Chapter 22 Summary
As Cinder approaches the palace, her mind is full of Dr. Erland’s warnings about the Lunar queen. While Cinder is breaking her promise to stay away, she sees no other choice. After all, Prince Kai’s android seems to contain valuable classified information about Princess Selene’s whereabouts. Besides, Cinder wants to see Kai again.
When Cinder arrives at the palace, she finds a huge crowd gathered in the square to protest Queen Levana’s visit. The chaos makes it difficult for Cinder to approach to the gate. When she finally arrives, a suspicious guard refuses to let her in. Nainsi flashes her ID chip, which automatically grants her admittance. Nainsi tells Cinder to wait. Prince Kai will surely send an entry pass so that Cinder can see him.
As Cinder waits among the protestors, a strange, creepy feeling suddenly comes upon her. She looks up at a palace balcony and sees Queen Levana, a cruelly beautiful woman, looking down upon the protestors. Cinder knows that running would draw attention, so she tries to hide herself among the crowd.
Just then, Cinder’s thoughts change dramatically. Queen Levana no longer seems horrible and frightening. Rather, she is a wonderful person. It seems to Cinder that this woman should become the empress of the Eastern Commonwealth. Only if she obtains power can the people of Earth live in safety and peace.
While these strange thoughts pass dreamily through Cinder’s mind, an orange light blinks in the corner of her vision. It takes her a moment to remember what this means: “Lies.” Cinder struggles to make sense of this message. How can the queen be lying when she is not even speaking? The answer occurs to her quickly: the queen is using her Lunar mind control abilities.
When Cinder realizes the truth, she is startled back to her senses. She stumbles and bumps into the man next to her. The rest of the crowd is standing perfectly still, mesmerized, so Queen Levana’s eye is drawn to Cinder. The queen looks shocked—then furious. She turns around and stalks into the castle. The protestors seem dazed as they silently disperse.
Cinder watches them go, unsure what to think. Dr. Erland told her that she was probably a shell, but he also said that a shell would be immune to the queen’s mind control. Cinder is not immune. She fell victim to it briefly before shaking it off. Worse, Queen Levana saw Cinder and recognized her as a Lunar fugitive.