Dream Life Vol II Chapter 56.2: “The Value of Technology”

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 Although written simply, it was a very hard work that took most of the time of practical skills and used my magic power to the limit. So much so that it was necessary to have Liddy and Sharon take over bath duty.



 The professor watched with great interest, and was quite surprised when the printer was completed and test prints were made.



“This is a great invention that is revolutionary for the development of learning. As expected of Mr. Lockhart. This is a technology that should definitely be popularized!” (Ruspede)



 Printing is certainly necessary for the development of learning. Since paper production is relatively easy with magic, if books could be made with metal prints, the price of books would drop at once.


 I nodded my head at that, but after finishing the whole thing, I realized something.



(In this case, it would have been better to use letterpress printing. It’s easy to write, too… Even if I popularize this troublesome metal print, someone else will come up with the idea, so let’s popularize letterpress…) (Zack)



 I decided to popularize letterpress printing.



 And then, the important thing was Professor Ruspede’s public lecture, but since we did not give out numbered tickets, there were more people in the class than planned. I and the other staff members were quite stressed when they realized this, but we managed to squeeze everyone in and the event was a great success.


 The only problem was that the professor sat me and Sharon next to him during the lecture and asked us questions whenever he had something to say. I managed to speak in a voice that could be heard all the way to the back, but Sharon’s voice became even quieter than usual, and I had to speak as her interpreter.


 It was somehow like playing the role of a student in an educational program, and I felt very uncomfortable.



 After that, he continued to give public lectures once a month, and they were always very well attended but it was very difficult to prepare for them. When I mentioned this to the professor, he told me, “If you become an assistant professor, you’ll get an allowance.”



 I decided ask Piers Wagman, a member of the Council of the Magicians Guild, to popularize letterpress printing.



 We had not seen each other for several months, as we had been avoiding each other as much as possible since the accident of Quentin Wagman, a classmate of mine, last October.


 Nevertheless, when I visited the Mages’ Guild, I was able to see him right away. Apparently, he is still concerned about the debt he owes me.


 After a brief greeting, I brought the conversation straight to the point.



“I’ve come up with a technology that could be very useful to the Magicians’ Guild. Would you be interested in buying it?” (Zack)



 I then show them the letterpress print I made as a sample and a board to fit it in.



“I will arrange these typefaces according to the text. Then if you fit it in like this and press it… The production of books will become dramatically easier. What do you think?” (Zack)



 The councilor stared at it with a look of astonishment, then nodded deeply.



“Indeed, this is a very useful technology. How much do you want for this?” (Piers)



 To be honest, I have no intention of making money from this, and I would be happy to pay any amount. Besides, this technology only uses gold magic and is not that complicated. The councilor could say that he doesn’t want it, pretend he developed it himself, stealing the idea.



“For whatever His Excellency’s valuation. I will sell it to you for as little as one Eere (= 10 yen).” (Zack)



 I was concerned that the Councilor Wagman owed me a favor. I hoped that the councilor would feel that the debt is settled with this, so I said I would take whatever his offer is. Even if it really was just one Eere, it wouldn’t matter. It’s just a matter of recognizing that he’s going to turn me into an enemy then.


 The councilor seemed to understand my intention, and after thinking for about 30 seconds, after smiling bitterly, “It’s really hard to deal with you.”



“How about 10,000 C (= 10 million yen)? This is the limit I can take from the Education and Research Committee’s budget. If you want to wait for the next year, I can add a little more.” (Piers)



 The councilor said this, testing me.



(He seems to be testing me, trying to see how I will respond. If I say that next year is fine, he may say he can’t get the budget approved and the amount won’t change at all. I guess he’s actually trying to check the truth of my words that “it doesn’t matter how much.”) (Zack)



“That’s fine. Or rather, you can lower the price a little more.” (Zack)



 I said that with a light heart, but it was a mistake.



“Then, I’ll have you give the guild’s magicians technical guidance so they can evaluate what is too much. I don’t know about you, but it looks like a rather difficult process.” (Zack)



 The councilor seemed to have invited me with the intention of having me give technical guidance.



(As usual, he is a troublesome man. Well, I originally planned to work up to that extent, so it’s fine, but it’s aggravating to be left in the lurch. …Well, it’s like we’re equals now. And the councilor won’t feel like he owes me anymore.) (Zack)



 The councilman immediately called his staff and had them draw up a contract on the spot.


 I spent more than 20 minutes carefully reviewing the finished contract.


 The staff who drew up the contract thought I didn’t understand it and tried to explain it to me, but the councilor and I stared at him and he shut up.



(There is no problem with the performance conditions of the contract. The clause about defects would be fine too… There is this is the only problem.) (Zack)



 I looked up to see a smiling councilor and an irritated staff. The guild staff seemed to be irritated with the academy students who wasted more than 20 minutes holding up the busy councilor.


 I pretended not to notice and pointed out the problem.



“This article, Article 6, says that ‘the Second Party shall transfer the technology to the First Party’s gold magician,’ but this is the problem. There is a possibility that I, the ‘Second Party’, will continue to provide guidance under the guise of technology transfer. Therefore, please clarify the definition of technology transfer and state that the guild as ‘First Party’ shall select competent mages in good faith. As for the method of technology transfer, I would like you to add that Second Party must recognize that the skill of the First Party’s magician is sufficient, or that the total time spent to acquire the skill must be less than 20 hours.” (Zack)



 The council member blurted out, “I knew you noticed that,” and ordered the staff member to make the correction.


 The staff member’s eyes widened at the conversation between me and the councilor before proceeding to rework the contract. Meanwhile, the councilor looked serious,



“This is an invention that will go down in history. I will name this printing method ‘Lockhart Printing’. It’s quite priceless.” (Piers)



 I asked him not to make me stand out more, so I firmly declined, saying, “Let’s just call it ‘type-printing’ or ‘letterpress’.”


 As we exchanged ideas, I wondered how this invention would affect the world.



(If the price of books goes down, the spread of knowledge will increase dramatically. If this happens, the level of education will rise, and natural sciences such as mathematics and physics may develop. There’s a possibility that the development of science and technology that can be used even by those without magic will advance in the future. No, it could be a new technology that combines magic and science. …I may have been a little too hasty this time…) (Zack)



 Once the contract is made and I confirm that everything is okay, me and Councilor Wagman sign it.


 When we were done signing, we stood up and shook hands.



“Looks like I owe you again. I’m in your debt again, but not to me personally, but the of Magicians’ Guild. This invention is priceless.” (Piers)



 I said, “If you use it to further your education, I don’t need a reward,” and left the room.





~Pier’s Perspective~



 Zacharias Lockhart left my room.


 The remaining staff member asked me, “Is he that… Lockhart?”



“Yes, that’s him. Be careful, because if you are fooled by his appearance, you will find yourself in trouble.” (Piers)



 It was unusual for me to go along with the staff’s words.


 But I meant what I said to him.


 If he were my age, I would be like Miles—Councilor Miles Isherwood. I might have turned into a man mad with envy if he was an academy classmate.



 The rivalry that my son Quentin had for Lockhart disappeared before it flared up too much. This is a great fortuitous blessing for my son.




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