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Generated: Jan 01, 2022 7:11 PM
Post last updated: Jan 01, 2022 7:11 PM
give neither advice nor salt
nia and val meet again
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Nia is chilling in the main reading room nearish where the Montréal kids hang out. On the floor, she knows she's not that in, but still. She is studying French and occasionally when a sentence of French comes to mind she will attempt to say it to someone but usually she doesn't since everyone is trying to study and wouldn't necessarily appreciate the interruption. Not saying sentences of French is kind of hard so after a while she switches to geometry.

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Aha, there's Nia, who is probably somewhat safer than Leander to talk to right now. Probably. Maybe.

Val begins by lurking in her vicinity, smiling, and waving.

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"Hi Val!" Definitely not "bonjour", she's being so good.

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"Hey there. You have such interesting things to say that I was wondering if you had anything interesting to say about time management."

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She hops up from her homework and beckons him off into the stacks so they won't bother people. "Show that time who is boss, weekly performance review," she says. "What specifically?"

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"What's your favorite way to find time to do things besides homework?"

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"Schedule not doing things besides homework! Otherwise your brain goes out your ears which will kill you quicker than homework. Say, this hour is for this homework, and that hour is for mana, and then, before you have begun hating the whole entire universe too hard, you say this hour is for - what is it you want time for, there is not too terribly much to do."

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"I wouldn't say not having much to do is a problem I have at all, personally, if I finished all my homework and everything I'm doing for Sacramento and filled my mana storage and learned the whole spellbook I got from the void, I'd make more friends, throw wild parties, start a drama club, talk some musicians into being accompaniment for me to put on a dance performance..."

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"Ooh, fun! You are a making fun of your own sort of person! Right, so, put things in your schedule. Especially making friends! Terribly important. Friends keep you alive a little longer, let us say a day each so you will need to be friends with most of the school to get to graduation, better start!"

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He is not sure whether that's a joke, or unrelatedly whether it's funny, or whether it's horrifying or heartening or what. Sounds kind of plausible, but in a nonliteral satire kind of way?

"Um, I'll try that, thanks, although I think I might have more than twenty-four hours of things I need to schedule each day." Oh, please don't let it turn out that all the other kids have time-turners...

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"Huh! Do you write it? Let me see."

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"I mean, I don't have it written yet," and his to-do list contains incriminating items he can't share and will need to be rewritten, "but I can show you a written version later if you want."

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"It would help! Do you want to look at my one?"

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"Yes, please!"

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She pulls it out. "Some is in Spanish or Swahili, I will cover it with a hand - oh, you have Spanish, of course, only the Swahili." She has a Timex watch (just the face, no strap) sewn to the cover of the planner. She has all her classes marked out, including what to do during them if she has time to spare from learning the material ("revise for quiz", "mana [exercise]", "mana [meditate]", "French", "supply trades"). Before classes she has written "up!" and "bathroom?" and "meditate" and "pack bag: due today:" and a list of assignments, "breakfast"; she has lunch down, and work period is assigned depending on the day to "maintain!" and "French group" and "Spanish spell swap alliterates!" and "revise for artifice history" and something in Swahili that she is covering. After classes is similarly laid out. "Homework trade with Maria C." and "French" and "mal studies essay", broken up with "break: chat!" or "break: flop!" or "break: wander library!", interspersed with more mana and study groups. After dinner is the same way, but she has given herself Friday evening off for "DECADENT RECREATION and also asking void for:" and she has a list in progress. On the parts of the week that have already gone by Val can see that there are arrows exchanging things between places where she's rearranged this for that. Right before bed every night she has written "*!*self care*!*"; she shows him another page with a list of things that count for this ("I don't do them all every day" she clarifies), including "shower?" and "moisturize" and "no le digas a papi.... :)" and some stuff in, again, Swahili.

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"That's really organized of you! - Ooh, a spell swap, I'd ask if I could get in on that but I would probably need a time machine... huh, you schedule asking the void for things, how come?"

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"If I think of very good asks on Thursday, better if I have not made less good ones Tuesday. Spells should be not enough to make a big heap all at once."

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"Oh, that's smart."

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"Maria's advice! Spanish spell swap is to be monthly, if you want to come next time."

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"If I can make my schedule work, I'd love to! Oh, have you invited Miguel Torres, by the way?"

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"I do not think I have seen much of him since that one supply run! Possible I am too short to see through crowds. He can join too if he has Spanish spells for trade, though you are only supposed to be there if you have new ones to bring the group."

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"Well, I don't know what the group already has, or what he has, I'm just guessing based on him being from Venezuela and having enclave connections." Shrug. "Anyway, thank you for showing me this. Did you happen to want any help with geometry or anything?"

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"How can I say no? Come, explain to me sohcahtoan mysteries."

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He can try, at least. He's good at geometry and less good at teaching people things. He attempts to subtly figure out whether Nia is already aware of the secret conspiracy to pretend memorization is useful, without signaling the wrong level of confidence that any given wizard would already know the truth about any given Santa-like conspiracy.

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She seems to be trying to memorize things but is also in progress on a cheat sheet of formulae.

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"You know, unless you expect to use them a lot, it's probably a waste of time to frontload that many formulas, like - for example, you don't really need to know a bunch of triangle congruence theorems, because if a pair of triangles are really congruent then you can just always prove that side-angle-side applies. If you're just going to do fifty problems with something once, you don't have to memorize it because you can just look at it while you're doing homework, and if you're going to need it one more time on a test in six months you also shouldn't bother to memorize it because that'll take more time than you'd save by going into the test already knowing it."

If the Scholomance grades differently he's so sunk, but why would it?

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"- well, the school doesn't care if I cheat, so that is why the cheat sheet," she says, tapping it. "And they are in the book, so they might be important, and if I use them a lot then it might help to memorize, like knowing how to add is better than needing to count."

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"Adding and counting are literally the same thing but I see your point."

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"Mm-hm!" Geometring geometring.

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Geometring!

Eventually he will have to go do the other things on his not-really-a-schedule-yet. Perhaps after they've geometered they can set a time to meet up again.

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"Sure, when is good?" she asks, producing her planner again.

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That is totally a question he has an answer to.

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At the time when is good, Nia can be located doing one of "break: flop!" or "mana: meditate!" depending on your interpretation of her current repose in the Montréal area of the reading room.

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"Hi, Nia! I have things in writing with hour amounts now."

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"And does this help you do things enough?"

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"Well, it helps me figure out that the problem is all the things that need more than a day of work and need to be done as soon as possible but without a specific firm deadline other than 'the sooner the better' - or graduation, I guess - and the fact that I sleep, that also seems like a problem."

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"Yes, terrible, very bad design about the sleep. What are the so many things you have to do?"

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"Well, I expect to need to put another hundred hours of work into my spellbook, and another, I don't know, fifteen or so on one of my secret extra credit shop projects, and probably less than that on my other secret extra credit shop project but I'm less able to estimate how long that one is going to take, and - you know, homework and stuff."

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"...how do you have, already, two secret extra credit shop projects. Also what is so complicated in your spellbook?"

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"I am an overachiever!" He winks. "But seriously, one of the projects is building toward my secret plot to organize a talent show. The spellbook's just really long and old."

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"Talent show! Delightful. I can do stage hypnosis, I learned from Dad's most peculiar friend. Is the spellbook very good?"

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"Yes! It's mostly weird shields and partly weird things that aren't shields. So, stage hypnosis, huh, you figure you'll have anyone who wants to try that here?"

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"With plenty witnesses as a whole show perhaps! Helpful for being less anxious, they say. How many weird shields does a Val need?"

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"Well, probably not more than one book of them, if only because by the time I get through with this book I think I'll have exhausted all of the things a shield could possibly do. Or at least it feels like that."

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"You can throw it back if you need only, oh, forty."

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Shrug. "Maybe I will. That's what you'd do?"

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"If they were TREMENDOUSLY good spells perhaps I would keep at it, but you do not have to learn the whole book by heart. What were you asking for?"

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"I wanted to double-check my affinity by seeing what I'd get if I didn't ask for anything too specific. I suspected, before, but now I'm sure."

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"If it is your affinity it taking a hundred hours is... a lot. How big a book is this?"

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" - Big enough that I'm going to build some mana throwing it back, honestly, I think I'm about sold on doing that."

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"Do at least look at titles, make sure you are not skipping the best spell."

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"Will do! Thanks."

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"You're welcome! Does this work your schedule out?"

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"I think it does, yeah. Thank you."

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"You are welcome! What is the best spell in the book? So far."

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"That's kind of a terrible question because there are some bizarrely creative uses of shields for, like, cooking and gardening, and these really impressively elegant spells, but obviously I'm not going to pick one of those, I'm obviously going to pick one of the ones that's designed to move groups of people through groups of enemies as safely as possible for a few minutes at the cost of literally everything else. And now this conversation is depressing and an allegory for our lives."

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"Good to also know other things! As a nice to have. Not as a priority. Important to be good at priority."

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"Sort of like time management that way, isn't it."

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"Yes! It is how you know that times needs managing. If you are bad at priority you go 'ah, it is time to trim toenails' and there goes an hour."

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"You take an hour trimming your toenails?"

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"No! Far too good at priority. But some people, not Scholomancing wizards but some, daydream while they do."

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This seems like a much weirder claim than the existence of magic, but maybe his skepticism has made it impossible for them to do it in front of him.

"I kind of like the one for gardening where it not only keeps insects away, it also keeps you clean. At the same time, in one spell. I'm not sure if that's any less depressing, though."

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"Does sound nice though! Clean only from dirt? Or clean clean? Second thing would be good in here."