Marjorie returns to the Forest and feels called to the Immanent Grove. The Lady of the Forest is there, emerging from a pool. As she does so, the years fall off her, so she now appears as a young maiden. She and Marjorie talk about the fight with the Excrucian-Shard, and the Lady warns her to remember the Chestnut Law in future confrontations. The Locust Court is already focused on the Familia, and they are going to have to be cautious if they want to avoid further engagement. The Lady mentions that Joktan, the Power of Scorn and one of Lord Entropy’s agents, was the Noble she met in the forest fire.
The Lady also tells Marjorie that she approves of her dealings with Familia Atlatl, but that leading them to the former heart of their Chancel will mean encountering the War-Main that they sealed off there. Marjorie asks her about the story that Satya sent of a previous Power of the Mandate meeting the Lady, and the Lady tells her that at least some of it is true. Marjorie asks to send back a story of her own version of the events, and the Lady agrees, handing Marjorie a glowing crystal. The Lady takes her leave (dramatically), and Marjorie heads back to the Chancel in search of Bernardo.
Along the way, she meets a traveling saleswoman named Liesl, who has a cart full of magical items, and also advertises that she is able to cast various spells for a modest fee. Liesl has lived in the Forest ‘for as long as I can remember’, and Marjorie tells her she’s welcome as long as she doesn’t curse anyone who doesn’t actually deserve it.
She finds Bernardo, and asks if he can think of a way to send the crystal to the Chancel of Jan ben Jan. He suggests pixies, but Marjorie thinks that’s not quite as cool as flaming horses, so he recommends a Green Knight instead. They send on the crystal, and have a conversation about the lack of cell phone reception in the Chancel. After a bit of a back and forth, Marjorie suggests maybe they could have carrier pigeons deliver any texts or voice mail messages, and Bernardo gets excited about the possibilities.
Marjorie leaves the forest to check her messages. She has one from Pierre and one from Domingo. She gets in touch with Domingo, and makes plans to meet up in two days’ time in Australia. Then she checks in with Pierre, who says he has a lead on the alchemist they’re trying to find. They meet up later in Paris, and Pierre leads her to a small door in a basement that leads to a bar full of humanoid rats. They ask the bartender, and then the proprietor, about information on any of the rats who used to work for the alchemist and might know where he is now. Eventually Pierre pays for information, and they are sent to Maurice, a fat rat in a business suit at one of the back tables.
After a bit of negotiation and some more coin, they learn that the alchemist has a secret lair under the Louvre. They decide to gather more information before making an assault on the place, and Pierre, perhaps somewhat reluctantly, leads her to a lovely townhouse, where they meet a member of the Cleave of Botanists named Elizabeth. As it turns out, Pierre and Elizabeth were an item, sometime around the time of World War 2. So, things are a little awkward, but she is still friendly and helpful. They learn that the alchemist used to be a member of the Cleave, named Michele Gaston, but was kicked out when he tried, successfully, to refine himself in a way that allowed him to perceive time miraculously.
Elizabeth thinks that it will be difficult to successfully defeat him unless they remove that refinement. She offers to come up with a solution that will do so. Pierre and Marjorie thank her and leave. They agree to meet up again after Elizabeth has had time to work, and Pierre has had time to do some reconnaissance at the Louvre. Marjorie comments that Paris is a lot weirder than she expected, and Pierre offers to take her on a normal date sometime to make it up to her.