There were few enough of them to be able to double up on the six horses and Little John even had a horse to himself (as he was so big!). Before long they were all back in Olympus and were allowed to eat and rest before they were told anything about the trail. Now, you might be thinking that three year’s banishment from Elysium wouldn’t sound too bad to the children when they had all spent their whole lives in The Bump, but in truth, this was a grave and serious matter. Firstly, because after spending one’s whole life in a barren, war-torn, broken world and then coming to Olympus, one cannot be blamed for wanting to spend the rest of their days there. Secondly, because this means that even if they did go home, they couldn’t visit Olympus for three years and they wouldn’t see The King or The Prince (or anyone they had met there) for this time. And finally, because three Elysium years are equivalent to forty Earth years and the banishment clock is suspended when you leave Elysium (meaning that if they left and spent forty years on Earth, they would still have to endure forty years of banishment when they returned to Elysium).
The hour of the trial drew near and the final few minutes before seemed to take an eternity to everyone involved. The trail itself started off even worse. Serpent was called to the witness stand and he reported the whole event to the court (except the part in which he encouraged them to steal the food). Viviane came next and though she admitted that the children had stolen the food, she said she forgave them and pleaded for The King to forgive them. The King looked grieved throughout the whole trial – more so than anyone else in the room (including the children), but to this he could only say “the law says that one who steals must be banished from Elysium.” The children had no defence. They had stolen the food and they were very, very sorry. Their situation was dire and it seemed that there was no way out for them.
Just as the verdict was about to be announced and the penalty given, The Prince (who was of one mind with The King. Really, they were the same person) stood up. “I will take the punishment” he offered. “Elysian law states that a worthy representative may act as a substitute if both parties are willing. If you deem me worthy,” he looked at each of the children, “then I will take the punishment for you. I will serve twelve years of banishment (three for each of you).”
The children were silent. What could they possibly say? The Prince was completely innocent, and he had decided to take their punishment. He seemed as if he were completely saturated with sorrow and loss. Saying no goodbyes, he hung his head low and left to start his banishment. The King was equally sorrowed, for he had lost an important part of him, but he knew that he would rather take the punishment upon himself than let the children face it.
After that, it was a quiet afternoon with many mixed feelings. The children were relieved to have escaped punishment (in fact, they were not only relieved, they were over the moon), but they had let an innocent man be punished instead of them. For this reason, they were very much under the moon, and beyond that, they were below the lowest depths of the Earth.
The King looked far more joyous when he came out to see them (for although he would grieve for The Prince more than anyone for the next twelve Elysium years (which is one-hundred-and-sixty Earth years!) he was glad not to have the children banished and was delighted at the prospect of seeing them again).
After staying with them for a long while he finally conceded “it is time for you all to go back home. You cannot stay here forever. Not yet anyway, but I promise that you will be back some day.”
The children were all sad to leave. How can I describe it? Have you ever been on holiday wanted to stay there forever? Or have you ever had a wonderful day out – so wonderful that you ended up wishing you could stay for another day? Well this is how the children felt – and much more so! The King was right though. They had been gone for almost three whole days now and their parents would soon be getting worried about them.
They took a long time to say goodbye, and eventually Bren said to The King “I have one more question for you.”
“What is it?” asked The King.
“If you can protect Olympus” he started, “why couldn’t you protect The Bump from The War? And if you could build Olympus” he continued “why couldn’t you rebuild The Bump after The War? And if you could plant and grow and look after all of Elysium” he finished “why must The Bump remain barren?”
“That was three questions” replied The King. “And I do more than you think.” He could have left it there and Bren would have been satisfied. “(Or could possibly imagine). The Bump will not always be as it is. Now, it is time to get you home!”
The next thing anyone could remember, they found themselves coming out of the tunnel at the top of The Burrow. They could hear Winni and the twins outside, searching for the rest of them. They had come back on the same evening that they had gone into the tunnel!
“Let’s jump out on them and scare them!” suggested Bren.
“No!” Jenna was trying her best to be quiet. “They can’t know we are here!”
They sat outside quietly, watching them go into the tunnel. When they were about done and ready to start heading home, Bren noticed something small and green on the floor that he had never noticed there before. It was a tiny sprout of a blade of grass; the first blade of grass that had grown in The Bump since The War. Suddenly Bren remembered what The King had said in response to his questions: “The Bump will not always be as it is.” And indeed from that day it wasn’t.
So That was the story of how six children stumbled upon the greatest adventure anyone has ever had – and it was awfully nice of The King to overlook their banishment (and awfully nice of The Prince to take the punishment for them. It needn’t be said that the children will remember this adventure for a long, long time, but I have a feeling that this is just one of many adventures that have been had in Elysium. If I come across any more I will be sure to write again. Until then, thanks for reading!