The group arrives at Jimeta, on the edge of a cliff over the ocean. There are no guards in Jimeta, but there are no laws there, either. Zélie fears mercenaries are hiding in every nook and cranny. This is the only place in Orïsha where it is possible to live outside of the long reach of the monarchy.
Prejudice in the kingdom has created an environment in which guards, ostensibly there to keep people safe, actually only bring fear and pain. The only way to escape the kingdom’s injustices, then, is to live outside of its influence altogether.
They arrive at a cave, where one of the boys knows a mercenary who can help them. He has a fast ship that may be able to get them to the island to perform the ceremony just in time. Only one person can enter the lair. Everyone agrees it should be Zélie, because of her magic. Wracked with guilt, she agrees without revealing the truth about her magic. She sends a prayer up to the gods.
Where Zélie once felt a crushing sense of responsibility to her father and brother, she now feels the same towards this adoptive family. While their bonds are strong, that sense of guilt can also be difficult to bear.
Zélie walks down a long passage into the cave until she comes to a central area where men and women are gathered around a fire. They are all armed and masked, mercenaries. She approaches their leader and is shocked to see that it is Roën, the foreign pickpocket from the divîner settlement. Roën says she was unwise to enter the lair unguarded. When Zélie says she needs some men to help her sail to a mystical vanishing island to restore magic, they just laugh. One mercenary places a hand on Zélie’s back to remove her, sending spasms of pain through her scars. She flips him onto the ground and rams her staff into him.
The cost of living outside the monarchy’s reach is that everyone must be on their guard and ready to fight—a testament to just how dangerous it is to be a divîner in Orïsha. Even living as an outlaw is preferable. As has often been the case on their journey, Zélie finds that unfortunately, the violent acts of others drive her to fight.
Roën is quietly amused. Zélie says she can’t pay Roën, but he would be helping achieve the will of the gods. As for his men, Zélie says they will be employed by the future queen of Orïsha. Grinning, Roën agrees to the deal.
By invoking the gods, Zélie is able to find some common ground with Roën despite his general distrust of others.