Decided to get one last chapter for this story out before the year's end. Let's get to it.
Bold: TV/Loudspeakers/Scroll information/Scroll Messages sent
Bold Italic: Scroll Messages Received/Radio/Disembodied Voice (s)
Italic: Thoughts/Letters/Journal Entries/Flashbacks/
Raven was a blur of red and black as she appeared before Jaune, Nora and Ren who formed a wall of protection for Pyrrha. Her arms stabbed forth in a hard jab and tip of her blade collided head on with Jaune's shield sending sparks into the air, and him stumbling back. She turned on her heel and with a flick of her wrist deflected Ren's strike and caught Manghild by the neck as Nora swung.
She raised her leg and thrust forward and a loud thud resounded as her foot crashed into Ren's ribs and sent him bouncing across the ground.
"Ren!" Nora's worried cry filled the park.
She broke free of Raven's hold and swung Magnhild again, only for Raven to parry her attack and charge her once more. Her knee buried itself in Nora's stomach and hunched her over as the air was jettisoned out of her lungs. She rose her blade high and swung down to cut Nora, but her blade was intercepted by Jaune and Pyrrha.
"Good. It seems you've made up your mind." Raven's eyes bore into Pyrrha's glaring orbs.
"I will not allow you to harm my friends!" Pyrrha said firmly.
Pyrrha sent Raven's sword high with a flick of her wrist and lunged forward with a shield bash. Her attack met air as Raven skidded back and twirled her blade lazily.
Out of the corner of her eye, Pyrrha saw Jaune stand beside her. His eyes were looking at each of them and she could see the wheels in his head turning to formulate a plan of attack. To give him time, she sprinted to Raven and ducked under a stab from the long blade.
With a push of her heel, Pyrrha drove upward with an uppercut with her shield again. Raven sidestepped her attack with ease and she saw her balance on one foot. She quickly raised her arm and felt it throb lightly as she blocked Raven's kick. She summoned her Semblance and with a hard push, sent Raven off her feet.
The woman righted herself and stabbed her blade into the ground to stop. Pyrrha shifted Milo into its rifle and lined up her sights, her finger curling around the trigger. One loud shot after the next came as she fired at the woman, only to grimace as her bullets were deflected without so much as a sweat. Each shot she fired was blocked and Raven would gain ground with each step she took.
"Pitiful!" Raven rested a hand on her hip.
Pyrrha said nothing and reloaded a new magazine into Milo before taking aim again.
"Ren! Nora! Now!" Jaune hollered from behind her.
Two bursts of fire came from her right as Ren ran to Raven's right followed by two whooshes from the left. Nora had fired two rounds from Magnhild and they soared at Raven. A loud boom echoed around the area and a small fire illuminated the dark park as the grenade rounds detonated. The flames swallowed Raven whole and she was nowhere to be seen.
Ren and Nora crept forth with their guards up for a quick counterattack should it come. When they reached the flames, Raven had gone. The two partners shared a look and then looked back towards her and Jaune.
Pyrrha tensed when she saw Nora's eyes go wide and spun on her heel on instinct with a swing of Milo. Her blade crashed into Raven's not a second too soon and her arm trembled from the deadlock the woman put her in. Metal screeched as Raven swung her sword to break free from the lock and the woman swung again.
With a quick bend back, Pyrrha narrowly dodged the vicious hack and felt her palms grace the ground. She flipped and crouched on the ground and shot forth with a lunge. Her knee thrust up and caught Raven in the chest, earning a small grunt from her. Pyrrha's triumphant counter was short lived when Raven's hand shot up and closed around her neck, hoisting her into the air.
The blood rushed to her head and she could feel her lungs losing oxygen by the second. Jaune jumped forward and slammed into Raven with everything he had.
It was enough to give Pyrrha wiggle room and she swung leg up and her boot landed on Raven's hip. She was released instantly and the woman jumped back once more. Raven clicked her tongue and twirled her blade once more.
"You three are really becoming a nuisance," she said.
Nora and Ren retook their positions in front of her and Jaune, focused glares etched on their faces.
"We told you before. You're not getting anywhere near Pyrrha!" Nora growled back.
"Do you truly believe you can hold your own against me?" Raven asked back.
"We are right now!"
Raven shook her head and an audible sigh left her.
"I've been holding back. I'll deal with you three quickly," said Raven.
Nora raised Magnhild after switching it to its grenade launcher form and fired away. Four more whooshes filled the air, but they were intercepted by a cut from Raven's blade. One burst after the next sent gusts of wind and fire back at them.
Although her ears were ringing, Pyrrha only heard three explosions. The fourth never came and she quickly jumped forward with her shield up. Something small pelted it, but she did not get a look at what it was. The second she blocked the projectile, she was sent off of her feet and back to a tree on the other side of the clearing. Her mouth opened in a silent cry and she fell to the grass in an aching heap.
She blinked to try and correct her blurred vision and pushed up with everything she had. Her knees touched the cool grass and she swayed in place, looking back in the direction she had been moments before. Raven was in front of Jaune, Nora and Ren.
"Watch out!" Pyrrha managed to shout.
Although her teammates received her warning, she could only watch as Raven laid into them with no mercy. The woman started with a hard backfist to Nora and sent the poor girl to the ground. She then caught Crocea Mors with her hand when Jaune swung and kicked high at Ren's head, her foot connecting with his temple. With a push of her arm she sent Jaune stumbling back and drove her fist into his stomach.
Raven continued her onslaught as her hand clenched a fistful of Jaune's shirt. She reared her head back and drove it forward, her mask crashing into the bridge of his nose. Blood spewed down the front of it and trickled down his face. She shoved him and thrust her foot forward with everything she had. A loud thump sounded as it smashed into his armor and sent him soaring across the clearing.
"Jaune!" Pyrrha got to her feet.
Raven appeared just behind Jaune as he rolled to a stop before her and kicked hard. A sharp cry tore from Jaune's throat as his ribs took the full hit.
Pyrrha let her shield fly with a toss of her arm and it cut through the air like a swirling blade. A clang came when Raven swung her blade and sent it right back at her, but she easily stopped it and fixed it to her arm with her Semblance.
"Now, where were we?" Raven stepped over Jaune who continued to nurse his ribs.
Her eyes narrowed dangerously at the red garbed woman and her fists shook with unbridled fury. This woman had shown up and brutally beat her friends down just to fight with her for a test of strength? For what purpose? She did a quick look around the park and saw few things that she could use as a distraction. Two benches and a steel statue. Not much, but it would hopefully be enough.
She twirled Milo and her thumb pressed the hidden button and extended it to its spear form. She brought her shield up enough to peer over the top of it and held Milo mid-shaft.
Raven dashed at her and her blade was a red blur as it cut for her head. She easily ducked under it and jabbed Milo at the woman, narrowly missing her side. Pyrrha did not let up and stepped again with another thrust, then another and another. Each stab just missing Raven by a hair. She blocked an overhead strike from Raven's blade and skidded forward with a thrust kick.
Pyrrha spun with her arm wide and felt her shield collide with Raven's shoulder and followed around with another swing. The edge of Milo's blade whistled through the air and for Raven's face. A small tear sounded and a thick lock of hair fell to the ground. She grimaced when Raven's arm wrapped around hers and lifted up. The sharp pain forced her to drop Milo, but she had a trick up her sleeve. Just before it hit the ground, the top of her foot shot up and hit the length of it, kicking it back into the air.
Her plan worked and she followed Raven's eyes as they went to track her spear. Not wasting time, she raised her foot and drove it down at Raven's heel as hard as she could. A sharp hiss left Raven's lips, but Pyrrha did not stop there. She ran her hip hard into Raven's and turned with everything she had. Her arm sprung free from the lock it was in and Raven stumbled forward and regained her footing.
Pyrrha let her Akouo fly again and forced Raven to duck. With a pull of her wrist, Milo was summoned back to her hand and she jumped at Raven with a vicious stab. She only met air as the woman easily leaned to avoid the attack and did so again and again with each thrust that was sent for her. With each miss, Pyrrha could feel her grip on Milo grow tighter and tighter to the point it shook in her hands. It was a subtle rage that was now coming more apparent with each passing second the fight went on.
"Tell me something. Have you ever wondered why Ozpin invited you to Beacon to enroll?" Raven parried another strike.
Pyrrha met her blade again and charged forward with a push of her foot to hit her with her shield. She said nothing and kept her focus on the woman's movements. It was very difficult to find any opening for a possible strike. Everything that she threw at her was blocked, parried or dodged with ease. She had a small window and would need more help if she wanted a chance to land a hit on her.
When she didn't answer Raven, the woman shook her head and flew at her with her blade high. What followed was nothing but a blur of red as her massive sword cut through the air viciously. She felt her arms throb with each block her shield took and strike of their weapons.
"You are from Mistral, yet you were given a special offer to begin your career as a Huntress here. Why? He had nothing to gain by inviting you here. In fact, you're more than capable of facing the creatures of Grimm on your own given your current strength," Raven continued.
"What are you trying to say?" Pyrrha asked as their weapons collided.
She clenched her teeth as Raven's red eyes peered into hers as they locked blades again.
"I'm saying that you are ignorant of the real reason he brought you here," said Raven as she gave a hard push.
Pyrrha staggered back and jumped away, shifting Milo to its rifle form and firing another series of shots. Each of her bullets was easily deflected with a twirl of Raven's blade, leaving her completely unharmed. The woman twirled her sword and held it out as she skulked towards her.
"I'm here because I chose to leave behind what society molded me to be. It was my decision and no one else's," said Pyrrha with a firm look.
"True, it was your decision. And it was a foolish one," Raven retorted with a shake of her head.
"I disagree. My decision has led me to what I always wanted in my life. Friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime and never be broken."
Raven clicked her tongue and swung her sword for her head. It was an easy deflection that showered the ground with sparks. Metal screeched and hummed as it cut through the air and ground against each other. With each clash, small sparks illuminated their skirmish in the dark park.
Pyrrha leaned back and her eyes crossed as she watched the tip of Raven's blade pierce the air just above her face. She continued her descent to the ground and moved into a backflip, all the while kicking Raven's wrist up and leaving her open. With a flick of her wrist, Milo stretched out and cut into Raven's armor.
"You can delude yourself all you want, but I know you're smarter than that. You hide it well, but I know you've questioned why Ozpin extended an invitation towards you when he had nothing to gain. Publicity means nothing to him," said Raven.
Pyrrha shifted Milo back into its spear and held her shield up to eye level as she crept forward to clash with Raven again. It was difficult to try and read her eyes with the mask on her face and she could only get a faint idea as her head turned to follow her movement.
"That was another reason. He didn't offer because of my fame, either," she admitted lightly.
It seemed as though Raven rolled her eyes at the answer and her hand tightened around her blade.
"He did it because of your power!" Raven lunged forward.
Pyrrha tensed and raised her shield enough to block the strike from Raven. Her hit seemed stronger than before, and it was there that Pyrrha knew she was not going all out. That though alone sent a chill down her spine. It was no secret that the woman she was fighting had more experience than her and was toying with her, but to be able to hold her own when she was using most of her strength was unsettling.
What was her purpose for testing her? On top of that, what did her decision to accept Ozpin's invitation to Beacon have to do with anything?
Pyrrha pushed off her feet again and thrust her arm forward in a series of lightning fast jabs and started to push Raven back, all the while keeping her eyes defiant.
"What does my power have to do with anything?" She challenged the masked woman.
Her question seemed to make Raven perk up.
"More than you know. It's no different than what he's doing with your partner," said Raven as she cast a quick nod at Jaune.
Pyrrha narrowed her eyes and spared a look to Jaune before turning them back to Raven. She let her shield fly and charged forward while holding Milo with both hands. When Raven's blade made contact with her shield and sent it whooshing into the dark of the night, she jumped at her with Milo and began another set of stabs.
Her finger found the trigger on Milo and she pulled back on it light. The back of Milo ignited as it released a loud shot and rocketed forth faster than before. If forced Raven to react quicker and she had earlier with her movements. She was able to match the speed when she countered the hit and moved in her guard to wrap her arm in a tight grip.
Thinking fast, Pyrrha glanced out where Akouo had flown and lifted her fingers enough and felt the metal as she used her Semblance. She pulled her fingers fast towards her and could feel Akouo soar back towards them. Pyrrha planted her feet hard into the ground and turned with everything she had to put Raven in the path of the flying shield.
Raven's head turned enough to hear the shield as it whooshed towards her and dropped her hold. She leapt high into the air and the shield just graced the bottom of her boot before Pyrrha caught it. Once Akouo was back on her arm she raised Milo again and took aim at Raven and opened fire. The woman swung her blade and managed to reflect some of the bullets back. They snapped on the ground and Pyrrha skipped back to shift Milo back to its blade.
She saw where the woman was going to land and ran to intercept her. Her movements were much faster than before as Milo cut through the air to make contact with Raven. Metal met again in a fierce collision and rang loudly.
"What does Jaune's power or mine have to do with Ozpin's decision to have us at Beacon?" Pyrrha asked with another swing.
Raven parried her strike and gave one of her own which she ducked under and stabbed forward only to meet air.
"I've known that man for a long time. He's not the headmaster you know. The man is a manipulator and his students are nothing but pawns in his game," said Raven.
Two more strikes came and sparks flew off their blades. The small light illuminated their hardened eyes as they glared back at one another.
"What game? You're not making any sense," Pyrrha replied.
She swung Akouo out to meet a swing from Raven's blade and force it back out for an opening. With a shift of her feet she pushed forward into her guard and tackled her back. It was only a brief loss of balance for the veteran fighter before she righted herself.
"It will all make sense soon enough. If you are who I believe you are, your role here at Beacon will come into light soon enough, and when it does, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. You'll learn who Ozpin really is," said Raven.
Raven swung her blade and sent a flurry of sparks up at Pyrrha. She grimaced when some of them landed and burned lightly on her exposed skin. The woman was in front of her soon again for another assault. She had raise Akouo to block the overhead slash and her arms trembled from the deflection. Doing this left her stomach exposed and Raven seized the opportunity.
Her boot raised and drove forward in a hard thrust. The corner of Pyrrha's lips twisted in discomfort as she was sent back. She continued to stumble back and only came to a halt when she flipped and landed firmly on the ground a few seconds later. Her head snapped back up to locate Raven, but the woman was gone.
Pyrrha immediately tensed and felt another chill go down her spine. Her green eyes scoured the area and she got to her feet to tread forth carefully. She looked toward Ren, Nora and Jaune, only to find them still unconscious.
"Where did she go?" Pyrrha lowered her guard just a bit.
It was faint, but a low hum met her ears and she spun out of the way just in time. Raven's red blade came into view and came close to cleaving her in two. When she turned around to meet the woman, she saw a red portal vanish.
"Can you answer a question for me?" Pyrrha asked.
"I suppose I should enlighten you since you are hopelessly lost," said Raven.
She ignored the woman's words and spared another quick look back at her team.
"What is my role here at Beacon? You've talked about it this whole time, but never gave a straight answer. How do I know you're not lying?" Pyrrha asked.
Raven only shook her head and pointed her blade at her again.
"I don't lie, Pyrrha. I told your dear partner the same thing when I fought him yesterday. The least I can do for people who follow Ozpin blindly is give them an idea of what they're getting into. Your dear headmaster has been involved in a conflict that has been going on for a long time. He has failed time and again and refuses to learn from his mistakes. He uses people like you to fight this battle of his and all it does is lead them to an early grave against a foe that can't be stopped!" Raven went on as she stabbed her blade in the ground.
Pyrrha relaxed her stance and decided to use the break in their fight to try and read Raven a little more. Anything to recover her breath and think of a plan of attack. What she knew is that Raven's disdain for Ozpin was clear as day.
"Is that what happened to you?" The words were out of her mouth before she could think.
The redhead immediately closed her mouth and she caught the twitch in Raven's hand as she stared back at her. It did not take a genius to know the woman was glaring back at her from a touched nerve.
"More or less," Raven admitted through grit teeth. "That fool is the reason behind the remnants of my team. He used us in this fight and it broke us."
Pyrrha frowned and bit her lip. She wanted to dismiss Raven's words as lies, especially with what she did to her team, but with the amount of anger in them it was hard to do so. One did not harbor that kind of emotion without some form of truth, or at least their own perception of the truth.
She tensed when Raven pulled her blade free from the ground and dashed at her again. Their weapons collided and Pyrrha immediately noticed that the woman was attacking with more strength than before. Her anger was now coming into light and she planned to exploit that as much as she could.
"Mark my words, Pyrrha. Ozpin will use you and your friends in this fight, and your roles will begin before this week is done," said Raven.
Pyrrha ducked under another slash and put space between them again. The distance was closed instantly and she flinched lightly as Raven's blade smashed down on Akouo again. Her knees buckled and she was forced to keep Akouo up to block one strike after the next, each one hammering down with more power than the one before it.
Her teeth ground together to bear the brunt of the painful throbs and she could feel her strength leaving her. She needed to move fast. She cracked an eye open and kept it fixed on Raven's blade. When the woman raised it again, she dropped her guard and thrust her arm out to force the blade to pull Raven back.
The change of attack caught her by surprise and Pyrrha ran at her with everything she had. A quick slash that Raven would meet followed by a fast push back with her Semblance to keep her on the defensive. Two more slashes, one for her arm and the other for her chest, both met by Raven's blade with the latter slash just narrowly being stopped.
Their blades met again and with a quick flick of her wrist, Pyrrha swung up and sent Raven's blade out of her hand. In that second she summoned her Semblance once more and sent he large blade into a nearby tree. With Raven defenseless she ran at her and began to lay into her with as many attacks as she could.
Being rendered weaponless only seemed to bring Raven's primal nature out. The woman was no longer toying with her and she could only watch with disbelief as the woman weaved and ducked under each of her attacks with ease. This was the true power of a Huntress and she was amazed at the display of strength.
Suddenly Raven caught her arm and twisted it around to put her in a submissive hold. Pyrrha could feel the tip of Milo against her neck and all it would take is a hard shove to shatter her Aura and kill her. The thought alone made a cold sweat form on her person and a small pit of fear grew in the depths of her stomach.
Raven's voice was now by her ear as she spoke again.
"Beacon will fall and there is nothing you or Ozpin can do to stop it. You will watch your friends die because of this man's arrogance. The very thing you longed for will be gone," she said as she turned Pyrrha to face her fallen teammates.
Pyrrha squirmed to break free, but Milo only inched closer to her neck, the tip just gracing her skin.
"He will come to you and you will have to make a choice. You hold the entire fate of his plan in your hands. You will either play a part in his game because of your selflessness, or you will be selfish for once in your life and let him lose again.
But I already know what's going to happen. Given your nature and despite everything I've told you here tonight, you will accept his offer because of them."
Raven redirected her gaze back to her battered team. They were disposed of easily during the fight because of Raven's raw strength, and even with all the power Pyrrha had, she could not do anything to protect them or keep them safe. And it frightened her.
Her mind flashed back to the incident with Yang and her negligence that nearly cost Jaune his life. History could just have easily repeated itself here tonight if Raven had been serious about killing them all, and she would not have just lost the boy she longed for, but her surrogate sister and brother. Her family.
She could feel her eyes begin to blur and sting with unshed tears, but she would not let them fall. Her eyes sealed shut and she turned her head away.
"They are your weakness and although you are strong, your bonds with them will lead you to your decision and your eventual death." Raven's words were cold as ice.
A sharp pain coursed through Pyrrha's back from a brutal jab. She dropped Milo and felt her feet leave the ground as Raven tossed her up. Another hard hit came to her stomach when Raven's boot planted in it and sent her across the clearing.
Pyrrha's mouth opened in a silent gasp and her eyes bugged out of her head when she slammed into the concrete of the statue on the other side of the clearing. Her fists clenched tightly as she fought through the pain and pushed herself up. She spotted Raven prying her blade out of a nearby tree.
Looking above her, Pyrrha saw the statue. She raised her hand and kept a close eye on Raven who finished pulling her blade out of the large oak. Behind her the statue gave a loud creak as she started to pull it free from its foundation. The concrete cracked and she raised her free hand and forced Milo to hover just off the ground behind Raven.
She threw the statue with one hand and pulled with the other. Both Milo and statue flew at Raven.
"Pathetic," the woman muttered.
Raven swung forward with her blade and cleaved the statue in two. The two pieces soared by her and dug up the fresh grass and left two large trails of upturned earth behind. While following through with the slash, a red portal appeared before Raven and she vanished into it with Milo close behind.
Pyrrha sat up abruptly after feeling her control on Milo vanish completely. The portal vanished and reappeared a moment later just twenty ten feet in front of her. She could feel Milo again and it was good that she did because it shot out of the portal a second later leaving her with little time to react. She waved her hand and Milo inched to the side of her face embedded itself in the concrete pillar beside her.
Her throat was dry and she felt a sharp stinging sensation from her left cheek. She reached up to inspect it and felt her fingertips come into contact with blood. A lucky escape.
Raven appeared from the portal a moment later and pointed her blade down at her throat. The fight was done.
"Such a waste of power." Raven shook her head.
Pyrrha said nothing as she glared up at Raven.
Raven finally pulled her blade away from her and cut through the air to summon another portal. She sheathed her blade and stopped just before the gateway she made.
"We all have a choice. I hope you choose wisely."
She stepped into the portal and it closed behind her.
Pyrrha sat in the silent and now destroyed clearing mulling over the woman's words. Their fight only left her mind in a state of doubt and confusion. Was Raven right about Ozpin? Was the man truly a manipulator that sent prodigies like her to their deaths in this so called conflict he was in?
"Is that the reason he offered me to come here?" Her brow furrowed.
The thought alone made her sick to her stomach and she shook her head to dismiss the thought. No. It couldn't be true. It just couldn't! The man may have appeared aloof, but she saw the way he interacted with his students when he was roaming the halls. Like a wise old man who was offering them advice on how to succeed in their careers and lead a good life.
"Pyrrha!" Jaune's voice penetrated the silent park.
She turned and saw her partner limp over to her nursing his ribs with Nora and Ren following close behind.
"Are you okay?" Ren asked as he knelt beside her.
She blinked and only nodded back.
"I'm fine," she managed to find her voice.
"Where did that woman go?" Nora looked for Raven.
"She's gone," Pyrrha answered as Jaune pulled her up.
Nora growled under her breath when she looked her over, but seemed to relax when she offered her a smile. As if sensing her discomfort, Jaune gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze and smiled at her.
"Look, none of that matters. What matters is that she's gone and that we're still alive," said Jaune.
"But Jaune…" Nora looked at him incredulously.
He gave her hard stare right back.
"Nora, let it go. You saw what she did to us and she could have easily killed us if she wanted to," Jaune said with a slight edge.
His words made Pyrrha flinch and she looked down at the ground. Out of the corner of her eye she took in the extent of her teammates' injuries. The cuts, the bruises, the blood. All because of a woman's desire to test her power and her resolve. They were like this because she wasn't strong enough to protect them.
"I say we go back to the dorm, get cleaned up and let this night go. There's no point in getting distracted with something like this when we're still in the tournament," Jaune continued.
Nora looked as though she wanted to protest, but closed her mouth when Ren put a firm hand on her shoulder with a knowing look. The usually bubbly girl let out a frustrated sigh and rested her hands on her hips.
"Fine, but I'm not happy about this. She came here for Pyrrha and picked us apart, and that's something we should tell Glynda," said Nora with a cross of her arms.
Jaune and Nora stared at each other for a long moment, neither of them intent on submitting to what the other had said. Although Nora followed Jaune's orders without question, it did not mean she had a different opinion. This would be the first time she truly had any reservations about a decision he made.
"I understand that, believe me." Jaune put his hand on her shoulder.
"Do you?" Nora rose a brow. "She came after you yesterday and she came for Pyrrha today. I'd say she's targeting both of you for something."
Jaune blinked and sighed with a shake of his head.
"You know what, you're right. I don't know what she wants and I don't know why she attacked me or Pyrrha. All I know is that it won't do us any good to freak out over it!" He said.
Nora's eyes grew sharp and she stepped up to Jaune and slapped him hard across the face.
"I'm just worried about you two, you idiot!" She gared at him. "I'll trust your call for now, but you listen to me real good. I'll give you until the end of the Vytal Festival. Either you tell Glynda and Ozpin about what happened with that woman, or I will."
Jaune let out a calm breath through his nose as he caressed his cheek. He did not take his eyes off of Nora who continued staring back at him with her hands on her hips. The dispute between the two teammates now led to an ultimatum that would have to be confronted to stop any future conflict.
Pyrrha wanted to stop the growing tension between her friends and moved to step between them, but stopped when Jaune spoke.
"Fine. I'll tell them," he said as calmly as he could.
"Good," Nora said with a curt nod.
Nora hefted Magnhild over her shoulder and turned on her heel to start walking with Ren sighing and following close behind her.
Jaune handed Akouo over to Pyrrha as she finished pulling Milo out of the concrete slab.
"Are you going to tell Professor Goodwitch and Ozpin what happened?" Pyrrha asked him.
Her partner remained silent for a few seconds before he nodded.
"Yeah. I promised Nora I would…" said Jaune.
"And you never go back on your promises." She finished for him.
His face scrunched up in pain as he tried to walk again and he hunched over holding his ribs. Pyrrha was quick to support him and wrapped his arm around her shoulders to help him walk.
"Thanks." He smiled lightly at her.
She offered him a small smile in return and gave his arm an assuring squeeze.
Yang and Ruby sat at a table as they waited for their food to be brought to them. Their Uncle Qrow had given them a ring and asked them if they wanted to meet for a late dinner and they accepted without hesitation. It gave them time to catch up and hear more of his wild stories that he gained during his travels since they last saw him.
Qrow returned a moment later with a fresh drink, much to the chagrin of both of them to which he shrugged it off before taking a long swig.
"So you trouble makers made it to the doubles round, eh?" Qrow smirked at them.
"Duh! Of course we did!" Ruby puffed her chest out in pride. "You're talking to the girls who helped take down Roman Torchwick!"
The drunk merely rose his brow at the comment and smacked his lips as he brought his glass down.
"That might be true, but you're not really seeing the big picture here," said Qrow.
"What do you mean?" Yang perked up.
His red eyes turned to her and flicked back to Ruby to make sure she knew he was addressing her as well.
"Think outside the box for a second, Firecracker. There's always something else behind the scenes. You and your crew may have cut off the head of a King Taijutu, but now the other is calling the shots, and that's the one you need to be looking for," said Qrow.
"Well, who would be the one calling the shots outside of Roman? Violence has gone down since he got captured and put on General Ironwood's ship," Yang said as she leaned forward.
"That's what everyone's trying to figure out, and it's something that Powder Puff and I talked about a few times."
Ruby giggled at Qrow's nickname for Jaune while Yang perked up in interest.
"So Vomit Boy's been trying to figure out the other piece of the puzzle?" She folded her arms.
Qrow shook his head.
"No. It's just a concept we discussed while I trained him. As a Huntsman you need to seek out every threat and that's what I've been trying to figure out since the Breach per Ozpin's request," Qrow answered.
He took another drink from his whiskey. The waiter came a minute later with their dinner and set their plates before them. The delicious scent wafted up and greeted them with open arms and made their mouths water.
Yang wasted no time in cutting a fresh piece of her steak and forking in her mouth. It was tender and juicy and she almost felt her body melt at the flavor. It was just so tasty. Although she did not want to admit it, it tasted better than what her dad would have been able to grill.
"And that's something that Ironwood can't seem to get through that thick skull of his," Qrow grumbled as he took a bite from his steak sandwich.
Yang and Ruby exchanged looks before looking back at their uncle.
"You know the general?" Ruby asked.
Qrow grinned back at her and fished out an old photo from his pocket. He kept the photo face down as he leaned back in his chair taking another drink.
"I know everybody to an extent. After all, you're talking to a member of the best team to graduate Beacon. The team where I met your parents," he said as he showed them his old team photo.
Yang rolled her eyes lightly at her uncle's ego coming into play. She forked in the last piece of her steak and munched on it. Her eyes cast over to the photo and took it in. She could see her stepmother Summer Rose, her father Taiyang, Qrow, and…
Her eyes fell on the last woman in the photo and widened in surprise. She choked on the piece of steak in her mouth and thudded her fist against her chest to knock it free. Staring back up at her through the photo was Raven. The very woman she ended up fighting in the courtyard months ago as a test. And with what Qrow just said, she was the woman she had been searching for this whole time. Her mother.
She stared at the photo, still trying to come to terms with her revelation. It took a shift of Qrow's thumb covering Raven's face to snap her from her stupor.
"We were pretty cool back in the day," Qrow said as he looked at Ruby.
"Uh huh, sure. Pretty known for a crummy fashion sense," Ruby offered a burn of her own.
"Hey, we looked good. And I've got a number of inappropriate stories to back it up."
Qrow finally seemed to realize Yang's stare and he was quick to reel the photo back.
"But I'll save those stories for when you're older." He polished off his glass and let out a sigh.
Qrow got to his feet with a light stretch and got ready to leave.
"Just keep what I said in mind. You have more experience now, but you've still got a long way to go. When you graduate, you're far from done because a day out there is worth a week in the place. From what I can tell, you two and your friends are going to go far. But only if you keep learning and never stop moving forward," he said.
Before he turned around, he sent a sideways look at Yang and she was quick to pick up on it. She waited until Qrow left and excused herself from Ruby lying about needing to use the bathroom. Once out of sight, she changed direction and hurried after Qrow.
The grass crunched lightly below her boots as she jogged by each concession stand and towards the courtyard. When she broke free of the fairgrounds she saw Qrow leaning against the iconic statue that stood before the entrance of the school. Her brow creased into a small glare as she strode up to her uncle.
"Ready to talk, Firecracker?" Qrow pulled his flask from his pocket.
It took Yang a minute to find her words.
"Qrow… the whole time? The whole time you knew that Raven was my mother, even when I asked you about her months ago?" Yang clenched her fists.
Qrow unscrewed the top of his flask and brought it up to his mouth for a quick gulp.
"Yeah. I did," he admitted.
"Why didn't you tell me the truth about her? Why didn't Dad?" Her voice rose a little bit.
Qrow held up his hand to calm her down. She quickly closed her mouth and let out a breath through her nose.
"Your dad and I only told you bits and pieces about your mother for a reason, Yang. I'm sure you noticed by now that she's not exactly the best mother," said Qrow.
"Kinda figured that out when she tried to beat the crap out of me," Yang said with a roll of her eyes. "But I want to know why she's like that. I'm sure she just didn't up and decide to leave me and Dad for the hell of it!"
Her uncle chewed his lip and his eyes fell to look at the cobblestone walkway. He ran a hand through his hair and let out another sigh.
"A lot of the information behind the reason she did what she did is classified and I'm forbidden of talking about it," said Qrow.
"That's got to be the weakest excuse I've ever heard." Yang's eyes flashed red.
"It's true. You got a problem, take it up with Oz. He's the one keeping me tightlipped about the whole thing."
"You're my uncle and she's my mom. I think that can be something of a fucking exception, don't you think?"
Qrow sighed again and shook his head lightly.
"I get it, kid. I do. But there are things that revolve around both your mom and me that can't be talked about yet. What I can tell you is that Raven has a unique way of looking at the world now, and a lot of it stems from what happened when we were younger after graduating Beacon. She's dangerous and should not be taken lightly," Qrow continued as he took another sip from his flask.
"What I don't understand is why she would bother saving me and then come attack me weeks after doing so."
The veteran nodded lightly and looked back towards her.
"Your mom has a rule in place that everyone close to her gets one save, after that, you're on your own. In fact, she told me to tell that since she did that for you once not to expect it from her again," said Qrow.
"Real mom of the year worthy material there," Yang muttered bitterly.
Qrow let out a small chuckle and tucked his flask back in his pocket.
"This was the reason why your dad and I never told you much about Raven. Because we knew you wouldn't take it too well," said Qrow.
"Well, I'm taking it fine now aren't I? Especially since you could have told me so long ago!" She crossed her arms.
"I didn't give you the nickname Firecracker for nothing, Yang. You have a very short temper and we felt that you'd be too immature to handle it."
She only shook her head and turned away. While her uncle was not far off about her hair trigger temper… oh, good pun. It was irritating to keep a big secret like that for so long. No matter how much she had been searching for her mother, it was not going to take priority in her life. She learned the hard way what happened when one became obsessive about something, and it nearly got her and Ruby killed when she was younger.
Yang took a deep breath and felt her anger lower from where it was. She opened her eyes and looked back at Qrow and put her hands on her hips.
"Can you at least tell me why she wanted to test me? Why would she come back into my life now of all times to do that?" She asked.
Qrow only gave a light shrug back.
"Couldn't tell you. Maybe she wants to be sure you can handle yourself after she had to save you once now," said Qrow.
Yang shook her head.
"I don't think so. She could have gotten an easy assumption when she saved me after I got my ass kicked by that woman," she replied.
"Look, I'm probably going to regret telling you this, but I owe you something for keeping this on the DL for so long," Qrow said as he held up a hand to stop her.
Yang walked up to her uncle to look him in the eye. She wanted some answers and he was willing to give her something now.
"Your mom let something slip when we talked last time, and if you want help tracking her down, I might be able to help you with that," said Qrow.
"Really?" Yang rose a brow.
"Yeah, I could, but there'll be time for that later. But first, you need to figure out what's more important to you. Finding Raven and getting closure, or staying here with your friends and carrying on with your dream of becoming a Huntress."
Yang swallowed lightly and her fists clenched tight. If Qrow could help her find Raven faster, it could help her accomplish one of the biggest goals she had in her life. But was she willing to leave Beacon and her friends behind for a while to do that? It opened the doors to finding her mother and gave her what she desired in being a Huntress by exploring the world.
It was tempting and she was truly not sure what she wanted to do now that Qrow gave her that piece of information. The experience that she could gather by going out into the unknown was limitless and would give her more to take in than Beacon can offer in a week of classes.
"Mull it over for a while, Yang. This is an important decision. Whatever your answer is, I'll go along with it," said Qrow as he put his hand on her head and ruffled her hair.
She grimaced and swatted his hand away, glaring at his cocky smirk.
"Don't touch the hair," she managed to grumble out.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Qrow waved her anger aside. "But one thing I want you to keep in mind is that if Raven came looking for you, it's never a good thing. Every time she wants something it's towards her agenda. Her little visit to you means you're part of a plan she has. What it is, I don't know. Just be careful."
"Fine," Yang said with a small smile.
"And keep an eye on Powder Puff, too. Your mom came after him yesterday."
Her head quickly snapped up in surprise. She knew that her mother knew about Jaune to an extent since she used him as bait in their fight, but the fact she went after him like she did to her was a headscratcher. He had no connection with her in any way, yet she still tested him.
"Why did she do that?" Yang asked.
Qrow merely shrugged as he pushed himself off the statue with a stretch.
"Probably the same reason she did it to you. Both of you are part of some plan she's got and it's because of that that you two should stick together and watch each other's backs," Qrow answered.
He let out a long yawn and began to walk towards the landing zones where the Bullheads were getting ready to make their last runs.
"Check you later, kid." Qrow waved behind him.
Yang watched her uncle's retreating form until it vanished in the shadows of the archways. Once he was gone she pulled out her scroll to see Ruby had messaged her to see if she was okay. She sent her reply that she would be back in a couple of minutes and started her walk back to the stand they were at earlier.
She then pulled up Jaune's number and typed up a message.
"Vomit Boy, do you have some time tomorrow? I want to talk to you about something."
She patiently waited for his response and got what she wanted once she reached the fairgrounds.
"Sure. What time do you want to meet up?" He asked back.
"Does a lunch date work for you?"
"Yeah, we can do that. Want to meet at the noodle stand?"
"That works for me. See you then, Powder Puff."
She giggled at hitting him with the new additional nickname and could almost picture his frown at the uncool factor it brought with it. It would be good to not only talk to him about what happened with Raven, but spend time to catch up with him personally. It was hard to do that when they were surrounded by all of their friends.
That's the chapter, everybody. On a side note, for anyone who is an author I got some words of advice. If you ever receive reviews from people who nitpick and bitch about the smallest things, don't get worked up about it. You can't please everyone and people are negative by nature and will always bitch about something. I see a few of them on all of my stories, to which I just say they can stuff it up their ass. Anyway, hope you all had a good Christmas and have a happy new year.
1.) Before anyone says anything about Yang only now finding out Raven is her mother, I changed things around to make it like that. Plus, the way they did it in volume 3 makes it come off as Yang only coming to that realization when she sees the photo Qrow has in the first place and even more so when Qrow confirms that Raven was the one who saved her from Neo on the train. If you don't like that or want to squawk about it, then that's not my problem and I strongly suggest you suck it the hell up. Canon will be altered in the story. So you can either buckle down for the ride or about face and click the back button on the top of your screen, unfollow/unfavorite, whatever works for you.
RWBY Story Shout Outs:
"RWBY: Tomorrow and Never Again" by PaulXion: Updated 12/25/17
"Multiplayer" by NeoShadows: Updated 12/18/17
"Second Chance (Re-Boot)" by M4a1andbarrets: Updated 12/12/17 Note: I'm acting as the beta for this story.
"Twin's Game" by Super Saiyan Cyndaquil: Updated 12/22/17