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Chapter 16

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Minister’s point of view.
The day after I heard that the attempt to bring back Emiel had failed, I was waiting for Heinz, the current chief of the Royal Magicians, to arrive.
I had gathered enough evidence that I didn’t need to listen to him at all, and I would have been happy to dismiss or even exile him as soon as possible, but I had to avoid another Emiel incident. So when I replied to Heinz, who gave his name with a knock, to enter, a nervous expression appeared on his face.

“Ex, excuse me.”
“Oh. Take a seat.”
Nodding silently, Heinz moved to the seat facing me and straightened his back.
I began my interrogation, hoping that he would show remorse, but I made sure not to show anything on my face.

“I heard that you, the Royal Magicians were forcing Emiel to manage the wardstone all on her own. Would you care to explain?”
“Y, yes… I’ll tell you the truth, Emiel herself said she wanted to take care of all the management, and I trusted her to do so, and this is what happened. I would never have left it to her if I had known that the wardstone could be altered.”
“Is that so?”

His statement was a tad difficult to confirm whether it was true or not, but… with his eyes swimming all over the place, I have no doubts that he was lying.
I picked up the document in hand and read out what was written there, feeling like my expectations have been betrayed right from the start.

“According to the guards stationed in that area, I have several testimonies about the unhealthy Emiel, who had dark circles under her eyes, managing the wardstone every single day. Moreover, they seldom saw other people except Emiel entering the place. What about this?”
“I think that’s because she’s playing out in the town every night. She got what she deserved.”
That is a big lie. It really saves time that he’s this easy to understand.
I picked up the next document and read it to him again.

“It’s from the knight in charge of the gate. He says he has often seen you guys leave during work hours without a uniform, but he’s never seen Emiel leave. What about this?”
“We study magic when we have no work to do, so we have to leave outside when there’s something we really need to buy. That fellow has been slacking off and leaving through windows to go out and play, so the knights just probably hadn’t caught her in the act until now.”

It is mandatory to wear a uniform when going out of the castle during work hours, but this guy seems to have forgotten about that too.
Besides, all the windows in the castle can be opened only on ventilation to prevent people from slipping through as a security measure against falling out.
If you were to go out through a window, you would have to destroy the window fittings first, but I’m sure no such damage was found during the weekly inspection.
I will have it checked out, but… I’m sure nothing will be found.

I then continued the questioning for a while, and after Heinz came up with a number of answers, I ceased the interrogation and told him to get back to work.
Left alone in the room, I leaned my upper body against the chair and looked up at the ceiling for some reason.
How many people are going to be dismissed now? Heinz is the easiest one to confirm, but what should I do about the other Royal Magicians?

I feel like all of the people who were pushing their job onto Emiel could get dismissed, but that could lead to a major decline in the country’s magical technology.
… No, it already declined, didn’t it?

Louis, who was called a Sage, was not only seen going out to play earlier, he also started complaining that the Royal Magicians have stopped submitting paperwork.
The only way to go about things now would be to dismiss them all and hire new personnel.
I wish Emiel would help me, even if it’s just the training of the personnel.

I let out another sigh, I don’t even know how many times I sighed just today, and resumed the work to clean up the mess I made.

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