“Rui, glad you’re here.” Kaned waved as Rui took in the majesty of the Arrancar Household. Kane’s home somewhat resembled a western palace of sorts from the Middle Ages. It was lavish and luxurious yet the décor and aesthetics were not ostentatious. It was as if the owner did not care for superficial beauty.
“Thanks for having me.” Rui replied.
“Come on in.” Kane told him.
Rui followed him as he took in the visage of the Mansion.
(‘Yeah, this kid is loaded.’) Rui affirmed.
There were servants of all kinds scattered across the premises, all engaged in one task or another. Gardeners meticulously maintaining the beautiful garden, maids and butlers tending to one task or another.
(‘That’s a huge door. What’s the point of having a door this big?’) Rui wondered. One could walk on stilts and still comfortably enter.
“You have a big place man.” Rui told him.
“Yeah, too big if you ask me.” Kane shrugged.
“Is your family around?” Rui asked.
“Some of my siblings, my mom, my step-moms.”
“Your mom and your step-moms?” Rui tilted his head.
“My dad is polygamous.” Kane briefly replied, it didn’t seem like a pleasant topic for him.
“…I see.” Rui dropped the topic. He regretted asking. But he was caught off-guard. He didn’t know about other countries, but, at the very least, the Kandrian Empire had a culture of monogamy. Even on Earth, most nations and cultures were strongly monogamous, at least in the twenty-first century.
Kane had expressed hostility towards his father prior, maybe this had something to do with it.
“My father isn’t around, that’s why I invited you around this time.” Kane told him. “Let’s go. You don’t mind starting immediately, right?”
“No problem.” Rui smirked. It was a silly question. Rui would, in fact, mind had they sat around sipping tea making small talk.
“Alright, this way.”
“Kane.” A mature female voice called out to him.
Kane paused, turning towards the direction of the voice reluctantly.
“I was told you called over a peasant of a boy, it seems I was told correctly. Are you going to waste time playing around?” She reprimanded him sternly and coldly.
(‘…Did she just call me a plebeian to my face?’) Rui mused. He was a little caught off-guard by the woman’s unrepenting rudeness.
(‘Kane’s life must suck with a mom like her. I’m starting to see why he doesn’t seem to like this place.’)
“He’s a friend.” Kane sternly told her off. “We’re not playing around, we’re going to be training.”
“Train with the instructors your father has hired.”
“I train with them every day, sparring with others will give me a wider range of experience, which will ultimately help me grow stronger in the long run.” He retorted.
His mother begrudgingly accepted that explanation, after instructing Kane to work hard.
“Hey man.” Kane turned to Rui, bowing his head in shame and guilt. “I’m sorry she insulted you.”
“You don’t need to apologize for other people’s actions and words. I appreciate the sentiment, but it’s not your fault.”
“This is why I wanted to begin our sparring session with you as soon as you arrived.” He muttered in frustration. “She never interrupts sparring and training sessions. This way I could have avoided running into her.”
“Why not train and spar away from your house?”
Kane sighed as his expression soured.
“I’m not allowed to leave the household unless permitted.” Kane told him.
Rui jerked his head back in a double-take as he glanced at Kane in shock.
“You can’t leave the household for anything? Like, at all?”
Kane shook his head. “Nope, not at all.”
“We have huge open training areas and tons of balconies and even a gigantic terrace.”
Rui gazed at Kane with a visible discomfort.
“Damn…” he managed squeeze out.
“Yeah..” Kane sighed. “This is why I can’t wait for the Academy to begin.”
“I’m surprised your family allowed you to go in the first place.”
“They didn’t, it took me literal fucking years of lobbying to be allowed. Ultimately my dad, who was also an Academy graduate reluctantly relented.”
“The Academy is something the Martial Union has invested heavily in a huge amount of resources and funds over a long period of time, making it an absolutely ideal and optimal place for nurturing Martial Squires. Even for a Martial Sage like my father, it’s not easy to compensate for everything it provides by himself. This was the key point that convinced him. But he set a bunch of conditions.”
“I had one chance, and that was when I turned thirteen. And I had to make it into the top five overall.”
“I see…” Rui recalled Kane telling him the latter during the second-round of the Entrance Exam.
“We’re here.” Kane told him, opening a door to a gigantic facility.
Inside was one of the most aesthetically pleasing sights that a martial arts/combat sports junkie like Rui had seen in the entirety of his second life.
A huge wide area, divided inti several sections. In one section, there were what appeared to be a vast variety of body-building and exercise equipment. Rui could see the equivalent of bench-presses, treadmills, a variety of weights like dumb-bells and plates, squat-racks, barbells, cables and pulleys, pull-up and callisthenic bars etc.
In another section was martial arts training equipment of a huge assortment; boards, a large amount of dummies for various striking maneuvers and combos as well as throws and holds. There were punching bags of various sizes each meant for different purposes. Further off there were many sections of area that seemed to be each dedicated to training specific attributes or skills; awareness, sensory capabilities, endurance, balance, dynamic flexibility. One that particularly caught his eyes was a circular section with a bunch of bags attached to ropes to the ceiling above, the bags themselves were attached to the ceiling. From what Rui could tell, this was dynamic evasive maneuvering practice. One was supposed to stand in the center while dodging the released bags.
“That reminds an awful lot of the second round.” Rui gestured towards that area.
Kane smirked. “That’s my favourite training.”
“No wonder you aced the second round.” Rui laughed.
He looked forward to spending time here.