As Cinder and Iko walk home from the junkyard, Cinder feels nauseous knowing that Peony is already dying. When Cinder arrives home, med-droids are already there, and Adri and Pearl have already tested negative for letumosis. After Adri instructs Iko to dispose of all of Peony’s things, she tells Cinder that the med-droids informed her that they picked up Peony in a junkyard and took her to the quarantines. She wonders bitterly why Peony was there. Cinder explains that they went together to look for a magbelt, and Adri blames Cinder for getting Peony sick. But Cinder tells her that she doesn’t have letumosis; Peony couldn’t have gotten it from her. She assures Adri that she loves Peony too. Furious, Adri asks if Cinder’s “kind” even know what love is.
Adri’s words reinforce the stereotype that cyborgs are inferior to non-cyborg human beings. In saying that Cinder’s “kind”—referring to cyborgs—can’t feel love, she suggests that Cinder is abnormal and subhuman, even though Cinder clearly loves her stepsister. Additionally, even though Adri blames Cinder for what happened to Peony, in reality Adri’s selfishness arguably also played a role in her daughter’s illness. If she had simply given Cinder the money (which Cinder earned) to pay for a magbelt and a dress, Cinder would never have tried to scavenge in the junkyard, and Peony wouldn’t have gone with her and gotten exposed.
Adri then informs Cinder that she never wanted to adopt—Garan was the one who took Cinder in. Upset, Adri insists that Garan died because of Cinder, and now Peony is going to die because of Cinder as well. Cinder protests that she didn’t ask for anyone to adopt her, and that what’s happened isn’t her fault. Adri then says that she is volunteering Cinder for plague research, to help find a cure for Peony. Cinder is stunned: no one survives the plague testing. Realizing that Adri will receive a payment for Cinder’s sacrifice, Cinder accuses Adri of volunteering Cinder to get money. As the med-droids approach to take Cinder away, she tries to attack them and escape, but they shock her into unconsciousness.
Whereas Adri could use her position of power as the head of household to comfort and protect Cinder, instead her power only makes her greedy. She abuses her role as Cinder’s stepmother, essentially choosing to have Cinder hurt (or even killed) against her will. And while Adri claims that this is for Peony’s sake, Cinder’s accusation suggests that Adri is only doing this for the monetary compensation she’ll receive.