The lurching and shaking of the Bullhead shook more than just his body. His stomach boiled and churned, and its contents threatened to erupt from his mouth like a volcano. But it would be worth it. This would all be worth it.
Jaune Arc was a boy with a dream. That dream was to become a huntsman. A hero just like his ancestors, going back all the way to the Great War. While it was fortunate that he lived in a time of peace where there hadn't been a destructive conflict in decades, it also left very few options in becoming the hero he desired. However, one constant threat that existed in the world were the creatures of Grimm. Violent and destructive, those mindless creatures were the bane of humanity's existence, and had threatened his species with extinction since the very dawn of civilization.
Luckily for humanity though, the huntsmen existed. The academies existed. Protectors of life and slayers of Grimm, they were the thin line of light which held back the darkness.
And soon Jaune would be among them.
The blond boy shuffled in his seat, leaning over to speak to the pilot. "I can't thank you enough for the ride," he told the man.
There was no response. As usual.
Jaune wondered if he was upset. The boy was but a single passenger on the ship, and that certainly had to be annoying for a pilot to have to make a trip for a single person. However without the ride, Jaune would have had no way of getting to the academy. There wasn't even an address he could see when he had located information on it.
He decided to try and loosen the pilot's tongue with his gratitude. "But it really means a lot to me. You have no idea how important going to this school is."
Again, nothing. Jaune frowned. Maybe he was a hindrance to the man.
But it wasn't his fault. Due to the fact that he was not actually qualified to attend a huntsmen academy, he had decided that a prestigious school like Beacon or Atlas Academy would be a little too high profile for him. He would be found out in an instant to be a fraud. That he had falsified his transcripts. However that didn't mean he was about to give up.
After scouring the CCTNet for information on huntsmen academies, one in particular had stood out. One that existed only on conspiracy theory message boards, spoken of as if it didn't exist at all. Grimm Academy, as it was known, was very difficult to find information on. So Jaune had paid known criminals and informants for all they could find out about the school. Eventually he had received a message, asking him to send his transcripts. He had done so, and to his surprise, had been accepted.
Fast forward a few weeks and here he sat, alone in a Bullhead except for the one who was flying it.
Perhaps a little humor would help lighten the mood. Making the pilot chuckle could clear the air between them. "So, the strong and silent type, huh?" he said casually. "Yeah, I can relate."
Silence. For some reason Jaune had gotten his hopes up that this time would be different. Perhaps he should just accept the fact that the man wasn't the type to want to talk. Or merely didn't wish to speak to Jaune in particular.
"Can you?" the surprisingly deep voice asked.
Success! The man had spoken. Jaune had won!
Still though, what had the man meant by that? "What?"
"Can you relate?"
So he was taking it literally? Sure, Jaune could work with that. "Uh... well. I'm strong, I guess."
At just a little bit over six feet tall and a little bit of muscle on his frame, Jaune was stronger than most boys his age. He had spent the past few months training with his family's ancestral sword and shield in preparation for attending a huntsman academy. He didn't feel it was a lie to claim that he was indeed strong.
He was still nothing in comparison to the pilot, however. The large, hairy, bear-like man was a walking wall of muscle. He probably could have made a good huntsman himself if he had decided on that career choice rather than becoming a pilot.
Not wanting to sit in the suffocating silence, Jaune spoke up again.
"One time, we were raising a barn, and I took the full counter weight for the rope while my family worked on the other side."
The man grunted, though Jaune couldn't tell if it was in approval or not.
"But my hands were sweaty and I let the rope slip, then after that-"
Jaune stopped, blinking.
"Now how about you practice the silent part until you get it right."
The words stung. He had received the message loud and clear. "Oh. Yeah, sure. Sorry." He winced, knowing that he had just failed his first attempt at granting the man's request. "Sorry again. I'll shut up now."
A guttural growl was the only response he received. This new adventure of his was off to such a great start.
With nothing else to do, Jaune turned his head and gazed out the window. What he saw shocked him.
When had it become night? Grabbing his scroll from his pocket, he checked the time to reveal that it was still mid-afternoon. How many time zones had they crossed? Where in the world were they?
And why was the sky a swirling mixture of purple and red?
These were all questions which slipped the boy's mind as the Bullhead began its descent. He had arrived! After a long and tumultuous flight with a less than friendly pilot, he had finally arrived at the school of his dreams! His huntsmen training would begin right here and now!
Disembarking from the ship, Jaune felt tempted to kiss the solid ground after another terrible bout with motion sickness. However he didn't want to make a bad first impression on any of his peers who may have been around and watching. No, he had to be strong. Brave. Confident. Just like a huntsman was expected to be.
Shouldering the duffle bag of clothes and personal effects, he set out toward the tall dark tower that pierced the unnaturally bleak clouds that hung above it. That had to be the school. That would be where he would find out everything he needed to know about his new life.
Everything seemed... off.
Jaune may not have been the brightest bulb in the room, but even he could see that things were wrong. Horribly, terribly wrong. The first clue had been the sky. While not quite night, it was not day either. It was some new, twisted, and colorful twilight which made him feel as though he had been transported to another world. An odd, childish quirk wanted to check and see if he had gained a status bar, or some other ridiculous thing. No such luck.
Just how long had that flight been?
The off-color sky was just the start, however. There was desolation all around him. Rather than trees and bushes, jagged rocks shot up from the ground like gigantic daggers. Pools of black liquid stood stagnant on the ground like puddles after a heavy downpour. Nature itself abhorred this place, retreating until there was no sign of life from horizon to horizon. Only Jaune stood out as a beacon of light in the darkness. Just as a huntsman should.
The idea gave him confidence as he squeezed his hands into fists. Now was not the time to be getting cold feet. Now was not the time to lose hope. He wanted to be a huntsman. Now was the time to prove it.
His boots thudded on the ground at a quick pace as he neared the school. The thin, needle-like tower was a tall and imposing structure. Made of hard black rock which shone like obsidian, its unseen tip was shaped like a vicious and jagged blade which stabbed into the sky. It was an intimidating sight to be certain, likely designed to scare off those who would be unworthy of pursuing the career of a huntsman. Jaune would not be found wanting in this trial.
As he neared the building's base, a new color appeared out of the corner of his eye. In the mix of red, purple and black, a bright and brilliant white caught his attention. There, sitting on a bench outside of the school, sat a lone girl.
She almost did blend in to her surroundings, clad in a black dress which was tattered in its hem, and equally torn up black stockings. A brilliant red cape hung from her shoulders, and she wrapped it around her arms as she sat hunched over in her seat.
But it was her skin, which at first glance looked pure white. Bleached, bone white. Yet, shaking his head, he discounted that. Must have been a trick of the light. Yet she was extremely pale, that much stood out to Jaune. That and the pair of horns that jutted from her forehead through her red-black hair. He had never seen a girl quite like her. Then again he had never been outside of his home town too often, much less his home kingdom.
Sadness radiated from the mystery girl as he neared the school. He didn't know who she was or why she was out here, but he could tell that something was wrong. Remembering all of the lessons he had been taught as a child, Jaune diverted his path and made his way to the girl on the bench.
The sounds of his footsteps earned her attention as he neared, and she lifted her head to reveal a pair of crimson eyes. The full extent of her physical characteristics became apparent to the boy, as did the sheer length of her horns. The right one must have been a foot long, the left being a few inches shorter. It was obvious to the boy that she wasn't exactly human, but rather some kind of faunus. By the looks of it, an albino faunus.
Perhaps that was why she sat outside alone. Faunus racism was still a very real problem in some parts of Remnant. While he had never been exposed to it too much himself, he knew it was out there. The idea of this girl being ostracized by her peers because of her appearance made him sick. He was determined to help her out in any way he could.
Their eyes were locked as he neared, and as soon as he had closed to speaking distance he introduced himself. "Hey," he greeted. "My name's Jaune Arc. Short, sweet, rolls off the tongue. Ladies love it."
He gave himself a mental pat on the back. He had nailed it. Not a single stumble over his own tongue like he had done so many times while practicing that line in the mirror.
The girl before him looked up in awe. It hadn't been his intention to impress her that thoroughly, but if he had then he would take it. "Whoa... you look so cool..."
Jaune looked down at his usual attire. Blue jeans, a black Pumpkin Pete hoodie, and a white breastplate weren't too out of the ordinary. In fact he would consider them pretty normal. Far more normal than her own ripped and tattered clothing.
He briefly wondered if some of her fellow students had destroyed her clothes. The idea of someone being physically bullied because they were a faunus sickened him.
In any case, he wasn't about to brush off the girl's compliment. "Oh, thanks," he answered modestly. "You look pretty cool yourself. The colors go really well together."
He hoped that complimenting her own appearance and not making an issue of her being a faunus would give her a morale boost. What kind of Faunus was she anyways? Gazelle? Idly Jaune wondered if she'd like some alfalfa to eat. Would it be racist to ask? Wait, did Gazelle even eat alfalfa? He'd have to ask his mom next time he got the chance.
The girl hopped up off the bench and stood before him, jarring him out of his pondering. While her head only came up to his chest, the tip of her longest horn came up to his own forehead.
"It's just so... so... perfect! You look amazing! How do you do it? Is it easy? Tell me tell me tell me!"
The conversation had taken a bit of an awkward turn. Maybe the fact that she was a possible gazelle faunus wasn't the reason she was sitting outside by herself.
Moving his face away from suddenly bouncing horns, he rubbed the back of his neck. "Uh... well I woke up this morning. I took a shower. And now here I am. Just like any other day."
"It really is that easy for you..." she said softly. She spoke about his appearance in amazement. She was mesmerized.
He had to admit that it was getting a little bit creepy. Her head suddenly perked up, and those red eyes gazed into his once more. They threw him, because for a moment he could have sworn they were glowing...
"Why did you come over here? Aren't you repulsed by me?"
The question caught him off-guard, and he knew that she was asking about her appearance. Being a faunus had to be hard. Having such prominent horns had to be worse. Being an albino on top of that had to be horrible. To look like her in a school full of humans who looked like him had to be difficult beyond his imagining. How could he think she had glowing red eyes? Was he no better than those bullies?
No, Jaune was not one to judge a book by its cover. He would not judge her because of her appearance. She was a perfectly lovely girl, a totally normal and nice young lady. If she was in need of a friend, then she would get one. "Of course not," he said comfortingly. "There's nothing wrong with you. You looked kinda lonely, and my mom always said that strangers were just friends you haven't met yet. So I decided to come over and see if this stranger wanted to be my friend."
He could tell that his gesture had really made her day. He smiled as he nodded softly. "Really. By the way, I didn't catch your name."
"Oh. Right. My name's Ruby."
"Well it's nice to meet you, Ruby," he said as he extended his hand.
The girl looked down at it for a moment, before glancing back up at him and blinked.
He didn't know if she had any hang-ups about shaking hands, or if maybe people normally didn't offer their hands to a faunus like her. However he wanted her to know that he was perfectly fine with it. "It's okay," he told her reassuringly. "You can take it."
Ruby blinked once more before a metal covered hand extended and grabbed his. She didn't so much shake it as she squeezed, the sheer force of her grip making him think that his fingers were about to shatter into a million pieces. His eyes squeezed shut and a gasp of pain shot from his mouth. She was strong. Incredibly so. But then again he expected no less from an aspiring huntress at this academy.
Don't be judgmental, his mind ordered. She probably gets enough of that already. Just shake her hand like it's perfectly normal...
"You're strange," she commented as she released her grip on his hand. His fingers throbbed red as he looked down on them to inspect any damage that might have been done. "We don't usually let others grab our appendages like that. Every time I've tried to hug someone, I kept hearing the same thing. You're just asking for someone to chop it off, is what Yang keeps telling me. Yet you did with me..."
Chop it off? Jaune had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. Yet she had been the one to call him strange? "What?"
"It's not normal to put yourself in such a compromising position," she continued. "Vulnerability and weakness are punishable by death. Only the strong survive here."
Jaune really hoped that she was just exaggerating. Or that the punishment of death was alluding to the fact that the weak would die in the field against the creatures of Grimm. Surely there was no way a huntsman academy could be so literally ruthless, right?
The only possible thing he could think of was that Grimm Academy, and perhaps every other huntsman academy in the world, was a hyper-competitive and cutthroat environment where people would do anything to be the best. Maybe there wasn't room for friendship in a place like this. Maybe it was even frowned upon. It could offer another explanation as to why Ruby seemed so sad and lonely. Maybe she was a bubbly and affectionate girl who wasn't used to being shot down by her peers.
He didn't care what the rules or expectations in this place were. He had set out to make this girl his friend, and an Arc never went back on their word. "Well you know what, Ruby?" he asked. "Maybe I'm okay with that. Because even though we just met, I trust that you wouldn't use it against me. Right?"
Ruby nodded her head emphatically and he had to again take a step back to ensure that he would not be struck by her horns. "Of course!" she insisted. "I can't believe it. You actually want to be my friend. My first friend!"
The words warmed Jaune's heart. He had truly made this girl's day. Whatever the reason was, she had been feeling down. He had been the one to cheer her up. There was no greater feeling in the world than helping another person in need.
"Well I'm honored I could be the first," he smiled. "I know that kids can be cruel, but I'll stick by your side no matter what."
She smiled in return, a lovely expression that brought out her best features. Her head nodding slowed this time before a serious expression crossed it again. "Yeah... kids being cruel is kinda in the school rules here."
Jaune blinked. "What?"
"Survival of the fittest and all that," she explained. "It's the way of the world."
He nodded. He understood... sort of. Huntsmen were expected to be the best of the best. It was only natural that the strongest would survive. Only the strongest would be worthy to stand up to the creatures of Grimm.
"But who cares about that right now," she squealed with excitement. "Come on, I wanna introduce you to my sister! I wanna show her that I made a friend!"
Ruby grabbed his hand again and like before it felt as though she was going to crush it in her surprisingly strong, small hands. It felt like his shoulder was going to be ripped from its socket the moment she began pulling him toward the school's entrance. Briefly, he spied her arm. It was strangely black but he couldn't get a clear look at it in the mad rush. Probably just a sleeve. He couldn't get over how strong this girl was. How had someone like her ever been bullied before?
Jaune hadn't known what to expect when Ruby dragged him through the front doors of the school. With only having ever seen pictures and videos of huntsmen in the media, he knew that there were endless possibilities when it came to looks, weapons and attire. For a brief moment he wondered if his hand-me-down sword and shield would be able to stand up to the bizarre collection of weapons he would likely find inside.
The door opened, unleashing a musty, iron scented breeze that threatened to roll his stomach once more. Iron, thick like drying blood, permeated the the air, joining the atmosphere of the grand hall. Purple candles burning black flame shed impossible light across blackened stone and wrought steel. Within, teeming masses filled the space, starkly lit. Each stood some feet away from one another, with a notable exception Jaune jerked his sight from.
All had ghostly, bone white skin, but how they wore it seemed to vary. Some were perfectly normal looking, lithe even, except for the odd peculiarity of skin and outfit. One such person, with fair white hair, stood off on her own. Others, others were twisted mockeries of man and woman alike, Jaune taking in the masked visage of what appeared to be a cat faunus, staring at another member of the cavalcade of creatures. She would have been perfectly lovely, odd mask and black veins running across exposed, slender legs aside, if not for her arms. Or rather, the smooth, dripping tendrils where arms should have been. They each ended in red blades, snapping back and forth at one another creating small sparks in the darkness.
Another did not possess strange limbs, but instead was hideously proportioned. A man with over muscular arms and overly broad shoulders, balanced on an otherwise normal human frame. At least, normal if not for what appeared to be metal plates fused to white flesh, scarring his body from top to bottom. Yet worst of all was the figure in the center of the room. Any other time, any other boy Jaune's age might have been taken by her figure.
Her outfit was revealing, her body considered perfect by many his age. Long, powerful legs, a taunt, muscular stomach revealed explicitly by a mesh within her cowgirl style attire. Her bust was pointedly emphasized, even more than her stomach, as she not only proudly bared them with only a low cut top to conceal them, but also to lift them. Coupled with long, luxurious pale blonde hair, though this did not appeal to Jaune he could admit where many would be interested. Yet his attention, and he hoped the attention of any other like him, was drawn not to her figure but her arms.
One arm was covered, almost wrapped, in steel and iron. Red chains hung loose, a twisted nightmare of a shotgun held firmly in a metal encased hand. This was, itself, not too big of a deal. Her other arm, however, was another story. To say it was an arm would be disingenuous, as it was its own living organism. A twisting, living mass of pitch black muscle, individual strands of oil-stained meat twitching and flexing individually. Masses of white bone tore up irregularly across the limb, which was easily the size of her entire body. It looked to Jaune as if an entire Grimm had been grafted onto the girl's body.
This limb only revealed itself to be such due to ending in what he supposed could be mistaken as a hand. Just as overly built and nightmarishly intricate working of bone and meat as the rest of the limb, this hand held the near pulverized remains of another creature once like her. Blood cooling and turning a blackened shade dripped from what was left of the poor student, shards of metal futilely stabbing into the clawed hand. Not in any attempt of attack, just due to how totally it had been smashed. The ground revealed the impact of what had no doubt been this blonde horror slamming the poor possible boy into it, repeatedly.
"Yang!" Ruby called excitedly into the crowd.
The blonde's head turned to regard the girl who had just called out the name. The blonde was Yang. She was Ruby's sister.
Jaune's breath hitched in his throat. Fear gnawed in the pit of his stomach. That thing was Ruby's sister.
"Come on," the girl at his side insisted as she tugged on his sleeve. "Let me introduce you to my sister!"
He took a step back for a moment, taking in the young girl before him. Her skin really did have a similar bleached, skeletal hue. Her eyes, that he had only thought to be red, were worse. They glowed red, burned it, with pitch black coals taking the place where white should have been. Black veins revealed themselves along her pristine skin, twisting down her one white arm. The other arm, now exposed fully, wasn't possible. No muscle, no skin, just raw blackened bone, coated in the oily substance that her supposed sister's limb had. He could see right through the arm in question, yet it moved without issue. Looking back up, he saw the bright smile that was on her face.
Jaune was too numb to refuse. Too frightened to say no. Too weak to resist as she pulled him behind her. As she did he gazed out into the crowd, only to realize that the crowd was looking back. Their eyes all glowed a brilliant blood-red. All staring intently at him.
This was wrong. So very wrong. He didn't know what this place was, but he knew that it wasn't a school for huntsmen. Huntsmen were not monsters. Huntsmen did not possess horrible tentacles and oversized arms. Huntsmen did not have horns and holes in their limbs. What were these things? And why had the large man brought him here if he knew what kind of a place this was?
As they neared Yang, Jaune heard faint whispers of the creatures as he passed them. To his surprise, they were not speaking about him.
"She's such a freak," one murmured.
"Why's she so positive all the time?" another commented.
Pain shot through his hand as Ruby clamped down on it tighter than before. And suddenly it made sense. They were talking about her. This was why she had been alone outside.
He didn't have a chance to contemplate this further before he was face to face with Ruby's sister.
Much like Ruby, Yang had a pair of horns that poked through her pale golden locks, even longer than her sister's. She was clearly older, if they truly were sisters, not just due to physical stature but also her face. She looked maybe to be as old as he was, with strong, beautiful features. Features marred by a series of holes across one side of her face, holes that revealed the inner workings of her mouth when the light hit it just so.
"Yang, this is Jaune," the redheaded girl introduced. "Look at him! Look how perfect his disguise is!"
Tossing aside the poor thing that had only moments ago been wrapped in her muscular black hand, Jaune had half-expected Yang to offer her monster claw to him to shake.
How he wished that was the case.
"I'm Yang, let's fight!" the blonde grinned as both her hands balled into fists. Almost to emphasize her words, the wet slap of broken bones and meat that had been the other student could be heard hitting the far wall. She dove straight for him, and Jaune saw his life flash before his eyes as bright crimson orbs gazed wildly into his own. Jaune tried to step away, to claim that this was a mistake, when his foot found some spilt blood from her earlier victim.
Falling at just the right time, Jaune completely avoided the first swing of her massive limb. This left him a heap on the ground, Jaune's eyes widening as the blonde moved with supernatural speed. Yang swung her arm back, several other students leaping out of the way, preparing to crush Jaune against the ground.
Jaune's eyes squeezed shut, expecting to meet his end at the hands, and horns, of the monster before him. The impact never came, however. Pain and death never came either. Instead it was the clash of bodies which filled his ears and forced his eyes open.
Ruby had placed herself in front of him, her arms grappling with Yang's in what could only be called a losing battle. No force on Remnant would be able to go one on one with the blonde's oversized arm and come out on top. The same was true with Ruby, who he could see was slowly losing ground to her sister.
"Are you fighting me for this runt?" Yang asked. A bemused smirk curled on her lips as she stared down at her.
"Don't hurt him!" Ruby snarled through gritted teeth. She swiped at Yang's horns with her own, and to his surprise, the larger girl backed off.
The smirk erupted into a full toothy grin, and Yang took a step back from her sister. "Look at you, finally showing some backbone. Haven't seen you this fired up since you saved that dog from Cardin. Fine, he lives."
He lives. The words forced Jaune to release a breath he hadn't known he had been holding in. Yang would have killed him if it wasn't for Ruby's timely intervention. The realization of this fact sent shivers down his spine.
Yang's focus turned to him in an instant. Going very still, Jaune watched in quiet terror as her hand enclosed around him, picking him up. Thankfully the grip was not as tight as it could have been, and she placed him back on his feet.
"Nothing personal, I just wanted to see how strong you are. It's not every day that Ruby comes to me showing off a new friend. Or any friend period," she shrugged.
He didn't know how to respond to that. So he just nodded. "Oh. Right."
"So this is your human form?" the girl continued. "Gotta admit, it looks perfect. You must be really strong if you can pull it off this well."
"Yeah, he told me it doesn't even take any effort," Ruby gushed. "He just wakes up and does it. Isn't that cool?"
Yang nodded. "For sure. I can't wait to get into the training room with you. I wanna see how tough you really are. And what your Grimm form looks like."
Grimm form? What was she...
Jaune's eyes went wide.
Yang's body was black and white, and she had red eyes. The same went for Ruby. The same went for every other student in this school he had unfortunately seen so far.
Human form. Grimm form. The horns. The monstrous appendages. These things... these things weren't human. They were nothing like he had ever seen before, but one thing was for certain. They were Grimm.
Jaune Arc had just stepped into a school filled with humanoid Grimm. A human among monsters.
His heart pounded in his chest. Fear coursed through his veins. His head felt light and dizzy. He was going to pass out right here and now, and being surrounded by these things, he would probably never wake up.
He jumped when he felt a hand on his arm. It was Ruby. "Hey... you suddenly smell really good. Is that weird to say?"
Yes. Yes it was weird. But the last thing he wanted to do right now was poke a nest of rapier wasps. "Uh... no. Not at all."
Ruby smiled up at him. "Good. I don't want to freak you out or anything. But it's just... I dunno."
She needn't worry about that. He was already freaked out enough. A few words wouldn't affect him.
"She's right," Yang agreed. "There's something about you right now that's just really attractive. I can't quite put my finger on it though."
Jaune hoped with all of his heart that Yang would indeed not put any of her large talon-like fingers on him right now.
"Uh... maybe it was the deodorant I put on this morning?"
Ruby blinked a couple times. "Deodorant?"
Before he could comment, however, the temperature of the room seemed to drop twenty degrees. A sense of foreboding and doom filled his entire being, and his head was instinctively drawn over to a stage which sat on the opposite side of the room.
A tall woman garbed in a flowing black dress had ascended the steps, followed at a distance by a trio of what were clearly human beings. She, like every other living being here, had white skin and red eyes. Far more pronounced black veins covered her arms and face like the twisting and gnarled branches of a dead tree.
The woman was dread incarnate. Yang's arm and Ruby's horns had nothing on the feelings he was experiencing right now just gazing upon this woman.
"I'll be brief," the woman began, her voice calm yet authoritative. "As I stand here and gaze out upon you all, I see boundless potential. You, my children, will change the world."
Children. Jaune had no idea if she meant that literally or not. Surely these few dozen monstrosities could not all be her children, right?
"You are the next stage in a world of bloody evolution," she continued. "The perfect union of humanity and Grimm. However, you are not truly perfect yet. Before you are able to go forth and conquer the kingdoms of men, you must first learn to harness your humanity. To learn what it is to be human, and to be able to live amongst them so that you may influence them. That is why you are here. That is what you will learn in this academy."
He couldn't believe what he was hearing. What kind of twisted world domination plot had he walked in on? He had to escape. Not only to save his own life, but to warn those in the outside world.
"Classes will begin tomorrow. Not all of you will live to see graduation. Only the strong will survive. Only those who are able to fully harness all of their powers and abilities will live to see my plans come to fruition. Therefore you must all be the very best you can be. You must prove that you are capable of living up to the tasks you were created for."
The woman turned and seemingly glided off the stage. As quickly as she had come, she left again.
There was no applause. No roar of approval. Only silence. Only once the mysterious lady lad left the room did the chatter start up once more.
Jaune's mouth was dry. He had to talk to one of the humans. To tell them this was all a mistake. That he didn't belong here.
He felt a tug on his sleeve, and turned to once more see exited red eyes staring up at him. "This is going to be so cool!" she smiled. Such a bright, sweet smile. "I can't believe my first friend is the strongest guy in the school!"
He blinked. How did she think he was the strongest person in the school? Or strong period? It would probably be best to dispel that rumor immediately. "Uh... nah I think you're overestimating me a little too much..."
"Oh I know!" she continued, ignoring his protests. "You should be my roommate!"
"Roommate?" Only then did Jaune realize that he still had absolutely zero clue about how this school worked. About where he would be staying. About what kind of classes he would be attending.
Then again, if he had it his way he would be leaving very soon...
"Yeah. I didn't have a roommate before because no one else could stand being around me..." she said sadly. Those glowing red eyes of hers shifted and gazed up hopefully at him. "But now that you're here, there's finally someone who likes me. You and me could totally bunk together."
Jaune reached over and removed Ruby's hand from his shirt as delicately as possible. "Hold that thought." His attention turned to where one of the humans who had accompanied the mystery woman stood overlooking the students. "I actually have to talk to that guy over there. I'll be right back..."
His legs had never carried him faster than they were right now as he approached the seemingly normal looking man. Clad in a white vest and pants, and tall black boots, he was Jaune's best bet to explain this whole mix-up and get a ride back home.
"Excuse me sir?" Jaune walked over to the mysterious man.
"Ah, hello young Master," the man said, gesturing dramatically as he spoke. "How might I be of assistance to you, one who has been so blessed by the goddess."
Goddess...? Jaune didn't know what to make of that. "Well you see I think there might be a mistake?" he began hesitantly, unsure of what to make of this strange man in a sea of Grimm. "I don't belong here Mister…."
"Oh forgive me my boy, where are my manners," he bowed. "I am Tyrian Callows, and I shall be your combat instructor for your tenure here at Grimm Academy." He stood up straight again. "However long or short that may be. Now what was this about a mistake?"
"Oh um... I don't belong here Professor Callows, I'm a human I don't belong here with all these..." He leaned forward whispering. "Monsters." Jaune suddenly felt a sharp pain poke him in the chin, the black chitinous tail of a scorpion was poised to piece his throat.
"I do not know what kind of trick you are pulling," the faunus man scowled. He motioned to the gaggle of Grimm that surrounded them. "But I will not tolerate you calling these lovely little darlings monsters."
There was an edge to Tyrian's voice which sent a chill down Jaune's spine. "I'm sorry!" he held up his hands. "It's just that, I think I got accepted by mistake."
"Very well, young man." The tail retracted. "If you believe that somehow our glorious headmistress has made a mistake and you wish to leave I shall not stop you."
"Of course," Tyrian grinned. "You can walk out the door at anytime, and out into the Grimm lands where all manner of dangers await you. But you can always choose to stay. In the end the choice is up to you. Do what makes you happy."
Jaune slowly backed away from the man, the professor that somehow seemed more dangerous than all the other Grimm that surrounded him. He would receive no help. He was on his own. He was trapped.
Author's Note: Special thanks go out to my collaborators Burkion and Lightningstrxu for making this chapter far better than I could have done on my own. And thanks as well to everyone else in the Work in Progress Discord for all the ideas and discussion.
Now I know at first glance people will think that something like Rosario Vampire or White Sheep inspired this story. But the truth is that it was 100% Dishwasher1910's wonderful art work. Go check out their drawings of Team RWBY as Grimm hybrids if you haven't seen them already. That's how the girls look in this story.
So the question now is, what do you think of this little idea? Something worth continuing? It came on a whim one day, and there's a lot of fun stuff planned for it.
Thanks as always for reading. I hope you enjoyed the start of this strange story.