DISCLAIMER: I do not own Youjo Senki or RWBY. They belong to their respectful owners.


"Do you realize the implications of your actions today?"

Tanya said nothing. Her piercing blue eyes stared straight ahead, through the angry gaze of Professor Goodwitch, never once wavering.

The blonde Huntress sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Cardin Winchester may not be the brightest nor kindest of individuals, but we cannot afford to gain this reputation now."

Tanya understood, all right. After all, the Winchesters did hold a seat on the Council. Not a large nor majorly important one, but a seat nonetheless.

But she wasn't one to back down. Instead, the major merely glanced up at the irate professor. "I am well aware of what I have done, but if the Winchesters sent their son to an academy for Hunters and Huntresses, they should have foreseen the disciplinary actions coming his way."

"In case you haven't noticed yet, Miss Degurechaff," Glynda spat, her green eyes flashing, "this is not the military. We do not beat our students."

Tanya gave a humorless laugh. "I am well aware of the fact, Professor Goodwitch. However, with all due respect, it is still deplorable to see that professors within earshot of the harassment taking place turn a blind eye to such behavior just because the bully in question is a spoiled child with connections to high places."

The taller blonde was at a loss of what to say. Fuming, she turned to Ozpin, who was watching this heated debate take place from the safety of his desk. "Headmaster, do you have anything to interject?"

The grey-haired man said nothing. Instead, he focused his attention on the young girl in front of him. Degurechaff was snapped in position, her feet slightly spread apart and hands folded behind her back. Her blue eyes were not focused on any of the two and were instead staring at the twisting gears above her.

He sighed inwardly. He could not say for sure he knew what kind of upbringing the young Major had, but he knew enough that it was a tough one. Of course, being partially raised in the military may have caused some harm to her psyche, but he couldn't help but feel that something was more than it seemed when it came to the young professor.

"While I do agree with Glynda," he started, "I cannot help but see some logic in what you have said, Major."

Goodwitch spluttered. "Headmaster, need I remind you-"

A single wave silenced her voice. "It is regrettable that Mr. Winchester faced such disciplinary action, but in all honesty, the young man knew what he was signing up for. He is neither unique nor special, and he is not going to be exempt from any punishments coming his way. I'll have the Major decide what kind of detention he should face."

"However," his eyes moved over to Tanya, "in the future, keep in mind that we will not be using such actions in the future. If the situation calls for it, diffuse the atmosphere peacefully and send them to detention."

Tanya said nothing but nodded once, clearly tired of this conversation and where this was going. "Would that be all, Headmaster?"

Ozpin sighed. "No, there is something I must discuss with you in private." He looked over to Glynda. "Give us a couple minutes?"

The Huntress opened her mouth as if to voice her complaints, but after a few moments of contemplation, simply nodded once. "Of course. I will be in my office."

As the tall woman stalked past the pair and threw one last disapproving look at the tiny blonde, one that did not go by unnoticed, Degurechaff silently wondered what exactly the Headmaster wanted to talk about. Surely not to talk to her about school values. No, there was a deeper look in his eyes than that.

As the elevator doors closed behind her, the Headmaster gestured to the open seat in front of him. "Please, sit. You don't have to stand up like that all the time. I'm not James."

She hesitated a bit. It would have been a lie to say that she enjoyed standing up all the time. Her legs, toned as they were, were still growing, and caused no small amount of soreness. So, sitting down seemed like an amazing idea.

But nobody accounted for her height in these matters. There were many times when she would have to sit in a taller chair just to reach the desk during meetings, something she knew that others liked to tease her about.

And this was one such case, where the extremely comfy looking chair in front of the Headmaster's desk officially did not accommodate her height. Did older people just get a kick out of her stunted growth?

But she ended up relenting anyways. It would have been rude to not sit. So, she swallowed some pride and made her way over to the chair. "Excuse me."

Ozpin said nothing as he watched the professor barely push herself up onto the chair. Even sitting as tall as she could wasn't quite enough, as her torso barely cleared the edge of the table.

The pair said nothing to each other for the next couple minutes, with Ozpin just staring at her long enough for even the normally cool girl to be uncomfortable. "Sir, what did you want to talk abo-"

"Coffee?" the grey-haired man interrupted, hand hovering over the coffee machine next to his holo-pad. "Finest brew in all of Remnant, if I must say myself. I had it specially shipped over from Haven, after all."

Tanya blinked but nodded slightly. "If it is not too much trouble."

Ozpin miraculously pulled out two mugs from somewhere underneath his desk. Where exactly, Tanya couldn't say, probably because there were no discernable drawers built into the table at all. What, were they taped to the underside or something?

Ozpin procured a bag of ground coffee beans from behind him and sprinkled some inside the coffee machine. Within seconds, the familiar scent of coffee wafted over to the tiny blonde, setting her taste buds alight.

Funnily enough, coffee was never really her favorite drink. In her old life, back in Tokyo, she always preferred fine wine as opposed to coffee. Something about it allowed her to put her mind at ease when the stress from managing hundreds of employees got to her. Coffee seemed to add more stress to her life with its added caffeine. And black coffee was far too bitter for her taste.

Obviously, she had to adapt after being reborn into this world. Nobody was willing to give an underage young girl some alcohol, after all. At least, not without legal consequences. Coffee was the next best alternative, as long as it had plenty of cream in it to beat back the bitterness. Sure, she craved a nice bottle of Koshu wine every once in a while, but she knew what kind of implications that would have on her still growing liver. Not even Remnant's finest technology could completely replace a functioning organ.

So, she resigned herself to the fact that she would have to wait until she was at the legal drinking age to taste the familiar flavor of wine once again.

And it honestly didn't help that her protégé Serebryakov somehow managed to smuggle in fine wine stuffed inside her packed suitcases.

"Ah, there we go. I hope this is to your liking?"

So caught up in her thoughts, Tanya didn't notice that the coffee had finished brewing and a mug of the steaming drink was placed in front of her. She jumped slightly, not even noticeable to the Headmaster, and grasped the handle of the cup. "It smells delicious, Headmaster."

And delicious it was. She almost let out a content sigh as the familiar taste of coffee soothed her mind and body. In her haste, she had forgotten to ask for cream, but the Haven brew seemed to have a natural flavor that didn't have any real bitterness to it. She would have to look into this later and buy some for herself.

Ozpin took a slow sip of the brew, sighing slightly as he leaned back into his chair, though not enough to make it appear as if he was slouching. "I think coffee is magic in itself," he said, "Relieves the mind and soul. Relaxes you and invigorates you simultaneously. It is truly a gift from the gods, don't you think?"

Tanya flinched a bit but nodded nonetheless. "Quite."

"Sometimes, when I'm faced with stressful news, I enjoy a nice cup of coffee. Sets me at ease, I suppose."

The blonde stopped sipping her coffee. Her eyes narrowed ever so slightly. Suddenly the coffee didn't taste as warm or as good as before. "Is something on your mind, sir?"

Ozpin said nothing but gulped down quite a large amount of coffee before setting the mug down. "How much do you know about Doctor Polendina, Major?"

Tanya blinked. Geppetto Polendina? The doctor that spent all his time cooped up in the Research & Technology Center? She knew the name, but she couldn't say that she had ever really talked to him in person. Maybe a passing greeting or comment. "I cannot say that I know much, only that he works directly under General Ironwood and…"

The room suddenly went cold, the coffee in her hands failing to warm her up anymore.


The blonde gulped. "And another…individual."

Ozpin suddenly leaned forward a bit, interlocking his fingers together. "I see. Anything else?"

Tanya straightened a bit and set her mug down onto the table. "I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting the doctor. However, I cannot disclose to you his research. It is strictly classified."

Truth be told, even she had no idea what they did in there. Sure, they spent time making their Paladins and robots and weapons, but other than that, there was nothing that really stuck out to her. Not that she cared either; she was a soldier, and even as smart as she was, she had no interest in developing weapons or the ilk. As long as it did its job, she didn't care.

The Headmaster let out a small 'hmm'. "Then I suppose you have not yet met Doctor Schugel?"

That name, she recognized. Suddenly the room seemed to have dropped another few degrees. A shiver of dread crept up her spine, and her eyes widened ever so slightly. No, surely not…

If Ozpin noticed the sudden change in behavior, he certainly didn't show it. He just sat there, waiting until the Major gave an answer, no matter how small it was.

Tanya grit her teeth slightly. Her words nearly came out in a hiss. "I have had the…pleasure… of meeting the doctor during my time in Atlas. He is the man in charge of the Research & Technology department, after all."

Ozpin nodded. "I see. If I am not mistaken, you and the doctor has had some interesting experiences in the past, have you not?"

Flashbacks of burning trees, smoky skies, explosions rocking the very core of the mountain itself, and penetrating cold filled her head.

The tiny girl grunted a bit. "He has developed some interesting experiments in the past, and I was to assist him in his ventures.

"If I may ask, Headmaster, what is the purpose of this questioning? Did something happen to the doctor in my absence?"

Ozpin grimaced slightly. "Not quite. Did you not receive any mail or messages from Atlas lately?"

She shrugged. Truthfully, she didn't. Her Scroll still wasn't set up yet, and she was unable to access the CCT. "Unfortunately not. I was busy over the last few days." She looked at him quizzically. "Are they deploying me somewhere else?"

Something caught her eye. It wasn't the gleaming gears above or the pensive look on Ozpins face. No, it was something beyond the room itself.

It was a sunny day. No clouds in the sky, and a few small birds glided across her vision. There was nothing to interrupt her vision. Down below, hundreds of students milled about their everyday lives, some just relaxing under the warm light or walking back to the school itself.

But that wasn't what grabbed her attention. Down at the airfields, some more students strolled about. Even at this distance, she could see the confused looks students gave at one of the airships down on the tarmac.

The flag stood tall, its gleaming silver embroidery reaching her vision. A white gear with a torch flew proud. Several Altesian Knights blocked the doors to the ship, their pale armor and black faceplates intimidating any students passing by.

No…this must be some sort of sick joke.

Behind her, the elevator suddenly sprang to life, the dull hum of machinery signaling the arrival of someone.

For once in her life, she desperately wished that it was Glynda coming up to them.

"Well, James informed me that one of his head scientists suddenly became overcome with the urge to come and see you. He did tell me that the scientist in question finally, and these are his words, 'had his mind snapped overnight'."

Lights aligning the top of the elevator doors blinked as the elevator itself reached as high as it would allow. Their floor.

"James didn't say anything else to me, only that I take care of his scientist for the next few weeks. Apparently, he left without informing anyone and took the next ship bound for Vale. Luckily, he left during a dry tide, so to speak, so it wasn't much trouble for him to embark on this journey."

The bronze doors creaked to life. It opened so slowly, Tanya was sure that there was a problem with the elevator and that it would plummet 20 stories down at any time. She desperately hoped that it would.

Her eyes widened in horror as her mouth dried up. The coffee that she had just drank a minute ago suddenly seemed moot, as her mouth would not moisten no matter what. Her hands trembled as she glared at the new arrival.

Crazed asymmetrical eyes stared back. The man's face suddenly split into a maniacal smile reaching from ear to ear, and curly black hair bounced as he bounded forward. "Major Tanya Degurechaff! God has certainly planned for this moment!" Behind him were two Altesian Knights, both holding several suitcases and some equipment. "Surely not even the demons of Hell can stop us from working together once more!"

She regretted every decision she made that led to her being hired as a professor.


"Let's see…" grumbled Viktoriya, "So if I make a right there, that'll take me to the library?"

The map on her Scroll suddenly changed directions, as if it was mocking her. "No, if I go right, then that'll take me to the armory…but that means I've been walking the wrong way…"

She let out a groan. Curse these maps! It was common knowledge that this specific app had major directional issues since its release, but she was just trying to find the library, for Dust's sake.

The hapless woman sighed. She could really use the Major's help right about now. She hadn't been here for much longer than she had, but at least she had a great sense of direction.

Viktoriya recalled the one time where her and the squad were dumped in the middle of nowhere and were told to use their skills to find an enemy camp using their knowledge.

The group argued for a bit before Major Degurechaff yelled at them to shut up and simply stalked off, miraculously finding the enemy camp merely half an hour later. Thank goodness it was only a training exercise, as they had walked with fifty pounds of gear on the entire duration of the hike and were definitely not ready to fight.

Speaking of Degurechaff, the amount of time it had taken for her to come back down from the meeting was worrying. It had already been an hour with no indication that she had finished talking to the Headmaster, who no doubt was chewing her out this very moment.

That was always the issue with the Major. Viktoriya would never say this to her face, but she did dish out punishment's way too harshly sometimes. Even something as simple as forgetting to tie a shoelace during PT was enough to warrant an extra 3 laps around the field.

Well, she was a perfectionist, after all. Degurechaff demanded nothing but efficiency and loyalty in her squad, things that they had slowly developed overtime.

She turned a corner and the map changed again.

This time, she couldn't help but mutter a dark curse under her breath.

"Um, do you need some help?"

The lieutenant turned to the timid voice. Just a couple feet from her were the concerned silver eyes of one of the girls in the Major's class. Miss something Rose.

Viktoriya felt her lips turn upwards into an awkward laugh. "Thank you, Miss Rose. I think I may have ended up lost on my way to the library."

The gleaming silver irises sparkled. "If you want, I can take you there!" she exclaimed, her hair bobbing up and down as she hopped in place. "I was just about to go there to meet with my team!"

There was still hope yet. The young woman felt her lips match Miss Rose's own and made a mock salute. "Lead the way, Miss Rose."

The teen blushed before doing a tiny curtsy. "Miss Rose makes me feel older than I am. Just call me Ruby!"

"Then I trust you as my guide, Miss Ruby."

"Eh, good enough."

The two walked off (a totally new direction that Viktoriya had no idea about) and matched each other stride for stride, making small talk on the way.

Ruby was the first to fire away her question. "So, how do you like Beacon so far?"

The woman beamed. "Oh, it's wonderful! The food here is amazing, and everything looks so aesthetic, if you catch my meaning."

The excitable nodded violently. "Totally! I mean, it's almost surreal that Beacon looks as good as it is! It's better than I thought it would be."

"Speaking of which Miss Ruby, I hear that you are younger than most here."

The teen blushed. "Oh, please don't mention it. I was just lucky…"

"Taking down several trained thugs and pursuing a high-profile criminal with relative ease is barely lucky."

Ruby's only response was to weakly smile and pull up her hood to cover her burning face.

Viktoriya laughed brightly. "Well, I don't blame you for trying to avoid the attention. I had to deal with that too, back at Atlas."

Silver eyes peaked out from under the red fabric. "You did?"

The woman sighed and tucked some stray hairs behind her ear. "Well, I got into the military pretty young. Not as young as Major Degurechaff, mind you, but younger than most people. People got jealous that I got promoted so quickly. And it was really awkward to give orders to people older than I was."

Some silence passed by as Ruby digested this newfound knowledge. "I guess we're both trying to be normal people with normal knees."


"Nothing!" Ruby chirped.

Viktoriya felt that there was more to that strange quote but let it pass. It wasn't her business. She hefted the stack of files under her arm, which had been forgotten until now.

Ruby took notice and pointed it out. "What's that?"

The young woman laughed awkwardly as she tried to settle the files more comfortably under her arm. "Oh, just some quizzes for your next class. I have to print out several more copies."

The reaper blanched, nearly tripping over her own feet. "Quizzes?"

Viktoriya grimaced as her face also paled slightly. "Whoops, I forgot I wasn't supposed to tell you that…"

She put a finger over her lips and winked. "Don't tell the Major, and you can prepare for the quiz earlier."

Ruby sheepishly smiled as she sweated internally. Only the fourth day since school had started and there was already a quiz? As expected of the Major.

They made some more idle chat, with Ruby once trying to squeeze some of the potential questions from the quizzes under her arm, but the brown-haired soldier had her lips locked.

They soon arrived at the oak doors of the prestigious Beacon library, not even five minutes later. Ruby excitedly opened up the doors for her TA, and both entered the building.

As usual, Viktoriya couldn't help but be amazed once again at the stunning spectacle before her. It had a somewhat Gothic look to it, with huge, arching ceilings and pillars, along with some columns along the walls.

Rows upon rows of shelves extended far into the building, and the main pathway cut through the exact center, allowing dozens of computer terminals to take residence there.

The second story was a lot smaller, but still impressive, with multiple tables and chairs adorning the balconies, presumably for silent study and group meetings.

Ruby pointed over to the corner of the building, where a door was nestled between two bookshelves. "The printer room is over that way. You should have some ID with you too. The librarian won't let anyone print stuff without it."

Viktoriya flashed her Scroll. "Not a problem. I can't thank you enough, Miss Ruby."

The huntress-in-training dismissed the thanks with a small blush. "Aw, no problem. It's only natural to help someone in need."

The soldier smiled and bowed slightly before making her way to the door. "Thank you anyways. I hope you'll be well prepared for the quiz tomorrow!"

"Ugh, don't even remind me."

She had to warn her team. After all, she was sure Yang fell asleep a couple times during the lectures.


Tanya felt her blood pressure slowly rise as she walked down the vast halls of Beacon, which had a somewhat orange glow to them. Not a surprise, seeing how it was nearly nightfall at the peaceful city.

It would have been almost relaxing if not for the chattering figures of both Professor Oobleck and Schugel behind her.

The meeting up at Beacon tower had been a lengthy one. Long story short, the doctor had finally lost his mind.

Overcome with a crazed desire to meet with her, he packed up whatever experimental technology he had been working on in his suitcases and practically ordered a poor young pilot to fly all the way to Vale.

Why exactly he needed to see her, she had no idea, but Schugel assured that this was of "utmost importance." She really doubted it.

And now, because of the insufferable hospitality of Headmaster Ozpin, the doctor was allowed to have access to a guest room and the school's facilities. Not that he was going to use them all; he was most likely going to spend all his time in the armory anyways.

Under different circumstances, Tanya would have refused to have him stay here at all, maybe by arguing that the doctor was "too important" to be missing from Atlas for that long.

Of course, nothing went her way, as Ironwood himself allowed it, due to the R&T Department going through a "dry tide", so to speak, and Dr. Polendina was now in charge.

So now she was forced to listen to insane and inane chatter behind her as they had the unfortunate luck of running into Professor Oobleck, who had gone for a late-night coffee run at the lounge. How he did not drop dead from a heart attack ages ago was beyond her understanding.

It was no surprise that Schugel and Oobleck knocked sparks off each other right away. They were literally the same side of a coin. Each talked with a speed faster than human comprehension, and they bounced off each other so well that they would breeze through dozens of topics without batting an eye. It would have been amazing to hear if it didn't annoy her so much.

She had never felt so glad to see her room. Luckily, Schugel's room was far down the halls from hers, so she wouldn't have to be woken up at the godly hours of the night. Plus, he had his new friend to keep him company, with him and Oobleck suddenly talking about religion or whatnot.

They didn't even break conversation when the blonde girl slipped into her room, free at last.

Tanya put her back up against the wall and sighed deeply. How did her life over the course of a few days come to this? First it was that Cardin boy, then it was Viktoriya, and now, the crazy doctor. She could probably blame Being X for all of her troubles.

Speaking of Viktoriya, where was she?

A cursory glance around her room answered her question. The young lieutenant was draped over her desk, fast asleep with her lamp still on. Her hair was splayed all over her desk, which was in equal disarray. A forgotten cup of coffee sat cold next to her face, and heaps of forms and documents littered both on top and below the desktop.

Tanya's nose wrinkled slightly as she noticed the drool pooling under Viktoriya's mouth. It was clear that she had been sleeping for a while, and it would be a bad idea to try and wake her up now. Viktoriya had a notorious track record for sleeping through anything unless a bomb went off next to her ear, and had nearly broken the nose of one of the rookie cadets in the middle of the night when he had tried to stop her from snoring.

Of course, Tanya could have woken her easily enough, but that would have taken a lot of shouting that would surely upset anyone within a few blocks. And she wouldn't have been able to move her anyways, with the older woman being at least 3 times her current weight.

Still, she wasn't one to leave her subordinate in such a pitiful state. Tanya loosely draped a spare blanket over her form and adjusted her arm placement so that her head would rest better on the hard table. She kept a close watch on her hands, making sure she wouldn't get smacked in the face.

Viktoriya mumbled happily in her sleep, welcoming the warm blanket. She settled in a bit more on her own and immediately sank back into a deep slumber.

Tanya took a quick glance at the assignments and quizzes that were on the desk as she washed up for bed. They looked fine enough, she surmised as she brushed her teeth. Not extremely hard, but not easy either. It would be a good first quiz for the students.

A quick shower and a change of clothes later, Tanya slipped into bed. The moon was particularly bright that night, and its light shone through the windows, which irked her somewhat. She would have pulled the curtains closed if not for the fact that she needed to stand on a chair to reach them.

As always, she deplored her lack of height. She had been a prime specimen of a man back on Earth, if she said so herself. Obviously, she wasn't tall enough to qualify as an NBA basketball player, but she at least had enough height to reach the top shelves in the market.

Hopefully she would hit her growth spurt soon. Then again, she knew that women matured faster than men, and growing pains would be…painful, to say the least.

Still, it was an indisputable fact that she would have to go through puberty again, whether she liked it or not. Unless Being X wanted to screw her over at some point by keeping her in her current form.

Her mind briefly flew over to the subject of Dr. Schugel. It was still unclear what exactly he wanted of her, but whenever he did call on her, she ended up being the brunt of numerous experiments that always seemed to fail and blow up in her face.

She wondered what kind of convoluted science experiment he wanted her to do next. Maybe it would be like that time in the mountains when he strapped her to an experimental rocket that would have theoretically revolutionized the aeronautics industry. Neat idea, but terrible execution. If she hadn't had her gun to shoot out of the cockpit she would have never survived.

Or maybe it was the new and improved Dust-fed machine gun that would be strapped to ships and could deal devastating blows to even the toughest Grimm. Again, nice idea, but it had ultimately blown itself up after a couple rounds, leaving her with a hefty bump on her head and a concussion.

Tanya sighed. Whatever it was, it surely was guaranteed to blow up in her face like all his other projects. How Schugel never seemed to get fired for his mistakes was beyond her.

No, she shouldn't let herself think that. Loathe she was to admit it, Schugel was a genius that had done great things for Atlas. Without him, the weapons department would be run by no more than monkeys following orders.

So, as Tanya drifted off to sleep, whatever Schugel had cooked up would be interesting, to say the least. It probably wasn't anything too dangerous, seeing how Beacon was close to civilian ground.

Little did she know that she would be regretting giving Schugel so much credit the next day.


Yang groaned as she trudged out of the classroom, along with the rest of her friends. "That really sucked."

Though no one else said anything, they couldn't help but agree. They knew the quiz was never going to be easy, but the Major had decided to add in obscure topics from their textbooks that really didn't need to be studied in the first place. Even studying en masse throughout the night was barely enough for them to feel at least a bit prepared for the quiz.

Unsurprisingly, the only one who didn't seem to have much a problem was Weiss. Yang guessed it was because of her closeness with her older sister, who was in the actual military.

Even so, Weiss still was not happy with how it had gone. She knew she had missed more questions than she had wanted. Maybe her sister would help her if she wasn't so busy all the time.

Ruby yawned widely. "Good thing I warned you guys beforehand, right? I'd hate to think what score I would have got if I didn't run into Miss Serebryakov…"

Everyone else nodded, although a few other students who had happened to hear the conversation frowned with annoyance. Jaune kicked up his feet, pushing back his exhaustion. "Hey, at least it's over! We should all go celebrate finishing our first quiz!"

"And what exactly would we be doing," Weiss sighed, "It's not like we can go anywhere other than the cafeteria."

"I don't see a problem with that!" Nora exclaimed as she burst through the crowd, who bowled apart as if a bomb had gone off between them. "I only got to eat 4 plates today before we all reviewed, plus we need our energy back!

"Come on, Ren! Food awaits!"

Before the tired teenager could say anything, Nora had grabbed his arm and was dragged quite ferociously towards the cafeteria.

Pyrrha smiled apologetically at the disturbed crowd before turning to the rest of the group. "I agree. We should all get some energy back into our systems. I'm sure we will be much more refreshed than this morning."

Yang shrugged. Food sounded good to her. Taking that quiz while Degurechaff's hawk-like gaze washed over the classroom was stressful enough. She would have even preferred to be dropped into the Emerald Forest to fight some Grimm. At least that was fun.

To be honest, she didn't mind just jumping into the forest to go beat up some monsters if the professors hadn't sanctioned it off today for some reason. Combat class was good and all, but that mainly focused on fighting other Hunters and Huntresses. It was good practice, sure, and she couldn't lie and say she didn't enjoy beating up Cardin and his cronies from time to time.

But you couldn't go all out on people. Especially not with Professor Goodwitch watching over every brawl with the eyes of a Nevermore. Sure, Aura's made the average Hunter a bit more durable than a Beowolf or an Ursa, but at least you could kill the things.

To an ordinary person, saying these things out loud would horrify them, especially if they weren't a Hunter or a Huntress. Yang knew that, but civilians never really understood that training against people was never enough. They needed real life-or-death situations to grow stronger.

Of course, that wasn't to say that sparring was useless. They had the Vytal Festival to think about, and Hunters were often called to areas with high crime rates, especially those involving the White Fang.

Good thing Goodwitch was planning a trip to Forever Fall to pick up some sap or whatever. Professor Peach said that she needed the sap for some kind of research; for what reason, Yang didn't know nor care. As long as she got to find some Grimm to beat up, she was gonna be a happy woman.

Speaking of happy women, Yang smirked, Pyrrha was trying awfully hard to get Jaune's attention, if the constantly brazen attempts to grab his arm were anything to go by.

It was a shame that Vomit Boy was too much of a blockhead to notice, and instead had his sights on one angry Ice Queen. Yang would have loved to help move things along if it wasn't so damn funny to watch. Plus, she was sure Pyrrha would get through to him eventually.

She hoped, at least. There was a betting pool going around, and Yang would hate to lose some of her hard-earned Lien. Surprisingly, Weiss was betting against Pyrrha and Jaune getting together, stating that "Pyrrha should set her eyes on someone more worthy of her status."

Yang was suddenly snapped out of her thoughts when she felt someone tap her arm. Turning, she came face-to-face with a certain amber-eyed woman, who gestured her over to the side, away from the crowds.

Yang felt her eyebrow quirk as she followed Blake to a dark corner of the hallway. "Pretty bold of you to drag me to a nice spot where nobody can hear us," she teased, enjoying how Blake's usually pale face flushed with annoyance, "But I'm more of a 'buy drinks first' kind of gal."

"…Just shut up and follow me," the teen replied, quite obviously ignoring Yang's ever-increasing smile.

"Whatever you say, Blakey!"

She allowed herself to be led to an empty stairwell, where only a few students milled about, but even they were dispersing with the prospect of fresh food setting their taste buds alight. Yang crossed her arms. "So, what's up? Don't tell me you're bummed out about the quiz or something."

"I need you to come with me to the Emerald Forest."

The blonde blinked. "Huh?"

Blake huffed, annoyed. "You heard me. I need you to follow me—"

"No, no, I got that," Yang interrupted, "But why? No one's allowed to go there today, remember? If you wanted to go beat something up, why don't you just set up a session for the training room?"

"I'm not going there to fight Grimm. I know the reason why the forest is closed."

Yang crossed her arms. "Isn't it just closed for some repairs? Degurechaff kinda fucked it up with those bombs of hers, remember?"

Of course, she didn't really know the official reason for the Grimm-infested woods to be shut off; she had only heard general rumors from other students about some crazy looking guy walking around muttering something about "reparations" and "fixing" something.

Now that she thought about it, nobody seemed to know who that guy was. She knew that he was some kinda nut from Atlas, judging from the ship parked outside yesterday, but it was unknown whether he was a professor or military. He was most likely from the latter, since the Atlas robots followed him everywhere, but then again, Atlas had those things everywhere, so maybe it was just a professor who had to take security with him.

Blake lowered her voice to a whisper, forcing Yang to strain her ears to catch what she was saying. "Degurechaff went down there after class with Serebryakov. I overheard them talking about some sort of device she was going to test out."

A device? That certainly was a little strange, especially since they saw fit to close off an entire forest for it, but Yang was unconvinced. "Then isn't that more of a reason not to go? I honestly don't have a problem going, but if they're just gonna mess around with some tech, then I think food is a better option."

Also, as much as she hated to admit it, Yang did not wish to get caught and get further on Degurechaff's bad side. She wasn't scared of her, per se, but there was something about her that set her teeth on edge. She just felt so…wrong, as if she wasn't even human.

Blake sighed. "Look, I know about Degurechaff. I'm not going to tell you how, but I know for a fact that she's bad news. Just think about it. What kind of 11-year-old is able to join the military? She is dangerous. Her being here means that there's something else at hand."

"What, you think she's a spy or something?" Yang asked incredulously. "I don't like her, but if she got sent over from Atlas, then she should be on our side. It's not like she's White Fang or anything."

The teen swore she saw Blake's bow twitch for a split second. "Just…trust me on this," she pleaded, "We can just see what they're up to for a second, and if it turns out to be nothing, we can just leave."

The blonde made a face. On one hand, if Blake was being sincere, then something might be up. On the other hand, although none of them trusted Degurechaff as far as they could throw her (which probably was pretty far, if they were being fair), she was still a professor. "Why are you asking me to come anyways? From the looks of it, you'd be perfectly find doing this on your own."

The raven-haired teen shuffled a little bit, her eyes downcast. "…I need someone with a second opinion."

Yang's confusion must have shown on her face, because Blake answered it immediately. "I don't like her. She's done a lot of things to people that might have deserved it, but what she did was still wrong. If I go alone, then I'm just going to see what I want to see. I need someone to ground me and give it to it straight. Even if she isn't doing anything."

If it wasn't clear by now, Yang definitely knew that Blake didn't hold any love for the professor. She knew that Blake looked at her with some animosity, but Degurechaff must have really done something to piss Blake, of all people, off. The teen wasn't known for her temper, after all. "What are you gonna do about the cameras? I'm sure they have motion-sensors and stuff."

"I know where their blind spots are. I found them during orientation."

Yang whistled. "Dang, I didn't know you knew how to do that, Blakey."

"Are you in or not?"

The teen tapped her chin, as if she was in deep thought. Blake waited a few seconds before sighing. "If you come, I'll let you shower in the mornings before me for a week."

Now that, she could get behind. Blake took forever with her showers, even longer than hers. She smiled cheekily. "Make it 2 weeks and I won't tell Ruby and Weiss about that book you hide under your pillow."

Yang had never seen a face grow red quite as fast as Blake's before. "How'd you know about that?" she spluttered.

Laughter was the only answer she got as the blonde quickly hopped down the stairs, followed closely by a still flustered Blake. "I swear to Oum, Yang, if you tell anyone about this, I'm going to leave you tied up to a tree!"




Tanya knew that today was going to be a rough day.

She knew as soon as she awoke to the sounds of a murder of crows cawing in the godly hours of the morning. A bad omen in certain circles of the world. Not that she believed in any of them, but it was still annoying to wake up to, nonetheless.

Then, she had to go through the tedious process of waking up Viktoriya, who was struggling to wake from her coffee-induced coma. Tanya didn't necessarily want to fall back into drill sergeant mode, but it at least got the job done and made her feel marginally better about only getting a few hours rest.

Of course, it all started to go downhill come the beginning of the day. They had the unfortunate luck of walking into Professor Peach during breakfast, who immediately started to pile enough sweets on her plate to make even Viktoriya gag. Pinching her cheeks and calling her a "growing girl" didn't help her mood, either.

Lastly came the big finale: quiz day. Tanya was amazed by how disappointed she felt when she gave a cursory look over some of the finished quizzes. Most of the stuff covered wasn't even very difficult. Everything came from the book and the lectures, after all. But perhaps she gave them too much credit. None of the students, other than Miss Schnee, had any experience with the military. The closest thing any of them had ever seen from the military were movies and TV shows they had watched.

She scoffed when she read one student's answer about one example of a pincer movement being shoving all soldiers in a literal pincer-like formation, as if they should have been packed tighter than sardines in a can. Too many video games, that one.

And now, she was busy being strapped to what looked like a rectangular bomb that hummed every few seconds. Surely this was not going to end well.

She had only been on this campus for less than a single week. If this was Being X's way of fucking with her, it was doing a great job.

"A portable flying machine?"

Tanya felt her eyebrows quirk as Schugel excitedly nodded and stared at her with those buggy eyes of his, as if he was gauging her reaction.

She didn't much like being dragged away from class before eating her lunch, but the doctor had been strangely persistent and positively dragged her to the Emerald Forest, along with Serebryakov.

They were closely followed by a handful of Atlas security bots, each carrying a myriad of equipment.

Initially, she tried to weasel her way out of this by ad-libbing something about a meeting with one of the other professors, but the mad doctor had just shoved a paper into her hands that indicated Headmaster Ozpin, along with a signed statement by General Ironwood, had all but forced her to go along with whatever stupid thing he had planned.

Thirty minutes later, they trio found themselves situated on a cliff that overlooked the entire forest. Apparently, this was also where students had taken their initiation for Beacon.

The robots quickly went to work disassembling and opening crates to reveal computers, all of which were already on and running, as if Schugel was too impatient to even wait to have turned them off beforehand. Knowing him, that was most likely the reason.

"I have spent the last 5 months creating a device that would allow one to soar through the very sky," Schugel exclaimed, "This small contraption melds with the wearer's Aura, boosting its power. Normal humans would never be able to use this, so common infantry will never even touch my invention.

Hands shook as Doctor Schugel stretched his limbs to the sky. "No longer will the chosen future Atlas soldiers die pitifully on the ground like insects! If they are to perish, they will do so in the realm of God himself!"

Tanya pretended not to notice Second Lieutenant Serebryakov inching away from the spasming man. Clearly, she was not familiar with Schugel's antics. It was their first time meeting each other, after all. "I am assuming that these are not available to most of the military? It certainly seems expensive to make, seeing how there are capsules of Gravity Dust inside."

"I do not know the specifics as General Ironwood graciously paid all expenses, but I would estimate them to be around 50,000 Lien each!"

50K was quite expensive. The general must have had faith in this flying machine.

"Field-tested extensively, I hope?"

The doctor looked as if Tanya had smacked him in the face. "Of course! The last 2 months have been nothing but testing and improving, every single day!"

"So, these packs are perfectly safe?"

She didn't like the way Schugel refused to answer. Suddenly the straps holding the case to her chest felt extremely tight. "I would recommend giving me a mortality statistic, doctor."

Schugel adjusted his glasses. "Well, we have used many training dummies with the help of Professor Herol, who, as you know, has the ability to fill an object with some of his Aura. They have been perfectly capable of lifting off, but landing has been…explosive, to say the least."

Tanya felt a headache come on as she ground her teeth in frustration. "Success rate, if you please."

The man tapped his chin thoughtfully, mumbling under his breath. Tanya wasn't sure if she was supposed to laugh or be horrified to see Schugel counting on one hand. "We have had 4 successful runs with the dummies, and 1 success with a volunteer."

"And how many trials have you done, exactly?"

"36 dummy tests and 3 volunteer tests."

Tanya gulped. "What happened to the other 2 volunteers?"

Schugel answered by immediately strapping on the last belt and ushering her to the edge of the cliff. "Now, Major Degurechaff! Science always awards those who brave into the unknown! We have fixed all major issues thus far, and the two men only suffered second-degree burns to their torsos. And Private Cerise should have his legs recover within the next week!"


Viktoriya finally decided to step in, tentatively reaching a hand out to the crazed man. "Dr. Schugel, I am not sure if it is wise to use something with such harrowing statistics…"

Her voice tapered off as soon as Schugel gave her a look with eyes that were literally on the border of insanity. She wisely stepped off. General Ironwood allowed permission, so surely it should be okay?

Plus, Major Degurechaff had survived far worse odds than this. A little fall into the forest shouldn't be a problem for her.

She hoped so, at least.

Tanya growled. "At least tell me there are safety parameters built into this thing!"

"Yes, yes, don't worry. There is a mechanism that should be able to detect if the case is about to blow and will forcefully shut it down. You may suffer a fall into the Emerald Forest, but that should be it."

While it did nothing to assuage her anger towards the doctor, she couldn't help but sigh in relief. She had an abnormally strong Aura, after all, so a distance of a couple dozen meters shouldn't faze her. And if the students were able to survive initiation by being launched off this cliff, then she had no reason to fear.

She violently shrugged off Schugel's ushering hands. "Fine," she muttered, "Let's just get this over with."

Now that she looked at it, though, the case didn't seem very aerodynamic. It was matte black in color, and was nothing more than a box the size of a small backpack. Other than a blue glow emanating from a light situated on top of it, it was very unassuming.

Tanya hopped up and down a bit, getting a feel for the weight. It wasn't as heavy as she thought, she surmised. Probably because Dust itself wasn't that heavy, as it was…well, dust.

"Ah, Major," Schugel interrupted, "Before I forget, wear this communicator. If you run into any trouble, we will know."

Gingerly accepting the wired device as if it was rigged to explode, Tanya slipped on the earbud and once again faced the edge of the cliff.

A substantial drop into the forest greeted her, and the wind that blew up against the stone cliff face threatened to knock her off balance. She gulped. "I don't suppose—"

"Off you go!"

Twenty minutes later, Tanya would drop the pack quite roughly onto Schugel's foot, but for now she was focused on staying alive after being bodily shoved off the edge.

I will not scream. I will not scream. I will not scream. I will not—

She screamed.


Yang stepped on a branch, sending a sharp crack that echoed through the forest.

Blake nearly jumped a full foot up in the air. She gave an apologetic Yang a look harsh enough to cow over even a Beowulf, but the blonde simply smiled sheepishly. "Sorry," she whispered.

Rolling her eyes, Blake turned back to the trees, carefully planning out her next move.

Maybe it wasn't the best idea to bring Yang along with her. She had a head full of golden hair, after all.

Then again, the other two members of their team were no different. Weiss wore enough white to reflect all light back into the air, and Ruby, while a bit more discrete, didn't have a patient bone in her body. She would have been hopping off trees if it meant getting to their destination just a bit faster.

Yang wasn't much better either; she was Ruby's sister, after all. But she was trying to lay low, even if she stumbled here and there. Perhaps the enticing offer of early showers was influencing her.

She slowly parted some foliage in front of her, her amber eyes roving through the tree-line. Tell-tale black cameras littered branches every which way, the lens's glinting in the afternoon sun. Carefully creeping forward, she stepped into their blind spots, ushering Yang to do the same.

With the grace of a drunk Ursa Major, the blonde attempted to plant her feet exactly where Blake had been, only to find that she was not quite as limber as her teammate. She pinwheeled awkwardly in place until Blake took pity on her and grabbed her hand, dragging her behind a large tree before the camera's panned to face the noise.

Yang let out a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Blakey."

Blake tried to ignore how close Yang's face was to her own. "You don't sneak around much, do you?"

Yang let out a harrumph. "I've snuck around plenty! I just don't see the point of sneaking when you can just bash through the thing you're trying to sneak by."

For what seemed to be the umpteenth time in many minutes, Blake rolled her eyes. Annoying as she was, Blake still felt at ease with Yang. She was the first friend she had made here, after all. She wasn't bad. For a human, at least.

She wondered what would happen if the rest of the team figured out that she was a Faunus. She had kept it secret so far, but eventually they were going to come into the room when she was letting her ears breathe, or notice that her bow twitched a little too much for it to be the wind.

Ruby and Yang seemed open enough to Faunus, however. They both didn't seem like the type to go blabbing to everyone else about her real race, and they probably wouldn't discriminate her for it either. Same goes for team JNPR.

The problem was Weiss. Blake was good at hiding her true feelings from the heiress, but something was going to crack. While she didn't show any prejudice towards the Faunus students here, Weiss always seemed uncomfortable around them. She would make a wide berth every time they passed a Faunus student on their way to class, or wrinkle her nose whenever one tried to talk to them.

To be honest, it made Blake angry at times, not that she showed it. She was going to have to suck it up whenever Weiss acted that way. Maybe she could slip in some encouraging things about Faunus every once in a while. Some sort of psychology trick to help Weiss feel more at ease with her race.

But that was a problem to tackle for another time. Her ears twitched imperceptibly towards a sudden voice. It sounded like two people talking.

Blake placed a finger over her lips and gestured Yang over to a mound of bushes. Parting the branches, they were treated to a sight that looked like it was straight out of a sci-fi action film.

Several Altesian Knights were scattered throughout a small clearing, quite close to the launch pads where initiation was. While they didn't seem to be alerted to anything, their robotic limbs were glued to their guns, ready to snap up at a moments notice.

Large boxes filled with computers and some sort of power cell lay in the middle of the bunch, all of them whirring and clicking as they ran through some kind of program. There was another box filled with Gravity Dust, which piqued Blake's interest. What would they be doing with such an expensive amount of Dust? Gravity Dust had very limited uses despite its nature. Few Hunters and Huntresses bothered to use it due to its unpredictability. Making bullets out of them would generate a gravitational field when shot, but they would also throw Hunters off balance as their inner ears flipped to compensate for the sudden shift. Using them to modify mechashift weapons would only be confusing for the wielder, especially if it was heavy then suddenly turned as light as a feather mid-fight.

As far as she knew, Gravity Dust was primarily used by only a handful of specialized fighters and in some flight crafts. She didn't see Winter Schnee or a ship anywhere, so what was the unknown man and TA Serebryakov doing with it up here?

Yang bumped shoulders with Blake. "That's the crazy guy that came in yesterday," she whispered.

Blake nodded. She knew already, of course, but she didn't dare answer back in case they both heard them. She noticed Serebryakov looked extremely worried, as indicated by her constantly fidgeting and wiping sweaty palms on her military fatigues. "Are you sure the Major is going to be alright, Doctor Schugel? I know that there are safety measures in place in case of an explosion, but your machine might malfunction in a different way."

Both teen's brows wrinkled. An explosion? Just what in the world are they testing?

The man, now named Schugel, simply laughed. "Oh, there are no countermeasures in place! I had them specifically removed for the test!"


"Yes," replied the obviously crazed doctor, "I do not think one should rely on such things made by man! Only the gods are an effective countermeasure to everything! Mankind has reached such high lengths through its strength alone, but they can never compete with the will of the gods!"

Props to Serebryakov, as she did not immediately start freaking out. The military training must have been kicking in. "But you told Major Degurechaff that there were mechanisms used to detect an imminent explosion. Did you just lie to her to get her to test your machine?"

"To make advances in science, one must omit certain details. Why, one such researcher in the past never disclosed information to anyone, and he made great leaps and bounds in the weapons industry with his fellow countrymen!"

"If you're talking about Brythan Hawethorne, he was court-martialed for maiming several soldiers with his prototype auto-cannons!"

Schugel tutted and shook his head. "Such a pity that was. Imagine how much we could have learned if he was still allowed to work the last few years of his life."

The woman seemingly had had enough of this conversation, and immediately brought up a small communicator to her face. "Major, there are no safety measures in the casing! I would advise landing and detaching yourself from the machine as soon as possible!"

Whatever warbled noise that came out of the speaker was indecipherable, as it sounded like the Major had decided to gargle a mixture of bees and porridge.

Yang stared wide-eyed at the equally shocked Blake. "What the fuck is going on?"

"I don't know," replied the raven-haired teen, "I think she's flying some sort of ship, since they keep talking about landing, but I can't see anything."

"Wait," Yang interrupted, pointing at a golden speck that was steadily rising into the clouds, "is that…?"

Blake was sure she was going to catch flies, but her mouth wouldn't obey her instructions. "Degurechaff?"


Tanya would later admit that she had felt some modicum of relief when the flight device absorbed some of her Aura and thrummed pleasantly, allowing her to hover in place for a few seconds.

Of course, things immediately started to go to hell, especially when the device decided to absorb more of her Aura, which instantly started to heat the metallic casing.

She let out a pitiful yelp as she felt her body thrusted upwards, wind screaming against her face as she struggled to lessen her Aura output into the machine. Of course, it didn't listen, and instead started to vibrate violently, which probably indicated that the Gravity Dust inside was starting to react. Tanya gulped. The light wasn't supposed to turn purple, was it?

She made the rookie mistake of looking down and was attacked with a sudden rush of vertigo. The Emerald Forest, with trees that have stood tall for centuries, looked nothing more than a patch of green among the grey mountain valleys. While she was nowhere near enough to the ends of the troposphere, which was the first of the many layers of the atmosphere, she was still plenty high enough for her Aura to do jack shit when she crashed.

Tanya remembered reading the book on Dust back at the orphanage, especially the part on how Dust would lose its power the closer it got to leaving the planet. Hence the lack of a space-faring fleet, even with the technology available today.

So now, she had two choices. Let herself be taken higher into the sky and lose consciousness from the lack of oxygen, or somehow forcefully kick-start the safety mechanisms to shut down the pack before it exploded. Tanya chose the latter. Better to take her chances with the height and possibly live than get blown to bits or splatter onto the forest floor.

Her communicator suddenly crackled to life. "Major, there are no safety measures in the casing! I would advise landing and detaching yourself from the machine as soon as possible!"

Tanya wasn't sure if she had screamed that many expletives in her life. I hope that bastard heard every single word.

To her horror, the machine actually started breaking apart, sending spiderweb-like cracks coursing through the metal. Clearly the sudden decrease in atmospheric pressure and temperature did nothing for the already burning chassis.

Purple light glowed from within, becoming brighter the higher she went up. Soon, it was either going to go out completely, or just explode. Something she did not want to see at all.

Frost started to lace the linings of her suit, which simultaneously froze and burned her. The burning was probably from being so high up in the sky; UV radiation was a lot stronger up here. The molten slab of metal attached to her torso probably wasn't helping matters.

Shunting some Aura into her hand to avoid getting third-degree burns, she attempted to pry apart the cracked casing to get inside. If she could just remove the Gravity Dust, then perhaps the entire thing would shut down.

Still, even with her enhanced strength that made her quite a bit stronger than the average human, she was unable to find purchase in the grooves. It didn't help that the wind kept ripping away her spindly arms.

She was really starting to feel the effects of the lack of oxygen now. Her breath came out in short bursts as she struggled to inhale more air that simply wasn't there. She doubted any human had gone this high up into the atmosphere before in this world.

Darkness creeped in on the edges of her vision. She was really going to die. All because that bastard of a scientist wanted to see how well she could fly with a shitty machine that didn't even work. She knew that she would meet her end someday, but she had hoped that it would be in her bed after reaching a healthy age of 80. Preferably after becoming a general or someone else higher up the food chain.

She felt her teeth clench until her jaw creaked with the pressure. No, I refuse! I am not dying today! I will not allow it!

Tanya struggled to reach for the straps holding the machine to her chest. Her arms felt like lead now, and her fingers struggled to obey her commands. And all the while, the literal bomb on her chest grew hotter. It was probably only a matter of time until it blew her up miles in the sky.

Tinny voices emanated from the communicator, but she couldn't hear it nor cared. All she cared about was getting this stupid thing off of her. Finally, she reached the metallic clasp of the straps. Her vision was getting really dark now, and she found that to her horror, she was not going to be able to release herself in time.

This only made her struggle even more. She had a plan, damnit! She finally had gotten herself a cushy job as a professor and not even a week later was going to be her demise. It was probably even safer for her to be parachuted into a White Fang compound without any weapons.






Sweet, refreshing air suddenly filled her lungs.

She didn't even ask how it was possible for air to be this high up. Instead, she hungrily gulped in all the oxygen she possibly could, as if she was dying of thirst in the deserts of Vacuo.

The darkness quickly disappeared from her vision, and her flushed face slowly turned back to her usual pallor.

What happened?

A customary glance around the area failed to answer anything. She was still strapped to the near-exploding machine, she was still high up in the sky, she was surrounded by a globe of golden light—

Golden light?

"I am truly impressed with you, Tanya Degurechaff."

Her eyes widened. "Being X."

"Correct. Although I must admit, I am still not fond of the blasphemous name you have given me."

Despite her circumstances, Tanya found it in herself to steel up. "So, you saved me again. If I didn't know any better, I would think that you actually care about what happens to me."

She noticed with some surprise that aside from the fresh air, plenty of other things were afoot. For one, she wasn't moving. At all. Instead, she seemed to be hovering in the sky. No, it was actually more like she was stuck in frozen time. That explained why the machine stopped making noise and seemed to be in the middle of a detonation.

Even the area outside the golden sphere was frozen. Clouds stayed exactly where they were, and a flock of crows lay suspended in the air below her, all of them mid-flight.

So, she surmised, this is like that time when I died and when I was at the orphanage. I wonder what he wants this time.

"It is quite simple, actually," Being X replied. That damn thing could read minds, it seemed. "I organized this little test to see if you had changed at all. Clearly, I was mistaken, as you are still the same blasphemer as before."

"Get out of my head, you piece of shit," Tanya growled, "And what do you mean when you said you organized this?"

Even though she couldn't see the higher-dimensional being, Tanya swore that it was smiling. "You should realize that Doctor Schugel was never a religious man. I decided to change that. He is now, of course, fully devoted to me.

"He had no intention of sharing this invention with anyone. At least, not until months later, when testing would be complete. But I saw this as an opportunity for change. A change in your unfaithful heart."

That must have meant that Being X also influenced General Ironwood to let him go to Beacon. It made sense now. No general would allow the head of research at the largest military on Remnant to go on a vacation to a neighboring kingdom.

"Well clearly that didn't work out," Tanya spat, "So either let me free, or let me die. I'm still going to curse you straight to hell."

Being X fell quiet, but she knew it was still there. She struggled to move anything except her head, but her body was unresponsive.

An eternity passed in silence before the disembodied voice spoke again. "You are truly an enigma, Tanya Degurechaff," it hummed, "Throughout the eternities I have spent among humankind and beyond, I have never met one with as little faith as you. It is amusing, if vexing.

"So, I will continue to play this game we have created. You will not die today. I have decreed that this machine will not kill you, but I have also rendered it inactive. Until, of course…"

Tanya rolled her eyes. "Yeah, yeah, pray to it. I know you want me to feel grateful for saving my life, but frankly? I don't give a damn. As soon as I get down from here, I am never touching this thing again."

The air suddenly grew colder, and Tanya noticed the bands of light surrounding her were slowly dissipating. Time slowly started to move again, as the flock of birds started to flap their wings.

"On the contrary, Tanya Degurechaff," Being X said, its voice becoming ever so faint, "You will find that this machine will be essential in the future."

"What do you mean?"

"There is a storm coming, ye who is unfaithful. And I can promise that when that day comes, you will find the world in a very different state."

Wind once again howled in her ears as Tanya found herself in free-fall, the machine laying cold and dormant on her chest. "Wait," she screamed, "What's coming? What did you do?"

It was no use. Being X was gone as quickly as it came.

She grunted into the air. Good riddance.

She looked down at the cold machine. The light was not even on anymore, but she knew as soon as she started praying, it would start to glow. Probably gold, since that seemed to be its favorite color.

Being X had said something about a storm. Something changing. She felt her eyes narrow, and it wasn't from the wind rushing past her face. Whatever it was, it was bound to be trouble. She was going to have to stay vigilant. Maybe even warn Atlas somehow.

But that was a dilemma for another time. Right now, she needed to survive.

"Oh lord who reigns in heaven, hear my prayer."

The machine vibrated once and thrummed, an electric golden light emanating from the bulb. It started to heat up, but instead of it being boiling hot like before, it was now a warm, even pleasant, temperature. "Grant me, a mere human, permission to soar through the heavens. Let me fly upon the wings of your majesty and spread your word to the ends of the earth."

A rush of power filled her heart, and her body suddenly glowed with a golden hue. Tanya let out a feral smile. She willed herself to hover in place, and the machine finally obeyed. She came to a gentle halt a few hundred meters above the forest floor.

She quickly checked her Aura reserves, and found that the machine didn't absorb as much as she thought. She estimated at least a few more hours before her Aura ran out completely. She had to hand it to Schugel: he made his machine efficient.

To be honest, it probably wasn't Schugel's doing that made the thing efficient at all. If anything, it was probably Being X's influence. She was never going to thank it though.

Giving herself an experimental push, she sped forward a few meters, noticing how fluid it was in its movements. I can get used to this.

The communicator that was still miraculously in her ear crackled to life. "Major! Are you alright? What is your status?"

Tanya smiled. "I'm fine, Lieutenant. Everything's under control, no thanks to Doctor Schugel."

The doctor then made himself known to the both of them, bringing out a communicator of his own. "Now, now, Major. If I had not taken out the machine's safety measures, the test would have come to quite an abrupt halt. I have completely circumvented that, and while the risks were great, I am pleased to see that it is fully operational! It is truly a miracle!"

"I would advise you to be silent, doctor," griped Tanya, "I am still extremely displeased with your lack of safety measures. I plan on making a report to General Ironwood about your actions. Specifically, actions that directly threatened the life of a Major."

Whatever the doctor was about to say was interrupted by Viktoriya, who was failing to keep the relief from showing in her voice. "Now that you seem to be out of danger, I would advise coming back to the launch pads. I still have my doubts about the device."

"I'll be there shortly," Tanya replied. Then she promptly removed the communicator and leaned forward in anticipation. "Right after I see how far I can go with this thing."

Coalescing her energy together, Tanya couldn't help but give a small laugh as she launched into the sky.

Yeah, she could really get used to this.


Hey, I'm back.

I really have no excuse, to be honest. I left this alone for a few years and let you guys stew in silence, waiting for more. And for that, I deeply apologize. But at least let me explain some things before you guys tear me apart (and to be honest, you have every right to do so).

First of all, things got a bit busier since the last chapter. I am currently still a student, and I started this story since my senior year of high school. I will be honest, most of the time, I completely forgot about writing more of the story, up until I started up my other BNHA x OPM fic.

Then I kind of worked on and off on this fic. There were days where I wrote a lot, and days where I deleted a lot because I wasn't liking where I was going.

And, to be honest, RWBY doesn't excite me anymore like it used to. I watched it all up to the newest seasons, and while it was good, I felt that it lacked a lot of the charm that made it unique in the first place. That really influenced my mood whenever I wrote this chapter.

It became sort of a "meh" show, and the constant dramas and controversies surrounding RoosterTeeth did very little to change my mind.

I'm having this problem with my other story as well (Alchemy Isn't a Semblance!). I had so many ideas going for it, but now that a lot of information is revealed and the main story of RWBY progressed, I can't find any reason to continue with it (plus, some parts of it are super cringy, in my opinion, and I really hate myself for writing like that).

I will most likely discontinue Alchemy Isn't a Semblance and focus more on the two I am writing now. I plan on making an update to it soon to explain to everyone why I dropped it.

As for this story, I am kind of on the fence about whether I should drop it or not. On one hand, I don't love RWBY anymore, but on the other hand, I love Youjo Senki. I don't know. Maybe I'll try to keep writing and take the RWBY story a different direction.

Again, I can't apologize enough for the wait. I honestly do feel bad and somewhat of a coward for not saying anything sooner, but I never really was able to formulate what I wanted to say until now.

I'll keep trying to write, though. I'm planning on taking this story a bit further until I make my final decision, and I am still working on my other fic.

I don't know when the next chapter is going to be out, but I hope I can make one soon. You guys deserve that much.

Anyways, I hope you liked this chapter. I decided to bring Schugel along, cuz why not, and I got to say, I had some fun writing him, even if he wasn't the main focus. I'm still trying to get back into the groove of characterizing everyone, and I hope I did okay.

And yes, I brought the flight machines into the story, cuz who doesn't want to see Tanya (and maybe even some other people) absolutely shred apart Grimm and White Fang from the sky?

Hope it wasn't too awkward, and I plan on making a little action scene later.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you guys like it!

See you soon.