30  Twinkies & Otters & Bears…Oh Myyy!

Outside Wright Anything Agency – July 10, 2026


As the recently pulverized Phoenix and stoic Edgeworth stood together on the street outside of the Wright Anything Agency, the former seemed incapable of ceasing his relentless fidgeting. Every few seconds, he just couldn’t seem to resist the urge to either adjust his cap, or fiddle with the ever-present magatama shoved into his sweatshirt pocket.

The disbarred lawyer didn’t completely believe his life was in any mortal peril, yet ever since the prosecutor had essentially dragged him by the ear and out the door, he couldn’t help feeling a wee bit apprehensive.

The sensation was only compounded by each grueling moment of continued terse silence, coupled with the chess enthusiast’s stanchly foreboding expression.

In other words, it was nigh impossible to determine if any of this was a case of actually directed animus, or simply the android otherwise known as Miles Edgeworth basically being… Edgeworth!

His mounting case of the fantods only escalated as his intransigent best friend (and hopefully not hitman) laconically refused to answer the poker champ’s repeated inquiries about where they were going.

“Hey, Edgeworth?” The acclaimed DILF was trying not to let his trepidation show. “I know you said you took care of arrangements for me to take leave from The Borscht Bowl and for Trucy to stay with the Gumshoes while we’re on this mystery trip, but…”

“Thence, it would behoove you to realize by now that I’m proven to be a man of my word.”

The slate-haired lawyer didn’t even once shift his eyes from his phone while speaking and continued to frowningly fire off his third series of texts in the last five minutes.

“Ergo, you do not need to give anything a second thought, any more than I need to vitiate any of your nonsensical idiosyncrasies.”

“I’m not trying to come across as paranoid … I swear I trust you wholeheartedly!” The grape juice aficionado assured him nervously. “But, er, it sure would be mighty forthcoming if you gave me even a remote idea of where you’re taking me?”

“There’s only one thing you need to be cognizant of at the moment, Wright.” There was an indecipherable gleam in the prosecutor’s spectacled orbs as he finally directed his sights on his dialogue partner. “Your present situation is not your final destination. The best is yet to come.”

Jeezie Pete! This succinct response only resulted in a cold sweat breaking out over his brow. That last sentence in no way nullified the one you said right beforehand, Don Corleone! He’s obviously taking me on a one-way trip… to get fitted for customized cement boxers!

“Grk! Did you really just say…final destination?!”

“I have nothing further to say on the matter, defense,” Edgeworth arched an amused eyebrow at the visibly rattled beanie wearer. “The prosecution now rests.”

“Very funny, counselor! Are you sure you’re not planning on making me take a long walk off a short pier as retribution for hooking up with your sis – er, Franziska?”

“Is that the reason for your sudden sudoriferous state?” The DA snorted derisively at the profusely sweat-dropping pianist. “Had I wished to dispose of you for your bezonian ways, Wright, rest assured I could have easily done so whilst you were unconscious in your flat. And believe you me, years of dealing with copious murder cases means I have been subjected to countless, creative methods of bodily disposal!”

Phoenix turned absolutely white at this, which only made Edgeworth emit a humorless chuckle.

“Incidentally, Kobe cows are renowned for living a semi-luxurious life while in captivity. They’re given beer and massaged daily; did you know that?”

The reformed Lothario could only blink in confusion at this sudden turnabout in conversation topics.

“Edgeworth, this conversation is more cracked than the back end of a plumber! For the last seven years, in order to scrape by, rather than playing jump rope with her friends after school, my poor kid’s been working magic shows since she was eight years old! Meanwhile, I’ve been making peanuts playing phony piano at a shady pub. I can barely afford beef jerky, never mind high-end Japanese beef! What the heck does the cushy, pre-slaughter lives of cows – who still live a more luxe existence than me, by the way! – have to do with anything?!”

“My point was, the blissfully unaware creatures live their last moments on earth basking in bovine euphoria, and given zero indication of what their final destination will be.” The logic enthusiast smugly tapped at his temple. “Therefore, if you were on your way to meet a similar grisly fate, do you honestly think I would tell you? Would it not make more sense to be pawkier about my underlying intentions and let you remain in beatific ignorance, just like those preordained cows?”

The beyond peeved Phoenix was no longer worried about the precarious state of his continued survival because, after this asinine exchange, he was the one barely restraining himself from snuffing out the openly smirking Edgeworth – by throttling him with his own cravat!

How quickly, dear old rival of mine, you’ve forgotten not the only one who could creatively hide a stiff! I used to be a defense attorney, so was no stranger to homicide scenes, either… ye bag with which one doth douche!

“Bite it sideways, Edgeworth!” He retorted crossly. “If this whole mind-clusterfuck thing was supposed to be some sort of joke, your sense of humor is more twisted than a pretzel in a tornado!”

The magenta-clad gentleman merely shrugged nonchalantly at the projected ire, then resumed glowering at his mobile.

“Where on earth is that bloody taxi? And why is this blasted company disregarding my messages? This decorum is both inexcusable and unprofessional! I have every intention of leaving a scathing review on Yelp when all is said and done!”

The former King of the Turnabout was then subjected to an irate glare, as though he was somehow responsible for the tardy vehicle!

“My texts being ignored makes me feel like an aging opera singer singing passionately to a dark and empty theater that she once conquered!”

Before Phoenix could even formulate a response to such a bizarre proclamation, an unexpected booming of electropop music filled the air.

Oh Yeah

(Bow bow) Oh Yeah… (Chick chicka chicka)

(Bow bow) Oh Yeah… (Chick chicka chicka)

(Bow bow) Oh Yeah (Chick chicka chicka)

Jumping Jehoshaphat! That’s the song from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! And it’s coming from that blindingly bright passenger van … which is now barreling towards us!

An instant later, as the automobile screeched to a halt right next to the curb where the two friends stood, the hobo let out a barely suppressed moan, as the retro tune from the John Hughes 80’s flick wasn’t the only thing he’d distinguished immediately!

Guaaaaah! Not him! For the love of Pete! Anyone but him!

Kingdom of Khura’in – July 11, 2026

The shrill unexpected ringing of the telephone jolted Maya 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, and didn’t usually choose to speak with her detainee during these calls. After all, seven years later, Maya hardly needed the cryptic reminder of what’d happen if the village elder should ever call and discover the spirit medium had become a fugitive. It was the same reason there wasn’t a need to keep her under lock and key, as the constant unspoken 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 be calling, unless it was her local captor calling from the palace, with more debasing chores to assign her own personal Cinderella.

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

“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, raspy 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 to mask the chattering of her teeth, the shanghaied target forced herself to oblige the male 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.”

This Is Everything!‘ Mystery Tour – July 10, 2026

Unfortunately, there was no mistaking the tackiness of that rainbow-colored van, coupled with its telltale rooftop jumbo teddy bear, any more than he could fail to immediately recognize the ridiculous pink beret of the raffish driver now waving them over!

“Yo, Nick! Edgy, my man! Long-time no see, huh?” Larry Butz turned down the music, lowered the window, and flashed his customary goofy grin at the bewildered duo. “Get your fine behinds in, guys! Your chariot awaits!”

Oh Yeah

(Bow bow) Oh Yeah… (Chick chicka chicka)

(Bow bow) Oh Yeah… (Chick chicka chicka)

(Bow bow) Oh Yeah (Chick chicka chicka)

(Bow bow) Oh Yeah… (Chick chicka chicka)

(Bow bow) Oh Yeah… (Chick chicka chicka)

(Bow bow) Oh Yeah (Chick chicka chicka)

“Gnnnnngh! Larry?!” Edgeworth gawked disbelievingly at their old schoolmate. “What in God’s name are you doing here?!”

“You ordered a cab, didn’t you?”

“Yes, but I specifically ordered a limousine taxi, not an oversized clown car!”

“Good to see you too, old buddy, old pal!”

Larry exited the vehicle, swiftly hugged the startled prosecutor and former lawyer before they could recover from their stupefaction, then flung open the gaudy van doors with a flourish.

“Whenever I’m in between book tours, I moonlight as a limo driver. Unfortunately, the limousine I normally drive needed a serious top-to-bottom scrub down before it could be used again,” the children’s book illustrator explained. “A bachelor party got a bit too wild last night after they all went to El Pecado De La Glotonería, a Mexican restaurant famous for its chili and bean burritos, formerly called Homenaje A Los Gordos! Let’s just say afterward, there were some strippers, saucy hot wings, whipped cream, and a whole lot of fruit-scented prophylactics involved…”

Phoenix turned slightly green, but Larry was on a roll and didn’t seem to notice.

“It was like, barf me a river, fart bag! The stank mess they left behind was unfit for human life! Like, I’ve seen gas station bathrooms less narsty! And don’t even get me started on the lingering stench! Talk about an assault of the olfactory senses! Reeked more than the gaping sphincter of death itself…”

Uwahhhh!” The prosecutor recoiled in horror. “Larry, I demand you to spare us these any more sordid details of debauchery, post-haste!”

“Whoops! My bad!”

“I swear, between your harrowing details and the deviant tales of Mr. Rico Sauvé over here, I have half a mind to charge both you vulgarians with aggravated assault to my auditory senses!” He shook his head disgustedly at Phoenix, then scowled at the artist. “I see all these years later, your diarrhea of the mouth is permanent! You do realize I cannot un-hear the things either of you says?!”

“Sowwy, Edgy! No need to get your neck ruffles in a twist!” Larry appeared duly chastened for an instant, then beamed sunnily. “Even though you were a bit of meanie, I’m still happy to take my bestest buddies anywhere they need to go – half price, for old times’ sake!”

Nrrrrgh! You should be paying me to be seen traveling in this tawdry monstrosity,” Edgeworth grumbled, eyeing the van dubiously. “At what point did your taste become this… outré? What was the particular reason for such a garish color choice?”

“Simple. We needed an eye-catching vehicle since Jacob and I use this van for our own joint business, ‘This Is Everything!’ whenever things are slow at his bar and cab bookings are scarce.”

“Is that so?” The legist’s tone went from critical to mildly curious. “Then bravo, I applaud your entrepreneurial endeavors. Given the bright colors and teddy bear, I infer that you and this … Jacob person caters to children’s parties?”

“Nope!” Larry grinned impishly. “What you’re looking at here is the fabulous method of transportation for ‘Coming Out Parties!’ Makes quite a splash, amiright?”

“While admittedly not my own cup of tea – Manfred selected a classic black limousine for Franziska’s social debut – I suppose it is successful at being an attention-grabbing color scheme.”

The legal eagle sounded undeniably impressed now.

“However, I never would’ve fathomed that rainbows would be a popular choice for the aristocratic families of young débutantes about to be formally be introduced into society…”

“Whatcha talkin bout, Edgy?” The thoroughly puzzled Larry cocked his head to the side. “Debu-what now? My van is the color of the rainbow because it symbolizes gay pride! My Mooky-Pooky and I use this method of transport to announce the latest LGBTQ community member to come out of the proverbial closet and celebrate this event at their Coming Out Party!”

The gobsmacked expression on the normally composed attorney’s mien nearly made Phoenix laugh out loud, as he would’ve expected nothing less outrageous from the Butz!

“Um, yes. I see.” Edgeworth’s cheeks were flushed slightly with embarrassment. “Er, my apologies for the misunderstanding, Larry. I had no idea this sort of party now had – an alternative meaning. Might I inquire then, the reason for the stuffed bear, since this van is evidently for a more… mature clientele?”

“Duh! That’s because the last guy to host a coming-out party was a bear!”

Larry’s explanation only gained him a blank stare from his pals.

Hello! Don’t you guys know anything about the gay scene? A bear is a big, hairy, sexy beast, usually with the cutest little belly, like Crispin had! Hence, the teddy on the roof! He wanted to say it loud and proud!”

Nothing could have prepared him for this, so Phoenix was rendered speechless by this point. However, Edgeworth’s sheer, morbid curiosity had gotten the better of him, and he asked the next question while fully being prepared to regret the answer.

“Indeed… Verily, I say. Ergo! That’s all very clever, but what if the gentleman in question does not meet the large and hairy qualifications to be … bear-ed?”

“The bear is attached with Velcro. It is easily removable – we have something for every occasion!” Larry began ticking the options on his fingers. “For my brethren of hairy, but thin or athletic variety, we have a stuffed otter. And for the slenderer, hair-free hotties, I whip out the oversized, plush Twinkie…”

Hold it!” Edgeworth held up a hand, now looking slightly pained. “Larry, I –I exhort you to stop you right there. As fascinating as this all is, Wright and I truly do need to get moving along…”

“Sure thing! Let’s boot-scootin’ boogie!”

Assassin’s Creed? – July 11, 2026


Is this De Killer?!

The knee-jerk contemplation was what first sprang to her terrified mind, but she forced herself to try to think clearly. After all, she’d had the misfortune of hearing the hitman speak, in the flesh, over a decade ago, and now that she thought twice about it, this voice most definitely wasn’t the that of the hitman.

Shelly De Killer’s cadence bore an icy, unexpected calm. It was low, with an agreeable trace of huskiness and with a hint of more power than the slightly built body would suggest – not an aristocratic voice, but one on which education had imposed a discipline which hadn’t quite obliterated; a provincial, sort of East Anglian accent from childhood.

This voice was different. And it was speaking again into her ear.

“Don’t worry, Miss Fey. Everything will be all right, as long as you do exactly as I say. I’m going to disconnect this call now, then I want you to count to 30, and come out the front door. Keep your hands in plain sight, so I can see them. I promise no harm will come to you as long as you follow my directions.”

This man’s intonation was like a low roll of thunder. His words, she realized, while direct, were non-threatening in tone, low in pitch, and impossible for one to ignore what he said. It was like being told what to do by Samuel L. Jackson. You didn’t think, you just did it, every single time.

“OK,” Maya whispered, even though her hand was shaking slightly. “I’ll do whatever you want. Just please, please, don’t hurt my Nick.”

A soft chuckle, then he spoke again, his tone as deep as the sun at midnight.

“You have my word, little lady. Nobody is going to harm anyone here – that doesn’t have it coming. Just slowly walk towards the black van parked out front. We’ll be waiting for you.”

Click. The call ended as abruptly as it’d begun, leaving the stupefied spirit medium no choice but to replace the receiver in the cradle with trembling fingers.

Maya’s gaze took a roving sweep of her proverbial dungeon. This grim and gloomy hellhole, even with its eclectic, decorative gewgaws, strewn about in vain attempts to spruce up the place, was the worst excuse for a house she’d ever seen. It was more like a long-abandoned prison or insane asylum rather than anything one could ever call home. Even despite her daily enforced cleaning efforts, the doors and windows were covered with a cloud of thickly layered dust that looked as though they’d been untouched for years. The windows of this place where she’d been coerced to reside stared back at her like the eyes of an empty soul. Worst of all was the front door at the entryway to the house; it’d always given her the impression this was a gateway to Abaddon, from which there seemed to be no escape.

Count to 30, the caller had instructed her. One half-minute. No more, no less.

Either this was all a trap, leading her to someplace far worse than her current purgatory, or it was a step to freedom.

However, she would never know until she stepped out that door.

Taking one final, fleeting gander at the house that’d been her prison for far too long, the hostage steeled her nerves, took a deep breath, slid her bare feet into her sandals, and flung open the rickety wooden door to the outside world.

The Roasting of Phoenix Wright – July 10, 2026


Larry gestured towards the van, and the prosecutor made a big show of climbing into the tinted windowed backseat, then discreetly slumping down slightly, so only the top of his head was partially visible, before curtly jutting his chin towards the passenger door.

“Wright can take the front seat.”

Naturally,” the card shark mumbled under his breath. “Because of course, The Edgeworth’s too dignified to be seen in the said contraption, but it’s all good if I’m spotted riding in this thing, right?”

Cringing slightly as he vividly recalled encountering a used condom the last time that he’d had the misfortune of traveling in this love shack on wheels, Phoenix barely suppressed a shudder as he climbed in.

Ugh! What happened to the cloying scent of roses and perfume?! It smells like someone’s spilled Chinese food in a birdcage!

Basic human decency refrained him from informing the already poleaxed prosecutor that when this automobile wasn’t being used for business, Larry and his boy toy indiscreetly used for its pleasure… of the carnal variety!

Larry had already resumed talking Edgeworth’s ear off.

“It’s such an utter travesty, Edgy! I was so ready to join good ol’ Nick in the DILF leagues! My Schmoopsie-Poo and I were all set to do a foreign adoption a couple of years ago from Asia, but that all fell apart faster than a piñata at a kid’s party. It seems that China, and a whole lot of other countries, don’t allow gay twosomes to adopt a baby. But even though there are still places that are OK with same-sex couples, like South Korea and Ukraine, the process still takes forever!”

A dramatic sniffle from the driver.

“Plus, you have to have been married for a minimum of three years, and unfortunately, we aren’t there yet. We both want to get married someday, but we just can’t seem to decide which would make a better wedding date – Barbara Streisand’s birthday, or Elton John’s? Besides, the whole foreign adoption thing costs a small fortune, hence all the extra jobs my bottom half and I are working. Poor Jakey’s been slinging a whole lot of overtime cocktails, while I moonlight with the van and limo because we’re looking at a minimum of 30 grand! Despite our best efforts to save, it still seems like you have to be a celebrity to afford the outrageous costs associated with trying to become an adoptive parent!”

“Erm…” The flustered Edgeworth wasn’t sure how to respond. “That all sounds quite frustrating, Larry. I’m very sorry to hear about all these setbacks.”

“It all makes me positively desolate.” The artist heaved an exaggerated sigh. “I swear, at this point, I’m thinking we should just get a couple of dogs, but we can’t seem to agree on that, either! want to get a pair of poodles. It’d be so much fun to customize their leg hair into precious ankle socklets and shave the area around their little bums into cute shapes! Alas, my Snuggle Puss has his heart set on owning Shih Tzus, because it would fulfill his need to have a little girl with hair he could style and put into sweet, itty-bitty bows! Therefore, we’re at an impasse!”

“Could you guys not compromise?” Phoenix ventured, deciding to give the poor, discomfited attorney a brief reprieve from a conversation he had no inkling of how to contribute. “Maybe get one of each breed?”

“You would think so! Except then, I’d be too worried about having a culture clash of France vs. Japan…”

Phoenix sighed and mentally threw his hands up in the air.

Welp, I tried! So much for attempted lucidity in a conversation…

“Whatevers! That’s enough about meI’m just your boring, run-of-the-mill, practically married, gay guy!” The illustrator trilled. “Since you mentioned hearing Nick’s stories of how the whole world’s been his sausage wallet, I’m assuming he told you all of his naughty stories of shampooing the Wookie all over town?”

“Indeed. And amongst the gory tales, I made privy was how our mate briefly replaced my accursed, hagridden self by nearly becoming victim to the ferly clutches of the Wicked Witch of the Witness, aka Wright’s would-be rapist!” Edgeworth returned curtly. “While he was passed out, no less!”

“Holy mommy flurking schnit! Wendy Assbag almost raped Nick?!”

Both men seemed unaware of the nearly sexually assaulted victim’s pained expression at having to relive this labyrinthine nightmare, yet again!

“Fortunately, I’ve since managed to reap the benefit of some much-needed lalochezia to express my thoughts on Wright luckily dodging the fate of the near omnishambles!”

And I wish I could reap the benefits of being anywhere else right about now! The poker champ added silently. Or at least have both of you jerks talk about something, anything else already!

Uwahhhh! Trying to jump the bones of a man while he’s incapacitated?!” The artist known as Laurice Deauxnim was appalled. “Day-um, that’s fucking cold! Like dirty Yeti junk levels!”

“Since I did manage to escape a fate worse than death, relatively unscathed, this is all water under the bridge, so let’s just let it go and move on!” Phoenix interrupted quickly, feeling his cheeks grow warm. “As you’ve discernibly heard, Larry, Edgeworth, and I have had quite the extensive catch-up session. He’s fully been kept in the loop, so there’s no need to further ply him with…”

“Oh, don’t be so modest, Dong Bait!” Larry chirped sunnily. “We’re all friends here! Didn’t Edgy give you a high-five when he found the rest of the deets about how when it comes to the ladies, you’re so dang hawt, you practically shit out barbecue?”

“I’d never really pegged you like the kiss and tell type, Wright.” Edgeworth cocked a sardonic brow. “Is discretion truly such an unfamiliar concept to you?”

“I’m not that type at all!” Phoenix denied hotly, his face flaming. “Larry, aside from the one time you rescued me from Lana, I don’t remember ever disclosing any details about my love life to you whatsoever!”

And getting an unsolicited eyeful of Jacob’s frank and beans doesn’t count!

“Nick, Nick, Nick, you sincerely don’t remember just how loose-lipped you got about your Ram-BONE days any time you had a few drinks, do you?” Larry chortled. “It’s completely understandable that you’d confide in your old chum. My emanating aura wholly inspires all sorts of people to want to open up to me, although I don’t know if I’ve always had this gift, or if it’s just become more prominent since I’ve been gay! Either way, I may as well have ovaries in my scrotum, because I’m super good at Girl Talk! Or, Boy Talk, as it were! Tee hee!”

For the love of Christ, shut the holy hell up, you gaping prolapsed anus! Phoenix inwardly prayed, but to no avail, as the driver had suddenly morphed into the Energizer bunny and just kept going and going and going!

“Nick didn’t mention how poor Gumshoe was present at not one, but two of his infamous sexual snafus?” Larry asked slyly. “The most recent incident was when he almost killed Dee Vasquez by using her as a loofah sponge in the shower! Things got a little slippery when wet, so he had to call the police because he legit thought she was dead…

Jesus Jones! First of all, Gumshoe has an even bigger cakehole than you do! And second of all, Larry, will you please put a socklet in it!” Phoenix cried plaintively just as Edgeworth interjected, his incredulity evident even from the backseat.

Egad! Vasquez? Wright, she was a defendant, whom you indicted! How much lower could your standards go? Why not just add Ini Miney to the list while you were at it!”

I’m Walking On Sunshine – July 11, 2026


Having not set foot outdoors in so long meant that the initial daylight was slightly overwhelming and nearly blinded her, causing her to close her eyes reflexively, even while she continued to take slow, hesitant footsteps forward.

Idyllic enchantment filled her when she finally opened her eyes again and took in the beauteous splendor of the Kingdom of Khura’in.

The golden sun lay in the azure background like a perfect, unspoiled egg yolk, its warmth radiating down on her long-time deprived skin. Lush trees surrounded her, their branches protruding like vines up towards the sky and brushing against the cloudless sky like a paintbrush.

Even with arms out-stretched, I would never be able to reach even a fraction of the way around these gnarly bark trunks. Stepping carefully over the roots that knot the pathway, watching the freshly fallen rain seep into the soil, I am struck by a wish to melt in with it. Not to die, but to live forever amongst these magnificent, ancient beings that cast shadows in which I stand. There is a sacredness here that transcends everyday concerns, casting them into the timelessness of forests, oceans, of mountains. Under these boughs, I feel the breath of God and hear the beauty of His creations. Even though this remote country in West Asia is so foreign to me, how can I not be at home here?

After about a few dozen steps, she instinctively sensed the presence of someone in her immediate vicinity and had to raise a hand to shield her eyes to at last make out the large, imposing form looming nearby.

That was when she finally saw him, only several feet away from her, a dark, unmarked van with no visible windows parked five feet behind him.

At first glance, the man was one of the most unnerving sights she’d ever seen. He was tall, unshaven, and wore a trench coat that resembled something that’d been salvaged from a war zone. Even his loosely dangling tie carried similar holes. After taking a furtive gander around him, the man shoved his hands into his trouser pockets and began lumbering towards her, the cigarette between his lips flicking slightly as he did so.

Maya’s mouth went dry as the stranger reached a hand into his coat, which slowly released into a soft exhale of relief as she saw him pull out not a gun, as she’d anticipated, but a small, personal mirror. After giving himself a quick once over, he stuffed it back in his pocket, lowered his dark sunglasses down his nose, and beamed down at her.

It was a wide, open smile, showing perfectly straight teeth. They were pure white, and not at all the typical yellowed ones of a smoker. The friendly action revealed that it wasn’t a cigarette that’d been dangling from his lips as he’d approached her, but the stem of a sucker candy!

He pulled the empty lollypop stick from his mouth and carelessly discarded it on the ground before extending a large hand.

“Detective Tyrell Badd.”

“I’m Maya Fey.”

Dumbly, she let him engulf her tiny hand in his own, noting by the slight lines on his countenance and silver streaks along the temple lines of his dark hair that the man was anywhere from his late 50s to early 60s. However, he was still a formidable tower of muscle and more than slightly off-putting in stature.

Moreover, his voice in person was even more imposing than it’d been on the phone. It was like the magma chamber of a volcano, deep, but filled with molten rock.

His voice is powerful enough to make your bones feel like they’re vibrating. Whenever he speaks, everyone around would turn, whether they know him or not. His voice is just so deep, so full…

“Nice to meet you at last. It’s taken a lot of work to get to this point, but it was worth it. There’s a certain young lady I know who’s going to be mighty glad we finally found you, Miss Fey.”

She cleared her throat, trying to tap into every single visceral instinct she possessed to deduce if anything about him would get her hackles up but found nothing at all. Instead, she noted that in contrast to his somber expression, his deep-set eyes were kind and trustworthy, and presented zero threat whatsoever. Her mouth then relaxed into a smile, her first real one in a dog’s age.

“I assume you’re referring to my little Pearly. She’s pretty shy around strangers, but if you talked to her enough to find out about me, it means that she trusted you, which means I can, too.”

“She’s a great kid. We couldn’t have done any of this without her help and cooperation,” the burly gumshoe replied gruffly, reaching into his pocket, unwrapping another candy stick, and popping it into his mouth. He then presented her with some other items he’d retrieved from his trench, as well. “These are the same objects I showed your cousin to let her know who I am, and how I came across both your paths. I don’t know if I need to bother since you said I already have your trust, but it sure can’t hurt.”

Maya’s eyes widened as she took in the proffered variables and dazedly listened to Badd explain the backstory of each.

There was a photo of the detective standing next to the familiar sight of Larry, still wearing his pink artist hat and looking just as she remembered, and none other than Miles Edgeworth, every bit as handsome yet austere as when she’d seen him last.

The next item was a Signal Samurai red keychain with Miles’ initials carved into them, indicating he was the owner of the fandom memorabilia, although an explanation had not been required about the object’s back story, as Maya clearly remembered the keychain’s blue twin, which Phoenix had proudly displayed on his work desk even all those years later.

However, it was the third item that held her attention the longest.

In her hand was a childhood snapshot of Miles and Larry as children, next to another figure, an immediately recognizable spiky-haired boy. Each kid was proudly holding up a red, blue, and yellow keychain while they all grinned at the camera.

Her gaze lovingly traced every precious feature of the raven-haired boy’s visage, mentally configuring them into those of the man he’d become for several aching moments, before she had no choice but to look away, due to the stinging sensation prickling behind her lids.

In the end, it doesn’t even matter that I wasn’t allowed to even write to you all this time, Nick because I could have written a million letters, but each one would’ve been the same as the last in sentiment and cadence. They’d have stayed the same, and only the word arrangement would have changed. It boils down to one thing that hasn’t or won’t ever change. I miss you. You should be here. Or I should be there. Ultimately, no one knows if that is selfish or not, and even if it is, to hell with the rest of the world and their opinions. You should be here. With Me. I miss you so much it hurts. Your beautiful cobalt eyes, warm smile, wily heart, torn mind, and kind, tortured soul. My heart is missing an integral piece, a part that keeps it from working correctly. And I don’t know how to let that go.

She clenched her eyes tightly shut to dam the deluge threatening to burst.

So, when will I let go? Perhaps, someday. Or possibly never. I truly think there are people who you will love forever, whether or not they remain in your life for that time.

Despite her best efforts, Badd’s sharp detective eyes had already noticed the threat of tears, and his voice turned gentle.

“It’s OK to be emotional.” He placed a strong, comforting hand on her shoulder. “You’ve been put through quite the ordeal, all at the hands of two fiendish hags of Gehenna with hearts colder than a stone encased in a block of ice in the middle of the Arctic. But it’s all over now. I can promise you that, just readily as I can give you my vow that those who put you through all this unjust hell will be facing their very own Hades soon enough.”

Rush Him To The ‘Burn Unit’ – July 10, 2026


“Well actuallyMimi Miney’s execution date was a few months before I got disbarred,” the inadvertent Casanova confessed sheepishly. “Apparently, she did formally ask for me to be her, ah… last meal. But suffice to say that I inherently refused to make that final pseudo-conjugal visit!”

Hot diggity dang! Even chicks on death row wanted a piece of that future legendary man-meat!” Larry was in awe. “Allow me to render the salad unto Caesar! I mean, sweet tickling fartscuttles, Nick, you weren’t even hot back then! This was back during your skinny, cheap blue suit, spiky-haired days!”

“The spikes are still there, you ass bucket!” The anterior Ace Attorney shot daggers at the Butz as he adjusted his beanie. “They’re just…kinda hidden, nowadays, that’s all.”

“Heh, heh. And as soon as you hid them, you started regularly playing the game of Mr. Wobbly hides his helmet, didn’t you?” Larry winked lasciviously. “That was certainly the case in the second incident where Gumshoe made an appearance at the scene for ol’ Nicky boy….”

Crap jacks!” Phoenix facepalmed. “Larry, I literally cannot remember a moment when you weren’t overworking that blathering pie hole of yours…”

Speaking of overworked body parts, I can’t fathom a moment when you weren’t plowing some poor maiden’s field!” Edgeworth returned dryly. “So, if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, then I don’t know what it is!”

“Hold it! Just what do my past affairs have to do with me actually knowing when to keep my mouth shut – unlike some people here!”

“Because while you may not have played fast and loose with your lips, you most certainly have with your hips, haven’t you? Guess which one ranks higher on the sinner scale in my books?” Edgeworth smiled smugly as Phoenix turned beet red. “Ergo, unlike with your pants these past seven years… zip it, Wright! Go on, Larry.”

“Yeah, take that, Nick! Anywhore, our pal. the unprepared flatfoot, got a real eyeful of Nick handcuffed and in nothing but his birthday suit after he was done putting ranch dressing in the Hidden Valley with Lotta!” The entrepreneur sniggered. “My guess would be this is one disclosure he didn’t make. Not that I blame him! Because let’s face it, even if her vulva’s as smooth as a veal cutlet, if we’re going to compare females to automobiles, the Southern she-thing, at best, is a moped… fun, but you don’t want your buddies seeing you riding one!”

Gnnnnngh! The humiliated Phoenix tugged his beanie down over his eyes. Jump up your own ass and die, Butz!

Ah, Satan! – July 11, 2026


Two hags?! Maya’s mind was a whirl of hope, wonder, and mystification as the detective ushered her to the black van and slid open the back door. Does that mean they’ve already somehow managed to apprehend both Violet and…?

“Ah, Satan!” Badd greeted insolently to whoever was inside the vehicle, his wide shoulders obstructing Maya’s view to whomever he was addressing. “You look like a mule just kicked you in the face! Good to see you’ve settled down and stopped giving my cousin, the prison warden, a hard time. Wise move, by the way, since Tai’s got an even shorter fuse than I do.”

“Why do you keep calling her that, cousin?” A deep, gravelly voice asked with a trace of jollity, craning his neck to see around Badd to peer at Maya. He gave her a mock salute in greeting. “Greetings! Miss Fey, I presume?”

The psychic tried her hardest not to gape at the sight of the other man inside the van, but that would have been as impossible as asking the waves not to crash to the shore. Tyrell Badd, at first sight, was definitely intimidating but this other male figure was downright daunting – a fact that remained unwavering even though he wore his hair identically to Jim Hawkins from Treasure Planet!

The hulking titan was clearly and a good head bigger than the already tall Badd, who was well over 6′ 0″. Even seated, the top of the older giant’s head reached the roof of the automobile, so he was slightly slouching in his 7 foot-plus frame in the rear-facing backseat. Just like his cousin, he was a tower of bunched muscles, visible even beneath his jeans and flannel shirt, the rolled-up sleeves exposing tree trunk forearms. He looked to be in his early 60s but was undeniably still a force to be reckoned with, his rough, tanned mien covered in faded scar tissue aplenty, with only a few wrinkles around his sharp golden eyes. He sported a chestnut and silver-streaked mane, buzzed at the sides, but the hair circling the top of his head from his widow’s peak was left to grow and fall over the sides, stopping short just past the tops of his ears. The final touch was a braided rattail at the base of his neck, forming a lion’s tail brush at the end. Well-groomed mutton chops and a bushy goatee circled his chin and mouth, from which dangled an unlit cigarette.

All in all, it was mind-boggling to imagine this man having anything be shorter than anyone, fuse or otherwise!

“It seemed fitting,” Badd shrugged. “After all, it’s not every day you see the unnerving sight of a snake’s eyes glaring at you from a human head – like one of the creatures from the fiery pits of the Netherworld! Besides, ah-satan, very aptly, is just Natasha, backward. Isn’t that right, Miss. Ayasato?”

M-Mpht! Nrrrrgh!” Was the muffled reply to this jibe, and that was when Maya finally was able to poke her head around Badd’s massive form to see who he was addressing.

“Holy dickballs! Natasha?!”

The Epic Poon Houndery Saga Continues – July 10, 2026


Lotta Hart? That afro-haired butcherer of the English language?” Edgeworth’s lips twitched. “Really, Wright? At this point, I imagine it would be faster to tell me about the few women whose loins you hadn’t sullied during your shameless circumgyration of epic…”

Poon-houndery?” Larry finished helpfully. “To be fair, I didn’t find out about Lotta because of Nick’s loose drinking lips. That frizzy-haired femme from ‘the heart of the heartland’ just happens to be a fellow member of the ever-growing Phoenix Wright Fan Club, you see. I’m the treasurer, you know!”

Shit nuts! Now it was Phoenix’s turn to slouch down in his seat, while simultaneously cursing not only his own existence but that of every person in that van! Edgeworth’s never going to let me live this down! Not even if I live to be 137 years old…

“Certainly, I have been made aware of this organized lot that’s championing for Wright to regain his badge,” Edgeworth replied dryly. “And while I know I will probably regret pressing the matter, it did not escape my attention that you referred to our wanton Don Juan as…dong-bait, was it?”

“You bet I did!”

Nnghuuurk! Eat a buffet of dicks, Butz!

“Does this mean that our comrade’s voracious proclivities were not just limited to the female persuasion, then?”

Oopsie!” Larry tittered. “Did I let the cat out of the bag?”

“Cut the crap, dip nuts!” The bindlestiff exploded at last. “If you were on the witness stand, I would have your lying ass thrown into jail for perjury! As evidenced when I shot down not only your advances, but those of your incorrigible, oversexed lover, I am not gay, and you damn well know it! Grk! It never ceases to amaze me how you can be flexible enough to have your foot in your mouth and your head up your ass – at the same time!”

Objection!” Larry responded sulkily, his lower lip quivering from the tongue-lashing. “Nick, as if it wasn’t enough for you to call me names – now you’re being a big meanie and a jerk-face! HumphSome people couldn’t be nice even if a unicorn shoved a fairy wand up their ass while Judy Garland stood there singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow!”

“I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings, Larry.” Phoenix rubbed his nose. “But I have to draw the line at outright slander …”

“I don’t lie, Nick! Even if you weren’t actively switching teams, there’s no denying your appeal isn’t exclusively with the ladies! You know there are also men out there who are so hot for you, you could heat five-alarm chili on their chode! I know a particular haute cuisine chef who would happily back up this testimony as 100% hashtag #fact!”

Guaaaaah! The hobo felt bile rising in his throat at the memory of Jean Armstrong and his attempted seduction. Jesus Christ, can the mind vomit?

All In The Family – July 11, 2026


Maya gawked at the sight of her infuriated captor, bound and gagged, in the rear of the van. Her startled orbs shifted over to the titan, whom she belatedly realized she still hadn’t greeted and managed to stammer out a reply.

“Um, yes, hello. I’m Maya Fey. So, you and Detective Badd are… cousins?”

“Affirmative. I’m Taimak Thunderwolf – first cousin to Tyrell ‘Shorty’ Badd on our mother’s side. My little coz was always the smallest of the pack,” the warden confirmed, his broad face splitting into a wide grin, transforming his mug from petrifying to pleasant in the blink of an eye. “I daresay more like the runt of the litter!”

“I was a late bloomer,” Badd elucidated to the awestruck psychic. “Didn’t reach my growth spurt until senior year of high school – and this guy never stopped ribbing me until that point!”

“You won’t get away with this, you mangy mutts!” Natasha suddenly snarled, having somehow loosened the gag that’d been covering her mouth until that point. Angry sparks flew out of her hate-filled eyes as she addressed the men. “Who the happy hell do you think you are?! This is an outrage! Do you know who I am?! Just you wait until Her Eminence finds out about this…!”

In a riposte to this outburst, the warden casually lit up his cigarette, drew in a deep mouthful of smoke, then purposefully blew the entire, billowing cloud right into Natasha’s unprepared, craggy face. The old woman coughed indignantly and shot him a baleful glare in response. Thunderwolf then stubbed out the cancer stick with his boot and slid her gag back in place.

“Sorry, couldn’t resist. I just can’t stand this uppity beldam! She’s got one hell of a brass set on her. From the time we nabbed her, and until we put that rag in her flapping yap and cuffed her in zip-ties, she was acting like paying for her crimes was somehow beneath her and like she was goddamn royalty or something!”

“She’s not,” Maya confirmed, her lips twitching with amusement as she, at last, had gathered enough of her composure to grasp the hilarity of the situation. “She merely works for them. Or did, anyway. She’s the royal shoulder rubber.”

“Humph! You could’ve fooled me,” Badd commented wryly. “If her nose had gotten any higher in the air, she’d have keeled right over!”

“Not that anyone would have complained if she had!” Thunderwolf added. “But of course, a quick demise is too good for the witchy likes of this one. No, this old bat’s going to pay for her felonies alongside her partner in crime back over in the States. And Ty, you weren’t kidding about Violet. That harridan is scary beyond all reason!”

Mmmph!” Natasha strained against her gag. “Nrrggh!”

“Aw, cookie puss!” Thunderwolf cooed condescendingly. “I think the new prisoner still has more she wants to say!”

“Her indignation in spite of her grim circumstances is almost… precious,” Badd agreed deprecatingly. “The old hag’s madder than a hornet in a Coke can.”

“Can we hear her out, please?” Maya requested timidly. “It’s purely a case of sheer curiosity or being a glutton for punishment on my part, as I can’t see anything worthwhile coming from this. However, I kind of wish to know what she’s got to say for herself.”

Highway To The Danger Zone – July 10, 2026


Nngwaaah!” The appalled Edgeworth barely stifled a slight gagging sound. “Surely you can’t be referring to that phony Frenchman, Armstrong?”

“Is a pig’s ass pork?” Larry sing-songed gaily. “Even though he was forced to admit that Nick turned him down flat, he’s nevertheless the newest proud member of the fan club! I’m guessing our pal here failed to tell you about Jean’s offer to speak French between his legs?”

Urgh!” Phoenix griped. “Could you please give your tongue a rest, already, Larry? Aren’t you afraid you might pull a muscle?!”

“Hey, I’m not the one who savagely spat him out like watered down, pee-pee water, aka Saudi Arabian beer! I mean, sure, the guy’s more of an eyesore than a sight for sore eyes. And yes, his laugh sounds like two swimsuits mating,” the artist conceded. “Nonetheless, French is considered one of the romance languages for a reason! If it’d been some bodacious babe proposing to parle français entre tes jambes, you have to admit, it would’ve been pretty damn hot!”

Objection! I don’t have to admit anything!” Phoenix bit back. “Forgive me if I fail to see what is so sexy about somebody screaming bonjour at my penis!”

“Nnph!” Edgeworth let out a smothered sound that could have been either a laugh, a disapproving groan, or a combination of both. “Wright, honestly…”

“Fine, you win, Nick!” Larry cut in with a guffaw. “I guess it would be ridiculous and unsexy, no matter who did it!”

He then affected a corny Parisian accent.

“I mean what exactly are you supposed to say back? Sacré bleu, mademoiselle vagina? Hon hon hon! Titty croissants!”

Despite himself, the pianist somehow found this to be absurdly funny, and everyone cracked up then, except for the backseat legist, whose disapproval was evident in his next verse.

Neither one of you should have coitus. Ever.”

“Sounds like someone needs a minimal 60-watt bulb placed into his uptight keister, so he can lighten up!” Larry cackled loudly at his own joke. “Life is short, Mr. Cranky Pants! Live, laugh, love, you know?”

“Yeah, it wouldn’t kill you to crack a smile now and then,” the one-time wino chuckled. “Heck, if I can somehow laugh at the ongoing train wreck that’s become of my life, you definitely should be able to!”

“Don’t you know that most women normally dig a dude with a sense of humor?” Larry added. “I may not be as hot as you two, but even before I came out, the ladies all said they liked the fact that I made them laugh!”

“M-mrrrph! I’ll have you know that while I refuse to succumb to flapdoodle, lowbrow humor like you simpletons, I do very much have a sense of humor!” Edgeworth was not at all tickled by their antics. “Let the record show that when it was both the appropriate time and occasion, also have been known to make women laugh!”

“Yeah,” Phoenix drawled. “But only in the bedroom!”

Battle of the Beldams – July 11, 2026

“I’ll do you one better, little lady. You can talk to her, and the key conspirator!” Badd crouched down in the van and turned on a small monitor. “Thanks to the deep pockets of a certain prosecutor friend of ours, no expense was spared in getting top-of-the-line equipment for your rescue. This includes not only the means of conveyance to smuggle this broad out of here, the same way they smuggled you into this flyblown shithole but satellite phones and internet technology, to boot!”

The screen flickered for a second, then immediately lit up, displaying a background scene Maya was all too familiar with – the LAPD Detention Center.

“Hi, Pops!” A familiar voice boomed. “Long time no see! Heard you’re taking a break from retirement and are back in the field for a bit. How goes the undercover work?”

“Same old, Dick, same old,” Badd answered wryly. “Why do people ask ‘how was work?’ Undercover or not, work is work. I’d rather be drunk on a yacht, being hand-fed grapes by naked underwear models, yet here I am.”

“Ha-ha! Ain’t that the truth!”

Uwahhhh!?” The elated Maya ducked in front of Badd so she now faced the dear mug splashed on the screen. “Is that really you, Gumshoe?!”

“Hiya, pal!” He beamed. “I see my old mentor and the new warden found you safe and sound, just like I knew they would!”

“Detective Gumshoe!” She gasped at the sight of her old friend on the screen, still in the same trademarked green trench, while tears of nostalgia sprang to her eyes. “Oh, Holy Mother, I never thought I’d see you again!”

“If these two biddies had had their way, none of us would’ve ever seen you again!” The scruffy detective frowned, then panned the camera away so they could see an agitated and handcuffed Violet in the cellblock behind him. “They’ll be going away for a long time for their misdeeds, pal, mark my words.”

“It was all her doing! All of it!” Natasha screeched, straining against her ties. Her pallid cheeks grew puce with rage at the sight of her kinswoman. “I’ll cough up any information you want, as long as you cut me a deal! I’d like to state for the record that every single bit of this was 100% Violet’s fault!”

Gyaah!” Violet shrieked back, her once prim and immaculate topknot now flying disarray of greys wildly flying around her withered prune phizog. “I should’ve known I couldn’t depend on my cousin, the good-for-nothing Judas! Always quick to have diarrhea of the mouth but constipation of the ideas. You always have been, and always will be, as useful as a bucket without a bottom!”

“Did you all hear that?” Natasha ululated at the kinsmen. “My wretched cousin just admitted all of this was her idea since I’m allegedly too daft to have brainstormed such a dastardly plan! If that doesn’t prove I’m innocent, I don’t know what does!”

A death glare at the Kurain elder.

“And of course, I talk like an idiot, you half-witted gorgon! How else would you understand me?”

“You degenerate, ungrateful old harpy! You’re just as much at fault as I am!” The infuriated Violet howled, her childlike rasp hitting such a high-pitched decibel now that was practically ear-splitting. “Also, ever hear of the term accomplice, you ignorant troll?! I didn’t hear your backstabbing, duplicitous behind once complaining while you greedily spent all the money that I sent you on those tacky trinkets in that hovel you called a home! And innocent, my foot! If ugly were a crime, you’d get a life sentence!”

Right? If you’re gonna be two-faced, Hagatha Christie at least make one of them pretty! Maya’s body was nearly shaking as she tried to contain her mirth at the hilarity of the situation. With families like these, who needs enemies?!

“You dare have the gall to call me ugly?!” Natasha’s eyes were nearly bulging out of their sockets. “You’re the reason the gene pool needs a lifeguard! Plus, you’re so damn fat, you could sell shade!”

“That’s enough!” Roared the frustrated, and quite fed-up, Taimak Thunderwolf. His menacing eyes shot daggers at first Natasha and then Violet, causing both to shrink back in fear. “If you two crones don’t immediately shut your traps and wipe away the gobs of bullshit around the lips of your equally hideous mugs… you’re going to wish you were in hell with your back broken. Is that clear?”

The now subdued old women nodded vigorously; their eyes wide with terror. It was a wise move; even through a video screen, the big man looked fully capable of reaching right through it, wrapping a hand around Violet’s neck, and snapping it like a twig.

“Yeah, cut the crap, because you’re both going up the river,” Badd informed them coldly, his mouth set in a hard line. “Tai and I have gotten enough evidence to nab both of you on equal charges of unlawful detainment, if not outright treason. To deracinate a US citizen like this… That’s no small crime.”

“Pardon my language, but what my cousin is trying to say is: you both fucked up beyond the capacity of what your feeble minds can truly process,” Thunderwolf inserted darkly. “Or to put it more delicately: this here’s a case of a frightful example of odorous matter, flung freely around the room, due to mechanical interference!”

“You’d best bet both your withered heinies that the proverbial shit has hit the fan!” Badd chomped hard on his lollypop, biting it right off the stick to punctuate his point. “Moreover, considering we caught you exiting the premises where the captive was being held, Miss Ayasato, it places you squarely at the scene of the crime. Therefore, drop the whole phony innocent act!”

In the case of their family tree, I imagine it must be a cactus because everybody on it is a total prick! Maya bit her lip to keep from bursting into triumphant, gleeful laughter. Also, you’re both so old, when you were kids, rainbows were black and white!

She’s just as guilty as I am! Hence, I’d like to know why she is still free while I’m in lock up?” Violet demanded, her nostrils flaring.

“Well, people in hell would like ice water,” Badd gritted his teeth. “What’s your point?”

“Where’s her justice? Violet wailed petulantly. “That Benedict Arnold is guilty! She’s supposed to be in jail!”

“Yeah and you’re supposed to be dumpster diving for ham scraps like the pathetic, money-grubbing derelict you are, you six-piece chicken McNobody!”

Maya clapped a hand over her mouth to smother snort of conviviality.

“Ah, Satan, don’t get too cocky. You will be joining Miss Manteau as her cellmate soon enough, escorted personally by Tai himself, where you’ll have free reign to claw each other’s eyes out to your hearts’ content! Perhaps while in prison, you can both do the world a favor and seize the chance to slip into something more comfortable – like a coma!”

Maya didn’t even feel remotely guilty for enjoying her tormentors’ long overdue misfortune either – this was pure schadenfreude at its finest!

Better yet, how about just outright do each other in and save the taxpayers some dollars?

“And don’t even think of crying legal extradition,” Thunderwolf warned ominously. “This country has no extradition treaty with the States, so Miss Ayasato will be tried at the mercy of our courts, which may be a kinder, albeit an undeserved fate, since the scuttlebutt is that this place believes solely in the death sentence for all crimes!”

“Don’t think I can’t see your gloating face and pleased as punch grin back there, Maya Fey!” Violet screamed at the camera, face a contorted mask of deranged hatred and madness. “You haven’t completely won! You have lost the man you love for good; you hear me? He doesn’t love you, and he’s never coming back to you, ever! I have proof!”

Maya’s heart experienced a reflexive pang of dismay from this unforeseen attack.

What’s this now? What fresh venom dart is my nemesis pointing at my heart?

“Do you honestly think you can go running back to that disgraced forging attorney of yours after all this time apart, and have a fairy-tale ending? You pathetic fool! While you’ve been weeping and pining away for him all these years, that man-whore, Phoenix Wright has been getting over you by getting under half the county! I have surveillance video and photographic proof of his unabashed debauchery! Everything from shameless fornications in children’s playground to kinky hanky-panky with some whip-wielding harlot in a public park…”

This bombshell shouldn’t have felt so gut-wrenching. After all, she and Phoenix had had zero contact all this time and he’d had no reason to believe she still even gave a rat’s ass about him anymore, so naturally, he would have moved on and not bothered to wait for her. Nevertheless, the pain from the barbed onslaught felt like a stab wound, nevertheless.

The pained expression in her eyes was impossible to miss.

Badd discreetly shoved Natasha’s gag back into place, effectively silencing her from contributing to her cousin’s cruel proclamations, while Thunderwolf let out a warning snarl and gnashed his teeth.

“Detective Gumshoe,” the hulk seethed. “Tyrell can assure you that I am a man of my word. I don’t lie, and I don’t make threats, I make promises. Accordingly, please ensure the weight of this message is unmistakably communicated to your prisoner.”

He then treated the village elder to a scathing glare that could have bored holes through a wall.

“Mark my words, Violet Manteau. If so much as one more word comes out that blathering fat trap of yours, the minute I get back to the United States – which will be later tonight! – I will promptly forget about my personal stance to never lay my hands on a woman. I will make that exception for you, and only you, and I won’t give a damn that you’re so damn ancient, your birth certificate is expired! I will knock you the fuck out. Thereafter, you will wake up with total amnesia, under someone else’s name, in a mental hospital. Is that understood?”

The immensity of the threat caused Violet’s mien to turn pure white. Her mouth fell open, but only a high-pitched squeaking sound came out. Eyes wide with terror, she could only give a jerky, puppet’s nod of assent.

“Good. So that’ll be enough out of you, Miss Manteau. At this point, only dogs could hear you now, anyway!” Gumshoe panned the camera away from Violet again, so only his smiling face was visible on screen now.

“Bitch must have been conceived during anal sex,” Thunderwolf muttered darkly. “There is no way being that much of an asshole is natural!”

Gumshoe had heard the remark, and let out an appreciative snigger before directing his attentions to his old friend.

“You’re probably wondering how Little Missy is doing, Maya. The answer is Pearl’s fine and misses you like crazy. As soon as we set a court date for these biddies, we’re going to have her fly out and visit you. Sound good?”

“I want to see my Pearly more than anything!” Maya temporarily forgot about her misery and clasped her hands together in delight while she treated him to a teary smile of gratitude. “Thank you so much, Gumshoe. I’m going to give you the biggest hug in the whole world when I see you again!”

“I can’t wait, pal! Maggey sends her love, too! Now excuse me, but I gotta go check on the prisoner. She legit fainted from fright right after the warden made his thr– er, his promise! I’ll talk to you all later! Bye!”

There was a tense silence in the van after the video chat disconnected, as Violet’s hateful last words lingered in the air, so Badd attempted to distract the spirit medium from the final blow she’d just been dealt.

“I’m pretty sure you want to hear the details about how we nabbed the head of the gerontocracy. My niece, Kay Faraday, who works with Miles, initially set things up. I went undercover to Kurian Village as a prospective client and met with your little cousin. Pearl was then able to plant a wiretap into Violet’s phone. Incidentally, this was all done legally. Getting a warrant was no problem since I happen to be on pretty close terms with a specific judge.”

“Oh, you mean that sweet old man who used to preside over all the court cases back in the day?” Maya asked. “Is he still around after all this time?”

“Baldy is most definitely still around, but my cousin’s referring to a much younger, more aesthetically pleasing magistrate here.” Thunderwolf grinned knowingly at his cousin. “They’ve been…pretty close for some time now. By the way, remind me again about how long you’ve been on such friendly terms with Judge Justine, cousin?”

“That’s Judge Courtney to you, Tai and you know I’m not the kiss and tell type. However, for the record, we’ve been very good friends, ever since Miles busted that smuggling ring seven years ago.” Badd returned the smirk, then sobered quickly and turned back to Maya. “Once the wiretap was set up, it was all about playing the waiting game until De Killer contacted Violet again for his monthly check-in with his client. His last phone call was talking about how he had a different account where he wanted his monthly fee deposited. He gave her the account number of a bank in the Cayman Islands and Violet assured him it would be done but would take a couple of days.”

“I remember that call as if I heard it yesterday,” Thunderwolf recollected, stroking his goatee. “His exact words were: ‘Don’t worry I’m a patient man. My line of duty calls for it. I’ve been keeping an eye on things as you requested, and while I have observed certain hedonistic things that no man should ever be forced to witness, I am very grateful in this case that I only have one good eye… Yet a very good aim.’ Ha-ha! It’s not often to come across an assassin with a sense of humor!”

“Kay was able to hack into that bank account, easy as pie,” Badd concluded. “I’ll say this about the Cayman Islands – what they lack in security, they make up for in ease for money laundering and offshore account availability! Once she could trace see the account it was coming from, Miles was able to get that Kurain bank account locked. Plus, he recognized De Killer’s voice. All he had to do was play that tape for Judge Courtney to get her to sign that warrant. That’s all it took to arrest Violet.”

He popped a fresh lolly into his mouth.

“When we came to bust the old battle-ax and relayed that her access to the village accounts had been frozen, it was then simply a matter of having her call up Shelly De Killer and letting him know he’d no longer be getting paid, as his surveillance services would no longer be required.”

“And just like that, she complied?” Maya was amazed. “I thought she’d put up more resistance than that! Violet’s not the type to roll over and play dead so easily!”

“She’s not,” Thunderwolf chuckled. “However, she got pretty agreeable when we told her that if she didn’t call off the hit, rather than spend the rest of her miserable life in a medium-security prison, refusal to obey the orders would result in her swift execution.”

“That doesn’t make sense though – Violet is many things, but she’s not stupid! She’d know they don’t practice capital punishment in California anymore! Did you convince her that her life would be at stake if you sent her here to Khura’in to face the music?”

“Nope. My cousin doesn’t lie any more than I do, Miss Fey. Family honor and all that jazz. When he told Violet that lack of cooperation would lead to her untimely demise, he was telling her the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

The spirit medium’s visible confusion was evident, so Badd further elaborated.

“Have you forgotten that while Shelly De Killer may have a sense of humor, he has an even higher sense of honor, coupled with a need to believe he can trust his clients? Miles informed me he was set to make an old client his next target due to breaching that trust when he secretly videotaped the assassin during a very famous case nearly 10 years ago. Now then, what exactly do you think was going to happen to this criminal mastermind had the hitman ever discovered that their phone calls were being audio recorded in secret?”

“You mean from the wire-tapping?” Maya’s mouth fell open. “B – but it wasn’t Violet doing the tapings! It was the LAPD!”

Badd was trying very hard to keep a straight face now.

I know that, and you know that Maya, but did you seriously think we going to volunteer that corrected update to De Killer?”

Where The Streets Have No Name – July 11, 2026

Had Phoenix known the word, he would have recognized this sensation for what it was.

Énouement. The bittersweetness of having arrived in the future, seeing how things turn out, but not being able to tell your past self.

The pianist stared around the tavern where Edgeworth unceremoniously dropped him off, with nothing more than his duffel bag tossed at his feet, and the mixed feelings of overall bewilderment, coupled with feeling like an unwanted stray puppy who’d been kicked to the curb.

How else was he supposed to feel?

Larry had ended up driving them to the airport, where they’d then boarded the chartered private jet Edgeworth had ordered. After eating a light meal and discussing, in great detail, Edgeworth’s proposed plans to do some first-hand jurist research across Europe’s most renowned courthouses, (where Phoenix naturally assumed his friend was taking him), they’d both dozed off for an indeterminable amount of time.

The next thing he knew, he was roughly being shaken awake by his friend, disembarking from the plane, and being commandeered through strange and colorful streets, which resembled nothing like any of the pictures of The Continent he’d ever seen in his life! Without further adieu, he’d then been thrown out of their taxicab, with only the briefest of parting words given by his traveling companion.

“You’ve given me a lot to think about today, Wright. Ergo, before you and I tend to your business and get the wheels in motion for reclaiming your badge, I have some unfinished business with Franziska that I must first attend to in Zheng-Fa. Just inform the bartender who you are, and he will take care of you while handling everything else. I shall return to fetch you in a couple of days; thereafter we can explore and learn more of this continent’s jurist system which we discussed on the plane ride over here. I’ll be in touch.”

And that was that.

So here Phoenix stood at this hotel bar, looking around desperately for the said bartender in this crowded, noisy establishment while feeling utterly and hopelessly lost.

Where the hell am I?! I don’t know what European country, never mind city, I’m in! All I can tell is that the locals are sure an exotic-looking bunch and the ones in this tavern sure love that karaoke machine, don’t they? This guy who’s singing now, he’s not half-bad! Heck, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! When in Rome, right?

As he made his way up to the bar to grab a drink – if they didn’t have grape juice any soda would suffice but he sure as hell wasn’t going to be drinking! If there was one thing he had learned, both first time around and again during the van ride to the airport while his sordid past had been humiliatingly rehashed by both Larry and Edgeworth, it was that nothing good had ever come whenever Phoenix Wright went on a drinking bender!

We didn’t even stop anywhere to change money on the way here – of course, that would’ve allowed me to have an idea of where the hell we are! – But I think American currency is pretty universal and it should at least get me a Coke.

He leaned against the bar, taking his place in the queue of other patrons eager to quench their thirst.

This place isn’t too shabby. Better than the Russian dive where I’ve spent way too much of my time. If I could melt into this bar, I’d be the vibe, move around as easily as the smoke. I’d soak in the laughter and the smiles, dance upon each octave in microscopic disco shoes. But meanwhile, back in reality instead of my imaginary world, I’m life-size, and so… instead, I’ve stepped into this shaded room that opens my eyes all the wider, see the muted colors of the bottles and the glitter than finds every spark of light. As the night goes on, hopefully, I’ll get be more comfortable in this crowd, intoxicated by their spirits – without resorting to taking any! – and moments all the same.

The next song that began to play effectively vanquished any form of optimism he’d begun to feel, replacing it almost instinctively with the eternal bleakness and despair that’d almost consumed him before Edgeworth arrived at his flat.

It all came so easy
All the lovin’ you gave me
The feelings we shared
And I still can remember
How your touch was so tender
It told me you cared

Hello, darkness my old friend! He thought grimly. I’ve come to talk with you again.

We had a once in a lifetime
But I just couldn’t see
Until it was gone
A second once in a lifetime
May be too much to ask
But I swear from now on

If ever you’re in my arms again
This time I’ll love you much better
If ever you’re in my arms again
This time I’ll hold you forever
This time we’ll never end

One other thing he’d learned during the rehashing of his past with his friends was that no amount of fickle flames could ever hold a candle to the eternal flame that was burning in his heart.

As he listened to the poignant lyrics, this lesson was evident now more than ever.

I remember watching all those kiddie movies of Maya and Pearl’s back in the day, Disney along with every variety of samurai on the planet. I remember how Maya became obsessed with Peablo Bryson after hearing him sing both the theme song duets for Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Afterward, she went and bought every CD he ever made. She used to play his songs non-stop, especially this one, while effectively searing the lyrics into my skull, and the memories of her with it, to the point that now, I can’t even in passing think of one without the other. And now I’m also right back to where it all began. Being reminded, in song, how much I loved her, and how much I’ve lost ever since she’s been gone.

Now I’m seeing clearly
How I still need you near me
I still love you so
There’s something between us
That won’t ever leave us
There’s no letting go
(No letting go)

We had a once in a lifetime
But I just didn’t know it
‘Til my life fell apart
A second once in a lifetime
Isn’t too much to ask
Cause I swear from the heart

Sometimes though, the sadness feels familiar and you go back to it even though you swear you never would. It’s good at lending you a hand when you’re down. It’s good at pretending to be your friend. It’s good at looking you up and down, a cigarette in its upturned mouth, and saying – “I’m the only one that’s here for you now. See? I’m the only one who understands.”

If ever you’re in my arms again
This time I’ll love you much better
If ever you’re in my arms again
This time I’ll hold you forever
This time we’ll never end, never end

The best of romances
Deserve second chances
I’ll get to you somehow
Cause I promise now

And in times like these, you almost welcome its reappearance. It’s a liability, but it’s a constant. It doesn’t love you like you wish something – someone, would, but it loves you in its own, corrupted way. It’s better than nothing, you tell yourself. “It’s still love.” Possibly the only one I’ll ever know from here on. La Douleur Exquise, the French call it. The heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.

If ever you’re in my arms again
This time I’ll love you much better
If ever you’re in my arms again
This time I’ll hold you forever
This time we’ll never end…

I must have listened to your favorite song a thousand times all these years. How ironic that this song playing is now the only thing that’s familiar to me now in these unknown surroundings. Even if it weren’t playing now, I think I have it committed to memory. You aren’t here anymore but something haunts these walls making me want to close my eyes and wonder if you ever spare a thought for me at all anymore…

Hap’piraki, good traveler.” The pleasant voice of the bartender interrupted his dismal reverie. “What pleases you this evening?”

“Um, this is going to sound weird,” Phoenix began awkwardly. “But I’m supposed to tell you my name and you’re supposed to know what the heck to do with me afterward? My name is Phoenix Wright. I’m a friend of Miles Edgeworth.”

“Aha, Mr. Wright.” A knowing twinkle lingered in the dark eyes of the man behind the bar. “For now, I’m to let you know that your tab will be covered in this bar and at this hotel, and you’re welcome to enjoy anything we have to offer. May I interest you in some fermented yaks’ milk?”

“Er, no thanks. Just grape juice if you have it. I’ll grab it from you in a minute though…” Phoenix glanced distractedly around the room until he spotted the MC at his music booth. “I ah, want to hurry and make a request for the next song. I’ll be back shortly.”

For once, luck was in his favor, because when he presented his request, he was told that the couple who’d requested the next song had exited the premises, so he was welcome to go up next.

“That’s a great song choice,” the MC commented with a smile. “Although it’s kind of a sad one, don’t you think? It might be a bit of a downer, following that last romantic ballad.”

“Well, music is what feelings sound like, and it’s how I feel right now,” Phoenix replied flatly, already turning to take the stage. “It’s how I’ve felt for far too long. I don’t think… I don’t think I know how to feel any other way.”

He didn’t even need to look at the screen as the lyrics came up soon after the intro music. He knew them by heart; had for some time now.

I don’t know where I’m going
But, I sure know where I’ve been
Hanging on the promises in songs of yesterday
And I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time
But, here I go again
Here I go again

It was a song about the story of his life up until now, as he knew it.

Though I keep searching for an answer
I never seem to find what I’m looking for
Oh Lord, I pray you give me strength to carry on

Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams…

Sad” sounds so childish, like something flimsy, something one should be able to cast off with a happy reflection or the smile of a friend. But “sad” is nothing of the sort. It sits inside like the germ seed of depression, just waiting for the right conditions to grow, to send out roots to choke the hope out of your heart. It is the trough in which we struggle to return to the peak, always afraid that this time the rungs will be too slippery, too far apart, or simply not there at all.

Here I go again on my own
Going down the only road I’ve ever known
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
And I’ve made up my mind
I ain’t wasting no more time

I can pull myself to standing, I always can, yet all these years, when the tears have come in such generous streams, I’ve longed for a hand to reach down for mine. It’s good that I can climb hearing only the echo of my feet, I just think that it would transform to something brighter all the faster in the company of friends. Of someone who cares.

I’m just another heart in need of rescue
Waiting on love’s sweet charity
An’ I’m gonna hold on for the rest of my days

Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams…

I have a good idea of why Edgeworth wanted to leave and go talk to Franziska, but I still wish he were here right now. Because whenever I’m alone, that same darkness, the one that he recently helped save me from, threatens to envelop and swallow me whole again.

Yanking off his beanie and raking a hand through his spikes as soon as the song was over, he stepped off the stage, smiling shyly as the other bar guests enthusiastically applauded his heartfelt performance. He then made his way back to the bar, where a capped green bottle of sparkling grape juice awaited him, courtesy of his new friend, the bartender.

Pulling his hat back on, he opened up the bottle, took a healthy swig, and leaned forward onto the bar. Resting one hand atop it, he dropped his weary head down onto his arm and heaved a gusty sigh.

Ema and Edgeworth coming back into my life made me realize – I like drinking juice alone, and reading alone. I like riding the bus alone and walking home alone. I like eating alone and listening to music alone. But when I see a mother with her child; a girl with her lover; or friends laughing in the sun… I realize that even though I like being alone… I don’t fancy being lonely.

“I must commend you on the ability to take a classic rock song and perform it as a perfect melic of poetry,” a voice suddenly praised, coming from right behind him. “Truly a bravura performance and an aesthetic rarity. Care for an encore?”

Lifting his head, Phoenix warily turned around to face the person who’d spoken – then felt his heart lurch as it quickly morphed from the feeling of grief, to utter shock, and then surprised joy.

Seconds passed, his brain taking it in, struggling to comprehend that this wasn’t one of the pictures he kept on his night table.

That he wasn’t dreaming.

That this was real.

That she was real.

His voice came out as a ragged whisper.


El Pecado de la glotonería – The Sin of Gluttony
Homenaje a los Gordos! – Let’s hear it for the fatsos!
Yello – Oh Yeah
Peabo Bryson – If Ever You’re In My Arms Again
The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel
Whitesnake – Here I Go Again

A/N: Special thanks to Ariastella, to whom this story is dedicated, for the creation of the incredible OC, Tai Thunderwolf, whom some of you may recall made his debut in my works as the badass cousin of Tyrell Badd in Turnabout Everlasting as the new, no-nonsense prison warden.





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

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