aight time for shitty excerpt time again xD
tis one huge cliffhanger too :3
lets see our favorite royals in court xDDXDXD
“Please, Glenn, your opening statement.”
Catherine surveyed the rather enigmatic settings of the courtroom – she stood behind a desk, one aligned with her brother, Luke, and His Majesties Roberto and Joshua along with their butlers. Directly fifty feet across from them stood another mahogany desk of similar décor, which contained Hs Majesty Glenn, his younger brother and their stewards as well. His Majesty Wilfred stood on their right, not yet confirmed where his alliance lay. From where she stood, occupying the left high top of where she stood was Lord Michael, who sat in a throne bejeweled with dark rubies and maroon cushions. His beard, which he had discovered seconds before his statement was too long for comfort, so he had tied it together in a sort of hair-tie he had acquired from unknown sources.
“Very well,” Glenn’s tenor had never appeared so frightening to Catherine until that moment.
The Casiraghi King cleared his throat. “I believe those seated here all know of the incident six years ago, and for convenience sake, I shall abbreviate it the SBVRS clause-“
“I believe an explanation is in order.” Keith interjected, his eyes patronizing and aloof. “Although the assumption is that we know what the SBVRS is, for the sake of Catherine and anyone who has forgotten or remains uninformed, the incident should be reiterated.”
“I agree. If you please, Glenn my boy.”
Somewhere between it all, Lord Michael had produced a wooden gavel, and with his luscious long robes, pointy hat and elongated beard, he resembled every inch a jolly old judge.
“Fine.” His disgruntlement more than apparent, Glenn retained his composure with a deep inhale. “The SBVRS, short for Sensory-Based Virtual Reality Simulator, combines the best of modern technology with a hint of sorcery. The basic mechanism is that, through the cooperation of a based microchip along with a specific chamber that can project sensory holograms, any sort of imaginable environment can be created. These environments are not only seen, but also can be heard, smelt, and touched. Taste was one of our clear drawbacks, but we didn’t suppose that it would be a useful addition regardless.”
“But that would only make the SBVRS tangible holograms, and nothing else. What really made it special was the type of interaction it would offer to any of its employers. From genuine court proceedings, to exploring the interior of Oriens castle, even magical environments such as heaven and underwater cities could be explored. One can choose to interact with a variety of people, such as mermaids, angels, deceased monarchs and even dinosaurs.”
“How would said environments be created?” Joshua inquired, the dripping curiosity in his tone far too unconvincing to convey normal interest. Catherine deduced that he must been drawn in by the dinosaur comment.
“Pre-programming. Oriens is known for its leading innovations in technology, Lieben. The beta-prototype microchip, which was the last my kingdom had seen of this technology, was pre-programmed with over two thousand various situations. Anything my developers could conjure up, they added to the already immense database.”
“This is where the trial shall begin. That beta-prototype, incidentally the only microchip of the SBVRS in existence was stolen, but none other than the defendant, Catherine Alford, and was taken to Liberty and further excavated. Liberty then claimed it as its own and released it into the public market, where they obtained countless riches that should have righteously belonged to Oriens!”
“That’s not even true.”
Catherine looked up at Keith. How was it that he had found something wrong with that statement, when Glenn had not even indicted her of anything yet?
“That is incorrect, My Lord.” He continued haughtily. “Glenn is using rather accusatory terms. Stolen, you say? Unless we can prove in this trial today that Cathy had actually stolen your precious little microchip,-“
“Good lord.” Glenn sighed in exaggerated horror. “Then answer me this, Alford. Did you, or did you not invent this technology yourself?”
The entire court watched as Keith sank into a potent shade of pink. Taking his humiliation as menacing encouragement, Glenn persisted.
“Then, did you purchase copyright from us, the actual creators, and can you produce any sort of documenting proof for it?”
“…no.” Keith had said. Luke quickly retrieved a handkerchief, and was in the process of handing it to Keith when the King shunned him with the venom of his gaze. Shrinking, Luke removed himself from Keith’s vicinity and stood behind the Altarian King, who smiled at his clear edginess.
“Well then, I believe the case is clear.” Glenn announced smugly. “We, the prosecuting side shall prove that Catherine Alford had committed theft across international waters by smuggling the SBVRS prototype from Oriens to Liberty, and we have already obtained the decisive evidence to prove it.”
“And what would that be,” Wilfred said without glee.
Removing an enveloped from inside his sleeve, Glenn unfolded its contents and displayed to the court a slightly outdated photograph. From the distance where she stood, Catherine had to squint to see clearly, but as she did, she realized he held a document confirming the fingerprints that were discovered on the microchip. And, in large, bold and condemning letters, her name was printed upon the very top of the parchment.
“As you can see,” he enunciated with zeal, “This report summarizes the fingerprints found on that microchip, and aside from several names of the Libertian developers, the name Catherine Miranda Alford speaks for itself, doesn’t it? She could have been the only person that bridged the transition of microchip from Oriens to Liberty. Not to mention the fact that said beta-prototype disappeared that very day, after Catherine departed from my castle.”
Then, in a smaller voice, he said to no one in particular. “I don’t understand why you refuse to take my side. I have the evidence.”
“True, but evidence is all you have.”
Catherine looked at her brother, and was profusely relieved to witness a powerful spark of life revive his irises. That was the confident and conceited brother that she had known all these years, and if her knowledge didn’t fail her, she knew that he was up to something.
“What do you mean, Alford?” Glenn smirked, “You’re not going to beseech the same argument you did six years ago, are you? I don’t suppose Alan’s unchanged testimony can provide you any new information-“
“That’s not what I’m talking about, you skullhead-“
“Keith.” Lord Michael was aghast, “Please refrain from issuing personal attacks towards Glenn.”
Hissing upon being chastised, Keith relented. “Apologies. However, as I was previously saying, evidence, no matter how decisive, is only evidence.”
“What’s that supposed to mean, Keith-meister?”
Keith wrinkled his nose in disgust. “It means that he has but one weapon for convicting someone of crime. In other words, you lack witnesses, a motive, and finally, since this trial has happened before, a confession. If I recall correctly, six years ago, you had none of those things, correct?”
Glenn seemed taken aback at Keith’s speech. Catherine was just about to do a mental victory dance when Glenn’s butler, Yu, leaned into his master’s ear and whispered something, revitalizing the triumph upon the young King’s face.
“She’s a princess, a motive is simple: prosperity. The well-being of the Libertian government directly correlates with her own, so whether her reasons are selfish or not is easy to infer. Also, I have just discovered that there was a witness that day, and he is with us here today, in this very room.”
“And who would that be?” Keith said dubiously.
“Yu, take the stand.” Glenn commanded. “Testify to what you saw.”
Yu? This was surely new information. If only Catherine had brought along a pen or pencil to immortalize the proceedings, perhaps she could have some leverage over her own fate. However, even then she knew that there was something tenaciously peculiar about the butler, something that she couldn’t quite put her finger upon…it was the aura he emanated, there was something indistinct about that that dispersed him from the ordinary.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Stepping up, Yu cleared his throat.
“I believe it was late autumn, six years ago, Princess Catherine had come to Oriens castle to entertain Prince Alan, who had suggested the two sample the newest creation of the royal family’s team of scientistst. The two had entered our SBVRS chamber, and as I recall were engaged in a scenario with pirates from the Vikings’ age. They had perhaps stayed in there for two hours and after the two of them had settled down, Prince Alan had removed the chip from the system and left it on a desk outside the chamber. I was just about to retrieve it when Princess Catherine had took it and slipped it into her dress pocket before disappearing from the castle grounds.”
Yu’s words spared Catherine no mercy. She could feel the fury bubbling inside her chest as Yu’s matter-of-fact expression faced her, as if completely unfazed by the speech he had just carelessly conducted. Beside her, she could feel the heat radiating off Keith’s skin as he slammed his fist down on the desk before him.
“My Lord, would you please ask Yu to repeat his last statement?”
“Oh…yes, dear, would you please reiterate what you had said?” Lord Michael croaked, his brows furrowing in worry over Keith’s popped veins. The Lord had been alive quite a while – not only had he overseen this generation of monarchs resolve their disputes, but also that of their previous generations. Every time a serious argument would commence, the Lord would quite literally feel the blood vessels in his body freeze, rendering it unable to function properly.
This time was surely no exception.
“Yes, My Lord. I believe I had said that I saw Princess Catherine take the microchip from where Prince Alan had left it, and then returned Liberty-“
“Stop.” Keith feverously demanded. “You do realize how stupid you sound, right?”
“Brother…” Catherine pulled on his sleeve. “I don’t think that’s-“
“Shut up, Cathy.”
Shrugging Catherine off, Keith resumed his attention towards the Casiraghi party. “Yu, you have just testified that you saw Catherine take the microchip and leave, correct?”
Yu seemed clearly confounded by his pointed enquiry. “Yes, Your Majesty, that is correct.”
“Then why didn’t you stop her?!” he roared, slamming his fists once more. “If the beta-prototype of your treasured SBVRS was stolen, then why didn’t you even attempt to stop her from taking something that you claimed was priceless?”
Yu was taken aback for a second. Both Glenn and Alan cast suspicious glances towards his direction, while Royce was forever impassive. In fact, he appeared not the least bit absorbed in the proceedings as he toyed with his fingers, staring aimlessly at the textured ceiling.
“Ah, my apologies, Your Highness. I was told previously not to make these testimonies in any sense subjective. You see, when I watched the princess, I had absolutely no idea what she was taking. I have only personally seen the technology several countable times, and with her hand covering more than half the prototype, I had not immediately realized the danger before my eyes. If I have, I would have prevented immediately this tragedy from happening.”
“Really? Is that actually what you saw?” Wilfred stated, “Are you telling everything exactly as you would have seen?”
“Yes, that is precisely what I saw.”
Keith smiled at that remark, and so did Catherine. In that moment, both the siblings had discovered the more than obvious loophole within Yu’s testimony, and were both irrevocably eager to tear his lies apart. Perhaps there was hope after all, Catherine thought vivaciously – maybe this wouldn’t be her final journey to Nobel Michael after all.
She was just about to open her mouth when Joshua interrupted, a slight smile hovering about his commonly stiff lips.
“Yu, you have just claimed that Alan was the one who had touched the prototype before Catherine, correct?”
“Yes, Your Highness, that is what I saw.”
“Was he wearing any gloves?” Wilfred tilted his head. Catherine could see that he started to slowly head towards her side of the room, the hastiness of his action only serving to further taunt the Casiraghi King.
“…no.” Yu’s reluctance told everyone in the chambers how his story had mercilessly fallen apart, and Keith was the first to crush its shattered pieces.
“So then, according to the report Glenn had just produced moments ago, the only fingerprints discovered on that microchip are that of my sisters and my team of scientists. Here’s the question, where were Alan’s?”
“Oh…” finally caught up with the events, Lord Michael raised his hand to his mouth in astonishment.
“That’s true! Why weren’t Alan’s prints on there?”
The prosecuting bench looked absolutely dumbfounded by this sudden alteration of events. Keith, on the other hand was utterly ebullient, no, raptured by their helplessness that he was practically bouncing on his feet. Catherine had to literally drag him on his sleeve to keep him in position.
“You do realize that we can only accept one as the truth: Yu’s testimony or Glenn’s evidence.” Wilfred pointed out, now officially joining the side of the Alfords. “I don’t understand how this wasn’t pointed out six years ago, this seems like a rather gleaming flaw we had just let die.”
Catherine couldn’t discern what Wilfred’s statement had just triggered from Glenn, but suddenly did he leap up from his position and professed in a booming voice.
“I can answer that. That was because six years ago, Catherine’s testimony was incriminating enough to reveal that she was the perpetrator of the crime. However, it is to my belief that she has lost her memory-“
“Really?” Lord Michael appeared more surprised than before, “Dear, is that true? Have you lost your memory?”
“Yes, Lord Michael. You see, after Her Highness had awaken from her coma-“
“Do not interrupt me.” Glenn glared daggers at Luke, who immediately shrank lower in his stance, prompting Keith to grind his teeth together.
“As I was saying, since Catherine is unable to testify, I believe Alan’s testimony should clarify matters for the rest of us.”
“He testified six years ago, and there was nothing we could conclude from either of their claims. Further imploration upon the same subject is likely a waste of time” Joshua stated with a dead-pan voice.
“Not necessarily. Alan could have been defending Catherine back then, as I learned from Yu that the two of them were quite close. However, although time is the factor that heals all wounds, it is also the poison that dilutes all passions. Whatever Alan could have not said those years past, he can now say without worry.”
“Now, please, brother.” he said, patting Alan on the back.
“Testify for the court regarding what happened six years ago.”