"Quit talkin' nonsense and tell me what it is, you old coot!"
"The… the so…"
"The soles, the soles, I get it already! I don't give a damn about your stupid shoes! The treasure! What is it?! I know you've got it stowed away somewhere!"
"I… can't let that kind of power fall into the wrong hands…"
"I've had it with you! If you won't give it to me straight, then I'll just figure it out MYSELF!"
The boot collided hard with the man's head, and blood spattered against the toe. As he crumpled, his assailant shuddered with disgust, letting the unconventional weapon dangle from one hand by the laces.
"Damn it all," they muttered. "Where the hell do I even start here…?"
(Maybe if I stare at it hard enough, it'll go away...)
The shoe, stubbornly, refused to mend the new hole it had spontaneously opened. Phoenix Wright let out a sigh of defeat and tugged it on anyway. He was high overdue for a new pair; in a way, he supposed this only hastened the inevitable.
Actually, if memory served, there was a shoe store not far from the apartment building. He'd never bothered to stop in before, but it looked a little... run down, from what he could tell. Well, that just meant it was well within his budget… if it was still open, anyways. It was worth checking out, so he got to his feet, doing his best to ignore the brand new breeze.
"Truce," he called, "you ready to go?"
Trucy leaned out into the hallway from the living room. "Ready when you are, Daddy!" she chirped, and that smile brought a grin to his own face.
He headed towards her, and her earnest expression slipped into one of confusion. "Daddy, there's a hole in your shoe," she pointed out, brows knitting together.
"Ah, yeah," he said, rubbing the back of his neck. "I was thinking we could take a little detour, check out that shoe shop nearby…"
Trucy apparently knew what he was talking about. Her eyes lit up in understanding. "Oh, sure! Let's go, then, I'm sure walking around with a hole in your shoe can't be very comfy, Daddy!"
(It's really not. The sooner I get this fixed, the better… and I really don't need anything else about my appearance to be mockable!)
As it turned out, the universe was conspiring against him. Again. The shoe shop was surrounded by police cars, and several officers were milling about.
Phoenix bit back a groan. (Why me…?!)
Trucy stood on her tiptoes, tipping up the brim of her top hat. "Hey, Daddy, don't you know that guy? He looks pretty much exactly like how you said he did…"
"Huh?" Phoenix squinted, then gave a start when he spotted who she was looking at. "You're kidding me…!"
As if on cue, the person turned around, and immediately brightened upon spotting Phoenix. They started heading towards him and Trucy, breaking into a wide smile.
"Well, look who it is!"
In eight years, somehow Detective Dick Gumshoe hadn't changed one bit. He offered a hand, and Phoenix shook it firmly.
"How long has it been? I haven't seen you in forever!" He turned to Trucy. "And hey, who's this? Don't think we've met before…"
"This is Trucy, my daughter." He couldn't help but let a proud smile creep across his face.
Gumshoe recoiled, eyes widening. "What?! You never told me anything about having a kid, pal!"
"I adopted her about eight years ago," he explained with a laugh. "Trucy, this is Dick Gumshoe. We go way back."
Trucy offered a gloved hand. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Gumshoe!"
Gumshoe took it, delighted. "Same to you, pal!"
"So," Phoenix said, leaning in, "what happened here?"
The detective jerked himself upright, hunching his shoulders. "Nuh-uh! Absolutely not! I'm not telling you nothin'!"
"Worth a shot?" He smiled weakly.
Gumshoe didn't seem amused. In fact, he appeared to wilt. "Listen, pal, it's real important I do my job for this case… I'll be in big trouble if I don't!"
"Huh? Is… Edgeworth prosecuting this case?" He couldn't help the hopeful note in his tone. He hadn't seen the man in person since the whole mess with the Phantom, and he was really starting to miss speaking to him. The two were good friends, but Phoenix really wished they'd spend more time together.
"No, it's…" Gumshoe trailed off with a befuddled frown. "Pal, you got a hole in your shoe."
Trucy started giggling, and Phoenix bit back a groan. "I know."
"What, you can't afford to replace 'em?"
(That's rich, coming from you! Isn't that the same ratty old coat you've worn since the day we met?!)
"Actually, that's the whole reason Truce and I swung by here…"
"Well, uh, so much for that plan," Gumshoe sighed, looking over his shoulder at the crime scene. "Sorry, pal, looks like you're stuck with it for now. Ain't nobody around to run the place anymore."
"Oh?" He perked up. "Did something happen to the owner?"
"Yeah, he got murdered, and his daughter's the prime suspect…" The detective shook his head. "You hate to see it happen."
Then he stiffened up as his brain presumably caught up to his mouth. "H-Hey! Don't tell anyone I told you that, pal!"
Phoenix held up his hands with a panicked little smile. "My lips are sealed, honest."
(Well, I've probably gotten as much as I can from Gumshoe without giving him a heart attack… it wouldn't hurt to drop by the detention center. I don't have anything better to do today, and potential work means potential payment.)
"Alright, well, we should get going." Phoenix nodded to Gumshoe. "It was good to see you again, detective."
"Hey, same to you!" Gumshoe shot him a grin. "Stay out of trouble, alright? I'd hate to have to take you down to the precinct again after all you've done, y'know?"
(Oh, boy, he doesn't know the half of it.)
He began walking off with Trucy, now headed in the direction of the agency. He needed to let Athena and Apollo know about the possible case; their assistance was becoming more and more appreciated these days. His magatama was useful for screening possible clients, but Athena's Mood Matrix and Apollo's perception filled in a fair few of its blind spots.
"Daddy," Trucy asked from beside him, "are you planning on looking into the shoe shop case?"
"Definitely," he responded.
"Do you know the defendant's name?"
He stopped in his tracks.
"Uh… I'm… we'll, ah, cross that bridge when we get to it."
Trucy put her hands on her hips. "Daddy!"
"Hey, I'll figure it out! Somehow!"
"Hey, boss!" Athena called as Phoenix pushed open the door to the Wright Anything Agency. She and Apollo were sprawled across the couch, sorting paperwork. Anyone that didn't know them well would think the two were hard at work, but Phoenix had been with them long enough to know they were bored out of their skulls.
Athena quirked an eyebrow. "Hey, uh, did you know you've got a hole in your shoe?"
Phoenix heaved a sigh, hearing Apollo bite back a snort. "I'm well aware, Athena. Actually, it led me to a case, so…"
He had their attention now. Both of them sat upright, eyes wide.
"The old shoe shop by my apartment is the scene of a crime, it looks like," Phoenix explained. "I'm hoping to look into the case. From what I heard, the owner's child is being held at the detention center as the most likely suspect for the owner's murder…"
"Yikes," muttered Apollo, and Athena winced. "Do you know exactly who you're looking for?"
"Well, uh, about that…"
Apollo groaned. "Mr. Wright…!"
"I'd appreciate it if one of you could come with me to the detention center," Phoenix continued, pointedly ignoring the younger lawyer's frustrations.
Athena was immediately on her feet, all smiles. "I'll come with you, boss!" she declared, socking her palm with her fist.
"Alright, works for me. Trucy, you can keep an eye on Apollo while we're gone, right?"
"You can count on me, Daddy!" she reassured confidently, amidst complaints from Apollo that he was seven years older than her and it should really be the other way around. "I'll keep Polly out of trouble!"
"Thatta girl. Okay, call if you need anything."
"Bye, Daddy! Bye, Thena!"
Once outside, the junior lawyer immediately turned to her senior. "Okay, ready to roll when you are, boss! But, uh… you sure you don't wanna stop and get that shoe fixed up?"
"No time now," Phoenix lamented, "not when there's a case that needs looking into."
"Right! The client comes first!"
"You got it. Let's go."
It wasn't long before the two reached the detention center. Phoenix asked the first guard they came across about any new arrests, and thankfully, only a few had been taken in since yesterday evening. The name Chelsea Boot sounded promising to Phoenix, and within a few minutes, he and Athena were sitting in the visitor's room.
The guard led out a young woman dressed in leather and chains, dark eyeliner smudged and dyed hair unkempt from a night in jail. She plunked down in her seat without ceremony, and glared through the glass at Phoenix and Athena.
"And who are you two s'posed to be?" she spat.
(Off to a great start here…)
"Phoenix Wright and Athena Cykes," Athena answered, taking charge and leaning in. "We're defense attorneys, and we wanna ask you a few questions."
"Don't recall asking for an attorney," Chelsea muttered with a roll of her eyes.
Phoenix folded his hands together in his lap. "There was a murder at a shoe store not far from where I live, and I decided I wanted to look into things. Do you know anything about that, Ms. Boot?"
Chelsea lazily lifted an eyebrow. "Yeah. Dear old dad got clobbered while I was sleeping upstairs. Don't have a clue what happened."
She didn't seem awfully concerned, but the way Athena reached up to cradle Widget told Phoenix that Chelsea was definitely feeling more than she let on.
He slipped his own hand into his pocket, tightly clasping the smooth magatama hidden within. "Ms. Boot, can you say honestly that you had nothing to do with the murder?"
Her expression darkened. "Listen, Dad was a nutcase, but I didn't hate him enough to smash his brains out. Not like he had much left, anyway…"
No chains, no locks. She was telling the truth, but it wasn't a direct answer to his question. He sat up a little straighter. "Yes or no, Ms. Boot. Did you kill your father?"
She glowered at him. "No."
Athena glanced towards Phoenix, and he gave her a little nod. "Alright. If you'll have us, we'd like to take your case."
"Seriously? You don't even know me." Chelsea leaned back and blew some hair out of her face, folding her arms across her chest. "What's got you so concerned for me all of a sudden?"
"It's just what we do," Athena said firmly, eyes shining with that determination of hers. "We believe in your innocence, Ms. Boot, and we want to prove it."
Chelsea drew in a long breath, then slowly let it out. "Fine. Guess I got nothing to lose. I was gonna wait around for the state attorney, but if you're offering… what the hell, right?"
"Great! Come on, boss, let's go scope things out!" Athena jumped out of her chair and grabbed Phoenix by the arm, effortlessly yanking him to his feet.
"W-Wait!" he stammered, helpless. "I want to ask a few more questions!"
"We can always come back later! Come on, I wanna get a look at the scene!"
Chelsea looked on from her seat on the other side of the window. "Hey, Mr. Wright," she called.
Phoenix managed to grab onto the doorway. "Yes?"
Chelsea smirked. It was the first smile she'd worn since they'd been introduced.
"You've got a hole in your shoe."