The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern

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Part 4, Chapters 12-14 Summary

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Celia wants to scream, but she cannot open her mouth. She has not fully regained control of her body. Much of her energy is spent concentrating on Marco, holding onto him. She finds that the breaking apart portion was easier than the task of bringing them back together. She has much to balance, and she is in constant pain. Part of her wants to let everything go, but she fights to hold everything together.

Finally she brings all the pieces of herself into a solid whole. She can even feel her heart beating. Once she gets over the excitement of her accomplishment, she realizes that she is alone. She cannot find Marco.

Although Celia feels herself intact, when she looks around, she sees that every aspect of the circus is transparent. It is as if she and the circus did not exist in the same world. They are connected but separate. She begins to search for Marco through the tents they created together. There are moments when she catches glimpses of him, but she cannot grasp enough of him to make him solid.

Somewhere else, Marco takes a deep breath as if he had been submerged underwater for a long time and just freed his head into the air. He looks around and recognizes the tent he is in, but the features of the tent have been altered. For instance, a fountain that had spouted a continuous plume of water has ceased. Like Celia, Marco notices that everything about the normally physical world around him appears now to be transparent. While he stands still, staring at his new environment, he hears someone behind him take in a deep breath. When he turns, he sees Celia. She runs to him, calling out the only words she can think of. She shouts, “I love you.”

As Marco reaches out for her, he is afraid that his hands might pass right through her, just as they have passed through all the other physical elements he has tried to grasp. Then he feels Celia’s body rush into his arms. They kiss. To his great relief, she is as solid as he is.

Celia tries to explain what she has done. She tells Marco that she could not let him leave, so she used the circus as their anchor, but she did not know if what she planned would work. She feels exhausted because it is through her will that the circus is staying together. If she were to let it slip from her attention, everything would fall apart. Already the Ice Garden is melting and the white fire in the cauldron has gone out. If the circus breaks, Celia does not have the strength to put it back together. Celia does not know what would happen to her and Marco if the circus collapses.

Marco leaves Celia so he can locate Bailey, which he does. Then he leads Bailey back to where he left Celia. Together they tell Bailey what they need for him to do. In order for the circus and all the people involved with it to stay intact, they need Bailey to commit to becoming the circus caretaker. They tell Bailey what that will entail, which amounts to no less than his taking on the circus for the rest of his life. Bailey ponders his options. He knows he is free to leave, but then he thinks about other possibilities that might await him, such as going to school or working the farm, and he realizes he only wants the circus. To confirm his agreement with Celia and Marco, Bailey accepts...

(This entire section contains 789 words.)

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a ring that Marco binds onto his finger. They tell him that his first task is to reignite the fire in the cauldron.

Bailey runs to Celia’s tent and gathers the books, candles, and other things as Celia and Marco instructed him. Then Bailey rushes to the courtyard, where the cauldron sits with no fire. Tsukiko is standing there. Bailey approaches her and tells her what he is attempting to do. He also asks to borrow her lighter. Tsukiko asks if Bailey needs her help, but Bailey senses that he must do this alone. He tosses the items he has gathered into the cauldron, then he lights the candle and throws that in. Nothing happens. Bailey concentrates, as if he were making the strongest wish of his entire life. After a while, he notices a few sparks. Then he sees a yellow flame that grows into a blinding white light.

Celia had been standing at Bailey’s side, but she rushes back to Marco, who has been waiting in one of the tents. When he asks her if Bailey was successful, Celia answers him with a kiss.


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