Leona sat on the bench and called court back in session. There were three cases on the docket for the evening session. The VJS had all cases decided by the presiding judge. Leona sat stiff and formal, as she scanned the courtroom. Molly with Raven, her lawyer, sat on the left side wall of the bench. Sebastian and Carlo waited in a holding cell behind a closed door to the right of the bench. In front of the bench were two tables with chairs for the prosecutor and defense counsel. Behind a fenced wall was the gallery, where witnesses and interested parties gathered. One feature, lacking from human courtrooms, there were no cameras or reporters.
Leona banged her gavel, firmly focusing the attention on her presence.
"Will the prosecutor call the first case, please."
Slade stood and called, "VJS versus Molly. Charges are aiding the escape of one fae 'Carlo' in taking the life of a human slave. Plus hiding him at her estate out of view of VJS and society."
Leona looked up sternly and asked, "How do you plead?"
"Guilty, your honor, with special circumstances," replied Raven, Molly's lawyer.
Leona looked up surprised. "Special circumstances?"
"How does the prosecution feel about these findings?" Leona asked looking confused.
"Prosecution finds that the case merits the special circumstances. We concur with these findings and recommend the suspended prison sentence and no punishment, but a large fine to be paid in cash tonight," Slade stated.
A loud rumble came from the gathered fae in the gallery. Leona rapped her gavel, asking for quiet.
Leona stated, "The court finds the defendant guilty. The sentence is six months in jail with a fine of $500,000.00 to be paid in full tonight. The jail time is suspended. However, there will be a suspension of her tavern's liquor license for 30 days, instead."
Raven, Molly's lawyer started to complain, but Leona rapped her gavel, "Counselor, do you want your client to serve time in jail?"
"No, your honor," answered Raven quickly.
"Then be quiet and be happy that it is not worse. Pay the fine and get out of here." Leona quickly rapped. "We will continue with the next case after a short recess."
Leona stepped down from the bench and approached Slade. "I need to get out of here for a short break. Can we go to our special place and get some tea?"
Slade put his arm around Leona's waist and kissed her cheek replying, "Of course, my love. Let's get out of here for an hour."
Slade drove to the tea house with a VJS SUV following. "Why do we have an escort following us tonight?" Slade asked.
"Whenever the presiding judge leaves VJS headquarters, an escort is provided to protect the judge from preternatural harm. It is just a formality, but it has to happen. Sorry, I did not inform you of that earlier," Leona answered as she leaned to give Slade a peck on the cheek.
Leona and Slade sat at their usual tiny table, sipping tea and tasting some small cookies. They held hands and were unaware of the surrounding patrons. Their escort stayed outside the tearoom watching for any disturbing patrons. After about 45 minutes, the couple came out and drove back to VJS headquarters.
Slade called the court to order, and Leona took her seat as the presiding judge. Her look was one of relief and being at ease. Yet inside, her feelings roiled because of the next cases. She had never had to decide the fate of anyone's life, even though she had taken lives as the court directed her.
"Next case, please," Leona pronounced.
"VJS versus Sebastian. The charges are two counts of transporting minor females across city, county, state and country lines for sexual purposes," Slade read.
"How does the defendant plead?" Leona asked.
"Your honor, we plead guilty and request special consideration," Raven, Sebastian's lawyer, stated.
"Counselor, do you represent this defendant also?" queried Leona.
"Yes, your honor. He is a friend of Molly, and she wanted him to get the best lawyer," Raven replied.
"I will release him in Molly's custody. If the court hears of any of these type charges again, we will take him back into custody, and he will be given a hard sentence to be served in the mines of Austria," Leona sternly said.
"Yes your honor, Thank you, your honor. He will be watched closely and spend his time at Molly's estate and tavern with no way to leave," Raven said.
Leona gaveled the case closed and called for a short recess.
As Leona left the courtroom, entering her office, Slade appeared with Eran and Kevin. They sat around her desk and looked solemnly at each other.
Slade was the first to speak, "How do you feel about trying Carlo? Will the sentence be carried out immediately after the trial?"
Leona looked at Slade and Eran and paused before speaking. " I want to get this night over quickly, but I am not in the mood to personally execute anyone."
"We can postpone the trial for another day if you want the time," Eran said.
"I am not sure that postponing the trial and sentence will help. Maybe what I need is to hold the trial and get the end over with so we can set things right and make a better community with one less evil fae. Has anyone thought what Carlo's followers would do if he were to die at our hands?" Leona asked.
Eran delivered some information that might help with the trial and decision. "Carlo is not their leader. Carlo is the senior fae, but Molly and Sebastian control the fae. Taking him away from the fae will have a minor effect on the group."
"If we make it clear to Raven, Molly, and Sebastian our intention and advise them of what we feel, do you see them helping us take care of the remaining fae?" Leona looked at Eran, as she spoke.
Eran looked at her hands splayed in her lap before she answered. "I feel that we need to make it clear to Molly and Sebastian that they are in charge of the remaining fae and will be held responsible for keeping everything quiet and calm."
Leona paused, before she spoke to Kevin, "Would you get Molly and Raven. Ask them to join us now, please?"
Kevin nodded, rose and left the office to fetch the women. Everyone waited, looking around the office. The tension was high in the office, but no one dared try to still the atmosphere.
Kevin entered the office and moved two chairs to face Leona at her desk. Molly and Raven sat stiffly in front of Leona.
Leona spoke first, "I summoned you here to give you a preview of what will happen next in court. Carlo will be brought before me to face charges of a capital crime. He will be found guilty and sentenced to death. The sentence will be carried out tomorrow. I need your help with another matter." Leona paused to allow Molly or Raven to speak.
Molly started to speak, but Raven stopped her and took over. "What is it you desire of us?"
Leona in a stern voice answered, "Carlo will be found guilty of all charges with a sentence of death. We understand that he holds sway over the fae associated with and working for Molly. We want Molly's and your assurance that the remaining fae will not cause any harm or trouble to the community with Carlo's sentence and future absence."
Raven asked, "May I have a moment to confer with Molly?"
Leona said, "Of course, this is a serious matter for all of us."
Raven and Molly left the office for a moment. Loud talking could be heard as Molly and Raven discussed Leona's request. It sounded as if Molly was upset about the new responsibilities forced upon her.
"What will I do with all the fae looking to me for guidance?" Molly asked Raven angrily.
Raven replied, "You won't be alone with their guidance. Have you forgotten that Sebastian will be there? He can be the main guidance with you backing him up. I am about to suggest that to Leona. I believe that it is the best solution for all. The fae respond better to a strong male influence."
"That sounds like a better solution. It will keep Sebastian here and will make him behave and work with me. I like it." smiled Molly.
Raven and Molly entered Leona's office and resumed their seats. "We have discussed the matter and find it workable, but with a few changes. We would like the fae to be in the control and custody of Sebastian with Molly as the backup. Also, instruct Sebastian that he will be working with Molly in her estate and tavern. This will ensure that Sebastian will not leave the community. He will have to stay working and can't get into trouble with the rest of the community," Raven stated to Leona as she looked from Leona around the room at the other occupants.
Leona looked at Slade and Eran and asked, "Does this sound workable to VJS and the city?"
Eran looked to Slade, who nodded to her. "Yes your honor, that is an acceptable solution to a few problems. We can work out the details with Molly and Raven later.
Leona pronounced, "Good, let's get back to the courtroom and finish this session so we can all go home tonight."
Leona stood beckoning to Slade and Eran. "Are you satisfied with the punishment and the procedures tonight? I have never done this before, and I am a bit unsure of what I am doing."
Eran spoke first, "You did a good job. You treated everyone fairly and was lenient when it mattered. This next case of Carlo is easy, but the punishment is harsh and necessary. I think we all can agree on that."
Slade nodded. "I agree with Eran's assessment. Now let's get this done so we can be together for the rest of the night."