Jaune: The Strong (Volume 1)

Illumination

While Lou and Ozpin made small talk amongst each other, Jaune watched the Scroll in his hands replay his fight with Team Cardinal. Despite one part of him enjoying this video, the lad of light was also worried of how he became a targeted enemy of the Normal Coalition.

“Jaune, smile. As an upcoming hero, you should look more lax for your future challenges.” Floating over Ozpin’s desk, Lou spun around like a top out of boredom and annoyance from its master’s attitude. “Instead of looking like a coward, have a brave face or you can ruin the flow of how things go from here on.”

“Somewhat crude, but Lou has a point.” Adding his input, Ozpin placed his hands together to make the stance he always used to make decisions. “Despite your forced position, your choices will have more weight on future situations than before. From now until the end of this matter, you will have to be considerate of those in and outside the team you lead.”

Jaune felt his spirit spiral down into the void of depression. One day of fame placed him in a predicament no ordinary student could ever prepare for. He then remembered that he wasn’t ordinary as he had his family heirloom come into his life and become the catalyst for his status as a revolutionary symbol.

“I’ll take that more as a compliment.” Lou had its jeweled body shine in Jaune’s direction. “Remember? I could still read your mind with our connection. Ozpin picked up on that with his use of energy.” Looking at the headmaster, Lou sounded nervous while asking, “Are you always going to listen on our conversations? It’d be nice if you don’t do it so often.”

“That remains to be seen.” Ozpin had a smile that made Jaune felt aware of due to its mysterious nature. “But back to the subject at hand, would you like to explain what you exactly are, Lou? I’m sure your owner would also like to know how you will become his power in the future.”

Lou hummed a curious tone to show he was in deep thought. “Yeah, probably should. Jaune’s been raising so much hell that we never did have a chance to talk about the causes for the effects.”

Clearing a throat invisible to the eye, Lou floated around the air as if he was walking like a speaker during a presentation. “Putting all the technical bullshit aside, I was handed down through the long line of Arcs so they could store their abilities into me. This leaves all of their descendants the spoiled leisure of gaining those skills that will never remain lost as long as I’m around.”

“So you’re like an inheritance?” Jaune asked. “Does that kind of process involve Aura?”

“Kid, I’m your power by birthright. Don’t make me sound like a dirty piece of lien.” Somewhat annoyed, Lou still continued, “And sure, it’s more like Aura is used to extract the powers from my body and insert them into you, whether it be mind or genes. This is made possible by the process your ancestors just shoved down my throat when making me.”

“But I assume such powers would require training in order to control them. Is that right Lou?”

“Yeah because I can’t always make the call for Jaune here.” After answering Ozpin, the floating necklace snickered, “And sure, I’ll take the blame for Goodwitch’s fall into the outside lake. One example that most of the skills will need practice before it can be used in perfection.”

Jaune glared at Lou as he was reminded of his fear from the probable case where Goodwitch would have cast indignant punishment for the rest of his days.

“So anyhoo, does that make sense?” Trying to move on, Lou continued, “You can call me your database full of gimmicks or the Arc hand-me-down. I’d prefer to be known as the key to your true potential.” The necklace moved closer to Jaune with excitement laced in words. “You were meant to be great like your past bloodlines, each leaders or fighters of the highest caliber. With me, you can achieve so much more with the entire Arc lineage in your possession. In time, you can even utilize Luminessence in all its glory!”

Jaune could tell that Lou was really excited that he was on the path of greatness. He still had a hard time believing that he even had any potential to become one of the people Lou mentioned. In this moment of dreams and hope, the blonde teenager didn’t expect the headmaster to be chuckling out of amusement.

“Excuse me, but you will be taking Jaune on the path of Luminessence?” Back to a calm state, Ozpin still maintained a light tone in his voice. “I see, so were involved with the One Hero, Galbinus Luminary.”

“You can say that, but are you going to tell Jaune about him? Cause that’s really nothing the kid needs to hear about right now.” While Lou said this, its owner felt dread for why the mention of an unknown figure had to be void of any explanation.

“No, no, as I’m sure you have your reasons,” Ozpin answered while shaking his head. “There will be no breach in the trust between us. In exchange for keeping your existence a secret, I will accept that your intentions to guide Jaune will create an outcome favorable for the needs of the many.”

For a moment, Lou remained silent in mid-air. It suddenly spun around in a circle before exclaiming, “You’re damn right I’m going to do that! And when Jaune is famous and rich, we’re going to bring this back to Beacon, maybe get you a nice retirement for being such a cool guy.”

“Retirement is never an option for me, but I appreciate your considerate thought, Lou.” When the headmaster smiled, Jaune realized that he witnessed two experienced figures find ground on friendly terms.

“With this, do you feel confident of how you will face your future challenges, Jaune Arc?” Voice refined with authority, Ozpin placed his attention on the leader of Team Juniper. “As you know by now, the conflict taking place in this school and the city will not present a happy ending that many will expect.”

Immediately, Jaune knew how to answer the headmaster. He did it after he remembered everything he experienced from his one semester in Beacon. When he remembered his and Ruby’s conversation from before, he answered, “I’ll continue do my best to succeed. When I’m still the leader of my team and have friends in danger, failure is one option I won’t allow at any time of my life.”

“Hell yeah, we’re going to win it all so everyone will gain it all. Seriously, a hero is supposed to gain the goods once everyone else finds happiness too.” Lou placed its string back over Jaune’s head so the necklace’s jewel can settle near the top of Jane’s chest plate. “So, what role do you think is going to need my man and his crew at?”

“There is no exact purpose in mind as the problems may come to you rather than remain hidden.” Ozpin reached for his Scroll on the part of his desk that Jaune placed it on a while ago. “So rather than seek, it’s better for you to wait until the time for action comes along.”

While Jaune nodded, Lou spoke, “So the storm is heading our way, huh? Sounds good. We’ll keep a lookout for those things. Come on Jaune, let’s get out and be ready. Maybe get some training in since you still need to get in touch with Luminous Shine and Lumen Burst.

“Before you go, there are three factors you two need to be aware of,” Ozpin said before Jaune could leave. “One is that the leader of the Normal Coalition has been chosen. He is known to be one of the General’s few assistances. Take caution as he is also…infamous for his eccentric behavior.”

In his mind, Jaune saw a huge man that had robotic limbs. This picture came from knowing how Ironwood was a huge promoter of using technology, most cases involving the weapons of the Atlesian Knight brand.

“The second is how the investigation for the recent Grimm attack has not been resolved.” With a dark face, Ozpin added, “And when there is no trail leading back to where the monsters from those holes might have come from, there is the suspicion that a third party has been involved, so be careful.”

“No need to worry, Ozpin. The two of us can handle anything that comes our way.” Lou spoke with the same confidence that Jaune began to have as the feeling was infectious. “So bring on the third piece and we’ll be on our way into the storm.”

“Be fair to those around you, Jaune. The path of Luminessence is one that will force you to make the most difficult decisions concerning long-term effects.” In a serene state, the headmaster had his cup of joe back in hand. “And while society may condemn such a practice, perhaps you will be one of the few to have ever achieved it just as your predecessor, Galbinus, has done.”

“Okay, you need to talk. What did the headmaster mean by that?!”

After saying his farewell to Ozpin, Jaune walked down the hall back to his class that should be in session by now. Despite receiving different stares from passing students, he was more concerned of the facts that Lou has yet to give him regarding Luminessence.

Back to using telepathy, Lou replied, “What? That thing about Luminessence? I dunno, don’t ask me what Ozpin meant by that. He probably knows more than me.”

“Liar, you’re the one who introduced it in the first place. And when you were involved with an ancestor who followed the practice, I think you would have the answer for why the headmaster said something like that in the first place!” Frustrated, Jaune continued walking in his heated pace. His downcast eyes made those who saw him move away rather than risk setting off the boy into a random fit of rage.

“Look, that’s not important right now. Since Ozpin made it clear that he didn’t want to give us a specific mission, we’ll just place ourselves in the likely places of trouble will come to us. See how I’m working around that logic?”

Lou made a snapping noise inside Jaune’s head as if it snapped two fingers together. “And it looks like there’s a good amount of trouble coming from the city. Let’s take a visit over there later, maybe get some downtime with Ruby. Have some fun with Blake, Yang, and…nice, Weiss is on that team too?”

Before Jaune could protest against this idea, he noticed the sound of weapons clanging in the distance. Realizing he couldn’t hear it because of his mental conversation with Lou, he felt hesitant to approach the conflict that happened to be on the path to his intended destination. When he saw students heading to that location, he placed an arm out to stop one and ask, “What’s happening over there? Where’s everyone going?”

“There’s a fight between a Faunus and someone from the Normal Coalition.” Gently nudging Jaune’s hand off of his shoulder, the guy aimed a finger ahead of him. “Gonna go watch before the fight is over. If you hurry, you might get a piece of the action too.”

Hearing this news left Jaune frozen on the spot. To hear a skirmish already starting between the oppressed and oppressor left him unsure of how to proceed. Should he get involved and fight for the side people have labeled him as? He never did accept the role, only be asked by Ozpin to face the challenges with his best judgment.

“Come on, it’s time to go! Fight for the Faunus, become hero of the day!”

Despite his objections, Jaune still made his way to the area of attention. He made up his mind that if there was a fight, the most he could do was call a teacher like most, sensible students would do to settle a fight between students. He tried to think of other ideas while approaching the crowd gathering near the outside of a hallway.

“Hey, is that a bunny girl?”

“Ha, that human is protecting her. What a loser, can’t beat the best of the Normal Coalition.”

Hearing these words had Jaune panic to where he squeezed through the group of bodies. Making his way to the front, he eventually saw the sight that made fireworks go off in his head.

In one of Beacon’s long hallways full of windows stood a huge male in green armor, the one Jaune recognized to be Yatsuhashi. Behind him was Velvet, the Faunus whose head trailed a long, line of blood from forehead to chin.

Feeling angry at the sight of his injured friend, Jaune veered his attention to the opposite side of the area. His eyes widened to see that the opposition was unlike anything he’s ever seen before.

On the ground were the unconscious bodies of students in white and gray uniforms. Way back were teenagers in the same attire with weapons at ready and eyes forward. The reason why none of them moved on to attack was because two, lone figures stood ahead of them, the only fighters fearless enough to be on the front lines.

One stood with short, orange hair that had a pink bow tied in the back. With bright, green eyes, the girl had an old-fashioned dress of a lighter color. With a black and green collar, the girl appeared robotic in some manner although most witnesses still couldn’t see it. Already introduced to several, most have called her Penny, the first synthetic lifeform made from metal.

Standing next to this girl was a taller boy. Unlike his counterparts, the older teenager wore a silver coat that had only its collar straps tied around neck to keep the clothing attached and flow out like a cape. Underneath were shirts and pants covered in black armor. With his black spiky hair, this newcomer could have been mistaken for a younger, wilder version of James Ironwood. His narrowed, serious eyes could have even mistaken him as a possible relative.

These two figures standing on what was obviously the side of the Normal Coalition unnerved Jaune. He could tell they were enough to keep two, second-year students at bay and create this current standoff. And seeing they were about to continue fighting had Jaune reach for his Scroll to hurry and make the call to a nearby teacher.

“Come on, don’t do that. Just get in there and join the fight with Yatsushi and…that Velvet chick.”

“Well, well, if it ain’t Jauney boy.”

The familiar voice had Jaune see both of his arms get grabbed by Russell and Dove. Before he could retaliate, Sky came from behind and snapped two handcuffs onto Jaune’s waists. Feeling weak, the restrained boy could hardly move as he saw Cardin push the people in his way while approaching him.

“Null Stone?! Damn…pussies.”

Just as Jaune heard Lou become quiet and his Aura weaken, he couldn’t stop the fist that Cardin threw at him to make a heavy impact at the stomach. Keeling over, the blonde boy raised his head to see the bully glance down at him with a wicked smile.

“Sorry, but can’t let you pull any heroics in this one.” Turning around, Cardin smiled as he saw the fighters prepare for the next phase of the battle. “Just watch as Captain Hartbuster and his buddy is about to teach these freaks and their admirers a lesson.”

Still trying to get out of his captors’ hold, Jaune realized then he could only watch as Yatsuhashi ran with sword raised. The one known as Steele Hartbuster raised his hand with knuckles lined in steel and punched out to make it meet the other’s brown broadsword.

The resulting crash created a small shockwave that blew apart the glass of the nearby windows. Jaune felt his heart break from seeing Velvet lift her arms in a weak attempt to protect herself from the falling glass.


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