Cinder quickly pulls on the dress, the gloves, and installs her 11-year-old-size foot before putting on a set of Pearl’s discarded boots. Cinder knows she looks like a disaster, but she has no other choice. She hops into her orange car and drives over to the palace. The ride is jerky and harsh, but she’s proud that she was able to get it working. However, when it starts raining, Cinder can no longer see, and she collides with a cherry blossom tree. When she recovers her breath, she gets out and walks, knowing that her chance for escape is gone.
All of the objects that Cinder uses underscore how her hard work, perseverance, and kindness are what allow her to go to the ball—not luck or magic like in the original “Cinderella” tale. Cinder has worked hard to fix up the car; she has scrounged for clothes and recovered her foot; and she acquired the gloves and an invite to the ball because of her kindness to Kai.
Cinder runs over to the palace’s double doors and walks without letting anyone stop her, willing herself to look as graceful as possible in her soaked, disheveled condition. She heads down the main hall toward the music, where guards flank the stairs that cascade into the ballroom. From the top of the steps, she notices Kai dancing with Queen Levana. All she has to do is find a way to speak with him.
Cinder continues to show her perseverance as she arrives at the ball. Even though she’s just crashed her car and looks like a mess, she doesn’t let anyone stop her as she makes her way to the ballroom.
When the music ends, Kai and Levana separate, and Cinder thinks that this is her chance. But then she notices Pearl approach Kai. Suddenly, a guard addresses Cinder, asking to scan her ID to make sure that she has RSVPed. Cinder tries to deflect, but she has to give her information. The man gasps when he reads his scanner, realizing that she is Kai’s personal guest. The man brings Cinder to the top of the stairs, and before she knows what’s happening, trumpets blare, and the man announces her arrival to the whole room.
This exchange with the guard again reinforces how Cinder’s kindness, rather than luck, is what has enabled her to go to the ball. The guard likely wouldn’t have let her in if he’d seen her disheveled appearance without knowing who she is. But because of Cinder’s kindness and hard work—which allowed her to build trust and friendship with Kai—she is able to attend the ball as Kai’s personal guest.