Date: August 5

Time: 12:37 p.m.

Location: 6 Briar Avenue, D'angelo Residence

Pearls tugged lightly on Edgeworth's sleeve. "Look, someone's coming!"

Edgeworth turned to face the direction she was pointing towards. Sure enough, he could see an all-too-familiar frame dressed in - he wasn't even going to think about what she was wearing - approaching rapidly from down the street. She had a thin manilla file under her right arm, and she looked slightly peeved. Edgeworth allowed himself a slight smirk. Well, that certainly was timely… Ordinarily, he'd never be so desperate as to approach the old bag for anything, but there was a certain feeling of anonymity that came with being someone else. Besides, he now needed that file more than ever. No measure was too far as long as the truth was ultimately brought to light.

Oldbag came to a halt a few feet in front of Edgeworth and held out the file with a scowl. "Here you go, you whippersnapper. I ought to make you pay for that, you know; it was hard work getting that file. Why, when I was your age-"

Edgeworth snatched the file from her before she could launch into one of her signature tirades. Listening to Wendy Oldbag for too long could be dangerous... although, for some reason, today he wasn't as much afraid of her as slightly annoyed. Chalking it up to another subconscious Wright-ism, he briefly checked the file to make sure it was the right one and dipped his head. "Thank you, Ms. Oldbag. I truly appreciate your efforts."

The old bag blushed a little, then huffed. "Don't think you can steal me away from my Edgey-poo with a little smooth talking, lawyer boy."

Edgeworth raised an eyebrow. Was it possible to make her interested in Wright? The thought of Wendy Oldbag finally leaving him alone was extremely tempting, but he did have things to do.

Ultimately, it ended up taking him nearly ten minutes to shoo the old woman away. Once he and Pearls were finally alone, he opened up the file and made a more thorough examination of its contents. "Let's see… it appears to be written in Cohdopian," he muttered to himself.

Pearls tilted her head curiously. "What's Co-dope-ee-an?"

Edgeworth sighed. "It's the official language of the Principality of Cohdopia, a small European nation that was split into two different countries some time ago." He tapped his forehead and smirked. "Luckily, I happen to have a relatively firm grasp of this particular language, having spent some time studying it during a certain smuggling-related case." He examined the first page in the file. Let's see… the title reads, 'Documents for the Transport of Ham Sandwiches'… no, wait, that says 'Counterfeit Bills.' He smirked. This is exactly what I need…

As he flipped through the rest of the documents, he began to notice something odd. Not everything was word-processed; occasionally, notes were written in the margins by hand, also in Cohdopian. However, there appeared to be two different styles of handwriting. He could assume one of them belonged to Kyle D'angelo, and the other to the second smuggler. He glanced in the direction of the D'angelo house. A simple test would undoubtedly confirm his suspicions, and then he'd be all that much closer to unraveling the complex truth behind this case…

Pearls glanced up at him. "Did you find something important, Mr. Wright-werth?"

Edgeworth nodded, gently nudging her in the direction of the house. "Yes… with just a little bit more investigating, I believe we can finally find out exactly what is going on here."

Pearls grinned. "And then we can prove Ms. Marie innocent, right?"

Edgeworth raised an eyebrow. "Well…" He stroked his chin thoughtfully as he walked. "I'm not so sure about that quite yet." He ducked underneath a strip of police tape and rang the doorbell. "There are still some pieces missing from this puzzle, but once we prove the identity of the second smuggler, they should begin to fall into place." He smirked and tapped his forehead. "The truth will make itself known eventually; we just need to continue searching."


Date: August 5

Time: 12:56 p.m.

Location: 6 Briar Avenue, D'angelo Residence

Phoenix sighed and pulled the keys out of the ignition. "I swear to God, next time I am bringing a map of this place…"

Officer Hammer fidgeted sheepishly. "I'm sorry, sir, I really could have sworn it was on Lilac Lane!"

Kay smirked. "Want me to write 'Bunburry Street' on your forehead, Nickles?"

Phoenix climbed out of the car and folded his arms. "That wouldn't really help; I wouldn't be able to see it."

"OBJECTION!" Kay pointed at him dramatically. "You would see it if you looked in the rearview mirror!"

Phoenix blinked. "Rearview mirror? Is that the one near the top of the windshield?"

Gumshoe sighed. "You really need to work on your driving skills, pal."

Phoenix shook his head and started walking towards the D'angelo house. "Look, that's not really important right now… we need to find out who sent the old bag to get that file!"

Suddenly, he stopped in his tracks; the door to the house had opened, and out came Edgeworth and Pearls. Phoenix squinted, trying to get a good look at them. Edgeworth had something tucked underneath his arm… something cream-colored and rectangular… just like a certain missing file… Suddenly, something in his mind clicked as the pieces fell into place. Kay had been right; Logic does make your head explode.

Phoenix sprinted through the yard until he stood before a very surprised-looking Edgeworth. He glared and pointed at the file under Edgeworth's arm. "Just where did you get that, huh?!"

Edgeworth blinked, then cleared his throat. "I… found it inside the victim's filing cabinet."

"Don't lie to me!" Phoenix shrieked. "You sent Wendy Oldbag to steal that file from me, didn't you?!" He was absolutely furious. "I can't believe you! This is… I almost died!" He felt his fists clench with rage. "I thought you were my friend, you jerk!"

Edgeworth folded his arms and huffed. "There's no need for theatrics! I simply…" He trailed off, then sighed. "Alright, I will admit that I may have been a bit out of line in my actions."

Phoenix glowered at him. "A bit?!"

Edgeworth simply held out the file. "Fine, I apologize. You may have this back if you think it essential to your case..."

Phoenix narrowed his eyes. "What, are you saying you need it more than I do?"

Edgeworth nodded. "I am indeed." His expression said there could be no room for doubt. It was infuriating, how he always had to be right.

Phoenix folded his arms. "Okay, then tell me why I don't need that file."

Edgeworth smirked and tapped his forehead. "Well, first of all, this document is related to smuggling. Your case is built on the assumption that this was a crime of passion; therefore, the smuggling ring is unrelated."

Phoenix grimaced; he shouldn't have allowed Edgeworth to say anything. "But that file might be important..."

Edgeworth glared at him; he looked extremely frustrated. "Wright, please. 'Might be important' is not nearly as crucial 'is important,' and let me assure you, this file just became extremely important to my - or rather, your case. I require it to find the truth."

Phoenix put his rage on the back burner for a moment in order to think through Edgeworth's argument. It was certainly true that it would be nice for him if Edgeworth ended up proving Marie's innocence, but... "Look, it's great that you're searching for the truth, but don't you think I deserve the chance to look for that truth, too?"

Edgeworth sighed. "Wright, I plan on taking this file with me when I visit the detention center; when I am finished there, I will make a photocopy for you. Will that suffice?"

Phoenix thought it over. "You keep the copy and give me the original, then we're good," he said.

Edgeworth blinked. "Is that all?"

Phoenix laughed dryly. "Pfft, no, of course not." He pointed at Edgeworth dramatically. "An apology is not enough to wipe the slate after a deliberate Oldbag attack! I will get you back for this!"

Edgeworth raised an eyebrow, but other than that, he didn't seem too keen to comment on Phoenix's declaration. In fact, he started to do what he normally did in uncomfortable social situations: run away. "My, would you look at the time," he muttered, glancing at his watch and edging away from the house. "I'm afraid I must be going; visiting hours at the detention center are nearly over."

Phoenix rolled his eyes. "If by 'nearly over' you mean 'will be over in three hours,' then yeah, I guess they are." He smirked slightly. "Don't think you can fool me with that, Edgeworth. I've spent more time in that detention center than I care to mention."

Edgeworth gave a slight chuckle at that. "As have I…" Phoenix briefly wondered if it was bad that one of the few things he actually had in common with his friend was the experience of being behind bars.

Suddenly, Phoenix felt something tugging at his jacket sleeve. Looking down, he found himself face-to-face with Pearl's big, brown, puppy-eyes. "Mr. Nickles, there's something I have to tell you!" she cried, looking the very picture of contrite. "Mystic Maya told me that-"

"-there's a time limit on our ability to switch back, I know," Phoenix interrupted. When Pearls gasped in surprise, he smiled warmly. "Don't worry, Maya called me earlier and filled me in on all the details."

The relief on Pearl's face was almost too cute to handle. "Oh, good! I was worried that you might not know…" She chewed on her thumbnail a little. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner."

Phoenix raised an eyebrow; he wasn't quite sure why she seemed so guilty. "Pearls, it's really okay. Besides, we haven't seen each other in a while, since you've been staying with Edgeworth; it would've been hard for you to get in touch with me." He was extremely tempted to break down and tell the little spirit medium about the unsettling DL-6 dream he'd had, but for some strange reason, he simply couldn't bring himself to talk about it out loud. Besides, the way he understood things, there wasn't much he could do about it, anyway. His future now depended solely on Maya Fey; frightening to most people, perhaps, but Phoenix had faith in her.

"HEY!"

A sharp cry jolted Phoenix out of his thoughts. Glancing in the direction of the yard, he barely had time to recognize the person who had called out as Kay before she flew past him and planted herself in front of Edgeworth. The second Yatagarasu placed her fists on her hips and gave Edgeworth an indignant glare. "Mr. Wrightworth! I gotta talk to you!"

Edgeworth blinked in mild surprise. "Ah, what is it you wish to speak to me about?"

Kay folded her arms and eyed him seriously. "You know that smuggling ring has something to do with this, right? The one that had my father killed?"

Edgeworth looked a bit reluctant to answer her. "Well, I can't say much for certain as of yet, but I have discovered that the remnants of the ring are definitely involved, at least in a certain sense."

Kay nodded. "Then you have to promise me that you'll get them." For once, her facial expression was grave, and she looked deadly serious.

Edgeworth fidgeted. "But it's really more of Agent Lang's job to 'get them'... I'm just trying to solve this case…"

Kay grabbed him by the tie. "I don't care about that, dummy!" she shouted. "Just promise me!" She backed off a bit, but kept her hold on the tie. "Promise me…"

Phoenix felt odd watching them, like an uninvited guest that had stumbled onto something deeply personal. He realized, with some degree of irony, that this must have been how it felt for Edgeworth during all those times when he and Maya had gone through similar personal conversations in front of him. It was an… awkward feeling.

Edgeworth eventually nodded, slowly and deliberately. "I cannot promise you that I personally will be able to do it, but when the truth is revealed, those remaining members of the ring that have found their way here will be brought to justice. That is all I can promise you, Kay."

Kay let go of the tie and nodded slightly. "Thanks…" she muttered. Then, in an instant, she was back to her usual cheery self, grinning with her hands on her hips. "Now don't get too good at that defense thing, okay?" She then grabbed Phoenix roughly by the shoulders. "Nickles here is gonna investigate like a boss and then totally show you up in court tomorrow!"

Edgeworth narrowed his eyes. "You mean you haven't investigated yet?!"

Phoenix glared at him pointedly. "Well, I DID spend most of my morning trying to find a certain file that was recently stolen from me…"

Edgeworth sighed. "Alright, touche." He gave Phoenix a slightly distrusting look. "But you are going to continue to investigate, yes?"

Phoenix rolled his eyes. "Well, yeah… I did promise I'd do the best I could for your case until Maya shows up, after all."

Edgeworth's expression didn't change. "...are you sure you're doing the best you can?"

Phoenix glared at him. "What the heck is that supposed to mean?!"

Kay laughed. "Come on, Nickles, you've been lazing around going to Red Lobster and stuff, and the only investigating we actually did was to find that file that might be unrelated." She turned to Edgeworth excitedly. "Oh, but I did teach him how to Logic!"

Edgeworth folded his arms. "That's not a verb, Kay."

Phoenix sighed and waved a hand. "Alright, Edgeworth, just go and do your thing." He glared pointedly at Edgeworth. "But I am going to get that file back."

Edgeworth nodded. "I give you my word." And with that, he turned and strode purposefully away from the house. Pearls followed closely behind him, turning to give Phoenix a little wave before bouncing off.

Kay turned to Phoenix. "So, what are we gonna do now?"

Phoenix shrugged. "Well, I guess there's nothing left to do but go talk to Jane Doe again..."

Kay grimaced. "Oh joy."

Officer Hammer suddenly cleared her throat. "Um, if it's alright with you, I think I'll just go back into the house and make sure Ben's doing alright…" She looked extremely confused, and Phoenix realized that no one had told her about the body-switching. He couldn't imagine how that conversation must have sounded...

Phoenix coughed. "Um, yeah, okay. That sounds good." He felt kind of bad kicking her out of the investigation, but she seemed to be asking for an escape from the weirdness, anyway, so he felt obligated to give her one. Before she could retreat back into the house, however, he smiled at her. "Thanks for your help, Officer."

Hammer blushed slightly, then saluted. "You're welcome, sir!" She then ducked under the police tape around the door and stepped into the house, closing the door softly behind her.

"Bye!" Kay called after her, then turned to Phoenix. "So, I guess we should probably head over to that neighbor lady's house, then?"

Phoenix sighed. "Yeah… I really hope we find something out, otherwise I'm not quite sure what I'll do tomorrow." He started walking down the yard, towards the house next door. He smirked a little. "Plus, I also have to figure out some way to get Edgeworth back for sending Oldbag after me."

Kay grinned mischievously and rubbed her hands together. "Oh, I know some really fun things we could do…"


Date: August 5

Time: 1:32 p.m.

Location: Detention Center

Pearls followed Edgeworth through the halls of the detention center, looking slightly confused. "Mr. Wright-werth, are we going to talk to Ms. Marie?"

Edgeworth nodded, gripping the edges of the file he held in his hands. "There is something very important I need to ask her…"

Pearls looked up at him. "Okay, so… that file's about a snuggling ring, right?"

"Smuggling," Edgeworth corrected. Anticipating Pearl's question, he continued: "It's when someone brings illegal things into another country, or brings in legal things through illegal means. It's a very serious crime."

"Oh…" Pearls started chewing on her thumbnail. "So why are we bringing that file to talk to Ms. Marie? Does she know something about the smuggling?"

Edgeworth sighed; he hated to burst the little girl's bubble, but he had irrefutable proof now. The truth had to be brought to light. "Mrs. D'angelo doesn't simply know about the smuggling," he said slowly and seriously. "She is, herself, a smuggler. One of the two pursued here by Interpol, in fact; her husband, Kyle, was the other."

Pearls gasped. "You mean… she's a criminal?" She chewed on her thumbnail nervously. "But the Magatama showed Mr. Nick that she wasn't lying when she said she was innocent…"

Edgeworth glanced down at Pearls. "Don't worry, the fact that she is a smuggler does not make her the killer, as well. She may still be innocent of murder."

Pearls fidgeted. "Okay..." She didn't look particularly comforted.

Upon reaching the doors to the visitor's room, a guard asked to see Edgeworth's Visitor's Pass, then opened the doors and ushered them inside. The other side of the room behind the glass was empty. "She'll be here in a minute, so please wait here," the guard told them, then left the room and closed the doors.

After a minute or two of silence, the doors to the other side of the room were opened, and another guard escorted Mrs. D'angelo inside. She still wore that sweet, innocent smile of hers, and her wispy blonde hair was still miraculously perfect. "Oh, Mr. Wright," she said brightly. "Do you want to talk to me about something?"

Edgeworth smirked and tapped his forehead. "Indeed, Mrs. D'angelo. I have something of utmost importance to discuss with you…"


Author's Note: And now, Nickles will plan his revenge… mwahahahaha….

There should be such a thing as snuggling rings. The world would be a much happier place.

Poor Officer Hammer will never have any idea what is going on.

20th chapter! This is my first 20th chapter of anything! (Is that a good thing or a bad thing?)