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Desert World Oasis
Klavier woke up in what he believed were the early hours of morning. The three suns were up in the sky again. This was their third day in the Desert World. If Apollo and Athena were to be believed, at least Ator and her human partner would be able to get them out soon. He rolled over, eyes still closed. He didn’t feel like waking up just yet, now that it was safe to sleep. The sandy ground didn’t exactly make for a comfortable bed, but that was the least of his worries.
“You sure?” Ator said somewhere in the distance. Klavier cracked open one eye. Athena and Apollo were fast asleep next to him. “This is becoming quite the body count.”
Body count? Klavier didn’t like the sound of that. He shook Apollo’s shoulder and immediately held a finger to his lips when he woke up.
“Just listen,” he hissed. Apollo nodded.
“No, they’re asleep. They still haven’t released you?” Ator swore. “What do you want me to do with the bodies? Or are you going to open a portal?” She briefly paused. “Come here? Are you sure?”
Apollo’s eyes widened. “You don’t think…” he whispered. Klavier nodded and jerked his head towards Athena.
“Time to get out of here.”
Apollo turned around soundlessly and shook Athena awake.
“We’re in trouble,” he whispered before she could say anything. “We’ve got to get out of here.”
To her credit, Athena needed no further explanation. She got up slowly and grabbed her bag. This was getting worse and worse.
Klavier was almost glad for the many trees and shrubs that surrounded this oasis. It hid them from Ator. What they’d do once they made it to the desert again, he didn’t know. They’d be right out in the open, but if they stayed here, they’d be dead within the hour.
They had almost made it out of sight when, of course, Ator noticed them.
“Hey! Are you leaving already?” she shouted. They froze.
“Ah, well, yes, we figured we shouldn’t be bothering you any longer,” Klavier said, turning around slowly. “You’ve been more than kind to us.”
Ator sighed. “Ah, I guess you overheard.”
“I’m sorry, overheard what?” Klavier asked. Next to him, Athena bent low.
“Yes well, I am sorry. It can’t be helped, unfortunately, since your mentor saw it fit to imprison my partner.”
“Mr. Wright did—?” Apollo asked. He shook his head. “You’re the one who killed Cyan Sammons, aren’t you?”
“Oh no, not me,” Ator said. She whistled. “She did.”
From behind the trees, hidden away under the rocks, a huge rumbling sound came. Athena gasped, her hands going to her ears.
“The thing is, dragons rarely do anything if I don’t tell them to. I’m telling them now.” A dragon lumbered in view, huge, with blackish-blue skin that almost seemed to glitter in the dim light of the three suns. “Sapphire Dragon, kill them.”
“RUN!” Apollo shouted. He grabbed both of them and started running, between the dunes, away from the dragon, but it was so much faster than expected, its huge body easily finding traction on the loose sand. It should’ve been impossible. Klavier glanced backwards. Ator was following the dragon.
“They’re peaceful!” he shouted. “It’s Ator doing this!”
Athena nodded. “All right,” she said, and pulled loose from Apollo’s grip. “Keep running.”
And she turned around and ran straight at the massive dragon.
The massive dragon swiped at her, but she dove into a roll and barely avoided it. For a moment, she was gone, and then she was up and running again, past the dragon, who looked around in confusion, and straight at Ator.
Ator shook her head. “Get the other two. I’ll deal with this one.”
Klavier swore, a combination of curses from every language he could think of. German was wonderfully versatile like that, with its ability to string words together and—
“Watch out!” Apollo tackled him as the dragon swiped at him, but too late; its claw bit deep into his arm. He cried out. The pain burned through his arm and for a second he saw black. Then Apollo was pulling him up again, out of the way of the oncoming dragon.
“You okay?” he panted.
Ator had unsheathed her sword. Athena was keeping a safe distance from her. She’d opened her bag and taken something out, a small, cylindrical object she kept shaking. Klavier’s eyes watered through the pain in his left arm, but if he fainted here, there was no way he’d make it out alive. He refused to be eaten by a dragon. He staggered out of the way of the oncoming dragon. Its huge size seemed to make it slower than he’d first assumed. Apollo caught sight of his arm and winced.
“You’ve got to hide,” he shouted.
“Not helping!” Klavier yelled back. He rolled away when the dragon attacked again and landed on his injured arm. For a moment, he saw stars. Then the dragon was there, bearing down upon him. He shielded his face-
There was a bang. The dragon paused.
Apollo dragged him up again and pulled him along. The dragon looked confused.
“What’s it doing?”
“Athena,” Apollo replied, and indeed, Athena had gotten past Ator’s defenses and thrown the cylindrical object at her. Her can of coke, Klavier realized. With all the heat and pressure, it had exploded violently when she’d opened it.
“Call it off!” they heard her shout. She got Ator in a headlock and forced her down.
“Don’t think so.” Ator turned and with one easy movement deposited Athena the ground. Athena scrambled out of the way, but now she was back on the defense.
“We’ve got to help her!”
“How?!” Apollo returned. The dragon roared. Ator had regained control.
“I must say,” she shouted, “you three are quite a bit better than that woman was! But I’m sorry.” And she whistled again. Athena took the opportunity and tried to tackle her, but Ator kicked her back as a second dragon appeared, this one snow white and sparkling like diamonds. "Meet Diamond Dragon."
“Crap.” Apollo glanced from one dragon to the other.
“This is troublesome,” Klavier agreed. And then the Diamond Dragon attacked. Its tail caught Apollo and sent him flying.
A blur of gold, and Chrysta appeared, pecking at the eyes of the huge dragon. Klavier ran to where Apollo had fallen just as the latter got up, wiping the blood of his chin.
“That’s a loose tooth.” He gave Klavier a pained grin. “Didn’t think you actually knew my name.”
“Your forehead is quite remarkable,” Klavier managed through his relief. Apollo was still alive. For now. But now there were two dragons surrounding them, and Athena was badly outmatched. She was jumping away from Ator’s sword, but her movements were slowing down.
“This isn’t good, Klavier,” Apollo said. Was this the first time Apollo had used his first name? What a crazy situation.
“We’ve got to get to Athena.” His arm was throbbing now, the wounds stinging. And there were the two enormous dragons, surrounding them now. Chrysta flew down, in front of Apollo, but what could one bird do against two giant dragons?
“Give me your bag,” Apollo said.
“Just do it!” They both jumped out of the way as the Diamond Dragon slammed its tail down between them. Klavier grabbed his bag with his uninjured arm and tossed it at Apollo, who barely caught it. He took out the bottle of wine Klavier’d had stacked away all this time.
“How solid is this glass?” he yelled.
“Hit it hard!” Klavier shouted back. The dragons, now realizing they could each target one of them, turned towards the noise. Klavier found himself faced with the Sapphire Dragon. Apollo raised the bottle of wine and dove under the Diamond Dragon, then jammed the top between its claws. It paused in confusion, flexed its claws, and broke the bottle, the shards embedding itself into its left paw. It shrieked in pain and swatted at Apollo, who barely dodged and landed next to Klavier.
“That didn’t quite work the way I wanted it to.”
“It was… inspired,” Klavier said. He backed away from the Sapphire Dragon. The Diamond Dragon was picking at its paw, crying in pain. They were out of weapons, his left arm was completely useless, and the Diamond Dragon was angrier than ever.
“It was nice knowing you, Herr- Apollo,” he murmured.
“Same, Klavier.” Apollo grinned manically, holding up glass shards. “I could’ve had worse rivals.”
And the dragons struck.
March 10 2028 08:45 am
District Court - Prosecution’s Lobby n°2
“Edgeworth,” Wright called, appearing in the door. Edgeworth gestured him in quickly. Good thing the lobby was deserted right now.
“Wright, we can’t let her off just like that, you know that,” he said. Wright closed his eyes.
“I know, I know, but we can’t just let them die either. This is like Maya all over again.” He hissed. “How am I ever going to explain this to Trucy?”
“Does she know?”
“No. She wanted to come today, but I managed to convince Maya to distract her and Pearls. They’re at home watching the Pink Princess special, I believe.”
At least that was a good choice of entertainment. “Drake’s testifying today. If you can persuade her to not give the order…”
“She’ll never do it. What about Ms. Sammons’ portal technology?”
“It’s vanished without a trace. We thought it’d be in the parking lot or at Paseo del Mar, but nothing.” Edgeworth stared at the closed door of the courtroom. The bailiff held up a hand. Five minutes. By indicting Coral Drake, were they condemning three innocent people to death? Edgeworth looked down.
“We can only hope they manage to save themselves, Wright. Because I don’t think we can save them anymore.”
And Coral Drake’s testimony wasn’t making things any better. Ten minutes later, she’d taken the stand and given Wright a disappointed look. Then she’d shrugged and said, “So I guess it comes down to a trial after all.”
The message was clear. Either they found her innocent or Klavier, Apollo and Athena wouldn’t make it back alive. Was it so hard to have a simple, uncomplicated trial without kidnappings or murder threats every once in a while?
“Miss Coral Drake, you are accused of the murder of Ms. Cyan Sammons,” he began. “What do you have to say for yourself?”
She would be denying it, and Wright would probably fumble the cross-examination, but how would it help if they got the truth out of her?
“I did it,” Coral Drake said quietly.
“Yes, I- WHAT?”
“OBJECTION!” Wright shouted. The judge slammed his gavel.
“Miss Drake, are you… confessing?”
“Sorry, Mr. Wright, but I'm just tired of being here,” Coral Drake said, still in the same soft tone. "So yes, I did it. I set up the portals that transported Cyan to the Desert World. Ator made sure she died.”
“OBJECTION!” Wright shouted again. “Miss Drake, the bus driver has testified seeing you on his bus at the time of the murder. You weren’t present to send Ms. Sammons to the Desert World!”
Miss Drake shrugged. She was toying with her bracelet again. “Did I have to be? I just needed her to be in that specific spot. Texted her after to say she didn’t have to come. Made it look nice, didn’t I?”
The judge blinked. “Miss Drake… Why confess now?”
“Because I'm tired of this thing. And because frankly, I'm sick of this whole world. Cyan’s dead anyway. I could’ve used some pocket money, but you messed that up quite nicely for me. I already contacted Ator before this trial started, Mr. Wright. Your friends are long dead by now.”
“I-” Wright slumped, head in his hands. “You can’t-”
“Miss Drake,” Edgeworth shouted through the chaos. “What are you trying to accomplish? You cannot escape a full courtroom after confessing!”
“No.” Coral Drake looked up, her face utterly serene. “I will get out. Ator will save me.”
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Apollo shut his eyes tightly, waiting for the inevitable pain to come. Maybe it’d be over soon. Maybe—
The pain where the dragon had hit his jaw increased. But other than that-
“Now would be a really good time to run, you two,” a new voice said. Apollo opened his eyes to see the black panther from before holding off the dragons. And then, then it transformed. It grew in size and widened until it was an exact replica of the Diamond Dragon in front of them. They both stared in shock.
“Your friend could use some help,” the panther-turned-dragon growled. That shook Apollo out of his trance.
Athena was, surprisingly, still very much holding her own. She was panting and could barely dodge Ator’s moves, but she was still in one piece and even appeared to be tiring out Ator herself.
“Not bad, Athena. You could’ve made a good warrior.” Ator slashed her sword. Athena backflipped and tucked her legs in to turn her fall into a roll. “It really is a pity.”
She took sight of the third dragon now battling the other two and her eyes widened. “Time to finish this before he gets here.”
“I wouldn’t do that, Ator,” another voice said. A very familiar one. “It’s Ator, right? Did I get that right?”
Judai Yuki stood behind Ator, Yubel right next to him. The latter spread her wings and took off towards them, landed next to Athena and picked her up.
“You,” Ator growled. Mr. Yuki nodded.
“Me, yes. Black Panther, how’re you holding up over there?” he shouted.
“Could use some help!” the panther-dragon replied. Mr. Yuki’s eyes glowed, and the same white, humanoid monster he’d summoned two days ago appeared. Neos, or whatever its name was, charged at the Sapphire Dragon and threw it off Black Panther. A flash of light, and then Neos and Black Panther had disappeared, replaced by a larger, darker version of Neos covered with black armor and spreading dark, bat-like wings.
Ator straightened up. “Convenient that you’re here. They’re the reason my partner’s in trouble, but I’m sure the universe will not mourn your death either.”
Yubel picked Athena up and deposited her near Klavier and Apollo. They gaped at each other.
“Okay, still alive?” Athena whispered.
“Still alive. Bit worse for wear, but…” Apollo nodded at Ator. “We’re not back home yet.”
“Ator, stop this now,” Mr. Yuki said. “You know you cannot stop me. You can bring all the dragons you want, attack me with everything you have, and you still can’t harm me.”
“So why don’t you kill me like you killed everyone else, Supreme King?” Ator spat. Athena gasped.
“He’s the Supreme King?”
“Always was and always will be,” Yubel said. “But he dislikes the title.”
“I don’t do that anymore, Ator,” Mr. Yuki continued. “And I’m sorry. I don’t know who you lost, but I was responsible for it and I’m truly sorry.” He straightened up and took a step forward. He was just a man in his late thirties. He had no weapons, no one protecting him, and he shouldn’t have looked nearly as intimidating as he did at that moment. “But if you keep threatening the kids, I will be forced to act. I got them into this mess and it is my duty to bring them home safely.”
Apollo gasped. That had not been a lie. “He means it.”
“Then you will die, Supreme King!” Ator said. “And the world will be happier for it!”
She charged, and Yubel took off. Before Ator had even gotten near Mr. Yuki, she’d grabbed the woman by the throat and lifted her.
“You do not threaten my Judai, is that clear?”
Ator tried to stab her. Yubel deflected the move easily.
“Your beloved Judai. You’re blind to the damage he’s caused all of us.”
“No, I am not.” Yubel threw her down and grabbed the sword. “I was as responsible as he was, but that is in the past, and Judai has been trying his best for years to make amends for it. Whereas you, you’re just killing innocent people.”
“And it makes you no better than me,” Mr. Yuki said softly. He joined Yubel. “This fight is over, Ator. You’ve lost control of your dragons. Help me get the kids home and I promise you that your partner will get a fair trial.”
But Ator wasn’t giving up. “Coral deserves so much better than some prison cell. She’s a genius and your world never, ever appreciated her or her family! I will get her the recognition she deserves. If it means you have to die for her, then so be it.”
“Ah, I see.” Mr. Yuki whispered. And then he was behind her in a flash, surrounded by darkness whirling all around them, obscuring the two of them from view. The dark cleared, and Ator was on the ground, hands bound by what looked like solid darkness.
Mr. Yuki closed his eyes for a brief second. “There’s a portal opening soon, isn’t there? When?”
“I am not letting you get to Coral.”
“Then we’ll wait.” Mr. Yuki turned around and walked up to them. “I’m sorry for being so late. How are you?” He caught sight of Klavier’s arm and paled.
“Put pressure on it or you’ll lose too much blood,” he snapped, already going through his backpack. “Why didn’t you say so earlier? Lie down.”
“Ah, Herr Yuki, it’s not bleeding too—”
“It’s still bleeding, isn’t it? You two, help him lie down.”
Klavier managed to lie down with some help from Apollo. Mr. Yuki had found his first aid kit and grabbed a pressure bandage. Klavier tried to lift his sleeve.
“Leave it. The more pressure, the better. We have to stop the bleeding. Why are these cuts so wide?”
“I will try to choose a smaller dragon next time, Herr Yuki,” Klavier said. With the fight over, he looked distinctly pale underneath his tan. Mr. Yuki applied the bandage, grabbed another roll of gauze to put on top of it, and started winding it around his arm.
“No, it’s fine, Herr Yuki.”
Mr. Yuki finished securing the bandage and glanced at Ator. Athena shook her head.
“But what I don’t get,” she asked Ator, “you were really going to help us. I could hear. So why this?”
“Because it’s her partner, Athena,” Yubel said. “Because there is nothing I would not do for Judai and he for me.”
“Coral deserves better.”
Judai nodded. “Does she love you back?”
“Good, that’s good…” Mr. Yuki said. He looked at Yubel, who smiled down at him. Apollo looked away. This was it, right? It was over now. They could go home. They could all—
He jumped up. Where was she?
“Apollo?” Athena asked. Klavier got up, but Mr. Yuki ushered him down again.
“Chrysta, has anyone seen Chrysta?”
She’d attacked the dragons to save them, but after that— Where had she gone? The dragons had already disappeared, no longer interested in a fight now that Ator was not controlling them anymore. She had to be there somewhere.
A faint squeak. Apollo dropped down on his knees. There she was, half-buried under the sand, her right wing bent at an unnatural angle. Apollo quickly dug her out and scooped her up.
“Chrysta, you okay?”
The eagle only squeaked tiredly and buried her head in her feathers.
“She’s not doing well,” Mr. Yuki said. When he’d appeared, Apollo didn’t know. “I’m sorry, Apollo.”
“It’s just her wing, right? We can splint it.” He didn’t know how to do it, but Mr. Yuki looked like he had enough first aid experience. “It’s just some broken bones.”
Chrysta squeaked again. Her broken wing hung uselessly over Apollo’s arm.
“She went up against a monster that was far stronger than her. It’s a wonder she made it this far. Come on.”
He helped Apollo up and led him back to Athena and Klavier. Athena wrapped an arm around his shoulder.
“Can’t you do something?” she asked. “You have all those tricks, all those powers, there has to be something—”
Mr. Yuki shook his head. “I can’t heal. I guess that’s my curse. I can destroy, and change, and every once in a while I can even save, but I can’t heal. I am so sorry.”
Apollo hugged the bird tighter, mindful of her bad wing. If she hadn’t found him, she wouldn’t be like this. If she’d just left them when she'd had the chance, she would've been fine.
“Not your fault,” Klavier said. He didn’t look good. If they could only get out of here somehow, find help for Chrysta and Klavier…
Five minutes before the portal opened, Chrysta looked up, nuzzled her head against his chest, and disappeared in a shower of light.