Jaune: The Strong (Volume 1)

Ignited Embers

“Well, there it is. She got rid of herself without causing us too much trouble,” Mercury said before he jumped onto his bed. “Helping her almost turned into a disaster. We didn’t want the soldiers to come snooping around our room without a notice.”

Emerald nodded as she turned off her Scroll that portrayed the events of the amphitheater through a camera. “I was worried about why you told us not to get involved with her anymore. Now it’s clear; I’m sorry for doubting you Cinder.”

“It’s alright. Even I have to admit that our allies from the White Fang were hasty with their news and request regarding this Aqua.” The raven-haired temptress of fire turned off her own Scroll before she got up from her bed. Walking with a suave saunter, Cinder stood at the center of the room so she could have the attention of her younger cohorts. “And we know ‘that man’ is making his own preparations, so he couldn’t have been the one in charge of this uninvited move. In fact, I wasn’t aware of anymore assets within our close vicinity.”

While Cinder kept in mind ‘that man’ was Adam, Mercury yawned with a lazy hand near his mouth. “Well, it sounds like we have several of our ‘friends’ going wild. They’re pretty crazy to think having a Faunus going suicide is a good idea.”

“Or is it? After all, her cherished relative was one of the many within the captivity of our radical comrades.”

Cinder’s announcement created reactions of surprise from the teenagers. Emerald was the first to say, “So she didn’t commit suicide just to avoid capture. She did it to let whoever was watching her know she did her job and avoid a real interrogation.”

“So we have other White Fang folks in this building? Then why the hell did we have to sneak into that room when those other guys could have done it?!” Despite being annoyed, Mercury donned a frown that signaled his descent into a more solemn mood. “So you think the people controlling Aqua were the same idiots who listened to our prison buddy? There’s no way Torchdick could have convinced that many members to do the train plan so early.”

“Perhaps, which means there’s a motive as to why these instigators would dare take actions that may jeopardize our preparations.” Cinder’s voice didn’t lose its calm demeanor as she finished, “And yet, we have no reason to take the immediate action of teaching these deviants a much needed lesson.”

“Bunch of morons if you ask me,” Emerald added as she continued sitting on the floor while using a napkin in one hand to clean the barrel of her gun. “They’re doing this while Atlas is coming in with guns hot and soldiers trigger-happy? That means most of the city is going to be occupied by them, which we took into account way before it happened.”

Mercury rolled off of his bed, landed on the floor, then got up with arms out in the manner of an accomplished athlete. “So those troublemakers are in a tight spot. That leaves them with the choice of coming back and hoping we won’t get rid of them for being losers. The other is where if they do make us worry, we’ll just mosey over and do a little pest extermination.”

Cinder nodded as she was somewhat proud that her juniors were able to comprehend the situation despite missing several points. However, the duo was able to get the general idea, leaving the fire conjurer to save her corrections for another time.

“With that settled, we do have several errands to take care of outside the school.” Cinder reactivated her Scroll, preparing to bring up her digital schedule. “The weekend starts tomorrow. The two of you will attend to your posts while I make my visit…elsewhere.”

The villainess felt her chest become warm as her eyes made contact with the screen’s images. By accident, she forgot to turn off the cameras that were still watching the scene in the amphitheater. The ones that captured her interest involved a teary-eyed Jaune getting taken away by several soldiers of Atlas. The boy’s arms were still cuffed in Null Stone along with other children of his age.

“Cinder, is something wrong?”

The woman looked up to see the teenagers give her gazes mixed with curiosity and concern. Silently cursing herself for the immature pause, Cinder cleared her throat as she put away her Scroll. “Emerald, are you asking because I stopped explaining what my own objectives are? I don’t recall having any desire to share such details.”

The sharp tone seemed to work as Emerald’s eyes slightly widened with fear. “N-no ma’am, just curious. We’ll make sure to do our part when the time comes.”

“Right after a good night’s sleep. All this racket going on didn’t help me get much shut-eye.” With this, Mercury yawned as his back made contact with the unoccupied bed. His groan immediately turned into soft snores.

“Very well, but we’ll need to go through our plans one more time before our departure.” Finished with her orders, Cinder made her exit out of the door’s dorm alone. She hurried down the hall and entered the ladies room.

Once she was sure the perimeter was clear, Cinder walked into a stall, sat down on the toilet’s lid, and reopened her Scroll. Her chest regained its warmth as her hand gently caressed the frozen image of Jaune.

“It seems we’re destined to see each other again, but will it be as a friend or foe?” With a wicked titter, the mistress of darkness felt her eyes glow with Aura as embers rose from the depths of her heart. “I’m sure we will find out soon enough. By then, I hope you haven’t lost your ability to excite me, oh giver of light.

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