26 Piercing The Veils


A/N: The present timeline where we last saw Phoenix is July 10, 2026 – immediately after Turnabout Serenade, but there is a lot of back and forth flashbacks showing the events leading up to what made the poor guy be knocked out several chapters back and be missing in action from his own story – up until now, so just a heads up about the dates guys!

Seven Years Ago…
Mountain Cemetery – February 17, 2019


This feeling of this never-ending void is more excruciating than just typical grief. It’s a different sensation of emptiness from when Mia died. Now there is a resounding silence to my soul; I am winter leaves under frost. I feel the chill in my blood, coldness bringing the synapses of my brain to a standstill. Part of it is arduous anguish, yet one I can endure; one I can sleep through night after night without the anesthesia of false hope, for this is my winter. I can only now await springtime, and with it, the chattering of the birds…

Had her life really been subjectively normal just a mere week ago?

Maya remained firmly rooted in her spot at the grave while staring sightlessly at the faceless sea of mourners gathered around her, as motionless as a statue and maintaining an eerily imperturbable phizog.

Feeling overwhelmed by the pitying expressions of mostly strangers swarming about, she dropped her head and ceased the listless twisting of the dangling magatama chain around her fingers. Drawing in a steadying breath, she took one hand and braced it against a neighboring ancient Evergreen Ash for support, her tender palm pressing into the coarse crevices that ran through the husk. Her dull downward gaze came to rest on the pattern; chaotic, like the cracks in frozen winter earth. Under her feet, the fallen leaves of the neighboring trees were as noisy as the static in her head.

Nothing was making sense anymore, not even the trees.

Up until the harrowing chain of events at Hazakura Temple, her existence had had clear direction and meaning. For the past three years, despite the trials and tribulations that she’d endured, the spirit medium had nonetheless found genuine happiness working alongside Ace Attorney Phoenix Wright as his legal assistant, investigating crime scenes and seeking justice for all.

Then, deprived of any preamble, another horrific crime scene altogether had legitimately rendered her an orphan in this cold, cruel world – with only her darling Pearly as her sole remaining family – while simultaneously changing the entire course of her life as she knew it. Misty’s untimely demise had officially altered Maya’s destiny for good, thrusting her youngest progeny into the inherited position which she’d never wanted: official leader of Kurain Village in her birthright title as Master of the Kurain Channeling Technique.

I can feel myself slowly going insane. To the point where nothing matters anymore and caring is too damn difficult and the feeling is too much to bear and the smallest whisper would feel like an echo into the abyss, and I feel like I’m falling, falling, falling…

Lost in a surge of turmoil and agony, the spirit medium was only dimly aware of the murmured condolences of her friends and fellow commiserates who had shown up for the former Kurain Master’s funeral.

Six feet under was now where the casket containing her mother’s body had been lowered until it was out of sight. Even as Maya listened to the umpteenth susurration of sympathy, her downcast glance didn’t stray from the freshly dug grave at her feet.

And it doesn’t even feel like mourning after a while. It’s just overwhelming. It’s not even a tangible emotion. It’s just the inescapable sensation of nothingness, and the desperate desire to stop feeling it.

She willed the world to dissolve around her, just to melt away, yet she could still feel the texture of rough bark and the chill breeze that refused to reflect the howling pain that tore through her slender frame. Without warning, she felt her insides become wooden as she felt the strange sensation of a hand on her shoulder. Steeling herself, she turned to greet her latest consoler, her countenance as stoic and impassive as a mannequin’s.

“Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to pay your respects,” she stated hollowly, as if on autopilot before the person could even offer their condolences. “It is most appreciated.”

His jagged brows knitted in concern as he studied his friend’s pale, wan visage. Even though she’d remained dry-eyed thus far, her hapless sorrow was evident to him, and he’d never felt more powerless. He’d never been an overly articulate man, so although his best friend’s plight made him ache with sympathy, he was at a total loss for words on how to ease her overwhelming grief.

“Maya, look at me,” he urged gently, clasping her tiny fingers within his own. Then, when she remained unresponsive, with his free hand, he crooked his index beneath her chin, gently tipping it upward so she had no choice but to meet his attentive gaze. “More than anything, I wish I could stay here longer with you, but I had to come to find you, to let you know that unfortunately, it’s time for me to go.”

Lugubrious mocha orbs met regretful navy ones. Even though she had yet to speak, Phoenix knew she was loath to have him depart, as indicated by the reflexive, desperate tightening of her fingertips against his.

“I hate to leave you, but I wanted to let you know that I have to head back to L.A. now since I caught a ride with Gumshoe and Maggey. They need to get back before dinnertime to relieve their sitter for little Gordy.” His visage was wreathed with lament and compassion. “But I wanted to let you know I’ll call you tomorrow. And I promise I’ll come up and visit you again really soon, alright?”

Even though she’d known this moment was inevitable, her throat tightened painfully, and she merely gave a mute nod in response. Nick was leaving now. To return home. His home. In the city. Alone. Because her new fated path didn’t involve her and Pearl living with him anymore. Not knowing when she’d next set eyes on that cherished mien she’d grown accustomed to seeing daily was almost more gut-wrenching than the loss of the mother she’d never known.

On top of all this contentious sorrow, this – this forced separation…it makes me so helplessly, irrevocably angry. Not because our road is ending, or because things hadn’t worked out the way I’d hoped. I’m not angry because I loved him so much that I’d given up the life path I was guided to take, along with half my dreams, for him. It’s not even because he’s tainted every memory I had, every ounce of happiness I’d allowed myself, and when he leaves, he’ll be taking my one spotlight away, and casting shadows everywhere. No, I am angry because I’d tried so hard to make things work for us, as partners in crime – and hoped in due time, it would have become something more. Because I’d given so much of myself to something that must have been doomed from the start. I am angry because I’d allowed myself to love a person who would never have understood that love. I am angry because I’d broken my own heart.

Maya nodded, more bravely this time, and barely suppressed the crazed urge to ululate hysterically, cling to his feet, and beg Phoenix to take her back with him.

However, such indecorous behavior would hardly be fitting to a woman with the dignity of her newfound office. It would be inexcusable for the reigning village leader to be acting in any sort of unseemly manner, especially before so many witnesses, as Mystic Violet, head of Kurain’s Elder Council, had sharply reminded her before the memorial service.

I’ve spent most of my life and most of my friendships holding my breath and hoping that when people get close enough, they won’t leave, and fearing that it’s a matter of time before they figure me out and go. Nick’s time has come now. And there’s nothing I can do about it.

A stray droplet slowly made its way down Maya’s cheek. Phoenix saw it, even though she’d turned her head away, and gently pulled her closer to him.

“Come here.” His voice was soft. “One more hug for the road.”

“No,” she choked, knowing she’d be unable to resist the floodgates threatening to consume her, but to no avail, as the determined lawyer tugged her rigid, resisting form against his hard chest.

“Yes,” he insisted, tenderly nestling her in his arms as though she were a baby. “You have to stop putting on so many different masks, Maya. Which one is your own? How many faces do you put on for the world?”

“Stop it.” The warmth of his hold was her undoing, and a subsequent liquid bead escaped, quickly followed by another. “No, Nick! Please don’t do this to me….”

Ignoring her protests, he held her even more tightly and began softly stroking her hair.

“You don’t have to put on a happy face and dance like you did for Pearls every time tragedy struck. Nor do you need to put on a brave front in this time of sorrow. At least, not with me. Let me be your shoulder to cry on if nothing else.”

Her body began trembling from the force of trying to withhold her sobs.

“I bottle everything up,” Maya choked, burying her face against the familiar blue jacket. “I hide my emotions, I pretend to be OK. It’s not healthy, I know. But I don’t want to be a burden, I don’t want to have people worried about me…”

“I know. That’s why I want you to let it out.” His voice was a smooth rumbling sound in his chest, where he cradled her head. “You’ll feel much better.”

The latitude was the final push needed to make her defenses fully collapse, and Maya crumpled into a heap against him, her pent-up rivulets now cascading in endless torrents, soaking the front of his suit.

I’ve never been like this with anyone else. Never so open. Never so vulnerable. ‘ I love you, Nick’, is what I want to say. But surely, he knows this already. ‘Don’t leave me’, I want to plead. ‘Don’t make ME leave.’ I need you so much.

In the chaos, she hardly noticed the way her nails were digging into the tender flesh of her palms. Something about the gentleness with which he soothingly rocked her made her bereaved heart lurch, and a wordless cry escaped her lips at the bittersweetness of it all.

For after today, the grieving girl didn’t know when he would ever be able to hold her like this, or when they’d ever be together again. And it killed her all the more.

He couldn’t bear the sound of her tears and scarcely managed to hold back his own as he rested his chin atop her head.

“I’m so sorry for your loss, Maya. I wish to God there was some way I could take away your suffering. Just know that you’re not alone. I’m still going to be there for you. A little physical distance between us isn’t ever going to change that!”

I love you, she longed to cry out, and muffled back a sob as she felt her body begin to shudder in his embrace. I’m already running out of pep talks trying to convince myself that I’m going to be fine without you.

“What’s going on, Maya? You’re trembling.” He drew back slightly and apprehensively surveyed the tremulous spirit medium, noting her quivering lips. “It’s like you’re – scared or something? But the nightmare is over, so that can’t be the case, surely?”

She vainly attempted to steady herself, but her voice was beginning to crack.

“But I am,” she whispered shakily. “I am scared. Nick. Terrified. More than I’ve ever been in my whole life.”

“The worst is over now.” He gently brushed her hair back from her forehead. “It’s all over now, and nobody can ever hurt you again. There’s nothing to be afraid of anymore. You’re safe. Remember – I’m merely a two-hour train ride away…”

“No, it’s not that.” She shook her head as her maudlin eyes peered beseeching into his. “I’m scared to death, Nick because there’s I have zero guaranteed tomorrows with you anymore! B –Because once you leave here today…you could just leave me…leave my life now, at any moment. And there isn’t a single damn thing I can do about it!”


How fervently Phoenix wished this was any other occasion at all so that there was something tangible he could do to raise her spirits, because seeing the normally jaunty Burger Queen in such a lachrymose state was rubbing his heart raw.

In any other instance, like if this were some other sort of happier social gathering, even though the legal legend knew he had two left feet, he’d have asked her to dance. Taken her hands and pulled her up off the ground. His tiny dancer would be fluid like water, like the wind and rain. He’d merrily observe her twirling, round and round, as though she were a tornado.

Or perhaps he’d sing her a song. She would rest her head on his chest and giggle uncontrollably.

“Nick, you dork! You can’t even sing!” She would twitter, her gales of laughter sounding like music to his ears. “Stop assaulting my ears, Old Man!”

Regardless, he would not stop. He would not stop until she was begging for his silence with her lips on his in muffled gasps.

Or he would tell her a story. Like the time when he was five before he’d gotten swimming lessons, and fell into a pond and almost drowned. Then he’d mention how he was so glad a passerby dived in and saved his life because otherwise, he would never have met her.

What he wholly wished he could do, above all else, was freeze time, and just stay with her for as long as she needed. Simply embrace her, sit in silence and trace the veins in her neck with his tongue until she sighed and whispered, “You are what’s keeping me alive.”

Then she’d claim she was doing just fine on her own now, yet he’d still hold her a little closer and tighter nevertheless because he knew she needed it. Moreover, because he wanted to.

Because he loved her so damn much that he’d run across a burning bridge for her without hesitation or even giving a second thought to his personal safety, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Yet this wasn’t another cheerier instance, but an utmost somber juncture. Ergo, such long unspoken proclamations would not be prudent to unveil at this moment. Plus, the Gumshoes were waiting for him. Therefore, Phoenix was limited in what he could say or do, to give comfort to the girl he loved with all his heart.

“Nobody should feel like they have to keep smiling all the time.” He struggled to keep his voice even as he tried to smile reassuringly. “Memories haunt us at any time. Even at 2:00 in the morning, and you are in deep sleep and suddenly you wake up with wet eyes. Remember not to be afraid to stop and pray if need be, nor be ashamed to cry, because sometimes we need to take a break and reinforce our strength.”

These were the only sentiments he could allow himself to utter as he cradled her tear-stained face in his hands, vehemently wishing he could kiss her tears away, but instead leaned forward to press a final farewell kiss on her forehead.

“Ultimately, I know you’ll get through this. I believe this with all my heart because you are the strongest, most resilient girl I’ve ever known. All the same, don’t need to feel like you’ve got to pull through this on your own. Remember, anytime you need anything, day or night, just call me. I promise you that I’ll be right there,” Phoenix vowed fiercely. “I swear, Maya Fey, I’ll always be here for you.”

Kurain Village – May 24, 2026


Sufferin’ succotash! If this harebrained, cockamamie rigmarole pans out, I’ll be a monkey’s bare-assed uncle!”

As he neared the remote village and saw the iconoclastic, Asian-inspired buildings set up in the inspired style of feudal Japan, Tyrell Badd persisted with his nonstop grumbling while he fidgeted with the matching silky vest of his pinstriped suit for the zillionth time.

“Also, I judge nobody but myself for letting my niece effectively con me into not only getting a shave and a haircut for this little excursion but also borrowing this blasted ensemble which doesn’t even fit me right! The things I do for that girl, I swear!”

He jerked impotently at the unyielding material around his collar, attempting to slightly loosen the unrelenting knotted tie Maggey had wrapped around his neck that morning that would have stumped even the staunchest of Boy Scouts. Or Girl Scouts in this case.

Not that the former Goddess of Misfortune made it past one week in first-level Girl Scout Daisies before single-handedly being responsible for the counselors banning the game of Duck-Duck-Goose – due to grievous bodily injuries! At the age of five, the future Mrs. Gumshoe broke own her nose because she didn’t seem to understand the concept of a circle, and ran straight into a wall, full speed! Heh! What a maroon!

Letting out a rueful chuckle memory of the anecdote, the past crime investigator then resumed mentally cursing the fact that Kay had managed to force him to don the ill-fitting, three-piece, black pinstriped ensemble and silver necktie that was borrowed from his former apprentice.

Not only was his ex-protégé’s suit slightly too tight and too baggy in all the wrong places, as the human tank that was Dick Gumshoe was slightly broader than even the athletically built former Yatagarasu himself, but also a good couple of inches shorter than his 6’2″ frame. The blundering younger man also apparently had a thicker neck than his old mentor, hence Maggey’s foreseen need to have tightened it extra snugly around Badd’s neck – to the point where he felt as though his head were in a noose!

In all fairness to the one-time policewoman and bumbling Detective, the ornery ex-sleuth undoubtedly would’ve complained about wearing any sort of even remotely formal wear, regardless of who it belonged to! When Badd had been on the force, he’d always looped his tie around the collar as loosely as possible; the cumbersome accessory had always given him a choking sensation.

Having grown accustomed to his life in retirement these last few years, the tie felt especially stifling right now, as his days were usually spent in comfortable joggers or jeans as standard attire, no jacket nor tie required!

Despite his misgivings about the task at hand, his only discomfort was related to his apparel, not his ability to be successful in the mission at hand. This mission didn’t require any true thespian skills, and although he was no longer a working detective, his more than sufficient undercover instincts were still in high gear in preparation for the role he was about to play.

Flashback: The previous afternoon…

Detective Badd’s House – May 23, 2026


“What in blazes do you mean the Gumshoes are expecting me at their place tomorrow morning before I head up to Kurain? And that Dick is lending me one of his suits?” Badd demanded of his niece during their eleventh-hour video chat.” What in Sam Hill is wrong with my usual getup of suspenders, tie, and trench?!”

“For one, Uncle Badd said outfit is even older than I am!” The self-proclaimed Yatagarasu explained indulgently. “Since you refused to go buy yourself a new suit, I’ve had no choice but to play fashion kibitzer and get creative with ensuring you’ve dressed accordingly for this undercover operation!”

“And just who the devil do I need to impress so badly?” He bristled. “What’s the scuttlebutt on this loony Plum crone whose suspicious activities I’m going to investigate –”

“It’s Violet, not Plum, Uncle Badd,” she corrected. “It’s a totally different shade of purple altogether!”

“Call it what you want, but I associate any variant of the color with bruises! Either way, whatsherface is only some spook-racket kook living out in the sticks, not the Queen of England!”

“Irrespective of her not being royalty, she is still head of the esteemed Elder Council, so you’re required to come across as a respectable gentleman of the community, who is seeking spiritual guidance from this spiritually renowned, matriarchal society! In other words, you will already stick out like a sore thumb being a man in an all-female village, which means you cannot compound matters by showing up in a trench coat and tie that have more bullet holes than Swiss cheese!”

“Who gives a rat’s arse if my clothes are riddled with bullet holes?” He barked back defensively. “Every single one of those holes has a different story behind it, and shows how I successfully managed to flip off death each and every time, and I’m damn proud of them! They’re like the equivalent to badges of honor on a war vet, dammit!”

“And you absolutely should be proud to have given the Grim Reaper the finger more times than anyone can count, Uncle Badass!” Kay soothed, her placating smile belying her no-nonsense tone. “However, this favor isn’t for me, but for a close friend of Mr. Edgeworth, whom you know and like, very well! Moreover, having gone over the nature of the circumstances, it seems the handling of this shady situation needs to be done in a very delicate manner. A woman’s life is potentially at stake here! We simply can’t afford to take any risks!”

“Yeah, Miles is a swell guy, so no doubt anyone he cares about must be a good egg by proxy,” Badd conceded, popping a fresh lollipop in his mouth. “This will be an interesting feat. I’ve been spending most of my free time keeping my aim sharp down at the shooting range, so taking the time to help him out with this venture isn’t a cramp in my schedule.”

“You’d still assist, even if it was, cuz you’re just a big ol’ softie and you know it!”

Kay wisely ceased her ribbing when she saw the tsundere man’s thunderous expression.

Anyway, this particular obligement merely entails one lousy day of leaving your precious comfort zone and cleaning yourself up, so that you’re presented as a mild-mannered and harmless gentleman! Your goal is supposed to be convincing these women you’re a grieving widower, which is why we can’t have you arrive all gangbusters and in intimidating detective mode!”

“Fine, fine,” he harrumphed grumpily. “I get it! I also got your couriered package this morning with those key items I’m going to need for tomorrow. Guess I’m all set for this stealthy meeting.”

“There’s just one more thing to keep in mind.” Kay chose her words carefully. “Since you’re going through all the trouble of appearing as trustworthy and approachable as possible…perhaps you could also…ah… curb that sourpuss of yours?”

“Do I need to teach you a thing or two about how to talk to adults, kid!?” She was rewarded with a baleful glare that could have bored holes through a wall. “Remember that I’m doing you a favor! And FYI this happens to be the demeanor I was born with!”

He punctuated this by chomping the head right off the lollipop he’d just popped into his mouth – followed by immediately easing her anxiousness by flashing her a crooked grin, indicating he’d been yanking her chain the whole time with the affronted act.

Kay relaxed and raised a gloved hand to her lips to fight back a snicker at how convincing he’d been with the bout of mock outrage. She never should even momentarily forgotten her uncle was all bark and no bite nor doubted that he could certainly break out the required theatrics with the best of them, no problem!

“That was Oscar-worthy right there! And for the record, there’s nothing wrong with your face, Uncle Badd,” the ebony-haired Interpol agent replied sweetly. “It’s just that more of it shall be visible once you shave off that scruff, so it wouldn’t kill you to lose the scowl! How are you supposed to make a good first impression if you go in there wearing that trademark, stare down a cobra look? Better yet, you’d look a good ten years younger if you actually smiled!”

Her tone took on a teasing note.

“Kurain village is full of nothing but mostly single women you know! One of them may take a shine to you, once it’s apparent that when he’s not shooting lethal glares about him, the strappingly rugged ex-detective in their midst is still quite the fine lady-killer specimen!”

“Can it with the flattery, kid! You’re so full of crap, those eyes are turning brown as we speak!” Badd responded gruffly, trying to mask his embarrassment at the unexpected compliment. “Ain’t nobody going to make eyes at this over the hill former flatfoot without averting them right afterward! I’m as old as the hills and you know it!”

“I wouldn’t say you’re over the hill, Uncle Badd!” She snickered. “You’re just high enough to get a nosebleed!”

“Hardy har har. You’re just a real riot, missy! Remind me to send you a lump of coal at Christmastime!”

“Come on! You know I’m just bustin’ your chops! I’ll love you till the end of time, darling eld, grouchy, but everfavorite, Uncle of Mine!” Kay promised solemnly, even though her jade orbs were sparkling with mischief. “Just a friendly reminder, that tomorrow, you are not retired Detective Tyrell Badd…but bereaved widower, Oliver Closof!”

Upon the first-time hearing of his ludicrous undercover identity, Badd nearly choked on the mouthful of black coffee he’d just taken a hefty swig of.

What the shit?! All of her what now?! Jesus take the wheel, Kay! What in God’s name were you thinking?!”

“I’ve gotta go now, Uncle Oliver! Lang’s calling me.” Kay smiled angelically and blew one last kiss at the camera, giggling maniacally at his disbelieving expression. “Oh, and remember, you were sent by your benign niece, Carrie Oakey – yes we both know I can’t even carry a tune in a basket, but they don’t need to know that! Hee! Call me as soon as you’re done! Good luck! Byee!”


The wily ninja quickly disconnected the call right then, before her incredulous Uncle of Objectionable Name had finished spluttering on his java.

End Flashback

Kurain Village – May 24, 2026


Badd saw the diminutive figure in black kimono awaiting his arrival as he sauntered up to the village entrance. He’d half-expected her to be wearing some sort of mantelet draped over her shoulders since this could be none other than She of Purple Cloak, Ms. Violet Manteau herself.

So, this is the supposed face of evil I’m to be jalousie of, the burly man mused. Sure, I’d prefer to put an ice-pick under my toenail and kick a coffee table than stare too long at that Medusa mug, but that’s only out of my desire not to be turned to stone! This old bag still looks more like someone’s grandmother rather than some sort of shifty criminal mastermind! After all, being ugly as sin doesn’t necessarily make you wicked!

Violet Manteau was as old as balls, but not the kind of elderly woman one pitied with their old bones and feeble limbs, but the kind who could still run an army kitchen given half a chance. It was also evident that she was keen on fighting the aging process every step of the way. The small jet-black bun on top of her head was so tight that made her slanted almond eyes almost seem to be near the sides of her head and further pulled her alabaster skin, resulting in an over-tight, strained look. Her painted lips had been fattened and her eyelashes were palpably false. What the loose-flowing kimono also failed to hide was the redistribution of her body fat, showing her waist was thick and her stomach was paunchy beneath the silky fabric. She was at the point that the more effort she made to appear youthful, the worse she would look.

Which is seriously saying something, seeing as I’d rather if ever waking up with my arm around her, chew said arm off —in the manner of a wild canine escaping from a steel-jaw trap—rather than pull it back away from this Coyote Ugly she-thing!

Despite his dubious speculations, his police instincts kicked into high gear as he further contemplated the female of undeterminable age standing before him. Her nose was a hawk’s beak, and her small onyx eyes were sharp as she aloofly scanned the towering giant in front of her, positively emanating an air of exceeded hauteur, coupled with a very repulsive expression.

“Mr. Closof, I presume?” The cold, unwavering twin coals never left his mien. “Good Day. I am Violet Manteau, head of the Elder Council.”

Upon hearing her speak for the first time, Badd immediately realized how specious his unassuming first impression had been to ever deem this beldam as even remotely innoxious! The voice was high-pitched and raspy, like Natasha Ayasato’s, but instead of being merely nerve grating, Violet’s more whispery falsetto, carrying an eerie, childlike quality – was outright nightmare-inducing!

Dip me in shit and call me a turdsicle! She’s the vocal doppelganger of Tangina, the eccentric spirit medium from the cult classic horror film, Poltergeist! That dame’s vocals were even more skin-crawling than the movie itself!

The sudden horripilation of his tingling arm hairs was as discomfiting as hell – the woman’s sound was that petrifying! Kay Faraday, the daring ninja, had mentioned how simply talking on the phone to the harridan had given her goosebumps, too, yet Badd had figured his niece was simply exaggerating her claims. But now, upon coming face to face with that voice, the normally fearless badass could feel his balls jumping back into his body!

In spite of his instructions to appear gentlemanly, Badd couldn’t summon up the ability to extend his palm for a handshake, as social convention would have dictated – he would have preferred to rip his heart out of his rib cage with his bare hands and then throw it on the floor and stomped on it ’till he died, rather than feel the touch of Violet’s creped flesh against his!

“Nice to meet you.” He graciously inclined his head and kept his fists buried safely in his trouser pockets, offering his most congenial smile in place of his hand. “Carrie mentioned that you’re booked solid, and had to squeeze me in, so am much obliged.”

“It is the exalted goal of Kurain to reconnect anyone and everyone who needs connecting with their dearly departed,” Violet responded coolly. “Alas, we only have one truly gifted spirit who is capable of the daunting task, so we are booked back to back, with another appointment immediately following yours. It’s most auspicious that you’re punctual, Mr. Closof, because it would have been quite unfortunate if I’d already left to attend my duties at Hazakura Temple, had you been even a minute late, thereby making your appointed slot thus forfeited.”

Now that his initial trepidation had abated somewhat, Badd immediately loathed the elder at first sight. The woman positively screamed the term ‘Disney evil!’

“Is that right? I would have missed out on the entire appointment if I’d been remotely late, even though you’re not the one who does the channelings?”

“The demand for our services far exceeds our supply, sir.” Violet’s tone indicated she did not appreciate being questioned. “Hence, we run quite the tight ship here. Time is money, and money is time, so it pays to be punctual! Miss Oakley indicated the considerably dire straits you were in, so it would have been a crying shame to lose the substantial, non-refundable deposit your niece put down.”

That’s not a tight ship you’re running, you morally bankrupt, mercenary opportunist! Badd seethed, clenching his unseen pocketed hands. It’s a tight fist…clenching the hard-earned dollars of desperate, bereaved, and unsuspecting patrons! I’d ask how she sleeps at night, but I shudder to think about the answer, which is most likely: ‘On top of my pet gargoyle with my back arched and my head in a pail of cool, clean blood of sacrificial virgins!’

“That’s my Carrie, always looking out for me,” Badd answered tightly. “Seeing as how time is of the essence, how about we get the ball rolling then?”

“We are awaiting the arrival of Mystic Pearl.” Her lurid pink lips turned up in a supercilious smile, deciding his fate. “I shall take leave as soon as she arrives.”

“Here I am, Mystic Violet,” a soft voice chimed, coming from behind the former detective.

Turning around, Badd got his first view of the missing Master’s cousin, Pearl Fey, a pocket-sized ingénue with wide-set gray eyes, which bore dark shadows beneath them, and a drawn expression, even as she attempted to smile in greeting at her visitor.

“Mystic Pearl, it is now 12:02,” Violet noted crisply. “It is quite brute to keep a client waiting! I was just explaining the importance of promptness to our guest and it makes me look rather foolish when I cannot even demonstrate our zero-tolerance for tardiness when it is made to look like I can’t even enforce the compliance of these basic standards amongst her own residents!”

Badd stared in disbelief at the harpy for speaking in such a scurrilous manner to this doll-faced, mere slip of a girl. He cast an apprehensive at the tiny spirit medium, who looked beyond exhausted and ready to fall asleep on her feet and felt his disgust and blood pressure rapidly escalating.

“I’m sorry, Mystic Violet.” Pearl hung her head in shame. “I had to make a quick trip to the bathroom and I thought I had a couple of extra minutes after my last client left.”

“Well, you should consume fewer liquids then!” Violet snapped, waving her bony finger at the chastened teen. “You already had a bathroom break at dawn!”

That does it! Badd’s eyebrows drew together sharply as he tried to keep his fierce mounting temper from exploding, lest he blew the entire operation. I’m about to gnaw off my tongue if I hold it another minute! This sweet little thing isn’t much younger than Kay – and heaven help anyone, man or woman, that would dare talk to or treat her this way! No kid should be subjected to this torture! Not on my watch!

“I assure you, madam, there was no inconvenience done to me whatsoever in these past few moments,” he stated evenly, forcing down the ire building within him while playing his gentleman’s role to a hilt. “For I have been so engrossed in making the pleasure of your acquaintance, I paid no mind whatsoever to the time. No harm, no foul, as far as I’m concerned.”

Without even bothering to gauge Violet’s reaction to his assertion, he then shifted his attention over to Pearl, treating her to his first genuine smile of the day, and extended his hand, which she tentatively shook.

“Greetings, Mystic Pearl. I’m Oliver Closof. It’s a real pleasure to meet you.”

“It’s nice to meet you too,” Pearl answered, barely stifling the yawn creeping into her soft-spoken lilt. “If you’ll please follow me to Fey Manor, we can get started with your session.”

“I’ll be on my way then.” There was a blast of Arctic in the elder’s cadence as she nodded stiffly at Badd and Pearl. “Mystic Pearl, your next appointment is at 1:00, so I trust you shan’t have any delays in meeting them, and will appear more alive!”

“Of course, Mystic Violet. Please give my regards to Sister Bikini.”

Pearl miraculously seemed to get a second wind at the hidden warning. Smiling prettily, she somehow managed to produce more pep in her step as she led Badd down the path leading to the Channeling Chamber, both feeling the disapproving dark eyes of the elder boring into their backs as they walked away.

Once inside the darkened, candle-lit room, the tiny girl seemed relieved to be off her feet again, and sank to her knees, with her bottom resting on her heels, onto the wooden floor, waving a hand at the big man to mimic her actions.

“Let’s get started, shall we?” She asked brightly. “You were looking to channel the spirit of your wife, is that right? Calisto Yew was the name I was given. Do you have a picture for me to look at, Mr. Closof?”

Reaching into his pocket, Badd retrieved one of the items from the package his niece had sent and slid over the old photo. It had once been of the original three members of the Yatagarasu: himself, Bryne Faraday, and the female clandestine smuggling ring associate, who’d been posing as a defense attorney at the time. Kay had manipulated the picture and removed her father’s murderer from it, so it looked as though it was only the detective and her father’s killer posing together.

“She’s…very… pretty,” Pearl murmured unconvincingly as she took the submitted image. “Even though this is black and white, it should suffice…”

Casting a quick gander around the room, Badd narrowed his eyes and stared intently at the teen.

“Does this place have any kind of video or recording equipment?”

“Of course not! We can guarantee and value your privacy as a client!” Pearl said quickly. “I mean, Mystic Maya was considering putting them in, after the incident that happened here 10 years ago, but then she went away barely a week after she became Master…”

Dropping her eyes, she bit her thumb and turned bright red, realizing she had spoken far too much.

“Don’t you worry, sir! While it is my cousin, not myself, who is the Master of Kurain, I assure you that despite my young age, as acting Master, I am more than capable enough to handle your channeling needs!”

This claim had much less conviction than intended, as the girl appeared to sway slightly from her prayer pose right after, and she smiled sheepishly.

“Sorry about that. I guess I’m a little tired, that’s all.” She waved away the proffered freshly wrapped lollipop Badd instantly waved at her. “That’s very nice of you, but no thank you. I’m fine, really.”

Take it!” He ordered firmly. “Have you had anything to eat today at all? I have a niece who isn’t much older than you are, and I would recognize a kid’s hunger sways one hundred miles away!”

“I ate breakfast just before my first client at sunrise, and my day is going to be over at 6:00, so I’ll be fine until dinnertime!” She replied politely. “Also, I may be small so I look a lot younger than I am, but I’m 16, Mr. Closof.”

“You’re a growing girl nevertheless, and you last ate over six hours ago with barely even a bathroom break ever since!” A note of frustration crept into his voice as he waved the candy at her. “Just eat it already!”

“That wouldn’t be very professional!” Pearl said primly, looking apologetic. “And no offense but I was always taught never to take candy from strangers.”

“Well then allow me to introduce myself to you properly, and cut to the chase.”

Reaching into his wallet, the former Detective pulled out his old badge and ID, along with two more objects his Kay had sent. He slapped them down in front of the astonished, wide-eyed girl.

“I am not a grieving widower with a ridiculous cartoon character name who needs channeling done. My real name is Tyrell Badd. I’m a former Detective who is very good friends with a man I’m sure you know quite well. His name is Miles Edgeworth.”

“Mr. Eh-ji-worth?” Pearl’s surprised lips fell open into a wide O-shape as her hands flew to her cheeks. “Y -You know him?!”

Badd nodded silent affirmation.

There was a lingering moment of speculative silence as the prodigy psychic’s Bambi-sized eyes studied the gruff exterior of the stranger sitting across from her, obviously relying on her keen intuition to guide her mind in allowing her to trust him or not. Apparently, he passed the test, as he saw a tiny flare of hope glimmer in the formerly exhausted orbs, although a slight flicker of caution remained.

“B-But…how do I know you’re telling the truth and you’re not just claiming to know my friend?”

“Take a look at the other couple of items there, Pearl,” he instructed patiently, gesturing to the assortment of variables laid out before them. “You will see the first item is a red, limited edition, a no longer available keychain of the now-defunct TV show, Signal Samurai, with the engraved initials, M.E. indicating it belongs Prosecutor Edgeworth. He made me swear a blood oath that no harm would come to this secret prized possession he still has to this day. This is an extremely sentimental keepsake from his early days of friendship with another man whom you and your cousin knew very well – Mr. Phoenix Wright.”

“Mr. Nick?” Pearl gasped, clapping a hand to her mouth. “Oh, how I miss him!”

“Yes, Mr. Nick.” Badd tapped a large, roughened finger at the photograph next to the keychain. “This is a childhood snapshot of Miles Edgeworth, Phoenix Wright, and Larry Butz, the latter whom I also know, as schoolboys with their red, blue, and yellow Signal Samurai key chains.”

He pulled out the final item from his jacket pocket.

“And here is a photo of me, Larry, and the good prosecutor that his assistant, Kay took of us after we cracked the smuggling ring case many years ago, as further evidence that I am a friend of Miles Edgeworth, who is overseas right now. He somehow had a brief moment of contact with your cousin, and based on their conversation, fears she may be in trouble. That’s why I’m here, Pearl. I’d like to find her. Can you help me out by telling me what you know?”

With shaking hands, Pearl gratefully accepted the lollipop he nudged at her again, her face lighting up with pleasure as the saccharine flavor coated her starved taste buds and gave him a thumbs up to indicate he had her full trust now.

“Thanks, Mr. Tyrell!” She grinned. “I needed this so badly! And of course, I’ll tell you everything I know, but it’s not much, I’m afraid.”

Badd listened intently as Pearl relayed a story almost identical to the one she’d told Edgeworth when he’d rung last month, searching for Maya.

Seven years ago, barely a week after Misty Fey’s funeral, and at the bidding of Violet Manteau, the new Master had been shuffled onto “spiritual retreats” lasting anywhere from one to two weeks. They were all in isolated locations across the country, where Maya was never accessible by phone.

“From the end of February until April, Mr. Nick would call constantly for Mystic Maya,” Pearl recalled dismally. “He always sounded so disappointed whenever I had to tell him that she wasn’t here, and didn’t have her cell with her so that not even I could reach her, wherever she was! After a while…he just stopped calling her altogether.”

Flashback: Seven years ago
(Former) Wright and Co. Law Offices – May 2, 2019


The dejected ex-attorney numbly replaced the receiver into the cradle.

“I never imagined that we would stop talking, or that she, of all people, would turn her back on me after all I’d done for her.”

It was his millionth futile attempt to try to reach Maya, whom he hadn’t spoken to since the day after Misty Fey’s funeral back in February. He’d tried to contact her…and each time had failed miserably.

Phoenix rubbed his bleary eyes with the heel of his palms as he continued lamenting aloud in the empty room that had once been his office.

“I figured she was better than my other so-called friends, who all turned their backs on me. I thought I meant more to her than that. I want to be wanted by someone that wants me even after they stopped needing me. Plainly, that’s not, and never will be, Maya. She couldn’t care less about me, which sucks because I couldn’t possibly care more about her. Once upon a time, she’d tell me her troubles and how the tsunami in her head was ruining her life. We were truly best friends. Now, she doesn’t even respond to my messages.”

His pitiless mind taunted him as he took a hefty swig of the cheap wine that had become his new constant companion.

Do you want to know why you haven’t stopped drinking like a wino since you lost your badge, Phoenix? You drink your thoughts and feelings away slowly, trying to drown your sorrow by emptying a pool of lies. Not so that you cannot walk but just enough to numb the pain for that night. The downside of trying to numb this pain is you being bitterly honest which results in you thinking about your pain even more. The conclusion is you revealing truths about a life that now lies in tatters and a heart that is now officially shattered.

And for the umpteenth time, his attempts to reach his best friend had been in vain. The calls went straight to voicemail without ringing, the texts and emails went unanswered. This time around, when he’d rung Fey Manor, instead of the dulcet Pearl making pleasant small-talk with him before sadly informing him her cousin was away on business and that she was unable to reach her, a chilling, unidentified female had picked up.

Then the strange voice had icily informed Phoenix Wright of forging attorney acclaim that the prestigious Master of Kurain was not available, and no longer wished to have anything to do with him, and to kindly please stop harassing her. Then, before he could utter another word, she’d gone on to announce that if he dared sully Kurain with his degenerate presence, she’d have him charged with trespassing, then curtly hung up the phone.

Sinking onto the couch, he buried his devastated head in his hands.

Today I thought about her 24 times, I counted. I’m not quite sure if it’s more or less than the day before and I’m not quite sure either which one I prefer. It’s been a while and I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m missing part of me like she was somehow tattooed on me and something is slowly fading away from me. Today I realized I don’t fully remember how her hug feels like. And for a moment I even forgot how her voice sounded like and with the emptiness of the noises, I think I could hear my heart cracking a bit more. It hasn’t been that long, but I can’t help but be scared that someday I will forget the color of the eyes that one day gave me life and taught me what love is. I can’t help but sit around and try to relive all the memories because I’m too afraid to forget. Today, after being told – in no uncertain terms and no mincing of words, to fuck right off – I can say that I’m going to move on, but I can’t just forget her. No, not yet. Honestly? I hope I never do.

He reached for his ever-present bottle of wine and downed the remaining claret liquid in one gulp.

I guess it was my fault in the end. I should have told her how much she meant to me when I had the chance. I had three damn years of chances! I grew complacent. I became careless. The way that I loved her, I thought I would always be her favorite – as she was mine. I never realized that even we were subject to the constraints of time and space. I never realized that aftereverything we’d endured together, that we weren’t invincible. I never imagined that, for any reason at all, we would ever find ourselves drifting apart. But now the day has come that we could swear we had never even met. I don’t know how I’d react if ever again I see her in person, but I do know that I will never be mad at her.

How could he be mad at the person closest to him? The one he’d risked everything for? Whom he’d fought tooth and nail for all these years, to keep safe and alive and by his side? The person who’d been the joy and light of his otherwise boring lawyer life?

It is these moments that I think about now-now that she is gone. I remember that glorious obsidian mane and that impish grin and her melodic laughter. She was so cheerful and enthusiastic about everything – the simplest things made her happy. A silly children’s action show. A burger or twelve. That was all it took – but each and every time she looked so happy that I couldn’t help but laugh whenever she did. I couldn’t help but love her. I wonder whether she still wears those baubles in her hair and throws her head back and laughs with her whole heart whenever she feels happy. I hope that she does. I loved her as I’ve never loved anyone.

He shut his eyes tightly to squelch the stinging sensation behind them and drew in an unsteady breath.

“Sometimes, sometimes I’ll still let myself wonder how you’re doing – and if some lucky bastard has captured your heart in a way I never could. Despite how you cast me aside, I’m still glad to have known you, Maya. To have had all those great movie nights, and day trips… and all those midnight conversations in the dark that would last until dawn. Someday I may even write you a letter and put it in my top drawer, and wish I had dared to send it.”

His heartache had wrung him out until he was dry inside, and no more tears would come. His insides felt as raw as if a winter wind was blowing right through his skin.

And what I wish I could say to you is this: Maya Fey, wherever you are, I truly hope that you’re doing well. I hope you know that I haven’t forgotten you. I don’t think I ever will. I’ll be here if you ever change your mind and need me. I’m rooting for you. Even if we don’t speak, I’ll always be rooting for you. Because once you love someone, the way I loved you, it doesn’t just stop. It never stops. I think my love is immortal. No matter how many times people kill it, it never dies.

End Flashback

Kurain Village – May 24, 2026


“That sounds pretty fishy if you ask me.” Badd frowned. “Your cousin was supposedly still in the country, but completely cut off from the rest of the world in the name of training?! What the heck would this Violet broad have done if some kind of emergency had happened here at home?”

“Mystic Violet claimed the reason Mystic Maya was unreachable was so no “outside interferences” could hinder her training. However, she assured me that only she could easily reach my cousin if any sort of emergency had arisen during her transcendent explorations.”

The teen went on to explain that Maya had come back from her travels the second week of April 2019, and the cousins had trained together in Eagle Mountain for a couple of days, until April 17, 2019. That day, Pearl had hugged her kinswoman goodbye for the last time. Thereafter, cell phone in hand while smilingly waving out the rear window of the airport-bounded taxi, Maya Fey had been shipped off to Zheng-Fa for an “undetermined time” to complete the required full-fledged training to become recognized and the official Master of Kurain…Never to be seen again.

“You didn’t ever hear from her again after that?!” Badd probed the downtrodden spirit medium. “You poor kid! How did you know she was even alive before Miles confirmed she is, as he managed to recently chat with her online? What was there to indicate, up until now that your cousin hadn’t passed on…to the other side?”

“I knew Mystic Maya was alive because I’ve been unable to channel her,” Pearl elucidated morosely, digging into the pocket of her acolyte robes and holding out a folded sheet of paper. “About a month after she left for the last time, this letter arrived for me in the mail with no return address. I recognized her handwriting immediately, but as you can see for yourself in this note, it doesn’t tell me anything! It just says I should be a good girl and continue my studies and that her wishes were for me to become acting Master in her absence…and then eventually in her place!”

She sniffled and dabbed at her eyes with the sash of her robe and eyed Badd unhappily.

“It was my mother’s wish for me to be Master of Kurain – never mine! But my mom has crossed over to the Twilight Realm, so I can’t even blame this on her! Otherwise, if I didn’t know better, I’d think she was still controlling things and orchestrating all of this – from beyond the grave!”

Badd grimly took the letter from the woeful girl – the distraught kid clearly carried it with her day and night as the sole tangible memento she had left of her only living family. Clenching his lollipop tightly in his teeth, he carefully read the seemingly innocuous message, holding it close to one of the flickering candelabra in the dimly lit room to make out the elegantly penned scrawl, which had faded with age.

Hap’piraki Pearly! Everything is going fine over here with my training. Lots of things to learn and do! Please remember to be a good girl and obey Mystic Violet. Maybe if you practice really hard with your training, you can even be acting Master while I’m gone. Everyone here has been nice. I wish you could meet them. Anyway, something funny happened the other day. My foot got caught on a log and I tripped. But the funniest part was when a bird pooped on my head. Everyone laughed at that. I couldn’t believe it myself. No one warned me there was a big log in front of me! Gotta make sure to look out! How are the other villagers? Everything okay with them? Little by little, if you stay on top of your training, I believe you can eventually become a great leader while I’m gone. Develop those spiritual powers just a bit more, you’ll be ready to take over the master role for good! Have you started the special training courses yet? Enhance those powers so that you will be the best leader ever! Remember that this would be my sole fondest wish! Everyone would agree that you are the one who should have been the master! So, I guess that’s it for now. Every day I think about how much I love and miss you. No need to be sad though because I always carry you in my heart. Do spare a thought for me and keep me in yours too! Hope everything is going well for you! Enclosing a bunch of hugs and kisses! Lots of love. Please say hi to everyone!

“Ja – HEEE – zus … JOE – seff … and MARY!” Badd let out a low whistle as he peered back up at the expectant girl. “That cousin of yours is a clever one, alright! This letter she wrote you was written in nearly imperceptible Acrostic Code!”

Ac-ro-stick?” Pearl echoed blankly. “You mean it’s a secret message?!”

“You better believe it is.” He flicked his finger against the page. “And little lady, you have given me a definitive piece of evidence which proves that wherever Maya is, she’s being retained against her will!”

He circled the first capital letter of every sentence, and Pearl let out a loud gasp as she saw the hidden meaning in the note, her eyes the size of saucers.


Wright Anything Agency – July 10, 2026


A nudge to his ribs made the soporific Phoenix jolt awake, every thought in high definition, yet slowly hazy at the same time.

How long was I out? He felt quite disoriented as he tried to recall the previous chain of events leading up to the strange feeling of discomfort in his skull. I hope it wasn’t long…

His face throbbed on one side, as though the anesthetic administered by a dentist had worn off, but the dull, lingering toothache by his lower jaw remained.

Funny, I don’t recall having any dental work done. Or having a cavity. Or even having the funds to go to a damn dentist…

Another poke to his side, making him realize he was sprawled, face-up, on the couch in his office.

When had he lain down? The last thing he remembered was going to answer a knock at the door…

Phoenix jerked up on the cushions and looked about wildly, his confused eyes landing on the very familiar, unsmiling face of the figure standing above him, who was presently offering him a makeshift ice-pack!

“I trust you’re going to need this, Wright.” There was a smug smile accompanying the amused glint in the well-known slate eyes, which were now fixated on the thunderstruck spiky-haired man. “I suppose I should apologize for cold-cocking you, but at least on my end, it’s been a long time coming!”

Hold it! You’re the one who clocked me and knocked me out?!” Phoenix glared indignantly at his best friend, who glowered right back and crossed his arms defiantly over his chest.

Guilty as charged,” the defendant admitted, not appearing one bit contrite. “I will acquiesce that my actions may have been…somewhat objectionable.”

Somewhat?!” The pianist clamped the frozen bag of peas against his jowl and scowled. “I was out cold from that unjustified sucker punch, you Ace Asshat!”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Wright.” The magenta-clad man sardonically lifted one well-groomed brow. “It was justified, trust me.”

Objection! It most surely was not! What the hell did you deck me for, Edgeworth?!”

“For defiling my sister, you debauched, deviant scoundrel! So, take that!”



Filling The Void Copyright © by JordanPhoenix. All Rights Reserved.

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