.
William found himself staring at a grassy, dark field. Traveling by himself (well, just with Chris) for a couple weeks was extremely boring. However, it did give William time to think. Though, that didn’t really make him feel more positively about this. However, as far as he could tell, it wasn’t a trap. Which just meant it wasn’t a trap, or it was a trap he wouldn’t be able to get out of. If asked if he was afraid of death, William would have said no. However, he still didn’t want to die at this age. After all, he was still young… again.
In addition to an ambush, William also didn’t see whoever it was he was supposed to meet. Everything was dark, especially since it was the new moon, but William could actually see relatively well. His night vision was actually quite good, for some reason. Maybe it was just his eyes in this life, or something else. He hadn’t really thought about it before, so he couldn’t compare different stages of his life.
“Well, Chris, here we go.” William walked out into the field, stopping next to a particular rock, which was easy to recognize. After waiting for a few minutes, a cloaked figure walked out. As they approached, Chris started glowing red. That meant, “enemy”. However, William didn’t need his warning. This person… was a demon.
William hadn’t seen a demon in person before, but it was pretty easy to tell. He probably wasn’t supposed to be able to see, because of the cloak, but he could. This person… this woman, had horns. It was dark so William couldn’t be sure, but he thought her skin might be reddish. This could certainly be a dangerous situation. However, if it was just one, he knew he shouldn’t run, or he would become vulnerable. Likewise, if it was an ambush, he was probably already surrounded, and thus also shouldn’t run. Should he attack? Well, William wasn’t sure what the right answer was, but he didn’t. Instead, he waited.
The demoness stopped about 5 meters away. “You are… Lila’s teacher?”
William nodded, and the demoness frowned.
“You are… young.”
William shrugged. “I’m older than I look.” Which was true… but not exactly in the way he made it sound.
“Well, you have the letter, so I suppose I will have to believe you.”
William indeed had the letter with him, but hadn’t taken it out. Somehow, she could sense it. Wonderful.
“Now then…” The demoness pointed her hand off to the right, toward the landmark boulder, and started chanting. “O, pyromancy I call upon thee, grant me thine strength and obliterate my opponents with a mighty conflagration!”
William knew he could reach her before she finished chanting. Chris was pulling him in that direction. However, William didn’t move. Not that he wasn’t ready to act if necessary, however… he felt that he didn’t need to move. Instead, he waited for the chant to finish.
Then, William saw something that he wasn’t expecting. Instead of a fireball, a lightning bolt shot out, through the boulder. That didn’t bode well at all. Demons already knew that chants were meaningless. His face fell. Then, the demoness spoke. “You don’t seem surprised. At least, not that this could be done. I suppose it could be you.”
“What could be me?”
“The teacher… and the inquisitive one. Ah, don’t worry,” She grinned, showing off sharp teeth, though William probably still wasn’t supposed to be able to see that, “My sources tell me that the Demon King doesn’t know how to subvert chants.”
William thought to himself, “He doesn’t know… but are you you going to tell him?” However, he decided to say nothing, since in theory he wasn’t supposed to know his contact was a demon. Unless she was not a contact, and just a very leisurely assassin. Instead, he just said, “Good. I have come to believe you know something about soul magic?”
“Hmm. Don’t enjoy chatting about magic, do you? Well, I do know what you seek.”
“Actually, I very much enjoy chatting about magic. However, generally I don’t do so with hooded figures. So, what can you tell me?”
“Very well then. I promise this is what you need, though it may not be exactly what you are seeking. What you want is details on soul magic. I am unable to provide that. However, I do have this.” She pulled out a scroll, much like the one with her initial message, since William was certain it was from her. Then, she tossed it over to him. “Go on. Read it. I’m sure it will be… enlightening.”
William unrolled it. It wasn’t long. All that was written was “Convert the soul to power. Destroy the cycle of reincarnation. Shattering of the soul.” Though that was all that was written, there was more to it. The words almost leaped off the page, into his head. William clearly felt it. He looked down at the scroll, and the words still remained. However, in his head, they were something more. All that William knew what that it was definitely not magic. After all, if it were the chant for a magic spell… well, it had already been shown that both parties here knew that was useless. There should have been a description of how to imagine the soul shattering, and details on how it worked. Instead, William only had a vague sense of something in his head.
The demoness laughed slightly. “Well, it doesn’t actually matter if you read it, I suppose. Someone generations down the road will need it, though. Maybe you can figure out what kind of person that someone is. What you do with it is up to you. Now then, I may get in contact with you in the future, if reason comes up. Until then…” She turned around.
“Wait.” William wasn’t sure why he stopped her. It seemed like he should probably have just let the demoness go. She was definitely dangerous, after all, even if she wasn’t hostile. “Why… are you helping out against the Demon King?”
“Why?” She laughed. “Because everyone hates the Demon King.” Then, she walked off.
William knew that wasn’t true. Even she didn’t sound like she believed that, if William was reading her tone right. However, he did believe that she hated the Demon King. That gave William some confidence.