Chapter 43: Clash (1)
Finally, summer break had ended. It felt like it had stretched on and on, especially for Lucid. Aside from the fact that this had been his first summer break ever, he had experienced an extra six months during this period, meaning that for him, the break had lasted almost eight months. Technically speaking, it had been six months of real-world experience and two months of actual break, but either way, it was about time it ended. When Lucid walked into the classroom, all his classmates, including Kyung-eun and Hyung Oh, greeted him excitedly. “Ooh!” they exclaimed, “Here comes the model!”
Indeed, his classmates had recognized him from the public library posters plastered around the city. Lucid smiled awkwardly as they continued to praise and swoon over him and swiftly took a seat at his desk. Looking around the class, he realized that all his classmates were talking and laughing heartily amongst themselves, seemingly having forgotten all about what had happened before the break. Hyung Oh, no longer the class president, was immersed in a comic book with his friend, and when Lucid met eyes with Kyung-eun, she smiled and waved at him. The flowers decorating the windowsills had withered, giving way to small berries. Lucid thought this was a rather good reflection of the classroom itself. Everyone had moved on from the negative things and regained their usual cheeriness.
Even after the start of the new school term, Lucid was as engrossed in reading as he had always been. Though it wasn’t as intense, his peers and teachers alike still had a difficult time interrupting his reading time, and now that he was allowed to visit the school library again, there was almost nothing that could stop him. The school’s books were lacking in terms of quality and amount of information, they were actually perfect for Lucid, as his level of knowledge hadn’t quite been enough for him to comprehend the public library’s more difficult books. Now, he was able to study broader, more varied topics.
If he had to pick a drawback, it would be that with the limited school books, he had to resort to outside means to obtain answers whenever he had further questions about the topic he was reading about. Thankfully enough, the school itself was a perfect outside mean, with plenty of teachers who were more than willing to answer any questions the students might have. The homeroom teacher in particular (though she’d be inclined to deny it) was always waiting (indeed, she was not) for students to go up to her desk and pose any question he had (again, that was not her job).
“Miss,” Lucid called as he approached the teacher’s desk. “Is it true that light turns into the colors of the rainbow when it passes through a prism?”
“Yes, that’s right. Did you read that in a book?”
“I did. But I was wondering, is it just the color that changes? Or does more happen to the light once it’s through?”
Hee Yeon thought this was a very, very strange question for a student to ask. After all, wasn’t he much too young to be actively wondering about such things? Shouldn’t he be worried about, oh, the lunch menu or something of that nature? Not only was physics not her strongest suit, but she actually only possessed basic knowledge on the science at all, knowledge that might be regarded as just common knowledge. Once again, while facing Lucid, Hee Yeon sighed inwardly, thinking now more than ever that teaching was not an easy job at all.
“Miss Kim.” Lucid called again. “Shadows are formed when an object covers a light source, right?”
“Yes, and we’ve played with shadows before, remember?”
“We did. But I was wondering, shadows also have different colors. Some are really black, but others aren’t. Why is that?”
She knew this, in part. Something about shadows within shadows? She fully regretted not taking college level physics when she had had the chance. As her face contorted and turned a rather embarrassing shade of red, Lucid bowed and returned to his desk. He now knew, from first-hand experience, that teachers weren’t able to provide answers to every question.
For quite a few days now, the teachers’ office was swept with commotion. It had all started when a little boy, a first grader, had stopped by, hand-in-hand with a teacher who introduced the boy to one of the teachers in charge of the higher grades. The child had greeted the new teacher politely before shooting out a question.
“If a running car comes across a patch of ice with a coefficient of friction of zero, will the car slip?”
“What? Oh, uh… Probably?”
“So will slip past the patch of ice?”
“But if the coefficient of friction is zero, that means that there is no kinetic friction, so there is no rolling friction either, is there?”
“And without the friction to propel it in any given direction, shouldn’t the car come to a stop?”
At that moment, the bell had rung, signaling the beginning of class and providing the teacher with an excuse to run out of the office. According to rumors, a voice had erupted from one of the sixth grade classrooms a few hours later,, shouting out, “Amontons!”, but no one gave it much thought.
This type of questions hit-and-runs were ongoing and impossible to predict or prevent. Hee Yeon passed the boy over to her colleagues without remorse, and the only thing they could do was to eaither endure it or avoid the office altogether. And avoid they did, as over the next couple of days, fewer and fewer teachers stopped by the office, even during break times. Even if they happened upon the room, they would leave at the first sign of a potential question. The headmaster was no different. With all the teachers so busy (avoiding him) even during break time, Lucid had no choice but to return to the classroom.
At lunchtime, Myeong-su came over to Lucid’s class, for quite the obvious reason. “Let’s go play soccer!” He shouted. Lucid smiled (he had been correct in his assumption), and the two boys made their way to the very, very crowded courtyard. During lunch break, over half of all the male students in the school played in the courtyard, and joining them was rather akin to driving a car with the full knowledge that you’d get into a car accident. As elementary school children, what they called soccer was played more like rugby, and as first graders at the bottom of the courtyard’s food chain, there was no way that the two boys would be free to run around as they wished. What if they happened to hit one of the older kids? There was no guarantee that they’d make it back to their class in peace.
That’s why the younger kids usually spent their time in the corner of the field, passing the ball to and away from each other. With this type of play, there was bound to be someone left behind, who wouldn’t get the chance to even touch the ball at all. And that someone was usually Lucid. Of course, it was intentional, as he preferred to sit back and watch his friend play. Even Myeong-su left Lucid alone, partly because he didn’t want to force him to play, but mostly because he knew it would be more productive to kick the ball some more than to try to convince Lucid to play along.
And so, as Lucid watched his friend play, as usual, an idea struck him out of nowhere. If he could give the ball’s coefficient of friction a value of zero, what sort of changes would it cause? Friction, as he understood it, was a type of resistance, meaning that if a ball with a coefficient of zero were to fly through the air, the resistance from the wind would also be decreased. And, since there was very minimal friction exerted upon the ball as it left the ground, wouldn’t the kinetic energy be almost fully preserved?
Though he wished to experiment right away, he had to stop himself from performing magic right then and there. There were too many people around, and he didn’t know what could happen. Plus, it was much too risky to try something new with unknown results when Myeong-su was standing so close. No, Lucid decided. He’d have to try it some other time.
Once all the classes had finished, Lucid went down to a remote corner of the courtyard, ball in hand. He first wanted to try kicking the ball towards the wall. Once he saw what happened, he would kick it towards the courtyard. He set the ball down twenty paces away from the wall, and took three more steps back. After taking a moment to ready himself, he lightly kicked the ball. It flew forward about ten meters, hit the center of the wall, and bounced back towards him. Lucid briefly calculated the speed and trajectory of the ball and returned it to its original place, twenty paces away. Again, he stepped back three paces and kicked once more, with roughly the same amount of force. This time, the ball hit the wall much higher than it had before and bounced upwards. Though he couldn’t say for sure that the kicking force had been constant between the two kicks, he determined them to be valid nonetheless. That is to say, he now knew that a ball with a coefficient of friction of zero did have reduced resistance from the wind. Satisfied with the results, Lucid made his way out to the courtyard.
The older kids were still in class, and it was already time for the younger kids to leave. This meant that there were much fewer students in the courtyard, and though Myeong-su was among one of such students, he was too busy playing with his other friends and hadn’t noticed Lucid’s arrival. With this in mind, Lucid reached the center of the field and chose one of the goalposts (across from the one Myeong-su was playing at) as his target. He set the ball down and kicked with as much force as he had before. Strangely enough, the ball shot forward rather slowly, and even more strangely, it flew straight across the field for about 40 meters before hitting the goalpost and bouncing upwards. Though it wasn’t what Lucid had intended, it was still a pretty interesting phenomenon. Lucid scratched his eyebrow awkwardly. Little did he know, someone had been watching him.
“Whoa,” Hyung-geun murmured to himself. He had been staring out the window, bored out of his wits as classes dragged on. The courtyard was too far away for him to properly make out who had kicked the ball, but he had seen, for certain, that the slow moving ball had shot in a straight line and bounced up after hitting the post. It was unlike anything he had seen before, and his jaw dropped before he even realized.
Whoever had kicked the ball had retrieved it and placed it back at the center of the field. He moved back a couple of steps and kicked the ball again. This time, the ball flew low above the ground, but… Hyung-geun couldn’t believe what he had seen. He shot up from his seat, eyes bulging wide as he leant towards the window. He had never seen a ball go so fast in his life. He wondered whether this was the famed “cannon shot” that was the signature move of so many professional players. The ridiculously fast ball zoomed across the field towards the goalpost, hitting the net so hard that it actually lifted off the ground. Hyung-geun could have watched this mysterious cannon shooter for hours, if only it hadn’t been for his teacher. “Hyung-geun Kim!” The teacher yelled out, drawing the student’s attention back to the class. As Hyung-geun sat back down, the teacher sighed inwardly and gave him a gentle smack on the head as a warning.
Blissfully unaware of Hyung-geun’s situation, Lucid picked the ball up and returned it to the classroom. He had kicked it gently to better control its trajectory, and for now, he was satisfied with the results. He had observed that simply lowering the friction imposed on the ball was enough to alter the speed and trajectory, and based on how it had hit the net, it seemed that the ball’s kinetic energy was also preserved through its flight. He would have loved to use proper, more accurate equipment, but he was content enough with the fact he was able to experiment like this.
And so, just as suddenly as he had appeared, Lucid the Cannon Shooter disappeared. Perhaps he would be back. That would be entirely up to his closest friend, Myeong-su Lim.
“Hey, come on! We need more people.” Myeong-su whined, leaning against the desk Lucid was sitting at.
“It’s too late.” Lucid reminded him, looking out the window. The sky was already turning a lovely shade of crimson. “We’ll be eating dinner soon. If we’re caught, the teachers will yell at us.”"Read latest chapters at Wuxiaworld.site
“We can come back before dinner!” His friend declared. Soon, the sky would take on a darker purple tinge.
“Didn’t you play enough soccer back at school?”
“School’s school. This is the institute, so we have to play here, too. It’s different!”
Lucid once again felt that arguing about logic with Myeong-su was perhaps the most futile endeavor he could ever attempt. So he simply smiled and got up.
Surprisingly, the Cannon Shooter returned on the same day he had left.
<Clash (1)> End.