Butterfly and Black arrive at Stork’s house in the middle of the night and ask who made the illustration; with Butterfly’s knife at his throat, Stork identifies the artist responsible for each illustration in Enishte’s book, and notes that Olive drew the horse. Stork apologizes for the state of his house and says his wife is sleeping in the next room. He enjoys pretending to be afraid of them. They ask about the coffeehouse, and Stork suggests that the proprietor of the coffeehouse conspired with Olive to kill Elegant, and that the Erzurumis murdered Enishte and raided the coffeehouse in revenge. Butterfly and Stork have an argument about style, with Butterfly insisting that miniaturists must depict the world as Allah sees it, and Stork replying that Allah sees everything that people see. Having searched the house, Butterfly and Black remain empty-handed. Black tells Stork that the clue of the horse’s nostril suggest that the murderer is Olive, but that Master Osman suspects Stork.
Stork has a more smug, arrogant reaction to the arrival of Black and Butterfly than one might expect, and it is precisely this arrogance that led Master Osman to suspect that Stork is the murderer. However, as Stork points out, the evidence of the horses’ nostrils still implicates Olive, and it is thus up to the characters (and reader) to decide whether artistic clues or personality traits are more important in determining the murderer’s identity. Note that discussions about artistic style are interwoven in this scene (as in the last), highlighting the fact that—at least for the miniaturists—painting is always on their minds, and thus is arguably the most important factor in the murder.
Stork feels that Butterfly and Black came to his house “out of loneliness and desperation.” Stork doesn’t wish to insult Osman in front of Butterfly, whose close, erotic relationship with Osman is well-known. Instead, he acknowledges that Osman is a great master who deserves respect, but regrets that he attempted to divert blame away from the true murderer. He tells them that Olive won’t be at home but will instead be at the abandoned dervish lodge. He then seizes Butterfly, grips him from behind, and makes him drop his dagger. Stork claims that they have all betrayed Master Osman but that they must now unite against Olive. They set off for the abandoned dervish lodge, and, as they approach, Stork sees a shadow of a man in the window praying—or perhaps only pretending to pray.
The alliance the three miniaturists build in this chapter is a shaky one, grounded in sustained suspicion of one another. Stork knows Olive spends his nights at the abandoned dervish lodge; has this not led him to wonder if Olive is committing any suspicious activity there, and if indeed Olive is the murderer? The fact that Stork turns his knife on Butterfly—just as Butterfly did to Black—further demonstrates that even though the three men seem to be uniting against Olive, they remain suspicious of one another and prepared to resort to violence.