"Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense."
— Carl Sagan

Eventually, Edgeworth, Althea, and Tikra make it back to the Archive. The atmosphere is more solemn than usual now; apparently, a number of those present have realized the most likely connection between the improbable news and Belgiwig's mood.

Edgeworth stoicly looks the first basement over upon entering. An all too familiar sight...
Althea closes her eyes for a moment, then looks back to the rest of the group. "Dil doesn't seem to be back yet. I'd rather not try to check up on him unless necessary, given I've already used a significant amount of power for other needs..."
Edgeworth's determined look returns. "What of Belgiwig?"
Althea frowns. "I'd rather not disturb him with a Missive just yet. Let's ask around and see if he's been seen since we left."

One of the others present shakes her head. "I haven't seen him come back upstairs since this morning, but he was in the break room earlier."

Althea nods. "We may as well start there. Thanks."
Edgeworth bows appreciatively, then heads for the stairs down.
Althea and Tikra follow.

The second floor is as quiet as usual. Unfortunately, all that they find in the break room are a dirty teacup and an elf thoughtfully sipping at a cup of his own.

Edgeworth approaches the elf. "Excuse me, but have you seen Belgiwig?"
Elf: The Sivis lord returned to his office mere minutes ago after calming himself with cups of two of the milder blends.
Edgeworth: And where is that?
Elf sips at his tea before bothering to answer. "In a secure place. Though you may not have noticed, this Archive was subtly designed to confound unwelcome guests."
Edgeworth frowns in mild irritation. "I see... Very well, then."
Althea frowns. "We probably have no choice but to interrupt or wait, then..."
Tikra: Perhaps it would be best to await the arrival of the others before taking further action.
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "Every moment we wait is one more in which a culprit can take action, and we know that there is at least one person involved who still walks free."
Althea sighs. "Very well, it's your call under the circumstances, but I'm not going to try to force the issue. I will simply let him know that we are here and wish to speak with him."
Edgeworth taps his finger on his arm. "I suppose."
Althea closes her eyes to concentrate again. I apologize for the disturbance. Edgeworth is here and wishes to discuss investigation. We await in the break room when you are ready.
Edgeworth meanwhile heads over to the runed kettle on the countertop and holds his hand an inch from its surface to gauge the warmth of the water.
Edgeworth: What was the nonsense word used to activate this again?...
Edgeworth grasps the kettle's handle briefly and mutters something, then fetches a cup, a spoon, and one of the tins of tea.

The prosecutor-cleric spoons some tea into the cup. Once the water reaches the temperature Edgeworth deems best, he pours some in... just as a melancholy but at least dry-eyed Belgiwig enters the room.

Althea nods solemnly to Belgiwig.
Edgeworth looks up from the cup. "I appreciate your cooperation."
Tikra remains silent.
Belgiwig nods slowly. "Even if Talbo is fated to see the results of Dolurrh this soon, the reason why is ours to answer."
Edgeworth: Does he think we're trying to answer a philosophical question or a concrete one?
Edgeworth: Indeed. I understand that Talbo requested your aid in healing Ms. Vadin yesterday, but you were in no condition to be questioned thoroughly concerning it earlier.
Althea: We were able to meet with Ms. Vadin in the interim, although I regret we may not have left the most positive impression on her... We have garnered new insight on the cause of her condition, however, though it may raise more questions than it yet answers...
Belgiwig looks between Edgeworth and Althea. "So you already have evidence supporting your belief in the need to keep light from blinding..."
Edgeworth smirks. "Indeed, but there's still more of the truth to be found."
Althea nods. "We do know at least that the cause was not as purported."
Althea: And that deliberate action was involved...
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "Althea claims that you testified that Talbo was warned of blinding sickness. What were the circumstances of your learning of this?"
Belgiwig frowns. "Early yesterday morning, he placed his regrets on paper for me."
Edgeworth straightens slightly, uncrossing his arms and fixing Belgiwig with a determined look. "Do you still have this note?"
Belgiwig looks uncomfortable. "It's... the last thing I have left..."
Edgeworth: For the moment, the precise content and verification of who sent it are all that concern me.
Belgiwig: It looked like what usually flows from his hand, and the examples I've seen are sands on a beach.
Edgeworth lifts his finger to his temple. In other words, he's confident that the handwriting is the victim's... I think.
Althea nods. "I think we can take that at face value under the circumstances."
Edgeworth eyes Althea. "For a certain definition of 'face value'."
Edgeworth looks back to Belgiwig. "Unless circumstances come to demand that we do testing on the original, a magical duplicate should suffice for our purposes."
Belgiwig sighs. "Understood, understood..."
Edgeworth: In any case, I wish to see it before we discuss things further. If you see fit, we could relocate in the process as well.
Belgiwig shrugs. "A fog of misunderstanding will spread as readily as the fires of enlightenment, so I suppose it's only polite that we talk in private for now."
Edgeworth looks to his still-steeping tea. "I presume that beverages are not allowed beyond this room any more than books and scrolls are allowed within it, however."
Belgiwig gives Edgeworth a serious look. "The hundreds of lives within my office are as precious to me as the one that's been lost."
Althea glances awkwardly at Edgeworth. "...You presume correctly."
Edgeworth: It seems that the offense in question is more dire than I believed. I find myself missing spill-proof mugs...
Edgeworth: Then I suppose there's nothing for it — my tea will have to be enjoyed cold if at all.
Edgeworth shrugs and shakes his head.
Edgeworth: Lead the way, sir.

With a nod, Belgiwig steps out of the break room and makes the short trip towards the wall at the end of the hall... which, to judge from the fact that he sticks a key into a solid-looking spot, turns it, and causes a faint creak by pushing through it somehow, must not actually be one at all.

Edgeworth blinks. Huh. One wonders why the need to keep this door concealed was so great as to call for the application of a magical illusion.
Edgeworth: Would mundane subterfuge not normally suffice, and indeed be superior given that magical auras are normally detectable?
Edgeworth continues to look thoughtful as he follows Belgiwig through the illusory wall that conceals the secret door. The staircase behind it is long, dimly-lit, and constitutes cramped quarters for him, but it's not so bad as to cause him to struggle.
Althea and Tikra follow quietly behind without comment.
Belgiwig unlocks the metal door at the bottom of the surprisingly lengthy staircase with another key, then leads the way in. Two human-sized chairs in the corner and a sufficient ceiling clearance to allow Edgeworth to raise his arms are the only concessions to people of his size in this particular room.
Edgeworth has to duck his head to step into the mostly gnome-scaled room. I have the distinct sense of having my presence be merely tolerated in this particular office...
Edgeworth looks around, noting the bookshelves lining the walls. Indeed, one would almost think that the room is this size merely to accomodate higher bookshelves, if not for the presence of the larger chairs.
Belgiwig heads behind his desk in order to seat himself, opens a drawer and pulls out a note, then opens another to take out a small piece of paper.
Edgeworth crosses his arms and watches, not bothering to take one of the larger chairs.
Belgiwig pauses to sigh, then touches the note with his left hand, closes his eyes, and begins miming writing with the right above the blank paper. A brief, faint glimmer of blue, aqua, and green light can be made out from the roots of Belgiwig's cool-color-streaked beard. Gradually, the note begins to duplicate itself, complete with the original handwriting being the same.
Edgeworth raises an eyebrow, but doesn't interrupt just yet. He does glance down and over at Althea with a question in his eyes, however.
Althea glances toward Belgiwig's desk, then toward Edgeworth and nods. Quietly, she adds: "Some Sivis heirs can turn the Mark of Scribing toward the effect of that spell. I presume you're familiar given the specifics of your request?"
Tikra remains near the door.
Edgeworth nods. "Indeed. I recently saw Dil making use of that effect, though I arrived too late to see him cast the spell itself."
Edgeworth: Prior to that, he informed me of its existence along with that of other orisons.
Belgiwig finishes his duplication of the note shortly, puts the original away, and picks up the duplicate to offer it from his sitting position.
Belgiwig: What secret message you could find encoded in the words here I could scarcely guess...
Edgeworth steps forward and stoops down slightly to accept the proffered paper, then looks it over...
Althea looks curiously toward Edgeworth and the duplicate note.
Edgeworth kneels down to allow Althea a look as well, frowning at its contents.

I need your help to cure the blinding sickness Chidellof contracted yesterday. I can't believe I didn't listen to Ellymoha's frantic warnings about duels to the death then. Now that I think about it, no one would make those kinds of claims just as a prank, would they? Whatever made her think that, she was right about one thing: Chidellof really did go blind. And if she was right about that much, the part about Egmon wanting to expose her to it makes too much sense. But shouldn't the Trust's words have been enough to defeat only one sword?

Edgeworth's expression quickly firms. "Despite all the things Zil society considers to be something less than a crime, and which in turn the Trust might turn a blind eye to, I cannot imagine that blood duels would be among them."
Tikra: ...
Althea: Indeed not. Those who try to bring such feuds within Zil borders are not well received. The Trust was formed in large part to end such methods of resolving differences.
Edgeworth: As such, one is left to wonder how Ellymoha came to such a conclusion to begin with. The more that we learn, the more crucial it becomes to speak with her...
Edgeworth: Could this have been the source of her unease at the concert?
Edgeworth puts the finger of his free hand to his temple. "Furthermore, the final sentence of the note is rather... striking."
Belgiwig: It is? But that question is as plain as the sun...
Tikra: ...perhaps an outsider is less easily blinded by it...
Edgeworth smirks. "What's important is that it's a question that weighed heavily on his mind at the time of this writing. It appears that he soon came to an answer which spurred him to drastic action."
Edgeworth looks to Belgiwig. "I presume you know full well the tale of the Brelish outlands negotiation. That tragedy may well have seeded Talbo's mind with doubt as to whether the pen is always mightier than the sword."
Belgiwig looks to Edgeworth in unpleasant surprise. "So you've drawn that truth to you... but he never set that pen down!"
Edgeworth shakes his head. "Given Chidellof's refusal to believe that Talbo would resort to violence, that comes as no surprise. However, with that seed of doubt in his mind, how would he react if he believed that words failed?"
Althea hesitates for a few moments, looking troubled, before adding, "...or worse, that such words... had not even been uttered..."
Belgiwig glares at Althea. "Don't confuse my brother for his fiancée. If he really thought the Trust stayed their tongues, he'd have used his own before a knife!"
Edgeworth spreads his arms, note still in one hand. "Which is precisely my point as well. I believe his conclusion was not that the Trust failed to act, but that they used only verbal action which proved ineffective."
Edgeworth: While he may not have believed Ellymoha's duel theory in particular, he might well have considered the possibility that blinding Chidellof was part of some larger scheme on Egmon's part. With that in mind, he may well have concluded that the Trust would not... "eliminate" the threat he believed Egmon posed with their usual characteristic speed, given their failure to stop the plan before the first criminal action could take place.
Althea: Hmmm... I see... That may be a more plausible explanation, though I'm not the one best equipped to judge...
Belgiwig: ...
Belgiwig looks away. "Our father's death... cut deeper wounds into T-Talbo than I... but I never imagined that if the Trust blinked at the wrong time..."
Edgeworth lowers his arms and puts on a neutral mask. "And yet, this isn't inconceivable to you."
Tikra: When once one has lost the illusion of safety, its comfort may never return...
Belgiwig: It would have to have been more than fear that the Trust would blunt its knives. Normally, any reasonable gnome would ask why the Trust would do so in the first place. Yet he couldn't see the sands remaining in the hourglass his beloved was trapped within...
Edgeworth half-frowns. Is he referring to the possibility that time was running out, or that she may have been buried? Then again, would the particular extreme in play matter?
Althea: ...Perhaps he could, in a sense... if we think about it from the other end, if Egmon exposed her to blinding sickness as an opportunity to attack her, he must have known Talbo knew people who could help treat her condition...
Edgeworth: Indeed. Even if he didn't know of Belgiwig in particular, am I right in supposing that a typical House member could afford House Jorasco's services?
Belgiwig: In the face of a gale but not a tornado, certainly.
Althea: Then the opportunity to take advantage of her condition was fleeting.
Edgeworth grins. "Precisely."
Belgiwig wrings his hands. "And while thought may fuel words, it takes time. While a sword is best wielded with a swift hand..."
Belgiwig begins to tear up.
Althea looks down. "I apologize for further disturbing you at such a time..." She looks to Edgeworth. "I suspect we have seen as much fruit as there is to be had from this questioning..."
Edgeworth nods. "I likewise suspect so. I presume that we may take this duplicate of the note freely?"
Belgiwig nods numbly.

After leaving Belgiwig to his own struggles, Edgeworth heads back into the break room with Althea and Tikra in tow. Fortunately, he finds that the tea he left to steep hasn't been touched, and so takes a few moments to quickly drink that before heading back up to the first basement. There, the group finds a familiar gaunt figure...

Edgeworth glares with determination at Dil. "Have you and Mr. Salyrria found Miss Cissot?"
Dil holds up his hands before him in apparent surrender. "They're just outside the shop."
Edgeworth wastes no time in marching toward the door leading to the secret staircase to the ground floor, sparing only a nod as his thanks. "Good. I would hate to think that a key witness was left unattended for long."
Althea sighs slightly and shakes her head. "Best to stay together for this, I'd think."
Althea heads up the stairs after Edgeworth.
Tikra follows without comment.
Dil shakes his head and mutters, "You're welcome..." He then turns and follows the others back up.

The group heads through the back room of the bookstore the Korranberg Archive is built beneath, then out through the store itself, finding both Nathaniel and the flutist from the concert waiting there.

Ellymoha seems a bit calmer than she did during the concert, but still clearly distressed.
Edgeworth wastes no time in stepping forward and crossing his arms. "I apologize for the inconvenience, Miss Cissot, but we have increasing reason to believe you may know something related to the incident yesterday."
Ellymoha winces slightly. "You mean about Talbo Santor d'Sivis, right? ...I don't know what's going on anymore, this is all so crazy..."
Nathaniel eyes Edgeworth almost warningly, then glances at Althea briefly before returning his attention to Ellymoha.
Edgeworth uncrosses his arms and shifts to a more neutral stance with some internal effort. "What information you do have should prove vital to making sense of the matter for everyone involved."
Edgeworth: It has been weighing heavily on you since before the incident itself, has it not?
Ellymoha: Of course. When something like that is going on right in front of your eyes...
Dil stays back, watching the entire conversation curiously.
Edgeworth firms despite himself. "Please elaborate."
Ellymoha: I... I hardly know where to begin...
Althea: From the beginning should suffice. You became aware of something recently, correct?
Ellymoha: ...right. I suppose the first thing was during the afternoon the day before yesterday...
Edgeworth recrosses his arms, tapping his finger and keeping his gaze fixed on the top of Ellymoha's head so as not to accidentally meet her eyes and glare.
Ellymoha: It happened while I was passing by a break area around one of the warehouses near the docks.
Ellymoha: I saw... someone pouring something into a worker's glass...
Edgeworth ends up glaring anyway, if not directly into their witness's eyes. "Can you describe that moment in more detail?"
Ellymoha winces again, but manages not to look away. "I'm reasonably sure it was Egmon Niralamba Santiar... and Chidellof Vadin Chivarach's drink... I couldn't tell what he was pouring, but..."
Edgeworth: HOLD IT! That's a rather severe accusation. On what basis did you come to that specific conclusion?
Ellymoha recoils, seeming taken aback by the outburst and somewhat flustered by it. "I... th-that is... er..."
Dil tilts his head.
Nathaniel glares at Edgeworth. "I hardly think it necessary to intimidate your witness like this..."
Edgeworth recoils. "That was hardly my intention!"
Althea puts a hand to her forehead and shakes her head slowly. "...I'm sorry, Miss Cissot. Please just take it slowly and try to recall your reasons for drawing such inferences in as much detail as you can."
Ellymoha nods and takes a few deep breaths to calm herself before continuing.
Edgeworth likewise pauses to attempt to calm himself.
Edgeworth: I must remember that even if I'm not yet recognized as such from a social perspective in this world, I am a professional with authority to wield.
Ellymoha: I... I pass by that warehouse somewhat often, so I've seen Chidellof there on a number of occasions; I'm aware of where she sits and which glass she uses...
Edgeworth blinks. "She uses a specific glass?" I don't suppose we could be so fortunate as to have that not have been washed in the interrim?
Ellymoha: She does. ...I suppose it's fair to say I've... sort of kept an eye on her, after that whole mess three years ago...
Ellymoha: Not very closely or anything, but you don't easily forget witnessing something like that...
Edgeworth: I would imagine not, particularly in this country.
Ellymoha nods, then continues after a moment. "As for Egmon..." she shrugs, "I've seen him enough to recognize him... His involvement kinda stands out, knowing about that incident and all..."
Edgeworth nods grimly. So she claims to have witnessed Egmon directly. As for her seeing what she believed to be Chidellof's drink being tainted, that much at least we can verify from what we know so far.
Edgeworth: Please continue with your testimony.
Ellymoha: Not long afterward, I spoke with someone about what I'd witnessed at a tavern in the area...
Edgeworth: Who was this "someone"?
Ellymoha: An apothecary from the alchemy market. Rayhan Loeb Dalian.
Althea frowns slightly. "I think I've heard that name before..."
Edgeworth looks to Althea. "Oh?"
Tikra speaks up after a moment when Althea looks to be having trouble placing the cause for familiarity. "Illyvalen has done business with her."
Althea: Ah, right. I'm pretty sure I've heard that name mentioned in the course of going over Illyvalen's research.
Edgeworth: Then we may find ourselves needing to speak with her as well, depending on what our current witness has to say about their conversation.
Edgeworth looks back to Ellymoha.
Ellymoha: At first we just figured it was a game getting a little out of hand, but when I mentioned Egmon by name, she pointed out that it was already rather odd that he started carrying around a sword...
Edgeworth nods... Which, I understand, it is.
Ellymoha: It's fairly obvious that Egmon never really got over that incident three years ago, but... the idea of them just fighting it out is ridiculous. He couldn't have thought that the Trust would let him just...
Edgeworth's determination returns, though he manages to at least keep it contained to a sense of mere presence. The assumption conveyed in Talbo's note...
Edgeworth: How did you come to the conclusion that there was to be a fight?
Ellymoha: I... I guess... I'm not entirely sure... I think Rayhan suggested something about how if it came down to it, Chidellof could probably disable Egmon without killing him, but the same wouldn't be true the other way around...
Edgeworth raises his finger to his temple. Why would she say that?
Ellymoha shakes her head and covers her eyes with one hand, looking anguished. "And yet, they let him poison her! Why would they not only let him try to settle things with a duel of all things, but then cheat at it too?!"
Nathaniel blinks. "A duel...?"
Edgeworth looks to Nathaniel with a frown. "Indeed, we first heard of this rather bizarre line of logic mere minutes ago."
Ellymoha: I don't know what else to think. This whole situation is so crazy, I just can't imagine... what could have been going through Egmon's head... or what the Trust could be thinking...
Edgeworth: And yet, you apparently imagined something fit to share. At the least, we have evidence suggesting that you spoke with Talbo.
Ellymoha takes a moment to calm herself again. "Rayhan... mentioned that there was an outbreak of blinding sickness recently... I guess she thought maybe Egmon might somehow have gotten ahold of something like that..."
Edgeworth glowers. This "Rayhan" seems as though she's responsible for many of the conclusions our witness has drawn...
Ellymoha: She also suggested... th-that maybe the reason the Trust wouldn't act... was that they were both so dangerous that if either of them died it'd make Zilargo safer...
Ellymoha shudders, her gaze downcast as she relates this idea.
Dil frowns. "I don't know about that... If that was their opinion, they both would have been warned at least, if not... missing."
Edgeworth shudders. To think that one's mere existence could in theory be considered a crime in itself...
Nathaniel seems somewhat disturbed and at a loss himself. "Indeed, the apparent silence throughout the entirety of these events is highly uncharacteristic. None of this seems like it should ever have been allowed to happen..."
Tikra: It would stand to reason that none of us has correctly surmised the cause, then.
Althea shakes her head slightly. "If we're to understand why Rayhan thought as she did, we will no doubt need to ask her in due course. Let's focus on what was actually said for now."
Edgeworth nods. "Agreed, I would very much like to hear more about this conversation myself."
Ellymoha: Well... I think she asked me what I thought was going on, but at that point it was all just so confusing... I remember she said something about how blinding Chidellof wouldn't help if there was time to use connections to get medical help...
Ellymoha: ...and she told me I should warn Talbo about this, of course. I remember that pretty clearly.
Edgeworth's expression firms. Given her confusion, uncertainty, and softened language even when describing things she observed directly...
Edgeworth: What about that admonition made it stand out in your mind?
Ellymoha: Huh? Er, well... I suppose that, when she said it, I realized it was obvious. How could I not warn Talbo if the Trust wasn't going to act?
Althea frowns slightly.
Ellymoha: ...not that I think he believed me really, but I had to try!
Edgeworth: ...!
Nathaniel looks to Edgeworth. "Something about that statement strikes you?"
Edgeworth: Something in her manner of delivering it seems... unnatural, and not in a way suggesting deceit.
Nathaniel: Hmmm. While I couldn't say for certain, the thought does occur...
Edgeworth: I could almost swear that she cared more about the delivery of the message for its own sake than the crucial reasons one might do so.
Althea nods. "It's possible that could be a side-effect of some kind of mind-affecting magic or psionics... though after this much time has passed, we no longer have among us any who could check for direct tell-tales..."
Edgeworth clenches his teeth in irritation.
Ellymoha looks confused. "Why would she of all people need to do that? If she wanted to be sure Talbo knew, she could have just told him herself."
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "One could just as easily apply that same logic to her suggesting you deliver the message in any ordinary manner."
Ellymoha: Er...
Dil grins, looking impressed.
Ellymoha shakes her head, seeming lost. "Could she be playing some game here too? But..."
Edgeworth looks to Althea, mildly confused.
Nathaniel grins and shakes his head. "Ah, the great Zil pastime. It does make life interesting. Still, playing games so close to the Trust's interests is certainly not for the faint of heart. I'm not sure I'd want to wager on what the aims of this might be."
Althea nods to Edgeworth. "I did mention that the Zil tend to amuse themselves with various intrigues, and that such proclivities are expressly permitted within Zilargo's borders."
Edgeworth: I see...
Tikra: ...
Nathaniel: I see I am not among fans here... Perhaps it is simply too much of an acquired taste for foreigners.
Edgeworth eyes Nathaniel. I would be surprised if he expected me in particular to be one.
Ellymoha: Even I wonder sometimes about how far some are willing to take it...
Nathaniel: If you're going to commit to something, you should commit whole-heartedly, I would think. Still, there are always limits.
Dil frowns. "There are some ways I wish it could be taken farther more easily. Just not in ways that would hurt someone..."
Althea: I don't think this is really the best time to debate the finer points of gnomish culture. The testimony we've just heard raises a number of possibilities and offers two clear leads to follow; one we can pursue as is, the other will require assistance.
Dil chuckles suddenly.
Edgeworth looks to Dil questioningly.
Althea sighs and shakes her head. "Now you've got me doing it too..."
Edgeworth spreads his arms and shakes his head with a smirk. "Hmph. That would fit the pattern suggested by yesterday's other incident."
Ellymoha takes on an even more worried look. "Other incident? Something else happened? There wasn't another murder, was there?"
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "Fortunately, I speak of a more personal and considerably less violent matter."
Althea: It's a... long story.
Ellymoha looks considerably less worried and considerably more interested now. "Something happened to you two while investigating, I take it?"
Edgeworth: OBJECTION! This line of questioning is irrelevant to both the case and the investigation thereof!
Dil chuckles longer, clearly trying to keep himself contained in the process.
Althea looks at Ellymoha, then Edgeworth, then Dil, then shakes her head. "I really should know better by now, I really should..."
Nathaniel glances at Ellymoha and mouths, "I'll tell you later."
Ellymoha mutters quietly, "I'm gonna hold you to that..."