My first impression of him was that he was a little tanned, but he had a well-groomed appearance, and he was just like the son of an aristocrat.
I greeted him briefly, smiled as usual, and said,
“I was told to ask Zacharias Lockhart for the details. So, what kind of information do you want me to find?” (Sai)
He replies calmly,
“What I want you to gather is information about Councilor Wagman. I want to know who he is, his policies, beliefs, and connections. And more importantly, who are his political rivals? If possible, I would like to hear from more than one source.” (Zack)
I didn’t understand what the term “multiple sources” meant and asked, “Multiple sources? What do you mean?” I asked.
He apologized for omitting an explanation, and said,
“I mean those who support him and those who don’t. If possible, I would like to have information from a completely neutral third party, but there are monetary considerations. If you can perform the request exemplary.” (Zack)
At any rate, I tell him that I understand what he wants me to do, and I will accept his request.
“You can expect one gold coin (100 Crona or 100,000 yen) worth. And since it’s an introduction from our good friend Professor Elvine. I will gather as much information as I can.” (Sai)
I said and held out my right hand to him.
He took my hand with his right hand, which was strengthened by my years of being a swordsman and squeezed back firmly.
I felt something strange in his right hand. I wondered why the top student of the Magic Academy was so concerned about swordsmanship that he had an obvious sword arm. I was more surprised that he was accepted at the top of the class while training in magic and sword at the same time.
While I was thinking about this, he looked me in the eye and started talking about the deadline.
“The deadline is ten days from now, on October 4. Five days later, on September 29, please let me know your progress. I may then add information I want you to look into. Of course, in that case, I’m willing to offer additional compensation, as per our agreement.” (Zack)
After that, he explained the details of the request even more clearly in a calm voice.
As I was leaving, he asked, “Why don’t you look at me strangely when I talk to you like this?” He asked me.
I almost laughed.
Certainly, anyone would be surprised to hear a ten-year-old boy talk like this when meeting him for the first time.
I had done a lot of research on him, but I didn’t think it would make a good impression, so I just told him that Professor Elvine had told me about him.
“I heard from Professor Elvine. And also… Professor Ruspede says you are a one-in-a-millennium genius. Nothing should surprise me.” (Sai)
Now he chuckled. I knew it was a good thing I didn’t tell him that I had done my research elsewhere.
To be honest, this was the first time I had ever received a request like this one.
The usual requests were for me to contact any merchants with rare books, or to look for information on newly excavated ruins, or to simply ask the merchants and mercenaries passing through this town.
It is true that this is a job of gathering rumors, so it is not so different from the usual. But this time, since it concerns the authorities of the city and the Magician’s Guild, I cannot just listen to what they have to say easily.
He had many contacts in the Merchant and Mercenary Guilds, and of course the Adventurers’ Guild, but not so many in the Magician’s Guild.
At the academy, the only acquaintances I had were Professor Elvine and a man in the office who claimed to be a well-informed person. The rest were lecturers from private schools who made similar requests to the professor, but the people in the private schools did not have much information about the guild.
Therefore, I decided to first contact the young employees of the Magician’s Guild, pretending that I had received a request from Professor Elvine.
Many of the employees go to the cafeteria near the guild for meals.
The headquarters of the Magician’s Guild may be at night, but many of the employees are still working at the time the bell rings at 8 pm, as if they do not care.
Therefore, many of them went to a nearby place for a drink after work.
I staked out a nearby diner and bar and made contact with a young staff member.
I bought him a pint of ale and approached him with false information gathering, saying that Professor Elvine of the Academy was looking for new books and asked if he knew of any new suppliers.
He then brought up the subject of reform at the Academy, with the feeling that the professor was concerned about the increase or decrease in research funding.
“Rumor has it that they are going to reform the academy in one fell swoop. I wonder what the real story is?” (Sai)
When I pointed out the rumor, a staff member in his mid-twenties, who liked to talk, began to talk.
“Well, it’s Councilor Wagman’s policy. If he becomes chairman, the academy will change immediately. For my part, I want His Excellency Wagman to reform the guild as a whole.” (Staff)
The other staff member beside him objected to this.
“Wagman’s reforms are too radical. If he imposes such a policy, the guild’s finances will go bankrupt immediately.” (Staff)
“No, no, nothing will change if Forsythe, who calls for fiscal restraint, becomes chairman. That staunch conservative is just stuck in the precedent after all. But the conservatives’ intervention in personnel matters is too much. They purge out the best and brightest and distribute positions only to those who have influence over them.” (Staff)
The discussion gradually became heated.
My impression is that basically everyone in the Magician’s Guild likes to argue. I guess it’s because I can’t work in the guild unless I’m that kind of guy, but I feel like there are a lot of theories to listen to all of it.
“…That being said, Wagman is really good at propaganda. An honest man, I doubt it. I heard that he pushed a new supplier because he wanted to gain the support of the Merchant Guild…” (Staff)
That’s how I gathered rumors about Councilor Wagman.
The rumors about him are wide-ranging, with those who support him and those who don’t clearly distinguish between the two. However, he is very popular among the younger generation.
Zacharias asked me to find out about personalities, policies, connections, and political opponents.
I quickly gathered information on superficial personalities and policies, but there were conflicting stories about personal connections, which left me quite confused.
Wagman has an aide, or rather an ally. The man was Miles Isherwood, a councilor who had been a classmate of Wagman’s at the academy.
The rumors about Isherwood were the source of my confusion.
Wagman’s main faction is the Education and Research Committee. Isherwood belongs to it now, but originally it was the Personnel Committee, which is controlled by the current chairman Seberg and Wagman’s rival, Councilor Ibbetson.
It is not uncommon for people to move from one committee to another in their twenties, but it was surprising that Isherwood, who was on a career path, changed the faction to which he belonged.
And as for rumors about Isherwood, there weren’t as many stories as there were about Wagman. His reputation was, in a word, “a sly man”. And while Wagman had few bad rumors, Isherwood had many. Many said that he had used various means to purge those who might have been his enemies from the guild.
This was the biggest cause of confusion.
It was said that Wagman, with his clean image, and Isherwood, with his power and intrigue, were working hand in hand. Was this true?
No. In fact, Wagman and Isherwood are working so closely together that it could be said that they are in a three-legged race. But the images are too different. I couldn’t understand why Wagman would put so much trust on Isherwood.
I was caught up in this and began to gather information about it.
Interestingly, as I began my research, I began to gather a variety of rumors.
Isherwood, after making peace with Wagman, was so enamored with him that he was willing to get his hands dirty to bury his political opponents. Though Wagman was reluctant to do so, eventually Wagman, reluctantly, has approved of it.
I often report the facts to my clients in chronological order, because clients get confused if they don’t know when and where they heard the information, but this was surprisingly well known.
This time, too, I put the facts about Wagman and the rumors about Isherwood in chronological order. Then I pieced at an interesting history.
I wondered what to do with this information, and then I had an idea.
I wanted to ask Zacharias Lockhart how he would analyze this information.