101 Chapter 101 Playing With Fire
After he changed his shirt, people started to arrive. Most of the ones that claimed to belong to Joseph, felt uncomfortable following his dad's orders, even if they knew him from when he had signed the contract with the king.
Focusing on SEEK WATER, his first water spell, between visitors, he had his AMCC working on EARTH, then PLANT. This would give him at least one spell from each element.
Stephan had recovered enough, by lunch, to join them in Joseph's carriage to eat. After he cast HEAL on him again, all of the scar tissue was removed. All that was left, was a small amount of confusion in his mana circuit, that would recover in a few days on its own. No one would ever know that he had anything happen to his arm.
As his bowl was set before him, the sight of the stew meat made him throw up. Apparently, forcing himself to accept cannibalism in order to remove the curse on his arm with PURIFY FOOD was going to take a few days to recover from. It was a small price to pay, in his opinion, as he helped Stella clean up the mess, and Stephan went to fetch a non-meat meal for him.
That night, he went to eat supper with his parents, in their tent. As they entered, Stella stiffened ever so slightly as his mother smiled at them. He was very curious to know what had been said between the two of them, but the thought slipped away as his dad jumped into planning the trip they had just embarked on.
Everything was moving smoothly, despite the attack that morning. Joseph had made sure everything was taken care of to a degree, that his father couldn't help but feel proud about. They shouldn't have any problems making their way to the valley they would winter in. The hope was that they could make it before any serious storms swooped in from the north.
"Stella, how did Joseph fare in the attack this morning?" asked his mom, with a glint in her eye.
Stella bowed politely, from her seat next to Joseph, "He was slightly injured, but nothing that our healers couldn't take care of with his guidance, Madam."
"Let me see, Joseph," said his mother in a tone of voice that warranted no objections.
Pulling his sleeve back, he showed her healthy pink skin, unblemished. He gave a silent thanks to Stephan for removing all the scars at lunch, and wondered who had talked. His mother had obviously heard from someone that he had been hurt, otherwise she would never have asked. Putting the possible snitch out of his mind, he knew there wasn't a person alive that could hold up to his mother's questioning.
"Very well, don't let it happen again," she said, returning to her meal.
Stella and Joseph eyed each other carefully out of the corners of their eyes, and returned to eating. The rest of the meal went by rather uneventfully.
As they were heading back to Joseph's carriage, he spied Selena.
"Miss Selena!" he yelled, running to her.
"Little Joseph!" she replied warmly, giving him a hug.
His guards looked at each other confused.
"This is Miss Selena," Joseph tried to explain, "She is the mage who taught me to truly love magic, and my master in magic."
Dropping his voice, he made eye contact with each of them.
"Don't upset her. Seriously."
Selena and Stella both laughed. Stephan only sighed.
"Master Joseph, are all of the women you are close to, so…exceptional?"
After looking at the two girls, he nodded, "It would be best to assume so. Selena is the closest person I have to an older sister."
She laughed again and said, "If I had I little brother, I would hope he was as cute as you, little Joseph."
"She is loved by FIRE itself. She is likely the greatest elemental master in a thousand years, and taught me much of what I know about the magical realm." Pointing at Derek, he said, "I know you study EARTH, currently, but you should still seek her advice as an elemental. I intend to study all magic. Selena will probably be one of the very few, if not the only mage, capable of surpassing me in any rune once I'm done. She is at least a master, if not a grand master, in FIRE."
"You over praise me, little Joseph."
He smiled at her. "And she's humble too."
Stella laughed, as well, which really freaked the men out.
"Do her eyes always glow like that?" asked Derek.
"Yes," both Stella and Joseph responded together.
"You seem much happier than when we first met." Selena nodded to herself as she looked him over.
"I am! Also, I have achieved intermediate understanding of FIRE. Let me show you! I waited to cast two spells until now, so you could see when I first did them."
"Ooh, I would love to."
"Sam, can you go ask my father if he would like to see me do magic much more impressive than TEST FOOD? Derek, go get the other mages too. Now that dad is back, I am going to have more time to focus on magic. There's no reason they can't know that I am really a mage, now that we have no spies and everyone is under contract."
Once everyone had gathered, Joseph was so excited, he couldn't stand still. It only took a few minutes to set up a place for him to demonstrate. Stu was in the back, not really wanting to make himself known, but Joseph spied him and smiled. If he could see Joseph cooking now, he would be punching people to be in the front row.
Closing his eyes, he counted his breaths. After two, he opened his eyes. Not a drop of his mana was leaking out as he drew FIRE for FLAMING ARMOR directly over his mana heart. With a smile, he burst into flames.
Screams erupted as everyone stood in panic, about to try to put the flames out, until Selena held out her hand and stepped forward with an enraptured look on her face. Stella frowned, furious that he hadn't told her what he was planning. He was lit up like a beacon, with flames licking all along his frame. There was only a feeling of a slight warmth. He had made sure that FLAMING ARMOR granted the basic RESIST FIRE.
Grinning at Stella, he gave a super villain chuckle. "Bwahaha."
Unable to contain herself any longer, a smile broke over her face, but she quickly recovered before his mother saw it. Selena only giggled as she watched them play.
He played with the flames using his SHAPE FIRE, until the armor flared up to take the form he used in the world of flames. Selena clapped, and everyone else, hesitantly followed in clapping as well.
"Marvelous, little Joseph!"
The ground around him was blackened so he hopped past the scorch marks before the spell ended. He had another spell he wanted to cast, so he had one of the guards prop up a breastplate on a table.
ESSENTIAL FLAME. The magical essence of fire. Joseph had been to the world of flames dozens of times, talking to Miss Selena. He pictured the world of flames. Hearing the roar, he could see the flame, and feel the heat in his soul. Taking a small piece from that world and holding it in his hands, the rune drew itself. In his hand appeared a blazing blue flame only the size of a candle. Motioning it towards the breastplate, it gently floated over. The breastplate didn't stop it at all. A hole immediately melted through the front and then the back. The metal where the flame touched liquefied and dripped onto the table, setting it on fire in spots, and the edges glowed bright red. Bringing the flame back and holding it in his hand, he pictured it returning to the world of flames.
Selena gave it a little wave goodbye, and Stella walked over to look at the breastplate.
Turning to him, she said, "I wish you had this when," she glanced at his mom, "you know."
Derek started the clapping this time, as several of the mages started talking to each other excitedly. The older students had mage sight, so they could actually see it. To most, it looked like a candle flame, but to them, they could watch it constantly drawing in mana to fuel itself. It was beautiful.
With a smile, Stella asked, "So, how long is it going to be, before you can fix the armor?"
"Um," he paused, glancing at the breastplate, "that will take just a bit longer, yet."