Auron stared at the mage stonily. "Yes?"

"You were watching me." Lulu folded her arms and leaned against the cold glass of the observation deck's windows. "Again."

He shrugged. "You seem less discomfited by defying a Maester than the others."

Full lips pressed together: perhaps that was not the answer she had been fishing for. However, she shook her head and pressed on briskly, leaving the older Guardian with the vague sense that he'd missed something. "That's because I remember that Maesters -- and heroes -- are only flesh and blood. Fallible."

"You think I've failed?"

"Not yet. But you've gambled, Auron. I'm to blame as well, for I could have squeezed the truth from Yuna had I pressed her. But I chose to trust your lead, because I think you have some game-plan of your own, some piece that might let us cross this board without sacrificing our queen. Yes?"

"I make no promises." Auron stroked his chin, gazing out at the dusty, dirty sunset, the last fading wisps of Home's destruction carrying clear out to sea. "Yuna may find a way. Don't look to me for answers."

Lulu's expression hardened. "Don't play games with Yuna. Whatever happened in the past, this is her pilgrimage, not yours, not mine."

"So, you'd follow my game-plan, until we lose a throw?" The grey-haired Guardian smirked.

"I did not say that."

He shrugged. "A moot debate until we've caught up with her."

"News of Lord Braska's daughter should surface sooner or later. We'll find her then, if Cid's machina fails." Her long nails traced the lace of her opposite sleeve, following the maze of swirls, leaves and petals. Lulu, unlike the younger members of the party, was not prone to fidgeting.

"Precious time lost." He leveled a stern gaze at her. "The Guado took her, Lulu. Think."

The faint hum of the airship filled the space between them, and the swordsman watched impassively as her lips parted to speak, then clamped together tightly as if warding off blasphemy. She turned a pleading gaze towards him. "Revenge?" she asked sharply. "Do you think we're too late?"

"No, I don't." He shrugged and started back towards the stairs. "And neither do you."

His steps clanked and faded away. The dark-clad woman turned towards the window and stared out at the darkening sky, splaying her palms against the cold glass. Somewhere, Besaid's fairest bird was caged. She peered down at the grey sea, searching the flat expanse for the faintest gleam of a ship's lights. No, she would not despair. If Seymour thought gentle Yuna was willing to play a mere pawn, he had misjudged her.

"Your move, dear heart," she murmured, trying not to think of terror, of indignity, of violation, of any number of things that might be happening now somewhere beneath their feet. "We're watching for it. We'll be there."

It would be a long night.