11 Chapter 11 - Stella Smells Like Cookies
MODIFIED FOOD RUNE FOR THE TEST FOOD SPELL – COMPLETE
His eyes burned, but he had finally finished the hours of study required to complete the modified rune. Closing his eyes, he leaned back in the chair for a moment, and rested. He had slept poorly the night before, because he had been so excited to finally finish today. There had only been three hours of study left, but he had to sleep last night.
They were currently in a small inn, in a small town called Chelsnick. He had spent between twelve and thirteen hours each day for the past couple days, but yesterday he had only managed to get in ten, because the road was bad and the bumps kept interrupting him. His dad planned to spend about a week here, so that if anyone wished to meet him, with infant's, they could.
The first time a couple walked up to his father and offered him a baby, had been very confusing and traumatizing to him. His father had explained that the very poor, or those in hard places in life, had heard that he would often buy the babies if they met his standards. If the options that faced them would force the child into slavery anyways, his father was known as the best slave master, and they would be guaranteed that their child would be well taken care of, and trained. There was often nothing wrong with the child, and he would often buy them if they were under or very close to a year of age.
In the past month of travel with his father, he had somewhat gotten used to the random strangers willing to sell their babies. He was quickly able to tell when they really didn't want to sell them, and when they probably weren't related at all. There was a lost look of fear, anger, regret and hope in their faces and eyes.
It was common for the very poor to sell themselves into slavery in order to get out from under a debt, and since his father came around, they could sell their babies to him for enough to keep the rest out of slavery. The whole concept was hard for him to witness, and it made him even more resolved to become the king of his own territory. A place where slavery wasn't allowed and there would be options for those who were poor or in bad places to turn to.
He wasn't going to start trying to solve the world's problems at the moment, because he was almost certain that if there was a solution, someone would have seen to it before he came along. All he could do at the moment was to focus on learning how to externalize his magic so he could finally cast his first spell.
After comprehending his first spell, he had to admit the modification looked nothing like the base rune. The changes were supposed to be so subtle that you could barely tell the difference, but this was ridiculous. The runes were like the difference in drawing with a crayon, spray painting it freehand, using stencils and painting with a paintbrush. While they might all be the same symbol for FOOD, each was vastly different in art style or font. Life 1 had learned an alphabet that was almost 5000 letters, so the subtleties of writing FOOD differently may have just been obvious to him.
A delicious smell wafted to his nose as the door to his room softly opened and shut. Opening his eyes, he saw a delicious bowl of stew and a huge hunk of bread set down before him. Looking up to thank whoever had brought it, he was stunned.
She looked at him in confusion.
"What are you doing here?" he asked confused.
"Um, I brought you some food?" she answered just as confused.
"No, I mean, in a more general sense."
"Well," she said, pursing her lips in contemplation. "My mother needed money, and men are willing to.."
"No, no, no…That's not what I meant. I mean, why are you here and not with Stu?"
She looked at him for a moment before answering. "I've been with you this entire time as your personal servant…"
Joseph looked at her for several blinks before thinking back. Sure enough, his memory reminded him, that every time he was served food, a particular girl smell, of some kind of soft vanilla cookie, came to mind.
"You smell like vanilla cookies," he stated.
Her blush took him by surprise, because she turned so red, he was almost afraid for her health.
"I may eat a few too many," she mumbled in embarrassment.
Nodding as that made sense, he picked up his spoon for the stew and began eating. She explained to him, as he ate, that Stu thought he had taken an interest in her, so her father had decided to amend his one rule about slaves being a certain age, and took her. Since she was his personal servant, he would be the one to determine what she was to learn and do.
He thought about this for a while, as he ate, and decided if she was to be his servant, even as a king, she would need to know how to read and write, and definitely diplomacy. He wondered if his dad had a tutor he could use, for her to learn some etiquette as well. As he thought about it, he figured it wouldn't hurt for him to learn some etiquette. It wouldn't be right for his servant to know more than he did.
Maybe talking to his father, was a good idea. Both of them could have lessons right before the evening meal every day. That way he could talk over supper about things with his father. While he knew his dad was very proud of his study, it probably bothered him how preoccupied he had become. To get a chance to talk to him would relieve some of his father's concerns.