“Those are quite some novel claims.”
I felt a chill down my spine. The owner of the voice was Prosecutor Schaefer. When this woman said things like that, market price dictates that she would likely state something quite inconvenient for my case.
… What did she plan on saying?
“If those claims are true, it’s a major discovery great enough to overturn history. If they’re true, that is.”
… But that’s no good, Prosecutor Schaefer said in a frank tone devoid of emotion.
“This world isn’t weak enough to be rot away by foolish drivel. Each and every one of them were foolish claims not even worth believing. Just listening is enough to make me vomit. Mr. Lawyer, are you one of those useless folk?”
Without a single blink, the woman in the prosecutor seat looked straight at me.
The demon lord’s laughter echoed through the court.
“Hahaha! Right, that’s right. Who the hell’s going to believe that drivel? Everything you’ve said has been nothing but rash remarks without any basis.”
On the demon lord’s words, the prosecutor and judge’s foreheads furrowed. The judge let out a deep sigh.
“Sure enough, the witness’ words are correct. No matter how suspicious of a person he may be, as long as there’s no evidence, it is not possible to convict him.”
… After coming so far, evidence.
I guess that goes without saying.
This oblivious girl in the dock was undoubtedly arrested on evidence, and submitted for genuine deliberation.
She was a questionable person. The evidence and testimony was in order. Without a fragment of guilt in her being, looked on from the side, she was an individual beyond saving.
But the situation changed. I dug through each piece of evidence, searching for the truth, and the time where I could finally prove her innocence had come.
Having come so far, I wouldn’t let it end on conjecture and prejudice. If I’m going to do it, I’ll end it with decisive evidence.
“I do have evidence.”
“I shall present evidence that shows the defense’s claims to be true, and the defendant to be innocent.”
“Hah? There’s no way you have any.”
The demon lord’s voice grew smaller. His overflowing confidence seemed somewhat fleeting, symmetrical to Claudia.
She was holding her back up straight, simply keeping her attention on me.
As always, she was preciously holding the holy sword close to her body. But she looked different than she had been to that point.
She was alright. I was convinced as I saw her relieved face, as if it had been released from a demon’s clutches.
Prosecutor Schaefer urged me on. “You have evidence? Then show it.”
“The victim isn’t that man over there. He used Death’s Jewel fifty years ago, and not anytime recently. And the person the defendant, no Claudia Rheinland first attacked was the true culprit. Once I’ve said that much, showing evidence is simple.”
I pointed at the demon lord. And spoke.
A certain silence descended on the court. Eventually, excitement spread alongside the noise.
“There’s no doubt you’re the culprit. So you definitely have it somewhere. The mark from when Claudia attacked you on November 11th, a mark on your back.”
Claudia attacked the demon lord. The security camera feed recited that fact as reality.
“Hmm, truly. If the defense’s claims are true, then there should be a mark from the holy sword on that witness’ back. Witness, what will you do? You have the right to keep silent. If you refuse to remove your clothing, I will have to assume you are asserting that right, and we cannot do anything about it, but…”
“At that moment, you’ll be arrested.”
Having a witness arrested in the middle of a trial was a rare sight in the history of the law. But did this selfish, unprecedented female prosecutor care about such a thing?
“I’ve got mountains of other charges. First off, perjury, trespassing, forging identification papers. Each and every one of them, taking a magi’s lifespan into account, they’re charges that won’t amount to any sentence too great, but I can still arrest you on them. Ah, another thing, I’d also like you to accompany me as a suspect for an incident resulting in bodily harm that happened this morning.”
This morning? Could it be… where Jessica was attacked?
It was coming together. That’s what I thought. If he took of his clothes, the decisive evidence would come out. But even if he did, he couldn’t escape arrest.
If they arrested him, as long as they gave him a full-body search, the wound on his back would be found regardless.
Whichever the case, he couldn’t run anymore. He couldn’t use the law as his shield to flee anymore. It was a complete victory.
… Right, I won. Thank god.
Maybe my tension slackened, I sat in my chair as if falling into it.
When I turned to Claudia, I found her looking at me with wide eyes. Our eyes med. When I sent her a loose smile, the corners of her lips rose, and she showed her first true smile.
She was surprisingly cute.
“Do you have anything to say?”
The judge’s words snapped me to my senses. The trial wasn’t over yet. I can’t let my guard down until the end.
The judge urged the demon lord to say something, but he quietly continued his silence. Narrowing his eyes, and thinking over something.
… What is it?
The demon lord showed immense confidence in himself. At times he would become emotional, but he often carried around a calm and composed air. When it came to such a man, when he was so expressionless, it was a bit of a let down.
I thought he’s thrash around more in his rage, but contrary to my expectations, while he looked mildly disturbed, when put in a predicament where there was nothing he could do, perhaps he had chosen to accept it.
“There’s no helping it.”
In a small, terribly small voice, the demon lord muttered. It was a voice so small, I wondered if I was the only person who could catch it.
The demon lord approached one of the bailiffs. Taking the man’s silence as his expression of his right to it, perhaps the bailiff planned to arrest him.
The bailiff tried to grab the demon lord’s arm. But the bailiff’s arm was the one that was grabbed.
“Don’t touch me.”
It was a moment’s happenings. The demon lord twisted the man’s arm and twisted it some more as if wringing out a dust cloth, before tossing it down to the floor like a dust cloth all the same.
A scream travelled across the court. From the bailiff’s arm, a fountain of blood burst out, and he raised a voice of pain as he began writhing on the ground.
“Aren’t you misunderstanding something? The reason I’ve been so quiet to now is because I quite like my current lifestyle. A reason of that level. So I don’t really mind, turning to violence.”
… Today’s the Easter of the demon lord, the man said with a sinister expression on his head.
“As I start, I’ll make a bloodbath of everyone here.”
Cries rose out from the gallery. Standing from their seats, scrambling to be the first to leave the court. The courtroom erupted into chaos, their thundering roars and scream resonated, causing even greater confusion.
With just a few words, the people had fallen into fear and lost their rationality. The only ones who didn’t try to run were me, the prosecutor, and the judge whose legs had given way.
As the people of the gallery broke into panic and tried to flee, for some reason I felt entranced.
Wiping off the blood sticking to his arm with a piece of cloth, the demon lord soon turned to look at me. As if he had found his next mark, with a terribly pleasant expression.
“What did you do with the body?”
What was wrong with me? The one before my eyes was the lowest, the worst demon lord who only saw human life as trash, and was even trying to kill me as we speak.
When my body was stiff with tension, my heart was awfully quiet.
I simply made a question from pure curiosity.
“The body? Oh, the remaining body. I didn’t mind leaving the right arm behind, but I couldn’t really go about leaving the rest of it, you see. If that was at the scene, the trick I thought up would be exposed. So I properly disposed of it.”
I questioned my ears.
“I ate it. Ate it, ate it, ate it, ate it, ate it, ate it. My own precious body full of my own precious magic. Without leaving a scrap of flesh, I savored it. It was a feast.”
… So there’s no point in searching for it, young Lawyer, said the demon lord as he raised the corners of his mouth.
“You look delicious too. You defeated a demon lord’s mind. Surely you must have the tastiest of brains on you. I’m quite interested. How will you taste. ”
The demon lord’s cold eyes shone down on me. With that alone, my muscles tense, and I couldn’t move.
The demon lord took another step towards me.
“Humans taste awful. Unlike the noble magi, they’re a vulgar existence. I’d never partake in such filthy lifeforms even if it killed me. That’s why you’re just going to die without meaning.”
I could barely even see the demon lord’s second step. It was such a swift and skillful movement, my eyes were unable to follow, and before I knew it the demon lord was standing before me.
He opened his mouth. But instead of a voice, a red liquid began to flow out of it.
“I won’t let him die.”
It wasn’t just the demon lord before me.
Her build was so small it didn’t enter my notice, but Claudia was definitely there as well.
Her head came up to the demon lord’s chest. Taking a stance with her sword, she had thrust straight into his heart.
And Claudia’s chest had been pierced by his sharp right hand in kind.
Perhaps the demon lord could change the shape of his own claws at will. His nails were needlessly sharp, more than enough to pierce through a girl’s slender body.
Claudia pulled out the sword. A strong wave of blood gushed out of the demon lord’s body, dying her torso a deep red. Eventually, the demon lord fell, and the arm thrust into Claudia’s chest fell away with him.
Both Claudia and the demon lord were left with holes in their chests.
Whose blood was covering me, I wondered.
Looking down, I found a large pool of blood had formed on the courtroom floor, but I could only stare at it blankly.
Eventually, my mind started clearing up; almost collapsing out of my chair, I approached Claudia.
“Oy, get a grip.”
Her face stained with blood was filled with anguish.
“Mr. Lawyer, it hurts.”
“I’ll call a doctor at once. You’ll have to hold out until then.”
“It hurts, it hurts, it hurts, why did it have to come to this?”
“Like I’d know. It’s because you charged in like an idiot. Why did you try to save me? You hate me, don’t you? Just leave me be.”
“I hate you. I never should have saved you. I never thought… it would hurt so much.”
… But Claudia spoke in a feeble tone.
“… But I’m glad. That you’re safe.”
Claudia closed her eyes, and didn’t say any more.
Even now, there were screams and cries echoing through the court. The audience in a frenzy, entangling themselves more. But I suddenly stopped caring about all of that.
I simply wanted to safe her, save Claudia. That’s all.
I held her small body, desperately crying out. But before the crowd’s mania, my words wouldn’t reach anyone, resounding fruitlessly.