Roses & Thorns


As pawns are moved into place across the board, the unsuspecting teams of Beacon Academy continue their training, unaware of the larger war brewing on the horizon.

Action / Fantasy
Age Rating:

Friendly Rivalry

Ruby Rose stood in the middle of the sprawling amphitheater at Beacon Academy, an idle hand playing across the surface of her signature weapon, Crescent Rose. Her constant companion and sweetheart since its construction, the sniper-scythe had been crafted with love by her own hands, and she knew it better than she could claim to know herself. In its folded form, it was not the picture of a fearsome tool of destruction, but all gathered had either seen it in action or heard the stories of her tearing the head from a Nevermore. Forty pairs of eyes bore down upon her, all alone in the open space of the sparring arena, and their stares only amplified the churning nervousness within her gut.

They had been through initiation and assigned teams a mere two days ago, and already it was clear where the lines between the groups of four were located as she scanned the rows of seating available for spectators of the combat simulations. Several minutes before, she had watched from that raised platform as a beast of a boy named Cardin had thoroughly trounced her friend Jaune. It hadn't even seemed like a fair match up, ending without a single hit to the winner's aura.

The Professor in charge of this combat-oriented class and the woman who had fought alongside her last week, Glynda Goodwitch, stood to the side of the fighting ring. A finger flicked across the screen of a scroll, each time fast enough that Ruby could not make out more than a silhouette of a student from the first years. Time passed at a speed that was downright agony to her nerves as the grown woman paused upon one file for the space of a few seconds before giving a satisfactory nod. "Amber Pinion of Team CAIN, please enter the arena."

Given a name, it sparked a memory within, bringing to mind a squad that had managed to gather the required relics in record time. Ruby had seen them on the flight into Beacon, but could only recall fuzzy details. Most of her first day at the Academy had been taken up by the mortification she had felt after literally running into Weiss. The sound of shoes impacting the arena floor brought her back to the present, where the opponent Goodwitch had selected straightened.

She was pretty, that much was certain from the first glance. A ponytail of strawberry blonde hair was pulled back from the girl's face, leaving bangs long enough to cast a shroud over orbs that seemed to glow a fiery red. The pools of liquid crimson found themselves caught in a conflict between flecks of orange and yellow so fiercely that it gave the illusion they were burning as they shone in the bright lights of the combat floor. Gentle tones of olive skin were stained by freckles wherever clothing was not present, including a dusting of the darker pigmentation across the bridge of a delicate nose.

Appraising her opponent, Ruby first noted the fact that her chosen adversary was short, even shorter than she was. The next curiosity was the design of the girl's sneakers. Black in color and comfortable in style, the outer edge of the shoes were decorated with a wing that was engulfed in flames. Dark jeans covered slender legs, outfitted with a unique harness that carried even stranger weapons, two large hoops of metal with a leather grip breaking the circles. Covering a portion of a small chest was a breastplate of silvered metal, its size built to allow full mobility. Trimmed in gold and polished to a shine, the center of the armor was engraved with a pinwheel of regal feathers, the crest of the Pinion Family.

A matching spaulder covered the smaller teen's left shoulder, held fast to a slim bicep by leather straps. Beneath this ensemble of armor was a black t-shirt that seemed simple until the other girl turned to face their teacher, revealing that the back of the garment was where the personal emblem of her opponent sat. Continuing the motif of fire, it was a pair of slender wings that were unfurling a full spread, but each feather was stylized in order to give the impression they of being consumed by flames. Ruby's eyes trailed over to Goodwitch, noticing the trepidation that crossed the older woman's face until another nod came. Just like that, Amber was back to facing her, and it was this time that she saw the way the pools of fire studied her. A mix of pain and sympathy filled those orbs in a way that was far too unnerving to continue contact, forcing her to glance away.

"Fight well." Despite the emotion that thrummed within Amber's chest, she kept her voice at a neutral tone. The mock battle had not even begun, and there was an amount of hurt radiating from the Rose girl that was nigh on unbearable to behold. She buried it, wiping any trace from her features and closing fingers about the grips of her weapons, pulling the bladed rings from their loose harness. They were chakrams, serrated metal that was designed to be thrown, and far from the first choice of arsenal for the rest of the gathered students. Skia and Fos, different by the color of the material they were made from, each corresponded with a gauntlet of similar make. Skia to the obsidian, Fos to the silver. She dropped into a readied stance, with knees bent and arms kept at chest level, indicating that she was prepared for the fight to start.

Ruby responded in kind, pulling Crescent Rose from the harness hanging from the back of her hips with broad grin. First, the shaft of the beautiful weapon extended downward into her waiting hand. Then came the blade, unfolding to its full length as she spun it the deadly scythe in a wide vertical. As she moved, the lights within the room died down, leaving nothing but utter darkness outside of the arena.

Red eyes glanced skyward, a distraction that she capitalized on by charging forward, the heavy blade of her scythe leading the way. With a resounding clash of metal, her strike rebounded off the edge of a chakram, and the target of the attack danced away unhindered. Turning with a huff of surprise, she found that her opponent recovered much faster than expected. One of the rings hurtled toward her, forcing a frantic defense as she threw the shaft of her own weapon up to deflect the projectile. It pinged off of the improvised shield, continuing its path past her, and with that it left the forefront of her thoughts.

At least until it slammed into her back with all the force it had originally held before her block should have slowed it. Stumbling from the blow, Ruby watched with mouth agape as the thrown weapon returned to her opponent's outstretched hand, glowing with the telltale sign of an Aura. On Amber's features was no sign of the victorious smirk one would expect from first year students sizing each other up, only a flinch and a look of regret in the crimson eyes. There was no time to consider the strange reaction, as the dull ache along her spine cried out for retribution.

Understanding that they had now successfully gauged one another, Amber knew that the fight was truly in full swing. Taking a step back in preparation, she wound back her right arm before throwing it forward and releasing the same chakram that she had scored the opening hit with. Spinning on the ball of her leading foot, she came back down to steady ground with the release of a breath, tearing through the air with her offhand weapon before letting it fly behind its companion.

But the opponent she faced was no amateur, as the massive scythe twirled through the air, batting away both of the projectiles with little difficulty. It was only when Amber reached out with her Aura and ripped the blades back that the hooded girl decided on a new course of action, taking to the air. The sound of a shot rang out and the impact sent the black-and-red garbed girl skyward, safely avoiding the next pass of the chakrams.

Directing the blades after the fleeing combatant with her movements, she focused solely on controlling them. Her hands swept from place to place in violent gestures as she brought each chakram to bear as fast as she could manage, only to find herself deprived of an easy victory by a desperate whirling defense that blocked each of her strikes at the last possible second. Amber realized her mistake at being so open with her offensive strategy when silver eyes snapped down to where she stood, and a new light of understanding dawned within them.

A cloud of rose petals erupted from the spot Ruby had last occupied, and she rocketed toward the ground, aiming for her opponent with wild abandon. Somersaulting through the air in order to generate extra momentum, she extended both arms as she brought Crescent Rose down in a wicked slashing blow. The tip of the scythe dug into the stage where Amber had stood only a breath ago, the redhead having dodged back in time. Unfortunately for the shorter girl, the attack came from both blade and rifle, as a shot fired from the barrel of the weapon. Collision and dust round combined, the force was more than enough to send her flying through the air and slam a fragile frame into the side wall.

Ruby hesitated when she saw the damage the vicious attack had dealt the other duelist, watching for a moment as Amber struggled to stand from a kneeling position, obviously hurt as the glow of Aura flickered around the fallen chakrams before fading away. The time to seize her advantage was gone in the blink of an eye because of that concern, as it was not pain expressed upon the redhead's face, but a grim determination as one of the bladed rings returned to a waiting hand.

Unprepared and already weakened from fending off the flurry in the air, she could not mount a defense fast enough to stop the chakram that smashed into her chest. It forced the air from her lungs and would have thrown her back if the tip of her scythe blade had not dug into the floor of the arena. The feeling of her Aura dipping was a sickening one, as energy fled from her limbs due to the effort of repelling the devastating throw.

Letting a small noise of anger rise from the back of her throat, Ruby set her focus upon the girl who was still recovering, and a finger brushed the trigger of her sniper rifle. Leveling the shot for a split second, she fired, feeling the force kick back against her and drag the blade further through the floor. It had gouged a scar upon the smooth surface, but that was not her concern as she pulled back on the bolt and ejected a spent shell casing, feeding another round into the chamber by slamming it back to a closed position.

It was a smooth, practiced motion. Nothing was wasted in the movement that she had drilled for years, and she fired faster than Amber could hope to dodge. The second round was aimed true, smashing into the silver breastplate and throwing the smaller girl back into the wall, where she crumpled yet again. This time, her opponent remained kneeling, and the singular chakram that had been coming around for another attack skittered across the floor.

Lights went up within the amphitheater, and a steady applause rose from the spectators of their match, followed by the screams of approval which could only originate from one possible person. A giggle bubbled through Ruby's lips as she turned to see Yang pumping a fist into the air with glee, and the thrill of victory took a sharp turn into embarrassment as her sister yelled out a curse in front of their entire class. Close to burying her face into an open palm, she froze when a hand ghosted over her right shoulder, bringing her back around to the girl she had fought.

It was strange for her to look down at another student, used as she was to looking up. Amber wore a bright smile on her lips, having recovered from the beating. No words passed between them as the fiery ponytail shifted and the girl cocked her head to one side. Never once did the shimmer within red eyes change, still translating to Ruby a feeling that she was being studied. There was scarce time to ponder this, as Professor Goodwitch stepped back into the combat area.

"Well done, Ms. Rose. To combat a style that relies upon distracting you, you focused solely on the one controlling the weapons. Still, your time in switching from offense to defense is sloppy, that last hit should not have gotten through." Beaming at the praise in the beginning, Ruby found herself knocked down a peg as her earlier mistake was corrected. Folding her weapon back into its passive form, she slid it into place on her belt. "And I hope that Ms. Pinion learns from this defeat, to not telegraph her intentions in battle. Perhaps a little less time fighting simulated opponents is in order?" Settling emerald eyes upon the smaller teen, Goodwitch received nothing more than a slight bow of a head in return for her advice. A hand rose to push glasses up from the bridge of her nose, looking down at her scroll in order to break the silence. "Very well then. Next up on the roster: Iris Vex, also of Team CAIN."

Turning to exit the floor and return to the stands above, Ruby saw the next fighter jump down into the arena. This girl she recognized, finding it hard to forget such a flamboyant personality, even if their only interaction had been half a minute on the airship. When the other teen neared, the Faunus was grinning from ear to ear and had raised a hand with the intention of a high-five. Slapping a palm against the other one waiting, she was rewarded with a soft laugh accompanied by fox ears that twitched happily. "Nice job, Red. Amber knows what she is doing, but I wouldn't count CAIN out yet, that girl has never been the best at one-on-one fights!"

Whistling through her teeth, Iris continued past Ruby, stepping up next to the Professor and turning her gaze toward the stands. "Ms. Vex. As your team lost last round, you may choose your opponent."

Yang's leg hadn't stopped fidgeting since Ruby's match had begun, much to the chagrin of her other teammates, who had moved to the bench behind the front row in order to avoid being unpleasantly bounced around by her agitation. It wasn't that she was worried the scythe wielder would be injured, these were only practice rounds after all, but she had never been a fan of watching her little sister fight. The younger girl slid down into a seat next to her, unprepared for the bone crushing hug that she immediately received. "Good job, sis!"

"Not that it was much of a challenge." It was the silver-haired girl that sat behind them who casually dismissed her Ruby's achievement, and all of Team RWBY's eyes turned to Weiss. "She's one of the Pinion Twins. They always fight together, so there are glaring gaps when they are separated."

Raising an eyebrow at her partner, Ruby spoke softly. "I don't think she was trying all that hard, I didn't notice her using a semblance."

All too happy to offer her opinion, Weiss leaned forward. "Exactly. In a real fight, you would throw everything you had into it. She didn't even try because she can't fight one on one." Pale blue eyes rolled as the girl folded her arms. "Hardly Beacon material, if you ask me."

"Are you shitting me?" It was Blake, who had been only mildly paying attention to the conversation before, who broke it up entirely. Her eyes were centered upon the girl Ruby had high-fived only seconds ago, and the surprise upon her partner's face was enough to draw Yang's attention. What awaited her was a shock, to say the least. The next student up for dueling was a Faunus, a fact apparent to anyone could immediately identify, but that was more or less normal for Beacon.

What was causing the chorus of gasps and groans throughout the audience, was the strut the teen in the center of the stage was adopting. Swaying her hips, the Faunus was fanning a long, bushy black tail back and forth in rhythm with her rear as she walked a wide circle around the stadium. Violet eyes appraised those who sat in the stands, and a devilish looking half-smile told of the enjoyment she was getting from ruffling the crowd's feathers.

Iris Vex strode forward confidently, swaying her hips in such a way in order to generate a similar motion with her tail, drinking in the mix of surprised gasps or groans that rose from those behind her. No matter where she went, people would react to her obvious Faunus traits, her tail and ears, one way or the other. Better to do so on her terms, or as she liked it: As raunchily as possible. Raising both arms, she entwined her fingers and stretched toward the sky, giving an exaggerated yawn and muffing up her long hair as much as she could.

Black tresses fell about in a messy pattern, their tips dyed in a gradient of purple, beginning at subtle lavender and blooming into the full color of her own eyes. When she opened them, it wasn't hard to tell who was looking because they wanted to, her gaze locking with a distinct pair of similar orbs. "If that is quite enough, Ms. Vex?" Turning, she regarded the uptight Professor with a small smile and a nod. "Good. Now, please, choose your opponent."

"Mm, can I?" She didn't even try to contain the layer of excitement upon her voice as she turned back to the other girl who had been quite positively enraptured by her. "Let's keep the rivalry going, yeah? I choose the blondie on Team RWBY." Indignation covered gorgeous features, and it only caused Iris' grin to grow larger as she teased again, pointing an index finger toward the seated beauty "Come on down blondie, let's fight!"

With little delay, Yang slid over the side of the railing and landed roughly on the stage, a fiercely confident grin evident upon her face. "Your funeral, foxy." Despite the banter, she took a moment to truly examine the young woman standing before her. Gray high tops covered her feet, the worn fabric of the shoes folded over at the ankle, while skinny black jeans complemented the lithe and toned legs beneath. Cinched about her waist, through the loops of her pants, was a silver studded belt. Fastened to the band was a white silk half shirt, falling down to knee length on the right side. On this garment lay the girl's personal emblem, a violet eye with a slit pupil, and two bloodied gashes cutting through the orb. It was a macabre scene, clashing with the style of the otherwise fun and flirtatious teen.

A violet shirt, made from the same material as the skirt, covered the Faunus' chest. Light lacing was all that held the piece of clothing together in the middle, exposing cleavage that came close to rivaling Yang's. Atop that was a short-sleeved over shirt of soft black cotton, unbuttoned and hanging loosely at girl's sides. Sitting over the slim waist was a simple brown belt with a strap of leather that acted as a holster for a folded weapon. Each hand was protected by fingerless leather gloves, both of them backed by a silver plate of armor. The right wrist of the teen was covered by a white bandana that had been folded into a makeshift bracelet, further upsetting the symmetry of the outfit. Behind the Faunus was a bushy tail that swayed gently from side to side as she watched, its dark fur dyed in similar style to the girl's hair, so that its tip ended in a stunning purple color.

"I'm a fox?" Raising a hand to her head in mock horror, Iris felt around until she found her ears, running her fingers over the soft black fur. "When did that happen?!" Her efforts earned her a collective groan from the onlookers around the arena, but her reward was a dazzling smile from the girl she had challenged. One that she met with a bashful gaze, even going so far as to turn away and feign a shy giggle. The facade fell away as she turned back, letting the thrill of competition take its place. "Now then, what d'ya say we give these fine folks a show?"

Yang readied Ember Celica with a chuckle and a smirk, feeling the metal gauntlets slide into place and lock. Letting her left arm fall toward the ground, she pointed it directly behind her and fired, the force propelling her toward Iris at extreme speed. Her right fist followed through with a flying punch, one that was slapped aside by the bare wrist of her opponent. Skidding across the floor for a few more feet, she rounded with renewed purpose and swiped at her target once more.

Again, Iris deflected the attack and sidestepped the charging mass in order to avoid any incoming force. Again, she accompanied this with a teasing laugh that seemed to cause her opponent to utterly quiver in anger before the blonde turned on her. "Come on blondie, hit me. I like my kisses with a little bite to them!" Enjoying their dance immensely, she waited until the gun gauntlets were only a few feet away in order to fall into concentration and step away from them.

It was different this time, Yang could feel it as she missed her target, and she knew why at the last possible moment. Her eyes locked on lavender orbs, watching helplessly as one of them closed into a wink that seemed to be in slow motion, while the other began to glow. She stumbled, almost tripping on nothing as she felt compelled to turn and stare at the Faunus girl like an drooling lecher. Despite the trance, she could hear the surprised noises emanating from the gathered crowd, and above them came the voice of her little sister. "Yang, what are you doing?" In truth, she had no idea. The purple-eyed girl who had singled her out was attractive, that much was certain, but to just stand in place during a fight and watch was literally the opposite of what she would do to impress such a girl.

Iris watched the blonde with a mixture of confidence and joy. On one hand, she knew the trick that was causing Yang to freeze like that, but on the other it was a soaring confirmation of what she had hoped for the moment she had seen the stare from the lilac colored eyes. Reaching down to the holster at her waist, she gripped the hilt of Siren Melody, bringing it out in one switch action. It lived up to it's name beautifully, the silver steel of the gun-blade folding out into a flourished and curved tip. The center of the blade was strategically empty in a few places, leaving room for air to pass through when the weapon was swung. Pleasant sound was the product of such gorgeous design.

A whistling tune, its cadence as easy to the ears as its bearer was on the eyes, came as she twirled the weapon between her fingers. "Yang! Move your ass and block!" A shouted warning, probably from the girl with a black bow that was her opponent's partner, came from the shadows. This time, the words shattered the trance, and a gauntlet was raised in time to deflect her attack and producing a roar of scraping steel. Baring her teeth in a grin, Iris took a step back and adopted a high defensive pose, giggling softly at the angry surprise that covered the blonde's features.

Yang shook her head in an effort to clear it, violently unprepared for the force of the semblance that had stunned her. Before her, the teen she was fighting was holding an elegant blade in a reversed grip, waiting for her to counter-attack. She did not wait long, kicking off of the ground to punch at the Faunus, firing off a blast as her fist connected with the flat of the silver weapon before her. Her left followed through as it ducked under the defense and slammed into the soft center of a stomach, detonating another shell with enough force that it lifted her target from the ground for a moment.

But Iris was not beaten by a single attack, as she stabbed downward and ground the edge of her blade against an exposed hip before spinning away, Siren whistling through the air as she did so. She moved as if it was a dance, twirling her weapon through fingers as if it were a baton and stepping lightly from position to position. Gripping the hilt in both hands, she struck down onto the raised gauntlet, her attack driving the blonde back a step. It was then that she disengaged, jumping back onto her hands and kicking out at the other girl's chin before completing the flip by landing upon her feet. Whirring of gears came as she activated her weapon's alternate form, the middle parting and sliding forward while the blade slid back, and the hilt rotated downward to form a more comfortable grip. Raising the transformed rifle, she fired off a flurry of shots, one after another, until the current clip was expended. A latch dropped the spent magazine, and a practiced hand ripped the next from the pouch at her belt and shoved it into the space that had been occupied by its predecessor.

To her credit, Yang was able to block the first few, but the next half dozen or so slammed into her chest, forcing her back but activating her own semblance. Her long hair began to burn, and the heat within her limbs grew exponentially as she felt anger bubble up inside her chest. When she raised her gaze back to the beautiful fox standing opposite her, a wide grin took over her lips as she smashed her fists together.

Dashing forward, she let out a furious yell and slammed the leading fist into the wall behind her target. Confusion replaced confidence, as she glanced about for her opponent, only to receive several more shots from the whistling weapon as the Faunus soared over her. Iris landed several feet from her, the girl's back turned. Placing a boot against the surface she had just struck, Yang pushed off. Her speed surprised the other, and she scored a savage hit in the girl's stomach with enough force to truly lift her from the ground and into the air.

Punching forward, the force of Yang's hit should have been enough to send Iris flying, but she reached out and grabbed hold of the girl's ankle. Ripping backwards, she reversed the Faunus' momentum and brought her closer, right into the final blow. Bringing down a fist from on high, she slammed her opponent straight down into the ground with enough power that the girl skidded across the ground, bouncing several times before coming to rest in a heap on the floor.

The amphitheater became lit again to signal the end of the match, and she was left to a roaring cheer coming from the crowd, one that she ignored as she strode over to the girl who was still recovering from her beating. Stowing away Ember Celica, she reached down to offer the Faunus a helping hand, one that was ignored for a moment before being accepted, and she hauled the other up to her feet.

Coughing as she attempted to regain control of her breath, Iris nearly fell into the arms that had destroyed her moments ago, but that did not stop the airy laugh that escaped her throat. "Shit, blondie. Starting to feel sorry for challenging you."

"Still time to kiss and make up." She grinned at the tease, steadying herself as her Aura came back from the beating and restored some of her vitality. Still, she hung onto the strong arms that were dangerously close to cradling her, even when she saw Professor Goodwitch striding toward them. Sliding her gaze up, she found that the purple of the blonde's eyes was now dominated by a bright red. "And call me Yang."

"Yang." Smiling sheepishly, she stared for far too long as the red faded back to a rich lilac color, locked in a trance similar to the one she had placed the other in earlier. "Maybe we'll make up later.."

"I bet." Yang pushed the Faunus back playfully, turning to sheepishly smile at the rather judgmental stare emanating from the uptight Professor that was overseeing the matches.

Goodwitch cleared her throat, addressing the entire room instead of just the two combatants. "Calm down now, children. An exciting fight, to be sure, and another that we can take a lesson from. Both of them fell into a trap of not considering what the others semblance could be." Icy green eyes settled upon Iris, cold enough to cause her to shudder and glance away for a moment. "Ms. Vex struck as hard as she could, even when she saw it was only empowering her opponent. And Ms. Long made the mistake of dillydallying in the middle of a fight, more concerned with fawning after her opponent than fighting her."

"Well that's not fair.." Yang's mumbled objection brought down the hard glare of Glynda Goodwitch, stealing any will from her to fight this battle. Instead, she settled on shoving Iris lightly, whispering her next words. "She seduced me." The Faunus responded by belting out a laugh loud enough that it echoed through the chamber, bending at the waist as the noise only increased in intensity, becoming enough of a nuisance that the Professor decided it was best just to move on.

"Remove yourself from the arena, you two, and we will continue with the next combatant." Raising a finger to push her glasses up the bridge of her nose, she looked down at the scroll she held. "Claire Briar, leader of team CAIN. You are next up on the list."

Ruby scooted down the bench to allow her sister room to sit as Yang returned, glancing over with a confused expression. Before she could even voice her question, she was interrupted by Weiss, who made a disgusted face. "How could you just stare at her like that? Their kind don't mesh well with us."

"Their kind?" Yang was genuinely surprised at the question, turning to face the silver-haired girl with raised eyebrows. "And I wasn't flirting or anything, something was stopping me from attacking."

"That's her semblance, Lull. She can force you to focus on something, but only if you wanted to in the first place. It takes the sensation you have, be it a desire to attack, or a fascination, and amplifies it until you can't ignore the urge to act on it." The icy heiress brushed her side ponytail over her shoulder, crinkling her nose. "And by 'kind', I mean Faunus."

"Oh." Rather unable to come up with any other excuse now that she had been outed, Yang only grinned and shrugged her shoulders. Despite her cheery demeanor, she did not miss the way the Blake glanced over to angrily glare at their teammate. "Oh well. Could've handled staring at her a few more seconds, though only if she did that thing she was doing before the match." Seeing the disgust that was written in Weiss' expression, she pressed even further, a sudden curiosity at what would happen if someone pushed the heiress' buttons too far overtaking her. "I mean, did you see her ass? The tail is cool and all, but damn. She must work on getting it that perfect, right Blake?"

Her partner was busy staring daggers at their rude teammate, and was genuinely surprised to be dragged into the conversation, glancing over with what could only be called guilt in her golden eyes. "I.. Uh, well.." Pale cheeks tinged pink as both Yang and her little sister devolved into a fit of giggles, while Weiss was left to sigh with open contempt at their antics. Blake recovered quickly enough to pipe in with her own judgment of Iris' appearance. "I kind of like her tail. But she's a little too forward for my taste." Unconsciously, she slid her gaze past the blonde to the leader of their squad, staring overlong before blinking and jerking her sight away from the younger girl.

Ruby, sitting right next to a loud blonde who was howling with laughter, almost missed it as the next dueler entered the arena. Like the others, the leader of Team CAIN slid over the railing to jump down. Unlike the others, she did not land with any force at all, her feet touching ground as she entered the ring of brightened light with no sound at all. "Weiss Schnee!" Words barked out like an order caused the laughter amongst Team RWBY to die down instantly as all their eyes snapped to the student standing next to Professor Goodwitch. A Faunus like her teammate, Clair Briar sported wider but shorter ears, those of a wolf, tipped with gray fur. There was a casual disinterest in the girl's gaze as she glanced at the teacher. "Assuming I can choose."

Weiss' watched as the brown eyes of her opponent turned toward her, settling into a glare that seemed far too personal for a girl she had only seen a handful of times. She matched it with a cold stare that had been practiced and honed by years of lessons on boardroom politics. Snatching up her rapier, she strode toward the railing and slide over easily, landing with a noise of protest as she looked up. Before her stood a Faunus who was roughly as tall as Yang, her wolfish ears twitching in agitation. Wild rust-colored hair cascaded down the girl's back, with bangs hanging haphazardly in front of a fierce expression. The sight caused her lips to curl with apprehension, as her opponent made Ruby look well-groomed.

Steel-toe-and-heel combat boots were buckled to knee height, while brown shorts only reached down to mid-thigh, exposing a few inches of tanned skin. A black leather belt was clasped outside of the loops on the shorts, housing a long saber that had a spiked guard covering it's hilt, while the very edge of the blade was made of some type of crystal.

A tan jacket hung open over a formfitting black t-shirt, though the hem was torn and frayed all about, and the light cloth did little to hide the knotted muscles that lay beneath it. Each hand was covered in obsidian colored gauntlets, fingerless like Yang's and showing off the way the fingers clasped and released again and again, revealing a nervous tic. What drew Weiss' gaze the most was the emblem upon the girl's chest, a wilted white rose, bending at the stem and dying in the center of a ring of thorns. So engrossed in studying her opponent, she was unaware that Goodwitch had left until the lights dimmed to black out the audience.

There was no playful banter between them, like there had been for their teammates, just a strange growing anger that the Schnee girl was unaware of. Claire Briar seethed as she circled the heiress, watching as the smaller girl drew a thin rapier from her belt. Scoffing at the tiny weapon, she drew Staccato Scar, ripping it free from of its trappings and advancing upon her target. Before she was within three paces, a white glyph sprung to life on the ground beneath Weiss and rocketed her away from range.

Raising both of her hands and summoning up the dust present within Myrtenaster, Weiss created several globes of icy power before sending them hurtling toward her opponent. They took chaotic paths, flowing through the air in unpredictable arcs, but always striking true to where she aimed. Impossibly so, the Faunus she was fighting evaded them with a move that looked like she was simply falling away from the ground. Unsure if the girl had jumped or not, she watched as the brunette spun in midair and then flew towards her, a leg outstretched in a kick.

Claire was only inches away from striking true when she landed, slamming into the ground with enough force that it chipped away at the stage floor. With no hesitation, she kicked out with her leading foot and spun herself around, swiping out the Schnee girl's legs in a viciously quick attack. Staccato Scar followed shortly after, slashing at the air that was previously occupied by the platinum-haired girl, who was busy rolling away.

Giving chase with a snarl, Claire righted herself and ran toward her target with wild and angry abandon, both of their blades clashing as the other girl found her feet in time to block. Saber met rapier in a ear shattered sound of scraping metal, and it was then that she unleashed Scar's true abilities, her thumb flicking the latch on the hilt. Red dust bled into the crystalline edge of the blade, generating a hum and a bloody glow that illuminated the dim arena. More importantly, it set a fire to the air nearby, and forced the heiress to retreat from their impasse with a gasp of surprise.

Swinging her blade through the air casually, flames and ash followed the metalwork as she advanced on the smaller form. The piercing weapon forced her to defend, swiping aside the pinprick again and again as she continued to force her opponent back. Eventually, she found her opening as she was able to pull the points of both blades toward the ground, allowing her to free her left hand. Reaching back to the grip of the pistol she kept tucked into it's holster, she drew it in and pointed it straight into the chest of her opponent at point-blank range.

Weiss felt her eyes go wide as she realized her error, her mind racing to remember if she should have noticed the second weapon. It was then she knew her opponent's calculating mind, that every movement had been to refuse her any line of sight on the hidden advantage, just as the dust chamber within the saber had been. A three round burst fired from the barrel of the weapon, slamming into her chest with enough force she stumbled back, and her clumsy attempt to create a glyph was stopped by another volley from the firearm.

It was on the second burst she tripped, scurrying away from any continued fire in an effort to regain control of her own situation on this battlefield. Placing her right hand upon the hard surface of the stage, she etched a glyph into the ground, sending herself skyward. Above the arena in the blink of an eye, she righted herself and glared down at her opponent, who was aiming upwards at her. In the light, the brown irises of the wolf-girl seemed to change into a sanguine color, fractals of red evident throughout the orbs. Breathing in as her momentum began to fall away, Weiss reasserted that she could still with the fight, despite the devious mind she now battled.

Summoning up an acceleration glyph behind her, she rocketed downward. A burst came from that damned pistol, but she dodged by sending herself diagonally through the space between them with another glyph, and then again in the opposite direction. With a cry, she slashed across her opponent's chest, landing with enough momentum that she slid several feet before stopping.

Claire was staggered by the blow, but recovered without delay so that she was able to replace Packmaster into it's holster, letting out a bestial growl as she turned to face the Schnee girl once again. She needed no time to recover, instead charging with a furious scream toward her opponent with saber raised. First, their blades crossed and she used her hilt to shove the silvery rapier wide, before smashing the guard of her own weapon into the other girl's face. The light of the dust within the crystals died down, and with her advantage spent, she abandoned the blade.

It succeeded in stunning Weiss, who lost her hold on Myrtenaster, and heard only the clang of her weapon a second before it was followed by yet another sound of metal hitting the floor. Pain lanced through the structures of her face, having been punched with enough force that her aura had done little but soften the blow. Glancing up to quickly see what else had been lost in the fierce assault, she found that her opponent had abandoned the vicious dust saber that had set the air on fire. Confusion set in for only a moment, before one gauntleted fist followed the first strike into her shoulder.

Claire bared her fangs in an animalistic growl as the smaller girl crumpled beneath her punch, reaching down to pick the other up before delivering winding back another attack, coming in from a lower angle this time. The strike carried more than enough force, sending the silver-haired teen across the arena, where she crashed to the floor and began trying to stand. Striding toward victory, Claire snapped the thumb and index finger of her left hand, letting a reddish glow surround her hand before she placed it palm first upon the floor underneath the other girl.

Weiss, still recovering from being thrown through the air, was on her hands and knees. Her aura had broken from being thrown across the arena, but now she was held in a sensation of weightlessness, and floating almost an inch from the ground. Before she was able to truly comprehend what was coming, she saw the shiny tip of a steel-toed boot rocket toward her stomach. The impact, combined with the semblance that had robbed gravity from her form, caused her to slam into the nearby wall so hard that the stonework cracked. It was then that her opponent's strange ability ceased to effect her, and she fell to the floor with a cry of pain.

Claire Briar watched as pale blue eyes, threatening to flutter closed and give the Schnee girl the gift of unconsciousness, stared up at her in pain. Too disoriented to be defiant, her opponent needed but one more hit to finish her off, and so she obliged by gripping a fistful of hair and pulling the other girl upright. Even as she wound back a punch, she became aware of the lights in the amphitheater, and a stunned silence that told her she had delivered a blow far too late into the match. She had seen the blue aura shatter the first time her opponent had struck the wall, and the kick had been issued against zero defenses. In her rage, she had ignored the signs of a beaten foe and continued her assault.

Staring down at the prone girl, she felt her fingers clasp and release in nervousness as the haze of anger bled away. She became acutely aware of the stares that were centered upon her, and the way that the teen upon the ground was groaning. For a moment, a hand reached out to help the girl up, but then withdrew. Without a word, she turned and walked to where Staccato Scar lay, collecting it and heading for the edge of the stage, to where Professor Goodwitch stood. Furious and silent, the older woman held a scowl that told of the punishment to come. "Class dismissed! Team RWBY, please take Ms. Schnee to the infirmary."

Glynda turned her gaze upon the young Faunus standing nearby, and saw the way that Claire Briar looked back at Weiss Schnee. There was an expression flooded with regret and concern, no longer that seething anger that had possessed the girl in battle. "You are coming with me to Professor Ozpin's office. Now." Steering the teen with a firm hand on a strong shoulder, she gave a small push toward the room's exit before releasing her.

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