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Hmmm. Well, if he didn't want to talk about it, Ulv couldn't force him to. Instead she would just sit with her foot and started eating it, the cutlery provided wasn't the best but it would do for something as simple as this. "Mmm, I am not in any position to judge the legitimacy of the Grandmaster title. But the wise man knows there are no lords and masters in the world of wisdom, only the eternal student. It is one thing to have others call it you, and it is another to call yourself it. Especially when you are dumb" Ulv's auspicious words flopped at the end, but she didn't let it bother her at all.
"And if you have not grasped the intricacies of Blut, then you need to learn to move a lot faster than you do. Staying alive is generally considered a good move in combat, and so if you don't want to push your Blut, then move your feet. Reactions, reflexes, Running, sustained and explosive. A man as wise as you claim to be should know that not getting punched in the face is always a preferable outcome to getting punched in the face"
As soon as those words left Cyrus' mouth, he regretted them tremendously. Not necessarily because he felt they were inaccurate, but rather because he realized that having said them made it abundantly obvious to what extent Ulv had gotten to him. He did not especially wish to show any emotional weakness to that degree, most particularly when he had already demonstrated physical weakness to her.
Nevertheless, as she spoke...he did listen. Perhaps reluctantly. No, definitely reluctantly. But he knew even in his irritation that her words were true. Had Ulv been a more hostile invader, he would be dead right now. The sheer thought of that infuriated him, and yet he could not deny the truth of all of it. He gripped his fork perhaps a bit tighter than he might have liked, but took a long breath to calm down, and returned his attentions to the conversation.
“Then I will pursue that sort of speed. I must admit to you, however, that I am unsure how to do so.”
"No, you didn't. But being strong enough that Antartica is on the list of viable weapons has it's perks. One of them being I get to say what I want to people and they don't really have much recourse" Ulv said it very matter-of-factly, mostly because there was only two things to do about something you disliked. Ignore it or stop it. And only vain people voiced what they were ignoring. And then she looked up at him, feeling as much as seeing his emotions. So she ate, to give him a few seconds to contemplate, before talking.
"You are a very proud man. And that by itself is not a problem. Pride, as much as Fury, can be an excellent motivation. As long as you remain in control of it. When an action is done because of your pride, then you have lost the fight for your self. As for your speed, well...
You can always do what Mirja did. Hunt down everyone who has the slightest reputation for being a nippy bugger and try to punch them in the face until you are too exhausted to move. But, our dear Mirja is hardly a role-model, so I would suggest a slightly more controlled variant. Your predecessor Sofia is known to be a fast girl. Both normally and with Hirenkyaku. So ask for her tutorship. By the time you learn all she has to teach, you are of the level where progression comes from what you can do with what you have learned"
Cyrus continued to listen, but even he, in all his (minimal) self-control, could not hide his quite clear unhappiness at the suggestion he go to train under Sofia. He had, of course, the respect for her that was due to one who had come before in his position. He would not openly besmirch her name, that would be simply unbecoming. But he did not say what his demeanor was obviously implying.
“I would not imagine such a tutorship would go well. I have not spoken with her in some time, in fact. Would that you were not the bride to be of the Elect, I would say nothing of this to you, of course. But much as she merits respect in her station, you do as well. I do not believe I could learn well from her. Nor, I suspect, would she wish to teach me.”
That was quite obviously not the full extent of that. It was entirely true, to be fair. Cyrus genuinely did not think it would go especially well for either of them if he simply went to Sofia and requested tutorship. But it was more than merely a clash in their personalities, or even due to his holding the station she once had. He simply suspected the two of them approached everything in their lives from a fundamentally different place.
Ulv grinned at his deadpan acceptance of her claims, but then they got onto Sofia and the situation turned sour. Ulv wondered how less colourful conversations would be were she not as powerfully empathic as she was. But, that wasn't something she really called people out on, just used it to know how people felt and work around that. It was why it was so hard talking to Hayden. Man's heart was impenetrable, even to her. "If this is because of a meeting you had with her a year or more ago, then I will refute you on such beliefs. She had a few bad decisions when she was younger, but has since got help to overcome them and matured considerably.
Sofia is quite the woman these days, and I feel if you were to ask her for her hand in aiding you, she would give it. The problem is you'd need to ask her for her aid and, well...I can see you needing to get over another bulwark before going to do that" Ulv mentioned, heavily implying his pride would sting him on his path of learning. "Aside from that, you can teach yourself. But that is not a path that will be easy at all"
Cyrus knew that Ulv was likely right. And, even if she weren't, he knew that refusal to learn from his predecessor simply on the grounds that he did not like her was, in a word, absurd. At the same time, however, he did still genuinely believe that it would be a rough time for him. But was that due to Sofia? Or was it simply his own pride? The thought made him very angry, but not at anyone in particular. And, perhaps, that in turn only made the whole situation that much more bitter in his mouth.
“I have no doubts pursuing this on my own would be of little assistance. I have, after all, trained myself entirely for centuries.”
There was an admission of his own failings there, as blatant of one as he would realistically be willing to make. It stung to say it, but it was also true. There was no sense in lying.
“If such a pursuit is my best course of action, then I will find her and request this training. I think it is quite clear to the both of us that I do not particularly care for that idea. But I also do not care to be tossed around with all the difficulty of swatting a fly. I am better than that, and I do not believe that it is merely unwarranted pride to say such a thing.”
Finishing her food and waiting for Cyprus to finish his talking, Ulv grinned and giggled softly, shaking her head softly at the way he disliked being swatted like a fly. "That's something you are going to have to get used to. Being the fly to their fly-swatter is something that'll happen for quite a while. There is a Sky being the Sky, and it is more vast than you can imagine. But, go find Sofia. Talk to her, and ask her for help. If she still refuses you, then you know without a doubt there will be no aide. And if not, find Ghislain, or that crazy Cero guy. And if those don't work then you are learning Hirenkyaku yourself.
But, as much as I can't help you with what is basically Quincy Flash Step, I can help you with normal step. As you saw, I am not to bad on the moving myself" Ulv gave Cyprus a smile, and then stood, intent to leave him to his thoughts. "You were not born by yourself, Lord Of Wisdom, so do not expect to be able to improve by yourself. Your pride will only prevent you from asking the questions that are needed" she told him, lingering long enough to hear if he had anything else to say.
“The more suggestions you make, the more I am reminded that the state of our people is something truly more lamentable than words could ever describe.”
There didn't seem to be a hint of humor in his voice, or even the faintest trace of exaggeration. That was, quite decidedly, his most earnest belief on the matter. Was this the fate of the Quincy? To follow in the paths of...those three? That did not sit well with Cyrus in the slightest. In fact, it made him just the faintest bit more angry, something he once again needed to take a calm moment and rein back in.
“But very well. I will do what I must. I certainly would not wish to pester the Elect with such a matter, though I would assuredly trust her far more than these alternatives. You are correct, I was not born alone. But those who were born alongside me are no longer here, nor the ones who birthed me. Only I remain, the singular product of decades of training. What does that say about them? About me?”
It was obvious that was not a rhetorical question. It normally may have been, but that was very much something that Cyrus considered often. He still did not know the answer, but he sought one often. Even now, in all his divine wisdom, he did not understand how such a thing had occurred.
"Dude, you've been genocided like three times so far. I am more surprised and amazed there are people left to lament" And there was the Mirja in Ulv. Most assuredly blunt, tactless, and possibly highly offensive without even realising it. She opened the door and prepared to head out, but looked back at Cyprus when he asked about the people he had been born alongside, and of himself. It wasn't rhetorical, but Ulv didn't know how he would like the answer she was going to give him. Because it wasn't a comforting answer to give anyone.
"They were braver, more courageous, more foolish, more unlucky. Any number of reasons. A lot of people I worked aside for many years died in the Demonic Incursion, but yet I survived. I got stabbed by an arrancar, and had it been an inch higher, I would have died. Sometimes we are just lucky, some time we roll snake eyes. It doesn't say anything about us. It's just a natural part of life, like water, and the air. Focus on what is, rather than what could be" she tipped her head to the Quincy, and then left properly, leaving him to everything she had left him.
“We have, yes. I often wonder if it will happen again. Something about it seems so very likely.”
Ulv was right, he didn't like that answer. But he also knew it was the right answer. There wasn't anything in particular that he could have done. It was neither his failing nor theirs. It was the way that life went. Another of those many moments of humanity that reminded him his divinity meant very little when it came to how his life went.
“I suppose that is ultimately the way things are. I do wonder if such a thing could be changed. Perhaps that would be for the best.”
Of course, Cyrus spoke mostly to himself. He didn't want to hold Ulv up any further, and he had waited until she was already gone to actually make that response. The words were aimed at her, yet he did not want her to hear them.