- Being the chief editor of a well-known news publisher makes her a dependable person that knows how to shoulder responsibility
- Open-hearted and easy-going, just the right traits to get others to open up
- Often underway and rarely at home since she travels all around the world because of her job
- Can be a bit risky sometimes, especially when she senses a big scoop
- Thinks she doesn't have time for real life friends (except colleagues), so she prefers to have online contacts since these are almost always available
- Can't stand annoying teenagers
I was able to interview a truly fascinating person named Kireoki. She is a warrior of the Nezordu clan from Gyondou, a country many of you probably do not know much about. Here is the interview:
Sefi: Thank you so much for your time and your willingness to participate in this interview! Say, what is your full name?
Kireoki: Gladly, it is the least I can do after what we went through together. And my full name is Kireoki, 27. family of the Nezordu clan.
S: That's an unusual full name. Wouldn't something like Kireoki Nezordu make more sense?
K: No, you see, this is how we name people in our country. You have the first name, followed by the number that their family has within the clan. Of course, my clan is like a second family but we are not related by blood. To avoid confusion, every blood-related family has a number to see who is related to whom.
S: Oh, I see now. That's actually fascinating. So, is 27 a low or high number?
K: The number does not actually mean much when it comes to hierarchy, maybe if a family has 1, 2 or 3, all numbers after that are not of much importance. But, to answer your question, it is a medium number. it would be a low number in other clans but the Nezordu clan's cities usually have a lower population than other clan's.
S: Talking about clans, what can you tell us about them?
K: I feel like that would be a bit much for one interview but I will try. You see, most people in Gyondou belong to a clan, or rather their family does. There are 8 clans that all have different ideologies and mindsets and together they form Gyondou. We may be in conflict once per generation but we need each other. My clan is the Nezordu clan, a highly secretive one that focuses on espionage and stealth operations. We are so well hidden that nobody knows our cities' names and locations.
S: Huh, amazing. Are you allowed to talk about this?
K: Of course, I did not tell you anything of high importance.
S: So, why did you become a warrior instead of something more secretive?
K: Every clan needs its warriors, even the Nezordu. We may not have many warriors but people like me are still needed in the case that we have to face others in combat.
S: You said something about a conflict once per generation.
K: Indeed, the Devotion War. Our country is highly religious and believes in the Cave Mother. We also believe that said Cave Mother has an avatar on our world that is always of the same bloodline. We call this person, which is always female, the Heiress of the Cave Mother. The male clan leader or his son that devotes himself to the current Heiress of the Cave Mother will be the one to rule our country until the next Heiress of the Cave Mother, their daughter, is old enough to be devoted. Then, a Devotion War happens and the winning clan will be able to have someone devote himself to her. This does not even need to be the clan leader or his son but can be anybody from that clan, especially if the same clan wins two times in a row. We are absolutely against incest which is another reason for the family numbers.
S: You have a really interesting culture. I wish it would be easier to visit your country but I heard the currently ruling clan isn't too fond of foreigners which is a reason why not many people of this generation know about you.
K: It is true that the Kazazura clan is not the most friendly one towards foreigners but they do not completely keep them out of the country, so if you are fine with heavy regulations and being watched by the guards you can still visit us. Or you wait until the next Devotion War is over and hope that someone else wins, preferably the Nezordu. [She laughed after that.]
S: Er, I'll pass for now. How would the Nezordu rule?
K: We do not really care about rulership which is why we would not impose authority other the other clans but rather have them rule themselves. Basically a free clans situation.
S: That's almost democratic but not quite, I think. Anyway, I will be rooting for you. How old is the current Heiress and what will you do if the next Devotion War happens.
K: She's almost old enough, so the next Devotion War should happen soon. And I will return home to fight for the Nezordu, of course.
S: Ever the brave warrior, I see. How lethal are the Devotion Wars? Like, are they just friendly fights?
K: Sadly not. They are like a real war with casualties but we try to not hold grudges against other clans.
S: Damn, that sounds rough. I hope you won't fall, then. Oh yeah, one more question. What is living in a Nezordu city like? If you can answer that.
K: Thank you, I will try my best. And let me think for a second... It is actually more fun than you might think. Our training already starts when we are children but it is done in a playful way. You could say the training was similar to games of which we have a lot. After growing to teenage years it becomes a bit rougher but we are used to it by then. Life itself is really peaceful since we do not have to worry about members from other clans causing trouble. The old can grow old and children play on the streets. There is no technology, however, so I never even heard about things like TFs and mobile frames before leaving the country. It was a cultural shock.
S: Yeah, almost sounds like a completely different age. I don't think I could live there. Anyway, thanks so much for your time and all the answers! Your home sounds like an amazing place and I really hope that Gyondou will be led by a more foreigner-friendly clan after the next Devotion War, so that our readers can visit Gyondou themselves.
K: My pleasure. I feel the same and would like to see more foreigners in our country. We can learn a lot from you.
After that, the interview ended. I hope you found it as interesting as I did and are thinking about visiting Gyondou if they get a more open-minded clan in the future.
Xenxin, a country that many - myself included - love for its hospitality, is, sadly, not completely without fault, especially when it comes to law enforcement and dealing with illegal activities. This article's purpose is not to attack Xenxin but rather to report on something that happened while I was there.
I was in Xenxin for a vacation when I saw someone who looked like a Gyondouran warrior - with whom I was able to have an interview that I will post after this article. I tried asking people if they had seen her but one highly suspicious man confused me for an accomplice of hers. It turned out that he was with a group of Essence Core smugglers that wanted to rob her because she is an Essence Core hunter. When that rude man did not let go of me the Gyondouran warrior herself showed up to teach him a lesson. There was also another Core hunter but he wasn't the most trustworthy person, for a reason. After we were able to locate their hideout, we had to witness a horrible scene - one of the smugglers turned into a Tainted Essence Being and killed all of his partners. The brave warrior decided to engage the creature while the hunter and I were trying to find help. We quickly found someone who is part of the Purifiers of the Essence and I was able to prove my doubts about the other Core hunter. He was in illegal possession of a Tainted Essence Core and the Purifiers took him in before I led their leader towards the smuggler's hideout. She and the warrior were able to defeat the Tainted Essence Being and we were able to pull the curtain over the whole incident. By the way, their hideout was under the bridge that connects Shazan with Bauleura.
Please, Xenxin government, try to keep an eye out for smugglers and please, Xenxin people, do not just look away when someone looks like they are in trouble. Your friendliness should not stop you from engaging troublemakers. I hope this article and the whole situation will get some people thinking.
Once Sefi and Kireoki were seated, the Umbrette didn't lose any time.
"I would absolutely love to interview you as a Gyondouran warrior, to inform our readers a bit more about your fascinating country and yourself. Would you be willing to answer a few of my questions?", Sefi asked with a friendly smile. She did this as a journalist but was also curious herself. Of course, she would also write a seperate article about the whole smuggler situation, leaving no truth untold.
Kireoki was a bit hesitant at first but she agreed after which Sefi had her interview with her which she would post on Horhsal Connect.
After the interview was done, there was still a lot of time left, so they decided to talk a bit more about all different kinds of things. Hobbies, traveling experiences, Sefi's life as a journalist, Kireoki's life as a Core hunter and Nezordu warrior, books that Kireoki read, TF shows that Sefi liked (even though Kireoki had no idea how TFs even worked), and so on and so forth. The journey across the bridge took a few days after which they finally arrived in Bauleura where they would go their seperate ways because Sefi had to get back home to Chierresa.
They parted ways but told each other that they should meet again some day in the future. However, they didn't specify a time or place and left it up to fate.
"What an interesting person.", Sefi said to herself before starting her journey home. It wasn't really a journey like wandering around since she mostly used public transportation to get back, already thinking up all the needed details for her article.
"I wonder if the others did fine without me. Nah, they always do, so there's nothing to worry about." There was always someone holding the fort in the Courier Champion bureaus because they did not only create online articles but also newspapers.
More days later, she finally arrived in her home town. The first thing she did was check back at Courer Champion's main building to see if everything was fine. It was, so next was going home. Everything looked like before she left. Looks like it was a good idea that she hired a cleaner for the time she was gone. Sefi just noticed how tired she was, so she just threw her stuff in a corner, undressed and fell into her bed. The article could wait for another day.
Sefi and the Purifier tried to be as fast as possible. After reaching the building, Sefi stayed near a window while the Purifier went inside. She didn't lose any time and started to use a Farslinger technique after seeing that the Tainted Essence Being was busy attacking Kireoki. The charged shot she fired almost looked like a laser and was sure to do a number on the creature, even if only to push it away from Kireoki.
"I see you already did some work on it, impressive.", the Purifier said to Kireoki who was glad about the help. She was carrying a firearm, a rifle to be more precise. Having a Farslinger as support was a great situation and would help Kireoki to turn this fight around to finally slay this damn thing.
The creature got angry now - if Essence Beings even had emotions which Kireoki doubted - and actually extended its arms towards the Purifiers and Kireoki alike, probably to get both of them at once. Kireoki jumped and slashed the claw from above while the Purifier did a series of evasions to get out of its reach. She was definitely faster than Kireoki.
Kireoki followed her slash up with a pierce and had her weapon stick inside the creature's arm, so that she would get taken along when it pulls its arms back. After that she pulled her weapon out and sticked it right into its face. The Purifier, on the other hand, jumped high, aimed and fired another charged shot like before that smashed the creature against a wall but only after Kireoki was able to jump back. You could see that this Essence Being was still young, it didn't have many attacks and the arm extensions was probably the only special one it had. There was even a chance it only noticed that it could do it just moments ago.
"Time to finish this!" The Purifier supported Kireoki who gave chase and quickly attacked the Essence Being again. When it tried to crush her with one of its claws, the Purifier shot at it to give Kireoki time to evade. They eventually wore the Tainted Essence Being down. The Purifier got closer and shot the Tainted Essence Being right through its head which finally killed it. Took long enough.
Sefi watched the whole fight in awe and was amazed by what was going on. This was better than most TF shows she had seen! And she had seen a lot.
After the fight was over the Purifier checked her surroundings and just noticed all the corpses.
"Well, looks like they already got what they deserved. My men and I will take care of the Cores here, especially the Tainted ones. Thank you for your help. I will try to compensate you as soon as possible." She bowed towards Kireoki who was a bit embarrased by all this gratitude. Sefi joined the scene as well.
"I never would've thought that my vacation here would lead to this - absolutely crazy! But I feel like Kireoki and I should get out of here before the guards show up and make things complicated.", Sefi said before thanking the Purifier.
"Alright, you try to keep it here, I will try to find someone to help you. Preferably not the guards because I have the feeling they would use the opportunity to sweep everything under a rug.", Sefi said before looking at the other hunter that decided not to fight.
"You should come with me, I'm sure a Core hunter will make it easy to convince someone that there actually is a Tainted Essence Being around." He wasn't really comfortable with that but went along with it. Kireoki entered the building and engaged the creature while Sefi and the other hunter ran towards the city.
"Is there any reason you are so scared of that thing?", she asked him, showing clear doubts of his intentions.
"A freshly created Overflow Essence Being, a tainted one at that, isn't something that I want to face. I value my life.", was all he had to say. Well, that made sense even though it was kind of cowardly when compared to the brave Gyondouran warrior.
Sefi arrived in the city and decided to do something reckless.
"Hey, are there any Purifiers around? I have seen someone who uses Tainted Cores!", she yelled which drew a lot of attention. Most of the normal people hurried to get out of the scene before a woman in a light armor got closer.
"You are in luck, I am here because of some rumors. So there is actually someone who illegaly has Tainted Cores in their possession?", she asked after approaching Sefi while the other hunter started to sweat a bit.
"Sure thing. There is even a bunch of whole smugglers but that comes later. For now, I would like for you to inspect the pockets of this man." She pointed towards the Core hunter who was in shock.
"Hey now, what's this about?!"
"Just a lucky guess.", she said while smiling and sticking her tongue out. He knew he couldn't resist against a Purifier - she would probably hunt him down quickly - so he emptied his pockets, using a glove, and, surprise, he had a Tainted Core with him. That could explain why the smuggler from before was so quick to give up - the hunter probably threatened him to touch him with it. And that's worse than just getting temporarily tortured. Someone who touched a Tainted Core directly could become tainted themselves which will turn them into a Tainted Essence Being after a while. There is no cure for it other than being completely drained of any Essence Energy permanently - and nobody wanted that.
"You little scumsucker, using the profession of a Core hunter to get your dirty hands on a Tainted Core. Disgusting.", the Purifier said before calling for her men who arrested the hunter.
"Quick now, there's another Core hunter who's currently trying to fend off a Tainted Essence Being after one of the smugglers turned into it! She is actually noble, not like this guy.", Sefi told her. Purifiers had a controversial image but they were always reliable in situations like these. After all, their self-imposed task was to rid the world of any tainted influences.
"Understood, please hurry and lead the way."
Sefi started to think that this Core hunter guy was kinda fishy. She didn't think that he was part of the smugglers but there was something else about him that she didn't like. Anyway, she was just a civilian so she wouldn't say anything and just go with the flow - she was just an observer, so to speak.
The journalist used the time they needed to walk to talk with Kireoki.
"So, what reason does a Gyondouran warrior have to become a Core hunter? Seems awfully specific instead of just becoming a traveler", she started. Kireoki showed that polite, faint smile again that felt a bit forced in Sefi's opinion. Probably wasn't that used to being questioned like that.
"My father is an Essence scholar and there are not many people in our lands that hunt Essence Beings because they think it is a waste of strength. That is why Essence Cores are rare and father is interested in studying them. This is why I decided to hunt Essence Beings while traveling to send them to him."
So that was her reason. Pretty noble, now that Sefi was thinking about it. She probably wouldn't have invested that much time just to help her parents. Well, not like they had the best relationship, anyway. When Kireoki asked why Sefi became a journalist, she had to think about it a while.
"You could say I became a journalist so I could share the stories I encounter with people and to spread some truth out there. We don't focus on the same news that other news sites focus on - which they often do to get more revenue - but rather those that would go by unnoticed, otherwise. There is this coronation ceremony in the Etingnean Empire soon but instead of just reporting about it we did our hardest to get an interview with the Empress. I mean, when do you get the chance to interview someone like that, huh? This whole case here right now is also something that nobody would know about if I wasn't here. Sure, there is a chance that you take them out and the guards arrest them but I'm certain they will sweep it under a rug and keep it secret. I'm a journalist to prevent that.", Sefi explained in full detail and she could see that Kireoki was amazed by that. The chief journalist lived dangerously because not everyone liked her meddling but she was ready to deal with that.
Anyway, they reached the bridge but now had to find a way to get under it. Sefi was sure there had to be some passage or other way so that the smugglers could transport their "wares".
So she actually was a Gyondouran warrior! And she even told her which clan she was from although Sefi never heard about it before but she would have time to ask about that when she interviewed her later. First, she needed to get more information out of Kireoki who still didn't want to talk about what was going on. But Sefi was persistent! To her luck, the other Core hunter returned and didn't really notice the journalist at first.
"I couldn't find any of the smugglers yet, how about you?", he asked before noticing Sefi.
Ah, so that was going on! Smugglers in Xenxin which sounded surreal at first but actually made sense because it was an extremely lucrative place and the security was severely lacking. Sadly, this would just be a regular article instead of a scoop but maybe it could help to open a few eyes in Xenxin. Sefi decided to meddle even further.
"Smugglers, eh? What type? How big is their group? Have you been hunting them for long?" The questions sputtered out of her again and her voice made it clear that she would not accept any further rejections, so Kireoki finally gave up and filled her in.
"Essence Cores and Tainted Essence Cores. Yeah, that does sound dangerous. I'm not sure how long you have traveled but I'm sure you have heard how dangerous Tainted Cores can be. Heck, this could even bring the Purifiers on the scene and then things could get real messy." Sefi was pretty knowledgeable about a lot of things since that was almost a requirement to be a good journalist. How else would she report on things if she didn't know anything about them? And almost everybody knew about Tainted Cores and the Purifiers - people you didn't want to mess with unless you were a huge organization or a country. In the meantime, Sefi used her mobile frame to make a post on Horhsal Connect. After all, she had to keep her followers up to date.
Now the question remained on how to continue. The other hunter had the idea to not involve the guards just yet and instead wait for the knocked out guy to wake up to get some information out of him.
"Will he talk, though? Criminals can be pretty stubborn when it comes to interrogations, especially if you are not part of law enforcement.", Sefi said with a hint of doubt. They could probably threaten him but Kireoki didn't seem like the kind of woman to do that, so Sefi was interested in what they would do now.
Sefi started to feel a bit like the world-famous explorer Walldos, considering her current situation. What a great case of dumb luck. Not only did someone save her from this irritating guy but it was the person she had been looking for. Impressive non-lethal use of a weapon like that as well. Sefi was pleased and shrugged everything before this moment off like it never happened.
"Sure sure, but more importantly: are you actually a Gyondouran warrior? I have seen you a bit from afar but wanted to be sure that you actually were one.", she asked Kireoki which looked a bit perplexed but nodded. Good, so Sefi actually had a chance for an interview with her although the timing might not have been the best.
"Who was that guy? Is there something fishy going on? I really want to know. Oh, and you can trust me, of course.", Sefi continued. She wanted to be in on this. Yeah, it might be dangerous but she wouldn't be the chief editor of Courier Champion if she let a chance like that slip away. This was the perfect material for a great article!
Sefi was currently in Xenxin, an absolutely great and welcoming place. She has already been here a few times, seeing as it is basically the "gate" to Shazan, but she never gets tired of it. The people here are just super nice, they have a lot of culture and for love foreigners, and getting through the border can be done without a hitch because they know how many people need to get through their country to reach the rest of Shazan. In short: Xenxin was one of Sefi's most favorite places - and she has seen a lot of places because of her job as the chief editor and journalist of Courier Champions, a popular news company. As such, she has been on all continents already and even visited a city in the Culm Ocean.
Sefi was not in Xenxin for a scoop but rather because she was returning from a short vacation she was enjoying here. Normally, she would have been on her way to cross the gigantic bridge towards Bauleura but she had seen someone interesting while her journalist senses were tingling. Sefi had only heard about them and seen a few pictures but she believed that said person was a warrior from Gyondou, a mysterious country that she didn't visit yet because it was currently ruled by a clan that is not exactly foreigner friendly, Kazazura or something. Interviewing someone from there was something she had planned for a while but it's hard to actually see Gyondourans outside their country, so this could be a lucky chance. Too bad she lost the other person and was now asking the locals if they had seen her. Sefi would never have guessed that this could get her into trouble, especially not in Xenxin.
The last person she asked was clearly a foreigner and not from here, some grim looking guy in heavy armor. After she asked about the Gyondouran warrior he started to look at her with suspicion.
"Are you her accomplice or something?", he asked and Sefi didn't like the sound in his voice.
"No, in fact, I have never met her before. I just want to interview her.", Sefi replied calmly. She wasn't scared of this guy, even though she never had any combat training but she was a journalist and wouldn't just back down.
"Interview her?" He didn't seem to like that fact and forcefully grabbed Sefi's wrist.
"What do you know about all this?", he continued before Sefi pulled her hand back but couldn't because of his strength.
"Mister, I would prefer that you let go of me immediately."
Great, why did she always end up in messes like that? Sure, this will probably lead to an amazing scoop but why did she have to get caught up in it?
"Just tell me! Are you with the guards?" She could tell him that she was a journalist but that probably wouldn't help the situation one bit. It would not make much a difference for this guy, she assumed.
"Mister, let me go now or you will meet the guards soon enough!" Whoops, that just came out of her without thinking. Agitating him like that was probably not the smartest move but she hoped that other people would help... Nope, they didn't. That was one of Xenxin's downsides. The people are so friendly and peaceful that they automatically avert any kind of trouble or are too cowardly.
So she had to deal with it herself, just great. At least that's what she thought but the guy suddenly let go of her and started to tumble, as if something had hit him.