Quara sighed, dabbed her eyes, and said that emotions, once used up, must break up into tiny pieces and drift in the air like dust motes. “And that’s why it’s sometimes full of feelings not your own. Sometimes I want to cry or laugh, just breathing. Do you think that’s possible?”
Her father looked up from a small sterile containment field and its gaseous contents, grey eyes tracking the air as if for evidence. “Not scientifically.”
“But maybe magically?” she asked hopefully.
He tutted. “Think like that, and you’ll never learn a thing. They’re not separate fields. Magic is the highest science known to man, and our greatest instrument of progress. No; intents may be laid into an object so that it carries the quantum imprint of a conscious being’s will, but neither magic nor mathematics nor any other branch of learning would suggest that emotions break up into an—an ethereal dust.” He swished his hand through the air.
“So it’s not possible?”
He threw her a sideways glance, even as he scribbled down a noted change in the containment field’s monitor. “Think like that, and you’ll never discover a thing. I said magic is the highest science known to man. I did not say that man knows all. There are mysteries still in the world. There are things even magic can’t explain.”
“So you think there might be something—something real that’s greater than any of the sciences?”
“As a Lord Magi and a professor of alchemistry, I must say that it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever find any phenomenon that cannot be eventually comprehended. Continued progress permitting, I expect that everything will eventually be resolved into a science. Though,” he murmured, in near-inaudible afterthought, “I dearly hope otherwise.”
His eyes winced shut, and Quara saw his face turn sweet with melancholy.
“There’s an ache in the air, isn’t there?” She could taste it like a tang, the tight sadness in her lungs.
He blinked the moment away, stepping to the next containment field. “Highly unlikely. But you can research airborne emotional fragments on your own time. Meanwhile, be a dear and check the group two’s dissolution rates, there’s a girl.”