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Phoenix Wright (成歩堂龍一) ([personal profile] thewrightway) wrote in [community profile] aceattorneythenovel2017-02-26 11:23 pm

Chapter 2: To the Scene of the Crime (Japanese terminology)

[Same Day, 2:15 PM: Umibeno Airport]

Only 40 minutes from the city by car! That's the phrase Umibeno Airport advertise themselves with...
There's something I'd like to add to that. If you're going by train, you need to take three different lines and it takes over two hours.
“Wouldn't it have been faster to just walk here?”
By the time we reached the airport, even Kokone-chan's expression was worn out.
“Would you like to walk back to the office then?”
That was meant to be a joke, but Kokone-chan suddenly became lively and flashed the peace sign with her fingers.
“Fine by me! I prefer walking to sitting still on a train anyway! We can make it a race to see who gets back to the office first, Naruhodo-san!”
... I forgot. Kokone-chan has impressive guts and stamina, is highly competitive and hates losing.
“Sorry, my bad. That was a joke.”
“Ah! I see... That's a shame. Let me know if you change your mind.”
It seems like she really wanted to walk. Kokone-chan's worn out expression returned.
“By the way...”
Kokone-chan sighed as she surveyed the area.
“Why build an airport in such an inconvenient location? I mean, they should've build a direct rail line to go with it.”
“Apparently, that was the plan originally. But the airport cost more than they expected and there wasn't enough left for the rail line. They were running shuttle buses for a little while, but it wasn't long until they got shut down too.”
“And as a result, they get barely any passengers, it's such a waste though.”
Just as Kokone-chan said, the spacious airport was deserted. To the point where there seemed to be more airport staff and shop employees than actual passengers.
I considered that maybe it was because of the incident, but the planes are flying to their regular schedule, so I guess it's just always like this.
“It's a really nice airport, it's such a shame.”
Being a fairly new building, it was nice and clean inside, but with a few personal touches. The lobby was quite wide, there was a flower bed containing southern flowers and the open deck facing the tarmac gave it an open feel. Although even with the resort-like furnishings, without any customers it felt quite desolate.
Anyway, we headed for the crime scene.

The carry on baggage check area was also deserted. There was a line drawn to indicate where passengers should queue, with the inspection platform to the right of it. But there wasn't a single passenger getting their bags examined today. Only a bored looking young inspection officer standing there. I was expecting there to at least be some police examining the crime scene, but I guess not. I suppose they have both their suspect and murder weapon already, so maybe they didn't feel the need to search for anything else.
I spoke up to the bored looking examination officer.
“Excuse me. We'd like to ask some questions about yesterday's incident.”
The inspection officer regarded us with suspicion.
“Why are you asking? If you're cops, I already told you everything yesterday...”
“No, we aren't police.”
“Newspaper journalists? Or magazine columnists? I've got nothing to say to you.”
He was blunt. But I'm used to this kind of treatment. I spoke politely.
“We aren't reporters. We're the suspect's lawyers.”
The inspection officer's expression became even sterner.
“I've nothing to tell you. I'm busy at the moment.
... If this is what he calls “busy”, then a sleeping cat is really busy.
“It won't take long, if you could just tell us about the time of the incident...”
Just as I was starting to get desperate.
A woman with a small suitcase approached.
She wore an extravagant kimono and her hair done up with large wooden kanzashi hair ornaments. Her thick make up made it hard to pin down her age, but I'd place my guess at somewhere between 30 and 100.
The suitcase she had with her had a large logo reading “Jinguuji Style Master” on it.
That suitcase was quite the self promotion tool...

The woman glared at me and spoke in a shrill voice.
“Oh my, it seems you have no luggage to be examined. Then step aside. I'm in a hurry.”
Kokone-chan and I moved out of the way.
The woman put her suitcase on the examination platform with a thud and spoke to the examination officer.
“The plane will be departing today as planned?”
“Yes, there's no delays.”:
“I couldn't get on the plane because of that big commotion yesterday, it was quite the inconvenience. Those police were so insistent despite how many times I told them it had nothing to do with me. It has quite ruined my vacation plans.”
The way she was chewing out the examination officer almost felt as if she were blaming him personally.
... Either way, this woman was apparently planning to catch last night's flight. It seems that because of the murder incident, she had missed her flight and was planning to get another one today.
“Um... Excuse me, may we ask you a few questions?”
When I spoke up, she turned to look at me and broke into a smile.
The expression on her face made her look almost like a different person to before.
However, her eyes weren't smiling, they were a little intimidating.
“Questions, you say? Aha, oh my, of course, you want to enroll in the Jinguuji Style? Hoho, I gladly accept. We can begin the formalities immediately. I'll make the application fee ¥100,000 as a special service. Of course, I will also accept the payment in instalments.”
... What. What have I gotten into? I shook my head in a panic.
“No, that's not it. We're not interested in enrollment, we're interested in the incident that happened yesterday. Were you a witness to the crime?”
The woman's expression immediately changed to annoyed.
“Huuuh? That's all, tch... So you're not applicants? Tch, to think I wasted my manners on you.”
“Uh... Okay. I'm the suspect's lawyer and we're here to investigate the incident...”
“Investigate? I don't know anything about the incident.”
“But you were here when it occurred yesterday? Anything is fine, just tell us what you saw...”
“I said I don't know anything. I'm in a hurry. I don't want to miss my flight again. Out of the way.”
The woman brushed us aside and walked through the metal detector, reclaimed her suitcase when it came through inspection and headed for the departure gate.
We were unable to enter the area beyond without any plane tickets. It's unfortunate, but we'll have to give up on speaking to that woman.
Kokone-chan groaned in frustration.
“We spent two hours getting here and came up with nothing. We haven't even got any witnesses to talk to...”
I looked at the inspection officer and he turned the other way, he seems intent on ignoring us. The way he's so reluctant to talk seems suspicious.
He would've been the closest witness to the crime. Which means he's got to be one of the witnesses testifying in the trial. He won't be able to give us the silent treatment in court. I'll make sure to draw out every last detail of what he saw.
Kokone-chan and I left the carry on baggage inspection area and headed for the exit.
The inspection officer wasn't the only witness. Since we came all the way out here, we're going to get all the details we can.
“Let's go see Odoroki-kun's friend Meguru-san. He was at the scene as well. Then we'll visit the office of the victim, Uranashi-san...”
As soon as I'd spoken those words.
“– I knew you'd be here.”
I stopped in my tracks when I heard the familiar voice.

Kokone-chan spoke up in surprise as she turned around.
“Ah, Prosecutor Mitsurugi...!”
Standing behind us with his unsociable expression was my friend and current chief prosecutor – Reiji Mitsurugi.
An unexpected face in an unexpected place.
I decided to ask.
“Why are you here? I'm guessing a vacation... isn't on the cards right now.”
“I haven't got time for a vacation. I'm here on business.”
“By business, do you mean investigating yesterday's incident...?”
No, there's no reason the chief prosecutor would be looking into a murder case.
Mitsurugi magnificently dodged the question with his reply.
“I was truly shocked. I never thought your subordinate would end up as a murder suspect.”
I shook my head and cut him off.
“Odoroki-kun didn't do it. The real culprit is out there somewhere.”
“I suppose you'll be defending him in court.”
“Of course.”
“And you're here to gather evidence to build your case?”
“– We just arrived at the airport earlier. Now we'll be speaking to other related parties.”
“Try not to get your hopes up.”
Mitsurugi said without a hint of a smile.
That said, throughout the many years I've known him, I could probably still count the number of times he's actually smiled.
“What do you mean?”
“Uranashi-shi was a popular politician. The people of this city are still in shock over his death. I doubt many of them will be willing to discuss the incident.”
“... Eh?”
Mitsurugi spoke matter of factly, but I was taken slightly aback.
A politician trusted by the public has been killed. Isn't this exactly the kind of thing people would want to talk about? To band together and bring the terrible person who killed him to justice...
But before I could open my mouth to voice my questions, Mitsurugi spoke.
“I'll leave you to your own devices now. If you'll excuse me.”
And he walked off without a moment of hesitation. Of course, I didn't bother calling out to him. I knew full well that he wouldn't stop anyway.
“... Well that was odd. I wonder why Prosecutor Mitsurugi was here at the airport?”
Kokone-chan tilted her head.
I spoke as I began walking.
“The work of the chief prosecutor is filled with mysteries. Come on, let's get moving...”
“I wonder why Prosecutor Mitsurugi hates the victim so much?”
Kokone-chan seemed to be talking to herself.
Despite her whispering, I replied to her anyway.
“Hate? Mitsurugi? He never said he hated the guy...”
“Not with his words, but I picked it up in the tone of his voice.”
I see.
Kokone-chan has incredible hearing. She can pick up on people's emotions just by hearing their voice, even if they're actively hiding it.
Sometimes it's clearer than their actual words.
Nothing gets past Kokone-chan's ears. The fact that Kokone-chan managed to pick up “hate” from what Mitsurugi had said...
There must be some kind of connection between Mitsurugi and Uranashi-san.
Had he done something to piss Mitsurugi off?

[Same Day, 2:55 PM: Taikuuken]

Meguru-san's home was a ramen shop by the ocean.
Its name was “Taikuuken”.
It was a name suiting a ramen shop in an airport city.
While we were heading to the ramen shop, Kokone-chan let out a shout.
“Hyah! The wind sure is strong today!”
It was the kind of wind where if you weren't careful would blow you over. Kokone-chan's long hair fluttered in the wind like a carp streamer.
I took the opportunity to dish out some knowledge I'd prepared in advance.
“It's not just today. This city has strong winds all year round.”
“Eh? Why?”
“It's the topography. We're close to the ocean, but the mountains aren't far either. This area has always been known as a windy city. The strong winds also cause trouble for the flight schedules.”
“Whaa!? But that means this is a ridiculous place to build an airport. Why did they build it in a place like this?”
Indeed... it seems an odd choice to put all that money into putting an airport just anywhere without any real thought.
Anyway, we finally reached “Taikuuken”.
It was a small shop with an old looking sign.
To be quite honest, it looked... worn out. I hate to say it, but it looked as though it might collapse under the force of the strong winds at any moment.
Kokone-chan faltered for a moment, but she's a true member of the Naruhodou Anything Agency. She made a strong proclamation.
“Run down looking places like this are always the best. I can't wait to eat!”
“I'm sure I don't need to remind you, but we didn't come here for a meal...”
Though I said this, the best way to get the chef to open his mouth was to ask our questions while eating. Despite being the somewhat questionable time of just before three o'clock.
“You can eat ramen at any time! I know I'm eating.”
Kokone-chan spoke in an upbeat voice. I've already had a solid lunch, but I do enjoy having ramen...
As we opened the door we got a lifeless greeting.
“Hey, w'lcome.”
It was a narrow shop. The counter was in the shape of the letter L with eight legged round stools lined up along it. It may be due to the time of day, but there wasn't a single customer.

Behind the counter was a man wearing a T-shirt with long brown hair that was tied back. This must be Meguru Amakake-san.
I took a seat and ordered my ramen innocently. The man nodded with a gloomy expression and began to parboil the noodles.
I looked around the shop a little before deciding to break the ice. Plastered on the wall was a slightly oily looking menu. Between the sheets of the menu, there were photos of aircraft conspicuously standing out.
Both jumbo jets and smaller jets were included. They were all beautiful photos showing them taking off into the grand skies.
“You like planes, I see.”
The man behind the counter curtly replied with a calm whisper.
“... Not particularly, it's my predecessor's interest.”
Predecessor, huh...? I knew the place looked old, but apparently it had been running for generations.
I decided to just cut to the chase.
“Excuse me, but you're Meguru Amakake-san, right?”
“... Eh?”
The man lifted his head and regarded us with suspicion. I spoke in the most amiable tone possible.
“My name is Ryuuichi Naruhodou. I'm representing Odoroki-kun who was arrested yester...”
“... Eh? Eeeeh!?”
Meguru-san pulled out and dumped the noodles in a rush (dangerous!) and turned to us in excitement.
“Naruhodo as in Odoroki's boss!? That's you!?”
“Y-yeah. Um, the noodles...”
“Seriously!? You should've told me sooner! Woah, thanks for coming. I've heard all about you from Odoroki, I've always wanted to meet you!”
His speech and behaviour had suddenly changed dramatically.
He'd been about as lively as a wet noodle until just a moment ago.
Meguru-san's eyes shone as he introduced himself.
“I'm Meguru Amakake. Odoroki's pal.”
“Right. Odoroki-kun told us about you...”
“I've heard all about you too! I've heard a lot, Odoroki has like, totally mad respect for you. We see each other for the first time in a while, hahaha, and all he talks about is you! How his boss at the office is totally awesome!”
“O-oh really?”
“You've got like, crazy bad luck! You've been beaten over the head, hit by a car, trampled by a herd of elephants and yet you've come away basically unscathed?”
... I recall nothing about any elephants.
“Plus you pull through your trials with bluffs and quips, making you the ultimate straight man! Odoroki tells me that 'No other lawyer could pull off what Naruhodou-san does'. You're amazing!”
... Odoroki-kun, what exactly have you been saying behind my back?
Meguru-san served up a bowl of ramen with a smile, laying them in front of us. Not only that, but he added a large serving of menma.
“It's an honour to meet you, Naruhodo-san. This is on the house. Enjoy to your hearts content, Taikuuken's speciality, our menma!”
“Th... Thank you very much...”
“So? The reason that brings you way out here is...”
Meguru-san's voice dropped suddenly, as he gained a serious expression.
“Yesterday's incident?”
“That's right.”
I was relieved.
After making no progress as the airport and Mitsurugi's cryptic warning, I was worried that this investigation wasn't going anywhere, but it seems like Meguru-san will talk to us.
Meguru-san shook his head.
“Odoroki didn't do it. There's no way a straight arrow like him would kill anyone!”
“Of course, I believe in him too. But...”
Meguru-san had an overwhelming energy, but it's time I got serious.
I cut straight to the question.
“Are you sure you never doubted Odoroki-kun at all?”
Meguru-san twitched in response to my words.
“Odoroki-kun told me. Right after the incident occurred, you asked him 'Why would you'. Which is to say you suspected him, right?”
“At the time... yeah, I thought so. But that's 'cause I saw it. I saw the ice pick drop from his hands. The airport staff were restraining him. And so those words just slipped out...”
Meguru-san averted his eyes in frustration.
“... I regret it now. When I thought about it calmly it seemed ridiculous. Odoroki would never kill a person. I... need to apologise to him.”
... Good to hear. Meguru-san does believe in Odoroki. He ran his mouth in the heat of the moment and regrets it.
“Can you recount everything you saw for us?”
Meguru-san lifted his head.
“I... didn't see the moment it happened. I parted ways with Odoroki just before he entered the baggage check and had my back turned. It wasn't until the people from the departure gate rushed over and began shouting and trying to wake him. Someone pointed at Odoroki and called him the culprit... so I came running over...”
Meguru-san furrowed his brow. I decided to bring up something that had been bothering me.
“There's one thing I'd like to confirm.”
“... What is it?”
“I hear you interacted with the victim right before the incident occurred?”
Meguru-san gulped. I pressed for an answer.
“What was it you tried to discuss with Uranashi-san?”
“Nothing... It wasn't important.”
Meguru-san looked away.
“Uranashi-san is an old friend of my predecessor... that is to say, my grandpa. He's done a lot for us over the years with his connections. When I saw him at the airport, I thought I'd take the chance to give him my regards.”
According to Odoroki-kun, Meguru-san had grabbed Uranashi-san's arm with a grim expression... and Uranashi-san had shaken him off and kept walking. Doesn't sound like a friendly greeting to me.
I changed my angle of approach.
“Can you tell me more about the late Uranashi-san?”
“Eh...? Ah... Uh...”
“What kind of man was he? I've heard he's long since been a politician dedicated to the people of this city.”
“That's right. Uranashi-san was a politician who was admired by everyone.”
“So you wouldn't know of anyone who had harboured any ill will towards Uranashi-san?”
“Of course not! Nobody would want him dead!”
Meguru-san gave an unnaturally quick and definitive response.
“But someone did kill him and tried to pin the crime on Odoroki-kun. The true culprit must have had some kind of motive...”
“I don't know. I don't know anything about that!”
Meguru-san shouted to cut off the conversation as he added more menma to our bowls.
“Hey, Naruhodo-san. Please help Odoroki. I know he's innocent!”
“Of course, I believe in him. So regarding Uranashi-san...”
“I don't know, I've got nothing to say about him. I'm sorry, Naruhodo-san!”
Once again he added more menma.
I'd rather have some decent testimony over mountains of menma...
It doesn't seem we'll get anything else out of Meguru-san.
We simply ate our menma in silence.