“The defense renews its plea.”
I resolved myself. When I’ve come this far, I’ll do it to the end.
“The defendant is not guilty. She hasn’t killed anyone.”
“Oh my? Oh my oh my, oh my oh my? You sure you should say something like that, your unsound mind shtick won’t get through any more, you know? It’s not my fault if those words turn to cut you and make you bury your head in the sand, Mr. Lawyer.”
“I’m not the one who should be burying their head. That would be you, Ms. Prosecutor.”
Her face of full confidence stiffened as she looked at me.
“Hmm, it’s true I feel that plea is a little pushing it come so far, but…” The judge stroked his beard, making a strained expression
“If you’ll say that much, I must ask your basis. What foundation do you have that the defendant did not kill the victim?”
“It’s simple. The victim’s right there. That alone is irrefutable evidence that the defendant did not murder the victim.”
For a moment, silence descended on the court. For a while, no one opened their mouths, not a single sound sounding out. The one to break the silence was…
“Weren’t you listening at all?”
As expected, Prosecutor Schaefer.
“That victim used Death’s Jewel to come back. Even if he’s revived, as long as he’s been killed, the crime of murder holds. We just spent a good portion of our time discussion it, right?”
“Yes, I’ve no intent to stick in any doubt about that.”
I pointed at the victim.
“That victim died once, and there’s no doubt he came back.”
“Hmmm, then as one would expect, even if he came back, that would mean the defendant did in fact kill someone, wouldn’t it?”
On the judge’s question, I shook my head to deny it.
“No, it does not. The reason being the victim’s death and revival fall into a completely different timeslot from the defendant’s assault.”
… A different timeslot, you say?
The judge opened his eyes wide. There were similar reactions from the gallery, and a rabbling noisy atmosphere was winding out.
… Bang. An intense ghastly sound. Prosecutor Schaefer slammed the desk.
With that sound as the signal, silence descended on the court. The master who’d created the silence spoke with a piercing cold voice. “… Keep your bluffs in moderation, Daniel.”
“It’s fine to demonstrate a possibility, but if you don’t have the foundation to support it, it’s nothing but an empty theory, nothing but a bluff. Do you understand that, Mr. Lawyer?”
“If it’s a foundation, I have one.”
In a thorough attempt to make fun of my opponent, I sent the prosecution a smile.
“In the prosecution’s opening statement last trial, it was clearly asserted. The portion of remains found at the scene showed no vital reaction.”
“… What’s that mean?”
There were some curious voices from the gallery. The judge was the same, and he furrowed his brow as he compared me and the prosecutor.
“Mr. Lawyer, Mr. Lawyer, what’s a vital reaction?”
Sitting in the dock, Claudia gave an expression showing she didn’t know what was going on, so I spoke in a small voice.
“A vital reaction is…” I looked over the whole court as I answered. “A reaction given off only by living beings. For example, respiration and suppuration, subcutaneous bleeding, they’re all bodily processes that can only occur if the human is alive. And in the previous trial, the prosecution asserted.”
… ‘There wasn’t a vital reaction from the severed portion. We believe it was severed post-mortem. The specific cause of death is yet unknown. We’re in the middle of investigations.’
“The prosecution definitely declared it. The corpse portion found in the park was severed post-mortem.”
“You got that? Remember how the victim was resurrected. The victim used Death’s Jewel to come back to life. If Death’s Jewel revives its user the moment they die, then…”
… When exactly was the victim dead?
“Did he die when the defendant attacked him? Or was it in the middle of his fateful fall? They’re both wrong. The reason being, if he had died at that moment, the victim would have revived at that moment. If his arm was cut off once he was revived, it would be strange for it not to show any vital signs.”
Prosecutor tried to say something, but nothing followed.
“There is no mistake in the results of the autopsy. If the defendant did murder the victim, the victim would have to have died during the assault, or during his fall. Otherwise, a post-mortem severed limb would never come up in the autopsy report. But if he died during his fall, that raises the question. Why didn’t Death’s Jewel activate? The answer is simple. The victim didn’t die.”
“W-why? Then why were those remains at the scene!?”
Prosecutor Schaefer’s face was red as she cried out.
“It’s nothing difficult. The person the defendant attacked, and the person who actually fell were different people. If that’s the case, it all starts to fit.”
“D-don’t say such nonsense! You’re the one speaking impossibilities!”
The gallery grew rowdy. Of course. I was saying a different person died, of all things. The judge alone was taking my words into careful consideration, closing both his eyes, and making an expression of deep thought.
“But if that’s the case, there’s something I don’t understand.”
He moved his tufty white beard as he presented his question.
“The victim didn’t die. It’s something hard to believe all of a sudden, but from what we can see in the autopsy report, it’s unthinkable that the defendant used Death’s Jewel after the attack. In that case, when was the defendant revived? Based on the results of magic parsing, there is no doubt he came back from the dead…”
“I don’t have any definite evidence. But I do have an idea.”
From the female prosecutor, I turned to the victim, Hal Anderson.
“There is no doubt the victim is a magi, correct?”
“Yes, there’s no doubt about it.”
Hal Anderson said it with an especially leisurely expression.
“A means to revive the dead, Death’s Jewel. This was a national treasure stolen by the demon lord during the Great War. Fifty years ago, the demon lord was struck down by the hero, and died. This is an undoubted historic fact.”
… This is just speculation, but… I added, as I look at the victim.
“Aren’t you the demon lord?”
“… It’s a fair cop.”
When it was such an outlandish question, Hal Anderson, no the demon lord easily admitted it with an audacious attitude.