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57 Talent Vs Potential

 "Hmph!"

Kuda snorted as she heard the Sovereign's words. Potential? Wasn't talent a measure of potential? As far as she was concerned she only had four rivals in this world, and none of them had a teacher as amazing as her. Thus, it was only a matter of time before she stood at the peak.

Her master's words made her uncomfortable as he rarely spewed nonsense. That's all this was, nonsense, her ego wouldn't allow her to think otherwise.

"Master, please tell me what's so special about him. His smoke? It isn't bad but he couldn't possibly reach a high level of cultivation like me. Not to mention, the spell cast on him is still in effect. No way he will surpass me."

The Sovereign cast a glance at Saru. "Please," He said gesturing to Kuda, "Why don't you explain to her why Taku is so special."

Saru gulped then nodded. After all, even if her station stood far below her master's, she was still a gold level talent. Within ten years she would be strong enough to snuff him out with her pinkie.

"Ehem, Lady Kudakwashe. The smoke is more than a result of a fusion between both souls. Think of it this way, if both souls were purifying each other, why would a third suddenly exist? Thus the only conclusion is that he is absorbing remnant souls, these make up the smokes energy source. While the two provide the traits."

Kuda's face contorted In confusion. "What is a remnant soul?"

Ticha piped up this time. "The energy we Gutu use is zesa. But it is not the only energy that exists. The first form that energy takes is called World Energy. This is produced in nature. When a person dies and their soul enters the cycle of reincarnation, some remnants of that soul remain, and these remnants are in the form of traits. If a fire manipulator died for example, then the remnant soul bits left behind would be fire manipulation bits. These would fuse with World Energy, forming what we know as zesa. In other words, zesa is World Energy that has fused with soul remnants." Ticha paused for a moment to gather her thoughts then cleared her throat and continued. "Taku is constantly absorbing soul remnants, each with individual traits. At some point in time, the more domineering of them will engulf the others. Resulting in the smoke having more than just one. How many it gains, only time will tell."

Kuda frowned once she understood the crux of the matter. This was what her master meant by potential. The Sovereign was the one to finish it off.

"Not only that. The smoke is constantly absorbing remnants as time passes by, fixing the deficiency created by the Soul Deviation. Gutu powers come from the soul. As he is constantly absorbing new souls, each with their own abilities, his talent is constantly in flux, and his ability has no stable form. Making both unidentifiable."

"But master, why would he atttact remnants in the first place?"

"The reason is simple. Conservation of energy. The two souls are purifying each other, creating a soul energy vacuum that needs to be filled. Since a third party was needed to act as the neutralizer, the smoke happened into existence. Gold level talent? Taku could have a higher level. An amazing ability? Taku could theoretically do everything. But this is reality, and his body can only handle so much. Hence the uncertainty of his future."

Kuda snorted once more and went back to training. She still found it hard to believe. After all, she was only a child. This conversation of theory and what not failed to interest her any longer. As far as she was concerned, this Taku would learn his place when her sword tasted his blood.

The sovereign shrugged, "Sorry about that guys. You know how these geniuses are. They think they are everything."

Ticha recongnized his chance and took it. "No need to apologize Sovereign. She is truly a one in a billion talent. Worthy of your teachings." Saru smirked, the man never missed a chance to bootlick.

"Anyway guys, I'm interested in this Taku kid. Saru, if you hand him over to me, I will owe you one favour. Think about it."

Saru replied immediately, "You can have him Sovereign!" Ticha clicked his tongue in envy. A favour from The Solitary Sword Sovereign himself. There was nothing he could think of that was more valuable.

The Sovereign smiled, "Good. Saru, make the necessary arrangements and have me get close to this kid. I need to be extremely close to properly observe his situation. This has to be covert, as you know, other immortals are observing my movements."

Saru nodded grimly. "Sir, remember that the child was chosen by Sekuru Kaguvi. Please be careful."

The Sovereign frowned, "Kaguvi huh...man I hate Gutu immortals, always getting involved in the matters of their descendants. At least its Kaguvi, he is lax, he probably won't take much action. Not to mention that Kaguvi was a maniputor who knew next to nothing about soul theory. But if memory serves, he did have a soul art that is pretty handy. That's probably what he gave the kid. Anyway, we have to do this on the down low. Saru, you know what to do. Oh yes, I almost forgot."

"Bwah!" A loud sound of exhalation came from behind as Bhure was freed from his ice prison.

Bhure had attacked the Sovereign without knowing who he was, thus his unfortunate fate. Fortunately the Immortal has a new play toy which brought out his good side. Bhure immediately kowtowed and apologized which the Sovereign waved away saying 'no big deal'.

...

Taku and Maka were reviewing his knowledge on Martial arts. Maka thought he knew nothing, it turns out that he did know a martial art! The Butterfly Dance.

At first Taku mentioned it in passing, but Maka found it strange. How could a dance learned in a small village relieve fatigue and make one fleet footed. The young man had completely forgotten about the dance due to the events of the last four years. Dancing was the last thing on his mind.

As Taku kept executing the dance, Maka had an idea. "Attack me." She said whilst he danced. Taku's face screwed up in confusion but he complied. Both their faces contorted this time only from shock instead of confusion.

His attacks became very unpredictable and he was now able to change the angle of each one quite well. Of course he was still much weaker than Maka, but martial art skills showed power according to who used them. The Butterfly Dance was already this effective while Taku was only at the Tohwe level. How powerful would it be when he was at her level?

He didn't like the name and thus changed it to Butterfly Steps. The butterfly part left a bad taste in his mouth as well but Maka begged him not to change that too. Saying that its name could be a clue to a powerful heritage.

Gumbo village was once a powerful city according to the village elders, but the younger generation took this information as poppycock. Maka had reason to believe otherwise.

"Two souls, the ability to refine a powerful soul and now an ancient martial art. Just what else is this boy hiding?" Maka's thoughts were filled with the enigma that was Takunda Gumbo.

For the next few days the duo kept torturing Musen only to find that the results differed from what they expected. Musen's personality was changing. At first he was a vile, nasty old man who swore at any chance he got. In the end he became something else entirely.

At the moment, a thumb like figure was floating in front of Taku, radiating an aura of righteousness. "Children like you shouldn't resort to such horrible means. I am disappointed in you. You should be ashamed. However, you have helped by freeing me from that prison, so I see no harm in returning the favour."

Maka was dumbstruck while Taku could not believe what he was seeing. This was absurd. The Musen infront of them looked exactly the same as the one they had seen before, but his aura had changed, as if his soul was possessed by another consciousness.

"Children, no need to fret, tis still I. Nevertheless, I am so ashamed. Oh the sins I have committed. The shame! The shame!" Musen wailed. Maka sat on the floor, her mouth ajar, Taku followed suit. She knew quite well how proud the Infamous outlaw was. He would never say such words, not to mention the aura of righteousness he gave off was blinding.

His soul was now much smaller, but it was giving off a blinding radiance that could put the sun to shame. The beautiful light made Maka want to kneel and confess her sins. She was familiar with such power. This was Rudyi Force. Energy that was the amalgamation of all that was considered good. Only those who had a pure and righteous soul could emit such a power. Yet this same power was now being emitted by one of the most heinous criminals the empire had ever seen. Maka looked at Taku as if a monster had appeared.

There was only one explanation. Taku had refined the evil out of Musen! Thus the remaining soul was incredibly pure. Any excess energy had been vanquished. Maka had never seen such a potent and concentrated portion of Rudyi energy before.

"Taku, how did you do this?" She asked knowing the answer that would come from the boy. There was no explanation, especially from someone who knew next to nothing about souls nor energy.

"Oh great universe, I have seen the error of my ways! Verily I shall change from this moment. Henceforth, I shall no longer be known as Musen, but I shall be known as Nesum!"

From that point Musen...or rather Nesum continued blabbering nonsense about justice, kindness and happiness. At first Taku and Maka were mystified, but after hours of Nesum's preaching Taku finally had enough. Smoke snaked from his body and reeled Nesum into his soul.

Maka questioned, "Are you able to refine him further?"

"Nope, I just got bored of his preaching." She giggled, it sounded heavenly, Taku's eyes refused to deviate from her smile.

"So, should we get going? It shouldn't be too hard for me to bust us out of this place." She stood up as she spoke.

Taku was about to reply, when a voice echoed from across the street. "That won't be necessary."

Taku and Maka looked to the source of the voice. It was a youth with spiky hair. Her eyes were like war itself, filled with bloodlust and the desire to spread misery and suffering.

"Taku ru-" Before she could finish, her words were cut short.

"Silence wench!"

The shout echoed across the entire city. And with it, came an overbearing pressure that made Maka's knees wobble and she fell.

"Do not disturb me while I am talking to my brother."

As soon as she was done, a ring of fire that was meters high suddenly covered the entire city. The flames had a black-purple outline. They were extremely hot but an eerie chill accompanied the heat.

As soon as Taku heard the word brother, memories flooded into his mind. As if a dam had shattered, knowledge came in a torrent.

"It's, it's you!"

Boiling rage overtook Taku's body as his eyes started turning blood red. Smoke started eacaping his body, engulfing him as it quivered.

It didn't take Maka long to figure out what was happening. Taku was going berserk!