29 The Flightless Plight of Kal-El

Wright Anything Agency – July 10, 2026


As Phoenix began pacing the room, he fleetingly struggled with his state of exulansis. After all, his plight was hardly one anybody, not even his best mate, could ever possibly relate to! Ultimately, he figured he had nothing to lose from going ahead with his attempted panchreston and sighed deeply.

“Edgeworth, lend your ears to the woe begotten tale about a friendless, poverty-stricken, single father who had but one mission plan as part of his hope for survival – trying to fill the gaping chasm within his heart, along with the dismal abyss that’d become his very being.”

The poker champ sucked in a deep breath.

“Initially, he turned to cheap alcohol to help obliterate the pain of his misfortunes, then later regressed to meaningless indiscretions, due to his yearnings for a taste of bliss in the absence of all agonizing thoughts… and memories.”

“So you were fervently seeking Rasāsvāda.” The magenta-clad offered, which only earned him a blank stare. He cleared his throat gauchely. “Er, it’s Sanskrit term for an escaped mindset of aesthetic consciousness… never mind. Please, carry on.”

“Needless to say, the man’s unruly ways and disruptive lifestyle whilst seeking liberosis were tearing his daughter apart. After a heartbreaking confrontation, he realized he had no wish to snuff out the sole remaining light left in his life. Thereafter, he tried to clean up his act. He valiantly strived to transcend from the omnishambles he’d made of his existence by veering away from his aberrations. He – he wanted to try to become a better man. For Trucy’s sake…”

The former Ace Attorney’s voice shook as he felt the raw, tender wounds on his unhealed heart tearing open yet again while he unleashed seven long years of pent-up suffering and anguish at last.

“He desperately tried to discover himself again, as well as find a new mommy for his little girl – only to still end up failing on all counts. Hence, there were times when he fell off the wagon and settled back into the comfort of mind-numbing despair.”

Comfortably Numb. That old feeling was so strange; too familiar yet too strange. I never knew how to define it. I wanted to smile, laugh like everyone else, but something in me always grabbed my heart tight, crushing it to pieces. The brightness inside of me was gulped by something dark. No, I would be wrong to say it was dark – it was gloomy emptiness, nothing else.

Phoenix clenched his eyes shut to suppress the sudden stinging sensation behind his lids and clenched his jaw so hard, it ached. This time, when he spoke again, his words held a steely edge.

“Well, I took a walk around the world, to ease my troubled mind. I left my body lying somewhere in the sands of time. But I watched the world float to the dark side of the moon. I felt there was nothing I could do.”

This time, when his gaze met Edgeworth’s, the logic genius noted how the fire that’d briefly flared within the dark blue eyes had been dowsed with ice water, making them appear colder and more distant than ever.

I’m not used to seeing the man like this, it perturbs me deeply. I want him to freely express himself like he always has in the past – but won’t anymore, for now even his once animated eyes rove more slowly, as though they’re heavy and they take great effort to move. It’s like he just crawled right back inside some invisible shell, and no matter how hard I try, he’ll be unreachable. I wish I could even crack a derisive joke now to ease things somewhat, but I know he won’t laugh. Phoenix Wright is standing right in front of me, but he might as well be on the moon.

“But now, you’re finally back, Edgeworth. For so long, I’d wished for your homecoming. I clung to the belief that whenever you returned, someway, somehow … things would get better, the way they always have before. It’s hard to explain, but things just don’t seem so rough whenever you’re in my life. I didn’t even know you’d returned to the States, yet nevertheless, today, when I watched the world float to the dark side of the moon, I subconsciously sensed – no I knew – it had to be something to do with you.”

Phoenix spoke quietly, although the underlying air of resigned haplessness remained palpable.

“And I was right. The earth’s axis did shift, and something monumental in the universe had changed, although this time for the better because you were finally back. Which meant I allowed myself to actually feel some hope for the first time in forever. I grasped just how badly I’d needed to believe that with you by my side again, I might be able to handle any more hardship life throws at me. I really don’t mind what happens now and then. As long as you’ll be my friend at the end.”

This unmistakable plea for – and unnecessary questioning of! – his loyalty shouldn’t have startled Edgeworth, yet it did, nevertheless.

Malarkey! Be his friend at the end? Surely, thou jest Wright! What sort of cockamamie business is this?!

The prosecutor was about to interject that as appalled as he’d been upon hearing of Phoenix’s questionable, and detrimental, methods of coping with life’s adversities, his allegiance, and friendship to the man was steadfast and unconditional. However, before he could say as much, the card shark spoke again, this time in a pitch so soft, it was barely audible.

“You called me strong, you called me weak, but still your secrets I would keep. You took for granted all the times I never let you down.”

Edgeworth’s conscience was now gnawing away at him to the point where was almost painful.

Well played, Wright. Well played. I can’t deny any of this. Not just today, but in the past, I have called him out for worse things than simply questioning his strengths and weaknesses. I vividly recall the time he and I worked together to bring down Matt Engarde. I’d relegated him to do the right thing and face the ugly truth about who’d truly been responsible for kidnapping Maya Fey. The man never blew my cover by letting the judge, or anyone in that courtroom, be cognizant that we were in cahoots. Instead, he willingly broke his perfect trial streak, because justice was more important than winning to him. I’d entrusted him not to betray me – and he proved to me that he’s a bigger man than I ever gave him credit for. An honest man. A good man. A true chum till the very end.

“You stumbled in and bumped your head. If not for me, then you’d be dead. I picked you up and put you back on solid ground.”

Ouch. The truth really smarts. It’s all of it true. Truer words were never spoken.

Edgeworth’s face fell from withering disdain and to a controlled visage of concern as waves of shame and commiseration flooded him. He was all about seeking the truth in every scenario, and it’d just been delivered to him with both barrels.

I was an insufferable, hubristic bastard when Wright and I were reunited, as I was still living up to the pontificating teachings of Manfred Von Karma. Regardless, even while I was struggling to find out who I really was and what being a prosecutor truly meant, and pushed him away every time he extended his hand in friendship, he nonetheless saved my life when I was facing the gallows. This man has not only saved my bacon in the courtroom, but he also saved my life. Moreover, he saved my soul.  It’s now my turn to return the favor.

“If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman? If I’m alive and well, will you be there, holding my hand? Because no matter what happens, I’ll keep you by my side with my superhuman might.” Phoenix’s words were little more than a whisper now as he sank back down onto the cushions and buried his head in his hands. “My … Kryptonite.”

Edgeworth’s reproachful veneer snapped inside then. Snapped like brittle glass as the shards of guilt, compassion and sympathy tore at his guts. His childhood pal, the seemingly closed-off man currently bearing such a stony poker face that he now seemed more machine than man, was still unmistakably the same earnest, benign Phoenix Wright underneath it all.

Unfortunately, the cruel hands of fate had now rendered the one-time famed King of the Turnabout so vulnerable and heart-sore that his present self-preserving, roughened exterior rendered him nearly unrecognizable. One had to probe beneath the surface, thoroughly yet very carefully, to see the glimmer of the man he used to be still lurking beneath that protective edginess, and somehow coax him back into existence.

Maybe he’s disappointed in me for not trying to reach out to him more over the years or for how scathingly I acted towards him earlier. He doesn’t know I never truly gave up for him, never really gave up hope he’d return. His closed-off persona is merely a feint to conceal his true self as a means of self-preservation. Regardless, if I carefully study his mien and look beyond that defensive façade, I can see his eyes are the same beneath the hardened surface. Wright’s still that kind-hearted, valiant champion for justice who’d turn around any courtroom case, against all odds. The same man who captivated the masses and the media to the point where they’d hang on his every word and follow him around like he was carrying pockets of sugar and they were a galloping troop of eager horses.

Edgeworth could have kicked himself for letting his petty grudge over his cohort’s dalliance with Franziska cause him to act so coldly and callously, when Phoenix was obviously in an avid need of reassurance and empathy, instead of being objurgated!

Wright is the proverbial friend in need now – ergo I need to find a way to show him I’ll be here for him. I have to find it in me to dissipate any traces of catty jealousy, along with all disturbing visions of Franziska riding my best childhood mate while he was wildly bucking under her like a horse who knows it’s headed for the glue factory – Gah! Why did I let my mind go down that dark spiraling path yet again ?!

The prosecutor gave his head a firm shake to clear it.

Snap out of it, Miles! Focus on how you’re going to help rebuild this broken man standing before you, who’s been there for you in the past and is now in his own time of need. I know if he was whole I’d be coming towards him at this point and offering him some sort of comforting hug. I know he needs me, and I yearn to assure him I’m here for him, but I don’t think he’ll believe me and after how terrible I was earlier, I’m afraid it will sound hollow.

“I’m not asking for your pity, Edgeworth,” Phoenix uttered helplessly, lifting his head from his hands and affixing his companion with morose, imploring eyes. “Only for you to withhold judgment because you haven’t been here. You were right on the money when you called me the world’s most reluctant womanizer. I never set out to use these women and then throw them away. I wanted to feel something for them – to have somebody to care for who’d care about me as something more than just a temporary bed warmer. But it never happened.”

Phoenix wished he knew the words to properly relay the indescribable misery he’d endured over the years. He would have described the crippling sadness, the loneliness, like death by a thousand paper cuts, for every time he’d remembered all he’d lost, it was another cut to his already damaged mind. None were enough to kill him, but over time, their accumulation bled him of the humanity he’d once had. He’d once been gregarious and generous natured, now he was just gaunt and melancholy.

“I never even set out to seduce anyone … Mostly, they would come to me! I’ve never fooled anyone. I’ve let people fool themselves. None of these women bothered to find out who and what I now was. Instead, they would invent a character for me – some brooding, sexy dark horse type they wanted to indulge for the night, instead of the lonely, hollow shell of a man I’ve been underneath. I wouldn’t argue with them. They were obviously loving something – and somebody – that I wasn’t.”

He swallowed hard at the lump forming in his throat.

In this sadness there is no past or future, just living by the moment. Every day is measured from the moment of waking into this new reality until my body can do no more until sleep comes to rest this weary mind. Each day I greet the sun like a climber greets their rope, fingers holding on fast despite the pain. It is grief, no different from bereavement, coming in wintry waves.

The unmistakable benevolence in the barrister’s normally stoic orbs – the first genuine glimpse of humanity he’d witnessed in so long – nearly made Phoenix break down right then and there.

“Thanks for hearing me out without condemning me this time, Edgeworth. With anyone else, I seem to come across as a brooding, cagey panther of sorts, but with you, I can let loose, even be the lighthearted monkey – the Chinese animal of my birth year. One look from you and the defensiveness leaves my body. You see me for who I am inside, allowing me to quell the inferno and transform it into a passion for life and nature. With you around, my soul is at rest, contented. You’re truly like the brother I never had – a kindred spirit. As much I hope you’ll be my friend till the end, you’ve got to know that I could no more abandon you than I could my own kinsman.”

The pianist released a shaky breath.

“Just understand that I go through phases. Some days I feel like the ordinary person I’m supposed to be, and then some days I turn into no one at all – it feels like everything was shifting inside my body until my soul was thrown out of it. And that’s how I stopped being me. There are times when it’s both me and my silhouette. I just hope that on the days you find me and all I am is darkened lines, you’re still willing to be near me…”

“Enough, Wright.” Edgeworth’s tone was low but firm as he placed a hand on the former defense attorney’s shoulder. “My turn to talk now.”

Phoenix slowly turned his face towards the barrister’s, which was filled with promise and resolution.

“You say I know you, but doubt I can love you as if I have become attached to a mirage; perhaps you think yourself unworthy somehow. You call me a close confidant and consider me kin, yet in your logic perhaps you are close to the idea of me instead. Doesn’t work, does it?”

The DA smirked and shook his head.

“You call yourself ordinary, yet am I not the same? I’m nothing more than a spieler who’s bound by his creed to uphold the law and sift through the rubble to uncover and shed light on the truth, no matter how difficult the outcome. That notwithstanding, back in the day, we were bound by something as well – by a strong esprit de corps, when we swore an oath of sorts to always work together, not against one another, in the pursuit of justice.”

Edgeworth clapped a comforting hand on Phoenix’s shoulder.

“Moreover, your loss of badge does nothing to dissuade our own established camaraderie outside of the courtroom. Ages ago, you and I also made an unspoken vow to be there for one another as long as we live. To always be copacetic with one another – no judgment, and only unconditional acceptance. I promise to give you the latter from this day onwards, and I will never again give you a reason to think otherwise.”

The chess enthusiast’s somber gaze only compounded the solemn sincerity of his speech.

“The rest… time will tell, Wright, time will tell. The river flows, the seasons move on and time is promised to no one. But I give you my word, Wright, you won’t have to face this path ahead of you alone. Not anymore.”

A genuine smile tugged at Phoenix’s lips for the first time in ages as he listened to the comforting words, finally splitting his face into an ear-to-ear grin.

“I don’t know what it is about you that makes me believe like everything’s going to be okay, but that’s honestly how I feel right now! That maybe I’ll stand in behind the defense bench… across the courtroom from you again if I get my badge back someday.”

When not if,” Edgeworth corrected firmly. “And yes you will! Furthermore, you shall have my assistance every step of the way. We’ll do this together. You, from your place, and me, from my comfortable home…”

Filled with a smorgasbord of fanboy paraphernalia I never should have bought…but brothers in arms or not, Wright doesn’t need to know everything!

“…we’re going to change the legal world, and bring an end to this Dark Age of the Law. We need to investigate what really happened the day you lost your badge and investigate alternate legal procedures that mayhap can be employed in this pursuit. It will be a lot of hard work and research, so brace yourself for the fact that in the meantime, day-to-day life will be boring. I’ll prosecute and play chess, you’ll play presumably bad piano in that Russian hole in the ground and take care of Trucy…but don’t all superheroes need a demure alter ego, Kal-El?”

Phoenix merrily removed his beanie, demonstrating how his one unruly tuft fell forward onto his forehead in an endearing curl, even though the rest of his spikes somehow managed to remain unruffled and in place.

“Superman. How fitting! That’s what my old persona is, for now, it’s my cover, my Clark Kent. The new me is the real one, but for anyone who asks, it’s just fiction, a novel, maybe not even a good one. Maybe the plot will be a bit wonky, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that real life doesn’t follow a forced pattern – introduction, conflict, recommitment, crisis, climax, and resolution.”

“Naturally, there will be conflict, most of it internal, and inside of you,” Edgeworth cautioned, although his eyes were filled with determination. “There will be a recommitment scene when you stop fighting your own conscience. There will be a crisis when you realize the mess the planet is in isn’t fictional and start feeling helpless and almost give up, overly cerebrating and wallowing in depression whilst suffering from peniaphobia…”

Hold it!” Phoenix objected vehemently. “Just because I’ve been the recipient of several unwanted male advances over the years – including from the recently team-switching Larry Butz! – that doesn’t mean I’ve turned homophobic! I couldn’t be more of a pococurante about that sort of thing if I tried!”

“Don’t be so dense, Wright!” Edgeworth barely resisted the urge to facepalm. “The word has zilch to do with male genitalia! It means a fear of penury, an anecdata based on your own claim of financial struggle since you’ve been disbarred! Not to mention your bindlestiff attire, especially that manky beanie!”

“Whoops! Sorry, Mr. Walking Dictionary!” Phoenix bit his lip to keep from laughing. “It’s not my fault you used a snigger-inducing word that sounded like it references a man’s nether regions!”

“I shall ignore the ramblings of my ignoramus dialogue partner and carry on nonetheless,” Edgeworth muttered disgustedly, then regarded the reformed Rico Suave pointedly. “The time will arise for the inevitable climax when you climb out of your stupor and realize that you are the star of your own story and that all of our stories will have the same ending. Never give up. Never lose hope. Always have faith, and allows you to cope. Trying times will pass as they always do. Just have patience your dreams will come true. So put on a smile. You’ll live through your pain. Know it will pass and strength you will gain.”

“Thank you.” Phoenix met the legist’s kind eyes unflinchingly. “I need to believe that’s true, and you really make me believe that is it, my friend.”

In an unexpected demonstration of comradeship, Edgeworth suddenly leaned over and wrapped an arm around Phoenix’s shoulders, pulling him close in a side hug. Although initially surprised at the unexpected motion, the pianist briefly sunk into the warmth of the lawyer’s side, appreciative of the simple gesture. The touch made the room warmer somehow, his future within its walls seem a little less bleak.

After a few moments, the prosecutor discreetly released his hold, then coughed awkwardly, as he wasn’t normally a tactile person, and pushed his glasses up his nose.

“So without breaking any laws, or even sweat, we’re going to change the world, Wright, and there’s not a damn thing anyone or anything can do to stop you or me, so let’s go! Together, let’s leave footprints in the sand.”

“Yeah, let’s do this! All we need now are the tights and caped costumes!”

Phoenix smirked as he tried to push the stray midnight lock back into place, only to have it stubbornly droop down again.

“I may as well embrace the Man of Steel role since I already have the hair! Plus, for some reason, whenever you say it, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched to believe I really was some sort of superhero, instead of just another lawyer in a suit who others believed was fulfilling the role!”

“Didn’t you know? You’re still a superhero!” Edgeworth derided. “We can be the crusader crime-fighting duo, the two of us! I can be Burgundy Samurai, and you, according to the underground circuit of The Phoenix Wright Fan Club, can be known as DILF Man!”

“DILF?! A pox on that word!” Phoenix grunted while slumping back against the cushions. “When Trucy was eight, she mentioned overhearing some of her educators, who’d met me at parent-teacher conferences, allegedly referencing me by that blasted name! Thank God at the time she had no idea what it meant though! So ugh, no thanks – ix-nay on the ILF-DAY! I’ll take Superman any day – even Wolverine will suffice!”

“You mean you aren’t at all flattered to have a legion of admirers championing for you to reclaim your badge?” Edgeworth mocked, enjoying his mate’s discomfort immensely. “They even have shirtless photos of you in their underground newsletter!”

Gack! I swear, I couldn’t care less about my so-called allure to all those thirsty women – and in some cases, men! Trust me, I’ve had enough of everyone treating me like a piece of meat – I never asked to be deemed man candy! Beyond my self-loathing and doubt, you don’t know how much horrific trauma I’ve endured – such that no man deserves!”

Phoenix paused to grimace for a moment, then pressed on.

“Among the endured horrors I referenced to you earlier, these included: being subjected to a molestation disguised as shoulder rub by the perpetually creepy, jiggling cream puff aka Jean Armstrong – wearing nothing but a Barbie pink Speedo!”

“Pardon me while I go away and vomit at that beyond nauseating account,” Edgeworth grumbled under his breath, not realizing Phoenix was nowhere near done.

“And then, because I’m not allowed to get away with anything without consequence, the one time I was the initiator of a meaningless one-night stand with a supposed Ukrainian nudie-bar waitress named Olga, she resurfaces two years later out of the blue! Except now, she’s under the guise of a scheming Russian croupier! On top of that, she was the key witness in my accused murder trial back in April, and initially tried to finger me as the culprit for a murder Kristoph Gavin committed! How’s that for your sordid past coming back to bite you in the ass?”

“I heard about the trial on the news,” Edgeworth murmured. “I’m sorry I couldn’t do more for you since I was overseas at the time – although I did manage to pull some strings at the DA’s office to ensure Winston Payne would be the prosecutor for your trial. I reckoned it’d ensure your case would be a slam dunk, even for a rookie attorney like young Mr. Justice.”

“That was you?” Phoenix gawked at him. “Man, thanks – I owe you for that! Although Apollo’s a great lawyer in the making and I’m sure he could have handled squaring off against anyone, I do appreciate the precaution you made, since it was literally my neck on the line! It was high time my rotten luck did a turnabout, seeing as how just days before the Shadi Smith murder…”

He reflexively yanked off his hoodie and tossed it aside, as though it were maggot-infested.

“Talking about this again feels like re-living the whole harrowing experience – as well as admitting I’ve been so damn broke that I couldn’t even afford to burn this damn thing! Which is exactly what should’ve been done after it was tainted with the … Hemulsion of that homicidal maniac, Kristoph Gavin! That freak decided to get way too close to me while I was feigning piano playing at The Borscht Bowl Club!”

What the deuce?” Edgeworth gasped in sympathetic horror. “The very man who tried to frame you for murder had a… nocturnal emission against your person?!”

“Yes, but he was wide awake at the time, no doubt fantasizing about doing things to me I’d rather not fathom, lest I need brain bleach to help expedite the oblivescence! Hand to heart, this was only one of the very few times I’d lapsed and reached for the sauce since I swapped my trusty wine for grape juice two years ago! Suffice to say that I was so scarred afterward that I downed a very potent Russian moonshine to help obliterate the whole incident!”

Phoenix turned slightly green as flashbacks of the episode resurfaced.

Argh! There are no words to describe my apathy for that vile fiend! I have no idea what I’ve done to become that creepy German sausage’s simultaneous object of lust and hatred, but I think dildo would a perfectly acceptable insult. Like, I’d call him a dick, but he’s not real enough!”

He paused to shudder at the memory.

“But because of him, the end result of what nearly happened to me was very real! As in, I nearly erased myself from existence when I drunkenly ran out in the middle of the street and almost got hit by a car – driven by none other than your number one fangirl, Wendy Oldbag!”

“The Wicked Witch of the Witness Stand?!” Edgeworth’s eye began to twitch at the mention of his geriatric stalker. “How is it she’s still allowed to have a driver’s license?! Good grief, never mind that – how is that dinosaur even still alive?! The woman is older than Methuselah!”

“I almost wish she had killed me,” Phoenix stated dourly. “Death would have been preferable to what she had intended for me!”

Gaaaaaaah!” Now it was Edgeworth’s turn to morph into a Kermit the Frog clone. “Y – You can’t possibly mean she tried to –”

“You mean did she try to finally get over her psychotic obsession with you by getting under me? As in via taking advantage of my passed out stupor and trying to violate me with her abominable, repugnant, dried up before Nixon went to China fanny?” Phoenix finished grimly. “You better believe she most certainly did!

He paused briefly before continuing, as the legal eagle appeared ready to projectile vomit, right then and there!

“I received proof that there is a God, though. Turns out the perpetrator mixed up her lubricant with her nitroglycerin paste, which she’d topically applied to me, as well as herself. Dee Vasquez had followed her and stopped things in the nick of time, then called an ambulance, and we were both rushed to the ER. The overdose, unfortunately, did not kill the old battle-axe, though. No rest for the wicked, right?”

Wicked?!” Edgeworth was done dry-heaving and was now fuming and frothing at the mouth instead. “That’s the understatement of the century in describing your would-be rapist! How did you not press charges, Wright? I have half a mind to do so on your behalf, regardless! Prison would be too good for that degenerate gorgon! She has not only a demon mind but Satan’s womb and heart… not to mention that her devil’s ditch undoubtedly reeks of Brimstone and Sulphur!”

There was a stunned moment of silence as Phoenix’s eyes widened at the normally gallant legist’s uncharacteristic crudeness, finally giving way to a laughing groan.

“Welp, thanks for that additional horrendous imagery! Although now that you’ve gotten the gist of the blood-soaked, nightmare hellscape that’s been my sad existence, can I take it you’re finally gonna cut me some slack?”

“Absolutely. I meant what I said earlier about standing by you, not against you.”

Edgeworth rose from the couch, reached into his suit jacket for his cell, and fired off a quick text.

“Rest assured, my thunderstruck state of horror at this last anecdote was on your behalf, Wright, as opposed to at you, this time! Additionally, I can’t promise I’ll not be looking into some sort of criminal indictment for Oldbag, by the way.”

His phone vibrated then, and he glanced down at the screen with a smirk.

“Come along, Wright. Our ride’s here.”

Ride?” Phoenix echoed blankly as the lawyer shoved him towards the door. “Wait … what? Where are we going?”

“The time has come for you to know my true purpose in coming here, Wright. I’m going to make you an offer you can’t refuse,” Edgeworth deadpanned, sounding identical to Marlon Brando in The Godfather. “You and I …we’re going to take a very long trip.”

T – Trip?” Phoenix stammered nervously as the other man took his arm in a vice grip. “I – I can’t go anywhere! My job… and Trucy…”

“I’ve taken the liberty of informing Boris and Natasha that you’re going to be out of the picture for an undisclosed amount of time. And your gem of a daughter will be staying with her Uncle Gumshoe and Aunt Maggey while you’re gone.” Edgeworth didn’t even crack a smile as he spoke. “Don’t worry about a thing, Wright. I’m here to take care of you.”

“Um, Miles? Old pal, buddy, a lifelong chum of mine?” Phoenix chuckled nervously. “Er, just how mad are you about me and Franziska? I mean, I hope you’re not still jealous…”

“Why should I be jealous of my sister’s private life?” Edgeworth shrugged insouciantly. “She’s a grown woman and can do as she pleases. As can I.”

“Well – you got all worked up and irrational to the point of sucker-punching me, so…”

“Don’t you dare call me irrational!” The prosecutor snapped back, momentarily losing his famous cool. “You know that makes me crazy!”

Taking a few deep breaths to compose himself, he offered a smug smile at the now wary Phoenix.

“Like I said, why should I begrudge Franziska kicking up her heels? I’m not her keeper after all.”

“Um… because you obviously have feelings for her, and based on your reactions to my carnal recaps, you’re either a repressed virgin or a total prude?”

“Hmph! Stop proving what an ignoramus you are about my personal matters!” Edgeworth scoffed, then smiled smugly. “I’ll have you know that once a woman has dipped her toe into Edgeworth Lake, dry land is never the same again!”

Ha-ha!” Phoenix hooted, momentarily forgetting that he was possibly in danger of going on a way-trip with a latently vengeful man. “Spoken like a man who’s suffering from a lengthy draught! You haven’t gotten any in a dog’s age, have you, Edgeworth?”

“Wright, my private affairs should be the last thing on your mind right about now.” A mysterious glint sparked within the shuttered grey eyes. “You have way bigger things to worry about, trust me.”

“Er… does it help now that I’m started to get a little freaked out by the fact that you’re sounding more and more like Don Corleone?”

“Honestly? It tickles me!” A smug smile played on the lawyer’s lips. “Just, one more thing, Sir Smallville – or should I say… balladmonger!

Phoenix gaped at him in response, and the counselor smirkingly tapped his temple.

“My superhero interests aren’t just limited to samurais, you know. Don’t think for a moment I wasn’t aware your waxing poetic sermon was simply filched paraphrasing of the famed song from the Man of Steel film!”

“You’ll get no velitation from me on the charges of being an inferior poet!” Phoenix sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck. “A customer requested I play it at the bar a few nights ago – and it just seemed fitting to use when you called me Superman!”

“Point taken, Wright. I’ll still give you credit for having a forgetive brain, recruited by the nourishment drawn from a ravenous yet obviously healthy stomach!” Edgeworth smiled wryly. “Despite your uncanny ability to miraculously survive death-defying odds and sustain on liquid lunches for years, I am more than aware you’re a mere mortal like the rest of us. Therefore you too can suffer the detrimental effects of Kryptonite!”

“I never claimed otherwise. We all have our weaknesses, Edgeworth.”

“Indeed we do, Wright.”

And all jokes aside, my friend, the prosecutor added to himself as he yanked the agency door shut behind them. I’ve forever been aware of what your Kryptonite is…

Flashback: Seven years ago
Kingdom of Khura’in
 – April 21, 2019


Violet’s set me up in a house so secret that it seems nobody has ever heard of it, let alone seen it – since it’s in such a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it location!

Mere hours into her arrival that morning, the journey-bated spirit medium already felt an inexplicable sense of foreboding as she hesitantly brought her suitcases into her near barren guest room, which only bore a futon and small end table as its sole fixtures.

Looks like no postmen ever deliver mail to that rusting letterbox and for sure no milkmen would ever brave its crumbling doorstep, nor do even the early birds know better than to fly over the chimneys. What is this place? It’s like the lonely house of the damned!

An outskirts marketplace had been the last sign of civilization she’d seen on the two-day long, donkey ride, right after disembarking at the airport in the neighboring Republic of Zheng-Fa. Maya and her guide had passed a bustling provincial town on the way over to her new hovel, but it was at least an hour’s walk away from where she’d be staying; a lone backwoods dwelling in the middle of the forest, with no houses, shops, or neighbors within at least a few miles.

I swear I can hear that proverbial dueling banjo tune from  Deliverance playing in the background…

Considering Fey Manor, like the rest of Kurain, was set up in the style of Feudal Japan, Natasha Ayasato’s rural humble abode wasn’t much of a culture shock for Maya. Inner space divisions were fluid, and the room sizes could be modified through the use of screens or movable paper walls. However, unlike her own ancestral home, which had touches of colorful art, wall paintings, and blends of pretty, modern, western furniture mixed with traditional eastern touches, there was nothing picturesque or attractive, about these residences. The décor and furnishing were far too shabby, worn-out, and Spartan to suggest anything exotic or mysterious; it was just thoroughly ugly and foreboding.

Much like the homes in her village, the roof was the most visually impressive component, constituting half the size of the whole structure, and due to all the rainfall that occurred in this part of West Asia, the slightly curved eaves extended far beyond the walls, covering the verandas, to allow the water to seamlessly trickle to the ground. Also, the oversize eaves give the interior a characteristic murkiness, which contributed to the countryside home’s atmosphere – and its owner, for the visage of the harridan who was her hostess was the personification of dark and foreboding!

Although she couldn’t fathom the reason, Maya knew she wasn’t imagining the air of disapproval and dislike emanating from Natasha’s craggy pores. It was as though the psychic were an imposition in her home, rather than an invited guest who’d come there to train and strengthen her spiritual powers, and since her arrival, the old bag’s entire mien seemed drained of any signs of joy and amusement, her withered, frumpy cheeks telling a tale of extreme displeasure.

She yawned so hard her eyes watered as she reached into her carry-on bag to get her toiletries, planning on washing up and having a long sleep, as she was still mentally on LA time. The jet lag sucked at her like some colossal leech on her energy, and if she stopped moving for a second she would fall asleep on her feet. She’d have described her jet lag to the equivalent of coming off the night shift. The fatigue was all the same but at least it held an edge of anticipation for a new day in a new place.

My mind’s a little bit too fuzzy to focus on any sort of training right now, but maybe later I can find a waterfall somewhere after I’ve had some rest to do some spirit purifying training.

15 minutes later, as the freshly showered spirit medium plodded back to her room, fully intending to hit the hay, she was surprised to see the Xanthippe hostess standing there, baring a cordless phone in one hand, a white envelope in the other, and a minacious gleam in her eye at the sight of her unwelcome visitor.

“Good, you’re finally back, Mystic Maya. And just in time.”

There was an unmistakable sneer on Natasha’s mug as she pursed her lips at the necromancer, resulting in her mouth, which had apparently puckered from several decades of not smiling, to visibly shrink down to the size of a jelly bean.

“Back for what, exactly?” An inexplicable sinking sensation began forming in the pit of Maya’s stomach.

“You have an important phone call.” The crone waved the handheld receiver at the confused psychic.

“Put her on speaker, Natasha.” Violet’s poisonously saccharine cadence instructed just as Maya gingerly was reaching for the phone. “After all, you do deserve to know which part of the relayed news gets the most priceless response out of her, don’t you think?”

Hmph!” The beldame haughtily raised her nose so high at her guest that her wiry thatch of greying black hair was barely visible. “I don’t give a rat’s ass one way or another about how anything affects the likes of her, but carry on as you wish, cousin.”

Cousin?” Maya echoed, bewildered at the waves of hostility emanating towards her from both the Khurainese woman and through the telephone, while the heavy feeling in her gut continued to grow. “News? Wh-What’s going on here?”

“I see no point in wasting any time.” There was a blast of Arctic in Violet’s tone coming from the speakerphone. “First things first, Natasha, let’s kick things off with the cherry on the sundae, shall we? Give the girl the envelope.”

“What is this?” Maya’s fingers were trembling as she clasped the manila packet that was forcefully thrust into her hands.

“You’ll never know until you open it!” Violet sing-songed. “Go ahead, I wanted to be right here for the moment of truth. I am positively giddy with anticipation!”

As she pulled out a piece of paper, which was evidently a printed online newspaper article dated from the previous day, Maya recoiled in horror, her mouth falling open into an O of shock as she read the dreadful headline at the top page.

Phoenix Wright, or Phoenix Wrong?

Then underneath, the sub-headline read:

New Developments in Case of The Forging Attorney!

Nick!” She gasped, her hand flying to her chest. “He’s been disbarred… For allegedly forging evidence?! No! It can’t be true! It’s lies! All lies! It can’t be true! Nick would never do such an unscrupulous thing … not in a million years!”

Her mind was spinning. Phoenix needed her – and she was halfway across the freaking world from him! Well, the hell with her training – she had to get out of these boondocks and back to him – immediately!

“Thank you for bringing this to my attention Mystic Violet, but I’m going to have to let you go now,” she said abruptly, her heart now pounding in her ears. “I need to call Nick right away! He must be a complete wreck!”

“I suppose you could go ahead and try to reach out and touch him,” Violet chirped gleefully. “Although I’m not sure what good that would do you – seeing as how the landline you’re on has specifically been equipped for incoming calls only.”

“Then I’ll use my cell phone!”

Maya dropped the receiver, with Natasha just barely catching it before it fell to the tatami floor, and rushed over to her purse, which she’d left on the futon. She dumped out the contents of the bag and delved through them, panic beginning to course through her bloodstream.

“Wait a minute – it’s gone! Along with my wallet and passport! The tour guide who escorted me must’ve somehow pickpocketed me on our way over here! But I could’ve sworn I had them when I arrived…”

“You shan’t be requiring any of those things,” Natasha informed her, in what could only be described as a cackle, which sounded like a death rattle. “For one thing, this country has its own independent cellular network, which is exclusive only to the Kingdom of Khura’in, and outside mobile devices are completely ineffective here. I took the liberty of relieving you of all unnecessary items that you won’t be needing during your lengthy stay here while you were in the bathroom.”

“What do you mean you took my things?” Maya demanded, feeling the room beginning to spin around her as she glared at the harpy, who simply eyed her back in cool contempt. “How dare you? Give them back to me this instant! Or I’ll…”

“You’ll what?” Natasha jeered, her beady eyes glittering with exultation. “Assault me? Rummage the house looking for your belongings? Good luck with either one, you fool of a girl!”

“I’m not going to waste any precious time either laying a finger on your wretched, bony behind or ransacking this dilapidated shack you call a home!” Maya shouted furiously, already making a mad dash for the door. “I don’t care how far it is – I’ll walk out of here with nothing more than the clothes on my back! And I’ll head straight to the nearest American Embassy and tell them what you did! They’ll charge you with theft and the attempted kidnapping of a US citizen, and then send me straight home!”

“You could venture through the mountains on the 500-mile trek back to Zheng-Fa, where the nearest Embassy is since Khura’in has no such establishment.” Violet’s unruffled tone sounded from the phone, freezing Maya in her tracks. “You may even be able to bat those big brown eyes of yours and sway some helpful do-gooder to assist you with your endeavors. But before you make another move for that door, you may want to take a good look at your valise.”

A sickening feeling of trepidation washed over the village leader as she slowly ventured back into the room, her feet suddenly made of lead.

“Go ahead, my dear,” Violet coaxed, as though she were present to see every move being made instead of thousands of miles away in Kurain. “I’ll wait.”

Her knees were knocking together as she shakily walked back to the bedding mat and rummaged through the packed clothing in the suitcase Natasha had oh-so-helpfully opened up for her. When she finally found it, Maya felt her previously wildly thumping heart, almost literally, standstill.

Clutched in her clammy hands, in 3.5 by 2-inch format, was the catalyst of the evil cousins’ smug behavior. The reason they knew they could say or do whatever they wanted to Maya, as she’d bound to do their every command hence, regardless of what it was.

Because they knew she had no other choice.

The spirit medium was holding the unmistakable, light pink shell logo calling card for Shelley De Killer, a professional assassin extraordinaire.

DeKiller.” Her mouth was as dry as sandpaper as she uttered the name of the infamous cold-blooded killer who’d kidnapped and held her hostage eight years ago. “You – slipped this into my luggage back at the village somehow, didn’t you?”

Guilty as charged!” Violet confessed gaily. “I see your memory hasn’t faded at all since you recognized that emblem immediately!”

“Are you threatening me?” Maya whispered dazedly, the card fluttering from her now slackened fingers back into the suitcase. “You – you hired this Machiavellian to take me out if I don’t do as you say?”

“Oh no, darling girl!” The Elder Council head cooed. “I wouldn’t dream of threatening you!”

“Then you didn’t recruit this madman to kill me?”

“I’m not as dumb as you look,” the cunning harridan replied tersely, all traces of phony sweetness now vanquished. “If I were to have you sent to the Twilight Realm, young Pearl could easily channel you and find out all the grisly details of my carefully laid strategies, which have been so long in the making! And that simply won’t do!”

Pearly!” Maya felt frightened tears springing to her eyes at the thought of her beloved cousin, who’d forever been more like a sister, and then a daughter to her, now being in danger. “Mystic Violet, for the love of Mystic Ami, I beseech you not to hurt my little girl! I’ll do anything you want!”

Pearl? Silly prat – we’d never dream of harming that precious angel. After all, with you out of the picture, who do you think is going to be running this village – the way it always should have been?” Violet’s intonation hardened. “After all, you’re too obstinate and set in your ways to be moulded accordingly. But that little prodigy is still young and malleable, and will positively flourish under my wise guidance and tutelage, becoming the esteemed Master she should have been destined to be!”

“Pearly will never agree to your despicable bidding or concede to be Master! She loves me and her loyalty will eternally be with me!” Maya cried. “So this diabolical scheme of yours, whatever it is, won’t ever work!”

“She will … once you send her a handwritten letter, stating that she has your loving consent to take over the esteemed village leader position, the way her mama Morgan always intended!” Violet declared sanctimoniously. “You and I both know Pearl was the one who should have been given that honored title since you’re little more than a hack! The position of Master by all accounts ought to have been given based on skilled talent, which the child has in vast abundance over you, and not by birthright!”

“And if I don’t?” Maya still couldn’t believe this was actually happening.

“You might want to take another gander inside that envelope,” Natasha offered, waving it at the stricken young woman while guffawing loudly. “Hee! How right you were to have me stay for this, cousin! You should see the expression on her face – she’s turned as white as a ghost!”

“A ghost – how fitting!” Violet tittered maliciously. “Because that’s exactly what the subject depicted will become if you decide to exercise recalcitrance, Mystic Maya!”

Feeling as though she were about to be sick, the psychic clumsily tore open the packet, uncaring about the deep papercut that resulted on her finger as a result, and barely fought back the bile rising in her throat as she saw the photo.

It was a black and white scope image of Phoenix, taken from a side angle at a busy intersection – with a clearly visible crosshair target upon him. Maya had seen enough assassination plot films to identify the distinguishing mark was the kind only found on high-powered sniper rifles … typically used by Zelig, professional assassins.

Nick.” She felt a sob building up within as she turned her attention to the disembodied voice on the phone. “You monster! Why would you want to hurt my Nick? What has he ever done to you? To anyone?”

“You mean aside from foiling the brilliant plot to get rid of you and rightfully put Pearl in the position of Master, and resulting in her mother’s life sentence getting upgraded to the gallows?” Flagrant hatred emanated from Violet’s every syllable. “Consider this to be a mere insurance policy to ensure that you cooperate without any resistance.”

“And considering you just referred to him as my Nick,” Natasha added superciliously. “It’s pretty evident that you’ll play along quite nicely.”

“It’s such a noble sacrifice, exchanging your life, in a manner of speaking, to ensure the safety of his.” Violet made a tsking sound of mock sympathy. “Most gut-wrenching, really, seeing as how you’ll never see or hear his voice again.”

No!” Maya felt tears of dismay stinging her eyes. “Y – You won’t even let me speak to him? Now of all times? You can’t do this! Nick must be so devastated and feel so alone right now… he needs me! At least let me call him one last time! I won’t say him anything about this… duress – I swear on my life! Natasha can even supervise the call – at least let me offer him a few comforting words!”

“Phoenix Wright is a big boy and can manage fine on his own,” Violet dismissed airily. “Besides, do you really think I’m stupid enough to trust you won’t blab something even while under watch, the reckless girl that you are?”

“Then at least let me write him a letter!” Maya begged, clutching the receiver so hard, her knuckles turned white. “An email! Anything! I can’t let him think I’ve completely abandoned him! Nick – he can’t be left to his own solitary devices – he totally falls apart when I’m not around! He even refused to take any cases two years ago when I went back to Kurain to further my training – and that was when he still had his badge! Being a lawyer meant everything to him, and now that they’ve taken that away, there’s no telling what he’ll do…I beg of you, have a heart! At least allow me to do this much for the man who has done so much for me and my family, please!”

“Cousin, I’m as bored as a blind man watching a silent film with this pathetic display!” Natasha announced callously, wholly unmoved at the sight of the now broken down spirit medium sinking to her knees as she continued to shamelessly whimper her pleas to the soulless woman at the other end of the line who ruthlessly kept denying permission to have any form of communication with Phoenix. “Plus, it’s hard to understand whatever she’s mewling now, what with all that self-pity dick in her mouth! I’ll leave you two alone to wrap things up in here. As for you, sniveling, snot-nosed main family girl, I’ll expect you to earn your keep while you’re here as my burden! You’re expected to make lunch – and then later, dinner! – for us, post-haste!”

As soon as the Khurainese woman had left, Maya wiped her streaming eyes with her sleeves and tried to quell the residual sobs in her chest before speaking again.

Why are you doing this to us?” She whispered brokenly. “Surely, Aunt Morgan had her share of elder supporters who shared her sentiments about Pearl being the rightful one to inherit the Master title, but none of them would’ve gone to these extremes! I never even wanted this accursed position – I got stuck with it because my elder sister died! I was happiest when I was working as Nick’s assistant! I’ll sign over my rights to my cousin if that’s what makes everyone happy, and go back to the city to be with him – that way everybody wins!”

Why am I doing this, you ask?” The sheer loathing in the old woman’s voice was downright chilling. “Why won’t I allow you to live a halcyon existence with the man you love? Or at least thought you loved?”

Don’t you dare undermine how much I love Nick! Maya’s heart silently screamed, even though the words wouldn’t come out. Even though we weren’t officially together and didn’t enjoy the traditional “take my breath away” sort of romantic relationship, the love was very much real and it was there and it will always be there! Do not even think of implying that I never loved him; I did, in every way that I could. Do not tell me that there is no love without passion. We managed on scraps alone. We managed throughout all the strife and difficult times we had together, and in between all the sorrow, those times between that we shared together were so good…

“Or how about because I hate your stinking guts, and only live to see you suffer, Maya Fey? Is that a good enough reason?! Good old-fashioned spite? Don’t look for a tragic backstory – I was born this way, I think. Once, when Natasha and I were young, she accidentally made a loud clanging when she bumped over a bunch of pots and pans – just as she and I had secured the last two pieces of her way too small to feed all of us properly birthday cake. I’d turned my head to see what had made the loud bang, and my cake slid from my plate to the floor.”

A maniacal cackle resounded from the phone.

“I was so angry and hated Natasha’s stupid face while she ogled at my splatted cake on the floor, where it was being immediately gobbled up by the family dog, that I immediately lashed out at her plate, sending her cake right into her face and then skidding down her pretty handmade birthday dress. And I couldn’t have cared less.”

Violet laughed harshly as she heard the younger woman emit a shocked gasp.

“My relatives, even my teachers, would’ve described me as spiteful. I have always been a firm believer in the evening the misery out. If something was making me unhappy I felt it was my right to bring at least equal measures of unhappiness to others. Why not?”

Maya could almost hear the vindictive shrew shrug.

“Is that still not good enough motive for you? How about the fact that with you out of the way, I can finally enjoy the comfortable lap of luxury that comes with the riches which accompany the Master’s position, since I’ll be guardian to the new one? The wealthy lavish lifestyle that I should’ve been enjoying with my sister, who is going to be executed now – all because of you!”

“Your sister?!” Maya croaked. “You mean to Morgan…?”

“And to the late Misty Fey, yes! Say hello to your secret Aunt Violet, and her cousin, Natasha Ayasato, who’s from the distant side of the branch family, you ignorant pissant! You’re so damn whitewashed and Americanized, I bet you didn’t know that the maternal side of our family’s roots was originated in Japan! Ayasato was the original family name that gradually morphed into the mainstream Fey over the years! You can thank World War II anti-Japanese sentiment for that!”

Violet had to stop her tangent and pause for a breath.

“I was the product of an indiscretion that our father had with one of the maids shortly after Misty was born. Rather than put me into an orphanage though, his wife, your supposedly merciful grandmother, decided it would be better to have me still grow up amongst family and sent me to live in squalor with her poor relations on her mother’s side over in Asia, with Natasha growing up like a sister alongside me… along with her 10 other brothers and sisters!”

A derisive snort from the elder.

“The family was as dysfunctional as it was large. Her parents’ enthusiasm for procreation vastly outstripped their meager budget. With each new sibling, the resource pie got cut a little finer. By the time I was a teen, fast-growing and hungry, I got the same meat portion as the toddlers! The rest of my plate was KomatsunaHakusai, and rice – and never enough of each! Dirty, wearing raggedy hand-me-downs, and living in a home so decrepit I’d often catch pneumonia whenever the saggy roof would leak… this was supposedly better than me being adopted by a nice foster family!”

And Pearly is her golden ticket to the rich life she’s obviously coveted for her entire drab, mundane existence, which she obviously knows I would never let her have if I were in charge! However, since my little girl is still a minor for another two years, Violet would have full regulation of the village budget and finances to manipulate as she sees fit until the girl becomes legal.

Maya was reeling by the despicable but admittedly ingenious shrewdness of the conspiracy.

And within that time until Pearly’s 18, she plans on molding my cousin to become Master under the guided path that’s been carved out by her own hand, so she’ll still have control over how things are run. The equally sadistic Natasha, obviously, has agreed to partake in all this as Violet is no doubt crossing her greedy, impoverished palm with silver, plus she gets a free live-in slave labor, to boot!

“When he died, Father left a deathbed confession letting Misty and Morgan become aware of my identity and whereabouts. Your mother the pious Master, however, had no desire to have anything to do with her bastard half-sister who was proof of her father’s shameful infidelity to her dear mother, so she had nothing to do with me. But as soon as she left in disgrace after the whole DL-6 incident, Morgan reached out to me and brought me to the village, where the two of us plotted for the day when we could get rid of you, and Pearl could rightfully become Master so we could enjoy the lavish life that should have been ours!”

“You’re insane!” Maya gasped, but Violet ignored her.

“Why, I helped Morgan plot the whole incident with Dr. Grey, did you know that? I also helped my sister formulate the whole Hazakura Temple plan, too, but alas, your meddling lover boy saved the day yet again – only this time the end result will be having me lose my sole remaining close relative as the date of her execution draws near. You took away someone I loved, so why shouldn’t I do the same to you? Why don’t you also deserve to grow into a lonely, impoverished old spinster the way my poor cousin and I did?”

Maya was rendered speechless in the face of such unabashed malevolence. Slow desolate tears ran from her unblinking eyes and dripped steadily onto her blouse, but she couldn’t speak.

“And don’t even think you can channel big sister Mia or somebody else to come to rescue you this time! Not that it’ll do you any good, but while you can still train your meager spiritual powers for things like achieving inner peace with waterfall meditations, the current queen, Ga’ran won’t take kindly to lowly peasants who can channel, as she’d fear it’d mean attempted usurping of the throne – for which the penalty is instant execution, so I strongly suggest against even trying.”

Violet continued with her gloating.

“Her Eminence believes that proof of channeling is proof of royal bloodline. The royal family knows other people can channel but they don’t tell people this, so no one else dares try. There are strategically placed, protective wards to prevent channeling everywhere except for at the palace and in the courtroom. Think of them as spiritual detectors which will alert if somebody other than the royal family tries to channel – like lightning rods for spiritual energy. So there goes that loophole! Now, why don’t you be a good girl and start penning your cousin that letter, hmmm?”

At that moment, Maya felt her entire world collapse. Violet had truly covered all her bases, and she was trapped now, with no means of rescue or escape this time. Where there was light became shadows, the crippling pain coming and going through her like waves on frigid sand. Though her heart and mind called out for the man she loved, she knew that from this day on, that connection was gone. Phoenix was gone. As lost to her as her dear mother and sister.

And finally, I knew that my time to be alone had come.

The tears burst forth like water from a dam, spilling down her face. She felt the muscles of her chin tremble like a small child and glanced toward the bedroom window as if the light could soothe her. There was static in her head once more, the side effect of this newfound, constant fear that would be all she would ever know now, coupled with the constant stress she’d now be forced to live with, as her only companions.

I hear my own lamenting sounds, like a distressed child, raw from the inside. It takes something out of me I didn’t know I had left to give. That’s the way it is when people are hard. It’s like theft of the spirit, an injury no other person can see. But there’s no other choice because the alternative is unthinkable. I’m doing this for you, Phoenix Wright. All for you.

Without another word, she abruptly disconnected the call, then buried her devastated head in her hands as her life crumbled in her fingertips and her heart slowly shattered like shards of glass inside her chest.

If I could have done it all again, Nick, I would have loved you better. But I could not have loved you more.

Kingdom of Khura’in – July 11, 2026


Maya mentally went through her daily morning as she cleared the breakfast table shortly after Natasha had left for the royal palace.

After I take care of these dishes, I need to sweep and mop the floors. But first, I guess I should polish some of these dusty knickknacks. Huh, I see Natasha’s kidnapper allowance from Violet has allowed her to splurge on some little luxuries. I never noticed this blue silicate mineral flower holder before – must be new.

As she carefully held up the luminescent Kyanite vase and wiped it with a cloth, a wave of nostalgia washed over her as she noted the beautiful coloring consisted of various shades of dark and light blues, speckled with flecks of navy.

The exact same shade as Phoenix’s eyes.

It’s like having a part of Nick here with me, looking at this piece. They remind me of those unforgettable orbs – as calm as the sky before the storm, but as wild as the sea during one. Those were his eyes. As bright as sapphires, but then depending on his mood, they’d change to the baby blue of a newborn’s room. Everything, and nothing, all at once.

Maya let out a wistful sigh as she recollected the handsome face of the man she’d never stopped loving, even after all these years. At least now she didn’t start bawling the second she did so.

It hurts a little less every other day. I still cry almost every night when I’m alone. The silence of the room and the loud noises in my head gets me every time. I haven’t figured out a way to stop the memories from coming to visit, but I’m getting there. My heart feels heavy still, not as heavy as the day of mom’s funeral when I had to watch you leave. I’m starting to find some pieces of my broken heart, I’m trying to fix it but they don’t seem to fit anymore. I guess some parts will always be lost, but I’m starting to learn that that’s okay. I think I will be okay. I’m learning to be okay…

The shrill unexpected ringing of the telephone jolted her out of her melancholic state.

Normally Violet tended to do her twice-daily check-ins before her cousin went out to work, and then again at night. She didn’t usually choose to speak with her captive during these calls, as seven years later, Maya no longer needed the terse reminder of what would happen should the day ever arise that the village elder would call and discover that the spirit medium had become a fugitive. There was no need to keep her under lock and key, for the constant threat of Phoenix’s safety was ominously held overhead like a katana.

Therefore, considering the caller was unlikely to be the head conspirator, the necromancer was utterly flummoxed as to who could possibly be calling, unless it was her local captor calling her from the palace, with more debasing chores to assign her own personal Cinderella.

Yeah, that must be the warden. Guess I should answer it then, lest she tells Violet I took off and she immediately hits her speed-dial for DeKiller…

“Hello?” Maya said tiredly when she decided that the shrill ringing of the telephone was going to be impossible to ignore. “What do you want, Natasha?”

“Cough if you’re alone,” a strange, gruff voice ordered, without preamble. “And don’t try any funny business.”

Pure terror surged through her veins, icy daggers straight to the heart. With a great effort so as to mask the chattering of her teeth, Maya forced herself to oblige the man’s directive and let out a discreet hacking sound into the receiver.

“So it is you,” the man chuckled triumphantly. “Maya Fey. It’s been a long time, but looks like I have you at last.”


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

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