Ahem. Let's begin!
Within less than an hour, news of what Harvey did had spread throughout Malanthiv, and the Council was gathered for a trial.
Quick refresher: the last chapter ended with High General Harvey under arrest for using God's name in vain. Now, maybe I'm just being too logical today, but doesn't it seem highly improbable that this news would spread through a large city so quickly? I mean, I could potentially seeing that happen if they had radios, but they don't! So to me, that happened way too fast.
The Elders quickly set to organizing their things. David shifted and glanced at those sitting next to him, the exact same thing Mark and Warren were doing. Smits, Nathan, Xander, Brook, Reuben, Lance, and Michelle all looked patient, so obviously this was usual for the Elders to set up right before the meeting.
One: that's a lot of characters to keep track of, especially since a number of them are so minor. Two: I'm calling it now. The Elders are unprofessional. You don't set up whatever you need for a trial right before you do it, with everyone waiting and watching you. C'mon, guys!
The doors to the Council chamber opened, and Justin walked in with a short but broad man. David motioned for them to sit on the empty chairs to his left. The duo gratefully accepted, the unknown one settling on the seat beside David. He turned to David, extended his hand, and greeted, "John Houston. You are?"
Wow. Way to make the only teen character late to the trial, younger me. (Then again, a lot of other people act like teens, so . . .) Aren't Justin and John being disruptive by coming late and chattering? What I really wanna know is if other people in the room are talking, or if they're the only ones and are attracting the attention of everyone else present. That'd be awkward.
"David Sanders," the American answered. "Hey, aren't you from that group of soldiers that came before us?"
John beamed. "That's correct. And didn't you jump off an enemy ship and injure your leg?"
"Not something I'm proud of, but yes, I did."
"Well, I'm sure you did it gracefully. Like a ballerina."
Warren, overhearing the quiet conversation, said jokingly, "If that guy could do anything like a ballet dancer, it would be like a drunk one."
Mark snorted, then gasped, "Ow! I did that too hard."
I'm not sure what to think of this conversation as a whole. I mean, it's a little funny, but not uproariously so. Sometimes my humor feels a bit tacked-on in this story. But I can attest to the fact that you can indeed snort too hard, with or without laughter.
A humming kind of sound erupted near Mark. He turned to see Michelle shaking, trying to hold her laughter in and making that noise instead.
True story: I knew a girl who laughed like this. It was very infectious.
"Michelle, it's really not that funny," Nathan said in an amused tone. "Anyone can do it. Watch." He gave a loud snort. "Wow, that does hurt."
Now Michelle was laughing and Xander joined her, doing it so hard he leaned forward and banged his forehead on the seat in front of him.
I concur with Nathan. It really wasn't all that hilarious. You have to understand, they're basically in a courtroom, and they're acting like disruptive schoolchildren. Now who's not being professional?
Samuel looked up, finished with his sorting. "No one told me there were going to be pigs in here," he bantered. "Or is someone already so bored they're sleeping?" All present chuckled.
. . . That was a pity laugh, old bean. Don't let it get to your head that you're a comedian.
"Now, from the guesses of witnesses, we estimate that Harvey swore about twenty times. Any more than this and he would've been banished. So since we knew the accusation, the accused shall be brought forth."
How did Hcol make this believable in any way? Would anyone be fooled by him pretending to get angry as the general and then misusing God's name twenty times? To be honest, this feels like a shabby plan.
"General, how do you defend yourself?" Samuel questioned.
Harvey took a long breath and said matter-of-factly, "I can't really. All I can say is that I did not commit the crime."
An Elder raised his eyebrows. "Harvey, I know we all trust you. Unfortunately, you're going too far to be believable."
"I'm sorry, Harvey," Samuel added sadly. He gazed at the crowd. "Is there any who could strengthen the high general's defense?"
Well, apparently the plan was good enough, because the Elders all fell for it. That one dude said it himself: they all trust Harvey. So why don't they act it? Were they not made aware that, a mere hour ago, a virockel was alive in their city? Shouldn't they suspect that others might be around? And Harvey's defense is the worst. He, of all people, should be able to convince the Elders that he's innocent. This whole situation is frustrating, but not in a good way.
Hcol walked briskly toward the Council chamber. It was the changing of the sentries, and he needed to get in before the shift was complete.
Before Hcol walked in, he made sure his disguise as somebody else he saw earlier was complete. Satisfied with the check, he entered. Only a few noticed him come. Hcol stood in the shadows.
I'm seeing a few things wrong here, and I think you'll agree. First off, why are the guards changing IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HIGH GENERAL'S TRIAL? If they were smart, they'd realize this is the perfect opportunity for an assassination, and they'd either change before or after. Secondly, Hcol is just as bright as Ssen was, because he has no idea if the person he just transformed into is going bump into him, or if said person is present at the trail. Bad move. And finally, it's never only "a few" people who notice someone coming late. Have you ever been present at a class or something where somebody arrives after it has already begun? There are a lot of people, myself included, who turn to see who showed up. Hcol's barely been in the story, and we know he's an idiot.
Warren continued, "I'm not saying I've been perfect. What I mean is that I have perished the thought of swearing. I find it detestful, especially when our Creator's name is used. To drag His name through the mud is to be ignorant and disrespectful."
I will say, I appreciate the fact that Warren isn't a typical "unbeliever" like Alex is. But I find it odd that he's the one defending the general, when he's barely known the guy. Also, it's "detestable," not "detestful."
"My theory is that he was either hypnotized and commanded to swear or had his voice used by another."
Samuel sighed. "Warren, that's a bit wild. How could that happen?"
"The same way there's two Xanders in one room." The defender gestured to the back where, shrouded in shadow, Hcol stood. The virockel transformed into his body and attempted to flee. However, he was surrounded by over a dozen knights and was chained. A special shackle was put around Hcol's neck, cutting off the blue blood supply. The men led him away to prison.
Well, uh . . . that was over quickly. Warren must have really good eyesight, because you'd think this chamber would be pretty massive. And if I were Hcol, I wouldn't flee. Rather, that's when I would attempt to kill Harvey. Y'know, as a backup plan. Still loving the whole "blue blood" concept!
Beaming, the High Elder praised, "It seems your theory proved to be true. Wherever did you get such an idea?"
"Sir, today I was captured by another virockel who's name was Ssen. When I heard what had occurred, I suspected foul play."
You mean no one thought to tell the Elders about this? Really? How bricking dumb is everyone in this city?! Also "whose," not "who's."
"That's alright," Harvey comforted. "In a war this scale, one must be extra careful when choosing friends."
I used to think this quote was so amazing, but now it just feels mediocre. Like I'm trying to be epic, but I'm only fooling myself.
"And now, gentlemen," instructed Harvey, "I'd like you to help me spread the word that we're having a war meeting tonight. It's time we got offensive."
If it takes longer than an hour to pass the news along, I'm going to be disappointed. And I thought the whole point of you being on trial was because you were offensive . . .? (Just kidding. But seriously, though.)
Well, I considering mocking another chapter (because the one I did today was shorter), but that'd make this post too long. That leaves us with just four chapters! Are you going to miss this series when it's over? Did you enjoy this part? Got enough sarcasm to last you another month?