-Ellie shuts her eyes against the light, mind running through her counterattack, since apparently she's going to be alive to give one-
She opens her eyes.
He's a bit suspicious, and pokes the geegaw, but pays them just fine - even tips a bit.
Great. Have they got enough money for a room now?
A small one, somewhere less nice, and two meals.
That's good enough to be getting on with. Library?
There's a small public one near here but the big scholarly ones are on the Eastern side of the mountain, and the person they ask has a vague idea they're somehow reserved for scholars.
That might be a snag. Though maybe they can contrive to count as scholars.
They can at least check out the close one, get a feel for what things are like.
Well lit by flame-less glowing crystals. Very, very thoroughly and neatly organized. Quiet, with thick rugs covering the floor. Designed for easy seclusion with your book.
There's a lot of fiction, here - about half the library - but also a lot of (mostly basic, mostly geared towards education) nonfiction texts.
Where stands the state of science and technology?
Technology - weird, given they also have magic. They're better than Amestris at applying the basic concepts of static engineering, even if their understanding is similar. They don't have widespread electricity, combustion engines, or anything derived from those. Their magic allows them to create glowing stones, but the 'great works' of the Second Age are mostly lost. Apparently, no one lastingly recorded how to make rings that turn you invisible, even though those definitely once existed; no one recorded how to make rockets and airships, either, though those also once existed. Their metallurgy is definitely better than Amestris's. They have the printing press, about as advanced as it's possible to get without electricity.
Science - also weird, actually.
They know about evolution, but consider all life to have been created fairly recently on a geologic scale by the Powers. The dwarves were created from stone by Mahal (one of the Powers) and given sapience by Eru (creator of the universe, who supposedly reserved the creation of sapience for himself). The sun and moon were created later, and this caused an ecological disaster.
They know a lot of chemistry, about even with alchemists - they just lack the technology to apply all of it.
They know a lot of geology, and astronomy, and medicine. They seem to have successfully invented the scientific method, and been mostly stymied from doing anything incredibly impressive with that by repeated localized apocalypses and expulsions. They have extremely good microscopes, which has helped microbiology.
Is their biology basically similar?
They have bones and muscles and nerves all in the same general places, just with fewer bafflingly stupid evolutionary shortcuts - there's some nerves that loop in a really dumb way in humans that are sensibly placed in dwarves, and their eyes are arranged like they were actually designed by someone rather than by a random number generator with too much time on its hands. Their kidneys work a bit differently, too. Their brains are a bit different from human brains but neither civilization is very good at neurology yet. They still breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, and are prone to most of the same diseases as humans (just with significantly less cancer and diseases of old age), and have two lungs and one heart, and need to eat basically the same foods as humans. The picture of a model dwarven cell looks a lot like Amestrian pictures of model human cells, just with less detail.
...A couple arguments in favor of the creation theory.
If they end up staying longer, kickstarting some industries could be worthwhile.
Sounds fun, too, and probably profitable - they can get inventions named after them, maybe.
Rename the combustion engine the bellona.
Heeee. Perfect! Electricity already has an 'el'...
El as a unit of measurement might be better.
It will forever immortalize her.
Of course, it's better to also immortalize her the literal way.
Something they'll have to get on, before El's old and wrinkly.
They don't lack for projects, that's for sure.
It'll be fun.
For now- going back to their room, acquiring a stable income, investigating the scholar's libraries, working out the extent of their alchemical problems, and maybe contributing to dwarven society, in approximately that order.
Works for her.