RWBY-The Journeys of Lan

Chapter 22

Ch 22

The day of the party

Lan straightened his tie and stared into the mirror. He was wearing a black tuxedo with a dark blue inner shirt and a striped tie. Also, for the formal event he had donned a pair of black leather shoes for the first time since the ball back in Little Root.

“Alright” said Lan, nodding his head in satisfaction.

He then turned to Ignis and George who were lying on the bed.

“You two be good now” said Lan “because if I find anything broken or dirtied I’ll sick grandpa on you.”

Byakko’s head smashed through a boarded up portion of the wall.

“Sick me on what?” he asked. “I’m ready!”

“Later” said Lan, taking up a hammer, boards, and nails that were in his drawer while Ignis and George huddled together, shivering in the corner of the bed.

Lan then boarded up the hole again once after Byakko pulled his head back into own his room.

Once he finished, Lan walked to a small bag lying by his bed and opened it up. Inside were a variety of tools that he would be using in the espionage tonight. He went over everything one more time, checked their functionality, and read up on the blueprints of the building.

The front door to his room banged open. Byakko stood there wearing his wrinkly tux.

“Ready?” he asked.

“As I’ll ever be” said Lan.

The two of them then walked down the stairs, Lan’s bag slung over his shoulders. Before they left the house, Byakko went to the kitchen and grabbed a large pot filled with something and held it under his arm. The invitation said that they could bring a dish to the party if they wanted.

“This gonna work?” asked Byakko, showing Lan the pot.

“Yes” said Lan, taking a few steps back after his heightened sense of smell alerted him to what was inside.

“Do you have on your” Byakko paused for effect “second skin?”

Lan reached below his dark blue inner shirt and pulled out part of the dark material he was wearing underneath.

“Ninja set, ready.” said Lan.

“New weapons?” asked Byakko.

“Got’em” said Lan.

The two of them then exited the house and walked out into the cool night air of the brightly lit street. The two of them decked out in their tuxedos, attracted many stares as they walked through the mazelike streets of the town. Lan stared up at the mines as they neared it, a dark looming shape stuck in the side of the mountain that stared down at the brightly lit streets below. Steam billowed from the smokestacks at the top of the mine structure which were on the same level as the tops of the cliffs surrounding the town. It was the refinery used to transform the raw dust ore into its marketable forms and was constantly running, operated by the highly paid engineers from Schnee headquarters as well as the night-shift Faunus laborers. Tons and tons of valuable dust was shipped out of the refinery every day, giving the town access to great wealth, but at the same time attracting those with dark intentions that would abuse the resources here. It was the life giver of the town as well as its greatest poison.

The two of them walked through the front gates leading into the mine courtyards and turned right towards the towering office building that was only dwarfed by the mine structure next to it. After passing through the double doors they were greeted by the receptionist in the brightly lit white lobby.

“Welcome” she said with a large smile on her face. “Do you have your invitations?”

Lan and Byakko handed them to receptionist, who took them with a bow. She then ran them through a small device that was hidden from view behind her large half-circle shaped desk.

“Follow the hallway to your right” she said, looking back up “Take the second set of stairs on your left and that should take you to the party.”

“Thanks” said Lan.

“Have a good day sirs” said the woman.

Lan and Byakko followed her instructions and walked into the hall, quickly found the stairs, and descended down towards the party below. The two of them opened a pair of double doors at the bottom of the stairs and entered the party room. The room was enormous. The walls were lined with giant white marble columns and expensive looing pieces of art. Three giant chandeliers hung from the ceiling and illuminated the party that took place below on the smooth marble floor.

There were dozens and dozens of people talking, laughing, and dancing at various parts of the room. In the center of the room there were three long tables covered with dozens of high quality dishes and drinks that the guests were enjoying, serving themselves and then taking the food and drink back to one of the circular tables scattered throughout the room. Every so often a waiter would come out of a door in the right wall and replace one of the finished dishes with a new sumptuous creation or remove empty plates from tables. At the far end of the hall there was a giant stage which had wires running from it to speakers attached to the marble columns. The stage was outfitted to allow both performers and video shows to entertain the people in the room. At that moment there was a very well-dressed band playing a waltz on the stage.

Directly in front of the stage, there was a large satin couch where Lan could make out Siemans’s form. The man had his arms around the shoulders of two well-dressed woman who would giggle every once in a while. Servants surrounded him, taking care of his every whim and a host of guards surrounded him on either side. From the looks of it, Siemans would be staying there the whole night.

“Look boy” said Byakko, who pointed towards a table near the middle of the left wall. Sitting there was Aurelius, the captain of the guard, who was wearing a white suit with a fur cloak wrapped around his shoulders and was eating a meal with his wife and his son.

“Alright then” said Byakko, cracking his knuckles “Distraction time.”

Moving so fast that Lan couldn’t see him, Byakko darted over to the table.

“Hello Captain!” shouted Byakko, who appeared seemingly out of nowhere behind the man and completely startled him and his family.

“Oh uh,’ehem’ hello” said Aurelius. “Good to see you guardsman Byakko how are you enjoying the—“

“You wanna see what I have in the pot?” interrupted Byakko, who opened the lid a small crack.

The moment it opened, a cloud of purple gas blasted into Aurelius’s face.

“I made it myself” said Byakko. “You want some?”

Aurelius didn’t answer; probably because he was too busy clutching his throat and gagging while his wife and child looked on from the side, expressions of horror on their faces. Lan quickly rushed forward and pulled Aurelius off the chair and onto the floor, which was free from the vapor.

“I don’t think he wants any grandpa” said Lan as he patted the man on the back.

Byakko shrugged and shut the lid of the pot and while Lan slowly hit pressure points on Aurelius’s body that would help his breathing slowly return to normal.

“Would you like a hand getting up?” asked Lan.

“Oh, why thank you Lan” said Aurelius, coughing as he slowly regained his composure.

Lan helped the man back to his feet and then back onto the chair.

“Well, since he doesn’t want any” said Byakko, turning towards the crowd of people nearby “I’ll see if any of them want some!”

Byakko then took off running towards the crowd of people nearby.

“Gah! Uh, sorry. Gotta go do some damage control!” shouted Lan who took off after his grandfather.

“Good luck!” shouted Aurelius after him.

Lan saw Byakko turn and look back at him, an eyebrow raised. Lan nodded, reached into his suit and pulled out the tip of a small silvery card. Byakko nodded and turned back towards the crowd in front.

Lan and Byakko then ran all over the room, repeating the process with every person that they needed a keycard from. Within twenty minutes they had gathered most of them, and finally it was time for the finale.

“Hmmm.” Said Byakko loudly “No one wants to try…I know, they’ll all be begging to eat it if he likes it!”

Byakko took off running towards the front of the room, Lan close behind him. As he neared the large couch, a few guards moved to stop him. Big mistake.

Like a bowling ball to pins, Byakko blasted through the guards, sending all of them high into the air and came to a stop in front of a startled Mr. Siemans.

“Tonight was a potluck right?” said Byakko.

“No” said Siemans. “Technically you could bring something if you wanted—“

Siemans suddenly realized Byakko’s intentions and was about to voice a command to stop, but too late.

“Good I brought this!” shouted Byakko

Byakko whipped off the lid of the pot and a huge cloud of the purple smoke erupted out of it like a volcanic eruption. Soon the ceiling of the room was soon completely shrouded in the purple mist coming from the pot, casting a gloom of despair over the party goers.

“I made it myself” said Byakko as he dipped a spoon into the pot, a horrifying smile spreading across his face “It’s my special” Byakko paused for (horror) effect “Stew. Try a bite.”

“Oh, uh no” said Siemans, holding up his hands in front of him. The women beside him were shivering in fear. “I’m quite al—“

“Don’t be shy!” shouted Byakko, pulling the spoon out of the pot, which was now covered in a thick purple goo “Eat up!”

The spoon shot forward towards Siemans’s mouth, which was wide open in horror. Before it reached its destination however, Lan leapt forward and dove between the two and unluckily, the spoon found its way into the young boy’s mouth. The force of Byakko thrust forced Lan to swallow, and the moment the spoon was pulled free, Lan fell backwards onto Siemans.

“Gah, ugh” spluttered Lan, as he pushed himself off Siemans’s horrified form. He clasped his mouth with his right hand and looked as if he was about to vomit, but with what seemed like a great effort, he swallowed the bile back in.

“G-grandpa” said Lan in a hoarse voice, shaking slightly as he pushed himself off of Siemans. “W-why don’t you leave that pot on the table. I-if people want to try it, they can serve themselves.”

“D’okay” said Byakko after a short pause, a large smile on his face. “I’ll just set it over there on the table then.”

He then shut the pot on the lid, ending the flow of purple smoke. The basement ventilation system was then activated to remove the dark cloud that hung over the party goers. As Byakko walked over towards the table, Lan collapsed onto the floor grasping his stomach.

“I…really must thank you for that” said Siemans, who was brushing off his coat. “I’ll include a bonus in your next paycheck.”

Lan grunted in acknowledgement, and then slowly rose back to his feet. His stomach gave off a load gurgling sound and he clasped his hand over his mouth again.

“Ugh, Mr. Siemans?” said Lan “I’m going to need to go the bathroom…for a very long time.”

“Ah, yes, of course” said Siemans, scooting backwards “It’s down the hall to the right.”

Lan nodded and then slowly walked away, heading to the door that lead back upstairs. He passed Byakko on the way. The old man was savagely eating everything in sight, because of this a half circle of empty space had formed between and the other party goers.

“Did you get it? Asked Byakko as Lan neared.

Lan turned to look at him and nodded.

“The digestives are in the bag” said Lan, motioning to the one over his shoulder. “And here’s your ‘phone’ for if you want to call me.”

Lan placed the keycard needed to access the main security system into Byakko’s hands and then continued forward. Byakko smiled and turned back to the lamb chops in front of him. Within a few minutes, Lan had limped up the stairs, into the hallway, and found the bathroom. He quickly entered one of the stalls then sat down on the toilet with a loud sigh.

“Phase one finished without a hitch” he said.

What had been in the pot was indeed Byakko’s cooking, but what had been on the spoon wasn’t. It had been a blob of grape jelly that Lan had made to look like Byakko’s cooking. The boy had needed a good excuse to leave the room once he had gotten everything he needed. He still felt sick however, the jelly had been bathed in the fumes from the pot for a few seconds and had picked up some of the scent. He reached into the bag by his feet, pulled out some stomach medicine and took a sip. While the medicine did its work, Lan went about preparing. The first thing he did was set up a sound system on the lid of the toilet. It was programmed to release sounds of him farting, defecating, or vomiting every minute or so. He then went over the tools he planned to use once again, checking to make sure they were in working order, and then checked over the key cards he had stolen. Once he had finished, the medicine had done its work and he felt fine again.

“Once the mission starts I won’t get a chance to go to the bathroom again so…”

Lan then crawled into the next stall over and did some business, after which he wiped his hands with a packet of cleaning towelettes he had brought with him. Once that was done, he climbed back into the other stall, and peeled off his suit, revealing a full-body black gi. He then reached into the bag and pulled out a dark blue cloth mask that he then strapped over his face and a pair of black gloves that he pulled on. He then pulled everything he needed out of the bag and put them in small pockets hidden all over his clothes.

“Alright” said Lan as he placed the last tool into his clothes “Ready.”

He then looked up. Above him was a vent leading into the ventilation shaft that was shut with four small screws. Lan listened to make sure there wasn’t anyone else in the room, activated the switch for the sound system, and leapt upwards onto the top of the stalls. He then pulled out a screw driver, quickly unscrewed the bolts, caught them and the vent cover and they fell, leapt into the ventilation system, pulled the vent cover back on, and screwed the bolts in through the cracks. He then turned his gaze forward towards the darkness in front of him and began to crawl forwards. After a few minutes of crawling, he came to a stop. This was one of the areas that sensors were set. He reached into his gi and pulled out a black pouch containing chalk powder. He then reached inside, removed a handful of it and blew it into the area in front of him. As it passed through, the powder revealed dim beams of red light that crisscrossed the whole area. The gaps between the beams were too small for Lan to pass through.

“Guess I’ll have to wait till grandpa shuts off the vents” thought Lan, he then clasped his hands together and prayed that Byakko would be successful, and by that I mean Lan hoped Byakko wouldn’t forget, overdo things, or cause any incriminating destruction. Byakko’s job was imperative to the mission’s success. Due to the high level security systems that filled the building, the guard was very lax in its duties while inside and mostly left the hard jobs to the machines. So if the security system was shut off, Lan would be met with very few obstructions while he did his part of the mission.

He needn’t have worried though. For all his faults, Byakko was always professional, albeit slightly eccentric, when it came to completing his missions. After finishing enough food for 30 people and downing countless bottles of strong alcohol Byakko, had loudly exclaimed to the entire room that he needed to “take a huge shit!” After which he had ran out of the room, with the crows quickly parting to allow him through, most of whom had disgusted looks on their faces. The old man had then ran to the security control room in a seemingly drunken rampage, kicked open the door, and yelled at the horrified guard sitting at the table:

“Is there a bathroom in here?”

Before the man could answer, Byakko caught him in a head lock while singing a drunken song. Once the man had passed out from the fumes of Byakko’s pits, Byakko began spinning him round and round while singing a song about a bear named ted. He then let the man go and the unfortunate fellow flew through the air and crashed into the camera in the corner of the room. Despite the seemingly chaotic and unseemly performance, the whole event had been planned out. Byakko had already established a reputation as a violent and sporadic drunk his first week in town, so this little rampage of his would only be seen as another page in a very long list of offenses and be quickly overlooked.

Before more guards arrived, Byakko activated the panel of controls at the far right of the desk, which lit up and hummed to life, using the keycard Lan had given him and deactivated the necessary security systems and cameras as per Lan’s instructions, which he read from crudely drawn piece of paper that he afterwards devoured. He then deactivated the panel, which turned off its lights and made it look like it had never been on. He also smashed the screens of the security cameras he had shut off so no one would question the blank screens. A few minutes later, a few guards arrived on the scene. As they entered the room, they choked and ceiled their helmets to block the smell that was filling the room.

Byakko had wanted to make the whole thing look as much as one of his drunken escapades as possible. So, going along with bathroom excuse, he had used one of the trash cans in the room as a toilet and filled it to the rim with (some of) the contents of his bowels, he had then wiped using some nearby tissues.

He waved to the guards in a mock drunken stupor and asked them if they wanted to use the toilet as well. They had all politely declined and had then guided Byakko to the nearest restroom; for fear that the old man would do something else unspeakable, before sending him back to the party. Three of the guards stayed behind, with two of them helping the unconscious guard in the corner of the room to the infirmary, while the last, which had lost in a game of rock-paper-scissors, was forced to dispose of Byakko’s waste.

Back in the ventilation shaft, Lan watched as the lights slowly flickered away. He then continued forwards. His goal was the vent above the door leading to the next floor.

You see, to improve the security of the building, the ventilation for each floor was designed as a separate unit, isolating each floor from each other as much as possible to reduce the chance of break-ins (which was also a boon at present time, because if the ventilation systems of each floor had been linked, Lan would have been suffocated by the fumes of Byakko’s cooking that had been sucked into the basement ventilation system). The only way for a normal person to get from floor to floor was through the doors between them or the building’s elevator. Lan and Byakko had chosen to go with the doors for this mission, but the only keycard that opened all the doors was with a master keycard that Siemans always carried with him on strap around his neck and checked on frequently, which was why Lan was unable to take that specific card, or with the multiple keycards for the doorways that were held by the heads of each division of the building, each floor belonging to separate divisions of course, and allowed them to open the doors that were connected to their specific floor. So up to a certain point, Lan had to go floor by floor through the doors connecting them and traverse each floor through the ventilation shafts to avoid any workers that had been forced to stay and work late. The elevator wasn’t an option, since it contained logs and cameras that were on a different server than the main security system.

After making his way to the vent nearest the door to the next floor, Lan dropped down, removed the necessary key card out of his gi, slid it into a small slot on a panel next to the door, and ran through as it slid open. He then ran up the short flight of stairs leading up to the next floor, opened the door with the same card and entered the next floor. It was after working hours so it was very dark there. Through the gloom, Lan could barely see anything. He noticed small points of flickering lights that pierced through the gloom like the stars in the night sky, most from the various computers and other pieces of technological equipment scattered around.

The second floor of the office building was in charge of distribution, and the personnel were either home or at the party downstairs. There may have been a few stragglers there taking care of some last minute projects, but they would shut up in separate rooms, struggling to finish the long and monotonous work that had been assigned to them by their superiors.

Lan sniffed the air. It was filled with the smell of cleaner. Good. That meant that the janitors had already been through and wouldn’t be coming around. Slowly, Lan crept forwards into the dark, bringing up the floor plan to mind as he went. The nearest entrance to the ventilation system to this floor was in a bathroom a couple meters ahead of him. Even though it was unlikely that anyone was nearby he still wanted to take as little risk as possible. After slipping through the darkness like a shadow in the night he arrived at its location. Then, quietly, he pushed his way into the restroom. Once inside, he listened carefully for anything that could signal that someone was inside. Nothing.

Pulling out a small flashlight, Lan leapt onto the top of the stalls, found the ventilation shaft and quickly climbed in.

“Good thing I won’t have to do this for every floor” thought Lan, who grimaced at the thought of having to go through this procedure for all 10 floors of the office building.

Due to the risky nature of the mining operation, what with the possibility of a violent response from the many Faunus workers, the Dust Hole branch Schnee office building had no windows on the first 4 floors to make break-ins more difficult.

Lan planned to exit to the back of the building from one of the fifth floor windows and climb his way to the top from there. He wasn’t able to do so from the bottom of the building because he would have had to slip by the eyes of the perceptive front desk receptionist to do so, as well as the eyes of the guards patrolling the mine courtyard.

After making his way through the second floor without trouble, Lan headed up to the third, which was equally deserted and as a result easy to pass through. Sadly, this lulled the boy into a false sense of security. It was when he was crawling through the ventilation shaft of the 4th floor, the finance department, that he received his first shock.

As he neared a vent in the middle of the system, making more noise than he would have if he had felt more cautious, he noticed that light was coming out of it, the only one he had seen so far.

“What’s that banging?” he heard from a voice in the room below. Lan stopped and tensed his whole body. He heard the sound of a chair scooting back and a man getting to his feet. Lan stayed perfectly still and fifteen seconds later, he heard the man sigh and plop back into his chair. Lan slowly crept forward and peered through the vent into the room below. Sitting at a desk in a small office decorated with many pictures of his family was Mr. Kenichi. On the right side of his desk was a stack of papers 6 feet high, on his left were 3 similar stacks of paper 5 feet high each. Mr. Kenichi would remove one piece of paper from the right pile, enter some data into the computer in front of him, write something down on the paper, stamp it, and place it in the left pile.

“That’s not the work of one man” thought Lan. At that moment, Mr. Kenichi’s phone rang. Mr. Kenichi picked it up, adopted a brighter expression, and answered “Mr. Kenichi, vice-chief of the 3rd accounting division speaking.”

He nodded once or twice as the man on the other line talked to him.

“Yes, yes” he said “I’ve almost finished the work, should be done by the end of the night. So you, Benjy, Heinrich, and everyone else just enjoy your selves at the party.” He paused for a moment as the man on the other line spoke again “Yes sir, and I appreciate your allowing me to keep my job even with all the lay-offs lately and the bonuses you give me there are also much appre—“The man on the other line spoke again and Mr. Kenichi’s bright demeanor faded “No vacation days for the next month? No no sir, I understand it’s just that… it was a little unexpected is all. Yes, Yes, I’ll have the reports done by morning…goodnight to you as well sir.”

Mr. Kenichi set down the phone, sighed, and pulled a small date book out of his shirt. He made two quick strokes and shut it while muttering “What am I going to tell Hikari when I get home.” Lan remembered that that was the name of his wife. He then took a sip of coffee from a mug, stretched, rubbed his exhausted looking face, and then continued with his assignment.

Quietly, Lan moved further into the ventilation shaft and after he was sure he was out of earshot, he let out a deep sigh.

“Poor guy” he thought “Working so hard and not getting back as much as he put in…A lot like the Faunus that are working here.”

Lan knew what kind of place this was. It was where the strong and cruel reigned over the weak and kind. A tyranny.

“And one that’s gonna change real soon.” Thought Lan.

After a few more minutes in the ventilation system, he made it to the fifth floor.

After making sure that there was no one nearby, Lan entered the nearest vent and began to make his way towards the back of the building. He quickly arrived at his destination, a small forgotten bathroom hidden away behind a bookshelf that was now only accessible from the ventilation system. He dropped down into the dilapidated restroom and fixed his gaze on the dirty window, luckily for him the bathroom had been cleaned right before the bookcase had been moved there so the unclean areas that littered the room were simply from old age, not from old excrements.

Lan leapt up, grabbed the latch that held the lock in place, and, with a little effort, managed to force the latch into the unlocked position. He then pushed it open and looked outside. Spreading out below him were the lights from the town that lit up the normally grey tapestries of concrete buildings with hundreds of multicolored gems. To his right was more of the town, to his left was the dark mountainside. Lan took a moment to enjoy the view and the cool mountain breeze that brushed past his eyes before returning to the task at hand.

He reached inside his gi, and pulled out four rare metal knives that he had taken from Byakko’s armory back in tiger valley. After strapping two of them to his feet with strong cords and taking up the other two in his hands, Lan then leaned out the window and drove the dagger in his left hand into the concrete wall above his head with a sharp clank. After giving it a few tugs to see if it was stable, Lan leapt out the window, his left hand thoroughly gripped on the dagger planted into the wall, turned his body by adjusting his grip on the knife, and slammed the knife in his right hand into the wall. He turned his head and looked down below at the 15 meter drop to the ground below him. A normal boy would have had vertigo after doing this, but Lan felt no such feeling due to him having being forcibly pushed off the side of the great waterfall in tiger valley many many times. He then turned his gaze upwards, pulled the left knife free, and began to climb. The first couple feet went smoothly as he clanked and cut himself up the side of the building, luckily there were very few windows on the back of the building so he didn’t have to avoid too many as he climbed. But he suddenly stopped as he heard one of the guards in the courtyard at the front of the building say: “What’s that clanging sound?”

Lan knew that his means of scaling the building were by no means quiet, but he had hoped that he would have been far enough away from the guards for his knife work to be inaudible.

“You wanna check that out?” said a second guard.

“Uhhh, why not?” said the first guard “nothing better to do anyway.”

Lan heard the crunch of his boots slowly march towards the back of the building and saw the beam of light from a flashlight pass over the mountain side to his right. Lan closed his eyes and prayed. He prayed for the one thing that had always saved him from every single dangerous moment of his life but often left him feeling quite awkward.

“Hey there everybody!” shouted a loud and crass voice.

Ah there it was.

“Let’s tango!”

The light disappeared and was replaced by the sound of tango music. Lan climbed diagonally upwards and peered around the corner of the building towards the front. Down in the courtyard he saw Byakko hand in hand and dancing with a portly man wearing a green suit and a long golden beard. The two of them were surrounded by the courtyard guards. The man had an extremely alarmed look on his face and was attempting to break away at every attempt he got. Lan recognized him as Bartrand, the head of the Distribution department. The two of them were currently dancing the tango with Byakko, whose face looked to be a combination of inebriation and seriousness, dragging the well-dressed individual all across the courtyard. He was actually quite good. The guards were obviously enjoying this comical display since none of them moved to help the man or turn off the stereo system Byakko had placed near the steps of the building, but at the same time they were all trying hard not to laugh since the subject of Byakko’s harassment was still their superior. Halfway into the dance, Byakko bent backwards, grabbed large bundle of weeds with his teeth, and returned to the normal dancing position with the weeds held between his teeth like the rose that was normally held there during a tango.

Lan slowly shook his head as he watched this.

“Good distraction grandpa” he said under his breath.

He then continued to climb. As he climbed higher and higher, Byakko continued to dance. Lan checked up on him every once in a while as he climbed and each time he was greeted with the sight and sound of his grandfather dancing to a different tune while wearing a different set of clothing. There were also an increasing number of party goers coming out to join him. By the time Lan had reached the 9th floor, which was right below his destination, everyone that had been at the party was out in the courtyard dancing to a disco tune that was now being played by a band Siemans had hired. In the center of it all was Byakko, who had somehow changed into a white suit with the chest area open, which showed his hairy chest and battle scars, complete with a gold chain necklace and was skillful executing a variety of dance moves. Lan noticed that Siemans had joined the festivities and was dancing with multiple women off to the side.

“I hope they don’t stop before I finish.” thought Lan as he arrived at his destination.

He was now right below the tenth floor of the building. This floor was quite different from all the others in that it wasn’t for office use. Instead of the normal concrete walls on all sides, the middle section of the walls were made completely of fine glass windows and from Lan’s side one could see a luxurious bedroom filled with every hedonistic desire a man could crave for. It was Siemans’s luxury suite, which was situated right above the management floor and as a result, Siemans’s office. During some of their meetings with the man, Lan and Byakko and seen Siemans push a button under his desk and cause a column of the wall in the back of his room to slide down, revealing stairs that led to his private chambers.

Lan had chosen to enter from Siemans’s luxury suite because the only window in Siemans’s office faced the front of the building, and as a result his entering would be very easily noticed, and the door leading to Siemans’s office required both a facial and voice scan, both of which were impossible for Lan to get passed.

Lan crawled sideways from his current position until he found the release mechanism for one of the windows. He pulled out the keycard he had taken from Siemans and pressed it against the glass on the opposite side of the mechanism. The signal from the card was apparently strong enough to pass through the glass, because the light on the mechanism turned green and the window clicked open.

Lan leapt into the room and landed on the floor, which was a soft expensive woolen carpet from the feel of it. He then began searching the room for some kind of panel, something that would reveal the stairs leading down into the office. He checked the bedside table that was stacked with bottles of expensive alcohol, then the walls lined with screens and paintings. He began to check some of the carved sculptures in the room when he heard a slight click. He turned around and saw the handle of the door leading into the guest room next door quiver.

Like a startled rabbit, Lan bolted backwards and dove under the bed. A moment later he heard the door swing open and watched a pair of feet wearing rep pumps cross the floor.

“Mr. Siemans” said the woman in a mushy and cutesy voice “Is that you?”

After seeing that no one was there the woman gave a sigh in a voice that was very different from before and plopped down on the bed. Lan then heard the snap of a lighter and a few seconds later smelled the scent of tobacco. It would be good to note that Lan was hypersensitive to cigarette smoke, just a simple whiff made him feel like vomiting. This was most likely due to the fact that he hadn’t come in contact with any smokers until coming to this city and had been breathing the freshest and cleanest air from the sea and mountains up till then.

Lan felt his digestive juices flow upward to his throat, but for the sake of his mission he tightened his stomach muscles and clamped his mouth shut.

“Why didn’t I get the scent proof mask?” he thought

“Hey!” yelled another woman from the other room.

“What?” said the woman on the bed.

“Is there any cognac left?” said the woman from the other room.

“I’ll check!” shouted the woman on the bed. She then got up and started going through the bottles on Siemans’s table. After a few moments she clicked her tongue and knelt down on the floor.

“Maybe a bottle rolled under the bed” said the woman.

Lan felt his heart leap into his throat.

“Check the office!” yelled the woman from the other room.

The woman in the room got up and walked towards the front of the room. Lan heard a beeping sound and crawled to the edge of the bed to get a better look. A control panel was jutting out of the wall under the giant TV screen. The woman pressed a button on it and a doorway in the right portion of the same wall that held the screen slid open. The woman walked down and came back later holding a dark brown bottle.

“Man that guy stinks” said the woman as she came back into the room.

She pressed the same button on the control panel and the door closed up again. Turning, she walked towards a marble bust of an angel and lifted its head, revealing a small green button. After it was pressed, the control panel slid back into the wall and the woman returned to the room next door, closing the door with a bang. After waiting a minute or two to make sure that she wouldn’t come back, Lan leapt out from under the bed, quietly ran to the statue and pressed the button. The control panel slide out of the wall and Lan pressed the button on it that he remembered the woman had pressed. The door leading down into Siemans’s office opened with a hiss and Lan ran down the stairs into the room below.

The moment he entered he was struck with a powerful odor, not nearly as powerful as his grandfather’s though so it didn’t really bother him. Slumped over and snoring on one of the coaches was a large overweight security guard. Lan quietly walked over and read the name on his name tag: Garfield Sphinx.

Lan pulled out a pouch of knock-out powder from his bag, and poked the man a few times with increasing strength. The guard merely grunted and blurted “queso” a few times, but remained in a state of deep slumber.

Satisfied that he wouldn’t be interrupted, Lan pocketed the powder and turned his attention to the bookcase behind Siemans’s desk. He carefully walked towards it. But before he reached it he sat down at Siemans’s desk, found the panel of buttons underneath, and pressed the button that would close the door leading into Mr. Siemans’s private floor. He didn’t want those ladies walking down when he was busy working on the safe.

He then got up and pulled all the books from the central portion of the shelf revealing the safe behind it. Lan pulled Siemans’s lockbox keycard out of his gi and placed it into a slot near the safe’s handle. He then punched in the nine-digit access code on a small key pad and smiled as he heard the inner mechanism click. He then grabbed the handle and opened the safe.

Inside were a pile of documents as well as many large stacks of lien and some other valuables. Lan grabbed the lien and valuables first and put them in his gi, after all he had to make this look like a normal break-in so that he and Byakko wouldn’t be suspected.

He then turned his attention to the documents. He skimmed the first few lines of the paper on top and smiled, just what he and Byakko had been looking for. Lan reached forward, grabbed the stack of papers, and tucked them into his gi. The moment he did so, he heard a small click. Alarmed, Lan looked back at the safe and saw what looked like a laser pointer shining up from where the papers had been.

“Sensor” said Lan placing his right hand on his forehead “I should have seen that coming!”

Strangely, no alarm sounded but the room was filled with a sliding clanking sound. Lan turned around him and watched as 8 man-sized rectangular slots in the wall slid open and stepping out of each of them was an AK-100 security android. They were the latest standard humanoid security androids built in Atlas, the most technologically advanced of the four kingdoms. They were black in color and had lines of red energy traveling all over their bodies.

“Strange” thought Lan as the androids turned their gazes towards him “Those weren’t in any of the security plans.”

“Intruder identify yourself.” commanded one of the droids in a deep mechanical voice as its hands retracted into its arms and were replaced with blades.

A second later, it fell to the ground, a rare metal knife piercing through the middle of its visor and cutting into its central energy system. The other security droids looked at each other then charged at the boy, all their hands retracting and being replaced with blades.

Lan knew that he couldn’t take them all on at once, not with his skills, so he reached into his bag, pulled out a custom smoke screen and threw it onto the ground, enveloping the room in smoke. The androids stopped in their tracks and activated their sensors. Unluckily for them, Lan had included magnetic sand as well as other metal compounds that were able to throw off such sensors in the smoke screen.

A knife flew through the air and collided against one of their heads. It bounced off with a clang, and then machine turned to face the direction the blade came from. Lan cursed and slipped back into the cover of the smokescreen. His throwing strength was strong enough to get a black through the AK-100’s visor, but not its armor. Normally in this situation he would have used some of his explosives to finish them off, but he didn’t want to alert anyone on the nearby floors to what was happening here. Luckily, it seemed as though Mr. Siemans’s office security systems were isolated, otherwise more guards would have already burst into the room by now.

As he crept through the smoke, Lan reached into his gi and pulled out his special quadruple banded heavy slingshot. He then pulled out a small arrow-like spike about the size of a bullet; loaded it into the slingshot, pulled back on the sling with great effort, and let the projectile fly at one of the androids. With a soft clank, the projectile pierced into its torso and struck its energy source, shutting off the android where it stood. The other androids sensed the demise of their companion and bundled closer together as per the instructions of their defensive protocols, big mistake.

Lan crept through the smoke as silently as an assassin and performed the deed three more times, turning the glowing sentinels into dark metal statues. By then the smoke had dissipated considerably and the boy could no longer count on the cover to mask his position while he readied his aim. He also didn’t have any more specialized smoke bombs. He had kept that one with him in case he met any guards with sensory equipment.

“Three left” thought Lan as he put away his slingshot and pulled out a pair of long metal rods “I can probably handle that.”

Lan darted forward and slid under the legs of a deactivated android and popped up in the center of the formation with the three active androids’ backs to him. Lan leapt upwards and brought one of the sticks down on one of the android’s head. The blow caused a deep dent in the robot’s head, making its light flicker, but the android remained functional. It whipped around, swinging one of its blades at Lan, but the boy was to bring up his sticks and block the blow in time. The force of the blow knocked Lan into one of the lifeless androids causing both him and it to fall to the ground. Lan leapt back to his feet and darted to the side as a blade crashed into the fallen androids body. As he did so, Lan brought down one of the sticks on the joint connecting the blade to the androids risk, shattering it. As the android rose up, it staggered slightly due to the slight difference in weight. Seeing the opening, Lan hefted end of the other stick into his palm and thrust it upwards into the androids visor, smashing through the material and rendering the machine lifeless. The other two androids had become aware of Lan at this point and came bearing down on him. Lan leapt backwards, avoiding their blows and leaving the metal stick stuck in the falling android’s face. He then drew a knife with his other hand and struck a defensive pose. The androids charge forward and swung their blades at him.

Lan leapt upwards to avoid the blows, planted his feet on the wall directly behind him, and dove at the android to his right. The android swung one of its blades up, but Lan deflected the blow using the iron stick in his left hand and brought the knife down onto the android’s visor. He then used the falling android as a springboard and leapt back into the center of the room. He turned to look at the last robot, the metal rod gripped tightly in his hand.

The android, however, did not move. It stood staring at him for a second and then spoke.

“Analysis complete” it said in its deep voice “Threat level Alpha, permission to use fire arms granted.”

The android’s metal blades retracted and were replaced with Gatling gun barrels.

Alarmed Lan ran for the quickest area of cover that he could see, Siemans’s desk. A moment later, a barrage of weapon fire crashed into the front of the desk. The desk was made of a combination of metal and thick wood, but it wouldn’t hold out forever. Lan needed to think of a plan. He had never been under rapid gunfire so far, so he didn’t know how to respond.

“Think Lan, think, there’s got to be something I can use to get out of this situation.”

Lan was sweating profusely as he pulled out everything from his gi. Tools, thread, small weapons, snacks, the things he had stolen, a picture of Byakko smiling while holding a giant rubber chicken……how the heck did that get in there?

As he puzzled over the strange article, he suddenly remembered a simple but effective tactic Byakko had used when he and Lan had played “coconut attack” with the monkeys back in tiger valley.

In the center of the room the android had its sights set on the desk, its guns still blazing. It calculated that it had more than enough ammunition to pierce all the way through, so if conditions remained as they were its job would be finished shortly. Suddenly, it saw something dart out from the left side of the desk. Following its protocol, it immediately turned and fired upon it, riddling it with hole. However, after a quick visual analysis the robot determined the object to be nothing more than a black coat. The android then turned its attention back to the desk. Its audio tracking systems suddenly picked up a whooshing sound directly above it. The android turned its head upwards just in time to see the end of a metal rod about to crash into its face.

With a yell, Lan smashed the rod into the androids visor. It then crashed to the ground, carried down by the force of Lan’s momentum. Lan hammered the rod in a bit deeper for good measure then after making sure the android was inactive, he fell to the ground with a sigh.

“Close” said Lan, panting and wiping sweat from his brow. His ears were still ringing from the gunfire, but his hearing was slowly returning to normal. “Good thing this room is soundproof.” Thought Lan.

Lan made a mental note to start training himself against firearms and the like. After taking a few moments to catch his breath, Lan walked back to behind the desk where he had left his things. He first checked up on his gi. It had quite a few holes in it, but thanks to the strong material it was made out of it had withstood the barrage well enough to still be wearable. Lan quickly sprayed it with some odor remover that he had carried with him to remove the smell of firearms, and threw it back on. He then put as many tools and other items as he could into his pockets as he could, some of the pockets of his gi had been torn up by the machine gun fire. He then placed everything else into a suitcase that he found in one of the side drawers of Mr. Siemans’s desk.

He then straightened up and prepared to leave, but suddenly had a strange feeling that he had forgotten something. At that moment, Lan heard a loud snort. The boy whipped around looked in the direction it had come from. He found the fat security guard still asleep on the couch, a small line of drool running down the side of his mouth.

“How the heck did he sleep through all of that” thought Lan, raising an eyebrow.

He walked over and poked the man again. The guard simply snorted and turned in his sleep.

Satisfied, Lan straightened his back and began assessing his situation. He now had everything he needed and it was time for him to pull out. He didn’t want to go back up though; he had no way of telling whether the ladies would be in there or not. He looked out the window of Mr. Siemans’s room and could see that the dance party was still going on from down below. With that in mind, Lan decided that his best option would be to scale the back of the building back down to the 5th floor bathroom and head back to the bathroom on the 1st using the same path he had initially used.

“But first things first” thought Lan, reaching into his gi and pulling out a chocolate bar “a quick snack.”

Lan ripped off the wrapper and was about to take a bite when,


The security guard sat bolt upright, rubbing his eyes and sniffing the air.

“Hmmm, is that chocolate I smell?” he said in a sleepy voice, turning in Lan’s direction.

A pouch of knock-out powder crashed into straight into the man’s face and then man fell back onto the couch.

“That’s what woke him up?” said Lan, wrinkling his brow as he took a bite.

He didn’t have the necessary key cards to get to the ninth floor, but Mr. Siemans’s private computer was able to control the locks of every door and window in the building. Luckily for Lan, the machine gun fire hadn’t pierced far enough into the desk to damage the computer’s systems. Lan pressed a button under the desk to make it pop up and entered in the password: (censored) Man. Lan then accessed the security system app on the screen and unlocked all doors leading from one floor to another. After setting Mr. Siemans’s door to lock the moment it was shut from the outside (this was to make the details behind the break-in even more difficult to discover), Lan shut off the computer, picked up any evidence that might relate the break-in to him (which included the knives, metal rods, scraps of gi cloth, and pieces of the chocolate bar wrapper). He then grabbed the briefcase containing the rest of the things and walked out the door. After it closed behind him, Lan turned around twisted the handle to make sure that it was locked.

The moment he did so he heard the clomp of booted fee behind him.

“Freeze!” he heard someone shout behind him.

Lan turned around and saw a guard standing 10 feet away from him at the bend in the hallway pointing a rifle right at him.

“Ha-ha” laughed the man “caught ya you little midget thief!”

This choice of wording pissed off Lan slightly.

“And right before you entered Mr. Siemans’s office! Oh I am good!” said the man, not knowing that the office had already been broken into.

“I didn’t know that the guards here were cleared for heavy assault weaponry” said Lan in a very deep voice.

“Normally no,” said the guard “but we knew you were coming and prepared accordingly.”

“That explains the androids” thought Lan.

“So where are the rest of the guards?” asked Lan

“There is one more in the room!” said the guard “My associate: guardsman Garfield Sphinx.”

“That’s it?” said Lan raising an eyebrow.

“Well, yeah.” Said the guardsman “the information source wasn’t really that reliable so, our superiors just put the two of us in charge of security here after adding a few new security additions. They’re down at the party right now.” The man paused for a moment; Lan could tell he was slightly depressed. “But make no mistake” said the guard perking up “They probably did it because they trusted us! After all we’re way more reliable than the security implementations they put in!”

“8 state of the art AK-100 battle droids not as good as a fat lazy guard and a clueless and chatty guard” thought Lan “uh-huh.”

“Put your arms in the air.” Said the guard, motioning with his gun.

“So you’re the only guard out here” said Lan.

“Yes” said the guard.

“The only person on this floor.” Said Lan

“Except for good old Garfield, everyone else is down at the party.” Said the guard.

“So you really think that you can handle me and my large friend that’s about to strangle you?” Said Lan.

“What?!” said the guard in an alarmed voice. He whipped around and looked behind himself. Nothing but empty hallway.

“Crap” said the guard.

In that instance, Lan crossed the 10 feet separating the two and entered into super close combat range. The guard tried to point the gun down at the boy but before he was able to do so, Lan leapt upwards and threw a powerful uppercut into the man’s groin. The man let out a very sissy-like scream and his grip on the rife loosened. In the moment Lan slip one of the iron rods out of his sleeve and into his hand and whacked the rifle away as the man crumpled. Lan then seized both of the man’s arms, wrenched them behind his back and held them in place while placing his each of his thumbs over a pressure point on the man’s arms.

“Well, I’ll try to make this as fast as possible” said Lan, tightening his grip and making the guard whimper. “First of all, what’s your name soldier?”

“Gah, Francis Danish” said the guard, who was obviously not accustomed to pain.

“Well Mr. uh, Danish, could you tell me who was the one that tipped you all off?” said Lan

“That is strictly confidential and—“ started Richards in a strained voice.

Lan wrenched his arms backwards and pressed deeply into the pressure points under his thumbs.

“Gaaaaaahhhhhh!” screamed Richards who then answered in a shaky voice “The…one…who told us, aghhh, was…a…little Faunus boy!”

“Why did he tell you?” asked Lan.

“I don’t know” said Richards “He came by a week ago and said that someone paid him to deliver the message and we don’t know where the kid is now!”

Lan stared into the man’s fearful eyes and deduced that he was telling the truth. He then loosened his grip on the man’s arms and delivered a quick kick to the man’s groin.

“Why?” said the man, falling onto the ground while grasping his groin.

Lan didn’t answer; he simply removed the man’s helmet, hit him over the head with a rod, and left his unconscious form on the ground.

“It seems I’ve picked up some of grandpa’s sadistic side” muttered Lan.

He also began thinking about the informant. Why would a young Faunus boy tip-off a company that is notorious for using controversial Faunus labor practices? This thought pounded throughout his skull as he opened a ninth floor window then climbed down to the forgotten bathroom on the fifth floor and lingered in his mind as he crawled through the ventilation systems.

When he finally arrived back at the first floor bathroom where he had started, Lan had decided he would confer with Byakko about this at a later time. Lan shut off the sound device that were playing the defecation audio and packed them into the bag he had left by the toilet. He then changed back into his formal wear and shoved his cloth mask, gloves, ninja gi, weapons, the confidential documents, tools, and everything else he had back back into his bag. After checking to make sure everything was in order, Lan slung the bag over his shoulder and took on a sickly expression in accordance with his previous excuse for leaving the party. He then listened to make sure nobody was in the room then opened the stall and washed himself at the sink, taking a long drink as he did so (the tap water in the building was surprisingly clean).

He then left the bathroom. As he entered the hallway he noticed a stream of party goers returning back into the party room downstairs. Many of them were laughing and sweating from the merriment back in the courtyards.

“Get those chefs back to work!” he heard Siemans call over the din “This party’s gonna last till dawn.”

Lan smiled and walked into the crowd where he was patted on the back and asked if he was okay now by many of the people who noticed him. Lan thanked them all for their kind word and said that he was fine over and over. As he slipped through the crowd, Lan took the opportunity to return all the keycards back into the clothes of their owners without them noticing.

After he arrived back in the room, Lan plopped down on in front of the table that he judged to have been claimed by Byakko, due to the massive pile of empty plates that the servers were still carrying away, and let out a sigh of contentment.

“It go well?” said Byakko into the side of Lan’s ear.

“Yep” said Lan, “But it looks like things are a bit more complicated than we previously believed.”

“They always are.” Said Byakko, patting Lan on the head. “Anyway it’s a job well done and you earned yourself a nice break, and I already finished turning the security systems back on and have recently snuck the security keycard back into pocket where it came from. So let’s go join the party and grab some eats. As the boss man said ‘the party’s gonna last till dawn!’”

Lan smiled, got up, and headed towards the food tables in the center of the room. He was feeling ravenous now and thought that he would be able to eat 1/10th as much as Byakko could.

I’d saw we’re around halfway done with the Dust Hole arc, still lot’s more drama and action to come. And I must say, I have been pleased with the response to my story so far and would be happy to answer any questions that people might have.

Anyway, thank you all for your support so far and I hope you continue to enjoy The Journeys of Lan well into the future.

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