As soon as they set foot on the island, Zélie feels the thrum of the gods’ presence, though not her magic. The island is overrun with soldiers, but in their disguises, the group is able to push past them with relative ease. The soldiers are expecting a maji army. A fog clings to everything, helping to obscure the group’s movements; Zélie thinks it is an indication that the gods are on their side, rooting for them. She also thinks about Amari seeking her out in the market in Lagos—another sign.
As at Chândomblé, Zélie’s arrival at a sacred site where many divîners once gathered makes her feel closer to her faith, even if it doesn’t make her feel more powerful in this instance. In addition, that sensation is bolstered by the thought that many things have gone well in the course of the mission. Belief in the gods helps give Zélie strength because it makes her feel a sense of kinship with those around her.
As they approach the temple in the center of the island, Roën sends a group of his men back to the shoreline to cause a distraction on the beach. As they leave, all Zélie can think is that she can’t bear to have any more blood on her hands. As an explosion on the beach draws their attention, guards stream out of the temple to assess the threat.
Zélie and her friends and the mercenaries enter the temple, decorated with beautiful images of the gods. They enter the central dome, where images of the gods flank a central pillar, which has an indentation for the sunstone. Zélie prays to the gods to return her magic. Amari hands her the artifacts and she prepares to attempt the ceremony. At that moment, Saran and his men jump out from hiding places around the room. Inan is there, too, holding a majacite blade. Baba is with them.
Zélie hopes that in this place, which carries so much tradition and history, she will be able to regain her abilities. The appearance of Zélie’s father at that very moment is impactful because it brings her intense loyalty to her family to the surface.