Minor spoilers for case 3-4. It's 20-21 year old Edgeworth, set just after the 3-4 case!
I tried to make an accurate representation of what Edgeworth's mental state might have been like.
MILES EDGEWORTH: SKELETON OF A DEMON PROSECUTOR
Miles Edgeworth's first prosecution case had been around a week ago. Edgeworth was living at the von Karma mansion. Sometime soon, he'd move into his own apartment, but von Karma was allowing him to live here as he saved some of his paycheque and settled into his new role.
Von Karma had been most displeased with Edgeworth's performance at the trial. The von Karma motto was "perfection" and Edgeworth's case had been shamefully far from perfect. He might even have lost entirely, if the defendant had not committed suicide during the trial. Von Karma was still yelling about it right now.
His adoptive sister, Franziska was here too, she had come to watch Edgeworth's first trial, though, he suspected, more so she could taunt him about it than to give him emotional support. Manfred was having another of his tirades about Edgeworth's hopeless imperfect case. Edgeworth concentrated on his food (when he ran out, he took another helping, the chewing helped to distract him).
"Yeah. You were pathetic!" Franziska sneered at him.
"Totally unacceptable! I'm so ashamed!" fumed Manfred.
"But Father, he didn't actually lose the case.." objected Franziska in a rare moment of compassion for her 'little' brother.
"SILENCE! In reality he lost! Next time, he won't have some insanely lucky event to save him!"
A hideous image suddenly lurched to the forefront of Miles' mind, in desperation he tried to bury it again (partly by shoving in another mouthful of food). He was disgusted with his entire reaction to this case. Sometimes he even had these nauseating delusions that the defendant might have been innocent! He knew better than to admit these to Manfred or anyone else though. He tried not to admit them to himself. "Of course he's guilty. Why else would he kill himself during the trial?"
Manfred was 'helping' Edgeworth prepare for his second case. "Now remember. A prosecutor is measured by his win record. A prosecutor without a perfect win record, is worthless! And if you don't improve from your last case, your win record is going to be ZERO!"
"And what will happen if you lose this case? A killer will walk free! Your guilt will be as if you committed the murder yourself! And as we know, it's essential you ensure justice to atone for your own guilt, hmm?" he smirked.
Edgeworth was always vaguely aware he was guilty of something unforgivable, though it seemed he had blanked from his memory exactly what it was. In fact a time period of several years after the 'incident' where his father had 'left' was blanketed in a thick fog completely unavailable to his conscious memory. Any kind of stimuli which forced him to peek near the edges of this dark terrain resulted in an excessively violent reaction from Edgeworth. Somehow, the entire continuation of his psyche seemed dependant on avoiding this blanked period.
Unfortunately, he suspected that this time wasn't completely unavailable to him, in fact he hypothesised it was the source of the dreams which invaded and violated him almost every night. Edgeworth shuddered and tried not to think about them. Dreams aren't real, he scoffed, failing to convince himself.
Edgeworth was still in shock over an article von Karma had shown him. About him. The article had gone a step worse than dehumanising him, labelling him the 'Demon Prosecutor'. It even claimed he only won because he bribed the judges and falsified evidence. "It's a lie! Someone is just jealous of my perfect record!" He never bribed anybody, and he always presented the evidence Gant gave him. It was from the Chief of Police, so it couldn't possibly be 'forged'.
He couldn't deny the part that was true in the article however. Everybody else seemed to hate him.
Edgeworth paced furiously along, staring at the ground, not aware or caring exactly where his feet were taking him. Oh curses, he'd just blindly wandered into a seething mass of brats from a nearby high school. Edgeworth detested children, and his teenage years were a fog in his memory best consigned to the dustbin of history. He tried hurrying away, but seemingly endless swarms of them surrounded him on all sides, meandering haphazardly along in messy clusters and continually cutting off his escape path.
He suddenly had the disturbing impression a lot of them were looking at him, pointing, and giggling among themselves. "What school does that freak uniform come from?" one stupid boy asked.
Suddenly one boy yelled. "HEY! I know him! That's the DEMON PROSECUTOR! He was in the newspaper!"
"On Sunday! The DEMON PROSECUTOR! He's EVIL!"
More and more brats attracted by the commotion and yelping loudly to each other and pointing at him.
"Let me past, please," said Edgeworth curtly, trying to find an exit route through the ring of people clustered around him, 10 deep.
They ignored him, and just continued yelling things to each other like 'He got this INNOCENT PERSON PUT TO DEATH!" and "He makes FAKE EVIDENCE AND BRIBES EVERYBODY!"
Edgeworth was seething. "Let me through. You should learn to respect your elders." Some of the kids parted away (screaming "AGHH!! THE DEMON PROSECUTOR!") but before he could blissfully exit the throng his way was again blocked, this time by a group of students from Ivy University.
"Let me past, Sir," said Edgeworth to the large, powerfully built student.
"Huh? What's that frilly thing on your neck? What are you? A fag?"
"He's the DEMON PROSECUTOR!" yelled some kid.
"Demon? You look like some kind of pathetic wimp to me. What, you have to compensate for your insecurities?"
Edgeworth was growing intensely furious. He was trapped however.
"Demon prosecutor? Looks more like the Pudgy Prosecutor to me! Not exactly Mr Universe are we!" The man merely mocked the rage in Edgeworth's eyes. "Ooh. I sense an inferiority complex!"
"I am superior to you in every way," growled Edgeworth.
"Yeah right. You know you're a pathetic coward and everyone hates you. I can tell!"
Edgeworth felt he might explode with rage, but he checked himself. Channel your hatred into your next prosecution case!
"I'm a prosecutor, remember," he said politely to the man. "If you don't let me leave now, I'll have you arrested for public misconduct."
It wasn't strictly true, but he hoped the man was too stupid to know better.
"Yeah right," sneered the man, but he looked uneasy, and turned to his 'friends'. "Come on. Let's go and beat up that 'Feenie' retard. I wonder if he's wearing that weird pink sweater again today?"
Edgeworth stormed along, blinded by rage. It wasn't so much the 'demon prosecutor' thing which hurt him, but the 'Pudgy Prosecutor' comment. He's wrong, fumed Edgeworth, unable to shake the uneasy recollection that his suit had indeed got tighter since he'd first worn it. He snuck his fingers under his shirt to explore his six-pack... which seemed to no longer be there at all, replaced by a pad of, well, flab.
UGH! You spent so long at the gym to get that, and now you've just given into your LAZY, GREEDY, DISGUSTING slothful urges. Yuk. You've been shovelling down all this JUNK without even thinking!
"People don't usually see you without your shirt anyway," he tried to console himself, but immediately realised this wasn't true. Gant was always insisting on those terrible compulsory department Swimming Days. The last one had been another one of those memories his brain had defensively hidden in a protective fog.
I'm a terrible person, really. How can I construct a perfect case if I can't even control what kind of garbage I shovel in my mouth without restraint? A perfect case requires perfect Self Control!
"I am superior to them!" he growled aloud, "and I'll just have to demonstrate it with visual evidence. My body demonstrative of my self-control."
"It may be superficial, but then everybody will know I am perfect."
He dramatically stated this aloud, but several additional unwanted sentences invaded his brain.
(They won't know that really, I'm as imperfect as the criminals I prosecute. And they won't know that really I'm just a pathetic coward who can't face his guilt.)
What! He must never think irrational thoughts like that! That person who caused him to think that, he hated them! They deserved the death penalty!
Edgeworth's latest trial was horrible. It was Grossberg again. He'd probably been bribed. Edgeworth didn't ask. I have to win regardless, nothing else matters.
People were whispering and pointing and murmuring among themselves about 'Demon Prosecutor'.
"So what?" growled Edgeworth to himself. "I am a demon. You can't kill a demon, he's already dead. And I don't care if you hate me. I hate you. And I hate me too."
"And the defendant is a demon. But I atone by serving justice and punishing other demons. And I make a concerted effort to avoid sins such as gluttony, stupidity, laziness, greed and waste. I have self-control! That is why this demon is superior to the other criminals."
(And therefore escapes the death penalty) some renegade part of himself whispered, which he swiftly quashed in fury.
He was doing his best "OBJECTION" and presenting evidence (thinking how everybody was probably in a terrified awe of the unflappable demon) when another one of his nightmares began to set in motion.
The ground shook. It was only a very minor earthquake, but to Edgeworth it was always worse than the end of the world. He yelped very imperfectly and dived under the prosecution bench, curling himself into a little ball and shaking frenetically. Cursed tears pricked his eyes. He was shaking so much he didn't even know if the earthquake was over, what's more, he may have 'forgotten' the memory but he'd suddenly began to re-live the emotions of what he assumed must be the worst moment of his life. He bit his cravat fiercely with his teeth to avoid sobbing aloud.
It seemed that since the earthquake had been so minor, court was already starting to reconvene. Edgeworth hadn't even noticed until Manfred furiously dragged him out from under the bench. Everyone in the court was staring at him. He was sure they all saw his tearstained eyes.
Now they know the truth. I'm weak, and pathetic. And can't even control myself. He wanted to die of humiliation.
He did manage to get a 'guilty' verdict, but his performance was far from acceptable. I must do something right, he murmured obsessively. I'm too incompetent for a perfect case, but I can try to be perfect with my food consumption and exercise quota. Then at least I'll know I'm not greedy, lazy or gluttonous. I'll have self-control! Then there will be one thing about me which I'll know is good enough! (And I can pretend it makes up for me being so evil, incompetent, weak, fearful, bad,...)
Edgeworth's first days of starvation were a delirious high. He didn't even comprehend eating, he was drunk on the achievement of doing something so perfectly. When hunger pains gnawed at him, a wash of endorphins filled him with ecstasy. It felt so good! He couldn't remember the last time he'd felt the addictive joy of worthwhile achievement, of finally being good enough.
It was really easy to skip meals, he didn't even miss them. Any time when he wasn't working on his case he just spent working out on his new gym equipment. He imagined those fat cells just melting away! Every minute he was getting closer to perfection! People would look at his 6-pack and think how perfect he must be! A superficial lie, but they wouldn't know any better! I can pretend I'm perfect, and they will believe it!
He did eat some foods, of course. The high he got from this perfection meant he no longer even wanted to defile himself with anything resembling junk food, the concept filled him with nausea. He found one of those BMI calculators on the Internet and calculated exactly how many calories he should eat a day. He quickly amassed a mental list of the calorie and fat content of thousands of foods, and could rapidly plan a perfect, healthy meal. It was like some wonderful hobby, except better, because he got the feeling he was finally moving towards being perfect in some achievable way.
The horrible Swimming Day arrived. Edgeworth had been stuck with inspiration. Maybe he could just swim laps of the pool the entire time. He'd avoid having to talk to Gant and others, and get part of today's exercise into the bargain. (Hey, this wasn't too bad, actually. Lots of time to exercise, and an easy way to avoid food!)
Edgeworth self-consciously removed his shirt. He had the uneasy perception of eyes boring into him. He turned bashfully, to see a cluster of women and Gant gaping at him.
Well, more precisely at his six-pack.
Edgeworth had never really understood how come males were attracted to women (he had no time for that kind of thing, but he assumed he was asexual), nonetheless, it was pleasing that they had noticed some part of him was, almost, perfect. "WORTHY!" howled Gant, practically drooling. "You must come to my place tonight after this!"
"Uh, sorry Sir, I have a trial on tomorrow," said Edgeworth hastily, recalling enough of his dark memory of last time to know it involved Gant.
Despite this, the day was a very positive reinforcement of all his striving for perfection. It was superficial, yes, but he was secretly elated.
Unfortunately, like anything addictive, the initial euphoria began to wear off. Edgeworth was very happy he'd lost weight, but it seemed that he.. kept losing weight. The thought of putting on weight made him want to die (he was so imperfect now, he'd be even worse if he went back to his greedy, disgusting old self) , but he didn't really want to lose any more either. The computer told him he was supposed to eat this number of calories to stay the same weight, so why was he still losing it? He began to get scared.
It was so cold. It wasn't even winter yet, really, but after some vital area of fat had gone, seemed he could no longer thermoregulate. His body was going into shutdown, and his brain was usually consumed by one of only a few things. Heat (how to get closer to it). Food (His most obsessive obsession!) And of course, how much he hated himself. He'd tried to be perfect, but it seemed he'd miscalculated somehow. He'd failed again.
I just want to die.
He was always filled with some gnawing hunger, but he'd ceased to believe it was even related to food. It was some kind of emotional hunger which he knew he could never fill. What? Demons like him didn't have emotions. They were for the weak. He hated how his mind was so contradictory. My only hunger is to atone for crime.
His life was such a confusing facade. He didn't know exactly where the facade ended and he began. Maybe he was nothing but his facade.
Maybe he was nothing but Manfred von Karma's facade.
Tea was the only thing which kept him going. He could transfer his food obsessed brain to thinking about tea in all its million varieties and fancy cultured preparations. Tea (with no milk or sugar) contained virtually no calories, so he could drink as much as he wanted. He could obsess over trying rare tea blends and distract himself from the fact that he was eating nothing but vegetables.
Its beautiful warmth stopped him shivering for a few minutes, and it briefly quashed that cold hollow emptiness in his stomach. He almost began to worship tea with a religious fervour. It and maintaining his perfect win record were practically the only reasons he went on living.
The rest of the time, he wondered why such a terrible person like him was allowed to continue living.
But since he just continued to lose weight with every passing day, he supposed his deserved destiny would be fulfilled soon. I'll just drop dead one day soon, I suppose. And it's not like I really care. It's only what I deserve.
And no one will care.
One day Edgeworth got a letter.
The name 'Phoenix Wright' was somehow associated with that terrible blanked out nightmare period he had almost exorcised from his life. Wright was from just before it, but close enough that remembering him made him react with defensive rage.
He'd thrown the previous three letters in the garbage unopened, but he'd opened this one by accident before he'd noticed who it was from.
Dear Miles Edgeworth,
Hi, It's Phoenix Wright again, remember me? How are you?
I've seen you in the newspaper. You have a very impressive case record, congratulations! Guess what, I've started working part time as a legal assistant for a defense attorney while I study my Law degree! Maybe one day soon, we'll meet in court. I hope so!
It blathered on for a while about things they'd done as children and how much Phoenix missed him when he went away, and a few things Phoenix and other people from their school had been doing, then continued:
I hope you are okay. Maybe I'll see you one day.
Edgeworth sighed exasperatedly. He sounded so young and naive. Obviously it was incomprehensible to him the harsh realities of existence with which Edgeworth was so chillingly familiar. This Wright person surely wouldn't be writing to him if he had any inkling of what he was really like.
Miles crumpled the letter and threw it in the garbage.
Later that night, something possessed him to tiptoe out and retrieve the letter from the garbage bin. He smoothed out the creases and read it again.
His eyes rested on the line:
'I hope you are okay.'
He'd dropped by the von Karma mansion. Manfred was apparently too busy to talk to him, but Franziska was currently visiting. She'd most obviously noticed something about his condition, but it was hard to discern what emotion flashed in her calculating eyes.
"Father says he'll be ready to see you eventually. Now, would you like some food?"
"Uh no thanks, Franziska, I ate earlier."
"As if. Don't worry, Miles, I know exactly what you'd like."
"Please, no..." protested Miles, but she'd already rushed to the kitchen.
Miles began to panic. Maybe he could dispose of the meal somehow? Franziska returned, and he was so taken aback. A bowl of elegantly sliced cucumber and lettuce.
"Thanks, Franziska!" said Edgeworth with genuine gratitude.
"I knew you'd like it" said Franziska, a brief flash of.. recognition?.. passing between them.
They both turned away, embarrassed, and never spoke of anything related to it again.
Edgeworth had been trying to eat a little more, but for him that just meant a few extra pieces of fruit. Every moment was an exercise in pain as he'd acquired so many injuries which refused to heal due to his malnourished condition. There was a strange tight agony in his jaw, like it had been dislocated. He permanently felt so obscenely weak, like he was about to collapse.
He didn't think it was possible, but one day he felt even worse than usual. He managed to stagger into his apartment but didn't get time to lock the door before he passed out unconscious on the floor.
Some time later, he groggily became aware of a ringing phone. He managed to muster the strength to pick it up and answer.
"MILES EDGEWORTH!" Oh, it was Franziska, still in Germany. "What do you think I just heard? Some neighbour of yours contacted me, claiming you had passed out on the floor!"
"Oh, I'm fine now, Franziska" he replied hastily.
"FINE? You foolish fool! I don't believe you. The neighbour was adamant you were unconscious. Since you were still breathing, I had to construct an elaborate lie to stop them shaming you by calling the hospital! How convenient for you they rang me and not Father!"
"Uh... thanks.." replied Miles, still dazed.
"Now please, brother, I don't want you passing out again! Next time, I'll call the hospital myself! Now, I want you to eat some pieces of fruit. Some large pieces of fruit. And in half an hour, I want you to eat another large piece of fruit. And every half-hour after that. Understand?"
"Uh.." hummed Miles non-committally. He had a bad feeling that might put him over today's calorie quota, and he wasn't sure he had that much fruit left in the house.
"Please Brother. Otherwise I'll call the hospital"
"Okay," agreed Edgeworth.
"Well, I'll call back in half an hour"" said Franziska, and hung up.
The fruit (and its fruit sugar) did make him feel a little better, and he didn't pass out again.
Edgeworth had vaguely assumed he'd just drop dead one day from starvation, but it now seemed it didn't work that way at all. You just passed out unconscious and were most likely found and 'rescued' by mortifyingly being taken to the hospital.
He knew this would make everything even worse than it was now. Manfred von Karma would find out, most likely everybody working in the department too, they'd unceremoniously force-feed him (Edgeworth practically shook in terror as he pictured them pumping fat into him through a tube), and the one area where he thought he'd be able to finally achieve perfection would be taken from him and exposed as the lie it was, really yet another embarrassing weakness and failure.
And it had been a failure. This wasn't perfection, he reflected sadly, sneaking a look at his naked self in the mirror for the first time for a month and being shocked anew by what he glimpsed. Gaunt, haggard, and looking exactly like the tortured, twisted demon monster he knew he was inside.
He contemplated suicide, but he had no energy for anything lately and it was hard to kill yourself, he was sure. Besides, he hated himself so utterly, he felt he was unworthy of the escape of death to free him from the punishment of hellish suffering he deserved on Earth.
Somehow, he'd just have to force himself to eat more, so that he was no longer at the point where his health was in imminent danger. The concept terrified him. He had no idea how.
'Recovering' from the eating disorder wasn't just psychologically difficult, but a physiological nightmare. His digestive system had gone so long without normal meals that when hit with more normal amounts of food it rebelled and refused to digest anything properly. 24 hours a day of terrible nausea and torturous digestive upsets. This being the setting when he was forcing himself to shove food he was terrified of down his throat. Recovering was even worse than the disease.
He took some time off work, claiming he'd come down with a highly infectious (so nobody would visit him) gastrointestinal virus.
"No, I didn't get you to be my best friend," said Edgeworth, ignoring the doe-eyed pleading expression in the puppy's dark eyes. "And I won't be charmed by your wiles. You're supposed to guard the house."
Edgeworth wasn't sure what had possessed him to get a dog, but he sure needed a distraction, any distraction, and he was a little paranoid some criminal from one of his cases might come and attack his house. Therefore a guard dog had seemed a good idea.
"No. I'm not a bleeding-heart animal lover!" Edgeworth told the puppy, trying to disregard its wagging tail.
This wasn't strictly true of course. Manfred von Karma detested animals, so they'd never had any pets, but Edgeworth had always felt a certain affinity with animals, particularly dangerous, vicious ones misunderstood by humans, and he'd been secretly besotted with Franziska's cat when he'd visited her whilst he was studying.
He'd got an Akita, reading that they grew to be large and vicious. Pess didn't seem to have this idea yet though.
And he soon formed a stronger bond to Pess than he'd ever predicted.
Some months later, and at least his digestive system seemed to be functioning normally. He was still a little skinny, and his eating habits a little obscure, but he wasn't dangerously underweight and he wasn't starving himself. He had a truckload of serious issues left to tackle and confront (which he tried to distract himself from), but Pess and his work kept him going from day to day. Oh, and he'd got another letter from that poor deluded Wright. He'd read it this time. He had no idea why one line had stuck in his mind.
"I'm sure we will meet again one day."