Chapter 2 : Achieving Equilibrium: The Prologue Continued
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Very strange things, indeed as I discovered.
I got to learn the inner workings of an actual school. It wasn’t the type of education I was used to. Suddenly, I had classrooms to get to on time. I had school schedules. It was definitely not the kind of ‘learn what I want to, when I want to, how I want to as long as I learn’ type of education anymore. I found it rather disappointing, actually.
The knowledge I acquired, however, was quite the opposite. Over the years, I had successfully combined what I learnt from Hogwarts with what I know from homeschooling. This gave me an easy position, top of the class in Transfiguration. Although given copious amounts of homework by Professor Amelio, I could maintain my position with ease. Gaining a status as his favourite student was a nice plus. He smiles unnaturally when he reads my essays.
In Potions, Al and I were always going back and forth for that position. We weren’t competitive, we just sat next to each other, respected each other’s need for silence, and worked, forever maintaining the stereotype of potions-proficient Slytherins. Once I likened the highly precise methods of Potion-making to chemistry experiments—however unfamiliar the materials—it became easier.
Easily passing most of my classes with satisfactory grades, I began to spend a lot of time outside the concern of it. I did just enough work to be around average. Whether that be slightly above in Charms, or nicely beyond in Potions and Transfiguration. I stopped caring about my grades much after the first year. I had my priorities straight and I followed them. Science, exploring, school, then mischief-making—although that was just a way to practice simple, real-world science with the added benefit of abundant amusement.
I explored the library more than any other part of the castle. In fact, I found a secret room behind a large tapestry of Nicolas Flamel on the back wall of the library.
Keeping it to myself, I cleaned it out and managed to make my own private study room out of it––everywhere else was much too loud.
In my secret room, I could read books without interruption. Books—and sometimes even scrolls—and ancient tablets regarding magical diseases, the evolution of magic, the very concept of magic, and complex transfiguration.
The latter fascinated me so much that, knowing how much of an expert Headmistress McGonagall was in Transfiguration, I took the matter to her. I bombarded her with questions about Animagi and I pleaded with her to help me develop my own Animagus form in my own, very shy way of bombarding someone with questions.
Occasionally, a person I knew would ask if I wanted to hang out, but there was too much to read, too much to explore, too much to do. My acquaintances were all very intelligent, thoughtful, and kind human-beings, but sometimes it all got too much for me. It can get a bit. . . annoying as well as overwhelming. There are just so many of them. Such abundant company can exhaust me. I did spend some time with a house elf and a cat and sometimes I did tutor a student.
Otherwise, I kept my peer interactions per week to at least five. I had too much to do outside the concern of being a social butterfly. Rather than partake in any sort of parties that seemed to be quite popular around the school, I indulged myself in looking for answers to my own questions:
What could I do with magic?
What is the fundamental theorem of transfiguration?
Are there any other secret passages or rooms in this school?
What differentiates a magical being from a non-magical being?
On a molecular level, do magical occurrences follow the same rules as non-magical ones?
Is magic a characteristic that evolved multiple times in different kingdoms of life, was it the result of convergent evolution, or do magical beings make a completely different domain of life?
Is magic a genetic mutation in muggle-borns or is it inherited, hidden as a recessive trait and only appearing when two carriers produce an offspring?
Perhaps it involves multiple genes? Complementation seems to be a more likely explanation when muggle-borns like myself are taken into consideration.
Are magical traits discontinuous or continuous? Is there a way I could measure this?
On the cellular level, is it possible to differentiate a pure-blood or half-blood from a muggle-born or a muggle?
Do magical diseases work similarly to non-magical ones?
Which biological system functions in magical ability? My hypothesis is the nervous system, but. . .
Can I use what I know of science with magic beyond the theory I have only written of in Transfiguration class?
I expanded my scientific knowledge over the summers, as I expanded my magical knowledge during the school year. During one of those summers, before fourth year, I focused on the transfiguration of different forms of carbon. I theorised that if I knew the different allotropes of pure carbon, with enough concentration, I could change one allotrope into the other, without necessarily having to know what to incantate. Graphite in pencils to diamonds, for example.
The first week back in my private study room, I did it. I looked at my wand: pine, dragon heartstring, 13 and a half inches, slightly springy. I was told that it liked being used creatively and flamboyantly.
I used magic to subject the pencil to enormous amounts of pressure, willing the carbon atoms to separate and reform, every single bond. I was able to work the reaction despite the very positive free energy associated with it. Despite the high entropy of graphite and the relative low entropy of diamonds.
Long days and nights of just staring at a pencil finally paid off: the wood of the pencil exploded, sending shards of wood flying, to reveal a rough, discoloured diamond underneath.
It wasn't perfect, but it worked. It wasn't a life-changing, world-saving feat. In fact, my conclusions excited me more than my success. In fact, the diamond crumbled within 6.6 seconds, but those seconds were all I needed.
I realised the implications of this experiment:
Firstly, magic and science do mix. They mix beautifully and not just in theory.
Magic can be used to carry out thermodynamically unintuitive reactions, but reactions nevertheless. It is a science, however bizarre the thoughts of beings that are able to utilise it are.
Secondly, non-verbal magic works regardless of whether or not there is an existing spell. I just have to concentrate hard enough. I just have to know exactly what is happening. Using all that my parents have taught me, I could make this work for me.
It wasn't even very advanced. I just had to ensure that there were no interruptions and no distractions. This is exactly what my private study gave me.
Thirdly, maybe, I could take carbon dioxide from the air, and if I subject it to the right conditions, I could produce pure diamonds and oxygen gas as a byproduct. I could create yellow diamonds by contaminating it with nitrogen, blue diamonds with boron, green diamonds by exposing it to electromagnetic waves.
Using the same principle, I could create life from air—given that I know the complete molecular structure of a cell, much less the whole organism. This one would take a while given that I don’t know the molecular structure of a complete, fully-functioning cell. There was also debate concerning the moral implications and Ministry regulations of the whole issue and I didn’t want to get involved.
Taking this concept to a subatomic level, would it be possible for me to turn one atom into another by adding or taking away electrons, protons, and neutrons from an atom?
Not for the first time, I accomplished a seemingly complicated task in a simple way. Efficient. My parents were so proud.
Now that I have established this, could I apply it to self-Transfiguration?
As it turns out, before Christmas, on my fifth year, as a result of thousands of hours of practice, I managed to reorganise my tissues and organs into a recognisable figure.
My jaw elongated, my whole body shrunk, My ears grew, my spine stretched into a tail. Suddenly I lost my bipedal ability, but my hearing and my sense of smell improved. I became a Vulpes velox. It was in this form that I explored the castle in the wee small hours of the morning.
After a while, I also got the hang of enchanting my clothes to stay on during my transformation. Because it would have been a waste of time and energy, I didn't transform every article of clothing I had.
It took a couple years to achieve my own equilibrium in such unfamiliar conditions and an indeterminate amount of time—it was unnaturally brief and much, much less than a couple years is all I know—to ruin all that.
Auf Wiedersehen - until we meet again; equivalent to goodbye only difference being that it lacks the sense of finality to it
Bärchen - little bear; it's a term of endearment
Ich liebe dich - I love you
Vulpus velox - swift fox
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