Note: Yeah I know, this chapter should have been about the ritual but I realised Manika is not even close to aging up yet and I didn’t want to take things to far ahead. So there’s a new plot twist!
Manika might have promised herself to forget about Taam, but every time she sees him working out or cooking, she is smitten once again. Oh why couldn’t she already be older…
She continues to build her strength for the ritual and is excited that Taam joins her for the workout. Maybe they could have a nice conversation. But Manika is a bit shy and doesn’t look at Taam although all she wishes is to talk to him. She notices that he looks over to her once in a while. Did he like her, too? But she knew, he would never start a conversation, as he is a good slave and knows his place.
Your being stupid, Manika tells herself and after a while she finally musters the courage to engage a conversation.
“You are well trained, Taam”, she says a bit awkwardly, “I wondered if you could give me some tips for my workout.”
Taam seems more than happy to help.
“Of course, Creator heiress. But I’d guess you don’t need any tips as your workout is already great. I’ll still help you train if you want to.”
That went better than expected. Manika is getting more confident with every word.
“Maybe we should engage a little competition. Unless you’re afraid to lose, of course”, she teases. Taam laughs.
“I could never hope to be better than you, Heiress.”
They continue to talk for a while and Manika is even more motivated for her training as she wants to impress Taam.
Meanwhile, Baato is doing well in his new job as the tribes handyman. He has started to upgrade the bathroom and kitchen facilities. Zaleena is very pleased with his work, as he hasn’t shown any laziness lately.
When Baato leaves the house, it’s already dark, but someone is still awake. Nieva calls him over. Baato can’t believe how beautiful she looks in the moonlight.
“I’d like you to help me with the garden. There are a lot of plants to weed and I want to be done within the hour”, she says and Baato happily agrees. His laziness seems to be washed away when he is working with – or for – Nieva and the garden is done in no time.
Afterward, Baato prepares a salad from the fruit and vegetables he and Nieva have collected. It seems like his cooking skill has also improved by now as Nieva is smiling the whole time, while they eat, although it’s in silence. Baato finds it difficult to read her mimics and actions. Still, he is drawn to her like a moth to the light.
The next day is Raala’s sons birthday! Zaleena, as Creator, has named him Kahio. Because he is not a Creator’s son, he doesn’t need to be sacrificed. He will be sent to another tribe as soon as he becomes a young adult. Meanwhile, he is great friends with Taam, who has practically raised him. Taam saw Kahio like his own son and cared all he could for the child without neglecting his duties.
But Kahio knows, Taam is not his father. Nobody wanted to tell him about his parents and growing up without them has made him gloomy. He assumes his parents must have done something bad and he felt like an unwanted outcast in this tribe sometimes. He swore to himself that he would find out about the secret. He had to know, what was going on.
Even though, Baato’s laziness has decreased around Nieva, it still shines trough sometimes. Today, the women left the compound to visit another Tribe and Baato felt like this was the perfect chance for a long missed lazy nap. Unfortunately, he doesn’t notice an important thing…
At nighttime, Baato is worried and goes to talk to Taam.
“I haven’t seen Kahio since noon. Do you have any idea, where he might be?”, he asks the other slave.
Taam is very worried. He cares a lot for Kahio and he also has no idea where he could be, as he is not in the slave hut for bedtime…