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So, due to the deal they struck to get out of the bank heist, Alice and Quentin seal a word-bond so that Alice can use his body for a half hour every day, as long as she abides by some rules. If she weren’t Niffin Alice, we would think this would work out? But we can already tell this is going to be a problem. Eliot, meanwhile, has been convalescing in Fillory, and Margo tells Quentin the best thing he can do is to be there for Julia while she keeps the enchantments going (despite the magical brownouts happening.)
Meanwhile, it turns out the Mundang who helped Julia with the exorcism knicked a bit of her shade. Now, you’ll recall, her shade is something like her soul, and the effects are a little boggling: she’s freewheeling and a little giddy as she and Kady come up with a new plan to banish Reynard. They’re going to find Dana's baby and use his power as a demi-god to make it happen. Julia is going to create a door to find the hospital where Reynard's son was likely surrendered when he was born. Instead, she finds Reynard. She’s saved (just barely) by Quentin, who takes them both - he and Julia - to Fillory, where she's told to find some way to protect herself. Julia's not down to just hang around, but agrees.
Alice has taken her turn in Quentin's body and it turns out she’s done some research but she won't tell him what it is. His big suspicion, though? She's trying to solve being a Niffin. Penny continues running errands for Mayakovsky, and ends up at the Library of the Neitherlands. That charming Librarian offers him an alternative to his problem: he lets the Order of Librarians help him get magic back. But the contract would mean he's in their debt for a million years. Penny, of course, refuses.
A lot is going down in Fillory. Julia convinces Margo to let her help talk the forest into aiding Fillory in their war against Loria. (Yes, that.) They meet a crazy handsome Dryad who refuses to help. Penny and Quentin help Kady with the search for Reynard's son, and after bargaining for more time in his body, Alice finally tells Quentin that there's a device they can use to see into the past- a viewfinder that could show them the day Reynard's son was surrendered to a hospital. BUT, when they think they’ve found their man, he seems to have erased his face from time.
Julia meets up with that spooky sorcerer who moved Castle Whitespire and asks him for a favor. It's unclear what she's up to, until she hands the spell to that handsome Dryad guy and walks away. The forest explodes in flames and it turns out THAT was her plan. Problem solved for Fillory. Julia's gotten a little more badass, no? Yes, possibly. But Margo is furious (despite blowing up the forest actually helping Fillory in the war with Loria) and has Julia thrown in jail. It gets better for Margo when she goes to see Eliot, who’s woken up!
Quentin wakes up from letting Alice use his body, only to learn that Alice has killed a little girl. To be fair, that little girl also happened to be an angler beast with some of the answers to finding Alice's prize: a guy named Friar Joseph. From there, it’s pretty downhill. Quentin tries to break their word-bond, but finds himself in Dublin — where Alice led him. Turns out, she wants Quentin to help her find Friar Joseph, a Niffin who found a way to avoid getting boxed. He's been able to evade it for six centuries. The Friar tells Alice to free herself from Quentin and then he’ll help her.
Back at Brakebills, Penny recovers from his argument with Kady and returns from the library with the name of Reynard's son: John Spencer Gaines. Also? Penny signed that contract so he could get magic back (and, as a librarian, he was able to actually find the book on Reynard's son. Might helping Kady have had anything to do with him signing?). And now he owes his soul to the Order of Librarians. And then…the secret is out. Penny looks into Quentin's mind and figures it all out - Alice is inside him.