Chapter 4


Important Events
  • Fruit Bat leaves his section of the garden for the first time
  • Seraphina agrees to attend Glisselda's evening soiree the next day
  • Seraphina corrects Glisselda's misconceptions about human dominance over dragons

Previous chapter Next chapter


Seraphina describes her process in cognitive architecture and tends to her garden; however, to her alarm she realizes that Fruit Bat has left his area. When she finds him, he offers her a piece of orange with his hand, but she uneasily wonders whether he is offering her the orange or his hand, the latter of which would induce a vision about Fruit Bat in real life. After she tends to her garden, Seraphina forgets to set her alarm and falls into an exhausted slumber.

The next morning Seraphina arrives at work a bit late because she overslept. Viridius scolds her and underscores the importance of seriously preparing for Comonot's upcoming visit, as music is the only thing that dragons cannot do better than human because they purportedly do not have souls. Viridius and Seraphina then go through a checklist of what still needs to be done, Seraphina trying to soothe Viridius's temper. Viridius tells her that she still has to meet his protégé, the "megaharmonium fellow" Lars. Viridius also insists that Seraphina attend Princess Glisselda's soiree the next night, threatening to fire her if she didn't go. Seraphina agrees and excuses herself to go give Glisselda her harpsichord lesson.

As she is arriving, Seraphina overhears part of a conversation between Glisselda and a lady in waiting, Millie, about Seraphina. Embarrassed to be called "pricky," Seraphina enters quickly and starts the lesson. After Glisselda makes a dragon joke, Seraphina suggests that dragon humor is perhaps unwise considering Comonot's imminent visit. When Glisselda comments that dragon humor is one way for humans to express their superiority over dragons, Seraphina hastens to politely but firmly correct her: humans have not defeated or dominated dragons in any way. Seraphina explains this by using a cockroach metaphor; if cockroaches were intelligent and could fight back, would it be worth it to invoke great casualties for victory, or better to make peace? Especially if cockroaches had a court and culture, and you could take their shape and speak their language?

Glisselda understands the point Seraphina is trying to get across and inquires why an assistant music mistress knows so much about dragons; Seraphina, aware of her need to balance being interesting with being invisible, tells her that her father is a lawyer who specializes in Comonot's Treaty and he used to read it to her as a bedtime story.

The hilarity of this concept distracts Glisselda from the fact that Seraphina avoided fully answering the question.