The drunken man’s parting word left Leon with a sense of emptiness. ‘Nothing will bring my brother back.’ The cost of his ambition was paid for with the blood of others against his wishes. He now had a debt which he had never held before and it would need to be paid before he could justify himself again. Whether with the lyre or not, he had to save lives enough to make up for those lost here.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Spread out, stop this riot, fix the ship.” Leon commanded aimlessly into the hall. Only for him to feign acting his own command to pursue his own goals. He needed to find Manfred, or Eun-Ji, whoever could get him off this boat. He has had enough of all this.
Leon could find them easily enough with a decent amount of searching and bumping into fleeing common folk. Down in the lower decks just above the water line. Quite a panic was being roused about these 'Schluckodils', whatever they were. Probably some river beast.
"Manfred! Eun-Ji!" Leon breathed heavily as if he had been running. Some part of it was an act, another part genuine. "I came as fast as I could. The crowd is calm, but what is this talk about Scluckodils? If they are as terrifying as I've heard, I'm afraid I'll be of little help."
"According to what Ms Hohnstein described to me, these Schluckodils are man-eating reptiles of significant size that indeed are very dangerous," Eun-Ji answered Leon's question simply before then observing the performer's condition. She noticed that he doesn't seem to be all too worse for wear, but decided not to bring it up to give Leon the benefit of the doubt.
Manfred responded by pointing with one hand and drawing his finger to his lips with the other. "There is one just around that bend: in the galley." His eyes evaluated Leon up and down for a moment, expression unreadable. "If you're too weak to help, then you should make your exit." He divided his attention between watching where the schluckodil might emerge and Leon. He was hoping to bottleneck the former while leaving himself and Eun-Ji room to manoeuvre. "You have the lyre, correct? The one you threw was an illusion or decoy?" His Kerreman accent came out more strongly with a couple of the less common words. He was not looking at Leon, but his body language indicated that he was expecting an answer.
Leon was taken aback by Manfred's questions but kept such thoughts internal as to not arouse suspicion. "This hardly seems like the time, Manfred. I will talk about it later, but not while lives are at stake." Leon raised his voice ever so slightly to make it a matter of appearances. To push the matter further is to care less about the lives on the ship.
"I do think that it is important to confirm of the state of the Lyre, which is a paramount matter in this mission of ours..." Eun-Ji said in as polite a tone as she could achieve, before then continuing. "But very well, handling the immediate threats first is not unreasonable." She did notice, however, that Leon avoided really answering Manfred's simple question, which was curious.
"The lyre?... Right, The lyre. Did we succeed with that at least?" Dorothea fidgeted, as she tried her best to stay composed in said situation. The fear of the Schluckodil was not helping her mental state much.
Manfred's eyes narrowed at Leon's words and he found himself reevaluating the performer for at least the second time. A simple 'yes' would've been quicker than the response Solaire had given, which meant that he didn't have it or he wanted to hide it. "Mm, you're right," the Kerreman allowed. "We each must do our utmost, with whatever tools we have, to prevent more deaths." His eyes remained on the bend but it was clear that he now addressed Eun-Ji. "The schluck," he said, "we need to draw it into the hall and get it to open its mouth. Its skin is too hard to pierce." His eyes flicked Leon's way. "Perhaps an illusion." He looked at Dorothea, guilt only momentarily clawing at him. She seemed to have recovered her reason, and that was good. "Can you manage an Arcane Lance? If you can, I can also shoot it." His rifle was primed and loaded.
"I believe I can assist with both providing a decoy that might cause the creature to open its mouth, and also with getting something lethal into said mouth once it is open..." Eun-Ji paused, mulling over the options. "However, indeed, if someone else can aid with providing the illusion instead, I can then fully focus on aiding to wound and take down the beast."
Feeling that he had been forgotten, the traveller agent Seer chimed in, grinning in a coy manner. "Yeees, handle the Schluckodil by the four of you. You definitely do not need an additionally capable mage that also happens to be a Powergazer to help you, hmm?"
Leon replied to Seer directly. "Unfortunately not, as I said I'm not going to be much use." He then turned to Eun-Ji, who he saw as being more level-headed than Manfred at the current time. "Eun-Ji, unfortunately, I am a little different from a normal mage. I'm unable to draw well, and it looks as though I'm out. As it stands, I'm as good as a non-magic user. Which is to say not at all."
"Hugo let you know the way out, right? I would like to use it."
The more Leon spoke, the guiltier he appeared to Manfred, and purposely targeted Eun-Ji, too. The Kerreman had respected him, even trusted him. This was... disappointing. He just wanted Leon out of the picture at this point. If he was hiding anything, the Paradigm would know. "Then you should be on your way," he cut in. "Do wait for us with the big man, though." He couldn't make it too obvious with the Traveler's people around. He still hadn't decided where his loyalties lay. "I think you'll find him in the grotta tal-fidda. It's just down that way." Manfred chose an out-of-the-way direction and pointed. "Eun-Ji," he followed up, finished with the lying showman, "You get it to open wide and Dory, myself, and Seer can hit it with everything we've got." He furrowed his brow. "Say, has anyone seen the Perrench?" If he was lucky, they'd been eaten by the crocs, but Manfred was so rarely lucky.
Eun-Ji nodded in response. It should, hopefully, be easy enough to trick such a creature with one of her water doppelganger. "I understand. You can count on me, Manfred." After having said that, she immediately started drawing from the surrounding in preparation for the act.
Leon took the opportunity to sneak away to a place devoid of Traveller agents and spoke the magic words to get back to Hugo’s tower.
Leon experience the strange bliss that was temporal travel when he first was sent on this mission. Warm and encompassing like the heat of the sun protecting him from the vast expanse of void and night around him. Before he knew it though, he stood before a not unfamiliar desk. And the greatest mage to ever live that sat behind it.
The two had not exchanged words when Leon had first arrived at the tower. Leon had barely laid eyes on the man. But with just him and Hugo in a space, it was overwhelming, the intimidating presence of immense power bearing down upon him. No matter what trickery he had pulled to get here, none of it would work now.
This was to be a trial of truth. Leon had the lyre on his back and nothing he could do would be able to hide it from the eyes of the Paradigm. He had to pick his words very carefully.
Leon took a bow.
"Hugo." Leon said his name alone and waited to raise himself from the bow before continuing. "I trust the other missions have been going smoothly as well." Leon kept a friendly smile but was careful not to overdo it.
Leon waited for the Paradigm before mentioning the lyre or the events of his own mission. Although the Paradigm was powerful, Leon was intensely interested in how much of the events Hugo was already aware of.