129 Chapter 127 Waking Up
Joseph knew that he needed to let everyone know that he was awake. He really wanted to tell them he was sorry for making them worry for so long.
Whispering, so as not to wake his mom, he said, "Hey, Stella."
Opening her eyes, she smiled at him. "Good morning, Master Joseph."
"I'm back. I learned a lot of new spells. Also, I think I may be a nerd. Joe decided, while I was out, to just make use of BODY OF STONE and study magic instead of walking us around."
His mom looked up. "Joe? Who's Joe?"
Obviously, he hadn't been quiet enough. "Hi mom."
Joseph smiled at her, and she smiled back, relief obvious on her face, but she wasn't about to let his comment go. "Who or what is Joe?"
"Well, the god of magic gave me a second mind so that I could study magic faster. I named him Joe so we could keep ourselves separate."
His mother stared at him for a moment, unable to come up with a response to something the god of magic had done. She did not let go of his hand though.
"I am grateful, that this time, you didn't require any more assistance," said Stella, apparently trying to distract his mother, but Joseph winced inwardly, not sure that was the right way to do it.
"Yeah. Needing someone to clean up after you, and feed you, while you're unconscious is really embarrassing when you wake up."
His mom opened her mouth again, then closed it with a small shake to her head, as if she wasn't sure how to comment about that either.
"It was weird leaving the magic realm this time. EARTH has a really strange sense of time.
"Hey Derek you can come in," he added, turning his head towards the door.
Derek entered from outside. His aura was stronger. Apparently, being near Joseph while he was in the BODY OF STONE was beneficial to his studies in EARTH.
"Derek, have you been taking advantage of me while I lay here? I reached intermediate EARTH, and can tell you've gotten stronger as well."
"Oh... of course, not master I …"
"Derek, I'm just messing with you. It's fine. I'm glad to see you become stronger. Don't get so pale. Stella it was a joke. Put that back up. I know you wouldn't let him do anything."
Stella slid her dagger back from where ever she had pulled it, and glared at Derek, sending shivers down his spine.
"Well, I did gain quite a bit of insight, by seeing your transformation, Master Joseph."
"Yeah, of the options between stone and fire I figured stone was the better choice."
"Fire?" whispered his mom. Everyone was staring at him.
"What? Selena could have still carried me somewhere, I'm sure. Was I super heavy as stone?" he asked, turning to Stella.
"You waited until you were in bed, but yes."
Joseph ran through the past month quickly in his head.
'Good thinking Joe,' he said. Joe did the equivalent of nodding back, and continued with his studies.
Joseph crawled out of bed, letting his mom continue to hold his hand. It wasn't too bad to have his mom worry about him and want to hold his hand.
"I need to talk to dad. Let's go. Derek, fill me in on everything, along the way."
Derek started talking about what happened over the month, glancing at Stella as she moved to follow.
"Nothing critical, or catastrophic, which is really nice, but now that official leaders of each rune have been decided, it makes teaching the incoming students much easier. Those with magery, at least to 1, were told, among William's people, and it has been left up to them to decide if they wanted training as mages.
"The class ready to move to the next phase of training is roughly 2,000, and another 62 candidates have stepped forward. Of that, 54 decided to become mages. We also opened up to the former barbarians, if they wanted to learn after Theon became head of necromancy. Tekaun said that any women who wished to learn spirit magic, and pass their tribes' tests, may attempt it as well. So far, only three girls have tried though. They are still in the middle of the preparation before trying to contract a spirit."
As he continued, it became apparent that one of the shamans saw the spirit of the king of the swamp before he fully returned, or at least felt his presence, which started another round of discussions. Joseph wished him well in EARTH though. He had no intention of forcing the king of the swamp to be his contracted spirit. None of the former barbarians, currently living, had ever contracted a magical creature as their spirit.
Seeing Selena walking around, he waved and called out, "Hi, Selena!"
"Hello, little Joseph. I see you have awoken."
"Yeah. I probably would have woken up quicker, if it had been FIRE instead of EARTH. You could have come said hi."
"FIRE understands. Though he has mentioned giving you kindling."
Joseph laughed, not really wanting to know what that meant.
"FIRE seems like a hot lover for you, but I'm sure he would burn with jealousy if you came over to EARTH to pick me up."
"I know I won't ever be drawn to a single rune as closely as you, Miss Selena. I'm just happy with everyone being friends. Except FOOD. FOOD seems like what would happen if I had a grandma going, 'Come have a snack, you look famished.'"
Everyone laughed at that, even his mom.
"Do you really talk to the runes like that, Master Joseph?" asked Derek after a moment of thought.
"Of course. It's how Selena taught me. Though I had to learn origin words in order to really start holding conversations because Selena is special.
"Ah, Selena, I was heading to talk to dad."
"I won't keep you anymore then, young Joseph. I have found many similarities between how I converse with FIRE and how the spirit mages converse with their spirits, though I have never formed a contract from what I can tell."
"That actually makes a lot of sense in hindsight."
"I am on my way to continue a discussion I was having with one of the shamans yesterday. Good day, young Joseph."
"Good day, miss Selena."
They finally arrived at the building William ruled from. It was a bit weird to not see him in a carriage or a tent. He was having a hard time adjusting as well, after being a traveling merchant for so many years.