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Alex listened very carefully to Ulv’s big reveal, and as she explained the full extent of it, he felt like some extra big twist was really about to just knock his fuckin socks off. Fire? Thought? The fucking oceans? God damn, he'd been wrong all along, Thor was secretly a baller. Or, well, not really secretly. Removing himself from the rock, Alex scratched his head at everything she was saying, but turned his attention downward as she pointed something out. And when he saw those two measly inches…
“Aw, fuck yeah dude.”
He collapsed onto his back, looking as proud of himself as a man could. Of course, that was because he was proud. Sure, two inches didn't seem like much. But Ulv was right. Expecting more, thinking that wasn't enough? That'd just undersell what he'd done. He listened carefully to Ulv, and laughed quietly to himself as she revealed her rather measly ruse.
“I wanna be your student. I'd heard you were a pretty good teacher. Turns out they really undersold you.”
This man, was surprisingly honest. Ulv Auber, was not a shadow in the night. She had made sure of it, and beings of her power rarely stayed secrets. Her presence and influence across the world these days was considerable, and she had offered that to this man. He could ask for riches sufficent to life in retirement forever. He could ask her to use her power for any purpose he wished. And he asked, to better himself. She couldn't help but have a massive grin break out on her face at that. It was going to be a little spooky because of what she was going to be responsible for, but at the same time...
"Ohh, I haven't taught taught anyone in a long time. I generally just help you out with what you need and go on my way. But actually teaching...well, I guess it depends what you want to learn from me. Philosophy? Norse Mythology? Cooking? The ability to make rocks that nobody can push? That last one is actually something I can teach you. And with your passion towards life, you'll be able to make them pretty comparable to my own with some haste"
As Ulv asked what he wanted to be taught, Alex seemed to get just a touch more serious. Only a touch, mind, since he was basically on top of the world right now. But it was clear that this was in fact very important to him, and as he continued to look up at the sky, he stretched out before explaining to Ulv quite clearly what he was looking for.
“Think you might've already picked up on this, but I'm not the strongest guy on the planet. But I like to try anyway, you know? Got in sort of a scuffle recently, wouldn't exactly call it a fight. Ended up getting tossed like a salad. I don't really mind the loss, that happens. But like, I didn't even have a chance. Couldn't even see what he did. He was just that much faster, that much stronger. That kinda powerlessness has gotta go. I don't wanna live a life where anyone can just push me into a building without me even knowing how it happened.”
He turned his glance over to Ulv, then, still in a good mood, but obviously hoping that wasn't a bad answer. Alex was certainly the sort who wore his heart on his sleeve, and he had to admit he'd actually be sort of disappointed if she turned him down on that. But there was something about her that made him feel like she'd get where he was coming from.
“Honestly, I don't think I'd even wanna go for a rematch. Ya feel me? This is just about me. The fact that it could even happen just doesn't work for me.”
The wish was a sincere one, and made for not-terrible choices as well. He wanted to be strong to protect himself, so that he could stay alive. As motivations went, it was pretty simple but she could dig it. As for the being beaten to shit without a chance, she could relate to that one. Mirja and Stefan, as well as Ibiki, were both times that she was so outclassed. So it was hardly something that she was ignorant to. But the scale was quite the thing...
"To be able to stand in the world and be confident that nobody can push you into building without you knowing what is going on, that is a hell of a journey. And not one I can do alone. It'll require as much introspection to improve your soul as it will training to improve your body. And as good a teacher as I might be in some things, there are other things you'll need different teachers for. And then there is also the points where you'll have to be your own teacher. But, if you are ready and willing to take on this extreme journey then I shall welcome you as my student"
Alex knew that was true, and he had kind of figured as much would be the case. But that was alright. If it took more than one person to get him where he needed to be, then it looked like he'd be learning from more than one person. But one thing at a time. Things were looking up for ol' Alex, and he liked that. He liked that a whole lot.
“Thought you might say something like that. I didn't think you'd just be able to teach me anything, but I figure if I expected that out of you I'd already be comin' at this with the wrong mindset. I'll learn what I can from whatever I can, then. You're right, after all, if this is for me then sometimes I'll have to just do it myself. But lemme tell ya, I'm ready and willing as I'll ever be, so it looks like I'm your student from here on out, teach.”
Ulv, deflated. Her eyes returned to their auburn colour and she lost the confident posture and stature for a moment before returning to it, radiating furious willpower, as if she was staying up because she willed it and no other reason. "Sorry, burning a lot of energy testing a new thing. Visoreds are pretty exhausted when their mask shatters. And on that topic, how far are you willing to go for this power you want? I've been curious if I can make Visoreds. Or, human equivalents at least. Hvit having a few sisters could be a cool thing, you know?"
Well, the question was asked, so all she could do was get an answer. "I'll need a few days to prepare and write stuff up. You can spend them around the city if you like, or go finish some business and come back later. Either way works for me. The people here are lovely, and you can always find some accommodations if you don't want to commute. Demonica and Mifune are also around. Demonica will teach you how to savagely maul your opponent and look cute while doing it, and I don't know how Mifune is socially, but if you can get him talking, he will teach you literally all there ever is or has been to know about a sword. It's a fun place, my little slice of world"
“I gotcha, no worries. Vizard? Isn't that those shinigami dudes with the hollow inside 'em? I've gotta pass on that. No offense, nothing against hollows or anything. I've got a few hollow friends. Just not really looking to rock around with another guy hangin' out in my head or whatever. One thing to get help from people, another thing to actually like, fuse with 'em. I think it'd be a little too weird for me.”
Alex listened to her suggestion, and he did admit that he liked the sound of the place. He'd have to explore some time, get a feel for things, just sorta generally figure things out. Those two folks she'd mentioned seemed like they could be some help, though he wasn't much of a sword guy. Demonica sounded hot though, just from the name. That might be worth a trip.
“Think I'd have time to make a trip to South America? Don't think it'd be too long. All that stuff going on down there, I've heard it's sorta abandoned. Got some stuff I need to check on, a couple things I'd like to do. I can stick around if that doesn't work though.”
"Mmhm. That is exactly what a Vizard is. Sometimes you can make friends, other times you just have a big weapon in your head for when you need blasting things. Mine sits somewhere between the two" Ulv cracked a grin at the joke. 'If I was not ded, I would keel you' Hvit replied, which made Ulv giggle softly. "I can totally understand not wanting to be with someone who watches you pee. That sort of closeness all the time can be awkward. I have a few other things that we may get to in time, but for now, do your life things. Go to South America, try to avoid the war. It'll be no good you getting killed after all this" Ulv shook her head and, upon finishing off the rest of the pies, stretched broadly.
"As it stands, I'm going to grab some sleep. Collapsing in the middle of the street is never an attractive look. It makes people worried, among other things. If you need any help in South America, don't hesitate to come up here and ask. We are pretty well connected around here" she would give Alex a final nod, and then turn to head of, lingering only long enough for him to say a final piece.