After a rather brief discussion of the current state of research and various sentiments of concern and support offered, Althea arranges to take care of some needed research of the Archive's documents. Mostly to calm Illyvalen's worries, Tikra accompanies her as far as the Archive's storefront, the two parting ways at the entrance.

As Althea opens the door, however, she overhears Nopplebin sounding terribly concerned: "What can I do? Would any of the scrolls help you? Should I get the others?"

Althea looks over the room critically as she steps inside.
Edgeworth and Nopplebin are near the door into the back room; the former is fatigued-looking, yet rubs his forehead in irritation. "I said that I'll be all right! Did I misspeak?"
Edgeworth grits his teeth and hisses, rubbing the back of his neck.
Nopplebin: You look like you're in pain to me...
Althea: Is something the matter?
Edgeworth starts at that voice, turning to face Althea with a look that's at once disturbed, critical, and conflicted.
Nopplebin: He doesn't seem well. I'm just trying to help, but...
Althea hesitates in the doorway as Edgeworth's gaze falls upon her.
Nopplebin looks between Althea and Edgeworth with confusion. "...Um, did something... happen?"
Edgeworth: It's a private matter.
Althea: ...
Edgeworth yawns...
Althea: ...I... came here to do some research today.
Althea sounds nervous and a bit disturbed.
Edgeworth crosses his arms, thinks for a moment, then huffs in frustration and reverts to English. "For my own part, I don't intend to allow nightmares to interfere with my own studies."
Althea: too, huh...?
Nopplebin simply blinks owlishly.
Edgeworth looks away uneasily. "...Indeed, along with proof of one of your assertions concerning them."
Edgeworth shudders, then rubs his lower back.
Althea: ...perhaps we should head downstairs, then...
Edgeworth: ...Very well.
Althea steps fully inside the storefront and closes the door.

It takes a small amount of effort for Edgeworth to keep his balance between his fatigue and the minor pain down his entire spine, but he and Althea do make their way down into the first basement. When they arrive, they find an unusually serious-looking Dil...

Dil: don't jump up to help yourselves.

Some of those present nod to Dil, others look at him with various expressions, and still others seem to be paying more attention to the arrival of the prosecutor and the scholar.

Dil turns to Althea and Edgeworth. "I'll meet you in the break room." Without explaining further, he heads for the stairs down...
Edgeworth stares after Dil's retreating form. His demeanor has shifted dramatically...
Althea nods and heads in the direction of the break room.
Edgeworth follows Althea, as bewildered as he is groggy.

On the second floor, the two of them pass a gnome on the way out of the break room, as well as a human who looks mildly irritated for some reason. When Edgeworth and Althea themselves enter, they find it empty and the kettle already running.

Edgeworth seats himself, though this causes him to wince.
Althea grabs one of the tins with a weaker variety of tea and brings it with her to the table.
Edgeworth meanwhile investigates the three tins already set out on the table.
Edgeworth: They all smell rather strong... Did Dil choose these for my own sake?
Edgeworth sets two of the tins aside and spoons some tea from the third into one of the teacups on the table.
Althea spoons some of her selected tea into another teacup.
Edgeworth looks to Althea awkwardly, then to the kettle.
Edgeworth: ...It... entailed watching helplessly as I fell to corruption. Once... "I" had finished verbally crushing the, er, suspect...
Edgeworth shudders. "I experienced what I can only assume was the final blow."
Althea nods slowly...
Edgeworth: At which point I passed out from the shock, only to awake ill-rested and in sufficient pain to stave off further rest.
Edgeworth rubs his eyes with one hand.
Althea: I was fortunate enough to frighten off the quori attempting to feed on me. But not before a very disturbing series of events had played out...
Edgeworth: More fortunate than you realize; I never saw the face of my own assailant. Indeed, I had no awareness of anything but the scene I was forced to witness, until...
Edgeworth clenches his teeth and squeezes his eyes shut.
Edgeworth looks aside awkwardly. "For what it's worth, the accusations I saw 'myself' level had no connection whatsoever with any observations I've made in the waking world, save one."
Althea: The suspect was someone with whom you are acquainted?
Edgeworth looks back to Althea with an uneasy frown. "Indeed."

The kettle whistles.

Edgeworth stands, retrieves it, then pours boiling water into his own teacup.
Edgeworth sets the kettle aside in Althea's reach before gingerly reseating himself.
Althea stares at the kettle for the moment, not responding any further yet.
Edgeworth watches his tea begin to steep in awkward silence for a moment, then observes, "Dil's behavior this morning seems unusual for him."
Althea: He... has reason to take quori attacks seriously...
Edgeworth nods. "Understood."
Althea sighs after about a minute of further staring at the kettle. "...what little you've described... is disturbingly... familiar."
Edgeworth's eyes widen slightly in unpleasant surprise. "Do you mean to imply that once more, our dreams were one and the same?"
Althea closes her eyes. "...the crime was a theft involving Siberys dragonshards...?"
Edgeworth's expression hardens. "Indeed."
Althea shudders, and there is unmistakable dread in her eyes as she looks back toward Edgeworth. " witnessed... my nightmare, yes..."
Edgeworth can't help but glare back at that expression. Apparently, there is something of the truth in what played out...
Althea winces and averts her gaze.
Edgeworth: Have you, in fact, committed any crime?
Althea: ...there have been times and situations in my life where I have put my own sense of morality and fair play above the letter of the law. I am not one who takes great risks to undermine those things I don't believe in, but neither am I content to simply play by the rules and maintain the status quo...
Althea: The theft for which I was accused was a fabrication... but it was a fabrication carefully chosen for its ability to... drag certain secrets out of me...
Edgeworth's eyes flicker with an odd struggle between calculating evaluation of Althea's words, confident certainty, and troubled confusion.
Althea shivers a bit while under Edgeworth's scrutiny, and after a moment reaches for the kettle and pours water into her cup, but returns to making eye contact after setting the kettle down.
Edgeworth: ...!
Edgeworth quickly shifts his gaze to his teacup, swirling the tea lightly.
Edgeworth shakes his head. My mind must be playing tricks on me in my fatigued state.
Edgeworth takes a sip of tea, pinky extended and eyes closed.
Edgeworth sets the teacup down, shakes his head again more firmly, and then finally lapses into thought.
Althea waits suitably long for her tea to steep, then takes a sip herself.
Edgeworth speaks slowly yet firmly. "...The path you walk reminds me of that followed by a certain group whose identities came to light shortly before my arrival here. It isn't one I would wish to walk myself, nor do I believe it the best one, but neither can I regard it with complete disdain."
Edgeworth: I wonder what's become of Kay in my absence. I can only hope that the allure of their methods won't continue to outweigh the ideals that must be kept firmly in mind.
Althea sets down her cup. "I hope you understand that you are now privy to things that, save whatever risk might exist that others were drawn into witnessing that nightmare, are in their entire collection known to no others here..."
Althea: ...details that, depending on how they are used, could do me great injury...
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "I'm fully aware of the truth's value as a weapon."
Althea shudders slightly at the phrasing and delivery, and nods. "Weapon would be an appropriate term..."
Edgeworth pauses at that reaction. "...As things stand, I have no reason to turn a weapon against you."
Althea nods slowly and takes another sip.
Edgeworth uncrosses his arms and sips more tea himself.

After a long moment of silence, there's a knock at the door.

Edgeworth looks to the door, then to Althea, teacup in hand...
Althea: Enter.
Dil opens the door and steps in, looking slightly more casual than before. In his hand is the Archive's enchanted helmet, and sticking out of a pocket is a runed stick. He sets each of these on the table in turn.
Edgeworth puts down his tea in order to put the helmet on, then extends a hand for Dil to touch in the process of casting his own spell of comprehension.
Dil: Now for the bright side of what's happened here — your being hurt should help motivate you to succeed at this.
Edgeworth looks down and over at the other object Dil set on the table. "Am I to understand that this is a... real wand, then?"
Dil grins, though the usual touch of mischief in it is missing in favor of a touch of melancholy. "Right. The spell is called Cure Light Wounds, and you should know the motions for it already. Get it right, and it should remove most, maybe even all of the pain."
Dil: But to do that, you'll need to get past the hard part.
Edgeworth reaches for the wand with a quizzical expression, then he finally pulls a memory out of his drowsy haze and nods.
Edgeworth: Now that you mention it, I do recall you saying that touching on the technical aspects alone entailed a simplification.
Dil: Right — that doesn't even get into the metaphysical side of it.
Edgeworth can't hold back a quirk of irritation in his lips.
Althea: Walking this path requires developing an appreciation of such things...
Edgeworth sighs as he pulls out from the table, then carefully stands. "It's merely an appreciation that will be difficult to cultivate."
Althea: Indeed, but I suspect you will be pleased with the rewards in time.
Dil: Anyway, from the outside using a wand looks the same no matter who's using one, but inwardly one of the big differences between arcane and divine casters is happening.
Edgeworth peers at Dil, but only raises the wand into position as he listens.
Dil: It's all about how different kinds of magical potential are tapped. Arcanists draw primarily on understanding the workings of the spell to various degrees, whether through study or intuitively.
Dil: While for us, the emphasis is on meaning — strongly so for clerics.
Althea continues to sip her tea, leaving the explanations largely to Dil.
Edgeworth rubs his forehead and groans. "And what precisely is that supposed to mean?"
Dil: What does the ability to heal an ordinary wound mean for you? Where does it fit into the tapestry of your faith? Don't try to rush an answer — consider it until... well, until you know what the truth is.
Dil shrugs.
Edgeworth holds his head in his free hand. I can't believe I have to listen to this.
Althea: This is not something we can help you with in any detailed sense; your understanding will be your own, particularly given the... unique situation you are in.
Dil nods. "I'd even go so far as to say that trying to look at anyone else's ideas would just get in the way for now."
Dil: But you figure things out fast, and you have a strong sense of your own beliefs, right? If you can't figure it out before you just sleep your injury off, I'd be surprised.
Dil grins. "Just don't waste charges on anything shallow, all right? These do cost money."
Edgeworth sighs, his free hand hanging by his side by now. "Very well."
Dil steps over to Edgeworth and whispers something into his ear, prompting the prosecutor to nod.
Dil then heads for the door out with a wave. "Go anywhere in the Archive you're allowed if it'll help. I don't want to get in your way, so good luck."
Althea finishes her tea and stands. "I shall take my leave now as well. I have some research to conduct while I'm here."
Edgeworth stares at the wand in his hand with an uneasy frown. "Er, right..."
Edgeworth's gaze wanders the length of the wand. So another moment of truth has come — the day that I'm expected to wield this... magic actively, if not entirely directly, in any sophisticated form.
Edgeworth silently traces the three-dimensional sigil appropriate to the spell in the air with the wand — slowly to remind himself at first, then as quickly as he can manage. He shakes his head, then traces it quickly again with greater accuracy.
Edgeworth: That and the nonsense syllables Dil relayed constitute the "easy part", apparently.
Edgeworth half-frowns and lightly glares at the wand in mild irritation. As for this "hard part" — somehow accessing my own potential through ascribing a "deep meaning" to the spell contained within this...
Edgeworth sighs. It would seem like nonsense, if not for what I've already experienced and accomplished since my arrival.
Edgeworth: After all, given that belief alone apparently dictates the flow of divine magic in a general sense, it makes at least some form of logical sense that creating specific effects would require specialized convictions.
Edgeworth: Dil and Althea leave no room to doubt that the mere practical applications of a basic healing spell are insufficient, yet I'm not sure where else to begin...
Edgeworth: Victims of assault would, of course, benefit from this. Then again, would that not make the wounds more difficult to match with the weapons, thereby tampering with the evidence?
Edgeworth: Ergo, to use this too frivolously could undermine the very cause I pursue...
Edgeworth puts a finger to his temple. Is there a time when that would not be the case — a situation where this spell would instead aid in bringing the truth to light?
Edgeworth is struck by a flash of memory — Franziska being hauled kicking and screaming into an ambulance with a bullet wound in her shoulder.
Edgeworth: Had I not been there and sufficiently prepared to take her place, what would have become of the case?
Edgeworth: Though glory clearly continues to outweigh the truth in her heart, she isn't without a sense of justice. I cannot say the same is necessarily true of every prosecutor...
Edgeworth closes his eyes and holds these thoughts in his mind while waving the wand experimentally, then mutters something and traces the three-dimensional rune he's been making practice traces of as quickly as he's able. Unfortunately, all he manages to accomplish is to create a small burst of yellow-green sparks that quickly fades.
Edgeworth opens his eyes to look at the results... then glowers.
Edgeworth: That should have worked...
Edgeworth frowns. ...shouldn't it have? The truth still... feels just out of reach.
Edgeworth huffs and shakes his head. I still can't believe I'm thinking in such terms as that.
Edgeworth: Unfortunately, it seems as though I've found myself on a path where I must, whether I like the idea or not.
Edgeworth regards the wand again.
Edgeworth: I seem to have missed the mark, yet what else would call for this capability in the context of my work?...
Edgeworth: Perhaps more importantly, why is that application not the one that applies here?
Edgeworth shifts positions a bit as he considers this, as he's starting to feel stiff.
Edgeworth: ...Dil described this spell as being sufficient to heal "light" or "ordinary" wounds. Given that I've seen no sign that guns exist in this world, and what few weapons I've taken note of seem almost anachronistically archaic for the apparent level of technology, perhaps Franziska's wound exceeds that description.
Edgeworth: To heal sufficiently for prosecution would perhaps call for a stronger spell...
Edgeworth: Under what conditions, then, would this suffice?
Edgeworth shakes his head after a moment. Perhaps I should retreat to the reality of my current situation for the moment. I've seemingly become the victim of a quori attack, and this spell has been implied by both Althea and Dil as typically sufficient to counteract the most common results of such an attack.
Edgeworth shudders at the memory of what being 'struck' was actually like — a stinging pain throughout his being accompanied by the sensation of being entombed deep within earth that was roaring and shaking far worse than he'd ever experienced...
Edgeworth whimpers as he shakes his head again. Don't dwell on it, Miles!
Edgeworth: Anyway, in the wake of that, when I came to, my spine was aching lightly — though even the slightest injury to that part of the body is distracting at best.
Edgeworth: Althea described typical symptoms as not only including aches and pains as I'm having to contend with, but becoming briefly comatose as well. Perhaps, at times, the pain and injury are sufficient to require victims to lose consciousness if they're to have any chance of survival.
Edgeworth pauses to consider this for a moment.
Edgeworth: Certainly no one can participate in court while unconscious; that much is so obvious that it seems almost too basic to consider.
Edgeworth: Nevertheless, logic leads to that very consideration...
Edgeworth: If aiding Franziska would have called for a stronger spell than one that's merely enough to render someone conscious, then who would only require that level of aid to participate?
Edgeworth: The prosecution and the defense must both be in fighting shape. Even the judge must be sufficiently focused to keep them in check and give due consideration to what the truth really is.
Edgeworth blinks in realization. Which leaves... the witnesses. A witness in no condition to share what they know cannot participate, but their condition need not necessarily be any better than that. This spell could restore health to someone sufficiently to allow them to testify...
Edgeworth recoils suddenly and drops the wand as though it had bitten him; it clatters to the floor.
Edgeworth: What the hell was...?!
Edgeworth stares down at the wand as it rolls to a stop, wide-eyed. Is that... it?
Edgeworth bends down with a wince to pick the wand back up. To realize a spell's primary purpose in my rightful place, to which all other uses are at best secondary...
Edgeworth: The way it could be used to expand upon the greater machine of the world of justice... Is that the "meaning" I needed to find?
Edgeworth stands, raises the wand back into position, closes his eyes, and focuses on the concept of healing a witness enough to allow them to say their piece...
Edgeworth once more utters the necessary word to activate the device and traces the sigil needed, this time not creating a burst but leaving a tight yet dim and sparse trail of yellow-green sparks hanging in the wake of the wand's movements.
Edgeworth opens his eyes to find a dim yellow-green glow hanging along the wand's length.
Edgeworth: I... I did it. I'm actually responsible for this...
Edgeworth frowns. Though I feel no better. I seem to have only lit the wand with something akin to foxfire.
Edgeworth thinks for a moment. Perhaps it's like the spell Dil uses when he needs to communicate with me, and a touch is required to complete it?
Edgeworth reaches back with the wand, tapping his back with it as centrally as he's able.

The light discharges from the wand into his back; half of it travels up his spine from that point in a split-second, the other half down at an equal speed.

Edgeworth breathes in sharply, then brings the wand back into his field of vision and looks down at it with a new appreciation.
Edgeworth: ...Remarkable.
Edgeworth seats himself again, feeling no pain at all in the process, then sets the wand down on the table before him and continues sipping at his tea, staring at the enchanted item...

After allowing the moment to sink in and process and finishing his tea, Edgeworth takes the wand and begins searching for Dil, not knowing who else to turn to as far as getting the item put back in its proper place. After exhausting the accessable parts of the second basement and quickly looking into the wide-open third, Edgeworth heads upstairs into the libraryesque first basement. While Dil doesn't seem to be here either, another familiar face is...

Althea sits at one of the tables surrounded by several open books, scribbling notes onto sheets of paper.
Edgeworth gives the room another once-over, giving one staring half-elf a warning glare in the process, before finally approaching the familiar halfling.
Edgeworth: Excuse me.
Althea looks up. "Ah, done already? Or did you need something else?"
Edgeworth holds the wand out to Althea, not managing to conceal the lingering wonder in his eyes as he looks down at it. "Indeed. I should return this."
Althea frowns slightly. "You should give it to Dil. I'll let him know you're finished."
Edgeworth: I've been trying to find him...
Althea closes her eyes for a moment, then shakes her head. "It would seem he's gone out."
Althea: At any rate, probably better that you hang onto it for now, unless you're afraid you might activate it by accident.
Edgeworth frowns, then heads over to browse the shelves. "Er, is that all right?" He pauses to consider how to phrase what he has to say next, then gives up and reverts to English: "It seems inappropriate to casually carry around an object of some expense that I neither own nor am legally authorized to handle, and most certainly to leave the premises with such an object."
Althea: No less for me than you, though if you need to leave...
Edgeworth shakes his head. "Not necessarily."
Althea: Even if it comes only with the assistance of an expensive item thus far, you've done something I not merely can't, but dare never do...
Edgeworth looks over his shoulder at Althea grimly, in full realization of the significance of her words.
Edgeworth looks back to the shelves. "It was... an intriguing experience to make use of the wand."
Althea nods.
Althea: There are greater challenges to come.
Edgeworth sidesteps to look over more of the titles. "I assumed as much, given that this was more difficult than the last two and we've yet to even begin discussion of my, er, casting... spells under my own power."
Edgeworth: Will I need to give such consideration to every possible effect within my reach?
Althea nods. "I suspect you've probably noticed as well, but while spells is an appropriate general term for such things, when it comes to divine magic, they are also commonly called prayers..."
Edgeworth can't completely suppress a wince. "Indeed."
Edgeworth: Though I rather disapprove of the idea of undermining the concept of objective truth with such language!
Althea sighs and looks down at the table in front of her as her tone becomes hesitant and almost apologetic. "That... may also be something you will have to get over. You needn't use such language yourself, but you will need to grapple with the inherent similarities..."
Althea: Clerics... prepare for the use of magic by praying to their god or other related concept for the spells they intend to use during the day...
Edgeworth: ...
Edgeworth shifts in a way that even from the back projects a note of disgust.
Althea: You... will need to find some analogue that... makes sense for your beliefs...
Edgeworth sighs loudly. "Why is this happening?! Who saw fit to banish me to this purgatory to begin with?!"
Edgeworth takes hold of his elbow.
Althea: ...
Althea: that the situation you were worrying yourself over a few days ago?
Edgeworth: ...The thought did occur to me on account of my early studies, yes. At the least, the situation doesn't seem to fit a conjuration scenario. While I realize the rules as they're understood here fail to properly fit that possibility as well, such a discrepancy would make more sense if the force responsible originated at my world's end.
Edgeworth: Furthermore, if one assumes such a method to exist in my world, the... opportunity did present itself.
Althea: That seems a somewhat dubious prospect, but I don't know your world's magic so I suppose I can't really say. After this long, most traces of any such spell would have dissipated beyond the point where most casters could detect it...
Edgeworth turns and shakes his head. "I'm certainly not the man to ask. As far as I'm aware, the Fey clan is the lone exception to the general rule."
Althea: And thus far you only have evidence of them possessing divinatory and necromantic powers...
Edgeworth: To say nothing of the question of opportunity for those who would have the motivation.
Edgeworth glances aside. "The, er, specific window of time that someone could have taken advantage of was not one that lent itself to premeditation."
Edgeworth shudders.
Althea nods... "Sorry to bring it up..."
Edgeworth looks mildly puzzled, but nods.
Edgeworth's expression firms. "...You mentioned there being a way to seek out traces of spells, and of greater difficulty the longer one waits?"
Althea: Yes. There's a fairly simple divination that can detect such traces, but it's limited in how faint a trace it can detect; I suspect you will learn it before too long.
Althea: A more powerful variation exists that can detect fainter traces, as well as revealing more detail about such traces; with the right skill and circumstances it may be possible to determine who cast it.
Althea: Whether that one will become available to you eventually is harder to be certain of, but if you have as much potential as you seem, it is entirely possible.
Edgeworth: ...I see...
Edgeworth: That does constitute a compelling reason to come to understand what this so-called "praying" truly entails...
Edgeworth: After all, some details I've observed appear to support claims I've read that clerics have quite a lot in common regardless of beliefs.
Edgeworth: Presumably, there is an underlying process at work — merely one so strongly intertwined with primitive thought that it may prove difficult to disentangle and reconstruct.
Edgeworth: So long as I can remain logical myself, that truth will inevitably show itself to me. But for now, a different truth requires my attention.
Edgeworth: Would it be possible to have someone else cast that more powerful variation for the sake of learning how I arrived?
Althea frowns in thought. "It's been... six days now? I suppose it might be possible to find someone powerful enough to do so, though it's a somewhat expensive prospect. If this had happened some place less major than Korranberg it might effectively be too late already."
Althea: It's not enough to merely find someone who can cast it; we'd need someone advanced enough to be even more sensitive to the remaining traces than most capable casters would be...
Edgeworth's brow furrows. "A significant limit indeed."
Althea: The longer we wait, the less likely we can succeed at any price, so if we're going to...
Edgeworth nods firmly. "Though I feel uncomfortable leaving with the wand, quite frankly I haven't been told how or where one might put it away, and I presume I too would need to be examined. Ergo, we may have no other choice."
Althea: Probably best to check out the local House Medani enclave; they should have magewrights capable of such a task.
Edgeworth: Very well.

Given that Edgeworth still hopes to return the wand as soon as he can, Althea makes the arrangements alone while the prosecutor waits at the Archive for anyone who can help. Korranberg's House Medani enclave is oddly small for such a curious people, even considering that the House is itself small. Nevertheless, they do have someone on hand who can do the job.

Althea leads the half-elf in question to the exterior of the Archive so she can notify Edgeworth via missive to meet them outside. The three of them then start making their way towards the alley where Edgeworth awoke as the Medani scion peers at him curiously...

Edgeworth meets the half-elf's staring with a glare, though one relatively lacking in judgement or malice.
Mari hrms and scribbles something on a paper on her clipboard.
Edgeworth: Am I such a well-known curiosity now that even people outside the Archive see fit to take notes concerning my every action?
Edgeworth sighs and rubs his forehead.
Edgeworth shakes his head, then puts his finger to his temple as he considers how to phrase what he's wondering.
Edgeworth: Is there anything I must know about this... er, how would one say "procedure"?... in order for it to work best?
Althea: Procedure.
Edgeworth nods.
Mari recites tiredly and rapidly even as she continues to scribble, "I have seven minutes to work with so don't feel as though you have to stand in the way, that wouldn't be for the best even if I weren't this good at just one thing, I can't identify the signatures of people I've never seen the magic of before even with my skill, you don't get a refund if I don't find anything..."
Edgeworth winces slightly, finding it hard to make sense of speech quite that rapid. "Gnngh." Perhaps I'm not yet ready to ask such open-ended questions of just anyone...
Althea glances at Edgeworth, then back at Mari. "I'm... not sure your client is quite fluent enough for that pace of speech..."
Mari sighs. "Oh. I suppose that makes sense. At least this is adding a little color to the routine."
Mari begins repeating herself in proper sentences at a slower pace.
Edgeworth's irritation recedes, and he nods slowly.
Edgeworth: Unfortunately, she comes across as far too weary to put up with more in-depth questioning.

Before too long, the three arrive at the same alleyway Edgeworth woke up in six days prior.

Edgeworth points at a spot not far in. "That is where I woke up, yet not where I fell. Not anywhere near where I fell unconscious, in fact."
Althea: Indeed not... er, did you want to make that clear, or...?
Edgeworth: I would have said as much in Common given the skill to do so, but I know too little about this... er, forensic procedure to know if it would be of use to her.
Edgeworth steps aside as the half-elf begins to chant and gesture.
Althea: Probably best to let her see what she can find without too much bias. There should be sufficient time to clarify any ambiguity.
Edgeworth nods firmly. "Point taken."
Mari stares into the alley for about twenty seconds, then turns her gaze upward for a few, steps forward into the alley, and otherwise makes a show of trying to get a quick read of nearby areas.
Mari: ...I hate to say it, but the area's clean of any sign of intentional aetheric manipulations. If something anomalous happened here, it would've been a transient manifest zone or other planar influence, not actively employed magic.
Edgeworth recoils. "That wasn't the only possibility?!"
Althea shakes her head. "I wouldn't even have thought it the most likely, myself..."
Edgeworth glares at Althea. "I'd appreciate some further explanation once we're done here."
Althea nods. "Of course."
Mari: Come on, enough talking behind my back and come over here. It's your turn now.
Edgeworth action looks up and over, resolute. "Very well."
Edgeworth heads over into the mouth of the alleyway himself, as that was confirmed to be clean of the influences sought.
Mari: ...Well, there's a weak conjuration trace on you but that looks far too weak to have moved you any meaningful distance, and it looks like you're carrying some minor conjuration-based item, and... wait, hold on...!
Mari's face lights up. "Sir, have you had issues with nightmares?"
Edgeworth: Er, what? Well, yes, but —
Mari seems to suddenly be a bundle of nervous energy, half scared and half excited. "I've found a clairsentient trace on you! It would have to be psychoportive to explain your movement of course, that doesn't explain what happened here, but that's not important!"
Edgeworth looks baffled and flustered. "Er, what? Ma'am, if you could please slow down —"
Mari: I might actually be able to report something useful for once! Finally!
Althea looks at Mari, then back at Edgeworth, looking a bit worried.
Edgeworth's expression hardens. "I beg your pardon, but how is what we hired you for not —"
Mari grins. "The Watcher of the Conspiracy of Dal Quor will be so pleased!"
Althea pales slightly.
Edgeworth recoils again. "What does Dal Quor have to do with anything?!"
Althea: ...You think the quori—
Mari seems to realize Edgeworth's there again at that instant. "Oh, oh! Right, of course you wouldn't know. I forget sometimes because they don't let me out much except for the grunt work..."
Mari: But yes, the quori!
Edgeworth's eyes widen. How could she possibly —
Mari: We're still only getting started with identifying the contours of the conspiracy, but —
Althea puts a hand to her forehead. "Wait, wait, wait, wait... Wait. You think the quori left a clairsentient trace of some kind in order to help target him...?"
Edgeworth blinks and looks to Althea.
Mari: Well, a trace shouldn't be enough, it should at least be a faint active aura, except I'm having a hard time looking away from him, so maybe there's more to how this works than I understand?
Althea glances at Edgeworth and her eyes widen a bit further, then she winces.
Edgeworth appears unsettled at the idea of it being hard to look away from him.
Althea: Ah... there... um... is only the one trace on him?
Mari: Well, that's the only psionic trace, why?
Althea rubs her forehead. "...yeah. Ah, that one is my fault. I placed a psychic beacon on him shortly after he arrived..."
Edgeworth frowns at Althea. "Was that the chime that rang in my head?"
Mari's face falls. "Your... fault?"
Althea: Yes. I didn't suppress the manifestation effects. I was kind of hoping you'd take notice, given the... difficulty we had over the subject.
Althea: My foremost motivation, however, was to check back to make sure you hadn't gotten into trouble; you're familiar with some of the difficulties the locale presents at this point.
Althea: The effects only last for twenty-four hours, but given we were asking her to check for minute traces to begin with...
Edgeworth nods slowly and grimly. "I suppose I cannot fault you for such an action."
Mari, meanwhile, looks to be on the verge of tears.
Althea: Yes, it's something we're already aware— are you all right?
Edgeworth blinks and looks back to Mari at Althea's question.
Mari forces herself to tear her gaze away from Edgeworth, the tears in her eyes joined by bitterness. "Oh, of course the boring tool over here is all right. Why wouldn't I be? I did my job, why should I be useful for anything else?"
Edgeworth's eyes widen. What just happened?!
Althea takes a step backward, looking somewhat flustered. What have I done...?
Mari begins to sob.
Edgeworth draws back in horror. I cannot simply stand by in the face of this, but what can I do?!...
Edgeworth stands straight and takes a deep breath, attempting to force himself to calm down and focus.
Edgeworth: The truth may sometimes bring pain, and we may fail to find the evidence we need, but we must not stop searching because of that.
Althea blinks, looking at Edgeworth, then back to Mari.
Edgeworth: However, you must do the searching. It is... um, I'm not certain how to say it's an active endeavor.
Althea takes a moment to respond with the customary translation, apparently a bit distracted.
Althea: it the same? I don't really know enough to be certain... yet, if it might be, I can't ignore...
Mari manages to choke out, "But... b-but I'm not good at that, I'm nothing compared to the rest except in detecting magic, I'm not even marked, I..."
Edgeworth looks worriedly from Mari to Althea and back to Mari, not having been able to make out speech quite that garbled.
Althea: ...Perhaps you need to look beyond your role within your House... Some things one must find for oneself...
Althea's eyes widen as it occurs to her how her words might possibly be misconstrued. "N-n-not that the Dreaming Dark would in any way fall into th-that latter category!"
Edgeworth looks to Althea, baffled.
Mari runs off sobbing harder.
Althea winces. "What have I gotten us into...?"
Edgeworth: What do you mean?...
Althea takes off after Mari. "No time to explain. Come on."
Edgeworth strides quickly after Althea, looking rather irritated. "This seems rather unlike you."
Althea: ...I panicked. You remember how I said you should stay away from the Path of Inspiration and the Path of Light?
Edgeworth: Indeed. So this is somehow related...
Althea: ...House Medani would know something of the Dreaming Dark. Enough to appreciate they are dangerous, certainly. But whether the scion we hired fully appreciates just how dangerous they are, I don't know. And I may have just motivated her to prove herself by way of discovering more on her own...
Edgeworth: If this organization, or whatever it may be, is really so dangerous, then must some risk not be taken to find the information necessary to protect others?
Edgeworth glowers disapprovingly even as he jogs after the halfling.
Althea glances at Edgeworth, startled, her pace faltering for a moment before she responds.
Althea: I... don't dispute that House Medani has every reason to investigate... but...
Althea: ...It's an entirely different matter if I've encouraged someone to behave recklessly despite knowing the dangers better than they...
Edgeworth: Do not misconstrue what must be done to make amends. If things are as you make them seem, then your duty is not to somehow protect her from the truth, but merely from herself.
Althea: ...right. There are... limits to how much I can say without betraying the trust that was placed in me, but... if it's the best way forward, I can tell her some of what I know...
Edgeworth: So that is the barrier in play here...
Althea turns her attention to an alleyway across the street, where the faint sounds of sobbing and gasping for breath can be heard.
Edgeworth looks up and over at Althea's reaction, taking note of the sounds himself at the prompt, then nods and slows down. He takes a moment to check traffic before starting to head across.
Althea nods and follows Edgeworth.

In the alleyway in question, the half-elf is huddled against a wall, trying to simultaneously catch her breath and gather her emotions.

Althea takes a deep breath herself. "I apologize for my outburst. In retrospect I realize it must have seemed rather patronizing... However, there are not many people in a position to appreciate just how dangerous the Dreaming Dark truly are..."
Edgeworth crosses his arms and remains silent, focusing on trying to understand the conversation as best he can and keeping an eye on Althea.
Mari looks up at Althea, at first surprised and then skeptical. "And you've changed your mind about whether I need to be kept in my place?"
Althea puts a hand to her forehead. "I just don't want to be responsible for sending you charging recklessly into danger on your own... Especially given what I know..."
Mari frowns and tilts her head, then takes her clipboard back out, still red-eyed.
Althea sighs slightly, and looks around the alley before sitting on the ground near a wall. "I... can't tell you everything I know, but I can offer some explanation."
Althea: Dal Quor is a plane of malleable reality, and dreamers shape its outer edges as they project to it while dreaming...
Althea: Most of its structure is shaped from within, however, by a tremendous force the quori call Quor Tarai, or the spirit of the age.
Mari nods and writes...
Althea: The current Quor Tarai is a nightmarish force of darkness known as il-Lashtavar, meaning Darkness that Dreams or Dreaming Dark.
Althea: Sometime after the quori attempted to invade Eberron and were driven out by the giants, a cataclysmic event occurred that changed the nature of the Quor Tarai, reshaping all of Dal Quor and remaking all of the quori. No quori who now lives possesses clear memory of Dal Quor as it was before this event.
Edgeworth: If what I understand of her words is accurate, it seems that the books that she brought me before quite literally only scratched the surface of things...
Edgeworth: Though certainly I'll need to ask the meaning of certain words later.
Mari: This sounds more like some sort of strange myth than anything...
Mari does sound less suspicious now, however.
Althea: There are those among the quori who believe that the nature of the Quor Tarai, and thus of Dal Quor itself, is cyclical, and that eventually il-Lashtavar will be replaced by il-Yannah, a force of great light rather than darkness.
Althea: Some few quori respect this as the natural order... but they are a persecuted minority. The vast majority of quori cannot accept the loss of self such a cataclysm would inevitably bring... and so they seek to prevent the age from ever turning again.
Althea: The prevailing belief among those who seek to stop the cycle is that the dreamers of Eberron are the key to their efforts, for we each shape Dal Quor in various ways. If we can all be made to dream the same dream, it could have a powerful stabilizing effect on Dal Quor's reality.
Althea: All it requires is depriving us of the inconvenience of free thought.
Mari frowns even as she continues to take notes. "...Are quori even capable of that level of higher thought? If they are, it would help explain there being any patterns other than predation at all, but without proof..."
Edgeworth's brow furrows deeply with the effort of even following the conversation.
Althea: That they are merely instinct-driven predators is a common presumption, and one they have little reason to willfully displace. It does make things rather difficult for the Dreaming Dark's enemies, since attempting to explain the threat to most inhabitants of Eberron is somewhat akin to claiming that mosquitoes are trying to take over the world...
Mari pauses in her writing briefly, tapping the back of her pen on her notes. "The ability to think in any terms but manipulation of dreams and understand what past and future are other than resources for making nightmares is certainly a different theory..."
Mari continues to write.
Althea: Not only are they intelligent beings with their own agenda, and effectively immortal so long as the age does not turn... but time flows differently in Dal Quor; a full ten hours would pass there for every one here. This affords them ample opportunity to plan carefully.
Mari hrms. "I'll need to verify that, but if you're right..."
Edgeworth grits his teeth in irritation, having less and less basis for making sense of such a complex conversation as it wears on.
Althea: They do not have the ability to reach Eberron physically, but they are able to influence people to act on their behalf...
Mari: But all of this depends on your being right about the root premise that they're sapient. Establishing that is... not something I can do, but the Watcher of the Conspiracy of Dal Quor could direct such an effort if he thought it was an angle worth pursuing...
Mari looks nervous about the prospect even as she writes a bit more.
Althea nods. "I'm not sure if I can say much more without betraying confidences... but it should give you something to work with."
Mari: Even eliminating a possibility would be progress, I guess.
Mari takes a breath and stands back up, eyes still weary from earlier.
Althea: In any event... it is probably wise to be wary when psionics are at play; loathe as I may be to invite prejudice, there are not many of us in Khorvaire who have the ability, and far fewer still who are... uninvolved in the matter to which I've alluded.
Mari frowns down at Althea. "I know, I know. The Watcher reminds us of this at every major meeting."
Althea nods, her expression controlled. Though it's not exactly unexpected, it is disconcerting to be sternly reminded that I'm a suspicious person just by dint of ability...
Althea: ...right. In any event, I think we've settled the official business as best as is possible under the circumstances. Unless you had any further questions beyond explanation of planar mechanics?
Althea looks to Edgeworth.
Edgeworth looks lost and frustrated. "Gkkkmmnngh..."
Althea: ...about the magic reading, or anything only she could elaborate on surrounding it; we can catch up on everything else later...
Edgeworth sighs, looking mollified and mentally reviewing what question Althea asked before her English elaboration.
Edgeworth: Is a... transient manifest zone the only possible explanation for a lack of a magical trace where I came in or a, er, relevant magical trace on myself?
Mari: As far as I know.
Althea frowns in thought. "It's not completely inconceivable that very large scale magic could have side effects in distant locations... but I don't actually know of any that could do something like this as a side effect..."
Althea: ...There is also the thought that something along the lines of a Teleportation Circle could move you without leaving traces on you or your destination... but that's an extremely powerful spell. I don't know whether there are still people living on Khorvaire who could cast it, and it would have to have been cast in your world...
Mari stares at Althea. "That spell actually exists?"
Althea looks to Mari. "There are records of it." She inclines her head in the direction of the Library district.
Edgeworth looks troubled. It would seem that whatever the explanation for my presence here, it would have to be extraordinary indeed...
Mari frowns. "Too bad I'd probably just get a headache if I detected something that amazing."
Althea: That's about all the speculation I can offer on alternatives.
Edgeworth: I should reiterate that there are no manifest zones where I'm from. Certainly someone would have noticed if they did exist, however dubious the source.
Althea: There are also no manifest zones in Dal Quor, nor any here that correspond to its energies. Perhaps your plane had no orbit, but was recently attracted to Eberron and became briefly coterminous for the first time in either of our histories?
Edgeworth looks disturbed at the notion. If I understand what she's proposing correctly, that would bode ill for any prospect of my return.
Althea: Also, our knowledge is limited. It's entirely conceivable that we simply don't know about whatever means brought you here.
Althea: Even our studies of the nearby Ethereal and Shadow planes are mostly limited to their applicability to certain types of magic.
Edgeworth is slightly calmer, but still frowning. "I see."
Althea: The Shadow plane in particular poses difficulties to exploration given its highly ephemeral nature. While the Material plane influences its contents, it is not a true mirror of the Material plane, but a dark and distorted mockery. One will find only approximations of landmarks, the details of which will change in a week.
Althea: Those who venture beyond those areas they know risk becoming completely and hopelessly lost.
Althea: Its nature is also toxic, though it fortunately takes years of exposure for that nature to inflict permanent harm.
Edgeworth: I beg your pardon, but aren't we getting off topic?
Althea sighs slightly. "My point is, we haven't really had the means, opportunity and apparent need to explore these planes as fully as the Astral plane or the accessible Outer planes. While we might conjecture further based on observation about the possible limits of the Ethereal plane, the tenuous nature of the connection between the Material and Shadow planes prevents even that..."
Edgeworth raises his finger to his temple. In other words, she believes that to be a potential line of investigation.
Mari begins to look uncomfortable and conflicted.
Althea glances at Mari, then looks back to Edgeworth. "Any other questions?"
Edgeworth nods, then looks to Mari firmly. "Actually, yes. I know little about the spell you used. Is there more one should know about it?"
Edgeworth: Even if I knew how to say it in Common, to say that I'm woefully underinformed would be an understatement.
Mari looks genuinely surprised. Slowly, she replies, "It's the same one any inquisitive needs access to. Aside from being able to detect traces that are days old, it's possible to make out the magical signatures of specific people with it or determine the last spell someone cast. It's not foolproof, but at least I have some use with it."
Mari: Most spellcasters powerful enough can cast it or learn how to. Detecting magic has to be the most boring magical talent there is. Why do you look like you want to capture something?
Edgeworth appears confused at that last question, looking from Mari to Althea.
Althea blinks, looking at Mari and then Edgeworth. "Ah..."
Althea: You will almost certainly learn that spell eventually if your studies are successful.
Edgeworth smirks with resolve. "So I understood correctly."
Mari looks slightly uncomfortable as she takes further notes, muttering something under her breath. "Is he always this scary?"
Edgeworth makes a sweeping bow. "For now, I appreciate your help."
Mari sighs. "It's not like I'm not used to being outgrown."
Edgeworth winces. "I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean —"
Althea sighs. "Please keep in mind your client is not as fluent in Common as he may sometimes appear."
Mari: ...Oh, right.
Mari shakes her head.
Edgeworth gathers himself again quickly once the situation appears defused, then pauses to figure out phrasing before speaking again. "Perhaps we will need your help again before we leave Korranberg."
Althea nods. "We needn't take up any more of your time at present. Thank you for your assistance."
Mari nods, then turns to head back towards the Medani enclave. "Goodbye, then. And, er, thank you too, I guess."
Edgeworth looks to Althea. "I believe we have some matters to discuss further at the hotel."
Althea nods, waiting until Mari is well out of sight before rubbing her forehead and sighing. "I really hope I don't end up getting caught between House Medani and the Inspired..."
Edgeworth frowns, half concerned and half vexed. I cannot say I fully understand the nature of her concerns given my lack of skill in Common.
Edgeworth lifts his finger to his temple, then after a moment heads in what he thinks is the direction to the inn from their current location.
Althea follows Edgeworth.