“Prosecution, call on your first witness.” Judge Saba declared.
“Of course, your honor, the court calls on Miss Chambers.”
“Mako?” I let out a surprised noise.
When I glanced back, I saw Mako look as surprised as me. So, she hadn’t known she was going to be a witness then? I found myself scrunching up my face in confusion.
Oswald noticed this and whispered to me in a low voice. “Either side has the right to call on whoever they want that is present. They must have anticipated Mako would come here today. They’re going to use her closeness to you to help incriminate you in some way.”
“Damn it, is nothing sacred,” I growled.
“Are you being serious?” Oswald raised an eyebrow.
I let out a little cough, deciding to ignore Oswald’s incredulous glare. I wasn’t completely stupid. This world wasn’t much different than my previous world, and I had long since learned that there was nothing sacred when it came to lawyers, laws, or people getting their way. I could do nothing else but sit back and watch as Mako was brought onto the stage. At the very least, in my world, there was a bit more communication. Lawyers couldn’t just push someone onto the stand and interrogate them. This world seemed to shed a lot of the crosstalk between the two sides, making the fighting all the more brutal!
I noticed that Mako also didn’t have to swear an oath to tell the truth. However, the reason that was the case became apparent when the light of a powered rune turned on. I had read about this one, at least. It was like a lie detector test. The light remained green unless someone spoke something untrue. Only then did the item turn red. There was no reason to guilt someone into telling the truth. They had no choice in the matter!
Once Mako settled down, the lawyer named Miss Xandar walked up, while continuing to wear that smile as if she was playing the two of us like chumps. She turned to Mako and gave a smile as well. Mako did not return it. When Mako had sat on my side, she made a declaration that she sided with me. To many of the WRATH girls, it made no sense that she would side with me, but that was their own issue to deal with.
“Please state your name and occupation.” Miss Xander finally asked.
“My name is Mako Chambers. I’m a teacher at Amaryllis Academy. Sophomore year. Biology and Health.”
“Alright, Miss Chambers, you were present at the Precipice during the Afterparty for the Homecoming committee.”
“Yes, I was chaperone of the event.”
“During the event, did you see this boy, Miss Chambers?”
“I saw many boys at this event. However, I did not see the boy known as Clyburn.”
Miss Xander frowned as the green light remained steady. “Miss Chambers, let me rephrase the question. Did you see Clarice, the girl that Clyburn dressed as?”
Mako sighed and nodded. “I did.”
“And Mako… did you see anything suspicious about this girl?”
“I…” Mako stopped for a second, frowning.
“Yes…” she sighed again, clearly displeased with the questions.
“What did you see that was suspicious?”
Mako grimaced, but seemed to realize she couldn’t stop responding now. “She seemed… unusually concerned about our drinks.”
The courtroom broke into people talking.
“Sneaking into a party, obsessed with the drinks…” Miss Xandar shot a meaningful look over the entire courtroom.
“It’s not like that!” Mako tried to defend. “He was trying to keep people from drinking!”
“Your honor, that is only conjecture. Please strike that from the record.”
The judge nodded. “Stricken, continued…”
Mako’s mouth was still open. The speed at which her speech was tossed away looked like it had caught her off guard. I could only grimace and show her a sympathetic look. This lawyer was a viper. That was for certain!
“Mako, what happened after that.” The viper continued.
Mako thought for a moment before responding, looking more worried than before. “I… don’t remember. People started collapsing. I saw… Clarice… coming towards me. She collapsed as well!”
Mako spoke that last part quickly, like she was afraid that Xandar was going to cut her off and misconstrue what she said.
“You have no other memory?” The lawyer asked.
“No.” Mako almost sounded relieved saying that, as any other memory could be used against her.
“You’re an aseeded, are you not?”
Several people broke into whispers at those words. Mako flushed red. This was a personal thing and not something that should have been spread all over a courtroom.
“Yes, I am.”
“Alright, let me tell you the facts, then, Mako. After you were knocked unconscious, you were found again being dragged across the floor from a burning building. You were naked, and semen was leaking from between your legs, as well as blood from your broken hymen! You were seen with Clyburn. None of those other boys were present!”
Miss Xandar sat down after declaring those words. The judge turned to Oswald.
“Any questions for the witness?”
Oswald leaned forward. “Not at the moment.”
“Seriously?” I asked, feeling a little gypped here.
Oswald was my lawyer, after all, and if he wasn’t going to do anything, then I was screwed! Oswald put a hand on my shoulder.
“Trust me, everything has a right time. We need to let them bully us for a while. It’ll make our comeback all the more profound. I know what I’m doing, Clyburn.”
I sighed and nodded. I really hoped he was right.
“In that case, the next witness for the prosecution?”
“Miss Diba Monic.”
“I thought they’d summon Rebecca…” I muttered.
“Too unpredictable… kids. With adults, you can sort of guess which direction they’ll go. Kids can sometimes be sporadic. All they’d need is Rebecca suddenly changing her rape story…”
“Who are we going to call?” I asked.
“I’m still working on that…”
“You don’t know?”
Oswald shot me a flat glare. “It isn’t that I don’t have my picks, but it all depends on how this plays out. Only a fool sticks to the first plan regardless of the enemy’s actions.”
“Can you please identify yourself?“ Miss Xandar asked.
That hateful woman, Diba, gave a nervous giggle. “My name is Diba Monic. I’m a teacher at Amaryllis Academy. I teach in magical theory and history.”
“Diba Monic, when was the first time you met Clyburn.”
“He… invaded one of my magic classes. He was trying to infiltrate WRATH to influence this very trial.”
“Objection! That is conjecture. Miss Monic has no idea why Clyburn was there that day.”
“Oh, perhaps Clyburn would like to take this stand? Do you think he’d dare say something different?” Miss Monic asked with a grin.
“Overruled.” The judge responded simply. “Continue…”
Oswald ground his teeth and sat back down, clearly angry at the way things were proceeding. The judges own bias was starting to show through the cracks. A previous objection by the lawyer to shut down Mako making positive claims were accepted while similar objections here were ignored. If anything, everything Diba was saying was completely inferring. Although some of it was incidentally true, she couldn’t have known it. She was just trying to paint me in the worst possible light.
“Miss Monic, based on your personal interactions with Clyburn, what can you say about him?”
Miss Monic gave a smile and looked directly at me. “Clyburn is a psychopath, a sexual deviant, and a monster. He lies with ease to manipulate people. He manipulates those of his family just as he manipulates others. I saved one such girl from his manipulation.”
She turned and looked at Rebecca, who lowered her head even more like a beaten dog. She then glanced across the rest of the court.
“Clyburn should be contained for his own good. He thought nothing of raping my student right in front of me. He taunts women. Not only has he snuck into the school as a woman, but we also have reports he snuck into a girl’s locker room and their dorm room. He was even seen naked outside, flashing his naked bottom at the poor Freshman women below. If you want to know what I feel about Clyburn, I feel fear that this monster is allowed to roam free.”
While she gave off the barrage of BS, the glowing green rune did not change color once. I could only stare in complete shock. Either Miss Monic had not made a single lie, or she had some way of circumventing the truth of this device. Her statements generated more of a buzz than anything. What was most frustrating is that it wasn’t attached to any facts. I was getting the feeling that this entire justice system was less focused on logic and fact, and more focused on emotions and outbursts. That being the case, we were sinking fast.
“Is there anything else, Miss Monic, that you would like to say about this man?”
Miss Monic giggled again. “Well, calling him a man would be a bit of a stretch, considering he’s aseeded.”
“Aseeded!” The word echoed across the room.
The women all exploded, erupting in screams and cries. This was news like any other. I had taken one blow after another. This wasn’t a trial, but an execution. Everyone was in a frenzy. Those that knew kept their mouths shut, not saying anything. Perhaps someone that looked the most surprised was Ashton, who had stood up, looking like she wanted to march right up and strangle Miss Monic on the spot.
“Order!” The judge banged her gavel, then turning to Miss Monic. “Do you have any proof of this statement.”
Miss Monic shrugged. “I and a dozen students witnessed him channeling power into a completed rune and creating an overdraft. This… boy… isn’t even capable of magic.”
“He has children!” Oswald shouted, his face red with rage.
Miss Monic giggled. “Then, perhaps he’s only infertile now. Has he conceived a child since his overdraft?”
“He can…” Oswald insisted.
This caused, even more, talking until the judge had to bang her gavel again to bring everyone back under control.
“Your Honor, the prosecution demands that Clyburn take a magic test to determine if these accusations are true.” Miss Xandar insisted.
“Your Honor, whether Clyburn is aseeded or not, should not have any influence on the trial. Even if these claims are true, Clyburn was not aseeded at the time of the rape.” Oswald defended.
“The court will order this test…”
“Damn it, don’t screw with me!” Oswald shouted and slammed his fist on the table.
“Watch it, Oswald, or you’ll be held in contempt of the court.” Judge Saba sniffed.
“It’s because he’s a man.” Miss Monic sighed, shaking her head. “They can’t help but grow angry when they don’t get their way. They’re barely better than children.”
“You…” Oswald looked down, taking a breath before raising a single finger. “Give me a recess. I will have proof that Clyburn has conceived a child. If that’s the case, I implore the court to drop this aseeded nonsense.”
The judge pursed her lips, thinking in silence a bit, and then finally nodded. “Very well, we will take a brief recess. After that, provide me proof Clyburn is capable of having children or we will check ourselves.”
“Your honor!” Miss Xandar seemed taken aback and the court’s sudden declaration.
Diba Monic’s face also turned ugly.
“I’ve decided!” The judge banged her gavel. “One-hour recess!”
The two women looked at each other in shock but then walked together out of the room, perhaps to discuss their next strategy. Oswald let out a breath of relief, walking up to the judge’s table.
“Thank you, Marge.”
The judge turned her head and sniffed. “Just because you fathered my child doesn’t mean you can expect favors in the courtroom. I take my job very seriously.”
“Y-yes, ma’am.” Oswald turned slightly sheepish.
“Well, you have one hour, you better get a move on it!” her eyes flashed.
My mouth was still wide opened as someone grabbed my shoulder and pulled me off to our preparation room. This time, several other people entered the room with us.
“What was that all about?” Rose cried.
“Those women are so hateful, and to get Rebecca to make all those false claims.” Lyra shivered.
“Clyburn, I have to tell you-“ Ashton started, but was interrupted by Oswald slapping his hands.
“Mako, the clinic is across the street. Go now and see if you can get the proof of pregnancy. I hated cutting it this close, hopefully after a week, something registers. We had to wait the longest we could to improve our odds.” Oswald ordered. “Brooke, go with her and protect her. Clyburn is safe in here, but Mako might be attacked by a WRA if we’re not careful.”
Both women nodded, catching the urgency in his voice, and then turned and left without any more conversation. As for the remaining three women, it was Ashton who stepped forward first.
“Sir… please, put me on the stand.”
“Hah? Who are you?”
“I’m Clyburn’s, umm…” Ashton blushed. “His roommate.”
“Look, kid, it’s great you’re supporting your friend here, but putting a man on that stage will go horribly right now.”
“Um… that’s the thing…” Ashton stepped forward, “I’m a woman.”
“Huh?” Lyra looked the most shocked.
“S-sorry. I was born a girl.” Ashton admitted. “But I’ve been pretending to be a man. I’ve slept in the same room with Clyburn for weeks. He knew I was a woman, even while I was still denying it. Yes, he always gave me space and treated me well. If you put me on the stand, I can…”
Oswald was already shaking his head. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but this is a can of worms I don’t want to open on this day. There are too many variables adding you to the witness stand.”
“But…” Ashton looked about ready to cry.
Oswald patted her head. “It’s okay, once Mako comes back pregnant, we can end all of these rumors.”
“M-mako… right.” Ashton seemed to calm down, sitting in a chair.
Ashton was still a bit unstable after our last time together. Apparently, my case was aggravating her a bit more than I had thought. I hadn’t been on campus that much and now things seemed the worst then they had ever been.
“Who is going to be our witnesses,” I asked.
“One of them will have to be Mako now.” Oswald sighed.
“Mako? But you could have just cross-examined…” I stopped myself from arguing with him.
“As I said, this trial is as much about emotion as it is about facts. We couldn’t question Mako until they went first. Now that they addressed the issue of the aseeded, we can make them look like idiots.”
We sat quietly in the room. No one ate anything, even though it was about lunchtime. I wanted to talk with everyone a little bit more, but I felt entirely too beaten to do so. There were just two witnesses and the closing statements. Just two witnesses and my life was decided.
“Where are those girls?” Oswald demanded nervously.
Soon the break was over, and we had to head back to the courtroom, just then, a group of five people approached us. Mako and Brooke were in that group, but Brooke had a black eye! So, they seriously were attacked… One of the girls grabbed Mako and dragged her back into the courtroom. At least she was here. I wasn’t able to get a good look at her face, so I didn’t have an answer as to whether she was pregnant or not. Either way, she had made it back. What happened, happened.
The woman who grabbed her was familiar to me, but it was only once the other three women approached that I realized why. There was a cloaked woman whose face I couldn’t see, and standing next to her was Syph. That would make the other woman Brianna. Before I could say anything to them, Brooke grabbed me and started pulling me to the courtroom with her.
“What’s this?” I demanded as I saw the cloaked woman talking to Oswald.
That had to be Hannah, didn’t it? I wanted to talk to her as well, but Brooke seemed insistent on keeping us separated. That made sense if she had seen the person under the mask. Brooke had fought with Hannah and had a crush on my mother. She was the woman that sent my mother to jail. How could she not feel complicated finding out she was here.
“Brooke, I can explain…” I started.
Brooke lifted a hand. “Explanations later. Right now…”
The break ended and Oswald returned to his seat. The fire had returned to his eyes, and there was a slight grin on his face. I looked at him questioningly, but he just hushed me.
“Just watch.” He responded smugly.
“Oswald, you claimed to have proof that Clyburn is fertile. Please provide it.”
“If that’s the case, then I’d like to call my first witness,” Oswald said. “The two are related.”
The judge nodded, “Very well.”
“Miss Mako Chambers…” Oswald spoke the name, causing people to erupt in confused murmurs.
Miss Xandar broke into a bewildered laugh, unable to understand how someone could be so stupid as to throw away a perfectly good witness on someone that had already been called to the stage. Mako walked up proudly to the stage this time, showing much less of the meekness from before. She sat back in the chair she had been in only a short time earlier.
“You’re sure about this?” Judge Saba raised an eyebrow.
Oswald nodded. “Can you please restate your name?
“Ah… yes, my name is Mako Chambers.”
“Tell me, Mako, what is your relationship with Clyburn.”
A bunch of people gasped, and the murmurings grew once again.
“Lovers? But I thought that Clyburn was accused of raping you.”
“That would be impossible?” Mako chuckled.
“Why would that be impossible, Miss Chambers?”
“Because… I’m pregnant.”
If the murmurs were loud before, this time they were explosive.
“Objection! That’s impossible! She’s an aseeded!” Miss Xandar stood up.
“The defense would like to submit this paper, a test just taken that proves Mako Chambers is pregnant with Clyburn’s baby.”
“…” the judge silently took the paper, looked over it, and then nodded. “She is one week pregnant. As this is the case, it shows the Clyburn is capable of having children. The court will no longer concern ourselves with rumors of being aseeded.”
I let out a breath, feeling a hundred times better. However, that was but a drop in the ocean that was my problems. Now, we were down to one witness.
“Prosecution?” the judge asked.
“We stand down.” Miss Xandar responded, her expression clearly unhappy.
“Does that mean I get to call my next witness?” Oswald said, almost eagerly.
“Yes.” Judge Saba’s expression tightened.
The door opened to the courtroom and a short girl with dark black hair and dark eyes. She was a tiny girl, but she strode forward proudly. The most noticeable thing about her, however, was a bump on her stomach. My mouth dropped as I laid eyes on her. It was Mia, the woman Rigor had set me up with in what felt like forever ago. There was a great deal of mumbling, and the prosecution was scrambling to find information, seemingly knowing nothing about this woman.
“Please state your identity,” Oswald asked after she finally settled down.
“My name is Mia Mian. My mother owns Miana’s Grocer! Um… I was a student at Amaryllis Academy, but I stopped going once I became pregnant.” Mia blushed, her eyes immediately jumping to me.
“Mia, who is the father of your child?”
“That would be… Clyburn.”
“And Mia… what would be the sex of your child.”
The room exploded once again, several people even going so far as to stand. A male offspring was always a joyous occasion. When a woman was impregnated with a boy, she became a protected person. Not only would she be accelerated to the upper-middle class, but she’d gain the respect and power that came with influencing a man. Mothers of men were truly a terrifying breed envied by all. Even some of the WRATH girls glared at her jealousy. I was mostly stunned. Not only was Mia pregnant, but we were having a boy?
“Court, I’d like to submit this document, confirming this to be true.” He put the paper down in front of the wide-eyed judge.
“Mia… do you know how many babies Clyburn has had?”
“I-I’m not sure…”
Oswald grinned. “Including you and Mako, four. But if we’re talking about babies whom we know the sex, only three. He has two daughters currently, and one son. Each pregnancy, there is only one in a thousand chance of a baby being born male. Clyburn accomplished this on the third try.”
“What are you implying?” Judge Saba demanded.
“I’m implying that the likelihood of a male child being born on the third try is astronomical. For reference, I didn’t see a male child until my 300th try. I now have 620 children and only one male.”
“You can’t be serious.” Miss Xandar hissed.
“I propose that the Clyburn may very well be the blessed child!”
Any previous outrage was complete dwarfed my this. Everyone stood up except for me. Some were shouting, some were screaming. A few glared at me hatefully, while some even had looks of reverence I couldn’t understand.
“Ridiculous! This is ridiculous!” Miss Xandar shouted. “Don’t bring that religious BS into this debate. There is no such thing as a blessed man.”
“Order!” The judge continued to quiet the group before giving Oswald an exasperated stare. “Statistically, 1 in a 1000 men will have a male child first. Clyburn had 3. His male birth isn’t so rare as you make it seem.”
The court started to calm down, but Oswald still smiled. “In that case, may I introduce another witness? Since Mako was called and examined by each of us only once, it’s only fair.”
The judge eyed him suspiciously, but she still nodded. “Last Witness.”
Miss Xandar had wanted to protest, but she was so flustered that she didn’t have time before the judge had already approved the agreement. As far as her cross-examination, it was completely ignored in the moment.
“Aiko Li!” Oswald called out.
The doors opened again, and another strange woman walked in. She was Japanese this time, with double-lidded eyes, dark hair, and a skinny physique. Once again, I found myself stunned and unable to come up with an idea of what to think. She appeared to have a baby bump too, although it was less pronounced. She really was pregnant after all.
“Aiko Li! I’m on a work visa from Nippon!” Aiko declared as soon as she sat down without waiting for Oswald to talk.
“Alright, Aiko, who’s the father?”
“Clyburn! Of course! Hi, Clyburn!” She waved to me, and I awkwardly waved back while smiling stiffly.
Everyone froze at the next question. In their hearts, everyone knew the direction Oswald was leading this. However, no one wanted to truly believe it. It was far too preposterous to even accept.
“Aiko, what sex is the baby.”
As the crowd roared, Oswald shouted with a paper in his hand. “I’d like to submit another document confirming the validity of this statement. No… more… questions.”
“You can’t possibly be accepting what he says, your honor.” Miss Xandar pleaded to the judge, whose expression looked pensive.
“Do you have any questions for Aiko Li?’ Judge Saba asked, causing her to blink.
This wasn’t her witness, and she knew even less about Aiko than she did about Mia. Both of these women, somehow, had been completely hidden away from her. Their sudden arrivals had come as a complete shock.
“Closing Statements.” The judge said, her expression strangely serious.
Miss Xandar straightened herself and gave her talk. It was mostly a repetition of what was already said. I was bad. I raped people. I’ll rape again. Put me in a cage. However, with the announcement of two male babies coming from the same man, the entire atmosphere of the room changed. It was like winning the lottery, twice. Finally, it was Oswald’s turn to speak.
“Your Honor, Clyburn has 4 children whose sex we have learned. Two of them are female, and two of them are male. That’s 50/50. The chances of 2 children of the first four being male are closer to 1 in a million. In this entire world, there is only probably one million men left alive. I believe in chance, but I don’t believe in a chance this steep.
“You don’t need to believe this man is the blessed man. Hell, I’m betting you this is a fluke. He’s most certainly not. However, tell me, do you want to take that risk? You wanted to make a statement against all men. Don’t deny it, we all know that certain parties feel men have gone too far with their rights. You planned to make Clyburn your whipping boy, but when the world realizes he might be a chosen one? It might be you who receives a whipping.
“Statistically speaking, Clyburn is more likely to have another male. Hell, he’s already had more male children than the average rate. His genes will already be coveted by many powerful people, not just in our own nation, but neighboring nations as well. Studies have shown men who have more male children also have children who father more male children. This fact is indisputable.
“I can’t make your decision for you. However, I can guarantee you the public will not sit quietly while you jail someone who may very well be our last hope for humanity! The blessed one was turned into a sperm dispenser. This was woman’s original sin, the one that cursed humanity with the 1/1000 curse. Now, a second chance has occurred. Marge… don’t be the next Queen. You let him free and you’re wrong, what happens? He rapes and impregnates a few more women before he’s caught again. However, if you imprison the second blessed man and turn him into a sperm dispenser once again… I fear what curse will befall women this time.”
With that, he sat down. The entire courtroom was silent. Diba had an extremely ugly face, but even Miss Xandar was stunned silent. His entire argument was completely ridiculous. It was the equivalent of declaring divine intervention as an excuse. Yet, their religion, no, this world’s culture and history, revolved around this curse. Not even the lipsticks and the WRA could easily brush off the mood that this invoked.
“I will… deliberate, and decide on the course of action.” The judge finally said, standing up and leaving the room.
However, even after leaving, the atmosphere remained unchanged. It was extremely thick and worrying. No one talked in the slightest. We were left sitting and waiting. It took about an hour, but the judge finally returned.
“Alright… I’ve reached my decision.” The judge’s eyes flashed as she gave her verdict.