Siemans sat in his office sweating profusely. He had no choice but to end the investigation and open the mines tomorrow if he didn’t want his superiors to become suspicious and was no closer to finding those documents than the day the investigation began.
Since there hadn’t been any storm of news coverage from the major stations within the first day or two after the documents went missing, he was sure that the thieves wanted something from him specifically. He had expected them to contact him, making demands that he would have paid a hundred fold if it would have gotten those documents back. He had prepared exorbitant amounts of lien, piles of classified Schnee company files, and information on dozens of his subordinates that someone may have a grudge with and had waited.
There had been no contact, no threat, nothing.
“It’s okay Siemans” he whispered to himself “You’ve been through worse; you’ve had to crawl through the darkest parts of management to get where you are. You’ve experienced blackmail, extortion, and even death threats and made it out in great shape. You can do this. You can do this.”
He didn’t believe his own words of course. The information could completely destroy him if they were revealed to his superiors. This wasn’t something little like the company’s controversial Faunus labor policies, his superiors didn’t care enough about that to make a big deal about it, especially since those practices churned out such a large profit. But if they found out that he had secretly been selling large amounts of purified dust to third parties without their knowing, he could kiss his position goodbye.
He was being mentally driven into corner. He didn’t know what was going to happen. Would he be blackmailed? Would his superiors be alerted to it? Or would this incident blow over without anything serious happening. In any case he had to be prepared. He needed to get some insurance.
The previous day, he had contacted a special underground arms dealer that could be dealt with without his superiors finding out and had ordered their best weaponry. They wouldn’t be able to help much if his superiors were to find out about his actions, but they would be more than sufficient in taking care of any other problems. The transaction, however, had drained an extremely large portion of his assets and since the account code needed to withdraw the money that the third parties had sent him had been in the documents that were stolen, he didn’t have his usual financial cushion. As a result his finances were, in his opinion, a mess.
He lifted a glass by his hand and sipped, grimacing as the fragrant fluid trickled down his throat.
“Swill” he said, setting the glass of brandy down “But I’ve got to pinch my pennies for now.”
At that moment the screen on his desk flickered to life with Mr. Kenichi’s tired face filling it.
“What do you want Mr. Kenichi?” said Siemans who rubbed his eyes. “I’m not in a good mood so make it quick.”
“I have just finished writing up the new pay records for the Faunus” said Mr. Hiroshi, with a weak smile “as their production has increased dramatically recently due to the arrival of their new equipment, as per your previous arrangement, their pay is scheduled to raise according—“
“What?!” shouted Siemans, bolting upright.
To supplement his now hurting funds, Siemans had once again diverted what he believed to be extraneous funds, which included the extra pay promised to the Faunus workers, to his own personal account.
“Cancel that immediately!” shouted Siemans
“But sir!” said Mr. Kenichi “You’ve been promising these raises for weeks, if the workers find out that it was all hot air, things could become violent.”
“Then just increase it on paper for now” said Siemans, “make them think they’re getting more, but don’t pay those animals any more lien than they are receiving now, and if there are any dissenters, we’ll deal with them the usual way.”
Mr. Kenichi opened his mouth to state an opposing opinion, but as he looked into Mr. Siemans’s angry bloodshot eyes, he lost his nerve and gave a weak nod before ending the transmission.
Mr. Siemans leaned back in the desk and closed his eyes to rest for a moment, but there was suddenly a knock on the door. He growled, stood up, and walked over to the door.
“I have informed everyone that I’m not to be disturbed!” he shouted, flinging open the door “So ge—“
His voice caught in his throat as he stared into the shadowed face of the black hooded figure standing in front of him. The first thing that came to his mind was that it must be an assassin and was about to yell for help, but stopped as the figure held up a small form.
“The first shipment of your order” said the man in a soft voice “where would you like us to put it?”
It was an operative from the arms dealer that was selling him the weapons.
Relieved, Mr. Siemans grabbed the paper and gave it a once over before giving a quick nod.
“How long until the rest arrives?” asked Siemans.
“They shall all be here by the end of the week” said hooded figure.
“Well, anyways, lock all the weaponry in the most secure vault in the guardsman’s armory” said Siemans “and as for the ‘special’, put it in my private warehouse.”
“Very well.” Said the man.
Mr. Siemans looked down to his side and unclipped two keycards from his belt.
“To get in, you’ll be needing the—“
He stopped mid-sentence as he looked up and found that the man had already disappeared. He looked to the left, then the right, and then shrugged and returned back into his office.
“At least something’s going right.” Thought Siemans, plopping down in his chair.
‘Tap tap tap’
Lan watched as the rock he kicked a few moments ago bounced down the street. It was the middle of afternoon and the sun was high in the sky. As he walked down the gray street lined with concrete buildings and illuminated by the yellow rays of the sun with his hands in his pockets and a small frown on his face, he pondered what Jirall had told him the night before.
Weakness. He hadn’t given it much thought because no one had really brought it up before, but now that someone had just came out and said it, he couldn’t get it out of his mind. That morning when he had awoken, Byakko had sensed this and had told Lan to go out and clear his head. The old man knew that training wouldn’t be productive with that attitude.
That’s why Lan was walking through the streets now, as he had been for hours. Ignis and George had of course wanted to come with him, but Byakko had ordered them to stay home, saying that Lan needed to think through this dilemma on his own.
As he had walked aimlessly from point A to point B, Lan had begun to connect those words Jirall had spoken to a memory that he had been trying his best to forget: The night when that Grimm came. He had remembered the corpses of his family, their mutilated forms, and their sightless dead eyes; illuminated by the fires that burned through what had been his home.
Originally he had followed what Byakko had said about the incident: that it wasn’t his fault, it was just bad luck, it was that Grimm’s fault, and that he should just move on. But now he began to ask himself more and more “what if I had been stronger? Would I have been able to save them all in time?”
Being the young child he was, he didn’t have the answers of course. He simply kept walking and pondering, only stopping here and there to grab a drink, eat something, or use the restroom.
By this time he had now begun to inwardly realize the futility of his current actions. Sighing, he stopped and stared up into the noonday sun, grabbing the straps of the enormous backpack that he almost always carried on his back.
“I guess I should just forget about it for now.” He thought “I’ll think about it later when I know I can find the answers.”
He turned around to head back home when suddenly a voice called out to him.
“Hey, you over there!” someone shouted.
Lan turned his head and stared in the direction of the voice.
Across the street from him was a colorful playground area filled with slides, jungle gyms, and a variety of other playground equipment. A group of children were standing in the center of the area. The child who had called out to him appeared to be the leader, a young boy with spiky blond hair who was holding a rubber ball under his arm.
“I’ve never seen you around here before.” Said the boy “did you just move here?”
Lan shook his head. “I moved here around a month ago. It’s just that I don’t go out much when I’m not on duty.”
“Well do you wanna play with us?” asked the boy “We need one more person to make the teams even!”
Lan thought for a moment and shrugged.
“Why not” he said, walking over to the playground. “I need something to get yesterday off my mind anyway.” He thought.
Lan walked over to the group of kids, set his bag down near a bench at the edge of the playground, and came to a stop right in front of the boy who called out to him.
“Well, first things first.” Said the boy, setting the ball down, “I’m gonna need you to kick this ball as hard as—“
The boy was cut off as the ball rocketed past his face, launched forward by the force of Lan’s kick. It smacked into the wall at the back of the play area, and then ricocheted back towards the group of children, who scattered to avoid being struck by the rubber projectile. The ball then proceeded to ricochet all over the playground while the children, with the exception of Lan of course, huddled on the ground covering their heads. With one final smack, the ball bounced off the jungle gym and sped towards the side of Lan’s head.
“Ah look ou—“started a boy.
With a deft movement, Lan blocked the ball with the palm of his hand, without even turning his head to look at it, and stood there with a calm expression on his face as the ball slowly spun to a stop.
The children gawked as they rose to their feet, dumbstruck by Lan’s show of physical prowess.
“He’s on my team!” shouted a girl after a few minutes.
“No he’s on my team!” shouted a boy.
After quibbling over whose team Lan would be on for a few minutes, the children began the game. Lan’s team had significantly fewer members as opposed to the other one, but still steamrolled the other team as Lan scored shot after shot as the other kids tried desperately to catch up with him.
The children soon realized that things weren’t exactly fair, even after they turned the game into an all vs. Lan match, so they relegated Lan to the position of referee and split into two almost equal sized teams. After that they played long into the afternoon, switching to new games whenever they became bored. As they ran, jumped, laughed, and tackled each other; the sky slowly began to change from calm blue to a bright orange hue.
Sitting down on the end of a slide, Lan watched and smiled as the children playing tag, the one who was it knew by now that he would never be able to catch Lan and had turned his attention towards the less physically adept around him. It was peaceful, a pure scene that would glow gold in Lan’s mind for many years to come. Lan leaned back on the slide, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a stick of cherry taffy.
“Grandpa’s right” thought Lan, a he peeled off the wrapper “I’ll get strong enough to handle things eventually. For now I’ll just relax.”
Sadly, peace never truly stays in this cruel world of ours.
Lan had brought the taffy to his mouth and was about to take a bite when he heard a clink and an exclamation of pain coming from the road. Lan turned his head in the direction of the sound and saw a group of scraggly dressed Faunus children, each carrying a paper bag full of food. It was common to see the Faunus children going grocery shopping while their parents worked on various tasks at home, such as patching up the holes in their homes or repairing their working clothes or equipment. One of them had stubbed his toe on a rock, and was rubbing his toe while the rest of the group waited for him. Thinking that they might need a hand, Lan stood up and started to call out to them.
At that moment, a small stone flew through the air and struck one of the children in the side of the forehead, causing him to shriek and drop the bag he was holding. The other children yelped and gathered around to help their friend.
“Faunus!” yelled one of the children behind Lan.
“Out of your animal pen are you?” yelled another.
“I bet I can break that one’s horn!” shouted a boy pointing at a small bovine Faunus boy.
The human boys and girls behind Lan then began to throw pebbles and small stones at the Faunus, some of them laughing every time their projectile struck one of their targets. The children dropped their groceries as the first volley struck them, staggering backwards as they lifted up their hands to defend themselves. They tried to quickly pick up their groceries and run away, but were impeded by the strengthening barrage and were forced to huddle down in the streets to prevent stones from striking them in the face.
“Come on!” shouted the leader of the kids, “Move around more, we need better targ—“
A fist crashed into the side of his mouth, squishing the boy’s features and sending a tooth flying out of his mouth. The boy crashed onto the ground screaming and grasping his mouth, a trickle of blood seeping through his fingers. The other children stopped their barrage, many of their hands in mid-throw, and turned to stare at Lan, who pulled back his fist.
“What the—“said one boy.
“What was that for?” cried another child as the group began to huddle around their fallen leader.
“Cut…it…out” said Lan, motioning towards the Faunus children who were now peeking in Lan’s direction to see why the barrage had stopped.
“Why?” shouted the largest boy in the group who growled as he rounded on Lan.
“Why should we leave those animals alone? My dad told me that they’re as good as pack animals, and we can use them how we want.”
“And he’s wrong.” Said Lan, flatly.
“No he’s not!” shouted the boy.
“And why is he not wrong?” Said Lan
“Cause he’s my dad!” shouted the boy “He’s always right!”
“And for what reason is he always right?” asked Lan.
“Cause he’s my dad!” shouted the boy.
“And for what reason is the fact that he is your father mean that he is always right?” asked Lan.
“Well, that’s” stuttered the boy, who was obviously limited in mental capacity “because…because.”
“You can’t give me a logical reason can you?” said Lan, calmly “That proves that your argument is faulty.”
The boy had gone very red in the face at this point and was shaking with anger.
“I’ll show you who’s faulty!” he shouted, swinging his fist at Lan. Big mistake.
Lan side stepped the boy’s clumsy boy, and threw a counter that connected with the boy’s chin. Lan didn’t put much of his own force behind the blow of course; otherwise he would have completely shattered the boy’s jaw. The boy crumpled onto the ground unconscious and Lan turned his gaze upwards to the rest of the now frightened human children.
“You’ll be leaving them alone now.” Said Lan, a sharp edge in his voice “Right?”
The children nodded. A few boys and girls ran forward to carry the supine form the large unconscious boy, while the rest of them slowly backed away from Lan and out of the playground. After the retrieval team had dragged the large boy out of the playground, the leader of the children walked out of the group, his mouth covering his hand and tears streaming down from his narrowed angry eyes.
“You’re not allowed to play with us anymore!” he shouted.
“Fine!” shouted Lan “I wouldn’t want to play with you bunch of racists either.”
The boy growled at this, his eyes fixed on Lan as the other children, who were sending fearful glances in Lan’s direction, began to drag him away.
“I’m going to tell my dad about this!” shouted the boy “Then you’ll be sorry!”
“That’s what they all say.” Shouted Lan, who turned his back on the boy and began walking towards the Faunus children who were currently gathering the groceries that had fallen out of their bags.
“You’ll be sorry!” shouted the boy one more time as his friends dragged him around a corner.
Lan stopped in front of the group of Faunus children and knelt down in front of them.
“You guys alright?” he asked with a warm smile.
“Y-yeah.” Stuttered a young monkey Faunus boy.
“Just a little bruised is all” said a little girl.
“This happens all the time.”
Lan gave a sigh and then began helping them pick up the groceries. After the last package had been placed back into the bags, Lan straightened up and gave the kids a once over. They were all around his age, give or take a few years, and were all badly bruised or bleeding from the rocks that had struck them just now.
“They can’t go home like this,” thought Lan, as he watched a young boy with blood trickling from a wound on his forehead try to lift up one of the bags “If they try to go home without treating those wounds they’ll likely collapse.”
Lan walked over to who appeared to be the oldest one in the group and asked if they would like to take a little rest before heading back home.
“Oh, no…sir” said the boy, obviously nervous.
“You don’t need to call me sir” said Lan.
“O-ok” said the boy “But anyway, we have to be heading home soon and—“
With a deft movement, Lan whisked the grocery bag he was holding out of his arms and onto a bench right behind him.
“You guys aren’t going anywhere until you get a good rest. Is that clear?”
Astonished by Lan’s swift movement, the boy could only nod slowly and motion for the other kids to take a seat on the bench. Nodding with satisfaction, Lan walked over to his backpack and pulled out one of the many first aid kits he kept inside (with a Grandfather like Byakko, you could never have enough.). He then set about treating the children: washing their wounds with antibacterial spray and bandaging them. As he did this he gave each of them some fruity hard candy that he kept in his bag to help them calm down.
He finished basic treatment for most of the children after a couple minutes, but as he began bandaging the knee of a smiling feline Faunus boy a shout split the quiet orange evening.
“That’s him dad!” shouted a familiar voice. “That’s the guy that knocked my tooth out!”
Lan turned his head and looked down the street in the direction of the voice. Standing there was the leader of the group of kids and a large muscular man that Lan took to be his father.
“Alright kid” said the man walking towards Lan “I’m going to need you to take responsibility for—“
He stopped dead in his tracks as Lan stood up and turned to face him. Recognition appeared in the man’s eyes. After taking a moment to scrutinize his appearance, Lan recognized the man as one of the guards in the mines, a Mr. Jericho, which meant that he was well aware of Lan’s martial prowess.
“Good evening Mr. Jericho.” Said Lan with a slight smile “Do you have any business with me?”
Mr. Jericho hesitated for a moment, but his expression hardened after he glanced back at his son. No father wants to look pathetic in front of their child.
“Yeah” he said, stepping forwards “you injured my son and I’m here to get him justice.”
“Yeah, you go dad!” shouted the boy.
“Justice?” said Lan, tilting his head slightly to the side. “Did your boy not mention the fact that he was tormenting these boys and girls behind me?”
“Yeah” said Mr. Jericho “but they’re just Faunus, an expendable work force, not good honest citizens like us.”
Lan sighed, another racist.
“I hardly think that terrorizing your fellow man makes you a good citizen.” Said Lan
“Wha—fellow man?” said Mr. Jericho, bewildered “Their just Fau—“
“Who are still a race of mankind.” Interrupted Lan. “Just like everyone else they get hurt, think for themselves, and cherish those most precious to them. They are people just like you and me.”
“He’s not going to listen to reason dad!” shouted the boy “Kick his ass and make him learn.”
Lan could see sweat forming on the man’s brow. He was obviously unsure of whether he could win in a fair fight or not.
“You know you won’t be able to win.” Said Lan calmly, “I suggest that you cut your losses here and just return home.”
The man’s eyes narrowed as the last word left Lan’s mouth; he glanced behind at his son again and returned his gaze back to Lan. From his expression, Lan could tell that he wouldn’t be backing down.
“Why are they always too pig-headed to see reason?” thought Lan.
Mr. Jericho reached down into his pocket and pulled out a small silver tube that unfolded into a standard issue shock baton. Lan obviously didn’t have his baton on him and the man wanted to press his advantages as far as he could.
“Very well” said Lan, entering into a fighting stance (where he turned his body side ways to his opponent to decrease the area that could be attacked, placed his front leg forward in a bent position, his back leg behind him in a straight position, and brought up his arms with his fists balled into loose fists) “If that is your wish, then I’ll end this quickly.”
Usually, the one who made the first move in a one on one match would be at a disadvantage, but with the difference in skill level between the two of them, Lan didn’t even need to consider that factor. Lan ducked down and dashed forward towards the man. Surprised by Lan’s immediate action, the man clumsily swung his baton towards Lan. Putting on an extra spurt of speed, Lan easily dodged the weapon and entered into a crouching position between the man’s legs.
As for his next move, you guessed it. Lan pushed himself upwards by straightening his legs and threw an uppercut into the man’s groin. The man let out a grunt of pain and bent down, his muscles slackening in the process. Pivoting on his left foot Lan threw a side kick at the man’s hand, sending the baton flying into a nearby trash can. He then leapt backwards and tilted his knee upwards to nail the man in the side of the jaw. Strikes to the jaw spin the brain, and as a result can easily knock out the unprepared. Mr. Jericho, being knocked off balance by the strike to his groin, fit into that category. The man was knocked out before he even began to fall. His eyes rolled into the back of his head as he fell to his knees and with a crash he crumpled onto the ground as Lan began walking back to the Faunus kids who were staring wide-eyed at their returning hero. Lan then pulled out a communication device to report Mr. Jericho’s actions and unconscious state to the nearest guard outpost; they would come and pick him up soon enough.
“Are you all ready to go back home now?” asked Lan, as Mr. Jericho’s son ran to his unconscious father.
The Faunus children slowly nodded their heads. Lan smiled.
“Would you like me to escort you all back home?”
Once again, nodding all around.
A few of the kids still couldn’t walk properly though, since the stones that had been thrown had struck them in the knees and ankles. To remedy this, Lan opened up some of the biggest zippers in his backpack and helped those kids crawl into them before hoisting the bag onto his back. He grunted under the excess weight, but it was still nothing compared to when Byakko made him fill the backpack with rocks for training.
Lan and then kids then headed towards the Faunus district, groceries in hand, and walking in peace. They did attract many stares on the way back though. After all, having little children pop out of the upper pockets of a backpack and stare in wonder at the new scene spreading out before them wasn’t something a normal person would expect.
1 week later
Mr. Siemans’s office
“Excuse me sir.”
Mr. Siemans looked up from a report he was reading and into the nervous eyes of Mr. Kenichi.
“What is it?” asked Mr. Siemans, annoyed.
“Well, it’s just that some of the Faunus have started to notice that their wages have dropped even though their productivity has increased.” Said Mr. Kenichi in a nervous voice. “With their loyalty to the company already low thanks to their poor working conditions and low pay, there is a possibility that things could get violent.”
“Then just fire them.” Said Mr. Siemans, looking back down “Kick them out and bring in some new ones, there’ll always be people desperate enough to work for less, and those Faunus are no exception.”
“But” started Mr. Kenichi “The Faunus wouldn’t just sit back and allow that to happen, being kicked out would be like a death sentence for them since the town is surrounded by Grimm infested wilds. They would definitely riot!”
“In that case.” Said Mr. Siemans “Tell the guards that they have permission to use lethal force.”
Mr. Kenichi’s eyes widened and he opened his mouth to voice an objection, but was cowed into silence by his superior’s murderous gaze. He pursed his lips and nodded slowly.
“Also make sure those two don’t cause any unnecessary interruptions.”
Mr. Kenichi nodded again and then slowly plodded out of the office.
The moment the door shut, Mr. Siemans’s leaned back in his chair and sighed.
“Hopefully all these problems can be fixed soon.” He said.
Mr. Siemans closed his eyes and kicked back to relax for a little while, never realizing that his room had been bugged. In each corner of the room, hidden behind one of the pieces of furniture, were small microphones engraved with the symbol of the White Fang.
“One, Two, Three” shouted Lan, each count followed by a strike to the stone in front of him.
It was early morning and he was hard at work helping the Faunus mine for Dust.
“Come on boy!” shouted Byakko, who was trimming his long toenail with an electric hacksaw (that had had its blade broken three time I might add). “Smash that stone, I know you can do better than—Aw darn it!” the new blade on the hacksaw that he had just changed shattered. “Ahhh guess I’ll have to do it the old fashioned way.” Byakko pulled his foot up to his mouth and began biting off his toenails.
Lan chuckled to himself and continued to punch. At that moment one of the workers ran into the room, holding a large red sign. It meant that some of the mining operation’s non-Faunus employees were coming. Lan couldn’t let himself be seen helping the Faunus or their pay would be docked. He leapt backwards into the center of the room and began trying to look for a way to make himself appear ‘guard like’ and not ‘worker like’, however, him being covered in dried dirt from his punching was not something that could be easily covered up in a short period of time. Unluckily for Lan, Byakko had a good solution.
A moment later Mr. Kenichi walked into the cavern.
“Good afternoon fellows.” He said nervously “How are you this fine—“
He stopped as he witnessed the scene in the center of his room.
“Good morning Mr. Kenichi” said Byakko “lovely morning isn’t it.”
“Uh Mr. Muteki?” said Mr. Kenichi “What are you doing to your grandson?”
“My boy is assisting me in trimming my toenails!” said Byakko “In the best way I know how!”
Right before Mr. Kenichi walked into the room, Byakko had gotten Lan involved in the same task he had been occupying himself with, trimming his toenails. Unfortunately for Lan, Byakko had made it look like the boy was using the same method to cut the toenail that he himself had just been using. As a result the boy had his grandfather’s foot shoved up his mouth.
Lan struggled to remove the foul smelling appendage from his mouth, but Byakko’s hand kept the boy’s head firmly in place.
“So” said Byakko, biting off another nail and spitting it into the wall, which created a small crater I might add “Whatcha here for?”
“Oh yes, well” started Mr. Kenichi after regaining some of his composure. “We were a little short handed in the office today, so we were wondering if you two could come help us, and for your efforts you’ll be receiving a little bonus. Isn’t that great?” Mr. Kenichi gave the two of them a nervous smile.
“Hmmm office work.” Said Byakko, scratching his chin “Sounds like fun! Let’s go boy!”
Byakko’s grip finally loosened at this point and Lan was able to pull the man’s foot out of his mouth. Lan collapsed to the floor coughing and gagging as brackish liquid poured out of his maw.
“Off we go!” shouted Byakko, who leapt forward and seized Mr. Kenichi by the shoulders.
“Not again” whimpered Mr. Kenichi.
As Byakko ran out of the room carrying a once again horrified Mr. Kenichi above his head, Lan got up and turned back to the workers.
“Anyone got poster board or something like that” gurgled Lan through a mouth full of mouthwash, a purple bottle grasped in his right hand.
The lookout came over to Lan and handed the boy the board. Lan wrote on it while brushing his teeth, and then gave it to the leader of the group, Milton, while he was wiping his mouth with disinfectant.
“That’s got the instructions for the lunch box” said Lan, motioning to a mining cart he had hid the food in “You guys have a good meal when the time comes.”
Lan then dashed out of the cavern after his grandfather.
The mining office building later that day.
“Here are those reports you wanted Mr. Kenichi”
Lan handed Mr. Kenichi a neat stack of papers.
“Why thank you Lan” said Mr. Kenichi, taking them “I must say my boy, you adjusted to office work extremely quickly.”
“Yep” said Lan. “Now where do I put these documents I just finished organizing?”
The boy hefted up large stack of documents as tall as he was. Mr. Kenichi stared at the pile of documents and then back at Lan.
“Um, how long did it take you to go through all these?” he asked.
“Around an hour.” Said Lan with a smile.
Mr. Kenichi stared at Lan for a moment and then turned back to his table.
“Adjusting a little too well.” He murmured under his breath.
“Hmmm?” said Lan.
“Oh, nothing.” Said Mr. Kenichi. “Just set those in the In-box at our department desk. Oh! And how is your grandpa doing?”
“Well he’s not really fit for office work.” Said Lan “So he’s working as a motivational figure!”
“What do you mean by—“
At that moment the office was filled with a loud yell.
“THESE PAPERS WERE DUE AN HOUR AGO!!!” shouted a familiar voice. “RAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!”
A few moments later an office worker ran right past the entrance to Mr. Kenichi’s office, screaming while holding a pile of papers to his chest, many of which were flying into the air as he ran. A second later Byakko, wearing a sports helmet and letting out a war cry, also ran pass the entrance from the same direction. A second after that there was the sound of a loud impact, a crunch, and a few seconds later the sound of Byakko criticizing the likely heavily injured office worker.
Lan and Mr. Kenichi stared at the empty doorway for a moment before turning back to each other.
“He makes sure nobody slacks off.” Said Lan with a smile. “It’s been very affective so far.”
“Uh, huh.” Said Mr. Kenichi with a blank stare.
“Oh would you look at the time.” Said Lan, staring at a clock “It’s about time to sign off. I’ll go get grandpa so we can go home with the workers just like we do every day!”
“Wa-Wait” said Mr. Kenichi, grabbing Lan’s arm as the boy turned to go “the office job lasts, uh, later than a normal shift, that’s one of the reasons you get paid more.”
“Okay” said Lan with a shrug after a short pause, “I’m not one to quit in the middle of something anyway.”
Mr. Kenichi let out a soft sigh as Lan turned to leave his office.
“Please let things go smoothly.” He prayed “Just let things blow over for today, then we can fix it come tomorrow.”
Over the course of the day, Mr. Kenichi had been going over dozens and dozens of expense forms and cutting down wasted funds in the departments to miniscule amounts. After he entered the new expense sheet into the accounting system, the Faunus could be properly paid for their work the following day.
He knew how hard all of the workers worked and sympathized with how much they suffered. After all, he himself worked night and day to satisfy the demands of his superiors and was forced to make sacrifice after sacrifice so he could keep his job and continue supporting his family. He understood the pain that the Faunus felt, understood that it was pain even greater than what he experienced. At least he could keep food on the table and take care of all his family’s needs, but them…they couldn’t even have that. Empathizing with this, Mr. Kenichi just couldn’t let things go like this without doing his utmost to set things right.
He wouldn’t get done before the workers’ shift ended today, there were just too many documents to go through, but if things just stayed stable until the next day then—
The sound of glass breaking echoed from the right side of the hallway. Mr. Kenichi whipped his head up from his desk. If that was what he thought it was, then things were beginning to get dire.
“Lan please wait— he started, but the boy had already dashed out of the room in the direction of the noise.
Mr. Kenichi ran after the boy hoping, no, praying that the sound wasn’t what he thought it was. That it was just the sound of a clumsy office worker dropping some glass object or—.
He stopped in his tracks as he came to the area where the noise came from, his hopes completely dashed as he saw what Lan was standing next to. Lodged in the window facing the courtyard of the mining operation was a large pickaxe, its point sticking into the thick glass while its handle hung outside. Mr. Kenichi walked over to the window and stared down. Outside were the workers, swarming the courtyard like a multitude of ants and filling the air with exclamations of anger.
“No” thought Mr. Kenichi, his hands trembling “a little more time—I j-just needed a little more time!”
He turned to Lan hoping to at least be able to secure the boy’s aid. But all that appeared in front of him when he turned was empty space. The boy had already gone.
Lan dashed through the hallways. Things were bad. He didn’t know what exactly was going on, but he knew things were very very bad.
“Grandpa!” yelled Lan as the old man came into sight.
“N’Yes?” said Byakko with a pleasant smile as he held a quickly asphyxiating man in a headlock.
“Courtyard, Workers, Big trouble!” Shouted Lan.
Understanding immediately, Byakko released the worker, who gratefully crawled away, and dashed towards the elevator along with Lan. Arriving in the few seconds, Byakko pressed the down button. The moment Lan caught up to him the doors to the elevator opened and the two of them dashed in. Lan pressed the button for the bottom floor and then the two of them began their descent.
“Really wish the stairs didn’t need keycards” said Lan while bobbing his head to the elevator music.
“Yup.” Said Byakko.
A few moments later the doors opened and the two of them dashed through the lobby and into the courtyard.
A tide of workers spread out in front of them, barely kept at bay by guards with shields and shock batons.
“Where’s the rest of our pay?” shouted one worker from the crowd. “It’s even lower than last week!”
“You promised to increase our wages if our productivity went up!” cried another. “My family will starve like this!”
“What the heck’s goin on here.” Shouted Byakko
“From what I can tell” said Lan “the workers are mad that they weren’t paid what they were promised.”
“Mmmhmmm” said Byakko scratching his chin “production should have gone way up by now.”
“I think we all know who’s responsible for this.” Said Lan.
“Yeah” said Byakko “and—“the old man paused and sniffed the air. “Well, speak of the devil.”
“Out of the way!” cried Siemans as he pushed his way out of the building. Lan and Byakko stepped to the side to let him through, he was technically still their boss after all.
Instead of his usual pristine white suit and clean appearance, he was wearing a wrinkled white dress shirt and black pants with his tie hanging loosely from his neck. His eyes also had dark circles under them; he obviously hadn’t been sleeping well.
“What is going on here!?” he shouted over the crowd, his right eye twitching like a madman.
“Our pay!” shouted Milton, “Where’s the rest of our pay?”
“You’ve gotten your pay!” shouted Siemans angrily, his voice grating from exhaustion.
“It’s not what you promised!” shouted Milton.
“You animals should be grateful you’re being paid at all!” shouted Siemans, a line of spittle flying from his mouth “so shut up and get back to your stables for the night!”
A roar of outrage erupted from the crowd of Faunus.
“That’s it.” Someone from the crowd yelled “Get’em!”
Like a surging torrent the workers crashed against the wall of guards, punching and kicking at the barriers that blocked their way. The guards were visibly under intense physical strain and were beginning to buckle from the weight, barely able to keep the tide back with their stun batons. It was only a matter of time before they would be overrun.
Lan shifted nervously from left foot to right foot. Which side should he help? What would bring the best result?
The decision was made for him a few moments later.
“GUARDS!” yelled Mr. Siemans “SET THE BATONS ON THE MAXIMUM SETTING!”
Lan’s eyes widened and he and Byakko dashed forward to try and stop them. Byakko managed to incapacitate two of the guards thanks to his inhuman speed, but as for the rest it was too late.
With a whizzing sound, all the guards pressed a button on their batons. The weapons took on a vibrant yellow hue and became covered with lines of crackling yellow energy. The guards brought the weapon forward and struck the Faunus nearest to them. With a crackling blasting sound, the Faunus that was struck and those around them were covered with a layer of sizzling energy. Multiple groups of Faunus fell to the ground, all of them twitching except for the ones that had taken direct hits. Those men and women weren’t even twitching; they were simply lying motionless on the ground and expelling bubbling burnt acid from their mouths.
The Faunus workers stopped as they saw this, fear overcoming the rage they had previously felt. The crowd backed away from the guards, eyeing the sizzling weapons that they held in their hands. Here and there exclamations of grief and cries of anger rose up from the crowd, but none of them dared go into the range of the deadly weapons that were pointed in their direction.
“Yeah!” shouted a guard, a triumphant expression on his face “you see that you wild—“
At that moment a gunshot resounded throughout the courtyard. The guard who had just been gloating crashed to the ground, a hole is his helmet and a puddle of blood forming on the ground where his head lay.
Everyone turned their heads in the direction of the gunshot.
Standing there, at the very top of the wall surrounding the courtyard, were a group of Faunus wearing what appeared to be White Fang uniforms. For some reason though, the uniforms they were wearing didn’t contain the usual white circle with a white beasts head inside, but instead a black circle with an angrier looking version of the beasts head inside with three black claw marks passing through it. Each of them was also wearing a black mask which held a resemblance to the type of Faunus that they were.
Almost all of the White Fang members there were holding rifles that were aimed at one of the security guards. One of the armed members was holding a smoking rifle that was aimed at the fallen corpse of the guard he had just shot.
Standing in the center of the group, their arms folded and their expressions covered by the masks they wore, were Jirall and Daylen.
“Just in time” said Jirall. “Time for this injustice to end.”
I hope you’ve all been enjoying the story so far. The action in this ark is beginning to spike now.
It seems I’ll have less time to write, but fear not. I will continue to diligently tell Lan’s tale, and I hope you all will share this story with all your friends. (Especially if it’s someone working at Rooster Teeth.)
Also, if any of you guys have ideas for characters I’d like them. It’s just that I’m planning for the next arc, and I’ll need plenty of good character ideas. If any of you are interested, send me a personal message.
Finally, as always, please tell me how I’m doing as a writer. I’m always hoping to improve.