â€œI thought I was supposed to be the hero!â€ she blurts.
â€œYou?â€ â€œItâ€™s my quest, isnâ€™t it?â€ she complains. â€œItâ€™s my destiny! But thatâ€™s three Stations now where youâ€™ve done all the work. Your Men found the sigil, you fenced for the quill, and you demanded the cup! And all I did was stand there like some . . . some dumbass princess in peril, and I hate it.â€
â€œYou tackled Gyre,â€ I correct. â€œYou taught me the way of winning against the sylph. You are no damsel in distress.â€
â€œSo Iâ€™m the sidekick then,â€ she mutters. â€œNot much better. Itâ€™s not fair! Iâ€™ve wanted this my whole life, and I donâ€™t even . . . I donâ€™t even . . .â€ She trails off and turns her head away, but I can tell by the way that her jaw is shuddering that she is sucking back tears.
Pip hates for anyone to see her cry, so I simply wait her out, using the time to remove my gloves and try to rearrange my hair into a less lanky wet tangle. When she has calmed herself again, she turns her face back to mine.
â€œI canâ€™t Speak Magic Words,â€ she confesses. â€œThatâ€™s the problem. I canâ€™t be the hero because I canâ€™t Speak Words. I will never be the main character, and thatâ€™s whatâ€™s killing me, Forsyth. Because I want it so badly.â€
â€œItâ€™s a skill,â€ I say. â€œI can teach you.â€
â€œItâ€™s not like picking up a sword and learning how to stick the other guy,â€ she says sadly. â€œI canâ€™t hear them.â€
â€œI canâ€™t. And that will never change. And the more we Quest, the more I realize that I canâ€™t be here. That I donâ€™t belong. That I ha-have to go . . .â€ Her eyes flash emerald for a moment, as she turns them forward, her gaze on Karlâ€™s footing as the horses pick their way across the slate stone banks. â€œI have to go home.â€
My heart breaks a little more. â€œI still donâ€™t want you to,â€ I say softly. â€œBut I understand. I just wish . . .â€ I reach out and grab her hand. She uncurls her fist enough to tangle our fingers together. It is awkward, but I try to make Dauntless keep pace. Eventually, the footing forces our horses onto different levels, and I have to let go.
â€œI love this world,â€ she explains. â€œIâ€™ve played here, in my imagination. In the games of childhood, when other kids were being Hobbits or Harry Potter or Iron Man, I was here, wielding an enchanted bow and arrow beside Kintyre Turn and Bevel Dom! I was besting the Viceroy and throwing Bootknife off cliffs and having fencing practice with the queen! And it hurts, Forsyth, it cuts that I love this world so much, and it wonâ€™t open to me. It refuses to give up its deepest secrets. Your world doesnâ€™t want me here.â€