The party returned to Verge with Melethon, promising to try to return him home without telling any lies. Elly sat out the attempt, as she was not willing to directly work against their assignment. Korin told Melethon of the Zern, in the hopes that shape-shifting race would be seen as the greater deceivers and be the first target if the Lumi in fact found a way to the prime material plane.
Jack scouted out the Intentional Chortles of Dimensional Portals bubble, in the process discussing math and philosophy with Blither F.I.R.N. and Blither Geriatric Salamander. By posing as someone inspecting security, he was able to get a good look at the portal to the positive energy plane.
The party then simply walked through the insane level of security, aciting as if they had every right to be doing what they were doing, and occasionally flashing their writ of investiture or telling technical truths. Melethon was about as helpful as usual. A researcher, Blither Jargon Proliferate, wanted to investigate Melethon using a glass lens that allowed her to see very tiny things. Korin and Jack kept asking her questions about her own research, so that they looked like typical Illumian academics.
At the portal to the positive energy plane, they were unable to talk their way past while only telling the truth, so Melethon tried to force his way past the guards. Jack, unwilling to allow the Illumians to interrogate Melethon and thus gain information about a new plane to conquer, attempted to stab the entity in the back, not counting on how well armored Lumi Crusaders are. The guards attempted to grapple both Jack and Melethon, and in the confusion Melethon was able to escape into the portal. Everyone else was brought in for questioning.
After questioning each party member, it was ultimately determined that the party would be neither punished nor rewarded for their behavior. Korin’s attempt to pit the Lumi against the Zern was seen to outweigh any disobedience or lack of protocal. They gave a full description of everything they learned about the Lumi, and Jack convinced Blither Delveflight into a compromise where the party was agreed to have performed one of the seven services for this study, yet were not given monetary compensation. The Illumians sent out an embassador and a researcher to make contact with the Lumi. Eli had a great sandwich.
Once Jack was released, the party set off again to find their fifth creature. There was a delay where after a day’s travel Elly offhandedly suggested that the horses might have been replaced by Zern, which alarmed the rest of the party, especially Jemax. After having the SaneGuard check that the horses were truly horses, they travelled several weeks North to a remote mountain, where they found a door politely asking them to go away.