Wizard! Chapter 528
Of all of the recent advances, medicine was the area that most interested William. There were things that simply couldn’t be done without magic. Diseases could be directly attacked without relying on the body to defend itself. Of course, that only worked with the right knowledge and technique which required an area with sufficient numbers of magical practitioners. Only a few diseases had actually been eradicated. It wasn’t more impressive than what could have been done with proper vaccines.
Knowledge of the particular disease in question was still important, but there was another factor. Besides the containment of the disease, there had to be people who could perform the procedures. One might think that destroying microscopic things wouldn’t require much magical power, and that was true in a way. Indiscriminately destroying microscopic organisms was easy, but targeting only the right ones? That required skill. Of course, skilled magical doctors could be found among the humans, elves, and gevai but they were all a small part of those who could use magic.
That brought to mind a particular metric of interest to William and Lorelei. It had already been predicted and observed in the past, though few remembered it. As the population of the world grew, people became weaker in magic. It wasn’t something that would be noticed in a generation or two. The oldest generation being stronger in magic was expected due to their experience. They weren’t significantly stronger, either. More importantly, there were always individuals from the younger generations that stood out. Finally, generations were shortest among humans, who were still recovering from the Demon King’s systematic destruction of souls that could use magic. Even though it had been more than two gross years since his relatively unsuccessful final campaign, his efforts had gone on much longer than that.
It wasn’t just magical ability either. Physical training and ki cultivation were also affected, though they were somewhat harder to measure. Physical abilities actually seemed to remain steady, but William knew that was because of diets having more nutrients. Among his soldiers, who he had always fed healthy diets, growth was slower. Ki cultivation was harder to measure. It was a more rarely used ability, and even though Liaoyang used it as their primary form of strength, not everyone there trained ki cultivation. For that matter, most people didn’t train for combat at all. In recent years while armed conflicts weren’t nonexistent, there hadn’t been anything worth calling a real war.
William didn’t mind the lack of war, but it did make him worry. There were many new developments that would make new wars quite devastating. Guns and artillery were better, which put more power in the hands of the common soldier. Cities were bigger, which meant there was more to lose if they were attacked. Even airplanes were being developed, which made walls less useful.
One thing that made William feel better about the situation was that magical defenses were advancing as well. There were more efficient ways to protect against attacks. Even better, the most efficient methods weren’t exactly mobile. That meant not all of the new advances could be used on fortress ships. That was a comfort of a sort. He was also glad that technology for the military specifically didn’t advance as everything else since it was less necessary. Since arms races often drove technological advancement, a smaller percentage of the advancements being used for military means was really all he could ask for.
William of course considered factored dragons into his equations… but they sort of evened things out. They might attack anything with sufficient amounts of magical materials, but that could be on either side… and with powerful enough weapons, dragons might not be much of a problem for those attacked.
On a personal level, William’s growth had slowed. Not that it had been blazingly fast outside of childhood and early adulthood, but now he only measured any real advancement in dozens of years at best. He didn’t find that detail particularly troublesome, since it would also limit anyone else from growing unmanageably strong. As long as nobody went around destroying large amounts of the right souls or just killing an even larger number of people.
Though William knew the technique scroll for Shattering the Soul was out there, even if the Order of the Watchful Sentry or their descendents hadn’t managed to keep it secret, it wasn’t much good for most people. If used on a human, it would usually result in their death and the destruction of their own soul as well. There would be those with strong souls that were the exception- but there was a good chance they wouldn’t even attempt ki cultivation and then run across the technique and then think it was a good idea to use it. As for magic, William was pretty sure he was the only surviving person who knew how to do so, and there was little reason for anyone to try to develop the ability. That would also require a strong soul.
Of course, there was a single exception to all of this. The Demon King still knew how to do it… except he wasn’t the Demon King anymore. He was Galen Eanlar. Galen was only a small part of the Demon King- and more parts himself. He had already made the choice to atone for his actions even before re-meeting William and being threatened to have his existence well and truly ended if he did anything wrong. He was doing good things for the elves, and through the elves for other people. He wasn’t capable of inventing solutions to all of their problems, but he did his best to promote unity and peace between the different races. Much of his life was spent helping the poor and disadvantaged.
Even so, Galen Eanlar wasn’t universally beloved. That just made William even more confident in his decision. Some people didn’t like his views and especially how he wouldn’t support any sort of retribution against the gevai. William didn’t take not wanting conflict with the gevai as necessarily good. After all, it was just logical, and the Demon King had been a gevai for all of his experience. It was Galen’s other acts that showed his change.
It was his care for the elves- and dwarves, and humans, and even those of mixed blood from the underground, his successes with securing cooperation and growth that showed his change. Besides, most of the people who hated him were greedy bureaucrats who didn’t like his philanthropy because more money was actually being spent to help people instead of going into their own pockets. That was the sort of enemy William could get behind… and strangle. Not that he would do that. Outside of Cruonia, he didn’t have the right of summary execution. Inside Cruonia… he tried to use it sparingly. Galen, meanwhile, didn’t have any special privileges but was rather ruthless with those whose crimes he managed to prove. Not that the elves were a hotbed of corruption… but over dozens of years the total number of incidents added up bit by bit.