“Meaning while there was a magic installed in the house to obstruct photographing with a film camera, there wasn’t anything to prevent digital cameras.”
“From what I’ve heard, I believe that’s how you can sum it up.”
Samantha stared at Jessica. “If that young lady hasn’t told a lie, or so it goes.”
“I-I haven’t told a lie!”
“I guarantee it. She hasn’t lied.”
“M-Mr. Daniel! I’m really happy right now! You believe in me!”
“Rather, does she look clever enough for that?”
“… Why’d you have to say it?”
Leaving Jessica aside as she pleaded with the eyes of a small animal, “Does it really matter?” I said as I turned back to Samantha.
“Can you identify an era on when that magic was cast?”
“Unfortunately, that will be difficult.”
“As you may be aware, magic doesn’t decay like food. It doesn’t corrode, and sudden as it may sound, it doesn’t ferment either. Whether ten or a hundred years go by, magic stays as magic, without any change in shape. At present, identifying an era is impossible.”
… At present, huh. I’d like to count on the future, but the trial was tomorrow. There was nothing to be found in relying on a time I never knew would come.
“But from circumstantial evidence, it’s possible for a level of conjecture. As I’ve said, film camera obstruction magic came to fashion fifty years ago, and after that, the opportunities for its use gradually declined, almost nothing being left with the digital camera’s rise ten years ago.”
“In the first place, in the current age with digital cameras, wouldn’t they use a different magic?”
“Precisely. If they really wanted to hide something, not just film, I’m sure they’d take countermeasures against digital as well. But they were negligent. There’s a possibility that at the time the magic was cast, digital cameras had not yet come to be in the world.”
Possibility, was what it was. Not evidence. But it did sound exceedingly probable.
In truth, the cell phone signal was disrupted as well.
“I sent in the cell phone for appraisal as well, but what about that?”
When I asked, Samantha shook her head. But even so, rather than indicating no, it was as if she were as if she was expression a tremor, a quiver.
“There weren’t any particular magic particles detected on the satellite phone. Even if I say that, if you just want to block phone reception, casting something to block the signal would be sufficient. That would be a magic to prevent any outside signals from reaching a certain region, and nothing cast on the phone itself.”
… It didn’t leave a trace, she said firmly.
“But the possibility is high, right?”
“If it’s just possibilities, there’s plenty room for argument. But there’s nothing decisive.”
She flatly denied it. Seeing how she seemed to be used to argument, perhaps she conducted various exchanges on a daily basis.
… In that case, my only evidence is the camera.
Anyways, there was some sort of magic cast on that ruin. That magic was placed over ten years ago… why was it put there to begin with?
I’m no Samantha, but I thought it was an overly roundabout way to go about it. If they had a secret they didn’t want anyone to know no matter what, I think there would be a cleverer way to go about it.
For example, blowing the entire house to tiny pieces the moment an outsider came in.
In that case, the house would be blown sky high, and Jessica would have died, but it would actually protect the house’s secret.
… There must have been circumstances that prevented it. What? Something they didn’t want anyone to know about, but that they wanted to avoid destroying…
What was found in the house was… the crystal ball?
I took out the crystal tucked away in my bag, and handed it to Samantha.
Samantha brushed aside her hair, a wrinkle visiting her brow.
“It’s a crystal found in the black forest. It looked rare, so she brought it…”
“I took it back with me!”
A green tuft of her hair perked up as Jessica said that, so “Yeah, yeah, I’ll give you some candy later, so could you keep quiet for now?” I held her back.
Samantha raised her heavy hips, as if she truly hated it from the depths of her heart, but there was no other choice, she stood up, putting on white gloves so as not to leave fingerprints as she took the ball in her hand.
“Yeah, this is out of my area of expertise.”
The words lonesomely flowed from her purple mouth.
“Just from what I can see, it contains some magic, but unless we run tests, I won’t be able to tell you what sort of magic it is. And…”
She brought the crystal close to her face, and lightly crept the tip of her tongue across it.
“… It tastes salty. This is sweat.”
… We have a pervert here.
“Um, was that some sort of appraisal method?”
I tried asking just in case. “No. Don’t you ever get the urge to lick something that intrigues you?” Chief Researcher Samantha said bluntly.
… Tasting for poison?
“It’s an exceedingly pretty, transparent amber. A perfect sphere without any distortion. If you had an art appraiser here, there’s no doubt it would be evaluated highly.”
“Hmm, so what’s your appraisal, Professor Samantha?”
“No clue. Art is out of my area of expertise.”
What is it, I was tasting a terrible sense of wasted effort.