It was nighttime that made William regret his current course of action. He spent more time lying awake at night… and thus more time noticing that Lorlei wasn’t there. They hadn’t even been separated that long, but just the thought that they wouldn’t be able to see each other very often ignored him. That gave him some ideas, but he had other things to think about while lying awake this particular night.
He would lie awake because he was worried… and it was not unfounded. Actually, most of the time he actually had something specific to deal with. This time, it wasn’t the scheming of guards, but something else. He was glad the sleeping quarters were not too extensive. It made it easier to extend his ki senses throughout the area, and he had been doing so as much as he could. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust most of the people… but the interview questions had revealed a few. So far, he hadn’t been wrong.
William pushed himself up off the bed. He picked up Chris, though he thought he shouldn’t need him, and was out the door. Then, he strolled down the hall. He didn’t have any particular need to be stealthy yet. Firstly, there was no one else in his wing to wake… and nobody could complain anyway. Even so, if there had been people, he would have been polite and tried not to make too much noise.
It was only when he got outside that he actually tried to be stealthy. He had to slow down slightly, but he was still moving faster than his quarry. He moved through the side gardens. He regretted that he had no time to admire the vegetation, but he couldn’t really see them that well in the starlight. The moon itself was barely contributing to the light, and the occasional clouds didn’t help with that.
William neared the wall. It was rather high, enough to prevent regular soldiers from leaping on top of it anyway. That was a consideration that humans on Earth didn’t have to think about most of the time. During times of trouble, there would be a guard somewhere along this section of wall, but for now they were only at the gates at night time. Besides, their main purpose was to keep people from sneaking in… not out.
The figure William had been following reached the wall, and started to climb. It was a slow process, but with the strength of a gevai they could easily hold themself, even without much practice climbing. Though gevai were somewhat heavier, the improved strength more than compensated for that. William found it rather nice.
He supposed that he should get started. He didn’t really need to move close. A few dozen feet should be sufficient for his purposes. William gathered his ki to himself. While it was made to be subtle, he imagined that anyone proficient in ki who had a watchful attitude would be able to tell something was happening. Anyone proficient in ki would also likely be able to resist was he was going to do… at this distance, anyway. Even so, William reached out with a spear of energy that stabbed into the man climbing the wall… and the man fell.
William headed back to bed, but made sure to sweep over the various sleeping quarters to make sure nothing else untoward was happening. Everyone was allowed to leave if they wanted to. In fact, if they wanted to sneak away during the night, William wouldn’t have stopped them… unless they were like that particular person, who happened to be taking financial documents and bank notes with them. He supposed he would have to find a new quartermaster, but that would have been necessary even if this didn’t happen. He wondered if Lord Harridan could even do basic math… the answer was probably just that he felt it beneath him. Not that William felt he needed as much money as he had, but it would be useful… and he would prefer not to have it stolen.
It came to William’s mind that he might be a demon lord. He was killing his subordinates and imposing a reign of terror. He had seized his position through violence and murder. Sure, everyone he killed had deserved it, but presumably other demon lords saw themselves as justified. William could recount the ways that he was a better person than them, but he still couldn’t help but think about it.
Of course, the easiest method of convincing himself he was alright was that, while he imposed a sort of reign of terror… only those who did something wrong remained in terror for long. The cook had trembled in fear every time he at a meal, until he said he liked it. Then, one day, he took a sip of soup… and frowned. It was too peppery. The cook was already an even paler shade of blue than normal at his frown, but when he said he didn’t like it, William thought the cook might just die of a heart attack. “Cook something else tomorrow.”
It took several more dishes William didn’t like for the cook to realize he was going to state his opinion about the food… and not kill him for it. At the end of a month, the cook even started joking with him about what he liked and didn’t like. William had to admit he wasn’t great with certain types of spices… but he stood by his position that they just added spice and not flavor. The cook was excellent, though, and quickly learned to balance things in amounts that William liked. William almost hadn’t wanted to say anything about the meals at all, since they were still decent… but what was the point of a personal chef if they didn’t cook what you wanted?
In the end, William tried to come out between strict and pleasant. Mistakes only resulted in minor punishment or admonishment… but anything intentional such as stealing or trying to kill him was met without mercy. It wasn’t particularly novel to reward the behaviors he liked and punished those he disliked… nor was it even particularly special. After all, even the most vile of men rewarded those who worked well for them… or didn’t last long. Fear alone would only go so far.