Dream Life Vol II Chapter 37.3: “Informant Sai Furman”

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~Sai’s Perspective~



 September 29. The day of the interim report.


 I told Zacharias and the others about the information I had gathered.


 Then I began to talk about the political opponents.



“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. One is Councilor Forsythe, the chair of the Finance Committee. The other is Councilor Ibbetson, chair of the Personnel Committee…” (Sai)



 After I shared the information about Forsythe and Ibbetson, I went on, for dramatic effect,



“…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 was expecting Zacharias to be surprised here. It is normal for Zacharias to be surprised when I point out that his friend from his time at the academy and his long-time ally of eight years, Isherwood, is a political enemy.


 However, Zacharias showed not the slightest sign of surprise and nodded his head.



“I guess you were expecting that. Well, that’s okay. You know that Councilor Isherwood graduated second in their class, right?” (Sai)



 I said, and this time he nodded clearly.


 I don’t know how he came to that conclusion, but he had reached the same conclusion I had.


 I was a little disappointed. I was a little disappointed that I had failed to astonish this genius.


 But there was something he would never have guessed. I was going to use it to surprise him this time.


 I know it was childish of me, but I really wanted to see him surprised.



 I then proceeded to tell him about Councilor Wagman’s and Councilor Isherwood’s performance during their time at the Academy.



“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)



 After I said that, he asked, “Professor Ruspede?” He asked me. No, it was more like a confirmation than a question.


 I shrugged and said, “You’re not worth trying to surprising,” Then I took my hat off to him and decided to tell him everything I knew.



 Yes, not just the facts, but my reasoning as well.


 I’ve never been asked to do this sort of thing before, but perhaps the right way to go about it is to just give the facts. The reasoning of a layman like me might be useless, just to test his preconceived ideas.



“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)



 When I said this, he immediately nodded his head without a shred of hesitation. I was a little pleased that he trusted my opinion, and I told him about my theory.



 No junior staff member of the Magician’s Guild had pointed out the strange alliance between Councilor Wagman and Councilor Isherwood. But I shared my analysis with him.



“…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 it. …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)



 When Zacharias finished listening to me, he didn’t speak for about ten seconds. He must be examining my story in his head to see if I was right.


 Then, perhaps having reached a conclusion, he slowly opened his mouth.



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



 I asked with a smile, “What exactly do you want me to do?” He told me that he was going to inform his homeroom teacher, Mr. Bennett, that he was leaving the academy and see what his reaction would be.



 I was more stunned than surprised.


 And I felt a little sympathy for Bennett, a teacher who had a hand in angering a ten-year-old and kicking him out of the school. A normal 10-year-old boy would have been able to be rid-off without any problem. But the man he was up against was a schemer that would make any politician or merchant run away with their bare feet. It would have been unfortunate for him to have turned against such a man without knowing what he was up against.



 But that sympathy soon disappeared.


 In the first place, if Bennett had given him proper guidance, there would have been no problem. If he could not do it himself, he should have left it to Professor Ruspede. I reminded myself that I saw no reason to feel sorry for Bennett, who had failed to do so.



 He asked me about the additional reward.


 Frankly, it cost me a lot of money just to get in and out of the Old City. And since I had gathered information at the bar, the initial reward of 100 Crona (=100,000 yen) was hardly enough to make a profit. And considering what I would have to do after this, I was not sure if I could make a profit even with the additional 100 C. But I was enjoying this job.



 But I was getting entertained by this request.


 I decided to take it on for 50 C, which would probably foot the bill.


 He looks reluctant, as if he knew how much money this kind of work would cost, but I was enjoying the work for the first time in a long time.





 I hired three young adventurers to go after him after he gave false information to teacher Bennett.


 This alone cost me 30 C, so I was completely in the red, but it was still worth it to hire them. We were able to find out that Bennett had contacted the Wagmans and had also made contact with Archie Croft, the tutor of Quentin, the Wagman’s son.



 I then began researching Croft and found a large amount of interesting information. The relationship between Croft and Isherwood, the mass withdrawal of academy researchers a decade ago, the ouster of the then personnel committee chairman, and Councilman Seberg’s entry into the council…


 I began researching the events of that decade ago, the political purge. But I soon hit a wall.


 When I broached the subject with guild officials, no matter how drunk they were, they either dismissed the subject or looked at me warily.



 I decided to change my approach.


 I decided to talk to the other party, the private school officials, instead of the guild officials.


 I knew a teacher at the Fortune School, one of the three major private schools in Doctus. I invited him to a bar in a corner of the old town to talk to him.



 He is a lecturer in his early forties, but he does not seem to be very talented from my point of view. Perhaps he was aware of it himself, but he often asked me to gather information for him in order to show his own value. He seems to be known as a well-informed person within the school, and I hear that young researchers go to him to ask questions. The questions are often not academic, but rather advisory in nature, asking where and how to do the research. Then he would have me investigate it.



 I call up this lecturer and get him to drink as we talk about the harvest festival. At a point when he was quite drunk, I asked about an incident that happened ten years ago.


 Even though he was quite drunk, he gave me the same wary look as the guild officials.


 He asked in a hoarse voice, “What are you going to do by researching such a long time ago?”


 I gave him a big smile.



“I don’t use it for anything important. I just really wanted to know about it. Of course, I won’t tell anyone that it was you that told me.” (Sai)



 Still reluctant, I tried to get up, saying, “Then I guess this is the end of my relationship with Teacher.”



“Let me tell you something first. If you make this public, you will make enemies with the higher-ups in the guild. In other words, you will not be able to live in this city.” (Teacher)



 After saying this, he reluctantly began to tell me a story from ten years ago.


 The story was shocking.


 I had not expected the guild’s councilors to be saints, but I had not expected a power struggle this deep and murky. When one thinks of the Magician’s Guild, the common perception is that it is a research institute for magic. I know that there is more to them than that in this town, but I didn’t expect it to be this worldly.


 I had thought that the current chairman, Seberg, was a well-coordinated, harmless politician, but he used to do some surprisingly nasty things, and this was the first time I had been able to find out that Ibbetson and Isherwood were secretly connected. It seems I got more important information than I thought I did.



 After hearing the story, I went to Professor Elvine at the academy to corroborate the story. I thought she might have been involved in an incident ten years ago.


 When I talked to the professor, she told me exactly what I had expected.



“…Ten years ago. …Something like that happened. Yes, they approached me. I turned it down because I had a relationship with the library, but it seems most of the faculty were approached. I think the only one who didn’t was Professor Ruspede.” (Kitley)



 Professor Elvine did not seem to be particularly affected by the incident, but those researchers who went to the private school and returned to the academy were said to be under the influence of Chairman Seberg. As a result of this incident, the Personnel Committee became dominant over the Education and Research Committee due to factional strife within the academy. This is the reason why a bureaucratic hack like the current headmaster is now the head of one of the world’s best research institutions.



 I went to Zacharias’ house on the morning of October 2, the day after the festival, to give him this information.


 Perhaps because of my rather abbreviated explanation, Zacharias did not question Croft’s background.


 I was a little relieved. He was a normal human being, I thought. He didn’t have to listen to my explanation to think of everything.



 I couldn’t help but say, “At last, I’ve managed to surprise you.” He laughed and said that was totally uncouth.


 And as I told him what I had found out, he seemed to be wondering what to do with the information.



 This was the end of my investigation this time, but I followed his actions.


 He had gone to the headquarters of the Magician’s Guild that afternoon and met with Councilor Wagman. What kind of conversation they had and what the outcome was, I still don’t know.


 But I was told by a young staffer that Councilor Wagman was in a good mood the whole time after Zacharias left the guild.


 When I heard this story, I was convinced that Zacharias had succeeded in shaking off the problems that had been brought down upon him. And that the people who tried to make use of and get rid of him would pay for it.



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