Chapter 7: The Joy of Teaching
Lecture Hall 1, Beacon Academy, Vale
Oh Mondays. Even though Sunday was the technical beginning of the week, the majority of people all claimed that their weeks all started with a Monday because that was the day that their two day period of being free from responsibilities came to an end. Working men and women had to return to their jobs, children had to go to school...oh yes, Mondays were the bane of an individual's entire seven day week.
The bell then rang to signal the beginning of Professor Port's 8 o' clock Grimm Studies class. The rotund educator nodded as he looked around at the class of first years, taking note of their tired forms.
"Good morning class."
The chorus of groans was the reply to the rotund teacher's rather jovial greeting.
"Well now, that is hardly the greeting befitting of noble huntsmen and huntresses of the future. Why, I remember back in my day when the eagerness to learn was practically palpable, filling up the entire atmosphere of the classroom. It was back in my first semester and I must say, if not for Oobleck's presence I could have been the number one student, haha!"
The rolling of everyone's eyes served well to reveal their displeasure of being met with another of Professor Port's many exaggerated tales.
"However, you are not here to listen to my amazing tales of adventure and suspense my wonderful students." Professor Port then proceeded to snap his fingers and a pair of men dressed in uniforms not unlike the ones associated with the Valian Postal Service, burst through the doors of the auditorium with a large steel box. They rested the box down and proceeded to exit the classroom without a word.
Yang raised an eyebrow. "Who were the mailmen?"
"Giant steel box with what I now observe to have glowing red eyes peering through the caged slot, and the thing you're most focused on are who the mailmen are?" Weiss asked.
"These are questions that need to be addressed." The busty seventeen year old replied seriously.
"I agree." Nora nodded her head stiffly in agreement earning her a complimentary high five from the lavender eyed girl. Weiss and Ren rolled their eyes at the two girls before all attention was placed back on Professor Port and his new box.
"Now, this lesson today will be about something that is very important in our line of work." Port stated. "The intense feeling of dread, despair, hopelessness and death all culminated into one purely destructive force of negative emotion. All living creatures can summon it, but only humans have shown the ability to actively control this force. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to what I am referring to?"
The Schnee heiress raised her hand to which Port acknowledged her with a nod.
"I believe you are referring to killing intent, Professor."
"Yes! Well done Miss Schnee!" Port laughed jovially. "Killing intent is indeed the answer. Now the reason why this is important for you all to learn about is because out in the field, wild animals, Grimm and even humans will be using the skill of summoning killing intent as a means to aid them in battle and survival. Killing intent generates a paralytic effect on the body. It produces a feeling of fear within the target that only those who have faced it before, or those who have a great tolerance for it can withstand its effects. The Creatures of Grim are very adept at producing killing intent, but in addition, they are also adept at tracking by following killing intent. We huntsmen and huntresses hunt with the intent to kill our targets and it is because of the mild killing intent we exhume when we hunt that sometimes, the Grimm can get the better of us."
"So..." Jaune muttered nervously as he raised his hand. "Is there a way to hide from the Grimm then?"
"It's actually a very simple method, Mr. Arc. Would you or anyone else care to take a shot at guessing what the answer is?" Port asked. "Miss Schnee?"
Despite her wealth of knowledge, Team RWBY's resident ice queen was left at a loss for words as she had her eyes narrowed in deep thought.
'Well someone is overthinking things.' He chuckled as the rest of the class remained silent and immobile. "Come now, class, surely one of you have an unsure idea of what is to be done."
"Ummm...well, I could give it a try." Ruby said as she raised her hand. Though I'm not sure if I'm right or..." The sniper-scythe wielder felt her anxiety rise to all new heights as she felt the gazes of all her classmates being directed towards her. Her hands shook and her palms became very sweaty.
"Miss Rose." Professor Port's loud voice bore a tone of calm as he directed his squinty eyed gaze at her. "You, much like the rest of your classmates are now starting your journeys to become huntsmen and huntresses. I will be blunt when I say I do not expect anyone to know much about anything because these are your first steps. Miss Schnee is a brilliant student, yes...but she does not know everything and so whenever she attempts answering my questions, I praise her. At this point in your education, there is no merit to remaining silent. Trying to answer a question rather than not attempting at all is something to be praised for in the world of education as it shows that you are being mentally stimulated. You will not be berated nor insulted for your attempts, I can assure you of that."
The classroom was silent for a moment as the words were being processed by all twenty-eight students. Kiran and Byron bore rather surprised looks on their faces.
"The Captain seems to have gained quite a silver tongue since he's finished being on the battlefield it seems." Byron commented.
"Quite." Kiran nodded in agreement as he adjusted his glasses. "Teaching really has humbled him and improved his character for the better."
The brothers noted as Ruby's previously anxious expression vanished as she took a deep breath in and then exhaled. The red cloaked girl then nodded stiffly as she pushed down her excess thoughts and spoke her answer. "Ok, so my idea was that since the Grimm track us by following the killing intent we release when we go out on our expeditions, then you can just...turn it...off...I guess."
The fifteen year old scratched the back of her head and chuckled nervously as her anxiety got the better of her once again, but her silver eyes widened when she saw the rotund huntsman give a nod of approval. The other members of Team RWBY all had wide eyes as they turned to Ruby and then to Professor Port.
"She's right?!" The three seventeen year olds exclaimed.
"I'm right?!" Ruby's exclamation followed directly after, her eyes wide with shock, but a bright grin adorning her face.
"Turning off the killing intent is a rather significant oversimplification of the action, but Miss Rose, while they aren't the exact words I would use, I will you give your credit where it is due." Professor Port said. "You are indeed correct."
"Nailed it!" Ruby turned to Kiran and gave a high-five to her fellow weapons fanatic. Professor Port chuckled at his youngest student's enthusiasm.
"Yes. Miss Rose's idea to turn off your killing intent is the correct way to go." Port stated. "A Creature of Grimm will follow the trail of negative emotion like a moth to a flame."
"So ummm how exactly does one do that?" Jaune asked as he raised his hand.
"Truth be told Mr. Arc, the ability to wield killing intent with proficiency takes many years of practice. Turning it off is an act done using pure force of will, and it took me almost seven years on the battlefront to master the craft." Port answered. "However, I believe it would be best for you all to witness the skill with your own two eyes. Boys, if you would be so kind."
The Gopaul brothers rose from their seats without a word. They strode down the steps to the open area of the lecture hall, the eyes of the other twenty-six students focusing intently on them and the rattling cage they now stood in front of.
"Captain, while we have no qualms about demonstrating your lesson to the class...why don't you do it yourself?" Byron asked.
"Why Byron, while I would like to perform the demonstration myself, I am humble enough to say that the students of Ozpin are far better than myself. Why I remember during your early years when we were surrounded by that herd of Boarbatusks..."
"Beowolves." The boys corrected.
"It was night..."
"It was midday."
"I had lost my weapons and you were the only line of defense against me and certain death!"
"Captain..." Kiran sighed. "You had your weapon and there was a full hunting team under our command. We were fine."
The entire class gave constricted expressions of amusement as they observed the interaction between the former captain and his former subordinates. The degenerating vigor in Port's voice was lost with each correction the Gopaul brothers made to the teacher's story until finally the rotund man simply gave a slightly aggravated look at the boys, a pulsating vein visible on his forehead. Byron and Kiran were as indifferent as they always were.
"...Just do the thing."
"Just know that I have the utmost faith in you."
Everyone else in the room couldn't help but give the older huntsman a deadpan stare as he had made the statement from behind the podium at the far end of the lecture theatre.
Rolling their eyes at their former field captain, the brothers placed their undivided attention upon the rattling cage. The other students leaned forward in their seats in both anticipation as well as some anxiety. Within that cage were some of the most fearsome creatures to walk the Earth and one could only imagine how many ways this could all go sideways.
Professor Port then gave a nod which the boys returned. Byron and Kiran took deep breaths as they closed their eyes. Nothing else in the room existed except for them and the beasts within the cage. The ferocious snarls and howls that echoed from within met their ears until the sound of their teacher's Blunderbuss being fired was heard. The latch was broken from the force of the bullet and the moment it had been undone, the two Beowolves pounced out of their jail and into the light before coming to a halt as Byron's and Kiran's eyes snapped open. Suddenly, a powerful force of negative emotion graced their senses.
"What the..." Yang could practically touch the atmosphere, it had become so tense.
"Yang...I...I can't breathe." Ruby gasped as she gripped at her throat.
Not many others fared that well either. Some also felt incapable of breathing, others felt their stomachs turn and all eyes were wide as they suddenly had their mind's eye being greeted with the images of gruesome death. For the second time since arriving at Beacon, Jaune felt the need to puke his guts out. To his credit, he did well to resist the urge. Damn was it difficult though.
Blake, Pyrrha, Yang, Ren and Nora were the few who managed to remain composed throughout the entire ordeal. They all had their own experiences, but they had all each come face to face with the powerful force of killing intent at some point in their lives. However, the way the brothers were utilizing it, it was far more terrifying to know that one could manipulate the very feeling to bring about death. Their eyes then widened as the killing intent seemed to warp the space around them in a manner similar to how the air would ripple from intense heat. It was at that moment that they swore they could have seen phantasmal images standing behind the students of Ozpin.
Behind Byron, there was the phantasm of a powerful golden beast that looked very much like a lion. Its body was composed of bright golden aura and bore a mane that seemed to be even brighter, said mane flickering and flowing like a flame. The lion phantasm bore a black armoured mask over its face with red eyes that shone an evil crimson as it growled, baring its fangs.
Kiran's phantasm was far more humanoid, but equally terrifying. It was a massive silver titan which was clad in bright silver armour. The titan had three faces, each face bearing a demonic visage complete with glowing red eyes and lips curled into ferocious snarls that revealed sharp teeth. The armoured titan flexed each one of its six arms, gripping a wicked blade in each of its hands.
Despite the terrifying avatars that stood behind Byron and Kiran, the two Creatures of Grimm gained expressions of predatory hunger, drool cascading from their panting maws as they licked their lips with delight. The intent to kill flowed strongly from the two humans before them, but despite being juveniles that craved to rend the flesh from their prey's bones, these Beowolves had had enough experience in the outside world to know when to strike. They had made mistakes on the battlefield before and it was what had led to them being thrown into the cage, but they had learned from that experience. This was reflected in how they slowly and tentatively circled the two killing intent users.
Time ticked away as what felt like hours was actually only mere seconds. The brothers then shifted their bodies into fighting stances and the Beowolves tensed their muscles. They bared their fangs and dug their claws into the tiled floor in preparation for combat. They kept their eyes trained on the students of Ozpin, their eyes twitching every now and then to pick up on any external noises and to listen to the breathing of their prey...and then they blinked.
The moment their eyes opened, the killing intent vanished from view along with their users. There was no sound of their feet shifting, no clothes ruffling and not even a grunt to show effort in their physical actions. It was just one moment they were present and then they just disappeared. The Beowolves spun around the room, looking for their prey with just as much confusion as the rest of the room.
Ruby gasped and hugged her sister as she found the ability to breathe again.
"Hey...where'd they go?" Nora asked. "They were quiet. Ren, I think they made sloth noises."
"Well...sloths don't make a lot of noise so you aren't wrong." The green clad huntsman in-training replied to his orange haired teammate.
"Do you think they're ninjas?" The hammer wielding embodiment of a sugar rush had eyes wide with amazement as her imagination ran rampant with the idea that the students of Ozpin were actually ninjas. However, the orange haired girl was brought out of her thoughts when she was tapped on her arm by Lora. The raven feathered Faunus pointed up at the ceiling and all who saw her motion followed her finger. Their eyes widened and their mouths were agape as the boys were just in the middle of completing their acrobatic motions to place their feet against the high ceiling of the lecture theatre.
"That ceiling is over fifty feet high!" Weiss exclaimed.
The outbursts from the two girls distracted the Beowolves from their search for their original prey and forced their red eyes to gaze upon the other first year students of Beacon. With new prey in sight, the Beowolves growled as fear and anxiety sprung forth from the hearts of a few members of the class. However, the Beowolves never even had a chance to begin their charge as Byron and Kiran had pushed off of the ceiling and fell like missiles towards their opponents. No aura or weapons were utilized as Byron and Kiran both crashed down upon the backs of the Beowolves. The sound of their spines snapping had been obscured by the loud yelps of pain they released, but the yelps and whimpers of the now paralyzed beasts had quickly turned back to silence as they performed a simultaneous choke hold, wrapping one arm around the throat while gripping the top of the head. It looked like a simple and effortless maneuver, but to snap the neck of a Beowolf required far more torque than what was required to snap a human neck.
Human necks were capable of withstanding up to just under 1000 foot-pounds of torque, or 1300 Newton-metres if one were to apply that particular unit of measurement. To break the neck would require between 1000 to 1250 foot-pounds or between 1350 to 1700 Newton-metres of torque. Most instances of breaking the neck involved assistance from a weapon being swung with the necessary force or to deliver a blow such as a very strong spin kick. To put things into perspective, a Beowolf was far more muscular and thus had far more muscle fibres to provide support and stability for the neck vertebrae to withstand powerful applications of force, thus requiring approximately 2000 foot-pounds of torque at the very least and an Alpha would require twice that amount to have its spinal column broken. Kiran and Byron had managed to do that with pure physical might.
In essence...Byron and Kiran were very very strong.
The boys rose up from the bodies of the Beowolves as they began to dissipate into the wisps of shadow Grimm were known to become after being killed. Patting down their pants, the two boys turned to Professor Port and nodded.
"Was that a satisfactory display, Captain?" Byron asked.
"Of course!" The rotund huntsman laughed, giving a proud clap on the gauntlet wielder's shoulder. "You and your brother are still quite adept at using killing intent! Quite a good show, boys! Very good!"
The three males then turned to the rest of the class as they took note of the silence. Shocked was by far a massive understatement of what they were expressing as all eyes focused on the students of Ozpin. A slow gulp was then heard from Jaune as he pointed a shaky finger at them.
"Wh-Wh-What was th-that?"
"Killing intent." Kiran replied curtly. "This is the point of the lesson after all; to display its use against the Grimm. As you were able to see, when my brother and I showed our killing intent, the Beowolves placed their focus entirely on us. You may felt some degree of negative emotion, most probably fear or anxiety, but our killing intent was more than enough to overwhelm the negative emotions you all would have exhibited and allowed us to keep the Beowolves trained on us. Then, when we shifted to the ceiling, we cancelled it. The Bewolves have an adept sense of smell and hearing, but we had moved out of their sight fast enough to also catch them off-guard. Unfortunately, your emotions were put into play and so we moved quickly to kill them before they could move to attack you all."
"No, we get that." Ruby waved her hands in front of her body, but then pointed a finger past them. "But what was that you two did earlier. There was a lion and some kind of demon giant behind you guys when you used your killing intent. What was that?"
"Oh you mean the avatars?" Byron asked. "Captain?"
"Go ahead. I've never been able to generate an avatar for myself, so you would be far better at explaining this phenomenon that I would ever be." Port gestured to the elder Gopaul brother to take the stage. The curly haired nineteen year old nodded his head before turning back to class.
"The avatars are a concentrated form of will, aura and killing intent. Due to this phenomenon being the culmination of three very non-biological elements, it is a very difficult skill to accomplish and it took Kiri and I a number of years to summon our avatars at will and completely master the craft." Byron explained.
"So how does that all work?" Blake asked. "You said it has three components, but what is it exactly that happens that creates the avatar?"
"It is quite a difficult process to explain, Blake." Byron admitted with a scratch of his head. "However, I will try my best. Kiri will act as my visual representative for the processes I will be explaining as, even though I am the more emotional one between the two of us, he is better at the control aspect of it."
Some of their classmates raised their eyebrows at the older Gopaul brother's claim. 'You're the emotional one?' The shorter boy had more vocal tone compared to his bespectacled brother, but he was still rather unemotional when all was said and done.
The two brothers then made their way over to the boards at the end of the room. He pushed aside two of the cork boards that displayed the various diagrams of the Creatures of Grimm to get to the largest one and flipped the board to reveal the blank white surface on the back. Without even looking, he snatched the marker that Professor Port tossed towards him. A few claps were heard through the lecture theatre at the display of reaction speed and Byron could not help but smirk as a small bit of his ego broke through to the surface.
"So we will begin with the first step of avatar generation. Aura." He uncapped the black inked writing utensil and wrote the five letter word down. "As a hunter, aura is our most versatile and important tool. It is an energy force that is drawn from the very soul itself, the crystallisation of years of training in both spiritual, physical and mental fortitude. It is used as a physical enhancement, a protective energy coating and is the source of how we manifest the true nature of souls; the Semblance. Aura is the energy source of all of our feats as hunters and the generation of the avatars is no different."
Kiran took a step forward and adjusted his glasses as he summoned forth his aura. The silver light of his soul outlined his body and danced like a flickering fire.
"The second element would be the killing intent." He wrote down the two words beneath the 'Aura' label. "Now killing intent is so very intense in its ability to create visual hallucinations and if you have a great deal of mastery over it, you can create them at your leisure. You create the ability to make your victims see visions of death and destruction. These visions tend to be related to the victim's own death and it is what causes them to freeze up. They would be incapable of movement for a few seconds at most as they would have been shocked at seeing such images, but those few seconds are more than enough to move in for a final blow." Byron explained as he then drew a small happy face and then an angry face next to 'Killing Intent'. "As Captain Port explained beforehand, killing intent is a controlled release of negative emotions. Now biologically, emotions are a result of various chemical reactions in the brain, primarily serotonin and dopamine, which are funneled across the synapses in response to certain stimuli. However, emotions are a key aspect of what identifies us as sentient, living beings. Emotions are positive and negative."
He pointed to the two faces he drew beforehand.
"We focus on drawing out the negative emotions when utilizing killing intent. We draw out the rage, greed and fear; the culmination of what makes us all violent and destructive creatures whether we be human or Faunus." He paused to look back at the class, nodding in satisfaction when he saw their attentions hadn't strayed. "These emotions are found within the depth of the soul and so we call upon it. It is essentially our inner beast, the darkness within our very hearts and souls brought to surface and directed at a singular target. Yes, Weiss?"
The white haired heiress dropped her raised hand upon being acknowledged. "But if both our auras and killing intent are drawn from our souls like you say they are, then how is it that you claim that this is a difficult skill to acquire? If both things from the same source, then it should be easy to generate an avatar."
"Weiss-cream's got a point."
"Don't call me that!"
"Nah, still got a bit of hate in me left from you bitchin' on my little sister." Yang replied with a cat-like grin. "I'm in this for the long game, Weiss-cream."
The pale skinned girl turned red with embarrassment as the nearby class members openly laughed at the buxom blonde's words.
"A valid assumption, Weiss, but that is not the case." Byron answered as he turned back to the board and drew an outline of the human body, writing the word 'SOUL' where the heart would be located. He drew then drew one circle and labelled it 'Aura' and then another circle labelled 'Emotion'. "The soul has many aspects to it, but when it comes to aura generation and killing intent utilization, it is like having two different containers within the same storage space. Aura generation is summoning aura in its purest form." He gestured to his still silver-outlined brother. "As Kiri is demonstrating, the aura is alone. A bright and powerful energy force, but killing intent now..."
Kiran took his brother's pause as his cue to stop his aura. The silver glow around his body died away, but then the familiar ripple of the air came forth as a burst of negative emotion sprung forth from his body. It wasn't as intense as it had been when they were demonstrating its usage on the Beowolves, but it was still enough to make others feel queasy.
"Emotions have their own containment within the soul that act in tandem with the biological factors to be drawn out. Selectively calling upon the negative ones are what generates killing intent." He then turned back to the board and wrote the word 'WILL'. "Now the final piece of the puzzle that aids to generate an avatar. Will."
Byron raised his marker and drew a straight, horizontal line across a portion of the white board.
"Now in order to explain this portion, we will need to delve into the hypothetical existence of what is known as the emotional spectrum." He wrote out each word as he called them out to the class. "Rage. Greed. Fear. Will. Hope. Love. Compassion. These are the seven core elements of the emotional spectrum which are found in all living things. It is composed of a negative compartment..." The shorter Gopaul brother then drew a lengthy outlined around 'Rage', 'Greed' and 'Fear' before drawing another outline which encompassed the 'Hope', 'Compassion' and 'Love'. "...and a positive compartment."
"But...what about 'Will'?" Ruby asked. "It's not a part of anything."
"And that my dear, Ruby Rose...is why this is important to know for avatar summoning." Byron pointed his marker at the scythe wielder with glint of emotion in his eyes. "The element of Will is the emotion that is defined as the control exerted to do something or to restrain impulses, and as you can see from my little diagram, Will is in the centre of the emotional spectrum and is thus a neutral element. This is due to the fact that Will acts as the driving force for the other emotions; you can will yourself to feel rage when something upsets you; you can will yourself to cling to hope when all is lost!" His voice increased in volume as he started to become more passionate about the subject. It was from that moment the class learned why Byron was the more emotional of the two students of Ozpin. "Will is the most potent and powerful of the elements of the emotional spectrum and that is why will is the most important part of summoning the avatar!"
"Will is utilized when a huntsman is able to manipulate both their killing intent and aura to a very high level."
Kiran closed his eyes in concentration and all eyes focused on the taller Gopaul brother as he summoned forth his aura once more. The silver glow of the energy within his soul licked at their surroundings like a flame, but then the dark portions of the emotional spectrum came to life as the waves of rage, greed and fear and all their associated sub-elements were drawn from the emotional portion of the bespectacled boy's soul. The aura and killing intent visibly merged, becoming a shape-less cloud of energy, but then the cloud began to twist and bend. It seemed to solidify, taking shape and form.
"They shape it. Bend it. When a huntsman or huntress earns a great deal of control over their aura and killing intent, they will the both of these elements to fuse and become a single entity. Essentially, when the hunter is capable of combining the two, it begins to take the appearance of their innermost representation of their soul's darkness."
Kiran's avatar, the six-armed demon, roared as it came into existence once more.
"The aura is the energy that is supplied by and originates from the soul itself." Kiran was the one who spoke this time as he looked up at his demonic avatar. "The dark emotional spectrum that lies within the soul is also called upon. So it is only logical that the avatar which is generated from such key aspects of the soul, would be the phantasmal reflection of the darkness within their souls. However, the appearance of an avatar is specific to each individual person. No one person has the exact same avatar. Mine took on the image a mystical being known as an Ashura, a demonic being of war from the religion of Nakara in the eastern region of Alma Torran. Ron's on the otherhand, though it may look like a lion, is actually a mythical beast known as Regulus Aurum. We don't know why or how our souls took such forms as their avatars, but nobody ever really truly understands the inner workings of these metaphysical elements."
The Ashura avatar vanished from view with a wave of Kiran's hand, and the two brothers stepped towards the class as they looked over their fellow classmates who were all currently in awe.
The Forge, Beacon Academy, Vale
Beacon had been stronghold, a fortress to protect others from the Creatures of Grimm once upon a time. As such, in the event that the Creatures of Grimm would have ever breached the walls or if the huntsmen and huntresses were to have to venture out beyond the walls of Beacon Academy, they would have had to brandish weapons for their own protection. So, to have their weapons, they required a place to create them, a place to improve upon them if said improvements could be made, and also a place to re-forge them should the weapons return broken or battered from seeing numerous battles. Thus, the Forge had been created.
The Forge was a massive steel grey building with all the workings of an actual forge. In order to cater to numerous students would wished to pursue a career in weapons forging, as well as to accommodate to students who wanted to either re-forge or perform maintenance upon their own weapons, the Forge was equipped with a number of hearths. The massive fireplaces utilized either bituminous coal, industrial coke or charcoal as fuel to to generate the intense heat needed from the flames in order to heat the metal. In addition to the hearths which lined the walls; anvils, a variety of hammers ranging from ball-peen hammers used by smiths to sledgehammers utilized by the strikers, tongs, fullers, hardies and slack tubs were placed beside each individual hearth to provide for the individual who wished to use that particular hearth.
Laying in the grassy fields outside the Forge, the twenty-eight first year students all sat patiently for their class to begin.
The sound of hammers striking super heated metal, the smell of burning fuel, the whoosh of the air being released by the bellows to fan the flames through the tuyeres; it was music to a certain white haired wolf Faunus's ears. He released a content sigh before his ears twitched as he heard the light cough from his first year students.
"Ah, yes sorry. As a creator of weapons myself, the Forge holds a special place in my heart. I apologize for my spacing out." Arthur said with a nervous laugh. "Now then, let's right down to it. My name is Arthur Asimov. I may be young, but that does not matter as I was able to finish Beacon's four year curriculum within the span of two years due to my unbelievable intellect. Now, some of you might be wondering, why is it that someone like me who could be making a much better use of his time designing and creating the wonderful machines that he currently has ideas for is here with you new first year students for your Weapons Maintenance class?"
"Ummm not rea-" Jaune was immediately cut-off as the blue eyed genius continued to talk, answering his own question in one fell swoop.
"Well the answer is simple. I'm merely a substitute for your original teacher; Mister Vulcan. He was not able to be here, unfortunately, due to having some business to take care of in Atlas." The native of the Mother Country looked over his new students. They were no longer dressed in their standard uniforms, and were now clad in short-sleeved white t-shirts and baggy black pants which were tucked into a pair of black construction grade boots. Pairs of protective goggles rested atop their heads in a manner similar to the way he wore his own, though it lacked the magnification and heightened durability modifications that he had made to his. Some of them even wore bandannas around their heads.
'How adorable of them.' He chuckled inwardly before taking note of each and every one of their individual weapons they had been asked to bring with them to the Forge. "Now, all of you have brought your weapons with you. Riddle me this, my comrades...what created your weapons?"
"The blacksmith?" Dove had attempted an answer, but the green haired boy was given a negative.
"Anyone wishes to try again?" He asked. The rest of the students were quiet, but just as he was about to answer the question himself, his blue eyes spied the raised hand of a certain sniper-scythe wielder. "Yes, little girl?"
"My name is Ruby. Ruby Rose." She introduced herself to the young substitute. "Anyway, I was thinking that the answer would be more outside the box. Maybe it's your imagination. After all, blacksmiths imagine what they want to make and the only way to give a weapon shape is with your imagination."
"Precisely!" Arthur exclaimed. Ruby beamed at being correct, her silver eyes following Arthur around as his white head of hair twitched in two specific areas due to the excited flapping of his wolf ears. "Just as Ruby stated, the blacksmith is who creates your weapons...but he is not the what. Blacksmiths use their hands to bring to life the vision of the weapon they see lying hidden away within the chunk of raw metal and Dust. They give it shape and purpose. However, anyone can pound away at a hunk of metal...but the thing that brings about the image of what that metal can become...is this."
Arthur rapped a finger against his temple to bring his point home before turning back to the class. "The imagination is a weapon. Those who don't use it die first."
"Kumo Kagyu." He hadn't expected anyone to know the person who made that quote, but this new batch of huntsmen and huntresses were now beginning to grow on him as they continued to impress him with their ingenuity and knowledge. His blue eyes found the source of the female voice, his fanged grin now directed at Blake.
"Indeed. Kumo Kagyu was the one who created that saying." The scientific genius confirmed with a stiff nod. "Care to elaborate for the rest of the class, Miss...?"
"Blake." The disguised cat Faunus said. "Kumo Kagyu was an author of dark fantasy novels and he created that line of dialogue for his popular novel series, Goblin Slayer. In the books, he created a magic based world centering around a hero who specializes in killing Goblins. From the outset that doesn't sound very impressive, since those of you who have seen pictures or read in story books that goblins have a level of strength and intelligence comparable to that of human children. However, it was because of that that the characters in the novel underestimated the goblins. Many humans died throughout the course of the story as the goblins were capable of using their imagination to great effect, setting up ambush points in caves by using things like totems to draw the eye away from the shadows and hide in side-tunnels normally hidden in the shadows cast by the lanterns of the caves they dwelled in."
"Very true. It is a brilliant novel series and as a lover of literature, I can appreciate the content of the books to use in my teachings." Arthur smiled at Blake. "Very good Blake."
"So what does this have to do with weapons?" Cardin asked. "Story book fairy tales aren't going to teach us how to make our shit."
"And clearly, you did not utilize your ability to use abstract thinking to take the lesson I wanted to you all to glean upon from hearing Blake's description of the Goblin Slayer novels." Arthur growled out. "Tell me, was it Dust that saved early man from the Creatures of Grimm? Was it the stone and stick that saved them? That is hardly the case, my boy. It was not the tools themselves that saved them, but rather how they used it. Dust by itself is only a tool, but if the mind that wields it is not sharp then you might as well be setting yourself up to die."
"What do you mean, Mr. Asimov?" Weiss asked.
"Oh don't be so formal, Weiss." Arthur chuckled as he saw the confused look on her face. "Oh don't be so surprised I know your name. I've invented weapons and whatnot for the Atlesian government and was asked by the SDC many times to send over blueprints of some of my prototypes."
"The SDC?" Lora raised a delicate eyebrow in confusion and mild surprise. "The SDC wanted help? From you?"
"Oh, but of course. Aside from how Faunus are seen by the corporation, Director Schnee cannot deny that I am smarter than every single scientific mind in his laboratories combined. Also, not not all Schnees are bad."
"And what makes you say that?" The L of BLMK asked.
"Well, Weiss here hasn't gotten up in arms about me being your teacher has she?" He gave a soft smile to Weiss.
"You should have heard her a few days ago."
"I said I was sorry."
"And that makes everything better?"
"Enough!" Arthur stamped his foot down, his blue eyes directing an ice cold stare at the bickering females.
Yang's violet eyes brightened, a sultry look forming on her face. "Oh? A teacher out age who has spine. Nice." Her comments were thankfully not heard by anyone else as they focused on the interaction between the two Faunus and the Schnee heiress.
"If you have a personal problem, leave it for outside the class. Also, Lora..."
The other students, aside from Michael, gained quizzical looks at how Arthur knew her name without any sort of introduction. However, they simply chalked it up to having known each other beforehand since they were both Faunus. Social segregation tended to create close-knit groups in the discriminated communities.
"I know you're not one to hold grudges based on family name alone. Our kind should know better than to antagonize based on one's past." Arthur's serious expression the softened as he looked back at Weiss. "I've interacted with other Schnee family members, and thus I've had the pleasure to have run-ins with your sister. Strong girl, that Winter. She is a very kind woman despite her stern exterior. She tested out some of the prototypes of the androids I had created in my early days of inventing after all. Plus..." He pointed to her hair. "...I know that hair colour anywhere. Despite the rainbow of hair colours that exist throughout the world, white hair isn't as common as you would think you know?"
"Oh." Was the intelligent reply from the scar-marked heiress.
"To answer your question though, Weiss, well...maybe a demonstration is in order." Arthur looked over the small crowd of students before pointing to Jaune and Kiran. "You, you are?"
"Me? Ummm Jaune." The blonde huntsman in-training replied.
"Well Jaune, you've been selected."
"Oh, and Kiran. Come." Jaune and Kiran looked at each other in confusion before looking back at Arthur. "Come on now, don't be shy. Come! Come!"
The leader of Team JNPR quickly did as he was told while the K of BLMK took his time climbing to his feet. Jaune was then asked to draw his sword, while Kiran did the same with one his twin blades. The two swordsmen stood apart from each other as Arthur placed himself in the middle.
"Now this would be the perfect example. Here we have two huntsmen, both capable of wielding a sword. However, the difference in the mind is what makes the difference between these two combatants. Kiran here, is a master of his craft. I am not aware of how you are with your own weapon..." Arthur glanced at Jaune. "...but as the student of Ozpin, you know he outclasses you."
"Well...hard to argue with that." The blonde first year muttered.
"Now, don't go too hard on each other, but just move to strike each other." Arthur instructed. Jaune gulped as his brown skinned opponent took on a ready stance. His legs and arms already shaking from anxiety, the blue eyed Arc raised his sword. After an obligatory light smack of steel against steel, the same way that boxers would tap gloves against one another, Jaune moved to attack.
The moment he did, the world seemed to slow down from Kiran's perspective.
'He's nervous, that much is certain. He's a first year so I would not be too surprised to see some flaws, but...' Kiran's eyes narrowed. 'That overhead strike is too high, his stance is too narrow, his entire torso is wide open and his shoelace is untied. I can disarm him in 15 different ways, and could kill him in 50 ways before even five seconds could be counted. How is it that if he were to have wielded that sword for as long as he had, and was able to get into Beacon...how is it that he wields that sword like he had never swung it in his entire life? Something is not right.'
His thoughts came to an end and time returned to normal for the bespectacled boy. He then went through one of the disarming motions by stepping forward and kicking his fellow swordsman against the side of his left knee. The strike sent his leg skidding off to the side and placed Jaune down on bended knee as his grip loosened on his sword's hilt. A quick rising knee strike landed itself against Jaune's wrist which sent his weapon skyward. Gravity did its duty almost immediately as Crocea Mors tumbled downwards and Kiran snatched it out of the air before holding both his sword and Jaune's at throat level in a scissor-like manner. All of this occurred in under one second.
A chorus of Oooooooh's passed through the class, and some clapped for the younger Gopaul brother's display.
"And from that, you see the point I make about the mind. Jaune strode in with a wild overhead attack, but Kiran acted to efficiently take down his opponent while simultaneously disarming him. A sharp mind begets a sharp fighter, remember that my comrades." The wolf Faunus genius stated. He thanked the two as the both moved to take their seats back on the grass.
"Well that was embarrassingly quick." Jaune muttered.
"It's okay, Jaune." Pyrrha reassured him with a pat of the shoulder. "I'm sure you'll be able to at least get a swing in next time. He's Professor Ozpin's student and you could tell that he's been doing this a lot longer than you have. It's no reason to be too upset about it."
The Invincible Girl frowned slightly as her team leader merely shrugged his shoulders and remained quiet. The two then turned back to Arthur as he continued the lesson.
"Now Kiran, as you've just demonstrated, you easily dispatched Jaune." The loud sigh of defeat echoed throughout the class. "How did you do that?"
"He was open. I saw where to hit and I took him down." Was the curt reply from the brown eyed weapons specialist.
"And if you didn't have your weapons, would you say you would have been able to do the same thing?" Arthur asked.
"Adjustments would be made for the utilization of unarmed combat, but yes." Kiran nodded his head stiffly. "Master taught us much in terms of strategy, tactics and the art of combat."
A nod of approval came from the older huntsman as he focused his gaze back upon the rest of the class.
"The mind is a powerful tool. The imagination gives birth to numerous amounts of ingenuity and you can see it in the evolution of the weapons of the past to what we have now. Rock and sticks were not able to do the job and so sword, axe and spear had been made. When the three great bladed weapons of the era failed to safeguard them against the Grimm, a Mistrali man researching into immortality created the first pile of gunpowder. Gunpowder went into fireworks which then evolved into the creation of the firearm. When the guns failed to not be enough and man was few in number, mechanical men, androirds fueled by Dust as a supplement were crafted. When wagons proved too slow and vulnerable, the Transcontinental Railroad between Vale and Vacuo was created. When boats between the ocean proved too dangerous and time-consuming, airships had been made. When messengers by horseback or messenger hawk proved too slow, the CCT was created. Progress continued and so, imaginative thinking accelerated to the point that we now have what is now considered the common weapon mechanic; the gun-blade. A mixture of firearm for mid-to-long range combat, and a close-combat weapon such as the sword or spear and..." His eyes brightened as his gaze settled upo Crescent Rose. "...even weapons like that can exist. A very significant example of imaginative thinking, Ruby."
"Th-Thanks." Ruby blushed in embarrassment as all eyes were on her, but a giddy expression formed on her face from the praise. "I worked really hard on making Crescent Rose, you know? My Uncle Qrow, he kinda showed me stuff because his own weapon was based on a scythe too. Plus, I'm like a total weapons nut because I started looking into how the scythe was made and what it was used for. Sure, people tend to associate the scythe with death these days because of the creation of the Spectre, the ghost of death who hunts for souls and severs them from their bodies with his own scythe, but it's actually almost unparalleled in both close and mid-range combat."
Ruby's excitement then began to reach new heights the more she talked about Crescent Rose and Arthur could smile at the sight of seeing her passion skyrocket. It was children like her who allowed to retain any sort of hope in humanity.
"...and the input of the sniper rifle for long range was because it has a far distance with which I can shoot my bullets. Plus the generation of the momentum behind the high-impact of the sniper rounds lets me increase my advantage in a fight if I use my Semblance to move around. She's my baby and she's not perfect, but I'll keep working on her until she is. She'll be perfect one day."
"AH! I'M SORRY!" Ruby yelped as she quickly ducked behind Kiran for protection.
"You must not never do that, Ruby! Never!"
"WHY ARE YOU YELLING?!"
'You're louder than him though.' The other students sweatdropped at the hood wearing girl.
"Because Ruby, you said the one thing that you, as an inventor must never say to yourself!" He shouted. "Your weapon has a massive amount of potential for growth, and while you strive for perfection, you must never be able to make such a thing a reality."
"Wh-Why not?" Ruby stuttered as she poked her head out from behind her glasses-wearing friend.
"All of you, listen to me when I say this!" His blue eyes focused intently on the students before him. "Perfection is not something that you want to have happen to you if you truly wish to continue aiming for progress. It is the lack of perfection that allows for progress to occur. It sparks ingenuity and creativity. It gives us something to look towards because if perfection were to be attained, then there is nothing left to strive for! Scientists, including myself, agonize over the attempt to achieve perfect!"
"So you're saying perfection itself is the ultimate dead end?" Lora asked. Arthur nodded to his fellow Faunus with a serious expression on his face.
"Imagination. Knowledge. Improvement." He raised three fingers and stretched his arm out in the direction of the students. "These three things are the driving force behind progress, because if there is nothing to strive for then in the face of inventing the perfect tool...then there is only stagnancy. Stagnancy means death in our line of work as hunters because the Grimm adapt and grow with each battle, and if our weapons falter, then the Creatures of Grimm will leave us behind and ultimately surpass us."
"So it's sort of like the kingdoms of the past." The red haired P of JNPR commented aloud. "Ancient kingdoms and empires that have reached their peak at some point as well, they achieved a period of stagnancy because they became compliant with what they saw as perfection...and because they believed themselves to be perfect, they no longer had any sort of will to improve. It is that lack of motivation that led to them falling in the first place."
The wielder of Stormflower turned to his teammate with a quizzical look on his face. "But isn't that what society strives for anyway? How are we supposed to move past that stagnant period if that sort of perfection is what everyone else wants?"
"We're teenagers, Ren!" Nora laughed. "We don't even listen to people about what they tell us anyway! We should do what we want!" Green eyes then brightened as a lightbulb went off in her head. "OH! WE SHOULD MAKE A PANCAKE MAKER! OR A SLOTH CANNON!" She then released a gasp, her boundless energy making her excited form practically vibrate on the grassy ground. "I can already see it now. Villains beware...or a sloth will break for face."
"Please don't make a sloth cannon."
"Oh captain, my captain." She saluted to her childhood friend with gusto.
"She's right, you know?" Arthur said and all eyes widened as their shocked expressions looked between their substitute teacher and the orange haired girl.
"HA! I'M RIGHT!" Nora exclaimed, positioning her arms to form a 'V' for 'Victory'. "Wait?" She kept her arms up as she turned to the nineteen year old inventor. "Why am I right again?"
"Because fighting the resistance that society itself places upon you is one of the greatest obstacles that you all, as both hunters and people, will have to overcome. So fight it!" Arthur directed a toothy smile at the orange haired grenade launching hammer wielder. "Don't adhere to what society intends for you. You could all aspire to be something greater, so continue to be unique and latch onto that individualism that will make our generation so much better than the past ones. Society will not hold you back as your denial of perfection will leave room for progress. You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall...but in time, they will join you in the sun. In time...you will help them accomplish wonders."
A period of awe brought about the silence within the class as they looked upon the wolf Faunus with wide eyes, and the Mother Country native couldn't prevent the small tug of his lips as he smirked at them.
If there was anything that Arthur was proud of, aside from his ability with machines, it was that he knew how to use words to grab the attention of those he spoke to. Due to his immense intellect, he was obviously asocial at first and not a very interactive individual, but when he went to his first United Kingdoms' Research and Development Convention a few years back, he had to get up on that stage and he had to speak. He crashed and burned, his saving grace had been the reveal of the prototype of the Atlesian Knights, but from that point onward, he had never wanted to foul up a presentation ever again. If it was one thing Arthur disliked, whether it be mentally, physically or socially, failure was at the top of the list.
"Alright class, now that the pleasantries are over, we will actually begin class. Each of you will come to me with your weapons and I will give them a close inspection to see how it looks and whether or not they would require some form of maintenance. For the students whose weapons I've inspected that will require maintenance, we will use you as the practical examples for when we head over to the forges. Understood?"
"Yes, Mr. Asimov."
"Oh, by Lupa." Arthur gritted his fangs in disgust as he called out the name of the wolf goddess of the Faunus. "Don't call me that ever again. I'm not much older than you guys. So please, just call me Arthur."
The first years did as they were told as they climbed to their feet and lined up single file in front of Arthur. He inspected each and every weapon, though he took a very careful look when Kiran and Byron had come up. Looking over their weapons, he gave a nod of approval.
"They served you well, I presume?"
The brothers nodded before taking back their weapons and stepped off to the side just as Yang handed Ember Celica to the wolf Faunus. The moment she did though, the wolf Faunus froze as his primal instincts kicked in. Something was wrong. Terribly wrong. He could smell it. Literally.
His blue eyes shifted up from the pair of golden yellow gauntlets in his hands only for his sapphire orbs to widen as he found himself staring into deep pools of purple. "Uuuuuuuuuh..."
"You know I wasn't really interested in this class. Sure, having a weapons nut like Ruby gives a tiny sliver of interest..."
"Standing right behind you, sis." Ruby pouted.
"But I gotta say, you would make it worthwhile." Yang commented as she gave him a look up and down. Arthur's nose twitched and his magnifying goggles shifted ever so slightly due to the nervous flap of his ears as he could practically smell the hormones coming from her body. "How old are you again?"
"Nineteen." "And you said you're doing this as a substitute simply because the actual teacher isn't here, right?"
"So you're not an actual faculty member?"
"Yang!" Ruby harshly whispered to her sister, her silver eyes trying to bore holes into the back of her head with the hopes that she'll drop down like a sack of bricks and save her the current feeling of embarrassment she was undergoing. "Stop flirting with our instructor!"
"I would listen to her."
"Ignore her." Yang demanded. Arthur's eyes widened and he couldn't help but blush from the close proximity between himself and the girl. No walls. No high tech defensive weapons hidden around him. Beacon Academy's resident genius was left to the mercy of social interaction between himself and the admittedly, very attractive young woman before him. And by the gods, he could see her cleavage.
'Impressive...NO!' He mentally slapped himself in the face. 'Bad Arthur! Bad! No fantasizing about students!'
"Now answer me." The demanding tone once again sent shivers down his spine.
'What is happening to me?' His curiosity conflicted with his sense of canine pride, but he seemed compelled to do so when the cleavage in his face was placed in tandem with bright pools of purple that met his own blue eyes.
"I...I am not affiliated with Beacon in that particular context, no. I just fill in every now and then because I am more than capable of teaching the entirety of Beacon's academic curriculum when others are incapable of doing so whether it be due to incompetence or due to absence of the legitimate instructors themselves."
Yang's violet eyes brightened as the white haired genius could not prevent the gulp he performed. The golden haired beauty originally had a playful smirk on her face, but with those predatory grin still present on her face.
"Nice. So you're fair game then?" Arthur's complexion could not get any redder at that point as it seemed as if his entire blood supply was directed to his face.
"You're very forward."
"I like to say that I'm very proactive when I see things that I like."
"Please. Stop." Ruby begged as she got down on her knees. "Pleeeeeease."
Yang's predatory grin never left her face and for some reason, Arthur's instinctual fear of the 'proactive' female seemed to manifest as the avatar of a golden scaled dragon that seemed to stare into his soul. "So handsome? Wanna take me out on a date this Saturday or what?"
He was a brilliant mind and because of it, whenever he was asked a question, he always answered. It was like a reflex for the white haired wolf. His answers would always be correct and it's why he always answered without fear of the repercussions. However, in this case where hyper-stimulated hormones of being a male coupled with primal instincts and jumbled thoughts; it created a messed up pathway to respond to the question asked by the Xiao Long girl.
His mouth opened and two words came out that shocked both himself and everyone else in the class to the core.
(A/N: I always wanted there to be an explanation behind the reasons behind those phantasmal avatars that form behind characters in anime when they are ready to fight. Plus, the lesson on killing intent was a fun way to also show off just how adept the brothers are at both using it and knowing the theory behind it. These past couple of chapters including the ones I have planned leading up to this first major arc in the story will be more character development and world building than anything else, but I will be bringing in the action scenes soon enough when I start the aforementioned major arc.
As for why Arthur and Yang are going to be going on a date. My writing friend, NeoNazo356, who gave me the OC Arthur to use had said he wanted Yang to be paired with him. I accepted the terms and so given Yang's character profile and how things tend to go with her in terms of her proactivity, temporary substitute teacher or not, the little dragon (pun on the actual meaning of her name lol. I'm hilarious, yes.) goes for the kill. Seemed like something she would do too.
Anyway, hope you guys liked this chapter. Remember to Review, Review, Review!)