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Gran'ma Ben apologizes to Bone for accusing him of stirring up trouble in the valley, knowing the troubles started long before he and his cousins arrived. Fone Bone shows her the map, and tells her about the swarm of locusts, a detail she finds particularly disconcerting - if the Lord of the Locusts has returned, she realizes, another war will be unavoidable. Gran'ma Ben reveals that Thorn's parents were in fact the monarchs of the realm throughout the generation-long war with the Rat Creatures, and Thorn herself has been the crown princess during the period of uneasy peace since then. She was moved from the palace during the "Nights of Lightning", a series of brutal surprise attacks by the Rat Creatures, and taken to Deren Gard and safety with the Dragons. En route the escort party was betrayed by the nursemaid and the King and Queen of Atheia, Thorn's parents, were murdered.

Meanwhile, spies for the Rat Creatures bring Kingdok and The Hooded One news of the identity of the crown princess. It is revealed that the Lord of the Locusts has indeed reawoken, and has The Hooded One under its command.

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