Walking back to the bookshop and aware he’s being followed again, Daniel meets Don Federico, who says he has a repair ready even though Daniel hasn’t ordered anything. He gives Daniel a bag, inside of which is the missal Fermín carried when he was dressed as a priest outside Nuria’s apartment. Tucked inside is a note saying that Fermín did not kill Nuria and is hiding in a safe place.
Don Federico’s loyalty and helpfulness recall the way the neighborhood behaved when he was punished by Fumero for being gay. Just as they were willing to aid anyone targeted by the government regardless of personal beliefs, Don Federico implicitly believes Fermín isn’t guilty, perhaps without knowing the whole story.
Exhausted, Daniel falls asleep until dawn, when he leaves the apartment and paces through the city streets. Then he returns to his room and takes out his old fountain pen, hoping it will guide him, but “the pen had nothing to say.” Daniel feels like he can’t “write or feel” anything in the midst of his grief and fear.
When Daniel was a child, the fountain pen was an invincible talisman for him. Its failure now shows that Daniel can no longer rely on such simplistic beliefs from his childhood.