Cinder is sitting in a prison cell, replaying the first time that Kai visited her booth. Soon, she’ll be transported back to Luna. A guard interrupts her thoughts, bringing in Dr. Erland to visit. He insists on speaking to Cinder alone, explaining that she’s a test subject and he needs her blood sample. When the guard refuses, Dr. Erland uses his gift on the guard, who opens Cinders cell and leaves. Cinder explains what happened at the ball, and Dr. Erland says that Kai made the right choice—particularly because Levana probably wouldn’t have let Cinder live long anyway if they married.
Here, Cinder experiences the fallout of her decision to put Kai and the Eastern Commonwealth above herself. Dr. Erland—and, by extension, the novel itself—affirm that this was the right decision, and that putting others above oneself is a worthy course of action that makes Cinder a heroic protagonist.
Dr. Erland then explains that he wants Cinder to come to Africa with him. He gives her a new metal hand and metal foot. Inside the hand is a hidden flashlight, knife, gun, and a screwdriver. Cinder reminds Dr. Erland that if she leaves, Levana will start a war—and she’s not worth starting one over. Dr. Erland replies that Cinder is worth starting a war over. He tried to tell her last week, but she’s not only Lunar, and not only not a shell—she’s Princess Selene, Queen Levana’s niece and the true heir to the Lunar throne.
This final revelation helps explain so much of Dr. Erland’s deception, as he was hiding this massive secret from Cinder in order to protect her from Levana’s wrath. Yet it shows the problem with this kind of deception, too. Kai spent a great deal of time and effort looking for Princess Selene, and had Cinder known about her own identity, perhaps much of the book’s conflict could have been avoided.