Chapter 18 Summary
A med-droid stops Cinder on the way out of quarantine. Now, for the first time, Cinder feels a little nervous. She explains that she is not a patient, and she invites the med-droid to test her blood. The android takes a long time to complete the test, and Cinder begins to panic, wondering if she is susceptible to the disease after all. Ultimately she tests negative, and she is allowed to leave.
On her way to the palace, Cinder looks eagerly out the windows. As she admires the beauty of the gardens and the pagoda-style roof, her netlink informs her that the palace is a state-of-the art building meant to imitate architectural styles from before World War IV.
In the palace elevators, Cinder meets Prince Kai. As they greet each other, she checks her gloves to make sure they are hiding her cybernetic hand. He is as polite and charming as ever, but he seems unhappy—and Cinder is quick to discover why. The emperor has died. She tells him that she is very sorry.
The prince admits to Cinder that his father’s death is not the only problem on his mind. Queen Levana is coming to New Beijing—today. Cinder is appalled, and the prince appears to share her feelings. He begs her to finish her repairs on his android, Nainsi. Although he does not explain why, she gets the impression that his request has something to do with the Lunar queen. She promises to fix the android as soon as she can.
When Cinder and Prince Kai find Dr. Erland, they all discuss the letumosis problem. Once again, Dr. Erland lies and tells the prince that there is nothing new to report. Cinder cannot understand why he keeps doing this, but she does not stop him. If he revealed the truth, the prince would find out she is a cyborg.
Before he leaves, Prince Kai asks Cinder to be his “personal guest” at the upcoming ball. Cinder is flattered but also horrified. If she appeared in public with the prince, the whole country would criticize him for being seen with a cyborg. She cannot bring that embarrassment on him, so she reluctantly says no.
Prince Kai is obviously shocked that Cinder is refusing to go out with him. Obviously it does not often happen that a handsome prince gets turned down by an ordinary girl. However, Kai soon recovers himself. He bids a polite but stiff good-bye.