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Phoenix Wright (成歩堂龍一) ([personal profile] thewrightway) wrote in [community profile] aceattorneythenovel2017-05-11 09:54 pm

Chapter 8: To the Core of the Incident (Japanese terminology)

I shouted loud enough to rival even Odoroki-kun.
The judge almost dropped his gavel.
“W-what does the defence have to say? You still have objections at this point?”
“Of course I do.”
I puffed out my chest as I looked at Shirai-san. Shirai-san gave me a look that said I was fighting a losing battle.
“According to Shirai-san, Uranashi-san had a heavy workload.”
“Of course he did. When you're as important politician as the boss, you've got inspections and meetings planned constantly. He's also invited to parties, not to mention the daily dinners and assemblies...”
“But that's odd. The schedule I saw in his office was blank.”
Shirai-san had a dubious expression for a moment before his face twitched. He'd realised what I was getting at.
“That's... sometimes those plans are... well...”
I shook my head.
“There was something odd about that schedule. It was filled from the start of the month up until a certain day, after which it's blank.”
“From the 12th of March onwards, the day Uranashi-san was killed, the schedule is blank. That's clearly suspicious!”
Shirai-san glared at me wordlessly. He still had his usual cool expression, but I could tell he was sweating underneath.
The judge asked a question.
“So... what is it that the defence is claiming?”
“Uranashi-san had no plans beyond March 12th. Almost as if he knew he would be stabbed that day.”
“What could that mean?”
“It's simple. Basically—”
Everything suddenly became clear, like wiping fogged up glass with a cloth.
“Uranashi-san stabbed himself!”

The judge had a confused expression. The gallery went into an uproar.
Right. I should have realised sooner.
Why that schedule was conspicuously blank. It was a huge hint hidden in plain sight.
The ice pick fell by Odoroki-kun's feet. Who had dropped it there? The person standing closest — in other words, Uranashi-san was the natural assumption.
Uranashi-san wasn't ill. Yet he had suddenly shouted and collapsed. Why?
Toshinari-san had described him as the “king of cheaters”. The kind of guy who would fake illness to get out of a big cleaning day.
And so, we find Uranashi-san about to have his fraudulent activity revealed.
Faced with this truth, the answer was clear.
“Himself...!? I-is the defence asserting that Uranashi-shi's death was a suicide!?”
“Not at all.”
I shook my head and looked at Shirai-san. Shirai-san's face was pale. It won't take much more to break his cool mask.
“His plan was to go to the emergency room. To escape the investigation run by the prosecutor's office, he would get himself hospitalised. Typically, you'd just fake an illness, but he was known to be in good health. It was part of his appeal to the public. It'd be suspicious if he suddenly fell ill. So he came up with the idea of 'being assaulted by a ruffian'.”
“Wh... whaaaaat...!?”
The judge's voice cracked.
“B-but, defence. The weapon was coated in deadly poison. There's hardly any point in being hospitalised if you're dead!”
“Indeed. Uranashi-san obviously had no intention of using a poisoned weapon. He wound he gave himself a light scratch, nothing that could be life threatening. It would naturally be a bit painful, but nothing he couldn't handle. He hid his wound under his hand when he lined up at the hand luggage inspection area.”
The inspection officer was absorbed in watching a soccer match. That's when Odoroki-kun lined up behind him. Seeing it as the ideal time, he dropped his hidden ice pick on the floor. And as Odoroki-kun picked it up, he shouted “What are you doing!?” and collapsed.
“The people who heard his scream would run over and he'd be transported to the hospital... that was how it was supposed to happen. But things didn't go as planned for Uranashi-san. He was instead killed by a deadly poison.”
I can finally see the truth behind this incident.
Uranashi-san gave himself a light wound. Nothing that would really require being admitted to hospital.
So obviously, he had an accomplice. Someone who could provide a medical assessment and say “He needs a hospital and plenty of bed rest.” — in other words, a doctor.
I slammed the desk in front of me and raised my voice.
“I request further testimony from Hipokura-san!”

Upon his return to the witness stand, Hipokura-san no longer looked like a dignified gentleman. He was already frazzled and waving his arms around.
Before he began testifying, I made sure to warn him.
“Hipokura-san. Don't forget lying in court is a serious offence. Got it?”
“G... g... got it...”
“You told us a good number of lies earlier. If you tell any further lies...”
“I-I understand! I've got it! I'll tell the truth! I did iiiiit!
That was quick. That's the fastest witness breakdown I've ever seen.
“Please calm down, Hipokura-san. So when you say 'I did it'...”
“It's true! It's the truth! I'm not lying!”
He cried and flailed about. He's a lot weaker than he looks.
“Calm down. What did you do? Did you kill Uranashi-san?”
“Eh! I-impossible! There's no waaaay!”
“Please tell us exactly what it was you did.”
Hipokura-san finally stopped flailing and spoke dejectedly.
“Sorry... It wasn't a coincidence that Uranashi-san and I were on the same flight... I lied. The truth is we arranged to have tickets for the same flight in advance.”
“This was planned by Uranashi-san?”
“That's right. Uranashi-sensei said he wanted to be admitted to hospital. He would pretend to be stabbed at the airport and wanted me to have him taken back to my hospital and be consigned to 'complete bed rest'.”
“That's some fairly shady activity, why didn't you decline his request?”
“I couldn't refuse. Not after everything he's done for me... he helped cover up a little malpractice incident... A-ah. Strike that from the record! Pretend you didn't hear that!”
... That's not the kind of thing we should overlook, but it's unrelated to the case at hand. I'm sure someone will take plenty of time looking into that later.
“What arrangements did you make in advance while planning the incident?”
“First, Uranashi-sensei would stab himself in his side. Only a light wound of course. After wiping his prints he'd hide the ice pick under his clothes. He'd apply pressure to the wound with his hand as he went to the hand luggage examination area and lined up. The examination officer there is always distracted thinking about soccer, so there was no need to worry about being noticed. As soon as someone lined up behind him he'd drop the ice pick. The moment the person behind him picked it up, he would scream and collapse. As soon as we heard that, Shirai-san and I would run over and pick him up, before anyone else could raise any suspicion, we'd drive him to the hospital... that was the plan.”
“What if the person behind him didn't pick up the ice pick?”
“The plan wouldn't change. I'd have falsely claimed that I saw them drop it.”
The more I hear, the less I like about this plan.
“However, things didn't go according to plan at all, did they?”
“Indeed. I never expected this outcome.”
Hipokura-san went pale as he began trembling.
“I didn't know what went wrong, I was bewildered. I wanted to speak with Shirai-san about it, so I followed after him. But he said he wanted to be alone... so I gave up and wandered around the hallway.”
“Why have you remained silent until now?”
“I was an accomplice in his plan... But then it unexpectedly evolved into a murder incident... I was too scared to say anything... I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.”
I nodded.
Shirai-san was standing to the side of the witness stand, giving Hipokura-san a death glare.
“Shirai-san. Do you acknowledge these claims?”
“Not at all. Total hogwash.”
Shirai-san answered with a sigh.
“Stabbing yourself to be admitted to hospital? I've never heard such a ridiculous plan. And if the boss had come up with something like that, I'd have stopped him.”
“Wh... what was that!?”
Hipokura-san held his head in his hands as he stared at Shirai-san in disbelief.
“W-why you, that's a complete lie...! You, Uranashi-sensei and myself all met together to meticulously plan things out!”
“I recall nothing of the sort. Are you sure it wasn't a dream, Hipokura-san?”
Shirai-san laughed scornfully.
I'm sure there's no solid evidence of their conspiring left. So he figures he'll ride it out by feigning ignorance.
I glared at Shirai-san.
“You're saying Uranashi-san didn't plan it all out himself? In that case, could you please explain why his schedule was clear after March 12th?”
“It's simple.”
Shirai-san shrugged.
“The boss works very hard and was feeling somewhat fatigued. He wanted to take a short break from his job. Hence the blank schedule.”
“But that doesn't add up with what you said earlier. A politician of Uranashi-san's standing always has a packed schedule...”
“Hence why he was fatigued. It's only natural he'd want a vacation. Surely anyone would want a break after a period of continuous work?
The judge had an expression of agreement. Shirai-san continued without delay.
“I'm sure the judge is tired. Wouldn't you like to bring this trial to an end and go home to play with your grandchildren?”
“... Ho!?”
Looks like he can play our judge like a fiddle.
Shirai-san spoke in an even louder voice.
“These delusions and false accusations only serve to drag the length of this trial out and waste everybody's time. If we could bring a swift and just verdict...”
I was about to offer a counter argument.
But someone else spoke up first—
“It's not the witness' decision what constitutes a waste of time.”
It was Prosecutor Garyuu.
Shirai-san was about to offer an indignant reply, but Prosecutor Garyuu kept speaking.
“Anyway, I say we listen to the defence's claim. The defence purports that Uranashi-shi stabbed himself, right?”
I gave a bewildered nod.
The prosecution wanting to hear the defence's theory? It's an odd situation.
Kokone-chan whispered to me happily.
“I bet Prosecutor Garyuu doesn't want to see Odoroki-senpai convicted either. That's why he wants to hear our theory. He's so nice!”
... No, I doubt that's the case.
Trials are always an all out battle. I've got a bad feeling about this.
But, hesitation won't get me anywhere.
It's time for the defence to make its appeal.
“Uranashi-san came up with the whole incident in order to be hospitalised. Meaning he planned it himself. He likely stabbed himself somewhere he couldn't be seen, like the VIP lounge. He then lined up at the examination area while hiding his wound, waiting for the right moment to drop the ice pick at the defendant's feet.”
“The investigation determined that the ice pick was covered in Uranashi-shi's blood and a deadly poison. So according to the defence's claim the poison was merely camouflage... is that right?”
“That's right. The true culprit was there when Uranashi-san stabbed himself. He then told Uranashi-san 'I'll wipe the prints for you', and secretly applied the poison while doing so. Unaware of this, Uranashi-san acted according to the plan. He pretended to be stabbed and collapsed as he waited for his secretary and doctor to carry him off. However, and I can't say whether he was aware at this point, the poison was soon circulating his body leaving him unable to speak. It was only a matter of seconds later that he was dead.”
“And what did the culprit do next?”
“He split away from everyone else and went off on his own... to dispose of the real weapon...”
My words were frail and fading. Prosecutor Garyuu gave a satisfied laugh.
“So we're back to square one. How did the true culprit dispose of the weapon? And I won't accept any half baked explanations.. like a secret hiding spot on the observation deck. There was no sign of any weapons within the airport.”
Prosecutor Garyuu thrust his finger at me.
“I'd like an answer. Where did this real weapon disappear? As long as you can't explain that, your theory has no legs. It's unproven!”
Shirai-san's disgruntled expression changed back to one of triumph as he looked at Prosecutor Garyuu.
Kokone-chan clenched her fists in frustration.
“Ngh...! So this was his plan. He's not a nice guy at all!”
... Well, duh.
Making his argument after hearing our assertion in detail makes it more convincing. Whispers rose in the gallery.
(I knew it, he's guilty.)
(The defence is only trying to buy time, just as Shirai-san said.)
“Hmm... it seems we've reached a conclusion.”
The judge spoke.
“As the prosecution claims, there was no way to dispose of a weapon, meaning that there is no one other than the defendant who could have committed this crime. Therefore...”
“There was a way.”
I smiled.
It was a particularly bold smile.
The judge stopped the hand holding his gavel and looked at me.
“Oho? Did the defence just say something?”
“Of course there was a way. Only one way to have disposed of the weapon.”
“Naruhodo-san! I knew you'd find something!”
Kokone-chan gave light applause as she spoke.
I gave the biggest smile I could, just as my mentor Chihiro-san had taught me. In other words — it was the worst of times. Think. There must be a way. A way to dispose of a weapon.
“Please explain to the court. The one way the weapon could be disposed of?”
The weapon wasn't found anywhere on the observation deck or its surrounding. But the only time Shirai-san could've disposed of a weapon was when he was on his own on the observation deck.
A way he could've destroyed the weapon in a few minutes... what could it be...
“The defence is bluffing. Another feeble attempt to buy time.”
Shirai-san said. The judge looked at me pensively.
I've hit a dead end. At a time like this—
Right. I need to turn my thinking around.
I'm not thinking of a way to easily dispose of a weapon. I'm thinking of a weapon that could easily be disposed of.
Why did Shirai-san go to the observation deck? Because it was the only place he could dispose of his weapon.
What's special about the observation deck? It's open air and faces out over the tarmac. The tarmac has various aircraft upon it, preparing for take off into the great blue sky—
The great blue sky...? Of course... The sky! That's why Shirai-san went to the observation deck.
“... It seems he has nothing to say. Now, my verdict...”
I raised my voice.
It may be a ridiculous idea. But nothing else could possibly fit. If the weapon was made of ice or a senbei cracker, it still would've taken a significant time to get rid of. There's only one weapon that could make good use of the observation deck.
“A paper plane.”
I lifted my head high.
The judge asked back, thinking he'd misheard something.
“Oh? What was that?”
“The weapon used by the killer was a paper plane!”
“A... paper plane?”
“The culprit killed Uranashi-san with a paper plane and threw the weapon from the observation deck!”
The judge stared at me blankly. The gallery went silent too.
Prosecutor Garyuu was the one to break the silence.
“So you're finally all out of options and going for broke? No matter how bad things get, I'd like you to at least take this trial seriously.”
“I'm completely serious.”
I'm going for broke — I'll admit it. But I've got a good feeling about this.
When Wataru-kun mentioned 'grandpa's plane', he was talking about a paper plane. Which means it's natural to assume the 'awesome black plane' he saw was also a paper plane.
And this was that plane.
“The winds are strong around Umibeno airport. If you threw a paper plane from there, it'd be gone within the blink of an eye.”
“You're seriously going with this?”
Prosecutor Garyuu was exasperated... or perhaps even worried about my mental state as he looked at me.
“How can a paper plane kill someone? The victim was poisoned.”
“Indeed, under any normal circumstance, a paper plane couldn't kill anyone. But the fallen victim already had an open wound.”
The light wound he had given himself was more than enough for the killer to make use of.
“The culprit used thick paper to fold a long and narrow plane, covered the pointy end in poison and kept it hidden up his sleeve. Under normal circumstances, such an object couldn't pierce through fabric or skin. But Uranashi-san had already stabbed himself in the side. Pretending to support him, he got the tip of the paper plane in his sleeve to come in contact with the wound. That was all it took to kill his victim.”
Suddenly a dry laugh rang out. It was Shirai-san. His shoulders trembled as he burst out laughing.
“No, I'm sorry. Such a unique deduction... Or rather, delusion. I couldn't help but laugh.”
“It's no delusion. In fact, there's someone who witnessed your paper plane flying.”
The smile vanished from Shirai-san's face.
I shouted at the top of my voice.
I would like to summon Meguru Amakake-san's younger brother, Wataru-kun, to the stand!