Witness Stand (2) The Accused

Claudia stood at the witness stand. Even now, her hand was clasped around her sword, and so as not to let go of it again, she was bending down over it.

“Hmm. Then we will be establishing the defendant’s identity once more.” The judge addressed Claudia in a voice full of majesty.

“Defendant, please state your name, age and address.”

Claudia seemed especially hesitant. When the judge gave a glare to her excessive display of suspicious behavior, she raised a small scream of, “eek…”
Her eyes imbued with hostility were swimming around the room, as she constantly stood wary of her surroundings.
Nervously using her left hand’s index and thumb to fiddle with her hair, she squeezed out a voice.

“C-c-Claudia… Rheinland…”
“There doesn’t seem to be a mistake. Then your name and address.”

The judge’s tone was even rougher than before. He also looked somewhat irritated.

“I’m eighteen years old… my address is… in the forest…”
“Defendant! Please answer seriously!”

“Eek!”
“M’lud! Please don’t shout at the defendant!”

When I unhesitantly remonstrated the judge, he cleared his throat. “Yes, my apologies,” he said.

“The accused is of no nationality,” Prosecutor Schaefer folded her arms, and spoke with a composed attitude.
“Her address is uncertain in the first place, so even if you ask, she is unable to answer. How about you ask her a different question, M’lud?”

“You do have a point there. Then what shall I ask?”
“Why not… occupation?”

What’s with her attitude?
I felt a slight irritation at Prosecutor Schaefer’s throw-it-all-to-the-wind phrasing, but I had my feelings in check.
And I felt regret.

… This is bad. Occupation is the worst thing you could ask her.

I thought to stop it, but the judge said, “That sounds about right. Then defendant, please state your occupation,” before I could say anything.

“My occupation is…”

I wanted to cover my ears. But there’s no way I could actually do it. Regardless of the small crack in Claudia’s voice, it resounded surprisingly well through the courtroom, so I could hear it well.

“… hero.”

Ah, she said it.
I unintentionally lost my strength, and banged my head on the table.

The court froze over. The judge and the gallery, for an instant, they made faces as if they didn’t understand what she had said.

But the one prosecutor who did grasp the situation formed a smile at her mouth as she spoke.

“Oh, is that so? But isn’t hero usually what you call the person who defeats a demon lord?”
“I… I killed the demon lord. So I’m probably… a hero.

Just what were all my troubles for? Those words from Claudia were on the verge of knocking me out.

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