2018-05-15: The Market Day

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========================<* Meribia - Port District *>=========================

Meribia's port is impressive; though dwarfed by Pentagulia in sheer size, it sees considerable traffic, particularly between the Meribus and Glenwood continents. Regular ferries move between Meribia and Pendrago, and most cargo ships are willing to take on passengers for a few coins more.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3jru8_hq_s
<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

Market day in Meribia.

In a way, the dedicated market days are the safest days for someone wanted by the Guard to come to the city. The same goes for the down-on-their-luck, the cautious, the paranoid, and the curious. Meribia's towns guard have never had the doggedness that Althena's Guard might like for hunting for criminals; the Blue Dragon students tend to prefer practice to policing. And, with a big and bustling market, it is a fine day for someone to get out and find something.

It is also quite impressive. The wind whipping through the aisles, off the sea breeze, and the smell of salt is nice -- but so are the tall, three- and four-story buildings with shops and stores in one of Lunar's oldest cities. The fact that stalls, with brightly shaded tarps covering them, make for a sea of capitalism and color only enhances the experience. One can find anything here.

Which is why a certain mercenary is staring, dark red eyes looking forward, and shaking her head with a modicrum of disbelief. "Huh," she says aloud, to everyone and no one. "It is very big, no? I didn't expect that. Looks almost as big as Pendrago..."

Which is when a shrill cry cuts through the air: "FRUITS! TEN SILVER OFF FOR A DOZEN!" The movement of the crowd shifts, subtly.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Case in point: Someone worth over half a million silver to the Althenan Guard!

    Riesenlied is in a bit of a hurry at present, with something clear on her mind to obtain in Meribia. She needs to prepare for Taben's Peak, after the message that Hammer had left them from the, apparently, makeshift Radio Free Muni. They aren't certain what they'll find there, but the Shadow Dragon Cult is likely -- and that means that they'll need more than the usual amount of resources...

    Which is why the Hyadean, covered in her white and gold hood, is moving through the market to acquire them. Gels, medicine, the likes... she'd usually get them from Jacqueline, but the CaraKin was making a trip around.

    She blinks a few times as someone shouts about fruits. "Ah...?"

    She gets bumped by the crowd. "Wah!"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    There is a puddle of clear, mirror-like water somewhere out in the middle of the bustling crowds of the market. Even when feet step into it, it doesn't take long for the rippling to stop and the water to settle, regaining its mystical quality of cleanliness, stillness, and, dare one say, sparkliness.
     It also happens to have an overweight, long-bearded fellow with no shoes on and ragged blue clothing passed out face-down in it, a fact that people seem to be pretending(?) not to notice as they clutch a bottle that once contained a, shall we say, forbidden beverage within.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia's on good terms with the Guard anyway. At least, she THINKS she's on good term with the Guard. She hasn't started any fights with them since going to Lunar and--in fact--is kinda getting along better with them now that she has gotten to know Margaret. She still believes in the Guardians, of course, that's her religion but she has enough sense to not worship them too loudly and well it's not like she'd be worshipping them in the streets while shopping anyway.

Lydia walks along, carting a cart behind her. There's a variety of fruits and bagged mushrooms with price tags on them that she seems to be selling.

She frowns at the shout. "Ten silver off... won't get good prices here."

Someone bumps into her, Lydia shoves them back at double strength because personal space okay.
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<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

"Watch it!" Talia grumbles, when the person that Lydia shoves slams into her. She stumbles, and then quickly dusts herself off -- and then she spots Riesenlied, just a moment after hearing the 'Wah!' through the din of the crowd. She stalks over, before she stops near her. "Are you all right? This crowd is--"

She pauses, as she spots Lanval. A man laying down, face-first in a puddle. Her first thought is of Pendrago and its streets; of seeing corpses there. She squints. Her eyebrows narrow.

"...well. Please, my pardons, I am going to see if he is okay, no?" That Talia can see a Seraph -- and that others may see her approaching a metaphorical blank space on the map, save for the puddle -- doesn't occur to her. She doesn't know that this is a Seraph. She brushes past Lydia -- "Pardon, I need to help him!" -- and then she kneels down next to Lanval.

She looks left.

She looks right.

Then, she starts to check if he has a wallet or silver pouch on him. In broad daylight.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Riesenlied drops down to the port floor with a slight shiver, rather clearly not as able to weave and push through a crowd as some other people. Fortunately, Lydia's nearby with fruits and such, but...

    "Y-yes, I am all right..." Riesenlied expresses to Talia, before waving gently towards Lydia as she draws nearer -- and looks towards the fallen man with some expression of concern. "Oh no!"

    She hurries to his side as well, drawing down as she starts to focus on the Dragon's Tear. To check for some kind of pulse, first... "Please be all right..."

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Talia will be able to tell that this fellow seems to be breathing, at least. How? There's snoring. It's loud. That this crowd can largely carry on without being disturbed by this snoring is a testament to the power of TEN WHOLE SILVER OFF FOR A DOZEN FRUIT!!!
     Curiously, as Talia starts to lay hands, the passed-out portly fellow seems to roll onto his back juuuuuuust right, as though working with those probing hands proper to reposition himself onto his back. She does get to touch a kind of run-down old drinking gourd on a rope. The fellow also smells very strongly of alcohol.
     Being completely boozed up and wasted, out in the open like this. It's brazen.
     He looks completely flushed in the face. Now lying face-up, one can see the blue-colored tips his silvery beard hairs terminate in. Whether that means anything other than maybe he likes to wash his hair out with blue-hued water or some such... he sleepily rests a hand back atop of wherever Talia was last digging into his person, a cat-like smile on his face as he continues to peacefully snore without all the care in the world.
     Riesenlied will find more than this person being just all right, as she focuses into the Dragon's Tear.
     ...He might not actually be asleep at all? Stifled laughter escapes his throat, which could be part of a pleasant dream... if he were really asleep. He seems to kind of exude that feeling. Just that of residual enjoyment of life, which appears to also involve being passed out(?) drunk on the ground.
     "...Hello there." He murmurs aloud. "Jusht shtoppin' by ta shay hello to me... huh? Ha ha ha..."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia Seren smiles over to Riesenlied. Despite being kind of a sassy lassy, her views on Riesenlied haven't changed and those views that haven't changed can be summarized with the symbol <3. She didn't expect it either, but it does seem to calm her down considerably.

Lydia approaches Talia and Riesenlied. She doesn't even look at Lanval. She's used to passed out drunks. She seems to recognize what Talia is doing. "Help him? Y'mean picking his pocket?" She asks. And then after barely a pause after that. "Sweet."

Though she does add to her. "Name's Lydia. I'm--"

Lanval wakes up and says hello. Lydia looks at him for a few moments, nodding in his direction and then looks back to Talia, "Are you still gonna rob him?"

She may not be considering Lanval's thoughts on the matter.

<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

There is a brief, momentary twitch of Talia's eyebrow as Riesenlied kneels down next to Lanval and begins to use an artifact. That artifact draws her eye -- she looks at the Dragon's Tear, thoughtfully, for a moment. Then, she looks back down at him. When Lydia speaks up behind her, she jerks for a moment -- and then cracks a smile. A lock of long black hair falls in front of her face, and she brushes it back behind her ear.

"Let's think of it as a preemptive fee for medical care, no?" she says. "I'm Talia. It's a pleasure. Though, if his snoring is any indication, he may be more fine than we expected."

She reaches to her side, behind the waist-high cloak that she wears. Her hands pause, though, on the tiny packed gel. The sound of laughter fills her ears. She sighs, and her fingers fall away from the apple gel.

"...Yes," she says. "I am afraid you were so terribly interesting that you motivated our better instincts to come to your help. Should you really be so publicly intoxicated? I love to tweak the noses of guards, dear, but I think this might come closer to a slap in the face."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Quite suddenly, there is someone else standing over the prone Lanval. Their appearance is abrupt, to say the least--the crowd parts, and they are quite suddenly there.

    The woman in question wears a long grey cloak with the hood pulled down, but there's an air of unnatural anonymity to her. Her face has gone past 'thin and sharp-featured' and into straight-up 'gaunt', and while the cloak hides the rest of her, it can't be any less thin. "Do you make a habit of passing out in public?" Ida says, to Lanval. "It's terribly inconsiderate. Imagine how many must trip over you in any given day, and assume it's just an unseasonable puddle." She smiles. It's predatory. It gets a little less predatory, as she looks up at the others gathered around Lanval. "Evening."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    There's a moment in which Riesenlied senses Lanval's aura of revelry and-- lets out a little hiccup. ... Riese did you just get a little drunk off off sheer osmosis? Just how powerful is Lanval's aura of drunkenness -- or conversely, just how much of a cheap drunk is Riese??

    (Answer: Very cheap.)

    "O-oh, goodness... um... n-no, please don't pick his pockets..." Hiccup! She looks at the cloaked woman for a moment.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    He doesn't seem too disturbed by the talk about being robbed or mugged. Maybe he's just too drunk to understand that he may be in the process of being mugged over the next few minutes... there's just something about him that doesn't seem terribly attached to the physical world surrounding him. Almost nobody else seems to be crowding around him, beyond those three.
     "Ahhhh, don't ya worry," the drunken man rolls back and forth from where he lay to get himself sitting up as he's met with lectures and warnings from Talia, "but it'sh good on ya... yer a real faithful short, I can tell... ha ha ha...!"
     One of his eyes open, half-lidded, as there is a sudden fourth. The cat-like smile doesn't fade. There's a small peek of a brilliant aquamarine eye color as he rests a hand on that roped gourd of his. "Mmmmph, I haven't... kept much count." That does seem kind of inconsiderate, putting it that way, as Riese finds herself off-center from just being around this fellow.
     He rotates in his current seat, eyes fully closed again, seemingly struggling to stand himself all the way up as he faces the gray cloaked woman of a seemingly impentrenable sense of just being another face. He stretches his arms up... which means his pockets are unguarded... which means Lydia has a chance to score some loot maybe!!
     "Thanksh for checkin' on li'l ol' me... I'll jusht be on my waaaay~" He lets the word drag out as he starts to hobble off, uncoordinated and troublesome, but... it still doesn't look like most people are acknowledging he's even there.
     He does a fine job of just staggering and tripping around them in feats of accidental(?) agility that borders an artform, if left to his devices.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Hey Aifread." Lydia says to Ida. THE GHOST OF THE HUNTING GROUNDS has been showing up a lot lately and Lydia's initial assumption has yet to be corrected. "Nice to see you out and about."

She glances back to Lanval and sees that his pockets are totally open. Her hand starts inching forward but she grabs her hand with her other hand and arrests its movement. She imagines Ragnell would find it hilarious but sometimes it feels like Lanval isn't as comedically wasted as he seems. It feels TOO easy and her instincts say 'maybe don't'. Besides, she is actually doing pretty well in business in Lunar. There's no reason for her to pickpocket this guy.

She does glance over to Talia though to see if she does.

"Don't worry," Lydia says. "I won't pick his pockets, Riesenlied." It's kind of stilted the way she says that.

She glances back to Talia and then adds to Lanval, "She's got a point."

<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

Talia hesitates a moment, before she sighs. "Yes, yes, fine," she says. "I will refrain, just this once. You did ask nicely!" She looks at Riesenlied and winks. Of course, when she says it after Lanval has stirred and woken up, it loses some of its meaning. She stands back up, and finds herself coming face to face with a woman with a menacing smile. Talia meets her gaze head-on.

"Good evening!" she says, chipper as can be. This, of course, is when Lanval stumbles up -- and she finds herself a little amazed at just how quickly he moves. Her hands slide down into her pockets, and then she frowns at him. She calls out: "You should be careful! This city is enormous! Someone might throw you in jail. Or take your things! Or, possibly, both!"

Then, she rubs a hand through her hair. She sighs, sounding annoyed with herself. "Ah, I'm too nice, aren't I? You're not supposed to get involved in the business of strangers." She looks to Riesenlied, then to Lydia, and then at the stranger in a hooded cloak (with a little more suspicion). "Are you all native here? I'm from Pendrago, and this is all... quite different, no? More sunshine, for one thing."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Riesenlied wobbles for a moment as she rises up, rather curious about what just she sensed from Lanval. Lydia gets an approving nod from her, but as she stumbles--

    Oops, there goes the hood, and out come her crooked, twisted horns and the scales on her face. No one ever said Riesenlied was particularly good at disguises.

    "A-ah..." She looks at Ida for a moment, then towards Talia for a moment. "Pendrago has been receiving rather a l-lot of rain, it's true..."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    Ida does not bother to correct Lydia's misconception. As Lanval wobbles off, she follows him with her eyes, and as soon as he vanishes from view, she shakes her head. "Believe me," she says to Talia, "no one will notice." The rest of the menace fades, leaving a woman who is far too thin to be menacing anyone. The talk turns to the weather. Ida has to admit, Pendrago was a sodden mess more often than not. Riesenlied's little stumble gives her something else to talk about, though. "Did he get you drunk from proximity?" She thinks she already knows the answer.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

    Now that he's out of their figurative hair, the sloppy, sloshed, silver-haired wastrel helps himself out of the main drag of the markets with nary anyone else's notice or help...
     Before peeking back over someone else's stall. Saying he's 'peeking' is kind of a weird way to put it, as his eyes are closed most of the time...
     One eye opens, half-lidded, to someone's wanted poster. Riesenlied's. He can just make out the shape of her head, though not for very long at a time what with all the people going to and fro.
     "Mmmm." The strange drunkard strokes his beard contemplatively as he props himself up against some unaware sap's jewelry stand. The shifting people going to and fro obscure his view of the remaining four of them. "It'sh all sho curioush," he slurs his thoughts out loud to himself, "thish long, and I shtill don't know what'sh goin' on..."
     He eyes that poster for a little longer, keeps whatever thoughts he has to himself beyond having that one half-open aquamarine eye looking it over, and shuts that eye with what might be a mental shrug. "Firsht thingsh firsht, better make shure Talishe 'n Layna are okay after that other day," his narration to himself grows more somber, as he turns off and continues to mock the idea of locomotion within anthropomorphic anatomical limits the entire way.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Nah. I'm from out of town." Lydia says, being kind of vague because she literally just met Talia and the first thing she saw Talia do was try to pick someone's pocket. She appreciates that and thinks it's pretty darn cool, but it does keep her from being ready to spell out her life's story. She glnaces after Lanval briefly before looking back to Talia.

"Anyway!" She adds. "What's your name? I guess I didn't ask yet." You can't say 'you should introduce yourself first' because Lydia totally did introduce herself first.

"I'm an honest merchant." Lydia says. "Who likes making money. You need some cash?"

<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

"For months, now," Talia tells Riese. "It started right before that stupid Cardinal took over. And after the Emperor died... what a mess. Glad I'm not in politics, no?"

She shrugs her shoulders slightly, and gives Ida a long look -- one she doesn't follow-up on. There is, however, a glance in the direction that Lanval went. What did she mean by that? She doesn't fixate on the point, though. Instead, Talia looks back at Lydia, and looks her up and down.

"Not any more or less than the next person," Talia answers Lydia, and she stands up a little straighter. "I think of it as being ready to act on the opportunities that come my way!" Then, she sticks a hand out towards her. "Talia. No last name. I am, tragically, one of the Silver Star's unwashed masses."

She doesn't look particularly dirty.

"And you are--" She glances at Riesenlied. "Riesenlied, wasn't it? Your horns are lovely. A beastwoman? And you are--" She looks at Ida. "Named after a pirate, no?"

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    "Yes..." Riesenlied nods very quietly. "Still, even with that -- Pendrago is still a very beautiful city, when I visited," she bashfully expresses. There's another soft hiccup, and then she looks to the cloaked woman and stammers-- "U-um, he certainly had a very powerful aura of... u-um, celebration--" Hic!

    She bows her head at Talia. "Oh, thank you... yes, my name is Riesenlied." It doesn't register to her until a moment later that she should use a psuedonym, oops. She smiles warmer at Lydia and pats her on the shoulder. "Thank you, Lydie." So mom-like... even when tipsy...

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"It's okay," Lydia tells Talia. "I used to not wash at all either because, like, I figured 'why bother' if I'm just going to get dirty again later, but eventually I was like 'maybe I should just wash myself because I like myself, more or less-like." She tilts her head, glancing over to Riesenlied. "Yeah your horns are arright, but I bet it'd be a lot harder to headbutt with 'em."

She crosses her arms and adds, "See, my horns can give folks' concussions and if I like dip down first I can spear 'em right through the throat! Not that I would, because I only like to commit misdemeanors for the most part, but it's always nice t'have the option."

She adds, "Aifread's a spooky sort so I call 'er Aifread cause I met her at the hunting grounds. She might be the real Aifread. She ain't told me no."

She looks back to Talia and adds, "Oh you've been out in the rain a lot--that's why..."

<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

Talia looks at Lydia for a couple of seconds, realizing that her joke went straight over her head. She opens her mouth, and then closes it again. "Well," she says, "I think I know more about your bathing habits than I did a few moments ago."

She rubs at the back of her head for a moment, though, and looks between their two sets of horns -- then shakes her head. "I suppose," she says. "I'm not that familiar with horns, I'm afraid." She turns her head, though, and looks at Lydia. Her head tilts to the side.

"That's why... what?" she asks. The confusion seems to have overridden the desire to give a compliment.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    "I will take 'a spooky sort' over some other things I've been called," says 'Aifread'. "And I suppose 'Aifread' will do." She doesn't have the luxury of spreading her name around, here, after all. Ida looks back at Talia, who asks if Riesenlied is a beastwoman.

    Ida isn't sure if she wants to laugh or cry. God, she thinks, it's almost been a year now. The conflict flickers in her eyes a moment. Swallowing the resulting Malevolence feels like drinking acid, but it's a feeling Ida is used to. It doesn't show. It doesn't hurt.

    "Cardinal... Fortran?" she says, to Talia, trying to steer the conversation away from territory where Lydia can ask more questions of hygiene.

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Riesenlied nods gently as she expresses, "Yes, I am a beastwoman, by the way..." She's honestly not sure whether that should register as true these days. It's not like she qualifies to any Hyadean standard other than the lengths in which the planet (and people) tend to reject her!

    "Your horns are very pretty," Riese insists as she moms over Lydia a little more, blinking and looking towards 'Aifread's question. "Ah?"

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia probably got the reference but was trying to make Talia feel better about being a commoner. Right? R-right? While Ida is trying to steer the conversation towards organized religion, Lydia is pretty much completely uninterested and keeps trying to bring the conversation to, she supposes, hygiene.

"I was makin' a joke about you being squeaky clean." She crosses her arms, glancing over to Riesenlied with a raised eyebrow as she 'admits' to being a besatwoman. She looks back to Talia, this time with red cheeks.

"Ehehnn... well, pressurin' it won't mean nothing."

She kicks at the floor lightly.

<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

"Forton," Talia corrects Ida. "But yes, that's her. I've never met her before, sadly."

She looks back at Riesenlied, and then shakes her head once. "I've not met many beastwomen before... oh, but two today! I'll call that my good fortune~" she muses, a grin splitting across her face. She looks sideways at Lydia, then she tilts her head for a moment, before she smiles.

"Now, now. I wouldn't call myself squeaky clean," she says. "I did talk about picking a man's pocket, no? But I appreciate the compliment, all the same."

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    "A-ah..." Riesenlied nods, perhaps not really familiar with people who'd call running into beastwomen 'good fortune'. Filgaia can be a lot more crass than that, after all... she looks towards Lydia with a soft smile. "What brings you over here, Miss...?"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    "Ah," Ida says, accepting the correction with a graceful little nod. "Either way, I had my fill of both foul weather and political power struggles." She seems to stiffen, a little, as Riesenlied describes herself as a Beastwoman. There's a telltale spike of anger that she manages to keep out of her face. "I don't even know if that one had pockets you could pick," Ida says. How odd. It occurs to her once again that Layna and the others might have run across a strange magical drunk claiming to be a Seraph, which raises an entirely different set of questions.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia says, "Eh," to Talia. "Pickpocketing ain't that 'bad'." She is red in the face, something that only gets worse when 'beastmen' is compared to good fortune. Like Riesenlied, that's nothing she'd ever hear back on Filgaia except, well, by other beastmen really and quite frankly, Lydia has a hard enough time getting along with other beastmen that it's probably not something she hears from THEM all that often either.

"You uh," Lydia says. "What makes you say that?"

<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

"Oh, well." Talia shrugs her shoulders at Ida. "I suppose I can't win them all."

She looks towards Lydia, though, and her mouth opens -- and then she pauses. There is a flicker of something in her eyes; it looks more like regret than embarrassment or guilt. 'I should be more careful,' she reminds herself. Then, she smiles again. "Ah, sorry. I... well, it's a lucky chance, to meet someone different than you. I didn't have a chance to much, where I grew up."

Then, she looks at Riese. It's her turn to dodge the question a little. "I'm an adventurer, these days. And a sword for hire." She taps her short sword. "And I've heard many interesting things about these new foreigners, so... I thought I should come see for myself, no?"

<Pose Tracker> Riesenlied has posed.

    Riesenlied can sense the faint bit of anger coming out of 'Aifread', which causes a little bit of pause as she sighs softly, retaining a genteel smile. "I'd be happy to work with you sometime, if you are up for an adventure... I don't have much of a chance fighting anything dangerous these days, but I can heal and support my fellow allies."

    She smiles bashfully to Lydia and 'Aifread', and says, "I'd-- I'd better get going. I've something important I need to do..." as Taben's Peak comes back to her mind. "It's nice to meet you."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

    'Aifread' looks at Talia a moment. That's a confession with unspoken history behind it, and it resonates with her, to put it mildly. "I know the feeling," she says. It wasn't that long ago that she was meeting fascinating new people, and strangers from distant lands, and a Beastwoman she came to quietly admire. How times change.

    "Keep your head on straight, and don't take commissions from word-of-mouth if you can help it," Ida says. There's another odd flicker of emotion in her eyes--she's conflicted. It's like she's not sure if she wants to be jealous, or regretful. "And try not to attract the attention of those more powerful than you."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia gives Talia a thoughtful look. Her embarrassment isn't shutting down her brain all the way. Just mostly. She then says, "I know someone who's hirin' if you're interested. He calls himself Cless." Yeah he has a secret identity, but she is already feeling dishonest enough as it is. "He can barely spell but he's not like stupid. I think he just has a learning disability."

Lydia looks downward for a moment before adding, "I guess where I've come from, it's pretty rare to hear that sorta thing about people like me. But thanks." She grins in an attempt to put Talia at ease.

<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

"I'll take you up on that," Talia says, with a glance at Riesenlied. She smiles. "Best to work with as many people as you can, no? Oh, but--best of luck with your errands."

She waves her hand, and then she looks at Aifread. For a moment, her eyes narrow -- and then the easy, playful smile comes back. "Oh, come now, darling! You have nothing to worry about. I don't plan to do anything so troublesome or foolish. I'm a careful, cautious individual."

She winks when she says it, which may make it that much less believable.

Then, she looks at Lydia. Her smile remains, and she looks a little more at ease. "Any time. Cless, you say?" she asks. "Maybe I should go talk to him. I do have a few leads, but... what harm could it be?"