Official cover, done in Ace Attorney's style
|Duration||6:22:33 (as of Part 4)|
|Based on||Ace Attorney|
Turnabout Storm is a five-part (originally planned as a four-part) video series by NeoArtimus under the Youtube user PWaaMLPfim. The series is a crossover between Ace Attorney and MLP:FiM, which involves the main character of the original Ace Attorney trilogy, Phoenix Wright, being summoned to Ponyville to help Rainbow Dash, who's been accused of murder, while at the same time discovering the truth behind the mystery. The series is done in the same visual novel style the Ace Attorney series uses, using a similar structure such as the speech bubbles and sounds. The series also uses many custom icons, original characters, and speaking roles for all the characters.
|Date added||October 25, 2011|
|Part of||Turnabout Storm|
In the prologue, two ponies are shown in silhouette having a heated discussion in a dark forest clearing. Their 'negotiations' take an ominous turn when one of the shadowed figures refuses the other's demand, takes flight and kicks a cloud, causing it to fire a lightning bolt. The clearing briefly lights up, revealing a cyan-furred pegasus with a rainbow-colored mane.
The scene shifts to one Phoenix Wright, attorney-at-law, bored and about to go home at the end of a slow day. Before he can, something unseen yet very powerful takes hold of him, all but seizing him in its grasp. He becomes dizzy and finds himself unable to move, passing out as he watches his own hand fade away.
After some time, the strange force lets go of him. Starting to come to, he hears an unfamiliar and confused-sounding female voice asking who and what he is--that she was trying to summon the "best defense attorney in Equestria, not some... porcupine thing!"
Despite his disorientation, Phoenix manages to grumble a bit about the insult to his spiky hair.
Muscle control returning, he opens his eyes to find himself inside a library apparently built into the trunk of a large tree... and faced with a small, violet-furred equine with a unicorn horn asking him if he's a human. After realizing she spoke to him, Phoenix panics at witnessing a talking horse, which the unicorn corrects with an insulted air, informing him she's a pony.
After confirming with a thoroughly freaked Phoenix he is a defense attorney, the mysterious mare explains she was trying to cast a spell to bring "The Greatest Defense Attorney in Equestria" to her... but accidentally left out the Equestria part. Therefore, the spell brought her "The Greatest Defense Attorney... period".
"Oh cosmos, you flatter me..." Phoenix can't help but think, but asks the unicorn to return him home straightaway. She starts to say yes but then asks him if he would be willing to represent her friend. Kidnapped and in an unfamiliar world, Phoenix isn't about to agree, but the purple pony begs him for help, saying her friend's life is at stake.
Trying to get his head around the situation he's found himself in, Phoenix asks the odd equine to tell him her name and where he is. The unicorn introduces herself as Twilight Sparkle, a disciple of Princess Celestia, the monarch of Equestria, giving their current location as the town of Ponyville. Twilight follows that up by giving him a "detailed encyclopedia" on the different types of ponies in Equestria--Earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns--which turns out to be a twelve-word children's book, making Phoenix slightly angry. Phoenix then notices that Twilight is sad, and upon further inquiry, learns that her friend is currently being held at the Ponyville detention center, accused of murder.
Twilight tells him that, unlike in Phoenix's world, murder has almost never occurred in Equestria's long history, meaning the punishment is very severe--banishment to the moon or sun. Starting to sense her need is real, Phoenix asks the violet unicorn for more details about the case. She explains that her friend became the prime suspect because she was spotted near the crime scene around the time of the murder. Twilight goes on to say she wants to talk to her friend but can't enter the detention center without a lawyer, hence the summoning spell. Phoenix decides he can at least flash his attorney badge to get her in, but won't promise any more than that.
A grateful Twilight thanks Phoenix, addressing him by his full name. Phoenix blinks at that, asking how she knows who he is--he hadn't yet introduced himself. Caught off-guard, Twilight momentarily panics but recovers quickly, saying she used an 'identification spell' to learn his name. Though suspicious, Phoenix lets it go, resolving to get Twilight into the detention center and then get her to send him home.
After collecting a few things from the library, Twilight and Phoenix walk to the Detention Center, running a gauntlet of gawking ponies along the way. Upon arrival, the guards outside ask Phoenix for identification. Phoenix shows his human defense attorney badge only to learn it carries no weight in Equestria; the guards deny him access believing it a toy. Twilight then remembers Princess Celestia gave her a special defense attorney badge so that he can defend clients in Equestria--a pink heart-shaped badge.
Though feeling emasculated at having to wear such a girly-looking object, Phoenix becomes even more suspicious, wondering how this 'Princess' could have already had it prepared for him when he was summoned by accident. Regardless, the guards grant him access when he presents the new badge, and he invites Twilight in to speak to her friend.
An apologetic Twilight informs him that she can't--only attorneys can see suspects. She pleads with Phoenix to hear her friend out, promising that if he does so and still does not want to take the case afterwards, she will return him to his world. Though angry at the ruse, Phoenix decides to do as she asks.
Inside the Detention Center, Phoenix is greeted by a brash, cyan-colored pegasus mare with a prismatic mane and outsized ego named Rainbow Dash. After a short argument over Phoenix' hair, the two introduce themselves and Phoenix asks Rainbow to tell him what she knows about the murder case.
The exotic-colored equine opens by saying the murder victim was a male pegasus named "Ace Swift" and that he was killed in the Everfree Forest. At Phoenix's inquiry, she explains Ace was a hot-shot racer; the odds-on favorite to win the upcoming "Equestrian 500"--a grueling 500-mile endurance race around Equestria. Rainbow Dash then informs Phoenix she was planning to enter the race herself, not just to prove she could beat Ace but for the main prize for winning being a special lesson from her heroes--Equestria's premiere aerial acrobatics team, "The Wonderbolts." The cyan pegasus proclaims that she would do anything to win the race and claim that prize, making Phoenix cringe as he knows Rainbow Dash just established her possible motive for murder.
Moving on, Phoenix asks how Ace died, but Rainbow says she doesn't know, claiming she only ended up the suspect because she was seen flying near the Everfree forest at the time. Dropping her trademark cockiness for a minute, she becomes sad and slightly desperate, believing everypony thinks she committed the crime and certain she will be banished for it. Phoenix reassures her, reminding her Twilight believes in her innocence, noting that he's the 'greatest defense attorney' she called upon with her magic. Hope blossoming, Rainbow formally asks Phoenix to represent her.
Before he accepts, Phoenix remembers that he is carrying his Magatama--a powerful gem that allows him to see if anyone is hiding any deep secrets. Pulling out the trinket, he asks Rainbow Dash point-blank if she had any involvement with the murder of Ace Swift.
The cyan pegasus reacts with fury to the question, kicking the cell walls and stating emphatically she did NOT kill anypony. When the Magatama doesn't react, Phoenix can be certain she's telling the truth and agrees to defend her. Asking for more information about the crime scene, he's informed that it took place in an Everfree Forest clearing 15 minutes from "Fluttershy's" house. About to leave to gather evidence, Phoenix asks Rainbow a parting question--why she was near the Everfree Forest? After an odd hesitation, she claims she was practicing for the Equestrian 500.
This sets off the Magatama, causing a series of chains and three 'psyche-locks' to appear around Rainbow Dash--Phoenix knows their appearance means the pegasus pony is hiding something from him. He starts to ask more about it but a nervous Rainbow makes an excuse to depart the visiting area before he can.
Back outside, Phoenix tells Twilight he has decided to take the case, saying he can't turn his back on someone accused of a crime they didn't commit. As they talk, Twilight wonders aloud how Rainbow feels, to which the human lawyer replies he knows only too well--he, too, has been accused of crimes he didn't commit, first in grade school at a 'class trial' for stealing lunch money and later in college when he was framed for murder. He remembers all too well the feeling of being lost and alone with nobody to turn to, certain the whole world was against him.
He recalls how the only ones who believed in him were his childhood friend and future ace prosecutor Miles Edgeworth, who stood up for him in school, and his one-time attorney and future boss Mia Fey, who successfully defended him at his murder trial. They were there for him when nobody else was, fighting for him when nobody else would; he tells Twilight it was their examples that taught him what it was to be a defense attorney and inspired him to become one himself. Twilight is impressed by the story, telling him that she was planning to study law and defend Rainbow Dash herself if he was unwilling, but now sees there are some things books can't teach.
Phoenix and Twilight decide to begin the investigation of the murder by heading for the Everfree Forest, stopping by Fluttershy's home near the forest entrance to see if she saw anything. Arriving at her cottage, they find her outside--a beautiful but bashful yellow-colored pegasus mare with long pink mane and tail. Phoenix tries to ask her about the murder case, but living up to her name, the pink-maned pony is too scared to talk, whispering to Twilight that she's intimidated by the human lawyer's business suit... and spiky hair.
Thinking they're not going to get anything out of her, they start to leave but Fluttershy perks up and starts speaking to Phoenix when she hears Twilight say his name, believing him to be an actual phoenix about to be reborn. Though confused, Phoenix makes use of the opportunity at Twilight's urging, trying again to ask the timid pegasus about the night of the murder. She refuses apologetically, explaining in her trademark tinny voice she doesn't want to upset the 'other ponies' who told her not to say anything until the trial. Leaving empty-hooved except to know that Fluttershy is a witness, the human/pony pair decide to head to the crime scene itself.
Reaching the forest clearing, Twilight and Phoenix examine it for clues the police forensics team may have missed. With Twilight lighting up the pitch-black woods with a bright glow from her horn, they quickly find the location of the body, marked by a tape outline in an area of scorched grass. Examining the charred ground, they also find a small misshapen piece of metal burnt to a crisp. Looking around the clearing, they discover other things of interest, including a downed tree, an area of dirt with signs of a struggle and a brown feather up another tree that seems too big to belong to either a bird or a pegasus pony. Phoenix offers to climb the tree to get the feather, but Twilight tells him there's no need--she simply floats it down with her horn.
Astonished anew, Phoenix asks Twilight how she can do such things. She explains that unicorns have the ability to use magic via their horns, illumination and levitation being but two basic feats they can perform. Curious at his surprise, she asks if magic exists in his world. He initially answers no but catches himself, noting that he has been able to speak to the dead via spirit channeling, which many would call magic. Twilight gets excited, hoping he can channel Ace Swift so they can ask him who the killer was, but Phoenix is forced to disappoint her, explaining it's his friend that does the channeling, not him.
Having found all they're going to, the pair decide to head back to Ponyville to rest for the next day's trial. Twilight is surprised that Phoenix is not going to study, but the human lawyer says there's no need, promising that as long as he keeps his eyes on the truth, they'll be fine. Though skeptical, Twilight doesn't press the matter as they return to town, offering Phoenix a bed for the night.
As the episode ends, Phoenix finds himself with doubts about taking the case, feeling like an outsider meddling in another world's affair. But he reminds himself that he can't turn his back on the innocent no matter what the circumstances, even in a world of talking, magic-wielding ponies, and resolves to defend Rainbow Dash with everything he has.
|Date added||December 31, 2011|
|Part of||Turnabout Storm|
- No matter how far you run...
- No matter how long you hide...
- The finger of justice will never lose sight of you.
The episode begins the next morning a few minutes before the trial, with Phoenix griping to Twilight about not getting any sleep or having anything to eat--the bed was too small and he couldn't eat the hay offered him for breakfast.
Waiting in the defendant lobby, they meet up with Rainbow Dash and Phoenix asks Twilight about the prosecutor. She admits she forgot to look into that, leaving Phoenix to wonder what his childhood friend, ace prosecutor and friendly rival Miles Edgeworth, would do in his shoes.
While Phoenix tries to purge that cringe-worthy picture from his brain, Twilight asks him if it really matters who the prosecutor is. He replies that most prosecutors from his world are stuck-up, smug and arrogant; Twilight responds that she doesn't think there's anypony in Equestria like that.
Her reassurance is given immediate lie by a loud, mocking, and strangely familiar laugh. The source is no less than The Great and Powerful Trixie, who appears in her wizard's hat and robes to announce herself as the prosecutor in the case. She proceeds to insult everyone in sight, promising to use the trial to take revenge on Twilight and her friends for the humiliation she suffered during the Ursa Minor incident. After she leaves, a sandbagged and worried Twilight is forced to admit that they do have some stuck-up, smug and arrogant ponies, giving Phoenix a brief explanation of the grudge Trixie holds against her.
Using the final few moments before the trial to review the evidence they collected the previous night, Twilight makes contact with his Magatama. At her touch, it emits a powerful green glow, startling both of them; Twilight remarks that the light felt mystical to her. Though very concerned by this--the Magatama has never acted that way before--Phoenix has no choice but to put it aside as the defense team is called to the courtroom.
As court is called to order, Phoenix is shocked to discover that the presiding judge is none other than The Very Judge behind all of his cases. Twilight explains to him that since Princess Celestia couldn't preside as judge they had to find another one, and since they had a human attorney, she summoned "The Greatest Human Judge." Phoenix silently wonders if she didn't instead summon 'the ficklest judge ever', but concedes he always seems to return the right verdict.
The trial begins as Trixie makes her opening statement and starts to explain the facts behind the case, always speaking in the third person and showing her status as a worthy Ace Attorney prosecutor by constantly belittling the defense. When Trixie announces that Ace was electrocuted by lightning fired from a storm cloud, Phoenix loudly and confidently objects, claiming that no one in their right mind would suggest that someone can move clouds around and make them shoot lightning on command.
The audience falls silent, Trixie ridicules him, and after explaining that pegasi can indeed manipulate weather, including moving clouds and inducing them to fire lightning, The Judge and Twilight berate Phoenix for not studying the workings of Equestria when he had the chance.
As a mortified Phoenix tries to refocus, Trixie smugly moves on, explaining that the storm cloud found over the clearing where Ace was killed bore Rainbow Dash's hoofprints. She then presents the evidence collected by the crime scene investigators and 'cloud ballistics' team, which show a time of death between 8:30 and 9:00 pm and that the cloud loosed its first lightning bolt at 8:40 pm, followed by two additional strikes at 8:50 pm and 11:35 pm--the first bolt being the one that killed Ace while the third took down a tree on the other side of the clearing. Where the second bolt hit could not be determined.
Phoenix pounces on that, trying to suggest it might have been the second bolt that killed Ace, but Trixie shoots that possibility down quickly, countering that they could not find any indication the second bolt hit in the clearing or nearby. Additionally, Ace was wearing a lightning-proof race suit that would have rendered him invulnerable to anything except a precisely aimed strike to the neck, meaning it could only have been the first bolt, which was set off deliberately--a storm cloud won't fire bolts until the first one is triggered manually by a pegasus, and that one always strikes directly under the parent storm cloud, which is exactly where Ace's body was discovered. After the first bolt is triggered, the cloud discharges its remaining bolts at random over a period of time.
Moving on, Trixie admits that since the first bolt was set off manually they could not determine precisely when it was fired, but there is an eyewitness who saw it--a cute young filly with a country accent and a pink bow in her mane named Apple Bloom. As she takes the stand, The Judge gushes over how adorable she is while Phoenix and Twilight are surprised, having expected the witness to be Fluttershy.
Ignoring Trixie at first, Apple Bloom gets curious about Phoenix as she's never seen a human nor knows what a defense attorney is. When Phoenix defines a lawyer's job as "to argue", the young filly gets excited, thinking that there may yet be a Cutie Mark for that. Back on topic, Apple Bloom gives her name and occupation as a "CUTIE MARK CRUSADER!!!" and initially refuses to answer Trixie's questions, calling her a 'snotty show-off' and leaving the show mare sputtering to Phoenix's great delight. But The Judge soon convinces Apple Bloom to testify, promising her that it won't take long and even suggesting there might be a cutie mark for it.
Excited at the prospect, Apple Bloom gives her story: she went to Zecora's house in the Everfree forest that evening to help the zebra mare make some potions. On the way back, she saw and heard lightning right at 8:40, lining up with the time of Ace's death. She wasn't scared by it, and, following the path, left the forest and went home.
Sensing Apple Bloom is holding something back, Phoenix prepares to cross-examine her, but Trixie and The Judge warn him to not press her, as she's just a child. Despite this handicap, Phoenix succeeds in prying several tantalizing new pieces of information out of the young filly--she was in fact very scared by the first lightning bolt, causing her to run off the path in a panic, ending up lost in the woods for twenty minutes. Stumbling around in the dark, she was later blinded by a second flash of lightning at 9:00 pm just as she ran into something--or someone?--and then found herself outside the forest when her vision cleared. She headed home after that, arriving at 9:10 pm.
Trixie is caught off guard by this new information and Phoenix pounces, pointing out a large time discrepancy between when Trixie said the second lightning bolt struck (8:50 pm) and when Apple Bloom said she saw it (9:00 pm), calling the cloud ballistics evidence into doubt. Though momentarily flustered, Trixie recovers quickly, tricking Phoenix into suggesting that what Apple Bloom saw wasn't lightning, making the evidence solid again. Phoenix then challenges Trixie on why Apple Bloom didn't see the 8:50 pm bolt if that was the case, but Trixie renders the argument moot by pointing out the only objective of the witness testimony was to corroborate the time of the first lightning bolt striking as being identical to the time of death, which she did. The Judge agrees, and Apple Bloom is excused.
Trixie then presents more evidence regarding the crime, including a weather schedule that shows Rainbow Dash in charge of creating a lightning storm at 3:00 pm on the other side of Ponyville. Challenged by Phoenix to explain how the murder happened, the mare magician almost gleefully obliges, and a confrontation between the two counselors ensues. Phoenix gets the worst of it, as Trixie proves that the storm cloud that killed Ace was in fact taken from the location of the storm Rainbow Dash was supposed to create and had her hoofprints on it. She further shows that Rainbow Dash's feathers were found all over the clearing, demonstrating she was present at the scene of the crime. When Phoenix suggests that there's no way Rainbow Dash could have done all this at night in a very dark forest, Trixie claims premediation--that Rainbow knew Ace was going to be there and had the cloud in place before he even arrived.
With The Judge ready to give a guilty verdict, Phoenix objects, claiming that there might be still something being overlooked. To his surprise, Trixie agrees, presenting a burned envelope that Ace was carrying with him. Rainbow gets very spooked when she sees it and begs Trixie not to open it, making Phoenix worry that the envelope holds decisive evidence that Rainbow Dash did it.
Despite the pegasus' pleas, the mare magician reveals the envelope contents off-camera and the audience explodes in laughter--the contents are not incriminating but incredibly embarrassing photographs of Rainbow Dash, who is utterly humiliated. When a flabbergasted Phoenix demands an explanation on how the pictures relate to the crime, Trixie gives none except to say that they're 'important evidence', making him conclude that she presented them for no other reason but to humiliate Rainbow.
That sideshow concluded, The Judge again readies to give his verdict. Before he can, an increasingly desperate Phoenix points out that there's no decisive evidence Rainbow moved the cloud or was at the scene of the crime--he suggests somepony else could have moved it and Rainbow's feathers could have been collected elsewhere by that same pony and brought in to frame her. Trixie gives a theatrical sigh, stating she has another eyewitness that can put Rainbow Dash at the scene--Fluttershy.
Though initially having severe stage fright as she takes the stand, the timid pegasus perks up when she sees Phoenix (still believing him to be a phoenix) and gives her testimony: she was up feeding her chickens at night when she was badly frightened by a flash and boom of lightning. Looking up, she saw Rainbow Dash flying out of the Everfree Forest at high speed following the lightning strike, right at 8:40. Afterwards, she watched the forest until the police arrived a couple hours later, but saw no further lightning or anypony else leave.
Although Trixie claims Fluttershy's testimony to be airtight, Phoenix spots two inconsistencies: First, Fluttershy claims to have only seen Rainbow Dash leave the forest, but she should also have seen Apple Bloom leave twenty minutes later if she was still watching the woods, given the forest exit is right beside her cottage. Second, Fluttershy also claims to not have heard a second bolt of lightning prior to the arrival of the authorities, but if she heard the first strike, she should also have heard the second. Trixie challenges Phoenix to demonstrate what the first contradiction means, saying she knows one possibility but it's up to him to voice it.
Knowing what that possibility is but that he can't use it, Phoenix tries to use the second inconsistency instead, suggesting again that the missing second bolt of lightning could be the real culprit. But Trixie nullifies that argument quickly, pointing out that the odds of being killed by a random bolt while wearing a lightning-proof race suit are infinitesimal. The Judge concurs, saying he can't consider such a remote possibility without proof. Lacking it, Rainbow Dash's fate is sealed... unless Phoenix uses the first contradiction to play his final, desperate card.
With no other way to buy time and prevent a guilty verdict, Phoenix casts suspicion on Fluttershy on the grounds that if she was really watching the forest the whole time, she should have seen Apple Bloom leave the forest but didn't, thus calling her account and alibi into doubt. He theorizes that being a pegasus, she could have moved the cloud herself, fired the lightning that killed Ace, wiped her own hoofmarks off the cloud and scattered Rainbow's feathers around the clearing. Twilight is shocked by this accusation and appalled that he would make it, but Phoenix ignores her, charging ahead.
Asked about Rainbow's hoofprints, Phoenix reminds The Judge that they would have been on the cloud anyway if she'd simply done her job of creating the scheduled storm. Challenged on motive, he borrows Trixie's tactic to claim it's irrelevant. When The Judge asks for proof that Fluttershy could have committed the murder, Phoenix produces the large feather he and Twilight found in the clearing the previous night, suggesting that it came from one of Fluttershy's animals and might have been carried in by her.
At that point, a very upset Twilight objects, accusing Phoenix of slander and lies. Clearly enjoying the turn of events, Trixie orders Twilight to be silent, reminding her that accusations like that will get her held in contempt. Twilight calls the magician show mare a hypocrite given that she's been putting Phoenix down all day, but Trixie counters that she's only called him names, not questioned his integrity. The Judge agrees, warning Twilight that if there's another outburst she'll be found in contempt. Frustrated and helpless, Twilight falls silent as the endgame plays out.
Phoenix mentally apologizes to Twilight, but doesn't relent. He claims the feather potentially puts Fluttershy at the scene of the crime and demands further investigation on that basis. To everyone's surprise, Trixie agrees but admits she only does so for the pleasure of getting to put another of Twilight's friends behind bars, making her revenge even more sweet. She then twists the knife deeper into Phoenix by mockingly offering him tickets to her next performance as a thank-you, leaving him even more miserable at what he's done.
As court is adjourned and a frightened Fluttershy is taken into custody, a betrayed and tearful Twilight asks Phoenix how could he do such a thing. There's nothing Phoenix can say--he bought another day, but at a terrible price, and Twilight may never trust him again.
Part 3 is a double feature. It shows the second day of investigation from both Phoenix's and Twilight's point of view in 2 different videos. Originally, the Phoenix video was released first, followed by the Twilight video months later, but the author has stated that the correct order is to watch the Twilight part first followed by the Phoenix one. For this reason, the Twilight part is given first even though it was released second.
Part 3 - TwilightEdit
|Part 3 - Twilight|
|Date added||September 8, 2012|
|Part of||Turnabout Storm|
The story resumes with a flashback to Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia discussing Rainbow's case in the library the night before. Twilight informs the Sun Princess she has been unable to find a defense attorney willing to represent Rainbow--all those she asked declined when they learned the charge was murder. Seeing her mentor's troubled expression, Twilight offers to study law and defend Rainbow Dash herself, but Celestia gently reminds her student that she cannot become an adequate lawyer in just a day.
When Twilight protests that there's nopony else left, Celestia replies that there is 'someone else' she has in mind, ordering her prized pupil to obtain the services of one 'Phoenix Wright'. Twilight is confused by that, never having heard the strange name and not understanding why she has to magically summon him.
Celestia simply gives a knowing chuckle, giving her student odd instructions on how to deal with the mystery attorney, being very coy about who and what he is. Skeptical, Twilight wonders aloud if he would really take a murder case when other pony lawyers would not, to which Celestia replies that he's 'not a stranger' to murder cases, promising Twilight he will not turn down defending an obviously innocent client.
Getting a little frustrated with Celestia's almost-teasing coyness, Twilight points out a contradiction--how can Phoenix Wright have experience with murder cases when Celestia herself admitted that this is the first murder to take place in Equestria in a very long time? But Celestia seems merely amused at that, telling Twilight she'll get along with Phoenix just fine.
Leaving Twilight with an attorney badge for Phoenix and a parting request to not tell him his summoning was at her request, a grinning Celestia teleports out, leaving a confused and slightly exasperated Twilight behind. Musing over the strange name, she begins the summoning process, hoping 'Phoenix Wright' is really as good as the princess says.
The aftermath of the trial's first day finds a furious Twilight back in the library venting to her assistant Spike about Phoenix, detailing in disgusted terms how he accused Fluttershy at the trial. Though the baby dragon agrees the charge was ridiculous, he weakly suggests that Twilight should still trust Phoenix since the princess clearly does. Twilight vehemently disagrees, saying Phoenix is 'no good', calling him a heartless liar.
When Spike asks what she plans to do now, she announces her intention to go through with her original plan to defend Rainbow Dash herself. Spike seems dubious, asking her if she even known how to be a lawyer; Twilight replies that it seems a simple enough matter of pointing out contradictions in information--something she's good at. Spike protests that there's more to it than that, and she agrees, producing a copy of an archaically-written book titled "How to Be a Lawyer in 24 Hours". Spike notes it's rather conveniently titled, to which Twilight replies that it came from across the sea... where Gen 1 Ponies apparently live.
Spike wants to help Twilight investigate, but she directs him to remain at the library and write an appeal to the Equestria Council appointing her as Rainbow Dash's lawyer instead of Phoenix. Bribing the disappointed baby dragon to stay behind with a promise of buying him a sapphire to eat, Twilight opens her investigation by going to the Detention Center to talk with a still-frightened Fluttershy, informing the pink-maned pegasus that she's firing Phoenix and taking over the defense. Twilight then tries to get more information from her timid friend on why she didn't hear the second bolt of lightning or see Apple Bloom leave the woods, but Fluttershy simply doesn't know. She likewise doesn't know much about the feather Phoenix incriminated her with, except that she doesn't think it came from one of her animals. She does feel like the feather is familiar, somehow, but for the life of her can't remember from where.
Just when Twilight's feeling like she's getting nowhere, Fluttershy drops one tantalizing piece of information: she found half of a torn-up letter near her home the morning after the murder--a sad-toned note about somepony saying goodbye--and left it on the table by her front door. Realizing this could be important, Twilight leaves for Fluttershy's cottage immediately, promising to feed her friend's animals while there.
As Twilight walks through Ponyville lost in thought, she accidentally bumps into a gray unicorn mare with a brown mane and glasses; she takes little notice of the unfamiliar pony except that's she's headed for Sugar Cube Corner. Next, she runs into Apple Bloom, who was given the day off from school so she could testify at the trial. When the young filly asks Twilight why she seems so distracted, the unicorn replies without thinking that she's investigating, realizing an instant too late she just made a huge mistake.
Apple Bloom is very excited by this, wanting to help Twilight investigate so she can earn her cutie mark, but a nervous Twilight declines, knowing how Apple Bloom's 'help' has turned out in the past. Twilight instead tries to ask Apple Bloom about her testimony, suggesting the young filly could help her that way, but Apple Bloom isn't having it, saying she won't talk unless Twilight allows her to help investigate. Trapped, Twilight has little choice but to agree.
Under the violet unicorn's questioning, Apple Bloom says she found herself a little ways off the path when she got out of the forest but doesn't know how she got there, which doesn't help explain why Fluttershy didn't see her. Her next offering is potentially more significant, however--after the second bolt of lightning (or whatever it was made the flash), she heard something fall into the woods and knows roughly where. Excited, Twilight asks Apple Bloom to take her to it. The young filly agrees, but throws another condition on top of it--in return, she wants Twilight to help her with something at the park. Twilight tries to say no again, but Apple Bloom smugly tells her she won't take her to the fallen object unless she agrees. Gritting her teeth at the filly's brazen blackmail, Twilight says yes.
The final piece of testimony Apple Bloom offers up is an ominous one--while walking towards the Everfree Forest the day of the murder, she saw a clearly nervous Rainbow Dash moving a storm cloud into the woods. Twilight realizes this means Trixie was right--Rainbow was there and did have the cloud prepositioned--and her confidence in Rainbow's innocence wavers further when Apple Bloom explains that she didn't mention it at the trial because Rainbow told her not to.
Shaking it off, they start to head towards Fluttershy's cottage but don't get very far before running into an odd blue-furred pegasus with a gray mane and flight goggles, apparently prone to severe mood swings and self-berating outbursts. After apologizing for everything from bumping into them to calling Twilight "ma'am", he settles down a bit and introduces himself as "Cruise Control", saying he's just arrived from Manehatten to enter the Equestrian 500. Trying to make small talk, Apple Bloom asks him if he's any good, but this sparks a fresh rant about how he's a pathetic loser who comes in dead last every time. Apple Bloom expresses sympathy, noting how her older sister makes her feel pathetic by grounding her and giving her chores, claiming this shows she doesn't care about her at all.
Cruise's manner and tone of voice changes instantly. Taking on a solemn air, he tells Apple Bloom in a quiet but fervent tone that she shouldn't say such things--that older siblings always care for the well-being of their younger brothers and sisters.
Twilight is thrown by this abrupt change of attitude, but has little chance to dwell on it as Cruise's mood turns upbeat, saying he plans on winning the race this year as a "big burden is off his shoulders." When Twilight asks if he refers to Ace Swift not competing, a suddenly-subdued Cruise confirms he knows about the murder, telling Twilight quietly but bluntly that Ace got what he deserved. Twilight is appalled by that, demanding to know how he could be so callous when an innocent pony was killed.
Cruise Control erupts in anger at the word 'innocent' before catching himself, reverting back to his customary self-flagellation and apologizing profusely for his words and actions. Confused, Twilight asks if he has anything against Ace. He denies it, but Twilight is stunned when her vision around him suddenly clouds, revealing Cruise surrounded by a series of chains guarded by three large red padlocks.
Shocked, Twilight demands to know what the chains and locks are, but apparently only she sees them as neither Cruise nor Apple Bloom know what she's talking about. Thinking back, she remembers getting a similar sensation from Phoenix's "good luck charm" when she accidentally touched it before the trial, her contact causing a release of the same mystical energy she's sensing from the locks around Cruise Control now. Whatever they are, she does feel strongly compelled to break them, but doesn't know how or what will happen if she does.
Needing answers about the phantom locks, she decides to find Phoenix, going back to the courthouse to look for him. The human lawyer is not there, but she does find The Judge. While Apple Bloom plays with his gavel, He and Twilight chat for a while, the violet unicorn asking The Judge why he was so hard on them in court earlier--constantly siding with Trixie and even going so far as to threaten Twilight with contempt. He assures her it was nothing personal; he simply found Trixie's arguments and evidence to be more persuasive and the rules of the court must be followed. He then asks her why their laws and legal system seem so similar to his world's, to which she replies they were adopted from another country across the sea where both humans and ponies lived--apparently the Gen 3 kind.
Before they part, The Judge shows Twilight a race program for the Equestrian 500; she's surprised to see that Ace is still listed on the roster. The Judge explains that news of his death is being kept quiet for now, since they don't want to spook the other racers. Accordingly, he asks Twilight to not tell anyone Ace was the murder victim---all most ponies know is that there was a murder; they don't know who the actual victim was. Twilight panics briefly at that, realizing she already revealed Ace's name to Cruise Control, but then she remembers that from what the blue pegasus pony said he already knew--but how, if he wasn't at the trial?
Her suspicions are further heightened when she spots an empty slot on the race roster. When she asks The Judge about it, he tells her a racer from Manehatten was originally in that slot but dropped out. Remembering Cruise said he was from Manehatten, she asks The Judge if the missing racer's name was Cruise Control. His memory jogged, The Judge answers yes, meaning the blue-furred pegasus lied about having just arrived--if his name was on the racing program previously, then he had to have been in Ponyville to register at least two days earlier.
Resolving to talk to Cruise Control again, Twilight and Apple Bloom bid The Judge farewell and set off for Fluttershy's cottage and the Everfree forest.
Arriving at Fluttershy's cottage to retrieve the note she mentioned, they find it swarming with police trying to find a match among Fluttershy's animals to the feather Phoenix produced in court... and their entrance barred by The Great and Powerful Trixie herself. The magician-turned-prosecutor wastes little time in insulting Twilight, berating Apple Bloom for her testimony, and belittling Phoenix for his performance in court, promising the rival unicorn that regardless of whether or not the feather matches one of Fluttershy's animals, at least one of her friends will be found guilty.
Struggling to hold her temper in check, Twilight asks the show mare why she's so bitter towards her, challenging her that it goes deeper than the Ursa Minor incident. Trixie denies it, insisting it's all about that--that when Twilight showed her up by defeating the Ursa, she lost her reputation and has been mocked and called a fraud everywhere she goes since. Twilight is not impressed, pointing out she started talking in the first person, which she only does when she's emotional or uncertain. Annoyed, Trixie denies it more vehemently, and Twilight suddenly sees the mare magician surrounded by a thick tangle of chains and five black padlocks.
It's not just their color that's different than the ones with Cruise Control, Twilight realizes--she senses intense anger, heart-wrenching sadness and abject despair surrounding them. The emotions coming off them making her teary-eyed, Twilight doesn’t know how to break them and senses it could crush Trixie if she tried.
Unaware of Twilight's turmoil, Trixie bars her from entering the premises of the police investigation and leaves. Thwarted, Twilight starts thinking maybe she's not cut out for being a lawyer but then Apple Bloom returns, revealing that she retrieved the note from Fluttershy's cottage while the two unicorns were arguing. Twilight is surprised and delighted, only to turn disappointed when the torn note doesn't seem to help them much--it mentions Ace and someone quitting something for being unable to 'live with the guilt of ruining others lives'. But without the missing top half of the letter, there's no indication who wrote it or what they're talking about.
As Apple Bloom turned out to be a genuine help and thinking it would be best to not enter the Everfree Forest while Trixie is watching, Twilight agrees to accompany the young filly to the park.
When they arrive, Apple Bloom explains that she had a riding bet with Sweetie Belle as to who could retrieve a strange object they could see at the bottom of a small lake; she wants Twilight to levitate it out with her magic so she'll win a bowl of ice cream for getting it first. Though very annoyed at being pulled off the investigation for such a trivial and self-serving reason, Twilight fishes the object out of the water--a badly burnt metal pole with a "P" on one end of it. Though initially planning to just drop it back in the lake, Twilight decides to hold onto the pole when she remembers a similarly burnt piece of metal at the crime scene the previous night, wondering if they could somehow be related.
Before they can start heading back for the forest, they're met by a very strange skew-eyed grey pegasus with a blonde mane. Announcing herself as a mail mare, she variously gives her name as "Derpy Hooves", "Ditzy Doo" and "Bright Eyes", changing it every time she's addressed by the previous name she gave, berating Twilight and Apple Bloom for not remembering the right one. She gives Twilight a muffin and asks her to sign for it like a postal package, reciting the mail carrier code and noting there had been an incident at the post office that morning. When asked to explain, she says that an imported package was lost by the "Griffon Express"--an overseas shipping company--and a certain pony was having a fit over not getting it. She gives Twilight a copy of the mail schedule at the unicorn's request, which showed the package was supposed to arrive in Ponyville at 10pm two nights earlier--right around the time of Ace's murder--and delivered to the addressee at 9:30am the following morning.
After hamming it up over how the schedule could turn around Rainbow's trial, the slightly touched mail mare offers Apple Bloom a "nice, scrumptious muffin"--actually, a sealed envelope--and then leaves in a huff when Twilight makes the mistake of trying to address her by one of her three names again. Confused, Twilight trades the real muffin for the letter, finding the latter bearing the royal seal and addressed to somepony named "Lenora" apparently staying at Town Hall.
Deciding to deliver the misdirected mail, they go to the Town hall to find that "Lenora" is not a pony but a very friendly and personable griffon, on vacation from her job with the Griffon Express and planning to compete in the Equestrian 500 herself--in fact, she's competed four straight years and took second in the previous race. Her mood turns sour when Twilight notes that first place must have been Ace; Lenora clearly doesn't like the late pegasus any more than Cruise Control did.
She does like Cruise Control, however, considering him an old friend, and details his backstory at Twilight's request. It's not a happy one--Cruise's younger sister was in a serious flying accident and has been in a coma ever since. The only facility that could keep her condition stable was Canterlot Hospital, which Twilight knows is usually reserved for nobles and celebrities--not for commoners like Ace's sister. Given that, Twilight wonders aloud as to how he could have gotten his sister into such an exclusive facility. An angry-looking Lenora replies that she has a 'pretty good idea' how, but won't elaborate further.
Lenora goes on to say Cruise's over-the-top self-deprecation routine is just an act--he's actually a superb racer who did very well on the local circuit around Manehatten, to say nothing of a devoted big brother fiercely protective of his stricken sister. When Twilight asks the griffon if she knows anything that might get him to talk to her, she provides Twilight with a photo of him and his sister, suggesting that maybe showing him that will get him to open up.
All side trips concluded, Twilight and Apple Bloom finally head into the Everfree Forest to look for the mysterious item Apple Bloom remembered seeing falling from the sky. They eventually find a small satchel containing a fancy-looking bottle filled with a purple liquid that has a smell closely akin to cat urine--disgusting but hardly decisive evidence.
Upon exiting, they are surprised to see Pinkie Pie waiting on the edge of the woods apparently waiting for somepony. She recognizes the burnt metal stick Twilight fished out of the water as the "Pinkie Iron Mk. V"--a golf club she invented and accidentally lost while practicing swings in the woods a week earlier; how was it found burnt to a crisp in a park stream so far from the forest entrance?
Having no answer to that, Twilight asks Pinkie why she's there. The party pony replies that she's waiting for her friend "Feenie", who had gone inside the Forest alone. Before Twilight can inquire further, Cruise Control comes galloping out out of the woods and collides with her, the impact causing him to drop everything he was carrying. As Twilight and Apple Bloom help pick up the items, the violet unicorn notices Phoenix's Magatama among them.
Recognizing that the male pegasus has all of the human lawyer's possessions, Twilight nervously asks Pinkie if her 'friend' is Phoenix. When Pinkie confirms that Phoenix, or "Feenie", went in the forest alone to meet somepony, Twilight realizes Cruise Control attacked and robbed him; she restrains the male pegasus with Pinkie's help and gives him over to the authorities. Instructing Pinkie to take Apple Bloom home, Twilight rushes into the woods to find the human lawyer, praying he's still alive.
To her great relief, she finds him on the path heading out, unharmed and--to her equally great shock--in the company of Fluttershy. Phoenix tentatively greets her while Fluttershy pleads with Twilight to forgive him, insisting he was just trying to help.
With that, the violet unicorn and human lawyer return to the library for a much-needed heart-to-heart. Phoenix apologizes for his actions at the trial, explaining he had no other way to buy time and prevent an immediate guilty verdict but to accuse Fluttershy, asking Twilight if she still wants to fire him for it. Seeing her surprise, he explains that Fluttershy told him she was planning to, reminding Twilight that she'll be facing a very sharp and grudge-driven Trixie if she takes over the defense. This only confuses Twilight, leaving her uncertain what to do.
Phoenix asks her to let him question a pony he knows is hiding something before she makes her final decision. Twilight replies that she knows of one as well, taking the long-awaited opportunity to ask Phoenix about his "good luck charm". When he asks why, Twilight answers in a mild tone that she's been seeing "a lot of locks." Phoenix is visibly shocked by this but immediately comes clean about his Magatama, knowing there's no point in hiding the truth from someone who can wield its power.
He explains that the locks and chains she saw are 'psyche-locks'. They represent mental barriers to revealing secrets; their appearance means that the person or pony is lying or otherwise hiding something. The more locks, the deeper the secret, but regardless of the number, they can be broken using facts and evidence, inducing the holder to reveal the truth they hide. Twilight keeps her composure but is internally very excited about this newfound ability, imagining all she could do with it. She asks him about the black locks she saw around Trixie, but Phoenix has never seen black ones before. With that, Twilight drops the matter, deciding she'd rather deal with Trixie herself.
Having come clean, Phoenix asks Twilight do the same, wanting the truth about how and why he was summoned to Equestria. He tells her he's certain it wasn't by accident, citing several pieces of evidence that Twilight already knew who he was. Realizing she's been caught in her own lie by the perceptive human lawyer, Twilight admits she summoned him and played dumb on the explicit instructions of Princess Celestia, but insisting she had no idea he would be a human from another world. This revelation only confuses Phoenix further--he's never been to Equestria or seen a Pony before this; how would the Princess know him? But the question will have to wait--there's still a case and a client to defend. Reviewing their combined evidence, the pair are shocked to find each other has the opposite half of the letter. They immediately put the pieces together to reveal the full text:
- “This is my letter stating my permanent Leave of Absence. After the Equestrian 500 is over, I can no longer work with you. We made quite the team, but I can’t live with the guilt any longer. I can’t keep helping you ruin others' lives. It saddens me beyond belief that we must part ways, but I must say farewell. Goodbye Ace; may our paths cross in the future.”
Though there's no signature, Phoenix thinks he knows who wrote it and promises to fill Twilight in once he confirms it. After he leaves to find said Pony, Twilight has a brief conversation with Spike, who has written but not yet sent out the appeal for Twilight to take over the defense. She tells him to wait on sending it for now, hurrying out before Spike can berate her too much for forgetting his promised sapphire.
Twilight returns to the Detention Center to interrogate Cruise Control, starting by questioning him about the hidden grudge he holds against Ace. Armed with the knowledge of how psyche-locks work, she proceeds to break them one by one, using the picture Lenora gave her and knowledge of Ace and his sister as leverage. As the final psyche-lock shatters, the previously belligerent Cruise Control turns relieved and grateful to Twilight, happy to finally have his painful secret out in the open.
His barriers broken, Cruise reveals that Ace Swift was in fact a dirty athlete who won by blackmailing competitors instead of physical prowess. In Cruise's case, Ace was the one who was able to admit Cruise's coma-stricken sister into Canterlot Hospital, which would normally bar non-elites like them. Far from being a charitable act, it had a very major and ugly string attached--if Cruise wanted his sister to continue to be cared for in the hospital, he would have to throw every race against Ace. It was no different for Lenora or the other competitors; somehow Ace always knew their secrets and how to blackmail them--Rainbow Dash would only have been his latest victim.
Cruise next recounts that during the previous year's race, he was caught in a tornado and blacked out, flung far through the air. When he came to, he found himself well off course and raced back for the track. Injured and believing he was in last place, he flew at full speed towards the finish line to get medical help, only to look back and realize he was in fact well ahead of Ace and the rest of the field. Knowing what beating Ace would mean for his sister, he faked a cramp at the last second and allowed Ace to cross the line first. But the damage was done as Ace decided not to let Cruise compete against him at all from there on out, ordering him to withdraw from the Equestrian 500.
Driven by a thwarted love of racing and the threats against his sister, Cruise resolved to end Ace's reign by exposing his cheating. After sneaking into Ace's hotel room and finding a piece of paper indicating a meeting time with Rainbow Dash, he trailed Ace into the Everfree forest, hoping to catch him in the act of blackmail. He gives Twilight a photo he took of Ace walking into the woods wearing his lightning-proof racesuit, though that in itself isn't much evidence of wrongdoing. He further says he tried to take it to the police as an anonymous tip, but given he was in his 'other' persona, they didn't believe him.
Now having a much better grasp of Ace and the circumstances surrounding his murder, Twilight asks Cruise Control why he attacked and robbed Phoenix. The male pegasus seems to panic as five fresh psyche-locks appear, saying only that he "had to... before he [Phoenix] found out!" The implications clear, a startled Twilight asks Cruise point-blank if he killed Ace. The male pegasus can only begin to stammer an answer before a guard appears to escort Twilight out, informing her that visiting hours are over.
Frustrated at getting so close to the truth only to be denied, Twilight returns home with more questions and a new suspect, speculating that after the police wouldn't listen to him, Cruise might have returned to the forest and killed Ace out of desperation to protect his sister. She then realizes that the large feather she and Phoenix found at the murder scene the previous night might belong to Lenora, wondering if the griffon racer could be involved as well.
Arriving home to find Phoenix talking with Spike, she tells the human lawyer that she's decided not to fire him, now believing he meant well and conceding he stands the better chance against Trixie. Promising to fill him in fully on what she learned from Cruise the next morning, she retires for the night after a long day of trial and investigation; Phoenix replies that he'll head to bed soon himself.
Armed with new information and evidence, the human lawyer and violet unicorn are determined to clear Rainbow's name and find the truth behind the murder of Ace Swift. And maybe, before all is said and done, Twilight can learn what Trixie hides behind the black psyche-locks...
Part 3 - PhoenixEdit
|Part 3 - Phoenix|
|Date added||April 13, 2012|
|Part of||Turnabout Storm|
The episode starts off with a flashback to several years earlier in Phoenix Wright's universe. At the Fey Law Offices, Phoenix is shouting "My name is Phoenix Wright, AND I'M FINE!" at the top of his lungs.
Head lawyer Mia Fey soon bursts in wondering why Phoenix is shouting; he explains he's following the instructions of a motivational tape in order to prepare for his very first case the next day. Amused, Mia tells Phoenix that he doesn't need the tape as they start to talk about the case and client--Larry Butz, Phoenix's childhood friend. Phoenix is worried about what to do if Larry really is guilty, but Mia tells her junior partner that he shouldn't stress, asking him directly if he thinks his friend could have committed murder. Phoenix replies that although his friend may be a bit of an idiot, he's not a killer, to which Mia responds to go with that--to always believe in his client and always pursue the truth.
Feeling a bit better, Phoenix asks Mia who the prosecutor for the trial will be. Her answer doesn't help his nerves--the prosecutor is Winston Payne, also known as the "rookie killer". Mia then asks why he wanted to know, but Phoenix says to just forget it as the camera fades out.
As the picture goes dark, you hear a parting, sorrowful thought from Phoenix as he reflects on his former boss and her words of wisdom from that long-ago day:
- I’ll never forget what you taught me. But somehow...I highly doubt you're smiling down on me after what I did today.
Returning to the here and now, Phoenix and Twilight are exiting the courtroom after a disastrous session. Saying she was wrong about Phoenix after he accused Fluttershy of the murder, a tearful Twilight abandons him. Uncertain what to do and feeling miserable over his poor trial performance and Fluttershy, Phoenix is startled by the appearance an odd pink earth pony that smells of cotton candy. Seemingly unperturbed by or oblivious to the fact he's a human, she introduces herself as Pinkie Pie, explaining she was trying to find the "spiky-headed monster" everyone was talking about!
Though upset further by this, Phoenix introduces himself. Upon hearing his name, Pinkie starts calling him "Feenie", which uncomfortably reminds him of Dahlia Hawthorne. Needing a sounding board and in desperate need of a friendly voice, Phoenix wonders aloud what he should do next, to which Pinkie suggests he talk to Rainbow Dash about the trial. Suddenly remembering the pegasus pony had psyche-locks on her, Phoenix perks up and immediately sets off for the detention center.
Upon arrival, Phoenix finds Rainbow beside herself over the embarrassing pictures that Trixie revealed in the courtroom earlier, dramatically proclaiming her life to be ruined. He manages to calm her down but she then turns her frustration on Phoenix, blasting his trial performance and claiming she could have done a better job defending herself. Additionally, she accuses Fluttershy of betrayal over her damaging testimony, declaring her to be an ex-friend.
Phoenix tries to explain that Fluttershy was just being honest about what she saw and that it 'tore him up' having to accuse her, but Rainbow still won't forgive her. Changing the subject, Phoenix orders the pegasus pony to tell him the truth about why she was in the Everfree Forest that night. Phoenix immediately sees chains and three psyche-locks surround Rainbow Dash, to his great relief--the Magatama still works after the earlier incident with Twilight.
At first, Rainbow Dash repeats her earlier claim that she was only in the Everfree Forest to practice for the race. Not believing her, Phoenix asks to play a game where he will try to guess what really happened and she will tell him if he is correct. An uneasy Rainbow Dash agrees but sticks to her story.
Phoenix starts off the game by guessing that she was at the Everfree Forest for something very important--such as meeting somepony. Now visibly nervous, Rainbow asks who she would want to meet there, particularly since nopony ever goes in the forest willingly, especially at night. Phoenix agrees and turns her logic back on her, asking why she would be training for the race in a forest nopony ever willingly goes into?
Phoenix then guesses that Rainbow Dash was meeting Ace Swift in the Everfree Forest, breaking the first of her psyche-locks. As the cyan pegasus starts to sweat, she quickly asks Phoenix why would she be meeting him when she could have been doing something more important. Phoenix guesses that she had to be there because Ace had something which the pegasus pony would "move heaven and earth for." When Rainbow Dash asks what that 'something' is, Phoenix brings out the envelope with the embarrassing images Trixie introduced at the end of the trial. Rainbow freaks and begs Phoenix to hide them but owns up that the pictures were the reason for the meeting, causing the second psyche-lock to shatter.
With this, Phoenix asks his final question: why did Ace have the pictures in the first place? With forced and unconvincing nonchalance, Rainbow replies that it's too bad that with Ace dead, they'll never know. But Phoenix responds that he does know: Ace was using the photos to blackmail her, trying to force her to drop out of the Equestrian 500. With that, the last psyche-lock breaks, leaving the prismatic mare stunned and very impressed he was able to figure it all out.
Her secret revealed, Rainbow Dash relates the whole story: two days earlier she received a letter from Ace saying only "I’ll let your secret out if you don’t drop out of the Equestrian 500. Meet in the Everfree Forest clearing 8:35 PM for negotiations," making it clear what secret he meant by attaching one of the pictures to the letter. Phoenix starts to ask her about the images but she cuts him off hard, saying only "it's a hobby, ALRIGHT????"
Reassuring the pegasus pony that he knows she's innocent, Phoenix asks Rainbow Dash be completely truthful in answering his next series of questions, even if she thinks it makes her look bad. When she agrees, he point-blank asks her why she moved the cloud to the clearing and set it off.
Scared, Rainbow offers a weak denial, but Phoenix reminds her that he knows she didn't kill Ace and won't feel any differently about her in light of what she reveals. Mustering her courage, Rainbow Dash admits that she did move the cloud to the clearing and set it off with the purpose of scaring--not killing--Ace during the meet-up, both to "kick dirt in his face" and as an emphatic statement that she wouldn't drop out of the race, even in the face of blackmail.
After the two go off-topic briefly, Rainbow Dash explains how her prank was going to work: she prepositioned the cloud in anticipation of the meeting, getting a bigger one then usual in order to make more powerful lightning and a louder, more frightening boom. Phoenix asks if the lightning bolt hit Ace, but the pegasus pony emphatically denies it, saying she made sure that the cloud wasn't over him; Rainbow insists she could clearly tell Ace wasn't hit by the first strike, which succeeded in frightening him. Her statement made, she left Ace behind and hightailed it out of the forest; Phoenix guesses Fluttershy saw her then.
When Phoenix asks Rainbow why she didn't mention about the blackmail to anyone else, she tells him that if she did, she would have had to explain what she was being blackmailed with, meaning the photos--and her secret--would still be revealed. Accepting her rationale, Phoenix then asks the pegasus pony to help him understand why Ace was found dead underneath the cloud if the first bolt missed, and why his second lighting bolt theory wouldn't work.
To that, she explains that Cloudsdale pegasi have been making a new type of storm cloud with a unique safety feature--its lightning never strikes the same place twice. So, once the first bolt strikes (which is always directly under the cloud), you could then move to where it hit and be safe from any subsequent strike. Phoenix then asks Rainbow about how thunder and lighting work in Equestria so that he has a better understanding next time. The pegasus pony confirms that the lightning bolt creates the boom of thunder when it hits the ground, but concedes that if a bolt struck something in the air close enough to the cloud, then there would be no thunder, possibly explaining why the second bolt wasn't heard.
But Rainbow Dash further notes that if that was the case, then the second bolt couldn't have killed Ace since he was wearing a special lightning-proof race suit which makes pegasi immune to lighting while flying. The suit has some exposed parts at the neck while a pegasus is standing on the ground, however...
Armed with new information, Phoenix tells Rainbow that he is leaving to investigate more. Before he can go, the cyan pegasus calls him back, explaining she has something for him. To his shock, she gives him the key to Ace's room at the "Hay and Stay" hotel near Sugar Cube Corner, explaining she found it under his room's welcome mat and used it to sneak in before the meeting to see if she could dig up dirt on him. She couldn't find anything incriminating, but maybe Phoenix can?
Outside the detention center, Phoenix is lost in thought, contemplating his next move only to be interrupted by Pinkie Pie, who gets his attention with a party horn. When Phoenix asks why she was waiting for him, Pinkie says she needs help finding something. Figuring she means the 'spiky-headed monster' she mentioned earlier, Phoenix begins to admit it's him but Pinkie doesn't let him finish, saying she's actually trying to find something else but won't tell Phoenix what it is because... "It's a SECRET!"
Confused, Phoenix then asks Pinkie if she knows where Sugar Cube Corner is so he can find the nearby Hay and Stay hotel, but this causes the pink party pony to ramble on about making cupcakes. Trying again, he asks Pinkie to show him the way to the hotel, but she says she only will if Phoenix can make her laugh. Phoenix tries several jokes without success until Pinkie notices the pink heart-shaped Equestrian Attorney Badge given him by Twilight. Laughing hysterically over him wearing such a girly-looking trinket, she takes an emasculated-feeling Phoenix to the hotel.
As Phoenix and Pinkie arrive at the Hay and Stay, Phoenix starts to worry they may get into trouble if anyone catches them breaking into Ace's room, but the point is rendered moot when Pinkie takes the key from Phoenix and opens the door herself. As Phoenix starts to look for evidence, Pinkie asks what they are looking for, occasionally rambling about unrelated subjects. Phoenix tries to explain that they are looking for clues related to the murder, but this leads to an argument over whether a ladder leaning against a bookshelf in the room is a stepladder or regular ladder.
After Pinkie goes off on a slightly more... disturbing tangent, Phoenix suddenly wonders why Ace would even need a ladder if he was a pegasus, which leads to Pinkie finding a partial letter on the top half of a torn sheet of paper. Though incomplete, it contains some intriguing information about someone 'wanting to quit' after the Equestrian 500, saying they 'couldn't help ruin lives' any longer. The bottom half of the letter is missing, however, and with it the likely explanation and identity of whoever wrote it.
As they try to figure out the letter's meaning from the limited information, Pinkie's tail starts twitching. She warns him that means something is about to fall, which Phoenix scoffs at just before being hit on the head by a book that tumbles off the top shelf. Though annoyed and still disbelieving that Pinkie's tail spasms could predict anything, he opens the book and discovers it's an advanced spell tome he saw Twilight reading earlier. Despite not understanding the language used in the book, he finds a small handwritten scribble on one of the pages saying "Continue from here, third line".
Phoenix reaches up high to return the book to the top shelf only to rip a large hole in the underarm of his suit in the process, causing him great consternation. Pinkie then finds a letter on a table which lists all the racers who were competing in the Equestrian 500; at the very top, Rainbow Dash's name is written with a time next to it saying "8:35".
While Phoenix starts to guess what this means, a voice behind them asks what they are doing.
Realizing they been caught red-handed (hoofed?), Phoenix turns around and is stunned to see Mia Fey in front of him, alive and well. He tries to talk to her, but she acts like she has never seen him before in her life. When she reveals her name to be Sonata, Mia changes into a gray, spectacled unicorn with a brown mane and eyelike cutie mark; Phoenix finds it very disconcerting how similar she feels to a pony version of Mia.
Sonata informs Phoenix and Pinkie that they've broken into her room and she could have them booked on breaking and entering charges. Phoenix is confused since Rainbow Dash said it was Ace's room, but Sonata tells Phoenix that she was Ace's manager before the murder and that they were sharing the same room while at the hotel. As she says this, Phoenix starts seeing a side of her that strongly resembles Adrian Andrews, freaking him out a little.
Sonata then starts talking more about Rainbow Dash and how justice will be served once she has been given a guilty verdict. After arguing briefly over Rainbow's innocence, they end up talking about Trixie--Sonata states that she wanted to be the prosecutor for the case but Trixie beat her to it, registering for the job before Sonata could get back to Canterlot to do so herself. They talk more, and it is shortly revealed that Sonata bears her own grudge against Trixie, a former classmate at magic school, resenting her for being better at magic despite being younger and having such an arrogant and obnoxious personality.
When Pinkie briefly interrupts the story, Phoenix notices Sonata appears to be in pain. He asks about it but she insists she is fine. Resuming their conversation, she tells Phoenix how she is striving to become better at magic and not be like Trixie--i.e., not using her magic for showing off or cheap parlor tricks. Phoenix questions why she would hate Trixie just for that, to which she reminds Phoenix about the way Trixie treated him during the trial. Phoenix notes he's had worse but can agree with the sentiment. Next, he inquires why Sonata wants to be the prosecutor to Ace's murder so bad, to which she replies that if she was in charge she would behave professionally, and have already closed the case with "cold, hard, swift justice." Phoenix tries telling her about the methods Mia taught her--to seek the truth, not just a desired verdict--but Sonata is unmoved.
Phoenix then asks about Sonata's eyeball cutie mark, which seems to cause Sonata to wince with pain for the second time. When Phoenix again asks if she is alright, she claims to be fine and changes the subject back to his original question, explaining that her cutie mark means she is good at perceiving and having a keen eye on detail--case in point, she is able to tell Phoenix is hiding a suit rip, and Pinkie is thinking about ladders.
Perturbed, Phoenix asks her more about Ace and her relationship with him as a manager. This query, however, sets off the Magatama as four psyche-locks appear in front of Sonata. Clearly not wanting to answer his question, Sonata orders Phoenix and Pinkie to leave. They do so, leaving Phoenix wondering why she didn't call the police as she threatened to.
As Phoenix and Pinkie exit the hotel, Phoenix asks Pinkie how she thinks the murder happened. He immediately regrets this as the pink earth pony launches into an outlandish theory that Rainbow Dash was framed for the murder by her evil twin, "Wob Niar". An exasperated Phoenix tries to reason with Pinkie that this is not what happened, but is startled by the sudden appearance of a gray pegasus with a blonde mane asking if they have received a letter not addressed to them.
Phoenix starts to freak out over her eyes, which point in two wildly different directions, but is steadied by Pinkie and manages to answer that they haven't received such a letter. Disappointed, the skew-eyed mail mare explains that an important letter was misdelivered and now she has to track it down. When she recognizes Phoenix as the human lawyer who didn't know anything about pegasi or weather, Phoenix ruefully admits he was under-prepared and asks for the mail mare's name.
She gives it as Derpy Hooves, but Pinkie warns Phoenix not to call her by it, as she is very sensitive about it. Not quite believing her but heeding the warning all the same, he asks Derpy her opinion on the trial, who replies with a surprisingly well-done (and rather cutting) poem detailing her feelings and observations. As Derpy leaves to continue searching for her missing letter, she warns the two that a 'mean unicorn calling people names' is out and about.
With that, Phoenix remembers the hole in his suit, and Pinkie takes him to get it repaired.
As Phoenix and Pinkie reach the posh Carousel Boutique, they are met by Rarity, who immediately--and to the human lawyer's pleasant surprise--sincerely compliments his often-insulted hair and suit. Noticing the tear in the latter, she is horrified and insists on fixing it immediately. While she starts repairing it, the two introduce themselves properly.
Impressed by her passion and maturity, Phoenix asks Rarity why she wasn't able to make it to the trial. She explains it was due to an important shipment of perfume she had to retrieve that morning from the post office, which turns into a terrifying fit of rage about being stuck in a very long line with a filly crying behind her while another pony in front was taking forever to do her task with the one available pen, and when she finally got to the front, it turned her package had never arrived, making her trip and long wait in vain.
After this outburst ends, Rarity regains her composure and calmly produces a copy of her invoice, asking a thoroughly shaken Phoenix to use it to sue the post office for the 'torture' she went through. Eager to change the subject, he asks Rarity more about the package she was expecting. Rarity explains that the perfume is very rare and expensive but also very long-lasting, so a single bottle will last an entire year. As they finish chatting, Rarity gives him his suit back, fully repaired. Phoenix compliments her on her work, noting it's his only suit in Equestria.
IIIIIIDDDEEEEEAAAA!!!! This causes Rarity to launch into a long-winded monologue about making a new suit for Phoenix, replete with gemstones and purple fabric. Saying that Rarity will probably be like this for the next hour, the suddenly sane-in-comparison Pinkie tells Phoenix that they have to go to Fluttershy's cottage next. When Phoenix asks why, Pinkie breaks the 4th wall to claim the script says so. Though having absolutely no idea what she's talking about, he agrees to go.
Arriving at Fluttershy's cottage, Phoenix hears a country-accented voice. Turning, he is shocked to see Lotta Hart and starts to panic. However, just like Mia turned out to be Sonata, Lotta turns out to be a stetson-wearing orange earth pony named Applejack. She starts to lecture Phoenix, threatening to 'smack him upside the head' for accusing Fluttershy of the murder. Phoenix starts to explain but Applejack cuts him off, saying she figures he only did it to buy Rainbow Dash another day, but still wants to smack him for it.
Phoenix expands on this, insisting he didn't want to accuse Fluttershy but he had to make a small lie in order to save Rainbow Dash from getting a guilty verdict. The orange earth pony is unimpressed, reminding him that even little lies have consequences. Trying to change the subject, Phoenix asks if she is Apple Bloom's elder sister due to the similarity of accent. She confirms it, formally introducing herself and Big Macintosh, who greets Phoenix with his trademark 'Eeyup'. She then asks Phoenix and Pinkie if they have seen Apple Bloom, who is supposed to be grounded for going to the Everfree Forest so late.
They haven't, but Applejack makes a point to thank Phoenix for getting Apple Bloom to tell the truth on the stand, noting herself to be the Element of Honesty and wishing to pass this on to her sister. Chatting briefly about the [w:c:mlp:Elements of Harmony|Elements of Harmony]] and Twilight, Phoenix asks if Apple Bloom came home at the time she said in the trial. Applejack confirms she did. That point settled, they try to figure out the mystery of the second lightning bolt, but this stops when Applejack's head starts hurting. Talk turns to Trixie, and Applejack explains the origin of the show pony's grudge against Twilight and the rest of the mane six. At the end, she asks him to prove Rainbow Dash innocent and stick it to Trixie. He promises he will.
After they go their separate ways, Phoenix asks Pinkie if meeting Applejack was the reason for coming to Fluttershy's Cottage. Before she can answer, Pinkie coughs, which she says means something strange is about to happen. He scoffs again at her predictive power, only to be struck speechless when impossibly, his cellphone rings.
Shocked, he answers the call and is greeted by an unfamiliar male voice. Its owner refuses to identify himself or how he is calling Ace, but claims to have evidence that will prove Rainbow Dash innocent. He asks to meet Phoenix in the Everfree Forest clearing the murder took place in, and orders him to come alone. Despite misgivings, Phoenix agrees to the terms, telling Pinkie to wait by the forest entrance.
When Phoenix reaches the clearing, he finds himself alone. Just as he's starting to wonder if he's in a trap, a pony charges in behind Phoenix and knocks him out (in a cut scene animated by MrPoniator). When he comes to, he finds himself lost in the middle of the Everfree Forest and all his evidence stolen. Going from bad to worse, he hears an ominous growling as Timber wolves surround him; Phoenix fears for his life until Fluttershy comes out of nowhere to stare the vicious lupines down, ordering them to leave.
Stunned to see the timid pegasus able to accomplish such a feat but very grateful for her rescue, Phoenix apologizes profusely to Fluttershy for accusing her in the trial, explaining why he did it. Fluttershy accepts his apology, saying she went looking for him after being told by Pinkie he had gone in the woods alone. Phoenix then asks why she is out of police custody; she answers that they let her go, meaning the feather theory was a bust.
Phoenix then asks if she spotted the pony who attacked him. She didn't but starts to fret she was supposed to, reverting back to her trademark timidity after staring down a pack of timber wolves. Phoenix tells her its fine, but Fluttershy adds one more piece of ominous news--Twilight has decided to fire Phoenix and defend Rainbow Dash herself.
Realizing he needs to talk to Twilight immediately, they head for the exit. Before they reach it, they run into a very surprised Twilight galloping up the path.
Back at the Library, Phoenix explains to Twilight his actions at the trial, telling her there was no other way to buy time but to accuse Fluttershy--that if he hadn't done it, Rainbow Dash would have been found guilty right then and there. As Twilight starts to understand, Phoenix mentions he knows that Twilight was going to fire him, warning her that if she becomes Rainbow Dash's defense attorney, she will be facing a well-prepared and dangerously clever Trixie. He reminds Twilight that despite being a professional defense lawyer he barely held his own against the grudge-driven show pony; she was remarkably adept at overruling or explaining away any argument or evidence thrown against her.
Twilight becomes visibly confused, uncertain what to do. Phoenix asks Twilight to allow him to do one thing before she makes the decision to fire him--question a pony he knows is hiding something. Twilight says she knows one too, telling Phoenix that ever since the incident with his Magatama she's been "seeing lots of locks." Shocked by the news that she can now see psyche-locks, Phoenix tells her about the Magatama, explaining how it works and aids him in his investigations.
Fascinated by what Phoenix has told her, Twilight asks what black psyche-locks means but Phoenix doesn't know, having never seen them. Changing the subject, Phoenix tells Twilight that since he told the truth, he wants it from her in return about how he arrived in Equestria--he was summoned on purpose, not by accident as claimed and demands to know why.
Embarrassed and chagrined, Twilight decides to own up, telling Phoenix that Princess Celestia had ordered her to summon him to Ponyville and play dumb afterwards. She apologizes, but insists she honestly didn't know Phoenix would be a human from another world--the princess didn't tell her that. Phoenix becomes confused how the princess could even know who he is, and Twilight is equally surprised that Phoenix knows nothing about Princess Celestia despite her seemingly knowing everything about him.
With things resolved between them, Phoenix asks Twilight if she managed to find any clues related to the case, at which point the violet unicorn reveals a half-torn letter. Recognizing it as the missing half of the letter she found in Ace's hotel room, Twilight and Phoenix put the pieces together, revealing the full text:
- “This is my letter stating my permanent Leave of Absence. After the Equestrian 500 is over, I can no longer work with you. We made quite the team, but I can’t live with the guilt any longer. I can’t keep helping you ruin others' lives. It saddens me beyond belief that we must part ways, but I must say farewell. Goodbye Ace; may our paths cross in the future.”
Though there's no name on it, Phoenix guesses from the content who wrote it. With the new information, he suggests to Twilight they split up to interrogate the ponies they want to and meet back at the Library afterwards. She agrees.
Returning to the Hay and Stay Hotel, Phoenix goes to Ace's hotel room to confront Sonata. She is not happy to see him as he opens by wondering aloud why she didn't call the police since their last encounter, especially since if Phoenix was arrested for breaking into the hotel room, Rainbow Dash would be left without a defense attorney--and very likely be found guilty, just like she wanted.
Not getting a reply, Phoenix goes back to asking Sonata about his relationship with Ace. Just as before, this sets the off the Magatama, causing four psyche-locks to appear. Sonata still refuses to answer, claiming it isn't any of his business. Despite this, Phoenix presses her, claiming she has a connection to the murder. When Sonata challenges him to explain the connection, Phoenix reveals the letter Twilight and Phoenix found, noting only she could have written the letter seeing she was the only one doing business with Ace at the time.
This startles Sonata and breaks one of the psyche-locks. She tries to deny it by claiming anypony could have written it, but Phoenix proves it was her with the advanced spell book that fell on his head earlier. At first, Sonata denies the book beings to her, claiming it to be the property of the hotel. Phoenix debunks that claim quickly, noting the book had to belong to Sonata given another unicorn who has read the same book told him it was only available in Canterlot, where Sonata lives.
Sonata owns up and admits that the book is hers but insists that doesn't prove she wrote the letter. Phoenix points out that despite the fact the book is in a language he does not understand, there is a small handwritten note "continue from here, third line" written on the corner of one of the pages, guessing Sonata used it as a bookmark. He goes on to say that they can easily do a handwriting comparison of the note in the book to the writing on the letter, thus confirming she wrote both.
The second psyche-lock breaks as an increasingly frustrated Sonata confirms that she wrote the letter, asking Phoenix how her quitting has any connection to the crime. In response, Phoenix reads out part of the letter stating "I can't help ruin others' lives." Phoenix tells Sonata that he knows what it means, showing her the embarrassing images of Rainbow Dash. Despite the unicorn claiming she has never seen the pictures before, Phoenix asserts that Sonata had some part in Ace's blackmailing business, causing the third psyche-lock to break.
Sonata then accuses of Phoenix of having wild imagination, asking why she or Ace would want to blackmail Rainbow Dash in the first place. This time, Phoenix replies by showing Sonata the blackmail letter Rainbow Dash gave him earlier. Sonata claims that there is still no way that letter could prove her or Ace had anything to do with it until Phoenix reminds her that they could do handwriting analysis on it as well--a simple visual inspection shows the writing styles match, thus proving she wrote the letter and was directly involved in the blackmail scheme.
With this, the final psyche-lock breaks and a strangely serene Sonata congratulates Phoenix on uncovering the truth.
Confused as to why the gray unicorn seems unperturbed about her secret being found out, Sonata informs him that she has nothing to worry about because he is not going to tell anyone about it. Phoenix immediately denies that, claiming he is going to the police immediately, but is stopped short when Sonata reminds him about being caught breaking and entering earlier. After brazenly detailing the blackmail scheme, she warns him that if he tells anyone about it, she will immediately have him arrested and will be attending the trial the next day to make sure his lips stay sealed. She further reminds him of what he himself noted earlier--if Phoenix is arrested, he won't be able to defend Rainbow Dash and the pegasus pony will almost certainly be found guilty.
Frustrated, Phoenix returns to the Library to wait for Twilight, trying to think how to get around Sonata's threat but also uncertain as to how the blackmail scheme relates to Ace's death. Entering the library, he spots Owlowiscious and tries talking to him. Not getting any response from the avian except owlish hoots, Spike appears, explaining the owl is Twilight's nocturnal assistant while he handles the day chores. The two are chatting about Twilight as the violet unicorn returns.
Glaring at Spike after overhearing him call her a nerd, she tells Phoenix that she thinks she knows who's behind Ace's murder. Announcing he is not fired, she promises to fill him in the following morning, heading to bed to rest after an exhausting day. Wishing her good night, Phoenix stays up a little while longer, brooding over what to do about Sonata.
Abruptly, an idea occurs to him, and he asks Owlowiscious for a favor as the credits start to roll.
|Date added||January 29, 2013|
|Part of||Turnabout Storm|
On the second day of the trial, Phoenix, Twilight, and Rainbow Dash wait for the next part of the trial to start; given the evidence they've accumulated the previous day, Phoenix is confident that they'll win and that he has suspicions on who the true culprit is: Cruise Control. But the odds are not in their favor; it isn't clear whether or not Cruise killed Ace Swift, only that he was being blackmailed by Ace and was the anonymous tip to the police. Moreover, the feather found at the crime scene didn't match any of Fluttershy's animals. Regardless, Phoenix assures Rainbow that everything will be fine.
Twilight is about to ask Phoenix about Trixie's black psyche-locks again before Trixie herself shows up to engage in some pre-trial trash talk. She's surprised to hear that Phoenix will be presiding over the defense and not Twilight, having looked forward to trouncing her in the courtroom. Nonetheless, she resolves to win the case and see to it that Rainbow is banished. Phoenix is genuinely shocked that Trixie is playing so fast and loose with another pony's life just to get back at Twilight, but Trixie in unconcerned.
Fluttershy then makes her appearance, to Rainbow Dash's immediate and utter annoyance. According to her, Rarity and Applejack have arrived as well, but Pinkie Pie's whereabouts are unknown. Still feeling betrayed over her ex-friend's damning testimony the previous day, Rainbow angrily berates Fluttershy, telling her she hates her and never wants to see her again. Heartbroken, Fluttershy runs out of the courthouse in tears. Twilight and Phoenix rebuke Rainbow for her behavior, but the trial's about to continue. Reluctantly, Twilight leaves the defense in Phoenix's hands--which he agrees to--as she goes to find Fluttershy.
Phoenix assures Rainbow Dash that he won't reveal the details of her blackmail unless absolutely necessary (fearing his own blackmail situation with Sonata as well). But worried about her propensity for flying off the handle, he tells her to maintain control and remain quiet during the trial. Rainbow Dash agrees.
Phoenix and Trixie are back in the courtroom, and the trial is underway. The Judge questions Trixie about her findings on the feather presented by the defense, to which Trixie compliantly confirms it didn't match any of Fluttershy's animals. She thus waves off the evidence as useless and moves for the verdict to be handed down, but Phoenix calls her out on this, asking, if the feather didn't come from any of the animals, where it did come from. A confident Trixie reveals that the owner of the feather came forward the day before and had even witnessed the crime in question. Phoenix and The Judge are truly curious as to who this surprise witness could be.
As Phoenix plugs his nose from a pungent scent in the air, Trixie calls none other than Gilda to the stand. Rainbow Dash is visibly shaken by her appearance, and due to her abrasiveness, Phoenix wastes no time or effort getting on her bad side. In her (surprisingly short) testimony, Gilda confirms that she saw Rainbow Dash kill "that other pony" and that she saw it happen. When Phoenix refutes the validity of such a short testimony, Trixie explains that Gilda's busy schedule prevents her from testifying for very long. She goes on to place upon Phoenix the condition that he only be allowed three lines of questioning and that they must all relate to Gilda's statement. With a bit of circumventing the rules of the court, she gets The Judge to agree to this condition, to Phoenix's disbelief.
The human lawyer begins his cross-examination. His first question to Gilda: what was she doing in the forest at the time of the murder? Gilda starts to sweat, but Trixie objects; this question was already answered: she was witnessing the crime. Phoenix and The Judge are incredulous by this absurd objection, but that's one question down all the same.
Phoenix's second question: what did Gilda witness? Gilda says she watched Rainbow Dash and the victim speak from a hiding spot (mentioning that, as a griffin, she can see in the dark) and that she heard the two talking about "negotiations" before Rainbow Dash killed him with the lightning bolt. Phoenix knows Gilda is lying, but only has one line of questioning left.
His third question to Gilda: where was she hiding? On a diagram of the clearing, Gilda points to a tree she was hiding in--the same tree the feather was found in.
With that, the defense has exhausted all lines of questioning, and Gilda is excused...but Phoenix is not done. He points out a flaw in her testimony: between the spot where the victim was killed and the tree she claims she hid in was another tree--the tree that the third lightning bolt struck and took down at 11:35PM. How could Gilda have witnessed the murder at 8:40PM from her hiding spot if there was a tree in the way? Trixie notices this inconsistency as well, and the griffin on the stand starts to sweat again, her questionable witness credibility now preventing her from leaving.
Gilda amends her testimony: she didn't see the crime, but she did hear it. After seeing Rainbow Dash fly off, she gave chase after the "perpetrator" since she was already on her way to Ponyville, finally giving up and returning home after losing sight of the pegasus.
Too easy, Phoenix thinks. He points out that if Gilda had followed Rainbow Dash into Ponyville, Fluttershy would've seen her, concluding that she didn't leave the forest as she alleges. Gilda cries in frustration at this, and Phoenix believes he finally has the upper hand. However, Trixie disputes Fluttershy's credibility because she didn't see Apple Bloom leave the forest either. Phoenix starts to grasp at straws, standing by his assertion that Gilda stayed in the forest. He presents Ponyville's delivery schedule, which states that Griffon Express was expected to deliver a package to Ponyville at 10:00PM on the night of the murder, revealing Gilda's occupation as a mail courier. Phoenix reasons that she lost her delivery in the forest and presents the bag Twilight and Apple Bloom found the day before as evidence. But Phoenix has nothing to tie Gilda to the bag or the Griffon Express, as Gilda points out.
Phoenix presses the griffin: why was she going to Ponyville? She hesitantly gives the answer that she wanted to "catch up with a friend". The attorney in blue presents his second piece of evidence: the invoice for Rarity's imported perfume. He also presents the bottle of perfume that was inside the bag Twilight and Apple Bloom found. Even still, everything links back to the Griffon Express as a whole, not Gilda herself. Phoenix turns everyone's attention to the scent blanketing the courtroom; it's coming from Gilda. He then tells The Judge to smell the perfume in the bottle; he compares the odor to a "rotting skunk basted in expired milk". Indeed, the scent coming from Gilda and the perfume are one and the same!
The Judge accuses Gilda of perjury, and Trixie is quickly losing her patience. She reveals that she knew Gilda had stayed in the forest--which Phoenix takes as a confession of withholding information--but was sworn by the Griffon Express to keep Gilda's occupation (and mistake) confidential. The Judge lets Trixie off with a warning, telling her that more concealing information will see her being held in contempt.
Once and for all, Phoenix asks Gilda what she was doing in the forest and why she didn't leave. Gilda admits to being a Griffon Express courier; she had come into Ponyville from Hoofington to the west, during which time she heard the murder and dropped the perfume while chasing Rainbow Dash. She had sprayed herself once with the perfume, thinking no one would mind. Having cleared that up, Gilda is anxious to leave, but Phoenix is likewise anxious to make her stay. A fed up Gilda just reaffirms what she heard and deduced: that Rainbow Dash killed "that other pegasus" with the lightning bolt.
Trixie growls, as Phoenix has caught Gilda in yet another lie: how did she know the victim was a pegasus? Neither his name nor the type of pony he was had been mentioned, and she herself admitted she didn't get a good look at him. Even Trixie pressed her for the answer. Surrounded on all sides, Gilda becomes angry at both the prosecution and the defense (especially the defense), but Phoenix isn't afraid of her--rather, he believes she's afraid of him. He knows her type: the ones who lie just to save their own hide.
The Judge calls for order and admonishes Gilda for multiple counts of perjury. He gives her one last chance to tell the truth; otherwise, she'll be taken away for further questioning.
Gilda amends her testimony again. She testifies to dropping the bag while chasing Rainbow Dash and searching for it for five to ten minutes before giving up. Having had no other deliveries, she returned to the clearing and found the victim's dead body under the cloud. She claims to have withheld this information to preserve the Griffon Express's image, but Phoenix knows better: she wanted to frame Rainbow Dash.
Twilight returns, having failed to find Fluttershy, and is shocked to see Gilda in the witness box. Twilight warns Phoenix of something he already knows: Gilda has a personal vendetta against Rainbow Dash. But given all the lies she's told and this being her last testimony, Gilda's been all but backed into a corner.
What follows is a gag in which Gilda is accused of being slow, due to her being unable to keep up with the flying Rainbow Dash and unable to find the dropped bag despite Twilight saying how easy finding the bag was for her. As Phoenix continues to rile Gilda, Twilight wonders what he's doing. It's a trick he learned in law school: make someone angry or frustrated, and they're more prone to act carelessly ("anger makes you stupid"). Phoenix is hoping this will cause Gilda to say the wrong thing.
Unfortunately, in spite of Gilda's outbursts during the cross-examination, everything in her testimony seems to be in order, but Phoenix can tell she's guilty of something else. Twilight gets an idea: ask Gilda something about the crime scene and see if it matches up with the evidence. When asked if she remembered anything, Gilda says she remembers nothing but a "piece of trash" near the victim's body. Phoenix presses her to describe it, which Gilda eventually likens to some sort of stick. He shows her a photo of the Pinkie Iron Mk. V, and Gilda identifies it as the piece of trash she found. Phoenix has caught the griffin in yet ANOTHER lie: the Pinkie Iron Mk. V wasn't found anywhere near the scene of the crime. But at some point in time, it was; the length of Pinkie Pie's golf club matched the length of an impression in the dirt near the body. Phoenix accuses Gilda of moving the stick, but she vehemently denies, stating it was "right next to the dead pegasus".
The courtroom goes deathly silent, and Trixie has lost all patience. It seems that Gilda's been caught in yet another lie, but oddly enough, Phoenix believes her this time--he believes the stick really was right next to the victim. But if the stick was in the dirt, why was the body found under the cloud away from the dirt? As she's demanded of an explanation for this, Gilda pleads to Trixie for help, but Trixie will hear none of it. Phoenix recalls the disturbance in the dirt next to the stick's impression; marks in the dirt indicate someone shifted it around. He pieces it together: Gilda didn't touch the stick at all. She moved the body from the dirt to directly under the cloud, then removed any indication that the body was ever in the dirt.
Rainbow Dash could keep silent no longer; she asks Gilda why she would do this. The entire courtroom now against her, Gilda's temper cools. She gives up and confesses. She hadn't lied earlier when she said she wanted to "catch up with a friend"; she wished to find Rainbow Dash and make amends. After hearing the conversation between Rainbow and the victim, dropping her bag, and finding the victim's body, she was about to forget she ever saw or heard anything and go home. But memories of her visit to Ponyville began to surface, and she gave in to the resentment she harbored for the cyan pegasus. She admits she overreacted, hoping revenge would make her feel better (this gets a slight reaction from Trixie), but it never did. In fact, Gilda says she's relieved about not having to keep this up anymore. All she truly wanted was to have her best friend back.
Gilda confirms that she was the last one to leave the scene of the crime and didn't see anyone else. In light of this, the question of who moved the stick from the forest to the lake lingered. Regardless, this proves Rainbow Dash couldn't have killed the victim, as he didn't die under the cloud as originally thought. If the first lightning bolt didn't kill him, it must've been the second (even though Gilda didn't hear a second). However, due to her committing perjury, mail fraud, and crime scene tampering, Gilda is arrested, facing jail time. A sad Rainbow Dash begs for The Judge to go easy on her, and promises to visit her after the Equestrian 500.
Gilda asks The Judge if she could say one more thing...and she proceeds to ruin the sad moment by cursing out Phoenix.
Given Gilda's confession, The Judge is ready to give his verdict, one of "not guilty" virtually certain. Just before he bangs the gavel, however, Trixie objects, still asserting that Rainbow Dash killed Ace Swift.
Since the first lightning bolt didn't kill him, Trixie discusses the second, referring back to the cloud ballistics. She explains that the second lightning bolt wasn't heard because it could've been a "dud bolt", a weather anomaly in which a lightning bolt doesn't leave the cloud and instead strikes inside it, causing the sound to be muffled. But, as Phoenix points out, this doesn't explain how Ace Swift was killed. Trixie then reasons that, upon being struck by the first bolt, he was sent flying a few feet into the dirt. She has no proof of this, but she claims she doesn't need proof, asking the court what makes more sense: a lightning bolt sending a pony flying a few feet, or a bolt that THREE witnesses failed to hear? Even The Judge admitted to the former being more plausible. What's more, Rainbow Dash had spoken with the victim prior to his death and knew where the exposed parts of his lightning-proof suit were.
Phoenix remembers Cruise Control as a possible suspect, but Trixie stonewalls him, stating he couldn't have been the killer, because (among other reasons) at the time of the murder, he was reporting the crime to the police at the station from 8:30PM to 9:00PM, which the police can attest to. And Trixie knows for a fact that the defense has nothing to place him at the scene of the crime.
All further attempts by Phoenix to stall and cast suspicion elsewhere are impeded by Trixie's arguments and stubbornness; he's truly exhausted all his resources. Twilight beseeches him to think of something, but he has nothing left (except for the blackmail, but if he brings that up, Sonata will have him arrested on the spot).
The Judge has heard enough. The time has at last come for him to make his ruling. Trixie gloats at Twilight in her imminent victory and openly mocks her and the magic of friendship. Twilight and Rainbow Dash grow increasingly desperate, and Phoenix is at a complete loss. Finally, The Judge finds the defendant, Rainbow Dash...GUILTY! With a bang of The Judge's gavel, court is adjourned.
...Suddenly, an objection from someone other than Phoenix or Twilight! "I object!" Fluttershy shouts from the witness box.
The Judge calls for order in the ensuing commotion and demands an explanation. Fluttershy has remembered something important about the night of the murder and wishes to testify again. Naturally, Trixie objects to this; the verdict has already been handed down. Phoenix seizes the opportunity and requests that Fluttershy be allowed to speak. But The Judge is in agreement with the prosecution; he's already delivered his ruling. Phoenix implores His Honor, saying that it's their duty to hear every testimony and exhaust every piece of evidence before giving a proper verdict. The Judge ponders heavily on it, to Trixie's complete disbelief, and ultimately allows Fluttershy to testify. But he will not overturn his ruling; Rainbow Dash is still considered guilty. Regardless, Phoenix thanks The Judge, as Trixie fumes. Fluttershy is given the floor.
Fluttershy recalls the night of the murder; she'd been watching the forest all night. Right around the time she saw Rainbow Dash flying away from the Everfree Forest, she also saw a pony trotting toward Ponyville not far from her cottage. She doesn't remember what the pony looked like, but she's certain that the pony had been carrying the stick--the scorched Pinkie Iron Mk. V.
The Judge is flabbergasted by this breaking information. When asked why she didn't say anything about it before, Fluttershy says she had no idea the stick was at all involved.
Phoenix begins his cross-examination, asking Fluttershy if she's sure she can't accurately describe this pony. All the yellow pegasus can remember is the pony's stature, indicating she was female. The human lawyer asks about the pony's colors and cutie mark. She confirms that the pony's coat and mane were dark colors, but couldn't make out precisely what colors they were, and she couldn't see her cutie mark. Seeing Trixie and The Judge getting impatient, Phoenix urges Fluttershy for more, asking how the pony was holding the stick. Fluttershy says she was holding the stick in her mouth, which she found odd considering she was a unicorn. In fact, she'd almost missed seeing the pony's horn were it not for... Fluttershy gasps; she's remembered something else! She asks The Judge if she can amend her testimony, which The Judge allows.
Fluttershy adds that she was able to see the unicorn's horn because of the moonlight reflecting off her glasses.
Phoenix pieces it together: a female unicorn with dark colors and glasses. Such a description pointed to only one pony: Ace Swift's manager, Sonata! According to Twilight, no other pony in Ponyville matches this description.
The Judge tells Trixie to bring Sonata in; while his guilty verdict still stands, he wishes to hear Sonata's explanation. Trixie consents to The Judge's request, but reminds him that Fluttershy's original testimony still has a giant hole in it. Moreover, Sonata is a unicorn, not a pegasus; she couldn't have killed Ace Swift. The Judge moves for a 15-minute recess while Trixie collects Sonata.
Back in the courthouse waiting room, Phoenix nearly has a heart attack over the proceedings. As things stand, Rainbow Dash is still considered guilty. He catches himself when Rainbow Dash gets nervous and once again assures her that he's going to get her out of this. He consoles her about Gilda, but the cyan pegasus shrugs it off.
Twilight inquires about Sonata, who she suddenly remembers bumping into the day before. Phoenix admits to not knowing much about her beyond that she was blackmailing many of the Equestrian 500 competitors; she's even blackmailing him right now. He imparts on Twilight the details of his situation, and the violet unicorn quickly scolds him for engaging in such "un-lawyerlike" activities.
Phoenix asks Twilight if there exists a spell that can electrocute another to death. She brings up "forbidden arcane magic", but says there's no way Sonata could know about it because no modern literature on magic could teach such spells. She adds that the possibility of "artificial electricity" exists, but not even she would have enough magic power to make it lethal, especially to an athlete like Ace Swift.
Fearing simply putting Sonata on the stand will lead to his arrest, Phoenix asks Twilight to take over for the defense if it happens. Unfortunately, Twilight can't; she had Spike cancel her appeal to the Equestrian Council to appoint her as Rainbow Dash's lawyer. Even if she wanted to represent Rainbow, she wouldn't be allowed to.
Twilight thinks Phoenix should "wing it"; it's what he's good at. Phoenix agrees; his intuition tells him Sonata is responsible for Ace Swift's death. Thus, her testimony will be full of lies and half-truths. Phoenix also tells Twilight that Sonata is a dead ringer for someone he knows, "like a 'pony' version of her", believing someone was channeling her or she'd been reincarnated. Twilight asks if she acts like this person he knows, which he strongly denies; Mia would never commit blackmail or murder. They may be virtually identical, but they were complete opposites as far as Phoenix was concerned. If that's the case, Twilight tells him not to worry; if it's not Mia, he needn't be afraid to go all out. Phoenix briefly flashes back to his conversation with Mia again before his consciousness returns to present-day. He thanks Twilight just before an announcement that the trial will reconvene in two minutes. He promises Rainbow Dash freedom by the end of the day, and the blue pegasus gives her lawyer all her support.
- I was given one more chance, one more chance to find the truth. It's either sink or swim. Even if she tries to have me arrested for intrusion. I got her on the stand; it doesn't matter anymore. It's time she pays her dues for all she's done... Including the murder...
- Phoenix Wright - TheGoldCrow
- Twilight Sparkle - ShiroiUsagine
- Rainbow Dash - Saru4life (Part 1), GingaJinketsuKoushi (Part 2 forward)
- Fluttershy - Tomoyo Ichijouji
- Miles Edgeworth - KampfVerein
- Trixie - KissofJudas
- Judge - Keikoandgilly
- Apple Bloom - Jane Doe
- Mia Fey - AderuMoro
- Pinkie Pie - ShiroiUsagine
- Sonata - AderuMoro
- Derpy Hooves - BaldDumboRat
- Rarity - Tomoyo Ichijouji
- Applejack - Mirisha Lottich
- Big Macintosh - LumpySpacePony
- Spike - Saru4life
- Princess Celestia - Princessril
- Cruise Control - Smoov28
- Sweetie Belle - Nikki-Cola
- Lenora - Mirisha
- Gilda - Nowacking
- Extras - Keikoandgilly, TheGoldCrow, TallBrony91, Rina-Chan, KampfVerein, Mirisha, PrincessRil, khsrio621, BaldDumboRat, ThatCanadianDude, Smoov28, Gabu Ex, Jessica Nowaking, AderuMoro, Psylentlknight, xWoodrow101, Nickzero7, Arclad84, SonicFan39Returns
- Phoenix's mention of "ten seconds flat" is a reference to a line spoken by Rainbow Dash in Friendship is Magic, part 1.
- Phoenix's mention of The Steel Samurai being popular outside its target demographic is a nod to My Little Pony Friendship is Magic's own popularity.
- Phoenix's line "I'm not whining, I'm complaining!" is a direct quote of Rarity's from A Dog and Pony Show.
- Phoenix's proverb "The mighty don't flaunt their power; the sly eagle hides its claws" is paraphrased from lines spoken by Zidane Tribal in Final Fantasy IX.
- Trixie's opening statement, particularly the line "Zero. Zilch. Nada. None!" mirrors a line spoken by Franziska von Karma in Justice For All.
- Twilight and Phoenix's brief conversation about children is a reference to Phoenix's adopted daughter Trucy, introduced in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.
- Phoenix mentions the anthology television series The Twilight Zone.
- The names of Fluttershy's pet flies (Michael, Donna, Steven, Eric, and Jackie) are the same as those of the main characters in That 70's Show.
- Apple Bloom mentions her experience in Story of the Blanks.
A sequel was originally intended, but has been cancelled due to a constant group of negative video comments complaining about the voices of the characters not fitting with the official ones, which put both the author and voice actors under lots of stress. The criticism also caused Apple Bloom's voice actress to temporarily leave the project, before returning afterwards due to constant support from the fans.