Scythe Curie writes that there's no official media coverage of gleanings. Individuals upload their own photos and videos of gleanings, which gives some scythes fame. She's famous for gleanings she committed 150 years ago, and she wishes she weren't.
Curie sees that fame is a distraction from the true work of gleaning, which she sees as curbing the population and caring for those who are left behind with compassion.
Citra can't wait to share what she's learned about Scythe Faraday with Rowan at Harvest Conclave. She keeps her investigation a secret from Curie and spends her days training. Citra learns that what makes a bad scythe is laziness, prejudice, and a lack of foresight. Today, bad scythes like Scythe Goddard are called innovative. Citra and Curie watch a few videos of Goddard's gleaning at the Magnetic Propulsion Laboratory, and Curie confesses that she used to think she could make the world a better place by gleaning the right people at the right time. She says that since she gleaned the president and his cabinet, she morphed into the Grande Dame of Death and is now used to scare children into obedience. She cautions Citra to stay anonymous and suggests that Rowan is untrustworthy after his time with Goddard.
Curie begins to get at the idea that it only takes one public action for one's identity and story to spin out of control and become something owned by the people, not the individual. She suggests to Citra here that it's more important to maintain control over one's own story and trajectory, as that will make a person less susceptible to corruption. Consider, for example, that Chomsky, Rand, and Volta barely have their own public identities, as they're so wrapped up with Goddard and aren't ever thought of as individuals.
At Harvest Conclave, Goddard and his group arrive in a diamond-studded limousine. Nobody notices Rowan trailing behind. Curie and Citra walk to the Capitol Building through a crowd. Several people try to touch Curie's robes and one person yells that he loves her. Curie slaps a cameraman and mutters to Citra that she hates the attention. She admits that she's nervous because Citra is being tested today. Citra notices that lots of people flock to Goddard and his crew. Curie says that she can't wait for Citra to be ordained and join the honorable scythes in fighting Goddard and his ideas. She leaves to greet friends, and Citra is annoyed to see that Rowan is busy entertaining his own crowd of admirers.
Scythe Curie proposes to Citra here that the best way to fight corruption and negative change is by becoming a part of the system and then working within it to create change. This is, notably, what everyone thus far is doing, including Goddard. If Faraday was correct and Goddard did accuse himself in the last conclave, he's definitely manipulating the way that the Scythedom and conclaves work to shift public perception to be more favorable to him.
People surround Rowan before he can find Citra. Young apprentices ask what Goddard is like and speak poorly of their own mentors. Rowan misses Faraday, who would've known what the other scythes are truly like. Citra butts in, flatly compliments Rowan on his new friends, and storms away. Rowan chases after her and insists that he doesn't like the attention. They take a walk together so Citra can show Rowan evidence that someone, probably Goddard, bribed witnesses with immunity to say that Faraday self-gleaned. Rowan is shaken, but tries to list alternatives and tells Citra that once she's ordained, she can investigate and prove what happened.
It's telling that Rowan basically tells Citra the exact same thing as Scythe Curie: fight corruption from within, not from the outside. This continues to show that this is generally the accepted practice among the Scythedom.
Conclave proceeds as the last one did. Someone again anonymously accuses Goddard of being too generous with granting immunity, but Xenocrates waves this away. Curie tries to object but can't. She murmurs that Goddard is untouchable. Citra avoids Rowan at lunch and gets to meet old, revered scythes like Scythe Mandela. They discuss that Rowan is representing the enemy, but none of them do anything meaningful to stop Goddard during conclave.
When none of the old guard scythes like Mandela and Curie do anything about Goddard, it makes Citra feel as though the Scythedom is even less trustworthy and looking out for the interests of the scythes and the population they have power over. This increases her paranoia and her belief that she has to do something to change the Scythedom's trajectory.
After Scythe Mandela ordains two new scythes, Scythe Cervantes calls the other apprentices to him for a Bokator competition as their test. Rowan and Citra fight each other last. Rowan knows that he has to throw the match but make it look like he didn't. Citra fights with the same goal and tries to taunt Rowan so he'll get angry and fight her for real. With ten seconds left, Rowan knows what he has to do. He darts at Citra, grabs her neck, and snarls that she'll get what she deserves. He snaps her neck and lets her deadish body fall. Cervantes disqualifies Rowan, and Rowan hopes that Citra never forgives him.
Rowan understands that by performing this illegal move and making it seem as though he's in Goddard's pocket, Citra won't trust him anymore and will be pushed into feeling like she has no choice but to win the scythehood. With this, Rowan makes it clear that he understands the importance of not furthering Goddard's message and giving him yet another follower, which would happen if he were given the ring.