71 Chapter 71 Gotta Catch Em All
"Ok," he said, blowing out a breath of air while he thought furiously. "I need water pouches, six to be exact. Four with water and two with oil."
"Are caribou stomach pouches alright?" asked Stella, as they started handing some over.
"Yes, what about the charcoal dust?" he asked, looking over the pouches curiously.
"I have thirty pouches. This appears to be blubber, is that all right?"
"It burns, so yeah. We need a tent, no two blankets I think will work." He was thinking faster than he could keep up with.
'System, I want to get reduced consumption for 2 points, please.'
(YOU HAVE 22 LIFE POINTS REMAINING.)
Nodding to himself, he turned to Stella.
"Alright, then let's go."
He turned to his guards.
"Remain here, until I return."
They all saluted him and he and Stella left the valley.
As they walked along in the cold, he reached into his pocket and pulled out one of the two heat stones.
"Here you go."
She looked at him, taking it curiously.
"I know that you get cold at night sometimes."
"How do you know that?" she asked embarrassed.
He gave her a look, and enjoyed being the look giver.
"It's either the stone, or we snuggle. It's going to get a lot colder. You probably stab people in your dreams, and I don't really want to be stabbed. Plus, you have a horrible sleeping position. I'm surprised you've never fallen out of bed."
She blushed. It was really cute.
"I've never fallen out of anything, not even a tree," she mumbled, putting the rock in her pocket.
They walked for a while, then Joseph turned to her again.
"I'm kind of glad it's just the two of us, without having to worry about everyone else."
"You're the one who wanted to be a king."
"Yea, and I'm going to need some good people to handle the little stuff."
"The more power you give away, the less happy you will be with the decisions others make for you."
"True, but I can't make every decision in the entire kingdom. I do know that I don't want to have nobles. Look at what they've done to this kingdom."
"You just need to keep the position from being hereditary. You should make them be evaluated every year to see if they are slipping in order to keep their job. Of course, if you find them doing something wrong, they lose the position immediately."
"That's not a bad idea."
"What are you going to do about the poor? There's always the poor."
"I want to make sure there are plenty of opportunities for people to advance." He hadn't thought that through yet, and Stella could tell by his answer that he wasn't really wanting to talk about it, so they fell silent again.
"That's how many barbarians I saw. There could have been some in tents, but that's how many I saw."
"Wait, you counted?"
"I don't know how you do that."
"What do you mean? I just use perfect memory to go through the memories and count the people I see. It's not hard."
"We left camp only 4 hours ago."
"Yea, it took a while."
"How do you focus like that? Is it because you had to go to school for 8-10 hours a day?"
"No, I have a really high willpower that lets me focus for a long time if I want to.
"I'm not sure what to do about education though."
"Are you going to do it like in your previous lives?"
"I don't think so. Compulsory education made sure everyone had the basics, but people took it for granted and abused it. I don't want to bother with people who don't care."
"Yeah, if they don't work let them starve. Though, I think you should make elementary required so that everyone can read and write and do simple math. After that you can make them pay to go. For the poor kids you can make a work to learn program. Jobs should be paid at the end of the day instead of at the end of the week in case your employer decides to stiff you."
"I could see that. I think after the first couple of generations I would want the parents to go back to teaching their own children basic reading, writing, and math though. I don't like the thought of taking children from their parents for a bunch of big kingdom run schools when they are that age."
"Just make sure the poor have a chance for a better life."
"Stella 90% of the people in this realm would be considered poor, or at least not significantly richer than your mother. And with the exception of people trying to **** you, most were about as miserable as you were. That's much of the reason people are so willing to sell babies to my father. At least half of the people who live in this realm, have childhoods as awful as yours. Either their siblings starve to death, get raped or murdered, the local lord taxes them till they are constantly starving, etc. I don't want my kingdom to be like that. I want indoor plumbing for one thing."
"Indoor plumbing is seriously one of your goals."
He smiled at her. "Absolutely."
"Good. Soft toilet tissues?"
"I don't know. I heard that was hard on sewers. Though I supposed the alternative could be worse."
Ahead of them, they could make out a group of barbarians heading towards the valley. There was a woman on a stretcher who Joseph was sure wouldn't make it. It looked like she had lost a leg.
"I bet it was to get the frost from killing her," said Stella softly as they kept walking. "Did you see that Tekaun was regrowing her hand?"
"Yeah. Do you think I should learn how to regenerate limbs? It's a lot more spells."
"Yes. Aren't you planning on learning them all?"
(MISSION: LEARN ALL THE RUNES.)
(REWARD: 100 LIFE POINTS.)