Chapter 18: Reflection
Emily and Leira discuss Chief Payne’s announcement of an unexpected holiday for the Second Class initiates and concluded that the day’s strange events are part of a Seelie plot connected to events six years ago.
Later, Emily speaks with Prince Freyr and deduces his true purpose: Prince Dionysus is searching for people touched by the Erebus, and wants to use her seer powers to look into the hearts and souls of her fellow initiates. Emily is reluctant, fearful of the damage she might cause, but Freyr informs her that the alternative — having Princess Phantasia act in her place — would be far worse. Although Emily agrees to help, on the condition that Freyr uses his illusionary skills to hide any damage, as he once hid her connection to the Erebus, she secretly wonders if she can find an alternative of her own.
Chapter 19: Distraction
Unable to cope with the things he has learned, Dante visits Joel for an evening of alcohol and video games. Despite the distractions, however, Dante struggles to escape his anxieties and Joel, believing his friend’s troubles the result of time spent inside the Scar, decides to take him on a night out.
Chapter 20: Poison
Joel brings Dante to the World’s End, an underground hub of hedonism, with the hopes of setting him up with a female friend of his, Arachne. Desperate to silence his anxieties, Dante downs every drink handed him and ends up in a back room with Arachne, who believes he’s after a one night stand to escape his experience inside the Scar. Dante’s struggles get better of him, however, and they soon learn that Joel has lied to both of them. While Arachne heads off to confront him, a sobering Dante contemplates heading home, before the Duke, an aging hedonist, offers him another drink…
Chapter 21: Spiral
Emily hears of Dante’s escapades and sets out to rescue him alongside Leira and Shelley. Meanwhile, the Duke plies Dante with powerful drugs whilst telling him stories of Aliyah Adel, the Oracle who once served Torsten, and how she fell victim to raiders. Fending off advances from the End’s lecherous clientele, Emily manages to reach a doped-up Dante before he can fall victim to a local cultist. After a brief confrontation with the Duke, the girls manage to get Dante back to his apartment, where Emily puts him to bed. As she is leaving his room, she notices the Tablet on his desk and confirms that it’s the same tome that corrupted her uncle.
Chapter 22: The Night Everything Changed I
A young Dante is forced to flee from his home in Torhout Forest when the Sophist Aristocracy come searching for his mother, a maiden cursed with the brand of the Erebus. Taking rest at a sacred shrine, Ophelia teaches her son about astral projection, but their time is cut short when the Aristocracy breaches the shrine’s magical defences and attacks. Hidden beneath her invisibility cloak, Ophelia and Dante make their escape, just in time to avoid the brunt of the Founding Father’s attack, as his forces set the forest ablaze.
Chapter 23: The Night Everything Changed II
Dante’s mother brings her son to their old home, deep inside the Scar, where she surrenders herself to a mysterious woman named Arided in exchange for her putting an end to the Aristocracy’s assault on the forest. Ophelia explains to her son that she is going away for a little while and that he must promise not to tell anyone about what has happened. Dante makes his promise and watches, distraught, as a strange giant envelops his mother and takes her away. Arided assures him that the people of the City will do everything they can to heal his mother of her illness, and explains how the Erebus is nothing more than an illusion, a story people outside the Cities use to explain things they don’t understand. Before she leaves, Arided hands Dante a tome of knowledge that she says will teach him the truth of the world, and a promise that, if he proves himself worthy, he can join his mother in the City. In return, Dante promises that he won’t share the truth with others — even his friends — in case they turn against him.
Chapter 24: The Day that Never Came
Dante waits for his mother to return from Malkuth but, as the years roll by, he starts to realise that she isn’t coming back and that, if he wishes to see her again, he must prove himself worthy of the City — but his shift in attitude causes a rift between him and his friends. In the present, an unimpressed Katrina wakes up a hung-over Dante to inform him that their ship to Avalon leaves in an hour…
Rembrandt Payne briefs his staff in preparation for the Second Class initiates’ trip to Avalon.