Arathiel notices a new pattern in the Goatswood Flayer’s movements; after returning to tracking the killer on foot, he notes that the Flayer has been spending a lot of time in the Shattered Temple district of the Lower Ward. Tzenka and Arathiel believe the killer is preparing to kill again soon, and they gain command of several teams of patrolmen, ready to move in on the killer from multiple angles when the time comes.
Naedas, Sitani and Taga move Margot out of the Roundabout House and interview all current residents, looking for any suspicious characters. Robert, Robert, and Jimmy suggest the house could become self-sufficient selling baked goods provided they get more ovens and equipment, which Sitani purchases for them.
On the morning of the 20th of Blooming, the Flayer becomes more active than usual. Arathiel and his team get into position, tracking the killer into the Lower Ward. Arathiel hears a loud scream, rushing to a winding alley, where he sees two men, one writhing on the ground and the other standing over him. The man on the ground lays in a pool of blood, struggling and squirming. He is bleeding from his wrists and has a strange and very offputting creature attached to his head. The second man is tall, with a frayed suit and a pair of spectacles visible beneath a large hooded cloak. He holds a small, perfectly clean razor in his hand.
The killer turns and flees as soon as he catches sight of the Mercykillers. Arathiel orders Tzenka to attend to the victim and gives chase, pursuing the killer out of the Shattered Temple district across the ditch into the Hive. Arathiel takes a shortcut through the Roundabout House, calling for Sitani, Naedas, Taga, and Margot to join him.
The killer continues through the Hive into the Slags, where he ducks into an abandoned warehouse. The five pursue him inside, where they find a huge maze of crates stacked into great rows. The warehouse feels claustrophobic, endless corridors stretching out into infinity, and it makes Naedas and Sitani nauseous. The ceiling converges into a cathedral-styled dome, and a desecrated statue looms over the crate walls, depicting an eight-armed being covered in hundreds of eyes, holding a smashed spear in its right hand.
As they continue through the warehouse, the crates begin to vary in their materials, and an increasing number appear to be covered in leather, then fur, then glowing metals, glittering scales, tree bark and fruit skin. They defeat a trio of wriggling translucent worms with tentacles on their heads.
The group hears someone whistle three notes, each progressively higher pitched, and then a bright flash of light as the killer escapes through a portal. They locate the portal, activate it, and follow the killer through.