Chapter 13 – Burning the Midnight Oil
After the idea for the musket came to Chi Lang’s mind, he went to the library to look through the materials, and also bought all the newspapers on the market to study.
However, there were very few descriptions of muskets in these documents, only limited to the use of muskets in certain wars, the harm caused by muskets, etc. There was no description of the current development level of muskets, nor the principles of muskets.
More in-depth content about muskets was still in that “Magic Research Journal”.
Chi Lang guessed that there should be a group of magicians studying this aspect of muskets, but there were not many people studying it.
He kind of wanted to enter this small group of researchers.
After thinking about it, he could only inquire from Luth.
On this day, Chi Lang inquired after delivering the food to Les: “Mr. Luth, I saw the announcement you left at the announcement office before, and you posted a message about recruiting assistants…”
The laboratory seemed to have the smell of decaying wood that never melted. Luth buried his head in the thick document, and after hearing this, he slowly raised his head and glanced at Chi Lang.
He was old, and his eyes were a little cloudy, but when he looked at him like this, Chi Lang was shocked, as if he could see through his thoughts.
Luth sneered: “You’re another person who didn’t learn magic well, right?”
How did he know? Chi Lang continued: “…I really didn’t study very well in magic, but I saw your paper before, for the musket…”
“Young man,” Luth interrupted, “I have met many students like you, with mediocre qualifications in magic, and under the guise of being interested in musketry, come to me as an assistant so as to get a graduation diploma.”
His eyes narrowed, “—you can’t even learn something as simple as magic, and you say to me that you want to explore the secrets of technology.”
Luth’s words made Chi Lang feel a little guilty. After coming here, he really didn’t work very hard in his studies partly because he accepted the fact that he couldn’t do magic, and partly because he wasn’t willing to abandon his previous system of knowledge to accept a new one.
“Why don’t you let me try it, and if it doesn’t work, you can fire me at any time?”
Luth looked him up and down: “You said you were interested in muskets, why? Wouldn’t magic be easier if you want to have power?”
Chi Lang hesitated for a moment and replied, “Because of some reasons in my body, I can’t use magic now…”
Luth snorted, looked away from Chi Lang, and looked at the document in front of him again.
“But in this period of time when I can’t use magic, I have come to realize that magic is only for a few people, no matter how powerful the magicians are, it is only the power in the hands of a few people, and this kind of power is impossible for people without talent to even get a glimpse…
“But muskets, as well as other technologies, their greatest charm is that they give ordinary people power, which allows ordinary people to protect themselves without waiting for magicians or knights to save themselves.”
“Very moving words,” Luth looked up again as he rubbed his temples, “though I don’t entirely agree with you.”
“—there are times when having the power of magic isn’t a good thing.”
“Never mind, let’s not talk about that,” Luth stood up. “you barely impressed me, since you said you want to learn about it, let’s start with these.”
Then Luth walked to the corner, where there were piles of old books almost as tall as him, and beckoned to Chi Lang.
“You study all the books in here first, and then we’ll talk about the rest,” Luth said.
Chi Lang’s eyes twitched, and he opened his mouth: “What books are these?”
“The history of the development of the musket, its drawbacks, the possibility of improving the rate of fire and the accuracy, and the effect of the musket on various monsters, and some other miscellaneous… The time limit is set in half a month.”
“You’d better learn faster, faster than you think… After all, new knowledge emerges every minute and every second in this world, while you are still struggling to study these basics, others are already creating new things.”
“You have to keep going all the time to catch up with others.”
Luth returned to his desk and said as he walked, “In addition, I will find a watchmaker and a locksmith for you. You can learn from them, improve your hands-on ability, and learn some mechanical craftsmanship by the way.”
“Okay.” Chi Lang could only agree.
“Lastly, do your best to enter the Magic Research Association. Some materials are strictly forbidden to outsiders, and it is not convenient for me to show you. You can’t bring these books of mine out of the laboratory.”
“By the way, what’s your name?”
“Are you Micah Rahman? I remember that the person with that name still owes me five silver coins. That time I taught the magic potion class, he borrowed five silver coins from me to buy magic materials.”
Why do I owe money again? How many money relationships does the original owner have that he didn’t handle properly?
Fortunately, Chi Lang had some savings at this time, and just about to pay off this small debt, Luth said, “No need to pay it back, I’m not going to ask the students for such a little money.”
After that, Luth stopped talking. He didn’t care about Chi Lang, he had seen too many such students who started out confidently and then often gave up on the research. The information he showed to Chi Lang was only the most superficial information.
For this study, it’s better to have less mediocre people and more people who are really willing to give.
Chi Lang waited for a while but didn’t hear Luth speak again. He looked up and saw that Luth was back in his work again.
Chi Lang stood for a while, then walked to the corner, took the book, and started to read.
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During the holidays, the traffic in the pub was low, and Mrs. White had stopped letting him help in the pub recently, so Chi Lang could stay in this lab during the evenings.
He had never been a person who studied very hard. He couldn’t keep reading for a long time. Chi Lang saw that the sky was almost dark and was about to say goodbye to Luth. But when he left, Luth was still concentrating on his work.
Chi Lang slowly walked back to the dormitory area. He first went to play cards with Joyce, with whom he had recently become familiar, and after playing, he slowly wandered back to his dormitory.
Sheffield hadn’t come back yet and should still be in the opera house.
After lying on the bed for a while, without any sleepiness, he suddenly remembered Luth, thinking about what he said about “new knowledge”, and felt uneasy in his conscience, so he left a note to Sheffield and ran to the lab again.
Luth was still working, and he displayed a focus and seriousness that was not for his age. Chi Lang stared at his thinning white hair and silently found a place to continue reading.
Only at this time did Chi Lang realize how serious and hardworking Luth was.
The clock in the lab would chime every hour, and when it pointed to 12:00, Chi Lang was ready to go back to the dormitory, while Luth still kept his engrossed look.
When Chi Lang came to the laboratory early the next morning, Luth was back to work. Chi Lang expressed deep curiosity about Luth’s work and rest time.
Soon, however, Chi Lang had to keep the same schedule with Luth.
When he carefully read a book, he realized that if each book had so much knowledge capacity, and he had to read them all in half a month, it would be almost impossible.
And his daytime hours could not be fully used for reading, he had both a part-time job and had to follow the locksmith and watchmaker to learn craftsmanship.
In addition, he was stimulated by Luth. Chi Lang had a part-time job helping teachers organize files, and he accidentally came across Luth’s information – Luth was seventy-six years old. A seventy-six-year-old man could still work so hard.
So he started arriving at the lab earlier and leaving later.
Strangely enough, he did not feel tired, he gained a sense of psychological satisfaction, as if he was learning something really useful, knowledge that could really make a foothold in this world, which is stronger than the security that money brings.
Finally, late one night, Chi Lang did not know when he fell asleep while reading in a daze.
The next day he woke up at 3:30 a.m. and found Luth lying on the table, asleep with the documents he had been reading all day. Chi Lang realized at this time that Luth had actually been sleeping in the lab.
He yawned and thought he’d better go back to his dormitory.
After he walked out of the lab door, he met Sheffield at the corner of the corridor.
At 3:30 in the morning, he met Sheffield not far from the entrance to the laboratory. The walls around him were yellow, and there was no starlight or moonlight shining in this place.
Sheffield was wearing a tuxedo and his eyes were ever so gentle, like the only bright color in the darkness.
“Why are you… here?” Chi Lang asked him
“After I came back from the opera house, I waited in the dormitory for a while and did not see you come back. I was a little worried and wanted to come and have a look.”
Chi Lang felt like he was floating, just like the unreal feeling he had when he was about to get drunk after drinking. He was a little uncomfortable: “Actually, you don’t have to come here, and there will be nothing in the academy… But thank you anyway.”
Sheffield: “Are you going back to the bedroom?”
“Back… go back.”
They walked into the night, the night wind blowing cool on his face, but Chi Lang did not feel cold, he felt he had never been so awake and floaty.
“Chi Lang,” Sheffield called his name.
Even if the name was accidentally told to Sheffield when he was drunk, Chi Lang thought it wasn’t a bad thing.
In this place, the chances of hearing someone call one’s real name were already rare. What’s more, when Sheffield called him by his name, it always gave him a feeling of being valued.
“Would you like to see the roses?” Sheffield asked him.
Roses, at half past three in the morning.