33 Chapter 33 Dragon Magic
(CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE COMPLETED BASIC MANA FOUNDATIONAL TRAINING)
"Eh…System?" interrupted Joseph.
(SHUSH! I NEED TO FINISH THIS NOTIFICATION.)
Joseph shushed himself.
(REQUIREMENT 1 OF 2 FOR TITLE: BEGINNER MAGE, UNLOCKED)
(REQUIREMENT BASIC COMPREHENSION OF 5 RUNES NOT MET)
(PROGRESS 1 OF 5)
"System, a title?" he asked, confused and startled.
(I'M NOT DONE)
"Oh, sorry!" he ducked his head as he waited.
(INTERMEDIATE MAGE REQUIREMENTS 0 OF 3 MET)
(MUST HAVE BEGINNER MAGE TITLE)
(INTERMEDIATE UNDERSTANDING OF 3 RUNES NOT REQUIRED)
(MUST HAVE BASIC THAUMATOLOGY)
(ADVANCED MAGE REQUIREMENTS 0 OF 4 MET)
(MUST HAVE INTERMEDIATE MAGE TITLE, ADVANCED UNDERSTANDING OF 1 RUNE, INTERMEDIATE THAUMATOLOGY, HIDDEN REQUIREMENT)
After that were requirements for master mage, specialized mage, grand master mage, Arch Magus, etc., but the requirements weren't readable. As he looked further down the list, he realized the system must wait to display information until certain conditions are met. It made sense in hindsight that the System needed some requirements to display things if the list was nearly infinite. He started looking into some of the new options. Basic thaumatology requires thaumatology teacher.
"Crap System. That's not helpful. How many thaumatology teachers are there?"
(NONE DETECTED IN HUMAN KINGDOMS)
"What? Then what am I supposed to do?"
(REDISCOVERY OF LOST KNOWLEDGE THAUMATOLOGY REQUIREMENTS MET 1 OF 4)
(BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF MANA AND ITS MOVEMENTS CRITERIA MET)
(COMPREHENSION OF 7 RUNES OR A RUNE SET (EARTH, FIRE, AIR, WATER/LIGHT, SOUND, ILLUSION, ETC.))
(ABILITY TO HEAR AND UNDERSTAND ORIGIN WORDS IMPOSSIBLE AS UNMODIFIED HUMAN)
(ABILITY TO SPEAK ORIGIN WORDS IMPOSSIBLE AS UNMODIFIED HUMAN)
"System, what are Origin Words?"
(MAGIC IS MEANT TO BE THOUGHT OR SPOKEN)
He had a sudden suspicion. "System, what species first spoke Origin Words?"
"The Runes I'm studying, are really Origin words, aren't they?"
"Dragons are large, aren't they?"
(YES, YOUR ASSUMPTION IS CORRECT)
"They hear at frequencies humans can't hear and speak at frequencies human vocal chords can't make, don't they?"
"Well, shavist. Are there magic spells that can duplicate it?"
(A MODIFICATION OF AN EXISTING SPELL CAN ALLOW SUB-SONIC SPEECH. NO CURRENT SPELL ALLOWS SUB-SONIC HEARING. THAUMATOLOGY IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BEFORE ATTEMPTING SPELL RESEARCH)
"Sometimes you are an … never mind. Are those options available with Life Points?"
(YES, ONCE YOU ARE ABLE TO BECOME NON-HUMAN)
"Fine. If Origin Words are supposed to be spoken, is that why it's so hard to write them?"
(CORRECT. MODIFIED RUNES REPRESENT A POOR ATTEMPT BY HUMAN AND ELVEN MAGES TO WRITE VOCAL INFLECTION)
"They are called Origin Words because everything comes from those distinct runes, right?"
(YES. YOU ARE A SMART HOST)
Joseph's first goal was breath. It both allowed him to use mana in the air and restore his own more quickly. The 4 days it took flew by.
"You look like a fake dragon, having to slurp up the mana after breathing it out like a cloud!"
"I have to suck it back in, or I run out of it!" he pouted, which made her laugh.
"It just looks like you're slurping a big bowl of noodles," she said. He would do that all day, just to see her face light up like that!
He wanted to do Gaze next so that he could see magical auras. He was hoping it would help him pick out potential mages from his dad's slaves. Those with potential, that had not trained to suppress their aura, could be detected. But he needed to talk to his dad first. He didn't like the looks he had noticed from his dad whenever he looked at Stella.
He would have talked to him sooner, but he had been very busy with messengers almost constantly. Joseph was starting to wonder if his dad even needed to sleep anymore.
"Stella, how are the new guards working out?" he had noticed they kept to their schedule very well, and had been very impressed with how sincere they seemed to keep him safe.
She froze for a second, then turned to him. "Have they done something wrong?"
"Nooo, why did you freeze just then?" he asked, concerned all of a sudden. Had something happened, he didn't know about?
"We had a long talk their first night. They are just boys who thought this would be a grand adventure. I wanted to make sure they understood the importance of their position. As far as I knew, they have been doing just fine. The tutors that were brought to watch over them have been making them practice really hard every night, to make sure that can keep you safe. They would normally have to practice hard all day, every day, to become good enough to be considered a guard, but since they are already on duty, so to speak, they've been having to make it up in the evenings when we stop for the day."
Joseph watched her as she spoke, knowing that Stella doesn't normally talk this much. Something must have happened, but she didn't want to talk about it.
"You are the most important one to me, so if they don't work out, I will replace them," he said, seeing the blush that formed on her cheeks.
"I'm going to go see if father can spare a moment, I have something I've been meaning to speak with him about for a while. Would you mind fetching our lunch?"
She nodded, standing up from her strange crouch on the floor, that she had been practicing for a while.
As he went to knock on the door, his father called him in.
"I knew you would come to see me, have a seat."
Joseph was very confused, but sat down, as the messenger that had been sitting only a moment ago, left.
"You want to know why I don't like Stella, all of a sudden," he said, taking a drink of his tea.
"Yes! I wanted to ask you when we left the last town, but you've been so busy!"
"I'm sorry about that. Everyone seems to be freaking out, and I seem to be the only calm they can cling to. It's tiring, but nothing I can't handle. As for Stella, are you aware, she's not human?"
"Really?" asked Joseph, his mind running through possibilities. He was really excited at this idea.
"I'm not sure what she is, but she's messing with my ability to control my slaves. I'm not sure how, but the system has assured me that if she becomes more powerful, she may become a threat to you."
Joseph was very confused about this. His system hadn't mentioned anything about that.
"System, is this true? Is Stella a threat?"
(EVERYONE IS A THREAT. THE CORRECT QUESTION, IS HOW MUCH OF A THREAT?)
"Okay, how much of a threat is she?"
(SHE IS LESS OF A THREAT AT THIS TIME, THAN YOUR FATHER IS.)
Joseph thought over that, then looked at his dad.
"Do you have any intentions of keeping me from reaching my goal?" he asked him.
William's eyes widened. "You want to be a mage king to the south in the wastelands. I already told you, that if you needed people, I would give them to you. I may have grown in power thanks to the system, but you are my son. I would never want to be a king. Hell, this much politics and I'm already about to throw in the towel. I don't mind helping you out, but I don't want your goal."
"So, you won't stop me?"
His dad thought about that very seriously, possibly even talking to his system for a moment, then finally shook his head. "No, I don't think so. It would have to be something huge to make me want to stop you. I am certain, as your father, that you will end up being an excellent king."
"Then I want you to trust in Stella. Even if she can mess with the bond between you and your slaves, I assure you I won't let her mess with you or your job. You're my dad after all."
"Alright, son. Only because you ask. I want you to know, though that if she affects any other slaves, then those who are assigned to you, I will be contacting you again."
Joseph nodded, glad he got that straightened out.
Two days after starting his Gaze training, Joseph had a rough time at swordsmanship. As his vision started to become enhanced from concentrating mana in his eyes and increasing their sensitivity, everything seemed to move slower. Unfortunately, his speed hadn't changed any, so he got clumsy. Stella and the two new guards, Sam and Todd, had a good time, but he left a little bruised. It was a good thing they were only using practice weapons instead of real ones.
And even thought he watched for it, it seemed as if whatever issues had been between Stella and the boys, had all disappeared. What a relief!