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Phoenix Wright (成歩堂龍一) ([personal profile] thewrightway) wrote in [community profile] aceattorneythenovel2017-05-13 08:27 pm

Chapter 9: A Complete Turnabout! (Japanese terminology)

Luckily, Wataru-kun wasn't far from the courthouse. Knowing that Meguru-san was to be a witness today, he and Toshinari-san had come as moral support. The two of them were eating soba at a soba shop near the courthouse waiting for the verdict to be announced.
Without even thinking about why he had been suddenly summoned, Wataru-kun looked at the witness stand with childlike curiosity.
The judge's expression softened upon seeing Wataru-kun. He's probably soft on children because of his grandkids.
“May you start by giving us your name and occupation... or rather, grade in school?”
“Sure. I'm Wataru Amakake, Umibeno Elementary class 3-1, seat number one!”
“Hoho, a nice, loud and clear voice. Not bad!”
... It seems he's forgotten his job here and has fallen into the role of a grandfather.

Regardless, I began my questioning.
“Wataru-kun. We would like to hear about the black plane you saw.”
“You were discussing it with your friends. You saw a black plane even cooler than your grandfather's. That's...”
Wataru-kun cut me off in a panic and put a finger to his lips.
“I never said that!”
Wataru-kun trembled nervously as he signalled me with his eyes.
It was a look that said “It's a secret...”
I immediately looked at Shirai-san.
Surely he hasn't already threatened Wataru-kun?
But Shirai-san simply looked downward, not even glancing in Wataru-kun's direction.
“Wataru-kun, what's wrong? Has someone threatened...”
“Shh! Shut up!”
Wataru-kun shrunk down cautiously, ready to hide under the witness stand at any moment.
That's when a loud voice rang out.
“Wataru! Don't back down! You know I won't be mad with you!”
Toshinari-san shouted from the gallery. It wasn't very convincing when it looked like he was about to blow a vein.
“Order, order. No outbursts from the gallery.”
The judge warned, before urging Wataru-kun to testify. Wataru-kun nodded and began to speak.
“I saw it on my way home that day. A black plane was flying.”
“But it wasn't a real plane, right?”
“Right, it was a paper plane of course! But it was even cooler than the real thing. It was super fast riding the wind. I considered chasing it, but I lost sight of it pretty quickly.”
“Do you remember the date and time you saw it?”
“Uuh... It was three days ago. I'd been playing with my friends at the park and was on my way home... Just after 6:00 probably. Oh yeah, I'd heard the clock chime for 6:00, so definitely after that.
The murder took place at roughly quarter to six. The time seems to match up.
“What direction did the plane come from and where did it go?”
“Hmm... It came from the park and was going towards the ocean.”
“Is the airport in the same direction as the park?”
“Yeah, it is.”
“Thank you, Wataru-kun.”
Shirai-san folded his arms with a bored expression.
It was a face that said he was fed up with this farce.
Whether those are his true feelings or simply an act will be made clear soon.
“Wataru-kun saw a black paper plane. That is the weapon the true culprit disposed of. By using black paper, the bloodstain and poison on the tip wouldn't stand out. Shirai-san, you told us earlier. You like the observation deck and often spend time alone there.”
“... What of it?”
“Well, you—”
I recalled Toshinari-san's words.
—Litterbugs like yourselves just toss your trash anywhere and it gets blown into the sea!
“You were going to the empty observation deck regularly to experiment with paper planes. A strong wind blows out to the sea in that city. If you throw a paper plane from high enough, it'll fly all the way out to sea. To make a plane guaranteed to fly that far, you continually experimented with different paper stocks and folding techniques.”

“Good grief. First those delusions and now this?”
Prosecutor Garyuu opened his mouth.
“To claim that a paper plane seen by a young boy is related to a murder is stretching it a bit. I apologise to the boy on the stand, but this testimony is worthless.”
“No matter what you say, you need evidence to back it up. A theory without evidence is like a love song without love!”
Prosecutor Garyuu played his air guitar.
He seems satisfied... but that was a pretty poor analogy.
The judge spoke.
“Well? Can the defence submit any evidence to corroborate the claim that a paper plane was the weapon?”
My only response was to bite my lip.
I'm on the right track... I'm pretty sure of that.
But there's no evidence. That black paper plane would have flown into the ocean.
At a speed that Wataru-kun had to give up on chasing it.
I suppose that was the culprit's goal. Dispose of the weapon by letting the strong winds carry it to sea. By now, that black paper plane is either floating somewhere out at sea or sunk to the bottom of the ocean—
... No, wait.
—No matter how much trash you scoundrels toss, I'll nicely catch it all!
There's one person with a passion for preserving the ocean's beauty.
The Paper Plane Speeding Towards The Ocean VS. The Indomitable Trash Catching Geezer. If the old man's net triumphed over the plane...
“You have no evidence then? Then I cannot acknowledge your claims. The black paper plane is irrelevant to the case.”
The judge grasped his gavel.
Hold it!
I raised my voice and looked to the gallery.
Toshinari-san was glaring at a specific spot in the courtroom. The subject of his gaze was Shirai-san, who had a smug grin.
“The evidence exists.”
“... What did you say?”
“There's someone who was able to recover the weapon before it was disposed of!”
I called out to the old man.
“Toshinari Amakake-san. Tell us. Did you manage to catch the black paper plane as it went by?”
Toshinari-san shifted his gaze to me, giving a solemn nod.
“... Of course I did. Nothing escapes the judgement of my net.”
... Yes! Toshinari-san is a true guardian of the ocean!
“What did you do with the black paper plane you caught!? Do you still have it!?”
We're screwed if it's been thrown out already.
However Toshinari-san simply turned away sulkily.
“Toshinari-san? Do you still have the paper plane?”
“Toshinari-san! Uh, so, the paper plane...”
Thinking he might be hard of hearing, I raised my volume, and Toshinari-san dialled the volume up even more for his reply.
Shut up! I can hear you!
“Uh... Well... In that case...”
“The plane is still at home. It's hidden in the closet in my room!”
“Your closet...?”
“Really, grandpa?”
Wataru-kun said wide eyed from the witness stand.
“You really have that black paper plane? Why didn't you say so sooner!?”
Toshinari-san's face went red with frustration.
“Sh.. shut up! It's because you were all up in arms about the awesome black paper plane you saw! Even though you always said my planes were the best in the world! But you were cheating on my plane with that one!
... Ah.
So basically, he was jealous that his grandson thought the black paper plane was cooler than his. How childish.
“I considered throwing it out, but it truly was magnificently made.. It'd be a shame to just toss it out, so I secretly hid it away in my closet.”

“Really? So it's still in your closet now then?”
“... Yep.”
“Toshinari-san. May we present the paper plane as evidence to the court?”
Toshinari-san wordlessly gazed at Shirai-san again.
Shirai-san's demeanour had changed. The sharp, intelligent impression he gave had crumbled and he looked down with a bitter expression.
Toshinari-san spoke harshly to him.
“... So that plane was one of yours after all. I figured it might be. You always did like coming up with your own way to fold them.”
“Using your beloved paper planes for such evil deeds... your younger self would be mortified at what you've become.”
After muttering to himself, Toshinari-san turned back to me.
“Hmph.. If you want that thing, it's yours.”
I looked straight at Prosecutor Garyuu.
“I told you so. The defence would like to submit the paper plane used as the weapon. You should be able to find the poison and Uranashi-san's blood on the tip and the killer's fingerprints on the body.”
Prosecutor Garyuu clenched his fists on his desk.
The judge spoke up, looking at the silent Prosecutor Garyuu.
“The court will accept this evidence and have it examined. Until the results are in, I declare a recess...”
“No need for that.”
Having finally regained his composure, Prosecutor Garyuu lifted his head.
“Dragging things out is simply a waste of time... Aren't you the one who said that, Shirai-san?”
Shirai-san flinched as his name was said.
He looked as if he'd aged ten years within the past few minutes.
“I... I... I did nothing wrong. I simply exterminated vermin.”
Shirai-san groaned in a quivering voice.
“If I didn't act, he would have escaped into hospital, he'd avoid responsibility and continue working as a politician. Any misconduct would be pinned on his secretary...”
Shirai-san fell to his knees and screamed.
I protected our city. That's right, I excised that vermin from our home. The people of our city should be thanking meeeeeee—!
A bailiff ran over and subdued Shirai-san as he continued ranting.
The judge cleared his throat as he gently picked up his gavel.
“It seems waiting for the analysis of the evidence will not be necessary. It's about time I handed down my verdict.”
He brought his gavel down. The dry sound echoed through the courtroom.
“The defendant, Housuke Odoroki is declared not guilty!”
The silent gallery began to stir.
“All right! You did it, Naruhodo-san!”
Kokone-chan leapt in joy.
Minuki, who had been in the gallery until now, also came down showing a victory pose.
Odoroki-kun, sitting in the defendant's chair, gave me the first real smile I'd seen from him in a while.
Despite the trial only lasting two days, it felt more like it had been two weeks, I let out a long sigh of relief.