As Phoenix Wright Awoke, he noticed that he was standing in a familiar tree house. (Looks like another Equestria Fused Loop. Wonder what's up this time?)
Phoenix turned to see Twilight looking at him. She looked slightly worried, so Phoenix felt the need to put her at ease somehow. "Hey, Twilight. What's the matter?" he asked. However, upon his saying that, Twilight looked slightly confused.
"Oh, uh, nothing much. It's just a typical Fused Loop, like we normally have. You know, the Equestria 500 and everything. But...are you all right?" she wondered.
(? What's that supposed to mean?)
"Um, of course I am. Why, did you think something happened?" Phoenix questioned, a confused look on his face.
"Well, it's just...Last Loop we saw each other, you said that you had told Apollo about his mother, and were worried about how you were going to tell Trucy about her..." Twilight started.
"What? I never said anything like that! I told Trucy about that a long time ago!" Phoenix exclaimed. Now he was really confused about what she was talking about.
"Huh...that's bizarre. I distinctly remember you telling me about that. And then I heard that somebody from one of those Kamen Rider Loops had seen you crying away on a bench. Something about Trucy abandoning you, sending you a letter, and going with Apollo to Borginia?" Twilight mused.
"! ...That never happened!" Phoenix denied. "Or rather...Trucy did go to Borginia with an Unawake Apollo one Loop, and sent me a letter. But I'm the one who let her go in the first place, and I had Maya trailing behind them as backup!"
Twilight scrunched up her face in thought. She knew Phoenix wouldn't lie to her about something like this, and she wasn't lying. But that meant...
"'When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains must be the truth'," she quoted. "Neither of us are lying about what we're saying, which means the Phoenix Wright I met that Loop was an imposter!" she declared.
"But whoever that was knew about that one early Loop where Trucy went to Borginia, and they knew that Apollo started Looping. Which means it has to be someone we personally know. And that also doesn't explain the appearance of that person in the Kamen Rider Loops. I know some of those guys, and they wouldn't pull anything like this," Phoenix pointed out.
"You're right. This is a mystery that isn't going to be solved that easily," Twilight agreed. "But right now, we have one trial to overcome. Let's focus on Rainbow's Trial first, then let's think about this mystery."
(I can't believe it. Someone's been impersonating me? I already had my fill with that in baseline, what with Furio Tigre and the phantom. I don't want a Looping one too!)
Hershel Layton hummed, looking over his notes and glad that Luke was a heavy sleeper. It had taken several repeats for him to establish what he thought was going on, not helped by the fact he had to keep re-writing his notes when the time line reset, and had to find the tomes he'd been reading at the time.
But he felt he might very well have cracked it; the universe had been broken or attacked by something and the damage caused time to constantly repeat.
While he seemed to be the only one aware this time (A few times before, Luke had been aware of the repeats. Not this time though), when Phoenix or others he didn't know (though most of the time he did seem to have memories of them) appeared, they were also usually aware of the phenomenon.
And it didn't seem limited to his own corner of the universe judging by that rather...odd time he had as a small pony.
So there were several multiple universes connected together that were all damaged, akin to the realms in Norse mythology connected by the world tree Yggdrasil.
Feeling rather proud of his theory, he started tidying it away before Luke saw and asked questions that Layton didn't have the answers to just yet. All that remained was waiting for either Phoenix to arrive or someone else involved in the repeats to appear and ask if his theory was correct.
With that thought in mind he picked up an archaeology journal and settled down to wait for Luke to wake up. He had a repeat planned out to try and help poor Clive before his time travel plot got too out of hand.
March 26, 2019
High Prosecutor's Offices
Miles Edgeworth sat back in his office as he sipped at a cup of coffee. This time of the year wasn't a time he got to do that much, regardless of the Loops. The past few weeks had the smuggling ring being cracked open by him in a matter of days, while the upcoming weeks contained not only another flurry of cases, but Wright's disbarment. Thank the gods that Phoenix typically dealt with that himself.
Either way, he had a few days before cases would start running into him again. He'd have plenty of time to relax for a bit, and perhaps marathon that alternate version of the Steel Samurai that Maya had mentioned picking up the complete series of-
His thoughts were interrupted by his phone ringing.
"Miles Edgeworth here. What is it-?"
"Hey, pal! You've got to come quick!"
The voice was clearly Gumshoe's. This wasn't a call he'd usually get in a baseline Loop; either Wright and his friends had butterflied things, or the Loops were taking an opportunity to throw curveballs at him.
"Get to the point, Gumshoe."
"It's Mr Wright, sir! He's been murdered!"
Edgeworth's glare this moment could've easily combusted the phone on the spot. "What do you mean Wright's been murdered?!"
L.007 (Opus J)
This iteration of a Loop had rapidly become mind-numbingly insane for one Professor Layton. It was bad enough that Descole's rampage through this tiny town was more obnoxious than usual. It was worse that she (and he really didn't need memories of being a woman, or the assorted... issues womanhood provided) was now stuck with a pink and black top hat and dress. However...
"Luke. I Am your Father!" Descole crowed, even as a horrified (Adopted, apparently) Triton child looked on in terror.
"Nnnnooooooo!" Luke wailed.
...At least the poor boy wouldn't remember this. Layton knew he wished to do the same.
Another Loop, another trial, and Franziska von Karma was packing up her files. Phoenix Wright, that foolish fool, had been the defense on this case. So, of course, the defendant wasn't the guilty party, and it was her carefully vetted witness who was.
Franziska let out an angry sigh, before bunching up her whip. "Just once, I'd like for that foolish fool to be wrong and have a guilty client," she said to herself.
"Considering what happened the last time that happened..." a familiar voice cut in, causing her to whip about (and almost whip him).
"Miles Edgeworth! Watch where you're going! You almost foolishly made me whip you, you fool!" Franziska berated him.
"Hmph. I'll be sure to be more careful in the future," Edgeworth smirked, before cringing as Franziska's whip fell on him.
"That smug look doesn't suit you, little brother. You should get that looked at," Franziska smirked back.
"Mnnn... Still though, I meant what I said," Edgeworth repeated, recovering his composure. Ah, yes, that foolish thing he was talking about.
"Well, of course I would not wish to see Maya Fey kidnapped again," Franziska started.
"That's not precisely what I meant." ...What exactly was he going on about?
"What kind of foolish statement are you trying to say now, Miles?" Franziska rolled her eyes at her 'little brother''s cryptic remark.
Edgeworth looked at her intently. "Even after all this time, Franziska, I don't believe you fully understand what it truly means to be a lawyer. A consequence, I'd assume, of the cyclical nature of the Loops."
"Are you going on about your vaunted 'truth' again, little brother? Let me tell you one thing: I will decide what path I walk now. I won't stand in anyone's shadow. Not Papa's, not yours, not Phoenix Wright's," Franziska said defiantly.
"...I suppose that's as good as I can get with you," Edgeworth shrugged. Then, a playful smirk emerged on his face. "By the way, Wright and I were talking about you the other day..."
"Oh?" Franziska was immediately suspicious about where this was going.
"I don't think he's actually aware you have an older sister. Because during the resolution of DL-6, your father mentioned your niece's dog. Only, Wright seems to believe that..."
Franziska immediately connected the dots. "PHOENIX WRIGHT, YOU FOOLISH FOOL!" she yelled, immediately rushing for the defendant lobby to give her foolish Anchor a piece of her mind.
Edgeworth continued to smirk. (Maybe I should have told her that I corrected him about that particular subject when we had that talk? ...On second thought, no. I still need to get back at him for insinuating that he has a better art sense than I do.)
"A Looping imposter, you say? My my, quite the puzzle indeed, Mr. Wright," Hershel Layton stated, sipping his tea in his study. It was the day after they had returned from Labyrinthia. Phoenix and Maya had to return to California the next day, but Phoenix had wanted to get the Professor's advice on the subject.
"Yeah. I was hoping you could give me any ideas about what to do, Professor," Phoenix said.
"Well, I have had some experience with imposters. But this one seems rather disinclined to leave any hints, from your description," Layton commented.
"Yeah," Phoenix agreed, sighing in exhaustion. "I'm getting so paranoid lately. Whoever it is knows important things from early in my Looping history. How could they know those things?" he whispered.
"In addition, they also seem to be making you out to be emotionally compromised. Whoever it is...they must have some sort of grudge against you," Layton guessed.
"I guessed. There's one person who it could be, but there's no way he would have started Looping," Phoenix denied, shaking his head.
"Well, I'm not sure what to tell you then, Mr. Wright," Layton admitted. "There are too many pieces of the puzzle missing. But if anyone can solve it, it's you. Between you and me, I don't think I'd be able to do half the things you've done in your career."
Phoenix couldn't help but smile. "Thanks, Professor." Just then, an explosion was heard, shaking the whole room.
Hershel drew his hat over his eyes. "Oh dear. I'd gather that Miss Fey has convinced Luke to perform some destructive action or another."
Phoenix felt himself hunch over and start sweating. "Dang it, Maya, I can't take you anywhere..."
10.5 (BIOS-Pherecydes, 8.7 cont.)
(I hate my life.)
Phoenix was not having a very good day. Granted, his client was probably even worse off than he was, seeing as how said client was being used as a scapegoat for a murder he couldn't have committed.
The trial had started off... well, frankly, it had been the biggest charade he had ever taken part in. The prosecution railroaded over his every attempt to prove his case, and the judge allowed it. The witnesses had all been clearly fed their lines so as to build the case against his client. The audience, what little of it there was, had been handpicked for their lack of sympathy towards anything non-Britannian.
He was, to be completely honest, hanging by a thread, and everyone in the court knew it. Luckily he had one last hand left to play, one which had served him well over the years: Stalling for time and pressing the witness for any and every possible contradiction.
"General Bartley Aspirus, you stated previously that you were present during the Shinjuku Incident."
The portly military man nodded his head in agreement.
"And yet, you cannot explain to the court how the accused was able to not only circumvent the combined might of the Britannian Military forces and the Prince's personal guards, but also murder the Prince and escape undetected. Where were you during the time this all occurred?"
Bartley shifted in his seat and nervously wiped his brow with his handkerchief.
"I—I, that is, I... can't recall the specifics of the event."
"You mean to say that you are unable to remember the details of my client's alleged assassination of Prince Clovis, a man whom you were personally tasked with serving and protecting?"
"I—I, y—yes. Ask any of the others, none of the men aboard Prince Clovis' transport have any clear memory of the attack."
Phoenix smiled triumphantly and slammed his hands upon his table.
"Then I ask you, if you cannot recall the event in question... how can you positively identify my client as the murderer?!"
A wave of murmurs swept the audience, even their prejudiced minds unable to explain the obvious contradiction. The 'judge' slammed his gavel harshly upon the sound block, Phoenix wincing at the lack of care towards the symbol of judicial might. "Order, order in the court."
(Something tells me he's been waiting for a chance to say that.)
Phoenix turned to the speaker, the prosecuting attorney. Even seeing it with his own eyes, he still had trouble believing it. The man was a dead ringer for Manfred von Karma, right down to the disdainful smirk he wore. Even his name was the same, with the exception of apparently having a noble title to add to his overblown ego.
"Clearly the witness is suffering from stress-induced memory loss. However, I have here a notarized statement made immediately after the attack, which states in no uncertain terms that a person matching the description of the accused was seen fleeing the scene of the crime."
The judge nodded his head sympathetically. "And I assume that the testimony was verified at the time of the statement."
Von Karma crossed his arms over his chest and nodded his head with a smug smile. "Exactly so. The witness' apparent lack of memory is an unfortunate, but recent, circumstance which has no bearing on the current trial. Witness, you are relieved."
"I have not finished my cross-examination!" Phoenix desperately declared.
(And isn't the judge the one who's supposed to relieve the witness? I guess von Karma is the same in any world.)
"Overruled! Witness, you may step down."
Nodding gratefully and wiping his forehead once again, Bartley quickly left the stand.
(Crap! Now what am I supposed to do?! That was the last witness! I—I failed. Mia, Maya, Trucy, Apollo, Athena, Edgeworth. I'm sorry.)
Turning to face Suzaku, Phoenix was prepared to face anger, even hatred. Instead he found Suzaku staring at him with an understanding look.
"It's alright. You tried your best. It's probably better this way. At least now the people don't have to worry about an unknown murderer on the streets. And I'm sure the police will catch the real criminal before he can hurt anyone else."
Phoenix was speechless. That... that wasn't right. No one should be this calm about facing death for a crime they were innocent of. It was almost as if... no, that would be ridiculous. Nobody so young could possibly want to die. There had to be some other reason. However, before he could try and think any more on the subject, the judge took the time to remind him of the hopeless situation he was in.
"Very well. Seeing as how there are no other witnesses, I now believe I am ready to pass my verdict. For the crime of murder in the first degree, this court finds Suzaku Kururugi..."
For a moment, Phoenix thought that maybe he had been the one to cry out, a desperate attempt to prevent the charade in front of him from continuing, before he realized the voice had come from behind him. He along with everyone else in the courtroom turned to face the speaker.
Said person was a man in a finely tailored outfit which resembled a blue and gold version of Edgeworth's suit, if Edgeworth was a masked villain from one of Maya's Steel Samurai episodes. The long cape and spiked helmet worked surprisingly well, and oddly reminded Phoenix of a chess piece.
Behind him a large crowd followed, the majority of which held recording equipment. The figure gave an elaborate bow as he spoke in a sardonic tone. "Permission to approach the bench, Your Honor."
The courtroom was quiet before the judge managed to find his voice. "Who the hell are you?"
Instantly the man straightened with a flourish. "I am glad you asked. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Zero, the man who killed Prince Clovis!"
Immediately the crowd broke out in an uproar, as they receded from the obviously deranged murderer. "I am here today to provide vital evidence in the court of law. I'm sure you would agree that my testimony is of relevance to the current case, would you not? And so I ask you once again, permission to approach the bench."
"Guards, arrest this man for the murder of Prince Clovis la Britannia!"
The guards in question made no move, simply standing at the side of the doorway. "Guards?! Guards!"
"Clearly these fine gentlemen wish to hear what it is I have to say. If you two would be so kind as to close the doors; this is after all a courthouse, not a theatre."
Without hesitation the men quickly moved to close and lock the doorway, as the self-proclaimed Zero strode down the aisle way and moved past the bar, before crossing the well to stand face-to-face with the judge. "Begin the trial."
The judge jerked minutely for a second, before slamming his gavel against the sound block. "The court will hear the testimony of the man known as Zero. The witness will take the stand."
Flinging his cape dramatically behind him, Zero seated himself and turned to face the courtroom.
"Very well, I am ready to begin."
10.6 (Filraen, 9.7 cont.)
Metis believed Athena's story was out from a science fiction book, or a typical B-movie for a Sunday night. Time travel or other paranormal abilities? There quite a lot of things that seemed like paranormal events at first glance but have a rational explanation, like Athena's own newfound awareness of the hidden emotions behind speech is actually based from her heightened hearing sense. And even if the paranormal actually existed they should have been thoroughly studied through the scientific method to corroborate and replicate the results, out of any personal beliefs. That was how humanity had achieved all it scientific milestones. Frankly Athena's theory sounded ridiculous to give any scrutiny. Furthermore, her 'proof' was inherently faulty because, even if Athena was right, it wasn't directly related to her claim of the dream or going back in time.
But Metis didn't press any of the holes in Athena's claims, and while she wanted to question herself why the reason was so obvious that playing innocent was meaningless: today Athena looked full of energy and ready to take charge of anything the world could throw at her; not like the recluse girl who hated wearing her too bulky but necessarily sound dampening headphones or didn't understand the differences between the a human and a machine. Maybe later her daughter will need a reality check but the important thing right now is that Athena looked happy, and ultimately that's all that mattered.
Mother and daughter made to the District Court a bit past noon, and by that time the only seats left behind the prosecutor's bench in courtroom #1 were at the far end of the courtroom, almost by to the judge's place. That seemed to please Athena, as they had a good enough vantage to see defense bench. Athena immediately recognized the defense attorney as Phoenix Wright, who apparently now was the defendant of the trial. But if that was the case, what was doing that other girl at the defense?
"That's Maya Fey, mom." Athena whispered back. The previous accused? "She's the one you must keep an eye on."
That reminded of the whole 'plan' of sorts Athena had. According to her, the Fey women have the ability to channel the dead and this trial was supposed to be the first time Maya Fey could channel the spirit of her sister Mia, or so her boss, Mr. Wright himself, had accounted. A key point, something the whole scenario hanged from, is that whenever they were channeling their bodies transformed and took some of the looks of the spirit they were channeling so Metis would be able to see at a glance the precise moment Miss Fey performed her paranormal act.
"...and while that doesn't relate to what has happened to me it hopefully makes you believe enough in paranormal happenings." Athena's words during their trip ringed back to Metis. Well, they had gone this far; better see how the trial goes on.
To be fair the trial was entertaining to see from the point of view of a battle of wits and intelligence. Trying to use whatever opening the witness, a man wearing a pink business suit and jewelry in every finger, left open. The part where the defense pointed the current witness as the real guilty party because his testimony contradicted a previous testimony, while presenting an scenario both contradicting testimonies being true was particularly satisfying.
But if Metis was going to be sincere with herself the most notable event of the trial thus far was seated by her side right now. Ever since arriving to the trial Athena seemed... focused, and only a bit tense. Nothing like Metis would have expected if Athena's story was true: wasn't her future mentor going to be sentenced to death?
However, as minutes passed the defense was slowly but surely losing ground, bit by bit. Eventually all of Mr White's testimony was justified on the grounds of installing a wiretape in Miss Fey's office, and this time Mr Wright had seemed to run out of rabbits to take from his metaphorical hat.
"I'm afraid that's far as you go, Mr Wright," the voice of prosecutor, Miles Edgeworth according to Athena, reverberated through the courtroom. "The time has come for you to admit your defeat! You fought... honorably."
"Mr Wright," the judge said after the prosecutor's bow. "Are you giving up?"
"Y-yes, Your Honor."
It was then when Metis realized Athena tensed up. In a heartbeat her daughter stood up, left hand with her index finger extended almost touching her right shoulder ready to make the pointed finger she had seen from defense and prosecutor.
"Phoenix!" A new voice stopped Athena's shout and pointing finger.
"Very well then. I, the Queen of Hearts, do hereby find the defendants Sora and Alice..."
"You impress me Mr. Wright. Now get out of my Kingdom!"
Sora happily patted Phoenix on the back.
"Nice work out there Mr. Wright. I don't think I've seen the Queen of Hearts let us go, well, ever!"
"It is rather difficult, even when I'm by myself, to do so," said Alice.
Phoenix scratched his head in embarrassment, "Well it wasn't easy. If it wasn't for Donald and Goofy getting that evidence, I would have been done for."
"Well, in any case, what's next for you two?"
Alice spoke first, "If it isn't too much trouble, I would like to join you three on your journey. If I return to London, I'm afraid Maleficent will most likely take me from there. Would it be too much of a problem?"
Sora grinned, "Nah, it's not too much a problem. What about you, Mr. Wright?"
"Oh, I've got to get back to London myself. Maya's not Awake and is probably wondering where I am."
"Thank you again for your help, Mr. Wright."
"Not a problem. Thank you for the new case to do." Phoenix then left.
Alice suddenly looked confused. Sora asked, "What's wrong Alice?"
"It's odd. I could have sworn Mr. Wright has defended me from the Queen of Hearts before. But he acted like this was the first time he had done it."
Alice smiled, "Oh I'm sure it's nothing. It's been so long, even by our standards, I don't even remember the result. He probably just wasn't Awake that Loop."
May 22, 9:37 AM
Defendant Lobby No. 5
[Courtroom Lobby ~ New Prelude]
(...Sigh. I should have figured that something like this would come up. And I thought this Loop was going to be peaceful too,) Apollo Justice thought wistfully.
"Hey, come on! Cheer up, Polly! This isn't something that happens every day, you know!" his assistant and half-sister, Trucy Wright, attempted to console him. Apollo wasn't actually looking at her at the moment, since he was too busy with his self-pity.
"I know, it's just...I still remember the circus that happened when Mr. Wright defended that whale in court. I'm worried that something else ludicrous is going to happen. I mean, that's usually the trend-" Apollo trailed off when he noticed what Trucy was wearing.
Instead of her usual magician's outfit, she was wearing a suit almost identical to his own, fitted for her, of course. Oh, and the colors of the suit and tie had been switched around so to mimic her adoptive father's suit. "Uh...Trucy, why are you wearing that?" Apollo asked, confused.
Trucy pouted and crossed her arms. "Can you believe it, Polly? There's actually a dress-code in this loop for paralegals!"
(! Wait, really? Well well...maybe there won't be as many shenanigans as I thought...)
"Um...excuse me, Apollo?" another voice rang out. Apollo knew who it was. It was their client, who had hired them to represent his...ward, of sorts. Honestly, it still boggled Apollo's mind, but then again, it was just how things normally happened in this Loop, so he had to run with it.
"Oh, Mr. Ketchum," Apollo said, turning to face him. It was indeed Ash Ketchum who had requested their services, although he looked rather out-of-place standing in the courthouse with his normal adventuring clothes on.
"Hey, come on. I told you, just call me Ash," the Ketchum said uncomfortably.
"Hey, Ash. How're you doing?" Trucy asked, ignoring her own plight of not being able to wear her preferred attire to try to cheer him up.
"Um, good, I guess. You guys gotta help him, please! He wouldn't do anything like this!" Ash pleaded.
"Don't worry about it, Mr. Ketc-, er, Ash," Apollo said in order to calm him down. "After all, since he didn't do it, he's obviously innocent. ...Where is he, anyway?" Apollo wondered, looking around. He couldn't see the defendant anywhere in the Lobby.
Ash looked rather uncomfortable at that. "Oh, right...he's in here," he said, bringing out a Pokéball. It had a little lightning bolt sticker on the top, and was wobbling in his hands. "I didn't really have a choice. The law says I need to keep him in here while he's under suspicion, and can't let him out until he's been cleared. Even after all this time, he hates being in here, so..."
"I understand. Don't worry, Ash, we'll get him off the hook!" Apollo declared.
(Defending a Pokémon...I never thought I'd ever get wrapped up in something like this, but then again, considering what happened with Mr. Wright and Mario...on second thought, I should have seen this coming.)
"Polly? Court's about to begin," Trucy told him, before looking apologetic. "Sorry, Ash, but since you're responsible for him, you're going to have to sit in the defendant's chair."
"It's fine! I have faith that you guys will win, and that everything will be all right!" Ash said, pumping his fist.
(Well, it's nice that our client actually has faith in us for once. Maybe we'll actually get paid? ...Oh, who am I kidding? When it comes to protecting the innocent, being paid doesn't really matter! Look out, court! Here comes Justice!)
10.1 - An imposter?! In the Loops?! That can't bode well...
L.006 - Layton. Is. A. Genius.
10.2 - What?! How did that happen?! Did the Loops end?! Was there another Anchor?! Only Grue knows! To be continued.
L.007 - ...Where's the Brain Bleach when you need it?
10.3 - Phoenix: "Edgeworth, just let it go, man."
10.4/L.008 - I'd like to make note that the Professor did not say which parts of Phoenix's career he wouldn't have been able to do.
10.5 - Code Turnabout: Part 3. And Zero makes his entrance, flashy as usual.
10.6 - Athena's Awakening: Part 2, which is running alongside the second trial day of Turnabout Sisters. But why doesn't Phoenix seem to be Awake?
10.7 - Wait, didn't we already cover this?
10. Preview - A short preview of Turnabout Thunderbolt, an Ace Attorney/Pokémon Fused Loop. Coming to you as soon as I finish Turnabout Mario Sunshine!