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Saturday September Eighth 2018 10:00 AM

Espadas School of Self-Defense and Swordsmanship

 

But for the low hum of an electric motor and the tinted windows the Danger International fleet car that pulled to the curb a few car lengths from the Espadas Dojo was nondescript and would hardly elicit note from passer by.  This was perhaps slightly less true about it's occupants.

 

Before exiting the car Ace turned to his niece.  "Alright so, as I said, he's the best, but also a little touchy about keeping a low profile."  which was to say had a standing threat to stab Ace should he descend on his home with reporters again.  "So uh, casual is hte rule I guess?"  Low profile was really no more in Aces vocabulary than his companions, luckily this was actually nothing but a legitimate visit for the establishments actual purpose.

 

That said the immortal adventurer hopped from the car and strode confidently up to the doors to the dojo slipping inside to await the proprietor, he'd even done the due diligence of arriving between scheduled classes.

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Janus gave the family patriarch a slightly confused look but with a shrug of their lean shoulders, seemed to imply agreement with whatever that meant. Fortunately, Janus didn't look too out of place heading into a dojo. In leather pants and high boots and a tightly fitted sleeveless shirt, they'd dressed for a potential work out, shouldering a roll of equipment that included both practice and carefully packed real blades. A little on the dramatic side, but hair that went from white to rose red at the tips wasn't entirely unseen in the West End. People would assume dye. Janus had found in the quest to find a potential teacher, it was best to be prepared. 

 

"Yes, Grandfather," Janus replied, their tenor voice respectful if a bit confused by the admonishment. Glancing around, Janus shifted the equipment more easily on their muscular shoulder before glancing around the interior of the dojo with abject curiosity.

Edited by alderwitch

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The Dangers heard the rhythmic huff of exerted breathing before they saw the school's proprietor. Classes for children and teens looking for an extracurricular wouldn't start filling up until a little later in September so for now the first floor was otherwise empty. Rounding the corner they found Erik Espadas upside-down, suspended by his feet from the anchor points installed in the ceiling, strips of black fabric wrapping around his ankles. Old navy sweatpants that had lost some of their elasticity shifted as he folded himself in half, bringing his face up to his knees before dropping back down and repeating the crunch. A sheen of sweat covered his bare torso, catching the light in waves as the muscles underneath strained and relaxed.

 

Erik felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end as the front door's bell chimed, his metamagi senses jangling like someone was trying to play a full arrangement of something by Tchaikovsky on a single acoustic guitar and doing a surprisingly good job of it. He contorted around without letting himself down and cocked his head slightly to one side. "Ace? Talya already headed out for--" He stopped and refocused on the lean youth just behind the gregarious adventurer, eyes narrowing. He looked back and forth between them for another beat before flatly demanding, "What did you do?"

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Ace for one was not above appreciating the display and offered a small quiet applause at the dismount. The elder Danger waved off the note of talyas absence, "Oh well so much the better I'm here to see you."  he glibly replied his smile a little too winning.  Ace Danger wanted a favor, and by the end of it expected at the very least expected Erik to accept that it was one the timeless hero was owed.

 

He glanced to his niece fully away of the family resemblance, not helped by the fact they were more of an apparent age to be siblings than generations apart.  "I found you a protege."  he replied easily as he looked back to the swordsman a glint of mirth in his eyes.  Letting out a small laugh at Eriks reasonable conclusion behind the resemblance he gestured to Janus, "Janus Danger, Prince of Aruivia."  he introduced with mock solemnity.  "A delightful Kingdom in the out of the way dimension of Fortuna.   My brothers eldest settled down there."  Ace explained as if that summation was nothing out of the ordinary.  For a Danger it simply wasn't.  Really though Erik hardly did any better.  Pausing with a teasing smile, "Honestly with what Talya tells me of your antics I'm surprised you haven't stumbled upon it."  The swashbuckler did have a penchant for accidental dimensional travel matched by few others.

 

Looking back to Janus with a fond smile Ace completed the introductions, "Janus, Erik Espadas, The finest swordsman I have had the pleasure to know."  Which given the Immortals time on this plane and others was really quite the statement of confidence.

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There was a flash of appreciation in the teenager's eyes before their violet gaze dropped politely to the ground as a teacher was way more important to Janus then ogling - even if the man was very handsome. Janus silently set down their equipment on the floor before offering a respectful bow with long-limbed grace. For all of their recent growth spurts, there was no awkwardness in movement. No, the teenager was clearly light on their feet and highly attuned to their place in the environment, "That's high honor coming from Grandfather, Master Espadas."

 

The lyrical lilt of their accent colored the words though Janus' English was perfectly fluent. It didn't match any of Earth's languages, not quite, but wasn't entirely dissimilar to a French or Belgium accent in the cadence of lilt. Janus straightened to their full height - just a few inches shorter than Ace and likely not entirely fully done with growing. Like Ace, Janus radiated a certain amount of charisma but there was an elegant aristocratic cast to those features that looked like Min's particular elfin brand of not-entirely-human. Janus met Erik's gaze without any challenge and with a bit of a ghost of humor that strengthened their resemblance to Ace as they apologized, "It's a pleasure to meet you, sir. I'm afraid that I've given Aunt Rachel the very devil of a time trying to find a swordsmaster."

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With a small kick Erik freed his ankles and dropped to the floor with a backflip that seemed to be an afterthought as he glowered at Ace. His instinct was to be irritated at the other man on principle but the compliment made it difficult to pull off gracefully. Which was probably what Ace intended. "I do alright. And it's not my fault if portals..." He made a vague gesture with one hand. "...happen."

 

He gave Janus a brief once over and wiped sweat from his palm on the thigh of his sweatpants before offering his hand to shake. "You can skip the 'master' stuff, Starry-Eyes. Call me Erik. Or Mr. Espadas if you want to make me feel as old as tu abuelo. You've trained before." It was a statement rather than a question.

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"I try to tell her it is an occupational hazard for men such as us."  he agreed with Erik offering a small shrug at the intractable nature of the woman in question.  He cleared his throat slightly, "The last one we got in a bidding war with the olympic committee over before your,"  he paused to stifle a laugh, "Unorthodox style?"  he questioned the terminology and seemed satisfied after a bare moment, "Saw him returning to his coaching position."  Ace was far more amused than Rachel had been about the entire affair which was why in the end he'd offered to see to finding her a trainer personally.  After all he knew all the best people.

 

Ace flashed a smile to Erik at the titles, "Ah Fortuna is a bit of a departure from our timeline."  he offered helpfully, "Master would be equivalent to mister."  and was a likely origin of the term given the dimensions commonalities.  "But when she is your student I'm sure you will find what best suits your teaching style."  he was quick to note though he allowed Janus to offer the details of her training.

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Janus gave Erik a briefly baffled look, cutting a quick questioning glance to Ace and then relaxing once the elder Danger explained, "It's the appropriate title for one who is the master of their craft - in this case swordplay. Goodman, if the individual is not." Janus added helpfully, giving another small nod of their head and a friendly smile, "If you wish to be called simply 'Erik', I am happy to do so. I know that father's homeland is a less formal place than my home country. We came here for family reuinions a few times every year before I was, ah, shipped over."

 

The way the teenager's gaze cut over to the side briefly at that last statement certainly indicated that the trip to reside with their father's relatives certainly hadn't been Janus' first preference. The teenager rallied quickly though and their gaze cut back to Ace with a bit of exasperation, "He said not to hold back so I didn't. I assumed that it was a genuine sentiment."

 

Shaking their head and sending the long braid back over their shoulder, Janus gave Erik the full weight of their attention, "Yes, sir, I began training with the pages when I turned six and I was squired at ten. I earned my sword by the time I was thirteen and I've been blooded since that time. I've been cleared for combat for almost four years now. My preferred style is arming sword and buckler but I've been working in other styles for the last year or so."

 

Clearly the idea of involving Danger children in combat scenarios continued to spread through the family tree from Ace's time still to the present generation.

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"Ha, I hope you're talking about Buckie, Korfanty's like seventy," Erik laughed. He had a lot of professional respect for the national team and their staff but trying to translate the forms of a refereed match to a knockdown brawl against super villains was going to be a bad time for everyone involved. "I'm assuming you get the manners from the other side of the family. I appreciate it, we just don't really stand on ceremony here."

 

The instructor gave Janus another look and paused. He was pretty sure Ace had said 'she' but now he wasn't second guessing himself; the whole leather pants look could have gone either way and giving the kid body image issues seemed like a bad way to kick things off. Which reminded him that he probably needed to find a shirt at some point. "On the other hand I know what it's like to get dropped in a whole different dimension. Do you need to be called like prince or princess or...?"

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Janus smiled widely, the corners of their eyes crinkling up and wrinkling the white-star scar around the one eye. "My father has had some of the rougher edges smoothed after years as Mother's consort, but yes. Also - unfortunate groin-kicking incident aside, I try not to offend potential teachers especially. I've already learned the error of my ways sassing the arms-master at home. 'Tis not a lesson I would repeat."

 

Janus' sense of humor was dry, but they clearly had relaxed a bit more. Enough that when the delicately-worded question came up, Janus gave a small shake of their head, their smile a little wry, "No, it's a largely meaningless title outside of Fortuna. I try not to be THAT sort of nobility even when home. If you are delicately trying to find out what pronouns I prefer, it doesn't matter to me, personally. Aruvian has non gendered pronouns but I know English is not so... eh, facile. My title is Prince and I've taken on what Americans, I gather, see as more masculine roles but my biological gender is female - which seems a weird thing for everyone to need to know but..." Janus gave an enigmatic shrug as if it were not the only oddity they found in their resettling in Prime. "... 'she' is fine as is 'he'. I suppose it depends if you find cultural standards a higher priority than biology in how you codify information."

 

Janus spread their hands wide - for once without any jewelry as they'd come ready to practice in case that had been requested or required. Their hands were long and elegant but with the clear callouses that one would expect from the years of practice. "I assure you, either is just fine with me. Would you like me to run through my practice forms?"

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Ace laughed slightly at the image of Janus treating the elder coach in such a manner and shook his head, "Ah yes Korfanty is a bit beyond the years of active training."  he agreed easily, "To her credit the man did say not to hold back."  he pointed out with a shrug.

 

As Erik tried to sus out pronouns he let Janus explain.  The old adventurer was from a time with less concern over such things and was accustomed to transliterating genderless pronouns to gendered in english enough it hadn't really occurred to him to dig deeper.  She handled hte question admirably and he rolled his eyes at the commentary about where she found her manners.  "The Dangers are perfectly capable of etiquette and diplomacy."  he pointed out squarely, "If you've encountered outhwise it must be intentional."  he teased lightly and probably displayed precisely why he'd felt the need to point out to Janus that they needed to take care not to ruffle feathers.  that being because Ace was almost incapable of not when visiting hte Espadas household.

 

He nodded toward the center of the room as he shot Erik a wink, "You're going to thank me by the end of this."  he promised with no small pride in his relations skill.

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