Chapter 8 :: Turnabout Revisited :: Trial :: Day 2 :: Part 3

'This is it,' Nathan realized as the defendant took the stand. 'This is where it counts. Matt Engarde confessed last time, so Annabeth has to compensate for that. If she fails here, her entire case crumbles.'.

Of course, that being said, Engarde looked like he barely knew he was in a courtroom. His gaze wandered as he stood at the the front of the courtroom. "Is that new moulding?" he asked.

"What?" Nathan asked, caught off guard.

"The crown moulding . . . it looks new."

Like he had a clue. "It may be new, Mr. Engarde, but you were called here to testify, not talk about the architecture." The statement came out far sharper than he had intended it, and he was surprised he hadn't been reprimanded for his tone yet.

Annabeth cleared her throat. "Mr. Price, I believe we can skip the preliminary questions, don't you? After all, the court is very aware of what my client has been doing for the last few years."

Oh no, he wasn't budging an inch. "The court still needs to know that Mr. Engarde is who he says he is."

"I must agree with the opposition, Ms. Eldredge," the Judge said. "The fact that Mr. Engarde is the defendant in this case means little when swearing him into the court. Mr. Price, please proceed."

He sighed an internal sigh of relief. This was going better than he'd hoped. "Defendant, please state your name and occupation."

"No need to be so serious, dude. I'm Matt Engarde, inmate. Take a chill pill."

Annabeth took over before Nathan could reply. "Please testify to the court about the night that Mr. Corrida died."

Engarde paused only for a moment before beginning his testimony. "Juan and I were rivals, you know, but I'd never kill him. In fact, that night, I even gave him a stuffed bear, just for good luck. But that night, when I went to give it to him, this hippy chick intercepted me, saying she wanted an autograph. I put down the bear to sign the napkin she gave me, and didn't think anything of it. But then, during the trial, they said there was a listening device in there. I didn't put it in there, I swear."

Nathan was almost too afraid to ask for details, but Annabeth seemed to have that covered, as she was the Defense. "What did this 'hippie chick' look like?"

"Weird clothing, you know. White robe, purple overcoat, blue sash. Way out of place."

Annabeth placed a photo of Maya in front of him. "Does this look like her?"

Recognition lit in his face. "Yeah, that was her!"

Nathan groaned. If there was anything distinctive about Maya, it was certainly her clothing. "Her cousin was dressed in the same thing," he reminded the court, although it was half-hearted. There was no way anyone could have mistaken Pearl for Maya, not with that hairstyle.

"Nah, I met her cousin. The little kid, right? Or the one with the huge rack?" When no one answered, he shrugged. "Either way, it was definitely her."

This didn't look good, Nathan reflected. He'd been confident at the beginning of the cross-examination, but it was crunch time for him as well, and if he couldn't find an objection in Engarde's testimony now, it was all over. He racked his brain for any detail he could have overlooked, but he was coming up short. 'Dammit!' Franziska's search for Shelly de Killer would all be for naught. Not to mention, of course, that Matt Engarde would be back on the street.

Suddenly, everything slowed. It was just like three months before, when he had been stuck on the Kiria Nomura/Hermia Laytonne case. This time wasn't as frightening, seeing as he had a fairly good idea of what was happening.

"Trance State initiated."

Who was that voice? He tried to rack his brain as to who it sounded like before mentally slapping himself. What did it matter who the voice in his head sounded like? What was important was that it would hopefully feed him information that would turn this case on its head!

The case might still be salvaged.

Like the last time, the voices naturally floated into his head uninvited, but seeing as they'd helped, he wasn't about to complain.

"So, uh, what's with the getup?" This was his own voice, which he distinctly remembered from the first time Kiria had introduced him to Maya and Phoenix. He'd taken one look at Maya's clothing before going over to Kiria for intervention.

"Getup?" Maya had asked almost innocently, as if no one had ever asked her the question before.

"You know, the Samurai shirt and the beads and such."

Kiria opened her mouth-most likely to correct what he had called a Samurai shirt-but Maya stepped in before she could speak. "I'm a spirit medium!" Kiria nodded in affirmation when he'd looked over to confirm.

"But why the weird clothes?"

"You can't just ask someone that!" Kiria reproached, smacking his arm.

"They all mean something, you know. All of the colors," Maya explained.

Kiria even stilled. "They do?" she asked.

Maya nodded. "The purple is for the souls who have passed on, white for the purity of the vessel, and red for the blood that runs through our veins. It's an inherited skill," she explained, tacking on the last part as an afterthought.

"That's red?" he'd asked. "Seems more magenta to me."

She had put her hands on her hips. "Hey, I'm not the one who does the dyeing. Honestly, I think Mystic Elise's eyes are going out."

He was expecting more, but the voices stopped, leaving him confused. What was he supposed to do with that information? What did it matter that the colors of the spirit medium garb meant something?

Realization hit him like a freight train going ninety miles an hour. It wasn't the meanings, but the colors! What had Engarde said? As he tried to remember, the voices dutifully recited it back to him: "Purple overcoat, white robe, blue sash."

Maya's sash wasn't blue.

"Trance state complete."

Everything restarted around him, Annabeth stating what Engarde's testimony meant to her case. "Objection!" he interrupted, throwing his pointer finger out for good measure. Everyone whipped around to look at him. "Mr. Engarde, would you mind describing our culprit's clothing for the court once more?"

"Sure. Purple coat, white robe, blue sash. Is that thing called a sash?" He mused over that, unaware that a slow smile was easing itself over Nathan's face.

"Mr. Engarde, I think you just dug your own grave."

"Huh?"

"After all, there's no way that it was Maya Fey you saw that night, if you saw anyone!"

"What's the meaning of this?" Annabeth asked, although her tone was strange. It was almost like she was bored of it, and just wanted to get all of this over with.

"Mr. Engarde was close when he described Miss Fey's clothing. Unfortunately for him, the outfit is so outrageous that it would be impossible to mistake anything about it—including the magenta sash!"

There was no surprise in Engarde's reaction. He tilted his face to the side, eyes floating to the ceiling. "Huh. Was it magenta?"

"What do you mean, 'was it magenta'? And shouldn't you be a little more, uh, concerned?" The lack of emotion in both the Defense and Defendant were making him feel a little uneasy.

"Why be concerned? I told you, dude, I'm innocent." Engarde flipped his hair a little, the epitome of calm.

There was something very strange in the way this was playing out. Dread was starting to curl in his belly as Annabeth asked, "How do you know what Miss Fey was wearing that night?"

Shit. He might have come to a conclusion, but that didn't mean he had any evidence for it! "I've had the pleasure of getting to know Miss Fey," he said slowly, making it up as he went, "and her clothing choice never changes."

He could hear the irritated sign coming from directly behind him. It was a very Franziska-esque sound. "You'll have to do better than that, Price," he could imagine her saying. His inner voice wanted to snark back, 'And you're supposed to be trying to find de Killer, not watching the trial!'

Before Annabeth pounced on his weak statement, he cleared his throat and continued with, "Of course, we can always call a witness to confirm if it's not included in the police file."

Annabeth opened the file in front of her. "We won't have to go far to get it." She handed it to the Judge, who looked it over momentarily before making a clicking noise with her tongue.

"It seems as thought Mr. Engarde was correct."

"I knew it! Time to tell the—what?!" Nathan choked, feeling the blood rush to his head as he realized what the Judge had said.

She handed him the file. "I'm sorry, Mr. Price, but that sash is undoubtedly blue."


A/N: So sorry for the delay, guys. This chapter has been done forever and just hadn't had the chance to be typed up yet. The downfall of writing fanfiction on your phone. D:

A bit of a short chapter, but it's a good transition point, and I hope enough action happened for you all to be happy.

My brain is honestly fried right now; I have no clue what to say about this chapter other than Engarde is super fun to write. Thanks to everyone who read the oneshot collection over the holidays as well! Sorry for the lacking responses to reviews as well. I need sleep . . .

Reviews ::

OddWriter12 :: Haha, I'm just not looking forward to GS5 coming in because it pretty much will ruin what I have planned for this and make it AU. But I suppose that's not too bad. And you'll just have to wait and see about the card.

Blaze :: Glad you get so excited for them! I get the same way with some fanfictions I follow. Oh, you did like Franziska picking apart the arguments? I was worried it was a bit harsh, but I figured that a good teacher does that, so . . .

Feyfangirl :: Thank you, my dear!

FeytedintheTARDIS :: I don't hate Maya, I promiseeeee. Even if that's what it looks like. I'm trying to end this case strong, because I'm never doing another retrial. Again. If anyone ever tells you they're easy to write, kick them in the shins and call them a liar. D: Ah, do you need me to do more art for the next story cover? You can start it whenever, and I'll post it up!

Jack Falconer :: Thanks for the recommendation! I've got the next few trials planned (I'm cheating and only doing 3 in this installment), but I'll definitely keep it in mind for when we're at Part 3 and I'm going "Uh, what haven't I done yet?"

KnightofDestiny :: No problem. I've found I haven't had a lot of time for Fanfiction either, but I'm glad to see you back!

Read and review? And maybe I'll get some sleep for the next chapter . . .

EDIT :: Sash color has been changed and single dashes have been changed to em dashes. 4.2.13