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50 Inner Conflict

 Taku slowly opened his eyes as pain radiated throughout his whole body. He could faintly recollect what had happened before but he had no idea that his actions would produce such a shocking back lash. He had no idea how far he and Maka had flown but he knew that they had probably landed rather awkwardly. As his eyes opened he realised that the sky was dark and it was already night time. He had no clear way to discern the time at this moment. He tried getting up but he could barely lift a finger as he felt pain the minute that he tried to move.

He took a quick glance at himself and realised that his whole body was bandaged; in truth he looked like a mummy. He had no idea regarding the amount of damage that was done, but he could tell that he would be bed ridden for a while. Taku could not even move his head and he could only stare up at the sky. At this moment he was just worried, worried about Maka. He had no idea what happened afterwards but the fact that he was bandaged meant that either he was found by someone else or Maka had woken up before him and applied first aid, but he had no way of knowing which was which and at the moment all he could do was worry.

He tried to spread his soul sense but to his astonishment his soul power was completely diminished. This meant that he had no way to check his surroundings and at this moment this left him completely feeling even more helpless. Taku felt like his world was collapsing right before him, before he could even meet Saru this accident had to happen. He began to wonder how his team was doing and how Maka's team was doing; he began to even wonder about his master and that black figure that was always behind him. He knew that if he didn't recover and if Maka wasn't safe he would never be able to go back to the Gutu or anywhere for that matter where he could meet his friends or his master.

Taku sighed and tried and tried to move again and it was at this moment that a voice drifted into his ears, "Don't move!" Maka exclaimed, "You've been out for five days, I did not realise it at first but you actually got injured more than I did and by the time I bandaged you up, you had lost most of your blood and that is why you have been unconscious for so long. Just try not to move okay, I will feed you some porridge just now."

Taku just slightly nodded as he was not able to move much, he knew that at the moment the only thing that he could do was wait and recover. He mumbled a thank you to Maka and proceeded to just lay there like a corpse. Maka came close to him about five minutes later with a bowel of porridge.

Taku was flabbergasted and couldn't help but ask, "How do you have porridge and utensils at a time like this."

Maka was slightly shocked by this question; she did not know why someone would think of such things at a time like this.

She promptly recovered from her shock and answered, "I made these utensils when I woke up a couple of days ago, which was about three days before you did. As for the porridge, it's a type of porridge that is made from bamboo leaves and bamboo shoots that my master taught me when I was young. It might taste horrible but it is good for the body."

At the word horrible Taku cringed there was nothing more in this world that he loved more than his food, and for him to be told that the food he was about to taste was going to be horrible mad him feel as if there was really nothing worth living for anymore. As Maka came before him, he realised that although she wasn't as injured as he was, she was still heavily bandaged. Some guilt and helplessness crept into Taku's consciousness, if only he was powerful enough then they could have avoided this situation. At the moment all he wanted to do was get up and train, the last thing he wanted to see was Maka get hurt especially because of him.

By this time Taku had already accepted his feelings for Maka even though he was still afraid to mention them out loud, he made a vow that he would become stronger and protect her. Maka raised the bowl of porridge and slowly fed Taku. By the time Taku was finished his face was distorted from the taste but he could faintly feel his body lightly get better. He felt his muscles relax and his wounds stop hurting. He could even slightly move his head now. What shocked him the most was that he could now, not only move his head but also his fingers were able to move. This porridge was truly miraculous.

Maka jut smiled down at him and then sat down, "I think those three beasts were after me or at least after my master."

Taku frowned a bit, "Isn't your master Saru?"

Maka nodded.

Taku continued and said, "I guess it is a pretty effective plan to kidnap you as a way to get to Saru, but Saru is a pretty powerful individual. Or at least I am guessing he is. I am sure he has a high standing in the empire, wouldn't kidnapping you be the same as provoking the whole Empire?"

Maka shook her head, "The empire is way more complicated than you think. Even though my master is a higher up in the empire, there are still certain factions within the empire. For instance there are factions who support the current royal family and there are others who support the Ngundu clan."

Taku was slightly shocked when he heard this, it almost felt as if the Ngundu clan was put within the same bracket as the royal family. He was surprised because even though he had heard that the Ngundu clan was a very prosperous clan he just thought that it was one of those rich, wealthy merchant families. Little did he know that the clan his team mate was from was actually a very big clan.

Maka could tell that Taku was slightly shocked, she shook her head and began explaining, "Ultimately the Empire has three royal families, the other one right now is currently not worth mentioning but the Ngundu clan is part of that cycle. After every three hundred years they are supposed to change their seat but the Gumbo family have been in the royal seat for last couple hundreds of years because they keep on producing superior talent and the other families cannot seem to catch up. Are you shocked because your team mate is from such a prosperous clan?"

Taku nodded.

Maka continued, "It is actually not that shocking if you look at it, everyone wants to join the Ivory Guard. Everyone wants to become a part of the project, coming from the Elephant Foot Guard going to the Ivory Guard, it's something that everyone wants to do. Being part of something so prestigious makes you feel not only great about yourself but it also brings great honour to your family."

Taku just nodded. But he was still in state of shock because if Nyasha's family was so prosperous how come they never helped him once? Was it because of his disability when it came to summoning? This was the only conclusion that he could to because there was no other reason he could use to justify his team mates actions or more so, his families actions.

He smiled slightly when he thought about his team mate, put of all his team mates, Nyasha was the most unpredictable and the most perverted. He remembered the night that Nyasha had given him some advice about Maka and thinking about this, he couldn't help but steal a glance at Maka but he felt too embarrassed and he slowly closed his eyes.

The two of them were silent for a while, both not quite knowing what to say. Taku was nervous this moment was what he had slightly hoped for; apart from meeting Saru, being alone with Maka was one of his goals but at the moment even though he was alone with her, he was in a lightly awkward predicament.

He smiled bitterly and the spoke," There is one thing though that I do not understand. How come even though you are so young, you are still so powerful? I mean fine you are six years my senior but then when you were sixteen and we first met you were already so powerful? I don't get that. Also, why didn't you use your gravity manipulation?"

Maka smiled and said, "You are only fourteen and you are still this powerful. Those beasts that we fought were at least three or four levels above you but you were still able to fight them weren't you?"

Taku smiled bashfully and said, "I was but it was with your help and I don't know what it is but this fire inside of me, feels like it has special properties. It feels like it can bend through anything. "

Maka nodded, "Truly that's the case, it reminds me of the Nether Flame that the royal family is known for, that flame can burn through anything but even though they are similar, yours is slightly purer than theirs is?"

Taku was taken back by this, the royal family had a similar flame? He just shook his head he did not want to think about stuff like this at the moment. Maka also covertly dodged his question regarding her gravity manipulation ability. All she did was fly and nothing else. Taku still vividly remembered the first day he saw Maka, when she used her power to supress at least 1 million trainees. Taku was also not sure aa to why he did not want to discuss his possible ties to the royal family. Its as if a subconscious intuition told him to avoid the matter at all costs. Besides, there were bigger fish to fry.

Since both parties had issues they did not want to talk about he just nodded and turned to Maka and said, "What level are you exactly?"

Maka just smiled at him slyly and said, "Don't you know its rude to ask a lady about her level?"

Taku was shocked, he stared at Maka with his eyes wide, unblinking and the responded, "Shouldn't it be about age and not levels?"

Maka coughed dryly and said, "One in the same thing."

Taku could only smile, he knew that this year, Maka was twenty years old and he knew that four years ago when Maka was sixteen he was already a level higher if not two from where Taku was now.

Taku shook his head and said, "How old were you when you started training then."

Maka smiled and then looked at the sky, she was reminiscing about the old days, "If you are talking about just martial arts training, as in basic martial arts, I started when I was just six years old. That's when I was taken in by Saru but training to be a cultivator and actually cultivating, I sensed zesa the first time when I was twelve years old and then by the time I was sixteen, I was already slightly powerful as I was already a general by that time. To be honest with you, I am not a big fan of all this, fighting and training and everything. I would rather just go find a place to sit and spend the rest of my life doing nothing, but like everyone else I have a goal and my goal can only be reached if I get more powerful."

Taku was shocked again, at this moment he began asking himself, what was he really living for in this current world that he was in? Even though he had feelings for Maka they weren't so deep that he was willing to live just for her and these were questions that plagued him. What was he really living for?

Taku started to mildly lose his sense of self. On earth he was daring and ambitious, and even at the dombo training he had set a few goals for himself, but something within him was making him lose his purpose, or rather his sense of direction.

Taku shook his head again trying to get the negativity out of his mind. Right now he had to focus on recovering. At this moment Maka put her hand on his head and told him to rest and surprisingly as these words fell, Taku's world went blank as he passed out.