“I go out of my way to go back into the fields to look for you, and now you’re suspecting me because of that?” Shinichi said.
“But because of that there’s no one to testify for you since you were alone at the time. Moreover, the mask was also there. Of course, you’d be suspected,” Tomoe said.
Shinichi racked his head to find an excuse, but he didn’t have any excuses prepared to cover for that time period.
Tomoe and Ryou ‘did not know’ about the mask’s actions after they parted, nor did they know about the threat video.
Of course, Shinichi couldn’t tell them about that either.
Giving out a secret like that to claim an alibi would be putting the horse before the cart.
In the first place, he found this whole interrogation irrelevant.
“Sigh… Enough already. You need a more decisive evidence if you want to suspect me. Instead of arguing endlessly, you should first show me the decisive evidence that has you so convinced,” Shinichi said.
Shinichi felt that Tomoe was hiding her main evidence.
Everything she’s said until now was nothing more than circumstantial evidence or opinion.
Such things could certainly cast suspicion onto him, but they weren’t good enough to negotiate with.
Hence, it only stood to reason that she must’ve had some other evidence that was decisive enough to give her so much confidence.
“Okay, but I don’t think this whole exchange was meaningless. If we don’t fill out the details like this, you’ll probably talk your way out later,” Tomoe said.
That was indeed a possibility.
Oddly enough, Shinichi and Youko thought the same thing when she said that.
The girl known as Tomoe had an emotional personality, but she was a quick thinker.
When she’s not being driven by her emotions, she’s surprisingly calm and collected.
She also had a keen eye for people that was either innate or a side effect or her spiritual power.
Because of that she was one of the hardest people to deal with. If he could, Shinichi wanted to hold his head right here and then.
It was curious if she’d noticed his thoughts or not, but she formed another hand seal, and with a quiet chant, summoned her beloved sword.
A small emblem that resembled two magatamas meshing together, a yin yang symbol, appeared in the air.
A katana appeared from that, and she took it into her hands.
“This blade has been passed down in my family through generations as a spirit sword, but at the same time, it is also one of the few mementos left to me by my mother. I can summon it anytime like this, so I usually have it stored in a safe-deposit box,” Tomoe said.
“…I asked this the first time I saw it, but seriously… What happened to the Sword and Firearms Control Law?” Shinichi said.
“Huh? If it’s permission you’re curious about, I went through the proper channels. They’re a lot less strict about it here. And compared to Japan, most of the citizens here have a terminal with them, and to those, the likes of guns and swords are nothing more than toys,” Tomoe said.
To the world unaware of the existence of spiritual power, her katana was just a sword.
And the value of such things as weapons was even lower than that of guns, which was already essentially obsolete in this age.
Moreover, thanks to the high adoption rate of terminals in this city, it was easy for the youth to get permission to carry them.
As for Garesto’s weapons, there’s a different law managing them, so they’re beyond the scope of the Sword and Firearms Control Law.
“Ah, don’t change the topic,” Tomoe said.
“That’s a false accusation… I was really just curious,” Shinichi said.
When he saw Tomoe eyeing him suspiciously, he wearily let out a sigh.
In fact, he was indeed telling the truth, or at least, 80% of it was, since he didn’t think that he would actually be able to fool her with just that, but if he didn’t mess around even a little like this, he wouldn’t be able to stand it.
The moment he saw her take Kamunagi out, he realized that he must’ve missed something, but he couldn’t figure out at all what that might be.
“…Well, whatever. What I want say is that normally I’m the only one who can touch Kamunagi,” Tomoe said.
Her katana was usually in a safe deposit box, and would only be summoned when needed, so normally, only Tomoe should be able to touch it.
“…You still don’t get it? I thought for sure you were one of the sharper ones, but…”
For the first time, Tomoe was surprised.
Apparently, she thought that this information should’ve been more than enough to tip him off what she was getting at.
Meanwhile, Shinichi was becoming more and more troubled inwardly, but he had no choice but to listen.
“If we’re to understand the basis for this, we need to clarify who used Kamunagi these past two days. First, I summoned my katana and attacked you, from that moment on, my Kamunagi was used by other people.”
With that as a preface, she talked about the history of her beloved sword in a short period of time.
Shinichi used it against Ryou when he was being manipulated.
After that it was returned to Tomoe, and she started using it again. The next person to use it other than her was when she ran off on her own and the mask used it.
“There’s video evidence too,” Tomoe said as she showed a video of what happened that time.
A humans-shaped black mist swung the katana against a human-shaped shiki.
“Before this, a shiki of the Ootsu tried to steal it from me, but I stubbornly held onto Kamunagi, so they weren’t able to touch the handle. So the only ones who touched Kamunagi during the exam were me, you, and the mask. Or at least, that would be the case if you and the mask weren’t the same, right?” Tomoe said.
This didn’t sound like something he had to deny, so he obediently nodded.
As far as he was concerned, he was with them most of that time, so he himself was a witness.
As for the parts he needed to feign ignorance to, he could just rely on the video evidence she provided.
There was nothing here that he needed to deny, so he couldn’t understand why she was so fixated about this.
“───Ah! I get it! If that’s the case, then it would have definitely been left behind!”
But even though Ryou hadn’t been informed by Tomoe beforehand about her plans, he suddenly raised his voice as though a light bulb had been lit on top of his head, showing that he’d somehow understood why Tomoe was so adamant about connecting Shinichi to the mask.
Shinichi gulped and turned to him in shock.
“As expected, you figured it out too, huh. In that case, I’m sure you must’ve figured it by now, right?” Tomoe said.
“…Figure what out?” Shinichi asked.
He didn’t understand. This wasn’t him playing dumb, but his honest impression of this situation.
He could tell that he’d been caught in something, but he couldn’t tell just what exactly.
Just to be safe, he turned to his servant, but she just feebly shook her head. Apparently, she didn’t get it either.
“You don’t look like you’re just playing dumb… Hmm? Wait, don’t tell me? Is that why you messed up? It’s not that you didn’t notice, but that you couldn’t notice?” Tomoe said.
“What are you talking about? Stop putting on airs, and tell me already,” Shinichi said.
This was no longer a situation where he could fool them, so he came clean and directly asked them to explain.
In response to that, it was not Tomoe who made a disgusted face, but Ryou.
“Enough messing around already. We’re talking about your prints, your prints!” Ryou said.
“Y-Yeah, the prints left on the handle on the katana belonged to just two people. Mine and yours, and there were a lot of them too. The fosters could easily figure out that kind of stuff,” Tomoe said.
Ryou glared at him, while Tomoe paled, but for some reason, Shinichi was just confused because he felt like he knew what they were talking about, but for some reason, he just couldn’t recall.
“…Prints? …Printer? …A print out?”
When master and servant alike tilted their head in confusion, Tomoe bit her lips, while Ryou yelled.
“Hey! I could understand if you didn’t understand matters pertaining to Garesto since they’re ahead by leaps and bound in technology, but any modern Japanese would know what we’re talking about!” Ryou.
“…Umm, actually, I think he might be for real. I knew it. There was no way you wouldn’t have noticed it otherwise,” Tomoe said.
“Haa? What do you mean?”
“I saw it in a book about returnees before.”
In the early days of the cooperation of the two worlds and before even that, when the systems for returnees were still inadequate, due to needing more time to be found, a portion of the drifters were forced to live in Garesto for a long time and ended up deeply influenced by their way of life, causing them to forget some of Earth’s common sense.
It is said that that due to the human body being forced to suddenly adapt to a completely different environment, unnecessary information couldn’t be recalled easily.
In fact, this was the case not only in otherworld drifters, but in everyday life as well.
And indeed, it is common knowledge that things one should’ve studied sometimes don’t come to mind as easily as they should.
“But that doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten it completely, you just can’t remember. I’m sure you must’ve only realized that you’d messed up somehow through our conversation, right? Otherwise, there’s no way someone as smart as you would’ve made such a dumb mistake,” Tomoe declared bitterly.
It might’ve been out of consideration for how hard Shinichi’s life must’ve been in Garesto to have forgotten so much about life in Earth that she gently pointed her index finger at him and showed him her finger print.
“The prints we’re talking about is the print every finger leaves behind, the finger print.”
In that moment, a crack appeared on his poker face, and that dusty book in a corner of his mind suddenly opened,
A mark that wouldn’t change for life, one that was unique to every individual.
Because of that it was wildly known as one of the ways to identify a person, and was especially famous for identifying criminals by matching finger prints left on the crime scene or on the evidence.
And while it is uncertain whether this should be said to be a given or not, but the concept of finger prints was one yet to be discovered in Falandia.
In the first place, the way they investigated crimes there was too different, so as someone who’s always had to rack his mind to deal with their methods, Shinichi Nakamura had completely forgotten about finger prints.