Remember The Name - Chapter 73
Lucid took a few deep breaths as he stood at the edge of the cliff. He had done all the calculations he could with the knowledge he had, but he had no idea what would actually happen. There were too many variables that were unaccounted for. He had been diligent in his studies, yes, but they hadn’t been in-depth enough, and it was in times like these that this truly showed.
However, fact remained that he had no more time to waste here, on top of the mountain. It was still snowing, and the wind was becoming harsher by the second. He couldn’t even afford to wait until noon, as the danger would only increase the darker it got.
More than anything, Lucid wanted to believe in his magic. It had saved him more than once, and it had been immensely helpful in times when he would have been otherwise lost. He wanted to believe in this wondrous power. However, believing and risking everything were two different things, and he couldn’t jump into it without any preparation. He would have to test everything out first.
He was surrounded by nothing but enormous boulders, and he spent more time looking for an appropriately sized rock than he had making his calculations. When he finally managed to gather a few rocks that were only slightly larger than his fist, he began his experiment.
“Experiment number one…” he said as he took the first rock in hand.
He stretched his hand out past the cliff and let go of the rock. This experiment was the free fall experiment. Once he opened his fist, the rock fell from his hand and dropped down. However, because of the wind, its fall was anything but straight and direct. Instead, it swayed to the side, hitting the side of the cliff with a thump. It bounced up upon impact, drawing a long curved trajectory before falling down again. It hit the cliffside a few more times before disappearing below the clouds.
As he watched the rock fall, Lucid couldn’t help but feel a bit terrified. If he were to fall following the rock’s exact trajectory, he would definitely end up hitting his head against the rocks or breaking a few bones as he fell.
“Do I need to throw it farther away…?”
However, he decided that he needed to proceed with the experiments in the same way each time to get valid results. He would try throwing them later. For now, he took the second rock in hand and dropped it down the cliff again. This time, however, he applied magic on it to increase its coefficient of friction. The rock began its free fall, much like the first rock had, though it appeared to fall much more slowly. Or was it? Lucid couldn’t be sure. It also seemed to hit the cliffside much less often. Or did it? The second rock also disappeared below the clouds, and Lucid sighed.
“I’m observing it wrong,” he decided.
Since he was watching the rocks from above, he couldn’t quite tell what was happening exactly. He had counted to himself the time it took for the rocks to disappear into the clouds once he let go of them, which was why he knew that the second rock had indeed fallen more slowly. However, it was still too fast, and it was much faster than Lucid had anticipated. One reason for this, as far as Lucid knew, could be that the surface of the rock wasn’t big enough for the increased coefficient of friction to have much of an impact on air resistance itself, meaning that the value of the drag was still less than the mass of the rock.
The third experiment thus required a rock with a mass similar to Lucid’s, but such a rock would be too big for Lucid to throw down the cliff. Being almost 35kg (77lbs) in weight, he was nearly as heavy as a full sack of rice. As such, instead of picking it up and dropping it down, he opted to simply roll it over the edge of the cliff.
“Oof!” he grunted as he pushed the big rock with all his strength.
As the rock fell, it hit the side of the cliff with a great big crash, bouncing up slightly before continuing its fall down. Then, it hit the cliff one more time, but this time, it shattered into two pieces. Even as the two pieces fell and disappeared into the clouds, Lucid continued to stare down the cliff.
He stepped away from the edge of the cliff and crouched down, hugging his knees as he took deep, steadying breaths. When the rock had broken into two, he had visibly flinched and recoiled from the shock.
This next experiment involved increasing the coefficient of friction again, but the rock, being quite flat in shape, proved to be a bit difficult to roll off the cliff. He bent down awkwardly and gathered all his strength to get it in position, and once it was in the air, he assigned the highest value he could to the coefficient of friction on the rock. The rock fell, and Lucid walked on all fours to peek over the edge of the cliff.
What he saw was the rock falling quite slowly, slowly enough that it was visible to the eye. Though it wasn’t floating down by any means, it definitely appeared to be supported from below. Then, the rock slowly turned. Once the rock was on its side, it picked up speed and disappeared below the clouds.
“So it’s also important to consider the shape of the object. More surface means more air resistance. I’ll also have to increase the coefficient of friction.”
The experiments were over, and it was now time to put it in action. Lucid stood at the edge of the cliff. If he fell at the same rate as the last rock, that would be enough for him to fall safely. He stretched his hands up above his head, and the cloths wrapped around his arms dropped down like sails. He had originally planned to wear another shirt and have it act as a parachute, but he had changed his mind when he saw the last rock fall. It would be better to start off with a larger surface area than to rely on a parachute mechanic.
With his arms outstretched and the cloths hanging from his arms, he looked like a flying squirrel, and he thought of Myeong-su. His friend often wrapped himself in blankets before jumping off the bed.
“Fly!” Myeong-su would shout as he fell.
He had also cried out in pain after hitting his knees on the floor. Myeong-su had gotten away with his little stunt with nothing but a few bruises on his knees, but for Lucid, his life was on the line.
If he were to survive and somehow get back to the other world to tell Myeong-su about this moment, how would his friend react? Lucid doubted that Myeong-su would even believe him, and of course, Lucid himself wouldn’t try too hard to convince him of the truth. But right now, none of that mattered. For now, he would just have to survive this.
“Alright, let’s do this!”
Lucid took one more deep breath and threw himself from the edge of the cliff. It was right were the blood was.
As soon as his feet left the ground, he cast his magic on himself, and the very flow of air against his skin changed. It felt like his whole body was being crammed in a sponge, and Lucid smiled to himself. This was a promising start.
One thing he hadn’t considered, however, was how to change his falling position in mid-air. He had planned on falling with his arms and legs stretched out, flat on his stomach as if he were floating in water, but his head began to point downwards. The cloths on his arms, now flailing above his head, began to flap around loudly.
“Not good!” he thought to himself.
He was falling much too quickly. He wasn’t supposed to fall this quickly. Panic slowly creeped up to him. He couldn’t control his body, couldn’t change his position at all. Overwhelmed, he began to flap his arms wildly, but that only seemed to make him fall faster. His ears rang with the sound of the wind and his flapping clothes. His eyes hurt as the wind blew in them, and he couldn’t bear to keep them open. The cold wind gushed inside his open mouth, drying out his throat and filling his lungs painfully. He had to grit his teeth to keep his mouth closed.
At the very least, he wasn’t being battered around against the cliffside, but as soon as he relieved in this small fact, the wind pushed him away. His whole body tilted towards the cliffs, and he was getting dangerously close to the rocks. Instinctively, he tilted his head towards the wind to try and regain his balance, but his entire lower body seemed to be disconnected from his torso, and it refused to listen to him.
The cliff was now on his left, and though he knew that it was he who was moving towards the rocks, he couldn’t help but feel like the cliff was approaching him menacingly.
He clenched his jaw and put as much strength as he could into his legs. They parted more than they had earlier. His head was still pointed down, but he was glad his legs were moving, at least. He had wanted to point his legs down so that he could raise his neck, but as he tried to move one more time, all his balance was thrown off, sending him flying towards the cliff even faster. He stretched his hands and legs out towards the cliff. He would hit it, any time now.
“Stop!” he screamed inwardly in desperation.
Piles of brownish red rocks were stacked like blankets, with smaller fragments filling in the gaps, hiding like hatchlings waiting for their mother. A fracture at the edge of the cliff stretched down, becoming wider and wider as it went until it formed a gap large enough to fit a boulder, though only the wind passed through. Looking closer, there was also a small bunch of weeds growing near the opening of the gap, and the leaves bowed to the wind every time it came.
Right next to this gap was a grayish rock, with a black stain that ran through it like a scar. But it wasn’t a stain at all. Rather, it was the inside of the rock itself, having been exposed and polished by drops of water that had flowed over it throughout the years. Its black center made the outer layer of the rock seem even whiter than it was.
The western wind passed over the face of the cliff, leaving behind marks wherever it touched. Small gaps and fractures that would otherwise be unnoticeable grew with the passage of time, and the great face of the cliff was now weathered and covered in deep wrinkles.
And as he watched these wrinkles, a light sparked inside Lucid’s eyes, and he remembered.
This wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. He had experienced this once before, in the marshes, even though he hadn’t noticed back then. It had happened much too quickly for him to realize.
And it had happened again just yesterday, in the cave, but he had once again failed to notice what he was experiencing. All he knew was that his head felt like it was shattering into pieces, and that a considerable amount of time had passed while he was experiencing this phenomenon. He knew, purely on instinct, that the longer this phenomenon lasted, the worse the repercussions were for him. He had to put an end to this as soon as he could.
Everything had stopped, including himself. Even his eyes had stopped moving, to the point that he couldn’t look at anything other than what was immediately in front of him. He couldn’t hear anything. Or could he? He thought he heard something, but he didn’t know what. At the moment, all he could do was to think.
He needed to escape this strange phenomenon, but he also needed to use this moment to his advantage to get out of the dangerous situation he had been in before.
There had been two issues during his fall. One was that he hadn’t been able to control his body, and the other was the coefficient of friction, or in this case, air resistance. Drag. He had applied magic on his whole body, but the value he had assigned to the air resistance had apparently not been enough. He needed to think of a higher value. The air resistance needed to be greater than it currently was.
Luckily, when he became aware of the strange phenomenon, he had also remembered his games in the dark space he had been stuck in. Right now, he needed to come up with the greatest number he could think of and break through that limit. It was the same thing he had done in the dark space, but this time, he had realized the problem and come up with a solution much more quickly. Lucid quickly began to think about numbers.
Moments after, Lucid’s eyes began to glow. He stretched his legs out, and as soon as his feet touched the surface of the cliff, he kicked with all the strength he could muster. His body was pushed away, and he floated away into the distance. Though he had kicked as hard as he could, he moved ever so slowly, as if he were underwater.
At the same time, he dropped down. Slowly. As he fell, he saw snowflakes fall from the sky. He watched them fall, and saw that they fell much more quickly than him.
Finally, Lucid reached the clouds. Slowly, gently, he sunk through them. They enveloped his whole body, as thick as mud.
lt;Adventure (7)gt; End.