Chapter 4: Red Like Mercy, Gold Like Glory
A young girl, no older than 15, stood in front of a grave. Sunlight shone on it through the cracks and breaks in the tree branches. It was a small, simple grave, in the middle of a forest, just outside a little town called Patch. It was her hometown, and she spent most of her life there. Her red hood and cloak swayed in the nighttime breeze as she knelt down. The words on the gravestone were scratched out through years of wear and tear, but a single word could still be read from it.
The girl took her hood in her hands and removed it from covering her head. She had dark red hair that framed her youthful face, and stormy gray eyes. She opened her mouth to speak, to no one in particular, or perhaps, hoping that someone would hear her.
"Hey, mom," she said. "Guess what? I'm heading to Beacon soon."
"I know what you're thinking," she quickly added. " 'Ruby Rose, you're too young to be going to Beacon!', but they saw what I could do with all the training uncle Qrow gave me, and Yang'll be there to look after me, not that I couldn't look after myself, but the point is I won't be alone, and-"
The girl stammered on for a few minutes or so, talking about how she thwarted these Dust Burglars during their raid on a Dust Shop in town.
"Then there was this Huntress, Glynda Goodwitch, you might have known her! I dunno, anyway, she helped me out, then she detained me because I was being reckless or something. But then this guy named Ozpin, who was, get this, the headmaster of Beacon, bailed me out and told me I had the skill to get enrolled at Beacon on scholarship! Uncle Qrow was ecstatic," She laughed a bit. Echoing silence followed.
"The White Fang seem to be acting up again, but no biggie on that end so far. Oh, Yang beat up these hoodlums in a bar fight she told me about. She's really been feeling the big sister role lately, she asked me about a million times if I really wanted to go to Beacon, and obviously I said 'Of course I do, I want to be just like mom!' and eventually she let up."
She continued to talk to the grave just like this. She did this every so often, when she had time between her studies, combat training, and daily chores. She enjoyed it very much. She felt right at home talking to no one in particular here, in the silence of the forest. It felt serene and calming, starkly different from life in the town, which was noisy and fast-paced.
After about half an hour in recounting her adventures in school, including how she helped Yang smuggle some high-wire fireworks for the prom of the Seniors that year, she stood up and hugged the slab of stone. Other people would have probably found this odd or off putting, but Ruby didn't mind nor did she care. It was the closest she felt to her mother after she disappeared. They never told their family if she'd actually died. All they knew was that she disappeared during a mission against the White Fang. But thus far they haven't seen hide nor hair of her, which led to her family creating this symbolic gravesite. Maybe, she always thought, if she were alive somewhere, she would hear her. Or even if she really was gone, she would hear her too.
She was just fifteen, but she had good understanding on how the world worked. It wasn't a fairy tale or a bed time story where the good guys always had good endings and everything lived happily ever after. Still, this hasn't stopped her from being a bright ray of optimism for both her friends and her family. She let go of the gravestone, and stood up. She heard growling behind her.
"Well you guys are earlier than normal," She said to her encroaching assailants, smiling and reaching for a weapon slung to her belt.
Ruby Rose looked at her pride and joy, Crescent Rose. It was a complicated weapon, a farmer's tool combined with a high-caliber sniper rifle powerful enough to propel its user forward whenever the user fired a bullet. A few years ago, when she first crafted it, she had no idea how to use it. She made it on a whim and a prayer, hoping that she could become like her uncle Qrow, a famous and extremely skilled Hunter. Now, however, after being put through her uncle's boot-camp like training, she used it as easily as her sister Yang brawled with her shot-gauntlets. It became an extension of her very being, and she used it as she would a knife or fork at a dinner table. She lived for the fight. And she enjoyed it.
It was her dream to become a Huntress one day. For a girl who stood at five foot two, this seemed impossible. But the life of a Hunter-Huntress was never limited to one's stature. Shiki the Knife-Edge was a tall, lanky fellow, who had twenty three Nevermore kills under his belt. Arthura Sabledragon was a humble, lithe, Faunus-Woman of five feet in height that single-handedly fended off not less than twenty Beowolves at the Battle of Mistral Border. There were many more, like Marty the Midget Mauler, Kunlun the Shadowdancer, Loony Larry Larper. The point was that it was their heart and their hard-work that led people to sing of their glorious battles. She dreamt that one day, maybe she would be one of them, even if this seemed unrealistic. She was a ray of hope and sunshine, after all.
She dashed forward and slashed at a Beowolf in front of her. Its powerful claws tried to swipe at her but were quickly detached from its arms. She fired Crescent Rose behind her and used the momentum to jump up, decapitating her target as she swiftly flew over it. She looked back and saw the three other Beowolves charging at her. They were powerfully built, at around seven feet each, but thankfully they weren't too bright. She jumped on one, sank Crescent Rose's blade into another's shoulder, and let a bullet loose into the other one's heart, blowing it back and killing it instantly. As she fell, the Beowolf she jumped over swiped at her, and she jumped out of the way. The Beowolf's swipe decapitated its comrade, and its body fell limp. The remaining Beowolf roared at Ruby. If there was one thing she 'admired' about the Grimm, it was that they hunted in packs, or 'families'. They always took offense whenever one of them fell, the remaining ones getting more and more aggressive as they tried to avenge their comrades. This one was no different. Its mouth foamed, and its eyes looked at her with utter hatred.
Or perhaps, this was her way of thinking affecting her outlook on the Grimm. Maybe they didn't think that way at all. But it was a feeling she liked to keep, and the image stayed with her. She lived for the fight, but she took no joy in murdering these 'families', except if they threatened her or her friends. On the off times they met her randomly like this, she felt sorry for them. But it had to be done.
Off with its head, as they say.
The last Grimm's body crumpled to the ground. She sheathed Crescent Rose and looked back. She shook her head. "If only you left me alone."
She walked through the woods alone, going the long road home. The forest outside Patch was thick and heavy with old, tall trees, many of which have stood since before Humans or Faunus started creating settlements. She liked people, but she also liked her alone time. The forest was so nostalgic for some reason. Like a little red riding hood looking for adventure. She also found it a little charming that such a wild, untamed frontier found itself right beside of a bustling industrial community. She came across a fork in the road. Left always went back to her Uncle's house in the city. She was always told that the path right never really went anywhere. Yang said it was nothing but more trees and more Grimm down that road, much more than the two of them would be able to handle.
Ruby was confident in her abilities. She could take on three to five Beowolf without much trouble. But then she's always had a fear of being overrun by Grimm. Death was always a thought whenever she fought. It kept her sharp and on her toes, an important state of mind when fighting the Grimm. Still, she was always a thrill seeker. But maybe today wasn't that day to try and go on a suicidal adventure the likes no Huntress had ever seen before.
She decided against going through the right fork this time.
She trudged through the quietness of the forest for as long as the path lasted. It was just about noon on a lazy Saturday. Their Dustplane headed towards Vale and Beacon academy would be here soon. It was about time to get things ready with Yang. As she exited the forest, she gazed at the dirt road that eventually lead up to industrial-grade asphalt. It was a little bit down the road from her Uncle's house, which was a ten minute walk away from Patch's central hub in town. They lived in a quaint little hovel, a simple two story building. She went up the steps on their front porch and knocked on the door. Nothing replied except the barking of a creature inside.
"Zwei?" she called out. More barking answered her. "C'mon boy, open the door."
She heard a click and a slide from the inside. She turned the knob on the door and pushed to open it. A black and white figure assaulted her as soon as she got inside; a slimy, drool-ridden tongue forced itself onto her face, followed by happy panting and mewling as she carried its weight on her. She giggled as she tried to get the creature off of her. "Hey, stop that! C'mon, quit it!" She laughed.
Zwei removed himself and barked happily as he circled Ruby. She knelt down and pet the little black and white dog. He obliged by nuzzling his head against her hand. "Good boy."
She went straight to the kitchen and for the fridge. There was a note left on its door handle, signed by her uncle, Qrow.
"Dear Ruby and Yang, I'll be out for another mission for a while. Make sure you buy everything you need for school. Tell Yang to go home early for the week to rest up for the trip. Be careful on your way to Beacon, I'll be contacting you when you two get there. Much love, Uncle Qrow."
She opened the fridge and saw ready-made, microwaveable sandwiches. She took one and popped it into the oven. Zwei looked expectantly at his food bowl. He looked at her with pleading eyes.
"Alright alright. Can't believe Yang forgot to leave you some food again."
She took some of Zwei's food from the cupboard and poured a mountain of it on his bowl. To say he looked delighted would be an understatement. She took her own food from the microwave and started taking small bites. She did a mental checklist as she went upstairs to take a shower from her venture in the forest. She was about to jump into the bathroom, when she saw her older sister Yang sprawled on her bed, her room door slightly ajar. Her wild, fluffy, cloud-like blonde hair was sprawled around her like her own personal pillow, and she was in the most unlady-like position you could ever imagine while she slept.
"No wonder she didn't feed Zwei…"
Her sister Yang was a very active gal. Other than taking vigilante justice to the streets, when she wasn't being a blonde heroine of the night she was always keeping herself in shape, constantly going on nightly jogs and the gym. Despite her flirty nature and stunning good looks, she was a hard worker, who occasionally enjoyed going to clubs for a dance or two. She was everything Ruby saw as a role model and Yang always tried hard to keep up her image with her little sister. She was sleeping off last night's gang-bust, she caught a bunch of Dust smugglers trying to pedal shipments of Schnee dust company brand products through the sewers. She burned her clothes the night before. The stench was revolting.
Ruby shrugged and went on to take that bath. Afterwards she woke Yang up for brunch.
"Bwuh…?" Yang groaned as she opened, her lilac eyes starting to focus on her surroundings.
"Wake up sleepy-head, Uncle Qrow's on a mission. We've got to buy our stuff for Beacon soon."
"Fi mer minits…" Yang muttered. She yelped as Zwei jumped on the bed and started licking her face. As much as she loved Zwei, she didn't want to smell like dog slobber in the morning.
"Alright alright, I'm up…!" she exclaimed as she sat up. There was a trail of drool at the side of her mouth, as she rubbed her eyes free of sleepiness. Zwei sat on the side of her bed, sitting down like a good boy and wagging his tail like he just had too much Goody Bites.
"It's almost lunch time you know," Ruby said. Yang groaned in reply as she got a change of clothes from the closet and a towel. She was wearing a modest tank top with pink pajamas. Despite that, Ruby could still see how developed her sister was. She silently hoped she'd grow up to be like that one day too.
As Yang got into the bathroom, Ruby went to her room to pack some things. She'd started already for the past few days, bringing the things they were told to bring. Extra clothes, mostly. Crescent Rose would always be at her side, so no need to place that in the bag, she thought. After placing her sixth favorite red hood and cloak in one of the bags, she heard the bathroom door open. Yang was out and looking fresher than ever, her golden hair bouncing around fluffily as she waltzed out of the bathroom, dumping her dirty laundry in a hamper. She was never a morning person until after she took a bath. Ms. Grumpy Wumpy becomes a ray of sunshine the moment she gets out of the bathroom. She walks inside Ruby's room and looks around at the bags she has laid out.
"Rubes, are you packing just your cloaks again?"
"You can never have too many cloaks!" she retorted immediately. Yang sighed. Even though Ruby was an amazing fighter, she still had the same childish, dorky personality. She didn't mind in the slightest, Yang loved her little sister to bits. She grabbed Ruby by the scruff of her cloak and dragged her out of the room.
"H-hey Yang wait, where are we going!?"
"We have to find you new things to wear, Rubes. You're going to be attending one of the most prestigious Huntsman-Huntress schools in existence."
"But I like my cloak! Zwei, some help here?"
Zwei looked at the two of them as they exited the house, yelping once, before chasing his tail, and lying down. "Thanks buddy. Real good to know you've got my back."
Yang planted Ruby outside their house and locked the door. In a few minutes, she came back outside with her usual outfit, her signature blouse with a yellow tank top underneath, and her combat shorts with those frilly things at the side. Ruby never got what they were for, but she was one to talk for wearing her cloak all the time. Yang grabbed her orange scarf from a rack and closed the door to their house again.
"Alright then, time to go shopping!"
Yang was always ahead of Ruby when it came to things like fashion. Or boys. Or Algebra. Anything really, Ruby was only 15. As the 17 year-old older sister, Yang found it in Ruby's best interest to be guided by her. She was a smart one, but she could be pretty naïve. Like her notions about the Grimm having a family. Yang always thought it was a child's fantasy, but who was she to judge? Ruby can handle herself in a fight in any case, so instead of things like that, Yang tried to guide her with things that normal girls had to deal with, like fashion, and maybe when she was a bit older, boys. But not right now. Yang swore that if a boy would try and take her little sis away she would beat the crap out of them. She laughed at the thought.
For a while they went passed multiple clothing stores, trying things on, this and that. Pajamas, dresses, shoes, the works. She bought Ruby a nice black and red dress for special occasions.
"When am I ever going to use this?" Ruby groaned.
"You never know, Rubes," Yang reassured her.
After the spree she realized Ruby really wouldn't give up her cloak and outfit for anything else. For now at least. She was young and interested in things like weapons and technology. Not that Yang wasn't a closet lover of it herself, Ember Celica, her shot gauntlets, were her babies after all, but she had to keep appearances up. As they headed back home, a young blonde man crossed their path, asking where he could get some lunch. He looked foreign, wearing a simple white shirt and baggy, brown pants which had a sword and shield strapped to it. Other than that he was hauling a duffel bag over his shoulder. Yang thought the guy was flirting with them, not that he wasn't good looking, she'd give him an 7.5… or maybe an 8. Or 7.75?
She gave him the benefit of the doubt. Before Yang could speak up, Ruby, ever the innocent, told him right away to go in the direction of Barney's Bagel Sandwicheria. To Yang's surprise, the guy thanked them and bolted off in the said direction.
"I thought he was flirting with us," Yang admitted as they walked back in the direction of their house.
"Why do you think every boy we come across is trying to flirt with us?" Ruby asked, raising an eyebrow.
Yang shrugged. "Usually the case. Too bad though, I thought you two would have been cute together."
"Ew, stop that, boys are your territory, Yang."
"You say that now, little sis. You say that now."
It was still morning when the Dustplane arrived. He wobbled out of the Dustplane slowly. He easily got airsick on long flights. That's why he always closed his eyes and took a tablet of Migraine-Be-Gone-s before each flight. Kind of pathetic, considering he was going to be enrolling in Vale soon, the world's most prestigious School of Combat for Young Hunstmen and Huntresses. He tried to remember through the upchuck that he desperately tried to keep down where he'd landed. Right, the town of Patch, located on a small island off the coast of Vale. Nothing of note, except that it also had the Signal Academy of Combat.
His parents have always believed in him. His father was the famous Jaque Arc, high class Huntsman, one of the heroes of the Menagerie Conflict. That was a story that he kept with him during his childhood, the story that shaped his ideals and his obsession to become a hero like his father. He reminisced about it for a bit, finding no other way to get his mind off the vomit about to assail the outside world.
"Jaune, you know what happened during that war, correct?"
As a child, he'd always look up at his father with his big, hopeful blue eyes. "It's when you kicked the butts of those evil Faunus right?"
At that point his father reprimanded him. "No Jaune, the Faunus weren't evil. The Huntsmen were there as neutral emissaries of peace. We were the bridge to both the Humans and the Faunus. Remember Jaune, there is evil in all races. But there is also good. You'd best remember that."
"Okay, dad," he replied. "So what did happen, exactly?"
His father went over to him and ruffled his scruffy blonde hair. As he tucked Jaune in bed, he continued with his tale. "The Faunus were being forced into the Menagerie, Jaune. That means Humanity was trying to imprison them in one part of the world."
"Why were we doing that, dad?"
"The other Humans were… afraid of Faunus. They were a better, more evolved race, that we still don't understand. And Humans fear what they do not know. So they try to remove themselves from it, and pretend the problem doesn't even exist."
"Indeed it is. That's why the Huntsmen were there to try and figure out a truce. But tensions rose, and eventually, war became inevitable."
He went on to tell Jaune of all the heroics that he and his squad did. Not only them, but also Faunus, Humans, and everyone who were on opposite sides that were trying to help reduce the damage the war would cause. The Menagerie Conflict would last three years, before finally a truce for the equality of the Faunus was achieved.
"But even now, Faunus are still being discriminated against."
"That's not fair. I'll never discriminate against them, they were brave to stand up for their freedom. When I become a Huntsman, I'll stand up for them, and everyone who fights for what's right!"
His father smiled. He was a child, and could be so cliché and naïve, but his heart was always in the right place. He'd only hope that this wouldn't change as he grew older. "That's my boy."
And change Jaune Arc did not. He kept his ideals with him up to the present. He was now a capable 17 year-old on his way to becoming a Huntsman. At least, that's what he set out to do. The details of getting there… wouldn't need to be addressed unless needed. As he finally calmed down and got off the Dust-Plane, his armor felt heavier than usual on his shoulders. It must've been the fatigue, he thought.
Or what you did to get into Beacon.
He heaved his duffel bag over his shoulder and walked towards what looked like the main hub of the city. Patch looked quiet and amicable. He saw a few shops, the usual, weapons, armor, items, and of course, Dust. One of them had a broken window, and as curious as he was, he couldn't afford to dilly dally. He was looking for the inn he would be staying at until the Dust-Plane to Beacon arrived and took the students to the academy. The semester started in a few days, so he could at least get some rest before then. He found himself looking at a store mirror as he tried to find his way to the inn. He was wearing nothing but a simple white shirt and tattered brown cargo pants. He felt around his waist for his sword and shield, Crocea Mors. It was a simple set of weapons, a shield that acted as a sheathe and extended into a full kite-shield, and a long sword of simple, almost antique design. It had been handed down to him from his father and his father and his father before him. His dad said he'd be able to find another weapon in the meantime. He had a feeling his dad just wanted to get rid of the old thing. It wasn't by far anything special at all, not like the newer, fancier mechanisms the new weapons used. Scythes that turned into guns, Gauntlets that also fired shotgun shells. He'd seen a catalogue of many different weapons that it pretty much made his sword and board feel like he was back in the Old War.
Not that Crocea Mors hadn't served him well. On the way to the Dust-Plane landing strip from his village he had to fight his way through a few Beowolfs. Not anything too difficult. They were travelling in a group, some of them dropped by his village for supplies, others were patrolling Huntsmen, seeing the sights. He didn't do much on his own. He wasn't actually a very good fighter. He did manage to take one out. After it almost tore his head off. And that one Huntsman, with white hair and a green suit, kind of saved him anyway. Nice guy, that one.
Some Hero I am.
He forgot what that Huntsman was there for. He was also headed to Patch. He mentioned he'd already been there several days earlier, but he had some more patrols to finish. He didn't see him on the way down. He whispered a silent thank you to the wind.
That's why I want to become a Huntsman. So I can get stronger. Just like dad…
Patch was a small town, but it still took all his attention to not get lost. The inn was somewhere near the central district, several blocks away from the airport. If he had to look for it, the earlier the better. He followed the sidewalk of one of the roads. He'd already passed several shops, but he didn't think to ask the locals about the inn. He wanted to see if he could find it for himself. It was early morning when he arrived. By the time he almost gave it was quite a bit after lunch time. He was getting hungry. He asked two local girls he passed by where he could get a snack. He thought they might have shrugged him off, being an outsider and all, but luckily the two of them seemed nice enough. The smaller one, who wore a red cloak, pointed in one direction. The taller, blonde one nodded. Leaving after saying his thank-yous, he found a small stall that sold delicious looking bagel sandwich things. He bought some and scarfed it down. He looked at the shopkeeper and asked about the inn. The shopkeep was a nice enough man, like the two local girls earlier, and gave him directions.
"That's a pretty run-down part of the city lad, if you go there, be careful."
"Will do, thanks again."
Jaune left a tip before he hurried off. He was itching for a break. He got to the part of the city the shopkeep was talking about. Other than a few scratched out paint jobs on the buildings, the place didn't seem too bad.
He stopped in his tracks when he heard some shouting in the alleyway. It sounded like someone was in trouble.
"Is it any of my business…?" He asked himself. He shook his head. "Of course it is, you idiot."
He went through the alley quickly. The voice was near. He bounded as fast as his feet could carry him, through some garbage dumpsters and over a bunch of horrible smelling black trash bags that was definitely filled with rotting… something. As he passed several concrete walls some action caught his attention at the corner of his left eye. He spun on his heel and looked to the source of the shouting. A Faunus girl had her back against the wall against two thug-looking things.
"Please, I have to go…" she said in almost a whisper. There was a distinct accent to her voice. Looking at her properly, she was a Rabbit Faunus. Her rabbit ears, slightly drooping, twitched around. The two other figures, a man and a woman, left her almost no room to move. One was a Bull Faunus, the male with an above average muscular stature, and the other a Sheep Faunus, the woman, slightly shorter than the Bull Faunus, who looked lean and athletic.
"You're one of those Beacon students aren't ya?" the Sheep Girl growled. She had a sparking baton in one hand.
"An informant told me about her. Name's Velvet Scarlatina," the Bull Man said to the Rabbit Girl. "Come on now, we don't want to hurt you, we just want to talk." He reached out for her, but Velvet swatted his hand away. His other hand had an armored gauntlet on it. The move was slight, but Jaune recognized it. He was preparing to rear back his fist.
"You're one of those White Fang recruiters, aren't you?" Velvet said, her eyes defiant. The silence that followed was an affirmation more than anything else.
Jaune hid behind a trash can quietly. He dropped his duffel bag in case of anything happening. The White Fang? Here, in Patch?
"Then you know about our cause. My name's Mortar. The Sheep over there is Ylith," The Bull said. "You know that the White Fang are trying to help our race out."
"Your radical methods," Velvet started. "Aren't helping the Faunus at all. I'm not interested. If you'll excuse me…"
Velvet brushed past the two of them. The moment she was a few steps away the Sheep raised her baton high. Jaune rushed forward, unsheathing Crocea Mors, extending it into a full kite-shield, the longsword still inside. As he bolted forward he saw that the Faunus named Mortar coming at him. The Bull rushed him, and punted him right into a wall. The wind was knocked right out of him. He went over and kicked at Jaune, who he blocked with his shield, sending him a ways back again. "You really think we couldn't hear you rustling over here, human?"
The word was filled with derision and contempt. There were many Faunus who were on the fence about Humans. The same could be said about Humans as well. Even after all of the wars, contempt and hatred swept the kingdoms. There was no peace to be had. Even the treaty that Humanity had signed so that the Faunus wouldn't need to be forced into Menagerie was done in hesitation. Neither side fully trusted the other, after all. Not until recently, were these sentiments made public again, all due to the White Fang.
But even with all of the tension, there are a few good people who try to make amends to the past, even if their actions were nothing but small ripples in a large pond. Jaune always tried to be one of them. Ever since his father told him that story, he told himself that he would fight for the rights of all the races of Remnant. It was childish. Maybe even foolish. But he didn't care. He went through all this trouble of getting into Beacon to become a hero, and he'll be damned before something like street thugs stop him.
He got up slowly and readied his weapons. "The girl said she doesn't want to go with you. Let her go."
The Bull spat in his direction. "Keep out of business that ain't yours."
"I'm a Huntsman. This is my business."
The Bull eyed him from head to toe, then laughed. "You don't look like much. Must be a scrapling. Don't worry kid, I'll just knock you out," He cracked his knuckles. "But I'll make sure it hurts."
Jaune braced himself as his opponent went charging at him. Just remember your training. End it quickly. No need to get fancy. He quickly sidestepped and brought his shield to bear. He smashed it against the Mortar's head, but instead of a head on collision, it caught the horns. The shield reverberated loudly. It felt like hitting a stone wall. Mortar grabbed his shield and threw him along with it into another wall. He staggered to recover, back in a stance.
"Now you got my ears ringing…" Mortar growled. He spotted Jaune's longsword still sheathed. "Why don't you use your sword, kid? A blade like that would've worked better than your dinky shield."
Jaune grimaced. "I'm not trying to hurt you, I just want you to back off."
"Too late for that pipsqueak!" he charged at Jaune again. This time Jaune jumped over and smashed his shield down. It hit the broad of Mortar's back and sent him horns-first into the wall. Jaune fumbled the landing a bit but quickly regained his balance. Mortar tore himself off the wall. Some of the concrete was still attached to his head. It was slightly terrifying, because now he was charging at Jaune with the concrete still attached to his horns. "YOU'RE STARTING TO PISS ME OFF."
As Mortar began to charge at him again, he braced himself with his shield in front of him. He charged forward, matching the Mortar's stride. They collided, the concrete pushing in hard on Mortar's horns and smashing into his skull. He was knocked out cold on the spot. Jaune flew backwards from the impact. He was flat on his back, and he was sure his shoulder got dislocated. He got up on his good arm and looked around. The girl named Velvet was standing over the Ylith girl. The latter looked just as knocked out as her friend. Velvet saw Jaune getting up and jogged to his side.
"That was brave of you. Thank you," she smiled. It melted his heart a bit. "But I could have handled it."
"It was my pleasure to help such a charming woman like you, milady," he said on instinct as he bowed. The concept of being in a relationship with a woman was not an abstract one to him. His father always told him if he wanted a girl to like him he had to glow with confidence, while his mother always said to respect women, and don't be too intrusive. In some weird parallel universe he'd probably go overboard with it, but over the years he seems to have found a good stopping point. Velvet smiled.
"Easy there, hon. We've only just met."
Jaune obliged. "Sorry."
"It's alright. You say you're a Huntsman?"
Jaune smiled sheepishly. "Well, getting there. I'm enrolling in Beacon this year," he extended his hand. "Jaune. Jaune Arc."
Velvet's eyes lit up. "Oh that's wonderful! You'll love it there. I'm a second-year this year, you know ," she takes his hand and shakes it. "I'm Velvet. Velvet Scarlatina."
Jaune sputters upon realization that the woman he just flirted with was his senior. "I-I'm sorry for flirting with you earlier, I d-didn't know," he stammers. Well, there goes his confidence.
"No need to get your knickers in a twist hon, I thought it was sweet," she laughed. That accent was endearing. She probably found him entertaining now though, Jaune thought. He looked at the unconscious bodies of the two White Fang members.
"Don't worry your cute little tush over these two hon, I'll make sure they're reported to the proper authorities."
Cute little tush? He unconsciously patted his behind. Now that he looked at her properly, Velvet was a lot more athletically-built than he first realized. She looked small, but he sensed a power within her. Was it that thing that his father could unleash whenever he fought the Grimm? A warm, but powerful light…
He shook his head and nodded. "Alright then. Nice meeting you, Ms. Velvet."
She smiled again. "Just 'Velvet' is fine, Jaune."
They waved their goodbyes, and as he was leaving Jaune saw Velvet using her scroll to call up the police, he assumed. He picked up his duffel bag on the way back to the main road. With that little adventure out of the way he couldn't help but feel a little better about himself, and the trip. Maybe he had what it took to be a hero. Maybe going to those lengths to get into Beacon would be worth it. No use regretting it now, he thought.
In a few days, he would officially become a student at Beacon Academy.