Wizard! Chapter 91
When William and Master Dong Xin approached the Yu clan gates, the guards there eyed Dong Xin suspiciously. He couldn’t be described as much kinder than a vagabond. As they two approached the guards, the older one saw William, and recognized him. He still looked momentarily unsure, since guests should be allowed in with members of the household, but having such shabby guests could be a stain on their reputation. Not that he said anything of the sort, but he looked slightly conflicted. Fortunately for him, Dong Xin opened his bindle and took out one of the few items inside and presented it to the guard. The guard looked it over, then quickly handed it back. “Welcome, honored guest.” William saw that the object was a token that said “Yu Jian”. William knew about such, and they weren’t given out lightly. Especially not those from a grand elder.
The pair, William and Dong Xin, walked through the gate. Master Dong Xin spoke, “I could have let him squirm longer before taking out the token,” he shrugged, “But the guy wasn’t rude. Just hesitant. No reason to antagonize people just doing their jobs. Let’s go find your father.”
William wasn’t sure why they needed to find his father, but he supposed that Dong Xin knew what he was doing. “I didn’t know you had any connections to the Yu clan, Master.”
Dong Xin shrugged. “You never asked. Besides, I really only know Yu Jian and Yu Xiao. Tangentially… your father.” He didn’t give any more details than that.
William decided not to press him. He was just happy for the help. He had the feeling that he wouldn’t have held on much longer with the family politics, as well as he thought he was doing. His actions earlier in the day, while quite satisfying, were rather foolish. Consequences to himself he could handle. He’d already died twice, after all. However, he still had his sister to worry about in this life… and the world. He wasn’t sure what it was, but he couldn’t shake the thoughts of the Demon King from his head. Though, in this life, he might actually be able to be around for the Demon King’s return, so it wasn’t a useless topic. However, it kept his thoughts preoccupied even though he couldn’t do anything about it at the moment, and probably not for many years.
While William’s thoughts were sidetracked, they had managed to locate his father. It was a weird thing, to think of this person that way. William had had two fathers, and they were both much more, well, fatherly than this one. Yu Kun had been aloof. Perhaps a consequence of having multiple wives, perhaps not. Yu Kun saw Dong Xin and William, and seemed to hold back a sigh.
Dong Xin spoke first. He nodded to Yu Kun, then said, “Yu Kun. As a matter of courtesy, I came to pay my respects to you… before going to see your father.”
William’s father grimaced, but only for a moment. It was so fast that William thought maybe he saw it wrong, and all that remained was a neutral expression. “Very well. Thank you for the… courtesy.”
Dong Xin and William continued on. “He’ll need some time to prepare himself for meeting your grandfather again.” Dong Xin laughed. “Your grandfather never was too fond of your father… but your mother… he said she was one of the few right choices your father ever made.” Dong Xin paused briefly, “It was actually through your mother’s family that I met your grandfather. The Zhan conglomerate has had a connection to my school for generations.”
“Zhan…” William muttered, “Like Zhan Shengrui?”
“That’s right. Have you heard of him?”
William hadn’t intended to speak loudly enough to be heard, but he probably should have known better. He should have also known to process his answer more, but he failed to do so. “Yeah, I know him. I’ve heard of him.” William barely managed to correct himself, though he wasn’t sure if his mistake would be taken as particularly important.
“Right, actually, my teacher’s teacher’s teacher worked as a bodyguard for him.” Dong Xin and William were actually heading out the back gate of the main family compound now, or at least the side facing away from the city. William knew there was another clan compound up on the hill, but he hadn’t known what people lived there. “Anyway, Zhan Shengrui started up a nice business empire, which we were smart enough to keep relations up with.” He looked down at his shabby clothes. “Not that we did any of it for the money.”
“He was the one who saw m- the Archmage William Stevenson use a staff in combat?” Fortunately, in the current language the start of the word “me” wasn’t particularly noticeable.
“That’s right.” Dong Xin nodded. “He actually became Zhan Shengrui’s bodyguard because he heard of a strange wizard who was excellent at fighting with a staff. After seeing him though, he was so disappointed that he didn’t even challenge him to a match. Not that he was too bad for a wizard.”
William cringed at the honest review of his skills. At the time, he had thought they were pretty good, though now he realized that he relied on the fact that Chris was an amazing staff for a large part of his combat capabilities. Sparring against the knights, he had also used other staves, but he now realized they were just unused to fighting against a staff. Still, it hurt to be so disappointing he wasn’t even challenged to a match.
They finally reached the top of the hill, where there was a small collection of buildings. Dong Xin walked up to one building, little more than a hut, though not shabby in its construction. Then, he knocked on the door and yelled, “Hey, old fart! Come out!” It didn’t strike William as the demeanor of someone going to meet an old friend, but on the other hand it seemed straight to the point and extremely likely to provoke a reaction. At the very least, the second part was true, as the door blew apart in splinters, obscuring William’s vision.