“M’lud, the prosecution wishes to prepare to summon its witness, so we request an adjournment of court.”
Said Prosecutor Schaefer in an indifferent tone. I felt a bit of discomfort at her way of speech without any emotion behind it.
…She really was annoyed, that she couldn’t end it in a day. But I wasn’t able to contain my feelings as well as her.
So no one could see, I clenched my fist triumphantly beneath my desk.
… I’m saved… that really was, really was dangerous.
I’m no defendant, but I thought I was dead. But as I was able to safely leave the courtroom, I was satisfied from the bottom of my heart.
I was a court-appointed lawyer. Just by extending the trial by the day, my standing was one where the country was obligated to pay me extra. But this sense of fullness was filled with something greater than my joy at getting the reward.
I did feel some unrest at Cate’s last statement. But let’s forget it for now. We’ll be seeing each other again soon enough. To prepare myself for that time, I just wanted to taste this fullness for the time being.
I felt strength drain from my body, as I slumped into the chair. Come to think of it. Over the course of this entire trial, I hadn’t sat once.
Finally sitting in it, I felt a cool sensation through my bottom. But right now, I felt I would collapse id I wasn’t supported by anything.
… Whap! The sound of the gavel resounded through the court. I straightened myself, but I didn’t have the mood to get up from this chair.
“Hm. Certainly, as things stand, even if the deliberation continues, we’ll only proceed down parallel lines. I accept the prosecution’s request. This court is now adjourned. But even so.”
The judge spoke with his stern expression. “ The two of you surprise me.”
“Prosecutor Schaefer’s abilities in pursuing the truth are splendid. And Mr. Lockhart. For you to turn everything around with a single piece of evidence… I’ve only ever seen one person with your level of ability before in my life.”
“I-it’s an honor”
Completely limp from exhaustion, I was flustered, as I stumbled over my words. Prosecutor Schaefer made a sour look as she folded her arms in silence.
“Then today’s deliberation ends here. Court adjourned.”
… Whap, went the judge’s gavel.
With that as the sign, the bailiff waiting behind approached the witness stand.
Claudia was at the stand. While trying to shrink her body, she glared at the bailiff with a look of wariness taking a step back.
“Claudia,” I called out her name in the courtroom.
Come to think of it, perhaps this was the first time. Calling her name, I mean.
She reacted to my words, turning my way. There was a wrinkle on her forehead, a doubtful expression floating over her face.
“I’ll visit you. This time, I’ll have you tell me your story. So wait for me.”
Claudia opened and closed her mouth, trying to say something, but the bailiff grabbed her wrists, said, “Let’s go,” and forcefully led her off.
For some reason, the bailiff didn’t try to take her sword away. But there wasn’t anyone in this courtroom who wished to question that fact, as Claudia preciously held it close so as to never let go of it again.
Claudia Rheinland. She’s being charged for first-degree murder.
If she’s not innocent, it’s life in prison… or death.
The door closed. But the sight of her lonely back was scorched into my mind.