He's angry at Wilem and he's angry at Sim. He'd lost a little more at corners than he had intended to, and he decides to try and play for Auri. It is no use heading for the fishery like this: Kilvin would hopefully send him back before he broke something, even with his fingers. He doesn't see her on the roof, so he tries down below, in her secret passageways. One door, then another, and that one seems awful strange. Almost like the stones are...glowing? It should be interesting, if nothing else. He heads inside.
"It does. And that made the technological gaps severe. Louisiana, my home, had cars while another country, Peru, had yet to invent the wheel."
"I don't even know when in history we first had the wheel." Cars are dramatically more advanced than anything on Temerant: if the anti-magic field is at least that difficult it will be a lot of effort. But he's studied before and he can study again. And that also helps explain the invasions: the sort of mobility enabled by cars, which can go faster than even a full-blooded Khershaen, would increase options yet again over a foe who didn't even have carts or carriages. "I imagine Peruian society has a lot to adapt to under King Ben, then."
"Peruvian, and yes it did. There's been a lot to adapt to for everyone."
Asher talks to the clerk and books a room under the name Ray son of Evangeline. Instead of coin, he pays with a strange thin rectangle that the clerk returns to him afterward.
"Oh, thank you. These endings are certainly varied." Kvothe does not comment on the name, but mentally files away that Asher son of Tiana, or perhaps Ray son of Evangeline, is powerful enough that he doesn't have to pay for rooms. Or perhaps everything runs on favors and gifts? He's heard some high nobles do something closer to that, disdaining the use of money as beneath them. With the smart phones and cars, perhaps this whole society is wealthy enough that a tavern hotel room for several nights is just a favor. It seems a step backwards to him, but the wealthy can be like that. Peruvian society probably still uses money, though. "I really appreciate you setting this up for me, but I still want to find a way to earn my keep in this world. If nobody else can do sympathy, it might be more valuable than my music to you."
"I expect it will be once the legalities are sorted out, or if you seek employment with the crown."
Asher leads Kvothe into a small metal room and presses a button. The doors close and there's an odd sensation and then they reopen on a narrow corridor with dozens of rooms leading off it.
Kvothe is initially confused by the swift rise of the device, but reacts smoothly. The words are more important to consider. He doesn't want to be a soldier putting down rebellions. The troupe came across the aftermath only two times, when Arliden hadn't heard in advance what was happening, and it was never good. "Is employment with the crown necessary to get King Ben's permission? You implied he does it personally, so I assume that either there are very few magic users, this is not a very large empire, or I would need to offer him something of substantial value to get my application considered."
"King Ben only ascended to the throne two years ago and his policies are a reversal of his father's policies; I understand he is trying to phase magic use back in, but gradually at first with only the most reliable magic users. The empire spans the entire world, although I don't know how big that is relative to you-- there are dozens of kingdoms in the empire."
Asher finds the room and gives Kvothe another little plastic card. "This is your key, you put it in the hole here like this and the door unlocks." Asher demonstrates. "Your room number is 415, which means it's on the fourth floor. Your key won't work for other rooms."
An extended term of service, then, if he parses "reliable" correctly. Though Asher also mentioned that Auradon Prep trains heroes. A grand deed or two might do the trick. "How many people, roughly?" He doesn't want to imagine what the census situation looks like. There's another word he knows now. It's strange, having concepts implanted into your head. He likes it: much more convenient and faster than studying.
He takes the key and tries it for himself, before entering the room. "How does the key work? Not magic, I imagine."
"Honestly, I don't know. You can look it up online. --The population of Auradon is about two hundred fifty million humans and perhaps an equal number of sapient animals. Other species are either a rounding error or too hard to census."
And if King Ben has to manually approve them, even assuming courtiers handle most of the work that would still take at least five minutes per approval, if he spends at most two hours a day just approving magic users that would allow 24 new magic users a day in a population of 500 million. If he's been at that pace for three years, one in a thousand people could legally use magic other than contraceptives. Of course, the number could easily be a tiny fraction of that: most people don't need or use magic. "Having the entire library of the world available on your phone must make life a lot easier." He imagines what he could have done in the Archives if not for Ambrose's spite and Lorren's ban.
The hotel room has a sitting area with chairs and a table and a couch and a large rectangle similar in appearance to Asher's smartphone; there is a selection of papers on a stand next to the couch. The section of the room with a tile floor is probably a kitchen, although the appliances look unfamiliar. There is a closed door and an open door leading to a room with a very large bed.
"Speaking of, you are going to need a laptop if you'd like to make any money here at all. I'll get you one and-- I'm not sure what you can do while you wait, actually. Practice the lute, I guess."
Asher son of Tiana / Ray son of Evangeline is obviously interested in indebting Kvothe to him, even after learning that Kvothe's world doesn't have any useful non-magic innovations to offer. But a noble with at least an appearance of generosity would still be a good patron to have, and given the bouncing around this one is at least less stuffy than most. But if Kvothe wants this, and he thinks he does, he needs to demonstrate that he'll be a good musician, one who will bring honor and fame to Ashay's colors. "I was going to play for a friend, before I landed here. Could I play for you?"
"Sure, you show me yours and I'll show you mine. --Suppose you'll have to translate the lyrics for me afterward."
Kvothe considers it for a moment. "No, no I won't. But you'l have to let me warm up." Splitting his mind into three parts, he starts playing Bellweather to warm up his fingers. A light and simple song, nothing too difficult. To familiarize Asher with his lute as much as anything else: otherwise the next two would not have their proper impact. "Listen to me, I can play a basic tune" he says with his music. He concludes swiftly enough, and looks at Asher. "Are you ready for a real tune? This one really will be practice."
"Yes, let me hear it."
He smiles, and starts up with Tintatatornin. Asher doubts him? If he's going to show his worth as a musician, this is the only choice. Well, unless he can teach a local singer The Lay of Sir Savien Traliard, but he is unlikely to meet another Denna. That thought gets banished swiftly, and he (or at least the third of him currently running his body) focuses intently on the music. Fingers fly and he lets his toes tap in time, and Illien's hardest song flows from his lute. He'd had to do this for his father every time he got particularly arrogant, and the song may be for 15 strings but he is Kvothe, and while it is more difficult than breathing it is still his music, and he can do it. He finishes with no attempt to disguise the difficulty of the song, and if if he hams it up a little, who's to say he's wrong? Then he gives Asher a few moments, relying on his troupre's instincts to tell him when the man has absorbed the song, and what it means about Kvothe. "I have one last one for you, though it may be less suited for court. I have the feeling you won't mind, though."
Asher is watching intently, his face peaceful and calm; the lute is an unfamiliar instrument but he recognizes talent and beauty when he sees it, and he is still from New Orleans, land of jazz and dancing, and he is still Naveen's son.
"I'm sure I'll appreciate it. Try not to scandalize the nobles."
Kvothe laughs, an easy and full thing. "Then I'll just have to avoid it." And he breaks down the partition, letting the other two parts of his mind come back and share the lyrics: one set to translation from Aturan, and the other trying to invent new ones with these new words. And with a lightning smile he starts playing Tinker Tanner in Auradonian. Older than god and as easy as they come if you've got even half an ear for music. But he's already demonstrated that he can play: now he needs to demonstrate that he can sing. He ends with a verse he's particularly pleased with.
"I once saw a fair farmer's daughter
On the riverbank far from all men.
She confessed to me once when I caught her
That she didn't feel clean
If her bathing was seen
So she washed herself over again."
Prince Asher is laughing in delight part of the way through the first verse.
"You translated that while you were playing?"
He decides to, well, lie would be an ugly word. He prefers tell: tell the truth as best it favors him, and not reveal too much. "Yes. I've always been good with languages, and I picked familiar songs. You mentioned you play as well?"
"Nope, I dance, and it's not going to look at all impressive next to yours."
He pulls up a video on his smartphone. There's a brightly colored and elaborate float, designed by a person who briefly considered the concept of "enough sparkles and glitter" and then decided to multiply it by ten to be on the safe side. On the float is Asher, a little bit younger, wearing nothing but an elaborate feather headdress, sparkly gold underwear, body glitter, and a smile. He spins around a pole performing stunts that rather suggest that he is capable of defying gravity, alternating with some very suggestive pelvic thrusts and crotch grabs. Midway through the video, someone throws what is recognizably a pair of underwear at his head. Asher doesn't flinch.
Kvothe is very impressed. That is a really unusual level of artistic talent for a noble: he could perform with an Edema Ruh troupe and not be outshone. Somewhere very, very, very cosmopolitan. And where they didn't mind leaving after a few days and not returning for a few years. "Are all your nobles so talented?"
"My parents run a restaurant. I would say I am unusually talented at dancing among the children of restaurateurs."
He realizes that the boy in front of him had not explicitly said that he went to Auradon Prep. A prosperous merchant's son, ambitious enough that his reaction to a visitor from another world was to try to make him his client. Likely spending time near the school to build connections among potential patrons of his own, perhaps a second or more likely a third son whose parents could tolerate the eccentricity of becoming an artist, particularly if he could be a gifted one. And Asher was indeed gifted: Kvothe could tell that. He had never been one for holding positions, precisely because he knew how much strength it took. Likely sensitive about his position, and trying to appear more powerful and important than he was. It wasn't as if Kvothe wasn't doing the same, to be fair, and he likes Asher. He has ambitions beyond being patronized by a single restaurant owner, but he could do much worse as a first person to meet in a strange new world. It wouldn't do to charge, though. Asher hasn't mentioned it before his error, so they're likely not in a desperate hurry for musicians, and Kvothe does not want to seem needy. He is confident in his ability to find a place somewhere.
Restoring his lute to its case, he tries to recover: "You certainly would be by the standards of my world. How could I use the laptop to find more videos of your dancing?" Dancing has never been Kvothe's interest. While better than poetry, motion without words is doomed to never communicate ideas, and without stories and memories that there are only fleeting feelings. But it never hurts to flatter someone, and make clear how helping you can help them. There are very few artists, and even fewer good ones, who don't seek praise like a moth seeks light.