"Whoever wins, no hard feelings."
As the fight continues, the audience can see that, on the battlefield, Oresta is gaining the upper hand against Cathak Fiej. When Fiej falls back against a flagpole, Oresta exploits an opening with a pommel strike that crushes his clavicle, and he falls back unconscious. Bana tries to climb upwards in order to get out of swinging range, but Peleps Fleuvienne grabs his ankle before he can make it. With one swift maneuver, the two of them have the center field secured. Meanwhile, inside the Lost Hand's base, Gale capitalizes on her ambush with devastating head blows to the remaining members of the Golden Thread. Before they can retaliate, a commotion from outside draws everyone's attention. Cynis Sientelle appears in the yard waving Pyres's bedsheets - with the Lost Hand insignia hastily drawn on them in charcoal! She leaps at Oresta, who sets and catapults the Wood Aspect to the top of the flagpole, sending a shower of rose petals into the air above Oresta's surging pillars of earth. There is not even a moment to doubt the validity of the goal, as Cathak Vieren signals the end of the game the moment Sientelle finishes her first knot.
Pyres invites the standing members of the Golden Thread to take the field alongside the Lost Hand, showing solidarity as friendly competitors. The Golden Thread is uneasy, and they have good reason to be. When Vieren is asked about the policy of disbanding the losing Fang, he says only that he did not make it a rule. But, while the threat from the school administration may still loom, Bana sends the Lost Hand off with an unexplained hand sign: a fist concealed behind an open hand, held next to the head.
The Lost Hand meets to debrief on the last encounter. Sientelle is less than pleased to hear that Gale had a contingency plan for if Sientelle completely abandoned them, and everybody is less than pleased that the Lost Hand has been in two games in as many days despite there being three years' worth of fangs to choose from. Sientelle suggests that their discussions may be conducted better in a private location she knows, and with a wine barrel of unknown provenance. The Lost Hand climbs the stairs to a little-visited belltower, where they attempt to relax with wine and Gateway. Sientelle speaks a bit of her past, and how she chafes under society's assumptions of her destiny from the circumstances of her birth. Fleuvienne is less open about herself, only mentioning that she was not born of the Realm's aristocracy. According to Sientelle, it's one of those things she prefers not to talk about.
With the barriers between them breaking down, the Lost Hand starts delving deeper into their unusual circumstances. After Gale recounts her encounter with Mnemon Seppe, Sientelle resolves to do whatever she needs in order to get to the bottom of things. The whole of the Lost Hand shares her dedication, and they plan a break-in to Gamesmaster Vieren's office. Pyres and Seintelle take the task of actually performing the infiltration. Pyres finds some documents indicating that Vieren may be dealing with some financial difficulties, and some missives prepared for other fangs around the school: the Giant's Tome and the Serpent's Coil. Sientelle's findings are more striking; she procures the academic transcripts of Pyres and his sister Maral. A quick search of the transcripts' container finds that Oresta's, Gale's, and Sientelle's are also missing. Fleuvienne's is conspicuously still in its proper place. As Pyres and Sientelle prepare to exit, they pick up on one more strange detail: grains of coastal sand on the floor. With the threat of discovery growing by the minute, they leap out the office window.
Oresta takes Fleuvienne to the infirmary to attend to a heavily bruised midsection. There, V'neef Garavel quickly assumes that Oresta is making a habit of visiting everyone she puts in there, but she quickly corrects him. In his attempts to make pleasant conversation, Garavel reveals that Fiej has indeed been removed from the Golden Thread. The order didn't come from Vieren, as the students suspected, but from Quartermaster Juwinn. Down the hall, Pyres makes a visit of his own to check on Ragara Brevin, but unfortunately, it seems that Brevin's bad attitude is back in full force, and the two get no closer to making peace.
In private, Sientelle and Gale revisit the issue of Gale preparing for Sientelle to betray them. Though Gale is adamant that she is in the right to be prepared for the unexpected from someone she knows very little, Sientelle is eager to hastily close the gap of trust between them. As a bid of confidence, Gale probes Sientelle for information about the Heightened Sense, which it turns out Sientelle knows well; it is a ship she has boarded in years past. Though she was not present for its final voyage, she believes she may have some insight into the mystery. Insight she will share...next episode.
The following are reactions from viewer's non-canon students.
- "Someone saw the "new and improved" Fang of the Lost Hand sneak off to the bell tower with what looked like a cask of wine from the mess hall and... a Gateway board? Drunken Gateway, huh? That's ONE way for everyone to "get comfortable" with their new situation, I suppose." Tepet Kendra Kai, 5th Year
- "The Lost Hand's performance was exemplary, by definition. Any cadet worth their weight will be working on a strategy to incapacitate at least one of the Hand down quickly. I know I am. The lesson of Game 2 was clear: be like Cynis Sientelle and refuse to conform to your opponent's expectations." Tepet Voren, 5th Year
- "I'm not sure if I should be impressed or annoyed... " Tepet Aoife, 6th Year
- "At this point I'm hungering for the Lost Hand's defeat, just to see what happens. They might be establishing themselves in the games as the Bell's "It" Fang, but no one is going to scatter out of the way when those five walk by until it's clear they're as loyal to each other as the Golden Thread was. Anyone can drop a pretty flower onto the soil and impress, but unless it takes root? The colors will wilt, fade, die and never grow back." Cynis Fallen Petals, 5th Year