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Chapter 36 Summary

Queen Levana repeats that if Kai makes her empress, she will allow Cinder to live. Cinder, who understands that Levana would use this position to wage war on all of humanity, tells Kai to say no. It is not worth starting a war over an insignificant person like Cinder.

Kai paces the ballroom, looking from the queen to Cinder to his frightened, confused guests. He says that he knows Queen Levana is more powerful than every country on Earth combined, and that he cannot prevent her from ruling her own people as she sees fit. Yet he has promised to keep his people safe, and he cannot marry a woman who would treat them the way Queen Levana would. Their marriage agreement is off, no matter what the consequences.

After Kai makes this statement, his eyes meet Cinder’s. His decision has placed her in danger, and he looks unhappy but firm. Silently she thanks him for making the right choice. But Queen Levana is furious.

As the queen and Kai argue, Cinder’s ability to sense Lunar bioelectric manipulation begins to improve. With the help of her cybernetic interface, she starts to see the Lunar queen as she really appears. Abruptly, Cinder realizes that the queen is not beautiful at all. She says so, loudly, in front of everyone.

Queen Levana's fury increases. Using her Lunar powers, she takes control of Cinder’s mind. Unwillingly, Cinder snatches a gun from a guard and points it at her own head. As Kai begs Queen Levana to stop, Cinder forces herself to resist the queen’s mind control. Screaming, she turns the gun away from her head and shoots it at the ceiling instead.

At this point of high emotion, Cinder’s mind finally finishes overriding the lock on her Lunar abilities. Her whole body goes hot, and something changes inside her. Her cybernetic parts try to tell her that she is sick, maybe dying, but she actually feels good. She sees electricity crackling over her metal hand, and she raises the gun to fire it at the queen. When a guard steps in...

(The entire section is 544 words.)