PANTHERA and LEO
On Trial For Treason (part 5)
by Bevie James
Panthera was uncomfortable. The focus was on her, but she wasn’t sure just what it was Panteskus was expecting of her. Deception was not one of Panthera’s strengths. Not this kind anyway. It was one thing to fool an enemy, but Ursa Drake was hardly that. Besides, the People of the Dragons were not easy to lie to. Dragons had a sense about things like that, and with Tarter perched on Ursa’s shoulder it was reasonable to assume they were in mind contact. Also, the look on Ursa Drake’s face showed Panthera the adjudicator already suspected Panthera was clueless to Panteskus’ plan. Panthera decided to bide for time and give her mind a chance to work.
“What do you wish to know, Adjudicator?” she asked.
Ursa Drake smiled. She wasn’t fooled by the tactic, but neither was she calling Panthera on it.
“What have we been discussing? Pelage, of course. Panteskus tells us you have new evidence which shows Pelage has not committed a crime. Do you? Or has Panteskus – made a mistake?”
So. Here it was, thought Panthera. Ursa Drake was giving her a chance to take the pressure off Panteskus – or join him in his plot. It was a dangerous moment, for if Panthera decided to go along with Panteskus, and the plan failed, not only would Panthera be tried for treason, but so would Panteskus. But Ursa Drake was giving Panthera the opportunity to release Panteskus from the plot by declaring he had simply misunderstood. There was no crime in that.
Panthera gave Panteskus a look. Since neither was in contact with their cat there could be no true communication. It would all have to be done with intuition. Panteskus’ eyes were focused hard on Panthera. She almost felt she could hear his thoughts. But they were written on his face. Keep it going. She had to trust him. She had to trust in the power of the Cat People to execute a plan successfully. Still, she would keep the door of Panteskus’ escape open.
“I am not clear on what Panteskus believes I know,” she said. “Therefore I cannot say whether or no he has made an error.”
But Ursa Drake was not going to let her go with that.
“Panteskus believes you have evidence with proves Pelage innocent. Do you?”
At this point Panteskus intervened again.
“Perhaps, rather than simply saying ‘yes’, you should relate the facts of your investigation and subsequent meeting with Pelage.”
The slight smile on Panteskus’ face told Panthera this was what he needed: the facts regarding what took place in Lower Earth. A good cat should be able to use any facts to her (his) advantage. She had but to speak slowly, omitting no detail, so that the cat portion of Panteskus could utilize the facts to their advantage. Were he allowed to communicate with Torgid, his lion, this could be done faster.
Ursa Drake gave Panteskus a knowing look before addressing Panthera.
“Very well. Panthera, will you please relate the events of Lower Earth as they happened to you.”