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3 Destiny At Work

 The awakening ceremony was important because it meant more warriors would join the village, but the village had little to no expectations of Taku being one of the warriors... if such a coward child could effectively become a warrior, then wouldn't they have wasted their whole lives? How unfair could the Heavens possibly get?

All that child was good at was running away from a fight and dancing.

Heck, let alone this year's batch of child-dancers, some of the more experienced dancers in the village, even whilst being in their early twenties, could only stare in disbelief as that child easily left them in the dust after just a few months!

As the children lined up in front of the chief's hut, the awakening began.

Taku had tried to learn as much as he could about the ceremony from other villagers, but his status as a cowardly orphan made it impossible to do so. All he knew was that when one was awakened, he would gain an ability.

He was also aware of the fact that there were many types of abilities. Those abilities could make one strong and gain status within the village because, coward or not, in the Gutu Empire, strength was everything. Taku was hoping that the gift he would gain was useful, useful enough to propel him from the depths of poverty to the riches he once had.

Then again, if he ever became some kind of earth-rocking genius, it would be the worst outcome. He had even picked dancing to avoid the gaze of those experienced warriors: if he had the talent to become incredibly powerful, wouldn't he be sent out hunting as well?

He would rather swing his hips and dance, thank you very much!

As the children lined up, the envoy would approach them while holding in his hand what seemed to be a ball made out of ivory. It was an extremely peculiar object, perfectly round, as if it had been crafted by an incredibly skilled smith.

The process of awakening was very simple, so simple in fact that Taku was surprised. He had been expecting some kind of heaven-shattering event, and instead everything was kept so simple that he had been left disappointed.

No light pillar ascending to the sky? No thunder striking down? No mighty dragon descending from the heavens? No strange voice in my head requesting for my name? What kind of sloppy fantasy land have I been reincarnated to?

First, the envoy would utter a chant in a strange language, which Taku didn't understand.

Secondly, he would place the ball on top of the child's head. The white ball would then shine and reveal a certain light, which would encase the child before fading away.

Somehow throughout the process, the envoy would suddenly get to know what power the child received and would explain to the crowd gathered around.

Taku decided to pay close attention when the envoy was only two children away from him. He felt his blood pumping as he heard the envoy chanting in that mysterious language: at least, the ancient language tag was present.

The ivory ball was placed on top of a child after the chant and suddenly shined red after a few seconds.

The envoy lifted one of his eyebrows in pleasant surprise. It was not enough to make him change his expression though, so he spoke without anything hinting to any change in his attitude:

"Red grade, Healer. Not bad."

When the envoy said that, the chief and the surrounding villagers shouted in elation. Healers were rare, and were in a lot of demand. A healer could reduce the death rate quite a bit. The little girl who had just been revealed to be a healer was guaranteed to have a safe and easy life.

No one ever harmed a healer.

From the beginning till then, from what Taku could gather, the colours represented some sort of grade. As to what or how it was being graded, Taku wasn't sure. All he knew at the moment was that he wanted to be a healer.

No fighting, lots of money, respect, and much more. What else could one ask for?

Although warriors with a combat ability were the most valued vocation within the Empire...

'Healers were rare and lived their lives without going through much danger' was what Taku had gathered from the conversation around him.

Could it be any less perfect? After all, that was his aim: a life of luxury and no danger!

The next child didn't really stand out like the girl, so there was no commotion and the awakening only took a brief moment to be completed. Finally, it was Taku's turn!

When the envoy's gaze feel on the Taku's body, the envoy frowned slightly after hearing some whispers from the chief. Taku had already known that his reputation as a coward would surely have preceded him, so there was nothing he could do, not that he minded.

He said nothing and simply prayed in his mind that he would become a healer as the envoy began his mysterious chant.

The envoy chanted quickly and placed the ball upon Taku's head, without much expectation...

And received the shock of his life.

"Boy, you are coming with me."

Without even talking to the chief, the envoy grabbed Taku, knocking him out with a knock to the head in the process. He Immediately got on top of his elephant and rode like the wind. Leaving the entire village flabbergasted.

...

When Taku came to, he was at the foot of a mountain, with winding steps climbing up for as far as the eye could see. The envoy who had essentially kidnapped him eyed him like a hawk as he got up from the ground.

"Climb up the stairs. The ceremony is about to begin. Don't be late. Welcome to the Elephant Foot guard." The moment he finished speaking the envoy jumped and left Taku's site. That's right jumped! His visage completely disappeared into the foliage of the mountain ahead of him.

Taku was aware of how physically gifted the Guru were, but he had never seen one jump hundreds of meters in a single leap, and so effortlessly at that.

Taku's mind was in chaos when he realized what was happening. Him being here meant that he had been chosen by the envoy!

Not only had he not been told what his ability was, he didn't even know the grade. Taku was stumped and felt lost. All he could do was stare at the humongous mountain ahead of him. It was so high it easily pierced the clouds, like a sword rebelling against the heavens. Its sheer size and grandeur made the boy speechless.

After thinking it through Taku made his decision. He had no way of returning bad to that god forsaken village anyway, not to mention that this could be an opportunity for him to know this world better. Thus Taku put his foot on the first of many stairs, taking his first step to becoming the first under the heavens!

...

An entire city stretched as far as the eye could see with clouds covering the horizon. Taku looked around, shocked that he had somehow reached the top of the mountain. He was positive that he had only been walking for a few minutes at most. Then a thought struck him, perhaps this city was built on the side of the mountain. But if so, then how was it not able to be seen from the bottom? The clouds ahead prevented Taku from seeing further thus he could only make due with this conjecture.

Ah! I don't have time to waste! I am late for a ceremony I don't even know about!

Shoving any thoughts of surprise and shock to the back of his mind, Taku raced to the city in front of him. It was stone, stone and more stone everywhere he looked. The designs were all simple and every structure looked like a copy of the other.

This was clearly not a city for normal folk. There was a militaristic feeling to the entire city, from the weapons being sold on the street to the ridiculous amount of discipline that the inhabitants of the city moved around with.

There was no noise, no fuss, everyone moved with distinct purpose and most important of all everyone was wearing uniform. Although to call it uniform was a bit of a stretch, every inhabitant within the city was wearing animal furs with an animal totem pinned to their chest.

The majority of the inhabitants were children, with the oldest looking no older than thirty. Taku looked for those who seemed to be his age group and followed them. Those who were late like him, were not hard to find, due to their hurried appearances.

Like him many children would get lost, fortunately, those who were older were more than happy to direct them to the appropriate area.

As Taku ran with his fellow inductees he noticed something, the further they got to the center of the city, the more the soldiers changed. They became older, seemingly more powerful, and their clothing changed from furs to armour made from unidentifiable materials. The city itself seemed more advanced as they went to their destination, but due to the fact that they were rushing, Taku had no time to ponder on these things.

After running continuously for almost ten minutes Taku and his group arrived where they were supposed to. Gasps where released by all those around Taku, as they arrived at what can only be described as the city square.

A large opening that was capable of holding what Taku believed to be a million people at a time, with an incredibly tall tower in the center.. The tower was made from stone and just like everything else within the city, it was simplistic in structure, due to this it seemed more sensible to call it a pillar. On top the tower were warriors dressed in their military garb, ready to address the more than one million children beneath them.

As the late arrivals, Taku and company had no choice but to sit at the outer edges. In that area there was little they could see, due to the multitudes of people in front of them, but as long as they could see the tower, that did not matter to those in charge.

On top of the tower were many warriors dressed in seemingly flashy armour, armour that made Taku realize that he had truly underestimated the level of technology in this world. Although he was quite a distance away from the tower, with the body and senses of a Gutu, Taku could see the people on the tower well enough to be able to discern that they were not wearing ordinary armour.

Some armour seemed to shine witth a metallic glint, while some armour seemed to be as stoney as everything else within this city. There were even soldiers wearing armour that seemed as if it was made from wood, but Taku had no doubt that this wood was not ordinary.

The Gutu were superhuman in terms of their bodies, but their enviroment matched their physique. The stone in this world was many times harder than than stone from earth, the wood many times more durable. There were also many type of plants and materials with differentiating values, each with seemingly miraculous effects. Taku had no doubt that the armoured men and women on top of the tower were the top brass within this city, so it made sense to assume that they would be equipped with armour that matched their status.

Finally after a few more minutes, one of the warriors stood up. To Taku's surprise it was a young woman who looked no older than sixteen. She had short hair and seemed short for her age, but that did nothing to diminish the sheer explosiveness of her body. She was incredibly curvaceous and her armour was incredibly revealing. The square was filled with children, so this did not matter much, but Taku who had the mind of a man was blown away.

Large breasts, a waist so narrow it would make one want to hug her and not let go, wide hips and a near perfect face, with the only flaw being the small scar on her cheek. Yet that seemed to have added its own charm.

The children only thought she looked pretty, but the adult warriors behind her did little to hide the lust in their eyes. Taku was more than familiar with such things so he spotted it right away. The male warriors looking at her all focused on her butt. Men in the Gutu Empire cared about three things when it came to a woman. Wide hips, big breast and a big butt. Things that were highly valued on earth like a beautiful a face or skin were secondary here. In fact, Gutu men found strength a far more attractive feature than a pretty face or skin.

Judging from the fact that this young woman was eligible to speak, there was no doubt about her strength. As for her beauty, it was quite obvious, thus she was quite the sought after woman within the camp. There was no microphone, or any device to get sound across, so Taku wandered how her voice would reach them.

"Silence!"

With an earth shaking shout, she managed to silence the entire square.