Chapter 24 Summary
Outside the palace, Cinder is lost in thought. Is she really a shell? Is she really a Lunar at all? She forgets all about her desire to see Prince Kai until an android arrives to escort her to him. Cinder is afraid to encounter Queen Levana again, but her desire to see Kai outweighs this fear. She follows the android into the palace.
When she sees Kai, Cinder explains that a direct communication chip was interfering with Nainsi’s programming. Kai finds this odd; he installed no such chip, and he does not know why anyone would. When Cinder tells Kai about the strange appearance of the chip, which was made of a strange black shimmering material, he guesses that it is Lunar. After all, Lunar ships are made of the same strange stuff.
Strolling through the halls of the palace, Kai once again asks Cinder to come to the ball with him. When he explains that he wants a date in order to avoid Queen Levana, Cinder realizes that she really must stay away or risk being seen again. She cannot tell Kai that she is Lunar, so she begs Prince Kai to ask some other girl.
This time, Kai refuses to accept Cinder’s refusal. He makes his request again, loudly, in the middle of the crowded hallway. People stop and stare. It is not every day that people see Prince Kai, the handsome young man who is about to be crowned emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth, begging for a date from a grease-stained girl in cargo pants.
Embarrassed, Cinder pushes Kai into an elevator and closes the doors. “It’s my sister,” she says. She explains that she cannot go to a ball without Peony, who is dying of plague. As Cinder speaks, she realizes that what she is saying is true—she would not want to go to the ball under these circumstances. She asks Kai to dance with Peony, “if, by some crazy miracle, she might survive.” Prince Kai solemnly...
(The entire section is 517 words.)