Its Friday and you know what that means! A new chapter of Jaune Arc's Bizarre adventure is here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.
Jaune felt his face and chest plate scrape against the pavement as he landed, the wormhole had closed and the bandit lady got away. However he was alive and more importantly it seemed that the town of Mythbay was bandit free as militia men and woman cheered their victory. He pushed himself to his feet and patted himself down, nearly collapsing again as he did. He felt his heart pounding in his chest as a strange euphoria washed over him. Maybe it was fact that he had defeated an obviously dangerous opponent or the ecstatic expressions and body language of the militia as they celebrated causing him to get swept up in the vibe and become as happy as they felt despite how tired and how shocked he felt. It was incredible.
He blinked as he found himself standing in his private realm. How did he get here when he didn't will himself to?
"Jaune I did not expect you so soon." He turned around to see the table with the tea set and Dio looking at him, a look of curious surprise or boredom on his face. Jaune tried to suppress his surprise and confusion as he awkwardly sat down in his chair.
"You seem troubled what is it?" Dio asked more out of politeness than any actual interest or so Jaune gleamed from how bored Dio looked and the way he leaned back into his chair his jaw planted lazily on his fist. Jaune sighed and began recounting the events since his last visit remembering the etiquette Dio taught him, it never sat well with him if Jaune didn't adhere to it. By the end of it Dio had a curious look of amusement, either from the story of if he was remembering something just as entertaining. Jaune could never tell with his mentor.
"It appears that you have had an eventful night Jaune." Dio finally spoke.
"Yes. 'Eventful' is one way to describe it. Although I find it troubling that a bandit such as her would have such a weak stand." Jaune said sipping his odd tasting tea.
"Every stand has it's strengths and weaknesses." Dio continued "Every stand user must contend with and adapt to them accordingly if they hope to survive. This woman you describe appears to have adapted very well to her stand's abilities. It was weak and as a result she made herself strong and skilled as to not depend on it. It transported her to where she desired, meaning that she did not need anything other than a melee weapon to fight."
His face became deathly serious as he looked deep into Jaune's eyes "The woman had made the mistake of underestimating her opponent, you, Jaune. She had gambled with her ability to escape safely and lost. If you wish to live long enough to exceed her in age then you must not make the same mistakes she did. It was not because of her stand that she had lost to you. It was her stupidity in the moment."
"I-, I understand. I will not make the same mistakes she had." Jaune responded, the implications kicking in.
Dio smiled at Jaune effectively cheering him up "You have done well in achieving your victory. Despite her obvious failure, you had the wisdom and the quick thinking needed to exploit it. You should be proud Jaune."
Jaune smiled with a rarely felt happiness before he could suppress it to an acceptable level and didn't wince as Dio's expression turned sour as he drank his tea. Somehow it felt that it wasn't he Dio was upset with, thankfully.
Curious Jaune focused his vision on Dio analyzing his expressions and body language as much as possible, it was a chink in the man's armor and a chance, however small to analyse his mentor's expressions. Not the sample expressions and poses his mentor would use to educate him in the past or the controlled expressions he would use during their conversations, but what the man was actually feeling and by extension thinking.
Dio stared off to the right his jaw resting on his left fist as was curiously laid back in his slight left leaning. It might have looked like he was relaxing but that didn't seem right. His brow was also furrowed as he stared into the nothingness of their realm, the look in his eyes a little too sharp for simple daydreaming. A moment later Dio's eye met his and the man smiled, his expression returning to a controlled one preventing Jaune from completing his analysis. He tried his best to cover up his impromptu analysis with a neutral smile but felt that the rest of his face probably betrayed his thoughts.
"It is now morning Jaune. You must return to your body if you are to continue your journey, but do not forget the warning that I, Dio, have given you." Dio said before drinking his tea.
As Jaune got up and prepared to leave he turned around 1 last time and asked "Before I go I have to ask, when I fought her everything seemed to slow down, but when it did some color would fade from my vision. Could that mean my stand is manifesting itself somehow?"
Dio gave him a smile "It is possible Jaune. It however could also be nothing." Jaune sighed, it was strange that he could see and apparently interact with stands but not have his own manifest by now. Although if Dio's past lessons on the matter were any indicator it might have been an automatic one that acted unconsciously and independently of him. Such things he could ponder on his way to Vale.
As Jaune woke to the real world the first thing he noticed was that he was in the bed of a clinic. Thankfully it appeared to be as clean and proper as the one back home, shortly after he woke a doctor came to explain that he had lost consciousness shortly after the battle caused by physical exhaustion and rapid aura drain than any actual injury and most bizarrely he remained standing, so nobody noticed that he was unconscious until someone tried to take him to a tavern to celebrate.
Once he was dressed and discharged he went back to his hotel to collect his things and went to a local cafe for breakfast. It was a small place with a kitchen and several tables and chairs, architecturally designed to allow the morning light to brighten up the entire place and display itself like a billboard advertisement during the evening when the daylight started fading. There he met a man named Odis and his dog also named Odis, both of whom were interesting enough to keep him from leaving Mythbay until lunch time.
Over the course of their conversation he learned that Odis made his living transporting goods and other products to and from towns like Mythbay to Vale's gates apparently loving his job very much as evidenced by his happy expressions and speech patterns. Seeing as he was behind schedule Jaune offered to help Odis with the loading and unloading of the products in exchange for transportation to the next town along his planned pathway. To his surprise Odis offered to take him straight to Vale instead claiming that he had to get there quickly anyway. Jaune could understand, even in boxes of ice freshly caught river trout and similar foods could apparently still go bad quickly, or so Odis claimed.
The vehicle that Odis used certainly looked the part of a well used and lovingly maintained transport vehicle. It was a red pick-up truck whose make and model he couldn't identify, with large thick wheels that would look more at home on a heavy Atlas military vehicle, however given the not so smooth dirt paths that made up Vale's interior territories he could understand why they would be preferred. Even though he couldn't see the engine he had to guess that it was extremely powerful to move a vehicle like Odis' truck when it was fully loaded.
As Odis was tightening the webbing that secured Mythbay's products Jaune found himself being ambushed by some of the residents offering their thanks and gifts for his journey. Most of the gifts were fresh vegetables and other food stuff like a cooked river trout wrapped in tin foil, tree sap Jam, bread and more, but they also gave him a new pair of pants to replace the one he had tore in his fight last night. All of which were unceremoniously stuffed into his travel pack with the rest of his belongings without his consent, he protested but was met with bizarre comments.
He decided to cut the protest short as Odis honked his horn and told him to get in the back of his truck as the front was apparently reserved for him and the dog, and as the man was doing him a huge favor he didn't feel like arguing. As Odis pulled out of the town Jaune waved goodbye to the people of Mythbay and tried to get comfortable as he wedged himself between the edge of the truck and the various boxes tied down by webbing as the van started going faster. As he looked to the sky a strange pride swelled in his chest, he had gotten a taste of some of the more rewarding aspects of his chosen career and it just fueled his motivation and will to continue even further.
Jaune's hands had become white from griping the edges of the back of the pick-up truck for several hours as his psychotic driver accelerated towards Vale at speeds that would have been acceptable on a race track, the open sky or even an empty and flat highway with no law enforcement, but along the twisting, bumpy and not at all smooth road they were taking it was all he could to not to slam his face into the boxes of product and/or fly off the edge of the truck at over 200 or 300 miles per hour. An exaggeration possibly, but he felt it was appropriate given how the laws of physics would react to him flying uncontrolled through a dense forest at the speed they were going. Both an experiment and lesson he did not want today.
"Almost there!" his psychotic driver yelled over the wind currents, a curious thump and the noise the crazy engine, likely packed with all kinds of illegal Atlas Technology based modifications made.
"OH SWEET DIO! Jaune yelled as a beowolf toppled over the roof and onto him before it began disintegrating.
"This next part gets interesting!" Jaune heard Odis yell before his arms slipped and the raw inertia of the sudden speed boost slammed him painfully to the metal frame of the truck, a loud jet engine like noise probably deafening him for life.
The ground became even more rough than normal with each bump sending high magnitude seismic activity through his body and causing him to spew unintelligible protests, after a while he realized he could no longer see the trees of the forests or the rocky trail they had been driving along only bright blue sky. An extremely sudden turn propelling Jaune onto the side of the truck. Only by his foot luckily catching onto some of the secure webbing which held the crates of various goods did he not fly off and become the new poster boy for seat belt safety.
As much as he wished otherwise he saw that Odis had been driving along a steep cliff path along Vale's mountain range and that they were approaching a sharp winding path which at the speed they were going would guarantee an accident, beyond that were what he guessed were one of the gates into the city of Vale.
"SLOW DOWN! SLOW DOWN!" Jaune yelled as loudly and urgently as he could which given the horrifying situation he was in probably came out more high pitched and like a girl screaming than he wanted it to.
"Here we go!" Odis yelled as he pushed down further on the gas petal. Jaune screamed even louder which Odis probably took as encouragement as the truck bounced to one side then literally drove on the cliff side wall of the twisting pathway thankfully avoiding it all together. If his life were not in immediate danger Jaune would admit that it was cool.
"TIME FOR THE FUN PART!" Odis yelled and Jaune nearly had a heart attack as he saw his driver's expression in the side mirror and that of his dog. 'These two are psychotic! How the hell did I end up here!? I-'
His thought process was interrupted as he felt the speeding death machine bump something, start rolling as a feeling of weightlessness took over. The fatal blow being when he felt his foot slipped free of the life saving webbing. He sailed through the air like he was a missile or a bizarre torpedo from the old war movies one of his older sisters loved. Although he was not sure if he was screaming or not as the gates of the great city of Vale approached him at high speed. If he knew he was going to die today he would have stuck with his original plan and traveled to Vale on foot. Although his fate was probably sealed the moment he got in the back of Odis' truck.
He braced himself for impact oddly enough colliding with the roof of Odis' truck first, finding himself bizarrely attached to it by ghostly hands that materialized from his arms, they were probably the only things preventing him from flying off and dying from a very high velocity impact. Jaune tried to examined the ghostly arms in detail only learning that they were muscular, certainly more muscular than he was with nubs on the knuckles before they suddenly vanished leaving the forces of gravity and the laws of physics to take over as the ground rapidly approached him and the truck. He screamed as he flailed and twisted through the air, landing on his back with a splat.
Jaune stared at the blue sky, the bright sun light and warmth embracing him like his mother or sisters would when he was sad, he blinked as he methodically pulled himself up from his landing spot and looked around trying to shake off the shock of what just happened. It looked more like the aftermath of meteor strike, a long shallow trench in the dirt path with him at the end of it. He focused his vision and saw what bizarrely looked like hundreds hand prints in the dirt almost hidden among the scrapings of metal and cloth that made up the interior of the trench. That wasn't possible, he had landed on his back and the hand prints looked as though someone had padded the dirt down from the front as he was crashing into it.
He awkwardly reached around and found his extended shield on his back, it had apparently took the brunt of the landing as it was in an even worse shape than from his fight with the bandit lady the night before. Not only had it received new damage from the impact which had broken it into two separate pieces, it also had what he could only guess was the entire trench's supply of dirt stuffed into the cracks, rifts and place where his sword would be sheathed. He panicked and checked his hip, to his relief he found his sword hanging from one of the belt straps on his now completely ruined jeans.
Questions started forming in his head about the situation and how it could have happened when he did nothing of his own accord but stopped when he realized something far more important.
He was still alive! He gasped as the man who nearly killed him appeared in his vision.
"Here we are. Jaune." He said "Come help me with my truck." If not for the partially paralyzing shock caused by his landing Jaune would probably have punched Odis in his smug, stupid face.
As they made their way to the gate marking the official entryway of the great city of Vale, both towing carts of goods, Odis started making remarks about the gate itself and what comes through there on a daily basis, not doubt it was important and interesting trivia but all Jaune could focus on was snapping out of his stupor. Only then did Jaune get a chance to marvel at the both large and fortified structure. It seemed to mix modern technology with an ancient design that had no doubt saved Vale from annihilation on countless occasions.
Like an ancient castle gate built into the surrounding rocky and rough surroundings it stood imposing, a design that, while he couldn't understand why, seemed to declare total domination of the area. On it's ramparts were what he could safely guess were soldiers sworn to protect Vale and it's territories at all costs, their modern equipment clashing sharply against the rocky and old style of structure they guarded. He no doubt could guess that there were more defenses and equipment hidden behind the ramparts ready to spring to life at the first sign of hostility and respond in kind. If he were an architect he no doubt would be able to appreciate the design of what practically looked like a fortress to him and how it must have been modified to allow various modern weapons and defense systems to share it's old and wizened form, if he were a proper tactician, military man, or historian he felt he would likely appreciate it's significance and importance as more than a a thick wall with a thick door that kept Grimm out and allowed people in. Never the less it still held a charm to it that seemed to welcome him in as if he were a child returning home to his family. It promised safety, comfort and more, he was so marveled by the construction that he had failed to notice when Odis stopped causing him to collide unceremoniously with the cart of goods Odis was pulling.
"Add 1 huntsman in training to that list." Odis joked as Jaune landed face first in what had to be cabbage. He quickly got up to see the un-amused face of a inspection agent as he made notes on his clip board and began inspecting the contents of Jaune's cart.
Jaune grumbled angrily as he put more money into the laundry machine. Damned river trout, jam and other perishable food exploded in his backpack when he landed and got into everything, it was costing him nearly as much as a night at the hotel he would be staying at just to get the damned smell out. It had started to stink when he was being interviewed by an immigration agent who promptly had him detained for the day and night while they figured out if he was who he said he was and if the bad smell was actually river trout mixed with jam and other food, not something illegal like preserved humanoid flesh or narcotics. By the time they gave his stuff back and released him the smell had managed to seep into everything he had in his bag, unless he got it washed out relatively quickly it would follow and stay with him in Beacon. After all it wouldn't do to go to Beacon smelling like a sweet fish based meal, unless he was going to meet a pretty cat-girl of course.
He smirked at the idea as a crying voice echoed in his head 'She ran away Jaune! She just left us!'
The dinging of the laundry machine brought him back to the present, he was hearing voices. 'Am I going crazy?' he wondered as he pulled the last batch of clothing from the laundry machine, folded then stuffed them into his now clean backpack. The whole situation seemed extremely bizarre, did other stand users hear voices like that or was he the only one?
He had only met 2 stand users other than the bandit lady but unfortunately never got the chance to ask about them, Dio wasn't much help on that topic either telling him that all stands were different and that it is possible that if a stand was manifesting itself that it could potentially have some negative side effects if he was unable to assert control over it.
He grumbled more about it as he made his way back to his hotel, pausing to look at his hand and remember what he saw yesterday. His stand was manifesting, it had partially materialized twice yesterday alone. It was the only explanation he could think of that would explain the ghostly hands that no doubt saved his life as there was no way that he did any of that on his own.
He smiled and began examining the local establishments on his way to his hotel, he needed to celebrate, it felt safe to confirm that his stand was emerging and seemed more keen on helping than hurting him, even if he didn't have full control over it yet or know for certain it's abilities. It would make his time at Beacon that much more awesome!
He paused and searched the name of the next club he saw online. Apparently it was a dance club owned and operated by a man named Junior Xiong, known for providing an upbeat atmosphere with the dance floor placed in the middle, private booths to the sides and more, what made it different from other dance clubs apparently was it's acoustic design that allowed the people at the bar or in the private booths to converse normally without being drowned out or raising their voices to compete with the loud music while the flashing lights would be focused in the dance floor preventing unnecessary distractions. This along with various glass decorative designs that screamed 'fancy' got the club good ratings and other promising reviews, He smiled as he made his way to his hotel, once he was checked in, he would go partying.
"Pick a drink already kid." the bar tender called over the sound of the upbeat music that blared across the dance floor. Jaune glared at him and he returned it. He was a big man in a fancy black vest over a white dress shirt, black pants and gloves with short black hair and a beard. Jaune couldn't suppress his smirk fast enough, somehow the large, no doubt intimidating man seemed to resemble a well dressed bear in that moment and the bartender got up and made his way over to him. As he passed he bluntly told Jaune to either order a drink or get out before moving to talk to a well-dressed and obviously flamboyant ginger man with a cane.
Jaune sighed as he returned to drink menu, he could understand why the man was frustrated, he spent the last 30 minutes staring at the menu although that wasn't entirely his fault. He had never heard of all the drinks they served here before. Where were the simple drinks like Ale or Grog, and what the hell was a Raspberry Sgroppino? After a while he called for something called a Strawberry Sunrise, just in time apparently as a pair of twins in red and white whom he guessed were bouncers moved to flank him.
"Make that two please." a new voice called as something definitely female filled the seat next to him. 'Jackpot!' he thought and closed his eyes, spun around on the bar stood, elbow on the bar top, fist pressed to his cheek, one leg crossed in a manly way over the other and put on his best smile. He heard the soft noise made by glass sliding against polished wood and grabbed it, holding it at chin level 'Now for my ultimate introduction.' he mused.
"The name is Jaune. Jaune Arc. And who might you be Miss?" he asked trying to ooze as much charm and confidence as he could before he opened his eyes and nearly fell off the stool.
The girl in question physically resembled the bandit lady he fought during the bandit attack with the exception of Bright-gold hair, Lilac eyes, and a different outfit which consisted of a yellow crop top, black shorts, a brown jacket with an orange scarf, a belt with several pouches and a pair of thick yellow bracelets. She giggled and smiled back "Yang Xiao-Long. And you spilled your drink." she responded.
He quickly glanced down to see that the spill had landed on his knee before forcing his face into a pleasant one. "I'm sorry, I was so taken by your beauty I had temporarily lost my composure." He said while his mind screamed questions like 'Why is the bandit lady here?' 'Is she here to kill me?' 'Why does she look like that?' in rapid succession.
"6 out of 10. Good try though." she responded sipping her drink.
"Only 6?" he questioned trying to force himself to calm down and perform an analysis of her. She wasn't wearing much make-up, and the little she was wearing were not centered around concealing her age, thankfully life with 7 sisters had taught him more about make-up than he felt a guy should know and he confirmed that she was much younger than the lady was, probably his age.
The roots of her hair were the same shade of blond as the rest of it, getting details like that correct look a lot of time and effort with the amount of chemicals need leaving a faint smell behind. He did not smell any trace of hair dye or anything other than the standard perfume a girl would wear and was able to confirm that it was her natural color.
Her voice and tone were also very different than that of the bandit lady. Unless she was an expert at voice acting he doubted that ingrained cheer, pleasantness, pitch and tone this girl had could be duplicated.
He focused his vision on her posture and expression, she leaned slightly forward with her arms and knees a small distant apart, enough to suggest she was open to him but not inviting, one standard subconscious pose for people who wanted to have a friendly talk with someone, hang-out and/or meet new people, but little else. Her pleasant smile and partially focused gaze suggested she found him amusing in his attempts to flirt with her as she sipped her fancy looking drink, no traces of any hostility present.
He relaxed finally, unless the bandit lady was pulling some kind of bizarrely elaborate scheme and using what had to be the best disguise ever, he could safely confirm that this wasn't the middle-aged beauty that tried to murder him two nights ago, instead she was a girl in her late teens who had a disturbing resemblance to the bandit lady. That was something he was bizarrely okay with.
"Only 6." she confirmed before narrowing her brow "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Oh sorry, you look like someone I met earlier this week." he unintelligent blurted out. Dio would probably strangle him for that if he was here right now.
Her smile came back and her brow relaxed "Oh really?" She pulled out her phone and opened it. "Was it this person?" She slid her finger across the screen and he gagged when he saw it. It was and old photograph with all the little imperfections of old photography exaggerated by what had to be the phone camera's zoom feature, but on it was the bandit lady from the last town standing to her side but still easily recognizable enough for him.
"Oh crap." he again blurted out as she wrapped one arm around his shoulder. Under normal circumstances he would have been happy to have such a buxom, bouncy and soft lady brush up to him like that but now he could only equate the feeling to that of a python or other large snake-like creature wrapping itself around it's doomed victim, the point solidifying itself when she gently pressed her fingers into his arm.
"So you've seen her. Can you tell me where and when please?" she asked in a serious but flirtatious manner.
He glanced at her face, her expression had changed from friendly to serious which she poorly concealed with a plastic smile her eyes now fully focused. He spun under her arm and off the stool, swirling half a foot away before settling to face her "Look it's been nice, but I got to go."
"OH NO YOU DON'T!" She yelled as she lunged at him, using her left elbow to pin him to the bar by the neck settling her right fist back in a standard punching position as her bracelets unfolded and expanded on themselves. He gasped and she pressed slightly harder down on him. "Tell me what I want to know or Ember Celica will give you a kiss!"
/====To be Continued===/
AN; *hands on cheek bones* OH NO! Yang has appeared! Is she going to fight Jaune in juniors club? Probably. Will it be a stand battle? Maybe. Will Jaune win and how would he do it? Find out next time on Jaune Arc's Bizarre Adventure. Also chapter 3 has been edited to make it less like a giant text box, go check it out if you haven't already.