|The Fire Witch
|That's it! I remember now! I remember everything! The Legal League of Attorneys' exchange... Espella's trial... And then... that strange book... This feeling... I feel like I can take on the world!|
Chapter 2: The Fire Witch is the second main chapter of Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. It is the first witch trial in the game, and features Phoenix Wright defending Espella Cantabella after she is accused of using fire magic to murder two muggers that confronted her. The chapter introduces many of the features unique to witch trials in Labyrinthia, including cross-examining multiple witnesses at the same time.
Espella Cantabella was walking home carrying a lantern and a bucket of milk. Two rogues approached her in the forest demanding money. Cantabella dropped the lantern and the incantation "Ignaize" was heard. The ground under the rogues feet erupted in flames that consumed the two, much like the Storyteller's story earlier that day.
Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey were taken to a waiting hall, still confused. Espella Cantabella met them there, explaining that she was being put on trial for murder. She had had some kind of memory of Wright acting on her behalf as a defender, so she had requested that he defend her. Wright agreed to defend her, but as they were called into the Witches' Court, he was horrified as the stakes were made abundantly clear. A girl in a cage was pronounced guilty of being a witch, then immediately cast into the Chamber of Fire.
Cantabella was placed into the cage next, and Wright and Fey took their places at the defender's bench. The judge noted the peculiarity of a baker being summoned as a defender. Soon, Inquisitor Zacharias Barnham arrived to much fanfare by the townspeople, and the witch trial went underway. Barnham described how two rogues named Robbs and Muggs had accosted Cantabella while she was returning home from the market, but then she had retaliated by killing them with a fire spell. It had been raining, but the rain had stopped in the evening, before the crime. He then summoned four witnesses to the stand, who would all testify at the same time, much to Wright's surprise. The whole time, Wright felt a strange familiarity with his predicament, and was determined to save Cantabella.
The first witness, Wordsmith, seemed to describe the ambience of the scene rather than the moment of the crime. With Wright's prodding, he explained that the crime had occurred after sunset. Barnham explained that the accused had been holding a lantern, making it possible to see her, and he submitted the lantern in question and a drawing of the scene by the Court Illustrator. The milk bucket that Cantabella was depicted carrying with her had gone missing. The testimonies then continued, with Knightle, the last witness, claiming that there had not been a trace of fire in the area, so that magic must have been used.
Wright suddenly had the urge to raise an objection, and remembered everything about his life as a lawyer. However, his explanation that the lantern had burned the victims fell short, as all of the witnesses had heard an incantation, "Ignaize", and a fire from the lantern alone could not have consumed the victims without a trace. It was then that Hershel Layton and Luke Triton arrived, carrying the Grand Grimoire, containing information on all the spells known by witches. With this tome at his disposal, Wright would be able to make sense of the logic of Labyrinthia and use it to his advantage.
According to the Grand Grimoire, a witch's scepter, also known as a "Talea Magica", was required to cast spells, and nothing of the sort was in the court illustration. In response, Barnham brought out a Talea Magica, which Wordsmith had found near the crime scene, and explained that the magic gems indicated that the owner of the scepter could cast Ignaize and Dimere, an invisibility spell. Supposedly, Cantabella had used Dimere to hide the scepter. The defense could not disprove this without the concept of fingerprinting, and though the inquisition could not prove it, either, in the Witches' Court, the burden of proof was on Wright. Nonetheless, the witness demanded to testify to "prove" the inquisition's claim.
The witnesses claimed that the lantern had been held on Cantabella's right wrist, and that her right hand had been contorted in a strange way, as if gripping something. Wordsmith added that the accused had not dropped the scepter before being apprehended. However, the lantern was broken from being dropped, so the scepter would have dropped as well. Kira, one of the witnesses, protested, apparently failing to see the mud on the lantern from when it had been dropped. She explained that she had lost her glasses prior to the incident.
The witnesses then claimed that the scepter had been in Cantabella's left hand, with Mary, the remaining witness, saying that the bucket was lighter than it looked. Wright realized that she had taken the bucket, which she admitted to have done right after the crime. She had brought the bucket with her, and submitted it to the court. Seeing that the real bucket had two pieces of wood on either side of the handle, the bucket and the scepter could not have been held in the same hand. Therefore, the scepter could not have been in either hand at any point during the incident. It seemed that the people of Labyrinthia were not familiar with the concept of logic, and were taken aback.
However, Barnham recovered and threw logic back at them, arguing that Cantabella must have dropped the scepter along with the lantern. The witnesses insisted that the lantern had been dropped after the incantation, with Wordsmith claiming to have heard a "sploosh" as the lantern fell. Wright was suspicious of this, since Wordsmith should have heard the sound of the glass shattering. As they were talking, Wright noticed that Mary had gone deep in thought. Wright questioned her on whether she had heard the glass shattering, catching her by surprise. She admitted to hearing the glass shattering before the incantation, surprising everyone and causing an argument between the witnesses.
It became apparent to both the judge and Barnham that the witnesses were not reliable. The judge moved to end the trial in Wright's favor, but suddenly, another man ran to the witness stand, claiming to be a fifth witness. He called the other witnesses to gather around and plan their next move. The trial was far from over.
The new witness was a drunk who had not reported himself because he had been drinking in a tavern. He had even brought a bottle and mug to court, from which he would drink every so often. The witnesses testified that Espella Cantabella had the scepter behind her back, then put the bucket on the ground and reached for the scepter. Phoenix Wright pointed out that the bucket did not have mud on it like the lantern did. However, Zacharias Barnham retorted that Mary must have just wiped the mud off, which she remembered doing, though she could not remember if it was mud that she had wiped off.
The drunk then became overconfident and admitted to hearing the incantation. Wright continued to express his doubts about the mud on the bucket, prompting the witness to say that all five of them had seen the crime. This in turn caused Wordsmith to go deep in thought. Wright asked him what was wrong, and he replied that he had only seen three witnesses at the scene other than himself. Mary also remembered seeing only three other witnesses. The numbers did not add up, and there was only one conclusion: one of the witnesses on the stand was the real witch.
The judge requested that the witnesses mark their locations on a sketch of the crime scene. Wright continued that, since the range of the spell Ignaize was a meter, the witch had to be near the crime scene. Moreover, the witch could have turned invisible using Dimere. The judge asked the witnesses to testify one last time about what they had and had not seen. The witnesses protested at first, but Layton told them that they were no longer a team, and that one of them was not telling the truth. The time had come to expose the witch among their ranks.
Kira testified that the sight of the flame had left her speechless, while the drunk claimed to have heard a tiny cry, only to turn around and see the blaze. Mary and Wordsmith repeated that they had each only seen three others, with Wordsmith adding that the drunk was one of them. Wright asked Wordsmith for more clarification, and as Wordsmith was mentioning the drunk, Wright noticed the drunk thinking to himself. The drunk said that he had tripped on a rock. Wright asked why he had tripped, and he replied that he had heard a woman call his name, Emeer, from behind him.
Wright realized that there was something wrong with this testimony, and with Layton's help, he realized what it was. At the moment of the crime, Kira had been the only woman near Emeer, but she had claimed earlier that she had not spoken a word upon seeing the fire. However, Barnham pointed out that Emeer had not even seen the source of the voice, and did not know whether it belonged to Kira. Kira then started to leave, telling Wright that she had not even known Emeer's name until now. Wright realized that Emeer had heard not his name, but the incantation "Amere", which undid the spell Dimere.
Barnham asked why Kira would reappear rather than going into hiding. Wright and Layton concluded that Kira had lost her glasses at the crime scene. Since the rain had stopped before the crime, if her clean glasses had been found, it would have been apparent that she had lost the glasses during the crime. Being unable to find her glasses, she had been forced to reappear as a witness. The knights had already searched the crime scene, leading to only one possible place: the milk bucket. Barnham requested an immediate search of the milk bucket, and Kira's glasses were found, sealing her fate.
As Kira was placed into the cage, Wright and Layton asked her why she had tried to frame Cantabella. She could have committed the crime in such a way as to disappear without a trace, but she had taken measures to frame Cantabella, exposing her to incrimination. Kira claimed that Cantabella was the Great Witch Bezella, and that putting her to the flames would end all of these witch trials. Kira had not asked for her powers, and wanted to continue living a peaceful life. Barnham and the judge had heard enough and ordered the bailiff to cast Kira into the Chamber of Fire. Wright's party attempted to intervene but were blocked by the Knights and were forced to watch as the cage containing Kira descended into the violent flames.
After the trial, Espella Cantabella, Phoenix Wright, Hershel Layton, Maya Fey and Luke Triton caught each other up to speed on what had happened in London. In the freighter, Cantabella had taken one of the PC Badger tags after recognizing the name "London" engraved on it. She had hoped to use the address on the tag to reunite with Layton, but she had been caught up in the incident with Olivia Aldente. Wright remembered that she had been presented to him as a schoolgirl, and she had seemed to be in some kind of trance the whole time.
Cantabella then told the others that she had to stay in the courthouse for a while longer, and left. The remaining four properly introduced themselves to each other. Zacharias Barnham then encountered them and told them that Cantabella was being held in suspicion of being the Great Witch Bezella. This had not been his decision, so he could not say more about it other than that the trial would take place after the next parade in two weeks. The four decided to join forces to solve the mysteries surrounding this town and, in so doing, hopefully save Cantabella.
References to other cases
- Wright regaining his memories by subconsciously objecting in court with his arm outstretched is strongly reminiscent of a similar scene in The Lost Turnabout.
- Another similarity to The Lost Turnabout is how Kira's circumstances and actions closely resemble Richard Wellington's, especially in regards to their glasses: both misinterpret a piece of evidence because they cannot see it very well, both claim to have lost their glasses prior to the incident, and both were desperate to find their glasses when said glasses ended up at the crime scenes, possibly implicating them. They also go through confusion over not knowing someone else's name, with Wellington not knowing the spelling of Maggey Byrde's name being a sticking point early in The Lost Turnabout, and Kira questioning how she could have been the one calling Emeer Punchenbaug's name when she did not know what his name was.
References to pop culture
- Near the finale of the chapter, Wright says, "Once you eliminate the impossible... whatever remains must be the truth!" This a paraphrase of something often said by the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in several of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novels including The Sign of the Four.
- The Fire Witch is one of two chapters in Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney in which a single profile houses information for more than one person, namely Robbs and Muggs, the other chapter being The Final Witch Trial with the Vigilantes. This has not occurred in any other game in the Ace Attorney series.
- This case features the largest number of co-counsel individuals of any trial segment in any Ace Attorney game to date, at three.
- This is the only case in which the acting defense attorney canonically receives a penalty, specifically when Wright presents the map of the crime scene to prove that Emeer heard his "name". However, this does not cause the player to lose a Confidence Icon as they would in any other circumstance.
- French - La Sorcière de Feu (lit. "The Fire Witch")
- German - Der feurige Prozess (lit. "The Fiery Trial")