Mattie is about to miss the Sentinel’s first port in Rome, so Genya takes her up to the Promenade deck so she can see it. The problem? Mattie’s horribly afraid of being on the airship and has been remedying her crippling phobia by avoiding views out the windows.
She shut her eyes before the view of Rome appeared. A few steps later, Genya stopped and said, “What do you think?”
Mattie inhaled deeply. Just open your eyes for a second, say it’s wonderful, and then go back inside. She cracked her eyes open and was momentarily blinded by the early morning light. She squinted against the glare, and then a golden cupola came into focus. More of the city appeared as her eyes adjusted—peach-colored stucco buildings with bronze roofs; spires of glass and metal; majestic columned palaces; enormous statues of gods and monsters—and she found that she couldn’t inhale. The city of Rome stole her breath away.