(Patreon) Wizard! Chapter 421

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A guard leaned on his halberd as he chatted with a servant girl. “It’s true! I just saw him walk through!”

“Don’t even recognize your own king? You know not one week ago he almost died. He’ll still be bedridden for who knows how long!” The servant girl rolled her eyes.

The guard frowned, “It was him alright! That imposing presence and his near-black skin… Plus he carried around that blue crystal staff, and his right arm was still all bundled up. There aren’t two people like that.”

“So you know what your king looks like. I’m forced to believe you didn’t see anyone at all. How do you expect he would be walking around now with that outside?”

The guard looked outside the window, “Which that are you referring to?”

“There’s nothing out there except a half-mile crater! The explosion rocked the castle so hard old Myrtle fell off a ladder, and she was in the back! The king was right next to that, so don’t tell me he’s walking about the halls!”

The guard shrugged, “I know what I saw. Maybe that’s what makes him the Eternal King and not just a nobody like me, yeah?”

——

William walked a full loop around the castle interior and through the courtyard. He wished he could hear what they were saying, but his ears weren’t quite recovered enough to hear whispers without expending more ki than was really practical.

He wasn’t out just to show himself off and hear gossip, however. He was here to ambush Jordan in the castle barracks. “What are you doing here, hmm?”

Jordan quickly scrambled up and saluted, “Sir! I hadn’t expected… umm, they said you were injured.” Jordan looked at his arm which was still in a sling.

“So? You’re not a doctor are you? I need you out there leading the troops.”

“Sir!” Jordan saluted again, “The enemy forces have withdrawn a significant distance.”

William nodded. “Fine. Just keep that in mind if I ever get injured again.” Jordan wasn’t the type to make foolish decisions from personal feelings… but it could happen. It was more important that William had people out doing what needed to be done instead of worrying about him… no matter how much he wished Lorelei were around.

—–

William tapped the side of the phone before speaking into hit. “Hello? Anyone there?”

There were a few crashing sounds before Lorelei’s voice came through, “William? Is that you?”

“In the… voice. Sorry I didn’t contact you earlier but I haven’t been able to walk around until today.”

“You’re walking around? I heard you were blind, and deaf… and lost an arm!”

“Oh, everything was greatly exaggerated. I mean, I can’t use my arm yet and my hearing is kinda spotty, but I can see just fine.”

There was silence for a few moments, “… I was scared.”

“Sorry. This was the best I could do. It wasn’t like I could not fight.”

“…Yeah. But, you have to win.” Lorelei’s voice was stern.

“I did win! You should see the other guy! Except you can’t.” William shook his head before remembering he couldn’t be seen, “Anyway, It would have gone much better except his cavalry charged me as he was losing so I couldn’t really use magic for the last bit… and ki ends up with big explosions. These guys aren’t pushovers either.”

“Do you… think you’ll be able to defeat the rest?”

William closed his eyes in thought. “As long as… they aren’t much stronger than this guy.”

“That doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.”

“I will do my utmost to avoid us needing to use plan B. So… how is everything going for you?”

“There have been ups and downs. Once the word gets spread about Lord Stirling morale will drop significant for the enemy- and they won’t really be able to hide it long. One of ours just died in battle… but at least he took the other one down with him.”

“Who was it?”

“Lord Gabor.”

“…I shouldn’t say I’m glad it was him.”

“I will then. I’m glad it was him. I didn’t want to deal with him after this was over. It almost balances out some of the more reasonable ones…”

William sighed. Far too many people had died- lords were only a small portion of those, but an important one. “Should I prepare to head to the frontlines again soon?”

“Will you be able to fight?” Lorelei paused for a moment, but wasn’t actually waiting for an answer, “It will probably still be months before we’ve moved up enough, but we’re pushing forward steadily. If things go well we could be looking at victory in a few years.”

“…”

“You know I don’t subscribe to the notion that confident predictions lead to problems. It’s only overconfidence that’s an issue. I’ve already considered some setbacks in the plan. For you… if you aren’t able to destroy them all, we can still kill them. Maybe they’ll just reincarnate in the normal fashion. What do you think?”

William frowned, “Having met one up close and personally… Lord Stirling was just at the threshold. I think there’s probably some variance there, including the natural strength of the soul… but I couldn’t say with confidence that he would have reincarnated with or without memories. He did know the magic for destroying souls.”

“Oh… I didn’t think about that aspect… how are you?”

“Not bad. My soul’s a bit injured, but that was all from the explosion at the end. I’ve been much worse off.”

“You’d better not be lying. If you really get yourself destroyed I’ll never forgive you.”

“Relax. Weren’t you the one who said my soul only lost out to the Demon King?”

“I just said it was weaker than his… not how much.”

William shrugged, “Well, either way I beat him now. So don’t worry. We absolutely won’t need plan C.”

—–

The gossipy servant was talking to the same guard again. “I can’t believe you were telling the truth. When I get a bruise it takes weeks to heal… but the new king took a month to shrug off being dead… or close enough anyway.”

The guard nodded, “It’s definitely why he’s king. I sure wouldn’t want to fight him for that position. Even before he made that huge crater… You know there’s an Archmage out there in the dirt somewhere? At least… a guy who said he was an Archmage.”

“I’m the one who told you that. I was there, remember? It was just… *shloop* down into the ground, like he was tossing something into a rubbish pile. I hear you can still hear him screaming at night… his soul bound there for all eternity.”

“That’s crap.” The guard shook his head, “He’s dead. Magic doesn’t work like that.”

“Do you suppose it makes explosions big enough to destroy cities? Or at least a decent sized town…” The servant girl shook her head, “Anyway, believe what you will about that.” She looked down the corridor in both directions, “One juicy piece of gossip is that maybe the king’s not as healed as he wants people to think. Not saying he isn’t terrifyingly strong… but some of the girls noticed he isn’t using his right hand as much. He eats with his left hand, and his writing is done totally with his left hand as well. He’ll still open a door with his right but only when his hand is full with that staff of his…”

“So what, his arm is crippled?”

“It might be. Who’s to say?” she shook her head, “People get crippled from much less. Even… even the old Eternal King got himself killed many a time. He came back, but he clearly wasn’t invincible.”

The guards shrugged, “Still wouldn’t fight him, even with no arms. I’d like to live to have kids someday. Actually, better not talk about that kind of thing at all… because first I have to live through my shift.”

“You think he’d kill people for talking about it?”

The guard shrugged, “Probably not. He’s pretty good to us… but maybe he’s just been in a really good mood for the last dozen years. I’m not taking chances.”

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