Dream Life Vol II Chapter 35: “Councilor Piers Wagman: Part 2”
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A/N: This is the second part of Wagman’s point of view.
On the evening of October 3, the night of my meeting with Zacharias Lockhart.
I called my son Quentin into the study and ordered him to improve his relationship with Lockhart.
My son recoiled at the way I said it.
I regretted that I had used the wrong words. I had spoken to him in a coercive manner, as if I were addressing a subordinate. I looked my son in the eye and decided to talk to him again.
“Young Lockhart is a brilliant magician. I believe that he has a talent that is incomparable to mine. It will definitely be beneficial for you to be in a proper relationship with him.” (Piers)
“Even Father thinks I’m going to lose to Lockhart! I’m not going to let him beat me! I’m not going to let a guy who cheated his way into the academy…” (Quentin)
I closed my mouth to my stubborn son. If it were my subordinate, I would either yell at him or try to persuade him in an orderly manner, but with my son it was difficult to do either.
Even so, I could not let my son make a mistake and not correct it.
I mobilized all my mental faculties and somehow managed to maintain my composure.
“You say Lockhart cheated, but do you have any proof?” (Piers)
My son shakes his head furiously.
“How can he be two years younger than me and get better grades than me? Teacher Croft said he was definitely cheating!” (Quentin)
I was angry with Croft because he had tried to distort my son’s character by infusing him with things that were not true. I decided that I would have to remind him of this in the future, but right now I was more concerned with what I could do with my son.
“He is not a cheater. As far as I can tell, Lockhart is more advanced than your instructor, Mr. Chambers. In other words, he’s even better than your teacher, so it’s no surprise that you lost.” (Piers)
My son was astonished to learn this fact. Perhaps Croft had blown everything out of proportion.
I made as kind a face as I could and asked, “What do you think of me? Do you want to be like me?” I asked my son.
The son was puzzled by the sudden question, but he replied, “…I think that father is a fine man. I cannot be like you,” he replied in a voice that sounded like it was about to cry.
I hug my son and say, “You don’t have to aspire to be me. Aim for what you want to do and who you want to be.”
“I can’t do everything myself. I do what I do now with the help of many people…” (Piers)
My son looked at me and had a look of confusion on his face.
I am able to talk a lot with merchants and politicians, but with my son, I am unable to spin my words. I tried to make the story as understandable as possible by using the words of a story from a picture book I used to read to him as an example.
“There was a story about a hero I used to read to you. Do you remember it?” (Piers)
My son nodded slightly.
“Do you remember the hero being the best at everything? Was he better at magic and archery than the magician and the archer?” (Piers)
My son shakes his head gravely.
“Then I suppose there is no shame in you losing to Lockhart in magic. If you want to be as good as that hero, you should get along with someone like Lockhart and join forces for the good of the world.” (Piers)
My son gave a small nod to my poor analogy.
“I believe you can be the center of everyone like that hero. Magic and learning are not powerful by themselves, you know. Someone has to guide them to use them for the right things. I believe you can be that.” (Piers)
Tears came to my son’s eyes and he was mumbling something, but I couldn’t quite make it out.
I asked, “Why don’t you make up with Mr. Lockhart and Ms. Jakes?” After hesitating a little, my son gave a small nod.
After that, I talked with my son until late into the night.
We talked about everything from trivial matters to magic and many other things.
I was painfully aware of my inadequacies, but I was also relieved that I could still start over.
The day after the blissful time with my son passed, I launched a counterattack against those who had used him as a scapegoat for the rare genius that was Zacharias Lockhart.
First, to Archie Croft, my son’s tutor, who was closest to me.
“I appreciate what you have done for my son’s education. But I am not impressed that you are cooperating with those who seek to eliminate me.” (Piers)
Croft replied, “What are you talking about?”
I looked at him viciously,
“You think I don’t know that? That you are trying to use the academy’s teacher, Quentin’s homeroom teacher, Aric Bennett, to get rid of the top and second best students.” (Piers)
His smile hardened there. I went on to tell him more.
“I know you’re going to try to make the case that you did it for my son’s sake. But what happens when the first and second are gone? The rumor in the guild will be that I pressured the academy to put my son at the head of the class. Now, let’s hear your excuse.” (Piers)
He slumped his shoulders at my words. He then confessed that he had, at the suggestion of Councilor Ibbetson, manipulated Bennett, including the practical instructor Chambers.
He further testified that it appeared to be a plan to use Quentin and Miles Isherwood’s daughter to get rid of them. However, he said that he was only vaguely told about the Isherwood daughter by Ibbetson and did not know the details.
I did not expect Miles to get involved directly, but I hoped he would be involved. I wanted to take this opportunity to get rid of him, but he was one or two steps ahead of me in these matters. Reluctantly, I decided that I would have to leave the confrontation with him for another time.
I put Croft under house arrest. I would keep him locked up at least until I had completely eliminated my political opponents or until my son no longer needed him. In the way I wanted, of course.
He would not go out so easily if he knew he was in danger. When I suggested this to him, he said he would not leave the residence on his own.
I then went to the academy. I ordered the headmaster to call Bennett and Chambers.
The headmaster was reluctant to summon Bennett, who had a class to attend, but after I threatened him a little, he quickly relented.
When they came to the headmaster’s office, I immediately began talking to them.
“I know that you two were ordered by my tutor to ostracize Zacharias Lockhart and Sharon Jakes. Croft has already testified, so you have no excuse.” (Piers)
When I said this to them, they both kept their eyes downcast and their shoulders shaking.
Bennett, perhaps gathering what little courage he had, turned to me and began to make excuses.
His arguments were incoherent, but he went on to rant and rave about how the two of them were making fools of themselves and how they had done things they did not want to do for the sake of my son Quentin.
I could not bear to listen to him, but I listened to the end.
“So, you were angry with a child of only ten years old, and you tried to use a student from your own class to take out your anger on him. And then you forcefully claimed that it was for the sake of my son. Headmaster, when did the quality of teachers at the academy drop so low? How many teachers are so childish that they cannot maintain their ego without getting into fights with ten-year-old children?” (Piers)
I said quietly and gave the headmaster a cold stare.
He was intimidated by my authority and tried to overcome the situation by mumbling something about investigating the matter immediately or decisively changing their mindset. I interrupted him.
“I know you’re counting on Chairman Seberg to back you up, but it’s futile.” (Piers)
The headmaster’s eyes wandered about, as if he had guessed what I was going to say.
I continued the conversation, trying to get a grip on the dean.
“I found a weakness of the chairman for this matter. If you want, why don’t you go to the chairman and beg? Then you can tell the chairman that the people I have secured have told me everything. He knows a little about the situation from my letter, so he will understand immediately. But I can’t guarantee that he will do what you ask. After all, I am the only one who has the opportunity to take advantage of the chairman’s weakness.” (Piers)
At my words, the headmaster drops his shoulders in disappointment.
I pressed him further.
“If you want to continue to be the headmaster of the academy until the end of your term, you have no choice but to implement the reforms that will be proposed by the committee in the near future. The appointment of the president is the exclusive responsibility of the council, but the Education and Research Committee has the right to request his or her dismissal. Please remember that.” (Piers)
That’s enough about the headmaster. The rest are these two stupid teachers in front of me.
I asked them, “What should both of you do?”
Chambers, trembling, replied, “I will follow your orders,” but Bennett, having given up his future, said nothing.
“My instructions? I don’t give direct orders to the teachers at the academy. I don’t have that authority. Besides, haven’t you heard the rumors about me? Don’t you know that I hate incompetent people, especially those who cannot think and act for themselves? If you knew that, it would be obvious what you should do.” (Piers)
Chambers thought hard and came up with a suggestion.
“I will change my attitude toward Lockhart and Jakes. And I will improve the practical lessons. But I can’t teach those two… I-I’ll ask Professor Ruspede to do it…” (Chambers)
I was surprised. I had not expected this childish Chambers to make a proposal that would meet my needs under the circumstances.
I muttered, “That’s a good idea,” so that he could hear me. I saw Chambers’ face light up all at once, and I almost sarcastically told him that I was more tense talking to a ten-year-old kid than him.
Bennett, the other teacher, was looking at Chambers and, perhaps feeling hopeful, was desperately trying to come up with a way out of it. And then, perhaps unable to come up with an original idea, he came up with the same one as Chambers’ opinion. In other words, he proposed that the two of them should leave the teaching of the two students to Professor Ruspede.
I asked the homeroom teacher, Bennett, what he planned to do with the class.
He simply replied, “I’ll take care of it,” and gave no specifics.
I told the headmaster, “Bennett said he would take care of it. I would appreciate it if you could confirm it yourself and report back to me,” and left the Academy.
Now there were only Ibbetson and Miles left.
Of the two, there was no way to deal with Miles. However, I could put indirect pressure on him by restricting Ibbetson.
Miles does not appreciate my ability to gather information within the guild. In fact, I have no connections to members of other factions, and I have left some of the information gathering to Miles.
Of course, I have been able to coerce his subordinates to prevent him from manipulating information against me, but even so, I am still not at his level in terms of information gathering.
But thanks to Lockhart, for the first time I have an informational advantage. He may know that he came to me, but he would not know what I was talking about. Even if I told the truth, no one would believe me. His age of ten is a cover in itself.
Based on the information I had obtained from Lockhart and his reasoning, I tried to sway Ibbetson.
The method was quite simple: I sent a letter to him stating that Croft had confessed everything and that he had heard the details of the conspiracy ten years earlier. He also told Chairman Seberg that Ibbetson was harboring someone who knew the truth about ten years ago.
Even though they had not met face-to-face, Ibbetson’s agitation was palpable.
First, it turned out that he had tried to contact Croft, and then he had tried to pressure the headmaster to cover it up.
He seemed to have given some instructions to Miles Isherwood, who approached me with an unusually tense look on his face.
“Piers. Can you tell me what Croft told you?” (Miles)
I replied with a laugh, “About the conspiracy against me this time and the conspiracy of ten years ago.
He asked again, “Can you tell me the details of it?” and I told him the facts and inferences I had heard from Lockhart, as if I had heard them from Croft.
He whispered, “Is that so?” and I insisted, “That’s all.”
Miles left my room with an indescribable expression on his face. I was pleased by his expression and laughed out loud.
The next day, October 5th… I decided to report these results to Lockhart.
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