It was over. That nightmarish trial, in which Phoenix thought he would have to choose between his best friend's life or the pursuit of justice, was finally over. His best friend and assistant, Maya Fey, was returned to him unharmed; Adrian Andrews would not go to jail for a murder she did not commit; and Matt Engarde would be locked away in prison where he truly belonged.

Phoenix felt that he should be cheerful, after all, he managed to make a miracle happen when the situation seemed hopeless. In truth however, the only thing the young lawyer felt during their celebration at the Gatewater Hotel, where his starved assistant chose for them to eat, was pure exhaustion. It was to the point where he nearly fell face-first into a plate of roast beef and mashed potatoes and was barely saved by a tap on the shoulder. With a shock, his body jolted up and he was met with the concerned face of one Detective Gumshoe.

"Are you ok, pal?" The detective asked. Phoenix nodded and offered the detective a small, disarming smile.

"Yeah, everything's fine." Phoenix insisted, drowsily. Gumshoe gazed at him suspiciously and his brows furrowed together but he did not say anything and instead returned to his plate of spaghetti with parmesan on top. The lawyer reflected on what had just occurred. If he was so tired that he nearly used his dinner as a pillow, then he certainly was not in any condition to take Maya and Pearl back to the former's apartment. However, he also wasn't comfortable with allowing them to walk home after what transpired over the last few days. He rubbed his chin in thought and looked around the tables nearby before spotting Will Powers currently sipping on a glass of white wine at the table next to him.

Out of all the people he was hosting that evening, the only ones currently able to drive who were not injured were Lotta and Will. And knowing Lotta, she would probably ask for something in return before so much as considering it.

After a few moments of deliberation, he decided to ask the actor if he would be willing to take them home. Once he made his decision, he got up and walked over to Will Power's table. The actor turned around at the sound of his footsteps and regarded him with an amiable grin, raising his glass of wine up high.

"Ah, Mr. Wright! How are you doing this evening?" Will greeted, his voice full of warmth. Phoenix smiled back at the actor and waved.

"Hello, Mr. Powers. I was wondering if you could do a favor for me." Phoenix said, scratching the back of his head nervously. Will Powers placed his glass on the table and gazed at him with his brows raised curiously.

"Of course. What do you need?" He asked. Phoenix shifted his eyes nervously.

"Can I trust you to take Maya and Pearls home tonight? I'd do it myself, but I've felt exhausted all night to the point that I nearly fell asleep in my dinner." Phoenix explained. Will Powers looked at him understandingly. He folded his arms and scrunched up his face in thought for a few moments before nodding in affirmation much to the shocked delight of the lawyer.

"Sure, I can take them home, just give me the directions." The actor said. Phoenix gave him a look of silent gratitude before whispering to him the directions to Maya's apartment.

A couple hours later, the celebration gradually dwindled down until it was finally time for everyone to go home for the evening. Phoenix was standing by the grandiose double doors that lead to the lobby when Maya bounded up to Phoenix with a surprising amount of energy for someone who was just starved for three days. Pearl, her cousin, scampered to her side shortly thereafter and grabbed her arm.

"It looks like it's time to go, Nick!" She said, tugging at his arm playfully. Phoenix stared at her awkwardly and twiddled his thumbs.

"Um, about that actually-" He was cut off by the sudden appearance of Will who gave a polite wave to the young woman and her cousin.

"Actually, Ms. Fey, Mr. Wright over here told me to take you and your little cousin home." He explained while gazing at the lawyer sympathetically. Pearl looked shocked for a split-second before glaring at the lawyer.

"What? Mr. Nick, you need to take Mystic Maya home! You're her special someone!" Pearl demanded. Phoenix bent down to Pearl's level and smiled at her gently.

"And I would but I've felt quite exhausted tonight. So, please, go with Mr. Powers." Phoenix explained gently, trying to be patient with the little girl despite his tired state. Pearl opened her mouth in protest but was stopped when Maya gently shushed her.

"It's ok, Pearly. We can go with Mr. Powers." Maya said. Pearl looked at her surprised.

"B-but Mystic Maya-" She started to complain but Maya shushed her again and shook her head. His best friend looked at him and searched his face, as if she were looking for something. A few moments later, her face softened, and Phoenix noticed a gleam of understanding in her eyes.

"It's ok, Nick, really. See you tomorrow?" Maya asked. Phoenix looked uncertain but nodded. Satisfied, Maya took Pearl's hand and led her over to Will Powers.

"Ready to go?" He asked. Maya nodded, and with a brief moment's hesitation, so did Pearl. Maya and Pearl followed the actor with Maya giving her best friend one last concerned gaze before closing the doors behind her.

After they left, Phoenix stared blankly at the doors in front of him. He blinked a few times to keep himself awake before proceeding to head towards the lobby. Once he was outside, he hopped on his bike and rode back to his apartment complex. He went into his apartment and crashed right on his leather couch, falling into a dreamless sleep.

He existed in a blank space of nothing for what felt like hours. It was as if he were trapped in this void, where he could not touch anything nor see anything. Despite the strangeness of this area of nothingness that he was currently experiencing, he felt a sensation of tranquility and safety that he hadn't felt in days. It was as if he was being relieved of all the stress and anxiety that haunted his every waking hour during that nightmare of a case.

The calming void was momentarily interrupted by what seemed to be the sound of knocking. Phoenix considered it to be a part of the dream and simply ignored it. The more he tried to ignore the noise however, the louder it became. At one point, the knocking got to the point where it turned into pounding. Regardless, he continued to ignore the rapid pounding and eventually, the noise stopped altogether.

Eventually, Phoenix woke up to the blinding light of mid-afternoon. He yawned before rubbing his eyes groggily. The first thing he noticed upon waking up was that his back ached.

Sleeping on that couch was not a good idea. Phoenix thought. He got up, stretched his arms, and scratched his back before checking his phone which was still in his pocket. He turned it on and read that the time was currently, "2:00 p.m." His eyes widened in amazement at how much he slept the night before. Deciding to make the most of his day, he decided to first check if he received any messages from any interested clients. Although Phoenix wasn't in the mood to take a case, he still felt the need to make sure anyway. Luckily, no potential clients had requested his services, but he did see that Maya left a voicemail on his phone four hours ago. His face fell at the idea that the knocking he heard earlier wasn't only just a part of his dream. Out of fear that his best friend was hurt or in danger again, he hurriedly played the voicemail before pressing it up to his ear anxiously.

"Hey Nick, it's Maya! I came over to your apartment earlier, but you didn't answer. I just wanted to let you know that Pearl and I made it home last night ok. Call me back when you get the chance!" Her familiar voice chirped. Phoenix let out a huge sigh of relief at knowing that his young assistant was safe. He wanted to talk to her straight away before he frowned in thought, his hand froze right as he was just about to call her. There was so much that occurred over the last few days; so much that they needed to go over, were they truly ready to have that conversation now? Phoenix shook his head and resolved to speak to Maya later. She was safe now, everything would be fine, and hopefully, everything would stay fine.

After that, he went to the kitchen and made himself a hot, steaming cup of coffee. As he sipped on his coffee, he began to reminisce about his previous trial. The lawyer was forced to pick between his best friend and justice and was saved only by the timely arrival of the whip wielding Prosecutor Von Karma. If it weren't for her, what would he have done? A sick feeling welled up in his stomach as he began to ruminate on the decision that he would have made, weighing the outcomes presented with each option. Although Phoenix knew that Maya specifically instructed him to get Engarde found guilty even though the cost would be her life, he knew for sure that he could never follow through with such an idea. Maya was the one who supported him in moments where he wasn't even sure that he had the evidence to get his client found innocent; she helped him so much not only by channeling her sister, but also by retrieving crucial pieces of evidence for him such as that bullet that managed to secure Manfred Von Karma's conviction. Even if it meant a truly guilty man would rot in prison, just the thought of sacrificing his best friend's life caused his stomach to twist itself into tangled knots.

But, on the other hand, if Phoenix were to have chosen Maya's life over justice, an innocent woman would have gone to jail. While Adrian Andrews did tamper with the crime scene, she was no murderer. Phoenix was well aware of this fact, but all the same, he was nearly forced to send her to jail for the sake of his friend. He grasped the handle of his mug tightly as he took a huge swig of the black, bitter liquid before he slammed it down on his kitchen counter. Phoenix rested one of his elbows on the kitchen counter and propped his chin on his hand in thought. He inspected the wall with a scrutinizing gaze as if it contained a puzzle, and Phoenix was trying to figure out its solution. He stood there for a few minutes before he hung his head in defeat. Phoenix knew that regardless of what decision he made, that someone's life would have been taken. It was one of those situations where in the end, there was no correct decision that could have been made.

Shaking his head, he decided to go to the living room and watch some television in order to clear his head of those lingering thoughts. He zoned out for a few hours, distracted by whatever was currently showing on the screen. It was a short distraction, but a necessary one, nonetheless.

Once Phoenix's eyes began to get bleary, he turned the T.V. off and went to sleep, this time in his bed. Much like the night before, Phoenix's sleep was little more than an empty void.

When he got up the next day, he was not in the mood to do anything besides sit around in his apartment. So, the entire day, he sat in his living room; drank some coffee; and watched television for the most part. Though watching television helped the memories from that awful trial from being so invasive, the activity did not stop them entirely. He wanted to call Maya and just discuss everything, but no matter how much he wanted to, he could not muster enough courage to do it. He felt guilt not only for the fact that he would've put Maya's life over justice, but he also felt responsible for his assistant being kidnapped in the first place. Phoenix felt that he owed it to Mia to protect her little sister, and the fact that he had failed in even being able to do that much, made him feel worthless.

Eventually, he got tired due to a mix of boredom and weariness, so he chose to depart to bed earlier in the evening. The lawyer was expecting that same expanse of nothing that defined his dreams for the last two nights to fill his vision again, but he was wrong, so very wrong.

He stood behind the defense attorney's bench, stuck in that same nightmarish haze that was prevalent in the courtroom during that last day. The courtroom that he was standing in currently was terribly similar to how the trial had gone that day. Edgeworth was standing behind the prosecutor's bench across from him and Will Powers was standing behind the witness stand to his left. The only thing about his current situation that was off was the absence of his mentor, Mia, who was being channeled by Pearl. Aside from that little oddity, everything proceeded as normal for the most part: Mr. Powers gave his testimony and later, Adrian testified about the true nature of the bear figurine.

Furthermore, the noises of the crowd calling for Engarde to be found "Guilty" and the static of DeKiller's radio transceiver as he testified felt authentic. It was as if he was back there again, witnessing a recreation of the trial itself. However, it was at the point where DeKiller was fed up with his stalling and demanded a verdict that the trial started to take a different course, for the worse.

The Judge, impatient, told him to declare the fate of his client by pronouncing him either "Guilty" or "Not Guilty. He remembered this moment all too well, he felt unable to articulate any words at that moment. Phoenix also remembered that Prosecutor Von Karma should be bursting through the double doors leading to the courtroom any second now, with three pieces of evidence on hand. He stared at those double doors with bated breath and a fierce gaze as he waited for her timely arrival. But no matter how long he waited, the whip-wielding prosecutor never appeared. There was no sudden dramatic entrance with the double doors flinging open suddenly as she announced her presence before presenting the pieces of evidence she retrieved from Gumshoe. There was nothing but pure, blank silence. The Judge pounded his gavel impatiently.

"Well, Mr. Wright?" The Judge said, in a cold, calculated tone. In the two years that Phoenix had known the old man, he had never heard him speak in that way before. "What's your verdict?" He heard the sound of demonic laughter and turned towards the witness stand to see that it came from his client, Matt Engarde. He stood there, wearing a huge demonic grin, and was staring him down with a bloodthirsty gaze. When Phoenix locked gazes with him, the scarred man tilted his head and batted his eyes innocently, all while stretching his grin out further as if to convince the man of his innocence. In truth, it only served to make him look even more demonic than he did before. It sent cold, dreadful shivers down Phoenix's spine which increased in frequency as his client spoke.

"C'mon, Mr. Lawyer Dude, you wouldn't send your client to jail, would you?" That dreadful voice dripped of such acrid sweetness that it was enough to make Phoenix feel sick to his stomach. He buried his head in his hands as he pondered his decision. Could he really ensure that justice was served and sacrifice Maya's life in the process? No, he could not, no matter how much Maya wanted him to. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut as he rose his head. He took a deep, shuddering breath before he voiced his decision.

"My client...Matt Not Guilty!" Phoenix declared before slamming his head on the desk. Matt Engarde burst into a fit of maniacal laughter and the gallery flew into an uproar that could only be quelled by the vigorous pounding of the Judge's gavel. Phoenix barely paid attention to the Judge as he gave the verdict. His shoulders suddenly started feeling extremely hefty, it was as if he was being crushed under the weight of his actions.

"Very well then…" The dream judge stated firmly.

This wasn't supposed to end this way…

"I hereby declare the defendant, Mr. Matt Engarde-"

I'm so sorry, Maya, Adrian. I let you both down.

"Not Guilty"! The judge finished with a booming declaration. After the verdict was read, the courtroom fell into a deep silence. Even if it hadn't, all Phoenix was able to focus on was the pounding of his own heart. He wanted to run far away from this courtroom, but he was unable to. His legs were frozen to the spot.

Suddenly he heard the sound of footsteps approaching him. Phoenix glanced up and gritted his teeth in anger once he caught a glimpse of who it was. His former client strode up to him wearing a cocky grin. Phoenix's blood boiled in anger at the sight of him.

"What do you want?" Phoenix demanded furiously. The scarred man laughed at the lawyer mockingly. His smile seemed to only broaden at his former lawyer's anger.

"I just came to congratulate you on your recent victory, Mr. Lawyer Dude. I knew you didn't have it in you to send your own client to jail!" Engarde taunted. It was upon closer inspection of his face that Phoenix thought that he saw a gleam of malice in the actor's eyes. The lawyer had so much that he wanted to say to his former client, but he couldn't. He couldn't find the words to articulate how he felt so he clenched one of his fists into a ball and he drew back his arm before attempting to punch his former client. Engarde dodged barely and laughed cruelly at him before walking away. As he exited the double doors, he shot Phoenix a disturbing grin.

After Engarde left, it felt as if hours ticked by with nothing happening. Besides Phoenix, the courtroom was completely empty. Meanwhile, the lawyer's eyes were transfixed on the bench in front of him, not blinking once. That is until the transceiver in his pocket suddenly started buzzing. Phoenix jumped in fright. before pulling the transceiver out and putting it up to his ear.

"D-DeKiller, hello?!" He exclaimed nervously.

"Greetings, Mr. Wright." The voice from the transceiver spoke in a calm monotone voice. "I thank you personally for managing to get my client acquitted." Phoenix's mouth formed into an angry grimace at the mention of Engarde, but he tried to push aside his contempt for his former client at that moment. There were more pressing matters for him to worry about after all.

"Where's Maya? You promised you'd bring her back!" Phoenix asked, worriedly.

"That is indeed correct. Unfortunately, there has been a change in plans, Mr. Wright." The voice explained. Phoenix felt a cold shiver go up his spine. He gulped nervously.

"C-change of plans, how?" Phoenix's eyes shifted back and forth. He stood there anxiously as he waited for the assassin to explain.

"My client, Matt Engarde, requested another hit. This time, he placed it on your precious 'item' as he believes you to be a traitor." Phoenix's mouth fell agape in horror and his vision went blurry as if he were about to faint. But before he could say anything, the voice continued, "My client also requested that because of your betrayal that you should be forced to listen to her dying screams." The voice said simply. Phoenix felt all the color drain from his face and his body started shaking uncontrollably. It was so bad that he could barely hold on to the transceiver.

"No, please, you can't do this!" Phoenix exclaimed shakily, "I did everything you wanted! I got your client the acquittal, I even sent an innocent woman to jail for his sake! Please, don't do this…" Phoenix was practically screaming into the transceiver as he implored the assassin to spare his best friend's life.

"I'm sorry Mr. Wright, but I cannot fail to fulfill a request from my client." The voice said simply. Phoenix stared at the transceiver blankly as if DeKiller was speaking in an alien language. He nearly collapsed on the bench below him with one of his elbows hitting the bench as the transceiver was pressed against his right ear. He slumped over on the bench and watched in horrified silence as he listened to the assassin murder his best friend who had stood beside him in court for over a year.

Soon after, he heard the noises of shuffling and grunting come from the transceiver. He could have sworn that he heard what sounded like Maya telling DeKiller to "Back off!". However, it was hard to tell if that was what she actually said because of all the static and the low volume. After that, he heard the sound of a thud followed by soft sobs and whimpers.

And just like Engarde wanted, he heard the fatal strike. What sounded like the tearing of skin by a piece of metal caused Phoenix to stand up in shock with wide eyes fixed on the transceiver. The sound was promptly followed by an earsplitting, nightmarish, piercing scream filled with pure terror which rang throughout the entire courtroom. The scream went on for what felt like ages and all Phoenix could think about was the man who placed that hit on Maya. That bastard was truly going to pay for what he did, the lawyer resolved. Once the scream died down in volume, the transceiver cut off and everything in his dream drained of any color there was previously, slowly fading into a dreary and lifeless gray. Shortly thereafter, Phoenix let out this huge scream filled with anguish and grief.

"NOOOOOOO!" Phoenix shrieked as he shot up in his bed, eyes wide in horror. He looked around wildly before noticing that he was still in the comfort of his own bedroom. He was shaking all over and his heart was pounding out of his chest. After that, he buried his face in his hands and started to pant heavily. Cold shivers went up his spine as he rocked himself in an attempt to calm himself down.

At the same time, Maya was getting rather worried about Phoenix. She knew that the trial had taken a toll on him as the last time she saw him she had taken notice of the dark bags that were growing under his eyes. But her friend hadn't called her or even so much as left a voicemail for her over the past two days. That was why she decided that night to visit his apartment.

Fortunately for her, she didn't need to let Pearl know where she was going. Her little cousin was gone for a few days, as she insisted on going back to Kurain to do some spiritual training. She attempted to get Maya to come with her, but Maya declined; she couldn't go back not after what happened last year. When Maya had explained her reasoning, Pearl was sympathetic but demanded that her older cousin keep in touch with her while she was gone.

Maya hopped onto her bike and rode over to Phoenix's apartment building. She was hoping that she wouldn't have to confront her best friend like this, but they needed to talk about the trial. After all, it wouldn't be good for either of them if they kept avoiding the subject. Once she was at Phoenix's apartment door, she pulled out the spare key that the lawyer lent her in case of emergencies. She checked to make sure nobody was watching her before she turned the key into its hole and let herself in. She slowly opened the door and peered inside, noticing that the entire apartment was completely pitch-black.

"Nick?" She called but there was no answer. Feeling a cold shiver of dread slip down her spine, she crept through his dark apartment silently. As she traversed further inside the apartment, she began to hear noises that sounded like someone was groaning in pain. She froze in front of the door where they were coming from and was about to put her hand on the doorknob carefully when suddenly, she heard a loud shriek. She hesitated for a moment before she flung the door open in a panic and raced inside the room. She came face to face with Phoenix whose head was buried in his hands. He was rocking himself back and forth and his shoulders were heaving fitfully. Maya felt troubled seeing her friend in such a state, so she attempted to gingerly tiptoe over to his bedside. Unfortunately, Maya had the misfortune of accidentally stepping on a creaky floorboard.

"What? Who's there?!" Phoenix shouted, his head whipping around wildly. Once he took notice of Maya standing there, he gasped in shock. He fell back on his bed, his hands hoisting him up. Phoenix's eyes were wide, and his face looked deathly pale. Maya thought that her friend looked like he was currently witnessing the appearance of a ghost.

For a few short, tense moments, it felt as if time stopped entirely. Neither of them moved or said anything as they gazed at each other, waiting for the other to make the first move. Maya gulped nervously before moving closer to the bedside. She reached out one of her hands towards Phoenix, but her friend recoiled in fright.

"Nick, it's me, Maya!" She reassured. Phoenix gaped at her in awe but did not make any movements. Maya was starting to feel uneasy by her friend's strange reaction. She frowned and looked to the side, unsure of how to proceed. Then, she heard a shifting noise and turned to see Phoenix slowly start to crawl towards her. He stopped near the edge of the bed and his eyes shifted up and down rapidly as if he could not believe what he was seeing.

"M-Maya?" He mouthed. He blinked in realization and got up to his knees as he gazed at her. Silently, he reached a shaky hand towards her face. Despite being disturbed by her friend's peculiar state, she allowed her friend the ability to touch her. He started stroking her chin with one of his fingers. It was while he was doing this that Maya noticed that his skin was clammy and was unusually shaky too.

Was Nick having a nightmare? Maya wondered. A few moments later, her friend retracted his finger from his face and looked at her, his eyes wide in recognition.

"Maya…" Phoenix repeated, this time vocally, "It is you!" Before Maya could do or say anything, Phoenix wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into a tight embrace. Maya was taken aback by this sudden action but returned the hug.

After a few moments, Maya felt Phoenix's chest start convulsing and heard sniffling noises. This caused Maya to tighten her embrace and she leaned forward, resting her chin on his shoulder. Maya wasn't sure what brought on her friend's behavior, but if her hunch was right, she knew that she needed to be there for him. While she never comforted a grown man after a nightmare, it surely couldn't be too much different from comforting her little cousin after one, could it? As Phoenix wept hysterically in Maya's arms, she offered him silent comforts in the form of a tightened embrace and gentle circles around his back.

Eventually, Maya felt her eyes sting from her own unshed tears and let them flow down her cheeks. As she held her sobbing friend in her arms, she began to relive the events of the past few days. The dark wine cellar that she was forced to call her home; her failed attempt to escape and how she was dragged kicking and screaming back to her prison; her letter, written in haste, that attempted to communicate to her friend to find Engarde found guilty; and those terrifying moments she felt near the end of the trial, where she was certain that she would be killed and that she would never see Phoenix or Pearl ever again. Maya's stomach swelled with guilt and shame. She wished she never followed DeKiller through those double doors to begin with. Maybe then, Phoenix would never have needed to defend an obviously guilty client to ensure her safety and he wouldn't be in this state right now.

Maya held Phoenix in her arms for hours and the two delved into their shared misery. Gradually, her friend's sobs dwindled down into fitful, raspy whimpers before his shoulders started heaving rapidly on their own, silently. Maya slowly released her embrace and got her first good look at Phoenix's face. His eyes were puffy and red from crying, and his hair was all messed up. Though he was frowning, Maya noticed hint of gratitude in the young lawyer's eyes. Maya sat down beside him on the bed. The two sat there in silence before Phoenix finally spoke up, his voice cracked from crying.

"I'm sorry you had to see me like that, Maya." He said, gazing at her apologetically with a frown on his face. Maya shook her head and smiled at him sympathetically.

"Don't worry about it." Her face grew serious, "Do you…want to talk about it?" Maya asked, tilting her head. She was unsure of how Phoenix would react; after all, if whatever he dreamt about was terrible enough to cause him to react the way he had, he might shut down entirely if she probed too much. But if her friend was offended, he didn't show any signs of it whatsoever. Instead, he gazed solemnly at the floor and took a deep breath before speaking.

"I had a nightmare about that trial." Phoenix slowly began to explain. "It took place near the end, when the Judge wanted me to enter a verdict for Engarde. I waited and waited for Prosecutor Von Karma to come but-" He made a harsh breathing sound that was as if he was trying to choke back a sob. The lawyer's teeth gritted together furiously.

"But?" Maya repeated, softly. Phoenix was quiet for a few moments and closed his eyes as if he were trying to collect himself and gather his thoughts together. When he opened his eyes, he looked off to the side, trying hard not to meet Maya's gaze.

"She didn't come, so I was forced to enter an acquittal for that bastard." Phoenix clenched his fist and slammed it down on one of his knees. Maya frowned at him in disappointment, but Phoenix continued before she could say anything in response, "And I know, it wasn't what you requested me to do, but I couldn't do it, Maya! I just couldn't sacrifice your life!" He spoke the last sentence so quickly and so softly that Maya strained her ears to hear what he said. Maya felt a pang of guilt surge throughout her entire body. She didn't mean to make Phoenix feel bad by demanding him to find Engarde "Guilty"; she just didn't want him to put an innocent person's life at risk for her sake. She placed a comforting hand on Phoenix's shoulder and rubbed it.

"Nick, I didn't mean to upset you so much, really. I just didn't want that scumbag to be acquitted for my sake." Maya reassured him. Phoenix didn't seem to take notice of her comment and instead continued on about his dream.

"But that wasn't even the worst part!" He stated in a horrified tone. Maya was bewildered by Phoenix's comment. What could be worse than that?

"DeKiller called shortly after, I asked him if he would let you go but he said that Engarde-," Phoenix choked back another sob and took a few deep, shuddering breaths as he tried to collect himself. Maya sat there in silence, waiting patiently for him to continue. Once he did, he spoke slowly and softly, "He said that Engarde placed a hit on you and wanted me to listen to your dying screams." He whispered the last few words so quietly that Maya strained her ears to hear what he said.

After relaying his story, Phoenix's teeth gritted in pain and his body was shaking again. This time, it was Maya who initiated the hug as she pulled Phoenix into a warm and comforting embrace.

"Nick, it's ok." Maya said soothingly, "I'm here now, and I promise that I won't get into trouble again." While Phoenix did not say anything in response, his body started shaking all over to the point that it started convulsing again. Maya wondered if he was going to start sobbing.

"It's not that. It's just the thought of doing everything that bastard wanted and to still lose you..." Phoenix trailed off. Maya could see the emotions swirling around in his eyes. She couldn't bear to see her best friend like this so, she released her embrace and took a deep breath.

"Nick, look at me." Maya said forcefully. She cupped his cheeks in her hands and turned his head towards her. He looked at her nervously but didn't seem to detect any hostility in her gaze, "It's ok, you saved me; you saved Adrian Andrews; Engarde is in prison now. Everybody's ok." She reassured once more. Phoenix's frown deepened.

"Yeah, everybody's fine right now. But if Prosecutor Von Karma wasn't there, Adrian might have gone to jail in place of a guilty man. It makes me sick just to think about." Phoenix said. "In the end, I still needed people to help me." He said with a disgruntled expression. Maya looked at him sternly.

"Don't say that!" Maya said, glaring at him fiercely. Phoenix looked at her, bewildered.

"What?" He asked. Maya locked gazes with him.

"I won't lie to you, Nick, I was absolutely terrified. I was kidnapped and starved in a wine cellar with no idea as to whether or not I was going to see sunlight again, but-" Maya took a deep breath, "In the times when I felt weakest, I thought of you. I genuinely believed that you would save me in the end." She squeezed his arm gently, "And that's what you did, you saved me. My sis helped, but if you hadn't fought as hard as you did..." Maya felt a tear slide down her cheek and she wiped it with one of her fingers. She gazed at Phoenix softly and while his face relaxed noticeably, his gaze betrayed a gleam of uncertainty in his eyes.

"I just feel guilty. If it wasn't for me, you would never have been put into that situation to begin with." Phoenix admitted. Maya shook her head.

"'s not your fault. You did nothing wrong, it was me..." Maya looked off to the side, grimacing. Phoenix looked at her, shocked.

"What, how could you say that?" He exclaimed. Maya licked her lips nervously and sighed.

"It's just if I hadn't followed that butler out those double doors I wouldn't have gotten kidnapped and you wouldn't have needed to defend Engarde in the first place." Maya stated. Phoenix stared at her blankly.

"Maya, none of that was your fault." Phoenix said, "DeKiller cared so much about protecting his clients that he was willing to put your life on the line to blackmail me to do it. Even if you hadn't followed him, he might have kidnapped you anyway." Maya looked down at her sandals, which wasn't a huge feat for someone of her height. She propped her elbow up on one of her legs, and placed her chin in the protruding hand.

"Maybe so, but...I still feel bad." Maya murmured. She then gazed at Phoenix and shifted her eyes back and forth, nervously.

"What is it?" Phoenix asked.

"Is there...any way that I can stay with you tonight?" Maya asked, hesitantly. Phoenix was taken aback.

"A-Are you sure?" He stammered. Maya nodded.

"I insist, Nick." Maya said, determined. "This past week has been hard on you and me both. So, I don't think there's any problem with us staying close to each other." Phoenix frowned.

"Well, alright. But what about Pearls?" Phoenix asked. Maya's frown deepened, Phoenix was afraid he said something wrong.

"She's back at Kurain. Pearly said she wanted to do some training in order to boost her spirit medium abilities. She asked me to go with her, but I couldn't do it, not after…" Maya trailed off and looked to the side, disgruntled. This time, it was Phoenix who put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"It's ok, Maya. I understand." Phoenix said. Maya's eyes shifted to him briefly and she smiled a little. She crawled over to the opposite side of the bed and pulled the covers over her body. She gazed at Phoenix warmly and gave him a small smile.

"Goodnight, Nick." She said. Phoenix returned her smile.

"Night, Maya." Phoenix said before placing himself under the covers. He made sure to lay a few feet apart so as to not make Maya feel uncomfortable. Though Maya went to sleep quickly, Phoenix still lay in his bed wide awake. While he hoped that nothing like what occurred in his last trial would ever happen again, the trial itself caused Phoenix to come to a realization about his friend, Maya. He knew that he cared about the young medium, after all, she was the sister of his late mentor. And yet, it was through the fear of nearly losing her that he realized how much she truly meant to him.

That was why later that night, when Maya cried out for him in a voice filled with fear, Phoenix wrapped an arm around her and pulled her close. Nobody was ever going to hurt Maya again and he would make sure of that.