“I could never get into art,” Samantha emphasized. “Never could tell where to draw the line.”
“Fufu. Fufufufu. Kek, hack, hack, I’ve said too much.”
She grabbed a nearby compact compressed oxygen tank, and put the mask to her mouth, taking a deep breath of fresh oxygen.
I think I’ve figured out the mode of life of this strange organism. Professor Samantha liked making dad jokes.
… What a pain.
Raising the deep bags under her eyes, her expression calmed down as she took in oxygen. Perhaps because we were next to police headquarters, I could only see her as some sort of drug addict.
If she weren’t in this lab, I’m sure she’d be questioned. Ignoring the skeletal woman making an elated expression, I put together what I‘d learned as a result of this appraisal.
(Jessica) went through so much trouble to retrieve the photos and crystal balls from the Dark Forest.
In the end, we weren’t able to find Claudia’s house, and… perhaps this was an utter waste of (Jessica’s) time.
Even when (Jessica) found herself on the verge of death.
… Thinking about it like that, there was zero actual damage to me. No, I promised to pay her wages, so I guess I’m at a financial loss.
In order to reclaim this loss, I have to win in tomorrow’s trial by all means.
Yeah, yeah. This world runs on money after all
Now then. But now?
Surprisingly enough, there were other people besides Claudia in the Dark Forest. Claudia didn’t say anything, but by the evidence we found, at the very least, over ten years ago, there’s no doubt someone was there besides Jessica and her father.
If, if by chance there was someone who delivered Claudia that letter, wouldn’t they have to be knowledgeable about the Dark Forest?
From what I heard from Jessica, it wasn’t a place any amateur could enter so easily. It seems with a level of skill, someone could live in the forest, but would making way to a specific point be so easy?
… Come to think of it, there was something I noticed.
As Chief Researcher Samantha broke into a coughing fit, Jessica rubbed her back to nurse her to health. Rather, how does that person choke on oxygen?
… When looked at from the side, she was an interesting one. I didn’t want to be friends with her.
“What is it?”
As Jessica turned to me with a blank face, I asked.
“You were lost in the forest, weren’t you? How did you get back?”
“Oh that. I told you, didn’t I? I’m good at running.”
… Come to think of it, she did say something like that in the interview. So that was true.
“By running, you mean from monsters?”
“That too, but the truth is, I can fly.”
I’ve heard about it before. Among magicians, there were some who could freely soar through the air, apparently.
“Even if I say that, It’s only for five seconds. But in most cases, I can whoosh away in those five seconds.”
I tried imagining Jessica flying. I’m sure that restless green hair of hers spun to create lift.
“If you have an ability like that, why couldn’t you have used it to run away from the monsters?”
“I did! Whenever I flew somewhere, another monster would pop out.”
“Hm, you sure have it rough.”
“Why are you treating it like someone else’s problem!?”
A tuft of her hair stood at attention. It seems it reacts to the voltage released when she was angry. Puffing her cheeks, she began to complain.
“Hmph, it’s because you tricked me that I ended up in such a place, Mr. Daniel. I’ve got scars on my skin now. What will you do if I can’t get married?”
“At the time, I’ll introduce an underclassman of mine. Do you like men of higher education?”
Jessica seriously thought for a moment, before answering, “I love them!”
“Hahaha, you sure are a gold digger. Then will you let me off with that?”
“Yes, very well, I’ll forgive you!”
“… Looks like someone’s having fun.”
Removing her oxygen tank, Samantha let out a sigh. Because of that heavy aura of hers, the fun air dissipated, and went off with the wife and kids.
“How are you feeling?”
On my question, she answered, “I’m fine.” Then, “More importantly, about that crystal…”
I held up the crystal ball. Samantha scrunched her brow, narrowing her eyes viciously as she stared fixatedly at it.
“I get the feeling I saw it somewhere quite recently…”
“What a coincidence, I also have a feeling I’ve seen it somewhere before. But I can’t remember.”
“Oh, I’ve just remembered. I know what that is.”
Chief Researcher Samantha said quite distinctly.
“Yes, but unless we appraise it, I can’t confirm whether this is the same thing as what I saw before. However, it this crystal really is that…”
… Then it’s exceedingly valuable, she said. And her purple lips closed, as she suddenly went silent.
What’s this? What a worrisome phrasing.
Jessica asked in an innocent voice. As she stared at the crystal with a fascinated expression, I’m sure it’s a question that came out of pure curiosity.
But Samantha’s stern expression had something beyond curiosity.
“I could never get into art.”
Another dad joke? I was honestly fed up, but it seems that wasn’t the case this time.
“But I know what this is…”
Samantha pointed at the crystal. And, “Please make sure to bring it to tomorrow’s trial.”
“Eh, well, um sure, I don’t see why not, but… you know what this is?”
“… The truth is, I was asked to testify in tomorrow’s trial.”
Finishing those words without any pause, when she added on, “By Prosecutor Schaefer,” at the end, her voice stiffened somewhat.
Does she not like her too? That female prosecutor? I wouldn’t doubt it.
“Truth be told, there’s something that person hushed me on. I can cooperate freely on anything besides that matter, but in regards to it, I’m a member of the police force, and I cannot talk about it.”
Unlike how she’d been up to now, her tone was quite strong.
“Whatever the case, you’ll hear it all in tomorrow’s trial. But right here and now, I cannot answer anything about that crystal ball.”
… That’s all she would say.
After imparting those words, Samantha closed her mouth again. Her attitude conveyed a strong will that she wouldn’t say anything further, and as it all turned out, I wasn’t able to draw any new information out of her.