Hello, dear readers! I am extremely thankful for the feedback many of you sent my way, and for everybody that followed or favorited the story!

Now, future chapters might not always come out on a weekly basis since I have another story going on, but I wanted to be quick with the first few chapters of this one. So let's get going!

Beta Reader: DragonManMax

Pyrrha Nikos stood up from the side of the injured boy as he visibly fell into unconsciousness. Feeling light-headed from the chant she had just recited and from the powerful response she had received, she staggered back a few paces. The boy shone a dazzling white for an instant, and Pyrrha shivered from the aftershock of unlocking his aura. Jolts of energy ran through her body, and the tingles left behind stayed for many seconds.

Remarkable, Pyrrha thought. For him to have such high levels of aura directly after getting it unlocked, it is truly impressive. He might yet survive this day.

A powerful war cry from one of her allies brought her back to the present situation, and she shook her head clear.

All around the Mistralian girl, soldiers and Beacon initiates were still fighting a violent battle against the Grimm, and she had to do her part. Pyrrha ripped her sword out of the ground where she had planted it and turned to face the battle.

Far to the West, a large portion of the Valean strike force had formed a defensive formation around the banner of Lord Greenfield and were resisting against a push from a compact unit of Grimm. Many soldiers were now on foot and had formed a shieldwall, blocking the path of the Grimm and keeping them in place. Meanwhile, knights on horseback rode on both sides of the formation and performed repeated charges on the flanks of the bogged-down monsters.

This was the only semblance of organization still seen on the battlefield. In all other areas, the fight had devolved into a mess where soldiers fought alone or in small groups against similarly disorganized packs of Grimm. Small bands of Beowolves surrounded and tried to cut down soldiers separated from the others while Ursai and Boarbatusks charged into anything that moved and broke down all formations.

The Valean knights and mercenaries were visibly getting overwhelmed, many already dead or wounded on the ravaged ground of the plain, but the latest group to have entered the fight fared demonstrably better.

Like a whirlwind of steel and blood, the initiates to the Hunter Guild of Beacon moved through the army of Grimm and left none living behind them.

All by herself, Yang Xiao-Long fought like a destructive force of nature unleashed upon the Grimm. Her entire body was aflame, and she ran from one beast to the next with unequaled ferocity. Mailed fists cracked knees and ribs, jaws and skulls, and the cries of anger of the blonde brawler resonated across the field.

Blake Belladonna was never far behind Yang, cutting down any beast left alive by her ally. Her blade came down in dark arcs upon the necks and tendons of the crippled Grimm, sending black blood flying in all directions.

Nora Valkyrie and Lie Ren fought side to side, smashing and carving through the ranks of the Grimm with impressive coordination. While the girl used her war-hammer to crush her foes and crumble them into little bits, the boy instead used his twin blades to deftly slice and puncture at their weak points. It seemed that not even the largest of Ursai could stand up to them when they were together.

While their duo lacked the levels of coordination seen in their allies, Ruby Rose and Weiss Schnee certainly were a force to be reckoned with as well. It was evident that the two had managed to push past their early conflicts and were now a true duo like Grandmaster Ozpin had hoped. Pyrrha started running towards them.

The two girls stood elbow to elbow as they awaited the next group of Grimm. Both had changed into their combat gear before the battle, and they looked nothing alike.

Ruby was all in red and black. Her blouse and skirt were black as night, as were the high boots that reached her knees. Her long red cloak flapped in the wind behind her, and her hood was raised over her head. On her right hip rested a long quiver of red leather, its equally red strap wrapping under her cloak and to her left shoulder. Rosewood arrows were seen poking from the top of the quiver. In her hands was the long redwood staff of her weapon, Crescent Rose. The curved blade of the scythe was presently folded over the staff, and a hempen string had been attached to both ends. The weapon looked monstrously large in the hands of Ruby, the staff being easily a foot taller than her, but it was evident by the calm way she wielded it that she perfectly knew what she was doing.

Weiss was all in blue and white. She wore a dress of flowing blue silk that followed the slim shape of her body and reached the middle of her shins. From a dark blue at the level of her chest, the silk shifted to a lighter tint near the hem. Over her shoulders was a white vest of a heavier fabric. The vest went to the small of her back and covered her arms to the wrists. On the back of the vest was the symbol of the STC, trade conglomerate of which she was the heiress. Her silver-white hair was set up in a long off-centered ponytail that caught every gust of wind. On her left hip was a satchel of blue leather, and on her right was the holster for a long and slim blade. This blade was now in Weiss' left hand and was placed at the right of her head pointed forwards. This was Myrtenaster, a rapier that could be infused with Dust by its user.

As Pyrrha was on the verge of reaching her allies, a new group of Grimm fell upon them. There were at least twelve, both Beowolves and Ursai, and were spearheaded by a massive Ursa.

Ruby launched herself into the air in a crimson whirlwind, spinning onto herself and dissipating the storm of rose petals as she reached the sky. Her blood-red cloak flapping in the wind behind her, she grabbed an arrow from the quiver on her right hip and nocked it to the string of Crescent Rose. Drawing the string of her bow and loosing the arrow in a single motion powered by her semblance, Ruby found the eye-socket of the first Ursa.

Weiss went into action at the very instant the massive Grimm understood its pain. While the Ursa reached up at his eye with a paw, powerless to remove the rosewood arrow from its ruined eye, the white-haired Atlesian gave it more to worry about. In a series of fluid and elegant motions, Weiss used Myrtenaster to bring down the monster. Ducking under its right arm, she kept her blade high and made a clean cut at its armpit, severing the tendon. Pouncing back up, she plunged the entire length of her rapier into the exposed side of the Ursa, wounding it terribly. The beast fell to its knees with a low growl that soon was silenced as its throat filled with blood. Not leaving the Grimm to drown on its own fluids, Weiss took a step back for momentum and thrust her rapier at the back of its neck, piercing it fully. The monster died within the second, and Weiss immediately got back into action.

Rosewood arrows continued to fall from the sky as Ruby got into a rhythm. Her semblance made it so she could draw her bow several times each second, and by the time she fell back onto the ground many Grimm had taken the appearance of porcupines. The young Huntress used her inhuman speed to remove the string from her bow, storing it into one of her many pockets, and unfold the blade at its top, all in less than a second. She then used her semblance to rush into the mass of Grimm in a storm of rose petals.

Pyrrha finally reached her allies, and she jumped into the fray with them. Keeping her hoplon shield Akoúo to her front and using the corpse of the dead Ursa as a platform, she leaped over the first row of Grimm and landed directly onto a bewildered Beowolf. The face of her shield smashed into the snout of the Beowolf and sent it crashing onto its back. Following the beast as it fell, Pyrrha thrust the point of Milò into its neck and pinned it to the ground. Keeping her center of gravity low to the ground and ripping her sword out of the dying Grimm's esophagus, the Mistralian girl swung it to her side and sliced off the leg of a second Beowolf which had no time to react.

As the beast fell to her side, Pyrrha had to bring her shield over her head to block the downward strike of an Ursa. The blow sent her reeling backward with a cry of pain, but she expertly found back her footing in time to dodge another blow from the Ursa's right paw.

Lesson learned, Pyrrha thought as she hid her pained grimace. Do not block a strike from an Ursa if you can manage to dodge it. Your shield arm won't be able to take too many of these hits.

Pyrrha might have been one of the most renowned tournament fighters in the history of her nation, but she severely lacked experience in combating Grimm. She truly needed to gain experience quickly. Only Huntsmen and Huntresses were truly meant to encounter Grimm on a regular basis, their principal duty being to destroy raiding parties on the border of each nation. These professional Grimm Hunters and their affiliated Guilds thus held most of the world's knowledge on the Nightmares of Remnant.

The challenge of fighting foes that she knew naught of had been one of the reasons Pyrrha had wanted to join a Hunter Guild, actually. Tournaments offered her no challenge anymore, as even the best knights of Mistral could not hold against her assaults in a melee, so she had needed something new to revitalize her love for battle.

As she watched the Ursa lift its arm for a third assault, Pyrrha realized that she had made the perfect choice. It had been years since she had felt so much adrenalin rush through her veins, since she had felt a true sense of danger and excitement from a fight. It had been years since she had fought an opponent truly worth her time. A feral grin made its way onto her face as the Grimm made its last step towards her.

In a fraction of a second, Pyrrha swung Milò to her side, using her semblance to unlock the mechanism within the handle. With a satisfying series of clicks, the many hollow metallic cylinders contained within the handle of her weapon extended into the shaft of a seven-foot-long Dory spear.

The Mistralian watched the paws of the Ursa come down at her until the last possible second before quickstepping elegantly to the right. The Grimm sent a shockwave into the ground as the entire weight of its attack missed Pyrrha, and for a few instants, the Grimm was left on four legs and vulnerable. Another Ursa was coming from behind Pyrrha at rapid speed, so she had to finish this one quickly.

Shifting her grip on Milò so that it was held over her head like a javelin, Pyrrha then struck down at the Ursa. The long blade of the spear punched its way through the thick skin at the back of the creature's neck and perforated it. The angle of the strike had not been perfect, the blade missing the main artery of the neck by mere millimeters, but it still sent the Ursa staggering away from Pyrrha as it managed to get its footing.

The girl followed the monster in its tracks, thrusting her spear at its legs as it moved away. The point of Milò glanced off an armored knee and caused no damage, but the beast still reflexively shifted its leg backward due to the blow. The rapid movement made the clumsy Ursa stumble onto its knees, and Pyrrha finally had her perfect opening. The blade of the spear stabbed through the Grimm's neck with so much force that two feet of the shaft followed it in. The Ursa could only twitch and choke as blood poured from its neck by the bucket, and the fire of life quickly extinguished within its eyes.

Pyrrha tugged on her spear with her semblance to more efficiently rip it out of the Ursa's neck before spinning on her heels and meeting eyes with its brethren. The beast roared at her in pure anger, the very air seeming to tremble under the power of the sound. Pyrrha merely got her footing in the mud and took her defensive stance, managing to ignore the pain in her eardrums. The pain rapidly stopped, and the Ursa fell headless to the ground.

Pyrrha smiled and relaxed her stance. "Well done, Ruby. It never saw you coming." She congratulated the hooded Huntress.

Ruby now stood between Pyrrha and the decapitated Ursa, the blade of Crescent Rose blackened by the blood of the beast.

"Thanks, Pyrrha." Ruby answered in a defeated tone. Her face was full of pain.

The Mistralian felt her smile break down at the suffering of her friend. She turned her head to look over the battlefield, seeing that the fighting had ceased everywhere. Dead or dying Grimm littered the plain, and fallen soldiers laid everywhere. The sight was hard to take in.

"Come on, you two, we shouldn't stay here any longer than necessary." Weiss walked up to the two red-headed initiates.

Pyrrha turned her gaze to the heiress, then back to Ruby. They both seemed shaken; and understandable reaction. Pyrrha shook her head gravely.

"You two are free to get some distance from here, but I have to stay. I need to make certain no wounded soldier is abandoned on the field." Pyrrha extended her arm, pointing away from where the main battle had taken place. "I unlocked the aura of an injured boy back there. I would appreciate it if you verified his status while I search for more survivors."

The two girls nodded sadly and walked away, leaving Pyrrha to her grim task.

Pyrrha slowly walked across the plain, taking care not to trip on a body or a discarded piece of equipment. Most of the Grimm had now entirely evaporated, their bodies transforming into a thick fog that now hung over the battlefield. Kneeling near yet another body in the hopes that the man would be alive, Pyrrha was instead met with the empty stare of a corpse. Upon closer inspection, the man seemed to have had his chest caved-in under his armor. Sighing sadly, Pyrrha reached out and gently closed the eyes of the man before standing up again.

Around her, a few more people were following the same process, either looking for survivors or scavenging for equipment. Some seemed to have been luckier in their search and were now assembling around injured soldiers, but those were rare.

By Pyrrha's estimations, there had been no less than fifty soldiers killed during the battle, about a quarter of the original force. This did not take into account the few gravely injured who were honestly unlikely to make it through the next few hours.

Such a horrific cost for such a minute victory, Pyrrha thought grimly.

Indeed, the Grimm might have been vanquished for the day, but they all knew that more were coming, and that they were coming soon. The herd of about two hundred Grimm that had been slain on the field of battle were quite certainly only the vanguard of the enemy, the first wave of attack. The messages from the frontier had been clear; what was coming was a true invasion force, not a simple raiding party of a few hundred members.

And yet this Grimm vanguard had already caused so many casualties on its own… it was becoming hard to believe that the entire force would be stopped…

No. She could not let herself fall into despair, now or ever. The Grimm might have an army incoming, but so do we. We will stand firmly against this invasion.

Pyrrha turned away from the carnage and walked back to her friends. Ren, Nora, Blake, and Yang were a short distance away, standing around their horses and talking to one another. Pyrrha knew that a touch of Yang or Nora's usual positivity would be great for her morale, but she doubted that even they would actually be able to show happiness in such a situation. Instead, Pyrrha walked to the side of Weiss and Ruby, who were still standing over the body of the unconscious blonde boy – a small distance away from where most of the fighting had taken place.

"No luck?" Weiss asked her as she arrived at their side, the sad tone of her voice making it clear what answer she expected.

"No luck." Pyrrha confirmed, causing the three girls to lower their heads in dejection.

Even if the two other girls had not followed her as she walked the battlefield, Pyrrha knew that they had harbored the same hope for more survivors as she did. She also understood why they had preferred not to join her in her search; they were still reeling from the shock of their first battle. Pyrrha was much the same, but she had still felt obligated to look for survivors.

Shaking her head softly, Pyrrha looked back up at Weiss and Ruby before talking.

"What about this young soldier?" She nodded at the unconscious boy at their feet. "Anything new since I left?"

"Nothing good." Ruby answered sadly. "He groaned in pain when we rolled him on his back, and he almost choked on the blood still in his mouth."

"He was coughing up blood earlier, so that makes sense." Pyrrha twisted her mouth into a pensive grimace. "You had the right idea when you rolled him back on his side. At least like that the blood can drip out of his mouth instead of pooling up."

"We had to roll him on his right side." Weiss continued. "His left arm is completely broken, so we didn't want to aggravate things by putting all of his weight on it."

Pyrrha continued her grimace. "Completely broken, you say? Do you think he'll lose his arm?"

"I can't rightly say." Weiss shrugged heavily. "Most people would lose their arm with such damage, there are simply too many shattered bones for anything to heal properly, but adding aura to the mix changes everything."

Pyrrha was certain she didn't imagine the judging tone Weiss had finished her sentence with, and the white-haired girl's glare was more than clear as well.

Deciding to ask her last few questions before dealing with Weiss' anger, Pyrrha turned to Ruby for her information.

"Have you determined his other injuries?" Pyrrha asked the youngest of their group.

Ruby scratched at the back of her head as she answered. "Well, he's got a few nasty cuts on his face and a deeper one on the side of his abdomen, but that should heal up pretty quickly. His helmet was so dented that we barely got it off his head, and when we did we saw that his hair is caked with blood and that some had soaked through his coif, so that's not good. The biggest thing is probably his chest, though. He seems to have a few broken ribs, and maybe a punctured lung to go with it."

"That would explain the blood in his mouth." Pyrrha nodded slowly at the young girl's analysis. It seemed that the boy was just as injured as she had feared.

Now that she took a good look at him, and with Ruby's analysis, Pyrrha could easily see the boy's injuries. Blood had seeped through his gambeson and between the links of his chainmail on his left arm. The shield he had worn on that arm had been thrown to the side, broken in a straight line from top to bottom. The painted sigil on the shield was cut cleanly in half. It was unrecognizable to Pyrrha; perhaps the crest of a lowly noble family or the simple symbol of a peasant-born knight.

The boy had light blond hair, but it was matted with blood at the front. It seemed he had taken a heavy blow to the head, or perhaps had struck the ground especially roughly. A concussion was likely, and that was perhaps the reason for his unconsciousness. His face was twisted into a grimace of pain.

Pyrrha would not be able to tell anything about the boy's chest injuries without putting her hands to him, but she trusted Ruby's assessment.

"We really need to get him to a surgeon." Ruby said, her voice filled with worry.

"Out of the question." Weiss spat out, her voice harsh.

Ruby turned towards the heiress with fear and disbelief in her eyes, rightfully confused. Pyrrha knew precisely what this was about, however. She sighed sadly before answering.

"Weiss is right, I'm afraid. We cannot bring him to a surgeon." Pyrrha told Ruby, becoming the new target of the young girl's disbelief.

"Why?" Ruby seemed distraught. "He might die if we just leave him like that! We can't know for sure that his aura will save him!"

"His aura is precisely the problem." Weiss said in a cutting voice. "Nobody outside of our group can know about it."

Ruby already had her mouth open and ready to counter, but then she visibly had an epiphany. She turned her head to look at the large group of knights and nobles standing in the distance, and her mouth twisted into a grimace.

Pyrrha herself had gotten this same realization a while back, as she was walking the battlefield.

Her unlocking of the young soldier's aura had been an instinctive and unplanned action; something that she had done in the heat of the moment as she saw the fire of life drain away from his eyes. It was a rookie mistake, and one that might prove to have grave consequences.

Aura was an extremely secretive and restricted matter in Vale as in the other nations of Remnant; it was maybe the only thing all nations truly agreed upon. Indeed, which ruler could possibly have a stable reign if each and every peasant had access such a powerful weapon as aura? Armies of superhumans could rise in revolt after each land reform, after each change in the nation's laws, and they would be able to match even the strongest of the state's armies.

Limiting who had access to aura thus made for a much more peaceful state, one where the nobility and their chosen few had the power to vanquish all but the most powerful revolutions. This was how all strong modern states were constructed.

This was how Pyrrha had been allowed to have her aura unlocked all those years ago. As a member of the powerful Nikos dynasty, one of the most powerful noble family of Mistral, Pyrrha had the birth-given right to wield aura.

Of course, there were a few exceptions to the rule. For the sake of stability, persons of low birth were occasionally given the right to wield aura, though strict rules were almost always put in place to prevent the spreading of the knowledge about this talent.

The personal guard of most noble families had their auras unlocked, thus forming elite cores in the armies of noble lords. The members of rich merchant families like the Schnees often paid their weight in gold for the right to have auras, as had been the case with Weiss. Hunter Guilds also had the right to unlock the souls of a few pupils each year, but only if they swore an oath never to use their abilities against any nation.

Huntsmen and huntresses were trained and had their auras unlocked from a very young age in general, has had been the case for Ruby and Yang, but some others were accepted at the age of seventeen into one of the main Hunter Guilds.

These Guilds were known to strengthen their numbers with children of noble lines who found themselves far down the line of succession, with the offspring of lowly knights unable to offer them an inheritance, and especially with the descendants of Huntsmen and Huntresses.

Just like a smith often passed down his hammer to his child, a Huntsman often trained and groomed his children in the art of combat and enrolled them in early combat academies.

"So what are we supposed to do?" Ruby asked, mild panic making its way into her voice as she looked down at the unconscious boy. "We can't just leave him here to die!"

"Of course not." Weiss said, her voice now calm. "Saving him might have been a dangerous mistake, but we cannot go back now, and we should do the most we can from that error."

Pyrrha had to smile at that. It was good to see that Weiss did indeed have a heart under all the layers of ice she covered herself in. In the two weeks they had spent together since starting this initiation to the Guild of Beacon, this was one of the first times Weiss showed anything that could easily be inferred to be empathy.

"We will bring him with us." Pyrrha decided. "He might yet die from his injuries in the next few days, but if he doesn't we will be able to discuss what to do with him."

Ruby's expression shifted from dejected to overjoyed in an instant, and Weiss stiffly nodded in approval of Pyrrha's decision.

And so the three girls went to work, trying to find a way to transport the unconscious boy with them when the strike force inevitably moved out of the area. None of them had brought a spare horse with them, and the only rider-less mounts around had already been claimed by others, so it was decided that somebody would have to ride double with the wounded boy. Pyrrha took it upon herself to be that somebody. She was the one that had caused this whole situation, so she now felt responsible for the young soldier.

The three girls quickly separated and went to their tasks. Ruby walked over to her sister and her group to explain to them the situation. Weiss went to retrieve their horses from where they had been left to graze. Pyrrha turned back and walked the battlefield again, deciding that she had to find some replacement gear for the unconscious boy. His helm was dented so badly that only a true smith would have a chance at repairing it, his shield lay shattered to his side, and he lacked a good weapon to use from horseback – he had most likely lost his lance or spear in the early stages of the skirmish.

Pyrrha was not especially fond of the idea of scavenging weapons from a battlefield, but the pragmatic side of her mind knew that it was for the best. Dead soldiers had no more need for their weapons, but living ones did.

She found a slightly dented but serviceable iron helm in the grass near a dead horse. She assumed that the original wearer had removed it and thrown it to the side in the middle of battle when it got dented. In any case, the damage was slight enough that she assumed Ruby could repair it with her tools.

Next, she found the shield she needed… still attached to a dead man's arm. The corpse had its legs stuck under a dead stallion, but that was evidently not the reason of death. The man's head had been smashed open by an extreme force and its fluids strewn around. It was a gruesome scene, and Pyrrha barely kept her composure. She knelt to the corpse's side and recited a short prayer to ask his forgiveness before unclasping the shield from his arm and standing back up. The shield was made of a single piece of strong oak, and was painted blue on its front. It was roughly the same size as the shield the unconscious boy had been using, which should help him accustom himself to its weight.

Finally, Pyrrha found a good replacement for a lance or spear; a long polearm that she immediately recognized as a Bec De Corbin. The weapon was almost five feet tall, most of that height being the wooden shaft. At the very top was a spike almost a foot long, at the back was the curved beak that gave the weapon its name, and at the front was a narrow hammerhead. These weapons were a common sight for the Mistralian girl, being a favorite of many tournament fighters. They were long enough to endanger even an enemy on horseback, and their beaks were specifically made to tear through even the best plate armor.

Content with her finds, Pyrrha walked back to her group – the polearm tucked under her right arm and the rest in her hands. Her six friends were standing around the unconscious boy, and she overheard their conversation before arriving at their side.

"So you don't think he's a knight?" Ruby asked Weiss, both standing near their subject of discussion.

"It seems unlikely." Weiss replied. "Just look at his gear; even a poor knight should have been able to pay for a shirt of chainmail that actually fits him."

"He probably bought it all at a weapon storage for a handful of coins." Yang chipped in before taking a step back for momentum and kicking the dented helm into the distance.

"He does have a pretty good sword, though." Ruby stooped down and grabbed the weapon. "There isn't anything especially fancy about the pommel, but the blade is good steel. A bit old, though… probably at least a few centuries." Probably a family heirloom, she thought.

That was when Nora saw Pyrrha approaching, and her exclamation of excitement drowned all other sounds.

"A Warhammer!" The orange-haired Huntress yelled out as she ran to Pyrrha and yanked the weapon from under her arm. "You found him a Warhammer! That's fantastic!"

Pyrrha chuckled softly and dropped the other items on the ground near the boy before answering.

"It's more of a mix between a Warhammer and a pickaxe, actually, but I'm glad you agree with my choice."

"Wait, is that a Bec De Corbin?" Ruby approached the weapon with wide eyes. "These weapons are normally made for the nobility… they're incredibly rare."

"Is that so?" Pyrrha seemed surprised, as if for her the weapon had been as common as a lance or a billhook.

It was probably the case, Ruby knew. The young girl often forgot about Pyrrha's noble background, but scenes like this one always ultimately reminded her of the societal gap that separated them.

Pyrrha quite clearly wanted nothing more than to bridge that gap; never acting as if she was in any way superior to any other member of their group and seeming overjoyed when others spoke to her as if she was any other girl, but it was no easy task.

Ruby herself always did her best to speak to Pyrrha as an equal and a friend, which had quickly made them close, but there were times where she had trouble ignoring the societal norms she had lived her whole life under.

Not wanting the silence to stretch longer, further accentuating the awkwardness she was starting to feel, Ruby turned her gaze back to the unconscious boy and spoke.

"Well, at least we can be sure that he'll be happy with his new weapons when he wakes up!" She said, trying to sound cheerful and to ignore the fact that her 'when' really should have been an 'if'.

"He certainly will." Weiss scoffed. "That polearm alone is probably worth more than everything else he ever owned."

"A fitting repayment for nearly dying in battle, wouldn't you think?" Pyrrha asked humorously. "And it would help him fit within our group if he ultimately decides to join us; none of us carries a weapon that could be considered as usual."

Ruby smirked at that, remembering the hours she had spent ogling the weapons and armor of everyone in their group in the two weeks since leaving on their initiation.

Pyrrha wore a beautifully crafted set of bronze armor, one that had no doubt been forged in her intention. Light yet strong, the armor was made of many separate pieces that left much of her skin exposed, thus barely restraining her mobility. Her breastplate followed the curves of her body and moulded perfectly around her waist. Her shoulders were bare, but thick vambraces protected her forearms and red leather gloves her hands. From her hips flowed a skirt of bronze mail that ended over her knees. Below her knees were greaves to protect her shins. To her back was strapped her hoplon shield, Akoúo, and her lance, Milò. The latter poked over her right shoulder.

While Pyrrha wore what most soldiers would have considered to be light armor, Weiss wore none at all. The Heiress of the Schnee Trade Conglomerate could no doubt have afforded the best armor available, made from the best steel and by the most experienced smith, but that would have been a waste of resources. After all, why use armor to diminish the damage from a blow if you could avoid it altogether instead? Weiss went into combat in a dress of flowing blue silk that ended mid-shins. The dress was of a darker blue up her body and changed to a lighter tint at the hem. Her rapier, Myrtenaster, was strapped to her right hip.

"Would you please stop staring at me?" Ruby was taken out of her thoughts by Weiss' sharp voice. Only then did she realize that her gaze had been focused on the Heiress for many seconds, completely lost in thoughts.

"S-Sorry Weiss!" Ruby apologized awkwardly, trying to diffuse the situation with a grin.

Weiss observed her with a raised eyebrow and a look of mild annoyance. Sighing softly and shaking her head, she then brought her left hand forward and handed Ruby the reins to her horse.

"The Lord's soldiers are already starting to move out." Weiss said as she moved back to her mare. "If we don't mount up now they will probably leave us behind."

Ruby's eyes widened and she turned to look at where most of the soldiers had been assembled. They were indeed starting to leave the area. Her own group was also starting to prepare, even Pyrrha having mounted her horse and brought the unconscious boy with her.

Not wasting a second, Ruby thanked Weiss and jumped onto her horse and stuck her feet in the stirrups. The horse turned its head towards Ruby in a familiar motion, and the girl reached to pet its nose softly.

"Don't worry, Zwei, we'll be away from here soon." Ruby said, trying to encourage herself more than her trusted horse. She was eager to leave the field of corpses far behind them, even though she knew that she would most certainly revisit it in her nightmares soon.

To her side, Weiss mounted her mare in a graceful motion and turned the beast away from the field at once. The rest of the group did the same, and soon enough the initiates of the Guild of Beacon were forming the back of a retreating column.

And voilà! If you have comments of any kind, I would be glad to hear them!

I managed to get in quite a lot of worldbuilding and character building for Pyrrha, Ruby, and Weiss, which I am extremely glad about. These three girls plus Jaune are my favorite characters and the ones I am more comfortable with writing for, so unless I see an uproar in the reviews they will most likely form the main group of four. The four others will still be there most of the time, but I can't exactly have eight main characters if I intend to have some legitimate characterization. Too many is just too many.

Anyways, the next chapter will be out in a couple of weeks (hopefully)! I'll see you there!