Our heroes initially split up, with Kai Gheron and Entaro Gasona seeking to oppose Iselsi Lien at the negotiating table while Yara and Kushtaka hunted down Meticulous Owl. Yara hid in an alley several blocks away, and Kushtaka became a house cat to investigate Owl's hut. Kushtaka found the door open, and a strange woman sitting inside, bedecked in skulls and holding a soulsteel daiklave across her knees. When Kushtaka got too close, the woman, apparently out of sheer cruelty, attempted to kill her with the daiklave. Kushtaka dodged and got the hell out of there.
Meanwhile, at the negotiating table, Iezu Zole and Kai Gheron assisted Entaro in his attempts to negotiate a bureaucratic solution to their problem. With Listener-Swaying Argument and Authority-Radiating Stance both active, Entaro managed to convince everyone in the room except Lien that he was in charge, and everyone, Lien included, was forced to concede that he was winning the negotiations. Eventually, after five grueling hours, Lien was forced to accede to the Guild's demands, promising to end the blockade. However, Entaro noticed that she was not entirely sincere, and inferred from a single, pointed glance to one of her lieutenants, that the attack on the Guild was going to happen regardless, and soon!
Entaro managed to lure one of Lien's other lieutenants aside, and with judicious use of Irresistible Salesman Spirit, managed to make a powerful friend in Lien's court. The lieutenant, one Mnemon Jin, confided that Lien was not operating with the council's permission. He further stated that if Gasona could find evidence that Lien was somehow a traitor, he felt confident he could remove her from power without loss of life on either side.
Entaro and Kai left and met up with Yara and Kushtaka, and all sides shared their stories. The group decided to go investigate the mysterious woman in Owl's house further. Kai chose to remain hidden, while the other three approached normally. Upon drawing near, Yara's keen senses detected Owl hiding in an alley nearby. She relayed this information, and Kushtaka called Owl out. Surprisingly, Owl emerged from his hiding place, willing to talk, but only inside.
He asked the characters what they already knew, to save him time, and he clarified a few points. First, he was not working for Skullstone as they suspected, but he would not name his true master. Secondly, he was working against the Deathlords, as he felt they were the greatest threat to Creation. Thirdly, the "war" between the Guild and the Realm was intended to be a diversion, after which he would release information implicating Skullstone as a third-party manipulator, just as the PCs had feared was the case. By doing so, he hoped to turn both the Realm and the Guild, potent regional factions, against Skullstone and the Silver Prince.
While he offered to allow the PCs to escape the blockade, Entaro and Yara were not on board with letting the war continue. Intimidated by the group's obvious martial prowess, even with the Maiden of the Mirthless Smile at his disposal, he agreed instead to turn over the evidence so long as the group swore to let him and the Maiden escape and to do everything in their power to see the evidence was used. The group so swore, and Owl bound the oath with the power of the Neverborn. Then, he and the Maiden left swiftly. Kai Gheron followed them, only to watch them disappear into a Shadowland inside Wu Jian.
The group was good to their word, and distributed the evidence to Mnemon Jin, who used his influence with the council to arrest and imprison Iselsi Lien. Iezu Zole offered membership in the Guild to anyone who wanted it, as a reward, and Yara and Kushtaka both took him up on the offer. Further, Jin paid a healthy monetary reward, as well as providing each of them with a medal as thanks from the Realm (he was unaware of the irony). Finally, with their Dragon-Blooded gangster safely ensconced in the bowels of the Zenith, they left Wu Jian behind.