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When last we saw Penny, he had grabbed hold of the magical button and straight up disappeared. But where did he end up? A fountain in a new land that's filled with fountains! Welcome to the Neitherlands, and meet Eve, the self-proclaimed "Welcoming Committee." She seems friendly enough until she hurls some scary magic at Penny trying to get his button. To escape, Penny travels to another part of the Neitherlands, but how is he going to get back to Earth? Well, perhaps he can use his astral projection to get into Quentin's head to send him a message! It works (yay!) but Penny finds himself right in the middle of one of Quentin's nerd-boy fantasies. Even more disturbing is the fact that Q tells Penny he hasn't been gone for 6 hours like Penny thought, he's been gone for 6 WEEKS! But all is not lost. They now know WHERE Penny is… but how to get him back? Alice and Quentin seek advice from Eliot and Margo, but Eliot, in a bit of a drug haze, is in no condition to help anyone out. Luckily, Alice confesses that she may know a traveler who can help them.
Back in NYC, Julia has now made a group of (cyber) friends with which she can talk all things magic. Lead by Richard, they are all going to meet face to face in order to work on some big magic project, but first Julia needs to level up with help from none other than… KADY! We haven't seen her since she found out her mom died (kinda Julia's fault) and she ran away from Brakebills (breaking Penny's heart).
Alice travels to her hometown of Chicago, in hopes she'll be able to find the traveler who can help them rescue Penny. In Chicago we find Alice's parents throwing an orgy. Yep. Alice begs Q to distract her dad while she goes to find her mom who may have some answers about the traveler they need. Unfortunately, ever since Alice's brother went all niffin, things have been very strained between Alice and her mother, or Stephanie as she prefers to be called. Alice wants to know what happened with her brother, her mom - ahem, Stephanie - has no interest in finding anything out as it won't bring her son back. Feels abound, and Alice is unable to get any of the info she needs.
After Q and Alice leave, Margo decides that Eliot is acting weird, even for him, and takes him to the infirmary. The nurse however says Eliot is fine and it is Margo who is in danger of imminent death after engaging in some unprotected rituals, which are now draining her of her life force. Is there such a thing as a magical prophylactic? We digress. Margo and Eliot hunt down this ex-lover of Margo's, who in a fit of obsession after she left him decided to build a golem, or in this case a Margolem to take her place. While confronting the ex, Margo finds she also has to confront Eliot, who since the whole ugliness that happened with Mike has been medicating with all sorts of drugs. To be fair, we would too if we were forced to magically break our boyfriend's neck…
Meanwhile, Penny finds himself in the Library of the Neitherlands, the greatest repository of knowledge. He meets a very bureaucratic librarian, who while very unhelpful in getting him a map (it would have to come from another branch, which could take 4-6 weeks) is very helpful in answering some questions: 1) Eve and the thugs upstairs are locals of the Neitherlands who have been banned from the library and cursed so they cant use the magic portals. 2) Some of these thugs have found themselves in employ of The Beast. 3) The library contains the books of every person who has ever lived… including Martin Chatwin. As a means of protecting the book, knowing it would get damaged if they fought over it, the librarian copies a few pages from Martin's book and then banishes Penny from the library.
Kady and Julia have successfully completed all the spells they need to level up. But while trying to have a celebratory slice of pizza, they experience the effects of the spell their cohorts have been working on. Turns out, it was some SERIOUS time magic. But that's only the beginning of what they want to accomplish. The ultimate goal of the cyber witches? Summoning a god.
After the confrontation with her mom earlier, Alice makes one last effort to find the traveler… which is much easier than she thought. Meet Joe: the third in Alice's parent's poly-amorous triad, complete with adaptable genitalia. Joe is the traveler who Alice was looking for, but when they meet with him, they get a little more than they bargained for. See, Joe is not only a practitioner of sex magic, but also a sex therapist. While teaching Alice and Quentin a beacon spell that requires that they both climax at the same time, it unleashes some of the new couples feels on jealousy, measuring up, and sexual inadequacy. Not weird at all to talk about with your parent's mutual boyfriend…
But boy howdy did it work! After having one of those talks where they lay out all the feels on the table, Alice and Quentin **get it on**, successfully completing the beacon spell that Joe had taught them earlier, allowing Penny to find the portal that would let him get back to Earth. Unfortunately, the portal directs him straight to Alice's room, where Q and Alice are still going at it…awkward.