Although the end goal of the journey had been usurped, William could definitely say it wasn’t pointless. Both the knights and wizards in the group had experienced battles (or more battles, since some had before) with magical beasts. William hoped that some of the experience would be passed down to later generations. There were records, of course, and William was even writing his own “Compendium on Magical Combat”, but teaching from actual experience was more effective. Hopefully, enough of the future generations would keep up their training.
Though, William also didn’t want other wizardly pursuits to be excluded. After all, if the Ostana Wizard’s guild just became a war machine, it wouldn’t be good either. He just didn’t want them to become complacent, only making money and nothing else. How did wizards make money? Mostly, through the creation of useful devices. Things such as light sources that didn’t need oil, enchanting clothes to be able to resist attacks, and various other things. Things only nobles could afford, but having a few noble customers was worth a lot more than a myriad of commoners. William hoped that some effort would be put toward making life better for people in general, but it probably wouldn’t be, except by coincidence. William would have been perfectly happy to have the wizards no longer throw fireballs at all, except that this world wasn’t the kind where that could be accomplished. There were always dangers around… especially the threat of the Demon King.
William thought about many things on the journey back. He felt like he didn’t have enough time to do everything he wanted, even though he really had an entire lifetime. It slightly helped that the journey back was longer, due to the wagon carrying the dragon being slower. Once they returned, there were celebrations of various sorts, and William heard a lot of people telling the story of how they killed the dragon. Which, of course, wasn’t really true. However, even if the group had been the ones to personally slay the dragon, these same people would have only barely contributed. In short, they were the type that told stories.
The first thing William did was go look for Lila. It was still tangentially possible that that it had been someone else who had actually killed the dragon after all. Once he saw her, though, he reconfirmed that it had definitely been her. She was injured. Not badly, since she was walking around and smiling, but William saw some wounds on her face and hands, and her hair had obviously been somewhat burned. That actually made William feel better, since he knew at least she had some trouble fighting a dragon. As for the reason she was smiling, well, it was probably her new staff. It had a very wonderful gem on the top. A Dragon’s Heart, to be exact.
“People are telling the story of how we defeated the dragon,” William said.
Lila turned to face him. “Oh? Congratulations!” She continued smiling at him.
“Yeah, it looked like there was a very impressive battle, before we got there. My question is… why did you go alone?”
Lila pointed to the top of her staff and raised an eyebrow. “For this. I also wanted the reward money, but I couldn’t bring the dragon back… well, there are already too many wild stories about me anyway.”
“You couldn’t have waited to join a hunting party?”
“Then I wouldn’t have gotten the Heart!”
“You’re famous enough you could have taken that as your part of the reward, even if it’s much more than a normal share. You… just wanted to see if you could fight a dragon alone, didn’t you?”
William sighed. “Well, next time… please don’t go alone. At least bring me, or …” William wasn’t sure if he should say Gerald, “… someone else for backup.”
Lila nodded. “Well, maybe that would have been good… I did at least check out how big it was first. It was just a medium sized dragon!” Of course, that still made it bigger than some houses.
William decided that Lila wasn’t going to stop worrying him any time soon. He wasn’t sure what he could do about that. At this point, William noticed Gerald arriving, and excused himself. He didn’t stay around to listen in on the conversation, but he did notice the conspicuous lack of a flash from a fireball. Was that progress? William wasn’t sure.
Over the next years, the funerals William was dreading started becoming a reality. They included such people as Phineas Pierce, Professor Farman, and even Arison Ilias. This made William uncomfortable unaware that he was becoming the older generation. Certainly, there were some in the older generation, but there was still a large gap where many of those who fought the last Demon King had been. At forty years old, William felt old. However, this was only mentally. His body felt fine. In fact, he still looked young. Not like he was twenty or anything, but probably late twenties. As for his mental oldness… he was actually much older than he felt anyway, but it was strange to be at the age where the children of people in the same generation could be considered adults.
William had many things on his plate, and it seemed like there were always more instead of less, even after he resolved things. Maybe it was because he cared too much about the future. Yet, everything was becoming routine as well. Until one day, he received a scroll. He immediately recognized the handwriting… after he compared it to another scroll he had kept around. This one similarly was short and to the point, containing a time and place to meet. William hoped it was good news, or at least useful news. He still wasn’t even sure what he’d gained the first time, except a sense of mystery. However, he knew he couldn’t pass up the chance to meet with the demoness again. He knew that at the very least she had information he wanted, though he wasn’t sure if he would get it.