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Phoenix Wright (成歩堂龍一) ([personal profile] thewrightway) wrote in [community profile] aceattorneythenovel2017-02-19 02:53 pm

Chapter 1: A Shocking Arrest (Japanese terminology)

[March 12, 5:46 PM: Umibeno Airport]

“Wooaah...! Wh-what are you doing...!?”
The man shouted suddenly in a strained voice as he turned and collapsed.
“... Eh?”
I instinctively caught the man. Or rather, I was unable to hold back the great force with which he fell.
The man's body weight was a little too much for me to bear on my own. With the man's weight upon me, I fell on my rear.
The man collapsed face first and didn't move.
A sudden illness?
I only noticed when I tried calling out to the man.
Blood was oozing out somewhere around the side of his shirt.
... Eh? Why is he bleeding...?
People who had heard the man's voice were now gathering.
The very first one to run up was a man in an expensive looking suit and a pair of metal framed glasses. He got down to his knees and lifted the fallen man.
“Boss! Boss, pull yourself together! What happened, boss!?”
A man with a moustache put a hand on his shoulder to stop him.
“Stop, don't shake him! We need to stop the bleeding!”
The third person to arrive was a woman in traditional Japanese garb. She touched the fallen man and let out a scream. “Gyaaah.”
“E-emergency! He's bleeding! He's been stabbed!”
“Who!? Who would do this to the boss...!?”
The man with the glasses looked around with bloodshot eyes, before settling his gaze upon me, still sitting dumbfounded on my butt.
“Was it you!?”
“Eh...? N-no, I'd never...”
“You killed my boss! You bastard...!”
“I-I didn't. All I did was...”
The man in front of me had simply collapsed and I tried to support him.
But I doubt they'll buy that story.
“He's the culprit! Apprehend him!”
“Aah... How could this... Boss!”
The carry on baggage checking area had fallen into chaos. Airport staff and passengers were all shouting and pointing at me.
You're wrong. I didn't do it.
But– When I looked down and saw what was gripped within my own hand, I was shocked.
An ice pick with the tip covered in blood. My mind couldn't comprehend the situation.
While I was still dazed, airport staff had grabbed me by both arms.
The ice pick dropped to the ground with a hard sound.
The man with the moustache spoke as he glared at me.
“So that ice pick is the murder weapon then? Nobody touch it. Leave it as it is until the police arrive.”
“No... I didn't...!”
I finally managed to raise my voice, but it was too late. Far too late.
“Hey... You're... No way...”
A trembling voice came from behind me. I turned to look, my friend – Meguru, stared at me with his eyes wide open.
“Why... Why would you... Odoroki!”
You're wrong!
No matter what, I... Housuke Odoroki would never stab anyone!

[March 13, 9:00 AM: Naruhodou Anything Agency]

“Odoroki-senpai killed a man? No way, there's no way I'd believe a joke like that!”
The moment she heard the news, Kokone-chan burst out in cheerful laughter.
Minuki also nodded hard enough to almost drop the silk hat she was wearing from her head.
“That's right, Daddy. It's downright ridiculous to even consider it.”
“Guess we better settle it. I mean, they're probably holding him without a shred of evidence, right? You won't even need to lift a finger, Naruhodo-san...”
“I'm afraid not.”
I replied in a dejected tone.
Kokone-chan and Minuki looked at each other, then looked to me with puzzled expressions.
“What do you mean? There's no way you seriously doubt Odoroki-senpai's innocence...”
“I can't believe it, Daddy!”
... Of course not. I know 100% that Odoroki-kun is innocent. I don't doubt it in the slightest, but...
“The situation isn't exactly favourable...”
I spoke heavily, shaking my head without any energy.

My name is Ryuuichi Naruhodou. I'm a defence attorney in charge of running the “Naruhodou Anything Agency”. The reason for the ridiculous “Anything Agency” name... is kind of a long story, so I'll skip that for now. Anyway, our office isn't just a law firm, from defending in the courtroom to magic shows... our agency does it all.
Supporting me in my role as chief are my three talented subordinates.
First up, our magician, Minuki Naruhodou. She's my daughter... We're not related by blood, but due to certain circumstances I ended up adopting her. She's still only in high school, but she's incredibly level headed and mature. You could even call her the “shadow chief” of this office.
Next up, is Kokone-chan, Kokone Kizuki. She's a genius girl who studied in America and gained her qualifications as a lawyer at the age of 18. She's more active, spontaneous and easy going than the average girl, but no one is better than her at applying analytical psychology in the courtroom. She may be inexperienced, but she's reliable.
And then there's one more person supporting me– The hot blooded attorney, Housuke Odoroki.
The suspect of the case at hand.

“The incident occurred shortly before six o'clock last night. It was in the carry on baggage checking area at Umibeno Airport.”
As I was beginning my explanation, Kokone-chan cut in.
“Umibeno Airport is that new airport that was built in the last few years, right?”
“Yeah. It may be small in scale and about 40 minutes from the city by car, but they're fully equipped. Although since it's inconvenient to catch the train there, they take on less passengers than they were hoping.”
“So that airport is where Odoroki-san...”

I nodded in response to Minuki.
“That's right. Odoroki-kun was taking a vacation and was planning to travel on his own. He was planning to leave from Umibeno Airport on his own, but there's a friend of his who lives near the airport.”
“Meguru Amakake-san, right?”
Kokone-chan confirmed his name while looking at the documents she had on hand. I nodded.
“That's right. Meguru-san runs a ramen shop not far from the airport. Odoroki-kun took the rare opportunity to catch up with Meguru-san and hang out and chat before departing the following day.
Odoroki-kun arrived in Umibeno city the day before the incident – that is, March 11th. He visited his friend Meguru Amakake-san and had dinner together.
He stayed the night at Meguru-san's house and they enjoyed a drive around the neighbourhood the following day.
Then, as the time of departure approached, Meguru-san drove him to the airport around 5:30 PM.
At the airport, Odoroki-kun went his separate way from Meguru-san and headed to have his carry on baggage checked.
That's when the incident occurred.
The man in front of Odoroki-kun in the queue suddenly shouted “What are you doing” and collapsed.
“Odoroki-kun tried to support the man when he fell. But the man had lost all strength and collapsed completely. People came over to help the man back up, but he was already unconscious. Odoroki-kun was apprehended and by the time the police arrived, the man was already dead.”
“And he was arrested? But that's so weird...”
Kokone-chan spoke unsatisfied.
“I mean, it's normal to try and support someone when they collapse right in front of you? Anyone would've done the same thing.”
“But, the victim had been stabbed. And on top of that, Odoroki-kun was holding an ice pick in his hand.
“... What!?”
Kokone-chan and Minuki raised their voices in unison. “What!?” is exactly what I'd like to say about this too.
“The wound wasn't too deep, not typically a fatal injury. But the tip of the weapon was coated in poison.”
“The poison spread through the victim's body and killed him. The ice pick Odoroki-kun was holding had both the victim's blood and the poison on it.”
Kokone-chan and Minuki were lost for words.
I quietly spoke the decisive words.
“–The wound in the victim's left side perfectly matches the shape of the ice pick Odoroki-kun was holding. The only fingerprints found on the handle of the ice pick were Odoroki-kun's too.”
“Then that means...”
Minuki spoke with a perplexed expression.
“That Odoroki-san is 100% the culprit behind it...?”
“I'll never believe it!”
Kokone-chan shouted.
“No matter what the situation was, Odoroki-senpai would never kill anyone! He just wouldn't!”
“Yeah, that's right. I believe in Odoroki-kun too.”
Minuki nodded to my response.
“Which means that Odoroki-san was framed by someone – and they're the real culprit.”
Though the turbulence in my heart hasn't settled down quite yet, I lifted my head.
That's right – For now, I'll believe completely in Odoroki-kun's innocence. No matter the reason, Odoroki-kun would never kill anyone.
The true culprit must have tricked Odoroki-kun somehow.
That's all the reason I need to take this case. No matter the odds against me, I will protect Odoroki-kun!

[Same Day, 10:35 AM: Detention Center]

I was relieved to see Odoroki-kun in higher spirits than I'd expected. Having not slept all night, his eyes were a little drooped, but otherwise he was his usual self.
“Sorry to make you worry like this, Naruhodou-san!”
His voice was as loud as always too.
“No, it's fine. Anyway, it's time I heard your side of the story.”
Odoroki-kun and I were separated by a transparent acrylic barrier. I could hear his voice from the other side of the 'communication hole'.
It was an odd feeling.
It's normal for me to speak to my clients here in the detention center like this, but it's not common to have one of my employees on the other side of the wall.
“I'd arrived at Umibeno Airport ready to depart for my vacation. My friend Meguru Amakake was there to see me off... I've told you about Meguru before, right?”
“Yeah, your friend who runs a ramen shop.”
“He's a little short tempered, but a good guy. So we parted ways and I headed to the carry on baggage check... Then... Oh right, this might be unrelated to the incident, but.”
Odoroki-kun seemed to recall something.
“Before I went to the baggage check area, Meguru and I stood around talking for a bit. I was thanking him for his hospitality... Which is when something interesting occurred.”
“What was it?”
“There was a man heading over to the baggage check on his own, when Meguru took notice of him and went over to say something.”
“Did he know the guy? What did he say?”
“He was speaking quietly, so I didn't hear him. But I thought it was odd, the serious expression Meguru had. The man seemed to ignore him, but Meguru grabbed his arm to hold him back. The man just shook him off and kept walking without saying anything.”
Odoroki-kun knitted his brows as he continued.
“The thing is, that man became the victim.”
“The politician who was killed, Masamichi Uranashi.”
“Hold it right there.”
Unrelated to the incident...?
Odoroki-kun's vague wording may be his fear to suspect that his friend Meguru-san may be involved.
But it was right after this that the victim collapsed and died. I need to hear more details about this.
“The victim Uranashi-san was a prominent politician in Umibeno city. I hear he spent many years on the local council, had the trust of the public and was quite outspoken...”
“Sounds about right. However, I had no idea what Uranashi-shi even looked like, I had no idea who he even was at the time. I asked Meguru 'Is something wrong?', but he told me 'It's nothing' and wouldn't elaborate further. He was looking kind of pale, but despite my concerns I didn't have time to ask him in detail as my plane's departure time was coming up. So I said my goodbyes to him and went to have my carry on baggage checked.”
The carry on baggage checking area is a place where any luggage passengers take onto a plane is examined. If you have any dangerous items like a knife, they'll be confiscated there.
“It was a weekday, so there weren't that many passengers. So the man in front of me in the queue was the same man Meguru went after – Uranashi-shi. Just as I was about to put my bag down for inspection, something fell near my feet.”
“What was it?”
“I just picked it up without thinking about what it was. I figured it must have been dropped by the man in front of me, but...”
Could it be that was...?
Odoroki-kun continued with difficulty.
“At that moment, Uranashi-shi screamed 'Woah!' followed by a shout of 'What are you doing?' as he turned around and collapsed right in front of me. In my shock, I tried to support him, but I wasn't able to and fell over. That's when I noticed. Uranashi-shi had begun bleeding through the left side of his shirt.”
“Hold it for a moment.”
I interjected.
“The victim shouted 'What are you doing?'. So was that the moment he was stabbed...?”
“But I was the only one near him. The other passengers had already had their bags checked and were waiting at the departure gate. I mean, the inspection officer was there, but he was on the other side of the inspection bench, he never touched the victim.”
Nobody had touched the victim other than Odoroki-kun.
Yet he had shouted “What are you doing?”... I wonder what that was about.
“After his scream rang out, the people in the departure gate came running to try and help the fallen Uranashi-shi. And that was when I finally realised that I was holding the ice pick.”
“So you'd picked I up just before that.”
“Yeah. Then people started pointing to me saying 'He's the culprit'. I didn't have any chance to explain myself. Even Meguru doubted me...”

Odoroki-kun covered his face, it was as if he lost all his energy at once.
Even his friend doubted him – There's nothing harsher than that.
The pain and fear of when nobody will believe in you, I experienced it back when I was a kid. A theft had occurred in my classroom, and everyone blamed me for it.
Not even our teacher believed me. It was that painful experience that inspired me to become a defence attorney. To be there for the lonely people without anyone on their side when they plead their innocence – That's what I want to do.
“Odoroki-kun. No matter what, I believe in you.”
Odoroki-kun raised his head, life returning to his face with my words.
“Of course. Minuki and Kokone-chan are 100% behind you as well.”
Odoroki-kun broke into a smile.
“I believe in you too. I knew you'd say something like that, Naruhodou-san.”
... He said.
The situation is unusually tough. From an objective point of view, there's no possible suspect other than Odoroki-kun. But the evidence has to exist. The culprit has to have left a loose thread somewhere in their twisted tapestry that I can pull to break this case apart.
All I have to do if find it.

[Same Day, 11:40 AM: Naruhodou Anything Agency]

After listening to my story, Kokone-chan crossed her arms to think.
“Hmmm... So basically, the victim shouted 'Woah, what are you doing?' without anyone even touching him. I wonder what that was about.”
Minuki said.
“Maybe the killer attacked from a distance? The killer threw the ice pick from the other side of the room and it stabbed the victim.”
“I'm not sure that's actually possible...?”
“You're always a perfect shot though, Minuki. Except when you miss.”
... If she misses, then she's not always a perfect shot.
Kokone-chan spoke vigorously.
“Even if it didn't stab him properly, as long as it scratched him, the poison would circulate through the victim's body. The culprit threw the ice pick, it lightly wounded the victim and fell on the floor at Odoroki-senpai's feet...”
“No, the order doesn't add up.”
I shook my head.
“According to Odoroki-kun, the ice pick fell by his feet first. It was after that that the victim shouted 'What are you doing?' and collapsed.”
“Hmmm... Then maybe the would was small enough he didn't notice the moment he was stabbed? Which is why he had a delayed reaction...”
“Sitting around here making wild guesses isn't going to help our case. I'm going to the crime scene. Kokone-chan, you're with me. Minuki, you take care of the office while we're gone.”
“Got it!”
I stood up and left the office with Kokone-chan.