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59 Completion

 Kufara Gumbo, the diamond of the empire they called her. The royal family bore many children but none could hold a candle to the young mistress. The reason being, she was a gold level talent.

To the Gutu, strength was everything, strength was determined by talent, thus talent was everything. It was ranked according to colour. Ranging from red being the lowest to gold being the highest. Each level represented talent that was present in every set number of people.

Starting from the bottom, red was the lowest, one in every ten people being red. Followed by yellow, which was one in one hundred, then blue and so on, covering green, purple, black, white, silver and finally, gold in that order. Gold being one in a billion. Starting from ten at the bottom you would multiply that by ten to get the next highest talent and so on repeating the process to figure the next talent level.

There hadn't been a gold level talent among royalty for generations, thus Kufara's position as the next ruler of the Gutu was set in stone. Usually, the emperor chose the ruler, be it male or a female. This time the he had no choice. Had he not appointed her, he would have been branded as the greatest fool in history.

As Kufara Gumbo grew up, her violent and cruel nature preceded her. By the age of six, her being drenched in blood became common place, by ten, she had already taken thousands of lives. Her cruelty and vicious personality pleased the current emperor, further cementing her position. She would be as strong as him within a decade. There was only one thing blocking her path to ascension, and it was now upon her in the form of Takunda Gumbo, her younger brother.

After months of grueling research and torture she finally discovered his position, only to learn that it was countless miles away.

She came up with the means to capture him with the use of a powerful spell. It required her to create a living, breathing avatar of herself. In order to do so Kufara had to sacrifice thousands. Thousands of lives that didn't matter to her one bit. The avatar contained a portion of her own power and was now facing Taku and Maka, as well as a suicide squad of hunters that was on their way to capture him. She needed to buy time. Her orders were to bring him in alive.

...

Hidden within Taku were memories that his mind had been stowing away for years, seeing Kufa finally brought them to surface. His vision began to blur as rage took over every inch of his body. Maka lept backwards, Taku wasn't a threat but something felt off. His current form was different than before but she couldn't quite place what about it strayed from the norm.

"Brother, did you know that I've dreamt of this very moment for so long? The moment I would find you at last!" The princess trembled. "Oh, the sheer ecstasy of it makes me tingle!" Kufa bit her lip so hard that it bled, she quickly licked her lips and giggled in delight.

"This girl is nuts!" Maka said to herself as she subconsciously backed away. She was well aware of the Princess's exploits. Having witnessed them a few times at events held in the capital. Not only that but Saru had warned her multiple times to keep a good distance. Maka was brave, some might even say fearless, but none of it applied when it came to the royal clans. Each of which could exert a pressure that weakened a Gutu. That's why fighting against royalty was extremely rare, practically non-existent. No matter what, Maka couldn't muster the courage to do anything, that included warning Taku. Kufa's earlier words still rang in her ears.

A thought suddenly occurred to her. "The princess is calling him brother? That means..."

Kufa began flexing her arms. "Now then brother," She crouched on the ground like a leopard ready to pounce, "Let's see who has the stronger flame."

Boom!

The moment she left the ground a deafening noise rose into the air. The ground beneath her immediately shattered, leaving a crater in her wake. In mid air she covered her fist in concentrated Nether Flames, aiming it straight at Taku. An attack made to destroy. Like her, Taku had a high affinity for the abnormal fire so there was little to worry about in terms of killing him.

Boom!

Boom!

Boom!

Taku flew backwards like a meteor, crashing into the surrounding ruins, turning them to rubble. Kufa stabilized herself and frowned. "I knew he was weak but this? It's pathetic, he better be alive otherwise the old man will kill me."

Dust and debris flew everywhere as Maka covered her eyes. She did not dare activate her zesa lest the princess notice her. Maka was also capable of moving the same way the princess did, for a person at her level it was possible. Only if she went all out without worrying about zesa expenditure. Where as Kufa did it as a casual opening. The sheer gap between them was evident and more than Maka would like to admit.

As far as she knew, Kufa was fourteen, which meant she already reached such a level before adulthood. "So this is a gold level talent. Just how strong would she grow up to be?" Maka was a silver level talent, thus she was considered top notch wherever she went, however, in front of Kufa she felt insignificant.

"Pa!"

With a simple clap, Kufa cleared the dust and debris, clearing the battlefield. Just a clap from the young lady already had such an impact, the very thought sent shivers down Maka's spine. Maka had seen more powerful beings, but the age was what was bothering her. "Taku? Where are you? Still alive I hope? Please say yes, it would be really nice of you not to die so easily."

She started walking, peeking around corners, looking for any sign of life. As far as she was concerned Maka didn't even exist. "Darn." She started scratching her head. "I should work on holding back."

At that very moment, some rubble moved, and out of the ashes, Taku arose. He still wore a faint haze of smoke but his eyes were different. The red had vanished, a sense of calm replacing it. Maka looked and realized a simple fact. The Taku she knew was gone forever.

..

In the hall of Guardians, Kaguvu was staring at the events, his eyes glued in place. "The kid's finally one proper whole instead of a jumbled up mess. The pointless parts are history. Now let's see what he can do."

...

Taku exhaled a gentle breath, his features relaxed. This was no longer the Taku from earth, nor was it the previous one. This was a whole new entity, a fusion of both personalities.

This new 'Taku' started waving his limbs about, as if this was the first time he was moving. Kufa watched his antics, a smirk painted on her face. "Little brother, you're still alive. Excellent! Now I won't have to explain your death to royal father."

"So this is the purification effect of the true Nether Flame. good... very good. Thanks for ridding me of my unnecessary parts sister." Said Taku after some thought. Kufa was well aware of the flames capabilities but she had no idea what Taku was on about.

"What are you talking about?"

Taku replied. "I'm thanking you for finally putting me back together. Nehanda was right after all."

The name Nehanda made Kufara cringe. Mbuya Nehanda, the greatest Muroyi in the history of the Gutu empire. One of the four gold level talents of the nation, and the person Kufa hated the most.

"Brother, why did you mention that old hag? Is she the reason you are still breathing?"

Taku nodded with a smile. He was quite happy. For the first time in a long time he finally had a proper hold on himself, he finally had a sense of who he was and it felt great. All his uncertainties and negative feelings were gone. Taku felt like a new man, and technically he was.

"Sister, no need to get fussy, I am willing to let you take me. On one condition. You let her go." Taku nodded toward Maka. Kufa crossed her arms, a frown dampening her features.

"Why should I? She clearly means something to you. It would only benefit me to take her as well."

Taku sighed and placed his hand on his heart. "If you don't let her go, I will kill myself."

Kufa raised a brow, "You wouldn't dare. I know you better than anyone else brother, you value your life more than anything."

Taku grinned. "True, but we both know that if I die now, I wouldn't necessarily die in the truest sense of the word."

"Hmph! A theory at best!"

"The fact that I'm breathing despite the Soul Deviation was also just a theory, yet here I am, talking to you, face to face."

Kufa frowned and her foot started tapping. Taku did have a point. His death was an outcome no one desired, especially her father. If she failed to handle this properly it could affect her ascension to the throne.

"Very well brother. You have my word. The wench may leave with her life, if you come with me without resistance."

Taku smiled and started walking toward Kufa. "Of course sister. I have placed a flame by my heart. If you go back on your word I die instantly."

Kufa snorted in response. Maka looked on at the situation in dismay. There was nothing she could do. Fight Kufa? Impossible. Taku had given up his life for hers. There was no way she could go against his wishes. She was a trained soldier, thus she knew that leaving alive was the best option, the only option.

The princess created a large fireball and blasted the earth, creating a large hole. Outside was a vast grassland typical of the Gutu climate. They were indeed in a mountain. Kufa created chains from fire and tied up her brother. He winked at Maka before Kufa walked out with him.

Maka felt incredibly powerless. She squeezed her fists until they bled. Such was the situation. Power determined everything. She was just to weak. So all she could do was watch on, as her friend was taken away by a demoness.

...

Within a few hours, Saru arrived atop his bird with Ticha to retrieve Maka. She told the duo what had happened, causing their faces to become ugly. Maka did not need comforting as she had nerves of steel. Only anger and humiliation at having her life bargained for remained in her heart. She knew that the chances of getting Taku back were non-existent, so all she could do was get stronger.

There was once a warrior who attained the same level of strength gold level talents while being born a measly bronze. His name went down in the history of the Gutu as the Supreme Martialist. Maka set her eyes on doing just that, breaking past her limits and getting her revenge on Kufa. Saru was one of the best teachers the Empire had ever seen, and she had unlimited resources. Now she had proper motivation. She was not sure if she could save Taku, but she would be damned if she didn't give that royal b*tch a run for her money.

Saru had no intention of saving Taku for some reason. He was far stronger than Kufa was, not to mention a mere avatar. Yet he refused to save the young man, saying it was not their place to interfere with royal squabbles.

Maka knew that Saru was right. The power of royalty was vast. Maka had a royal clan supporting her, but they wouldn't go out on a limb for Taku just because he and Maka were friends. Thus she could only swallow her humiliation and make an oath to get stronger.

As the trio of Maka, Ticha and Saru traveled back to Mutoko atop Saru's bird, a solemn atmosphere weighed down on them. Yet, if one looked closely, one could notice a slight grin on Saru's face. Ticha did not fail to notice, but pretended as if he saw nothing.

"Maka is now even more motivated, and The Solitary Sword Sovereign owes me a favour. This day couldn't get any better." Honestly speaking, Saru was in a very good mood. Ticha pitied Kufa regarding what she had done. "Kidnapping someone who has been chosen by an Immortal, sigh, when it rains it pours for the Gumbo Family."