The Identity of Another

Something I thought up inadvertently, and said without any verification. But for some strange reason, I had the feeling it was the truth.

No proof. But I did get a response.

Having pulverized the witness stand, the demon lord’s body was exposed. He glared straight at me, confrontationally.

His eyes clearly held hostility, but that was actually comforting.

It seems I’ve reached a truth he didn’t want touched.

The people in the court were urging us to speak on. Their silence was more pressuring than anything.

“After the previous trial ended, I met with the defendant.”

I said it calmly. Everyone inclined their ears. Within all that, the one looking at me especially heatedly was Claudia.

“At that time, I received a crucial piece of testimony from the defendant. Claudia!”

I called her name. Her shoulders perked up as she answered, “Yes!”

“As I recall, you said the following in the meeting.”

“Eh?”

Leaving her incomprehensive face aside, I went on.

“When you resided in that forest, you saw the holy sword cut someone once and once alone.”

“Ah, yes.”

“There’s no doubt it was your father, right?”

“… Yes.”

“Thank you.”

“What was that supposed to prove?”

Prosecutor Schaefer spoke in an irritated tone.

“Don’t you get it? The holy sword Blutgang, no, the Godragon Sword could only originally cut the demon lord, and the hero Roland Rheinland. But in an accident, the defendant’s father was cut once before.”

… There is a possibility the defendant’s father was actually Roland Rheinland, I said.

“… Eh?”

Claudia opened her eyes wide.

“The demon lord and hero were twins. Then naturally, the hero should be a magi as well. Chief Researcher Samantha.”

At first no one responded, but after a few seconds passed, her oxygen canister twitched, and Samantha stood straight up.

“W… wwwwhat is it?”

“There’s something I’d like to ask you. I’ve heard magi live around three times the lifespan of a human, is that true?”

“Yes, you’re not mistaken. For the first five years from birth, magi grow at around the same rate, but after that, their aging begins to slow. Those who have lived fifty years generally look to be in their twenties or thirties.”

“Thank you for that.”

I looked at the demon lord for a moment.

… It’s true the Great War ended over fifty years ago, yet he looked like he was in his early twenties.

“The demon lord has a long lifespan. The holy sword can only cut the demon lord and hero. And this is the most important thing, Death’s Jewel can only revive the dead. There is only one conclusion these three points lead us to. Fifty years ago, when Death’s Jewel was used, and the demon lord revived, the hero did not revive with him. The reason being that the hero was not dead at the time, and he had gone off to raise defendant Claudia Rheinland in the dark forest.”

“Wait a second.”

Prosecutor Schaefer cut in.

“Then why does the defendant believe Roland Rheinland to be her own grandfather?”

“We won’t be able to say for certain without the individual here, but we can make conjecture.”

I hesitated for a moment, but decided to say what was on my mind.

“Roland Rheinland likely knew that the demon lord would revive someday. So hero Roland raised Claudia to kill him on his eventual revival. However, the demon lord and hero were twins… I’m sure he didn’t want to add any unnecessary evil thoughts to the murder.”

I feigned serenity. But I couldn’t bring myself to look at Claudia.

Since the individual wasn’t here, perhaps I should have said something more heartwarming, more love-filled for the poor girl. I regretted it a bit. But seeing the, ah, as I thought, faces around the court, perhaps I wouldn’t be able to satisfy them if I hadn’t made that claim.

What a terrible man I am.

“If after the hero Roland Rheinland defeated the demon lord, he changed his residence to the Dark Forest, and lived there until he died a natural death, he does not fulfill the condition of Death’s Jewel only being able to bring back the dead. Because of that, the demon lord’s claim that the hero was revived as well fifty years ago is mistaken.”

“Then who, might I enquire, are you saying was revived?”

The demon lord provoked me. His tone was a high one that told tales of, ‘there’s no way you’d know,’ as he gave a fearless smile.

“Of course, it was the demon lord.”

“Hmm, the demon lord, is it… defense, are you properly listening to this trial? What’s been asked is who was revived besides the demon lord.”

“M’lud. I was listening properly, and I didn’t give the wrong answer. Fifty years ago, when the demon lord died, and Death’s Jewel revived him, he was sure enough revived as twins. But that wasn’t a demon lord-hero pair, the demon lord himself was revived in two.”

… The demon lord was split from one to two, I claimed.

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