“What the heck are you guys doing?!” shouted Milton, who slammed his right fist onto the table in front of him, which creaked under the blow.
“What do you mean ‘what are we doing’?” said a man sitting across the table from him “We’re doing what you called us to do.”
The two of them were currently in a dirty dark metal room in one of the White Fang airships. The room was lit only by a small light on the ceiling that sparked every once in a while. Milton was currently leaning on a thin wooden table that looked to be many years old. Across the table from him were two men, the leaders of the division of the White Fang that were currently stationed in Dust Hole. One of them was sitting on a metal folding chair while the other was leaning on the wall, his hands in his pockets. The man sitting in the folding chair was a wolf Faunus that appeared to be in his early 20’s, with long dark green hair that almost reached his neck. He was wearing a Red Indian headband decorated with fangs, a brown leather vest on top of a red t-shirt, a pair of long black pants, and some brown shoes. The features that showed the man was a Faunus was the pair of small ears perched on the top of his head, the fang’s that slightly protruded from his mouth, and his feral eyes. The man was very well-muscled and looked like he had seen his fair share of fight. His most striking feature however was his hard, soul piercing black eyes which were enhanced by his angry scowl and the long scar on his face that ran diagonally from his right temple to the left side of his chin.
The other man’s features were obscured by the darkness that permeated the room.
“What I called you to do is to convince that idiot director to treat us better and give us fair wages.” Shouted Milton “Not stand in front of the mines so we can’t get in and work!”
“Why should you work for that damned human that treats you like pack animals?” answered the green haired Faunus.
“We don’t get paid our daily wages if we don’t work!” shouted Milton “Do you want to let your own people starve?”
“The White Fang has been handing out ration packs.” said the green haired Faunus.
“There aren’t nearly enough to get us through the day!” shouted Milton. “We’ve had to dig into our emergency savings for food and are still going to bed with empty stomachs!”
“Hey, if you get back to work there’ll be no motivation for that sleazy Siemens to meet your demands.” Said the green-haired Faunus, “he’ll just come up with excuse after excuse to keep you working in the mines and churning out his profits.”
“But if we don’t get back to work we’ll starve to death!” shouted Milton
“Wouldn’t you have slowly starved to death anyways thanks to the low wages he set?” said the green haired Faunus, who was beginning to lose patience at that point.
“That’s the reason we called you guys” yelled Milton “You were supposed to fix this! Negotiate with the higher ups and get some results!”
With a growl the green haired Faunus stood up and seized Milton by the collar.
“Listen here buddy. You called us here to fix your problems and that’s what we’re gonna do.” Milton coughed as the green-haired white Faunus tightened his grip and began to strangle the old man. “If you want things to get better here then read those damn instructions we sent you and start contributing!”
The green haired Faunus then released the old man’s collar and pushed him forward, causing the man the stumble backwards. Then, with fear in his eyes, Milton ran to the door on the opposite side of the room, opened it, ran out, and slammed the door behind him. The green-haired Faunus then sat back down in his chair, covered his eyes with one of his hands, and groaned.
“With a leader as spineless as that, no wonder things are so bad here.”
“Um, don’t you think you were a little hard on him Jirall?” said the Faunus behind him.
“Daylen, we both know that as long as their profits are untouched, those damn Schnee businessmen won’t budge an inch” said Jirall with a sigh “As long as those idiot workers keep going to the mines and earning their master’s profits, things will never change.”
“Jirall!” said Daylen, stepping out of the shadows “Don’t insult our people like that!”
Daylen was a tall skinny wolf Faunus with short spiky green hair and a kind face. He was wearing green and brown robe that reached all the way down to the top of his shoes, brown leather boots, and a pair of brown leather fingerless-gloves.
“Brother” said Jirall, “Our ‘people’ in this valley have already been broken. When we first came to this town I could see the lifelessness in them in a second. Barely surviving every day, most of them have given up on everything except earning the money for their next meals. People like that aren’t our family, they’re slaves to their human masters. We lived in even worse conditions while we were growing up, but we never let our spirit die and we always kept our dreams alive. That’s how we got to where we are now.”
“The leaders of a branch of the White Fang” said Daylen.
“Yes.” Said Jirall. “If only mother could see us now.
A few moments of silence passed between the two before someone spoke again.
“Are the preparations going well?” asked Jirall.
“I did as you asked brother, but I really think you should reconsider. The leader—“
“Has failed to get us results” interrupted Jirall. “There hasn’t been any big success in years. That’s why we have to take matters into our own hands……How long?”
“We should have everything we need in a few months” said Daylen, sighing and scratching his head.
“Good” said Jirall, getting up “Then for the time being we continue as we were instructed by our ‘wise leader’. Come on Daylen, it’s time to give our men another speech.”
Jirall marched towards the door and, after giving a rueful sigh, Daylen quickly followed. The metal door closed behind them with a loud bang and the light on the ceiling clicked off, leaving the room in total darkness.
“Lan” said someone gently into his ear.
Lan grunted and shifted around in the bed.
“Lan~~” came the voice again.
Lan’s consciousness we beginning to surface now and he suddenly felt that he should get out of the way before--.
Lan was slapped across the face and forced back to the waking world.
Lan sat bolt upright and blinked, his eyes still heavy from sleep.
“Ah, awake now?” said Byakko, who was standing over the boy.
Lan turned his head and looked at the alarm near his bedside. It read 6 o’clock in the morning.
“Grandpa” said Lan, slightly annoyed “What are you doing, we don’t need to wake up for work for another hour.”
“Actually, we do” said Byakko, pulling Lan’s naked form out of the bed and setting him down on his feet “I just realized that there’s most likely going to be a changing room in the guard house.”
“Yeah, and?” said Lan.
“This would be a problem” said Byakko, dropping his pants and waving his tail in front of Lan’s face. “I can cover up my ears with my hair, but this would be a dead giveaway. So, I need to be using one of my special secret aura techniques and I need you to help me.”
“Okay” said Lan, yawning and rubbing his eyes “What do you need me to do?”
“Just close your eyes and stand very very still,” said Byakko.
Too drowsy to feel any suspicion, Lan did so. He then felt a large hand on his head and as his grandfather let out a large breath Lan felt a strange sensation come over him. It was as if his very soul were being pulled towards the point of contact. He sensed it as motes of his residual essence were slowly plucked out of his spirit and then all of a sudden, it was over. Lan opened his eyes and stared at his grandfather whose hand now glowed a dull blue.
“This will do” said Byakko, nodding. He then placed the glowing hand on his chest.
His body glowed a dull blue and Lan watched, wide eyed, as the ears on top of Byakko’s hair shrunk and disappeared under his hair, his tail retracted into his behind, his hair became slightly darker, and other small changes formed all over his body. Byakko then took his palm off his chest and smiled.
“That there was what I like to call spirit copy” said Byakko, who shifted his body to get a feel for his slightly different form “It’s a secret skill old Meng taught me, he called it something different, that lets me take on characteristics from the person I use it on. I’m gonna use your human essence to repress my Faunus essence whenever we’re at work.”
“Wow” said Lan, blinking “That takes ‘walking a mile in their shoes’ to a whole new level.”
“There are some drawbacks though” said Byakko as he reached into his hair and scratched his now extremely small tiger ears. “If you don’t train yourselves to resist the spiritual traces that cling to the essence you absorb, you gain some personality elements of the person you got the essence from. Luckily, I did do that training, so don’t worry boy, my personality hasn’t changed even a little bit.”
“Can you teach me that?” said Lan who was now getting dressed “I want to see the world through a Faunus’s eyes.”
“Sorry, no can do” said Byakko, as he reached into his pants to check his posterior region. “I ain’t good at teaching them complicated spiritual things, you need Meng for that, I’m just good at teaching how to kick serious ass! And speaking of asses” Byakko turned his back to Lan, bent forward, and dropped his pants.
“Look! Look at my tail.”
Where Byakko’s long tiger tail had been, there was now a small hairless nub that vibrated back and forth.
“It’s like a little boxer tail!” said Byakko, laughing “Go on and touch it boy.”
“Uh, I’m good” said Lan, taking a step back with his hands raised. His mind was fully alert now, because from prior experience he knew that it was never a good thing when Byakko pulled down his pants.
“Touch the little boxer tail” ordered Byakko, who stepped backwards a few steps to bring Lan closer to the nub.
“Oh would you look at the time” said Lan, glancing at the clock “we got to get to the guard quarters.”
He then bolted out the door of his room, pulling on his shirt as he went. As he reached the top of the stairs leading down, he heard a crash from the direction of his room and turned to see his grandfather running backwards down the hallway in his direction, his hairy rear end pointed right at Lan.
“Touch the little boxer tail!” shouted Byakko.
“NOOOO!” shouted Lan, who ran down the stairs.
He turned left and headed into the living room, but the moment he did so Byakko crashed through the wall that separated stairs and living room, which had just been fixed after he had smashed through it the last time.
“Touch it!” shouted Byakko as he leapt towards Lan, ass-first.
“Grandpa!” shouted Lan, who barely avoided him “Please, I don’t want to touch anything near your ass! I need to cook soon!”
“So just wash your hands after!” said Byakko, who had begun running after Lan again.
“There exists nothing that can purify my hand after touching you’re smelly rear!”
“Baahahahahaha” laughed Byakko.
The chase continued for a full five minutes before Lan finally managed to find an open path that led it to the front door.
Lan threw the door open but stopped in his tracks.
“Good morning sir” said Mr. Kenichi with a warm smile “Will you be requiring any assistance with—“
“Touch it!” shouted Byakko.
Realizing what was about to happen, Lan prepared to dart to the side, but then realized that Mr. Kenichi would take the brunt of the assault if he did. Quickly making his decision, Lan pushed Mr. Kenichi into the street and prepared to run after him, but too late.
Byakko’s giant form crashed down on top of Lan ass-first, crushing the boy under his giant pantsless bulk.
“Feel the little boxer tail” said Byakko, laughing. He then looked up and saw Mr. Kenichi, as well as the many bystanders on the street, who staring at him with shocked and slightly disgusted faces.
“Sup” said Byakko, standing up.
“Um, Good morning sir” said Mr. Kenichi “W-would you like some help with your pants?”
“Naw I’m good” said Byakko, pulling up his pants. “So whatcha here for Kenny boy?”
“Um, assistance?” said Mr. Kenichi with a forced smile.
“Oh” said Byakko, “We’re good, just getting ready for work is all. Come on in and join us for breakfast!”
“Oh uh no” said Mr. Kenichi, waving his hands “I couldn’t—“
“Don’t be shy!” shouted Byakko, grabbing the man’s face “We got plenty of food, and it’s fresh! I hunted and gathered it all a few days ago.”
He then looked down and Lan’s face-down form.
“Get up boy, we got to prepare breakfast.”
Lan grunted and slowly got back up to his feet. Rather than stay on the ground and be forced to stomach his grandfather’s lethal cooking, Lan decided he that he would ignore his current pain and get to it. So after he covered his entire body with disinfectant spray, Lan prepared a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs, making sure to prepare it quickly so that Byakko wouldn’t get impatient. After eating breakfast in the rather awkward mood, which Byakko ignored, Lan went upstairs and gathered together the things that Siemans had given them yesterday.
When he came down, he found Byakko changing George’s diaper and Mr. Kenichi standing nervously by the open front door.
“A-are you ready to leave sir?” said Kenichi, eyeing the…colorful old diaper that Byakko had placed on the floor.
“Yep.” Said Lan, who placed the papers into his backpack, which he then hoisted onto his back, and the stun batons into the pockets of his shorts.
“Very well” said Mr. Kenichi “Please follow me.”
“Come on little fellas!” said Byakko to Ignis and George, “We got a job to do!”
Byakko then seized a surprised Mr. Kenichi around the waist and tucked the man under his arm.
“Point the way!” shouted Byakko, who then blasted down the street like a wildebeest, whipping up the wind around him to gale force levels.
Lan sighed and placed his hand on his face.
“And he’s supposed to be the mature one?” said Lan.
Lan then put on Ignis and George’s leashes and left the house with them in tow. He turned his head to the right, nodded, and followed the obvious path of destruction towards the mines.
“Please, let us get past.” said a skinny black-haired Male Faunus.
“Why do you insist on working for that parasite?” shouted a White Fang protestor. “You barely get paid anything while he gets to live in luxury!”
“But we receive our wages daily after work” said a wrinkled Faunus women “If we don’t clock in and do our work we can’t buy food.”
“Our ration packs—“started A man who seemed to be a leader of the protestors.
“Aren’t nearly enough!” shouted a Faunus boy that appeared to be in his late teens “There are way too many of us for those to feed!”
“We received information from your union leader on the number of oppressed Faunus here and have prepared as much as our budget could allow.” Said the leader with a sigh. “We ask that you all be patient. Once they’re pocket books are hurting enough the director will--”
“We’ll starve by then!” shouted an old woman “We need to get in an work or—“
Suddenly people screamed as the sound of gunfire filled the air. A few seconds later six security guards appeared and came between the two groups.
“Alright people break it up!” shouted the guard that appeared to hold the highest rank, he placed a smoking pistol back into its holster with a click “Workers, the gates are opening now so go on through and do your jobs. And as for you White Fang” the guard rounded on the leader of the group “Stop blocking the gates and let the workers through.”
The guard’s voice was laced with menace, but the Faunus leader just stood there calmly and looked him straight in the face.
“Not until your superiors agree to pay these men fairly for their work.” Said the man. The rest of the White Fang members cheered as he said this. An angry scowl appeared on the guardsman’s face and he reached down towards the stun baton at his waist, the other guards followed suit.
“I’m giving you till the count of three.” Said the guardsman, quietly. “One.”
The Faunus leader turned his head back towards his fellow protestors and quickly mouthed “Don’t fight back”. The people behind him, although looking quite nervous, nodded their heads.
“Two” continued the guard.
The leader of the group turned back and faced the guardsman, his face resolute.
“Three!” shouted the guard. He and the rest of his guardsmen whipped out their batons and, with a crackle of energy, switched them on. The guards then began lashing out at the Faunus nearest them, each blow yielding a spark of electricity as well as a cry of pain. Most of the people struck immediately fell to the ground, unable to move. Those who were able to handle the first blow soon found themselves struck over and over again until they finally collapsed. The leader of the group of White Fang was one of the first to fall, but the rest of the group stood their ground despite the pain that they knew was coming. Soon the guards had gone a quarter of the way into the group, stepping on those that had fallen as they went. The Faunus workers stood behind the guards, trembling with fear as they watched their brethren fall. They knew this was wrong, they knew that it was completely inhumane. But they knew how the guardsmen would respond if they spoke up, so they tried their best to hold themselves back and continued to watch the guards brutally beat the brave men and women.
Unable to take it anymore, a boy no more than 10 years old burst from the crowd, avoiding his mother’s frantic attempts to drag him back. He then ran up and grabbed one of the guardsman’s arms.
“Stop!” he cried, tears flowing down his face “Just stop!”
“You little shit.” Said the guard angrily, raising his baton “Let go!”
The guard brought the baton down on the young boy, who closed his eyes as the weapon neared his face. But the blow never came.
Before the guard had finished the movement a large stone came sailing through the air, smashed into the side of his helmet, and sent it flying off his head. The man then collapsed onto the ground, knocked out cold. The other 5 guards stopped their assault and stared in the direction of their fallen comrade.
“Hey!” shouted the lead guardsmen “Who threw tha—“
Before he could finish, five more rocks whizzed through the air and crashed into his and the other guards’ helmets, knocking all of them unconscious as well.
The crowd turned their heads backwards to find the source of the stones and found themselves staring at an extremely large and hairy man wearing a black gi and holding what appeared to be a terrified office worker under one of his arms.
“Whoohooo, success” said Byakko with a punch “Violent offenders subdued.”
“Those weren’t offenders!” shouted Mr. Kenichi, his voice high-pitched with panic “Those were your fellow guardsman!”
“Really?” said Byakko, staring down at Kenichi. He then squinted at the 6 incapacitated guards, nodded his head, squinted again, and then gave a humph.
“You sure? They look like guards but they sure as heck weren’t acting like them.”
“I am quite sure” said Mr. Kenichi as Byakko set him on the ground.
“Oh,” said Byakko “Sorry about that!” he yelled at the unconscious guards. “Are they okay boy?”
“Yep” shouted Lan. The crowd turned to the young boy that had seemingly come out of nowhere and was now checking each of the guards. “Their helmets protected them from most of the damage so they should be fine in a few hours.” Lan then stood up and turned towards the now confused White Fang protestors, while the monkey and wolf that were with him proceeded to poke, grab, nibble, and even urinate on various parts of the guards’ bodies.
“Can I check on your guys too?” said Lan.
The group of protestors slowly nodded and Lan went around examining the incapacitated members, applying CPR, with a bamboo pipe he always carried with him of course, and some basic acupuncture when needed. The crowd of workers slowly parted, allowing Byakko and Mr.Kenichi to walk through. While Lan worked on the incapacitated White Fang members, he looked around again for that dark haired girl he saw the other day, but after 10 minutes of searching he was unable to find her.
“Um, excuse me” said Lan towards one of the White Fang protestors.
“Yes?” said the man.
“Um, I remember seeing a black haired feline girl here yesterday. Is she sick or something?”
The man scratched his head and then answered.
“All of the active members in this town are here except for the group leaders back at the airship” said the man. “but a lot of us go back and forth to different areas depending on how much manpower is needed. Some of our members left yesterday on airships to participate in other rallies, she may have left with them.”
“Oh” said Lan, his gaze downcast “Okay.”
He was disappointed that he couldn’t see that girl again, but as he continued to work on the other unconscious White Fang members he slowly regained his enthusiasm as his mind focused more and more on the task at hand.
“These guys okay?” asked Byakko, as Lan continued checking on them.
“Well, the ones I’ve treated so far are okay” said Lan “But a lot of them started out in much worse condition then the guards you knocked out. Got hit with some serious voltage.”
After finishing up the check up on the last White Fang member, Lan checked the guards’ stun batons and found that they had been set at a setting much higher than the maximum allowed energy setting stated in the guardsmen manual. Lan then turned to Mr. Kenichi.
“Tell Mr. Siemans that these guards have been abusing their weapons privileges” said Lan “They must be relieved of duty.”
“Actually” said Mr. Kenichi, looking up at Byakko and swallowing “They were uh, given express permission to use higher settings by the higher ups.” Mr. Kenichi saw Lan’s eyes narrow “This is a very far out of the way town” he said quickly “They have the right in case anything, uh, unexpected happens.”
Lan stared at him for a few more moments and then shook his head.
“I’ll have to have a talk to Mr. Siemans later”
“Yes.” Said Mr. Kenichi with a sigh “you do that.”
“Well that takes care of that!” said Byakko as Lan helped the White Fang move their unconscious members off the street. “Come on everyone, let’s go to work.”
“Just wait one minute.” Said a blonde haired female protestor “We decided that we wouldn’t move until the higher ups here agreed to improve the living conditions and wages of these people. After having so many of our men fall, do you really think we’re just going to move out of the way?”
“Hmmm good point.” Said Byakko, scratching his chin. He thought for a few seconds then spoke again.
“So none of you will move from your spots?” He said.
“no” said the woman.
“Won’t take your feet off those specific pieces of concrete?” Said Byakko.
“No” said the woman slowly, who was beginning to sense that something was wrong.
“Great!” shouted Byakko who then bent down and slammed his fingers into the concrete. “Then compromise is easily reached!”
With an earth-shaking crunching noise, Byakko slowly pulled and lifted the street apart, flipping two giant cement slabs as if he were opening a giant door in the ground. The White Fang members in front of them screamed as the ground underneath their feet quickly grew steeper, causing them to fall onto the sides of the street. When Byakko finished, there were two giant cement slabs on both sides of the street forming a path that led up to the gate of the mines. Mr. Kenichi’s mouth stood agape while the works behind them stood shocked into silence. The members of the White Fang on the opposite sides of the cement walls/slabs groaned, but were mostly unhurt.
“Come on!” said Byakko, waiving in the direction of the mine. “We got work to do!”
The jubilant old man then ran forward and through the gates leading into the mining courtyard, Lan and his little friends close behind. After a few moments the workers turned to look at each other, shrugged, and followed, all of them wondering what the heck just happened.
From a pop-up hollo-screen connected to his desk, Mr. Siemans watched the events that took place in in the square from a camera mounted on the wall. He scowled as he watched his guards beat down the White Fang, knowing that it could lead to the mine receiving the wrong kind of attention from the news media, he would have to fire those guards later. But he smiled as he saw Byakko subdue the guards and Lan treat all the people that had fallen, with that he could save face with the media by praising his ‘newly hired guards’, push all the blame onto the ‘violent guards’, and only do some minor damage control by padding some of the right pockets. It would also slightly weaken the some of the support for the White Fang’s activities if he could show that their arguments about the Schnee company’s inhumane policies were unfounded since Schnee company security guards ‘protected them from violence’ and removed them from obstructing work without causing them undo harm, his superiors would be quite pleased with that. He was also stunned as he saw Byakko split the earth to form a path to the mines, and was then filled with pride as he thought ‘that man is my employee’.
“Hiring those two really was a great investment” said Siemans, pressing a button which turned off the screen and sent it back into his desk. Once again, he felt like celebrating and reached for the intercom to call Donna.
“This is where you’ll be assigned” said Mr. Kenichi.
“The whole cavern?” asked Byakko.
“Yes.” Said Mr. Kenichi.
Byakko whistled as he stared at the stone walls gently sloping upwards until they disappeared into the shadows above.
After he and Lan had entered the mining courtyard, they had been escorted into the mining shaft by Mr. Kenichi. They had boarded an elevator that brought them into an underground area with muggy damp air that was lit with lamps here and there. After traveling through a series of maze-like passages lined with what seemed to be broken conveyor belts, they had come to the vast cavern they were in now, which had walls perforated with natural dust deposits and was lit with lights surrounding the whole area. Also, lining the walls of parts of the room were multiple pipes that led to the surface and were designed to bring fresh air into the area, but from the muggy damp air that perforated the area, they were obviously severely clogged.
“I thought it might be a good idea for both of you to learn the way to get here” said Mr. Kenichi “even though you have a map it’s always a good idea to tread the path yourself.”
“I hear that!” said Byakko, clapping the man on the back and causing him to fall flat onto his face.
Lan and his little animal friends looked this way and that around the caver, taking in all the sights including the mining cart tracks and the wires along the walls.
“Well then” said Mr. Kenichi, rubbing his nose “If you two could head back up, you’ll be able to follow the guards that are heading to the changing room.” He then reached into his suit and pulled out two keys and a small communicating device “These are the keys to your lockers and communicator in case you need to contact me about anything.” He said as he handed them to Lan, who he now knew was the more trustworthy of the two. “Your new uniforms are already inside the lockers. Now I’m afraid I must take my leave, those accounts in the office won’t organize themselves.”
Then with a bow, Mr. Kenichi walked back into one of the tunnels and disappeared from sight.
“Shall we get a move on?” said Lan, as he pocketed the keys and communicator.
“One sec” said Byakko, who was staring around the room. He walked over to one of the air pipes and stared into it. A second later he grabbed it, took a deep breath, stuck it in his mouth, and blew into it. Lan heard the entire pipe system rattle and shake, and then a few seconds later he heard something explode far above them. Byakko removed his mouth from the pipe, stared into it and smiled. A gentle breeze was now wafting in from the pipes and rejuvenating the air in the cavern.
“That’ll do.” Said Byakko, turning back to Lan, Ignis, and George “Come on boys let’s go back up.”
As the four of them walked back through the tunnels to the elevator, far above them in the office building in the mines, Mr. Siemans had turned on his intercom and was now yelling at his secretary Donna. Asking why 100 pounds of sludge had smashed through the window of his private room while he was enjoying himself with the girls.
“New uniforms” sang Lan, as he pulled the folded set out of the locker.
He and Byakko were currently in a large white locker room, along with the rest of the guards. Byakko and Lan had just opened their lockers, which were side by side, and removed their guardsmen uniforms. As Lan placed his on the bench behind him, he noticed a small package in his locker. Removing it, Lan read the note on top, it read: ‘For your little friends’.
Lan unwrapped the package and found two strap-on guardsmen hats, which he then put on a jubilant Ignis and George. He then began to remove his clothing.
“Ahhhhhh!” sighed Byakko, “Nice to have the gi off once in a while.”
“Then why don’t you bathe more often” said Lan, who was trying hard to avoid the stink coming off the old man’s form. “then you can be in your tidy-whities more often.”
“I don’t wear tidy-whities!” shouted Byakko rounding on Lan “I wear fundoshi! The warrior’s underwear!” He gestured to the black cloth garment around his waist.
“It was just a figure of sp—“ started Lan.
“And guess what boy!” interrupted Byakko, who completely ignored Lan. He reached inside his locker and pulled out a similar garment. “I had one made for you too! Now take off them skinny briefs!”
Before he could run, Lan was grabbed by Byakko and had his underwear stripped right off. The other guards were staring at them at this point.
“Now let grandpa show you how to put it on!” shouted Byakko.
Lan screamed and struggled as Byakko slammed in on the bench and began to put on the undergarment, Lan screaming and struggling as Byakko made mistake after painful mistake while putting them on, each mistake followed by a ‘nope that’s not it’ from Byakko and a yelp of pain from Lan. The guards around them burst out in laughter at this point, further adding to Lan’s embarrassment.
After the deed was done and Lan had donned the ‘warrior’s underwear’, Lan put on his uniform in silence and said nothing as Byakko tore the sleeves off of his uniform before putting it on, the tailor would be most displeased by that. The two of them then left the rest of the guardsmen and followed the flow of miners, who now had their pickaxes in hand, to the elevator leading down into the mine shaft. The two of them then crammed themselves into one of the elevators filled to the brim with miners. As the elevator slowly descended, the Faunus workers gazed fearfully at Byakko as they recalled what had happened earlier that morning. Once they arrived at the lower level, the workers branched off in different directions, each group heading towards the cavern they worked in. Many of them seemed surprised as they walked down the stone halls, noting that the air was much clearer than it used to be.
Lan and co. followed the group of miners that were working in the same cavern as them. As they arrived they found many Faunus already hard at work, swinging their pickaxes into the stone and loading the deposits into mining carts. Lan and Byakko stood there staring at them all for a little while before Lan finally spoke.
“So, what are we supposed to be doing now?” asked Lan.
“Stay vigilant and put down any signs of trouble.” Answered Byakko.
The two of them stared at the scene for another few moments.
“Doesn’t look like there’s much trouble going on.” Said Lan “Except for maybe the obvious signs of malnutrition, exhaustion in the workers, and the shoddy equipment.”
“Yep!” said Byakko “Do you know what that means boy?”
“Training time?” said Lan.
“Training time!” shouted Byakko.
The old man grabbed Lan and the little animals and threw them towards the center of the room, which was mostly clear of debris and tools. Lan angled himself and landed on his feet, quickly catching Ignis and George before they crashed on the ground.
“The usual exercises!” shouted Byakko, “500 reps each!”
Lan nodded and dropped down and started doing push-ups at a speed much faster than you would expect a normal person to be capable of.
“Ignis, George!” shouted Byakko. The two little animals snapped to attention. “Wrestling match.”
The two little animals then dove at each other and began wrestling, going in a circle around Lan as they went. The some of the miners watched this, grinning slightly as they saw the boy’s enthusiasm. But suddenly a loud clang sounded throughout the room, along with an old man’s curse.
Byakko and Lan turned in the directions of the sound and saw an old man clutching his cheek. A trickle of blood was seeping out between his fingers. At his feet there was a broken pickaxe. Byakko signaled for Lan to keep on training and ran over to see what was going on.
“You okay?” asked Byakko, bending down and looking at the old man.
The man looked up, slightly confused.
“Um, are you referring to me sir?” said the man.
“Uh, yeah.” Said Byakko “There weren’t any other people crying out in pain. Let me take a look at that.”
The old man slowly removed his hand and exposed a deep gash under his lower cheek bone. Surrounding the wound were small pieces of rust that obviously had come from the piece of iron that had broken off from the pickaxe. Byakko nodded, reached into his uniform and pulled out a bottle of spray, an anti-bacterial wipe, and a bandage.
“These the right things for this Lan?” asked Byakko, who turned his head towards Lan. Lan nodded as he did his push-ups. Byakko then turned back to the old man. He ripped open the wrapping of the wipe and cleaned the old man’s cut. The old man winced as the cleaning agents in the wipe touched his wound. Byakko then sprayed the wound with the bottle, causing the man to wince again, and placed the bandage on afterwards.
“There you go” said Byakko, standing up “All better.”
The old man simply stood there and stared at Byakko. He obviously wasn’t used to such treatment from a guard.
“Well, as for your pickaxe” said Byakko, bending down and picking up the broken tool “We’ll have to get you a new one. Do you have any spares?”
The old man shook his head.
“Each of us only had one.” He said quietly. “And when one breaks we must replace it with our own money.”
“Well that’s no good” said Byakko, tossing the tool at Lan who quickly avoided it. “Hmmm.”
Byakko thought for a second, and then his face lit up. He walked over to the broken rusty pickaxe and picked it up the part that still had the handle attached. He then peeled the rust off the surface of the iron with his bare hands and bent the metal back into the shape of a pick.
“Here you go” said Byakko, tossing the pickaxe to the old man “the pick’s a little smaller than normal, but it’ll do for the rest of today. Stop by our house tonight and we’ll see about fixing it up or gettin you a replacement!”
The old man could hardly believe what just happened and gave a heartfelt word of thanks before returning to work. The other miners in the area were also began whispering among each other as they worked. The hours went by without incident after that until lunch finally arrived, with Lan just finishing his basic exercises in time. Lan, Byakko, and the little guys started to leave, intent on getting to the mess hall before the lunch rush packed it, but stopped as they watched all the workers sit on the ground and open up small lunch pails, many of which contained nothing but a few crusts of stale bread.
“Oh yeah.” Thought Lan “Underpaid Faunus labor.”
He looked up at his grandfather who had a “seen this shitty stuff many times before” kind of look on his face.
“The refrigerators back at home seem to be little full.” Said Lan, off-handedly.
“Yes” said Byakko, “I believe they are.”
“But it would be such a shame to just throw all those fresh ingredients out.” Said Lan.
Many workers were now staring in their direction confused looks on their faces.
“Yes it would” said Byakko “So just cook them up and let’s have them for lunch. But then again even I couldn’t finish all of that myself, so if, oh let’s say, a few of our co-workers wanted to share in the meal then I would be more than happy to indulge them.”
Many of the workers were now staring at each other, hopeful expressions on their faces.
“How fast can you get it back here boy?” whispered Byakko
“I’ll do the cooking” whispered Lan “You do the delivering.”
With that the two of them blasted out of the room, a small wolf pup biting down on the hem of Byakko’s pants and a small monkey holding onto the collar of Lan’s shirt. Within minutes, the two of them were back up to ground level and in front of their house. Once there, Byakko pulled out a giant push cart out of one of the closets in the house and set in front of the main entryway while Lan ran to the kitchen and lit the stove. He then pulled an enormous pot, which was normally used to cook Byakko’s meals (Barely a tenth of what he could eat of course), out of the cupboard, filled it with water, and threw it on the stove. To heat it up faster he threw in a can of fire dust powder and threw on the lid to contain the resulting explosion and heat. With the pot boiled, Lan threw open one of the refrigerators and pulled out lots of meat and vegetables that he quickly sliced up into very small pieces so they could cook faster and threw them in the pot along with some well-chosen spices. He then threw in another can of dust so that the soup would cook even faster, as well as blow the pieces of meat and vegetables into smaller particles. While the soup cooked, Lan heated up the skillet and cracked dozens and dozens of eggs onto it which he loaded onto a giant lid once they were fully cooked. Slamming a lid down on the plate of eggs, Lan checked the clock on the wall and saw that fifteen minutes had elapsed since the start of lunch hour, they had forty five minutes left before lunch ended and the rest of the guards got back. The soup still needed another two minutes, so Lan filled several coolers with water for the workers to drink and placed them along with the plate of eggs on the cart behind Byakko. The soup gave whistle, signaling it was done. Lan ran to the kitchen and after opening the lid and smelling the steaming liquid, he put the lid back down and attached clamps to the sides of the lid so that the soup wouldn’t spill. He then grabbed some ladles and moved the soup onto the cart as well. Lan gave Byakko a thumbs up and, with a roar; the old man took off speeding down the street towards the mine. Once they arrived at the mine, they loaded the food onto the freight elevator and rode down with it to the bottom. Once they reached the bottom, they quickly wheeled the cart back to the cavern that was now filled with more Faunus than before.
“Good that they got the word around” said Byakko, smiling. He then dashed around the room, checking all of the open lunch pails and fixing, by squeezing them shut, any holes he found. He then gave a thumbs up and Lan whipped the lip off the soup and the cover off the eggs. The room filled with the delicious smell of high quality soup and many of the Faunus there found their mouths watering. Like a stampede of wildebeest, the Faunus workers ran towards Lan, holding their metal lunch pails in their hands. The moment the first person arrived, he found that his pail had already been filled halfway with the soup and had an egg floating in it. With lightning fast movements, multiple ladles, and a smile on his face, Lan quickly served every Faunus in the room. The workers didn’t have spoons, so they simply sipped the hot liquid out of their lunch pails, many of them sighing in satisfaction at finally receiving a good meal after a long time. Of course since the workers were accustomed to eating very small amounts, even with so many in the room they weren’t able to finish all the soup, but that was fine with Byakko who chugged the rest of it and devoured the remaining eggs. After they had eaten, many of the Faunus came up and expressed their thanks, making the young boy blush and the old man laugh. Lan checked his watch at this point and found that there were only 10 minutes left in the lunch period.
“That’s plenty of time for me to run to the mess hall and devour every last scrap of food they have left.” Shouted Byakko.
“Save some for us!” shouted Lan, who had Ignis and Lan clinging to his back.
The four of them dashed to the lunch hall where most of the guards had already finished eating and stunned the whole room by eating more than the rest of the staff combined.
As Lan and Byakko signed off that evening they were greeted and thanked by the workers, many of whom were wondering if they would be serving lunch daily. Byakko gave a deep laugh at this and replied with a loud “Why not?!” and Lan made a mental note to wake up extra early to cook. The two of them were in a very good mood as they began to walk out the gates, but stopped as they noticed a group of workers arguing with an accountant at the pay counter.
“This is even less than what we were told!” shouted one of them. “Where’s the rest of our pay?”
The women looked up from the logs she was reading and answered in a nasally voice. “Mr. Siemans clearly stated that wages would rise and fall in tandem with weekly production. Production has dropped since last week so wages drop as well.”
“But it’s already dropped!” said a man, whose face was extremely desperate “It’s been dropping ever since our equipment started failing, equipment that your superiors should have replaced!”
“The new equipment will arrive in time” said the woman “Until then you’ll have to make do.”
With that she pressed a button on her side and a metal shield slid down over the window of the counter. Many of the Faunus workers looked angry, but decided to drop it once a few guards appeared out of the shadows brandishing batons. As they walked away, many of them grumbled angrily and a few spat on the ground.
“Hmmm” said Byakko scratching his chin “Overall production huh?”
He then picked up a stone and threw it to Lan, who quickly caught it.
“Punch it to pieces” said Byakko.
Lan did so and shattered the rock in a single blow. As Lan looked up, he noticed a large smile spreading across Byakko’s face.
“I know what training you’ll be doing tomorrow”
Lan knew as well, and smiled. Ignis and George looked at each other slightly confused. The four of them then walked out of the gates and headed back home, Byakko’s stomach grumbling and Lan pushing the cart with the empty pot, plate, and coolers.
Later that night.
“They’re late brother” said Daylen, checking his watch. It was 2 o’clock in the morning.
Daylen and Jirall were currently standing at the edge of the aerial landing area, leaning against some metal cargo crates.
“They’ll be here” said Jirall, who had his arms folded “They have reputation to keep after all.”
“Indeed we do” said a soft voice.
The two of them whipped around in the direction of it and found a cloaked man standing right behind them, his face completely obscured by his hood.
“How did—“started Daylen.
Jirall raised his hand and stopped Daylen.
“Masters of secrecy remember?”
“Just so” said the cloaked man. He then moved his cloak slightly and revealed a small crate by his feet. He then kicked it over to Jirall. “Your order.”
Jirall reached into his shirt and pulled out a small knife. With a fluid motion, he sliced through the nails holding the lid, lifted the top, and peered inside. A small grin appeared on his face and he put the lid back down. He then reached into his robe, pulled out a good deal of Lien, and handed it to the hooded man.
“How long until the rest arrives?” said Jirall.
“The entirety of your order should be here in a few months” said the hooded figure.
“Perfect timing” said Jirall, picking up the crate.
“Might I ask what you pacifists need this much firepower for?” said the man.
Jirall laughed and turned his back on the man.
“What was your group’s motto again” he said.
“Secretly done with no questions asked” said the hooded man.
“Stick to it” said Jirall, turning back. But the man had already vanished, swallowed up by the darkness of night.
“Are you sure we’re doing the right thing?” said Daylen after a moment of pause, “Just think of the lives that will be lost!”
“And many more will be lost if we don’t act” said Jirall, “the world needs to realize that we can’t just be pushed around, so the sooner we drop this pacifist bullshit the better.”
The two of them then walked back to their airship, the crate held tightly in Jirall’s arms.
Here’s the beginning of Lan’s first taste of the darkness in the human soul, it’s sure to be a thrilling event. Note that the White Fang is still a peaceful organization during this time period, which is currently 11 or 12 years before the start of RWBY.
Once again, thank you all for supporting me by reading this and please give me any reviews of the story so that I may improve my skills and please pray for me in my attempt to get this story noticed by the RWBY crew (and hopefully absorbed into the main story).