Chapter 20

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Imani tapped her bracelet at the wounds. Mimoza's stare stressed. She squinted as the shocking sensation scattered across her skin. Imani remained focused, intent on healing the woman she saved. She whispered, more to herself than to Mimoza, "your body is the temple of knowledge..."

Another shock fell down Mimoza's spine. To distract herself from the pain, Mimoza asked, "You traveled from Aethiopia?"

"I came with a few clan members," Imani answered. "And so far, none of us have found deviants in Greece. We were all told Greece was bountiful in deviants, but lately its looked like they've gone extinct in this region as well. Now that I know why, I will relay this message to my father."

Mimoza said, "thank you for healing me, but if you expect my servitude, I can't be bound to anywhere except Greece."

"Not servitude, no. If you were younger, I'd convince you to come to the Nile Valley with me, but that won't be an option. For now, just hold still while I tend your wounds. I only want what's best for you and that other deviant."

Mimoza knew she shouldn't trust an Egyptian scholar, but she had no other choice at the moment. She asked, "with Gaiana, do you plan on enslaving her?"

"Of course not. I need volunteers, not slaves. I hope you'll at least help me find more deviants in exchange for healing you here."

"If you're not going to hunt them, then I'll help you. I'm indebted to you now."

Imani squinted at Mimoza's  back. The wounds around Mimoza's body was strange to her. Not only had Mimoza's natural abilities not heal her correctly, but the flow of aether in her bloodstream seemed pulled somehow, like someone had physically tussled her aether to no longer work correctly. "Fascinating. Who did this to you? In all my years of studying, I've never encountered a flesh wound like this. Do all Greek scholars fight like this, or was the one who did this unique?"

"Pandora is something else completely." Mimoza spoke scruffily to keep her mind off of the pain. "Before the Ionian war, deviants held Olympics to test their feats. Deviants from across Greece would gather to compete. These competitions ranged from fighting, to racing, to swimming. The games were designed to challenge us with our unique abilities. The winner of these games would gain the title Pandora, meaning 'all-gifted' in Greek."

Imani's voice perked up, "deviant sports? That sounds breathtaking."

"They are. Or rather, they were. We haven't had a deviant Olympics since the Ionian uprising."

Imani frowned, "there are no more competition I could watch?"

"Not that I know of. You sound upset now, Imani."

Imani bit her lip, "aether intrigues me. I've never seen a deviant before coming to Greece, yet I've trained my whole life to control them. A competition among deviants sounds amazing." Mimoza smiled even as her back burned from the touch of Imani's jewel. She asked, "then this person who did this to you, she was a champion?"

Mimoza shook her head. "Champion was the old definition of Pandora, now the meaning has changed. During the Ionian war, many Pandoras went to the region in order to bring hope to the Greeks fighting there. Except the Persians were far more powerful than they expected. Persians began hunting down Pandoras, enslaving them or smiting them depending on the person. The name Pandora gained a new meaning; anyone who could kill a Pandora would gain the title Pandora themselves."

"That sounds like a massive war game of cat and mouse."

Mimoza nodded. "Many Greek champions were killed, and it even reached a point where there were more Pandoras on the Persian side than on the Greek side. A name that was meant to give hope turned into a title of dread. Persians had special teams just to hunt down Pandoras, and Greeks would swear vengeance, taking the title Pandora after having killed Persians that earned the title. The meaning devolved. It no longer meant champion or hero, it simply came to mean deviant killer, a dreaded term to deviants everywhere."

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