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24 Cities, Colors and Cubs

 It had been two weeks since Taku and Tino set out for Honde valley.

So far during their trip there were no problems whatsoever and they had set up camp tonight so that the horses could rest. It was this night that Taku decided to read the letter that Saru had given the Hall master:

Dear Takunda

Congratulations on winning the Battle Royale, I know that Tavonga was not an easy opponent so you did well.

I have been monitoring you ever since you entered the ELEPHANT FOOT GUARD and I have to admit that even I am shocked by your progress. Initially I had thought your soul would hinder your progress since you did not quite understand it, but with your progress I'm guessing that in a way you are improving so fast thanks to your soul.

There are somethings that I feel you should know.

I won't waste our time explaining about cultivation since I know that someone else will do that for me. What I want to explain is the structure of the Gutu Empire.

So far you have only seen a couple of villages of various sizes and only one camp of the ELEPHANT FOOT GUARD , you have never really been to any cities as it is so your knowledge is a bit lacking at the moment. I will be focusing more on the undercurrents of power, instead of the common knowledge of provinces you know.

Of all the cities In the Gutu Empire 23 are a cut above the rest and have a special existence. They are the 7 main cities and 16 minor cities of the Gutu Empire. I won't go into detail about them, but I can tell you that even the size of a minor will shock you. Most minor cities are controlled by chiefdoms and can hold up to a hundred thousand people. These chiefdoms have a hundred percent control over the City and only have to annually pay taxes to the Empire.

Even though they are counted as part of the empire these cities have their own armies and the Empire does not really get involved in their power struggles, and this is only if their power struggles don't hinder the Royal family's dealings and the Safety of the Empire as a whole.

But if the Empire is in dire straits then these cities will lend their armies to the Empire...

Reading up to this part Taku could not help but think of the hierarchy back on earth. Even though some countries still used the Monarch system, most countries had abolished this and to him it was a better system. Having a Government to him was more sensible, and created more freedom for the people of that nation. He tried to think of what would happen if the government did not have full control of their cities, he had no doubt in his mind that the results would be worse than the ones in the Gutu empire.

Thinking to this point Taku shook his head and continued reading.

...The 7 Major cities are under the full control of the Royal Family.

In these cities the Royal family placed their most trusted subordinates to monitor everything that happens in that city. It is more like these families are ambassadors for the Royal family.

These cities don't indulge in power struggles since they are basically run by the same power; the military is all the same anyway. In each of these 23 cities there is an ELEPHANT FOOT GUARD camp nearby.

The ELEPHANT FOOT GUARD you were a part of was close to a minor City called Mutoko. The ELEPHANT FOOT GUARD in small cities are smaller than those near big cities, in your ELEPHANT FOOT GUARD intermediate camp only a little over a hundred people graduated and survived, but in those that are close to major cities over thousands of people graduated.

After graduating, people from the ELEPHANT FOOT GUARD can join the Ivory guard if worthy. Each city has its own Ivory Guard Hall and in minor cities those of the Ivory Guard are on par in terms of authority with the chiefdoms, although there are not really allowed to get involved in the affairs of the city, but they do have all the freedom to do what they want. It is only in the major cities that the Ivory Guard has to be a bit more reserved but even then they hold a certain authority in the big cities.

Now to explain how the ivory guard works.

Teams in the ivory Guard are ranked by colour. These colours are Red, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Red being the lowest rank and Gold being the highest. Currently your team is one of over a thousand Red teams, and each colour has its own Ranking board. In order to raise a team's rank the team needs to have a certain number of contribution points which can be earned by completing missions.

The red team that is currently top of the ranking has ten thousand points and still require an additional ten thousand for them to be able to raise their rank. It took this team 3 whole years to accumulate this many points so you can imagine how hard it is to get contribution points...

Taku felt dizzy when reading this. He was only fourteen and if he and his team were as fast as those people then they would be able to raise their rank when Taku turned 20. Six whole years to raise the rank of team. He could not help but wonder how many years the Gold ranked team had taken to reach their current rank.

Taku continued reading. can also earn contribution points by hunting demonic beats and selling their parts to the Empire. You can use this method to exchange for gold if you are short on money, but this usually is not necessary because even the lowest ranked Red team gets a thousand gold coins a month as salary.

Apart from this the other way is to kill an invader.

The amount of contribution points you get by killing an invader are determined by how powerful that particular invader was. For this the Empire created badges that can sense the energy of an invader since their cultivation is different from ours, so if you kill an invader it can automatically be recorded and you will be granted your points on the spot.

The most contribution points that were gathered from killing an invader was when a Gold team leader killed an invader and got a million contribution points. Another thing is that contribution points can be used for training purposes and to trade for Martial skills, weapons etc.

The cheapest of all skills and weapons start from ten contribution points; the most expensive I have ever seen was a martial skill which was going for six million contribution points.

Anyway that is all I needed to explain for now.

Good luck on your trip and do come back safely, or else I swear Maka will kill me.

Kindest Regards,


After finishing the letter Taku only had one thought in this mind and that was Maka. It had been four years since he last saw her and in those four years he had been thinking about her almost every day. They had spent a couple of weeks traveling together and to this day it still remained as Taku's most peaceful period.

He did not know whether she was part of the ivory guard or some other department, but he did know that four years ago when she was only sixteen, she was more powerful than most of his teachers back in the Elephant Foot Guard.

He couldn't help but shiver when he thought to this point; he could not help but wonder if he could ever catch up to her, she did have a six year advantage on him.

And that ass, damn.

Taku smiled bitterly and then placed the letter inside his storage pouch and slept.

After three whole months of non-stop travel the duo had finally arrived at the outskirts of Honde valley. They could no longer continue with their horses so they set them free and then continued into the dense valley on foot.

After walking for half a day Tino let out a sigh and could not help but complain."I can't believe that we have another full two weeks of traveling before we even reach our destination."

Taku smiled wryly and then said. "I wish I could say that we signed up for this, but we didn't and this level of fuckery is just a bit too much for me to tolerate."

After saying this Taku abruptly stopped and looked at Tino with a sly smile. "Well, we are supposed to be tempering ourselves aren't we? There are at least 3 beasts a couple of minutes away from here, but it is off route. Are you willing to go?"

Taku's soul was incredibly sensitive and if there was a beast near them he would be able to sense them in an instant.

Tino smiled after hearing this. "Do you even have to ask? Lead the way."

Taku smiled as he turned left and disappeared into the bushes with Tino following right after. The two ran for close to 10 minutes before reaching their destination.

They were filled with shock as they witnessed the very chaotic scene of a lioness fighting three hyenas. The beats in this forest were usually very territorial and another beast would not step into another's territory.

The two looked around to find why these four were fighting, and not far away they both spotted a crystal like object that was just behind the body of the lioness.

"That's a demonic beast core..."Tino whispered. "It should at least be a peak tier two core. Its baffling that these normal beasts actually have it."

Hearing this Taku could not help but ask. "Are these Demonic beast cores important to these normal beasts?"

Hearing this Tino stared at Taku weirdly before answering. "Yes, the cores are very important. If a normal beast can consume that core, it has the possibility to evolve and begin cultivating. But it is a bit too risky because if the energy in the core is too much then it would simply explode."


After this explanation the two youths then continued to focus on the battle between the Lioness and there hyenas. They could both see that even though the lioness was very vicious, the Hyenas were very cunning and had managed to severely wound the lioness.

What had the attention of the two was that the lioness did not seem to care about the Demonic beast core at all. It kept on looking towards the cave that was behind it before attacking again.

"It probably has a cub in there." Tino stated.

"Yeah!" Taku replied.

Just as they finished this short exchange they noticed the little cub fearlessly run out of the cave and then consumed the beast core.

The mouths of the two youths were agape when they saw this scene unravel. The lioness on the other hand began panicking and attacked even more ferociously than before. The three hyenas were angry at the little cub for swallowing the core that they wanted.

They wanted nothing more but to rip the little cub, which was now laying limp on the ground but alas they could only wait until they had taken care of the lioness before they could kill its little cub.

The fight lagged on for another five or so minutes before the lioness dropped down to the ground and breathed its last breath.

Of the four Hyenas, one was dead whereas two were badly injured and only one had minor injuries.

Despite the other two being severely wounded the three Hyenas attacked simultaneously.

Just as they were about to reach the little cub, the hyena that had minor injuries suddenly stopped and took several steps back. Of the two injured Hyenas, one was able to step back just in time as the other one got crushed by a giant rock.

The Hyenas looked forward only to see two youths standing before them. One of the two youths was holding the cub in his hands with a look of astonishment on his face.

"It's actually still alive!"