Follow the Fool
It had been a week since the phone call. That unexpected phone call that threw a wrench into the gears of Franziska von Karma’s carefully arranged life from a woman she’d never expected to want to talk to her again. A phone call that had interrupted her furious concentration in building yet another ironclad case, thrown her off her game, and made her look like a puerile fool in the eyes of the policemen who worked under her.
Come to think of it, it should have made her mad. But it didn’t.
For what seemed like an eternity, there had been no sound on the other end of the phone, and Franziska had briefly wondered if the other woman had hung up. Then she spoke. Her voice was the same as the young prosecutor remembered, soft and subdued, though there was something different in her tone. Back in the investigation, every word Adrian Andrews had said had been laced with a sort of melancholy unease, a pervasive malaise that even she couldn’t quite hide. Of course, it made sense given that when the two met, she’d just finished tampering with evidence; desecrating the body of a man she pretended to love in order to frame her own professional client.
Still, though it hadn’t mattered to her at all at the time, Franziska was perceptive enough to hear something more in her voice—particularly with the reports she’d read not half an hour before about
Franziska wasn’t quite sure what exactly she expected
“I… didn’t think you’d answer the phone.”
Trying to find her voice, Franziska at last responded, hoping that nobody would catch her brief stutter. “I-isn’t this the phone number I left with Miles to give to you? Why would I not answer the phone I told you to call me at if there was trouble? I keep my word.” Except when I told you that you’d be fine if you did what I told you. The blue-haired girl paused. “…is there trouble?”
“No! Not at all! N-nothing like that!” the older woman exclaimed, “And I knew that you would pick up, but I… nevermind, it’s silly. I just… I wanted to thank you for everything you’ve done for me.”
Everything I’ve done for you? Land you in jail for perjury and obstruction of justice, and almost get you put squarely on Death Row? What’s there to thank me for? “And I…” wanted to apologize to you. “I… think that maybe it would be best for us to talk in person, though.”
“O-oh! Yes, maybe… maybe that would be best. Where are you? I thought Mr. Edgeworth said that you’d returned to
“Actually, I have. I’m practicing law in
“Then… how could we…?”
She’d never say yes, to fly almost halfway across the world to see the girl who was responsible for such hardship. Still, even asking might help correct that mistake. “As a prosecutor, I am paid quite sufficiently. It would be no trouble to book a flight from
Franziska heard a soft, long sigh from the other end of the phone. “Maybe… I’d… I think I’d like that. Maybe getting away from here is just what I need… if only for a little while. I… I don’t really have any place to stay here for a while, anyway. But I can’t ask you to do that! That’s too much!”
No, it wouldn’t be enough. Though she wasn’t completely expecting
Still, it was something she could do to a person she’d wronged. Perhaps
So six days and two criminal trials later, Franziska von Karma found herself at the International Airport of Hamburg to pick a blonde American up from an eight-hour plane flight. A throng of porters and other lazy, unambitous people were blocking the doorway leading from the lot where she’d parked her small compact car… loitering and chattering like a flock of the foolish fools that they were.
Her whip bit the air, and the loiterers jumped nearly in perfect unison, spreading out away from the center door. “Thank you,” said the young prodigy as she calmly walked through the now-unblocked entrance, coiling her whip in one smooth motion as she did so.
A quick glance at the Arrivals/Departures board told her that the flight from LAX had just finished deplaning—her timing was impeccable, as it always was. Franziska briefly mulled over the foolishness of the word “deplaning” before dismissing it as irrelevant and heading to the baggage carousel where she and the American woman had agreed to meet. Unfortunately, both Franziska and Adrian were rather on the shortish side, and the flight from
Franziska’s black-gloved hand wandered to the handle of her lash, but she repressed the urge. She did not need to resort to such foolish and juvenile measures simply to find another person in a crowd, after all. However, after about five minutes had passed of weaving in and out of the crowded mob, she was severely reconsidering her earlier decision.
She was just about to unleash the fury of her leather upon the crowd when she heard a familiar voice, tinged with frustration and a bit of desperation. “I’m sorry, I’m telling you, I can’t speak German!” Making her way towards the origin of the sound, Franziska found a rather anxious-looking Adrian Andrews being cornered by a short, hairy taxi-cab driver who was trying to convince her to hire him as a driver. As he was communicating solely in German and didn’t seem to understand English, it wasn’t exactly going very well.
The young lawyer smirked, her hand darting to her side.
With a yelp, the squat little cabbie jumped, clutching his bottom where her whip had stung him. He turned and angrily demanded an explanation, but Franziska merely held the lash above her head, pulling it taut in preparation for another strike. “Leave her alone and go scrounge somewhere else for your little pocket change, fool.” Though he didn’t look convinced by her words, he was more than sold by the threat of her whip, and quickly scurried off. The crowd, which had turned to see the source of the loud snap, stared in silence for another fraction of a sentence before turning back to their tasks at hand, unfazed. Travel did strange things to people.
The slightly shorter woman looked at her “rescuer,” and seeing Franziska, smiled softly but warmly. That was new, thought the young lawyer—she’d heard from Miles that Adrian had changed in that regard, but hadn’t actually seen her since the final moments of Engarde’s trial. It wasn’t a confident smirk, nor was it a wide, beaming grin… it was small and subdued, but there and very real, carrying up into her bespectacled dark brown eyes.
Franziska wasn’t used to people… smiling at her. Cocky grins of the defendant before she and her whip dashed their hopes, yes. Arrogant smirks of other lawyers at her youthful appearance and age, of course. But never a warm, genuine smile that she could remember. It almost made her feel uncomfortable.
“Hello, Ms. Andrews. I trust your flight went well? If you will follow me with your bag, I’ll show you to my car.” She turned almost a bit too quickly, trying to catch her composure. It was almost maddening… the whip-wielding prosecutor daughter of the famous and nigh-invulnerable Manfred von Karma, shaken by a simple smile? Shameful and foolish, of course.
She could hear the click-clack of
Franziska opened the door and slipped into the driver’s seat, taking a calming deep breath of cool air as
“All but that little bit at the end that you saw, yes.” Adrian Andrews took off her glasses with one hand, rubbing at her eyes and the bridge of her nose with her other before replacing them and sighing heavily. “It was long, though. What time is it here?”
The lawyer prodigy tapped a button on her steering wheel column as she backed the compact car out of its spot, illuminating the dashboard chronometer that displayed, in bright blue letters, ’23:18.’ Her companion nodded, musing for a brief second, before speaking, “So… that means it’s just after two in the afternoon in
Franziska spoke slowly but not haltingly, her tone even and measured. “It was typical. Since we last spoke, I’ve investigated and prosecuted two cases, both murders. Both defendants were found guilty within a day of trial. There is a third case I am prosecuting tomorrow,” she paused briefly, “so I too will not be sleeping until very late tonight while I finish building my case.”
“Hm. It was nothing, don’t worry about it… I’d rather not entrust you to dogs like that cabbie. Competency is rare these days.”
“No… it was something.” In the flickering glow of the passing road lights, out of the corner of her eye, Franziska saw
Minutes passed with the only sounds the hum of the hybrid electric engine and the gentle whir of the wheels beneath them, neither of the two women speaking. At last, Franziska broke the thundering silence with a question. “So, have you any plans for what you’ll do here?”
The other woman sounded slightly surprised. “I, uh, guess I assumed you could show me around.”
“…I have a court case tomorrow, Ms. Andrews. I’m afraid that’s quite impossible, especially if it lasts more than a day—which it won’t. I’ll be much too busy… however, I suppose I could ask one of the junior officers to show you around
Raising a turquoise eyebrow, Franziska turned slightly to look at her companion, who was staring away from her out the window at the cars they were passing. “It’s not much different from the way they’re run in the States. And… you can’t speak German.”
“I know. Still…”
After another minute or so of silence, the young prosecutor gestured out the window to a nearby building, large and squat with a large sign on top indicating it was a hotel, and not an inexpensive one. “That’s the Hamburg Day’s End Inn. I’ve reserved you a room there. I’ve never stayed there myself but I’m told it’s very nice.”
It might have been her imagination, but
I did. I said I would take responsibility for what happened to you… and I will. A von Karma should be true to her word.
“You sound disappointed. What’s wrong?” The moment the words escaped her lips, Franziska, for once, regretted their sharpness and directness, but the blonde girl didn’t seem to mind at all, staying silent for a little while before responding.
Taking her glasses off to rub at her eyes again,
I inadvertently reminded her of one of the worst times in her life—that I am responsible for. Perfect indeed, Franziska.
“I… understand,” said the daughter of Manfred von Karma, nodding her head slightly. “Tomorrow after the trial, I will look for more proper housing for you while you stay here. However, I think that the hotel should be enough for tonight. It is… close to my office, and as I said, I will not be going home tonight. Will that be all right?”
“I think so, yes,” replied
It was now Franziska’s turn to shift in slight discomfort, hoping that
Within several minutes, the two of them had arrived in the parking lot of the lavish hotel, and thanks to the expediting powers of Franziska’s whip, convinced the hotel staff to check them in rather quickly. At last, Franziska stood outside her suite room, looking inside one last time to ensure everything was proper and as perfect as it could possibly be. “So… will you need anything else?”
Say something. You should apologize to her… for everything.
Now is not the time.
When will be the time?
…it isn’t now. That’s all I know.
Franziska nodded. “Yes, the eighth floor. If you are in fact serious about attending the trial tomorrow, it begins at ten-thirty in the morning. Tell the security guards that you’re there as my personal guest. They will let you in without trouble. If there’s anything… you still have that number, right?”
Slipping a very well-creased piece of paper from her pocket,
“Good. Well then… good night, Ms. Andrews.”
“You… can call me Adrian, if you’d like.”
The ‘perfect’ daughter of the ‘perfect’ prosecutor stood in silence for a moment. “Very well. Good night,
With that, she closed the door behind her and left
Taking off her sweater, the former manager lay down on the comfortable hotel bed, which was quite a welcome change from four months of rock-hard prison mattresses. Still, she’d grown accustomed to them, and the extravagant softness of this bed made it actually harder to fall asleep—the nine-hour time difference certainly a factor as well.
And so, it was about four in the morning when Adrian Andrews finally decided to take a break from trying to get to sleep and went to the large mural glass window that illuminated the room with the lights of downtown
There was one sole office with the lights on, about halfway up the tower on the eighth floor. Adrian’s eyesight wasn’t all that great even with her glasses on, but she swore she could make out a tiny figure with pale turquoise hair in the window… but perhaps that was merely her imagination.
It was time to try to get to sleep again…