AN: Sorry for the longer wait than before. University had started up several weeks ago and I am in the process of finishing up my last quarter. I've also been dealing with personal stuff and emotions, especially in the last two weeks. I'm glad that Paths of the Arc has been well received by the community, and the suggestions and critiques have been giving me thoughts on future chapters.
I have another AN at the bottom regarding some of the characters, so please let me know what you think.
Disclaimer: Please look back to chapter 1.
Right as Void restarted the viewing portal, the immortal's left eye twitched a bit and he glanced towards the side. No one noticed as they anxiously waited for the portal to coalesce.
"For some context, the events of this world begin with the finals of the Vytal Tournament. It is just after the fight between Pyrrha Nikos and Penny Polendina," informed Void.
"Then this world matches up with our world's timeline," said Ironwood.
"Considering what I am about to show you all, I must reiterate that what you are about to see would most likely distress you all greatly," warned Void, making the Remnant inhabitants look to each other for a moment.
"We've already agreed the moment after you brought us here, Void. Whatever happens in these other worlds you show us, we'll make sure that they don't happen in ours," said Ozpin.
Void took in everyone's determined faces and nodded before having the viewing portal proceed.
Two figures emerged from the base of the tower as they rushed from the building, only stopping to catch their breaths. Luckily the streets were completely abandoned with nothing, but the signs of destruction left in its wake, so they had time to register what just happened. Jaune was panting heavily as he fumbled in his pockets to find his scroll.
His mind desperately trying to unravel the mystery of what was happening around him, going back to not so long ago when he was just at the Stadium before everything went to hell.
Penny had been accidentally killed by his partner; giant hordes of Grimm were attacking the school - with some mysterious woman spreading hateful propaganda about the Atlas military and his own partner over the radio. Then the crazy shit happened with the Atlesian Knights turning on everyone, his partner being called into the basement under Beacon by Headmaster Ozpin - who showed them some mysterious woman in a pod - Jaune barely had time to register what was going on.
Ozpin's group paled considerably at the current situation. With last night's confrontation still vividly haunting their thoughts, everyone sat in silent shock. Ironwood and Winter tightened their fists at the news of Penny's death and the enemy taking control of their systems. Void hadn't told them the extent of what damage the hacking had caused, but it was far worse than anything they could have imagined.
Pyrrha was shaking at the revelation of murdering another student, holding onto Jaune and Nora like lifelines. Ren had quickly moved over so that he grasped her shoulders in comfort. Meanwhile, Ruby stiffened at the news, tears quickly forming to the worry of her friends. The older members of Team RWBY all knew loss at some point, but the young Rose never truly experienced it. Yang quickly scooped up her baby sister, while Summer felt her blood freeze at the tiny flash of silver that passed through her daughter's eyes.
Before he could get any answers out of his partner, she was getting into a pod similar to the woman as Ozpin sealed her inside. He was then ordered to protect them while they did whatever it was Ozpin was doing. He obeyed right up till he heard his partner screaming, while her form was bathed in a strange orange light as he rushed to her pod. But before he could try and get her out, an arrow pierced the second pod as he saw the strange orange light fly out of the chamber and into this mysterious woman.
He tried to hold her off, but she simply batted him away with a simple wave of her hand and before Pyrrha could fight her, Ozpin stopped her, ordered them to leave the vault and go to Vale to get help. The man was determined to hold back the strange woman who had managed to bring the Kingdom of Vale to its knees. Now that they had returned to the surface, they needed to call for help.
Void growled at the mention of Ozpin's attempt at transferring Amber's aura to Pyrrha. The Headmaster would've taken note of his host's disapproval, but he was still frozen in shock and guilt. Qrow did though and grimaced at another argument brewing for the next break. Glynda herself felt faint from the shock of what the future foretold, how they were so close to this world's events had it not been for Void.
More mistakes made. Even more lives lost.
"I think I have Glynda's number in here somewhere...Oh, where is it?!" Jaune said as he searched his scroll for the teacher's number.
His mind and heart still racing from the events that had transpired in the secret vault hidden under the school, as he fumbled through the contacts list to find the teacher's number. He then turned his head as he faced his partner whose face was full of distraught and conflict.
"Pyrrha? What was all that?" he said as the girl turned to face him, worry and uncertainty clearly etched on her face.
Before she could even talk, a loud sound came from the tower as Jaune and Pyrrha look back inside to catch a glimpse of the strange woman as she propelled herself up the tower. Fear wrapped around their hearts, as they saw the woman ascend to the top and they knew one thing.
Ozpin had lost.
"Shit. This is not good," hissed Taiyang.
"Understatement of the century," growled Qrow, taking huge gulps of his flask.
"Ozpin…lost," muttered Ironwood in disbelief, while Glynda looked at her old friend in worry.
"But...Ozpin, he..." Jaune tried to say as he found his words stuck in his voice, as he found the idea impossible of Ozpin losing. Pyrrha then spun around as she faced her partner.
"Jaune, you have to get out of here! Go to Vale and call for help!" Pyrrha said as Jaune stared at her confused.
"What? What are you going to -!" he stopped as he looked back up at the tower and the answer struck him like a bolt of lightning. "No! No! You can't be serious! Pyrrha, you saw what she did to Ozpin, how powerful she is? There is no way you can-!"
"I have to Jaune! This is the only way and I'm the only one who can stand up to her." Jaune shook his head as he pointed at the tower.
"No, you can't! I won't allow it! You'll die if you go up there! There has to be another way!" he shouted as the girl shook her head defiantly.
"There is no other way! Please, just leave!"
Void let out a defeated and weary sigh, looking to have aged substantially. The immortal made eye contact with Pyrrha and frowned at the guilt and fear.
"In many worlds, you make the idiotic mistake of confronting the False Maiden after she killed Ozpin. You ran up there to die. Whether it was arrogance or simply guilt, I do not know."
"Now's not the time to be saying things like that," growled Jaune, as he and the rest of JNPR tried to quell Pyrrha's shaking and tears.
At this point, Team RWBY had joined their sister team around their couch. They were scared for their friends' counterparts and their own, as Void's warnings haunted their thoughts, and glared at the immortal for his lack of tact.
But the immortal was unfazed by their animosity.
"You do not realize the scope of the danger Salem presents, nor the gamble I am risking to show you these worlds. I must hammer in home all the consequences that may come about from your actions."
Jaune stared at her before he turned away and grabbed his head in frustration. His mind and his heart were racing, as he knew what his partner was planning to do. She was going to go up there, face whoever that woman was and get herself killed. She was always like this, thinking of others before herself. It was one of the traits he cherished the most about her. But Jaune just couldn't allow that to happen.
'Damn it! I can't let her go through with this! I can't! There has to be another way. There has to be a-!' he stopped as he looked at a discarded locker near the tower. Having been stuck inside those things for the first half of Beacon by Cardin, he knew the things inside and out.
And that was when he knew what he had to do...
Pyrrha gasped. "Jaune…"
The Arc scion grit his teeth but didn't respond. He knew exactly what his other self was thinking and a glance at Void confirmed his suspicions about the locker. Another glance towards his parents and Jaune's heart clenched even further.
This will not end well.
He sighed deeply as he turned around and faced her with a solemn look on his face.
"Alright, I'll leave...but before I go...there is something I have to do, something I was going to do after the tournament. But then all this happened and... Well, there's no better time than the present right?" he said as Pyrrha walked closer to him.
"What is it Jaune?" she said as the boy sighed deeply, grabbed her by the shoulders and looking deeply into her dazzling green eyes one last time and kissed her passionately on the lips.
In any other circumstance, the teens and parents would be cheering and joking with the Arkos couple, but the current tension kept the happiness at bay.
Time seemed to stop as her mind froze and her body became rigid before she leant into the kiss.
The many months and days that she had dreamed and desired for this kiss exploded in her chest, as they kissed amongst the ruins of Beacon. The world was silent for them as they held each other in a lover's embrace for the longest time, neither one wanting to let go and leave the other. But their lips soon parted as their foreheads rested on each other for support as they stared into each other's eyes.
It was then that Jaune leant his head into the nook of her neck as he whispered softly into her ear. But what came out of his mouth were not the words of love as she had fantasized for so long.
No, what came from his lips were words that would forever haunt her dreams...
"NO," screamed Diana, as she and the other adults saw what Jaune was about to do.
Roland did his best to calm down his wife, but he wasn't feeling any better. He just hoped that their son would make it out alive.
Before she could even comprehend his words, he grabbed her by the shoulders and threw her into the locker. Acting quickly, he slammed the door shut as he sealed her inside. Her heart and mind went numb as she watched dumbly from the confines of the locker as he began to set the coordinates. Her mind then snapped out of its shock as she pressed herself against the door
"JAUNE! JAUNE! What the hell are you doing! Let me out!" she yelled and banged against the inside of the locker.
"Let's face it you would have done the same thing to me," he said as he opened the panel to set the coordinates. "This is the only way Pyrrha, I've been in these things hundreds of time and I've come out all right. Trust me you'll be safe," he said as the girl continued to bang on the door.
"Jaune! Jaune let me out! You can't do this! Please! Let me out!"
"In most worlds, this was how Pyrrha was able to get Jaune away from the tower and to safety. Pyrrha then went up to face the enemy without any back-up."
"Where the Hell were we in all this?" growled Qrow.
Void shrugged. "You, Ironwood, and Glynda were dispatched to the city and defend it from the invading Grimm. The surprise attack caught everyone off-guard and scattered your warriors everywhere as they tried to force some semblance of order."
She screamed and yelled as she struck the door with her fists. Her hands glowing with a dark grey matter as she willed the doors to bend to her command, but they constantly denied her will to bend open. Jaune shook his head as he continued to program the locker.
"Your polarity won't affect them. I found out they're made of one of the few metals you can't manipulate. You can't get out until you've reached the city..." Jaune hung his head as he set the last co-ordinates. "You'll be safe this way," he said as a hollow look entered his eyes as the girl stared and slowly shook her head.
"Jaune don't do this! I am the only one that can face her! You'll die if you go up there!"
"And what makes you think you won't!" Jaune yelled back as she recoiled back in shock at his outburst. He breathed deeply as he rested his head against the locker and slowly looked up to face her.
"Pyrrha none of us has a chance against her, she's far too powerful for any of one to defeat. But if you can get out of here, make it back to the others, we might have a chance to beat her. But they can't do it without you," he said as she shook her head.
"Jaune's right, Pyrrha. That woman beat Ozpin. We might be strong for our age, but we're not ready for someone like her," said Blake.
"Neither of you should be running up there in the first place!" shouted Glynda, terrified for her students.
"No! Jaune they need you! Ren and Nora need you! They need you to lead them! They need you for-" she stopped as he slammed his fist into the door, her voice silent as he hung his head.
"...No, no they don't...they don't need me, they never needed me from the start. I was the one that needed them..." small tears brimmed at the edges of his eyes as he talked to her.
"You've always been there for me when I needed you. You picked me up when I fell, taught me how to fight, and saved me more times than I can count. If it's anyone they need it's you...you're the reason we stick together."
His breath became ragged as he placed his hand in the locker. Pyrrha had tears streaking down her face as she listened to the boy's heartfelt speech, the last one he would ever give as leader of Team JNPR.
"You shouldn't think so negatively of yourself, Jaune," Taiyang gently advised, as Team JNPR seemed to huddle even closer together.
"Oh, Jaune…" sobbed Diana, while Roland found his control slipping.
"I'm nothing like you Pyrrha...I'm not a Huntsman like you. I'm not strong like you and I'll never be anything like you. I'm just some dumb kid that thought he could be something he's not..." he then looked up as he smiled sadly at the girl.
"But for some reason, you never saw that in me, and instead saw something else that I still can't see. And for that I will always be thankful," he said as he placed his hand on the door of the locker. Pyrrha mimicked him as their finger brushed against each other through the metal.
"Which is why I have to do this. Its suicidal and there's absolutely no chance I'll live through this, but I need to do this, as my only real act as leader of team JNPR...it's my job after all. A leader has to sacrifice himself for those he cares about, and I care too much for you to let that happen." His voice shook as tears rolled down her face.
So many conflicting emotions warmed and chilled the young redhead's soul. Happiness for Jaune's love for their team. Love for Jaune seeming to return her affections. Guilt and shame for what she was forcing him to do. Fear and pain for seeing the acceptance in Jaune's eyes.
His hand slowly reached for the launch control as she shook her head in dismay. He smiled softly as a lone tear streaked down his face. "I'm sorry...I-I love you...and I always will," he said as he pressed the button and the rockets ignited, sending it and Pyrrha far away from the battle.
"JAUNE!" she screamed as she flew into the air as a thin trail of smoke was left behind her.
Many of the veteran warriors looked on in solemn respect. They all knew what Jaune was about to do, having seen it many times in the past. Seeing the fear and tears in the eyes of the young students, the adults all swore to themselves that the world they were viewing would not come to be their own future. The younger generation would not pay for their mistakes.
It still didn't lessen the pain of watching one of their own, someone so young as well, walk to their death.
Now she was safe, he had thought to himself as he looked back up at the tower. He sighed as he attempted to steel his nerves as he turned back to face what would be his final moments. As he walked inside, he took notice of all the destruction and chaos that been unleashed on the tower. The passageway to the stairs was sealed by debris and the elevators were all but destroyed, which left Jaune with only one option.
He moved his way to the large elevator shaft as the cables dangled from the top of the spire.
"At least I'll get some exercise in before the fight," Jaune sarcastically joked.
No one laughed.
"This will take a while, at least until I can get to the stairs," he said to himself as he tried to calm his screaming nerves. Climbing on top of the elevator, he grabbed hold of the metal cables as he began his slow climb to the top of Ozpin's tower. He pulled himself up along the metal cable, as tried his best not to look down, fearing that if he did he would fall to his untimely death.
'She'll hate us for this...you know that, right?' a little voice in his head said as Jaune continued to climb the elevator shaft.
'It's better this way, at least with her, they'll have a chance...' he tried to convince himself as he continued to climb up the metallic cables.
'We're going to die...you know that, right?'
'Yeah...but let's do our best nonetheless,' Jaune said to himself as he continued to climb his way to the battle that would decide the fate of Vale.
All the while he never noticed his blade glow softly within its sheath, as ancient symbols and glyphs shimmered upon its steel before fading into the metal. He was finally able to reach a level where he could stop and rest before he would continue his climb.
"Just like an Arc. Sacrificing themselves for the lives of others," sighed Qrow, emptying his flask.
"This is what we wanted to protect Jaune from," sobbed Diana.
"This is happening to the whole of Vale, Diana Arc. What happens here will be seen everywhere else," whispered Void.
"But Jaune's blade did some weird glow. That means he'll have a chance. Right?" begged Ruby.
Roland shook his head. "Crocea Mors hasn't been fully used since my great-grandfather. We don't know all of its capabilities."
"Trust in Jaune, Ruby. He'll fight tooth and nail to make sure he gets back to you all," tried Taiyang.
None seem convinced, but they appreciated the older blonde's optimism.
Students and civilians were piling upon the evacuation shuttles, as Oobleck and Port tried their best to usher the frightened patrons onto the transports. "That's it! Everybody on board! This is a mandatory evacuation!" Port yelled out as he directed the students.
"A safe zone has been established in Vale. Please, remain calm and listen to the Atlas personnel," Oobleck instructed as he too was directing the students onto the transports.
Fear and panic gripped at their hearts, as students and civilians tried their best to escape the hoard of Grimm. Atlas soldiers trying their best to hold them off, as the ships began to pile up with survivors as another was launched into the air to reach the safe zone in Vale. Weiss could only look around in disbelief as people were huddled together in large masses.
"Where the hell are my ships?" growled Ironwood.
"Overwhelmed or destroyed. Roman Torchwick was freed during the assault and took over one of the larger warships," answered Void.
"Damn it!" cursed Winter, berating herself for not staying in Vale and with Weiss.
"Weiss!" a young voice cried out as she turned to see a familiar red wearing huntress running towards her, a small dog running beside her as he barks to the white dressed girl.
"Ruby!" she says as Ruby stopped in front of her partner. "Ruby where have you been? I've been trying to-!" Ruby cuts her off as she shakes her head.
"Don't worry about me, I'm fine! What is going on?" she said as Weiss opens her mouth to speak, but closes it shut as she lowers her gaze sadly.
"Oh, thank Oum, you girls are safe," sighed Taiyang.
"What is it?" asked Winter in worry, noticing Void's grimace.
"This next scene will be fairly traumatic for Team RWBY. I suggest you all brace yourselves," warned Void.
Everyone tensed, but none were prepared for what they were about to see.
"Weiss? What is it?" The girl only moves to the side, as silver eyes widened in both shock and horror.
Lying before her were her friends and her sister, all of them broken and beaten with Yang lying motionlessly on the floor - save for the small shallow breaths that filled her lungs. Her arm was missing, and her complexion was pale as Blake lay beside her, gripping the blond's only hand as soft tears streaked down her face.
Summer gasped in horror, while Taiyang gripped his wife's hand tightly. Yang and the others paled considerably. The golden huntress grasped her right arm, somehow feeling the loss of her limb.
"Shit. Fucking shit!" cursed Qrow, throwing his flask as he stared at his comatose niece.
"Yang...I'm sorry," she said through tears and pain as she held on to her hand. "I'm so, so sorry" she repeated again and again as her tears mixed with the dirt on the ground.
Ruby could only look on in shock and horror as she knelt down to her sister, her eyes never tearing away from the bandaged stub that once was her sister's arm, as she placed her hand on her head.
"What happened to her?" whispered Blake, unable to look away from Yang's wound.
Void growled darkly. "Adam Taurus and the White Fang joined Salem's cause, believing they were dealing a blow for all Faunus. He coordinated with her agents to attack Beacon and release Grimm into the campus. He stabbed Blake in their confrontation before Yang found them. He cut off her arm and was about to kill her had you not intervened."
Blake's heart fractured before it shattered completely as Void explained what had happened. The young faunus wanted to run from the haunting image, away from the irrefutable evidence of her former love's true colors as a monster. She wanted to get away from it all but seeing Yang's broken form kept her in place and she held her partner like a lifeline.
"Yang…" whispered Blake, shaking and tears falling from her eyes.
"Yang..." she said as small tears began to gather in her eyes. Sun walked over to her as he placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Hey, they're going to be ok. The Atlas soldiers have a ship ready and are going to take you guys to Vale, you'll be safe there," he said as Ruby nodded solemnly.
"Wait! Jaune and Pyrrha are still missing!" Nora said as she tried to stand back up, only for her to fall back down due to her injury.
"The White Fang also managed to get their hands on more Atlas Paladins. You and the other students had to fight them, White Fang operatives, and Grimm throughout the chaos," Void further explained.
"How the fuck did they get their hands on more of our paladins!" growled Ironwood, having lost all sense of composure with every piece of bad news.
"They will pay dearly for their transgressions," scowled Winter.
"What!" Ruby yelled in panic as she turned her head back to the school, the thought of Pyrrha and Jaune in danger brought fear and panic into her heart.
A loud roar resonated across the docks as people looked up in fear as the giant dragon circled the schools tallest tower and continued to spawn and attract thousands of Grimm to its call. The beast latched onto the side of the tower as it released a mighty roar that sent fear into every heart in the area. Ruby looked back scared but soon had a face full of determination as she turned back to the other.
"What the hell is that?!" shrieked a terrified Willow.
"Forget about that thing! Ruby, what are you going to do?!" cried Weiss as she turned to her partner.
"I can't leave Jaune and Pyrrha behind!"
"I'm going to go find them!" she said as Sun grabbed her shoulder.
"Are you crazy! You can't go back there, it is suicide!" he said but Ren stood up and held his side.
"We are not leaving them!" Ren said before he fell to the ground, Nora quick to grab him as she held her dearest friend close to her. "They're our friends and we can't just leave them behind," he said through glaring eyes as Sun shook his head.
"I know your feelings, my son, but you're in no condition to help your friends," frowned Li.
"We have to do something, father."
"In situations like this, the only thing you can do is to watch yourselves and stay alive," advised a tense Roland.
"Are you peopling insane! There are literally hundreds of Grim between them and us! We are low on ammunition and aura, and not to mention the giant Grimm that keeps circling the school! Even the White Fang are pulling out! We can't help them!" he tried to reason with them as they shook their heads in defiance.
"I'm not leaving my friends to die! Just take care of the others and I'll be back Sun!" Ruby turned to leave but was stopped by Weiss as she stood next to her.
"You mean we aren't leaving them behind," she said as she drew her sword. "We are partners after all," she said as smiled to Ruby, who returned the smile in full. But just before Sun could try and talk some sense into them, Nora's scroll went off as she quickly opened it up to see Pyrrha's photo.
"Like I said. We're partners. Besides, you'll need someone to watch your back against all that Grimm."
"Guys, it's Pyrrha!" she said as Ruby and Weiss snapped their heads to her as they ran over to the girl. Weiss quickly grabbed the scroll as she turned it on to the loudspeaker.
"Pyrrha, it's Weiss! Where are you? Is Jaune with you? What's hap-"
"Weiss! Listen there is no time! I'm in Vale! Please, you have to stop him!" she said through scroll as her voice came out cracked and distorted as if she was running while talking.
"What? Stop Jaune, what are you talking about? How are you in Vale?"
"There's no time! Jaune's gone up to the tower to face that woman on the radio! He's going to get himself killed!" she yelled as the others gasped in shock.
"Will Ruby and Weiss be able to reach Jaune in time?" asked Nora.
Glynda grit her teeth, her nails nearly piercing her palms. "You're all on the outskirts of Beacon. Even with the tower nearby, the Grimm will no doubt give heavy opposition."
"If the kid can hold out as long as he can, then Ruby and Weiss might have a chance in getting him out of there," said Taiyang.
"What?! What is that dunce thinking?!" Weiss said as they turned back to the tower, as the thought of their friend in danger scared them to no end. Ruby's eyes were wide with fear as she turned back to the scroll.
"Pyrrha, we'll find him. Just get here as soon as you can!" Ruby said as Pyrrha nodded on the other end.
"Please hurry!" she said as she pressed the end button and continued to run through the streets of Vale. "Jaune you idiot! Don't you dare die on me!" she said as she pushed her aura to the limit as she sped through the desolate streets.
Void grimaced. "Even if you reach him, you'll be exhausted by the time you get there. I'm not sure if you'll be able to escape, especially with a wounded Jaune."
"We'll make it. We have to," said a determined Ruby.
While back with the others Ruby turned back to Weiss as she nodded. "We have to go now!" she said as both of them dashed towards the tower. Sun tried to stop them, but they slipped right past him as they rushed towards the hoard of Grimm, while he silently cursed to himself.
"Damn it! Just get back here in one piece!" he yelled out to them as they soon disappeared into the school. "Idiots..." he said solemnly as he looked up at the dark sky that grew darker with each second as a strange feeling swept into his chest, as though he felt that something terrible was going to happen.
The sad thing was...he was right.
"That's a comforting thought," groaned a frustrated Qrow.
Beacon Tower, Ozpin's Office
Cinder strolled across the room with a hint of arrogance in every step as she stood in the headmaster's office, her heels clicking upon the floor, as the great metal gears of the clockwork above echoed in the room silently. She gazed out the window as three beady red eyes stared back at her, the dragon making a loud roar before the woman smirked and held out her hand to the creature.
"Shh~ this is your home now," she said with a soft voice that betrayed her confident and wicked face.
"Cinder? B-But she seemed like a nice person," stammered Ruby.
"But then, that would make Emerald and Mercury," started Jaune.
"Fucking traitors!" snarled Yang, her crimson eyes raging with fury.
Normally, Taiyang and Summer would scold their daughter for cursing, but neither paid it any mind as they glared at the fallen maiden's smug face.
The creature just stared at the woman as she lit a bright flame in the palm of her hands as if to signal the beast of something more sinister going on. Suddenly a sword punched the middle of the wooden doors, as the old wood was forced open and a stranger walked in. At first, Cinder assumed it was the Nikos girl, who had decided to come up to the top of the tower to fight her and prepared to summon her glass weaponry. But she stopped as she saw the last person she ever expected to see at the top of the tower.
Jaune Arc, Pyrrha Nikos' partner and the weakest Hunter at Beacon Academy.
"Considering what's at stake and what the kid's doing, I'd hardly call him a weakling," growled Qrow.
"Jaune just needs to hold out till we get there, Uncle Qrow," reinforced Ruby.
"I'm not sure he can," whispered Winter with a grimace.
Jaune glared as he placed his shield on his arm and drew his sword as he pointed the blade at the woman.
"Surrender now, and no one has to get hurt," he said even as his body trembled in fear of the woman.
Cinder started for the briefest of moments before she began to chuckle hauntingly in the large office. Her chuckles soon turned into full-blown laughter, as her sinister-voiced echoed throughout the ancient gears and clockworks of the tower.
"This is a joke, right? Did they really send you to face me? Are they so desperate that they turn to a useless child to defeat me?" she broke out into laughter again as Jaune glared at the woman.
"I'd like to see her laugh when she doesn't have that stupid dragon behind her or her dumb powers," muttered the younger Rose.
"Unfortunately, Miss Rose, Cinder Fall has proven to be a dangerous foe even before gaining the Fall Maiden's power," warned Void.
Ozpin nodded. "Indeed. Amber, the true Fall Maiden, was defeated and critically injured by Cinder and her comrades before Qrow managed to find her."
'That voice, I recognize that voice...it's the same one from the broadcast...she's the one that made Pyrrha kill Penny...' he thought angrily as he tightened his grip on his blade. 'She's the one who messed with my friends!'
"You aren't even a threat. You can't even hold your shield properly, let alone fight me without your partner to defend you," she said as she gestured to his awkward stance and his trembling legs.
"At least with the champion she would have made a better challenge, not that it wouldn't matter in the end. She would die either way," she said as she flipped her hair nonchalantly as if she didn't even consider him. "And you think you can take me on?" she chuckled as she walked around the room. The dragon's three beady eyes following her as she circled the boy.
"Arrogant bitch," spat Weiss, forgoing any form of proper decorum.
"Your own headmaster couldn't defeat me, and he now lies at the bottom of this tower, clinging to what little life he has that remains because I allow it." She stopped and stood in front of the boy.
"If Ozpin could not defeat me...what hope do you have?"
"Void," began Ozpin.
"Yes, Headmaster Ozpin?"
"Perhaps you should increase the intensity of your training regimes that are planned for me. I do believe I'll be needing it," requested Ozpin, frowning at Salem's agent and tightening his grip on his cane.
"Acknowledged, Headmaster," nodded Void, already forming several new plans for the adult huntsmen and huntresses.
Just as she said that a huge weight was dropped in his stomach as a dreadful feeling crawled up his chest. His very soul was screaming at him to turn tail and run - because he had no doubt that she could destroy him in an instant.
But for some reason, while his mind told him to run, his heart was telling him to stand up and fight. Telling him that if he just ran away from her, she would kill everyone close to him. The mere thought of one of his friends dying by this woman's hand sparked a fire in his soul. He gripped his sword tighter as his hair shadowed his eyes while the woman eyed him curiously.
"You're right, I don't stand a chance against you...but I don't care about that, I don't even care if I die up here because none of that matters to me..." he then looked up as Cinder raised an eyebrow as he glared into her flaming orange eyes.
"All that matters to me is that I won't allow you to harm any of my friends! That is a promise!" he brought his shield up and readied his sword for anything that she would throw at him.
"Jaune…" whispered Pyrrha, bringing forth a new wave of tears.
"Looks like your belief in simple souls is being rewarded, Ozpin," smiled Glynda despite the situation.
"I believe so, Glynda," returned Ozpin, proud that his student such courage.
"This is the drive that no form of writing can convey, the will that burns within the souls of the greatest of warriors, the intense desire to protect all that one holds dear. The one thing that all immortal guardians hope to witness within all realms of creation," declared Void.
The veteran fighters all nodded in understanding and silently gave their prayers to the Arc scion. Roland and Diana prayed to the Arc ancestors to watch over their only son and guide him towards victory. As for the Beacon students, everyone cheered on for their friend, hoping to send him their strength in spirit.
Cinder stared for a brief moment as she stared at the boy that would stand so defiantly at her. It was one of the few times she had ever seen someone, who knew he was going to die against her, still stand their ground and defy her. She smirked as she raised her hand.
"Well then..." she said as a ball of fire ignited in her palm.
"Let's see what you can do...Foolish Knight!" she yelled as she flung the ball of fire at the boy.
"This is it!" shouted Taiyang.
"You better not die on us kid," muttered Qrow.
Jaune raised his shield as he managed to block the ball of fire but was pushed back from the force of the blast. He stumbled back as he shook himself from the shock, just as a glass arrow whizzed past his head and struck the wall behind him. He looked back to see that Cinder had summoned a bow made of glass and shot three more arrows towards the boy.
He barely managed to roll out of the way, as they struck the ground with such ferocity and power that the arrows went half way through the floor. He looked at the glass arrows in shock before he saw her summon two more and fired them at him. He barely had enough time to raise his shield as one arrow struck against the shield, reducing it to fragments of glass, while the second arrow sliced past his left leg leaving a deep cut with blood sputtering from the wound.
Jaune cried out in pain at the searing heat as the glass arrow burnt the cut on his leg, as he limped back slightly from the woman who smirked at his pained face.
"Her weapons," started Ruby, narrowing her eyes.
"She's using her aura and the maiden power to make the glass stronger," frowned Ren.
"No wonder Pyrrha would've had a tough time," said Nora.
He growled as he charged at her, sword raised high as he swiped at the woman, only for her to easily sidestep his swing and summon a simple blade made of glass. She deflected his blade with ease as she simply continued to evade or block his attacks.
It was clear to any skilled warrior that she was simply playing with the boy, seeing as she made no attempt to attack him. Jaune especially knew since he spent so much time training with Pyrrha that he could tell when someone was holding back.
She didn't even see him as a threat...
"Jaune should be able to use her arrogance against her," pointed Ironwood.
"Such a pitiful display," she said as Jaune swiped left and right as she simply evaded his attacks by moving her head out of the way of each strike. "I expected a little more from the Champions' favorite plaything," she said as Jaune growled at her.
"If he can make contact," winced Winter.
"But clearly you have no real potential to be a huntsman..." she evaded as he jabbed his blade towards her head, to which she responded by slicing her glass blade across his right shoulder and severed the leather strap to his chest plate.
"Argh!" Jaune cried as blood sputtered from the gash as he was forced to jump back from the woman and grasped his shoulder. He breathed in pain-filled breaths as blood slowly leaked from his shoulder and dampened his now bloodstained shirt as the pain coursed its way through his body.
"W-What happened to Jaune's aura?!" cried Ruby.
Weiss shook her head. "Aura needs to be consciously activated, Ruby. Plus, he's exhausted. He and Pyrrha had to have been fighting the Grimm before Ozpin found them. I doubt he has that much left."
"I don't even have to use the Fall Maiden's powers against you, which is a shame because I so wanted to test them out on that wannabe candidate Ozpin had chosen." She smirked as she dissolved the glass sword into specks of dust. She placed her hand under her chin and rested it on her other arm as she smirked at the boy.
"Maybe after I've finished killing you, I'll pay her a visit and show her your corpse...before I make her join you in the afterlife..." Jaune growled in anger as he glared at the woman.
"Just how cruel is she?!" growled Nora, her anger skyrocketing at Cinder's toying.
"C'mon, Ruby. Anybody," prayed Ren.
"You stay the hell away from her! I'm not going to let a monster like you take her away from me!" he yelled as the woman narrowed her eyes and raised her right hand.
"Now that's rude..." she said as glass formed around her hand as a black object shot from her palm and a pure black dagger impaled his left shoulder.
He screamed in pain as the dagger dug into his flesh, blood sputtering from the wound as he cried out in anguish. "Calling a young maiden like myself a monster, didn't your parents teach you any manners?" she said as Jaune gasped and grunted in pain at the dagger protruding from his shoulder.
"Jaune!" cried the young Arc's friends.
"We'll teach you to beg for Hell once we get our hands on you, witch!" vowed a furious Diana through her tears, as Roland snarled at the woman.
The leather strap - like its brethren - was severed easily as the metal plate dropped from his chest causing more blood to spread and dampen his shirt. His breathing became heavier with each breath and his heart beat faster in his chest. A feeling of utter fear and despair clawed at the edges of his heart as she smirked tauntingly at him.
This woman before him was like nothing he had ever faced before, not even the Ursa in the Forever Falls Forest had brought out this much fear in him. He knew right then and there that he was going to die. He was going to die by this woman's hand and he barely made a scratch on her? His sacrifice would have stopped nothing, and she would be free to do anything she wanted...
He had sacrificed himself for nothing.
"This is all my fault," whispered Pyrrha, shedding even her tears.
Ozpin's cane was in danger of snapping, as the Headmaster of Vale glared at Cinder in hatred. Glancing at Jaune and his growing wounds, Ozpin cursed himself for being so complacent against Salem's movements. Another innocent person was going to die for his mistakes.
'Damn it...I'm going to die, aren't I?' his arms felt like lead as he tried desperately to stay on his own two feet. His aura working overtime to stop him from bleeding to death, but since he had a lack of control over his aura, it proved to be more difficult than anything else.
'But I...I can't die now, not while this bitch is still alive!' he screamed to himself as he struggled to raise his shield and glare at the overconfident woman. 'And I won't let her hurt any of my friends! Especially Pyrrha! I'd rather die than let that happen to her!' his shield was raised to eye level as the Arc symbol shone in the pale moonlight.
'And that's a promise!'
"C'mon kid. You just need to hold out for a little longer," muttered Taiyang.
Qrow scratched at his hair, his frustration increasing by the minute. "Argh, where the Hell are we?!"
"Void," started Roland, grabbing the immortal's attention, "is there any chance of Jaune holding out against that woman before the others arrive?"
The cloak-wearing spirit didn't reply and kept his gaze towards the viewing portal, making Roland and Diana's blood chill and their hearts freeze. The older Arcs stared worriedly at their bleeding son.
The Grimm Dragon, who had been watching since the beginning of the battle, had grown increasingly bored with the poor display from the young knight and opted to leave the tower to spread more Grimm throughout Vale. But it stopped as the boy seemed to glare with a bright fire in his eyes and his shield rose high to defend him. Whether it was an act of God himself or pure dumb luck, a stray strand of moonlight broke free from the dark clouds and shone itself upon the shield.
The light illuminating the two golden crests upon the surface as the beast's three eyes widened at the symbol.
Images of a man and woman with blond hair and dark blue eyes glared back at him from behind the boy, as crescent symbols smeared with blood burned itself into its brain. The Dragon released a huge roar, as the tower itself seemed to shake from the sound.
"I have never seen any type of Grimm show such a level of intelligence, even amongst the older alphas," frowned Winter.
"We still don't know much about the Grimm and their capabilities. This Grimm must be older than any species we've classified before," grimaced Ironwood.
"Can we be fascinated with the giant monster when my son isn't in danger!" growled Roland, making the two Atlesians flinch.
The people at the docks covered their ears as the noise reached far into the city as a certain redhead looked up in fear at the tower as she continued to run to the docks. "My word! What is that!" Port yelled as he stood his ground despite the loud roar that threatened to burst his eardrums.
"I have no idea! I've never heard anything like it!" Oobleck shouted as he looked up to the tower to see the beast roaring in pure rage, something he had never seen a Grimm do in his entire life.
"What the hell is going on?" Sun yelled as he and the others covered their ears, especially the Faunus students, as their highly sensitive ears nearly bled from the strain.
Ruby and Weiss who had taken refuge in a dome of Ice to defend against the overwhelming hoard held their ears as the loud roar shook the ground on which they stood on. "What is going on!?" Ruby yelled as she held her ears in pain from the loud noise.
"Oh, no. We won't be able to get to Jaune in time," said Ruby.
"Have faith, Ruby. We need to believe Jaune can hold out," said Pyrrha.
"I don't know!" Weiss yelled as they hide in the frozen dome of her dust. "But whatever is, it sounds very angry!" she yelled as she too held her ears in pain.
Cinder and Jaune grabbed their ears in pain as the beast roared loudly in the tower. Pure rage burned in the dragon's eyes as the beast roared into the night sky so loudly that Jaune's ears nearly burst as Cinder turned to glare at the beast.
"Silence beast!" she roared to the beast as she raised her hand in order to calm the creature, but it ignored her and continued to roar into the sky. "You will obey me!" she screamed as the beast only roared in anger.
'What's going on? Why is the dragon acting this way? What's caused it to go berserk?' she stopped as she glanced back to the boy as he had his hands on his head and was kneeling before her.
'Was it...the boy?'
"Looks like that dragon had a run-in with your family, Fearless Leader," grinned Nora.
"Yeah, but now it'll be out for Jaune's blood," said Blake.
Void grinned as he sensed the dragon's fury. "Have faith in your comrade, young Belladonna. The warriors of the Arc clan defeated the Grimm dragon long ago. Jaune will complete what his ancestors started."
"I pray that you're right," muttered Diana, as she looked on in worry.
She then felt a powerful presence behind her as she turned back just in time to see the giant dragon reel back its massive jaw and bite into the tower. The jaws crashing against the tower as gears, rubble and steel rained down upon them as Cinder expertly dodged the debris, while Jaune barely made it to safety. A small black object fell from her hip but paid no mind to it as a large dust cloud blanketed the room.
When the dust cleared, the tower now sported a huge hole in the side of the building, but not enough to make the top half of the tower fall - Which meant that the CCT network was still up and running. But for how much longer it would remain that way was the real question. Cinder growled in anger as she marched towards the dragon and summoned another ball of flames in her hand, the light from the burning orb soon mesmerized the Beast as she smirked at Dragon.
Qrow narrowed his eyes at the fallen object. "That looks like a scroll."
"It must be how she managed to hack our systems," growled Ironwood.
"Behave, creature, you will obey me. 'She' commands you," she said as the Dragon slowly started calmed down. But it would require all her concentration to keep the beast tamed.
Yang let out a mirthless laugh. "Looks like not even Salem's goons can handle the Grimm by themselves."
Jaune took this chance to hide behind a largely fallen gear as he quietly ripped pieces of cloth off his shirt to bandage his wounds. His hands trembled as he began to wrap the cloth tightly around his leg, with one quick breath he pulled and held in a scream that threatened to reveal his location.
'Argh! Damn that hurts!' he wrapped another cloth around his shoulder as he once again held back a scream. After he was done patching up his wounds he peeked his head from the side of the gear as he watched the strange woman attempt to calm the massive beast.
'What the heck happened with the dragon? Why did it suddenly go berserk?' he narrowed his eyes as he watched the woman continue to show the ball of fire to the Dragon, which seemed to be able to calm the beast down.
'And why the hell is she able to control the Grimm? Did she get that ability from whatever the hell she stole in the Vault? Or did she already have that ability?' he quickly hid behind the gear as he coughed violently in his hand.
"Hmm, Mr. Arc's doing well, despite the situation," hummed Ozpin.
Li nodded. "Bandaging one's wounds to stem the bleeding and observing the enemy's movements are actions every warrior should know."
"Looks like those special leadership classes with Prof. Goodwitch are finally paying their due," sighed Ruby.
"I still don't like all that blood," said Pyrrha, growing increasingly concerned.
Small amounts of blood covered his palm, as the rest leaked onto the ground. He looked down to see how badly beat up he was, as most of his armor had been destroyed or simply gone since he came up to the tower. His body was covered in dust and dried blood, with more blood still leaking from his wounds as every muscle in his body ached from the pain.
'Oh shit...I'm going to die up here...that sucks...' he looked at his hand, blood covered the entire surface of his palm as he felt a small tear form at the corner of his eye.
He knew that his chances of survival were slim and that there was no way anyone would make it here in time to save him. But deep down he still hoped that someone would come bounding up the tower, save him from this murderous woman and slay the massive Grimm that threatened the lives of his friends...
Void sighed as he saw his guests become affected by the young Arc's dwindling hope. While the adults were handling the events shown through the viewing portal better than the young teens, the immortal can practically see the aura of anger, grief, and guilt among the veteran warriors. The constant glances the parents sent towards their children were obvious, but the immortal spirit gestured for them to stay in their seats, at least until the end of the viewing.
Jaune himself flinched as thoughts of his impending demise drew closer, while Pyrrha essentially had a death grip on her partner. Nora and Ren were fairing no better than the redheaded champion as they had already witnessed the loss of their own families. The thought of them being unable to handle the loss of another loved one concerned the immortal.
Team RWBY was also having their own problems. The nigh-unnoticeable flashes of silver from Ruby's eyes were indications that the younger teen was increasingly becoming distressed from having to see her first friend fight for his life. Blake was already devastated by the revelation of Adam Taurus' actions and what he had done to her partner, while Yang was still trying to come to terms with her lost limb. Weiss' ice cold expression did nothing to hide her worry for her friends.
The immortal mentally grimaced, as the fallout of today's viewing would no doubt leave more than a few scars.
But stuff like that only happened in movies and fairy tales, because the reality of it was that life was just cruel and unforgiving. There were no heroes that came and saved the day, there were no happy ever afters for Knights in shining armors...
There was just living to see the next day. And he wouldn't get to see it.
Ruby whimpered at hearing everything she ever believed in shatter before her very eyes, as Yang tried to comfort her.
Jaune sighed as he rested his head against the gear and let the tear flow down his cheek.
"Shit...really wish I had a girlfriend before I died...oh well, maybe in the next life," he said as he struggled to stand but fell back on his butt, as he grunted in pain.
"Really Jaune," sniffed Nora, fresh tears coming to her eyes.
Jaune gave a weak shrug. "It helps me take my mind off of dying."
Before he could resign himself to his fate, his eyes were drawn over to a small black object to the right of him, as the small rectangle reflected a fraction of the moon onto his face.
Curious, he reached over as he grabbed the small black object as he held it in his hands. The small device was similar to a scroll but was painted black with a hollow like heart stamped on the back. Opening the scroll, his eyes widened as he saw multiple strings of codes and plans that were stolen from the Atlesian Military. His eyes were then drawn over to a list of names with the word 'potential threat' to them, as his partner's face was at the foremost of the list as he felt an extreme amount of rage surface inside him.
"She...she was watching her from the start? She was going to...to...argh!" he growled as he gripped the scroll tightly within his palms. His sword glowed briefly before disappearing just as suddenly as it came, not that the boy had time to witness it.
"Targeting our students," snarled Ozpin, surprising his comrades at his fury.
Before he could throw away the scroll in anger, his eyes were drawn to one symbol on the scroll as he narrowed his eyes and pressed it. The screen lit up as his eyes widened in shock before a plan came swirling into his mind. He turned his head back to Cinder as he set himself a determined face and ripped off one last piece of cloth off his shirt to get ready to initiate his plan.
Both Team RWBY and Team JNPR gained hopeful smiles and small grins at the reignited look Jaune had, knowing from past training simulations that their friend just developed a brilliant idea. Although still worried for the young Arc, the adults all grew curious about Jaune's plan for Cinder's scroll.
Cinder smirked as the beast was finally calm enough to listen to her command. The ancient beast resting on the side of the tower, as she turned back to find the little knight that dared to stand in her way.
"Little knight~? Where are you~?" she called out mockingly to the boy as she played with a ball of fire. "Oh, come now. Don't tell me this is all Ozpin's little failure has?" she mocked as she looked around the room.
Jaune walked out from behind the gear as he stood before her. The black cloth wrapped around his shoulders and leg as he glared at the woman. His shield in his left and his sword in his right as he hung them loosely in his hands. She chuckled slightly as she turned to meet the boy's fierce gaze, a bright blue flame burning in his eyes, as opposed to her burning orange.
"I've still got some fight left." She chuckled at him as she placed a hand over her lips.
"You are very brave, I will give you that child..." she summoned two new swords as she smirked at the boy. "But not very bright, are you?" she asked as Jaune shrugged his shoulder, aching slightly in pain.
"Yeah I get that a lot..." he then looked back as he breathed a heavy breath. "Listen, we both know how this will end, there is no escaping that...so before you kill me, can you at least indulge me in something?" he asked as the woman raised an eyebrow.
Qrow's eyes widened before he started chuckling, his hope growing. "So, that's the kid's plan. He's got bigger balls than I thought."
"What are you snickering about now?" scowled Winter, gathering the attention of the others.
"You'll see Ice Queen. It seems the kid figured it out too," smirked Qrow, as he saw Jaune's eyes widen.
Everyone looked between Qrow's smirking face and Jaune's growing smile before turning back to the viewing portal. Jaune's counterpart seemed resigned to his fate, as Cinder looked bemused. After a few moments, Roland and Diana's eyes also widened in realization and they lit up with renewed hope.
"And what would that be?"
"How did you do it? How did you manage to launch a major attack on the Kingdom? And why were you targeting my friends?" he asked as the woman looked at the boy strangely.
"And why would I tell you that?" she asked as Jaune smiled lightly at the fiery maiden.
"We both know I'm not going to live long enough to tell anyone. We're all alone up here and we both know that no matter what I try, it won't change my fate. So, would you at least indulge a dying man's final wish?" the dragon growled behind her, as it was ready to attack. But she held up her hand as she smirked coyly at the boy.
"I see no reason why I can't indulge you. Honestly, you remind me of a small animal that's barely clinging to what little life it has left. How can I say no to that?" Jaune felt his anger rise up, but slowly pushed it back down.
"Such arrogance will be her undoing," said Li, shaking his head.
"This is why you should never toy with your opponents," said Ghira to the teens.
"Hopefully, Mr. Arc will be able to retrieve some valuable information," said Glynda.
"Alright, first question, how did you get the Grimm to obey you?" he asked as the woman sauntered around him.
"Let's just say I know a very powerful...'person', who can control the Grimm and bend them to my will." Jaune turned his head at this as his eyes widened.
"Control? You mean someone is actually controlling these things to attack us?" he pointed at the large dragon, that released a small growl in its throat. She waved her hand as the creature was silenced and she placed a finger on her lips.
"Spoilers..." she said as she placed one hand on the massive dragon's snout. The beast seemed to lean into her touch as Jaune glared at the pair.
"A bit late for that," grumbled Yang.
"At least we learned the truth here rather than during the invasion," said Blake.
"Ok, that explains why the Grimm are listening to you. But how did you manage to get them to attack in the first place? Pyrrha told me that they're only drawn in by negative emotions. How did you manage to do that?" he asked as the woman smirked at the boy.
"It wasn't easy, I can assure you of that. I really had to work at it, most of it involved your friends actually." Jaune glared at her as he tried to hold in his anger.
"What? How? We've been trying to stop her plans the entire time," glared Ruby.
Void grimaced. "Your movements against the White Fang and Roman Torchwick were instrumental in slowing them down and even worked to force them to change their original designs. Unfortunately, you've also put yourselves on her radar."
"I knew getting involved would be troublesome," groaned Weiss.
"Yes, see we had to make the people of Vale feel fear and anger to draw the Grimm in. The only way to do that was to make the people doubt their protectors. Miss Xiao Long was one such example. Poor girl didn't even realize it until it was too late..." she grinned as Jaune's eyes widened but then narrowed dangerously as he glared at her.
"You...you manipulated Yang? How!" Cinder smirked as she played with a small strand of her hair.
"The brawler was easy to manipulate, we made her see something that wasn't really there, and she attacked that poor boy Mercury like the mindless party girl that she was," she mocked slightly as Jaune growled in anger.
"Mindless party girl?" growled Yang, her eyes burning crimson.
"We better work on Yang and her temperament," muttered Summer, to which Taiyang nodded.
"But how? How did you make her attack him?"
"You can thank an associate of mine who - let's just say - has a unique ability to cast anyone she sees into an illusionary state. We simply had her cast the girl under an illusion and made her attack Mercury and framed her for 'harming a defenseless student'. And the crowd just ate it up," Cinder said mockingly as Jaune stared in complete shock.
"Wait, Mercury was working with you? Bu-But how? We saw his legs break and we all saw the blood. H-How could do that to your friend, to have him break his own legs?!" she shook her finger as she chuckled hauntingly.
Many of the veteran fighters glared at Cinder as she explained her plan. As warriors trained in squad units, the older huntsmen and huntresses particularly valued the concepts of teamwork and unity. Although their experiences have dampened their views on people altruistically fighting alongside each other, they still considered teamwork to be imperative for victory against the Grimm and other horrors of Remant.
"First: He's not my friend, merely a pawn in a much larger game. Second: She couldn't break what he never had in the first place. Thanks to another associate of mine that is very good with illusions that could fool just about anyone." Jaune's eyes widened as a thought came to his mind.
"...Prosthetics...he has prosthetic legs...he was never even injured in the first place, was he?" A shocking realization came to him as his eyes widened even further. "Then that means that it was Emerald who made Yang attack him...just like Pyrrha. You did the same thing to Pyrrha, didn't you? You made her see something in her match against Penny! You made her kill Penny! Didn't you!?" She clapped her hands and chuckled at the boy.
"Looks like we finally know why Mercury's kicks are so strong. Not to mention what Emerald's semblance is," scowled Ren.
"I always did feel like there was something off about his weapons during our fight," frowned Pyrrha.
"Clever boy, getting it right on the first try. Guess you're not as idiotic as you seem to be?" Jaune glared but reframed himself from attacking her, knowing that would lead to an early death. He breathed in a huge breath as he managed to calm his beating heart down.
"Ok...that explains my friends and the Grimm. But what about the White Fang? How did you manage to convince them to join? I highly doubt they would've joined forces with someone like you willingly," she nodded slightly as she paced the tower.
"Well, yes, it was a bit of a task to convince the White Fang to assist us in attacking an entire Kingdom. But luckily its leader is just as bull-headed as his species," she said mockingly as chuckled at her own joke. "All I did was show them a display of power, gave them funds, dust and motivation to wage a small war and they come flooding like rats over a piece of bread," she then chuckled darkly as she held her chin.
"They never even considered the possibility that I would use them as a scapegoat while I complete my true goal," she then laughed loudly as she held her chin high.
Ghira shook his head, deeply disappointed in Adam's actions. "Adam always did seem too eager to fight against humans rather than work with them. Not even Sienna was as bloodthirsty."
Kali nodded. "I remember when he and little Ilia were simple youngsters. To think the Fang has fallen to this level."
Blake merely looked down in shame, as she heard her parent's comments.
"They honestly believed that they'll 'strike a crippling blow against humanity' with this stupid invasion. In reality, they'll just end up being hunted down like animals and sent to the slaughter. It helps that Adam is as stupid as he is devoted to his brethren. All of that allowed me to accomplish my true goal," she laughed as Jaune continued to glare at the overconfident woman. But unknown to her, a small smirk twitched at the end of his lips, before he settled back to a glare as Cinder looked at the boy.
"And what was your true goal?" The woman smirked as she held up her hand and summoned a small ball of fire.
"To retrieve the power of the Fall Maiden and usher in the Age of Grimm."
Jaune stared at the orb of fire as he cast his gaze out to the burning city and the roar of beasts and screams of innocence that echoed in the night. He felt a nauseous feeling in his stomach as he turned back to face the empowered woman and her hauntingly smug grin.
"All this death, all this destruction and deception? It was...it was just some ploy to steal that?!" he said as he pointed at her powers, as it radiated off her form.
Glynda shook her head. "This is why the existence of the maidens must remain secret, so that others would not seek them out for their own desires."
"The maidens should never have existed in the first place," scowled Void.
"I'm pretty sure we went over this argument yesterday," interjected Qrow.
"Part of it, but then...you'll never know how the rest of the story plays out. Besides..." she said as she summoned a sword of glass in her hands. "I've indulged you long enough...it's time for you to die," she said as Jaune raised his hand.
"One last question, my final one I swear..." she raised an eyebrow at his request but allowed him to speak out of pure curiosity.
"Do you...do you honestly think you'll get away with any of this? My friends will find out the truth, and they will find out. And when they do, they will hunt you down and they will make you pay for what you've done," he told her as she shook her head.
Void nodded. "This is how things are supposed to be. Believe what you want about things like 'destiny' and 'fate', but the involvement of Teams RWBY and JNPR have and always will be a constant."
"Poor naive little boy, how would they ever find out? No one will ever know what really transpired here today and they will never know the truth. The whole world will be too busy blaming the White Fang for this attack that they'll never think to look for the true mastermind behind this invasion. The Kingdoms will become divided; the White Fang will be hunted like animals and the Huntsman that was charged with protecting this world? They will be seen as worthless relics of a bygone age..." she chuckled hauntingly as she smirked at the boy.
"And the best part of it all is that with this amazing power that I have acquired. No one will be able to stand in my way. They will fall like so many that have come before them. They will cower in fear as the Grimm take what is rightfully theirs and return this world to the darkness from which it came from," she said dramatically as she held a hand out to Jaune.
"And no one will know the truth...because you'll be dead, and will rule everything," she said mockingly as she relished in the victory that was now hers.
Everyone glared at the false maiden. Cinder would pay for her deception, her cruelty, and her arrogance. That much was certain.
Until she heard a laughter echo in the air, as she slowly stopped to see Jaune, laughing as he held his head up to the sky and laughed loudly as well. He continued to laugh as he shook his head and chuckled at her confused face.
"What do you find so funny?" she narrowed her eyes as the boy only shook his head while chuckling.
"Nothing, nothing, it's just...you are so full of yourself, aren't you?" he placed a hand over his eyes and chuckled. "You'd think that with all this 'amazing power' you've acquired, you'd have noticed what was going on right in front of you," he laughed loudly as she began to snarl and grew ever angrier with him.
"Looks like Jaune's about to reveal his own magic trick," grinned Nora.
"What? What was going on in front of me!?" Jaune grinned widely as he pointed to his left and she followed his hand as her gaze shifted to his left. Her eyes widened in shock as Jaune grinned widely at her stunned face.
"What did you say before? That no one would ever know the truth? Heh...well then..." she slowly turned back to him as he grinned and said.
"Smile for the camera bitch."
Far from the pair, tied to a fallen gear and wrapped with a single piece of black cloth was Cinders scroll. And on that scroll was a little red light that blinked on and off occasionally as the word broadcast light plainly on the screen as the reflection of her shocked face stared straight back at her, as Jaune grinned at her stunned face.
Ironwood smirked. "So that's what his plan was. Very clever Mr. Arc."
"Looks like that bitch is going to get a taste of her own medicine," said Yang with a savage grin.
All around the world, people stared screen in shock, as the truth was revealed before them. That all this death, pain and suffering was orchestrated by one woman. The three other Kingdoms began scrambling to find any information on this woman, while Atlas was ordering a second fleet to depart for Vale immediately to apprehend this woman.
Winter shook her head. "Reinforcements won't be able to get to Vale in time to end the invasion, but they'll at least be able to help secure the city."
"Careful there, Ice Queen. Don't want to make it sound like an occupation," drawled Qrow.
The Citizens of Vale, however, were shocked and horrified to hear that this woman had used their own fears against them and summoned this hoard to destroy them.
The White Fang was the most shocked as their leader Adam gripped his sword tightly and glared at the image of the woman who had promised to help him strike a blow for all Faunus kind. But was now revealed to only use them as a scapegoat to evade the eyes of the world. He growled and slammed his fist into the monitor, cracking the screen, as he swore bloody vengeance against the one who betrayed him.
"Perhaps it is just irony that the White Fang fall prey to their anger and be used as attack dogs," sighed Ghira, as Kali comforted her husband.
Emerald and Mercury shared with each other concerned looks as they had just been publicly outed over the entire CCT Network. People around them started to glance at them curiously, as some of the Atlas soldiers began to draw closer to the pair. Seeing no other choice left to them, they fled, as they now became wanted criminals of the entire world.
All thanks to Cinder and her over inflated ego.
"Those two better hope the soldiers get to them before we do," growled Yang.
"I'll do more than just break their legs," vowed Nora.
While in the streets of Vale the trio of Qrow, Glynda and Ironwood stared in shock as they looked at each other as they stared up at the monitor. Glynda and Ironwood shared a concerned glance between each other while Qrow narrowed his eyes at the woman and smirked at the stunned look on his face.
The students of Beacon were just as stunned and confused as they muttered amongst themselves and were horrified to learn that they were purposely targeted for this attack.
Void sighed. "Although I do not wish for war upon any world, I must say that you should have expected Beacon as a potential target, considering Salem and her movements against humanity."
"I must concede, Void. You were correct in saying I have been complacent these past years. That will have to change if we are to be successful against Salem and her Grimm," said Ozpin.
Yang, having just regained consciousness, stared at the screen on her scroll in pure anger as she glared at the woman who tricked her into summoning the Grimm to Vale. She lost an arm because of this woman, and she was going to make her pay. But at the same time, she worried about was Jaune, as he continued to bleed at the top of the tower. A sick feeling in her stomach told her something bad was going to happen.
And she was usually right about it.
Blake too was seething in anger at the woman as she memorized her face so that she could hunt down this woman who would dare to harm her friends and frame her people for this atrocity. She also feared for Jaune's life as she could only guess what someone like Cinder would do in this situation.
And it never ended well.
Yang gripped her partner's arm. "You better not be thinking what I know your thinking, Blake. Remember what we talked about before the dance. This isn't your fault and you're not going after her alone."
"Not. Your. Fault," interrupted Yang, as Weiss and Ruby also nodded, their own faces filled with determination.
Ruby and Weiss, from the shelter of the ice dome, looked in shock and horror as they realized that this woman had deceived them all. They shared a worried glance between themselves as they looked at their friend who revealed the truth.
Ren and Nora both stared in shock at the condition of their friend as the watched him struggle to stand on his own two feet and stood confidently in front of the insane woman. But felt a small amount of pride seeing their leader stand tall against this woman who dared to tear their team apart. But could do nothing as the lay on the ground weak and broken...
It was terrifying for them.
Ren closed his eyes in frustration, while Nora growled at not being able to help their friend and leader. As orphans, Jaune and Pyrrha became family to them and they promised each other long ago that they wouldn't lose any more people they cared about. Right now, they felt completely useless.
Pyrrha could only look on in horror at the large monitor, as small tears gather in her eyes at the sight of her partner and crush. He was bleeding and shaking like a leaf in the wind as he barely able to keep himself together against the powerful woman. But the look in his eyes brought her a sense of dread as she could see the signs of him accepting his fate...
He was going to die.
With little time left, she sped towards the docks as she quickly boarded the return shuttle to Beacon, hoping and praying that she would make it back in time to save the only one she would ever love in this life or the next...
Pyrrha's heart clenched as she hoped her other would be able to save Jaune. While most would say that she was taking things a little overboard with Jaune as her only true love, the young redhead could not simply let go just how much she felt for the blonde. After everything they've done for each other, Pyrrha found it difficult for her to be with anyone other than Jaune.
Cinder gazed at the small blinking light and the image of herself that was now plastered on every screen in the world as she stared dumbly at the little scroll. She had been tricked, goaded and deceived into revealing all her dirty dealings and heinous crimes. And now they knew her face, as well as the names of her co-conspirators who assisted her in the deception and lies...
All because she grew overconfident with her victory, lost sight of her goal and underestimated this one boy from a village in the countryside. Jaune chuckled again as he looked at the woman who, for the first time this night, looked completely shocked and baffled at how she was deceived by someone like him.
Jaune chuckled. "I might die but seeing that look on her face and revealing the truth is worth it."
"How does it feel? Being deceived for once? Sucks don't it? Being outsmarted by someone and used to fulfill their own agenda. It must really grind your nerves huh?" he said as he chuckled at her.
"Now you know how we felt when you turned us against each other and tricked us into doing your dirty deed. Well, here's a taste of your own medicine...hope you choke on it," Jaune spat as coughed a small amount of blood from his lips.
"Why hasn't Jaune's aura recharged by now?" asked Ruby, staring worriedly at her first friend.
"It takes time for aura to recharge, Ruby. Even for someone who has large reserves like Jaune's," said Void solemnly.
"The sad thing is...I'm still going to die up here, but I've accepted that. At least, this way the world knows the truth now and when I die, they'll be coming after you in full force." Jaune grinned as Cinders body shook in pure rage as her hand gripped tightly around her blade, all while her eyes glowed a sickly yellow light.
"Heh, what do you know...I actually did something right for one–Argh!" he was stopped mid-sentence, as the sound of torn flesh echoed in the night.
"JAUNE!" screamed Roland, Diana, and Jaune's friends, while the others gasped.
Around the world, people looked on in shock and horror as Cinder sped towards the boy at blinding speeds and slashed him across his chest. The blade slicing from his left collarbone to the right of his waist as blood erupted from his chest with barely the chance to scream in pain before she slashed at his chest again. This time striking horizontally across his chest and crossing the previous cut.
Weiss had to hold in her stomach as she sliced through the boy's shirt. While Ruby shrieked with small tears in her eyes as she fell to her knees and watched as this woman butchered her first friend. The scroll dropping to the floor as complete and utter horror on her face.
Weiss's cheeks turned green as she kept herself from vomiting, while Ruby cried out for Jaune, more silver flashes accompanying her tears.
"You think you've changed anything!" she yelled as she slashed at him again, barely able to bring up his shield as she slashed at his left bicep, causing him to scream and drop his shield.
Yang and Blake instantly gasped in shock, as they watched the deep cut form on his left arm as Yang instantly grabbing her stump. She feared for the boy's life, while Blake could only stare back in shock at the brutality of the enraged woman.
Yang shook as she gripped her arm, memories of her younger self and the incident returning with a fury. Blake could only stare in horror as she watched Cinder rip Jaune apart.
"You think you've outsmarted me! You think you've beaten me!" she slashed at his right leg as a deep cut formed in his thigh, blood sputtering out in a fountain of red as the boy's screams echoed on the top of the tower.
Ren and Nora had horrified face as she Nora clung to his chest as he tried his best to turn her away from the scroll. But failed as they both continued to watch as their leader and friend was subjected to horrendous attacks.
"Stop it! Leave him alone!" cried Nora, terrified of having to once again see her family die before her.
"You haven't beaten me! You haven't changed anything!" She screamed as she slashed at his face, only able to glance off his cheek as she caused a large cut on his cheek.
The three teachers looking on in shock quickly snapped back to their senses as Glynda turned to Qrow and ordered him to run. The man, however, had already dashed towards the tower as Ironwood and Glynda desperately tried followed behind him as they raced towards the horrifying battle.
"All you've done is delayed the inevitable!" she screamed as she blasted him in the chest and flung him to the wall as he gasped in pain.
Glynda closed her eyes and turned away from the scene, while Ironwood could feel his prosthetics creaking from how tightly he gripped them. Qrow cursed and hoped that his other self will be able to get to Jaune in time.
The other students of Beacon and visiting students cried out in shock as Sun cringed at the scene while Neptune to hold in his stomach contents but failed. Coco was so horrified that she didn't even care that she dropped her favourite pair of sunglasses while Velvet could only quiver in fear. Cardin was terrified as he watched the boy he once bullied be subjected to the pain that he hoped that he would never have to experience.
It made him feel regret and fear for all the stuff he had done in the past, as he prayed that would never happen to him.
"And hastened your own death!" with that might yell she charged and plunged her blade straight through his stomach.
"NO!" screamed Diana and Roland, as they watched Cinder run through their son with her blade.
Everything became silent as the world watched on in horror as the blade plunged deeply into the boy's stomach.
Yang and Blake cried out in horror as Sun and Neptune could only gasp in terror, even Oobleck and Port could not stand the sight of the young man impaled and turned their heads. Weiss shrieked in horror as they watched blood gush forth from the boy's chest, while Ruby silently muttered to herself that none of it could be real only for Weiss to confirm it was real as she grasped the girls shoulder for support.
Weiss couldn't take it anymore and unleashed her breakfast. Luckily, Void managed to teleport a wastebasket for the young heiress to vomit into before she threw up.
Ren recoiled in horror as Nora burst into tears and held him close. The boy could only hold her close as she wept upon his shirt, tears streaming down her cheeks as he held her in his embrace and glared at the woman on the screen, silently vowing vengeance for what she had done to their friend.
Pyrrha just stared numbly at the screen, as Cinder plunged her blade into his chest. The sight of all that blood became too much for the girl as she fell to her knees and she screamed his name. A cold feeling of dread and despair crawled its way at the corners of her heart as for the first time in her entire life, she felt absolutely useless.
The members of Team JNPR were frozen as they stared at Jaune's dying counterpart and witnessed their horrified expressions. Both Ren and Nora held each other as they cried for their friend and brother, while Pyrrha felt the world leave her as she could only stare at Jaune's bloody form.
Jaune gasped and choked on his own blood as he feebly attempted to grab the blade that was now plunged into his stomach. But his hand dropped each time he tried to grasp the blade as Cinder gave him a snarling grin and pushed the blade further into his stomach.
"I'll admit, I underestimated you, boy. Clearly, you were more of a threat than I anticipated. But the game is at its end, and there's no more room on the board for a troublesome piece like you!" she grasped the blade and pushed it in further causing him to scream in agony.
Jaune winced at hearing his own screams, as he could somehow feel the phantom pains of each of his counterpart's wounds.
"But I'm not going to kill you that quickly, no far from it. I'm going to make you suffer for what you've done...I'm going to make your final moments the most agonizing experience of your life. By taking it nice and slow..." she said with each push as the blade went further into the wall as he continued to gasp in pain.
"Until I decide when you can die..."
He cringed and gasped as the blade continued its way through his flesh. Small tears brimmed in his eyes as the sword slowly cut through his stomach and barely missed his spine. But at the same time, all he could think to himself was how he had gotten himself here in the first place.
Ozpin closed his eyes, as Void's words returned with a vengeance.
'I caused all this to happen.'
'Shit...I guess my parents were right about me...I should have never gone to Beacon in the first place...'
"Oh, Jaune," sobbed Diana as Roland tried to console her through his own tears.
They may have realized their mistake in not training Jaune, but it was at this moment that they witnessed the extent to which their decision had cost them. They couldn't even imagine what their counterparts could be feeling right now at having to see Jaune murdered.
His eyes became heavier as black dots began to crawl at the edges of his vision.
'I guess this is it huh? ...What a pathetic way to die huh? ...Grandpa would be so disappointed at me...for giving up like this...'
"Dying for your loved ones is never something you should be ashamed of, Jaune," whispered Void, as he solemnly watched his guests come to terms with what they've just witnessed.
His vision continued to fade as he drifted in and out of consciousness.
'Sorry everyone...but...I screwed up...'
His eyes closed, and his vision was consumed by the black as the pain slowly subsided and he fell into unconsciousness.
No one spoke, as only whimpers and soft crying echoed throughout the chamber. The veteran huntsmen and huntresses closed their eyes in silence as they paid their respects to the fallen Arc.
A sea of darkness met him as he felt himself slowly drift within the murky waters of emptiness, as the void quickly surrounded him. He felt no pain or strife as he slowly submerged himself into the waters and drift amongst the sea of no return...
"...Jaune...Jaune...Wake up already you damn brat!"
Jaune snapped open his eyes wide to find that he was no longer at the top of the tower. But instead at the cliffs of his hometown, as an old man stood at the edge of the cliff with his back turned to him.
"Is that," gasped Roland.
Void nodded. "You all are about to witness something that only the dead have been privileged to know."
The man was adorned in silver armor with a long blue cape that billowed softly in the wind as he stood before a setting sun. Upon his back was a large broadsword with the Arc symbol branded on its hilt. His hair was almost completely light blond with traces of silver mixed into mass, symbolizing his advanced age, but still young enough to carry a sword and fight against the monsters of Grimm.
He knew who this man was; it was his grandfather Cornelius Arc. The reason he wanted to become a huntsman in the first place.
"Father," whispered Roland, tears flowing once more as he saw another of his lost loved ones.
"Grandpa? What are you, how are you here?" Jaune asked as he was greatly confused. The man before him couldn't be real because his grandfather died on a mission ten years ago. So, he figured that he was in a memory. One memory in his mind that drove him to leave his home and follow his dream of becoming a Hero.
But something was...different?
"Is Jaune…in the afterlife?" Ruby tentatively asked.
Void shook his head. "Technically, Jaune is in the outskirts of the final resting place, but he is actually in limbo."
"What are you doing kid?" the man said as Jaune looked up confused. "Are you just going to let her kill you like that? Where is your pride as an Arc? Get up and fight back!" Jaune shook himself of his stupor as he hung his head in shame.
"I-I'm sorry, but I can't Grandpa. She's too strong for me. How am I supposed to beat that?! I-I can't do anything right! I got her to reveal her plans, but she's just going to kill me anyway! I…I can't do anything..." he said as he fell to his knees and clenched his fists in anger.
"I'm sorry, but I'm not strong enough!" The old man said nothing before he sighed and scratched the back of his head.
Jaune looked down, as he knew his other spoke the truth. Even if he did come back, he was too badly injured and was even without his weapon.
"Yeah, you've got a point kid, I doubt I could even beat her at this point," the old man said as he looked up to the sky.
"But do you want to know something?" Jaune looked up as the man turned to him.
"The truth is that there will always be people who are stronger than us or faster than us and it will make us doubt ourselves...But that doesn't mean we give up. If we gave up on every fight that turned bad against us, we'd never have crawled out of the dust in the first place," he then placed a hand on his shoulder as he smiled at the boy.
"Our strength comes from defying the odds and making the world see that we are not as weak as they think we are. And our family has been living up to that ideal for countless generations...right up to you Jaune," he said as the boy stared in shock.
Hearing his grandfather's resolute words, Jaune looked back up to see Cornelius' proud and comforting gaze. The Arc scion felt his mind and heart clear itself of doubt.
"There is something I never got to tell when I was alive, but now is a better time the ever I guess. Life isn't worth living unless you have something to fight for. Do you have something worth fighting for?" he asked as Jaune looked down and thought of all the people in his life.
Ruby, Weiss, Yang, Blake, Ren, Nora, the teachers and the students of Beacon appeared before him. Before his mother and father and all his sisters piled into his memory as each and every face passed him by. But one face stood out the most as her long red hair waved in the wind and her soft emerald eyes smiled back at him.
Void smiled softly as he saw Jaune finally realize the truth strength that carried a warrior. "When love is real, it has the power to do amazing things."
"We're with you, Jaune. Even when we aren't there with you," said Pyrrha.
Jaune then looked up as he looked into his grandfather's eyes as a small voice escaped his lips "...Pyrrha..." the old man smiled as he patted the boy on the shoulder.
"Ata boy Jaune, and because you have that, that woman won't stand a chance...now," he stood up and placed his hands on his waist. "Looks like you got yourself in a sticky situation here, huh kid? A trait I think every Arc has up to this point huh?" Jaune chuckled slightly at this.
"So..." he placed a hand on his chin as he put himself in deep concentration. "You're going to need something that will give you a quick boost and 'maybe' turn the tide of this battle. Not to mention 'that' will activate on its own, but it won't be enough...guess I have no choice then, huh?" he looked down at the boy as he placed a hand on his chest.
Ruby blinked. "What is your grandfather talking about, Jaune?"
Jaune shrugged as he had no idea, but both Roland and Diana stiffened as they had an idea of what Cornelius was implying.
"Jaune...I'm going have to activate your Semblance."
Jaune's eyes widened as the man's hand began to glow and his chest was basked in a heavenly glowing light. Behind him, the image of a large Knight began to appear as it crossed its arms and shone a powerful yellow light from its eyes. Jaune looked back at his grandfather as the world was soon basked in the light between the two of them.
"Hey, that looks like Prince Jaune's semblance," said Yang.
"In this cluster of worlds that Masseffect-TxS watches over, most of the Jaune Arcs tend to have similar semblances."
"But...why are you helping me? Why now?" The old man hung his head as a small smile played on his lips, not that of a cocky grin but one of sincerity and sorrow.
"Because you've changed everything...you've gone against the flow of fate and now...'he'...wants to see what you'll do next..." he then looked up as the world was basked in light.
"That is the significance of this world when compared to your own, Jaune. Through your actions, everything from this point on had changed," said Void.
"Now...pay attention Jaune...here is what you need to do..." both them and the inner world were soon basked in light and they faded from existence.
"Is Jaune going to get some sort of power-up?" asked Nora, relief and excitement flooding her body.
"You will have to wait and see," smiled Void.
Jaune had stopped screaming as he hung limply off the blade as Cinder smirked at the boy. His sword fallen from his grip as the blade began to dimly glow a soft light unseen by all. She grabbed his chin and lifted his head slightly to smirk at his blank and blood-stained face. His eyes clouded over white, as all light was lost in his once dark blue eyes.
"All done? Is this really all a student of Beacon can do? Shame, and I so enjoyed hearing you scream." She dropped his head as she raised her right hand and ignited the palm with an orange. "But all things must come to an end..." she slowly moved her hand to his face as she prepared to incinerate the boy.
Everyone glared at Cinder's smirking form, as many grit their teeth or clenched their hands. It was difficult not to jump out of their seats and run into the viewing portal, hoping that they would be able to get a shot at Cinder.
Everyone in Vale screamed at once as they begged and pleaded for her to spare the boy.
Yang and Blake were screaming for her to stop. Sun and Neptune tried to hold down Ren and Nora from rushing off to save him - and took all members of Team SSSN to hold Nora down, as they struggled against their grip to rush off and save their friend.
Qrow, Glynda and Ironwood sped up at top speeds, as Qrow quickly shifted his form to that of a crow and raced to the tower at high speeds.
"What the, Uncle Qrow?!"
"I'll explain later Ruby!" Qrow quickly answered.
Ruby and Weiss screamed in protest as they quickly broke from the Ice dome and blindly attacked at the Grimm, hoping that they could make it to the tower in time to save their friend.
Pyrrha could only watch in horror as her hand drifted closer to the boy's face as Cinder grinned at the unconscious boy. The shuttle only half way back to the school as she banged on the metal doors to get them open, but no matter what she did, they would not budge.
An inch from his face she could no longer hold in her screams as she screamed his name to the heavens. "JAUNE!" his friends screamed as Cinder smirked and placed her palm close to his cheek...
"C'mon, get up and fight kid!"
"Farewell...Foolish Knight" she whispered as she reached for his bloodstained cheek. Only at the last second for a hand to shoot up and grasped her wrist tightly.
The world released a collective gasp as Cinder stared in shock at the hand that was firmly wrapped around her wrist. She looked back to the boy as his eyes were shadowed his hair, as his grip grew tighter.
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief as they saw life returning to Jaune. Void himself relaxed his shoulders, as he thought about his fellow immortal cutting it close.
All she got in response was a fist punching her straight in the face, knocking her back and sending her tumbling back from the boy. She looked back as the boy's outstretched fist lingered in the air. He slowly raised his head as powerful eyes stared back at her and she stumbled back as a small yellow flame flickered within in the pupil of his eyes.
He then grasped at the handle with both hands and began to pull the blade from his stomach. Blood gushed forth as he released a powerful yell and wrenched the blade from his gut. He staggered and breathed heavily as held the glass blade in his hand as blood continued to gush from his stomach.
Everyone winced as they saw the blood splash against the floor. Even though they knew Jaune's strength was renewed, it didn't stop them from worrying for the young blonde.
Until his body burst into a massive white flame that surrounded his form as a massive armored figure appeared behind him. Its eyes glowing with powerful yellow eyes that glared down at Cinder.
From the top of the tower the light shone like a beacon in the night, as across the city the Grimm and people turned their heads to the light as they stared up in awe. Cinder held her hands up to shield herself from the light as she glared at the offending light.
"WHAT! WHAT IS THIS!?" she yelled as the light continued to shine forth.
Void smirked as he glanced towards Jaune. "You all better brace yourselves because you're about to see what a fully realized and augmented semblance looks like."
Within the light, Jaune's entire body was enveloped in a strange black mass that covered his skin and clothes - but stopped just at his head. Rivers of white began to swarm around his form as loud metallic sounds could be heard, as each river of white formed into pieces of armor that secured themselves on his body.
Cinder continued to growl and snarl at the light as the massive Dragon behind her roared in anger at the light as well. All around the Grimm seemed to roar in anger at the light as the citizens of Vale and soldiers of Atlas had to shield their eyes from the screens. When the light finally died down Cinder turned her head back to the boy, but she and the world soon gasped in shock at what stood before her.
Standing before her was a man in a suit of armor that glowed with a shining white light, as powerful yellow eyes glared back at her from the darkness of his helmet.
"That's it," whispered Roland in awe, as Diana felt her heart clench at the sight of her baby boy.
"That's so awesome!" cheered Nora, as the others smiled or were awed by Jaune's new form.
The armor itself was curved and smooth with claw-like fingertips and two horns that went back across his head. On the chest was a symbol of the Arc family as small gaps in the armor revealed the black surface that had covered his form. The armored figure looked up as he raised his armored fist and stared at it for a brief moment.
The figure spoke as everyone went wide when they heard the seriousness of Jaune's voice from within the armor. He then closed his fist with a loud metallic clang as powerful yellow eyes glared at her.
"Let me show you what a student from Beacon can really do!"
"Go get that bitch, Jaune!" cheered Yang.
Okay, so I'll be ending that here. This chapter was quite hard because I had to try and get a feel for the emotional reactions that the events of 'Remnant Knight' would bring about for the characters without breaking the flow of the viewing portal.
Please let me know if I've been successful in conveying such emotions through the characters, and let me know if there are any improvements I can work on.
Also, I've made some very slight grammar and spelling corrections to the original work, since I've had some reviewers say that they were a bit bothered by them, but I didn't change any of the major wordings.
Lastly, I wanted to talk about the future of the story, especially the events during the break chapters. Should I stick with a pure Arkos shipping or should I go for the harem route? Should I slowly incorporate and develop other RWBY ships? What do you all think? Then, there are the 'rated M' stories that feature lemons. Should I allow for lemons to be seen by the Remnant group? Are they unnecessary? Again, please let me know what you all think.
See you all for the next installment!