Wizard! Chapter 494
William looked at the dwarf who he could tell had a fragment of the Demon King’s soul- he had sensed it even when he was in the underground part of the city. “So, Demon King, what have you to say for yourself?”
Lundroic stammered, “I-I… You must not believe this man! This Demon King is full of tricks! I may have learned their language, but it was only to combat the demons! Surely our long history together has proved my position?”
Before the other dwarves could say anything, William replied, “Of course, my words might be a bit suspect- but if my words are true, his words are also very suspect. Let me just recount to you some information, and you can think of it as you wish. First, the first contact we’ve had with dwarves was a dozen years ago… when our merchant ships and harbors came under attack. You might not know about this. Regardless, there hasn’t been a chance for him to learn the language.” William paused briefly, but not long enough to let anyone else start talking, “In addition, from what I know of the Demon King, he has spent his whole life persuading you to go to war with us, has he not? He might even have forgotten to mention how formidable we might be… or that we defeated your entire first fleet, and then the second fleet sent to attack us just recently that was twice the size.”
“Don’t listen to him!” Lundroic William knew was filled with a fragment of the Demon King’s soul repeated, “There’s no way our top of the line ships could be defeated by demons.”
Norrous Bristlebeard, the head of the council and the first who had spoken to William had a beard and hair that was almost white throughout. He impatiently tapped his fingers together as he listened to the excuses of Lundroic, “You said the navy needed more ships to secure the safety of the sea routes. You didn’t mention making any armed conflicts with the demons… and the council had not yet authorized any action of the sort. If anything this demon has to say is true, you have much to answer for.”
Another dwarf chimed in, “So, does that mean all the reports from the last dozen years are bunk? Because I wouldn’t describe anyone who can get an army to our capital- even a small army, as ‘nearly undefended’.”
“You haven’t possessed any islands closer than your eastern island chain in that whole time,” William answered helpfully.
“It’s just his word versus mine! Are you really going to believe a demon?” Lundroic crossed his arms in front of himself.
“Honestly?” Norrous replied, “I don’t like to doubt the words of my fellow dwarves, but he has made fairly convincing statements while you lack your usual… eloquence. You look like you just took an ale bath with all that sweat on you.” The older dwarf shook his head, “But I don’t have to believe a demon. I can just trust in dwarven engineering. You- De- Umm… Eternal King? Are you willing to have the truth of your words determined?”
William scratched his chin- on which there was a beard grown in the recent months. That was something he’d required of every man who came with him, and while it didn’t result in impressive beards like the dwarves he thought it might help his case over no beard. “Will I be safe?”
“I swear on my beard that we will return you in the same condition as you enter the city… so long as you don’t hurt anyone,” the head councilor declared.
“Deal.” William turned to the officer with him, “Wait here for me. I’ll be back after this is over.”
“Umm… sir. Are you sure you’ll be safe?”
William raised an eyebrow, “He swore on his beard. I absolutely will be fine. Besides, do you think a bunch of dwarves can take me down?”
“I will wait here then, sir.”
William approached the gates alone, which easily swung open. He was then told to wait for the council to walk down from the walls. “So, where are we going?” William asked.
“The Truthreader,” said the head councilor, Norrous.
“The Truthreader is real?” Lundroic replied in surprise.
“Sure as rock it’s real.”
“Is that… entirely necessary?” Lundroic asked.
“Entirely. We have to be sure of the truth about the accusations. We would surely like to clear the air of what has been spoken against you, a fellow dwarf.” Norrous narrowed his eyes, “and if you really aren’t a fellow dwarf, then we need to be clear on that as well.”
William wondered how the truthreader worked. Did it read the soul? If so, he could easily fool it if he wanted to… but truthfulness was the winner here. What about the Demon King? William took a closer look at his soul. It was… moderate. Not weak, not strong. It was also trained in ki and completely lacking soul necrosis, which meant this fragment had found a way to deal with it. That was interesting.
William wondered how well the Truthreader worked. The dwarves seemed to trust it. If councilor Norrous hadn’t sworn on his beard of William’s safe return to where he was, he might even have thought they were leading him into a trap and there was no Truthreader. The tunnels were winding enough… and William realized he hadn’t been paying attention.
Well. He sure hoped he didn’t have to find his way out of his current position in a hurry. Maybe Chris had been paying attention… though William gave up on that idea immediately.
They passed through a number of warded doors and hallways and more wards and defenses and dozens of guards… all to end up in a mostly empty room, except for a few chairs and a device. Looking at it, it came with helmets.
“Please put one of these on, each of you,” Councilor Norrous gestured.
William looked inside the helmet and saw pads that were eerily similar to ones he had a vague memory of from his first life. So, brain wave sensors, then. William supposed this was a very hard machine to make function, even with magic. He just hoped that gevai and dwarf brains worked similarly enough that it functioned properly as he put it on.