Lucia meets with the witches of the Harrowed Society at Twilight Academy and gets her fortune read. She also tries to help the elf Kina catch the attention of her hopelessly oblivious cousin Sado. Rita secretly communes with powerful agents of the Redeemer Queen to seek answers about her own interest in turning Lucia into a demon.
Vicky consults with Sorshen in Korvosa, seeking more information about reaching Crystilan through the Shadow Plane. Sorshen has lost almost all memory of Belimarius, the Runelord of Envy, whose capital is locked away inside Crystilan’s time stasis. She suspects this is due to Alaznist’s meddling with the timeline using the Scepter of Ages.
Vicky offers to provide Sorshen with a simulacrum of Runelord Xiren, as a gift. Sorshen doesn’t say no.
Vicky also asks about the possibility of someone taking up Xanderghul’s title of Runelord of Pride, so that the Sword of Pride would stir from dormancy and could be used. Sorshen insists that such a path would only lead to the corrupt of the would-be Runelord and the Sword’s champion. Vicky suggests they find the Sword of Lust and make use of that instead, but Sorshen insists that her own Sword of Sin should be left where it is, somewhere safe and out of reach.
After seeing the Runelord, Vicky meets with her birth mother Lady Gia Amprei to catch up and to request her help in getting access to the research library in the Acadamae, Korvosa’s fabled wizard’s school. Vicky’s childhood friend Princess Ryah, a star alumnus of the school is able to get her inside.
Vicky is also considering leaving Elle behind in Korvosa, to help protect the city and to keep the simulacrum away from the greater dangers that await in the Shadow Plane and beyond. For additional insights on the realm of the kyton demagogue Inkariax, she consults with the Iomedaean High Priestess Laori Vaus. Laori explains that in order to access Inkariax’s palace of White Death’s Diadem, the party will have to acquire a pendant from on of his most powerful followers.
Meanwhile, in Magnimar, Udrexa and Ghera attempt to sneak into the mayor’s mansion, Defiant’s Garden, to find information about the mayor’s investigation into the Forever Man. They find evidence that a woman living in the house was spying on the mayor. They also stumble across someone trying to steal something from the mayor.
The thief is interrupted by Vivi, the special investigator looking into the mayor’s death. Udrexa knows Vivi, who was a friend of Belawara, and the two team up against the thief who is revealed to be a vampire. They track the vampire back to its coffin, hidden in the Rat piling of the Irespan—another ruin similar to the Cult of Yamasoth’s lair. Holding a stake to its heart, they interrogate it.
The vampire, dressed like a sailor, explains that he is a crew member of the Shadow, under Captain Sunshine Sue, who has been trying to get her hands on relics of Thassilon. There was a particular chalice said to be in the mayor’s collection that they wanted to get their hands on before the mayor’s possessions are dispersed to his heirs. The vampire also explains that Captain Sunshine is working with another woman, someone with who presented the Captain with a short sword. After that, the Shadow and her crew began acquiring these Thassilonian artifacts.
Udrexa feels like letting the vampire go, since he was so helpful. But Vivi is an officer of the law and insists he be arrested for breaking and entering. She drives a stake through his heart, which she is pretty sure will paralyze but not kill him. They then take him and his coffin to the City Watch. They leave behind six empty coffins in the Rat piling hideout.