• Published 3rd Mar 2014
  • 1,022 Views, 27 Comments

The Great and Powerful Ace Attorney - TundraStanza



A few years have passed since that case in which Trixie failed to get revenge against Twilight and her friends. Now, she's going to try being on the opposite side of the court. How hard can that be?

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Ch. 2: Turnabout Clairvoyance (part 2)

--- {Third-person POV}

2:30 PM

Courtroom No. 3

The room was buzzing with conversations. Some of them were related to the case. Others were far from it. Together, they made a cacophony. Such was a courtroom lacking order.

*Tap!* *Tap!* *Tap!*

Everyone went silent and turned their eyes to the gavel. A slightly intimidating mare was in the judge's seat. Though, it wasn't her size that was unsettling. It was probably her headgear. Although evergreen in color against the white hide of the unicorn, she looked an awful lot like Nightmare Moon. Thankfully, her voice sounded nothing like the Mare in the Moon.

"Court is now in session," she declared, not leaving room for debate. "Are the respective parties ready?"

"The defense is ready, Your Honor," answered Sonata.

The other side, however, was giving her honor the silent treatment. In fact, there was no one standing there.

"Yes, I can see that the defense is ready," affirmed the judge. "But where is the prosecution?"

Sonata stared ahead, unflinchingly.

"Does the prosecution have so little confidence that they won't even bother showing up?" wondered her honor. "Well then, I see no reason to waste any pony's time."

*Tap!*

"I'm ready to declare my verdict. This court finds the defendant Princess Twilight Sparkle..."

Hold it!

The judge's eyes snapped wide open.

Sonata still didn't move.

Righty practically leapt off her hooves.

Her honor sniffed the air. "Does any pony else smell orange juice?"

Slurps and gulps could be heard from the other end of the courtroom. A satisfied sigh was released as a mug was set on the prosecution's desk. The earth pony holding said mug was a dark shade of green, had a white mane, and wore a pair of shades over his eyes. The stallion smiled, thinly.

"Well, well, well," he remarked, "If it isn't Bonita."

"If I've told you once," responded the defense, "I've told you a thousand times, Arm-And-Oh. It's Sonata."

"An orange by any other name is just as tart," Arm-And-Oh countered, "and you, Bonita, lack beauty in your attitude no matter what I call you."

Sonata opted to press her glasses with her hoof rather than give a verbal retort.

"If you're finished with your private conversation," the judge interjected, "is the prosecution ready?"

But the prosecution was busy getting a refill from a juice dispenser. How the dispenser materialized on the desk was any pony's guess.

"Ah," sighed Arm-And-Oh, "There's nothing like cold vitamin C to get a case going. Bonita, do you remember what my usual amount is for each case I get involved with?"

"Seventeen," answered Sonata flatly, "You always divide fifty-one by three."

"Yes, I do." Arm-And-Oh. "It's a helpful math problem reminder. Most ponies have the wrong impression, thinking that fifty-one isn't divisible by three."

Defying possibility, a sweat drop formed along the outer edge of her honor's helmet. "Uh, Mr. Oh?"

"Hmm?" hummed Arm-And-Oh mid sip. "Oh, right." He gently set his mug down. "The prosecution is ready whenever you are."

The judge cleared her throat. "Right then. Mr. Oh, please present the case at hoof to the courtroom."

"Of course." He nodded as he held up a piece of paper. "Yesterday afternoon at an estimated time of 3:00 - 4:00 PM, there was a fiery blast that both destroyed property of and injured the victim of Ms. Trixie. Feel free to take a look at the case file as it stands."

"Case File" was added to the Court Record.

"Furthermore," Arm-And-Oh continued, "we have a witness willing to testify that he saw Princess Twilight Sparkle on the premises at the time that the crime took place."

"Very well." Her honor nodded. "Please bring this first witness forward."

---

The witness on the stand looked like he was about to fall asleep where he stood. His eyelids were struggling to stay open to show his hazel blue eyes. His mane was a dark blue mess. His wings had dirty feathers here and there. The only thing that seemed to be in good, clean condition was the rest of his gray hide.

Twilight stopped short of gasping upon seeing this stallion.

"State your name and profession for the record," directed the prosecution.

The witness blinked. "I'm a freelance worker. I've been doing odd jobs wherever I can find them."

"Er, witness?" piped in her honor, "You haven't given us your name."

He sighed. "That's just it, Your Honor. Every time I try to tell some pony my name, something always happens to either interrupt me or cut me short before I can utter the first syllable. I don't expect the pattern to stop just because I'm in a court of law."

"So it is him," muttered Twilight. Sonata glanced at her, but didn't say anything.

"Well, the court needs something to fill the name slot," pointed out the judge. "It's standard procedure."

"Call me 'New Pony'," offered the witness, "It's worked for everything else I do in town."

Her honor grimaced. "Well, that sounds a little derogatory, but all right. New Pony it is then."

"Let's start out simple, good sir," Arm-And-Oh suggested. "Tell the court what you told me about what you saw on the day of the crime."

"All right." New Pony nodded.

---

Witness Testimony

What the New Guy Saw

"I was checking around Ponyville for odd jobs as I've been doing for a while now."

"When that turned up empty, I decided to check on the various acquaintances and friends I've made."

"One of those acquaintances was Trixie."

"I heard a crash in the direction of Trixie's wagon."

"Worried, I galloped over to see what had happened."

"What I saw was a horrible blaze, practically destroying the entire place."

"What struck me as both terrifying and confusing was the presence of Twilight Sparkle, with a burning red mane to match the flames."

"I didn't want to believe it, but I know what I saw."

"Twilight must have burned that wagon down with her powerful magic."

---

Her honor hummed. "I see. What a terrifying experience." She tilted her head. "And you remembered all of this with such clarity."

"To be honest, I kind of wished I didn't," said New Pony. He looked down to the side. His left wing scratched his side involuntarily.

The judge nodded. "We'll do our utmost to ensure that you don't have to spend any more time here than necessary. Ms. Sonata, you may begin your cross-examination."

Sonata added her own nod. "I intend to, Your Honor."

---

Cross-Examination

"I was checking around Ponyville for odd jobs as I've been doing for a while now."

Hold it!

"What kinds of 'odd jobs'?" asked Sonata.

"Well, a lot of stuff," New Pony said with a small smile. "Pulling carts, helping the Apple Family with their harvest, and reshelving books. Though, that last one was more often than not done for a bribe." He chuckled nervously.

Twilight deadpanned. "Yeah, I can vouch for Spike's bribery. He gave up his whole allowance just to spend an extra day with Rarity."

Sonata hummed. "All right, please continue."

"When that turned up empty, I decided to check on the various acquaintances and friends I've made."

"One of those acquaintances was Trixie."

Hold it!

"How exactly did you come to know Trixie?" asked Sonata.

New Pony tapped his head lightly before looking up. "I'd say it happened about a couple years ago. From what I understand, it was a return appearance of her Variety Show in Ponyville." He tapped his chin. "Though, the audience was pretty empty. She seemed a little upset, so I tried talking to her after the brief fireworks show. I tried encouraging her, saying that there were surely some fans that still wanted to see her magic." He chuckled. "I even got an autographed flier out of the deal. It's still hanging up in my house."

"She still sent some insults to me that day," commented Twilight with a fond smile, "but she seemed happy to stick around. I was glad that she could make at least one friend here."

So he was stopping by on an old friend, huh? mulled Sonata. I don't exactly have anything right now that can prove there was more.

"I heard a crash in the direction of Trixie's wagon."

Hold it!

"What did the crash sound like?" asked Sonata.

"Well, it was..." New Pony hummed and hawed. "It kind of sounded like... shattered glass."

Sonata held back a gasp. Could that have been the point of impact when the Molotov cocktail entered the wagon? She hummed. But... that alone won't prove Twilight's innocence. There has to be another contradiction in this testimony.

"Worried, I galloped over to see what had happened."

"What I saw was a horrible blaze, practically destroying the entire place."

"What struck me as both terrifying and confusing was the presence of Twilight Sparkle, with a burning red mane to match the flames."

Objection!

"Witness, what you've just stated doesn't add up!" Sonata banged a hoof against the desk.

New Pony practically jumped. His eyes opened wide. "Huh? What did I say?"

"You described Twilight Sparkle's mane to be a 'burning red'." Sonata pointed a hoof to her side. "I've had a good look at my client's mane and I don't see any trace of red on her head."

"Naaar!" exclaimed New Pony. His wings sprung open at the realization.

The spectating ponies started rabbling about this contradiction. How could anypony mistake the color purple with the color red?

Objection!

Arm-And-Oh took a good chug of his orange juice. Slowly pulling his cup away, he smirked. "I figured you'd take that approach, Bonita. That's why the witness and I had a little chat before coming in today. Isn't that right?"

"Huh?" New Pony asked before fluffing his feathers back down. He coughed and cleared his throat. "Right, sorry. I'd almost forgotten about that. May I try that again, Your Honor?"

"If you must." Her honor shrugged. "Please tell the court about this color confusion."

Twilight leaned in and whispered, "Is the color of mane that he saw really crucial?"

"I don't know," admitted Sonata, "but anything is better than getting a guilty verdict right now."

"Fair enough." Twilight stood back a little.

---

Witness Testimony

Why the Mane Looked Red

"It was raining fairly hard yesterday. The clouds were so thick that it made it look as dark as night."

"But that calm and collected gaze was highlighted by the fire in the wagon."

"I've seen Twilight's mane catch on fire before, fueled by her own emotion no less!"

"Anyway, that's why it looked red instead of purple that night."

---

A small drop of sweat dangled against Sonata's head. Her eyes were half-shut in disbelief. She couldn't be hearing this correctly.

"Let me get this straight," she said, "You thought her mane looked red... because it was on fire."

"Yeah, that's it," nodded New Pony.

Do I even have to point out how ludicrous that is? Sonata asked herself, still wearing that pained expression.

"Something the matter, Bonita?" asked Arm-And-Oh with a sly grin.

"No, nothing at all," lied Sonata. Just wondering how this witness could be so clueless to the problems with his testimony.

"Whenever you're ready, Defense," prompted the judge.

---

Cross-Examination

"It was raining fairly hard yesterday. The clouds were so thick that it made it look as dark as night."

Hold it!

"Do we have any way to verify the weather for yesterday afternoon?" asked Sonata.

"Consider yourself lucky, Bonita," said Arm-And-Oh smugly. "It just so happens that we have a copy of the Ponyville weather schedule for yesterday."

Her honor nodded. "The court accepts this evidence."

"Weather Schedule" was added to the Court Record.

Let's see here, Sonata thought as she levitated the schedule in front of her eyes. "Local Weather Warning: Due to a missed shower two weeks prior to today, the weather team must apply heavy overcast between the hours of 3 and 4 PM."

"As you can see, this lines up with the time of the crime," commented Arm-And-Oh.

Arm came prepared. Sonata internally sighed. What else does New Pony have to say?

"But that calm and collected gaze was highlighted by the fire in the wagon."

Hold it!

"The pony you saw looking at the wagon was calm and collected as it burned?" asked Sonata incredulously.

"Well, yeah," affirmed New Pony. "I mean, it's not like any pony would show regret for their intentions."

Sonata's hoof immediately raced to one side of her glasses. "Your Honor, could we add that last statement to Mr. New Pony's testimony?"

"Well, I suppose it couldn't hurt," admitted the judge, "although I'm not sure why you'd want that." She cleared her throat. "Witness, please add that to your testimony."

"Uh... okay." New Pony tilted his head slightly.

"When committing a crime, no pony shows regret for the actions they intend."

Wait a second.

Sonata subtly slid her glasses off to a point where she could stare at New Pony with her naked eyes. I may have given up my life of assisted extortion and blackmail, but I haven't lost my talent for perceiving the details. That additional sentence, it's not just what he said. It's what he was doing at the time he said it.

Time almost seemed to slow down as the gray unicorn gazed intently at the witness.

"When... committing... a... crime, no... pony... shows... reg-"

Gotcha!

The rest of the courtroom and its occupants seemed to just vanish into a void. It was just Sonata, New Pony, and his little involuntary habit.

"New Pony, I'm curious as to why you're scratching with your left wing so much."

"Huh?"

"So, you didn't even realize how nervous you were getting." Sonata chuckled. "Well, that works in my favor then. Your body gives away what your mouth is not."

"I... have no idea what you're talking about."

"Tell me, Witness," urged Sonata, "is there something that you regret doing, even though you fully intended to carry it out?"

"N-No, I... it was just..." New Pony grunted. "Cache had nothing to do with this!"

Sonata stared calmly. "Why bring up a name? I never said any pony by that name did anything."

He flinched. "P-Please stop. I... I should probably just go home now."

"Not yet." Sonata crossed her front legs. "You still haven't explained what importance this 'Cache' had. Did this pony happen to have a red mane? Did you do something that you regret that involves this pony?"

Strange images flashed on the outskirts of the void. New Pony's breaths were growing heavier and heavier. His eyes widened as if he were staring into his death sentence. Each of the images brought a scratch or a whine that scraped against his conscience. The repressed memories were too painful.

"Gyaaaaaaah!" His scream was emphasized by feathers whisking off his wings.

---

And just like that, the void shattered. The rest of the courtroom faded back into existence for Sonata. She repositioned her glasses to mostly rest in front of her eyes.

"That will be all, thank you," she said with a slight nod.

The judge, however, was befuddled. "What... What just happened?"

Pools of water formed along the bottom of the witness's eyes. His wings were hanging low now. His brave facade for Mr. Arm-And-Oh was broken.

"It happened a long time ago," said New Pony through shaky lips. "I was neighbored to a farm family. They had a good-looking daughter, a redhead named Cache. She... stuck out to me. Her head was always in the clouds, suggesting possibilities of complicated flight through steam and metal. She was funny and carefree, always put on a smile for me even when talking about how cruddy her day was. I envied that about her.

"There was a night where I offered to have her over for dinner. She was excited, really excited about the idea. I hastily tried to quell her about the lack of grandiose conditions we could offer, but she was hearing none of it. I hate to admit it, but I had a crush on that naive soul. There was nothing that could wreck that innocence.

"But that same night, some of the storm clouds were much heavier than they were supposed to be. Just as we had finally been seated, we heard a crash of lightning. A single turn toward the window was enough to see what it had struck. It was the farmhouse next door.

"Cache galloped straight as an arrow. I took off just a little ways behind her. I slid to a stop as I gaped in horror at the spectacle. The house was burning erratically. I shouted after Cache not to go in, but she yelled back that her parents were still in there and dove through the inferno without another word. I shouted her name repeatedly. I... didn't have the balls to go in after her.

"Officially, I wasn't on the weather team for that area. However, I was panicking and not thinking clearly. I searched frantically for a patch of cloud that was more rainwater than anything else. I flew up and tugged it over toward Cache's house, not giving a care to the future reprimands. I punched the cloud every which way and that, to squeeze out the water to put out the flames.

"As soon as there were little more than a few cinders left, I flew down to find Cache. I... found her. She was trapped underneath the charred remains of her parents and a lot of the burned roof. She wasn't struggling or even breathing.

"It's all my fault! If I had just been the good little colt who kept his crush at a distance, she could have been at her house and rescued her parents sooner when that lightning came. Cache..."

New Pony slammed his head against the edge of the witness stand. A lot of saline dripped to the courtroom floor.

---

After several minutes passed, her honor cleared throat. "To summarize what just happened, our witness was emotionally distraught and certain details to yesterday's crime were quite similar to something he experienced in the past. He has been escorted out of the courtroom for recuperation."

Arm-And-Oh got another refill for his drink. His expression was neutral. "So, you haven't changed a bit, Bonita."

Sonata adjusted her necktie with a sigh. "I'm sorry. Old habits die hard."

"I wonder if that's why he didn't want to tell me about his past," muttered Twilight with a look of sorrow.

Arm-And-Oh took three gulps before gently setting his cup down. "Well, we still have a trial taking place. As things stand, it would appear that we're at an impasse."

Sonata pressed gently against her glasses. "Appearances can be deceiving. That calm and collected posture tells me that you've still got a few tricks up your sleeve."

The prosecution shook his head. "Nothing gets passed you, does it? I do in fact have something that can help speed up the deliverance of justice. Another witness, if you will."

The judge nodded. "Very well, Mr. Oh. After that last outburst, however, I believe this court is in need of a brief recess. We will reconvene in fifteen minutes. Please utilize that time to fully prepare yourselves."

"Understood, Your Honor," affirmed both the defense and prosecution.

*Tap!* *Tap!*

---

3:00 PM

Defense Lobby No. 3

"Ms. Sonata, are you okay?" asked Righty Tidy.

"I've been better," admitted Sonata.

"I could've sworn you were in some kind of trance when you grilled that witness for information," said Righty.

"I suppose you could call that the critical flaw in my talent. I may be able to perceive small motions, but any excruciating detail requires intense focus. Had New Pony known about that, he could've seen and interpreted my nervous habits as well."

Sonata shook her head. "Anyway, there's something else we need to talk about." She turned. "Specifically, it's something with you."

"Me?" asked Twilight.

"I haven't forgotten about that incident with the locks and chains." Sonata slightly lowered her glasses. "Who exactly did you see during the time that you were around Trixie's wagon?"

Take that!

The sound of metal grinding against metal filled her ears. Two loud bangs matched the slamming of two red boxes with locks on them. The lobby grew strangely dim as Sonata stared at Twilight. The psyche-locks guarded her secret well.

"I... didn't see any pony there," said Twilight.

"Wait, what incident with locks and chains?" piped in Righty. "What did I miss?"

"Sorry, Righty. I'll tell you later," said Sonata before returning her gaze to her client. "I think there's something you're keeping hidden. Why else would this secret spell be showing me locks in front of you?"

"Maybe you're going crazy like all of the other ponies in this town," suggested Twilight. "I don't know."

Sonata crossed her hooves. "No, magic never happens without a reason. Surely the Princess of Friendship knows the basics."

Twilight's wings ruffled a bit. "Then tell me, Sonata. What could you use to prove that I really am hiding something?"

"I wouldn't say 'what'," retorted Sonata, "It's more of a 'who'."

"Huh?" Twilight's eyes sprang wide open.

"This pony is somehow related to what you're hiding."

Take that!

"The first witness in today's trial, New Pony," pointed out Sonata. "He commented on seeing you there. How did you miss him?"

"Ergh!" gasped Twilight.

There was a sound similar to a wine glass shattering. At the same time, the lock on the left scattered into nonexistent pieces.

It's working, thought Sonata, Just one more to go.

"W-Well, I was... taken in by the police at the time. I'm not going to remember every single pony that was on the same premises as I was when faced with the need to follow protocols. So, you got me. New Pony was there too."

"We're not done yet, Twilight," said Sonata with a straight face.

"What do you mean?" Twilight raised her eyebrow. "You just said yourself that was the pony that I could've seen there."

"That's not what the remaining psyche-lock is telling me." Sonata adjusted her glasses even lower. "It has to do with what he saw as well. There was a nugget of truth in his testimony. It involved you and the red mane of somepony."

"But my mane isn't red!" exclaimed Twilight. "Besides, there aren't any redheads that immediately spring to mind."

Wait a second.

"Besides, there... aren't... any... redheads... that... imm-"

Gotcha!

The lobby faded to an amorphous void. Sonata examined the point in question, and kept her composure.

"Twilight, did you know that your blood pressure rises slightly when you think too hard?"

"W-Wha...?"

"And, you've been rubbing your shoulder with your wing. You do know some pony with red hairs."

"Uh..."

"You have met them before, possibly quite recently."

"Sonata, please stop..."

"I wonder if she pushed you out of the way to save you. That's why..."

Take that!

Sonata levitated out the lock of lavender mane. "That's why we found some of your hairs in a nearby tree."

Twilight sighed before smiling lightly. "You really are good at this line of work."

Another glass shattered. The second lock broke. Metal ground against metal as the chains and void faded away. Righty was still looking at the two of them with confusion. But Twilight nodded in understanding.

"Her name is Sunset Shimmer," she said. "When I arrived that afternoon, it was already set ablaze. I tried to lower the flames via magic, but... by the point it was dangerously close. I didn't have enough time to cast anything else. But then..."
---

"Twilight!"

*Shove*

"Oof!"
---

"I don't know why she was there and I didn't see where she went after," admitted Twilight in shame. "I was a little too busy trying to dislodge myself from between the small branches."

"So, that's the red mane that New Pony saw," concluded Sonata.

"Wait," interrupted Righty, "But then that means that the one who calmly started the fire was..."

Twilight shook her head. "I don't know what Sunset Shimmer was doing there, but... I believe in her. She wouldn't do something like that. There has to be another explanation!"

"I agree."

Righty, Sonata, and Twilight all jumped at the new voice. Yet, it wasn't new at all. In fact, it sounded awfully familiar. The surprise didn't leave the trio's eyes as they turned toward the interloper.

"No way," whispered Twilight.

"It can't be," muttered Sonata.

"But it is," finished Righty.

"Did you really think you could finish this trial without me?"
---

Game saved.

Author's Note:

It's amazing what playing a spin-off of the Ace Attorney games can inspire a writer to resume.

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