~ June 19, 11:00 AM, The Prison Yard ~
“Okay, what do we know about the situation so far?” I asked, hobbling along.
Yesterday’s trial was crazy, but we learned some things. A lot of things. Like von Karma and Gant’s roles in the attempted murder, and White’s as well – clearly silencing anyone who dared get too close. The thing remaining, though, was who the one that actually pushed the shelf over had been.
It was my idea to come interrogate the remaining suspects in the prison in Manfred’s sector, to find out if they knew anything. I invited along Miles and Mia.
“von Karma said something about insisting they replace the shelf,” said Mia. “So the shelf wasn’t always like that. We should ask Ms. Oldbag when the last time that thing stood properly was.”
“Text Lana, she went to the library, remember? She can ask her. What else?”
”He mentioned heels clicking away on the pavement, if I recall,” said Miles. “That means that whoever was under the cloak was most likely a woman.”
“That might narrow it down for us,” Mia said. “Come on, we’re almost in Sector 3.”
We turned a few more corridors and ended up in the sector. Six people stood in front of us: five of them in prison jumpsuits and one of them in a police uniform.
“We’ve brought out the inmates for questioning as requested, sir!” The police officer saluted, standing as tall as she could muster, and rather stiffly.
“Yes,” I said, albeit a bit awkwardly. “Thank you, Miss – ?”
“Byrde! Maggey Byrde, sir!” she said. “Or, as that lightning guy says, ‘Magpie’.”
“I believe she means Gant,” Miles interjected.
“That’s right, sir! And he is a scary one! Not as scary as the people that got released last week, though!”
This girl was chattier than Meekins.
“Well, thank you, Maggey,” Mia said. “Come on, boys.”
With that, we walked up to the row of cells, approaching the first one.
“Well, well.” Dee spared a side glance at us. In addition to her jumpsuit, she kept the wrap on her head and her pipe was taped and glued back together after having snapped it during her trial. “Mr. Wright. Mr. Edgeworth. How unexpected to see you two again. Who is your friend here?” She gestured to Mia with her pipe.
“I can introduce myself just fine,” Mia said. “I’m Mia Fey.”
“Well, Miss Fey, I’m not exactly sure what you and your boys intend to find out that wasn’t already exposed by someone in the trial yesterday, but I suppose you three aren’t exactly known for being quitters when it comes to the truth.” She crossed her arms. “Ask away, if you must.”
“What were you doing at the library?”
“Enjoying one of my few days of freedom. Unlike near everyone else in his sector, I wasn’t intending to murder anyone, you know. Anyway, when this incident occurred, Sal and I were stripped of our freedom and locked back up. I don’t see how that’s fair. I suppose I see why they suspected me, but not him.”
“Why were you a suspect?” I asked.
“I do believe that von Karma mentioned the clicking of heels in his testimony. The police started assuming a woman under the cloak, and there aren’t very many female criminals to speak of, so they took me back in and kept their eyes tighter on that young miss over there.” At this, she pointed further down the line, where all of us felt a cold, unforgiving glare coming back at us. “However, they let one of the suspects get away. Or, at least, they never came back and detained her.”
“Wait, how did you know about what von Karma said?” Mia asked suddenly. “Surely you weren’t out in court?”
“No, I was not. I saw and heard it on the TV in the break room.” Dee lowered her pipe. “The police didn’t know it, but Redd White had a camera installed in court two months ago, in all the court rooms, in case he caught anyone trying to be bold and expose him. It can only be accessed by entering three channels into the TV in a certain order.”
“What!? He was trying to start his old business up!?”
“It’s what I heard from von Karma before he left here once more to prosecute yesterday’s trial.”
Miles, who had been silent throughout the conversation, diligently wrote down Dee’s testimony in the journal he was carrying. “Do you know what the codes are?”
“I’m afraid not. You will have to ask Mister Yogi or Miss Hawthorne. They’ll know.”
Miles, Mia, and I shuddered. We were not ready for that conversation.
”I can tell you that I had nothing to do with this attempt on your life, Mr. Wright. Losing a creative mind like yours would be a tragedy.”
I blushed at that. “Well, thank you for your help.”
She shrugged. “Any time. Miss Byrde?” she asked, turning to the lady still at her post, who jumped at the sound. “I’m heading off to the cafeteria, if you don’t mind.”
“Go ahead!” Maggey yelped. With that, Dee managed a small wave before heading off.
~ 11:45 AM ~
“Duck!” I shouted.
All three of us ducked as a bush of black hair went sailing through the air over our heads.
“Why are you here?!” Frank screeched.
“Calm down, would you!?” I snapped.
“You put me in here!”
“You put yourself in here!”
“Please!” Mia shouted to break the cycle. “Mr. Sahwit, you need to calm down!”
Maggey walked over with the toupee in her hand, muttered something about “honestly, not again”, before handing it to Frank and walking back to her post.
“Miss Fey, with all due respect, why should I be calm around you or Mr. Wright!?” Frank looked as if he wanted to get away, but judging by the chain on his ankle extending to the bars, he wouldn’t be able to.
“You need to work with us, Mr. Sahwit,” Miles said calmly. “Don’t think I haven’t heard all those rumors of you wanting to get a lighter sentence.”
At that, Frank squawked, and Mia and I stared at Miles in surprise. How did he know that!? He hasn’t been here in 3 months!
“Work with us,” he continued, “and perhaps we’ll put in a good word with you.”
Frank wrestled with the toupee in his hands for a while before finally putting it on his head and asking, “Fine. What did you want to ask me?”
“What were you doing on the 13th of this month?”
He started to wring his hands in that old habit. “I was fuming, of course! How could they let actual premeditated murderers out of here before me?!”
“You don’t mean von Karma and Vasquez, do you?” asked Mia.
“No, not them, even though von Karma’s offense is worse than mine.” He stomped his foot. “I’m talking about White and his little assistant April!”
I gasped. I had nearly forgotten about April May, that wiretapping little vixen. She and White seemed to just disappear into society since their release.
“Technically, April didn’t kill anyone,” Mia pointed out.
“Aiding and abetting a murderer – enough said in my book!” Frank snapped. “Anyway, I spent most of my time fuming and watching the footage from the camera White planted everywhere. He told me to keep my eyes out for any suspicious activity – like, for example, that Cough-Up Queen nearly exposing the plan!”
“What!?” Mia slammed her hand on the bars and Frank ducked. “You told White about Angel?!”
“I had to!” he insisted. “He would have killed me if I didn’t. He’ll kill me now if I reveal who’s under that cloak!”
“You know?!” I asked in surprise. “You have to tell us now!”
“No!” Frank cried. “I happen to value my life even if I’ve wasted it away in here. You heard or saw what happened to your friend, right? White slaughtered her without a second thought!”
"He's blackmailing you!?"
At this, he pointed at the camera at the end of the corridor. "That camera wasn't always there, you know. He put it there so he could watch us. There's no channel code for that footage - or if there is, only White knows it. He'll know the minute any of us slip up."
All of us had to admit that he had a point.
“Well, thank you for your time, Mr. Sahwit,” Mia said with a sigh.
Suddenly, a bell rang.
“Lunchtime!” Maggey called out. She walked over and took away Frank’s leg chain. “Why don’t you stick around?” she said to us. “You can still question these guys during their lunch break. Maybe food will make them more willing to talk.”
“I’m down,” said Mia.
“Why not?” I said.
“Here’s hoping that the food is halfway decent,” Miles said with a sigh.
~ June 19, 11:30 AM, Bluecorp Inc. - Exterior ~
”My dear, what are we doing here?” Gregory asked.
“von Karma said he was hiding out here after he got out of jail again – after the alibi time, that is,” I explained. “Besides, don’t you remember the snide comment he made about Mr. Grossberg’s painting? He could never get it back, and von Karma even said it was still hanging in his office! He could only know that if he had been there recently!”
He smiled at me. “Perhaps you could be a detective - or a defense attorney yourself someday, Miss Maya.”
“Would I ever!” I said. “But alas, Kurain Village needs me! I have to hone my spirit medium abilities if I want to become the next Master!”
Gregory and I looked up - way up - at the imposing stature that was Bluecorp, Redd White's base of operations, a place that stood tall for years and that never meant any good for anyone. Why Manfred was biding his time here, we would never know, and I wanted a sharp set of eyes to come with me, so who better to invite than Miles's father, with all that experience up his sleeve?
In exchange for telling me his investigation tales, I would tell him about some crazy times as a spirit medium. I was glad that he now looked interested in them, because from what Nick told me, during the time of DL-6, neither he or Miles were too crazy about them. Poor Gregory was shot while he was knocked out, so he never saw it was Manfred, who came in from the outside. That's why, when my mother Misty channeled him after that, he blamed Yanni Yogi who happened to be in the elevator with them, partially to protect Miles and mostly because he really didn't know, which is what got my mother called a fraud and caused her to flee.
"What do you think we'll find, Miss Maya?" Gregory asked, after a moment of silence.
I stopped looking at the building and looked at him. "I don't know, Mr. Edgeworth, but let's hope he doesn't twist this back on us somehow!"
With that, we went inside.
~ 11:35 AM, Bluecorp Inc. - CEO's Office ~
"Oh jeez, Mister von Karma was right," I said, shielding my eyes. "This decor is an eyesore!"
"I would be inclined to agree with you there, Miss Maya," said Gregory, turning his fedora lower on his head. "And unfortunately, also with him."
"Come now. There are worse things in the world - in your world, in fact - than merely agreeing with me, would you not find?"
Manfred entered through the double doors on the opposite side of the room (what kind of things would White have back there, anyway?!) and leaned on the CEO's desk, with his cane sitting across the desk itself.
"Alright. I know you're probably bursting with questions, Miss Fey." Arms crossed, he tapped his fingers against his arms. "Out with it."
"What are you doing here, at White's offices?"
"He requested I come here since I was released. If I had not been, I would have been biding my time there in jail like some of the other inmates. But he specifically picked me to be released along with him and Miss May."
"Do you know why?" Gregory asked.
"Possibly so I would be able to prosecute. He has heard of my win record before that trial, after all."
"But he has so many officials under his thumb! Why not them? You aren't under this thumb!" I paused, as I suddenly noticed that Manfred instinctively reached for his right shoulder, despite that bullet being extracted 3 months ago. "Are you?"
Manfred didn't answer for a moment, merely walked around the room, appearing to be checking for something. When he found what he was looking for - or rather, didn't - he turned back to us. "Yes, I am."
"What could he possibly have on you!?" I asked. "Aren't you, like, the master of covering things up!?"
"He is better than that, have you not noticed?"
"I think I know what it is." Gregory took Manfred's cane off his desk and pointed at him with it. "It's about the SL-7 case, isn't it?"
At this, Manfred's eyes widened, and he did another once-over of the surroundings before saying, "Yes. It is that case. It was almost never finished, you know."
"What happened?!" I shouted in shock.
"It's quite too long of a story," Gregory told me.
"And not one we have the time for," said Manfred. "He's threatening to expose me on that case - further than you have, Gregory - if I didn't try to help slam Mister Butz and help him and Miss May get away."
"Wait..." I suddenly rushed forward and grasped him by the cravat. "So you know he's innocent! And you're still trying to get him slammed anyway!?"
"Miss Maya!" Gregory swiftly pulled me away while Manfred looked as if trying to recover from a panic attack. "You must remember that he is being blackmailed. And who knows what means he could use to be spying on his very own office!"
I looked around the room suddenly, trying to look for something. Manfred seemed to know what I was doing, as he said, "There are no cameras here, Miss Fey, Do you really think White would be careless to leave cameras in the room at the risk of someone finding him out?"
Of course, he had a point. Suddenly, I had an idea.
"Why don't we get a camera and hide it in here?" I suggested. "We could keep an eye on White that way, since none of us seem to be able to catch him in the flesh."
Gregory blanched. "Miss Maya, that seems extremely risky! And then where would we be?"
"What else can we do, Mr. E!?" I insisted. He sighed.
"Where would we even be hiding this camera?" Manfred snapped. "It seems that he would find this camera anywhere, would he not?"
I pointed at him. "Haven't you ever noticed places where he rarely ever looks?"
He thinks for a moment, and then raises his eyes to the painting on the wall. "Even if he is the one who pilfered this painting, he will not look at it, or at least he tries not to. But I do not see how you will hide a camera inside a painting, Miss Fey."
I smiled. "I'm more capable than you think, Mister von Karma. Leave it to me."
With that, all three of us approached the painting, trying to analyze it however we could.
~ June 19, 11:15 AM, Story Glory Public Library ~
"Thank you for helping me, Ms. Oldbag," I said, standing in front of her desk.
She was ducked under it, looking for something, but she stood up now, holding something in her hand. "It's no problem, Lana. I want to catch the freak who wrecked that shelf and tried to hurt that poor boy! He helped so much during that case of ours... it’s the least I can do."
Wendy held out the item in her hand. Upon further examination, it appeared to be a picture.
"That is a clear picture of the crime scene!" I exclaimed.
"Hush, hush!" she said, making sure that none of the other few patrons tuned in. "We don't want to scare these poor people. Besides, this was taken a week before the crime." She turned the photo over. It said "9/6 4:00 PM" on the back of it in a light gray font. "When he planted that camera, he didn't realize it could have also helped us." She turned it back over and pointed in a certain spot. "Look here."
I looked to where she pointed... and gasped.
She was pointing at the shelf that had fallen on Phoenix.
It stood perfectly straight. There was no paper under it at all.
"Now look at this one from six days after."
She then showed me a photo that said "9/12 8:00 AM" on it. The paper stuck out from under the shelf, clear as day.
"White may have been the one to plant the paper there..." She showed me one final picture, from 9/10, with the shelf being propped up by some sort of dolly, before the paper came into play. "But he was not the one who wrecked the shelf. Someone else did that."
"Who do you think did it?"
"Who else? I think it was my former boss, or her little lackey. Anyway, you may take these pictures. They may help."
That meant Dee Vasquez or Sal Manella. I texted Phoenix, Miles, and Mia about her suspicions, then thanked her for the pictures as I tucked them away.
"Hey," I said suddenly. "Do you think those detectives actually couldn't find that piece of cloak? Honest to goodness?"
Her eyes darted to the camera in the far corner by the comics that White had put there, and then she lowered her voice, lower than I even believed possible for her. "You think they knew about it and hid it?"
I nodded. "But the only way to find out," I said, lowering my voice as well, "is to search the alley where they allegedly found the cloak."
"Let's go, then," said Wendy. "At least we can't be watched when we're out there."
~ 11:35 AM, Story Glory Public Library - Alley Way ~
"I can't believe there's actually an alley attached to this library," I said.
"Neither can I, dear," Wendy said, arms crossed. "But if it's here, they could have hidden it under or in any of these cans. How would we know where to look?
"Think about it. We chased that cloaked figure out the door only minutes after the shelf fell, right?"
"Yes, that's right. But how will that help us?"
"Do you remember passing by anyone as you ran here?"
She tapped her chin in thought. "You mean that former patrolman, right?"
"Yes. When did you pass him?"
"He had turned the corner by the time I ran past this alley."
"If the person ducked here to hide, most likely if Marshall didn’t see them run by, they could have probably hidden the cloak near to the exit of the way before running down further. That's how the detectives would have found it so quickly."
Wendy clapped her hands together. "So we wouldn't have to look far!"
"That's right," I said with a smile. "Here." I pulled out my sister's fingerprint hunting kit - a present from Miles during the events of my trial. "We can use this to dust for fingerprints around the cans."
"You and your friends never cease to amaze me, dear," she said with a small smile. "Let's get to work, shall we?"
"Find those two!"
We quickly ran further into the alleyway and hid behind the cans.
"Why are we doing this?" I heard Valerie's sharp voice echo down the alley.
"We are not letting those kids tamper with yet another crime scene!" The screeching voice of Payne came echoing next. "This is how Mr. Wright and all his little friends get the jump on us, even when they're on our side! And I'm sick of no one stopping them! If you see them, you'd better chase them off the premises, any of you! Understand?!"
"Yes, sir," said the voices of Tyrell and Bruce in unison. Then their steps faded away.
"They must be going to check out the library for clues, hmm?" Wendy reasoned. I nodded, and then she said, "Good. They won't stop us from looking here. Let's get to work."
~ June 16, 11:45 AM, Detention Center ~
"Wow, these guys have covered a lot of ground!" Lotta said excitedly. "Don't worry Larry, you'll get outta there if Phoenix Wright and Co. have anything to say about it!"
Larry smiled wanly through the glass. It's not that he didn't count on us to bail him out, but I could tell that he was tired of being stuck in here.
I sat in the chair in front of Larry's petition while Lotta leaned against the wall closest to the door. We volunteered to keep Larry company while everyone else went around getting evidence and testimonies.
Suddenly, we heard a voice.
"Yo! Lottie! Em! Over here!"
We whipped our heads toward the door.
"Cody!? What are ya doing out here by your lonesome?!" Lotta asked. "Do your parents know you're out here??"
"Of course they do, Lottie! I can't just wander around without telling them where I'm going!" Cody rolled his eyes.
"But how did you know we were here?" I asked.
Cody shrugged. "I came to the police department first, but then Gummy said that you two were here, so I ran here."
"What's Gumshoe up to?"
"Apparently, his eyeballs in paperwork."
Lotta and I snickered. Poor guy.
A ping came through on both our phones. We looked... and blanched.
"What?! What is it!?" Larry asked from the other side of the glass.
"Are you guys okay?" Cody said, looking like he would cry any second.
"Look at what Phoenix, Miles, and Mia just found out!" I said.
"I think Lana and Ms. Oldbag might have 'em beat!" Lotta insisted.
"That's funny," said Larry. "I just got a text from Maya, something about what she and Edgey's dad just found out."
"Which one are you guys doing to read first!?" Cody demanded.
We thought for a moment. "Why don't you pick?" I told him.
~ June 19, 12:05 PM, The Prison Yard - Cafeteria ~
“What j00 want with us, n00bz?!” Sal demanded between spoonfuls of pudding.
“You’ll have to excuse him, kids,” Yanni said with a sigh. “It seems that he may be crazier than usual.”
“Crazy Sal!” Polly squawked. “Crazy, crazy, crazy!”
Having been interrupted by the food bell, Maggey insisted we continue our investigation through lunch. While Dee and Frank sat clear on one far end of the room, chatting about something, while Dahlia took the other, merely pushing her food about, the three of us took the middle, and asked Sal to meet us. Once he looked at us icy and with hostility, Yanni joined minutes later, with Polly perched on his shoulder.
“So?” I asked, taking a bit of rice and being grateful that they were willing to serve us. “What did you guys have to do with all this craziness?”
“Exc00se me?!” Sal snapped. “It’s these bourgeoi-suckas that t0t411y m3ss3d up!!! How dare they take me and Dee back in when we were released! No bail or nothing - it was just our t1me t0 g0, you get it?!”
All three of us stared at him. Yep, he was as flarey as we first met him, maybe more since Dee wasn’t here to keep him quiet.
“I can’t really say I’ve done much of anything,” Yanni shrugged, “other than hold onto all the channel code combinations. White told me some more of his own, but I’m not sure what they do.”
Mia looked down at her phone. Then she looked up at Sal.
“What!?” Sal screeched through the mouthful of pudding he had, which got mostly all over Miles, and partially over Mia. “Y0u d4r3 4ccu53 m3 0f 1y1ng!?!?”
Miles took the napkins in front of us and wiped himself down, then Mia. As he did so, she spoke. “I just got intel from a source of mine that someone tampered with the shelf. Ergo, it didn’t arrive at the library like that.”
“And why does that mean that 1 h4d 4nyth1ng t0 d0 w1th 1t?!”
“Because the day the shelf was tampered – “ Mia held out her phone in one hand, and objected with the other – “was the day you were released!”
Sal recoiled. “Whaaaaat?!?”
“And since Dee didn’t admit to this,” I said, “it could only be you! So tell me, why’d you do it?”
For a moment, he tilted down his and stayed silent, staring at his pudding cup. Yanni looked over from his fries and beef and noticed this, sighing.
“I’m guessing your friend was being blackmailed by White, and that’s why she turned up murdered. Right?”
“How did you know about that!?” Mia demanded.
“It turned out that one of the other codes he gave to me was for the camera in that girl’s place. They almost didn’t notice until he was tipped off.”
“Did you tell him? About her?” Miles asked, teeth gritting slightly.
“No. I’m not the one who told. Remember, that was Mister Sahwit’s doing. All I’ve done was tune into that camera. I didn’t know why he asked me to do it, but it all became clear in an instant.” Yanni sighed. ”I’m not being blackmailed by him to do bidding and neither is Miss Vasquez. Mister Sahwit and Mister Manella, unfortunately, weren’t as lucky as we were. And clearly, neither was Mister von Karma from what I heard.”
“What did you hear?”
“As soon as he was called to read over a trial he would prosecute, his face turned rather sour. Miss Hawthorne asked him why he was like this, why that in the face of getting freedom and returning to his roots, he looked so displeased.”
Miles looked up in thought. “Perhaps he had the same revelation I did: winning is not everything in court. But because most of his life had been built around that very fact, he was not ready to come to terms with this.”
“You would be correct, Miles.” Yanni looked over at Sal, seeing him tense up more than earlier. ”The day before he was released, the day that White and Miss May were, he had a breakdown. Maggey scolded him for putting those dents in his holding cell.”
Ouch. We knew that Manfred had a tendency to slam his head into walls when he freaked out.
“He kept mumbling about how this was an insult to injury that he didn’t want plaguing his mind.” Then Yanni shuddered. “But as soon as the next day came, all traces of that frailty seemed to disappear as he strode out and walked away. But I knew better. Manfred was being blackmailed. I doubted he would have gotten over that ordeal so quickly, so I assume he was bring forced to get over it.”
Sal had still stayed quiet through that. But at the word “forced”, he looked up. “He threatened the Studios,” he said quietly, in serious tone that chased away any of the l33t or hyperactivity. “He threatened to shut down the Studios if I didn’t... didn't help him."
Out of the three of us, Miles's expression was the most shocked. "White threatened to take out Global Studios!? Does Miss Vasquez know about this?!"
"No! She doesn't know! She's not the one being blackmailed here!" Sal snapped. "And I didn't have the heart to tell her." Then he sighed. "I admit it. I sanded down the shelf - at his request. He might have known his camera were going to be used against him, but he knows all the blind spots and at what times the camera could snap. If it caught anyone else, he wouldn't have cared. And if I didn't do it, both of the Studios would go down."
"Wait, he threatened Worldwide Studios, too?!" Mia asked incredulously. "But he's not blackmailing anyone from there, is he!?"
"If he is," Yanni said, "we don't know about it."
I suddenly glanced over to the side of the room where Dahlia was sitting. She still glared holes into her plate.
"What did Dahlia do in all this?"
At her name, the men looked over at her. For a split second, she glanced back at them. When they turned back to us, they shuddered.
"Luckily?" said Yanni. "Nothing."
"Nothing??" I couldn't believe it, knowing her. "She really didn't want to do anything!?"
"The problem is that she did want to do something. If she got involved in this, someone else could have lost a life."
"Someone else already did lose a life," Mia snapped. "Or have you forgotten Angel?"
"I mean any of you," he hissed back. At this, Mia was silent. "She would hurt people who threatened to expose her or get in her way - you should all know that. You're all in the way of their plans. If Dahlia had any say, most of you would be six feet under right now."
"And unfortunately for you, or fortunately, however you want to look at it," said Dahlia, who was now making her way over to the table, "Mister Yogi couldn't have been closer to the truth." She gave us all once-overs and tossed her hair aside. "Mia Fey, Feenie, Mr. Edgeworth."
"So why didn't you help him, Miss Hawthorne?" asked Miles. "Skipping out on a crime doesn't seem up your alley."
She thought for a moment. "I suppose I value other secrets and plans of mine staying secret - other than the ones you three unraveled in court, of course. I've heard of what kind of man White is. Besides, I still need to bide my time in here myself. And since I didn't participate, that eccentric man has no holdings over me, either."
I sighed. "Why is this so complicated?"
"Because when we're involved, it always is?" Mia guessed.
I gave a small smile. "I guess we're finally done with all our questions here. Thank you all for your time."
"Probably one of the most interesting things to happen in months around here," Yanni said.
"Good luck with that investigation thing!" Sal added.
"Thanks. But honestly," Mia said, stooping down to him, "I really think you should tell her."
He blanched. "What if she hurts me?"
"She won't. If she knows that you were being forced to do it, then it won't be you she'd mad at."
"Thank you, Miss Mia."
She smiled. "Any time." She straightened back up. "Alright, boys, let's hit the road."
As we walked out, I noticed Sal going over to Dee, probably to tell her what was going on. Frank walked over to where Yanni and Dahlia were, watching them.
Who is doing this to them?
~ June 19, 12:30 PM, Bluecorp Inc. - CEO's Office ~
"We need to invent a channel code," Manfred said.
"What?" I asked.
"It's apparently how White controls what cameras he can see on televisions," Gregory explained. "We'll need to come up with one if we wish to access this camera remotely."
Somehow we managed to hide the camera we got (Gregory went out to get one while I had to stay behind with Manfred - *shudder*) inside the frame of the painting. All we had to do was drill a hole and stick the little sucker inside.
“Hmmm... I wish we knew what the other codes were, then we wouldn’t repeat them,” I said.
“Only Miss Hawthorne and Mister Yogi know of the codes to the cameras." Manfred tapped his cane against the desk. "He would not even disclose them to me. I suppose it is because he assumes I will have no need for them."
"No need? Why?"
"If I am expected to be here for most of my time, then I certainly would not. He has no screens in this office. And the only way he knows of what happens through these cameras is via the inmates he left to rot there."
"So White himself doesn't monitor them?" Gregory asked, confused. "Then what's to stop these inmates from simply lying to him what's on screen, besides the threats - which he can't follow through on if he can't see them messing up?"
"That would be the doing of his former secretary - Miss April May."
I gasped. "You think that April could be the one orchestrating this whole mess!?"
"How would we prove it?" Gregory asked. "We can't just rely on testimony alone."
"We may have to, Mr. E!" I insisted. "None of the evidence we do have is decisive enough!"
Just then, we heard voices.
"Are you seriously telling me that you don't have any sort of back up plan to get rid of Mr. Wrong!?"
"Hello! All his snoopy friends are protecting him! And he broke his leg! What's that porcupine-head lawyer going to do, come after us!?"
My heart dropped right into my sandals. It was them!
"Hide!" Manfred hissed.
The only place we could think of was behind the double doors. Gregory and I quickly slunk behind them into the darkness and shut it just as the doors on the opposite side of the room opened.
"von Karma. Splendiferous to see you, as always," White boomed as he entered the room. "I hear that the trial went abso-posi-lutely crazy." Then suddenly, the temperature in the room seemed to ice. "What did you tell them?"
"I-I do not know what you mean, Mr. White." The fact that Manfred von Karma actually stuttered just raised the stakes on this whole thing. Something shuffled behind us and I didn't dare look back. I wasn't sure I wanted to know what it was.
“The media said there was some giant confession, and they didn’t get any specifics!” April snapped. “You know full well that the afro lady would have done her job right!”
Small mercies. If Lotta was on duty, we probably wouldn’t have come this far.
“All I have done is indicted someone else,” Manfred lied through his teeth. “But it does not matter now. You have already slain her, and the uproar was over the fact that someone killed the murderer and so there can no longer be a verdict.”
For a moment, it was deadly silent. But then we heard the sound of clapping hands.
“Amazeriffic! You’ve managed to twist these court fools into their own web on confutraption!” The steps slowly began to recede. “You have given us all the time in the word to come up with a fantabulous new back-up plan! April, let’s make haste and seize this opportunity!”
"That nosy little lawyer will pay if I have anything to say about it!"
With that, the doors were shut. As soon as they left, Manfred opened up the doors.
“That call could not have been any closer.” He ushered us out of the room. “You need to hurry out before these two decide to come back. Trust in me, they seem to change their minds on a whim.”
As we rushed out, I asked, “What do you think was in that room, Mr. E?” as I rattled off the latest updates to Lotta and Ema.
“I don’t know, Miss Maya,” he answered, “but something tells me that Manfred knows it.”
“Why do you think that?”
“How did he come into the room? There are only two ways to get in that office, and he wasn’t behind us.”
I gasped. “You’re right! But we won’t be able to ask him now.”
“Perhaps not, but with this – “ he showed me a 4-digit code he’d wrote on his hand at some point – “we can certainly tune into the office. We can hear anything that may be said about it.”
“You have a code prepared!?”
“That I do, Miss Maya.”
“We didn’t even get to tell him...”
“Secret for a secret, I suppose. Let’s get moving.”
~ June 19, 1:00 PM, Story Glory Public Library - Alley Way ~
"It was here. Most certainly here." I examined the can three cans down from the entrance.
"And how can you tell that?" Wendy asked, squinting at the can and seeing nothing. "Are you seeing something that I'm not seeing?"
"Perhaps," I said, reaching into my pocket for some gloves. Wordlessly, I picked up what I had found and showed it to her.
She gasped. "Clothing fibers!?"
"Pitch black, to be exact," I concluded. "No one ever throws clothes into this alley. That means they had the missing piece after all. If they hadn't, it would be here instead of just the fibers."
"Good work, dear!" Wendy then reached into her pockets and pulled out a plastic bag. "Put them in here, so we don't lose them."
As soon as I do, we hear a voice. "You two!?"
We jerked up, and I hid the bag in my pocket at the last second. Straightening up, we looked up into the seething eyes of Payne. Behind him, Tyrell and Bruce looked a mix of forced anger and awkwardness, and Valerie was subtly ashamed, masking it with a blank look.
"Why am I not surprised that you two are here, tampering with a crime scene?!" Payne snapped, entering the alley. While Wendy looked annoyed, maybe a bit scared, I was flat out angry. How dare he, someone who worked under me, accuse me of trying to wreck a crime scene, when he and his lackeys were already doing the same thing?!
"How could you accuse me of such a thing, Mr. Payne?" I asked, calmly as I could.
"Like it's beneath you?" Payne tapped away. "Have you forgotten the SL-9 case - the trial from 4 months ago, where you admitted to using forged evidence in that case!? You may not have forged it yourself, but you knew about it!"
"And what are you doing right now?” At my statement, Payne gave me a confused look. “Don’t look at me like that. You wouldn’t have accused us of messing with this scene unless...” I whipped my finger out and pointed it right at him. “you knew that there was possibly incriminating evidence here!”
He staggered back. “Aaah!”
Tyrell took this opportunity to come further into the alley. “I don’t understand, Miss Skye.”
“You don’t? Aren’t you the ones who recovered the cloak here from the alley? Torn at a certain section?”
“Yes? But what does have to do with anything?”
“Wait!” Wendy cried out suddenly. “That’s right! I remember that part of the trial. When they asked you what happened to it, you and that girl tried to brush it off! No one truly explained what happened to it! That means you guys knew it was torn off here, and were coming to retrieve it yourselves, as I do believe you were instructed to.” She pointed her own finger at Tyrell. “That’s why you think we were here – you thought we were going to catch you in your lies!”
Tyrell raised his arms in a shield like way. “Argh!”
“Admit it, Payne, you’re a hypocrite,” I snapped. “You know what happened to the piece, don’t you!?”
“No!” Payne shouted. “I know it was left behind, yes,” he confessed, “because I’m the one who ripped off the piece!”
“What?!?!” Wendy and I both shouted at once.
He sighed. “It was an accident. We came to retrieve the cloak where it had been discarded. But it was caught under part of the can. At the time, we didn’t see it, so when we tried to get it, a piece of it ripped off as we were leaving.”
“And so you didn’t tell anyone about this?” I asked. “Why?”
“Do you know how embarrassing it is to admit you messed up? In the Prosecutor's Office, no less!?" he shrieked, and I immediately felt a pang of sympathy for him because I did know, having admitted to Marshall and the entire courtroom that I messed up and presented that evidence. "It was something we could have prevented if we had been more careful."
"Well, the cloak piece isn't here, not anymore," said Wendy. She looked to me, and I nodded, figuring we shouldn't have been more suspicious than we seemed already. "We found some clothing fibers near this trash can. They're pitch black. Someone took the piece - rather roughly it seems, to leave them.
I held up the bag, and Payne's eyes widened. "If you didn't take it," he said, as I handed it to him, "and we didn't get it, then who else could have done it?"
"Perhaps it's someone else who knew about the location of the cloth." Valerie finally strode in, with Bruce meekly following. "And if it wasn't any of us, that only leaves us with a few options."
"Like von Karma, or White," I said, thoughtfully. "But if it was either of them, you think we would have noticed."
"I assume it's the person who sloppily tried to dispose of the cloak in the first place. The wearer of said cloak."
"We still don't know who that could be," I sighed.
"Your friends haven't found anything out?"
"How did you know about that?"
"I doubt they would just sit around and hand all the work to you."
With a side-glance at Valerie, I looked at my phone for updates from either Phoenix, Mia, and Miles, or Maya. As soon as I read over what had transpired or the last two hours, I gasped.
"I think they're onto something!"
"What are they onto, dear?" Wendy asked, walking behind me. I showed her my phone, and she read over my shoulder. "Oh my, you're right! I think they cracked the case!"
"What!? They solved it!?" Payne was surprised. "Who do they think actually did this!?"
"You can find out in court with everyone else," I said, giving all of them a once-over. Then I looked to Wendy. "Ms. Oldbag, I believe we've found what we came here for. Thank you for helping me out."
She smiled. "It's no trouble at all, really." With that, she left the alley, on the way back to the library.
And I myself headed back to the offices.
~ June 19, 1:20 PM, Fey and Wright Law Offices ~
I watched Miles, Mia, and Maya pace the floor around the couch in the office. I myself sat on the couch, along with Lana, and Gregory sat at the desk only feet away. The tubes still whirred quietly in the background. I hated to think of what happened if this didn't pull through for her.
"So you guys say that April is behind this?" Lana asked, fiddling with the badges on her jacket.
"We heard her and White at his offices!" Maya said. "She said that the 'nosy little lawyer' was going to pay for what he did."
"Is she seriously still mad about that case!?" I hissed. "It's not like she was on death row or anything - she wiretapped a phone!"
"Why did she wiretap the phone?" Gregory asked.
"White told her to," Mia said. "They were listening in on my and Maya's conversation on the day that White murdered me." At this, she shuddered. "He snatched all the info that could have put him away."
"But then it was your murder that got him put away?"
"Technically, it was Phoenix that did that," she said with a small smile.
"I don't think so," I said. "White only ran his mouth because you wrote down that list."
"Why did he have to kill her!?" All of us suddenly turned towards Maya, who stood at the tubes, squarely in front of the one that Angel was still inside of. "He could have blackmailed for her silence, but he went and murdered her instead!"
"Come to think of it," Miles said gravely, "why did he do it? It's not like she was close to solving anything at the time. All she saw was White put down some paper - at least, that's what she told us, anyway."
"He didn't do it."
Maya shrieked, jumping back away from the tube. Angel's figure slowly started to move.
"Mia! Let her out!"
Briskly, she walked over and opened the tube, causing blue liquid to fly to the floor and partially over some of us (namely Gregory, Lana, and myself) and Angel ended up sprawled on the floor in a heap.
"What did you just say, Angel!?" Maya demanded.
She looked from her position on the floor. "I said that he didn't do it. He didn't murder me."
"He didn't?" Lana raised a brow to this.
"He did blackmail me for my silence, but only to Grossberg, Payne, and the Judge - anyone not close to Phoenix," she explained. "If I had told them, they would have tried to put him away again. He figured even if I told any of you, that none of them would believe us."
She then stood up straight, blue liquid dripping from her clothing. "But April didn't think that."
"So she's the one that hit you and left the note!" Maya concluded.
Sharp knocks came from the door.
"Mr. Wright! Could you spare a minute?"
Mia opened the door to find Marshall and Penny there.
"What are you two doing around here?" I asked.
"Look at this!" Penny showed a picture on her phone.
At first glance, it seemed to be an ordinary room. An empty bookcase stood off to one side, save for something black sticking up in it, along with a dolly.
"We found this here scene in White's office two days ago, the day before the trial," said Marshall. "Apparently that's where those extra double doors in his office go off to."
"Wait, we were just there!" Maya realized. "So that's what's in that room?"
"That's the cloak!” Lana said, pointing at the black splotch on the bookcase. "That means April and White must have gone back onto the scene at some point and snatched the piece before any of us could find it!"
"My guess is that they did it during the trial," Gregory guessed. "None of us would have been able to go after it then."
“We snuck back in, just today,” Penny added, “though we were working in the dark at first. The cloak was gone, but the piece was still there. After everyone left, we got to work.”
“Were you the reason for the shuffling behind us?” Maya asked.
She nodded. “That’s right. Marshall and I were trying to figure that out after our revelations in court the other day.”
"There were fingerprints on that piece," Marshall said, "and we found a fingerprint set in White's desk. We don't know why he had it, possibly for helping speed his blackmail process along, I reckon," he added before any of us could ask. "We checked the thing and asked Ema to help us out a bit. Guess whose prints were all over it?"
"Miss May's?" Miles surmised.
Marshall nodded. "That would be correct, pardner. The guilty bambina thought she wouldn't have anyone running into this crucial piece of evidence. We would have taken it, but we didn't have gloves prepared, and they were already on their way back with Sheriff von Karma."
"This could be exactly what we need to turn the case around!" Mia exclaimed. "Come on, Mr. Edgeworth, we have to go tell Grossberg!"
He chuckled. "That we do. Here." He showed Maya something on his hands, and she wrote it down on her arm. "In case we may need it."
"Got it!" Maya saluted.
Mia and Gregory headed out the doors. Lana pushed her fingers together on her hands.
"To think, this will finally be over." She paused to text someone - probably Ema and Lotta, about the progress made.
"Thank you, Marshall. You too, Penny," she said after a few beats. "I'm sorry that I actually suspected you two as accomplices to this whole thing."
Marshall shrugged. "I can kinda see why you did. But it's all behind us now."
"Yeah!" Penny agreed. "Get out there and win!" With that, she and Marshall headed out, leaving Miles, Maya, Lana, Angel, and me.
"I'm going to go see Ema. She and Lotta told me that Cody ran down there to see them." She looked a bit worried. "If he has, he may have gone hours without some food. I'm going to go see what I can do."
"Ooh! Can I come, too!?" Maya asked. I snickered. She was going to ask for burgers or ramen, no doubt.
Lana smiled. "Come on, then."
"Yay!" Maya practically pulled Lana out the door, which left me and Miles to snicker at them. Then we helped Angel to a spare room hiding in the office in order to rest. It had been that kind of day.
~ 2:00 PM ~
"Are you glad that this will finally be over?" Miles asked me.
"Sure I am," I said. "I just wish I wouldn't be having to nurse this poor leg of mine."
He chuckled. "It's only five more weeks now. I am surprised you've done nothing that could have delayed it, though."
"Honestly?" I said. "So am I."
After everyone had left, I decided to channel surf. Somehow, I'd ended upon the channel at the hospital, and a Signal Samurai episode began to play. Unsurprisingly, Miles had gasped when he saw it, and actually sprinted for the couch, taking the seat that Lana had been on minutes ago.
Nothing would distract him from the show, nothing, so it was up to me to keep my eyes out for updates. Maya kept texting non-stop pics of food, which I told her to knock off and quit mocking me about. I had yet to see an update from Mia, so I assumed she was working out the case with Grossberg and Gregory.
AlwaysWright: Can I ask you something Maya?
TopKnotchFey: what, Nick?
AlwaysWright: What’s the code to the camera you guys put up at White’s office?
TopKnotchFey: oh! it’s 1224
AlwaysWright: Why that of all things?
TopKnotchFey: I think he said “SL-7”. that’s what he said when I asked him, anyway
AlwaysWright: Thanks Maya
TopKnotchFey: any time ✌🏻
“Miles, hand me the remote,” I said.
He gave me a quizzical look, in the form of a side eye. “What for?”
“Hit Record if you have to. I want to see what’s going on in White’s office.”
“You got the code?”
“Maya just sent it to me. Type 1224.”
Miles darkened a bit. “SL-7.”
Of course he knew what it was. He typed it out and it switched to a feed of his office.
And what we saw there was not a pretty sight.
Tied up, in dead center of the camera, were Mia and Gregory. They looked terrifed, and I could see traces of dried blood on them - on Mia’s temple and on Gregory’s left arm.
“Oh my god, Mia!” I cried out.
“Father!” Miles said after me.
“Well, well, well. It took you long enough.”
White suddenly appeared on the screen.
“I know you’re watching, Mr. Wrong!” he said. “And I bet you’re wondering why they’re here, right? Now, we can’t just have meddlicious defense attorneys thinking they can get away with their cases, now, can we?”
“What are you talking about!?” I shouted, then wondered if he could even hear me.
“Of course I can hear you!” White laughed. “How do you think we figured out that you seemed to have figured out the case? We heard Miss Fey admit that she had exactly what you needed to turn it around!”
“How can he even hear us?” Miles pondered.
“You’re not the only ones who set up top-secretitious cameras around, Mr. Prosecutor! Look up, why don’t you?” As soon as he said that, we looked up and found a faint red light flashing right near the shelf of law books. How the hell did a camera even get in here!?
“You’ll never guess who managed to put it there,” he shrugged. “It’s not someone you know, so I wouldn’t try wearing out your less-than-splendiferous little heads about it. We’ll be keeping these two here until that trial is over!”
“And once the old lawyer manages to screw up on his own,” came April’s voice from off-screen, “you will lose that stupid friend of yours, and then we can get you without interruptions, spiky-head!”
“I can’t believe you’re mad at me because of a wiretap,” I said wearily. “It’s not like you were on death row or anything. And how the heck did either of you get out, or von Karma for that matter? Gumshow said that someone paid for you to get out? Last I checked, your bail was high and you can’t pay for yourselves to get out.”
Lord. Gumshoe was going to be so behind. What peperwork did they have him doing over there?!
“Again, no one you know of, so don’t concern yourself with it. I suggest you taste defeat now, Mr. Wrong!” White said, flashing his rings all over the place. “And I wouldn’t suggest trying to free them before then. We will notice, and you could have yourselves thrown on trial like that! Or worse, we’ll hurt them!” At that, he kicked Mia right in the thigh and she screeched. From off-screen, a heel flew right at Gregory’s head and nearly knocked him out.
“Don’t hurt them!” I cried out.
“I will get you, Spiky,” April insisted, stepping into frame. “You will see that! Ta-ta!”
With that, the camera turned off.
“Do you think they smashed it?” I said.
“No.” Miles shook his head. “I think they have just deactivated it for now just to humor us.”
“What are we going to do!?” I felt tears starting to run. “The next trial starts tomorrow - though why the trial dates are so spaced out like this, we’ll never know.”
He sighed. “It seems we can’t do anything except inform our friends of the situation and figure out what to do from there.”
“Yeah.” I wrote a note before crossing over to the back of the office, in the room where Angel laid asleep, and hung the note where she would be able to see. “Let’s head to the Detention Center.”
As we headed out, I had to wonder.
How much worse could this already convoluted situation get!?