Leonard was stricken speechless, but he quickly recovered. "Me? As in...me?" He asked putting his paw to his chest. Kowalski nodded. Leonard shook his head. "No, there must be some mistake."
Kowalski shook his own head. "There's no mistake. I ran the test three times and your name showed up in each of them. Now, it's possible that your bulu may have coincidentally blew into the kubung, pukang hab-"
"Coincidence my tail! I did not put anything into that kubung, pukang habitat!" Leonard insisted a little louder than he intended.
Skipper stepped meneruskan, ke depan and nodded comprehendingly. "Now, look, marsupial. I know what you're probably thinking. But look at it this way. If anda truly have nothing to hide, you'll let us cari your habitat.-"
"Fine! cari it! Turn it inside out! anda won't find anything!" Leonard berkata turning his back on them. Skipper was going to say something else, but instead let out the air he was going to use to speak and turned to his men. After signaling his command, the team started sweeping Leonard's habitat. Leonard sat against his pohon and folded his arms over his chest. So, now he knew what the dog was doing. He wasn't going after his friends in spite of him; he was trying to frame him. But why? Of course. If he came into the zoo for him, he'd have lebih witnesses to deal with. If he was framed, they'd probably kick him out of the zoo atau something. Then, he would go after him. But how had he been planting all of this evidence in the zoo without being seen? All of these tidak terjawab pertanyaan were making his head hurt.
After about an jam of sweeping the habitat, the penguins got ready to leave. They stopped selanjutnya to Leonard. "Well?" Leonard urged.
Skipper took a deep breath. "Well, we didn't find anything worth suspicion. I guess we'll be lea-" He stopped in mid-sentence when something wet dripped onto his head. He wiped it off with his flipper and looked at the solution in it. It was hard to determine color through his dark-colored flipper, but it was thick. He looked up into Leonard's tree.
"What is that?" Leonard asked stepping meneruskan, ke depan when suddenly a drop fell on his own head. The penguins' eyes widened as Leonard wiped it from his forehead and examined the red solution on his paw. Leonard looked at it in confusion, then up into his tree.
"I was about to ask the same question, marsupial. pindah to the side." Skipper ordered. Leonard was about to protest, but the penguins were already making their way toward his tree. Leonard followed behind as they climbed up. The penguins stopped at a branch that had a tilting bucket sitting atop it camouflaged in the branches and leaves. Skipper pushed back the shrub. None of the penguins, nor Leonard, could believe what they saw. Skipper turned to him. "Care to explain what this is doing here?" He asked gesturing to the bucket full of bloody water.
Leonard shook his head with wide eyes. "No...I know nothing about that...You have to believe me!" He protested.
Skipper stepped forward. "Look, marsupial. We want to believe you. But until we find evidence that proves your innocence, you're our prime suspect. I'm sorry, Leonard." Rico and Kowalski carried the bucket down from the pohon and Skipper followed. Private hesitated and looked at Leonard.
"Private...you believe me, right?" Leonard asked him softly.
Private opened his beak to speak, but couldn't find the words. His mind told him that he was guilty, his gut told him that he was innocent. He turned slowly and finally he said: "I don't know, Leonard." With that, he followed his leader. Leonard watched them leave.
"But, how could Leonard do such a thing? It just doesn't seem like him!" Private protested.
"I don't know, young Private. But we can't ignore the evidence. First, the bulu we found at the kubung, pukang crime scene. Then we find Leonard wandering the zoo just a habitat away from Ringtail's? And then we find bloody water in his habitat?" Skipper answered with a look that suggested that he was deep in thought.
"How are we going to handle this, Skipper?" Kowalski berkata adjusting a couple of cameras to Leonard's habitat.
"Well, I think we should wait until we get harder evidence. We need to catch him in the act." Skipper suggested.
"Well, what about a trial? anda know...like they tampil in the movies." Private piped up.
"A trial? This isn't The Supreme Court, Private." Skipper answered.
"But this is America! What happened to 'innocent until proven guilty'?" Private pointed out.
"And who would be on Leonard's defense?" Skipper asked sternly.
Private swallowed. "I will."
"You?" Rico piped up.
"Yes. I think Leonard should have a chance to share his side of the story." Private responded.
Skipper sighed. "And anda really want to bring the whole zoo into this?"
"I don't see any other choice we have." Private answered.
Skipper thought for a moment, then he sighed again. "Alright. Democracy exercise: Who's in favor of giving Leonard a fair trial?" He asked his team. Private immediately raised his flipper, but Kowalski and Rico hesitated. Finally, Kowalski sighed to the camera feed.
"Fine. I'm in."
Skipper looked at Rico, who looked at Private who was looking at him with eyes that begged. He rolled his eyes. "Me too."
Skipper nodded. "Alright. anda win, Private. I'll call a meeting for tomorrow evening." Skipper told him. Private nodded back.
The selanjutnya evening, the binatang gathered in the Zoovenir toko for the makeshift trial. Rico was going to listen to the trial on a walkie while watching the zoo's camera feed. Private left to go get Leonard. Skipper and Kowalski told everyone how this was going to work.
"Alright, everybody, settle in." Skipper started. Everyone tuned in. "As anda have all been informed, there have been two incidents in the past three days involving innocent unknown deaths discovered first in Marlene's habitat, then in Ringtail's. Evidence has been discovered against Leonard's innocence. We are going to ask several witnesses-including Leonard-various questions. We expect that each of anda will be honest in your testimony. Once we complete the testimony, we'll have a zoo vote. For Leonard's innocence, atau against it. Any questions?" Julien stepped forward.
"Eh, how long is this going to take?"
"I don't know, Ringtail. It could be a matter of days, maybe longer. It depends on how much evidence we can gather." Mason stepped meneruskan, ke depan next.
"What will become of Leonard if he is found guilty?"
"I don't know, yet. We'll menyeberang, salib that bridge when we come to it." Skipper answered. "Any lebih questions?" Silence. "Alright. Now we just wait for Private, who will act as Leonard's defense attorney, gets here with the accused."
Private made his way to Leonard's habitat. Leonard had been asleep all day, so he was unaware of what the other binatang had in store for him. "Leonard?" Private called softly into his habitat.
"Down here, Private." Leonard's gloomy voice answered. Private looked down; Leonard was sitting against his habitats' walls beneath him. Private hopped down and turned to face him.
"Leonard, anda need to come with me."
Leonard answered without ungluing his eyes from the ground in front of him. "Why? Where are we going?"
"The zoo has decided to give anda a trial. They're going to vote for atau against your innocence." Private explained.
"Trial? Oh, what's the point. They're going to vote against it."
"I don't know, Leonard. I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Come on; what do we have to lose?" Private reasoned.
Leonard thought for a moment, then sighed. "Alright. But I'm not getting my hopes up." He answered getting to his feet. Private smiled.
"I have confidence, Leonard. I'm sure anda will, too, soon enough." He encouraged patting his shoulder.
"Yeah. Sure." He replied, though obviously full of doubt.
Once they'd gotten to the Zoovenir Shop, Private and Leonard stopped outside the entrance. "Are anda ready, Leonard?" Private asked.
Leonard took a deep breath. "As I'll ever be...I guess..." He answered looking at his feet. Private smiled sympathetically and pushed the door open.
The other animals, who had been talking amongst themselves, silenced upon the sight of Leonard standing in the doorway. They all just...stared at him. Leonard gulped and leaned a little closer to Private. "I don't know if I can do this..." He whispered.
"You'll be fine. Just tell them the truth." He gave him a gentle push on the shoulder to urge him forward. Leonard slowly took a few steps meneruskan, ke depan and started making his way for his place at the defendant's chair. He could feel the eyes of the other zoo binatang boring into him the whole way. His jantung pounded harder with each step. Skipper stepped meneruskan, ke depan on the counter and cleared his throat.
"Leonard the koala has been suspected of murder in the first degree. Leonard, how do anda plead?"
Leonard hesitated, then looked up and said, "Not-" He cleared his throat slightly and raised his voice. "Not guilty."
Private smiled as Skipper nodded and said, "In that case, this court is now in session."