Lilly spent a little time petting the stallion before letting it back into her soul realm and turning back to Joshua with a big bright smile. "So how many horses do you plan to tame this time? You already have well over a hundred dogs." Joshua said as he chuckled at the pouting look she gave him for his comments.
"Well of course I plan on taming well over a hundred if I can. They can be very useful in the future. They could help our guild members' move throughout the territory without wasting all of their energy. Although they won't be able to fight alongside them since they aren't partners, but they can at least help them get from place to place." She said with a proud smile as if she had just explained everything he needed to know.
"So what? They're basically mounts then?" Joshua said with a chuckle but he knew that they would be extremely useful. After the animals are put into the soul realm of the stable they can be used anywhere in Joshua's territory and at the moment Joshua had three territories technically, but only two that were nearby. The ones that mattered were the territory of James Town which was currently being built and the territory of the insect forest.
The reason he was technically the owner of the insect forest was because of the fact that he was the first one to clear the area. It wasn't the same as owning a personal territory like James Town since the territory was public use and there was nothing he could do about that even if he wanted to. Even so there were two major perks to clearing a dungeon in this regard (World Dungeon not System Dungeon), the first being the fact that members of Joshua's future guild would always be able to get a bonus amount of experience when exploring those territories. Secondly, any creatures from the stables could be used in those territories without being an actual partner to one of the members.
There were two major differences between a partnered beast and a stable borrowed one. A partnered beast could go anywhere with you no matter the location or whether you owned the territory there. A stable beast could only go within range of your territory and didn't fight alongside you. Horses could carry stuff for you and give you a ride, but they wouldn't fight. The only exception for this was Lilly who could connect them to her own soul realm and have them fight as long as she had space available to have them out with her other pets. The second major difference was of course the fact that stable beast grew stronger with the territory not with the person they travel with.
In the end they would be extremely useful, but a partnered beast would always be the better option. Joshua didn't plan on partnering with just any beast though so he kept that at the back of his mind until he actually reached the point where he could try to tame a partner in the future. "Well then let's go find some other herds because after today we are going to find that dungeon and clear it. We won't be stopping for every single herd we see at that point." Joshua said getting an excited nod from Lilly. She agreed with his terms and immediately started heading off so that they could find as many horses as possible. If there was one thing Lilly knew how to do it was getting Joshua to go along with her little ideas. It was mainly due to the fact that it was good for their future guild in the end, but at the same time her puppy eyes had a lot to do with it as well.
Joshua started to use his aura to try to sense where other herds of horses were. He knew that they tended to spread out since the prairie was so large and they didn't want to encroach on each other's territories. The only horses that didn't seem to follow this rule were the young stallions that wondered the prairie alone. Those were the first things that Joshua noticed nearby since the herds tended to keep a far greater distance between each other. "So do you want to go after the solo stallions first or try to find another large herd?" Joshua asked Lilly as they were moving along.
"We should go for herds first to get as many horses as we can then we can get some individual stallions afterwards to have more male horses in case we plan on breeding them in the future to grow the population." Lilly said with a thinking tilt of her head. Joshua nodded along and decided to use his aura to try to find the next large group of horses. It didn't take him all that long although they were a large distance away from their current location. Joshua picked up the pace as he made a trail through the grass with Lilly following close behind. They ignored any of the stallions they saw roaming in the distance as they approached the next herd as quickly as possible.
One thing Joshua noticed while moving through the prairie as they searched for another herd was the fact that occasionally they'd find these enormous holes in the ground. They weren't everywhere, but after inspecting it for a few minutes he could understand why that was the case. The grass in the area would quickly overgrow the hole causing it to close up once again as the dirt below ground shifted back into place. Whatever was making the holes was giving them enough structure to stay in place for a long period of time while the prairie itself was fixing whatever damage the creatures caused at an extreme rate. Joshua figured whatever was creating the holes was probably what was forcing the horses to group up so effectively in the first place. He put that thought to the back of his mind before continuing to look for another herd.
When they came within sight of the next herd Joshua immediately picked out the stallion of the pack and used observe on it. He found that it was a three star horse, but was only level forty-seven which proved it was not as experienced as the stallion of the last herd. That became obvious as the herd was smaller than the last one with only about a dozen horses around. Apparently some stallions decided to go with smaller packs to defend since they weren't as strong, but that would also put them in a problematic position. If a stronger stallion came along and challenged it then it would still lose everything even if it was a smaller herd that didn't attract as much attention it could still be challenged by similar level stallions that have the same idea. He also noticed that most of the female horses seemed younger as well which meant they probably weren't as knowledgeable in picking which stallion to follow, but in the end they'd all end up tamed by Lilly so it didn't matter as much.
Joshua then made his presence known and followed the same strategy as before as he charged over towards the stallion challenging it. This time around the fight wasn't nearly as difficult since Joshua was able to stop the horses charge without moving at all. He then slammed it down and pinned it for Lilly to tame and they went through the same process as before taming the entire herd. They spent all of the morning taming horses in a similar manner until Lilly had tamed well over a hundred horses and it was time to go hunt down a few stallions that were on their own to even out the numbers a little bit. Joshua didn't expect them to get one stallion for every female horse, but he did expect there to be at least a ten to one ration so that they could split them into even groups in the stables. Strength didn't mean as much there since they'd all be gaining levels at the same pace at that point. The only difference would be experience, but in the end they'd mostly be used for mounts unless someone in their guild in the future planned on –partnering with one of them. It didn't seem too farfetched since they could have a soul beast related to horses which would make a lot of sense.
It didn't take them all that long to find a nearby roaming stallion and he could instantly tell why it was still stuck roaming instead of at the head of a herd. It only had two stars and was level forty six which meant it was probably a young male horse that had recently just left its herd in search of creating its own. Joshua had no trouble taking it down since it was arrogant and charged over towards him the moment it saw him. That was a foolish choice as Joshua just side stepped its charge and swept its legs out from under it. Then he pinned it down while letting Lilly tame it. At first they had no trouble hunting down a few male horses in the same fashion, but soon Joshua could sense a different presence chasing after a single horse.
The presence was nearby just over a hill so he rushed forward not minding making too much noise since he was certain neither creature cared about his approach. The horse was too busy running for its life while whatever the other thing was couldn't care less about Joshua and Lilly coming up the hill. When they got to the top of the hill they saw a sight that both sent confusion through them and a sense of disbelief. They expected whatever was going to be hunting down the horses in the prairie would be something that was known for attacking herds of animals.
It could have been a wolf of some type since the dog forest would be nearby and that would make some sense in the current situation. It could have been a large feral cat of some kind like a tiger or cougar or something that was known to hunt by chasing its prey down, but he highly doubted the horses with their speed would have too much trouble outrunning any cat outside of a cheetah. Then he started to think along the lines of coyotes or bears or anything that would either be able to take down a horse on its own or in a large pack of some kind, but none of those thoughts came close to what they were seeing in front of them.
The creature that was currently chasing after the horse was a good two times the size of the horse which was surprising since the horse was fairly large in its own right even if it wasn't the largest stallion he had seen in the prairie so far. What stood out about the creature was the fact that it didn't chase after the horse by running through the grass like most land creatures would do, but instead it dug through the ground and occasionally leaped out putting its whole body within view before diving back down into the ground once again. It was like watching a shark surging through the water, but instead of water it was making a path through the dirt. Everywhere it went you could see the ground and grass raise up a bit as it chased the horse. Whenever it leaped out of the ground it would leave a large hole behind before creating another as it plunged right back in.
From what Joshua could see of it from the large distance it looked somewhat like a giant over grown fur ball with a huge mouth filled with teeth. Outside of that he couldn't get much of a look at the creature as it kept diving back into the ground. Luckily the horse seemed to be keeping ahead of it, but the thing was clearly gaining on it since it didn't have to run up and down hills, but just dug its way straight through them. Within a few minutes it would catch the horse and Joshua knew that wouldn't be a very pretty sight. "Get on Cinder and rush towards the horse to help it out and tame it. I'll go stop that creature before it becomes a problem." Joshua said getting a nod from Lilly before he blinked forward as far as possible and used aura blast from his feet to surge towards the large creature. When he got close enough he could finally see what exactly it was and he couldn't believe it.