Amber had had the distinct feeling as though she had been floating in a void for quite a while. The last thing she truly remembered was that bitch getting the drop on her and some sort of Grimm coming out of nowhere to do who knows what kind of damage. All she had been left with was a burning sensation and then came the floating, at least that what was her existence.
One second she had been floating and the next she was suddenly awake and trapped within an unknown machine. Terrified that she had been captured for some sort of nefarious purpose she had unleashed her power and completely decimated the machine that she was in, blowing the door straight off its hinges as she unleashed her power.
She caught a glimpse of an orange haired girl looking at her in surprise behind some sort of glowing orange shield, but that was replaced by pain as she felt as though a cement truck had crashed into her side and she was sent spiraling into a dark corridor that she had never seen before, surrounded by pillars.
With a flourish she flipped back onto her feet and slid into a defensive stance. She caught sight of a boy clad in black who was standing roughly where she had been when she had awoken.
With a scream of exertion she felt her power thrum as fire began to fill the dark hall they were in, casting ominous shadows through the place.
However, it looked as though her display was doing nothing to phase the teen that was gazing coolly at her as he hefted a giant cleaver type sword from his back to point at her challengingly. With another scream of challenge, Amber rocketed towards the teen and began trying her level best to pummel the idiot who thought they could take her head on. To her amazement, the orange haired youth reciprocated and was able to deflect her blows.
It even looked as though he was aiming to subdue her more than anything as he merely redirected all of her attacks, making sure that she was not able to get to the other people that she was beginning to notice behind him.
However, before they could really start to fight, a familiar voice rang throughout the dark corridor that she was in.
Amber felt herself instantly stop at the voice due to hours of listening to it, her flames going out as the orange haired youth let out a small sigh of relief, letting out a mumble under his breath that she only barely managed to hear.
"Well, that woulda sucked if I had to kill you right after we saved you."
Fortunately for him, Amber wasn't paying any sort of attention to the teen as she had slid her eyes past him and taken in the sight of the Headmaster of Beacon, who although looked a bit concerned, she was able to see looked immensely happy to see her.
She didn't even recognize her own voice and realized that it had become a bit raspy with disuse. She was feeling even more confused as some memories that she was sure were not her own suddenly hit her, as though she had lived a life never lived. With a groan she placed her hands to her head as she felt the last remnants of her Maiden power fade back into herself.
"Easy there, Firestarter."
Amber finally felt as though what she was experiencing was at the very least somewhat real. Only Qrow could be this annoying when she was sure the last she had seen of him was a worried face before she slipped into darkness. Or was it run away from an encounter with him? Whatever the case she was thankful for the friendly arm helping keep her up as she suddenly felt as though she had gone eight rounds with a Goliath.
"I must say, Ms. Inoue, I am not one to be rendered speechless by many things, but I think I can safely say that this is one of those things. You're healing must be unparalleled for you to be able to pull off what you did."
Amber glanced over to the young woman she had seen when she had first awoken and winced as the girl seemed to be showing nothing but concern for the person that had almost immolated her.
"Are you feeling okay? I've never healed anything as complicated as what happened to you before. Is there any sort of strange memory blanks? Are you still feeling fatigued?"
Amber shook her head tiredly as she leaned into Qrow's support. Now that she wasn't going nuts and trying to kill everything in her path she realized that there were a fair amount of people within the giant hall.
In addition to the orange haired boy and girl as well as Qrow and Ozpin, she noticed that there were two other teens and Glynda.
"What happened to the Maidens being a secret?"
Glynda gave her an un-amused stare for her comment, but she caught the flicker of a grin in the Headmaster's expression while she felt a small rumble as Qrow chuckled a bit lowly at her.
"Well, here's the thing. Our Fall Maiden went and got herself hurt, so we had to bring in some extra help to heal her up."
Amber supposed she should have expected nothing less from the red eyed deviant who had been her protector ever since she became the Fall Maiden, but she had learned that the best way to deal with Qrow's snark was with snark of your own.
"Now why ever would she do that?"
It looked like her comment caught because Qrow gave a small wince at her playful tone. She sighed at the thought of the idiot blaming himself. Just great.
However, before she and Qrow could really get going, they were interrupted by the orange haired boy that she had been fighting just a few moments ago.
"This is a nice reunion and all, but can we take our conversation somewhere else? Preferably not in a dark ass hall where Orihime can make sure that whatever the hell happened to you didn't leave any tangible lasting scars."
Amber looked at the utterly destroyed machine that she had burst out of (that was probably expensive) before looking back toward the orange haired kid.
"That sounds like the best plan that I've heard since I woke up."
Chad watched on as the rest of their party walked into the Headmaster of Beacon's office. With a glance upwards he was able to see the clocks that were slowly turning within the tower. Even after all of the strange sights that he had seen ever since he had awakened his own battle prowess, he couldn't help but be impressed at the gigantic gears turning away above them.
He had had utmost faith that Orihime would be able to fix the woman that had been held in stasis, but he hadn't thought that they would have to deal with her going on a rampage as soon as she awakened. He had been able to call forth his power in time to shield everyone from the initial outburst (letting out a sigh of relief that Orihime was able to cast a shield in time) as Ichigo moved to intercept the strange woman.
Witnessing her strength and abilities had brought back some of his own battles and while she was definitely not as strong as the pink kimono wearing Captain that he had encountered, she did feel stronger than most of the other Shinigami he had seen.
While Chad was usually quite stoic in his demeanor that didn't mean that he didn't observe the world around him. He realized that the woman within the machine was obviously someone that was of the utmost importance as soon as they came upon her and he had been ready to defend the people around him from any of her lashing out when she had awoken. He knew that if he had woken up in a strange chamber when the last thing he had remembered was someone attempting to murder him he was sure that he would lash out.
Chad sent a quick glance over to Ishida who was watching the proceedings taking place within the Headmaster's office with a sort of forced calm that Chad had come to expect from the Quincy. He was sure that if the light glinting off the black haired boy's glasses was anything to go by that he was deep in thought with the revelation of power from the woman.
Finally once they were all settled around Ozpin's desk (though they were a little cramped with so many people, especially Chad and Ichigo who were by no definition small) the Headmaster deigned to finally address the rest of them.
"I am not in the habit of being completely astounded with all my years as Headmaster of this prestigious Academy, but when I am it is always good when it is for something pleasant."
Ozpin took a small sip from his mug (something Chad suspected he often did just to have control of the flow of conversation).
"With that in mind I want to thank team IOUY from the bottom of my heart. I had feared for the worst for our erstwhile Fall Maiden and the fact that she is returned to us safe and sound more than solidifies my decision to let you within this academy despite your… unique…. circumstances. I would especially like to extend my gratitude to you Ms. Inoue. In all my years I have never seen a better healer."
Now that Orihime wasn't a ball of concern for her patient she let out a small blush at the praise that the Headmaster was heaping on her and rubbed the back of her head somewhat embarrassingly.
"Anyone would do what I did if they had the chance, Ozpin-sensei."
Ozpin merely smiled at that for a moment before folding his hands on top of the desk and looking at them with a much more serious expression.
"I judge I don't have to tell you four that what we have done here was done with the utmost secrecy. I trust your judgment in telling your fellow classmates exactly why you have been pulled from lessons for the day."
Chad was glad to see that Ichigo gave a small scoff at the Headmaster's words.
"Considering who my teachers were I think I can keep a secret."
Ishida let out a sigh at what their orange haired leader had said.
"Hopefully better than you did for keeping a few other secrets."
Ichigo rolled his eyes at the subtle dig that the glasses wearing Quincy had made in relation to how the two teens had really met and interacted with each other for the first time. Hopefully they wouldn't be fighting some sort of Grimm horde any time soon.
"We'll be discrete."
Everyone looked at him as he said those words. He knew the value of staying quiet until the opportune moment, it made what he said have that much more weight.
"I suppose that is the best I can ask for."
Before the Headmaster could continue, Qrow decided to butt in.
"Well, I'd say that you kids can probably keep a secret, what with being inter-dimensional beings and all."
Chad had the privilege of watching everyone nod in agreement to that, before the dark skinned woman froze as if realizing what the scythe wielder had just said.
However, she was cut off by the blonde haired teacher that had been mostly silent this entire time.
"This has taken less time than even I had thought possible, therefore we will still be having our regular Combat Class. I suggest you all get ready for that."
It seemed that they were finally being dismissed from the Headmaster's office. Chad supposed they would leave them to explain their origins to the person they had saved (who was looking a little baffled as the just talked around her). With an accepting nod, Ichigo paused as Yoruichi jumped onto Chad's team leader's shoulders and they began to make their way towards the elevator.
The four teens (and one cat) paused as the woman walked over to them while they were waiting for the elevator.
Chad was somewhat surprised when she gave a small bow toward their group.
"Although I don't entirely understand everything that's happened, I am grateful to all of you for helping me. If you ever need anything, anything at all, don't hesitate to ask."
It was Orihime who deigned to answer the woman's thanks.
"As I told Ozpin-sensei, I was happy to help. It's something that I can say with certainty that I'm the best at right now, Fall-san."
The woman grinned at the bubbly girl's response.
"Even so, it's always good to thank people. Also, my name's Amber, pleasure to meet you all."
This brought on a round of their own introductions and by the time they were done the elevator had arrived, signaling an end to their conversation.
"Well, don't let me keep you from your classes. And again, thank you."
Her piece said, the Fall Maiden walked back towards where the other adults were waiting for her. Chad supposed that they would be discussing quite a few things once they were gone. Hopefully there was a plan in place now that they had one of their stronger pieces back on the bored. Of course if Ichigo decided to really let loose then he was going to smash the board, but he supposed that the people playing in the shadows would find that out soon enough.
Ozpin looked on as his inter-dimensional students (a phrase he was fairly certain that he had never used before) took the elevator down. He had been more hopeful than most when Yoruichi had told him that Ms. Inoue was capable of healing Amber's ailment, but he had always had a more cynical view of the world despite what he outwardly told his students and staff.
There were always some sort of complications or prices for utilizing such powers, but it looked as though in this case he had been happily proven wrong.
"Gotta admit, I know you surround yourself with strange ass people Oz, but hiring a buncha inter-dimensional teens probably takes the cake. I didn't think anything could top the Maidens. This is why I drink."
Ozpin rolled his eyes at his vagabond agent as the man punctuated his declaration with tipping back his flask and taking a swig.
"I think I might have to start."
Ozpin winced at that. He knew that the stress the Fall Maiden was under had to be incredibly significant, but he had hoped that at least some of the ordeal could be mitigated through Ms. Inoue's healing prowess.
Alas, it seemed he would have to have some uncomfortable conversations a bit sooner rather than later.
"It's wonderful to see you up and about once more, Amber. Please have a seat."
He gestured to a chair which the Maiden gratefully took. Ozpin took a moment to gather his thoughts before he decided to continue.
"We know for a fact that you were specifically targeted. This was no random encounter and they were definitely after your powers. We believe that the Grimm that attached itself to you was meant to essentially siphon off your entire soul, and thus your powers. However, due to Qrow's efforts we were able to throw a wrench in their plans."
Amber looked worried at this and Ozpin noticed the young woman wince and rub her temples as she processed this information. It was here that Qrow decided to chime in.
"While we're still not sure who or where the enemy are, we were able to figure out that their plans have definitely halted due to the fact that you were still alive and no major attack has happened while you were outta commission. Even though it feels weird that there's been no movement, I guess you could say that no news is good news."
Amber sighed at that and her kneading of her temples slightly increased.
"For all that those kids seem to be good kids, I can't say that I trust them completely. I've been having weird flashes of things, things that I'm fairly sure happened while I was knocked out. I think I might be catching glimpses of what our enemy has been up to."
Ozpin felt a small thrill of alarm shoot through him at the Maiden's admittance. If she was having some backlash to being healed, what might be happening to the person who had stolen the powers in the first place? Were the two now somehow connected? Could one influence the other?
All of these questions were enough to make Ozpin tighten his grip on his mug for a second, but with a quick sigh he decided to let go of his worry, at least for now.
"We may have to look into that later. In the meantime if you are feeling as though something is too overwhelming or as though something is not quite right, I'd advise you to seek out Ms. Inoue. She was the one who healed you after all. I'm sure she'd be able to soothe any of your woes."
Amber let out a small huff of amusement at that and Ozpin took it as a good sign that he didn't notice any mannerisms or tells that might give away that someone else was controlling the Maiden.
"I feel like that goes without saying, Oz."
Ozpin gave a small nod of assent at that. He supposed it was just difficult to let former students spread their wings and be their own people. He enjoyed being a Professor too much and helping guide people had been a rock that had guided him through some of his darkest hours.
"If that's all then I think I should be taking my leave. I still have a Combat Class to run and with the first years having their 'No Challenges' rule lifted it's sure to be a busy class."
Ozpin spread his arms out appreciatively at that. He might have to keep an eye on the monitors to see what went on in that particular class today, especially with the slew first years raring to challenge Mr. Kurosaki. He was positive it would be quite the entertaining class.
With that out of the way his Deputy made her own way to the elevator leaving only the three of them in the room.
"Our next move will be to inform the others of Amber's recovery, though I will be a bit… vague…on how I explain it. You are more than welcome to use Beacon as a base of operations for a time to recover from your ordeal and see if there are any side effects due to it."
Amber seemed to consider his proposal for a moment before giving him a small nod of agreement.
"I think it might do me some good to be in civilization again. Especially since removing myself from the equation didn't work. It'll be nice to have some Hunters and Huntresses watching my back while I get back on my feet. Will you be staying, Qrow?"
The red eyed man gazed coolly at his charge for a moment before glancing at Ozpin who gave a slight nod.
"Looks like, at least until your recovered and ready to take on the world again. It'll be nice to mess with my nieces while I'm here."
Ozpin watched as the dark skinned woman's eyes lit up at the notion of meeting Qrow's family and she gave a wave of goodbye before making her own way to the elevator. Once she was gone he and Qrow sat in a comfortable silence, which the drunk couldn't help but fill after a few minutes.
"It's all well and good that those kids helped us Oz, but the other reason I'm staying is to help out if they go off the deep end somehow isn't it? Or be persuaded by the enemy?"
Ozpin gave a small shrug to the man's query. While he was not entirely inaccurate in his assessment of the situation, he wasn't entirely accurate either.
"I don't foresee any sort of negativity coming from team IUOY. What concerns me, and what should concern you, is that if those teens are so strong, what exactly made them become so."
Qrow blinked at the Headmaster's question and let out a smirk towards the man.
"Well, let's hope we don't have to find out."
Pyrrha Nikos was someone who took great pride in her abilities in combat. Ever since she was a young girl she had been molded to be one of the greatest warriors of her generation. It had even earned her the moniker "Invincible Girl." Unfortunately, every time she heard that nickname she found that she wanted to scream.
True, she had been coasting for the last two of her Mistral Tournaments, but her first one had been an exhilarating rush that she had barely won and the second one had still been a challenge. However, by the time she got to the fourth tournament, the fire had gone out in her competitors and she was able to completely coast through to clench the victory.
She had been terrified of being put on a pedestal when she had arrived at Beacon and it seemed that her worst fears might have come true when she had met the Schnee heir, but thankfully she had met Jaune soon after.
While her partner might not be the best with his combat skills, he had a knack for coming up with a plan and had a good heart. Best of all, it seemed as if he was completely unaware of her fame and wanted to be her friend solely on what he had seen of her since he had met her.
Her interactions with the rest of her team had shown her that while the NR of JNPR knew of her accomplishments and battle prowess, they just didn't care about those kinds of things.
Thus for the first time in a long time, Pyrrha felt as though she might have found a group of friends. Even more than that, she thought she might have finally found people her age that matched her (and possibly surpassed her in a few cases) in fighting ability.
She had thought that some of the girls on team RWBY would be good challenges, but once she had seen the aftermath of a dying Goliath, she knew that all of team IUOY were people to watch. As soon as she had made this decision, Ichigo had declared that no one would be able to make him draw his weapon at their breakfast table the first day of classes.
At first she had felt a bit infuriated, but then a thrill of challenge had gone up her spine, one she hadn't felt since the first time she had entered a tournament. It took all of one Combat Class to show both team JNPR and team RWBY that the leader of team IUOY was not one for idle boasts.
While she had heard of some extremely skilled Huntresses and Hunters blasting through someone's Aura, she had never seen it in person before and she was almost positive that they had to use a weapon to do so.
Ichigo on the other hand had used his bare hands and had blasted through Cardin's sturdy armor to boot. Ever since then people were wary of fighting the ever scowling leader of team IUOY. In every other Combat Class he had proven himself so far above everyone else's level that they all ended in the same way.
However, she knew for a fact that the rest of the team weren't any slouches either. She had fought both white clad Ishida and gigantic Chad. Both of which were tough fights on her part all while she had the distinct feeling that they were both holding back, particularly Chad.
She had only won through utilizing her Semblance and causing a ring out for both of those participants, something that she wasn't entirely sure she could use against Ichigo, despite his gigantic weapon that must have been made of metal. The strange thing was… Pyrrha was fairly certain that the weapon wasn't made of a material her polarity could abuse, giving her a distinct disadvantage.
When all of team IUOY was called away to the Headmaster early on in the day, Pyrrha was somewhat put out by the fact that she might not be able to finally fight the person she had been looking forward to challenging the most. All throughout their History lesson, Pyrrha was only half paying attention to Professor Oobleck while the other half was on the empty seats that team IUOY usually occupied. She hoped that they were returned by the time Combat Class began in the afternoon.
She felt herself let out a small sigh of relief when she and the rest of team RWBY and JNPR entered into the arena like classroom and saw IUOY lounging in their usual seats as was their wont in this class. It looked as though she would be getting her challenge after all. She was also determined to be the first person to get to the orange haired leader. The two teams made their way towards their usual seats which were across from IOUY.
"Sweet, looks like the orange brain was able to make it, gonna pound him into the dirt."
Pyrrha shot a sidelong glare at the golden haired bomber of team RWBY, one that the girl seemed to feel as she gave a feral grin towards the Mistral champion.
"Hey, you're not the only one who's got beef with the guy. He gave us all the lay of the land if you'll remember. I intend to collect."
"Get in line."
Pyrrha blinked at that aggressive tone and realized that the rest of her team and team RWBY were now staring at her. She then realized that it was her that had spoken to Yang's taunting. While she blushed in slight embarrassment, the golden haired brawler's grin returned full force after a moment.
"Damn girl, if the 'Invincible Girl' is this hyped to fight someone, then I guess I'll let you have the first go. I don't really like sloppy seconds, but meh."
Pyrrha felt her blush deepen and was treated to the sight of the leader of team RWBY turning a matching red as her cloak from her sister's comment.
They were all brought back to their positions by the black haired girl from their team rolling her eyes and giving Yang a small smack on the head, causing the blonde haired girl to rub the spot and pout in defiance to her partner.
"It's for your own good. Stop trying to pick fights with someone like Pyrrha."
Yang snorted at that as she shot her eyes over towards the leader of team IUOY.
"I think I'm gonna be picking a fight with someone else before the day is over."
However, before Yang could go on, Goodwitch finally arrived, her distinct heels echoing and announcing her presence as usual.
"Welcome back, students."
The stern woman walked into the center of the arena and swept her gaze around the gathered students.
"I realize that this has been something that a great many of you have been looking forward to for a long time. Today we will be letting our "No Challenge" policy be voided and you may chose who you fight. I will still be giving classes where the fights will be random and on occasion you may be outnumbered if I deem it a prudent exercise. I must also reiterate that if you do not feel as though you want to fight a challenger, there is no reason for you to not accept a challenge. I believe that is all."
Once that was said, the stern Professor paused to once more give them a look of warning. With a small sigh, the woman smacked her riding crop into her hand letting it echo throughout the now silent chamber.
"That said, I must now ask, are there any who would like to put forth a challenge?"
The words had barely left the Professor's mouth before Pyrrha had spoken up, not even noticing that the hall had been looking at her expectantly.
"I challenge Kurosaki Ichigo."
With that declaration, the gathered student's attention swiveled over to the orange haired leader of team IUOY who looked as though his scowl had once more deepened. With a sigh, the boy ran his hand through his already unruly hair.
"Well, I'm not gonna say no."
Pyrrha beamed at the boy's response and slowly rose from her seat as Goodwitch nodded her assent.
"Very well. The two of you go change for combat and then meet back here to begin our matches. In fact, if there are any others who plan to fight today, please go and change now, we will reconvene in ten minutes to start the first match of Pyrrha Nikos versus Kurosaki Ichigo."
Ichigo sighed as he once more took up a position within the center of the arena. While he was happy that they had finally gotten that thing with the person under the school out of the way for now, he was more than a little irked that he was once more thrust into a position of fighting for other people's enjoyment.
He supposed that he was beginning to love the thrill of the battle, but fighting with Qrow had shown him just how far the other students had to go when compared to him. Hopefully this next fight would at least make him draw his blade in class.
He had been hearing nothing but good things about the abilities of the red haired member of team JNPR and while he was sure she was no Qrow she was probably pretty damn strong in comparison to her peers in this universe. Maybe something like a supped up Tatsuki with the amount of tournaments she had won?
It had taken him no time at all to change and come back to the arena, so he was one of the first back, but it looked as though there were going to be quite a few fights in this class if the amount of students trickling back in and sporting their combat attire was anything to go by. It seemed as if Goodwitch's lift had made them believe that they needed to throw down the gauntlet with Ichigo to get any kind of respect. Honestly it made him feel a little like he was once more near the 11th Division barracks again.
His musings were brought to an end as he saw the golden armored Pyrrha walk back into the classroom and slowly make her way towards the center of the arena. Another moment more and she took her place directly across from him, her green eyes sizing him up.
"I see you haven't drawn your sword yet."
Ichigo gave a shrug, but decided to give Pyrrha a bit of an insight into what she was dealing with.
"Well, if you noticed earlier, we got taken out by a full-fledged Hunter earlier."
Pyrrha gave a small nod of acknowledgement at that fact, she had obviously been at the table when he and his team had been escorted out. Ichigo's excuse for that was a beautiful half truth that Yoruichi had suggested as a way for them to explain away their absence from their morning classes.
"Well, Ozpin had heard about my proclivity for not using a weapon and he wanted to make sure that I had what it takes when people were coming to challenge me. With that in mind he sent for a full fledged Hunter to test me and I suppose just using hand to hand against that man wasn't able to cut it."
Pyrrha's eyes widened at the implications of what Ichigo was stating, but if that was because of the fact that he had drawn his blade or due to the fact that the only person so far to do so was a fully realized Hunter, Ichigo wasn't sure.
"It's a strange feeling."
Ichigo let his eyes slide over to his current sparring partner at those words and he felt one of his eyebrows rise at seeing her practically vibrating. She caught his look and let out a small smile, one which Ichigo blinked away as he suddenly had a super imposed Zaraki over the red haired warrior.
"I haven't been this excited for a fight in a long time, please take good care of me."
Ichigo blinked in slight bewilderment as Pyrrha gave a short bow once she had finished, but he didn't hesitate to return it.
"It'll be my pleasure. Make sure to give it your all."
Pyrrha's grin turned into a full blown smile at that as she slid into her stance, her shield shifting onto her arm and spear held at the ready.
"Don't worry, I'll be the first one of the students to make you draw your sword and give you your first defeat."
Ichigo felt his own cocky grin slip into place as the words of challenge resonated within him. He felt an almost primal urge to battle it out with the warrior in front of him, but true to form he merely crossed his arms in defiance. He would stick to his plan and as much as he wanted to cross blades with Pyrrha, she would need to earn that right just like everyone else he had fought so far.
"Are the two of you quite done?"
Pyrrha looked a bit surprised at Goodwitch's words, but that was immediately replaced with a polite sheepishness. Apparently she had actually forgotten that the blonde haired Professor was there in her excitement.
"Of course. Sorry Professor."
Goodwitch merely let out a small shake of her head before raising her hand as she had done countless times before. Ichigo noticed that Pyrrha tensed in her stance as soon as the hand was raised. It seemed as though the red head was going to start this fight off with some rush attacks to try and blow past his defense.
The word was punctuated by Goodwitch thrusting her hand down to start the match.
As soon as the Professor's hand was moving Pyrrha had already sprung forward and began the round with a shout of challenge as she thrust her spear towards Ichigo, who merely raised an eyebrow and allowed the hit to connect.
He watched on as the hit jarred the red haired warrior, making her bounce back a bit. However, she followed the attack with a spinning attack utilizing her shield to smash into Ichigo's head. While the hit connected and he was actually surprised that he somewhat felt it, he still didn't feel as though he needed to draw his own weapon.
With a somewhat disappointed sigh, Ichigo made to knock his opponent out in one hit once more, but before his hit connected his eyes widened in surprise as Pyrrha nimbly dodged out of the way of his oncoming fist, before using a spinning kick to send Ichigo sliding across the floor. While the attack didn't do any damage, the momentum was enough to get Ichigo to move.
However, he stopped right as he came to the edge of the ring, only to let out a startled yelp as Pyrrha's shield came flying at his head. He ducked to dodge the projectile but realized his mistake as he saw the golden clad foot of the red haired warrior heading straight for his jaw.
The hit connected and the red haired warrior flipped out of his range as her shield flew back into her hand. Ichigo countered this unfortunate turn of events by twisting his body in what he was sure was an unnatural position and smashing his hand onto the arena's floor before flipping himself over Pyrrha's head and landing on the other side so that they had reversed where their starting positions had been.
He paused as he noticed that the red head was gazing at him warily, her shield up ready for an attack. Ichigo rubbed at his jaw, he thought it might actually feel a bit stiff. Color him impressed. This was the first bit of damage that he had actually taken the entire time he had been at this school. Not even the crazy fire lady had gotten in that clean a hit. A glance to his scroll showed that it had indeed dipped a small amount.
However, it looked as though his opponent was going to spring into action once more, but he made a snap decision. If she was capable of hitting him, even a little bit, then she deserved to really fight him. With that in mind he raised his hand up in a stopping motion and the red head naturally paused before she made to attack.
However, her confusion turned to shock when his hand snaked over his back and he grasped the handle of Zangetsu.
"Let's talk. Warrior to warrior."
So saying he let a bit of his reiatsu flow out so that the cloth around his zanpakuto swirled out and his eyes took on a small blue hue. He let go of the flow as soon as Zangetsu was fully drawn, but cut down so that a small gust pushed out of his person. With a shrug of his shoulders he brought his blade to bear, standing in a traditional kendo stance and ready for his opponent.
"Now then, tell me what you have to say."
Within the audience, Ruby was watching on as what were probably two of the best fighters in their age group tangled with each other. She had been ecstatic when Pyrrha had been the first person to challenge Ichigo, and while she herself wanted to have a go at the orange haired leader of team IUOY, she was sure that Pyrrha was most likely a better candidate in the long run.
The two did not disappoint.
Pyrrha had opened with a flurry of moves that had Ichigo on the defensive and then the boy had paused the fight. While the rest of the audience was confused, Ruby had a feeling she knew what was going to happen. Once Ichigo finally drew his weapon, Ruby immediately felt the intimidating sense of power that the orange haired teen let off as he finally drew his weapon within the Combat Class.
"Holy shit, she actually did it!"
Ruby frowned at her sister's language, but she supposed she could let it slide. It was very interesting to see Ichigo finally slide into a stance with his weapon after all. However, that didn't stop her own partner from chiming in towards her sister's comment.
"Of course, she's called "The Invincible Girl" for a reason you know. I had no doubts that she was going to be able to force that boy to draw his blade."
While the white themed girl had a point, it was her polar opposite who decided to respond to her.
"That might be true, but if I recall correctly, the last time we saw him draw his weapon he bisected a Goliath."
That made Weiss wince and Ruby felt a little torn on who to cheer for. She liked both these people and they had both been kind to her ever since she came to Beacon.
"Pft, I just wanna see a good fight in any case. Go Ichigo, Go Pyrrha!"
Well, she supposed that that was one way to cheer. She felt as though she could get behind that. However, before she let out her own cheer, Nora beat her to it.
"C'mon Pyrrha, break his legs!"
Ruby joined the rest of her team and Jaune in looking at the orange haired girl in shock while Ren merely had his face firmly planted in his palm at his partner's antics.
"Nora, we've been over this, we only want that to happen to our enemies. Whom Ichigo is not a part of."
Nora took her partner's chastisement in stride.
"Oh that's right! Thanks Ren!"
So saying she cupped her hands to her mouth and once more cheered for her teammate.
"Only break his legs a little!"
At that most of the other gathered team leaned away from the crazy berserker, while her partner's other hand moved to join the previously mentioned one.
Ruby was getting ready to cheer once more, it looked as though Pyrrha was now incredibly wary and Ichigo hadn't yet moved from his stance. Perhaps he wanted the red haired warrior to make the first move. However, before she could a new voice butted into their conversation.
"I'm actually a bit surprised that Kurosaki actually drew his sword. I suppose that in actually making him lose a bit of Aura he deemed her worthy of facing Zangetsu."
Ruby noticed that her black haired teammate stiffened as the rest of team IUOY settled down near them. It looked as though she had a particularly bad reaction to the glasses wearing one, who also happened to have the cat that she had seen the first day settled on his shoulder, tail lazily swishing through the air from side to side.
She put that into the back of her mind as she briefly turned her attention to the speaker.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
Ishida took a moment to contemplate her question before he responded.
"Kurosaki hasn't drawn his weapon on any student yet because they lacked the resolve to actually fight him. As such I don't think he is going to move until Pyrrha attacks first. He wants to really test her in his crazy way of communicating through fighting."
Ruby wasn't entirely sure she got all that, but she supposed that it meant that Pyrrha was a bad ass, which she already knew.
"Man, I wanted to be the one to make him draw it first."
Ruby silently agreed with her sister, but it seemed that the bubbly Orihime wasn't one to let something of an oversight go.
"Oh, the first person to actually get him to draw his weapon here was Qrow-san."
Ruby's eyes snapped to the girl at that admittance (out of the corner of her eye she saw Yang do the same). While the others didn't understand the significance of that statement, she and her sister did. Their uncle was crazy strong.
"So that's where you guys went to this morning."
She hear that mumbled from her sister, but she just shrugged it off. It looked like the fight was about to continue!
Pyrrha felt her senses go into overdrive as soon as Ichigo drew his blade. It felt as though she were staring down some sort of titanic entity rather than a rather tall teenager.
She had been trying for this and it only felt fair that she had let him draw the weapon when he had paused their fight. However, as soon as he had settled into his loose stance, she wasn't sure if she had made a small miscalculation or not in letting him draw the blade.
While it was true that their fight had been somewhat going in her favor so far, she wasn't entirely sure how she should now approach the team leader. She knew that this presence was one of the reasons that the orange haired boy had been elected leader of his team and she was sure that there was no one else within their age group who could actually fight this behemoth (with the exception of his team, they were holding back after all when she fought them).
"Are you just going to stand there? Or are you going to show me that you were worthy of my own resolve."
His words jolted her out of the defensive mindset that she hadn't even realized that she had begun adopting in the face of his sheer presence. With a small scowl, she adjusted Milo so that it shifted into rifle form and let loose three consecutive shots, all of which were easily batted aside. However, she followed that attack with once more throwing Akouo and following after it.
Ichigo once more easily dodged, but this time he blocked her follow up strike and with a grin let fly one of his own slashes. Pyrrha twisted uncomfortably in the air to sail over the blade, but her eyes widened as she realized that the orange haired boy had stopped the slash on a dime and thrust up with the blunt end of his blade.
She was barely able to get Milo up in time and she let out a small cry of surprise as she still felt the hit jar her entire arm before she was sent flying upwards from the blow. With a small flourish of her body she was able to twist and came down to land a few feet away from Ichigo, praying that he didn't notice the shield flying towards the back of his head. However, it looked as if no one heard her prayers and she let forth a small scowl as the teen batted away her shield without even looking behind him.
She knew that he was a powerhouse, but to simply neutralize her shield without even looking was more annoying than she had though it might be. With a small sigh she called Akouo back to her and slid into a more neutral stance, neither aggressive nor defensive.
"Not bad, Pyrrha. Not bad at all."
She gave a small smile at his appreciation, but her competitive spirit once more returned as she took in the fact that he once more had slid into the stance he had started with.
"I think it's about time to see if you can defend."
Pyrrha bare registered what Ichigo had said, when suddenly a wall of muscle was in front of her. With a small yelp she raised her shield instinctively and felt the hit reverberate throughout her entire body. The next few moments were something that Pyrrha was sure she wouldn't be able to recall any time soon. She just gave herself over to her instincts and turned into a blur of blocking, countering, and attacking.
Ichigo was relentless in his attack and it was all she could do just to keep from having her head knocked off by his gigantic sword (she was pretty sure he threw the damn thing at one point, it was also here that she learned for a fact that whatever his sword was made of it wasn't metal as she had tried to keep it where it landed). Eventually all she became aware of was the blood rushing through her ears as the sound of the crowded arena completely disappeared from her senses. There was only the opponent in front of her, someone who, she was ashamed to realize, she could not defeat.
It looked like she was going to get her first loss in years. Rather than be despondent about the impending loss, Pyrrha called upon a well of strength she hadn't even realized that she had. If she was going to suffer a loss she was going to make sure that the orange haired team leader worked for every inch he took.
However, for all that she was one of the strongest people in her generation, the fact was, she utilized bursts of effort. While she had a good foundation in all her areas of combat, she just wasn't a stamina monster. Eventually she made a mistake.
She felt her eyes widen as she felt her arm give out from exhaustion, but she only had a second to despair as she felt what felt like a semi truck smash into her chest and then she was flying out of the arena and imprinting onto the concrete wall that was circling the place.
She let out a small groan as her weapons dropped to the ground and she followed after them. She was able to stay on her feet for a second more before the tantalizing darkness rose up to greet her.
Ozpin wasn't easily impressed and he knew that the other person watching the cameras wasn't either. Qrow had scoffed when Mr. Kurosaki had first refused to draw his weapon against Ms. Nikos, but he was much more intrigued as the fight went on. While Qrow had fought him briefly to see that Ichigo had the power to back up his boasts, it was always better to really gauge a student when you were on the outside looking in.
"Gotta say, Oz, that kid is nuts."
Ozpin let out a small hum of agreement to his red eyed friend.
"I think that the team as a whole is even better when they work together. You weren't here to see them take on the Goliath."
Qrow shook his head as he took another swig from his flask.
"I guess that whatever they were fighting in their home dimension was tougher than anything we've seen. After all, the kid was able to hold off Amber pretty easily, even if she was half out of her mind when he did so."
Ozpin folded his hands in his lap as he watched the rest of team JNPR swarm over to their fallen team member and team IUOY and RWBY go over to congratulate Mr. Kurosaki. He was sure that the red headed teen would need to get medical attention and while he always wanted his students to be as safe as possible, he felt as though it was a good thing that Pyrrha had learned her limits within a sparring match rather than in an actual battle.
Ozpin had noticed that the longer the match went on, the more exhausted Ms. Nikos became. As fatigue settled in, her Aura became that much dimmer, so that the final blow from Mr. Kurosaki almost completely blew through it, though the teen had a certain penchant for doing that. He was somewhat impressed that Ms. Nikos had even been able to stay conscious after the devastating blow.
Whatever else he could say about the current generation, he was sure that they were particularly talented, especially when he factored in the inter-dimensional IUOY. However, he was also just as sure that somewhere out there, the Queen was making her own move to put him in check.
It had been this that had really made him call Qrow back in from his information gathering mission. He needed the man in a capacity as a teacher, perhaps someone who would be able to teach the older students some of the more esoteric skills that that they would need as a Huntsman.
"I take it that I don't need to tell you to keep an eye on Amber. While she should be perfectly safe within Beacon's halls, it's always possible for something to slip through the cracks."
Qrow gave a small wave as another screen switched over to the Fall Maiden. She was currently within the infirmary and he was sure that team JNPR would most likely be running into her fairly soon. He found it somewhat amusing that who he was sure would have been the future Fall Maiden would be meeting the current one. Something he never could have predicted even just a few weeks ago. It seemed that his ability to roll with the punches had served him well once again.
"While I have you here Oz, I need to tell you that there have been some concerning murmurings coming from the criminal underbelly of Vale. Torchwick has been getting a little too uppity lately and the fact that he was able to give even Glynda the slip is more concerning than I think either of us wanna admit."
Ozpin sighed as his friend pulled him out of his contemplative mood. He supposed that this business was something that they both wanted to complete as soon as they could. He had a feeling he knew exactly where Qrow would be going once the sun went down.
"Be careful Qrow. We haven't heard from the Queen in awhile and I don't want us to be caught unawares by any sort of other pieces that she has hidden on the board."
Qrow let out a small snort at that as he recapped his flask and put it back on his hip.
"Hey you know me Oz, I'm the paragon of keeping my cards close to my chest. But if it makes you feel better then I'll promise that I'll be careful while I deal with criminals who won't hesitate to stab me in the back if they get the chance."
Ozpin gave a small shake of the head at his friend's antics before he brought out his own personal scroll as the man made his way towards the elevator.
"Be sure to give my regards to Junior when you see him. I do so enjoy some of his drinks on occasion."
Qrow didn't even look back as he threw back a hand in farewell and responded.
"Only if you tell old Ironpants I said hi."
Emerald Sustri was sure that the last few hours had been utterly terrifying for herself and her partner Mercury. They had been in a smaller hideout as they waited for Torchwick to put the finishing touches on the accommodation that they would be staying at for the remainder of their time in Vale before it was time to infiltrate into Beacon.
While they had been constantly on the move for the past year or so, setting up all the little nuances for the plan that Cinder had concocted, they had finally had some down time due to the fact that there was literally nothing left for them to do.
Emerald had been sitting in their small apartment working on her sleight of hand with a deck of cards while Mercury had been polishing one of his extra legs. Cinder had been looking through her scroll, obviously trying to figure out if she had accounted for everything within her plan.
Emerald was sure that Cinder had the plan in hand and that they would be ready to implement as soon as was needed. With the Breach slowly coming into place and the White Fang getting into line, she was sure that they were about to take Vale by storm. She wasn't completely aware of the endgame that Cinder was beginning to implement, but she trusted the raven haired vixen to have both her and Mercury's best interest at heart despite her sometimes cold demeanor.
However, nothing, nothing, could have prepared them for Cinder to suddenly completely tense up and let out a scream that just seemed… unnatural...before she succumbed to unconsciousness.
Emerald and Mercury spent a second just staring at their leader in dumbfounded shock, but they immediately burst into action when they realized that Cinder wasn't moving.
After checking to make sure that her heart was beating and that she was in fact breathing, they deposited her in the small adjourning room to their apartment. The two then began to argue about what exactly they should be doing. While Mercury was of the opinion that she was fine and had maybe just remembered something weird before fainting, Emerald was sure that there must be something wrong. She had known Cinder for years now and she had never heard the woman ever let out the sound that she had heard.
"I'm just saying that you're just becoming a big worry wart. She's fine and I'm sure that she'll be up and about in just a little bit. Whatever happened messed with her somehow, but her vitals are stable and nothing should be wrong."
Emerald felt her eyes narrow at the gray haired idiot. She had always known that he was partial to winding her up, but she had never thought that he would do it while Cinder could actually be hurt.
"I'm telling you, dumbass, we need to make sure that she's okay. Just because she's breathing and just because her heart is beating, doesn't mean that she's totally fine. There could be any sort of problem that we don't know about. This might also be some sort of backlash to her incomplete gaining of the Maiden powers. I don't think it's ever been half transferred like it had before, there might have been a serious problem."
She felt a small amount of satisfaction as the gray haired idiot let out a small frown at her logic, but apparently even that wasn't enough for him to fully commit.
"Even if that's the case, how the hell are we going to explain that to a hospital?"
Emerald winced at that. She hated it when he actually was able to counter her own arguments with logic. It made her feel like she had missed something completely obvious. She glanced at the closed door before she looked back towards Mercury.
"If we need to, there's always Torchwick."
Mercury looked confused at her bringing up the thief.
"What about Torchwick?"
Emerald tried to resist the urge to roll her eyes, but she just wasn't strong enough to do so when she had to deal with the idiot.
"I mean that the man definitely has contacts within the criminal underground that wouldn't ask…too many questions."
She felt quite vindicated as she saw the understanding dawn in her idiot partner's gray eyes. He made a sort of hum in agreement at least.
"Then it's decided, if she's not up in the next few hours, we'll make our way to Torchwick and see what he has to say about all this."
However, before Mercury could agree, a velvety voice drifted from the doorway to the room, which Emerald was surprised had been opened silently.
"Oh Mercury, Emerald, it's nice to know you care."
Emerald and Mercury practically jumped to attention at the voice as they looked over to their leader. Cinder looked as though she was still feeling a bit under the weather, what with the bruises under her eyes and her hair plastered to her head in a distinctly un-Cinderish way. It was with this concern that Emerald felt that she needed to question her leader.
"Are you sure you're okay? Not feeling as though there will be another fainting spell any time soon?"
Cinder merely let out a low chuckle at her concerned query.
With that she looked up to both her and Mercury and Emerald felt herself let out a gasp as she was met with flamed ringed amber eyes.
"…I've never felt better."
Whelp, I meant to update this within a month and didn't quite make it, but I'm definitely updating faster than I had. Unfortunately I did not foresee some stuff happening in real life right after I posted my giant update, but I'm now in good form. Will also be updating another fic relatively soon, once I edit the existing chapters. I had a buncha fun writing this bad boy and I feel as though I have a pretty good response to it. I really love both of these franchises ad am hoping I'm getting my story across in a believable way.
I think this might be a bit shorter than the last three chapters, but 9500 words is pretty damn good and I had the plan to stop where I did for awhile now. While I haven't updated fanfiction in awhile, I did update some Anime Reviews on P a treon. There are new anime reviews on there, a couple paid while the others are free to see. I also have a free incomplete RWBY and Fate Stay crossover on there that I wrote quite awhile ago but probably won't be posting anywhere any time soon.
Also I did an overhaul and betad my own self in Strawberry Fields. I didn't change anything too crazy, just mostly went for typos and things that I saw as well as changing some phrases and what not to make the words flow better. Hopefully it makes the fic a more cohesive read. I think that's all I'm really gonna say at the moment, so onto my usual spiel!
Questions, comments, concerns? PM me! No beta, so any typos, grammar errors, or botch ups are because of that. If you're feeling kind please leave a review or hit that fav/follow button. I think that's all, onto the disclaimer, cause at the bottom's how I roll!
Disclaimer: RWBY is owned by Rooster Teeth and Monty Oum! While Bleach is owned by Tite Kubo! Please support the official release!
P.S.- P a treon .com (slash) RedhathackerSin is now up and running so please check it out! I have anime reviews and will be posting some unfinished works on there as well, specifically a RWBY and Fate/Stay Night Crossover that I have halfway done at the moment.