A final night's sleep.
A final meal.
The final use of his legs as he was led to this very chair.
Kristoph Gavin was rapidly running out of experiences but the calm expression on his face belied the grim reality. More than that it belied the crazed hatred brewing in his mind.
The former attorney's glasses had been removed. From what little movement of his head the restraints allowed he saw only blurry figures and fuzzy walls. The rabble, he mused, had come to watch him die without wanting to be seen themselves. Clearly even when he was in this state they still feared him. As well they should.
In the back he saw a blur garbed in blue. Whether it was "that man" or not he convinced himself it was. The reaper himself had come to watch the execution. After all, it was hardly unusual for someone to visit a "friend" in prison. With focusless eyes, Kristoph defiantly bore a hole in that figure with his glare. Even without a sound from his lips he would not go silently; not to such betrayal.
However it appeared to all but him his fight was a futile one. A hood was slipped over his head and he was lost in darkness. The last of his sight was stripped from him. His eyes were useless, his hands were bound, and there was no odor to the sterile surroundings. His only remaining sense was that of sound.
He listened intently, yearning to hear the voice of that blue suited man. He wished for some scathing comment from the peanut gallery to let him know he had done lasting damage. His final wish was one of revenge. His final thought was that he had prepared for this very moment.
Then the switch was thrown.
"You know I shouldn't be letting you do this," Ema Skye commented between mouthfuls of Snackoos.
The detective had leaned herself against the open gate to Kristoph's vacant cell. Her deep blue eyes watched the trio she had allowed access with interest… but not enough interest to do anything besides grab another handful of snacks.
"I know," Phoenix Wright replied disinterestedly as he ran his fingers across the tops of the spines of books in Kristoph's bookshelf, tipping them towards himself as if one would open a secret passage or contain some sort of contraband.
Ema sighed. "Well, just so long as you know…"
"Thanks for sharing all this with us," the eldest of Phoenix's two companions expressed. "You know… sharing is very important…"
Maya Fey's less than subtle hint ended with the spirit medium staring intently at the detective staring back at her. The two women locked horns in a silent battle of resolve with neither one of them blinking or backing down. Eventually, it finally ended with a "katonk" as a Snackoo bounced off Maya's forehead. Deftly not letting food go to waste, the spirit medium caught the chocolate snack on the rebound and triumphantly munched away.
"What are you looking to find, anyway?" Ema asked, turning her focus back to Phoenix.
Phoenix knitted his brow and delicately handed a pair of plates down to Pearl. "I'm not sure," he answered. "I just want to find something, anything that could shed some light on his motive."
Ema paused with a Snackoo between her lips which flicked slightly as she spoke like a cigarette. "It wasn't just to cover up his forgery?"
"It had to be more with those black Psyche-Locks," Pearl answered resolutely as she carefully set the plates on Kristoph's table.
"Black who now?"
"It doesn't matter," Phoenix replied. "The point is Kristoph Gavin was a psychopath and I want to know why."
"Because he sucked at poker," Maya muttered sardonically as she picked up an elk statue from the bookshelf. She wondered why he even needed such a thing in prison or how he got it in to solitary.
"Well, whatever," Ema relented. "Hey, you're going to the Halloween party at the precinct tonight, right? All the cops and prosecutors are invited and you're close enough."
Phoenix thought about it a moment. "Hmm, probably not. I can finally get all my girls together and I want to take Pearls and Trucy trick-or-treating."
"Mr. Nick, we're old enough to go by ourselves!" Pearl insisted.
"Not in this city, you're not."
Pearl stuck her lip out in a pout and placed her hands on her hips. Clearly Trucy was already a bad influence.
Wearing a similar pout was Detective Skye. "Come on, Mr. Wright, don't leave me with the fop!"
"I'm sure I can convince Apollo to head that way after he gets done with Trucy's impromptu, last-minute shopping trip," Phoenix said in consolation. "Edgeworth might even be there too."
While the promise of Apollo garnered no discernable difference in Ema's disposition, that last part caused her to perk up a bit.
"Nick and I can swing by after we're all trick-or-treated out," Maya decided. "This old man needs to liven up a bit but I want to get some candy first."
Ema nodded, seeing the wisdom in Maya's words. Candy was indeed delicious. "I guess I can hold out until then," she decided. "I'm going as Lamiroir so if I keep the veil on the fop might not recognize me… unless I take it off to eat. Hmm…" Ema stared off in to the ceiling, weighing her options.
"Is Mr. Fop your special someone?" Pearl asked idly as she made her way over to the chest of drawers on the opposing side of the cell.
The detective's eyes sunk in and her hand froze above her bag of Snackoos, trembling slightly. "No. No! Dear God, no!"
The others in the cell all turned, startled, and just stared at the woman after her outburst.
"Oh…" Pearl uttered quietly, discreetly returning to her investigation.
Ema cleared her throat and continued eating her snacks, waiting for the others to get back to what they were doing. Luckily it did not take long for Maya to pluck Kristoph's violin off the bookcase.
"You think he could have used this as a weapon?" the spirit medium asked, brandishing it like a club. "Maybe he could trick his enemies in to visiting then bam! Violin solo to the face!"
"Almost as bad as Mr. Wright is on the piano," Ema commented.
Phoenix pointedly ignored the detective. "That's a little blatant even for Kristoph," he replied, "and be careful with that."
"I'm careful!" Maya insisted, setting the instrument back where it belonged.
"You're also about as graceful as a hippo on ice…"
With her slapping hands too far away to reach, Pearl settled for a glare fixed on the man. "Mr. Nick, you apologize immediately!" she ordered. She grabbed the vase from on top of the chest of drawers and walked over to the couple with it, thrusting it at Phoenix. "Here, give Mystic Maya a rose to show her you're sorry and that you love her!"
Phoenix pursed his lips a moment and replied, "I don't think it counts as romantic if you steal them from a dead man."
Pearl frowned but did see Phoenix's point. Dejectedly she turned around and started back to the other side of the cell. "They're starting to wilt anyway," she muttered.
"It's okay, Pearly," Maya insisted. "I don't need a boyfriend tonight anyway because I'm dressing up as Jenny McNeal!"
"Single female lawyer?" Ema asked excitedly.
"Fighting for her clients!"
"Wearing sexy miniskirts and being self reliant!" both women finished together before bursting in to giggles.
Phoenix just sighed and went back to rummaging through Kristoph's bookshelf. "How can you watch that show? It's just sex crazed lawyers getting with everyone they come across! I think I preferred the Steel Samurai…"
"You just can't understand the subtl-Pearly, be careful," Maya quickly commanded as she saw her younger cousin lift the lid on Kristoph's toilet using the deceased convict's violin bow to prop it up.
"It's okay because I'm not using my hands, Mystic Maya," Pearl declared. Once the seat was lifted the girl set to carefully pouring out the water in the rose vase so as not to splash.
"Eureka!" Phoenix exclaimed out of the blue.
Pearl squeaked in surprise and the vase leapt from her hands. She made a grab to catch it but only managed to spill the water on herself before the glass smashed on the floor.
Ema groaned and hurried over to the scene (hurried being a relative sense for Ema Skye). "Oh, now you've done it. Why were you pouring that out, anyway?"
"Th-the roses needed fresh water…" Pearl timidly explained. "They're too pretty to just die…"
"It's not your fault, Pearly," Maya consoled. "Nick, what got in to you? And why the heck are you shouting 'eureka?'"
Phoenix thought for a moment. "I'm not sure. I must have picked it up somewhere. Anyway, look what I found closed in a book!" He held an envelope at head height, waving it tantalizingly.
"What is it, Mr. Nick?" Pearl asked, wiping her wet hands on her robes.
"I'm about to find out."
"Oh no you're not," Ema commanded. "That's police evidence, Mr. Wright."
Phoenix sighed. "You were a lot easier to get along with when you were 16, you know that?"
"I also didn't have a badge and access to a crime lab at 16," Ema rebutted. "I'm taking that for testing."
"Testing for what?" Maya asked. "How would he get access to anything in prison?"
The detective snapped rubber gloves on to her hands and plucked the letter out of Phoenix's grip. "The same way he got that comfy chair or those fresh cut roses every morning. His wealth and influence followed him in here. I'm not saying security was lax but he could get just about anything he wanted…" she continued in a mutter.
"Well can we at least see what it is?" Phoenix prodded.
Ema sighed. She had to admit she was curious. "Alright. Just for the sake of science." She opened the envelope, which had not been sealed, and gently removed the letter inside. The others fell in behind her to read along.
Dear Mr. Brushel,
I understand you were a close friend of Mr. Shadi Smith aka Zak Gramarye. I'm sorry for your loss. I hope the apprehension of his murderer brings some consolation. I'm certain you would like answers as well. Perhaps I can interest you in an exclusive interview with the murderer himself. Simply reply with your questions using
"Huh, it just ends," Ema noted. "I guess he had trouble finding time to write while under supervision."
"Using what?" Pearl asked, pointing at the incomplete sentence.
"He killed Drew Misham using a stamp, remember?" Phoenix answered. "Maybe Ema's right and he really did have more atroquinine."
"Nick…" Maya gasped. "Look at the book…"
Phoenix turned his attention away from the letter and read the cover of the book in his hands. The letter had been closed up in a navy blue, hardback book with a silver, debossed title. Phoenix read it aloud. "Spirit Channeling Techniques of the World."
"What about it?" Ema asked.
"It means he knew I was Nick's dark little secret," Maya answered.
"You mean 'naughty little secret,'" Pearl helpfully corrected. While Pearl had maintained much of her childlike innocence, certain corruptions had made their way in by her teenage years.
"Um, what does it really mean?" Ema tried again.
"It means Spark Brushel wasn't the only person Kristoph was plotting against," Phoenix muttered. "He really was trying to cover all his bases…"
"Not all of them," Maya corrected. She wrapped an arm around Phoenix as if she were keeping him safe. Quietly she asked a question she never even wanted to think about. "Why do you think he never went straight for you, Nick?"
Phoenix took another hard look at the book before placing it back on the shelf and patted the hand resting on his side. "I don't know. That's another reason I wish I knew what he was thinking."
"Well don't think about it too hard today or you won't be any fun at the party," Ema remarked. She folded the letter back up and put it in its envelope. "He's dead now and you're all safe. Don't worry about it. I need to go get this letter analyzed then clean up that broken vase."
"I'm really very sorry, Ms. Skye," Pearl expressed.
Ema smirked. "It's alright. It wasn't going to see any more use anyway. You can even keep the last of his roses."
Pearl smiled and hugged the roses close to her chest, careful not to prick herself on the thorns.
"Go on home, you three," Ema prodded. "This new discovery really does make this cell off limits to civilians now."
The detective led the others to the door of the cell and waited for them to exit before closing it back up. Once they had said their goodbyes she looked back in to the vacant cell and sighed. Getting changed in to her costume would have to wait.
Even in death it seemed Kristoph Gavin was still causing problems and something about the empty room had captured Ema's attention. Now that the chatter and laughter had ceased, the empty solitary cell number 13 was eerily quiet. The air felt dense as if it was what was suddenly muting all the noise.
Ema could feel something moving behind her. Her breaths grew short and her heart rate increased. The only reason she allowed Phoenix and company access to the cell was because she thought no one else was down in solitary confinement. Turning around she was met with nothing but lifeless walls. She naturally did not believe in any superstitious nonsense, even on Halloween, but the hair on the back of her neck stood on end anyway.
Ema quickly moved a hand to the base of her neck and rubbed it, convincing herself it was just an itch. Maybe she was more convincing than she thought because things suddenly felt "normal" again, as if the imposing presence had merely walked passed her. She shook her head at the very idea. Whatever she felt was probably just the air conditioning, she decided. Either way she was not staying in solitary alone for a moment longer. Pocketing Kristoph's eternally unfinished letter she briskly headed for the door.
The police station's lighting was dimmed by the effects of a fog machine in the corner and "spooky" music played dully to itself beneath layers of conversation. The Halloween party was in full swing but a certain spirit medium sulked by the refreshment table with her arms crossed beneath her chest.
"Oh come on, you had to admit it was unexpected," Phoenix tried to persuade Maya.
"But he hardly dressed up at all!" she rebuked.
"Well… to be fair, you really only put on some of Mia's old clothes."
"Because I'm a sexy lawyer!" Maya rationalized.
Phoenix's tongue formed no counter. Considering how Maya had filled out since her scrawny teenage years he could hardly disagree… except with the "lawyer" part.
"Mr. Edgeworth just won the costume contest because this is like the first time he's ever worn jeans in his life," Maya continued muttering. "I bet he had to buy them just for this party."
"I did, actually," said a voice behind the woman.
She abruptly turned around to spot Miles Edgeworth himself wearing an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt over a plain white t-shirt and blue denim jeans. Maya formed a gauche smile to cover for her previous ranting in hopes of appeasing the prosecutor.
"What are you supposed to be, anyway?" Phoenix asked his old friend.
"Casual," was the simple answer.
Phoenix chuckled. "Well, I guess that's a costume for you."
"I could ask you the same question. You appear to be dressed as your younger self."
"To the untrained eye!" Phoenix corrected. He took the lapel of his old blue suit in his hand and pushed it forward to present a poorly crafted cardboard badge. "I'm Xineohp, my evil doppelganger."
Edgeworth blinked. "I beg your pardon?"
"Do the roar, Nick!" Maya goaded, poking him in the side.
Phoenix looked away. "N-no."
Maya grabbed at his suit to prevent his escape and gave him her best pleading expression. "Pleeeeasssee…"
Phoenix still refused to look either of his friends in the eye. "Gwar," he mumbled.
"You suck, Nick. You have to do better than… better than that," Maya finished distractedly. She focused on nothing particular as if she were concentrating on her own thoughts.
Phoenix cocked his head. "What is it?"
"N-nothing," Maya answered, snapping out of her trance.
"I think maybe you had too much punch."
"No way!" Maya denied. "I can't get drunk. I'm kept sober by the spirits of my ancestors… or something."
"No, 'spirits' are what got you like this in the first place."
"Pfft, you couldn't even tell if I was any different if you didn't see me drink in the first place…" She reinforced her thought with another drink.
"Well… I can't argue there…"
Edgeworth felt the need to intervene at this point lest his company continue bickering like a married couple but the best conversation starter he had only reinforced the simile. It was still better than nothing. "You didn't leave your girls home alone, I hope."
"Just for a little while," Phoenix reassured him. "They're old enough for one evening by themselves, I think."
"We told them only three pieces of candy too," Maya added. "We'll see how that goes, though…"
Edgeworth opened his mouth to speak again but his attention was drawn to the pair approaching.
"Congratulations, Mr. Edgeworth!" the female of the two expressed first and foremost.
Edgeworth dipped his head graciously. "Thank you, Detective Skye."
"Oh come on, just Ema's fine!" she insisted, smiling brightly behind her Lamiroir veil.
"Very well, Ema. You have a lovely costume, by the way." Edgeworth turned his attention to the man next to her. "And you are a devil, Mr. Justice?" he wagered.
Apollo looked taken aback. "I… I'm not in costume…"
Edgeworth only smirked and the others snickered in spite of themselves.
The young attorney slouched his shoulders and mumbled, "I don't get any respect…"
"Plus he's been bugging me since he doesn't know anyone else here," Ema continued. "But I'm glad I caught you, Mr. Wright. I got the tests back on that letter."
"What letter?" Apollo inquired; eager to turn the topic away from him and his hair.
Unfortunately all he did was bring conversation to a standstill as the others all looked to Phoenix as if to silently ask him permission to continue. The man's eyes flitted across the ones looking back at him and he met their question with a shallow nod.
"It was an incomplete letter from your old mentor we found in his cell," Phoenix explained.
"Y-you mean Mr. Gavin?" Apollo asked.
"And here I was hoping your ordeal was finished," Edgeworth expressed.
Phoenix sighed. "So was I. What did you find, Ema?"
"Nothing," the detective confessed. "No traces of atroquinine, plain paper, plain ink… well, plain in a fancy way. I think I'll keep the guy's pen. It's way better than any of mine."
"Hmm…" Phoenix grumbled to himself. He did not expect to find much but it was still disappointing to find a brand new lead that ended before it went anywhere. "He wanted to kill Spark Brushel though, right? Did you at least find weapons or something in his cell?"
Ema shook her head. "I rummaged around that creepy cell for hours and didn't find a thing. I don't know what he was planning to do unless Maya was right and he really was going to clobber Mr. Brushel with his violin."
The "I told you so" that Phoenix expected never came. He glanced to his side to find Maya missing. Turning around he found her off by herself gently massaging her temple. Politely excusing himself from his company he moved to her side.
"I'm fine, Nick," she insisted before he could say anything.
"No you're not," he replied. "That's not working this time. What's wrong?"
Maya gave him an unconvincing smile. "Nothing's wrong, I just feel a little funny."
"Are you sick?"
"No, not sick. Just… weird. Something doesn't feel right."
Phoenix wrapped an arm around Maya's shoulders and leaned in more intently. "What do you mean? Can I, er, can I help?"
Maya smirked slightly. Phoenix always wanted to help her, even when he had no idea what he was doing. "I'm not sure how to explain it," she answered. "It's an anxious feeling… very hollow? I don't know. It's hard to explain ESP to someone without Fey blood…"
"Wait, this is some kind of spirit thing?"
Maya rolled her eyes despite her apprehension. "'Some kind of spirit thing?' You should be used to this by now, Nick."
Phoenix sighed. "I am… or I thought I was. The channeling's old hat by now but I don't remember you 'sensing' much."
"…Me either," Maya uttered; suddenly wondering about the implications. She sank slightly in to Phoenix's hold. "I'm cold…"
Concern was all that could be seen on Phoenix's face. "Come on. Let's get you home. I'll let the others know we're leaving."
Maya nodded absently and held herself in Phoenix's stead when he let go. She had no idea what she was feeling but it hurt emotionally and it was slowly growing more severe. Spiritual noise flooded her head. Then, just as she began to feel queasy and ready to scream, it all stopped abruptly.
The pounding of her heart in her head ceased and her breathing slowed to normal. Whatever she was sensing had subsided but she was left with an unusual empty sensation. She just felt uncharacteristically despondent. Forcing her legs to move, Maya made her way back to Phoenix's side as he headed back towards her. She did not want to be alone… because loneliness was what replaced the previously indescribable sensations.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Phoenix asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Maya answered.
It must have been the hundredth time they had the same exchange on their trip home. Honestly, Maya did feel fine. She was worried, of course, but the crippling spiritual energy had subsided without a trace. The crisp October air helped refresh her as well.
"I don't see you drink much but maybe it was the punch?" Phoenix guessed.
"Come on, Nick. I may be a lightweight but I only had one cup."
"Too much candy?"
Maya's cheeks puffed out. "I haven't even dug in to mine yet! The girls had better not have touched it, either. No, this was nothing like that. I told you… I don't know what it was…"
Phoenix sighed and kept pace. For a moment he remained quiet, just letting the ambience of laughing children trick-or-treating fill in for him. "Sorry, I just wish I knew what to do," he finally confessed.
"I know," Maya replied. She playfully bumped in to his arm as they walked. "I do too. Maybe I just need some sleep. I'll call Kurain tomorrow and see if there's anything in the records about powers going haywire."
Phoenix nodded. It sounded like a plan to him. "Assuming Trucy and Pearls listened to us and aren't so hyped up on sugar they keep us up all night…"
Maya snickered lightly. She took a deep breath and gazed up at the moon. "I really missed this, Nick. You know; just you and me… and Trucy and Pearly of course. It feels like all those years were just a bad dream."
Smiling contentedly in to the distance, Phoenix wrapped his arm around the woman next to him and pulled her in closer. "I can't believe we did it. I was always so close to giving up. I was always so worried we'd be found out… but I guess we were. Kristoph had that book…"
"But now he's dead and we're a family again."
Phoenix nodded. "Looks like the rest of that family actually followed instructions too," he added, pointing to the office as they drew closer. "All the lights are off."
"No way, the girls are in bed already? They're probably just going to jump out and scare us, Nick. It's Halloween, you know."
"Hmm, you're probably right. Want to act scared?"
Maya snorted. "Heck no. They aren't going to get the best of Mystic Maya Fey, Single Female Lawyer."
Accepting her decision, Phoenix dug out his keys and unlocked the door. He took a step inside with Maya right behind him expecting an attack from two teenagers that did not come. He flicked on the lights and there was still no surprise.
Maya moved past Phoenix and stopped in her tracks. In front of them, on the floor, was Trucy. The young magician was sprawled out flat on her back staring off in to the ceiling. Errant pieces of candy were scattered around her. Evidently the girls were going for psychological warfare.
"You're going to have to get up earlier in the morning to fool us with that, Truce," Maya taunted.
The girl did not move.
"Trucy?" Phoenix asked.
There was still no reply causing him to move in and kneel down next to her. Her chest remained motionless and her eyes did not blink. Phoenix's mouth ran dry and he moved to her neck to check her pulse. There he found bruising as though she had been violently strangled.
"T-Trucy?" he asked again; his voice failing him. Phoenix gently lifted the girl, cradling her on the ground.
"No…" Maya uttered. A tingle surged through her body as the realization hit her. Feeling the tears coming to her eyes, she fell to her knees and placed her hands on Trucy's body. "Wh-who could do this?" she asked weakly. Her head snapped around in a flurry. "Wh-where's Pearly?"
Phoenix did not answer. He could not answer. His light for his seven dark years, his beloved daughter, was dead in his arms. There was nothing he could say. His heart twisted, wrenching itself free from his chest, and dropped in to his stomach. He could vaguely feel Maya hold on to him as he held Trucy but he made no action of acknowledgement.
"Don't fall apart on me yet, Wright," requested a strangely calm voice.
The pair on the floor turned to spot a man in a blue suit calmly stride in to the room with his arms crossed.
"I borrowed some of your clothes," the man continued. "I hope you don't mind. They don't fit well and they're just so cheap. Couldn't you afford something less abrasive on the skin?"
"Gavin…" Phoenix hissed.
Kristoph replied only with a sinister grin. The man's formerly blonde hair was now a light brown, his glasses were missing and he was dressed in one of Phoenix's old suits but his voice was a dead giveaway.
"H-how…?" Maya stammered.
"As if you don't know your own tricks, Ms. Fey," the dead man answered. He casually tossed Pearl's magatama necklace in her direction. It seemed to bounce off the floor in slow motion as it came to a halt at Maya's knees.
The medium could not even reach for the necklace for fear of the horror becoming reality if she acknowledged it. "Pearly would never channel you!"
Kristoph's grin became feral. "No, she wouldn't."
With surprising agility he lunged forward and caught Maya by the throat. The woman hardly had time to gasp before she was instinctively clawing at his arm. Her attempts to free herself were then cut short by her being slammed against a wall.
"Put her down!" Phoenix ordered with unexpected, newly found conviction in his voice. He laid Trucy back on the ground and rose to his feet. His sorrow was slowly being overtaken by fury. Coherent thoughts died out as he glared daggers at the murderer of his daughter.
"Eventually," Kristoph promised.
He lifted Maya by her neck against the wall making the kicks from the squirming medium completely useless. Maya clung to his arm with all her might to keep herself breathing. The tears in her eyes completely obscured her vision at this point.
"You took everything from me, Wright," Kristoph spat. "My career, my life, you turned my pupil and my own flesh and blood against me, you tore my beautiful judicial system apart for your own gain… and now it's time I showed you how that feels."
"You were the one who ruined his life!" Maya shouted hoarsely earning a quieting squeeze to the throat.
"Let her go!" Phoenix demanded again. He grabbed the closest object to him and lifted it. It was the vase with Pearl's newly acquired roses which had already turned brown and dead. "It's me you want…"
"As if I would settle for that," Kristoph scoffed. "This is 'revenge,' Wright. Eye for an eye. I will have you watch as you lose everything." The dead man pointed his free hand at Trucy's body. "Her father's death was swift yet I throttled the life from her because I wanted her to feel it. I wanted you to feel it. Just as you'll feel this…"
Phoenix dumped the dead flowers and water to the floor and swung the vase over his head like a weapon. He was no fighter but he had to try. Summoning as much strength as he could, he leapt on Kristoph, knocking Maya from the man's hands. Even as the men struck the ground, Kristoph's malicious grin never left his face. He seemed to be daring Phoenix to strike him.
"It would be more apropos to use a bottle, wouldn't you agree?" he asked.
Maya grabbed at her neck as if she could still feel the hand around it. She sat in a heap on the floor still trying to get her bearings when she finally realized what little her milky eyes could see. Phoenix had pinned her attacker to the floor building the conviction to actually take a life.
Lifting a frail hand Maya forced out, "Nick, no… it's Pearly…"
Phoenix froze in place with his mind reeling at the woman's choked warning. Helplessly he wished for some kind of idea or plan. He could stop it all now with a single blow but the cost would be irredeemable. The hand holding the vase trembled, unsure of what it should do.
Kristoph threw his head back and laughed. "I strangled your daughter to leave the pain and fear eternally etched in to her eyes. I left it there for you, Wright…"
The remaining shred of rational thought in Phoenix's head told him he was being provoked in to killing Pearl but he had to stop Kristoph somehow. He vaguely wondered if this was how Diego Armando felt all those years ago. How could he be asked to make such a choice? He had long ago promised to protect Maya no matter what happened… but he never imagined Pearl would be the threat.
"H-how…?" was all he managed to say.
His indecision allowed Kristoph to rise up swiftly and headbutt him in the face. The vase dropped from Phoenix's hand as he lost his balance and fell to the floor. He forced himself to get up again but Kristoph was already loose from his grasp and had snatched up the improvisational weapon.
"Now for your precious spirit mediums," Kristoph continued as he strode back to the fallen Maya. "I knew you were protecting them from me. Did you honestly think I was so easily fooled? I merely had no reason to kill them until you betrayed me! Their deaths are on your hands now, Wright!"
Maya scooted backwards away from the encroaching madman. She wanted to run but she could not leave Phoenix alone. She never left his side just as he would never leave hers and she sure was not going to abandon him now… but what could she do?
Her attempts to stand were slow and awkward. Fright paralyzed her, her legs felt like rubber and it was not long before she could feel Kristoph's hands on her again. She kicked at him, clearly causing damage, but his own madness was a shield to pain as he hoisted her in to the air again with his left arm. His unexpected strength was possibly what scared her the most.
"Shall I kill her with your own choice of weapon, Wright?" Kristoph asked rhetorically as he gripped the neck of the vase like a bat with his right hand.
"N-Nick, just knock him out and the channeling will break!" Maya shouted in a panic.
"Good idea!" Kristoph mocked. "Let the little girl taste the poison in my veins…"
Phoenix's mind lurched. Poison. "Th-the vase…" he breathed.
"Always slow on the uptake, weren't you, Wright? No wonder you had to stoop to forgery." Kristoph laughed at his own twisted joke. "I had to store my atroquinine somewhere, didn't I? Why else would I get fresh roses daily?"
"Because you're a self-absorbed bastard," Phoenix spat.
Kristoph replied with that charming, artificial smile he always wore. "It's fortuitous you make a terrible father, Wright. Didn't you teach the girl to wash her hands before eating?"
Phoenix's stomach rolled over. Everything fell in to place. Maya's earlier trepidation. The candy on the floor. The rose water splashed on Pearl. The teenage medium was simply too weak to prevent possession from a malevolent spirit. Even Kristoph's own execution had played in to his hands serendipitously.
Whether it harmed Pearl or not, Phoenix had to make his move. He launched himself at his enemy a second time. It seemed to be exactly what Kristoph was expecting. The dead man spun around and hurled Maya directly in to his opponent.
Phoenix only realized what was happening the moment it happened. The impact took him in the face causing him to land harshly on his back. He heard a sickening crash and stars twinkled in his blurred vision but he could make out a silhouette above him.
Kristoph roughly kneeled on Phoenix's chest. "You have no refinement, Phoenix Wright; no sense of art. You're too predictable." Shoving off Phoenix's chest just as forcefully, Kristoph began moving to Maya. "Can't you at least see the beauty of a poetic death? You pretended to be my friend to kill me. Now your little friend pretends to be me as I kill your beloved Master of Kurain."
Maya was a tangled mess draped over part of a couch and lying amongst pieces of the glass coffee table. A few cuts had found their way to her legs but her clothing at least offered some protection. Regaining her wits she pushed herself to her feet and tried to keep anything she could between her and Kristoph.
The medium's head was spinning. Her thoughts were running too quickly to make any sense as she scanned the office for something she could use to defend herself. Trucy's magical props still decorated the room but nothing stood out as particularly useful. Now they served as nothing more than a memorial, she lamented.
Deciding they were her best bet, she snatched up Trucy's trick handcuffs from the piano. They were real metal and could possibly strike Kristoph in the head hard enough to free Pearl from his clutches, or so she told herself. Maya still did not want to get anywhere near the man to test her theory.
Kristoph looked outwardly amused at Maya's selection of weapon. He picked up the broken frame of the coffee table and carelessly tossed it behind him, directly on to Phoenix, and continued his methodical pursuit.
The man on the floor groaned at the impact and could make no successful effort to get back to his feet. Phoenix cursed the table and struggled against it, likely injuring himself in the process. His haste was only slowing him down but his mind could focus on nothing but the immediate threat.
Maya was trapped. Kristoph knew full well he was between her and the only escape route and moved at his own pace. The medium instinctively backed up further only to run in to the piano. She looked to Phoenix who was feebly fighting with the damaged table crushing him to the floor. She was stuck, certain to die in this office just like her sister. Out of options she brandished the handcuffs like a short flail. At least she would go down fighting.
She never got to swing. Kristoph's hand flung out and backhanded her across the face. Maya let out a small grunt of pain and fell backwards in to the piano before sliding to the ground. Magical props cascaded to the floor around her.
"You're much easier to deal with when you aren't thrashing," Kristoph noted.
Maya winced and cried out as she felt Kristoph twist her arms behind her back. There he made use of the handcuffs to chain her to the leg of the piano. Once she was in place he stood back a ways to admire his handiwork with a smug grin.
Maya felt as if she could throw up as she witnessed Kristoph smash the vase on the lip of the piano to form an edge. She knew exactly what he had in mind as he made a throat slitting gesture with it as he kneeled back down to her level.
"Nick, help!" she sobbed hopelessly.
She could see Phoenix finally making his way out from under the coffee table but he would never make it to her. He would stand up just in time to watch her die and she knew it. Kristoph would get exactly what he wanted then likely kill Pearl by finishing himself off.
Desperation took over as Maya struggled fruitlessly. Every tug of her arms just made the handcuffs dig in to her wrists. She was not strong enough to move a piano. Phoenix was not fast enough to rush to her side as he always did. Kristoph took a hold of her head and forced it back to place the jagged glass at her neck.
"Goodnight, Ms. Fey," he expressed congenially.
Maya clenched her eyes shut and bit down out of fear. That was when she heard a voice of genius. Was it Mia? Was it her own voice? Now that the sisters were the same age, and considering the state of Maya's mind, it was difficult to differentiate. All she knew was it was her only chance.
Kristoph could not move his arm. He was not holding his weapon any more. In front of him he watched as Pearl Fey collapsed to the ground like a puppet with her strings cut. After a brief moment of confusion he realized his mistake. The Master of Kurain's power was absolute.
The newly restrained man looked up to Phoenix Wright standing above him.
Phoenix lowered a leg from the destroyed coffee table to the height of Kristoph's head and pulled it back. "Get out of her," he rasped.
Then he swung.
At almost the exact instant the leg made contact with Kristoph's head, Maya was the one cuffed to the piano again. Her head whipped to the side in a fashion that made Phoenix drop his weapon out of acute, sympathetic suffering. She went limp and he immediately undid the cuffs and sank to the floor to hold her.
Phoenix sat alone, surrounded by the bodies of his most treasured loved ones. He reached out a hand to lay it on Pearl. He mournfully looked over his shoulder to Trucy but could not find the strength to go to her. With a heavy heart he hunched over Maya's frame and held her close as if silently begging for forgiveness. With shaking hands still full of waning adrenaline he gently wiped away the blood on her forehead from where he had hit her.
His breathing became a chore as his battle high wore off. Everything hurt; physically and emotionally. Succumbing to fatigue, Phoenix fell backwards to the floor and simply passed out. Like Trucy, Pearl, and Maya, he too was sprawled out and motionless; completing the macabre Wright family portrait.