In the aftermath of the battle of Namopo Valley, Larh advocates pursuing the retreating Garthim in order to retrieve their captured comrades. Meanwhile, at the Castle of the Crystal, skekSil finds himself marginalized by skekLach during a celebration, and orders a Gelfling slave to summon small animals to him.
Larh and Neffi, riding Mounders, go in pursuit of the Garthim. In the meantime, skekSil recruits the summoned animals as spies, promising to reward them if they collect information on skekLach. Larh and Neffi's journey is interrupted by a Rakkida attack, which is swiftly repelled by Whouf. They arrive at Larh's destroyed village, where they confess their feelings to each other. Aughra watches from her orrery and concludes that the Gelflings' efforts will end in tragedy.
Whouf encounters Aughra, who entrusts a task to him. Later, Larh and Neffi infiltrate the Castle, unaware that they are being watched by skekSil and skekLach's spies. Larh is captured by skekLach, while Neffi heads for skekTek's laboratory to free the Gelfling prisoners.
SkekLach implants spyeyes on Larh so that he can give away the location of the remaining Gelfling, while Neffi navigates through the catacombs in search of skekTek's laboratory.
Before she can free the Gelfling prisoners, Neffi is discovered by skekSil, who aides her and her comrades' escape whilst posing as skekLach. Larh catches up with Neffi and the escapees, revealing that he cannot remove the spyeyes. As they escape, skekOk sounds the alarm and skekSil openly accuses skekLach of having released them. He challenges skekLach to a trial by fire, which he loses. SkekUng meanwhile sends the Garthim after the escapees, but they are all destroyed when the Gelflings of Namopo Valley intervene with their Mounder cavalry. Whouf then proceeds to eat the spyeyes on Larh, and the Gelflings head off to find a new home.