Ray propped himself up at his desk, surrounded by tons of paperwork. The triennial audit is a week from now.
The budget of the Magic Division is much smaller than the other divisions, and the Magic Division hasn’t bought much of anything. Although there have been no problems pointed out in the audit so far, documents for the audit still must be prepared properly. And as the leader of the Magic Division, Ray was responsible for reviewing the documents prepared by the division’s members.
The only thing that Ray really encountered since becoming a division leader is paperwork. To be honest, Ray really wanted to do the traditional work of a mage, such as examining new magic/potions and developing new types of armor. And yet, the higher up he got, the further away he got from the work he wanted to do.
Ray noticed that one of the members of the division had piled up even more papers on top of the pile that already existed, while asking for help.
It couldn’t be helped, if Ray didn’t finish it, he couldn’t leave. Ray ended up raising his head and resuming his work.
After leaving his office exhausted, Ray returned to his home near the Royal Palace.
Ray was born into the Duke of Miller, the first of the five magic dukes. Since childhood, Ray’s magic power was outstandingly strong, so he was sent to work as a royal court magician at an early age.
After leaving his parents’ house, Ray lived in a dormitory for a while, but when he became a divisional commander, he bought a house for himself and had the butler and housekeeper who serve his parents come visit every once in a while. Ray thought that he would never return to his parents’ house again, and that he would eventually get married in the royal capital someday.
But even now, the only ones that live in his house are Ray, his butler, his cook, and his housekeeper.
Ray knew why he couldn’t get married. It was more a personal thing, and not really related to his outward appearance. After all, Ray was not on the bad-looking side, boasting blond hair and blue eyes, a slender nose, thin lips and slit eyes, and a tall, well-developed physique.
From a young age, no matter where he went, women approached and tried to seduce him, which started to rub off on him the wrong way at a certain point.
Ray always had a hope that he would someday get married, but no one ever came along and he started to find that women were becoming more and more of a nuisance.
Gradually, Ray began to distance himself from even the women who liked him and he gave up on the notion of marriage and ended up concentrating on his work.
“Welcome home, Master Ray, we have a letter for you.”
When Ray returned home, his butler Connie presented him with a letter. Looking at the back of the letter, there was a familiar signature on it. It’s from his mother.
Thinking it might be urgent, Ray ripped open the seal and opened the letter, but after taking a quick look at it, he frowned and threw the letter straight back to Connie.
“What’s the urgency?”
“It was a letter regarding marriage talks.”
After encouraging Connie to read the letter as well, Ray took off his jacket and headed upstairs to his room.
It’s been a long time since Ray was last in a relationship. At one time his mother had been so persistent that she had gotten tired of it, and it had been a while since she had found out that her son had no interest in relationships.
After putting his bags down, Ray went downstairs and joined them at the table. Connie seemed to have finished reading the letter.
“It seems to be based on your grandmother’s fortune telling, sir.”
The Grand Mistress is my grandmother and my grandmother also has strong magical powers, in which divination is her specialty. My grandmother was famous not as a sorcerer, but as a fortune teller, and customers would come to her from far away.
According to this letter, my grandmother’s fortune-telling told her that she saw a connection between me and a certain marquise daughter and she asked me to meet her to make arrangements. In essence, it’s a meeting to talk about an arranged marriage.
I’ve never been recommended for a marriage match based on my grandmother’s fortune telling, but she is the most powerful person in my family. If you disobey her, the consequences will be heavy.
“The date of the meeting is a little far off… would you like to meet them?”
“…it’s a hassle to disobey… so we’ll just meet in person.”
“You also received a family chart and a portrait.”
“Yeah, yeah. There’s no point in looking at it. I’m more concerned with getting through the audit.”
Ray sighed and began to eat.
A week later, I managed to get all the documents in order to face the audit.
The audit, which checks for irregularities in the accounting of state-related institutions and for inappropriate income and expenditures, comes around once every three years. The audit is conducted by the Audit and Inspection Service, an independent body from the state, which is composed of 6 groups.
I’ve been told that the third group will conduct the audit of the Magic Division this time, so I met with the auditor in charge.
“I’m Wilson, the leader of the third group. Thank you for your help this time.”
“I’m Miller, the head of the Magic Division. It’s nice to meet you.”
I shook hands with a man who called himself Wilson. He was a tall, slender man. The auditors all wore matching black uniforms, which made them look slimmer.
Next to Wilson was the deputy head of the team, and next to him, stood an auditor who is extremely petite compared to Wilson.
“This is Squad Leader Taylor of the first group. The fact is, the department that conducted the audit before the Magic Division had to go overtime and are short on manpower. As a result, I’ve decided to have the first group come support us.”
“I’m Taylor, the first group’s leader. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
I was surprised to hear a woman’s voice from that body.
She wore a black uniform like everyone else, and had chestnut-colored hair in a bun, and she had glasses on her clean face.
“Nice to meet you”
When I shook hands with her, I noticed that her hands were cold, and her fingers were so thin they felt like they were going to break. Being an auditor is hard work and even though Wilson said she is a team leader, I wonder if she can bear the load of the job.
An audit usually ends within a week. The inspector checks the documents prepared by the audited department and may call in anyone if there are any problems. Basically, you can go about your normal business as long as you are on standby during the audit.
Ray didn’t feel like doing anything so he sat down and stared at the inspectors vaguely.
“The Iron Lady, as expected, didn’t move an eyebrow when she saw you.”
The deputy division commander, Daniel, came up to me and whispered.
“Is she famous?’”
“Well, Miss Bridget Taylor is famous. They say she’s an extremely talented and rigorous auditor, and she’s the youngest head of an audit group.”
“If a normal woman saw the divisional commander, she would either freeze in admiration or have a spike in blood pressure. She didn’t even twitch, just like her nickname.”
“Don’t describe people like they’re Medusa.”
At that moment, Daniel returned to his seat as Wilson called out to him. Wilson said he had something he wanted to check. Was there something inadequate?
Ray got up from his seat, anxious.
Surprisingly, that was the only call during the audit. It was about a certain item that was purchased in early spring. It was a medicinal herb seedling, so all I had to do was show and explain the medicinal herb seedling.
There seemed to be no other deficiencies, and the audit, which was supposed to last for a week, was completed in four days.
“I can see that you have a clear flow of money and are also saving a lot of money. Thanks to you, it was a quick process.”
Wilson laughed and scratched his head.
I’m not really forcing the Division to save money. I don’t need to travel, and the only things I need for my work are a writing utensil and a cloth to draw a magic circle.
The herbs needed for potions are grown in the herb garden, with the occasional purchase of seeds and seedlings, and we often prepare the necessary medicines ourselves.
Ray also wanted to get new black robes at a certain point, but he ended up never buying them.
The only thing that really costs money otherwise are books, which also don’t get purchased in bulk every year. It’s very rare that I end up spending all of the budget.
“I’m so relieved it worked out. Thank you very much.”
The auditors put away their materials and left, while the audited members of the Magicians Division went back to their duties.
Ray was also relieved that the audit was completed. It’s been a long time since he’s had a good night’s sleep.