Lan’s senses slowly returned to him and he found his entire body to be badly aching.
Lan heard something at the edge of his consciousness but soon began to fall back to unconsciousness.
The voice was a little more distinct now, but was still unable to rouse the boy.
“I can sense that you’re awake now boy, so you’d better get up~~!”Said the voice, there was silence for another few moments“…All right then.”
Lan started to feel uncomfortable for some reason and his mind began to float towards consciousness.
“TIME FOR BUTT-TO-MOUTH RESSUCITATION!!!!!”
Lan’s eye’s flew open and the boy quickly rolled to the side and leapt onto the ground as a self-preservation instinct. He instantly felt regret for his actions as sharp pain coursed through his body and he fell onto his stomach the ground.
“Excellent reaction boy.” Said Byakko, who was squatting over the pillow where Lan’s head had just been resting on, while eating a large bowl of beans.
Lan saw that he was back home and in his room. He was also bandaged in a few places and felt the warm glow through his body from Byakko’s treatment.
Lan groaned and as he was about to rebuke his grandfather, the memories of the past day flooded into his head.
Lan went silent for moment, then slowly began to cry and whimper.
Byakko sighed and scratched his head.
“Aaa, he’s still eight, I guess he’s entitled to his tears” he said.
Byakko then whistled and Ignis and George ran into the room. Both of them cuddled up to Lan and attempted to cheer him up. They stayed like that for a few minutes. Lan stopped crying after a little bit, then went silent. A little bit later he gingerly pushed himself into a sitting position and looked out the window. It was early morning.
“How long have I been—“ started Lan
“Around 24 hours” said Byakko.
Lan sighed one time, then slowly got up.
“I want to see them” he said. Marcus, Daylen, and everyone else. He didn’t know what had happened to them.
Smiling at his grandson’s maturity, Byakko nodded then got up. Knowing that Lan was too weak to carry them, Ignis and George followed at Lan’s heels. The four of them then headed for the front door and exited their home.
When Lan and his family exited the house, Lan was surprised to find that the town was mostly undamaged. There were a few craters here and there where the corpses of Grimm had fallen, but there was hardly any structural damage had occurred.
True to his word, Byakko had prevented anything from getting into the town and as a result there were no civilian casualties.
“Hey!” someone shouted “There he is!”
One by one people came onto the street then slowly began to cheer for Byakko. Enjoying the attention, Byakko picked up George and Ignis, placed them on his arms, and began to flex his muscles. Ignis and George also began posing as they were caught up in the mood.
The people in the mining town knew what the man had done for them, having seen him run all over the walls the previous night. As a result he was now being treated as a hero by all of them. Every few feet Byakko was receiving baked goods from grateful people and, after sharing a little bit with Lan and the little guys(if there wasn’t anything in the goodie that wasn’t bad for a monkey or dog), would immediately devour it on the spot.
After a little while, the crowds began to thin out, which was understandable since they were now nearing the mines. The Lan and Byakko then passed through the gates, that were now broken tatters due to the robot’s explosion, and stopped.
Many people; White Fang, Faunus workers, and guardsmen alike; were cleaning up the debris of the giant robot, which was now a mountain of broken metal in the center of the courtyard, and the destruction its self-destruction had caused. In the corner of the courtyard were the Black Claw members who were all bound, shackled, and heavily guarded. Lan looked at this spectacle, then sighed sadly as he mourned in his heart for those who hadn’t been as lucky as the people he was looking at. On the way here Lan had heard from Byakko that all the injured had already been taken to the hospital in town, and all the dead had already been taken to the graveyard or put in airships to be brought to their families. As Lan stood there, his eyes closed and silently praying for the dead, the two of them were approached by a man wearing a wrinkled suit.
“Hello” said a kind, yet tired voice. “It’s good to see your injuries are healed.”
Lan opened his eyes and looked up at Mr. Kenichi.
“Hello” said Lan, then he noticed the group of people behind Mr. Kenichi were all the Dust Hole mining operation higher ups, including Chief of Security Aurelius, who was giving Lan a pleasant smile.
“It seems you’re leading everyone now, aren’t you” said Lan.
“He is the most organized person in the operation” said the Head of communications, a middle aged woman with a brown hair and a wrinkly face.
“And the most hard working” said the Head of Finance, a wrinkly old man.
“To be honest, all of us used to push all the work we didn’t want to do onto him…So, he’s become quite skilled.” Said Aurelius, blushing slightly.
“Not nearly skilled enough.” Said Mr. Kenichi with a sigh. He turned and faced the many people who were still cleaning up debris. “If I had just been a little faster with the finances, none of this would have e—“
Before he could finish, he was slapped across the face by Byakko. “Foo what’you talkin’bout!” said Byakko as Mr. Kenichi rubbed his cheek“ Even if you did get something done, Jirall would have still done something crazy and knowing that slimy bastard Siemanns, he would still have escalated the situation…speaking of which where is the ******?”
“Don’t swear grandpa” said Lan.
“We don’t know” said Mr. Kenichi, “his escape pod jettisoned off somewhere and we haven’t been able to find it.”
At that moment several groups of people gathered around Mr. Kenichi’s group and barraged them with questions.
“Sorry” said Mr. Kenichi with an apologetic smile. “We’ll have to talk late—ah! No no no! Don’t place those iron beams there!”
Smiling wearily Lan’s party parted from Mr. Kenichi’s group and began to walk around the courtyard.
After a little while he saw Marcus, who was bandaged in a few places and was directing guards towards various assignments. Lan walked up behind the him, without the large man noticing.
“Hey.” He said very quietly
Marus’s body stiffened, then the man let out a soft sigh. He turned and gave Lan an apologetic smile.
“Hey kid” he said “Sorry…that Siemanns bastard always has all my black history ready to go at the press of a button. I had to make him think I was on his side.”
“It’s okay” said Lan, “I understand…but from the term ‘candyman’ I can guess that your crime involved drugs, children or both.”
Marcus looked surprise for a moment, he didn’t expect and 8-year old to know about these things (Lan knew thanks to mature detective story’s he had read in the library back at Little Root), and then shame spread across his face. He let out a long sigh, and then sat down on a nearby bucket that he pulled over. He stayed silent like that for a little while, staring at the ground, then look up at Lan’s face.
“Well… if you know that much I might as well come straight.”
Marcus then told Lan that he grew up in a pretty poor family and during his younger years he wasn’t able to pay his academy fees and had to make money by running drugs for various groups to pay his tuition. Later on when he had become a professional huntsman; those old groups had found out and had him work as a delivery boy, sending packages from point A to point B, many of which included drugs and human trafficking. He of course was able to destroy these groups later on with the help of some friends, but the information was discovered by Siemmans and the man was blackmailed into quitting his job as a huntsman to be the man’s lackey. He’d been trying to bring down Siemmans for years after that, but the slimy man had been too good at covering his tracks.
“Like I said every mistake you made in the past can and will be used against ya.” Said the man with a wry smile.
Lan looked at Marcus’s tired face, then gave him a gently smile.
“Don’t worry Marcus, me and grandpa will help you through this.” Said Lan.
“Thanks,” said Marcus, getting back to his feet “But don’t bust your butt over a guy like me…Actually I think he needs more help than I do.”
Marcus pointed to the side. Lan looked in that direction and saw two people sitting on top of a pile of rocks.
With his staff plunged into the ground right behind him, Daylen was staring at the ground, his eyes devoid of light. Megan was sitting beside him, worry covering her face as she gazed at him with moist eyes.
“The girl was talking to him for a while, trying to cheer him up.” Said Marcus “I think that he needs words from someone else, and then some time alone.”
Lan nodded, then walked towards Daylen. As the boy drew close, Daylen’s body twitched and the man lifted his head.
“…Greetings.” He said
“Yo” Responded Lan.
“Glad to see you’ve recovered” said Daylen, squeezing out a tired smile.
“…You okay?” said Lan.
“’Course he’s not okay!” shouted Byakko “He just killed his own brother yesterday!”
Daylen’s eyes darkened again and Megan fixed Byakko with a hate-filled stare.
“Couldn’t you have said that a little more tactfully?” said Lan.
“It’s fine.” Said Daylen, waving his hand “Me killing my brother is an undeniable fact.”
“I’m sorry it had to end like that.” Said Lan “But, sorry for saying this, was killing Jirall really the best way?”
“Probably not.” Said Daylen, his body shivering here and there “In hindsight, there were probably many better ways to fix things.”
“Then why--?” started Lan.
“Boy!” shouted Byakko “You think that people always make the best decisions? Anyone who thinks that way has wax for brains! People just make what they think is the best decision at the time, and then they got to live with the consequences. Heck, sometimes what some people may think is the worst solution may come out with the best results!”
“Mhmmm” agreed Daylen, lowering his eyes.
“Daylen” said Megan, supporting his tire body “Jirall wouldn’t have stopped even if we had managed to persuade him at that time. You know how deep his hatred ran. So much so that Grimm sightings were 5 times more frequent whenever he traveled with us.”
“Yeah, I know” said Daylen, chuckling “But I still don’t understand how the two of us could have had so great a view on things. We were always together, our lives so identical and--”
“Well you couldn’t have been together all the time right?” Said Byakko “Come on, I bet one reason’s ‘cause you met a lot nicer humans than your brother did.”
Daylen nodded, acknowledging the possibility. There were quite a few times when he and his brother split up to gather supplies during their younger days. Daylen and Jirall were mostly equally productive, however most of the time Jirall had come back bloody after stealing the supplies from who knows where. Daylen on the other hand searched through trash bins, while asking for food from people who were better off than him, many of whom complied.
There were so many uncountable factors that could change a person’s life; even among those who were always together there would be differences in perspective. The paths each of us take and the choices that we make will end up defining who we are, and the minutest of differences in seemingly equivalent paths could end in a completely new destination.
“Maybe” said Daylen with a bitter smile “but I guess that means the humans he met weren’t that great.”
“I’d apologize on behalf of my race if it makes you feel better.” Said Lan.
“It’s fine” said Daylen “If Faunus had been the dominant race then they could have been just as harsh or even harsher to humans then they are to us right now, then maybe you and I be in swapped positions. Heck there may even be discrimination against different races of Faunus.”
“Maybe.” Said Lan.
Daylen let out a sigh then turned his gaze back to the ground.
“My brother made his choices, and this was the result…I…think I’ve already come to terms with that now.” Said Daylen “I guess I just need some time to think about what’s going to happen next. The media won’t be kind to us Faunus after they hear about this fiasco…’sigh’ I’m not sure the White Fang will welcome us back after all of this.”
“I’ll be with you every step of the way.” Said Megan, holding Daylen’s arm and giving him a warm smile. “No matter what happens.”
“Hmmm.” Said Byakko rubbing his chin and giving a mischievous smile “Well I guess you could always start your new life by marrying this fine lady next to ya.”
Megan’s face turned bright red as she placed her hands on her cheeks and turned to the side.
“Eh, what are you talking about Megan doesn’t think of me that way.” Said Daylen “She was one of the first people in the group that Jirall and I founded so we all think of each other as siblings—Ow Megan, why did you pinch me?”
“I’ve read enough manga to see how this is going to turn out.” Thought Lan, slowly backing away.
“Well Daylen I guess it just goes to show you how much change in Faunus rights is needed.” Said Byakko, picking his nostril with his pinky finger “and I don’t think there’s anyone who could better help that cause than someone who’s been to hell and back like you.”
“Thanks” said Daylen, nursing his throbbing cheek, “I’ll try my best.”
“You’d better get some sleep” said Byakko, “You’ve been brooding for waaaaaayyyyyy too long.”
“…Yeah, okay.” Said Daylen, who shakily got to his feet with Megan’s help then began to walk away.
Lan stood there for a few moments, feeling the cool air blow around him as the musky smell of the mines filled his nostrils.
“I’d say it’s about time we left this place Lan” said Byakko.
“Yeah,” agreed Lan, “But there’s a few more things we have to take care of before we go.”
Byakko nodded and the two of them returned home. The next day, after Lan’s injuries had mostly recovered thanks to Byakko’s healing aura and mystic medicines that Byakko had acquired from some of his friends, the two of them returned and snuck to the back of the office building.
“Right,” said Byakko with a mischievous grin “I’ll keep watch, you and the little guys go do your thing.”
Byakko and Lan walked to one of the corners of the office building, and Byakko blocked the view while Lan crawled into an opening in the ventilation system.
“Ugh, hot.” Said Siemmans, loosening his clothes “How long is it going to take for someone to notice the damn SOS?!”
After his escape pod had jettisoned away he had crashed into the dump on the edge of town, and was hidden in a deep hole of metal debris. Once he had landed he had discovered that the escape pod was too badly damaged to operate properly, with its door broken and un-openable and its thrusters trashed. The communications systems had also been badly damaged so he was only able to send out a basic SOS signal to a specialized device on his office desk. He had been waiting in the escape pod for almost two days now and was looking extremely dirty and disheveled, having already removed the jacket of his suit. The escaped pod was only slightly larger than a porta-potty, so it was rather uncomfortable and the only lights that filled the room were from the various small bulbs scattered all over.
“When is someone going to find it?” said Siemenns, taking a bite of an energy bar. In case of emergencies, the escape pod was fully stocked with food, water, and even a toilet (which somehow still worked even though all the more important systems broke). “Ugh this cheap chocolate crap. I can’t wait till I can get out of here and order a serving of filet mignon with truffle sauce.”
With the video recordings that he had sent to Schnee headquarters, as well as those he still had on his computer back at the office, he was sure he could turn a profit from this disaster and once again rise through the ranks. He pulled up a bottle of water by his side, and as he took a drink he heard a clunking sound. The sound of debris being moved vibrated inside the escape pod as the pod began to shake.
“Oh, finally!” said Siemanns, overjoyed. The sound of creaking tearing metal grew louder and louder as Siemmans turned his chair and faced the door of the pod. A few moments later, with a large crunching sound, the door caved inwards, bent, and was ripped from his frame.
“Ahaha!” laughed Siemmans, as he shielded his eyes from the daylight that poured in “Thank you my friends, I’ll make sure you’re all greatly rewarded for thi—“
His smile froze as his eyes adjusted to the light and was able to make out the shapes of his ‘saviors’.
“There he is” said Lan with a chilly voice, lifting a device in his hands “This thing really did show us where the escape pod was.”
“Looks like your trip to the office wasn’t so useless after all” said Byakko, “and you were so depressed after you found that the password on his computer was changed.”
Ignis and George both growled once they saw Siemanns.
A chill traveling down his spine. Swallowing, Siemmans put on his best business smile and stood up.
“Lan, Byakko” he said, spreading his arms “My most trusted guardsmen, thank you for coming all the way here to pick me up.”
When he was met with empty silence he swallowed once more.
“Ah,right. So sorry about that, gunfire back there I was…caught up in the heat of the moment, yes hehe. I’m sure that you’ll both testify for my case when the reporters arrive, so don’t worry I’ll give you both an extra-large bonus as a thank—“
Byakko’s fist crashed into Siemanns’s face while Lan’s fist crashed into his groin. Siemanns was blown back onto his chair, but before the pain had even registered, he was barraged by a flurry of punches from both parties. The chair quickly broke into pieces and he crashed into the metal wall behind it where he was again barraged with punches. The wall became more and more dented as Siemanns was pounded like a rag doll until finally ‘crash’. He was blasted through the wall, slammed into a pile of garbage and collapsed onto the ground, where George and Ignis leapt onto him and proceeded to bite him and pull his hair, while the man variety of high pitched shrieks.
“Is he gonna live grandpa?” said Lan, slightly worried.
“Don’t worry, not only did I hold back, I also infused some healing aura into my punches so it healed some wounds but still hurt like hell.”
“Ah good” said Lan “We still need that code after all.”
Siemann’s gurgled then lifted his bloody face upwards and looked at the two of them through his broken glasses with his eyes filled with.
“What code?” he asked.
“Why the code for your computer of course” said Lan.
Siemanns became even paler than he already was. Everything was on his computer, from extra videos and recordings on the incident that just took place to incriminating evidence that would reveal his years of blackmail and backdoor dealings.
“No” he whimpered, trying to lift himself and crawl to his feet “Your contract—“
“Expired yesterday!” said Byakko, pulling out said contracts and shredding them to pieces.
“Please” said Mr. Siemanns, trying to crawl away as George and Ignis bit at his heels “I’ll pay you two however much you want, just please—“
Before he was able to finish speaking, Byakko seized his face in an iron claw. “Mrphlgl”
“Well he’ll cave eventually.” Said Byakko, holding the struggling man who still had Ignis and George gnawing on his feet. “Let’s head to his office now and make him ruuueeee the day he ever started his corrupted ways.”
“One-way trip to Painsville” said Lan.
“Yep” said Byakko “Did you bring the cheese grater?”
“Yep” said Lan, pulling out the apparatus
“Mph?!” said Siemmans, his eyes filled with alarm
“Did you bring the rubber bands” said Lan, ignoring Siemanns’s tear-filled eyes.
“Yep” said Byakko, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a rubber band ball. “And I also brought this to help you with your first interrogation.”
Byakko handed Lan a thick black book which read ‘How to torture volume II by Vladimir Tepes’.
“Okie dokie” said Lan, flipping through some of the pages “I guess I’ll have to grab some tools from home on our way to the office.”
“Right then” said Byakko “Let’s go!”
Then the two of them walked back into town towards the office building, dragging a struggling and screaming Mr. Siemanns in tow.
Dust Hole Epilogue:
A few days later many authorities and reporters arrived in Dust Hole to assess the situation, and thanks to a variety of videos and witness testimony were able to piece together the situation quite accurately.
The disturbance at Dust Hole caused by extremists of the White Fang caused political ripples to surge through the world of Remnant. But those ripples were quickly countered by videos released of White Fang members fighting against the extremists as well as piles of incriminating evidence on the Overseer of the operations, Mr.Siemanns, and his cruel treatment of the Faunus workers that were leaked to the media by an anonymous party (L+B). Although the incident caused a hotbed of debate around Faunus Rights for many months after that, the two pieces of information canceled each other in the public eye and the public’s views on Faunus rights remained the same as it was before. The Schnee Dust compay denied having anything to do with the improper conduct done by the operation’s overseer, and pushed all responsibility onto Mr. Siemanns.
Authorities arrived in Dust Hole a few days later and quickly went forward to arrest him. However, when they found him in the bathroom of his private suite, they found him in no condition to do anything of the sort. He had been so badly beaten and mutilated that one of the men at the scene was reported to have said “Is this thing even human?”
After many months of intensive recovery, he was tried in Atlas and although he was able to reduce the sentence drastically, thanks to his many connections, but as a result his funds were almost completely drained and all his backdoor partners cut off all ties with him. After a few months in jail, he came out a changed man (although the change could have been said to have happened right after the beating) and was able to get a job as a manager of a small company, after which he married and started a small family. All of his children were adopted however, due to one of the significant ‘injuries’ he suffered before authorities could find him, which is the one that is said to have cured his debauched lifestyle, and every night before bed he would tell his children to live upstanding lives or demons would come and ruin them.
Marcus, after discovering all the incriminating data on him had been mysteriously destroyed, quit his job as a guardsman. But due to his shame didn’t have the heart to rejoin the ranks of the huntsman. Instead he started a private security force called ‘The Bronze Medals’ that became quite successful among the more upstanding business groups.
Thanks to his hard work cleaning up the aftermath of the Dust Hole, Mr. Kenichi was appointed the new overseer of Dust Hole, and thanks to his fair management, then Faunus workers have been well-treated ever since then. The mine also ran more than 300% percent more efficiently, since many funds were properly used to increase production by buying appropriate machines and tools instead of kicking them back into a private account like Siemanns had done.
Daylen, Megan, and the rest of their followers returned to the White Fang where they worked diligently in all of their peaceful protest movements. 6 years later, when the White Fang’s leadership changed and it turned to more violent methods, Daylen left the organization and became a key political force fighting for Faunus rights with the help of his wife and Secretary Megan. They were often targeted by both the White Fang, who saw them as traitors, and many anti-Faunus groups, who viewed them as troublemakers, but thanks to their exclusive contract with “The Bronze Medals” they were able to stay safe and active to this day thanks to the protection of Marcus.
Many reporters would try to discover the location of the two illusionary figures that apparently played a major role in the incident, but they were never able to get anything out of the town’s citizens who were always tight-lipped when asked about the subject. And in the end, the only thing they were able to find was an empty lot where a house might have once been.
I tried to write this arc in a way that there would be one clearly defined bad guy that Lan could focus on, Siemanns, because when you’re a kid you usually see things in black and white. And the things going on with Daylen and Jirall is kind of like help opening up the door to maturity.
Anyway, we’ll be moving right along to the next arc pretty soon and some of the key characters will be an interesting twist on these guys
Hope you’ve enjoyed the story so far, and once again please give any suggestions you have on how to improve the story.
And finally to the staff of Rooster teeth, I give thanks for bringing such a magical story for all of us to view. I hope that this tale of mine can live up to the world made by Monty.
Hmmm, You know, Monty’s passing kinda reminded me a bit of Kamina for Tengen toppa Gurren Lagann, the anime that he loved so much. Although he has passed, his spirit will allow us to fly higher than we have ever before and pierce the heavens towards a brand new adventure.