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  Somewhere in the facility a much cozier stage is set, with just under a hundred people filling the bleachers in front of a small performance stage with wood floors sits a fine desk next to a worn in but still comfortable looking couch in front of what appears to be a red brick wall and rich blue curtains the large back chair spins around revealing Randy, still glistening with grease and seeming ill suited to his suit as he waves to the small crowd, "Thank you for coming tonight folks! Tonight we will be interviewing one of the favorites of this season's litter of newbies. He might have finished second in his fight but he came in first in our hearts. He's the boy in blue who flew into the stage to make the bad guys pay! Please welcome to the stage, Blue Eagle!"

  Blue Eagle's stage theme begins as he walks on stage. The crowd cheers and stands as a tall well muscled man just starting to gray smiles and waves politely as some people excitedly chant, "Eagle! Eagle! Eagle!" while waving signs saying things like 'The hero we need!' and 'The Eagle has Landed!' They quiet as the man takes his seat.

  "So Blue Eagle, I looked through the government's Cape database earlier and noticed that you weren't listed as a new hero. Seeing as you certainly aren't a villain I was wondering, where are you from and what's your career been like, if you don't mind me asking?"

  "Of course." the man in blue said flashing a polite yet winning smile, "I hail from Herald City, which seems to be a favorite place for supervillains, monsters, aliens, mad scientists, and other super-criminals. Of course, with me around, Herald City is also one of the safest cities in America. I partner with the Herald City Police Department to keep supervillains such as Blizz Kid, the Technomancer, Red Hawk, and ForceField from taking over the city. To say nothing of my arch-nemesis, Queen Venus." The names seem to draw chuckles from most, though a few get far away smiles listening to the man as he continues, "What can I say about about my career? I've seen it all. Time traveling wizards, alien dinosaurs, giant robots telepathically linked to the minds of mad scientists. Just the other day, I had to stop one of my usual supervillains, Gravitational Paul, from pulling the Asteroid Belt to Earth. All in a day's work!"

  "Reminds me of the fifties and sixties before the start of the Sundering," Randy sighs his eyes misting over with memories, "I take it that means the Rumble is nothing new to you considering all the villains that got thrown into the mix this year. Have you any plans on what to do when fighting these dastardly divas and deadly dudes?"

  "To win, of course." the blue hero chuckles genuinely at his own small joke along with a few members of the crowd, "Villains are nothing new to me. Fighting them is part of my job. And as much as the Rumble is entertainment, the fact that any one of these dangerous characters can win a wish and a small fortune is dangerous. I can't imagine what any of them would do with that power. So I plan to win, if only to keep that power out of their hands."

  This statement draws cheers of approval from the gathered crowd who resume their chants and sign waving only quieting when Randy chuckles and leans forward eagerly, "Bold and brave words, just what I'd expect from a heroic idealization of the lost Honeymoon era! Are you perhaps planning to team up with the other heroes we got this season then? Maybe form a super team with the likes of Sediment Terri and Yata the Black Cat?"

  "I'd be happy to if they are. Right now, I'll be happy to team up with anyone willing to fight on the side of good." this draws a fresh cheer from the crowd and a few people waving appendages as if volunteering themselves, but they quickly quiet as Blue Eagle continues, "It all comes down to the power being presented as a prize, though, doesn't it? The fortune and the wish. If I fear someone will misuse that power, I'll make sure they don't get their hands anywhere near it."

  Randy smiles wistfully once more lost in memories, ""Gods I've missed heroes like you," he murmured before once more shaking himself free of his memories, "So is there any villain in particular you've got your eye on for the up coming matches? It seems like you might be wanting to tangle with Sawyer again after she defeated you in the ring the other night."

  Blue Eagle leans back and hums in contemplation for a second, "A particular one? No. Nor are there any I'm especially concerned with. With respect to the other competitors, I've triumphed over far worse during my career." the middle aged man leans forward onto the arm of the couch and with a coy smile ask, "I hope you're not trying to spark a rivalry with that question."

  Randy gasp in shock, recoiling and covering his heart as if stabbed before bursting into laughter and raising his hands in mock surrender, "Alright, I'll admit it, you got me there Blue. Though to be fair I was more or less required to ask, gotta try to build those rivalries for the show and all." Randy sobers and seems to glance off stage for a second before speaking with the utmost seriousness. "One last question if you don't mind, this next one is a bit more personal. If you do well in the Rumble, do you have any plans to stay, or will you be returning home?"

  The audience was suddenly silent, the entire studio quiet enough to hear a pin drop as everyone held their breath and leaned forwards in their chair. Blue Eagle looked curiously at the suddenly rapt crowd and cocked an eyebrow before returning to Randy and saying, "I'll be returning to Herald City as soon as all this is over. The threats against the city never stop, after all, and neither can I."

  A disappointed sigh filled the room and even the ever excitable Randy seemed to deflate with the news, "No chance we could convince you to stay and help clean up a few of our problems?" A small sad shake of the head, "Fair enough. Thanks for joining us tonight Blue Eagle it's been a pleasure." A handshake later and the hero left as Randy turned to the camera once more and forces some energy back into his movements, "If you want to see more of Blue Eagle he'll be fighting in two weeks time! Against who? Well you better tune in then to find out! Stay tuned in after this add break as we speak to another of out newest hopefuls!"

 

~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~

 

  When the commercials ended Randy was gone replaced by the platinum haired elven beauty of Tessa who now sat alone at the desk like a disapproving librarian or disappointed principle. "Welcome back everyone, Randy needed to step out for a bit but don't worry I'm sure he'll be back before you know it. While we wait for him, let us welcome our next hopeful newbie. You might remember him as the flame bending, spine launching giant who lost out after bringing down a titanic foe. He's the loner from another world, please welcome to the show Carnivore."

  The applause was much more muted then with Blue Eagle as the music starts up announcing the arrival of the six and a half foot scar covered giant sauntered onto the stage taking in the crowd with a single dismissive glance and taking a seat on the sofa which groans under his weight as he sinks into it. He had not missed how the seemingly petite woman in a red suit across from him had eyed his every move, seeming very much the embodiment of his own stage name.

  Neither of the two truly relaxed as a polite smile stapled itself to Tessa's face, "Thank you for joining us tonight 'Carnivore' a pleasure to have you on." the man across from her grunted in response, "You displayed some interesting powers in the ring the other night and it has people wondering, are you a human with flashy powers or something else?"

  The man calling himself Carnivore cracked his neck as a red glow shone from his eyes as he effortlessly met the icy blue ones of the hostess. "I doubt you are ready for such an answer so I will make it simple for you; this body is a puppet I have commandeered. I am what you would call a 'Titan'; a being outside your world. You can think of me as a living fire locked away inside this body."

  Amusement flickers in the cold blue eyes of the woman, she does not laugh but her entire body seems to radiate amusement as she casually purrs, "A titan, a being from outside our world?" her eyes dance over the audience where the many non-humans are likewise showing signs of clear amusement, "Yes, we've dealt with more than a couple of those," a small rumble of small chuckles fill the room, "Well then, as a mighty mysterious 'titan', does that mean that you threw your last match or were you simply so caught off guard by the actions of a couple mortals?"

  The giant flashes a wild smile devoid of mirth, bordering on a snarl, his breath carrying a growl as he rumbles, "Mind yourself now, girl; pride in of itself is a sin." Rather than seeming cowed Tessa only seems to grow more amused as he continues, "As for that match you believe I threw, Pawn was...surprising, to say the least. Entertaining. I have fought many things over my life, but that woman was certainly worth the attention. She fought smart and adapted to her enemies even while I was too slow to react. Old age got the better of me it would seem."

  The last sentence seems to briefly strip the mirth from the hostess, her eyes lowering as she softly mutters, "Age can tarnish even the greatest of men," in a snap she is once more a rival predator toying and prodding the strange beast that has wandered into her territory, "even titans aren't free of this it seems. Does this mean you plan on joining our self titled 'Peerless Champion' to demanding a rematch against the woman or is there someone else you've got your sights set on?"

  He lifts his hand, moving his fingers and popping the joints as he examines the limb. "You are only as strong as your weakest link, and this body has seen better days. I myself may be free of age, but this body is still mortal; a weakness I must work with." the red eyed man sets his hand back down and scoffs as he continues "As for that idiot, I have no such pride nor honor to maintain. If Pawn would like another round, I am more than happy to entertain her. However, she took me out of the fight too quickly and there are other fighters that I would like to trade blows with."

  "Oh?" Despite not leaving her chair people watching the recording and in the audience would almost swear the woman was circling the seated man. A few would claim they could all but feel the twitching tail of a predatory feline ready to pounce, "Such as?"

  He chuckles under his breath as he strokes his beard. "I would have preferred to see more of Black Cat. It's been a while since I've seen speed and moves like that. But that Zevon does have my interest. He looks like a young man who could hold his own, despite a strength difference between us."

  "Really?" platinum hair shimmered like liquid metal as the short haired woman titled her head, "I would have thought for sure that you'd be interested in young Charlie at least. Or do you 'titans' prefer to avoid squabbling among your own kind?"

  The titan clenches his fist, baring his fangs with a menacing growl. He does not spring up from his seat though everyone can clear see his desire to seize the tall woman and strike her down "Mind yourself girl; I am only playing along with this game of yours for the time it entertains me. Don't push that."

  Tessa seems just as eager for the fight her eyes seeming to flash in blue fire to counter the Predator's own roaring red blaze behind his eyes. "My my, if I didn't know better I'd almost think you were challenging me 'Carnivore'. Rather forwards of you for a first meeting." she teases. She pauses and frowns her face twisting with annoyance as she settles back into her chair where she sighs theatrically, "Sadly it seems you've already been scheduled to fight someone else. Have you anything to say to your challenger?"

  The giant's expression softens as he forces himself to calm down. "Consider yourself lucky then; I know there's someone else who wishes I was as forward. As for the challenger, we will have plenty to discuss in the ring. Just show me something interesting; it will be a fun tale to tell when I get home."

  "Ever so confident aren't we?" Tessa teases as the Carnivore walk off the stage to polite applause. She turns to the camera, if you want to see more of the Predator in combat, tune in this week to see him face off against a yet unseen foe. We promise it will be a positively divine fight to witness. Please stay tuned for our last interview of the night.

 

~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~

 

  When the camera's come back on little has changed in the room, Tessa remains despite seeming on the verge of a pout, yet is still maintaining near military levels of professionalism behind the desk. She nods and flashes a polite smile at the cameras, "I hope you saw something worth while during the break. No? Alas, perhaps you'll find this more worthwhile? Our last interview for the night is another near winner, the warrior woman who brought down Sediment Terri only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We again bring you, Yakuza Queen."

  The Asian woman walks out on stage to her blaring orchestra intro music and pauses to stretch her hand into the air, fist clenched in victory. The woman has dressed herself to the nines wearing a fitted business suit, with all the dressings, showing a tasteful amount of both wealth and professionalism. The crowd is much more energetic for her and several cheers ring out from the audience before she takes her seat on the sofa.

  "So why don't we start things out easy for you tonight with a simple question. Where did you learn how to fight?" a light chuckle ripples along the crowd.

  Despite the almost insulting wording of the question the woman either doesn't catch it or ignores the barb completely as she answers, “Bushido Brown. He was a Master from Africa…if you know what that is." Tessa nods, though several of the younger or odder people in the audience seem confused by the name, "He was so good, somebody got Jealous and chopped his leg off, so he had to replace it with a robotic leg. He trained me. He was harsh, he kicked me with that damn thing even, but it made me the best. And I’ve proved I’m the best. I’m so good I got fake fighters impersonating me.”

  A small predatory gleam flickers in the blue eyes of the taller woman, seeming like a shark having caught the scent of blood in the water. "Mm, he sounds like he was a very skilled man and an excellent master. So you've been in proper fights before now or has it all been training and sparring for you?"

  “Been in all women leagues. Undefeated." Yakuza Queen's face remains immobile as stone no hint of annoyance or pride in her features, "Dominant in more ways than one.”

  "Ah, women's leagues," a note of contempt worms its way into her voice as she leans forwards and politely ask, "Is the fact you've only fought women up until now the reason you lost a fight to a, what did you call him? A 'fake fighter', with but a fraction of your training?"

  “Not in the slightest." the Asian woman's entire body may as well be carved out of stone for how little she is moving, "I lost because I thought a man wouldn’t be such a coward. I thought he’d fight me with his own abilities. He took my move, he’s no wolf, he’s a damn puppy. A disgusting mutt who’d kiss my feet if it was fair.”

  "IS THAT WHAT YOU THINK!" Someone roars from offstage. Yakuza Queen turns quickly in her seat, just in time to catch a flung metal folding chair to the forehead causing her to topple to the ground in a boneless heap. Zevon storms onto the stage as the crowd cheers, boos, or just plain goes wild at the man's sudden appearance and violence. Zevon looms over the downed woman as she comes back into consciousness moaning in disoriented agony. "Are you such a sore loser that you need to try and drag my name through the mud in order to salve your own bruised ego!? Well if I'm such a damn coward how come you're the one talking shit behind my back and not saying it to my face huh!? You afraid little girl? Well guess what, I'm taking you up on your offer! You and me one v one in the ring! I'll do more than give you a fair fight I'll even make this a submission match so you can use your uncreative little move to try and win! What do you say Yakuza MOOK!? Do you accept or are you the very coward you claim me to be!?"

  During the entire rant Yakuza Queen had rapidly regained her focus and now she glared up at the short man with wolf face paint with a look of utter loathing. She rocketed to her feet and snatches the microphone off Tessa's desk. The elven woman does nothing to stop her as the furious Asian shouts into the mic, "You’re a FUCKING mutt. And I’ll put you down like the detestable little mongrel you are! I’ll watch the life DRAIN from you eyes as you beg for mercy. And you’ll call me QUEEN when it’s over.”

  Hurling the mic to the floor Yakuza Queen storms off the stage and Zevon begins to charge after her, clearly seeking to strike her from behind. He stumbles when a foot plants itself in his ankle and a hand catches him by the collar keeping him from toppling over. Tessa, somehow having gone from her desk to just behind the shorter man in a near instant chuckles, "Now now, save it for the ring." With the flick of her foot she kicks the microphone into the air and catches it. "Well it looks like Zevon and Yakuza Queen are heading to a vicious rematch which won't end until one or the other concedes defeat, is beaten to unconsciousness, or outright dies in the ring. Which one of these two hot heads will come out on top? Who can say? Tune in to the next Royal Road Rumble to find out!"

 

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A note from Gasmaskbro

A big thanks to Other Slater, Kobayashi Himura, and TeinSwitch for taking the time to sit down and write out their character's interview! Their cooperation was much appreciated!

 

In the next chapter we return to the fighting! Hope to see you there!


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