“It’s true, I cooperated with the investigation.”
The demon lord sure was laid back. Without any panic or unrest. As if it were only natural, “I mean, that’s the obligation of a citizen, right?” he replied.
“It’s true I wasn’t always a person of this country, but right now, I have a proper citizenship; I’m a citizen of Grimbeld. I properly pay my taxes. What complaints do you have for me cooperating with the police who work day after day to maintain the peace?”
Prosecutor Schaefer muttered bitterly, but without paying it any mind, the demon lord went on.
“I handed the security camera footage to the investigators. What are you implying? Was assisting the police a crime?”
“Crime… it was not. But how strange.”
I replied in no time at all.
“Forging the date on the CDs the police couldn’t lay hand on. From what I’ve just heard, I must assume there isn’t anyone who could’ve done it but you, right? How about that, any explanations?”
It was quite a rare sight. That demon lord was shaken.
“I see, so it really was you.”
“No, that’s, wait a tick.”
The demon lord glared at me with sharp eyes, a sour look on his face.
“You have a point,” without paying any particular mind to the demon lord, Prosecutor Schaefer spoke in a monotone.
“But why would he have to do something like that? He has no motive.”
“R-right. What motive would I have to do it?”
“Motive, is it?”
I recalled what I had investigated.
The date changed. The dead person was changed out. Demon lord and hero switched.
Every part of this crime was switched around. Why would he expressly do that? No, that isn’t it. What result would swapping around give birth to?
On the contrary, what if they weren’t swapped? If Claudia was scheduled to come on the 11th in stead of the 10th, what would happen?
In that case, the one to die wouldn’t have been Andre McHirsh, but Hal Anderson, right?
Meaning the demon lord was scheduled to die. By swapping, the death switched from the demon lord to the hero.
And that’s what happened. The demon lord lived, the hero died.
“Why did he switch the date? It was for the demon lord to murder the hero.”
“Ha, haha. What’s with that? Why would I have to kill my own brother?”
Yes? Brother? Ah, right. To the demon lord, the hero Roland Rheinland was his twin brother.
… No, I see. His real goal was…
“The one I’m talking about isn’t Roland Rheinland. It’s the defendant, Claudia Rheinland.”
“Hah? What do you mean by that?”
A vein popped up on the demon lord, as he raised a threatening voice.
“In the first place, this incident would never have taken place without Claudia Rheinland, a person who saw the demon lord as the absolute evil. She was educated from infancy that the demon lord was absolute evil, and lived believing it. And she held the only weapon capable of killing the demon lord, the holy sword Blutgang.”
… Meaning the demon lord’s natural enemy, I asserted to the court.
“To the demon lord struck down in the Great War fifty years ago, the sole person in the world who could kill them would surely be a hindrance. Naturally, he’d scheme to get them out of the picture. But even if he thought to kill her, she wasn’t a foe he could defeat so easily.”
… That’s why he chose to erase her from society, I said.
“The demon lord and hero were twins. Their faces were identical, to an extent where it wouldn’t be strange to mistake them for one another. To someone seeing them for the first time, it would not be strange at all to mistake them. Instigated with false information that the demon lord would be on the roof of Westminster Hotel on November the 10th, the defendant came to slay them. Even if she knew his face beforehand, as long as they looked the same, she’d undoubtedly attack.”
“Fu, fwahahaha. And I was wondering what you were about to say.”
There was sweat on the demon lord’s forehead. He let out a somewhat relieved voice.
“Then isn’t that girl the culprit after all? I don’t know who in their right mind would’ve instigated her, but that’s quite the fool’s tale.”
“Meaning you wish to say this was his plot to murder the hero?”
Prosecutor Schaefer sneered, “What a farce.”
“It was a plan to make this hero, Claudia Rheinland out as a murderer, and have her sentenced either to death or life in prison.”
“Hmm. Certainly, if you abused our country’s legal system, it would be possible.”
The judge furrowed his brow, letting out a somber voice.
I agreed with the judge, and continued.
“But then came a miscalculation. He thought she could come on November 11th, yet the defendant came one day early. This was the greatest miscalculation the true culprit could make.”
“What? That’s no miscalculation, right? That’s just as planned, isn’t it?”
Prosecutor Schaefer raised a confused objection, but I shook my head.
“No, that’s wrong. It had to be a miscalculation. In that photo of Andre McHirsh from before, he was wearing glasses. At first, I didn’t think too much about it, but looking back on it now, it feels off. This is just conjecture, but it’s likely that Andre McHirsh usually wore glasses to give himself a completely different impression from Hal Anderson.”
… Why would he do such a thing? I said it so the whole court could hear.
“The answer is simple. They had planned to modify the date from the start when they were employed as security guards. This was a crime based on a detailed plan.”
The court was ruled by silence. No one let out a word, as they waited for my next.
So I continued.
“By the original plan, it’s likely Andre McHirsh and Hal Anderson were supposed to switch the footage out for the 10th and 11th. When the defendant, meaning Claudia Rheinland was killed, swapping it would create an alibi, and make an impossible crime possible.”
“Yes?” The judge made a dubious expression? “What would that mean? You aren’t making any sense here.”
“The original plan was probably to kill the defendant. And by that plan, on the 10th, Hal Anderson would be standing in as a guard at the hotel, while Andre McHirsh killed the defendant.”
Hypothetically, said Prosecutor Schaefer as she continued on.
“If the labels for the footage of the 10th and 11th were swapped, and the body was left to be found on the 11th as well, then what would happen? If the 11th was investigated, then Hal Anderson would be shown on the security footage, so he would have an alibi, of course that would be Andre McHirsh disguised as Anderson. And on the actual 11th, Hal Anderson would pretend to be Andre McHirsh, stand in some conspicuous spot and spend his day there to make an alibi for McHirsh. I suppose the defense is trying to insinuate something idiotic and convoluted like that.”
“Urk, you’re making my head hurt here, the both of you.”
The judge stoked his thinning head to sooth it.
“But then there wouldn’t really be a need to swap out guards.”
“It was a precaution. Our current level of forensic science is high. Even if the body was found on the 12th, if autopsied, it would be evident at once that the death happened on the 10th.”
Prosecutor Schaefer supplemented.
“But even by knowing the real time of death was the 10th, the true culprit Andre McHirsh was properly captured on camera, so he had an alibi. There were quite a few tricks behind it. But there was a fatal error in this scheme.”
The demon lord remained silent. But his pain-stained expression indicated there was something he wanted to say.
“In order to alter the date stamp, they would have to enter the monitoring room. It’s likely that at first, they thought they would be able to enter without problem owing to them being twins. But that room wouldn’t even let identical twins pass.”
“Oh? Is that so? But if their DNA patterns are identical, I can’t think of a way to stop it.”
On the judge’s question, I shook my head.
“No, that isn’t the case. The human iris experiences random changes within the first year of birth. Even if they were identical twins, their iris patterns would not match. That’s why they had to play one another.”
I pointed at the Demon Lord, and declared.
“The demon lord revived? So what? He was returned to zero years old, right? Then it was no good. It didn’t matter, twins or not. I’m sure he could use quite a splendid magic, but it didn’t work, too bad.”
“Oh shut it!”
The demon lord raged and hit the witness stand. He hit it so strongly it was smashed to pieces.
“You just keep on rambling on and on. And so what? It’s true I couldn’t enter the monitoring room. But that doesn’t shake my standing at all. So what if you drafted up some scheme on paper. Even by it, that doesn’t change the fact that woman is a murderer!”
“Hmm, the witness does have a point, but… I’m not sure what to think about destroying the…”
“You say something?”
Glared at with a face more fearsome than ever before, the judge weakly muttered, “No, it was nothing.”
… Whap, as if to reset things the judge continued deliberations.
“Hmm, the defense’s opinion is definitely interesting, but it feels to be quite lacking in foundation. And based on what you’ve said, it’s almost as if the witness and the murdered Andre McHirsh were partners in crime, or is that just me…”
The judge speaks the truth. I was so caught up in objecting, I didn’t notice, but as it is, it’s as if I’m stating them accomplices.
What’s this? I had just tried working off of some circumstantial evidence, but…
The hero Roland Rheinland should be Claudia’s grandfather. In that case, it would be strange for him to take action to kill her, right?
Does that mean my conjecture is mistaken?
After making such high-and-mighty claims for so long, for me to be mistaken was quite a shock.
… No, that’s wrong.
I recalled my conversation with Claudia in the visiting room, and came to a new conclusion.
“That’s exactly right, m’lud.”
“This so called demon lord and hero, Andre McHirsh and Hal Anderson were accomplices. They were pursuing nothing but their own interests, bringing this incident about.”