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Jaune stood behind Olivia's desk, watching as the dial on the elevator slowly counted down as the elevator ascended. He couldn't help fidgeting nervously as he waited for the elevator to arrive. It's been 10 minutes since Olivia brought him to her office so he could meet with one General James Ironwood. He kept shifting his weight from one foot to the other, unable to stand still. Olivia had tried calming him down, but it didn't help. He just figured once things got started, he would be able to focus more over being a nervous wreck. The elevator dinged to a stop. Jaune stood a little straighter as the doors opened revealing the General in all his glory. He had to admit, the good General was much taller than he thought he was going to be.
The General was tall, with broad shoulders, dressed in a very formal Military uniform. Jaune couldn't help being stuck in awe at the man. But there was another person standing right behind the General that drew his attention. That was a young woman around his age, right next to him. The girl had short formal styled black hair that was grey at the tips. She was dressed in the same uniform as the General, if only a woman's variant of it. The girl looked like the Generals daughter, but Jaune wasn't going to jump to conclusions.
"James, it's good to see you. But I must ask, was it appropriate for you to bring your fleet with you?" Olivia spoke as the General approached, arms spread wide.
"Come now Olivia, you know I only brought them to better help protect the city. After all, the White Fang have become restless and seem to want to stir up trouble whenever they have the chance. I'm certain your guest knows what I'm talking about." James said waving a hand to Jaune, making him flinch. He straightened up just slightly more as the General walked up to Olivia's desk. "You can understand why I wanted my fleet to be here."
Jaune glanced down to Olivia to see her flex her hands into fists several times. He could guess what she was thinking, the same thing went through his mind. The General only brought his fleet to show off his power. Jaune didn't know why, but he did want to believe the General when he said it was to deal with the White Fang. Still, with the matter at hand, he wanted to get his meeting with the General out of the way and go back to hanging out with his team. He figured he would have to take the initiative to do that though. "Um, sir? I'm sorry to interrupt, but may I ask why I was told to meet with you? I doubt this is about the White Fang."
Jaune said, drawing the General's attention back onto him, making him nervous again. James simply smiled and reached a hand up straightening his tie. "Apologies, I guess I got carried away talking about my fleet. Introductions won't be needed, seeing as you know me and I certainly know you, Mr. Arc."
James reached a hand out for him to shake. He took it, holding back a wince at how strong the General's grip was. He nodded in understanding and cleared his throat before talking again. "Well, then I must say I'm flattered someone as influential as you know who I am."
Jaune said, hoping he could play this off without looking like a wet noddle before the General. The man seemed to like his words as he smiled and clapped Jaune on the shoulder. "Well I'm glad you feel that way. Now, I hope there weren't any misconceptions to why I wanted to meet you. There are two reasons I wanted to meet you. The first reason is very simple, I'm a man, so to hear of a young man with Aura, well how could I not want to meet you. Every man in history has dreamed of having Aura, so this is truly an honor for me."
Jaune was taken back by the General's words. It made him want to smile in pride that he was honored to meet him. When he passed a glance to Olivia though he remembered her warning about the General trying to get on his good side. He held back his smile and nodded at the General. "I'm glad you feel that way. I know I said it before, but to meet someone as influential as you is an honor as well."
The General nodded before taking a step back and waving a hand at the young woman who had been waiting patiently behind him. "The second reason I wanted to meet you, was because I wanted someone to show my daughter around the academy. I thought seeing as I was already going to meet you for my own personal reasons, I figured you wouldn't mind being my daughters guide."
There were many reasons why he was shocked at the sudden news, but mostly because his mind went to one thing, one very bad thing. The General was using his own daughter to try and curry favor with him to join Atlas Academy. That made Jaune sick and angry, but he held that back, simply crossing his arms behind his back to hide his balled-up fists.
"I see, well it would be rude of me to refuse. Though I'm afraid I'll have to. While I'd love to show her around, I have plans to train with my team. Can't put off training now, can I?" Jaune said, shaking his shock off and waiting for the General's reply, but he wasn't the one to speak up.
"I see, if that's the case why not let me train with you." Jamess daughter stepped forward, speaking in a polite, but militaristic manner. "I apologize for the late introduction, but my name is Jasmin Ironwood. I am a Staff Sargent of Atlas Academy. I do hope you don't mind me joining you, my father wasn't the only one looking forward to meeting you."
Jasmin said politely, leaving Jaune at a loss for words. He wanted to say something, anything, to argue a point to keep her from joining him. But there was nothing he could say, and there was nothing he could do. He turned to Olivia for help, just to see her frown, before he saw the corners of her lips turn up. "I think it would be wonderful to let her train with you Jaune. This may help you greatly in the future, and if you two meet during the tournament you can at least have a good idea of her abilities. Even if that would work both ways."
Olivia said, surprising Jaune, but he could tell there was more to what she was saying. She was aiming for something with this and he had to figure it out. He couldn't help groaning internally. 'Well shit, she's scheming something and wants me to figure it out all on my own!' Jaune thought in frustration, before taking a deep breath and putting on a smile for Jasmin.
"Well then, it's decided. Shall we get going, Ms. Ironwood?" Jaune waved a hand to the elevator for Jasmin to follow.
Jasmin smiled and let Jaune lead her out of the office. He passed a glance to Olivia just as they entered the elevator to see her waving goodbye. The General just nodded his way before passing a glance to his daughter. That really didn't sit well him, but he couldn't do anything about it. 'Great, now I just need to get my team to go along with this training. I probably should've made a better lie that didn't have the gaping hole of my team not knowing about it.' Jaune thought only to hear the sound of Jasmin clearing her throat. He turned to see her slowly running a hand through her hair.
"I must thank you for giving me an excuse to leave my father's side. While I respect and love him, it does become tiring to watch him play politics." Jasmin smiled at Jaune's surprised look. "Don't seem so shocked, I am still a teenager. Just because I'm part of Atlas academy doesn't change that, nor does my father. That and I felt clearing up your misinterpretation of my father."
Jaune turned to Jasmin, his eyes narrowing ever so slightly. "What do you mean?"
Jasmin simply laughed at his question. "Anyone can see you think my father is using me to get in your good graces, or maybe you think my father wants me to seduce you." Jaune almost balked at Jasmin's words before clicking his mouth shut, turning away with a frown. Apparently, she found his reaction to be rather amusing. "My father knew Olivia might not truly understand why he wanted to meet you, and would attempt to put odd ideas in your head. Truthfully my father's original intentions were indeed to try and get you to join Atlas. But after you were almost kidnapped and the attack on the docks, he realized trying to get you to come now would only end in failure or some sort of retaliation. Instead he felt he should build a type of trust between the two of you."
"What sort of trust did he have in mind?" Jaune asked just as Jasmin smiled.
"My father believes you hold the key to unlocking Aura for every man to come. He thinks if he can see and study how your Aura works, men can finally have Aura like women. I on the other hand believe he's reaching for a fantasy, but he is my father, so I want to support him. When he asked me to talk with you I felt sick. It felt like I had to trick you, but instead he told me to explain everything to you so you can see his side of the story. My father isn't a bad man, and he doesn't want to do things in an underhanded kind of way, but he wants to help people. Not just men, but woman too, and I know full well he will do everything in his power to do that. He's the main reason Atlas has made so many leaps in technology, and why men are becoming a much more prominent part of the military with the new power armors and hard-light weapons. Even Atlas Academy is starting to accept male students to participate in the military. It was all thanks to my father."
Jasmin said, a fond smile on her face, leaving Jaune at a loss for words. He couldn't help feeling awestruck by how much respect Jasmin had for her father. It almost felt the same way Jaune respected his own dad. He may not be all to use to men being looked down on, seeing as it wasn't something that was brought up in his village. It wasn't big enough for people to care what gender you were, but he knew full well men weren't treated great. Most of the people in the four kingdoms thought men were the bottom of the totem pole. He sighed at that thought before looking back to Jasmin.
"You know, it may be rude of me to say this, but you seem to speak very highly of your father. It's rather odd honestly, seeing as most women tend not to care much for their father figures. You seem different, why do you show such respect for him?" Jaune asked leaning back against the wall of the elevator just as Jasmin smiled.
"I was wondering when you would ask that question. The answer is rather simple. I don't know my mother. She died shortly after giving birth to me, so I never got to meet her. Father raised me all on his own. He explained a lot of things to me." Jasmin frowned before continuing. "My father made sure I understood how the world worked, but I didn't want to accept it. So, instead of acting like everyone else, I decided I would help my father and treat men as equals. That is why I respect my father, and that is why I want to help him gain your trust."
Jaune scratches his head, feeling as though he may have stepped over the line for what he said. 'Great, I had to go and say such a cruel thing'.
"I'm sorry I said what I did. I shouldn't have said such a thing. I was confused by the way you acted. Please accept my apologies." Jasmin held a hand waving his apology off.
"Don't worry, most people tend to be shocked by how much I respect my father. I've gotten used to it. What about you, I've rarely met a man so willing to take second fiddle to a woman. Even the men who serve under me still insult and disrespect me behind my back when they don't think I'm listening." Jaune winced at her remark as he scratched the back of his head.
"I grew in a family with 7 sisters, I'm very much used to being rather subservient. Truth be told I've always been protected by my sister." Memories of the times his sisters saved him from a bully brought a fond smile to him. "It's funny, but as I kid my dream was to be a Huntsman. To think that would actually come true."
As the young Huntsman finished the elevator dinged, signaling that they have arrived. Jasmin laughed slightly at him before stepping out of the elevator. "Well, I can see why you wanted to join Beacon then. Had you joined Atlas you would be a soldier, not a Huntsman. Still, I do hope you begin to trust both me and my father. After all, we only want what's best for the people."
As they made their way out of the elevator, the Atlas student caught the knight by his sleeve. He turned back to her before he thought on her request. "In my honest opinion..." Jaune paused before frowning. "I'm sorry, I can't trust him."
Jasmin was taken back by his words. "W-what? Why?" The poor girl was completely thrown through a loop by his words. Jaune couldn't help smiling at having thrown her off she was to stutter like that.
"Because, I don't know your father and I trust Olivia. I want to trust your father, but the fact he decided to use you, even if for good reasons, isn't right." He watched as Jasmin just lowered her head.
"I see. I suppose you're, but at the very least can you try to trust him? My father truly is a good man, he wants to help people." Jaune just shook his head. "Why? Please explain why you can't come to trust him. My father asking me to gain your trust isn't a good excuse!"
Her patience grew thin as she got in his face, screaming for an explanation. He took a deep breath and turned away from her. "You already said it yourself. Your father originally came here to try and take me to Atlas. Just because he says he came to gain my trust doesn't mean his previous intentions have changed. Why else would he want me to trust him?" Jasmin's glare intensified before huffing and turning away from him.
"So, what? I told you he isn't a bad person!" She snapped only for Jaune to shake his head again.
"I understand that, but how can I trust a man who has anterior motives?" Jasmin attempted to rebut his statement, only for her words to fail. She turned around visibly shaking in anger at his words before she took a deep breath and turned to him a displeased look on her face.
"Fine, do what you want. I'll simply have to ask for you to show me around another time. I'd rather not keep you from your team, and if I joined now I would only sour the mood with how I am." Jaune watched as Jasmin began to walk away before she stopped just ahead of him. She spun back around and stormed up to him pointing an accusing finger at him. "I am going to make you trust my father, I don't care what it takes! Do you understand, I will not let this simply be forgotten!"
Jasmin shouted before storming off, leaving Jaune at a loss for words. He stared at the shrinking form of Jasmin before letting out a relieved sigh. 'I can't believe she actually let me go.' He leaned back against a nearby wall, sighing in relief that the conflict was over. He hated what he just did, but he had his reasons. Had he blatantly lied to her and said he would trust Ironwood he would have left himself at the mercy of the General. He didn't want that and he wanted to trust Olivia. She worried what the General may do so he had to worry himself. Still he felt bad for antagonizing Jasmin like he did. It wasn't right but it had to be done. Still he didn't know what to say about her declaration. He didn't know whether he should be impressed by her respect for her father, or scared of what she may do to make him gain her trust.
But that was a problem for another time. For now, he just needed to get back to his team. He wanted to catch up with Neptunia and her brother anyways.
AN/Look who is back you happy little reader people! It is me, I am back how do you feel!? Well that doesn't matter right now all that matters is the chapters! Now cheer you happy little reader people! I give you a chapter!
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