Yang watched with curious eyes as Weiss practically glided across the floor, humming a small tune. While certainly a novelty in and of itself, the fact that she was doing it while performing housework — something the heiress had always been quick to complain about — left her housemates in a state of disbelief.
"Wow," the blonde remarked, letting out a low whistle. "I've never seen Ice Queen so lively before."
"Well..." Ruby shrugged. "According to Kyousuke, it's because her father's birthday is this weekend. He said that she's got a big surprise for him."
"It's that song that she's been humming for the past month," Yang said. "He told me that much. Apparently her mom wrote it for her old man before she passed away."
"That's correct." The heiress in question interjected, her brow twitching slightly. "Now, would you please stop talking about me as though I weren't here?"
"That's so tragically romantic," Ruby mumbled with a dejected sigh, as though she hadn't said anything.
"I know, right?"
"I hate you both; so much."
From her position of the couch, Kirino watched their banter with only a passing interest. Her mind was elsewhere at the moment; specifically, it on her idiot brother, who was off training with Master Farron again. The black-haired teen had been absent for the better part of the week, much to the surprise of his housemates. What had brought on this sudden change in behavior, no one knew; but nor were they exactly complaining.
Well, perhaps they complained a little. With this sudden resurgence in his training, Kyousuke had precious few moments to spare for anyone. Weiss had spent all week complaining that he should be preparing for the gala that was fast approaching; that he should be trying to coordinate his wardrobe with hers as well as practicing his waltz.
Likewise, Ruby had been trying to corner him for some time now. Ever since she caught wind of his teacher's true identity she'd been trying to get him to introduce her or at the very least get her an autograph. But Kyousuke had been out of the house for the majority of the week, only coming home in time for dinner and practically passing out from exhaustion afterwards.
As one would expect, Yang had been by far the most understanding and had actually spent the better part of her week redoubling her own training. "I'm not about to let Kyo outpace me!" she had said with a wide grin on her face as she destroyed a set of training dummies in the Kousakas' spacious backyard.
But perhaps the most surprising reaction had been that of Kirino herself. The faux-brunette girl had been uncharacteristically civil with the boy during their sparse interactions. Her housemates had been shocked when she offered to help him with the dishes one night and Kyousuke himself had looked as though he was about to start hyperventilating at any moment.
Honestly! She was capable of playing nice. It just… wasn't her strongest suit, okay? Especially whenever her brother decided to stick his foot in his mouth or act like a complete idiot — which was, unfortunately, quite often.
"So, is he out training with Master Farron again?" Ruby's voice broke the girl out of her musing.
"Yeah." Yang nodded. "He said that they're moving on from one-on-one training and that they were going to start doing some work in the field."
"Work in the field?" the redhead repeated, a confused look on her face. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means," Kirino spoke up for the first time, prompting the two sisters to turn to her in surprise. "That she's taking him outside the kingdom walls."
"Wait, outside the walls?" Weiss demanded, her head snapping up from her work. "Just the two of them? Is she insane?!"
"Relax, Weiss," Ruby said cheerfully. "Remember, this is Master Farron we're talking about! She can handle it."
"It's not her I'm worried about!" The white-haired girl snapped. "But rather, the fact that it's my fiancé she happens to be dragging off into Grimm-infested territory that concerns me!"
Everyone twitched at the mention of the 'F-word', but refrained from commenting on it. "Relax, Ice Queen." Yang grunted. "She's tough on him, but she's not about to risk his life unless she knows he can deal with it."
"And you're certain he can?" Weiss demanded. "Have any of you ventured outside the walls before? Because I certainly haven't — not without at least half a dozen teachers watching my every move."
"Only a handful of times," the blonde said, frowning at her. "But those were school-sanctioned trips, with nearly forty other students and teachers. In Vale, there are a ton of procedures students need to go through just to go outside the walls. Like having an experienced Hunter sign a contract of liability and accompany you outside — which Kyo has. To be honest, I'm kinda jealous. There's no way Dad would even let us think of going outside the walls without excessive supervision."
"Master Farron's word carries a lot of weight," Ruby added. "If she says he's ready, then he's ready."
"But—" Weiss still looked unconvinced, but conceded with a deep sigh. "If you say so…"
"Besides," Kirino shrugged. "It's not like they're going all that far; just out to the Gaur Plains. That's pretty much within spitting distance of the walls. What's the worst that could happen?"
"SHIT!" Kyousuke cried as he ducked beneath the swooping talons of a large Nevermore. "Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit!" The avian Grimm let out an enraged shriek as it flew past him and began to rapidly regain altitude.
Falling into a roll, the black-haired teen shifted his gunblade and fired at the beast until the magazine ran dry. Continuing to curse to himself, he dashed away just in time as the monster slammed into the rock he'd been using as cover just moments before. Taking refuge within a large, rocky outcropping sitting just meters away from a sheer cliff, Kyousuke reached into his pouch and retrieved a new magazine. Quickly replacing his spent cartridge, he chanced a peek at the Grimm to see it circling overhead, its gleaming red eyes scanning the ground for its prey.
When the student-teacher duo had first come all the way outside the walls, Lightning had said that he would be taking point. "Keep your eyes forward. I'll be right behind you." Those had been her exact words.
'Damn it, Sensei!' the teen thought murderously. 'You lied to me!' He had just barely finished off a small pack of Beowolves a few minutes ago and now this?!
A loud, shrieking cry from directly above him alerted the boy to the Nevermore's presence as the Grimm finally spotted him taking shelter beneath the outcropping. Gritting his teeth, Kyousuke began charging his blade with electricity as the giant bird swooped towards him once more.
The black-haired teen watched, waiting with baited breath as the beast grew closer and closer. Finally, just as the creature let out a shriek of triumph, Kyousuke crouched and dashed forward, using his semblance to enhance his speed and sliding beneath the Nevermore's talons. The beast crashed right into the rocky outcropping and turned to face him with an enraged gleam in its eyes.
Suddenly, however, the outcropping gave way and began collapsing atop the downed monster. Shrieking and cawing in rage, the Nevermore struggled to free itself from the crumbling rock formation but Kyousuke didn't allow it the opportunity. Wasting no time, the boy leapt atop the pinned Grimm's back and pulled the trigger of his gunblade.
A loud gunshot rang throughout the area and with a snarl, Kyousuke stabbed Blazefire Saber through the beast's rib cage, piercing its heart while simultaneously sending several thousand volts of electricity coursing through its body. The Nevermore flailed wildly, nearly throwing the teen off its back several times as it gave its last, dying shrieks.
Finally, as the beast stilled, Kyousuke withdrew his weapon with a sigh. The black-haired teen hopped off the corpse and holstered his gunblade once more.
"Not bad, I suppose." A voice called out.
Immediately, the boy turned to glare at the speaker venomously. "Where did you go?" he demanded. "You said that you'd be watching the rear while I took point."
"Dealing with those guys." Lightning grunted, nodding her head to the other side of the cliff. Kyousuke turned to see a long, bloody trail of Nevermore corpses; some of which were easily twice the size of the one he'd just slain. "Where there's one Nevermore, there is always a flock nearby. Remember that."
"Wha— How— When—"
The woman walked past the stunned teen and began examining the deteriorating corpse. "Hmm... Clean kill, at least," she mused. "You're lucky it was still a juvenile, though. If it had been fully grown, I doubt it would have fallen for that little trap you set."
"That thing was juvenile?" the teen asked weakly.
"No doubt." His teacher nodded. "This one looked to be about the size of an Ursa Major. Not exactly young, mind you. But not mature by any means."
Kyousuke just groaned and collapsed onto a nearby boulder. "Aaaaand, there goes my recently-restored confidence."
"This is what you signed on for, brat," Lightning said sternly. "You need to toughen up if you want to be ready for the White Fang."
The black-haired teen winced at that. Despite originally wanting to keep the terrorist organization's involvement a secret out of respect for Blake's wishes, his teacher had overheard his conversation with the Faunus girl back on the beach. Put that together with the information gleaned from his admission to her after their one-sided duel and Lightning had the entire situation figured out before he even showed up the next day.
"I know…" Kyousuke muttered.
"And speaking of which..." The pinked-haired woman frowned, crossing her arms. "You still haven't told me anything about this 'Blake' character you're conspiring with."
The boy flinched once more. "I can't," he muttered. "She trusted me with this information and I promised that I wouldn't talk about her involvement. The fact that you figured out this much is already bad enough."
"Kyousuke, trusting your comrades is all well and good," Lightning said, her mouth forming a stern line. "But you have to be realistic. What's your plan? How are you getting her into the party without arousing suspicion? What about your weapons? How do you plan on smuggling them in? Explain to me how you are going to pull this off."
"I… I don't know," Kyousuke whispered softly. The woman sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose.
"Kyousuke, if you want my help, I need details." She placed a hand on his shoulder and looked into his eyes. "I don't know who she is or what the hell you're trying to protect her from but I need to know what she's capable of."
"That's just the thing." The teen grimaced. "The truth is, I don't know much about her at all."
"...And you trust her to watch your back during all this?" Lightning raised an eyebrow at him.
"I know it sounds ridiculous." Kyousuke muttered, but raised his head to look her in the eye. "But she came to me of her own volition and told me what they're planning. If she wanted people dead then she wouldn't have said anything at all. I trust her, Sensei."
"...Yeah, that sounds like something you'd say, alright…" The woman sighed, shaking her head bemusedly before growing somber once more. "But the fact remains; you can't afford to leave me in the dark on this, Kyousuke."
"I know." The boy said with a sigh. "But… It's her story. She should to be the one to tell it."
"Then you know what you have to do," Lightning said, loading a Dust flare into her gunblade. Raising the weapon above her head, she fired, sending a red crystal high into the sky where it burst, creating an explosion of color.
"Yeah…" Kyousuke muttered as the roaring sound of a Bullhead's engine reached his ears. He looked up as the military-grade aircraft burst through the clouds above them, the pilot slowly lowering the vehicle until it was hovering just a few feet above the ground. With the teen silently keeping step behind his teacher, the duo made their way to their ride back to the city.
'The only question is,' the boy mused. 'Will she be willing to cooperate?'
Sitting alone in her bedroom, a black-haired girl sneezed for what seemed like the tenth time in the last few minutes. Wiping her nose in concern, Blake desperately hoped she wasn't coming down with anything. The last thing she needed was to get sick just days before the White Fang attacked.
Grimacing slightly, the Faunus grit her teeth at the unpleasant reminder. It had been over a week since she'd told Kyousuke about the imminent threat, but the boy had only spoken to her a handful of times. Any attempts at initiating communicating with him herself had been fruitless, as it was nearly impossible to get him to answer his scroll. She had even resorted to "visiting" his house a handful of times, but hadn't been able to catch him.
From their last conversation, Blake knew that he was training with his instructor and while she'd initially approved of this course of action, the severe lack of communication was driving her insane. Did he not realize that they needed to plan and work together to pull this off? Was he not taking this seriously?
She hadn't been kidding when she said security would be tighter than ever. This meant there would be absolutely no way for her to sneak in before things got ugly. She needed to be inside the ballroom, either as a guest or a service person. And since she had no connections within the Schnee Company or the hotel the gala would be taking place at, this left Kyousuke as her only possible way in.
But it had been days since the boy had last contacted her. It was getting to the point where she was beginning to suspect that he was deliberately keeping her in the dark. Still gritting her teeth, Blake wrapped her hand tightly around Gambol Shroud's hilt in an attempt to alleviate her frustration. Her knuckles turning white, she closed her eyes, took a deep breath and began counting to ten.
Twitching slightly, Blake turned and sent a venomous glare at the person who'd spoken only to immediately regret doing so as a little black-haired girl standing in the doorway flinched. Her tiny cat-ears flattened against her skull as she averted her gaze.
Blake's eyes quickly softened. "I'm sorry, Tamaki," she said softly, sighing to herself.
"A-Are you okay…?" the little girl asked, bashfully clutching a small doll Ruri had sewn for her some months ago. It was a rabbit-like creature from the Meruru series named Comet-kun.
Blake managed to give her sister a strained smile. "I'm fine, just… frustrated."
Scrunching up her face at the word, Tamaki went on. "What's making you frusterbated?"
"Frustrated." The elder corrected with a small, but genuine smile this time. She reached down and ruffled the girl's hair. "And I'm frustrated because a very dumb boy is being mean and won't call me."
"What!" The youngest sister huffed, her cheeks puffing up in outrage at the slight towards her big sister. "Boys! They're all the same. You should just beat him up for being mean to you! ...Or, that's what Hinata-nee says, anyway. I think Ruri-nee says something like that too, but she always uses a bunch of big words that I don't really get."
"Believe me, Tamaki, I'm considering it." Blake chuckled with a wide smile now gracing her face, her earlier misgivings receding to the back of her mind. This is exactly why she loved her sisters so much. And why she would do anything to protect them. Shaking her head at the thought, Blake changed the subject lest her mood darken again. "Anyway, was there something you needed?"
"When you came in, you looked like you wanted something." The older girl elaborated. "Did you need something?"
"Oh!" Tamaki exclaimed and Blake could practically see a light bulb going off in her head. "That's right! Hinata-nee says that Ruri-nee is 'doing it' again and sent me here to get re-in-horse-mints." She paused and turned to gaze up at her older sister with wide, curious eyes. "What are re-in-horse-mints?"
"I think you mean reinforcements." Blake sighed, rubbing the bridge of her nose. "And it means she wants me to rescue her from another of Ruri's chuuni outbreaks."
"Oh." Tamaki nodded, even though she still didn't really understand what she was talking about. "That makes since."
"That makes sense."
"That's what I just said!" The younger girl pouted, her ears twitching in irritation.
"No, I..." Blake sighed, shaking her head bemusedly. "Never mind. Let's just go save Hinata, okay?"
Taking her sister's hand, Blake began leading the way down the hallway towards the living/dining room, where they could both hear Ruri going off on another anime-induced tangent. Peeking her head into the room, Blake saw an exasperated Hinata sitting seiza in front of Ruri, who currently had one hand covering her face and the other splayed dramatically in front of her.
"Kukuku…" Their chuuni sibling chuckled menacingly. "To think that my own kin would defy me in such a manner… The blackness within your heart must be growing ever-darker to even think of opposing me…"
"Beg for forgiveness, kupo!" Mog said as he floated beside her, imitating the pose she was striking.
"All I did was ask you to stitch my shirt!" Hinata cried, her tail flicking in agitation..
"Such impudence!" Kuroneko continued. "You shall—"
"Alright, I think that's enough, Ruri," Blake broke in. The younger girl flinched and turned to look at her in alarm.
"How long have you been there?" she demanded.
"Long enough," the eldest sibling said with a small smirk.
"Sis!" Hinata exclaimed, a wide grin on her face. "Thanks for the save!"
"K-Kukuku..." Kuroneko chuckled once more, but dropped her dramatic pose. "You think that your allies have brought you deliverance from my justice? You have merely delayed the inevitable, wretched one."
"Watch your back, kupo!"
"Whatever you say, Sis." The brown-haired sister sighed.
"Well, now," Blake said as she and Tamaki entered the room and took a seat at the kotatsu. "Now that we're all calmed down, would someone please explain what happened?"
"All I did was ask her to stitch up a rip in my shirt," Hinata huffed, crossing her arms defiantly. "And she suddenly starts going full-chuuni on me!"
"Tch..." Kuroneko frowned at her. "Keep going, small one. Dig yourself a deeper hole."
"Quit leaving stuff out, kupo!"
Glancing at her for a moment, Blake turned to look the brown-haired girl in the eye. "Hinata…" She began as the younger girl started squirming in her seat. "How did you rip your shirt?"
"It's no big deal…" She mumbled.
"Child..." Kuroneko said lowly. "Speak the truth. What are you hiding?"
"I'm not hiding anything!" Hinata insisted.
"Then why do you keep stroking your arm?"
Blinking in surprise, Blake looked down to see the younger girl freeze with her right hand brushing against her left arm. "Hinata…"
"I… I got into a fight, okay?" she muttered, refusing to look any of them in the eye.
Kuroneko's eyes narrowed. She reached over and pulled back the sleeve of Hinata's shirt, revealing several angry, red marks. Blake immediately stiffened upon catching sight of them.
"Tamaki, go play with Comet-kun," Kuroneko said tersely.
"Huh? But I—"
"Please." The older girl snapped her fingers, causing the bunny-like doll to come to life.
"Let's go play, Tamaki-chan!" the doll said energetically and began floating off down the hallway.
"W-Wait for me, Comet-kun!" Tamaki exclaimed, trotting after the newly-animated doll. The three waited until she was well out of earshot before Blake turned to her younger sister.
"...Who?" Was all she asked.
"Just some idiot kid I know from school," Hinata said quietly.
"And he attacked you?" Kuroneko demanded. The brown-haired girl flinched.
"...Not exactly," she muttered. "I kinda started it."
Blake sighed. "Hinata…"
"He was making racial slurs!" The younger sister defended her actions, her tail flicking angrily. "First he was calling me names. I didn't care about that, but then he asked if mom had sex with a cat to make me." She turned to them with angry eyes. "Did you honestly expect me to let that go?!"
"Hinata," Ruri said with a soft sigh, finally dropping her Kuroneko persona. "I understand it makes you angry. The slurs, the name calling… Blake and I have heard it all before. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to incinerate them for it. But if you let the bullies win and resort to violence… it makes you no better than they are."
Completely unbeknownst to Ruri, Blake flinched at those words. Biting her tongue, the eldest sibling clenched her fists and gazed down into her lap.
"But…" Hinata said weakly. "It… It's so hard…"
"I know it is." Ruri sighed, enveloping the younger girl in a hug. "But when you do, you can hold your head high knowing that you're better than they are. And you'll be all the stronger for it."
Blake could only watch as Ruri comforted the sniffling girl. Despite loving her sisters more than anything in the world, she had never been good at taking care of them; whether it be physically or emotionally. It was always Ruri who was taking care of their younger siblings; cooking, cleaning and sewing whenever their parents were away. Hell, the very clothes that Blake wore had been made by Ruri as a gift for her seventeenth birthday!
Fighting was truly the only thing she was good at; the only thing she could do to protect them. She wanted to make a better future for them to live in; one where they didn't have to be constantly bullied and harassed. That had been why she'd joined up with the White Fang all those years ago.
And now that she'd left them, there was nothing left for her to fight. With her purpose taken from her, Blake had never felt more lost than she did now. It's why she clung so desperately to Kyousuke's plans to thwart the White Fang and why the total lack of communication was leaving her a nervous wreck.
Sighing deeply to herself, Blake stood and made her way towards the medicine cabinet. Pulling out a bottle of ointment, she strode back to her sisters. "Here," she said quietly, rubbing the salve on Hinata's arm. "It's not much, but it should help."
"Thanks," the brown-haired girl muttered, wiping her eyes and sending her a watery grin. "So, did that boy ever call you back?"
"Hrk!" Blake actually choked. "Wha… H-How do you know about that?"
"Oh, please!" Hinata scoffed. "I heard you ranting about it in your room all week. The walls are thin, y'know."
"A boy?" Ruri questioned, a smirk forming on her face. "Oh, has a poor, unsuspecting male caught the eye of our beloved stalker-sister?"
"S-Stalker?!" the eldest sibling repeated indignantly. "I am not a stalker!"
"Oh?" Ruri's smirk widened in a very Kuroneko manner. "That's right. You just follow people from a distance; usually without telling them."
"That was one time, Ruri!" Blake moaned, slapping a hand against her forehead. "One time! And looking out for my sister hardly counts as stalking!"
Said sister looked ready to retort when Blake's scroll suddenly began playing a Japanese pop song. Kuroneko's eyebrow arched upwards, recognizing it almost immediately. "...Isn't that the opening theme from Boku no Pico?"
Hinata turned to look at her incredulously. "You watch that anime?!"
Utterly humiliated, Blake just stood and strode out of the room, leaving her sisters to laugh at her expense. Entering the hallway, she began patting her cheeks to try to regain her composure. Once she'd successfully fought her flush down, she opened her scroll to see a familiar face on the other end of the call.
"Kyousuke?" she exclaimed in surprise.
"Hey, Blake." The boy greeted, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly. "I'm sorry I haven't contacted you in so long."
"You should be," Blake replied, sending him a dark glare. "I hope you realize how precious little time we have. We have less than a week and we haven't even begun coordinating our efforts."
"I know." Kyousuke sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I was actually hoping to rectify that today, if you're free."
"I should be." The girl nodded, glancing back at her sisters now watching television.
"Good, cause there are some things we... really need to talk about," he said, the nervousness in his voice giving her pause. "Can you meet me at the park in the residential district? It's usually pretty deserted, so there's little chance of being overheard."
"The park?" Blake mused. "Yeah. It's pretty close, actually."
"Great. I'll be there in about five minutes." And with that, he ended communication.
Despite her excitement at finally getting something done, Blake took a moment to compose herself before re-entering the living room. "Hey." She called, gaining the attention of her sisters. "I'm going out for a bit. I'm not sure how long it's going to take, so don't wait for me."
"Oooh..." Hinata grinned. "Is it your special boyfriend?" When Blake didn't dignify her with a response, she just burst into a giggling fit. "Oh, it is, isn't it? I knew it!"
"It's not like that!"
Tamaki, who had returned while she was speaking to Kyousuke, furrowed her brow in thought. "Boy?" she questioned. "Is it the one that you were frasturbating over?"
"Pfffffft!" Hinata just burst into another fit of laughter that was soon joined by Ruri, much to Blake's horror. "O-Oh, I'm sure she's been doing plenty of 'frasturbating'." Hinata choked out, wiping a tear from her eye.
"A-Anyway!" Blake cleared her throat, desperately trying to regain her composure. "I'm going now, don't wait up!"
"Just try not to scare him off, sister dearest," Kuroneko drawled.
"And no baby-making, kupo!" Mog added helpfully. Blake just stormed out, her entire face flushed red as the comment set off another round of laughter.
'Kyousuke,' she fumed silently. 'You'd better have some damn good news.'
In a small park in the residential district, a black-haired boy shuddered as a prickling sensation made its way down his spine.
"You okay?" Lighting asked from her spot leaning against a tree.
"Yeah," Kyousuke murmured. "Just kinda nervous, I guess."
"What's there to be nervous about?" The pink-haired woman raised an eyebrow at him. "You've done nothing wrong."
"It's just… I feel like I betrayed her trust or something." He sighed. "I'm worried about how she'll react."
"Trust is a two-way street, Kyousuke," Lightning said, crossing her arms. "If she really trusted you, then she would understand that you did nothing wrong. It'll be fine."
"I hope so," the teen muttered as a black-clad individual came into sight just down the path. "Here she comes now."
Blake approached them slowly, her eyes darting towards the older woman every few seconds. "...Kyousuke," she greeted lowly. "What's going on here? Who is this?"
"Hey, Blake." He returned the greeting with a small sigh, running a hand through his hair. "This is what I wanted to talk about." Kyousuke gestured towards the Huntress in question. "This is my teacher, Lightning."
The girl's eyes widened and she turned her gaze upon the woman. Blake's eyes fell onto her pink hair, her soldier uniform and the gunblade holstered at her waist. "Master Farron?" she asked incredulously, inwardly berating herself for not recognizing the woman sooner. "She's your teacher?"
"I am," Lightning said neutrally. "And you must be Blake, my student's little co-conspirator."
"Could you have been any blunter?" Kyousuke demanded as the Faunus began taking several steps back, looking ready to run at any moment. "Wait, Blake! Please, just calm down."
"Y-You told her?"
"He didn't tell me anything," the pink-haired Huntress said. "I overheard your little pep-talk a week ago. The rest just fell into place."
"I'm really sorry." Kyousuke bowed deeply. "Please believe me when I say that I never planned for any of this to happen." Blake was silent for several minutes, and for a moment, he was certain she would run. But then…
"Ha…" The girl chuckled weakly. "I'm surprised you plan anything at all…"
Taking this as a good sign, Kyousuke went on. "But we can trust her, Blake," he said imploringly. "If you have any trust in me, then trust me on this. I've had a lot of time to reflect over the course of the week. Though I'm better than I was last week, I'm still a far-cry from peak condition. I realized that the two of us aren't going to be enough to pull this off. We need help, Blake. We need her help."
Once again, the Faunus was silent for a while. Her eyes darted towards Lightning, who had her arms crossed and was watching her stoically. She then returned her gaze to Kyousuke and the two locked eyes; hers searching, his determined.
Finally, Blake let out a small sigh. "Alright," she said quietly. "I trust you."
Kyousuke beamed at her. "Thank you."
"I'm simply returning the favor," she murmured, before looking him in the eye once more. "I assume that the two of you have a plan?"
"We were discussing a few possibilities on the way here." He nodded. "This morning, my family received the official invitation to Svernare's gala. On the invitation, it stated that we are allowed one guest."
"And that's my ticket in." Blake nodded.
"Actually, no," the teen admitted.
"Excuse me?" The girl raised an eyebrow at him, her mouth twitching slightly. "Could you repeat that?"
"I'm going to be bringing Sensei with me as our guest," Kyousuke explained. "I already called my mom and she agreed."
"And just where am I in all of this?" Blake snapped, gritting her teeth. "You're just leaving me out to dry?"
"Calm down and let him finish." Lightning scowled.
"No one said you aren't getting in." Kyousuke nodded. "Like I said, we need Sensei if we're going to pull this off. She's a well-known and well-respected Huntress in all four kingdoms. No one will question her if she wants to bring her weapons into the ballroom. We'll be smuggling our weapons in through her and we'll also have the enormous advantage of having her support during all this."
"And that brings up another point," the Huntress began, her eyes boring into the younger girl's. "We need information on what to expect. From what I've been able to gather, I'm assuming that you're a White Fang turncoat. Anything you can tell us about the opposition?"
Blake swallowed the lump in her throat as the living legend continued staring at her. "Well, I already explained what I know to Kyousuke," she said. "We can expect the White Fang's elite members to strike at the president while the lower ranking members create a diversion and sow disorder in the party guests."
"Anyone specific?" Lightning prodded. "Any names?"
"I don't— wait," Blake paused, her brow furrowing. "For something this big, I can think of only one person they would send. One of their finest; the best assassin in the White Fang. I've never met her myself, but everyone knows who she is. Her name is—"
"...Anri…" The woman finished, her eyes narrowing into slits. The two teens turned to her in surprise.
"You know her?" Kyousuke asked. Lightning nodded curtly.
"I've had the displeasure of clashing with her a few times," she grunted. "The woman's not the greatest fighter, but direct combat isn't her specialty. She's a devious one and as slippery as an eel. Dangerous is the only word to describe her."
"Well, this just keeps getting better and better," the boy muttered, running a hand through his hair in aggravation. "Right when I think we've got one-up on them, we learn this."
"Always expect the unexpected," Lightning chided him. "The moment you get complacent is the moment you die."
Kyousuke flinched. "Yes, Sensei…"
"Ahem," Blake cleared her throat to regain their attention. "You never answered my question. How are you planning on getting me inside?"
"Ah…" The boy coughed nervously. "That's right…" Scratching his cheek, he gave her a sheepish smile. "...I just want you to understand that none of this was my idea…"
"...How are you getting me in?" the Faunus repeated, a slight twinge of dread entering her voice.
"Well, you see…"
"This is utterly ridiculous!" Blake hissed, her entire face flushed red as she attempted to pull down the skirt of her maid uniform.
It had all been Lightning's idea. Since the Kousakas only had one guest pass, they couldn't bring both of them as guests. However, with Lightning's great prestige, it would be little trouble to get one of her servants into the party to tend to her. So, Blake just needed to pose as one of the pink-haired woman's underlings and she would get in no problem.
No, the problem was…
"Why does she have to stay with me?!" Kyousuke demanded as Yang, Ruby, Weiss and Kirino all stared at Faunus girl.
"Consider it part of your training, Schoolboy," Lightning said coolly, but he could have sworn he saw a malicious glint in her eyes. "My servant here will be monitoring your activities whilst I cannot."
Kyousuke glared at her, but the hidden message had been received. 'Use this chance to plan and coordinate. Don't fuck up.'
"Yes, Sensei…" he muttered, rubbing the bridge of his nose as Lightning took her leave.
"Pervert." Blake muttered beside him, still seething. "Molester. Beast. Lecher. Fiend. How am I going to explain this to my sisters? I can never become a bride now..."
Kyousuke just sighed. He could sense the impending explosion as the girls stared each other down. Honestly, a terrorist attack had never seemed more appealing than it did in that moment.
'How much longer before things go back to normal?'