Elspeth learns from her premonitions, and her cat Maruman's prophecies, that a keeper from Obernewtyn, a feared institution where Misfits are sent to work, will come to take her there. Soon, when delivering tea to visiting Head Keeper of Obernewtyn, Madam Vega, Elspeth accidentally reveals she is a Misfit, though not to what extent, and is soon despatched to Obernewtyn. Her first few weeks at Obernewtyn are spent in the kitchen, with the cook’s daughter, the favoured Misfit, Ariel, and farm overseer, Rushton, taking an immediate hatred of her. Later reassigned to the farm, an encounter with Matthew and Dameon reveals she is not alone in her particular abilities. Elspeth, plagued by nightmares, begins to feel there is a dark secret underneath their everyday tasks. While working, Elspeth decides to test the range of her telepathic ability, "farseeking", but beyond the boundaries of Obernewtyn, a strange machine, the Zebrakhen, traps her mind. She is only freed by combining her mental strength with another anonymous mind who offers assistance. Asked by Vega to look out for "special" Misfits, her interview reveals the Doctor is a defective simpleton; his "assistant", Alexi, has no interest in Elspeth in his quest to find the "right one". Elspeth and Matthew later deduce that tortuous experiments on their kind are occurring, and they decide to escape.