As Kirigan takes Alina into his confidence, Mal volunteers for a dangerous tracking mission, and the Crows plot a heist to get into the Little Palace.
In order to get an invitation to the Little Palace so that he can be reunited with Alina, Mal agrees to a mission to search for Morozova's Stag, a mythical creature said to be a powerful amplifier for Grisha. Mal, Dubrov, and Mikhael track the stag into Fjerdan territory, where they are ambushed at night. Mal is shot; his friends are both killed. Mal breaks down into tears, and hen he looks up, he sees the stag.
Alina goes riding with Kirigan, who asks her to call him Aleksander. They ride to an old fountain that he says he visited constantly as a child, once he discovered he was a descendant of the most-hated Grisha to ever live: The Black Heretic. He would toss a coin in the well and make the same wish every time: “to be anyone else.” Alina recalls the history of the Black Heretic. He was once the king’s military advisor, but was hungry for power. The king, concerned about a coup, put a bounty on his advisor’s head. The Heretic fled and attempted to use the power of amplifiers to create an army. When he failed, it accidentally created the Fold instead, and he was killed by it.
Alina tells Kirigan that she is worried if she fails, she will become the new Heretic. Kirigan tells her he will not let that happen, then takes her back to the palace for her lessons with Baghra. Baghra gives Alina a special tea that unlocks some of her memories about her power. In a flashback, Alina was tested as a Grisha, but she hid those powers so she could stay with Mal. She tells Baghra all of this.
That night, she wanders the palace and goes to see Kirigan. They talk about the map he is studying and an uprising in West Ravka led by General Zlatan. He starts to spiral, saying that the coffers have run dry and Ravkans are now turning against the Grisha as their king once did. Alina reaches out to him and touches his wrist, flooding the room with a burst of light. “You’re not alone,” she tells him, to which he responds, “I’ve been waiting a long time for you.” He brushes a few strands of hair away from her face and they almost kiss, but she says she has to go.
The next day, Alina asks if there are any letters for her and is disappointed to not see anything from Mal. Mentally, Alina leaves Mal behind and goes to Baghra, where she shows her powers in full force.
Kaz and his crew have a new mission—break into the royal archives in Kribirsk to steal the maps of the Little Palace. Kaz pretends to be a sculptor who needs the dimensions of the entrance to ensure his creation fits. He attaches a phosphorous patch to the archive receptionist’s foot, which leaves a trail for Inej to follow. Inej descends into the archives through the domed roof; Jesper dresses as a guard and turns off the lights at the dome. Inej follows the phosphorous trail to find the blueprints, makes a copy of them, and begins leave the way she came in. However, the guards notice the lights went out and investigate the archives, forcing Inej to remove the rope that was her exit and hide. In timing with the chimes of the clock, Jesper shoots the lock on the door to get her out, and the Crows leave the archives.
However, while examining the blueprints, they realize there are no easy entrances into the Little Palace. The Conductor reveals he created an opening for them to enter the palace in the troupe of performers who were invited to perform at the Winter Fete. He poured oil on the acrobat's rope, causing them to slip and fall. Inej auditions for the role and Jesper displays his marksmanship, earning both of them a place in the performers' troupe.
Meanwhile on the ship, Matthias visits Nina. He offers her food in exchange for answers, but they end up asking each other questions and answering nothing. Matthias asks her to tell him about the man she serves, Kirigan, and she assumes he only gave her food to betray her people. However, he gives her the food anyway, though when he insults Nina, she spits it back in his face. Later, the ship sails into a storm, and the captain orders Matthias to kill all of the prisoners if it gets rough. Matthias argues that the prisoners are due to stand trial; he looks at Nina and considers sparing her.
- Jessie Mei Li as Alina Starkov
- Archie Renaux as Malyen Oretsev
- Freddy Carter as Kaz Brekker
- Amita Suman as Inej Ghafa
- Kit Young as Jesper Fahey
- Zoë Wanamaker as Baghra
- Ben Barnes as General Kirigan
- Danielle Galligan as Nina Zenik
- Calahan Skogman as Matthias Helvar
- Simon Sears as Ivan
- Daisy Head as Genya Safin
- Andy Burse as Dubrov
- Kaylan Teague as Young Alina
- Cody Molko as Young Mal
- Howard Charles as Arken Visser
- Elizabeth Rider as Ana Kuya
- Hugo Speer as Lieutenant Bohdan
- Julian Kostov as Fedyor Kaminsky
- Jasmine Blackborow as Marie
- Pedro Lloyd Gardiner as Marko
- Angus Castle-Doughty as Mikhael
- Jimmy Clark as Tofin
- Kelly Banlaki as Raisa
- Gabrielle Brooks as Nadia
- Jim High as Sergeant Yure Kuznets
- James Jaysen Bryhan as Archivist
- Sándor Csongor Torak as Royal Security Guard #1
- Tamas Koszoru as Royal Security Guard #2
- Marton Nagyszokolyai as Fjerdan Ammo Carrier
- Robert Beck as Quartermaster
- Emily Lawrence as Grisha Tester #2
- Michael Adamthwaite as Captain Nilsen
- Shadow & Bone - Writers Guild of America West. Accessed 29 October 2020.