While Ulita stands guard, Fen’s mind is transported to another place, where the tree she’s touching still stands, and her old mentor is there too. It turns out Fen needs to prove that she can actually do what she promised the tree she would: protect the trees as the Scion of the Forest. Fen goes at her mentor, the last Scion of the Forest, with her bare fists and then the Friendship Rope, while her mentor grows into a tall tree with a long reach and a hefty wallop. Although she takes being a treant for a test drive, Fen fails the test, however she’s left with a knife on her hand that can take her back to fight her mentor anytime she wants, until she succeeds. She’ll also be allowed to take allies with her in the future.
Meanwhile, in the courtyard of the university, the other party members are fending off people seeking food. Among the many people, Remi spots someone approach Kean and whisper in his ear, before they dart off. Remi tells Yannic, who asks Kean who that was: it turns out she’s Mercury, and she wants to save Kean. Kaiva distracts the crowd with strips of jerky while the rest of the party sneaks into the College of Arcane Magic. (Andra needs to be dragged along and or carried because Fen has her circlet, though she’s not wearing it during her fight.)
Once inside, the party sees a whole lot of people rushing around, trying to solve problems. Also there’s a whole lot of people running toward the necromancy department, which is unusual. Yannic guides everyone down to his old professor’s office in the basement, which is empty of people and most useful books. Once there, Yannic tells Kean to contact Mercury to see if she can help. After some ineffective communication, Mercury arrives. She’s a late-middle-aged elf who’s worried about her teacher.
Remi explains what’s going on with the circlets and collars, and after learning that Kean is not actually Keanvari, who was her teacher many years ago, Mercury expresses doubt that a clone could accomplish what Keanvari could, to take the collars off. Mercury explains what the people in the university are doing to keep the worldwide teleportation system going, and the party shares that Gathering will likely fall by the end of the next day. There’s some discussion about how the party could potentially help with anything, anything at all.
Throughout the discussion with Mercury, Yannic has been putting the circlet on and taking it off, with varying levels of pain/consciousness.