Wizard! Chapter 544
William held onto the cliff face and carefully looked over the wards set up around the small base on the island. New Eclea had many people qualified to set up wards. In fact, as long as they didn’t have to develop anything new then anyone who could use magic would be able to do it with their education system. While the wards were relatively simple in some ways, that didn’t mean they were pushovers.
William saw some pieces that must have been imported, because they were far too complex and precise to be made on the island. They wouldn’t have been able to be tested by most people either. One of the particular pieces in question was for detecting ki usage. While New Eclea generally had little to do with ki, they still recognized its existence and would desire to protect against it.
It was too bad for them that they didn’t put more effort into its study. If they had, they might have made it more effective. Not that it wasn’t competently made, but someone of sufficient power and technique could bypass it. That applied to many people William knew… and even more so to himself. His self-created cultivation technique was specially designed to be capable of subtle infiltration, so he couldn’t blame them for not making it match up to him- but they could have done better.
Their anti-magic defenses were a bit better. They would be able to stop almost any sort of attack- limited only by the amount of energy reserves they had. However, the defenses were only as tight as when he’d been held in a cell by Lila- Mistress Lorenz. Sure, it was a design intended to be able to contain the Demon King- and it probably could have- but that had been generations earlier and William had still been able to come up with a technique to bypass it. Not with any useful amount of mana, but the point remained. Lorelei had already improved on the design, and though William was still able to get some magic through any barrier, he wasn’t sure if anyone else could. Perhaps Lorelei herself or Lila.
On the other hand, they probably had better wards available, but the ability to set them up on an island outpost was not going to be as high. It wasn’t like every location they had could be fortified against the Eternal King of Cruonia.
William double checked the defenses to make sure he hadn’t missed anything… then nudged a few components with a small bit of ki, and covered himself as he jumped over the wall. If someone had been watching closely, they might have seen a shimmer, but perhaps they wouldn’t have.
New Eclean was a different dialect from the mainland version, and William had learned an older version of Eclean itself… but he’d taken the chance to practice and could piece through it well enough.
The few dozen residents of the base didn’t say much. At any given time, about a quarter of them were patrolling the walls and manning the telescopes, scanning the horizon for ships. The island rose sharply out of the water, not only making it harder to assault but providing a longer view of the area. It was a good choice for a base, but sadly it wasn’t perfect. A determined bombardment could have collapsed the small island, and like any installation it was subject to infiltration.
William stayed for two days, listening to them report it- no ships sighted. They had a bit of a code they used to confirm the authenticity of the transmission, and William was fairly certain he knew how it worked. At least, they should be able to get a day or two of transmissions before there was any suspicion.
Once he decided there wasn’t anything else to learn, he reached out to all of the soldiers and pushed gently on their souls, dropping them unconscious. That was one good reason for them to take ki training more seriously, because it was the best way to bolster defenses against soul attacks. On the other hand, William supposed they were rare enough that it probably didn’t matter. He used them, but they wouldn’t be able to reach a level where they could resist him in just a single lifetime. Even if a few others here or there could do it, it wasn’t the most practical concern. Unfortunately, that meant they didn’t have a chance to react before they were all out, and soon enough ships were sailing for the island to replace the crew.
One of the captives was assigned with the task of reporting in. He would be familiar with the military protocol and of course came with a genuine New Eclean accent. His incentive not to betray them was simple- there were others watching and listening, and the safety of their new prisoners was on the line. More importantly, he was a member of Uzoma’s group and wasn’t being forced. While that didn’t make him perfectly trustworthy, William wasn’t relying on that anyway.
The next several islands functioned similarly. There was one small island that they almost missed that only had a single soldier stationed there- more like a rock outcropping than a real island. With nothing else around, he could have easily spotted any ships sailing toward him and reported them. Fortunately, William was scouting out ahead with the submarine and managed to spot him. Actually, the outcropping was easier to spot underwater. It was a single pillar of rock in an otherwise open if somewhat shallow section of ocean. The land sloped up around it, but it was clearly different from the surroundings. It wasn’t too hard to get close enough for William to incapacitate the soldier- and then search his memories for what he was supposed to do to report.
The incident itself wasn’t important, but just reinforced the idea that they needed to be careful to make sure they didn’t miss anything- and weren’t spotted early. If they were spotted… when they were spotted, their journey would become much more difficult. It was best to delay that as long as possible.