94 Chapter 94 Baby Rescue
Slaves were starting to trickle in, some in groups and some single. Joseph sent them on to village site 4. He was trying to keep the various groups away from the king's men, who were stationed in site 1. A town that had belonged to his father arrived, with a massive amount of building supplies. They went without stopping. He gave orders, as they passed through, to use their supplies to start putting up buildings. The sewers were ready for a small village, but Joseph was certain they should be able to survive the winter just fine.
The slaves came from a town that had made wood and iron products and they traveled with the most infants. It was going to be incredibly noisy in that town.
After lunch, Stephan stopped by with Becky and a wet nurse with a baby.
"Master Joseph, this baby isn't doing well, and we're not sure why," reported Stephan, looking confused.
The wet nurse was obviously nervous as Joseph had them lay the baby on his desk.
"I have nine years of experience raising babes for the master. I don't know why this one is doing so poorly," she fretted, as if she would be blamed if it didn't survive.
"We've tried to heal it, but it had no effect," added Stephan, and Becky nodded in concern.
Joseph could see that the babies breathing was labored, and his face was flushed. As he looked at it, he could tell there was just the faintest hint of an aura around it. There was an unusual birthmark that couldn't be seen clearly because of the splotchy skin. This child had tremendous potential in a magical bloodline, but his mana was all messed up.
"Who were his parents?" asked Joseph, touching the baby gently on the head.
"We don't know," murmured the wet nurse.
"He's not human, at least not full human. There's not elven either, but I'm not sure…" he closed his eyes as he allowed his mana to touch the child's mana, tasting it but not harming it.
"Stella," he said, turning towards her.
"Yes, Master Joseph?" she asked, perking up.
"Would you mind helping me with your…cousin?"
"He's going to die if I can't get his mana circuit right. But I'm not familiar with a circuit like his. I think yours is probably the closest to his of anyone here. Do you mind if I study yours for a moment?"
"What do you need to do?" Her hands fluttered at her sides like nervous birds.
"I have to put my magic in you and watch as it flows around to learn how you circulate your mana."
"Sounds…disturbing." Her face was scrunched and her voice low. She was obviously not happy.
"Well, I've done it to Stephan and Derek and they didn't have side effects."
"Sounds disturbing." Her voice dropped even lower.
"Well, if I don't learn your mana circuit, he may die while I try to correct it."
She sighed and closed her eyes.
"Then why are you asking?"
"I won't force you. It's up to you to decide."
She glared at him.
"I'm not going to watch a child die."
"Give me your hand."
She held out her hand and looked away. Stephan and Becky shared a look but said nothing.
Joseph took her hand and inserted his mana into Stella slowly. Not letting her mana absorb it, he observed it as it was pushed along her circuit. It reminded him of a CT scan after they injected someone with dye. When it had run its course, she naturally absorbed his mana and made it hers. Her path was ridiculous. It had twists and turns and loops as if she was three people instead of just one. Joseph had seriously underestimated what was required.
Taking a breath, he turned to the baby and started to feed mana into him. There were chunks in his circuit missing and other areas that were nothing but a tangled mess. It was incredibly lucky that he had taken the time to study Stella's first. If he had tried to figure this out on his own, the babe would have died.
After the first go, the baby was looking better, but Joseph could tell that he wasn't over the hill yet. There was a spot here and there that he had to touch up, a knot over there that needed to be teased gently apart, and a spot over there that needed to be rebuilt again because it wasn't quite right.
Stepping back, after more than an hour, Joseph could tell that his skin wasn't as splotchy and his breathing was closer to normal.
"Is he better?" whispered the wet nurse.
"Not just yet," said Joseph, after studying the child for a moment.
This part over here wasn't working right. He glanced back at Stella, going through his memory, then turned back to the child. Mana was attracted to Stella's ovaries, which made sense because it was the focus for life. Guys spend much fewer resources towards making life, so this part that wasn't quite right, should do this. Tweaking it just a little, he studied the flow and saw that it was closer to Stephan and Derek's circuits. After another moment of study, he decided that it was flowing much more naturally.
By the end, Joseph spent over two hours working on the baby. The fine points were ridiculously difficult.
"I'm done." His voice was soft from exhaustion. The baby had fallen asleep, no longer in pain.
"You are amazing!" exclaimed Stephan, looking at the baby sleeping quietly on the desk.
"I know," he replied, sitting in his chair. "Stella's more amazing."
"What? Why? I didn't do anything," she said, looking at him confused.
"The baby will live. Take good care of him. I want him when he's older. He'll be fantastic later.
The wet nurse nodded, unable to speak, as she picked up the baby and bundled him out of the room as if he was a precious gift. Becky and Stephan waited for a moment in awkward silence, before leaving as well.
Joseph was too tired to comment on their pale faces. Maybe it was just the lighting? He really hoped they didn't need anything more from him. At least not for a few minutes more.