The party decides to attend the upcoming masquerade ball as the best way to monitor Semanos and decide to survey the venue on the pretense that they do not wish their costumes to clash with the decor. On the way they encounter Captain Draigos, who takes an immediate disliking to them. However, they are allowed through and take note of the surroundings. Shimmering Mirage returns later in cat form to scout out and make note of the surrounding servant’s passages.
Sethos then goes on a hunt for a grand costume, enlisting the aid of his contact Sand-Captain Tolbek to commission authentic garments. Shimmering Mirage decides to go in disguise as a hawk to go along with Sethos’ theme, and Chenzira is outfitted with a belly-dancer’s costume as the companion Sethos is escorting.
Upon arriving at the ball, Sethos blends in perfectly, at ease in the crowd. Everyone is on lookout, and they all go to greet Semanos and his fiance Nemanu. Though Semanos greets them and is friendly, his bride is silent and it seems that something is wrong with her. Semanos apologizes on her behalf, and indicates that she has not been feeling well. Also during this time, Shimmering Mirage notices a figure, cloaked with a special form of sorcery, entering the ballroom behind Sethos’ hated rival, Sharak Tyrrol. As they depart Semanos and Nemanu, Shimemring Mirage, still in bird form, indicates they should speak privately by biting Sethos on the ear.
In a private alcove, Shimmering Mirage advises that she thinks Nemanu may be under the influence of sorcery. It is then that screams from the main ballroom begin. Transforming into warfrom, Shimmering Mirage runs in with her scythe and sees the cloaked figure casting something. On the throne where Semanos was seated, Nemanu has straddled him and appeares to be attempting to strangle him to death. Shimmering Mirage immediately casts Emerald Countermagic, which shatters the windows within the ballroom and knocks almost everyone else to the ground, but it also cancels the spell on Nemanu. She then leaps to attacked the cloaked figure.
As Mirage and the sorcerer fight, Sethos and Chenzira run back into the ballroom, but cannot see what Shimmering Mirage is attacking, since they do not possess the same cat’s eye sight as her. Sethos attempts to calm the panicked crowd. Shimmering Mirage breaks the invisibility spell on the sorcerer, but he manages to escape, flying out through a broken window. Mirage turns into bird form and chases after him along with Chenzira, who grabs Mirage’s scythe and leaps out the window after them, jumping from balcony to balcony on the way down. The sorcerer’s fall is aided by a wind spell, and Mirage turns back into warfrom to land straight on top of him. Chenzira throws Shimmering Mirage her scythe, which somehow she catches, and Mirage then cuts off one of the sorcerer’s legs. As they land, her mole-hound Chigaru is waiting and the Tri’Khan’s guard begins to show up. Mirages escapes in bird form to evade questioning and Chenzira keeps the wounded sorcerer from trying to flee.
Sethos and Chenzira are then taking in for questioning, as Captain Draigos blames them for everything. Chenzira offers little information other than the invitations looked official and pretty looking, and when Sethos is questioned he eventually reveals that it was Ahmet who enlisted his aid, which causes Captain Draigos to immediately close the investigation. Sethos decides the time is ripe to flirt shamelessly with her and invite her for a drink, which she helps because he is so beautiful and charismatic she cannot help herself despite her reservations about him. He and Chenzira then go free.
They return to Sethos’ tower residence where Shimmering Mirage had retreated. As they speak about what happened, and what to do next, Mirage thinks she hears something in the next room. She goes to investigate and sees Ahmet sitting calmly inside. She slams the door and locks herself in with him and begins to shout at him, questioning who and what he is, which alerts Chenzira and Sethos. They pound on the door demanding to be let in but Mirage ignores him because she is intent on trying to bully and interrogate Ahmet. He reveals little to her and she relents and lets the others in before they break down the door.
Ahmet reveals that the “group” he is a part of is the Tri-Khan’s secret police, as they may have suspected when his name cleared them during Captain Draigos’ interrogations. He gives them special insignias to mark them as part of the organization, which gives them some influence and power within the city. Sethos requests to be allowed to speak to the sorcerer, who has been taken prisoner, for more information as to who orchestrated the assassination plot. Ahmet agrees, and takes them to the Chiaroscuro dungeons and torture chambers, where the prisoner has been tortured but has so far refused to speak.
They all speak to the sorcerer, who is an air-aspected Dragonblooded and Sethos’ abilities soon wear down his resistance. He reluctantly reveals that his name is Ghost, and he was part of The Order of the Crimson Amaranth, a brotherhood of assassins and now that he has failed at his purpose in life, death is the only option for him. They question him further and it is discovered he was raised within the order from birth, and knows no way of life other than it, and does not even know how to act like a “proper” Dragonblooded. Though Mirage despises his kind her compassion overcomes her stony heart and she gruffly restores the limb she had previously severed from him. Again he is convinced to cooperate and promises loyalty for a period of 42 years. After the 42 years expires, if he cannot be convinced he still has a purpose in life, he will be allowed to take his own life if he wishes. He shares all the information he knows, giving the description of the one who contracted him: a man with a strange, ancient way of speaking and very old armor, though he did not know his name.
Ahmet advises that Ghost will no longer be tortured but will be kept in the prison for the meantime; the companions discuss what to do next and decide that they will go to Grandmother Bright and see if she can provide any information as to who the man Ghost described is.