Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney / Gyakuten Saiban, its characters and settings, are property of Capcom, and are being used here without permission.
Follow the Fool
It was Wednesday.
Adrian Andrews had been in
She had spent most of Saturday being shown around the neighborhood immediately surrounding Franziska’s apartment by the young prosecutor, talking here and there about nothing in particular. On Sunday, though, Franziska had excused herself, saying that she had certain things to take care of at work, and she had been gone all day. Though
The young American had tried to go out and explore the neighborhood, but something hadn’t felt quite right, so she’d returned to the apartment and tried to occupy herself with the textbook. Her mind kept wandering, though, and so that was rather fruitless. Once Franziska had returned, she had agreed that it was a poor host to leave her guest alone all day with nothing to do… however, Franziska was a busy woman, and could not take time from her extremely jam-packed schedule to show
So, Franziska had ‘enlisted’ the aid of one Hans Ernst, the powerfully-built young-faced police officer. He and Adrian had spent some time together after the trial on Friday, and she found the good-natured if awkward young officer’s mannerisms and personality rather endearing. Though Hans had initially been glum and downtrodden about his assignment to take
That had been a rather… amusing afternoon.
Ever since the two of them had admitted what they’d been harboring—guilt, responsibility, deep gratitude and admiration—on Saturday, something had changed. Something had been different… the air around the two of them had felt lighter, less burdened. It was incredibly easy to tell Franziska… well, tell her anything, and
The blonde woman could feel something in the air, a delightful tingle that made her shiver from head to toe like a mild electric shock. It was almost as if Franziska’s forceful personality were literally magnetic—though that was silly, of course. Still, the spark that
For two and a half years, the life of Adrian Andrews had been a cold one, devoid of any passion or intensity other than the one goal she clung to as fiercely as she could. The suicide of the woman she had relied on… had loved… left a gaping wound that lasted long after the bruises on her neck from the improperly made noose had faded.
She had woken up cautious, gone to bed cautious, and lived every second of every hour of every day like she’d been handling a deadly explosive device.
It had almost been easy. Matt Engarde and Juan Corrida were vain, selfish men, and calling them idiots would be doing the rest of the world’s morons a disservice. There was no passion in their lives either, not even in their rivalry. She would read Matt his ratings numbers, he would ask about Juan’s, and whether or not he was leading or not… he had shrugged it off with a wave and a sigh.
The woman she had loved had been murdered over something that Matt Engarde would dismiss with a sigh and a wave exactly one hundred and twelve times before the end.
And yet, Adrian, though every part of the emotional being inside her that still could feel cried out at her to hate him and despise him and give in to that primal urge… she did not hate Matt Engarde, nor did she hate Juan Corrida. Hate was a passion—a luxury that she could not afford if she wanted to let Celeste Inpax finally rest.
It wasn’t until she plunged that golden knife into the chest of the man she had been pretending was her lover and felt his blood—hot, but not quite hot enough to sustain life—trickle down his suit and through her fingers, over her hand… that she allowed herself that final luxury and hated Juan Corrida with the last spark of passion left in her body. That night, she could almost feel those final embers flicker and die out, for what might have been forever.
The gaping wound had won. She was cold. Juan was dead, she had known Matt Engarde was the culprit, and now Celeste’s final words would remain silent for eternity. The drive—the obsession—that had sustained her for two years was gone. Celeste had been dead for two years, and the last scrap of her that
Then, she had met Franziska von Karma.
For two years, the only things she had seen Matt Engarde ever give a damn about were his image and his bank account—and even then, it was hardly impassioned.
She had confessed to how she had framed Engarde, and as she told the determined prosecutor everything, felt it bubbling up inside of her once more. How much she hated Juan Corrida, how much she hated Matt Engarde… all the anger and grief and confusion and shame that Adrian had not let herself feel for two years poured back in a flood of emotion.
Franziska had taken it all in intently, calmly and confidently. She had reassured
On the stand, Miles Edgeworth—not Franziska—had revealed to the court every single thing that
She had been accused of murder. Not only that, but she had been accused of the murder she knew Matt Engarde was responsible for. She would pay the price for his sins, he would get away free… and sigh about it, dismissing it with a wave. It hurt so badly she thought she would be literally torn to pieces… but she would not let that happen. The young prodigy’s passion had finally ignited the cold ashes she’d thought were all that remained.
She would not let Matt Engarde get away with it.
Even though she’d been innocent of Juan Corrida’s murder, she had committed a crime, and for that she would be punished.
For four months, she had been alone in the quiet gray walls with her thoughts. Slowly but steadily, she felt that wound that had threatened to consume her once upon a time start to close.
After two years, there was someone who cared. Not cared for her—though
She hadn’t expected Franziska to pick up the phone. She certainly hadn’t expected to be invited to
After that conversation, there was that spark, that burning flame that was almost palpable, but it felt almost different to
Despite any dependence problems she knew she would have to deal with her entire life,
She’d felt like this before, but only once.
Not that she dared tell her that, of course. For the five years she’d known Celeste—and the two and a half years since her death—Adrian had admitted being in love with the woman only once, and that had been the past Saturday. She’d realized it long before, of course, having recognized those feelings for three years before
That had been all the love
The blonde girl adjusted her glasses, dimly registering what Hans was saying as he walked towards a larger, squat building that looked rather official. She didn’t want to jeopardize anything… she didn’t want to risk that. With Franziska, as with Celeste, she’d be content to love and admire from afar.
Then again…? Though they were both intelligent, strong women with magnetic personalities, Franziska and Celeste were certainly different. Celeste had her warm side, and was mature and reasonable about all things. It often seemed that Franziska, clever and smart as she was, acted completely lost when dealing with more personal issues. While
Was that a bad thing, though? They were two different women, with different goals and loves and secrets and needs. It would be ‘foolish’—
“—von Karma,” finished up Hans, running a hand through his unruly brown hair, a beaming smile on his face.
Hans looked disappointed for a second, but quickly shoved it aside with a grin. “Okay! This building,” he pointed behind him to the official-looking structure from before, “used to be the Hamburg Court House for years, until they relatively recently moved to the big Police-Prosecutor-Court building you saw the other day. Now, this building is only used for civil trials these days… but I think you’d find it interesting to know who it’s named after.” The large officer smiled. “It’s the Wilhelm von Karma Courthouse.”
The American blinked twice. “…Wilhelm?”
Her guide nodded enthusiastically. “Oh yes! He was a very, very famous judge. He had the reputation of the cleverest, most impartial and fair judge in the entire country!”
“So… her legal skill really is inherited, after all.”
Hans looked almost shocked. “No! You… you never heard of Manfred von Karma? Franziska never told you?!”
Taken back by his fervor,
The young officer looked almost proud to be the one to tell her, standing up straight and making what looked like the beginnings of a salute before he remembered that he wasn’t addressing a superior on the force. “Manfred von Karma is Miss Franziska’s father! He was the greatest prosecutor this country—no, the world—has ever known! In his entire career, he only lost one case… his last. His victories were innumerable! He taught Miss Franziska to be a lawyer since she could read, and she has inherited his legal brilliance!”
“Since… since she could read? Hans, are you joking with me?”
Shaking his head fiercely, Hans denied her question emphatically. “No, ma’am! Miss Franziska took her studies very seriously, and has lived her entire life as the sole successor to the von Karma legal name! That was how she was able to pass the bar exam when she was only 12, and start taking cases at 13!”
…that must not have been much of a childhood.
What must that have been like? To go through one’s life with such a drive, such a single-minded purpose and goal?
Franziska was an incredible woman. The older girl sighed, finding herself thinking about how she stood, the how the light reflected off her hair when it was still wet…
On the other side of the city, Franziska von Karma was not in a good mood, had not been in a good mood for a day or two, and found her mood rapidly growing worse. Since she hadn’t planned on taking any cases while
It was tedious, mind-numbingly simple work, but that wasn’t what bothered Franziska so much. She’d done tedious work before, and would likely do so in the future. It was a fact of life, even for someone as talented and skilled as her. No, she could deal with tedium and repetition in stoic perfection.
What bothered her was that… it was simple, and it was make-work, and it was just adding up numbers and making sure they were equal. And somehow, she kept getting it wrong.
That was absolutely unforgivable. But no matter how she tried, her mind kept slipping… kept wandering. To her. Franziska did not like it, and she could not understand it, but her finely honed mind and intellect that was her entire career and reputation was… troubled, somehow.
Franziska swore to herself as she finished with Detective Waldorf’s payroll and found that somehow, she’d come up with a sum in the first column that was one hundred and thirty-seven dollars more than what the second column said it should be. Frustrated, Franziska decided that Waldorf had done better-than-usual work so far this year, and deserved a bonus of precisely one hundred and thirty-seven dollars over what he would have normally received.
Fool. I am such a fool.
She had known everything about
And yet, that was precisely what she had not done. Adrian Andrews was here in
Even more infuriating, the young prodigy had almost begun to enjoy
Perhaps it wouldn’t even be so bad…
Suddenly, she tasted the salty-iron taste of blood on her lips, and with a start realized that she’d been biting her lip so hard that she’d pierced the skin, without even realizing it, so absorbed had she been in her thoughts. Her thoughts that kept infuriatingly wandering to that accursed woman.
Franziska sighed heavily, resting her head in her hands briefly. She would do thirty more, and then call it a day.
The blonde woman always got back to the small apartment before the prosecutor did, though being on her own for an hour or so was much more tolerable than being there the entire day. As she closed the door behind her (Franziska having lent her a replica key so she could come and go as she pleased),
How could she occupy herself until Franziska returned, though? There was a big bookshelf along one wall that was packed with large editions of various books.
Nevertheless, it didn’t look like there was anything she’d missed before (and seeing how thoroughly she’d searched the other day, that wasn’t too surprising). All the books were either in German or some sort of legal text that she wasn’t in much of a mood to peruse. When she was just about to give up, however,
Grabbing it in a slender hand, she pulled it free of its companions and opened it. She made a face—sure enough, it was all in German. Adrian was about to replace it when she saw the tip of something white sticking out from between the pages, a small piece of cardboard. The young American turned to that page, and reflexively gasped in astonishment.
It was a playing card with an illustration of a seashell on it in light red. Though this one was slightly defaced to look like a person
Placing the closed book on the top of the shelf,
Why… why does she have one of these cards? The calling card that had been left by Juan Corrida’s body (and mistakenly picked up by the blonde American in one of her stronger lapses in judgment) had been confiscated as evidence by the police back in Los Angeles, and Adrian couldn’t really envision any of them—not even the absentminded detective who had investigated the case—doodling on a piece of crucial evidence like this. It had obviously come from someplace else, another time and probably another murder, and
It was then that the door opened, slightly more forcefully than
Franziska was silent as she closed the door behind her, placing her purse and whip on the kitchen counter, and walked into the “living room” area, sitting down on the couch. “Hello, Adrian,” she said softly, and the blonde woman immediately felt a chill run down her spine like someone had dumped a bucket of ice-water on her. Something was wrong. “Are… are you feeling all right, Franziska?” She asked almost despite herself. She didn’t want to pry—it had just slipped out, like so much else did.
The blue-haired prodigy kept silent, breathing softly and slowly, looking straight at
Franziska continued speaking, her tone absolutely icy, and
Her eyes looked straight at
“I am not your big sister, or a mother figure. And, make absolutely no mistake,
If Franziska had walked up to
In all of her fantasies, she’d never once thought about this. Acceptance, apathy, hatred… but not this. A simple refusal—not to be the one she depended on, but… not Celeste. You… you couldn’t replace Celeste. She wasn’t. I don’t think she… I didn’t think of her that way. Did I? It… it hurts. Why does it hurt so much?
I can’t have. I… Celeste is gone. I can’t get her back. Did I… was I… I couldn’t have been… was I?
For a second,
“I… it… it wasn’t…” stammered
“Oh?” Her tone hadn’t warmed any. “Is that so? Who was I, then? Your mother? The big sister you never had? The person who would take care of you and shelter you? I am not any of those, Adrian Andrews.”
“Stop… stop that…” whispered
She started to find her voice, though the lump in her throat and the growing hole in her chest threatened to break her down even as she spoke. “Franziska… I don’t… I don’t want a mother figure, or a sister. I don’t want a protector. I don’t want a guardian, or someone who… who takes care of me. Please believe… believe me, Franziska,” pleaded the blonde woman.
“You… are different from Celeste. That much is… is obvious. I can’t bring her back, and though there’s a stupid, moronic part of me that wants to, I know that I shouldn’t. I should let Celeste rest in peace forever.”
“Franziska… I… you… I don’t… I don’t need a protector. I don’t need a lawyer, I don’t need a guardian, I don’t need someone who has to take care of me. I don’t need a damn von Karma.” She said fiercely, desperately, and for once it was Franziska’s turn to look surprised.
Her voice softened, becoming a barely audible whisper, and she smiled sadly, single tears leaking out of the corner of her eyes. “I… I nee—I want… I need… Franziska. Not because you fill a role, or I’m imagining that you’re something… but… I need you because of… you.”
This was why she’d been so careful and cautious for two years. Because the moment you let your guard down, you would get your heart broken.
Fantasies. That’s all they are.
She drew her arm across her face, wiping away the tears, looking around the chair for her glasses. “Do… do you think you could call them for me,” she sniffed. “I can’t… speak German to order plane tickets back to
Franziska was silently sitting there. Judging her. When Adrian had confessed her crime four months ago, Franziska had assured her that she would not judge her or think she was a horrible person—because it did not matter, it was irrelevant and had nothing to do with whether or not Matt Engarde was guilty.
And now she was judging her, and it was excruciating, and
“You… frustrate me.”
“Thanks… thanks to Miles, I also began to understand… you might call it affection. Responsibility. My duty to him as a big sister. …the love that a sister has for her brother. I learned those things as well. But… that was it.”
Franziska paused, gathering her thoughts in silence. “…emotions,” she said the word like it was a vile swear, “Are foolish and irrational. They make no sense. People with an overabundance of emotions are weak, and cannot function in this world.” She looked directly at
“There is a large bookshelf in my office that is filled with legal briefs that talk about cases establishing precedent, obscure legal rules and terms, how the law proceeds in over twenty-five separate countries around the world. I have them all memorized, down to the page number. My reasoning and logic and intellect are absolutely first-rate. If there is something in this entire world I do not know—an obscure local law or legal precedent in a rural village in, in…
She balled a gloved hand into a fist, slamming it down on the fabric of the couch next to her with a dull ‘thud.’ “So… I hope you understand exactly how frustrating it is to feel what I feel and not be able to explain it. I go into work… and I cannot concentrate. Since I met you, Adrian Andrews, I have found myself thinking about you far too much. My mind wanders to you every few minutes, and I… I do not know why.. Before this weekend, I knew exactly why that was—I felt responsible for you, like it was my duty to take care of you and protect you and apologize for what I’d done.”
“You, of course, told me exactly and in no uncertain terms that I did not have to be sorry or responsible for you anymore. That should have been enough. If you had been any other person, it would have been enough. But for some reason,
It almost seemed like she was the one about to break down into tears, and Adrian—despite herself—found that her heart was beginning to pound more heavily, threatening to break through and burst from her chest. “You vex me completely, Adrian Andrews. Because when I look at you, I feel… a flutter in my stomach, or a—a spark, and this is utterly foolish and should not be happening and I can’t explain it. It isn’t something that I can look up in my legal glossary, or research—and believe me, I have tried. It is… inexplicable, and it is new, and I…” she swallowed again. “I want it to stop distracting me from my work.”
“And… and I know I want it to stop distracting me, but when you just now said that you wanted to leave, it… it felt like somebody had shot me again.” She bit her lip hard, looking down at the carpet, her face red. “I don’t want you to leave. And that’s completely irrational, it doesn’t make sense, but that’s the way it is and I don’t understand why! ” At that, she stood up from her seat, shaking her head and balling her hands into fists. “I don’t understand why…” she repeated softly.
Without realizing that she was moving,
There was no warning before Franziska suddenly stepped forward, throwing her arms around Adrian in an awkward yet impassioned embrace that the other woman gladly and gently returned. “It doesn’t make sense,” sniffed Franziska, her voice muffled by
The younger girl sniffled again. “I’m hugging you—and that frustrates me, too. It doesn’t make sense.” There was a brief pause. “And… I think I just stepped on your glasses.”