|Part 3 - Twilight|
|Date added||September 8, 2012|
|Part of||Turnabout Storm|
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Part 3 - Phoenix
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.
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, telling 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 Generation 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 Sugarcube 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 Manehattan 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 Generation 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 Manehattan was originally in that slot but dropped out. Remembering Cruise said he was from Manehattan, 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 10:00pm 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 Manehattan, 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 race suit, 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 [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...
- Twilight's comments concerning magic kindergarten mirror comments about "android hell" in the video game Portal in that it's "a real place, and you will be sent there at the first sign of defiance".
- The Judge's fear that talking to Doctor Whooves will "create some sort of paradox" alludes to the fact that Keikoandgilly, who voices The Judge, also voices Doctor Whooves in Doctor Whooves and Assistant.
- Twilight and Apple Bloom's conversation about a ladder mirrors a running gag in the Ace Attorney series, in which Phoenix and his assistant at the time discuss the differences between a ladder and a stepladder.
- The open-mouthed sticker/badge on Lenora's headband matches that of a recurring one in the Ace Attorney series, that passed from previous client Ema Skye from the first game, Phoenix's hat that he wore during the fourth game, and now currently lies in the Wright Anything Agency.
- The contents of the letter addressed to Lenora ("sorry, but the princess is in another castle") references an iconic line from Super Mario Bros.
- Apple Bloom mentions her experiences in Story of the Blanks.