Black admits that men like him who have melancholy natures do not experience real joy or sadness, only constant turmoil. After Enishte’s funeral, Shekure bursts into tears and Black worries that if he begins to cry, too, it will seem insincere. At that moment, a royal page arrives and summons Black to the Sultan’s palace. On the way there, Black panics, fearing that he is about to be tortured. These fears seem to be confirmed when Black arrives and is locked in a small, dark room. He wonders if the silver coin in his pocket will be enough to protect him. Two executioners arrive; one takes off Black’s shirt and the other puts a vice on his head and begins to squeeze. Black screams, yet maintains that he did not kill Enishte and doesn’t know who did. Just as Black thinks he is about to die, they remove the vice and Master Osman enters, telling him that the Sultan has ordered that he not be tortured. The Sultan is giving him three days in which to scrutinize the book’s illustrations in order to find out who killed Enishte. If he does not come up with an answer after three days, he and the master’s miniaturists will all be tortured.
Black’s melancholy nature borders on being humorous. Although he is presented as the hero of the story, Black remains rather hapless, inhibited by his constant inner turmoil. Once again, he is shown to be a somewhat feminized figure, particularly in relation to Shekure who has a more forthright, dominant personality. Master Osman, meanwhile, continues to be associated with both good and evil. He interrupts Black’s torture, but only after the executioners have already begun, and in general he has a rather sinister presence in this chapter. The Sultan’s demand that Osman and Black find the murderer within three days creates a sense of narrative momentum building up to the climax of the novel, in which the murderer’s identity may (or may not) be revealed.