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Illyana's words brought doubt to the Frenchman. He had never seen her get so angry. It was clear how much this bothered her by the look in her eyes. Had he really been blind to Geralt's actions? Golden eyes drifted to Aurel as Illyana turned to look at him. Did he feel that way too? If so, how could he not have noticed? He knew that Geralt's mood swings were sometimes not the best, but he hadn't seen him lash out at anyone. If anything... in the recent days he had thought that everyone had grown more used to having him around. Even Ivory hadn't been as hostile toward him as she had been when he had first arrived. He was beginning to think that no matter what happened, Illyana would continue to see him this way. It was honestly hard for him.. to see her like this. He hadn't thought this was truly bothering her to this extent...

His thoughts were cut short by her final comment. Lucien furrowed his brow, trying to hold back the hurt from his expression at hearing those words.

"What kind of man do you think I want him to be, Illyana?" He asked, upset that she had taken things that far. Did she think.. he was interested in the man in that way? "Is that why you think I don't want to let him go?" Frustration seeped into his words as he spoke.

Aurel tensed at Illy's words, eyes darting toward Lucien and then back to her as she spoke. Lucien's demeanor had changed. It was clear that her words had both hurt and frustrated him. While he agreed with Illyana in the fact that Geralt's presence was.. unseemly, he hadn't wanted things to get this far. He hadn't really thought of things the way that Illyana had about what Lucien saw in that man. It had concerned him for a very long time, that perhaps the Magician had managed to sway him. He hadn't thought it would be possible, and honestly he wasn't sure if that was even the case.. or if there was more to it that they didn't know about. Whatever the reason, he found it best to speak up now, before things got further out of hand. He stepped forward, and gently placed a hand on Illyana's shoulder.

"I don't think.. Illy meant it that way, Lucien. I'm sure there.. are other reasons why you made the decision you did. I agree with her in the fact that there's something he's hiding... and while I understand that you've always been respectful in regards to people's privacy..." He paused for a moment, giving Illyana a small glance.

"I think perhaps.. it would help if we actually knew what it was he was hiding. Geralt.. is a wild card, he always has been. In the time he's been here my snakes and I have both seen how.. bipolar he is. He could say that he'll never do it again now.. but it can always happen again, Lucien.. I don't.. want to tell you how to lead this circus.. I've always trusted in your judgement but.. perhaps.. you should talk to him again.." He said, his worry clear on his expression. Up to this point he had refrained from giving his direct opinion on Geralt. While he did make him uncomfortable, he had grown accustomed over time. Aurel had not wanted to cause any problems, especially knowing how much he had been helping them recover financially. But now.. it was possible he'd become a bigger problem. He didn't want Geralt to be what ended up tearing their family apart.
Lucien gave Faolan a glance at his tone, knowing that he wasn't fond of the idea. Still, he gave him a reassuring smile at his words.

"I promise I'll be careful." He told him, knowing what exactly the source of his worries were. He had to be, considering now they had not only Aurel but Illyana with them. He admitted that psychics had always made him curious, he was sure not all of them were as dangerous as Faolan played them out to be. He had to believe in that if they were going to be able to find Illyana help.

"I'm sure Father Cyril will be surprised to see how tall I've gotten." He said with a small chuckle. Lucien had managed to ease the man's concern through the many letters he had sent over the years, but perhaps seeing him in person would alleviate any remaining ones he'd have.

"It's probably best we don't stay near his home." He added. It wasn't like before, and to be honest he was a little reluctant in letting the priest see Aurel. He wanted to avoid any potential issues in that regard. They could probably get away with dropping by for a visit, and then going off to do what they went there for.
Lucien and Aurel were both surprised by Illyana's outburst. This behavior was unlike her. Over the years sure, there had been small temper tantrums as a child but.. this had clearly gotten to her. This was bothering her a lot more than he thought it would. For a moment, she thought that Illyana had somehow found out of Geralt's hypnotism incident, but that wasn't possible. It was something Lucien had decided to keep to himself, since it had seemed Geralt had learned his lesson and they had been able to speak of his reasons behind it. He hadn't found it necessary to tell Illyana, not when she had been looking for any sort of reason to want the Magician out of their circus.

He let out a small sigh before he looked at the others. "Perhaps it is best that we adjourn this meeting for the night. If any of you wish to speak to me further about this, feel free to stop by my trailer tomorrow. You all need rest." He said to them. It would do them no good to continue this conversation with the others. He needed to speak with Illyana about this alone.

Ivory scrunched up her nose slightly at the slight smell of blood, giving Illyana and Lucien a wary glance. At this point even she knew that it was best they had a chance to speak alone. She motioned to Cora and Akane, who followed her worriedly out of the Big Top.

"Do you think they'll be okay..?" Akane asked.

"I'm sure they'll be fine.. They just need to talk about it." Ivory responded.

--

While the other three performers had gone, Aurel had stayed. He was too worried about Illyana and Lucien to just leave them like this. It wasn't often the two of them had a disagreement this big.

Lucien had waited until the others left, giving Aurel a small glance as he had decided to remain. He didn't mind. He wanted his opinion on the matter as well.

"I'm sorry that this has upset you, Illy. I understand that Geralt's actions were completely uncalled for, and I made sure that was known. Last night I questioned his dedication to this circus, I'm not lying when I said that I made it clear that this sort of behavior would not be tolerated again." He said, before letting out a sigh.

"It's been months since Geralt joined us. I know he's had his unsavory moments, but he's never brought harm to anyone here. You know he wouldn't still be here if he had. Earlier you spoke of fairness.. but let me ask you this. If Ivory or any of the others missed a show without reason, would you have told me the same?" He asked her, his voice softer than before. He didn't want to sound harsh, but he wanted her to understand how biased she was being. He didn't think any of the other performers here would do such a thing, but he cared too much about all of them to simply kick them out on the spot. They weren't just a business, they were also a family, he would never throw them out into the streets for something like this. If they no longer cared for the circus, while it would hurt, he would happily let them go to do with their lives as they wanted.

Aurel was happy for the addition of Illyana to their journey. As someone who had never really gotten to experience hanging out with any other kids, or anyone within his age range. Even though Illyana was young, she was very smart. His snakes had warmed up to her quickly, even more so now that they were sharing a trailer. Faolan had installed a curtain down the middle for privacy. He enjoyed telling her stories of some of their experiences out in the forest, and had even told her of how he had found Ginger and how it had almost given both the men a heart attack. While he had never minded having only Lucien and Faolan to talk to, having another person he could share his experiences with was nice.

-

Being back on the road again was natural for Lucien. All the extra work they had been doing had unfortunately lessened the time they could spend with each other, but they knew they could not slack off with the children to take care of. He'd take a lot of night shifts, and heal on top of that whenever he could for extra coin. They needed as much as they could get at the moment.

He had to admit holding back from the normal way they were with each other was difficult. They hadn't had to do this with Aurel for very long, but Illyana was a different story. She was not like Aurel, she had grown up with a family, a family that could have taught her different ways to view the world. Since they were not sure about how she would react, the two of them had found it best to keep their love hidden.

As they continued South, Lucien had picked up some mail in the last town they had visited. Even now he still wrote to Father Cyril, though it was less frequent than before. He also still wrote to Marcus on occasion, since he still considered him a friend even now. But it was in his letters to the priest that he began to contemplate their next destination, and had decided to bring it up to Faolan.

"I've honestly been thinking about it for a while. Father Cyril sent me another letter, I thought it might be nice for me to stop by. We haven't gone back well.. since it all started." He flashed Faolan a smile at this.

"Besides, I didn't know it back then, but New Orleans is actually a very good place to try to encounter those of.. supernatural ability. I vaguely remember seeing a number of voodoo shops and the sort, the ones you advised me to not get close to." He said with amusement in his tone. Back then he had thought nothing of it, but even then the man had tried to protect him, even before learning of what he was.

"That place will definitely be our greatest chance of finding a psychic."
Lucien was glad that his and Faolan's words had managed to ease Illyana's worries a little. He knew how desperately she wanted to find her sister, but he was sure this journey would have it's ups and downs. They would have their leads and their dead ends, but he wasn't planning to give up.

"I'm sure you can, Illyana, but do not feel pressured to do so. You are no longer doing this alone, just remember that." He told her, returning her attempt at a smile. He could tell that the girl was not particularly expressive. She was the opposite of Aurel in that way. Despite the fact he was reserved, you could tell how he was feeling just by looking at him. Illyana reminded him of Faolan in that way, though his lover was not nearly as stoic as he used to be. Perhaps with time, he would be able to see her smile a lot more brightly.

"You should try to enjoy the sights and the journey on the way. I'm sure your sister would love to hear the stories of all the things you got to see. It would be nice to have a lot of things to tell her right?" Aurel spoke up. While his life on the circus had allowed him to travel to many places, he had never been able to fully enjoy them.

With Lucien and Faolan, however, he had been able to see so many parts of the world, get to see so much of nature, and so many sights he thought he'd never see. It would be nice if Illyana was able to enjoy them in the same way. After so much sadness, she deserved at least that much.
Lucien turned toward Illyana as she spoke. He could see the nervousness in her body language, but could hear the determination in her tone. He knew speaking up like this was usually hard for her, but at the same time he also knew how Illyana got when it came to Geralt. Even after all this time he was aware she hadn't given up on trying to figure him out.

"No, there was not." He responded, pausing for a moment. "But enough was said for me to know that this was not simply a whim of his. If it had been, I would not have allowed him to stay." He told her, no hesitation in his tone. He did not want Illyana to think he had.. simply gone easy on him, or that he was only letting him stay because of his monetary value. He would have let him go had the attitude from last night remained. It was clear he had time to think about what he had done, and while he had not been provided with a reason, from what Lucien had seen.. and heard, he knew that there was something going on with him that he wasn't willing to share, and.. it was unlike Lucien to kick someone while they were down.

Ivory let out a sigh. There was no really no way to know whether this was true or not. She had seen the man do plenty on simply a whim, but this was crossing a line. Though she had not spoken to him directly, she had never seen Lucien that angry. Whatever Geralt had told him had clearly been enough to quell it. Whether that was due to his silver tongue or not was not something she could confirm.

Akane's eyes darted from Illyana and back to Lucien as he addressed the fortune teller's question. It was likely not what Illyana had wanted to hear, and while she wanted to remain relieved at the fact Geralt was staying, clearly that was not the only solution to the issue.

"I know that.. what Geralt did was bad. I was hoping that there had been a good reason for him to do something like that.. I know a lot of you were upset, but isn't it okay if he's apologized? The audience today was so happy by today's performance. It was even better than usual. Did he not try to make up for what he had done? People deserve second chances don't they?" She spoke up, feeling a tension in the atmosphere.

The dhampir glanced over at Akane as she spoke, not particularly surprised to hear her say something like that. She knew that people did deserve second chances, and it would be unfair for her to say otherwise, but she didn't like how open ended this resolution had been. Despite that, there was not much she could say to change Lucien's mind. For now, she decided to trust his judgement, but if it happened again, Ivory was not planning to stay quiet.
Lucien had been glad to see Illyana had heeded to his advice. Being sure the child stayed healthy was one of his main concerns. Despite the fact she did appear much more nourished than when they had found Aurel, he still wanted to be sure she was able to stay well fed and healthy. She was quite small and that was a bit worrisome to him. Still, despite her size, he could see her strength and determination, despite being so young. It was something he admired to see, and made him even more so adamant about helping her achieve her goal.

As they finally arrived at their next location, they heeded Faolan's suggestion and ate together. He watched in slight amusement as Illyana ate her food. Faolan seemed to have found a tactic that worked best for her, but he wasn't about to keep her waiting much longer. Once they were all finished, he rose to his feet.

"I will go speak to them, I'll return shortly." He told Illyana, before giving Faolan a small nod and leaving the bus. He greeted the woman who answered the door with a smile.

From the bus, Aurel could see Lucien engage the one who was out the door through a small crack in the curtain of one of their windows, before he was allowed inside. Even though this was something he had taken note of many times before, he found a need to say it out loud this time.

"Lucien's.. really good at talking to people isn't he?" The teenager spoke, his snake-like eyes lingering on the home he had entered.

Meanwhile, Lucien engaged Lorraine in conversation. The trip had not been as informative as he had hoped, but he at least now knew that Illyana's family intended to use this place only as a temporary placeholder for their mail, until they settled in an actual home. He gave a small bow and thanked them for their time before he made his return to the trailer, to share what he had found.

"They.. unfortunately did not have an exact location for me. They were only told they planned to head out west." He said. That was too general for them to narrow down to a location, but at least they had a direction.

"I know it's likely not what you wanted to hear, but at least we know what direction to head to. Perhaps as we head west, we can try to find a Psychic that can help you. If there really is a way for you to find your sister with your abilities, right now that will probably be our biggest bet." He said to the girl.

Lucien at least wanted her to know that there was still hope, and this was not a complete dead end. They still had something to look for, and a way to strengthen their chances of finding what she was looking for.

Lucien gave Geralt a nod of approval as he left the stage. He couldn't deny he had made up for what he had done with this performance, despite the fact he probably still felt the aftereffects of the previous night. With this, and the satisfied crowd, he could say it was all forgiven. At least, that's what he wanted, but he still had some explaining to do. He had avoided speaking to the rest of the troupe in regards to this situation up to this point, mostly because he had wanted to wait to see how the show itself would go. With such an excellent closer, at the very least he felt more validated in his decision in letting him stay.

Once Geralt had gone, the rest of the troupe remained, the tent now having been emptied of their previous audience, and the carnies who had finished gathering all the coins. There was no point in beating around the bush here, he knew what they were all thinking, and wanting to know, Illyana especially.

"It was a great show tonight." He started. "I know you've all probably been wondering what happened the day before, and what will happen as a result." He paused for a moment, his eyes landing on Illyana, knowing she was the most anxious to know what exactly he had decided.

"I've decided to give Geralt another chance. Yesterday was a big mistake, and one he has acknowledged, and one we have agreed that will not happen again." He explained.

Ivory's eyebrows raised at this news. It was true that Lucien wasn't one to fire on the spot but.. was it really wise to keep him after a stunt like that? "Are you sure? He's a smooth talker, Lucien. Can we really be certain he won't do something like that again?" She asked.

Aurel had nodded in slight agreement, but he hadn't said anything. He gave Illyana a glance, knowing she wanted that man gone more than anyone. This.. had probably been the best chance for that.. but he wasn't surprised that Lucien had let him stay... not after having given a performance like that. It was clear he had been trying to make up for something. Now whether it was because he was actually regretful was something else...

Akane on the other hand was relieved by the news. What had happened with Geralt had been really disappointing.. and it had worried her, because the atmosphere around the circus had been.. tense since it happened, as everyone waited to hear Lucien was going to do about this. She hoped this meant maybe things could go back to normal, but there was a part of her that thought this would not be the case.

"He has assured it. I made it clear that sort of behavior is unacceptable here, not without good reason or fair warning. If by some chance it does happen again, I will do what must be done. I apologize for not telling you sooner, I wanted to see how the show tonight would go." Lucien said to them.
Lucien let out a small chuckle. "Quite so. We get what we need and go, and don't usually unnecessarily linger if it's not needed." He reassured her, with Aurel nodding in agreement.

"I understand that you are in a hurry to get back to your sister. We'll do what we can to make this process as fast as possible, but I do want you to know that there will be stops necessary along the way. I'm sure you would rather reunite with your sister looking well, which means you have to take adequate breaks and eat properly, okay? I'm sure she would be happier to see that you were well taken care of." He told her, hoping she could see the bright side of things.

Considering how little he had seen her eat, he figured he should mention this now. He knew how much Faolan worried about stuff like that, having seen it for himself with Aurel over the years, though the teenager ate better now than he did back then, though his preference for meat was still quite obvious.

Lucien shook his head ever so slightly. At this point.. there was no need to be as harsh with the Magician. He had clearly learned his lesson, and knowing now there were.. other reasons for his actions, there was no need for him to continue to chastise him.

"It's alright, dealing with that kind of stuff is part of my duties." He said. "The... best thing you can do right now is get proper rest, and put the best show you can tonight." He added. At the very least he wanted those people to get what they had paid for. Hopefully after tonight they would not leave disappointed. Considering their conversation, he did not think that to be the case.

"I will see you tonight." He said, before finally taking his leave.

Their conversation had gone.. well, but it had left Lucien a little conflicted. He was unsure of what he could really do here. Even if Geralt had promised this would not happen again, whatever it was he was dealing with was clearly not something that had been resolved. His mood swings had been something they had all seen. Was this also the reason behind that? If that was the case.. he was unsure of whether this might cause some other issues in the future.

Still.. what could he do? Geralt had put up a clear wall between them. It seemed now that somehow the tables had turned. Did he have a right to try to surpass it? No matter how much he wanted to help.. it would get him nowhere if Geralt wasn't willing to let him, and he couldn't really force him to either. What exactly would trying to tear down that wall lead to? Where would that leave them? Any attempts to do so might mean having to tear down his own walls. Was he ready for something like that? The Ringleader didn't know.

With a sigh, Lucien returned to his trailer, deciding to spend his time there before showtime that night.
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