The Thorn on a Rose
Chapter I – Because I was Asked to
This…isn't going to work…
Phoenix Wright stared helplessly at his assistant's younger cousin. Her arms were folded and she had a determined look on her face.
Again, he was struck by how much she looked like his former chief.
"Look, Pearls. I'm just going to pay a visit to the detention centre, it's nothing special…I promise!"
Pearl's eyes narrowed slightly, and for the first time since they had met, she looked slightly menacing.
"Mr. Nick…you've been going to the detention centre almost every two days since after Mystic Maya came back to us…" She said slowly, and suddenly, to Phoenix's absolute horror, there were tears in her eyes.
"Don't you c-care about Mystic Maya anymore? She needs y-you!"
"B-But…Maya's got you, Pearls! And I just got to do some urgent work to do and…"
"You've been seeing Sister Iris." Pearl's voice was almost silent, but it felt like a slap to Phoenix.
How long had she known?
"Pearls…there's nothing going…ON between Iris and me. We're just friends, that's all."
The young spirit medium stared at him in the eyes with her own tear filled ones and drew a deep breath.
"Sister Iris has Sister Bikini to take care of her, you don't need to visit her so often."
"B-Besides…if you spend too much time with her, maybe her e-evil sister's spirit will s-somehow possess you…"
"Uh…I don't think that's really…"
"…follow you home and then go into Mystic Maya's body again…"
"Pearls, honestly that's not going to…"
"And take control of her!" She finally burst fully into tears and sobbed hysterically.
"What if it happens again?" She cried, her own beating heart feeling as if it would burst.
"I'm s-scared…and you k-keep leaving us b-behind and alone…"
"Oh, Pearl…" He finally used her real name for the first time in about two months and knelt to her level. Phoenix reached up a hand to pat her shivering head.
"I'm so sorry, I didn't know you saw it like that."
Pearl finally gave in and wrapped her arms around his neck, crying into his shoulder.
"M-Mystic Maya's worried about you too…" She whimpered.
"She said it's f-fine for you to be seeing Sister Iris and c-comforting her…but she also said that she w-wished sometimes you would just sit down, talk to her, and spend time with her like you used to do…always…"
"Pearl, Iris is behind the detention centre glass, there is no way for her to physically reach me. So you can erase the thought of evil spirits coming to possess me from your mind completely." He said gently, and she finally calmed down a little.
"Furthermore, Sister Bikini's fallen ill from all the stress of the entire incident. She told me in person that she was extremely worried about Iris and needed someone to just go talk to her for the next couple of days."
"R-Really? S-Sister Bikini asked that you…" Pearl looked up at him and a relieved sigh escaped her lips.
"Y-You're only doing a favour for someone?"
"…Yes." Phoenix smiled at her, glad that she finally understood.
"You're not going over there because you feel…overly attached to her?"
"Of course not, she's my friend. That's the only relationship between us. I promise."
Pearl slowly let go of him and bowed her head low.
"I'm so sorry for doubting you, Mr. Nick." She whispered.
"H-Hey, it's no problem. Really…" He placed his hands softly on her skinny shoulders.
"Now, I know for sure that you really are Mystic Maya's knight in shining armour!" She said joyously and smiled brightly up at him.
"Er…sure…if that's how you want to interpret it."
"Now, Mr. Nick! I'll quickly go back you a lunchbox*, you'll be spending the lunch hour there, won't you?"
"Um, yes…thanks, Pearls!" He watched bemused as she ran quickly to the kitchen beside the office and open up the bridge to fetch out some cooked rice and vegetables.
"Since Sister Bikini needs you to do this for her, you need to say happy things to Sister Iris to cheer her up!" Pearl bustled around the cutlery table and carefully chopped up some cucumber, all worries of Iris and Phoenix being together forgotten.
Phoenix thanked her gratefully and gave his still full wallet a relieved pat as he received the finished lunchbox from her. At least he didn't have to spend any cash today.
Maybe I can actually pay the rent on time this month.
He thought cheerfully as he gave Pearl a final wave and headed out the door.
*The Japanese make obentos or lunchboxes for meals. (Usually for lunch) They mainly contain rice with a few dishes of vegetables and meat, separated by the little rectangle containers within the lunchbox.
"I'm here to see Iris Hawthorne." He said politely to the officer in charge.
The policeman nodded at him, glancing quickly at his defense attorney badge that Maya had recently polished for him and showed him the way in.
Phoenix seated himself in the all too familiar detention centre chair and waited patiently.
After a minute or two, Iris was walked out by the same officer with a downcast expression, which lit up immediately when she saw who had come to see her.
"Mr.…Wright!" She exclaimed and sat herself down on the other side of the table.
"Yeah…" Phoenix was aware that a strange sensation was churning through him. And he realized it was due to the fact the he had recently discovered who his once 'beloved Dollie' really was.
"Bikini's been very worried about you. So she asked me to visit you on a daily basis. Sorry I wasn't here yesterday…I was busy with other work…"
"No…it's no trouble at all!" Iris smiled warmly at him.
"Just having you here once a week is more than enough! I'm so grateful that you've forgiven me for everything I've done…"
Phoenix leaned across towards her and said in a serious tone.
"You didn't do anything wrong, Iris. You were being…controlled by…your sister."
He had almost addressed that woman with a very offensive word, but had decided against it to not hurt Iris' feelings.
"Th-Thank you…" She blinked several times to hastily clear the tears that had welled up in her eyes.
Phoenix noted how when Iris was emotionally distraught, all her behaviour was realistic and not done so at will like her sister had 'performed' it.
"Actually…today…I wanted to ask you about…her."
Iris suddenly froze and stared at him, though her body was shivering slightly, her eyes were unnaturally serious.
"By her…you mean my sister, don't you?" She said quietly.
"…Yes. Is that alright with you?"
Iris contemplated this for a while, and then drew a deep breath and managed a small smile.
Phoenix jumped slightly, amazed at how much it looked like the witch herself, only with black hair.
Her mind clicking into place as she came to the solution of her next murderous plot.
"It's fine, really." Iris arranged herself more comfortably in her seat and fixed him with a determined gaze.
"Ask me anything you wish to know."
"Your…family situation…what exactly happened that caused you to be separated from your mother?"
He was aware that he had picked a terrible topic to discuss first hand.
She didn't seem to be fazed by this question and closed her eyes to think.
"Well…it's a long story, actually. And one that I didn't think I'll ever tell again."
"Iris, is it true that you're leaving?"
"…! How did you…"
She flicked her long crimson hair out of her eyes and looked at her twin sister with an air of slight disappointment.
"Honestly, Iris. Mother wasn't exactly quiet about it when she told us we 'shouldn't exist'."
Iris stared at her in absolute horror and swallowed.
She wasn't sure what made her utter the next few words.
"She…never said that to me."
Iris flinched and shrank back in fear. Her sister's eyes were almost piercing.
"D-Dahlia…" She finally managed to say her name.
"H-Have you taken your medication toda…"
"Don't you treat me like some patient in a mental health clinic!" The red head yelled and grabbed her sister by the robes and pulling her up to face her.
"D-Dahlia…p-please…" She choked, desperately trying to breathe.
After a few heartbeats, Dahlia finally let go of Iris and lowered her to the floor gently. She suddenly embraced her, and sobbed fitfully into her shoulder.
"I'm s-sorry…Iris…I don't know what I'm supposed to b-be doing anymore…" She wept.
"D-Dahlia…" Iris wrapped her arms tightly around her twin and rocked her gently back and forth.
"It's going to be alright, really, it is. I'll talk to Daddy tonight and maybe I'll be able to stay with you."
"Are we really that worthless? Are we r-really not meant to exist?"
"No…! Of course not, Mother only said that because she was having a really bad day and she was frustrated and…"
"Stop making excuses for her. She's not our mother…she…doesn't treat us like we were once a part of her."
Iris blinked, trying to comprehend what Dahlia was saying.
"Dahlia…I've got your medication in my room, under the pillow…do you want to go and…"
"Yeah…fine." She finally straightened up and took Iris' hand to pull her to her feet.
They walked together into the small bedroom and Dahlia silently pulled out the syringe.
"Doctors told me this doesn't hurt." She murmured as the needle-point sank in to her stomach area.
"They always lie."
The Thorn on a Rose - Chapter I - End.