“Well, that’s about all the councilors
do. Though, it was even worse when Mr. Seberg was chairman of the personnel
committee. He pushed people he wanted into the academy without regard for their
abilities or anything else. The current headmaster is a prime example of this.
From what I’ve been told, Councilor Wagman is probably one of the more decent
politicians in town.” (Sai)
I nod, and we move on to the
next piece of information.
“His policies and beliefs
are as I just said. As for your question about political rivals, none of the
current council members are in clear opposition to him. Of course, there are
council members who are enemies, just not explicitly…” (Sai)
Councilors Forsythe and
Ibbetson can be considered enemies of Councilor Wagman.
Councilor Forsythe is a
candidate for the next chair along with Councilor Wagman, and he is a
politician from the finance committee who opposes Councilor Wagman’s reform of
the academy. The known reason is that the creation of more research institutes
and specialized institutions for teaching faculty will put pressure on Doctus’s
finances. However, the word on the street is that Councilor Forsythe, who has
lived in the mainstream of conservatism, finds Councilor Wagman’s desire for
radical reform an eyesore.
Then there is another
political opponent, Councilor Ibbetson, who is the head of the personnel
committee. The current chairman, Seberg, is also in the same personnel committee,
and rumor has it that the chairman wants to appoint Ibbetson as his successor.
Since the chairman is elected
by a vote of eight council members and three advisors–all of whom have been
chairmen before–they are said to be trying to oust his biggest rival,
Sy said, with a bit of a
flourish, “…and there’s one other person who seems to be an enemy.”
“He is supposed to be Councilor
Wagman’s former classmate and ally, Councilor Isherwood.” (Sai)
I thought it was somewhat
possible, so I didn’t speak out in particular surprise or question. For
dramatic effect, Sai looked a little disappointed when he didn’t get what he
was aiming for, but he quickly fixed his expression and continued.
“I guess you were expecting
that. Well, that’s okay. You know that Councilor Isherwood graduated second in their
class, right?” (Sai)
I nodded, and he continued
“I heard that the difference
between Councilor Wagman and Councilor Isherwood was not that great. To put it
bluntly, it is no exaggeration to say that the difference between them was
determined by one person’s authority.” (Sai)
I think of someone’s face and
ask, “Professor Ruspede?” I ask.
He looked slightly surprised,
and then he said, “You’re not worth trying to surprising,” and then
“You’re right. Professor
Ruspede does not give a damn about classroom performance, which is based only
on memorization. He grades higher on the basis of whether one can think
creatively or invoke magic with stronger imagery. In other words, Councilor
Isherwood outperformed Councilor Wagman in the classroom, but he didn’t get a
good grade from Professor Ruspede, who has a tremendous influence on everyone’s
final grade.” (Sai)
“Are you saying that Councilor
Isherwood did better in classroom work and simple practical skills?” (Zack)
“That’s what I mean. Well, it
is said that Councilor Wagman was inferior to Councilor Isherwood in practical
skills when he graduated, but after he became a court magician in Saltus, he
rapidly improved his skills. After ten years, when he left Saltus, he had
raised his level to 35. There are very few court magicians who have raised
their level to nearly 20 in just 10 years. In other words, Professor Ruspede
was not wrong.” (Sai)
I heard that there are two
types of court magicians dispatched by the guild.
The first is those who are
sent to see the outside world for about ten years after graduation from the
academy. These people are the so-called elite and are sent to learn diplomacy
and to make connections.
The other is the court
magician in the original sense.
They serve the royal family,
educate the royal children in times of peace, and when the time comes, they use
magic to fight the enemy. Although this type of court magician is recommended
by the guild, they often serve the royal family in their hometown and are more
loyal to the royal family than to the guild. For this reason, many of them are
said to actively participate in combat and improve their level of skill.
In other words, it can be said
that Councilor Wagman was the former, but he worked hard to improve his level
and achieved it faster than ordinary magicians.
“It is said that at the time
of his graduation, Councilor Isherwood was not satisfied with his standing, but
after meeting with Councilor Wagman upon his return from Saltus, he changed his
attitude and became an ally of the Councilor. Of course, this is probably a
rumor spread by the Councilor himself.” (Sai)
“In other words, Councilor
Isherwood still isn’t satisfied with his graduation seating. And that he is
thinking of dragging Councilor Wagman down.” (Zack)
Sai grinned at my words,
“Nice try. I’m not sure
if it’s true or not. This is just my speculation but I’ll tell you if you like.”
I felt that Sai’s analysis was
accurate, so I urged him on.
“Councilor Isherwood is moving
up the ranks at a considerably faster pace than the average employee. Of
course, there is Councilor Wagman who is rising at a faster pace than that, so
he doesn’t stand out. It seems that he is making good use of Councilor Wagman
in this promotion. And Councilman Wagman is also taking advantage of Councilor
Councilor Isherwood has
reconciled with Councilman Wagman and has become supportive of his policies.
The Councilor was originally on the Personnel Committee and was well-informed
about factional dynamics and personnel matters. For this reason, Councilor
Wagman wanted to take advantage of his abilities. He had Councilor Isherwood
remove anyone who might be an obstacle to the implementation of his policies.
“…From what I’ve heard, more
people were eliminated than you can fit on the fingers of two hands. As a
result, Councilor Wagman had an exceptional rise in the ranks, becoming the
youngest Councilor ever to be promoted to the position. And with him, Councilor
Isherwood also rose in the ranks…” (Sai)
In other words, the two sides
were taking advantage of each other, according to Sai’s analysis.
“…And Councilor Isherwood’s
next target is a seat on the committee heads. It is not certain
that Councilor Wagman will appoint him when he retires or when he becomes
chairman. Perhaps there is an unspoken understanding between the two of them of
a relationship of mutual use. However, I don’t think Councilor Isherwood will
inherit Councilor Wagman’s policies. Then the Councilor would have to think
He pauses and then quenches
his thirst, which is a little dry from all the talking.
“…If Councilor Isherwood is
going to go after a councilor’s seat, it would be a different councilor’s seat.
Normally, he would nominate his own faction’s successor, but if he were able to
become council chairman, he might change his mind… For example, Councilor
Ibbetson might.” (Sai)
In Sai’s analysis, Councilor
Isherwood is trying to use the ouster of Councilor Wagman as bait to become
Councilor Ibbetson’s successor.
(From what I just heard it was
Isherwood who set us up. Certainly, his daughter, Anita, is in the same class as
us, making it easy for them to get to Bennett. Of course, he could also guide the
bullying. Plus, he knows the inner workings of the Wagman family…) (Zack)
I wasn’t sure if I could make
a decision based on this information alone.
(I certainly can’t find
anything wrong with Sai’s logic, but is it really true? If the information is
wrong, the conclusion will be different, regardless of whether the logic is
correct or not. The rumors of the residents of the old town and the lower-ranking
officials of the guild may not be correct. If there are multiple factions,
there will be many different rumors flying around. The information we have
obtained this time is only from people who have contact with only a part of
those many rumors. I think it’s dangerous to make judgments based on that.)
“I’ll pay you an additional
fee, and I’d like you to find a few more alternative sources to gather
He asked smiling, “What
exactly do you want me to do?”
“I’m going to go now to
our homeroom teacher, Mr. Bennett, and ask him how to drop out of the academy.
He is probably being moved by someone, so he will go to report to the
mastermind or the liaison. I want you to find out where he’s going and who he’s
meeting with…” (Zack)
Here’s what I’m thinking.
If I indicate to Mr. Bennett
my intention to leave the school, he will be happy to report it. Of course, it
is unlikely that the mastermind gave him direct orders, but he would at least
report it to his liaison. Sai would find out who it was and follow the trail
further. I thought that by doing so, he might be able to trace it back to the
“It’s certainly possible,
but is Bennett, the teacher, really involved in all this? If that premise is destroyed,
then what’s the point of investigating.” (Zack)
Although Sai expressed
understanding of my reasoning, he still informed me of the risks of making that
the premise of the investigation.
“That’s fine. If Mr.
Bennett is even dumber than I think he is, then the investigation itself is
I began to think about this
because of Bennett’s unusual attitude. It is possible that he is simply a fool,
but that is something we can deal with. It is not my hobby to take advantage of
people’s power, but if I could get Professor Ruspede to help me, I could
probably make the heads of teachers sent by the guild fly right off their
“How would you like to be
paid? You’ll have to stake out the place, tail them, something else, which will
take up quite a bit of your time, won’t it?” (Zack)
Sai shakes his head and
replies with a sly grin.
“This kind of work would be
nice once in a while. How about a half gold coin (50 Crona or about 50,000 yen).”
I had no objection on my part,
so I nodded at that, said, “Well, I look forward to working with
you,” and we shook hands, signifying our mutual agreement.