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April’s Vendetta (or, Turnabout Library)

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~ June 13, 2:55 PM, Story Glory Public Library ~

”Hey!”

I looked up and pulled the flag football from my hair. In front of me, 17-year-old Maya Fey was snickering as quietly as she could, because we were in a library and she still wanted to respect the “be quiet” rule.

Her older sister, Mia, was reading a book on the opposite side of the table. I’m not sure if she noticed or not, seeing as she didn’t look up, but I could see the corner of her mouth curl up slightly.

“That was awesome!” said Ema Skye, who was cross legged on the floor in front of our chairs. She was being louder than Maya or I had been, and so her sister Lana shushed her from the reading area a few feet away.

“We are still in a library, it would do you good to remember that.” Lana turned and went back to sleeping in the armchair. We’ve been here enough times for everyone to know not to disturb her while she naps, or she really flies off the handle. The only kid who does it persistently is Cody Hackins, but he’s always been like that. And she never minds him.

“Would you like it if I flicked one of these into your hair?” I asked, shaking my head to make sure nothing was tangled. My hair was spiky and quite sharp; a lot of things had gotten stuck in a spike before.

“Why are you acting like I launched glue in your hair?” Maya said, touching the little bun in her hair in defense.

”Not this time,” I reminded her. “But you have done this before.”

Two weeks ago, she’d managed to break a shelf in our offices that had an open can of glue on it - right over my head. Why did we even have the glue there, anyway? Maya rolled her eyes and looked down.

Suddenly, there was a loud thump followed by a few softer ones after it, and then, ”You good-for-nothing...! Now I have to clean all that up! Are you blind?!”

“Whoa, sorry, ma’am! Y’all should put up some ‘Watch for Carts’ signs or somethin’!” A moment later, Lotta Hart turned the corner and arrived with Cody in tow. She was probably babysitting him; one of her many side jobs. “I reckon I ought to give whoever thought puttin’ Ms. Oldbag in the library was a good idea some lip,” she whispered furiously, rubbing her side. “Seriously?!”

“Yeah!” Cody said. “She’s scarier here than she ever was at security!”

Her voice could be heard over all the shelves: “What?! I ought to show you whippersnappers a thing or two!!”

Cody sulked. Lotta shuddered. Wendy Oldbag was just someone you didn’t want to cross. And we learned it the hard way.

“What did you do?” Mia said, looking up from her book. “If you don’t mind my asking?”

Lotta made a slight huffing sound. “I bumped one of them library carts at the corner that was pokin’ out from behind the desk, and apparently that one was mighty sensitive, because the wheel popped off.”

“She sent a whole bunch of books flying!” Cody was pointing in every which direction as he said this. “And then Oldbag blew her top!” 

“You guys were NOT kidding,” Ema said. “That lady is crazy!”

Lotta and Cody were some of the newer recruits to our weekly library hangout sessions. They had just started as me and the Fey sisters. Then sometimes, we’d see Lotta trying to research some thing for her classes or Cody reading Steel Samurai comics in the corner (he usually shared them with Maya or Penny, who only came twice a month), and once we caught the Skye sisters trying to get into more interesting reads and invited them to join us. Ema and Maya hit it off great, and they usually chased each other in the library or tried pranking me if they sat still while I was sketching things (if Ema didn’t feel like doing their usuals, she would sketch with me) while Mia would read a random book and hope to finish it within a week. Lana would usually find herself napping as she usually came after some case and needed to rest. Sometimes, she would challenge Mia to see who could finish a book first.

Sometimes we hoped to get a few more of people we knew to just come and hang out.

Today, that came true.

“Phoenix Wright! You’d better come over here and make our so-called friend release me!”

“Aw, come on, Edgey! You know if I didn’t do this you would forget to come at all!”

“Okay, try not to hurt him, pal! He could turn on you that fast!”

“Hey! Don’t hurt my Edgeyboy, you little whippersnapper!”

Detective Dick Gumshoe came out through the bookshelves first, giving a little wave to us as we approached. Behind him, Larry Butz, an old friend of mine, marched triumphantly in, pointing a finger gun at me whilst dragging something behind him.

And that something - or rather, someone - happened to be Miles Edgeworth, a friend to us both, looking absolutely mortified - partially because Larry was dragging him around and partly because Ms. Oldbag had been hitting on him again. I’m not sure who was worse: her or April May.

Miles yanked his arm out of Larry’s grip before walking quickly over to between where Mia was sitting and where I was sitting. “Don’t do that again. Do you know what he did?” He looked at me as he said it. “He intercepted me on my afternoon walk and just dragged me here! He did not stop, not even when the Detective here followed after us!”

“Okay, A: why did you drag him here, Larry?” I asked, pointing my eraser end of the pencil at him. “And B: why didn’t you try to stop him, Gumshoe?” I pointed the end at him then.

Larry waved his hands all crazy, as he tended to do. “We almost never see this guy anymore! I know if I didn’t stop him, we wouldn’t see him for weeks when he gets another case!”

The big man shrugged. “Hey, pal, you are my friend and all, but I’ve tangled with Harry here, and I’d rather not again, okay? He’s quite excitable.”

Larry rolled his eyes at Gumshoe, knowing full well he was butchering his name on purpose.

“Not as excitable as...” Ema paused for dramatic effect. Then she abruptly stood up and shouted, “*ahem* ‘MR. MEEKINS, SIR! REPORTING FOR DUTY, SIR!’”

At this, Larry, Maya, and Gumshoe doubled over in laughter and Mia and I snickered a bit. I could see Miles smiling just so, trying not to laugh. Only Lana was not amused as she had been woken again. Lotta and Cody were just plain confused.

“Keep it down, whippersnappers!” called Ms. Oldbag. 

Ema covered her mouth, then lowered her voice and explained Officer Meekins to them.  I turned and went back to my drawing.

And that’s when it happened. 

Only two warnings.

The first thing I heard was the sound of something tearing. It happened so fast that I didn’t even know if it was paper or fabric or where it was coming from.

And the second?

“Nick, watch out!”

I jumped out of my seat, but I didn’t go far. I screeched as the bookcase came down on my left leg. 

I saw the time. 4 PM.

Mia and Maya were both sprawled on the floor, possibly from jumping away earlier than I did. Lotta, Cody, and Ema now stood in front of the bookcase with shocked expressions on their faces. Lana raced over from her earlier perch to see if she could catch anyone else around the bookcase, which Gumshoe and Miles were examining. Larry was freaking out, as usual. Ms. Oldbag’s desk was revealed a few feet away from where the shelf fell, and her surprised expression was seen by all of us, before it morphed to anger and she shouted toward the entrance.

“Hey! Who do you think you are, knocking property over like that?!” she shouted. We all looked over to see why she was shouting.

And saw a cloaked figure slip out the door.

Lana and Gumshoe immediately gave chase. Ms. Oldbag ran after them. Everyone else stayed to try and get the shelf off me.

“Whoa! That was not cool!” Cody declared after it was finally off me. “Are you okay??”

I had honestly expected him to add ‘old man’ after that sentiment as he tended to do, so I was surprised that he didn’t mention it. “I think I’m fine.”

“Fine?! Not fine!” Maya shouted, not even caring for the rule. “Definitely not fine! Nick, you got your leg crushed by a shelf!”

”That may be, but he is alive, Maya.” Leave it to Miles to point out that ‘at least’ aspect in his default dry tone. “Someone pushed over that shelf intending to murder. Simply, they did not count on any of us to warn him.”

“Which one of you warned me?” I pointed between Maya and Larry because they were the only ones that called me Nick. Lotta called me Nix, and everyone else either called me by first name or last name, save for Cody most of the time.

Larry glanced over to Maya. “Actually, we both did. I had looked up from my talk with Shoey and Maya happened to be looking in the same direction as me.”

Wow. I’m glad for that.

“Whoa! What in tarnation happened here?!”

Jake Marshall appeared at the front entrance, glancing at the bookcase with his hat tipped up in surprise, with Lana and Gumshoe running in behind him moments later.

“We couldn’t catch up with the mysterious figure,” Gumshoe said dejectedly. “Sorry, pal.”

Lana gestured to Marshall. “We just so happened to run into him on our way back here.”

“I didn’t see anything weird on my way here,” Marshall said. “I just saw Ms. Oldbag run by. And man, did she run, pardner. I walked a few more minutes before they caught up.”

“What were ya doin’ comin’ down here?” asked Lotta.

He tipped his hat down slightly before answering. “I reckon I’d come join this little group o’ yours. Angel says she wanted to come too, but she had something come up and I went on my way.”

Angel wanted to come down here?!” I said, very surprised. “I didn’t even think she liked me, let alone any of us.”

Marshall raised an eyebrow at that. “She respects your persistence, pardner. She doesn’t dislike you.” He turned to Gumshoe. “You, Rich. Help me stand up our firebird here. We don’t want him to be more sore than he already is.”

“Right, sir!” Gumshoe saluted, then walked over. With Marshall’s help, they hoisted me off the floor. As soon as I landed on my leg, however, I let out a sharp hiss.

“We have to get him to the hospital,” Miles said matter-of-factly. 

Mia reached into her pocket and pulled out her car keys. She tossed them to Miles. “Take my van. The rest of us will meet you there later. We’ll investigate.”

He gave her a curt nod. Motioning behind him, he walked out, with Marshall and Gumshoe helping me out behind him. Larry and Maya followed behind us.

“You wouldn’t rather investigate with the others?” I asked them when we were all in the van. Miles and Marshall were up front, with me propped up in the middle seat. Larry, Maya, and Gumshoe sat in the back.

“Are you kidding, Nicky? I think I speak for Maya and myself when I say we’d rather be right here having your back, man!” He shot a thumbs-up, another of his signature moves.

Maya nodded. “Besides, my sister and the Skyes are more than capable of handling it right now. And they’ll have Cody and Lotta helping them.”

I hummed to that. Then I just turned and glanced out the window.

As the rolling scenery passed us by out the window, I had only one question:

Who wanted to do this to me?

Chapter Text

~ June 13, 5:00 PM, Hickfield Clinic ~

"You sure you want us to head back out there?" Maya said.

"Don't y'all worry about a thing!" Lotta replied. "Cody and I will keep Nix company! Besides, y’all are better at this investigatin’ stuff anyhow."

"Besides," I added, reaching for the glass on the fold-out table, "I need all the information you can find at that crime scene!"

I leaned back in my designated hospital bed. It had only been an hour since that bookcase fell on me, and while everyone was trying to get me through and into a room, I was thinking over possible people to do this to me. But who could? Most of them were in prison for their previous crimes against us.

Marshall crossed his arms. "This should be quite the interesting case, pardner. You know of anyone who'd want to do this to ya?"

"None that I know that are out and about at the moment anyway," I answered. "Most of them are still serving out prison sentences."

Larry, who had somehow been quiet through this conversation, shot a side glance towards Miles. "Who were you just talking to there, Edgey?"

Miles looked over as he flipped his phone shut. "That was Mia. Apparently they may have caught something that Gumshoe and I didn't see on our earlier scanning." This kind of thing used to make him mad or insecure, and throw him out of sorts. But these days, he's gotten used to it.

"We'd better get back over there, then!" Gumshoe said. "We'll be back to see you before you know it, pal!"

I chuckled. "And I'll be waiting.” 

Within a few moments it was only me, Lotta, and Cody in the room. The two of them had been sent over by Mia to watch me while she texted Miles to bring the others back. Lotta was standing by my bed, and Cody was sittng in a waitiing chair a few feet away. 

“Hey!” he called out suddenly, and we looked to face him. “Do you think there’s any of the Samurai shows running today?”

“Only one way to find out!” Lotta said, and tossed the TV remote to Cody. “Check it out!”

Cody flipped through all the channels diligently, as if he knew what channel number to look for. He probably did, that kid. When he got to it, he made a face.

“Hey, what is this!?” he exclaimed. “Did they get a new show and I just didn’t notice?!”

I was surprised at the show in front of our eyes, since it had stopped airing years ago.

”That’s Signal Samurai,” I said quietly, and Lotta and Cody whipped their heads around in shock.

“You know this show, Nix?!” she said.

“No way!” he said. “He never finds out the new shows before me and Maya!”

I chuckled. “It’s not new. It’s actually quite old. They stopped airing it years ago.”

Cody was in shock. “What?! Why is it airing then!?”

“I don’t know,” I said, tapping my chin in thought as I stared at the childhood memory adorned on the screen. “But I guess it wouldn’t hurt to stroll back down Memory Lane.”

*******

~ June 13, 5:43 PM, Story Glory Public Library ~

Lana held up a sheet of paper, folded many times and half crushed. “Look at this.”

“Now how on earth did we miss that?!” Gumshoe said, turning to me.

I shrugged. Then I asked Lana, “where did you find it?”

She pointed at the bookshelf opposite the one that had fallen, on the bottom shelf where there had been no books. “I would assume it had been used to hold the bookcase up. Look here.” Lana pointed along the bottom of the fallen case. “See here? It’s ever-so-slightly off-balance.”

All of us peeked our heads over to see. Sure enough, the bottom went up at a very, very slight incline just so. She was right. But now there was a question raised. 

Was the paper meant to steady the bookshelf... or make it easier to topple?

I didn’t get to think on it long, as my thoughts were interrupted by a loud siren. Everyone turned toward the direction where the noise was.

“Hey! What the heck is that noise, man?!” Larry demanded.

“Turn that siren off!” crowed Ms. Oldbag from her desk behind us. ”I thought I told you not to bring that thing in here!”

”It’s fine, Wendy,” called a voice that Lana, Ema and I recognized at once. “Meeky here can’t help it sometimes! I’ll just tell him to keep it silent, alright?”

There was a small pause before she spoke up again. “Okay, whatever you say!” Jesus. She was putting on that enamored voice yet again. She takes that tone with me every time she sees me. Every. Time.

Mike Meekins and Damon Gant walked up to our area and stood on the other side of the fallen bookcase. For a moment, we all just stared. We all had our own thoughts about him. I couldn’t believe they released him from prison. It’s probably hypocritical that I thought this about former Chief Gant and not Marshall, but the latter was no murderer. He left the force a while ago, trying to find something better out of life.

He glanced down at the bookcase in silence for a moment before finally speaking up. “So what’s the status report on this whole thing, Worthy?”

I startled a bit, partly from remembering that he would call me that, but mostly from being startled out of my thinking spell. Despite this, I found myself looking down and around. I imagined that Gumshoe would have been about the same if he were asked, but perhaps a bit more apprehensive. Even though he was a detective once more, Gant had thrown him off the force back then for helping Ema and Phoenix sneak into his office.

Marshall, of course, kept his cool and calm demeanor, but there was more of an icy feel to it. It couldn’t be helped. After all, it had been Gant himself that murdered his younger brother, and tried to make it look like Ema was taking the fall for it. He had also been the one to demote him to a mere patrolman after SL-9. In the eyes of the Skye sisters I could see old hints of anger and fear mixed up. Maya and Mia didn’t know what to make of this, nor did Larry, as they were only told about him. They hadn’t been around while this case was unfolding.

Bailiff Meekins had been keeping much quieter than usual. He was once an officer, but I always found him too excitable and quite incompetent to be one. Gumshoe and I had found out that he lost his case files four times within three days. He also lost his badge. I don’t know how or why they held onto him for that long.

I realized that Gant was still expecting an answer. I looked up to face him. “If you must know, no one’s found any clues yet.” I didn’t want to say anything about the paper.

“What’s it to you, Damon?” Lana said, her voice shaking slightly even as she glared at her former partner. Ema held onto her older sister’s arm, as if protecting her. Gant threw his arms up in surrender. 

“No need to try and kill me, little Ema,” he said. “Same goes to you, Lana. I just wanted to know how Wrighto’s holding up, what with that left leg and all.”

“He’s holding up just fine,” I said stiffly. I felt that there had to be more to his visit than this. 

Gumshoe excused himself to go talk to Ms. Oldbag (“Maybe she can help. She did try to chase that person down, didn’t she?” he had said.) Maya answered, “Nick is fine. But’s he probably going to need a cast for a few weeks.”

“Good to hear,” said Gant. “Well, I suppose we’ll leave you to it, won’t we, Meeky?”

Meekins nodded shortly and didn’t say anything else as Gant steered them to another section of the library, out of our sight. Gumshoe ran back over towards us. 

“Guys!” he shouted. He held up a piece of paper attached to a clipboard. “Look at this!”

I scanned over it. On it was a list of names, at least 10, with a time and a book title beside it.

“What are you doing with the book check out sheet?” Lana asked, waving the book in her hand in the direction of it.

“Ms. Oldbag says we could use this as a clue,” Gumshoe explained. “You see, everyone that passed through here - except for most of us, of course - checked out a book and wrote their name on the list. We can narrow down a suspect list this way!”

Ema beams. ”Good thinking!” She looks over the list again and frowns. “Hmm, I don’t recognize most of these names apart from Meekins and Gant. Do you guys?”

“Penny Nichols is on the list,” Maya said. “As is Angel Starr, Sal Manella, and Dee Vasquez... I wonder what kind of things they check out.”

“The mafia lady is out?!” Gumshoe asked.

“It would appear so,” I said. “She did strike back in self-defense, after all. And her lackey didn’t really do anything.”

“Even the Judge is on here,” said Mia. “Rats. I was hoping he would have written his name out, but it simply says ‘Judge’.”

I snickered at that, as I continued to scan the list. I saw one of the names and froze up. He was here?! Who let him out?! No one else noticed the name except Maya, who shot a worried glance my way.

“Who should we question first?” asked Lana.

"Hey! Why is my name on there?!" Larry suddenly shouted, pointing at the list. "I didn't check out any books today!"

"Aha! Get him, guys!"

It all happened so fast. 

I was thrown to the floor by the rushing bodies of the police that suddenly flooded the room.

"Hey! What's going on?!" shouted Ms. Oldbag, still at her desk area somewhere.

The sea of police parted. I rubbed my head after hitting it on the floor. Mia and Gumshoe were on either side of me, and Lana, Ema, and Maya were in front of us.

Someone was missing!

"Hey! Make them let go of me!"

We looked up.

Larry was being held hostage between the police.

"Wait!" Ema cried. "What are you doing with him?!"

The police looked at her like she was crazy. "We're taking him in, isn't that obvious?!"

"Why?!" Ema shouted back.

They didn't answer. They simply dragged him away.

We all stared at one another. 

What the heck had just happened here?!

Chapter Text

~ June 16, 9:20 AM, Fey and Wright Law Offices ~

”Lottie, I’m fine,” I said, as I reached the front door of my house, phone attached to my head with a sweatband. “I’ve made it home, so don’t panic, okay?”

It only took a few days before the hospital released me, with some crutches and a very stern warning to be careful where I stood. They had no idea. Everyone took their chances to visit me before they headed back out to keep investigating.

As soon as I got the door open, I hobbled over to the couch in the back of the offices, which I wholeheartedly considered home, and threw myself as gently as possible into it. I couldn’t wait to just sit and relax for a bit. Maybe I’d see if that Signal Samurai episode that played at the hospital was getting a rerun today.

I tossed the sweatband with my phone attached aside. But right as I reached for the remote, the doors swung open and I turned quickly to see who was coming in.

“Miles?!” I exclaimed. It wasn’t like him to barge into places uninvited. He looked like a mess. “What is it?!”

He rushed over to where I was and grabbed the remote. He flipped through the channels until it got to the News. “You need to look at this, Phoenix. They’ve already made a mess of things.”

I stared at the screen in surprise and horror.

Best Friend Falling Out? Butz Attempts Murder On Wright At Library!

“They think Larry is capable of this?!” I shouted. “When did this even happen??”

“On the same day that we dragged you off, only an hour after.”

”And they chose to air this now?!” I sighed. “Jeez, is this going to be my first case all over again?”

Miles turned to me in surprise. “’All over again’? What do you mean by that??”

“Oh yeah! The Rookie Killer was prosecuting that one. Larry was accused of killing one of his girlfriends, because of the sole witness, but it turns out that the witness did it - Frank Sahwit.”

“Why’d he do it?”

“He panicked. He was stealing from homes and Cindy just happened to come back and see him there. So he hit her with this custom clock Larry made for her.”

“You mean the one that had killed Mia, correct?”

“Technically its copy, but yeah.” 

He sighed. “Will they even let you defend him this time, however? You are the victim in this case, after all. They could believe you to be biased about his innocence.”

And somehow the ‘us being friends’ part didn’t bother them... “You’re probably right. But who will we get to defend him, then?”

Miles straightened back up from where he’d been leaning over the couch. “We will sully oirselves with that later. Come on, we have to go see him. We have to get him out of this.”

“Agreed,” I said. He helped me get to my feet. Then we left the office.

*******

~ June 16, 9:30 AM, Marshall-Starr Residence ~

Marshall gave us a curious look. “What are y’all doing around here?”

I held up the list. “We’re questioning people on the list.”

“What list?”

“The library check out list!” Ema explained. “Everyone who was at the library that day has their name on that list.”

He narrowed his eyes. “What? I’m not a suspect. I already told you what I was doing. And besides, you saw when I came in, so my name can’t be on that list.”

Uh, Larry’s name ended up on that list and he didn’t write it there. Not exactly solid logic, Jake.

“It’s not you we’re here for,” Lana said. “We’re looking for Angel.”

“Why? I told you that she didn’t come with me.”

Maya slapped a hand against the door. “Well, her name is on this list, so either she left this house way before you came there, or left right after you did and beat you there! Either way, we have to question her!”

Marshall huffed. “Fine. Come on in, compadres.” He stepped aside. “But I’m not sure what you’re expecting to find out.”

I walked into the neat, tidy, slightly rustic home of Marshall and Angel with Lana right next to me. Maya and Ema walked in next, bringing up the rear. Marshall walked by their stairs and called up to Angel.

“Angel! Someone wants to talk to ya!”

A pause. “Who is it?!”

“Come down and see for yourself, bambina,” he said, and minutes later Angel peered out.

“Oh!” She stepped down and made her way over to us. “It’s the Skyes and the Feys! Tell me, what brings you guys here?” She smiled at us.

She was carrying some of her patented lunchboxes, some of them as eccentric as ever, while a few looked normal like the Weenie Delight. That had to be Gumshoe’s idea.

“Were you at the library today?” Ema asked bluntly.

Angel raised an eyebrow, looking a bit nervous. “No, I wasn’t - I had deliveries to make today. You can ask the prison guards; I had to stop there and cater for a while.”

“At the prison??”

“Hey, no one said they ever made sense around here!”

Marshall rolled his eyes. “See? She wasn’t there.”

I wagged a finger at him and held up the list for Angel to see. “Why is your name on this list?”

Angel looked a mix of surprise and realization, the latter hiding under the former. She didn’t say anything.

”If I didn’t know any better, I’d reckon you’re trying to frame her for this whole mess.” Marshall glared at me. “Look, Larry’s name is on that list too, and you’re convinced it’s not him. So why is it that you think it’s her and her name is on the list?!”

I took a few deep breaths, in order to calmly say the next words out of my mouth. “First of all,” I told him, “no one’s framing anyone for anything. We’re just investigating based on the evidence we were given.”

“You call that evidence?! It’s probably more forged than a dizzy side-winder!”

“But that is her handwriting!” Lana snapped. We were all surprised; she hardly if at all raised her voice. “Second of all, we know it’s not Larry because we saw him the whole time. Not once did he leave our sight. So accusing him is pointless! All we want to know is if she was there; she could be a witness!”

Marshall opened his mouth to say something, but Angel raised a hand to cut him off.

“No,” she said. “There’s no point.”

Everyone was confused, even Marshall.

“I’ve been so scared of what he would do to me,” she continued, and we didn’t know if she was talking to us or herself. “But it’s only fair if I can vaguely warn you.”

“Warn us?! About what?!” I asked. Angel looked so alert and on edge, it reminded me of my old boss, Marvin Grossberg.

“He was supposed to be in prison... he broke out... I don’t know how...” Tears came to her eyes as she muttered to herself. My eyes widened in horror. This was exactly like my old boss's case.

“Angel!” I cried out. “You don’t mean...?!”

She nodded sadly. “Yes. He’s out. I saw him after I made a delivery to Ms. Oldbag at the library. He made me swear he wouldn’t tell or he’d ruin me...” 

“Why was he there?!”

She shivered. “I don’t know. It was 9:30 or so when he came. I thik he was the one who shaved down the bookcase so that the paper would go there. Ms. Oldbag went on a lunch break by then, and no one else was paying attention, so I thought I could stop him. But he threatened me. He threatened to hurt me or Marshal if I took him him or even told anyone about it.”

Maya caught on to who she meant, immediately texting Lotta, Phoenix, Miles, and Gumshoe about the sudden development. Meanwhile, Marshall and the Skyes continued to be confused.

“Who is this guy?” Ema said. “Why are you so scared of him?”

I wanted to answer. But I didn’t wish to relive old memories either. Old nightmares of being dead. I wonder if he feels like this, he’s not awake yet...

I was snapped out of my thoughts by Ema, who pointed by the bookcase.

”Look there! What’s that?!” she said. She ran over and plucked the flashing thing she saw from between books. "It's a camera! What's it doing here?"

Angel started to hyperventilate. "Oh no... no, no, no... do you think he was watching all that?!"

Before anyone could answer the question, she ran back up the stairs, screaming and crying. "Angel!" I yelled. "Angel, wait!" I chased after her.

I knew it was too late when I heard the loud thump.

There was a door open, the sound of the wind coming in.

I pushed the door open... and saw a familiar sight.

Angel was laying against the bottom edge of the window, motionless. There was a card in her hand, and although there was no blood, there was a message written there. Beside her lay the Thinker, which had taken yet another life, covered in a mix of red and green.

"NOOOOO!! ANGEL!" I screamed, rushing over to her. I heard the frantic footsteps as I frantically tried to read the card. Maya and Ema gasped, Lana was stunned to silence, and Marshall couldn't stop crying as he knelt down beside her, staring into her permanently pained face.

Perhaps she'll learn to keep her mouth shut. No one messes with me! I have connections, you know! And I will get my revenge on Phoenix Wright - that is a fact.

******* 

~ June 16, 9:41 AM, The Prison Yard ~

"Were those cells always empty?" I asked myself. 

As one of the temporary chiefs-in-charge, beside Meekins and the new girl (jeez, have we really fallen that low?), I was tasked to spend a day in the prison, watching the inmates. But was this really necessary? Who has actually escaped from this place?

I recognized everyone in the cells I had passed by - all in a row. Smoke oozed from one as Dee Vasquez simply spared me a quick glance from her bench. I saw some hair and foam on the floor of the cell of Frank Sahwit, as he stayed hidden beneath the bottom bunk, foam still emanating from below. Sal Manella sat facing the back wall in his own, constantly drawing things in chalk on it. Probably trying to come up with new ideas.

Waaaaait... Dee and Sal were in here? Weren’t they supposed to be out? How else would their names get on the library sheet? Sure, someone could have wrote it there, but that would imply they knew the two of them had been out. I wanted to ask... but I didn’t want to disappear either, if you knew what I meant.

I kept going to the next set of cells. The first two were empty. The next one had squawking noises coming from it, and when I turned, I saw Polly the parrot sitting atop a perch, trying to signal to her owner, Yanni Yogi, laying in the top bunk above, uncovered and throwing a ball at the ceiling, to throw it to her. He didn’t stop, of course, and continued to throw it up. A girl I didn’t recognize turned up as well, and she stood in the middle of her room, holding an umbrella, practically motionless. The last cell was also empty.

“SIR!” A loud sound startled me, and I turned to see Meekins there. 

“You can’t scare me like this, pal!” I said, scolding him. It felt so weird considering I was used to only being scolded. “Hey, do you know about these empty cells? Aren’t we supposed to fill all the cells we can?”

Uh oh. Meekins looked embarrassed. “They were filled, sir, but... someone paid to set them free.”

“Who paid for them?!” 

“Uh, I can’t remember, sir - but they must have had a lot of money.”

“Okay, follow up question: who’d they pay for to get out?”

Meekins tapped his chin with the mike. “I think... I think it was von Karma, White, and May, sir!”

What?! Those three?? Miles was not going to be pleased. And Phoenix definitely wasn’t going to be either...

I ran past Meekins. “Take over for me!”

“W-What?!” He looked so confused. “W-Where are you going, sir!?”

“To do some reading!”

*******

~ June 16, 9:45 AM, Detention Center ~

“Nicky! Edgey!” Larry pushed his face against the glass. “You got to get me out of here, guys! I didn’t do it! I would never hurt one of my best friends!”

Miles and I sighed, in fond exasperation. Yep, that’s Larry, all right. 

“We know you didn’t do it, Larry,” I said, “but someone’s going to have to convince the court of that. Miles could prosecute, if he convinced them, but of course he’d try his best to make you get to that innocent verdict you deserve.”

“I just hope the defense is even half as good as you are, if they let me prosecute,” said Miles. “And if they get Payne on this, then I’m pretty sure any fool could do it. Not that you’re a fool, of course.”

“My, my, did Miles Edgeworth just give me a compliment?” I said, snickering. Miles rolled his eyes, but I could see him try to hide his smile again. The moment broke when Larry knocked on the partition, so hard that my crutches fell off from where they were propped up on it.

“Wait, what?!” He pointed at me. “Why can’t you defend me, Nicky?! You did such a good job the last time!”

I shook my head. “I’m the victim in this situation. No way is the Judge or any of the legal system going to let me get away with that.”

"Why can't Edgey do it, then?!"

"Have you lost your mind?! I'm a prosecutor! That's just not my job, Larry. We've talked about this," Miles said, all with his arms crossed and an annoyed look.

“Wait... get Mia to do it, then!”

Miles and I looked at one another in exasperation. We were not giving Larry any chances to try and fall in love with her. Knowing him, he’d be sooooo grateful to her that he’ll feel that he should be indebted to her. 

”No!” we both shouted in unison. Larry looked surprised, then just pouted without any demands for an explanation. That’s not like him at all, but it saves us the headache.

I tapped my chin, then leaned into to whisper to Miles. “Maybe we should get Mr. Grossberg on this.”

“You mean Mia’s old boss, correct?”

“That’s him.”

Miles pushed his fingers together on his hand. “Let us just hope that he won’t have a reason to say no this time.”

I grimaced. Redd White. He had dirt on Grossberg so he wouldn’t defend Maya. And he killed Mia. Now that’s he’s in prison for life, there can’t be anything holding the two of them back.

I turned back to Larry as Miles went to pick my crutches up. “We’ll be back. We know a guy that’s a defense lawyer. We will convince him to take your case.”

“Hurry, Nicky! You and Edgey gotta bust me out of here!!”

*******

~ June 16, 10:37 AM, Fey and Wright Law Offices ~

“I can’t believe we have to use these tubes again...” I said, hugging myself.

“We have to!” Maya said, loud but still sorrowful. “It’s the only way to preserve her body before we have to get everything for the ritual.”

I sighed, and looked up to the four cold, metal tubes that stood on the farthest back wall of Fey and Wright Law Offices, running from floor to ceiling, width of a door. All of them had a blue liquid in them, that often bubbled when the machines where on.

It had been months since we had to turn any of them on.

And now the far left one was buzzing with activity.

Poor Angel... she didn't deserve this...

*******

~ June 16, 10:51 AM, Global Studios ~

"What? Me?" Penny Nichols said, shivering in on herself. "You think I would do this to Mr. Wright? I don't even know him all that well besides from that Will Powers case."

On the set of Global Studios, Ema and I decided to ask the remaining suspects about what they were doing. Since Dee and Sal appeared to still be in prison, that left Penny.

"Look, Penny, we're just doing our jobs," said Ema with a sigh. "What were you doing at the library, anyway?"

"I was reading the Samurai comics like I always do," Penny answered. "I only get to go there once or twice a month, you know. You know how Dee can be."

"What are you talking about Miss Vasquez for?" asked a voice. When we turned around, Ema gasped. I, on the other hand, was just surprised.

"Hey!" I said. "You're Will Powers!"

Ema looked at him again. "Really?!"

The larger-than-life werewolf lookalike tilted his head slightly, with a look on his face. Not in offense, but in a sad understanding.

"That's me," he said, waving at us. He turned to Penny. "What's going on? What do they need Miss Vasquez for? She's in prison, you know."

"We know," I said. I held up the library list. "But at one point, she was out. Her name and Sal Manella's names are on this list."

Will was confused. Penny, on the other hand, was subtly surprised.

"But that's not possible!" she cried. She pointed an accusatory finger at me. "Are you saying that they escaped and were thrown back in jail immediately, Lana Skye?! And your saying no one would have caught that? No one?!"

I narrowed my eyes and shook my head. "Phoenix, Maya, and Gumshoe all told me that Miss Vasquez had ties with the mafia. They silenced that man 5 years ago with the accident, and then they almost silenced them for getting to close to that case!" I marched up to Penny and crossed my arms. "Are you telling me, Penny Nichols, that this couldn't be a possibility!?"

She jumped back. "Aaaaah!"

Will and Ema just stared. I had a feeling that they thought we were in a courtroom here.

"You're hiding something from us," I said. "Like it or not, we will find out what it is. Come with us."

Penny didn't say anything. Ema took her by the arm and started to lead her out of the studios.

"Do you want to come, Will?" I asked, turning back to him.

He nodded. "Sure. I have no reason to be around here any more today."

As we walked out, I stared holes into the back of Penny's head.

What was she hiding?

Chapter Text

~ June 18, 9:00 AM, Defendant Lobby #1 ~

”There you guys are! I almost thought this huge sea of people was going to drown you two out!” Larry waved at us from a bench in the defendant lobby.

I looked around. “Wow, there are a lot of people here today, aren’t there?”

“What do they think this is, some kind of circus act?!” snapped Miles. “They could have gone some miles from here for that - and don’t either of you say anything about what I just said!” he added when Larry and I both snickered.

It was true, there were so many people flooding in and gossiping about the trial that there were very few safe spots in the lobby to stand. And even less places for my crutches to not get in anyone’s way.

“I’m just glad you convinced them to let you prosecute,” I said, “and I managed to get behind the defense’s bench – obviously not where the attorney will be, but close – to watch, instead of in the normal seats. Larry has a fighting chance now.”

Miles sighed. “It’s not just me. They agreed to let me through if I cooperated with the prosecution team. Obviously, the Judge was kind of surprised that you could not be in the defense team because you are the victim, but he wonders if that is a sign.”

“For what? A completely normal trial? When has any trial with you or I involved ever been normal?”

He smiled. “Indeed. The Judge should not hold his breath.”

“Anyway,” I asked, “who’s on the team? And why the heck is it even a whole TEAM?! How special is this case?”

“Special enough to have us looped into it, that’s for certain.”

The three of us glanced around, wondering who spoke, startling when Mia and Lana suddenly appeared in our view. How did they get here without us hearing!?

Lana looked to Miles with a small smile. “Looks like I’ll be watching over you, protege.”

You’re on the team, Lana?” I asked incredulously. “Aren’t you supposed to be the Chief Prosecutor?! How did you convince them to let you prosecute this case!?” 

She laughed. “I insisted on supervising this case, since I can’t be on it. They agreed to let me pick one person, but they would be picking the other people. They are a team of three.”

“And what of you, Mia?” Miles asked her. “Might I ask why you’re here?”

Mia raised an amused eyebrow. “Isn’t it obvious? I’m going to be on the defense team.”

I rolled my eyes when I saw Larry’s expression light up. Oh lord, this is exactly what me and Miles were afraid of.

“You are? What of Grossberg?”

“He’s leading the team, of course! We’re also a team of three, but it did take us a while to track down our third person. You’ll see why in a moment.” She sent a small smile his way, and Miles was a bit confused by it.

“Hey!” Larry said suddenly. “Why don’t we go inside the courtroom and talk? Maybe so we’re not crushed by the crowd here?”

Did Larry actually have a good idea?

“I know that look, Nick; don’t act like I could never have a good idea!”

Everyone laughed. My ear tips turned red with embarrassment.

*****

~ June 18, 9:10 AM, Courtroom No. 4 ~

“Lord, why are my teammates so... not punctual?” Miles asked, looking around at the doors to see if any of them have come in yet. Lana shrugged and offered a sigh.

Mia looked a bit worried. “I think I can say the same at this point. The Judge isn’t even here yet.”

It was true. Besides us that arrived early, only random people were trickling in. And even though we saw familiar faces like Maya, Ema, Lotta, Will, and Gumshoe, no one else that was supposed to be on the court floor had showed yet.

“Mia, my dear, I’m sorry I’m so late.”

She turned and saw Grossberg in the doorway.

“Mr. Grossberg! There you are!” Mia ran up to him.

“I apologize for being tardy, Mia,” he said again, “but I did have to make sure our teammate was ready to go.”

“Oh!” said Mia. “He’s here now?”

Grossberg nodded. “That he is. He’s coming in right now.“ He called out to the door. “Don’t be shy.”

All of our heads turned to the door.

The flap of a trench coat.

A fedora entered the doorway.

Then, in walked a man who put it back on his head in a distinct manner.

To some people, he used to be one of the good defense attorneys, always believing in the truth.

To others, he was the one that had put one little stain on Manfred von Karma’s perfect win record.

And to all, he had been pronounced dead. Until today.

To one, he was known as something more personal.

“Father...” said Miles, in a very quiet tone, when he saw his father, alive and well, for the first time in years.

Gregory Edgeworth made his way down to the court area, walking slowly at first, pace only quickening when Miles called out to him. As soon as he reached his son, he wrapped his arms around him, tears running down his face.

“Miles... oh, my son,” he said tearfully, as Miles held him back. “You’ve grown so much over these years without me here. You’ve set your own path. I’m very proud of you.”

Miles looked like he didn’t trust himself to speak.

As they celebrated their reunion, I turned to Mia. “How... and when?!”

“We actually thought of this today,” she said. “We used the same method it took to resurrect me.”

“But that took days! He’s here in barely a matter of hours!”

“My soul had been wandering lost near Kurain Village. His had always stuck close here.”

“I think Miles will forever appreciate what you’ve done for him.”

She smiled. “I do hope he does.”

“Well, I certainly won’t!”

Chilling silence.

Mia grabbed onto me.

Gregory stood in front of Miles as if to shield him.

Larry hid behind his defendant’s chair.

Lana scratched at her arms, as if uneasy.

And, from the crowd, Maya pressed firmly into Gumshoe so she wouldn’t have to see. Lotta covered her eyes as well and shivered. Ema didn’t know what to do; she had the luxury of never meeting him before.

Two people came in through the door. They both looked aged but in their own ways.

One had glasses, the lacking of hair from a case out of favor, and looked nervous near constantly. Easily forgettable these days, but apparently not back then - a “rookie killer”, as was once said, and no longer true.

These days, he was just a pain. Winston Payne, that is. Tapping his forehead in so-called confidence where his pompadour used to be. Mia and I were the ones to see it fly off. It had been Mia’s second case, after all - she was defending me.

It was the other that caused the life to get sucked out of the room.

Unlike his companion, who leaned back as he tapped, he stood tall and commandeering, constantly sneering as he glared around the room. His aging traits would have been his ice white hair and the wrinkles across his constantly terrifying face.

Eyes always wide, open, and alert; he held his cane under his arm for the moment. He grinned evilly when he saw us: first at Maya in the audience, then Miles and Gregory, and finally me. He raised his arm and snapped, pointing at me as the sound echoed in the room.

“Mr. Wright.” The sound of his voice sent not-so-soothing shivers down my spine. “Hmph. Your friend here did a lousy job.”

To most, he was the one that never lost a case. Not once in his forty years. Until some months ago, that is.

To Gregory, he was the man who received the only blemish on his record from him. And for that, he was killed in a spur-of-the-moment plan that we all knew as DL-6.

To Miles, this man had been the reason he was who he had been a while back before going soul searching – a ruthless prosecutor, focused on winning and perfection instead of the truth – instead of what Gregory had been. All because of DL-6.

And to me, he was the man that went to drastic measures to hide the truth and keep his stupid record - to the point of tasering me and Maya.

He had a name that struck fear into everyone who heard it. 

Even more so since he was supposed to be rotting away in jail.

“Manfred von Karma.” The voice was Gregory’s. He kept his eyes trained on von Karma as he and Payne made their way to the court area where the rest of us were. Miles stayed firmly behind his dad, but stuck an arm out in front as if shielding him. “Last I heard, you were supposed to be rotting away in jail for your crime.”

von Karma merely glared to him. “And last time I checked, you should be serving time six feet under for yours.”

“What are you talking about?!” snapped Mia. “What crime could this man possibly have committed!?” She probably would have gone off more if Grossberg hadn’t come up and stopped her.

“Hmph. You wouldn’t understand, little girl.” That only set off Mia more, and Grossberg had to drag her back to the defense’s bench. Poor Mia. She wouldn’t understand.

But I did. Crystal. And I wish I could have gone off on him like Mia was about to do.

He marched over to the prosecutor’s bench. “Payne. Let us get this over with, shall we?”

The man in question stopped tapping and practically ran after him. “Y-Yes, sir!” he managed to say as he did so.

I looked over to Gregory and Miles. The latter was shaking terribly while the former tried to hold him still.

I’m not sure who was about to fare worse: Gregory had to go against this terrible murderer again, but Miles was going to have to work with this heathen. That would be almost as bad as me having to work with her.

As if to accentuate more of the awkwardness, the Judge appeared at the doors, with someone coming in behind him. They were both dressed the same way, so it was safe to assume this was another judge. 

Wait... were we going to have two judges?! 

This is turning into one heck of a kangaroo court.

*******

~ June 18, 9:40 AM, C4 Front Area ~

“Court is now in session for the trial of Larry Butz,” announced the Judge, the older one we were all used to, when we were all settled and quiet. The younger one nodded beside him.

“The defense team is ready, Your Honor!” Mia said, slamming her hands on the table. Gregory chuckled quietly while Grossberg turned away, a bit embarrassed, but trying not to smile.

“Don’t think we would waste our time here if the prosecution were not ready!” snapped von Karma, in both ways. Payne tapped away on his head again and Miles just clutched his arm and stared holes into the table.

“I have to say, this court is already shaping up to be very strange,” said the older Judge. “I thought that Mia Fey and Gregory Edgeworth were supposed to be dead!”

von Karma rolled his eyes. “They’re dead to me, if that counts.”

Yeah, right back at you, buddy.

“I’m not sure how I feel about you being out of prison, either, Prosecutor von Karma,” said the younger Judge.

“That makes nearly all of us, Your Honor,” Mia said.

“It is not important how I am here, just know that I am,” said von Karma. “And that it is legal that I’m here.”

When do you care about legality!?

“Very well. Prosecution, your opening statement, please.”

Uh oh. He’s leading the prosecution team, isn’t he?

“We’re here to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt that this man, Larry Butz – “  von Karma snapped and then pointed at the man in question, who looked as if he wanted to hide behind his chair, “ – attempted - and unfortunately, botched - a murder attempt on Phoenix Wright’s life!” With that, he crossed his arms and waited.

And in moments, nearly the whole court went up into pandemonium.

”What?! Someone tried to murder the Ace Attorney!?”

“Why is von Karma here? Isn’t he a murderer?!”

“Wasn’t this guy accused of murder months ago...?”

“How could this happen!?”

“Guilty! I bet he’s guilty!”

“No way! He’s totally innocent!”

”ORDER! ORDER IN THE COURT!” The younger Judge was yelling while the older one constantly smacked the gavel on the stand. “I’m not sure how I feel about all this yelling!”

Mia rolled her eyes at that.

“Call your first witness, prosecutors!”

“Gladly!” said Payne, tap-tapping away. “We call our investigation team to the stand!”

What? How did we miss these people investigating? And who would even be on the team? Ema, Lana, and Gumshoe were with us. Marshall said he was to be a normal witness since he left. Angel was murdered, from what Mia told me. Who could be left?

”I am sure some of these names will be familiar to you,” von Karma said, glancing at the defense and his prosecution team with a weird smile,  “and I’m quite sure none of you will be expecting them to have come here, but they were more than willing.” He turned to the witness stand area. “Isn’t that right?”

Three people entered from the side door, and we were surprised all over again - and by that, I mean Mia, Gregory, and I were. In some form or another - flesh, picture, or spoken word - we had learned of these people.

“These are Tyrell Badd, Valerie Hawthorne, and Bruce Goodman,” said von Karma, in his usual manner of wishing to get to the point. “They were some of the top detectives in their time, and took time out of their lives to investigate for us. Now, Mr. Badd, why don’t you tell us what you’ve found?”

The man with a jacket like Gumshoe’s and dressed in sepia-like tones stepped forward. “We’ve found the cloak dropped by the alley only a few blocks away from the crime.”

What?! At the scene?!

“We can’t find any prints on it right now, so we do assume the person may have had gloves on.” He held it up. It was an ordinary looking black cloak, mostly unscathed except for the tear near the bottom.

“We also found out that the bookcase in particular that almost crushed Mr. Wright has been teetering for a while now,” said the woman in the police uniform. She held up a picture of the bottom of the shelf that hurt my leg. “As you can see here, it’s been built so it tilts at an awkward angle. It would fall otherwise if not against a wall or held up by something.”

“Wouldn’t that imply that there should have been something to hold it up then?” asked the older Judge. “How would it have stood up for so long without falling until right then?”

The man with the white fedora glanced back at Lana. “Miss Lana? I think you know the answer to that, don’t you? Why don’t you show them?”

”What? Oh...” Lana held up the piece of paper. “We found this piece of paper across the way from the offending bookshelf. We think it was what kept the bookcase from toppling.”

“Why do you have that, Miss Skye?” asked von Karma. “Trying to tamper with the scene?”

“Excuse you, who do you think you are?!” snapped Lana. “The paper only became relevant after your testimony, so I would hardly call it tampering. We did our own investigation that day.”

von Karma turned back to glare at her. “And who authorized you to do that?”

“Objection!” shouted Mia. “Your question is not relevant to this case!”

“Overruled,” said the younger Judge. 

“What?!?!” Mia was dumbfounded, as was I, and Larry too. Gregory and Grossberg looked worried while Payne and von Karma looked confident.

“Miss Skye, your ‘investigating’ could be considered tampering with the crime scene!” answered the younger Judge in a stern tone. “I may not know how I feel about a lot of things, but I know something like this could hurt a case!”

“Besides,” Payne said, “this seems like something a defense attorney would do! Isn’t that right, Mr. Wright?” He looked at me with a strange look.

“With all due respect, Payne,” I snapped, “I always asked to investigate the scene.”

“That is not in your job description! Are you a detective, Mr. Wright?” von Karma sneered. 

“But she’s a prosecutor!” Mia refuted. “If the other prosecutors are allowed to investigate with detectives, why not her – who happens to be your boss, by the way!?”

“Objection!” Payne shrieked. “Last time I checked, you’re not a detective and neither is Mr. Wright! Her checking out scenes with you two doesn’t excuse her!”

“Objection!” Gregory and Grossberg both pointed their fingers right at Payne, who recoiled right away.

“There indeed was a detective on the day she discovered the paper. In fact,” Mia said, with a hair flip, ”there were two!”

“Then I hope you won’t mind,” Miles said, finally looking up, with a slight smile, “naming to us who they were, would you, Miss Fey?”

Mia smiled back. “The first one, of course, is known to most everyone – Detective Dick Gumshoe!”

“What?!” Payne said. “He was at the scene!?”

“He was, and he was also there at the moment the shelf fell! In fact, he and the other detective were both there, at the same time!”

“Why don’t you tell is who this second one is, then?!” snapped von Karma.

“She may have been indicted only a month ago, but her ceremony made big news. The second detective – is Miss Ema Skye!”

“That girl is a detective?!” cried the younger Judge. “But she looks so young!”

“Age shouldn’t be a standing block to goals, Your Honor,” said Miles. From the way he said it, he spoke from experience.

“He is correct,” said von Karma, albeit a bit reluctantly. “If you want to excel in what you do, it should not matter when you start.”

“I’m assuming what we’re getting from here is that Lana’s investigating of the scene was fine,” said Grossberg. For the leading defense, he sure wasn’t saying much.

“Very well,” said the older Judge. “We will submit the paper into evidence.”

“Now how about we call another witness to this stand, eh?” said the younger Judge, rubbing his head.

“Hold it!” cried Mia. “We haven’t cross-examined any of them yet! And no,” she said, glaring at von Karma, “you’re not going to snap your fingers and dismiss it.”

He huffed, but stayed silent. Wow. I can’t believe Mia actually silenced Manfred. I saw Miles look a mix of impressed and surprised.

“Mr. Badd,” Mia said, stepping out towards him, “where is the missing chunk of this cloak?”

“What?” he asked. 

“There’s a piece missing from the bottom of that cloak, is there not? That hole wasn’t there before, was it?”

“Who’s to say that the person had the cloak intact during the crime?”

Objection!” said Mia. “All of us heard a ripping sound right before the bookshelf fell. It stands to reason that the cloak was caught under the bookshelf as the person removed the paper! That’s why it’s torn!”

“Objection!” Payne shouted back. “How do you know that wasn’t the paper tearing?!”

“Look at it! Does it look torn to you?”

“It’s been folded! How can you tell!?”

“Easy! Your Honor, if you would,” Mia asked, “unfold the paper, please.”

The younger Judge took the paper and pulled it apart from its accordion-like fold. “It appears that this paper is completely intact, save for this dent into it.”

“Which proves that it was stuck under the shelf!” Mia pointed out. “It was dented by being there!”

“Moving on,” said the older Judge, rubbing his temple, “did anyone find the missing piece of the cloak?”

“No, Your Honor,” Mia said. “We checked under and around the area of the case, but we only found the paper tossed into the neighboring bookshelf.”

“You didn’t look anywhere else? Really?” Valerie rolled her eyes.

“With all due respect, Miss Hawthorne,” Mia spat out in disgust, “you and your comrades are the ones who found the cloak, so if anything, we should be asking you that question!”

At this, Valerie clammed up.

“That already raises suspicions,” Grossberg muttered. “If you accuse the defense and the prosecution of tampering with this scene, who is to say that these detectives haven’t themselves?”

“Exactly!” Mia shouted, slamming her hands on the table once more. “After all, no one else was aware of all of these detectives coming here...” Then she pointed right out to the prosecutor’s bench. “Except for you! Manfred von Karma!”

“You think I am the one who orchestrated this whole ordeal?” he asked, slamming his cane onto the ground. “Do you have proof that I was anywhere near the library during the time of the attempt?!”

“Oh please, like that’s a stretch?” I snapped. Everyone turned to look at me. “Remember DL-6? You literally orchestrated a plan to cover up what happened that day! And on that same day, you tasered me and my assistant! You would do anything to have kept your perfect record going! News flash, it’s been wrecked. Twice! Get over it!”

In seconds the whole courtroom was in chatter once more. The audience was between seeing how von Karma fit into the scheme, while Lana, Miles, and Payne argued with Tyrell, Valerie, and Bruce, and Grossberg, Gregory, and Mia were between talking to themselves and Larry, who came down from his seat to lean over and chat with them. All the while the Judges tried desperately to get order back in the court and Manfred glared at me, for daring to remind him that his record had been stained, not once, but twice, and that he would have to live with that.

That’s when Manfred slammed his hand onto the table.

“Enough!” he shouted, which shocked the court into submission. “You three, get off the stand. Now!” As soon as the three of them ran back to their seats, he started to march to the witness stand.

“Mister von Karma! What on earth are you doing!?” cried the older Judge. 

“You’re not getting away with running this courtroom again,” snapped the younger Judge. “Go back to your stand right now!”

He paused, halfway to the stand, and wagged a finger in a spiteful manner. “I suppose I will go back. But if I do, you’ll never find out how I figure into this.” He turned on his heel and started to walk back...

“HOLD IT!”

Six voices rang out, pleading for him not to go.

Mia’s...

Grossberg’s...

Gregory’s...

Larry’s...

Miles’s...

And mine.

“What are you doing?!” Payne yelled at Miles. “He’s on our side!”

At that, Miles snapped. He slammed a hand on the desk and turned toward Payne. “That man,” Miles hissed, stabbing a finger in Manfred’s direction, “is not on my side.  He has never once been on my side and he knows it. He killed my father out of petty revenge. He twisted me into a monster. He’s hurt people I care about.” He shoots a quick glance to us, especially Mia, Gregory, and me, before whiplashing back to Payne. “I don’t care if he’s supposed to be my coworker. We’re all supposed to be seeking the truth here, and if he’s finally willing to tell it for the first damn time in his life...” He glared right at von Karma as he said this, who stared back with a bemused expression. “Then I don’t care whose favor it’s working for. I want to hear it.”

“Yeah! Way to GO, Edgey!” Larry shouted.

“Couldn’t have put it better myself,” I said. Mia nodded in approval.

“The defense,” Gregory said, tilting his fedora down, “calls Manfred von Karma to the stand.” 

He turned and sneered at all of us, but shrugged. “Very well.”

"I'll have your evidence," Mia said, with a hair flip. "Just you wait!"

And with that, Manfred von Karma took the stand.

*******

~ June 18, 10:30 AM, Witness’s Galley ~

“What’s going on?” Penny asked Valerie, when she and Marshall finally made it to the witness’s galley.

She spared Penny a glance before turning back to the scene at hand, arms crossed and an annoyed look on her face.

Penny was dumbfounded, until someone tapped her on the shoulder. “Manfred von Karma is about to testify,” said Bruce. “Everyone thinks that he was the one who tried to kill Phoenix Wright!”

“That’s not possible,” Penny said. “Manfred was still in prison when the attack took place!”

“And how do you know that, young lady?” said Tyrell, who eyed her suspiciously. 

Before she could answer, everyone went radio silent for a few moments. After the trial picked backup, Penny spoke again.

“I kinda went to visit my boss in jail, when they put her back in again. It was around 2:30 p.m. I stayed there 15 minutes, and then I walked to the library for my usual comic book endeavors.”

“Wait,” Marshall said suddenly. “So that is her handwriting on the library list, then!”

“Yes, but when she was put back in, he was still there.”

“You think someone forged his name on there, then?”

“No way,” said Tyrell. “He would never let anyone ‘leech off his perfection’, as he puts it. That includes mocking his handwriting. He must have been released earlier.”

Valerie narrowed her eyes, but she didn’t turn around. “If that was the case, then what was he doing back in there?”

“Either he got out illegally and is lying up a storm out here,” said Bruce, “or he was hiding out there so he could use it as an alibi!”

“I’m guessing he had help, from someone,” Marshall said. “The question is who is helping him.”

“Why were you going to the library, Marshall?” Penny asked. “Lana told me you showed up minutes after the crime.”

“That I did, bambina. I was coming to join them, wanted to see what their group thing was about. On my way there, I ran into Lana and Detective Gumshoe running the opposite way. Said they were trying to catch someone, but I didn’t see anyone else go by me, save for that lady Oldbag moments earlier. Soon as they investigate, who dares show up but Gant with his loud Mike. Claimed to only be there to worry about Phoenix, but something he said rubbed me all wrong.”

“But if you saw her, shouldn’t you have seen who she was chasing?”

“Not unless he ran another way from where they were going.”

“What did he say that ‘rubbed you wrong’?” Bruce asked.

“He asked about his leg. Now I reckon this wouldn’t sound suspicious – except that he shouldn’t have known which leg Phoenix was injured on because he was already gone from the scene at the time.”

“What if he visited him at the hospital? He would know then.”

“He wouldn’t have to ask us how he was doing. He would’ve seen for himself. Sides, Lotta told us that she and Cody were the only other ones in the room.”

Valerie’s eyes stayed trained on von Karma as he spoke, while Tyrell and Bruce’s widened at all the testimony they had just received.

“We have to get up there and testify,” Penny said. “They already think we’re suspicious. Hopefully this will shed some light on things.”

“Well, you know one thing.” Valerie finally turned back around. “If you had listened even at all, you now know that von Karma was involved in the attempt on Mr. Wright’s life. As was our former Chief of Police, apparently.”

All four of them joined the rest of the court in going, “WHAT??????!!!!!!”

*****

~ June 18, 10:30 AM, C4 Front Area ~

“My name is Manfred von Karma, and I am a prosecutor.” He tapped his cane against the stand. “See? No extra stuff needed to get to the point.”

From the audience, I saw Lotta roll her eyes. Miles groaned, and I knew it was because witnesses tended to give him a hard time when it came to just introducing themselves.

“Okay,” Mia said, pacing in front of the witness stand. “Why don’t you tell us what you were doing on the day of the crime?”

“Well, I did spend the morning rotting away in jail,” von Karma shrugged, twirling his staff, “but I did manage to get out to check out a good book.”

Grossberg looked at the library list on the stand. “Age of Perfection? Really? That seems ironic for you, does it not?”

“You’re one to talk about questioning people’s tastes, what with that hideous painting of yours that’s hanging in Redd White’s office. Ugh.” Manfred shook his head in his tsking manner. “Anyway, I took the book – it actually came from that offending shelf, they need to get one to make it like the old one – out of the library and went on my way from there. As I was leaving, I was stopped by someone in a cloak. I did not see their face, but I knew what they were looking for. I pointed out the library, where Mr. Wright and company happened to be staying. They thanked me, of course, and walked away, their heels clicking on the pavement. So no, I am not the one who pushed the shelf onto his leg, because if I was the one who pushed it, he wouldn’t be standing here now. I went back to the prison and stayed there to bide my time - and to have an alibi.”

Radio silence for a few moments. Even the witness galley had stopped speaking, even thought they were in their own conversation.

“Okay...” the older Judge said after a few moments. “Your cross-examination, defense.”

“There was so many things suspicious in this testimony, they’re practically glaring,” Mia whispered when she came back to the defense bench. “And we - meaning me, Phoenix, Miles, and our friends - are pretty sure he’s working with either Redd White or Dee Vasquez. Both of them were out and about by the time of the incident. And according to other sources, they were screwing around somewhere.”

“Go get them, Mia,” Grossberg said. Gregory tipped up his fedora and gave her a slight nod.

“Mister von Karma,” Mia waltzed back to the witness stand as she talked, “you claimed to have spent the morning rotting away in jail, correct?”

“Yes,” he said with a glare. “You heard me, did you not? What of it?”

“What time were you released from the prison?” 

“Around 2 pm, if you must know.”

“Objection!” Mia snapped, pointing her finger at him.

“What is this nonsense!?” von Karma snapped. “Explain yourself, Miss Fey!”

“No need,” piped up a voice from the back of the courtroom.

“Mr. Gant!” Mia exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”

He walked up to the area, followed by Meekins who was without his mike system. In his hand he was holding something.

“What’s that in your hand?” asked the younger Judge.

“I’m glad you asked, little Aboot.” He held up the paper. “This is the prison roster for section 3 where Karma here was being kept.”

Mia was taken aback. “What?! How did you get that!?”

“One of the little officers gave it to me – little Magpie – after she found it on the ground. It appears someone dropped it in a haste.”

In the audience, Gumshoe gave an awkward squawk. Great. He must have dropped it after reading it.

According to the list, it said that Manfred was, in fact, released at 2 PM. However, it seemed to be written in a bolder font than the rest of the list.

"It says right there that he was released at 2 PM!" said the younger Judge, "So he must be telling the truth!"

"Objection!" said Gregory. "Your Honor, if you would take a look at the library check out list again."

"Oh?"

"This list clearly states that Mister von Karma was there by at least 11:15 AM, judging by the book he checked out." Grossberg stood up rather forcefully and out of character for him, and slammed his hands on the bench. "That means von Karma is lying!"

"Can you prove this?" snapped von Karma. "How do you know that my name was not forged onto that list? From what I have heard, you seem to believe that Mister Butz's name was also forged into the list."

"Would a forger know what book you intended to check out?" Mia asked. "And if you see the list, the only person who was in anywhere near close to the time you were was Mr. Gant here. And your name and his are written in two completely different writing styles. Therefore, two different people. Larry, on the other hand, didn't check out any book that day, which is why the forger wrote 'Not Applicable' into the book space! Your Honor!"

"Y-Yes, Miss Fey!?" they both said, startled.

"The defense requests a handwriting analysis be done on this list! We can find out who faked Larry's name on the list!"

"Hold it!"

Everyone turned to the voice who had spoken, which was Damon Gant.

"No need for that," he said, once more. "I'm the one who wrote Larry's name on the list. And von Karma is the one who tipped off the attempted murderer to Wrighto's location, which we only found out through a camera planted in the library as of last week."

"As I had said," von Karma said, tapping his fingers against his crossed arms. "I merely tipped the person off. I have not done anything else."

"And what of the prison records?" Mia asked, voice starting to tremble. "Why is the time on von Karma's row bolded more than the others!?"

"Ah, that." Gant managed a small clap. "That's easy, Mi-Mi. I had someone change the time there." He turned towards the witness's galley.  "Mr. Badd? You were correct in assuming that he was released earlier. In fact, he was released at 9 AM."

Everyone in the front, audience, and witness's galley, save for von Karma and Gant, shouted “WHAT??????!!!!!!”

Next thing, the audience went crazy, crazier than when Lana admitted to presenting forged evidence in SL-7, and the Judges both shouted that proceedings would be suspended for further investigation, due to all the new evidence.

*******

~ June 18, 5:00 PM, Defendant Lobby #1 ~

"Lord!" I cried out, hobbling out through the doors over to my friends. "That was quite a crazy trial."

"I can't believe that von Karma and Gant were both involved in this, little as they may have seemed," Lana said with a sigh. "Aren't they supposed to be reformed?"

"Well, we know they are accomplices, for sure," Miles said. "The question is now who they were helping, since neither of them pushed the shelf. If they had, they might have been easier to identify even under a cloak."

"Who do we think it is, man?!" Larry demanded. "You think it's that White guy?!"

"No, no, he hardly does any dirty work, save for murdering me," Mia said, edge in her tone. "I do believe he was the one who set the camera, just like he did at Angel and Marshall's place."

"Do you think he wrote the note left there, too?!" Maya asked, as she, Gumshoe, Ema, Lotta, and Will approached. "Or maybe someone told him to deliver it to her!"

"One thing's for sure," said Ema. "We're not going to get answers just sitting here."

"That's right," I said. "I think we'd better go interrogate the people at the prison. Judging by the slippery tricks that von Karma and Gant pulled, any of them could be involved in this plot."

"You might want to talk to my boss first," Penny said, walking up to the group with Marshall in tow.

"The bambina made a point in our discussion today," he said. "Said that Dee was back in the jail around the time von Karma came back with his book. But her name is on that list, so she was definitely released earlier as well."

"What are you guys waiting for?!" Larry said, as he walked over to the detention center guards, simply cooperating. "Go get those people!"

Chapter Text

~ June 19, 11:00 AM, The Prison Yard ~

“Okay, what do we know about the situation so far?” I asked, hobbling along.

Yesterday’s trial was crazy, but we learned some things. A lot of things. Like von Karma and Gant’s roles in the attempted murder, and White’s as well – clearly silencing anyone who dared get too close. The thing remaining, though, was who the one that actually pushed the shelf over had been.

It was my idea to come interrogate the remaining suspects in the prison in Manfred’s sector, to find out if they knew anything. I invited along Miles and Mia.

“von Karma said something about insisting they replace the shelf,” said Mia. “So the shelf wasn’t always like that. We should ask Ms. Oldbag when the last time that thing stood properly was.”

“Text Lana, she went to the library, remember? She can ask her. What else?”

”He mentioned heels clicking away on the pavement, if I recall,” said Miles. “That means that whoever was under the cloak was most likely a woman.”

“That might narrow it down for us,” Mia said. “Come on, we’re almost in Sector 3.”

We turned a few more corridors and ended up in the sector. Six people stood in front of us: five of them in prison jumpsuits and one of them in a police uniform.

“We’ve brought out the inmates for questioning as requested, sir!” The police officer saluted, standing as tall as she could muster, and rather stiffly.

“Yes,” I said, albeit a bit awkwardly. “Thank you, Miss – ?”

“Byrde! Maggey Byrde, sir!” she said. “Or, as that lightning guy says, ‘Magpie’.”

“Lightning guy?”

“I believe she means Gant,” Miles interjected.

“That’s right, sir! And he is a scary one! Not as scary as the people that got released last week, though!”

This girl was chattier than Meekins.

“Well, thank you, Maggey,” Mia said. “Come on, boys.”

With that, we walked up to the row of cells, approaching the first one.

“Well, well.” Dee spared a side glance at us. In addition to her jumpsuit, she kept the wrap on her head and her pipe was taped and glued back together after having snapped it during her trial. “Mr. Wright. Mr. Edgeworth. How unexpected to see you two again. Who is your friend here?” She gestured to Mia with her pipe.

“I can introduce myself just fine,” Mia said. “I’m Mia Fey.”

“Well, Miss Fey, I’m not exactly sure what you and your boys intend to find out that wasn’t already exposed by someone in the trial yesterday, but I suppose you three aren’t exactly known for being quitters when it comes to the truth.” She crossed her arms. “Ask away, if you must.”

“What were you doing at the library?” 

“Enjoying one of my few days of freedom. Unlike near everyone else in his sector, I wasn’t intending to murder anyone, you know. Anyway, when this incident occurred, Sal and I were stripped of our freedom and locked back up. I don’t see how that’s fair. I suppose I see why they suspected me, but not him.”

“Why were you a suspect?” I asked.

“I do believe that von Karma mentioned the clicking of heels in his testimony. The police started assuming a woman under the cloak, and there aren’t very many female criminals to speak of, so they took me back in and kept their eyes tighter on that young miss over there.” At this, she pointed further down the line, where all of us felt a cold, unforgiving glare coming back at us. “However, they let one of the suspects get away. Or, at least, they never came back and detained her.”

“Wait, how did you know about what von Karma said?” Mia asked suddenly. “Surely you weren’t out in court?”

“No, I was not. I saw and heard it on the TV in the break room.” Dee lowered her pipe. “The police didn’t know it, but Redd White had a camera installed in court two months ago, in all the court rooms, in case he caught anyone trying to be bold and expose him. It can only be accessed by entering three channels into the TV in a certain order.”

“What!? He was trying to start his old business up!?”

“It’s what I heard from von Karma before he left here once more to prosecute yesterday’s trial.”

Miles, who had been silent throughout the conversation, diligently wrote down Dee’s testimony in the journal he was carrying. “Do you know what the codes are?”

“I’m afraid not. You will have to ask Mister Yogi or Miss Hawthorne. They’ll know.”

Miles, Mia, and I shuddered. We were not ready for that conversation.

”I can tell you that I had nothing to do with this attempt on your life, Mr. Wright. Losing a creative mind like yours would be a tragedy.”

I blushed at that. “Well, thank you for your help.”

She shrugged. “Any time. Miss Byrde?” she asked, turning to the lady still at her post, who jumped at the sound. “I’m heading off to the cafeteria, if you don’t mind.”

“Go ahead!” Maggey yelped. With that, Dee managed a small wave before heading off.

***

~ 11:45 AM ~

“Duck!” I shouted.

All three of us ducked as a bush of black hair went sailing through the air over our heads.

“Why are you here?!” Frank screeched. 

“Calm down, would you!?” I snapped.

“You put me in here!”

“You put yourself in here!”

“Please!” Mia shouted to break the cycle. “Mr. Sahwit, you need to calm down!”

Maggey walked over with the toupee in her hand, muttered something about “honestly, not again”, before handing it to Frank and walking back to her post.

“Miss Fey, with all due respect, why should I be calm around you or Mr. Wright!?” Frank looked as if he wanted to get away, but judging by the chain on his ankle extending to the bars, he wouldn’t be able to.

“You need to work with us, Mr. Sahwit,” Miles said calmly. “Don’t think I haven’t heard all those rumors of you wanting to get a lighter sentence.” 

At that, Frank squawked, and Mia and I stared at Miles in surprise. How did he know that!? He hasn’t been here in 3 months!

“Work with us,” he continued, “and perhaps we’ll put in a good word with you.”

Frank wrestled with the toupee in his hands for a while before finally putting it on his head and asking, “Fine. What did you want to ask me?”

“What were you doing on the 13th of this month?”

He started to wring his hands in that old habit. “I was fuming, of course! How could they let actual premeditated murderers out of here before me?!”

“You don’t mean von Karma and Vasquez, do you?” asked Mia. 

“No, not them, even though von Karma’s offense is worse than mine.” He stomped his foot. “I’m talking about White and his little assistant April!”

I gasped. I had nearly forgotten about April May, that wiretapping little vixen. She and White seemed to just disappear into society since their release.

“Technically, April didn’t kill anyone,” Mia pointed out.

“Aiding and abetting a murderer – enough said in my book!” Frank snapped. “Anyway, I spent most of my time fuming and watching the footage from the camera White planted everywhere. He told me to keep my eyes out for any suspicious activity – like, for example, that Cough-Up Queen nearly exposing the plan!”

“What!?” Mia slammed her hand on the bars and Frank ducked. “You told White about Angel?!”

“I had to!” he insisted. “He would have killed me if I didn’t. He’ll kill me now if I reveal who’s under that cloak!”

“You know?!” I asked in surprise. “You have to tell us now!”

“No!” Frank cried. “I happen to value my life even if I’ve wasted it away in here. You heard or saw what happened to your friend, right? White slaughtered her without a second thought!”

"He's blackmailing you!?"

At this, he pointed at the camera at the end of the corridor. "That camera wasn't always there, you know. He put it there so he could watch us. There's no channel code for that footage - or if there is, only White knows it. He'll know the minute any of us slip up."

All of us had to admit that he had a point.

“Well, thank you for your time, Mr. Sahwit,” Mia said with a sigh.

Suddenly, a bell rang.

“Lunchtime!” Maggey called out. She walked over and took away Frank’s leg chain. “Why don’t you stick around?” she said to us. “You can still question these guys during their lunch break. Maybe food will make them more willing to talk.”

“I’m down,” said Mia.

“Why not?” I said. 

“Here’s hoping that the food is halfway decent,” Miles said with a sigh.

~ June 19, 11:30 AM, Bluecorp Inc. - Exterior ~

”My dear, what are we doing here?” Gregory asked.

“von Karma said he was hiding out here after he got out of jail again – after the alibi time, that is,” I explained. “Besides, don’t you remember the snide comment he made about Mr. Grossberg’s painting? He could never get it back, and von Karma even said it was still hanging in his office! He could only know that if he had been there recently!”

He smiled at me. “Perhaps you could be a detective - or a defense attorney yourself someday, Miss Maya.”

“Would I ever!” I said. “But alas, Kurain Village needs me! I have to hone my spirit medium abilities if I want to become the next Master!”

Gregory and I looked up - way up - at the imposing stature that was Bluecorp, Redd White's base of operations, a place that stood tall for years and that never meant any good for anyone. Why Manfred was biding his time here, we would never know, and I wanted a sharp set of eyes to come with me, so who better to invite than Miles's father, with all that experience up his sleeve?

In exchange for telling me his investigation tales,  I would tell him about some crazy times as a spirit medium. I was glad that he now looked interested in them, because from what Nick told me, during the time of DL-6, neither he or Miles were too crazy about them. Poor Gregory was shot while he was knocked out, so he never saw it was Manfred, who came in from the outside. That's why, when my mother Misty channeled him after that, he blamed Yanni Yogi who happened to be in the elevator with them, partially to protect Miles and mostly because he really didn't know, which is what got my mother called a fraud and caused her to flee. 

"What do you think we'll find, Miss Maya?" Gregory asked, after a moment of silence.

I stopped looking at the building and looked at him. "I don't know, Mr. Edgeworth, but let's hope he doesn't twist this back on us somehow!"

With that, we went inside.

~ 11:35 AM, Bluecorp Inc. - CEO's Office ~

"Oh jeez, Mister von Karma was right," I said, shielding my eyes. "This decor is an eyesore!"

"I would be inclined to agree with you there, Miss Maya," said Gregory, turning his fedora lower on his head. "And unfortunately, also with him."

"Come now. There are worse things in the world - in your world, in fact - than merely agreeing with me, would you not find?" 

Manfred entered through the double doors on the opposite side of the room (what kind of things would White have back there, anyway?!) and leaned on the CEO's desk, with his cane sitting across the desk itself.

"Alright. I know you're probably bursting with questions, Miss Fey." Arms crossed, he tapped his fingers against his arms. "Out with it."

"What are you doing here, at White's offices?"

"He requested I come here since I was released. If I had not been, I would have been biding my time there in jail like some of the other inmates. But he specifically picked me to be released along with him and Miss May."

"Do you know why?" Gregory asked. 

"Possibly so I would be able to prosecute. He has heard of my win record before that trial, after all."

"But he has so many officials under his thumb! Why not them? You aren't under this thumb!" I paused, as I suddenly noticed that Manfred instinctively reached for his right shoulder, despite that bullet being extracted 3 months ago. "Are you?"

Manfred didn't answer for a moment, merely walked around the room, appearing to be checking for something. When he found what he was looking for - or rather, didn't - he turned back to us. "Yes, I am."

"What could he possibly have on you!?" I asked. "Aren't you, like, the master of covering things up!?"

"He is better than that, have you not noticed?"

"I think I know what it is." Gregory took Manfred's cane off his desk and pointed at him with it. "It's about the SL-7 case, isn't it?"

At this, Manfred's eyes widened, and he did another once-over of the surroundings before saying, "Yes. It is that case. It was almost never finished, you know."

"What happened?!" I shouted in shock.

"It's quite too long of a story," Gregory told me.

"And not one we have the time for," said Manfred. "He's threatening to expose me on that case - further than you have, Gregory - if I didn't try to help slam Mister Butz and help him and Miss May get away."

"Wait..." I suddenly rushed forward and grasped him by the cravat. "So you know he's innocent! And you're still trying to get him slammed anyway!?"

"Miss Maya!" Gregory swiftly pulled me away while Manfred looked as if trying to recover from a panic attack. "You must remember that he is being blackmailed. And who knows what means he could use to be spying on his very own office!"

I looked around the room suddenly, trying to look for something. Manfred seemed to know what I was doing, as he said, "There are no cameras here, Miss Fey, Do you really think White would be careless to leave cameras in the room at the risk of someone finding him out?"

Of course, he had a point. Suddenly, I had an idea.

"Why don't we get a camera and hide it in here?" I suggested. "We could keep an eye on White that way, since none of us seem to be able to catch him in the flesh."

Gregory blanched. "Miss Maya, that seems extremely risky! And then where would we be?"

"What else can we do, Mr. E!?" I insisted. He sighed.

"Where would we even be hiding this camera?" Manfred snapped. "It seems that he would find this camera anywhere, would he not?"

I pointed at him. "Haven't you ever noticed places where he rarely ever looks?" 

He thinks for a moment, and then raises his eyes to the painting on the wall. "Even if he is the one who pilfered this painting, he will not look at it, or at least he tries not to. But I do not see how you will hide a camera inside a painting, Miss Fey."

I smiled. "I'm more capable than you think, Mister von Karma. Leave it to me."

With that, all three of us approached the painting, trying to analyze it however we could.

***

~ June 19, 11:15 AM, Story Glory Public Library ~

"Thank you for helping me, Ms. Oldbag," I said, standing in front of her desk.

She was ducked under it, looking for something, but she stood up now, holding something in her hand. "It's no problem, Lana. I want to catch the freak who wrecked that shelf and tried to hurt that poor boy! He helped so much during that case of ours... it’s the least I can do." 

Wendy held out the item in her hand. Upon further examination, it appeared to be a picture. 

Wait...

"That is a clear picture of the crime scene!" I exclaimed.

"Hush, hush!" she said, making sure that none of the other few patrons tuned in. "We don't want to scare these poor people. Besides, this was taken a week before the crime." She turned the photo over. It said "9/6 4:00 PM" on the back of it in a light gray font. "When he planted that camera, he didn't realize it could have also helped us." She turned it back over and pointed in a certain spot. "Look here." 

I looked to where she pointed... and gasped.

She was pointing at the shelf that had fallen on Phoenix.

It stood perfectly straight. There was no paper under it at all.

"Now look at this one from six days after."

She then showed me a photo that said "9/12 8:00 AM" on it. The paper stuck out from under the shelf, clear as day.

"White may have been the one to plant the paper there..." She showed me one final picture, from 9/10, with the shelf being propped up by some sort of dolly, before the paper came into play. "But he was not the one who wrecked the shelf. Someone else did that."

"Who do you think did it?"

"Who else? I think it was my former boss, or her little lackey. Anyway, you may take these pictures. They may help." 

That meant Dee Vasquez or Sal Manella. I texted Phoenix, Miles, and Mia about her suspicions, then thanked her for the pictures as I tucked them away. 

"Hey," I said suddenly. "Do you think those detectives actually couldn't find that piece of cloak? Honest to goodness?"

Her eyes darted to the camera in the far corner by the comics that White had put there, and then she lowered her voice, lower than I even believed possible for her. "You think they knew about it and hid it?"

I nodded. "But the only way to find out," I said, lowering my voice as well, "is to search the alley where they allegedly found the cloak."

"Let's go, then," said Wendy. "At least we can't be watched when we're out there."

~ 11:35 AM, Story Glory Public Library - Alley Way ~

"I can't believe there's actually an alley attached to this library," I said.

"Neither can I, dear," Wendy said, arms crossed. "But if it's here, they could have hidden it under or in any of these cans. How would we know where to look?

"Think about it. We chased that cloaked figure out the door only minutes after the shelf fell, right?"

"Yes, that's right. But how will that help us?"

"Do you remember passing by anyone as you ran here?"

She tapped her chin in thought. "You mean that former patrolman, right?"

"Yes. When did you pass him?"

"He had turned the corner by the time I ran past this alley."

"If the person ducked here to hide, most likely if Marshall didn’t see them run by, they could have probably hidden the cloak near to the exit of the way before running down further. That's how the detectives would have found it so quickly."

Wendy clapped her hands together. "So we wouldn't have to look far!"

"That's right," I said with a smile. "Here." I pulled out my sister's fingerprint hunting kit - a present from Miles during the events of my trial. "We can use this to dust for fingerprints around the cans."

"You and your friends never cease to amaze me, dear," she said with a small smile. "Let's get to work, shall we?"

"Find those two!"

We quickly ran further into the alleyway and hid behind the cans.

"Why are we doing this?" I heard Valerie's sharp voice echo down the alley.

"We are not letting those kids tamper with yet another crime scene!" The screeching voice of Payne came echoing next. "This is how Mr. Wright and all his little friends get the jump on us, even when they're on our side! And I'm sick of no one stopping them! If you see them, you'd better chase them off the premises, any of you! Understand?!"

"Yes, sir," said the voices of Tyrell and Bruce in unison. Then their steps faded away.

"They must be going to check out the library for clues, hmm?" Wendy reasoned. I nodded, and then she said, "Good. They won't stop us from looking here. Let's get to work."

~ June 16, 11:45 AM, Detention Center ~

"Wow, these guys have covered a lot of ground!" Lotta said excitedly. "Don't worry Larry, you'll get outta there if Phoenix Wright and Co. have anything to say about it!"

Larry smiled wanly through the glass. It's not that he didn't count on us to bail him out, but I could tell that he was tired of being stuck in here. 

I sat in the chair in front of Larry's petition while Lotta leaned against the wall closest to the door. We volunteered to keep Larry company while everyone else went around getting evidence and testimonies. 

Suddenly, we heard a voice.

"Yo! Lottie! Em! Over here!"

We whipped our heads toward the door.

"Cody!? What are ya doing out here by your lonesome?!" Lotta asked. "Do your parents know you're out here??"

"Of course they do, Lottie! I can't just wander around without telling them where I'm going!" Cody rolled his eyes.

"But how did you know we were here?" I asked.

Cody shrugged. "I came to the police department first, but then Gummy said that you two were here, so I ran here."

"What's Gumshoe up to?"

"Apparently, his eyeballs in paperwork."

Lotta and I snickered. Poor guy.

A ping came through on both our phones. We looked... and blanched.

"What?! What is it!?" Larry asked from the other side of the glass.

"Are you guys okay?" Cody said, looking like he would cry any second.

"Look at what Phoenix, Miles, and Mia just found out!" I said.

"I think Lana and Ms. Oldbag might have 'em beat!" Lotta insisted.

"That's funny," said Larry. "I just got a text from Maya, something about what she and Edgey's dad just found out."

"Which one are you guys doing to read first!?" Cody demanded.

We thought for a moment. "Why don't you pick?" I told him.

***

~ June 19, 12:05 PM, The Prison Yard - Cafeteria ~

“What j00 want with us, n00bz?!” Sal demanded between spoonfuls of pudding.

“You’ll have to excuse him, kids,” Yanni said with a sigh. “It seems that he may be crazier than usual.”

“Crazy Sal!” Polly squawked. “Crazy, crazy, crazy!”

Having been interrupted by the food bell, Maggey insisted we continue our investigation through lunch. While Dee and Frank sat clear on one far end of the room, chatting about something, while Dahlia took the other, merely pushing her food about, the three of us took the middle, and asked Sal to meet us. Once he looked at us icy and with hostility, Yanni joined minutes later, with Polly perched on his shoulder.

“So?” I asked, taking a bit of rice and being grateful that they were willing to serve us. “What did you guys have to do with all this craziness?” 

“Exc00se me?!” Sal snapped. “It’s these bourgeoi-suckas that t0t411y m3ss3d up!!! How dare they take me and Dee back in when we were released! No bail or nothing - it was just our t1me t0 g0, you get it?!”

All three of us stared at him. Yep, he was as flarey as we first met him, maybe more since Dee wasn’t here to keep him quiet.

“I can’t really say I’ve done much of anything,” Yanni shrugged, “other than hold onto all the channel code combinations. White told me some more of his own, but I’m not sure what they do.”

Ping!

Mia looked down at her phone. Then she looked up at Sal.  

“You’re lying.”

“What!?” Sal screeched through the mouthful of pudding he had, which got mostly all over Miles, and partially over Mia. “Y0u d4r3 4ccu53 m3 0f 1y1ng!?!?”

Miles took the napkins in front of us and wiped himself down, then Mia. As he did so, she spoke. “I just got intel from a source of mine that someone tampered with the shelf. Ergo, it didn’t arrive at the library like that.”

“And why does that mean that 1 h4d 4nyth1ng t0 d0 w1th 1t?!”

“Because the day the shelf was tampered – “ Mia held out her phone in one hand, and objected with the other – “was the day you were released!”

Sal recoiled. “Whaaaaat?!?”

“And since Dee didn’t admit to this,” I said, “it could only be you! So tell me, why’d you do it?”

For a moment, he tilted down his and stayed silent, staring at his pudding cup. Yanni looked over from his fries and beef and noticed this, sighing.

“I’m guessing your friend was being blackmailed by White, and that’s why she turned up murdered. Right?”

“How did you know about that!?” Mia demanded. 

“It turned out that one of the other codes he gave to me was for the camera in that girl’s place. They almost didn’t notice until he was tipped off.”

“Did you tell him? About her?” Miles asked, teeth gritting slightly.

“No. I’m not the one who told. Remember, that was Mister Sahwit’s doing. All I’ve done was tune into that camera. I didn’t know why he asked me to do it, but it all became clear in an instant.” Yanni sighed. ”I’m not being blackmailed by him to do bidding and neither is Miss Vasquez. Mister Sahwit and Mister Manella, unfortunately, weren’t as lucky as we were. And clearly, neither was Mister von Karma from what I heard.”

“What did you hear?”

“As soon as he was called to read over a trial he would prosecute, his face turned rather sour. Miss Hawthorne asked him why he was like this, why that in the face of getting freedom and returning to his roots, he looked so displeased.”

Miles looked up in thought. “Perhaps he had the same revelation I did: winning is not everything in court. But because most of his life had been built around that very fact, he was not ready to come to terms with this.”

“You would be correct, Miles.” Yanni looked over at Sal, seeing him tense up more than earlier. ”The day before he was released, the day that White and Miss May were, he had a breakdown. Maggey scolded him for putting those dents in his holding cell.”

Ouch. We knew that Manfred had a tendency to slam his head into walls when he freaked out.

“He kept mumbling about how this was an insult to injury that he didn’t want plaguing his mind.” Then Yanni shuddered. “But as soon as the next day came, all traces of that frailty seemed to disappear as he strode out and walked away. But I knew better. Manfred was being blackmailed. I doubted he would have gotten over that ordeal so quickly, so I assume he was bring forced to get over it.”

Sal had still stayed quiet through that. But at the word “forced”, he looked up. “He threatened the Studios,” he said quietly, in serious tone that chased away any of the l33t or hyperactivity. “He threatened to shut down the Studios if I didn’t... didn't help him."

Out of the three of us, Miles's expression was the most shocked. "White threatened to take out Global Studios!? Does Miss Vasquez know about this?!"

"No! She doesn't know! She's not the one being blackmailed here!" Sal snapped. "And I didn't have the heart to tell her." Then he sighed. "I admit it. I sanded down the shelf - at his request. He might have known his camera were going to be used against him, but he knows all the blind spots and at what times the camera could snap. If it caught anyone else, he wouldn't have cared. And if I didn't do it, both of the Studios would go down."

"Wait, he threatened Worldwide Studios, too?!" Mia asked incredulously. "But he's not blackmailing anyone from there, is he!?"

"If he is," Yanni said, "we don't know about it."

I suddenly glanced over to the side of the room where Dahlia was sitting. She still glared holes into her plate.

"What did Dahlia do in all this?"

At her name, the men looked over at her. For a split second, she glanced back at them. When they turned back to us, they shuddered.

"Luckily?" said Yanni. "Nothing."

"Nothing??" I couldn't believe it, knowing her. "She really didn't want to do anything!?"

"The problem is that she did want to do something. If she got involved in this, someone else  could have lost a life."

"Someone else already did lose a life," Mia snapped. "Or have you forgotten Angel?"

"I mean any of you," he hissed back. At this, Mia was silent. "She would hurt people who threatened to expose her or get in her way - you should all know that. You're all in the way of their plans. If Dahlia had any say, most of you would be six feet under right now."

"And unfortunately for you, or fortunately, however you want to look at it," said Dahlia, who was now making her way over to the table, "Mister Yogi couldn't have been closer to the truth." She gave us all once-overs and tossed her hair aside. "Mia Fey, Feenie, Mr. Edgeworth."

"So why didn't you help him, Miss Hawthorne?" asked Miles. "Skipping out on a crime doesn't seem up your alley."

She thought for a moment. "I suppose I value other secrets and plans of mine staying secret - other than the ones you three unraveled in court, of course. I've heard of what kind of man White is. Besides, I still need to bide my time in here myself. And since I didn't participate, that eccentric man has no holdings over me, either."

I sighed. "Why is this so complicated?"

"Because when we're involved, it always is?" Mia guessed.

I gave a small smile. "I guess we're finally done with all our questions here. Thank you all for your time."

"Probably one of the most interesting things to happen in months around here," Yanni said.

"Good luck with that investigation thing!" Sal added.

"Thanks. But honestly," Mia said, stooping down to him, "I really think you should tell her."

He blanched. "What if she hurts me?"

"She won't. If she knows that you were being forced to do it, then it won't be you she'd mad at."

"Thank you, Miss Mia."

She smiled. "Any time." She straightened back up. "Alright, boys, let's hit the road."

As we walked out, I noticed Sal going over to Dee, probably to tell her what was going on. Frank walked over to where Yanni and Dahlia were, watching them. 

Who is doing this to them?

***

~ June 19, 12:30 PM, Bluecorp Inc. - CEO's Office ~

"We need to invent a channel code," Manfred said.

"What?" I asked.

"It's apparently how White controls what cameras he can see on televisions," Gregory explained. "We'll need to come up with one if we wish to access this camera remotely."

Somehow we managed to hide the camera we got (Gregory went out to get one while I had to stay behind with Manfred - *shudder*) inside the frame of the painting. All we had to do was drill a hole and stick the little sucker inside.

“Hmmm... I wish we knew what the other codes were, then we wouldn’t repeat them,” I said.

“Only Miss Hawthorne and Mister Yogi know of the codes to the cameras." Manfred tapped his cane against the desk. "He would not even disclose them to me. I suppose it is because he assumes I will have no need for them."

"No need? Why?"

"If I am expected to be here for most of my time, then I certainly would not. He has no screens in this office. And the only way he knows of what happens through these cameras is via the inmates he left to rot there."

"So White himself doesn't monitor them?" Gregory asked, confused. "Then what's to stop these inmates from simply lying to him what's on screen, besides the threats - which he can't follow through on if he can't see them messing up?"

"That would be the doing of his former secretary - Miss April May."

I gasped. "You think that April could be the one orchestrating this whole mess!?"

"How would we prove it?" Gregory asked. "We can't just rely on testimony alone."

"We may have to, Mr. E!" I insisted. "None of the evidence we do have is decisive enough!"

Just then, we heard voices.

"Are you seriously telling me that you don't have any sort of back up plan to get rid of Mr. Wrong!?"

"Hello! All his snoopy friends are protecting him! And he broke his leg! What's that porcupine-head lawyer going to do, come after us!?"

My heart dropped right into my sandals. It was them!

"Hide!" Manfred hissed.

The only place we could think of was behind the double doors. Gregory and I quickly slunk behind them into the darkness and shut it just as the doors on the opposite side of the room opened.

"von Karma. Splendiferous to see you, as always," White boomed as he entered the room. "I hear that the trial went abso-posi-lutely crazy." Then suddenly, the temperature in the room seemed to ice. "What did you tell them?"

"I-I do not know what you mean, Mr. White." The fact that Manfred von Karma actually stuttered just raised the stakes on this whole thing. Something shuffled behind us and I didn't dare look back. I wasn't sure I wanted to know what it was.

“The media said there was some giant confession, and they didn’t get any specifics!” April snapped. “You know full well that the afro lady would have done her job right!”

Small mercies. If Lotta was on duty, we probably wouldn’t have come this far.

“All I have done is indicted someone else,” Manfred lied through his teeth. “But it does not matter now. You have already slain her, and the uproar was over the fact that someone killed the murderer and so there can no longer be a verdict.”

For a moment, it was deadly silent. But then we heard the sound of clapping hands.

“Amazeriffic! You’ve managed to twist these court fools into their own web on confutraption!” The steps slowly began to recede. “You have given us all the time in the word to come up with a fantabulous new back-up plan! April, let’s make haste and seize this opportunity!”

"That nosy little lawyer will pay if I have anything to say about it!"

With that, the doors were shut. As soon as they left, Manfred opened up the doors. 

“That call could not have been any closer.” He ushered us out of the room. “You need to hurry out before these two decide to come back. Trust in me, they seem to change their minds on a whim.”

As we rushed out, I asked, “What do you think was in that room, Mr. E?” as I rattled off the latest updates to Lotta and Ema.

“I don’t know, Miss Maya,” he answered, “but something tells me that Manfred knows it.”

“Why do you think that?”

“How did he come into the room? There are only two ways to get in that office, and he wasn’t behind us.”

I gasped. “You’re right! But we won’t be able to ask him now.”

“Perhaps not, but with this – “ he showed me a 4-digit code he’d wrote on his hand at some point – “we can certainly tune into the office. We can hear anything that may be said about it.”

“You have a code prepared!?”

“That I do, Miss Maya.”

“We didn’t even get to tell him...”

“Secret for a secret, I suppose. Let’s get moving.”

***

~ June 19, 1:00 PM, Story Glory Public Library - Alley Way ~

"It was here. Most certainly here." I examined the can three cans down from the entrance.

"And how can you tell that?" Wendy asked, squinting at the can and seeing nothing. "Are you seeing something that I'm not seeing?"

"Perhaps," I said, reaching into my pocket for some gloves. Wordlessly, I picked up what I had found and showed it to her.

She gasped. "Clothing fibers!?"

"Pitch black, to be exact," I concluded. "No one ever throws clothes into this alley. That means they had the missing piece after all. If they hadn't, it would be here instead of just the fibers."

"Good work, dear!" Wendy then reached into her pockets and pulled out a plastic bag. "Put them in here, so we don't lose them."

As soon as I do, we hear a voice. "You two!?"

We jerked up, and I hid the bag in my pocket at the last second. Straightening up, we looked up into the seething eyes of Payne. Behind him, Tyrell and Bruce looked a mix of forced anger and awkwardness, and Valerie was subtly ashamed, masking it with a blank look.

"Why am I not surprised that you two are here, tampering with a crime scene?!" Payne snapped, entering the alley. While Wendy looked annoyed, maybe a bit scared, I was flat out angry. How dare he, someone who worked under me, accuse me of trying to wreck a crime scene, when he and his lackeys were already doing the same thing?!

"How could you accuse me of such a thing, Mr. Payne?" I asked, calmly as I could.

"Like it's beneath you?" Payne tapped away. "Have you forgotten the SL-9 case - the trial from 4 months ago, where you admitted to using forged evidence in that case!? You may not have forged it yourself, but you knew about it!"

"And what are you doing right now?” At my statement, Payne gave me a confused look. “Don’t look at me like that. You wouldn’t have accused us of messing with this scene unless...” I whipped my finger out and pointed it right at him. “you knew that there was possibly incriminating evidence here!”

He staggered back. “Aaah!”

Tyrell took this opportunity to come further into the alley. “I don’t understand, Miss Skye.”

“You don’t? Aren’t you the ones who recovered the cloak here from the alley? Torn at a certain section?”

“Yes? But what does have to do with anything?”

“Wait!” Wendy cried out suddenly. “That’s right! I remember that part of the trial. When they asked you what happened to it, you and that girl tried to brush it off! No one truly explained what happened to it! That means you guys knew it was torn off here, and were coming to retrieve it yourselves, as I do believe you were instructed to.” She pointed her own finger at Tyrell. “That’s why you think we were here – you thought we were going to catch you in your lies!”

Tyrell raised his arms in a shield like way. “Argh!”

“Admit it, Payne, you’re a hypocrite,” I snapped. “You know what happened to the piece, don’t you!?”

“No!” Payne shouted. “I know it was left behind, yes,” he confessed, “because I’m the one who ripped off the piece!”

“What?!?!” Wendy and I both shouted at once.

He sighed. “It was an accident. We came to retrieve the cloak where it had been discarded. But it was caught under part of the can. At the time, we didn’t see it, so when we tried to get it, a piece of it ripped off as we were leaving.”

“And so you didn’t tell anyone about this?” I asked. “Why?”

“Do you know how embarrassing it is to admit you messed up? In the Prosecutor's Office, no less!?" he shrieked, and I immediately felt a pang of sympathy for him because I did know, having admitted to Marshall and the entire courtroom that I messed up and presented that evidence. "It was something we could have prevented if we had been more careful."

"Well, the cloak piece isn't here, not anymore," said Wendy. She looked to me, and I nodded, figuring we shouldn't have been more suspicious than we seemed already. "We found some clothing fibers near this trash can. They're pitch black. Someone took the piece - rather roughly it seems, to leave them.

I held up the bag, and Payne's eyes widened. "If you didn't take it," he said, as I handed it to him, "and we didn't get it, then who else could have done it?"

"Perhaps it's someone else who knew about the location of the cloth." Valerie finally strode in, with Bruce meekly following. "And if it wasn't any of us, that only leaves us with a few options."

"Like von Karma, or White," I said, thoughtfully. "But if it was either of them, you think we would have noticed."

"I assume it's the person who sloppily tried to dispose of the cloak in the first place. The wearer of said cloak."

"We still don't know who that could be," I sighed.

"Your friends haven't found anything out?"

"How did you know about that?"

"I doubt they would just sit around and hand all the work to you."

With a side-glance at Valerie, I looked at my phone for updates from either Phoenix, Mia, and Miles, or Maya. As soon as I read over what had transpired or the last two hours, I gasped.

"I think they're onto something!"

"What are they onto, dear?" Wendy asked, walking behind me. I showed her my phone, and she read over my shoulder. "Oh my, you're right! I think they cracked the case!"

"What!? They solved it!?" Payne was surprised. "Who do they think actually did this!?"

"You can find out in court with everyone else," I said, giving all of them a once-over. Then I looked to Wendy. "Ms. Oldbag, I believe we've found what we came here for. Thank you for helping me out."

She smiled. "It's no trouble at all, really." With that, she left the alley, on the way back to the library. 

And I myself headed back to the offices.

~ June 19, 1:20 PM, Fey and Wright Law Offices ~

I watched Miles, Mia, and Maya pace the floor around the couch in the office. I myself sat on the couch, along with Lana, and Gregory sat at the desk only feet away. The tubes still whirred quietly in the background. I hated to think of what happened if this didn't pull through for her.

"So you guys say that April is behind this?" Lana asked, fiddling with the badges on her jacket.

"We heard her and White at his offices!" Maya said. "She said that the 'nosy little lawyer' was going to pay for what he did."

"Is she seriously still mad about that case!?" I hissed. "It's not like she was on death row or anything - she wiretapped a phone!"

"Why did she wiretap the phone?" Gregory asked. 

"White told her to," Mia said. "They were listening in on my and Maya's conversation on the day that White murdered me." At this, she shuddered. "He snatched all the info that could have put him away."

"But then it was your murder that got him put away?"

"Technically, it was Phoenix that did that," she said with a small smile.

"I don't think so," I said. "White only ran his mouth because you wrote down that list."

"Why did he have to kill her!?" All of us suddenly turned towards Maya, who stood at the tubes, squarely in front of the one that Angel was still inside of. "He could have blackmailed for her silence, but he went and murdered her instead!"

"Come to think of it," Miles said gravely, "why did he do it? It's not like she was close to solving anything at the time. All she saw was White put down some paper - at least, that's what she told us, anyway."

...

"He didn't do it."

Maya shrieked, jumping back away from the tube. Angel's figure slowly started to move.

"Mia! Let her out!"

Briskly, she walked over and opened the tube, causing blue liquid to fly to the floor and partially over some of us (namely Gregory, Lana, and myself) and Angel ended up sprawled on the floor in a heap.

"What did you just say, Angel!?" Maya demanded.

She looked from her position on the floor. "I said that he didn't do it. He didn't murder me."

"He didn't?" Lana raised a brow to this.

"He did blackmail me for my silence, but only to Grossberg, Payne, and the Judge - anyone not close to Phoenix," she explained. "If I had told them, they would have tried to put him away again. He figured even if I told any of you, that none of them would believe us."

She then stood up straight, blue liquid dripping from her clothing. "But April didn't think that."

"So she's the one that hit you and left the note!" Maya concluded.

"That's right."

Sharp knocks came from the door. 

"Mr. Wright! Could you spare a minute?"

Mia opened the door to find Marshall and Penny there.

"What are you two doing around here?" I asked.

"Look at this!" Penny showed a picture on her phone.

At first glance, it seemed to be an ordinary room. An empty bookcase stood off to one side, save for something black sticking up in it, along with a dolly.

"We found this here scene in White's office two days ago, the day before the trial," said Marshall. "Apparently that's where those extra double doors in his office go off to."

"Wait, we were just there!" Maya realized. "So that's what's in that room?"

"That's the cloak!” Lana said, pointing at the black splotch on the bookcase. "That means April and White must have gone back onto the scene at some point and snatched the piece before any of us could find it!"

"My guess is that they did it during the trial," Gregory guessed. "None of us would have been able to go after it then."

“We snuck back in, just today,” Penny added, “though we were working in the dark at first. The cloak was gone, but the piece was still there. After everyone left, we got to work.”

“Were you the reason for the shuffling behind us?” Maya asked.

She nodded. “That’s right. Marshall and I were trying to figure that out after our revelations in court the other day.”

"There were fingerprints on that piece," Marshall said, "and we found a fingerprint set in White's desk. We don't know why he had it, possibly for helping speed his blackmail process along, I reckon," he added before any of us could ask. "We checked the thing and asked Ema to help us out a bit. Guess whose prints were all over it?"

"Miss May's?" Miles surmised.

Marshall nodded. "That would be correct, pardner. The guilty bambina thought she wouldn't have anyone running into this crucial piece of evidence. We would have taken it, but we didn't have gloves prepared, and they were already on their way back with Sheriff von Karma."

"This could be exactly what we need to turn the case around!" Mia exclaimed. "Come on, Mr. Edgeworth, we have to go tell Grossberg!"

He chuckled. "That we do. Here." He showed Maya something on his hands, and she wrote it down on her arm. "In case we may need it."

"Got it!" Maya saluted. 

Mia and Gregory headed out the doors. Lana pushed her fingers together on her hands.

"To think, this will finally be over." She paused to text someone - probably Ema and Lotta, about the progress made. 

"Thank you, Marshall. You too, Penny," she said after a few beats. "I'm sorry that I actually suspected you two as accomplices to this whole thing."

Marshall shrugged. "I can kinda see why you did. But it's all behind us now."

"Yeah!" Penny agreed. "Get out there and win!" With that, she and Marshall headed out, leaving Miles, Maya, Lana, Angel, and me.

"I'm going to go see Ema. She and Lotta told me that Cody ran down there to see them." She looked a bit worried. "If he has, he may have gone hours without some food. I'm going to go see what I can do."

"Ooh! Can I come, too!?" Maya asked. I snickered. She was going to ask for burgers or ramen, no doubt.

Lana smiled. "Come on, then."

"Yay!" Maya practically pulled Lana out the door, which left me and Miles to snicker at them. Then we helped Angel to a spare room hiding in the office in order to rest. It had been that kind of day.

~ 2:00 PM ~

"Are you glad that this will finally be over?" Miles asked me.

"Sure I am," I said. "I just wish I wouldn't be having to nurse this poor leg of mine."

He chuckled. "It's only five more weeks now. I am surprised you've done nothing that could have delayed it, though."

"Honestly?" I said. "So am I."

After everyone had left, I decided to channel surf. Somehow, I'd ended upon the channel at the hospital, and a Signal Samurai episode began to play. Unsurprisingly, Miles had gasped when he saw it, and actually sprinted for the couch, taking the seat that Lana had been on minutes ago.

Nothing would distract him from the show, nothing, so it was up to me to keep my eyes out for updates. Maya kept texting non-stop pics of food, which I told her to knock off and quit mocking me about. I had yet to see an update from Mia, so I assumed she was working out the case with Grossberg and Gregory.

AlwaysWright:  Can I ask you something Maya?

TopKnotchFey: what, Nick?

AlwaysWright:  What’s the code to the camera you guys put up at White’s office?

TopKnotchFey: oh! it’s 1224

AlwaysWright: Why that of all things?

TopKnotchFey:  I think he said “SL-7”. that’s what he said when I asked him, anyway

AlwaysWright:  Thanks Maya

TopKnotchFey:  any time ✌🏻

“Miles, hand me the remote,” I said.

He gave me a quizzical look, in the form of a side eye. “What for?”

“Hit Record if you have to. I want to see what’s going on in White’s office.”

“You got the code?”

“Maya just sent it to me. Type 1224.”

Miles darkened a bit. “SL-7.”

Of course he knew what it was. He typed it out and it switched to a feed of his office.

And what we saw there was not a pretty sight.

Tied up, in dead center of the camera, were Mia and Gregory. They looked terrifed, and I could see traces of dried blood on them - on Mia’s temple and on Gregory’s left arm.

“Oh my god, Mia!” I cried out.

“Father!” Miles said after me.

“Well, well, well. It took you long enough.”

White suddenly appeared on the screen.

“I know you’re watching, Mr. Wrong!” he said. “And I bet you’re wondering why they’re here, right? Now, we can’t just have meddlicious defense attorneys thinking they can get away with their cases, now, can we?”

“What are you talking about!?” I shouted, then wondered if he could even hear me.

“Of course I can hear you!” White laughed. “How do you think we figured out that you seemed to have figured out the case? We heard Miss Fey admit that she had exactly what you needed to turn it around!”

“How can he even hear us?” Miles pondered.

“You’re not the only ones who set up top-secretitious cameras around, Mr. Prosecutor! Look up, why don’t you?” As soon as he said that, we looked up and found a faint red light flashing right near the shelf of law books. How the hell did a camera even get in here!?

“You’ll never guess who managed to put it there,” he shrugged. “It’s not someone you know, so I wouldn’t try wearing out your less-than-splendiferous little heads about it. We’ll be keeping these two here until that trial is over!”

“And once the old lawyer manages to screw up on his own,” came April’s voice from off-screen, “you will lose that stupid friend of yours, and then we can get you without interruptions, spiky-head!”

“I can’t believe you’re mad at me because of a wiretap,” I said wearily. “It’s not like you were on death row or anything. And how the heck did either of you get out, or von Karma for that matter? Gumshow said that someone paid for you to get out? Last I checked, your bail was high and you can’t pay for yourselves to get out.”

Lord. Gumshoe was going to be so behind. What peperwork did they have him doing over there?!

“Again, no one you know of, so don’t concern yourself with it. I suggest you taste defeat now, Mr. Wrong!” White said, flashing his rings all over the place. “And I wouldn’t suggest trying to free them before then. We will notice, and you could have yourselves thrown on trial like that! Or worse, we’ll hurt them!” At that, he kicked Mia right in the thigh and she screeched. From off-screen, a heel flew right at Gregory’s head and nearly knocked him out.

“Don’t hurt them!” I cried out.

“I will get you, Spiky,” April insisted, stepping into frame. “You will see that! Ta-ta!”

With that, the camera turned off.

“Do you think they smashed it?” I said. 

“No.” Miles shook his head. “I think they have just deactivated it for now just to humor us.”

“What are we going to do!?” I felt tears starting to run. “The next trial starts tomorrow - though why the trial dates are so spaced out like this, we’ll never know.”

He sighed. “It seems we can’t do anything except inform our friends of the situation and figure out what to do from there.”

“Yeah.” I wrote a note before crossing over to the back pf the office, in the room where Angel laid asleep, and hung the note where she would be able to see. “Let’s head to the Detention Center.”

As we headed out, I had to wonder.

How much worse could this already convoluted situation get!?