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A discussion on magic

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A discussion on magic

‘Do they vote?’

‘I beg your pardon?’ Humphrey clearly did not catch the question.

‘I said, do they vote?’ Hacker repeated in a calm voice, ‘You mentioned they’ve got a Minister of Magic, but do they vote in our elections?’

That is indeed an interesting question. ‘To be honest, Prime Minister, I am not entirely sure. However, the phrase ‘democratic election’ seemed rather unfamiliar to them.’ The Minister of Magic herself said she’s never heard of it anyway.

‘What a pity, we do have three by-elections coming up recently, all of them in marginal seats.’

‘Prime Minister, ‘ Humphrey could not hold back his question, ‘I just informed you that magic exists in this world, and your first reaction was to rally votes for your marginal seats?’

‘Indeed, what a silly question…’ Hacker shook his head slightly with a smile, ‘Do they pay tax then?’

The Cabinet Secretary crossed his arms expressionlessly, ‘Very droll, Prime Minister.’

‘Seriously, that community must have at least thousands, nigh on ten thousand, population wise? Income tax, dividend tax, property tax, inheritance tax, that’s a large sum of money we’re talking about. ‘ Jim Hacker frowned as he went on, ‘No seriously, does No. 11 even know they exist?’

‘They might be eligible for exemption, in theory. As far as I know, they have their own health service, schools, banking system, and law enforcement. The Ministry of Magic and its various departments provide public services, and they’ve never required our unemployment benefits or bin collections.’ Humphrey analysed, all the while feeling increasingly astonished, ‘To be honest, they have no need to inform us their existence at all.’

‘But we are aware of their existence now, or should I say, you are, and then you informed me of it.’ There appears to be a hint of jealousy in the Prime Minister’s voice, ‘Besides, you’re the one who’s met the Minister of Magic. And I thought only Head of Government can meet with another official at the same rank.’

‘That’s because my office is the only room in the building that still has a genuine fireplace.’ Humphrey stalled with the half-truth, not really wanting to disclose the real reason behind this - the Cabinet Secretary was the one who handled all communications with the magical world, given the average tenure of the average Prime Ministers, ‘They called it the Floo, it’s similar to a conference call in the fireplace, except that any conversations taking place would have to be conducted in the fire. I am certain that if you did have a fire in your room, the Minister of Magic would have went ahead and called you instead.’

‘But what about summer?’ Hacker raised his eyebrows, his bad temper disappearing.

‘How do you mean ‘What about summer?’’

‘If they wanted to talk to you in the summer, does that mean they’ll have to wait an awful long time?’ This time Hacker crossed his arms, wearing a sardonic expression on his face, ‘Why can’t they just make a phone call like normal people do?’

‘As far as I know, magic doesn’t mix well with electronic devices.’ Being sardonic has never been Hacker’s natural habitat, an idea suddenly struck Humphrey, ‘Prime Minister, do you have some… issues against this magical community?’

‘Issues? You mean beside the fact that they pay no taxes, but sharing our roads, street lamps, and god knows what other resources? Certainly not.’

More sardonic attempts, proof. ‘Let me rephrase, do you perhaps have some opinions regarding their life style choices?’

‘Humphrey, how can you suggest that? Tolerance and integration are the key words in our manifesto.’ Hacker started to look a little weird, ‘I have no opinion of any kind. I simply don’t get the fuss about magic and its supposed brilliance. Surely that’s just bedtime stories for children.’

Humphrey has always known that Hacker did not have a romantic gene in his body, but this statement does make him pity that little boy who never got his share of bedtime stories, ‘If those children knew what we knew, they might think Christmas’ come early.’

Hacker sat straighter and looked at his Cabinet Secretary closely, ‘Humphrey, did I hear that correctly? If I didn’t know you so well, I would have thought you hold this magical lot in a bit of ... esteem? Even admiration, dare I say?’ He now looked annoyingly smug, ‘Did you always go into closets to find secret passageways when you’re a kid?’

‘There’s no need to gloat, Prime Minister. My theory happens to be proved correct.’ Magic is real.

‘Buy why, Humphrey?’ Hacker’s curiosity was truly piqued, ‘Really, magic? Did the Minister of Magic cast you a spell or something? I say, your approval, not to mention your admiration, is usually pretty hard to come by.’

‘The poetic fact that a scientifically inexplicable phenomenon existing outside the realm of our familiar reality is reason enough to win my approval.’ Humphrey gave up when he saw the person in front of him completely stonewalled, ‘Indeed, I happen to think that magic is not a bad idea, an attractive one I might add.’

‘If that’s the case, what are the things that magic can accomplish but we can’t?’

An innocent question. Humphrey replied after some thought, ‘They can fly.’

Hacker’s laughter was response enough, ‘But did you forget, Humphrey, so can we! For the last hundred years! Recently you can even fly to the moon if you want.’

‘No, not being tied up in a gigantic metal cage!’ Humphrey argued indignantly, ‘With flying broomsticks, you see, one can be truly free, like birds, flying in the way our ancestors have always imaged.’

‘Freezing cold and no free booze? I hope they don’t go on holidays very often, in this weather flying across the Channel would’ve been enough for them to lose a body part or two.’

‘Perhaps not the best choice for foreign travels. But it won’t be a bad idea when you’re stuck on the London Bridge for half an hour.’

‘Hmm, maybe.’ Hacker had to make a concession on the matter of congestion, ‘Perhaps you should try the tube, Mr Cabinet Secretary.’

‘I don’t think it’s necessary to continue our discussion in this vein, if you deliberately turn a serious academic debate into oversimplified problems and overgeneralized examples.’

Hacker apologized almost immediately, ‘My fault, Humphrey. Please continue.’

‘Given that you’re obsessed with efficiency, as far as I know, the magical world has a great variety of spells that can automate anything, from housework to paperwork. Reliable, never prone to errors, even school pupils can get the job done given some appropriate guidance.’

‘But we also have a great variety of machines to automate things, well, most things. And the experts kept saying that in the near future, most of our jobs will be taken by machines.’

‘But magic doesn’t rely on energy, all automation can still continue without electricity. A hike in oil price or the miners’ strike will have no impact on efficiency.’

Hacker appeared to be thinking, ‘So how do our magical friends deal with their working population with all that automation going on? Students leaving schools can’t just loitering in the high streets all day?’

Humphrey was slightly taken aback, ‘It has never even registered as a problem for them… From what I gathered, most of their young people entered the Ministry of Magic, or public service of one kind or another, upon finishing compulsory education. The rest go into this professional flying broomsticks football league, or whatever that’s called.’

‘You mean they also have an enormous civil service? Well, we’re very much alike in this regard. I hope the Minister of Magic has better luck than me.’

‘In fact, the Ministry of Magic is reasonably well organised, in my opinion, considering that apart from typical law enforcement, they also need a large Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. I would have guessed that might easily double the budget of the Met Police.’

‘Very well, Humphrey, now I know why you approve of magic.’ Hacker whined, ‘But if you want to convince me that magic is something good, you’ll need to come up with something better than the Ministry of Magic.’

‘Even with their impressive efficiency and low unemployment rate? Now who’s the one that’s hard to please?’

‘High efficiency and low unemployment aren’t everything. You see, Humphrey, when efficiency seems high, they might also see little need in any improvement or collaboration. And that’s usually the preamble to slowing in societal development. I guess that’s the reason they didn’t reach out to contact us more often?’

‘Indeed, although all the witch burning from a few hundred years ago also make them build up their guards…’ Now it’s Humphrey’s turn to frown, ‘You do have a point. Improvement doesn’t seem to be their strength. The magical society does seem a little … medieval.’

‘Oh, their industrial sector’s not particularly well developed?’

‘Almost non-existent. Most of their products are tinkered in family workshops. Naturally the Industrial Revolution never took place, a hundred years’ science and technology simply never happened to them.’

‘Ah, even you, Humphrey, can’t live in a world with only civil servants.’ Hacker’s enthusiasm seemed to have recovered, ‘Without industry, the basis of modern economics does not exist. No mass production, no accumulation of wealth, the need for trade will be staying on the level of a Sunday market. In that case, not even alchemy can improve their standard of living, I’m afraid.’

‘Alchemy doesn’t help I fear.’ Humphrey recalled his discussion with the Minister of Magic earlier, ‘The magical world also has to obey the first law of thermodynamics. Basically, they can’t make gold appear out of thin air. What we refer to as alchemy is no more than a glorified term for smelting really.’

Hacker can’t really stop smiling after hearing this, ‘Well, don’t be disappointed.. I’m sure the Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry of Magic are all living the high life. Even though they don’t have the luxury of chauffeur-driven Jags, they can always fly on their broomsticks like birds to go to work.’

‘It’s difficult to imagine one still has to live the nine-to-five life with all that power.’ Humphrey observed. That’s almost against humanity.

‘I guess when everyone has super power, no one’s really superman anymore.’

Humphrey pretended what he heard make sense, ‘Even so, their normality is still miles away from our reality.’

‘But that’s exactly the Utopia imagined by the left, isn’t it? The ultimate egalitarians, beating even universal basic income… Assuming this is a sociology experiment, there’s at least the guarantee of social stability for the magical, right? Even if they don’t have the luxury of modern technology or benefits from industrialisation.’

Hearing that, Humphrey shook his head again, ‘I’m afraid, Prime Minister, that social stability isn’t one of their strengths either. I was informed that the magical community is recently recovering from a ten-year long civil war. Not really the type of urban guerrilla warfare one expects here, considering magic virtually endows everyone with destructive weapons in their kitchen.’

‘A ten-year civil war? Whatever for? The money that they don’t have? Or the oil that they don’t need?’

‘Usually all it takes is a power-hungry megalomaniac to start a war, isn’t that the prerequisite of every James Bond film ever made?’ Humphrey observed the person in front of him carefully. Although Hacker would never say it out-loud, he has always been the closeted unilateralist. All those years editing the ‘Reform’ had left its mark. ‘A genocide against those born in non-magical families but possess magical abilities. Sounds familiar?’

‘Gosh… I thought we’ve stopped producing one of those lunatics after the Tudors…’ Hacker gulped down his whiskey, looking slightly piqued, ‘Hold on a minute, with a war, no, a humanitarian disaster like that happening right under our nose in this country, how come no one’s noticed anything? There’s bound to be some witnesses, well, witnessing something, right?’

‘The Ministry of Magic has agreement with every cabinet in Downing Street to keep their existence a secret from the non-magical community. And we just want to maintain the status quo without spending any money on it.’ Humphrey tried to be neutral, ‘As for the war, we might’ve labelled some incidents as sabotage attempts from… you know, our enemies from abroad… The Ministry usually dispatch their people to deal with the consequences quite quickly.’

‘You mean all those…?’ Hacker mimed an explosion with his arms in the air, ‘I pretend I didn’t hear what you just said, Humphrey. But really, has the Ministry of Magic never asked for our assistance?’

‘Now we’re back on the issue of the Statute of Secrecy again. Our policy has always been to keep their secret, and nothing more. I think comparing to our assistance, they’d rather have us on the side-line where they can see us.’

‘But you just said that megalomaniac was targeting the non-magical people, and that’s us! How are we to defend ourselves if we didn’t know about the threat in the first place? Gosh… And I just announced a defence cut in the House…’ Hacker started to fret.

‘Please calm down, Prime Minister. I said ‘those born in non-magical families but possess magical abilities’, not non-magical in general. Fortunately, that megalomaniac didn’t take us too seriously.’

‘That’s hardly the point. The point is, we have the right to know. How else can I protect the lives and properties of the citizens in this country?’

‘Even if we could break the Statute of Secrecy and the agreement between our governments, which by the way has been in place for hundreds of years, and declared the nation in a critical threat level, the only usable form of defence for us is probably Trident. I fail to see how that’s good news for anyone.’ Hacker was staring at him incredulously, Humphrey eventually gave in, ‘Arnold knew. When the civil war was happening, he was the Cabinet Secretary, and he’s kept close contact with the Ministry. If the situation had become very serious, he would have informed your predecessor to arrange for military actions. We both know that did not happen.’

‘Only Trident…’ Hacker repeated weakly, slumping in his chair, ‘I don’t think I can be so grateful for someone to not take me too seriously.. Gosh, he could’ve have us all exterminated without lifting a finger, or turn us all into slaves, most of us don’t even know he existed before that.’

‘Perhaps the superiority that comes with magic made him find the act of attacking defenceless people not challenging enough.’

‘You tell that to the aboriginals. If it’s so important to have challenges, colonialism probably wouldn't appear on history books.’

‘Perhaps they saw the spread of civilisation as a challenge?’ Humphrey suggested half-heartedly, ‘Unfortunately magic isn’t something one disseminate with gospels or blankets. It probably requires genetic mutation accumulating in several generations.’

‘Humphrey, you do realise that the only thing you’ve accomplished so far with this discussion is to convince me that magic is anything but good? The opposite to your original intention?’ Hacker now looked rather worried, ‘What did the Minister of Magic need you for today exactly? Is there another lunatic trying to start another war?’

‘War? No, well not entirely.’ Humphrey couldn’t resist but torment his Minister a bit longer, watching Hacker squirmed uncomfortably in his chair, ‘They have a friendly match against the French flying broomsticks football team this weekend. The Minister was kind enough to give me advance warning so that I can let the head of the Met know.’

‘The French football team?’ Hacker was confused, ‘What’s that to do with the police?’

‘Football hooligans, Prime Minister.’ Humphrey sighed, ‘With some bad luck, this could turn into a small war.’

Hacker was obviously relieved, ‘Well, our worlds do share some commonalities. Fortunately, we do have some experience dealing with football hooligans.’

The conversation appeared to have reached its natural conclusion, but Hacker asked another question, ‘Humphrey?’

‘Yes, Prime Minister?’

‘Any chance of you asking the Minister for some tickets?’

Humphrey clearly did not catch the question, ‘I seem to recall I have convinced you that magic is anything but good?’

‘I think they can do something about it. They have magic, don’t they?’ Hacker replied calmly.

 

Fin

Chapter Text

关于魔法的讨论

 

‘那他们投票吗?’

‘抱歉?’Humphrey以为自己没听清楚。

‘我说,他们投票吗?’Hacker一本正经地重复了一遍,‘你提到他们有魔法部长,但他们能在我们的选举里投票吗?’

这的确是个有趣的问题,‘说实话,首相,对此我并不清楚,但我个人感觉他们对民主选举制度似乎非常陌生。’反正魔法部长本人说他从没听过这个词。

‘可惜,我们最近可是有三个边缘议席的补选……’

‘首相,’Humphrey忍不住问道,‘我刚才告诉你:这世界上魔法是真实存在的,你的第一反应竟然是为边缘议席拉选票?’

‘没错,那真是个愚蠢的问题……’Hacker笑着摇了摇头,‘那他们交税吗?’

内阁秘书面无表情地交叉着双臂,‘非常好笑,首相。’

‘说真的,那个群体应该有几千甚至上万人吧,收入税、所得税、地税、遗产税,加起来可是一大笔钱。’Jim Hacker说着连眉头都皱了起来,‘话说起来,我们的财务部长知道他们的存在吗?’

‘他们理论上有豁免的资格。据我所知,他们有自己的医院、学校、银行、和纪律部队,有独立的魔法部处理公众事务,也从没有需要过我们的失业救济和垃圾处理。’Humphrey一边分析一边觉得惊讶,‘说实话,他们完全不需要告知我们他们的存在。’

‘但我们现在已经知道了,应该说,是你先知道了然后告知我的。’首相的语气似乎带着点醋意,‘你才是见过魔法部长的人,我还以为是内阁首领才有资格接见跟他同等职位的官员。’

‘那是因为我的办公室是整栋楼里唯一一个还有壁炉的房间,’Humphrey半真不假地搪塞过去,并不想告诉对方内阁秘书才是跟魔法世界的第一接触点,考虑到一般首相的任期长度,‘他们称之为Floo,就像在壁炉里通会议电话一样,除了对话必须在炉火里进行之外。我可以肯定要是你房间也生了火的话魔法部长会直接找你。’

‘可夏天怎么办?’Hacker的眉毛竖了起来,刚才的坏脾气顿时消失不见。

‘什么夏天怎么办?’

‘要是他们夏天有事来找你的话,岂不是要等上大半年?’这次轮到Hacker交叉着双臂,他的脸上带着讽刺的表情,‘为什么他不能像个普通人那样打个电话?’

‘据我所知,魔法跟电子产品并不太合适。’一般来说,嘲讽并不是Hacker的自然领域,Humphrey突然好像顿悟了什么,‘首相,你是不是对这个魔法群体……有什么不满?’

‘不满?你的意思是除了他们不交税但还分享着我们的道路、街灯、还有鬼知道其他什么资源?自然没有。’

更多的嘲讽,证据确凿。‘让我换个说法,你是不是不赞同他们的生活方式?’

‘Humphrey,你怎么能这么说?这届内阁的宣言可是包容与融合。’Hacker的表情有些不自然,‘我没说过我不赞同,只是我搞不懂大家为什么总是觉得魔法有多么了不起。那只是讲给小孩听的故事而已。’

Humphrey向来都知道Hacker浑身上下没有一根浪漫的骨头,但这番话里面的确切几乎让他可怜那个小时候没听过多少睡前故事的男孩,‘那些小孩要是知道我们所知道的,说不定会觉得像圣诞节提前到了一样。’

Hacker听了之后坐直了正经地看着他的内阁秘书,‘Humphrey,我是不是听错了?要是我跟你不太熟的话,我还以为你对这个魔法群体有那么一点的……尊重,甚至是喜爱?’他现在看起来烦人地自满,‘你小时候是不是总跑进衣柜里找秘密通道?’

‘没必要那么得意,首相。何况我的理论最终被证明是正确的。’魔法是真的。

‘但是为什么,Humphrey?’Hacker的好奇心这次是真的被钓了起来,‘真的?魔法?他们那个部长是不是给你施了什么咒语?不是我说,通常想要得到你的赞同并不是什么容易的事。’

‘难道在我们所熟知的现实之外有着我们无法解释的现象这个充满可能性的事实不足以得到我的赞同吗?’看到面前的人一脸茫然,Humphrey只好让步,‘没错,我恰好认为魔法是个不错的主意,甚至非常的有吸引力。’

‘如果是这样的话,那有什么是魔法能做到但我们做不到的?’

听起来是一个无辜的问题。停下来思考了一阵,Humphrey谨慎地回答,‘他们可以飞。’

Hacker竟然拍着大腿笑了起来,‘你忘了吗,Humphrey,这一百年来我们也可以!最近的话就是你想飞上月球都行。’

‘不,不是被绑在一个巨型金属笼子里。飞天扫帚,你看,骑在上面可以像鸟一样真正地飞行,人类幻想中最原始的方式。’

‘冷得不行还没有免费酒精?我希望他们不经常度假,现在这种天气飞过海峡就足够让他们缺了点什么身体部件。’

‘也许不是跨国旅行的首选,但当你在伦敦桥上被堵了半小时,那是个不错的选择。’

‘嗯,也许。’Hacker在塞车问题上不得不稍微让步,‘也许你应该改坐地铁,内阁秘书先生。’

‘这样的话继续这个辩论似乎没什么必要了,如果你刻意把一个严谨的学术讨论降格为过度简化的问题和以偏概全的例子。’

Hacker马上诚挚地道歉,‘我的错,Humphrey,请继续。’

‘如果你那么执着于效率的话,据我所知魔法世界有着各种的魔咒可以自动化几乎任何事,从家务劳动到文书工作。可靠、不易出错,就连中学生在得到适当的指导后都能妥当完成任务。’

‘但我们也有各种的机器可以自动做任何事,好吧,大部分的事。而且每个专家都说在不久的将来,我们当中大部分人的工作都会被机器取代。’

‘但魔法并不依赖能源,一切自动化在没有电气的情况下仍然可以进行,油价飙涨和矿工罢工对效率没有影响。’

Hacker 陷入了思考,‘话说起来,那么我们会魔法的朋友们是怎么解决剩余劳动人口的问题?学生从学校毕业总不能在街上无所事事?’

Humphrey怔了一下,‘我不认为他们有认真考虑过这个问题……按照我的理解,他们当中绝大多数人在完成基础教育后都会在魔法部或者相关公共服务部门工作,剩下的好像进入职业的飞天扫帚足球联赛,或者其他什么名称。’

‘你的意思是他们也有一个庞大的civil service?这一点我们倒是挺像的,我希望魔法部长的运气比我好一些。’

‘事实上,我认为魔法部旗下的编制和分工还算相当合理,考虑到除了一般的纪律部队之外,他们还需要一个庞大的魔法动物管理控制部门,就这一点就需要相当于伦敦警察的双倍预算。’

‘很好,Humphrey,现在我知道你为什么那么偏袒魔法了。’Hacker抱怨道,‘如果你想要说服我魔法是什么好事,你必须想出比魔法部更好的例子。’

‘难道他们的高效率和低失业率不足以得到你的赞同?现在谁才是更难讨好的那一位?’

‘高效率和低失业率并不是一切。你看,Humphrey,正因为他们的效率看起来很高,所以改进和合作就没什么必要,这通常是发展停滞不前的先兆。我猜这是他们不肯跟我们多联系的原因之一?’

‘的确,当然几百年前的火烧女巫运动让他们对我们有一定的戒心。’现在轮到Humphrey皱起眉头,‘但改进并不是魔法世界的强项,他们的社会在某些方面好像……还停留在中世纪。’

‘噢?他们的工业并不太发达?’

‘几乎不存在,大部分生产行业还处于小规模作坊模式。自然也没有工业革命一说,几百年的科技发展对他们来说几乎从没有发生过。’

‘哈,就算是你,Humphrey,也不能活在一个全是civil servant的世界里。’Hacker讨论的兴致似乎回来了,‘没有工业,整个现代经济的基础就等于不存在。没有量化生产,就没有财富的累积,贸易的需求也就停留在礼拜日市集的水平。这样一来,即便有炼金术他们的生活质量也不能得到任何保障。’

‘恐怕连炼金术都不能提供帮助。’Humphrey回忆起他跟魔法部长早前的讨论,‘魔法世界也要遵循热力学第一定律,总的来说,他们不能无中生有地凭空炼金。所谓的炼金术不过是高级一点的金属冶炼方式。’

听到这里,Hacker笑得像他赢得了奥运奖牌一样,‘好吧,不要太失落……我肯定魔法部的permanent secretary们也活得不错,即便没有司机开车接送的奢侈,他们每天还可以骑着飞天扫帚像鸟一样飞着去上班。’

‘很难想象有着那么强大的力量却还要循规蹈矩地过着朝九晚五的生活。’Humphrey感叹道。那几乎有些反人类。

‘我猜当每个人都有超人的能力,就没人能称得上超人了。’

Humphrey假装没听见那句话的语病,‘即便如此,他们的正态分布还是离我们的现实遥远得很。’

‘话说起来,那不就是左派们想象中的乌托邦吗?比统一收入和财富更终极的平等……假如这是一个社会实验,那么魔法界的社会稳定起码是可以保证的,不是吗?即便他们不能享受现代科技和工业带来的舒适。’

听到这里,Humphrey不得不再次摇头,‘很可惜,首相,恐怕社会稳定也不是他们的强项。据我所知,这个魔法群体在几年前刚刚结束了一场长达十年的内战,而且那不还是城市游击战的水准,鉴于每个人都等同于自带杀伤性武器。’

‘十年内战?那是为了什么?钱?他们本来就没多少;石油?他们不需要……’

‘开始一场战争通常只需要一个渴望权力的自大狂,难道这不是每一部James Bond电影的先要条件?’Humphrey注意观察着面前的人,尽管Hacker嘴上不肯承认,但他其实就是个反核反战的unilateralist,那些年的Reform编辑生涯还是留了些印记,‘针对非魔法血统出身但拥有魔法能力群体的种族屠杀。听起来很熟悉?’

‘天……看来再也不能说德国才盛产疯子了……’Hacker连忙喝了一大口威士忌,显然有些情绪波动,‘等等,这么大的事情、不、应该说是人道灾难发生在这个国家,为什么我们从来没察觉到不妥?肯定有目击者看到过什么,不对吗?’

‘魔法部跟每一届唐宁街内阁都有双边协议,他们的主要目的是确保魔法群体不被非魔法群体所知,而我们则希望不需要动用任何资源来保持现状。’Humphrey小心地换上最中立的语气,‘我们也许有意无意地把某些事件列为北爱相关,通常魔法部很快会派人来处理。’

‘你的意思是那些……?’Hacker没作声做了一个爆炸的手势,‘我假装没听到刚才那句话,Humphrey。但除此以外,魔法部从来没有向我们求助过吗?’

‘这又回到了我们跟魔法世界的联系这个问题上。每一届内阁的政策都是尽力协助保密,但此外就没有更多了。比起我们的帮助,他们也更情愿我们站在边线上不要干涉。’

‘但你说那个疯子针对的是非魔法群体的种族清洗,那他的目标就是我们!要是我们毫不知情的话怎么会意识到要自我保卫?天……我刚刚才在议会通过了削减防御经费的方案……’Hacker开始慌张了起来。

‘请冷静下来,首相。我说的是“针对非魔法血统出身但拥有魔法能力群体”,不是非魔法群体。幸运的是,那位自大狂并没有太把我们当一回事。’

‘那并不是重点。问题在于我们应该有知情权,要不我怎么能够保证这个国家普通民众的生命财产安全?’

‘就算我们可以破坏双边秘密法令和延续了几百年的内阁政策通告全国进入紧急戒备,我们唯一有用的防御可能只有Trident,那不见得是什么好事。’看到Hacker不可置信的眼神,Humphrey只好让步,‘Arnold知道。内战发生的时候,也就是他在担任内阁秘书的时候,他跟魔法部一直有着密切联系。如果事情真的到了严重的地步,他应该会支会你的前任安排军事行动。但我们都知道那并没有发生。’

‘只有Trident才有用……’Hacker呆滞地重复着,‘还好那个人没读过另一个德国疯子的著作,要不然他可能会考虑别的可能性。天,他本可以轻松地把我们灭掉,或者把我们统统变成奴隶,而我们大多数人之前甚至还没有意识到他的存在。’

‘可能是拥有魔法的优越感让他觉得攻击毫无反击能力的人缺少挑战性。’

‘你告诉那些非洲土著去,要是挑战性有那么重要的话,黑奴和殖民根本不会出现在历史上。’

‘可是黑奴主和殖民者把传播文明当作他们的挑战。’Humphrey提议,‘只可惜魔法不是随便几个传教士就可以散布的,说不定那需要几代人的基因突变。’

‘Humphrey,你意识到,我们的这段对话唯一的成就是劝服我魔法并不是什么好事?跟你的初衷完全相反?’Hacker现在看起来非常担忧,‘那魔法部长今天找你到底是为了什么?是不是又来了一个疯子要发动战争?’

‘战争?不,至少不完全是。’Humphrey忍不住故意停了一下,Hacker不自在地在椅子里蠕动着,‘这个周末他们有一场跟法国队的飞天扫帚足球赛。魔法部长好心提醒让我转告北伦敦警局让他们加强戒备。’

‘法国队?’Hacker一脸不解,‘跟警察有什么关系?’

‘足球流氓,首相。’Humphrey叹了口气,‘运气不好的话,这可能会变成一场小型战争。’

Hacker听到以后明显松了一口气,‘就这看来,我们两个世界的共同点还是有那么一些。庆幸的是,对付足球流氓我们还是有一定经验的。’

就在Humphrey以为讨论已经自然终结的时候,Hacker又问了个问题,‘Humphrey?’

‘是的,首相?’

‘你有没有可能问魔法部长要两张球票?’

Humphrey以为自己没听清楚,‘我好像已经成功说服了你魔法不是什么好事?’

‘我想事情还有转机,毕竟他们会魔法,不对吗?’Hacker一本正经地回答。

Fin