Having made it a safe distance from the capital city, Inan stops Nailah and begins to reprimand Zélie for putting them in danger. Zélie is angry, until Amari reveals the scroll and claims to be able to bring magic back. But Zélie believes that magic is long dead.
Tzain reprimands Zélie for doing the very thing they bickered about earlier that day. From Tzain’s perspective, Zélie once again put her own desires before the safety of the family. From Zélie’s perspective, however, she was honorably putting her morals first. Because her daily existence is difficult and dangerous, Zélie has long found it easier to give up on the idea of magic altogether, which is why she is quick to affirm that magic is dead.
Zélie reaches for the scroll. The moment she touches it, a shock seems to travel through her body. The sensation of magic in her veins makes her think of her mother, and she wonders if she might become a Reaper, with power over death, like her mother. But she quickly suppresses her hopes. She doesn’t want to think about how abandoned by the gods she felt during the Raid.
When Zélie thinks of magic and religion, she also thinks of her mother, showing that there are strong ties between tradition and family. A return to faith could be a source of strength for Zélie because it would make her feel more connected her mother. At the same time, the very pain of that memory of her mother makes Zélie reluctant to put her trust in any higher power. Thinking about her mother is painful, and reconciling gods with the cruelty of the world is too difficult.
Still, Zélie can’t help but imagine how things would have gone differently if her mother had possessed magic during the raid. She vividly imagines her mother using the power of the gods to fend off the guards and protect the family.
Zélie sees that if the divîners had been able to fight back, they may have been able to prevent the slaughter and oppression at the hands of the guards.
But Tzain worries that if Zélie has magic, she will be a target. He says they need to get back to Baba and go into hiding. They decide to take the scroll—and with it, Amari, because they worry that otherwise she’ll simply lead the guards to them.
The ability to perform magic is part of what marks divîners as dangerous, justifying their oppression. Staying focused on the protection of the family, Tzain rejects the vision of a future revolution and makes a plan to bring the family to safety in the short term.