I've decided to try something different for a change, and ventured into the world of Ace Attorney for this short story. From Apollo's perspective, we begin on a simple night at the office...
(Well... looks like it's been just another day at the office... Not like it surprises me, or anything. We haven't had any clients in weeks... But then again, who knows to come to the "Wright Anything Agency" for a defense lawyer? Honestly, sometimes I wonder if I need to be looking for another job...)
"POLLY! Hey, Polly!"
With a loud shout and a look of sudden surprise over his face, his arms waving as he lost his balance, Apollo cried out in shock as he leaned backwards in his chair- and a loud thump soon followed as he toppled over backwards, the back of his chair crashing against the ground as he gasped in surprise, the wind knocked right out of him by his fall.
With a giggle, the girl ran over around the desk and put her hands on her knees, grinning as she leaned over and looked at the fallen attorney, the blue silk hat on her had slightly tipping forwards and over her forehead.
"What, did I really surprise you that much?" the young magician said with a grin and a giggle, bouncing in place, her white-gloved hands clasped behind her back in mock innocence.
(Ugh... You've got to be kidding me...)
Groaning, Apollo pushed himself back up, putting a hand on his forehead and looking angrily up at the girl who stood over him. "You know, you could give me a little more of a warning before you jump out of nowhere," the young defense attorney of 22 muttered as he stumbled to his feet, turning around and picking up the chair he had fallen backwards on, all while grumbling.
"Aw, but where's the fun in that?" the girl responded with a big grin, jumping out of the way and resting her elbows on the desk in front of them, placing her chin in her hands and looking with wide, innocent eyes at the other. "Especially since you were so focused on your work, you hardly noticed me come in! And since you've been busy all day," she added with a pout, "I haven't even had anyone to play with!"
Once more, Apollo sighed as he shook his head, sitting back in the chair and resting his arms on the desk in front of him. His eyes glanced over the massive stack of papers he was sorting through on the desk- and then grudgingly back up to the girl who looked so cheerfully back up at him.
(This is Trucy Wright... I guess you could call her my assistant, in a sense. My name is Apollo Justice- I'm a defense attorney at law. I work for Trucy's father's law firm- but lately, we haven't been seeing many clients. And Mr. Wright's been sticking me with all his boring paperwork, to boot...)
Leaning back in his chair, Apollo crossed his arms and looked back up at Trucy with a raised eyebrow. "Well, you can thank your daddy for that, Trucy," he said with a sigh, once more grumbling as he lifted up a paper on the desk, reading it over once before sighing and putting it back on the desk. "I've been busy nearly all day with these stupid papers... I didn't go to law school for a desk job, y'know!"
"Well, at least you're all done for today!" Trucy finished with a grin, as chipper as ever, once more bouncing in place- the silk hat on her head slightly bouncing along with her, and the magician's cape behind her also moving with her child-like motions.
Apollo blinked in slight confusion, looking back over at Trucy. Though she was nearly fifteen now, she still acted like a little girl... and yet, at times, she was far more mature for anyone twice her age. She was definitely a puzzle, alright... but what confused him more was what she said.
"What do you mean, done for today?" Apollo asked, looking back at his stack of papers. "I'm not even half-done..."
"Well, it IS closing time," Trucy said with a grin, walking around the attorney and pulling back the curtains of the window behind them. Placing her hands on her hips and turning around, she raised an arm and tilted up her silk hat, half-bowing back at the other in her quirky, silly expressions. "What, were you planning to work all night long?"
Blinking in confusion and turning around in his chair, Apollo put a hand to his chin in light surprise as he noted what Trucy was showing him- it was nearly pitch-black outside, with the only lights coming from the dim street-lamps of the busy street outside, and of course, the light of the full moon. He hadn't even noticed due to the dim lighting in the room, but there it was. Again in surprise, he glanced back at the table-clock, also surprised at the time it showed: 10:56 pm. Had he really been working that long?
(Jeez... I suppose time flies when you're stuck in a desk doing nothing but paperwork for hours on end...)
"Come on, Apollo," the young magician said with another smile, wrapping her arms around the other's shoulders and pulling backwards. "Time to close up shop!"
"Ah... you're leaving already?"
Once more, Apollo was caught off-guard by the new voice- and turned to look, along with Trucy, at the new presence which had entered the office.
With a smile, the man closed the door behind him and walked calmly up to the two, crossing his arms and looking at each of them in turn. His dark-grey hoodie, 5-o clock shadow, and blue beanie he wore over his jet-black hair all contributed to his unique and slightly out-of-place look- but at the same time, were also quick to let the others identify just who this newcomer was.
"Daddy!" Trucy chirped up instantly with a bright grin, running out from behind the desk and jumping up to give the man a hug. With a warm, fatherly smile, the man wrapped an arm around the girl and looked back up at the lawyer who still sat behind the desk.
"Well, it is closing time, so, yeah," Apollo responded a bit dryly to the newcomer's presence, gathering some of the scattered paperwork on the desk and placing it in a neat pile to the side. With a sigh, he turned around in his chair and bent down, picking up a backpack that was resting against the desk and slinging it over his shoulders. Standing up, he moved to walk around from behind the desk.
"Whoa, there, tiger," Phoenix Wright said with a calm, yet sly smile at the over-eager attorney, taking a step forward. "I don't think you're finished just yet... hang here for just a moment, will you? I have one more thing I'll need you to take care of." Turning around back to his daughter, Wright once more smiled and put an arm on her back. "Trucy, why don't you head on down... I have a taxi waiting to take you home, alright?"
(Great... it's closing time and he won't even let me go yet. And yet he calls a taxi for his daughter... Figures.)
"Okay, daddy!" Trucy responded with a bright grin and a nod, once more tilting her bright blue silk hat towards him. Turning back towards Apollo, she once more held her hands together and lightly bounced in place calling back at him, "See ya tomorrow, Polly!"
(... Why must she keep calling me that?...)
Without another word, the young girl of magic turned around and flew out of the room, her cape trailing gleefully behind her. With the door shut, Apollo sighed and put back down his backpack, looking over at Wright expectantly.
"What is it you need me to do, Mr. Wright?" the young lawyer asked with quiet respect, though unable to struggle through a smile. He respected the other man beyond words- but it still didn't change the fact that he was reluctant to have been stuck as a desk jockey instead of doing his job- defending in court.
"Ah, yes, Apollo..." Smiling, Wright turned away from the desk Apollo had been sitting by, and instead moved to sit by a table near the corner of the room, where the lighting was low and cast in shadows, and where two chairs sat on either side of the desk. With another, crafty yet calm smile, the ex-defense attorney reached into the pocket of his hoodie... and pulled out a single, blue-backed deck of cards.
As calm as ever, Wright set the cards on the table and looked over at Apollo expectantly. "Well?" he asked with his trademark half-smirk. "Up for a game of cards, Apollo?"
It took a moment for the words to sink in as the younger attorney looked at the man who had just sat down, wondering if he was being serious. At first, he was irritated- perhaps a bit angry. And yet, it wasn't long before his thoughts worked, and he began to realize just what the other meant.
(He wanted me to stay late... to play a game of cards? ... Wait... Isn't Mr. Wright... undefeated? For seven years, even... Why would he want to play me...? I don't even know how to play poker!)
"Um... well, all I know is Go Fish," Apollo mumbled a bit awkwardly, but still moved over to where his mentor stood, taking the seat opposite of him.
"That's fine. Everyone's gotta learn somewhere, right?" Wright responded with a smile, sitting down and easily bridge-shuffling the cards on the table in front of him. "We'll play a practice round. I'll teach you the basics- we'll start with an easy-to-learn version, called Texas Hold 'Em."
"Um... alright..." Once more, Apollo looked over the table at the cards, and the man who was shuffling them. He still couldn't understand this man, no matter how hard he tried... Why on Earth was his teacher of law trying to teach him a game of poker?
(Oh, well... might as well go along with the old coot's game... It's not like I have a shot at winning, anyways. Might as well just humor him.)
"First off," Wright began, having finished shuffling the cards. "Each player gets a two-card hand. Keep your cards secret." With that said, the man held the deck of cards out in front of him on the table, and face-down dealt out four cards, two hands of two cards each. Quietly, the other took his two cards, dragging them to the end of his side of the table and holding them up to look at them.
"Now, in Texas Hold 'Em, you play with those two cards- and five "community cards"," Wright began to explain, drawing his own hand close and once more holding out the main deck in front of him. "These five cards will be shown over the course of three rounds- first, called the flop, in which three cards will be shown. Then comes the turn and river- consisting of one card each."
"Huh." It was all Apollo could really think of to say, as he lifted up his card and took a glance at the two figures in his hand.
(The Ace of Hearts, and the Three of Clubs... Aces are good, I think, but from what little I know about poker, I'm not sure if this is a very good hand...)
"Now, in between each of these rounds with the flop, turn, and river, you can do one of four things: you can fold your hand- basically giving up the round; you can raise a bet on your hand; you can check, meaning you equally match someone else's bet; or you can call, meaning you neither bet nor fold, but only if the other player hasn't raised a bet."
"And what are we supposed to bet with?" Apollo asked a bit skeptically, raising an eyebrow. He was following along so far... the reveal of each cards and the betting of your hand as you progress through the rounds... it seemed simple enough. Just how hard could it be?
Once more, Wright's hand reached in the pocket of his jacket, and out came his clenched fist. Hovering his hand over the table, he opened his fist, and a small flood of chips clinked out onto the table. Sorting out the two kinds of chips, Wright slid five green chips and six slightly smaller blue ones toward his opponent, and set aside an equal amount of each for himself.
"The greens are worth 100 points, the blues are worth 1000," Wright explained with a smile, picking up his own hand and giving it a glance before calmly setting it back down. "Don't forget of the different hands you can make- straights, flush, two- or three-of-a-kind, full house, etcetera." Apollo nodded calmly- he knew that much, at least- if not for the interesting case he'd taken on at the beginning of his career...
Smiling once more, Wright looked up, just underneath that blue beanie of his, at his opponent. "Now... are you ready to play?"
(A round of poker with the famous Phoenix Wright... going up against a man who hasn't lost a game in his seven-year long career... *gulp*... well... here's goes nothing!)
Taking a deep breath to restore his confidence, the other picked up his cards and gave a nod. "Yeah, I guess... as ready as I'll ever be."
Once more, Wright smiled as he set back down his hand. "Good." In an instant, though just as calmly as ever, his hands set over one of his own green chips, and he slid it out calmly in to the center of the table.
"Might as well start things off then, yes? I set the pot at 100."
It had already begun... Apollo, nervous as heck, once more raised up his hand and glanced over at them. So far, all he had to go on was his two, single cards... the center cards hadn't been dealt yet. This betting was preliminary... he had no idea what Wright's hand consisted of. And yet, he supposed... he had an ace, right? Which had to be a good sign...
"Um... I'll... check? I think?" the attorney said with a weak grin, unsure of the correct term, but sliding forward a green chip of his own. The other man across the table gave a nod- and Apollo breathed a quiet sigh of relief. Well, he supposed that was one problem solved...
"Now, the flop," Wright said with a smile, bringing back the deck of cards. From the top of the pile, keeping the cards face down, he drew three cards, and flipped them right-side up on top of the table.
(The Ten of Diamonds... Two of Clubs... Jack of Hearts... Hey! I think I'm on to something, here! Ten, Jack, and my Ace are all pretty high cards, right?... I may just have a shot at this!)
Unable to hide his grin as he looked at his cards, Apollo was already beginning to formulate a plan for betting his chips- and yet, was instantly torn away from his thinking by a quiet laugh.
"Apollo... you do remember the base concept of Poker... don't you?"
Surprised, and slightly confused, the attorney looked up at his mentor who sat across from the table, a quiet- calm, almost crafty- smile across his face, his eyes partially hidden by the shadows.
Looking up at the other, holding his cards simply in his hands, Wright gave a shake of his head. "You have a terrible poker face. Don't forget that the whole concept is to prevent the other person from accurately guessing your hand. I can see your cards written plain across your face," the other said with a quiet laugh, setting his cards back down.
(Ach... I forgot about that...! I can't show my reaction, or he'll know that I have a good hand... er... or do I...?)
Giving a simple shrug, Wright moved his hand over to his stack of chips... and yet, instead of picking up a chip, his hand formed into a fist, and he lightly rapped the table top twice with his knuckles.
(... He checks, huh? That means he's not betting, and not folding... maybe... maybe it means he doesn't have that great of a hand? I should use this to my advantage!)
The young defense lawyer thought over his options as he stared at the three cards. It was his turn to call his bet... and yet, given Wright's reaction, there was a high chance he had the better hand!
"Well, I raise the bet by 400," Apollo said with a confident smirk, sliding the rest of his green chips to the center and crossing his arms. Now, Wright had to either match his bet or forfeit his hand...!
However, the decision seemed to be of little importance to the other, and, with a shrug, Wright simply moved the rest of his green chips to the center of the table, along with the others'.
(Gah! This guy is so hard to read... so calm and aloof... does he even have a good hand? Or is he bluffing?)
The betting round had ended, and already, Wright was reaching for the stack of cards, ready to deliver the next card. Trying his best to concentrate on a game he'd never played before, Apollo instead wracked his memory for anything he knew about cards. It was possible Wright had a good hand, and was simply bluffing and tricking Apollo into thinking he had a bad one. Or, the opposite could hold true- maybe his hand was absolutely nothing, and he was trying to lull Apollo into thinking he was tricking him? A trick of a trick? Or just a trick? And how the heck was he even supposed to figure this out?-!
The turn came, and Apollo stared blankly at the card for a moment as he registered the new information.
(The Six of Clubs...? ... Well, that helps squat! What am I supposed to do now...?)
And yet, while the young lawyer was still trying to think of his own next motion, he was startled by a sudden clinking sound that came from the opposite side of the table. Looking over, he blinked in light surprise at what his opponent was doing.
Ever calm and still with that ambiguous smile on his face, Wright pushed forward three of his smaller, blue chips forward, where they pushed up against the growing stack of chips in the middle of the table.
"... I raise the pot by 3000."
(...WHAT? Has he got... a good hand? What the heck? How could a simple Six of Clubs help him like that?)
"What's the matter, Apollo?" Wright asked quietly, raising an eyebrow and smiling, in that same poker face as before- practically unreadable, as aloof and seemingly uncaring as ever. As if the whole game was a breeze, and he hardly even needed to try to beat his opponent. "You're not shying away from a challenge... are you?" he continued, looking away as if suddenly bored. "I'm surprised. It seems I've misjudged you."
Instantly, Apollo's eyes flew open. What... what was he saying?-! He didn't really think of Apollo like that, just because of a card game, did he?-! If so... he could be out of a job! The last thing he wanted was to fall out of favor with the legendary ex-attorney, or lose his job as his apprentice... and besides... he couldn't just insult Apollo like that!
"N-No! Not at all! I'm, uh, all up for a challenge, sir!" the young attorney stuttered, as he reached for his own chips, ready to call and equal the other's bet-
In a quiet throb, the world around him began to briefly, subtly shake, the colors and lines of his vision suddenly inverting and flipping inside-out... His thumb... the twitching of his wrist...
Blinking out of the second-long trance, Apollo was suddenly jolted back to reality as he stared at the man in front of him. What... what was that...? It was a familiar, fleeting sensation... one he'd only felt while in the courtroom, when sensing witnesses' lies... was it really working here, in the office, in this poker game...? It was all he could do to keep from giving away himself, and kept his eyes away from the golden-bronze bracelet which was tightening around his wrist.
Once more, he was jolted back to reality, and glanced down at his hand which was hovering over the chips.
"Oh... oh, yeah... I, uh, call..." Once more, he tried to brush the brief, distracting experience away and keep it hidden as he slid forward three of his blue chips towards the center pot, leaving only two blue chips left for each of them. He had to focus on the game, but...
(... In the courtrooms, I have the ability to sense when people are lying, and 'perceive' their nervous habit which gives them away, thanks to my bracelet... but... If my bracelet is reacting here, to this game... does that mean... I can...?)
"Alright, then. Last card- here comes the River," Wright said with a quiet, calm smirk, reaching out towards the deck of cards once more and turning over the final card of the game.
And in an instant, by the final card, Apollo was once more snapped back into the game, desperately trying to hide his fleeting reaction to the new card.
(... The Ace of Diamonds! ... And I have the Ace of Hearts! That's two of a kind, and with aces... I'm sure to have a good hand! Maybe even one that can beat Mr. Wright!)
It was almost too good to be true... he had a good hand, and Wright wasn't even raising the pot! Maybe this card wasn't good for his hand? He definitely wasn't raising, and if he remembered it right, this was the last chance to make a bet...
His eyes flashing, and a brilliant grin coming over his face, Apollo reached for the last of his chips. To hell with bluffing, now, there was only one thing left to do! The end of the game was near, and he was going to go out, guns blazing!
Confidently, and in a swift motion, the boy jolted his hand forward, sliding his two remaining blue chips forward, where they clashed against the others in the pot. His eyes glistening, he looked boldly up at his competitor.
"I'm all in!"
"... Oh, really, now?" Wright responded calmly, still smiling, as he looked at the growing pot, and then back to his own chips. "Hm. I suppose this means I've got to go all in or fold, yes?"
(I got him! Yes! I'll bet my hand's better, he'll have to fold, or I win!)
"... I'm all in as well, then."
(... Wait... WHAAAAAATT?-!)
Apollo's look of surprise couldn't be hidden, and he looked with wide eyes and a slightly agape jaw as his opponent slid the last of the chips in to the now-massive pile.
"Um... so… what happens now?" the young defense attorney asked, still unsure of himself, as he looked from his hand back up to his mentor, a weak grin across his face.
"Now we both reveal our hands- and the player with the best hand wins."
Once more, Apollo looked back at his hand, and the cards on the table... Well, like he said, he was gonna go out with guns blazing! With a grin, he slammed his cards face-up on the table, next to the center five cards.
"Ha! Two-of-a-kind, with aces!" Apollo shouted triumphantly, with a wide grin, looking challengingly at Wright.
There was a quiet pause, and the young lawyer felt the silence every second it ticked by. Soon, his face of extreme confidence was falling, and he kept his confused stare at the opposite man, who was still quiet, his eyes hidden in the shadows.
"Not a bad hand... But unfortunately..."
Looking up, Wright calmly flipped over his cards and slid them slowly towards the center of the table. The King of Spades and Queen of Hearts lay comfortably next to the Ten of Diamonds and Jack of Hearts... and when he pulled the Ace of Diamonds beside them, Apollo's heart fell.
Smiling, Wright looked up from the hand he had created, and lay back comfortably in his chair.
"Ace-high straight. Not suited, granted, but still more than enough to beat a pair of aces."
Still dumbfounded, Apollo was at a loss for words at he looked at the sets of cards and chips in the center of the table.
(Stupid! So stupid! Of course he'd win, he's Phoenix Wright... Why the heck did I ever get to thinking I had a better hand than him?)
Seeing the other in thought, and his expression of frustration, Wright calmly shook his head and leaned in towards the table, reaching for the cards and chips and starting to sort them back out once more. "Don't despair, Apollo. It was only your first game- more of a trial run than a true game. You still have a lot to learn," the ex-defense attorney said with a quiet smile on his face, still looking at the cards and chips as he separated them and began to shuffle once more.
"You... you tricked me," Apollo stuttered, finding his words as he also leaned back, briefly crossing his arms and studying the other's actions and expressions with quiet interest.
"And?" Looking up from shuffling the cards, Wright gave another simple, yet crafty smile at his student. "So, I tricked you. But who was really at fault- me, for tricking you? Or you, for falling for the trick?" Shrugging, he looked back down at his cards, setting them aside and continuing to speak, "From where I'm standing, it's you- after all, you lost all your chips in one round. Such is the nature of poker."
(The nature of poker, huh? ... He's right. I was too naive. But now that I know how the game works...)
"Ready for round two?" Wright asked quietly with another smile as he looked up from the cards, having already re-sorted the chips and shuffled the blue-backed cards. A sort of crafty, sly grin crossed his face as he looked down, his face once more cast in that mysterious shadow of his. "Maybe you'll be slightly more of a challenge, this time around."
(Grr! ... I can't let him get to me. He was taunting me earlier; I know it- and I fell for it. Well, not this time, Mr. Wright... This time, I'll find your bluff, and call you out on it!)
The cards were dealt, like before, and this time, Apollo was much more calm and careful to pick up his cards and study them- yet, while also looking briefly over the tops of his cards, trying to study his opponent's reactions.
(Hm... Five of Spades, and Two of Spades... I don't have much of a chance of making a straight, unless the flop or turn or river give me a three and four... but they're suited, right? So I suppose I could go for something like that... But I can't seem to read Mr. Wright at all yet...)
"I call." Once more, Wright's words were simple and calm, nearly robotic, as he set down his cards and leaned back in his chair. Hardly any expression could be detected across his face, and Apollo eventually looked back down at his own cards and chips, making his decision.
It was too early to make a large decision or assumption about Wright's cards... Not before the turn even came. And if he was merely calling... Again, he couldn't assume anything too far, or he'd work himself into a panic or an excitement like last time. And he wouldn't be made a fool of again.
"Call." Apollo's reply was calm and simple- he surprised even himself with his nearly monotonous, careful voice- and also kept his expression quiet and low-key as he set his cards back down and set his sights on the deck, awaiting the flop. For now, there was no need for him to raise after Wright had called. Nor did he think his hand was completely without merit... there was no need to fold, just yet.
The silence of the room had at first seemed overwhelming to the young defense attorney, but now- it almost fit with the mood of the game, and once more it was quiet between the two, the only sound being the rustling of cards as Wright calmly and quietly picked up the deck and flipped over the next three cards of the flop.
(Nine of Spades, Five of Clubs... and King of Spades... That makes four spade cards that I have. One more, and I think I can make what's called a 'flush'... But should I rest the entire game on that possibility? What are the chances another spade will show up? And what sort of hand does Mr. Wright have? How could these cards help or hurt him...?)
As before, the thoughts flooded around his mind, yet this time, he was careful to keep his expression calm and simple, and keep himself still- while also looking briefly over at Wright, in hopes of seeing any change of expression with the reveal of the flop.
His eyes were as calm and expressionless as ever as he looked over the cards in his hands... and yet...
Once more the world turned upside-down and inverted before his eyes, his senses throbbing and focusing around the central point of his opponent... the twitching of his wrist, the ever-so-slight movement of his thumb across the surface of the card...
The world snapped back to reality- this time, however, Apollo was careful to hide the transition, and instead kept himself calm and cool as he reflected on the brief second of his elevated senses which had come over him. It was his bracelet again, reacting to something he was seeing...
Calmly placing his cards face-down on the table, Wright smiled simply as he moved his stack of green chips towards the center. "I'll raise the pot to 500," the professional spoke simply, relaxing back in his chair after having made his bet.
(... My ability to sense peoples' habits... It's acting up again. I've only used it before on witnesses to see where they were lying, but... Didn't Mr. Wright say he used Trucy to win some of his games? If we have the same talent, then... then maybe...)
Back to the game- Once more, Apollo focused on his hand, and the three cards in front of him. He was still unsure about what hand Wright could have- yet if he was willing to put all of his blue chips in on the first reveal, he was either bluffing to the max, or confident in his hand. Apollo was confident in his hand, as well, but...
Moving his hand over his own stack of chips, Apollo was quiet as he slid his own stack of green chips next to the other stack. "I'll call, then," he said with a simple nod, bringing his hand back to the two cards face-down on the table in front of him. It was almost like a trial... he'd have to go with his gut feeling, and would have to wait and see how different parts of the games revealed themselves... and by each round, he would have to make a decision which would impact how he would be able to handle the next round of cards.
Without even acknowledging Apollo's move, Wright instead turned once more to the stack of cards, cradling it in the palm of his hand and using his other hand to turn over another, single card, face-up to the center of the table. And from the center of the table, next to the flop, the Eight of Spades stared up at the room around it.
(Another spade card! That makes five... I... I have a flush, I think... I'm pretty sure that's a great hand, too! I must've gotten lucky... but... what about Mr. Wright...?)
There was hardly a second between the reveal of the turn, and the sound of Wright's voice breaking the silence of the room.
"I raise 2000." In one, swift motion, with cards in one hand and two blue chips in another, the ex-defense lawyer slid his chips towards the center pot, setting his bet instantly and looking back up at Apollo.
(That... was quick... this Eight of Spades was a great card for me, but it may have even been better for him... I have to remember, I'm up against a pro here... I know I've got a good hand, but that's not enough.)
Once more, the room descended into silence around the two poker players, immersed in their game of strategy, luck, skill… and risk. One had already made his decision- the other contemplated his current position, the position of his opponent, and what decision would best put him in the clear, or give him an advantage over the other.
The silence stretched on for how long, neither could truly count. But in the silence, once more the world flashed around the young defense attorney, and he stared calmly and quietly at the one opposite him.
(I... I can use this. I can sense it, I know he has his own habit, no matter how hard he's trying to hide it, or how experienced he is... If I can find it, next time, I'll bet I can use it to my advantage...!)
Indeed, the idea to use his ability once more was tempting- and the next time the opportunity arose, he would most likely take it- but for the time being, Wright had once more calmed down to his almost robotic-like state of no expression, and it was time for him to make his decision. Wright's silence was nearly terrifying in a way, but...
Almost without thinking, Apollo moved his hand over to his chips, dragging forward to blue chips and sliding them up against the others. "Call."
Hardly any words were exchanged between the two after Apollo's statement- and instead, Wright simply picked up the deck of cards, once more flipping over the top card to reveal the river. Placing the deck back to the side, he instead picked up his hand once more, his eyes scanning over the final gathering of cards in the center, and back over his own hands.
The last card, the River, finished off the assortment of cards with a single King of Hearts. Almost useless to Apollo- but to Wright? Reading his opponent was nearly as important as knowing and playing well his own hand... This card didn't help or hurt him, and his previous hand of a flush still stood. But he couldn't be so narrow-minded- he couldn't simply think about his own hand, and how the cards would affect him. It was a two-sided affair- and, even though there was no way of knowing for sure, he had to be careful about what Wright may be playing.
Almost as soon as Apollo had thought that, Wright's hand once more moved over towards his stack of chips. Calmly separating two of his three remaining blue chips out, he slowly pushed the two up to the pile, a soft, sly smile tugging at the corner of his lips.
"... I'll raise you by 2000, Apollo," the ex-defense attorney and professional poker player said with a calm, knowing smile, lying back against his chair and crossing his arms. He then raised an eyebrow as he looked curiously over at the other, that simple smirk returning to his face. "Remember that this is your last chance to make a move."
(My last chance... I suppose I could always go all in, but... what's the point of strategy if that's all I can ever do? And if we consider the chips to be worth real money, or something valuable... then I shouldn't risk what I'm not sure of... Even in court, sometimes, if I can't present evidence, it's not wise to even try... And he wouldn't taunt me to move all in like last time if he wasn't sure he'd win. Not him. )
Once more, Apollo was lost in thought as he considered his situation. At this point, he had only two choices- check Wright's bet, or fold his hand. Unlike the first game, where he only thought there was one option, he knew now that he would have to be aware of the bigger picture. He was nearly sure he had a good hand- maybe even one to beat Wright- but he still couldn't read his opponent. And until he knew for certain... if he wanted to take the game seriously, like Wright did... Both on the poker table, and in the courtroom...
The silence seemed to stretch on for eternity- but, after a while, he would eventually have to make his move. Holding his two cards in his hand, Apollo moved them forward...
And slowly, he placed them face-down on the desk, sliding them forward.
"... I fold."
Again the silence stretched on between the two, though this time it was not nearly as long. Instead, still hiding his eyes beneath the shadows and smiling calmly, Wright looked down at the table, his voice still calm, yet quiet.
"I see. I suppose that means I win." Looking back up, Wright extended his hand and pulled his chips forward. However, he gave a small smile, pointing out calmly, "And yet, you still have a chip left. You may have lost this game- but at the very least, you still have a chance at later games. Not at all an unwise decision, especially in tournaments with more than one game… or trials with more than one day."
This was true... Even Apollo couldn't deny that. Much like the courtroom, again- his thoughts couldn't help but roam back towards his calling. He would be willing to deny showing evidence in court, and suffer a small penalty- but as long as he still had a chance to continue, even if he lost one fight, he would be able to continue fighting the war.
"Would you like to see my hand?"
Apollo blinked in quiet confusion as he looked up at his opponent, who calmly held his own two cards in his hand. He wasn't sure that was even allowed... and yet, suddenly, he felt a great urge to see them. Had he been right to fold? Or was he tricked all along? Keeping his calm, he gave a small nod... and yet, when his opponent laid out his two, simple cards face-up on the table, he could hardly keep himself from choking out a small cry of surprise.
There, next to the cards which had been laid out perfectly for Apollo's hand... laid a simple Three of Clubs, and Seven of Diamonds. Next to the cards which worked so perfectly with the young defense attorney's two cards, sat two cards which were absolute garbage. Wright had nothing- anything could have beaten his hand. And yet he had masterfully played those two worthless cards, beating out a flush by hardly even trying.
"... You have a lot left to learn, Apollo."
Looking up from the bitter taste of his defeat, the young lawyer cast his quietly frustrated eyes at Wright, listening to what the other had to say.
Gathering the cards and chips together, as if moving to pack them away, Wright smiled quietly, looking down at the cards. "As you can see... I had nothing. You could have beaten me- and yet, you backed down." Gathering the cards and chips in his hands, he leaned back in his chair and looked out into the office, where the glow of the moon shone against the shadows of the walls. "I can see you were trying. You were on the right track, trying to think of what I had before you made a decision..."
Continuing, Wright stood up and calmly placed the cards and chips in his coat pocket, still looking out across the room. "However... it seems you've yet to grasp the full lessons this game has to teach. Perhaps another time." Without another word, the ex-defense attorney turned and moved to sink back in to the shadows towards the door.
Surprised, Wright looked back at the word the other had spoken- it was spoken calmly, yet at the same time, forcefully.
Apollo had remained quiet after the reveal of his defeat- and yet, in this calm state, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. What he had to do. Standing up, he turned to face his mentor, a serious expression crossing his youthful face- showing a much more mature side to the attorney than most often seen.
"... One more game. Give me one more game, and I can do better. I know I can. Just... give me one more chance."
(… I'll not only do better. I can beat him this time. I know I can.)
The silence once more drew out across the two players- but it, too, had to end, and so it did as a calm smile spread back across Wright's face. His eyes hidden in shadow, leaving only his enigmatic smile visible to his young protégé, the man gave a quiet sigh and turned back towards the other.
"… Alright then. One more game. I'm not sure what you think it'll accomplish," he continued with that calm smirk as he moved to sit back down, bringing the chips and cards back out of his pocket on the table, "And I'll have you know, I don't intend to go easy on you. I haven't lost a game, not once. And as far as I'm concerned, it's going to stay that way." It seemed he was finished speaking for now as he set the cards and chips down- but, looking off to the side, he smiled subtly once more as he muttered faintly to the other.
"… But everyone deserves another chance."
(I did it… I won one more round with him. That habit he showed earlier- I'll find it. I'll find it and, damnit, I won't back down from this fight!)
The cards were shuffled and dealt once more in the silence of the room, where the shadows were growing as the darkness fell deeper and deeper in the night. The light coming from the moon and the street-lights outside was dim- but just bright enough for each of the two players to see the cards, chips, and their opponent. No words were spoken between the two as the cards were handed out, and Apollo was as calm as ever, keeping his expression solid and unreadable, as he picked up his own two cards and read their faces.
(The Ace of Diamonds… and the Jack of Spades. This is a good hand- I should keep it. But if Mr. Wright has a good hand, too…)
The thoughts buzzed in his head, despite the muffling silence of the room around him. Once he'd seen his cards, he calmly placed them face-down on the table in front of him, and looked back up towards his opponent, awaiting the other's bet- and studying his reaction as best he could.
And yet, solid and cold as stone, with that ever-ambiguous grin, his eyes hidden in the shadows and almost covered by his beanie, Wright was as calm and quiet as ever as he also laid down his cards with one hand, and used the other to reach for his stack of chips. Lifting off four of his five green chips from the stack, he calmly set them down in the center of the table, where they fell and clinked together back in their stack.
"I'll raise the bet to 400," Wright said calmly, sitting back down against his chair and bringing his hand back to his two cards, awaiting the response of the other.
It was then that the realization firmly sunk in to Apollo- poker wasn't just about evaluating your hand, or your opponent's hand. As in the previous game… it didn't always matter if you had a good hand or not, but how well you could conceal it beneath your expression, and control the game from an almost psychological standpoint.
(I don't need to focus on my hand or his hand, not yet… now, it's all about bluffing and keeping my cool.)
Just as calmly as the other had been, Apollo reached over towards his chips, dragging forward four of his own green points and sliding them next towards the others. "I'll check," he replied quietly, moving his hand back to his two cards and awaiting the flop.
The deck was brought out again, and Wright once more flipped over the top three cards, setting them quietly face-up by the pile of chips in the center of the table. Once the cards were set, the deck was placed back down, and he once more held up his cards, looking at the new cards and then back to his own.
(The flop… it's the Ace of Hearts, and Jack of Diamonds… I've already got two pairs, and they're high. But it's a good flop, nonetheless… What about Mr. Wright…?)
And as Apollo looked over towards his opponent- the world once more flipped upside down and inside out, the sensation throbbing throughout his mind and body as his eyes strained and focused on that one, out of place habit.
The twitch of his thumb… rubbing across his cards, his wrist moved hardly a millimeter, but it was there… time had slowed down to a crawl, and he could see it- where the other was subconsciously, subtly and almost invisibly, rubbing the corner of his card with his thumb. It happened once, and then it was gone.
The sensation had come and left in an instant- just as it always did in the courtroom. And like all those other times… he knew he had seen it. Wright's nervous habit- well controlled by the experienced poker player, no doubt, as it was incredibly subtle and it had taken Apollo three games to accurately spot it- but still existent nonetheless. He knew that it meant something- like all others' nervous habits did. Rubbing the corner of his card… yet, keeping a calm demeanor altogether.
Apollo knew it- Wright was bluffing. His calm exterior was a cover, a façade to hide the truth of whatever lay behind the blue back of the card. And yet, it was crucial- Apollo could not know for certain, what exactly he was bluffing- was he keeping the calm expression to hide the fact that he had a bad hand? Or was he purposefully bluffing to lure Apollo into a false sense of security, only to win with an incredible hand?
The other's bet came sooner than Apollo had expected, but he kept his wits about him, and his expression and demeanor remained quiet and calm as Wright simply sat back in his chair, his chips staying right where they were and his two cards still held lightly in his hand.
He had a good hand- of this, he was certain. What the next two cards would show would be vital to both his own hand and Wright's- a single card could change an entire game. A single piece of evidence… Last time, though he knew of his own hand, he had been tricked by the other and led to believe it was not good enough. Not this time… this time, he would play his cards as he sought fit, and not anyone else.
Folding his cards back down on the table, Apollo kept his hands still and his expression solid as he replied with a quiet, simple, "call."
For this round, neither would bet- and though from afar, their game would seem trivial, two men simply sitting on a table with a deck of cards, the atmosphere close-up was choking, the tension between the two as thick as could be cut with a knife.
The turn card came as quietly and calmly as all the others, and once it had been played, the deck was once more set back down, and each player picked up their hand and studied this new change in the game.
(The Ten of Clubs… it doesn't help me at all, really. I've still got two pair. But I've gotta remember… that card could be the downfall of me, depending on what cards Mr. Wright has…)
There was still so much to the game he knew he didn't understand- and as he looked over at his opponent, and once more caught a heightened-sense glance of Wright's habit… he knew for certain that, even if he could see the other man's tell, it wasn't going to help him the rest of the way. No… he'd have to make his own decision- finish the rest of the game on his own wits.
However, before Apollo could even bring himself to make another decision about the round's bet, the dealer once more brought forward his own bet, suddenly- and forcefully.
A single, blue chip was lifted between Wright's fingers, and, with a quiet smirk, he flipped the coin forwards, where it landed and spun around a few times, falling with a clink next to the other chips in the center.
"I'll raise you 1000 points, Apollo."
(He's turned almost… cordial… and yet, that smirk of his… if he's bluffing, which way is he trying to go? I… I can't deny the possibility that he has a good hand. Maybe even one better than me. But… I have a good hand, too. And I'm not denying that fact.)
And, for the first time in the final game, a small smirk pulled at Apollo's mouth, and he relaxed calmly in his chair, smiling right back at his opponent as he reached for a blue chip of his own.
"I'll see your bet, then, Mr. Wright," he responded, as calm and quiet as the other, sliding one of his blue chips forward until it clinked against the others in the center pile. At this point, there was one card left in the game… would this card make the game… or break it? And after that card, one last round of betting before the final reveal… This was the moment of truth.
Returning the smile, Wright softly chuckled as he reached to the deck. "Why, Apollo, you sound almost confident," he taunted quietly, with that calm yet sly smile and his eyes hidden in the shadows. "What are you planning?" he asked subtly, almost craftily, as he picked up the deck, preparing to deal the last card.
"We'll see soon… won't we?" Apollo answered with a simple smile, holding his cards in front of him and looking quietly back at the other. He could see right through Wright's bluff… could he see through Apollo's? And if so, who was truly bluffing? Who would win this contest of cards, this battle of wits? The final card would tell… and as Wright flipped it over and set it calmly down on the table next to the other three cards, Apollo's heart nearly skipped a beat, and it was all he could do to keep his eyes from widening in shock at the trump card which changed the entire game.
(It's… It's the Ace of Spades! I… I don't believe it… I have a Full House… That's one of the best hands in the game, I know it!)
And it was once again that Apollo was taken by surprise by the sudden and unexpected movement from the man sitting opposite of him- and he looked up, blinking in brief surprise, at just what Wright was doing.
His final green chip, and the rest of his blue chips, scooted across the table as one mass, in one slow motion, as Wright's sturdy yet calm hand pushed them slowly towards the center. The rest of his chips knocked up against the center pot, and the man reclined once more in his chair, smiling and placing his cards back down on the table in front of him- though this time, they were unaccompanied by his stock of chips.
"All in," Wright said calmly, smirking deviously in the shadows of the darkened room.
(All in… the last time I did that, I ended up looking like a complete fool… and yet in the second game, I was too scared to face up to the music and risk the rest of my pot. What am I going to do now…? Do I have what it takes to make the rest of the way on my own?)
The young defense lawyer sat calmly, quietly, deep in thought as he studied his own hand and the cards in front of him. He had an Ace and a Jack… and on the table lay two Aces, a Jack, and a Ten. The ten was worthless to him… but with the last ace, he'd turned his two pair into a Full House. However, he couldn't ignore the fact that there were now two aces, a jack, and a ten on the table- cards that were also being used by his opponent, perhaps even to make a better hand than his.
And his opponent had gone all in- so confident in his hand, or his ability, that he was willing to risk all of his chips in order to clench a win. And he was not a man to throw such a risk around like nothing- he was a famed champion, unbeatable, and quite proud of that fact. So where did that leave Apollo?
"Well?" the ex-defense attorney said with another quiet smile, looking curiously over at his pupil. "I await your decision, Apollo."
His decision… This time, it was clear. Wright was risking going all in on his hand, and he was a professional- he knew exactly what he was doing. And he wasn't about to risk something as vital as his seven-year winning streak on the off-chance that Apollo would have a good hand. And yet… now was not the time to back down. In all of his cases, Apollo was always faced with turning around the possible and finding the impossible… and he was going to do it now- right here, in this office.
His decision… was made. Placing his cards face-down on the table, Apollo lifted his hand… and slowly moved it over towards his stash of chips, pushing the two stacks forward until they clinked up against the rest of the chips in the center of the table. Apollo took one more deep breath… and, sitting back against his chair, returned the calm smile of his teacher's.
(This is it… nothing left to do now but see how things turn out. … Did I make the right decision? Only one way to find out…)
"… Alright, then. Time to reveal the cards," Wright spoke quietly, the shadows briefly covering his eyes as he picked up his cards and leaned forward over the table, awaiting his student to do the same.
Giving a simple nod, Apollo also picked up his two-card hand, leaning forward and getting ready to place his cards, face-up, in the center of the table, next to the four cards that would build his hand. The two opponents gave one final glance towards one another- and then, exchanging a simple nod, looked back towards their hands as they flipped over their cards and silently, calmly, set them down on the table for all to see.
The silence stretched on longer than at any point of the game, and Apollo's heart flipped in his chest, his breath turning cold and his eyes widening in shock at the cards on Wright's side of the table.
Apollo hardly heard the words of his mentor, as his eyes were still focused, incredulously, at the hand his teacher had played to the end of his chips.
On Wright's side of the table, sitting next to the Ace of Hearts, Ace of Spades and Ten of Clubs… sat the two cards Apollo's teacher had used for his hand: The Ace of Clubs… and the Ten of Hearts.
(… He… he had a Full House, too! Three aces and… But… his two cards are tens, and mine… were jacks…That means… no… no way… )
This time, Apollo's attention turned up to the man who had spoken again, and he looked with surprised eyes at Phoenix Wright, who was sitting back in his chair, his eyes cast in shadows- but his mouth giving a calm, quiet smile.
"I haven't lost a single game… in seven years. Seven long years… of playing up against amateurs and professionals alike, and never losing once. I never thought I'd meet my match… but it seems I was wrong." Looking back up from the shadows, the ex-defense attorney and poker player Phoenix Wright gave a calm, yet bright smile to his protégé, and sent a simple nod his way.
"… You win, Apollo. Congratulations."
(I… I don't believe it… this has got to be some kind of a joke. How on earth did I actually win…?)
The defense attorney was lost in thought and his own amazement as he looked back from his teacher, down to the cards on the table which spelled out his victory. Usually, triumph in the courtrooms was a wonderful experience, an empowering feeling that left him with the sweet taste of victory, the satisfying feeling of knowing he had triumphed over all his hardships and roadblocks. Of all the puzzles that had eluded him, all the rats which had tried to crawl out of his reach, and all the lies which had twisted the path of truth… He'd been able to unravel them all, and it was a sensation which made it all worthwhile.
But this… this was different. His victory… was almost a sad one. In an odd metaphor, he felt as if he'd just hunted and killed the strongest animal in the world. A true triumph, but also a sad one- for he had robbed the world of an incredible being. His victory, his personal triumph over the unbeatable poker player… had ended the master's seven-year long winning streak, and with it, his prestigious title as the unbeatable poker player.
And yet… He found, in this bittersweet triumph, that he was unusually calm, and, in his state of strange serenity, looked back up at his teacher with a weak smile, and a shrug.
"… It's… just a game of cards," the young attorney managed to say with a small laugh, looking back up at his teacher with a bright smile. "Luck of the draw, really."
However, to Apollo's surprise, the ex-defense attorney shook his head, smiling and standing up from the table. "No," he retorted simply, returning the bright smile of his student, "It's much more than that, Apollo. You won, fair and square- and in only your third game. You did a fine job." And as he looked away, the shadows once more covering his face, Apollo could've sworn he saw a glimmer of a smile- an honest, true smile- cross the man's face.
"… Possibly a better job than I've ever done."
He could hardly hear what the other muttered under his breath- but hear it he did, and he blinked in quiet surprise, trying to comprehend what exactly the other was saying- what he meant.
With another smile, turning out of the shadows and looking back at the other with his returned half-grin, the beanie atop his head sliding down just a bit to half-way cover his eyes, Wright laughed light-heartedly as he said calmly, "You'll end up being a better attorney than I ever was." Lastly, with a twinkle in an eye and looking side-ways at the other, he said with a comforting smile, "And I'll be there to see it happen."
As Phoenix Wright stood and turned to leave, Apollo, in quiet surprise, also stood up, looking after him as he took a few paces away.
(Did… did he really mean that? He's… he's a legend. A legend… And he says I'll be even better? Over a simple poker game?)
And in that split-second, Apollo remembered something he'd once heard from a little girl- a child of magic, as it were, and the daughter of the man who stood before him.
Trucy smiled as she looked over at Apollo, who stood next to him behind the defenses' stand. "Daddy used to say something- "If you want to know a man, you have to compete"," she said with a cheerful smile and a nod.
(… He really thinks that of me? … Maybe I was wrong… about him.)
Finally, Apollo found his wits, and managed to respond to his teacher in a true smile of his own.
And yet, before he could respond in words, the charm and character of the ex-defense attorney returned, and, with a wry grin and a laugh, he said with a shrug, looking back towards the door, "Of course, no one would ever know you defeated me. Why, it was only a game late at night, in a dark office… Between a teacher," he said- and slowly winked, finishing off slyly, "and a student. A student… with a knack for keeping his mouth shut- and for keeping his job. Wouldn't you agree, Apollo?"
The silence wasn't very long- but as Apollo stared at the other and blinked, he soon began to realize what was truly being said.
(Why, the dirty little… he's blackmailing me! If I want to keep my job, then I keep quiet, is that it?-!)
However, it didn't take long for the anger to quiet down, and it was quickly replaced with a sort of dry humor. His smile returned, and shrugged, replying easily, "You know, it's not like anyone would believe me, anyhow. Might as well not say anything about it," he continued, returning the other's grin, "if I don't want to be laughed at."
A quiet, mutual understanding passed between to two in the silence of the night, following the game of cards and the reveal of each other's true character. One more look went from one to the other, a smile following it- and then the moment ended, as the teacher, who had become the taught, smiled and looked back towards the door once more, this time moving in its direction and grasping the doorknob lightly in his hand.
"Lock up on your way out," Wright said idly, without even looking over his shoulder as he opened the door and stepped outside into the hallway. However, smiling and looking just briefly in the corner of his eye, he called out before he shut the door, "And don't forget, office opens early tomorrow, 9 am sharp."
And in the split second before the door finally shut, Apollo smiled at Wright's last words, called out curtly, and yet, with their own hint of charm and understanding.
"…See you at ten."
Without another word, the door had been closed, and Apollo was left standing in the dimly lit room alone. The silence of the night had returned, and, as he thought of the night's events- the three games, winning against the legend himself- his eyes drifted back towards the table, where the cards were still laid out as they had been played.
A curious smile tugged at the corner of his mouth as he noticed something rather… peculiar.
(… He tells me not to breathe a word of this… and yet… he left the cards lying there. Just as we'd played them.)
Truly, it wouldn't be a stretch for someone to walk in and determine which side had won. And anyone unfamiliar with the office, but familiar with the players, would simply deduce it was Mr. Wright who had easily won with the Ace-Jack full house. However… the table they'd sat at was one he and Mr. Wright had sat at many times before, when working on cases, discussing previous cases, or simply eating take-out that Trucy had brought them. To Trucy, and to both of them, their "seats" were well-known.
As he'd been granted an hour leave in the morning, and the cards were left as they lay… Who would see it, the result of the game, but those first to walk in the door? Who else but the owner of the Wright Anything Agency, and its trusty C.E.O.?
(… He wouldn't do that just by accident. ... I wonder…)
It was then that a smile grew upon Apollo's face. The cards were left as they were by the great Phoenix Wright. For the two of them, and for the young child of magic, it was easy and plain to see- though if unbelievable- who had emerged victorious.
Without another word, the young defense lawyer turned once more towards the table, leaning over its side and outstretching his arms to take both sets of cards in his hands. And, in the silence and calmness of the night, slowly was one hand moved to one side, and the opposite to the other.
Giving a small nod to himself, as if agreeing with his decision, Apollo smiled and turned away from the table once more. Grabbing the backpack he'd left lying by the desk, and without another glance towards the table, he walked back towards the office door, slinging the backpack over his shoulder and opening the door. As he stepped out into the hallway, as the other had done a few minutes before him, he couldn't help but spare a glance over his shoulder at the scene he'd left behind.
The Ace-Ten and Ace-Jack hands, sitting on opposite sides of the table from which they'd been played, looked face-up at the empty room around them.
(… Good game, Mr. Wright. Good game.)
Once more, Apollo smiled to himself as he turned away from the office, letting the door close behind him. In the empty, dark room of the office, the last sound which echoed off its walls was the quiet click of the lock as it snapped shut.
And once more, the room was left to silence.
Not my usual Four Swords material, yes, but again, I wanted to experiment and see where other leads took me. :) I did greatly enjoy writing something new for a change, and the world of Apollo Justice is just brimming with opportunity. Please review and comment on if you like this new direction of mine- if it's particularly popular, who knows? Maybe I'll make more. ;)