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Chapter 22 - Vol 5: An Outside Perspective

Within the halls of Dissidia Academy, life as a student is an adventure! Follow the Heroes of Final Fantasy as they fulfill the variety of challenges that lie before them, setting the path towards their future! However, underneath the depths of this highly established Academy ... lies a darkness that may throw the entire world into chaos.
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Chapter 22 - Vol 5: An Outside Perspective

Chapter 22 - Vol 5: An Outside Perspective
Entrance Hall, Dissidia Academy…
Terra Branford burst out from the Theatre Hall doors in haste, desperately hoping she could find her close friend Celes Chere. Her heart was leaping from her chest, her eyes darting from one direction to the other as she was faced with the emptiness of the Academy’s Entrance Hall.
Celes – and Prishe, who had accompanied her – were nowhere to be seen.
Reflecting back to the moment she left the Witness Stand, the depth of distraught in Celes' expression was still fresh in Terra’s mind. The sadness, the bitterness, and the anguish: all these feelings were displayed as clear as day in front of the entire Academy. In that very moment, everything that was expected from Celes’ usual character was completely discarded.
… And it horrified Terra.
She struggled to think of where her friend could possibly be, intimidated by the mere thought of the Academy’s colossal size. It didn’t even help that she was crucially limited on time, meaning that every second wasted could potentially impact the fate of the court trial. Onion Knight gave her this chance, and she had to make it count.
It was then when Terra’s eyes swayed to the entrance doors of the Academy, noticing the slight breeze of the open air through its windows. The realisation struck her immediately: if she were to circle the Academy grounds, she would have a formidable chance of spotting Celes – whether it would be through one of the windows of the Academy building or within the parameter of the grounds itself.
It was a long shot … but, then again, the likelihood of success with any other given option would have been minimal at best.
Terra quickly made her way towards the entrance, the pace of her steps rising to a trotting speed. With time continuing to loom over her, she grew increasingly desperate. She was determined to find Celes, and she had faith that she would succeed.
The very moment she passed through the Entrance doors, she immediately began her search...
... Only to come back 10 minutes later in dismay.
“Well that went nowhere…” She sighed in frustration, her shoulders drooped and head hanging in depression.
She had circled the entire building and searched all throughout the Academy Grounds, yet she failed to locate any possible sign of her missing friend. She began to ponder the other possibilities of Celes’ whereabouts, hoping somewhat that she was able to at least narrow down the options. However, she couldn’t help but begin to panic, time becoming overwhelming and the lack of success taking its toll.
She could still be anywhere: on the Roof, in the Student Council Room, in Class 13F’s Room, or even…
With her arms crossed and brow furrowed, Terra knew she was at a loss.
“…Oh!? Hey, Terra!” A voice suddenly echoed in surprise, catching the unsuspecting Terra off-guard.
Having almost leapt out of her skin in fright, Terra switched towards the direction of the voice in a heartbeat. And in that very moment, her initial shock turned to wide-eyed realisation. In the distance, standing in front the stairwell that led up to the other 5 floors of the Academy, was the one other person Terra was adamant to locate.
“Prishe…?” She breathed out, a sudden spark of hope emerged within her chest.
Without hesitation, Terra ran over towards Prishe, completely disregarding any ‘no running’ rule that the Academy had implemented. And yet she didn’t care, she was still on the clock and luck was finally in her favour.
The moment she halted in front of the Elvaan girl, she immediately grabbed her hand with overwhelming gratefulness.
“Oh, thank goodness.” Terra sighed in relief, still short of breath after her sudden rush. “Prishe, do you know where Celes is right now? I’m in desperate need of finding her.”
“Y-yeah…” Celes stuttered with a hesitant grin, feeling caught out by Terra’s enthusiastic outburst. “I mean … she wanted to be left alone, but I guess there shouldn’t be any harm if you were there with her.”
Terra looked at her with a puzzled expression, “What do you mean by that?”
As Terra let go of Prishe’s hand, Prishe went on to admit anxiously, “After we left the Theatre Hall, Celes had … well, she wanted to go up to the Lab Room for a bit. I think she said she ‘wanted to check something’, but it was hard to tell because she was muttering.”
Terra nodded in understanding, her eyes lowered as she wondered what was in Celes’ head at the time.
“Right … Thank you ever so much Prishe, I’ll go check on her.” She then bowed politely in gratitude, before making her way towards the staircase.
“Ah! You want me to come with?” Prishe hastily offered, abruptly bounding with energy. “I bet I’ll be awesome with the investigation stuff!”
Halting in her tracks, Terra turned to Prishe with an awkward yet innocent smile, “O-oh. Not to worry, I should be fine on my own. I think you may be needed back at the court trial anyway.”
With that, Terra disappeared, making her way up the circling staircase to the 5th Floor of the Academy. Prishe stood in silence, frozen like a statue. With Terra now nowhere in sight, the Elvaan girl gradually – and regretfully – glanced over towards the doors of the Theatre Hall. Her eyes narrowed, her teeth clenched hard, and the expression of dread instantly consumed her: Prishe showed nothing but scorn for ‘that’ place.
“… I don’t want to go back to that hell-hole.” She groaned in a low murmur, her body shivering at the mere thought.
It wasn’t long before Terra had reached the 5th Floor corridor, having rushed up the staircase so fast that she almost practically flew up them. She zipped passed each and every door along the elongated corridor, her mind discarding any thought of distraction as only one door was set in her sights.  
And before she knew it, she was already standing before that very door.
“… Laboratory Room 1.” She breathlessly confirmed to herself, her fingers crossed in hope that her friend was on the other side.
Although hesitant at first, Terra grasped the door handle and pushed forward, her resolve absolute.
And there, standing by her lonesome at the far corner of the room, was Celes Chere. Her face was hidden as she had her back turned to Terra, motionless as a statue. On the lab desk beside her was the Academy blazer – one of the vital pieces of evidence for the court case – spread out in the open. And finally, the cupboard opposing Celes was fully opened, it emptiness now on full display.
It seemed that Celes’ sights were transfixed by something within the cupboard … but Terra had no idea what it could be.
“Celes…?” Terra called out cautiously from the opening of the Lab door, uncertain as to what reaction would be received.
Then, as if time itself had slowed to a crawl, Celes gradually turned to Terra.
Terra froze up at the sight of witnessing Celes’ face, a soundless gasp escaping her breath as she took in the devastating sight. Celes was in a horrendous state: her eyes were severely bloodshot; streams of tears had seeped down and stained her cheeks; her once long, well-kept fair-blonde hair a mess; and her overall attire had become crumpled.
As if automatically, Terra ran up and embraced her close friend, overcome with sorrow for seeing Celes in such emotional pain. At first, Celes didn’t react, acting as though her mental state had become completely blank. However, this was only for a short amount of time, as once her thoughts processed the sudden occurrence, she returned the embrace.
“Celes … I’m so, so sorry.” Terra sobbed apologetically, her body shaking as she held her dear friend.
“Why…?” Celes absently responded, her voice raspy and dry. “You’re not the one at fault, Terra. This was my doing, and so I’m the one who should live with the consequence of my mistake.”
As if feeling undeserved of such sympathy, Celes separated herself from Terra’s embrace. She stood back from her friend, her anxious eyes refusing to meet Terra’s own. On the other hand, Terra stared at Celes with a pained heart, wishing nothing more right now than to rectify her punishment.
“Celes, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about this! It’s not like you’re the actual culprit!” Terra then appealed in excuse, franticly hoping to break Celes out of her depressive state. “There is no doubt in my mind that your heart was in the right place. After this trial, we’ll convince Warrior of Light that were trying to help the case.”
“Stop trying to justify my actions, Terra.” Celes defensively spat back, her voice becoming more shaky and bitter overtime. “What I did was inexcusable. I tampered with the evidence, remember? That alone is a felony that anyone could simply brush away. And regarding Warrior of Light, I assure you that one of the first things he will do once this trial is over is revoke my membership in the Student Council.”
Terra stood in nervous silence, unable to respond back. She couldn’t find the words, any attempt to respond only ending in a wordless, stuttering breath. She felt helpless, hating herself for being unable to find enough resolve to convince Celes, ultimately believing that she was failing as a friend.
After a moment of being consumed in the dreading atmosphere, Celes decided to speak up again.
“Tsk…! Anyway, right now we have a more important issue to deal with.” She expressed, changing the subject entirely as if wanting to bury her unforgivable sin. “For starters … Onion Knight forgot the take the blazer with him to the court trial.”
“Heh-hee … Yeah, he’s not going to like that one bit.” Terra giggled awkwardly, imagining the tantrum Onion Knight would make the moment he realises that he made such a rookie mistake.
“But also…”
At that very moment, Terra noticed Celes’ eyes divert towards the open cupboard beside her, curious as to what was catching her attention. She then followed the direction of Celes’ sights, expecting to find something that would shock her to the core.
And yet, she couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary.
“Do you see it?” Celes asked her with a low murmur, her body tensing up at the sight.
“Wait, what am I supposed to be…?” Terra wondered with uncertainty, her words trailing of as she re-checked the contents of the ‘empty’ cupboard.
And then, without warning … her eyes widened.
“No way! That can’t be-!” She gasped with horror, switching back to Celes with abrupt realisation.
“No doubt about it.” Celes confirmed with a severe glare, knowing exactly what was going through Terra’s thought process.
The two of them returned their attention to the anomaly before them: Celes’ tattered expression morphing to a sense of disgust, whilst Terra just stared on as if struggling to come to terms with what was being shown right in front of her.
For at the very centre of the cupboards bottom surface – where the Academy blazer was previously situated in its mishandled state – was a long, singular strand of hair.
It was silver.
 
Back in the Courtroom…
 
“…” Warrior of Light groaned silently from his Stand, pinching his temple irritably. “Cecil – I mean, Witness … all we required was your name and status at the Academy. There was no need for you to state your opinion yet regarding whether the Defendant is guilty or not ... even if it’s indisputably correct.”
“Ah … right, sorry, my mistake.” Cecil Harvey apologised consciously, evidently feeling awkward being up on the stage. “I admit, I’m not exactly used to this ‘serious’ tension. I literally spent the entire day thinking of how I was going to introduce myself to the court, and ended up going overboard regardless.”
“Y-you ... you spent the ENTIRE day rehearsing your introduction!?” Warrior of Light then echoed in bafflement, unable to believe what he had just heard from his Witness. “Discarding the fact that you hadn’t paid any attention in class, please tell me you at least focused some of your thoughts on your testimony?”
There was a pause, Cecil taking time to ponder the question given to him. Based on delay of response alone, Warrior of Light completely expected for the worst.
“I ... may have forgot.” Cecil finally answered somewhat anxiously, as though bracing for what he was about to receive.
SLAM!
“THAT’S THE EXCUSE YOU’RE GOING WITH!?!?” Warrior of Light exploded in instant reaction, his hand slamming against the surface of his Stand so hard that no one would be surprised if it went right through. “Cecil, I specifically told you yesterday to focus on solidifying your testimony! How in the world could you forget to do something so crucial!?”
“Well, I wasn’t exactly planning on forgetting about it.” Cecil clarified defensively, his eyes diverting as he spoke. “I just got carried away, that’s all…”
The two continued on, both showing no signs of concluding the bickering anytime soon. During this time, Onion Knight leant against his Stand in boredom, his fingers tapping against the Stand’s surface as he awaited pressing on with the trail. The initial shock of Cecil’s reveal as the next witness had swiftly subsided, leaving him now wondering when this torture would end.
And it seemed like he wasn’t the only one who was thinking this, for the High-Judge Gabranth seemed uninterested. He was sat beck on his chair, his arms firmly folded and his irritated eyes only half-open. Even some of the students in the audience had lost their enthusiasm … to the point where a few had fallen asleep entirely.
Warrior of Light continued his babbling: “And furthermore…!”
“OH, ENOUGH OF THIS ALREADY!!!” Onion Knight roared out, his patience completely spent. “We have much more pressing matters to deal with right now, namely the COURT TRIAL!”
Both Warrior of Light and Cecil froze, just realising that they both got carried away in their bickering. They felt the countless pairs of eyes bearing down on them without remorse, the unforgiving aura engulfing them to the point of psychological suffocation.
*Ahem…!*
Warrior of Light was the first to attempt breaking out of this awkward tension, feeling as though he was backed into a corner. Clearing his throat, he held out his proud posture in an attempt to show his professionalism. Seeing this, Onion Knight couldn’t help but roll his eyes in irony.
“Well then, seeing as though we already know your stance on the case, I see no reason for delaying the testimony any longer.” Warrior of Light announced firmly, playing ignorance to the intimidating stares.
Gabranth nodded, “I agree. Now then Mr Harvey, please enlighten the court with you first statement … and NO DAWDLING!”
Cecil leapt in fright, “Y-Yes, Your Honour, sir!”
Onion Knight prepared himself, his eyes fixated on Cecil with both anticipation and caution. He was aware of the current position he was in: after how Celes’ time on the Witness Stand had concluded, he found himself on thin ice. Any mistakes made, any piece of information overlooked, or any chance to turn the tables back in his favour missed … would cost him Zidane’s innocence.
His gaze momentarily shifted over to Zidane’s position, wondering about the Defendant’s own reaction to the current situation.
What he found wasn’t a surprise to him whatsoever … and yet, it was disheartening to witness.
Zidane sat motionless on his seat, his eyes lifelessly staring at Cecil as he awaited the impending testimony. His shoulders had sunk at the realization set in: his fellow classmate had betrayed him. He was heartbroken, knowing that someone who he respected had turned against him.
Onion Knight felt sympathetic for Zidane’s turmoil, believing that the worst was still yet to come.
He then shifted back to Cecil’s direction, his thought process already beginning to set the questions necessary for this testimony.
Why was Cecil so persistent in naming Zidane as ‘guilty’? Onion Knight began to wonder, ‘Where was he when he witnessed the incident take place? What did he see…?
 
Witness Testimony 1: Cecil Harvey.
 
“I was on the Academy Grounds with my friends at the time of the incident, not long after we found out about Deputy-Headmaster Chaos predicament with one of the ... Fire Exit doors.” Cecil began in detail, although having to pause so that he could hold back the urge to chuckle.
It seemed that the mention of the ‘Fire Exit’ incident had caused many others to reactively snort and giggle, the moment the incident occurred still fresh in their minds. Even Onion Knight and Warrior of Light had to turn away momentarily in order to hold back their silent chuckles.
“Damn it all…” Deputy-Headmaster Chaos, who was sitting beside Headmistress Cosmos, groaned out in displeasure; his four bulked up arms crossed and the aura around him warping into a demonic form.
“Ah-haa-haa … there’s no need to fret, Chaos. I’m certain that ‘embarrassing’ memory will dissipate eventually.” Headmistress Cosmos patted him on the shoulder angelically, showing of her pure, innocent smile. “…Maybe in a few hundred years, though.”
She then turned away from him to hide her hysteric giggles.
Chaos’ fangs clenched in fury, “Oh, you heartless wench…”
Shifting perspectives, the High Judge Gabranth looked on in confusion, oblivious to the reason why there was an elongated pause.
However, Cecil pressed on.
“That was when I heard some faint noises from above, originating from the direction of the Academy building. I looked over out of curiosity, wondering what was occurring, only to immediately hear a scream and a smash of glass. I immediately noticed Zidane’s face from the 4th Floor’s smashed window, looking directly at another person with dark-green hair – that presumably being Rydia. At the time I didn’t know who it was, but I noticed Rydia slump to the floor and out of view from where I stood.”
 
Witness Testimony … Complete.
 
Onion Knight finished jotting down his notes seconds after hearing the testimony, silently placing down his pen and overlooking the notes in its entirety. He couldn’t deny that the testimony alone was adequate, openly commending him for committing to such detail considering his set-back.
However, what piqued Onion Knight’s curiosity was regarding the events outside the testimony itself … along with one major contradiction.
With that in mind, he was able to mentally plan his cross-examination without any struggle whatsoever, assuming it would run rather smoothly in execution. He may not have Terra by his side, but there was no doubt in his mind that he would be able to hold strong.
… or so he hoped.
“Defence, you may cross-examine the Witness.” Gabranth announced in his strong, echoing voice.
Onion Knight glanced over to Warrior of Light momentarily, cautiously wondering if he was about to conduct any of his heinous schemes. And yet, all he could see was Warrior of Light standing in silence, patiently waiting for the cross-examination to begin. He showed no signs of having any tricks of his sleeves or potential plans of sabotage, giving of the impression that he was an honest Prosecutor.
With his eyes narrowed, Onion Knight refused to believe this possibility.
“I’m ready, Your Honour.” He then responded in confidence, concentrating on the case at hand.
 
Cross-Examination 1: Cecil Harvey.
 
“Cecil, you had stated at the very beginning of your testimony that you were with your friends at the time of the incident.” Onion Knight commenced, ensuring that he would gather as much detail as possible before pursuing the inevitable contradiction. “I’m assuming these ‘friends’ would be Cloud and Tidus?”
Cecil confirmed with a nod, “That is correct. I was also with Terra not too long before that time, however she promptly rushed off to meet up with you after the Student Council meeting concluded.”
Finding this consistent to his own recollection of the events, Onion Knight pursued with his questioning, “If that’s the case, then I must ask: did either Cloud or Tidus witness the incident as well?”
“No.” Cecil shook his head in honesty, “They had already wondered off without me when I saw the incident unfold.”
Onion Knight then instantly switched towards the direction of the audience, his eyes locked on to the two individuals.
“I request both Tidus and Cloud to confirm Cecil’s statement to the court.” He promptly announced, refusing to hold back.
Although both were uncertain at first, Cloud Strife was the first to rise from his seat. All eyes shifted to his direction, causing him to feel rather conscious about his sudden inclusion to the trial.
“It’s true. We didn’t even realise Cecil had left us at the time until we got back inside the building.” He expressed, being as honest as he possibly could.
In that instant, Tidus launched up from his own seat in haste, rising up so fast that he almost threw the unexpecting Cloud off his feet.
“Yeah, man! We thought he was just being quiet, it was only when we turned around that we realised he had completely vanished!” He agreed in his over-the-top, vocal tone. “It freaked me out, dude!”
Finding their words sufficient – although, finding Tidus’ exaggerated outburst unnecessary – Onion Knight indicated for the two to retake their seats. Both returned to their seating positions, Tidus plonking himself down without a fuss whilst Cloud cautiously lowered himself in hope of not being taken out again.
With that, Onion Knight directed his attention back to Cecil, satisfied with the outcome.
“Well then-...”
“Objection!” Warrior of Light suddenly called out, “Onion Knight, where exactly are you going with this?”
“I’m simply clarifying some aspects that were missing from Cecil’s testimony.” Onion Knight responded with a careless shrug, a calm smirk breaking through his serious expression.
Warrior of Light murmured in disapproval, “Hmph…! More like wasting our time.”
“Objection!” Onion Knight then hastily attacked, “…Hypocrite.”
SLAM!
“HOW DARE YOU CALL MY SUCH A THING, YOU INSUFFERABLE HALFLING!” Warrior of Light spat out in insult, smashing his fists against the surface of his stand.
Onion Knight returned fire in infuriated reaction, “WHO ARE YOU CALLING A HALFLING!? YOU TWO-FACED, EGOTISTICAL, SON-OF-A-!”
BANG!!!
“ENOUGH!!!” Gabranth roared at the top of his lungs, his intimidating voice shaking the room to its core. “The next one to throw out inconsequential insults to the other will face the wrath of my holy gavel!”
“Urk…!” Onion Knight blurted in regret, remembering that he was already on his last chance.
“Tch!” Warrior of Light tutted, his anger fuming from his ears.
As the two reverted their heightened tension, Gabranth peered down at Onion Knight with his piercing gaze.
“You may continue your cross-examination, Defence.”
Onion Knight nodded back hesitantly, afraid to face the onslaught if he were to defy – or irritated – the High-Judge again.
“M-moving on then.” Onion Knight stuttered as he scanned over his notes, quickly reforming himself. “Out of curiosity, Cecil: how far away were you standing from the 4th floor window during the time of the incident?”
“Hmm…” Cecil pondered momentarily, “It’s hard to say. I certainly wasn’t directly underneath it, otherwise I would have been showered by the falling glass. On the other hand, I wasn’t too far away considering I was able to see Zidane’s face rather clearly at the time. So, I can’t say the exact measurements, but if I were to guess … I would have been just about central between the position of the window and the edge of the Academy Grounds.”
Onion Knight couldn’t help but find this statement rather feeble yet decided against pursuing it further, knowing it would get him nowhere. That being said, a small margin of the statement caught his attention, wondering if that was more of an assurance of safety or an additional – albeit minor – contradiction.
Falling glass…
Having jotted down the note, Onion Knight continued his interrogation, “On the later section of your testimony, you stated that you ‘immediately noticed Zidane’s face from the 4th Floor’s smashed window’. Are you 100% certain it was Zidane that you saw?”
“I’m positive.” Cecil answered concisely, no indication of hesitation or discrepancy in his tone.
Onion Knight decided to pursue further, “I see, so if you don’t mind me asking-?”
“Objection!” Warrior of Light called out in boredom, cutting him off before he could get to the meat of his question. “Onion Knight, there’s no point badgering the witness if your questions are getting you nowhere.”
“Objection Sustained.” Gabranth muttered with a sigh.
“Tsk…!” Onion Knight tutted in displeasure, holding back his increasing frustrations.
His follow-up question would have clarified Zidane’s expression when he initially ‘stumbled’ upon the incident, yet it seemed his opponent was onto his possible attempt to stall for time. He believed this was somewhat crucial in his goal to convince the court of Zidane’s innocence, even if it felt like he was grasping for straws.
However, thinking it through, Onion Knight was more than aware that his question would’ve highly likely led him nowhere once again, seeing as he Cecil could have been standing too far away for seeing Zidane’s facial features in absolute detail. It was a frustrating outcome, yet he had no choice but to drop the subject entirely.
At this point, Onion Knight had only one option left in his arsenal, having held it back long enough to build the tension.
His muscles tensions and his stance as firm as ever, Onion Knight focused his sights towards Cecil’s position. In contrast, Cecil glanced back at him with a confused expression, wondering why his fellow classmate was giving him the stink-eye. Warrior of Light watched cautiously from a distance, wondering what his opponent was up to.
“Defence, do you have any other questions for the witness?” Gabranth asked curiously, preparing his gavel.
“Only one, Your Honour.” Onion Knight answered as requested yet refuse to divert his gaze.
“Well, get on with it, then. It’ll be nightfall by the time this ends.” Warrior of Light commented irritably, seemingly having lost all sense of patience.
Is he still bitter about the fact that I interrupted his bickering earlier? Onion Knight began to wonder, the corner of his mouth twisting to an amused smirk. Haaa…!
“Cecil, overall I must applaud you for enlightening the court with an informative testimony.” He complimented earnestly, showing his gratitude. “However, I can’t help but notice that you’ve missed a key component to the incident, one that strikes me surprised that you completely neglected to inform the court … considering you had such a clear view of it at the time.”
“What … do you mean, Onion Knight?” Cecil questioned back, acting clueless.
There was a mixture of reactions from the court; some were echoing the similar expressions to Cecil, whilst others were beginning to realise what Onion Knight was referring to. Warrior of Light was one of the latter, his brow narrowing as he grew more cautious.
Onion Knight pressed forward, “Could you please remind the court of who you saw at the time of the incident.”
Cecil paused, showing awareness of the possibility that he was being led into a trap. Considering the track records from both Onion Knight and Warrior of Light when it came to them luring their witnesses into a corner, caution was an understandable stance to take at this point.
However, he had no other choice but to answer his request.
“At the time of the incident, I saw Zidane and Rydia (although only from behind) … that’s all.”
“OBJECTION!!!” Onion Knight bellowed out whilst holding out his index finger, almost cutting of Cecil due to his heightened anticipation.
Cecil gasped reactively, his feet shuffling back slightly as he took the full force of Onion Knight’s pursuit. Wide-eyed and immensely confused, he had no idea what he was up against. All he could do was brace for the incoming assault and hope for the best.
Warrior of Light veered forward, preparing himself to counter his opponent.
“Cecil, I have no idea if you’re bluffing to the court or simply playing ignorance, but I cannot let such a blatant contradiction go unnoticed!” Onion Knight expressed, exaggerating his words to prove his resolve in the pursuit. “You stated to the court that you saw only Cloud and Rydia at the time of the incident. However, the testimonies made by Bartz Klauser and Celes Chere led to the conclusion that there was a third entity during the time of the assault, who had ‘escaped’ through the smashed window. This was further proven with the evidence gathered from the smashed window on the 4th Floor: Math’s Room 3 and the additional evidence found on the 5th Floor: Laboratory Room 1. And so, from where you stood at the time, there was no way you COULDN’T see the third entity!”
Cecil stood speechless.
“OBJECTION!” Warrior of Light hastily countered, pointing directly at Onion Knight with fire in his eyes. “Are you missing a few screws in that head or yours, Onion Knight? If you remember from Celes’ time on the Witness Stand, it was proven that the evidence had been tampered by Celes herself, meaning anything in that room relating to the case was falsified and rendered her entire testimony moot!”
“OBJECTION!” Onion Knight struck back, refusing his opponent to taint his pursuit for the truth. “No need to worry, Warrior of Light, I remember you backstabbing your previous Witness very clearly. However, I will argue that the footage you handed to the court only showed Celes tampering with the strands of hair and the opened window in that room. She DID NOT touch the damaged Blazer in the corner cupboard, meaning her testimony holds relevance to the case!”
“Err…” Cecil murmured in uncertainty, wanting to speak up between to two.
He was ignored.
“Fine, so be it! Disregarding Celes’ inclusion, Bartz’s testimony on hinted to the possibility of a second culprit, and the evidence to support the claim isn’t strong enough to fully confirm this ‘culprit’s’ existence!” Warrior of Light struck back without a second thought, showing that he wasn’t going to let Onion Knight take his pedestal. “For all we know, Bartz was only protecting Zidane!”
“WHAT!? We can’t just throw away Bartz’s testimony so carelessly, it would completely bring us back to square one!” Onion Knight spat as he slammed his palm against the surface of his Stand. “Do you have no trust in your Witnesses at all!? Besides, the smashed window clearly proves of a third person, the shards of glass was directed inside the room whilst the tufts of fabric proved that someone had escaped out the window’s opening! And so, Bartz was clearly telling the truth!”
“About that, I-!” Cecil spoke up more clearly, hoping to catch their attention.
He was still ignored.
“Preposterous! You cannot just assume that there was a third identity all because of some whimsical speculation!” Warrior of Light accused, his tone becoming more hostile as he spoke. “Furthermore, there is a likelihood Zidane set it up in such a way so that we would question the other possibilities.”
“Who’s the one spouting ‘whimsical speculation’!? Stop dragging Zidane through the mud the mud with your ignorant accusations!” Onion Knight responded in defence, “How could you even assume Zidane was the one behind the assault if you didn’t see it-!”
BANG! BANG! BANG!
“Let the Witness speak!” The High Judge Gabranth bellowed out in command, regaining order.
Onion Knight and Warrior of Light halted their argument, both breathing heavily as they attempted to catch their breath. Both then turned towards the direction of Cecil, waiting in anticipation for what he had to say.
Cecil took a deep breath, restoring his composure, and answered with truth, “… I only ever saw Zidane and Rydia.”
Onion Knight’s eyed widened with horror, “…C-Come again?”
A darkening grin grew from Warrior of Light’s lips.
The crowd of students in the audience gasped and whispered to one another in shock.
“…There was never a ‘third’ person from where I stood.”
 
Cross-Examination … Complete!





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