Chapter 1: Albhi's Request
“Mr. Justice, Mr. Justice!”
Apollo Justice groaned under his breath, rubbing his aching temples. He’d been reading case files all night – not surprisingly, many people were requesting the help of a genuine defense attorney now that they were legal again in Khura’in, and some of the requests were, frankly, a little ridiculous. Not that he wasn’t used to this kind of thing from his time at Mr. Wright’s firm, but still, actual cases going to court in less than a week were a bit more pressing than mysteriously vanishing Plumed Punished merchandise and investigating who hit the vegetable seller with their ox and cart.
Albhi Ur’gaid tore into the office, almost knocking Datz Are’bol off the ladder he was using to paint the highest corners of the office. After apologizing and bowing profusely, the tour guide skidded to a halt in front of Apollo’s desk, one hand clutching his bag and the other firmly clamping his puppy Shah’do atop his head. After catching his breath and managing to stutter out the traditional greeting, the boy began to spit out words a mile a minute.
“Please Mr. Justice, you have to help Mae, she would never do anything like that, she loves her job at the palace, she could never-”
“Whoa, Albhi, slow down,” Apollo interrupted, holding up a hand. “Start from the beginning. What’s going on?”
Albhi took a deep breath. “I was giving my tour and we were passing by the palace when I saw the guards escorting Mae outside and she was crying and-”
“Hang on, who is this Mae? The name doesn’t sound familiar.”
Albhi’s cheeks flushed. “She’s no one!” When Apollo raised an eyebrow, he sighed. “Oh, I guess you wouldn’t know her. Her name is Mae’do Laqueen, but everyone just calls her Mae. She’s a… well, we practically grew up together. She just got hired as a new maid to the princess Rayfa after… well, everything that happened a few months ago. I would sneak in to see her sometimes and help out and… yeah.”
Apollo nodded. “Okay, now I know. Go ahead.”
“Well, I ran up to her and she said she’d been accused of stealing the ceremonial incense burner used for the channeling rituals conducted by the queen, but I know she’d never do such a thing so I was hoping maybe we could go and check it out.” Albhi looked up hopefully.
“Wait, hold on. If there’s been a crime of this nature, inside the palace no less, why haven’t I been called yet? Has she been taken into custody?”
Albhi scrunched his nose, thinking. “No, I don’t think so. She was just removed from the palace. No one was around to take her away.”
“Hm, that’s odd. A theft of something so valuable, but no arrest?” Apollo stood up, casting a last glance at the colossal pile of files on his desk. But it was no use – his curiosity was piqued. “I guess I can take a little time to investigate.”
Albhi cheered, grabbing Apollo’s hand and shaking it enthusiastically. “Thank you thank you thank you! I know you’ll solve the case, Mr. Justice!”
“N-no problem, Albhi. Where is this Mae now? Can I talk to her?” Apollo asked, removing his hand gently from Albhi’s vicelike grip.
“Yeah! I knew you’d say yes, so I brought her with me! She’s right outside.”
“Well, bring her in. I want to ask her a couple questions first, then we’ll head over to the palace.”