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Espella Cantabella
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Espella Cantabella
Are you...Mr Hershel Layton?

Espella Cantabella is an inhabitant of Labyrinthia who sought out Hershel Layton's help after she found herself pursued by witches.

The Legendary Fire[]

Main article: Legendary Fire
Espella and Eve

As a child with Eve Belduke.

Espella lived much of her early life in a small town that had been founded by her father, Arthur Cantabella, and his friend Newton Belduke. Newton also had a daughter named Eve, and Espella became close friends with her.

During an expedition, Arthur and Newton discovered a large, silver bell and constructed a bell tower in the town for it. They designed a mechanism in the tower's belfry that would make the bell easy to ring despite its weight, and created a set of special keys for it that Arthur and Newton's respective wives wore as pendants. Arthur and Newton intended to ring the bell for the first time after the annual Fire Festival held in the town, but Espella wanted to sound the bell herself first. In an attempt to discourage her, Arthur told her a cautionary tale about Bezella, the mythical great witch who was honoured at the Fire Festival, and explained that she might possess Espella if she heard the bell ring. Undeterred, Espella took her mother's pendant and asked Eve to do the same and sneak into the bell tower with her on the night of the festival. Once there, however, she began to worry about what her father had said and, despite goading from Eve, was unwilling to ring the bell. She decided to watch the festival from atop the tower instead, when she suddenly lost consciousness, hearing the sound of a bell ringing before passing out. When she eventually awoke, the entire town was on fire. From her position lying on the floor, Espella saw the blaze through a dragon fretwork in the tower and believed it to be an actual dragon, coming to the conclusion that she really had summoned Bezella. The shock of what she saw caused her to pass out again.

Espella's trauma

Being comforted by her father after the Legendary Fire.

By the time Espella recovered, Arthur and Newton, who had been on another expedition at the time, were standing above her, asking what had happened, whilst Eve tearfully told them not to be mad at her friend. The entire town had been destroyed and Espella, Eve, Arthur, and Newton were the only survivors. The event left Espella emotionally scarred and she began to believe not only that she'd rung the bell, but that she had been possessed by Bezella. She spent the rest of the following day in her room, refusing to speak or even eat. Desperate to help his daughter and with nothing else working, Arthur decided to write a story about Bezella sending witches to do her bidding and how they in turn were banished by the townsfolk. He read this to Espella and explained that Bezella, witches, and magic truly existed, but came from outside the town and that everything he wrote came true. Seeing that this had gotten a positive response out of Espella, he wrote another story and asked Newton and Eve, who themselves had been trying to come to terms with what had happened, to act it out. After seeing this, Espella smiled and whispered to herself "It wasn't me". Realising this was working, Arthur continued to write stories and paid more people to help act them out, as well as renovate the town. The renovated town eventually became known as "Labyrinthia". Eve became the first Shade: individuals responsible for creating what appeared to be the "magic" being cast by witches. She also became the town's "High Inquisitor" to battle the "witches", and took the new name of "Darklaw" in order to prevent Espella from remembering her past. Arthur became the town's ruler and took the pseudonym of "the Storyteller", while Newton became an "alchemist"/doctor.

Meeting Layton & Wright[]

Main articles: On a Dark and Stormy Night & English Turnabout

Return to Labyrinthia[]

Main articles: Mysterious Labyrinthia & The Fire Witch

Accused of being the Great Witch[]

Main articles: The Great Witch & The Golden Court

Investigating Labyrinthia[]

Main articles: A Taste of Despair & Secrets of the Underground Ruins

The story's end[]

Main articles: The Story's End, The Final Witch Trial, The Last Inquisitor, & The First Story


Espella mugshot


Espella Cantabella is kind, gentle, and well-intentioned. She places a great deal of trust in others and is willing to sacrifice herself if it means putting an end to the suffering of other people.

Before her trial as the Great Witch Bezella, Cantabella had many suppressed memories, particularly concerning the so-called "Legendary Fire". When presented with any duress related to her being "Bezella", she would enter a trance-like state where her gaze becoming unfocused and distant. In this state, she was susceptible to suggestion, and it was believed that if pushed even farther she would reach an almost catatonic state. This condition persisted from childhood until the interference of Layton and Phoenix Wright allowed her to confront and make sense of her memories of the Legendary Fire that was the source of her trauma. Upon discovering that Labyrinthia was created for her sake, she blamed herself for the suffering everyone has endured and became so distressed that she attempted to commit suicide, despite her father's pleas, although her attempt was interrupted.


  • Japanese - Mahōne Katarūshia (マホーネ・カタルーシア):
    • Her surname "Katarūshia" (カタルーシア) is a play on "kataru" (語る), which means "to narrate". Her given name "Mahōne" (マホーネ) is probably derived from the word "mahō" (魔法), meaning "magic".
  • English - Espella Cantabella:
    • Her given name could come from the Italian verb "espellere", which means "to expel". It could also be a play on "spell". "Cantabella" is derived from the Italian words for "sings" (canta) and "beauty" (bella). Additionally, it has "bell" in it, which could be a reference to the Bell of Ruin. It could also be a reference to "cantrip", meaning a witch's spell or trick.
  • French/Spanish - Aria Novella/Aria Fable:
    • "Aria" is the Italian word for "air", as well as a term for a piece of music usually performed by one singer.
    • Her French surname "Novella" comes from the Italian word for "story".
    • Her Spanish surname "Fable" comes from the English word for a story with a moral or lesson (e.g., Aesop's Fables). Combined with the end of her given name, her surname also sounds somewhat like the Spanish word "afable" ("affable" in English), which means "friendly" or "good-natured".
  • German - Sophie de Narrateur:
    • Her given name "Sophie" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "wisdom". Her surname "de Narrateur" is French for "of narrator". This is likely meant to be a hint to her relationship with the Storyteller.
  • Italian - Luna Minstrel:
    • Her given name "Luna" comes from the Latin/Italian word for "moon", which is sometimes associated with witchcraft. Her surname "Minstrel" refers to a type of medieval traveling entertainer, and continues the singing theme prevalent in the other localizations.
  • Dutch - Maeve Cantabella:



  1. Phoenix: Do you remember what age you were then?
    Espella: I'm not quite sure, but I think I was six or seven.
    Layton: And how old are you now?
    Espella: I'm 18 years old.
    Judge: That means those events did take place more than ten years ago. It's very odd that you have memories that old. But perhaps you're mistaken about your age at the time.
    Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Capcom. Episode: The First Story (in English). 2014.