Dream Life Vol II Chapter 30.2: “The Request”

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“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, Councilor Wagman.



 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 talking further.



“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 he said.



“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.” (Sai)



 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 Isherwood…” (Sai)



 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 about…” (Sai)



 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.) (Zack)



“I’ll pay you an additional fee, and I’d like you to find a few more alternative sources to gather information.” (Zack)



 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 mastermind.



“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 meaningless.” (Zack)



 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 heads.



“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).” (Sai)



 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.


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