Scythe Curie writes that the longer people live, the faster time seems to go. She wonders if people truly become young again when they turn the corner, as they still remember everything. She believes that mortals had to work harder for their goals, as they didn't have an endless amount of time. Curie says that she sees more and more stagnation as time goes on.
Differentiating between physical youth and emotional youth reminds the reader that coming of age the first time is one of the only once-in-a-lifetime experiences available to people in the immortal world. By this logic, people don't become young when they turn the corner—they just look that way.
At first, Rowan tries to keep a tally of all the people he renders deadish. He soon loses count, but he becomes a skilled killer and enjoys killing. Volta suggests one day that they break off from Goddard after Rowan is ordained, but Rowan knows that Volta won't follow through. Volta points out that Citra is gone and won't get the ring—Rowan just has to pass the final test. Rowan knows little about what happened to Citra, and nobody seems to know where she is. Xenocrates drops the charges, which sends Goddard into a fit of rage. He takes his followers on a gleaning rampage at a corn maze. Volta earns Goddard's fury by lobbing poison gas into the maze, but he tells Rowan that he did it to be humane.
The way that Rowan thinks suggests that he still sees his life as futile, even with the competition element removed from it. Citra's absence, however, also leaves Rowan little choice but to steel himself to accept the ring if he passes his final test—though hopefully, he'll be able to escape Goddard's clutches. His assessment of Volta reminds him that not all who are chosen to be apprentices are as strong and unwaveringly moral as Faraday made it out to be, suggesting that Faraday wasn't as all-knowing as Citra and Rowan thought.
Several weeks before Winter Conclave, Citra flies home to Curie. She arrives to an apology note from Scythe Mandela, and Curie explains that Xenocrates will pretend the fiasco never happened. Citra says she won't forget, but Curie suggests that there's more going on than they realize. They discuss Faraday, and Citra says he mostly gardens and walks on the beach. Curie sighs and says she might join him in 100 years, once things are better in the Scythedom. She declares that Citra has to win the ring.
Now that Citra has had her experience in Amazonia and has a better understanding of the nuances of the Scythedom, Curie is able to encourage her to see that the corruption is part of the Scythedom, regardless of what exactly is going on. It's a fundamentally flawed organization built with the best intentions, but that doesn't make it any less important that Citra join it.
During her time with Faraday, Citra thought a lot about the morals and ethics of being a scythe. She knows that Rowan hasn't learned any of that with Goddard, but she still wonders if he learned enough with Faraday to believe it still. She suggests that Rowan might be a good scythe too, but Curie says that Rowan is surely twisted and no longer trustworthy. Citra questions whether she could glean him, but Curie says that if that comes to pass, it will be the second hardest thing Citra will ever do. Citra wonders what the hardest thing will be.
Citra is right; Rowan has no education in ethics from Goddard, and that positions Citra as the top competitor for the ring—assuming that the test to become a scythe isn't rigged or something that Goddard somehow controls, a situation that seems very possible given Goddard's hold over Xenocrates.