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Hi-Ho! Little_Thief here. I figured I'd get started here, seeing as I do like to write. So, here we go.

Now, I would start off by posting some of my previous work from the Objection Archives, but that website is down for whatever reason. So instead, I'm going to give you some more recent material here. Enjoy!

Table of Contents:

Turnabout Raven

Psyche-Lockdown

Seen in Different Lights

Turnabout in the Shadows

Stop at Nothing

Royal Flush of Hearts

Leave Magic to the Magicians

Empathy over Tea

Turnabout in Full Bloom

The Fortunate Turnabout
Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
My Fanfiction
My Fan Trial, Spirit's Turnabout


Last edited by Little_Thief on Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:18 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Title: Turnabout Raven
Author: Little_Thief
Rating: 16+ for disturbing imagery, mild suggestive themes, violence, and occasional swearing
Genre: Original Court Case (Investigations style)
Status: Complete
Pairings: Byrne/OC
Summery: It's amazing how much a child's naïveté can spark the most profound reflections. When Kay asks her father an innocent question about the Promise Notebook, prosecutor Byrne Faraday is taken back to a case long before he became the Yatagarasu. One of his more difficult case, surpassed only by the KG-8 incident. The case where he first met his wife.

Spoilers from Justice for All and Ace Attorney Investigations abound. This story also ties into some of my previous stories posted on the Objection Archives. I'll get into which ones when the site comes back up.

Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Prologue: Promise Notebooks
When I arrived home, I was completely drained. The trial was an absolute nightmare, even though I ended up winning by the skin of my teeth. And to make matters worse, I had to get yet another earful from Manfred von Karma about how I don't work hard enough as a prosecutor.

And on top of all that, I wasn't even aiming to win. I was supposed to lose the case in order to snag a good lead on the smuggling ring that defense attorney and fellow Yatagarasu Calisto Yew found. But, as luck would have it, Yew caught a cold before the trial started, and of course, her replacement wasn't in on the plan. Honestly, I couldn't picture a more incompetent attorney if I tried.

All in all, I was not in the best of moods. Which is why I'm glad to have a daughter who can make everything worthwhile.

"Welcome home, Daddy!" cheered my daughter as she ran straight into my arms.

"Oof! Easy, sweetheart." I said as all of my files went flying everywhere. "Daddy had a rough day today."

"Oh. You mean you didn't catch the bad guy?" asked Kay, sounding a bit glum.

"It's a bit difficult to explain." I said. "But, I feel a bit better now thanks to you. So, how was Show-and-Tell today?"

Kay beamed. "You were right, Daddy. Bringing our Promise Notebook to Show-and-Tell was a good idea. A few kids did kinda tease me, but I was able to stand up for myself, just like you said I could."

"That's my girl." I said, patting her head.

"Thanks, Daddy." said Kay with a wide grin. Suddenly, she seemed to have an inquisitive look in her eyes. "Daddy?"

"Yes, sweetheart?"

"Does Mommy follow the rules?"

I raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean by that, Kay?"

"Uncle Badd once told me you'd get into a lot more trouble with that scary man if he found out who Mommy was. When I asked him why, he said it's because Mommy doesn't follow the rules. Is that true?"

Goddamn it, Badd. I don't need you putting these ideas into my daughter's head. I groaned inwardly. "Kay, Mommy has a very, special kind of job. And her job has a very special set of rules that she has to follow."

"So Mommy has her own Promise Notebook?"

"Yeah, something like that." I said. "Anyway, by following those rules, she actually has to break other rules."

"But why don't you make sure she follows those rules?"

"Because if I did, she'd have to break the rules in her Promise Notebook." I highly doubted Kay was getting any of this.

"I'm confused." she said.

"I'll tell you more about it when you're older." I said. "Listen, Daddy has some very important work to do right now. Let me know when Mommy calls so that I can start dinner, alright?"

"Okay, Daddy." said Kay with a small bow. With that, she skipped off, leaving me to my paperwork and my thoughts.

My name is Byrne Faraday. I'm a prosecutor, a devoted father, and a member of the vigilante trio known to the media as a single person, the Great Thief Yatagarasu. I'm a hard worker (despite what Manfred von Karma would have you believe), and I put a lot of effort into making sure that justice is served, even when I have to work outside the law.

When the Yatagarasu was formed, it didn't feel like that big of an adjustment to me. For one, we all agreed that there were limits to the law, so we had to surpass it in order to catch the true villains. But there's another reason why I don't feel vigilante life all that hard to take. It's because of a certain woman who showed me that even people who break the law aren't always bad at heart. I began thinking back to the case where I first met that woman, and how we managed to change each other's lives forever...


Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 1: Off on the Wrong Foot
September 30th, 1999, 9:45 AM
District Court
Prosecutor's Lobby No. 3

-----------------


"I don't know... Faraday. Something about this case... doesn't seem right to me."

I had to roll my eyes at that. "You said the same thing yesterday, Badd. And I'm telling you, this is pretty clear-cut."

My partner, homicide detective Tyrell Badd, merely shrugged. I could tell he didn't believe me.

"Listen, Badd. There were no other witnesses to the crime." I said. "Dr. Yujest was found eviscerated in Gourd Lake Park by her daughter, Sami. And Sami clearly stated she saw a woman matching the description of the defendant, June Burg. Meaning she's somehow connected to the murder."

"Sounds to me like someone just got caught in the wrong place... at the wrong time." said Badd.

"We already went over that option. Ms. Burg had a box cutter dripping with blood when she was arrested." I said. "If she isn't the murderer herself, she's at least an accomplice. We'll just have to find out the truth once the trial starts."

Badd was about to comment on that when a large puff of smoke appeared between us. When the smoke cleared, there stood a woman wearing what appeared to be a brown ninja costume.

"What's the meaning of this?!" I exclaimed in surprise.

"I come with a message." said the ninja. "Today's trial will end prematurely."

"And just what do you mean by that?" growled Badd.

"Simple. I killed the defendant."

I recoiled in surprise, no so much from her words, but from how she said it so nonchalantly. "You would admit such a crime to a prosecutor?! I have the authority to place you under arrest right here and now, I hope you realize that!"

The ninja seemed to smile behind her cowl. "A Zangaru ninja is never caught without reason. And right now, I have no reason to be caught by the likes of you."

Badd tried to grab the woman, but faster than I could blink, she slipped out of his reach. "Eager, aren't we? I like that." she said, her green eyes glistening.

"What exactly do you want?" I demanded of her.

"Go to Exposé Park, where I killed June Burg." said the ninja. "Let me guess. You want to know how she got there when she was supposed to be on trial today, right? You prosecutors ask too many questions."

"Pardon me for being blunt, but questions are all I have right now." I said, slowly losing my patience with this woman.

"I can imagine." said the ninja. "Anyway, go to Exposé Park and try to prove that I killed her, if you can."

" :holdit: Why should I do that when you just confessed to me?!" I shouted.

"Because that wouldn't be fun, now would it?" said the ninja with a giggle. "The Judge already knows, so you don't have to tell him anything. I look forward to seeing you again."

She started to leave when she turned to me with a sparkle in her eyes. "By the way, the name's Wren Zangaru. Don't try to find me, 'cause I'll find you. Until we meet again."

With that, the ninja disappeared in another cloud of smoke. I growled in frustration.

"Well, Badd. It appears that we've jumped from one murder mystery to a completely different one. I can safely say that's the first time that's happened to me." I said.

"Ditto." said Badd. "And that ninja didn't help matters. She really... has a way... of getting on my nerves."

"You're not the only one who feels that, Badd." said I. "Still, we will not allow her to get away with this. Come along, Badd. As they say, the game is afoot."

"Right behind you... Faraday." said Badd as we made our way to this new crime scene.

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
My Fanfiction
My Fan Trial, Spirit's Turnabout


Last edited by Little_Thief on Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:18 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 2: Perfect Overview
September 30th, 10:15 AM
Exposé Park
Main Entrance

----------------


When we arrived at Exposé Park, the place had already been sealed off by the police. It seemed as though they were one step ahead of us, much like that ninja. One of the officers immediately recognized my partner.

"Detective Badd? What are you doing here?" he asked. "Have you been assigned to this case?"

"In a sense." said Badd with a shrug. "It ties in to the trial that was supposed to take place today."

"Well, that's neither here nor there. At least, not at the moment." I said, showing my Prosecutor's Badge to the officer. "Byrne Faraday, prosecutor in this district. I'll be in charge of this investigation."

The officer turned pale. "Well, funny you should say that, Mr. Faraday. You see, someone already took this case."

"Oh really?" I said. "May I ask who?"

"Faraday. Still as foolish as ever, I see."

I already knew who it was, and right when he showed himself, my day got worse. There standing before me was the elite prosecutor, Manfred von Karma. In all of his years as a prosecutor, he never lost a single case, always aiming for the "perfect" conviction of the defendant. He often got on my case for the most trivial of things (like wearing my badge instead of keeping it in my pocket or, God forbid, losing a trial). It would be only natural that on this day where everything was going wrong, he'd have to to show up.

"Hello to you too, Mr. von Karma." I said, trying to be polite. "I have to ask, when and why did the precinct send you to take this case?"

"Humph. That shouldn't matter to a fool like you." said Von Karma, folding his arms and clutching at his shoulder. "But if you must know, I knew you would screw up this conviction somehow, so I took over."

"Thank you for your vote of confidence." I said sardonically. "Listen, Mr. von Karma. I was supposed to convict June Burg today. I think I deserve to know what exactly happened, don't you?"

Von Karma snorted. "I suppose you deserve that much. Very well." he said reluctantly. "Just recently, at 9:30 AM, the precinct got a call from a Mr. John Doe, an agent of the FBI, reporting a murder at Exposé Park. When we arrived, we discovered that it was indeed Ms. June Burg, who as you're well aware, was supposed to be tried for murder by you."

"And what exactly was she doing here?" asked Badd. "The courthouse is closer to the Detention Center than it is to this park."

"We've been gathering statements from her police escort, but none of them seem to have a good answer." said Von Karma. "We also can't seem to find this Agent Doe character anywhere on the premises, leading me to believe that he may be a suspect as well."

"Is there an autopsy report we can look at?" I inquired.

" :objection: Nice try, Faraday." said Von Karma, grinning evilly and wagging his finger at me. "But this case is my jurisdiction, not yours. If you want to know more, watch the perfect trial that'll occur once we have captured the culprit."

"But..."

"No buts, Faraday!" barked Von Karma with a powerful snap of his fingers. "This is your own fault for keeping such a loose grip on your prey. Now, clear out!"

With that, he marched off with the officer following him.

"Looks like our ninja friend... is going to be pretty disappointed." said Badd.

"Why would you say that?" I asked. "I'm sure Mr. von Karma can figure out that ninja's little game just as easily as I could."

"You overestimate yourself, prosecutor."

Before I could turn to the voice, I felt something fly past my ear. I spun around, only to be met with a puff of smoke. Sure enough, the same ninja from before stood before me.

"See, if I wanted to kill you right there, you would've been dead." said Wren. "If you want to solve this mystery, let alone survive, you'd better watch your back."

"You mean to say that Von Karma's life could be in danger?" asked Badd, reaching into his trench coat.

"Maybe, maybe not." said Wren with a shrug. "But he is quite the blowhard, isn't he? It wouldn't take him much to get on my nerves, I'll tell you that much."

"I know. I have to work with him every day." I sighed.

"Wow, I almost feel sorry for you." said Wren. "But I doubt you'd feel sorry for me."

" :holdit: What the hell is that supposed to mean?!" I demanded to know.

"As if you didn't already know, prosecutor." said Wren. "Listen, you've got work to do, so I'll just get out of your hair."

"But Von Karma already has jurisdiction." said Badd. "We can't interfere."

"Well, sure you can." said Wren. "You have the right to know what happened to the defendant you were about to convict, don't you? So don't let that prick stop you from finding out."

"Easier said than done." I said. "We don't have the authority to muscle in on this investigation."

Wren sighed. "You prosecutors always have to make your own lives more difficult than they have to be, you know that? Look, I'll handle the blowhard. You just go on in."

"And just what do you mean by that?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Not so fast! Can't tell you. That'd be cheating." said Wren with a wink. "Just leave everything to me. I'll see you later."

With that, she threw a smoke bomb and disappeared.

"I don't like this, Faraday." growled Badd. "The more that woman talks... the more suspicious she becomes."

"I know what you mean." I mused. "It seems like she's adamant about us solving this case, and not Mr. von Karma. Well, it might not be wise, but I'm not looking this gift horse in the mouth. At least, not right now."

"This isn't going to win you any points with Von Karma, you realize." said Badd.

"So what? I was never looking for his approval anyway." I said with a shrug.

"If you say so." said Badd, returning my shrug as we entered Exposé Park.

Spoiler: Author's Notes for Chapter 2
Yes, this would've been better if we had a Not so fast! smiley, but you do what you can with what you have.

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
My Fanfiction
My Fan Trial, Spirit's Turnabout


Last edited by Little_Thief on Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:36 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 3: Secret Agent Man
September 30th, 10:30 AM
Exposé Park
Underpass

--------------------------


After walking around for a bit, we finally found the crime scene. And my word, what a crime scene it was. June Burg was nailed to a stone wall with some sort of knife, the blade clearly piercing her heart amongst other things.

"That makes two overly grotesque crime scenes in a row." I mused. "Badd, am I alone in detecting a pattern here?"

"Nope. I've got the same feeling, Faraday." said Badd, taking the lollipop out of his mouth. "It might be possible that these two murders are connected."

"But if that's true, then Ms. Burg was innocent." I said. "How can that be?"

"We'll just have to investigate and find out." said Badd with a shrug. "Let's get to work before Von Karma knows we're here."

"Just a moment, gentlemen."

An ominous voice made itself known behind us. I turned around to see a very strange-looking man hidden in the shadows of the trees. From what I could see, he was a tall, balding gentleman with a short mustache, an opaque monocle over his left eye, and strangest of all, stitches going down the center of his face.

"And who are you?" I asked.

The man showed us a badge. "John Doe, FBI. I am the one who reported this murder."

"I see. Well, pleasure to meet you, Agent Doe." I said, showing my own badge. "I'm Byrne Faraday, prosecutor in this district."

"Detective Tyrell Badd, homicide." grunted my partner. "Now, what's the holdup? And why aren't you helping with the investigation?"

"Oh, but I am." said Doe, handing me a file. I read the file carefully.

"This is the autopsy report." I observed, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes, well. We of the FBI are no slouches." said Doe. "I had it ready for Mr. von Karma the moment he arrived."

" :holdit: If you know Von Karma's taking this case... why are you helping us?" asked Badd.

"Despite his claims of perfection, Mr. von Karma is but one man." said Doe. "I'm sure he needs all the help he can get."

With that ninja around, I can see why. I thought to myself as I looked over the report. June Burg died at 9:25 AM from a stab to the heart. There was no sign of a struggle.

"How exactly did you stumble upon the body?" I asked.

"I was just taking an early morning constitutional when I noticed Ms. Burg pinned to the wall." said Doe. "That was at about 9:30 this morning."

"That's also when Von Karma said he got the call." mused Badd. "His story seems to check out so far, Faraday."

"Not quite." I said. "Mr. Doe, are you telling me that you found Ms. Burg like this?"

"Yes." said Doe.

"Then how, pray tell, did a knife manage to not only pierce her heart, but also tear straight through her body and pin her to that wall?"

"This is just how I found her, Mr. Faraday." said Doe. "I can't explain why."

"There's another thing that's bugging me." said Badd. "Ms. Burg was supposed to be on trial for the murder of Dr. Mirabel Yujest today. What was she doing here?"

"Alas, that is another quandary I cannot answer." said Doe. "We've been gathering statements from her police escorts, but they haven't been adding up."

"Who are these police escorts?" I asked.

"Two security guards contracted by the police." said Doe. "Bartholomew Black and Audrey Jeager. Neither of them have a good explanation as to why Ms. Burg was here instead of at the courthouse."

"That kinda puts us in a spot, doesn't it, Badd?" I said.

"Sounds like par for the course to me." said Badd half-jokingly. "Anyway, thanks for the info, Mr. Doe. We'll take it from here."

"Let me know if you need anything else." said Doe as he disappeared into the shadows.

"It looks like we'll have to talk to these hired hands eventually." I said. "So far, I'd say they're our top suspects."

"No argument there." said Badd. "But, let's take a closer look at the crime scene first."

"Agreed." I said as we began our investigation.

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
My Fanfiction
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Last edited by Little_Thief on Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 4: Conundrum after Conundrum
Looking over the body, I could already tell that this was not going to be easy. Just as Agent Doe said, there was no sign of a struggle between the victim and her attacker, whoever it may have been.

"This is not adding up." mused Badd. "There's no way that anyone... not even a ninja... could pull this off."

"I will thank you not to underestimate ninjas, detective."

Our ninja friend made herself known as she leapt down from the overpass above us.

"So, you're saying you did do this?" I asked. "But it seems physically impossible."

"I already said I did it, didn't I? You just have to prove it." said Wren coyly.

"What's there to prove?" I asked angrily. "Look, there is a kunai clearly nailing Ms. Burg to this very wall! That is a signature ninja weapon, if I'm not mistaken."

"No, you're not mistaken." said Wren nonchalantly. "But that could be any ninja. Not just me."

"How many ninjas do you expect me to know off the top of my head?!" I yelled, losing my patience.

"Well, me, for one." said Wren. "Listen, are you going to stand around gabbing with me all day, or are you going to investigate?"

Before I could answer, she disappeared in a puff of smoke. I pounded my fist into my palm in frustration.

"Damn it all to Hell. That woman is impossible, Badd." I growled.

"Listen, I know how you feel." said Badd. "But even so... she does kinda have a point."

"I suppose." I said. "Well, let's get back to work here."

Taking a closer look at the crime scene, I smelled something off.

"Badd, take a whiff of this." I said.

Badd inched closer and did so. Afterwards, he raised an eyebrow. "Gunpowder burn. What would that be doing here?"

"I'm not entirely sure." I said. "There doesn't seem to be a bullet hole anywhere here."

Badd scowled. "Call me crazy, but I think I have a hunch."

"Lay it on me."

Badd carefully undid the white headband that Burg wore around her head. Beneath it was the bullet hole we were looking for, right in her left temple.

"So much for the FBI not being slouches." said Badd with a snort.

"It is odd that Mr. Doe would miss something like this." I mused. "We should bring it up to him next time we see him. In the meantime, we should get a forensics team to take a look at this."

"Except that they're all under Von Karma's orders." said Badd.

"Right, there is that." I said.

"Ugh, do I have to do everything for you prosecutors?"

From seemingly nowhere, Wren reappeared.

"Alright, now this is getting annoying." I seethed. "You, Wren Zangaru, are a contradiction unto yourself! You killed this woman, and now you're trying to help us catch you?! Why not just turn yourself in?! Or hell, while I'm at it, why kill anyone in the first place?!"

Wren seemed taken aback by my harsh demeanor, but only for a moment. "You're not an ninja. You wouldn't understand." she said plainly. "Look, everything will be clear once you solve this mystery I have set before you. Just continue with your investigation and stop getting annoyed with me, alright? You can do that when you've proven my guilt."

With that, she disappeared again. I sighed.

"Badd, do me a favor." I said. "Next time I lose my temper with that woman again, hold me back. Because I swear, I don't think I can be responsible for what I do if she pisses me off again."

"Duly noted." said Badd. "Let's see if those security guards Agent Doe mentioned are around and about. They have the most explaining to do, after all."

"I would disagree, but I see your point." I said.

"Mr. Faraday, sir?"

Before we could leave, one of the forensics officers came running up to us.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Well, I heard something going on over here. Is something wrong?" asked the officer. "Also, I was certain that Mr. von Karma was taking this case."

"I'm lending my assistance, seeing as I was supposed to prosecute Ms. Burg today." I said, clearing my throat. "Anyway, now that you're here, I want you to double-check this autopsy report Agent Doe wrote up."

"Um, yes sir." said the officer. As he got to work, Badd and I proceeded to look for Ms. Burg's police escort.

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
My Fanfiction
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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 5: Eagle-Eyed Guards
September 30th, 10:50 AM
Exposé Park
Main Path

-------------------


"Just a minute, city boy. What're you doing around here?"

Along the main path, we bumped into a rather gruff-looking man with dark skin, beady black eyes, and a black costume complete with a small hat. He was smoking a cigar and giving us the evil eye.

"I could ask you the same question." I said, showing the man my badge. "My name's Byrne Faraday. I'm a prosecutor in this district, and I'm currently investigating the murder of June Burg."

"Name's Black. Bartholomew Black." said the man, taking a drag from his cigar. "I'm the best marksman KB Security has to offer. Nothing escapes my eye."

"Wait. Aren't you one of the hired hands who was supposed to escort Ms. Burg to court today?" asked Badd.

"What of it?"

"We have a few questions for you about the murder."

Black snorted and blew a cloud of smoke in my face. "I'm gonna tell you the same thing I told that stuffy Von Karma varmint. I didn't see nothing."

"See, I find that *cough* hard to believe." I said, recovering from the smoke. "Ms. Burg was your responsibility. And what's more, this park is too far off your route. Something happened, and I want to know what."

"You calling me a liar, city boy?" snarled Black, fingering his holster. "There's no way I'd cover a felon's ass like that. I'm an upholder of the law. You wanna make something of it?"

"That's enough, Black. We don't need any more trouble."

An odd-looking woman entered the conversation. She was rather svelte and petite, but she still seemed to command a great presence with her long platinum blond hair and eyes of silver that seemed like they could stare right into your soul. She wore what looked like a red military uniform with a blue trim and some sort of cow skull for a right shoulder pad.

"I take it you're Audrey Jeager, the second hired hand meant to escort Ms. Burg to court today?" I said.

"I am, Prosecutor Faraday." said the woman. "And may I ask why you're investigating a case that is under Mr. von Karma's jurisdiction?"

"Long story." I said. "So, what exactly happened here?"

"Long story." countered Jeager.

"She's a tough one alright." mused Badd.

"Ms. Jeager, I was supposed to prosecute Ms. Burg in court today. I think I deserve to know what happened." I said.

"What difference does it make, anyway?" said Black. "She got what she deserved for thinking she could cross the law."

"I said that's enough, Black." said Jeager firmly. She then turned back to me. "I do apologize, Prosecutor Faraday. My associate here has a low tolerance for crime."

"Then why is he a security guard?"

"Hell if I know." said Jeager with a shrug. "Anyway, we're wasting time. What do you want to know?"

"Well, for starters, what exactly happened?" I asked. "This is at least twenty minutes away from the courthouse. How did you end up here while escorting Ms. Burg?"

"Wish I knew." said Jeager. "We were escorting Ms. Burg like normal when all of a sudden, we were knocked out. Next thing we knew, we were looking at a dead woman."

"But I thought Mr. Doe was the first to discover the body." said Badd.

"He was the first to discover her dead. Black and I didn't come to until after the murder was called in." said Jeager.

"I still say it was the De Killers who got the drop on us." said Black with a snort.

I raised an eyebrow. "The De Killers?"

"A family of notorious assassins." explained Jeager. "They've been around for 100 years at least, but no one knows for sure. It's all confidential stuff, so I'm not that surprised you don't know about them."

" :holdit: If it's so confidential... how do you know about it?" asked Badd.

"Are you kidding? We've had several run-ins with those varmints." said Black. "They make life a living hell, just so they can justify killing you. What I wouldn't give to fill them all full of lead."

"Black, what did I tell you about losing your head?" said Jeager. She sounded like she was starting to lose her temper. "It's bad enough that they even exist at all. I don't need you constantly reminding me about them." She turned back to me. "Imagine, making a profession out of murder. Have you ever heard of anything so barbaric?"

"Ms. Jeager, let's not get off-track." I said. "You're claiming that someone knocked both you and Mr. Black out so that they could kill Ms. Burg?"

"That's the long and short of it, city boy." said Black, blowing smoke from his cigar into my face again. "And I'm telling you, it was the De Killers."

"Why do you think that?"

"The woman that Ms. Burg murdered is not really Dr. Mirabel Yujest." said Jeager. "Her name is Mercy de Killer."

My jaw dropped. "What?!"

"Just as I said." said Jeager. "She's the sister of the third successor to the De Killer name, Shelly de Killer. She was a surgeon who specializes in assisted suicide."

"And you know this how, exactly?"

"Part of my job is protecting the public from scum like those assassins. As such, I do my research." said Jeager, handing me a blue organizer. "Inside that organizer is all the info I've been able to gather on the De Killer family. As you can see, they are bound by honor, and would not let the death of Mercy de Killer go unavenged. It is possible that they have a hand in this."

"Odd that you never acted on this information." I said, reading her notes.

"I'm just a security guard. I don't have the authority to." said Jeager with a shrug. "Besides which, the De Killers are a slippery bunch. They wouldn't be such a nuisance if they weren't good at hiding."

"I see." said I. "Well, thank you for everything you were able to provide, Ms. Jeager, Mr. Black."

"My pleasure, Prosecutor Faraday." said Jeager. "Black, let's go."

"You mean to say you trust this city slicker?" asked Black. "I dunno, something about him is fishy."

"Look who's calling the kettle black." snarled Badd, reaching into his trench coat.

"He has a point, Black." said Jeager. "Now come on."

With a snort, Black followed Jeager down the path.

"Well, looks like we have another suspect." said Badd. "To be honest... I don't trust those two."

"Neither do I, Badd. Especially not Mr. Black." I concurred. "Still, this cannot be ignored."

"So you're just gonna forget little old me, is that it?"

From the tress above, Wren leapt down into our midst.

"Oh, believe me. I haven't forgotten about you." I said. "It is impossible to forget about you."

"Good. Because I haven't forgotten about you, either." said Wren. "But just fair warning, that blowhard is smarter than he looks. Once he discovers the lead I sent him on is a red herring, he's gonna come back this way and he's not gonna be happy. Still, I'd expect nothing less from a 'perfect' prosecutor."

"What's your deal with prosecutors, anyway?" I asked.

"Oh, it's not just prosecutors." said Wren. "All of you lawmen are hypocrites and bullies. I may be a master of deception, but at least I'm honest about it."

"Not everyone in law is like that, you know." said Badd.

"How would you know, flatfoot? You enforce the law yourself." Wren spat. "Look, I don't have time to gab with you about this, and you don't have time to gab with me. Brace yourselves for the blowhard and just keep going with this investigation."

Before I could say anything else, Wren threw a smoke bomb and disappeared.

"The nerve of her, calling us hypocrites." said Badd with a snort. "At least we didn't kill anyone."

"No, but she has a point." I mused. "The law isn't perfect. Corruption sometimes finds its way through the cracks."

"Why are you siding with her all of a sudden, Faraday?" asked Badd, raising an eyebrow.

"I'm not siding with her. Far from it." I said. "But that's not to say her logic is entirely unsound."

"Faraday, be sure to keep your head." my partner warned. "You gotta remain vigilant... especially considering the circumstances."

"I know how to do my job, Badd." I said.

"Just checking." said Badd with a small smirk and a chuckle. "I've known you for too long, Faraday. And you know I always got your back."

"Of course." I said, returning his smirk.

"Mr. Faraday!"

An officer ran up to us, hastily saluting.

"What is it?" I asked.

"Mr. von Karma wants to see you at the crime scene right away, and he's not happy." said the officer.

Great. I groaned inwardly. "We'll be right there. Come along, Badd."

"This is not gonna be fun." sighed Badd as we made our way back. Personally, I agreed with him a hundred percent. But then again, dealing with Manfred von Karma was never my idea of fun.

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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 6: Confrontation: Manfred von Karma
September 30th, 11:05 AM
Exposé Park
Underpass

-------------------


"And just what do you think you're doing here, Faraday?"

It was just as Wren said. Von Karma looked like he was beside himself with rage as we arrived back at the crime scene.

"Trying to find out what happened to the woman I was supposed to convict, for starters." I said. "Mr. von Karma, listen..."

"I don't want to hear it, Faraday." growled Von Karma, folding his arms and clutching at his shoulder. "The Chief Prosecutor is not going to be happy about your little usurpation of my investigation."

"Before you get on our case, why don't we compare notes?" suggested Badd. "Maybe we found something you didn't."

" :objection: That is impossible, Badd." said Von Karma with an evil grin. "My case is perfect. It's always perfect. I need no help from Faraday."

"Just humor me for a moment." I said. "I want to know what about this case is so 'perfect.'"

"Very well, you foolish fool." said Von Karma with a powerful snap of his fingers. "I guess I'll just have to show you how foolish you truly are."

---------------------

Argument: The Perfect Case

---------------------


"It's clear to me that the culprits are those security personnel that were supposed to escort Ms. Burg to court." said Von Karma. "They had control over the victim's situation, and they had the means to do her in. All I need to do is find their motive, and they won't have a prayer in court."

"I hate to say this, Faraday... but Von Karma has a point." said Badd. "Those two hired guards are mighty suspicious."

"And I concede that." I said. "But there is more to this argument that I wish to analyze."

"If you insist, Faraday." said Von Karma. "But I assure you, nothing will change."

"Let's just see about that." I said as Von Karma repeated his argument.

"They had control over the victim's situation, and they had the means to do her in."

" :holdit: As I stated before, this park is pretty far away from the courthouse." I said. "Didn't Ms. Burg get suspicious at all?"

"I knew you would think that, Faraday." said Von Karma. "Which is why I have the perfect explanation."

"You do?"

"Of course. The knife that killed Ms. Burg was her own."

This was new. "How do you mean?"

"According to a forensics test performed by the FBI, there are no fingerprints on the blade." said Von Karma. "However, Ms. Jeager and Mr. Black had guns. They could've shot her, but she was killed with that dagger. Why? Because she knew she couldn't trust her escort, so she concealed her weapon and waited for them to strike. In the struggle, they wrestled it from her and killed her."

That right there was too important to let go. "Mr. von Karma, I ask that you add that last statement to your argument."

"Very well." said Von Karma.

"The murder weapon belonged to Ms. Burg, and it was wrestled from her grasp during the struggle."

" :objection: " I exclaimed, throwing back my scarf. "Mr. von Karma, there is a flaw in your perfect argument."

"Impossible." said Von Karma. "You are just being a fool as usual."

"Then tell me, what is this struggle you speak of?" I asked. "Because the autopsy report clearly mentions no sign of a struggle between the victim and the murderer! What's more, that kunai went right through Ms. Burg's body and pinned her to the wall! I highly doubt that Ms. Jeager and Mr. Black are strong enough to pull that off!"

" :objection: " countered Von Karma with a smug grin. "This is why you are a fool, Faraday."

"What do you mean?"

"Just like you said, the murder weapon was a kunai, a ninja throwing dagger." said Von Karma. "Meaning when thrown with enough force, it can pin a body to the wall."

" :objection: But there's still no sign of a struggle!" I exclaimed. "And besides, what you're claiming still isn't in the realm of possibility!"

"I hardly call two trained guardsman overpowering a woman in handcuffs a 'struggle'." said Von Karma. "As such, any sign of that struggle would not exist, because one hardly took place. As you can see, Faraday, my argument is still perfect!"

"Gah!"

I recoiled from Von Karma's logic. As dubious as his winning streak was, there was a reason he never lost a case in his entire career.

"Let's change the subject for a bit." said Badd. "Has the autopsy report been updated yet?"

"It has, thanks to Faraday's bumbling." said Von Karma.

"But then that brings up another possibility." I said. "And it has to do with this piece of evidence."

I presented the bullet wound we found earlier.

" :takethat: This bullet wound here was missed in Agent Doe's initial report. Hidden underneath Ms. Burg's headband is a bullet wound in her left temple. Meaning the murder weapon could have been a gun!"

" :objection: " said Von Karma, wagging his finger at me. "Tsk tsk tsk. You still don't get it, Faraday."

"Don't get what?"

"Who cares if the murder weapon was the gun or the kunai? Either way, Ms. Burg is still dead, and the security guards are responsible."

"He's got us there, Faraday." said Badd.

Of course, Badd was right. Von Karma wasn't one to play the semantics game, and I couldn't use that to disprove his argument, mainly because I didn't fully disagree with him. Jeager and Black were indeed suspicious, but Wren was the one who confessed to the murder. What exactly was going on?

"Mr. von Karma, there's something else I want to ask you." I said.

"This is why you're a fool, Faraday." said Von Karma, taking another jab at me. "You never know when to give up."

"Neither do you." I countered. "But anyway, I want to ask about Agent Doe. Like I said, his initial report was lacking, and that's strange coming from a member of the FBI. Did you managed to talk to him?"

"I have spoken with Mr. Doe, yes." said Von Karma. "But it didn't further the investigation any. I feel like he's hiding something."

"Any idea what?"

"I have a few ideas." said Von Karma. "And seeing as you're as foolishly persistent as an insignificant defense attorney, I'll share my theories on the subject with you."

"Thank you so much for your generosity." I said sardonically, rolling my eyes.

------------------

Testimony: Mr. Doe's Questionable Character

----------------------------


"Agent Doe has never given me a straight answer to any question I've asked him." said Von Karma. "Like you said, the initial autopsy report had glaring flaws, and he won't answer for them. What's more, he's the only FBI agent here, and I can't contact the director. There is no doubt that he's hiding something, but I'm not sure what."

"Maybe he's the murderer we're looking for." said Badd.

"Hah. The FBI would not be so foolish as to keep their agents on such long leashes." said Von Karma. "If he tried something like that, the entire bureau would be on him faster than I could convict him."

That is quite fast, considering the average length of his trials. I thought to myself. "Mr. von Karma, I have a few more questions."

"Of course you do, Faraday." said Von Karma mockingly as he repeated his testimony.

"What's more, he's the only FBI agent here, and I can't contact the director."

" :holdit: Why can't you contact the director?" I inquired.

"Agent Doe won't allow me." growled Von Karma. "As you're probably aware, the FBI does not always play by the same rules as the police force. A lot of their information is confidential, even to me."

"Does that include their missions?" I asked.

"Of course."

I smirked. "Then I think I have an answer for you, Mr. von Karma."

"Cheeky, aren't we?" said Von Karma, raising an eyebrow. "Alright, I'll bite. What does the FBI's policy have to do with this murder?"

" :takethat: It's just a hunch, but I think Mr. Doe is on a secret mission." I said, presenting Jeager's organizer. "According to Ms. Jeager, the woman that Ms. Burg allegedly killed was a professional assassin named Mercy de Killer."

" :objection: That's not what it said in your report." scolded Von Karma.

"That's because I didn't even know who the De Killers were at the time." I said. "They are a family of professional assassins, with Mercy being the sister of the third heir to the De Killer name, Shelly de Killer. Both Ms. Jeager and Mr. Black have reason to believe that Ms. Burg was killed by Shelly de Killer out of vengeance. Now, tell me, Mr. von Karma. Is that not something the FBI would look into?!"

Von Karma didn't even bat an eyelid at my argument. He merely folded his arms and clutched at his shoulder. "I'm impressed, Faraday. Your foolishness has actually served you well this time."

"I'll take that as a compliment." I said.

Von Karma snorted. "As such, I've had a change of heart. You may assist me in my investigation, but take care to stay out of my way. I will not have your foolishness tainting my perfect case."

"Thank you, Mr. von Karma." I said.

Von Karma said nothing, but instead marched off.

"Well, that's one headache out of the way." said Badd. "Now what?"

"I'm not entirely sure." I said. "Right now, we lack concrete evidence pointing to anyone. Let's take another look at the crime scene, and see if we missed anything."

"Right behind you, Faraday." said Badd as we approached the body for a closer look.

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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 7: Killing Two Birds with One Stone
"Well, this is a kunai... no doubt about that." said Badd, looking over the knife the had impaled June Burg. "But it still doesn't explain the gunshot wound."

"That's true." I said. "What's more, ninjas don't typically use guns. There has to be some explanation for this."

"What're you thinking, Faraday?" asked Badd.

"Someone's playing us for fools." I said. "Ms. Zangaru, Agent Doe, and those security guards are all hiding one thing or another. Any one of them could be the murderer."

"Don't forget De Killer." added Badd. "Remember those notes Ms. Jeager gave us."

"If we can trust Ms. Jeager." I countered. "This is all so very confusing."

"You think you're the only one?"

I spun around angrily, half-expecting Wren to show up again and cause me more trouble. But I inwardly rebuked myself when I found that it was a young girl of fifteen with golden hair and silver eyes. She wore black fatigues and a black tank top.

It was Sami Yujest, the daughter of the recently departed Dr. Mirabel Yujest, aka Mercy de Killer. She was the witness who found the body of her eviscerated mother, as well as the suspect-turned-victim, June Burg. She was supposed to testify at the trial today.

"This is no place for a kid. I hope you realize that." said Badd with a snort.

"I don't care. I deserve to know what happened to my mom." said Sami firmly. "What's with today's trial being canceled?"

I sighed. "The defendant was murdered this morning. I'm investigating her murder at the moment."

"Oh." said Sami. I wasn't sure how she was taking this news. "But what about my mom?"

"This might tie in with your mother's murder, kid." said Badd, taking the lollipop out of his mouth. "To that end, we've got a few questions for you."

"About what?"

"About your mother, Dr. Yujest."

"What about her?"

This was something I hated about my job: Asking young children tough questions. Then again, I would think even Manfred von Karma would have difficulty with that, being a family man himself. I took a deep breath, and showed Sami the organizer we got from Jeager.

"Ms. Yujest, did you know that your mother was actually a professional assassin?" I asked.

Sami began chewing her hair nervously. "H-how did you know that?"

"I'll take that as a 'yes'." I said. "According to some information we got from security guard Audrey Jeager, Dr. Mirabel Yujest was actually Mercy de Killer, an assassin who specialized in assisted suicide. We have reason to believe that Ms. Burg was killed by her brother, Shelly de Killer. Would you know anything about this?"

"N-no!" squeaked Sami, still nervously chewing on her hair. "I-I don't know what you're talking about! Honest!"

Badd sighed. "Listen kid. It'll be easier if you just told us the truth." he said, keeping his voice mellow. You wouldn't think it just by looking at him, but Badd does indeed have a soft spot for children.

"I am being honest." Sami insisted. "I don't know anything about this. I don't even know if Ms. Burg really did kill my mom or not."

So much for her being a key witness at the trial. I groaned inwardly. "Are you saying that even though Ms. Burg was the only one at the scene of the crime, you have your doubts about her killing your mother?"

"Mr. Faraday, I don't even know who Ms. Burg is, let alone why she'd want to kill my mom." said Sami. "Didn't I tell you before?"

"That's right, you did." I mused, taking out my organizer. Luckily, I had my notes from that investigation on hand. "Just so we're clear on everything, I want to take your statement again. Is that alright?"

"Sure." said Sami. "Like I said before, it all started when my mom went missing about a week ago. No one knew where she went, not my family, nor the staff at the clinic she worked. Then, just yesterday at around noon, I was strolling through Gourd Lake Park, minding my own business, when I found my mother dead. Ms. Burg was also around and about, but I don't know what she was doing or who she was at the time."

"And she was the only other person at the crime scene, correct?"

"That's right."

I looked over my notes and furrowed my brow. "Badd, something's not adding up."

"Oh, now you notice." said Badd with a snicker. "Like I said, it's highly possible that Ms. Burg was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"Yes, but she still may be a suspect." I said. "Keep in mind her fingerprints were on the murder weapon found on her person, and what's more, she didn't resist arrest."

"Makes you wonder what she was gonna say when she took the stand at her trial." mused Badd.

Suddenly, something hit me. "Wait a second. Badd, you're a genius!"

"Care to clue me in, Faraday?"

"What if Ms. Burg was planning to incriminate someone else at her trial, or rope someone in as an accomplice? That would give someone motive enough to murder her."

"That's a good theory, Faraday." said Badd. "But here's the kicker: Can you prove it?"

"Not at present, no." I admitted. "But if someone was somehow involved in Dr. Yujest's murder, then that is a connection to this murder. We're going to need to take down some more statements."

"From whom?"

"Let's start with Agent Doe, if we can find him." I said. "If my theory about his mission is correct, he knows more than he lets on, and I'm going to find out what."

"Hey, you! What're you doing here?!"

One of the officers spotted Sami and started running for her. It was obvious that she didn't get permission to be here.

"Looks like that's my cue." said she. "Good luck with everything, Mr. Faraday."

In a puff of smoke, Sami seemingly transformed into a dove and flew away, leaving the pursuing officer baffled.

"I'll never understand magicians." Badd bemoaned.

"It's not important right now." I said. "Come along, Badd. Let's see what Mr. Doe is hiding."

"Right." said Badd as we went off in search of the elusive John Doe.

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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 8: Confrontation: John Doe
September 30th, 11:25 AM
Exposé Park
Main Path

--------------------


"Yes, I understand completely. Don't worry about it, everything is under control."

When we finally found John Doe, he seemed to be talking to someone on some sort of radio transceiver. Perhaps he was getting a call from the director? I politely waited for him to finish his call before asking.

"Ah, Mr. Faraday." said Doe as he finished his call. "What a pleasant surprise. Is there anything I can help you with?"

"There is, actually." I said. "I have a few questions for you about the murder, Agent Doe."

"I'm afraid there's not much I can provide, Mr. Faraday." said Doe, fingering his transceiver.

"I beg to differ." I said, tossing back my scarf. "Let's start with your testimony. What exactly happened when you discovered the body?"

"I believe I already told you that." said Doe, raising an eyebrow.

"Just humor me, Agent Doe. It's for the investigation." I said.

"Very well then." said Doe. "But I don't think anything will change."

-----------------

Testimony: Discovering the Body

--------------------


"Like I said before, I was out for an early morning constitutional in this very park when I discovered the body." said Doe. "Ms. Burg was nailed to the wall with a kunai, and her police escort was nowhere to be found. I called in the murder at around 9:30 AM, and prepared the autopsy report for the police. There is no other information I can provide."

"I dunno, Faraday." said Badd. "His story checks out so far, but I still get the feeling... he's hiding something."

"I agree, Badd." I said. "Which is why I'd like to ask you a few more questions, Agent Doe."

"Very good, Mr. Faraday." said Doe as he repeated his testimony.

"I called in the murder at around 9:30 AM, and prepared the autopsy report for the police."

" :holdit: I've been meaning to ask you about that autopsy report." I said.

"I figured you would." said Doe, fiddling with his transceiver. "Mr. von Karma had plenty of questions about that as well. Something about it not being accurate."

He's quick on the uptake. I thought to myself. "Exactly so, Agent Doe. As you're probably aware, there was a glaring flaw in your initial findings. Upon closer inspection, we found that Ms. Burg suffered a bullet wound to her left temple, but you don't make any mention of that. Care to explain?"

"Am I not allowed to make these sort of mistakes?" asked Doe. "I'm only human, after all."

"That doesn't wash, Agent Doe." growled Badd, reaching into his trench coat. "You said so yourself. The FBI... are not slouches. This was something you should've picked up on straight away!"

Doe didn't seem to react, but his transceiver started to mysteriously let off steam. "What are you suggesting, Detective Badd? That I'm not doing my job? That gunshot wound is a red herring. It's obvious that Ms. Burg was done in by none other than the Zangaru clan."

My eyes widened. Zangaru. That was Wren's last name! There had to be some connection.

" :holdit: What's this about the Zangaru clan?" I asked.

"The Zangaru clan are a band of ninjas from halfway across the world." said Doe. "They don't usually strike here in Los Angeles since it's so far away, but there have been exceptions such as this one."

"And you know this how, exactly?" asked Badd.

"The CIA sent us intel about the Zangaru clan a week ago." said Doe. "We didn't know what to make of it until now."

"Something still doesn't seem right here." I mused. "Agent Doe, are you sure they're ninjas?"

"Positive."

"If that's true, then this piece of evidence makes no sense."

I presented the kunai.

" :takethat: This is the alleged murder weapon that claimed Ms. Burg's life. It is supported by the fact that there was no sign of a struggle, meaning Ms. Burg was killed from far away. However, ninjas are known to strike swiftly, and leave no trace behind. So what kind of ninja would leave a big clue like this?!"

"Ah, you see. That's the trick behind the Zangaru clan." said Doe.

I blinked. "It is?"

"Certainly. What you've fallen for is a classic Zangaru trap, Mr. Faraday."

"A Zangaru trap?"

"Indeed. You see, Ms. Burg was not the target in this murder. The true victim has yet to reveal themselves."

"WHAT?!"

I recoiled from this revelation. Ms. Burg was not the true target? What was going on?

"Agent Doe, this would've been helpful to mention before." I said in a strained tone.

"I didn't know until I got a call from the director myself." said Doe with a shrug. "Here, let me explain."

-----------------

Argument: Zangaru Trap

---------------------


"What makes a Zangaru ninja so tricky is that they have very complex traps." said Doe. "What appears to be a murder can usually turn out to be nothing more than bait for a true target. The Zangaru clan murdered Ms. Burg in the hopes of trapping someone else. However, we are not sure who or what their target is at this time."

This was a lot to take in. Ms. Burg's murder was a stepping stone towards a greater goal? If this was true, then my theory about the killer's motive was shot full of holes! I didn't know why, but I couldn't let that happen.

"Agent Doe, I actually have my doubts about this line of reasoning." I said.

"Do you now?" said Doe. "Well then, let's hear your rebuttal. But I warn you, it had better be good."

"Right." I said with a nod. "Please repeat your argument, Agent Doe."

Doe complied.

"The Zangaru clan murdered Ms. Burg in the hopes of trapping someone else."

" :objection: " I exclaimed, tossing back my scarf. "To be honest, I find this theory to be a bit contrived, Agent Doe."

"Contrived, you say?" said Doe.

"Indeed." I said, presenting my notes on Dr. Yujest's murder. "As you're probably aware, Ms. Burg was supposed to go on trial today for the murder of Dr. Mirabel Yujest. The circumstances behind her arrest are questionable in retrospect, and as such, it's possible that she knew something about that case that someone wanted to keep secret. As such, I assert that she was killed in order to keep her quiet!"

" :holdit: But what of the Zangaru clan?" asked Doe. "If your theory is correct, then they have no place here."

"Actually, it proves that they do have a hand in this." I said.

For some odd reason, Doe's transceiver appeared to be sweating bullets. "You're speaking nonsense, Mr. Faraday." said Doe. "Why would the Zangaru clan kill Ms. Burg if not to trap someone else?"

" :takethat: Like you said, Agent Doe, the Zangaru clan leave no trace behind. I assume that includes witnesses." I said, presenting Jeager's organizer. "According to security guard Audrey Jeager, Dr. Yujest was actually Mercy de Killer, a practitioner of assisted suicide. Perhaps, and this is just a supposition, perhaps Dr. Yujest was murdered by the Zangaru clan, and the murder of Ms. Burg was to leave no trace behind of that murder!"

"Impossible!"

Doe clenched his fist and crushed his transceiver. Oddly enough, it didn't stay damaged for long.

"How is it impossible?" I asked.

"The Zangaru clan are bound by honor, Mr. Faraday." said Doe, steam leaking out of his transceiver once again. "They would never take a job to murder Mercy de Killer."

"And why not?"

"Did Sami Yujest not tell you?"

I raised an eyebrow. "How do you know that?"

"Answer the question, Mr. Faraday. Please." said Doe, not wishing to continue the conversation.

Still skeptical, I checked my notes on Dr. Yujest's murder. Indeed, there was something rather gruesome, but at the same time, very important that I glossed over. It was discovered that Dr. Yujest was with child when she was murdered, and due to her evisceration, the baby did not survive.

"I see you did find that out." said Doe. "I don't blame you for blocking it out. I doubt even Mr. von Karma would have the stomach to bring that up in court."

"So what you're saying is... the Zangaru clan could not have murdered Dr. Yujest... because killing a pregnant woman goes against their principles." said Badd.

"Exactly." said Doe. "No assassin worth their salt would take such a job. Especially not ninjas."

"How do you mean?" I asked.

"Ninjas are not assassins first and foremost. That's just one aspect of their job." said Doe. "In fact, when it's not required of them, they only kill as a last resort."

"You don't say." I said. "You seem to be very knowledgeable about this sort of thing, Agent Doe."

"When you've been in the FBI as long as I have, you pick up on these sort of things." said Doe. "Here are my notes on the Zangaru clan, in case you need them. Now, if you'll excuse me."

After handing me the notes, he walked off.

"This is getting weirder and weirder, Faraday." said Badd with a snort.

"I know." I concurred. "But we can't let that stop us. I think it's high time someone did some explaining."

"But how are we supposed to find her? We don't know where she is." said Badd.

"You know, you could just ask politely."

Sure enough, Wren leapt down from seemingly nowhere.

"Wren Zangaru. Just the woman I wanted to see." I said. "It's time we brought this little charade to an end."

"I find it so quaint that you think this is a charade, prosecutor." said Wren with a laugh. "You could use a bit of exercise. Catch me if you can!"

Before I could ask what she meant, she darted off into a thicket.

She certainly isn't making my life any easier. I thought to myself. I quickly pursued her, with Badd following at my heels. If I was going to get anything out of that woman, it had to be here and now...

Spoiler: Author's Notes for Chapter 8
Special shout-out to Coffee Prosecutor for the ninja trivia. :edgy:

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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 9: Confrontation: Wren Zangaru
September 30th, 11:40 AM
Exposé Park
Forest Area

---------------------


"Took you flatfoots long enough to catch up with me." said Wren teasingly.

"I've had just about enough of your games, Ms. Zangaru." I said. "Now, it's time you explained yourself. What is your plan here?"

"My plan?" asked Wren, raising an eyebrow. "What are you getting at, prosecutor?"

"You yourself confessed to the murder of June Burg." said Badd, taking the lollipop out of his mouth. "But the question remains: Why?"

"I don't expect you to understand, flatfoot." spat Wren. "After all, I'm just a killer, aren't I? It doesn't matter why. At least, not to you."

" :objection: I couldn't disagree more, actually." I said, tossing back my scarf. "And that's why I want you to give your testimony."

"Not so fast! Does this look like a courtroom to you?" asked Wren.

"Does that matter?" Badd countered. "All throughout this case... you've been nothing but a pain in the ass. It's high time you did some talking."

Wren spat. "Fine, I'll play it your way for now. But I won't let you get away with bringing up anything irrelevant, got it?"

"I wasn't planning to." I said with a knowing grin. "Anyway, enough chatter. Give us your full confession."

"Alright then, fine." said Wren.

-------------------

Argument: Wren's Confession

--------------------


"If I said it once, I said it a thousand times. I'm the one who killed Ms. Burg." said Wren. "I knocked out her escort, and killed her with my kunai. As long as you have that, you can just arrest me, can't you? Who cares why I did it?"

"If we didn't care, we wouldn't be having this discussion." I said, starting to lose my temper. Even when she was cooperating, she was still giving us a hard time.

"Easy, Faraday." Badd warned. "You can't let her get under your skin."

"Right, sorry." I said, clearing my throat. "Ms. Zangaru, I still have a few questions. Allow me to conduct a cross-examination."

"Testimonies, cross-examinations, what pretentious nonsense." Wren scoffed. "All you're doing is delaying the inevitable. That's why you lawmen never get anything done."

"Oh, so murdering someone without a fair trial is quick and efficient and therefore good, right?" I said sardonically.

Surprisingly, Wren giggled. "Touché, prosecutor. But this dance has only begun." With that, she repeated her argument.

"I knocked out her escort, and killed her with my kunai."

" :objection: " I exclaimed, tossing back my scarf. "You must think I'm stupid, Ms. Zangaru."

"What are you talking about, prosecutor?" asked Wren.

"You neglected an important fact in your testimony." I said, taking out my notes on Dr. Yujest's murder. "That fact was that Ms. Burg was supposed to be on trial today for the murder of Dr. Mirabel Yujest. This park is completely out of the way, and yet you killed her here. If you killed her like you claim, how exactly did you know she'd be here and at the same time know that she was supposed to go on trial?!"

"Not so fast! Who says I killed her here?" asked Wren. "I could easily planted the body here just to confuse you."

" :objection: See, I doubt that." I said. "Because according to the autopsy report, Ms. Burg died at 9:25 AM. Also, Agent Doe discovered her body at 9:30. You had five minutes to kill Ms. Burg, drag her all the way to Exposé Park, and fabricate this crime scene. No one, not even a ninja, can claim to pull that off!"

"Yah!"

A smoke bomb dislodged itself from Wren's belt as she recoiled from my logic. When she recovered, she didn't look all that happy.

"So you found a little inconsistency. Big deal." she huffed. "You still can't prove anything."

"Oh no?" I said. "Then what about this evidence that may just take this case in a whole new direction?"

I presented the revised autopsy report.

" :takethat: According to recent findings, Ms. Burg was not only stabbed in the chest, but she also has a bullet wound in her left temple."

"Not so fast! What does that have to do with me?" asked Wren. "It's not my business if someone wants to desecrate a corpse."

"Ah, but there's the problem." I said. "When would someone have the opportunity to do that, and why would they? Or, alternatively, what if Ms. Burg was killed from the gunshot wound, and not from your knife?!"

"Grah!"

Another smoke bomb accidentally went off as Wren recoiled from my logic. When the smoke cleared, she looked like she wanted to kill me.

"You're making this harder than it actually is, prosecutor." she seethed. "I'm the one you want. Just arrest me an get it over with."

"Why? So that you can kill me as soon as I try to put the handcuffs on you?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.

Wren's eyes widened. "How dare you, prosecutor! What are you insinuating?!"

"I know you're hiding something, Wren Zangaru." I said. "I don't know what it is, but I swear on my badge, you're telling me one way or another."

"Well, that's tough luck for you then." said Wren. "Because I'm bound by client/ninja confidentiality from revealing if I even have a mission."

"Well, clearly you do." I said. "And somehow, the murder of June Burg is part of it."

"You talk a good game, but words only do so much." said Wren. "I'm calling your bluff, prosecutor. How do you know that Ms. Burg's murder is part of my alleged mission?"

" :takethat: Because I know how you Zangaru ninjas do things." I said, presenting Doe's notes on the Zangaru clan. "According to FBI agent John Doe, who discovered the body, the Zangaru clan typically use clever traps to lure out their true target. It's no stretch of the imagination that this murder is one such trap, otherwise you wouldn't have left your kunai at the crime scene. Not to mention you've been pulling all the stops to get me and Badd onto the crime scene when this is clearly Mr. von Karma's jurisdiction, and there is still the bullet wound which you have yet to answer for. If you did kill Ms. Burg, then you have a greater goal. So, what is it, Wren Zangaru?! What are you trying to accomplish?!"

Wren was starting to sweat bullets now. "Th-this is impossible. You shouldn't have been able to figure that out."

"I won't underestimate ninjas if you don't underestimate prosecutors, Ms. Zangaru." I said. "So, ready to come clean?"

"A Zangaru ninja is never caught without reason." said Wren. "You might've figured me out, but you're going to have to do better than that if you want to survive this. You don't know it, but you just painted a bull's eye on your own back."

"What's that supposed to mean?" I inquired.

Wren shot me a glare. "Oh come on. What do you think it means? It means you're gonna end up like Mercy!"

She immediately turned pale and tried to backpedal. "Wait, no. F-forget I said that."

"I don't think I will, thank you." I said, becoming most intrigued. "So, your goal coincides with the murder of Mercy de Killer, does it?"

Wren growled in frustration. "Oh, no. I'm not telling you any more than that. You can find out for yourself or die trying."

"Oh? And who's going to kill me?"

Instead of answering, Wren charged at me, grabbing me and slamming me against a tree. I heard the click of a hammer as Badd pulled out his gun.

"You really think killing me is going to erase the guilt inside your soul?" I asked. "Even if you are a ninja trained to kill, and even if it just was for a greater goal, murder is inexcusable. Don't tell me you don't feel the weight of your actions."

"Not so fast! Don't talk to me like you know me!" barked Wren, slamming me against the tree again. "You don't know a goddamn thing, prosecutor!"

Despite my precarious situation, I had to snicker. "Don't try to deny it. You're mad that I figured you out, aren't you?"

"Mad? Oh, I'm not mad. I'm absolutely livid!" hissed Wren. "I refuse to be outwitted by a hypocrite! I refuse to let this plan fall apart! I..."

"What's going on here?"

Wren was interrupted by John Doe suddenly appearing in our midst. Wren turned and snorted.

"You promised me that everything was under control." she seethed.

"And it is." said Doe. "However, you are not. And it's clear that Mr. Faraday is more informed than you think he is. There's no need to keep him out of the loop."

I managed to spot a mischievous sparkle in Wren's eyes as she dropped me to the ground and approached Doe. "Very well then. We'll play it your way, Mr. Doe. Oh, I'm sorry. I meant, Mr. Shelly de Killer."

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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 10: Traps and Trust
As I recovered from Wren's brutality, I could barely believe my ears. John Doe was really Shelly de Killer? What was he doing here? And what exactly was going on?

"Touché, Ms. Zangaru. But my stance on the matter still stands." said De Killer, barely fazed by the bomb that Wren dropped on us. "Mr. Faraday deserves to know everything."

"Damn right I do." I said, picking myself up. "Mr. de Killer, you do realize you are a suspect to Ms. Burg's murder, right? You have a motive to kill her out of revenge for killing your sister Mercy. I could arrest you right here and now."

"That's right, you could." said De Killer, still unfazed. "That is, if I was the killer. Or if Ms. Burg really did kill Mercy."

"What exactly are you babbling about?" snarled Badd, keeping his gun trained on the infamous assassin. "And furthermore, how are we supposed to believe you? You lied to us about being with the FBI, amongst other things. Even if you aren't the killer... we still can arrest you for impersonating an officer."

"See, this is why I hate you lawmen." growled Wren, removing her cowl. I had to admit, she did look rather attractive, with her flowing black hair and delicate features. "You never listen to anyone. You always think you're right just because you're on the side of the law. Well, for once in your goddamn life, just open your ears and listen to what we have to say, alright?"

"I was planning on doing so, anyway." I said. "After all, you two do have some explaining to do."

"I suppose." said De Killer, clearing his throat. "It all started with my niece Sami discovering Mercy's dead body along with Ms. Burg. You see, I knew all along that Ms. Burg didn't kill Mercy."

"And why's that?"

"Tell me, Mr. Faraday. Did you find it strange that Ms. Burg didn't resist arrest? Or how about the fact that she returned to the scene of the crime a full week after allegedly doing the deed?"

I turned to Badd, who merely shrugged.

"He has a point... Faraday." my partner pointed out. "The defense could've easily shot holes through your theory."

"Yeah, hindsight's a bitch, isn't it?" said Wren mockingly. "You were all set to convict an innocent woman of a crime she didn't commit. Not that you care."

"Please give me some credit, Ms. Zangaru." I said. "If I was proven wrong about Ms. Burg, I would've admitted it. Logically, if she wasn't the murderer, she was still an accomplice for tampering with the evidence. Either way, everything would've been resolved in court had she not been killed."

"Yeah, sure. Whatever." said Wren, rolling her eyes. "This is a bad idea, Mr. de Killer. We shouldn't trust them."

"You're the ones who aren't trustworthy at the moment." I said. "If Dr. Yujest wasn't murdered by Ms. Burg, then what's all this about?"

"Well, I suppose you could call it self-defense." said De Killer.

I raised an eyebrow. "Self-defense?"

"Is there an echo in here?" said Wren indignantly.

"Instead of snarky comebacks, why don't you explain everything in English?" I asked, starting to lose my patience.

"Because I don't trust you, that's why." said Wren bluntly. "You won't listen. Even if you do listen, you won't understand. And even if you do understand, you won't care."

"You don't know that for certain." I said.

There was a pregnant pause. I didn't know what Wren was thinking.

"Seeing as Ms. Zangaru is being needlessly stubborn, I suppose I'll explain." said De Killer, breaking the silence. "You see, in a twist of irony, assassins are being targeted for assassination."

"That is ironic." Badd concurred. "But why?"

"I don't know." said De Killer. "But I do know one thing: We aren't being hired to kill each other. Someone else has been trying to murder us one by one from behind the scenes."

"And they succeeded by killing your sister Mercy?" I asked.

"Actually, that was not part of their campaign." said De Killer. "Whoever has been doing this is a lot more covert. They only strike us while we're on the job, and Mercy was on maternity leave."

Assassins get maternity leave? I thought to myself. "So, how do you know about this?"

"It started with the Zangaru clan." said De Killer. "As I told you, they don't usually operate here in Los Angeles. But in recent months, those that have arrived here have been disappearing mysteriously. And even worse, only a fraction of them had assassination jobs."

"Interesting." I mused. "But what does this have to do with Dr. Yujest or Ms. Burg?"

"Not all of the clan was murdered." said Wren. "Some of them were framed for murders they didn't commit, convicted solely because they were trained to kill. It's enough to make me sick."

"So that's why you distrust us." I said. "Ms. Zangaru, I take it you have proof of all this."

"And if I do?"

"May I see it?"

Wren scoffed. "And why should I give it to you?"

"Because I think I can figure this out." I said, tossing back my scarf. "This is what Mr. de Killer means by self-defense. Ms. Burg's murder was a trap to frame him for murder. And you incriminated yourself both to protect him and to trap the true culprit who has been attacking your clan."

Wren gasped. She knew I figured her out.

"You claimed that I wouldn't listen. You claimed that I wouldn't understand. And you claimed that I wouldn't care." I continued. "Well, I've proven you wrong on all accounts. No matter what, there is no excuse for taking another life. What you and Mr. de Killer do is wrong, but that doesn't make your mysterious attacker right. If you'll let me, I will help you."

Wren paused, and bit her lip. "At the first sign of betrayal, I will kill you. Just saying."

She then reached into her costume and pulled out a scroll.

"This was some intel sent to Master Shinion by my sister, Yuné. She's currently in prison on false charges." said Wren. "I will do anything to save her and the rest of my clan."

"Except trusting me, apparently." I said with a wry grin. "Now who's the hypocrite?"

Wren's face flushed red with embarrassment and anger. "J-just take the damn intel, prosecutor."

I did so, and read over the scroll carefully. According to this Yuné, all of the victims of this mysterious campaign, be it the ninjas themselves or their alleged victims, suffered bullet wounds. Deadly accurate ones, too. Each bullet was found in some place fatal.

"Well, that puts... a whole new spin on things." said Badd. "It looks like Von Karma... was right all along."

"There's only one way to find out." I said. "We'll have to have another talk with Mr. Black and Ms. Jeager."

Wren snorted. "I'll be watching you, prosecutor. You'd better not betray me."

With that, she threw a smoke bomb and disappeared. It seemed that Shelly de Killer slipped into the shadows during the confusion as well.

"You know, it's funny Badd." I said.

"What is?"

"Ms. Zangaru claimed that I wouldn't feel sorry for her. But after hearing everything, I kind of do. Even if she is a ninja, she's still human."

"We all are, Faraday. That doesn't... excuse what we do." said Badd.

"I know." I said. "I'm just saying. Well, shall we bring this case to a close?"

"I'm behind you all the way." said Badd. With that, we set off in search for the security escort.

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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 11: Confrontation: Bartholomew Black
September 30th, 12:07 PM
Exposé Park
Main Path

--------------------


We found Black leaning against a lamppost, smoking his cigar. He seemed rather relaxed considering the circumstances. I was about to call out to him when he noticed me.

"Huh? Oh, it's you." he said with some disdain. "What do you want, city boy?"

"Some answers." I said. "You and Ms. Jeager have not given your full testimony regarding what happened."

"If you want to talk to Jeager, you're out of luck." said Black, blowing smoke into my face. "She's busy talking to that bastard Von Karma."

"That doesn't excuse you... from giving your testimony, Mr. Black." said Badd.

"What's there to testify about?" said Black. "We all know it was the De Killers that did this. Besides, this ain't no courtroom."

"That doesn't matter." I said. "I still want to hear your testimony, Mr. Black. And don't leave out a single detail."

Black snorted. "If it's a showdown you want, it's a showdown you'll get. But don't think I'll go easy on you." he said. "You mess up just once, and it'll cost ya. And don't think I won't notice."

I could say the same to you. I responded mentally as Black began his testimony.

-----------------

Argument: Why De Killer?

------------------------


"We all know that varmint De Killer is to blame for this, so don't try to deny it." said Black. "Ms. Burg killed his sister, and he killed her out of revenge. He knocked me and Jeager out, stabbed her, and then shot her to pin it on us. He thought he was crafty not leaving a calling card behind, but Jeager and I know better."

"Calling card?" I asked.

"The De Killers usually leave a trademark calling card at the scene of the crime." said Black. "That is the only evidence that usually ties them to the murder. But Jeager and I, we know better. Just like I said."

"Faraday, this guy's story is full of holes." said Badd. "But be careful. Attack from the wrong angle, and he's gonna give you hell."

"I see what you mean." I mused. There were a lot of inconstancies in Black's story, but which one was the weakest? Only one way to find out. "Mr. Black, I have a few questions about this testimony."

"I don't see why, but I'll humor you for now, city boy." said Badd, taking another drag from his cigar. "But remember, no funny business."

With that, he repeated his argument.

"He knocked me and Jeager out, stabbed her, and then shot her to pin it on us."

" :holdit: That's quite a large leap of logic, Mr. Black." I said. "Can you prove it?"

"What do you mean by that, city boy?" growled Black, fingering his holster.

"In this statement, you have implied that Mr. de Killer stabbed Ms. Burg through the chest with enough force to pin her to a stone wall, and then shot her in the head to pin the deed on her security escort. Why would he do that? According to you, that isn't his modus operandi. He doesn't frame others for his crimes. He doesn't need to."

" :holdit: You're not the one who's been tracking this varmint this entire time, city boy." said Black. "Jeager and I know him better than anyone else. And he's the only one who could've done this."

"Faraday has a point, Mr. Black." said Badd. "According to what you yourself claimed... framing others is not part of Shelly de Killer's MO. Unless you have an explanation for this, you're gonna be under suspicion."

"Simmer down, city boy. I got your explanation." said Black. "Just let me revise my argument a bit."

"Very well then." I said. Hopefully, this would lead to more clues to Black's character.

"De Killer deviated from his MO because he knew Jeager and I were on his trail."

This was going to be important later, especially since it was the truth. But there was something else about Black's testimony that needed addressing.

"Ms. Burg killed his sister, and he killed her out of revenge."

" :objection: " I exclaimed, tossing back my scarf. "Mr. Black, are you certain that Ms. Burg killed Mercy de Killer?"

"Of course I am." said Black. "That's De Killer's motive. Put out his warrant already!"

"You're in no position to make demands of me, Mr. Black." I said, presenting my notes on Dr. Yujest's murder. "Because in all honesty, the evidence against Ms. Burg is circumstantial."

"What in tarnation are you spouting off, city slicker?" snarled Black, fingering his holster.

"Dr. Yujest's daughter, Sami Yujest, discovered her mother's body a week after she disappeared and died. Ms. Burg was found on the scene the same day carrying the murder weapon, and she didn't resist arrest. Ergo, I'd go so far as to argue that Ms. Burg was not the actual murderer, but an accomplice! And as such, Mr. de Killer has no motive to murder her!"

"Draw!"

Black reflexively drew his pistols out of shock as he recoiled from my logic.

"You can't prove a goddamn thing, city boy." he growled. "It has to be De Killer! No one else could've done this!"

"I'd be inclined to agree, Mr. Black. That is, if it wasn't for a particular piece of evidence." I said.

"What evidence, city boy?" growled Black.

"You sure this'll trip him up, Faraday?" asked Badd. "I mean, we don't know what methods Mr. de Killer uses."

"Just wait and see, Badd." I said with a knowing smile. "Anyway, here's the evidence that shifts the blame away from Shelly de Killer!"

I presented Jeager's organizer.

" :takethat: Like you've said many times before, you've been on Mr. de Killer's tail." I said. "So much so that Ms. Jeager has written up an entire manifesto on the subject. Tell me, Mr. Black. Do you believe Mr. de Killer to be an idiot? Because even if his honor was questioned, he certainly wouldn't kill Ms. Burg in such an obvious manner with you and Ms. Jeager tailing him! He wouldn't last long as an assassin if he pulled something like this!"

"Draw!"

Black drew his guns again, recoiling from my logic.

"It's time you stopped beating around the bush and explained yourself, Mr. Black." I said. "What exactly happened this morning?"

Black snorted. "Why are you asking me? I was unconscious, remember?"

"It still doesn't explain why the murder took place here instead of closer to the courthouse." I said. "And I'm not letting you weasel your way out of this one. You will give your testimony on this matter to the best of your ability."

Black glared at me. "If that's the way you want to play it, varmint, then that's how we'll play it. But I warn you, I'm losing my patience with you."

"And I with you." I countered, not bothering to keep my thoughts silent. He was definitely hiding something, and I had to figure out what if I was to get to the bottom of this mystery.

--------------------

Testimony: What Happened

--------------------


"We started leading Ms. Burg to the courthouse at around 9:15 AM." said Black. "About ten minutes into our stroll, I was knocked out. When I came to, we were in this here park for whatever reason."

This was tricky. He wasn't giving me much to work with. But I knew that this story still had a hole in it, I would do whatever I could to exploit it. I listened intently to his testimony again.

"About ten minutes into our stroll, I was knocked out."

" :holdit: Exactly where were you knocked out?" I inquired.

"What, do you expect me to keep track of this sort of thing?" asked Black.

"Answer the question, bucko." growled Badd, glaring at Black and reaching into his trench coat.

"I was knocked out a few streets away from this here park. We weren't even close." said Black.

That right there didn't sound plausible. "Mr. Black, add this statement to your testimony."

"Sure, fine." growled Black.

"We were knocked out a few streets away from the park at around 9:25 AM."

" :objection: " I exclaimed. "Mr. Black, that is highly unlikely."

"You calling me a liar, city boy?" snarled Black, fingering his holster.

"In a word, yes." I said. "According to the autopsy report, Ms. Burg died at the time you were allegedly knocked out. Five minutes later, Agent Doe found her here at Exposé Park. How, may I ask, was the killer able to drag the victim along with you and Ms. Jeager several blocks from the crime scene without being noticed and within a five minute time span?! Even an assassin like Shelly de Killer would find this physically impossible!"

"You don't know nothin'!"

Black drew his guns again and recoiled from my logic.

"The De Killers are not human, you varmint! They're monsters!" he howled. "Nothing is impossible for them!"

"That's very poor reasoning, Mr. Black." I said, tossing back my scarf. "But I have to thank you for finally showing your true colors."

"Huh wha?"

"Even after I have proven that Mr. de Killer had neither the means nor the motive to kill Ms. Burg, you still insist it was him. Why would you do that unless you had some sort of personal grudge against him?"

"Who wouldn't have a grudge against him?! Do you have wax in your ears, city boy?!" bellowed Black. "Why are you getting on my ass about it?!"

" :takethat: Apparently because I have good reason to." I said, presenting Jeager's organizer again. "You and Ms. Jeager made it painfully clear that you both despise the De Killer family on a personal level. You even went so far as to claim that he noticed, and went against his MO to try and throw you off the scent. However, no amount of flimsy reasoning can detract from the fact that Mr. de Killer did not commit this murder! In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd say that you and Ms. Jeager set all this up to get him convicted of murder! You may claim to be a lawman, but no lawman worth his salt would resort to such dirty tactics as taking another life and framing someone else for the deed!"

"Y-ya got me!"

Black recoiled as if he had been shot, and fell to the ground. He looked up, his black eye blazing.

"If only you knew, city boy." he spat. "If only you knew how much of a threat De Killer is! He needs to be brought down at all costs! Jeager and I knew that!"

"Although an infamous assassin, Mr. de Killer is not above the law." I said as Badd handcuffed Black's hands behind his back. "This kind of trap you set up cannot be tolerated, especially since you took another life."

"It wasn't me!" protested Black. "I didn't shoot Burg! It was all Jeager's idea!"

"Save it for the Judge, Mr. Black." growled Badd.

"Mr. Faraday!"

A forensics officer came rushing up to me.

"Report."

"We just tested the ballistic markings on the bullet in Ms. Burg's head, sir." said the officer.

"And?"

"They're from a .35 caliber revolver, sir. The same standard issue revolver given to KB Security."

"Really now." I said, turning back to Black. "Check his weapons."

"Y-yes sir."

The officer did as I asked. Sure enough, one of Black's guns had a bullet missing from the chamber.

"What were you saying about you not being the murderer?" I said with a sneer.

"I-it wasn't me, you varmint!" Black sputtered.

"We'll just see about that." I said. "Badd, we have to clear the air with Ms. Jeager if we're to put an end to this. You there, keep an eye on him. He's under arrest as an accomplice to the murder of Ms. Burg."

"Understood, sir!" said the officer with a salute. With that, Badd and I dashed off back to the scene of the crime.

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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 12: Confrontation: Audrey Jeager
September 30th, 12:21 PM
Exposé Park
Underpass

--------------------------


"Thank you very much for the intel, Ms. Jeager. This will be quite, helpful."

"It is my pleasure, Prosecutor von Karma. I just wish to make sure that justice is served. After all, no one is above the law."

This was not a good sign. It seemed as though Von Karma had already talked to Jeager, and not only that, he believed her story. What was going to happen now?

"Ah, Faraday. How nice of you to join us." said Von Karma. "I was just having a chat with Ms. Jeager here about the De Killer family."

"So I gathered." I said. "What exactly did she tell you?"

Von Karma smirked. "That Shelly de Killer may very well be within our grasp."

"This looks bad, Faraday." Badd whispered to me. "If Ms. Jeager knows that John Doe is really Shelly de Killer... then our case is in trouble."

"I'm well aware of that, Badd." I whispered back. "Which is why I plan to nip this in the bud right here and now." I then turned to Jeager and cleared my throat. "Ms. Jeager, if you don't mind, I'd like to ask you a few questions."

"More questions? I already told Mr. von Karma everything I know." said Jeager. "Ms. Burg was murdered by Shelly de Killer while I was knocked out. There's no other..."

" :objection: " interrupted Von Karma, smirking evilly and wagging his finger. "Allow me to disagree with you on that score, Ms. Jeager. You haven't told me everything."

Jeager's eyes narrowed in disgust. "Wh-what do you mean by that?"

"As you said, you were knocked out when the murder occurred." said Von Karma with a powerful snap of his fingers. "Ergo, your argument is hardly worthy of my time! A Von Karma only seeks the most perfect explanation!"

"Y-you snake!"

Jeager pounded her fists together with incredible force. I had to smile. Manfred von Karma was many things, but "stupid" wasn't one of them.

"What is the meaning of this?! You were believing me a second ago!" bellowed Jeager.

"I said your intel was helpful, not invaluable." said Von Karma, clutching at his shoulder. "Perfection is my only goal, Ms. Jeager, and arresting a man on the basis of profiling and conjecture is hardly the work of a perfect prosecutor."

I would've called him a hypocrite (considering some of his more dubious cases) had I not agreed with him, at least in spirit. No one is perfect, but one thing a prosecutor should strive for besides conviction of the accused is integrity.

"Now, about my questions, Ms. Jeager." I said. "I want to hear what happened up to the point you were knocked out."

"There's no need to get into that." said Jeager haughtily. "As Mr. von Karma said, that has nothing to do with the murder."

"Oh really?" I said. "Because right now, I have Mr. Black under arrest under the suspicion of being an accomplice to the murder of Ms. Burg. It seems you two are hiding something."

Jeager suddenly turned pale. "Black's under arrest? Impossible. You're bluffing."

"Try me, Ms. Jeager." I said, tossing back my scarf.

Jeager was speechless for the longest time. Finally, she gave in.

"Alright. I'll play your game for now." she said. "But I will not tolerate bluffs. You try to weasel your way out, and I'm going to grind you into dust."

"You are hardly in a position to make that kind of threat, you foolish fool." said Von Karma, following up with another powerful snap of his fingers. "Now, proceed with your testimony. But be forewarned. I'd wager that even a fool like Faraday can see through your paper-thin lies."

Even when praising me, he still thinks my performance is unsatisfactory. I thought to myself. Well, no matter. I might as well prove my worth to him by bringing an end to this entire charade.

------------

Testimony: What Happened

------------------


"At 9:15 this morning, Black and I were walking Ms. Burg to the courthouse." said Jeager. "Suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw someone steal Black's gun and knock him out. I was about to retaliate when I was knocked unconscious myself. We woke up in Exposé Park next to Ms. Burg's corpse."

"It seems like she's building upon Mr. Black's testimony." mused Badd. "She's trying to make it look like his story is the truth."

"Well, we already know it isn't." I said. "It's just a matter of proving it."

"I can see why Prosecutor von Karma calls you a fool, Prosecutor Faraday." huffed Jeager. "My story is airtight. Nothing you do can make me recant it."

"This debate has only begun, Ms. Jeager." I said. "Please, repeat your testimony."

Jeager complied.

"Suddenly, out of nowhere, I saw someone steal Black's gun and knock him out."

" :holdit: You never brought this up before." I said, raising an eyebrow.

"It wasn't relevant before." said Jeager. "Remember? That phony FBI agent neglected to mention the bullet wound on purpose."

"Agent Doe will be dealt with in due time, Ms. Jeager. Leave him out of this." said Von Karma. "In the meantime, Faraday brings up a valid point. You and Mr. Black never mentioned this."

"Black didn't mention it because he didn't know." said Jeager. "His guns were returned to him when he came to."

This was just what I needed. "Ms. Jeager, add that last statement to your testimony."

Jeager snorted, but complied.

"Black's guns were returned to him before he realized they were missing."

" :objection: " I exclaimed, tossing back my scarf. "Ms. Jeager, this claim is highly far-fetched."

"And why is that?"

"Because of the guns themselves." I said, presenting the weapon in question. "Notice that one bullet is missing from the chamber of this very gun, and the ballistic markings do indeed match up to the bullet wound in Ms. Burg's head. Are you saying that Mr. Black is so careless that he wouldn't check his own equipment and notice this sooner?!"

Jeager leered at me with hungry eyes, snorting angrily like a bull ready to charge at a matador. "What does that matter? The gun was a ploy to frame us, anyway. Ms. Burg was stabbed with that knife."

"You know, it's funny." I said with a wry smile. "Mr. Black told us that same story, and as it turned out, he was lying."

"But that still doesn't explain when Ms. Burg was shot and stabbed." said Jeager.

"I actually do have an explanation." I said.

"Humph. A frivolous detail at best." said Von Karma. "But, I suppose we can humor you for now, Faraday. Give us your explanation. And it had better be perfect."

"Alright then." I said. "The explanation behind the two causes of death is that one of them was fabricated. Specifically, the stab wound."

"That indeed seems to be the more logical of the two." said Von Karma. "But why was this murder method fabricated, Faraday?"

"It's a complicated story." I said. "And I wish to start by hearing more testimony from Ms. Jeager."

" :holdit: You're just stalling for time!" barked Jeager. "You have no evidence to back up your claim!"

"Actually, I do." I said. "And this is the evidence proving that the stabbing was falsified."

I presented the kunai.

" :takethat: This weapon itself is a kunai, a knife typically used by ninjas." I said. "Now, I may not know as much about the De Killer family as you do, Ms. Jeager, but I do know one thing."

"And what's that?"

"I know that there is another group that you and Mr. Black have a grudge against. The Zangaru clan."

"NEVER MENTION THAT NAME!"

Jeager pounded her fists into each other with incredible force. It seemed as though I struck a nerve.

"What is this foolishness all about, Faraday?" inquired Von Karma, seeming less disturbed and more intrigued by this turn of events.

"Allow me to explain, Mr. von Karma." said I. "The Zangaru clan are a band of ninjas from across the world. They don't usually operate here in LA, but it seems that Ms. Jeager has some sort of history with them judging by her reaction."

"And what of it?" Jeager sputtered. "Are you claiming they did this?"

"Maybe." I said, not ready to play my trump card just yet. "What about you? Plan to recant your theory about Shelly de Killer?"

"Maybe." Jeager countered, regaining her composure. "What exactly do you want from me, Mr. Faraday? A confession?"

That would be nice. I thought to myself.

"I didn't kill Ms. Burg, if that's what you're thinking." said Jeager. "I have an alibi."

"In light of these recent events? I highly doubt it." said Von Karma. "Nonetheless, I suppose we should hear you out. Innocent until proven guilty, after all."

"At least someone has some brains around here." scoffed Jeager.

---------------

Argument: Jeager's Alibi

--------------------


"There is no evidence tying me to this murder." said Jeager. "Shelly de Killer has the motive, the Zangaru clan owns the knife, and the bullet came from Black's gun. I am nowhere in that equation, as you can plainly see. Ergo, it could not have been me. That is my alibi."

"She has a point, Faraday. There's no evidence tying to her." said Badd.

"This is no time to give up, Badd." I said. "There is a major hole in her argument, and I'm going to exploit it for all it's worth."

Jeager narrowed her eyes. "You'd like that, wouldn't you, Mr. Faraday? But I'm afraid you're merely delusional. Such a hole does not exist, and I'll prove it to you." With that, she repeated her argument.

"Shelly de Killer has the motive, the Zangaru clan owns the knife, and the bullet came from Black's gun."

" :holdit: Seeing as I already established Mr. de Killer's lack of motive to Mr. Black, I would be wasting my breath repeating myself." I said. "That being said, how do you know the knife belongs to the Zangaru clan?"

"Simple. It has their markings on it." said Jeager. "Now do you see, Mr. Faraday? My alibi is airtight."

"Oh, I see alright." I said. "I see that your alibi is nothing more than a paper tiger in a wind storm."

"What?! That's nonsense! What did I tell you about bluffing?!" Jeager boomed. "Nothing ties me to the murder! What does your statement about the knife have to do with anything?!"

" :takethat: You left out a major factor in your explanation." I said, presenting the notes on the Zangaru clan. "The Zangaru clan are ninjas who strike swiftly, and leave no trace behind. If they were to blame for this murder, why would they leave the knife?"

"Something tells me you already know why, Faraday." said Von Karma, clutching at his shoulder.

"Indeed I do." I said. "It is because the Zangaru clan are special ninjas. They leave traps."

"What do you mean? Ninjas have traps." said Jeager.

"Not like this." I said. "They leave traps that are meant to confuse. What might seem like a murder is nothing more than bait for bigger prey. And although ironic, it's through the help of the law that I they will finally catch their prey, as well as expose the true mastermind behind this murder!"

"I have no idea what you're talking about!" shrieked Jeager. "You have nothing tying me to this murder! Nothing!"

" :takethat: Actually, I do." I said, presenting Yuné's intel. "Lately, Zangaru ninjas that have been arriving here in the States have been picked off, being killed or framed for murders that they did not commit. We already know how you feel about the Zangaru clan, Ms. Jeager, and we also know what your position is on the De Killer family. Ergo, it is through this that you are tied to this murder."

"What? How? I don't believe you!" snapped Jeager, her face turning white as a sheet.

"It's quite simple." I said. "Ms. Burg didn't actually kill Mercy de Killer. You planted her at the crime scene and had me arrest her. But when she got to court, she could've easily plea bargained and exposed you. So, to effectively kill two birds with one stone, you led her here to Exposé Park, used Mr. Black's gun to shoot her, and try to pin the blame on Shelly de Killer! But what you didn't count on was that Mr. de Killer formed an alliance with the Zangaru clan, who set themselves up as patsies for your crime just so that they could finally catch you and stop your mad schemes! In taking another life to catch an infamous assassin, you've become no better than he is, Ms. Jeager!"

Jeager's eyes widened, and her pupils dilated. "H-how could this happen? This is not possible. I-I refuse to accept this!"

She then drew her sidearm, her eye twitching madly. "As long as I still stand, I will not rest until this world is safe from all those who treat human life with such negligence! And if killing you all is what it takes to make that dream come true, then that's the price I'll have to pay!"

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 13: A Hypocrite's Vendetta
"What's the meaning of this?!" snarled Badd, reaching into his trench coat.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Detective." said Jeager. "I've got a very itchy trigger finger right now, and you don't want to set me off."

"This doesn't change the fact that you're a hypocrite, Ms. Jeager." I said. "Nothing justifies murder."

"Fight fire with fire, I say." said Jeager. "I've watched too many people die by the hands of assassins. They are all inhuman scum that must be purged from this life!"

"Then, you killed Dr. Yujest?" I asked.

"Oh, I wish I did." said Jeager with an evil grin. "But, someone else got to her first. I struck a deal with Burg to take the fall in order to snag another one of those Zangaru bastards, but she double-crossed me and backed out. She died like the coward she is."

"Then I was right. You and Mr. Black were in on this all along." said Von Karma. "Ms. Jeager, you are under arrest."

"You're not going to send me up the river, you stiff-neck." Jeager spat, waving her gun around. "Many men and women died because of those assassins. I have to destroy them all!"

"About time you showed your true colors, Ms. Jeager."

Wren leapt into our midst from the overpass, looking quite serious indeed.

"Ah, nice of you to join us." said Jeager, now pointing her gun at Wren. "You tried to foil my plans, didn't you? Well, it didn't work. I will still come out with both your and Shelly's heads on my wall, you psychopathic animal!"

Wren's eyes narrowed. "Animal? You kill several people in cold blood, laugh at the misery of my clan, and take advantage of the emotions of a grieving brother, and you call me the animal?!"

"Why not? That's what you are." said Jeager, her voice dripping with venom. "No life is sacred to you lot. All you do is hunt and kill, with no regard for your fellow man. You might as well be animals."

"Not so fast! That's bullshit and you know it!" snapped Wren. "Shelly de Killer might have a dirty job, but he's still human. So am I, so are you, so is everyone standing here right now. People die every day in this world, and it's a tragedy. But that's no reason to hunt down my clan as if we were a pack of rabid wolves!"

"She's right, Ms. Jeager." I said, stepping forward. "Would the world be better without assassins? Maybe. Does that give us the right to go out of our way to slaughter them? Absolutely not. What you're proposing is genocide, an act that I'll bet even Shelly de Killer would shy away from."

"You weren't there!" Jeager snapped, her eye twitching more. "You didn't see grown men and women dropping like flies right in front of you! You didn't hear their death cries! You didn't smell their blood! It's all because assassins are allowed to roam free! I have to stop them! I have to destroy them all, and establish myself as a true champion of the law!"

Wren suddenly struck a meditative pose. I could tell she was getting steamed. To be honest, so was I.

"Champion of the law?" I said. "You're contradicting yourself, Ms. Jeager. First you say you want to make the world safe from assassins, now it's fame and glory you're after? Which is it?"

"Fame and glory is but a by-product of my heroism, Mr. Faraday." said Jeager. "What I want is for all who murder to fear my name! And then, no one else will die on my watch! That is my dream! And that is why I can't have you around screwing things up! Black!"

I heard the click of a hammer from behind. I turned, and to my surprise, Bartholomew Black was free from his handcuffs and armed.

"I told you we couldn't trust them, Jeager." he said. "I'll take the ninja. I got a reputation to keep, after all."

"Of course, Black." said Jeager with a wicked smile. "Unlike Burg, I'm not going to go back on our deal."

"This looks like trouble, Faraday." growled Badd. "Any bright ideas?"

"I'm working on it." I said, my mind and heart racing in unison. This was probably what Wren meant by watching my back. But what were we supposed to do? These two weren't messing around. If we so much as twitched, we'd be dead. I looked over to Wren, who still seemed to be meditating. Suddenly, her eyes snapped open.

"The lives you save and the lives you make, are greater than the lives you take. You know who said that?"

Jeager gave Wren a quizzical look. "Who?"

"My master, Shinion Zangaru. A ninja of the highest caliber, skilled in espionage, sabotage, and yes, even assassination. Not so inhuman now, are we?"

Before Jeager could respond, Wren threw a smoke bomb, blinding everyone.

"Mr. Faraday, take your partner and the blowhard and get out of here." Wren suddenly whispered to me. "I'll handle the rest."

"You'd willingly say that to a prosecutor?" I asked. "I understand how important this is to you, but is killing Ms. Jeager really the answer here? If you do that, you'll just prove her point."

"We don't have time to argue, and we can't bring them down the legal way." Wren hissed. "What choice do I have?"

"I'm not letting you do this, Ms. Zangaru." I said firmly. "Enough blood has been spilt already. There's no need to..."

"Stop talking about what you don't understand." snapped Wren. There was a certain intensity in her voice. "My mission was to eliminate the cause of the vendetta against our clan. If I fail, my punishment will be more severe than anything your courts can dish out. Do you think I want to do this? I have no choice."

Before I could speak, the smoke cleared. Badd and Von Karma already got away, probably to get backup.

"Black, chase them down. The couldn't have gotten far." said Jeager.

"But..."

"Do it, Black. I got this covered."

Black snorted, and ran off.

"Now, let's end this, shall we?" said Jeager, taking aim.

"Yes, let's."

From behind Jeager, Shelly de Killer appeared and took hold of the mad security guard, holding her at knifepoint.

"Let go of me!" Jeager protested, struggling in De Killer's grip. "Let go, or I'll kill you!"

"You're hardly in a position to say that." said De Killer. "In a matter of moments, Detective Badd and Mr. von Karma will be back with an entire police force. Your little campaign ends here."

Jeager suddenly grinned evilly. "Well, if I'm going down, I'm taking you with me, Shelly de Killer!"

She opened up the cow skull shoulder pad and pulled out a grenade.

"Don't try to bluff, Ms. Jeager. You don't have access to that." said De Killer, maintaining his cool despite the precarious situation.

"Never underestimate me, De Killer. I was saving this bad boy just for you." said Jeager with a wink. "But first..."

Her motions a blur, she kicked up the gun that De Killer caused he to drop and fired at me. Before I could do anything, Wren shoved me out of the way. Looking up, I saw her nursing a wound in her shoulder.

"Th-this is impossible!" I heard Jeager sputterer. "A killer, saving another man's life?! That's a contradiction!"

"Like I said, we're all human at the end of the day." said Wren. "I wasn't about to let a man who put aside his animosity towards me and helped me in my mission die so needlessly. I saved him because he was in danger. That's what people who have compassion do."

"N-no! You don't have compassion! You can't!" shrieked Jeager, traveling very far off the deep end. "I-I- Gragh!"

In a fit of rage and confusion, she pulled the pin on her grenade. De Killer let her go and slipped away before it went off. As it turned out, Jeager was bluffing. It was nothing more than a stinger grenade, usually employed by SWAT.

"You know what? I don't want to kill her anymore." said Wren. "It's a punishment enough just being her. I'm sure Master Shinion will *oof* understand."

"You okay?" I asked, getting up.

Wren looked at me. "Why do you care?" she inquired, blushing behind her cowl.

I smiled. "Because that's what people who have compassion do." I answered.

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Chapter 14: Points of View
September 30th, 1:15 PM
Exposé Park
Underpass

------------------


After placing Jeager under arrest, the police searched the park for Black and De Killer. Nearly twenty minutes later, neither of them were found.

"They must've fled the park by now, Von Karma." said Badd. "I suggest we call off the search. There's nothing more... we can do."

Von Karma snorted. I could tell that he wasn't very keen on the idea. "Very well." he said reluctantly. "There will be another time I suppose. For no man is above the law."

"Ms. Jeager seemed to think Shelly de Killer was." I said. "That's why she took the law into her own hands."

Von Karma snickered. "This is why you are and always will be a fool, Faraday. A prosecutor should always strive for perfection, and nothing must stand in his way. And a perfect conviction is what I shall achieve at tomorrow's trial. Good day."

With that, he marched off without so much as a "thank you". Typical for Von Karma, I suppose.

"Well, at least that's over with." said Wren, still nursing the bullet wound in her shoulder the best she could given her handcuffs. Wren was put under arrest for tampering with evidence, although knowing her, she wasn't going to remain in custody for long.

"There's something that's still bothering me." I mused. "We never found out who murdered Dr. Yujest, did we?"

"Yeah, that's right." Badd concurred. "But to be honest... Ms. Burg was the only lead we had... and she was planted there by Ms. Jeager. I think this one's gonna have to remain unsolved."

"Yeah. A crying shame, that." said Wren. "At least I can start freeing the members of my clan that have been imprisoned by Jeager's tactics."

"How are you going to do that?" I inquired.

"Sorry, but part of my job is not telling you that bit." said Wren sheepishly. "Don't worry, I don't plan to kill anyone or anything."

That didn't sound all that reassuring. I thought to myself. "Ms. Zangaru, I don't want you to do anything reckless."

Wren smiled. "I didn't know you cared, Mr. Faraday."

"Why wouldn't I?" I said. "That bullet wound isn't going to go away on its own, you know. Besides, if you plea your case to the courts, I'm sure they'll give the members of your clan a retrial."

"Yeah, whereupon they'll bring back the guillotine." said Wren bitterly. "They may be in there for false crimes, but in the eyes of the law, we're still criminals. I need to do this my way, because your way's not gonna work."

"How is that different from Ms. Jeager taking the law into her own hands?" I asked, folding my arms.

Wren snickered. "You know, normally I'd get mad for you comparing me to that madwoman, but I actually see what you're getting at. Listen, Mr. Faraday. Your laws aren't the only laws out there. And what's more, they can't keep everyone in line. The Zangaru clan have their own laws and code of ethics, as do the De Killers and any other criminal group you may come across. What is illegal to you is necessary to me."

"But what if you don't agree with your laws?" I asked. "What if, say, you're hesitant to kill your target? What then?"

Wren blushed. "Y-you're just trying to get a rise out of me, prosecutor. It won't work."

"I'm being serious." I said firmly. "Ms. Zangaru, laws were created to maintain order in society, not to govern people's lives. If you disagree with a law, you should have the power to change it."

Wren shook her head. "Again, you're missing the point, Mr. Faraday. Your laws are not the same as my laws. We come from two different backgrounds. We have different ways of seeing things."

"And yet, we still see similarities in each other." I said with a smile, putting a hand on Wren's good shoulder. "Even if our laws our different, our morals are still the same. I couldn't have taken down Ms. Jeager without your help. Thank you."

Wren's face became bright scarlet. "I-I guess I should thank you as well. I'm almost sorry for all the shit I put you through."

"Yeah, one thing I don't get." said Badd. "Why did you want Faraday to take this case, anyway?"

"Because he had a right to know." said Wren with a shrug. "A Zangaru ninja makes great strides to know everything they can about their target."

"Another one of your laws?" I asked.

"One of several." said Wren. She then chuckled. "You know? You're not half bad for a prosecutor, and your partner is a real stand-up guy, too. You really helped me see things from a different point of view. Thanks."

"I could say the same to you, Ms. Zangaru." I said.

Suddenly, to my surprise, Wren leaned in and gave me a peck on the cheek. "Call me Wren, Mr. Faraday." she whispered in my ear. "I hope we meet again."

With that, she disappeared in a puff of smoke.

"And there she goes." muttered Badd. "Von Karma's not gonna be happy about this. You gonna be alright, Faraday?"

"Yeah." I said absently, still rubbing my cheek. "I'll be just fine. Say, Badd?"

"Yeah?"

"Do you think we'll bump into Wren again?"

Badd shrugged. "This is outside... my area of expertise, Faraday. You gotta work this out on your own."

I sniggered. "Point taken, partner." I said. "Point taken."

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Spoiler: Turnabout Raven Epilogue: Compromise
Back to Present Day

-----------------


I didn't know it then, but that case impacted me in more ways than one. Not only did it give me a certain perspective on law, but it was through that case that I met a remarkable woman. A woman who was cryptic and deceptive, but still a good person at heart. We didn't agree on everything, but it was what we did agree on that brought us closer. Heck, I'd go so far to say the way we challenged each other's perspectives on life and law also brought us closer together. Love is strange like that.

"Daddy! Mommy's home!"

Kay's declaration interrupted my thoughts. As I suspected, I barely got any of my paperwork done. I sighed. It looks like I was going to have another all-nighter tonight.

I got up from my desk and went to greet my wife at the door. Sure enough, she disappeared on me. She always did this. I closed my eyes, and counted backwards from five in my head.

Five, four, three, two, one...

"Boo!"

My wife had snuck up from behind me and wrapped her arms around me. I chuckled.

"You know, Wren. It's not much of a surprise if you do this every day." I said.

"Kay told me you weren't in the mood for surprises." said Wren, giving me a peck on the cheek. "She said you had a hard day."

"Yeah, kinda." I sighed. "Today's trial was brutal. And worst yet, Mr. von Karma really laid into me."

"Somehow I'm not surprised." said Wren, rolling her eyes. "That blowhard really doesn't know how hard you're working, Byrne."

"Well, what he doesn't know won't hurt him." I said half-jokingly. "What about you?"

Wren sighed. "I, don't want to talk about it. Let's just say I'm sleeping on the couch tonight."

My face darkened. Usually what that meant was: "I killed someone and I don't want you to get mad at me, so I'm punishing myself." It was a system we worked out when we were married.

"Kay, Mommy and I need to be alone for awhile." I said. "We'll let you know when dinner's ready."

"Okay." said Kay, sounding a bit concerned as she wandered off (not that I blame her).

"Wren, I promise not to get mad at you." I said. "What happened?"

Tears welled up in Wren's eyes. "I was, ambushed on a mission. Someone tried to attack me. I-I don't know who it was, but I saw the black card with the white raven in her hand."

That was bad. The black card with the white raven meant whoever attacked Wren was under orders from the smuggling ring I was pursuing as the Yatagarasu. Badd was always careful about covering our tracks, so that only meant one thing: Wren was risking her neck to help me in my quest.

"Wren, I told you before. This is my fight." I said soothingly. "You've helped me enough. You taught me the skills I needed for infiltration, which is invaluable to the Yatagarasu. I can take it from here."

"That doesn't mean I can't worry about you, though." said Wren with a sniffle.

"I know." I said with a smile. "Look, you don't have to sleep on the couch tonight. I'll forget about this whole thing on one condition. Let me be the one to shoulder the burden of the Yatagarasu."

Wren thought for a moment, and smiled. "Alright, you win. But know that if you ever do need help, you can always ask me."

"Alright." I said. "So, shall we get dinner on the go?"

"I thought you'd never ask."

With that, I got started on dinner while Wren got herself settled. To others, it may seem strange for a prosecutor to have a ninja for a wife, but at the end of the day, seeing each other as well as our beloved daughter makes even the most stressful day worthwhile. While I have no regrets in walking the path of the Yatagarasu, it's really my family that makes the whole thing bearable. And someday, the Yatagarasu will catch their prey and put an end to the KG-8 incident. That was a promise Badd and I made to our third member, Calisto Yew. And I have no intention of breaking it anytime soon.

Of course, that case wasn't the last time I would see Wren Zangaru, nor would it be the last case where my perspective on law was called into question. But, those are stories for another time.

-------------

Turnabout Raven
~
End

------------------

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Title: Psyche-Lockdown
Author: Little_Thief
Rating: 13+ for disturbing imagery and some violence
Genre: Drama/Character Study
Status: Complete
Pairings: Phoenix/Maya (implied due to character perspective)
Summary: Three years after State v. Iris, an older and wiser Pearl Fey begins to feel the true weight of that horrible incident. To make matters more complicated, the elders have requested that she take on a gifted pupil who is afraid of spirit channeling. Can she handle the responsibility of teaching this acolyte while coping with the horrors of years past?

Spoilers from Justice for All, Trials and Tribulations, and Apollo Justice abound. This also ties into one of my stories on the Objection Archive, which I will note once that website is back up.

Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 1: Sinister Precursor
When I had opened my eyes, I could see nothing but a black, empty void. It was so disorienting, I didn't even know if I was standing on anything. What was this place?

"Poor, pathetic little girl. You couldn't even fulfill Mother's final request."

I spun around to the voice, and my eyes widened with horror. There floating in front of me was a woman I remember all too well. Long, red hair. Kind, brown eyes. Skin as smooth as silk. A pink dress that matched her parasol and the butterflies that flew around her.

"Y-you're Dahlia Hawthorne." I stammered, my heart beginning to race. "Wh-what are you doing here?"

"Oh, nothing much." said Dahlia with a flick of her hair. "I was just wondering how you were able to live with yourself after failing to fulfill Mother's wish."

"It wasn't my fault!" I protested, trying to defend myself. "I was too young! I couldn't stay up that late! Besides, if I knew what Mother was planning, I wouldn't have helped her anyway!"

"See, I was wondering about that." said Dahlia, stroking her chin in thought. "Mother wanted you to be the Kurain Master. Not that airhead Maya. You. Are you telling me that just because you love your cousin oh-so-very-much, you'd let all of that power slip right through your fingers?"

"If that power means killing someone, I'd rather not have it!" I retorted. "I would never do anything to harm Mystic Maya!"

Dahlia's eyes narrowed, and she leered at me in a way that sent chills up my spine. "Pearly, you didn't need to do anything. All you had to do was channel me, and let me handle everything."

I gasped, and started to back away. "No. No, I'm not going to let you hurt Mystic Maya! I'll never channel you, you hear me?! Never!"

I turned and ran away as fast as my legs could carry me. Who could I run to? Where could I hide? It didn't matter, as long as I could get away from Dahlia. I ran and ran and ran...

Only to run into Dahlia again.

"Going somewhere, Pearly?" she asked in a syrupy sweet voice.

I turned and ran back the way I came. But no matter what I did, Dahlia was right there, waiting for me. Eventually, I tripped and fell.

"It seems as though you are too naïve to carry out Mother's final wish." said Dahlia. "Oh well. I'll just have to do this myself."

She then reached into her dress and pulled out a golden necklace with a heart pendant at the end. Inside the pendant was a crystal vial filled with some sort of liquid.

"What are you planning to do with that?" I asked.

"I am going to sacrifice your life for my goals, just as Mother tried to sacrifice your happiness for hers." said Dahlia. "Here, catch."

She suddenly threw her parasol at me. As I caught it, it burst into flames in my hands, catching me off-guard and allowing Dahlia to dash in and grab me by the throat.

"You are going to die, Pearl Fey." she said in a tone that my mother often used to lull me to sleep. "You are going to die, and I will have your body for my own."

Before I could protest the impossibility of her wild scheme, she poured the contents of the vial down my throat and forced to me swallow. It tasted like cough medicine mixed with molding clay.

"Once I have your body, I'll kill Maya Fey properly and become Master of Kurain." said Dahlia. "And then, nothing will stand in my way! Not Mother, not Mia, not even Feenie or my backstabbing twin! I'll destroy them all, and vengeance will finally be mine!"

I suddenly coughed, and felt something wet drip onto my hand. I stared down in horror, seeing my own blood. As I felt my life slipping away, Dahlia stood over me, laughing. It felt like I was drowning in my own sorrow. With the last of my strength, I shed a single tear...

-----------------


I awoke with a start, panting heavily. As I felt air enter my lungs and looked around my bedroom, I sighed with relief. It was all just a dream. A terrible dream, but a dream nonetheless. I saw that it was still dark out, so I tried to go back to sleep. I didn't want Mystic Maya to think I was a baby by waking her up so late at night just because of a bad dream.

My name is Pearl Fey. I'm a spirit medium who lives in Kurain Village with my cousin, Mystic Maya. The elders say that I'm a channelling prodigy (I think that means I'm a very talented spirit medium), and I use my powers to help Mystic Maya and her special someone, Mr. Nick. For nine years, I led a very sheltered life, and I didn't know a lot about the world around me. But after a particular trial, that all changed.

Three years ago, my mother tried to trick me into channeling an evil spirit named Dahlia Hawthorne to kill Mystic Maya. She wanted me to do this so that I could become the Kurain Master. Luckily, her plan was foiled by my aunt, Mystic Misty, a prosecutor named Mr. Armando, and of course, Mr. Nick. I don't think I understood fully the implications of what happened back then. But now that I'm older, I'm starting to understand everything behind that tragedy. As I drifted off back to sleep, I had a bad feeling in my stomach that the nightmare I just had was only the beginning of my troubles...

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
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Last edited by Little_Thief on Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:13 am, edited 8 times in total.
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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 2: Responsibilities
The next morning, I explained my nightmare to Mystic Maya over breakfast. When I was finished, she had a concerned look in her eyes.

"Pearly, why didn't you tell me about this last night?" she asked, placing a hand on my cheek.

"I didn't want you to think I was a baby." I answered honestly.

Mystic Maya then pulled me into a hug. "Pearly, I don't think you're a baby." she cooed. "If you ever need to talk about something, you can come to me any time of day. I don't mind."

"But what about your duties as Kurain Master?" I asked. "I don't want to intrude on that."

Mystic Maya laughed. "Oh, Pearly. You're such a worrywart sometimes. I said I'd be able to handle this responsibility, and I meant it."

"If you say so, Mystic Maya." I said with a small smile. It was hard to be sad around Mystic Maya. She was always so energetic and happy, especially around her special someone. She was someone who could cheer you up no matter what. And even then, she is as responsible as she claims to be, even if she doesn't act like it half the time (at least, that's what Mr. Nick tells me). Maybe she was right. Maybe there was nothing to worry about.

A knock on the door interrupted my thoughts. "I'll get it." I said, getting up and answering the door. Standing in front of me was a middle-aged spirit medium with short, dark purple hair held up by a hairband, and cool olive-colored eyes. It was Jasmine Plume, one of the spirit mediums who lived in Kurain Village.

"Oh, hello Mystic Jasmine." I said with a bow. "What do you need Mystic Maya for this morning?"

"It is not her I seek." said Mystic Jasmine. She always seemed to have a calm serenity to her, but today, something seemed to be on her mind.

"So, what's this about then?" I asked.

"Mystic Pearl, you have been summoned to the Elders' Chamber."

I gasped in surprise. The Kurain Elders wanted to speak to me? Why? Did I do something bad?

"Are you alright, Mystic Pearl?" asked Mystic Jasmine. "You look a bit pale."

"I-I'm fine." I lied, to which Mystic Jasmine gave me a look. Mr. Nick always said I was a terrible liar. "Wh-what do the elders want to see me for?"

"Something of the utmost importance." said Mystic Jasmine. "Come as soon as you can."

"O-okay." I said nervously. As Mystic Jasmine left, my heart was racing. What could the elders want with me? What was so important? I couldn't even begin to imagine.

"Who was it, Pearly?" asked Mystic Maya.

"It was Mystic Jasmine." I said with a gulp. "I-I've been summoned to the Elders' Chamber."

"WHAT?!" exclaimed Mystic Maya. "Why?"

"I don't know. Mystic Jasmine said it was important." I said, shivering a little. "Mystic Maya, I'm scared."

Mystic Maya smiled. "Do you want me to go with you?" she asked.

I nodded. "Yes."

Mystic Maya took me by the hand and gave it a firm squeeze. "It'll be alright, Pearly. I don't think you're in trouble."

I felt my nervousness disappear as she said that. Something about Mystic Maya telling me this made it that much more reassuring. "Thank you, Mystic Maya." I said with a smile.

-----------------


When we arrived at the Elders' Chamber, I still felt a bit nervous. Luckily, Mystic Maya was right there, giving me the confidence I needed. Waiting inside the chamber were the elders of Kurain Village, the oldest and wisest spirit mediums of the Kurain Channeling Technique. Mystic Maya always heeds their counsel when it comes to Kurain matters.

"Mystic Pearl, step forward." said one of the elders.

I gulped, and felt Maya give me a pat on the back. I gave her a quick nod, and approached the elders.

"Y-you wanted to see me?" I asked.

"There's no need to be nervous, Mystic Pearl." said another elder. "You're not in trouble for anything."

Well, that was a lot off my mind. "So, why have you summoned me?" I asked with a bow.

"We wish to have your input on something." said the first elder.

"My input?"

"We were discussing the possibility of giving you a pupil."

I honestly didn't know what to feel. My own pupil? At twelve years old? I mean, I know I am considered to be a prodigy, but this sounded ridiculous.

"Why do you want me to take on a pupil?" I asked.

"As you already know, your spiritual power is something to be commended, Mystic Pearl." said one of the elders. "There is an acolyte who is also incredibly gifted, but she's having trouble living up to her potential."

"What do you mean?"

I heard one of the elders sigh. "She's, afraid of spirit channeling."

I raised an eyebrow. "Come again?"

"It is just as I said." said the elder. "She is frightened of her own power. We have figured that you could help her through this fear, seeing as you are such a talented medium."

"I'm flattered, really." I said. "But, I don't know about this. I mean, I'm only twelve years old. Am I really qualified to take on a student like this?"

"That is for you to decide." said one of the elders.

I looked back at Mystic Maya, trying to get her opinion. She merely shrugged.

"It's your call, Pearly." she said. "Personally, I think you're responsible enough to train this acolyte. You're a hard worker, and you don't ever give up. But, you're still pretty young. I'll understand if you don't want to do this."

At that moment, I felt like the whole world was watching me. Waiting for me to make my decision. Was I truly responsible enough to train this acolyte who was afraid of spirit channeling? How would I deal with this? What exactly was she afraid of? If I didn't take on this student, would everyone think less of me? Time seemed to stand still as I pondered. For a moment, I thought I wasn't breathing.

Finally, I came to a decision.

"I'll do it." I said with a nod. "I promise to train this acolyte, and help her face her fears."

"Understood." said one of the elders. "Your student's name is Erika Plume, Mystic Jasmine's daughter. You will meet her tomorrow to begin your lessons. Thank you for choosing to help her. You are dismissed."

"The honor is all mine." I said with a bow.

With that, I left with Mystic Maya.

"I'm very proud of you, Pearly." she said as we went back home. "You are going to make an excellent teacher, I just know it."

"Thank you, Mystic Maya." I said with a smile. As we walked, I had forgotten what I was so worried about. Even at my age, I could handle a student. And whatever she was afraid of probably wasn't something worth fretting over. I felt like I could do this. Little did I know just what I was getting myself into...

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
My Fanfiction
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Last edited by Little_Thief on Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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After reading Turnabout Raven, I felt like sharing with you what I have to say about it. Considering that the only posts in your thread up to this point are yours, I think it's about time you got some feedback anyway.

That said, I'll say outright that while there are things I liked, I do have some criticism to give as well, so if you'd rather not hear--uh, read--my opinion, just ignore this post and refrain from opening the spoiler box. Also, I'd like to apologize if my review comes off as talking down to you; even veterans need encouragement and criticism, and I try to make sure I'm clear on my position lest the person whose work I'm reviewing takes away the wrong lessons from what I had to say. In addition, you have said that you've written other stories that haven't been posted here yet, and I have no idea how much your style differs (if any) between stories, so please think of my review as only a review of Turnabout Raven, not your work as a whole.

Spoiler: my thoughts on Turnabout Raven
I'll start with the positive.

The case and investigation, while comparatively short, came off feeling very much like something that I would come across in an Ace Attorney Investigations game. You clearly have a good feel for the way the game is set up, and that shows itself in how you break up the chapters and even in your use of "smileys", something I usually advise authors against using--in the case of your story, the "Objection!" smiley and its relatives add a touch of realism to the story, not in such a way as to make me feel as though I am inside the story, but rather as though this is an actual case from Ace Attorney Investigations.

On that note, I'd like to touch on your ability to bring me into the story. It might be my own ability to visualize these things to begin with, but I was able to picture much of what you wrote. Being overly vague can leave a story feeling shallow, yet an excess of detail in the actual text can actually detract from a reader's ability to picture what the author is writing about. In general, you were very good at striking a balance between detail and brevity--the two aren't always opposed, but it's easy for them to end up that way. There were times when I felt as though you added a bit too much detail or said too little, but I believe you have a good sense of where that sweet spot is and have managed to hit it most of the time--failing that, you're always close enough that it doesn't detract much from my ability to immerse myself in the story.

Also, this may seem like a small thing, but it says a great deal about your dedication for your story to be almost completely devoid of spelling errors. I'll admit to being a Grammar Stalinist, though I think this goes beyond my being a stickler for spelling. When reading a story, I want to immerse myself in it; bad spelling reminds me that I'm just sitting in front of my computer. If spelling mistakes are too common, it's pretty much impossible for me to look past the text and see the story itself. More importantly, though, bad spelling implies to me that the author doesn't really care about their story to begin with. Part of improving as an author is having others look at your work and give their input. Presenting a story in which every other word is misspelled is kind of like showing up to a job interview in your pajamas; it tells everyone there that you're not going to give your work the effort it deserves, and that particular first impression is almost always the right impression. So, with that in mind, I'd like to again commend you on your spelling.

All that said, your story was not without its flaws. Rest assured, they are minor flaws, and my overall opinion of the story is a positive one, but I wouldn't feel right posting my opinion if I didn't bring up these things.

I'll concede that Byrne and Wren only just met, so it's only natural that there wouldn't be much in the way of romance. In fact, what bothered me here wasn't so much the lack of romance, but rather the fact that you opened the story by means of romance. Essentially, unless you count little things like Byrne acknowledging that Wren is attractive, there is zero romance outside of the prologue and epilogue. I am of the opinion that the story would have been just as good--maybe even better--without the prologue and epilogue bringing up the fact that Byrne is now married to Wren. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the genre description being "Original Court Case (Investigations style), Romance" is misleading and that "Romance" should be omitted from the description.

The only other real complaint I have is that I felt as though the plot was rushed at times. I'm finding this particular matter hard to put into words, and it's not something I think I can entirely sum up in a review, so I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense. That said, I'm still going to try to explain my problem. This is another balance issue, much like detail versus brevity. I suppose this could be thought of as depth versus action, but it's not as simple as those words make it seem. Having written (and read) my share of romance stories, I have a decent sense of the risks of depth at the expense of action, though action at the expense of depth is also possible, as I've seen in your story and in some of those of other authors (I wouldn't be surprised if I was guilty of this at times, too). On the matter of why I was bothered here, a lack of depth, coupled with a fast-moving plot, can make a story feel chaotic--and not in a way that shows the reader how chaotic the setting is. Taking time out from advancing the plot--even a single paragraph--to collect a character's thoughts, look into his/her mind, and so on, can also help the reader stay immersed in the story. This isn't always an easy thing, so I strongly recommend looking at the stories other users have written. Due to the amount of emotion involved, romance stories (well, the good ones, anyway) tend to provide good examples in their text of what I'm talking about.

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General Luigi wrote:
Spoiler: my thoughts on Turnabout Raven
I'll start with the positive.

The case and investigation, while comparatively short, came off feeling very much like something that I would come across in an Ace Attorney Investigations game. You clearly have a good feel for the way the game is set up, and that shows itself in how you break up the chapters and even in your use of "smileys", something I usually advise authors against using--in the case of your story, the "Objection!" smiley and its relatives add a touch of realism to the story, not in such a way as to make me feel as though I am inside the story, but rather as though this is an actual case from Ace Attorney Investigations.

On that note, I'd like to touch on your ability to bring me into the story. It might be my own ability to visualize these things to begin with, but I was able to picture much of what you wrote. Being overly vague can leave a story feeling shallow, yet an excess of detail in the actual text can actually detract from a reader's ability to picture what the author is writing about. In general, you were very good at striking a balance between detail and brevity--the two aren't always opposed, but it's easy for them to end up that way. There were times when I felt as though you added a bit too much detail or said too little, but I believe you have a good sense of where that sweet spot is and have managed to hit it most of the time--failing that, you're always close enough that it doesn't detract much from my ability to immerse myself in the story.

Also, this may seem like a small thing, but it says a great deal about your dedication for your story to be almost completely devoid of spelling errors. I'll admit to being a Grammar Stalinist, though I think this goes beyond my being a stickler for spelling. When reading a story, I want to immerse myself in it; bad spelling reminds me that I'm just sitting in front of my computer. If spelling mistakes are too common, it's pretty much impossible for me to look past the text and see the story itself. More importantly, though, bad spelling implies to me that the author doesn't really care about their story to begin with. Part of improving as an author is having others look at your work and give their input. Presenting a story in which every other word is misspelled is kind of like showing up to a job interview in your pajamas; it tells everyone there that you're not going to give your work the effort it deserves, and that particular first impression is almost always the right impression. So, with that in mind, I'd like to again commend you on your spelling.

All that said, your story was not without its flaws. Rest assured, they are minor flaws, and my overall opinion of the story is a positive one, but I wouldn't feel right posting my opinion if I didn't bring up these things.

I'll concede that Byrne and Wren only just met, so it's only natural that there wouldn't be much in the way of romance. In fact, what bothered me here wasn't so much the lack of romance, but rather the fact that you opened the story by means of romance. Essentially, unless you count little things like Byrne acknowledging that Wren is attractive, there is zero romance outside of the prologue and epilogue. I am of the opinion that the story would have been just as good--maybe even better--without the prologue and epilogue bringing up the fact that Byrne is now married to Wren. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the genre description being "Original Court Case (Investigations style), Romance" is misleading and that "Romance" should be omitted from the description.

The only other real complaint I have is that I felt as though the plot was rushed at times. I'm finding this particular matter hard to put into words, and it's not something I think I can entirely sum up in a review, so I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense. That said, I'm still going to try to explain my problem. This is another balance issue, much like detail versus brevity. I suppose this could be thought of as depth versus action, but it's not as simple as those words make it seem. Having written (and read) my share of romance stories, I have a decent sense of the risks of depth at the expense of action, though action at the expense of depth is also possible, as I've seen in your story and in some of those of other authors (I wouldn't be surprised if I was guilty of this at times, too). On the matter of why I was bothered here, a lack of depth, coupled with a fast-moving plot, can make a story feel chaotic--and not in a way that shows the reader how chaotic the setting is. Taking time out from advancing the plot--even a single paragraph--to collect a character's thoughts, look into his/her mind, and so on, can also help the reader stay immersed in the story. This isn't always an easy thing, so I strongly recommend looking at the stories other users have written. Due to the amount of emotion involved, romance stories (well, the good ones, anyway) tend to provide good examples in their text of what I'm talking about.


First off, I'd like to thank you for the criticism, and I'm glad you enjoyed the story overall. I think this'll really help in my future work.

Spoiler: Response to commentary on Turnabout Raven
I'm glad you noticed the smileys. This is something I tried my best to reproduce in the Objection Archives, but here, it's a lot more authentic. If it felt like an actual case from the games, that indeed was my intention. That being said, I understand what you mean by recommending against them, and I'll be sure to keep that in mind when I'm not writing court cases.

About the Romance category. When I originally came up with the idea for this case, I planned for there to be a lot more moments between Byrne and Wren than there actually were. But as I continued writing, I realized that if I did do that, they would be strangled by the Red String as it were, and that was not going to work. So, you're right. The Romance category is a misnomer (although it might be up to interpretation, I'm not sure).

I also admit that my pacing is spotty. I had this problem in the Objection Archives as well (though oddly enough, no one brought that up) where the conclusion was a lot more abrupt and anti-climactic than I had originally intended. It's indeed one of my weaknesses as a writer, and I thank you for the advice to help me fix the problem.

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 3: Lonesome Fear
The next day, I reported straight to the Channeling Chamber to meet my new student. As I entered the room, I was greeted by Mystic Jasmine.

"Thank you again for helping my daughter, Mystic Pearl." she said with a bow. "This is certainly going to be a challenge for you."

"I'm confident in my abilities, Mystic Jasmine." I said confidently. "You and Mystic Erika have nothing to worry about."

"I'm sure we don't." said Mystic Jasmine with a smile. She then turned behind her. "Erika, say hello to your teacher."

From behind Mystic Jasmine, a small child poked her head out and stared at me with olive-colored eyes. She was almost a spitting image of her mother, with the same eyes and the same dark purple hair. If I had to guess, she was about six years old.

"I am not worthy of your teachings, Mystic Pearl." said the child, bowing her head.

"Nonsense." I said, shaking my head. "The elders say there is a lot of potential within you, and I'm going to make sure you live up to it."

"Mama, are you sure this is okay?" asked Mystic Erika. "I don't want to disappoint her."

"It'll be fine, Erika." said Mystic Jasmine soothingly. She knelt down and kissed her forehead. "I believe in you."

"Th-thank you, Mama." said Mystic Erika with a bow. "I'll try my best."

"I know you will." said Mystic Jasmine. With that, she left us alone in the Channeling Chamber. An uncomfortable silence hung in the air as I began thinking about where to begin.

"Mystic Erika, do you know anything about spirit channeling?" I asked, breaking the silence.

"Oh yes." said Mystic Erika. "Mama taught me a lot about it. But I've never done it myself."

"The elders told me you were afraid of spirit channeling. Is that true?"

Mystic Erika gulped. "Y-yes. I-I am afraid."

"Can you tell me why?"

Mystic Erika began to shiver. "I-I'm afraid of being alone."

That confused me. "What do you mean?"

"Mama said that when you channel someone, you disappear for a time." said Mystic Erika. "I-I'm afraid of what that might feel like. Floating around in a state of non-existence, all alone."

I raised an eyebrow. "That's what all the fuss is about? Mystic Erika, non-existence means you don't exist. You're not going to feel anything."

Mystic Erika shook her head. "But I'm afraid of non-existence. What if I get lonely, and no one is there to help me? I'm sorry, Mystic Pearl. But that thought is just too scary for me to go through with this."

I was beginning to see why the elders were seeing this as a problem. It's true that while channeling a spirit, the spirit medium does not exist during that time. If Mystic Erika was afraid of that, she would never live up to her potential.

"Mystic Erika, I understand why you're afraid." I said. "But this fear is not going to go away on its own. You can't let this paralyze you."

Mystic Erika sighed. "It's not that easy for me, Mystic Pearl. I don't want to be alone. Do you know what it's like to be all alone?"

I sighed, and cast my eyes downward. "Actually, I do."

"You do?"

"Three years ago, I ran away and hid from Mystic Maya because I thought she didn't love me anymore." I said, trying to fight back my tears. "I was so mad at myself. I thought I was a horrible person. And what was worse was that Mystic Maya came looking for me because she was so worried."

Mystic Erika tilted her head. "Mystic Pearl, what exactly happened between you and Mystic Maya that made you feel this way?"

That kind of put me on the spot. We just met, and already she was asking difficult questions. And what's more, they weren't questions that pertained to anything related to spirit channeling. What was I supposed to tell her?

"I'd, rather not talk about it." I said. "It's something that I've been trying to get over."

Mystic Erika then walked over to me, and gave me a pat on the arm. "Thank you for trying, Mystic Pearl. But I don't think that's what it means to feel truly alone. And because of that, it's not really related to my fear. I'm sorry, but this isn't going to work."

That was the last thing I wanted to hear. I was not about to fail. I couldn't fail. I had to prove to the elders that I was responsible enough to help this acolyte.

"Mystic Erika, please." I said firmly. "I don't want to give up on you like this. I said I'd help you through this fear, and I meant it. I'm not giving up on you, no matter what."

Mystic Erika paused to think for a minute, and then smiled a serene smile. "It seems that you've made your decision, Mystic Pearl. Very well, I shall continue to be your pupil. But I fear it might be a lost cause."

"I don't believe that." I said. "Like I said, I'm not giving up on you."

"I understand, Mystic Pearl." said Mystic Erika with a bow. "So, how do you want to do this?"

"Well, let's try this." I said. "I'll walk you through a channeling step by step. If at any point you feel lonely or afraid, you can stop. Does that sound alright?"

Mystic Erika nodded. "Okay, Mystic Pearl."

"Good." I said. "Now, let's begin with posture."

As I walked her through my lesson, my mind was elsewhere. Mystic Erika was afraid of being alone. And because of that, she was afraid of the state of non-existence a medium has to go into in order to channel a spirit. Honestly, I couldn't relate to that. How was I supposed to help her through this if I couldn't relate to her fears? Could I relate to her fears? If so, how?

"I can't."

Mystic Erika's words snapped me back to reality. I saw that she didn't channel anyone. This was going to be harder than I thought.

"It's alright, Mystic Erika. It was only the first time." I said. "Now, let's try again..."

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 4: Independence
"So, how was your first lesson, teach?" Mystic Maya asked me teasingly as we sat down for dinner.

I sighed, and cast my eyes downward. "We didn't make much progress. She's still afraid."

"Aw, it's alright Pearly." said Mystic Maya. "It's only the first day, after all. I'm sure Mystic Erika will warm up to you."

"I sure hope so." I said with a sigh.

"So, what exactly is Mystic Erika afraid of, anyway?" asked Mystic Maya as she took a bite out of her burger.

"She's afraid of the state of non-existence." I explained. "She said she doesn't want to be alone."

Mystic Maya raised an eyebrow. "First time I've heard of that happening to an acolyte. How are you going to deal with that?"

"I'll find a way." I said with a weak smile. "Don't worry about me, Mystic Maya."

Mystic Maya sighed. "Pearly, you don't have to put on a brave face for me. If you're stuck, tell me you're stuck. I can help, you know."

Am I really that transparent? I thought to myself. "You're right, Mystic Maya. I don't know what to do. Honestly, I think Mystic Erika is getting worked up over nothing. She can't feel anything in a state of non-existence, much less alone. But I don't want to belittle her feelings."

Mystic Maya struck a thinking attitude. "Well, does Mystic Jasmine know about this?"

"I don't know. I didn't ask." I said. "Why?"

"I think you should." said Mystic Maya. "It might help you understand Mystic Erika better."

"I suppose." I said, getting up from my seat. "Thank you, Mystic Maya. I'll ask her right away."

"Hold on there, Pearly." said Mystic Maya. "I'm glad you're eager, but maybe this should wait until after dinner, yeah?"

"I guess you're right." I said sheepishly. "Sorry, Mystic Maya."

Mystic Maya giggled. "It's alright, Pearly. I know how much this means to you. But I don't want you getting carried away. You always had a tendency to do that. Like remember when you signed Nick and me up for the Ultra Course at Hazakura Temple? Or how about the time you ran all the way from Kurain Village just to watch my trial? Or how about...?"

"I get it, I get it!" I exclaimed, my face turning bright crimson as I stifled a giggle. "Please stop teasing me, Mystic Maya. It's embarrassing."

"There's a smile!" said Mystic Maya cheerfully. "Feel any better, Pearly?"

"Yeah, I guess." I said. "Thank you, Mystic Maya."

"Anything for my little cousin." said Mystic Maya, giving me a pat on the head. "Now, let's eat!"

"Alright." I said as I sat back down. That's what I love about Mystic Maya. She's always able to put a smile on my face.

------------------


After dinner, I went to see Mystic Jasmine. As I walked over to her house, someone rushed by me. I saw that it was Mystic Erika.

"Oh! Hello, Mystic Pearl!" she said happily. "I was just playing a game with Mystic Winona. Want to join us?"

"No, thank you." I said. "I have to talk to Mystic Jasmine about something."

"Alright then." said Mystic Erika. "Maybe another time."

"Yeah, maybe." I said absently as I saw Mystic Jasmine watching the two acolytes play. I walked over to her and cleared my throat.

"Hmm? Oh, hello Mystic Pearl." said Mystic Jasmine. "Did you want to see me about something?"

"Yes, actually." I said. "I wanted to ask you about Mystic Erika."

"Yes, she is quite a girl, isn't she?" said Mystic Jasmine. "Has she been asking you tough questions yet?"

My eyes widened. "How did you know?"

"Simple. I raised her." said Mystic Jasmine with a quiet laugh. She then sighed whimsically. "From the day she was born, I've been giving her all of my wisdom, teaching her to look beyond the surface and to ask questions. You'll find that she is a very diligent learner."

"But she's so young." I said, watching her play. "Why teach her all this so early?"

Mystic Jasmine smiled. "You're one to talk, Mystic Pearl. I remember Mystic Morgan was very strict with you when you were Erika's age."

"Yeah, I think I see what you're getting at." I said sheepishly. "But anyway, there was something else I wanted to ask about Mystic Erika."

"Oh?"

"Do you know why she's afraid of spirit channeling?"

Mystic Jasmine sighed. "Yes. My little Erika is afraid of being alone. The state of non-existence frightens her."

"If you know this, why aren't you helping her?" I asked. "Why come to me?"

Mystic Jasmine shook her head. "If I did that, I wouldn't be a good mother."

"Huh?"

"Life is all about balance, Mystic Pearl." said Mystic Jasmine. "I care for my daughter a lot. But at the same time, I don't want to coddle her. There are some things that she simply has to learn on her own. She can't depend on me for everything." She sighed. "I shudder to think about what would happen if I were to disappear from her life."

I started to feel uneasy. My mother was completely different. She was very overprotective and strict, and as such, I didn't know a thing about the world outside of Kurain Village. Mystic Jasmine didn't want the same thing to happen to Mystic Erika. It was getting harder and harder for me to relate to my pupil. How was I supposed to teach her anything?

I shook myself. There was no point in thinking like that. I made a promise to the elders, to Mystic Erika, and to myself. And one way or another, I would see it through.

"Mystic Jasmine, I don't want you to worry." I said. "I'll help your daughter through this somehow."

"I know you will, Mystic Pearl." said Mystic Jasmine with a smile. "But try not to push yourself for her sake. She wouldn't want that."

"I'll keep that in mind, Mystic Jasmine." I said. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight, Mystic Pearl."

With that, I headed back to Fey Manor, reflecting on the conversation I just had. Both Mystic Maya and Mystic Jasmine were encouraging me, but they were also telling me not to push myself. But how could I hope to accomplish anything on my own if I didn't push myself? Could I handle this on my own? All of these worries and concerns were making my head spin. I wondered for a brief moment if this was how Mr. Nick felt when the pressure started getting to him in court.

By the time I got home, I felt exhausted from all the stress. Hopefully, I could come up with a plan to help Mystic Erika in the morning. I got myself all ready for bed, and then laid down in my futon for a good night's sleep.

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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 5: Insomnia, Flashback, Comfort
I lay in my futon for hours on end, my eyes wide open. All of my worries about Mystic Erika were keeping me from drifting off into a peaceful slumber. Was I in over my head? Could I handle this alone? I didn't have any answers to those questions.

But one thing I did know was that I wasn't going to give up. If I did that, I'd let everyone down, and I didn't want that to happen again. Not after what happened three years ago.

Three years ago. That was perhaps one of the most difficult years of my life, and it'll probably remain that way until I'm as old as the elders of Kurain Village. First, there was my mother's plan to kill Mystic Maya, and the whole tragedy that spawned from it. That in itself was bad enough, even though I didn't understand the true weight of that tragedy at the time. But then, about two months later, something else happened. Something just as terrible, if not more so...

----------------


It was a peaceful spring day in Kurain Village. I was playing with my ball in the Winding Way as usual when I heard Mystic Maya slam the front door. Concerned, I went to the main hall to greet her.

"Is something wrong, Mystic Maya?" I asked as I arrived.

Mystic Maya thrust a newspaper into my face. I saw a picture of Mr. Nick looking rather dejected, with a caption that said in big bold letters:

FORGING ATTORNEY EXPOSED


I was very confused. "What does this mean, Mystic Maya? Is Mr. Nick in trouble?"

Mystic Maya sighed. "More than you know, Pearly. He was disbarred for presenting forged evidence."

"What does 'dis-barred' mean?"

"It means he can't be a lawyer anymore. The Bar Association took away his badge."

I gasped. "Th-that's horrible! Why did they do that?!"

"Because he presented forged evidence."

"What does that mean?"

"There was a piece of evidence he had that wasn't real, but would've proved his client's innocence if the court accepted it." explained Mystic Maya.

"B-but Mr. Nick doesn't need to do that!" I exclaimed, getting very confused. "Even if his client was guilty, he would've fought for the truth!"

"I know, Pearly. I can't believe it myself." said Mystic Maya with a sigh. "I think that he was set up somehow."

"Poor Mr. Nick." I said. "Maybe you should do something for him. You know, to cheer him up. He is your special someone, after all."

Mystic Maya turned away. "I can't, Pearly."

"Why not?"

"I-I just don't feel like it, okay? Nick will be fine without me."

That didn't sound right. I felt like there was something Mystic Maya wasn't telling me.

"Mystic Maya, did you get in a fight with Mr. Nick over this?" I asked.

"*sniffle* No." said Mystic Maya.

"Then what's wrong?"

Mystic Maya shook her head. "Pearly, just go play. I need to be alone for a while."

I couldn't stand to see Mystic Maya so upset. I walked over to her and wrapped my arms around her waist. Time seemed to stand still as I stood there, hugging Mystic Maya and waiting for a response. Finally, Mystic Maya turned around and pulled me into a tight embrace.

"I should've been there for him, Pearly." she sobbed. "I should've been there, and I wasn't. I-I failed him."

I had to cry a little myself. Mystic Maya was really beating herself up over this.

"It's not your fault, Mystic Maya." I said with a sniffle. "You didn't know this was going to happen, and I'm sure Mr. Nick didn't, either. Besides, even if it was, I know he'd forgive you."

Mystic Maya sighed. "I still feel like I could've done more, Pearly. I didn't mean to leave Nick hanging."

"Your duties to the Kurain came first, Mystic Maya. It wasn't something you could control." I said. "Besides, nothing has stopped Mr. Nick before, right?"

"Well, no. But..."

"So why should this stop him now?"

I looked up into Mystic Maya's eyes. As I did so, a smile crossed her face. Suddenly, she started to giggle.

"I can just imagine it now." she said between laughs. "'Phoenix Wright: The attorney so dedicated that not even disbarment stopped him!' Maybe they could make a movie about that!"

"Feeling better, Mystic Maya?" I asked.

"I sure do, Pearly. Thanks." said Mystic Maya, squeezing me tighter. "I'm sure Nick will be alright. If he needs my help, I'll be ready to give it to him. For now, let's hold out for his triumphant return. I believe he'll come out on top, like he always has."

"Me too, Mystic Maya. Me too." I said.


-------------------


We haven't heard from Mr. Nick since he was disbarred, but we haven't given up hope, and I'm sure he hasn't, either. Mystic Maya was really upset about the whole thing, and I was happy to be there to support her. I've always tried my best to support Mystic Maya, even when she was supporting me.

Just as I finished remembering that day, an idea popped into my head. Mystic Maya was hiding her guilt from me when she gave me the news of Mr. Nick's disbarment. Was it possible that Mystic Erika was also hiding something from me about her fear? If that was the case, then I could help her, just like I helped Mystic Maya. At long last, I felt my eyelids grow heavy as I finally drifted off to sleep. I finally had a plan to help Mystic Erika. Maybe this wasn't going to be so bad after all.


Spoiler: Author's Notes for Chapter 5
This is more or less my interpretation of why Maya wasn't there to help Phoenix during State v. Enigmar. It might also explain why she wasn't there to help him investigate. Being Master of Kurain is hard work. :sad-maya:

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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 6: Nightmare Exchange
"Just focus, Mystic Erika. You can't let this fear hold you back."

"I'm trying my best, Mystic Pearl. But I just can't bring myself to do it."

I sighed. It was almost noon, and we were making just as much progress as we were yesterday. All morning long, I kept trying to build Mystic Erika's confidence, but she was still too afraid to channel anyone. It was time for me to put the plan I came up with the night before into action.

"Let's stop for a moment, Mystic Erika." I said. "I want to talk to you about something."

"What about, Mystic Pearl?"

"Why are you so afraid of being alone?"

Mystic Erika gave me a curious look. "Isn't everyone afraid of being alone, Mystic Pearl?"

"Well, yes. Loneliness is a bad feeling. But that's not what I mean." I said. "I mean, I'm right here beside you. You don't have to feel lonely."

Mystic Erika bit her lip. "It's not that simple, Mystic Pearl. I-it just isn't."

"Can you tell me why?"

I saw tears begin to form in Mystic Erika's eyes. "N-no. I-I don't want to. Y-you won't understand."

"You don't know that." I said, placing a hand on her shoulder. "Mystic Erika, I can't help you if you don't open up to me."

"I-I can't." Mystic Erika exclaimed, her voice a hoarse whisper. "Y-you'll think I'm a baby."

Those words hit a bit too close to home for my taste (I think that's how the saying goes). The only difference between me and Mystic Erika was that I could at least try to put on a brave face, even if I wasn't good at hiding things. Mystic Erika wasn't even trying to hide her feelings. Something was really bugging her.

"I won't think you're a baby." I promised her. "Now, tell me what's wrong."

Mystic Erika sighed. "When I was younger, I had a terrible nightmare."

"A nightmare?"

"Yes. I was in this dark, empty place. I didn't know where I was. I was scared. Then, I saw my mama. She was illuminated by a beacon of light off in the distance. I ran after her, calling her name. But then... She *sniff* started to walk away."

It nearly broke my heart to see Mystic Erika start to cry. "I kept running and running, but no matter how fast I ran, I couldn't catch up to her. She just kept walking farther and farther away, until she disappeared entirely. I fell to my knees and began crying. As I did, I started feeling cold. As I lay there, it got colder and colder, and everything grew darker and darker. Just as I was about to be overtaken, I woke up."

She then looked at me with sad eyes. "I love my mama very much, Mystic Pearl. I don't ever want to lose her. She's the only one who can illuminate the darkness, and shield me from the cold. But she can't do that if I don't exist."

I paused to think. Mystic Jasmine's worries were indeed true. Mystic Erika relied on her mother too much. The thought of being apart from her was keeping her from successfully channeling a spirit.

"Mystic Erika, it's okay." I reassured her. "It was just a nightmare. It's not real."

"B-but it felt real." Mystic Erika hiccuped softly. "And it just stuck with me all these years. I don't ever want to feel that again. Ever."

"I understand." I said. "But this isn't going to go away if you ignore it."

"How would you know? You never felt lonely."

Now it was my turn to bite my lip and try to hold back my tears. "Actually, I think I understand you more than you think."

"What do you mean?"

As if a dam inside of me burst open, I began pouring my soul out to her. I told her about my mother, and how she tried to hurt Mystic Maya. I told her all about the tragedy three years ago, when Mystic Misty sacrificed her life to save Mystic Maya and me from my mother's evil plot. I told her how I felt every step of the way, and even how I feel about it now that I'm older and understand things better. When I had finished telling my tale of woe, I saw that my yukata was damp from my tears.

"Wow. I-I never knew about that, Mystic Pearl." said Mystic Erika. "You've really been through a lot. I-I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to reopen all of those wounds."

"It's okay." I said softly. "I was trying to make a point. I understand what you're going through. I feel the same way about Mystic Maya that you feel about your mother."

"But what about your mother, Mystic Pearl?" asked Mystic Erika. "Do you feel the same way about her now?"

That was a very good question. "Well, I can't say that I like what she did." I told her honestly. "But, she's still my mother. She wanted what she thought was best for me."

"But she didn't consider your feelings." said Mystic Erika. "All she wanted was for you to be Master of Kurain. She didn't care about how much you love Mystic Maya."

I was starting to feel uncomfortable. "W-well, I guess you're right. But she still cared about me." I paused to think for a moment, and my discomfort increased. "Didn't she?"

"I think only you can answer that, Mystic Pearl." said Mystic Erika.

Now I was really getting nervous. My mother always talked about how special I was. She always boasted about my powers and my potential. But, what was I to her really? Was I nothing but a means for her to get back at Mystic Misty? If I wasn't a prodigy, would she have still loved me? Did she do all of those horrible things to hurt Mystic Maya for me, or for herself?

Then I remembered something about that tragedy three years ago that I didn't know back then. Part of that case had to do with my half-sisters, Dahlia Hawthorne and Sister Iris. My mother married a jeweler before she married my father, and she had twins with him. However, neither of them had much in the way of spiritual power, so she neglected them and caused Dahlia to convince her father to leave Kurain Village. If I didn't have this great spiritual power, would I have been neglected, too?

That thought was too much to bear. I felt tears brimming in my eyes once again. Suddenly, Mystic Erika rushed forward and gave me a tight squeeze.

"Wh-what?" I squeaked in surprise. "Mystic Erika, what's the matter?"

"I-I'm sorry, Mystic Pearl." she sobbed. "I really didn't mean to upset you like that."

"I-it's fine." I said, although that was not what I thought. "I-I'm not mad at you."

"Mama always said *sniff* that feeling the pain of others *sniffle* can hurt more than feeling your own." whispered Mystic Erika. "You've really been through quite an ordeal, Mystic Pearl. I *sniff* really feel it."

I sighed. "It's alright, Mystic Erika. That's all over now. We should get back to our training."

"Are you sure?" asked Mystic Erika. "I mean, if you don't feel up to it..."

"I'm fine, Mystic Erika." I said, drying my eyes and trying to save face. "After what you told me today, I want to try something else."

"What is it, Mystic Pearl?"

"When you channel someone, you have to focus on the spirit you're channeling." I said. "Keep your mind on that. Let nothing else interfere. If you start feeling lonely or afraid, think about something happy. Once you're alright again, concentrate back on channeling. Well?"

"It's worth a try." said Mystic Erika. "Alright. But I don't want you to push yourself for my sake."

"I'll be alright." I said. "Now, let's start again."

As we went back to our training, my mind was still plagued by the conversation we just had. In an effort to relate to my pupil and help her through her fear, I became the one who was worried. Even with the wisdom and knowledge I gained in the three years since the tragedy, I never really thought of my mother like this before. I wasn't sure why Mystic Erika was asking all of these hard questions in the first place. I was so confused and scared. It was all too much for me to handle. Sooner or later, something had to give. And I wasn't sure if I was ready for whatever it was...

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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 7: Hickory Dickory Dock
"Take that!"

A loud voice caused my eyes to snap open. My body felt stiff. I looked down, and saw that I was wrapped up in chains, suspended in a empty black void. I struggled to get free, but it was no use. What was happening? Suddenly, I heard a syrupy sweet voice singing something in an eerie tone:

Hickory Dickory Dock,
You now hang from three locks.
The locks will break, and down you'll fall,
Hickory Dickory Dock.


I tried to look around to see where the voice was coming from, but I couldn't move because of the chains. A second later, I saw Dahlia Hawthorne, floating right in front of me with a sweet smile on her face.

"Oh, Pearly, Pearly, Pearly." she said as if she were scolding me. "You truly are as naïve as that idiot Feenie, maybe even more so."

"Wh-what are you talking about?!" I yelled. "What am I doing here?! What is this place?!"

"Oh, we're going to break your Psyche-Locks, Pearly." said Dahlia sweetly.

"Psyche-Locks? We? What are you...?"

From the shadows behind Dahlia, a large figured materialized and I gasped in horror. There stood a giant version of Mystic Erika, a glowing Magatama in her hands and an inquisitive look in her eyes.

"What did your mother think of you, Mystic Pearl?" she asked.

I was starting to feel nervous. Why was she asking this? What did she want from me?

"M-my mother loved me." I said. "She said I was the pride of the branch family..."

"Interesting answer, Pearly. But is that a true sign of affection?" asked Dahlia. "If you ask me, she treated you more like a prized porcelain doll than an actual daughter. If you didn't have that power, she wouldn't have cared about you at all."

"Y-you're wrong!" I sputtered as my eyes began to water. "I might not have liked what my mother did, but she thought it was best for me!"

"Alright, let's go with that for a moment." said Dahlia. "You're saying that Mother did everything for you. Well then, in that case, Misty Fey's death is all your fault."

Those words felt like a punch to the stomach. "N-no! It wasn't my fault! I-I didn't..."

"Take that!"

I heard something shatter above my head, and saw a chain fall past me towards the abyss below. Now I knew what was going on. I was being suspended by my Psyche-Locks, and Mystic Erika and Dahlia were breaking them. My heart began racing.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
You now hang from two locks.
The locks will break, and down you'll fall,
Hickory Dickory Dock.


"S-stop it! It's not true!" I cried. "Mystic Misty's death wasn't my fault! I was fooled! I didn't do anything wrong!"

"Ignorance is no excuse, Pearly." said Dahlia, wagging an admonishing finger at me. "If all went according to plan, I would've used your body to kill Maya Fey, and you would've become Master of Kurain. If that was Mother's only goal, then the whole ordeal was your fault."

Dahlia then started stroking her chin in thought. "But if that's the case, I don't think Mother thought her plan all the way through."

"Wh-what do you mean?"

"Let's say that nothing went wrong for a moment." said Dahlia. "No one was there to interfere, and I was able to exact my revenge against Mia Fey by killing her precious sister. What then? Would you just become Master of Kurain?"

"W-well, no." I said. "I'd be too young..."

"That's not what I meant and you know it." Dahlia snapped, looking at me with hungry eyes. "I mean that you would be the top suspect in her murder."

My eyes widened. "You wouldn't dare."

"Why not? I have nothing to gain from saving your skin." said Dahlia with a shrug. "Kurain Village could rot in the depths of Hell for all I care. Even if I did back out of the deal, it's not like Mother could have done anything about it. You would've been hauled off in chains in place of my backstabbing twin for killing the person you love so much. But oh, who would come to your rescue? Certainly not Feenie."

"That's a lie!" I barked, tears streaming down my face. "Mr. Nick would've figured everything out! He would've..."

"You can't indict a spirit, Pearly." said Dahlia. "Even if he did figure it out, there would be nothing he could do to punish me in your stead. No, I'm afraid no one would've come to your aid. Not even Mother."

Those words cut me even deeper. "No! Stop it! It's not true!"

"Take that!"

I heard the second lock break, and saw the second chain fall. I began swaying back and forth, dangling by a thread over an endless abyss.

Hickory Dickory Dock,
You now hang from one lock.
The lock will break, and down you'll fall,
Hickory Dickory Dock.


"None of this is true." I whimpered. "I refuse to believe it. Mother would've..."

"If she tried to save you, she'd be in more trouble than she already was." said Dahlia. "And thus, we come full circle. Because even with all that, she still didn't love you."

I squirmed in agony. "No! That's impossible! You're lying!"

"Mystic Pearl, only you know if it's true or not." said Mystic Erika sadly. "Personally, I think your mother cared more about her standing than she cared about you. If that's true, then that is the pain you've been hiding, and the truth that you have been trying to deny."

I heard something crack, like ice in a frozen pond beginning to shatter. Flakes of some sort of metal rained down on me. The last Psyche-Lock was starting to break.

"No! This isn't happening! It isn't true!" I exclaimed. "Mother cared about me! She..."

Dahlia put a finger to my lips and smiled.

"Don't fight it, Pearly." she said in a syrupy sweet voice. "Just give in and allow your sorrow to overtake you."

She backed away, and sang one last verse of the poem:

Hickory Dickory Dock,
Your pupil broke the lock.
It's sad but it's true, Mother never loved you,
Hickory Dickory Dock!


"Take that!"

The last Psyche-Lock shattered completely, and I tumbled into the void below. Down, down, down I fell, all the while Dahlia's laughter echoing in my ears. I shut my eyes as a wave of unbearable pain and sorrow overtook me...

-----------------


I awoke in a cold sweat, safe and sound in the comfort of my bedroom. Even if it was just a bad dream, I couldn't relax. Mystic Erika's questions really got to me. I couldn't help her through her fears while struggling with my own. I felt like I was going crazy. Why did I ever agree to this?

Suddenly, Mystic Maya burst into my room.

"Pearly, are you awake?" she asked, a sense of urgency in her voice.

"Mystic Maya, it's barely light out." I said groggily. "What's the matter?"

Mystic Maya bit her lip. "Mystic Jasmine is dead."

I was not ready for that. I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out.

"We don't know what happened. Mystic Agatha just told me a few minutes ago. Mystic Erika is very upset." said Mystic Maya. "She needs someone to be there for her while Mystic Agatha calls the police. Pearly, do you think you could help?"

Right then and there, something inside of me just snapped. I couldn't control myself. I burst into tears.

"I can't take it anymore!" I wailed. "How did Mother expect me to become Master of Kurain when I can't handle this one acolyte?! How can I help her cope with her fears when I'm having so much trouble with my own?!"

"What are you afraid of, Pearly?"

"I *hic* I don't think my mother really loved me!"

Mystic Maya knelt down on my bed, and pulled me into a big hug.

"Pearly, I think Aunt Morgan loved you a lot." she cooed. "She was very proud of you."

"B-but she didn't care about my feelings." I blubbered.

"Maybe not, but mothers always think they know what's best for their children." said Mystic Maya. "I know my mom did. What brought this on?"

I told her about my training session with Mystic Erika to the best of my ability.

"Mystic Jasmine really raised a smart girl." Mystic Maya mused. "But that girl needs your help right now, Pearly. This is where you need to put on a brave face, even when you have your own troubles. That's what Nick always did, and I think you should follow his example."

"M-mystic Maya..."

I sat there for a few moments, letting her words sink in. She was right. Mystic Erika needed my help now more than ever. She was my pupil. I had to be there for her.

"I, understand, Mystic Maya." I said as I dried my eyes. "I'll help in any way I can."

"Thank you, Pearly." said Mystic Maya with a soft smile. "Mystic Erika is at her home right now. If you need any support, be sure to let me know, okay?"

"Okay, Mystic Maya. I will." I said as slowly got out of bed. To be honest, I still didn't know how I was going to handle this. Mystic Erika just lost her mother, the most important person in her life. How was she going to cope? How was I going to help her cope? I had a bad feeling in my heart that everything was just going to go downhill from here...


Spoiler: Author's Notes for Chapter 7
I don't know if Pearl listened to this poem as a child, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 8: Depths of Despair
When I arrived at Mystic Erika's house, the door was wide open and the lights were still on. Nevertheless, there was a sense of foreboding (I think that's what Mr. Nick feels when he says: "I've got a bad feeling about this...") as I approached. Taking a deep breath to calm my nerves and drying my eyes, I ventured inside.

What I found inside was quite shocking. There in the middle of the hallway was Mystic Erika, kneeling over the body of her dead mother and sobbing. It looked like she was trying to shake her mother awake.

"Please, Mama. Please, wake up." I heard her whisper. "Don't leave me all alone. I'm scared."

I ventured forward, unsure of how to get her attention without startling her.

"Mystic Erika?" I called over to her as softly as I could.

Mystic Erika turned to me, her face soaked with tears. "Mystic Pearl. Wh-what are you doing here?"

"Mystic Maya told me about what happened." I said, kneeling down next to her. "I'm going to help you."

Mystic Erika cast her eyes downward. "That's very nice of you, Mystic Pearl. But there's nothing you can do to help me. I want my mama."

"I'm sorry, Mystic Erika. I-I don't know what to tell you." I said honestly.

"C-can't you channel her?" asked Mystic Erika.

I sighed. I couldn't give her false hope at a time like this. "It would be very difficult for me to channel her unless I knew how she died. Even then, a spirit medium cannot channel a spirit forever. It wouldn't be the same."

Mystic Erika was silent for a time. "I-I don't know how she died, either. Grandmother and I just heard a noise from Mama's room, and the next thing we know, she's like this."

If only Mr. Nick were here. He'd be able to figure out what happened. I thought to myself.

"I feel so alone, Mystic Pearl." said Mystic Erika. "It hurts. It hurts so much."

"Why didn't you go with your grandmother then?" I asked. "Why did you stay here?"

"Because I don't want this to be real." said Mystic Erika as she began sobbing again. "I want to wake up. I want to leave this terrible nightmare. I want my mama!"

I couldn't say I disagreed with her. This did feel like a terrible nightmare. But I had to stay strong for her, just like Mystic Maya said.

"You don't have to feel alone." I said softly, reaching out to her. "I'm right here. I'm not going to..."

"I appreciate the gesture, Mystic Pearl." said Mystic Erika between sobs. "But *sniff* I want my mama. I need to be with her. Only she can shield me from the cold, and illuminate this darkness."

What she did then caused me to gasp in horror. From behind her mother's corpse, she pulled out a strange-looking knife with a squiggly shape and held it aloft.

"Wh-where did you get that?" I asked. "Put that down."

"I want to join my mama in the spirit world." said Mystic Erika, tears rolling down her cheeks. "I can't take this loneliness without her. It's too dark and cold. I need her. I need to be with her."

My body suddenly reacted on its own as I rushed in and tried to grab the knife from her. We struggled against each other for a while before suddenly, the knife slipped from our grasp and grazed Mystic Jasmine's chest.

"What in Mystic Ami's name are you thinking?!" I scolded. "I know you're upset. I know you love your mother very much. But that is not the answer, Mystic Erika!"

"Stop talking to me like you know me!" Mystic Erika snapped back. "You don't understand me at all! You have no idea what it's like to be all alone with no one to help you!"

"Someone is here to help you! Me!" I exclaimed, starting to lose my temper. "You're my student! I'm responsible for you! I may not be your mother, but I still want to help you!"

Mystic Erika stared straight into my eyes. "And why do you want to do that?" she asked, her voice filled with intensity. "All I ever do is reopen your wounds and make you upset. I don't understand you any more than you understand me. Just go away and leave me alone. It'll be better for both of us."

You cannot imagine how much those words hurt me. "Mystic Erika, stop trying to shut me out. I want to understand you, I really do. But I'm not going to if you keep acting like this. And I certainly am not going to if you kill yourself."

"You can never hope to understand me, Mystic Pearl." said Mystic Erika bitterly. "You're not my mama."

I sighed. There really was no getting through to her. What was I supposed to do now?

"Is everything alright?"

I turned to see Mystic Erika's grandmother, Agatha Plume, standing before us. She looked at me with sad, grey eyes. Her long white hair trailed along the ground as she walked towards us.

"Mystic Agatha, there's something you should know." I said. "Mystic Erika said she wants to join her mother in the spirit world. She, somehow found this knife, and..."

Mystic Agatha raised a hand, signifying that she heard enough. "I can handle things from here, Mystic Pearl. Go home and get some sleep."

"I... Okay, Mystic Agatha." I said. I gave Mystic Erika one last look as I got up and headed for home. I felt so frustrated. I wanted to help Mystic Erika so much, but she wasn't letting me. She just kept pushing me away. I really didn't know what to do. I certainly wasn't going to get any more sleep tonight after what happened. I looked up into the sky.

What would you do if you were in my position right now, Mr. Nick? I wondered to myself. How can I be there for someone who needs my help, but doesn't want it...?

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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 9: Scientific Impossibility
When you can't sleep, the night seems to last forever. That's the feeling I had as I lay in my futon, worrying over Mystic Erika. I didn't even notice when the police arrived just before dawn. Everything just seemed to stand still, as if time itself had stopped.

After what felt like an eternity, I heard a quiet knock on my door.

"Come in." I said groggily.

Mystic Maya walked in with a strange-looking woman that looked suspiciously like her. She had long, brown hair done up in a bushy topknot ponytail just like Mystic Maya (I still don't know why Mystic Maya insists that it's not a topknot). She wore a white coat over a green suit as well as pink glasses over her blue eyes, and had a brown satchel slung over her shoulder. She was also eating something crunchy.

"Detective Skye, this is my cousin, Pearl Fey. She knows a little about what happened last night." said Mystic Maya, introducing us. "Pearly, this is Detective Ema Skye. She has a few questions for you if you're up for it."

To be honest, I wasn't. I was so tired and worried that I had trouble thinking straight. But, I had to do this, both for Mystic Erika and for Mystic Maya.

"I-I don't mind." I said, quickly rubbing the sleep from my eyes.

Detective Skye raised an eyebrow. "You sure? You look a bit out of it."

"I'm fine." I lied. Sure enough, Detective Skye saw right through me, and turned back to Mystic Maya.

"Don't try to talk her out of it." said Mystic Maya with a shrug. "She's always been very stubborn about being helpful."

Detective Skye shrugged back, and took a notepad out of her satchel. "Listen, um, Ms. Pearl. All I want is the truth. I don't want you trying to protect anyone, okay?"

"Okay." I said with a nod.

"Good." said Detective Skye. "Now, were you with Mrs. Plume in her final moments?"

"Mystic Jasmine." I corrected. "And no, I wasn't. I just heard about her death from Mystic Maya last night."

"What was her relationship with her daughter, Erika Plume?"

"Mystic Jasmine loved Mystic Erika very much, and she loved her back." I said. I suddenly felt tears brimming in my eyes. "Mystic Erika was so distraught over her death. She almost tried to kill herself and join her in the spirit world."

"Wait, WHAT?!" Detective Skye gasped.

"It's true." I said. "She took out this knife from nowhere and tried to kill herself. I managed to stop her, but she's still very depressed."

Detective Skye was speechless for a time. "Wow. I had no idea things were this heavy." she mused. "What did this knife look like?"

"It had a weird squiggly shape. I've never seen a knife like it before." I said.

"Just like the one we found next to the body." said Detective Skye, taking furious notes. "Alright, I think that'll be enough. Thank you, Ms. Pearl."

"It's my pleasure." I said. "Um, Detective Skye?"

"What is it?"

"Can you let me know about what you find? I need to help Mystic Erika any way I can. She's my student."

Detective Skye gave me a curious look. "You don't look a day over twelve. How is she your student?"

"It's a long story." I said.

Detective Skye shrugged. "Alright, whatever. It's no skin off my nose." she said, taking out her snacks again. "We'll let you know if anything comes up."

With that, she and Mystic Maya left. I hoped I was helpful. It would at least have given me some solace in this whole ordeal.

-----------------


Later that day, Mystic Maya called me to listen to Detective Skye's report.

"I don't think I've ever been so confused." she said as a bunch of doctors (Mystic Maya told me that they're called "coroners" or something) took Mystic Jasmine's body away. "I've never come across a corpse like this."

"What do you mean?" asked Mystic Maya.

"Well, I'm not exactly a coroner myself, so my findings are very rough." said Detective Skye. "But from what I could gather, this whole thing is scientifically impossible. There's no fatal wound on the body, no sign of illness aside from unnaturally pale skin, and the blood sample I got seems remarkably healthy at first glance. The only wound on her body is a small laceration across her chest, but that was caused by the struggle between Erika Plume and Ms. Pearl to prevent Ms. Plume from committing suicide. Scientifically speaking, this woman should still be alive."

"Wait, huh?" said Mystic Maya, thoroughly confused (as was I).

"Just as I said." said Detective Skye. "Mrs. Plume's corpse is the picture of health, aside from the pale skin. We can't even begin to speculate how she died."

"What about Mystic Erika? Is she alright?" I asked.

"She's talking to a grief counselor along with her grandmother." said Detective Skye. "She's in good hands."

That was a new term to me. "Mystic Maya, what's a grief counselor?"

"It's someone who helps people who are sad because another person died." explained Mystic Maya. "Sort of like a friend, but less personal."

"Oh." I said. I then sighed. "I hope she'll be alright."

"I'm sure she'll be fine. Scientifically speaking, of course." said Detective Skye. "I can't really say the same for this investigation, though. We had no idea how to proceed."

"Well, I think I might have an answer." said Mystic Maya. "It'll be difficult, seeing as we don't know the cause of death, but maybe we can ask Mystic Jasmine herself."

Detective Skye raised an eyebrow. "That's scientifically impossible. You can't talk to the dead."

"Can so." said Mystic Maya in a childish tone. "Here, I'll show you."

"Detective Skye!"

Another officer ran up to Detective Skye before Mystic Maya could channel anyone.

"Report."

"It's Prosecutor Gavin. He wants an update on the investigation."

Detective Skye growled. "Of course he does. That glimmerous fop never wants to do any work." she said, munching loudly on her snacks. "I'm sorry, Ms. Fey. I've got something to take care of."

With that, she marched off in a huff, munching on her snacks all the while.

"Aw, poo." sighed Mystic Maya. "I so wanted to knock her socks off."

"Trying to lighten the mood, Mystic Maya?" I asked.

"Yeah, a little." Mystic Maya said with a small smile. "Even at a time like this, we all have to stay strong. Nick always knew that."

"Yeah." I said absently. I really wished he was here to help us now.

"Mystic Maya?"

We turned around to see a young acolyte greet us. She looked to be a couple years younger than me, with radiant orange hair and light brown eyes. I recognized her as the acolyte who was playing with Mystic Erika the night after our first lesson.

"Oh, Mystic Winona. What is it?" asked Mystic Maya.

"I'm looking for Mystic Erika." said Mystic Winona. "Where is she?"

"She's talking to a grief consoler right now." I said.

"Rats." sighed Mystic Winona. "I wanted to cheer her up. She's no fun when she's gloomy."

"Well, she did lose her mother." I said.

"Yeah, I know." said Mystic Winona. She then looked off into the distance. "I wonder if she'll ever smile again."

"I'm sure she will." I said, although I couldn't help but wonder the same thing.

Mystic Winona looked at me. "Mystic Erika said you weren't good at lying, Mystic Pearl. I can see why."

I groaned. It was hard to keep a brave face when people kept calling you out on it. "Mystic Winona, I..."

"Don't worry about it, Mystic Pearl." said Mystic Winona with a wide grin, putting an arm around my shoulder. "It's okay to worry about her. You're her teacher, after all. And a darn good one at that."

"Huh?" I asked, confused.

"Oh, come on! Don't act so modest, Mystic Pearl." said Mystic Winona with a laugh. "You're the pride of the branch family. A prodigy amongst prodigies in the Kurain Channeling Technique. Mystic Erika couldn't ask for a better teacher."

"Except that she hates me now." I sighed. "She says it would be better if I left her alone."

"She doesn't hate you, Mystic Pearl. I should know." said Mystic Winona. "C'mon, let's go to the Channeling Chamber. We have a lot to talk about."

Before I could say anything, Mystic Winona led me off. I was confused, tired, and worried all at the same time. All of this stress was making me feel like I was losing my mind. I hoped and prayed that there would be some sort of ending in sight. But at this point, I felt that it was merely wishful thinking.

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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 10: Overcoming the Odds
"So, why do you say that Mystic Erika doesn't hate me?" I asked Mystic Winona as we made our way to the Channeling Chamber.

"Because she's worried about you." said Mystic Winona. "She told me herself."

That confused me. "She's, worried? But why?"

"Let me tell you a little story." said Mystic Winona. "A couple of years ago, I was playing Hide-n-Seek with Mystic Erika in the village. She picked a really good spot to hide, 'cause I didn't find her for hours. When I finally did, she was curled up into a ball and crying. And when my mom found out, she was furious."

"Why was she mad? You didn't do anything wrong." I said.

"Well, I kinda ducked out of an important Kurain lecture to play with Mystic Erika." said Mystic Winona, rubbing the back of her head sheepishly. "It's not like I don't care or anything. I really want to learn about the Kurain Channeling Technique. I'm just not as brainy as you or Mystic Erika, and I can't really sit still. Especially not under the cold waterfall. I hate that."

"Oh." I said. "So, what happened then?"

"Mystic Erika came right to my defense before my mom chewed me out. She said that she didn't want me to suffer alone." said Mystic Winona. "That's the thing about Mystic Erika. She doesn't like being alone, and she doesn't like to hurt people."

Now it was becoming clear. Mystic Erika said she wanted me to leave her alone because she caused me pain, and we didn't understand each other. She didn't hate me. She just didn't want to hurt me. I sighed.

"But, she is hurting me." I said. "She's hurting me by not letting me help her."

"And she's hurting herself." said Mystic Winona in a dark tone as we reached the Channeling Chamber. "Mystic Pearl, I've been friends with Mystic Erika ever since I was her age now. And all this time, I don't think she knows what it really means to have a friend because she kept letting Mystic Jasmine comfort her. I'm sure Mystic Jasmine would've taught her at some point, but..."

She didn't need to say anything else. Because I knew that was one lesson Mystic Jasmine wanted her daughter to figure out on her own. That's why she wanted me to teach her, and help her overcome her fear of non-existence.

"Thank you for telling me all this, Mystic Winona." I said with a bow.

"Not a problem." said Mystic Winona. "Mystic Erika's my friend. I want to help her as much as you do."

An idea suddenly popped into my head. "Then perhaps you can help with Detective Skye's investigation!"

Mystic Winona raised an eyebrow. "Huh?"

"We were just talking about the possibility of channeling Mystic Jasmine and finding out from her how she died." I explained. "Maybe you can channel her."

"Oh, no." said Mystic Winona, shaking her head. "Channeling someone when you know how they died is easy for me, but I've never gotten to the advance stuff. That's more your territory."

"You can at least try." I said. "Here, I'll teach you."

We then went through the motions together in the silence of the Channeling Chamber. Although Mystic Winona sometimes got distracted and kept trying to tell jokes, I was eventually able to get through to her. And sure enough, she managed to channel Mystic Jasmine on her third attempt (without getting distracted).

"Pearly, you in here?"

I heard Mystic Maya's voice from the other end of the door, and smiled. She was just in time.

"It's open." I said cheerfully.

Mystic Maya and Detective Skye walked in. Right away, Detective Skye's jaw dropped.

"Wait, who's that?" she asked, pointing at Mystic Jasmine.

"It's Mystic Jasmine." I said, bouncing up and down happily. "I taught Mystic Winona how to channel her."

Detective Skye tried to speak, but all she could say was gibberish (I think that's what it's called). Mystic Maya grinned.

"Told ya so." she said teasingly as she approached Mystic Jasmine. "It's, good to see you again, Mystic Jasmine."

"I've been trying to contact you for the longest time, Mystic Maya." said Mystic Jasmine. "Tell me, did you manage to figure it out, or are you just as clueless as I am?"

Mystic Maya's face fell. "Wait, what? You mean you don't know how you died?!"

"I'm afraid not." said Mystic Jasmine sadly. "All I remember is my body being squeezed. As if I were some sort of shell being crushed to get at something inside."

"Like a lobster?" asked Mystic Maya. I didn't say anything, but I could hear her stomach growl after saying that.

"Something like that." said Mystic Jasmine. "But, I honestly don't know what happened."

Detective Skye was still in shock. I sighed, and nudged her out of it.

"Oh, um... This is still scientifically impossible, but we'll see how far your statement gets us. If anyone will believe it." she said, hastily writing Mystic Jasmine's testimony into her notepad. "I'm, gonna go get some more Snackoos."

She then walked off, muttering to herself.

"Mystic Pearl, how's my daughter?" Mystic Jasmine asked.

"Not good." I sighed. "She nearly killed herself trying to reunite herself with you. Luckily, I was there to stop her."

Mystic Jasmine smiled a calm smile. "She's lucky to have a friend like you, Mystic Pearl. Even if she doesn't realize it yet. I leave the rest to you. Best of luck."

With that, she went back to the spirit world, leaving Mystic Winona behind.

"So, did I help?" she asked.

"A little." I said truthfully. "Thank you."

"Ah, no need to thank me." said Mystic Winona. "After all, you're the one who taught me how to do it. I should be thanking you. Well, seeya!"

She then darted off, probably trying to find Mystic Erika.

"This is quite odd." mused Mystic Maya. "If Mystic Jasmine herself doesn't know how she died, how are we going to break that to Mystic Erika and Mystic Agatha?"

"I'm not sure." I said. "Do you have any ideas?"

"'Fraid not, Pearly." said Mystic Maya. "You think you could channel my sister for a bit? I want her opinion on this."

"Of course, Mystic Maya." I said with a nod. Before I channeled Mystic Maya's sister, Mr. Nick's mentor Mia Fey, I reflected on everything that happened. On the one hand, I had a better understanding of Mystic Erika, as well as more confidence in myself as a teacher. But in all honesty, I still didn't quite know what to do. Did I really have what it took to save my pupil? Could I be her friend if she kept shutting me out? Although the worst of it seemed to be over, I had a bad feeling that I wasn't quite free from my nightmare just yet...

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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 11: Epiphany
I awoke in a black void once again. Before I could get my bearings, I heard various sounds. Footprints in the snow. A scream. Evil laughter. And voices. All-too-familiar voices.

"No! Get away from me! Someone, help!"

"I hope you're watching, Mia Fey! Because this is my vengeance against you!"

I began to shiver with fright. Something bad was happening, but where? And what could I do to stop it? Before I could act, I blacked out (not that I really noticed).

--------------------


I awoke once again in a state of confusion. I was standing in Hazakura Temple in the middle of a snowstorm. I didn't know why.

Blood was splattered all over my yukata. I didn't know why.

A knife was in my hand. I didn't know why.

Laying right in front of me was Mystic Maya, the knife in my hand plunged right through her heart. Now, I knew why.

My entire world was starting to fall apart. This was all my fault. I allowed myself to be tricked by my mother. I channeled the spirit of that madwoman, Dahlia Hawthorne. It was my body that stabbed Mystic Maya, a person who is very dear to me. All I could do now was cry.

"Are you happy, Dahlia Hawthorne?!" I yelled to the sky, as if the vengeful spirit would hear me. "Are you glad that my mother tricked me?! Are you satisfied now that you used my body to kill Mystic Maya?! Do you like to see me in pain?! Or am I just a pawn to you and my mother?!"

There was no answer. No one was there to console or mock me. I was all alone. It was just like three years ago, only this time, Mystic Misty and Mr. Armando didn't save Mystic Maya. That made my pain that much worse. I sat there and sobbed for what felt like hours. All the while, I was all by myself.

"Now do you see what it means to be alone?"

I looked up from my sobbing. There stood Mystic Erika, giving me a sad look.

"Mystic Erika, I already know what loneliness feels like." I said. "Just because it didn't happen the same way doesn't mean it's not the same thing. I understand you more than you think."

"Good." said Mystic Erika, walking past me. "Then you understand why I must join my mama in the spirit world."

"No, Mystic Erika. I don't." I said, getting up and following her. "I know your mother meant a lot to you. But this can't be the answer."

"And why not?" asked Mystic Erika. "Wouldn't you do the same if Mystic Maya were dead?"

"It would hurt a lot." I said. "But I don't think it would make her happy if I killed myself just to be with her. It would be difficult, but I'd find a way to live my life and carry on her memory. She did the same thing when her sister died."

"Then you don't understand!" snapped Mystic Erika. "No one else does! Not you, not Mystic Maya, not Mystic Winona, no one! Only my mama understands me! Anyone else who tries ends up getting hurt! I don't want to hurt people!"

"Mystic Erika, listen..."

"This very nightmare is because of me, isn't it?!" yelled Mystic Erika (which sort of caught me off-guard). "It's because I don't understand you! I reopened your wounds and caused you to doubt yourself!"

"While that's true, I..."

"So now you see. Only my mother can shield me from the cold, and illuminate the darkness. I feel so small in this big, scary world without her." Tears began rolling down Mystic Erika's cheeks as she walked to the edge of the cliff overlooking the Eagle River. "Goodbye, Mystic Pearl. Your life will be better off without me."

With that, she took a step back over the edge of the cliff. I knew deep in my heart that I couldn't let her do this.

"Mystic Erika!"

I dashed forward, and tried to grab her. But instead, I tripped, and we both fell together.

"You fool!" Mystic Erika yelled at me over the wind rushing past us as we fell. "Now you're going to die with me! I didn't want this! I..."

Before she said any more, I pulled her into a tight embrace.

"You're the fool, Mystic Erika." I said as softly as I could. "Your mother isn't the only person who can help you. You're my student, and my friend. And as I've said before, I'm never giving up on you."

I kept holding her close as the river below became closer and closer. Just before we hit the water, I blacked out yet again.

------------------


I awoke in my bedroom, and breathed a huge sigh of relief. Although I was a bit rattled, I now knew what I had to do to save Mystic Erika. It was staring me in the face all day, ever since I helped Mystic Winona channel Mystic Jasmine. I felt kinda silly that I didn't realize it sooner, but I suppose I was too busy helping Mystic Maya with the investigation. I closed my eyes yet again, falling back into a peaceful slumber. Tomorrow, I would prove myself. To Mystic Maya, to Mystic Erika, to the elders, everyone...


Spoiler: Author's Notes for Chapter 11
Believe it or not, I've had one or two meta moments in my dreams, so it's not all that unusual for Pearl to have one, too. :gymshoe:

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 12: A True Friend
"Well, you sure seem chipper this morning." said Mystic Maya as I wolfed down my breakfast.

"Indeed I am, Mystic Maya." I said happily. "I know now what I have to do to help Mystic Erika. She's going to be just fine."

"I'm happy to hear that." said Mystic Maya. "So, what's the plan? Anything I can do to help?"

"Thank you, Mystic Maya. But I think Mystic Winona and I can handle this." I said.

"Mystic Winona? Now I'm really curious." said Mystic Maya.

I had to giggle. "Well, you can come watch if you want."

"Maybe if I have the time." said Mystic Maya. "I need to pay a visit to Hazakura Temple. Sis told me yesterday that the answer might be in their library."

"You mean the police still don't have any answers about Mystic Jasmine's death?" I asked.

"Nope. We're all clueless." said Mystic Maya with a sigh. "But, one crisis at a time, I suppose."

"I suppose." I said with a nod. "I wish you luck."

"Thanks. You, too." said Mystic Maya.

-----------------


"I really hope you know what you're doing, Mystic Pearl." Mystic Winona whispered to me as we waited for Mystic Erika to walk by.

"Don't worry, Mystic Winona. Just do as I taught you." I whispered back. "Look, here she comes. Get going."

Mystic Winona nodded, and dashed off. Not that Mystic Erika would've noticed. She still looked rather depressed as she walked down the path. It seemed as though the meeting with the grief consoler yesterday didn't help her at all.

"Hello, Mystic Erika." I called out to her.

Mystic Erika turned to look at me, but didn't pay me any mind. I couldn't give up now.

"Where are you heading off to?" I asked, walking alongside her.

"Nowhere." grumbled Mystic Erika. "It's none of your business, Mystic Pearl. Leave me alone."

"But I thought you didn't like being alone." I said.

Mystic Erika stopped and looked me straight in the eye. "Don't even try, Mystic Pearl. There's nothing you can do to help me. Only my mama can help me now."

"I don't believe that." I said. "Listen, Mystic Erika. I have something for you. Follow me to the Channeling Chamber. If this doesn't cheer you up, you don't have to speak to me again."

Mystic Erika thought for a moment, and sighed. "Very well." she said reluctantly. "But this is your last chance."

This was it. My last chance for a turnabout. My last chance to make everything right. Now I was really starting to feel like Mr. Nick in court. I took a deep breath.

Don't let me down now, Mystic Winona. I silently prayed as I led Mystic Erika to the Channeling Chamber.

----------------


When we got there, Mystic Erika rubbed her eyes in disbelief. There standing before her was Mystic Jasmine, or rather Mystic Winona channeling Mystic Jasmine.

"Th-this cannot be." she said. "Th-the police said they didn't know how she died. H-how is she...?"

"I was trying to be channeled." said Mystic Jasmine. "I wanted to see if Mystic Maya had any answers. Alas, I myself do not know how I died."

Mystic Erika ran into her mother's arms. "Mama~! Oh, I missed you so much!" she cried. "Please, don't ever leave me again! I don't wanna be alone!"

Mystic Jasmine was silent for a time. "Erika, look at me."

Mystic Erika looked up, and recognized the flowing, orange hair. She gasped.

"Mystic Winona? Mystic Winona is channeling you right now?" she asked.

"Yes." said Mystic Jasmine. "And she's doing so in order for me to say goodbye to you properly. Isn't that right, Mystic Pearl?"

I nodded. Indeed, Mystic Jasmine was very astute. Mystic Erika, however, didn't take the news all that well.

"No! This isn't goodbye! Please, stay with me!" she wailed, squeezing her mother tighter.

"I wish I could, Erika." said Mystic Jasmine. "But alas, the spirit world is my home now."

"Then let me come with you!" Mystic Erika begged. "Let me come with you to the spirit world! I'm so lonely without you! I feel so cold! Please don't leave me alone, Mama! Please oh please oh..."

"Erika Plume, that's enough."

Although Mystic Jasmine barely raised her voice, it was enough to get Mystic Erika's attention.

"Erika, you're too young to come with me." said Mystic Jasmine, kneeling down to her daughter's height and stroking her cheek. "You have your whole life ahead of you. And I would be very sad if you threw that all away just to be with me."

"B-but it hurts." Mystic Erika hiccuped. "This loneliness hurts so much. I can't endure this without you. I just can't."

"You can." said Mystic Jasmine. "You always could. You don't need me, Erika."

"No, don't say that." said Mystic Erika. "I love you, Mama. I love you so much."

"I know, Erika." said Mystic Jasmine. "Which is why you have to let me go. Where I'm going, you can't follow. Not yet."

"But you can't just leave me all alone." said Mystic Erika. "I hate being alone. I don't want to feel so cold and dark."

"But that's the thing. You're not alone." I said. "You have me, Mystic Winona, and your grandmother. We're all here to help you. You just need to let us in."

Mystic Erika seemed confused. "Y-you can do that?"

"Of course they can, sweetie." said Mystic Jasmine. "That's what friends do. I'm not the only one who understands you, after all."

Mystic Erika paused to think, and then nodded. "Okay, Mama. I, think I understand now. I'm, sorry about how I acted."

"It's okay. You're still young, and you have a lot to learn." said Mystic Jasmine, kissing her forehead. "Live a long and healthy life, Erika. I'll never stop thinking about you."

"Nor I you." said Mystic Erika.

With that, we watched Mystic Jasmine go back to the spirit world.

"It appears I was wrong about you, Mystic Pearl. You do understand me." said Mystic Erika. "But, I don't understand you. All I do is hurt you. I made you doubt yourself. I reopened the wounds of your past. I don't deserve your kindness."

I sighed. "Mystic Erika, I'm not mad at you about that. But if you think that I am, then that hurts me even more."

Mystic Erika gasped. "I was, hurting you?"

"Yes. You were hurting me by pushing me away when I was trying to help. That hurts me a lot more than anything that happened in my past."

Mystic Erika burst into tears. "I-I'm so sorry, Mystic Pearl." she sobbed, bowing her head in shame. "I-I didn't mean to hurt you. I never meant to hurt you."

"We know, Mystic Erika." said Mystic Winona, putting an arm around her. "We know because we're your friends. And we're gonna help you through this."

Mystic Erika nodded, and smiled a small smile. "Th-thank you. Both of you."

She then pulled us both into a big hug. I returned her embrace willingly as I felt a great burden tumble from my shoulders. My mind was clear, and the nightmare was finally over.

"Um, Mystic Pearl?" said Mystic Erika after a time.

"What is it?" I asked.

"I didn't get a chance to mention this before, but yesterday was actually my birthday." said Mystic Erika. "Do you, think you can try to teach me to overcome my fear of non-existence? It would make a good birthday present for me."

"You mean, right now?" I asked, a bit surprised by her request. I was also a bit disheartened to hear that her birthday was the same day her mother died.

"Of course." said Mystic Erika. "I promise I'll try very hard this time. For you and for Mama."

She gave me an adorable look as she asked that. I couldn't say no even if I wanted to. "Very well, Mystic Erika. But, only on one condition."

"What's that?"

"Do it for yourself, too."

Mystic Erika smiled, and nodded. "Of course, Mystic Pearl."

"Hey, don't forget about me!" said Mystic Winona with a laugh. "I'm gonna make sure you get a nice present from me when you're done here. Seeya then!"

She then darted off before we could say anything.

"This is actually the first time I've seen Mystic Winona channel someone without letting herself get distracted." said Mystic Erika. "Did you teach her, Mystic Pearl?"

"I sure did." I said with a smile. "And now, it's your turn, Mystic Erika. Now, just close your eyes and relax..."

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Spoiler: Psyche-Lockdown Chapter 13: Growing Up
Even with her renewed determination, Mystic Erika still had difficulty surpassing her fear of non-existence. I'm not sure if it was because she was still recovering from the loss of her mother, or that she simply didn't want to be alone, but we spent hours in the Channeling Chamber and made very little progress. But unlike before, she was not giving up. And neither was I.

"Mystic Pearl, perhaps we should take a break." she said after a time. "You seem a bit tired."

"I'm fine." I said, trying to put on a brave face for her. "Don't worry about me."

"I can't help it." said Mystic Erika. "I'm worried that you're going to start doubting yourself."

"Why would I doubt myself?" I asked, even though I already knew the answer.

"Because I haven't made this easy for you." said Mystic Erika. "Not only have I not been able to channel a spirit, but the wounds of your past are..."

"Forget about that." I interrupted, shaking my head. "I knew from the start that this wasn't going to be simple. My past has nothing to do with it."

"If you say so." said Mystic Erika. I don't think she believed me.

"Look." I said with a sigh. "If I dwell on my mistakes, it's not going to help you any. What happened three years ago was, very tragic. And it did leave a deep scar in me that I don't think will go away anytime soon. But I can't focus on that. Not if I want to help you face your own fears and doubts."

Mystic Erika cast her eyes downward. "You're very strong and kind, Mystic Pearl. I, really like that about you." She then looked at me, a certain fire in her eyes. "And because of that, I'm going to be strong, too."

I wasn't quite sure what she meant by that. "Mystic Erika, what are you...?"

Before I could say anything else, she disappeared right before my eyes. Standing in her place was a rather dignified-looking woman with long hair and gentle brown eyes. I had to rub my own eyes in disbelief.

"M-mystic Mia!" I gasped.

"Pearl, you know you don't need to call me that." said Mystic Maya's sister with a laugh. "What is it this time? Did Maya need me for something?"

"N-no." I said, trying to collect myself. "Y-you're being channeled by my pupil, Mystic Erika."

"Oh, right. Maya told me about that." mused Mystic Mia. "How is she doing? Last I heard, she was close to committing suicide over the death of her mother."

"That's, all over now." I said.

"I see." said Mystic Mia. "Pearl, I have to ask. Why did you take on this task? I know you're a prodigy, but you're still a bit too young to train acolytes."

"I wanted to help." I said. "I'm always willing to help Mystic Maya in her duties. And I wanted to help Mystic Erika realize her full potential, too."

"Is that all?" asked Mystic Mia.

"Yes. Well, kinda." I said, feeling a bit unsure of myself. "I mean, I guess I also wanted to prove myself. To show the elders that I'm not just some pawn or a porcelain doll."

Mystic Mia frowned. "Pearl, where on Earth did you get that idea? No one thinks that of you."

My eyes began to sting as they started to water. "B-but what about my mother? She didn't care about my feelings. And because I allowed myself to get fooled by her, Mystic Misty..."

Mystic Mia knelt down to my height and placed a hand on my shoulder. "First of all, you shouldn't blame yourself for that, Pearl. None of that was your fault. Secondly, Aunt Morgan thought the world of you, even though she never asked what you wanted. And most importantly, you already have a lot to be proud of. You don't have to prove yourself to anyone."

I smiled. "Thank you, um, Mia. But, I think there's one person I had to prove myself to."

"Oh? Who's that?"

"Mystic Erika."

Mystic Mia laughed. "Alright, I'll concede that. Are you feeling any better?"

"Much." I said. "Thank you, Mysti- I mean, Mia." I honestly had trouble talking to her so informally, even though she wasn't a spirit medium.

"Good. I'm glad." said Mystic Mia. "Give my congratulations to Mystic Erika for me."

With that, she went back to the spirit world. Mystic Erika looked up at me.

"A-are you okay?" she asked.

I beamed. "Okay? Mystic Erika, you did it! You were finally able to face your fear and channel a spirit!"

"Well, I did it for you." said Mystic Erika. "I didn't want you to suffer because of me."

"But how did you know to channel Mystic Mia?" I asked.

"I remember you telling me about her when you told me about your past." said Mystic Erika. "I figured she could help."

I smiled. "Well, whatever the case, thank you Mystic Erika. And, congratulations."

"It is I who should be thanking you." said Mystic Erika with a bow. "Because of you, I was able to fight through my fear of non-existence. It was your strength and your kindness that inspired me."

I blushed. "Aw, you're sweet, Mystic Erika."

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.

"Just a moment." I said.

I opened the door, and there stood Mystic Maya, alongside Mystic Agatha and Mystic Winona. To my surprise, it was already dark out.

"Grandmother, I did it." cheered Mystic Erika. "Mystic Pearl helped me overcome my fear."

Mystic Agatha nodded, and smiled a serene smile.

"Hey, that's great!" said Mystic Winona, handing her a cupcake. "Mom said this was coming straight out of my allowance, so you'd better enjoy it. Happy belated birthday, Mystic Erika. And congratulations."

"You deserve some praise too, Pearly." said Mystic Maya, grinning from ear to ear. "I'm sure Nick would be proud of you, too. I know I am. You've really grown so much."

"Mystic Maya, come on! You're embarrassing me!" I said, my face turning bright crimson. But, of course, she was right. I did feel very proud of myself and Mystic Erika. "Th-thank you, Mystic Maya."

"Hey, don't sweat it, Pearly." said Mystic Maya with a huge grin.

I smiled back, and then remembered something. "Oh, Mystic Maya. Did you find anything at Hazakura Temple?"

Mystic Maya's face fell, and she sighed. "None of the texts at Hazakura Temple held any answers. Mystic Jasmine's death might have to remain a mystery, at least for now. I'm sorry, Mystic Erika."

Mystic Erika nodded. "It's alright, Mystic Maya. As long as you tried your best." She then bowed to me. "I look forward to many more lessons from you, Mystic Pearl. Goodnight."

With that, she walked off with Mystic Agatha and Mystic Winona. Mystic Maya turned to me, giving me a small smile.

"So, how do you feel, Pearly?" she asked. "Think you can handle teaching other acolytes?"

"Um, let's wait on that a bit." I said. "Mystic Erika was trouble enough."

"Alright, alright. I'm just teasing." said Mystic Maya with a laugh. "But you have to admit, you're a pretty good teacher."

"I suppose." I said. "And you know what else?"

"What?"

"I, think I can look forward to a good night's sleep tonight."

Mystic Maya smiled. "Good to hear. Speaking of which, it's getting late. How about I whip up a couple of burgers to celebrate, and then we call it a day, huh?"

"That sounds great, Mystic Maya." I said.

As we left the Channeling Chamber, I couldn't help but reflect on everything I went through. Through an attempt to help an acolyte overcome her fear of non-existence, she helped me deal with my troublesome past. There were times where I felt like I was losing my mind, and it was quite painful for both of us. But since I didn't give up, we both succeeded.

It's true that I still carry the scar of the tragedy three years ago to this day. And I doubt it'll ever disappear. But I can still safely say that I'm proud of who I am. I am a channeling prodigy, a loving cousin, a smart teacher, and a good friend. And honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

-------------------

Fin.

------------------

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Here's a bit of a shortie I came up with while I was planning my next story.

Title: Seen in Different Lights
Author: Little_Thief
Rating: All Ages
Genre: Monologue
Status: Complete
Pairings: N/A
Summary: When you see someone in a different light, you might not always like what you see. A friend may become a foe, or visa versa. Over a ten year stretch, one little girl forms many opinions about a particularly unscrupulous woman. As her perspective changes, perhaps yours will as well...

Spoilers from Ace Attorney Investigations abound.

Spoiler: Seen in Different Lights
I don't like her.

She's smelly, she's rude, and she has an annoying laugh. And yet, she's been at our house for dinner so many times. Daddy says she's a friend from work, and has been helping him and Uncle Badd with a few cases. I don't want to be rude, but I can't say that I have any friends like her. Maybe I'll understand her better when I'm older.

---------------------


I hate her.

She killed Daddy, and tried to frame a nice detective named Gummy. I broke my promise to Daddy, and cried a lot. Mr. Edgeworth managed to clear Gummy's name, but she tried to kill him, too. Who else was she planning to kill that day? I can't believe Daddy and Uncle Badd trusted her! I think they were shocked as well.

Her annoying laugh now frightens me. Every time I go to sleep, I hear it in my head. She's laughing at me. She's laughing at me because she killed my daddy. Someday, she will pay...

-----------------


I despise her.

It turned out that all this time, my father was the real Yatagarasu. And she ruined his good name by taking the title for herself, and killing him. She also said she was part of a smuggling operation that the Yatagarasu was looking into. Did she kill my father to keep him quiet?

It doesn't matter. I'll find her, and force the truth out of her even if I go against the law. She's nothing but a big phony, and I'll make sure the world knows it. And what's more, I'll make sure she doesn't get away this time. I have everything I need to catch her. All I need to do is to find her. Daddy, watch over me. I'm going to make you proud.

------------------


I'm frustrated with her.

Agent Lang's secretary tried to arrest me, claiming I killed Manny Coachen as the Yatagarasu. That's a lie! It was that fake Yatagarasu that did it! All I did was chase her into the building! While I'm glad Mr. Edgeworth was there to bail me out, that secretary seems mighty suspicious.

Now with the clues I gathered with Mr. Edgeworth and Gummy, I'm sure that she's the woman I've been looking for all this time. And yet, Agent Lang continues to stick up for her. But Mr. Edgeworth and I will show him. I have no intention of taking back anything I've said. And yet, she keeps prattling on and fighting Mr. Edgeworth's logic. Just give up already! We know it's you, you phony! And I'm going to take you down as the real Great Thief Yatagarasu!

-------------------


I'm afraid of her.

It was just as I suspected. All this time, Agent Lang's secretary was the woman who killed my father. She can't hide from me anymore now that she has revealed her true self. Now, I can end this, and finally catch the fake Yatagarasu who ruined my father's reputation and claimed his life.

But she wanted to end things, too. She grabs me, and places a gun against my head. I struggle angrily, but inside, I'm scared. Seven years ago, she killed my father. She was willing to kill Mr. Edgeworth, too. She could kill me without a second thought. My heart is racing. I stand tall, but inside, I'm crying. I don't want to die...

--------------------


I feel sorry for her.

She really was the Yatagarsu all along. So were my father and Uncle Badd. But she was also a double agent, working for the smuggling ring the Yatagarasu was looking into.

I look into her eyes as she speaks. She says that killing my father was not her favorite assignment. Her eyes seem so dark and cold, but at the same time, she's, lonely? Why is she lonely? Did she not want to kill my father? Does she feel bad about betraying her friends? If she does, she certainly doesn't show it. Even in defeat, she's so snide and arrogant.

But at the same time, I can't hate her. This woman who I thought was my enemy was nothing but a pawn in a bigger scheme. She was forced to kill my father against her will, and yet she laughed at it like it was some kind of joke. I'm already fighting for my father and Uncle Badd. Can I put aside everything that woman has done, and fight for her, too?

I don't know. But I do know that I will bring the true villain to justice no matter what. Maybe that's what she wants, too. Maybe she doesn't care. Either way, I don't think I'll be able to see her the same way again...

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Title: Turnabout in the Shadows
Author: Little_Thief
Rating: 16+ for suggestive themes, violence, and mild swearing
Genre: Original Court Case (Investigations style), Romance
Status: Complete
Pairings: Byrne/OC
Summery: The deeper you delve into the criminal underworld, the more difficult it is to differentiate between friends and foes. Prosecutor Byrne Faraday learns this the hard way as he is thrust into another murder case involving the mysterious Zangaru clan. And when everyone involved could be out for his blood, he must tread carefully if he wishes to reach the truth, let alone survive.

Sequel to Turnabout Raven.

Spoilers from Ace Attorney Investigations abound. There are also some references to my other work on the Objection Archives, which will be cited once the website is back up.

Spoiler: Turnabout in the Shadows Prologue: Myriad Bull's-Eyes
Date: Unknown
Time: Unknown
Location: Unknown

---------------------


Two men sat at a table, enshrouded in darkness. One took out a revolver, and emptied the chamber of all but one bullet. As he set the pistol on the table, it seemed to shine in the moonlight emanating from the window, the only source of light for the room.

"I've waited a long time for this, Pur." said one of the men in a gruff voice.

"You really think this game will solve all your troubles, comrade?" asked the second man in a smooth voice as he picked up the pistol.

*Click*

"The Wolfe family has been a thorn in my side for too long. And it's all your fault." said the first man as the pistol was passed to him.

*Click*

"You only think it's my fault." said Pur, adjusting his heavily-tinted shades. "Why don't you just admit that you brought this upon yourself?"

"That's what we intend to find out through this game, Pur." said the first man, handing him the pistol.

*Click*

"I still say it won't make a difference." said Pur, handing the pistol back. "The Wolfe family's influence in the Izmaylovskaya gang is greater than yours will ever be. I just told them how, interested you were. Is it my fault that they chose to react?"

"Don't get wise with me, Pur." snarled the first man as he put the pistol to his temple.

*Click*

"If you want so much power, why not go for the Ivanov family directly?" asked Pur as he accepted the pistol.

"You honestly think I'm that stupid?"

"You were stupid enough to go after the Wolfe family, dah?"

The first man only snorted in response as Pur calmly placed the gun against his temple.

*Click*

"Looks like I win." said Pur with infinite calm. "Your pride has been your undoing once again, Comrade Folovski."

The other man snatched up the pistol. Instead of pointing it at himself, he pointed it at his opponent.

"I am no comrade of yours, Pur." he spat. "Without you, the Wolfe family is powerless. It is time I had my..."

He got no further. The moon suddenly became obscured, throwing off his aim. Pur heard something zip past his ear, along with a gunshot. He quickly reached for his cane, and drew the blade hidden inside it to ward off whoever was attacking. As he scrambled blindly in confusion, a cacophony of noises were heard. Shouting, signs of a struggle, screams, harsh mumbling. At this point, he had no idea what was going on, or what happened.

When he found the light switch and turned it on, he was most perplexed by what he saw. His opponent, Harold Folovski, was lying dead with a bullet wound in his head, some sort of dart in his neck, and Pur's own blade plunged right through his chest. Someone really wanted this man dead. But the question remained: Who...?


Spoiler: Author's Notes for the Prologue
For those who don't know, the Izmaylovskaya gang is the largest and oldest criminal organization in the Russian Mafia, lead by the Ivanov family. This will be explained in a bit more detail later.

Also, I want an opinion from you guys. With the exception of this chapter, the story will be told from Byrne's perspective, just like in Turnabout Raven. However, since this is a sequel, I don't know if I should reintroduce the character, seeing as that wasn't done in the games. What do you guys think? :think-pw:

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Spoiler: Turnabout in the Shadows Chapter 1: The Art of Bargaining
November 5th, 1999, 10:30 AM
Detention Center
Visitor's Room

---------------------


"I got a bad feeling about this... Faraday."

That wasn't a good sign. When Tyrell Badd had a bad feeling about something, there was always a good reason.

"C'mon, Badd. We just got this case." I said, trying to stay optimistic. "You can't possibly know that this'll go downhill when we haven't even spoken to the accused."

"Yeah, well. It's a detective thing." said Badd with a shrug. "There's a lot of buzz going on in the precinct about this case. Apparently, the coroners have been working around the clock trying to find the cause of death. They're still stumped."

I raised an eyebrow. "How long have they been working on it?"

"Since Mr. Pur was arrested last night, about twelve hours ago."

Now I was beginning to see Badd's point. There was no way an autopsy report should take that long, even if our forensic technology was somewhat limited. Something was indeed off about this case.

"Well, let's get the story from the horse's mouth, and see if he can't clear some things up." I said. "Ah, speak of the devil."

Being led out was a peculiar-looking man wearing an orange pinstripe suit and a bowler hat. He had a long, thick orange beard, and his eyes were obscured by heavily-tinted sunglasses. Oddly enough, he seemed to be carrying some sort of clarinet in his hands. I'm not sure why the police did not confiscate it upon his arrest.

"I take it you will be the one arguing against me, dah?" the man asked in a thick Russian accent.

"That depends." I said, showing my badge. "I'm Byrne Faraday, a prosecutor in this district. This is my partner, Detective Tyrell Badd."

"Pleasure is all mine." said the prisoner. "I am Ivan Pur, a freelance musician."

Badd snorted. "We both know that's not the whole story, Mr. Pur." he growled. "You didn't deny your connections to the Russian Mafia when you were arrested."

"A minor detail, to be sure." said Pur, adjusting his sunglasses. "After all, the Izmaylovskaya gang has no influence in Los Angeles. Admitting to it means nothing here."

"I beg to differ." I said. "Listen, Mr. Pur. You do have the right to consult an attorney before divulging such, personal information. I hope you realize that."

"Dah, I am familiar with your customs." said Pur. "But the Cool Cat does not lie. I have nothing to hide from anyone."

I didn't believe that for a second. Honest criminals were a rare breed, but something about Mr. Pur told me that he wasn't one of them.

"Mr. Pur, are you sure you don't need to consult with anyone?"

"Well, I would. But like I said, the Izmaylovskaya gang has no influence here. They can't get me an attorney." said Pur. "And alas, no one else has exactly sprung at the chance to defend me. I am a known criminal, after all."

"Profiling alone is not a compelling case, Mr. Pur." I said. "All I want is the truth."

"And if you want it, I'd rather you hear it from me." countered Pur.

Badd merely shrugged. "It's very rare... that we have suspects... who are this cooperative."

I'm pretty sure that wasn't a compliment when applied to our suspect, but he took it as one anyway.

"Thank you." said he. "Now then, I am suspected of murdering Comrade Harold Folovski, dah?"

"Those are the charges being made against you." I said. "What is your connection with Mr. Folovski?"

"Not much, other than we're both part of the Izmaylovskaya gang." said Pur with a shrug. "Which is why I was surprised when he wanted to meet me in the Opus Opera House to discuss business."

"And when was this?"

"Yesterday, right when my plane came in. There was supposed to be a big concert today, but you know what happened to that."

"I'm terribly sorry for your inconvenience." I said. "Is, that why you have your clarinet on you?"

"Partially." said Pur. "As part of the Storybook Orchestra, I always carry my instrument of choice with me. It shows others that I am ready to perform any time anywhere."

"I see." I said, although I still didn't fully understand. "Anyway, what happened?"

"Well, I met Comrade Folovski backstage, below the stage to be precise." said Pur. "We were discussing business when all of a sudden, several things happened at once. When I regained my composure, he was dead. Killed in several different ways, at that. Someone really wanted him dead."

I wasted no time jotting this down in my organizer. "What do you mean by that, Mr. Pur?"

"From what I saw, he had a bullet wound in his head, a dagger in his neck, and my blade accidently went through his chest."

" :holdit: You were armed?!" I asked.

"I wouldn't last long in the Izmaylovskaya gang if I wasn't." said Pur with a chuckle. "I was acting out of self-defense, though. I thought someone was attacking us."

"No wonder the coroners are having so much trouble." mused Badd. "Something had to have struck him first, but they can't figure out what."

"Well, at this point, the evidence against you for the murder of Mr. Folovski is circumstantial at best, Mr. Pur." I said. "We're willing to reduce the charges to illegal possession of a weapon if you plead guilty."

Pur laughed. "And who would that help, pray tell? You'd be no closer to knowing the truth."

"This isn't a joke, pal." growled Badd, reaching into his trench coat.

"I realize that." said Pur. "Which is why I have a better proposition."

"You're, not in a position to bargain, Mr. Pur." I said.

"Just hear me out, comrade." said Pur. "I'll give you until my trial to find the true culprit. If you cannot, then I will plead guilty."

" :holdit: What's the catch?" asked Badd, raising an eyebrow.

"The only catch is that I might be lying when I plead guilty." said Pur, his sunglasses emitting a brief flash as he said that. "Meaning you have nothing to lose, dah?"

Nothing except my integrity. I thought. "We'll think about it. But keep my proposition in mind, too."

"Alright, alright." said Pur. "Well, you've got a lot of work to do, so I shouldn't detain you any longer. Do svidaniya."

"Thank you for your time." I said as we got up.

"I told you I had a bad feeling about this." Badd whispered to me as we left.

"I know, I know." I groaned. And because of the circumstances behind this case, I also had a feeling that things were only going to get worse...

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Spoiler: Turnabout in the Shadows Chapter 2: Conflict of Laws
November 5th, 11:15 AM
Opus Opera House
Enterance

--------------------


Not two seconds after arriving at the crime scene, I was confronted by a rather angry-looking gentleman. He was dressed in a very nice black suit, wore a small grey hat, and had a stern look in his dark brown eyes.

"Are you in charge?" he grumbled.

"Um, what?" I asked.

"In charge! Are you in charge of this crime scene?! Can you not hear?!"

"We can hear you just fine, pal." growled Badd. "Now, who are you... and what's this all about?"

"I am Dirk Folovski, acting avtoritet of the Folovski family." said the gentleman. "And I demand that you give me access to this investigation!"

" :holdit: You're a what?" I inquired.

Dirk palmed his face. "I am a capo of the Izmaylovskaya gang, you thick-headed fool!"

"Well, pardon me for not being all that experienced with the Russian Mafia." I said, a bit peeved by the man's manners. "I am Prosecutor Byrne Faraday, and I am indeed in charge of this case."

"Ah, wonderful." said Dirk, his tone changing to be more pleasant. "Then I suppose you can get me access to the crime scene, dah?"

"Actually, no."

"WHAT?!"

"You're not authorized to investigate." I said firmly. "I don't care what your connections to the victim are, they are not enough to justify you meddling with police work."

"You dare speak like that to me?!" boomed Folovski, standing tall and proud. "It is the other way around, Mr. Faraday! You should not be interfering in our affairs! You dogs have no business here! I've been saying that to that man for the past three hours!"

He pointed to an exasperated-looking policeman standing outside the Opus Opera House, and I had to palm my face. This was not going to be easy.

"Listen, buddy. I think you've got... a few things mixed up." said Badd, reaching into his trench coat. "The Izmaylovskaya gang has no influence in LA. Even if they did this sort of thing, you're not doing it here."

"Should that matter? Power is power." said Dirk. "It is universal. I should have the right to find out what happened to our beloved avtoritet."

"I'm sorry, but my answer is still no." I said. "However, if you're willing to cooperate, I do have some questions..."

"You should be cooperating with me!" Dirk interrupted. "I will not tell you anything unless you grant me access to what I should have access to!"

"That, or I could have you arrested for disturbing the peace." I said, my patience wearing thin. "That way, you can tell us everything we want to know when you're brought in for questioning."

"You do that, and the Ivanov family will be on you faster than you can blink." countered Dirk. "They wield more power than you can possibly imagine."

"Maybe they do, but not here." I said firmly. I felt like I was going around in circles with this fellow. At this rate, we wouldn't be able to get to the crime scene at all.

"You don't seem to know when you're wasting your time, do you?"

An all-too-familiar voice distracted me for a moment. Before I could place it, someone dropped in from seemingly nowhere and knocked out Dirk with one blow. Right then and there, I recognized her from a particularly difficult case I had the previous September.

"Wren Zangaru. Dare I ask how you're involved in all this?"

The green eyes of the brown-clad ninja before me seemed to smile. "So you do remember me. I'm flattered."

"Cut the crap." growled Badd. "What are you up to this time?"

"And hello to you too, Detective Badd." said Wren, still as nonchalant as ever. "Honestly, Mr. Faraday. Can't your partner loosen up every once in a while?"

"I'm afraid I share his sentiments in this case, Wren." I said. "The Zangaru clan doesn't usually operate in LA. You said so yourself."

"I also said something about client/ninja confidentiality, did I not?" Wren countered coyly. "Anyway, you have more important things to worry about."

"Such as?"

"The Izmaylovskaya gang, of course." said Wren. "They might not have influence here, but that doesn't mean they aren't important. If I were you, I'd let the Folovskis stick around. Also, you might want this."

She handed me what appeared to be a flyer advertising the Storybook Orchestra, the music company that Pur mentioned before.

"Wait, what use is...?"

But before I could ask, she had already disappeared.

"Well, this is getting off to a terrific start." said Badd sardonically. "Faraday, you think... you can keep your head in the game?"

"It'll be difficult, seeing how things are already so confusing." I mused. "But, I think I can handle it."

"If you say so." said Badd, turning to the officer out front. "Hey, you there. Let us know when this man wakes up, will ya?"

"Wait, how did he get knocked out?" asked the officer.

"We're not sure. He probably fainted or something." I said with a shrug.

"Um, alright then." said the hapless officer as he let us in. Badd gave me a look, and I sighed.

"Look, I wasn't protecting her." I whispered. "Mentioning her won't do any good unless we have something concrete on her. Besides, we have no reason to believe that she's responsible for this yet."

"Just keep your head in the game... Faraday." Badd rumbled back as we made our way inside.

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Spoiler: Turnabout in the Shadows Chapter 3: Picking up the Pieces
November 5th, 11:25 AM
Opus Opera House
Main Lobby

---------------------------


Right as we got inside, an officer was ready to greet us.

"Detective Badd, sir. We've been expecting you." the officer said with a salute.

"Cut the small talk... kid." said Badd, getting right to the point. "What've we got?"

"Well, nothing concrete as of yet." said the officer. "The coroners are still working on the body. We do have a preliminary report, though."

He handed Badd a small file, and Badd in turn handed it to me. Honestly, I didn't see the point. Harold Folovski died some time last night, that much was certain. But how and when were a mystery. There was gunpowder burn in his forehead, a knife wound in his neck, some sort of poison in his body, and a large hole in his chest. There was nothing in the report I didn't already know from talking to Pur, with the exception of maybe the poison.

"Any witnesses?" I asked.

"From what Mr. Pur told us, the place was supposed to be abandoned." said the officer.

"Supposed to be?" parroted Badd, raising an eyebrow. "What did he mean by that?"

"As far as he knew, he and the victim were alone." said the officer with a shrug. "We haven't found anyone else on the crime scene thus far, so we're taking his word for it."

Something about that didn't make sense. "No witnesses? Then who called in the murder?"

"We got an anonymous call at around 10:15 last night." said the officer. "We traced the call to a pay phone outside the building. We have no idea who it was."

"How delightfully ominous." I sighed. "Well, can we at least have a look at the evidence collected thus far?"

"Sorry, Mr. Faraday. It's all down at the lab for processing." said the officer. "Here's an inventory of what we found, though."

He handed me a small document, and I read it over carefully. The first item that caught my attention was a .32 caliber revolver with an empty chamber. Both the victim and the suspect's fingerprints were on it, and it had indeed been fired. There was something Pur was not telling us.

"Any results on the ballistic markings?" I asked.

"The bullet in Mr. Folovski's forehead matches the gun to a T." said the officer. "It is indeed a potential murder weapon."

I checked the inventory again. The second item was a blade that used a cane as a sheath. This was probably Pur's weapon, which he claimed to have taken out in self-defense. Indeed, his fingerprints were on the weapon, and it was caked with blood.

Then there was the last item: A throwing knife of unknown origin found in the victim's neck. The tip was coated with some sort of toxin, and while it explained where the poison came from, all it did was further confuse the coroners. Someone wanted this man dead, and was pulling all the stops to cover their tracks.

"We don't really have a whole lot to go on at this point." I mused. "Where did the crime take place?"

"It was in the backstage area, underneath the stage." said the officer. "Right this way, sir."

---------------------

November 5th, 11:30 AM
Backstage
Below the Stage

-------------------


"Well, this looks like quite the setup." said Badd.

I had to agree. Underneath the stage, there was a folding table and two chairs set up. A dummy sat in one of the chairs, obviously taking the role of the victim.

"But that leaves one question." I said. "Why meet here? The Opus Opera House isn't exactly the kind of place to conduct criminal business."

"You'd be surprised... Faraday." said Badd. "Hey, kid. Go check with the box office. See if you can't figure out when this place opens and closes, and check on any performances that may have happened or were supposed to happen recently."

"Yes, sir." said the officer with a salute. With that, he darted back upstairs.

"Good thinking, Badd." I said. "If we can narrow that down, we'll have a better picture of what went on here."

"Better than what we have now, at any rate." said Badd with a shrug. "Let's take a poke around. Maybe there's something the labbies missed."

I was about to agree, when I suddenly felt something sharp pressed against my back.

"Don't move." whispered a voice behind me. "And that goes for your friend over there, too."

"You mind explaining who you are?" growled Badd, reaching into his trench coat.

"You first." countered the assailant.

"Prosecutor Byrne Faraday." I said without missing a beat. "And I'll have you know that I could have you arrested for threatening a law enforcement official."

The voice behind me laughed. "Oh, come now, Mr. Faraday. Surely you know that a Zangaru ninja is never caught without reason."

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Spoiler: Turnabout in the Shadow Chapter 4: Shaky Alliance
"So, the Zangaru clan does have a stake in this." said Badd, taking out his gun. "I suggest... you drop your weapon."

"I have nothing to fear from you." said the ninja. "If anything, you should drop your weapon. I'd hate for there to be any needless bloodshed."

"Sounds like we're thinking the same thing." I said, taking a moment to collect myself. "Are you planning to introduce yourself?"

"I don't like wasting my breath on people who may not be alive for much longer." said the ninja. "Your laws mean nothing here."

"What makes you so certain that we're going to die?" growled Badd.

"Oh, it's not a threat. Merely an observation." said the ninja. "You're in over your head. Leave if you value your life."

"Before you scamper away into the shadows, I have to ask. What interest would the Zangaru clan have in the Russian Mafia?" I inquired.

"That's none of your business." said the ninja calmly.

"I'm making it my business." I countered.

I heard the ninja sigh. "Fine, it's your life. But don't say I didn't warn you."

Before I could react, my attacker vanished into the shadows.

"Well, that changes things." said Badd, putting away his gun. "If the Zangaru clan are part of this, we need to know what they're up to. And I don't think they're just going to outright tell us."

"That much is a given." I said, looking through my organizer. One thing I remembered about the Zangaru clan from my last encounter was the elaborate traps they employed. Their actions were not always straightforward. What appeared to be a simple assassination may turn out to be part of a greater scheme in their eyes.

"So, I see you've met Yuné."

Emerging from the shadows was none other than Wren, her glistening green eyes smiling mischievously.

"Yuné is the ninja who just threatened us, isn't it?" I asked.

"You catch on pretty quick." said Wren. "If you remember, her intel was vital to that case last September."

"Yes, I vaguely remember that." I said, trying to steer the conversation back on track. "I would think she'd be more grateful."

"She is. That's why she's warning you to stay away from this case." said Wren. "But you're not easily intimidated, so that's not happening anytime soon."

"So, what exactly are you getting at?" asked Badd.

Wren suddenly brought her voice down to a whisper. "Listen, I'm not even supposed to be talking to you right now. This mission is very important to Yuné, and she'd never forgive me if I..."

" :holdit: Are you saying that Yuné killed Harold Folovski?" I interrupted.

"Shut up!" hissed Wren, taking a pause to look around. "Like I said, I'm not supposed to do this."

"Then, why are you?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I feel like giving you the benefit of the doubt." said Wren. "Yuné, however, does not. So, here's the deal. You want to solve this murder, and I want, something else. I think we can accomplish our goals if we work together."

"And what would you get out of it, exactly?" I asked.

Wren folded her arms. "I said too much already. I'm not gonna shoot my mouth off like I did before. I've learned my lesson."

"You can't have it both ways, Ms. Zangaru." I said, tossing back my scarf. "Either you help me, or you keep your secrets."

"Oh, I'll find a way to do both." said Wren. "A Zangaru ninja always strives to find a way. And by the way, it's okay to call me Wren."

I sighed. Dissuading her and trying to get a straight answer were both proving to be a waste of time.

"If you want my opinion... I don't trust her." said Badd. "She might try to use us in whatever plan she has cooking up."

"I'd be insulted if there wasn't some truth to that." said Wren with a snicker. "But hey, you know how the saying goes. You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours."

"Except I don't know how exactly you plan to help us if you're not going to tell us anything." I said.

Wren sighed. "You just have to be difficult, don't you? Alright, I'll tell you how I'm gonna help. I'm gonna make sure you survive this."

"You mean you're going to be our bodyguard?" I asked. "Thanks, but I think we have that..."

"Not so fast! You heard what Yuné said." Wren interrupted. "You're not gonna have many friends to turn to, Mr. Faraday. If you take this case, you're bound to piss someone off. And if that happens, none of your laws are gonna save you."

I paused to think. "We can handle the Russia Mafia just fine. They have no influence here, anyway. Meaning the only other threat is the Zangaru clan."

"Bingo."

"But isn't that the conflict of interest on your part?"

"Um, hello? I already said I'm not supposed to be doing this." said Wren. "My goals are my own, Mr. Faraday. If you want to figure me out, use that brain of yours. It helped you before, after all."

Before I could say anything else, Wren disappeared. I sighed.

"Well, this case has gone downhill in a hurry." I said to my partner.

"Perhaps, but I think we can make the best of it." said Badd, pointing to the ground. I looked, and saw that Wren left one of her kunai behind.

"Well, it isn't evidence per se, but it certainly might be of some use." I said as Badd picked up the dagger. I jotted down the information in my organizer.

"I still don't trust her... Faraday." said Badd.

"To be honest, neither do I." I said with a shrug. "At least, not entirely. But then again, how many ninjas would you say are trustworthy?"

Badd snorted. "Let's just get back to the investigation already. We've wasted enough time."

"Agreed." I said as we approached the table in the center of the room.

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Spoiler: Turnabout in the Shadows Chapter 5: Sloppy Shock
Badd took a long, deliberate look at how the crime scene was set up. "Remind me, Faraday. How many bullets... were in the chamber of the gun that was found?" he asked.

"Well, one." I said. "Why? Is that significant?"

"This wasn't any ordinary deal... Faraday." said Badd in a dark tone. "Ever heard of Russian Roulette?"

I paused to think. "I might've seen it in a movie once." I said, vaguely remembering. "It's a game where a gun is randomly loaded with only one bullet, and players take turns pulling the trigger."

"And whoever dies loses." said Badd. "And I think Mr. Folovski here lost."

"Well, that's something Mr. Pur neglected to mention." I said. "But at the same time, it does make sense, since both the victim and the suspect's fingerprints were on the gun."

"That's the only thing that makes sense." said Badd with a snort. "In the meantime, it adds Mr. Folovski himself to our list of suspects, and that complicates matters even further."

"Still, it's better than nothing." I said with a shrug as I jotted down this information in my organizer. "I think we may need to schedule another little chat with Mr. Pur."

"Exactly what I was thinking." said Badd. "Considering that he didn't resist arrest nor did he try to flee the scene, it's a safe bet that he's got something up his sleeve. Hey, take a look at this."

He motioned to something on the floor, tucked away beneath one of the legs of the table.

"This must've fallen out of Mr. Folovski's pocket." growled Badd as he picked up the pieces of paper. "Someone's not going to be happy... at their next performance review."

"I should say not." I concurred. "Well, anything?"

Badd looked at the papers carefully. "If it was anything, I wouldn't be able to tell. It looks like it's all written in Russian."

"Typical." I sighed, still making a note in my organizer. "Well, the only Russian speakers we know are Mr. Pur and that fellow who wanted in on the crime scene because he was part of the Folovski family. And I doubt either of them would be willing to translate."

"Mr. Faraday!"

The officer from before burst in on the crime scene, looking rather frantic.

"What's the big idea?" snarled Badd, holding up the papers we just collected. "You can't let evidence like this just slip through..."

"Never mind that now, sir!" said the officer. "Upstairs, quick! There's someone in the balcony!"

Badd snorted angrily, and we followed the hapless officer up the stairs.

---------------------------

November 5, 12:02 PM
Opus Opera House
Amphitheater

-------------------------


It took a while to get all the way upstairs, but once we did, we were in for quite a surprise. Laying on the ground was a woman in her mid-twenties with long golden locks wearing a fancy red dress. She appeared to be unconscious.

"Why was this not brought to our attention before?" said Badd in a threatening manner.

"S-sorry, sir. We, didn't feel a need to inspect this area, sir." said the officer. "But then, I saw some sort of shadow run up here, so I followed it."

"Any idea who this is?" I asked.

"Kalinka Polye. She's the owner of the Opus Opera House." said the officer. "We have no idea how long she's been out like this, or what she was doing here. We've sent a request for an ambulance to pick her up."

I furrowed my brow. "So much for there not being any witnesses." I mused.

"That's assuming that Ms. Polye is in any condition to talk." said Badd.

"If this was done by our Zangaru friends, then she might be." I said, turning back to the officer. "Did you check in with the box office?"

"Yes, sir." said the officer. "The opera house was closed for renovation for about a week now. It was supposed to open again tonight for a special performance."

"Meaning someone let Mr. Pur and Mr. Folovski in." I said, taking furious notes in my organizer. "Was anyone on duty in security?"

"Not that I know of, sir." said the officer.

I paused to think. "Badd, I think we need to find out a bit more about this special performance. It might lead us in the right direction."

"It's the best we have to go on." said Badd with a shrug. "They might have more information at the box office. Let us know if anything changes with Ms. Polye here. And you'd better not slip up."

"Y-yes sir." said the officer apprehensively as we made our way downstairs.


Spoiler: Author's Notes for Chapter 5
If you can spot the outside Capcom reference, you get a cookie. :godot:

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Spoiler: Turnabout in the Shadows Chapter 6: Change of Tune
November 5th, 12:07 PM
Opus Opera House
Box Office

------------------------


"Mr. Faraday, we have a bit of a problem."

That was the last thing I wanted to hear as the officer who was standing guard out front was waiting for us at the box office.

"What is it?" I asked.

"We have more civilians trying to get into the crime scene. They claim to be witnesses." said the officer.

"We were led to believe... that the place was abandoned at the time of the murder." said Badd.

"That's what I told them, but they insist on being heard." said the officer with a shrug.

I sighed. This was just not my day. "Well, who are they? More mafia types?"

"Not to my knowledge, sir. They're apparently with the Storybook Orchestra."

That name sounded familiar. I took a look at the flyer Wren gave me earlier. Sure enough, Ivan Pur was a member of the group.

"This actually might be our lucky break, Badd." I said with a slight smirk. "I'll allow the Storybook Orchestra to stay for questioning."

"Um, yes sir." said the officer with a salute. He then scuttled off.

"Looks like you have an idea... Faraday." said Badd. "You think we can get info on Mr. Pur through his band mates?"

"You know me too well, partner." I said, tossing back my scarf. "As open as he is, Mr. Pur is still being difficult. We need a more credible source of information."

A few moments later, the procession that was the Storybook Orchestra made themselves known. Just like Pur, each of them were carrying a different instrument. The first to approach me was a young man in red carrying a violin. He work a small red cap atop his head of short blond hair.

"Thank you so much for allowing us testify." said the man with a bow. "My name is Peter Tevya. I am the head of the Storybook Orchestra."

"Pleasure." I said, showing my badge. "Byrne Faraday. I'm the prosecutor in charge of this case. I have some questions for you and your band mates."

"Of course, of course." said Peter. "What do you want to know?"

"Well, first of all, your connection with Mr. Pur." I said, taking out my organizer.

"Comrade Ivan? He's been with us for a long time." said Peter. "If it wasn't for him and the Wolfe family, the orchestra wouldn't have even existed."

Now this was interesting. "What do you mean by that?"

"Allow me to explain." said an older gentleman in blue. He hobbled forward using his bassoon as a walking stick (which I'm pretty sure is not the proper way to take care of that instrument), his dim blue eyes reflecting a certain seriousness as he stroked his long white beard.

"Oh, please. Allow me to introduce you to my grandfather, Oswald Tevya." said Peter. "He is the co-founder of this orchestra."

"I see." said I. "So, how did Mr. Pur help the orchestra exactly, Mr. Tevya?"

"The Storybook Orchestra was formed during the time of the Soviet Union." explained Oswald. "As you probably know, there was a suppression of the arts during that time. Believe it or not, it was Comrade Ivan and the Wolfe family that protected us from the likes of the KGB. It was a difficult time for us."

"I can imagine." I said, listening with great interest. "Now, what about this Wolfe family?"

"The Wolfe family are another branch of the Izmaylovskaya gang." said Peter. "Their avtoritet, Comrade Scarlet, actually joined us as our French horn player. She was a great patron of the arts, and had the heart of a saint."

"Was?"

"She passed away two years ago. It's a tricky subject for us." said Peter.

"Oh." I said. "I'm, sorry for your loss, Mr. Tevya."

"Thank you, Comrade Faraday." said Peter. "Is there anything else we can help you with?"

"Do you happen to know anything about Mr. Pur's criminal dealings?" I inquired.

"More than we wish to." said Peter, folding his arms. "Even with the Russian Mafia protecting us, we got into a lot of trouble. Mainly with rival families trying to gain more influence in the Ivanov family's favor."

"One of those families wouldn't happen to be the Folovski family by any chance, would it?"

*TWANG*

A string on Peter's violin suddenly broke. It seems I was right on the money.

"Look, we weren't there. We don't know what happened." said Peter, hastily fixing the broken string.

"I never said you did." I said, raising an eyebrow. "Mr. Tevya, you seem nervous."

"It's nothing." said Peter, although I was pretty sure he was hiding something. I decided to save that for later.

"Let me ask you something else." I said. "Do you know that there was a performance scheduled for tonight?"

"Dah. That would be us." said Peter, recovering. "Comrade Kalinka was going to sing in accompaniment with our music. It was going to be wonderful."

"You mean the owner of this theater?" asked Badd. "I didn't know she sang."

"She never has before. But she wanted to try." said Peter. "That's what was going to make this performance so special."

I was starting to get a rough idea of what was going on now, but there were still several pieces missing to this puzzle. "Well, thank you for your time, Mr. Tevya."

"My pleasure, Comrade Faraday." said Peter. "If you have any other questions, feel free to ask any of us. Do svidaniya."

With that, the group dispersed before I could tell them not to interfere with anything. However, it seemed as though they already knew that.

"Well, we got a few more leads, but we don't know where they go." mused Badd.

"We should try the amphitheater again." I said. "Even if we can't get any information out of Ms. Polye herself, we might be able to find some more clues that will give us more of an idea of what went on last night."

"You think she was here at the time of the murder?" asked Badd.

"There's a good possibility that she was, judging by what we heard so far." I said. "We might need to talk to Mr. Tevya and his comrades later, too. I think there's something they don't want us to know."

"Yeah, I got that feeling, too." said Badd. "Between them and the Zangaru clan... finding reliable witnesses is gonna be a pain."

"Don't remind me." I sighed as we made our way back to the amphitheater.

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Spoiler: Turnabout in the Shadows Chapter 7: Live Wire
November 5th, 12:17 PM
Opus Opera House
Amphitheater

---------------------------


As soon as we arrived back at the amphitheater, the officer from before was waiting for us.

"Mr. Faraday, sir. You're timing is impeccable." he said. "We found something."

"Did you now." I said. "Well, what's the story?"

"When the paramedics were taking Ms. Polye, they found this on her person. Here, take a look."

He then handed me what looked like a small walkie-talkie with a long, thin wire. The wire was attached to a miniature microphone the size of a cuff link.

"She was... wearing a wire?" asked Badd. "But why?"

"Something tells me there's more to this case than we originally thought." I mused, taking a careful look at the device. "Judging by the craftsmanship, I'd say the maximum range for this transceiver would have to be shorter than average."

"Than average?" parroted Badd.

"This is not one of ours." I explained. "In fact, it's very primitive compared to what we have today. I'd say that this was made back in the sixties, at the latest."

"So, what does that mean?"

"It means that there were witnesses last night, despite Mr. Pur's claims." I said. "The only question is who were they, and what did they want?"

"If that transceiver is not one of ours... then I doubt it was a sting operation." said Badd. "You think it was the Russian Mafia, Faraday?"

"It most certainly could be." I said, continuing the observe the transceiver. "We would be able to use it to track down whoever placed the wire on Ms. Polye if the batteries hadn't run out."

"Figures." grunted Badd. "And I figure since the radio itself is so primitive... we can't just replace them."

"That is most likely the case." I said, pocketing the transceiver. "Nevertheless, this is still the key we have to making sense of this case."

"How so?"

"Think about it this way, Badd." I said. "The Opus Opera House was closed for renovation. And yet, Mr. Pur and Mr. Folovski were allowed in to conduct their business and play a game of Russian Roulette. Now, the only person who could've possibly let them in is Ms. Polye."

"I think I'm following you." said Badd. "You think that Ms. Polye pretended to be buddy-buddy with our mafioso friends so that she could gather information for her mystery informant. But how did she know they would show up at her doorstep to conduct their deal?"

"That might be something only Ms. Polye can answer." I said. "That or Mr. Folovski's successor."

"But we still have the Zangaru clan to worry about, too." said Badd. "How does this connect to them?"

"If this was the work of the Zangaru clan, it is simply a matter of misdirection." I said. "Remember, their actions are never straightforward."

"Faraday, nothing seems straightforward about this case." said Badd, taking the lollipop out of his mouth. "We don't even know how the victim died."

"I'd worry less about the victim and more about yourselves, outsider."

A gruff male voice came seemingly from nowhere. Just as we were looking around, the officer was knocked out. Standing in his place was another Zangaru ninja.

"This day keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?" growled Badd, reaching into his trench coat for his gun.

"This is no place for an outsider." the ninja snarled. "You leave, or you die."

"I have no intention of doing either." I said standing my ground. "In fact, I think it's time you answered some questions for us."

"What good would information be to a dead man?" the ninja retorted.

"That depends." I said. "What would you gain from killing me?"

I knew this was a dangerous game I was playing, and I knew that this was what Wren and Yuné warned me about. But if I was going to get any answers, I could not waver, not even in the face of death...

Some call me eccentric. I call myself creative.
My Fanfiction
My Fan Trial, Spirit's Turnabout


Last edited by Little_Thief on Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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