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Chapter 7 - Edwin's Justice

Montaigne told his story: According to the Testaments, long ago, at the time of this world's creation, mankind possessed the ability to use arts at will. Over the ages, this ability became lost to time. In modern times, the only way to access arts is via the use of an orbment.

However, a clan that inherited that lost power... They are known as 'magicians.' They exist in the present day, living normally amongst the rest of modern society.

'I know this is a lot to take in, and I don't blame you for being skeptical,' chuckled Hux. 'However, I suspect that there may be a magician in our very own city. Hahaha... Perhaps they are even closer to us than we realize. Now, reconsider the death of Mr. Hart's adopted son; if it really was a nefarious killing, then maybe it was a magician's doing.'

Finally, Montaigne warned Edwin to keep the story to himself. 'Tell no one. Not even family,' he said. 'Or next time, it will be you or I that mysteriously turn up dead.'


Edwin had been selfish and naive since the day he was born. One day, when he was 14 or 15, he saw a certain reporter's article exposing the evil deeds of a big-shot politician in a faraway place.

The legislator used his position and the suffering of others to make a pretty mira for himself. The article destroyed his career. After the fact, the reporter casually remarked that it was their job to reveal the world's inequities and try to right its wrongs.

Since that day, Edwin's sense of justice was focused on revealing everyday hypocrisies and creating understanding in the world.

'A magician...?' ruminated Edwin. 'If there really is such a thing out there, then I'll expose them with my own two hands!'


The newsroom was as busy as ever. Ed in particular seemed engrossed with work as of late. He stopped coming to the cafe and didn't even ask her to check his drafts. 'What the heck was he up to?' Agnes wondered.

'Ed? Are you here?' Agnes called out in a relatively low voice.

'Y-Yeah! Oh...it's you.'

As soon as he saw her, Edwin scrambled to put away the papers on his desk. Agnes thought they looked like the kind of materials Ed would gather just before writing an article. She had managed to catch a brief look at his documents before he stowed them away. There was an itemized breakdown of Mr. Hart's inheritance, notes from the press conference, a statement made by the property manager Mr. Montaigne, a brief story about a girl with a ribbon, and a revision request from Brandon to reformat the personal history of the board's chairman.

She also spotted two spelling mistakes on his working rough draft, but decided not to mention them. Edwin's distant attitude had miffed her, so she decided to keep those errors in her back pocket for the next time she needed ammo to tease him with at the cafe.

'I was out for deliveries, so I brought you lunch. You haven't eaten yet, right?'

'Ah, good timing, Agnes. Thanks for saving me the trouble.'

Edwin snatched the wrapped sandwich from her hand and made an immediate beeline for the door. He mumbled out an excuse about chasing a story with his mouth half-full of sandwich. Something about his clumsiness was different than usual. Agnes felt a strange dizziness overtake her as Edwin darted out of sight. 'What...what am I feeling right now?'

She looked over to Brandon and Carly for answers, but all they could do is give her a knowing shrug and return her troubled stare. Uneasiness and confusion was written all over their faces.


'What does all this mean? What the hell is Ed up to?!' Agnes shouted to herself.

第7回 エドウィンの正義

モンテニューの話はこうだった。遥か昔、聖典にある創世の時代、人類には魔法(アーツ)を自由に扱う力が備わっていたのだという。だが長い年月の間でその力は失われ、いまや人々は導力器の助けなしに魔法(アーツ)を使うことは出来ない。それが当然となってしまった。

その失われた力を密かに受け継ぐ一族……それが『魔法使い』だ。彼らは今の世にも確かに存在し、人の社会に溶け込んで生活しているのだという。

「信じないかね?まあ無理もないが……実は私は、この街にも1人いるんじゃないかと睨んでいるんだ」

「フフ……案外君の近くにいるかもしれないぞ?」

「そうだな、もし君の考える通りウェーバーハルト氏のご養子が絶対に判らない方法で殺されたのだとすれば……それは魔法使いの仕業かもしれないな」モンテニューは最後に、この話は絶対に口外しないように念を押した。たとえ君の肉親にでもだ。でないと今度は私や君が命を落とすだろう。


エドウィンは幼い時分から、やんちゃで単純な子供だった。確か14か15になった頃だと思う──どこかの地方のニュースが報じられる中で、とある記者が大物政治家の悪事を暴いたのを見たのだった。

人々を苦しめ私腹を肥やしていた政治家は、それはもう完膚なきまで、ものの見事に倒されてしまった。そしてその記者は事も無げにこういった。世の中の理不尽なこと、納得のいかないことを追求して、納得の行くようにするのが記者の仕事なのです、と。

それ以来、身の回りの偽善やうやむやを明らかにするのがエドの正義となった。……魔法使いだって? そんな得体の知れない奴が本当にいるなら、俺がこの手で明らかにしてやろうじゃないか──!


「……エド? いないの?」相変わらず騒がしい編集部にちょこんと顔を出し、アニエスは小声で呼んでみた。エドは最近とても忙しいらしく、店にもぜんぜん来ないのだ。原稿のチェックも頼んでこないし……一体何をしてるんだろう?

「あ、ああ……なんだ、来てたのかよ」自分の席で何か書き物をしていたエドは、素早く机の上の仮原稿──いつも取材レポートの一環として書かされているやつだ──をしまって振り返った。ちらりと見えた文面は、どうやら例のウェーバーハルト氏の遺産の顛末らしい。ようやく分配が決まって会見では云々、財産管理人モンテニュー氏のコメントがどうの、リボンをつけた女の子の話、もちっと理事長の経歴をきれいにまとめとけbyブランドン。

スペルミスを2箇所見つけたけど、アニエスは黙っている事にした。なんだか少しよそよそしい態度が気になったし、今度店に来たときに冷やかすネタにでもしようと思ったのだ。

「出前のついでにお昼を持ってきたわよ。……まだなんでしょ?」

「ああ、こりゃ助かる。サンキューアニエス、ナイスタイミングだ!」取材に行ってきやーっすと言い残して、パンの包みをひったくったエドウィンはもうドアを潜っていた。その勢い……というよりどこかいつもと違う言動に、エドが一瞬で視界から消えたみたいな錯覚がして、アニエスは思わず軽い眩暈を感じた。──なんだろう、この感じ。ブランドンやカーリーに困った視線を送ってみるけれど、事情を知っているはずの2人はただ肩をすくめてアニエスと同じ顔を作ってみせた。不安、困惑、意味が判らないといった顔を。


……どういうこと?エドは一体何をしているの──?


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