|Date added||January 29, 2013|
|Part of||Turnabout Storm|
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Part 3 - Phoenix
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On the second day of the trial, Phoenix Wright, Twilight Sparkle, 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 is 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 griffon, 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 griffon 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 griffon: 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 presses 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 griffon 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 admits 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, and 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...