Peter loved his subjects with a deep and abiding love, which was just as well, as well as being incredibly difficult. Admiring the Stags was easy. Respecting Crows, Wolves and Centaurs was, likewise, easy. Standing judgement of fractious songbirds complaining about their Mates, their Eggs and what the hussy from the other side of their territory had done without wanting to have all of them executed for turning Court into a sex-farce was something that only love could achieve.
The Writing Hornets didn't lie, everyone agreed on that- they didn't think and then Write, the Writing was their thought-process, but as a result they were incredibly slow- a thought could take easily five minutes to get from first stimulus of an outlying body to get back to the swarm, and then thinking about it was a laborious process of many hundreds of thousends of simple interactions between the thousand-odd of bodies, and the Writing was the patterns that emerged from those interactions.
Which was why he, or rather they were STILL standing judgement over a case concerning stolen honey that had started three days ago. Vespa claimed that she had stolen the honey from the Rotten Log hive fair and square, and that the bees could suck it. Bruina claimed that she had followed the bees when they moved into the Rotten Log hive, and so they (and the honey) were hers by right of Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch §961.
The bees didn't claim anything: they couldn't Talk or Write, but Vespa took dumb eusocial insects rather more seriously than she took single-bodied creatures. Which was why Peter and the entire court had to be here to render judgement: the socially-constructed meta-organism of the committee was something that Vespa could meaningfully identify with.
None of which actually helped with judgement. Peter always felt he was expected to come to some sort of "Wise" decision - split the child and give the claimants half each, like Salomon, except that was an awful thing to threaten to do and all he'd get was fewer people coming for judgement, and then he'd be King of no one.
Right. Bruina said she had marked the territory with scent and claw-marks, the investigating officer, Bartelby said that these were present, but faded and Dr. Anteater, the colony surgeon and interpreter said that one of the patterns of Hornet-body interactions that arose when Vespa was asked to remember the scene was the memory of bear-scent.
Which meant precisely nothing since the question was "had Bruina followed the bees when they swarmed?", not "had she marked around the hive at some point?"
"Right, we're calling a recess for now. Bartelby, see if you can round up some of the local Trees for witnesses, and we'll start over in the morning." he was grasping at straws: Trees tend not to pay much attention to bees or Bears. Wood-chewers like Vespa they'd notice, but where her nest was wasn't an issue.