While Edgeworth goes to sleep in his inn room satisfied, the pleasure proves to be fleeting; the next thing he's aware of is finding himself on the floor of a padded room with two doors with tiny windows directly opposite each other.

Edgeworth tries to move, but his eyes widen as he notices he's tied into a straitjacket. The continued presence of his cravat is the only dignity apparently afforded him.
Edgeworth looks uneasily to one of the doors as clanking and faint sounds of clockwork moving are heard past it...

A pair of judgmental, mechanical eyes peer through the window on that side. "And to think that you were doing so well, Mr. Edgeworth."

Edgeworth scrambles to reassemble his wits enough to glare back.
Inevitable: Letting yourself be convinced by coincidences? Considering learning how to use subjective, unverifiable methods? Are you even thinking about how you'll prove anything to the world at large anymore?
Edgeworth grits his teeth, but glares harder.
Inevitable: Or are you just hoping that with this so-called "magic", maybe you really can be a law unto yourself?
Edgeworth: OBJECTION! I'm fully aware now that no one human being can be perfect!
Edgeworth struggles.
Inevitable: And who do you propose would oppose you when as far as the law is concerned, you'd be using methods that don't even exist?
Edgeworth: I... th-that is... grr...
Althea: Are... you aware who or what you are talking to...?
Edgeworth blinks and looks around. "...Althea?"
Inevitable: Hmph. Hallucinating again? Will we have to give you another injection?
Althea: I'm not here. You can respond mentally. Discreet responses are probably warranted.
Edgeworth: ...Ah. No, I haven't any idea...
Edgeworth stares up at the mechanical face in the small window, disturbed.
Althea: For what it's worth, it's lying. Khorvarian law is well aware of the capabilities of both arcanists and deipotents.
Edgeworth: Can you be certain that it's Khorvarian law it refers to?
Inevitable: Can you even trust yourself not to be indulging in self-delusion for the sake of what you want to be the truth in the first place?
Edgeworth winces. "Gnngh!..."
Althea: ...to be honest, no. But I cannot imagine why any law of Daanvi would fly in the face of well-defined, known facts.
Edgeworth: You presume quite a lot.
Althea: I cannot fully identify your captor, but it appears to be an inevitable; a construct built to enforce universal laws.
Althea: Also, in the event context has not made it clear, this is also a dream.
Edgeworth: I had suspected as much.
Edgeworth looks over his shoulder at the opposite door, then back at the one with the lecturing inevitable. "If I might ask a question concerning my apparent punishment, why does this cell have two doors?"
Inevitable: Hmph, this again? This is the only door. Remember that this time.
Inevitable turns and leaves...
Edgeworth stares at the now-empty window on that side, troubled.
Althea: If it would not be too bold to contradict such a source as that with mere conjecture, I would think perhaps the other door bears some investigating?

As if on cue, moaning and scraping becomes apparent from beyond said other door.

Edgeworth squeezes his eyes shut for a moment, then rolls over and looks to that window...

A rotting, distorted face appears in that window. "You can't delude yourself forever, Mr. Edgeworth."

Edgeworth glares at this captor as well.
Undead: You know what happened can't be explained any other way. You've turned it over in your mind hoping to find any other logical explanation, but you can't, can you?
Undead: Even if they'd gone to the effort to prove the possibility the case relied on more thoroughly, would you even have accepted it?
Undead: Or are you just hoping that maybe, if you just think a little longer about it, you'll find an explanation that doesn't imply that she was just what she claimed to be?
Edgeworth begins to look nervous, but maintains his glare as best he can...
Undead: The law isn't any more perfect than you are — didn't you just realize that?
Undead: And for that matter, shouldn't you have realized it seventeen years ago?
Edgeworth's eyes widen.
Undead: Have you really changed so much, or are you still deluding yourself for the sake of what you want to be the truth?
Edgeworth grits his teeth and growls...
Edgeworth: Do you, too, insist that there's only one door out of this cell?
Undead: Of course this is the only door. Are we going to have to force-feed you potions again?
Undead turns to leave...
Edgeworth shifts positions and stares at the wall uneasily rather than at either door...
Althea: ...huh.
Edgeworth looks rather annoyed. And just what is so intriguing?
Althea: I'm not sure. Perhaps both sides of this little conflict are just as blind to the real truth...
Edgeworth: I don't suppose you'd care to enlighten me?
Althea: As soon as I figure it out, sure.
Althea: Meanwhile, I suppose you could try to see if you can find a third door?
Edgeworth looks confused. That would only serve to make this arrangement make even less sense.
Althea: Perhaps. But if they are both either lying to you about the circumstances before you, or incapable of perceiving them themselves, then I suspect an option should be present beyond merely picking a side.
Edgeworth: Even if such a door existed, how would I open it in such a state as this?
Edgeworth squirms in the confines of his straitjacket.
Althea: We can figure that out when we know what kind of door it is.
Edgeworth looks around, shifting positions as necessary, in order to visually scan the walls, floor, and even ceiling for any other way out of the padded room... but only grows frustrated.
Edgeworth: This is ridiculous.
Althea: Perhaps you shouldn't rely on looking.
Edgeworth: Given that I can't exactly feel around for anything with my hands restrained as they are, what exactly are you proposing?
Althea: You're not really restrained; like I said before, this is a dream. Use the resources of your mind.
Edgeworth: Um, right...

The cords tying his arms in place snap, though the rest of the "outfit" stays in place despite his best efforts.

Edgeworth: Blast!...
Althea: Don't push yourself too hard just yet; you may not be ready to unrestrain yourself fully. See what you can do with the mobility you have.
Edgeworth huffs. Very well.
Edgeworth begins half-crawling, half-dragging himself around the confines of the room, knocking at the padding on the floor and the lower parts of the walls for any changes in sound and examining the padding itself more closely for seams...
Edgeworth winces once he's done. Unfortunately, all I've been able to discern is that past the rather thick padding itself, the walls vaguely sound metallic.
Althea: Hmmm.
Edgeworth: The shape of the room is unexpected as well. The length from door to door seems to be its greatest dimension, followed by the height, and finally the width.
Althea: It seems little surprise such sides as these would be perceived as distant...
Edgeworth: Point taken, though I wouldn't expect any room in an actual asylum to have been shaped like this.
Althea: I'm beginning to think there is only one door...
Edgeworth crosses his arms on the floor, leaning on them. Explain.
Althea: I think in a way, despite both sides seeming wrong, that both are in some way trying to represent 'truth'...
Althea: For a long time I've been observing what seems to be a pattern of what should come together in synergy instead clashing, one form of truth trying to bury another...
Althea: I'm starting to wonder if both of those are the same door somehow, and it's you who are insisting on seeing them as separate.
Edgeworth recoils into a fully hand-supported position. "What?!"
Althea: The inevitable is reminding you of what you think you know and trying to keep you grounded. The undead tried to remind you of the truths you know that don't fit so easily, and what you suspect or outright fear that may imply. Both see following them as the only way out, because both see themselves as representing facing the truth.
Edgeworth appears nervous. On what basis could you possibly...?!
Althea: The reason you're here is because you're running away from both. You pitted them against each other so that you could remain locked between, neither unaware of nor admitting to the source of the conflict. By casting your own sanity into doubt, you can excuse not reconciling the 'impossibility' you've established. Am I wrong?

A shattering sound is audible in the distance.

Edgeworth: ...!
Althea: ...there that sound is again. Maybe that's normal for people from your plane...?
Edgeworth silently stares at the ground uneasily.
Althea: This is a prison of your own making; you can free yourself from it. You simply must first realize that there is only one way out. There isn't a choice to make; the choice, the sides, are themselves the illusion.
Edgeworth: But... that's not true.
Edgeworth flinches before correcting himself: ...Not entirely, at least.
Althea: Feel free to enlighten me, then.
Edgeworth turns his head to the side sharply with a glower.
Althea: It is true that they are not without their differences. The inevitable seeks to excise while the undead seeks to incorporate... But those aren't really separate paths to the truth... moreso different elements of the search.
Edgeworth appears unmoved by this assertion.
Althea: ...hmm... or would you have it that it was not "you" who set these sides against each other? You don't appear to be under the effects of a magical compulsion, as tempting an explanation as that might be, so I think this comes back to the matter of trauma...
Edgeworth: Must we?
Althea: ...no. Under the circumstances, if you would rather simply remain here, I'll cede the wisdom of patience.
Edgeworth: ...
Edgeworth glances aside. "Hmph." Precisely why should I care about the outcome of a dream to begin with?
Althea: Because it's representative of a real dilemma that's holding you back?
Edgeworth winces, then shudders, then finally sighs. ...Very well.
Althea: There is still a good deal I do not know, but I can see the larger patterns playing out. This element of your world you cannot acknowledge, this magic of the dead, represents a problem for something you want— nay, I would say something you feel you need to believe...
Althea: What is the lie— no, perhaps a better question, what is the contradiction at the center of all this? Somewhere, the pieces of the truth as you know it are arranged in a shape that they cannot fit...
Edgeworth glowers. Once more, you're being far too vague!
Althea: I might be able to help unravel it, but I'll need to know more about the source of the imagery about us, particularly I think the first nightmare...
Edgeworth: ...
Althea: If we might begin with that lich the quori was impersonating... she implied that you were privy to the circumstances of her 'death'. She also bore a grievous wound, but one I doubt you were the one to inflict; I suspect that is supposed to be the wound that 'killed' her...
Althea: Can you tell me what transpired to lead to her suffering that injury?
Edgeworth's eyes widen and his breathing grows shallower...
Althea: Well, we'll have to come back to that eventually... Perhaps you could give some idea of how she profaned your temple? Or would you prefer I guess?
Edgeworth glares forward. Why do you continue to insist on referring to it as such?!
Althea: Because I fear your hostility to the idea of making such a connection will not serve you well on this path. There are truths to be found in things that may not be literally true.
Edgeworth appears disturbed, remembering Althea's description of her abstract dream...
Edgeworth sighs with gritted teeth. I fear I have little choice but to concede that point.
Althea: If I were to speculate from the pieces I've picked up from speaking with you and observing these dreams, I would venture that this woman influenced a case in which you were involved, perhaps peddling knowledge gained from the dead? You accuse her of being a charlatan and selling lies to the court?
Althea: And this happened... seventeen years ago, was it?
Edgeworth: HOLD IT! How is it that you associate that date with this alleged event?! The captor who spoke of it only referred to the imperfection of law!
Althea: And it is my thinking that the law failed somehow at that time. And the way in which it came to fail is at issue here, is it not?
Edgeworth: You began this line of questioning claiming to be on the trail of trauma. However, you've yet to explain why such an event would affect me so deeply as to, in your own words, cause my strengths to be turned around against their own nature!
Althea: Yes. You've been rather reticent on that point yourself. Perhaps you can't yet tell me who he was or what his connection to you is, but I wonder if you might tell me... what was that shade apologizing to you for?
Edgeworth squeezes his eyes shut and shakes his head rapidly, looking too desperate in the process to seem to be answering Althea with the gesture.
Althea: Was he apologizing for answering that woman's summons? Or perhaps more specifically for what he told her — or said through her?
Althea: Was he apologizing for lying?
Edgeworth: N-no!

Another shattering is audible, this one higher up and somewhat closer.

Edgeworth holds his head in his hands, shuddering...
Althea: Whether in actuality or as part of a charlatan's act, a lie attributed to him became part of a case, did it not?
Edgeworth: It... y-yes.
Althea: The man who spoke to you... must have been someone who would easily be believed to have insight on the case. Perhaps he was witness to a crime?
Edgeworth: ...He was no mere witness.
Althea: No? Perhaps... the victim?
Edgeworth chokes back a sob. That was indeed the assertion.
Althea: Testimony from a victim is indeed one of the most valuable pieces in trying to pin down the identity of a suspect, and would be the most natural source for law enforcement to rely on... save for crimes which leave the victim... unavailable to grant such testimony. Shall I understand that he was murdered, and then called upon to incriminate the one who took his life?
Edgeworth pauses for a moment to restrain his emotions...
Edgeworth: Earth isn't like Eberron.
Althea: ...Indeed, such evidence would be inadmissible, if it was not recognized by the court as coming from the purported witness. Yet, if such a method is not even recognized, I would imagine there would be no specific prohibition upon the watch against using it however they might in focusing their investigation...?
Edgeworth gasps sharply. How did... no, I suppose the logic is rather obvious.
Edgeworth shakes his head. Yet in such circumstances, even if one presumed the existence of such a resource, how would one know a real one from a fraud?
Althea: Indeed, how would one know? I believe you yourself were accused of bearing witness to such a summoning by one of the shades summoned to... help a phoenix, was it?
Edgeworth: First, Phoenix Wright is a fellow human being. Second, there was frankly no proof that it was anything more than motivational showmanship!
Edgeworth is, however, pale...
Althea: Perhaps on its own... but I have a feeling you've witnessed this phenomenon more than once... However, if we might tie a few more things together... there was a living person performing this purported summoning. One of the people represented by those strangely-shaped stones, if I'm not mistaken?
Edgeworth: Grrrgh...
Edgeworth: Even if that were the case, repetition alone wouldn't prove that it wasn't a matter of sleight of hand!
Althea: Indeed not. It is not merely that it happened again that's significant. It's when, how, and why.
Edgeworth folds his arms on the floor and leans on his elbows.
Althea: Still, we may be getting ahead of ourselves a bit. That's part of the great contradiction, but the first part is the trauma. This incident in which a man is murdered, purportedly questioned over his murder, and apparently lies about it...
Althea: Were you prosecuting that case, seventeen years ago?
Edgeworth rubs his forehead. Do I honestly come across as so old?
Althea: I do not know your age, nor even whether the people of your world age as humans here do. Many races have wildly different life spans.
Edgeworth: I'm twenty-six.
Althea: I am going to guess from context then that nine is a younger age than your people would begin a profession?
Edgeworth rolls his eyes. Quite.
Althea: Which eliminates any professional connection to the case, and thus reinforces the likelihood of a deeply personal one.
Edgeworth grits his teeth and recoils into a hand-supported position upon realizing how he managed to get cornered there.
Althea: There really are two primary roles I think you might have in such a case that would lead to such a deep emotional connection.
Althea: Either as someone personally connected to the victim... or perhaps as a suspect...
Althea: Well, there is a third possibility, that of a witness, but the known details seem to cut against such an explanation...
Edgeworth's eyes dart between the two larger, doorless walls of the large, oddly-shaped room.
Althea: Let's assume for the sake of argument that the victim was questioned, somehow, for a lead in this case. From the context, I would further presume that this lead turned out to be false. That then raises some interesting possibilities about the victim's apparent post-mortem actions.
Edgeworth: What's "interesting" about such a possibility?!
Edgeworth pounds the floor with the palm of one of his hands, a rather ineffective gesture given the padding.
Althea: There are two ready explanations for such a situation. Either he didn't know who had killed him... or he deliberately directed the blame away from his killer.
Edgeworth squeezes his eyes shut and clenches his teeth, shuddering...
Althea: Moreover, in the former case, one might reasonably expect that he should simply testify to his ignorance. Unless he feared a likely consequence of his failing to cast such blame...

Claws can be heard scraping against both doors...

Althea: You... would have been a suspect, would you not?
Edgeworth: Wh-why do you believe that?

Metallic pounding, somewhat muffled by the padding, echoes from the distant ceiling.

Althea: You won't admit to his relation, but I believe I could discern similarity of features. You and he are kin, are you not?
Edgeworth: Even if that were the case, it doesn't necessarily follow that I was in any position to... to...!

The room jolts briefly under the seeming outside attacks, causing the already-troubled Edgeworth to collapse onto his face and whimper.

Althea: You would not necessarily need to be able to. The scenario I'm suggesting relies only on the credible belief from certain observers that blame could be cast your way in the absence of a more promising suspect.
Edgeworth lifts his head shakily, wide-eyed, even as the hissing of a gout of acid striking one of the walls is overheard.
Althea: If the watch was so hard up for clues that they'd rely on something the reality of which the world at large, to your description, denies... there might not be too much hope for a successful resolution to the case if the victim professes ignorance. Unless the circumstances he does know and the cause of his ignorance themselves point the investigation in someone's direction...
Edgeworth begins to shrink, and a rumbling sound begins to build...
Althea: Whether he might have incompletely witnessed circumstances that drew his own suspicions upon you, or merely saw how others could draw such a conclusion... the motive would seem relatively understandable. Particularly if he believed there were few possibilities as to the truth...
Edgeworth, now apparently prepubescent and in a dark grey suit with a red bow-tie instead of the straitjacket and cravat he was in before, blinks suddenly at that assertion and unsteadily rises to his feet. In a voice suitable for his new form, he stammers, "Wh...what?"

The rumbling fades, and there's a pause in the outside attacks...

Althea: He acted to protect his child.
Edgeworth: OBJECTION! I... I object to that action! Whatever the motive, it was still perjury — it would still make him a hypocrite!
Edgeworth tears up.

Another shattering is heard outside, this time not as high up and still closer than the last one. To judge by the inhuman screeches, the fragments of whatever shattered struck a lot of the assailants outside.

Edgeworth: I... I-I can't accept that as a possibility...
Althea: So he was also an officer of the court?
Edgeworth: ...He was one of the best defense attorneys in living memory.
Althea: I see.
Edgeworth: How could you possibly cast such aspersions on Father?!
Althea: I merely follow where the evidence provided by your own mind leads me.
Althea: There might be other explanations... but this is the one that haunts you, is it not?
Edgeworth: Hmph. I've been haunted by false scenarios conjured by my mind before. Why should I give this one any more weight?
Althea: ...Indeed. I would venture to guess one such scenario is the reason you believed you might have been quori food as a youth... And that it stems from this very incident.
Edgeworth glances at the tiny window of one of the doors. You needn't explain your logic concerning that.
Althea: Still, you are correct, this is a hypothetical scenario whose verifiability relies on establishing what your world's law did not recognize: that there is reality to this magic which summons the dead.
Edgeworth crosses his arms, looking every bit as haughty in the process as he does in his adult form.
Althea: I believe when we broached this subject the first time, you brought up the question of whether events indeed occurred in a particular order.
Edgeworth: Indeed.
Althea: I think we've established one thing quite clearly, given the nature of this incident seventeen years ago.
Edgeworth glances aside. That we have.
Althea: The woman who purported to summon your father was most certainly alive at that time.
Althea: Was she also the victim of a murder?
Edgeworth tries to contain his rebuilding nerves. ...The wound that you pointed out earlier was fatal, yes.
Althea: You were involved in this case, for reasons beyond her role in the incident, were you not?
Edgeworth's attempts at remaining calm are cracking quickly. Y-yes.
Althea: Were you prosecuting?
Edgeworth: Er... no, although I did aid the prosecution's investigation for part of the case.
Althea: Moonlighting as an inquisitive, then. I do recall you mentioning such.
Althea: Was the culprit found?
Edgeworth appears uneasy. Apparently, yes.
Althea: You believe the wrong suspect was convicted?
Edgeworth: The man who dealt the fatal blow could have been no other, given the evidence.
Althea: And yet, you have a problem with it. Perhaps his motive?
Edgeworth 'wraps' himself.
Althea: Were there other suspects?
Edgeworth: Yes. One of them proved to be an accomplice, in fact.
Althea: So this was a conspiracy to commit murder?
Edgeworth squeezes his eyes shut. Allegedly, though not of the victim herself.
Althea: They killed the wrong target?
Edgeworth: Supposedly, they acted to defend the intended target.
Althea: So, there was a somewhat complicated intrigue present... a conspiracy to commit murder and a conspiracy to thwart it...
Althea: Was the victim part of the murder plan?
Edgeworth quivers. Allegedly, no. Furthermore, she had motive to act in defense of the intended victim.
Althea: Those conspiring to thwart the murder took the life of their own? As a sacrifice?
Edgeworth recoils, though the effect is lessened slightly given his current size and lack of cravat. "Wh-what?! They're backward, not barbaric!"
Althea: ...This was a conspiracy of those who summon the dead?
Edgeworth glares forward, but is shaking as he does so. On what basis do you believe that?!
Althea: I don't believe that the way you spoke of this 'they' that you were referring only to those who are part of the case. You seemed to be referring to a larger group association, like some sort of foreign culture.
Althea: Or given your general attitudes, perhaps a religion?
Edgeworth's eyes pop wide. "Gnnngh!"
Althea: If the victim was not a sacrifice, that would seem to indicate the death as accidental. Yet the need for an accomplice would suggest premeditation. Or was the accomplice's involvement merely to cover up the crime?
Edgeworth sighs. She was indeed called upon to aid in a coverup, yes.
Althea: So what became of this conspiracy to commit murder? Was their intent sufficiently indiscriminate that the death of the victim was sufficient to satisfy their goals?
Edgeworth: No; there was but one victim in mind. Since you've already realized the religious aspect, I'll clarify that the matter involved a succession issue.
Althea: So both conspiracies were from members... I was about to ask.
Edgeworth: The difficulty lies in opportunity. No one with the motive to kill the intended heir, or indeed any ill motive towards her at all, was actually in the area or even capable of being so.
Althea: No one living, you mean...
Edgeworth: ...
Althea: I am at some disadvantage in not knowing precisely how summoning undead works in your world... but it might be reasonable to think that perhaps the one summoning an entity might not fully know that entity's motives?
Edgeworth: Hmph. Why do you presume that I would know any better about this alleged capability?
Althea: Because you are alleged to have witnessed it.
Edgeworth glances aside. That would hardly give me the level of insight you presume.
Edgeworth: Furthermore, a murder case with no obvious answer is hardly enough reason on its own to reconsider the boundaries of reality!
Althea: But there was an answer, was there not? You did say that there was sufficient evidence to prove the killer's identity.
Edgeworth: His identity, yes. A rational sequence of events, no.
Althea: Moreover, the term murder would seem to imply a greater level of culpability than a simple accident. What brought this beyond his merely being the cause of her accidental death?
Edgeworth: The murder weapon was taken from her person and thrust through her back.
Edgeworth appears uneasy about this detail as well...
Althea: Then there was an intent to kill...
Edgeworth grits his teeth. And yet, no rational motive for him to kill her!
Althea: But there was a motive to kill someone, yes?
Edgeworth: And yet, a matter of simple mistaken identity makes no sense either — one of those who stood to benefit from the conspiracy was verifiably imprisoned all the while, while the other was both unwitting and far shorter than the victim.
Edgeworth holds his head in one hand...
Althea: And if his intended target were already dead, could he have 'killed' her? Perhaps an injury like that might at least interfere...
Edgeworth: ...The allegation is that such an act would have been of use in the heat of a life-threatening situation, if not necessarily a permanent solution.
Edgeworth: But I ask again, what reason other than mere convenience would I have to consider such a fanciful tale?!
Althea: ...true, merely witnessing magic or psionics was not sufficient to sway you when we met, as I recall.
Althea: You apologized only once you yourself had made use of the fruits of magic.
Althea: The question is not whether you had reason to consider it; it's already well established that you have put substantial effort into trying to find any possible alternative to an explanation of which you are already aware.
Althea: Context would then suggest that the most ready cause for you having come to consider the implications of this magic of your world... is by making use of some aspect of it yourself.
Edgeworth's eyes widen.
Edgeworth: What — why would I even have made use of anything of the sort?!
Althea: Perhaps in the pursuit of evidence?
Edgeworth: Why do you propose that I would have entertained the notion that it would help to begin with?
Althea: Perhaps because the case itself involved magic?
Edgeworth glowers. I had no reason to believe that at the time.
Althea: So you discovered the role of magic in the development of this case after you used magic in starting to unravel it?
Edgeworth grits his teeth as he realizes just what he let slip there, then once again turns his head to the side while grabbing one elbow.
Edgeworth: ...It was not my discovery.

The room itself shatters, the fragments lodging themselves in the dozens of quori that were clustered around it. The room seems to have been hanging from the intersection of a pair of giant chains, only two of several crisscrossing ones that stretch through the void.

Edgeworth cries out as he tumbles downward amidst fragments of metal and monstrous bodies...
Althea: Do not forget this is a dream. It is your dream, and you have some amount of control over it. You also know what is true, even if it is difficult.

Some of the stronger, more grotesque quori seem to have survived, as they're flailing and attempting to steer towards the falling boy...

Edgeworth struggles to steady his breathing and thoughts alike at Althea's 'words'...
Edgeworth is enveloped in pale blue light for a second; when it fades, he's at his usual age and in his usual suit again, but sporting a pair of steel clockwork wings that he immediately uses to fly downward faster.
Edgeworth spreads the wings and swoops into a large vertical U-turn, thus dodging the falling debris and quori. He flaps upward for a second to retain momentum, but eventually slows to a hover.
Edgeworth puts a hand to his chest as he tries to catch his breath... Dreams such as these can't be good for my heart.
Althea: ...Perhaps they are at the least good for your mind...

The giant chains nearby blur, then retract into distant parts of the void with a deep rattling sound, leaving nothing but blackness apparent.


Edgeworth awakes with a start, though is used enough to this even now not to bolt upright. Given that his room is dark and so was that all-too-vivid dream when it ended, it takes him a moment to get his bearings.

Edgeworth rubs his eyes, stretches, then rolls onto his back and sits up.
Edgeworth: ...It's strange to contemplate that the very role of dreams in my life seems to have inverted itself.
Edgeworth: What was once a source of naught but lies and pain now serves to force me to grow closer to the truth. The very concept is mind-wrenching.
Edgeworth stares futily at his lap with unseen unease.
Edgeworth: I'm no stranger to how painful the truth can be, nor even to experiencing that pain personally...
Edgeworth: I... should therefore be able to overcome this.
Edgeworth: ...
Edgeworth: I do indeed know the truth — have known the truth. When I look back, some of my strongest moments since my arrival have been when I flirted with embracing that very truth.
Edgeworth: And yet instead, lies begat lies, and hypocrisy begat hypocrisy, until at last the truth inevitably backed me into a corner.
Edgeworth shudders... ...Why? He should have trusted justice to run its due course... Why?!
Edgeworth chokes and tears up...


Once dawn has passed by, Althea arrives at the inn where Edgeworth has been staying. Just outside Edgeworth's room, she encounters a halfling in the process of dusting an everburning torch set in a tasteful sconce, who glances over her shoulder at the relevant door with a concerned frown.

Althea knocks gently on the door.
Edgeworth opens it from within after a brief moment, then nods to Althea with a sober, grim expression before stepping aside.
Althea nods and steps inside.
Edgeworth closes the door and locks it before heading over to take a seat in one of the larger-scaled chairs.
Althea takes a seat as well, hesitating a moment before speaking.
Althea: This... has been a difficult few days for you. I have pressed as hard as I have on these issues because I perceived a conflict within you that seemed likely to be unhealthy. For what it's worth, I'm sorry for making your loss my business, as it were...
Edgeworth glances aside with a frown. "Were it merely a matter of loss, the conflict you took note of wouldn't have taken root."
Althea: If anything, it's something of a deferred loss... you lost him a long time ago... but you've only just recently truly lost the image you had of him...
Edgeworth: Point taken. ...It's particularly difficult given that what he taught me as a boy prevented me from falling too far.
Althea: ...Perhaps I am fortunate to have become disillusioned at a much younger age. I don't really know.
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "Make no mistake — I'm certainly not about to abandon my ideals merely because someone else failed to live up to them."
Althea: I would be astonished if this trial were enough to shake the foundations of your faith.
Edgeworth smirks.
Althea: In my case, at least, it happened soon enough for me to pursue a different path than I might have otherwise, and I suspect I'm better off for it... even if it is trading one type of pain for another...
Edgeworth: The course of my own life was altered by that... incident as well. Though the path I walked to get there was questionable, I do believe that in the end, prosecution suits me better than the dream of defense I once harbored.
Althea nods.
Althea: The greatest benefit to doing work here, to my mind, is that there is no danger any of it will become someone's secret; this society is too well dedicated to learning and sharing knowledge. Even if my House derives the most benefit, others may do so as well...
Althea: I... touched upon it earlier, but my House is the primary source of healing most anyone who is not well-placed in a religion, an adventurer teamed with a divine caster, or a divine caster themselves, can realistically obtain.
Edgeworth taps his finger on his arm as he waits to see just where this is going.
Althea: The Healer's Guild practices the time-honored form of discrimination by wealth. Got money, we're here to help. If not, enjoy the ravages of nature and disease.
Althea: Healing without exacting full price is a very serious offense.
Edgeworth: I see... Such matters vary by country where I'm from.
Althea: ...my family traveled during the Last War, providing aid to the wounded.
Althea: I saw my share of suffering... and I saw comfort bestowed on some, and denied others...
Althea: ...I have found it easier to give up the chance to provide such aid directly, rather than have to apply such a standard myself...
Althea: Research suits me much better, I think...
Edgeworth looks firm. This is, perhaps, another vocation in which self-benefit undermines the very purpose.
Edgeworth: If you don't mind my asking, why are you telling me this?
Althea: ...it seemed like you should know. And I've had perhaps too much advantage on you in the matter of such knowledge of late.
Edgeworth looks slightly confused at first, but nods once Althea clarifies. "I see."
Althea: ...Perhaps it is a meaningless gesture; I at least had the choice to share.
Althea sighs.
Edgeworth: For my own part, I believe I owe you some clarification of what you've deduced.
Althea nods...
Edgeworth looks aside sadly. "Without getting into detail, Father was killed after falling unconscious i-in the midst of a struggle. The situation made it appear as though there were but two viable suspects."
Edgeworth: Clues were scant; in retrospect, there was but one clue pointing toward the possibility that anyone else could have been involved, and that went overlooked.
Althea nods slowly. "And you were one of the two suspects?"
Edgeworth's head turns further aside as he takes hold of one elbow. "Y-yes."
Edgeworth: Justice proceeded far more slowly in that time, to little real benefit — none whatsoever, in that particular case.
Edgeworth: After an investigation far too long for the size of the... c-crime scene, that was when the alleged...
Edgeworth sighs. "I'm sorry. That was when the spirit medium was secretly called in."
Edgeworth: And that, apparently, was when Father betrayed his own values.
Althea ponders this term for a bit. "So these people... serve as vessels for those they summon?"
Edgeworth nods. "Yes; in fact, they even take on their appearance. Furthermore, that's critical to how the incident on the mountain a month and a half ago played out."
Althea: Fascinating. Please, continue.
Edgeworth: I'd rather not dwell on that part of my past for longer than is necessary, but suffice it to say that ultimately, justice was not served, and the truth wasn't even suspected.
Althea nods. "I am gathering that the truth did eventually come to light."
Edgeworth: Indeed, though not until fifteen years later, on the eve of the statute of limitations running out.
Edgeworth squeezes his arm.
Althea nods. "Is this when the spirit medium was killed?"
Edgeworth: No. That wasn't until two years later — a mere month and a half ago.
Edgeworth hmphs and half-smirks bitterly, looking partway back to Althea. "You characterized the matter as involving two conspiracies, but the effort to defend that medium's heir — the heir to the head of the entire tradition — lacked any sort of organization."
Edgeworth: In brief, it involved a few people independently playing hero and a rather confusing juggling of a... h-hostile g-ghost... in attempts to prevent her from killing the heir.
Althea: Hmmm... then I take it the ghost had no means of controlling whether and by whom it was summoned?
Edgeworth: Nor, apparently, did she have any idea whose... body she was inhabiting at any given time.
Althea: Ah. That could pose some... oh. Oh, I see. Fascinating.
Althea: I'm guessing this was at some point crucial in establishing a safe haven for the intended victim?
Edgeworth: ...Indeed.
Edgeworth falls into an uneasy silence.
Edgeworth: ...The heir "disappeared" for a time from a location with no escape route due to that.
Althea nods.
Althea: ...though that does raise the question of why the ghost was not conspicuous in its presence, if this disappearance was any sort of mystery...
Edgeworth: Because she was the twin sister of someone yet living and present in the area.
Althea: Hmmm.
Edgeworth begins to look rather frustrated.
Althea: If I'm disrupting your explanation too much I can hold questions for later.
Edgeworth shakes his head. "It's the matter of looking at the situation through such a lens itself that I find trying."
Edgeworth: To say nothing of both the memories of failures on my part and the realization of those that could have been.
Edgeworth stares into the distance with a grim expression.
Edgeworth: In the end, three things were horribly amiss that defy any other explanation.
Edgeworth: The first, as we... discussed previously, were the circumstances of the elder medium's death. The second, the observation of what seemed to be the still-living twin in two places at once. Finally, the disappearance of the heir when she should have been trapped, and the circumstances of her subsequent reappearance.
Althea nods.
Edgeworth: I might have remained confident that it was simply a matter in which the truth would take years to emerge, if not for the fact that before these events were explained in any way, a... trinket had been foisted upon me.
Althea: ...was it, by any chance, an unusually-shaped stone?
Edgeworth: Indeed, though the scribbling you drew through them wasn't present.
Althea: Hmm...
Edgeworth: The explanation I was offered was so ridiculous that I could barely stand to listen, and yet, the presence of secrets in those who refused to share them when asked did indeed register to my eyes alone while it remained on my person.
Edgeworth glances aside. "It was an aggravating phenomenon to interact with, to be entirely honest, yet I can no more easily deny its utility than I can explain it through mundane means."
Edgeworth raises a hand slightly and looks down at it wonderingly. "And now, there's the promise of more, this time under my own control. I'm not even certain whether I'm pursuing an ethical path or merely succumbing to temptation."
Althea: I would think that that is a matter of how you practice your craft, not what tools you have at your disposal.
Edgeworth hmphs. "Tests that cannot be readily be repeated by others for the same results are of little use."
Althea: You're hardly the only divine caster around here.
Althea: Moreover, finding the truth and proving it are often significantly different matters.
Edgeworth rubs his forehead. "I'm all too aware of that."
Althea: For that matter, many divination abilities are well within the reach of arcanists, not to mention psions or bards.
Edgeworth: If verification is as easy to come by as you imply, then perhaps I have little to fear after all.
Althea: So if this all came out that much more recently, then what is it that brought the other part of the truth to light two years ago?
Edgeworth looks away again. "...I'd rather not discuss that as yet. It has no bearing on the particular conflict you hoped to resolve in any case."
Althea frowns. "I see..."
Althea: You mentioned this item revealed people's secrets to you. How so?
Edgeworth: It induced visions of locks, the number of which was proportionate to the subject's recalcitrance on the matter.
Althea: So you could get a read on just how much someone was hiding while interrogating them?
Edgeworth: Or rather, just how fervently it was being hidden. As aspects of the facts being hidden or their reasons for doing so were proven, the locks would shatter one by one.
Althea: As did your 'cell' just now.
Edgeworth hrmphs. "It should come as no surprise that a dream might draw on familiar imagery."
Althea: Except that I have the feeling some of the imagery was more familiar to me than to you...
Edgeworth: Indeed, no such creatures as these "inevitables" you mentioned exist even in the popular fiction of my world.
Edgeworth frowns. "It's rather peculiar."
Althea: There would seem to be sufficient evidence that those who dream in your world project to somewhere other than Dal Quor, if indeed the mechanics of dreaming are similar for your world in the first place.
Althea: Perhaps some of the substance of your dreams is being filled in based on the subconscious awareness of others in Dal Quor...
Edgeworth peers at Althea, but doesn't directly question it.
Edgeworth: As I mentioned before, dreaming is not thought to entail any sort of "projection" at all where I'm from.
Althea: Yet you are similar enough to us to dream as we do when you're here.
Althea shrugs. "I don't know that we can draw any conclusions."
Edgeworth shrugs as well. "Perhaps not."
Althea: There are certainly spells that can assist in interrogations, though perhaps not in ways quite so precisely tailored to an inquisitive's needs.
Edgeworth: I believe you alluded to as much before.
Edgeworth: Given the impression I felt when she made that assertion, how could I forget?
Edgeworth: That sort of thing is hardly commonplace where I'm from, in any case. The supernatural is neither everyday nor integrated into society as it is here.
Althea: But it was something someone felt you needed. Either as a tool... or as an experience...
Edgeworth: ...
Edgeworth glances aside. "If one assumes that he was in his right mind when he offered it to me in the first place. His grip on consciousness at the time was unsteady."
Edgeworth: That being said... had he not done so, then perhaps it is my trust in him that would have faltered as the case progressed.
Edgeworth appears troubled by that thought.
Althea: Anyway, I'm guessing that what motive could be established for the killing... probably involved the victim summoning the intended killer?
Edgeworth closes his eyes, resigned. "That... seems to have been the case."
Althea: And the intended killer... was the woman who spoke of the futility of trying to punish the dead?
Edgeworth opens his eyes again at that, pleasantly surprised. "Impressive."
Althea shrugs. "It seemed likely. She had to be significant to all this, and her reacting specifically to your attempting to run her through with a sword seemed... relevant."
Edgeworth peers. "'Had to be'?"
Althea: She was part of the victim's entourage in the nightmare. I suspect all of those there had some kind of connection to at least one of these incidents.
Edgeworth shakes his head. "Not all of them, no."
Althea: Her comment was also fairly striking.
Althea: I gather somewhere along the line, there was some desire to punish her for her misdeeds even after her death... You did say she was the twin of the murderer's accomplice...
Edgeworth: ...By that time, I was a mere bystander, frozen in the gallery.
Edgeworth takes hold of his elbow once more, looking away.
Althea: I'm guessing part of what made so much of what came about difficult to deny... is that this dead woman was at some point standing in court in place of the original suspect?
Edgeworth: Indeed.
Althea: And the medium she inhabited was the intended victim.
Edgeworth: A fact you deduced from my allusion to the circumstances of her reappearance being unusual.
Althea nods.
Edgeworth squeezes his elbow.
Althea: And what of the patsy who was intended to facilitate the murder?
Edgeworth: Ultimately, she came to no physical or legal harm. Beyond that, I know little of her fate.
Althea nods. "I can't say I fully understand the matter, but it seems like I've got the gist of the salient details."
Edgeworth: I will say this much: Neither the heir nor the intended patsy bear ill will towards me. The former in particular even gave me aid that was entirely undeserved once.
Althea nods. "Are they the two stones from the pool?"
Edgeworth: ...
Edgeworth: ...I... suspect as much, yes.
Althea: Then yes, I would suspect they might well be allies for you, given the right circumstances.
Edgeworth: Though I still fail to understand how that... dream of yours was possible in the first place.
Althea: ...I'm not sure how well I can satisfy such a query; the nature of visions, or even psionics generally, is not all that well understood here.
Althea: As noted, psionics is something of a cultural import from Sarlona, and most folks who understand it well enough to teach it are typically few steps removed from a kalashtar.
Edgeworth sighs in frustration. "Although I imagine your own understanding is still better than the Fey clan's understanding of their own capabilities. They're more superstitious than studious by far."
Althea: I can say that psionics generally are powers of the mind, though there may be as many approaches to effectively utilizing them as there are for arcane magic...
Althea: While magic and psionics have some distinct differences, there are a number of similarities with magic.
Edgeworth grits his teeth and forces himself to look Althea's way, though at the top of her head rather than in the eye.
Althea: The most common type of psionics user is known generally as a psion, but there are various different focuses one may take in pursuing that path.
Althea: Psions like myself who have focused on clairsentience are called seers.
Edgeworth: ...Understood.
Althea: We learn powers in a permanent fashion that is somewhat similar to the way sorcerers learn arcane magic.
Althea: I in particular have such powers as the ones you're aware of that allow me to speak and understand languages, send short telepathic messages to nearby people, alter light levels... Another one which hasn't come up yet but might well eventually allows me to perceive significant events that have occurred in a particular location...
Edgeworth: Huh... If there turned out to be the least bit of truth to that last claim, that would be remarkable...
Althea: As for visions... that is not so much a power per se as a consequence of well-developed clairsentience... Not everyone who experiences them experiences them in the same way or with the same frequency.
Edgeworth: Hrm...
Althea: I will say that the frequency of my own visions is unusual even for a seer of my skill.
Althea: Such things vary from person to person for reasons we do not fully understand.
Edgeworth frowns at that.
Althea: Sometimes those with magical rather than psionic affinities experience visions as well. One religion's central figure is sought out based on visions they receive.
Edgeworth grows pale.
Althea nods slowly at Edgeworth's reaction. "It is a possibility. It isn't likely, but it's definitely too soon to rule out."
Edgeworth rubs his forehead. "I would be far more comfortable with easily verifiable methods under my own control."
Althea: Dealing with visions is never an exact science. Understanding oneself and others and thinking in abstract terms are the best ways to aid interpretation. Ultimately, they are something that can clue you in to the nature of a situation; much of the work is in figuring out where to go next, and establishing the full truth of what you've observed.
Althea: It would be best to see them as a way of getting your attention, lest you miss something at a critical moment.
Edgeworth: The predicament I've found myself in is already inexact enough to prove uncomfortable at times. To be forced to deal with something of that nature directly as well might prove too much to bear.
Edgeworth huffs in frustration.
Althea: Visions are a possibility among divine magic users, but I stress that they are not at all common.
Althea: Unless and until you actually experience one, I don't think you should worry about it.
Edgeworth stands. "Then I believe it's time to continue making the best of the situation already at hand."
Althea nods and stands.