So, I'm having a minor dilemma in how to properly make promises to my reader. My main character's arc, as I have it planned, is that she's just-not-quite-competent enough for most of the book to do what she's trying to accomplish. She's got power, (Magic power, plus a lot of physical strength for a girl of her age,) but not much experience with it, and she is pretty quickly out of her depth. She gains skills and experience over the course of the book, and by the end, is able to do a badass thing and finally save the day. She also has a sidekick bounty hunter, who is not incompetent at all. In fact, he's not just competent, he's incredibly skilled and powerful. There's reasons for this, but it's still causing a problem, because he ends up driving most of the story. My main character is the motivation for most actions, but he's the one who ultimately pulls off most of the cool stuff. My dilemma, then, is that I don't want this to look like just another 'Man saves the day while a useless girl tags along' story. It'd be silly to expect my main character to be able to handle everything on her own, (She's a fifteen year old girl who's trying to track down a small army of bandits to rescue her family, of course she won't be able to manage it by herself,) but the situation that presents itself could very much appear as though she's 'Just a useless girl' unless I frame things just right. I thought of this because of a series of chapters that are being placed back-to-back. My main character has tracked down a group of slavers that have information she needs. They get ambushed by thieves, so she helps fight off the thieves with her magic, but gets knocked out. Upon waking, she finds that the thieves have all been killed or captured, but when the slavers realized she had magic, they captured her as well. She then conspires with the thieves to escape, but they abandon her as soon as they're all free of their cages, leaving her to be captured again. She then tries to escape one more time using some magic and a Chekov's Gun I established earlier, but fails once more in the attempt. With each failure, she gets more and more battered, bruised, and otherwise injured. Finally, the bounty hunter sidekick (Who wasn't around for reasons,) shows up, rescues her, gets the information they need, and they leave. While it works, story-wise, I can see how someone would read problematic subtext into these scenes, and I'd really like to avoid that if I can.