Radames was sitting on his bed one night reading when Mereb came in.

"Your father is calling for you," he told him.

"Sure. Tell him I'll be right there"

"He told me to tell you to bring the whip because one of the slaves needs to be punished"

Radames groaned inwardly. He hated having to punish the slaves especially since he met Aida.

No, everything in his inner self cried, but like a programmed robot he grabbed the whip.

"Did my father say what he or she did?"

Mereb shook his head sadly.

"I don't even know who she is. If I had to guess I would say Farren. She tends to annoy your father"

"You don't know who it is," he asked.

"No. It could be anyone. Your father didn't tell me. All he told me was that it was a woman slave and she was insolent. I guess we'll find out soon"

Radamas began the long walk down the hall. His stomach tightened with every step. He knew Aida would hate him for what he had to do. She was one of their people. She was a Nubian.

"Are you okay sir," Mereb asked

"It's Radamas. I've had enough of this sir nonsense. No Mereb I'm not okay. I'm not even close to okay"

"I know you hate punishing the slaves"

"I feel like I'm betraying Aida by whipping one of her people."

"You really care about her don't you?"

"Care about her… I love her," he admitted.

Mereb nodded. He wasn't surprised. As Radamas opened the door and saw the slave he was to punish his stomach dropped. There she was locked in cage terrified though like always trying to be brave"

"Aida," he whispered like the breath of the wind"