A month after joining, the five strangers from Grand El-Yador realize that people in a Free Company aren’t nearly as free as the name implies. Working for Company Manager Fabrizzio Aligheri, the crew of Company 17 are forced to do menial labor, delving into the sewers to fix plumbing issues and traversing the kingdom to find cat food for Fabrizzio’s pampered pet.
Enlisted by Kellan the Professor, a priest of the One God faith, Company 17 set out to look for a missing homeless girl in their spare time. The missing girl turns out to be Bluebell, the estranged daughter of middle-class parents who tried to force her to marry the tyrannical son of a very wealthy family. After being discovered, Bluebell abandons her current disguise and considers running away to The Veil, having heard a rumor that they are planning to reopen their borders.
Company 17 helps a disoriented Old Woman find her way home. They investigate entries in her address book until going to the address of one Margot Herve. The door there has a distinctive design carved into it. Inside, the Old Woman is hunched over a crystal ball. She delivers an ominous fortune before she and the house both disappear.
In a deal to get some better weapons, Company 17 agree to the owner of Bloodbath and Beyond’s request to stop the flow of jester, a deadly drug that’s popular among poor children. Their only clue is that a shipment came from “a blue lady in fancy clothes,” which reminds I’dai of her former employer at The Pink House, Madame Blue.
In a bizarre twist, Fabrizzio orders Company 17 to ruin a party he wasn’t invited to. It’s a strange costume party with everyone under the Great Illusionist’s spell so that they look like terrifying monsters. Company 17 sneaks in with some ingenuity and thwarts the unknown plot of a real monster among the costumed guests. They find the Illusionist’s diary and, after breaking the spell it’s under and cracking a coded message, they learn that the Human Councillor Ansel Alger is actually a Revati who hired the Illusionist to make him look Human.