Nico, on holiday in the city, runs into Weft (whom she last saw playing a jovial Red Death at a party) and another woman called Wirin, each of whom immediately accuses the other of being a criminal, thug and possible murderer. On balance Nico believes Weft's story, annoying Wirin. Weft claims the gang to which Wirin belongs is trying to intimidate a weaponsmith for money. After briefly meeting Weft's brother Triviality, Nico leaves the scene with Weft in tow.
Another thug from the same gang subsequently tries to kill Nico but is seriously outclassed by her and runs off, leaving an expensive knife behind. Nico decides to sell this. Meanwhile Weft reappears in time to scare the gang member off, but realises that Nico can deal with him on her own. Having some free time, he offers to show Nico some of the entertainments in the city: they go to a musical and Weft accompanies her as far as her lodgings.
Upon returning to the weapon shop the next day, reasoning that this will be the safest place to sell the gang member's knife because it's already guarded, Nico again meets Triviality, who lets slip that Weft was guarding her the previous night, and not spending a supposed free evening with her. She next heads to the monastery to confront Weft. While waiting for him she meets Tortile, a cute and quick-witted young monk-in-training with a vaguely unattractive disdain for the order's "moron" slasher ranks. Nico eventually confronts Weft, who admits he was guarding her. He is sorry for upsetting her but unapologetic about doing his duty.
The conversation with Tortile and a few more questions put to Weft leave Nico with further suspicions about the order, the general running of the city, and its colonies around the world. She decides to visit one of these colonies and heads to the docks, seeking passage on one of the freight ships that dock near the city and move their goods in and out by barge. A skinny prostitute with a strange accent, Yavu, approaches her and accepts a meal in exchange for information about the colonies and how to get there. Yavu, who is from one of the colonies originally, describes the difficulties of entering the city illegally as a non-citizen and asks to go with Nico when she leaves. Weft reappears a final time as they leave and shows extreme distrust and disdain towards Yavu, which is probably enough to make anyone sensible like Yavu a little more. Unable to dissuade Nico from leaving, Weft watches her go.