This feature was submitted by GameCola superfan Diana Gray (aka Diana141). Check out the previous chapters here if you missed them!
“I don’t believe it,” Paul said incredulously. “I mean, I’ve made a lot of guesses, but I never expected-”
The dim light reflected off the person’s glasses. “Believe it,” he replied calmly. “Although it’s not surprising that you didn’t guess me. I’m often overlooked.”
“But really?!” Michael cut in, taking a step forward. “You did all of this? You’re RK?”
The man laughed harshly. “Yes, Mr. Gray, I brought you here, I manipulated all of this, and Mr. Franzen, I, Winston Payne, murdered your glorious beard!” Muffled gasps echoed around the walls and Paul’s face fell in anger and sadness. “I am RK, the Rookie Killer!” Diana groaned quietly, muttering that she should have figured that out.
“So you framed me?” Jeddy asked indignantly, ignoring Diana’s outburst. “Why would you do that?”
“All will be revealed in time,” Payne replied calmly. His voice was a scary combination of menacing and the comically funny squeaky voice from his objection sound effect. “And we have plenty of time. None of you are leaving here.”
“Give me Madeline,” Edgeworth growled, glaring at the man in the corner. “And then you will explain everything.” His voice was icy cold and dangerous.
Payne gave the tied-up Madeline an appraising look. “That’s the only think I regret, you know, Prosecutor Edgeworth,” he said nonchalantly as he leaned down to untie her bonds. “The only reason I took her was because I thought you were prosecuting the trial. I was surprised when Miss Brent told me otherwise.” He forced her to stand and shoved her toward Edgeworth, who caught her as she stumbled toward him. She still looked a little disoriented.
“Okay, now tell us what’s happening,” Diana said firmly.
“You should know better than anyone, Miss Gray. This is your world, after all,” Payne said, sitting down in the chair previously occupied by Madeline and trying to look cool, but only succeeding in looking slightly nervous. He was cornered, after all, and he clearly hadn’t counted on Edgeworth, Gumshoe, Maya, Phoenix, or Larry being there.
“No, it isn’t!” Diana breathed, looking nervously at the canon characters in the room. “Not anymore, not since you’ve taken over! How did you even bring us here? Why are you doing this? What do you want?” Her voice was growing more and more desperate until she finally forced herself to stop and take some deep breaths.
Payne looked up abruptly. “Maya Fey,” he said quietly.
“Excuse me?” Edgeworth said irritably. It was obvious that he wanted answers, and he wanted them now.
“Maya Fey,” Payne repeated, looking around. “She’s here, correct?” Everyone looked at each other in confusion. What did Maya have to do with any of this? She’s barely even been in this story!
“Yeah, I’m here,” Maya called. “What do you want, Payne?” She hesitantly climbed down the ladder and the staff parted to let her through.
“This is yours, isn’t it?” he said, holding out a piece of yellowing paper.
“Yeah!” Maya said, making to snatch it, but Payne quickly moved it out of her reach. “Hey, give it back! The Elders have been bugging me about it!”
“I need it,” Payne said firmly. “It’s the key.”
“The key? You mean you actually believe-” Maya began.
“This universe is unstable,” Payne read aloud. “There are people from another place, a place where this universe is just a game. Bring them here and keep them for two days, and the world is sure to crumble, because their very existence defies the laws of our reality. When this universe falls, it will be your destiny to create a new one, one of your choosing.” He looked up at the shocked and disgusted faces around him.
“Uh, what?” Larry’s voice floated down into the small room. “Who are these people?”
Edgeworth was beginning to understand. He turned to face the staff, who paled at his glare. “Is this true? Are we just a game to you?” he muttered, his words like ice. No one seemed to be able to respond. “I assume this is the big secret,” he continued, beginning to pace around the tiny room, everyone scurrying out of his way when he came close to them. “And now apparently the world is going to end, all because of you!” His outstretched finger pointed directly at Diana, whose mouth fell open in shock.
“Hey, it’s not all my fault!” she cried.
“Then tell us the truth, now,” Edgeworth demanded, crossing his arms. Gumshoe and Madeline stood just behind him, and Maya quickly disappeared up the ladder to fill in Phoenix and Larry. Payne still sat in the corner, a smirk on his face.
“He’s telling the truth,” she said slowly. “We come from a- a…”
“A different universe,” Michael continued. “One where you are just characters in a video game.”
The entire staff began to chime in, recapping all the events that had occurred thus far: their mysterious arrival, the notes. Diana took over when it seemed that the story could go no further without an explanation of her abilities.
“What Payne said earlier, about this being my world…” She trailed off at Edgeworth’s glare, then took a breath and continued. “He’s not entirely wrong. I can… control things that happen here. I’m a writer, I write and it happens. I don’t know why, or how, or anything like that, but it just does.”
“Then I suppose that explains this,” Edgeworth said, holding up the missing paper.
“You had it!” exclaimed Paul.
“I was just trying to help,” Diana said nervously, seeing Edgeworth’s face.
“That’s how you knew so much about everyone, everything,” Madeline said quietly. Everyone jumped; they’d kind of forgotten she was there.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Diana murmured, her eyes still on her OC. “But you, you’re different.” Her voice broke. “You’re me. I created you.”
“What?” Madeline whispered, moving slightly closer to Edgeworth.
“Haven’t you noticed how alike we are?” Diana said quietly. “And how I knew things about you before you told me, things that you haven’t told anyone else?” She sniffed. “I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s all true. And all we want is to get back home.”
“Well, we’re all together,” Nathaniel said, looking around. “Can’t we go home now?”
“Wait, hold on,” Paul interrupted, holding up a hand and turning toward Payne. “You never said why you murdered my beard! That is something I need to know!”
“Simple,” Payne replied calmly. “Jealousy.”
“What?” Paul said in confusion.
“You may not know this, but I used to have hair, Mr. Franzen. But one case, years ago, and all that was gone.” His face twisted in anger and despair. “Along with my good name. And that’s why I brought you all here. Revenge. And it’ll only be a matter of time before this world is only a distant memory.”
Seemingly right on cue, the entire room shook. Everyone let out cries of shock and fear, grabbing onto each other, except for Payne, who stood up, smiling. “It’s beginning,” he said, his gaze flicking over the members of the staff. “And your 48 hours are almost up.”
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