33 A Glimmer of Sunlight in a Cold Cruel World (2)

 Eliard calmed down. Although his spirits remained gloomy, he was still able to keep himself under control.

When Link was sure that Eliard wouldn't lose his temper anymore, he stepped forward and gave Vincent a reverent Magician's bow. "Mr. Vincent, may I ask, how do I prove my own insight in magic?" he respectfully asked.

"Simple, all you need to do is write a thesis that shows your understanding of the world and the universe." Vincent closed his eyes and lazily rocked in his chair. That good-looking young man had calmed down, but really, he was a bit disappointed. Had the boy dared to raise his hand, Vincent would've gladly carved a few magic runes on that pretty little face.

"Oh, could you be a bit more specific?" Link's attitude was deferential, and that made Vincent happy.

"Your thesis need not be about magic, as long as you show a unique perspective and a deep deductive power, and if this thesis of yours receives approval of one of the tutors, you will be accepted into the academy. But of course, the tuition fees would still be 2000 gold coins, or if you come from a noble family, 1000 gold coins."

"I see."

Link was deep in thought for about five seconds, then he had come up with an idea. He then said in a tone full of regard, "Mr. Vincent, sir, thank you very much for your guidance."

"Ha, now that is a young man befitting of a Magician." Vincent leaned back in his chair on the courtyard. He nodded slightly, then looked at Eliard and said, "You, on the other hand, are just too brash. That attitude of yours needs some mending, otherwise, you'll be regretting it when it's too late!"

Eliard snorted, then turned his head around. He felt his blood boil again from the sight of that self-assured old geezer.

Link stepped backward a few steps until he reached Eliard's side. "Let's go back for now," he said softly.

Eliard nodded. His face was pale, but he still followed behind Link.

He felt as if he couldn't face his friend. He had thought that he could enter the academy, then somehow help Link. But now, all his plans had crumbled.

Once they were about 100 feet away from the school, Link consoled Eliard with a smile.

"Come on, stop being angry, he was just a Level-2 Magician. Once you enter the academy, I'm sure you could easily surpass him with your level of talent. When that day comes, he'd definitely flatter you like a lapdog."

"I'm afraid there's no way for me to enter the academy. I'll never be able to get 1500 gold coins, that's just too expensive!" Eliard's face was full of dejection. He was just hit with a huge roadblock, and he had given up hope.

I have 200 gold coins, I can live comfortably as a commoner, marry a beautiful girl, live a decent life without becoming a Magician, how bad can that be? The idea flashed through his mind.

As these thoughts ran through his head, Eliard let out a long sigh.

All these years, magic had been his only goal in life, yet it had always brought him misery and pain, never once an ounce of happiness. He simply couldn't bear it anymore.

Link saw the way Eliard looked and could guess what was on his mind. He softly patted Eliard's shoulder, smiled, and said, "Don't worry, my friend, it's just the matter of fees. You don't have to be so gloomy. I've still got 1300 gold coins with me, I can lend it to you, and add that to your 200 gold coins, then you'd have just enough to enter the academy."

"What did you say?!" Eliard couldn't help but gasp. He thought he misheard.

This was 1300 gold coins-not silver coins, not copper coins-gold coins. That was an amount of money that normal people couldn't even imagine. It was about the amount that a few thousand commoners in River Cove town needed for food and other necessities in a year.

And now, this young man whom he had just met had offered this much money to him. He was dumbfounded and was unsure of what to think. He was a mixed bag of emotions: happiness, alarm, doubt, worry, and reluctance.

Link was still smiling. "Are you afraid that I might have unreasonable demands in return for helping you?"

Eliard fell silent, but the silence was full with agreement.

He wasn't a naive child who hadn't experienced such things. He knew no one would offer kindness and help for nothing, and he knew not to expect free pies to fall out of the sky into his hands, especially not when it came from nobles.

This was what Duchess Alice had taught him. Even though she was as pretty as a pig, in the month that he had spent with her, Eliard had, in fact, learned some valuable lessons.

Link could guess the thoughts running through Eliard's mind, so he explained, "You know I'm a viscount's son. But I'm the third son, I have no rights to inherit his title, only a meager amount of his money. In that way, I'm just like you, I have to rely on myself and work my way up. You see, between us both, you're the one who can easily enter the academy. So what I'm thinking is, if you could enter the academy first, and then become a stellar student, then maybe you could recommend me or find an opportunity for me to enter the academy too. And as for the fees, well, don't you worry, my father is a viscount after all, isn't he?"

They had only known each other for a day, so Link knew not to spew any nonsense about friendship and loyalty. If he did say such things, it would only arouse Eliard's suspicions.

So, he stated his own plans honestly and clearly. He thought his plans made sense, and he was sure that Eliard would understand that it's a win-win situation for both of them.

But even so, there was no denying that this was a great act of kindness on Link's part.

"Aren't you afraid that I'd just run off with the money?" Eliard was moved, but he still didn't understand why Link would risk doing such a thing. After all, they had only known each other for a day. What made Link trust him so much?

He understood that 1300 gold coins was still a hefty amount of money, even for a viscount's son. He suspected that it was Link's whole inheritance, and if Eliard ran off with this money, it would leave Link destitute.

Link's father would not lift a finger to help, Eliard was sure of that. He knew the nobles well; he knew how heartless they could be.

Link smiled and looked into Eliard's eyes and plainly said, "Eliard, your natural talents in magic are immense. I can clearly see in your eyes that you are fully committed towards magic. I know that if you were to have a chance to learn magic, you would become a Master Magician one day. Is a Master Magician's honor worth just 1300 gold coins? If it turns out to be so, well I'll blame my own judgment and my own stupidity then."

Eliard was speechless for a long while. Then, he bowed low in front of Link, and that striking face of his turned solemn. "Link, from this day onwards, you are my lifelong friend. I will never betray your trust!"

Link patted Eliard's shoulder and said, "Don't worry about it, my friend. Things won't be as bad as it seems. I know some aristocrats, I'm sure they would write me a recommendation letter. Plus, I've got an idea for a thesis that could prove my knowledge of magic."

"Oh, what is it about?" asked Eliard, full of interest.

Link picked up a stone from the ground, flung it upwards, then after a few seconds, the stone fell back down to the ground. He then looked at Eliard and said, "Can you guess what it is?"

Eliard stared at him wide-eyed. He thought and thought, but was simply befuddled, so he scratched his head and said, "What is it?"

"What do you think made the stone fall back down to the ground?" Link replied.

He came from Earth, so he had a basic knowledge of scientific theories, even though in he hadn't been a very studious person back then. But now that he had a much more vigorous soul, he could easily understand what used to confuse him so much before.

To write a thesis that would grant him admission into the academy-Link had the wealth of knowledge from the scientific masterminds from Earth to learn from, so he felt no pressure at all.

But with just this one question, Eliard felt as if he fell into an endless pit.

In the beginning, he thought the question had an obvious answer, but the more deeply he thought about it, the more perplexed he became. With a puzzled look on his face, he repeated Link's words, "You're right, why would a stone always fall to the ground?"

Why didn't it continue flying upwards? Why didn't it out shoot horizontally? What kind of force always pulled it back down to the ground?