Some "Light Sentence"
The next day, Sean was put on trial; being eyed by the stern jury gave him a
sense of discomfort in a room of silent murmurs from the gallery. The clerk announced the
case of Mushroom Bay’s people versus Sean Kelly himself. The boy was apprehended by his
wrists in iron while he stood in a box. He looked up only to see a man in a black suit
and wig high above him at his bench: Judge Abraham Tower.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
The room went silent as death.
“Court is now in session!” Tower declared as he set down his gavel. His colichemarde eyes aimed at the defendant. “Sean Kelly… for nearly six years now, you’ve been charged with the offenses of theft, trespassing, and impersonation. Looks like your parents taught you too well, haven’t they?”
Sean just shrugged, “Give or take.”
The judge’s glower never left the teen, “Kelly, your record of crimes in town is just on
par to your parents. I can’t let scum like you be out causing problems. Now I’d choose to
lock you up and…”
“…Throw away the key?” Sean assumed, but got bopped in the back of his head by Vector.
“Don’t interrupt when he’s talkin’.” The croc corrected.
“I was going to say melt the key, and then throw it away.” Tower admitted, “Or face
that!” He pointed out where Charmy was floating.
Sean felt puzzled as he looked to the insect, “Uh…”
“Move out, bee.” Tower commanded.
When the insect did, Sean’s heart dropped and his eyes widened in alarm.
Just outside the window, at the harbor far, upon an old platform staked with an upside “L” was a floating ring of rope.
Sean held for his own neck, ‘Oh boy…’ he thought. He looked back to the judge, “Do I get to say anything in my own defense? ” ‘Please say “yes”…’
Tower heaved a heavy sigh, “Proceed.”
Sean sighed and thought, ‘I hope this convinces them…’ began, “I know that stealing isn’t the best way to make a living; but what other choices have you when there’s no other before your eyes? This is the honest to Eldstar truth when say this: my family and I steal to provide for each other. Neither my mother or father enjoys committing the crimes against the town.” The boy turned to the jury and gallery, “Just ask yourselves: what would you do if you were in my boots?” His truth cause soft discussion among the jury and others.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
“Order! ORDER!” the judge commanded as he hammered with his gavel. The people went silent once more. He looked down to Sean once more, “Mr. Kelly, if what you speak is true, then may the jury forge your sentence.”
Just after a few minutes of consulting, one jury member, a bronto burt, flew up and proclaimed, “We, the jury, have reached a verdict. Kelly shall be given a reprieve of what remains of this month until the end of the next month. He must indeed pay his debt to society: a light sentence of paying 4000 gold coins; by no means of illegal acquisition.”
For a moment, Tower felt reluctant, but soon nodded, “Very well.” He went for his gavel and announced, “By the power invested in me, I hereby sentence Sean Kelly to reimburse the people of 4000 gold coins before next months end.” And he directly warned Sean, “And keep in mind, boy; no thievery.”
By the clap of the gavel, “Court adjourned!”
Sean was soon released, with his dagger returned to him. He trudged through maze of alleyways; all the while, his noodle was crowded in the thought of his sentence.
‘Grief… was nearly in the clear. And just out of nowhere, that curly-tailed gecko gets me. Now I owe a bunch of money: 4000 coins in gold; all without stealing… How am I going to tell this to mom and dad…?’
Sean went into the island’s jungle. Just through thick shrubs, he came across a man some feet below him; he was a large pale-skinned man, in his mid-40s, named Mark, his head was topped black hair mixed with silver, and wore a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, tan breeches secured by a brown belt, and dirty white boot. At the moment, he was chopping wood, where the ground was laden with a thin broken tree, far from that was a large flat rock. By the thump from leaping down, the man turned around to see Sean.
“Hey, Pops.” The teen greeted.
The man sighed and put down his axe. He walks to his son and greets him the way anyone would, “Sean…where in Star Haven’s name have you been?”
All Sean could say was, “Got something to tell you and Mom.”
The two males went to the flat rock. The father lifts it up like it wasn’t made of stone and Sean went down a staircase that was hidden underneath and the father followed.
There were three rooms underground: one was the den with a kitchen, the others were bedrooms: one for the parents, the other for Sean.
“Sean…” Sighed a female, named Sonia, coming from the kitchen. She was in her early 50s, her skin was darker than the others and had black and silver hair. She wore a dark brown blouse, grey breeches, white stockings, and black shoes with brass buckles. She embraced her son into her arms. “What happened?” She asked.
The family settled at a table while Sean was given some lunch.
As he ate, Sean cut down to the chase, “I just got caught by the troops…”
The father folds his arms, “How could that happen? You’d get them off your track so easily! But we’re praised they didn’t take you out.”
“Getting caught after so long wasn’t the worst part.” Sean told after he swallowed some ham, “I was put on trial earlier today. I thought it’d be my end, but when I told them why we steal, they gave a different sentence.”
“What’s that?” the mom asked.
Sean hesitated to admit it, but he continued, “I literally owe a debt to society.”
“What do you mean by ‘literally’?” The mother asked.
“I got to pay 4000 in gold.”
The father’s arms and jaw dropped, “4000?!”
“In gold?!” The mother gasped, “That’s insane!”
“It was that or being locked up for life or wear the noose. And I can’t steal” Sean added.
The father slumps to his chair and shakes his head, “I never should have got you into stealing, Sean. I’m sorry. I should be facing the gallows. We never should’ve been stealing at all…”
“Whatever happened, I can’t reverse it, pops…” Sean stated.
“How are you gonna get all that money?” The mom wonders.
Sean only stares at his meal, “I don’t know. But I got ‘til the end of next month; I’ll think of something.”
Thinking of a plan was what Sean did. For two days, he attempted to remedy something up…
…and his brain gave him nothing; only ideas that were out of reach, what with him being a criminal. Such as getting a job, but couldn’t imagine anyone admitting him to their trades; all he could do was just scavenge the grounds for lost coins (not likely to find even ten of them…) Aside from stealing, another thing Sean would do is just think for long times. Never helped him at the moment.
Sean felt stumped as he couldn’t conjure up a solution to rake in the dough to save his neck. He sat at the end of a dock where a large blue cat, with a white-furred belly, slept while holding a fishing stick.
As his hand supported his dangling head, Sean wondered, “So much for thinking… If I had a chest of Cortez’s stash I’d get off the hook. Who knows where he stored it...”
“How’s the thinking, Thinker? ” Called a voice, familiar to Sean. He looked below into the water and saw a boy, near 15, lying in a rowboat with his hands together at the chest. He was shorter than Sean by a few inches and had blue eyes. He was dressed in an open brown jacket with the sleeves folded up, revealing the sleeves of his red shirt; at his waist was a green sash secured by a thin black belt with a brass buckle, also securing his light brown slops; his feet wore black shoes with the socks sagging down; a top the lad’s head was a black tricorn covering his blonde hair.
“Dandy… Try guessing what I’m thinking.” Sean answered with a hint of sarcasm.
The familiar boy smirked and climbed out of the boat onto the boards of the dock,
“From that day after you were caught, and from folks of the case, you’re trying to think up a legit idea to get yourself off the hook of paying 4000. My guess is you’ve got squat ideas… Right?”
“Yeah… you’re very smart, Joe…” Sean joked.
Joe grinned, “I sure am! But anyway, paying back 4000 sounds pretty bogus.”
“No kidding…” Sean stated, “I knew this would get into some hot water, but had no idea I’d get caught this fast…”
As his friend, Joe puts a hand on Sean’s shoulder, “I bet. Everyone does junk they’re not proud of. Take me for instance; like you recently, I’ve been swiping the mayor’s money bags and get him to think he lost them all. But when I get my chance, I’ll pay him back with more than what took with BIGGER bags. That way, I’ll feel less guilty. But more importantly, why I’m here; I’ve sent someone out to find ya a way to get off the hook. Even said he wouldn’t charge me!”
Sean lit up with hope, “Really?” He began to grin, “That’s awesome, Joe! But who’d ya send?
Joe didn’t speak; just looked up to the clear blue sky, seeing something fluttering down. He nodded, “Him!”
What came down was a tiny yellow bird with a long, pointed purple beak. He was dressed in a red and white-striped bandana, blue vest, and brown slops secured by a belt. In his orange talons was a roll of paper.
“Ya showed up just in time, Tokkori!” Joe started, “Just got to telling Sean how he can get by.”
“Sounds good!” The bird squawked in mid-air with a Cajun voice, “Did ya tell him about the no chargin’?”
“Yeah. Why?” Sean questioned.
Tokkori rubbed the back of his head, “Well… we’ll get to that in a moment. Lookie here!”
The bird released the roll of paper that was really three pieces. Not only that, they were wanted posters. One poster showed a small creature, round as a ball, pink as a cherry blossom petal with blushing cheeks with a big mouth inhaling like the wind. He was dressed in a green wide-brimmed hat with a yellow feather, sported a red sash and boots (on his legless feet), brown pants with a black belt, and in his stubby hand was a sword with a blade of gold; all with the name of “KIRBY THE ‘HUNGRY’” with a heavy bounty of 6000 gold coins. Another poster showed a hedgehog, as blue as sapphires, with long spiky quills at the back of his head with apple-green eyes. He was posed like he was running (and at an insane speed). He was dressed in a shirt with no sleeves under a black vest, under a dark brown leather baldric and secured by a yellow sash, had white baggy slops and gloves, one his feet were bright red shoes with a white strap secured by buckles of gold; and despite his prickly hairstyle he wore a wide-brimmed hat in a darker shade of blue with a nicely-cut feather with the pattern and colors of a tiger. This wanted delinquent was named “‘FAST FOOT’ SONIC” with his head priced at 5500 coins. The last dog was a pale-skinned man, stout with a round head, big nose, and a black bumpy-designed mustache. He was dressed in a shirt red as a rose, vest and breeches practically blue as Sonic, a white sash and gloves, a brown belt and boots, and his wide-brimmed hat (red like his shirt) was marked with a white spot that harbored a capital “M” (also red). By look of it, the pirate was jumping high like a cricket. He was named “MARIO ‘THE STOMPER’” with a handsome reward of 5000 coins for his capture.
Sean felt speechless, “Uh…”
“You can get big coins from these dogs!” Tokkori pointed out.
“Tok,” Sean began, “I’ve been fighting the soldiers to escape with goods; but these guys are some of the most wanted pirates in the New Lands! Sonic would ram me at his speed, Mario would stomp me ‘tll all my bones break, and Kirby would suck into his mouth and spit out my clothes!”
“No, you thin stick!” Tokkori snapped, “Look below!”
The boys look below the criminals’ pictures, seeing each has an asset; Mario’s hat was priced at 1000 coins, Sonic’s shoes were also had a bounty 1600, and Kirby’s sword of gold was charged at 2000.
“Don’t know why they’re prized or how folks knew they were, but if ya trade those in, you’ll be off the hook!” the bird pointed out.
“But an important question is where can we find them?” Joe stated.
Tokkori looks at Joe like he doesn’t know an answer to an obvious question, “Where else, Glazebrook? They’re harborin’ at nowhere than that rowdy mound o’ buccaneers: Anguis Lingua!”
Anguis Lingua was a small island just south of Meti Island and half a mile apart. No bridge was built to link the islands, especially when such a speck of earth was scuttling with pirates. Each night the town would be ablaze with flaming torches with cutthroats brawled, jigged, and poured all their gold away for a good time only cutthroats desired… Folks of Meti Island assumed if they left that cesspool of sea dogs be, the bilge rats would do the same (usually…).
Despite never setting foot on the treacherous island, Sean needed the money to save himself from dancing the hempen jig. He looked to Joe and Tokkori and considered,
While he knew the deed would be risky, Joe asked, “You sure, man?”
Sean nodded and smirked, “Why not? It’ll give us a chance to travel, plus…” He pointed to each other’s clothes, “…we’ll blend in fine. Even if we don’t, everyone will be busy drinking Tasty Tonics. All we need is means of passage to the island.”
Tokkori brought up, “Okay, now I’d like to discuss means of payment. It’s clear that we’ll get some coins left over, so I think it’s reasonable that I receive 50% of the remainin’ bounty.”
The boys looked to the bird with dismayed faces, “Why?” Joe questioned.
“One: Ya’ll came to me for this matter. Secondly: I don’t do junk for free. Thirdly and most importantly: I was the one who risked my tail feathers to go down to that island!”
“Alright! Alright!” Sean submitted, only settle the bird down, “Ok. Tokkori , how long has it been since the lot showed up at the island?”
“Just last night. They could be stocking up today and could go out partyin’ out tonight. So it’d be best to set out at dusk.”
Joe points down to the boat he laid in, “We can use this boat to take us there.”
Sean nodded, “Right, it’s settled. We’ll go to Anguis Lingua. We’ll meet back here tonight.”
“RIGHT!” Joe and Tokkori agreed.
As the few left the dock, the large cat suddenly woke up. He opened his mouth widely to silently yawn. His yellow eyes beamed around where he sat, as if he was searching for something.
“Froggy? You ‘round?” The cat sighed, “Oh… must’ve hopped off again…”