Inan travels alone through the desert, missing Kaea. He sends a message home that maji killed Kaea. He can’t stop thinking of Kaea’s last word, “maggot.” He tries to push thoughts of her aside, focusing on his quest to end magic.
Kaea’s final word stings because it links Inan to the people he has reviled and denigrated his entire life. It drives home the need for him to complete his self-assigned mission.
Inan arrives in Ibeji, where the townspeople are celebrating. He senses that Zélie is close. He finds a man and presses his sword to the man’s throat, demanding information.
Where he once hesitated or relied on others, Inan doesn’t hesitate now to use violence to get what he wants. He has seen how effective it can be, and, as his mission intensifies, he feels less guilt about hurting others.