Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney / Gyakuten Saiban, its characters and settings, are property of Capcom, and are being used here without permission. 



Follow the Fool


“Absolutely not,” the young prodigy shook her head. “I refuse to take part in such a foolish, extravagant waste of time.” Franziska crossed her arms in front of her chest, clearly riled up by the appearance of the extremely extroverted defense attorney. “They’re dull wastes of one’s night.”

Adrian arched a blonde eyebrow, peering over her glasses at the German woman. “Really? So you had something planned for us tomorrow night, then?” Franziska didn’t answer, though her frown deepened. “…I didn’t think so,” said the blonde woman with a teasing smile. “Besides, have you ever been to one of them? It might… it might be fun,” she said with a shrug.

A brief flicker of thoughtfulness passed over Franziska’s features, but it was quickly concealed by the irritated scowl she’d worn ever since Gunther Hertz had interrupted a rather… personal moment that neither of them seemed in a particular hurry to return to, whether out of embarrassment or anxiety or whatever the case. “It will be full of people like him,” she said that last word like a particularly vulgar obscenity, “who go simply to drink and behave like Neanderthalic fools. That is not what I call fun,

The other woman shrugged again, that half-sheepish-half-hopeful smile still on her face. “It’s not a crime to relax once in a while, Franziska.” That smile shifted slightly, becoming an affectionately teasing lopsided smirk. “You can’t dance, can you?”

Franziska scowled indignantly, her blue-gray hair flopping from side to side as she shook her head yet again. “Of course I can dance. I can dance absolutely perfectly. I just…” she paused, searching for the right words, “…choose not to. It is undignified, ungainly, and makes one look like an utter fool.”

Adrian sighed to herself briefly, pushing her glasses up the bridge of her nose with one slender finger. “Franziska…” there was a subdued if intense warmth in the tone of her voice that brought a faint blush back to the young prosecutor’s cheeks in recollection of the conversation not ten minutes prior. “Sometimes… if someone cares for another person, they might…” she paused briefly before continuing, “…do something that the other person really wanted to do, even if they didn’t.”

Hmph.” Franziska’s eyes narrowed in annoyance, though it was not directed specifically at the other woman. “You… care for me, right?” The blush was unmistakable, contrasting the sharp tone of her voice rather remarkably. Upon
Adrian’s silent affirmative nod, Franziska continued, “then, even though you may want to attend this frivolous event, you should respect my wish to stay as far from it as possible,” she shrugged.

“That—that’s not what I meant, and you know it,”
Adrian frowned slightly, looking down at the floor.

Arching a blue-gray eyebrow, Franziska asked, “oh, is that so? I see. As long as we’re doing what you want to do, everything is fine. But the moment I apply the same logic against your choice, it isn’t how you meant it. In what far-off universe is that fair,

Though she initially started a wordless protest,
Adrian cut it off quickly, sinking back and shrinking into herself, continuing to hold her staring contest with the carpeted floor of the washroom lobby. “No… you’re right, Franziska. That isn’t fair. If you don’t want to go, we don’t have to go.” The blonde woman looked up, giving a wistful little smile. “I just thought it would be… fun. The two of us could have a good time together, and we don’t have anything else planned, right? But, if you don’t want to, then I’m sure we can think of something else.” She smiled again, a bit warmer than the last.

Franziska was silent for a few long heartbeats, the scowl on her face fading into a thoughtful, pensive expression. At long last, she said, slightly hesitantly, “…you really wanted to go, didn’t you?”

The other woman laughed half-heartedly. “No, it’s okay, really. It might have been fun, just the two of us—but it was just a silly thought. Don’t worry about it…”
Adrian paused as if realizing something, and then sighed heavily. “Besides, it’s not like I could actually go.”

Why not?” Franziska cocked her head to the side inquisitively.

Adrian ran a hand through her hair absentmindedly, an embarrassed smile on her face. “It certainly sounded like a formal event to me. And… I didn’t bring any formal wear to Germany,” she chuckled softly, “because I never thought I’d need it. I literally wouldn’t have anything to wear.”

The prodigy’s eyes narrowed slightly, but in thought rather than ire, as though she were concocting the beginnings of a plan. “I see. You didn’t answer my question,
Adrian. Did you really want to go?”

Looking slightly taken aback by the subtle intensity in the question,
Adrian pressed her hand to her breastbone, answering after a slight pause, “Yes. I… I wanted to go, I suppose. So yes, I did.” She nodded, more for her own benefit than Franziska’s.

Nodding, Franziska straightened up, moving for the door with determined purpose in her stride. “Very well. Then we will go.”

“How?! I… I don’t have any formal gowns, Franziska!”
Adrian looked rather confused at Franziska’s abrupt change of mind as well as her confidence in overcoming a seemingly impossible situation. “I don’t think I could fit into one of your dresses, either. I want to go, Franziska, but… we can’t.

Franziska shook her head in denial, “I have no clothes to lend you anyway—that was never my intent. May I remind you, Adrian, that I am Franziska von Karma.” The fervor that had made such a strong impression upon the shy American four months ago was very much present, surrounding each and every word she said. “There are things in this world that I do not do, and some that I will not do.” The prodigy’s mouth tilted in the beginnings of a smirk. “But there are very few things in this world that I cannot do.”

That said, she opened the door, beckoning
Adrian to follow. “There’s no point standing around and foolishly wasting time. Come with me.”


“Five years ago, one of the very first cases I prosecuted was against a local small-time gang leader who harbored foolish delusions of grandeur. At best, his influence was limited to a select few blocks of land, though his claims to even that were rather tenuous. The case was quick and simple, and he was found guilty for his crimes,” Franziska explained to
Adrian as they walked briskly down the sidewalk, the blonde woman hurrying to keep up with her companion’s determined stride.

“One of his key activities had been extorting the proprietor of a then-new fashion boutique into paying him rather exorbitant sums of protection money. As I was the prosecutor who put his oppressor away, the proprietor has claimed to owe me a favor ever since. I have not yet taken him up on the offer,” the blue-haired prodigy nodded crisply as they walked, “though that will change tonight. He is… competent, yes, but more importantly, he is quick.”

Adrian flushed in embarrassment, putting a halting hand on Franziska’s arm, bringing their quick pace to an abrupt stop. “Franziska… you don’t have to do this for me,” she looked bashful. “You shouldn’t have to call in a five-year-old favor just for me.”

The other woman shook her head, a slightly bemused expression finding its way onto her face. “Adrian… the man makes dresses. Should I ever need formal clothing for myself, I can easily afford it and will request it well in advance. I cannot foresee any other time where I would need to have a new dress immediately.” She paused, not as if she were searching for the right words to say, but as if she were merely having trouble saying them. “I do not have to do it, no. I want to do it. Understand?”

That said, Franziska pointed at a small building across the relatively empty street, a squat, square establishment painted a bright, gaudy pink that made
Adrian almost nauseous. Catching the look of disgust on her face, Franziska said, reassuringly, “…his taste in dresses is certainly better than his taste in building decorations.”

Catching sight of the gowns adorning the mannequins standing in the display windows in their eternal poses,
Adrian agreed. As the manager for an extraordinarily popular actor, she had seen a wide range of formal wear from the bawdy to the elegant, and while these were not of exceptional quality, they were more than passable.

Inside, the store was far less pink (thankfully). It was small but not cramped, with a few folding chairs lined up against one of the walls—the walls themselves covered with drawing after drawing of various ideas and concepts for formal-wear. Though
Adrian really didn’t have much of an eye for art, she could recognize the technical skill involved in drawing the elegant clothing.

Towards the back of the room, there was a small counter with a cash register, where a small man—probably the proprietor in question, thought Adrian—stood, idly turning through the pages of a fashion magazine. He looked to be in his fifties, with thinning (thought not bald) blond hair that hadn’t quite gone gray yet. The man had a large, bushy moustache that
Adrian thought looked rather ticklish, and he looked up when he saw them come in, smiling.

Franziska didn’t return the smile as she marched through the doors resolutely, instead offering a curt nod in greeting. “Hello, Edmund Flick.”

“Ah, Miss von Karma!” smiled the jolly-looking middle-aged man. “I trust you are well? What brings you to my humble establishment?”

Wasting no time with pleasantries, the prosecutor crossed her arms in front of her chest. “I require a formal gown, Mr. Flick.”

“Yes, that… is usually why people come to see me,” said Flick, scratching at his moustache. “Is there something wrong with the one you bought from me a few months ago? If so, I’m sure I can mend it easi—”

The prodigy cut him off with a hand gesture, shaking her head. “I have no time to waste, Flick. The gown is not for me, but for her,” Franziska indicated Adrian, who had been apparently trying unsuccessfully to follow along with the rapid German conversation.

The dress-maker looked at Adrian, stroking a non-existent beard, grabbing a pair of glasses that lay on the desktop and putting them on to see better, as if he were already planning out ideas in his head. “I see, I see… and when do you need it by, Miss von Karma?”

Franziska frowned, knowing the absurdity of the request but also knowing that she had a commitment to see it through. “I need it by tomorrow night. Eight in the evening, at the absolute latest.”

Flick’s glasses fell off his nose in surprise, though the chain that connected them to his neck prevented them from falling too far. “T-tomorrow?!” stammered the short tailor, scratching his head through his thinning hair. “Oh… oh, I don’t think that’s… that’s extremely impossible, my dear.”

The leather bullwhip cracked loudly against the countertop, and the tailor shrieked in surprise, jumping back away. “Edmund Flick! You have owed me a favor for five years, and I am calling in that favor tonight!” Franziska narrowed her eyes, pulling her whip taut above her head. “You will have a dress by tomorrow, and then your debt will have been paid!”

There was suddenly a soft hand on her shoulder, and Franziska turned to see
Adrian caught somewhere between concern and laughter at the tailor’s reaction. “Money… is not a problem,” she said to the tailor in halting German. “All right?” Adrian smiled at the man, who nervously smiled back.

Grabbing his measuring tape, the dressmaker shuffled out from behind the counter, walking up to the blonde woman, nudging her to raise her arms, and beginning to take all sorts of measurements that he didn’t actually write down. Flick mumbled to himself all the while, though he no longer seemed as terrified as before. At last, he nodded, hanging the tape around his neck. “All right. I believe I have some dresses that I could alter to fit you in time,” he said almost to himself. With that, he walked off through a door in the back of the room, leaving the two women alone.

Franziska looked curiously over at
Adrian. “What did you mean about price not being a problem?” she asked casually. “That… certainly seemed to convince him.”

Adrian laughed softly, adjusting her glasses out of habit. “Well, it so happens that, as Matt Engarde’s manager, I was often in charge of his sizeable bank account… which, it so happens, the police never saw fit to freeze, since he’d paid… his contract in cash.” The blonde American smiled bashfully, running a hand through her hair and shrugging. “Also, he, uh, never changed his PIN. So… money isn’t really a problem.”

The young attorney was silent for a few long seconds before replying, “You are aware that, legally, your actions are questionable at best, yes?”

Her companion nodded. “I am. Technically, he still owes me four months’ fee… so I thought I’d, uh, help myself to it while he was... occupied.”

Franziska shrugged. “Very well. Flick is competent and quick, but we shouldn’t take too long either. A von Karma does not ‘shop,’
Adrian—a von Karma ‘buys.’ We will be quick about this… all right?”

From the doorway, Edmund Flick’s wavery voice called out for
Adrian to come in and see some of the dresses. Franziska shrugged, indicating the door with a wave of her hand and taking a step back. “If he gives you any trouble,” she said as she coiled her whip and hung it from her belt, “call me.”

With that, she walked over to one of the folding chairs against the wall and sat down, trying very hard to not think about the past hour or so. Especially not the part where Adrian had crashed into her, the two of them forced up against the wall… where they were so close she could look deep into those dark eyes, flecked with little specks of color that she’d never noticed before but were so obvious once you really looked… where they were so close that they could have just leaned in and…

Damn it. That attempt had been a rather spectacular failure. Franziska felt her face grow warm for what seemed like the thousandth time today, and found herself really irritated that her body was apparently no longer obeying any orders from the mind whatsoever, opting to completely run on its own.

After what seemed like an hour where Franziska had been alone with only her thoughts—though what had likely only been five or so minutes—she noticed a flicker of motion from the doorway and looked up to see a very embarrassed-looking Adrian wearing a gown that almost fit (though not quite)… the gown was olive-green, clashing rather horribly with Adrian’s skin tone, and “artistically” baggy in areas that really shouldn’t have been baggy at all.

“That is…” Franziska paused, searching for the perfect words, “…the single most hideous dress I have ever seen in my entire life. It looks like something that Scruffy would wear to a formal engagement.” Franziska frowned to herself in thought before amending her previous statement, “If he were significantly smaller.” Another pause. “…and female.”

Adrian looked even more embarrassed, not meeting Franziska’s scrutinizing gaze. “He only has a few that he could alter to fit me in time, Franziska. I can go try on some of the others, though, if you want.”

The prosecutor nodded curtly. “I do. At this point, I think a trash bag with arm-holes would be a better dress than that… thing. There must be one in his selection that would be… adequate.” For some reason, that particular word struck a chord deep within the lovely prodigy and she had no idea why.
Adrian, meanwhile, nodded and disappeared into the back room a second time.

Despite Franziska’s claim, it seemed that every single dress that
Adrian appeared in, though a marked improvement over the first monstrosity, was completely inadequate in the prodigy’s eyes.

“I don’t like that shade of blue.”

“It looks like it cost ten dollars. Cheap material.”

Why is there a bow on the front? Such a foolish place to put something so… tacky.”

That pink is even more nauseating than the building’s.”

“I don’t even think you could make those ruffles on the arms look any gaudier if you tried.”

After close to two hours, and a dozen different dresses that had all possessed some sort of grievous fault, Adrian Andrews was rather frustrated. “Franziska, I thought you said this was going to be quick!” she said, rubbing the bridge of her nose before replacing her glasses. She softened her voice slightly, looking back into the room. “I think we’ve only got three or more left… are you sure that we can’t use any of the others?”

Franziska frowned, more at the situation than at
Adrian. “Adrian, I hardly think it’s unreasonable to want the best for the woman who is going to be my d,” at that word, her tongue tripped over her heart, and it was only with great difficulty that she managed to push through the stumble, “my… date.” Her face was growing hot again. “You are a… very attractive woman, and I think you should have, at the very least, a gown that adequately compliments your appearance rather than subtracts.” For some reason, Franziska found the floor absolutely fascinating to look at. “Is that… all right?”

If she’d looked up, she would have seen the familiar flush return to
Adrian’s face, as the blonde woman nodded an affirmative. “I just… I think we’re almost out of options. But… you’re right. There must be one that’s adequate here. I’ll keep looking.”

It was a long five minutes alone in the front of the boutique for Franziska, alone with her thoughts and her suddenly rapidly-beating heart. At last, mercifully,
Adrian reappeared at the door to the back room. Franziska looked up, wondering what exactly would be wrong with it this time.

It was a pure white gown, the color of freshly fallen snow, a shade that contrasted
Adrian’s golden hair beautifully. Supported by a halter strap behind her neck, the garment cascaded down her body fluidly and naturally, so very simple but so very elegant and… Franziska found herself at a loss for words, unable to do anything but stare, blink, and blush.

Adrian asked with that trademark half-smile of hers. “Actually, I… really like this one, Franziska. What do you think? Is it… adequate?”

Since she had been a girl, words had been extremely central to the life of Franziska von Karma. It was how she, as an attorney, pleaded her case in court. The slightest change in phrasing could carry oceans of meaning. Franziska had argued matters of life and death involving people from the unknown to the famous without missing a beat. And yet, in this small, horribly pink fashion boutique, with this shy American woman in front of her, she found herself unable to even string together a coherent sentence.

“…perfect,” she managed to say at last. “It’s… perfect.”



To Next Chapter