With the Grackleflint venom coursing through an unconscious Kevin, Edsel and Sean manage to escape the Styx. The Umbra Sprite lets them go without pursuit, choosing instead to concentrate his energies on summoning Cromm Cruich, an elder dragon. The trio of heroes arrive back at Sean's apartment, thinking it's safe. Edsel leaves to go get help from the ATM network. While protecting Kevin, Sean battles Cromm Cruich, and he loses quite permanently. In the meantime, Edsel tells the ATM that Kevin has been hurt and Mirth reappears.
In the Grendel back-up story, Stacy decides to get revenge on her adoptive "uncle" Hunter Rose, aka Grendel, now that she knows he killed her real uncle. Stacy reads his journal and logs, and starts sending selected information about his criminal activities to the police--and specifically Argent, whom she never quite came to forgive for his embarrassing fall years before. Argent uses the information to drastically curtail Grendel's criminal ways, and Grendel becomes paranoid. Then Stacy makes a fake call to Argent, saying that she has been kidnapped by Grendel. Argent catches one of Grendel's flunkies and has him tell Grendel to call him immediately. He does, and in the confusion of their argument, in which Argent tells him he knows he has Stacy, they agree to meet alone for a final battle.