Chapter 15 Summary
Cinder wends her way through the research wing of the palace, trying to find her way out. When she comes to a bank of windows, she stops and looks down on New Beijing. She normally thinks of the city as dirty and ugly place. But from above like this, it is beautiful.
As she looks down on the city, Cinder realizes that she has to go home to Adri and Pearl. She needs to protect Iko, who is likely to be sold for parts if Cinder is not there. She also promised the prince she would fix his broken android, which is still in the basement. Besides, where else could an orphan teenage cyborg go?
Even as she sets out, Cinder resolves not to stay with Adri long. She will save her money and bide her time, and eventually, she will run away. She cannot forget that she is not wanted, and she cannot forgive Adri for trying to have her killed.
When Cinder steps through her apartment door, she is amused by the shocked expressions on her stepmother’s and stepsister’s faces. She lies and says that the researchers could not use her, so they sent her home. Adri bitterly accuses Cinder of lying and deliberately thwarting her only chance to help Peony. Cinder, who feels that she is the one who was wronged, argues back just as bitterly.
By the end of the argument, Adri agrees that Cinder may stay in the apartment—but only if she remembers her place and obeys orders respectfully. Cinder chafes against the injustice of her position, but she agrees. As soon as possible, she withdraws to her workspace with Iko.
Iko is surprised but thrilled to see Cinder again. Down in the workshop, she listens to the story about the trip to the castle, Cinder's immunity, and Cinder's new income. Iko's first thought is that now it will be possible to buy a beautiful gown for the ball. Cinder alternates between amusement and annoyance at Iko’s romantic obsession with this ball. Iko even rescued Peony’s gown from destruction when Adri burned or sold off everything else. The gown is now hanging, wrinkled and dusty, in a corner of the workshop.
Cinder says she needs to think about more important matters than balls. She intends to go back to the junkyard and get that old orange gas-powered car. With Iko’s help, she will fix it up and drive it out of New Beijing—maybe even all the way to Europe. Iko has no particular interest in that old car, but she likes the idea of running away.