|Date added||December 31, 2011|
|Part of||Turnabout Storm|
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Part 3 - Twilight
- 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 Phoenix's 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 9:00pm and that the cloud loosed its first lightning bolt at 8:40pm, followed by two additional strikes at 8:50pm and 11:35pm--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 9:00pm 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 9:10pm.
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 (8:50pm) and when Apple Bloom said she saw it (9:00pm), 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 8:50pm 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 3:00pm 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's 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 sweeter. 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 he could 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.
- 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.