13 Chapter 13 - Constant snacks helps fatigue from mana usage
"Father, how am I going to see the other runes I would like to learn, after I learn FIRE from Selena?" Joseph was sitting next to his dad, and was taking a much-needed break from studying, while his dad had a moment.
"Well, all mages are attached to nobles or the royals in each kingdom. The ability to learn from one is very difficult. I can't just request mages for you to learn from. For one thing, it would raise a lot of concern as to why I would need them. Assuming I could get one for you, I would have to pay a lot of money for the mage to teach you anything. While I have a lot of money, it's all tied up in my business."
"Is there any other way of learning the runes?"
"I can put out a search for books that might have something, but its not a guarantee, and if I request the book, I have to buy it, or others won't go to the trouble of bringing them to me. So, not really. There's the system, but I'm not sure what you would have to do, to get that unlocked."
Nodding, Joseph turned back to his studying. He had enough time to worry about that later. He was taking advantage of only needing six hours of sleep each night, and had set up a schedule. He wanted to get through the basics so that he could move on to actual magic spells.
Word was spreading ahead of their caravan, and people were waiting in small villages along the way. They spent a few hours in each one, so his father could conduct business, and then move on.
He spent twelve to thirteen hours every day trying to externalize mana. The efficiency was increasing after he found out that eating a snack restored his fatigue quicker. Poor Stella was very busy for about a week fetching him constant snacks. After that the mana seemed to flow smoother, and he could cut back on eating so much.
He had expected the mana to circulate in his body similar to how the blood flowed in his veins, but it was weirder than that. Trying to feel the flow was entirely pointless. It was like every cell in his body had a tiny pocket of magic. As long as the magic stayed under his skin, he could move it around, but it gradually pulled back to an even state, like osmosis, keeping it all even.
Once it left his skin, it would waft away like smoke. After working on it for hours and hours, he had finally figured out how to get it to emit calmly and steadily. Now he just needed to work on wrapping it in a protective coating to keep it together. Stu's notes said he could use the smallest amount of mana, so he didn't need to waste it. That information was nice to know, because otherwise, he may have needed more snacks that last week.
Over the two weeks it took them to get to the town with the fire mage, Stella was improving greatly in how she talked and her conduct. She was spending almost four hours a day with the etiquette teacher, so when he joined for the last two hours, she enjoyed showing off what she had learned.
It wasn't that he forgot any of the things that had been taught to him the previous lesson, it was more that he needed to practice what he had learned so that is became more natural to him. The thing that really got him, was foot placement while bowing, and the various poses necessary for all the different people of power. Just like the different bows between the royal family and noble houses, there was also a special pose one had to take when meeting the religious leaders.
The first time Stella showed him the pose, she made a perfect crane kick as if she was about to go all kung fu on him. Joseph tried to remain calm and composed, but that only lasted for about five seconds. Then he lost it. It took almost two minutes to calm down and stop laughing. The worst part was that she looked so cute when she was mad, he had a hard time apologizing and then explaining why he thought it was funny.
So, apparently, the pose was supposed to symbolize one's foot already ready to step forward to ascend to the home of the gods, while the hands were raised in praise to said gods. She did eventually accept his apology when she could tell he was serious about it.
It was even better, when she found out after that lesson, that they would start traveling together in Joseph's personal carriage, alone, all the time, including nights. She turned so red, it set him off again, and he had to walk away before he could stop giggling. Joseph had discussed with his dad on numerous occasions about how he had a hard time studying when his father was constantly having to talk to people about things concerning the caravan.
Thinking forward, he figured he should finish his first spell mission in about a week and then, with the points going towards less sleep again, he could cut down to three hours of sleep a night. Then maybe his father could find a sword instructor so he didn't get fat sitting around all the time. Also, what king didn't know how to fight with a sword? It didn't seem very magey in his head, and he wondered if he needed to learn how to use staves or spears instead.
Realizing that he was thinking in circles, he went to bed, excited to meet his new instructor when they arrived at the new town in the morning. Looking across the carriage at Stella, who had already passed out, he thought she looked cute while sleeping. He wanted his kingdom to be a good place, where kids with stories like her and her mother's wouldn't happen. Resolving to work even harder, he finally drifted off to sleep.