34 From the Stones to the Sun, the Stars and the Universe


 With Link's help, Eliard managed to get 1500 gold coins for the tuition fees. Because he also possessed prodigal talents in magic, he was naturally accepted into the academy without further ado.

Link, on the other hand, fell on hard times. He had given almost all of his money to Eliard, and now there were only 6 gold coins left for him.

Even though he already had an idea for his thesis, Link knew that his academic aptitude in the previous world was nothing to shout about. He wasn't a particularly bad student, but he was far from being the top, and he only had a basic understanding of the things he'd learned.

He might now be gifted with remarkable intelligence, but in order to produce a sound thesis, he would still need a lot of time and mental exertion. Consequently, he had no time at all to think of ways to earn money.

To save the money he still had left, he moved from the best room in the River Cove inn to a small attic on the top floor. The rent for the attic was very cheap, only 50 coppers a night. The room was always draughty and it was very small too, barely over a hundred square feet. It also had no bed. It originally didn't have a table either but Link managed to persuade the innkeeper to put in a table and chair, with an agreement that he would pay half a month's rent for each.

It wasn't a fair deal, but Link didn't mind it much because he had no need for luxury in order to survive; a place to stay, a roof over his head, and he's satisfied.

He went to the sundry shop to buy a quill pen, some ink, and some goatskin paper. These cost him 9 silver coins. Then he bought some more daily necessities until, at last, he was left with only one gold coin and one silver coin in his money bag. (one gold coin is worth ten silver coins.) He still needed money to eat, so he must start skimping more.

Presently, he had two major problems to solve. One was the thesis paper that he had to write, and the other was the 1500 gold coins for the tuition.

Well, I guess I'll finish writing that thesis first, then I'll worry about the money later. I'll find a way when the time comes.

Eliard was completely oblivious to the problems Link was facing, of course. He was now staying in the academy dorm and had started learning magic. East Cove enforced a closed-door policy on its students. Once you're inside, you wouldn't be allowed to go out of the cove without special permission. So for a long period of time, Link wouldn't be able to see Eliard-they could only communicate through letters.

But Link thought this was fine, he didn't plan to let Eliard know all the problems he was facing anyway. After tidying up his things and settling down in his new room, he sat down on the tattered little chair and started to write his first thesis essay.

He dipped the quill in ink, then stared out through a small window in the attic. He saw that Girventh Forest bathed in sunlight. "What should I write about?" he mumbled to himself.

He thought about it for a few minutes, then scribbled down in a flowing hand, "From Falling Stones to the Sun, the Moon and the Stars: The Theory of Universal Interactive Forces".

Since he was going to write a thesis, he might as well shoot for the stars and attempt to write something grand, so grand that it would surely grab everyone's attention!

Link was recalling his memories from the previous world and was surprised at how clear and accurate his recollection of that distant place was. There was no confusion nor fragmented pieces of memories. He thought he would've completely forgotten all about the Law of Universal Gravitation, but in fact, when he tried to recall it in detail, he realized that these bits of knowledge were like treasures buried in the corner of his mind, all waiting for him to do a little digging to retrieve them.

There was mathematics in the world Firuman too. In fact, their mathematics had progressed to a decent extent, although not in the same path that it took on Earth. Here, mathematics was only a branch of magical studies, a mere tool for research.

To put it more accurately, magic studies covered every field of knowledge in Firuman, and mathematics was just a small area branching out of it.

The young man whose body Link now inhabited had studied in the Flemmings Academy for quite some time. He might not have learned true magic, but he had a decent understanding of the basic foundations of it. What knowledge the young man had gained was enough for Link to start writing his thesis.

And perhaps because he already had a solid understanding of the basics, his analysis and deductions went smoothly. He found that he could effortlessly focus his attention, easily ignoring any stray thoughts or distractions, and all his mental processes were concentrated solely on the thesis.

Because of that, as he began to write, he was completely immersed in the task, forgetting the flow of time.

Under this kind of sustained rigorous thinking, Link began to logically analyze the hypothesis of the omnipresent force's mutual attraction that he had postulated earlier.

At first, Link thought that all would go according to plan-he would put in all his efforts into writing an impressive thesis that would leave everyone in awe, then he would find a way to get the money for the fees, and voila! Into the East Cove Academy, he would go.

But just as theory and practice usually clash, Link realized, as he went further into the deductions for his thesis, that he had a problem.

Link knew that he would eventually arrive at the universal gravitational law at the conclusion of his thesis, he thought that it wouldn't be difficult to come up with the final mathematical equation for the universal gravitational law. But as it stood, the further and further he went along the path that logic set out for him, the more he realized that he was actually falling down a completely bizarre rabbit hole.

As he came back to reality, he saw that the goatskin parchment was full of scribblings of mathematical formulas, of Mana runes equations, and he was nearly brought to the brink of insanity.

I was only trying to infer the law of universal gravitation, but what on earth has it come to?

A ghost of the gravitational law did actually emerge on the paper, but so did remnants of the theory of relativity, and many other perplexing things that Link knew nothing about.

And so... well, naturally, he was stumped. He didn't know how to go forward with this line of thought.

What he didn't realize was how postulations like the universal gravitational law or the theory of relativity, if you scrutinize them to their logical roots, all defined the nature of the fabric of space and time in imperfect ways. They might describe nature in fascinating detail, but ultimately there were cracks and flaws and they were not truly universal. There were always exceptions and circumstances where the laws broke down and became useless.

Link also didn't realize that his current mental capacity was much more powerful than he suspected, frighteningly so, in fact. As he followed the path of pure logic, his mind was automatically repairing the flaws and cracks in the theories until it discovered a handful of novel equations that even Link himself had no full comprehension of its significance.

But even when these strange equations did describe the nature of reality, they still came short of doing it perfectly, and it was this imperfection that rendered it befuddling and impenetrable.

To the inexperienced Link, this was just too much, and he was unsurprisingly overwhelmed.

He tapped at his warm forehead, then cleared his head completely of the complex ruminations and stacked the sheets of paper away in a neat pile. His stomach grumbled, so he decided to have a meal, then he would take a walk outside to unwind and breathe easy for a while. Maybe then he would find some solutions for the problems in his thesis.

That's just how Link was. When confronted with a problem, he would never back down or give up, instead, he would step back and think up of ways to solve them to the best of his ability. If the problems were too big to see the light at the end of the tunnel, then he would forge on anyway like a snail, slowly but surely.

Rome wasn't built in a day, so I can't expect to wrap up a grand thesis in a day either. Maybe all I need is a rest, he thought, to soothe himself.

Once he got to the inn hall, he took a loaf of coarse wheat bread and a cup of water and settled down to eat on his own. Once his stomach was filled, Link set out and headed for the waterfront of the River Cove town.

In the Girvinth Forest, the clear river flowed rapidly, the sun beamed in its full radiance, the crisp autumn breeze blew, and the forest itself was alive with sounds of birdsongs. All of this had put his mind at ease.

After half an hour, Link was suddenly struck with an idea for his thesis. He rushed back to the attic of the inn and immediately went back to work.

But after a few hours, he got stuck again, and no matter how hard he thought about it there was still no solution in sight. He realized that it was already dark, so he ate dinner and decided to rest his mind. He pulled out a book from the pendant and started to read.

Link had mastered the Level-0 spell Fireball, but he noticed some shortcomings in the structure of the magic in the spell. He thought of attempting to fix the flaws but ended up getting interrupted by Eliard. This time, with no one to interfere, he fully applied himself to the problem and threw himself into an experiment.

With the New Moon wand in his hand and a slight quiver in his heart, his Mana started to flow into the wand, its tip glowing in a dim light of magic.

Just like that, Link started to focus on perfecting the magical structure of the Fireball spell.

Little by little, the Mana flowed out of the wand's tip and began to build up the structure of the spell. As the key magic structure was fully formed, the fire element in the air began to coalesce. Then Link began to use his modified magic structure... but he lost control, and with one soft pop, the half-formed fireball collapsed.

This was startling, but Link knew he wouldn't get it right the first time anyway. He started analyzing the modified process that he used from scratch, and once he was sure of the revised procedure, he repeated the experiment.

Pop!

Three seconds later, the immature fireball once again collapsed and dispersed.

Again.

Another pop. But this time he could sustain it for four seconds. This meant that there was 80% more progress. Good.

Again.

Pop!

One more time... pop! He repeated this process about 50 times, but without succeeding even once. In the end, the fireball collapsed when it was around 98% fully-formed.

Link decided to temporarily stop the experiment. Why do I always lose control of the Mana at the very end? he wondered, I must be missing something here.

He thought back to when there was a change in Mana during the experiment. He considered it thoroughly for more than half an hour before he was suddenly struck by the recollection of a simple explanation he had once encountered in a magic textbook.

Hastily, Link scoured the room for his magic textbooks, and after a few minutes, he finally found three of them: The Nature of Mana, Theories of Mana Turbulence and Mana Scattering and Interference.

He relied on the original Link's blurry memory, flipping the pages of the books page by page. In no time at all, he found what he was looking for.

Mana scattering equation and structural interference chart, nine circumstances where a Mana turbulence would occur... but of course! I've made so many mistakes!

Once he was done reading, Link realized how coarse and superficial his understanding of the nature of Mana was. Attempting to perfect magic structure with this level of knowledge was indeed an act of ignorance.

Since my predecessors have provided me with so many stepping stones to climb on, I'd be foolish not to use them.

Even the great scientist Newton had once claimed that he was able to see so far because he was standing on the shoulders of giants, so there was no reason why Link shouldn't do the same. To ignore the great works that had been done before him and attempt to discover everything on his own from scratch-that would truly be the work of an imbecile.