68 Chapter 68 Mage Tes
"How do you…" the shamans were at a loss for words.
"This is what my instructor looked like when she took on the body of fire."
She bowed and faded away as he stopped controlling CREATE FIRE. Glimpsing her bow, he half turned to look at where she had been standing, perplexed for only a moment, then shrugged. If Selena had actually been there, he would probably hear about it later, when he met with her later.
The crowd and lesser shamans were muttering to themselves.
"At such a young age!"
"Have you seen such a thing?"
"Surely he has been blessed with a spirit!"
(YOU ARE AWARDED 2 LIFE POINTS FOR EARNING THE RESPECT OF A GROUP OF MAGES THAT LEAD THEIR PEOPLE. CURRENT LIFE POINTS 24.)
"You certainly have the ability. Now for the next part. A leader must be able to provide for his people. Using magic, demonstrate your ability to provide for your people."
Nodding, Joseph looked around. There was a river nearby, so he went over to it, and looked inside. The water was clear enough, he could see fish inside.
Turning to Stella, he said, "Is this too close?"
The look she gave him, had him backing up. Then after thinking about it, he backed up again, and she broke out laughing. He focused and mana poured out of him, glowing faintly in the air as it began to form the rune DETONATE. Just as he finished, Stella threw a bag of charcoal dust into the center. Then they both covered their ears.
Seeing them cover their ears, a few of the onlookers did as well, in confusion. All of Joseph's people did.
Barbarians jumped and several screamed in surprise. The surface of the water sunk from the force of the blast, the grass along the bank was laid flat. Some of the barbarians were even knocked down. Joseph had braced himself against it, but Stella's skirt barely fluttered.
As the water splashed and fish began to float, Joseph's people waded out to collect them. Stella was collecting them the fastest, but she grumbled about it the entire time.
"Fish, why does it have to be fish. Of course, it's fish." She still had little appreciation for fish after all her time on the island. Joseph couldn't help but be amused.
"You have captured food, but unless you intend your people to eat it raw, this is not enough."
Nodding at that, he noticed a large cooking pot by one of the tents and points to it. After checking it out, he decided it was clean enough, and had it filled with water. Then, as the people watched, he started throwing the fish in whole, added some seasonings from his personal stock, and some vegetables he had brought up with them.
Creating a bright blue flame on the end of his finger, he dropped the flame into the water, heating it to a boil very quickly. The barbarians were staring at the pot in horror, and Stella rolled her eyes as he grinned. Picking up a large spoon, he gave it one stir, and cast PURIFY FOOD. The murky water cleared instantly, emitting a delicious aroma.
Taking a sip, he smiled gleefully. It was just a tad spicy, after a dish he had enjoyed in one of his prior lives. There wasn't a hint of fish taste to it. Holding a spoonful out to Stella, she didn't hesitate to taste it.
"That's delicious!" she exclaimed in surprise. "But you cheated with magic."
"I'm a mage. I'm allowed to use magic cooking. Besides, if I don't use magic, your cooking would always be better than mine."
Smiling, she just shook her head.
Joseph offered a bite to the shamans, but they were reluctant after seeing the whole fish go into the pot. With a sigh, Chug stepped forward, as if he was expecting poison and was willing to man up. Taking a spoonful, he paused.
"This is good! It's hot like snow pods."
Joseph learned later that snow pods were like a white pepper they found sometimes to season their food with.
The rest of Joseph's people stepped forward to get some of the stew, completely willing to trust him. Only then were the shamans willing to try it. Because of the rationing, they gulped the soup down quickly.
"You have passed the second part of the test. For the last part, you must prove your leadership abilities."
"Umm, can you tell me how other people have done that in the past?"
"We cannot, but we will be generous on how you accomplish it."
Joseph turned to Stella, perplexed. She only shrugged. He was on his own. Turning to Chug, he got an idea and pulled out one of the magical contracts he had brought up with him.
"I had wanted to wait until after I had proved myself, but I suppose this may work. I would like to propose to you and your people on a magical contract so that neither side can break the conditions. Would this show how I use magic for leadership?"
The shamans whispered to each other, then turned back to him.
"It will work."
"What do you offer?" spoke up Chug, stepping forward.
"I would like to hire all of your people, to work for me, for one year. I want a great wall built to keep the monsters from the north from bothering the people to the south. In exchange for your labor, I will feed you, house you, and after the year is up, you would be citizens of the south, free to come and go as you please. You will never be taxed by any leader of this southern country as long as you hunt the monsters that live to the north, keeping the kingdom safe. My people will trade with your people fairly for your goods, you can retreat south of the wall when the winters are bad, and you will be allowed to govern yourselves as a matter of expediency. Any permanent settlements below the wall will have to be approved by me, or the king. For the next year I would be your leader."
Chug's brow was scrunched as he tried to follow along.
"What makes your king keep his word?"
"He already signed one of these. I have a copy if you would like to see it? I hope it won't matter in a few years, anyway. I intend to have a place for any who will follow me and be my people by then."
"You want us to go with you?"
"If you would follow me, you are welcome to come. All of my feather's people will become mine in time already. You would be the first people after Stella that I gathered myself."
Chug looked around at all of the people watching, then at the shamans, before turning back to him.
"I will wait to see how good of a leader you are. The north is our home."
"That's fine. I can understand. I am not yet ready to go to my kingdom just yet. For now, I would ask that you join me for a year to learn for yourself if I would lead your people well and can save you from this icy death?"
"You need to prove yourself."
"How do I do that?"
"That is a hard question. I will talk to my advisors and get back to you," he said with a grin at his joke.
Joseph grinned too, wondering who he had heard that from.