EDIT: Hello everyone. Long time no see.

This chapter is a rewritten version of Chapter 4. My own version. I'll try to explain a little better in the end A/N but know that this chapter will replace the old in a few days and that it's my own. Hopefully you enjoy.


Flames licked up into the nothingness, climbing higher and higher.

"What the hell!? Where am I!?" Issei shouted in panic. The flames grew closer to him, dancing within inches of him. He tried to fan them away but they neither moved nor extinguished. They only grew larger, wilder..., angrier.

[So, you're the brat keeping me from my eternal slumber...] A familiar and powerful voice spoke up. It was very masculine and boomed through the void clear as day.

That was when a large dragon rose from the flames. It easily towered over Issei, staring down at him as if he was a mere insect. Which would describe how Issei felt floating before the large beast. Its scales were red, a deep blood red. Yet they did not shine but were dark and dull. Even its green eyes didn't shimmer. They lacked any kind of spark whatsoever, falling on the borderline of lifeless. And yet the power radiating from the ancient beast was massive and staggering. Issei didn't feel the heat of the flames at all yet found himself sweating in the creature's presence.

It was actually the same power Issei had felt before except it was much more potent. This was the power he had been endlessly searching for through his meditation, trying to find the source of day after day and night after night. That would mean this dragon before him...

"You, you were the one helping me during initiation?" Issei asked, a bit shaky, still fearful of the being standing before him.

[Helped you? If that is what you wish to call it. I merely felt generous.] The dragon replied. He sounded smug, extremely smug. That irked Issei but the eye twitch went unnoticed.

There was no doubting it, however. This definitely was the voice in his head that had helped him defeat the Nevermore. It also helped that his wings had the same scales as that which covered the reptile before him.

"Don't have to be such an ass about it," Issei chided back. "Still, it's our first official meeting since unlocking the gear and I do have a lot of questions now that we've come face to face. Or...face to...whatever all this is. Muzzle... Head..?"

The ancient being huffed out a puff of smoke. And, despite what Issei initially imagined, he felt the heat from it. It was very hot for just a plume and actually stung his skin with the embers from it. He could see his arms turning red from the slight contact but, just as quickly as it was there, the flames vanished. There were no signs of injury across his body and his clothes seemed unaffected as well.

[I do things because of my own reasoning, hatchling, I have every right to be "an ass" if I want to. As for your questions, I'm sure I can answer several without having to hear them.] The dragon answered back with as dull a stare as ever.

"Is that right? You don't seem so eager to answer."

Eyes lit up and shone a brilliant green, albeit filled with annoyance, and all pointed at Issei. [Oh, well, excuse me~,] he replied, feigning offense. [Seeing as you've been too damn weak for me to have consciousness, let alone speak to you outside of those whispers, pardon me for not being up and ready to answer your every quarrel.]

Issei didn't even flinch from the ancient being's blatant call outs. "...So you're not a morning person. I get it."

[...]

"..."

[I'm about three seconds from actually burning you.]

"Sheesh, now I see where the extra feeling of depression and edge came from."

[I-... You little shit...]

"Whoa, big guy, I get it. You're upset that the world we knew is gone. But that's no reason to continue moping about it."

[Weren't you the one who was wallowing in his own self pity?]

"Touché but killing that Grimm yesterday made it clear."

[Made what clear?]

"I can't afford to be sad, and upset, and negative, and emo-ish. There are lots of Grimm just like that one endangering people who can't fight back. And the more I doubt myself, the more people who could get hurt. So I'm not going to second guess myself again and actually start to focus on getting as strong as possible as fast as possible." Issei took a pause before remembering and adding on. "And I can't truly accomplish that, either, without you."

Ddraig leaned down to stare the boy in the eyes. There was a long period of silence before he rose back up and sighed.

[I will say, you are one of my weakest hosts to have unlocked me.]

"Don't care. I'll become the strongest if it means sacrificing an arm or a leg."

[Hmph, just wanted to test your resolve. However, I will say that you don't have to run yourself into the ground, kid.]

"What do you mean? If I don't get stronger, the closer the enemy comes to destroying this world." Issei replied defiantly. "If I have to sacrifice myself, I will. I made a promise!"

The dragon lowered its head into a resting position. [Kid, running yourself ragged like you have isn't going to expedite saving the world. The only thing you'll be getting closer to is an early grave.]

"W-What..?"

[How about I put it this way... That mysterious guy helping you... Ozma?]

"Ozpin."

[Whatever. Has he been worried as much as you? Matter of fact, has anyone been as worried as you about this "looming threat"?]

Issei paused for a few seconds. "N-No... Now that you mention it..."

[If there was a real urgency of the danger, Ozwald-] "Ozpin.." [-would have been training you everyday non stop till you dropped.]

"But God..."

[Kid, I'm going to be honest, God has never been good with timing nor has he been good with humans, or anyone outside of Heaven for that matter. Even the situation he told you of wasn't as bad as it seemed until your actual death. If you were still alive, I'm sure you would have been fine to enjoy your teenage years as you do now. There may be a danger but not one that you need to abandon your life and health over. Hell, the reason Ozpin might not have spoken with you recently or have been personally training you was so that you can still enjoy your time as a kid.]

Issei lowered his head and mulled over the being's words. He actually had a point and it made sense with what had transpired over the past few days. Even the explanation of God was accurate due to the being's past deeds that were literally written on paper. And there was personal experience when God missed the big ass academy and planted him in a Grimm filled forest. No one was perfect, not even God Himself.

"But why not just say that? Why keep me in the dark and have me work till I puke?"

[Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe he's trying to fill some quotas as a grey character, hiding things because he has to have some kind of control of the situation. Wouldn't be the first time it's happened.]

"Then you'd be making the same conclusion as God. Not even Ozpin told him exactly what happened that put his world in peril."

[Sounds like he doesn't trust anyone.]

"That's an entire can of worms I'd rather not open. The reasoning behind that is a long list of possibilities and, even if I asked, would he really tell me?"

[Sounds like he's using you then. You were literally a God-sent weapon.]

Issei sighed and shook his head. "God also told me not to trust him and come to my own conclusions. So far, I believe he's a dick."

The dragon snorted. [That's something we can both agree upon.]

There was a brief period of silence with a breeze that passed between them. One that shouldn't have happened, nor should it have been even possible, in the void.

Issei looked to the direction the breeze had gone before looking back to the dragon, who had just done the exact same. "What the hell was that?"

[No clue. Maybe you finally took a path away from your average protagonist.]

"Ah... Weird..."

[Mm.]

Issei finally felt that he had someone to confide in. Someone to share the weight of losing his old world and eventually having to protect this new one. It may have been just those two but he no longer felt as if he was truly alone in the fight.

Ddraig still mourned for what little he had left. His history, his legacy, his treasures, even his past lives. All were gone and forgotten. But he found himself a new host and a new path to carve with him. It was a whole new world to fear his name and, even if it still hurt that he lost so much, he would actually take the boy's advice and start to focus on what came next.

"There is still a question I have," Issei spoke up. "When Ozpin tried to unlock my aura, it hurt. A lot. But I could also hear you screaming in pain as well. Any idea why it hurt?"

[I actually don't know. It's possible that our energy doesn't mesh with this world's. Or it's the fact that we're actually two souls rather than one.]

"Wait, what!?"

The beast grimly nodded. [There's a lot to explain about the Boosted Gear but the general basis is that the aura thing he spoke of is a manifestation of your soul. When he went to unlock it, he had to give you a piece of his to try and activate yours but with mines attached to yours, it tried to rip our souls apart.]

"And, in doing so, it would kill us."

[Yes.]

Issei folded his arms and sighed. He crossed his legs and, in doing so, began to slowly cartwheel around in the open space.

"Is there any way to get around it?"

[I know nothing of this world, so I couldn't tell you. If we look into it, there may be an answer.]

"There is the chance that Ozpin knows."

[He's a man of one soul. I doubt it.]

"That's true." Issei hummed in thought before opening one eye to look back up at the mythological creature. "You may not be as much of a prick as I thought."

[And you may not be as idiotic as I thought.]

"...Touché..."

[This may actually be an entertaining second chance at life.]

"Sure sure, kick the guy who's already down."

[Well, strive to get stronger and I may just be a smidge easier on you. God had revived you and sent you to this world for some reason after all. As abrupt and vague as He was, He doesn't do what he does for no reason.]

"Still can't really believe it's me. There were probably plenty of others who were a better fit than me."

[That is a possibility. There were plenty of beings that could have been better fits. Maybe my rival and his host. But He chose you. So I wouldn't focus on what He didn't do and focus on what you can do to prove Him right.]

"You're right. Still, sending me back to school with a...questionable...Headmaster..."

[Was a week really all it took for you to doubt the man's motives? Or am I already corrupting you?]

"Nah, you're about as convincing as a door-to-door salesman."

[Ah, but the right one will know what to say and do to have you in his grasp.] Issei gave a deadpan expression in return. [What? You're the gullible idiot who fell for a girl the second she asked him out just because she said she liked you. Not only that but you also were stunned long enough by a flash of some tits and ass that she had time to throw that slow ass lightspear.]

"...Ouch. Words hurt, you know?"

[So does the lightspear, I bet.]

"Rubbing salt in the wound, dude."

The dragon did what could be considered a shrug. [May it be a lesson to learn from. If you dislike it, learn from it.]

Issei's clicked his teeth. He was right and Issei knew it. As much as it hurt to accept, it was that perversion that got him here in the first place. Too blind to see the looming danger and too blinded by some flesh that he lost his life for it. "I died not even getting the chance to touch them..."

The ancient being blinked several times. [So the perversion shines through after all that. After what i just said, you're more upset at the fact you didn't touch them?]

"Guilty as charged, they were still great boobs. And I was depressed and training my ass off this past week to focus on my passion. Plus, Glynda seems to have a sixth sense for those kinds of thoughts." The sound of a riding crop slapping an open palm sent a fearful shiver down Issei's spine but he swallowed the lump in his throat and continued. "Anyways, there's nothing saying I can't still grow stronger and stay true to myself at the same time."

[...You realize the girls here are much stronger than the girls of your world?] There was a brief silence but felt so long that the dragon actually found it unsettling. [Like, they'll send you through a wall with broken bones kind of stronger...]

Issei blinked. "...Maybe I'm a masochist?"

[...Why are you so weird?]

"Iunno, ask God. He's the one who says I grew stronger from the power of tits."

"..."

[...Again, I ask, why are you so weird?]

"Shaddup!"

[No! You shaddup! Tits!? TITS!? Tits is the reason you died!]

"Then I'll die twice knowing it was for a noble cause."

There was another brief silence. Then the flames rose high.

[YOU'RE AN IDIOT!]

"I'M OPTIMISTIC!"

[OPTIMISM GOT YOU STABBED!]

"THEN I'LL GET STRONGER TO DO THE STABBING!"

[WHA-] The dragon paused and the flames were snuffed out almost instantly. The words then processed and he looked a bit distraught. [Wait...what kind of stabbing?]

Issei went to open his mouth but also paused and mulled over what he just said. Then he too looked disturbed. "I...actually don't know."

The dragon's "brows'' furrowed. [That's disturbing.]

"Don't sound so disgusted!"

[Nope. I'm out. Whatever you do during your mating is between you and the unlucky woman, or man, who deems you acceptable.]

"I'm not gay!"

[Whatever you say. I've had one or two hosts who played catcher. I'll simply turn the other way and give you privacy.]

"I'm not gay!"

[Mmn...] The dragon hummed only further infuriating the boy. However, instead of digging a deeper grave, Issei chose to focus on something else that crossed his mind.

"Oi! What about my wings? That was you, right?"

The dragon shut his eyes as he rested his head on top of his front claws. [As I stated, they were a mere aid. You're nowhere near a dragon, kid.]

"And that powerful blast ability?"

[That is something you achieved on your own. That is through your own trials and tribulations,] he admitted with a shrug. [I will say, it's not something most achieve in the time that you had, so color me impressed for that. So grow some backbone and believe in yourself a little more, brat.]

Issei looked down at his hand and clenched it shut. "That's the plan, lizard face."

[Back to name calling?]

"Maybe. It's funny when it's at you."

The large beast didn't respond and opted to look at the boy for a few more seconds.

[Ddraig. My name is Ddraig. Best remember it, hatchling...] The red dragon replied before closing his eyes again.

Issei smirked. "Well then, it's nice to meet you, Ddraig. I'm Issei Hyoudou, you better remember it too. Because it's me and you to the end."

Ddraig couldn't help but chuckle at the child. There was a fire in his eyes. It was hard to tell if it was to actually show him or if it was from his reignited perversion but it would be interesting to see nonetheless.

[Well, Issei, let's see if God had some merit to His words.]

Issei grinned. "Bet on it, partner."

The flames then abruptly vanished and, with it, Ddraig disappeared. Issei found himself back in the void but was met with a sudden feeling of falling. And then...complete darkness.

-XOXOXOXOX-

Issei shot up in his bed. His breathing was ragged and he had a fresh sheen of sweat. He quickly glanced around the room, taking in the new setting. He saw four desks, two doors, and three beds with three figures in them.

Issei sighed, remembering that he moved into his new dorm after the quick scare he gave everyone after initiation. He originally had woken up in the infirmary, patched up and still exhausted. He was lucky Ozpin told everyone not to give him any forms of aura, how, he didn't know. But he made it through the day and had officially moved into Beacon with his new team.

Huh...team. He had a team. And he was the leader of said team. Ozpin really knew how to screw him over by piling such a heavy responsibility on him. And that talk with Ddraig hadn't helped him see the man in any greater light. If anything, it made him more cautious of talking with him. His team would now rely on him from this point forward. Everything he did would be watched by them and judged. One slip up and it could cost, not just him, but them as well. And he's dreaded the thought of bringing his team down.

The brunette sighed, choosing to focus on better things. He told himself he would and Ddraig too. He took a glance towards the clock to see it was six. An early rise to start the day, he supposed. Not like he'd be getting any more sleep.

Apparently, Pyrrha was his partner. Truth be told, it would have been much more fitting for her to have been selected as the team's leader. His partner was way more qualified for the role than he. She was strong, kind, helpful, and an all-around perfect role model. She was huntress material and no one dared object against it. She was the model huntress, both figuratively and literally. She was on a cereal box for Pete's sake.

Compared to his abysmal combat skills, his partner would flatten him at the drop of a hat. Issei immediately considered the thought that Pyrrha deserved a better teammate than him.

However, the two of them have already been paired. It couldn't be helped now. All he could do now was not slow them down. His team would be the ones he would eventually have to protect.

Issei found it hard to figure out if it was really a gift or curse that he was here. He could potentially kill a god if he reached his apex but what was out there that caused a problem for two gods to where they abandoned their people?

Well, whatever it was, God claims Issei possessed the tools to defeat it. For now, however, it was just learning how to use them. It was a new day and a chance to get stronger. No use dwelling on the problems now and he should simply follow Ddraig's advice.

The Sekiryuutei rose out of bed in his pajamas, a plain white shirt with red sweatpants, and opened the curtains. Faint sunlight shined through and illuminated Team HVNL's room. His teammates however looked determined to stay asleep.

Smiling at this, Issei decided to let them sleep a little longer. Yesterday was quite the eventful day and he was sure they'd need all their energy for the teachers they would come to know this fine school year.

The brunette made his way to the bathroom, making sure to stay as quiet as possible. Even when closing the door, he held the handle to assure it wouldn't click as he shut himself inside. No one moved but he swore he heard his energetic teammate talk of a certain breakfast cake with syrup.

Turning to the mirror, Issei took in his image. Boy, was he a mess. He had a terrible case of the bedhead, his eyes still felt heavy, and the bandages wrapped around his forehead didn't help his appearance either. All in all, he summarized that he looked like shit. And not the good kind. The disgusting kind that made everyone want to avert their eyes. Oh well, the look suited him for his idiotic nature to run head first into things.

Issei took a hot shower, brushed his teeth, fixed his hair, and washed his face. Taking a good look at himself, the boy found himself to be, at the very least, presentable. Either way, it wasn't like people really cared how he looked or dressed. He would most likely be the same outcast like he was at Kuoh. He lacked the traits popular people had. He didn't have the looks of his team. He didn't have the skills like his team. And he sure as hell lacked the charisma. It was just the kind of character he was. Meant to be nothing more than a side character. If he was in Star Trek, he would definitely be the guy in red. Probably thrown into space after he got locked in the garbage shoot.

If only it was easy to be popular. But if everyone was popular, no one would be. There was Ruby's older sister and Pyrrha as examples. Both of them were very popular. Yang just because she was a social butterfly and charismatic as fuck. Pyrrha simply because of her feats and kind nature. Not to mention, both of them were very attractive and had killer boobs. Issei had none of those and had a very average intellect. Maybe Ren could help him, he was a pretty boy, after all.

Issei summoned the Boosted Gear. He looked closely at the gem, watching the symbols swirl deep inside the endless abyss of green. The same luminescent green that he saw in Ddraig's eyes when the dragon first appeared. Strength, pride, confidence, those were the traits Ddraig exuded throughout their meeting. Issei wondered if, as he grew stronger, he would exude those traits too. So many thoughts, so little time. Better to focus on the here and now.

The boy moved from the mirror and changed into his new school uniform. Albeit, he decided on a different style than how everyone else would probably wear it. He always hated ties and opted for his signature red shirt, a kind gesture from Glynda, underneath his opened button up and jacket. It wasn't much different from Kuoh's, besides an added blue vest he completely ignored, so it felt natural to him.

The Sekiryuutei knew he wouldn't be learning the same things as he once had at his old school. This was a place teaching him how to hunt Grimm, how to kill Grimm, and the many other things that surrounded the job. How he was at Kuoh wouldn't fly here, especially now that he had others depending on him for guidance as well. He had a team to look after and he was the representative of his team. This was one of the many challenges he would have to face and he'd be damn sure he wasn't going to fail. Ddraig or not, Issei would make sure Team HVNL was the best damn team in the entire school. Hell, the entire world!

Speaking of teams, it was time for him to wake up his. Step one of a good team leader.

Starting with Pyrrha, Issei shook her by the shoulder.

"Huh? Wha..?" Pyrrha sleepily murmured and her eyes fluttered open.

The first thing she caught were the hazel brown orbs belonging to Issei. Her partner and team leader. He gave her a soft smile and she cracked one herself.

Pyrrha gave a cute yawn as she sat up. She stretched her arms above her head, Issei keeping his eyes from casting down. "What time is it?" She asked as she rubbed her eyes.

"It's a little after seven," he replied.

"Mm, well thank you for waking me," the Spartan replied.

Issei nodded. "No problem. It's my duty, after all."

Pyrrha's smile widened. "So it is, partner."

Issei could feel his heart thump. He could understand why Weiss talked so highly of Pyrrha and why she was so adamant that he knew who she was. She was stunningly gorgeous, way out of his league. She also had a high reputation following her that made her seemingly untouchable to anyone wanting to get near her. It reminded him of a former senior of his back at Kuoh. The model student that everyone, boys and girls alike, held in such high regard. Beauty, intelligence, kindness, they had it all and made life look so easy. They even had the same red hair.

Seemed Issei lucked out by having her as a partner and, dare he say, she actually looked happy to have him as hers.

"Umm...Issei?" Pyrrha spoke up.

The brunette then quickly realized he had been staring. He focused back in to see the champion with a light blush dusting her cheeks. He could feel his own heating up and quickly went to avert his gaze. Nothing was said between the two for what felt like a long period. Issei felt like an idiot for having stared at her and probably creeping her out while Pyrrha tried to calm her rapidly beating heart. It was too early for this.

"...Are Ren and Nora up yet?" Pyrrha asked, breaking the awkward silence between the two of them. Issei did not make eye contact and shook his head.

"No. You can go ahead to the shower, I'll wake them up," he replied.

"Sure. I'll be heading in then." Pyrrha rose from the bed and made her way past Issei and into the bathroom.

Once the door closed, Issei sighed. He mentally berated himself for allowing himself to get distracted. Now he didn't know what Pyrrha would think of him and if his relationship with his own partner was already taking a dive. He hoped things wouldn't stay awkward between them. But, for now, all he could do was wake up the rest of his team and pray the day got better.

He moved to the other pair of his team. Nora was up and moving within seconds, as if it was the flip of a switch. Ren? He was a little more difficult to get up but eventually he too was out of bed, luckily around the time Pyrrha was out the bathroom and Nora was in. Issei swore up and down, Nora's comparison of Ren to a sloth was pretty damn accurate when it came to the pretty boy of his team.

Issei pulled out his scroll, another gift from Glynda, while the room came to life. He noticed that he had received a message from one pain-in-the-ass headmaster. Opening it, he read over the one short sentence.

'Congrats on officially making it into Beacon.'

It was short and uneventful. The complete opposite of what he was expecting the old man to send. Issei thought this would be the point where Ozpin might have finally started taking things seriously. Where he would say "the real training begins" or "this is only the first step". But no, instead it was a simple congratulations, as if he didn't expect Issei to pass. He kind of felt cheated.

The brunette put the scroll away in favor of focusing back onto his team. The others were already putting the finishing touches on their uniforms. A fully uniformed and tidy Ren was helping Nora with her tie and Pyrrha brushed away what little knots remained in her hair.

As they wrapped things up, Issei could just about hear noises coming through the door, more specifically, from the other side of the hall.

Team HVNL had learned that their fellow initiation buddies, and sister team, RWBY, happened to be living just across from them and would be their neighbors for the four years in Beacon. Issei was happy to have Ruby close to him. She was always optimistic and excited for being a huntress and he knew having that energy around would brighten his day. The little reaper was also his fellow team leader so if anything, hopefully they could struggle together and, maybe one day, lead their teams proudly.

Maybe.

Noticing that they still had some time before classes, the world traveler decided to sit down on his bed and distract himself with the book Dr. Oobleck had given him. It was a book on the faunus' rights and history. The doctor seemed very adamant that he read and understood everything from cover to cover and, while Issei was skeptical at first, the book was actually a good read. Learning of the hardships and oppression that the faunus went through, Issei only felt more empowered to try to change the world. Not just to rid it of the Grimm but to also rid it of the racism that plagued the world. After all, it was that same racism and bigotry that brought his world to ruin.

Not to mention, his and his sister team now considered him a faunus because of his wings. So it was better that he be knowledgeable of "his" history so he could play the part. It was better to live the lie than tell them the truth. For now. Besides, they jumped to the conclusion.

"Wait, did you say nine o'clock!?" A voice cried out from the other side of the hall. There was a brief silence. "It's eight fifty-five you dunce!"

Issei, Pyrrha, Ren, and Nora peeked out of the room to see Weiss running out of her own.

"Uh... Uh... T-To class!" Ruby announced before taking off behind her partner. Blake and Yang were quick to follow.

"Oh no! We lost track of time!" Nora shouted.

"Let's go," Ren calmly said before grabbing Nora by the wrist and ran out the door. Pyrrha and Issei looked at each other before they quickly followed behind.

-XOXOXOXOX-

"Shit! We are going to be so late!"

"Language!"

Issei looked over at his partner.

"This wouldn't have happened if Yang didn't take so long in the bathroom!" Weiss chimed in.

"Hey, this hair takes a lot of work to look this good!" Yang shouted back.

"You were in there for over an hour!" Ruby added.

"Sis, you know how I am!"

"Hold on, is no one going to deal with the fact Pyrrha said 'language'?" Issei noted with a raised brow.

The Spartan sighed. "Sorry, it just slipped out."

"Should I expect this often then?" Issei teased.

"Please, I would much rather move on from it."

"You two lack maturity and professionalism!" Weiss berated. "It's both of your faults we're running behind."

"Now hold on a minute, Ice Queen, if I remember correctly, you were the last one up this morning," Yang snapped back.

"And you were still in the bathroom! Not to mention, Ruby hadn't kept track of time either!"

"Well, Ms. Perfect, why weren't you keeping an eye on the clock?"

This one had caught the heiress off guard. Her next accusation fell short and her cheeks lit up with embarrassment. "T-That's irrelevant. All of you wanted to decorate the room!"

"It would have been much faster and smoother if everything didn't have to be placed at certain angles or out of your way..."

"You even went as far as to argue with us over the bunk bed situation. If we simply started it, we wouldn't be in this situation," Blake stated.

Issei actually chuckled looking back at his partner. "At least we aren't like that.

The Spartan couldn't help but giggle as well. "I'd say we know how to handle each other better."

Issei rose a brow before looking at his other teammates. Nora gave him a thumbs up while Ren held his usually stoic expression but nodded nonetheless. Now that he thought about it, and with a cheeky grin.

"I suppose we could compare Ren to Yang."

"And what's that supposed to mean," Ren asked in response.

"Oh come on, Renny, you've been a deep sleeper long as I can remember. Takes forever for you to get up in the morning," Nora answered.

"But, Nora, you're actually pretty similar to Blake. You're just there in the shadows waiting for the queue to blow things up."

"Oh, so I'm like a ninja? Do I get a cool mask and secret missions?" The buxom bomber asked excitedly.

Issei chuckled with a tiny sweatdrop. "Not yet but be ready for anything."

"Aye-aye, Fearless Leader!" She saluted.

"Oh yeah, what's with that nickname?"

"With the way you took on both that rock boss and the Nevermore? You kept going no matter how many times you got knocked down. It was totally awesome! Especially with the laser show at the end! You blew up the cliff! I wish I could reach that level of awesomeness!"

Issei blinked a few times before a smile split across his face. There was a warmth in his chest. He could tell the ginger girl was genuine in her words and that made it ten times more effective.

"I guess it was pretty cool."

"I would say more than cool," Pyrrha added on. The brunette turned to meet her eyes. "I'd say it was pretty amazing, Issei."

Now he had to pause at this one. An actual celebrity was impressed by him! "You really think so?"

The redhead smiled. "I do. If there was anyone to be my team leader, I'm glad that it's you."

Issei felt his heart thump. "Heh...thanks." That was a serious confidence booster. Maybe Ddraig had something.

-XOXOXOXOX-

"Monsters! Demons! Prowlers of the night! Yes, the creatures of Grimm have many names, but I merely refer to them as prey, ha-ha!"

Professor Port was still Professor Port. Issei had come to accept that. He had a strange way of teaching but his knowledge of the Grimm was second to none. This oddity that was the portly man's technique to teach were valuable lessons to anyone who stepped foot in his classroom. Picking off the weak minded individuals, ready to strike on them with a pop quiz or with surprise assignments. It was evil but effective nonetheless. But, even with an entire week's advantage of knowing this, Issei still found himself struggling to want to listen. Why were there so many stories!?

"Vale, as well as the other three kingdoms, are safe havens in an otherwise treacherous world," Peter Port continued on. He paced back and forth across the class a serious look in his eyes? It was hard to tell when he never even opened them. They were always shut and yet he could look and call on anyone in class if he so chose. Although, he never really did seeing as half the class slept. "Our world is teeming with creatures that would love nothing more than to tear you to pieces. And that's where we come in."

Issei did his best to stay diligent. Pen in hand, ready to write, he readied himself for the next set of notes. He knew the introduction of Grimm studies but better to have them written than forget.

"Huntsmen... Huntresses..." He pointed towards a specific blonde and clicked his tongue twice.

"Uhh.. Ehehe..." Yang was slightly disturbed by the gesture. She should have been, seeing as one of those caterpillars on his face moved. Issei sat just behind her and it was almost as if he made the gesture towards him. Fucking. Gross.

Issei only hoped the tutoring would be what it was before school started. Ozpin chose unique professors, that was for sure. Why they weren't more...serious, considering the profession, was beyond him. But they were still effective and Beacon was known for producing the best of the best. So there must have been more to it. Either that, or Ozpin was fucking with everyone.

"Sworn to protect those who can not protect themselves." Wait, was he starting to get serious? "From what you ask? Why, from the very world!"

"Eyy-yeah!"

The entire room spun on the kid who dared cheer for this man. He quickly realized his mistake and sat back in his seat before he covered his face in embarrassment. Issei turned back and looked down at his notes. They were sloppy and had many holes, specifically when the professor started one of his tales. Issei was so bored, he actually started to doodle. He noticed he had started drawing his and team RWBY's weapons.

"That is what you are training to become. But first, a story..."

There was Pyrrha's spear and shield. Milo and Akouo. Then there was Ren's sickle-pistols and Nora's hammer. Stormflower and Magnhild.

"A tale of a young, handsome, man."

Issei had even drawn Ruby's scythe in both forms. Crescent Rose in sniper and scythe form. There was Weiss' rapier. Blake's katana. And Yang's gauntlets.

"Now, where was I...?" Port drawled on.

Issei continued to stare at the weapons. Each had their own specialities in the hands of their owners. Each with unique capabilities and attachments through the creative minds of their wielders. He wondered if he could do the same with the Boosted Gear. Giving it a new edge through his own creative mind.

Nudge!

The brunette felt a hand tap him. He looked over to see Pyrrha looking back at him. She seemed concerned. "Are you alright?" She whispered.

This made him raise a brow. "Yeah, why?"

"You were staring at your notebook so hard. For a second there, I was worried you had fallen asleep. I was wondering if you were still recovering from the initiation."

"Now, who among you believes themselves to be the embodiment of these traits?"

"Huh? Yeah, I feel great! Just look at me!" Issei flexed his arms to show he was just fine. Unfortunately, he drew the wrong kind of attention with it.

The husky man smiled. "Issei Hyoudou, I see you're taking great initiative. Very well done, my boy. Now please, come forward, and face your opponent."

A few minutes passed as the boy looked back at the professor with the blankest expressions. He then turned to the rest of the class to see various reactions. The few that stood out most were from his own team and sister team.

Pyrrha was looking at him with even more concern. It was obvious she was worried for him and his physical health. Nora was giving him two thumbs up with the biggest of smiles. Ren seemed impassive but shrugged once their eyes made contact. Ruby, Yang, and Blake shared an expression of mere curiosity. And Weiss...she seemed absolutely furious at him. Her hand was raised and she was seething.

Had he taken her spotlight?

"...eh?"

-XOXOXOXOX-

"Go, Issei! Kick its butt!" Ruby cheered as she pumped her fists.

Blake was also waving a small flag that had his name written on it. The boy wanted to ask where she got it from. Then looked to a certain ginger and immediately understood.

"Whooo! Break its legs, Fearless Leader!" Nora cheered, waving a much larger flag over her head. Issei blinked several times before turning to Ren.

"Fight well..." He muttered, holding a small flag like Blake. He didn't know how to feel but the warmth in his chest wasn't going away.

He then turned to Pyrrha who also gave him a smile of encouragement.

Issei took a calming breath before turning back to the cage.

"Ready yourself, Mr. Hyoudou."

Issei nodded. "Boost."

[Boost!]

Flash!

The gear appeared in its bright green light. The whole class was in awe at the display. He had to remember, they couldn't carry their weapons everywhere. But his, he could summon at will. Of course they'd be shocked by something that had become normal for him. He even noticed Weiss stop fuming for a moment to stare at the Boosted Gear.

"That. Is. So cool!" Ruby shouted out. There were stars in her eyes as she watched her BFF prep himself. "How did he do that!? I've never seen a weapon just appear like that!? Is it teachable!? Can he teach me!?"

The heiress glared at her partner. "Ruby! Allow him to focus! I want to study that strange crystal!"

Ruby flinched from her teammate's harsh tone and quietly sat back down, disheartened. Issei noticed this and felt his hand clench tightly into a fist.

[Boost!]

Weiss didn't have to be so rude. Ruby was excited about him, the first he could say about a girl. It's just who she was. Issei didn't mind it at all and, in fact, found it cute.

[Boost!]

He could get not being used to it yet, Ruby was unique, to say the least. But why did she have to sound like such a bitch. Like she was belittling a child? Like she was talking down on someone she deemed beneath her?

[Boost!]

'Confidence. Strength. Pride.' The three things Ddraig held. Three things that Issei would have to attain if he was to truly protect everyone. And if he couldn't start with Ruby, then he was already setting himself up for failure.

Port, who seemed to have been ignoring all the tension building, pulled out his axe. "Are you ready, son?" Issei nodded, eyes narrowed dangerously. "Alright then, begin!"

Right as he finished, he swung the blade down and shattered the lock. The beast within burst out immediately, revealing itself to be a Boarbatusk, a boar-like Grimm. Not that that even mattered now. Because this Grimm was now Issei's prey.

[Boost!]

It charged without hesitation. Issei didn't even flinch as he brought his fist down.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

The entire room shook. Dust kicked up and blinded everyone for just a few seconds. There was a shriek before silence and the students waited on the edge of their seats to see what had transpired.

The dust quickly settled and the conclusion became clear. Issei was still standing, unaffected. The Boarbatusk, on the other hand, had been buried into the ground. It looked as if it was crushed, crumbled like a piece of paper, already disintegrating before anyone could even see it.

There was a brief silence. No one said a word. But that didn't stop Issei's hand from being raised by Port.

"Such a display of manliness! We are indeed in the presence of a true huntsman!"

Everyone slowly started to clap. Nora was booming with cheers and laughter. But all of that fell on deaf ears as Issei kept his eyes on one person. His anger hadn't been satiated as he thought. He could see Ruby hesitantly clapping, still downtrodden by her teammate's earlier words.

The Sekiryuutei glared into the eyes of the Schnee heiress. The fire burning made his eyes flicker green and it was something both her and a certain Spartan picked up on.

Issei realized that Weiss was similar to Raynare. Arrogant, prideful, and thought others beneath her. Seems he was back at square one, huh?


EDIT: For those seeing this, both old and new. This chapter has been rewritten. It wasnt what I initially envisioned for it and with the constant voices in my ear, turned me off from it. Hence the hiatus.

As of now, I have cleared my head and have now taken on this project through my own mind and ideas. There was an initial path but with this rework we are now set in gear for my own. Hopefully this doesn't turn any of you away and, in fact, brings in more.

I'm not good with Author's Notes so I'll keep it short. But, just know, it's finally back and I'm inspired, once again, to continue this story.

Cheers.