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Phoenix Wright (成歩堂龍一) ([personal profile] thewrightway) wrote in [community profile] aceattorneythenovel2016-09-10 05:57 am

Chapter 2: Event Start (Japanese terminology)

[June 18, 12:57 PM: Pegasus Town, Outdoor Stage Seating]

When I opened the door at the end of the long hallway and stepped out, I was already right next to the audience seating by the outdoor stage. It was already a huge success with standing room only.
“Naruhodo-san! Over here!”
Kokone-chan shouted out to me.
I looked in the direction of the voice, I could see Kokone-chan and Odoroki-kun waving their arms from some seats near the front.
I went and sat in the seat they saved for me.
“So Naruhodo-san, what are today's costars like?”
Kokone-chan immediately enquired.
“Right. There's Sumomo Momogaya-chan, the idol and also Nadare Cho...”
“Sumomo-chan is so cute!”
Kokone-chan clasped her hands together, cutting me off mid-sentence. It seems she has no interest whatsoever in Chokkakkou-san.
“You know about her, Kokone-chan?”
“Of course! Sumomo-chan is an idol undergoing her big break right now.”
I see. I'm totally ignorant about the world of show biz.
Odoroki-kun opened his mouth.
“I don't know much, but I heard she cuts fruit while singing?”
“She's not just cutting. She makes swans out of apples, goldfish out of papayas, she's basically a fruit artist. It's amazing!”
And for that she spends three hours a day practising. She's a real hard worker.
“She's great at both singing and dancing, she has a stylish figure. And she's always so cheerful. I always feel better whenever I see Sumomo-chan's huge smile.”
“... Eh!? Cheerful!?”
I asked almost instinctively.
Kokone-chan stared at me blankly.
“Yeah, I mean she's always super cheerful, isn't she? She's been on all kinds of variety shows lately. I'm sure she must have been making all kinds of fun jokes in the waiting room, right?”
“Ah... Right... I mean...”
I stumbled over my words.
... I didn't expect that. The Momogaya-san I met in the waiting room was a quiet shadowy girl.
That gloomy girl is probably her true self. It must be a lot of effort for her to play such a cheerful character on stage and TV. A real trooper...
“There's one more performer... Uh... Nadare Chokkakkou, is it? Never heard of him.”
Odoroki-kun spoke looking at the event flier. Kokone-chan nodded as well.
“First I've heard of him too. Naruhodo-san, what's he like?”
I can't just call him a jerk. I'll bluff my way around this.
“He's very self confident. The owner highly recommends his performance.”
“I see. Looking forward to it!”
The curtain raised as the announcer began speaking. The noisy crowd became quiet.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to today's Pegasus Town Special Live Show! We've got hilarious comedy and bewitching magic, along with the highly popular fruit cutting idol! A wide variety of entertainment!”
A jaunty tune played as the three performers for today came on stage.
Loud cheers and applause came from the audience. There were a lot of cheers for Momogaya-san, but I heard a good number calling Minuki's name as well.
“Hiiii everyone, good to see you–! Welcome to Pegasus Town–!”
Momogaya-san was the first to grab the mic. I could hear the deep voices of her fans shouting “Wooooaaah” “Sumomooooo”.
“Thank you everyone–! I'm so happy to be appearing alongside these two today–! Thanks for your support!”
As she gave a positively glittering smile, the crowd let out another great cheer.
... Just as Kokone-chan said, she's super cheerful. What is this? It's like she's a completely different person than the girl I met in the waiting room.
Minuki took the mic next.
“I'm Minuki Naruhodou. Today I'll be astounding you with some of my best magic! Look forward to it!”
Another round of cheers and applause followed.
“I'm... really in no need of an introduction. Nadare Chokkakkou, I cut through the chains of reason, a comedy artist from out of this world. Heh, look forward to seeing me.”
I heard a “Kyaa” from somewhere within the crowd. It seems he actually does have fans. He may be a jerk, but he's reasonably handsome...
The three of them had a light talk about today's event. Or rather, Momogaya-san and Minuki had a conversation and Chokkakkou-san was left out.
Momogaya-san was the one to wrap up the opening talk.
“It's about time we got started! Enjoy the show, everyone!”
Momogaya-san and Minuki waved to the audience as they exited the stage. Chokkakkou-san was left as the top batter.

He immediately started his comedy act... But...

“Kokone-chan. Is your face okay?”
Somewhat concerned, I whispered to Kokone-chan sitting in the chair to my right.
Her face had been deadpan like that of a noh mask for a while now. Her eyes were like that of a dead fish.
Kokone-chan looked at me with her dead fish eyes and spoke.
“What do you mean... is my face okay...?”
“You're kinda... lacking any human expression...”
“I have no idea whatsoever how I should react to this...”
Kokone-chan wasn't the only one. Practically the whole audience's faces were deadpan with dead fish eyes.
“I don't know... I just don't, I've never seen anything so dull in my life...”
“This is supposedly... supposed to be hilarious comedy.”
“I haven't been this bored since my comparative law studies lectures at law school in America...”
That's our Kokone-chan. A real academic genius.
No, this isn't the time to be impressed by that.
Chokkakkou-san's comedy was dull enough to leave you in a stupor. Nadare Chokkakkou had absolutely no shame as he performed. Even the lame outdated jokes the old man at the greengrocer near my office were funnier than this.
In the seat to my left, I could hear light snoring... Odoroki-kun...
The only thing Chokkakkou-san had going for him was that he didn't let the audience's silence discourage him. Either that or he was too engrossed in himself that he didn't even notice the audience's reaction.
“Now everyone, have you laughed enough yet? Hang on to your seats, 'cause I've been saving this one!”
Chokkakkou-san span around and pointed a finger at the audience.
“So this happened yesterday. I was buying a ¥2000 shirt, so I pulled out a ¥5000 note. Then I got ¥8000 change. That's right, the guy in the shop mistook my ¥5000 note for a ¥10000 note! Of course, I pretended not to notice and took the cash. On the way home, I stepped in dog poop. It must have been...”
He pointed up in the sky with his right hand, placed his left hand on his heart and got down on his left knee.
“Divine punishment!?”
He shrieked and collapsed.
... That was apparently the best joke he had.
I can't even comment on this. His few fans screamed out “Kyaa” and “Nadareee”, while the rest of the audience were divided between giving him applause. This is the kind of applause that seems to say thank god that's finally over.
Chokkakkou-san left the stage and Minuki entered. The whole crowd seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.
Minuki's performance was great as always. While some light music played, she turned her magic wand into a scarf, returned a shredded newspaper to its original state and other such tricks.
Of course, she also had her trademark “Magic Panties”, which really drew attention from the audience. The once cold audience were now excited. There were even fans screaming things like “Minukiiii!” “You're totally the super awesomest in the galaxy, Minukiiii!” How long has she had such passionate fans like this... I have no idea...
“That's our Minuki-chan! A real entertainer!”
Kokone-chan's face had changed back from a noh mask to its usual full of expression self. Odoroki-kun woke up too. What a relief.
Once our Minuki's hugely successful performance ended, Momogaya-san was up next.
Momogaya-san came out to huge applause and cheers... However.
Something about her seemed off. She no longer had the lively expression she had at the opening. Her presence was like that of a shadow, just as it had been when we met in the waiting room. She seemed to be forcing out a smile, but her eyes were empty...
The performance began and she started dancing in time with the music. But her movements were stiff.
“Huh? Is something wrong with Sumomo-chan?”
Kokone-chan whispered.
“Her movement is strange. And her expression is dark.”
“Nothing like earlier.”
“I've never seen Sumomo-chan like this before. Even her outfit is different...”
“Her outfit?”
“She always wears a jacket with a fruit motif when on stage. It's studded with fruits like grapes and oranges, its cute. I wonder why she isn't wearing it...?”
I don't recall ever seeing it. In the waiting room and during the opening talk, she was wearing a sleeveless dress.
This was more than just a missing jacket. Something was clearly wrong with Momogaya-san.
She continually messed up her lyrics. Her choreography was stiff. And also–
“She hasn't got her knife! What's up with that?”
Kokone-chan clasped her hands and leant forward with concern.
“Knife... Oh, for cutting the fruit with...?”
I recalled seeing Sasae-san showing off a large knife in the waiting room.
“It's Sumomo-chan's trademark! She can't do her fruit carving performance without it!”
The crowd grew restless.
Momogaya-san picked up a piece of fruit from a table, and unable to do anything to it without her knife, put it back down on the table. As a result, the flow of her dance was interrupted and she kept stopping and starting.
“Sumomo-chan... What now...?”
Kokone-chan whispered, almost as if she was dealing with the problem herself.
My cell phone began to vibrate. I'd put on mute so it wouldn't disturb the show, but I still be notified if I received a message.
I discretely checked my phone. It was a text. Addressed to both me and Minuki...?
The sender was the event manager from the local shopping district.

“Sorry! The event we arranged for Minuki to appear at next month has been cancelled due to certain circumstances with the head of the council! We're so sorry–!”

... Ah. The head of the council is going to be busy with a game of golf or mahjong then.
It's cancelled, huh... Well, that's fine...
... Hm? Wait a sec.
This means she can appear in that “Magic Show” Amamiya-san mentioned, right? I believe it was a huge event that had even invited even foreign magicians. And if Minuki could appear in a show like that...
I'd better let him know asap. Before owner Amamiya asks another magician instead. I'm sure Minuki will be excited too.
I whispered to Odoroki-kun and Kokone-chan.
“I gotta go for a bit.”

“Eh? What is it, Naruhodou-san?”
“I'll be right back.”
I stood up from my seat.
I opened the door from earlier once again with my card key and went into the staff area. Once the door closed, the noise from outside vanished, as if it had been an illusion.
There was no sign of life in the hallway. Only a mascot suit lay in the corner. Since it's not a weekday, it's probably for some event.
I walked down the hallway towards the elevator, but...

[June 18, 1:45 PM: Pegasus Town, Staff Area]

The elevator had a note saying “Elevator in maintenance, 1:00-1:50 PM” stuck to it.
Come to think of it, Amamiya-san did mention this. That the elevator was undergoing maintenance from 1:00 PM.
I checked my watch. 1:45 PM.
It's only another five minutes before they finish. Oh well. I guess I can wait.
I was standing there zoning out, when a cleaning lady came around the corner. Her hair was tucked under her cap and she was wearing a large mask. She was wearing a pair of rubber gloves and carrying a heavy looking bucket. She glanced at me briefly before looking away with a sigh. She seemed to be tired from a lot of hard work.
That was when I realised something important. I was planning to go see Amamiya-san, but what floor is his office on...?
Astounded by my own stupidity, I spoke to the cleaner.
“Excuse me, I'd like to ask you something.”
“What floor is the owner's office on?”
The cleaner didn't answer. She looked down in silence.
... Huh? Maybe she didn't hear me. It's possible she could be hard of hearing.
Maybe I should try asking in a louder voice... I thought.
“... I think, it's the seventh floor. Yeah... Right... Seventh floor.”
It was a soft voice. And the mask made it even harder to hear her clearly.
Anyway, I now knew where the owner's office was. I thanked her.
Seventh floor, huh... There's stairs here, but it'd be tough climbing up that far. I'll just wait quietly for the elevator to come back in service.
The maintenance was soon over and the elevator came down. Both I and the cleaner got inside. I pressed the button for level 7 and she pressed the one for level 10.
The elevator stopped on the second floor and two women got on.
Since this is a staff elevator, the general public can't use it. The two of them appear to be employees of the shopping mall. One was thin and the other a little chubby.
“Argh! It's not in here–!”
The thin one looked around the floor of the elevator, speaking in a voice sounding as if she was about to cry.
The chubby one spoke back sceptically.
“Are you sure you dropped it in this elevator?”
“Yeah, probably. There's nowhere else it could've been...”
“Why did you drop it in an elevator?”
“My phone rang. Then as soon as I got it out of my bag, my pass case must have fallen out.”
“Why didn't you notice back then?”
“Because I was distracted by my phone... Ugh, what a shock. I only just bought that pass case too~!”
“Ah, that one you showed me recently? The pink one with the little black cat on it...”
“Yeah, that's it. I really liked it too!”
It seems this woman lost something inside the elevator.
She was distracted by her phone, huh? That happens to me too, I'll have to be careful.
“What was in it?”
“My boutique point card, my book store point card, my drug store point card, my beauty salon point card...”
“Those are all just point cards. You didn't have anything important in there? Like your train pass or credit card?”
“They weren't in there.”
“No biggie then. There's no point worrying about point cards.”
“There's lots of points! I almost had 100 points for the book store!”
“Maybe someone picked it up? You can ask management later.”
“Yeah... I hope they have it...”
The next stop was the seventh floor. The two women and I stepped out.
There were a lot of doors in the hallway, and no signs to indicate where to go.
I called out to the two women who were already walking away.
“Excuse me, which way is the owner's office?”
The pair turned around. The chubby one spoke to me.
“The owner's office? You're on the wrong floor.”
“Eh? But the cleaner told me it was the seventh floor...”
“Ah, the cleaning staff are contractors, so they aren't always knowledgeable about these things. The owner's office is on the top floor.”
Gimme a break.
By the time I turned back around, the elevator door was already shut.

By the time the elevator came back to the seventh floor, it was almost 2:00.
This was taking longer than I'd expected. The event ends at 2:00. There's no way I'll make it back before it's over.
I should probably contact Odoroki-kun after this...
I found where I was going without any trouble. An imposing door with the words “Owner's Office” written above it in golden letters.
I knocked and immediately got a response.
“Come in.”
I opened the door.
It was a large office. There was a rug spread out on the floor as well as a lounge suite. A fine desk was by the window where Amamiya-san was sitting in his chair.
Amamiya-san looked at me with surprise as he got up.
“Oh, it's Naruhodou-san. Sorry... I thought you were my secretary.”
“No, I should be apologising for barging in on you.”
“Is something the matter?”
“There's something I'd like to discuss...”
I walked towards the desk – and my foot slipped on the floor.
I managed to maintain my balance, barely escaping falling over.
The floor was wet. Looking at it, it seems it had recently been wiped with a wet cloth.
Amamiya-san spoke up.
“Are you okay? I'm so sorry... I spilt some coffee earlier, I'd meant to clean it up properly.”
“I'm always doing that, careless really. My secretary would scold me if she knew.”
Amamiya-san smiled wryly. At a glance he seems to be the perfect gentleman, but it seems he has his faults after all. I often spill drinks at the agency too, and Minuki gets mad at me. I feel an affinity with him...
“I was hoping to talk about the event next month you mentioned earlier.”
“The one Minuki-san had to turn down due to a prior engagement...?”
“It's just been cancelled.”
“Really!? So, will Minuki-san be able to participate...?”
“Yes, of course. She'd love to.”
“How wonderful. I adore Minuki-san's magic. I was so disappointed when she turned the event down.”
Amamiya-san grinned ear to ear.
I felt somewhat satisfied with a smile, perhaps also influenced by his compliments.
“Well, I'll be off. We can discuss the details later when I have Minuki with me.”
“Thank you for letting me know, Naruhodou-san.”
I was just about to turn and leave.
The phone on the desk rang. Amamiya-san said “Excuse me.” before answering.
I was just leaving the room – but Amamiya-san's words stopped me in my tracks.
“Eh? What? ... Dead!?”
I turned around instinctively. Amamiya-san gripped the receiver tightly with his eyes wide.
“What on earth happened...!? Alright, I'll visit the scene. I'll be there soon.”
Amamiya-san slammed the receiver down and looked at me. His face had become stiff.
“Terrible news, Naruhodou-san. The staff just contacted me... Chokkakkou-san was found dead in the waiting room...!”