|alorian (alorian) wrote in courtroomdance,|
@ 2009-05-01 22:20:00
[fic] Gyakuten Kaizoku - Turnabout Pirates - Chapter 2
Oh no, not more of it! HA HA! the AU will continue until morale improves! Or until I run out of pirate ideas, I guess.
Today's illo is Pirate Queen Mia, but I haven't colored her yet. ^_^ Hope to have that up this weekend, along with my weekly theme contribution.
Gyakuten Kaizoku: Chapter Two - In Which There Is An Uncomfortable Reunion
The night air was balmy, the waves gentle, as the Spirit of Kurain glided northwards beneath a spangled sky. Phoenix leaned on the prow, the wind tugging at his hair and rustling in the crisp folds of his new, blue shirt. He had let his old one go over the side, sinking down in a watery grave and taking his heart with it. Dahlia's necklace he had kept around his neck, but only because he knew the golden trinket to be of value, and he thought he should give it back to her rather than throwing it away. Someday he would see her again, he knew it. There was no real malice for her, for her choice. A year and a half with no word, it was hardly expected that she should wait around for a man presumed dead. She had to get on with her life, after all. And Phoenix... Phoenix was obliged to do the same.
He sighed, shoving away from the rail. The ship was lamp-lit, quiet. Mia's crew had settled down to evening tasks, net-mending and scrimshaw and hotly contested rounds of shut-the-box. Oldbag was working on her knitting, one endless scarf that twined around the rigging in a dozen shades of mismatched yarn. Looking at them all, Phoenix was almost fond. Mia was a good captain, a fair one. There were worse things than a life of piracy, he thought, folding his hand over the heart-shaped necklace, the tiny crystal bottle cool in its frame.
At that time of evening, Mia was always in her cabin. She wrote letters constantly, to whom Phoenix was never sure. He was certain he would find her, however, sitting at her bolted-down desk, busy with her missives in the light of the swaying lamps. He rapped lightly on the door to her cabin, and waited. There was no response. A second knock also failed to elicit a response. Perhaps she was asleep, or deep in thought? He tried the handle of the cabin door; it gave at his touch. Phoenix stepped inside, and blinked.
After the brightly-lit deck, the sudden darkness of the cabin was disorienting. Moonlight poured in from the cabin windows, and in it, Mia's quarters displayed an unusual amount of disarray. Gems winked and glittered from overturned coffers, papers were scattered in every corner. The statuette of the thinker lay in the middle of the floor, its base wrenched off to reveal a hollow compartment beneath. At first, Phoenix thought it was lying in a mass of red silk ribbons. Then the ship tilted down into the next wave, and as the crimson mass shifted with a liquid motion, Phoenix realized what he was seeing. Blood.
Phoenix's went cold in his veins as he followed the trail with his eyes, to the shadows beneath the window where a figure lay, ominous and unmoving.
"Mia!" Phoenix rushed to her, his boots skidding in congealing pools of blood, but it was already too late. The Pirate Queen was dead. In Phoenix's arms she was still warm, and in the shifting moonlight he could see the letters she had traced, hastily, on the cabin floor. Gleaming in her own blood, they read: Help Maya. In the middle of the words was a single gold doubloon.
Phoenix picked it up, flinching as he pricked his finger on the pin in the back. The coin had been fashioned into a brooch, and Phoenix tucked it in his belt without thinking. Too many other things were racing through his mind. Mia was dead, murdered. His first panicked thought was that he should alert the crew, his second was that someone in the crew must be the murderer, and the third was that it was obvious Phoenix would take all the suspicion for the crime.
Phoenix was still struggling to get to a fourth thought when the entire ship exploded around him.
* * *
Captain Miles Edgeworth was absolutely furious, and everyone on his ship knew it. Everyone, at least, except for the one man who was responsible. "You did what?"
Her Majesty's Chief Informant was not swayed by Edgeworth's glare. "Why," Luke Atmey said, "I have solved the whole pirate problem! I have rid the seas of their monarch! One little device of my own making, inserted into the powder hold, and Zvarri!" He made an expansive gesture to the pillar of smoke on the horizon, the dull glow of burning ship timbers. "Or perhaps it should be, kaboom?"
"Your orders were to retrieve the map Commodore Skye wanted, and nothing more!" Edgeworth brought his fist down on the railing, sending up a few splinters. "We were to take care of the pirates!"
"My orders, Captain," Atmey sniffed, "are none of your damn business. Rather, I should say, my orders are from your betters, and do not concern you."
All of the furious color drained out of Edgeworth's face, one muscle jumping in his jaw. "There are laws on the sea, sir," he said, coldly, "and I abide by them. Such an underhanded, filthy deed makes us no better than the pirates we seek to prosecute."
Atmey shrugged, polishing his monocle. "I see. You would have fought them in a messy battle, forced them to surrender, then drag them back to Saint Ami to stand trial and be hung? Yes, I see. That's much more humane, Captain."
Edgeworth inhaled as though to retort, and then checked himself. "This is still my ship, Atmey," he growled. "And I am in command of it. Lieutenant Gumshoe!"
Gumshoe, at Edgeworth's elbow already, snapped to attention. "Sir!"
"Change our heading. Head for the ruin of the Kurain, we are to offer aid and assistance according to the code of the sea. And as for that odious tick--" He shot a scowl at Atmey, "--I want his arse in the brig."
Atmey's protests were quickly stifled; Gumshoe might not have had the biggest brain in the royal navy, but he was a heavy contender as far as physical size was concerned. Edgeworth's orders were carried out at once, and the timbers of the Demon's Judgment groaned as the parallel course was changed to a direct intercept. Edgeworth's hands curled into fists on the rail. He had been robbed of his victory, of his battle, but by god, he still had his honor to hold onto. Unlike everyone else in the aristocracy, he had not yet sold it for the sake of his own personal gain.
And he would sink himself into the sea before he did.
There was not much left of the Sprit of Kurain by the time they arrived. Debris was scattered like confetti across the surface of the sea, the waves were topped with waterlogged human bodies. The air smelled of spent powder and sizzling pitch, of blood.
"Poor bastards," Edgeworth grumbled, nevermind that several hours ago he would have been happy to shoot every man jack of them. That was battle, as far as he was concerned, and subject to different rules of engagement. This was just outright slaughter. "Get the longboats out, Gumshoe, and see to it personally. I want to make sure we collect every surviv..or..."
"Sir?" Gumshoe said, as Edgeworth's voice trailed away. "Is everything all right?"
Edgeworth blinked at a limp figure in the wreckage, one who was alive enough to cling to part of the sundered hull. His dark shirt was black in the lamplight, plastered to his skin. But even soaking wet his spiky hair could not be fully subdued, the black ponytail bobbing on the waves like seaweed. There was no mistaking the line of his profile, the angle of his brows. Edgeworth shook his head. It could not be possible. Surely the Pirate Queen had killed him long before now? Edgeworth had been tempted to do so on more than one occasion in the past, and he wasn't even a ruthless brigand. "Belay that, Gumshoe," Edgeworth said. "I'm going out myself."
By dawn they were headed back to Saint Ami. The brig of the Demon's Judgment was full of damp pirates, much to Atmey's dismay. They would be properly charged when they arrived back at the colony. Only one of the survivors was not being kept below-decks, and that was the one lying in the berth of the Captain's Quarters.
Phoenix Wright was still unconscious from his ordeal, his scrapes bound up in tidy linen bandages. Edgeworth had tended to that himself, as the ship's surgeon was a maniac with a hacksaw and likely to amputate whole limbs for the sake of a blister. So long as he was not observed, Edgeworth was willing to do such things rather than leave Phoenix to the tender mercies of Dr. Gray. And there was the niggling fact that Edgeworth was not yet sure what side Phoenix was on, and he would like to find out the truth of that first-hand, in private.
Edgeworth picked up the gold doubloon brooch next to his tea-saucer, and held it up to the light. If Phoenix really was nothing more than a hostage, then why did he have the pin? But if he was free to his own devices, why had he not returned to Saint Ami, and to the woman whose love he had always spoken of at nauseating length? There were too many questions Edgeworth did not have the answers to, and there was nothing he disliked more. He would have them before they docked in Saint Ami's harbor, or else.
In the captain's bed, Phoenix Wright groaned, stirring, and then woke, staring up in confusion at the beams above him. "Wow, is it ever pink in here," he croaked.
Edgeworth flicked a speck of imaginary dust from his coat, hanging in mulberry-colored glory on the back of his chair. "Good morning, Wright. It's been a while."
"Edgeworth!" Phoenix shot up in bed, and then obviously regretted it, flopping back down against Edgeworth's goosefeather pillows, his face drawn with pain.
"You might want to stay put for the moment," Edgeworth said, belatedly.
"Thanks for that timely information," Phoenix groaned, one hand to his head. "What are you doing here? What happened?"
"It's my ship, Wright. Where else would I be? As for what happened..." Edgeworth took a sip of his tea. "Well, I was hoping you might answer that for me. Suffice to say, your ship blew up. I suspect it was mismanagement of your powder stores. Pirates can be so sloppy with matters of regulations. Breakfast?"
Phoenix turned his head in the pillow, blinking at the impressive arsenal of Edgeworth's tea service. Each pot and cup and spoon rested in a specially grooved tray, impervious to the pitching of the ship. Phoenix's eyes lit up, however, when they fell on the doubloon brooch by Edgeworth's saucer. He sat up again, ignoring any protest from his injuries. "Ah! That's... I had that."
Edgeworth arched one brow. Curious. Phoenix had not said, That's mine. "Oh, this?" Edgeworth held up the pin as though it was nothing more than a pebble. "Yes, I found it tucked inside your sash, Wright."
Something like alarm showed in Phoenix's face, he clutched at the blanket as it occurred to him that he was wearing nothing more than bandages. "Er. What about--"
"Your clothes are drying out," Edgeworth said, a touch of impatience in the way he tapped the gilt sugar spoon on the edge of his cup. "And forgive me, but I've more concerns at the moment than your bare backside. What do you know about this brooch?"
"Someone murdered Captain Fey," Phoenix blurted out, his hands fisting in the coverlet.
Edgeworth was taken aback. "What's that?"
"Right before the explosion," Phoenix continued, barreling onwards. "I'd gone into her cabin. Everything was a mess and I found her there--she was--someone had hit her--from behind, with a statue..." Phoenix choked, looking away.
Atmey, Edgeworth thought, you utter bastard.
"It had to be one of the crew," Phoenix said, wiping his face on Edgeworth's blanket, and missing the expression on the Captain's face. "But I can't think of who could have..."
"Don't distress yourself," Edgeworth said, brusquely. "For one thing, you're losing your blanket, Wright."
Phoenix gulped, making a grab for the coverlet and his modesty. "Sorry. It's just..."
"More than likely her murder was killed in the explosion," Edgeworth continued, whipping up a small maelstrom in his teacup. "But even if not, there were not many survivors, and they are in the brig. They'll be taken to Saint Ami, tried for Piracy, and hung. But as their hostage, you'll have no charges to face. Congratulations, Mr. Wright. You're a free man at last."
For a man at last released from captivity, Phoenix looked utterly disconsolate. "It doesn't really matter now, does it?" He gestured to the brooch. "At least, may I have that back, please?"
Edgeworth jogged the golden coin in his hand. "I assume you know what it is, then?"
"It was Mia's," Phoenix said. "I thought I should take it back to her family. I think she has a sister..."
"This pin," Edgeworth said, as though Phoenix had not spoken, "Indicates that the bearer is without question the sole monarch of all Pirates. It is crown and scepter, Wright, and as far as I'm concerned, it is now nothing more than a novelty. Without Mia Fey, the pirates in these waters will be disorganized, and simple to crush. Here, be my guest." He chucked the coin into Phoenix's lap, and smirked at the other man's bare chest. "Good luck finding a place to pin it." He stood, and swirled his coat around his shoulders. "Forgive me, I would love to catch up on old times, but I do have a ship to command. We'll be in Saint Ami in a few days, and I suggest you rest up. Just because you've come back from the dead, there's no reason to look like it, hmm?"
The cabin door clicked shut behind him.
Left alone, Phoenix stared blankly after Edgeworth for a long moment. "Nice to see you again too, Miles," he muttered, and fell back into the pillows, hoping for the oblivious mercy of sleep.
(to be continued)