Richard couldn’t help but look around during his next class, and thus he saw her again. The green girl. A Noxian, was it? She was sitting across the room, alone. He was certain it was her, even though he couldn’t see any features. Her face was still obscured by a veil, so he couldn’t actually see for sure that it was the same person, but he knew it was. Richard supposed she had a name, but he didn’t know it. Upon seeing her, Richard had conflicting feelings. After all, the first time he’d seen her, she’d almost killed him. Not on purpose, of course, but neither do long falls kill people on purpose- it just happens. Richard still felt it was reasonable to be afraid of heights, or at least falling. He wasn’t entirely sure if he was afraid of her though. He also saw something like a glow coming from her too, although it was very faint compared to some… and there was something else as well. Richard couldn’t figure out what the something else was, and what it meant.
Though at this distance he couldn’t see her eyes, he felt that she looked over at him. He was kind of embarrassed to be caught looking, but the whole room was in that direction. She wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell where he was looking. Richard looked away and tried to focus back on what the teacher was saying. This was technically the reason he had come here, after all.
Later that day, Jot invited Richard to come watch him at the Xevaronian Martial Arts Association on campus. Apparently, they had paid for their own building to be constructed, and were an association instead of a club… Which basically meant the school didn’t give them funds and pretty much ignored them unless they broke rules or such. So they were almost completely ignored.
Richard sat in the corner, which was nice and padded and very comfy. Everything was. The reason for this was very obvious, since people were often thrown into walls and/or floors. Richard looked up, and was slightly glad to see that the ceiling was not padded.
From what Richard could tell, Xevaronian martial arts consisted of grappling, throws, strikes, and pretty much anything that they could do involving their bodies. The training, or whatever it was, at first appeared rather disorganized from what he saw. Richard followed Jot as he moved from person to person, sparred with them using the same kinds of moves as each other, but not much like anyone else in the group of twenty or so people. Then Jot would talk with whoever he just sparred with for a minute or two, and then he would go spar with the next person.
Eventually, Richard went on to watching people besides Jot. He noticed that all the Xevaronians looked very similar. Not that they were all exactly the same size, or had the same facial features, but in other ways. First was the obvious similarities in clothing. The clothes weren’t all the same, but they were all easy to move in, since they were for exercising. They all had the same shade of yellowish-white skin, and similarly had yellowish blonde hair. In addition they shared very similar hairstyles, but that made some amount of sense, given the circumstances. Their hairstyles were very practical, and short cut. That part was obviously not something innate, because Richard had seen plenty of Xevaronians outside of this context, and their hair varied. Now Richard understood Jot’s comment on human hair and skin color.
The atmosphere was very serious, but not lacking in enjoyment. However, everyone here was serious about what they were doing, and it wasn’t just for exercise. At least, that was what Richard felt. Maybe part of that was because everything they did seemed dangerous. Not for them, perhaps, but Richard could see himself getting something broken if he tried to participate. That would just be expected when fighting people who were larger than him, though Richard knew they would still be stronger than him even if they weren’t bigger. He wasn’t unfit, but did not particularly exercise much either. That part of the reason why the gravity increase had been so hard on him, though he was used to it now. In this atmosphere though, he felt quite motivated to exercise and fight. His good sense told him this would be a terrible place to do so, however. While he doubted that any of the people here would hurt him on purpose, they would likely have to hold back so much they made no progress themselves. At the very least, he would need some kind of foundation… though Richard was pretty sure humans couldn’t reach the kind of level necessary to go head to head with a Xevaronian. Certainly, not ones who were actually training seriously as well.
After observing for a while longer, Richard noticed what was probably the most significant thing. Although they traded partners some, nobody but Jot sparred with everyone. Although it was not a competition, so he couldn’t “win”, he was always at an advantage. After the sparring, when he was talking to them, Richard guessed he was giving them advice. He talked to Jot about it afterward.
“So… you’re the teacher?”
“Not… exactly. Everyone teaches those who don’t know what they know yet. I just happen to be the most advanced one here.”
“Oh. I was hoping you were some kind of master. That would be pretty cool.”
“…Well, I am a first tier master. That’s out of ten tiers though, so it’s nothing too special.”
“How many tiers are there below you?”
“…Three classes of ten tiers each.”
“You don’t like bragging, do you?”
“No. I prefer people to judge me by what they have seen me do.”
“That’s admirable. Personally, I wish I had something extraordinary about myself to brag about.”
“You find nothing about yourself extraordinary?”
“Average looks, average grades, average physique. Well, for Maropa anyway. I hear a lot of people there talking about us being “better”, but from what I’ve seen people are about the same here as there.”
“Not arrogant then. Doesn’t that make you better?”
“Ah, but if I accept that, then I’m arrogant. It’s just a trap.”
“Hah! Indeed it is. Dinner?”