Without another word, Kahio walks out of the room.
Zaleena can’t believe the boy just turned his back on her. But outside, Kahio runs into Manika.
“What’s wrong, little one?”, she asks.
“I don’t want to come back with you!”, Kahio states.
“But where will you go?”, Manika is shocked.
“I don’t know!”, Kahio cries out, he is almost in tears, “I just want my mother back, but she can’t…”, he starts sobbing, “…she can’t come back.”
Manika truly feels for poor Kahio. It must be terrible for him to find out about his mothers death under these circumstances.
“But little one, I am here for you, we all are. I am so sorry you lost your mother, but there are other people out there who are you family now. Like Taam. Don’t you want to play with Taam at the Monkey bars again?”, she comforts him.
“Yes, Taam cares for me”, Kahio agrees and wipes his eyes. He is embarrassed of crying now.
“Your life will be great with our Tribe, Kahio. Don’t waste it. I know you are strong and will be a great champion one day”, Manika encloses Kahio into a hug. The little boy is almost smiling.
“I am super strong!”, he says and then agrees to come back to the Tribe. Mission completed.
“I am so proud of what you did today”, Zaleena remarks, when they are back at home. “You have truly proven your worth as Creator. I am sure your fighting will reflect that.”
That reminded Manika to get back to her training and for the next days she is merely seen anywhere but on the training grounds.
Obviously, Taam sees her too, because he often joined her, so she “would not be so alone”, as he said. Manika was additionally motivated by his attention.
Then sooner than they would have thought, the day of Manika’s birthday arrives. It is the day the fate of the tribe would be decided. But first, there would be cake. Taam is a very skilled cook and bakes Manika’s favourite cake for her: strawberry.
Manika was flattered, that he had remembered what her favourite cake was. She gladly blew out the candles.
And graciously ages up into a young adult. For a moment, she was full of pure happiness as she thought about all she had accomplished with her training and that she was finally old enough for Taam.
But Zaleena pops her bubble of dreams quickly.
“Manika, my daughter”, she approaches her, “There is not much time for celebrations. We must get to the Temple for the Ritual. I have to warn you. The Temple champion is known as ‘The Snake’, she is vicious. You must be fully focused to beat her.”
Manika gulped, but she had confidence in the skills she had build up (with Taam’s help of course).
When they arrive at the Temple, Zaleena’s words prove true.
This woman was huge! She looked like a very fierce fighter. How could Manika hope to beat her? But it was too late to back out, and the priestess started the ritual.
Then, the two opponents face each other in the fighting pit. The atmosphere is tense!
Manika quickly starts the provocation and even The Snake is surprised by her confidence.
But the moment of startle doesn’t last long, and she quickly strikes back.
Manika lands the first blow and at first it seems like she has the fight in her hands.
But The Snake is not easily beaten.
With a move that Taam has showed her, Manika grabs hold of The Snake.
And finally emerges victorious! The Snake is dazed!
Manika has won the fight and even The Snake bows her head in respect. Manika is truly a worthy creator. Everyone relaxes and the atmosphere is almost joyous.
“Manika, I am so proud of you. From this day on, I shall step down, and you shall be Creator of Tribe Arayeo”, Zaleena announces.
Generation 2 has begun!
Note: phew, I am so glad Manika won on first try xD It would have been hard for me to send her to the Temple for a year xD