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Chapter 38 Summary

Cinder thinks Dr. Erland is making a sick joke but he assures her that this is not a joking matter. Like Kai, he has been searching for the Lunar heir for years. He knew that she was a cyborg because she had been badly hurt in Queen Levana’s murder attempt back on Luna. He knew from his investigations that she was in the Eastern Commonwealth. She was the reason he began drafting cyborgs for plague research—because he was looking for a teenage cyborg girl who might be able to depose Queen Levana. Cinder is sickened by the idea of so many cyborgs being killed just to find her, but Dr. Erland assures her that his choices are his own fault, not hers.

Continuing his explanation, Dr. Erland says that Queen Levana has almost certainly figured out who Cinder is. However, Emperor Kai does not yet know, and Dr. Erland cannot tell him until the Lunar queen leaves Earth. Dr. Erland adds that he—not Emperor Kai—is the person best equipped to place Cinder on the throne of Luna.

All this is moving too fast for Cinder, who does not even want to be the supreme ruler of a planetary body. She refuses to do it, but Dr. Erland says she is the only hope. If Cinder does not embrace her birthright, nobody can stop Queen Levana from maintaining her enslavement of Luna and expanding it to Earth.

When Cinder still hesitates, Dr. Erland says she does not have to accept this fate just yet. All he wants is for her to escape from prison and find a way to meet him in Africa. To Cinder, this does not sound quite so difficult.

When Dr. Erland leaves, Cinder thinks again that his plan is insane. Her brain races through all the information it can download on Princess Selene, Luna, the victims of the cyborg draft, and the prospects of Earth in war. She curls up in a ball on the floor, feeling guilty for all that has happened because of her.

But Cinder may also be the only person who can stop Queen Levana from killing Kai. She considers purposely controlling others’ minds in order to escape from prison and travel across the world. The thought makes her feel slightly sick, but she knows she can do it if she must. She decides to give it a try. As Cinder ends, Cinder cuts out the ID chip in her arm, resolved to set out for Africa and the unknown.