As Zélie and Inan kiss passionately, a horn blares. Soon, a horde of royal guards surrounds the camp, yelling for them to give up Zélie and the scroll, or die. Zu comes forward, saying that they have neither, and are simply gathered for a peaceful celebration. As she raises her hands in surrender, an arrow pierces her body. The guards begin their attack.
The guards will not be reasoned with, resorting immediately to violence. They make it clear that the only option is to fight back.
The guards cut down as many divîners as they can. Panicked, Zélie searches for Tzain. A guard slashes down the defenseless young boy Zélie danced with earlier. Kwame moves past Zélie and slashes open his own palm—preparing to use blood magic. His body explodes in flames, incinerating the camp and the guards in a wave of fiery death. The fire consumes Kwame as he uses his last moments to fight off the guards.
Because the guards began slaughtering children and innocent people, the divîners used their magic to fight back. Their use of magic to kill will doubtless be used as justification for calling magic dangerous, but its also clearly the only way they can defend themselves.
Because of Kwame’s attack, many divîners escape. Zélie realizes that this violence, this use of magic, is the only way to truly fight back against the guards and show them they have strength. Amari and Tzain ride over on Nailah, calling to Zélie. But at that moment, someone else’s hands grab Zélie away.
Even though Zélie is terrified by the violence she’s witnessed, she realizes that justified and targeted violence is the only way to fight the oppression of the guards and, eventually, to bring peace.