a RWBY fanfiction written by The Overlord Bear
Summary: Were it not for a wandering musician's cynical words, Weiss Schnee would have continued on the path to becoming a Huntress. Now, a disinherited Weiss lives as a wandering singer, trying to be a hero in a different manner, with that wandering musician named Jaune Arc as a companion...
Chapter 12: Compassion
"Okay, now where can we find Blakey and Jauney~?"
"Nora, let's just help Weiss out."
"No need to worry so much. I can look around on my own."
Weiss did plan to take a look around Abalone with some companions, but Jaune and Blake wanted some more time together, and Nora, who tended to drag Ren along, was more interested in spying on the dating couple.
The former heiress didn't regret asking for the childhood friends' added pay, but still, she would rather do her prospecting without too much distraction. Besides, the two deserved a break after the extra work she had them do during the previous day.
"How about we check the library?" Nora wondered, still adamant about her breaktime plan. "Or the bookstore! Blake's definitely a bookworm, especially towards stuff like that little Ninja book of hers~"
"Uh, you can go do what you want, Weiss," Ren waved off with a worried expression. "I'll take care of Nora. I'm more used to this than you think."
"Alright, then," Weiss complied, and she spent some seconds watching Nora zip around the streets and Ren chasing after his childhood friend.
Then, the wandering singer turned around, her arms on their respective sides of her waist as she let out a breath of sea-salt-scented air and looked at her surroundings.
The lines of harbor stores and fishing boats some distance away showed how much the city depended on the sea and its resources. The city didn't look like a home for the rich and luxurious, though, considering the huddled presence of homely inns, simple diners, and small stores by the coast. Some were wide single-storeys, while others were narrower two-storeys. People still strolled leisurely on the sandy beach, though it seemed like the number of tourists were balanced out by the number of people who wore clothes which were more functional than stylish, making them seem more like workers who were taking a break or lazing around.
Seeing all that, Weiss found the seaside scenery of Abalone more refreshing than what she knew about the extravagantly appreciated and tightly secured beaches of Vacuo, which she never really visited before because of her mostly Atlas-based training as heiress and her aversion to places with heat being a dominant aspect of their climate.
And speaking of things which reminded her of luxury and such, there were some souvenir shops as well, showing that the city had some notability, especially in terms of the fish. Said fish depicted in the tourist magnet items were shown in simple yet humorous ways through ornaments and clothing and the like, with the fish drawn deformed and smiling.
Still, discovering that the city had that much pride made the place seem more unfamiliar to her. As for her presence in a place with hotter climate, well, it was manageable, considering how she was in a cooler part of the continent of Sanus.
And hey, Weiss's attention then went to her own smell...which reminded her to take a bath once she got back to the inn. She wouldn't be as expensive-smelling as she was before, but hygiene still held importance.
Anyway, it was time to think about where to look first in terms of prospective audiences. Acoustic bands like hers and Jaune's seemed likely to be more attractive in the city with surprising quaintness, something which was more proven by the audiences they had during the previous day's rehearsals.
Now, the question at this point was "Where are the very profitable places?" Not like the Pearly Shores Inn was not profitable, but Weiss and Jaune's work required variety and width in terms of audience as well, which, if the cards were played right, would lead to attention that would get them somewhere more stable.
And yes, Weiss didn't mind being less of a vagabond, as she had to admit that the uncertainty in their wanderer's prospecting didn't give them a lot of security. Still, she would make sure that she and Jaune would have creative independence if they were to be handled by a label, and she would also make sure that those higher-ups would be upright and respectful as well.
With that in mind, the coast seemed to be a good place to start. The proximity between the fishers' workplace plus tourist attraction and the inns and diners was short, and Weiss was above having too much of a sense of debt towards employers she worked for before, especially with Jaune to consider. After all, he would need to be consulted if they would end up facing a break and a label, and he may not have as much interest as she has in such things.
And now, she set her sights on one diner with a street-dancing advertiser in a funny fish costume by its entrance.
Considering the audience they had and what the audience whispered, the dancing fish mascot and their upbeat music seemed to be a regular morning occurrence.
When the dance was finished, the dancer then raised up a sign that said "NEW DISHES ON INTRO!"
There was applause, and then there were people who went past the dancing mascot and into the diner. Said diner's name was named "The Flipping Fish," and right beside its entrance was a cardboard cutout of the blue but bubbly mascot that was depicted by the dancer's costume.
Although it looked more well-off than the other shops, it still had the simple feel of the rest of the shops on the street, for it didn't look as ridiculous as the dancer's fish costume on the outside.
But even if they tried to do so, facades can't tell everything about the establishments which they are a part of.
And so, Weiss decided to take a look inside The Flipping Fish, even though it seemed to be growing a little too bustling for wandering musicians like her and Jaune.
Besides, she had an idea which would involve that costumed dancer...
Suddenly, as she went on her confident strut towards the diner's entrance, Weiss got bumped into by someone.
"Oh, I'm sorry!"
"Well, watch where you're going, then," the annoyed Weiss told the other girl, who was wearing a bandana (which seemed to be quite common headwear in Abalone, now that Weiss thought about it) over her somewhat familiar face...
"I'm sorry!" the bandana-wearing girl repeated with a bow as she rushed forward and into the diner, leaving Weiss with a look of disbelief.
Still, Weiss shook her head and sighed, trying not to let such a small blunder ruin her day.
Anyway, when the wandering singer entered the filling establishment, she encountered the smell of fish being cooked, the sound of more upbeat countryside music, and the sight of cheery servers - who seem to have started their day quite well - moving around a room walled and floored by concrete and ceramics.
Along with that, she could hear some distant shouting of orders from the cooks in the kitchen. Also, there was a raised platform that was conspicuously void of people, meaning that the establishment had space for performers.
Hm, looks like it's a lucky d -
"Welcome to The Flipping Fish, Miss!"
Weiss let out a yelp but, fortunately, didn't fall to the ground when she jumped upon noticing the dancer in the ridiculous fish costume up close beside her.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Miss!" the dancer apologized, waving hands in front before taking off the smiling head.
The former heiress then met the face of a lightly tanned young man with brown hair, brown eyes, and a blush on his face.
"Well, I think the costume works better on the stage and such, and...not for personal interactions," she told him, arms crossed as she leaned and stepped a little to the side.
"Yeah, I've been told stuff like that before..." he replied with a sheepish chuckle. "But, uh...would you like a seat and some recommendations? I haven't seen someone as pretty as you here before, you see..."
With arms still crossed, Weiss's jaw slowly dropped.
Sure, he was nice, but despite having dealt with rich old people and their rich snotty sons who wanted to leech from the SDC via marriage and all that, having to deal with smitten boys was something she wasn't used to yet...especially when they were sufficiently confident, sufficiently earnest, and never looked at her because of her name and fame as Weiss Schnee.
Even with Jaune shooing away infatuated boys with some guarding looks and some choice words, it was surprisingly easy for a boy her age to make Weiss flustered that way...especially when said nicer boys approached her more than the rough ones.
She may have been disowned as a Schnee, but she still had her pretty looks and her graceful air...though she was now feeling like it was a little too much for her.
Still, there was no point in just wishing for Jaune's presence at this point, nor was there a lot of good in tearing off what she considered vital parts of her personality, so she took a deep breath and tried to gather up some words in response, not letting herself be too conscious of her own blushing.
"Mack, you can flirt later!" a female voice shouted from the background, which came from a woman, one who looked older but similar to the dancer named Mack, behind the counter. "We got dishes to cook and serve, you know!"
"Ah, okay, okay!" Mack went, turning in place to different directions before pausing and then moving towards a door on one side of the place, which had a staircase that probably lead to the residence floor of the establishment. "Sorry, Sis!" he also shouted before shutting the door and leaving with the muffled sounds of hurried steps.
Weiss then let out a breath, a rough sound coming out with her nervousness, though she tried to remind herself about not making such a big deal out of it.
Now, looking at the busy place, she then found herself lacking a space where she could sit and eat by herself. That got her arms crossed and lips shaped into a frown, and she stood like that for a while, thinking twice about making a server hurry up or just waiting until one of the servers noticed her.
During that period, Weiss then noticed someone standing, apparently trying to get her attention with an aimed look and a waving arm.
It was that woman who bumped into her.
Well, why not make a friendship while making reparations?
And so, Weiss dropped her arms back to her sides as she went towards that woman's table.
When she went to sit on the leather-cushioned bench across her current tablemate's, said tablemate also did the same.
"Hello," greeted the bandana-wearing girl with green eyes and a sheepish smile.
And yes, now that she thought about it, Weiss was more certain that she was talking with someone close to her age, for she knew of one teenage celebrity fighter from Mistral whose diction of simple words like "Hello!" and "I'm sorry!" had become a source of humor for her fans.
"Pyrrha Nikos, I assume?" the former heiress went, wearing a mischievous smile. It sounded like a good joke, and the chances of her listener being the referenced figure were -
Wait, that nervous look seemed to be saying something...
And again, Weiss's jaw slowly dropped.
"Uhm..." the actual Pyrrha Nikos tried to respond, hands folded together as alternated looks between left and right, "Please don't tell anyone, okay?"
The Weiss who was now a former Schnee could only blink at that for a while.
"I'm just a girl on vacation right now," the champion from Mistral continued, her tone becoming more pleading, "And it's hard to do so with fans chasing after me. Please understand. Please!"
That last "Please!" was also accented by Pyrrha grabbing Weiss's hands, making the latter jump a little.
"I understand," Weiss answered with a nod, trying to put on a professional tone and face for a more reassuring feel to a very important person. "I shall not spread note of your presence in public, be it physical or virtual."
"Oh, thank goodness..." Pyrrha then released with a sigh of relief. "Thank you very much. And, uhm...what's your name?"
At that, Weiss spent some moments of silence, considering the weight that she'd to carry after revealing her name, even it would just be her first name, to someone she had met for a short amount of time before.
Hmm...maybe she wouldn't be recognized that easily, then, considering her current appearance and stage name...
"Weiss," she then answered. "Wandering Weiss. Not Weiss Schnee."
And this time, it was Weiss's nervousness which increased. Pyrrha was looking at her with a raised eyebrow and a tilted head, as if she would find something familiar if she just turned the picture a little and painted it over a little bit...
Hm, in hindsight, maybe adding the "Not Weiss Schnee" part really was as bad as those stories showed...
"Really?" the bandana-wearing champion went. "The Weiss Schnee I know looks more...prim and proper..."
If Weiss were to be honest about her thoughts on that statement, her Schnee pride was currently feeling some sting.
Sure, her skin may have darkened a little, and she may be a disowned heiress who was working as a wandering singer now, but that did not mean that the girl named Weiss could not and did not have a sense of manners and style!
But lying to someone who was friendly AND understood the pain of being at the top?
Considering her current place in the hierarchy of society, a friendship with Pyrrha Nikos was a treasure that shone even more to Weiss's eyes.
"What if I said that I'm a disowned heiress who's working as a wandering singer now?" Wandering Weiss then presented to Pyrrha, eyes locked as she lowered the volume of her voice and moved her face foward.
For a while, the Mistralian was silent.
"I can acknowledge the possibility..." the Mistralian then answered, pausing as if she were considering her next words, "...but I honestly think that you are simply that look-alike who is the current talk of the CCT social network rumor mills..."
On one hand, her Schnee pride felt some more sting, but on the other hand, she was amazed at how easier hiding in plain sight had become.
But first, she needed further info for confirmation, which Pyrrha was delivering.
"Well, various people online have been sharing photos and remarks about you, a Weiss Schnee look-alike who does things that the real Weiss Schnee would never do," the celebrity fighter informed. "Not to say that they do not admire you, but a lot of them have difficulty imagining the real Weiss Schnee, a young woman of such standing, looking more like a common citizen of Remnant and...doing things that common citizens would do. Still, there are, well, conspiracy theorists, so to speak, who think that Weiss Schnee got herself disowned and ended up becoming someone so poor...but on the bright side, don't worry! A lot of them hope that you would get discovered by the better side of the entertainment industry! Though, uh, some of your fans would rather have you recognized by your own merits rather than looking like someone more famous..."
Okay, further damaged yet healed Schnee pride aside, there was one more thing to ensure.
"But what do you honestly think, Pyrrha?" Wandering Weiss asked, sharpening her gaze and hardening her tone. "Who do you think I am?"
The slow response then caused a mixture of emotions within Weiss. Anticipation, nervousness, fear, confidence, a mixture of paradoxes and such.
And yes, even the overall picture of her current emotional state was a mixture of paradoxes. Her Schnee name, former though it may be, held importance, but so did living a new life and leaving her old one behind.
Even if the only solid support to her Schnee pride was her older sister Winter, whom she considered to dear to her, didn't that still make her roots as a Schnee precious?
"I can't believe it but...I think you really are who you claim to be," Pyrrha admitted, voice also lowered and made more gentle, though there was that trace of surprise, especially in her widening eyes, which honestly made Weiss feel like she ended up alienating herself via a little too drastic an identity change. "As someone who has had to wear a mask for the public, I think I can recognize a cracked or removed mask and the face under it, such as when we met in that one formal gathering in Mistral, which we both didn't like...though maybe I am wrong, which you should correct me about if that is the case. We never really talked much back then, after all."
And then they shared silence.
Both of them leaned back to the leather of their respective backrests, but they still did so in slience. Weiss did it first, followed by Pyrrha.
"You won't tell anyone, then?" the former heiress asked.
"Of course, Weiss," the celebrity champion ensured with a smile. "Even if I have to die protecting you. And I will also not ask further about what actually happened to you."
"You don't have to go so far, though," Weiss rebuked, unsettled by Pyrrha's seriousness. "Don't you have a life you want to live?"
"I know mine, Weiss," Pyrrha firmly replied. "For the good of others, I shall live, and I shall fight until my time comes. But I do want to experience things like falling in love as well. I guess I can say that I am somewhat of a hypocrite, then..."
"Don't worry, I understand..."
Indeed, she had found a friend...and a friend she could laugh with, too.
"Can we exchange scroll numbers, then?" Weiss asked after laughing with Pyrrha. "I changed mine when I left, see."
"Alright, then," Pyrrha complied, taking out her scroll as Weiss did the same. "I don't mind sporadic communication, though I would appreciate a chat even while I'm in Beacon and you're out moving around Remnant."
"You're going to Beacon?"
"Why, yes. It's a fairly peaceful place, don't you think?"
"Well...I would agree with you, as I think that it is the gentlest among the four Hunter Academies...though I wouldn't think that life there would be as easy as it seems."
"Of course it will still be difficult. And I hope I won't be a bother if I send you messages from time to time..."
"It's okay, don't worry."
"Uhh...i-is there anything you two p-pretty visitors would like?"
And then the two young women turned their heads to the young man named Mack, who was now wearing a sleeveless waiter's outfit.
He also looked like he had been caught red-handed.
"We citizens of Abalone very much appreciate simplicity and humility, and with that, you can be sure that your secrets are safe with me!" he rattled out with a nervously quieted voice. "And I'm sorry...so, uh...c-can I take your order? Or w-would you like some r-recommendations first?"
Some seconds of silent staring were done, and then a smiling Weiss turned to Pyrrha.
"Will you do the honors?" the former asked with a teasing lilt. "You were somewhat rude a while ago..."
"I shall..." the latter answered, some embarrassment dusting red on her face, though she still turned to Mack and ordered with confidence. "We would like two orders of one of the new dishes, the Flipping Huntress Special, as it looks quite appealing."
"My sister will definitely be thankful for your compliments!" Mack replied with a thumbs-up and a salute. "Two Flipping Huntress Specials it is, then!"
And then he rushed back to the counter, where he seemed to stop in realization that he had forgotten something, followed by writing something down with the pen and notepad he realized was holding.
"That guy complimented me a while ago..." Weiss mentioned. "And I was caught off-guard, especially when he didn't recognize me as Weiss Schnee."
"You don't see boys like that everyday, after all," Pyrrha chuckled.
"But when you're a wanderer like me, the opposite holds more water," Weiss commented with a laugh.
"Is that so? How surprising...but it makes sense. And speaking of boys, I would like a boy whom I can meet nearby more often. Now, as I do not think that you have boys in high priority as of now, how is your work?"
"Well...Jaune, my partner, and I performed at the Pearly Shores Inn last night, and while he's out on break with his girlfriend, I'm currently scouting for profitable places to perform. He deserves the break, though, especially since I haven't been doing the heavier work a lot in our time together."
"You have a partner? And a male one too...What sort of person is he?"
"He's around my age, but from the way I've observed him act, he seems to have gone through difficulties while working by himself as a wandering musician, particularly with Hunters. He's also related to those Arcs, and he does appreciate his family, but he seems to have issues...which I'm not going to pry about...well, for now, probably."
"He seems like quite a person, then."
"Yeah. But all those aside, he does have a sense of concern for others, and we're getting along, although we've had some rough times along the way."
"Say...do you have any places you can recommend? Like, places Jaune and I can perform at with good payment."
"Well...I am uncertain about whether or not they would be up to your standards, but I would like to tell you of some places in Vale and Mistral which are certainly worth performing at. They are usually places which I hid in while taking a break, so I would understand if you do not consider them."
"Really? Thank you, then. And they're still options, things I have to be more open-minded about. Who knows, maybe they'll be more worthwhile than you thought."
"I'm glad for the appreciation, then, Weiss."
"Your two Flipping Huntress Specials are here, dear ladies!"
And then the two addressed ladies jumped at the sudden presence of Mack the waiter, who was carrying two plates filled with a seasoned slab of deboned fish meat surrounded by vegetables.
Also, said plates almost fell off and slid their contents off after noticing the surprise that the surpriser caused.
"I'm sorry again..." Mack added with a feebler voice and a head closer to hunched shoulders. "Here's your food..."
The food was served, complete with utensils, and the waiter's parting whisper before zipping away again were:
"...and I recommend eating it with your bare hands..."
Again, there was silence between the two girls.
Then, laughter burst out.
"Though I still haven't checked for any openings for musicians," Weiss then thought out loud with a raised index finger as she was about to try following Mack's recommendation.
"Let's not waste what we ordered, though, Weiss." Pyrrha chipped in. "And besides, don't you think you should make sure that the place you would like to perform in has good food and service?"
"Hm, fair point. Alright, then, let us go eat...and you'll be paying."
"Haha...yes, I know that, Weiss."
"Hey...are you Pyrrha Nikos, by any chance?"
Just as the two young ladies finished eating, an apron-wearing woman who looked somewhat older and also looked similar to Mack approached them with a forward bend and a grinning whisper.
"And how would you be able to guess such a thing?" Weiss ended up trying to distract because of a mix of panic and indebtedness, considering that she had doubts about how her inquiry would hold in the face of such a confident woman. "Everyone may be unique, but there are cases of look-alikes - physically, at least - here and there."
At that, Pyrrha's smile turned hopeful, but Weiss was certain about her mask of confidence having some cracks.
Also, come to think of it, Winter probably would've scolded the younger Schnee for worrying a little too much about her mask of confidence...and it was a good thing that Jaune wasn't here, because he probably would've embarrassed her further, seeing the so-called Ice Queen crack under the pressure of someone more confident AND more skilled than her...
"Nice try, shortstack," the woman patronized, still grinning. "I don't know about you, but I do know a certain champion from Mistral when I see her..." she continued, turning to a horrified Pyrrha, "'Cause I watch her matches a lot and use them as study material for combat lessons. And your face just screams the rest that I need to know, you know?"
"Uhm..." was the champion's response, and that was pretty much the sound she uttered as she turned her head in hopes of checking whether they were the only spectators of their own predicament or not.
Meanwhile, Weiss was very close to putting the diner - and maybe even the whole city - on her blacklist, drag Jaune - girlfriend tagging along or not - out of the city, and never come back for a definitely long time of indefinite length.
"Don't worry, I know how it feels to be famous," the knowing woman tried to assure with a whisper, although the confidence she had in her tone was still worrying, "And sure, I may be just hometown famous, but still, it's annoying to have fans stalk and shriek around you, don't you think?"
"Uhm..." Pyrrha went again, and after some more nervous glancing, "Yes...Yes, it does..."
"I'm glad you agree, then!" the woman went with a beaming smile and a thumbs-up. "Now, would you like a free order of the Flipping Huntress Special for takeout?" And then she whispered with a wink, "Oh, and your tab here's on the house, don't worry."
"Oh...s-sure...T-Thank you..." the redhead went, and then she let out a sigh of relief.
Meanwhile, the former heiress's eyes narrowed at what had just transpired.
Sure, it wasn't as bad as what her father usually did, but Weiss was certain that the woman in front of them had just manipulated the overly polite Pyrrha into subtly endorsing The Flipping Fish.
Quite sneaky, indeed...and luckily, Weiss's taste buds were impressed by said meal, otherwise she would've decided to start doing some subtle boycotts...though maybe that would be hypocritical of her, now that she thought about it some more...
And not for the first time in her life, she sighed, quietly wishing that the world of business wasn't so moral-twisting.
Anyway, Weiss had business to do as well.
"Excuse me, Miss..." the wandering singer called, trailing off with focused eyes on the older woman.
"Tuney!" the tall - and she looked taller than Pyrrha with the way she stood straight - and tan woman answered, still smiling. "My parents thought that 'Tuna' was quite a generic name, so they decided to go creative! 'Sides, Color Rule's pretty ambiguous, and the Councils know that we people of Remnant don't wanna bother making all that naming harder, so luckily, there's some leeway for some name modifications!"
And while Tuney continued to smile after giving that piece of trivia, Weiss just blinked and stared.
"That's interesting..." Pyrrha commented, though Weiss wasn't sure about whether or not that was just out of politeness or was already politeness mixed with honesty.
But that wasn't the main point of discussion that Wandering Weiss wanted to have right now.
"Yes, that's interesting, but I was going to ask about whether or not this diner is in need of performers here," the white-haired girl continued, her tone working like a hammer that slammed down to create a sobering shockwave. "I see that you have a space for such over there, and I am a wandering singer who would like to inquire about that now."
And then there was surprised silence from the two females around Weiss.
The former heiress tried not to falter with her assertiveness, though she felt as if she was being judged for being rude.
Well, business meant competition, and competition meant some shoving from time to time, especially for the healthy sort...at least, that's how she hoped it would work.
Maintaining seriousness then became somewhat more difficult when the waitress narrowed her eyes and gave her a frown.
Still, Weiss went reminding herself about how the older woman seemed to show signs of being another womanchild to deal with. Though Weiss felt like Tuney deserved some bluntness, the younger female hoped that the womanchild aspect wasn't going to be a trend.
"Talk about spitfire from someone so young..." the older woman then grumbled. "And a wanderer too. Definitely not one of the usual ones, indeed..."
Weiss felt some worry at that, considering the sharpness of the woman's eyes and tone. There was more certainty about how Tuney had a sharper mind than she seemed to have, and the wanderer started feeling a little regret about how she went and dealt with the woman's childish behavior...but it would be foolish to cower against such irritating underestimation.
"I can assure you that you, your colleagues, and your customers will be begging for an encore from me...and my companion," Weiss added, almost forgetting Jaune in her fueled response, "Once we're done with our performance. And even with that, you'll miss us once we leave for another place to work and stay at."
Again, surprised silence. Weiss's burning eyes were still on Tuney's, too.
And then the older woman sniggered...and then she laughed hard. Weiss felt a mix of embarrassment and anger at that, but she made them fuel her visual focus on Tuney.
"Ah, I have quite a feeling about you, and I find it hilarious!" the older woman went as she finished laughing, giving a grin now. "Alright, I'm okay with you, but you'll have to talk with my parents about that first. Proper processing flow and all that, you know?"
"Bring me to him, then," the former heiress then went, standing up, wanting to waste no time.
"Well, this gets better and better..." the older woman remarked, and then she turned to the side with one hand beside her mouth. "Hey, Mack!"
"Yeah, Sis?" said young man asked with a raised face as he finished serving food to another table of customers. He also looked surprised moments later.
"Go bring this wandering singer here," the grinning older sister ordered with a grin, "To Ma and Pa."
For a while, Mack didn't say anything, only staring with that surprised look...and then red seemed to start dusting up on his face...
And then he zipped away to the door which led to a staircase.
"Wait for it..." Tuney went, still grinning.
That door opened again, revealing Mack wearing his fish costume's head while still wearing his waiter's outfit.
"I shall bring you to Ma and Pa!" the ridiculous waiter boy declared with a fist launched to the air. "Follow me!"
"And don't forget to tell them that you're engaged!" Tuney decided to add, causing Mack to throw a punch, which the laughing older woman dodged with a quick lean to the side.
Weiss facepalmed and groaned at that.
Still, the wandering singer gave Pyrrha a resigned "Take care" which was answered with a sheepish "Good luck...and I'm sorry..." before the former went to follow the fish-headed waiter/dancer.
"And don't harass her, Sis!" the fish-headed younger brother added with a look over his shoulder. "Even if your recipe is a good one!"
"Oh come on, it's not like I'm gonna - Oh come on!"
Good thing Pyrrha got the hint and dashed out.
And considering the stack of lien on the table, she didn't forget to pay!
"Well, well, well, did our fancy dancing fish finally get himself a tourist girlfriend?" teased a stout and mustached man who had darker skin and was also a few inches below his own son's height.
And then there was a chorus of teasing squeals, a lot of them coming from people who shared features with Mack, Tuney, and their father.
Looks like this particular diner was run by quite an active family, then. That, and it would take some time for Weiss to fully process that and its implications.
"Meet the family..." Mack went, head hanging and shoulders slumping.
"Wait, is she really your girlfriend, son?" asked a lighter-skinned woman with some wrinkles on her face and some gray hair within her black hair. "Did you become his girlfriend, young lady?" the mother then asked Weiss.
"No," Weiss answered without hesitation, to which the mother and the other curious onlookers ended up laughing.
"Stop embarrassing me, guys..." the fish-headed son groaned as he went on all-fours on the floor. "She's just a wandering singer who wants to perform here."
"But isn't Comedy Night today, though?" asked one bespectacled family member, who was likely one of Mack and Tuney's brothers.
There was chatter in the background, but as it was ignored by Weiss, it could be said that there was silence as she also observed Mack raise his head slightly...and then he threw his fish mascot head off.
Yup, no luck here.
"I'm really really sorry, Miss...Uhm, I'm sorry, but I don't know your name yet...ahaha..."
"It's Weiss. And don't worry, there's, well, plenty more fish in the sea, right?"
"Yeah...you're right," Mack agreed with a smile, though he was still blushing.
Meanwhile, Weiss was surprised at how she didn't even try to negotiate like the cutthroats her family (Yes, even Winter, especially considering her occupation) tended to be, let alone tear the guy a new one after finding out about how the diner's performance night schedule actually went. Maybe it was Mack's feather-like honesty...or perhaps it should be referred to as his inability to lie politely?
Either way, it was refreshing for Weiss to interact with a boy who was way less snarky than Jaune. But if he were interested in her, then she would have to turn him down and ask that they just be friends, as she didn't consider herself stable enough to even think of going into a romantic relationship yet.
"So..." the dancer continued, "Will we see each other again?"
"Do you tell that to every tourist girl you flirt with?"
Weiss couldn't help responding that way after looking at the guy's pleading face. Refreshing it may have been, but now, it was getting more annoying already, honestly.
Well, looks like she just pitied the guy. Weiss sighed as she watched him be tongue-tied.
"Don't worry, it's not like I hate you," the wandering singer then expressed, "But I think we should just be friends. I'm not really ready for the sort of relationship you wish for yet, as being a wanderer is something without a lot of security, something I have a long way to go before firmly getting my grasp on it...and even that looks uncertain as well."
"Oh..." the rejected boy responded, looking down. "I'm sorry...I guess I should listen to Tuney more, then...She's a Huntress, you know," he continued with a small smile, "And she has a lot of stories from back when she was active and often out of the city."
It seems that the wise womanchild character was a trend in this city, then. Stressfully amazing, indeed. Stressfully amazing.
"So I guess..." Mack continued, "This is goodbye?"
"Yeah," Weiss answered, not even bothering to add some slow blinking to that. "Goodbye. And I hope you find the right girl for you. Maybe she's in this town...or maybe she's a lucky tourist."
"Hahaha...ha..." Mack laughed, the awkward rhythm of it seeming more like a sign of him taking a hint.
"Girl, we could've welcomed you into the family for that, you know?" Tuney suddenly entered, standing with a grin beside the doorway into the large diner. "Like, there's always room for sass in - "
"Tuney!" Mack exclaimed with raised fists, and then he spent some moments to turn to Weiss. "Miss Weiss, you can go now. I'll deal with my sister."
And Weiss left with a laugh.
"Take that, you womanchild..." she whispered to herself with a grin after her laugh.
Still, she sighed as she walked away, for she needed to think about how payment collection should go for wandering performers, and she still had to look for a place which could accept...Oh wait, she could just contact -
Looks like she still had some luck, then...
And so, Weiss really left with a laugh.
"Uhm...Weiss, your laugh is making me nervous..."
"That is the laugh of victory, Pyrrha. I'm sure you know how that sounds. Now, about those places you can recommend..."
Author's Note: And we now have more OCs, yo. And if there's something I wanna do when it comes to worldbuilding, then it's working on the more mundane aspects of the world...and that is also quite challenging.
Also, there's Pyrrha! Of course, with the Jaune in this scenario, they won't be having something like their Meet Cute in canon.
And speaking of canon characters, I have plans for one of them to become an additional companion to our wandering duo of musicians, and not in the guest party member way of RPGs.
Oh, and yes, my tracking and viewing of RWBY Volume 5 is already in progress. The animation and the music, especially in the battle scenes, still is breathtaking to me, which further complicates my conflicting relationship with today's battle-packed shounen and superhero stories, stuff I think we're having too much of lately. The voice acting's not so bad, too...but if we're talking about the story, well, I'm personally not into the whole Battlequest Against The Big Bad sort of fantasy story as much as I was when I was younger, especially with awareness regarding how complicated people and nature can be in reality.
So yeah, if you were to ask me about what I particularly like about RWBY, then it would be the animation, the music, and the voice acting. The writing, well...I'd call it average. Still, I think there's some engaging complexity in it, particularly with the personalities of certain characters and certain aspects of the world of Remnant.
And with that, I now end this with a request for honest constructive feedback, which is highly encouraged and will be highly appreciated.