The Dangers of Being A Faerieland Reporter: Part Three
I woke up on a soft bed and realized I was back in the cell. I could move my arms and legs again. The faeries must have carried me in and removed the spell. I struggled to remember what day it was and then soon came to an assertion that I had dreaded. It was the date of my trial. After a few minutes I heard Azalea knocking on the cell door with breakfast.
“Eat quickly, for we must be in the courtroom by 9 o’ clock sharp.”
Azalea spoke kindly, as if nothing had happened yesterday. I still felt a sense of guilt. I had tried to bust out of the dungeons and violated Azalea’s and Angela’s trust. What’s worse was that I had helped someone else escape successfully. I had tarnished what was a clean record and now Fyora would know. She would know that I was disorderly in the dungeons. She would know that I had helped another prisoner escape. She would know and I would have to look at her piercing eyes as she decided and pondered my fate.
I had finished my breakfast and gotten changed into somewhat nicer clothing. I did not want to go in there looking like a Lupe in rags.
“Well, you look sharp, Geo. However, it is indeed time for us to head to your trial.”
I looked in Azalea’s hand... then Angela’s. They had indeed lost trust in me still. My heart sank as I saw that Azalea had a thicker set of handcuffs and Angela held a larger scepter.
“Come on, Geo. We haven’t much time,” Angela said gently.
I gloomily made my way to the cell door and Angela unlocked it. Azalea quickly seized my paws and cuffed them tightly, this time not even asking if they were too tight. The two faeries led me to the patrol racer. The racer drove around the palace to the front gates and we dismounted there. I took a deep breath and went in. The courtroom was located on the first floor of the Faerieland castle down a long corridor with rather beautiful paintings along the walls, paintings of Fyora’s ancestors and their council members.
“We haven’t much time, Geo. We better hurry.”
I nodded. Suddenly my knees felt weak and I started to drag along.
“Geo. Please, stop being ridiculous,” Azalea scolded.
“No. I can’t go in there.”
“Why not? We have told you, Fyora will be as fair as possible. Now come along!” Angela said firmly.
Fyora drummed her fingers along the side of her throne. In the courtroom sat the faeries that had visited Geo: Alysanne, Anne, Psellia and Siyana. There also sat Jhudora and Illusen who were the accusers who were ready to testify against Geo.
“They’re late!” screeched Jhudora.
“Patience, Jhudora, is a virtue,” Fyora said softly.
“He’ll be here eventually, that liar. I’ll be here to teach him a good lesson for gossiping about me in ‘ILL-usen Day’,” Illusen said.
“Let me do the lesson teaching, Illusen,” Fyora cautioned.
“Look who’s here,” Jhudora sneered.
I could barely walk when Azalea and Angela brought me in. My knees gave away again and the two faeries had to hold me up. Jhudora began to smirk and then break out into silent giggles. Illusen simply gave a sinister smile. The faeries that were defending me looked rather shocked that I was coming in in such an embarrassing manner. The only faerie that refrained from any reaction was Fyora who was busy reading from the list of charges brought against me. She looked up finally and saw that I was being dragged.
“Why is he stumbling like that?” Fyora inquired.
“Your majesty, I believe he is demonstrating some fear,” Azalea replied.
“You may address me as ‘Fyora’, Azalea. There is no need for that ‘majesty’ business. Now you said he is fearful, isn’t he? I don’t blame him. His fear is legitimate. However, I can’t have him on the floor like that.”
Fyora turn to look at me directly in the eye. I stared back into the piercing yet calming, soft lilac eyes.
“Geo, may I offer you a seat before we begin?”
I was stunned that Fyora would address me so casually considering that this was a courtroom. Therefore, I was speechless.
“Does he speak?” Fyora asked. Jhudora and Illusen began snickering.
“Huh, what is it that you asked?” I asked abruptly.
“Would you like a seat, Geo?”
“Yes, that would be very accommodating of you.”
Angela pulled me off the floor and rested me in the seat. Fyora then began to speak.
“Ahem! All rise! Court is in session for the case of Geo v. Jhudora and Illusen. Geo... you have my permission to stay seated. However, sit up straight. Anyway, Geo, you stand here accused on two counts of libel and slander, one count of resisting arrest, and one count of assisting an inmate in their escape. How do you plead to these charges?”
Resisting arrest?! Helping a prisoner escape?! I immediately shot Azalea and Angela a look of contempt. Those two, they reported me for the other wrongdoings. And here I thought I was only going to be in trouble for slander. Azalea hung her head while Angela turned away. I could tell that they were only doing their job and were in no way trying to bring harm to me. I sighed.
“I am guilty of resisting arrest and I did help a prisoner escape. However, I will still plead not guilty towards the slander charge. I am disgusted that such a charge would be levied against any Neopian Times journalist that writes solely for the entertainment of others.”
“I do apologize, Geo, for interrupting you. However, I simply asked for how you will plead, not your personal opinion about the charges.”
My heart sank. That was a strike against me. I had made a terrible impression on Fyora already.
Fyora didn’t say anything more but she did look at me and I could have sworn that she almost smiled. Was it a smile of affirmation as in she wasn’t upset at me? Or was it simply “thank you for apologizing” smile? Or was it merely a figment of my imagination and my apology only increased friction?
“Very well, Geo. You are guilty of resisting arrest and aiding an inmate in his escape. We will come up with your verdict on those later. Meanwhile, it is time to argue the charges of libel and slander. I hear you have witnesses. I want you to name them for me please.”
“Umm... Alysanne, Siyana, and Psellia.”
Fyora looked as if something terrible had happened. She muttered to herself for a moment and then shook her head with a frown.
“I am terribly sorry to have to do this to you... but didn’t you write about these faeries too? I can't let them on the witness stand if they are going to use the very stories and articles that are in question as arguments. That would undermine our goal here, which is to determine if your stories are slanderous or not. You can't use your stories as evidence because they 'may' be slanderous. I'm not saying they are, but do you see what I mean?”
“Yes, but... oh, please don’t, Fyora!” I blurted without thinking.
“I can’t, Geo. I’m sorry.”
I looked at the faeries pleadingly but they all looked away. None of them moved from their seats, though. Illusen and Jhudora exchanged a high five.
"Illusen. Take the stand."
"Hey, why does she get to talk first?!" Jhudora shouted.
"Both of you up here then but one at a time. Illusen first because I say so!"
"Another thing, why are you so nice to that brat Geo anyway?" Jhudora asked.
"I treat everyone fairly. Quit stalling and just do what I say please."
"Geo wrote two stories about me. The first one titled 'Quest Protest' which was about my quests of course. I am most offended by the assertion that my quests are a ripoff and that I don't give fair rewards. It's nonsense!" Illusen exclaimed.
"Wait a minute. Geo has a point there. My sister does have the dumbest and most worthless quests," Jhudora retorted.
"We agreed to support each other, Jhudy!"
"NEVER CALL ME THAT!!!"
"Order in the court! Jhudora let Illusen finish," Fyora said, raising her voice.
"Illusen did try to rip me off! I swear I am not lying. And my story was entertaining..." I shouted until Fyora interrupted.
"What did I just say to Jhudora, Geo?"
Realizing my mistake, I shrank back.
"S-sorry. I didn't mean to, I..."
I withdrew in fear. Fyora turned back to Illusen.
“You may continue, Illusen.”
“Then there was another story he wrote and that one really offended Jhudora and me. It was called ‘ILL-usen Day’. First it presented a negative picture on my holiday, causing chaos rather than celebration on my holiday. Then it speaks of us two as immature and it even goes as far as dragging you in, Fyora. It has a monologue of you yelling at both of us for being immature and ending the party. You would never do that, Fyora; you should be offended too.”
“I see, is that all?”
“That will be all for me. Jhudora may speak now.”
“Fyora, it also portrays me as a thief. You know that I have never thought of stealing anything,” hissed Jhudora.
“I’d like a copy of that story. I would like all the offending passages annotated for me please.”
I timidly pulled out Neopian Times clippings from my pocket. Most of them were my stories but I also carried around excerpts of great stories that I happened to keep.
“I would like to see all of your stories, Geo.”
“If you were innocent, you would have nothing to worry about. Hand them up.”
“Shall I have charges of contempt of court filed against you as well?”
“N-n-no! Take them... take them all!”
“What’s wrong? Are you hiding something?”
“N-n-no, I-I-I just am embarrassed. The stories aren’t that great...”
“I’m sure if they got in the Neopian Times, they are of quality. I’m not here to criticize your writing. I’m here to look it over for evidence. Illusen, Jhudora, take 'ILL-usen Day' and 'Quest Protest' and show me where you find the writing offensive. Let me read the others.”
“But... the rest of them... they have Fyora in them...”
“Oh, so are you admitting that you slandered my name too?”
“Then I’m flattered that you’d want to write about me. Let me read these. Ooo, this one looks good, 'Fyora and Celandra: From Servanthood to Friendship'.”
I felt my face turn burning hot. I looked away from Fyora and turned to Illusen and Jhudora. They were busy marking up my stories with Fyora’s pink highlighter.
“Oh, that Geo’s going to get in so much trouble! Haha. You hate my weapons, Jhudora, why would you ever steal them?”
“I have no idea, but he is right about your quests so no need to highlight.”
“HEY! Fyora, Jhudora is...”
“Shh. I’m reading this cute little story about my Celandra.”
I was confused. Why was Fyora wasting time reading my stories when the case could proceed? Azalea and Angela noticed too.
“Umm... Fyora, shouldn’t we proceed with the case? Not read his stories?” Angela asked.
“I’m waiting for those two in the corner who are busy marking up Geo’s offending stories.”
“Tell them to hurry up!” Azalea shouted.
“I’m afraid that they are working as quickly as possible. Patience, my dear, patience. Awww, this is a nice story, Geo. I need to show this to Celandra. Let’s see if you have any more good pieces.”
Fyora thumbed through the stories and then stopped abruptly with her mouth hanging open. I gaped at Fyora for a moment and then stared at her, fearing that she found something offensive.
“What is it?” I cried out frantically.
“It’s a story about my mother... the faerie queen that disappeared. Why in Neopia would you write this? Why would you want to torture me with my worst memory of my life? Stand up, Geo, and explain this to me!”
I cowered in fear as Fyora’s warm glance turned icy cold. Her voice was still soft and gentle but I could clearly hear a bit of anger and sorrow in them.
“I-I-I wanted to help Neopia understand and umm... sort of... just show some compassion for you because you’ve had a tough life...”
“What? I don’t need any extra attention, Geo. I’ve gotten along just fine.”
“Oh Fyora, I’m sorry. I should have gotten your permission to write it but it was my first story. I was excited. Forgive me, Fyora.”
“You wrote two! What’s 'Thyora’s Tribulations'? Not only did you write about the horrid disappearance of my mother but you wrote about her wretched life too?”
Fyora never raised her voice and it was always gentle but it was all the same to me. I was scared out of my wits. I choked but could not hold back the tears. Fyora hated my writing. I had been a failure. And now I was going to get in trouble.
Fyora noticed that a few tears were rolling down my face.
“Geo, I should be the one to apologize. Your story about my mother was very accurate so I can’t really charge on slander for it. It’s just that, I never thought my mother would dare betray Faerieland like that.”
“She didn’t betray...”
“In my eyes she did!”
“Are you angry with me?”
There was a long hesitation as Fyora gave me a soft glare and then I saw her tears flow down slowly but steadily.
“I’ve never released the emotion I bottled up on that fateful day of her disappearance. Thank you, Geo. You’ve helped me finally move on. I’m not angry with you. You may have a seat again.”
Meanwhile Jhudora and Illusen were finished highlighting the story.
“Fyora, we’ve got it done. Have a look.”
The two faeries gave the papers to Angela who took them up to Fyora. Fyora pulled out a pair of glasses from her pocket. Her glasses had lavender rims and sparkled a bit.
Fyora heaved a sigh. “Being a queen for such a long time does things to your vision,” she joked, “Jhudora, since you are the first highlight on this page, I’ll let you explain yourself.”
“Yes Fyora, I will be glad to explain this. You see this line? It says:
“‘Jhudora, what are you doing?’ Fyora inquired, watching Jhudora gather piles of dung from the side of the path.
“I find that offensive because I don’t recall doing that ridiculous behavior.”
“Hmm... but I did recall you doing it.”
“I picked up one pile of dung and stopped because you were watching me!”
“Hey! I’ve got to add some hyperbole to make my story well written! And this is ridiculous, you getting mad at such a little deal!”
“That is quite true, Jhudora; you are fretting over such little details. I find it quite amusing. Next complaint,” Fyora said waving Jhudora’s complaint aside.
Illusen raised her hand, jumping up and down as if she were playing double-dutch.
“Alright, Illusen, go ahead and speak.”
“Dearest Fyora, Geo here has attempted to portray me as a faerie that uses violence to get my way. That is simply not true. The reference to this assertion is in 'Quest Protest':
“Illusen brought out a slingshot and a sword and showed them to me.
“‘I really don’t want to have to use these beauties, especially on someone as delicate as you.’
“I never said that and I would never bring out any weapons and use them as any sort of threat. I’m not that type of faerie!”
Fyora nodded and turned her piercing eyes on me.
“Geo, what is your defense against that accusation?”
“None, Fyora. If you read on, you clearly see that she had no intention of using those weapons on me anyway. I don’t know Illusen personally; how am I expected to portray her to 100 percent accuracy?”
“You are expected to get to know who you are writing about.”
“But, Fyora... I knew who I was writing about, but to burden me with trying to get Illusen’s characterization perfect is superfluous.”
Fyora hesitated for a moment and then nodded.
“Very well, I’ll decide if this is an offense or not later. Any further complaints?”
“Yes, Geo needs to stop doing Illusen’s junky quests and start doing mine which are worth it. And there is no sit down negotiation. All quest failures are final. There would not have been any protest,” Jhudora blurted.
“Enough! Jhudora, your comments are irrelevant to this case!”
“Suit yourself, queenie. Here’s another complaint. Geo has described me as a thief in 'ILL-usen Day', and I do not steal. He just suspects me because I’m a dark faerie. He’s stereotyping against different elements! Here’s the excerpt Fyora, see for yourself!
“Jhudora and her new followers snuck around to Illusen’s house to the back door.
“‘Let’s bust this door wide open!’
“‘Hmm... now guys go ahead and take what you were seeking,’ cackled Jhudora.
“I have never ever condoned such atrocities before. I am an honest faerie. I may be a dark faerie but I’m honest,” Jhudora simpered.
Fyora turned and looked at me again.
“Well, what do you have to say for yourself, Geo? Are you calling her a thief?”
“This is some pretty solid evidence, Geo.”
“Geo, I’m asking you to answer me honestly. Do you think that Jhudora is capable of carrying out a plot of thievery?”
I began shaking and then realized that Fyora already knew the answer.
“Y-yes,” I said weakly.
“Thank you, Geo, I would like to take one more complaint.”
“But, Fyora... it was a story; stories don’t have to be true...”
“You did not have permission to speak, but out of my generosity, I am willing to take your comment into full consideration.”
“You’re just saying that to make me feel better.”
“...I beg your pardon, Geo?”
I suddenly felt a rush of anger boil through me and I stood up abruptly.
“I said you are just saying that to make me feel better! You aren’t going to really take that into consideration because you favor the opinions of your beloved faeries. I see through your superficial words!”
“I’m not being superficial, Geo. I’m being honest. I will take that into consideration. Now please have a seat so we can carry on.”
I remained standing.
“Geo, please have a seat. I assure you that I will treat you as fairly as possible.”
Azalea and Angela came and pulled me back into my seat. I was lost in thought. Was my outburst really warranted? Why did I shout at her like that? Why did I suddenly turn into a Mordecai? These thoughts ran through my head until Illusen began to speak again.
“He’s putting words in your own mouth, Fyora! Just look at this outrageous passage from 'ILL-usen Day':
“'To this day, you two continue to fight and bicker over the tiniest things. I guess you both continue to prove me wrong. And don’t even get me started on the quests you guys give. The last time I checked, we gave blessings for completion of quests. Instead, you guys ask for overpriced items that you don’t really need and give out little items. I suppose you equate a faerie blessing to the value of your little battledome items. Well, I guess there is no point in speaking any more. You two will never change. It’s hopeless.'
“You would never say that. You would never even think those words, Fyora.”
At this Fyora stood up and her lilac eyes flashed with what seemed to be anger.
“Geo! Explain this to me! Why are you putting words in my mouth?”
“For goodness sake, it’s a story! Not real! It’s fictional!”
“How dare you write such a wretched story then?!” Illusen shouted.
“He’s gotten my opinion of you two quite accurately actually. I’m just surprised at how he managed to do it,” Fyora replied, softening her glare until it was almost nonexistent.
“I am sick of you two bickering and I’m glad that it wasn’t to such a great extent during this trial. I just want Geo to tell me how he managed to siphon this opinion of you two from me.”
“I uh... knew you were a faerie that liked order and well... Jhudora and Illusen symbolize disorder in my story and it just went from there.”
“Ah... I see... well, it’s time to move on to the decision.”
Illusen and Jhudora hung their heads.
“For libel and slander, I declare Geo innocent and free of all faults. Illusen and Jhudora have done nothing but show me stories, stories that are written for entertainment. I daresay, suppression of this medium of entertainment with censorship is an atrocious act. Now, you do have other crimes, though. You plead guilty to resisting arrest and helping a prisoner escape, am I correct?”
“Yes, Fyora, but please...”
“Then I shall sentence you for those crimes.”
I stood there in fear, shaking nervously as Fyora appeared to be in a pensive mood. At that moment, there was a knock at the door, a bit of shouting.
“What is this madness? Open that door!” Fyora demanded.
The door flew open and Azalea and Angela ran directly to it, carrying someone that looked familiar.
“Mordecai!” I blurted.
Fyora turned to face me.
“You know this prisoner?”
“I helped him escape,” I replied without thinking.
“You helped him escape? What are you an accomplice?”
“No, he’s in for libel and slander too.”
“Geo, he’s been writing about harming faeries and faeries harming his characters. That’s not true. Therefore, it is slander,” Azalea said.
“But it’s still all just stories; he didn’t really do it.”
“Oh really? Then why was he out in the faerie city threatening every faerie he could see?” Angela replied.
“You fools! I shall never show any fondness toward you creatures! You faeries squander my time with your quests! Your magic is a weapon to keep us silenced! I am here to break that silence! Fyora! Show me the dark magic you have hidden from us for so long!” Mordecai rambled. He was in chains and held by Angela and Azalea.
“How dare you utter such blasphemy in my court!? Take this Moehog away from me!” Fyora demanded.
I rushed forward and fell at Fyora’s feet.
“Please don’t, Fyora. He may be delusional at times but please, he has never actually harmed a faerie. Do you think the fact that you continue to hold him only makes him despise you more?”
“Arise, Geo.” Fyora commanded.
I refused to move a muscle.
“Geo. Get up. You are meddling with someone else’s business.”
“He’s a Neopian Times author and so am I!”
“Oh so I assume that you guys are guilty by association?”
“Fyora! Please, he’s written stories that may have threatened faeries but he has never carried out his threats. He dislikes faeries but detaining him will only make it worse. Please listen to me. Drop the charges against him just like you did for me.”
“You misunderstand me, Geo. I want you off the floor simply because it hasn’t been swept and your fur has absorbed quite a large amount of dust.”
I stared down at my knees and realized that my legs had gray dust particles in them. I looked at Fyora and then turned bright red. I then returned to my seat quickly. Fyora smiled at me and said.
“Alright, if you insist, I will have the charges of libel and slander dropped for Mordecai. However, he escaped prison. He ought to receive some punishment.”
“Oh, have mercy, Fyora.”
“She won’t have any mercy. She’s done worse things to prisoners than you have ever imagined!” Mordecai laughed mockingly.
“Oh dear. He’s been brainwashing you, Geo. You know I would never do anything cruel and unusual.”
I stared at Mordecai, and then back at Fyora. I didn’t know who to believe.
“Geo. Your Neopian Times writing friend seems to have a negative impression of me. I’m not what he says he is but it is not my place to change his opinion. Since he despises faeries so much, it would only make sense to banish him from Faerieland.”
“For how long?”
“Good riddance! I will gladly take that!” Mordecai uttered as he spat on the ground.
“Take him out and send him on a cloud racer away from Faerieland.”
“Yes, Fyora,” Angela said, dragging Mordecai away.
“Geo, come forth and receive your sentence.”
I slowly headed up to Fyora’s throne. Fyora stood up. She way taller than me and I had to stretch my neck just to see her face. Her eyes shone and she stared at me intently. Her scepter was just about as tall as she was and had the famous lilac orb on the end. Suddenly I was seized with admiring fear. Fyora stood there, radiant in the sunlight that crawled through the window. Realizing that I was in no place to look at Fyora, I hung my head down.
“No no no... look at me, Geo. I need to see if you are truly remorseful for your actions or not.”
I quickly stared back into Fyora’s eyes.
“Geo, I hereby sentence you to a half year of service in the castle. My punishment is meant to get you to think about what you’ve done, but nonetheless, it is extremely light because your own guilt has punished you enough. You will be working with Celandra, of course, and will be allowed to take the same privileges she enjoys. You will not be allowed to leave the castle without supervision. Failure to adhere to those terms will result in the six months of dungeon time instead.”
“Thank you, Fyora.”
I bowed low to Fyora. Meanwhile, I felt the cuffs around my hands loosen. They immediately fell off along with the chains.
“Celandra! Please come forth.”
The purple Gelert came right into the courtroom.
“This is Geo; you’ve probably read his story about you, I presume. Well, he’s got himself into a little bit of trouble and therefore I’m requiring him to serve in the castle for a half year. I would like you to show him a vacant room that he can stay in while he is under this sentence.”
Celandra and I shook paws and we both headed up the stairs. She showed me to an empty room. It had a comfortable bed and there was a desk with quills and papers and a light faerie lamp. There was also a closet and a washroom connected to the room.
“Well, I hope you enjoy your stay in Faerieland.”
“Thank you, Celandra.”
I sat at the desk and took out a quill and began writing on the parchment. I heard the honk of a cloud racer horn. I looked outside and saw Mordecai being loaded onto the racer. He turned around, gave me a “thumbs up” but pointed at me and shook his head when he saw that I was in a Faerieland castle room. I simply smiled back and waved. I returned to the paper and the quill and began scratching out a story on the paper, a story of my own little adventure in Faerieland.