Chapter Ten: A Secret Revealed
The stars glowed brightly in the dark blue sky; fireflies illuminated the garden around them in all its beauteous glory, each flower more vibrant and lovely than the next. Summer and Roman paid no attention to these things, for the only beauty they saw now was in each other. Summer smiled, her tears long dried from a wonderful talk with Roman. She had never felt so right before, all her life she had read stories filled with love, while never actually knowing what love really felt like. She knew in her heart that this was what love felt like and that Roman was truly her knight in shining armor. She felt herself leaning in closer to him and him closer to her. They were about to kiss, on this magical night they were going to kiss for the first time. His lips were extremely close to hers now, just inches away…
Suddenly, Roman was torn from her arms, lifted upwards in a strong grip.
Summer’s eyes widened in horror when she looked up to see her enraged brother standing over her, “Qrow, put him down you’ll choke him!”
Roman’s face was already starting to turn red. Qrow looked up at him spitefully, “That’s the least of his problems right now.”
“Qrow, I said NOW!” Summer rose angrily from her seat, shaking as she took out her dust whip and smacked Qrow’s wrist with it, making the tall boy drop Roman to cradle his hand in pain.
“OW, WHAT DID YOU DO THAT FOR?” Qrow seethed in pain.
“I am tired of you telling me who to date and who not to date, from now on I’m going to be the one choosing!” Summer yelled at her brother. “And I choose Roman!”
Qrow eyed his sister sadly, “Summer…I just don’t want you to get hurt…”
“I think you’ve hurt me enough already!” she shouted.
He turned away sadly, but then angrily watched Roman as he dusted himself off. Qrow gripped the boy by the shoulder tightly and looked into his opponent’s green eyes. “You’ve taken my sister away from me, so don’t think that this is the end of your problems,” Qrow whispered in Roman’s ear. “I will track down every piece of dirty information I can get on you and I’ll show Summer the kind of man you really are. You’re going to regret that you ever crossed my path, Roman Torchwick.” He let the smaller boy go and strode away from the two lovers, now bent on revenge.
It was late and the library was closed, but Qrow had managed to sneak in and hide out until everyone left so that he could use the computer privately. He searched every file he could find, trying to find something incriminating about Roman Torchwick. Finally, in his boiling anger, he threw a history book across the room in frustration and banged his fist on the desk, forming a crack in its surface. He rubbed his eyes tiredly, turning back to his futile search. Suddenly, his ears perked up, he looked around the library warily. He thought he had heard a noise, but he shrugged and supposed it was just his imagination. Then, the noise came again only closer. Now it was definite, the sound of heels clicking on the wooden floor. Qrow stood, ready for anything. “Not finding the answers you’re looking for, Qrow?” a voice echoed mockingly. Chills went down Qrow’s back. He did a full turn, trying to pinpoint the direction of the girl’s voice. Suddenly, she stepped out of the shadows nearby. Her golden eyes glowing like embers.
“Who are you?” Qrow called, a little less macho than he usually sounded.
“Someone who can help you,” She replied mysteriously. “You want some dirt on Roman Torchwick do you?” she circled around him, brushing her fingers across the surface of the desk lightly.
“You know Roman Torchwick?” Qrow asked skeptically.
“We’re not friends,” the ebony haired girl said coolly. “He just owes me a favor.”
“You said you had some information about him, what is it?”
“Hold your horses Qrow, you have to do me a favor first to make up for the favor Roman owes me,” she grinned. She circled around the desk and stood just inches from Qrow, he could feel her cold breath. “I will give you the information you desire, but you can’t reveal it to Summer until the night of the dance.”
“That’s it?” Qrow asked suspiciously.
“That’s it, Qrow.” She replied.
“Alright then, what’s his secret?”
She smiled evilly, sending more chills down Qrow’s back. “His secret will be revealed at the drop of a hat.”
Qrow frowned, confused. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“If you want it put simply you’ll have to do me another favor,” she stated.
“I’ll owe you,” Qrow said, itching to find out what she meant and hoping that she wasn’t playing him for kicks.
She smiled again, “Roman…is a Faunus.”
“That’s why he wears that ridiculous hat all the time; his mother has been working on a cure for him for years…but with little success.” She replied, beginning to back away from Qrow.
“So…exactly what kind of Faunus is he?” Qrow asked.
“You’ll find out soon enough,” she whispered then, she disappeared into the shadows, leaving no trace of her ever being there. Qrow was still a little shaken at his encounter and wondered fearfully what kind of favor he owed the mystery girl. None of this mattered anymore though, he knew Roman’s secret and in just a few short days he’d have his sister back.
It was midnight in the Emerald Forest. Beowolves stalked through the woods quietly, hoping that a meal would stumble into their midst. But when the dark haired girl with the glowing eyes showed up, they ducked in the shadows not daring to go near her. There were very few humans that the Grimm feared, even a skilled fighter such as Henry Ozpin did not scare them, but the Grimm Breeders of Remnant were to be dreaded most out of all mankind and this girl happened to be the daughter of the meanest Grimm Breeder in the world. Cinder paid them no heed and actually smiled devilishly at one who whimpered at her. She made her way deeper into the wood until she found a large cave hidden at the base of massive tree. She climbed down through the roots and knocked three times on the secret door. It opened at the sound of the entrance code and she entered gracefully, her glass heels echoing against the cave floor with every step. Before her were rows and rows of cages, each containing various Grimm, some were already cross-bred, while others were still just average. There came a loud scream of frustration from the other end of the room. Cinder raised an eyebrow and sashayed forward to see what the commotion was all about. She walked into a smaller room containing one long conference table and at the head of the table, alone, sat her father; his head in his hands, sweat pouring from his brow.
“What’s the matter, Daddy?” she asked in genuine concern. She walked over and put her hand on his shoulder gently.
“Stupid kids!” he banged his fist against the table, Cinder didn’t even flinch. “They destroyed the mates!”
“There are others waiting to take their place,” Cinder stated indifferently. “Besides, those two were already wearing down anyway.”
“It’ll be weeks before the next match is ready and the Duke is already expecting his next order by Monday!” he growled. He clenched his fists for a few seconds, staring spitefully into the distance. Then he sighed, “How is your mission coming, darling?”
“Perfectly,” she grinned, massaging his shoulders delicately.
“The girl, have you killed her yet?” he asked.
“Daddy, these things take time…” she replied coolly.
“Ugh, can’t you ever do a job right without making it personal?” he seethed.
She looked at him in false shock, “Why Daddy, every job is personal,” she said. “Besides, if I am to get her to her weakest state I have to chip away at her slowly…”
“And how exactly do you plan to do that?” he asked with an interested eyebrow.
“Roman is the key,” she smiled evilly. “He is the Trojan horse that will bring everyone’s world crashing down.” She slowly left his side and walked to the door.
“Oh by the way,” her father asked. She stopped at the doorway and looked back. “Those rare dust crystals you ordered a couple weeks ago arrived today, may I ask what they’re for?”
She grinned, “Leverage.”
Although he had just been there the other day, Ambrose stood once again outside the Emerald Forest, a full backpack slung over his shoulder. He took a deep breath and was about to venture in when a voice called to him from behind. He whipped around to find Roman running towards him across the lawn.
“Ambrose,” Roman called, catching up to his brother. “What are you doing?”
“Stay back Roman, this is my mission.” Ambrose replied just as Roman reached him.
“What mission? What are you talking about?”
Ambrose sighed, “I wasn’t going to mention it yesterday with James getting injured and all, but there is still a Grimm Breeder who needs to be caught and he’s somewhere in that forest.”
“Aaaand you plan on doing what exactly?” Roman asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Capturing him, of course,”
“No, you’re not. You’re going to get yourself captured if you go in there alone,” Roman replied.
“Please Roman, you saw me the other day. You know I’m good in a fight,” Ambrose huffed, trying to get his brother to leave.
“Even though you delivered the killing blows, you would have died if Tai, Qrow, and James hadn’t been there,” Roman grinned. “You need someone to be the distraction if you run into cross-bred Grimm.”
“Roman, one student has already gotten hurt because I decided to lead them into battle, I’m not going to make the same mistake with you,” Ambrose attempted to end the conversation and trudged a little way into the forest, but Roman just followed in pursuit.
“Oz, you’re going to be Headmaster someday and you’re going to make a lot of mistakes along the way and if this is your worst mistake then I’d say you’re going to turn out just peachy.” Roman said. Ambrose stopped and turned to face Roman.
“Roman…I don’t want to be the Headmaster.” He sighed.
Roman was taken aback, “Why? You’d be great at it!”
“What if I’m not? I took a risk yesterday, a risk that nearly cost someone’s life. It…it scared me, it made me think…what if I had gotten James killed? How could I have lived with the guilt?”
Roman sighed, a bit exasperated but compassionate, “Look at it this way Am, if you hadn’t taken this risk, then the Grimm would have overrun the Emerald Forest. They would have attacked Beacon and thousands of people would have died before anyone had a chance to call for help.” Roman put a hand on his brother’s shoulder, “And frankly Oz, if I had to choose between that and what actually happened, I would take Ironwood stabbing himself in the head any day.”
Roman and Ambrose laughed, “Oh Roman, you inconsiderate red-headed-
“Hey, what’s that?”
Ambrose regained a serious expression and turned in the direction Roman was walking towards. “What’s what?”
Roman crept a few feet ahead and peered through some bushes to find an old road that ran through the forest. He fell to the ground and listened; there were definitely vibrations. A car was quickly approaching. Ambrose crawled to the ground beside Roman and the two waited in the dense brush that surrounded them. It was only a few seconds before headlights became visible in the distance. Roman knew it must be impossible, but it looked like the same car that had splashed mud into his face the night he met Ambrose. The red hot rod made its way up the rocky road, closely followed by several trucks that carried many cages of Grimm.
“I think these are your Grimm Breeders.” Roman whispered to Ambrose.
Without reply, Ambrose leaped out of the bushes and jumped in front of the red car. It didn’t stop however and actually continued to gain speed. Roman’s eyes widened as he realized the driver meant to run over his brother. With master precision, Roman aimed his cane at the car and shot the air out of the left front tire. The driver swerved to regain control, missing Ambrose by inches as it nearly careened off the road. Ambrose jumped on the hood of the car and pointed his walking stick at the man driving. His scowl was intense, as though he had been doing it a lot lately. Ambrose reached into his backpack and took out a pair of handcuffs; Roman wondered where he’d gotten them.
“Mr. Fall,” Ambrose stated with authority. “You are under arrest for illegal breeding of the creatures of Grimm and threatening the safety of the citizens of Remnant.”
The man smirked, “You really think I’m going to take orders from two kids?”
“No, you’re going to take orders from one of the greatest huntsmen in history!” Ambrose’s eyes widened and he turned around with a smile on his face.
“Dad?” he gasped, not believing his eyes.
“Who were you expecting? Your mother?”
Henry Ozpin’s return to Beacon was celebrated with a ‘welcome back speech’ during which he informed the school that he had just caught a world famous Grimm Breeder in the Emerald Forest alongside his sons. He was later told by his wife the events that had taken place since he had been gone. It took much pleading from Ambrose to not let his father declare “National Ambrose Week” a real holiday. Mr. Ozpin still took every opportunity to praise his son, slipping his name into every conversation he could. Roman was a little peeved at being forgotten, even though he knew in his heart he had done nothing. He sat across from his brother at the cafeteria table and stared at him enviously as he talked over his shoulder at Taiyang. Ambrose Ozpin was, as usual, the hero of the day. Everyone saw him as the boy who singlehandedly defeated two elder crossbred Grimm with a cane and captured Vale’s most wanted within two days’ time. A commendable task, yes, but he didn’t see the need for so much attention. After all, he had helped a little bit and Ambrose wouldn’t be anywhere without the help of others. The fact that everyone overlooked the seven others who had been involved in the plan made Roman angry. At that moment, Summer walked over and raised him from his resentful stupor. He was surprised when she reached up and kissed him on the cheek lightly.
“How are you today, Roman?” she asked gleefully. It was then that he realized, tonight was the Vytal dance and Summer was going to be spending her afternoon getting ready.
“I’m…okay.” He replied uncertainly. He smiled, trying to hide his jealousy.
“I was just on my way to turn in my history paper to Mrs. Ozpin; I thought I could drop yours off too, if you want.”
Roman’s face contorted in panic, “That’s due today?”
She frowned in concern, “Mrs. Ozpin’s been telling us this has been due for weeks…now that I think about it, I haven’t seen you in class lately…”
“I…’ve been there, I’ve just, uh, been sitting in the back row, heh, heh.” He laughed nervously. In truth, he’d been skipping class to read this amazing new graphic novel and was completely neglecting his grades. “I can fix this; all I have to do is go to the library and do a bit of research, yeah.” He left the cafeteria in a hurry, not even bothering to say goodbye to Summer or the rest of his teammates. This was the big paper of the semester and if he got a zero on it, he’d fail the class for sure. He entered the library, filled with determination. “After all,” Roman thought. “How hard can it be?”
The expression on Cinder Fall’s face was of mixed emotions; one minute she looked like she might burst into tears, the next she might rip someone apart. Then, there were the pockets of time where she slipped into blank depression, staring at the map on the wall of the conference room. The workers gathered around her, afraid to leave the room for fear of what she might do. They all knew she was just as slick as her father and just as mean. They all looked at each other, wondering when the girl would speak. Finally, one brave worker decided to say something.
“Miss, what is your plan of a-
“Don’t interrupt.” She hissed. Her eyes narrowed to slits.
“But you weren’t-
“I said…DON’T INTERUPT!” She stood and banged her fist against the table, sending her men into frightened silence. “I had a plan already. Kill the girl; that was my father’s last task for me.”
“I don’t see how killing some girl is going to get us anywhere,” A worker grumbled under his breath. Cinder heard and scowled.
“This girl is extremely powerful and is only going to get more so, if we eliminate her now we have free reign over Remnant for the rest of our days,” she explained. “But now I want revenge, everyone is going to suffer because of Roman, but Ambrose Ozpin will pay for putting away my father.”
She walked around the conference table, making sure her audience knew who held command, “And if I have the time…I’ll take care of his parents as well.” Her eyes burned with a fury she had never known before.
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