Chapter 24 – When Paths Collide

Since Manika has decided that she could not let Taam die, she visits the slave market**. She still needed a breeding slave to produce an heiress and Baato was not an option.

Manika knew that she had to breed. But standing there at the slave market looking at the men she was unsure. There were handsome slaves here and some of them surely had great skills and traits to bless her heiress, but whoever she looked at she only saw Taam’s face.

This is no use… She thought after a while. Manika sighs and turns around to leave. I only want to be with Taam…
The other slaves seem very sad that she leaves without taking any of them with her. All of them would probably want the honor of breeding with a Creator. Because their life is forfeit anyway, and the only way to make it memorable is this… Manika understands now. She rushes home.

But when she arrives at the compound, she can’t believe her eyes.

Taam is flirting with Tahia! Tears fill Manika’s eyes. So he didn’t love her after all. He just jumps at the next woman he can find to seduce her? Manika turns away, so she doesn’t see that Tahia is not at all happy about Taam’s advances.

Manika suddenly gets very mad. She had just decided that she wanted to be with him and now she comes to find him flirting with another. She runs over to him.
“How dare you, slave?!”, she yells at him, “You are not allowed to flirt with any tribeswoman if you’re not to breed!”
“But, Manika, I just…”
“It’s ‘Creator’ to you, slave!”

Tahia doesn’t know what to do, caught in a fight between the Creator and a slave. She tries to think of something else, like the pleasant conversation she had with Nieva earlier…And this overwhelming smell…

Manika storms off and leaves a bewildered Taam behind.

That night Manika has a strange dream. She is standing in a mysterious grotto surrounded by glowing crystals in front of a quietly waving sea.

“Why did he have to break my heart?”, she cries out.

It is all she can think about. But as the light shines down on her, suddenly a voice answers.
“Because you cast him aside…”
The voice is like the wind, it whispers, barely audible, but still Manika hears it as clearly as if it was her own. She lies down.

Was this Taam’s way of recovering from her rejection?
“He wanted to leave…Seeing you with another man was more than he could bear…”, the voice whisps and then it’s gone again. Suddenly Manika understands what Taam was trying to do. If Tahia had asked to breed with him…He didn’t know what Manika had thought about at the slave market. He wanted to leave…

Manika stares at the beauty around her. She finally understood. There was still a way…The light faded and she woke up.

It was the middle of the night, but she had to talk to Taam now. She knocked on the door of the slave quarters and summoned him to the meeting grounds.

“Taam I don’t know what to say… I went to the slave market this morning and when I come back I found you flirting with Tahia… I have to admit I should have seen it coming, but it still hurt me so much. And it was also against Amazon law!”
Taam is scared. What will Manika do with him?

“But I only flirted with her because I could not bear the thought of seeing you with another man. If she had bred with me I would have been allowed to leave…”, he explains.
“I know…”, Manika answers. Taam is confused.
“You do?”
“Yes, I found this wisdom in a dream tonight. And we were both on the wrong path. When I was at the slave market today I realised I could not be with any other man.”

Taam silently thanked the watcher for Manika’s change of heart. He wanted to be with her and if it was only for a few days. It was the most he would ever get.

“I want to make the most of the short time we have together. We both know what this means. But I thought long and hard about his… if you are to leave, either way. I want a part of you to stay here with me…”

**Note: Amazon Culture has different morals than our world. I do not support slavery by any means. This is a fictional world, purely used for story telling purposes.

Next: Chapter 25 – Can’t Hide It

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