Disclaimer: RWBY is the sole property of Rooster Teeth and the late Monty Oum. KP360 claims no ownership save for any OCs, abilities and locations.
When morning finally came, Flare had to force himself to get up.
"Note to self: next time there's a debate of any kind, don't be a part of it…"
Splashing a bit of water on his face, he groggily made his way to the cafeteria. Hopefully there would be some coffee or anything to help him wake up.
By now the rest of the cafeteria had begun to pile up with potential students, all clamoring with excitement and nervousness, maybe both. Flare didn't hear any of it, his eyes had a hard enough time opening as it is.
A calming voice made him turn around, strange considering that with all the noise around him, this one stood out clear and tranquil. He turned to see a boy in a simple green and gold qipao smiling softly at him, his black hair contrasted by a streak of pink.
"Let me just say, I now have a newfound hatred for books…" Flare groaned.
"Ah, that was you last night. It was quite lively." The boy nodded.
"Yeah, really sorry about that…" Flare waved apologetically.
"Don't be." The boy smiled "Meeting new people often brings a sense of excitement for certain people. It did sound quite fun though, and although I'm not exactly an expert on books there were some great points from all side."
"Heh, well maybe you should've joined us." Flare joked lightly "Give us a new perspective?"
Before the boy could speak again, he was cannonballed into by another. The orange haired girl with the white and pink skirt had a big smile on her face as she plopped down a stack of pancakes.
"Heyyyy Ren! Who ya talkin' to? A new friend?" she then turned to the orange haired boy "What's your name? Ren usually knows this but I want to ask myself! I'm Nora!" Nora Valkyrie's bubbly self would always bring light to a dark world, but Flare only got more confused.
The boy, Ren, smiled sheepishly "Flare is very tired, Nora. It'll be best not to disturb him."
"Ohhh, well you know what wakes people up? Pancakes! Ren makes really good pancakes but he doesn't let me have any syrup on them which kind of misses the point. I always want to try though!" the girl took out a bottle, which Ren hastily snatched away to her pouting.
"Uh, yeah, nice to meet you too I guess." Flare mumbled.
"Sorry, Nora can be a handful." Ren apologized "You should eat something though, initiation is in less than an hour."
"And he needs to wake up first!" Nora beamed as she sidled up to him before, out of the blue, struck out with her finger and tapped him on the nose "Boop!"
Flare would've flinched normally, maybe even lashed out, but this time he felt strangely relaxed at that. The girl may be perky, but she seems like she doesn't mean any harm. Hesitantly he reached out with his own finger and then waved it around slightly.
Nora burst out laughing "What's that supposed to be?"
"Oh, I thought we were doing a thing here…"
"See Ren? He's more awake now!"
"Yes, good job, Nora." The boy shook his head and smiled "I think we'll be getting ready now, guess we'll be seeing you around." With that the two of them departed with Nora giving him another wave.
Flare smiled; it seems that there are good people at this school.
"Oh, look who it is?" Dawn drawled as Flare walked up. Her locker position isn't too bad, close to both Ruby and Yang and enough to contact other people. Seems like Flare has a number close to hers "Come to ask more about books?"
"Shut up, you were a part of it too!" the boy snapped, the little debate the two of them were in had taken quite late into the night, and with how early they had to rise, they both wanted to pass out.
"Well, can't help it now. Are you ready for initiation?" Dawn asked.
"Is anybody? This is a huntsman academy we're talking about here. Whatever they have it's bound to be strict." Flare sighed. A long absence from any education had him quite nervous, especially considering the terms of his acceptance was due to only a special scenario, he really hoped there didn't have to be anything too difficult.
"Well, according to some people, apparently this is more of a first bonding type of thing." Dawn explained "We'll be sent off somewhere, where we'll eventually find a partner and potentially a team of four. It's supposed to encourage teamwork or something like that."
"Oh, well that makes it easier." Flare shrugged "If it's a partner or a team, I guess I can play along. Just don't put me in a group with any of the Atlesians."
"I don't think you'll have control over that. It's more of a random chance kind of thing." Dawn sweatdropped.
"Then Oum better be cutting me some slack, because I really can't bare another pretentious-"
"Hey, feelings mutual." Lysus Ao also didn't have such a good morning, his hair tassled and glasses eschewed. He shot a glare at both of them as he pulled his briefcase from his locker while adjusting his clothes.
"You look like you literally just got up." Dawn smirked.
"No thanks to you two!" the scientist scowled "You're fortunate I managed to download a map of the school so I can find this place quickly, because if I get kicked out before initiation I'll have you both reported!"
"Oh will you just stuff it?" Flare snapped "Your precious Kingdom can't do shit for you here."
"Yeah? Well maybe my tools can!"
Dawn had to physically slap the two of them, causing them to snap to attention.
"Hey! Uncalled for!"
"Then simmer down, save your energy for initiation." Dawn scoffed "Jeez you're acting like two beowolves fighting over prey!"
The two glared at each other, but relented.
"Oh there you are Dawn, I was looking for you!" Yang had managed to find her, pulling Ruby along with her "Can you tell her how important it is to meet other people?"
"But why can't I be on a team with you? My big sister doesn't even want to be on the same team as me!" the red reaper wept.
"I just said I want you to socialize more and meet other people!"
Dawn sighed "Like I said, it's apparently random on whose team you'll end up on. So maybe you two will be together, maybe not. Maybe we'll even be on the same team?"
"Oh, at least I'll know some people that way!" Ruby smiled.
"Yeah, just pray you don't end up on the same squad with this curmudgeon here." Lysus chortled. Flare whirled on him instantly.
"And that's better than some pretentious hipster, how?"
"They're fighting again…" Ruby grimaced.
"We're all pretty testy after last night." Dawn sighed, before realizing something "Speaking of which, where's Drayton? I haven't seen him all morning."
"Maybe he overslept?" Yang shrugged.
"I don't know, he doesn't seem like the type to miss things."
"Well he better hurry up!" Ruby grinned "Or else Crescent Rose will be dicing up all the opposition and he won't get a scrap!"
"That weapon of yours certainly is something innovative!" Lysus grinned "Seeing it yesterday was certainly interesting!" the little girl smiled sheepishly at the praise.
"How does it look now?" Dawn smiled at the girl's enthusiasm over her sniper scythe "Did you make any upgrades?"
"A few! But for the most part it works pretty well! I even took down a group of bad guys the other day with it!"
Dawn frowned; she never heard about this…
"Ah, well glad that overcomplicated lawn mower is still kicking ass for ya!" she teased "I'd still prefer Fahrenheit 451, though, it's simple but effective."
And Dawn's metal staff extended, she gave it a twirl as the tips lit up.
"A combine-flamethrower within a Bo staff…" Lysus analyzed "Sneaky, having a threatening blade hidden within a conspicuous cloak."
"Sick metaphors." Yang teased.
"It's good for catching Grimm off guard." Dawn explained "They think it can't kill them, until it roasts them alive!" she then turned to Flare "What about you? Any particular weapon you want to share?"
The orange haired boy looked at them for a second before shrugging and pulling out two short golden colored spears, their tips shaped like a raven's beak.
"Huginn and Muninn" He explained "Good for parrying and short stabs, and can also do this" he gave them a flick, and with the whir of machinations the twin spears became two shotguns.
"Range is an issue, which is why they can do something further." Flare then returned them back into spear form before attaching the ends to each other to form a double-ended diamond tipped spear taller than he is "Apart they are individuals, but together they form one entity: they become Gungnir."
"WOW! YOU NEVER SHOWED ME THAT YESTERDAY!" Ruby squealed in excitement.
"That's because I didn't think I needed to." Flare shugged.
Lysus glanced at the weapon for a while longer "This material, it doesn't look like anything I've seen… and the way it's decorated is certainly unique, where did you get it?"
Flare gave a defensive look "My mentor and guardian made it for me, he lives all the way in the deserts in Vacuo, they have materials there."
"Now I see it, definitely has Vacuoan works." Flare bristled, ready to defend Gron's work. Instead, Lysus' next words were rather appreciative.
"He's got some talented hands, the craftsmanship is impeccable." The scientist smiled, before noting everyone staring at him.
"What? I might not like the guy very much but I can appreciate talent when I see it!"
"Uh… thanks, I guess…" Flare mumbled, not expecting that.
The girls all smiled, it seems like there's hope between the two boys yet.
"What about you, Lysus? You also have a cool weapon right?" Ruby grinned. Lysus paused at that.
"Oh, that's a secret, you'll see it soon enough."
Ruby pouted at that "That's what you said yesterday… I wanna see!"
"Trust me, some surprises are better when you wait for them." Lysus assured her.
"What secrets are you hiding?" Flare accused. Lysus only smirked at him.
"You'll see it during initiation. Trust me, it'll blow you out of the water!" with that the scientist claimed his briefcase and walked off.
"Well, how secretive." Yang commented.
"Beacon certainly is prepared for things…" Lysus observed as he wandered through the halls. Between the first years waiting to go to initiation, to the more senior students getting ready for class again, the place is already filling with activity.
"I certainly do miss this." He said to himself.
The last time he's stepped foot into an academy was a number of years back, back in Atlas he, like many people, wanted to be a hunter. His parents, both being researchers themselves, put together enough lien to support him. School was like any other, he made friends, he attended classes, and all wasn't too bad. Class was quite easy for him, a bit too easy perhaps as Lysus easily excelled at every academic subject. How simple everything was back then…
Then everything went downhill.
His smile dropped when the memories came back. It was a time when he realized while having brains got him through classes, physical demands were of a whole different issue. It wasn't that he was physically inept; his records were quite good in those departments as well even. But none of that matters when he received the news.
"I'm sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Ao, but it's just hasn't been heard of that anyone can become a hunter with a condition like your son's. It's an important trait for anyone to have, but for hunters especially so. If nothing changes, then we might have to be looking at a change of careers."
The thought made Lysus clench his fist. No, he overcame that problem now. Even with the hindrance he managed to overcome eventually worked out, his talents for the scientific arts were soon recognized by Atlas' scientific committee, and the next day he promptly dropped out of the academy and began his tenure in Atlas' main research facility. Soon, a good chunk of Atlas' advancement in technology had his name behind it. And his rise didn't seem to slow.
"That's right," Lysus nodded to himself "I'm not that kid who cried to his folks when he realized his dreams were never to be realized. I managed to create my own belonging and overcome the challenge that I once faced. Beacon is the perfect place to get a fresh start."
It certainly feels weird to be coming back to school after so long though.
"Oh come on, think about it! This is the winning team Snow Angel! You, me and Pyrrha!" the familiar voice of Jaune brought his attention up. The scientist could see that the blond boy was trying his best at putting up a much more confident look than he lets on. Unfortunately for him, Weiss isn't buying it.
"What are you doing here again, and why?"
"I think Jaune can be a great leader!" the tall redhead beside Weiss spoke with a smile. Lysus recognized her easy enough. Pyrrha Nikos, in addition to being a top student, was also champion back in Mistral. He's seen her enough times on Pumpkin Pete's Marshmellow Flakes to at least know what she looked like. In person, she's as every bit as impressive as she looked on TV. Sporting her signature brown corset and sash, the athletic girl seemed to be rather out of place.
"See? That's some support! Well, Snow Angel, what do you say about that?"
"Ugh…" the heiress groaned.
"Well, for what it's worth, I will also put in my support for Mr. Arc's claim to leadership." Lysus grinned as he walked behind him and placing an arm around the blonde, making him jump slightly.
"Wait, you do? Uh- I mean, there we go! We can all be a great team!"
"Don't encourage him…" Weiss groaned "And besides, the three of us are way above your caliber for you to touch."
"What do you mean by that?" Jaune was confused.
Weiss scoffed at that "Me, I am an heiress, and Lysus here happens to be one of Atlas' brightest minds. Lastly comes Pyrrha, who's not only an accomplished celebrity but a star fighter as well, we don't have the same level of air as a commoner."
"Wow… you guys are really up there, huh?"
Lysus shook his head "That's a bit too over the top isn't it, princess?"
"Hey, I'm just trying to make the best team here. I already have Pyrrha, and I'm also contemplating having you." she whipped out a notebook from nowhere "Now let's see if you can also secure a position on my team?"
The scientist laughed at that "Sorry, Weiss. Teams aren't decided yet so anything's possible. Besides, I like to keep my options open to more people than just those from back home." He smile at Pyrrha "Though if it comes to that, it'll be interesting having a cereal mascot as a team member, as much as I despise Pumpkin Pete's."
The Spartan giggled at that "Why so much disdain for a cereal?"
"Not the worst thing I've eaten, but it's still a bit too sweet." Lysus smiled "Then again when you have my job most of the stuff you ingest are meal replacements."
"That doesn't sound very healthy." Pyrrha noted "Not that the cereal was any better."
"Eh, can't help it. I'm a pretty busy guy most of the time. Gotta sacrifice my health for the greater good."
"Hey! I'm trying to interview you here!" Weiss tapped her notebook impatiently.
"I like the cereal!" Jaune called again, though all but Pyrrha ignored that, with the Spartan smiling softly at the comment.
Before anyone else could say anything, the voice of Glynda Goodwitch was heard over the intercom.
"Will all first year students report to Beacon Cliff for initiation. I repeat, all first year students please report to Beacon Cliff for initiation, immediately."
"Well, would you look at that? It's showtime." Lysus smiled before heading in that direction "See you all there!"
Beacon Cliff oversaw a vast expanse of green, the forest down below being the setting of today's initiation. Ozpin and Glynda were already waiting for the prospective students as they all gathered at the spot.
"Ok, now I'm worried, where is Drayton?" Dawn whispered anxiously. Lysus only sighed, though he too is wondering where the wolf Faunus went off to. The last time they saw him was last time, debating them on that book. He had expected to see him here, but Drayton was nowhere to be found.
"He'd better hurry, or it's going to start without him." Lysus agreed.
"Flare!" Dawn called down 2 to her right, and the orange haired boy turned as well "Have you seen Drayton?"
"No!" Flare yelled back "Why do you need to know?"
"Never mind!" Dawn shrugged. Really she shouldn't be worried; she hardly knew the guy, and while it'll be a pity for him to make it all the way here only to slip up at the last moment it does ease up the initiation. Still, she can't help but be worried.
"Welcome, prospective students, today is the day that you will potentially start your 4 years with Beacon Academy." Glynda addressed the crowd "During this time, you will not be alone in your endevours, and it is here today that you-"
"My apologies Miss Goodwitch, it seems I managed to make it just in time."
"Oh, that's his voice." Dawn breathed a sigh of relief "It's about time he-WHAT THE IN THE HECK?"
"Well, at least we know why he's late…" Flare murmured.
"Over prepared much?" Lysus blinked.
Numerous mutterings and surprised whispers sounded around, and for good reason too. Just yesterday, Drayton Ashwood seemed like just a regular Faunus. The figure decked out in dark grey armor with a wolf's mask looked nothing like him. The only thing visible to the others were his eyes; the long sword strapped to his back drew the rest of the attention.
"Whoa… someone's all bundled up!" Yang commented, though she herself is rather impressed.
"So cool…" Ruby on the other hand had stars in her eyes. Everyone else's reaction was more of a mix between the two.
"Ah, hello again you four." Drayton managed to pick out the three people he conversed with last night "I take it we're all prepared."
"…" none of them knew what to say.
"Ah, you seem distracted by my change in attire-"
"Nahhh, ya think?" Lysus drawled "You mind explaining what all this is about?"
"Hmm? Whatever do you mean? Are we not about to face initiation? It only pays to be prepared." Drayton shrugged.
"Yeah but- most people just take like a weapon and some combat gear and call it a day. This," Dawn gestured rapidly "this is like you're preparing for some kind of war!"
"Every battle is a war, Dawn, and this is just what I normally wear when the Grandmaster requires me for missions."
"Grandmaster? Missions? What are you-?" Flare questioned.
"If we're all done here, there's your initiation that we still need to get on with." Glynda narrowed her eyes "Please save your questions about each other when there's actually time."
She then turned to Drayton "Mr. Ashwood, your Grandmaster has alerted us about the Band of Dark Night's practices. Should you pass initiation, we will allow for some of them but other ones will be subject to changes, will that be of any issue?"
"There should be none, I am a guest at your institution and I will adhere to whatever rules are set." Drayton responded with a nod.
"Good, then as I was saying, today will also be the day you will be assigned a partner. This partnership will last for the entire 4 years of your stay at Beacon, so it should be advised that you find someone you work well with."
The crowd all had different opinions about that.
"Well… that just makes it more difficult…" Both Flare and Lysus thought to themselves, both catching the glares they shot at each other.
"Please don't let me end up with him…" was the thought on either of their minds.
"Your initiation today takes place from within the Emerald Forest. The first person you make eye contact with after landing will be your designated partner for the next 4 years." Ozpin carried out the rest of the instructions.
"Your goal in this exercise will be making it to the northern side of the forest, where you and your partner will then retrieve a relic from the abandoned temple located there. During this time you will be met with opposition. Kill everything in your path and do not hesitate, or you will die."
"Ehehe… he's not serious about that, right?" Jaune whimpered from beside Flare. The orange haired boy just sighed; this school is pretty serious.
"Once you've retrieved the relic, you will then make your way back to the cliff. The relic will be guarded by you at all times. We'll be assessing that along with your standing as the grading for this initiation." Ozpin continued "During this time, we will be monitoring you all discreetly and watching your performance, but we will not intervene."
"Wow… school's certainly changed since I've last saw it." Lysus commented.
"Are there any questions?" Ozpin asked one last time. Jaune meekly rose his hand, but was promptly ignored.
"Good, now please take your positions."
"Oh, so that's how it's gonna be." Dawn realized, before bracing herself.
"Um, sir, how will we be getting down there? Will you be dropping us off?" Jaune stammered out. During this time, the rest of the prospective students were being launched into the air one by one.
"No, you will be falling." The professor stated simply "Please find a suitable way to land."
"Oh ok that's-wait, falling?
The launch pads continued to spring upwards, sending people into the air. Lysus watched them go by one by one, but when it was his turn, he promptly walked off, bringing the spring pads to a grinding halt.
"Mr. Ao, what are you doing?" Glynda asked with a hint of irritation.
"You know, I just want to tell everybody just how great that we all are. No matter what the result of today is, remember that you all tried and you're amazing for that!"
"Mr. Ao, please return to your spring pad at once!" Glynda commanded.
"What is he doing?" Ruby whispered to Yang, who could only shrug. Other people were also of similar thought; Weiss gave an annoyed roll of her eyes while Blake simply raised an eyebrow.
"Now, don't worry about that Ms. Goodwitch. I'm well prepared for this enough that I, to save you the effort, will launch myself off!"
"Huh? What's going through his head?" Dawn questioned.
And thus Lysus' briefcase was snapped open, and with one hand he held the Black Box. He smiled as he pressed down into it, and every student's eyes widened as they witness the multiple holographic blueprints appearing, scrolling through them until he stopped at one and promptly selected it.
"Mr. Ao, please hurry this up." Glynda sighed. Having already received the scientist's files from James, she knew what the item is, but she never expected him to show it off this early.
"Just a sec, it's warming up!"
It was the result that got everyone talking.
"Oh… My…" Ruby slowly broke into a grin "OH MY GOODNESS THAT IS SO FREAKING COOL!" nobody even said anything about that outburst, everyone had similar thoughts.
"I don't… this isn't…" Yang mumbled.
"No way... something like that actually exists?" Jaune's jaw dropped.
"REN LOOK! HE'S TURNING INTO A ROBOT!" Nora pointed excitedly. The quieter boy only nodded, but even he was quite impressed.
Once the light died down, AT-MK04 Skybreaker has formed completely around him. Lysus gave everyone a wave as jets on its wing-like appendages began to activate on his back.
"I can't believe this…" Dawn whispered.
"So this is what Atlas is capable of…" Drayton muttered in amazement.
"…You hid this the whole time?" Flare accused. Lysus only grinned.
"Told you it'll blow you out of the water." Was all he said, before with one blast he launched himself into the sky and streaked in the direction of the Emerald Forest, laughing all the way. Ozpin only shook his head in amusement, while Glynda was a bit more peeved. It took a while before the shock and awe died down.
"Ok, now that that's over with, we will continue." And the launching resumed.
Dawn looked at the other three "Looks like we got ourselves something to live up to." She grinned before her own launch pad sent her upwards.
"Time to meet our destiny." Drayton nodded, and was launched as well.
As every other student went into the sky, Jaune turned to Flare. "Hey man, you got any advice on how to brace yourself?"
Flare looked at him once, before smiling and shaking his head.
"Don't look down." Was a he said as the ground beneath him propelled upwards and the next thing he knew wind was blowing in his face. Behind him he could hear a rapidly approaching scream as he saw Jaune tumble below him through the air. He smiled; whatever he's about to face, he will be ready.
Back at the cliff, Ozpin observed everything with a faint smile on his lips.
"We certainly have some interesting kids this year." He noted. They've just taken their first steps, and now their first real test is beginning.
A/N: And my little side project continues, after all this time. Mostly it was due to how my original plan for the series didn't work anymore with the reveal of Volume 5, but past that I simply was working too much on One Piece: Monster of the Straw Hat Pirates. That aside, it is good to still return to this, and as I'll always do, we'll keep trucking along. So for the few of you that keeps tabs with this story, fear not. It has not been cancelled and it won't be for the foreseeable future, so keep your hopes up for more!