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Authors: Brandon Dorman

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THE INJUSTICE OF THE JUSTICES: How the King Is Only a Pawn to a Monarchy in Disguise
By Sherple Hinderback
As she moved the book off the shelf, Brystal accidentally knocked over the file of paperwork placed next to it. The documents spilled onto the floor, and Brystal knelt as she picked up the mess. Until this moment, Brystal hadn’t had much interest in the files throughout the bookcases, but now she couldn’t help reading the papers as she restacked them.

Among the paperwork was a detailed profile of the author Sherple Hinderback. It was followed by a log on Hinderback’s whereabouts over a period of years. The addresses became more and more obscure with time—what started as houses and inns became bridges and caverns. The dates of the entries also became closer and closer together—as if Hinderback had changed his location more and more frequently. The log ended with a warrant for the author’s arrest, and finally, the paperwork concluded with his death certificate. The cause of death was

Brystal got to her feet and inspected the files beside the books of Robbeth Flagworth, Daisy Peppernickel, and Quint Cuppamule. Similar to the documents in the previous file, she found profiles of the authors, records of their residences, warrants for their arrests, and eventually, their death certificates. And just like Sherple Hinderback, each author’s cause of death was

As if struck by a cold breeze, Brystal had chills, and her body went tense. She felt sick to her stomach as she looked around and recognized the small room for what it truly was. This wasn’t a private library—it was a graveyard for truth and an archive of people the Justices had silenced.

“They killed them,” Brystal said in shock. “They killed them

In time, the books throughout the secret room would introduce Brystal to an assortment of troubling ideas. Her perspective of the world would change forever, but most troubling of all, one of these books was going to change Brystal’s view of
. And once she read it she would never look into a mirror the same way again.…

very evening after cleaning the library, Brystal returned to the Justices’ private room on the second floor to devour another
title. The nightly ritual was by far the most dangerous exercise she had ever embarked on. Brystal knew she was playing with fire every time she passed the
sign, but she also knew she had struck intellectual gold. This was the opportunity of a lifetime—it could be her only exposure to such a treasure trove of truth and ideas. If she didn’t risk the consequences now, Brystal was sure she would spend the rest of her lifetime regretting it.
With the completion of each
book, Brystal felt like another veil had been lifted from her eyes. Everything she thought she knew about the Southern Kingdom—the laws, the economy, the history, how the army was run, what the class system was—it was all shrouded with conspiracies the Justices used to preserve their influence and control. The very foundation she was raised on crumbled beneath her feet more and more with every page she turned.

The most uncomfortable part for Brystal was wondering what her father’s involvement was in the malicious schemes she read about. Was he even aware of the information Brystal was uncovering, or was he a leader in the corruption? Were some Justices kept in the dark, or did they
play a part in the deception? And if so, did that mean her brothers would eventually become as dishonest and power-hungry as the other Justices seemed to be?

Her world was turned virtually upside down, but the
titles also proved something that Brystal found profoundly comforting:
she wasn’t nearly as alone as she had feared

All the books in the secret room were written by people who felt and thought exactly like she did, by people who questioned information, who criticized social restrictions, who challenged the systems set in place, and who weren’t afraid to make their ideas known. And for every person the Justices had successfully hunted down, there must be dozens who were still at large. Brystal just hoped the day would come when she would get to meet them.

Despite the lucky discovery, Brystal was prepared for it all to end in disaster. Should she get caught in the act, Brystal thought continuing her role as a frivolous and innocent maid was her best chance at avoiding any trouble. She spent a great deal of time imagining what the interaction might sound like:

“What are you doing in here?”

“Me, sir? Well, I’m the maid, of course. I’m here to clean.”

“You are not allowed in this room! The sign on the door clearly states this room is for Justices only!”

“I’m sorry, sir, but my employer’s instructions were to clean
part of the library. He never mentioned certain rooms were off-limits. Even private rooms get dusty.”

Fortunately, the library remained as empty and quiet as always, allowing Brystal to read in safety.

By the end of Brystal’s second month of employment, she had read every
title in the Justices’ private library except for one. As she retrieved the final book, on the bottom shelf of the last bookcase, Brystal was consumed by a bittersweet sensation. For weeks, the secret room had been a private classroom where she got to study the most fascinating subjects imaginable, and now she was taking her final lesson:
The Truth About Magic
By Celeste Weatherberry
Curiously, unlike all the other books in the room,
The Truth About Magic
didn’t have a file beside it. The cover was a pale violet and practically glowed in the dark chamber. The title was surrounded by an elaborate silver crest with a unicorn and a gryphon on opposite sides, and the space between the creatures was filled with winged pixies, stars, and a crescent moon.

It was by far the most beautiful book Brystal had ever come across. Of all the topics she had read about in the private library, she was the least familiar with magic. She knew it was considered a demonic practice and a heinous crime, but other than the
to it, Brystal knew very little about magic itself. She sat at the table and excitedly opened the book to the very first page, eager to learn more:

Dear Friend,
If this book has found a way into your hands, I hope you are reading it in a safe place. As I’m sure you’re aware, magic is a rather
subject around the world. In most areas, possessing anything remotely related to magic is just as punishable as the act of magic. However, by the end of this book, you will learn that magic is as pure as existence itself, and why it’s worthy of the world’s admiration and respect.

To get a proper perspective on what I’m saying, we must first take a look at history. Thousands of years ago, humanity and other intelligent species lived in harmony with members of the magical community. We were one another’s neighbors, friends, and family. We helped one another, looked out for one another, and all worked together toward the same goals of peace and prosperity. Unfortunately, that all changed when humankind began its bloody quest for world domination.

Before King Champion I was crowned, the young sovereign-in-waiting had a wonderful relationship with the magical community. He pledged his loyalty to us, and in return, we aided his ascension to the throne. After Champion I’s coronation, the king’s first royal act was to establish his Advisory Council of High Justices, and history was changed forever.

The High Justices saw magical people and their abilities as a threat. They filled Champion I’s head with lies about our intentions to overthrow him and seize control of the kingdom. They rewrote the Book of Faith and convinced the entire kingdom that our spells, charms, and enchantments were demonic practices, and that our very existence was an abomination. So Champion I declared all members of the magical community to be “witches,” and criminalized magic to the same caliber as treason and murder. Eventually the other kingdoms followed Champion I’s example, and the first witch hunt in recorded history began.

Across the world, all alleged witches were arrested and executed, all the unicorns, dragons, gryphons, pixies, and other animals deemed “magical” were slaughtered into extinction, and all the good that the magical community had done for humankind was erased from history. The High Justices’ plan was so efficient that it became the template for how they dealt with all conflicts in the future.

Hundreds of years have passed since Champion I’s reign, but the stigma against people with magical blood is stronger than ever. In recent decades, King Champion XIV changed the punishment for conjuring magic in the Southern Kingdom from death to imprisonment with hard labor, but this does nothing to salvage all the innocent lives being lost throughout the world. To this day, many people abandon their children or flee into dangerous territories just to avoid being associated with magic. But the very notion that magic is wrong or something to be ashamed of is the greatest misconception of our time.

Magic is the beautiful and rare gift to manifest and modify the elements. It’s a pure and positive art form used to create something from nothing. It’s the ability to help those in need, heal those in pain, and improve the world around us. Magic can only be accomplished by those with goodness in their hearts, and they aren’t the witches that popular belief suggests, but rather are known as fairies. And their talents should be celebrated, not suppressed.

While witches do exist, they represent a very small fraction of the remaining magical community. The wickedness in their hearts prevents witches from doing magic, so instead, they practice a foul and destructive art called
Those who commit witchcraft usually do it with disruptive intentions. They deserve the harsh punishments they receive, but their vile ways should
be mistaken for the goodness that magic offers.

It may seem complicated to differentiate a fairy from a witch, but there is a simple test that members of the magical community have used for centuries. By reading a passage of ancient text aloud, a questioning fairy or witch can easily determine where they stand:

Ahkune awknoon ahkelle-enama, telmune talmoon ahktelle-awknamon.
Brystal found the phrase so amusing she read it out loud just to hear what it sounded like.
“‘Ahkune awknoon ahkelle-enama, telmune talmoon ahktelle-awknamon,’”
she pronounced with a laugh.
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