Manika shook her head.
“I can’t believe it came to this. If we had only talked somewhere more private…”
She was sitting at the kitchen table with Kalaya discussing the recent events. Baato had been trying his best to serve his best cooking creations to lift everyone’s mood, though some dishes were fairly… experimental. Kalaya pushed away her plate.
“Well, it’s no use to regret anything now. We need to disrupt these rumors or this assassin won’t be the last”, Kalaya said firmly. She didn’t believe in mulling over the past. They had to move forward. They had thrown the assassin in their prison cell but kept him alive to await trial at the temple. She just hoped that it wasn’t the Temple who had sent him after her in the first place. But no, the priestess wouldn’t, Kalaya was sure of it.
“You know…”, Manika started carefully, “There is a way that would probably convince the other tribes that you don’t have any war plans…”
“Was everything to your liking, Creator?”, Baato looked at her almost untouched meal. Kalaya managed to force a smile.
“It’s great, Baato. I’m just not hungry, these dealings make me lose my appetite.”
Baato looked relieved as he took away her plate.
“Well, what is it?”, Kalaya demanded after Baato had left, “Why didn’t you tell me before, mother? This is important!”
Manika fidgeted with her hands. “I’m not sure you will like it.”
“What does that matter?”, Kalaya replied angrily. “The tribe isn’t safe as long as these rumors persist. Tell me now!”
“You have to produce an heir.”
“What?”, Kalaya said in surprise. “How would that help?”
She hadn’t thought of breeding yet and truth was she didn’t want to. She had planned to build the tribe back up before taking up responsibilities as a mother. And who would she even choose as a mate? She had seen the slaves of the market, they were all either weak or dislikable. Or treacherous.
“No Creator breeds if she is about to start a war. It would put the heiress at risk and slow her down during the pregnancy. If you conceive, the other tribes will know there is no war to come soon”, Manika explained. Kalaya had to admit it made sense.
“I have to think about it”, she reluctantly agreed. If this was the way, how could she refuse?
“I’ll give you some time. But don’t take too long!”
Manika stood up and left the house.
There was something that she needed to know. She looked around the compound but saw no one. Baato was working in the kitchen, and Nieva and Tahia were upstairs playing with Prie. Good.
The prison cell was located next to the sacrificial area. She bowed slightly as she passed the statue of prayers and walked up to the door of the cell. Through the small window she saw the assassin curled up on a wooden bench, the only piece of furniture in the room.
He seemed to have a light sleep since he jumped up as Manika knocked on the door. His eyes narrowed.
“What do you want?”, he asked as he walked up to the door and stared at Manika.
“I need to know who sent you.”
“Why?”, he replied, his mouth showing a slight smirk.
“Because I need to send them a message. The war rumors are false.”
The assassin threw his head back and started laughing.
“Don’t you get it?”, he said as he finally calmed down, “It doesn’t matter. This isn’t about the rumors. It’s about her mindset. If she has thoughts of war after just becoming Creator what will she think of next? She is a danger to all of the Amazon. She will never be safe. And neither will her children.”
Manika’s eyes widened in shock. As if the assassin had read her mind about making Kalaya have a child.
“We will see”, she simply said calming herself down. She would find a way to fix things. “But one thing is for sure, you will not live to see her death.”
Next: Chapter 56 – Candidates