Becoming Xiao Niao chapter 2

Why, even after a year of a relationship, can she make me smile so hard that it pains my cheeks. Xiao is my adorable little dork. Locking the phone and putting it in its proper place, I can now get on with my day. The door is creaking again. Queen’s breathe, this car will be the death of me. The ol’ girl has been holding up for quite some time, but much like so much in my life, it’s falling apart. Luckily I have Xiao to hold me together.
Setting everything in its proper place, I pull the key ring off my sac and turn over the ignition. At least it starts right up today. The devilish screams of Xiao’s music assault my ears. Giving the volume button a quick spin down, I remember that she was the last one to use the car. That little girl and her music. A quick tap of preset number three, and that’s a sight better. The grand orchestra is playing a new symphony.
How I wish I could share this with Xiao, but she’d rather listen to whiny teenagers scream about a world they don’t understand quite yet. I shall be patient. She’ll come to my side of art sooner or later.
Making the proper adjustments to the thermostats, mirrors, and seat, I can begin to make my way to work. Triple checking my mirrors, I make my way out. Never can be too careful. College kids are the worst at self-awareness. Navigating the collection of cars driven by the previously mentions balls of hormones and their attempt to stay in the guided lines was not that bad this morning.
Like my former self, they are drawn to their many addiction shops before their morning classes. Sure I still had the caffeine itch, but unlike them, I had a beautiful Orc girlfriend who loved to make mine for me in the morning. I take a victory sip after passing the long line at the local cafe.
Oh, look, the new apartment complex is finally accepting applicants. Hopefully, the spoiled kids that attend the Uni will have their parents move them into the chic new place and give Xiao and me more privacy. By the Queen, it’s been a rough year living in the trendiest apartments of the year. Where once we were a quaint little villa, huddled by a strip mall that meets all of our needs. Suddenly, a flood of skate parks rises close by, making it a haven for the hipsters.
Sure, Xiao was one of those hipsters, but she was my hipster, which made all the difference in the world. Or at least to me.
Travelling a few more blocks, there is the plaza. Turning in and heading next to the roller rink sits my place of employment, Asai Yoriyuki Kyokushin Karate, the number one dojo in all of Los Mitichas. They love that sign, even though we haven’t won a tourney since Xiao was kicked out. That honour now goes to the rich kids on the south side with their all for show Shotokan Karate. Makes me want to vomit knowing that the points system karate is beating ours for authentic self-defence style.
That’s what happens when you care more about the sexual preference of your students than their actual skill. The saddest part is they cared less about a teacher dating a student. Ugh. Let me head in. No one else is going to set up the dojo if I don’t. Wow, my ruck is a bit heavy. What all did Xiao put in here? It’s hard to contain my smile when I know whatever it is will make the others jealous. Their wives and girlfriends rarely, if ever, cook for them. I’ve become the envy of the break room with my home-cooked meals.
Once I adjust the ruck on my back, I head towards the door and grabbing my keys. Working the door, I walk into the building. I’ve always admired the streaks of sun rays that illuminate the humble dojo. I head to the back and start the chores. Lights, mats, and equipment set proper. Shortly after, the rest of the team comes, bringing their attitude and stares. They may not be morning people, but at least they can muster a smile and wave for me.
“Get to your warm-ups. We should have a full day today. Tourneys in a couple of weeks, and the sprouts will need to be trained properly,” I call out and see the eye rolls and hear the sighs.
“We’re not going to win. Without Shufen, we really don’t stand a chance.” My thoughts exactly.
“Well, we have to try. We are, after all, the…”
“Number one dojo in all of Los Mitichas,” they say with enough sarcasm to kill a horse.
“And don’t you forget it,” I laugh.
“Sensei Haynes? Why can’t we just say that we are reorganizing our roster this year and skip the embarrassment?” one of my juniors ask.
“Which answer do you fancy? The business answer or mine?”
“Yours, of course.”
“Because of the money. We may not win, but the owner will be able to set up some pretty nice sponsorships. He likes to play politics. But let me tell you a better reason. If my old Master found that I backed away, you will see a true master of Kyokushin Karate bring a fury like none other.” Their face light with excitement. “Have you no shame and fancying your superior getting a thrashing?”
“To be honest, we’ve only ever seen one person land a good hit on you. So more than anything, we would enjoy a good fight for once.”
“The nerve!” I say, feigning offence. “Get to your warm-ups before I use you all for practice.”
“Yes, Sensei!” They give a shout and run off to their spots.
I join them in the stretching, but I get into my warm-up once we pass that. Walking up to my wooden dummy, there is a feeling of satisfaction. I love this perk. Qi activated, I start my motions. Strike, parry, strike, parry, strike, strike, parry. I’ve done this so many times. It’s as easy as breathing—my knuckles vibrating on each hit. The feeling of effortless motion and Qi coursing all through my body give me a great feeling.
This was what I loved.
Sensing my juniors looking on as I move through my punches, kicks, elbows and knees. They stop their workouts, and I turn to them, holding a Qi blast in my hand.
“Must I tell you again about your warm-ups?” They all scramble to get back to their dummies. I turn around and fire the blast at one of my dummies, and it glows after absorbing the energy. Delivering a Qi powered straight punch pushes the energy out and returns the dummy to normal. The Qi dies out quickly when it collides with the wall and dampening the residual energy. I take a deep breath. Xiao gave me a pretty good warm-up before leaving. No need to overdo it. If only any of my juniors could use Qi. They lacked the discipline to conjure it.
I smile, remembering When Xiao first obtained the ability. I knew for sure she would be a Qi of the body like me. It shocked me when she turned out Qi of the mind. It made sense. Her attention to the most minor details and outstanding controlled breathing was far suited for her Qi of the Mind. Not to mention her mind never turned off. She was continually analyzing the fight and her surroundings.
Not like me. I want the fight done in as few strikes as possible. Strike hard, fast, and with efficiency, and the fight would be yours. That’s a chore in itself when I spare with Xiao. She thinks it’s so easy for me to do, but she’s a touch annoying to hit if I’m honest with myself. Burning through so much Qi is taxing. If only she knew how to end a fight, I wouldn’t stand much of a chance. That and since I trained her, I have the advantage of knowing her mindset. Though she did beat me recently.
Shaking from my thoughts. The juniors are shaping up quite nicely. If any of them could put more effort into their discipline, they would obtain Qi in no time. After they run through their drills, they refresh with water. Good sports, they are learning. Each set up at their stations and wait for the students to come in. And right on time, they come in. Many of which are tossing their fast-food wrappers and boxes in the bin. Why even come if you are just going to disrespect your body with such rubbish?
They come in, showing their respects to me and my juniors, then get in their rows. Once they are all settled, I take my stance at the front.
“Good morning, class.”
“Good morning, Sensei!”
“We will train our hearts.”
“For a firm unshaken spirit!”
“We will pursue the true meaning of the Martial Way.”
“So that in time our sense may be alert!”
“With true vigor.”
“We will seek to cultivate a spirit of self-denial!”
“We will observe the rules of courtesy.”
“Respect our superiors, and refrain from violence!”
“We will follow our principles.”
“And never forget the true virtue of humility!”
“We will look upwards to wisdom and strength.”
“Not seeking our desires!”
“All our lives, through the discipline of Karate.”
“We will seek to fulfill the true meaning of the Kyokushin Way! Hiya!” they yell with a mighty roar. They make my heart proud.
“Alright, line up with your instructors, and let’s begin for today.
“Yes, Sensei!” they run with a purpose to do as instructed. For all they lack in self-discipline, they make up in respect.
My students line up in front of me. I didn’t trust any of my juniors to take on the minors. They are so fragile and don’t really have an attention span. Most of our time is just practising against the wobbling punching bag shaped into a goblin. They take their turns practising their attacks with such glee that it makes my heart melt. A little Elven girl screams to the ancestors and hits it with a flying kick but forgets to place her other foot down. She slips on the doll and tumbles down.
“Oh, dear. Are you alright?” I run to her side. She only giggles and looks up at me.
“I’m okay, Sensei,” with the cutest gaped smile. I help her to her feet. “Why don’t you kick it, Sensei?”
“This one is too small for me, dear.” She hears my words, yet she insists. I drop to a knee and spin into a kick, knocking the doll a couple of meters.
“Woah! Cool!” one of the children say.
“Sensei, Sensei, Sensei!” a child from one of my juniors groups starts to call for my attention.
“Yes?”
“Can we see you fight?”
“What are you talking about? You see me fight every week.”
“No, we see you show us forms. We want to see you fight.” A couple of his buddies join in, showing their enthusiasm.
“We need to practice for the tourney, I’m not sure this is the right time for such.”
“If you let us fight you, it will inspire us to get stronger,” one of the girl students speaks up.
“You’re serious?” I look around and see the sea of smiling faces and nods. “You all want to take me on?”
“Yeah!” All but the oldest children say. The teenagers step away to the far wall.
“Well alright,” I say, but before I can get the words out, one of the minors jump on my neck and start a chokehold. This is so adorable. Quickly moving her hands off, I turn to push her over, but I feel a kick at my knee and a flurry of tiny fist pounding at my back. That’s your game, innit? Activating my Qi, I stand and push them back. Careful not to use too much force, I make my rounds of parries and attacks, knocking them all around. Some junior high students swing with roundhouses and heel kicks, but I can outwit them and tap them with sidekicks and chops.
Not needing to use my Qi anymore, I deactivate it. I have my footing, and … Ah! One of the high schoolers jumps in.
“Oi, a bit of a mistake that was, yeah?” They just beckon me and starts up with a flying kick. I give them a chance as I block all their attacks. This time I hear their buddy join in. I quickly toss the first into the second and flip back up. One of our Lycan students comes in with a flying knee, but I’m ready for her too. Quick block and leg sweep sends her down, and I prepare for them to circle me.
This is why Xiao preferred the Qi of the mind. Trying to keep up with where everyone was is exhausting. When they rush in, infuse a stomp with Qi and cause a slight tremor. While they are all off-balance, I pick them off one by one. When a roundhouse kick sends one spinning, I hear a terrible screech. Searching the kids, I look for the source of the sound, but when it happens again, I see it’s a parent bursting into the dojo.
“Unhand those children, Puta!” The humans spit out.
“Ma’am, such language isn’t allowed here.” I say, getting to my feet.
“Is this where our money goes? Some dyke attacking our children?”
“Ma’am I will not ask you again to watch your words.”
“What are you going to do about, you spider slut?” She is really pushing it. Luckily Karate taught me self control. In my teen years, I would have been crushed in her face.
“If we need to go outside and talk, we can, but in this dojo, we do not condone such language from anyone.”
“I want to see your manager.” Of course, you do.
“I am the head Sensei here. The only person higher than me is the owner.”
“Then get him on the phone, right now bitch!”
“Mama, don’t talk to Sensei like that. We asked her…”
“Shut it, you don’t know how dangerous these people are.” And now we’re back to this. I stay calm and send for one of the juniors to grab my phone. The child and her friends continue to plead with the woman, but she is determined to cause a bustle. By the Queen, why this of all days. I thank my junior after getting my phone. Hitting the contact for Yoriyuki-san, I gesture for her to meet me outside. She snatches my phone, and I take it back. She slaps me in the face, and before I knew it, I’ve backhanded her. When I realized what I had done, I hear the gasps of the children. She backs away from me on the floor. The look of her horror tells me that she’s not used to people defending themselves from her, verbal or physical.
“Hello? Haynes-sama? Is something wrong?” Yoriyuki-san’s voice comes through the phone. My juniors scream, noticing that I froze for a second.
“Mr. Yoriyuki, it was a mistake. Sensei Hayes was just defending herself…” they try to explain, but at this moment, I only had one thing to say. I put the phone to my lips.
“Don’t worry about it, Yoriyuki-san. I quit.”
“Sensei!” My juniors scream. “We have the whole thing on camera. She attacked you.”
“If I’m not wanted here. If my girlfriend isn’t welcomed here. Then what is the point?” I put the phone in my gi and walk to the back to grab my things. My juniors follow me and try to get me to reconsider, but my mind was made up when I lost my temper.
Walking back to the main floor, the Human mom is still holding her cheek, but the children have formed a block around the door. They beg and plead for me to stay, but the Human woman is screaming for me to leave. Her threats of calling the cops are useless. Like my juniors said, she started the fight, and I showed some control by only hitting her once. So the odds are in my favour.
“We will respect the rules of courtesy.” I say, but they fall silent. Even the Human woman is confused. “I did not stutter. We will respect the rules of courtesy!”
“Respect our superiors, and refrain from violence,” they say sadly.
“As a guest here, this woman is our superior. I broke the oath, so I will leave. Even your teacher isn’t above the oath of Kyokushin.” They drag their feet and make way for me to leave. Once I walk by, they all bow for me. Before I grab the door handle. I bow back and watch as some of them wipe tears from their face.
Leaving the dojo, I hear one of the Human students yell.
“Mom, you ruined everything!”
She sure did. How will I explain this to Xiao?

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