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30 Ambushed

 "Maybe it sees you as its mother..."

Taku's expression turned dark when he heard this. "There is no way that could happen. It's not like it hasn't seen its mother before. So there is no way that's possible... right?"

Tino grinned when he saw this reaction. "Tell me mama lion, do you have a better reason for why it is constantly following you. The only thing that is left is for it to ask for milk, only then can we be completely sure."

Even though Taku knew that Tino's theory was probably bullshit, he couldn't help but shiver at the thought of the little cub asking for milk from him. Just how was he supposed to pull that off? He looked suspiciously at the cub beside him and couldn't help but smile wryly.

"Anyway..." Tino started. "We should get going. We are already a week behind schedule. We shouldn't keep our teammates waiting."

Taku just shook his head and replied.

"So what if they wait, it's just a week after all. It is not like they will die of waiting."

**

"How long till we reach the Tohwe tree...?" Tino asked.

"According to the map..." Taku started as he took out the map. "We are about two weeks away. We should pick up the pace a bit."

"I can't believe this little fellow is still following us though." Tino said as he looked at the cub that matching them for pace.

Hearing this Taku looked at the lion cub with a warm expression and replied.

"Yeah... but it has not been a burden on us, in fact it has saved us a couple of times. So far I have collected 3 tier two beast cores for it. Do you think it will be enough for it to break through to the next tier?"

Tino shook his head. "Even though consuming beast core would be faster for it than to absorb Zesa, it would still take a large amount of tier two beast core for it to break through."

It had been a month since the two broke through to the tohwe level and they had used this month to solidify their cultivation bases. In this one month they had fought with at least a dozen peak tier one beasts and 3 tier two beasts. It was a relatively easy battle when they fought against the tier one Demonic Beasts, but it took a massive amount of effort in order for them to kill the tier two beasts.

At a certain point the two of them almost lost their lives whilst fighting a Red Scaled Rhino. Apart from its hard defence which was near indestructible, it also had a massive amount of strength that had left the two teens flabbergasted. At the end of the day it was actually the lion cub that ended up taking the Rhino's life.

It had sneaked under the Rhino's body when it was defending against the two. It then launched its jaw towards the only part which was not covered in scales, and that was its belly. It was a fatal hit and after only ten breaths of wailing in agony the Rhino finally died.

Taku had retrieved the Core from the Rhino with the intention of feeding it to the cub when the situation had calmed down.

After travelling for another two or so days the two decided to take a short break and rest a bit. It was at this moment that Taku gave the three beast core to the cub. Instead of taking them one by one the cub gulped all three down. After doing this it sank into deep sleep. When it was time for them to leave the cub still had not woken up yet, the two just shook their head helplessly as Taku put the Cub back into his storage sack.

"Have you thought about naming it?" Tino asked.

"No actually I haven't yet..." Taku replied as he sunk deep into thought. It never crossed his mind because there had never been a time he needed to call it over. The little cub had always been right beside him. After thinking for a while his eyes suddenly lit up as he said. "How about we call Him Ganyamuto?"

"Hahaha..." Tino couldn't help but laugh when he heard this. "It's not a dog. Don't you know that lions belong to the cat lineage?"

"I know that much..." Taku started. "But first of all, you probably do not have anything better. And have you not noticed how most male lions look nothing like cats? They look more like huge Dogs with a mane."

"Still, It would not be right to name a cat a dog. We will naturally come up with a name for it in time." Tino replied.

Taku nodded as the two continued on their journey. In the following two weeks Taku and Tino travelled without much of a hassle. Apart from the occasional tier1 beast there was nothing really that stopped them in their tracks.

"This should be it right..?" Tino asked as he stared at the empty Tohwe tree in front of them.

"Yes! But our team is not here and this tree has no Tohwe's in it." The two looked around for some sort of clue or something along those lines that could help them figure anything out.

"Ah!"

Just as Taku took three steps to the left of the tree he suddenly exclaimed. Hearing this Tino ran to Taku's position. "What happened?"

Taku lifted his finger and pointed forward. Tino also involuntarily let out a scream. This was because about 10 metres away from them was a severed hand. What shocked the two was that this hand was extremely pale and looked nothing like the hands of people from the Gutu Empire. Looking at this hand the two had the same thoughts running through their mind.

They fought with the invaders.

The two moved towards the hand and when they got close they noticed a plethora of footprints. The footprints all went towards the same direction which meant that their teams were either chasing the invaders or being chased by the invaders. The hearts of the two could not help but shiver as they felt drops of sweat fall down their forehead.

To begin with they had no idea who was chasing who. Secondly they did not know how many people the invaders had, and lastly they did not know the level of power that the invaders had reached. They were too far away from the Gutu Empire, if they were to travel back to get reinforcements it would take at least half a year. They also had no way of communicating with other teams of the ivory guard or anyone from the empire.

The two were largely inexperienced when it came to these type of situation, so it took them a good minute before the two strengthened their resolve as they began to follow the trail of footsteps. They travelled for at least half a day before they noticed that the number of footprints had gradually decreased and when they reached a certain point they noticed that there were only 7 sets of footprints left. And the further they moved the more they smelt the stench of blood, but no matter how hard they looked they could not find any dead bodies.

These five sets turned into four when they noticed that there were skid marks, almost as if someone got captured and was being dragged. Seeing this the teen's hearts sank. They hurriedly followed the footprints which were now heading southwest from their current position.

**

In a tent a couple of miles away from where Taku and Tino where, there were three other young adults who were tied to a pole.

"Goddamn these bloody damn vines. How are they able to supress our cultivation like this?" A very annoyed and loud voice shouted out.

"Ranga! Can you ever shut up?" Tadi asked weakly.

Hearing this Ranga turned his head and replied. "Do you think those two inexperienced brats will come save us? That is if they haven't already been eaten alive out there. It is now up to this King to make a plan for us to escape. If only they hadn't used these bloody irritating vines to bind us."

Nyasha who was also with them just smiled wryly as he stared upwards. They had arrived at Honde Valley a week ahead of time and it had taken them three months to reach the tohwe tree. When they arrived the fruits had already ripened and to their surprise the tree had over a hundred tohwe fruits. They could not figure out why the report they were given said that there were only twenty of them.

After picking the tohwe fruits and carefully placing them into their storage sacks they set up camp a mile away from the tohwe tree in order to wait for their new teammates, but who would've known that the invaders also had their eyes on the tohwe fruits.

It did not take long for the invaders to know the situation when the saw the nearby tents. The invaders attacked mercilessly. After exchanging a few blows with the invaders the trio of Ranga, Tadi and Nyasha noticed that more were coming their way so they decided to run. They were pursued for half a day before being captured.

The invaders were not really more powerful than they were, but they had strength in numbers, so at the end of the day they all still got captured and brought here. The only reason that they were still alive was because of the tohwe fruits. When they had noticed that the invaders were coming the three had a dug holes and buried their storage sacks in three separate positions.

When they had arrived at the enemy's base they were thoroughly searched and the invaders had found nothing. They all knew what was coming next, Torture. Even though tohwe fruits were quite useless when it came to Zesa, they still help when it came to strengthening the skin. This alone was enough to get countless cultivators to kill each other. The fruit was not very rare, but the problem was that they took too long to ripen.

The three were bound by Ropa Vines. If a cultivator's skin came into contact with these vines, then that person would not be able to use any zesa for at least half an hour. So to be bound by them was incredibly annoying for the three.

It was already late at night when another person entered the tent that they were bound in. This person was a tall middle aged man with a beard, who had blue eyes and dark brown hair. He looked savagely at the three as he spoke. "The Gutu Empire people are truly powerful aren't they? For you younglings to reach this level in cultivation at such a young age. Even back home you guys would be considered geniuses... now if you don't want to lose that power that you have worked so hard for, you better wise up and tell me where you hid those tohwe fruits."

"Hahaha..." the trio burst out laughing when they heard this.

"Do not f*ck with this King you measly peasant..." Ranga said as he venomously stared at the man in front of them.

"You will cripple us, or even kill us after obtaining them. So f*ck off!"

Tadi and Nyasha at the moment also looked at the middle aged man with mocking gazes.

They knew that if no one came to save them they would die, and if they told the invaders about the location of the fruits then they would still die either way, or even worse, they could get crippled. So these young adults decided to put their faith in their new teammates who were supposed to meet up with them.

They did not know whether the two kids had the power or the balls to come save them, but at the moment it was all they could hope for. There was no way the two could call for reinforcements so the captured trio knew that their chances of living were low, but they still had some belief.

The middle aged frowned when he heard these words from Ranga.

He quickly walked towards Ranga and punched him a couple of times.

Bam!

Bam!

Bam!