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“You know the law. The penalty for treason against the crown is death,” he reminded me once again!
Again, I replied, “I told you, sir, I have indeed been framed. I am a loyal citizen of Their Majesties the King and Queen of England.”
“Shut your trap, sir. You have no right to speak in court.”
“Then how, pray tell, am I to defend myself?”
“You do not. The penalty for which you have committed, sir, is, in face, death/”
“I heard you the first few dozen times,” I grumbled.
“Silence in the court!” the judge declared.
I sighed, furious and incredibly irritated. I know it was my fate to dace the gallows or the guillotine, but I’d been here before, and if I’m here again, I survived. Pray to Him that I can do it again.
It was a small court. The only ones present were me, him, the judge, and His Majesty the King himself. He had ordered his wife Her Majesty the Queen out of the court. She had meekly and humbly picked up her skirts and exited.
“Mu Lord,” said the judge. “Your verdict.” The king studied me. I boldly and foolishly met his gaze without permission. He raised an eyebrow. I set my jaw defiantly. I yearned to defend myself, but I knew speaking out of turn in the presence of the Kind would seal my fate immediately.
But then again, if I didn’t back down, he would think me arrogant.
I loosed my jaw and dropped my gaze to my hat in my hands, hoping he would consider me at least somewhat humble. Well, humble enough to respect my King, anyway.
“Son,” came the King’s raspy voice. “I will hear you.” A huge weight dropped off my shoulders. He would let me explain myself. I still had a chance.
“My liege, if I may,” I forced out, “I was framed.”
“Where do you come from?”
“I-Ireland, sire.” I fumbled with my hat in my hands now, nervous.
“How old are you?”
“T-ten and seven years, sire.”
“So young.” He paused. “And how are you called?”
“Aidan, sire.” The King continued to look at me.
At long length, he said, “Judge, let the boy go.”
“B-but sire!” the judge exclaimed. The infuriating man next to me jumped up.
“Sire, I must object, if I may, but this man has committed treason!”
“Have you proof?” asked the King calmly. “For if you do, I will gladly reconsider.”
I watched as the arrogant man’s ears and face turned red as a beet. Then the judge spoke up.
“This court is hereby adjourned,” and he banged his gavel. I let out a sigh of relief as the King strode out of the courtroom, flanked by the royal guard.
The judge left next, leaving me and the man with the red face. He stared at me and I stared right back, wishing that my fiery red hair would somehow blind him. He leaned in close, his nose an inch from mine.
“I know who you are, Aidan.” He spat my name out like a bad turnip. “I will see you hanging from a noose if it’s the last thing I do!” Then he spit on my shoes and stormed out of the courtroom.
I sat down again and ran my fingers through my hair. This day was not going well at all. After 5 minutes or so, I put my cap back on and walked out into London. I had to get back to my inn fast.
For during the court session, I had missed my meeting with the French spy.