All the chatter came to a sudden end when a door at the other side of the court opened. The first to step through was Sir Daniel Redgrave along with another knight. Just behind them walked a man with short blond hair and a clean-shaven face. He wore a crown upon his head and his clothing was made out of silk and other expensive materials. Each of his fingers wore a gold ring that had been given to him by a lord of Angleland. It was not difficult to guess that this man was none other than the King himself as he moved up to the judge's position. Everyone in the court who was wearing hats took them off when the King entered as a sign of respect.
"Introducing his grace King Percy the Third of his Name and rightful ruler of Angleland!" shouted a voice which was loud enough for everyone to hear. He didn't quite look like Jessica had imagined but she kept this thought to herself in fear of making her situation even worse than it actually was.
Everyone remained on their feet until King Percy's royal robe was removed and he sat down on his seat. It was at that point that everyone else inside the court also sat down. Jessica was slightly delayed in this action but she soon realised.
"My loyal subjects we are here today to try Miss Jessica Snape for the crime of murder," said King Percy. His voice was also loud and it could be heard throughout the court. "May the gods bless us with the wisdom needed for such a task." He then looked down at William who gave him a smile. "The prosecution will make their opening statement. All comments by the defendant will be ignored until it is time for their opening statement. Lord William you may begin."
"Thank you your grace," replied William as he stood up and gave him a bow. He looked over at the crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen what you see in the defendant's seat is a murderess. The gods saw it fit to gift her with the ability to increase her size until she makes the common man no more than a doll. She used this gift to maliciously murder an innocent man named Reginald Trounce. Because she can make herself seem like a goddess before man she felt that she had the need to take his life just to satisfy her own whim. This ladies and gentlemen is not a person but a monster."
There were a few gasps and some angry comments towards Jessica as William took his seat. Jessica felt very low but she still she refused to give into her emotions. She knew that William was only making her out to seem like a monster to win the case but she wasn't going to allow that to happen. She didn't think that she could rely on Tucker so instead she had to rely on herself.
"Thank you Lord William," said King Percy. "Now the defendant may make her own opening statement."
Jessica stood up to her full height but she did remember to bow to King Percy just like William had done earlier. She thought that he would take offense if she didn't bow to him and the last thing she wanted was to upset the king. Despite her height and capabilities she was still a lowborn peasant in his eyes.
"I thank you your grace," replied Jessica as she thought about her next words. Her mind wandered to when Tucker was on trial in July. Back then she had been powerless to stop what was happening but this time she was wanted to make sure that she came out of this with her head held up high. "If it pleases the court I will begin by stating that I have never met this Reginald Trounce or anyone with a similar name. I was raised by a good a man and woman who despite my size didn't treat me like a monster and instead treated me like a human being. They taught me many things during my time with them and their most important lesson is to treat everyone with dignity and respect. If I had of met Reginald I would have met another wonderful person but now I cannot and I am being blamed for this. The charges against me are unfounded and by the end of this trial the court will agree with me." She gave another bow as she once again sat at the table.
There was some murmuring from the crowd watching and the King had to slam a gavel onto his table just for the talking to stop. He had heard the opening arguments and so far he was still undecided so the rest of the trial had to go on as planned. This was definitely an unusual case but in truth he had tried stranger.
Over the next hour William showed the prosecution evidence of Jessica's guilt. This wasn't more in physical evidence but more on eye witness testimony. All the testimonies stated that the woman that Reginald had been with that night had been able to change her size. For now Jessica was the only person in Angleland with such a talent to their knowledge. None of the witnesses were present at the court so written accounts were being used. If a witness had been there they would have been able to see that Jessica looked a lot different to Gwen. Despite this the evidence looked to be damning and everyone at the court strongly believed that Jessica was guilty of the crime.
When the prosecution's testimonies had finished it was Jessica's turn to speak. She had an idea in her head but it did mean that she might have to change her size at some point. She just hoped that the guards wouldn't try and kill her before she made her point across. The last thing she wanted was to cause ruckus.
"Ladies and gentlemen I can prove to you right now that I was not the one responsible for Reginald's death," said Jessica. She sounded more confident than she actually was. "The testimonies state that the woman that Reginald was seen with had been of average size and then grew to meet his larger frame. I can admit to you right now that this is something I can't do since this is my minimum size. As you can see even at my smallest I am still probably the tallest person in Angleland."
"Objection your grace this proves nothing," replied William. He stood up from his table so that he could be clearly seen by everyone inside the court. "The defence is lying to the court. She can shrink to average size if she pleased but to try and give her lie credit she is refusing to do so."
"If only I were lying. Do you think if I could shrink myself any smaller than this I would have done so? There have been many times throughout my life where things would have been a lot easier if I could shrink to normal size but the truth of the matter is that I can't. No matter how much I wish or pray to the gods I cannot shrink smaller than this height and I am still growing. In fact my smallest height has increased by an inch ever since I left my home. The testimonies also state that I increased the size of my muscles again to match Reginald's and even more so to defeat him in an arm wrestle. Again this is something that is beyond my abilities, whenever I grow my body increases to proportion. I cannot selectively increase the size of a single body part or increase the size of my muscles so that I look like a strongman. With this in mind the testimonies describe a different woman to me."
"If not you then who was it? You've even admitted yourself that you were in Logan at the time of Reginald's death. I find it very odd that there would be two women who could change their size in the same place at the same time. You are the only person in all of Angleland who can change their size so your comments are nothing more than lies to try and sway the court into believing that you're innocent. This is pretty much an open and shut case your grace, Jessica Snape is guilty of the crime of murder."
"Stop everything!" shouted a voice. There were some gasps as people turned to the door and they could see Tucker standing there with Gwen right next to him. This had caught everyone by surprise as they had not expected something like this to happen. He was approached by a couple of armoured guards but he stuck his hand up. "With me right now I have the real culprit, she is a demi-goddess named Gwen and she is the self-titled Mistress Of Size. She is the one responsible for the crime not Jessica."
"Who do you think you are interrupting a trial in progress?" replied William who didn't seem to be too happy that he had been interrupted. From the armour that Tucker was wearing he could tell that he was a commoner since a highborn knight would have had more expensive armour. For the moment King Percy sat exactly where he was and rather than throwing Tucker out he wanted to see exactly where this was going. He would only evict Tucker if he saw that it was necessary.
"My name is Tucker Martel of Morgan and as I said my friend is innocent. I have the true culprit right here!"
Jessica was relieved to see Tucker but she was very surprised to see Gwen. She had not seen her since the night of their first meeting and didn't realise that Gwen had been with them the entire time. It began to make sense why everyone thought that she was responsible for Reginald's death. Gwen was the only other size changer that she knew about and in her mind was probably powerful enough to pull off the feats that had been described. It felt like a welcome relief as she knew that she finally had the evidence to prove that she was not the murderess.
"Yeah I did it," said Gwen and she had no regret in her voice. She didn't sound like she was proud of her actions either but she still showed no guilt. "I was the one who killed Rickie or Richie."
"Reginald," interrupted Tucker. He had noticed that Gwen seemed to have difficulties remembering names. He wasn't sure whether this was because she was absent minded or she simply didn't care.
"Reginald that's it. I killed him the other weak but if it makes you feel any better I didn't do it on purpose."
"This proves nothing," replied William who couldn't believe that there was someone else who could possibly have committed the crime. "So you hired some whore to confess for the defendant's crimes."
"What did you call me?" There was a streak of anger as Gwen couldn't believe that a mortal had called her a whore. It was the first time that she had been insulted by a mortal for a very long time.
"You're nothing more than a common whore who would confess that they were a mermaid for the right price." He quickly turned to King Percy and looked up to him. "If it pleases your Grace I suggest that these two are to be expelled from the court and this little outburst be stripped from the records."
Already one of the guards approached Gwen and grabbed her arm. She turned to look at him and there was complete hatred in her eyes. Quickly she grew in size up to around fifteen feet, there was a loud gasp as everyone saw her growing but no one was more surprised than the guard who found himself lifted off the ground. Everyone stood up and tried to get out in panic while William stayed where he was. He was completely surprised by what had just happened and he knew that he was in trouble.
"You dare not touch me!" stated Gwen in a very angry voice to the guard who was hanging from her arm. People were frantically making their way out of the courtroom in fear that they would get seriously harmed. "I did not give you permission to touch me and yet you saw it fit to do so."
"Gwen please don't!" shouted Tucker up to her. He had to be very careful with his wording since if he said anything that sounded like a command Gwen's anger would turn to him and this time he didn't think that he could save himself. "Please don't harm him, I'm begging you." He wanted to make it sound like he was asking her rather than telling her since it would be more likely for her to comply. "He doesn't know what he is doing and I'm sure that he regrets it. If he knew who you actually were he would not have even considered grabbing you."
"You're probably right there." Her voice seemed to be calmer and she shook her arm enough for the guard to lose his grip and drop. The drop itself wasn't too far and he landed on his feet. Quickly he backed away but by now there were very few people left in the courtroom and none of them had been the spectators. Gwen looked over William who was still at his seat, although he was somewhat intimated he refused to show it and stayed stern. "But that doesn't excuse what you said to me." She pointed towards him and her voice had become angry once again. She still stayed where she was although she was seriously contemplating growing until she burst out of the courtroom. It was a feat that would be simple to her. "No mortal gets to speak to me in such a manner and lives another day. In a moment you will be meeting your ancestors."
Tucker wanted to stop this but he didn't know what to do. He knew that his words wouldn't be able to save William and if he had heard what he had been saying about Jessica he might have just let Gwen kill him. He could only watch as Gwen took a few steps forwards and he didn't know if she could be stopped.
Without a thought for her own safety Jessica quickly stood up from where she was sitting and grew until she was the same size as Gwen. She took a few steps towards her and then stopped, she did consider growing bigger than Gwen but since she knew that the demi-goddess could simply make herself even bigger the act would be pointless. She knew that what she was doing could possibly get her killed but she still didn't want Gwen to kill William. She thought that he was a weasel of a man but he still didn't deserve to die, he was only fulfilling his duty.
"Please Gwen don't do this," said Jessica just as Gwen came right towards her. At this point the guards were all surrounding the king and although they wanted to evacuate him but he had refused. He wanted to wait and see what happened and he didn't want to seem like a coward in escaping. "This man might be a worm but he doesn't deserve to die. Please don't harm him."
"You actually think you can stop me?" replied Gwen with a laugh in her voice. Instantly she doubled in size and Jessica took a step back as she saw Gwen growing taller. Her growth only lasted a few moments and by then her head was only a foot away from the ceiling. She was a towering figure of beauty but right now there was no one near as terrifying as her. "Many have tried to stop me in the past and all have failed. What makes you think that you're any better than them?"
"I don't but you are. Ever since I was born I was taught that the gods were the wisest and most just beings in all creation. You are supposed to be as above humans as we are above insects but yet you show compassion. If you are indeed a god you can find it within yourself to forgive him for his comments. I can forgive him for what he has said to me and you're nothing short of a god. Surely his comments can mean nothing to one such as you." She knew that she was fighting a losing battle but the fact that Gwen hadn't simply pushed right passed her did give her some hope.
"I can see now why your friend likes you so much." She had bent down to her one knee so that she could be more level with Jessica but didn't shrink herself. She still wanted to remain large to show that she was still in control. "You're so much like him, you think you can use words on me to get you to do what you want." She did giggle again and it sent a cold shiver down Jessica's spine. She knew that the demi goddess was simply toying with her. "Everything you said is true except for one fact. Although it pains me to admit it I'm not a full goddess so saying that I'm compassionate might not be so true."
"Maybe this could be your path to becoming a full goddess. I have no doubt that it is within you." She knew that she was playing a dangerous game but at this moment in time she didn't think that she had much of a choice. He
"What in my name are you talking about?" There was not so much anger in Gwen's voice but genuine confusion.
"You said it yourself you're a demi-goddess. Maybe your path to becoming a full goddess begins now." She was trying to think of exactly the right thing to say but she didn't really know what could be said. It was a matter that was far beyond her understanding and even if she spent the rest of her life trying to find out she would be no closer than when she started. "I can try to pretend to tell you that I know what you need to do but the truth is I don't and I never will." Gwen knew almost exactly what Jessica was talking about but the truth was she didn't want to be a full goddess. The gods annoyed her since they were above her and some acted with a holier than thou attitude. That made her sick to her stomach and she was perfectly happy with the level that she was on.
"I know what you're trying to do little one. You're trying to tell me that if I decide to spare him I'll be on my way to becoming a full goddess." She did giggle a little. "I admire your tongue work I really do but you're wrong."
"But..." She wanted to speak but Gwen put her finger in front of her mouth before she had the chance. The situation was completely alien to Jessica who had always been used to being the big one but now the tables had turned. Gwen's finger was still very large on Jessica's lips and the demi-goddess smiled.
"The last thing I want to be is a full goddess. Do you know how stuck up those guys are?" She grunted in annoyance but it was not aimed at Jessica. "I can't stand being around them, even for a moment before I want to throw up my eyeballs. The last thing I want to be is one of them, having to spend every moment for the rest of eternity with them." This was one of the reasons why Gwen had come to Angleland in the first place. The gods wouldn't risk coming to this plain without causing so much unbalance by their mere presence. Since she was only a demi-goddess she could safely come to this plain without fear of disrupting the natural flow of things.
"Then is there truly nothing I can do to stop you?" Jessica didn't want to admit it but she was close to throwing in the towel. She knew that she couldn't stop Gwen at all and that it was only a matter of time before the demi-goddess got bored and simply pushed her out of the way.
"No there isn't but that guy isn't even worth the effort. He is nothing compared to me and destroying him isn't something that is going to make too much a difference. Hell just because I like you I might even forgive him if he simply apologises to me." It was true that Gwen did seem to favour Jessica and Tucker over many mortals that she had met. They didn't know it but she had seen many of their interment moments. She had seen their struggles and how they truly cared for one another. She had a little respect for them but the truth was that she viewed them much like a soap opera and she wanted to continue watching for as long as she could. She did look over to William who hadn't really moved from his seat. "I believe that's your cue."
William began to grumble, he had never apologised to anyone in his life for anything and he didn't really want to start now but the truth was that he didn't have much of a choice. He could see now that Gwen was indeed what she said and that if he didn't she would crush him where he stood. Jessica had been able to buy him this opportunity since if she had stood back and done nothing she would have crushed him straight away. He was a very stern man and it would take a lot for him to apologise but right now there was not much that he could do about it.
Slowly William did step forwards towards the still towering Gwen. He was still afraid but he still didn't show it. Instead he got down to his one knee and bowed his head. This was a sign of respect towards Gwen and although it was difficult for him to do due to his pride he did it nonetheless to preserve his own life.
"I apologise for my comments earlier," said William but his voice was nothing more than a grumble. This was as much as he could muster as what he was doing he felt was humiliating. He only had the comfort knowing that he wasn't doing it to any mere mortal but a higher being.
"Hmm that didn't really sound sincere," replied Gwen who crossed her arms. She thought that she would have a little more fun before this was all over. "I'm sure you could have done better than that."
"I am sorry." This time his voice was louder so that it could be heard clearer by everyone else. It caused Gwen to smile and she stood up to her full height. At first everyone thought that this was a bad sign but much to everyone's relief they saw her begin to shrink and she even giggled a little.
"See that wasn't so hard was it. Ok your life is spared for now but believe me if you insult me ever again there will be absolutely no mercy. Your life will belong to me and I will take just as easily as you can crush a bug." She began to look around a little and she could see that Jessica was also shrinking and that Tucker had made his way towards where everyone else was standing. She smiled once again as she looked up at King Percy who had not moved from his seat. "It's been fun and everything but I think I better be making a move." It's been fun everyone."
Gwen clapped her hands and it caused a huge flash of light that dazed everyone for a moment. No one noticed that Gwen quickly began to shrink herself and she leapt onto Tucker's shoulder. She continued to shrink until she was once again completely out of sight. The entire process only took a couple of seconds and by this time everyone had begun to recover. Not too surprising for them there was seemingly no sign of Gwen. They simply believed that she had teleported away, most likely back to wherever she had come from. To everyone this was a great relief as they felt that the true danger had finally passed and that they were safe once again.
Quickly William got back up to his feet and calmly walked out of the courtroom. In his view he had shamed himself and simply wanted to go and nurse his pride. He also knew that he had lost the trial after what had just happened. He wanted to forget that this had even happened, it was going to be a day which would stay with him for the rest of his life. He had stared a demi-goddess in the eye and he had blinked.
Jessica also shrank down to her smallest size as Tucker approached her. They did give each other a hug but they knew that they couldn't leave yet. Technically Jessica was still on trial and they looked up to King Percy, he was completely surrounded by guards who were there to ensure his protection. Despite everything that had happened King Percy still needed to pass judgement.
"Well that was unexpected," said King Percy as he cleared his throat. "From the recent events I am thus ending this trial and passing judgement. In light of the evidence brought before me I find Miss Jessica Snape innocent of the crime of murder. By my command she is to be released immediately. I would issue a warrant for the arrest of Gwen but she is a being far beyond humanity and thus our laws do not apply to her. This is my ruling of the case and so shall it stand."
Both Jessica and Tucker were more than relieved to hear this and Jessica almost broke down in tears. It was a great relief for her to be free and be able to live out the rest of her life outside of a cell. She had only been locked up for a day but it was something that she never wanted to feel again. She had Tucker to thank for ensuring her freedom and for that she gave him a big kiss on his lips. There was one thing that she did notice, she felt that he was distant for some reason.