Once Althea leaves, Edgeworth finishes the final pages of the book he's reading and eats the lunch she brought him along with a cup of tea. Once those details are settled, the prosecutor makes the long walk to the Library district, arriving well ahead of schedule for the chess meet — so much so that the room is still being used for a class. As such, Edgeworth finds himself spending some time exploring the oversized campus... only to soon rediscover a familiar locale.

Edgeworth stares at the building in question. This library...
Edgeworth: Is this not the one in which that accident occurred?
Edgeworth hmphs, glancing away. To think that such vistas would open to me both despite and because of my convictions...
Edgeworth looks back to the door uneasily. Father... Why did you betray values of such potency precisely when they were needed most?
Edgeworth turns his head aside and grips his elbow. Certainly, matters eventually came to right themselves despite such actions, but had that final detail of the truth begun to assert itself two years ago rather than two months ago, I...
Edgeworth squeezes his eyes shut and grits his teeth.
Edgeworth: And now, I've come upon another truth too great for me to bear.
Edgeworth shakes his head. Yet somehow, I must come to understand it better, lest it languish in obscurity for far longer than is necessary.
Edgeworth: ...Provided, of course, that I'm on the trail of truth at all. It's growing increasingly difficult to believe otherwise, yet is that reflective of insight or insanity?
Edgeworth squeezes his elbow, glowering. Why must I be so weak that I cannot find answers?!
Edgeworth releases his elbow and balls his fists, quivering with his eyes squeezed shut. Are these really the limitations of humanity?! I cannot accept that!
Edgeworth opens his eyes to glare ahead, still shaking. Come what may, I'll find a means by which to formulate a case to present — I can content myself with nothing less!
Edgeworth breathes heavily, then gradually less so as he forces himself to calm down.
Edgeworth shakes his head. Watch yourself, Miles! Such emotionality can also prove to be an obstacle!
Edgeworth, still ill at ease but not quite so glaringly so, heads into the building.

As the prosecutor enters the building, the librarian gives him a disapproving glance but says nothing. Edgeworth slowly makes his way down one of the aisles, noting that there's more Gnomish script than Common as he goes.

Edgeworth: To think that a week and a half ago, none of these titles held any meaning for me...
Edgeworth soon reaches the end of one aisle, and thus the end of the building with tables and chairs for working and reading.

Among the varied patrons reading, writing, contemplating, or quietly conversing, Edgeworth finds one figure he recognizes; Tikra sits at a small table together with another human, looking over various notes and occasionally writing.

Edgeworth takes a few steps towards the table in question and nods to the kobold.
Tikra looks up and nods slightly in acknowledgement.
Edgeworth: Is this portion of your research proceeding according to schedule?
David looks up, seeming a bit surprised to find someone addressing Tikra.
Tikra: For now, we plan for the acquisition of further research material. That effort is proceeding as expected.
Edgeworth glances at his watch and nods.
David looks over the unusually-attired human. "Hmmm. Is this the 'atheist cleric' our Brelish colleague has been talking about?"
Edgeworth turns to David upon being referred to and bows. "Indeed so. My name is Miles Edgeworth."
Edgeworth: How strange it is to answer to that title so readily...
David: David Thorsten, of the University of Wynarn's College of Social Sciences.
Edgeworth grins. "A pleasure, then."
David: Mention of you has been somewhat frequent; I believe everyone on the team except Nathaniel and Tikra have mentioned some intriguing encounter or impressions by now.
Edgeworth: Given my circumstances, that's unsurprising.
David: Mm, you do seem to invite a great deal of talk and speculation. You're most certainly either an incredible anomaly or an incredible actor.
Edgeworth crosses his arms, looking down his nose at the red-headed human. "Is there any particular form of proof that you would prefer to see?"
Edgeworth: Alternately or in addition, what motive would you ascribe to such a deception?
David looks thoughtful. "Well, now, those are certainly key questions and represent quite a conundrum. It would be pointless to seek proof that you are a cleric; Althea's most certainly qualified to judge your performance in that regard... The real question is, what sort of cleric are you, and what would be the point of such a deeply intricate and elaborate ruse..."
David: On the question of motive, there are certainly a number of possibilities. Whether any of them are sufficient to explain such matters depends much on what sort of man you are...
Edgeworth taps his finger on his arm. "I pursue truth — a pursuit which has taken a rather bizarre turn since my arrival in this world."
Edgeworth: To say nothing of uncomfortable.
David: And you pursued this truth in less paradoxical ways in a world that has somehow gone further than ours despite being bereft of magic and all concomitant blessings of the fruits of the arcane sciences?
Edgeworth hesitates for a second before uncrossing his arms and beginning to lecture in response. "First, a clarification — I have been forced to accept that magic in my world is merely rare, marginalized, and untouched by science, not nonexistent."
Edgeworth: Certainly the particular form that's referred to as "divine" here must not exist there, however, or else the reaction here would not be a change from the norm.
David shrugs. "Fair enough. It does not seem to change very much about the nature of your claims."
Edgeworth: Indeed. Concerning those, I'm a criminal prosecutor, though I admit that circumstances often lead to my playing the role of inquisitive.
Edgeworth: Furthermore, I've seen and experienced feats performed here that could not be duplicated with our technology, and Althea has claimed the existence of more such phenomena.
David: Then as a prosecutor and inquisitive you are no doubt well versed in the matters of behavior and motive, the art of deception and its unraveling, and to be effective in those roles you would certainly require a sharp intellect and observational skills...
Edgeworth looks disdainful. I believe I know where he's going with this, but I'll allow him his moment.
David: I should think psychology would be a relevant subject matter as well... knowing how people will respond to certain arguments, lines of questioning, suggestions... How to provoke useful, desired responses...
Edgeworth recrosses his arms as he waits.
David: Certainly any deception is stronger the more it is founded on the truth, so I suspect these particular details are not far off even if this is a grand hoax...
Edgeworth narrows his eyes. As I suspected.
Edgeworth: Then why do you propose that any sort of lawyer or inquisitive would engage in such a deception — particularly one with abilities uncommon enough to make him stand out?
Edgeworth: I myself can think of one answer...
David: There could be any number of reasons. One thought is that you might feel you had some larger point of truth to make, that you plan some sort of grand reveal to teach some kind of lesson to those taken in...
Edgeworth glares at David. "Do you take me for one of the Traveler's vassals?!"

Shushing comes from all corners at that outburst.

David raises an eyebrow. "The thought certainly crossed my mind."
Edgeworth's glare remains unbroken as he fumes with clear offense.
Tikra: He prays at dawn. Keep your voices down.
Edgeworth rubs his temple. "Must you refer to it as that?"
David frowns. "Are you certain of that?"
Tikra: Althea is.
Edgeworth smirks as he realizes just what got proven.
David: Well, that would seem to preclude the most obvious of religious motivations for such a scenario...
Edgeworth taps his temple. "Indeed."
David: But perhaps your motives are a combination of religious and professional...
Edgeworth raises an eyebrow.
David: Perhaps this is your way of performing some kind of undercover investigation of the Archival Foundation, seeing how they would indoctrinate a new cleric and approach such mysteries as you claim to offer?
Edgeworth grins. So he did, in fact, think of that angle.
Edgeworth: An intriguing theory, but it begs a question. If, in fact, I already possessed such capabilities, the events of yesterday would have been an act, would they not? I find it hard to believe that acting alone would fool both an heir of Jorasco and an independent healer into believing me to be in poor medical condition. How do you propose I misrepresented my condition with such accuracy?
David: Hmmm. I take it this relates to Illyvalen and your absence from the meeting yesterday?
Tikra: It does.
David: .........and?
Tikra: He successfully prayed for the first time yesterday morning. Althea had a vision of his collapse. Illyvalen and I tended to him as he recovered and rested.
Edgeworth hrmphs. "It was progress to be certain, but not what I would consider 'success'."
David: I'll concede that it would certainly be difficult for an experienced cleric to deliberately over-expose themselves in order to cause symptoms similar to one's first contact, not to mention possibly rather risky... but it's not inconceivable you might have deliberately inflicted just enough real harm on yourself to make faking the rest more feasible...
Edgeworth's eyes widen as he grits his teeth. Blast, I hadn't considered that possibility! To make matters worse, I fail to see any way to disprove such a claim!
Edgeworth: This calls for a change of tactics...
Edgeworth: What of the item that serves to focus my turning, what those at the Archive insist on referring to as a "holy symbol"?
Edgeworth digs his badge out of his pocket to show off in his palm. "I'm willing to submit it to attempts to detect magic. It should be clear that there is no enchantment upon it, and it therefore is what it seems to be."
Edgeworth: The use of an unheard-of symbol ought to decisively give away the identity of someone whose status is already unusual to begin with!
David: A pointless gesture; any cleric of Aureon could conceal such an aura, as could many adepts.
Edgeworth grits his teeth. Blast, he's right! Such a possibility was in fact mentioned in the book describing domains!
Edgeworth: Is there nothing that can be done in such a case?
David: It is possible to attempt to overcome such concealment through the appropriate divination spell, but such methods are expensive and not always reliable. Further, a sufficiently powerful caster could attempt to dispel any magical effects on the item itself... I don't think we have anyone readily available to attempt such a thing, though.
Edgeworth repockets his badge. "Given that my alleged intent would be to infiltrate a society replete with spellcasters, however, wouldn't that make such deceit extraordinarily risky? I would have evidence on my person waiting to be revealed for what it is the moment anything appeared to be amiss!"
David: Probably, yes, but then you'd have to be willing to go to extremes to be convincing enough in other ways as well.
Edgeworth smirks cruelly. "Such as by constructing entire languages with no apparent relation to any others in known existence?"
David frowns somewhat.
David: That would be a significant undertaking, but it's not inconceivable that enough to make a good show of —
Tikra: Illyvalen speaks it now.
David: ...
David seems flustered for a bit, before recovering somewhat and continuing. "Talented though she is, Illyvalen has not mastered every language in known existence. There are languages from other planes that —"
Tikra: Althea would recognize such influences.
David: ...
Edgeworth spreads his arms, looking smug. "Furthermore, the portion of the language Illyvalen has learned is hardly all that exists. Althea can testify to its depth through her own admittedly imperfect tapping of my knowledge. Furthermore, I've written extensively in it and submitted these writings to the divinatory scrutiny of others; would words concocted simply to maintain the illusion of a full language not be revealed for the nonsense they are thereby?"
Edgeworth: To think that I'm actually using such things as arguments...
David: You are correct. I don't have an alternative explanation for your language that takes those elements into account.
Edgeworth shrugs and shakes his head. "I thought not. Is there anything more you wish to ask?"
David: ...not for the moment. I believe I would need some time before I could fully reassess which parts of your story are no longer questionable, given the circumstances...
Tikra snorts.
Edgeworth bows. "Then I thank you for diverting some of your precious time towards such a reassuring exercise."
David nods slightly. "Of... course..."
Edgeworth begins to walk slowly towards the next aisle over from the one he arrived through.


After Edgeworth browses this library further, takes note of titles of interest, and learns from the even-more-miffed librarian that any law-related books would be found in a library building associated with the Aureon's Holt college, Edgeworth comes to the conclusion that it would be better just to return to Jorthem Hall.

By the time the prosecutor arrives there again, the class that was in session is over, but setup for the chess meet is still underway, a task that he offers assistance with. After that, however, Edgeworth finds himself in for something of a wait...

A bit over half of an hour passes uneventfully, but eventually Tikra enters the room, wearing the cloak Edgeworth saw her with yesterday.

Edgeworth bows to Tikra. "I apologize for delaying your work."
Edgeworth: I'm grateful for the testimony you provided despite such disruption.
Tikra nods slightly in acknowledgment before hanging the cloak up on a hook along the wall near the door. "It is of no consequence. You provided... an interesting exchange."
Edgeworth smirks.
Tikra simply leans against a wall for the moment, looking over the empty room.
Edgeworth then half-frowns and glances at a window. "It did call to my attention just how little I know of this world and what magic makes possible, however."
Tikra: There is much knowledge of the arcane sciences to be found at the Library, and much of the divine at the Archive.
Edgeworth sighs and rubs his temple. "I've been availing myself of the latter, but one can only learn so much in a week and a half."
Edgeworth: As for the former, while apparently this is a great resource, I can't take the risk of remaining in Zilargo long enough to take appreciable advantage of it.
Tikra: You are here now. You must determine how best to use the time you have.
Edgeworth: ...
Edgeworth sighs. "I was rather looking forward to this. It isn't often that I can challenge worthwhile sapient opponents, to say nothing of the fact that this serves as an island of normalcy amidst a sea of delirium that threatens to drown me in its depths."
Tikra: Events such as this have their value. ...one which Illyvalen and Althea have both been encouraging me to prioritize more, lately...
Edgeworth raises an eyebrow. "Oh?"
Tikra looks toward the floor. "...I am not entirely comfortable interacting with most people. Particularly in situations which require much conversing, or which involve... risks of exposing vulnerability."
Edgeworth frowns in sympathy, seeming at a loss, then shakes his head. "There is little conversation necessary during a game of chess."
Tikra: There is competition, however, of a different sort than has typically been necessary to contend with in my experiences here. It took much coaching from Althea before I felt facing others in such a way would not be foolish...
Edgeworth puts his finger to his temple. "Where I'm from, chess is one of rather few universally recognized sports of the mind. There is much to be gained from its pursuit."
Edgeworth glances aside. "I merely am left to wonder, between my argument with your colleague earlier and your statement earlier in our current conversation, whether at the moment I have more to gain through further study."
Tikra: I have no guidance to offer on that matter. You have already expressed the nature of the value you find here. You must weigh your priorities accordingly.
Edgeworth contemplates...
Edgeworth: ...Today, there is further reason for me to remain here. I could further aid Illyvalen with her English while competing here. She seems... rather high-maintenance.
Tikra: She is enthusiastic. And sensitive. And... remarkably at peace with exposing her vulnerabilities to seemingly anyone... In some ways it seems like she has an inner strength I could never hope to match...
Edgeworth peers at Tikra. I don't know that I would characterize the tendencies I've observed in her as "peace" or "strength"...
Edgeworth: I can think of a better example of such a person from my own world.
Edgeworth: She has endured far worse than Illyvalen seems to have, yet managed to retain a smile for the sake of others all the while and even find it in her heart to give freely to the undeserving.
Tikra: I do not presume to judge others' hardships...
Tikra hesitates for a few moments before adding, "...were it not for her own giving nature, however... I would not be here now."
Edgeworth: ...I could say the same about the one of whom I speak.
Edgeworth looks aside, frowning. "One of the things I've learned in my time here thus far... is that I owe her an apology."
Tikra nods. "...she pretends I owe her nothing, though that is not the Zil way. Perhaps there is some appropriate measure in their eyes of which she chooses not to speak, but it matters little; I could never feel it to be balanced..."
Edgeworth shrugs.

The pair is silent for a time; after a minute or so of this, Edgeworth begins to look uneasy and at a loss.

Eventually, various other people start to filter in and take up places at various tables. It doesn't take long for another familiar person to arrive.

Edgeworth nods to Illyvalen, albeit with an uneasy frown.
Illyvalen looks around and smiles brightly. "Hi Tikra! Hi, Mr. Edgeworth!"
Edgeworth is relieved at the change of mood. "Good afternoon, Illyvalen."
Tikra nods to Illyvalen.
Edgeworth: Shall we select a table? We could more easily practice English without being unduly disruptive if we're playing against each other, after all.
Illyvalen: All right. Do you want to join us, Tikra?
Tikra shakes her head. "I shall find an opponent shortly; I could use practice before things get serious."
Illyvalen nods. "Have fun!"
Edgeworth: She seems to have bounced back rather well over the course of the morning.
Edgeworth takes a seating mat before heading to one of the gnome-sized tables.
Edgeworth: Perhaps that capacity is why Tikra perceives her as strong...
Edgeworth: I encountered another of your colleagues from the research team earlier.
Illyvalen: Oh?
Illyvalen takes a seat at the selected table.
Edgeworth: Mr. Thorsten, more specifically. He was understandably rather suspicious of me. The ensuing argument brought some gaps in my understanding of this world to my attention.
Illyvalen: Oh. I think I remember back when Althea first mentioned you, both he and Berdmol thought it was probably some kind of deception...
Illyvalen advances a pawn.
Edgeworth moves a pawn forward himself, one a space closer to the board's edge. "My impression of him is that he's the sort of man who would concoct a scenario more absurd than my own before admitting defeat."
Illyvalen shrugs. "I don't know him all that well, he's only somewhat recently come here from Aundair for the research project."
Illyvalen: I think he kinda likes to argue about things anyway...
Edgeworth grins. "Then we share a common trait."
Edgeworth lifts his finger to his temple. "While Althea has explained Khorvaire's basic geography, I know little of what the rest of the continent is actually like."
Illyvalen shifts another piece. "I've never really travelled much; for a long time I wasn't really healthy enough to... Althea's told me a little about Sharn, but..."
Edgeworth frowns. "A pity, given your talents."
Illyvalen sighs. "I suppose so... still, a lot of different people come to Korranberg."
Edgeworth brings a knight into play with a nod. "I regret that I can't afford to remain here long enough to fully avail myself of all that Korranberg has to offer. Quite simply, I don't belong in this country at all."
Illyvalen: But if you hadn't been here, you wouldn't have found Althea and all...
Edgeworth: Need I remind you that she too is a foreign visitor?
Illyvalen: But she was here now, when you showed up...
Edgeworth rubs his temple. "Such a coincidence proves nothing."
Illyvalen: That doesn't make it meaningless...
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "Then what significance do you ascribe to the fact that our chance encounter happened here?"
Illyvalen: It allowed us to meet, and Althea to guide you to the Foundation, and a lot of other things to come from that...
Edgeworth: None of which changes the fact that this is not a place where a criminal prosecutor can set down roots.
Illyvalen: Yeah, I know...
Illyvalen: But I'm still glad you were here at all.
Edgeworth blinks and frowns in puzzlement. "Given your appreciation of language, I would have been surprised if you weren't."
Edgeworth: Furthermore, I cannot deny that I've derived benefit from this particular convergence of circumstances.
Edgeworth glances aside uneasily, however.
Illyvalen: ...but?
Edgeworth turns his head away. "The potential exception lies within a subject we ought to avoid discussing further."
Illyvalen: ...
Illyvalen simply makes a move without further remark.
Edgeworth returns his attention to the board and continues to play for several moves in silence...
Edgeworth: ...Does your medical expertise extend to matters of mental health as well?
Illyvalen: Somewhat...
Edgeworth stares at the board awkwardly for a moment before speaking again. "Given that subjective experience is apparently afforded some degree of legitimacy in this world, how does one go about discerning it from simple delusion?"
Illyvalen: I'm... not sure I understand.
Edgeworth: Are you in need of any definitions?
Illyvalen: Are you talking about visions or divination or something?
Edgeworth: I understand the latter to generally be verifiable by others.
Edgeworth: As for the former, Althea's abilities have been shown to be in accord with reality.
Edgeworth repositions a bishop.
Illyvalen: I'm not sure what you're asking then...
Edgeworth turns his head aside. "I'm not comfortable broadcasting my concerns to an entire room."
Edgeworth: Particularly not in such a culture as this.
Illyvalen frowns. "Um... I don't see how you can ask me about something but not tell me what it is..."
Edgeworth looks back to Illyvalen, crossing his arms. "Are there no general principles?"
Illyvalen: Um... are you asking me to teach you to diagnose a mental illness?
Illyvalen seems pretty confused at this point.
Edgeworth: In a sense, though my specific concern is far more limited in scope.
Illyvalen: I... don't know that I can do that. Not if you're leaving soon, anyway. Althea has some knowledge, though. Maybe she could be of some help...
Edgeworth begins to look exasperated. "Did I not state that my concern is..."
Edgeworth sighs in frustration and shakes his head. "Perhaps it should be no concern of yours after all."
Illyvalen: Um, if you're talking about experiencing prayer... the Foundation would know better than anyone how to evaluate that...
Illyvalen: But if you hadn't really made contact, you wouldn't have gotten sick like that either...
Edgeworth: And yet, a single piece of evidence does not constitute a complete case.
Illyvalen: ...I think if you were suffering a mental illness that was affecting your spiritual perceptions, that'd make it a lot harder to make progress in spiritual training... I don't know for sure, though; no one really knows precisely how or why heretical clerics continue to function...
Edgeworth rubs his forehead. "I'm not comfortable with the concept of 'spiritual perceptions' to begin with, nor with their apparent and alleged nature."
Illyvalen: I don't see how that makes for evidence of delusion. ...unless you're suggesting clerics are generally mentally ill and divine magic responds to that illness...
Edgeworth looks away, grabbing his elbow. "...As you imply, there is nothing particularly supporting that viewpoint."
Edgeworth's tone is shaky, however...
Illyvalen shakes her head. "How would an organization like the Archival Foundation function if that were the case?"
Edgeworth: ...
Edgeworth: Given the progress they've made, certainly anyone reasonable would have shied away from directly exposing their fellow sapient beings to something with quite that great a cost by now.
Edgeworth: And yet...
Edgeworth: To be entirely honest, I'm not certain how they function to begin with, given the nature of some of the alleged evidence.
Illyvalen: ...because you see that evidence as stemming from delusion...?
Edgeworth: Rather, I cannot see how one is supposed to know whether it does or does not.
Illyvalen: ...isn't that backwards, though?
Edgeworth releases his elbow and looks to Illyvalen in bewilderment, though it's still tinged with unease. "What do you mean?"
Illyvalen: Isn't the fact that the Archival Foundation functions as a diverse research organization and obtains useful results evidence that they're not dealing in the impressions of the mentally ill?
Edgeworth rubs his temple in irritation. "Why are you simply repeating your earlier argument in greater detail?"
Edgeworth: Clearly the organization functions in some way. I merely fail to understand the logistics of such a thing!
Illyvalen: ...I would say that the Foundation is who you would need to ask, but after yesterday...
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "I did admit my error and offer further apologies."
Illyvalen: ...I don't think asking them how they cope with being delusional would be a good idea unless you want to make them mad again, though...
Edgeworth: OBJECTION! That isn't the question currently under debate at all, and I fail to understand why you continue to return to it!
Illyvalen cringes. "I don't even know what you're asking anymore!"
Edgeworth: The matter which is unclear is how one evaluates and works with so-called "evidence" that's entirely subjective, and how one determines the difference between genuine experience and delusion! I fail to understand how one is supposed to objectively verify such things!

Edgeworth's shouting draws a growing number of stares from around the room, particularly once he switches to Common in his frustration.

Illyvalen: I-I— I don't— I don't...
Edgeworth's eyes widen as he draws back fearfully with gritted teeth. "W-wait, don't — i-it was never my intention to —"

Unfortunately, Edgeworth's awareness of Illyvalen's emotional volatility comes too late; even as he stammers, the young gnome bursts into tears, drawing even more attention from others in the room.

Edgeworth gapes in horror, choking on any more sentence fragments he might have stammered.

"What did you do to her?!" "Wait a minute, what happened?!" "Who do you think you are, shouting at someone like that?!" "Damn it, you broke my concentration!"

Tikra shows up at the table before the commotion can get much worse, offering an arm to Illyvalen. "The room next door is vacant. We should withdraw for now."
Edgeworth simply stares with a pale face, looking for all the world as though he'd caused blood to flow instead of tears.
Illyvalen grabs hold of Tikra's arm and after a moment gathers herself enough to get out of her seat.
Tikra starts leading Illyvalen toward the door. "If you wish to resolve matters, follow. I do not believe she would be disturbed further by your presence."
Edgeworth blinks, then glances around awkwardly even as he pulls out from the table. "Er... um, understood."

The three make their way to an unused classroom a little further down the hall.

Edgeworth walks with clenched teeth, ashamed and embarrassed...
Illyvalen maintains her grip on Tikra's arm, and as they enter the room and sit down near an empty corner, she pulls the kobold into a full-fledged hug, her sobs having lessened at least.
Tikra returns the hug, if somewhat awkwardly.
Edgeworth closes the door behind him, then looks at the hug awkwardly before turning aside and looking away.
Tikra looks up at Edgeworth. "She will recover shortly."
Edgeworth doesn't turn back to face the two. "Then I'll, um, allow you time."
Tikra: ...I will not pry unduly, but it would likely be of some use in resolving matters to know the nature of... the matter of contention...
Edgeworth: She was having a great deal of difficulty understanding a question I was asking; indeed, in time she grew fixated on a particular misinterpretation thereof.
Edgeworth: As a result, the conversation was growing increasingly counterproductive, hence my vexation.

The relatively awkward situation persists for several more minutes before Illyvalen finally calms down. Eventually, once Illyvalen is confident she can keep her voice steady, she speaks up again, albeit somewhat quietly.

Illyvalen: I... I'm sorry... I... don't think I can answer your question...
Edgeworth: ...
Illyvalen: ...and I didn't want to disrupt the chess meet, I know it's important for both of you... Sorry for being such a burden...
Edgeworth: My own poor judgment in asking you something of that nature must not go ignored.
Edgeworth grabs his elbow, still looking away.
Tikra shakes her head. "You need not apologize for your distress, nor for needing support."
Edgeworth shakes his head. "I shouldn't have allowed myself to display such weakness!"
Tikra: ...
Tikra looks over in Edgeworth's direction. "It is never an easy or comfortable thing, but there are circumstances where admitting to weakness may be necessary."
Edgeworth clenches his teeth.
Illyvalen: ...you... um... weren't displaying it very obviously...
Edgeworth: ...
Tikra: ...My own advice would be to determine whether there is someone you can trust sufficiently to... discuss such concerns openly. Not all such burdens can be carried alone.
Edgeworth: I refuse to accept that these are my limits!
Tikra: ...to what limitations do you refer?
Edgeworth winces, as though even saying that was just shown to be uncomfortably revealing.
Tikra speaks further after a few moments. "...Proceed or not as you think best. I am willing to listen, should there be a need. I suspect the same would be true of Althea."
Edgeworth: ...
Edgeworth forces his next sentences out slowly and reluctantly: "...Suffice it to say that as things stand, I'm... underqualified for the... task before me. Furthermore, I have far too little basis from which to deduce how to overcome that!"
Illyvalen: If you're talking about what I think you are... the Foundation is probably the best place for guidance on that...
Tikra: When one is faced with a struggle that exceeds one's own strength... it is important to recognize the other sources of support one has...
Edgeworth glowers at the wall. "It's imperative that I use my own strength to overcome this. I merely lack a sufficient basis from which to work."
Illyvalen: ...Are you sure you're not just being impatient again...?
Edgeworth finally turns his head towards the pair, glowering with disapproval. "This matter has already fed far too greatly into emotions best kept subdued! I cannot allow myself to be overcome by anything that might stand in the way of my pursuit of the truth!"
Illyvalen eeps and clings tightly to Tikra.
Edgeworth's glare breaks immediately as he turns and takes a half-step back. "Er, um, my apologies..."
Tikra: Do you seek guidance to complete a task, or escape from fears and doubts?
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "Doubt is necessary; fear is not."
Edgeworth: What will banish that fear is an understanding of both how to progress from doubt to knowledge within this context...
Edgeworth glances away uneasily. "...and how, in some cases, to hold fast to one's ability to doubt at all."
Edgeworth's brow furrows. "I work with evidence and testimony, not... this."
Illyvalen: ...
Illyvalen: Mister Edgeworth... I don't think you're in danger of losing yourself in this new experience, however scary it seems... And Althea and Dil are trying to help you... You probably just need to give yourself time...
Edgeworth looks back to Illyvalen expectantly. "For what reason do you believe there to be no appreciable risk?"
Illyvalen: ...As far as I know none of what's happened recently is outside the normal experience of a cleric at your stage of development, aside from the pace...
Illyvalen: And if you were in a delusional mental state, I don't think you could have argued very effectively...
Edgeworth taps his finger on his arm. "While it is true that my argument with Mr. Thorsten earlier reassured me that several vital faculties of mine that already existed remain intact, that says nothing about the degree to which I can trust or doubt those that are new — and false premises will inevitably lead one to false conclusions."
Illyvalen: Are you talking about delusion or about mistrusting senses...?
Edgeworth: ...Both are concerns.
Edgeworth: I have, at times, experienced impressions that come intertwined with... unfounded certainty.
Edgeworth shudders.
Illyvalen: ...and do you feel that certainty makes them beyond question?
Edgeworth: ...
Edgeworth: At times, it can complicate my ability to keep in mind that they aren't.
Illyvalen: It's usually very hard for someone to realize they're delusional, I think; their belief in their delusions is usually so strong they simply can't question them...
Edgeworth turns his head aside and grabs his elbow. "How, then, am I to be certain that I won't deteriorate to such a point before I learn to properly evaluate such things?!"
Illyvalen: Have the convictions been getting stronger?
Edgeworth lifts his finger to his temple as he considers this.
Edgeworth: Only one has been notably stronger than the rest, yet I've been able to place even that one into context as the mere symbol and functional conceit it is.
Illyvalen: Then it doesn't sound like you're in any kind of deteriorating condition... If I had to guess, the strength of the conviction is probably a measure of how much support it has from your divinatory capabilities. Both Truth and Knowledge domains support that kind of thing, I think...
Edgeworth appears calmer. "Indeed they do."
Illyvalen: You should probably ask Althea or Dil what they think, but it's probably something like that.
Edgeworth: As it happens, Althea was the one to tell me of this connection. ...In fact, these assertions spurred the first stirrings of this... enhanced intuition.
Illyvalen: That makes sense; domain-related things tend to come easiest to new clerics.
Edgeworth nods, then stares at Illyvalen with a mix of gratitude and uncertainty.
Illyvalen: Does that help?
Edgeworth nods. "Indeed." He then hesitates, seemingly searching for the right words.
Illyvalen looks back toward Tikra. "Thanks. I'm okay now. I think he probably will be too..." She releases Tikra from the hug and stands.
Tikra nods and stands herself.
Edgeworth: ...Er... shall we return to continue our game?
Illyvalen: Yeah, that's probably a good idea.
Edgeworth nods.
Edgeworth heads for the door to the hall and opens it. Thus is it shown that fear can blind oneself even to one's own successes.
Edgeworth shakes his head as he enters the hall. That being said, confirmation that I'm entirely capable of objectively evaluating those... perceptions that don't overwhelm me only addresses part of the problem.
Edgeworth smirks as he arrives at the door back into the chess meet. With that in place, however, a glimmer of hope remains for the rest.