Homeless Bunny 22

Tianyu Yue

"We have time for one more," Glynda said, rolling the dice once more. On the monitor, the faces of those who'd already fought were crossed out; they couldn't be rolled but could be challenged on a voluntary basis. In that light, both mine and Amber's portraits were some of the few who had yet to be called. "Cardin Winchester, to the field."

Cardin swaggered onto the stage. He was a beefy, auburn-haired boy who stood a full head above the rest of his teammates. Clad in silver armor with a brass phoenix decor and swinging a mace like a conductor's baton, he looked like a storybook paladin.

I wondered how strong he was. His teammates had all fought already. They weren't anything special, good or bad, but that wasn't reflective of their leader so early in the year.

He looked at the monitor, then back at Glynda. "I can challenge anyone?"

"You may. They may decline if they've already fought. I may also reject the pairing if their aura level has fallen lower than I consider safe," Glynda said.

"Good. I challenge the bunny."

The pinched expression on Glynda's face was absolutely hilarious. She knew. She was there when I spanked that amber-eyed Maiden like an unruly child. She was there when I had that chat with Ozpin. As was Ruby. Though I'd agreed to Ozpin's request that I attend school, there wasn't any question in her mind as to the outcome of such a duel.

And yet, she had no good reason to reject the challenge.

"Please be gentle," I heard her whisper, too quiet for anyone else to hear.

As for the twins, they acted like their birthdays came early.

"We get to see someone else get Tianyu'd," Miltiades whispered excitedly.

"I know, right? Spoon? Spatula?" her twin said back.

"Spoon. This shit's hilarious when it happens to someone else."

"Please don't turn my name into a verb," I sighed. Truthfully, I wanted to reject the challenge. It wasn't as though there was any worth in beating up children.

Cardin Winchester was a racist. He wasn't nearly as quiet with his mutterings as he'd like to think, certainly not quiet enough to go unnoticed by a divine rabbit.

And yet, since when was I a champion of faunus rights? He had done me no harm, unlike Detective Powers. He did not label me a terrorist, nor did he waste my goodwill. Social justice, no matter what form, didn't overly interest me, not enough to reprimand him for some nasty words.

Let others concern themselves with lofty ideals; my place was in the kitchen.

"I admit, I am curious to see you fight as well, Tianyu," Weiss whispered next to me. "Even in the Initiation, you and Amber didn't fight at all."

"Yeah… Can we not?" I asked, holding up a gentle hand. "I'd rather be in the kitchen if I'm honest."

Cardin scoffed. "Yeah, that's where you belong."

"I couldn't agree more. A chef is the noblest profession of all. To cook is to nourish life. What greater cause is there than that?"

"Yeah, right. Get up here, coward."

"You know, I'm going to give up right away, right?" I said, putting a slight tremor in my voice that, to those who didn't know, might sound like nervousness. Still, I stood and made my way to the stage.

"Please take this seriously," Glyda muttered. "Or at least pretend to."

I almost laughed at that. Serious? A Campione? That was the last thing she ought to be asking for. And yet, I was a merciful bunny.

And I do so loved to subvert expectations.

I stood there, trembling slightly. My ears twitched back and forth in apparent agitation. Opposite me, Cardin slung his mace over one shoulder, the picture of absolute confidence. With evident reluctance, Glynda started the match.

Cardin had some real muscle. The head of his mace swung for me like a comet, faster than most others in the room could manage, and with only one hand at that.

I did not block. Nor did I let it strike my face and shatter.

No, for the first time since my arrival, the twins saw me run.

"Waahhh! Save me!" I cried desperately. I leapt back and "barely" dodged out of the way of the swing, only to turn tail and run to the edge of the arena.

"What? Get back here, coward!" Cardin roared as he leapt after me.

"No! You're going to hit me!"

"No fucking shit!"

"Waahhh! You're scary!"

I led him on a merry chase, only ever avoiding the edge of his mace by the width of a whisker each time. I made sure to stumble around without form or balance, like a drunkard with a sudden penchant for Irish dancing.

Then, halfway through, I started to bawl. A stream of water converted directly from my mana flowed from my eyes as I ran around the stage.

"Bwaahhh! This is animal abuse! A case of bunny battery!"

"Shut up and fight!"

"No! This is resentment towards rabbits! Hare hate! Stop bullying me!"

"Hold still!" Cardin cried out. His mace glowed with the crimson light of dust as he struck the floor.

I dodged and tucked into a roll that looked as though I'd barely scraped by. Then, with zero shame whatsoever, I rolled onto Glynda's feet, grasping onto her thighs like the world's most overweight koala.

"Save me! I'm sorry, Glyn-Glyn! I give up!" I bawled, tears streaming like a fountain.

The look on Glynda's face was one I'd cherish forever. There was nothing quite like so thoroughly destroying someone's expectations that their mind shut down altogether. She looked at me like some new species of animal, an alien creature so foreign that it defied all comprehension.

Then reality struck. Along with Cardin's mace.

He'd turned his downward swing into a backhand in an attempt to finally nail me. So flustered was he that he was no longer aware of his surroundings. So bewildered was Glynda that she'd likewise lost track of Cardin.

And so, Cardin's mace met Glynda's stomach with an impressive thud.

Aura was a passive shield. And Glynda, being a woman who relied on it exclusively over a more conventional weapon, had a lot of it. It didn't hurt her, not truly, but she was sent flying off the stage in an undignified tumble nonetheless. Perhaps, had she not been encumbered by a bunny-shaped limpet hugging her thighs, she might have triggered her Semblance in time to anchor herself.

But she did not. And so, our duel came to an end, with Glynda as the sole, thoroughly annoyed casualty.

The entire room fell silent as the air took on a distinct, violet hue.

She looked at me, still sniffling with tears in my eyes. Then she looked at Cardin, frozen in his final pose, reality sinking in.

"What do you have to say for yourselves?" she growled. Her eyes shone a menacing violet. Her hair and half-cape fluttered in an invisible breeze. An ominous weight settled on our shoulders, making everyone freeze like a mouse that just now noticed the cobra in the room.

I sniffled, dried my tears, and then said, "Don't look at me, Glyn-Glyn. I gave up. Cardin's too strong for me. I'm the victim here. This is bunny battery. Animal abuse, I say!"

"Out."

Seeing how she actually looked pissed enough to chuck me through the window, or at least make the attempt, I decided to make myself scarce. I ran out of the room, leaving Cardin to deal with the professor's wrath.

X

"That was cruel, Tianyu," Amber chided. This was hopefully the tail end of a half-hour long lecture on propriety, professionalism, how a team leader ought to conduct himself, and a bunch of other synonyms.

"In my defense," I bega, only to be met with an arched brow.

"Yes?"

"At least I didn't hurt him?"

"That's not-Actually, yes, I suppose there's that."

"You lost us money, bun-bun," Melanie said with a pout. "We were counting on you to beat him up."

I nodded as I stirred the whisk through a bowl of egg whites. Tonight's dinner would be a simple meal of grilled salmon, rice, and asparagus with a baked Alaska for dessert and I needed the meringue. "Yeah, I heard. You shouldn't have made such a specific bet like 'Tianyu will beat him up with a spoon.' You never know when I might decide to prove you wrong."

"You could hear us and still let us lose? Not cool," Miltia pouted, only to stick her tongue to the tip of her nose when I smeared a small bit of meringue on there.

"Very cool. It's hilarious."

"You have the worst sense of humor."

"And now you owe Nora twenty lien. Gambling is bad, girls. See, Amber? I can be a responsible team leader. Look at me teaching them valuable life lessons."

"Was there a point to your nonsense? Besides teaching the twins a lesson?" Amber questioned. She had her homework in front of her, the only one of us doing her work diligently.

"Yup. Can you girls spread the word that if someone gives my bully a hard time, I might reward them with a free meal?"

"You're kidding…"

"You're right. Maybe just a cookie. Either way, defenders of bunnies deserve to be justly rewarded."

"You don't need defending. You're the last person on Remnant who needs defending."

"Details."

"Was that why you made tamales for the whole school? To motivate them to be more conscientious of faunus bullying?"

"Hahaha, you're really giving me way too much credit," I said. "I mean, if good food motivates students to crack down on bullying, great. But I just wanted to enlighten the masses to the wonders of our team's namesake."

"Right… I don't believe you," she mused with a ghost of a smile. "I think you're a better person than you let on."

"Lies and slander."

"You took in a pair of twins. And convinced them to turn from their criminal ways and fight for humanity as huntresses."

"They're convenient arm candy."

"You adopted Weiss Schnee because you thought she looked lonely."

"Teasing her is hilarious."

"You left a dozen all-cure potions with a stranger."

"Justly deserved. A farmer's labors are sorely undervalued."

Miltia stared at me, then at a comic book she'd been thumbing. "You're such a tsundere."

I booped her nose with all the dignity of an affronted bunny. "Hey, now. I know what that word means."

"You're so tsun-tsun it hurts."

"Hush, you. Okay, more seriously, I wanted Glynda to exempt me from combat class, for obvious reasons. I couldn't think of a way to do that without maiming some poor kid so I went with that abject shitstorm."

"Well, congratulations," Amber drawled, "Professor Goodwitch caught us after you ran off and told you to not come back."

"Great! All according to keikaku and all that."

"You speak Mistralian? And that specific dialect at that," Militia asked, eyebrow raised.

"I speak a lot of languages. A century's a long time and Campione have a natural affinity for languages of all types."

"You're such bullshit."

"I know," I preened.

X

That was the absolute last time I entered combat class. We came to an unspoken agreement, Glynda and I. She didn't insist on my attendance and I wouldn't make a fool of her class altogether, or worse. Honestly, it was something we probably should have talked about before Cardin challenged me and put her in an awkward position.

In the end, I apologized for that nonsense and smoothed things over (mostly) with a cake and the promise of a freshly brewed cup of tea whenever she needed to relax. Really, I did feel a little bad for making things difficult for her and felt the best thing for us was for me to recuse myself from the class altogether.

Which wasn't to say there was no fallout from my antics over the next several days, particularly with the student body.

For starters, my team earned a reputation as the single most lopsided team in the school. The twins weren't considered the weakest, but they weren't far off. No, the "weakest student" was me, the leader, who ran away bawling from his first combat class and refused to attend any other.

By contrast, Amber dominated. "Goodwitch 2.0," they called her, to our amusement and Glynda's annoyance. Her "Semblance" absolutely destroyed everyone, lifting them into the air, taking their weapons, and stealing the air from their lungs. Even the "Invincible Girl" wasn't immune to Amber's brand of Maidenly bullshit.

As it turned out, Pyrrha's Semblance had something to do with magnetism. It, along with her excellent fundamentals, was how she'd remained undefeated, unscathed even, in most matches. But Amber didn't give two shits about metal, her weapon was a wooden staff, so that was that.

The funny part of all this was that my team, Glynda, and Ruby were all aware that Amber was holding back massively. She had an aerokinetic Semblance after all, and felt no reason to use the giant crystal of fire dust at the tip of her staff. In a confined area, the tornado that ravaged the stage was oppressive enough.

Which was how I found myself standing in the middle of the Beacon courtyard, a rapier jabbing the tip of my nose. Weiss Schnee glowered at me fiercely, her crystal-blue eyes like chips of ice.

"Brother dearest," she began, "do you mind explaining why you have been absent from every combat class?"

"Weiss, maybe Tianyu has a good reason," Ruby said, tugging at her sleeve.

"Yes, dear sister. Listen to your team leader. Has Glyn-Glyn said anything about it?" I asked.

"No, but that's not the point! You ran away bawling, Tianyu!" Weiss cried. "You're a huntsman for Brothers' sake. And a Schnee!"

"I'm not a Schnee though."

"You count!"

"But what does that have to do with anyth–"

"Everything! No brother of mine is going to be… be such a coward! You're a huntsman! If you're at this school, you will learn to fight!"

"And… You're going to teach me?"

"Yes! If no one else will, then I must step up to the task."

This was amusing to me at first, then I looked at her more closely. She was upset, that was a given, but there was more to this than some misplaced pride that I was "besmirching her name" or somesuch.

It didn't take a genius to figure out why. A huntsman who couldn't fight was destined to die a messy death. As far as she was concerned, her brother who'd so recently appeared in her life wasn't taking his education seriously, education that might well save his life.

She was afraid.

For me.

That sucked the fun out of my antics.

I had three options: One, I could ignore her completely. Blowing her off would probably ruin my relationship with her. It'd keep me from mentoring her and teaching her to loosen up a bit, though admittedly, Ruby had been doing a good job of that these past few days.

Two, I could give in, go along with what she wanted and let her "train" me. It'd be funny, at least for a while, and give me an excuse to spend more time with her. But it'd also be a waste of time and she'd know eventually.

A Campione's power was impossible to hide forever, not unlike trying to bury a live grenade. There was no such thing as a "secret Campione" in history because we were kings. Just as fate tended to work itself out in our favor, it also tended to unveil us sooner or later, and usually in climactic, cataclysmic ways.

And when she found out she'd been "tutoring" a person who was laughably better than her?

I didn't think her pride would survive that. She'd wonder if I was always mocking her behind her back, giggling at the way she did her best for my sake. She'd wonder if I'd taken advantage of her like all the rest.

I didn't want that for her. She didn't deserve me spitting on her goodwill, however poorly delivered.

Or three, I could skip it all. I wasn't hiding, not really. My goal here wasn't to become some secret agent; it was simply to kill time while the moon repaired itself.

"You want to train me?" I asked Weiss again.

"Yes. You could get hurt, Tianyu," she said, insistently but sincerely.

"Fine, come along," I said, walking off. I waved Ruby away and led Weiss towards the cliffs. "I have Amber."

"I'll admit your teammate is incredibly powerful, but she's not someone who can teach you anything, not unless you have a wind-based Semblance as well."

"Nope," I turned and motioned for her to walk with me. "I mean that I'm stronger than her. Stronger than Pyrrha. Or Ruby with her super death scythe. Or Yang with her gorilla strength."

"Then why would you-"

"Because I'm too strong. I should be teaching you all. And by 'you all,' I'm including Glyn-Glyn. Haven't you wondered why she hasn't made a fuss when I stopped showing up for class? You did go to her, right?"

"S-She brushed me off and said I should mind my own business!"

"And your teammates? Did they say anything?"

"Ruby said I should listen to Professor Goodwitch," Weiss huffed, "and Yang laughed at me…"

"Because they know. They met me a month or two before school. Lots of things happened, but they both picked a fight."

"A-And?"

"And lost."

"Where are we going, Tianyu? This is the forest. Are you going to show me that you can hunt grimm after all?"

"Something like that. Now come on, Weiss."

Once we got to the forest, I led her to a secluded clearing. Then, I turned and held out my hand, the golden seal of the wu xing blooming to life in my palm. It was time to drop some bullshit. Enough shit to sculpt a monument to my glory.

"I heard that in the Schnee family, the greatest expression of your family Semblance is the creation of constructs, right?" I asked her rhetorically. The twins had been thorough in their briefing, especially regarding one Winter Schnee, one of Atlas' most decorated specialists. "They're always in the shapes of past opponents, your greatest challenges."

"That's right. Tianyu, don't tell me-Even I haven't mastered summoning yet!"

"I said 'your' Semblance, little sister. Mine is a bit different. I don't make constructs of my fallen enemies." If I did, a construct of Maxa'xak, the Horned Serpent of Lenape creation myth, would surely make the world collectively shit itself in terror. Wide enough to deepthroat a New York skyscraper. Long enough to stretch from horizon to horizon. I'd carved a saber out of his fang, a godslayer's weapon that I seldom required these days. "No, mine instead allows me to anoint other creatures, making them bigger, smarter, stronger, and faster."

"A-Are you saying you can create minions?"

"Yup. Want to see?"

"I admit I'm curious…"

"Then come meet my friends!" And with that, I blew a sharp whistle.

At first, the glade was silent. Then the biggest, fluffiest bunnies, each the size of the average sheepdog, bounded through the forest. There were four in total, one for each day of class I'd missed. Behind them came twelve little bunnies, all small enough to fit into my cupped hands. I had to do something while the rest of my team were in class after all.

I'd cooked, because of course I did. But I'd also expanded the Moonlit Famiglia.

After all, a capo, or caporegime, was a "captain," a crew leader. What was a captain without his crew?

And so, in true mafia fashion, I'd gone about making the soldato, the "soldier." Under these four soldiers were three picciotti, "little men," each. They were purposely denied size buffs, not just to suit the name of their rank, but so they could be the stealthy hands and feet of the Moonlit Famiglia. Instead of size, strength, and a unique power each soldato and capo received, they'd been blessed with invisibility and conceptual silence, the serenity of a moonless night.

Sixteen bunnies stood before me in total. It was about the average size for a capo's crew. A true mafia was made up of many such crews, all answerable to an underboss, who then of course answered to the boss, or "don."

"Soldato Souffle salutes the Capo di Capi Re!" the first of the four shouted, thumping his paw over his breast in an obvious sign of fealty. Beneath his feet, his three picciotti mirrored their leader.

"Soldato Shortcake salutes the Capo di Capi Re!"

"Soldato Sorbet salutes the Capo di Capi Re!"

"Soldato Semifreddo salutes the Capo di Capi Re!"

The others followed in perfect synchronicity. My Authority, the Power of the Name, worked off impressions and assumptions I had about the mafia. I wasn't a mobster obviously, but I did watch The Sopranos, The Godfather, and other such flicks back in the day. The impression I had was that the higher up the ranks of the mob you were, the more relaxed you could afford to be.

Capo Cuddles, as a "captain," had a lax attitude because he knew what he was about. He was a man with self-confidence. He was a "made man," one who needed no introductions in the Moonlit Famiglia.

These soldati? They were made men too, but ones eager to prove themselves. They were soldiers and their king had summoned them.

I nodded approvingly. They didn't need to behave this way of course, but they were just so damn cute that I didn't have the heart to stop them.

"Tianyu…"

"Yes, Weiss?"

"They're… They're SOO CUTTEEE!"

"They are, aren't they?"

"You made talking bunnies!"

"I did."

Everything else Weiss might have said was drowned out into mumbles as she buried her face into Sorbet's fur. For his part, Sorbet took it like a champ, head held high with dignity as he endured my sister's affections.

"Cuddles Crew!" I barked.

"Si, re!" they echoed as one.

"That is my little sister. She is to be treated as such!"

"Si, re!"

"You are not to let her leave this glade no matter what."

"Si, re!"

That got her attention. "Wait, what?"

I looked at her smugly. "You may not harm her in any way. However, until midnight, you may not allow her to take a single step out of this clearing. Afterwards, you will let her go and rejoin Capo Cuddles to continue your original directive. Are my orders clear?"

"Si, Re! La principessa will not leave the clearing until midnight!" they echoed. They were good boys and girls.

"Good. Have fun, Weiss. We have… eight hours… until midnight? If you can escape them and find me in my dorm before then, I'll admit that you are worthy of training me. If not, you will give up on the idea. Deal?"

"I didn't agree to this!"

"Too bad. Toodles~"

With that, I vanished in a flicker. Really, training a Campione?

Yinghua would have coughed blood at the idea.

Author's Note

Why are you getting this chapter early? Well, Peach said Rooster Teeth is closing its doors today. Call this… celebration? Mourning the lost potential? I dunno, but it didn't seem like a good company from what little I know of it, even aside from the way RWBY was handled in later seasons.

Maxa'xak was the very first deity Tianyu defeated in combat as his ascension, and the death of the original Jade Rabbit, can't really be considered "in combat."

Did Weiss just become a mob princess? Yes, yes she did. She also got put in fluffy timeout. It's not like Tianyu's going to beat up a child for funsies.

Thank you to all of my patrons. As many of you know, I update one of my stories once every weekend publicly. However, I update much more frequently on Pat-re-on, usually 8-10 chapters a month spread across various stories. That means the number of chapters available on Pat-re-on is always growing. As of now, this is how far along each story is:

- A Colorful Life: Same as public
- A Life Worth Living: 2
- Pokemon: Apocalypse: 1.14
- The Holy Grill: 2.6.5
- Homeless Bunny: 24
- Legendary Tinker: 8.7
- Plan? What Plan?: 5.1
- When is a Spoon a Sword?: 4.13
- Troll in the Dungeon!: 21
- Let There be War: 9 (Complete)

Total Chapter Difference (Pat-re-on - Public): 27