Willow is met on the steps of the dormitory where she is staying at the Monastery of the Sunrise on the world of Zion. Several of the candidates in the contest to find someone to succeed the Archon converge upon Willow, asking her about rumors they learned of through Smoke-Viridian and Vermilion-Pink. Willow queries the candidates to see whether they believe these rumors or not, and then reveals that they are in fact true: she was once a pirate, a slave-owner, and was cast out of the City of Hands on Sinai.
Scribe Tree-Rings meets with Willow and informs her of grave news: the Archon has been rushed off to a medical facility, in critical condition. Until the Archon is well enough to come back to continue overseeing the contest, Scribe Tree-Rings will be making sure that Willow's requirements are met.
Willow meets with three candidates in sequence: Royal-Bronze, Ebony-Yellow, and Seafoam-Turquoise, three of the candidates on the top of her list of choices. She reveals to Ebony-Yellow that she is aware of her true identity Jade-Eyes, Priest-Queen of the Savanites. She learns that the Archon had Jade-Eyes taken to Zion to take part in the contest, and that the Archon surreptitiously introduced Jade-Eyes to the so-called "Star" in person (Light-of-Star), and this mortal did not recognize her.
The last interview, with Seafoam-Turquoise, impresses Willow with the older cheetah's gift of perception and a keen ability to come up with detailed assessments of most people. Willow requests that Seafoam-Turquoise share any further insights he has on the progress of the contest.