Alice sulks around in some trees until she finds a feral kitten which she grabs and takes with her. She goes her parent’s home and has a very awkward reunion with her mother. One of her mother’s friends is there and the kitten hisses, leading Alice to believe that Carol might be the lamprey. Stephanie is not convinced that Carol is evil. Alice tells her father who is more willing to believe. The two of them tape Carol to a chair and try to remove the Lamprey with a homemade taser. Carol gets loose and storms off. Quentin turns off, much to Alice’s dismay. Daniel notices something odd and suspects that the lamprey is in Q, who runs off. When Alice goes out to the garage to get the car’s battery for their taser she finds Quentin passed out on the floor, seemingly de lamprey’d.
Quentin, Alice and Daniel attempt to find a way to stop the lamprey while Stephanie is basically being a jerk. At least until Alice goes full confession mode and admits that she tortured the lamprey’s whole family. Basically she was a monster when she was a niffin. Stephanie goes quickly silent and leaves the room. Quentin goes after her since he feels basically useless since all the texts are in Asian languages, which are his worst subject.
Quentin finds Stephanie in the midst of a major drunk depression. With magic gone, their house has literally fallen apart. Also they got a tax bill for 30 years of back payments and will lose the house. plus they have to get jobs and they have basically no real skills. Meanwhile, Daniel can’t help asking Alice about the whole Niffin thing, especially the torture stuff. Alice explains that as a Niffin there was nothing she would have done to gain knowledge. (An obsession with knowledge was also a pre Niffin Alice thing so perhaps Niffin form magnifies each person’s obsessions several times over). Reading the books, Alice figures out that the Lamprey might actually be trying to lay eggs in them. She and Daniel go to find Stephanie and Quentin. Daniel claims he saw the lamprey in Stephanie so they shock her. When no Lamprey appears, Quentin is suggested as still being the host. He grabs the taser and knocks himself out, leading Alice to realize that it’s in her father. Confronted by the Lamprey, Alice admits that she wasn’t actually seeking knowledge when she killed the Lamprey’s family, she just liked the pretty lights (basically the niffin version of setting bugs on fire with a magnifying glass).
Despite the Lamprey suggesting that Daniel has a weak heart, Alice still shocks him to keep the Lamprey from getting away. Once it’s out of Daniel’s body, Alice destroys it. She gives something to Quentin to make him barf up any Lamprey eggs that might be in his stomach. After which they have a rather awkward conversation about their future. A conversation that gets even more awkward when Daniel has a heart attack and dies.
Returning home the boat is attacked by pirates. The captain tells Eliot to take the family and hide in the royal cabin. In the cabin, Eliot spots a keyhole in the wall. The magic key creates a door in the wall.
Margo gets the news of the pirate attack. Margo goes to the Fairy Queen and demands help in saving Eliot and the others. The Queen agrees to help Margo get to the ship to speak to the pirates. On the ship, Tick suggests that the pirates might steal some things (in a coded message that he might be able to steal Margo’s eye from the Fairy Queen). And ‘they’ do. Margo is intrigued to find out that the Pirate King is a woman, who tries to seduce Margo. Margo isn’t so easily persuaded, at least until the pirates free Eliot and give back the boat. Margo is allowed to see Eliot, only to discover that Benedict is posing as the King.
Margo and the Pirate King negotiate terms. But the pirate isn’t just looking for money. It seems that her boat, also being made of sentient word, is horny and has it’s eyes on the Muntjack. The Pirate King orders Margo to make the Muntjack submit. Tick and Benedict explain to Margo that the after effects of the encounter can ruin a boat and in doing so she releases that the Pirate King is asking Margo to order the Muntjack to be a ‘willing’ victim of rape. This does not sit well with Margo at all. She goes to talk to the Muntjack’s ‘heart wood’. She explains the situation to the Muntjack as well as declaring that she won’t order the boat to comply. The Fairy Queen overhears Margo and is moved by Margo’s words to kill all the pirates. She demands that Margo give back her eye. Margo does, but squishes it first, rendering it useless.
Julia finds Kady and Penny at the cottage. Julia agrees to help Kady perform the ritual from Harriet, which will summon a demon. When Julia goes to collect some of the ingredients she needs, she has a strange encounter with a homeless woman who suggests that Julia needs a push because she should be ‘further along’ (cryptic much).
Kady and Julia perform the ritual and successful summon the demon. He examines Penny and declares that Penny needs ‘surgery’ to remove the curse. It’s so painful that Penny astral projects out of his body (“No Shame, Bro”). The demon removes the curse, which looks like a slimy ball, but he’s not in time to keep Penny from dying. With Astral Penny still outside.