William had been dealing with people too much lately. He wasn’t good with people to begin with, and dealing with stubborn people was worse. Though there were some reasonable people who understood the threat the Demon King would pose next cycle, there were also those who didn’t. They were the type who wouldn’t plan for the future because it wouldn’t affect them or their immediate descendants. They refused to believe the evidence William provided, and William thought they were stubborn and stupid. It was possible that stupid wasn’t true, but they weren’t doing a good job of showing that to William.
These various people were both near and far. Some were nobles from Ostana, and even the city of Canta, and some were from other countries. What bothered William the most was that he wasn’t even asking for anything from them other than that they think ahead to a few generations down the road. At least a few of them realized that it was reasonable to at least pretend to take his advice. Perhaps even some of these actually would.
There were also wizards who fell in this same box. Geoff, and those like him. They didn’t understand, even though William had shown them convincing numbers, such as the percentage of wizards compared to the population. The total numbers were still going up, so they weren’t worried. Some of them probably understood, but didn’t understand why they should contribute to the effort to solve the problem, why they should expend any of their own resources on it. William just wanted to hit them.
He didn’t, though. William had been working on his position in the guild, and hitting people wouldn’t do that any good. Of course, if he was in a duel, he would completely trounce people, but he couldn’t just hit people because he didn’t like them or they were idiots. That was Lila’s domain, but William also wasn’t going to directly or indirectly have Lila hit people… or fireball them. That wouldn’t be helpful.
It got to the point that William was actually happy when a dragon started attacking villages and cities. Not for the destruction it caused. That still very much bothered William, but he had an excuse to leave the guild for a while. More importantly, he might get to hit something. The general policy with dragons was to leave them alone, as long as they didn’t attack any people. Even occasional farm animals being eaten wasn’t worth provoking possible wrath for. Dragons were dangerous. However, if they were already killing people, they had to be defeated as soon as possible.
Obviously, the best choice would have been to bring Lila with him, but William couldn’t find her. She’d left behind a message that she would be gone for a few weeks, but the problem couldn’t be put off that long. Thus, William gathered some knights, as well as a few of those younger wizards, about half a generation below him, that were talented at magical combat. There was an official bounty from the country, and although it wouldn’t be particularly amazing once split among a large number of people, it wasn’t insignificant either. Thus, there were those who were interested in the money, and those who wanted to protect people, as well as those who were somewhat of both. The danger of the dragon was not yet high enough that it required an army, so everyone who went with William (and Gerald, who lead the knights) were volunteers. Paid volunteers, of course.
William was just glad to get away from politics for a while. That, and it was a good opportunity to practice magic in groups. Specifically, they had to learn how far apart wizards needed to be to avoid issues from overlapping incantations, and wrestling over control of the same mana. Obviously, it was a bad idea to experiment against a dragon, but that was what the other magical beasts were for. Dragons generally lived deep in what would be considered monstrous beast territory, north of Ostana, in the large area between Ostana and demon territory. There were plenty of chances to fight magical beasts along the way.
As he entered his 30’s, William had expected his physical ability to start to decline. Not much, but a little bit. However, he hadn’t felt the effects of that yet. It was certainly harder to improve his body more, but he’d already reached a level that was impossible on Earth. He still wasn’t as physically impressive as the knights, but he was, at the very least, impressive for a wizard. Those other wizards he brought with him had all learned how to wield their staves as weapons in an emergency, but at best they could hold off a regular sized wolf. William, however, could fight on the frontlines… or at least just barely behind the knights. In addition, he also attacked with magic… though nobody else knew Chris was the one doing that. There were some rumors that he was crazy, though, since he talked to his staff, but that wasn’t the only reason some people thought he was crazy. However, he was also respected by many.
William smiled as he faced off against a not particularly imaginatively named steelfur bear. This type of magical beast was an exceptionally large bear, with somewhat metallic fur. Obviously, it was quite tough. However, William wasn’t intimidated in front of it at all. Maybe that was because he had gone crazy from dealing with people too much lately and not getting outside, but it was also true he didn’t have to be too afraid. A paw swiped at William, containing enough force to injure a knight even in their armor. William didn’t have armor of course, but he did have mobility. He ducked under the paw, which he felt moved rather slowly. Of course, he knew this was just because his reflexes had been heightened. It wasn’t that the paw was slow, just slow enough. As he ducked under, he spun Chris around, striking at the back of its outstretched limb. There was a loud thump. It wasn’t particularly injured, but it didn’t get off unscathed either.
Although steelfur bears were very hard to cut, they were much less resistant against bludgeoning damage, since the fur could at most absorb some of the impact. In addition, with William and Chris working together, they could penetrate through defenses with inner energy. It didn’t always work, but it was consistent enough to count on. As William dodged around the bear, the knights and other wizards fought other bears as well as different magical beasts. The monsters in this area were quite agitated, moving around in groups they normally wouldn’t. Such things could be expected after a dragon became active.
William moved around, getting hits in where he could. However, the bear was very tough, and refused to go down. Meanwhile, not all of William’s dodges were perfect. He sustained a few scratches from claws and teeth, and was bleeding significant but not yet life-threatening amounts. His attacks just weren’t quite effective enough. After a large swipe by the bear, William leaped up on its back. Obviously, it moved to throw him off immediately, but it was not fast enough to stop him from getting in a single strike to its head. A loud sound rang out. William would have loved it if the bear instantly collapsed, but instead it moved violently, throwing him off into the side of a tree.
The bear turned toward William to attack him while he was stunned, but it couldn’t move properly. After all, it had a serious concussion. Although William wasn’t at the level he could destroy its brain with one attack, any damage to the brain was significant. After that point, the battle turned back into William’s favor, and he eventually defeated it at about the same time the other magical beasts were defeated, though he helped clean up a few that were fleeing. More specifically, he had Chris shoot them with lightning bolts. William was feeling a lot better after the battle, until he remembered his injuries and had to treat them.