CHAPTER THIRTEEN: TRIAL (3/3)

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Sol thought Kito looked remarkably calm. She was in a sitting position with her legs crossed, as if in meditation. Ephera waved her wand and the orb took on a yellow tint.

"Kito Sun," said Ephera. "You are charged with two counts of treason. The first is for assisting a Goblin. The second is for assisting Arthur Goone, a suspect in Pan Magal's death. Do you deny your charges?"

"I don't deny assisting them," said Kito.

"The punishment for one count of treason by a Warlock is twenty-five years imprisonment. Why would you risk this to help a Goblin?"

"He saved my life."

"When?"

"Just over eight years ago."

One of Ephera's eyebrows raised a notch. "You have sheltered him for eight years?"

"I have. I know he's a Goblin, but Harg isn't dangerous, not to you or me or the humans or anyone. He has a good soul."

Ephera and the four Consuls could barely conceal their disbelief. Mahjin, in particular, was visibly upset, shaking his head and staring into the distance as though he could see beyond the walls.

"And what of Goone?" said Ephera. "Why didn't you arrest him—or at least notify us of his whereabouts?"

"Because I believe he is innocent."

"Innocent? He entered the human world illegally and kidnapped one of their own. He is also a suspect in Pan Magal's death. Are you suggesting we imagined all of this?"

Kito frowned. "I take it you haven't spoken to Arthur yet?"

"Not yet. His trial will take place after yours."

"Then before you sentence me, I ask that you listen to his testimony first."

"Goone will have his turn after you have been sentenced. Your crimes are your own, regardless of what he might say."

"I am not denying I've broken the law. I will accept my punishment for sheltering Harg, but I wouldn't have protected Arthur if I thought for one second that he was dangerous."

"If you believed Goone to be innocent, then why hide him at all? Why not bring him here so he could prove his innocence sooner?"

Kito thought about this for a long moment, but Ephera answered her own question.

"Is it because you love him?"

Kito's cheeks turned instantly red. "I do not love—" She stopped and spluttered, unable to get Arthur's name out.

"You cannot lie," said Ephera. "You protected Goone because you love him, did you not?"

Kito tried to shake her head, but it turned into a nod. Her face was turning redder by the second.

Ephera smiled. "Then I think your reasons are clear."

"Wendigo!" spat Kito, short of breath.

Ephera blinked. "Excuse me?"

"There's a Wendigo in Manhattan."

While Ephera did well to maintain her composure, the four Consuls shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Sol caught Ofana and Ifrita looking at each other out of the corner of his eye.

"That is ridiculous," said Ephera.

"I cannot lie," said Kito. "Remember?"

"And what makes you think there is a Wendigo in Manhattan?"

"It attacked Goone. Nearly killed him—just like it killed Pan Magal."

Sol saw something click into place behind Ephera's eyes and knew she'd just solved the mystery of who Wendy was. Ephera turned to look at the other Consuls and saw her own astonishment reflected back at her. She then turned to the Elder holding the wooden box and beckoned him closer. Without saying a word, she reached into the box and removed the third orb and tossed it into the air beside Kito.

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