Long ago in a galaxy far, far away… or another universe entirely. Who really knows?
As was going through my old case file, in spite of my efforts to concentrate on its content, I found my mind keep wandering to the lack of somebody's presence in my office. I thought about what I would ask my secretary if she were here. I imagined her thoughtful expression as she tried to connect the dots with me and proposed a new possibility I didn't consider before. I would ask her to find data in the archives, or, maybe, we would go there together, searching for the truth in the unpromising-looking, dusty drawers…
I had to admit, I missed Dahlia, very much. It wasn't just for the fact she was my girlfriend. I worked alongside her for three years now. Without her, the office seemed so… empty .
(…well, not exactly empty. ) I finished my thought as loud sound of slamming door reached my ears.
"Good morning, Miles!"
An energetic, young girl sprung into my office without announcing her arrival with ringing the doorbell, or knocking. But it was to be expected, I suppose. I lifted my head from the file to take a look at her cheerful face.
"Good morning to you, Maya." I replied.
"Look what I brought you!" She grinned merrily and put a plastic box on my desk.
"Eh… Thank you…?" I couldn't help but make a rather confused expression. It was quite unusual for Maya Fey to buy me something. Actually, for the short time I'd known her, she had been the one who made me buy her things. Burgers and instant noodles specifically.
"I was in the burger joint, and they had this cool promotion!" Maya looked so excited one would think she was talking about release date of the next Steel Samurai collection. " 'Buy three burgers and get a six-doughnut pack free' ! Isn't it great?"
( Well that explains it. ) I thought, examining the box's contents.
"I see only five doughnuts in there." I noted, raising an eyebrow.
"He he… Are there now?" Maya smiled cheekily. I left it without comment.
"So, you bought three burgers just to get a pack of doughnuts?" I asked, already having a suspicion what the answer to that question was going to be.
"Why, of course not! I was going to buy four one way or another!" She assured me, smiling dreamingly while thinking about the burgers which, apparently, she had already eaten. "We have to go there together before the concert, Miles! It's totally worth it! Burgers there are sooo good!"
I honestly could not understand her obsession with junk food. But, as long as it made her happy, I just couldn't resist her requests. I almost felt obligated to fulfill them. After all… it was partly my fault that her sister was…
I knew I shouldn't have blamed myself for what happened on the Fey cousins' trial. I did everything I could. It simply… wasn't enough. Not against the merciless prosecutor in charge… one who had no sympathies or regrets, who would do absolutely anything for a guilty verdict….
I quickly pushed away the gnawing feeling of guilt that had been haunting me for few days and focused on the box in front of me instead.
"This is very thoughtful of you, Maya. I'm not sure I can eat all of them."
( Come to think of it… I have never tried any of those before. ) I peered with curiosity at the pack of large, round doughnuts with white frosting and chocolate chips on them. ( They seem a little too sweet for my taste, but I can't deny their appearance is rather tempting. )
"Don't worry! If it's too much for you, we can always share…" She put her hand alarmingly close to the pack.
"S-Sure… If I leave any, I'll let you know." I said quickly, opening the box and grabbing one doughnut before she could go and eat all remaining five on the spot.
Maybe she wouldn't do that. But one can't be too certain when it comes to Maya Fey, and any sort of tasty, unhealthy food.
I bit the pastry and chewed for a moment, digesting it.
( Not so bad after all… But it is very sweet, as I expected. )
I noticed Maya was looking at me inquiringly. Being stared at for no apparent reason, I felt committed to demand an explanation for her strange attention.
"Yes? What is it?" I asked, as soon as I was done.
"You look serious even when you're chewing!" She giggled, causing me to blink in surprise. "You need to chill out, Miles! You don't want to have that frown permanently stuck on your face, do you?"
Before I could say something, she turned around and rushed to the other room.
( …Huh. Do I really frown when I eat? ) I wondered, touching my forehead with my free hand. ( Or, was it just one of her jokes? ) With that Fey girl, it was hard to tell. Maya had an unique and quite unpredictable personality. I am good at estimating people's abilities and behavior, if I do say so myself, but I never knew what she was going to do next.
My train of thoughts was interrupted by short sound of the doorbell.
( I told Maya she could open the door next time a client comes around… ) I looked in the direction she disappeared to, hesitating when I remembered the amount of sound she produced when she entered the office. ( …but perhaps it is for the best if I do it. Not looking forward to buying a new door. )
I stood up from the desk and hurried to the entrance before Maya would realize somebody had come. I adjusted my bowtie and reached the handle, gently opening the poor, abused door of mine. I was ready to introduce myself and ask the whoever person was standing outside what business had brought them here.
As soon as I opened the door I instantly forgot about that intention. My throat froze, and my jaw fell low.
So did the visitor's, for some reason.
He was in his late twenties, wearing a blue suit and a red tie, with shining black boots and a suitcase in his left hand. His hair were unusual: black spikes directed to the back of his head like he was riding a cabriolet car with high speed without putting the roof up. We was looking at me with the same amount of shock I was.
I knew this man. Perhaps too well.
"P-Phoenix?" I squealed out. "What…?"
His baffled gaze was traveling between my face and the doughnut I was holding in my hand…
( … damn ! I'm still holding this thing! ) I realized, feeling a strong surge of embarrassment. I looked behind me frantically in hope I could reach a bookshelf or a drawer to hide the bitten doughnut from sight, but nothing of sort was near. I would have to either go back inside the office, making a coward of myself, or eat it in instant, which I definitely couldn't do with the prosecutor's scrutinizing stare on me. Eventually, I decided to just forget about the doughnut. I had more important issues to deal with right now than desperately trying to save my face.
I took a deep breath, trying to calm down and restore my voice to its natural height.
"…What do you want here?" I asked. It was a legitimate question, what was he doing here?
( Has he come to gloat some more? ) I thought, and my face probably turned into an angry frown.
"What… do… I want here?" Phoenix Wright repeated slowly as if he didn't understand my question. "I should be the one asking that question, shouldn't I…?"
I narrowed my eyes, trying to make out what possibly could he mean by this.
( Is he patronizing me? )
"I am working." I replied, sounding as collected as I could. ( …obviously. )
"But… this is…" He stuttered.
"And now, it's your turn to answer my question." I interrupted him, before he could mock me further, which I was certain he would do soon enough. "So? What are you doing here?"
I crossed my arms, moving my index finger up and down, waiting for an answer.
He didn't respond immediately though. He kept looking at me with this strange, confused expression. I couldn't remember him ever looking at me like that. After a rather long pause, he licked his lips nervously and slowly asked:
"You… want to talk, Edgeworth?"
( 'Talk' ?! What we could possibly have to discuss?! ) I felt powerful rage coming over me. I had wanted to talk to him before!
After that trial was over, I tried to talk some sense into him. But the prosecutor just ridiculed me, called me pathetic, and gloated over his victory. He had been completely inexorable through the entire case.
…it was then when I had understood that my old childhood friend was long gone.
So why was it that as I glared at him right now, instead staring back at me with arrogance and pride… Wright somehow shrank down, looking at me with uncertainty? Why was he acting like my anger was actually affecting him?
( Could it be…? ) Was that regret on his face, or were my eyes just deceiving me?
"Listen… Wright…" I started carefully.
( …I should hate him. I know I should. ) I thought, penetratingly watching him. ( But if I ever want a chance to question him about what he's been doing… )
"If you want to talk about the recent trial with me, I'm all too ready to do so. To be honest, I'm quite relieved that you appear to at least show some remorse." I said. Then I remembered about Maya. "But now is probably a bad time for you to visit. That girl is here, you understand?"
"That… girl?" He repeated my words again.
Maya Fey. She was usually a very happy person, but seeing prosecutor Wright released all her lower instincts. I feared she might overreact if she saw the man who imprisoned her beloved sister for life, standing in front of her.
"Yes, and I'm quite sure she wouldn't exactly be… pleased to see you after all that has happened." ( To put it nicely. ) "So I'd suggest you come back la-"
I was interrupted by female's voice from inside the office:
"Miles! Didn't somebody just ring the bell?"
( Oh no. ) My face must have got two shades paler. I knew what was coming, and I had no way of stopping it.
Phoenix Wright looked behind my shoulder, apparently interested in the voice more than he was in me. For a short moment, much to my surprise, a smile crossed his face, like he recognized the voice and was glad to hear it.
Maya appeared at this exact moment. "Ah, Miles, you're mean! You told me I could answer the door the next time arou-"
She abruptly stopped talking when she noticed the visitor. Her face, which had been cheerfully smiling just a second ago, fell and she froze in place.
( …here we go. ) I was getting tense myself.
"…M-Maya…?" Phoenix said with a queer emotion in his voice. I couldn't make out what it was exactly. He was staring at Maya with incredulity.
The girl, in return, was stabbing him with her eyes. The amount of anger and pain in her expression almost made myself shiver, and I was not the receiver of her look. Tears started to roll down her cheeks.
Finally she wiped them away with a swift motion, and turned to me:
"…What is this person doing here, Miles!"
I had nothing to say. I was far too much thrown off with the prosecutor's behavior. His expression changed. Perhaps describing it best would be: a mixture of confusion, worry and fear.
"M-Maya… Is something wrong?" He asked, downright showing concern .
"Ah, so now that the trial's over, I am suddenly 'Maya' and not 'Ms. Fey' or… or… -what was the other one…?" The way she puffed her cheeks would have been funny if it was happening in other situation. "Oh, yeah, 'Missy'! Well?"
"Mi…ssy…? Hngh!" He had to make a step backwards as Maya approached loudly. I never thought I would see Phoenix Wright so scared of a young girl… but, to be fair, she was starting to scare me as well. She seemed extraordinarily aggressive, like she was about to slap or punch him in the face any moment.
"' Something wrong'?! " She shouted with such force my ears hurt. "How can you just ask that after what you did to them?!"
"Maya, I don't get it! Did something ha-"
"You horrible, heartless monster!"
What I saw there was something I definitely did not expect. Phoenix's face cringed as she insulted him, and his jaw tensed, making him appear genuinely hurt. I had no idea why would he react like that. She called him far worse names numerous times during the trial, and he was totally indifferent all the time. I waited for him to make a sarcastic comeback, but he stayed silent.
"Miles and I will give you thirty seconds to leave, you hear me!?"
I looked away. Taking part of the scene, even from the side, was really painful. But what else would you expect? Wright might have not killed Mia nor Dahlia Fey, but what he did to both of them was almost equally horrible.
Maya rushed back inside the office.
"You should leave now…" I said quietly, looking at the wall instead of the man. "We can talk later. Somewhere else."
"Just one more question, Wright…" I didn't dare to hope, but I had to ask. "Do you feel sorry?"
"Huh?" There was a hint of surprise in his voice. "Sorry? I don't even know what happened!"
I wasn't sure if he was faking obliviousness or referring to what had happened just now. Honestly, it wasn't clear to me what all of this meant either.
"I see…" I finally turned my eyes back on his face.
( I wonder what Maya have done, to affect him to such degree that Wright started showing human emotions for once…? )
One thing was certain though. Me and him were both equally puzzled at the moment, although probably for different reasons.
"Would you please be so nice as to tell me what is going on here?"
( I wish you tell me. ) I thought, looking down and absorbing how sudden and unexpected our meeting was. It wasn't all unwelcome on my part. Yes, it was incredibly awkward for us to face each other in these circumstances, outside the courtroom. But at the same time, I wanted some insight on the entire ordeal. I couldn't understand Phoenix's motivations in prosecuting his best co-worker and his girlfriend's twin sister… well, I did, but it didn't make sense to me. A desire to uphold a perfect win record was a sickness that took over many prosecutors, but I knew Wright for years and it just wasn't like him.
At least, I wanted to believe it. But I had been proven wrong. He had done absolutely everything in his power to make an acquittal impossible for the Fey cousins. My friend Phoenix was dead, replaced with remorseless prosecutor Wright. That's what I told myself.
"Edgeworth… Is that an… Attorney's Badge?"
This out-of-nowhere question brought me back to reality. Phoenix was staring at the golden button on my lapel. I looked at him with surprise, not understanding why would he ask something so obvious.
"Hm? Well, yes… I'm always wearing it there. Did you never notice?"
The Attorney's badge, my pride and elegy. My father used to tell me it was the evidence for the world that I fought for the truth. I smiled a little bit remembering this.
"Well, it's quite small after all, so I guess it's easy to miss it. This makes one wonder if the slightly bigger Prosecutor's badge is supposed to imply something." I looked at him with mild curiosity and asked something I was wondering for a while: "Then again, I never saw any of you openly wearing your badges before... Why is that, actually?"
Wright's eyes went wide after I said this.
"Still here? I'll show you!"
We got interrupted again by the return of our favorite pop singer. She looked different this time.
No, I don't mean she was no longer angry. She was twice as enraged as before. In addition, she wielded a baseball bat in her hands in position ready to strike.
" You! Leave! NOW! " Maya screamed. If my ears hurt when she was shouting few moments back, this time there was no comparison. It felt more like they were about to bleed, being exposed to such volume.
Maya clumsily swung the baseball bat, glaring at Wright with burning hatred. He was so taken aback with her sudden reappearance that he stayed frozen in place. Rather recklessly on his part.
"HIIYA!" She exclaimed, striking, barely missing his nose. His senses apparently came back at this moment and he stepped back quickly.
So did I, since her second swing went dangerously close to me . I decided it was time to intervene. Trying to sound reasonable, I pointed at the deadly weapon in her possession:
"Listen, Maya, I'd really appreciate it if you'd put away that ba-YARGH!" I cut the sentence when she stroke again, this time not just close to me, but an inch from my head! I lost my balance for a second and stumbled back, being able to hear my heart pounding quickly after rush of adrenaline.
I think the display of Maya's out-of-control fury, ready to translate in serious assault on his or my person, made Wright finally get the message and get the hell out of there.
"Yeah! Run! …Next time in court, Miles will smash you! Right, Miles?"
I didn't add anything. I was still a little shaken after Maya had almost killed me . But even if it wasn't for that, I was still very confused about this whole situation and probably wouldn't respond anyway.
"Go away and never come back, you lying, truth-twisting, ruthless…" Her anger was quickly running out, being gradually replaced with sadness, the one I saw too often on the girl's face since that trial. Her eyes began to fill with water again. "Ugh…!" Maya sobbed and, much to my relief, lowered the bat.
I was still able to see Wright in the hallway. He suddenly stopped in his tracks and looked behind. I saw him hesitating and his hand clenched into a fist. Was it just me or was it trembling?
"Maya…" He said loudly enough for us to hear him from the distance. "Listen, I don't know what happened, I swear, but if there is something I can do, I'll-"
Maya threw a baseball ( Where did she get it from? ) at him, aiming right in the forehead, interrupting Phoenix mid-sentence. "Uhf!…"
"Go away!" She repeated.
"Ma-" He attempted to call her once more, but she gave him no chance.
"Just… leave!" Maya threatened with the bat again. Reluctantly, but quickly, he turned and ran away. My eyes followed him until he left from sight.
"Yeah, that should teach him!" She said, still sounding very mad and miserable at the same time. She swung the bat one last time, but with less force.
"Maya…" I sighed, massaging my temple with fingertips. "You really shouldn't have lost your temper like that."
"He deserved it!" Her face skewed in a nasty frown. "I'm just sorry I missed him! I would hand his butt to him if he didn't run away like the wimp he is!"
( Wasn't it you who told him to leave…? )
"Don't talk like that, Maya."
"Come on, Miles! After what he did?" Her hands clenched on the baseball bat she was still holding. "I would have hit him so hard, each time for every innocent person he sent to jail! Grrr!" Maya finally threw the bat on the floor. "I hate him, so much! What was he doing here, anyway?"
She seemed a little calmer already, but still, I made a pause to let her settle down.
"I… don't know." I finally said, deciding at the moment it was best not to tell her that I intended to meet and talk with Wright. Although, I hadn't had a chance to schedule an appointment. Right now, calling him was out of question, as long as angry Maya was around.
"He probably came to make fun of us!" She crossed her arms, glaring at the direction Phoenix had disappeared to. "And you'd think he couldn't sink lower!"
( That was my initial assumption as well, but… ) I closed the door, deep in thoughts. (…after meeting him now, I doubt that was the case. He must have had some significant reason to come here. )
I hadn't fully realized it yet, but in the back of my mind, I knew something was off. The way Phoenix Wright acted during our brief encounter was out of ordinary, at many levels. For starters, he had showed concern and regret, two things I was convinced he was no longer capable of at all. But most importantly, he wanted to talk to me. He wanted to explain himself.
This was an opportunity I simply couldn't let go.
"Maya…" I looked at her, thinking about something, anything, that would help her get over the unpleasant experience from earlier. "…If you still want those doughnuts, you can have all of them." The bitten pastry was still in my hand, the frosting started to melt and got onto my fingers. "They're good, really, but I can't eat any more."
She sighed. "Thanks, Miles. I'm not hungry."
That was not a good sign. Maya was always hungry, no matter what the circumstances – that is what experience taught me.
The girl looked tired. Perhaps meeting the prosecutor had got too much energy out of her. She discreetly yawned in her hand and addressed me:
"I'm going to take a nap… You don't mind, do you?"
"Of course not." She seemed like she could use some rest. "You can use the couch if you like."
Maya passed me and went back inside the office. I hung my head and sighed heavily.
( Where did she get this baseball bat from anyway? ) I couldn't help but wonder, looking at the sport equipment laying on the floor next to me. ( Well, I don't suppose it matters. I should probably go back to work. I'll wait with that call until later. )
I looked at the doughnut I was holding. Then I peeked behind my shoulder with precaution, just to make sure Maya wouldn't see me.
( I have to admit… ) I finished the snack in two bites and licked my fingers. (…this tastes way better than I thought it would. )
It didn't take long until Maya fell asleep. I understood fully: with her many performances, celebrity life to uphold and personal problems to deal with at the same time, any additional stress must have been extremely exhausting. It was quite pleasant to hear her peaceful snoring from the couch to be honest, even if a little bit distracting. I most certainly preferred it compared to yelling and uncontrollable rage.
"…burgers… yeah mum I'll wash them…" She mumbled, turning on the other side, facing the other direction. She let out a deep sigh.
I glanced at her from the desk to assure myself she was still sleeping. Apparently, Maya was sleep talking, big surprise.
"No, I don't like salmon…" She squinted. "Bad fish. Bad, bad."
I tried to focus on the file I was reading, but it had become a little harder than I anticipated, considering how loudly Maya spoke despite being in deep slumber. She got more and more talkative as minutes passed.
"Watch it, sis…!" Maya's dream was probably getting more intense. She repositioned herself again on the couch. "…wait for me… answer me…!"
I frowned, reading the sentence on the paper for the third time.
( Good grief, is this distracting! )
"…answer me, Nick…"
I wasn't listening before, of course, she had been talking nonsense until that moment, so meaning of her 'statement' hit me with at least five seconds delay. My head snapped into straight position immediately and I fixed my eyes on Maya.
( … what did she just say? )
I had known Phoenix Wright for years, we had been friends since elementary school. We even had shared the desk once. Not many people knew about his nickname. "Nick" doesn't sound too much alike to "Phoenix", so it was understandable not everybody would make a connection.
Maya wasn't acquaintances with Wright. For all I knew, she had never seen him before that trial. So why would she…?
No, I must have been overthinking things. Maya was just mumbling in her sleep. I probably heard her wrong.
"Please, Nick… Why… Why won't you answer?" Maya curled up a little, sounding heartbreakingly sad. "Please… please, answer… Nick…"
I stared at her, astonished. It didn't make any sense. I mean, how could it? Maya and Phoenix never…
Then our meeting from two and half an hour earlier came back to me, every single detail of it.
"Maya…" I said to myself in whisper, trying to make sense out of anything . Did Wright… Did he and Maya… know each other?
"Please answer me…"
I looked at her again, but it was the last time she spoke. Her dream, whatever it was about, must have ended. The file I had struggled to read was lying idly on my desk, abandoned. This was a really bad day for my concentration. I knew too well by this point I couldn't work.
Almost without thinking, I reached my pocked and pulled out the cellphone. I checked the time: it was 12:30.
( 'You want to talk, Edgeworth?' Well, I do. ) I walked out of the room quietly and dialed the number. ( Hopefully he hasn't changed his mind yet… )
I doubted it, but I couldn't deny the possibility. I had no proof he hadn't changed his mind. After all, for an Attorney, evidence is everything.
Wright picked up almost immediately. I almost got the impression he was waiting for me to call with phone in his hand.
"Edgeworth? Is that you?" A nervous voice came from the receiver.
"Can you be at Eldoon's noodle stand at 12:45?" I asked, trying to sound as calm and casual as possible. When he didn't respond for next ten seconds, I said something to make sure he could still hear me: "You know where that is, right?"
"Yeah… I do."
"Good. We can talk about everything there." I added, leaning on the wall.
"Alright… I'll be there." He disconnected.
It went down well. Surprisingly. I let go of air I didn't know I had been holding in my lungs.
I had no idea what he was going to tell me. I had no clue what to ask him exactly either. But I knew I was going to meet him, face to face.
I wiped off sweat drops that started to gather on my forehead and pulled myself together.
( This is going to be… interesting, at the very least. )
Two lone bowls of noodle soup sitting on a table near the Eldoon's stand were slowly losing its temperature on chill air, while I stood there, with my arms crossed, waiting for Phoenix Wright to start talking. For some reason, despite his previous interest in having a conversation with me, the man in front of me was all silent, staring with anticipation.
The minutes were dragging and I began to slowly lose patience. After all, I hadn't interrupted my work and came here just to hold a staring contest.
( Well, maybe I wasn't working when I left, but I could be working right now, instead of wasting my time !)
Apparently I had to be the one to break the silence, if I wasn't planning on spending rest of my day in unpleasant company.
"So… You wanted to tell me something, Wright?"
He did not respond for another minute. I didn't feel like I could stand this any longer. If he didn't want to talk to me, why would he come to my office in the first place? What game was he playing?
( I swear, if he doesn't speak in ten seconds, I'm leaving .) I thought, and it must have showed, because just a short moment later, Wright spoke at last:
"So… We wanted to talk about that 'recent trial', am I right?"
After he said this, his lips revealed teeth, forming an unsure and awkward smile. It struck me as odd, at first. I wasn't used to him smiling… not anymore.
Wright used to be a lot less uptight when we were friends. His sense of humor was not exactly eminent, but at least he tried. Since he had become a prosecutor, he slowly started to smile less and less, to the point when the only times he did it was when he was jeering his rivals, or threatening his subordinates to give them salary cuts (namely, one not-so-sharp detective).
So naturally, I was a little suspicious when I saw him smiling again, especially in this situation. But more I thought about it, more I realized he was just trying to lighten the heavy atmosphere. Even if the effect was miserable, I decided to support his effort.
"…Well, you've been 'Wright' ever since I first came to know you, so I guess that this is the case here too." I joked. Phoenix made a surprised expression, which again, I could comprehend. I had every right to hate him right know, so I quickly let him know that my forthcoming attitude was not implying that I had forgotten, or forgiven, what he had done: "However, this is no time to make jokes. …And surely not the time to smile like an idiot either."
His face immediately fell down. I got a weird feeling when he obeyed me so fast and without a sarcastic remark. Instead, he said, with all seriousness:
"I… am sorry."
"You better be." I shot back right away, not believing him. "This is about human lives. I can't see how you can bring up this topic smiling."
"Yes, I see…" The prosecutor looked away, seemingly uncomfortable. "Uhm… Well, anyway…" He's eyes were on my face again, and his goofy smiled returned for a short moment: "Good work in the courtroom the other day, Edgeworth! Heheheh…"
His pathetic giggle died as quickly as it came. I was kind enough to pretend it didn't happen.
"Hmm…" I couldn't decide if he was serious about it, but whenever he was actually complimenting me of not, it didn't matter in the end, and I knew it. It was my turn to look away in shame. "But not good enough…"
I paused, half expecting a trenchant comment. But Wright said nothing, so I continued:
"It was obvious that those two were not guilty…" I turned back my head, to look him straight in the eye. I finally could get it off my chest: "But you still managed to persuade the judge of the opposite. I am always baffled by how far your stubbornness can go. I really tried everything, but in the end… No matter how many stupid mistakes you make, you always find a way to turn things around again. That's a talent, I'll give you that. I just wish you'd think about the consequences when you do…"
I had no idea why he still hadn't said something. No gloating, no anything? That was… odd. Not that I would complain about it, but it sure wasn't what I had been expecting when I was mentally preparing for this confrontation.
"…So… Did Maya calm down?"
Honestly, I was glad he changed the topic. I was worried that it could get too overwhelming, focusing too much on the Fey cousins' trial. Just thinking about it made me feel guilty that I couldn't have saved them.
"The Fey girl?" I responded. "Yes, she stopped raging shortly after you left. I think she's still asleep…"
"She's sleeping? At this time of day?" Wright asked with confusion.
I nodded and elaborated:
"She went through a lot in the last few days, I think you suddenly showing up was just a little bit too much. She fell down onto the sofa and asleep right afterwards. She's a very busy girl you know, so the additional stress is dragging her down even more than necessary…"
"So…" Wright made this pose of his with his hand on chin while he's thinking: "She's working at your Office, right?"
A ridiculous image appeared in my mind: Maya Fey, working as a secretary, with glasses on her nose and microphone still in her hand, eager to break into a musical number for each client. I burst out in laughter.
"Very funny, Wright, if that girl was working at my office, I'd have more clients per month than I can take!"
"No, she's not my partner, if you were asking that…" I explained, getting serious again. "She just acted as my co-council during the trial because of her personal involvement in the case, nothing more."
"I know her quite well because she's the twins' cousin, and I guess she must have taken some kind of liking to me by now…" I frowned, thinking about her both funny and annoying quirks and antics. "She keeps asking me little requests, like-"
"…Going out and buying her mountains of burgers and instant noodle-soup?" Wright finished my sentence with a smile, but not the awkward one. His expression was uncharacteristically warm.
"Hm?" I stopped, taken aback with how accurate his deduction was. I looked at the prosecutor with shock: "How do you…?"
"Oh, I just guessed!" He replied quickly. Too quickly.
"…To be honest, it is rather annoying that she only seems to be visiting so I can do things for her…" I pretended not to have noticed that. I just went on, curious if I could get more interesting reactions out of him. "But it's just hard to say 'No' to that permanently clueless smile she has there… Still, it is a little strange that she insisted on using my first name right away…"
"You should probably keep an eye on her…" Phoenix suggested casually, like one would offer to lend a bag of sugar to their neighbor. ( When has our talk become this amicable? ) I wondered. "Girls like this one are, you know… quite prone to getting themselves into trouble. Kidnappings and wrong accusations… the works, you know."
"Hm… Yes, you're probably right about that." ( It makes a lot of sense, actually. ) Maya did seem like a person who could easily get arrested on false charges. "I guess, that's probably the reason why she spends most of her spare time in my office in the first place. Before, she used to stick close to her sister. It's quite clear that nobody would have even dared to harm her while she was near her… But now…"
"Her sister…?" Phoenix looked up at me with alert, then he lowered his head and whispered: "Mia…"
I raised my eyebrows an inch at this reaction. "Mia Fey was the best at her profession, nobody can deny this." I said, trying to figure out what was on his mind.
"Yes… That's more than just true." Wright slowly nodded, not looking at me. He sounded completely sincere. "She was something… special."
My mouth almost opened in amazement in that moment.
( What? Has almighty prosecutor Wright just admitted that he admired his subordinate? )
My mind quickened pace from there. If he really did appreciate Mia Fey, and he thought highly of her…
"Wright…" I spoke my thoughts aloud trying to betray as little emotion a possible: "If you too think like this, then why did you do this?"
He lifted his head and looked at me. There it was again, that uncomprehending and confused expression I saw earlier in the office, as if he couldn't understand what I was talking about. It didn't exactly make him look dumb , per se. I just got this strange vibe again. That something was off.
"That song…" His eyes slid away from my face, fixed on the radio and widened. Phoenix seemed astonished, almost shocked to recognize the singer. "T-That's Maya's voice!"
"Oh?" I intentionally ignored his another unusual reaction. I hadn't been paying attention to music in the background until now, but I recognized it immediately as well. "Ah, 'Gyakuten Shimai ' again. Apparently the song is still in the Top 10 after all this time…"
I knew this thanks to Dahlia. She owned all of MAYOI's CDs and attended all the concerts along with her sister Iris. But even if it wasn't for her, this song still was often played in the radio, so I was pretty familiar with it.
"Gah-ku-… what?" Wright failed to repeat my words.
"It's Japanese. The title means 'Turnabout Sisters'." I smiled unwittingly. "I think it is not hard to grasp where the girl got the inspiration for this title, is it?"
"You mean… that's actually Maya singing there on the radio?"
"Well, rather, 'MAYOI's." I corrected.
"…'Mayoi'?" He stared at me as if I was speaking in Chinese.
"…So you really don't know?"
I looked at the confused man with disbelief, wondering how can anybody be so ignorant.
"Please be so kind as to show me the stone you are living under sometime, Wright. It must be a very calm place." I scoffed him. The prosecutor's head slumped in his shoulders in embarrassment. Being the merciful person I am, I decided to free Wright from his misery and explained patiently what any ten-year-old could tell you:
"Mia Fey's younger sister, Maya Fey, is the girl behind the stage name "MAYOI", who had her breakthrough three years back. I cannot believe you actually forgot that."
"Eh… I-It must have slipped past me…"
His high-pitched voice alarmed me and I started to pay better attention to him. The high position his eyebrows were in told me he was either feeling faint, or had a headache. Also, his cheeks were much whiter than usual.
"Are you alright? You look a little pale." I asked with concern.
"Uhm… N-No. I'm fine. Thanks…"
He was lying, obviously. But I could understand a man who didn't want to show weakness. The best I could do was offering him an aspirin, but if I knew him well enough, he wouldn't take it from me. So I just continued from where I had finished:
"I'm quite sure she is listening to this song right now as well."
"Hm?" Wright turned his head to me with renewed interest. "You mean Maya?"
"You probably don't know this, but she wrote this song for her sister." I told him. "So they could think of each other when apart. And their mother helped her write the lyrics. She told me this a few days back."
"I see…" He rubbed his chin with a thoughtful expression. Then he jerked all of a sudden and asked, sounding very surprised: "Her mother helped her with the lyrics? You mean… Misty Fey?"
"Hm… Misty… Yes, I think this was her name." I nodded, not sure where his question or surprise came from.
I soon noted that it was actually very strange, the fact that Wright knew the name of Maya Fey's mother. After all, he hadn't even remembered that Maya was MAYOI.
( Why would he be bothered with such an irrelevant detail…? ) I wondered, glancing in Wright's direction. He seemed occupied with his own thoughts, a deep frown creased his forehead as his hand covered the chin. I had seen him in this position a few times, when he was trying to find a counterattack to one of my objections. I waited until he looked at me again.
"Hey… Edgeworth…" The only thing that told me he was nervous was the slightest tremble when he said my name. Otherwise, he would seem rather calm as he asked: "…Remember back in school, when we first became friends?"
That was the last topic I thought he would bring up. Not that I wasn't against it. I used to visit that day a lot in my memory.
"Of course I do." I nodded. "It was the first time I was trying to defend a person in a 'trial', after all."
Wright nodded too and went on: "They were accusing me of taking your lunch money during PE class. Nobody believed me that I was innocent, nobody was standing by my side… And then you objected and saved me from the angry mob."
"You were just a really sorry sight, you know." I shrugged and shook my head, thinking about how unjustified the accusation was. "And even though it was more than obvious that it was actually Larry who had taken the money, they were still pressing you to confess to the theft. It was disgusting enough to just listen to it, I didn't even want to start to imagine how you were feeling."
"I felt helpless." He started. I was listening to every word with utmost attention. Wright was being unusually transparent, I could tell he was speaking the truth and truth only. "Like the whole world had turned on me suddenly. The only thing I wished for this moment was that there was just one single voice in the world helping me, opposing all the others… And you did. You and Larry. You really impressed me back then. That objection you delivered back then was actually what inspired me to-"
I swear, he almost said it. I would practically see the words forming on his lips, and he stopped in the last moment.
"Did you mean to say something just now?" I asked eagerly.
"N-No… Not really…"
Second denial. The second time Wright had lied during our meeting. I saw it clearly. And he must have known that I could see it too. He was peering at me with nervous eyes.
I really wanted to know what was on his mind, because I was completely lost. Nothing made sense so far. He remembered Maya Fey's mother's name, but hadn't been aware about her being a celebrity. He apparently appreciated detective Fey's dedication to her work, yet he had condemned her when she was obviously innocent. And now, he had almost confessed that he used to inspire to become a Defense Attorney, him , a prosecutor.
But seeing how defensive Wright seemed right know, I doubted direct pressing would do the trick. I had to take a way roundabout, if I wanted to get the answers.
"You know, Wright, for a few months after that incident back then, I was actually convinced that you were going to become a Defense Attorney as well." I spoke casually.
"Hm?" He reacted surprised, but seemed to let his guard down a little bit, just as I hoped. "Why?"
"Every time I mentioned it, your eyes would light up brightly." I explained. It was true, I remembered it clearly when we talked together about what we planned to do when we grew up. "Like somebody had just told you that your allowance would be doubled in the near future. This made me think that I had lit the 'fire' within you as well… The fire of enthusiasm for this kind of work, I mean."
"…Yeah… I guess you really did…" He admitted, looking down, sounding a little distracted.
(… checkmate .)
"Is that so?" I said. I focused my eyes on his face to gain his full attention: "Then tell me, if you truly developed a passion for the work of Defense Attorneys back then, how come you're working on the opposite side of the courtroom now?"
I stared at him, and he stared back. A long moment passed until Wright realized I was waiting for an answer.
"Uhm… I think…" He took a deep breath and slammed both on his hands on the table in front of him. The table trembled and made a dangerous, creaky sound. "Because of that incident, of course!"
"No need to slam the table." I told him with a deadpanned expression. Wright quickly hid hands behind his back.
"Still…" I continued, falling deep in thoughts instantly. "Yes, you are probably right. Yes, what happened back then… that was the cause, wasn't it?"
I still remembered it. It was understandable that Wright chose a different path afterwards. Curious he decided to mention it at all…
Before my mind could drift away, Phoenix was again talking to me.
"It…" He slammed the table. Again. "…happened around DL-6, if I remember right, correct?"
"You do really hate this table, don't you?" I remarked emotionlessly.
( Why am I the only human being concerned with condition of wooden accessories? )
"Also…" I took a small sip of the noodle soup out of habit. I instantly regretted it, it wasn't very tasty cold, but I managed to restrain my face from cringing. Belatedly, Wright's comment came to my attention.
"Say… what do you mean by 'around DL-6'?" I said, trying to make a connection. "DL-6… is that a case file?" I knew about a lot of cases, but I was sure I had never heard about this one.
After a couple of seconds, I turned back to Wright, and I noticed he didn't look very well.
"…And you are sure, that you are alright?" I asked again. "I have seen pieces of chalk looking less pale than you, to be honest."
"I-I'm fine, don't worry!" He assured me rather unconvincingly. He was really pale, I observed one of his hands gripping the table, and it was trembling slightly. "Well, uhm… maybe I'm catching a cold… I'm prone to those, you know?" He smiled unsurely again. I started to notice a pattern: he seemed to react this way every time he didn't know what to say. "Ehe…" A weak chuckle escaped his mouth.
"And that bruise on your cheek?" I asked, pointing at a grey mark on the left side of his head. It had a rather unpleasant look, and it must have been fresh, since I was sure he didn't have it during that trial.
"Hm?" He touched first his right, then left cheek, checking them. His eyes grew wider when his fingers found the bruise. "Uhm… Ehehe… I guess this must have happened before, at the Office… You know… Maya… Ehe…"
I don't need to say I didn't buy that.
"But that bruise looks more like somebody had hit you with their bare hand." I said, a suspicion creeping in my voice. "Also, if she actually managed to hit you with this bat of hers, you probably wouldn't be standing here now."
His reaction to my words was alarmingly strange. He frowned with a mixed expression of confusion, irritation and unsettlement. If I didn't know any better, I would say he was wondering himself where he got that mark.
It had been obvious for me before, but now, it was so clear anyone would figure it out. Wright was deeply distraught, in more than just one way. And even thought I didn't know exactly what was wrong, I definitely knew he was hiding something important from me.
As I was analyzing his behavior, he started staring at me again, with some sort of anticipation. We struggled for a while in silence. It didn't take long until Wright, for another unclear reason, backed down and looked away.
"In any case…" I saw no point in prolonging this awkward moment. We were standing out here long enough already."…we have departed too far from our actual topic, haven't we? All those things are of complete insignificance to this recent case…"
I looked at him with hard expression.
"So, you wanted to tell me something. Do it now. I am waiting."
Wright had to take another minute in order to gather his thoughts, but I decided to give him that much. Finally, his face took a determined look.
"Edgeworth!" He announced, slamming the table so hard it literally bent under the impact.
"Congratulations, you just shortened this table's lifespan by another 2 years." I rebuked. He immediately hid his hands behind his back again, but the damage was already done. "This is not a courtroom, Wright."
"I know, I know…" He sighed.
"So, what were you going to say?"
Luckily for the table, he refrained from hitting it again.
"Are you absolutely sure that the defendants from this last case were innocent?" He asked with all seriousness. "Because, let me tell you this: It was never in my intention to get a guilty verdict for someone who doesn't deserve it!"
"So you seriously thought those two to be guilty?" I raised an eyebrow.
"W-Well, yeah!" He replied, putting his arms on the hips.
"How exactly did you come to that conclusion?" I asked skeptically.
"Because… Because I trusted the judgment of the policemen who worked on the case!" He reached up with his hand to emphasize his point. "They did their best to figure those two out after all, didn't they?"
( …You have to be kidding me. )
"You mean that incompetent, permanently broke detective, who apparently gets progressively less salary every month and wouldn't able to tell the difference between a knife and a ruler without trying to cut his own finger with them?" I asked sarcastically, getting a little angry at him for insulting my intelligence. "Excuse me, but I just don't believe that person's opinion overrules that of your own girlfriend in your priorities."
"My… what ?"
Wright shouted, taking a step away from me and looking at me with such uncomprehending expression like he was thinking I was mad. It lasted just a short second, but it was enough for me to notice it. Immediately afterwards he tried to recompose himself. And failed.
"No wonder she broke up with you…" I said carefully, trying to extract more information just trough observing. I didn't have the faintest idea why we would react so violently about Iris, so I attempted to find out, yet again, not directly. "You took away two family members from her after all…"
"W-Wait, you're not talking about… Iris ?" His voice screeched when he said her name, the same shock as before radiating from his face.
"Iris Fey, of course." I nodded calmly. Then I asked with suspicion: "Or do you have any other girlfriends nobody knows of?"
"O-Of course not!" He replied quickly, but sounding truthful this time.
Wright was supporting his weight with his hand on the table. His breathing still sounded a little heavy. Then he suddenly held his breath and jerked.
Seeing not point in delaying the question any further, I finally got straight to the point.
"So… you were loyal to your Iris. And you hold respect for Mia Fey. I'll ask you again then, Wright… Why did you tear Iris's family apart and get Mia Fey declared guilty of attempted murder then?"
I watched him with the corner of my eye. His entire body tensed, and his eyes got so wide like I had never seen them before. What was even more noticeable, all blood must have drained away from his face, because not only his cheeks lost all color, but even the lips became pale.
I understood what was going to happen half a second too late and didn't have time to react.
Wright fainted, collapsing on the table he previously used to support himself. Two almost full bowls spilled on both of us, flying off and landing on the sidewalk two feet away. The wooden furniture got pushed away and fell apart due to the impact it hit the ground with. Wright hit his head on a small rock, which was unfortunately lying there.
"Damn!" I cursed under my breath. I just glanced on my dirty suit, more concerned with the unconscious man. I rushed to pull him away from the broken table and make sure he was alright.
"What happened…? My table! "
The owner of the stand, Mr. Eldoon, came forward - the commotion caught his attention – ironically, at first more worried with the fate of the broken table than an injured man. But not being a (completely) emotion-deprived human being, he soon turned to me and asked:
"Mister, is everythin' ok?"
"This man just dropped out cold" I explained a little impatiently, it should have been fairly obvious it was not ok.
"Sh-should I call the ambulance?" Mr. Eldoon made a rather panicked expression. I doubted if he could handle it.
I first had to examine Wright's condition. I checked the pulse and breathing and, luckily, both seemed fine. I was more worried about the head, which he had hit with on a rock, so it could be something serious.
"No need, sir." I finally responded, trying to sound reassuring and authoritatively. I got up and reached my pocked for my cellphone. "I can take care the situation…"
After I made the call, I quickly pulled out an first aid kit from my suitcase (in my profession, you never know when you'll need one) and applied a bandage.
"Somebody has to pay for that table, ya know!" Mr. Eldoon said out of nowhere, looking with sadness at the remains of what once was an old, cheap table.
( Seriously? A man needs help and all you think is your table? ) I thought with irritation.
"How much was it?" I asked as calm as possible.
Mr. Eldoon crossed his hands. "Thirty bucks."
It was a laughable price, but each dollar counted on my bill, so I cringed slightly. Sadly, I had no choice. I pulled out thirty from my wallet and handed it the owner, who then turned around and left me without any sign of gratitude. I probably paid him twice as much as the table was worth.
All left for me was to make sure the unconscious man was safe until the medical attention arrived.
I waited in the empty hallway, trying to piece everything I learned so far and create a logical pattern. It wasn't a simple task. The problem didn't lie in lack of information, but rather in contradicting facts.
I was worried about Wright, naturally, but just a little bit. If anybody knew his ability of getting out of any situation, it was me. He had a very specific kind of luck, that man. Things might get dangerous for him at times, but in the end, it always somehow turned it his favor, which was the reason why he had a perfect winning record in court for three years.
Today… Honestly, I didn't know what today was about. Wright acted… differently than usual.
( …hah. Differently . ) I thought a little bitterly, shaking my head. ( If only that was the case… )
His behavior wasn't something I had never seen before, and that was troubling me. Wright had been considerate, concerned, actually cared for what I had to say… He listened instead of bragging, expressed himself with respect towards me and others, like Mia Fey, or Maya. This wasn't like prosecutor Wright… He was more like Nick, my old friend Phoenix, the young man who once was so enthusiastic to seek for the truth in court with me.
( Just what happened to him? )
He had been this way since the morning, now that I thought about it. Why did he come to my office? Because he wanted to talk to me. He wouldn't have done that if he was being like the person whom I faced in court few days ago.
Something changed about him. But what exactly? It wasn't a simple matter like a "change of heart" . A realization slowly started to surface my consciousness: Wright was acting as if he couldn't remember some things all of a sudden.
He couldn't remember Maya being a stage performer MAYOI. He wasn't aware Iris had been his girlfriend (no matter how I looked at it, his reaction led to this only conclusion). He didn't know Gumshoe worked on the Fey cousins' case, since he expressed that he "trusted judgment of policemen working on this case", and I didn't believe even Wright was stupid enough for such thing. But most importantly…
When I finally understood, I placed my forehead in the palm of my hand. This seemed… so improbable, but it was the only logical explanation for all of this.
Phoenix Wright must have forgotten about Dahlia and Mia Fey's trial.
There was no way around it. The reason why we wanted to talk to me… why he acted so confused every time I mentioned it… He couldn't remember. Why?
Did Wright have amnesia? It seemed plausible, but…
( …the table… ) I suddenly remembered. ( …he slammed the table each time he was making an argument. Just like in court. )
Also, there was the fact that he remembered me . Not only my name, but he mentioned our school days, and my attempt in defending him. Not to mention he recognized Maya too, and he met her just a couple of days ago…
( …Maya. I almost forgot… )
I began to notice more and more evidence that I were correct.
"Her mother helped her with the lyrics? You mean Misty Fey?"
(Hmm… There certainly appears to be some sort connection between the two them…)
"She keeps asking me little requests, like-"
"…Going out and buying her mountains of burgers and instant noodle-soup?"
"How do you…?"
"Oh, I just guessed!"
(… One I wasn't aware that existed, until now. )
"Maya… Listen, I don't know what happened, I swear, but if there is something I can do…"
( The biggest mystery of all… )
"You should probably keep an eye on her… Girls like this one are, you know… quite prone to getting themselves into trouble."
( …is the one concerting both of them… )
"Please, answer me, Nick…"
The sound of closing door startled me and I lost my track of thinking. The doctor came out of the room Wright was in and approached me.
"Excuse me, are you the person who provided first-aid to this man?" He asked me politely.
"Yes, I am… a friend of his." I simplified. "Is he alright?"
"We just finished examining him." The doctor nodded. "He's fine. He must have passed out due to excess of stress, apparently. Good thing he has strong health, otherwise such shock could have been bad for his heart."
"Shock?" I repeated.
"Did you share some dreadful news with him, perhaps?"
"No… not exactly…" I said, trying to remember what I have said to cause a man to pass out of shock . The implications were… actually, it just confirmed the suspicion growing in my mind.
"He can be taken back home right now. There is no need for him to stay in the hospital." The doctor shrugged and was about to leave.
"Wait, what about his head injury?" I stopped him.
"Head injury? …Ah, that's right." The doctor scratched his hair and smirked. "He sure have a thick skull, you know. Hitting a rock, yet no concussion or any serious damage. There is barely a bruise there. Beside that he's perfectly fine. He can probably take the bandages off tomorrow."
I must say, I felt relieved.
"Thank you very much."
"Are you taking him home?"
I hesitated a moment. I came here in a car, so it wasn't a problem. Of course I held onto Wright's suitcase, I wouldn't abandon all of his belongings next to the Eldoon's stand, but I didn't feel authorized to search through them for the keycard to the prosecutor's apartment. There was only one other option.
( Maya isn't going to like this… )
"Yes." I made up my mind. "Now, if possible."
A simple action turned out more troublesome than I had anticipated. Perhaps taking Wright "home" wasn't exactly what I did, so I said a white lie to the doctor. But I wanted to talk to Phoenix again after he would wake up, so I decided to bring him back to the office.
Let me tell you, moving a grown man from the car in the parking lot to the office requires a lot more effort than you would think, especially if you are on your own. Good thing there were no witnesses, because I wouldn't live after such embarrassment.
After I accomplished it and left Wright on the couch, I looked around for Maya, surprised she wasn't present. Soon I found a note on my desk:
Got a call from my manager. Sorry we can't go the joint together before the concert :( Visit me during the break, ok? The Gavinniers' chef is really great, I'm sure he'll have even better burgers!
See you later!
From my perspective, it was a lucky turn of events. This way, there was no threat of Maya beating up Wright to death with a baseball bat while he was being unconscious.
Sadly, I knew I was going to disappoint her – because I was already behind with my work, there was no way I would make it to the concert. Frankly, I didn't really want to go, I was never a fan of eardrums-shattering pop music (I am more of a classic-and-jazz-sort).
Wright wasn't making an impression he was going to wake up any time soon. So, I sat down by my desk and continued reading the file from place I left off, enjoying the quiet for a moment, feeling relieved to have a "break" from all the craziness I had to deal with since the morning started.
"Ungh…" I hear a moan coming from the couch about half an hour later. I did not need to look to know Wright was finally waking up. "…What… happened?"
I depicted the situation in two sentences:
"You fainted, fell to the ground, knocked over the table you had previously harassed, which completely destroyed it in the process, spilled two-hour-old noodle soup on my lap as well as yours, and you hit your head on a stone. I had to pay the damage and call the ambulance for you." I flipped a page of the file. "Do you need any more details?"
"…No thanks… I think I get it… Uhh…" He moaned again and I saw movement in the corner of my eye, which meant he sat up.
Neither of us said anything for a solid minute. I was still busy with paperwork, and Wright, probably, was watching me. I subconsciously waited for him to comment on how I 'foolishly wasted time' on my old files or something among these lines, but once again, Wright surprised me and said absolutely nothing about them.
I immediately noticed how the first thing he asked me about was the girl.
"Apparently, she left a while ago." I informed him. "And left a note, saying that her manager had called her for a meeting."
"Since we're talking about her now anyway: I noticed how you keep using her first name ever since this morning." I lost interest in the file and focused my eyes on him. "Is there a specific reason for this?"
He jerked, and started stuttering what from the first word sounded like a lame excuse.
"Uhm, well, you see… I just think that 'Maya' is a cute name, and she's quite a cute girl. So I found it only fitting to call her that since it's her name and all… yeah…" He lowered his head, well aware how pathetic his argument was. It was surprising he used it at all. I looked sternly at him.
"Interesting. Just 3 days ago she was 'an annoying, loud mouthed brat who seriously needed to get all that air out of her head', to quote you in your own words. And now all of a sudden you are calling her 'cute'."
Wright looked at me with disbelief.
"S-She's not annoying…" He denied eagerly, shaking his head. "Just way too energetic... But that's just part of who she is, so..."
"I see." I interrupted. I had already heard more than I needed to feel reassured in my suspicion, that he, in fact, knew Maya better that most people would assume. He must have realized this too, as he jerked again and made a face of a kid caught with his hand in a cookie jar.
For a long moment, awkward silence was creeping in the room. I pretended to read the file again, just to gain time to gather thoughts and make my decision. I wasn't sure if I should do this. Some instinct was telling me to stay out of this, that perhaps I was arriving on a very private territory. But despite all of that, I finally addressed my suspicion.
"You're acting strange today." I looked up from the file. Wright's face had written "guilty as charged" all over it. I continued thoughtfully:
"I noticed a while ago… Actually, not too long after you came here this morning… Ever since then, you've been behaving very strangely, and not at all like your normal self. For example, your informality towards Maya Fey… Or the fact that you seem rather clueless whenever I mention our recent trial… Or your sudden respect of me, as well Mia Fey… Not to mention you haven't made a single arrogant, sarcastic remark yet. Nor have you laughed at me for still showing interest in my old case files, for that matter." I gestured towards the file on my desk. "Your whole mannerism today…" I slowly concluded, with a peculiar heavy feeling in my chest. "It is as if you were…"
"…Not really 'Phoenix Wright', huh?" He finished for me.
I shook my head.
"No. Actually…" A sigh escaped my mouth. "It's exactly the other way around ."
"Eh…?" Wright obviously didn't get what I meant. I explained hesitatingly:
"It is as if you were much more like 'Phoenix Wright' all of a sudden. …The one I know, of course…"
The last sentence I whispered, and I wasn't sure if he heard me or not. Wright didn't deny anything, which was the same as if he confirmed it. I made a pause to remember all conclusions I came to when I was waiting in the hospital.
"Wright, I know that something is wrong with you today, even though I don't exactly know what. It's in a certain way, like you were back to… how you were when- I even considered amnesia, but the obvious traces of your usual courtroom behavior, which you displayed down at the stand, caused me to reject that idea."
"Uhm, about that…" He smiled nervously. "I'm going to pay that table, promise."
"Wright, this is not about that poor, abused table. This is about you."
I hit me that whatever secret he was hiding, I probably wasn't the right person to know. If I extracted this information by taking advantage of his confusion right now, it just wouldn't be fair.
"You don't need to tell me what happened to you." I told him. Yet there was still something I needed to ask about. "But it's clear that you have no recollection of what happened during the trial of Mia and Dahlia Fey, right?"
"W-Wait…" He blurted out with renewed shock. "Dah… Dahlia is in this too?"
I nodded. ( I was right. No memory at all. )
"But Dahlia was… Dahlia is…" He was still stuttering.
"Currently in prison for a crime she never committed." I finished.
"…" His eyes were both size of a teacup.
"As I thought… Judged by your face, you have clearly no idea."
"Again, I'm not interested in you telling me why exactly you don't seem to remember it or why your personality took such a sharp turn all of a sudden…" Although it was majorly disappointing, because in this state I couldn't ask anything regarding his motivations. But I could still confront him about what he had been doing lately. "All I know is that considering your current state, you might be a little more open to what I said the other day."
"What you said the other-?"
I quickly went on to explain, understanding that if Wright didn't remember the trial, in most probability he couldn't recall our argument afterwards either:
"I wanted you to realize this: you've caused a great deal of damage in the past few days. If you really have adopted this much more open-hearted personality you show right now, I'd like you to use it to feel actual remorse over what happened and maybe even try to undo a part of that damage." ( Seeing as he is already so concerned that he actually dropped out cold when I told him what he has done… ) Suddenly, I started to hope. Hope that, perhaps, he wasn't permanently lost yet. "This sudden outburst of compassion of yours might be your only chance to set at least part of what happened right."
I reached the ticked Maya had given me for her concert and threw it to him. Wright examined the card curiously as I explained:
"This is a backstage pass for a concert at Sunshine Coliseum tonight. 'MAYOI' will be singing there, as well as one other band. Maya gave it to me, but I have absolutely no time to go see it. I am investigating on a few of the older, more curious cases right now. I thought it might be useful to you."
"As I said, I noticed that you seem to be in the impression that Maya was someone you are close to, so I think you should talk to her if you want to find out more about what happened."
Wright looked up with doubt in his eyes. "But Maya is gonna tear me to shreds if I dare go anywhere near her, isn't she?"
"With this pass, you can get near Maya Fey in a safe environment where she isn't allowed to carry any weapons which she could use against you." I told him reassuringly. "You should know that the security around there is rather tight. It's there to prevent any kind of violence, including hooliganism, attempts at her life, robbery, suicide…"
"I doubt that they can take her chords for shouting or hands for strangling from her." His infamous sarcasm was back.
"See it like this: you can either talk to her and find out why exactly she is now keen on seeing your grave being shoveled… or you can stay as clueless as you are now for the rest of your life." I shrugged, showing that he was free to choose.
Wright didn't seem very enthusiastic about either of these options.
"Why don't you just tell me what happened?" He asked with a small amount of grievance.
"I am a Defense Attorney for those innocently charged of crimes, not your investigation partner or, least of all, your babysitter. You have to put some effort into it." I returned to my file, letting him know I considered our conversation over.
"Hmpf… Ouch!" Apparently a headache came over him, he touched his bandages and frowned in confusion. "Hold it… If I collapsed down at the stand, how did I get up here? Did you-?"
"As I mentioned before, I called the ambulance." I quickly explained, deliberately leaving out the embarrassing part of my help: "You were taken to the local hospital, examined, and, since I couldn't just search for your briefcase for your apartment's key card, I brought you here. Despite hitting your head on a rock upon landing on the ground, you stayed uninjured save a small bruise. " ( His luck is just the strangest thing I ever encountered. ) I smirked. "But you should be used to those yet, right?"
"Oh." Was all he had to say to that.
"You'll be able to take them off tomorrow morning." I added. "That's what the doctor told me."
"Wait… I was examined and then brought up here, you say…?" He wondered aloud. "How long have I been out cold anyway?"
I glanced on my wrist and said: "About two hours. It's 16:30 now."
"What?" He jumped up, alarmed. "That late? That means it's just half an hour till 5 o' clock…"
"Well, obviously." I replied.
Wright thought for a moment, then he nodded:
"Right… Ema's waiting…"
I looked back at him, intrigued.
"Uhm… Another Prosecutor's younger sister." He quickly told me. "She's a friend of mine."
"Oh… You're talking about the younger Skye sister, aren't you?"
Another nod. "Yes. She wanted to meet me at my apartment at 17:00."
"Well, you better get going then." I prompted him.
"Yeah…" He made one step towards the door, before he stopped and turned around. "Uhm… about that… heh heh…"
He started laughing nervously. I remembered then it was once a habit of his. Strangely, I hadn't seen him using it for years, and now it was suddenly back.
"You know Edgeworth…" He rubbed back of his neck with left hand with a silly grin. "I… this'll probably sound a little weird… well… I kinda lack a-"
"A driver's license, yes, I know." I tried to deprive my voice from malignity, no matter how tempting it was to make fun of him. "You fell through the practical exam three times in row, from what I heard."
Wright blushed with embarrassed, but went on nevertheless:
"You know, Edgeworth, with the public means of transport I'll never make it back in time… so… it'd be really great of you… If you… well… if you'd help me out…"
I concealed my surprise to that after all that had happened, he still had the guts to ask me for (even more!) help. I was observing him in the corner on my eye while facing the file I was busy working on!
"I told you, I am busy and not your babysitter." I responded.
"But I'm gonna be late…"
"Use a Taxi."
"But those are expensive…"
"Says the man with an income several classes better than mine." I shot back.
Wright made an obvious pause to make up a new argument.
"I don't trust Taxi drivers! They're… uhm… kinda shady figures…"
"Why do I get the feeling that you actually managed to forget where you live?" I said, and as soon as the words left my lips, I abruptly realized that I was, in fact, correct.
Wright shut up, waiting for me to say something without making a slightest move or sound. For a moment I stayed still too.
I was torn.
No matter how many times Wright would beat me in court, no matter how much hurt he inflicted to me and others, no matter what he did… the fact that we were once good friends remained. I remembered those times fondly. We had shared the same passion for law and justice, studied and spent time together. I knew Phoenix better than anyone else. And before he turned into ruthless condemner of criminals, I never doubted he had a good heart.
Now, for unexplainable reason, this very person was back. Acting as if nothing had ever happened, asking me for help. And he needed it. Wright couldn't remember way to his own home . If I threw him out right now, I wouldn't just be avoiding getting into affairs that didn't concern me.
I would be throwing away my friend… and I wouldn't forgive myself such an act easily.
With a heavy sigh, I made my decision.
( Who would have thought that after all this time of mutual contempt and distrust, things would turn out like this? )
"Well, I guess if I want some peace here anytime soon, I'll have no other choice but to bring you home."
I swiftly hid the papers in the drawer, knowing that today I wouldn't finish working on them. Next I picked up the keys to my car, my briefcase and moved towards the door. Noticing Wright wasn't following, I glanced back my shoulder.
"Can we go?" I asked freely.
Wright stared at me, bewildered.
"…You are not going to ask me how I could possibly forget my own-?"
"Like I said before, I'm not asking you anything. Including this." I told him sincerely. I had every intention to stay away from his personal problems. It was none of my concern and I had no right to intervene. I only wanted to give the little nudge Wright needed, and provide essential help.
"…" He stayed silent, very surprised with my actions.
"Come. I don't have all day, you know?" I said and left the Office.
We didn't talk in the car. Both of us had more than enough to think about. I had no clue to what was going on inside the prosecutor's head and my investigative nature kicked in, as I tried to process all the possibilities. I tried to restrain myself, however.
( Whatever it is that is going on with him, it is none of my business. ) I reminded myself.
It was easier said than done. As a Defense Attorney, it is my job to solve mysteries and discover the truth. So what if I was a little interested in what was happening to him?
I discreetly peeked at the man in the back seat through the mirror. He was holding up a green omega-shaped gem with a curious glow. It reminded me of something…
"You're blocking the rear-view mirror." I commented, perhaps in pretense to spark a conversation.
"Excuse me." He said and lowered the stone. Then I recognized it.
"That thing in your hand… it's one of the gems the Fey women wear, isn't it?" I asked.
Startled, Wright immediately hid the gem inside his pocket and confirmed with a shaking voice:
I almost opened my mouth to ask another question, but I changed my mind. I was not to ask him about anything, after all.
Even so, I could still draw obvious conclusions.
( He got it from Maya, of course… He wouldn't act so perplexed otherwise. ) I doubted Wright would ever steal something from the girl, so I assumed it was a gift. My interest in what the kind of history they shared increased.
( I may not want to question Wright… But that doesn't mean I won't press Maya on the subject. ) I thought while parking the car.