That Freelance Kid

Chapter 11

"Wright Anything Agency, suite 3C.." Apollo mumbled as he trudged up the stairs. It didn't seem any warmer in the office building than t it was outside, but at least his nose wasn't running anymore. Apollo listened to the stairs creak underneath his feet, and looked at the cracks threading through the walls. It surprised him that Mr. Wright had stayed here while he was a lawyer; if he was as ace as he remembered, he should have at least had a more prestigious (and warmer) office of his own.

He wasted no time once he found the right door. As soon as he saw the plaque that hosted the words "Wright's Anything Agency", he knocked loudly at the door. His patience ran thin when no one answered.

"Mr Wright!" He yelled, his knuckles still rapping. He was just about ready to kick in the door when it opened, and it certainly wasn't Mr. Wright who greeted him.

Standing before him was the oddest trio of girls he had ever seen.

His eyes were first drawn to the teenager wearing a blue magician's outfit, a top hat neatly placed on her head. To Apollo's horror, she held a pair of bright blue bloomers with pink heart in her hands. Another girl, hiding behind her even though she was taller, caught his attention with her kimono and what Apollo could only categorize as pretzel shaped bun. The last girl had long black hair tied back in a high ponytail, held together with a giant hair accessory in the shape of a key, and sporting a blue scarf with a gold brooch.

Apollo stared at them, and they at him. No one moved, except for the pretzel-haired girl who kept shifting from foot to foot.

Finally, he cleared his throat, ready to break the silence, but the magician spoke first.

"Are you here to see Daddy?" She asked, her blue eyes looking very serious for such a strange question.

"Uh...that depends. Is your daddy Mr. Wright?"

The magician smiled broadly. "Yes, he is! He's a little busy right now-he's cleaning the toilet-but I can just tell him you're here. Come on, Pearly, let's go." She grabbed the pretzel-haired girl's hand and entered back into the office. The black-haired girl still stood at the door a moment longer, then decided to go follow the other two.

Apollo hesitantly stepped a foot inside the office, and once he got a good look around, thought he might have found the wrong place after all.

It looked less like an office, and more like a storehouse full of magical props. There was a desk near the back covered in magical doo-dads, and the couch housed a giant (and to Apollo, unsettling) wooden puppet; if it weren't for the law books on the bookshelf, he would have never believed this place was once a law office. He stumbled over another's magician's hat, and then over a box filled with confetti, and was almost flat on his face because of the many brightly colored boxes. He was about to call out for Mr. Wright to rescue him, when the magician grabbed his arm to help him steady.

"Sorry about the mess," she said. "I have a show later at the Wonder Bar, and I just can't find all of my props!"

Apollo was about to ask her what in the world a wonder bar was before she spoke up again.

"My name's Trucy! And this is Kay," she explained, gesturing towards the girl with they key in her hair. Kay gave an exaggerated flourish of her scarf before declaring "The great Yatagarusu, at your service!"

"The..the great what?" Apollo stammered.

"The girl trying to hide over by the desk is Pearl," Trucy said. "Come on, Pearl, come over and say hi." The kimono-clad girl slowly made her way towards the other two, then gave Apollo a shy nod of her head.

Trucy extended a gloved hand towards Apollo. "It's nice to meet you, Mr...um..."

"Apollo Justice." He replied, extending his own hand.

Pearl let out a gasp. "You mean... Apollo Justice the author?" She squeaked.

"Somehow this seems familiar." Apollo thought. "That's right," He said aloud. "I'm guessing you've read my book?"

Pearl's face immediately flushed, her hands lightly pressing against her warm cheeks. "Of course I've read it! It's wonderful! Ah, everything about it almost reminds me about Mr. Nick's and Mystic Maya's love. Well, except that your main character's a detective and his love is a news reporter, but still. It's so amazing, I re-read it as much as possible. When they first kissed after cracking the hardest case of his career, I, ah! It was just wonderful, oh and-"

"You've done it now." Kay said, rolling her eyes.

"You get Pearl started on romance," Trucy began, "she won't stop. "And eventually the conversation will turn back towards my daddy and her cousin Maya. Though I wouldn't object to having a new Mommy around here."

"...reminds me of the time Mr. Nick crossed a burning bridge for Mystic Maya!" Pearl trailed on. 'A burning bridge! If that isn't true love, I don't know what love is! Doesn't that sound like love to you, Mr. Justice?"

"Well," Apollo cleared his throat. "I uh, certainly think Mr. Wright is devoted to this Maya."

"Is that so? That's an interesting conclusion, Justice." Apollo turned to see Mr. Wright leaning against the wall near the restroom. "I've never heard you talk so much to a stranger before, Pearls. I guess it's good your breaking out of that clam of yours." He chuckled.

Pearl gasped, her face turning redder. "I...I'm so sorry, Mr. Justice!"

"There's no need to apologize!" Apollo reassured. "I'm glad you like my book."

"All right girls, time to shuffle." Mr. Wright said. "Trucy, you go find your things to get ready for your show." Trucy gave her father a salute a before diving back into the boxes scattered across the floor. "Kay, you go and give Mr. Edgeworth a call back, and put back anything you stole." To Apollo's horror, the girl pulled out a small pair of keys from inside her scarf and handed them back to Mr. Wright before reaching for her phone. "And Pearls, Maya said she'd be over to visit soon. Can you help me tidy so I don't get a lecture again? Oh, and don't forget to water Charlie!"

Phoenix waited until he saw all the girls engrossed in their tasks before turning towards Apollo. "Now," he started. "I think you and I need to have a chat."

"Oh, we need to have a chat, all right, Mr. Wright." Apollo said curtly. "You know, it's funny how you never mentioned your name on the phone. Or at the restaurant."

Phoenix smirked. "Come on, Justice, it's not like I was keeping it a top-secret. My name's right there on my business card."

"It would've been nice to know who you were before that, you know. Instead of giving me some phony name like Nick."

"I've gone by the name Nick for years." Phoenix shoved his hands into the pockets of his hoodie. "I think you're making a big deal out of nothing."

"Nothing? How can hiding your identity from me be considered nothing? After what I did for you?"

"You didn't really do it for me, per se, but for the Gavins.

"Oh, cut it out," Apollo yelled. "You know what I mean!"

"Keep it down, Justice." Apollo was about to do just the opposite of that before he saw the girls staring worriedly at him. He smiled reassuring at them, and for a moment they stood unseasy before they busied themselves again.

"Maybe we should talk about this outside." Phoenix suggested, opening the front door.

Apollo nodded, and followed him into the cold hallway.


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