For Janna, reducing the length of her sentence had been a convenience more than anything she cared about seriously. Now that sentiment lay squarely in the past. She was prepared to fight a war of words in the tower of law to reduce it to as low as possible. She lay in her hotel-like prison room, staring at the ceiling deep in thought.
It was almost an overnight realization, but Janna had come to the obvious conclusion that her life was no longer to be treated as a casual joke.
A coming of age is defined by the many obvious realizations one has. Janna had not had many during her extended adolescence, and she still had a rather undeveloped way of thinking. Becoming a parent, however, is a very loud wake-up call, and Janna was finally ready to listen.
Beside her, Drake stirred, sighing.
“Hey Drake,” Janna said.
Drake cleared his throat, then said, “Yeah?”
“Do you know a lot about child raising?”
“Uh, no.” He said.
“I thought not. You’ll be getting out long before me, right?”
“I believe so.” He replied, “It seems that my offences only amount to a month or so of time.”
“You should use that time, then, to-” But she was cut off by a knock.
“Ready for trial?” It was Natasha.
“We’ll be five,” Janna saw Drake’s signalling expression, “We’ll be half an hour.”
“Well, it is to start in an hour, but I would like to speak to you beforehand. I will return in half an hour, please be considerate of this.” Natasha said, and then left.
“I’m surprised you’re in the mood, you don’t usually like mornings,” Janna said.
“Yeah, well, I don’t know.”
Chloe fidgeted. Unlike Janna, Chloe awoke a little before sunrise. Natasha tended to wake up shortly after, and her mother a while before. Chloe was in her library, re-reading a few pages from the night before, and taking notes. She was also looking at the short write-up of advice the professor had given her the afternoon before.
“Speak like I’m always right, like I know exactly what I’m talking about. Especially if I don’t know what I’m talking about.” She mused over the words, “This isn’t like me at all.”
Chloe put the note down. She had a little more confidence about going out today, but still she worried. She was also a little curious about her mother. It was odd enough that Gwenhime had come out of her old clinic, a room Chloe had thought was unused now. What really caught Chloe’s attention though, was the expression that her mother had on her face. It seemed an accidental expression, the kind you forget you’re wearing. It was a mixture of trademark parental worry, and also happiness. Chloe found it to be most unusual, both that such a look existed, and also that her mother was wearing it. She wondered why.
The sun was rising outside of Chloe’s sand coloured window. It looked like she had only half an hour left before the trial started up again. She took a deep breath and stood, leaving for the Poetry and Law tower. Her mother’s expression hovered behind her thoughts, and she had a feeling it would bother her throughout the day. Chloe was also very worried about herself, and also about Janna’s future. Needless to say, the prince had a lot on her mind.
As they went up the stairs to the courtroom, Drake said quietly, “You should really fix your hair.”
“You fix it,” Janna whispered, “It’s your fault it’s such a mess!”
Natasha looked back at them silently, but said nothing.
“Uh, what was it you wanted to say to us anyway?” Drake asked.
“Right, Chloe, well, no one else knows about your situation Janna save perhaps father. You cannot tell Kain, but you can tell Chloe. It’s not her job to judge, just to represent the law, so it’s a little bit different.” Natasha replied.
“Oh. Might be interesting I guess.” Janna said.
When they got to the third floor, Janna’s hair was fixed, and Chloe was waiting for them. It seemed they were early today.
“Hello, Janna,” Chloe said, her voice nearly faltering.
Chloe’s mind hadn’t stopped racing. Images of Janna in a cage, thoughts of herself stumbling over her words, forgetting laws, missing something, and through it all her mother’s unusual expression lingered.
“Good morning!” Janna replied, “Are you okay? You look sick.”
Chloe felt sick. Her stomach ached because she missed breakfast. Natasha missed breakfast every day but unlike her, Chloe was used to eating more than one meal. Chloe’s mouth was dry too, but that was likely just nerves. She did have a sore throat though.
“I think,” Chloe replied, “I think I am getting sick.”
“Well chill, you’re freaking me out,” Janna said.
“I… I think we should get through this whole mess as quickly as possible. I don’t want to have to pass the task on to someone because I’m sick.”
Natasha and Drake had taken their seats, but Janna was standing across from Chloe, concerned.
“Not much. Just this case and what might happen to you.”
“And?” Janna could tell that wasn’t all.
Chloe and Janna had been very close as children. They were each other’s best friends, since they were around the same age, Chloe being only a couple of adjusted years younger. It had been frustrating for them to see all their friends age faster, become adults, and then even die as the years passed. It seemed only family members and the long lived Elken people made good permanent friends. Everyone else seemed to die too quickly.
Chloe sighed, “You know me too well. It seems mother’s concerned about something. It’s not just that, what’s really weird is that she also seems to be vaguely happy about it.”
“Oh. I can tell you what that is.” Janna said.
“What?” Chloe jumped forward, grabbing Janna’s forearms and looking into her eyes, “What!?”
“I’m-” Janna looked at the entrance.
Someone entered, but it wasn’t Kain.
She said, “Maybe I should tell you later.”
“No!” Chloe almost shouted, “Right now! I don’t want to have to worry about this through the whole session! It’ll be very stressful. I think that’s what’s making me sick, it’s stress.”
Janna gave her a disbelieving look, and then, “Okay, fine. We are fairly sure that I am soon to have a child.”
Chloe looked at her in horror.
“When?!” She whispered loudly.
“Well, I got the first signs yesterday, an unusual cramp, right?”
Chloe nodded, she knew about this from a Solune biology textbook she’d read.
“And also my tits are getting some soreness.” She poked her chest slowly, then nodded. She didn’t seem to care that she was in public, but Chloe was used to this sort of behaviour by now. Janna cared about the things she thought mattered and had no care for anything else.
Janna continued, “So it seems I’m about two weeks along or so. It makes sense because that’s around the time that me and Drake stopped… requesting the Servant of Birth to leave us alone.”
Chloe crossed her arms and shook her head.
“I hope you start taking more responsibility for your actions. Look, the Servants provide many useful… services. You might as well take advantage,” She said and then, “Wait! That means you’ll be having a child in-”
Chloe’s voice caught in her lung.
She said, “That’s what Natasha was asking about the laws for! She’s probably going to change them after this trial is over. She still has ten or so months to do it.
Chloe breathed a sigh of relief.
Janna said, “Yeah, well. It’ll still be a pain in the ass. Look, I won’t be able to raise it for the years I’m in here. I don’t know what it’s going to eat. Where are we going to get milk? I don’t think there are any wet nurses around to hire in this day and age.”
“Well, not in the Solune Kingdom…” Chloe said, doubtfully.
Just then, Kain walked in with a group following him.
On his way to the front, he asked, “What about the Solune Kingdom?”
“Oh, I’m just talking about how our laws are different from the East- the Djeb.” Chloe lied.
“Hmm,” Kain said, and then sat at the head of the room. He had no reason to pry.
The people who had come with him took seats in the crowd. It was mostly the same faces as before, Alice and Finch, and many other Solune people worried about their royal family. It seemed that today, Finch and a member of the guard, Setzer, were the only Riley. Janna didn’t really care, but she did note that this sort of session would be of interest mostly for Solune, as it was a Solune prince being tried.
Kain said, “Alright, let’s take another round.”
“Yes,” Said Chloe.
She had been thinking about how to speed up the process, it seemed more of an urgency now than a convenience.
“Is it acceptable if we put certain smaller and more clear-cut accusations under bulk to process them?” Chloe asked.
“Your task,” Kain replied, “Is to make sure that the law is properly applied to Janna. Do you think this approach will have that outcome?”
Chloe wasn’t sure, so following the note she got from her teacher she said, “Absolutely.”
To be honest, even though this one is getting fairly long, I would have continued into the second trial. However, I’m feeling rather off today. It took me three times as long as usual to finish this, so I’ll have to get back to it later. I think I’m just tired.
Also, I think the reason I so openly (and frequently) have Janna and Drake together in copulation is for a couple reasons. The first, of course, is that they are young adults and this is quite natural for them. The second, is that my eyes were opened of such things being rather normal by a certain webcomic Subnormality, over on viruscomix.com. I’m not sure if it was in the specific comic linked, but essentially the sentiment I’m using is this. Sex is very intergal to humanity, it’s necessary for continued life. People do it every day, likely every second. It’s normal, and it’s common. Further, western civilization specifically has something against the natural act. The Japanese have no reservations, as many young adults and teenagers surely no. Some theorize it is because they’ve had neither Christianity nor Sigmund Freud demonizing the act. Vikings were so forward, that they would have sex in the open, at the dinner table even. “They believe God looks favourably upon such open pleasures… [they don’t] tremble at the sight of life” (Crichton, Eaters of the Dead).
I’m not sure why I keep putting essays after my work, but so it goes. It’ll likely continue haha.