A shockwave erupted from
Yatsuhashi’s sword meeting Steele’s iron fist. Pulling back, both fighters
struck again with heavy blows. The exchange unleashed waves of solid energy
that destroyed the weaker objects like the glass of windows and minds of the
weaker beings. In his captivity, Jaune watched this battle with the other
bystanders who believed being here was worth ditching class for a few more
With arms raised for another strike, Yatsuhashi couldn’t swing down when Steele sent two quick jabs into his face. The armored giant shook his head before he struck down only to miss his target. He tried to chase the captain until his arms rose to block ribbons of hard light coming from the tips of Penny’s gun-swords.
Behind Yatsuhashi’s enduring body, Velvet threw yellow Dust shards that landed near Penny and shattered to unleash electric currents. Before the sparks could strike the robot in disguise, Steele jumped in the way with metallic legs that acted as lightning rods to attract and nullify the shocking elements.
Without missing a beat, Yatsuhashi placed his weapon behind him with its point aiming the other way. The broadsword’s sharp edge became covered in the blue Dust that was sprinkled from the vial in Velvet’s hand. When the Faunus patted his shoulder, the armored giant swung his Dust-covered sword to fling out a blue, crescent-shaped wave. More slashes had more of the high pressured water waves come out and leave behind gashes in the passing walls.
This barrage didn’t stop Steele as he had dark-red liquid coming from his arms. Limbs sizzling from their cover of molten magma, he formed his hands into knives before swinging them to meet the approaching water. Each strike made the waves of water evaporate into steam within an instant. When the last of the sharp liquid was gone, the captain dashed on as his arms turned back into silver.
Velvet just finished spilling brown Dust onto her partner’s blade from another vial. When she moved away, Yatsuhashi drove his sword into the ground. This made a small earthquake rumble before the ground exploded to send sharp pieces forward and ready to skewer Steele.
Before the shrapnel made contact, they suddenly burst into clouds of dust. The dust grew as more pieces were destroyed from the blazing fire sent by Penny and her twin guns. Using this opening, Steele ran closer and had his arms become a darker shade of gray. His muscles now thicker, he came close and sent out punches that went fast as fire from a gatling gun.
Yatsuhashi blocked the blows with the flat side of his risen blade. He couldn’t stop Penny from passing him and firing lasers at the Dust Velvet threw her way.
“Desist this struggle. Continuing this isn’t making anything right.” Penny swung her swords, but missed as Velvet quickly hopped backwards with more Dust in hands.
“Then why did you start this fight?” Velvet’s pained rebuttal turned into a cry as a Dust shard she threw exploded too close to her body. Fortunately, this created a small wind that only pushed both her and Penny away from each other. When the Faunus tried to get up, Yatsuhashi grabbed her collar and threw her backwards while he raised his sword’s flat side to block a power punch from Steele.
Seeing the four combatants continue their fight left the captive Jaune troubled. So far, nobody gave him an explanation of why they were fighting in the first place. Although this fight shouldn’t be his responsibility, seeing Velvet in the midst of this conflict gave him a reason to try something to stop it.
“Well, it looks like this fight is going to be over soon.” Cardin’s remark came when he saw Steele land a solid kick into Yatsuhashi’s head. Jaune saw this too, but felt relieved when the armored teenager regained balance before restarting the fight with heavy swings. He couldn’t watch the fight as Cardinal’s leader walked up in front of him and cracked his knuckles.
“Now for some payback. Let’s see if you can try to beat us in this state, Jauney bitch.” Cardin pulled back a clenched fist to prepare for a beat down onto the helpless blonde. Before he could throw it, his chest met a hard kick coming from the front of Jaune’s shoe. This made him stumble backwards and fall into the people standing behind him.
Resorting to action, Jaune slammed a headbutt into Dove’s forehead. He then kneed Russle hard in the stomach, a blow that made the surprised captor let go to give the blonde his freedom. When he turned his head, he saw Sky run away, probably scared that Jaune fought off everyone despite the advantage the team had. This was hardly true as the remaining members of Cardinal were already getting up, somewhat sore from their mistake of underestimating the one whose hands were still cuffed in Null Stone.
Jaune ran through the crowd in hopes of losing the people who were going to chase him to complete their vengeance. When he took a moment to watch the battle again, he saw Velvet unleash small funnels of wind from her hands holding green Dust shards. In the middle of these violent winds was Penny, who pushed through to continue her march towards the Faunus. A hard kick with her legs allowed the robot to make it close to where her fist made crushing contact with the rabbit’s gut.
In horror, Jaune watched as Velvet flew back with small drops of blood coming from her mouth. Pushing through the crowd, he ran onto the battlefield with legs pumping hard. He got into a slide so he could move right onto Velvet’s landing spot. When his body cushioned the Faunus’s landing, he glanced down to see her panting in pain.
“J-jaune?” Still weak, Velvet peered up to show that one part of her face was dry with a trail of her blood. “Wh-why are you here? You shouldn’t be here.”
“Sorry, but I can’t stand by and do nothing while you’re in trouble.” The sitting boy waited for his brunette friend to get up from his lap. He had the leisure of this pause thanks to Yatsuhashi, who took the battle between him and Steele down the opposite end of the hallway. Pushing back the captain, the current fighter of Coffee smashed a back fist into Penny trying to rush him from behind. This sent the orange-haired girl sliding on the ground toward Jaune and Velvet. When her skidding came to a stop, Penny looked up from the ground and smiled. “Greetings, how are you today?”
Jaune felt awkward to hear the question coming from the one who wrecked Velvet in the first place. Since his bound state wouldn’t let him fight properly, he scooted up in front of his friend to act as her shield. “I’m not sure. Are you going to keep attacking the person behind me?”
“Why, of course not. She’s no longer deemed a threat.” Getting up, Penny used her hands to dust off the dirt on her dress. “While Yatsuhashi is a different case, I believe Captain Hartbuster will be fine on his own. He hasn’t even started using his full strength yet…which might not be a good thing based on the coming outcome.”
Jaune glanced at the mentioned fighters to see a surprising development. He saw the back of Yatsuhashi become covered in brown stone that encased the body in an armor made of earth that was probably created from Dust. In the opposite direction was Steele whose arms were lined with black material that sparked with black lightning.
Taking into the account the damage of the hallway, Jaune could only imagine that this time was going to result in a bad scenario. The audience didn’t seem to have a clue of this as they continued watching with attentive eyes, unaware their lives may be in danger of the coming chaos.
Turning his back to Penny, Jaune asked, “Can you rip these off for me?”
“Sure, those do look very uncomfortable.” The robot girl placed her swords on her waists and used hands to firmly grip the black handcuffs. With a few tugs, she broke off the Null Stone restraints that crumbled into many pieces. “There we go. Now, you should take your friend here and-.”
Jaune didn’t hear the rest as he ran off towards the fighters building strength. Ignoring Velvet’s cry, he continued his run as he decided to stick with the objective that came to his mind.
To stop at least one of the combatants would mean stopping the shockwave that might blow up a huge portion of the hallway. It was a long shot, but he relied on one factor that could help him out.
“Finally! That Null Stone is a pain in my ass!” Speaking for the first time since the restraints came on, Lou asked, “And huh? Something to stop them? Sure, was meaning to give you this move. Now have at them!”
Jaune saw a mental image of darkness flood into his mind. In the midst of the black void, a small star shined to form something that the boy could only describe as something that reminded him of his first meeting with Lou. Otherworldly and beautiful, the object was something Jaune knew could manifest so to make it his own. He kept this possibility in his thoughts as he raised his two hands, one holding Crocea Mors and the other clenched into a shining fist.
“See it? Now use it!”
By instinct, Jaune swung his empty hand towards Yatsuhashi’s back. The blonde moved on towards Steele’s front and slashed both weapons in his hands against the captain to force him backwards. In this moment, Jaune looked at his hand to realize that he was holding onto a sword made of transparent, white glass with hilt covered in silver.
Jaune realized that he was dual-wielding Crocea Mors and his new weapon that he somehow knew was called the Arc Save. Hearing Lou’s cheering in his mind made him realize that he just found a new ability that came from his ancestor’s armory of inheritances.
“What the hell?” Steele regained his balance as his limbs sparking black lightning died down until they disappeared. “Hey, we’re in the middle of a fight here, asshole. You mind not interrupting us?!”
Jaune was shocked to hear the kind of attitude and words coming from Steele, a person carrying a military rank. He even felt intimidated from the captain’s face that reminded him of the well-known General of the Atlas military.
“Screw you, move it!” Steele’s forward punch forced Jaune to raise his new sword to block it. Strangely, the weapon’s metal didn’t stop the punch that went through and made contact with Jaune’s face. Resorting to Crocea Mors, he tried to swing only to miss as his enemy retreated while shaking an armored hand.
“Shit, what kind of weapon is that?” Getting back into a fighting stance, Steele glared at Jaune and Yatsuhashi, who remained still to not needlessly interfere. “Fine, fight for all I care. I’m not backing down from this until there’s one winner left standing.”
“Bring it, General’s boy. We’re set to take you down. Arc Save can cancel your Aura attacks, even if…aw crap, someone’s about to run interference.”
Before Jaune could ask what Lou meant by his phrase, he heard a solemn, strict voice say, “I’m afraid that’s out of the question, Captain Hartbreaker. This fight should have never began in the first place.”
All eyes turned to see that the voice came from a man standing tall in a white uniform and gray armor. Standing tall at attention, the newcomer held an air of discipline and power. To many, they would have known him as the General. For others, he was James Ironwood, the headmaster of his Kingdom’s domain. His position was made clear when his students, including Steele and Penny, took a moment to salute their authoritative figure.
This same man of high military order turned his full attention onto Steele. “Captain, do you mind explaining why you were about to destroy this hallway over a petty fight such as this?”
“I found our guys getting beaten down by those two over there.” The nonchalant Steele pointed at the silent Yatsuhashi and Velvet getting helped up by Jaune. “Joined in to save them, but they’re the tougher bunch in this school unlike the others I’ve seen.”
“And yet, you seem to forget that violence is considered a last resort, Captain.” His words sharp, the General sighed while shaking his head. “Perhaps self-restraint is something you can work on as leader of the Normal Coalition. Be sure to remember this in your future responsibilities, understand?”
“Yes sir.” With a disgruntled voice, Steele composed himself to where he still maintained a respectable stance. With this, Ironwood looked around and announced, “This battle is over, everyone return to your classes. Beacon’s headmaster will know of this incident, thus he will determine the punishment for your actions while I handle my own students.”
This made the crowd scatter, several regretting to be a part of this kind of event in the first place. For Jaune, he was about to go check on Velvet when he saw Ironwood walk up to him.
“Thank you for stopping the fight before its climatic end. Your insightful act has given me time to come in before my assistant here has escalated the situation.” Ironwood glanced at Steele, who turned his frowning face away with a huff. Standing next to the captain was Penny, who giggled much to her partner’s chagrin.
Jaune felt bashful before nervous as he remembered that Ironwood was the one who gave permission for the Normal Coalition to exist. With this in mind, he said, “Well, it’s all I could think of before the fighting got worse. However, I don’t think this would have happened if there were two sides to begin with.” Despite his pounding heart and the sight of Ironwood’s hardening gaze, Jaune managed to finish, “So…why did you make the Normal Coalition? It seems wrong to have people come under the cause of making every Faunus the enemy.”
To Jaune’s surprise, Ironwood let out what sounded like a sigh of exhaustion. With a soft inhale, the older man regained his composure. “Although your heart is in the right place with this question, that is something I can’t answer for the sake of security.”
“Security? What kind of Grimm crap is that?” Sounding frustrated, Lou continued, “If anything, he should trust us to keep a secret. I want to know right now!”
Jaune canceled out Lou’s screams that were obviously selfish and immature. When he was about to walk away, he heard the General ask, “Do you mind telling me your name, young man?”
“Jaune Arc.” Fearless of sharing his identity, the blonde looked up to make eye contact with Ironwood. “I’m the leader of Team Juniper, so if there’s anything that needs to be done, it should go through me before my team members.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” the older man chuckled, amused by Jaune’s willingness to take responsibility. “It seems there are people in need of your attention. You should see to them before heading to class.”
With a nod, the General turned around on his heel and marched towards the opposite end of the ruined hallway. While Penny followed her boss, Steele gazed at Jaune with a casual expression before he shrugged, put his hands into pockets, and walked off.
Relieved to see that the conflict was officially over, Jaune made his way to see that Velvet was sitting on the ground with Yatsuhashi standing nearby. “How bad is it? Do you need to get checked out?”
“I-I’m fine.” Velvet put down her napkin that had the color of her blood on it. “I didn’t regulate my Aura enough to prevent the damage. Resting during lecture should be enough for me to recover from my mistake.”
After the Faunus tried to get up, she fell back down onto her knees while a hand was placed against her forehead. Concerned, Jaune kneeled beside her. Looking up at Yatsuhashi, he asked, “I can take it from here, so you should go to class.”
When the armored giant gave a befuddled look, Jaune corrected, “She helped me once, so I want to return the favor. Is that okay?” This made Yatsuhashi hesitate for a moment as he looked at his sitting partner. He then nodded before rumbling away to leave the two alone. This had Jaune present his hand to Velvet, who slowly took it so she could have help when standing up.
“If you’re talking about the time when I rescued you, you didn’t have to be concerned about that.”
“I know, but…this is me being concerned for a friend. We’re friends after all, right?” Jaune felt warm to see Velvet smile and reply, “I actually said that the last time out of hope. It’s good to see the feeling is mutual, Jaune.”
“Oh, look at that. She looks so cute with her curvaceous stance and that foreign accent. I bet you really liked how you rescued a damsel in distress like her, huh Prince Charming?” Lou’s annoyed tone had Jaune think that there really was something between it and Velvet. Although there was no hostility, the disinterest was definitely noticeable.
Burying his worried thoughts, Jaune placed Velvet’s arm over his shoulder. When he walked on, he heard the nervous girl ask, “Wh-what are you doing?”
“You’re still dizzy, aren’t you? I’ll help you walk to a medical room, so lean on me if you need the support.” Jaune didn’t notice that his words had the Faunus smile in appreciation. What he did feel is her head leaning against his shoulder as she noted, “I am a bit dizzy. Thank you for doing this, Jaune.”
“Not a problem.” Thinking he was doing the right thing, the knight of white armor didn’t notice how him and the Faunus being together would make juicy rumors. Despite his denseness to miss these things without help, he was also busy fishing out his Scroll that was ringing from his pocket. When he slid open the lids to see what came for him, he felt pale to see that it came from Steele, a.k.a Captain Hartbuster.
“Hot damn, he’s calling us out! Drop this broad off and we’ll kick his ass to the curve!” Lou was relaying excitement, the emotion opposite of what Jaune was feeling. After making a note of the location Steele sent him, he continued on to support Velvet towards their move to the medical room.