|The Golden Court
|...I made up my mind. I'm doing this for the professor!|
Chapter 4: The Golden Court is the fourth chapter of Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and the third trial chapter. After Hershel Layton is turned to gold by an unknown assailant at the home of the late Newton Belduke, Phoenix Wright and Espella Cantabella must defend Maya Fey on charges of witchcraft, with a number of surprising witnesses along the way.
The golden tragedy
Phoenix Wright and Maya Fey found themselves in court again, this time with Fey as the accused. Luke Triton had cried himself to sleep the previous night, and had not been seen since. Espella Cantabella was allowed out of Deathknell Dungeon and could move anywhere within the courthouse. She asked to be by Wright's side, wanting to help the people who had saved her. Jean Greyerl also came to the court, worried about Fey. Apparently, the butler was looking through the alchemist's notes looking for a way to reverse the Goldor spell. Greyerl then left, but not before Wright and Fey noticed something different about the butler.
The witch trial began with Zacharias Barnham explaining the crime, which had occurred in the late Newton Belduke's house. He submitted a floor plan of the butler's room and the alchemist's study, where the crime had taken place. The witnesses brought forth to testify were Emeer Punchenbaug who was "soon to be head of a retail organization," primary school teacher Ms. Primstone, bard Birdly with his parrot and, to Wright's shock, Luke Triton. Barnham submitted the Talea Magica that the witnesses testified had been dropped after the statue had fallen. One of the gems was for Goldor, and Cantabella went through the Grand Grimoire to look for the spell associated with the other gem, which was purple.
Primstone guessed that Layton and Fey had quarreled, and that Layton had been holding a knife in his hand. Wright questioned her further on this, but then he noticed Triton thinking to himself. Triton insisted that Layton would never brandish a knife. Cantabella noticed that, if Primstone had seen a knife, then Layton must have pointed it in a certain direction. Wright realized that Layton had been facing away from Fey, and informed Triton of this. However, Triton and Primstone continued to fight about the existence of a knife, and Layton was brought out to verify Primstone's claims. Unfortunately, the right arm had broken off and was missing. Wright insisted that, regardless of the presence of a knife, Layton had been pointing at someone else. The witnesses testified that it must have been a spell, the same one that had been cast three months ago. Belduke had been found strangled to death, but no footprints had been found in the spilled powder in the study, and the study itself had been locked. According to Primstone, the purple magic gem confirmed that the spell had been used. Cantabella then found the spell in the Grand Grimoire: Famalia, a spell that summoned a familiar, a weightless spirit that would appear out of nowhere, fulfill its task, and vanish.
Wright asked Primstone whether she had actually seen a familiar, which she had not. She said that perhaps a familiar would have been seen if Triton had opened the door sooner. This caught Triton's attention, and when Wright addressed him, another squabble occurred between him and Primstone. Triton insisted that the missing arm should be looked into, at which point Wright noticed Punchenbaug acting suspiciously. Price, the pawnbroker, then angrily chastised Punchenbaug. It turned out that Punchenbaug had stolen Layton's arm, not knowing what it was, and pawned it off to Price. The arm was reattached, and no knife was there.
Wright asked Punchenbaug where he had found the arm. He indicated on the floor plan where he had found it, and said that it had fallen so that it pointed upward. However, the arm was in the path that the Talea Magica had supposedly taken while being dropped from Fey's hand onto the floor. Barnham concluded that the witnesses must have been confused on the order of events, as none of them had actually seen Fey drop the Talea Magica. Indeed, neither Triton nor Punchenbaug really knew, while Birdly simply sang a song and Primstone testified that Layton had fallen before the Talea Magica had. Wright was befuddled and decided to ask Birdly about his song.
As Birdly was describing his song, his parrot Cracker imitated Primstone. This gave Triton an idea: according to both him and Birdly, Cracker remembered everything that he heard perfectly - a living recording device. Wright had Cracker "testify" on the sounds that he had heard during the incident. The parrot had heard Fey's scream, followed by the door opening, then Primstone crying out, then Layton falling to the floor, then "Godoor". Barnham protested that Cracker had the order of events wrong, but Wright retorted that he was just making assumptions about the sounds. The incantation was not for Goldor, but for a different spell used afterward.
Cantabella looked through the Grand Grimoire and found Godoor, a spell that would create a portal on a green-colored wall. Wright pointed out that a patch of the wall behind the painting in the study was painted green. The patch was too small for a human to fit through, but Wright asserted that the witch had simply cast Goldor from the butler's room, then had thrown the Talea Magica through the Godoor portal to fool any witnesses. The Famalia gem was a fake, another deception designed to take advantage of the belief that Belduke had been killed by a familiar. The judge knew that genuine magic gems would float in water, and called the bailiff to test the Famalia gem.
Wright knew the consequences of naming the true culprit, but he could not let her get away with her crimes. He named Jean Greyerl as the culprit. Barnham objected that Greyerl was male, but Wright wondered about that. The fact was, the wall of the butler's room separating it from the study was painted green. Greyerl had been watching the trial from the gallery, and agreed to come down to the witness stand.
Greyerl in court
There was an intermission to prepare for the new witness. Phoenix Wright, Maya Fey and Espella Cantabella were all shocked that the evidence was now leading to Jean Greyerl, especially Cantabella, who knew the butler. Luke Triton apologized to Fey for his actions, and she and Cantabella forgave him and pointed out that he had actually helped them considerably with getting Cracker to testify. Wright gladly allowed him to stand with him on the defense's bench. With so many things not being what they seemed to be, Fey and Triton hoped that Hershel Layton would somehow return. Before the trial resumed, Triton gave Wright the blank letter that Newton Belduke had sent to the Storyteller.
As trial resumed, the test results were in: the Goldor magic gem floated, while the Famalia gem sank, proving that it was a fake. Greyerl was then summoned to the stand, and asked Wright where the witch could have hidden the Godoor gem, considering the Knights of the Inquisition had arrived immediately and searched the whole house. That was when Wright realized what was bugging him. Before the trial, Greyerl had been wearing a green gem rather than an amethyst, and now the gem was gone. Zacharias Barnham recalled that Greyerl had been wearing a green gem upon the arrival of the knights. Greyerl had swapped the Godoor gem with the amethyst.
Greyerl then admitted that she was, in fact, female. She had pretended to be a boy to avoid drawing suspicion from the townsfolk, who could not distinguish alchemy from magic. However, she pointed out that there was no evidence from Layton's case against her. Wright agreed, and asked her to testify about Belduke's death. Barnham agreed to this, wanting the only unsolved case to be solved. He submitted an illustration of the crime scene from three months ago, which showed Belduke's body as Greyerl had found it the morning after the fact. Some red liquid was trickling from his mouth, and there were strangulation marks on his neck.
Greyerl testified that she had left Belduke's study shortly after 1 a.m. The next day, she had come back, but had heard no response from Belduke. She had forced the door open with the help of a neighbor. Belduke's possessions had been confiscated and stored in a secret vault, to which only High Inquisitor Darklaw would have access. It turned out that the neighbor was Emeer Punchenbaug, who had apparently not been paying attention to the fact that the Famalia gem was a fake. Wright pointed out that the sketch showed that the green patch had been behind the painting. He asserted that the witch had put her arms through the portal to strangle Belduke.
Barnham objected that there had been no evidence of a struggle, thus the witch had to have erased such evidence using a familiar. Wright suggested that Greyerl could have done it upon discovering the body. Punchenbaug testified that Greyerl had immediately called for the knights, while he had stayed to keep an eye on things. However, he had fallen asleep. When asked what else he had done, he replied that a lady had told him to look for something. Since Greyerl had been pretending to be a boy, the lady in question had to be someone else. Lettie Mailer then came to the witness stand and explained that she had come to pick up a letter from Belduke.
Wright told Mailer that the letter that she had delivered was blank, but she testified that it had, in fact, had writing on it. She had visited him the night before, and had seen him writing the letter, which he said would be ready the next day. She had then wished Greyerl a good night before going home. She had found the letter the next morning in a letterbox right next to the corpse and the painting. When asked for more information on the butler, she said that Greyerl had been in the corridor, carrying a tray. Wright asked Greyerl why she had not mentioned the meeting or the tray, and she claimed that she had simply forgotten to include such details as they had been so routine.
Greyerl testified that she had been serving Belduke his usual drink. When asked what the drink was, she replied that it was tomato juice. Wright caught Punchenbaug acting suspiciously, and the witness was forced to admit that he had taken a drink from the juice bottle. Wright realized that the juice bottle had been spiked with a soporific, which was why Punchenbaug had fallen asleep. Wright asserted that Greyerl had slipped Belduke the soporific specifically to knock him out.
Mailer protested that Greyerl would never do such a thing. Belduke had adopted Greyerl as a child, and had suggested the courier job to Mailer. Belduke had also taught Mailer about the confidentiality obligation, which she had never broken. Wright suggested that Greyerl's primary aim was not to kill Belduke, but to steal the letter that he had written, swapping it with the blank papers.
Greyerl claimed that she had not seen the letter, but she let slip the fact that she knew that it had been addressed to the Storyteller. Due to the confidentiality obligation on Mailer's part, Greyerl could not have obtained this information from anyone else. Moreover, the letter had not been finished until after Greyerl had left, and Mailer had retrieved it immediately after the discovery of the body, while Greyerl had gone to the knights, not setting foot in the study. Thus, the only way for her to know the addressee was if she had stolen the letter.
Greyerl admitted to the crime of three months ago. She described her life living as the lone daughter of a bricklayer who eventually could not pay the rent to their house. She explained that she had thought to use the Goldor spell to make more money, but she had accidentally turned a goat named Margaret into gold. She had then attempted to commit suicide by throwing herself into a lake, but Belduke, then just a physician, had saved her life. He had taken her in and bought her parents' house so that they would not have to worry about money or the secret of Greyerl being a witch being found out. Margaret had been taken to the basement study, and that was when Belduke had taken up alchemy.
Greyerl's peaceful life had ended with Belduke writing the letter after witnessing the appearance of the bell tower. She had seen glimpses of the letter, which seemed to be about confessing the truth about Greyerl being a witch. Greyerl had felt betrayed and slipped him the soporific so that she could steal the letter. She had never intended to kill Belduke, but a powerful urge had overtaken her and caused her to strangle him.
Although she had intended to disappear, she had instead stayed at the residence, hoping that she would be able to see the irrationality of magic be overcome by reason. With Wright's visit, it had seemed that she would be exposed at last. However, another witch had appeared and used Goldor on Layton. This was when she had decided to plant her Talea Magica with her amethyst posing as a Famalia gem, hoping to pin everything on the other witch. Everyone was shocked to hear that she was not responsible for turning Layton into gold.
Punchenbaug suddenly remembered that the juice bottle had not been opened before he had had a taste. The court's understanding of the Belduke incident was unraveled yet again as Wright questioned what had been trickling down Belduke's mouth, and why he had not struggled at all upon being choked. As it dawned on Wright what had really happened, he asked Punchenbaug whether he had pilfered anything else from Belduke's study. The whole time he had been in court, Punchenbaug had been drinking from a bottle labeled with a skull and crossbones. Greyerl recognized the bottle as one of Belduke's bottles used for storing deadly poison.
The truth behind Belduke's death was now clear: he had poisoned himself. He had written a suicide note to the Storyteller, which was the letter that Greyerl had stolen. Greyerl had never read the letter, but had always kept it by her side. Now that everything had been revealed, she read the letter aloud to the court.
|My dear friend...
I hope you will be able to forgive me for leaving this world of my own will. I have finally made this decision, having seen that accursed bell tower appear in the flames on that dreadful night. That lightning was a sign that we have angered the gods. What I have done cannot be forgiven. I can never escape from it.
For the past few days, I have been thinking that it might be best to simply expose everything. This town's secret... The truth about the witch... Of course, I understand that secrets need to be kept. However, I have grown very tired. I'm afraid I cannot keep the secret any longer.
I have only two concerns. The first is my daughter. It pains me to be leaving her alone in this world... Although, she probably doesn't think of me as her father.
The second matter weighing heavily on my mind is that Jean will be left on her own. Seeing her growing up so strong and righteous, in defiance of her fate, had given me hope. A short while ago, she brought me my usual, and what will be my last, drink. There are so many things I wanted to tell her, but I could only manage a "thank you". She is a very sharp child. Had I said any more, she would have caught on. You could call me a selfish man... But I didn't wish my last memory of her to be a sad one. If the fate handed to her by this town has made her life an ordeal until now, I hope from the bottom of my heart that a wonderful story awaits her next. I intend to leave my residence to her. And I would like you to look out for her.Alas, it is time for me to put my pen down. My dear friend, what I truly wish to express to you is too complicated for words. I hope one day you'll understand. But for now, I bid you farewell. The time has come for me to go.
Though it had been established that Jean Greyerl had not committed any crime, she was found guilty of being a witch, considered a crime in itself, and she was to replace Maya Fey in the Chamber of Fire. However, Espella Cantabella told them to stop. She criticized the law that all witches would be burned, and to stop it once and for all, she admitted to being the Great Witch Bezella. She was immediately seized and replaced Fey in the cage. However, Fey jumped back onto the cage and opened it, telling her to jump out and run. She and Wright struggled with the knights to delay the lowering of the cage, while Luke Triton helped Cantabella through a secret passage that he had found. Fey was eventually trapped inside the cage just as the knights managed to push Wright out of the way and start the fire pit mechanism. Wright screamed for them to stop, but it was too late.
References to other cases
- When discussing how Layton's golden arm was pointing upwards, Wright comments that it reminds him of a puzzle. As well as referencing a common utterance of the professor ("This reminds me of a puzzle"), this is a call-back to the way Layton stood a piece of bread on its end to solve the bread puzzle he gave Wright and Fey back in Mysterious Labyrinthia.
- When Luke Triton suggests that Cracker testify, Wright comments to himself that "This situation seems oddly familiar...", as he previously cross-examined a parrot called Polly in Turnabout Goodbyes. However, unlike the cross-examinations of Polly, and later Orla the orca in Turnabout Reclaimed), Cracker essentially gives functioning initial testimony with statements for which evidence can be presented.
- After it is revealed that he sold Layton's arm, Emeer Punchenbaug claims that his motto is "Always look on the bright side!" This may be a reference to the comedy song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's Life of Brian.
- When indicting Jean Greyerl, Wright says, "When you've eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be true." 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. Wright previously said a similar line in The Fire Witch. In the Ace Attorney series, the coffee-loving prosecutor Godot was also fond of this saying. Although fictional in the real world, Sherlock Holmes actually exists in the Ace Attorney canon, albeit under a different name, appearing in The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures and The Great Ace Attorney 2: Resolve (released three and five years after Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney in Japan each, and seven years later in the rest of the world compared to its' international release).
- In one of the court sketches of Newton Belduke's corpse, an alchemical circle is drawn on a piece of paper on his desk in front of him. Said symbol consists of a large circle enclosing four equilateral triangles joined together to form a large equilateral triangle; triangles were used to depict the four basic elements (fire, earth, water, and wind) in alchemy. The symbol of four equilateral triangles forming a single equilateral triangle is used for a number of groups, including Fischer Sports, the United Kingdom's 3rd Army Division, and the Japanese Hōjō clan. However, perhaps the most famous use of this symbol is as the sacred relic known as the Triforce in The Legend of Zelda video game series.
- Greyerl's backstory states that she accidentally turned her pet goat into a gold statue. This is similar to the tale of King Midas in Greek mythology, where Midas turned everything he touched into gold, including his daughter by accident. This power is known as "the Golden Touch", which is further referenced in the name of the chapter, "The Golden Court".
- There were other voices after Maya's scream, like the witnesses' gasps, but Cracker did not say those sounds when cross-examined.
- French - La cour dorée (lit. "The Golden Court")
- German - Der goldene Prozess (lit. "The Golden Trial")