Dream Life Vol II Chapter 42: “Rathmore Village Survey: Part 1”

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A/N: Side Story.



~Earl Knowles’ Perspective~



 I, Earl Knowles, am a full-time employee of the Education and Research Committee of the Magicians’ Guild. An order was given to me.



 August 5th.



 On that day, Councilor Miles Isherwood summoned me.


 I didn’t like that ghastly Councilor Isherwood. He had a good appearance and looked much younger than his thirty-six years, but when he looked at me with those snake-like eyes, I got goosebumps.


 The councilor sent a message for me to come to his office immediately. I ran to the councilor’s office, thinking that this could not possibly be a good omen.



 When I entered his office, there was already a visitor.


 I didn’t know him well, but I was sure he was a young male employee of the Personnel Committee, a year my junior at the Tyria Magic Academy.


 Councilor Isherwood, as usual, looked at me with those goosebumps in his eyes and smiled, “Mr. Knowles, I’m glad you came.”


 I could only see his smile like a reptile that had found its prey, and I managed to return the greeting while trying my best to suppress a shudder.



“Here he is, Mr. Reston, from the Personnel Committee. He will be your temporary subordinate.” (Miles)



 He looked as puzzled as I was, and his voice trembled slightly as he said, “My name is Jamie Reston.”



 Councilor Isherwood began to speak without regard for our confusion.



“Now, the reason I asked you here is to conduct an investigation.” (Miles)



 Reston and I looked at each other, but he immediately turned to face the councilor.



“What I want you to look into is a frontier village called Rathmore. I want you to find out more about the village of Rathmore, especially about the Lockhart family, the lords of the village.” (Miles)



 This was the first time I had heard of the village of Rathmore.



“Could you tell us the purpose of your investigation? What, exactly, would you like us to investigate?” (Earl)



 Councilor Isherwood grinned. I felt a shiver run down my back, but I hardened my stomach to keep my body still as I listened to him.



“Let me tell you the purpose of the investigation. It all started the day before yesterday, with the practical entrance examination. Two geniuses showed up that Professor Ruspede was interested in…” (Miles)



 The councilor explained that a boy named Lockhart, who possesses all eight attributes, and a girl named Jakes, who has two attributes, fire, and wind, but is a genius at controlling magic, had appeared, and that both of them were from the village of Rathmore.


 Furthermore, they are the second son of a lord and the daughter of a squire, and they are also milk siblings. This led the academy to believe that there might be something in the Lockhart family.


 The academy brought up the matter to the Education and Research Committee, and it was decided that the Magician’s Guild would officially investigate the matter.


 And the investigators were me and Reston.



 The specifics of the investigation were whether the Lockhart family had magical talent and whether they had provided special education, and we were required to investigate the living environment, surrounding natural environment, and food situation in as much detail as possible.



“The village of Rathmore is about three hundred and seventy kilometers from here. You will be given two months to conduct the research, including the round trip. You will leave five days later, on August 10. The reason for the departure is that we went to the village after confirming the announcement of the acceptance of the exam. All the examinations were completed today, and it is certain that Lockhart is at the top of the class and Jakes is at the second. Or rather, they are on a different level that it would be ridiculous to compare them.” (Miles)



 In more detail, even if Lockhart and Jakes were among the graduates who graduated this year, they would probably take the first and second seats. In particular, Lockhart seems to have more ability than a young practical instructor, and it seems that he can become a teacher rather than a student.




 We immediately returned to our post and began handing over work.


 This time of year is the busiest time of the year for both the Education and Research Committee where I work and the Personnel Committee where Reston works.


 There is a regular transfer in September, and there are many things to do at the academy, such as admission and promotion.


 I resented Councilor Isherwood for ordering a trip at this time, but he was on both committees and should know the situation well. I mean, it must have been so shocking.





 On the night before departure, we had a get-together at a bar near the guild’s office to pray for the success of our work. Near the Magician’s Guild our workplace, we had a get-together at a nearby bar.


 After we had finished some of the food and had a few drinks in our stomachs, I asked,



“Reston, what do you think about this investigation?” (Earl)



 He was a little wary and said, “What do you think…?”


 I thought I had asked the wrong question and said, “I’m sorry. I should have spoken first,” I said, bowing lightly to him and began to speak my mind.



“I could understand why the upper management of the guild would be concerned. I did some research on those two in between transfers. It is true that they are geniuses. Or perhaps I should say, precocious.” (Earl)



 Reston asked, tilting his head slightly, “Precocious?”



“Yes, they are precocious. Especially the boy Lockhart, who is so mature that he doesn’t even seem like a ten-year-old…” (Earl)



 I contacted the receptionist, the person in charge of checking attributes, and the person explaining the test, and asked what impressions they had received from both of them. And everyone who had dealt with Lockhart said that he was so calm that it was hard to believe he was ten years old, and that his occasional smile was not that of a child, but more like an adult’s.



“…I asked them if he was disciplined that way because he was the son of a knight, but they said it was not the etiquette of an aristocrat, but rather something that seemed to come naturally to him. Because they are related to the academy, they have a lot of contact with the sons of nobles. That’s what they tell me.” (Earl)



 Reston nodded at my words. Then he began to talk about what he had found out.



“I did some research on the village of Rathmore and the Lockhart family as part of my preliminary preparations. I found an interesting story about the village of Rathmore …” (Reston)



 He used his contacts at the personnel committee to see if anyone knew anything about the pioneer village of Rathmore. He asked an arms dealer who frequented Ars if he knew anyone who was familiar with the geographical area between Pericritor and Ars, the capital of the Kingdom of Caum in the south.



“…It seems that there is no dwarf craftsman in Ars who doesn’t know the village of Rathmore.” (Reston)



 “Dwarf craftsmen?” I interrupted him unexpectedly.


 Reston gave a small nod and a smile.



“That’s right. Dwarfs. I was just as surprised when I first heard about it. And the reason why dwarves know about it is that the specialty of the village of Rathmore is a strong alcoholic beverage. It’s all the rage among the dwarves of Ars, he said…” (Reston)



 According to his explanation, a liquor called “scotch,” which the village of Rathmore began making a few years ago, has become so popular among the drink-loving dwarves that being able to drink scotch is considered a sign of a top-class craftsman.



“…That’s not all. Don’t you think soap has gotten cheaper lately?” (Reston)



 I was puzzled by the sudden change in topic, but it is true that the price of soap has plummeted over the past few years. It used to be something that we commoners could not even look at, but in the last year or two, the price has dropped to as low as 2 C Crona (about 2,000 yen) for the cheapest one.



“…And about soaps, the one that is said to be the finest in Aurella—the largest commercial city in the western world—is the one from the It’s from the village of Rathmore. It is said that it is rarely distributed, but ladies compete with each other to buy it because of its smoothness and fragrance.” (Reston)



 I muttered, “Liquor and soap?”


 I asked Reston skeptically, “You mean both Lockhart and Jakes had something to do with it?”



“No, no, I wouldn’t say that. Suppose, for example, that a sage, unknown to us, appears in the village of Rathmore and teaches them how to make a new liquor and soap as a special product of the village. Naturally, the sage would stay in the lord’s mansion, so it’s not impossible that they would instruct the children alongside them.” (Reston)



 I noded repeatedly, saying, “Yes. Certainly…”


 Of course, we did not intend to investigate with any preconceived notions.


 However, the survey period is practically only one month, which is enough time to investigate only the village of Rathmore, but if we are not careful, there is a possibility that we may have to go as far as Ars. In that case, the time frame would be too short. It would be more efficient to investigate after having a certain idea of what to look for.





 The next day, August 10.


 Seven of us, myself, Reston, and five mercenaries to escort us, departed from the academy city of Doctus.



 I was from Doctus, and Reston was from a village near Armathwaite, a fortified city located 100 km east of Doctus, so neither of us was used to traveling.


 For this reason, they plan to reduce the distance they travel per day and spend about half a month to reach the village of Rathmore.



 We traveled east along the Aurella Highway—the main artery connecting Aurella in the west and Pericritor in the west—and arrived in Pericritor, a city of adventurers, after seven days of travel.


 According to the guards, the Ars Road—the main north-south road connecting Pericritor and Ars—ahead of us was fraught with difficulties, and they suggested that we take a rest here.


 Both Reston and I were excited by our first trip and did not feel too tired, but we decided to accept the suggestion of the mercenary, a professional traveler.



 We began to gather information about the village of Rathmore, both for sightseeing and information gathering.


 Much of the information we gathered here was related to the Lockhart family rather than to the village of Rathmore. In particular, we heard a lot about the previous lord, Govan Lockhart.


 Govan Lockhart’s reputation was quite good, especially among the merchants and mercenaries who traveled the Ars Road, and his reputation was close to being given away. Thanks to him, security is maintained near the town of Kilnarc, which is the only safe place on the Ars Road where danger abounds.


 As far as rumors about the Lockhart family are concerned, they give a very strong image of military prowess. We were confused by all the information that seemed to contradict the fact that the family had produced a genius magician.



 After a day’s rest, we headed south on the Ars Road.


 As the escorts had said, the Ars Road was full of difficult places, and for the first time I felt that my life was in danger.


 I was working with a group of merchants when they were attacked by a group of monsters.


 The location was south of the Karsh Pass, the most difficult pass in the northern part of the Ars Road.



 We had just passed through the difficult part of the pass when we were attacked by a pack of orcs.


 After graduating from the academy, both Reston and I had worked in-house at the headquarters of the Magician’s Guild and had little combat experience. The only combat experience we had was killing a weak goblin or so during our fifth-year training at the academy.


 Fortunately, the number of orcs was small and the guards were very skilled, so we made it through without injury, but the merchants who were with us were sarcastic, saying that we were useless even though we were magicians.


 Indeed, the moment the orcs appeared, both Reston and I fell into a panicked panic and hid behind the wagons. It is not well known to the general public, but even though we are magicians, the staff of the Magicians’ Guild are useless in battle for our level, as we only conduct basic training.



 It was then that I happened to hear a rumor about Zacharias Lockhart, the subject of my investigation.


 An escort from the merchant corps said, “A month or so ago, a kid of about ten years old killed a bunch of harpies, but a magician working directly under the Magician’s Guild is such a mess.”



 I asked the escort swordsman for more details.


 He did not remember their names, but the combination of two ten-year-old children and a female elf magician could only be them.


 Until recently, the mercenaries of Pericritor were full of rumors about a boy magician who shot down four harpies by himself to protect his trading party in the dangerous Karsh Pass.



 I could not believe my ears at first.


 It is true that it would have been unthinkable if he had been a practical instructor or better, in other words, if he had been at the same level as me. However, I could not believe that a child of only 10 years old could stand up to a dangerous monster called a harpy that attacked from the air. At least at that stage, he had enough combat experience to fight a monster equivalent to a seventh-rank monster.



 After that, we arrived at the town of Kilnarc, which is at the entrance to the village of Rathmore, without incident.


 Tomorrow, August 26, we would enter Rathmore Village, and we decided to pick up rumors about Rathmore Village in this town as well.


 We soon heard about the village of Rathmore.


 We heard about the Lockhart family, Scotch liquor, and soap, and also investigated the existence of the “sage” we had in mind.


 While it was easy to gather information about the Lockhart family, the liquor, and the soap, it was difficult to gather information about a sage.


 There was only one person who could be the sage, and he was a squire named Nicholas Garland.


 He had studied at a private school in Doctus, and he was the first squire to come to the village with the predecessor lord, Govan Lockhart. He had studied at a private school in Doctus, and was said to have directed the brewing of wine and the making of soap, but he did not seem to be the sage.


 I heard that he himself was a master swordsman and that he used to be seen hunting monsters in the area. Those who knew him back then said that he left an impression of a genuine swordsman, stained bright red from the back splash of the monsters’ blood.


 For the time being, I decided to focus my investigation on this squire named Garland.



A/N: Since it was long, I split it into two stories.

The second part will be posted tomorrow [T/N: Immediately].



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