PANTHERA and LEO
On Trial For Treason (part 2)
by Bevie James
Simthara unrolled the parchment she had carried with her into the room. Before reading she sent a satisfied smirk Panthera’s way. Panthera kept her head proud. She would not give Simthara the satisfaction of showing fear.
“Panthera of Cats, you are hereby charged with treason against The People of True Earth. This charge has been brought forward by me, Simthara of the Apes, and is done so by reason of your willful choice to fail in your mission to capture Pelage of Cats.
“The charge states that on a foggy night you did encounter said Pelage along the shores of Lake Superior, as it is known in Lower Earth, and that you did, in fact, apprehend her. However, instead of returning the criminal Pelage to True Earth to face charges for her crime, you set her free, thereby aligning yourself with her and making yourself a traitor to the Life Forces of True Earth.”
Panthera noted the manner in which Simthara spat out the name “Cats”, as though it left a bad taste in her mouth. When Simthara set the parchment on the table before her, Panthera held her gaze. After a few seconds, Simthara flinched and looked away. Panthera couldn’t hide her grin. The People of the Apes never could hold a gaze with someone from Cats. The power of Cats was far superior to that of Apes, which accounted for Simthara’s animosity and jealousy. When Simthara recovered she glared at Panthera. She seemed ready to speak, but Ursa Drake interrupted her.
“Panthera of Cats, how do you plea to this charge?”
Panthera sighed. There was only one answer to give. She was guilty. But now Panteskus interrupted her confession.
“Before we address that, Adjudicator, perhaps we should determine first if the charge is even valid.”
Ursa Drake gave Panteskus a look of incredulity, as did Panthera. What game was Panteskus playing? Whatever it was, it had Simthara ready to fly into a rage. Her anger rose about her like a storm. From the halls came the cries of Aggie, Simthara’s grey chimpanzee. Apparently Aggie was in touch with Simthara’s mind, which was technically against the rules of court.
“How dare you!” she said. “I have never presented a false report in life. I always obey the rules.”
Panteskus smiled. “Always, Simthara? Then perhaps you can explain why Aggie cries out beyond the door? If you are in contact with her, are you not violating the rules now?”
Ursa Drake raised her hands in a motion of silence, preventing escalation. Tarter, her dragon, shifted on her shoulder. As Adjudicator, Ursa was head judge, and alone allowed the accompaniment of her animal.
“Enough!” said Ursa. “I will not allow this hearing to turn into a – farce. Simthara. Are you in mind contact with Aggie?”
Panthera hid her smile. She was convinced Ursa had caught herself from using the colloquial term, “monkey trial”. Glancing at Panteskus she saw his eyes twinkle. He gave his head a slight shake. Panthera understood. She was not to admit anything. Panteskus was playing cat and mouse, and Simthara was the mouse.