Fic Recommendation: Zodiac by inkbender, One of the best original RWBY fan fics out there. A must read
I'm surrounded by darkness.
A black so thick I struggle to see more than a few feet in front of me.
My hands reach down in a practiced motion to draw my sword and extend my shield only to grasp at empty air.
I'm unarmed, no way to defend myself.
Growls, snarls and hisses fill the air as my pursuers draw ever closer to me.
I need to escape.
But I can't see an exit.
I can't even see where I'm going.
Suddenly a light shines forth, blindingly white.
My eyes adjust to the sudden change in lighting and see what appears to be a doorway, light pouring forth from beyond it with a figure standing within it. The figure's form is blurred by the light but I can see them extend and arm towards me.
"Take my hand Jaune." The voice intones, being neither blatantly masculine of feminine. "Take my hand."
I run forward hand outstretched reaching to take the extended arm.
But then what was once solid ground vanishes and I'm falling, hurtling through the darkness as if I had just stepped off a cliff.
The howling winds bit into me as I fell further getting closer and closer to the ground when suddenly I spotted something in the darkness.
It wasn't a figure or a form. But rather it was two eyes glowing in the darkness.
Yellow burning flames that reveled in their wickedness.
Then a sound filled the air.
A sound that sent shivers running up and down my spine.
High-pitched, unmistakably cruel laughter.
And at that moment I hit the ground.
I woke up with a gasp, a yell surging in my throat before I suppressed it.
Just a dream Jaune.
It's only a dream.
I blearily examined my surroundings to realise I must have fallen out of bed during my little dream sequence.
Here's hoping no-one saw that.
That would suck.
It would mightily suck.
I pushed myself off with a groan and looked around the room.
The sun was shining outside but my teammates still remained in their beds.
Pyrrha was facing away from me with her body completely covered by the sheets, leaving only a trail of her crimson hair at the top of the bed.
Ren lay on top of his sheets still sleeping in his combat outfit which also doubled as his sleep wear.
When I had finally asked him precisely why he was wearing his combat gear as pyjamas he raised a brow at me and gave me a two word answer before going back to sleep. "They're comfy."
And Nora was…not there.
I could have sworn she was in her bed a few seconds ago.
Eh, must have been the sleep messing with me.
I stretched my arms, a series of cringe worthy cracks ringing out as I did so, before I brushed down my own combat outfit which I had fallen asleep in after my little discovery with my sword last night.
I must have sat there in the dark for an hour, staring down at those faintly glowing words.
Why were they there? Were they always there?
Is it the swords name? It's maker? Something else entirely?
I had puzzled over those questions before I finally remembered I had to sleep, and hurried back to team JNPR's room, collapsing into bed.
I winced at that.
Yeah, the others might take exception to my little escapade earlier.
Oh God Pyrrha is going to kill me.
She is going to crush my head between her hands with a smile.
I need to go seek safety somewhere with lots of witnesses.
I slowly crept forward, taking care not to step on Nora's squeaky fluffy little abomination that was haphazardly dropped on the floor.
C'mon Jaune almost there you can do it.
All thoughts of getting away died a rather painful death as I was thrown off my feet to collide with the door.
I quickly went to push myself up only to feel all the colour drain out of my cheeks as I saw what had knocked me forward.
Miló was embedded into the doorframe above my head, still shuddering from the force of the throw behind it, pinning my jacket's hood beneath its tip.
Oh come on I just finished sowing that up from the last time that happened.
Wait, no that's Miló and that means…
"Oh blast." I swore quietly under my breath.
"Not quite how I would have put it." A voice called out behind me.
I turned around slowly to see Pyrrha standing behind me, in her full battle armour, her emerald eyes narrowed as she stared at my trapped form.
She was already fully dressed, she just had hidden it beneath the blanket.
"How's it hanging Jaune?" Ren asked with a smirk as he flipped up from his bed.
Oh ha de ha Ren, you're a comedic genius.
He obviously wasn't asleep either.
Which means Nora must be awake too.
But I can't see her.
A shiver of dread ran down my spine.
I had lost track of Nora.
I had lost track of a Nora who was most likely…displeased with me.
I do not see any way in which this ends well for me.
Wait I'm forgetting something.
Two hands clasped my head with a vice grip. "I do hope I'm not interrupting anything Jaune." Pyrrha said, the kind smile on her face at odds with the pain she was currently inflicting upon me.
Ow, blast it I'd forgotten how painful this was the first time. And it seems her grip is only getting tighter and tighter.
"So Jaune," Pyrrha started, eyes closed still smiling away as her death grip intensified. "How was your night last night? We were all rather worried when you didn't arrive back at our room." Pyrrha's eyes opened and pinned me under the force of her heavy gaze. "Anything you'd like to tell the rest of the team?"
I swallowed loudly.
Okay I can see this isn't going well.
Maybe Ren will save me from my certain death at Pyrrha's hands. At that thought I saw Ren scribble something on his Scroll before turning it around towards me.
Thanks Ren, really helping a brother out in his time of need. So much for male solidarity.
Time to fall back to the Old Bastard's lessons once more.
In the face of this assault I am going to do what any rational reasonable man would do.
I am going to fold like a house of cards and beg forgiveness before Pyrrha flattens my skull.
Sure, his version is longer with a lot more swearing and graphic and explicit examples of what can happen if you don't but I think my version carries the core message.
After I finished explaining myself at a rate of speed I'm sure Ruby would have been proud of Pyrrha stared at me for a few moments before sighing and releasing me from her death grip.
"Jaune." Pyrrha sighed brushing her hair out of her face. "I can understand why you didn't invite us, it is obvious you didn't truly expect anyone to show up at the docks. However we are your teammates Jaune. We do worry about you when you disappear on us."
"That and you seem to have this ability to get yourself injured when we look the other way." Ren said dryly, the hint of a smirk on his lips.
Oi! Ren that is not nice to say.
It may be true occasionally, sometimes more occasionally than others. but that doesn't mean I like to be reminded of the fact.
But still they do have a point.
Despite the fact we have been sparring and training together for all this time I often forget that I'm in a team when it comes to fighting.
I guess after all the years of it just being me against well essentially everything else, I'm still getting used to the concept of fighting alongside other people, much less telling them I was going out to go fight something.
The only thing the Old Bastard would say after I'd come home after a encounter or two…O.K considerably more than two with the Grimm was "stop bleeding on my floor you clumsy idiot."
Yeah he was all heart.
I looked at Pyrrha and Ren. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you guys what I was doing. I guess I'm still getting used to this whole team leader thing." I said going to rub the back of my head only to find Miló was still in place. "Could you give me a hand here?" I asked sheepishly gesturing towards the javelin.
The others began walking forward before Ren froze suddenly the colour draining from his face. "Oh God not again." He moaned a hand coming up to cradle his head as he turned to face what he'd seen in the corner of his eye.
I stretched my neck as much as I could while still being pinned to the door by Miló. "Ren what are yo…" The words died in my mouth as I saw what was behind him.
That certainly looks…painful.
Standing before me was Nora, holding Magnhild in its grenade launcher mode levelled straight at us after having slotted a round into the chamber.
She must have climbed in through the window.
Really wishing I wasn't pinned to the door right now.
She smiled at the frozen forms of the three of us and gave a jaunty little wave.
Then she fired it.
As I watched the glowing pink grenade round grow closer and closer towards my chest, only one thought filled my mind, one that I held with complete certainty in regards to what was going to happen next.
This is going to suck.
"I blame you for this." I stated glaring at Ren as we walked through the hallways towards the change rooms, a wet squelch sounding whenever one of us made a step.
Ren turned his head and raised an eyebrow at me incredulously, even as we continued walking. "I'm sorry, was I the one who decided it would be a good idea to sneak off and have a minor war with the White Fang and didn't invite Nora?" Ren asked at a deadpan.
My glare ramped up in intensity. "No but you were the one who one; left Nora unsupervised, which is a disaster waiting to happen at any point of time known to man, and two you willingly told Nora of all people to and I quote," at this I bought up my dripping hands to make quote marks with my fingers, "Go nuts."
Ren went to reply to that before stopping, racking his head for a suitable reply before sighing and bowing his head. "I was not supposed to be a victim of this." He complained straining some of Nora's justice out of his hair with his hand as we walked, which then splattered on the ground leaving a brightly coloured trail behind us as we walked.
A grin spread across my face at that. "Oh please, like you've got anything to complain about, now your clothes match your emblem." I said with a chuckle.
Ren gave me a withering glare at that before letting loose a laugh of his own as he saw me again. "No such luck for you Jaune." Ren said, his shoulders shaking with mirth.
"Could you please hurry up." Pyrrha hissed at us, a look that could best be described as murderous on her face, her knuckles cracking ominously as her clenched fist shook.
Ren and I immediately shut up. Pyrrha had taken our little…makeover…the worst out of the three of us, a fact that was illustrated quite plainly by the twitching form of Nora stuck halfway through our dorm room door.
No not the doorway but as in embedded into the actual door itself.
Okay, almost there, nobody's seen us.
"Whoa what happened to you guys?" I heard Ruby's voice chirp up in front of us.
I closed my eyes.
At least it's only Ruby.
"You look ridiculous." I heard Yang gasp, before being consumed with laughter.
I opened my eyes to see the entirety of team RWBY before us, apparently having just stepped out of the change rooms themselves. Yang was rolling on the floor, crying from the force of her laughter. Weiss looked at us with an utterly gobsmacked look but the edges of her mouth were twitching up towards a smile. Blake's eyes sparkled with mirth and was rather poorly hiding her laughter behind her hand. And Ruby…well Ruby was just grinning at our sorry states.
And by that I meant…
We were Pink.
Nora had fired what I later learned from Ren as Pyrrha proceeded brutalising Nora, as something from Nora's first and only Art Lesson at her previous school.
The 'Pretty Pink Paint' Grenade. Otherwise known as the P3 grenade.
From what I was able to discern between Ren's twitches and repressed memories, it involved using Magnhild as a painting instrument. And Ren as a model.
And as someone who was just hit with one of Nora's pink paint grenades let me tell you this. That stuff stings.
That and we now had the outline of Pyrrha, Ren and myself blasted into the wall behind us. The majority of which was also now pink. Along with a large majority of the room.
And the, at the time, happily giggling Nora.
So here we were, covered in pink paint, a trail of pink footprints and paint drips marking our trail and the entirety of team RWBY laughing away at our misfortune.
Yang picked herself up off the floor and stifled her laughter before turning to me. "You know Jaune, if you were that scared of fighting me you could have just said so." She teased her eyes sparkling away as she let loose a little laugh every now and then.
I narrowed my eyes.
Oh that is it.
I had just woken up.
I needed a shower.
I had almost had my head crushed by an angry Pyrrha.
I was currently pink.
There was no way I was going to put up with this without some form of revenge of my own.
A thought struck me and I grinned.
And I have the perfect idea.
Man, am I glad I picked it up on the way out.
I started pulling my paint drenched jacket off my head. "You know what Yang?" I said my voice slightly muffled from the jacket before I pulled it free. "Catch." And with that I tossed my paint soaked jacket at her.
Yang caught the jacket with ease, none of the paint displacing in the slightest. "That all you got?" She laughed throwing my jacket to the side before freezing, the rest of team RWBY ceasing their own laughter as well.
I stood facing them with another thing I'd picked up on our way out of newly pink room, namely Magnhild, still loaded with 'pretty pink paint' rounds.
Yang looked at me, her face a mixture of horror and incredulity. "You wouldn't dare." She whispered as she looked at me, ignoring her teammate's frantic hand gestures.
I heard Ren scoff at that and Pyrrha sigh.
They know me too well.
I looked at Yang with a smile on my face. "Yes I would." I replied before I released the payload of the P3 directly at team RWBY.
The round exploded splattering us all with paint, not that it bother me or my teammates much, we were already pink.
Team RWBY on the other hand had no such 'protection' and suffered the full wrath of being struck by an exploding pink paint grenade.
I walked up to the newly recoloured Yang and patted her on the cheek, leaving a hand print below her left eye before walking past.
"I'd get that washed if I were you" I called back as I made my way to the showers, picking up my jacket as we passed. "Apparently it hardens if it's left out to long." I finished offhandedly
I managed to turn the corner before sprinting off, a frantic Ren at my side as the realisation of what I has just done sunk into his head.
"JAUNE ARC YOU ARE A DEAD MAN!"
"THIS BETTER WASH OFF!"
Looks like the 'Paint Shock' has died off.
Time to make for the showers like my life depends on it.
Depending on who you ask, at this moment in time, it does depend on it.
Thankfully the paint washed off easily under water, not staining clothes, skin or hair as it left the body, something I personally was very grateful for.
My lucky jacket has been with me through thin and thin over the years, and I'll be damned if it is taken out by a blasted paint grenade.
Well that and I really didn't want my hair to be pink any longer than it already had been.
Luckily we had our Beacon uniforms in our lockers and could change into those while we waited for our combat gear to dry off.
Ren and I stepped out of the change room at around the same time, the paint washed from our bodies, our clothes now clean and dry.
And my tie still looking just as shoddy as it always does.
Seriously how do people even do this?
The sounds of the girls frantically washing the paint out of their hair and skin continued to be heard as we left.
Afterwards we cleaned up our pink trail leading back to our dorm room.
"Hi Jaune, Hi Renny!" Nora cried happily from where she was stuck in the door, the one hand that was not still in the room waving at us happily. "Did you bring back Magnhild?"
After pulling her free from the door, we informed Nora that we had put Magnhild inside her locker, whose combination Ren thankfully knew, due to Nora's…careless…nature and with that she dashed off.
I looked at the hole left in the door from when we pulled Nora out of it and sighed. "Were going to have to fix that aren't we?"
Ren let out a "heh" at that before pulling some of the timber planks stashed under our beds out.
Now I can see you asking, Jaune, who in their right mind keeps timber planks under their beds? Well the answer is simple.
Anyone living with Nora, that's who. Honestly that girl is destruction and unpredictability given flesh and powered by several buckets of sugar and maple syrup.
I had laughed at Ren the first time he'd told me we'd need all that stuff. I mean come on it sounded ridiculous.
Then Nora used Magnhild to swat a fly and knocked out a good portion of the wall in the process.
Yeah. Let me tell you I had a great time explaining to an irate professor Goodwitch why there was a hole in the building the next morning.
But on the plus side if this huntsman thing doesn't work out I'm pretty sure I'll be a qualified repairman by the end of it. Ren really knows his stuff.
Must come from prolonged exposure.
Sounds about right.
Ren handed me a hammer before we got to work covering the hole that was in the centre of our door. I placed my plank in and quickly hammered the nails in. I turned to see Ren proceed to finish hammering the nails in his plank with his hand, the lightest flicker of an aura present as he did so.
Damn that's cool.
Ren smirked at me before dusting off his hand.
"Show off." I muttered tossing the hammer under the bed with a clang.
Ren let out a laugh at that and opened the door. "C'mon fearless leader, time for breakfast."
"I told you to stop calling me that!"
I took a bite out of my apple as I sat down at our regular table, Ren sliding into the seat next to me. "So," I said as I swallowed down the bite of fruit, "What classes do we have today again?" I asked picking up my spoon and getting ready to dig in to my cereal.
What I don't eat pancakes all the time okay, there is too much of a good thing you know.
Ren looked at me incredulously as he stopped eating his own breakfast. "You forgot." He said looking at me with an eyebrow raised. "Again."
I shrugged sheepishly. "I usually check my timetable when I wake up but it kinda got…" I struggled for the word to accurately describe what happened this morning, "pinked, this morning."
"Ah yes." Ren nodded solemnly at that. "Unlucky for you."
I twitched. "Ren don't be that guy." I said my eyes narrowing slightly.
Ren waved me off. "Grimm Studies with Port, then History with Oobleck" He said taking a sip of his tea as he did so. He spotted something over my shoulder and smirked, "Here comes trouble."
I turned and felt my heart drop far more than it should. Looks like team RWBY has all cleaned up, with Yang in the lead cracking her knuckles ominously.
Pyrrha walked past them, fresh as a daisy, smiling as if nothing had ever happened and gracefully took the seat next to me.
Glad to see that she's back to normal, and no longer seemed as if she was going to rip me in half if I looked at her the wrong way.
Yang came to a stop before me, nostrils flaring angrily.
"Do you have anything to say for yourself?" Yang growled out through gritted teeth, her eyes flickering ominously.
Maybe 'pinking' Yang wasn't the smartest of choices to make. She doesn't look too happy.
But the real question is, was it worth it?
I thought about it for precisely half a second before smiling.
Of course it was.
Now then time to act as the Old Bastard has always told me to act in a situation such as this.
In a case where your rightful vengeance invokes the ire or even anger of your adversary there is only one proper response.
Break out the salt and pour it all on.
"Aw, you didn't like it?" I said loudly with mock dismay cradling my head dramatically, "But I thought pink was the new black?" I mused aloud, fighting to keep a smirk from spreading as Yang began to twitch violently.
Ren choked on the food he was attempting to eat and started coughing, beating his chest as an attempt to clear his airway.
At this point Nora reappeared behind Ren and picked up Ren in what seemed to be a Heimlich manoeuvre. But doesn't a Heimlich normally stay lower and the preformed doesn't…oh…that's going to hurt.
At that point Nora finished her picture perfect suplex on the flailing Ren slamming him into the ground, the breath whooshing out of him.
Uh, okay then.
Not the most predictable response to a chocking friend but I can't deny that it didn't work. He's breathing.
Nora then bounced into her seat with a smile, shamelessly stealing Ren's breakfast and digging in. I heard a groan sound out from where Ren was collapsed on the floor and he shakily dragged himself back up to his seat.
Wait Jaune, don't let that distract you, you were still talking to Yang.
I turned to Yang and thankfully it looked like she as well as the rest of her team had been just as distracted by the antics of my teammates. Yang shook her head lightly, before her eyes focused on me once more.
"Today in, the sparring hall after classed have ended." Yang said audibly popping her knuckles as she did so. "I end you with my bare hands."
I chuckled nervously at that. "As in your going to beat me or kill me?" I asked hesitantly.
Yang's eyes narrowed. "Yes."
With that Yang turned on the spot and started walking away, Weiss following with her own imperious grace. Blake gave me a look that showed her amusement at my imminent demise and silently walked away. Ruby gave me a look that I could only describe as 'kicked puppy' and walked away.
Might have gone a bit too far with the P3 grenade.
But hey, at least I've got my cookie.
I went to go take a bite out of the delicious chocolate pastry when Ruby suddenly blurred in front of me, stole my biscuit from my hand, and blurred away again in an instant with her semblance powered speed.
The sound of Ruby high fiving one of her teammates reached my ears.
Okay. I might have deserved that.
I lashed out with my hand, still looking at the departing team RWBY, using the fork I held to pin Nora's glove to the table.
But by no means was it open season on my breakfast.
I took one look at Nora's sheepish face and promptly picked up what was left of my apple to finish it.
Nora's lower lip quivered and her eyes started glistening as she looked at me.
This was clearly Nora's take on the puppy dog eyes, gleaming away at full force.
I snorted. "Nora I lived in an orphanage full of kids who spent the better part of the day trying to convince me with that face. You've got no chance."
Nora pouted, while Ren laughed and Pyrrha let out a giggle of her own.
After our Grimm Studies class where we mapped out the basic weak points on the Alpha Beowolf and the Ursa Major as well as suggestions on how to exploit them, I told my teammates I'd meet up with them at History and then ran down to question Peter as class ended.
"Peter!" I called out as I left the classroom door. "Wait up there's something I have to ask you."
Peter stopped from where he was at the end of the hallway and waited for me to catch up. "How may times do I have to tell you Jaune, my boy." Peter scolded, his mustache bouncing away as he did so. "It's professor Port while we're at Beacon."
"Right sorry about that." I said scratching the back of my head. "I just wanted to ask you a question about my sword."
Peter's eyes lit up at my words. "Certainly Jaune, my boy, what is it you wanted to ask of me?"
I nodded thankful. "Yesterday I was examining my sword and when I held it while I was using my aura I saw something written on the side." I said explaining the scenario to him. "I was just wondering, did you know what Candidus Mors means?"
Peter froze for a second then turned to me stopping his walk. "Candidus Mors?" He questioned stressing the first word for some reason.
I nodded at his question, slightly confused by this strange turn of events. Was I missing something here? "That's what it said." I replied looking at Peter quizzically.
Professor Port frowned and crossed his arms. "Hm. This changes things."
Seriously the more Peter talks the more confused I'm getting at this point. I asked him this to help things make sense, not make it even worse.
Peter interrupted by train of thought. "I thought for a moment your weapon held a different name, a different history but it appears I was wrong in that regard. The two are remarkably similar though in both name and shape."
All right enough expanding the void here Peter. I'd like an answer not more problems.
"Peter your not making a lot of sense here. Can you just tell me what the name of my sword means please?"
Professor Port looked at me for a moment before sighing and stroking his moustache absent mindidly a habit of his when he was reminiscing about something. "The first word I can't help you with have absolutely no idea what it means. The second however I do know. Mors means 'death' in some old archaic language I can't remember the name of. I know it because I vaguely remember a man wielding a shield and sword like yours when I was but a boy, although his was called Crochea Mors. He died later that day."
So Peter thought I was wielding that man's Crochea Mors because it looked like mine. But why would he have a weapon that was identical to mine.
Maybe he was my grandfather? Or great-grandfather? Or somehow connected to my family?
It's intriguing but doesn't really help me much now. I can't exactly question a man who died before I was even born.
But there is one question I can ask Peter.
"What does Crochea Mors mean?" I said moving onto the next question. "Since you know what Mors meant I'm guessing you know the rest."
Peter nodded at that, beginning to walk once more, his rotund belly bouncing slightly as he did so. "Apparently it meant 'Yellow Death' as opposed to whatever kind of 'death' yours is." Peter remarked looking ahead as he did so before taking a look at the clock on the wall. "And shouldn't you be on your way to your next class? Classes restart in two minutes."
I looked at the wall and felt my heart sink, just as Peter said I had two minutes to traverse from here to Oobleck's classroom, a challenge on the best of days. Time to get moving.
"Thanks Peter, see you later!" I called out behind me, sprinting as fast as my dress shoes would allow.
I heard him yell out behind me. "It's Professor Port Jaune, my boy!" Peter bellowed out from where I had left him.
(Grimm Studies, Asks Port about the sword's name, Port knows nothing)
I managed to enter the classroom and take my seat next to Pyrrha, sweating slightly from the full sprint it had taken to get here in time, just as Dr Oobleck blurred into the room.
Dr Oobleck looked out at the class, one foot tapping the ground rapidly, his left hand holding his ever present coffee while the right held a pointer which waved about rapidly. "So today's lecture will be on the Lost Era, otherwise known as the Dark Era." Oobleck spouted in his trademarked rapid fire style. "Now who here can tell me the reasoning behind the name of this age?"
I raised a brow at this. Lost Era? How does one lose an era? This sounds like something big and important. And I know nothing about it.
Seriously it's like the aura situation all over again.
Fortunately for me, everyone else seemed to be pretty lost at this point as well. Suddenly Weiss raised her hand daintily, having that Schnee Superiority look on her face that according to Ruby she practiced in the mirror. "The reason we call it the Lost Era is because we know little to nothing about it."
"Precisely! Very well done Miss Schnee." Oobleck said rapidly, now gliding from one spot to another at the front of the room. "Now as you know our world has a great many relics and ruins scattered across the face of the planet."
I nodded at that. It was certainly true it seemed you could find the crumbling ruins of some tower or structure anywhere in Remnant, even way out in Freshwater, there were a few crumbling structures to be found deep within the woods.
Oobleck blurred behind his desk, dropped his now empty coffee cup, and grabbed a new one from with the pile of scattered papers and empty cups, taking a sip before continuing on.
"The true mystery behind these ruins is the fact they predate the earliest mentions of our own civilisation by well over a thousand years. However in spite of this we know very little about the society that lived within these mighty structures at that time. It is almost as they all simple turned into dust, vanished, 'poof', in an instant. Despite countless hours of research being dedicated into learning about this culture as well as its final fate we still know next to nothing about them."
I found myself frowning at that. An entire civilization vanishing without a trace? That sounds ridiculous. Or incredibly ominous. What on earth could not only erase an entire society from existence but do so without actually leaving any trace of them? Some kind of super-plague? The Grimm maybe?
"What we do know however is that this society was incredibly advanced, possessing technology equal or maybe even greater than that of the world of today. You might be shocked to know that some of the inventions that we rely on today like the scroll or some uses of Dust is simply reverse engineered from the remnants left behind by the first civilisation."
I let out a low whistle at that. A society that was just as advanced if not more so than our own that existed before our own society even existed. Incredible. Plus it helped make sense how some of the 'inventions' that were seen throughout Remnant were bought about. With some of the technology it just didn't make sense, it was like going from a crawl to flying, completely skipping walking and running altogether.
At this point Doctor Oobleck blurred in front of the room again, the pointer in his hand being used to pull down a projector screen, and then whipping out to start up the projector itself, the slides changing slowly. "Now then here are a few of the symbols that have been found within ruins throughout our world, which we presume make up part of their language. Part of the difficulty involved in trying to translate this language is the sheer amount of symbols, which have been discovered, several thousand in fact."
I felt my eyebrows raise at that. Thousands? Sounds more symbology than actual language. But one individual symbol for every individual word? Sounds like a hassle to remember. I mean…
My train of thought stopped as the slide bought up a new symbol. I knew that symbol.
It was…It was…where was it? How do I know it? I felt my mind reach out and grasp blindly for an answer with no success.
The emblem had two mirrored curving lines, a perfectly straight gap splitting the two, with the shape of a heart clearly formed by the space in-between the two. I couldn't remember where I had seen it but I knew I had seen it.
"Mr Arc." Doctor Oobleck's voice called out, bringing me out of my inner dialogue. "Is something the matter?" I looked around to see the whole class staring at me from my standing position. Since when was I standing?
"Uh, no sir." I stammered taking my seat once more, picking up my pen. "Just thought I recognised one of the symbols."
Oobleck started at me silently for a moment longer, his eyes hidden behind his glasses, before he turned back and resumed his lecture, zooming around the classroom.
Pyrrha placed a hand on my shoulder. "Jaune are you alright?" my teammate asked, concern apparent in her eyes.
I gave my best attempt at a grin. "I'm fine." I said lightly going to write down more notes when I realised it.
My hand was shaking.
It was shaking and it wasn't responding when I tried to stop it.
My opposing hand reached out to grab it and drag it under the table, still shaking as it did so.
What was that about?
Why would a symbol from over a thousand years ago, make me shake like this?
It didn't make any sense.
The bell rang out and the room was filled with the sound of everyone backing up their gear.
"All right that will be all for today, for our next class I want a report on at least one technology that has been derived from the Lost Era and a comparison to its ancient equivalent." Doctor Oobleck finished before he dashed out of the classroom in a blur of green and white.
I stood up and found that my hand was no longer shaking, thankfully, but I flexed it a few times to be sure.
That had never happened before. And it was more than a little concerning.
I clapped my hands together.
But enough of that, no time to worry because it's almost time for my sparring match with Yang.
This will be interesting.
And most likely painful, knowing my luck.
Here's hoping my combat gear's dried out.
I entered the sparring hall, in my slightly damp jeans and hoodie, keeping an eye out for the others.
I saw the others sitting in front of the raised arena, Ruby and Blake holding up a banner with their team name emblazoned across it.
Seriously where do they even get this stuff? It's like they've got their own merchandising.
Weiss was sitting between her two teammates, narrowing her eyes at me as I walked in and turning to talk to Ruby.
Okay, so they might still be a mite bit peeved about the whole 'pinking' incident.
Pyrrha waved a hello from where she was sitting, Nora muffled a greeting through the popcorn she had somehow found and Sun was smirking at me as…hold that thought.
I walked over to Sun. "What are you doing here?" I questioned truly bewildered at what my faunus friend/rival/chief annoyance was doing here.
Sun grinned. "Watching you get your ass kicked apparently." Sun said airily.
I rolled my eyes at that. Typical Sun. "Why?"
Sun smirked at that. "Jaune, you should know this by now, but watching you get your ass handed to you has to be one of my all-time favourite pastimes."
I felt one of my eyebrow's twitch at that, and supressed the urge to strangle the smugness out of him. "You're an ass." I said sourly before I saw Sun's eyes light up.
Oh Dust not this again.
"I'm not an ass!" Sun objected loudly, a grin on his face as he gripped his shirt. "I'm the ABS!"
And there goes the shirt.
You see one of the many, many downsides about having Sun as a friend not including his complete lack of anything resembling respect for authority, his thieving tendencies, his habit of pinning the blame on me for his thieving tendencies, and the Amelia Academy incident is the fact that he's pretty much an exhibitionist.
When we first met all he ever wore was a pair of pants and at the time that was okay. But as the years went on it became steadily more and more apparent about Sun's ongoing battle with his clothes. He even tried the 'weighted clothing' excuse on me once. It only works if you wear clothing in the first place Sun. I still actively repress what it took for me and the Old Bastard to get Sun to wear that shirt.
I caught the shirt before it hit the floor and threw it at Sun's face, where it crumpled around his nose.
"Put your shirt back on you blasted pervert." I said with a sigh cradling my head as I did so.
Sun pouted. "Don't be jealous Jaune." He said flexing as he put his shirt back on. "I'm sure one day even you will be blessed with abs. Nothing like mine, but abs nonetheless."
I felt my eyebrow begin twitching again.
First spar with Yang.
Then hit him.
Hold on, nice try Sun, you aren't distracting me now.
"What I was saying originally was how did you get inside the building?" I clarified, narrowing my eyes at the mischievous monkey.
Sun shrugged. "Peter let me in." he said simply stealing a piece of Nora's popcorn as he did so.
I sighed at that. Sounds about right.
"Hey Vomit Boy!" Yang called out and I turned to see her standing on the raised platform that served as the arena. "Are you going to get up here or what?"
I heard Sun snort. "Vomit boy?" he snickered, a smile on his face.
I glared at that. "Shut it." I hissed as I made my way up onto the platform where Ren and Yang were waiting.
Ren looked at me as I walked up the stairs to the arena and nodded slightly before walking over to talk with Nora.
May as well get some stretches in before the spar starts.
I sat and spread my legs, leaning over them to stretch my muscles, trying to make them as loose as possible before the combat.
Yang's eyes sparkled as she stood before me, bouncing lightly on her feet, her hands clenching and unclenching in preparation. Which also happened to do some very interesting things to her chest.
I did my very best to ignore Yang in her more…distracting…state as I continued to stretch out my legs before finally flipping up onto my feet.
Ren walked up from the side of the arena between Yang and I, eyed us both and began to speak. "Okay basic rules. Victory is by ring out, knock out or submission." Ren said before stopping as he saw the way Yang was glaring at me. "Not death."
Yang pouted. "Oh come on I was only going to kill him a little." She complained petulantly, flexing out her fingers as she did so.
I grinned at that. "By all means, you are welcome to try." I replied with my hands held out wide. "Succeed? I find myself doubting it."
Yang caught her fist with her other hand. "By the time this is over, you'll be begging me to stop."
I let out a laugh at that. "If anyone is going to be on top, it's going to be me."
Yang went to reply when another voice interrupted.
"So are you going to fight or start making out, because I seriously can't tell anymore." Sun's voice called out.
I stopped at that thinking over our previous words before I watched Yang flush bright red.
I'm pretty sure my face was doing its own take of a red lantern as well.
Laughter rang out from our audience.
I turned and roared at Sun. "Shut up Sun! It's not like that and you know it!"
Sun held up his hands in surrender still laughing, as he did so, while the others continued laughing, the hilarity slowly dying down after a while.
Ren stepped forward one arm raised. "Ready?" he asked eyeing the both of us.
I hunched forward with both my arms coming forward to block, my eyes peeking over my fists.
Yang raised both her arms, but didn't place them in a guard but rather simply held them loosely, ready to either punch or block.
Ren dropped his hand. "Fight!" and with that he jumped backwards off the stage.
Yang shot off like a rocket, barrelling towards me at speed, her right fist cocked back to deliver a mighty blow.
I tightened my guard and let her opening blow crash into my arms, using this first hit to gauge the weight and power behind her punches.
The blow crashed into me with a mighty 'smack' sending me sliding back slightly, but I didn't falter nor did my guard drop.
Yang was undeniably strong, stronger than I'd guessed she'd be. But she still didn't invoke that heart in mouth in dread that I got when I sparred against Peter.
Yang's opening move turned into a full salvo of attacks, a one-two punch that impacted against my guard.
I could only begin to imagine the force of Yang's blows with the force of her shot-gauntlets amplifying her strength as well as her speed.
Yang then snapped forward with an uppercut that whooshed loudly as I stepped backwards. I went to launch my own counter before spotting her right leg come spinning towards me as she harnessed the spin from her previous strike.
I jumped backwards, putting some breathing room between myself and Yang as she landed after her flurry of kicks, not the single kick I had previously guessed.
Yang's fighting style was something frightening to behold, each strike chaining into the following one, the momentum from the first strike amplifying the next. And the constant barrage of these strikes from every angle made it very easy to imagine being caught off guard by one of these strikes.
Yang threw herself forward, before jumping into the air, spinning forward as she did with a vicious axe kick.
I raised both of my arms in a cross block as Yang's leather boot crashed into it, causing one of my knees to almost buckle. But I didn't fall.
My right hand held fast on Yang's leg, still floating above me, as I moved to make the most of this opportunity my left arm pulling back to deliver a crushing blow.
My nerves screamed at me, and I obeyed spinning to left as Yang's other leg snapped out with a blow that would have caught me in the centre of the chest, instead only clipping me on the shoulder. I felt the impact reverberate through my arm and winced.
She's certainly not pulling any of her punches.
Or rather kicks.
That's going to bruise, I'm lucky it didn't break.
But I've still got Yang's leg.
I grabbed hold with both hands now making use of the momentum of my spin to power an impromptu hammer toss of Yang.
I've done it, I've won!
Yang let out a yell and contorted in mid-air, slamming a hand into the ground and forcing herself to a rolling stop, ending just before the arena's edge.
There goes that idea.
Yang pulled herself back up, still smiling as she wiped away a bit of blood on the edge of her mouth, most likely from her impromptu tumble.
I can't let her seize the initiative again. I hunched over and flew forwards my right arm unleashing a powerful right straight.
Yang parried my punch like she was had seen it a thousand times, before rushing into my lowered guard. Three punches slammed into me with the force of bullets, sending air whooshing from my lungs.
My right foot snaked out between Yang's legs before I rotated my hips, turning my still extended right straight into a lariat that caused her to trip over my extended leg. As she stumbled backwards I seized the momentum charging forward with a string of jabs, most being deflected by the blonde brawler's hasty guard.
I've got to make this count.
Time for something unexpected.
I launched forward with a left straight, changing to a southpaw stance mid-run in an attempt to throw her off guard. But Yang didn't falter and followed through with her own attack, a left punch of her own.
I caught Yang's punch.
Yang caught mine.
We both stood there for a moment each trying to remove their fist from the grip of the other. I felt my right arm shake slightly as Yang tried to pull back her fist.
Man, her strength is no joke.
Can't use my hands, their occupied.
Can't use my legs, their doing everything they can to keep my footing solid, if I give up that Yang will just throw me.
I grinned. Option C it is.
I snapped my head forward for a head-butt, my head clashing against my opponent's skull.
I recoiled backwards, reeling. Gah, that hurt more than head-butting the guy with the mask at the docks. What happened?
I looked up to see Yang stumble backwards herself, a grin on her face.
Ah, she must have had the same idea I did. Only she was faster off the mark, so the dual exchange ended in her favour.
This could end badly.
Yang blurred forward her blonde tresses trailing behind her as she stepped in for a close range in fight. I tightened my guard, if I didn't she'd likely blow straight through it. Yang's fists zoomed forward in a blistering combo, a perfect one-two, a spinning backhand that transitioned into a kick. The pace was frantic but so far I was keeping up.
I can do this!
My guard rose to block another one-two when I felt a low kick snap into my ankle. The leg gave way and my balance was shattered instantly, my defence fracturing with no foundation to uphold it. Yang's fist crushed through my flimsy guard with an uppercut, the force of the blow lifting my feet off the ground. I hunched over in mid-air grimacing. That isn't something I can just shrug off, I'm lucky my ribs are still in one piece. Then Yang swiftly spun and a brutal back kick snapped into me knocking me backwards.
I managed to force my feet onto the ground and skidded to a stop. I went to get up before I went down on one knee, clutching at my aching ribs. Okay maybe I didn't get off with only a bruise when she hit me.
The image of the moon shattering filled my eyes and my aura pulsed through my veins, I could feel the pain, dulling under its influence. It was by no means gone but certainly reduced.
Okay Jaune, so far you've done a very good job at getting your ass kicked. Time to hit back.
I spat out a gob of blood to the side before standing up and retaking my guard, gesturing at Yang to come get me.
Yang laughed and slammed her fists together, her blonde hair now shining brightly like a burning flame. She moved forward swiftly, swaying from side to side, her lilac eyes locked with my own until she was before me again. She ducked under the quick jab I threw at her, shifting to the left before swinging back to the right with a hook.
My guard shuddered but held strong against Yang's assault. I felt a smirk spread across my face almost unwillingly. "That it?" I taunted, bemused.
I need to get Yang angry.
For my plan to work I need Yang to commit herself completely to her attack. The more strength she puts behind the attack the better it will work for me.
If I get the timing right.
Yang growled and her hips rotated rapidly in the other direction launching another thunderous hook this time with her right arm. I felt my arms give slightly under the force. Then my guard was assaulted from the opposite direction by an even stronger left hook, each punch getting stronger as Yang's swaying became faster.
My guard was crumbling under this continued assault, it wouldn't hold up much longer if I tried to force it. So instead I did the opposite. I let Yang's next blow sweep my arms aside, leaving my body wide open for the next strike, my feet stumbling back. Yang's eyes widened at the sudden opportunity and she stepped forward with her left leg, putting even more force behind the finishing blow as she launched it at my face, going for a match ending blow, her lilac eyes transforming into a bloody crimson.
I could hear team RWBY in the background, cheering away as Yang launched the final blow to end me.
My crumbling foot work suddenly became rock solid once more.
I shot forward, head tilting to the side as Yang's finisher whooshed past my ear, and my own cross crunching into to Yang's head, the full force of my blow and Yang's own momentum slamming into her. The force of my blow sent her crashing into the arena's floor with enough speed that she bounced after hitting it.
I felt myself collapse to my knees as soon as I had thrown the punch, sweat streaming off me. That right there had been completely insane.
I mean running towards one of Yang's punches? That was just begging to die. If her blow had hit me full on instead of just scraping my ear it would be me on the pavement right now instead of Yang.
Most likely as a bloody smear instead of a body.
I pushed myself up with a groan, rotating my shoulders and letting out a few loud cracks as I did so. Better go check on Yang, that was quite a hit to take.
"Yang? You okay?" I asked walking over to her slowly. "Nothing broken?"
I raised a hand to push the sweat soaked hair out of my eyes and felt something trail across my face. "What the…" I pulled my hand back and paled. Caught between two of my fingers was a long lock of blonde hair, too long to be mine.
This was Yang's.
I had just accidentally ripped out a lock of Yang's hair.
Yang's lilac eyes snapped open and locked on to the piece of hair within my hand. Within the next moment they were a bright, ominous red.
Blast, blast, blast.
"Yang I…" My words were cut off by an explosion of flames from Yang's body, the intensity of the inferno blinding to look at.
I didn't see the punch that hit me, but I sure as anything felt it as it smashed into my forehead. It was like I had just been hit by a sledgehammer instead of a simple punch. With the additional value of it being on fire.
I slammed back into the floor hard, my skull bouncing off the floor from Yang's rage filled strike.
My vision blurred and I shut my eyes tightly, my ears being filled with a combination of muffled sounds and a high pitched ringing.
I need to do something…
I pulled myself up with a groan, my legs shaking slightly from the strain. I exhaled heavily my head still looking down as I shook it, trying to clear my vision.
My thoughts seemed clouded, fogged over as if all thoughts had suddenly been cut off from my mind leaving an eerie silence.
Then I looked up to see Yang standing there, eyes still bright red, her aura burning away like a roaring flame.
Pain lanced across my head and I stumbled slightly, bringing my hands up to grasp it as I groaned.
I felt my heartbeat echo out from my chest, deafeningly loud drowning out all sounds but the words that echoed in my head.
The view in front of me seemed to blur and distort, as another scene seemed to superimpose itself over the world.
It was burning. A strange room that's edges seemed to go out of focus when I tried to focus on them.
I felt my back throb painfully, before it slowly began getting hot. Unbearably hot. It was burning as if it had been freshly branded into my skin.
Suddenly it was standing there, like a nightmare come to life, formed from shadows that somehow seemed solid, its form and shape somehow sliding away from my eyes. The only thing I could make out besides its sheer size was the colour of the eyes.
And then I felt it. Felt it burning and writhing beneath my skin, screaming to be unleashed.
This was not hate. To call it hate would not do justice to what I felt.
This was rage, wrath and loathing, an animosity of such strength it seemed a force of its own.
But one thing I do know. I have never hated anything more than I do that thing.
And I am going to reduce it to dust.
I reached for my aura and it leapt towards me, coming easier and faster than it ever had before. But it was different. This time it was like molten lava spread through my veins, burning hot in every inch of my body as it spread.
But the pain didn't stop me, the world only sharpened, focused. All other thoughts fading away leaving only what was necessary.
There was an enemy in front of me.
I roared and a torrent of white flames exploded off of me. The shadowy figure in front of me stepping back slightly.
This wasn't enough. I had to focus it all into one punch.
I felt the inferno that raged away both inside and outside shift, snaking its way until around until it settled around my fist, the intensity of the flames far stronger then it was as a mere aura. I could feel my skin begin to burn from the power of the flame surrounding it.
The figure in front of me, saw what I was doing and responded, forming their own aura of flames surrounding their fist.
I didn't care.
As long as it died I didn't care what happened next.
I leapt forward screaming, my arm drawn back to deliver the fist surrounded by flames of ivory. The figure leapt forward to meet me in mid-air with their own furiously burning punch.
Our fists slammed against each other and an explosion rang out, BOOM, the recoil sending us both flailing backwards.
My aura sputtered and then vanished as my head rang like a bell from the impact.
That did not sound good.
Oh, I most certainly felt that. I opened my eyes to see the arena before me again. Although it was much further away then I remembered.
I looked at where I was and realised I was in a crater in the wall, the force from the last blow enough to make me sink through solid concrete.
Where was the enemy?
My head snapped up, as fast as I could move it anyway and confusion filled me. "What the…" I whispered.
It was Yang, stumbling unsteadily on the other side of the arena.
Where were they?
A thought struck me like a hammer blow and I felt the breath leave my body.
Did I imagine that?
I felt a hand touch me and my head snapped to the side, seeing Sun holding onto the wall at my side grabbing me.
"You look like south end of a north bound horse." He tried to quip, using one of the Old Bastard's favourite lines, but it was ruined by the worry present on his face. "Hold on I'm going to pull you out."
Suddenly Ren was on my other side grabbing my opposite arm, also looking concerned and with a heave pulled me out, lowering me down to the ground.
The others were waiting below and quickly ran forward, a hobbling Yang being supported by Blake.
"Jaune!" Pyrrha cried out running forward, "Try to stay still were going to get you to the med-bay."
"What was that?" Weiss asked under her breath, her own worry evident despite her question.
"I don't think now is the time for questions right now Weiss." Ruby said franticly.
"Anything feel broken?" Ren said, even as Sun started patting me down for any obvious breaks.
I raised an arm to wave them off, my legs giving out almost immediately and I leant heavily on Ren to keep from falling.
Damn, I'm really messed up right now.
Suddenly a voice cut in. "Jaune?" Nora questioned pointing to my face.
The others saw it to and gasped. Yang turned to her sister commanding, "Ruby go get Goodwitch, now."
Ruby blurred off in a whirlwind of rose petals.
"Try and stay calm Jaune." Blake said from Yang's side unable to hide the anxiety from her voice.
Was something wrong?
Suddenly I felt something running down my face, and lifted a hand sluggishly to wipe it off.
I bought my now wet hand back and looked at it.
Red, there was red stuff all over it.
Did the roses get on my face or something?
I blinked confusedly and another large droplet smacked into my palm.
There's blood covering my face.
That's not good.
Suddenly I felt the remaining strength in my legs fail and I crumpled, almost falling if not for Sun quickly supporting me alongside.
Don't close your eyes!"
Easy for you to say whoever you are.
My eyes were closing now, without any help on my part.
I'm just so tired.
Just give me five minutes.
Then I'll get up for class.
My eyes finally closed.
Am I dreaming again?
Is it my mother?
"Afraid not Mr. Arc."
The blinding light moved away to reveal Professor Goodwitch wielding a pen-light, which she clicked off. "How are you feeling?"
I went to sit up and regretted it immediately, my muscles aching and screaming out in protest. Ow. Definitely ow.
"In need of a hot shower." I turned my head and winced as a loud painful crack sounded out. "Or five."
Goodwitch pursed her lips. "Well at least your sense of humour is intact. At least something is."
I flinched at that.
That does not sound promising.
May as well bite the bullet now.
"What's the diagnosis?"
Goodwitch out down her pen-light. "How much do you remember?" she asked carefully.
I shrugged, before biting back a curse at the new aches that arose from that. "I was sparring with Yang. She knocked me across the room and then…" I frowned as I tried to remember the blurred mess that occurred after Yang cold-cocked me. "Was I on fire?" I questioned, half to her and half to myself incredulously.
Goodwitch nodded. "In a matter of speaking, yes you were." She said gesturing at my right hand. I looked down and noticed the bandages that were tightly wrapped the hand covering every inch of skin, from my finger tips to my palm. "When you came in you had burnt off several layers of skin. For anyone else I would say they'd be lucky to be use it within a month, but your body is healing unnaturally fast, presumably through the use of your aura." At this Goodwitch's expression became much more serious, her gaze commanding my absolute attention without so much as a word. "Which leads me to the next issue, your aura."
I focused at that. My aura wasn't only an integral part of becoming a better hunter, it was also a major part of the body, akin to a second heart. If something was wrong with mine it could be very serious.
"Your aura proceeded to do something completely impossible today, Mr Arc." Goodwitch said bluntly arching her fingers together. "It changed. The aura, a fundamental, and up until now unalterable substance altered its wavelength until it resonated with that of miss Xiao Long."
I felt my jaw drop a bit at that latest bombshell. I had done something impossible? That was not what I was expecting to hear. But another thought took precedence in my mind. "What do you mean resonated?"
Professor Goodwitch bought out her scroll and extended it, tapping away for a moment before turning it towards me. "All auras exist inside an individual energy wavelength within the person, not a single one identical to the other. Aura's are drawn from the soul and each individual soul is utterly unique, not even a twin's soul will be identical." Goodwitch informed me, her voice sounding just as if this was another one of her lectures. The one on the left is Miss Long's aura wavelength, the one on the right is yours at the time you were 'on fire' so to speak"
I looked at the two readouts on the scroll and my eyes widened. A one hundred percent match. An impossibility yet it stared straight back at me.
"At first I thought it a simple mimicry technique until I looked at this. The one on the left is Miss Xiao Long's original aura levels, the one at the right were at the time you were on fire."
I looked at the two and heard myself let out a "what?" confusedly. During the fight Yang's aura levels had increased tremendously, at the very least double what they were before.
I checked her aura levels again when she was in here and they were as they normally are.
"Your aura changing is not a problem by itself but when you add in the fact of your aura's state the situation becomes considerably more dire. You see while part of your aura changed to that of miss Long's the part trapped by your burn remained as it was originally." Goodwitch said collapsing her scroll. "Your aura was in conflict with itself, being two entirely different wavelengths. Both viewed each other as the enemy and began attacking the other causing you to begin bleeding from your eyes, nose and ears."
I gulped at that. The idea of my body fighting against itself was by no means as pleasant one to behold. And blood pouring out of my head doesn't sound good no matter what part it comes out of.
"Now Mr. Arc I am ordering you not to use your semblance again until your aura is completely unblocked. Next time I may not be around to stop your brain from leaking out of your ears." At that she got up and walked away from my bed, her heels clicking on the floor.
Let's get going.
I climbed out of bed with a wince and rotated my shoulders letting out a chorus if loud cracks as they loosened.
Okay Jaune, just walk like you know what you're doing and no-one will stop you.
I walked past a few volunteers that helped out in the med bay, giving a polite smile or wave as I did so and calmly but quickly made my way out. I walked through the doorway and sighed leaning against the nearby wall to support myself.
That took a lot out of me.
Looks like I still need some sleep.
May as well head back to my room for some rest.
Suddenly a commotion rang out back in the med-bay. "MR. ARC!"
Looks like Goodwitch has found my bed, without me in it.
Exit stage right.
It was late at night, the darkness adding a great deal to my, at the moment, utterly useless stealth. One cannot hobble stealthily. It just does not work.
I considered heading back to my room to sleep immediately but on my way back was confronted with the reality that I was caked in a layer of blood, smelt like I had just tried to burn down a blood bank and probably looked like death warmed over.
I need a shower.
I most definitely need a shower.
That sounds great.
A hand clamped onto my shoulder.
I nearly jumped out of my skin in shock, turning as I readied an apology for Professor Goodwitch for escapei… I mean leaving without permission.
But as I turned the person standing behind me was not in fact Professor Goodwitch.
It was Yang.
Yang looking more insecure than I have ever seen her look before.
"Hey Jaune." She said quietly, her eyes darting away to the side for a moment after meeting my gaze.
I looked at this very different Yang and felt an eyebrow raise.
What's this all about?
Oh, wait is she still injured from the spar?
I should probably ask about that.
"Are you alright? I'm sorry about the spar."
Yang looked at me incredulously.
"Am I alright?" she repeated disbelievingly, "Jaune how can you say that?"
With that the barrier broke down and the words kept flowing faster.
"You got put in the med-bay, again only this time it was my fault. I lost my temper in the middle of a match and I nearly ended up killing you. How can you even look at me right now?" she wailed before she latched onto me crying quietly.
Did not see that coming.
And ah blast she's crying.
I am not good with girl's crying.
My arms hesitantly moved to Yang's back from where they had been frozen awkwardly before and began patting her on the back reassuringly.
"Well to be fair I tried to kill you too so let's call it even."
Yang hiccupped, a little laugh sounding out. "Idiot."
I smiled at that. "So I've been told."
I untangled my arms from Yang and stepped back trying to figure out the words to resolve this. Let's stick with simple. That usually works.
"Yang it was not your fault." I said firmly looking her in the eyes. "All that happened was my aura just acted up again that's all."
Yang sniffed. "But I…"
I cut her off before she could get started. "But nothing. Yang if you wanted me to be dead then there's no doubt in my mind that I would be. But I'm still standing here, so you obviously didn't. Problem solved."
I wasn't kidding about that. This was the girl forced a Nevermore's beak open with nothing but her own strength before wailing away at its insides.
Yang stared at me for a moment silently before giggling, wiping the tears away from her eyes.
"You really are one of a kind, aren't you Jaune Arc?" She said bemused.
I grinned at that, mock posing. "I certainly like to think so." I said still grinning before I got up and hobbled into the male bathroom. "See you tomorrow Yang." I called over my shoulder, still smiling slightly.
"Good night Jaune."
(Meanwhile in the skies over the Menagerie)
Spot flew through the air, his wings beating at a rapid yet by no means tiring pace as he traced the same path that he always did on his way back home. Soaring through the air above the deep woodlands before coming to a walled clearing, within which sat a small town. Spot continued his flight until he gracefully swooped down, twirling through the air before flying inside an open window and taking standing on the desk. The room he had just entered looked to be a giant library, filled with books of every kind, with a few faunus children sitting around reading, talking or playing games.
Suddenly one of the children spotted Spot and jumped up from their seat, scurrying over to them, two little tiger ears twitching away happily as she did so. She saw the letter and pulled it off with a wide smile only for her smile to fade when she saw it wasn't written by the person she wanted it to be written by.
"It isn't him." She announced and a chorus of groans rang out from the other children.
She walked out of the library and down a long hall to a blank door at the end. She knocked on the door.
"Come on in Kira." A wizened voice called out from inside the room.
Kira opened the door to reveal a crackling fireplace blazing away before an older man in a wheelchair, his hair well and truly grey, working away at a disassembled rifle, the pieces on the wooden table in front of him, methodically cleaning each individual part before her began the task or reassembling it once more.
"Didn't you fix that yesterday?" Kira asked quizzically.
The old man sighed and put down the part of the dissembled rifle barrel he'd been working with on the table carefully before sighing and massaging his head with his brow.
"How many times do I have to tell you lass?" the old man lamented shaking his head. "A weapon is more than a tool, it is a part of one's body. As such you should care for it and clean it every day, just as you would for the rest of your body." He finished punctuation each point with a wave of his hand.
Kira rolled her eyes.
"I saw that lass." The old man's voice said bluntly, causing Kira to flinch and chuckle awkwardly. "Now then, what brings you to me den at this hour?"
Kira raised the envelope that she held in her hand. "A letter came with Spot. It isn't from him."
The old man nodded. "It bloody better not be him. He should be focusing on his studies, not worrying his little head about us. He's already enough of a fool he needs all the help he can get."
His wheelchair turned suddenly, not having touched the wheels with his hands, and rolled over to Kira before coming to a stop taking the letter that she was holding.
After pulling a knife from somewhere on his person, he cut open the letter and began examining its contents, letting out a 'hmm' or an 'ah' every now and then. He got to then of the letter and started laughing, a deep hearty laugh that echoed throughout the room.
Kira spoke up, curious about what had caused the old man to laugh like that. "What's so funny?"
The old man's laughter eventually died down, a brief chuckle getting out every now and then before he got them under control. "I got an invitation to got to Beacon in a week or so." The man announced lightly as if he was commenting on the weather. "And it looks like I can bring the rest of ya rascals as well."
Kira's face lit up. "Does that mean we'll get to see him?" Kira said excitedly before flushing red as the old man's laughter started up again.
"Aye Lass aye," The old man managed to get out through his chuckles. "We'll be seeing my favourite useless blonde idiot in no time at all."
There was once a forest here in this place. But that forest was long gone. All that remained is a maze of dead trees, burnt so badly by flames they seemed to be obsidian, and a cover of ash that was over six feet deep.
There was no wind in this place, not anymore and the ashes from that incredible fire all those years ago simply lay where they had fell that day.
The sky was constantly overcast, shrouding the land in a constant shadow, but today the cloud cover was different. It wasn't simply black clouds any more.
This was a storm.
A storm that came only once ever twenty years, a tempest unlike any other.
The crack of thunder sounded out, the boom echoing across the silent remains of this forest.
Lightning fell like rain, lighting up the desolate wasteland with arcs of glowing power.
A bolt of lightning shot down, like a lance thrown by a god, aiming towards one of the countless blackened trees of this landscape.
But suddenly it distorted, bent in mid-air and it's course was diverted slamming into the ash instead. The lance of electrical energy swiftly traversed the ash before it struck something that was decidedly not the ground.
And as that lightning surged through what it had struck, a connection was made. And something that had laid dormant for over a decade woke up.
PREVIOUS OBJECTIVE IS UNFULFILLED.
SEARCHING DATABANK FOR TARGET: DATA FOUND
SEARCHING DATABANK FOR OBJECTIVE: DATA CORRUPTED
SEARCHING MEMORY BANK FOR PREVIOUS OBJECTIVES: PREVIOUS OBJECTIVES FOUND
PREVIOUS OBJECTIVES WERE OF TERMINATION OF TARGETS.
THIS UNIT WILL TERMINATE ITS TARGET.
TARGET DESIGNATION: JAUNE ARC.
And at that moment even through the ash and dust something was visible, peering up into the sky.
Two glowing orbs.
Both an inhuman red.
AN: AND I AM BACK!
Okay let's check around…what the?
When did that happen?
In all seriousness, wow, I did not see that coming any time soon. So cheers about that.
I've had this thing bouncing about in my head in varying stages for a while now but had to set it aside as I studied for my GAMSAT.
My brain hurt after going through that.
3 exams in one day.
But in better news I got Titanfall, Infamous: Second Son and Final Fantasy X-X2 remastered! Yay! And they are just as awesome as I hoped they would be!
And Kill la Kill. Damn that was good.
But enough about me, on with the story!
This chapter serves as a transition point between volume one and volume two of RWBY.
Yes, it wasn't a typo Jaune sword in White Knight is called Candidus Mors.
So we have a few new plot points shown in this chapter which will pop up at varying times later on in the story.
What is there importance?
Well I'm not telling.
I've got to keep a few cards up my sleeve here people.
Now let's answer some reviews!
Chad001: Thanks for another awesome review mate. Reading your reviews after each of my chapters makes me feel as if I've done my job as a writer.
Person With Many Aliases: Thank you for another wonderfully constructed review. I can understand what you mean about the balancing act about writing Jaune, something I've sometimes seen degenerate into nothing more than a character essentially being God in some stories. But hold no fears in that regard. The world of RWBY is a dark and mysterious place, shrouded in forgotten myths. The greatest threats that one faces in this world is not the one that you can see. It's the one that you can't. There are still a great many bigger fish out there in the world, some more gargantuan than others, Jaune has a ways to go before he reaches the end I can promise you that.
Now as to the multiple reviews concerning Candidus Mors and its meaning in this story I only have this to say. Sometimes words can have more than one meaning.
StrangerDenB4: You'd be surprised. Scorpions actually have a sense of smell that differs from that of our own, instead they sense chemical trails and pheromones.
Melaro16: Thanks for the Review!
Foxtrot B-12: Cheers!
Right behind you: Thanks mate. And also honestly heard Mr. Joestar make the logic leap in my head. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about watch Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Abridged ep 9.
Kuro kaze no aka kira: Ha! Glad you like it. And thanks for the review.
Jozern: Thanks for the review, I hope you enjoy this chapter.
Ubersupersloth: Heh heh, yeah I've got to get round to fixing those…look a distraction!
Warmach1ne32: First rule of 'Girl Talk' is you do not talk about 'Girl Talk'
Sierra166048: Firstly wow, I actually already read some of your stuff so I was pretty stoked to see your name among the reviews. Thanks! And I'm glad you share my opinion about semblances. Honestly it's like wandless magic in Harry Potter all over again.
Arrocha Semotis Vir: Thanks for the review! And behold! DIVERGENCE FROM CANON! FEAR AND TREMBLE BEFOR(cough) I mean, hope you enjoy it.
As well as everyone else who reviewed or didn't but still had fun reading it: Thank you so much.
Now the next chapter probably won't come until volume two, I want to get some more info on Cinder's two accomplices before I start putting any more chapters forward. But I can tell you this.
I've already planned out the finale for Arc 2 and it is a doozy. Plus this Arc features a brand new character with a very big connection to one of the character's that isn't Jaune Arc!
Whoever could it be?
Keep those reviews coming everyone, they are always greatly appreciated.
Until next time,
The Inner Hollow