The motley head to the Kingdom of Apples to get help with their next mission.
"An old roleplaying trick: you give the villains the best lines."
Arriving back at The Spark, Sophia and Braum pass through the building's lobby with an injured Cog in their arms. Braum's now ex-boss Ray Jones is annoyed to see him, and tries to keep him from going upstairs. Sophia is enraged by his treatment of the troll (and more particularly of her), and gives Ray a piece of her mind. She intimidates the maintenance manager enough to let Braum pass upstairs with Sophia and her "nephew", but he asks him to make himself scarce in the future.
Patches and Claude, meanwhile, bring their captive down to the dungeon, where Claude offers to play "the good cop, the bad cop, the worse cop, or the quiet, scary one" if she needs backup. Patches asks him to wait outside, and steps into the cell with the suit. He is uncooperative at first, but after a threat and a bit of pressure, he cracks. He is essentially a mercenary, asked by his employer to check for information from those people in the world who "trip off the readings on our meters", confirming that these people have some digital way of detecting Glamour. When he confirms that his employer are the sinister figures at Abford Pharma, Patches cuts him a deal: she'll leave him with her cell number, and when his employers eventually come for him, he can call her for help.
Back upstairs, Braum and Sophia are presented with a wallet and gun from Kaylie: it's Sophia's "part of the kill", she tells them. Although they are able to discover very little, they do discover the method of communication the suits were using, which implies a high degree of technological sophistication. Still seething over Ray's treatment of her and Braum, Sophia calls the building's super, Ralph, and asks him to put in a good word for Braum with his bosses.
Just outside the dungeon, Incisor offers to drop their prisoner off in a nearby park, but Patches dissuades her from "leaving him with a message", thinking that her violent nature might do some harm. After she's gone, the nocker confers with Claude: it looks like they're going to have to go back to Abford Pharma, but this time, "it won't be a rescue mission; this will be demolition." Claude is on board, but insists that they all check in with Red Branch High Command for permission… and maybe some additional resources.
The motley, Claude, Kyoko, and Sir Xaeron all take a bus down to Manhattan in order to both meet with the Red Branch commander, Lord MacAllistair, and so that Sophia can satisfy her invitation to play at Terra's Glade and learn more about the mysterious Lady Helena ap Gwydion. Braum and Sir Xaeron catch up a bit, with the troll suggesting that he may want his OTHER sword back for this next mission, and Sir Xaeron offers Braum "his old student too". Later on, Patches asks Sir Xaeron for more information about "what they're up against" at Red Branch HQ; the sidhe knight lets her in on the secret knowledge that Lord MacAllistair, Red Branch commander, is "a pushover for those who do right". When Patches asks him about his time as Braum's student, the sidhe fondly recalls the night before his first-ever Pennons, when Braum stayed up all night training him, and then took him out for frozen yogurt after he lost anyway.
Towards the front of the bus, Sophia and Kyoko confer quietly. When Sophia expresses her excitement for getting to visit High King David's "winter home", Homefires, for the first time, Kyoko confirms that the Red Branch headquarters was where she had attempted to call Zistor from before they rescued him. She suddenly switches the conversation to love, as she tells Sophia that, while she isn't sure what's going to happen between her and Braum, Sophia was instrumental in showing her that she was worthy. Sophia is flattered and very pleased that her actions seem to be helping Kyoko live up to her full potential, but is still a little wary of the relationship between Kyoko and Braum (although she doesn't let on).
Rolling into Manhattan, the crew arrive at Homefires. A regular apartment in lower Manhattan would cost anyone a pretty penny; the luxurious brownstone containing the freehold must be out of reach of anyone except the very rich. They are greeted at the door by a leather-clad sluagh, who introduces herself as Jessica, the Chatelaine of the freehold. As she leads them into the main hall, the crew take in the many Kithain and enchanted mortals relaxing, all in view of windows that seem to open onto different monuments around the world. Jessica invites them to have a bath and snack as they relax, but warns them to not disrupt the rest of anyone in this hall….