24 Unsheathing The Blade

Zheng-Fa – May 3, 2026


Edgeworth could practically hear his heart thudding against his ribs as he stared down at the screen name of the fellow Steel Samurai fan he’d jotted down. It was out of the question that the person on the message board with the tell-tale screen handle could be anyone other than Phoenix Wright’s former assistant.

It had to be Maya Fey! He could feel it in his bones.

Hurriedly, the prosecutor set up a new account with a different name and logged back onto the Plumed Punisher chatroom. With eager anticipation, he waited for his new screen name to be verified and accepted.

There was no other way it could be some other spirit medium who’d gone to Zheng-Fa in Western Asia seven years ago and was now in the country right next door discussing The Steel Samurai! Even if that were feasible, what wasn’t was the likelihood of them also using the screen handle BurgerMedium0001! The fact that the last four digits were the ATM PIN of the late Manfred Von Karma was improbable to be a coincidence and was something only Phoenix or Maya would know since they’d been the defense team for that fateful trial.

Edgeworth knew keenly aware that his best friend couldn’t possibly access the limited network for The Kingdom of Khur’ain from the States, since he had neither any connections nor tech-savviness to speak of.

Wright is so technologically challenged that long after Maya upgraded him from Internet Explorer, he still didn’t stop calling it the E-Browser! Then he never ceased referring to the next two upgrades as Mozzarella Foxfire and The Google, no matter how many times we both corrected him!

The attorney sat with his fingers poised over the keys, wondering how much information he could get from the suspected user without giving away too much detail, on the minuscule chance they weren’t who he alleged them to be. At the same time, he had to somehow convey to Maya his own identity. She needed to trust that he wasn’t some random person in cyberspace, but without jeopardizing her safety, in case she truly was in danger as he suspected.

BurgundySamurai: BurgerMedium0001 are you still there?

In the blink of an eye, he heard a chime followed by an immediate response.

BurgerMedium0001: Hi? Have we ever spoken on here before?

BurgundySamurai: You and I were just chatting a few minutes ago. I’m using a different account, as I got banned for my ‘rant.’

Edgeworth paused for a moment, wracking his brain about how he could disclose who he was in the most obvious yet roundabout way possible.

Just then, he heard the tell-tale ding.

BurgerMedium0001: Looks like they didn’t appreciate your online ‘Otaku Swordfight!’ Hee! I don’t think the Khurainese folks are the type to embrace neither inconvenient truths nor anyone who’s at all unconventional and resists adhering to their customs or beliefs.

BurgundySamurai: Conventionality is the refuge of a stagnant mind. I prefer to keep independent thought.

Suddenly inspiration struck, and he quickly added another line.

BurgundySamurai: … I’m too much like The Thinker sort, I suppose.

The lawyer could practically hear the sound of crickets following this. There was zero response. Minutes dragged by.

Uurrngh! Have I said too much?! Or not enough to clue her in just yet?!

For what seemed like eons, the logical genius stared at the unchanging computer screen, wondering if the other party had lost connection, or if he had been wrong about their identity all along.

Another chime.

BurgerMedium0001: I used to know someone that was an unstoppable genius in their field, but not so much an outside of the box Thinker the moment they weren’t within bench proximity – particularly lost with anything even remotely hi-tech! Refused to use my typing suggestions so very often would send email replies in ALL CAPS!

The feisty Burger Queen still hadn’t forgiven the “Old Man” for the unpardonable sin of hitting the caps lock, and then the capital letter he wanted, followed by caps lock again when capitalizing words! So many countless times Maya claimed to have shown Phoenix the shift key, but the stubborn King of the Turnabout had insisted he liked his way better!

BurgerMedium0001:This was despite being surrounded by equally brilliant colleagues, who were chock full of both logical AND tech-savvy – even though they had rather dull ideas about having a good time! One, in particular, considered BOR-ING pastimes like CHESS to be fun!

“E-Excuse me?!” The legal eagle mumbled sulkily at this blatant impertinence. “Objection! Er, I suppose.”

He crossed his arms and glared at the screen.

I am not dull! Edgeworth fumed sullenly. And chess is not boring! I probably shouldn’t say that out loud, though. Thank God for an inner monologue. Indubitably, it is Maya after all! She’s discreetly trying to ascertain if it’s her ex-boss or myself at the other end, using the little-known knowledge, outside Wright’s inner circle, about his limited knowledge of technology and even more subpar capacity for playing checkers! Very clever girl. She and I are amongst the few who are privy to knowing details about how that techno-dinosaur barely mastered draughts, never mind chess!

The slate-haired man contemplated for a brief moment about his response, then smirked as inspiration struck.

He, Maya, and Phoenix all been together for one predominantly unforgettable incident, when the spirit medium had convinced her balky employer to finally hook up the internet on his ancient computer. Edgeworth had been tasked with the painful assignment of attempting to give his clueless friend a Babbage tutorial on the information highway. This was because the blue attorney’s exasperated assistant had thrown in the teacher’s towel when the nonplused defense attorney had accidentally dragged an entire folder into another folder, for the umpteenth time – and then frantically wondered where it’d vanished!

BurgundySamurai: It’s hard to believe how people with such ineptitude are somehow managing to survive in the 21st-century computer age, isn’t it? I was very good friends with a man who was so technologically clueless, that when I told him to click on the login button to sign in to a website, he lifted the mouse and placed it on the monitor over the words “Login!”

BurgerMedium0001: Hee! That one’s going down in the history books! Greetings, long-lost Samurai sibling!

A slight grin tugged his lips. Yes, it was definitely Maya!

BurgundySamurai: So, in other breaking news, the Steel Samurai is finally getting another movie.

BurgerMedium0001: Really?! That’s great, but it kinda sucks, because we probably won’t get it all the way over here. But that’s alright, I guess…It’s been so long since I’ve seen that show that I almost don’t miss it anymore. I guess I’ve been tided over well enough by The Plumed Punisher.

Nnnnrrrrgh! You have no right to call yourself a Steel Samurai fan, ever!

Edgeworth reflexively recoiled in horror at this blasphemy from the one person he had always counted on to remain faithful to his favorite childhood show.

To desecrate the Steel Samurai like this… This is a serious crime! He thought darkly. How can she sincerely think this cheap rip-off show is an acceptable substation?! Wh-Where did that cockamamie idea come from!?

He took a deep, calming breath and tried to think rationally.

Obviously being abroad so long has brainwashed her! I would never allow myself to be placated by a cheap counterfeit after knowing the Real McCoy! Why, if that were to happen…I’d eat my cravat!

BurgerMedium0001: Hey! Are you still there? I already know about your objections to suppose rip-offs, what are your thoughts of spin-offs? What did you think of The Pink Princess? I wonder what she would have to say about The Plumed Punisher?

“Humph! Wh-What The Pink Princess would like to say can wait for the day after eternity!” Edgeworth huffed. “It’s a barely disguised cash grab vainly attempting to ride on the coattails of glory that was The Steel Samurai!”

The prosecutor gave his head a firm shake in an attempt to return to rational thought, realizing that now was not the time to lecture Maya about her disloyalty and terrible taste in TV shows, but to get clues about her whereabouts and rescue her from wherever she was! Assuming she even needed rescuing, in the first place!

Hmph. Clearly, there is a depth to this show [the Steel Samurai] that a young person like her can’t fathom. But I can lecture her about how cheap duplications can never replace the original … after I assess whether or not Princess Peach is a damsel in distress – yet again!

BurgundySamurai: It wasn’t my cup of tea. I’ve always deemed it as a program more aimed at females. However, I was personally very good friends with the young lady who inspired that show’s creation. Unfortunately, we’ve lost touch ever since.

BurgerMedium0001: You knew the actual muse for that amazeballs series? That’s so neat! This sort of makes you cool again! It also kinda atones for you acting like kind of a stuck-up jerk and hating on The Pink Princess!

She’s purposely goading, me about this, I just know it! Edgeworth glared so hard at the computer screen, he was nigh positive Maya, wherever she was, must have felt it! I’ll warn you… I’ve been known to be a real stuck-up jerk!

BurgerMedium0001: But I digress. Nobody’s perfect! For what it’s worth, I get the vibe that despite being unshakably opinionated, you seem to be a very nice person. Even though it sucks, I’m sure the reason for losing touch with the obviously awesomesauce chick who inspired such a wicked cool show was nothing personal. I can relate to losing touch with friends. I’ve had to adjust to a lot of changes in my life since living here – I’m just grateful we even have TV shows! It’s only in the last couple of years we’ve had cell towers, or even the internet – even if it is the dial-up variety! When I first arrived, no such thing existed. Heck, they didn’t even have an airport!

Edgeworth’s brow furrowed at the almost abrupt shift in conversation topics. He knew Maya could be very easily excitable, even downright random at times, but he honestly had no idea of where she was going with this new line of chatting!

He briefly pondered the possibility that there was a reason she was speaking so vaguely. Was she trying to placate him by alluding to the fact that she’d simply settled for The Plumed Punisher, simply because she didn’t have access to the same Western technology that he did? Or was there something more to this?

The only way he would be able to find out was by indulging her.

BurgundySamurai: No airport, you say? Then how did anyone ever get to Khur’ain?

BurgerMedium0001: At the time, the airport wasn’t built yet because Her Eminence believed that overhead airplanes would be disrupting her spirit channeling process! When I first came here, I had to fly into one of the neighboring countries and then have a two-day trek riding on a donkey!

BurgundySamurai: Surely thou jest?!

BurgerMedium0001: I wish I were! Those things are grumpy – and flatulent! – As heck! Things have changed though because tourism brought in a lot more money to the point where we now have tour guides! And Queen Ga’ran eventually relented and wears earplugs when channeling.

BurgundySamurai: That’s quite a story. So, no internet you say? Perish the thought! So until Khur’ain finally joined the new millennium, how have you kept yourself entertained?

BurgerMedium0001: It was tough at first, not having access to a whole lot of the technology and luxury things that I took for granted in my home country. The Kingdom is comparatively smaller than the USA, but over the years, I’ve come to appreciate its wild, mountainous beauty and surroundings and the people. Most of my days were spent training to perfect my … craft. And I’ve renewed my passion for reading books. Also, I’ve learned to pick up a love for learning different languages!

Utterly perplexed, Edgeworth stared blankly at the screen. He still had zero clue how to make heads or tails of this conversation! Where was Maya going with this seemingly idle chit-chat?! She had to know who he was, and that he was trustworthy! Yet here she was, prattling on about books and languages while he’d been fretful her life was endangered! He didn’t know what to make of anything anymore!

I don’t even know which way is up! Maybe I should just keep calm, and let her carry on…

BurgerMedium0001: Ever since we finally got that tiny little airport, I’ve met people from all over the world visiting here! A passing traveler from Paris taught me a few words and how things are similar but separate in France. For example, they have McDonald’s, just like in American, but instead of a Quarter Pounder With Cheese, since they use the metric system over there, it’s called Royal Cheese! Isn’t that something? Also, French fries aren’t from France but Belgium!

Edgeworth was officially in impatient finger tapping mode now with all these inane minutiae he was already wholly aware of! Had Maya honestly changed this much over the years? Had the teen ingénue he’d known morphed from a charmingly non-Cosmopolitan girl with amusing quirks, but who was still nevertheless quite diligent – into a banal, trivia spouting, nonsensical babbler?!

It was a depressing thought if such was the case. Was there no longer any evidence of the unschooled yet bright and insightful girl who’d saved him from the gallows, because she’d innovatively asked Polly the talking parrot about DL-6?!

He had always known Maya to be ever effusive and easily entertained. Coming from a small, all-female village such as Kurain, both he and Phoenix had been amused, even endeared, about how she’d been easily fascinated by things which Edgeworth himself admittedly took for granted, being a worldly traveler who had spent most of his legal career in first-world nations, such as fast food and pop culture.

However, despite her lack of sophistication as a teenager, he’d found Phoenix’s assistant to be witty and clever, and had never truly deemed the spirit medium was the ditzy sort, or the type go off on such long-winded tangents!

Edgeworth rhythmically drummed his index against his crossed arm and let out a sigh, silently willing his friend to please, get to the point already – assuming there even was one?!

The amount of ad-libbing required for this absurd scenario is bordering on excessive!

He paused, unsure of how to respond.

BurgundySamurai: … fascinating.

BurgerMedium0001: Well, fast-food nonsense aside, it’s a pity you don’t have more of an open mind about various samurai shows. Having both the Pink Princess and the Steel Samurai to compare The Plumed Punisher to, I can tell you right now that the bad guy of this show, Dhurke, has absolutely nothing on the TRUE cause of all evil … and the one who caused Her Highness so much misery, including in the episode which was my favorite one – episode 3, season 2.

Edgeworth narrowed his eyes at the sudden turnabout in conversation. It was beyond queer how Maya had gotten so suddenly unambiguous about an exact episode of the Steel Samurai spinoff show, which she had probably deduced he had little interest in. What would make her mention the Pink Princess again, rather than the original show for which they actually shared a common passion?

Keeping his sharp eyes firmly on the message, screen, he opened up a new search engine tab and dutifully typed in The Pink Princess: Warrior of Little Olde Tokyo – episode 3, season 2.

Maya had stopped typing, as though instinctively sensing he’d be prompted into a further inquiry about this precise recommendation and seemed to be waiting patiently.

The lawyer’s eyes widened as he read the synopsis of the episode called: Sword of a Stranger – Unsheathing The Blade.

In this installment, Her Highness, Pink Princess was kidnapped, then whisked away to the sacred temple at the heart of town square, hidden away in the mountains. The whereabouts of this monk sanctuary were known only to the holy men and locals. Her nefarious abductor had ensured her silence, even while under duress, by menacingly warning her that the vitality of her lover, the Steel Samurai, would be in grave peril if she refused to cooperate!

Edgeworth’s mind raced as he read the summary over again. He’d been wrong to assume Maya was acting facile or daft. This was the mother of all clues!

Eureka! Someone has kidnapped Maya –the allegorical Pink Princess – and is now imprisoning her against her will! She has thence been coerced into cooperating with her abductor, by being told resistance was futile! But why hasn’t she tried to escape, instead of aimlessly chatting online?

A light bulb went off over his head.

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth! Much like when the Steel Samurai’s life was in jeopardy, they must have threatened that Wright would cease to live long and prosper unless she complied with their dastardly demands! That’s it! The key to solving this quandary is figuring out what she’s trying to convey to me about the villain responsible for holding the Pink Princess hostage…

Another ping sounded, interrupting his musings.

BurgerMedium0001: The villain was quite the diabolical fiend, just like when they were on The Steel Samurai! But in this episode, that bloodthirsty tête de mort was just THE WORST! Oops, it appears I’ve been chatting a bit too long. I’ve got to go. I hope I see you again here. It’s been fun!

BurgundySamurai: Hold it! Must you leave so soon? I am most intrigued by this other show you mentioned and I think I’m sold on giving it a chance! I would love to hear more about it…

BurgerMedium0001: Je suis désolé, mon nouveau ami, mais je dois y aller! Tout est tellement plus beau en français, n’est-ce pas? Comme vous pouvez le voir, je sais plus que la nourriture! HOHN! HOHN! HOHN! HOHN! Ne pas oublier… L’homme de rockelare aubergine c’était le vrai mal… Et la clé à tout cela! Adieu!

And then, without further ado, Maya Fey vanished once again, just as swiftly as she’d appeared, leaving Miles Edgeworth behind with nothing but a blank computer screen and a perplexed frown on his forehead.

He resumed tapping at his forearm as he mulled over the entire bizarre exchange, which he ruefully acknowledged had been nowhere near as banal as he had initially dismissed it to be.

Note to self: never, under any circumstances, underestimate that plucky spirit medium next time – or ever again!

Assuming there was a next time!

Maya had suddenly been very adamant about having to part ways near the end, and he was wary that her impromptu departure had been more due to necessity than true desire to do so.

She was also much more fluent in French than Edgeworth himself was, and he cursed the choice of language she had opted for in her attempt to speak in some sort of encrypted otaku code! Why couldn’t she have chosen Deutsche or even Español instead?! Even Klingon would have been preferable at this point!

Having grown up in the Von Karma household, the trilingual prosecutor was fluent in German, of course, as well as Spanish. The latter was a given since he lived in Los Angeles, which was close to Mexico and was the second official language of the United States. And having spent his formative education years in Europe, he spoke a smattering of the continent’s most widely spoken dialects, with French and Italian being amongst them. Therefore, for the most part, he had easily understood everything she had written. Even if he hadn’t, he luckily had a smorgasbord of online translators at his disposal.

Edgeworth gritted his teeth as he jotted down the French phrases Maya had used and attempted to decrypt the underlying clues within them, but which wouldn’t be without some additional efforts required on behalf of his frazzled, sleep-deprived brain!

That bloodthirsty tête de mort was just THE WORST!

Head of Death? What kind of hyperbole is this?! He frowned in contemplationThe Steel Samurai’s arch-nemesis does not possess anything of the sort! Hang on! According to this translator, said term also means skull. Skull?! Was Maya was mixing up the Evil Magistrate with Skeletor?!

Grumbling under his breath, he pulled up an online search of his beloved show’s main antagonist and blinked. The bad guy did not have a skull head … but he was noticeably wearing one as a belt buckle!

For some reason, Maya had been very elusive about referring to the wicked one by name yet had still managed to direct the attorney’s attention to him, by mentioning one of the most key elements on his ensemble. Unmistakably, she was referencing her kidnapper to be the malevolent force behind all of this, and indirectly referring them to having the role of The Evil Magistrate in this real-life suspense drama.

But why didn’t she just refer to him by name, as she did with the two heroes? Why beat around the bush like that, when she should be leaving me better clues, if she wants any hope of rescue?

Biting back an angry mutter, Edgeworth decided to come back to The Evil Magistrate later and focused on deciphering her final message to him.

Je suis désolé, mon nouveau ami, mais je dois y aller! Tout est tellement plus beau en français, n’est-ce pas? Comme vous pouvez le voir, je sais plus que la nourriture! HOHN! HOHN! HOHN! HOHN! Ne pas oublier… L’homme de rockelare aubergine c’était le vrai mal… Et la clé à tout cela! Adieu!

I am sorry, my new friend, but I must go! Everything is so much more beautiful in French, is not it? As you can see, I know more than the food! HOHN! HOHN! HOHN! HOHN! Do not forget … The man of rockelare aubergine was the real evil … And the key to all that! Farewell!

“Aubergine? As in the French word for eggplant? What kind of malarkey is this?!” Edgeworth scowled. “After bragging about knowing more words in French than just ones for food, Maya’s last message, nonetheless, referencing some sort of fodder? Ngh! Never before have I encountered a girl having such a never-ending obsession with eating! I’m surprised Wright ever had one red cent left in his wallet, what with that insatiable appetite of hers!”

He was so lost in thought, he didn’t even notice the quiet footsteps coming up behind him as he continued to ponder aloud.

“What else am I supposed to think with regards to eggplant – aside from Eggplant Parmesan, which simply doesn’t make sense? The only other symbol I can think of, thanks to Kay, is knowing that amongst the younger generation when texting the eggplant image, it’s a thinly-veiled libidinous reference to the male genitalia! Nnngrrrrk! No! Maya has never been so … bawdy! Surely that couldn’t be it?!”

“Whose Glied is being symbolized as a crude vegetable, Little Brother?” Franziska yawned from behind him, sounding drowsy but curious. “And since when do you make a habit of talking to yourself?”

The barrister jerked in his seat and spun around guiltily to face the silver-haired woman, dressed in a loosely tied dressing gown.

“Apologies, Franziska, did I wake you again?”

Nein, my alarm clock was what rose me this time, you foolish fool! It is now 6:30 in the morning, Herr All-Nighter! Time for you to shower and get moving, as we have a big day ahead of us!” She frowned at him disapprovingly. “What sort of foolishly foolish foolishness are you rambling about, you foolish fool? You best not be exchanging any sort of sordid obscenities with young Kay Faraday, Miles Edgeworth! Have some shame! She sees you as a father figure! Surely you can fathom my point of her being far too young for you!”

I got your point about three “foolish”- es back, Franziska!

Edgeworth defiantly crossed his arms and remained silent as her tone took on a steelier edge.

“Moreover, your foolish self is far too fusty and stodgy for her – and do not try to be in denial about these all too fitting allegations!”

“What the deuce?” The logic lover reeled back. “I am not in denial!”

“In conclusion,” Franziska went on ruthlessly, as though he hadn’t spoken. “You are nowhere near manly enough for such a vibrant young girl!”

“What sort of-!?” Edgeworth glared at her indignantly. “Of course, I’m man enough!”

Realizing further arguing the point was moot, he cleared his throat and affected a mocking tone.

“Alas, you can put away your green-eyed monster, Franziska. I have no romantic interest in Kay Faraday. The only thing which has my current attention is this oblique French message that was relayed to me, yet in trying to translate it, I keep drawing an absolute blank.”

“Me? Jealous? Do not flatter yourself, Little Brother!” She turned up her nose but purposely averted her eyes as her cheeks pinkened slightly. “Whatever is this mystery phrase that is eluding you so?”

“I doubt you’ll know either, as the former word is not coming up on any translators, but it’s rockelare aubergine. Even Google has zero inkling whatsoever!” He snorted distastefully. “The first link I get is to a site called Bible Thumping Wingnut! So unless Miss Fey has newly discovered Christian religion, I’m barking at the wrong tree!”

Franziska stared at the screen over his shoulder, a look of introspection on her still sleepy visage while he continued to speculate.

“All I know is the latter word means eggplant but that’s another mystery in itself…”

“It means cloak,” she bluntly interrupted him mid-sentence.

“I beg your pardon?” Edgeworth goggled at the now triumphant-faced German woman in disbelief.

“The word was misspelled,” she answered smugly. “But roquelaure is the French word for a cloak reaching to the knees, worn by men during the 18th century.”

“How would you know such an obscure word?!” He bristled at having been bested with such minimal effort. “And how do both you and Maya speak more French than I do?!”

“Well, I did spend more time in Europe than you did when you left me – ah, that is, took off to the States. Plus, I attended that exclusive finishing school in Switzerland,” she reminded him primly. “How is it, growing up in the refined Von Karma household, your foolish self did not learn anything about colors? Aubergine is not only a ‘lewd’ vegetable but a shade of purple!”

She glanced up at the picture of The Evil Magistrate on the monitor and grimaced, while he blinked a few more times, the pieces of the puzzle slowly beginning to form together in his mind.

Mein Gott! Miles Edgeworth, you fool!” She gestured accusingly at the villain’s image on the computer screen. “Are you trying to now emulate the poor style sense of that foolish scoundrel on that foolish show your overgrown adolescent self insists on still watching?!”

She glowered at him menacingly and pointed her index at him.

“Objection! I shall not be caught dead with you in public if you adorn that garish purple cloak as an attempted fashion accessory! It would be the ultimate faux pas!”

Edgeworth’s mind reeled.

L’homme de rockelare – which should have read, roquelaure – aubergine c’était le vrai mal!

He snapped his fingers.

The man of the purple cloak was the real evil! There’s an identifying code associated with the words purple cloak! That’s the true reason why Maya couldn’t directly name The Evil Magistrate or even mention the obvious color of his ensemble, and instead used the more obscure skull belt buckle to identify him!

Feeling exhilarated, the prosecutor rose quickly to his feet as a renewed source of energy surged through him and beamed at his partner in crime, who was smiling smugly.

“Franziska you are a genius!” He proclaimed admiringly, an uncommon grin stretching from ear to ear on his mien as he saw her startled expression at the unexpected praise. “I could just kiss you!”

“Please do no such thing!” She wrinkled her pert nose, even though her cheeks turned even rosier at the effusive exclamation. “It appears you not only failed to bathe for the last two days that you have been playing night owl, but you have also not brushed your teeth, either! Moreover, I can smell the foul evidence of the coffee you must have been consuming to stay up for the last 48 hours!”

“Why don’t you go down to the hotel lobby café and order us some breakfast? I’m going to take a quick shower and join you there in about 15 minutes,” he promised, wrapping his arms around Franziska swiftly and giving her a huge hug of gratitude while her blush deepened. “I’m wide awake, I assure you, and swear to you on my prosecutor’s badge – I have nil intention of dressing like a man from the 18th century!”

“I suppose I can believe that.” Franziska couldn’t resist getting in the last word when he finally released her, face still flushed from the uncustomary tactile contact, but now bearing an amused smile. “That cravat of yours originated in the 17th century if I am not mistaken! A roquelaure aubergine would be too modern of an update for the likes of you!”

“Your keen interest in my ensemble has not escaped me, Big Sister,” Edgeworth smirked. “It’s very flattering. I promise to shower, shave, and be a man of impeccable hygiene when I meet you downstairs in a quarter-hour.”

“Fine. I shall hold you to that,” she returned blithely, tossing back her hair as she headed to the door that adjoined their suites. “It will not take me very long to get dressed,  so do not be late for our breakfast date, Miles Edgeworth! Or you will taste my whip as the amuse-bouche for your morning meal!”

Edgeworth’s mind was racing at a million miles an hour as he hastily grabbed his phone and punched in a familiar number.

“Good Morning, Kay. Apologies for the early hour but I need to ask you for an important favor…”

Kurain Village – May 4, 2026


Despite being no stranger to undercover work, given the delicate nature of the assignment, she was doing, The Great Thief was slightly disquieted as she dialed the number.

So much is riding on me pulling this off. I can’t afford to mess up and let Mr. Edgeworth down, and risk endangering the life of a friend of his!

Kay swallowed apprehensively as the phone on the other end rang for the fourth time.

“Do not even think of making any ‘May the Fourth Be With You!’ pop culture jokes to whoever may answer the phone!” The prosecutor had instructed firmly. “Just stick with the script we discussed, and do not break character even for a moment! These people probably don’t even have cable installed, so the reference would go right over their heads! And even if they are now modernized, I highly doubt those old village cronies who talk to the dead have much of a sense of humor!”

“You’re making me nervous, Mr. Edgeworth!” Kay had protested. “Wait – these people can seriously talk to dead people?! Like in the movies? Like real ghosts and stuff? That’s the kind of spook racket Maya Fey is running?! Holy shit-balls! I can only imagine what her midi-chlorians levels are like!”

Edgeworth sighed.

“We’re getting off-topic, Kay,” he replied stiffly. “Truth be known, I detest talk of supernatural drivel. Just use your best acting skills and lay it on thick with the grief-stricken spiel.”

“I still don’t understand why you couldn’t call Kurain yourself if you’re so worried I may mess this up?”

“For the same reason that I cannot go visit the village myself. When I spoke of this to Detective Badd, he reminded me that by calling, I’d risk my voice being recognized, as I have distinctive intonation. Moreover, since I’ve physically gone up there in the past, my allegedly famous face may be remembered, which would blow the whole operation.”

Edgeworth’s cadence turned reassuring.

“Last but not least, being a matriarchal society, as a female, you would be automatically deemed more trustworthy and arouse less suspicion, as women tend to not only be more spiritual in capabilities but have deeper beliefs in these … things.”

“But I’m not familiar with any of this channeling business! Wouldn’t Ms. Von Karma have been a better bet to do this?”

“For one thing, her voice and face would be equally as recognizable as mine, since she also has been up there in the past. And secondly…” his tone grew rich with uncharacteristic amusement. “Can you seriously picture Franziska playing the timid, demure grieving card?”

Kay clapped a gloved hand over her mouth to smother back a giggle at the absurd thought.

“Yeah, good point. OK, I’ll do my best.”

“You’ll be fine. As trite as this is going to sound…” he cleared his throat. “I believe in you, Kay. You can do this. Thank you once again for your help, and please call me as soon as you have an update.”

By the fifth ring, butterflies be damned – the Yatagarasu’s stomach felt as though a giant raven was rapidly flapping its wings within her stomach! Was nobody going to answer?!

She was just about to replace the receiver in the cradle when she heard a brusque voice on the other end.

“Hello, this is Fey Manor,” a polite but not exactly warm female voice answered the line. “How can I help you?”

Kay’s pulse accelerated. She couldn’t believe she’d just been about to hang up!

“Good day.” She turned on her most diminutive voice. “I’m looking for Maya Fey, please?”

“Mystic Maya is currently away. Is there something I can help you with?”

“I hope you can still help me, even if your Master isn’t around.” Kay focused on sounding both sad and uncertain. “My dear aunt passed away most suddenly, and my darling uncle has been taking it very hard. My family was hopeful that he could get the closure he needs, with your assistance.”

“I am confident we can assist you, Miss. Our new Master in Training, Mystic Pearl, is a very spiritually gifted prodigy. I assure you she is most capable.”

“That’s such a relief to hear.” Kay expelled a long breath. “When is the earliest we can get an appointment with Mystic Pearl?”

“One moment please.” There was the sound of papers shuffling in the background, then the clipped voice came back to the phone. “I’m afraid Mystic Pearl is booked solid for the next three weeks. The earliest we can squeeze your Uncle in is May 24th at noon. That’s a Sunday. Would that suffice?”

“That’s perfect. He’s … retired and lives in Los Angeles, so his schedule’s pretty open. You’re only a couple of hours by car if I’m not mistaken?”

“It’s a two-hour ride by train and depending on where in the city you are, about 90 minutes by vehicle. Please ensure your Uncle plans his travel time accordingly, as I will be the one who greets him at the front gate but need to leave immediately afterward to attend business at Hazakura Temple. What is your Uncle’s name?”

The ninja’s mind went blank, and there was the mother of all pregnant pauses on the line.

“Hello? Excuse me, are you still there?” The woman asked with a hint of impatience when several seconds of dead air had passed. “Could I get that name please?”

“Last name, Closof,” Kay blurted quickly, silently cursing the fact that she and Mr. Edgeworth had gone over everything except for her Uncle’s pseudonym! “C-L-O-S-O-F.”

“First name?”

“Oliver.” Thank heavens for Bart Simpson’s legendary prank calls to Moe the bartender!

“Done. I’ve scheduled Mr. Oliver Closof for May 24. Thank you for your business, Miss..?”

“Oakie,” the Great Thief improvised on the spot. “I mean that’s my last name. My first name’s Carrie.”

“I see…” The woman sounded a bit leery now. “I take it Mr. Closof is from your mother’s side of the family, then?”

“No, he’s my Uncle on my dad’s side,” Kay replied honestly. “Why did you think he was from my mom’s?”

“Because, my dear,” the woman replied with exaggerated patience, as though speaking to a daft child. “You and your Uncle bear very distinctive yet different surnames.”

Kay mentally lambasted her own obtuseness. It wasn’t like her to be so easily rattled when performing this sort of duty, but something about this woman’s jarring tone made her strangely anxious. The voice on the phone was smoothly professional, yet somehow still contained a hint of unmistakable … malice.

“Oh, of course!” She tittered nervously. “I’m married now, you see, hence the different surnames. Closof was my maiden name.”

“Naturally. Well then, it’s been a pleasure speaking to you, Miss Oakie. Take care…”

“Wait!” The raven-haired girl cried. “Don’t go!”

“Yesss?” There was a blast of Arctic in the voice. “What is it?”

“Um, you know my name, but I don’t know yours. Er, that is, who should my Uncle ask for when he arrives?”

“He can ask for Head of the Elder council, but there’s no need, as I ensure that I am always present to meet and greet all of our valued clients,” the woman replied, in a voice which Kay could only describe as sweet but venomous, like a cupcake sprinkled with poison. “My name is Mystic Violet. Violet Manteau.”



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

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