Chapter 22: Adelice is sitting alone in her room when Erik enters. He attempts to comfort after her argument with Jost – and says that she is the closest thing to a friend that he has had for a long time. Adelice struggles emotionally and says that she does not want to be extraordinary. Erik says that Jost is afraid of losing not only Sebrina, but also of losing Adelice. Erik dispels Adelice’s other worries, especially about the secrets that her parents kept from her. Adelice is going to learn how to alter from Dante the following day.
Chapter 23: Adelice sees thousands of strands weaving in discord through the greenhouse where she is going to practice learning how to alter. When they begin practicing, Dante wants Adelice to find the time strand located within a petite orchid. Adelice grabs the thread but pulls too hard, and the orchid disintegrates. She becomes frustrated, but Dante reminds her that she already knows what to do – she just needs to learn how to control her skills. Dante tells her to feel for the pulse of the time strand, and she tries again. After a few more tries, Adelice asks if they could actually move on to practicing how to alter. Dante hesitates, but Adelice insists. Dante shows her how to alter a plant, but Adelice wants to know how to alter a human. Adelice volunteers herself for Dante’s demonstration, but Erik volunteers himself in her place. Very subtly, Dante fuses a plant with Erik’s DNA by making a small incision on his arm. Erik leaves to make lunch, and as soon as he is out of earshot, Adelice asks Dante what he really did. Dante reveals that he removed a tracking chip from Erik’s arm. Adelice asks how he knew it was in there, and Dante said that he guessed. Dante reveals that Erik is able to see the strands, raising suspicions for Adelice about how dangerous Erik is, and what he is hiding from her.
Chapter 24: Dante says that their family was chosen to go to Arras based on physical and mental requirements – decisions were made on the basis of potential. Not everyone receives the powers of a Spinster because most genetic abilities skip around in a family. Those who did not have the ability to weave were put into the population to breed more Spinsters. Dante believes that the Guild plans to make a dominant gene that can be spliced into handpicked specimens – and then they can decide which girls to grant the ability to. Dante says that their family was made up of pacifists, and that his parents wanted to live comfortably and easily. He thinks that nations merged and laws were adjusted to meet everyone’s expectations, with conflicting national identities merged to create a cohesive whole. He also thinks that the Guild intended all its rules to safeguard against power struggles and war. If they carefully monitored and controlled a female population with a male government, things could be regulated. Boys with weaving ability remained untrained and away from looms. He also mentions that, because of their abilities to alter physically and without looms, Tailors are seen as especially dangerous to the Guild.
Chapter 25: Adelice finds Erik swimming in the pool. Adelice asks Erik how he ended up at the Coventry, and how he got out of Saxun. Erik hesitates because he is not proud of some of the things that he did in the past. Adelice says that she knows he can see the strands. Erik says that he left Saxun to pursue a career with the Guild and did not think he was cut out for fishing. When the Guild came to Saxun, he approached a Guild official and said that he could alter and that he was a Tailor – making an offer so that he could join the Guild. Erik also says that Jost does not know about his altering abilities. Erik left Saxun without saying goodbye to his family, never thinking that he might meet them again. Erik wanted to be somebody, but eventually came to the realization that he should have never left his family. The Guild did not go after Erik’s family (the Guild usually systemically wipes out a Tailor’s family) because his friend in the Guild helped him get access to a grey market Tailor – he had a new privilege card and new last name, so the Guild was unaware that Erik even had a family. Erik also reveals that he always followed the Guild’s orders. Adelice then apologizes for slapping him, and he pulls her into the water. Eventually he helps her out of the water.
Chapter 26: Adelice asks Erik to alter something. He picks out a branch of a dead rosebush near a walkway by the pool and brings it back to life. Then Dante confronts Erik, asking what else he has done for the Guild. When asked about the tracking chip, Erik says that he had no idea it was there. Dante continues to attack him and raise more suspicions, but Adelice fires back at Dante, accusing him of hypocrisy and keeping secrets. Adelice takes Erik away, and at the end of the chapter they embrace in a friendly hug.
Chapter 27: Adelice visits the Remnant of her mother again, and has more questions for her: how did she get to Earth? Was she running through a loophole on the night she (Adelice) was retrieved by the Guild? The Remnant replies that when the retrieval squad came, Adelice was too stupid to warn her parents. They tried to run, but were unable to escape. Unsuccessful in getting the answers she wanted, Adelice leaves and decides to never go back to her mother again. Adelice asks Erik if he knows what a loophole is. He says he does not know, and the both of them decide to go to the Icebox grey market late at night with a crawler to find out more answers. They ask a beggar, and he directs them to a depot in the grey market. They head into the bar that the man told them about.
Chapter 28: Erik and Adelice order drinks when they enter the bar. They ask a waitress what happened to the loophole around the bar. The waitress says it was a refugee shelter that was closed up a long time. However, the waitress says that the owner still lives there, occasionally coming in for a drink. They discuss Erik’s role in helping Enora get a digifile for the tracking program, amongst other things that he did for Cormac. They watch a band play music. Erik then asks Adelice to dance, and end up spending more time laughing than dancing. Adelice feels something changing between her and Erik, and experiences a much closer connection with him than before.
The plot continues to reveal secrets, after a substantial suspenseful buildup. Not only does Adelice learn about the dark and complicated nature and history of Tailors, but she also finds out that Erik is a Tailor. The types of different characters complicate the universe of the series as well: in some regards it raises the question of the limits of Adelice herself and what she is capable of.
Adelice’s training with Dante shows not only her frustration but also her inability to control her emotions. She demands answers, but is unwilling to exhibit the maturity and patience that will allow her to gain the tools to achieve her goals and learn more about what is going on around her. Nonetheless, Dante shows a much more fatherly kind of behavior and assures her that she has the capability to control her skills – this works strongly in Adelice’s favor even though she is not completely aware of it. She is in this regard also immature and ungrateful of her father’s presence and willingness to devote time and emotion to helping her build her skills.
Moreover, Dante shows little patience with Erik after it turns out that he too is a Tailor. Again, his past actions come back to bite him, as Adelice takes Erik’s side after he criticizes Erik. She accuses him of hypocrisy, to which Dante does not have an appropriate response.
The most important development, however, is the relationship between Adelice and Erik. It is revelatory of a few things. One is how incredibly fickle and confused Adelice is. Her unwavering devotion and commitment to Jost begins to fall apart almost immediately after he leaves for his mission. Erik, also taking advantage of Adelice’s emotionally vulnerable state, comforts and becomes closer her – even going so far as asking to dance with him.
In general, Adelice makes advancements but also regressions: she has not lost her impulsive rashness and hotheaded decision-making, despite all that which has happened (particularly with the ship and the ammo house). Dante warns her, but to no avail, as she and Erik directly violate Kincaid’s orders and leave to go to the Icebox. Her actions reveal her frustration, especially as the people around her still hold many secrets, regardless of how close she has gotten to them. The nebulous nature of the book’s flagrant plotline is what makes this so uncertain and unknown to Adelice, and she continues to take risks in order to overcome it. In some sense, it is understandable that Adelice makes these rash decisions, as the people around her continue to keep secrets and remain unclear as to how they will help her, particularly Kincaid. But one the other hand, Dante and Erik have certainly opened up, something Adelice appreciates but also fails to recognize at times.