Emery wandered the party chatting with the few people he knew and allowing Morrissey to introduce him to others. Nearly everyone was at least ten years older than he was but that didn’t stop them from talking to him. Many even spoke to him like an equal, to his shock.

“Tell me about your magical education,” Mrs. Agatha Hayes was saying. “The governor takes a great deal of credit – his educational model and plans and suchlike. Would you tend to agree?”

“Not entirely, ma’am,” Emery said. “We began our education with traditional apprenticeships under our father. Thanks to his tutelage, we entered the Academy at fourth years. The fact that the Academy was easier to enter and larger than in previous years and decades did help because we were able to attend.”

“Ah, so his focus on growing the Academy larger benefited you by allowing you to attend where you might not previously,” she said.

“Let’s just say that it broadened our horizons. We probably would have been researchers, like our father, otherwise.” Emery smiled and looked away toward where his brother was chatting to another partygoer. He never thought he’d agree that it was thanks to the governor that they were forensics mages.

“But the old system allowed for more focused work,” another man said. Emery remembered that Morrissey had introduced them but he couldn’t recall the man’s name. “In a way, your magic is too broad-based now.”

“I wouldn’t say too broad-based,” Emery said, with a shake of his head. “I’d agree that our magical education is more broadly based than our father’s was, but that’s not so bad a thing. You can never have too much knowledge.”

“You feel one can’t be over-educated,” Mrs. Hayes said. Emery grinned, sensing that another topic was being introduced. In spite of himself, he was enjoying this party. He nodded before considering exactly how he should reply.