Baato is actively training, normally a rare sight, but a frequent one in the last days. Of course Baato only wants to impress Nieva, who sometimes watches him train after her garden work.
“You are training a lot lately”, Nieva remarks.
“Yes, it’s important to train regularly, so the muscles will develop, you also have to eat lots of protein to build your strength.”
Baato couldn’t believe what we was saying. PAH, he actually hated sports. A lazy nap would have been so much better now.
Nieva just chuckles and leaves. Baato is confused, as so often when he thinks about Nieva. He just doesn’t know what to make of her behaivour. With all this training and muscle showing, she should have jumped at the creator for breeding rights by now. But none of this seemed to have happened. Maybe it’s not enough training yet…
Two others who are still regularly training are Manika and Taam. Since all the training she did before the Ritual, Manika has acquired the active trait.
“Phew, this training was really good but exhausting. Would you lie down with me for a while?”, Manika asks. She has become a lot more confident around Taam since she had overheard his conversation with Baato the other day.
“Of course, Creator.”
Gladly for Manika, Zaleena is still ill and is not outside to see her daughter lying in the grass with a slave. She wouldn’t have approved, for sure.
But Manika enjoyed this conversation with Taam so much. Her feelings for him were growing stronger every day. And he hadn’t so far given her the impression that her attention was unwanted.
Before they knew, it was already night.
“Oh, we have talked for so long, I didn’t even realise”, Manika said, “It’s your fault if I get distracted from my training”, she laughed playfully.
“You don’t need anymore training, creator. Did I ever tell you that you are beautiful?”
Manika blushed. Normally it would have been an insolence for a slave to flirt with the creator, but Taam was feeling very self-assured tonight, and Manika didn’t mind at all.
“You have the most beautiful smile I have ever seen…”, Taam told her.
Manika doesn’t know what to say. She has been waiting for this for so long.
“Thank you, Taam”, she whispers, “That means a lot to me…”
She takes a shy step towards him and Taam comes closer. Manika can’t even believe this is happening.
They lean in for a kiss. Manika’s mind is racing. She would be with Taam and kiss him and have a beautiful child with him and then…When Manika’s thoughts came to the sacrifice she abruptly turned away. Taam stood motionless, confused.
“I can’t do this”, Manika says more to herself than to Taam. She realised that being with Taam meant his death. She had always thought of herself of a strong Amazon creator. She knew she would have to sacrifice a slave at some point, she just couldn’t let it be Taam. He didn’t deserve this.
“You deserve better”, she told him.
“How could I ever hope to do better…”, Taam answered, his voice full of sadness.
Taam stepped in front of her. Looking at him was causing Manika even more pain. She was breaking her own heart. But seeing Taam alive would be worth the pain of not being with him.
“I am so sorry if I overstepped my boundaries, Creator”, he told her, “I seem to have misread the signs…please forgive me, Creator.”
A hint of anger crept to Manika’s mind.
“Don’t you creator me!”, she snapped. Didn’t he see that this was causing her as much pain as him. Calling her creator created a distance between them that was long gone, for the chemistry between them was obvious. Suddenly she couldn’t stand to hear him call her that one second longer.
“I want you to stay alive, Taam”, she simply stated. She was afraid she would start to cry if she explained to much.
“But what if I don’t want to stay alive. What if I want to be with you”, Taam asked. Manika was fighting tears. Why was he making this so much harder than it already was?
“I …just can’t”, she pressed through her lips and rushed inside before the tears came.
Was it really worth the pain?