7 Chapter 7 Dreams
"That map Hugh gave you was pretty expensive!" Joseph said, glancing at the small tube hanging on his father's belt that contained the rolled map.
"It was, but I wasn't paying for the map," his father explained.
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"I was paying for his willingness to do something that not many people would do. I was paying him for possibly getting in trouble if anyone else saw that map. The political situation in the three kingdoms right now are a little rocky, so if any of the kings currently in charge get their hands on this particular map, a war could easily break out. Normally, us merchants only get to see a generic map, that may or may not be correct, of the current kingdom we are in, and then we would have to travel to the next kingdom to see a map of it."
Joseph nodded in understanding. With the details Hugh had placed in his maps, he could easily see generals using them to maneuver troops.
"Why might there be a war?" Joseph thought about his mother. If he was traveling with his father, and war broke out, the borders would be closed and he might not be able to visit his mother in six months, like they had planned.
"Normally the three kingdoms would have kids that could be married to each other, for example, Rathwold might have a daughter that could be married to a son from Sedonia, and then a daughter from Sedonia could be married to Oxalium, and so on. However, this time, they all had sons. Not one daughter was born. So, tensions are getting pretty high. The oldest child is only ten, so we probably have another five years or so before things get nasty, but it's not looking good at the moment."
They continued on to the caravan that was waiting for them. Over the past week Joseph had gotten new clothes from his father that matched his own, and he was now wearing them proudly. Everyone who saw them in matching clothes would smile. Joseph had heard the word cute a few too many times, but he didn't care.
They were preparing to head to his father's next stop. As the children slaves reached certain milestones and ages, they were moved from the caravan to places his father had set up. The place they were heading to next was called Town 4. When questioned on why it was a number instead of a name, William explained that he didn't have the status to be able to set up a real town. He could buy estates as a merchant, so he had purchased large estates and then had many buildings built. Each location was set up as a self-sufficient town, capable of teaching his slaves to a certain point, then they would be moved along to the next 'town'.
"If I were to have my own kingdom, you could provide a lot of people, couldn't you dad?" Joseph asked while they traveled.
His father glanced at him, thoughtfully mulling over his answer.
"I have a lot of slaves. What happens to them, after they are sold, is up to the new owner. As long as those slaves are not mistreated, I don't mind what is done with them."
Joseph understood that his father didn't want to expose their secret. He felt bad for his choice of words, but knew that anyone who overheard him, would automatically assume it was nothing more than the rambling thoughts of a child.
Nodding in understanding he asked, "Do you have any slaves capable of doing magic?"
"It is very hard to have slaves capable of doing magic, but it is not unheard of. The few that I have were very expensive to be trained. I have one at the next location that does food magic, three who do some form of healing magic and one who can do fire."
"I would very much like to learn magic." Joseph looked at his father long enough to make sure he understood the implications.
"I can have Stu try to teach you magic, but without magery to help you along, it's going to be impossible to learn. Though I suppose a miracle isn't unheard of. Perhaps you could unlock some lost talent or something in our bloodline," his father mused in amusement.
"Can you do magic?"
William laughed and shook his head.
"There's a lot of things I can do, but casting spells is not one of them."
Joseph nodded in understanding. It was frustrating to talk to him about things when they had to keep the system a secret. Though he doubted any one was listening to them, he didn't know if there wasn't magic being used to listen in.
With a sigh he turned back to the window for the rest of the trip that day.
Joseph woke with a jerk and looked around. With a sigh, he sat up. This had been happening every morning since the system was activated and he got all his memories unlocked. He dreamt of his past lives mostly. It was like his brain wasn't big enough to fit all of the information in at once. His own life was viewed with crystal clarity after receiving photographic memory, but the previous lives still came in bits and fragments. Mostly, they were in dreams, but sometimes during the day something would trigger one.
He had been dreaming about going to school in life 1 and being on the Kvetz team. The closest thing life 2 had to it was a game he didn't like at all called chess. Nothing he had seen in this current life was much like either. After the dream, he felt a lingering fondness for Kvetz and a general dislike of chess.
His dad had explained a bit about his past life, as being more of a general impression, rather than as actual memories.
The first time he woke up like this, he had thought he was possessed. He finally decided that maybe he felt the past life stronger than his dad did, because he was younger or because he had two past lives instead of just one. After a whole week, it was getting harder and harder to act his age.
With a sigh, he climbed out of bed. The system may be forcing information into his head, but it was his decision to be the mage king. As a future king he had to make use of everything he could. Most of last night's dreams, aside from the games, had included techniques on cooking, construction equipment, and bits of chemistry.
He pulled out a journal where he was placing some of his ideas and began to sketch. He was almost certain life 2 was of a dentist who never got married. He had worked a lot of odd jobs through college and cooked alone a lot. There were no pleasant childhood memories and none of his memories had clear images of other people. He thought he had been an orphan or some term called foster. He wasn't sure what that meant, but it seemed lonely.
Excitedly, he started drawing the construction equipment and added notes. There had been a large harvest in his dream. He didn't know how to make the engines he drew, or the gasoline that powered it but he did know the basic physics for a steam generator he had learned about and showed at a fair in high school. The memory was still sketchy but he was able to draw the picture. He figured golems made more sense and seemed far simpler. The reason he hadn't used them in the memory was probably because of the lack of magic in the other world.
The last thing he added was a recipe for gunpowder and soap that wasn't hard on your hands. Apparently in life 2, he had washed his hands so many times, that he had developed reactions to normal soap, so he had developed a better one. Just like the recipe for pizza that he had written down earlier, he had no idea how to get the basic ingredients. Some were incredibly expensive and others, like ammonia producing salt peter, were foreign to him. Though he did know that potassium chloride was used to chemically strengthen glass and used in toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
As he wrote that last bit down, his mind wandered. Toothpaste and brushes would probably help his dad's slaves. Nobody likes to buy expensive slaves that are missing teeth. He would have to mention it to him.
Stepping out of his small tent, he waved at his dad to let him know he was ready to get going. They should arrive at town 4 today and he would finally get to meet Stu, his future magic instructor.