Chapter 6: The Arrival
This was the first time he'd been on a plane he wasn't planning to jump out of. Well, not yet anyway, anything could happen. Just preparing for the worst, after all. Elwyn looked around at the students that piled in just before takeoff. Some odd looking ones here and there, people that looked like jocks and glamour queens, charming nerds and hybrids in between. He'd almost forgotten what it was like to be in a crowd of students. For a while he was always doing drills with hard-assed military types. It was the cliché breath of fresh air he might have needed. He was still a kid after all, well, a kid who managed to defend Vale from a Beowulf with fire powers, but a kid nonetheless. To his right sat Blake, aloof and finding some entertainment in watching the skyline pass her by, resting her arm on the window pane and her head in the palm of her hand. After they'd been offered and accepted to enroll at Beacon they had lodged in an inn that Mr. Ozpin had paid for. Then in the succeeding days they bought their materials for their classes. It was all foreign to him again. The last time he did that was a few years ago. He looked at his duffel bag filled with items from potion ingredients, to calculators, to textbooks and even art supplies, for dust knows whatever reason that's for. Maybe they could put up an art exhibit and the Grimm would stop attacking them. Or something.
A few rows away he could hear someone retching. Someone was airsick. He wondered what it would be like to experience air sickness, it would probably be really inconvenient given that he'd been required to jump out of military aircraft. He kept looking at the entrance hatch not too far away. If a Nevermore were to attack the dustplane, what would he do? Attack Plan Alpha? The good old Beta-Epsilon? Wing-It-Subsection-Delta? All three of them were just fancy military lingo for 'Hit it until it dies', but it made it sound a lot more fun. Blake was lolling forward a bit. She looked tired.
"Hey, Kat, you alright?"
Her eyes shifted at him from where she was. Her golden orbs narrowed. "Do you really want to give me away this early to everyone on this flight, Elwyn?"
"Sorry," he looked at her bow. "It's amazing how it doesn't twitch when you don't want it to."
"It took some practice, that's for sure," she smiled slightly.
Over the past few days Elwyn was cautious with asking Blake anything about her past. It wasn't really in his nature to try and pry people for their past lives, but to say he was curious would be an understatement. The only Faunus he'd ever met were some of his instructors back in Atlas Academy. There were students too, that's for sure, but they usually kept to themselves, or to their groups. It was a shame really. Now with someone like Blake right in front of him he didn't know how to go about it. It's hard to ask things like 'So what's your sense of smell like' or 'Can you see at night? How far can you see?' without sounding like a jerk. At least, he thought the questions made him sound like a jerk. The only thing he's managed to confirm that she was, indeed, a cat Faunus. He tried to ask about her tail, but she flushed and said she'd talk about it some other time.
He'd asked her to spar with him again during the week, just so he wouldn't get rusty. If he was going to spar with the top students of the land, he might as well spar with someone who was out of the system, who had her own style and honed it without books and forms to hold her down. Needless to say, without needing to hold back, she could pin him down easily now. No more tricks with the train, or surprises with his Dust Bunkers. In a one on one fight, she had him outclassed. Now he was no pushover, but he had a feeling it was because he hadn't been in an actual fight for years. The unit he was part of focused on combating Grimm, and testing new weapons tech. There were other cells that split their time between anti-personnel and Grimm, and a dedicated cell for anti-personnel.
Straight to the point, he was more used to fighting larger, more powerful adversaries than smaller, faster, more nimble ones. And Blake was, at this point the epitome of nimble for him, for all intents and purposes. She hadn't used it the first time they had fought, but she was capable of sending out clones of herself at him. It just straight up overwhelmed him. He could take care of the incoming three, four clones, but as it dragged on and she capitalized on his distraction, it was over. If she'd used it on him during the train fight, things would have turned out radically different. He might have died back then.
"So how do we act like at Beacon?" he asked.
She titled her head. "What do you mean?"
"Well I can't run the risk of telling people we're both from the Atlasian military. What if one of them's a military nut? Then they ask you questions about anything and everything? And then they find out something doesn't add up, and-"
Blake raised an eyebrow and interrupted. "Aren't you being a little too paranoid?"
"You can never be too safe. Weapons Handling 101, don't ya know?"
"Can you even answer all of their hypothetical questions?"
He paused for a bit. "Touche. Hey at least I've got some basic knowledge on it."
"Then teach me."
He looked at her like she'd grown a third set of ears. "What?"
"Run it down for me, real quick then."
"You sure? We could act like we don't know each other to save you the trouble."
She scrunched up her nose. "What do you mean? After we just saved each others' lives just a week ago?"
He hesitated a bit. "Well you saved my life, from Adam. I don't want to impose this charade on you, I kind of did just make it up on the spot," he absent-mindedly started cracking his knuckles. It was a tic he developed when he got nervous. This may not be the best direction I could've taken this conversation in.
She crossed her arms. "It's no trouble at all. You helped me get into Beacon. You saved me from going into the slammer, if they found out who I was," She smiled softly. "So go on, I'm sure I can understand whatever you throw at me."
He let out an inward sigh of relief. "Well alright then. Where to start…"
If someone were to tell Blake that she'd have learn the 5 different cells of the Atlasian military, their etiquette, designations, rank, and other things like that right before she got into Beacon's pearly gates she would have probably scoffed at the idea. Yet here she was. Knowing the ins and outs of the military organization of Atlas. Well, not exactly the ins and outs. What she learned from Elwyn would have barely counted as a crash course. His knowledge on the subject matter was limited to 'this is called that' or 'this is kind of what this thing does', and whenever she would prod at knowing something on a deeper level he'd shrug and say 'Sorry,' with a plastered expression of sadness on his face.
Blake was definitely not sure about this entire plan of his to convince the staff she was a recruit of the Atlasian Military. Very recently. 'Met her somewhere near Vale, big fan of Atlas, wanted to become either a soldier or a Huntress', and poof. They lapped it up like honey. Or at least, she thinks they did. You can't tell with adults sometimes if they're taking you seriously or they're just jerking your chain. That sounded dirty. She must've read Ninjas of Love once too many. No, what's she saying, you can never read enough literature. Truly, a masterpiece of the century. It was art in its purest form. Purest, rawest, most regal form.
"So," Blake was about to echo what Elwyn had just taught her. "The gist is that Atlas has one unified military structure, and three different military cells," she looked to him for confirmation. He nodded and affirmed. "One is anti-personnel, one is anti-Grimm, and the last is called the 'Titan Cell' which is made up of former Hunters and Huntresses, and they're basically the all-rounder special forces, correct?"
Elwyn leaned forward and whispered. "You got it!"
"Why'd you have to whisper?"
"Atutut, the paranoid live. You can never be too safe," He smirked.
He was an odd creature, this Elwyn, she thought. The way he handled himself on the battlefield and off was different. She doubted he'd notice it himself, but he was more reserved, more cautious while outside of fights. As compared to the risk taker he seemed to be the first time. The jump had really caught her off guard. And managing to fight Adam? Adam was holding back, sure, but Elwyn still managed to live. That was a feat she was sure not a lot of people could say they did. Of course, she saved him in the last moment. Whatever possessed her to do so, she didn't know. She could have easily gone and escaped without him.
Gotta start turning over a new leaf somewhere, right?
He sat back on his chair again and looked idly to the skyline to his side. He was reserved, but not quiet, and he'd crack a joke or two, but nothing too outwardly expressive. He asked her to spar a few times during the last week, and only then did he seem like the boy she'd met on the train. Funny being nostalgic like that, but it just bugged her to no end. Was he playing with her? Was he still being cautious because he knew she was part of the White Fang? Did he think she was a spy? During their sparring sessions, she felt like he was holding back. Was it because he knew that it wasn't a real fight anymore? Was he hiding his powers again? He fought nothing like he did on the train. To be fair, his life did depend on it. She saw snippets of it, that form that she'd come to respect after a few traded blows, when she let her clones attack. But again, it was gone soon enough. Was he serious? Did he hold back so that she doesn't know how he would actually deal with her clones? She agreed with him, that the paranoid do live longer than the carefree and ignorant. But she'd thought she might've found a friend in him. Perhaps, it was too soon to hope for something like that. Self-preservation instincts can be an ass, most of the time.
"Hey there!" came a voice from behind. It was a loud, active, almost obnoxious, booming, high pitched, radical thing of girl's voice. Her sensitive ears almost hurt from the outburst. If a voice could be described as a whistling thundercrack, that would be it. Blake looked to her right and saw the offender in her orange-haired glory. Her hair came to a flared out stop near hear neck, and she looked like she had a grin plastered to her face 24/7. Her shirt had a heart cut out near the chest, and her pink skirt fluttered wildly with her carefree motions, as did the blue bow that was tied to her waist. It contrasted the gigantic hammer that was strapped to her back. She looked at Blake with her big, bright, jade eyes. She looked at Blake expectantly, as if anticipating her to reply with the same enthusiasm. Blake darted her eyes at Elwyn, who smiled sheepishly and shrugged. He mouthed her a 'go on'. She closed her eyes for a second and faced the orange-haired girl again. As she opened her mouth to speak, orange cut her off abruptly.
"Name's Nora! Nice bow you got there! And you're in all black, all mysterious like. That's cool too! What's yer name. Mine's Nora, well I said that already, let's just say I said it again for emphasis! Anyway! So, what's your name?"
Blake cringed at her energy. It was like dealing with a fast-talking firecracker. She managed a smile and started to speak again, but was cut off once again with her shouting at Elwyn and pointing to his shirt, or uniform rather. "Oh my gosh! Atlas military~! Hey, hey, hey, are you part of it? I love their mech droids! What cell were you in? Well, if you were in a cell! Well not the prisoner cell because that wouldn't make any sense, unless you were a prisoner but I doubt that, since you're here and probably enrolled in Beacon. Anyway! Like I told her, my name's Nora! And yours?"
She felt a twinge of annoyance at her short attention span. Elwyn laughed a little and replied, before she could change the topic again. "I'm Elwyn. That's my friend, Blake."
She repeated the word in her head. 'Friend'. She smiled inwardly. "Nice to meet you," she said, her mood alleviated a little.
Elwyn smiled at Nora. Being with Blake for so long he'd forgotten how rowdy a person can get. Not that he didn't like Blake's reserved nature, he liked that he was meeting new people again. She reminded him of a friend of his back at the Atlasian Academy, the same one who made him his Frigor Spicas. She disliked the military types though. She wasn't at all in favor of him joining, but she let him go with her reluctant blessing. Nora, thankfully, didn't barrage them with intricate questions about the Atlas military. She'd only known of them from hearsay and their mecha-guards. Elwyn obliged her with vague descriptions of the new mecha guards they were developing, as well as a four to five meter tall external armor module for commanders in heavy combat areas. Her eyes sparkled like a kid in a candy store.
"I'm sworn to military secrecy though, so I can't give you specific details."
"Aw. Alright Elly," she smiled.
Elly? That's new.
"So, Kat, how long've you been Elly's partner?"
Elwyn's eyes shot open. Does she know? He could see Blake's expressionless face, cautious to answer.
"C-Cat?" she asked.
"You know, like Cat but with a K, Kat!" Nora giggled. "Your bow makes you look like one," Elwyn and Blake let out a collective breath of relief.
"I was a new recruit, just a little over a month ago, with Cadet 2nd Lieutenant Albion's cell. We're both Reserve Officers that were assigned here for our cell's research purposes. Our recent mission resulted in circumstances that lead to us becoming scholars for Beacon. We were allowed to be relieved from our training and study to become a full-time Huntsman and Huntress."
Nora nodded enthusiastically. "That's so cool. Alright, cool new friends, gimme five!" she raised her hands high in the air. Blake looked at her like she was a wee bit out of it. Elwyn on the other hand liked her personality from the get go. He gave Nora's left hand a good high five. Blake shrugged and high fived Nora's right. "Oh man this is so awesome, wait till I tell Ren!"
A tall, lean, young man walked up to their seats. He had a streak of neon-magenta or neon-pink, Elwyn wasn't sure, in his cliché-ly raven-black locks. He wore a green, long-sleeved top and white pants. He seemed unassuming, but he had a feeling to him. A strong, silent feeling. Nora jumped up from her seat and almost tackled the young man into the ground. "Ren! Ren! They're from Atlas! And and and-"
Nora spoke a mile a minute while Elwyn and Blake sat in awe that the Ren fellow could stand there, nod, and smile all the while. After around half a minute of being bombarded with Atlas Military gossip Ren looked at Nora and patted her head. "Nora, I think you forgot something."
She tilted her head. "What?"
Ren raised an eyebrow, and it was like a dust chamber went off in her head. "Oh oh oh, my bag! Crap!" Nora zipped off quickly. Ren looked at the two of them and bowed, before speaking.
"Sorry about that. She's a ball of energy."
"You can say that again," Blake commented.
Ren nodded. "I'm Lie Ren. I've been friends with Nora since we were kids. I hope she didn't bother you all too much. She means well," he smiled.
"Don't worry, we didn't mind," Elwyn replied. Blake just shrugged. Ren motioned if he could be seated next to Blake. She nodded absent-mindedly, going back to watching the clouds roll past. Nora came back with a duffel bag cradled in one arm, and abruptly sat next to Elwyn. Nora kept trying to raise up a point of conversation, to which Elwyn always tried to reply, but couldn't quite keep up with. Blake's bow twitched slightly, and her eyes focused more on the passing clouds. Elwyn caught it, and it was probably her getting annoyed.
The rest of the ride to Beacon consisted of Blake putting up with Nora's loud, bursts of conversation. Elwyn and Ren talked about this and that, how the latter came from a small village with Nora. The latter had a family that consisted almost entirely of sisters, and their dad spoiled them to no end. Ren's family were simple, his mother was a Huntress, which is what spurned him on to become a Huntsman himself.
"So where's your mother stationed now?"
Nora suddenly got quiet. She frowned in Ren's direction, who waved it off. "Don't worry Nora, he didn't know," he said, giving her a small smile.
"Ren…" Nora whispered. Even Blake was surprised at the change of her pace. She looked over her shoulder and at Ren. Elwyn, slightly confused, continued.
"I didn't know what?"
Ren looked at him with a sad smile on his face. "My mother died in action a few years ago. It's fine, I don't let it get to me. It's why I'm here."
El gave a sympathetic look. "My parents died when I was young, so I kind of get how you feel. Well technically I didn't know my parents, but still."
Ren gave a simple nod in affirmation. Blake gave a sideways glance at Elwyn, which he didn't notice.
They touched down near the Beacon's cliff edge not long after, or the skyport as it was called. Elwyn and Blake gathered their belongings from below their seats. Ren and Nora waited for them before they stood up and walked off the Dustplane together. A bridge extended from their airship and onto the skyport, allowing them accesss. In the distance they saw the Academy, a gigantic, looming, spired bulwark of a school. A large tower was centered amongst the spires, exceeding the height of its surrounding brethren. It was as impressive as they heard it would be. The main roadway lead up to a large entrance in the distance, lined with streetlamps more than likely lit up the pathway at night. Despite its fortifications the school and the grounds itself looked like a fairy tale castle, complete with moats, and trees all around. It helped that it was a bright, sunny afternoon. It was like stepping into a dreamworld Elwyn was too afraid to wake up from.
"Pinch me," he said to no one in particular.
"What?" Blake asked from behind him.
"I need to know this is real."
Nora, a few steps away, bounded back and pinched him hard on the arm. Elwyn yelped loudly, attracting some oncoming stares from the other passengers. He rubbed the offended arm from the pain and thanked Nora. "Not a dream. Good."
"You're weird, Elly."
The four of them walked in a small group, before the other students flooded in from the other dustplanes. The crowd separated them not long after. He could hear Nora shouting over the waves of bodies. "Ren says the assembly's through those big doors over there! Let's meet up later!"
In the distance, indeed, was a large set of wooden doors that opened into a hall of some sort. The droves of students pushed and shoved with little regard to the ones around them. Elwyn kept excusing the two of them just so they could pass. Blake was timidly reading her book behind him before someone bumped into her. It sent her book sprawling onto the sidelines.
"Agh crap!" she exclaimed. Elwyn looked over his shoulder.
"My book…" in the cramped space she pointed to the grassy area away from the path.
Elwyn shouldered past the other students, their numbers slowly thinning as they flooded into the hall a ways away from them. Blake followed, using Elwyn as her human shield. As they got off the beaten path they started to search. "Probably got kicked to hell and back."
"If there's even a crease on it I'm going to murder something."
Elwyn spotted a book not far off from them. He picked it up, and the dust jacket fell off the hardbound cover. He raised an eyebrow at the title. "Ninjas of Love," he said loud enough for Blake to hear it from where she was. She let out an audible squeal and snatched the book out of his hands. He looked at her with raised eyebrows and a growing smirk. "I won't ask."
"You better not."
An explosion caught their attention, not too far off. They thought they were under attack, and they immediately unsheathed both of their weapons, taking a fighting stance directed at the explosion. They didn't see anything other than a few scared students and what looked like the origin of the explosion, two young girls who were in the middle of a Dust cloud. One of them looked younger than everyone. She wore a distinct red hood and cape, while the other girl she was with wore a frilly, stark white dress. The latter also had long, white hair, which she wore in a side ponytail. She looked pretty pissed.
"Oh my god, you are a complete and utter dolt!"
Blake found Beacon to be more grandiose than she expected. She'd heard it was on a Cliffside, but a Cliffside with waterfalls? And its own personal skyport? Talk about the lap of luxury. It smelled natural too, despite the large, looming castle-school in the distance. It was like the City Hidden in Behind the Flowers in Ninjas of Love, where the main protagonist and the love interest first meet. The smells and sounds all around her were calming, soothing. Up until she smelled that familiar scent. It was the same as that night on the train. Dust. Dust reacting to its surroundings, to an outside stimuli. That tingling sensation she felt on her skin whenever Elwyn fired a Dust cartridge. Dust scared her, in a way. Not to a physical extent, that she would hide at the sight or smell of it, but afraid of what it could do, given its track record. Sure it was used for energy, but it was also used for weapons. And there have been no shortages of weapons advancement thanks to Dust. What she found out from Elwyn was further proof of that. It was said to be their savior against the Grimm. But now, even the Grimm seems to have harnessed its power.
And who else would she see but the famous Weiss Schnee of the Schnee Dust Company peddling her belongings in gigantic, obnoxious suitcases like some urban, show-offy princess. She'd never met her before. But just by the sight of her she couldn't stand her. She had an air of arrogance that she could sense even if she were flying through the sky on a Nevermore. Her demeanor was as haughty as Nora's was firey. She hated it. A small vial of red dust rolled toward her feet. She promptly scooped it up and started walking towards the princess and the girl in red. A handsome, blonde young man was behind the latter, holding his arms out as if to try and calm both of them down. Obviously neither of them were having any of it.
"What are you even doing here?" Weiss asked viciously. "Aren't you a little young to be attending beacon? What are you, like 12?"
"She's fifteen actually," came the blonde's reply. Weiss glared at him like she'd meant her question to be rhetorical.
"Yes well this isn't your ordinary combat school, we're here to fight the Grimm, I bet you've never even seen one, let alone fought one, so why don't you just go back home, it'll be your bed time soon anyway, right?"
Wow, she had a mouth on her. What Blake wouldn't give to shut her up. The girl in red did look a little young, but she wasn't one to judge. She was off being an assassin for the White Fang at that age. It's just a number after all. Red spoke up suddenly, an edge to her voice.
"I already said I was sorry princess."
Elwyn walked up behind Blake. "Cripes, she's even worse than I remember. What's gotten her panties in a twist?"
Blake turned to Elwyn. "You've met her before?"
"Just once, at an inaugural event for one of our newer techs," he crossed his arms. "Weiss Schnee, heiress to the Schnee Dust company. You know their home base is in Atlas, right?"
Blake nodded. They didn't notice they'd walked close enough to be heard by the other three. "Finally, some recognition!"
Blake wanted to bring her down a notch. What she was about to say wasn't entirely proven. It had always been up in the air. But she didn't care right now. She wanted to see Weiss crash. "The same company infamous for their controversial labor forces and questionable business partners."
To say that her face turned a shade of red darker than Red's coat would be an understatement. Red had to suppress a laugh while the blonde's eyes shot open like someone had just kicked a dog, and Elwyn choked and double backed. Weiss stammered and grabbed the vial of red dust from Blake's hand, storming off with her servants and multitudes of Dust cases in tow. Red looked daggers in Blonde's direction.
"Why didn't you defend my honor? What kind of a guy are you?" she pouted.
"Uh huh, you did kind of explode Dust in her face though."
Her face contorted. "I-it was an accident."
"Well accident or not, this lovely lady here probably just saved you from being court marshalled," the blonde looked in Blake's direction, and gave a graceful bow.
What a guy.
"Jaune Arc, at your service. And this little-"
"I know I'm short okay?!"
"- spitfire here is Ruby Rose. Newly enrolled students of Beacon, at your service, Ms…?"
He wasn't a complete showoff. If he could be friends with Red over there he couldn't be that bad. "Blake. Blake Belladona this taller gentleman behind me is my friend, Elwyn."
"I wouldn't call myself a gentleman per se," he smiled. "Elwyn Albion," He gave a mock salute. "Pleasure."
"We have fought Grimm you know. Well, Jaune fought his very first one just earlier today."
"Uh, Ruby, I thought we said-"
"It was an Ursa and it shot ice from its eyes like *pew pew p*-"
Jaune clasped a hand over Ruby's mouth and started to drag her away. "W-well we'll see you two around then! Might be late for the announcement over at the hall, erm, g'bye!"
Jaune and Ruby awkwardly waved goodbye as Jaune unclasped his hand from Ruby's mouth. Elwyn glanced at Blake. He'd thought of the same thing as her. She keened in on her hearing to see if she could pick up anything from their two new acquaintances as they walked off. Sure enough, she could hear them, but it was getting fainter and fainter, until finally, all she heard was the background noise of the students rushing in again.
"Anything?" Elwyn asked.
"Ice Ursa. They want to keep it a secret. They think it's some sort of evolutionary conspiracy."
Elwyn shrugged. "Well they're not wrong, as far as we know."
Blake tilted her head. "Aren't you going to, I don't know, apprehend them or something? For questioning and debriefing or whatnot? What if it's related to the Flaeowolf in Vale?"
He blinked. "Flaeowolf."
A tinge of red on her cheeks. "I-I thought it was a cool nickname."
"You get that from 'Ninjas of Love'?"
She smacked him on the arm. "Moving on," she huffed. "Isn't there a military protocol for this or something?"
He grinned a fox's grin. "As long as I'm here I'm off duty. What everyone else doesn't know can't hurt em, so why pre-empt it?"
It made a bit of sense to her, for what it was worth. It wouldn't help any of them to share their elemental Grimm secrets to one another. Who knows who could be listening in on them right now? If there was something that the two of them didn't want, it was a mass panic. "Roger that, senior cadet officer," she smiled softly.
They made their way into the main hall where Nora and Ren said the assembly was going to happen. Sure enough a bobbing orange head waved at them from the crowd. They excused themselves through the throng of people, bumping into a weapon here and there, or a rather larger than normal teenager. These people and their growth spurts. The two of them arrived next to Nora and Ren just before Ozpin took the stand, mic in hand. From somewhere in the crowd she distinctly heard Jaune's voice, saying something along the lines of 'He's the guy that saved me before I went to Signal!', or something like that. A convenient trait about her senses was that once she assigned a face to a voice she could easily pin-point and separate them from the rest of the noise. Her ears have never failed her yet. Elwyn nudged her. Ozpin was about to begin speaking.
"I'll keep this brief," he started. "You've travelled here today in search of knowledge, to hone your craft and improve your skills, and when you are finished, you plan to dedicate your life to the protection of the people," he gave the room a once over glance. "But I look at all of you now, and all I see is wasted energy, in need of purpose, direction," He paused. "You assume knowledge can free you of this, but your time at this school will prove that knowledge can only take you so far. It is up to you to take the first step."
Blake was a little intimidated. He seemed so distant. And already disappointed. The Huntress known as Glynda Goodwitch, the beautiful, blonde woman they'd seen with Ozpin after their little tiff with the Beowolf, took the stand. Elwyn's eyes twinkled a bit. And there was a slight change in his facial expression. Did she imagine it? Her immediate thought: Ugh, boys.
"You will gather in the ballroom tonight," she gazed around the room. "Tomorrow, your initiation begins. Be ready. You are all dismissed."
The crowd slowly dispersed. They were given directions to the ballroom, and they complied with it. Blake looked out the windows for a moment. It was getting pretty late, and she hadn't noticed. Elwyn walked up beside her. "I was expecting initiation to begin immediately. Ah well."
"It's probably easier if they get all the students to rest first. That was probably the point of letting us travel here in the afternoon."
Elwyn looked thoughtful for a moment. "You've got a point I guess."
Nora grabbed onto both of them by the shoulders and brought them close to her. The act caught Blake off-guard. She was almost never caught off guard. Maybe this Nora girl had more to her than her hyperactive personality, she thought.
"Hellooo~ new friends!" she chimed.
Well, maybe that much more to her.
"I'm hungry, where do we get some grub to eat?" she groaned. Blake gently lifted her arm off of her shoulder and looked at Elwyn for help. Ren wasn't far behind to provide some backup.
"I'm sure they have something prepared for us in the ballroom. If not we can eat all of those pancakes you took from the inn," he smiled knowingly. Nora hid her bag behind her back.
"I-I know not what you speak of. Your accusations wound me!" she dramatized. Elwyn laughed a bit. That was entertaining to him? Really? Blake found it somewhat of a nuisance. But she knew they meant well. She sighed in defeat, and walked along silently with the rest of them, continuing to read her novel. The protagonist had just met with several travelling companions and were on their way to a feast dinner.
Apparently dinner was served in the gigantic mess hall. Before they arrived at the ballroom, they were allowed a meal at the mess hall, and boy what a meal that was. Elwyn thought it would've been some sort of mystery meat bonanza like in the old days but Beacon did not aim to disappoint its new students, no sir. Pork Roast, Beef Tenderloin, Buttered Salmon, the works. He hadn't tasted food that good since… ever. Now that he thought about it, he really hasn't. Military food was alright, rich in the essential minerals and proteins soldiers needed, but it never had any sort of extra kick or taste. Now he could feel the cholesterol pumping in his system, the high off of that three-course meal ender that he guessed could send him to the hospital if he abused his body like that for the duration of his stay. He didn't care at the moment, he knew he had to watch his diet again, but he let go just this once. And it was a-ma-zing. Nora ate like a goddess of the hunt. The girl could down steak faster than he could down a normal Grimm. Ren and Blake ate prim and proper like. He on the other hand was a half-way in between the two.
It was a bit late in the evening when they decided they'd had enough. The four of them made their way to the ballroom where some of students had already set up shop for their sleeping bags. They found a neat little spot, and they took turns changing while some of them watched their stuff. Elwyn didn't really need a changing room, and he slipped into his loose shirt and cotton pants while the others were away. He looked around the ballroom to see most of the other students sleeping already. Blake was huddled in a corner, focusing on her book like a hawk, her only lightsource being a candelabra that had been burning when they arrived. Nora kept bugging Ren about how the colors of the ballroom bored her out of her mind.
"Why don't you go to sleep then, Nora?" Ren asked, cleaning what looked like his weapons. His attire from the day was folded neatly at the side of his sleeping bag. "I bet you'll oversleep again."
Nora looked at him disbelievingly. "Are you doubting me, Nora, the morning person of morning persons?" she declared gleefully.
"You overslept just this morning."
Nora paused. "Touche, my good man," she tousled into her sleeping bag. It disturbed her day clothes, which were already sprawled beside her area. "Nighty night Ren."
Ren smiled, without looking up from his cleaning. "Good night Nora."
A few moments later, they could hear Nora's quiet breaths as she lay fast asleep. Blake looked up from her book and at Ren. "How have you handled her for so long? I can barely keep up in a day."
"Half a day," Elwyn pointed out. He found some entertainment in counting how many girls had hair that passed their shoulders. There was Blake, and that one blonde girl over there with really floofy hair, Weiss' which was as white as the moonlight that graced their little conclave, to name a few. He wondered how the girls kept their hair out of the way during fights. Whoop. He saw Ruby and Jaune with the fluffy blonde girl, talking up a storm. Weiss just passed by. Oh boy, she looked mad. Probably telling them off for being so noisy. How convenient that he could see them from where they were.
"Yes, half a day," Blake repeated, like she couldn't believe it herself. Red looked like he was pondering on it, taking a break from cleaning his weapons..
"You get used to it, really. And I really don't mind. She's my best friend," he laughed a bit. "What about you, Elwyn? Does Blake have any quirks you know of?"
Considering I've only known her for a week, I'm not entirely sure. He glanced at Blake. She shrugged. "None so far. Maybe I'll find out soon enough. Maybe she's secretly into some weird genres of books or something-"
Whap. A pillow hit his face. Ren laughed a bit, while Blake feigned innocence and continued to read her book.
"Aren't you into books? I find them soothing, personally. Cook books in particular. Or perhaps a good autobiography…" Ren trailed off, yawning. He set aside his weapons back underneath his clothes and turned in. "Good night you two. We've got a big day ahead of us tomorrow…"
"Night," Elwyn said. He scooted over near Blake, sleeping bag and all, and sat against the wall. "So what books are you into, besides romance."
Blake didn't look up. "How do you know this is romance? For all you know it's horror."
"Don't judge a book by its-"
"Cover, I know, I know. I've heard it a million times before."
"Because it's true."
Elwyn yawned. "I guess. I'm really more of an… adventure kind of guy…" his head lolled forward a bit. Odd. He was tired, but he felt like he didn't want to sleep. Talking was nice. Over the past week he'd talked himself to sleep while he conversed with Blake. Different from his bunks in the Atlas Military. Lights out by 21 hundred hours, no questions asked.
"Really, now..." Blake started. "Fantasy adventure? Sci-fi?"
Elwyn leaned his head back. "Anything really…" he yawned again.
A small smile tugged at Blake's mouth. She still didn't look up. "Good night, Elwyn."
He slumped into his sleeping position, facing away from Blake. He heard her puff out the candle-light. "Night."