The craft store where Anda[A] works is closed for the summer solstice, so A is at the park, sitting on a picnic blanket with A's back to a tree and embroidering geometric designs on one of A's shirts (not the one A is wearing). A was hoping to finish this cuff before sunset, but it's warm and there's a soft breeze blowing and there's really no rush, is there, so once he gets to a good stopping point A folds up the shirt and lies down on the blanket for a nap. What a lovely day it is to be alive.
"Thanks! Portals are cool. Can anyone learn magic or do you have to be born with it or something?"
Anda rocks side to side in excitement. "Eeeeeeeeeeeeee can you teach me the basics for six-year-olds?" If this magic* has translation of languages from other worlds then either Convergentlanguage is really convergent or it has black-box-mental-components and who even knows where it's keeping its compute, but Anda[A] already let it interface with A's brain and nothing bad happened and Neidurah seems to be fine too. So it's probably the awesomecool kind of differentphysics and not the terrifying kind. Though separately it's weird that a world would have differentphysics and still have humans.
*Literally humanusable-differentphysics, but handily abbreviated for, originally, the use of fictional characters.
"Uh. People are faster at sewing than other things, and the more you do it the faster you get, and luckier, and the more fun sewing is to you. And they can make stronger artefacts after more practice, from slightly convenient clothes up to tents and mannequins. And portals."
"Oooooh, are the tents bigger on the inside? Does the being-more-fun get to the point of being an addiction risk if you started out already thinking sewing was a lot of fun?"
"Yes and yes. Or, there are people who spend more than eight days nearly every real day sewing. I wouldn't want that but I don't much like it in the first place."
"Woah, that's so much time! Do they age eight days in that time or just one?"
"I mean they're not really living eight days' worth. Just one."
Anda[A] cannot say anything for the next several seconds because A has been PUNCHED in the FACE with DESIRE.
"It sounds like, if we had that kind of magic back home, only a tiny handful of top experts would be able to make a living doing it because everyone would be doing it for free all the time. Is that how it goes here or nah?"
"It takes a long time to become opalescent, barely anyone can go as fast as that. But I've sure been given an awful lot of free artefacts I didn't ask for."
"I'd ask about your economy but there's no way any of the units will translate and I should just hang around observing the standard of living . . . Does all embroidery count as magic or do you have to do something specific to attach the magic to it?"
"All of it, unless you make it not on purpose." One of the sheep starts wandering in Neidura and Anda's general direction.
" . . . Is the half-embroidered shirt in my pocket liable to do something dangerously random?"
". . . I don't know. Maybe. What sort of things were you thinking about when you were making it?"
"The block printing class I was going to teach tomorrow . . . the giant camping event I was going to go to at the end of the summer . . . how lovely the weather was . . . self-insert daydream in a fantasy novel where it's the bronze age and parrots are big enough to ride . . . normal stuff."
This magic system is still incredibly cool, but burn it, Anda had plans. . . . though come to think of it, maybe there's still an Anda[A] back on Firstplanet who woke up from the nap like nothing happened. After all, if this place actually has different physics, then A couldn't've travelled here from there, and would instead have somehow come into existence with A's memories, which one wouldn't expect to have any effect on the original instance. Anthropics probably suggests the Anda on Firstplanet is dead, actually, but as a wise person once said, "If you get hired to deal with anthropics, octuple your fee."
"None of that sounds dangerous but I'm not a seamster."
"Is the dangerous stuff the intuitive things--don't sew angry, don't sew while thinking about explosives or radioactivity or whatever?"
"What's radioactivity." The wandering sheep arrives and nestles its head in Neidura's lap.
Awww, what a good sheep. "It's a property some substances have that can make you sick if you spend too much time around them without safety gear. I wouldn't worry about it; you're not likely to run into any if this planet doesn't use them for anything." There, that's true and seems unlikely to cause problems.
"Okay that's good. I don't know about anger, I think it depends on how you direct it. It's fine at least some of the time."
"Any other things that are definitely dangerous? Do the people who spend eight days every day sewing have problems with remembering to eat and stuff?"
"It's not really living faster; they have to eat after they come out of sewfall but not while sewing. . . . Sewfall is, however many actual hours they spent sewing they have to sleep after, and you can't really wake them up from it until they're done. For opalescent seamsters; it's different at lower levels."
Anda does some mental math. If you spend N hours sewing and have to sleep for N hours afterwards that's a straightforward win at a 3x multiplier even if you assume that the sewfall-sleep is in addition to your default sleep needs. Any sort of connection to Anda's own life has to wait on determining whether world-jumpers/spontaneously created people can learn magic sewing and how good at it Anda in particular can get. Back on Firstplanet Anda was pretty much exactly average at everything, but here, who knows.
"Can you explain the levels? Also 'opalescent' is an excellent name for a type of awesomeness." Wait, what if one can actually use magic to make some part of one's body opalescent. That would be the best one of many awesome things Anda has learned today.
" - I'm sorry you appeared near about the worst person to explain any of this. Unless you're lucky to have appeared near a person at all." She petpats the sheep. "The levels are peridotious," (which she pronounces pɛərədoʊʃɪs, except for how she doesn't because she isn't actually speaking English) "ambrious - spessartescent . . . something red? Amethystic sapphiric and opalescent. Time stuff doesn't start until spessartescent and it's at one and a half hours to one, goes up from there."
"You've been really nice and helpful and I'm not lost in a desert so I'm very glad I landed near you! Are they just called what they're called because it's a cool set of words or do the colors mean something? Is there a sharp transition from each stage to the next or is it more of a fuzzy spectrum with arbitrary lines drawn on it?"