(Note: Check out this story on AO3! On there, I included pictures I commissioned for this story! Credit to them goes to Tumblr artist Conmimi.)
"So…you finally came."
"It would appear so, yes."
Thick rain clouds shroud this Los Angeles night. A torrent of droplets strikes against every building towering the city, including a soaring and pristine hotel.
What a fitting mood for the unfolding situation.
Two men sit in a hotel room of the electricity-deprived hotel staring each other down as if the lights were on during a bright summer day. The only supply of light is the occasional flashes of lightning across the darkened night sky, the lightning fazing neither of them.
The room is in disarray thanks to the two men's previous struggle, but that's the last thing on their mind…the last thing on the mind of the man holding the gun, and especially the last thing on the mind of the man in front of it.
Another streak of lightning flashes by.
"How'd you get in here?"
"It was easier than you think."
Silence grasps the room once more. It keeps its presence until the man who is, clearly, on the worse side of the situation chuckles. It lasts only for a split second, but the other man could tell it was fully arrogant.
"I suppose this is your revenge?"
"Please…this has long since passed the motive of revenge."
The man staring down the barrel breaks away his gaze to regard the soaking glass and the city behind it, fortunate enough to still have electricity. As he stares out the window, his earlier chuckle decides to make a reprise, morphing into laughter. The man with the gun decides to shut him up.
"Ah…well, you see, this entire situation is becoming a bit, I suppose you can say, routine at this point. 'You've ruined my life!' Oh if only I had a dime every time. Though, considering there's still breath inside my body, you can say that the act of actually committing the deed hasn't become routine. And I don't think you're about to be the person who'll start it either."
The gun-wielding man's brows furrow. His grip on the gun intensifies. The other man smirks, taking notice of this.
"You may try to fool yourself and say you're different than those other people who think that because they have the momentary courage to get a gun and confront me, they'll carry out the deed. But, I'm telling you, you're not. This is once again going to end with me going back to my daily life and you either dead or arrested. Why? Because you'll never pull that trigger." The man's expression twists into a grin. "After all…that's not what they would've wanted, is it?"
The other man's grip on the gun falters, his expression starting to lose its wrath. If the chuckle from the other man is anything to go by, this is the response he expected.
The man in front of the gun slowly and nonchalantly rises from his seat. He steps over a broken lamp as he makes his way over to a dresser. He picks up his cell phone, even taking a moment to admire it. "Nice phone. I may get the new one soon, though." He opens it and makes his way to the keypad.
"Now then, I hope you've prepared the police an explanation for breaking into my room and brandishing a gun in front of my-"
The phone cascades to the floor before the "Call" button could be pressed, the man falling to the floor with it, hitting his head on the edge of the wood the way down. On the floor, the man wants to utter a scream, each attempt being extinguished. He brings his hand to his wound. Obviously, not a wound of instant death…but it's still fatal. The man smiles at his revelation. Of course he didn't kill him instantly! He intended for him to suffer in his last moments. Of course…after all, the revenge wouldn't have been complete without that little detail.
"Y-you…bastard," the dying man manages to spit out. The man with the gun rises out of his seat and stands over the other man, his face nearly devoid of expression. That is, until the man on the floor laughs, making the other man squint his eyes in confusion.
"N-no…this is…f-fine. I c-can d-d-die easily knowing th-this. That…in y-your efforts to get r-revenge on the v-ve-very man you hated..."
The man's breathing gets heavier than before. He remarks to himself that he's soon to lose consciousness. But, he doesn't care. He smiles at his murderer, because he knows he's still won. He knows that in this man's efforts to get revenge on him, the very man he hated…
"You became exactly like him."
March 10, 2019 12:43 PM
Wright & Co. Law Offices
Through closed eyelids, Phoenix Wright hears these calls. Thanks to them, he's been woken up. "Maybe if I stay quiet…Maya will probably stop," Phoenix thinks to himself.
"Nick…Nick, wake up."
"Ok…not stopping…" Phoenix reflects, annoyed with his assistant. "Come on Maya, what is it now?"
Then, suddenly, the calls stop, silence filling the area again. A small grin creeps onto Phoenix's face. Now, he can finally drift off to...
"Wait…do I hear her taking a huge breath?"
"Ah!" the attorney shouts as his eyes shoot open.
It takes him a second to get adjusted to the outside world's bright light, especially with the sun shining brilliantly through the windows. "At least that terrible storm last night cleared."
When Phoenix's eyes fully adjust again, he decides to turn his attention to his 'tormentor', that is, his assistant Maya Fey.
"Can you… tell me what you want Maya? I kinda didn't get a lot of sleep, so if you wouldn't mind…"
Maya pouts in response. "Nick, this is no time to be sleeping! Aren't you even going to be even a little excited for our next case?"
"Huh? What are talking about… You haven't even told me what it is!"
Maya snatches the remote off the table. "Look on the TV!"
In as little of a second, the volume of the TV is near blaring. Phoenix directs his attention to it and sees that the station is on a commercial. Maya sighs in annoyance as she searches through the channels, stopping on a news station after a couple clicks.
"Suspect Arrested in Recent Murder Case at the Heavenly Lodgings Hotel," the bulletin reads.
Now, Phoenix is interested. He adjusts himself to sit up straight in his chair to take a closer look at this bulletin. Police cars decorate the outside of a building, a building Wright can only guess to be the hotel mentioned in the headline. Phoenix listens to the reporter whilst observing what's on the screen.
"Wait…This is just in. I have just received word of new development in this murder case. Yes, we have confirmation that a suspect has been arrested. The police have arrested Lloyd Lector on the suspicion of committing the three murders."
An image of this Lector flashes on the screen. The man had a fair face, but whatever handsomeness was previously there had started to dissipate with some wrinkles taking over. Wright doesn't fail to take notice of slight bags under his eyes. "He looks…miserable, to say the least," Phoenix remarks as continues to listen to the newscaster.
"The police claim they have found conclusive proof of Mr. Lector's guilt. The trial of the suspect shall continue tomorrow."
"I…huh? What even happened? What's this about three murders?"
Phoenix shakes his head, hoping that'll help clear things up. The attempt is useless. He tries to answer the questions floating in his mind, to no avail. "Come on Maya, I just woke up. You can't drop info like this on me that quick."
"Well…apparently a bunch of murders happened at this fancy hotel," Maya explains. "And all the news channels are talking about a suspect being arrested."
"And…you want to go defend him, right?"
Maya rolls her eyes. "Well…we should at least go talk to him." Maya dashes over to Phoenix and grabs hold of his arm, snatching him out of the chair. "So, come on, let's go!"
Fey almost succeeds in dragging Phoenix out the door with her, but Wright manages to win the battle.
"Slow down! You're eager all of a sudden."
The girl lets go of the lawyer's arm. "Sorry… it's just… We haven't had a case in a month… And, well, I just want to get back into action, y'know?"
"Keep in mind three people are dead, but okay…"
"The least we can do is talk to the suspect," Fey concludes.
Wright folds his arms, turning back toward the TV. The newscaster was rambling on about more details regarding this case. That's when another image of the suspect appeared on the screen.
Maya was right. The team didn't have a case ever since the Hazakura Temple case only a month ago. "Maybe… it would be good to appear behind the bench again. Not to mention, if this suspect is actually innocent..."
Wright turns back to his assistant and almost yelps when he sees her eagerness. He breathes out a sigh.
"Ok, we can at least go to the Detention Center and see what he has to say."
Wright shouts at the sudden pull on his arm, Maya pulling him out the door in no time.
"Maya, you're gonna break my arm!"
March 10, 2019 1:15 PM
"Well… Hello again Detention Center; been some time since I've felt your bleak mood."
It's a mood that the Detention Center always manages to maintain, be it an eccentric client of deadly serious one. Phoenix instantaneously felt his mood drop to a low as he stepped inside, feeling the despair radiating from the walls. He secretly prays that this suspect would at least offer a distraction to that.
When the pair enters the room, they come across a shocking revelation. The forever immobile guard may actually be a real person as he turns his head when they enter.
"May I help you, sir and madam?"
"Yes," Phoenix answers, "I'd like to speak with the suspect in the recent murder case."
The guard awkwardly scratches his face. "Er… Which one?"
"I suppose that was vague. What was the suspect's name again?" Wright ponders this for a while before he gives up on trying to remember the name and asks a question based on what he does know. "I mean the suspect in the hotel murder case."
"Oh… You must mean Mr. Lector, sir." the guard realizes. "Well… I'm afraid he's in questioning at the moment, so you'll have to come back later. I assume you're his attorney?"
"No, actually. But I do plan to speak to him about representing him."
"I see. Well, you'll have to come back later, I'm afraid."
"Huh, well…" Phoenix turns towards Fey. "I guess we have to come back later."
"Come on!" Maya screams out loud enough for the guard to hear. "Isn't there something you could do?"
"Well, I'm not sure there is much, ma'am."
Maya prepares herself to object but the words die in her throat when she feels Phoenix's hand on her shoulder.
"Come on, Maya. We'll come back later."
Maya is about to make a rebuttal, but decides to stay quiet after taking another glance at the guard. She grabs Wright's arms and leads them some distance from the glass and the guard's earshot.
"We don't have to come back later. I'll can make this guard let us see Lector now."
"Maya…" Phoenix hesitantly says, panic obvious in his tone. "What are you planning?"
"Just trust me. All you gotta do is stand there."
Before he can even try to reason with her, Maya's already walking back toward the glass. Phoenix tries to catch up with her, but it seems whatever she's doing has caught the guard's attention if the look of confusion on his face is anything to go by.
"Ma'am…please stop making that face."
When Phoenix arrives back by her side, he looks at Maya's face to see what warranted that request from the guard.
"It's a puppy dog face. Of course it is."
Phoenix can't even admit to himself that it's a good one. This failed attempt at a puppy dog face looks more like something someone would do when they were clearly trying to invoke sympathy jokingly. Wright knows that telling her to stop would be useless. All he can do is give an awkward grin. He regrets doing so soon after as it piled onto the uncomfortable feeling in the room.
"Well, I did ask for something to distract me from the grim mood of the center."
The guards finally speaks up after an excruciating twenty seconds.
"Ok, ok. I can at least go talk to the interrogators and see what they say. Just…can you please stop with that face, ma'am?"
And like clockwork, Maya stops, deciding to flash a grin at the guard. "Thank you!"
The guard shakes his head in disbelief as he heads through the door next to him.
"I'm…not sure what to say about that," Phoenix concludes. "So, I won't say anything."
"Hey, don't complain. It got the guard to go talk to someone, so you should thank me."
"Thank you… I guess?"
It's not until a few minutes later when the guard reappears.
"Well, sir and madam, the interrogators say that they'll let you talk with Mr. Lector. However, they'll only allow twenty minutes total. Would you like to speak with him now?"
Wright shakes his head in shock and blinks his eyes. "Huh. Guess I owe you one, Maya."
"Yes, we would like to speak with him now!" Maya decides to answer for Phoenix.
The guard simply nods his head. "Very well, I'll go bring him in now."
When the door opens a minute later, the guard is not the first to enter.
As soon as this new person enters, the team slightly squint their eyes. "What's that bright flash?" they wonder.
Their eyes luckily manage to adjust to the bright flash, granting them a full look at this new guest. The man is dressed in a standard black suit.
That wouldn't have granted them a second thought if it isn't for something else about the suit. Neither Phoenix nor Maya noticed it when they saw this man on TV, but there's something special about his suit's buttons. Each button is some sorts of a coin or medal. And not just on the suit jacket, but on the white undershirt. A coin is the buckle of his belt, the face of his watch, even engraved in the top of both his black shoes.
Yet, everything else about this suspect seemed normal. Slicked-back black hair, fairly handsome face, and skin implying he is in his late thirties. If not for this abnormal attire, no person would grant him a second thought.
The guard leads the man to the chair near the glass, granting him to sit down after releasing him from his handcuffs. The guard then retreats back next to the door to resume his duty of being a watchful statue.
It's not until a couple seconds that Phoenix realizes that silence has taken over the duration of that time.
"Ah, hello. Er… Sorry. You're Mr. Lector, right?"
Lector nods his head. "Indeed, I am. Lloyd Lector, that is."
"I see. Um… Allow me to introduce myself. I'm-"
"Phoenix Wright, and that is your assistant, Maya Fey," Lloyd interrupts.
This leaves the duo to stare at the man in surprise. Lloyd catches onto their expressions.
"My apologies, but it'd be useless to pretend to not know who you two are."
"You've… heard of us before?" Maya inquires.
"Well, when you get a famous prosecutor arrested for murder, I'd imagine it'd be hard not to know your names," Lector explains.
As to further add to this coin shtick, Lector seizes a coin from his breast pocket, flipping it soon after. He stares at the team, unfocused on the coin, flipping it perfectly. The team can't decide if it's the coin's brightness or the flawless coin flipping that captivates them. Their attention snaps back to Lector when he grunts out an "Ahem."
"I must say… It would be great to have a person of your skill defend me. Surely, I'd be acquitted of these asinine accusations."
"Actually, I never said I was going to defend you, Mr. Lector. I wanted to hear your side of the story and decide if I want to take your case. I'm sorry if I got your hopes up."
Lloyd opens the palm of his hand and lets the coin land in the middle of it after its previous flip. Lector closes the palm of said hand and darts his eyes to the side in thought.
"Of course...after all, it'd be quite unfortunate if you were to defend a guilty man." The neutral face on Lector soon morphs into a face of shock with an apologetic expression. "Oh, I must apologize; I didn't mean it like that."
Phoenix is unsure of whether he should excuse Lector's comment or stay silent. He decides the latter.
"Well…" Maya restarts the conversation, "Tell us a little about yourself."
Lloyd holds up his coin between his pointer finger and thumb, positioning it up towards the light. "I'm afraid there's not much about me to talk about, Ms. Fey."
"Sure there is! What about those coins all over your clothes?"
Lloyd glances down at his clothes briefly before glancing back up in thought. "I… suppose you could say I have an acute interest in coins and medals. For years I have been interested in these marvels. I'm still not entirely sure what aspect of them interests me. Maybe it's their shine… Perhaps their history?"
To Phoenix's surprise, a smile etches onto Lloyd's face. Wright realizes that this is the first time Lloyd ever smiled since the beginning of their miserable look of despair disappeared and was replaced with an expression of realizing that some hope still may be in his world.
"I see," Phoenix decides to comment. "Though, why do you decorate your suit with them?"
"Hmm… Well, I have an excessive collection, to say the least, so I decided to do something special with ones that I found to be less valuable or pleasing. It catches people's eyes, for certain. I hadn't failed to notice the looks of wonder on your faces when you walked in."
"I think that was mostly because we were distracted by their shininess," Maya explains. "How did you get them like that?"
"I use a cleaning material from a fairly popular glass sculptor. Sutherland, I believe his name to be. Along with his pieces he sells a cleaning fluid for glass items, yet it works quite well for my coins." Lloyd's eyes scan over Phoenix's suit, specifically to the lapel with the badge. "Speaking of which… Your Attorney's Badge…"
"It's great, isn't it?" Phoenix nearly shouts, pulling out his lapel towards Lector.
Suddenly, as if a light was turned on inside his soul, Phoenix's eyes bright in excitement. The sudden change in mood startles Lector. He glances towards Maya and her eyes clearly displayed experience in this type of situation before.
"Er… Yes, yet it looks a bit… dull."
Lector almost feels guilty when he sees the excitement drain from Phoenix.
"It's quite obvious that the material you use to clean it is weak. I recommend using the same Sutherland solution that I use. I think they sell it at the shop in the hotel where the murders occurred."
"I-I see. T-thank you."
"Nick, are you crying?"
Phoenix wipes the tears forming at the corners of his eyes. "What? N-no. I'm fine."
Making a mental note of the suspect's advice, Phoenix shakes his head to dispose of the gloom that took over him, realizing there are more important things to worry about. He gets to the topic at hand.
"I'm not sure what exactly happened still, so I'm hoping you could fill me in, Mr. Lector."
"Address me as Lloyd or Lector. No "Mr." if you please." Lector glances down at his coin.
"As for what happened, I've been accused for murdering three people. From what I heard, one person was stabbed, the other shot, and the last man hit over the head." As like clockwork, Lector begins flipping his coin again. "The police say that a major piece of evidence against me is the fact that the weapons were found in my room."
"All of them?" Maya asks.
"Only two, actually. The third must've been found somewhere else. They are still checking to see if my fingerprints are on the weapons. I pray they come up barren of my prints." Lloyd snatches the coin mid flip and rests it back into his breast pocket. "They also go conveniently deaf whenever I tell them it should've been impossible for the weapons to be found in the room."
"Oh?" Phoenix asks.
"Yes. After the murders, the police dispatched there decided to do a search of the hotels and its rooms to see if they can find any evidence. My room is on the same floor of the crime scene, so, naturally, I was one of the first rooms checked. And, before I could even know it, the police were putting me in handcuffs for finding the murder weapons in my room."
"I see. But how is it impossible for those weapons to be there?"
"Mainly because I used the drawer minutes before they came in!"
"Huh… that's strange."
"Where were you at the time of the murders?" Maya inquires.
"I was resting in my hotel room. My… house is quite far from the hotel, so that long drive made me desire nothing more than to sleep on my suite's bed. It was quite comfortable. By the time I woke up, the crime must've already have been committed."
"Did you notice anything suspicious before the murders?"
"Nothing at all as far as I can remember. That is, if you discount the receptionist's panicky attitude. I didn't think much of it, though… And I still don't. And, like I said, I was in the room for the rest of the day, so I couldn't notice anything then."
Phoenix makes mental notes of every detail the last few minutes, thinking out his next question in the process. "Why did you come to the hotel that day?"
Lector falls silent… Oddly silent. Phoenix knows by the silence that he's either prepared to tell a lie or nothing at all.
"That…information is private."
"Glad to see he went with the latter."
"Why… The interrogators were just hounding me for the answer to that question, believing it may have a connection to my motive. Yet, as I have stated, that info is private."
"They believe you went to the hotel for a reason to murder? Just to confirm, you didn't, right?"
Lectors squints his eyes in suspicion. "Could you restate your question, Wright?" Lector requests.
"In other words… Did this trip have anything to do with the victims? Do you have any relations with the victims at all… Something that would spark a motive?"
Butterflies fill the pit of Phoenix's stomach when he sees the look in Lloyd's eyes, staring Phoenix down. Wright uncomfortably shifts in his seat; put off by the look of seriousness Lloyd suddenly displays. However, Wright can tell that the look isn't just trying to project firmness, but a look of saying "I'm not lying." Unfortunately, the attempt fails. Wright can tell that Lector is trying too hard to express this look and the long silence makes it obvious that he's preparing something in his mind. Phoenix tries to guess whether it's going to be truthful or false, which makes him more anxious.
"Mr. Wright. I can assure you that I have no motive to murder any of these men and do not know them any more than on a name basis."
Phoenix doesn't have to look down at his pocket to know the Magatama is glowing.
Phoenix can never figure out what he hates more about this. The fact that three, chain-connected Psyche-Locks are now plastered between him and Lector to represent his lie or the chills Phoenix gets every time this happens.
Phoenix feels the room spinning around him. It's been some time, after all… Especially with one this major.
"Are you quite alright, Wright?"
Phoenix manages to regain control of his composure, albeit only a little bit. His head swivels back and forth between Maya and Lector, finally resting his gaze on Lector.
"Excuse me for one second."
Before Maya can even question this, Phoenix gets up from his seat and retreats to a corner in the room away from Lector. Maya, realizing the intent of this, does the same wordlessly.
"What's wrong, Nick?"
"Something happened when I was talking to Lector," Phoenix whispers.
It takes a second for Fey to respond as she starts understanding where this conversation is leading. "You saw Psyche-Locks, did you?"
A nod from Phoenix is enough of an answer for her.
"Well…" she stares at the ground in disappointment. Phoenix could tell, even without seeing her face, that she's hurt by this revelation. She looks back towards Lector, and Wright could see the determination ignite back within her. "I think we should take his case!"
"I mean, yeah, it looks pretty bad for him, but I still don't think he did it! There are a lot of things that don't make sense and I think you can exploit those holes to prove his innocence. And…look at him."
Both of them look back at Lector currently in the act of spinning a coin on the table. Phoenix pays no mind to the spinning metal despite how shiny it is and focuses on the detail Maya likely wants him to look at…Lloyd's face.
Phoenix recalls how he noted the miserable look in Lector's face when he saw his mugshot on the additionally recalls how there was only one time Lloyd smiled during this meeting. And not just a smile, but a face finally filled with hope and understanding. The face Phoenix is staring at now… It sunk back to the lost and depressed man he was first met with.
"But…why is he lying to me about the victims?" Phoenix asks himself. Yet, as soon as Phoenix completes that thought, an image of his younger self flashes through his mind. That tacky shirt, the constant coughing and sneezing… The undying love he had for a woman so much that he was willing to lie. Yet, against all those odds, his late mentor still defended him and still earned him an acquittal.
"I'm not sure why Lector is lying about the victims… But leaving him to fend for himself…"
Phoenix closes his eyes in thought. He realizes that a serial murder as such would surely earn the death penalty. And if Lloyd was truly innocent…"To have him die when I could've done something…"
Wright shoots his eyes back open and hurries back to his seat with determination.
"Lector, I have one more question for you."
Lector looks up from his coin. "Ah, yes?"
"Did you kill any of the three victims?"
Once again, Lector makes eye contact with Wright, attempting to convey to Phoenix that he wasn't lying. Yet, butterflies were absent from Phoenix's stomach because this time, thankfully, the attempt is successful.
"Wright, I assure you that I killed not a single one of those men, be it intentionally or accidentally." Lector breaks eye contact in thought and reconnect it soon after. "And, considering one of your previous cases, I didn't hire someone either."
Phoenix waits… and waits… and waits… and… There's nothing. No glow from his pocket. No chains or locks. No… lies. And that was the question that really matters to Phoenix. It matters because it assures him one thing:
Lloyd Lector is truly innocent.
"Lloyd. I'll take your case."
For the first time during this meeting, hope charges into Lloyd's eyes. It's combined with shock, but Wright could tell the shock meant thankfulness.
"The case against you may seem bad but I feel like I'll find something that'll assure your innocence."
"I… I…" Lloyd lowers his head, his arm swiping across his eyes when he does. "Thank you."
Letter of Request added to the Court Record
Phoenix stuffs Lector's request into his pocket. "Uh… One more question. Do you know where the hotel is and how to get there, Lector?"
"Hm… I'm not certain. It's all a bit muddled in my mind."
"I think I may be of assistance."
Everyone's eyes immediately dart toward the door behind Lector. "Oh yeah, that's not a statue."
"I have visited that hotel before and know the route fairly well," the guards states, pulling something out his pocket as he walks towards Lector.
He reveals this object to be a folded map, unfolding it as soon it's freed from his pocket. The guard pulls out a marker from his other pocket. The marker then dances across the page, the performance not lasting long. The guard hands the map back to the team.
"I would've marked you a shortcut that'll get you to the hotel faster, but it's been blocked off for a while now." It's at that sudden moment the guard hears his pager go off and attends to it.
The team, meanwhile, glances at the map. The markings are poor but it's clear on what they're supposed to do. Phoenix deduces that it shouldn't take more than twenty minutes. And, true to the guard's word, he marked a giant X over a Holt Street… The forbidden shortcut, Phoenix guesses.
"I apologize, but your twenty minutes are up. The interrogators would like to see Mr. Lector again."
"That is fine," Lector says. "I believe we are done here."
Phoenix notices the happier tone in Lector's voice as the guard walks back to Lector and seizes his hands in cuffs again. Both parties start to head out until…
Phoenix turns his head back.
Phoenix beams a smile inside his head. There it is… That hopeful smile.
March 10, 2019 2:05 PM
"I wonder what this place is like," Maya beams. "I hope it's not just another Gatewater."
The duo continues to maneuver their way around pedestrians, closing in on their destination. Earlier, Phoenix, for a brief moment, thought to take his bike, but quickly remembered that it was near impossible to fit two passengers on it, and trying to awkwardly fit two people on it would've been detrimental to the bike. This leg workout is the only recourse for the team now. It is a shame that the map is the only thing they can rely on, as spot nothing nearby or in the distance that would help them conclude which is the hotel.
"It certainly sounds like it. It could also be some run-down hotel," Phoenix inserts.
"I don't think so. I saw pictures of this place on the news."
"Well, hearing the name, it sounds like a copycat to Gatewater. So, my hopes aren't really high."
Phoenix doesn't have to look at Maya to know the mischievous grin she's sporting.
The young Fey puffs out her cheeks. "Oh, come on, Nick! You're no fun. Scared you're gonna lose?"
"Maya, that doesn't affect me anymore."
"Hm… I think you're just scared."
Of course Phoenix is scared of placing a bet. Not for the mere reason of damage to his ego, but of damage to his wallet, as the bet is always granting her burgers if she achieves victory.
"Ok… It's right around this corner." Phoenix informs, both of turning the corner of the sidewalk. When they do, Phoenix is glad he didn't take the bet.
Because describing the hotel as "heavenly" is a bit of an understatement.
The blue-suited lawyer and his assistant remain idle at the foot of the towering hotel. They angle their heads to the point that they can't bend them back any further, and even then their eyes can't see the top of the hotel. Whoever owns the hotel has made quite a living for themselves.
The building erects over twenty stories from the ground. Even from this distance, the two can tell each window is absolutely spotless. To their surprise as well, even the bricks seem to sparkle.
Maya decides to gaze at the courtyard, noticing the shrubbery and other plants has barely a leaf out of place. In the middle of this courtyard stands an, unsurprisingly, immaculate glass statue in the midst of a grass patch.
"Wow… I guess I won, did I Nick?"
"We didn't even start a bet…"
Maya can tell from the droned out tone in Wright's voice that he's still shocked, to say the least.
"Hey! It'd be awfully great if we rented a room after this case."
That alone is enough to bring Phoenix back.
"What! No way… That's never happening."
"Why not?" Maya jestingly whines. "We could even bring Pearly!"
Phoenix shakes his head with a sigh. "Trust me Maya, I'd love to stay here too, but I don't think my wallet would love it much."
Maya grunts out a sigh. "You're no fun."
The team decides that standing there won't prove Lloyd's innocence and start heading towards the doors. Phoenix looks off to his left and notices the parking lot. The hotel is certainly not devoid of business if the parking lot is anything to go by. Wright doesn't fail to observe the amount of cars of the same brand. "Maybe there's an event happening here?" However, the previous mood of awe starts to wear off as Wright then notices that another large amount of cars are made up of those owned by the Police Department. "Right… Murders occurred here. Let's not get too distracted."
They finally reach the building, heading under the pavilion to be met with bellboys standing next to two glass doors, positioned on opposite sides. One of bellboys and doors are directly next to a sort of booth, a camera looming over it. "Odd… decision," Phoenix reflects as two bellboys bow to Phoenix and Maya, the latter two heading through the glass revolving doors between the two doors.
March 10, 2019 2:12 PM
Hotel Center I
"Maya, why are you on one knee?"
The medium quickly stands back up straight. "Oh, sorry… I just thought I walked in a hall of a king's castle."
"Why would you bow before meeting the king?"
"I dunno! I just felt like I needed to bow, okay?"
Phoenix shakes his head with a grin. Though Phoenix criticized Maya for her odd logic, he can't deny he suppressed the impulse to do the same.
If it weren't for the simple fact that, logically, it'd be near impossible financially, the team would almost think they walked into a hotel lobby built entirely from gold. Phoenix can't decide if it's because of the spotless furniture and floors or because of the large skylight allowing sun to beam its bright rays into the lobby. Perhaps it's both.
The defense team first note the pleasant smell the lobby, as if the hotel decided that regular air wasn't good enough for this building, coming up with an entirely different one that smelt as if hundreds of air fresheners were released in the building. Yet, the team will silently remark, the smell wasn't nauseating. Just strong enough to always know it's present.
Phoenix then notes that the lobby splits into two different paths, the left path leading to a rather open area with chairs and tables, - Phoenix guesses this must be a restaurant of some sorts - a statue, another room straight ahead, and, from what Phoenix could tell, hallways stacked on each other, leading to doors Wright assumes to be hotel room. The right path leads to an even more open room, Phoenix unable to make out further details here. Phoenix figures that the hotel must be as wide as it is tall. The electronic directory showing a detailed floor plan of the multi-path and room-abundant hotel is a testament to that. Phoenix also notes when he first walks in of the ample screen to his right, depicting recent news, weather and the such.
Yet, like outside, Phoenix's awe begins to dissipate as he notices a few police officers in this part of the lobby (according to the hotel directory). Luckily, the noise of a small crowd fills the lobby, so it doesn't shatter the splendor as much. It even helps Wright reconfirm the hotel's popularity.
Phoenix looks over to his left and finds something eye-catching for sure.
He walks over to the receptionist's desk, said desk being absent of a major part of its purpose. The attorney realizes how small the desk is, only being large enough to accommodate only one person. Wright silently comments this strange decision as he notices a small sign on top of the marble attorney peaks a look behind the counter. "Lemme see here… Books, strewn papers, computer, and... some dirty wrappers and magazines." Phoenix reads the card.
The front desk is absent at the moment. The receptionist shall be back shortly. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope enjoy your stay! Thank you!
-The Heavenly Lodgings Hotel
"Hey Nick… Look!"
Phoenix ganders a look at what Maya is looking at. He follows the direction of her pointing hand and sees it's aimed at a man in a scruffy and green coat, said man talking to a person.
"Wait… Scruffy and green coat?"
One of the men soon walk away, the remaining one in the green coat turning around to reveal his gruff face. The expression on his face disappears and is replaced with a smile. The man quickly makes his way over to the team.
"Hey, how are you doing pals!"
"Hey Gumshoe," Maya greets back.
"I had a feeling you'd be here, Gumshoe," Phoenix inserts.
Gumshoe crosses his arms. "Well, of course I'd be here! I'm a detective after all!"
"Yeah… But aren't there… other detectives?"
"But enough about me… I want to know how you pals are doing!" Gumshoe flashes a concerned look at the team. "You're not defending the suspect, are you?"
"And… if we are?" Phoenix inquires hesitantly.
"Well… I would prepare for a loss if I were you," Gumshoe insists, chuckling while confidently folding his arms. "…Because Lector is guilty."
"Is that right?" Phoenix responds.
"Yeah!" Gumshoe shouts out. "We found him with two of the weapons in the room. How much more suspicious can you get? Our guys back at the lab are still checking for fingerprints, but I already know his will be on there. Not to mention, a few people saw him."
"Huh?" Phoenix questions with a tone that implies that this is the first time hearing this.
"He didn't tell you? A couple of people stepped up and said to have seen him head into the crime scene around the time of deaths."
Phoenix lowers his head in frustration. "I thank you, Lloyd, for being completely transparent at some times and then dingy as the detective's coat at others."
"I suppose I can see why you think he's guilty," Maya offhandedly comments.
"Hey… Maybe I'm wrong, like before, and this guy turns out to be alright after all," Gumshoe cheeringly remarks.
"You almost sound like you're bragging about being wrong."
Gumshoe immediately snaps his head to the direction of his fellow officer. He looks back and forth between the team and the other officer, before finally facing the team.
"Ah, sorry. Gotta head back to the investigation."
"But, hey, if you have anything to ask, go ask Sam, and he'll answer any questions."
"Yeah, he's the head detective," Gumshoe explains.
The defense team both shakes their heads in unison. "I thought you were the detective," Maya exclaims.
Dick scratches the back of his neck, snatching another look at the officer who called him earlier. "No, not this time. Mr. Edgeworth didn't want me to give all my attention to this case. If you want to meet the head guy, he's down there."
Gumshoe points towards the right branching path, the pair's eyes following that way.
"His name's Samuel, but everyone at the precinct calls him Sam."
"So, what's your role in this case then?" Maya inquires.
"Oh… Well, I suppose you can say I'm helping Sam out." Dick breaks eye contact with the team, looking off to the side. "After he got involved in a terrible incident, he's been assigned to a lot of small cases for the last few years. He hasn't had a case this big in some time, so Edgeworth thought it'd be nice for me to help him out. Take some pressure off him, y'know?"
"That makes sense. Though… I wonder what that incident was."
"So, if you need some help with anything, don't hesitate to talk with either me or Sam, okay pals? Anyways, gotta head off. See ya!"
Gumshoe catches up with the earlier officer, who seems a bit flustered at Dick's lack of urgency. The duo takes a glance at each other, the look clearly communicating their next plan.
March 10, 2019 2:18 PM
Hotel Center II
Phoenix would be lying if he said he wasn't confused when he first took a look at the directory in the "Center I" of the lobby floor. If the hotel's expansiveness isn't enough to make a person's head swirl, then surely its directory would be.
Phoenix, though, pays no mind to that as he enters this area.
As Wright enters the "Second Hotel Center," he wonders if the hotel's owner has a lot of money and wanted to give their guests the most lavish-looking hotel they'd ever go to without spending millions of dollars… Or if they have a lot of money and were just full of themselves and built every room of this hotel so it would put a royal residence to shame, just so they could. "Or maybe it's both?"
The lawyer muses on that as he gazes at this somewhat crowded area.
"It almost looks like a garden in here!" Maya comments.
And it certainly almost does. If it weren't for the restaurant beside them and in front of them some ways ahead, the shop behind them, a seperate room assigned to be a seating area, the semmingly countless art pieces, and seeing that there's several other branching paths exiting this room, the trees in grass patches scattered here and there would certainly have convinced our team. Adding on to that fact is the fountain stretching from one end of the room to the other, only broken off in the middle by a walkway.
What also doesn't convince them that they walked into an arboretum - Phoenix wouldn't be very surprised if this hotel has one - is the chairs and pavilions decorating the surface of this room. Some people are sitting in some of the chairs or at the bar of the restaurant nearby. Tall lamps are positioned near some of the chairs.
Yet, the lamps were off. Of course, they aren't needed, with the sun shining gorgeously through the glass roof several stories high. "Whoever owns this place certainly has an eye for glass and marble."
Phoenix peaks his head up and notices another nice detail. The hallways of the room floors can be seen from here, giving anyone who walks outside their room a nice view of this area. Phoenix counts there to be seven floors of hotel rooms, wondering if there might be more that are not visible here.
And, as a cherry on top - Phoenix wonders if this room even needed one- suspended by wires attached to the glass roof, another glass art piece hung in the center of the room, high up in the air… Dust not even being an issue, as Phoenix squints his eyes and can see the glass is still as clean as if it was new.
After Phoenix takes in the lavish look of this room, he takes in details not usually seen if a murder hadn't occured. That is, police tape wrapped around one of the pavilions, a small patch of blood staining its floor, and a couple of officers gathered at the fourth floor near one particular room directly facing this area. "I suppose that must be the crime scene."
Phoenix takes notice of a man just up ahead of them, wearing a coat as well; Not a dingy green like Detective Gumshoe's, but more akin to a long overcoat.
This man turns around and the team notices his eyes fixated on the notepad he's writing on.
If this man's look is anything to go by, Phoenix wonders if you need the qualification of being eccentric to work in the police force or law.
The man looks like he walked out of an old detective noir film. A beige fedora, a long beige overcoat, black pants and white dress shirt, and even a pad and pen to boot!
Both Phoenix and Maya guess that this may be Sam and decide to go talk to him.
"Excuse me, sir."
The man's eyes dart up at the team, both eyes clearly getting a good look. Yet, out of nowhere, the man yelps in surprise, almost falling back. Phoenix quickly notes the oddity of that before attending to the man.
"Oh, sorry sir, did we scare you?"
"Yeah… As a matter of a fact, ya did." The man sighs in disappointment. "It's… fine. Just try to avoid doing that in the future, if you would."
"Er…" Maya speaks up. "Are you Sam?"
"I am… Who asked?"
"We did," Phoenix answers. "Gumshoe told us you were the head investigator of this case."
"He's right. I'm Samuel… Samuel Falcon. But you can call me Sam, if you want. Though I think you already have." Samuel touches the brim of his hat. "You must be this Phoenix Wright I've been hearing about."
"Okay, did I suddenly become popular overnight or is it just me?"
"He is! And I'm his assistant, Maya Fey!"
Maya offers out her hand and Falcon shakes it. "Now, I can assume the only reason you're here, Mr. Wright, is because you took the suspect's case, right?"
"Was it that obvious?"
"Not exactly, but logically it made sense. Not to mention, you seem to be attracted to cases where the suspect is hopeless, so it's not too surprising to see your mug around here."
"I'm flattered with that complement; truly am."
Maya interjects with another question.
"So… What's this about you not having a big case for some time?"
Surprise flashes across Sam's face for a second or two before he answers.
"Oh, that? Thing is… Last few years I've been assigned to some easy cases with only the occasional serious ones. I haven't had a murder case this big since a year ago. And trust me when I say it's great to be doing something this big again. Get this exhilarating feeling, y'know?"
The team shoot the detective an odd glance. Falcon picks up on it and clears his throat as he needlessly straightens his fedora.
"But… My condolences to the victims, yeah?" He turns to the next page in his notepad. "And Gumshoe's help is greatly appreciated, y'know? He's a good detective. "
"Yep, definitely out of a noir film."
"Gumshoe said something about your lack of serious cases because of an incident," Maya states.
Falcon immediately goes silent, staring at the two with a blank and hurt look in his eyes. Something in that sentence obviously struck a nerve.
"Gumshoe… told you about that?"
"He didn't go into details. He just mentioned an incident happened," Phoenix explains.
Sam lowers his head, taking hold of his hat's brim again. "I'd… rather not talk about that, if that's okay with you."
"Er… Yes, that's fine." Phoenix assures.
Falcon swipes his arm across his eyes and clicks his pen back on.
"Got any other questions? If ya do, then shoot."
The team both instinctively look up at the fourth floor and then the pavilion encased in police tape.
"Can we go to the crime scene?" they ask in unison.
Samuel sighs as he looks back up at the duo. "Excuse me?"
"The crime scene… Can we go there to investigate?" Phoenix repeats.
"Huh," Phoenix yelps. "What do you mean 'no'?"
"I mean no. I mean denied, unverified, opposite of yes, er…" The detective looks up in thought for a split second. "…No you can't go the hell in there."
"B-but!" Phoenix racks his brain on how to change the detective's opinion, until… "Look, I have this letter of request from my client!"
Letter of Request given to Detective Falcon
The detective looks at Phoenix's outstretched hand, clutching the paper, then back at Wright with a disappointed look. "Hm… So you do."
As Falcon opens up the letter, Phoenix expects the detective to pretend to read over the paper before shoving it back to Phoenix with much haste, as if his life depended on that paper being away from him. However, none of that happens as Samuel's eyes genuinely dart over the paper, sparking some hope in Phoenix that Falcon would allow him to investigate.
However, that spark is soon doused out as Gator forms the paper into a nice, round ball by just closing his hand.
Crumpled Letter of Request tossed over to Phoenix
"Firstly, I'm not sure how shoving that in my face would've done anything."
"It was worth a try!"
"Secondly… Like I said, you can't go into the crime scene to investigate. Not until the police are done investigating, that is. It's the prosecution's orders."
Samuel gives a slight grin. "Speaking of which… He happens to be a close friend of yours. He said 'not to let a spiky-haired, blue-suited lawyer enter the crime scene before the police finish investigating.'"
"Is he talking about Edgeworth?" Phoenix looks down in disappointment and annoyance, "Well…thanks for making my job a little bit harder."
"But, Sam…. We need to go in there to investigate," Maya pleads. "Our client's life is on the line! Is there anything you can do?"
"I'm sorry, prosecution's orders." Samuel looks down, thinking to himself before rushing out a short sigh,
"However, if it satisfies you both, then you have my permission to investigate anywhere else, just don't go near the crime scenes." The noir-styled investigator uses his pen to point behind him, "Including that one. Now, if you excuse me…"
Phoenix tries to get another word or two in, but before he even has a chance to think about getting a chance to, the detective disappears into the next area. The pair stands there speechless, mapping out their next course of action.
Hello everyone! I return from the dead! And with me I bring a story I've been working towards for the last seven months.
So, I visited a hotel about a year or so back and was completely awestruck by its beauty. The moment I saw it I decided to write a case about it. And here we are! My pride and joy.
And...I wanted to make this one a little bit more special, so I contacted a Tumblr artist and had her illustrate some pictures for me! There will be pictures in almost every chapter of this story as well.
Whew...as I'm typing this, a bond is freeing from me... a smile across my face. I sincerely hope you all enjoy this story. It...took some time.
I'd also like to thank Sjors (Reddit username: Sipia) for their dedication on being my beta reader through this story. And honestly, with all the help they gave me, I found it fair to list them as a co-creator.
Thank you all for reading and have a nice day!