Now, we must come back to Jon as he had stumbled into a something of a situation himself. When we left him, if you recall, he had just entered Olympus with Bren, Jenna and Rebecca and was separated from them when he was rushed off to meet his family. Well, he enjoyed a lovely tea with his family (Wensleydale and pickle sandwiches, and the most delightful apple crumble) and then set off to find the other children, as they were in a strange city and he already felt bad for leaving them on their own.
He already knew that they were expected at the palace, so he made his way there. This took some time as Olympus is a big city. It is far taller, and far longer and far wider than any city you would have ever seen, and while Jon’s house was relatively near the centre (the palace is in the exact centre and the city spreads out for fifty miles in all directions) it was still a good hour’s walk to the palace.
About thirty-five minutes into his walk he came across an old friend (to use the word ‘friend’ quite loosely), Serpent. He explained that he was going away from Olympus on business and invited Jon to join him. Jon had learnt all about snakes by now (if he had not already known before) and politely declined, but the more he declined, the more insistent the snake became. When Jon resolved to declining his invitation more firmly and half turned, as if to walk away, he raised his head and most of his body as if he was standing up and grew till he was almost two feet taller than Jon; his tail split into two legs and his face started to resemble that of a person’s (a very horrible and sinister looking person); he developed arms and soon there stood a very tall, slender, terrifying man in a red and black cape, and he was looking at Jon in a very menacing manner.
“If you won’t come with me” Serpent threatened, “then I shall have to tell The King about how you and the others stole all of that lovely food from Viviane.”
This was a nasty threat – it is against the law to take what was not yours in Elysium and those who do are subject to banishment from Olympus. They must wander the rougher parts of Elysium and fend for themselves for all of three years with no friends and no help from anybody. This is a tough life as most of the people who are banished live around Thunder which is rife with trolls, or the swamps, marshes and wilderness behind the mountain which are just as bad (if not worse). Truly Jon did not want to be banished, and he couldn’t let it happen to his friends either, but if the snake was inviting him on a “business trip” it was surely a trick. Doubtless he had some sort of sinister agenda to his trip and he intended to get Jon in even more trouble.
“I am just on my way to the palace now” Jon found himself saying. “Why don’t you come with me and tell The King at his great feast?” He’d hoped that Serpent’s threat was an empty one, for although he had to get rid of him, banishment was the worst possible thing that could happen to a citizen of Olympus. His heart rushed up to his mouth and he suddenly regretted what he’d just said.
Serpent was furious. He wasn’t used to being snubbed and to say he didn’t like it would have been an understatement. He shot up to the palace in a blur. One second he was there and a split second later he’d vanished. It didn’t take Jon twenty-five minutes to get to the palace (from a distance of twenty-five minutes away). He needed to get there as quick as he could, so he ran as fast as his legs could carry him and got there in under ten.
By the time he reached the palace, Bren, Jenna and Rebecca had already left. He expected to find The King furious (for although he’d lived his whole life in Olympus he did not truly know The King, but only knew what The Prince had told him – which was that he was a just king and would not disobey the law), but instead found him solemn and sad – mournful, even.
“When the others come back from their quest, you will all be put on trial.” If Jon was upset about the prospect of being banished – which he was. Very much so – The King was distraught. “Elysian law dictates that those who steel must be banished and, as you are aware, I will not break the law, I will not bend it and I certainly won’t go against it; the law is right, and so law breakers must be punished.”