Dear readers, tonight we reprint a sports interview from a world where titanfighters and demonhunters show-case their abilities in a special arena.

“I’m Mr. Funktastic and welcome to ‘Mr. Funktastic’s Triennial Chivalry Games Special Quick Fire Sessions’. Today was an exciting day after the contestants were registered and the preliminary fitness tests were carried out. Plenty of surprises, especially from an unexpected group of contestants that are not titanfighters, nor sanctioned demonhunters and will be participating without titan armors. This night I have with us in our studio two of the persons under the spotlight in this edition of the Games: Mr. Harland Rickman, president of the Foundation and one of the heroes of the “Battle of Saint Lucy” and Yokoyawa “’Big Y’ Quetzalcoatl, legendary former champion of four editions of the Games and representative of the Samoharo delegation. Please give them a deserved applause.”

Mr. Funktastic sat behind his desk at the left side of the stage, while Yokoyawa and Harland were seated on the right, with Harland closer to the cameras to compensate for the stark height difference. One meter thirty-five centimeters versus the towering height of the samoharo that reached two meters with ease.

“It’s an honor to be in front of a legendary champion and a man that was at the frontlines of the Battle of Saint Lucy, against the Flying Terror lead by an undead royal prince bent on world domination,” Mr. Funktastic said. “An event that certainly has put some spice into this edition of the Games, where the cream of the crop of the fighters in the Core regions will represent their patrons in a spectacle of battle prowess and athleticism in highly creative arenas. This is the first time the Foundation has been invited as delegation, Harland. No NGO had been invited before, not even the Sisters of Mercy.”

“Yes, that’s correct,” Harland replied

“Why do you think this was the time to do so?”

“I think the rest of the delegations want an external observer to provide a different point of view removed from usual politics.”

“Isn’t that disingenuous? I mean, some say that you are bought by the Freefolk,” Mr. Funktastic stared at Harland, whose blood pressure was rising. He knew the video-radio host liked to act as a shock jock in front of the cameras, but while it might make for entertaining moments, it could lead to misinformation as well.

“And they are wrong,” Yokoyawa interjected. The Samoharo smiled at Harland. The thing with samoharo smiles is that they were equal parts endearing and frightening, a result of the rows of sharp teeth for the lizardlike species. “Both the Kuni Empire and the Samoharo supported the invitation, not just the Freefolk. Because part of the current crisis derives from the Battle, it’s advisable to have someone that was actually there to provide context so our nations can take the best course of actions.”

“And of course, the Straits went along,” Mr. Funktastic smiled. It was well known that the Straits let their more powerful neighbors, the Kuni and the Samoharo, to deal with external politics while its’ government focused on their internal problems. “Since when does a former titanfighter consider a life beyond the arena?”

“Since this titanfighter retired and became a therapist. And this provided me you with a different perspective in life. And make you observant of things, like that you are provoking us with these questions to increase your views online.”

“A smart cookie.” Mr. Funktastic winked at the cameras. “This edition of the Games is highly charged as result of the Battle of Saint Lucy, in which you were a participant, Harland. The Games are overshadowed with heavy criticism because it’s well known that some delegations use the duels as a proxy to solve conflicts instead of going to war. But the a few political parties and other groups have expressed that the Games are stopping the Alliance from evolving naturally. That wars are necessary to revive economies and solve disputes in earnest instead of papering them with a silly sports contest. What do you have to say to those comments?”

“First, those comments are out of place and borderline stupid and facetious. And I would hardly characterize war as necessary,” Harland replied, slightly raising his voice. “There might be conflicts that are unavoidable, but none are necessary. That’s the value of the Chivalry Games, not only from a sporting side, but as well as allowing the global community to find ways to solve our differences without the need for an all-out war as some parties within the Free Alliance would make you think.”

“You feel very passionate about this, I see,” Mr. Funktastic said. “I would like to—”

“It’s because I truly believe,” Harland interrupted, “unlike those parties you mention, that the Three Species that form our nations should stand together as allies before the upcoming challenges! The Games can help with that. Yes, there is a political aspect to The Games, that’s undeniable. But at the end of the day they were created as a celebration of what mortal spirit can achieve and has achieved along our shared history. That you have both of us here talking about this when in another reality our species might have been at war is testament that the Games work, both from a geopolitical and from a sporting point of views, that we can reach agreements in peaceful ways.”

“Well, some have claimed that the Games are quite violent. But I guess you don’t participate if you can’t take the heat,” Mr. Funktastic said. “A final question to Yokoyawa: as a former champion,” Mr. Funktastic turned to the samoharo. “Who do you think will be crowned Champion after the Games are done? Especially now that we found out that the Greywolf won’t be participating. Which I might add is a biggest disappointment. I can say that most of the Core Regions of the Planet wanted to see the Hero competing.”

“If the Greywolf had decided to compete, my money would have been on him of course,” Yokoyawa replied after a long pause. “And I would be tempted to nominate Ms. Galfano, who earlier test stats put her in the upper echelon of the competitors, and without titanfighter armor. But… no, she is not the one I’m betting on. I predict that the winner will be Ms. Kasumi Shimizu of the Foundation delegation. And I’m not saying that because Mr. Rickman is here. I truly believe this.”

“Controversial statement for sure!” Mr. Funktastic said. “She has been dismissed by many: a demonhunter with barely a single mission under her belt, and who in the eyes of many is at a serious disadvantage, being hard of hearing and needing to use hearing aids.”

“And I can say to those naysayers that they can they can stick their opinions inside their asses,” Harland replied, clearly angered, almost jumping from his seat. “It reeks of ableism and plain rudeness to think that she is not capable of competing. She came to us highly recommended by someone personally trained by the Greywolf. If that person thinks Kasumi can compete with the best, then that is what’s going to happen.”

“I agree with Mr. Rickman,” Yokoyawa added. “I have lived long, have had the misfortune of participating in many conflicts. And I have seen more courage and skill in the heart of battle by those that have less, that have lost a part of them, than the able bodied, spoiled titan fighters that have become too complacent on their magick armors and their tech. What I see in Ms. Shimizu is the drive to win at all costs, the skills to back that drive, and the smarts to get herself out of a tussle in the moment. Being hard of hearing won’t be a factor because it’s not a factor. She has what the other fighters lack: heart. And in these games, heart is the deciding factor. To discount her is a big mistake.”

“Well, you heard it here first: a former champion is backing a fighter of a fellow delegation and not his own! A first!” Mr. Funktastic exclaimed. “And on that bombshell, we close this portion of the show, thanking our guests for their time. Keep tuning in to Mr. Funktastic’s Triennial Chivalry Games Special Quick Fire Sessions for the latest developments in a Chivalry Games that will be full of surprises! Bye!”

Born in the formerly frozen landscape of Toluca, Mexico, Ricardo dreamed of being a writer. But needing a job that could pay the rent while writing, he studied Industrial Design and later obtained a PhD in Sustainable Design, while living in the United Kingdom. He is back now in Toluca, living with his wife and his three dogs where he works as an academic at the local university.

You can find Harland and Yokoyawa on the pages of Tempest Blades series, starting with The Withered King and continuing in the recently released The Cursed Titans. (Harland had also appeared on this blog before, after the release of the first novel).

Join us next time to meet a young man abducted and forced to fight an implacable enemy. Please follow the site by email (bottom-right) to be notified when the next interview is posted.