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Hm? Is there a visitor? You must be here to see the cherry blossoms, then. They really are beautiful. I take care of the garden as best I can so it looks nice like this. There are lots of other flowers here, if you're curious.
If you're an intruder, of course, wishing harm to my mistress Yuyuko Saigyouji, I can easily cut you down.
Who am I? Youmu Konpaku. It's a pleasure to meet you.
((Independent roleplay and ask blog for Youmu Konpaku of Touhou. I'll roleplay with any fandom and any OCs.
All icons are made by me. No images are mine.))
Current M!A: None.
In a relationship with Momiji Inubashiri [divinewhitewolfyoukai] and Koumajou Densetsu!Sakuya Izayoi [endlessservant]; both AUs.
Well it was pretty obvious the aggressive/protective half ghost that was pointing her weapon at her other self had no idea about the different and alternate universe out there. All the gardener know is that if there’s another Youmu clone, they probably have an evil attention such as to get to Yuyuko to assassinate her.
"A shapeshifter, a tanuki, a clone, or whatever you are, there can be only one Youmu Konpaku! Prepare yourself, faker!"
The swordswoman isn’t even going to question the opponent’s weapons. They were both fake the gardener that’s picking the fight assuming. Roukanken and Hakurouken were a one of a kind weapon for the servant. There’s no copy of it anywhere else unless it’s cloned, replicated by a superior blacksmith, etc.
No more words. The battle will begin now. The swordswoman card in toward her opponent, getting ready to attack her with slashes from her Roukanken. This was the most basic thing in the beginning of a battle between two unless one decide to just instantly end it. But Youmu doesn’t need to show her full potential yet. She think a fake have no chance against her without using her full potential.
Some odd thing must have happened to the other Youmu somewhere along the way so that her rational had gone, and she ultimately failed to realize the concept of alternate universes. The battle felt a bit pointless, really, and Youmu was actually rather annoyed, for once; common sense, anyone? She was the one who was always told to think things through and observe the situation and yet this Youmu was the one who seriously needed the advice.
She might as well play it easy for once, test the other Youmu’s capabilities before really going in to the fight; two swords were unsheathed and held up in a mostly defensive stance, ready to easily block the oncoming attack, then launch a counterattack in turn. With the other Youmu’s rather reckless beginning, charging at Youmu quickly with a sword already poised to make several slashes, the gardener could maneuver her sword to stop them with some ease.
Naturally, being a Youmu, the attack was still pretty efficient and had decent strength. However, she got the feeling neither of them were using their full potential; give or take a few moves, and Youmu would start attacking more forcefully just to see how good this Youmu was.
For now, she blocked the slices, before moving to the side to sidestep one, figuring she could go in for a sword-blunt hit on the back as the Youmu was moving forward; if the other Youmu was still trying to slash downwards, she would probably unbalance herself quickly, and Youmu could go in for an attack.
"But I’m mom’s little helper! I was raised mostly if not all the time to meet their expectation! Now that I exist, my parent doesn’t have to work hard like they always do."
The half ghost spoke out, trying to counter argument the older half ghost. Even though he shouldn’t be arguing against someone like his parent, this wasn’t like a serious argument so it was fine, right? But still he said what he meant. Even though he could have chosen to be a different person, someone maybe who does whatever he want, a neutral person, it was already decided he want to exceed being a servant.
But looking on the bright side, if he keep this up, he’ll build more and more stamina and endurance to go on longer, exceeding his body’s limit. Well he isn’t fully human so the average human body’s limit was different. But being half ghost as well, it changed some things. But everyone if not mostly everyone must have fatigue.
"No no. Please don’t. I’m fine, really I am. I wasn’t hungry at all to begin with so there’s no need to bother yourself making another meal."
The half ghost boy really want to stop Youmu from cooking. Maybe she didn’t get the memo that Yuyuko set the note by her? It’ll be trouble surely since if they’re unable to finish everything prepared this morning. But most of all, he didn’t want the older gardener to cook because that’s why he woke up early to prepare a meal for her and Yuyuko. Uuu… What to do, what to do? He didn’t want to rebel and force her to stop. That’s just not like him.
"Even if you’re not hungry now, you’ll still be later. So you might as well eat at the same time as the rest of us…" She was reaching for the cupboard with the seasonings, not having begun cooking yet (only heated the pan), before seeing a slip of paper stuck on the glass.
Hm? What was this?
The writing was clearly Yuyuko’s cursive scrawl, messy yet in a pretty kind of way. In short, it said that she was going to spend the day at the Yakumos with Yukari and Ran, and so it was like a free day for Youmu and Kazuki. Odd…did Kazuki not see this message? Well, on the plus side, it was mostly a free day for her, so she wouldn’t have to prepare meals for an extra person with the exception of dinner.
The half ghost turned off the heat, put the bottles back, and returned to Kazuki, handing him the note. Somehow the trainee had missed this crucial point, so that his ‘on-purpose mistake’ actually turned out for the better. Good thing Youmu had noticed it in time, otherwise they would have an extra portion and nobody to finish it. Neither Youmu nor Kazuki ate as much.
"Did you see this? Yuyuko-sama said that she’s going out today. So I guess the two of us will just eat these, right?" She was awkwardly taking Yuyuko’s supposed portion to her side now, not ready to eat it yet, but waiting for Kazuki’s response, then adding, "Of course, since we don’t have any plans, and she didn’t tell us in advance, I can just spend the day with you, Kazuki."
Yup, out of the forest and into the light. But apparently instead light, it was dark. They spend most of their time in that forest. Did they take that long doing whatever? Really now. First the tengu tumbling down a hill from whatever clumsy reason. Second to end up meeting up with the half ghost of Hakugyokurou. Third they have a little practice battle against each other. Fourth they encounter a wild yet very friendly Pokemon that chose Youmu over Aya. Fifth they were messing around with the Pokedex. Finally sixth they walk out of the forest. That is thus how they gotten to where try are now. Alright that’s enough flashbacks.
That building with flowers, doesn’t seem to concern the tengu or the gardener. Huh. Maybe it might concern Youmu since she is a gardener, working with flowers and such in Hakugyokurou. But the crow said they should find somewhere to stay for the night. It was dark after all. Not only that but better also rest up their Pokemon. Although Ralts should be in full condition. Shiftry and Spheal on the other hand were a different story since they both fought each other in that practice battle in which no winner can out.
"I’m surprised we spent much time in that forest to get out of only to end up dark as night."
The tengu did a scouting out pose, putting her right hand above her eyes like she was protecting her eyes from the sun to scout out the surrounding. The crow look out all over from left to right to see where they should be heading. Well, there’s a road to their right leading to the not straight bridge to cross the water in order to get into the city. Guess this mean they’re still outside the city. But when Youmu try to show Aya the Pokedex’s map again, she noticed and look anyways even though she didn’t need to.
"Well if we continue taking that path there and cross that weird bridge, we’ll heading into Rustboro City."
The reporter pointed out to where they should start walking. But she’s just giving suggestions and ideas since she’s not taking the lead. Again, this was all about Youmu after all. Speaking about Youmu, the journalist forgot if she wrote some things down before she forgot. The curse of being a bird brain. So she check her notebook that was in her bag, reviewing it to see if anything’s missing. If anything was missing, she’ll just make corrections, adding more into the chronicle. Maybe that’s just exaggerating when saying chronicle. Well with that done, the notebook was put away with the writing tool.
"We’re in a safe zone. I doubt wild Pokemons would attack us. Wild Pokemons only attack for their own reason. Take note, like if we get close to their young ones, they’ll attack us for being protective or getting into their territory they’ll attack us in group."
True wild Pokemons can attack them if they want. But they’re no youkais, again. They’re in a safe zone like the crow said, outside of Rustboro City that could be seen to get into the city, absolute safety zone. By Aya’s knowledge, wild Pokemons only attack for some reasons. One is that they’re being protective like the reporter said. Second one was territorial, again, like the journalist said. Third could be they like to pick fights. There’s many reasons for wild Pokemons to attack trainers and non-trainers. If they were to get attacked, they shouldn’t defend themselves with their abilities and weapons. Humans here defend themselves by relaying on their Pokemon. It’s just the outside world traditional way like capturing traditionally.
"Anyways, let’s get going."
So with that the tengu started to walk toward the bridge to cross it.
Though the two of them were in a bit of a hurry to get to Rustboro City before it became too dark to see without light, in their fast walking pace Youmu still took the time to glance around here and there, trying to enjoy whatever scenery there was. Someone must have been hired to tend to the foliage around here; though it still had the wild, varying height of grass left to grow on its own, none of them were towering or had a lot of weeds. And the trees all seemed the same height and shape; maybe the person in the house took care of them, or someone from Rustboro City. However the grass and trees and road had been paved, it gave off the feeling of being near civilization, but also still coming out from the wilderness. Still, it was a stark contrast from the Petalburg Woods.
"Well, I guess you’re right. Near a town, Pokemon probably won’t be willing to approach us." She wasn’t sure how Pokemon acted differently from most animals, but most dangerous creatures would shy away from light, especially bright city lights. So they wouldn’t have to worry about something like that; though Youmu was sure the two of them would easily be able to fend off any Pokemon, even if she wasn’t sure if her sword could hurt those types of monsters…but it wasn’t a concern in the first place. "Most of them are probably in the forest anyway, aren’t they?" After all, they’d just skirted out of Petalburg Woods.
By the time the two of them had finished that thought, they were at the bridge overlooking some sort of lake. Why it would be directly in the way of Rustboro City, and why the bridge ultimately failed to cut straight across and instead zagged like a lightning bolt, seemed to be questions that would never be answered; still, she and Aya trekked across it without much query, just as any other terrain. One thing the bridge seemed to be missing were railings, as if someone could fall over as long as they were pushed off, so they’d have to be extra careful about that.
There were a couple people nearby, someone probably fishing and other people merely passing by the bridge, but Youmu didn’t pay too much mind to them. Aya might have been interested in pulling one aside and questioning them about something, but the tengu didn’t make any move to talk to them, seemingly focused on Youmu’s journey and them getting to the town at this point. Most people seemed to be heading in the direction of Rustboro City anyway. They’d probably meet them at the Pokemon Center or something.
Eventually they’d made their way off the bridge and were back on the dirt-paved path. There were some puddles nearby, looking more like miniature lakes than the aftermath of a rain; some patches of growing plants in another corner. Overall it was fairly pleasant scenery on the way to the city; corners had not been cut in creating and illustrating these pathways for trainers to trek on. Both of them were mostly quiet, Aya probably writing down something in her notebook every so often, but there really wasn’t anything special about this little extra trip on the way to the town; just land to cover.
"Hey, Aya. Looks like we’re finally at the town, huh?"
It was easy to tell when they arrived, dirt turning into clean cement and grass turning into rails and fencing, the little sunlight left turned into artificial streetlamps. Before any sightseeing could be done, a bit of an embarrassing rumble came from the half ghost. It had been a while since she last ate something for real, not since she met up with Aya, and it had been several hours since - plus, they’d been walking the whole time. Sheepishly she rubbed the back of her head, apologetically.
"U-um, sorry, I’m a little hungry, that’s all…" she muttered, blushing a bit because of the slip-up. "So…why don’t we hurry to the Pokemon Center and then see if we can find somewhere to eat? Or I can see if I can get some food to cook dinner for the two of us."
"Oh."Sakuya was a little disappointed. She knew that Yuyuko wouldn’t mind if the half phantom wanted to eat with the recently injured maid. Even if the maid really wanted to see her mistress after taking such a fall down those stairs. She didn’t want to make her worried, even if she understood the reason. Yuyuko wouldn’t have minded of course, she wasn’t like Remilia at all. Back then Sakuya had to eat on her really small breaks that she had, and only then she had maybe just a sandwich. Which to some degree, would really be filling. The only other time she had something big. Was only at dinner, and even then, the maid only had a small portion. Due to her eating a few sandwiches a day, as well as keeping up her fitness, she didn’t want to over feed herself of course. Remilia wouldn’t want to have a un fit maid working her mansion, even if the maid did excise during her breaks a lot, she still only took small amounts. She had too much to do for eating a large feast of food. But being here, meaning she could take all the portions she wants. With such a light schedule, there is no fear of having something planned for the day. Plus, with her current injury, she can plan all she likes on her exercises, on her road to recovery of course. As well as plan a lot more, with the exercises, she can plan what points to mainly focus on, so she doesn’t either get more injured, or suffer a more serious injury. With the planning as well of course, she can be sure to do better, with focusing on those points, it’ll help her in the long run of learning how to use a sword and among other skills that the maid would want to learn.
The maid of course, had to hide a part of her feelings of course, she shouldn’t ruin the moment she could share with the half phantom, just because she couldn’t see her mistress after taking such a fall. Just like before, she didn’t want the half phantom to worry that she was in a lot of pain from the fall.”Uhh.”The maid had switched off for a second, her mind was on meeting her mistress of course, before reverting to the half phantom’s question.”What I’ve been reading so far? Well mainly just about my leg to begin with. Just wanted to be sure on what my injury is described as.”Sakuya didn’t want to admit that she was already in planning to push herself to get out of the injury. She knew she should take her time, but as well, she wanted to take each step to be sure that her leg was all better in the long run.She didn’t want to make the half phantom worry of course, nor her mistress at least, she knew the right thing to do was to wait, which is why she is going to take each step at a small pace. To be sure she does everything right, so that in the long run, her leg can be completely better with no worries.”But I haven’t touch the books I asked you to get for when it is time for us to read. Rather wait until you got here of course.”She wouldn’t want to start without her of course. Sure, the half phantom wouldn’t have minded if Sakuya had read a little of the book, but it’d better if she had waited more than anything.
"We can begin that right after food if you’d like to."The maid moved over slightly towards the food. Taking a good long look at it.She had tasted the half phantom’s cooking before, but that was when Sakuya had helped out as well. She never had it via the half phantom’s own doing. So this was new to her, plus with that the half phantom would have made a good meal in hopes of cheering up the maid from her fall. Or at least, something special of course.The maid grabbing her utensils, before taking a bite out of her meal, chewing with her mouth closed as she only gave a thumbs up to say she liked it.
It came as no surprise that Sakuya had been reading up on how to help her leg. No doubt the maid had done virtually anything she could short of mending her leg back to help it. Pure dedication was what Sakuya had, for sure; that kind of dedication must be what made such a well-liked maid (and a great addition to Hakugyokurou). Never cutting corners on anything. That made Youmu feel slightly embarrassed for trying to hurry her work and actually lengthening it, even though she didn’t mean to; at least nobody had seen her mistake, so it was all her own.
"Afterwards? Well, if we still have some time left, I’d love to," the half ghost answered, smiling at the thought of it. Of course, she’d have to go back and wash dishes and the like, but even if they only had a few minutes here and there, she wanted to enjoy them with Sakuya. They could pick up the reading right after the meal. Besides, if Sakuya decided to wait until Youmu was free to read the books with her, that would have them last longer and she’d have to make less trips to the Scarlet Devil Mansion if the time came. All in all, a win-win situation.
She couldn’t help but chuckle a bit at Sakuya’s thumbs-up; usually the maid would deliver a little speech on how good the food might be or something similar, but all she had done now was start on the food in a more…casual way. Almost a way of opening up. Sakuya’s satisfaction with the meal made her feel better about the tiny trip-up beforehand; as long as nobody noticed, and Yuyuko and Sakuya were still happy, it was as if it never happened. After all, in the end she’d still put in all her effort into it for her mistress and her good friend. If they both enjoyed it, then all for the better. “I’m glad you like the food.” She would continue at her own meal, wondering whether they should make some small talk or not, though she was sure Sakuya was a bit hungry after her delayed meals (only after Youmu cooked and served to Yuyuko) and kept silent. The two of them sitting together and eating was enough for the moment.
"Hm?"The maid of course was so caught up with the writing she is doing, that time flew by in a instant. It was almost as if she had used her pocket watch to stop time so that she can fast forward the process of something or something she is doing.Youmu was already at her door, most likely having finished her duties that were left after the maid had suffered her injury. She was quite quick to be at the door though, though, the half phantom is quite skilled in her work, and would be able to still do a good job and be quick to see the maid right away. The maid had told her to do it normally, but she knew that the half phantom would be skilled even if she did it fast, so she can put this behind her. Plus, it was sorta nice that time had gone by quickly, the maid couldn’t really wait to read with her newly ‘loved’ one.Even if at this point, it’s more to do with food than anything. But the maid wouldn’t turn down possible joining them for dinner, she can always get help from the half phantom to the table of course, she’d want to see her mistress and not have her worry at all.
The maid placed a small bit of paper within the book to make sure she doesn’t lose her place in the book at all. Along with putting the notes she had written inside with it, she already had made a lot of notes on her current injury, it was nice to learn more about it. She then placed her book into her draw before moving a bit, hopping on one of her legs so she could get to the door before opening it. Sure she shouldn’t be moving at all, which is why she is hoping, she didn’t want to place any pressure on her injured leg at all. But of course, she wanted to join them for a meal, since the half phantom would want too be with her during her recent injury. But at the same time, Sakuya knew that Yuyuko may get a bit lonely if she was left alone to eat. Sure, she’d understand of course, but the maid would want to at least see her to show that is doing fine even if she has suffered a recent injury.
"Oh? You’ve brought my food here? Aren’t we going to be eating with mistress then?"The maid asked, as she was wondered if it wasn’t to be the case."Mistress would want to see if I’m doing alright of course, I’ve only recently suffered this, so it’d be best to check in with her."Sakuya wanted to make sure that Yuyuko didn’t get too worried if that were the case, she wanted to show that she was perfectly fine, even if for the next couple of weeks she may be limping a bit and feeling a bit of pain."I won’t mind hopping to there, I can still move around even if my leg would be in a lot of pain, but I can pull through, I’ve experienced much worse than this sort of injury."The maid hiding her facial expressions, she didn’t want to show that she truly was in a lot of pain from it all.
"Huh? Eating with Yuyuko-sama?" A look of surprise crossed the half ghost’s face for a short moment before she shook her head, walking over to the futon in Sakuya’s room and placing the tray on the nearby nightstand. "No, Yuyuko-sama was alright with me eating with you, since I was going to bring you the dinner I made anyway. She said that since I’d eat too fast in the first place, I might as well eat with you since I’d be spending so much time here anyway," she went on to explain, moving her own portion to the other side of the table so she could sit facing Sakuya. "Even if she is odd, Yuyuko-sama is reasonable. She can’t expect you to hobble to the main building, or for me to carry you either." Although, Youmu wouldn’t add, she would be perfectly fine with taking Sakuya all the way there. A minor burden compared to how much the maid might want to eat with the other two again.
She took a look around the room; as expected, it was perfectly clean as if no one had ever lived in it before. Though Sakuya hadn’t been tidying up the room, since she only had one leg she’d probably stayed in a corner and read most of the time. Speaking of the books, a couple (the quartet dictionary-sized books she’d given Sakuya) were still where she left them, though one or two were gone. Figures that the maid would go with the health book or the swords book first, because she always valued work over her own pleasure reading. Although by this time ‘work’ was the same thing as ‘fun’…
Youmu turned back to Sakuya, realizing she hadn’t explained what the meal was yet. “Oh, right. Tonight I made steamed tofu, string beans, and shredded chicken,” she pointed out, referring to each item in the bowls as she spoke. “You can dip the tofu in a ginger-soy sauce mix. Since it’s soft, I thought you’d like something like that if you’re not going to move around too much, right?”
At that, she would put her hands together and murmur ‘itadakimasu’ with Sakuya before taking a sample of the rice and the dipped-in-sauce tofu. It was a little bit on the plain side, but otherwise good as she’d hoped. After a minute or two of eating without conversation, she piped up again: “So what have you read so far, Sakuya? Anything useful yet?” She was curious to see how the maid’s healing-learning plan was going on.
Sakuya knew she had a lot of time on her hands, but with little movement she could actually do. With her injury being recent she shouldn’t risk the chance of her hurting it even more than it already is. Even so, there was barely anything inside her room that could occupy the maid until the half phantom had returned. As she would rather wait until she returned to begin reading the books that she had requested. But knowing how long that could be, there should be something else for the maid to do. She wasn’t tired at all, so she didn’t feel like taking a rest yet. Sakuya observed her room, taking a look at everything within it. Before moving to the drawer next to her bed side. Taking out a piece of paper as well as a pen. The maid knew that at least she can begin preparations for when her injury is healed and that she can go back into training in any skill she chooses.
With that, Sakuya grabbed another book that she had requested for the half phantom to bring. This was one of the reasons why she wanted extra books along with the story books that she wanted. So that the maid can observe not only her injury, but the skills she is trying to learn, so that she can be more prepared the next time. Before anything, Sakuya looked up on her current injury, checking how long the process would be, as well as what to do with her leg like this. She’s already had some ideas, ideas that normally anyone would do in this situation, that being placing ice on it, and keeping off her leg at all times. Sakuya flicked through her book to the exact points that she needed. Writing down every detail she could so that when it came to it, she’d know what to do in case her injury either gets worse, or just the natural healing process. The maid knew it may not take as long as she though, but still, it’d be nice to at least know just in case anything does go wrong during her road to recovery.
Sakuya can always go back to the other skill books later on, for now her injury was the main point. She knew she had to wait, and after a talk with the half phantom, she’ll be able to wait as long as it takes. But the maid is still hoping that it doesn’t take that long at all of course. She really does enjoy her work that much, she couldn’t think of doing anything else much, unless it was work related. But now, she had a much lighter schedule. Meaning she could relax a bit more than she could back at the mansion. Sure, she could still do her own things here and there, but back then she didn’t have much time at all, it’s no wonder Remilia wanted to keep her so much, being as she was the mansion’s best worker. Sakuya even did a small drawing of a leg, pin pointing out the exact parts of her leg that were possibly hurt or sprained. She wasn’t a doctor, but she could still try to figure out where to target in her recovery process.
A check in their stores proved that they did indeed have the chicken, string beans, and tofu Youmu was looking for, so she set out to prepare to cook - cutting the tofu, shredding the chicken, chopping off the ends of the beans. She wondered what Sakuya was doing at the moment - probably reading, writing down whatever she thought was important in the books. If Sakuya was doing what she was supposed to, Youmu had better get started as well. Besides, with the maid being slightly impatient to spend time with Youmu and she herself as well, she had the resolve to do things both quickly and effectively so she could finish her duties and go visit Sakuya.
The half ghost worked fast, putting the tofu into the pot and letting it heat, then proceeding to prepare the other ingredients so she would cut a lot of time. Though she usually felt neutral and liked making meals and cooking for Yuyuko, this time she felt a bit bored, doing similar routines as always and even pausing to wonder why she didn’t just go ahead and make a rushed meal compared to her usual hard-worked ones. Lowering the fire as the tofu cooked, she sighed, telling herself to concentrate - she shouldn’t get antsy to get back to Sakuya, since it was the opposite of what the maid wanted. She should work even harder for the other; yes, that was the best mindset. Hopefully the meal would turn out as good as always and she wouldn’t be distracted.
However, in an effort to work quickly she took a little more time than usual, oddly enough; the sun was already setting by the time the rice was cooked, and she should go call Yuyuko to eat. The gardener could only hope the meal was satisfactory this time, and let her mistress in while she filed out a portion for Sakuya. Luckily the ghost princess seemed to fine the food good, and maybe Youmu had worried suddenly for no reason. All well.
After she had satisfied her mistress with food, Youmu took her untouched portion as well as Sakuya’s to the maid’s quarters, knocking on the door to alert her.
"Sakuya? It’s Youmu. I brought dinner."
Orito gladly shook her hand, then pulling her into a hug. Looks like he’s extremely thankful of being accepted.
"Thank you so much, Miss Konpaku. After hearing no so many times, it could be a tough business. You don’t know how much this means to me..” He’s somewhat very ambitious when it comes to swordfighting, and looks like he has been through so many tough times in his own experience.
"Well…As long as you’re happy to be under my instruction, then I guess everything’s fine." The sudden display of affection from Orito was offsetting, but not unpleasant. Different from surprise hugs Yukari, or Yuyuko, might give, though.
"Still…why would people say no to you? I don’t see anything wrong. After all, you say you’re a good swordsman, you’ve studied a lot, and you’re very enthusiastic about swordfighting. What’s not to like?"
halfspiritgardener started following you
"You think that appearance will fool anyone? I will stop you!"
"Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m no shape-shifting tanuki."
Still, her hand is at her sword, slipping it into a more comfortable grasp - still in its sheath, however. This other Youmu probably wasn’t aware of multi-verse instances…clearly, as the sword the other had been holding was quickly unsheathed and pointed at Youmu.
The half ghost drew her own sword; she’d think of it as a more aggressive form of training. To prove that her own skills were just as good as the other’s and not some halfhearted attempt on the expense of Nue, for one, might draw the other Youmu to the conclusion that it was not an illusion.
"But if you’re looking for a spar, I’ll be happy to oblige. It’s not often that I can fight against a self-conscious..myself."