The party stands over the defeated manticore. After searching through the basement, the party finds a number of items and some money. Hnng compiles a list of the loot as Olivie informs everyone that she needs a few hours to decipher the tome. She believes that the tome contains information on where the lab is. She then starts reading the book.
The party begins to be concerned with the smell in the room. Hnng approaches Olivie to see if he can help in any way, even offering to give her a massage. Olivie is so engrossed in reading that she doesn’t respond to Hnng. Hnng is hurt by this; so he apologizes for disturbing her. Hnng mentions something about being grieved and desiring to kill something as he attempts to sneak up the stairs opposite from the manticore’s nest. Clarion follows. The two squeeze through the blockage and find a way up the stairs, which are narrow—-meant for servants’ use and not for the master’s.
Hnng and Clarion find themselves on a landing. Two sides have a closed door each. The third side is a tapestry. From the southeast, Hnng can hear a whispered conversation. He can’t tell what exactly they are saying, but it is clear that the conversers do not want to be heard. From the southwest, snoring can be heard. To the northeast, where the tapestry is, there are sounds of grunting.
Hnng carefully opens the southwest door. There are many bunks with trunks at the bases of the beds. Hnng sneaks up on the sleeping bandit. As Hnng punches his dagger into the bandit’s throat, the bandit’s eyes open up, meeting Hnng’s as life drains away. Hnng feels a little bad, but he also feels slightly aroused. Hnng looks up and meets eyes with Clarion before he walks back down the stairs. Clarion searches the room and finds a number of items, including three masterwork daggers, a masterwork longsword, and some trashy novels. Clarion then takes the blood from the bandit and writes on the wall: “Nowhere is safe.”
The two halflings come back down the stairs. Hnng is wiping the blood off his dagger and looks very satisfied. Hnng stares at Yish expectantly. Yish is sitting on the ground with his eyes closed. Lilith decides the stench is too much to bear and so heads out the door. Hnng informs Olivie that people are leaving; Olivie is so engrossed in her reading that she doesn’t respond until Hnng touches her arm. Olivie then looks up from her tome, smiles at Hnng, and then asks, “What’s up?” Hnng repeats what he says, at which Olivie picks up a piece of wood as a bookmark for her tome and follows everyone out. Clarion stays behind, writing “Nowhere is safe” with the manticore’s blood. She then swaps the manticore’s head with the murdered bandit’s, and she leaves a bear trap set by the door.
Clarion returns in the morning as everyone else is waking up. Although she is excited to tell about her exploits, no one wants to hear her. Olivie informs everyone that she has figured out that the lab is a half day’s journey back toward Bandu. Yish yells at the sky, “I told you it wasn’t there!” Marda thinks that Yish is crazy.
As Clarion begins to tell her story, Yish attempts to stop her. Clarion tries to convince him that it would be a good idea to return to the mansion. She just wants to show off. Yish puts down his foot and declares that the party will not return to the mansion. Clarion tries to argue that it would be glorious to go back to the mansion, but Yish argues that they shouldn’t go back and kill a bunch of losers in the woods. After all, no one knows who they are. And then it dawns on him that those bandits are exactly like them, a bunch of unknown losers wandering in the woods. Yish then goes on an existential tirade about how he just wants to leave the forest and stare at the poster of the band he always wanted to make but never did. Clarion becomes upset at her unappreciated efforts.