King for a Day

It was that time of year again, when the evidence transferral happened and the presentations occurred down at the precinct…and Manfred von Karma hadn't been invited. The fools must have made some sort of mistake, or perhaps they had assumed that after all these years, Manfred knew when to come. Either way, Manfred was looking forward to having his name on that trophy again.

King of Prosecutors. Manfred didn't really need a trophy to tell him that he was the best prosecutor of them all, but he also didn't need any cocky upstarts running around the prosecutor's office thinking that they were better than him.

He'd won the award so many times now he wondered why they even bothered presenting it to him. As much as he didn't want anyone else to receive it, the presentations did become tedious after nearly forty years of perfect prosecuting.

Manfred made it to the presentation exactly on time, and watched with disinterest as a detective was awarded a shield for being slightly less incompetent than her colleagues. It was too bad that the detectives received their awards first—otherwise Manfred could have already taken his prize and left.

At last! The time had come and Manfred got ready to stand as soon as he heard his name. He bent his knees, hand wrapping around the top of his cane…but the chief of police never said his name.

Instead, the chief said a different name: Neil Marshall.

Manfred watched in horror as a young man with a ridiculous looking hat jumped out of his seat, letting out a loud 'yee-haw' before walking up to the chief to receive the trophy.

He stared numbly as the chief talked about the wannabe-cowboy's potential. Potential meant nothing when compared to perfection! The boy was nothing more than a pampered pawn—nowhere near being worthy of the title 'King'.

Manfred was still sitting in the same chair when everyone else had left the room—everyone else apart from Damon Gant. Gant walked up behind Manfred and clapped him on the back with a strong, gloved hand. "What's wrong, Freddo?"

Manfred did not have his usual energy to object to Gant's chosen name for him. Instead, his fingers tightened around the handle of his cane. "This…presentation…is a farce."

Gant smiled. "Oh, the precinct decided to start rewarding the up-and-coming talent in the field. After forty years, you're not exactly 'up-and-coming' anymore." When Manfred's scowl deepened, Gant added, "A good swim will keep your mind off these matters."

Manfred had never shared Gant's belief that swimming solved everything—in fact, swimming solved nothing. Now—drowning was another matter. Drowning could solve all sorts of pesky problems. In his mind's eye, Manfred imagined Mr. Wannabe Cowboy floating facedown in the water, completely blue in the face. Yes, that held a certain appeal.

"That man, Neil Marshall, was it?"

"That's the one," Gant affirmed, "Neily's always been a good boy." 'Good' meant nothing to Manfred von Karma. There was no 'good'. There was only perfection. "Neil Marshall?" Manfred repeated. "I'm going to kill him."

Gant stared eerily at Manfred for what seemed to be half a minute, playing with a stray lock of hair as he did so. "Now, now, Freddo, that's not very nice..." Manfred shifted uncomfortably due to the continued scrutiny. "Not to mention blatantly illegal," Gant continued.

Manfred did not reply to Gant, after all, he already knew that killing people wasn't very nice. Then again, Manfred von Karma wasn't a very nice person. Besides, illegality was only an issue if one got caught…

Gant clapped Manfred on the back again before saying, "Well, best be off, we have a criminal to interrogate. If you come by the office later, we can arrange our next swimming date."

Manfred spent some quiet time alone after Gant left, pondering undetectable murder methods, before he left the room himself. After all, the method of murder did not matter much at all when it came to a conviction—it all depended on how well a job the prosecuting attorney did. Manfred knew he was the King of prosecutors; none of the prosecutors in the state—no, the country--had the ability to pin any sort of crime on Manfred von Karma, King of Prosecutors.

It was just as well, he mused, that Franziska was still in Germany.

There was no time to go anywhere, especially not now that Gant was going to be expecting him to visit in an hour or two, so Manfred remained at the precinct—if he was lucky, he would run into Neil Marshall as well.

Not much more time passed before Manfred could hear the sound of thunder coming closer—even more of an incentive to stay where he was—although he had a lot of money, the price of dry-cleaning for Manfred's suit was still ridiculous.

Suddenly, the lights went out, and Manfred had the uncanny feeling of déjà vu—if he could only get lucky again this time, just like had in the courthouse thirteen years ago…

He groped around in the darkness for the wall, not entirely sure which direction the elevators were from here. He was unsure how long he spent, wandering in the darkness, but after blind searching, he felt his fingers touch the ridges of what could only be the elevator buttons.

There was no gunshot, no searing pain in his shoulder. This time, there would only be one victim: Neil Marshall.

He did not know how long he waited there, waiting for the doors to open, waiting for the moment when destiny would be realised once more.

Ping! The slow hum of electricity filled the room, and Manfred waited in anticipation as the elevator doors opened…

The elevator was empty. He had waited for nothing. Damn that Neil Marshall! Firstly the man had dared to win Manfred's award, and now he refused to be in a convenient location to be murdered. Manfred was having a horrible day, all up, and the prospect of now having to go meet with Gant did not brighten his mood at all.

To top it all off, the elevator did not seem to be functioning properly after the blackout and refused to respond when Manfred pushed its buttons. He considered the idea of going home once more, but it was still raining, and he really didn't want Gant turning up to his house in the middle of the night. Not that he had ever done so before, but Manfred had never turned down a swimming date before either.

The cane made climbing the stairs difficult, but slowly and perfectly, Manfred reached Gant's office, the office he shared with his partner whose name Manfred never remembered. Detectives. They were all as bad as each other.

To Manfred's surprise, Gant was standing outside the door to his office, letting a team of police inside. "Ah, Freddo!" Gant said when he spotted Manfred. Gant played incessantly with the damn lock of hair. "There's…been a murder in my office," Gant told Manfred, looking as sombre as a man clad almost entirely in bright orange ever could.

Manfred did not know how to explain the uneasy feeling that was stirring within him; could it be that Neil—He squashed down the feeling for now, hand tightening around the top of his cane once more as he answered, "Well, Damon, that's not very nice." Manfred paused before continuing. "Not to mention blatantly illegal."

Gant laughed, clapping his hands slowly. "Funny you should mention that, Freddo." Gant leaned forward, deep green eyes penetrating any sense of personal space that Manfred had. "This evening, Neil Marshall met his eternal end in my office."

Manfred had always known he was capable of many amazing things, but killing a man with his mere thoughts had never been one of them. Neil Marshall was dead? It was quite anti-climatic in a way, not being able to perform the deed personally, but at least the pampered pawn was dead now. He'd only been King for a day, and it saved Manfred another few years of eternal rivalry.

Now that the wannabe cowboy was dead, Manfred supposed he could go home—or at least after he finished arranging his swimming date with Gant.

A month later, Manfred and Gant were at the pool. Technically, Gant was in the pool, while Manfred was standing outside of it, still fully dressed. He never went swimming, and although Gant had joked about one day making him swim whether he wanted to or not, the now Chief of Police seemed content to do laps on his own.

Upon finishing his laps, Gant pulled himself out of the pool and made his way over to Manfred, dripping water dangerously close to the prosecutor's suit. "Well, Freddo," Gant said, clapping Manfred on the back, leaving a very unwelcome damp patch, "we've been talking about that little award. King of Prosecutors? The precinct has decided to give it you next year—no up-and-coming prosecutors have caught our attention since Neily's departure."

"And the year after that?" Manfred asked, remaining stony-faced.

"Well, that Miles Edgeworth boy of yours is showing some excellent potential," Gant replied thoughtfully.

Edgeworth. There was no way Manfred could allow the boy to get his hands on the award. If he removed all this 'potential' nonsense, Manfred would allow the award to be a symbol of perfection, the only thing that ever mattered anymore.

It seemed a bit silly, raising the boy for so many years, housing him and feeding him and buying him numerous cravats, only to destroy him later. But it simply couldn't be helped. If Edgeworth was going to take his award away from him, then he was an obstruction which required removal. Manfred von Karma would forever be the King of Prosecutors.

At that moment, however, Manfred felt a strong hand at his back. Before he knew what was happening, Gant had pushed him, still fully-clothed, into the pool.