Chapter 6: The Trial and The End
Maggie laid her head down on her desk, groaning. She hadn’t thought Retinz was serious about what he said in the understage, but it was true. Every television show, every news network, and even every print source was doing nothing but blaming Trucy for the murder. “Talk about court of public opinion,” she muttered to herself, scanning some of the headlines of the papers she’d bought on her way to work. “Seriously… ‘The Magical Murder,’ ‘The Wright Time for a Crime,’ ‘Houdini’s New Trick – Murder?’… These are all awful.” Glancing over at her colleagues, Maggie noticed they were all gathered around an iPad, which was playing the morning news. It was covering the trial, of course, showing a live feed of the entrance to the courthouse. Although she couldn’t hear any audio, she could see a familiar red suit just going through the doors.
Checking her watch, Maggie grabbed her bag, ensuring both her notebooks were inside. The courthouse was just a few blocks from her office, so it was time for a stroll down the street to cover the biggest trial of the year. Maggie was nervous, both for her article and for the verdict. She was forced to admit last night that there was no way this article would be objective, but given what she had learned about the players and about the crime itself, she was sure the truth was on her side. And that was the real goal of all of this, wasn’t it? To give the public the truth. Maggie hurried out the doors, clutching the strap of her bag anxiously. Maybe if she hurried, she’d have time for one last interview with the defense team before the trial started.
Maggie took her seat inside the courtroom, flipping to a fresh page of notes. Apollo and Athena had been more than happy to answer her last minute questions, and she’d even gotten a few quotes from Trucy, who’d cast a few meaningful looks between Apollo and Maggie, raising her eyebrows. Maybe she’d talked with Athena. She was trying to figure out exactly how to weave Apollo’s scratchy throat (from all his Chords of Steel training, apparently) into her article when the doors opened and Apollo and Athena entered the courtroom, Trucy and the bailiff just behind them. They were followed by a man with a long purple braid, a mysteriously flowing scarf, and an overly calm aura. This must be the prosecutor Ema had told her about – Nahyuta Sadmadhi. He had a very impressive record, Maggie had learned from her research, so she was more than interested in seeing him in court.
Looking across the room, she briefly made eye contact with Apollo, who gave her a shy wave. Maggie flashed him a grin and a thumbs up, mouthing ‘go get ‘em!’ cheerfully. She may have been imagining it, but his face seemed to turn the slightest bit darker and he let out a cough, causing Athena to roll her eyes and mutter something about ‘overdoing it again.’ Before he could respond (and judging by his face, he was going to), the judge entered the courtroom and called the trial to order. Maggie grabbed her sketchbook out as well, beginning to draw idly as the opening business was taken care of. It was going to be a long and interesting day.
Maggie was waiting on the courthouse steps after the trial ended – the guards wouldn’t let her back into the defendant’s lobby, so this was the next best thing. Finally, the doors opened to reveal Apollo, Athena, and Trucy, all wearing the same expression, a mixture of elated and relieved.
“Congratulations, Trucy!” Maggie called, waving before approaching the group. “And great job Athena and Apollo! That was… quite a trial.”
“What do you think, enough for an exciting article?” Trucy asked.
“It doesn’t really matter if it’s exciting or not, as long as it’s the truth. That’s what the public wants,” Maggie answered, shrugging. “But… I think it’ll be pretty exciting.”
“As long as you feature the magical and beautiful Trucy Wright dazzling the courtroom with her sword swapping, it’ll sell in no time!”
“I’ll be sure to do that,” Maggie said, laughing. Then she looked over at Apollo, who was decidedly looking anywhere but at her. “And, well, I was hoping maybe we could go, um… go out for coffee or something sometime.”
It took Apollo a second to respond, looking at her incredulously for a minute. Trucy and Athena quickly stepped away, casting knowing glances at the two of them and seemingly trying to keep their giggling to a minimum. “M-me?” His voice cracked, which made Maggie laugh.
“Oh, uh… yeah. I’d like that.” Apollo rubbed his spikes, looking embarrassed, but pleased. “I guess… I’ll call you?”
“Anytime.” Maggie checked her watch (mostly to avoid looking at Apollo anymore – she was sure she was as red as his suit). “I’d better get going. This article won’t write itself.” She looked up, giving the three of them one last beaming smile. “Thank you so much for all your help. I really appreciate it.”
“Thank you too,” Apollo replied quickly. “Your article was the only good one out there.”
“Hopefully this upcoming one won’t be.” Maggie turned toward her office, waving one last time. “I’ll see you all soon, I’m sure!”
As she reached the next corner, Maggie’s fingers brushed against something in her pocket and she wrinkled her brow in confusion, pulling it out. It was a front row ticket to Trucy’s magic show, with a phone number labeled ‘Apollo’ in clearly girly writing. Now she knew why Trucy looked so pleased with herself. Apparently she’d be seeing them again sooner than even she’d anticipated. And if she was honest with herself, Maggie couldn’t wait.