Wizard! Chapter 561
Arriving late for an interplanetary trip was a terrible idea. If you missed your flight, you would have to wait days or weeks for the next shuttle… depending on where you were going. Most people stayed overnight at a hotel nearby a spaceport, unless they lived nearby. Then they tried to arrive a couple hours early, because a bit of standing or sitting around waiting was better than wasting an expensive ticket. Very occasionally, it led to interesting conversations between strangers.
“Sooo… you ever hear about the shadow king?” one bored person asked another innocent.
“No.” They said flatly.
“I didn’t mean ‘no’, I haven’t heard it. That was a no, I don’t want to talk about crazy conspiracy theories involving long dead kings.”
“But he’s not dead!”
“Of course he is. There hasn’t been any news on him since like, a dozen years after he stepped down as king. He was probably already dying then and didn’t want to be public about it.”
“How come there’s no record of his death, then?” The conspiracy fan raised his eyebrows.
“People die alone all the time and slip through the cracks.”
“Nah, listen, I have a cousin who works at the census bureau… they work real hard to maintain good records.”
“They can still miss one. Besides, has this cousin of yours actually looked at the record for that guy?”
“Well… not exactly. That’s the thing, it’s kinda private information.”
“So he’d dead and nobody wants to admit it. Or they forgot to change the status. Besides even if he isn’t marked dead that doesn’t mean he’s alive. Do you know how long it’s been?”
“So? People can live for a long time. Besides, if you’re asking that… You know Theo Chaves?”
“… The spaceship guy?”
“Yeah! He invented like, half of modern ship tech, and is semi-responsible for most of the other half. Anyway, he was on TV the other day.”
“So he is married to the sister of the shadow king, and he doesn’t look a day over thirty.”
“No really, look at this picture.”
“Yeah he looks young, I meant the marriage thing.”
“No no look here.”
“… online encyclopedias aren’t really reliable sources.”
“Yeah but if you look at the backlogs that information has been there forever. Since the page was first made.”
“Let’s say that information is true- which I doubt. How does that mean the shadow king is alive, and why does it matter?”
“It matters because he was super strong and amazing and dangerous. Did you know he once took out an entire platoon with his bare hands? Just flattened them on the ground. But anyway, after he stepped down as king he started working black ops for the World Council, going around blowing up people’s souls! Well, or just killing them. Details on that aren’t clear.”
“Nobody’s destroyed any souls since New Eclea.”
“Not that we hear about. That’s because they get taken out in secret!”
“Ah, so that’s what we’re doing is it?” the doubter shook her head, glancing over at another person standing nearby. “Hey, you’re gevai. Are you from Cruonia? Can you believe this stuff?”
“Sure. It’s all more or less true. Sometimes less. I mean, he was a ki cultivator, right? So fighting unarmed didn’t really mean anything. Oh, time to board.”
The doubter sighed, “I can’t believe some random person backed you up.” She looked over at the conspiracy fan, “What? Why are you just standing there slackjawed?”
He just stood still for a few more seconds, one hand fiddling with his handheld computer. He held it up, “Look at this.”
“It’s… a picture of a dude.”
“It’s a picture of that guy!” the conspiracy fan scrolled through other pictures in the folder, “All of these are pictures of the shadow king!”
“… huh. I guess there’s really random people who look the same out there. The guy getting on the shuttle is missing the crown and robes though. And we’ll be missing the shuttle if we don’t hurry.”
William found that the most useful innovation for space exploration came from the dwarves. Since they lived underground, they were well suited for moving to new planets without atmospheres. Of course, they still had to modify their air recycling methods to not involve the outside at all, but they had a good starting point. By constructing the first colonies on the moon underground, they also required less materials to build their structures.
William was surprised at how quickly colonization of the system took off, though except for the moon and one other planet, most planets mostly had orbital space stations and no real colonies. However, stopping by gas giants allowed both refilling some sources of fuel as well as mana. As for where they might go after that… well, William wasn’t quite sure. There were several nearby systems that seemed to be good candidates, but the technology to get there in a reasonable amount of time was still in development. With Theo’s help, they would certainly get there but unfortunately he didn’t manage to bring detailed blueprints and manufacturing processes with him. At the current time they could get there without Theo, or even without all the designs he had already published… but it would take several times as long.
Overall, William had an optimistic view of the future. Wars were infrequent and relatively small, though only through continuous work by a large number of people. Overall, poverty was low and education high. William rarely had to investigate into anything involving soul destructions or even anything closely related. Most people had forgotten him as well, except as a general figure. He preferred that, because he liked to have the freedom to do what he wanted without everyone watching and judging him. Sometimes that was a vacation, but more often than not it was helping Lorelei study whatever interesting thing she had latched onto at the moment. Maybe one day they would run out of things to study… and pass on. However, the universe was big, so William doubted it would be soon.
This is the final chapter. It’s weird to see my longest running series end. Let’s hope for more good series in the future.