The five students from Brakebills are reunited at the Fillory throne room. Julia had told Quentin that Martin (the Beast) had cursed the kingdom somehow, and they stumble across the curse: Sitting in the royal thrones activates it, causing the Kings and Queens of Fillory to develop paranoia and proceed to plan to kill each other.
This happens to Eliot, Margo, Quentin, and Alice; Penny is not a King. (Fen remarks that the kings and queens always dying was always thought to be ordinary infighting.) The four cursed ones try various ways of killing each other, with Penny and Fen trying to rescue them.
Penny comes up with a solution: Let the curse run its course with the deaths of all four... temporarily. He Travels to Earth and gets four syringes of Potassium Chloride to stop their hearts (killing them), and four syringes of Adrenaline (reviving them). His idea of an orderly "killing" fails when the cursed four grab the syringes and proceed to kill each other. He and Fen revive them all with adrenaline, and they are cured.
(Along the way, Penny starts losing control of his hands again. At least one of his anti-curse chains is failing.)
(Also during this, Penny and Margo release their cacodemons on each other, and Alice releases hers out of pity.)
They all realize it's time to deal with Martin, as Alice's god-power is fading. They plan to have Penny Travel to get Martin to Fillory, have Eliot, Margo, and Quentin distract him with shield charms to give Alice time to crank up the Rhinemann Ultra spell.
Penny goes to New York, and Travels back with Martin, and also Julia, inside the circle, surrounded by the other students. The magical fight proceeds, but Alice's Rhinemann Ultra spell is mis-aimed, it goes off far enough away that it only ruins Martin's left arm and much of his left side. Martin disappears. Penny takes Julia back to New York.
Eliot and Margo go to Ember's Temple to ask for more god-power, while Alice and Quentin go to the Wellspring. Martin gets to the Wellspring's shack first, to find Ember already there: Ember knows Martin wants to drink from it, so he has defecated into it.
Eliot and Margo get nothing apparent from Ember, but all four students meet up with Martin, still outside the Wellspring's shack. Martin and Alice proceed to fight some more, Alice being very effective and Martin (with only one hand to use) not effective at all. Quentin is hurt badly by one of Martin's blasts.
Alice drops the circular thing she's been carrying on her wrist (suggesting her god-power is about gone), and starts raising power for more magic. Quentin, Eliot and Margo all tell her to stop, she'll "Niffin-out", but she gets so caught up she turns into a screaming ball of blue flame and is gone. Martin attempts to attack the others, and Alice appears again, now a Niffin, and effortlessly kills Martin.
Niffin-Alice begins to kill her friends, and Quentin releases his cacodemon, which attacks Alice. There is a flash of light, and there is only Alice's dead body.
Julia and Marina use a work area to set up a spell to attract Reynard the Fox. Reynard knows Julia's scent and won't come if she's there, so she and Martin are a few blocks away as Marina does a spell to summon Our Lady Underground (like the hedge witches had done earlier, which attracted Reynard to them).
The summoning doesn't result in anything apparent, so Marina goes home and raises her wards. Reynard the Fox appears: he followed her home. Martin and Julia get there, and are delayed getting through the wards. They get in just as Reynard is ready to kill Marina. Martin freezes Reynard, Julia prepares the Leo Blade... and Penny travels in, grabs Martin and Julia, and travels them out, to Fillory. The Leo Blade stays behind.
Penny brings Julia back, to a park nearby. She says take her back to Fillory, she needs the Beast to fight Reynard, but Penny doesn't care. One of his chains breaks, then the other, so his hands are useless, and Julia leaves. Penny is stuck in New York, uncontrollably Traveling around the park.
Julia gets back to Marina's apartment, to find Marina dead, and no sign of Reynard.
- Jason Ralph as Quentin Coldwater
- Stella Maeve as Julia Wicker
- Olivia Taylor Dudley as Alice Quinn
- Arjun Gupta as Penny
- Hale Appleman as Eliot Waugh
- Summer Bishil as Margo Hanson
- Rick Worthy as Henry Fogg
- Charles Mesure as The Beast
- Brittany Curran as Fen
- Mackenzie Astin as Reynard the Fox
- Dominic Burgess as Ember
- Kacey Rohl as Marina Andrieski
- Harvey Guillen as Benedict Fenwick
- World War II (mentioned)
- Assault on Hedge Witches
- Ambush on Martin Chatwin
- Penny's Wrist Chains
- Amelia Popper's Practical Exercises for Young Magicians (mentioned)
- Wellspring Key
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