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.
"Seems like a bit of a waste, since your world no doubt has fine dancers and does not have lightbulbs, but I appreciate your interest."
"You don't talk as if it is easy for people to go home. It seems I will stay here a while, and art is always worth my time. My world has fine dancers, but none who focus on a single prop like you do." He hopes that prop is the right word: he fears to offend, but has no better language.
"If you chose to take up throwing yourself down wells as a hobby, you'd be home in no time. But I take your point. --I'll be off getting you a laptop?"
Dying does not seem like an appealing path to returning home, whatever the beliefs of the locals. "That would be appreciated. I'll do more traditional practice here. Thank you, Asher son of Tiana. May your roads be smooth and short."
"And yours as well."
He practices diligently, waiting for Asher to return. He tries to put everything else out of his mind. He may not be able to return, but the anti-magic field is a useful goal in any case.
Asher returns with a larger rectangle which is apparently a laptop. (Auradonians seem very fond of rectangles.) He shows Kvothe how to use it and where he can find information about science. (He does not show Kvothe where to find more of his videos.)
Kvothe enthusiastically gets to work. If this potential patron wants him to learn about science, he will learn about science. He wants to look up King Ben, but figures that that can wait until after Asher is gone: openly trying to insinuate himself with a more powerful person would be rude, if nothing else. The description of lightbulbs leads him into electricity, which helps him understand how the people of this world can make the smart phones be so small: they've managed to identify an individual unit of iron, which apparently exists, and then find something even smaller from there, and it is that which produces lightning. He aches, but is well-aware that he shouldn't do sympathy with it: that was one of the lessons Ben had focused on hammering into him, after the lung-binding incident. It isn't clear why, but people who attempt to do sympathy with lightning or static shocks die, or end up in the Rookery if they're lucky.
Asher does not appear terribly inclined to go; he gets out his own laptop and starts typing enthusiastically.
He can happily spend hours reading about this, letting himself fall into holes about these new theories about how heat works. If a thaum is just a very very small amount of kinetic energy going in random directions, that could explain why the conversions work so easily. But that doesn't explain chemical energy bindings: something else must be happening there.
Eventually Asher gets up and starts doing things in the kitchen, and a little while after that there is a delicious smell, and a little while after that Kvothe is presented with a bowl of some sort of brown soup.
Kvothe is more than used to going hungry, and was not particularly planning on asking for anything, but this was possibly not the wisest of potential plans. "Thank you." He takes a sniff. It is good! Really good! "How did you make this? Perhaps more importantly, how do people cook here? I'm used to a campfire, which I am assuming is not how things work here." He takes another bite. The spices are very very strong compared to what he is used to, but it is very good and there is no chance he is going to say anything negative to this wealthy restaurateur's kid. This is probably just what the food is like in Auradon, though he's not sure why there's such an excess of flavor.
"You can get a very small contained fire with a stove"-- he gestures-- "the refrigerator keeps things cool, I imagine the oven works similarly to your ovens in broad principle, I think everything else is going to be pretty similar. --We have dried yeast for bread, that's novel."
Asher adds a squirt of some liquid to his before eating.
"We have, well, they work on different principles, but things equivalent to refrigerators. Yours would require a source of electricity, right? What is the liquid you just injected to your soup? I'm aware of words about packaging and canning, but my family was never involved in that process"
"Hot sauce. Makes it spicier. I would not recommend it to people who aren't Louisianian."
Asher makes eye contact with Kvothe and holds it for three beats too long.
Kvothe feels he's being challenged. "I'd like to try some, if you don't mind."
"Sure." Asher hands the bottle over and brushes his fingers rather unnecessarily against Kvothe's wrist.
He pours in as much as Asher did, then half again as much, and mixes it in thoroughly. Then he takes a bite. Asher seems very focused on him: he doesn't want to risk losing this challenge.
He sinks into the Heart of Stone, focusing his Alar as tightly as he can. He is not going to give up. He is not going to give in. He is Kvothe the bloodless, of the Edema Ruh, and properly cosmopolitan. No mere local food additive is going to defeat him.
"...do you want me to get you another bowl?"
He takes a second bite. He's ready this time. And he is not going to imagine letting on that anything significant is happening. "No, though I appreciate the offer. I had dinner just before I arrived."
Asher watches Kvothe finish the bowl with a increasingly impressed look on his face.
Then when Kvothe swallows the last bite he kisses him.
Kvothe is very very thankful he's already deep in the Heart of Stone. He can consider this dispassionately. He's alone in a room with Asher son of Tiana / Ray son of Evangeline, who's very physically fit, but Kvothe is a sympathist. He's seen this happen to other boys, back in Tarbean. Asher would be a generous patron, but the son of a restaurateur isn't necessary. He can say no. And from the Heart of Stone, he just backs away. He doesn't expect it to be enough, but he hasn't taken anything permanent from Asher, and he can still sleep in the open. He didn't see many clouds: hopefully his lute will be safe.