… Psss. Psss.
The gallery was noisy. Their whispering voices resounded through the courtroom.
… This is bad.
Magic parsing. It was more troublesome than I could have imagined.
A jewel that can revive the dead. And a victim revived by it.
This was unprecedented. Never heard anything like that. Having the dead come back to life is a historic revelation. Normally, we’d be looking into it deeper.
If this were a laboratory, and I a scientist, that would be the proper response. But this was a court, I was an attorney, that was a prosecutor, and Claudia was here not as an experimental subject, but a defendant in a murder case.
… When I thought I could crumble that.
But why at this point? If they had such a perfect witness, why didn’t that call him in last time’s trial?
If there was something that caught me, it was that.
… No, that’s wrong. That isn’t it. Cate did try calling him to court. But he declined.
Under this country’s rules, informal witnesses had a right to decline. No matter how much the court requested their testimony, you couldn’t force them up. If they declined, that was the end of it, they had no obligation.
The reason we were able to get him here today was because the judge had given a summons. With a summons out, the witness had no right to refuse. It was precisely because of that legally binding subpoena that we could call him in.
Hal Anderson didn’t want to show his face in court. That’s why he was absent last time.
… Then what? What of it?
When I tried answering my own question, I caught myself in my own trap.
I don’t know anything.
“Um, Mr. Lawyer.”
Timidly, Claudia called over to me.
“What is it?”
“There’s something I don’t get.”
“… Is it related to the case?”
“I don’t know. But it won’t leave my mind.”
… I wonder what it is? Said Claudia as she scrunched her brow, and pointed at Cal Anderson with an earnest look on her face.
“That person reminds me of father.”
… What are you saying at a time like this?
Whap, a grand gavel rang out, and the judge spoke.
“I understand that the defendant has been revived with magic. It’s hard to believe, but now that it’s happened, there can be no helping it. To think we would deliberate a murder case with the victim still alive…”
Letting out a deep sigh, he continued.
“But now that he’s here alive, we cannot go about not listening to his story. Next witness to the stand.”
Samantha backed down, taking a seat on the waiting seat. In her place, Hal Anderson stood, and climbed up to the stand.
“Very well, witness. Your name and occupation.”
“Hal Anderson. My occupation… I’m a security guard.”
… No, perhaps I should saw, ‘was’? The company is treating it as if I’m dead, Hal Anderson threw in an out-of-place statement.
“It matters now. Then witness, please sign this written oath, and place your print on it.”
Hal Anderson signed then form on the witness stand with the pen beside it, before pushing down his thumb into the red ink pad, and affixing it as a seal.
The bailiff picked up the written oath. He handed it to the judge. The judge carefully read it from top to bottom.
“… Hmm, very well. Then witness, please start your testimony.”
“Even if you say testimony, what do you want me to start with?”
“Just tell us what happened on the day of the crime.”
Prosecutor Schaefer sounded somewhat irritated. Did she dislike the guy?
“Ah, the day of the incident. Well, let’s see. As I recall, I did more guard work than usual that day. Even if I look like this, I like to think myself an earnest one, and I’ve never skipped a day in my life.”
“No one asked. Get to the point.”
Said Prosecutor Schaefer, tapping her fingers against the desk in irritation.
“Ah, my apologies. Then let’s see, the day of the incident, the day of the incident… I did the same work as always that day. Exactly by the manual. And that night, I went to do my rounds on the roof- as was written in the manual- and I was attacked.”
… By that woman, or so Hal Anderson pointed Claudia out.