Adelice quickly finds that accepting Ambassador Patton’s invitation requires a lot of work. In addition to receiving extra grooming to ensure she looks her best at the event, Adelice must also learn the name and background of every Guild Official including the name of his wife, his home sector and its major exports. In her preparation, Adelice learns that all Guild positions are passed down through bloodlines so long as the exiting official has a male heir. Women cannot be Guild Officials. When Enora tells her that she should not speak to the officials unless they speak directly to her and that she is learning the names primarily to assist Ambassador Patton in the event he doesn’t know an official’s name or background, Adelice becomes quickly disinterested. Enora reminds Adelice to be more formal around Ambassador Patton who she says is “enamored” with her (134). Adelice scoffs at the idea of being romantically involved with Patton who is untrustworthy and much older than her, but she promises to be more respectful.
Maela enters to review Adelice’s itinerary and informs Adelice that Erik has been assigned to escort her and that Jost will serve as Ambassador Patton’s valet. After Maela leaves, Enora and Valery, Adelice’s primary aesthetician, enter to help her pack. Enora gives Adelice her own digifile as a gift to keep her occupied during rebounding. She’s loaded some content on it for Adelice to enjoy. Ordinarily, digifiles are only given to businessmen but Enora received approval from the most powerful Spinster, the Creweler, in order to give one to Adelice. Loricel, who Enora assists, is the only Creweler in Arras, the only Spinster capable of actually harnessing the material needed to create the weave. She holds a very powerful position in the Coventry because without her, there would be no material for the other Spinsters to weave. Loricel has been working for over sixty years and she’ll soon need a replacement or else life on Arras will fade away. This thought frightens Adelice but somehow Enora does not seem bothered by the possibility.
The next morning Adelice, Erik, and Jost travel by motorcarriage to the rebounding station. Adelice is relieved to find that she will not be shackled to her chair like she was the last time she rebounded. When they arrive in Nilus, Erik announces that Ambassador Patton won’t meet them until the next stop because of a matter in the Eastern Sector. As a result, Adelice will have to speak to the Stream crews on her own. She’s rehearsed and memorized her answers and Erik reassures her that she will be fine. The reporters are only permitted to ask a set of pre-approved questions and guards stand by should any of them step out of line. The first few questions are simple and regard Adelice’s favorite part about being a Spinster, the food, and the other Spinsters. However, when they reach the final question, the reporter goes off-script and instead of asking the assigned question, he asks Adelice to explain what happened to her parents, Benn and Meria Lewys.
The guards quickly apprehend the reporter who asked the unapproved question and nobody tries to stop them. Jost swoops Adelice back into the rebound station and she pretends to be unaffected by the reporter’s question. After taking a series of pictures for the Stream crew, Adelice prepares to rebound to Allia station in the Eastern sector.
At Allia, Adelice meets up with Cormac and attempts to please him but she can’t contain her sarcastic remarks. The next few stops are a blur and Adelice quickly tires of being interviewed and posing for pictures. As her crew readies her for yet another appearance, Jost enters her room. Noticing the uneaten dinner on Adelice’s table, he begins to feed her, since her freshly painted nails have prevented her from feeding herself. Once Jost leaves, Valery asks Adelice why she’s so smitten with a mere valet when she could be with a guy like Erik or even Ambassador Patton. Adelice denies having feelings for Jost but she can’t stifle the blush that creeps out from under her full face of makeup.
Erik arrives to escort Adelice to the motorcarriage. He compliments her appearance and the two engage in some flirtatious banter before Erik leaves her with Ambassador Patton. At the final site, Adelice will perform a ribbon cutting for a new building. She notices as they arrive that the crowd is much more subdued compared to the others where people were reaching out to her and calling her name. Ambassador Patton reveals that the ribbon cutting is for the new academy in Cypress to replace the one that was ripped when Adelice refused Maela’s orders in the early days of training. Adelice realizes that the trip isn’t merely an honor, but rather a reminder and threat of what the Guild can do if she refuses to comply with their wishes. An older woman approaches Ambassador Patton and Adelice as they stand by the ribbon. She is the oldest woman Adelice has ever seen which is unusual in Arras since people are given renewal patches to halt the signs of aging. Ambassador Patton introduces Adelice to the woman, Loricel, the Creweler and most powerful woman in Arras. Loricel makes clear that she thinks it is “shameless” for Ambassador Patton to have such a young woman as his escort and such a strong influence on the Coventry (160). A guard approaches, leaving Loricel and Adelice to converse with one another. Loricel admires Adelice’s spunk but tells her, as many before have, that it’s not likely to help her stay alive. Loricel also warns Adelice that the Guild will try to win her over either through finery or threats.
Ambassador Patton returns and Adelice manages to smile through the ribbon cutting. As she finishes and turns back to the crowd, Adelice sees her sister Amie standing with her new family. Without thinking, she immediately runs to her as the startled crowd jumps out of her way. Amie’s new mother protectively grabs her as Adelice approaches and Amie stares into her face without recognizing her. Adelice calls Amie by her name and reaches out her hand only for her new mother to tell her, in a threatening tone, that her name is Riya and that she is her daughter. Refusing to believe it, Adelice repeats again that her name is Amie only to have Amie herself speak up and claim that her name is Riya. Jost arrives and pulls Adelice away from her sister and her new family while Adelice struggles to hold back tears.
Adelice is sitting in the motorcarriage waiting for Ambassador Patton to return so they can leave when Erik quickly jumps in beside her. Frantically, he tells Adelice that Ambassador Patton gave orders for him to leave them alone the remainder of the evening and advises her that should he try to make any sexual advances, she should knee him in the crotch. Erik also gives her a microdisk that will connect her to him if she inserts it into her digifile. Soon after Erik leaves, Ambassador Patton slips into the motorcarriage and they depart. He takes her to a vista from which they can see all of Arras and, as he gestures to the buildings below, Patton declares “It’s yours for the taking, Adelice” (166).
Exhausted, Adelice drifts into sleep on their way back to the hotel. She awakes when she hears Ambassador Patton having a tense conversation but pretends to be asleep so she can eavesdrop. She overhears him speaking to a person named Hannox about a “taint” in Northumbria that has spread to Nilus and is “getting out of hand” (166). He threatens that if they can’t determine the cause of the situation then they will have to “alter” the Eastern Sector in its entirety. Adelice freezes when she feels his gaze shift to her but manages to keep still until her averts his gaze and pours himself another glass of whiskey (167).
The next morning Adelice awakes in her room in Cypress and imagines what her life would be like as a teacher. A maid enters, interrupting her daydream, and begins cleaning the room. Adelice allows her to stay while she packs and the two begin talking. The maid admits that it was no accident she entered Adelice’s room while it was still occupied. In fact, she’s been hoping to speak with Adelice to ask about her daughter, Pryana. Again, Adelice calculates that the entire trip to Cypress was arranged to make her face the consequences of her disobedience. Adelice apologizes for the recent tragedy but Pryana’s mother doesn’t seem to remember any tragedy or the fact that she lost a daughter in it. Suspicious, Adelice asks Pryana’s mother what she believes happened to the academy. All Pryana’s mother knows is that the academy was upgraded and for good reason. More Spinsters come from that metro than from that of any of the other four sectors. Before leaving, Adelice promises to keep an eye on Pryana for her mother.
Upon returning to the Western Coventry, Adelice meets with Enora who nervously announces that Loricel has called on Adelice to train with her immediately. Adelice asks Enora whether she should share her gift with Loricel but Enora cautions her to keep the secret to herself. Loricel greets Adelice in a training room. After Enora departs, Loricel enters a command to turn off the video and audio surveillance so she can speak candidly with Adelice. Adelice is shocked when Loricel tells her that she knew Adelice would be the next Creweler since she was eight years old when she first caught a golden time thread while playing in the yard. Aware of her aging body, Loricel had been looking for a replacement for years when she discovered Adelice. Nevertheless, she hoped Benn and Meria Lewys would succeed in helping Adelice fail the test. As Loricel speaks, Adelice stays silent and tries not to be angry with Loricel for neglecting to step in and save her family when she had the chance.
Loricel explains that there are things she must share with Adelice that the Guild cannot know. Loricel enters a code and a tapestry appears. She explains that the daughter of an again woman has entered a “removal request” asking for the Coventry to “rip” her mother out of the tapestry. Loricel allows Adelice to remove the thread and then sends the tapestry to the Repair Department so they can bind the hole together. Wanting to show Adelice the beauty of Spinning in addition to the dark side, Loricel calls up another tapestry. She reaches into a bag containing the raw material that composes all the threads in Arras, and adds a river to a small area in Arras. Adelice can’t help but observe that while she’s caused a string of deaths—that of her father and the schoolgirls in Cypress—as Creweler, Loricel is capable of introducing new life.
After her meeting with Loricel, Adelice officially enters Crewel training. During dinner, the other Spinsters marvel at her progress realizing that it only took her one month to go from Eligible to Crewel-in-training. Conversation eventually shifts to The State of the Guild Ball, an annual event held at the Coventry with all the Guild officials, and Adelice laments the fact that she’ll have to see Ambassador Patton again.
The State of the Guild Ball is an extravagant event. Adelice wears a thin silk gown that makes her feel naked. As photographers flock to shoot pictures of Pryana, who is also scantily clad in a strapless black dress with a high slit, Adelice spies a pig on a spit and empathizes with the captured animal on display for the entertainment of others. Ambassador Patton arrives and tells Adelice she’s been assigned to his table. Also at the table are a group of politicians, their wives, and Loricel. The servers arrive and bring different meals for men and women. The men receive large steaks; the women receive soup and salad.
Prime Minister Carma, head of state in Arras, climbs the podium to begin his speech. Adelice tunes out and daydreams about Jost until a stir at the table calls her back to attention. Prime Minister Carma announces that safe mind-mapping should be available for the larger public in a years’ time which will allow people to garner the memories of loved ones before they are removed or to manage behavioral problems in their children. Prime Minister Carma ends his speech by acknowledging several Guild Officials. When he thanks Loricel for her continued service she doesn’t stand or smile.
Ambassador Patton leaves the table once the address ends and the women commence gossiping about his aspirations to be the next head of state. Adelice escapes the conversation and heads back towards her room, carefully avoiding the glances of any leering older Officials. On her way out she notices Pryana flirting with the minister of Ambrica. He tries to flirt with Adelice as well but when she insinuates that Ambassador Patton is interested in her, he quickly stops advancing. Erik approaches next and asks Adelice to dance. He compliments her dress and admits that he can’t wait to see what plan she has to escape the clutches of the Guild. Suddenly, Enora arrives and asks Adelice to follow her immediately. She takes Adelice into the powder room and berates her for cozying up to Erik when Maela is clearly in love with him. She also tells Adelice to question whether she should really be trusting Erik, assistant to a woman who wants to have her killed. Frustrated at Enora for trying to control her just like everyone else at the party, Adelice leaves the powder room to return to the party. However, Erik intercepts her and whisks her away to the Coventry garden. Remembering Enora’s admonishments, Adelice tells him it’s not a good idea for them to be spending time alone but Erik assures her that Maela and security are so preoccupied at the ball that they won’t notice them.
As they walk through the gardens, Adelice continues to protest their being together. She tells Erik that the two of them have no future. However, Erik persists, he’s attracted to the fact that Maela seems so threatened by Adelice and asks her why everyone thinks she is so dangerous. He admits thinking that he was going to have to kill her when she first arrived to the Coventry, since most runners are killed for their treason but is intrigued by the Guild’s decision to keep her alive. Adelice wonders out loud whether they keep her under surveillance because they’ve already taken away the most important people in her life: her dead father, missing mother, and reprogrammed sister. In response, Erik tells Adelice that she shouldn’t believe that her family is dead. He claims that the Guild would never sacrifice the best leverage they have over a Spinster. When Erik says that Meria Lewys is definitely alive, Adelice gleefully kisses him on the mouth because she is so joyful. The kiss quickly transitions from an expression of joy to something more, and Adelice considers stretching the moment and making it last forever. Unfortunately, this thought doesn’t last long before someone interrupts the embrace.
Maela stands on the path in view of Erik and Adelice. She asks Erik to leave and escort some ministers to their quarters. He offers to take Adelice back to her room but Maela declines his assistance. Erik challenges her and when Maela steps into the light, Adelice notices that there are tears on her face. The two exchange some hurtful words, Erik accusing Maela of being overbearing and Maela reminding Erik that without her he’d be a mere fisherman or kitchen boy, before Erik finally leaves to escort the ministers. Without speaking, Adelice simply stares back at Maela until she too departs.
Exhausted from the night, Adelice returns to her room and quickly falls asleep. A frantic Enora wakes her at four in the morning and warns her that Maela has sent a guard to retrieve her. Hurriedly, Enora rubs a clear gloss on Adelice’s fingertips though Adelice has no idea why. A new guard, Darius, arrives and escorts Adelice to her through two wooden doors to her ‘special testing’. Maela waits inside and tells Adelice that she’s being tested because some Guild officials are concerned about her ability to begin Crewel training. Certain that no officials actually expressed any such concern, Adelice asks whether the training has been approved by Ambassador Patton or Loricel. Maela reminds her that she doesn’t need approval from either of them to conduct training exercises. She explains that Adelice will perform a ‘stress test’ using a large loom with steel strands. Maela demonstrates how to use the loom until one of the strands pricks her finger, opening a small wound. She tells Adelice that she must weave the entire spool by noon or else be reassigned. Before beginning, Adelice observes that what she believed to be a steel strand is actually razor wire. Adelice successfully weaves the entire spool by noon but not without enduring a great amount of pain. Blood-soaked she returns to her room and is surprised to find that Enora isn’t there to greet her. She calls for bandages and a doctor but it’s a long while before someone arrives at her door. All Adelice can see through the peep hole is a blue eye but she can’t tell if it belongs to Jost or Erik.
Outside the Coventry walls, Adelice views Arras through new eyes. No longer fooled by the Guild’s propaganda, Adelice is able to observe the daily methods of control and domination the Guild exerts over the people of Arras. What she sees is frightening. Mothers forget their own children; citizens thank the Guild for rebuilding a school instead of blaming them for destroying it in the first place; and Amie, Adelice’s own sister, cannot recognize her own family. Yet, on her tour, Adelice also spots pockets of unrest in the various sectors, an indication that the Guild’s attempt to maintain total control has its weaknesses.
Even after witnessing the depth of the Guild’s cruelty, Adelice still isn’t completely sure of her role. She doesn’t want to help the Guild maintain order, yet she takes a certain comfort in adopting the role they’ve prescribed: “Day by day, I am remade into someone else, and I wonder if age will ever leave her tracks on my face. I’m sixteen now and I will be almost flawless forever. That thought helps me fall asleep at night, secure in my place here, but it also wakes me up trembling with nightmares” (132). Age (notably, personified as a woman) may never visit Adelice either because she will be killed for insubordination or because she will receive renewal patches like all other Spinsters and thwart the signs of it. Adelice finds both possibilities simultaneously comforting and terrifying.
In this section we also see how the Guild plans to use Amie to assert even more control over Adelice. Adelice’s main hesitance in embracing her revolutionary impulses outright is fear for her sister, Amie. She sacrifices herself and suppresses her true feelings so that Amie may live, albeit as a completely different person than the sister she knew in Romen. Still feeling guilt for her role in bringing harm to her family, Adelice feels compelled to protect the stranger she once knew as her sister, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness.
In her training with Loricel, Adelice finally sees some of the beauty in controlling the lived environment. Living under Guild control frequently means living in a world where the governing body alters people’s memories and thoughts or assigns them to jobs they’d rather not have. However, there is a beautiful side to control as well. Loricel shows this to Adelice when she adds a river to a small village and uses control in order to bring forth life rather than cause death. Though awed by the beauty of Loricel’s act, Adelice nevertheless feels guilty in her presence because her ability to create life reminds Adelice of all the death she’s caused.
This section is also the first in which Adelice begins to view Maela with pity in addition to anger. As much as Maela tortures Adelice, she is herself a pawn of the Guild. Maela is a woman who dared to seize some power for herself and for that the Guild punishes her. Unable to contend with the men, Maela must instead assert her authority over the Spinsters. In this section we learn that her sinister acts are more a result of her circumstances than of her character. This becomes clear in the garden when Maela cries after witnessing Adelice and Erik kissing. For once, Maela is depicted as the heartbroken one instead of the heart breaker and the inversion challenges readers to modify initial conceptions of Maela as antagonist.