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Chapter 23 - Arc 3 (3): On the Verge of Defeat

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 23 - Arc 3 (3): On the Verge of Defeat

Chapter 23 - Arc 3 (3): On the Verge of Defeat
He never saw ... the ‘second culprit'? Onion Knight thoughts echoed as he froze up, his eyes turning wide with horror. But, he was in clear view of the window ... How did he not see it!?
Through this new dilemma, the audience of the court erupted in chatter and discussion, shocked by the sudden turn of events. The Theatre Room became consumed in confusion and doubt, many wondering if the testimonies and revelations of the trial still held validity. Questions were being thrown carelessly, some even demanding an explanation.
Onion Knight felt as though he was being crushed by an immense weight, fully aware that many were turning against him by the second. He had to sway the court back to his side as soon as possible, fearing that the entire trial was about to spiral out of control.
However, his options were severely limited.
Reflecting on the evidence presented to the court so far – along with the few he had yet to reveal – he could only highlight four that could possibly reignite his influence on the trial.
The first piece of evidence worth noting was Rydia’s lost – now found – Hair Ornament, the strongest Onion Knight had that could potentially shut down the surrounding doubt. In fact, he couldn’t help but beat himself up for not including it in his earlier debate. However, there is a considerable downside revolving around Celes’ current reputation, especially with regards to the eligibility of her two testimonies.
Was her statement on the ‘shadow-like figure’ trustworthy?
Whilst he thoroughly believed in Celes’ first testimony, her second ‘botched’ testimony caused the entire court to determine her involvement as a reliable Witness moot – and so, lost any convincing argument to rectify this troublesome contradiction. In addition, Warrior of Light would easily cast the option out, dismissing it with the likely excuse of:
“Seeing as Celes’ statements are untrustworthy, it is hypothetically plausible that Zidane could have hidden the Hair Ornament in a different location and later on moved it into his locker between the time of Friday’s trial and when possibly Celes – and certainly myself – stumbled upon it.”
He hated the idea that Celes’ major mistake caused both of her witness testimonies irrelevant, yet he knew this direction would get him nowhere.
The second piece of evidence was the Damaged Blazer found in Laboratory Room 1 on the 5th Floor, a piece of evidence just as vital as the Hair Ornament. Although, just like the Hair Ornament, various setbacks terminated its potential: The Blazer could have been placed in that dusty cupboard at any point during the previous week. Onion Knight could easily see this being used against him, downplaying it as a mere case of coincidence.
Moving on, the third notable evidence … was the pouch of ‘long-brown hair’ hidden in the depths of his pocket. His hand sub-consciously patted the pocket, his temptation to showcase the pouch to the court rising. And yet, even at this point in the trial, he still couldn’t bring himself to reveal it. Both his head and his heart were telling him – no, demanding him – not the give in and reveal the hairs to the court.
Soon … but not now. He silently yet irritably assured himself, his jaw automatically tensing up at the thought.
Only one other piece of evidence was left … one that only he knew existed.
As Onion Knight continued to ponder in silence, Warrior of Light gazed from his Stand with the most satisfied grin he could ever conjure. Watching his opponent crumble from his pedestal from the weight of all who began to doubt him. It was only a matter of time before the gavel falls and end this already overly-prolonged trial.
However, there was an odd sense of uncertainty wavering in the depths of his mind, as though something just wasn’t sitting right with him. His eyes shifted over towards the Witness Stand, a wary gaze cast upon the awkwardly fidgeting Cecil Harvey. With narrowed eyes, Warrior of Light began to wonder about Cecil’s account of the incident.
Did he only see Rydia and Zidane during the time of the incident?
As much as this new development in the trial satisfied him immensely, a small part of him grew cautious. He couldn’t figure out the exact means of the feeling, yet there was a sense of dissatisfaction upon how Cecil revealed this new information.
For now, he held his silence, waiting to see how Onion Knight will refute Cecil’s claim – and if he had the evidence to justify his stance.
“Do you have any viable evidence to prove there was a ‘second suspect’ at the time of the incident, Defence?” The High Judge questioned with severity, placing pressure on the already anxious Onion Knight.
Drawing a deep breath, Onion Knight quickly responded, “Yes, Your Honour. If I may, I would like to present a new piece of evidence to the court.”
High Judge Gabranth straightened up with intrigue, wondering what the Defence had in store. Cecil looked on with surprise, curious as to how Onion Knight could prove fault in an event he clearly remembers. Based upon the overseeing crowd’s intense gazes, it seemed Onion Knight’s own reputation was riding on what he was about to reveal.
“Hold it!” Warrior of Light interrupted, taking up the usual stubborn tone. “How could you possible disprove Cecil’s claim? He was clearly telling the truth, so why not just accept that you were wrong and move on.”
Onion Knight sternly shook his head, “How could I when there is still evidence that certifies the existence of a third entity?”
He then held out his hand, pinching what seemed to be a small, bright-red object between his thumb and index finger. Everyone in view leaned forward with squinting eyes, trying to figure out what in the world he was holding up – Warrior of Light, Cecil, and Gabranth included.
“Defence, could you please enlighten the court on what you are holding right now?” Gabranth requested in strain, almost losing his entire balance from peering out to far.
“Certainly, your Honour.” Onion Knight nodded in confidence, holding a straight face from seeing everyone around him making complete fools of themselves. “You see, at the end of our initial investigation after the incident occurred, I had stumbled across this small, red trinket on the floor. Whilst Firion did an immaculate job with his detective work, this was one that was unfortunately overlooked at the time.”
Warrior of Light immediately pursued, “If that’s the case, when why was this not brought up during the early stages of Friday's Trial?”
As if automatically, Onion Knight slyly smirked, knowing exactly what his opponent was trying to do. Warrior of Light was using the same pursuit he himself used during Celes Chere’s first testimony, presumably in order to call out the hypocrisy of Onion Knight's statement.
Onion Knight couldn’t help but find Warrior of Light’s attack oddly endearing … if it wasn’t for the fact that the attempt was unbelievably petty.
“I believe the answer’s quite simple, Warrior of Light.” He answered with a careless shrug, acting as though he had overturned the possession of control. “Just as how Celes decided to keep her silence regarding Rydia’s Hair Ornament until her time as a Witness, or even just as how you decided to hold back the footage of Celes until the perfect moment: I decided it was necessary to hold back this particular piece of evidence until the right time.”
Warrior of Light let out a low, inaudible grumble, finding his opponent’s comeback beyond bothersome. He had no choice but to hold his tongue, believing it best to save his rebuttals until a more appropriate time. Even so, he continued to stand firm, showing that he was far from giving in.
“So be it.” High-Judge Gabranth accepted with a nod, although his increasingly grimacing expression showed that he still needed answers. “However, I must ask … what exactly is that ‘trinket’?”
Having heard the question, the court’s audience continued to listen in curiosity, many of whom were unable to see the ‘trinket’ in question due to its miniscule size.
Onion Knight switched to Gabranth, giving off an earnest smile as proof of the honesty he was about to portray in his next words.
“I haven’t the slightest idea, Your Honour…”
Bang!
The whole court audience dropped to the ground in sync, overcome with disappointment of being let down from Onion Knight’s build up. Gabranth almost fell off his chair, letting out a disgruntled mumble as his struggled to comprehend the dismal answer. Even Zidane seemed perplexed by the uncharacteristic answer, sitting by the side-lines with a clueless expression.
However, the most overreaction came from – expectedly – Warrior of Light, who had slammed both fists and forehead due to being overwhelmed with boiling infuriation.
“All that allusion, all that build up … and you deceive us with an insignificant BLUFF!?” He bellowed out in absolute disgust, feeling as though he had just been insulted.
Onion Knight held his grin, thoroughly enjoying his rival’s over-the-top outburst – although he’d rather not have Warrior of Light find that out. Placing that aside, there was another reason he showed such a peculiar expression, continuing to hold out the red jewel in confidence.
“No need to fret, Warrior of Light.” He coolly assured, “I may not know the origin of this red jewel, but I do know what it’s origin couldn’t be.”
“‘Couldn’t be…?’” Warrior of Light muttered in clueless echo, becoming more confused by the second. “What exactly are you...?”
His voice trailed off, acting as though the cogs in his mind began to turn. Before he realised, the answer became as clear as day.
“-The Hair Ornament!”
“Ding-ding-ding! We have a winner, folks!” Onion Knight announced in an exaggerated showman-like voice.
Warrior of Light stood completely stunned, unsure whether to feel perplexed or bitter of his opponent’s sudden reignited stride. However, he held strong caution, believing this will only be short-lived.
Onion Knight switched to Gabranth with haste, reverting to his usual tone, “Your Honour, I request that we inspect Rydia’s Hair Ornament and cross-reference with the red jewel.”
The word ‘cross-reference’ caught the attention of the onlooking audience, many drawing an anticipated gaze as others began to theorize whether the jewel was connected to the Hair Ornament or not – and if not … what the jewel could possibly be connected to.
Anticipation arose, and so did the vast array of questions.
Gabranth gave a nod as he crossed his arms, deciding the take the Defence up on his request. Warrior of Light, although showing no effort in hiding his resentment, took out the Hair Ornament from underneath his stand. Neither he or Onion Knight knew what would come of this ‘cross-reference’, both wary of the possibility that this could possibly lead to a dead end.
“Now, without further ado … where’s my bailiff?” Gabranth then wondered, realising that Prishe had not returned since she escorted Celes out of the Theatre Hall.
Onion Knight held up his hand, as if waiting for permission to speak. With Prishe still absent, he came to a sudden realisation that Terra also had yet to return, causing him to feel concerned of her and especially Celes’ wellbeing.
“Your Honour, should one of us go out and find her?” He suggested, hoping he would get the chance to locate Terra and Celes in the process.
However, Gabranth shook his head in firm decline.
“That won’t be necessary, Knight of the Onion.” He declared somewhat pridefully, nonchalantly rising from his seat.
I wish he would stop calling me that… Onion Knight thought as he gave out a low groan.
There was a slight pause as Gabranth began to clear his throat with a casual cough. Onion Knight and Warrior of Light glanced to one another, giving off confused shrugs as they both wondered what the High Judge was about to do.  
What came of it … was an earthquake.
“PRISHE!!!!” He bellowed out at the top of his lungs, his volcanic voice erupting throughout the Theatre Hall … along with the rest of the entire Academy. “RETURN TO THE COURT THIS INSTANT OR FACE THE WRATH OF MY ALMIGHTY GAVEL!”
BANG!
Immediately, as if by command, the Theatre Hall’s entrance doors swung open with haste.
“WAIT, YOUR HONOUR!” Prishe screamed out as she burst into the room with an exaggerated panic. “I’M HERE NOW! SO PLEASE HAVE MERCY-!”
And then, due to her uncontrolled forward momentum, she tripped…
“-Oh, crap!”
…and fell down the steps.
BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG … CRASH!!!
Everyone watched her as she tumbled and rolled down the flight of steps, wincing and cringing as the agonizing descent continued all the way to the end. Even the High Judge Gabranth and Professor Shantotto reacted to the continuous fall, twitching as they witnessed each and every impact with the steps.
Finally, Prishe landed face-first against the firm flooring of the Theatre Hall, he body sprawled out like a discarded lifeless doll as she came to a halt.
A pained murmur then escaped her breath.
“…That hurt.”
Onion Knight couldn't help but sympathise with her pain, only able to imagine what torment she had just endured. Warrior of Light felt his teeth grind, struggling to hold back his cringing expression after witnessing such a fall. Cecil couldn’t take his eyes of her, finding such an over-the-top descent both horrifying and mesmerising at the same time. Furthermore, members of the audience began to react in a similar fashion, whispering to one another as they wondered if Prishe was going to be alright.
And then there was Gabranth, who couldn't care less.
“Bailiff, would you care to enlighten the court on how long you were standing behind the door for?” He questioned her in a severe tone, evidently more concerned about her delayed reappearance than her current wellbeing.
Prishe gave out a sudden gasp.
“I promise you, Your Honour, I had only just arrived when you called!” She hastily justified herself in a panic, recovering to her hands and knees
She’s lying. Warrior of Light muttered in his thoughts, gazing at her with a bored-like expression.
She’s definitely lying. Onion Knight echoed in agreement with his opponent – although unaware that the two had matching thoughts.
Grabranth’s glare intensified as he became more sceptical of Prishe’s poor excuse, his piercing eyes seeing through her bluff all too easily. Prishe, her eyes watering due to the immeasurable pain from the fall, froze on the spot. Her hairs standing on end and shivers crawling up her spine, she could feel the surrounding cynicism weighing down on her conscience.
With that, she immediate leapt back on her feet.
“A-anyway … Reporting for duty, Your Honour!” She announced with a hasty salute, desperate to shift conversation. “What is it that you would like me to do?”
Suspicious... Both Warrior of Light and Onion Knight thought in sync.
Letting out a low sigh, Gabranth instructed her on the task at hand, “Pass over the Hair Ornament and the red jewel.”
Prishe began to ever to Warrior of Light's direction as command, “Of course! I’ll fetch them for – wait ... is that all? I mean, you could have asked them to-!”
“Do as I command, Bailiff.” The High Judge interrupted before she could finish, shutting her down without remorse.
“Urk-! F-fine, gotcha chief!” She stuttered in a quick response, sweat running down her brow as the sense of fear engulfed her.
Without another word, she snatched both the Hair Ornament and the red jewel from Warrior of Light and Onion Knight’s hands respectively. Before anyone had time to blink, she was already standing before the High Judge with the requested items in hand. The swift movements caught Onion Knight and Warrior of Light completely off-guard, the two glancing at one another in abrupt shock.
Gabranth took the items from Prishe’s possession, his eyes scanning over them as though ensuring they were legitimate. Prishe began to fidget on the spot, anxiously waiting for the next order.
“You can stand down now, Bailiff.” Gabranth then nodded to her, his attention mainly focused on the evidence before him.
In that instant, Prishe gave out a long, exhausted sigh of relief. She stepped aside as requested, taking her position beside the Judge’s Podium as the court’s bailiff once again. Hands behind her back and a smile across her face, she couldn’t help but feel as though she dodged a bullet.
“Stand up straight and look professional.” Gabranth abruptly muttered, noticing her beginning to slouch.
“Ah … sorry!” She squeaked as she froze, her posture as straight and presentable as a statue.
Satisfied, the High Judge turned to Onion Knight with an expecting glare, causing the young acting-attorney to freeze up on the spot.
“Now then Defence, enlighten me with your thoughts.” He sternly requested, his haste to proceed the trial more apparent than ever before.
“Yes, Your Honour!”
As requested, Onion Knight swiftly stepped down from his box and shifted to the centre of the stage. Warrior of Light cautiously watched him as he approached, his consciousness set to use whatever methods necessary to keep his opponent from bouncing back. Cecil also kept a cautious eye on the Defence, anxiously wondering what was about to follow.
Clearing his throat, Onion Knight began his analysis, “Your Honour, upon initial overview of the Hair Ornament, you would notice it harbours a red jewel very similar to the one I presented to the court – although significantly larger in size if we were to compare the two.”
Gabranth did just as Onion Knight had suggested to him, his eyes set on the ornament – specifically the jewel embedded in its centre – and compared it to the one handed to him separately.
“I can certainly see that.” He nodded sternly, barely showing any reaction whatsoever. “What’s your point?”
“Well, here’s where I see the problem: Why does the smaller jewel exist?” Onion Knight pursued to question, casting an eye to the entire crowd in the process. “The usual excuses would be: ‘Oh, the smaller jewel simply fell off during the confrontation between Rydia and the culprit!’ or, ‘Maybe it dropped off when Rydia was knocked unconscious!’ Well, too that, I must firstly point out … the blacksmith was certainly sloppy on quality-assurance.”
Members of the crowd let out quiet chuckles and giggles in reaction, amused by the unexpected comment by the Defence.
“Furthermore, I would also question the location of the smaller jewel’s socket.” Onion Knight continued with his serious tone, holding back the sense of heightened ego upon hearing the audience’s reaction to the joke. “Your Honour, would you be so kind in finding it for me?”
Gabranth momentarily shot a piercing glare at him, becoming increasingly suspect of his true intentions. He then shifted focus back on the Ornament, holding it up close to his eyes. He analysed every section of the Hair Ornament: left, right, up, down, inside and out. Every second passed, and he grew more infuriated as luck seemed to escape him.
Watching the High Judge, Onion Knight held his patience. A cunning grin began to emerge, believing he had bet on the right horse for taking this approach. He was confident – some would even say he was adamant – that this will turn the court case back in his favour. It was only a matter of time.
In the distance, Warrior of Light noticed his opponent’s grin form. It was at this moment where he too began to show a smirk, waiting for his opportunity to rain on Onion Knight’s parade.
“Nothing.” Gabranth finally grumbled in defeat, “There wasn’t a socket in sight.”
This conclusion resulted in many eyes widening in honest surprise, some believing there would be a ‘designated’ socket for the miniscule jewel to slot back into place.
“Thank you, Your Honour.” Onion Knight nodded appreciatively, clapping his hands together as he continued to inform the court. “So, we return to the original question: why does this jewel even exist? How did it become a vital piece of evidence to the case? I believe there’s a simple answer … the jewel came from the culprit’s possession, not the victim.”
“Objection.” Warrior of Light casually butted in, letting out a bored sigh. “I’m baffled that you’re actually convincing anyone with that pathetic attempt of a bluff. You’re supposed to be proving the existence of a ‘second’ culprit, and yet here you are stalling for time AGAIN!”
“Well, maybe if you hadn’t of INTERRUPTED, I would have gotten to that point!” Onion Knight responded irritably, showing no hesitation of returning fire to his opponent. “Believe me when I say that this has everything to do with the second culprit.”
Warrior of Light shrugged the response off like it was nothing to him, deciding to add fuel to the fire. “Then could you at least speed up the process? Our witness is beginning to feel left out.”
At that moment, Onion Knight awkwardly switched over to the Witness Stand, noticing Cecil Harvey was idly fidgeting.
Realising he was included again, he waved off the Prosecution’s indication, “Ah-ha-haa … don’t mind me, I can wait.”
“I don’t see why you shouldn’t be included, Cecil.” Onion Knight coolly suggested, hoping nobody caught on to the fact that he completely forgot about the Witness. “What’s your take on the jewel?”
Cecil initially hesitated, not knowing how to answer the question. However, after a sly eye shift to the left, his expression lightened up with realisation.
“What if … it actually came from the Hair Ornament’s jewel?”
The grin strapped across Onion Knight’s face suddenly twitched, “That’s a g-good idea, but the jewel on the Ornament shows no sign of dam-.”
“-He’s right.” Gabranth interrupted with a low tone.
Onion Knight abruptly span around to face the High Judge, the smile now completely wiped from his face and all the colour in his cheeks turned instantly pale. Gabranth was holding up the Hair Ornament to the nearest light, standing up from his seat to gain a better view. Although challenging to see from where he stood, Onion Knight caught an eye of the jewel reflecting the light’s rays.
And there, he saw it … the dent the exact same size as the red jewel he found during the investigation.
“No … no, that’s not-!” Onion Knight stuttered in denial, his feet shuffling backwards.
“…Possible?” A mocking voice murmured, finishing his sentence ominously.
Onion Knight gradually turned, his mouth unable to close as he faced Warrior of Light directly.
“What were you expecting, Onion Knight?” He patronizingly questioned, beaming with a grin as large and haughty as could be. “Was your plan to bluff your entire way through the case, just expecting the court to believe you? Were you thinking, ‘Oh, this jewel isn’t part of the Hair Ornament … I KNEW IT! THERE’S A SECOND SUSPECT!’ or something along those lines? Did you really, REALLY think it was that simple!?”
Onion Knight stood speechless, unable to respond.
Placing both palms on the table, Warrior of Light glared directly into his opponent’s eyes, “Face it, Onion Knight, you were reaching too far … only for it to blow up in your face.”
Ba-doom … Ba-doom…
Anger and fury began to brew deep within Onion Knight, wanting desperately to lash out at Warrior of Light. He felt ridiculed, he felt isolated, and he felt as though his own mind betrayed him. If given the opportunity, there was no doubt that his temper would take control of him.

However, he had no choice but to concede, his mind highlighting the ramifications that would follow if he were to release the built-up fury inside him.
Turing his back on Warrior of Light, Onion Knight silently returned to his Defence Stand, his eyes lowered to the floor as he dragged his feet across the stage. Everyone around him watched warily, not knowing how he was going to react.
Although currently feeling on top of the world, Warrior of Light was particularly cautious. He knew he was purposely kicking the hornet’s nest, he just didn’t know what would happen in return. Thankfully, it seemed to him that Onion Knight was keeping his temper under control for the time being.
“Well then, I guess that ends that discussion.” Gabranth concluded to break the tension, deciding it best to move on. “For now, we’ll update the evidence records.”
I messed up. Onion Knight cursed in his mind, his fists clenched and body trembling at the thought. I don’t understand, I thought I was on the right track!
He watched helplessly as the High Judge placed down the two items, desperately wishing he could object.
This isn’t right…! There’s something missing!
He was standing on the front edge of his box, his mind running rampant as he tried his best to figure out the missing piece to the puzzle.
“Defence, this is your last chance.” Gabranth’s voice echoed out severely, noticing Onion Knight was facing a dilemma. “Is there anything else you wish to ask the Witness before we move on.”
Admittedly, Onion Knight was desperate for more time. He couldn’t think of anything regarding the Hair Ornament that was contradicting or missing, yet he knew it was there. Not only that, a section of Cecil’s previous testimony wasn’t sitting well with him. More than anything, he needed clarity, otherwise all his efforts would have gone to waste.
With that, he hastily attempted to buy time.
“Yes, Your Honour, I would like Cecil Harvey to detail the events that occurred between Rydia and Zidane from his perspective.” He adamantly announced, his eyes lit with a determined flame. “I want to ensure that we have every detail.”
Gabranth glare narrowed at the Defence, gaining a sense that the boy was merely wasting time. He then switched focus to the Witness, wondering what his response would be.
“Err … I mean, I guess...” Cecil shrugged anxiously, crossing his arms as he thought about the scenario. “I’ll be honest, it was difficult to see what was happening from where I was standing at the time.”
 
Witness Testimony 2: Cecil Harvey.
 
Cecil nervously cleared his throat, “At first, I only saw Rydia and Zidane-!”
“OBJECTION!!!” A loud, booming voice suddenly interrupted.
 
Witness Testimony … UNSUCCESSFUL!
 
“Your Honour, it has become clear to me that the Defence is wasting the court’s time!” Warrior of Light stated adamantly, standing by the validity of his interruption. “There’s no point in continuing this any further!”
“Wha-!?” Onion Knight blurted out in shock, feeling as though he was thrown into a corner. “I wasn’t-!”
“I agree with you, Warrior of Light.” The High Judge nodded sternly, his expression showing hints of disappointment for the Defence. “Mr Harvey, thank you for your time.”
“Oh … sure, no problem.” Cecil responded in surprise, issuing a courteous bow. “I’m sorry I couldn’t have been of more help to you all.”
“Wait, Your Honour! You have to reconsider-!” Onion Knight pleaded, almost shouting to hold the court’s attention to the matter.
However, he was completely ignored.
“Not to worry, Mr Harvey. Your testimony was very much appreciated.” Gabranth stated as he returned the courtesy, allowing him to leave the Witness Stand.
“PLEASE! LISTEN TO ME!” Onion Knight yelled out helplessly, demanding their attention.
However, he fell on deaf ears.
BANG!
As Gabranth banged his gavel, Cecil Harvey stepped away from the stand and sat back on his seat within the depths of the crowd. Silence hung in the air, Onion Knight leaning forward on his Stand in despair as his entire world began to crumble. In the corner, Zidane had watched the entire catastrophe unfold with soulless eyes, as though contemplating if it was worth fighting for his freedom any longer.
The Defence’s influence on the court was dissipating at a horrifying rate.
In fact, it was almost no existent.
Onion Knight was at a loss, his mind still rushing to find answers and contradictions only to end up with nothing. His hands clawed against his scalp, he was praying for a miracle.
Letting out a deep sigh, Gabranth stood up from his seat, “Before we move on to our Final Witness, I believe a moment’s recess is required.”
Warrior of Light playfully shrugged in response, “So be it, Your Honour. Although, let’s be honest here, the Guilty verdict is all but confirmed by now.”
His heart racing and beads of sweat breaking through his skin, Onion Knight was stuck in complete limbo. He couldn’t speak a word, no matter how desperate he was to speak out against the decision.
“We will return after a 20-minute recess.” The High Judge ultimately concluded, preparing his gavel. “Court is Adjourned.”
BANG!
 
Outside the Theatre Hall, 4:20pm…
 
BOOM!
His breaths racing rapidly, his cheeks completely flustered, and face pouring with stress: Onion Knight was on the edge of a breakdown. He had burst through the Theatre Hall doors without consideration for their wellbeing, his mind set only on rectifying his calamity at this current time.
He had 20 minutes to find new, conclusive evidence, otherwise Zidane faces the Guilty Verdict.
Without thinking, he leapt into action and charged towards the staircase in the distance, ignoring whatever or whoever passed him along the way.
“What the-!? Wait, Onion Knight!”
He was even oblivious to Terra, who was making her way back to the Theatre Hall. Due to the speed of his sprint, she hadn’t even realised it was him until she took a double-take. By that time, he had already disappeared up the staircase in a flash.
“Where is he going?” She vacantly questioned, oblivious to everything that occurred since she left the courtroom.
Not long after, Warrior of Light emerged from the Theatre Hall’s doors, along with the crowd of students who were thankful to finally be stretching their legs. He was curious to see where Onion Knight was disappearing off to in such a hurry, although ultimately couldn’t care any less for his rival.
He was close to handing Zidane the guilty verdict … and that satisfied him greatly.
Warrior of Light’s eyes then shifted, catching a glance of someone who had passed him from the corner of his eye. It was Cecil, obliviously chatting away with Firion, Cloud and Tidus regarding his recent involvement with the trial.
Watching as Cecil disappeared into the crowds of students, hints of uncertainty began to show on Warrior of Light’s expression.
For some unknown reason, he was feeling oddly troubled.
 
4th Floor, Math’s Room 3…
 
BANG!!!
Onion Knight stumbled through the door with full force, almost tripping over at the sheer velocity of his momentum.
*Wheeze … wheeze…*” He gasped exhaustedly, struggling for air after climbing the staircase at such speeds. “Note to self … during next Council Meeting … request elevator installation.”
Straightening up, he took no time in examining the room that had been engraved into his psyche at this point, switching on the lights in the process.
The room of the incident hadn’t changed whatsoever since the initial investigation a few days ago. In fact, it was as though the room was left untouched. This was unsurprising seeing as Headmistress Cosmos issued a temporary ban to not enter the room until further notice, however he would have expected the room to at least be cleaned up over the weekend.
Casting the insignificant thought aside, he continued to search every nook and cranny of the room, his eyes darting back and forth as he focused on finding any anomalies that was previously overlooked. He even checked the areas that were already investigated, including the broken window and the cracked, blood-stained section of the nearby wall.
Finally, after a thorough analysis, he came to a swift conclusion … nothing new was found.
CRASH!!!
“Dammit, dammit, DAMMIT ALL!!!” Onion Knight roared out in unrelenting rage, kicking over a nearby innocent desk as his fury was impossible to contain any longer.
He immediately placed the desk back where it was supposed to be, hiding any possibility that he had allowed his anger to take over. He then stood silently at the centre of the dormant classroom, thinking of other possibilities that were overlooked.
Whist he still had the strands of brown hair, it wasn’t enough to use as a viable means of proving Zidane’s innocence. There was also the Lion’s Head keychain he found during his search in the 5th Floor Lab Room, however he needed more to convince to court of Squall’s involvement. Finally, there was the Damaged Blazer, but even then, he only had Celes’ photos as a means of … evidence.
“…I forgot to bring the blazer to court.” He murmured blankly as his eyes widened enormously.  
The realisation struck him like a loaded truck.
“I’M SUCH AN IDIOT!!!” He bellowed out as he threw his hands over his head.
Onion Knight then proceeded to sprint passed the door and back out into the corridor towards the staircase.
…He forgot to turn the lights back off.
 
5th Floor, Laboratory Room 1…
 
BANG!!!
“Come on, this time!” Onion Knight yelled as he burst through the doors of the Lab, his body on the verge of collapse.
Just like Math’s Room 3, the Lab Room had barely been tampered with since he had last investigated it.
However, on second glance, there was one notable change … there was no damaged blazer in sight.
Alarm bells range in Onion Knight’s head, his mouth murmuring ‘no’ underneath his hasty breath. From what he could recall, he had previously left the blazer on the Lab desk nearby the corner cupboard where he initially found it. However, upon his return, it was gone.
Onion Knight cursed at himself, disgusted by his own carelessness. He searched everywhere, from underneath each of the desks in the room – including the teachers – to every cupboard he came across. He found chewed up gum and rappers underneath every desk, stacks of used school books in most cupboards, and science equipment such as Bunsen-burners and Microscopes stashed in every other notable place.
However, there still no Damaged Blazer.
Onion Knight turned to the final place he had yet to investigate, his heart racing faster than ever before. His desperation was crushing him psychologically, knowing that this was he last chance to save Zidane.
Struggling to keep his focus in check, he stepped up to the corner cupboard – the same cupboard that initially contained the blazer in its crumpled state. He grasped hold of the handle, taking a few seconds to breathe, and opened the door.
Nothing.
There was nothing.
No evidence. No blazer.
Nothing.
“…No…” Onion Knight muttered.
He shut the door and opened it again – believing he was witnessing an illusion.
“N-No!” He blurted out.
He shut the door … and opened it one last time.
“No-no-no-NO!!!” He shouted in denial.
He dropped to his hands and knees … and roared out in despair.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…!!!!”
That was it. He failed.
In his mind, the moment he leaves the Lab Room … he would lose the court case.

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