I've had a few people ask about references and such, and I'd like to take a quick moment to say that this fic is full of them from movies, books, and all sorts of things. It's only this story, however, and it's because it is a parody. For those who asked because they're not sure whether they should use them or not, the answer is almost always `don't`. However, if it's a pure parody – and I mean a parody, not a comedy – then it's usually considered okay. The story doesn't take itself seriously, so references and even memes if you want them are seen as tongue in cheek. I'd never put them in a normal story, however. Not unless they're by accident, etc…


Beta: College Fool

Cover Art: Jack Wayne


Chapter 11 – King of Men

"Ten thousand miles away or more, it makes little difference. Jaunehalla was not a single location, but an ideal set within the hearts of men. And ideals, my brother, cannot be destroyed."

High Priest Russel Thrush

The Book of Jaune, Chapter 4, Verse XVII


Time wasn't on our side.

Nothing was, really, and that had been a constant for the whole war, but time especially wasn't on our side since I knew the girls would be resting after their conquest of Jaunehalla, preparing for the march back to the cafeteria. We needed to own that before they arrived otherwise we'd be stranded once more, but after leaving ten men to guard the objective point we'd captured, I now had less than forty in total.

Even if the majority of the girls had gone north in search of battle, there would be more than forty in the cafeteria. Pyrrha wasn't that foolish. I might have bought some time by having Zwei destroy the food supplies we'd left behind, but not much. As I said, time wasn't on our side, and numbers – time's ally – was also standing against us.

"The prisons won't be unguarded," Yatsuhashi said. "Even if the laws of this war prevent the prisoners from escaping on their own, the women will have stationed powerful guards to prevent an attempt of a rescue."

I knew that. I was banking on our numbers being enough, or at least in them being enough to cause a diversion. "Ren," I said, "What are the rules for freeing prisoners? What do we have to do?"

Ren pulled out his scroll and checked it while maintaining his pace. "A fighter from the same side, who is not a prisoner, must touch the captured student and tell them they are free. That's pretty much it. No wait, if there's a guard within ten metres then they must be subdued first."

Damn it. There went my hope of just telling everyone to sprint through the guards and free all the men, then using our increased numbers to cause a rout. It looked like Miss Goodwitch had thought of that, otherwise we could have snuck someone in ages ago and caused a prison riot.

"We'll need to convince the guards to leave, then," I said.

"How do you intend to achieve that?" Yatsu asked.

"Depends on who's in charge of guarding them, I guess."

Ahead of us the corridor widened and the walls became better decorated, welcoming us into the central hub of Beacon, the nexus by which all the academy's wings were joined together. It was the part of the school most visitors saw, and as a result the part that was kept cleanest and held the best sectors; the cafeteria, the library, the fighting rings, and also a fitness gym with plenty of equipment, not to mention the headmaster's office which was obviously off-limits in the war.

In every way that counted, the central part of Beacon was the seat of power for the school, and had been the seat of power for the women since the war began. I still couldn't believe we were going to try and challenge that, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

(And we were nothing if not desperate men…)

Our sprint slowed to a jog, and then to a walk, as we entered the belly of the beast. Men sent furtive looks down long corridors that could have houses any number of ambushers and for some it must have been the first time they'd been here since the war began. I gestured for silence and pressed my back against the corner of a corridor, poking my head out to look down towards the entrance to the cafeteria.

There were quite a few women there, some of whom I recognised. Coco was the most familiar, her deadly handbag at her side, but I also spotted Velvet's distinctive ears. All in all there were at least fifteen outside, and I had to assume at least forty or more in. There was no way the cafeteria would be less defended than a single objective point in the East Wing.

"It's still guarded," I whispered to Ren and Yatsu. They nodded and stepped back. We retraced our steps in the other direction, until we came to an intersection that led towards the library, where Ruby had told us the men were kept prisoner. A quick look around the corner provided for an even less welcome sight.

"Weiss," Ren said. "I guess they didn't send all the best fighters to the front line. It makes sense. She could use her glyphs and dust abilities to close off the entire corridor in ice if she wanted to. It would be enough time for her to stall until reinforcements came from the cafeteria."

"There are only twenty or so guarding the library," Yatsuhashi pointed out. "It is the easier target."

"But the cafeteria isn't even two minutes away. Reinforcements would arrive almost straight after we engage them."

They were both correct, of course. There wasn't much we could do. The forces we needed were in the library and the only way we'd reach them was if Weiss and her lot were taken out first. I couldn't free any if she was close enough to invalidate it. Since this was basically on the teacher's doorsteps, they'd surely be watching.

Wait… that was it.

I turned to the others and grinned. "I have an idea."

/-/

As ideas went it wasn't exactly a subtle one. Weiss stared at me with her mouth open, hands slack at her side. The other guards stared as well, far too shocked to attack, raise the alarm, or even make a move to capture me. All they did was stare... it was a little awkward, honestly.

I strummed a hand nervously over the strings of the guitar. It hadn't taken long for someone who owned one to sprint back to their room and pick it up. It wasn't tuned, but that was fine. I wasn't a very good player anyway.

"I'd like to dedicate this song to Weiss Schnee," I said. "The most beautiful girl in all of Beacon… it's… uh… it's called `Be mine`."

Weiss' mouth worked open and shut. "Ack… you… hng…"

With permission granted, I took a deep breath and dove right in. "Oh, Weiss Schnee. She's the bee's knees. She's so damn pretty, that I wrote this ditty. People might call her cold, but if I can be so bold, I think she's the most gorgeous girl in Beacon~"

"Arc…" Weiss growled. Her face was red and against all odds I dared to hope. Was she actually blushing? Had I finally managed to thaw the ice about her heart? Weiss' crimson face only got brighter, but when she took a step forward, it didn't look like running into my arms was on her mind.

More like running me through…

"Stop that immediately!" she hissed.

"And though she always rejects me, I hope that now she can see – how much I looo-"

"Stop! Stop it now!"

"Her bites as strong as her bark, but when I'm alone in the dark, I hope that one day… I hope that one day… she'll call herself Mrs A-" I ducked an icicle that would have struck my throat. It shattered on the wall behind me. I winced. "No good?"

"I'm going to kill you!" Weiss shrieked, charging forward. "No one will find your body!"

The moment she moved, so too did the others. I wasn't sure if that was to support her or prevent her from following through on her threat and actually ending me then and there. There was no telling how serious she was. Either way, I did what I did best and shrieked like a little girl. My legs were running before my brain even told them to.

"Get back here Arc!" Weiss howled, from the sounds of it almost in stabbing distance behind me. "If you want to sing I'll give you a few new air holes in your throat. Maybe someone can use you as a flute!"

"Would you have to kiss me to do that?"

"ARGHHH!"

Okay, wrong thing to ask. I ducked again as something flew overhead. At the intersection ahead I took a right, diving into cover as the girls skidded into the crossroads and came face to face with at least twenty men, all armed and ready. Weiss cursed and looked in the other direction, seeing just as many on the other end and now rushing in to pincer them.

That didn't stop her lunging for me, however.

"Charge!" I shrieked. "Charge them now!"

"I'll mount your head on my wall, Jaune Arc!"

I barely got Crocea Mors up in time to parry the strike – and I whispered a quick thank you to Pyrrha for the training that allowed me to do it – before the battle lines closed and it turned into a confusing mess of a brawl. I lost sight of Weiss in the melee and found myself facing a different girl instead, some green-haired chick from Mistral. She darted in and under my guard and kicked me in the stomach, but her finishing blow was blocked by a pair of green blades. Ren pushed her back and away, stepping over my body to save my life.

The fight was wild and uncontrolled, locked in a corridor really too small for it, and many were the people who couldn't even swing their weapons properly for the fact that walls, or even other people, got in the way. Yatsuhashi's giant frame was visible above it all, but everything else was a mishmash of colour, shouting, and the clash of steel. I pushed through in search of someone to fight but somehow ended up getting lost and ending up outside of the fight entirely.

(Odd considering that Jaune's sense of direction is normally without fault. He did tend to find himself `lost` during fights rather often, however, sometimes missing them entirely. I'm sure this malady troubled him greatly.)

Outside of the fight and with Crocea Mors in hand I took a moment to catch my breath and assess the situation. The noise we'd caused was nothing short of a racket, and I doubted those in the cafeteria could have missed it. Worse, we weren't winning quite as fast as I would have liked – and that wasn't just a case of Weiss fighting like a cornered animal, but the battlefield not allowing us to bring out numbers to our advantage. Many were the men forced to awkwardly wait their turn on the back end of the fight.

But the battle was a small distance away from the library, I realised. Easily twenty metres or more – enough to count against Weiss for the rules of the war. "Keep them busy!" I called, turning and rushing for the library. All I needed to do was free the prisoners inside and we'd be saved. A pleased laugh escaped me as I reached the library, ran my ID card down the lock, and kicked it open.

Two hundred or more faces turned in my direction. All of them were male.

"No guards on the inside?" I said, and laughed once I realised it was true. That was perfect. I dashed in and slapped a hand against one man's shoulder. "You're free. Quickly, free the others and prepare to fight." I reached over to touch a second, and then a third. "Go, go, go. We need your help outside!" I rushed for another table, where several men were reading comics or books and repeated the message, but my smile soon faded and died.

None of them had moved.

"What are you lot doing?" I asked. I didn't shout but in the silence I might as well have. Everyone heard me. "You're free," I repeated, touching a silver-haired teen once more. "The girls outside are busy so you're safe to move. You can free everyone else and we'll all be out of here in a minute or two."

Still, there was no movement. The man I'd touched, the man I'd freed, refused to meet my eyes, but he did speak.

"What's the point?"

"E-Excuse me…?"

"What's the point?" the silver-haired teen asked, still not meeting my eyes. "They'll just capture us again and the war ends tomorrow. We might as well just call it over."

There was a murmur of agreement from the other prisoners, most of which had their eyes fixed firmly on the floor or the tables in front of them. I heard someone mention how they were fed, another on how they were safe. "It's easier than fighting," a third said.

None disagreed, and I knew in that instant what had happened.

They'd lost their hope.

They'd given up.

I wasn't sure how I'd forgotten, or maybe I hadn't but I'd allowed myself to get caught up in this crazy fantasy everyone else was living. Most of the people here had been caught when the war began, but yet more had surrendered of their own volition, trading freedom for food at a time when they needed it most. They didn't have any hope because they'd never had reason to, and hadn't I been the same not so long ago? Wasn't I still the same? It was only the threat of what Nora planned to do to Ren and I that had kept me from surrendering at the outset of the war.

I wasn't some hero; I wasn't even the War Chief my people thought I was. I was just a fraud and a fake too frightened to admit they had me wrong, that they'd pinned their hopes on the wrong guy.

But even so… despite all of that…

"Look me in the eyes and say that," I said. "Don't you dare tell me you won't fight without looking me in the eye!"

The man from before, the one who had spoken, did do. His eyes were dull, flat, and filled with something that couldn't be placed by words alone. He was like a caged animal made docile, fed until he was fattened and now waiting patiently, curled up by his master's feet, content to bark for treats and – if he was lucky – a pat on the back.

I saw that same look in all of them. Not a one of them had come from our group, from Jaunehalla. None of them had stood and fought, but not because they were cowards. They hadn't because they'd never been given the chance, because they'd found themselves trapped in an unwinnable situation.

The sounds of battle outside grew in volume, the battle cries of more women echoing through the halls as the guards from the cafeteria joined the fray – out numbering my forces at last. It would be over soon. If I wanted to, if I let it, we could fail here. I could hide among the prisoners and there probably wasn't enough time for Nora to do anything too embarrassing to us. The war was over tomorrow, and all the girls would be too tired from breaking through Sun's Great Wall. We could end it here and no one would be any the wiser. The guys would hear about it afterwards and shake their heads. They'd talk of how I'd tried my best but come up against a bunch of cowards who didn't dare fight. No fault of mine, or theirs, just bad luck and some people being pansies. I could give up now… and no one would fault me…

I pulled forth a chair from the table, scraping it across the wooden floor. Prisoners looked up, but eyes widened as I didn't sit on it. I stepped on the chair instead, and then used it to step up onto the table in front of me. In clear view of everyone, and with the backdrop of battle behind, I spread my arms wide.

"Look at you!" I said. "Look at you all, beaten and defeated, look at your faces, your hands, your eyes. Do you know what I see when I look at you?"

"Cowards?" the one from before muttered.

"Cowards? Is that what I see?" I looked out over them and there was not a one who didn't duck his head when I passed by. Shoulders hunched and hands clenched into fists all across the library. With a sigh, I dropped my arms. "That isn't what I see. I see men who have been bested and those who have given up hope. I see despair and defeat, but more than any of that I see my own reflection. I see myself in you. Every single one of you! I see a frightened and skittish lamb desperately wishing to be something more, and I know what it's like to be there. I see the eyes that stare back at me every time I look in the mirror and ask, for the one hundredth time, just why I'm in Beacon."

"But I see more than that." I met the gaze of one man who dared look up, his eyes wide. "I see men who have been defeated. I see men who have faced adversity and failed to best it, and yes, even men who saw no other option when times were bad. I see men who failed, but I don't see men who didn't try their hardest!"

"I see proud huntsmen. I see fighters, warriors, heroes, all. I see people who stood up against the Grimm, who faced down Beowolves the likes of which would send any sane person running for their lives. I see the best of the best – men who never back down but who never got the chance to fight because of how this war was sprung on us, because we never had a fair chance when the cafeteria was taken on day one and we were left without food!"

A few of them whispered and hissed in response. Eyes flashed and hands clenched into fists. It wasn't fair. It never had been, and they damn well knew that.

"I can't turn back time and I can't change the way things are. I'm just one man, one lamb, but I'm here stood before a pen of wolves. I stand before men whose hands grasp for weapons that aren't there, and who never had a chance to prove that they are men! I stand here and call upon you – not with promises of victory – but with a promise that right here, right now, I can give you that chance you never had! That I can give you that one moment of glory, that second where we rise up and show the women of Beacon that we are their equals, that we won't surrender and run away with our tails tucked between our legs. That we are warriors. That we are Huntsmen!" I slammed one foot on the table and pointed at the silver-haired student before me. "What are you!?"

"I'm a huntsman!" he hissed.

"You!" I called, pointing to another. "What the hell are you!?"

"A huntsman!"

"And y-"

"Huntsman!" The last man roared his answer as he stood up, and others did the same, clamouring and baying angrily. The dark-skinned man thrust out his hand. "Free me! I'll fight!"

It set off an avalanche.

"Free me!"

"No, me!"

"Free us!"

"I'll follow you to the ends of Beacon!"

"He knows the way!"

"He will show us the way!"

"Commander!"

A loud slam cut off the chants. The door opened, and behind it stood Weiss Schnee, dusted, bruised, but no less furious than she had been a moment before. Her chest rose and fell and she clutched Myrtenaster in one hand. It swept up to point at me, at my heart.

"Enough," she hissed. "Enough shouting, enough fighting – and enough of you, Arc! Your little rebellion ends now."

"No!" someone yelled.

"Fight!"

"Silence!" Weiss shouted. "All of you sit down! You are beaten, you're defeated. Sit down or I promise you now I'll make you regret it."

"We're men!"

"You are prisoners," Weiss corrected. "And you'll soon have another one to talk to. And you, Jaune Arc, will be mine to deal with as I please!" She took a step forward, confident in the knowledge that no one would dare challenge her.

It was for that reason that she was unprepared for the table that rushed straight for her.

"Free them!" Mercury Black yelled, having kicked the table he'd been sat at toward the door. Weiss was forced back outside and the desk slammed against the door frame. "I'll keep them busy. Go! One last fight – even if it's a hopeless one!"

"Free me!"

"Take me, I'll fight!"

My eyes widened, and against my will a watery smile slipped across my face. I nodded to the man who'd once been so defeated. As he rushed along to hold the door, I charged in the opposite direction, slapping my hand against the various ones held out between rows of tables.

"You're free. You're free. You're free!" I chanted it constantly, and chairs were knocked to the floor as students surged upwards and toward the door. "You're free. You're free. You're all free!" As the battle raged I hurried up the staircase to the second floor, and yet more men waited, leaning out from their desks with hands extended and eyes wild and full of light. "Free. Free. Free. Free!"

I reached the last and slapped my hand against his, the flesh of my palm bright red and my arm all but tingling from the pain. As the person nodded and vaulted the balcony, landing in a roll and picking up a chair to use as a weapon, I stepped up onto the balustrade of the balcony, looking down over the two hundred free men. They were all of them unarmed, though some had formed makeshift weapons from books, tables, and even one enterprising man using his shoes with the laces tied together as nunchucks.

"Arise, men. Arise, wolves!" I yelled. "The foe is before us, the foe that would enslave us, and the very foe that would rob us of our freedom! March; march for the cafeteria – for food and glory. March! March for victory!" I swept my sword down, pointing it toward the door. "For Jaunehalla!"

The horde roared. They surged forward, tearing the table from the door and pouring out into the corridor with fists flying. Weiss cried out, as did others and soon they were swept away by a tidal wave they could not hope to hold.

"To the cafeteria!" I roared. "Push through! Push!"

Weiss and her guards tried to hold the line. Coco appeared soon after, and tried to cow the horde into submission. She was tackled by Fox, a teammate who had been imprisoned since the start – and Weiss was borne down by the press of bodies, stripped of her weapon and sent spinning to the ground. It was all the girls could do to watch wide-eyed as the prisoners rampaged through them, ignorant of even the wounds they took in the process, screaming their pent-up fury at the top of their lungs.

We did not defeat them that day.

We swept them from the field of battle entirely.


Excerpt:

On Days of War

Octavia Ember


It was noon on the final day of the war when the female warriors returned victorious from conquest. Stomachs rumbled and limbs dragged heavily with fatigue, and yet their heads were held high, for even if the perfidious leader, the King of the North, had escaped, his forces had been shattered. Eighty or more were those who had been captured, their hands laced together by shoelaces as they were marched in the middle of the column, their heads bowed in defeat.

The women were raucous in their victory, laughing and shouting between one another. They had every right to be, for in just twenty-four hours victory would be achieved at last. The High Queen had promised a feast that would never be forgotten for our achievement, and many were the stomachs that rumbled in anticipation. The Queen herself was pensive, marching at the front. I personally knew she had expected the capture of the King, Jaune Arc, and the means for how he had escaped still remained a mystery.

But such mysteries had a tendency to reveal themselves. So, too, did this one as we rounded the corner to the cafeteria – and found ourselves faced with a wall. It was a wall of blue lockers, but also a wall of flesh and steel, all aimed towards us. Shock ran through the returning army and the column halted, the news being passed further down the line to those who had not yet seen the travesty ahead.

"What… what the hell is this!?" Captain Yang Xiao-Long demanded.

A commotion began in the men's lines and a figure appeared from the front. I didn't recognise his face but others must have, for they gasped in shock. "Jaune…" the High Queen whispered, and again the news was whispered through our ranks.

Jaune Arc was not as many had imagined. He was tall but no giant, and while his eyes roved over them critically they did not burn with eldritch fire. He did command a certain presence, however. Even if that might have been accentuated by the rocket lockers he stood upon.

"Welcome to the cafeteria, Pyr," he said. "I'd offer you a sandwich but I'd have to ask you to surrender first." He grinned as gasps flew through the female line. "Turnabout is fair play after all."

Yang pushed past the Queen before she could reply. "Oi, vomit boy. Where's Weiss?"

"Weiss?" he asked. "Well, she's around here somewhere. Ah, there she is." He pulled someone up on stage beside him. She was held by Lie Ren and Yatsuhashi Daikon, and Weiss Schnee would surely have had colourful words for which to describe her situation.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, she couldn't speak past the strip of cloth stuck in her mouth.

Brigadier General Weiss Schnee – one of the leaders of our empire, an empire which had stood victorious until this time, had been captured. The shock of that revelation spread like wildfire and I was not alone in taking a nervous step back.

The High Queen, however, did not. "The cafeteria is ours, Jaune."

"And the auditorium was ours but it looks like you smashed the place up. Things change, and besides, you lot kept the cafeteria to yourself all this time. It could have been a neutral place where everyone could peacefully eat, but you turned it into a weapon. Or she did," he added, nodding to Weiss. It had to be a guess on his part but yes, it had been the Brigadier General's idea. "Now it's our turn, Pyrrha. Anyone who surrenders will be allowed food. Anyone who doesn't? Well, there's a perfectly good auditorium up north."

He smiled at the last, and his words were echoed by the jeers of those who stood beside him – men who were, as far as we could tell, prisoners rescued from the library. But a day ago they had been cowed and defeated - quick to follow any instructions - but now they brayed for blood like wild animals. They had armed themselves too, and suddenly the rocket lockers which formed their hastily built wall made more sense.

The numbers were, for the first time, even. The High Queen had taken three hundred or so with her, and there could not have been much more than that which stood before us, perhaps even less. Despite that, the men held a defensible position and were well-rested, while the girls had just fought a gruelling campaign to fight their way past six rows of fortifications, each laden with traps and hidden tripwires that splashed flour and water in their faces. The women were exhausted, bruised, and also very, very, hungry.

They could not fight. The women knew it, the men knew it, but still they would not sally forth for even if they had been freshly freed, they too were not at full strength. It was, by all definition, the perfect stalemate.

"We have your defenders prisoner," Pyrrha called. She gestured for the men to be brought forward and they were, such well-known commanders as Sun Wukong and Neptune Vasilias. They were pushed to their knees.

King Jaune's eyes narrowed. "You do."

"We'll trade them for food, their weight in food for you to have them all back. It's the same deal we made for Ruby a few days ago."

It was a good deal, a necessary deal. The food would give the women the strength to recover and plot their counter-attack, and then to seize the cafeteria on the final day, crushing the resistance once and for all. King Jaune would have no option but to accept as well, lest he face the wrath of his-

"No."

The silence that ran through the two armies was indescribable. The single word, callously given, condemned the captured men to life as prisoners. Sun Wukong's head fell, while those behind the wall of lockers shifted and traded awkward glances. Even we were surprised, and those that seemed to know Jaune of Arc were the most so, gasping open-mouthed.

Ruby Rose stepped forward. "W-What? Are you saying you'll give us less?" she asked.

"No. I'm saying I won't trade food for them at all."

"Prisoners, then? You'll give us Weiss?"

"No." His words were like the tolling of a distant bell. "I won't make a prisoner trade."

Eighty men… that was how many the King of the North was willing to sacrifice. That he would sacrifice any at all cemented him as a monster, but the number alone was inconceivable. It would be a sizeable addition to his force and bought in something he had a limitless amount of, and yet for ultimate victory he would cast them away, starving us but also condemning his own to suffer.

The High Queen's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Very well, Jaune. We'll return to the North Wing for now, but make no mistake – we shall return. The cafeteria is ours."

"It was yours," he said. "Things change."

He stood there like an immovable statue as Pyrrha Nikos signalled for her forces to turn and march in the opposite direction. The prisoners were tugged along.

"One moment," he called, stopping them.

"Have you changed your mind, Jaune?"

"Not quite." The King checked something on his scroll and whispered some words to Lie Ren, who we knew to be his Spymaster and left hand. The Spymaster nodded back, pointed to something, and then melted back into the ranks of men. King Jaune Arc turned to his right hand, then, The Iron Beast, Cardin Winchester. The burly man nodded back, and the King of the North turned to us with one eyebrow raised. "I was just wondering how you intended to feed those prisoners." he said.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, it's just that by the laws of the war you have to keep your prisoners fed. Correct me if I'm wrong but you don't have any food other than what you took with you, which wouldn't even be enough for yourself at this point." His smile grew. "So, how do you intend to feed those prisoners?"

There was no answer. Pyrrha looked to Yang, and Yang looked to Blake, and Blake looked for Weiss except that she was trussed and gagged next to their enemy. Ruby and Nora shrugged, while many of the other girls whispered in confusion.

"Maybe you never thought about it before since you had the cafeteria next door," he continued, "but the rules state that if you can't feed your prisoners three meals a day then you have to let them go. Since we're right next to the tower of Beacon I'm sure Miss Goodwitch is watching right now. So, how do you intend to feed those prisoners, Pyrrha?"

The High Queen's hand clenched into a fist. She was trapped. They all were. With a pointed sigh Pyrrha turned to those around the prisoners and waved one hand. The message was clear even if no words were uttered. The men were released, their bindings undone.

Sun Wukong rubbed his wrists and looked around in awe, like a man who had been deprived of sunlight and whom had just seen it again once more. He stared at the King on the wall, and after a brief second he whooped and rushed forward. Their fellows followed, cackling wildly as they leapt up and were hoisted over the wall by their allies. Cheers were raised from the men, and the distant chanting reached them once more.

"Jaune. Jaune. Jaune. Jaune." It repeated, over and over.

"This won't make a difference, Jaune," Pyrrha Nikos called, raising her voice so that it could be heard over the din. "Even with those returned to you our numbers are even. Once we've had a chance to recover our energy we'll return, and you know full well we eclipse you in terms of quality." Pyrrha, the Invincible Girl, stood tall and proud. There were few who dared doubt her words, or her skill.

"Maybe you're right," Jaune Arc said, "and maybe you're wrong. I guess we'll find out. Have fun in Jaunehalla, ladies. If you need us… we'll be having a little victory feast."

The men roared and clashed their weapons together, while we were left to scuttle away to the North, our prides bruised and our egos shattered. The men's jeers and taunts followed us, and they seemed to haunt from every corridor and window. All too many of us had become complacent in victory, certain that nothing could stop us. For many it was a wakeup call. For some, it was a devastating blow. For Beacon, it marked the final stages of the Civil War.

The war had at last truly begun.


My, that was a very long excerpt at the end. I originally wrote it as Jaune's POV and part of the chapter but it didn't quite capture the essence of the scene and I re-wrote it as an excerpt. I really wanted it from the women's point of view, and specifically to show how Jaune's actions are `perceived` by their side. You can rest assured he was bricking it up there and desperately praying Pyrrha wouldn't just call an attack.

Well, Jaune knows `the way` and now the men are prepared for the final battles. Will it be Magnis from OGT all over again? How many will fall? Has Jaune finally lost it and given in to the madness?

Find out next time.


Next Chapter: 10th February

P a treon . com (slash) Coeur