NFG Season Two - Interview With An Irishman

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Description: As Hawksley enjoys his tour of Europe, settled in Amsterdam, he is accosted by the furious karateka Xander De Vries. Bitterballs are consumed, interviews are conducted.

After a chaotic Christmas with family and friends in Cork and a boozy and at times awkward New Year in the countryside of The Cotswolds, Hawksley Moore set off for a break with one of his best friends, Jimmy. Jimmy has been as thick as thieves with Hawksley since their first day at school in 2007 and the two have managed to keep their bond strong, including during the last year when Hawksley has mostly been out of the country on New Fighting Generation duty.

The pair of Irish fellas have already walked La Ramblas in Barcelona and climbed the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Now they've made their way to Amsterdam to sample its special brand of excitement. They arrived in the city earlier this afternoon and have spent the evening hitting as many bars as they could handle, which in both their cases is a considerable amount. Jimmy departed around an hour ago, heading home with a local lass to her apartment. Ever the dedicated drinker, Hawksley has decided to stay out and about, settling himself in a bar named Door74 in the Reguliersdwarsstraat area. He's currently sampling something called 'The Writer's Breakfast' despite it being totally the wrong time of day. There's not an egg or slice of bacon in sight though. It's actually a potent mix of Writer's Tears Irish whiskey, cold brew coffee, ginger, cinnamon and apple syrup, combined with absinth and raspberry foam.

Unbeknown to the Irishman, he's been recognised by a Dutch fighting fan, who has reported his whereabouts on their fighting blog. They're currently stealthily trying to snap pictures of him from their seat on a stool at the bar, whilst Hawksley lounges in one of the bar's leather booths.

Pedal Pedal Pedal.

Pedal Pedal Pedal.

Pedal Pedal Pedal.

The short round teenager pumps his legs in a deliberate, controlled rhythm. The swarthy-skinned youth had his eyes locked forward, a blue fisherman's cap hung right above his eyes. A wool jacket over his body. A satchel on his back. And while one hand was clenched on the handle of the shiny red bicycle, the other was firmly held out the detailed directions from his hostel to the Door74. He was very far from Reguliersdwarsstraat. It would be easy to take a bus or a train.

But there was thrill and purpose in the hard way.

As he reaches the exterior of the bar, he neatly dismounts from his bicycle. Not a moment to spare. He couldn't waste any time. Putting away the directions in the satchel, he parks the bike on a rack. Then, from his satchel, he retrieves a notebook, three pencils, a folder, an old-fashioned camera, an old fashioned tape recorder, and two bicycle locks. Arranging each of the items carefully on top of the satchel, he prepares the bike locks, and secures his bicycle in place. Then, returning to his items, he organizes them carefully, placing the pencils in the pockets of his jacket, hangs the camera around his neck, and finally holds the notebook, folder, and tape recorder in the crook of his arm. Replacing his satchel back on his, well, back, he gives a confident smirk as he raises his nose in the air. Rising up, he immediately enters the bar.

"I am looking for Hawksley Moore." The youth declares clearly as he enters the bar. "According to 'Neo Geographic Fighting Kings,' using photographic evidence, he is here, or was here, on holiday. I must speak with him on N F G, as an upcoming new fighter." He strides into the center of the bar, looking across with focused, blue eyes. He locks on to Hawksley. "You." He states, pointing at the Irishman, and then returns it, and bows. "I am Xander De Vries. I apologize for interrupting your holiday, but this is very important. When you are ready, let us sit. We will discuss the NFG." He stands fast, body erect. And his body tenses, before relaxing a moment as he shakes his head.

"If time permits, we will also spar."

At the sound of his name, Hawksley lifts up his dark head and looks directly at the blond boy. "Well hello to you too, fella" he says, a slow smile appearing on his face. "It's good to meet you, Xander but why don't you calm the feck down and I'll fetch you a drink?"

He gestures to the brown leather banquette opposite him and then waves over the waitress. "The drinking age is eighteen here, yeah? Same as us I reckon. You might have to have a mocktail or a pop or something" he suggests to his companion.

Smiling at the server, Hawksley tells her "Stick whatever the lad wants on my bill. The two of us have some talking to do and he's probably gonna get thirsty."

He sits back in his seat and studies Xander. "So what do you wanna know about the en eff gee then? I take it you're a fan? As for the sparring, let's see what you have to say first and then I might humour you. I've only had one brawl so far this year, so it would be good to get the blood pumping again."

Xander brushes off the calm comment.

Xander was of course calm, at least by his standards. He would need to see how things went forward if he needed to be agitated. As he is invited, and included on the bill, he quickly takes his seat next to Hawksley. "I will have warm water." Xander states firmly to the bartender, before shifting his attention back to Hawksley. He pulls out his folder, and places it on the counter. The first is a weathered pamphlet. He places it on the table. "I have been following the NFG since it began. 'The New Fighting Generation program (or NFG) promises to follow these freshest of prospects from their debut in the International Fighting Festival's New Fighting Generation tournament through roughly six months of training and sponsored events to be broadcast worldwide, culminating in a final championship that promises to show the fruits of the candidates' labour.'" He reads off the pamphlet, before pulling out the next form. It's a scrapbook entry, following the different fighters with different news and articles. "I have been researching the competition, and following it. I was interested in participating when I learned about it. Until now, I have chosen to complete my studies. My sensei, Kojima Sengan, is no longer teaching at my academy, and I do not consider it a valuable use of my time to continue learning there." He brings out yet another paper from the folder. It would be one familiar to Hawksley:

An Acceptance Letter From the NFG.

"As I am now fully registered with the NFG, I want to begin my journey as the forward guard of this generations fighters. You were an active participant in the previous season of the NFG. A boxer. I do not know boxing, but you demonstrated it well. Rival to that unruly Coco too. According to the documentation of this season, former participants can elect to mentor the next generation." He takes a moment as the glass of water is placed on the counter. He takes a long, quick drink, practically engulfing the whole cup before the bartender can leave. Placing it down, he wipes his lips, and looks to the bartender. "Another water. Also. Bitterballen. Three Servings." He states firmly, holding up three fingers, before he turns his attention back to Hawksley. "I won't waste any more of your time. Are you still participating in the NFG, as a mentor? And if you are-" Xander places the tape recorder on the counter, to make his point.

"And would you be interested in conducting an interview?"

"No charge for warm water" the waitress informs the Irishman before going to get the drink for Xander.

Hawksley watches as the Dutch boy starts setting up his supplies on the surface and stays silent until he's finished reading from the pamphlet and said the rest of his piece. "Well let me start by congratulating you, fella" he says warmly, offering a rough hand for Xander to shake. "Joining the New Fighting Generation was the best decision of my life, so I don't think you'll regret it, so you won't."

He takes a long drink from his cocktail, savouring the strangeness of the combination. "Thanks for the compliment about my fighting. What I lack in finesse I make up for in fire. Literally."

There's a laugh as he continues on with the conversation. "Coco as my rival? I suppose she is some of the time. We're on speaking terms right now though."

He pulls out his phone from the pocket of his leather jacket and opens up the email app, selecting an email in his saved folder and turning the screen to show Xander an invitation from the NFG. "They got in touch to ask me back and I didn't hesitate. I was wondering what the feck I was gonna do next and this is just beautiful. I'm not sure how I'll do as a mentor though. It's not really a position I'm used to but I'll give it a good go."

His dark eyes settle on the tape recorder and he gives a nod in agreement. "I'm grand to do an interview but I have been on the booze a bit." Despite this claim, there doesn't seem to be any slurring to the Cork cruiserweight's speech.

"Let me start by asking you something though. What the feck is Bitterballen?"

"Speaking terms. Hm."

Xander will need to make a note of that. Of course at the mention of the fire, he can't help but smirk eagerly. "The fire is very good, very Spirit of the Phoenix." Xander adds. Though when he agrees, Xander practically lights up, surging with energy as he excitedly prepares the tape recorder. Of course, there was a tape in there. It was a pre-preparation he made sure of. After inspecting it to ensure nothing was damaged in transit, the teenager turns it on. The teenager was opening his notebook, as Hawksley brings out the first question. Immediately, Xander repeats it out flabbergasted.

"What in the fuck is a Bitterballen?"

Xander looks at his notebook, and then back at Hawksley. It must have been one of those lateral thinking questions. Xander had most of his answers already memorized, but this one was not at all what he had predicted. Xander pauses, pondering how to respond more than repeating the question. Pulling a pencil from his coat, he begins to write as he answers. "They are breaded, fried balls of meat stew. They are sometimes served with, ah, bittergarnituur. I do not know many bar foods, but the name is tied to the bittergarnituur, it's-" And three, reasonably wide bowls are brought out. Each are shallowly filled with of golf ball sized fried breaded things, with a smaller bowl of a mustard with them.

"Ah! They are here."

Xander immediately begins fishing out a ball, and eats it. As the water comes, he takes a sip, washing it down. "I cannot vouch for the quality of the bittergarnituur, but I recommend if you are enjoying a true Dutch experience, you should ask for one of them. It is what is usually served with them at bars." A very academic answer. "That is the first question. Please, ask your next question. If you do not have any more, I have taken the initiative of preparing my own selection of questions. Such as 'Why did you join the NFG' or 'Which of the other fighters in the New Fighting Generation would you see as a natural ally, and why.' Once you are satisficed with my answers, I will proceed to ask my questions, and we will spar." Xander puts the pencil with his notebook, as he hastily begins eating more of the Bitterballens, working through the first bin of them.

"Please help yourself." Xander adds finally, struggling to swallow a mouthful of them.

"Maybe don't talk too much about phoenixes in the New Fighting Generation" Hawksley grimaces, his mind drifting to Junko. "There were some unfortunate incidents in the first season but then you probably already know that if you're a fan."

He looks at the breaded balls when they arrive with interest. He's not eaten since the plane and his stomach starts to grumble as if only now reminded that food exists. "I'll have some of that bittergarnituur then" he says, horribly mangling the pronunciation. The bartender seems to get the gist though, clearly used to inebriated tourists. "We can share everything if you like" he suggests to Xander. "I'm happy to take your lead."

The Irish fella is a little surprised when he's invited to ask more questions. When approached about an interview, he'd been expecting to be the interviewee rather than the interviewer. "Oh right, let's see then" he ponders, scratching the back of his neck. "What's the best brawl you've ever been in and who was it with?"

Xander was happy to take Hawksley's lead.

As he sends the next question, Xander nods firmly. "That is a very good question." Xander states, wiping his fingers with a napkin. When it is clean, he prepares the notepad and pencil, and begins to write as he responds. "In many forms of karate, you do not participate in brawls. Every spar and fight is structured strictly, where every action and reaction is conducted with a pageantry of a play at a theater. You drill. You train. And you fight. My sensei, Kojima Sengan, believed that in order to actualize your training, you must train against non-karate opponents. Otherwise, you only know to defend against karate, not a true fight. So he would take us to the streets of Utrecht. ANd there?" A light flickers in Xander's blue eyes, as he seems to be almost staring into another world, as a smile spreads across his lips. He stops writing.

"We would find brawls."

"The best brawl, I don't even remember her name. It was a pity, but I remember the mask, and the smell." He places the notepad on the counter with the pencil. "She was a thief, and she dressed like a ninja. She would steal people's food deliveries, and I had the privilege of catching her in the act. She broke every rule in self defense. She cheated, using disgusting smoke bombs and threw things in my eyes. My karate was nearly useless. But not completely. I hit her, I kicked her so strongly, then she got angry at me." Xander quickly unfastens his coat. Underneath, was a karate gi, ivory white. He pulls away the edge of it, unwrapping it a bit, to his chest underneath. And there, neatly on the top of his chest, was a unmistakable narrow scar. "She stabbed me with a long knife, down and in, right into my lung. I was severely injured, more injured than I had ever been before in my life. I have never been so close to death before in a fight, and as I laid on the cobblestone streets of Utrecht, she stole my wallet, and took my snacks. And she ate them right in front of me."

" It was so cruel and sadistic! "

Xander was practically beaming with pride, as he closes his gi, and begins to fasten up his coat again. "When my sensei found me, that is when she ran off. He got me to a private doctor, and I was back in classes the next morning. That night, I truly felt the spirit of the Phoenix in me, and I understood it. That no matter how terrible things are, that you take the fear and despair and shame, and use it as cordwood for your own rebirth." A selection of five, small glasses of very black and aromatic smelling liqueurs are brought to the table before Hawksley. Xander nods at them, as he returns back to the bitterballs with gusto. "I am very curious about your favorite brawl, but I will refrain from asking until it is my turn. Please, I enjoy your questions, they are so real and exciting." Xander's eyes were still gleaming, as he glows at the Irishman as he collects his notepad and pencil again.

"I feel like a real NFG fighter now!"

Hawksley listens to Xander's story with an animated expression. As the boy finishes his tale of the brawl, the boxer shakes his head. "Ah, that's a grand story, so it is. A ninja girl you say? I've fought a ninja fella by the name of Kenzo but not a female one."

He takes a sip of the black liquid, not sure what to make of it. It's booze though, so it soon goes down the hatch. Taking a bite of the bitterballen, he nods his head in appreciation. "Tasty" is his verdict.

"You're obviously a disciplined lad, Xander with all that training and such but I can tell by the look on your face when you were answering my question that you like the thrill of the fight too. You've got your battle scar and were even willing to push yourself to near death. That tells me we've got more in common than I would have expected. I've got to say though, it was a bit fecking low for the lass to steal your snacks. Talk about adding insult to injury."

He slaps Xander on the back and reaches for another one of the drinks. "I've decided I like you. Now next I wanna know what matters to you most in the whole world and the reason why."

"I enjoy that you like me, and it is encouraging."

Xander tenses up a bit with the whole reference to Kenzo. "Yes. And that Wicked Raizo that destroyed all that valuable property. It was very low too. I have a very low opinion of female ninjas. But not of women in general!" Xander is quick to add at the end. He quickly looks around the bar, and decides to focus on the question after taking another deliberate drink of water. Returning to his notepad, he prepares himself from the next question.

What matters the most.

At one point, he would have said his mother. Of course, he was grown up, practically. He didn't have to choose his mother. In fact, he worked very hard not to think about her, especially with his karate-focused lifestyle. Which is what he focuses on. "To understand that answer, I will explain my belt. I have a brown belt, with a black stripe in it. I have reached 1st Kyu, the highest point before the mastery of karate. The mastery of karate is represented by the black belt. The black stripe in my belt, I will refrain from showing I have opened my coat enough already, represents that I am on my journey to the mastery of karate.

"It isn't achieving the black belt, and mastery."

"What is the most important to me is achieving that to the strict standards of my sensei. This is difficult, as no one can now find Kojima Sengan. And the standards now offered by my school exclude his spirit, and his teachings. I wish to find my sensei, but I may never find him. So what's most important to me that I actualize his strict teachings and beliefs, and am able to truly achieve the mastery that he would be most proud of. And from there, as expected from any master, to share in that mastery with everyone able and willing to receive it." Xander pauses a moment, letting it sink in. A moment that he uses to finish up a plate of the bitterballs before adding in the end.

"So yes, in summary, I want to master my teacher's style of karate and then share it with the world."

"Raizo? Oh you mean Raiza, George's daughter? She seems a sweet enough girl." Hawksley defends. "Of course, my opinion may be coloured by the fact her dad gave me a sweet race red Mustang to drive in Sunshine City."

"I suppose since the only female ninja you've met left you with a you a scar and stole your snacks, you're bound to not be a fan. I reckon there's probably some out there who are grand though."

He grins as Xander mentions that he doesn't have a low opinion of women in general. "Glad to hear it, fella. What kind of women do you like then? That's my next question, after you've finished answering my second."

He then lets Xander do just that, nodding to show he's paying attention but waiting till the blond boy is finished to speak. "That's quite the mission you've got. I can tell you take all this a lot more seriously than me. If you're wanting to show off your mastery and share it with others then you're definitely gonna be in the right place for it. I'm sure you'll do your sensei proud. When you say nobody can find him though, do you mean he's actually missing? You don't think he's been hurt or anything do you?"

The Cork lad looks concerned at this prospect, reaching for another bitterballen and chewing it thoughfully.

"No, Raizo."

Xander is quick to correct. The rest of the words are a blur as he focuses on the mistake. There was a correct response to his statement, and it was not correcting him. "Raizo is the ninja girl with the thunder and the lightning." He continues, as he puts down the notebook. He pulls out the scrapbook page. "I have written down several notes on her, and I am sure I wouldn't make such a minor mistake such as-" He pauses, as his eyes dance over the paper. He returns it back into place. He picks up his notebook, and erases something.



"I apologize, I have made a mistake in how I have written and read my notes." He continue, as he corrects his own notes. "Now, your question. Glad to hear it. Fellow. What kind of women do I like. That is your next-" Xander's eyes go wide, as his entire body goes straight. He looks across the bar, his back rigid. Any introspections that would take place at this moment is immediately suppressed. "W-women? I don't have time for dating or girls, or, or distractions like that. Whenever I feel a stirring in my heart, or something, that's an opportunity to train my body with karate instead. Karate is a much more faithful and reliable girlfriend, one that always gives back what you put into it, where it smiles warmly up at you with encouragement at your own success!" Xander, of course, explained that at twice the speed of his previous answers. He slaps a hand on the bar. "And before you ask, no, I definitely do not favor ninja girls, especially those who bully me. Bullying is an especially unattractive feature in girls, especially physical bullying on top of emotional and mental abuse. I do not take a sensual thrill of girls being forceful against me and hurting me!" Xander takes a deep breath, and exhales. "Sorry, I am, thinking of things in order, and structure. And girls can be very disruptive to that, in my experience." He squeezes his hands together. "As for my sensei, I- do not need to dwell on the details of his well being." He states rather cooly. "I should focus more on executing his karate properly, than worry about things I cannot control. If he is hurt, then the spirit of the phoenix will revive him. If he sees me achieve mastery of his art, or if anybody who knows him sees it, then they will come and approach. ANd then." He breathes hard. "Then I will be able to control it, and respond to it." As he finishes, he actually smiles, bouncing in his seat a bit. "Those were very difficult ones! You are a brawler in words as much as fists Hawksley! You may leave bruises on my heart and ego, but it only becomes my strength, not my weakness." He writes down something extra in his notebook.

"Please, please, give me another one!"

Hawksley shrugs off the mistake. "It's not a big deal, fella. I feck things up plenty. It's the intent that matters and you didn't mean to get her name wrong."

He takes one more of the drinks, leaving the remaining two for Xander, just in case. This time he puts the food in his mouth at the same time to see how they blend together. The look on his face suggests it isn't the best combination he's sampled but he swallows it all nonetheless.

"So you just ignore your desires then?" the Irishman checks, raising his thick dark eyebrows. "I mean fair play to you if you wanna focus on your fighting but women and girls are fun too."

He casts his mind back to the previous season of the New Fighting Generation and the drama he had around some of the female fighters. Did it affect his performance at all? Feck knows, but he wouldn't change anything that happened, other than the bit where Coco got her face burned and that was hardly Hawksley's fault.

"Just a word of warning though, karate probably won't keep your bed warm for you on a night. I suppose there's always a hot water bottle or electric blanket though" he chuckles.

He can tell that Xander is reluctant to talk about his sensei. It's obviously a sensitive topic, so the brawler is happy to drop it. At the Dutch man's praise he looks faintly amused. "Thanks, fella. So you want another question do you? Let me see. Alright, I've got one. If our roles were reversed and you were the returning fighter and I were the new prospect, what advice would you give based on your prior knowledge of me?"

Xander still seemed quite flustered about the implications of his desires.

"My bed is quite warm enough at night, especially with my leg exercises!" He is quick to explain, as he shows his powerful thighs under his gi, gesturing at them. "I cannot see how you could get any sleep at night without the proper exercises beforehand, and I do not see how you can get them from women in them to distract you! The only desire I need to have is my karate and my academic achievements! The desire of success is the most fulfilling desire!" Xander seems to insist on that. "I do not ignore my desires. I just make sure my desires are correct and appropriate in the structure that karate has offered me. I have had other desires when I was younger and more ignorant, but I am a better person now through karate." He relaxes for a moment, as he starts erasing something in his notebook. "I do not need to include all that. No one would be interested in such distracting things. Yes, yes, then next question, if our roles are reversed." Xander looks Hawksley in the eye, focusing hard. He looks up and down him. And then, he gives his professional opinion.

"I would recommend you study karate and earn your black belt."

Xander falls quiet after that answer. He did not feel he needs to explain more than that. No, wait. There is something he wanted to add, as it dawns on him. "Kojima Kyokushin-Ryu Karate is not simply a martial art that you study in the absolute perfection of it's form and execution. The real purpose of any karate is self improvement and discipline. If I was your mentor and you were my student, I would ask you to train in karate instead of boxing, so you could better improve yourself and your discipline!" Xander looks aside a bit. "But, that's because I do not know what else to say. You have been very successful with yourself in boxing, and you are very happy. But I know that everyone can benefit more from karate. Like the bitterballs. I only offer what I know." Xander underlines in his notebook.

"That is enough questions from you now. I am ready to ask you questions. My first question is-" Xander squints at his notebook.

"Oh, fie.

Xander gives a terse grimace, as he speaks out loud the next question. "'If our roles were reversed, and you were the returning fighter, and I was the new fighter, what advice would you give based on your prior knowledge of me' Oh fie fie fie. Please one moment, this is not according to my plan at all." He goes through his notebook, and considers the questions. "Ah, you can- please take a moment to prepare, ah ah ah fie I do not want to ask the same question you just asked me I already know the answer." Xander was busy trying to restructure his plan. Swallowing hard, he takes a moment to put his notebook down, and eat more of the bitterballs, and then finish the glass of water. He looks at his notebook one more time.

"Was there any other questions you had, before I resort my questions again?"

"Leg exercises hm? Well I do plenty of those too. I'm no stranger to the gym." Hawksley explains. "Sometimes women can help you to exercise before sleep" he remarks, still seeming amused, though he doesn't spell things out further, not wanting to make the younger male feel uncomfortable.

"You know exactly what you want, fella. I'll give you that. You've got drive, discipline and determination. I reckon you're gonna go far this season."

He watches as Xander crosses things out in his notebook and then listens to his response. "Being a black belt would be pretty badass" Hawksley admits. "I'm not against it. I don't think I'd wanna give up boxing altogether but then I'm not strictly just a boxer anyway. That bit of my fighting comes from my da like, but I've learned other stuff myself and some things, like my fire are just within me."

He prepares himself to answer Xander's first question but then the boy backs down. "I can answer the same question if you'd like but if you're grand for guessing my answer then I will ask you one more. "If you could have the chance to fight any of the competitors in the first season, who would you choose and why?"

The fighting blogger who led Xander Hawksley's way has been clicking away on her phone, whilst the two men have been chatting. Finally satisfied they've got enough material for their next post, she slips out of the bar with a smug smile on her face.

"Yes, well, maybe if she knows karate too."

It was the last point Xander wanted to make on the clearly uncomfortable subject. He was already very flustered on the entire thing. He didn't even notice the blogger, because after all, his entire plan didn't include a blogger spying on the exchange. "If I had to fight any of the other competitors. Yes. That was a question that was on the list of questions." Xander takes a deep breath, and exhales. He stares intensely into space. And then, he begins to speak. "Of the competition, I was hoping most of all of a very conventional martial arts technique to test myself against. For example, I am curious how the fundamentals of karate handle against your boxing technique, or how a muay thai block would be different against a forward hand strike than compared to karate. Or even how the principles of judo can hold up to karate, which as you can imagine, has been a very vigorous and exciting conversation topic at my academy. But of the competition, well, I do not want to give the impression that I am making judgements on them. The only discrimination in karate is on the principles and values, which is inclusive to all kinds of people of every class, creed, and color." And then, Xander looks to the tape recorder, and leans over to Hawksley, whispering.

"But this next group of fighters look like complete screwballs."

"It is like a zoo! You have a single mother with a baby and is a bird?! A catgirl? Scorpion fighters? And what is a level 1 Arcane Fighter supposed to mean? Is it someone pretending to be a dragon? And what more, you have swordspeoples who fight with weapons, one of them even using a sword of bologna! Am I to expect to be hit with a stick of sausage? And most absurd of all, you have someone from Texas! Am I expected to be fighting a showup yeehaw cowgirl? And not a single martial art I recognize amongst them. I would not say I am looking forward to fighting them, but rather, I embrace the spirit of the phoenix to invigorate myself in the hardship I am to expect for my mental health and wellbeing as I face them. But of them, well. I think I would like to fight against Henry the most. I have a feeling that he would be the most open in learning karate, and at least, I would not have to worry about any strange and exotic retorts, like a backflip into a 'howdy' or a 'giddity up.' Xander shudders, as he leans back. He raises his voice. "But yes, I would most like to look forward to fighting Henry. It is good to be facing a young man my age, and he is from a school in Southtown! My sensei learned in Gedo High, so I am very curious about how the schools in Southtown are if they are all like Gedo High!"

Xander takes a napkin, and wipes his brow.

Looking down at the notebook, he looks back up to Hawksley, and down. "Hawksley, I need to apologize. I had hoped we would have had an exchange of questions, and then, of fists, but I need to recompose myself on these questions to ask you. I had a plan, and while your questions were perfect, I am afraid that I have spoiled my own plan by not considering that you might very well ask the questions I had intended to ask. As you are participating in the NFG as a mentor, I would like to request a proper, second meeting with you, so we may fight in a secure, safe location, in which I can better ask my questions without any concerns." Xander takes a deep breath, and exhales again.

"I understand if I have disappointed you, but I will endure the hardships to better strengthen myself."

Hawksley hadn't quite got the answer to the question he asked but it's an intriguing one anyway. "So someone like me or Coco Pops then" he surmises.

"As for the new group, you're the only one I know anything about and we've only just met. A bird, a catgirl, a scorpion and a dragon you say? The swords people we're a bit more used to with Ichika and Buford but I never actually got to fight either of them. Well, unless you count the spar at The Thunderdome, where Chevy and I took on Ichika and Buck but we won't go into that."

He rests his hands on the surface in front of them, the knuckles on his right hand bearing some marks. "You look after yourself, fella and you'll be grand. The best advice I can give you is to always be true to who you are. There'll be all kinds of people commenting on you and having an opinion on what you do and how you do it once you're in the spotlight, but feck them all. You've clearly got your head on your shoulders, so you hold it high."

He nods to affirm his words and then a warm smile appears on his face at the mention of Southtown. "I had myself some fun there" he reminisces. "That was the start of it all, where the journey began. They don't seem to have decided where it will all kick off this year yet. They're keeping us in suspense it seems."

As Xander looks back up at him, Hawksley meets his blue eyes with his own dark brown ones. "You haven't disappointed me at all and of course we can meet again" he responds amiably. "We can talk and we can scrap. I'll look forward to it."

He didn't know the new ones yet?

It didn't matter, ultimately. Xander felt that he made his point. Hawksley would talk to Coco, and others, and word would get around. That this karate kid was on the prowl. Asking questions. Showing off. And soon, he would begin to conduct his karate in perfect form. Hawksley's words of encouragement were only validating what he had already felt. That he really had potential, that he really was meant to fight. ANd he would prove his karate to the world. Xander felt resolved in his next steps. If his mentors would not understand them, then he would be required to understand them. He had to keep pushing the initative.

But as of now, he had pushed himself too far.

Sometimes, the spirit demanded you go further than you should. Sometimes, you had to swallow yourself, and surrender. Xander was completely out of himself, his interview plan in tatters. So. He would try again another time. Finishing the second plate of the bitterballs, he wipes himself clean with the napkin. "People are free to comment on me however they like. But if they are incorrect, I will correct them. I will enjoy how my rivals will try and tear me down. It is how the spirit of the phoenix is tested." Xander stops the recording, and begins to clean up. "My next destination will be Metro City. That is where the finals took place, and I intend to find other former contenders to test them as well. The NFG demands activity from not only the new contenders like myself, but the old guard. And I must take that initiative." How Xander was going to get to Metro City. Well. The plan was all in the invitation. He was just forcing the time table a little faster than expected. Hopefully, nobody would ask -too- many questions. Having secured all his belongings neat and tidy, the teenager stands up. Xander gives a bow. "Next time, Hawksley. Thank you very much for your time." Stowing away in his satchel, he heads out to the bar. It was going to be a long bike ride back to the hostel.

He would enjoy the challenge.

Log created on 10:20:14 01/17/2024 by Xander, and last modified on 10:09:16 01/19/2024.