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Chapter 11 Summary

When the fog clears from Cinder’s brain, she thinks that she must have suffered a programming error. The orange light in the corner of her vision goes out and her body feels heavy and sluggish. She has no desire to resume her attack on Dr. Erland.

Dr. Erland shows Cinder a scan of her body and explains that the letumosis virus, which he injected into her veins less than an hour ago, is gone. It takes her a minute to believe that she does not have the plague, and that she is not contagious. Her first reaction is relief, closely followed by suspicion. How could she be cured?

Patiently, Dr. Erland explains that Cinder is immune. She did not think this was possible, but he is quite sure of himself. He quizzes her about her childhood and whether she was ever exposed to the disease when she was young. She explains about her stepfather’s death when she was eleven. He asks about her life before that, and she replies that she remembers nothing from before the hover accident that killed her parents and damaged her body.

As the conversation continues, Dr. Erland asks detailed questions about Cinder’s accident and the operation that transformed her into a cyborg. Unfortunately, she cannot answer; she has no memory of her life before her operation. When she asks why he wants to know, he says he is merely interested. He tells her that he is going to examine her blood samples in order to learn as much as he can about her. 

Now that Cinder has accepted that she is immune, she asks if she is free to go. Dr. Erland hesitates, and she says coldly that she does not want to be a prisoner. He considers this and says, “You have no idea how important…no idea of your worth.” He asks her to continue to help him save lives; he offers to pay her for her trouble..

Cinder turns this idea over in her mind and realizes that she would do almost anything that might help Peony. She agrees to volunteer, on three conditions. First, she wants the freedom to come and go. Second, she wants her income to be paid into a private account that she can keep secret from Adri. Third, she wants Peony to be the first person to receive treatment if Dr. Erland manages to create a cure.

To Cinder’s surprise, Dr. Erland agrees immediately to the first two conditions, but he hesitates on the third. If an antidote can be created in time, it is the emperor who will be the first to receive it. “But I can promise that your sister will be second,” Dr. Erland says.