NFG Season Two - Eating at Herbs

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Description: Ishida and Rodrigo happen to end up in Herbs Restaurant at the same time. Rodrigo inadvertently introduces Ishida to Spanish cuisine. Then they discuss their first fights as well as other NFG related things.

Ishida is, for the moment, confused.

The Mermaid Cruise Ship offers a number of buffet-style restaurants to service nearly any gastronomic desire. And, as Ishida tends to go through a high-protein diet to maintain his particular fitness goals, he's visited many of them in his short time here.

He stands with an empty tray in his hands, equipped with a bowl and utensils on top. He understood food from from China, Japan, Korea, India, and Thailand. He understood food from America -- there's a lot of crossover there in his home country. But... he seems particularly perplexed by the options presented by the Spanish cuisine station. Spanish wasn't a language he was particularly familiar with -- and the culinary options, even less so.

Given a moment more, he'd be likely to approach the cured ham and churros. But he's still leaving enough of a gap between himself and the station to make it clear: he hasn't the slightest idea about how to proceed at the moment.

Rodrigo, on the other hand, is significantly less confused. With Spanish being his native tongue he has significantly less problem with that section and with his dietary requirements of needing both carbs and protein for his particular fitness goals, he goes right for the paella.

As he scoops the rice dish onto his plate, he makes sure to scoop the slices of chorizo sausage, shrimp, clams, chicken, calamari, and the various vegetables like bell peppers and peas. There are some lemon slices in it as well and considering that he is at sea and wants to avoid scurvy, adds a lemon slice to it as well. It doesn't hurt that he enjoys the additional tang the lemon provides to the savory dish.

It's only until he finishes scooping his plate that he notices that Ishida is there. He nods to the other fighter as he gets another plate specifically for tapas with a couple small slices of toasted bread with garlic cheese and tomatoes as well as a couple empanadas.

"Senor Ishida, correct? That was quite a fight you had there."

Rodrigo is... well. He'd wanted to speak more with him earlier, but with all that had been going on, the stars just hadn't aligned. Now though... well. Rodrigo didn't really make eye contact, so Ishida lowers his gaze to watch the Spaniard fill his plate.

Sometimes, that's all it takes. If you don't know -what- an entree is, sometimes just watching someone else prepare their plate can make its purpose clear. Armed with that knowledge, Ishida feels more confident about stepping forward to prepare his own plate: loading up on a bit less rice and vegetables, a bit more of the meats. No time but the present!

He smiles and bobs his head as his presence is acknowledged.

"Gallardo-san." He nods once more, bowing his shoulders slightly in thanks. "Thank you. It... was a learning experience." He glances over to the tapas, taking mental notes of the items selected.

He takes a moment to recall the footage of Rodrigo's own fight against one of his countrymen. "... And congratulations to you. Your fight was impressive. Both of you moved so... swiftly."

He takes Rodrigo's tapas selections as recommendations, following suit. "... I have never tried this sort of food before, " he explains. "But I have not been disappointed yet, on this ship."

Rodrigo remains standing as he waits for his fellow competitor to fill his plate. Once he has seen that Ishida is finished making his own selections, he tilts his head indicating that Ishida should follow so they can both sit down together.

He walks to one of the restaurant's wicker seats and places his tray on the square table. Only when the other fighter sits down does the swordsman speak.

"I imagine it was a learning experience. What would you say was the biggest lesson you took away from that fight?"

He's totally not trying to pump Ishida for information on a potential opponent. Really he isn't.

"I had to move swiftly. Senor Homura moves so strangely that if I didn't, he would take me apart while I was trying to figure out how to deal with him."

Ishida seems most appreciative of the warm welcome; he makes sure not to keep him waiting any longer. He's quick to sit down as well, setting his utensils out in preparation. Though -- he watches Rodrigo for signs of continuing, rather than being the first to dig in.

"... Hmm. That is an interesting question," he comments. His brow tenses for a moment, as he considers the battle in his mind. It is a few moments before he speaks.

"... I would say that I erred, in attempting to negate his reach advantage by fighting up close. He is quite formidable up close as well."

He blinks -- and then unfolds the cloth napkin from his tray, placing it in his lap.

The description of Homura seems to bring about a thoughtful expression. "He fights so unusually. And yet, you seemed to anticipate his movements all the same."

Rodrigo starts by grabbing an empanada and biting into it as he considers everything he's being told both in terms of Ishida's fights and in regards to his own fight. He doesn't speak right away. He was raised with proper table manners and isn't about to start talking with his mouth full.

When he is finished chewing and swallowing, he lets out a contemplative humming noise.

"I'd say it had less to do with being able to anticipate his movements and more to do with good positioning and instincts. There were moments in the fight where it felt like my body was telling to move a certain way and when I heeded it, it paid off."

He takes another bite of the empanada finishing it off before holding up the piece of toast. He takes a bite out of it, chews and then swallows yet again.

"Now that there's footage of some of the competitors is there anyone you're looking forward to fighting or are you reserving judgement until all of the fights are televised?"

Likewise, Ishida waits until it is Rodrigo's turn to speak before he reaches out for an empanada. However, in contrast to the Spaniard, the Nihonjin displays surprise when he takes a tentative bite. It's... a pleasant surprise though, as he nods with approval.

"I see," he states; smaller mouthfuls give him a bit more leeway on choosing when to speak. "So you are listening to your 'gut' as well." He smiles -- as if that suffices to explain how he chooses to move.

Rather than finish off the empanada though, he tries for a slice of toast. It seems he's diverging from the script a little -- hoping to sample things before going after any one target.

He smiles. "Of course, I had stated my wish to fight you in the interview. I will stand by that declaration." He bows his head, just so. And then he adds, after giving time to respond if need be: "Otherwise, among our... cohort -- is that the word? -- Page-san would prove most interesting, I believe. I had known something was... different." He coughs lightly. "She has a great deal of grace under pressure."

He considers the rest of his empanada for a moment, before adding: "Cadwallader-san would be interesting as well. A most unconventional fighter, I am sure."

Rodrigo lets out a cheerful laugh, devoid of condescension upon hearing that Ishida still wants to face him. It's part of what drew him to learning Destreza sword fighting which started him on this path. The desire to test himself against others. So Rodrigo is willing to take all comers.

He takes a bite of his last empanada before chewing on it thoughtfully, still taking the time to savor the flavor before he speaks.

"I'm honored that you'd like to fight me. Did seeing me fight add more reasons to want to fight me since the interview and if so, what are they? I'd be interested in seeing the fight between you and Senorita Page."

He then finishes off the empanada.

Ishida, too, seems to focus more upon his tapas. It's not as if he doesn't have the -appetite- to clear away everything he'd selected -- though he wonders if it would be rude to start on the paella and meat while the tapas are still present? Accordingly, he follows the lead of the man who would know the correct answer to such a question.

"I had... studied sword fighting throughout the first season of the N-F-G. Watching Kasumoto-san fight gave me a certain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of swordplay. Seeing how other fighters sought to leverage those weaknesses was... enlightening. As was seeing how..." He frowns, slightly, at the memory. "As was seeing Kasumoto-san's dedication to ending the fight on her own terms."

He draws in his breath, thinking more clearly about the questions and answers. After that moment of thought, he continues.

"It did, yes. You handled Homura-san's relentless attacks with calm and clarity -- and you opened up space as needed to make the best use of your foil."

Ishida smiles faintly. "I see influence of the Destreza and Bolognese arts at work, clearly. But there is... more. I have dedicated myself to qigong. And... -some- of your movements feel... familiar to me. So I admit some curiosity on that part."

With his last piece of toast in hand and readying himself to take a bite, he finds himself pausing when Ishida mentions that he studied sword fighting raising an eyebrow as he does so. He does let him continue as he chews on both the thought of Ishida sword training and the tapas. It is something he could understand and respect.

Then there's hearing the perception of others of his fight which is enlightening on its own due to an outside perspective seeing things that he might not have picked up on. There are some things he might out disagree with. Calm? Yes. Clarity? That didn't come until the end of the fight, not that he's going to verbally point that out to Ishida.

"I'd say the main influence in that fight was Destreza but I'd say I used slightly more influence from retiarius gladiator combat than Bolognese. The fight didn't require me to draw on those influences. That isn't a slight on Senor Homura's skills but rather he was presenting me with problems that those influences were better at solving. Trying to force more Bolognese influence than I did would be like trying to use a wrench when a screwdriver would do."

The plate with the tapas is moved aside on the tray to make way for the paella and takes a fork full of rice with a bit of sausage on the end and holds it up for a moment.

"What style of sword did you study? Japanese? Do you think you will eventually combine the two or just stick with qigong?"

Ishida dedicates himself to the task of clearing off his empanada and toast while Rodrigo provides his answers. He nods quietly -- his eyes locking onto Rodrigo's with singular, perhaps uncomfortably strong focus. It's clear that the Spanish fighter has the full attention of the Nihonjin now that he has established a proper procedure for tapas consumption.

Though, there is a slight glimmer of embarrassment as his assumption is corrected. It's acknowledged with a small nod.

He waits until Rodrigo is done speaking before moving his plate of rice and meat closer. There is another brief pause as he aggregates his thoughts on the matter.


For a second or two, it seems as if that one word would comprise the entirety of his thoughts on the matter. But then...

"I watched many hours of FightTube in preparation for this season. Much of it focused on Kasumoto-sempai."

He pauses for a moment, considering the honorific. It's weird to call someone three years younger a 'senior.' But it couldn't be more accurate, given the context.

Smiling briefly, he... backtracks a step. "I apologize for the misclassification. I appear to have placed too much faith upon the analysis of amateur FightTubers."

Moving his plate closer, he adds, "... I do not know, as of yet. A sword could be useful against this current field of competitors. I would appreciate any advice you might have to offer."

Rodrigo nods and then proceeds to eat the paella that he was holding up earlier. He looks down at his food as he listens to him mentioning his prep for this season.

"I didn't really do much in terms of FightTube watching. Especially since I figured that most of the people I would be facing would be newcomers. And most of the previous season's participants didn't really fight like me."

He waves off the 'missclassification.' It's not like harm was done and besides the fact that most people don't even know what Destreza is.

"Advice? My opinion on fighting is similar to what I have been told about playing Jazz music. You have to know the rules in order to break them. Understand the movements of your base style. Understand why those movements are there, what they are trying to achieve. Once you do that, you can understand when you can get away with making those changes. Maybe you can use an odd bit of footwork that normally violates the tenets of your art because it positions you in a way that allows you to attack in an unexpected way or it might mess with an opponent's timing. Maybe you might want to add influences from another style."

Ishida takes the discourse as an opportunity to begin to work on his paella. He had suspected it might be rice, though the flavor profile is quite a bit different than he'd expected. As with the empanada, it is not an unwelcome discovery -- and he nods with tacit approval.

He does not seem to have much comment on the idea that no other fighters fought like him -- just another quiet nod. This is, of course, the quiet Nihonjin's standard response, as he prefers listening to speaking. And, afterwards, he tries that ham he'd been having his eye on all this time. Good things come to those who wait.

He sets his utensils down as he thinks for a few moments before responding.

"One... difference between us, Gallardo-san, is that you know how to fight -- whereas I do not."

He adds a self-effacing smile, for effect.

"Qigong, by itself, is only passively suitable for combat. The kata are intended to strengthen the body and soul, not to injure those of another."

He clasps his right hand about his left, thumb kneading against his knuckles. "Many gongfu styles use a sword. This tournament would provide excellent opportunities to employ one."

He smiles, faintly.

"Gallardo-san, out of curiosity. One question I have been asked is -- do I feel myself to be at a disadvantage against sword-wielders. I am curious: do you feel yourself to be at an -advantage?-"

Rodrigo closes his eyes in thought. He is after all taking in information, getting an idea of what makes Ishida tick as it were. Rodrigo hasn't been trying to sabotage him with questionable advice. He wants a good fight out of any he comes across.

"You have studied sword though so you aren't exactly starting from square one either. With it, you develop a sense of range and timing which helps even when you don't have the weapon in your hand. Though seeking out another sword style might work or otherwise. If you don't enjoy training with katana, then another style might be for you even if it may influence you somewhat."

Rodrigo is starting to make a decent sized dent in his paella as he watches a couple exit the restaurant.

"Sure. There is the natural range advantage that weapon wielder enjoy over closer range strikers and grapplers. Those who use energy though can steal that advantage back. Senor Homura's weapon has a slight barely noticable disadvantage against my sword. His energy extended his reach and so I had to fight like someone who doesn't have range superiority because I didn't"

While Ishida occasionally looks down to ensure that he doesn't make a mess of his meal, he still manages to keep his eyes locked onto Rodrigo's for the bulk of the conversation. He strongly believed that Rodrigo's experience and knowledge had placed the fighter a tier above the other combatants -- and he devours that information with the same hunger that he manages the paella and meat entrees upon his plate.

He does flinch, though, when Rodrigo says that he's 'studied.' He convinces himself after a moment's thought that FightTube probably qualifies that remark, nodding quietly.

His eyes turn to follow the departing couple as well -- if only out of a desire to be polite. Ishida understands that not everyone can deal with a focus as intense as his own.

"Ah... yes," he assents, after a now-commonplace pause for reflection. "I remember, now."

He seems content with the information given -- or, perhaps more accurately, he is glad that Rodrigo seems to have anticipated his needs and given him all the information he may have needed to know at the moment. Accordingly, he eats another forkful of food while he puts together his next thought.

Swallowing fully, he angles his head towards Rodrigo once more.

"Now... regarding Smithson-Powers-san. What do you think of his performance?"

The swordsman doesn't miss the flinch at the moment the word studied was said. He refrains from comment. There's no need to be uncivil especially when one think's about it, HEMA started due to the study originating from delving into the various combat manuals before eventually taking it to the lab of practical training and pressure testing.

"Senor Smithson-Powers? Beautiful blade work. His energy and counter attacking will present interesting problems to solve as well."

He then digs into that plate of paella with enthusiasm but with impeccable manners. He was looking forwards to finishing it.

"Now that you know how he fights, is there anything you would change how you approached fighting him?"

The proteins on Ishida's plate are vanishing a bit more quickly than the paella and vegetables. It's easy to see that the nihonjin has his own preferences, to be sure -- but he's pretty adaptable when it comes to food.

Ishida may have spent a lot of time researching topics on FightTube -- but his research is broad, rather than deep. He's an outsider, in more ways than one -- having only recently gotten interested in fighting. And when he compares his hours of watching combat to a literal experience, it's hard not to feel a little self-conscious. Even for someone who doesn't speak of his actual feelings. He is grateful that Rodrigo is able to meet him more than halfway in that regard, engaging him on what is said rather than what is not.

"The energy." It's not an answer to the latter question, but a belated reply to the former statement. "His... red energy surprised me. But it felt..." He spends a moment grasping for words. "... Familiar."

He breaks eye contact for a moment, sweeping paella and meats into more compact regions upon his plate.

"The previous strategy..." he continues, lifting his eyes once again, "... was untenable. So yes."

Rodrigo's question may have implied a more thorough answer. And Ishida's furrowed brows show that he understood the implication.

"He performs well on the back foot. In the next, I would test his confidence in setting the pace."

"I see..."

He considers those words carefully. His preferred strategy is to put people on the back foot and just hanging back doesn't quite feel right to him.

The rice dish is slowly being consumed as he goes through his own strategy. He shrugs and keeps eating. Soon the plate was empty.

Small talk can be an art. It's not one Ishida's great at. It's not a bad thing though -- the food is good, and he can appreciate the company without feeling particularly rushed as he gets through his meal.

It isn't long before he realizes Rodrigo's plate is empty. And he... starts to wonder aloud.

"You mentioned Moore-sempai in your interview as a potential for training you. He... knew 'how to have fun,' was it?"

He scratches his cheek. Perhaps feeling a little disadvantaged in that category.

"Did you have the opportunity to watch his fight with Coalbridge-sempai? I was curious as to what you thought."

Rodrigo pushes his tray to the side so it can be collected by the staff. That's when Ishida asks about Hawksley.

"I'm not the type to push my beliefs on others but I believe that it is important to have fun with fighting as well as outside of it. If it becomes a job and if you don't enjoy things away from it, it will become a grind, you will dread training, and your performance will suffer because of it. Plus one should have things that they enjoy doing while they recover. Not everybody agrees with that philosophy though."

Rodrigo then shrugs leaving it up to the other fighter as to whether to take the opinion or leave it.

"As for the fight, it looked like Coco had it all but locked up but then let her guard down at the last moment."

Ishida wraps up what's left of his plate before long -- similarly, he sets his tray aside for the staff.

"Thank you for eating with me. It was delicious -- my mouth is still a-tingle from the spice."

As for 'pushed beliefs', his features show that he is genuinely considering what Rodrigo suggests, as if it's brand new information. Up until this time, it might become apparent that he's been devoting 100% of his time towards his studies -- either out of genuine enthusiasm, or out of simply not knowing any differently. But now, it would seem, he has no excuse for ignorance.

"Mm, thank you! I was simply curious." He adds, after a moment: "... I am... trying my hand at bass guitar. What would you say you do for fun?"

He doesn't respond immediately though, just taking it all in as he tends to do. When he provides his assessment of the Coco-Hawksley fight, he seems interested in that. "They are both excellent fighters. I have heard tell that Coalbridge-sempai may have already found a student to mentor." He keeps his focus upon Rodrigo, arching an eyebrow slightly. "Have you had the opportunity to meet with Moore-sempai yet?"

With no plate of food to further occupy him, Rodrigo can direct more of his attention towards Ishida. He is still going to direct some of his attention to the environment around him.

"For fun? I enjoy taking flamenco dance classes when I can get time and I recently started to enjoy futebol playa or beach football or soccer depending on where you come from."

Rodrigo finds himself reacting with surprise. He wasn't prepared to hear that information.

"She's mentoring already? Until it's official, I'll hold off on believing it because even if she is, the NFG might place her with someone else. As for Senor Moore, I haven't had a chance to meet him."

Ishida nods slowly. "Soccer, football... the one with the round ball." He smiles faintly. "Flamenco dance seems like it would help with your weight and balance. Soccer, or football, with your footwork..." Of course, with the way Ishida puts it, both pastimes sound less like 'fun' and more 'side approaches to help with one's fighting.'

Ishida doesn't seem overly surprised about the revelation -- a rumor is just a rumor to him. "Ah. ... Will the N-F-G assign us to a mentor? I see... I had thought it was the mentor's choice." He laughs softly, lacing his fingertips together.

"Mm. There are a number of 'fun' things to do aboard ship. Would you be interested in playing later?"

For once -- Ishida actually breaks eye contact to take a look at the buffet once more. Could he be considering a second run at the buffet?

While Ishida speaks of the obvious benefits, Rodrigo is thinking more about the not so apparent benefits of those pastimes. With flamenco, he indulges in his love of movement. With beach soccer he gets strategy, teamwork, and the ability to hang out on the beach. It doesn't hurt that running around on the sand is good for the legs.

Of course, the question about the mentor assignments brings his attention front and center once more.

"It will either be assignment or drafting which is technically a way to assign mentors or students. It prevents a situation where someone is receiving mentorship while on paper someone else isn't."

Could that be a bit of shade on Team Blaze's training methods in the first half of season one?

"Ah... I suppose I had not really given it much thought."

Ishida's smile falters, just a bit: he feels a little out of his element when it comes to elements of the fighting world outside of his direct, and limited, field of experience.

"I have faith that the NFG has learned from its lessons in the prior season," he states neutrally. If they hadn't, well, the situation with Max the other day could have gotten much, much worse.

Eating, though -- he knows that well enough. And the unusually direct nihonjin rises to his feet not long afterwards. "Ah, well. Thank you again for introducing me to Spanish cuisine. I do still feel hunger, though, and was considering a visit to the Greek station as well." He pauses for a moment, stepping back from the table. "... Er." he starts, unsure of himself. "Did you have enough to eat?"

All Rodrigo can do is shrug in response to whether or not NFG learned their lesson or rather the right lessons from the the previous season. The season is still young and there haven't been enough fights or news surrounding it to know either way.

The Spaniard glances down at the tray and then the Japanese fighter. He shakes his head. While Rodrigo can put food away, a factor that is just important to him is when he eats, spreading his food consumption across several smaller meals rather than across a few meals

"No thanks. I'll get something else to eat later on. Nice to meet you, Senor Ishida."

He slides something under his tray and rises to leave.

Log created on 14:34:00 02/22/2024 by Rodrigo, and last modified on 05:53:39 02/28/2024.