This is my very first Phoenix Wright fanfic. This is a work of fiction. I am in no way affliated with Capcom, and I am not using this to make money of any value or currency. All characters from the Phoenix Wright series belong to Capcom.
This fanfic was inspired by the works of Stephen King, and his tale Lisey's Story in particular. You rock, man, and I'm going to keep reading your stuff until one of us kicks the bucket.
Dedicated to all Phoenix Wright fans, to those who read this story, and to those who stare up at the stars at night and wonder if someone on some distant planet is looking directly back at you.
Without further ado, I present Truth. Enjoy.
"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
--Martin Luther King Jr.
"So don't delay, act now, supplies are running out.
Allow, if you're still alive, six to eight years to arrive.
And if you follow there may be a tomorrow,
But if the offer's shunned, you might as well be walkin' on the sun."
--Walkin on the Sun, Smashmouth
"I find your lack of faith disturbing."
--Darth Vader, Star Wars
The trial was in the bag.
The defense was in tatters.
The judge had seen the light at the end of the tunnel.
Such legal perfection could only be attributed to one man.
Miles Edgeworth slung his maroon jacket over a shoulder and made a beeline to the prosecutor's restroom. While the case was cool and the trial absolutely frigid, the courtroom was blazing hot. July in Los Angeles, California, was a time when even the tourists stayed away. It was simply too much.
The case wasn't even about murder or foul play. Just an episode of violated copyright. The defense, while seasoned in his field, had been thoroughly picked apart. There had been no need for tampering with evidence or prepping the witnesses. Everything had just come together like puzzle pieces.
When had prosecution become so easy?
Edgeworth relieved himself, then washed his hands. His reflection in the mirror caught his eye...and his mind's eye, as well. His mind warped his face and turned it from a twenty-something lawyer into a troll, a malignant being that the Earth ceased to amaze. The miracle of life no longer excited that monster, since everything born had been done before.
Edgeworth believed that humans were alone in space, at least in this galaxy. He had read the statistics that claimed that there were possibly thousands of intelligent societies out among the stars, but for each alien race, there were millions of planets and systems that were deserted. While there may be other lives outside of Earth, they were too far away for contact, and that was how he liked it.
He growled at his reflection and splashed water on his face. Now was not a good time for his imagination to run free. While the trial had gone off without a hitch, he had thought up horrendous alternate endings in case the defendant was considered innocent, some of which included his own assassination.
Get a grip, girlfriend, he thought, and grinned at his reflection. The bared teeth and water dripping down his face made him look wild and more than a little disturbing. He was shocked to find that he had frightened himself with that face. He toweled himself dry, composed himself, and exited the restroom. His penthouse and his potentially deafening stereo system were singing a siren's song.
There was a short corridor between the restroom and the lobby, and as Edgeworth entered from one end, the door at the other opened.
Phoenix Wright came in. It was unexpected; the defense attorney had no business to attend at the courtroom today. He was behavior was unusual as well. He had a slightly splayed gait, but his arms were stiffly held down, as if his hands had turned to lead weights. There was a light in his dark, almost black eyes that gave Edgeworth a nasty feeling all over.
Edgeworth opened his mouth to snap at Phoenix, and their eyes met.
What happened next began the next great age of human history.
Phoenix charged Edgeworth and pinned him against the wall like a bug under glass. There was a gleam of metal and then the prosecutor's hands were handcuffed together. The cuff chain was strung around a lamp jutting out of the wall, holding his hands over his head. The maroon jacket had been dropped during the attack, and now lay on the floor like a carcass.
The entire series of events happened in the space of two seconds.
Edgeworth could feel his mind working double time, trying to keep up, and it made him dizzy, but there was a soft click! and his vision cleared instantly...though he later regretted ever seeing what he then viewed.
There was a switchblade pressed to his throat.
Phoenix grinned and Edgeworth literally felt assaulted by the stench. Phoenix's teeth were brown and yellow with decay...and they were all fangs. Not a single molar in sight. These teeth were designed for slicing through meat. These were animal teeth.
Now the prosecutor knew that he was scared.
"Edgeworth," Phoenix said, his grin emanating vile glee.
"Phoenix," Edgeworth replied, hands fighting their bonds. There was no success there, other than scratching his wrists. "Please tell me when you admit this is all a cruel prank."
"No prank. This is for real."
Edgeworth's steel eyes narrowed. Despite his fear, he tried to stay calm, follow this situation the way the self-defense books taught. "What do you want from me, Wright?"
Phoenix stepped in closer. He was a few inches shorter than Edgeworth, but when he stood on top of the prosecutor's feet, they could see eye to eye. He leaned in and whispered into his ear:
"I've been looking for you for a long time."
There was a tangible darkness in his voice, and Edgeworth tried to remove himself from whatever foulness Phoenix had in store for him.
The prosecutor replied, "We've seen each other before. In court...you helped me. Two years ago. Why don't you remember?"
"Because I am just a glammer."
Edgeworth wasn't sure what a glammer was, but it terrified him anyway. His heart was pounding. The constant pressure on his feet was painful, and now one of his wrists were bleeding. The knife at his throat kept him from fully exhaling, and any breath he took was tainted with Phoenix's breath anyway.
He could place the scent. It was burnt rubber, like smoking tires.
Phoenix chuckled, and Edgeworth heard what true evil sounded like.
"Does that make me crazy?" Phoenix sang quietly, into Edgeworth's ear. He vaguely remembered the tune, but not the song's name. "Does that make me crazy? Does that make me crazy?" Phoenix paused a moment, just to sigh into the ear. "Possibly."
Edgeworth could hear him grin, and every cell in his body howled in agony.
"I need something from you," Phoenix said, "And after that I will kill you, just like I did the defense attorney I now wear."
Edgeworth's heart skipped a beat. Nothing on Earth could wear a man like a garment. That, and the horrible teeth and foul breath...that left only one option.
He refused to believe it. The deeply ingrained paradigms that shaped him, made him who he was, operated him in his own unique way, roared their outrage at the very thought that Phoenix was not human.
But wasn't it he himself who once stated that evidence was all that mattered...?
Phoenix withdrew, and Edgeworth could finally breath again. The defense attorney flipped the blade in his hand. It nicked his palm...but there was no sign that it hurt. There was no blood. Just a gash that opened into a diamond-shaped hole. There was only darkness within.
The gashed hand suddenly struck, grabbed Edgeworth's puffy cravat, and tore it clean off. Edgeworth flinched, and then Phoenix was back, the switchblade pressed to the collar of the prosecutor's dress shirt.
Phoenix cut through Edgeworth's shirt and vest with one long, slow cut. This made Edgeworth panic. It was bad enough that Phoenix was making him question his beliefs, but now it seemed that further humiliation was imminent.
Phoenix paused to look over the switchblade. He scowled, and that in itself was enough to crank up Edgeworth's fear meter higher.
"Your weaponry is so poorly made," he said, "Dulled, even after one use. Ah, well, it's good that I brought my own equipment, hmm?"
He shot his hand out again and slapped it against the wall hard enough for Edgeworth to recoil. It was only a few inches away from his face. He bit back a gasp in shock as Phoenix took the switchblade to his own hand, slicing through each finger at the second knuckle without preamble. Once one hand was done, he did the same to the other. The fingertips fell to the floor with soft thunks!
When he was finished, he threw the switchblade at the discarded jacket. It embedded itself in the coat's back, the handle jutting out like an exclamation point. The metaphor was too obvious to deny.
Edgeworth squeezed his eyes shut. When had this man he had known as a child completely lost his mind? His claims of glammer, the sharpened teeth, self-mutilation... This was nothing like the Phoenix he knew.
Only more evidence pointing to the antithesis of his every belief. The prosecutor felt himself produce two tears, one in each eye. One droplet left his eye to trickle down his cheek...
A cold, metal thing was pressed against his skin and collected the tear. Edgeworth opened his eyes, and Phoenix was smiling at him sweetly. When those horrible teeth were hidden, he looked almost normal, but there was that gleam in his eyes that threw off any sense of security.
They were insane eyes.
"Are you squeamish?" Phoenix asked. His voice was as sweet and smooth as honey. "Because things are about to get even worse for you."
Edgeworth finally caught sight of what had replaced Phoenix's fingertips. Sharp, metal points had emerged from his fingers, which looked more and more like illusions of humanity than true skin. The claws were shiny and chrome...and there was one touching him right now, if he wasn't mistaken.
He gasped and jerked away from the horrible, inhuman thing. Phoenix simply smiled and stepped closer, holding up his claws. They glinted in the light like no Earth metal.
"Like them? I had them specially designed for this purpose only. Oh, and keep in mind that these are only a tiny portion of their true size. Those puppies can tear through flesh and bone like butter. That's what I think I will do to you when I've gotten what I need from you. Now hold very still. I don't want to wound you before I get what I came here for."
It was really over in an instant, but to Edgeworth, it lasted a million years. Phoenix's hands moved like blurs, and his claws moved like scissors, shredding his vest and shirt. Strips of fabric flew like confetti.
He's good at this, Edgeworth thought wildly, Maybe he's part paper shredder.
When Phoenix was done, the prosecutor's chest was bare, and his shirt sleeves were held up limply by the cuffs caught up with his bound hands. The defense attorney seemed proud of his handiwork. He was beaming, and those teeth caught the light and glowed a diseased yellow.
"Take it easy," Phoenix said, his voice almost a whisper, "You're almost done."
The defender lowered his head to Edgeworth's bare chest, and began to listen to his heartbeat.
It had to be pounding hundreds of times a minute. That was how it felt to Edgeworth. He was truly terrified. His childhood friend had gone mad, or was possessed, or was not human. Again his beliefs screamed in fury, and he almost screamed along with them. As each paradigm started to die fiery deaths, the prosecutor began to think that his brain was frying.
Does that make me crazy? Edgeworth thought, and in spite of it all he felt like laughing, and that gave him confirmation that this short excursion into Hell was nudging him towards the deep end.
But he wasn't there yet, and while the prosecutor wasn't religious (that came with believing in other life forms), he found himself praying to some god that this would be over soon.
Phoenix snarled like a rabid dog and withdrew, fingering his ear. His claws left shallow but savage gashes in the flesh. "Katesh," he hissed, "Why is it that everything human is so poorly constructed?"
"Just cut it off then. Maybe I can see the cannonball you have for a brain."
Edgeworth horrified himself with his speech, and now his urge to laugh was even worse. It seemed that humans had a self-defense mechanism that made them crack awful jokes when faced with their deaths. Then he actually started to giggle, and there was madness in his jolly good fun, he could hear it.
Phoenix's face rippled, like a curtain in the breeze, and Edgeworth began to cry with his laughter.
There was suddenly a bright flash of pain, and Edgeworth ceased making noises at all. Phoenix had slapped him, and his claws had opened three small cuts on his cheek. The lowest cut began to leak bright red fluid. The defender's insane eyes glittered at the sight.
"Terrifying people is the easiest way for me to find what I need," Phoenix said, "Are you scared yet? Or should I say: are you sufficiently scared?"
The defender stepped back onto Edgeworth's sore feet so they could stare eye to eye again. The craziness in the black holes that were Phoenix's eyes only served to shove the prosecutor closer to the loony bin.
"You seem to be a man who is easily moved by words," Phoenix continued, "So shall I tell you how I killed the person I now wear? I tortured him. I humiliated him. You could say that I totally raped his mind. There was nothing in his brain other than me, once I was done with him. When I killed him, he was curled up like an unborn fetus and whimpering like a small child."
Edgeworth's voice shook as he said, "I don't believe you."
"But you do, and that's what I was banking on, Miles. You play yourself like a demon, but deep inside you're just as fragile as everyone else. You depend on others just like everyone else. And when you hear that one of your connections has fallen – been destroyed – you can't stand it. That's human nature. You're just as human as the rest, prosecutor, and you hate it."
Edgeworth was silent.
Phoenix grinned and listened to his heartbeat again. This time it was slower...heavier. The prosecutor was still terrified...but only to the point where there was no other emotion in his heart. Horror made some people slow down...occasionally stop. This was what Phoenix was looking for: what made Edgeworth stop.
But when Phoenix found it, he himself was scared.
The defender moved away quickly and stared at Edgeworth's drooping head. Phoenix was absolutely enraged. The burnt rubber breath was now coming from all over his body. There was so much of the scent that it was visible, a rising heat haze dancing around him like an aura.
"You," he said, the glitter fading from his eyes. Without it, he looked undead. "After all these years...it's you, again..."
Phoenix's voice awakened Edgeworth from his terror stupor, and he looked up, dazed. "Phoenix," he said, "Please, Phoenix, tell me you're back...for good..."
The defender replied by striking the prosecutor again, this time on the chin. The cuts his claws left were deeper, and all of them bleed profusely. Phoenix had the insane grin on again.
"It's been twenty-four years, my boy! Oh, what am I saying, you're Miles now, that's your name, Miles Edgeworth! Katesh, if I had known that, you would have been mine, and everything would be different. Katesh! Katesh vet ex tu Vaxeena!"
No, Edgeworth decided, He's still insane.
Phoenix flexed his claws, and more of his flesh fell off, revealing long, sharp metal. His grin had almost stretched across his entire face, and he seemed to have more of those horrible teeth than before.
"Remember these, Miles?" Phoenix said, nearly laughing, "Do you remember what these feel like? It's been so long, I'm sure you don't, but who knows! It could be possible! This very encounter proves that such stretches of coincidence are real!"
He struck a thoughtful pose, claws scratching at his chin. The gashes they left revealed nothing but dark space within.
"My plans have changed, Miles," he continued, "Back then, I was going to plant a device into your heart so I could always keep tabs on you, but it's too late for that now. Now that you are such a strong individual...but yes, I think I can still use you. Yes, I can. Use you like a helpless rag doll. Because I know what makes you stop, Miles, I know what hides in the darkest, oldest regions of your soul!
"I know your first terror!"
Phoenix erupted into laughter. Edgeworth had never heard such a hellish noise before. It was the Devil's laugh, and Edgeworth never forgot it, even on his dying day. It would always haunt the back of his mind, replaying on dark nights when there was no moon, or on days when the sun was pure radioactive heat.
Phoenix slowly stopped laughing and composed himself. He glanced at the door to the lobby, and gave a small smile.
"Oops. I was too loud. Someone's coming. I can feel it in the floorboards."
He turned back to Edgeworth, who had fallen into a daze again. He cupped his chin and brought his hung head up so they could again stare into the mirrors of their souls. There was nothing in Phoenix's eyes but madness and a savage, animal glee.
"Would you like to see what I can do to you, Miles? What I can do to the human race, as a whole? Sure! I'd be happy to show you! But first, I need to change back into my real form. I hope it doesn't drive you insane."
I think I already am, Edgeworth thought. It was his first cognitive thought since Phoenix had laughed like that.
Phoenix turned towards the lobby door and shouted, "Oh my God, let go of me! Drop the gun! Drop the gun!"
Now Edgeworth could feel heavy footsteps in the floor. They were running.
Phoenix began to change.
His skin began to unravel at each joint. The flesh in between each junction was rolling in until both sides met in the middle, where they simply winked out of existence in a flash of green sparks. His clothes disappeared, and his hair vanished, and then his eyes, normally so big and bright, evaporated into something so utterly foreign and bizarre that Edgeworth did indeed lose his mind.
It went with a loud popping noise, and after that, the whole episode became blurred.
What stood before him now clearly did not belong on Earth.
The lobby door burst open, and several bailiffs rushed in, their own guns drawn.
"Freeze, motherfu—" one of them began. Then they caught sight of the thing that was masquerading as Phoenix.
The thing attacked.
At this point, Edgeworth was in no condition to do much of anything, let alone observe the massacre that occurred. The claws that had torn open his chin and cheek could indeed slice through flesh and bone. There were no screams. There was no time.
When it was over, there were four bailiffs dead, though the carnage suggested that many people had died. The walls and floor were splattered with blood and other horrible fluids. Edgeworth's shoes were covered in death, and one foot had a disembodied eyeball perched on top; it was staring up at him. He stared back, mind gone, and without a thought in his head.
The thing that had been wearing Phoenix's body was also covered in gore, but it didn't seem to mind. In fact, it was enjoying being coated in entrails and red liquid. It turned from the tragedy and faced Edgeworth, a smile on its face.
"That attracted attention," it said, its voice as clear and beautiful as fine crystal, but that was the only good aspect to the thing. "People will find you soon. I don't think you will recover from this. That is good."
It leaned in and whispered into his ear:
"There are others out there, Miles. And they're closer than you think."
The thing grinned, withdrew, and mimicked one of the bows that Edgeworth himself so often performed in court, then bolted into the bathroom, slammed the door behind it, and leapt out the bathroom window.
The lobby door opened and a woman screamed shrilly, but she faded into oblivion as Edgeworth fainted.
The course of time would be a lot different if Rose Dearborn hadn't been jamming to her iPhone at that point in space.
The twenty-two year old nurse was a fan of Court TV and CSI and other such entertainment, but this was the closest she had ever gotten to a real lawyer before. She lived cautiously, and her worst brush with the law had been a speeding ticket last week, which she paid for, and promised to never go 45 in a 25 zone again.
This guy wasn't like anything she had seen on Court Cases Gone Bad. Her view of lawyers was stereotypical: older, wrinkly men who wore black suits and ties and expensive shoes, and who only cared to make loads of money off whoever had gone to them for help. But the patient she had been assigned to was nothing like that, even though Dr. Pilbry had told her that he was a prosecutor, and a famous one at that.
The lawyer had a bandage on his cheek and stitches holding together three deep gashes on his chin. Hardly something worth a stay in a hospital, but the man had apparently suffered from the worst case of shock Dr. Pilbry had ever seen before. The lawyer's heart had undergone something called bradycardia: it had beat too slow to support life functions. He had slipped into unconsciousness and then into shock.
The lawyer had been accepted into emergency surgery to insert a temporary pacemaker into his chest. It had been a complete success and he had been closed up nice and tight and placed into this room. Dr. Pilbry had been congratulated, but the good doctor politely refused any compliments.
"He's such a young guy," Pilbry had said, "To have undergone such a medical problem at his age...it had to have been the murders at the courthouse. Those cops...they were completely torn to shreds. Ever see Texas Chainsaw Massacre? It was just like that. This poor guy had to watch as they were annihilated. I'm sure if I saw something like that, I wouldn't just go into shock; I'd drop dead."
Although the lawyer was expected to make a full recovery, Dr. Pilbry instructed Rose to watch over him while he was unconscious.
"After all," Pilbry had also said, "Men in comas can't press the I'm-having-a-heart-attack button. Plus, if he was to wake up alone, he could sue."
Rose had been waiting on the lawyer to wake up for the past two hours. She didn't really mind so much. She had a great comic book to read, and her iPhone was playing one of its five hundred and ninety-six songs. Plus, the lawyer was easy on the eyes, even if he was bandaged up and had gone through emergency heart surgery.
Her iPhone changed songs, and Rose gasped. This was one of her favorites.
The melody charged her soul and she set down the comic book to stand up and dance, holding her fists like a street fighter and tapping her foot against the ground.
She began to sing.
"These fancy things
Will never come in between.
You're part of my entity,
Here for infinity.
When the war has took its part,
When the world has dealt its cards,
If the hand is hard,
Together we'll mend your heart."
Rose stood and began to commit to her dance when she noticed that the lawyer's steel gray eyes were wide open and staring at her.
She uttered a tiny scream and almost tripped over the chair she had been sitting in. The iPhone's ear buds fell out of her head and hit the ground with a series of minute crunching noises: the inner mechanics breaking. She quickly composed herself into a halfway decent state, scooped up her music, and faced the prosecutor, blushing.
The lawyer hung his head and mumbled something softly, too quietly for Rose to hear. Then he clamped a hand over his mouth and violently sobbed. Any sounds were muffled, but the sheer force of his emotions were enough to make his whole body tremble.
Rose had never seen anything so sad in her whole life.
For a second, she was able to see the future this man would evolve into, and how it had been irreversibly mutated due to this one procedure, this one situation. Any success he would have in any future trials was now gone. This man would never again live a simple life. The future held a cruel fate for him, and Rose could see it, but she did not understand it.
This lawyer's prosecuting days were over.
All of his relationships would be strenuously tested.
There was murder and bloodshed imminent.
And this man would, someday, abandon planet Earth.
While this lasted only a split second, Rose was reduced to instinct.
She dropped her iPhone, sat on the bed next to the lawyer, and held him in her arms. He wept into her bosom like a wounded child, and she let his tears stain her white dress. Her maternal nature awoke, and she stroked his hair and cooed in a language that went back to the days of cave life.
The moment was so perfectly human that Edgeworth found his thoughts.
By all means, he was still insane. While he was once again able to form inner dialogue, the words and phrases came and went without his permission, and, more often than not, made no sense. He could remember who he was, and how he had come to become that way, but some areas were coated in a purple curtain: another mental self-defense mechanism. His mind was protecting itself against itself, and the thought was slowly but steadily driving his newly found capability back into the loony bin.
He thought he could live with it, given enough time.
Allow, if you're still alive, six to eight years to arrive.
Edgeworth wiped the tears off his face and glanced up at Rose's face.
"Its voice was beautiful, like yours," he said, "But I don't think it could sing, even if it tried."
Rose blushed a deep red, and, realizing the compromising position they were in, let go of the lawyer. Edgeworth sat up and fingered his bandages curiously.
Rose timidly got up and asked, "Uh, Mr. E-Edgeworth? Y-y-you're in Central LA H-Hospital. H-how are you feeling?"
Edgeworth peeled off the bandage on his cheek. There were three angry red scratches underneath.
"A little batty," he said, completely dismissing his admittance of insanity, "but I think I'm going to have to get used to that. Damn...you sing like an angel."
Rose blushed even deeper.
Edgeworth gave her a look so brutally honest that her heart leapt into her throat.
"I think you brought me back from madness."
Rose could tell he was being sincere, and she fell back into the chair in shock. So he had felt the same sensation of being so purely human as well, but he was responding to it in a different manner.
She could tell at that point that Edgeworth was indeed a little batty. Looking into his eyes, Rose confirmed her suspicions.
Edgeworth's steel eyes had a mad glint to them.
The lawyer's gaze, however, was friendly. "Can I go home?"
Rose found herself saying what the prosecutor wanted to hear. "S-sure. You're a legal a-adult. You can leave w-whenever you want."
"Thank you...Rose," Edgeworth said. He got out of bed and crossed over to the iPhone on the floor. He scooped it up and placed it in Rose's hand. "I apologize for making you drop this. I didn't mean to frighten you. Why do you have that old thing anyway? It must be a 2007 model, at least."
The lawyer paused pensively, thought, and continued, "I can remember the past. That's good. That's very good. Does this mean I can see the future?" He was quiet for a moment, then said, "No. I can't. That may be good too."
Edgeworth leaned in conspiratorially and murmured, "I have to kill him, Rose."
Then he turned away from her as if she was only a piece of furniture and left the room.
I just heard a madman plan to kill someone, Rose realized, and then she sat back in her chair and didn't move for a long time.
Around nine that night, Edgeworth arrived at the sixth floor of the building that housed Wright and Co. Law Offices. He had been successfully released from Central LA Hospital, and had gone straight to the nearest police department, but not because he wanted federal protection.
He had raided their armory.
The maroon slacks and cotton shirts had been trashed in exchange for a navy blue police uniform, elbow- and kneepads, a Kevlar vest, a flashlight, a holster...
And a SIG P226 9mm handgun.
Edgeworth didn't think the thing that wore Phoenix was bulletproof.
The law office was illuminated only by the lights of the surrounding buildings, and that was hardly enough to make the area fully visible. As Edgeworth held the handgun, he shone the flashlight beneath it. He could have been mistaken for a professional policeman had he not been sweating bullets.
The psychological aspect was not frightening to him due to his madness. He had a long history with Phoenix, going back to when they were both children, but the idea of shooting his once friend and current rival fatally was of no concern. Whenever he thought of it, only one lyric of advice returned from his purple-shrouded mind.
I wanna get psycho!
Instead, his imagination was running pranks on his eyes. Bookshelves looked like smiling glammers, manila case files the same shade as rotten fangs. Couches could resemble or harbor creatures that did not belong on planet Earth that were ready to spring and do to Edgeworth what had been done to four bailiffs in the courthouse. Light reflecting off computer screens or desk lamps could be the same as gleaming metal claws...
Despite his runaway thoughts, the office was deserted. There was not a soul there.
But Edgeworth had not checked everywhere. There was still one place unchecked.
The broom closet.
The door opened outwards, so Edgeworth stayed a long way away, gun held ready, and slowly inched in until he could reach the doorknob. His sweaty hands made gripping the firearm difficult, and he found he was trembling.
The prosecutor wasn't sure how good a shot he was. If the thing decided to launch a surprise attack, Edgeworth didn't know if he could hit it at all, let alone fatally. The speed and finesse it had displayed in the courthouse hinted at a long career of battle.
If Edgeworth couldn't kill it immediately, then he was a dead man.
He held the flashlight in his mouth so he could grip the doorknob.
And he threw the door open.
He had the gun and flashlight back in his hands in an instant, and he could actually see the thing springing, its teeth and claws illuminated by the electric glare; the last things he ever saw in life would be his means of demise—
But then reality snapped back into focus. There were no glammers in the closet.
There was a naked, bound Phoenix Wright instead.
He wasn't moving, and his head was slumped forward against his chest. He was gagged with a white bandage, and bound with a white, paper-like material. He was crammed into the closet next to a bucket, several bottles of cleaning agent, and mops and brooms.
Edgeworth held the gun ready. The thing had come to him as Phoenix before. It could probably be Phoenix again. But why would it bind and gag itself and stuff itself into a broom closet?
Still, he wasn't taking chances.
Feeling no compassion for his friend and rival, Edgeworth slapped Phoenix. Hard.
The defender's head snapped back, but he was silent...then he groaned against the gag. His chest began to move with deeper, more regular breaths. His fingers flexed, and Edgeworth saw that Phoenix had his fingertips back on. Come to think of it, Phoenix looked relatively unscathed. There were no cuts on his ear or chin.
The defender opened his eyes, and Edgeworth immediately knew he was real.
Phoenix's eyes were blue.
As the world swam into Technicolor relief, the defender craned his head to stare at the prosecutor, and groaned again. It sounded painful this time.
Edgeworth tore the gag off his face, again feeling no sympathy for the quiet, wounded yelp Phoenix gave at the shock.
The defender looked at him blearily.
"E-Edgeworth?" he asked, "Is that really you?"
"Yes, it is," the prosecutor replied.
Phoenix chuckled lowly, then said, "It told me I had three days. Three days before I died of dehydration. It told me no one would find me. You know what, Edgey?
"It lied. You found me."
Then Phoenix fainted.
He came around again sprawled out across a couch, still naked but no longer bound. He sat up slowly, stretching his sore limbs, then spied the glass and pitcher of icy water sitting nearby. Phoenix sprung to life, and despite his howling muscles, got to the water and drained the glass in one go. Never had he appreciated hydrogen dioxide so much in his life.
He was pouring more when he noticed Edgeworth. The prosecutor was perched on a desk, emptying and reloading his gun.
Phoenix sipped half the glass of water this time, then said:
"Geez, Edgeworth, you look like a member of SWAT."
The prosecutor clicked the gun shut and stared at the firearm.
"Get dressed, Wright," he muttered.
Phoenix blinked, confused, then nodded and blushed sheepishly. He got up, embarrassed about his nudity but not hiding it, and darted into the next room to quickly change. He always kept a pair of casual clothes in his office, just in case.
He came out in a pair of black jeans and a black T-shirt. There was a pair of fiery wings on the back. He sat back on the couch, faced Edgeworth, and downed the rest of the water. Once he was hydrated, he felt much better.
Edgeworth sighed and put the gun down on the desk. Once it was out of his hands, Phoenix felt very relieved.
"Wright," Edgeworth said, "I'm here because today something masquerading as you attempted to get some kind of information out of me. This thing has completely skewed my mind. I don't deny that I am a little crazy now. My thoughts are jumbled, and some memories are completely covered over in a metal blanket. There is a voice inside me now that is screaming for me to shoot you, even though I know you are not that thing."
Phoenix gulped, and despite his water his throat went dry.
"I'm not listening to that voice, Wright. Otherwise you would be dead."
The defender cracked a nervous grin. "That's...very good, Edgeworth. It's good to see that your ignorance skills are still working just fine."
The prosecutor smiled. "Cracking awful jokes when faced with death. You are human. I'm glad. Understand that I am being sincere when I say that I am very happy that you are alive and real."
The nervousness fled from Phoenix's face, leaving just a happy smile. "I'm touched, Edgey. If losing your mind made you so cheerful, I'd have to say that it was the best thing that ever happened to you."
They were both quiet for a moment. Edgeworth stripped himself of bulletproof vest and joint guards.
Phoenix spoke first.
"So. This thing you're talking about. I saw it too."
Edgeworth's eyes narrowed. "What happened. Tell me."
Phoenix lowered his eyes and said, "Well, it was a normal day at the office. It must have been around two-thirty, two days ago."
"You were in that closet for two days?"
"Yes. That's why I'm so grateful you came when you did.
"Anyway, it came in as a little girl. It said she came here with her father and got lost. I tried to help her, but...she fell apart before my eyes. Her skin disappeared into green flashes. When she was gone – took only a few seconds to fully change – what was left was...that thing.
"It overpowered me and pinned me to the desk you sit on right now. It shredded my jacket and shirt with these long, sharp metal claws. I was amazed at how precise it was. I mean, it tore my clothes to shreds, but not a mark on my skin. And I was also terrified. I have never been more scared in my entire life, Edgey. I admit this to you freely and not without some embarrassment."
Edgeworth nodded his understanding, then motioned for Phoenix to continue.
"Well, once I was half-naked, it put its head on my chest. It was listening to my heartbeat. It must have been going about ten million miles an hour, but it got something out of me, because it smiled."
Phoenix suddenly glared at the floor.
"Edgeworth, if I ever see that smile again, I'm going to kill what it's attached to."
"Why else do you think I was here?" the prosecutor said, gesturing to the 9mm. "I came here because the thing said it had my first terror. I don't know what that means, but if it can learn something so sacred as your every fear...plus, it is not of this planet. It must be killed, Wright. Do you agree?"
Phoenix thought for a moment, then said:
The two men were silent again. Finally, Phoenix spoke again.
"Anyway, it gagged me, bound my hands and arms, took off the rest of my clothes, bound my legs and feet, stuffed me in the closet, and talked a lot of psychological crap. Told me I'd never be found, that I'd die in three days due to lack of water, that no one loved me enough to come and look when I never reappeared..."
Phoenix blushed at Edgeworth.
"Looks like someone did."
Edgeworth scowled. "This isn't love, Wright. I came here to kill you."
"Oh. Right. Well, I was crammed in the closet and it shut the door and I stayed in there for the past forty-eight hours. That's about it."
The prosecutor said, "You saw its true form. Why aren't you insane as well?"
"I believe in life beyond Earth. I figure that you don't, and you haven't been believing for your entire life. It's been my experience that when deeply rooted thoughts are proven incorrect, there are dire consequences. Some people are reborn and changed for the better. Others...others end up like you."
Edgeworth sneered. "I don't want to be a statistic..."
"Nothing statistic about it, my friend. Just an observation."
The prosecutor was quiet for a while, then spoke very softly.
"You're wise beyond your years, Phoenix."
The defender was sincerely moved. He had never thought of himself as wise at all. To hear it coming from his friend and archrival...it was mind-boggling, and he suddenly understood why someone would have gone insane when his or her beliefs were proven false.
He struggled to recover from this mental gift by saying:
"I know for a fact that it doesn't come from Earth. I have videotape."
Edgeworth stood. "Where?"
"Larry? Why Larry?"
"It's a long story, and it'll be made clear when we get over there and watch the tape. Bring your car?"
"No. That would attract attention. I took a cab."
"Then we'll take another. Okay?"
The two men left the office, went down to the street, and got into a cab. During the trip to Larry's house, Phoenix noticed Edgeworth's new insane eyes, but for some reason they did not frighten him. Perhaps it was their childhood bond that made Phoenix calm around Edgeworth, even with his madness, or their trust in each other ever since that case two years ago.
Or maybe it's the sane people that are the true madmen, Phoenix thought.
It seemed like the right answer.
To be continued.
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