June 10th, 2:50PM
Phoenix finally caught up with Pinkie Pie at the fence of Fluttershy’s cottage five minutes later. Along the way, he noted the cloud he was studying earlier was now raining over the southwest part of Ponyville; he could feel a cool, moisture-laden breeze coming from that direction. Wow… they really DO control the weather! he marveled, taking a minute to catch his breath and watch the pegasi work.
Arriving at the country cottage, Phoenix was puzzled to find it unattended. I expected there to be police here looking into that feather, he thought as he turned to Pinkie Pie, who was idly but happily sniffing the well-tended flowerbeds that surrounded the house. “Why did you want to come here again?” he asked her slightly breathlessly, thinking he could forgo his gym workouts and just chase Pinkie for exercise.
The pink earth pony thought for a bit before answering. “You know what? I forgot!” she giggled.
Phoenix gave her a look, his irritation starting to grow again. “So, you just brought me here for no reason?” he asked her, annoyed at being pulled on a wild goose chase. He was about to say something more when a voice broke his train of thought.
Phoenix froze when he heard an extremely familiar accent, quickly spinning around to see who was calling him. “Huh?”
“What in tarnation do you think yer’ doin’?!” His jaw dropped yet again when he saw yet another impossibly familiar person from his own world, this one an excitable young woman with an orange afro, green jacket and a white bandana who went by the name of Lotta Hart.
“N-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOT YOU!” Phoenix yelled, stumbling backwards in shock. A loudmouth with a short temper, Lotta was a tabloid photographer and wannabe photojournalist who had an annoying knack of being the wrong place at the right time and whose pictures had been at the center of several of his cases, causing him no end of grief. Alternating between shameless gold-digging and only occasionally being helpful, Phoenix generally avoided her like the plague.
His vision swam again, and just as Mia had turned into Sonata, Lotta turned into an unsmiling freckle-cheeked orange earth pony mare wearing a Stetson cowboy hat. “You got some serious horse apples showing yer face ‘round these parts after what ya’ did this mornin’! Why’ ah oughta’ knock you upside the head!” she declared while glaring at Phoenix, her accent sounding uncannily like Lotta’s.
“O-oh, you’re not-” he stammered in relief, picking himself back up off the ground. Another mistaken identity! he thought, trying to come up with an apology for his overreaction.
She didn’t give him a chance. “So tell me Mr. ‘Fancy Pants’ Lawyer… where do you get off goin’ ‘round accusing sweet-little-heart-a’-gold Fluttershy like that?!” she berated him in her country accent, anger flashing through her brilliant green eyes.
Phoenix was getting nervous. He’d gotten plenty of dirty looks, but no pony had actually confronted him over Fluttershy… until now. “Accusing Fluttershy? Well I-”
“Ferget it,” she cut him off with a wave of her hoof. “Ah already know why y’did it!”
Phoenix was flustered. “But you just said~”
“Ya’ did it t’buy Rainbow another day, didn’t’cha’?” she suggested.
Phoenix could only manage a weak nod, brushing himself off. “Well, yeah… I didn’t want to go and blame Fluttershy, but if I hadn’t, Rainbow Dash would be getting a really strong tan right now,” he said, offering up a weak joke.
“Ah know that! But lyin’ is still lyin’!” she said, pinning Phoenix with a soul-piercing glare.
He swallowed at the look she was giving him; despite his larger size she had the look of a workhorse, one strong enough to do some serious damage to him if she wanted to. And that was to say nothing of the massive russet-colored earth pony stallion standing next to her regarding the human lawyer with a mixture of curiosity and disdain, eying him over the hayseed in his mouth. “It’s what’s called a white lie… the ones that are for good intentions?” Phoenix offered, giving the pair a leery look.
The country mare was unimpressed. “Ah’m sure Fluttershy doesn’t appreciate yer… ‘white lie’,” she snapped back, making him feel ashamed and guilty over accusing the pink-haired pegasus all over again.
“Ah… look, I’m really sorry I did that to her, okay? Believe me, I didn’t want to. It wasn’t even really a lie; I just proposed the possibility of questioning Fluttershy’s alibi,” he rationalized, trying to make himself feel better more than the mare scolding him.
“Ali-bi?” The orange earth pony tried to repeat the unfamiliar word while tilting her head over, only to shake it as if to clear it. “Hey! Stop tryin’ t’ use yer fancy silver-tongue lawyer speak t’ confuse me!” she ordered the human attorney, looking even more annoyed with him.
He held his hands up in placation. “In any case, I’m going to make everything right tomorrow. By the way, you’re Applebloom’s sister, right?” Phoenix observed.
Her eyeridges shot up in surprise. “Huh? How‘d’ja know that?” she asked, tilting her head at him once more.
“Take a wild guess, pard’ner.” Phoenix mimicked her accent---he’d heard it often enough from Lotta to be able to.
Understanding dawned on her. “Oh, right, the accent… is it really that noticeable?” she asked with a wan grin, only to be caught short. “HEY! Are ya makin’ fun of the way ah speak?” she asked angrily, taking another step towards him.
His eyes widened at that. “N-no, of course not!” Phoenix assured her, deciding it would best to change the subject. “But who is this with you?” he turned his attention to the large red earth pony stallion with a sandy blonde mane standing beside her. He was wearing a yoke and pulling a cart loaded with what looked like a dissembled market stand and several baskets of produce—apples, carrots, celery stalks, colorful flowers too… he cataloged.
“I’m Big Macintosh… her brother…” the stallion said in a very deep, slow, but suave tone of a voice that Phoenix immediately thought would have the local ladies swooning over him if he were human. Wonder if it’s same for the mares here? Bet he has farm fillies and schoolteachers falling for him all the time… he guessed, feeling somewhat envious.
“Oh! So you’re siblings,” Phoenix had already guessed as much, noting the similarity in accent and cutie marks; the orange mare had three small red apples adorning her flank while the red stallion had a single large green apple that looked like it had been cut in half.
“Eeyup…” Big Mac replied in a very languid drawl.
“You BETTER make everythin’ right tomorrow. Or like Ah said, Ah’ll knock you upside the head!” the mare threatened, taking another step towards him.
Phoenix held up his hands defensively, afraid she wasn’t going to wait that long. “Don’t worry, me and Pinkie Pie here found some evidence that’s definitely going to come in handy.”
“Yup, that’s right, Applejack!” Pinkie confirmed, telling Phoenix the name of the orange earth pony.
Applejack turned her attention to her pink counterpart. “That reminds me… why weren’t ya’ at the trial today, Pinkie Pie? Between you, me and Rarity, Ah’m the only one who showed up,” she asked.
“I slept in!” Pinkie replied brightly, just as before.
The country mare fell silent waiting for Pinkie to say something more… “That’s it?” she finally said in disappointment, having—much like Phoenix when he was told—expected an explanation just slightly more profound.
“Yup!” Pinkie confirmed, never losing her grin.
“Dag nabit! Ya gotta have a better excuse than that!” Applejack sighed, shaking her head over Pinkie’s air-headedness as Phoenix nodded in agreement.
“Oh? Okay! I slept in an extra, EXTRA bunch!” Pinkie said with an extra, extra bright smile.
Applejack gave an extra, extra weary sigh.
“We spoke with Rarity… and she kind of… uh… got held up in traffic,” Phoenix offered on the fashionista’s behalf.
The country mare drew herself up straight and tall. “That just goes to show ya that Applejack is the most dependable pony there is! Always there rain or shine! Ah even got ah trophy t’ prove it… right Big Mac?” she asked, crossing her left front hoof over her right in what looked to Phoenix a very proud pose.
“Eeyup!” Big Mac confirmed.
A trophy for being dependable? Phoenix got a little depressed at that. I wish I had a trophy… I never even got one when I was in Little League… the human lawyer reminisced, thinking that the plaque he got for perfect attendance in grade school didn’t count. “So I know you’re Applebloom’s elder sister… but I don’t know anything about you besides that,” Phoenix noted, having only heard her name, not her background.
The orange earth pony mare grinned and drew herself up tall. “Name’s Applejack! Proud owner of Sweet Apple Acres!” she announced as proudly and nobly as she could, raising a hoof to tilt her Stetson hat to him in greeting; Phoenix all but swore he could hear a violin in the background playing a catchy country tune as her theme music.
“Sweet Apple Acres?” the human lawyer repeated, wondering if all the place names in Equestria were so self-descriptive.
“Oh yeah, y’all not from this neck of the woods, are ya’? It’s an apple farm run by the Apple family ten minutes due south of here,” Applejack said, nodding in the direction of the farm to Phoenix’s left, where the rain was still falling.
With a name like Applejack, I guess she was set up at birth to be put in that business! Phoenix thought, taking a liking to the orange earth pony despite her initial hostility. She was proud and plainspoken, seemed honest to the core, and he found her directness very refreshing—being a lawyer, it was all too often a rarity in the people he worked with or represented.
“Ah’m not here to talk about that though; have y’all seen that sister of mine?” the farm filly asked them both.
Phoenix shook his head. “No, last time I saw her was when she was on the stand today.”
“I’ve been with Feenie all day—oh! Except when I was asleep, then I was with General Cake and Major Muffin!” Pinkie declared.
A glance at Applejack told him she didn’t know what the party pony was talking about any more than he did. “Major… Muffin?” he had to ask, though he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.
Pinkie nodded eagerly. “I had a dream… where I was commanding a battalion of sweets fighting off an army of salad, asparagus and broccoli. It was like ‘Nutrition vs. Sweets’. I didn’t know which side to enlist on at first, but I ended up going to the tasty side! It was a grueling war, many gumdrops and chocolate chips lost their lives… but we TRIUMPHED in the end!” Pinkie detailed her dream, which just about turned Phoenix’s mind to mush.
Freud would have a field day with Pinkie Pie! the human lawyer knew, thinking the legendary father of psychoanalysis could have written entire books on her… or would have quit in frustration and disgust to become a bicycle salesman instead. “So, why are you looking for Applebloom?” Phoenix asked Applejack, deciding to return to a saner conversation.
The farm filly gave him an annoyed look. “She’s supposed to be servin’ her groundin’! Y’know, after going in that forest so late?” she clarified, waiting for Phoenix to nod his understanding. “But that little troublemaker ran off as soon as she was excused from th’ trial! She was supposed t’ wait for me!” Applejack shook her head in anger. “Oh, and by the way…” she paused as if remembering something. “Ah have t’ thank ya’, Phoenix Wright,” she said, suddenly favoring him with a smile.
He gave her a wary look. “Thank me? Weren’t you just threatening to ‘Knock me upside the head’ just a minute ago?’ he reminded her.
She shrugged. “Yeah… Ah still wanna do that… but Ah have to thank you for getting my little sister t’ tell the truth on that there stand this morning,” the orange earth pony explained.
“Eeyup,” Big Mac agreed.
You sure have an extensive vocabulary there, Big Macintosh, Phoenix noted while glancing at Applejack’s larger yet less talkative brother, idly wondering if they’d let him have an apple or carrot off the cart he was pulling—the sweets and coffee he’d had for lunch had been filling, just not that nutritious.
“Ah don’t know if Twilight told ya’, but Ah represent the ‘Element of Honesty’ and Ah would like t’ see mah kin follow suit, if y’ know what Ah mean.”
He really didn’t. “’Element of Honesty’?” Phoenix tilted his head at her.
“Yup! Mine’s Laughter; it’s like the best one ever!” Pinkie chimed in. “What’s the matter? Do you want an element too, Feenie? We can think of one for you!”
“Huh?” the party pony had completely lost him again.
“Uh, sugarcube… Ah don’t think it works like that…” Applejack offered on his behalf, but Pinkie had already taken the idea and was running with it.
“Hmmmm… what element could you be…” Pinkie studied him closely, a pink hoof on her chin. “OH! OH! OH! I got it!” she stood up with a salute. “Phoenix Wright, with his nifty do, represents the spirit of…” she paused for dramatic effect…
Phoenix’s face flushed again. No comment.
Sensing the human lawyer’s irritation, Applejack changed the subject back to her sister. “Ol’ beardy came by the farm and told me n’ Big Mac that he saw Applebloom with Twilight,” she remembered.
“’Ol’ Beardy’?” Phoenix grinned when it clicked who she was referring to, thinking he’d have to remember that one. “Oh, you must mean The Judge.” Wonder what he’s doing wandering around this place? Knowing how easily he’s amused or distracted, he’s probably having the time of his life here…
“Yeah. Him. Nice feller, that one. Ah wonder what Applebloom is doin’ with Twilight, though…” Applejack mused, sitting back on her haunches for a moment.
“Yeah, that’s a good question. Last I saw of her, Twilight she was peeved as you were at me about that little incident in the courtroom,” Phoenix told her a little sadly, crossing his arms and leaning back against a fencepost.
To his surprise, the orange earth pony gave him a sympathetic look. “Ah, she’ll get over it…” Applejack assured him, getting back up and walking towards the human lawyer. “That is… if you HONESTLY intend on setting things right… RIGHT!?” she emphasized her last word by poking a hoof into his midsection, just above his belt.
Phoenix swallowed another oof, wincing as she found the spot that Twilight had kicked the night before. “Of course I’ll set things right!” he promised her, resisting the urge to rub his abused belly, putting on a goofy grin. “My name is Phoenix ‘WRIGHT’ after all…”
Back in the court plaza, another rimshot played as the troupe began their next show.
His expression dropped as Applejack gave him a disgusted look. “That… wasn’t… funny…” she informed him with a scowl; he thought he might have seen Big Macintosh roll his eyes as well.
“Yeah, Feenie, you really need to have more variety…” Pinkie added, almost apologetically.
Am I the only one who thinks that joke is funny? he asked himself in frustration, thinking that if he ever had to leave his law practice, stand-up comedy probably wasn’t the way to go. Might be able to make a living as a poker player, though…
Applejack stepped back from the human lawyer, as if to study him. “Ya know… Ah may want to knock ya a new one… but Ah’ll be rootin’ for ya anyway. You’re Rainbow’s only hope right now and Ah hate to see her get banished… she doesn’t deserve that,” she told him, looking very sad for a moment.
He nodded, drawing himself up straighter. “I know for a fact that she didn’t kill anyone, and no matter what, I’ll make everyone see the truth,” Phoenix swore, promising to stick with his client to the very end.
“That’s the spirit! You maybe ain’t as bad as Ah’ made ya’ out t’ be,” Applejack said with a smile and an approving nod.
“Thanks,” he told her, starting to hope that maybe he could win folks back over after what he’d done that morning. “Actually… I’d like to confirm something, Applejack,” Phoenix said, going to a new topic.
“Shoot, pard’ner,” she said expectantly.
“About Applebloom… did she really arrive home when she said she did?” he asked, hoping for a no answer—then he’d be able to challenge Trixie’s timeline again.
To his disappointment, she nodded. “Yep! Ten after nine, that’s when she got home. She got a scoldin’ from Big Mac and me fer goin’ into that forest so late,” Applejack noted.
He raised a brow at that, glancing again at the quiet earth pony stallion. A scolding? From HIM? What did he do; ‘Eeyup’ her into submission?
“Why’d’ya ask?” Applejack said, pulling his attention back to her.
He sighed and rubbed his head. “It’s just that this… ‘second lightning bolt’ has been plaguing my mind. How is it both your sister and Fluttershy didn’t hear or see it?” he wondered aloud.
Applejack nodded slowly at that. “Ah was thinkin’ that Ace Pegasus fella intercepted it before it touched the ground, but… that makes one o’your, uh… ‘contra-fiction’ doohickeys…”
“Contra-fiction’? Oh, you mean contradiction…” Phoenix corrected her.
She nodded. “Yeah! One of those! Couldn’t have hit him because o’that suit.”
Phoenix nodded back, taking Mia's trademark crossed-arms-with-hand-on-chin pose. “I was thinking the same thing, but according to Rainbow Dash, that suit makes you completely invulnerable to lightning while in air…”
“Not t’ mention it would have made a sound, and left a mark, if it hit him on the ground where he was vulnerable… ugh!!!” Applejack shook her head to clear it. “All this thinkin’ makes mah head hurt…” she told him, taking her hat off and rubbing her forehead with a hoof for a moment, showing a mane of flowing blonde hair tied off at the end with a single red ribbon. Phoenix was surprised how much her appearance changed by removing the hat, instantly turning the farm filly from a workhorse into something much more unmistakably feminine…
His eyes widened when he realized where his thoughts had gone. Okay, I really HAVE been in this world too long! he decided, half-thinking he should visit an adult nightclub when he got back just to purge his mind of ponies. He’d just have to make sure Maya or Pearls didn’t find out…
He shook his head hard at that, disgusted with himself anew—focus, Phoenix! “I couldn’t hold a match to the prosecution today, but things are going to be different now that I’ve had time to get a better grasp of the situation,” he reassured the cowpony—was that even a word?—of the upcoming return to the trial.
Putting her Stetson back on, she stared at him for a few seconds before nodding, apparently satisfied with the determination she saw in his face. “I’m gonna hold ya t’ that, ya’ know. And speakin’ of that… you GOTTA show that stuck-up attention horse a thing or two fer me!” Applejack ordered him.
“’Attention horse’?” Phoenix tilted his head.
“You know… that no-good blue snake-in-the-grass!” Applejack gave him another clue, which only confused Phoenix further for a moment… but then it clicked.
“Oh! You mean Trixie!” he realized, thinking that ‘attention horse’ was a little too close to a certain other term… which as far as he was concerned fit the mare magician just fine.
“Yeah… her,” Applejack confirmed his guess with a scowl on her freckled face. “She’s a grade-A example of what lyin’ will lead to! Her fibbin’ and pony tales caused that big ol’ Ursa to come a-stompin’ through Ponyville,” she told him.
“Twilight told me a bit about that…” he vaguely recalled from before the trial, scratching his chin and wondering what the full story was.
“Ah can’t stand her!” she told him, stomping a forehoof hard enough that Phoenix could feel vibrations in the ground. “Ah was biting mah tongue every time she opened that big blue mouth of hers in the trial today!”
His lips tightened at that. You and me both! “I’ve noticed Trixie has that effect on a lot of ponies in these parts,” Phoenix noted dryly, remembering how many times during the trial he wanted to stuff something in her big blue muzzle to shut her up.
Applejack’s answer was an angry equine snort. “Ya know she’s jus’ doin’ this whole thing because she’s all salty with Rarity, Twilight, Rainbow and Ah.”
That caught Phoenix short. “Wait a minute… I knew she had a grudge against Twilight, but why you and the other two?” he asked curiously.
“Last time Trixie was in Ponyville, she was showin’ off and braggin’ like she was the bee’s knees. So the others n’ I called Trixie out on her hooey!” she told him. “Turns out we were right—she wasn’t ‘great or powerful’ after all; Twi ended up provin’ that!” Applejack remembered with a grin.
She went on to tell the human lawyer the full story of how two impressionable young colts named Snips and Snails had lured a monster called an Ursa Minor out of its cave in the Everfree Forest, leading it all the way back to Ponyville just so they could see Trixie defeat it like she claimed she could. To the surprise of nopony except Snips and Snails, she could not, but fortunately Twilight could, saving the town and sending an exposed and humiliated Trixie on her way. Ah still reckon Twi should’ve given Snips ‘n’ Snails more punishment than a magical mustache, though… Applejack thought.
Phoenix was wearing a broad grin by the time the story ended, wishing he’d been there to see the show mare be shown up; also starting to understand how powerful Twilight truly was if she could pull off a feat like THAT! Special girl, that one… she’ll make some stallion real lucky someday… he mused almost sadly, his smile vanishing, silently praying for the chance to make amends to her.
Applejack’s voice snapped him back out of his reverie. “…so when she got on the stand in the trial today, I told Applebloom to call Trixie out if she gave her a hard time.”
His grin instantly returned. “Oh, so you’re responsible for that!” he said in delight, offering her a fistbump in respect and gratitude.
“Guilty as charged!” Applejack admitted proudly, standing up straighter and puffing her chest out a bit as she returned the gesture, hitting his knuckles with her hoof hard enough to sting him a bit.
Phoenix gave a little chuckle, suppressing the urge to wince—her hooves felt like solid rock, unlike Twilight and Rarity’s slightly yielding ones. “That was pretty entertaining, watching Trixie get verbally served by a child. Certainly brightened up my day!”
“I know, right?” Applejack agreed with a satisfied grin.
“I have to ask, though… isn’t Trixie a performer? I mean, isn’t she supposed to show off and blow things out of proportion?” he mused. “I don’t think the ‘Decent and Sort-of-Powerful Trixie’ would really attract a crowd. Not defending her or anything, as there were times I wanted to smack her upside the head,” Phoenix hastened to add through narrowed eyes, grinding his teeth as he remembered her behavior before and during the trial… but it was only in his imagination that he was running her down like a rodeo steer, hogtying the infuriating show mare with her own cape, silencing her insults with a gag made from her own pointed hat.…
Applejack shook her head. “No, you don’t understand… remember how she was calling you ‘Mr. Not Right’ today? It was like that, only on a stage,” Applejack tried an analogy.
Phoenix shrugged. “Actually she was calling me ‘Mr. Wrong’. You know, because it’s the opposite of ‘right’ and~”
“Same difference!” Applejack cut him off, not wanting any more headaches. “The point is, it was just as unbearable, except she was doing it to everypony, not just you!” she explained. “And that’s why I want ya’ t’ do your best, Phoenix Wright! Show her what Ponyville is made of! Prove Rainbow innocent and rub it in that smug, snotty show-off face of hers!” Applejack ordered him, giving the cart a sharp kick with her back hoof. To his surprise, a pair of apples launched themselves right out of their basket and arced lazily into his hands.
He had no idea how she’d done it, but at that moment didn’t care. “Deal!” Phoenix immediately agreed, crunching loudly into one of them, his eyes widening as the crisp, sweet taste hit his tongue—just like the other food he’d tried since he’d been in Ponville, it was easily the best apple he’d ever eaten.
Applejack smiled at his reaction, deciding the human lawyer couldn’t be that bad if he appreciated her plump, juicy apples. “Let’s shake on it!” the farm filly offered.
“Okay!” Phoenix said, putting the other apple in his pocket and raising his right fist, only to pull it back when Applejack spit on her hoof and offered it to him.
“Well? Go on,” she offered her dripping hoof.
Phoenix crossed his arms. “I’m not touching that hoof…”
“Why not?” Applejack asked, looking almost insulted.
“Because there’s spit all over it…” Phoenix said it straight, letting his distaste be heard.
Applejack scowled, lowering her hoof. “You’re just as prissy as Rarity! Don’t want to get your fancy-pants lawyer hands dirty, eh?”
Phoenix sighed… “I think we can conclude this agreement with a nod.”
She rolled her green eyes. “Pfft… fine, then. Ah best be moseyin’ on now, pard’ner! Gotta find that lil’ filly… I’m goin’ ta go check Twilight’s place—may as well stay in town until the rain shower’s done anyway,” she decided. “Listen… if you two see Applebloom, can y’all tell her t’ go on home? Ah don’t want her runnin’ out and about with murders happenin’ and all. She’s with Twi’ though, so I suppose I shouldn’t be worried…” Applejack mused.
“Yeah, we’ll be sure to if we see her,” Phoenix promised, with Pinkie nodding in agreement.
“Thank ya! Oh! And remind me t’ give ya that knock upside the head when I’m not so busy. Later!” she said, turning on her heel.
What a pleasant way to say goodbye to someone… Phoenix said to himself as he watched them go, not sure he’d be looking forward to their next encounter. “Goodbye, Applejack. Goodbye… Big Macintosh…”
“Eeyup…” Big Mac bade him farewell, then headed off along with her sister Applejack, pulling the cart behind him leaving Phoenix alone with Pinkie Pie once again.
“Was that the reason you wanted me to come here, Pinkie? To speak with Applejack?” Phoenix asked, giving her the other apple as he continued to eat his own.
In yet another seeming impossibility he was coming to associate with the party pony, she tossed it into the air with her hoof and downed it in a single bite. “No, it wasn’t that. There should be another reason… OH, HERE IT COMES!” Pinkie looked up towards the sky.
“Huh?” Phoenix quickly reacted and looked up as well. But then…
“Ehem!” she coughed.
“What's coming?” Phoenix asked, still looking up, not seeing anything except a couple pegasi still shuttling pieces of cloud around.
“I coughed!” Pinkie replied.
He didn’t know what to say to that. “Okay, and…?” Phoenix looked back at her.
“That means something strange is going to happen!” Pinkie claimed as if it was self-evident, just as before with her tail twitch.
Phoenix rolled his eyes. “Pinkie Pie, we’ve been through this already. You can’t predict things based off of…”
At that moment, HIS CELLPHONE RANG!
“What? WHAT?!” Phoenix went pale, automatically going for his left pants pocket.
“Oooo… what’s that?! I’ve never seen one of those thingies before!! That’s a catchy tune!” Pinkie said with a huge smile, grooving to the Steel Samurai theme song he used as a Ringtone.
Phoenix pulled his phone out and held it in a shaking hand. “B-but that’s impossible! How can someone be calling me?” he asked, more than a little freaked.
“So what do you do with that thing anyway?” Pinkie asked curiously.
He stared at it like it might bite him. “I guess… I just answer it…” Phoenix said, deciding it was the only thing he could do. I hope trans-dimensional calls don’t hurt my phone bill… he forced some humor in his thoughts as he warily answered the call. “H-hello?”
“Phoenix Wright…?” an unfamiliar male voice asked.
“Yes, that’s me…” Phoenix replied, very leery.
The voice went silent.
“Who is this?!” the human lawyer demanded
“A concerned friend…” came the answer.
“A concerned friend?” Phoenix repeated the voice’s claim so Pinkie would hear.
“A friend? Tell them I say hello!” Pinkie requested, but Phoenix just ignored her.
“Tell me, how and why are you phoning me?” the human lawyer demanded to know.
The voice on the other end avoided his question. “I want to help you…”
“Help me? How?” Phoenix asked.
“I want to help you win the trial tomorrow… I have evidence that can clear your client,” the voice said.
“What?! Are you serious?” Phoenix’s eyes widened, his hand gripping the cellphone tighter.
“Yes. I want you to meet me at the clearing where the crime took place,” the voice instructed.
He nodded eagerly. “Alright, I’ll be right there! Pinkie, we have to~”
“Alone!” the voice added before he could complete his sentence.
“Huh?” Phoenix was instantly suspicious.
“We must meet alone. There’s no other way I can see you…” the voice warned.
“Why?” Phoenix asked, but the voice remained silent. “I might get lost if I go there alone,” he protested.
“Do you want my help or not?” the voice remained firm.
At that moment, Phoenix knew he was faced with two equally bad choices… either let Pinkie come with him and risk not getting the information he needed, or come alone and risk of getting lost or killed by the various creatures living in the forest—or by his mysterious caller, who might or might not be on the level.
Turning it over in his head, he reached his decision. “Okay! Okay! I’ll go alone,” Phoenix agreed reluctantly, reasoning that for the sake of Rainbow Dash, he had to take the chance and that going to the clearing during the day was safer than at night.
“Good… I’ll be waiting for you. You made the right choice, Phoenix Wright!” The voice promised.
He didn’t feel that reassured. “Tell me though… who is this?” Phoenix asked, but the voice didn’t reply.
“I’ll be waiting for you…” the voice repeated before hanging up, not answering his question.
“Who were you talking to, Feenie?” Pinkie asked as Phoenix returned the phone to his pants pocket, the human lawyer lost in thought.
This seems a bit shady. Someone wants to meet me alone in the forest. He said he wanted to help me, but how was he calling me anyway? Equestria doesn't seem to have cell phones… the human lawyer’s mind raced, only coming up with more questions instead of answers.
“Feenie?” Pinkie nudged him, a hint of worry in her voice.
He shook his head, unable to look at her. “Pinkie… I’m sorry, but I have to go solo here.”
“Huh?” she tilted her head.
“I got a lead that could win me the trial tomorrow, but whoever I was speaking to wants to meet me alone.”
She didn’t look any more happy about that than he was. “That sounds kinda suspicious,” she noted, which for once she was right in Phoenix’s speculation, but then… “WAIT, I KNOW WHO THAT WAS!” Pinkie shouted.
“Really? Who?” Phoenix asked in surprise, thinking she’d overheard and belatedly recognized the voice.
“Yes! IT WAS WOB NIAR! Planning to do something nasty!” Pinkie announced.
His hopes sank along with his shoulders. “Pinkie, there is no Wob Niar! Besides, this person was male and said they wanted to help me,” he told her, exasperated anew.
“Oh? They did? Then that changes everything!” she said, her smile returning. “Alright! I’ll wait for you by the entrance,” she promised, escorting him down the path as far as where the woods began.
Poised at the forest edge, Phoenix found the entrance staring at him like a gaping maw, ready to swallow him up should he go inside. “I’ll be right back out; the pathway more or less leads to that clearing, and the sun’s still out. I shouldn’t have trouble navigating myself through,” he reasoned, as much to fight his own fears as to reassure Pinkie, resting a hand on her withers, trying to take some strength from her presence.
She nuzzled his side. “Be careful in there, Feenie. It’s pretty dangerous,” the pink earth pony warned him in genuine concern.
He swallowed, really not wanting to go. “Okay, I’ll be right back. Promise,” Phoenix said, giving the back of her ears a parting scratch. Mustering his courage, he took off at a brisk walk down the path into the woods, his mind full of worry and doubt.
The mysterious caller’s promise seemed too good to be true, but with the fate of his case and client hanging in the balance, Phoenix judged it a risk worth taking to prove Rainbow Dash’s innocence and to show Trixie that a human in Equestria is more than meets the eye…