“Stork,” said the judge finally, “You can go free. Your heroic antics saving the airship and everyone on board outweigh any suspiscion about your involvement in this case.”
Ron punched the air and the birdladies-in-waiting all cheered until the Empress shushed them.
“Benny...” said the judge. There was now complete silence in the room.
“ I sentence you to three years hard labour in the ice cube works.”
The on-lookers murmured with an odd mixture of satisfaction and sympathy.
Benny started to protest his innocence again, but the judge gave a signal and the guards grabbed him and started forcing him towards the door. Ron tried to stop them but was pushed away. Fred held on to Ron’s hair. The Emperor’s uncle looked blankly at his muddle of papers. The butler grinned an awful grin. The generals and admirals all stood up and started shoving each other trying to get out from their row of seats. The birdladies-in-waiting felt sad because it was Ron’s friend who was being sent to the ice cube works. The court officials closed their files and folios. The stenographer poked an emphatic full stop at the end of the record.
The Empress maintained her regal demeanour and the Emperor stroked his moustache as he had a last ligering look at his assailant.
It was all over.