Chapter 1

Jaune blearily opened his eyes as someone shook him violently. He was vaguely aware that someone was also calling his name, looking up he could see one of his sisters was shaking him awake.

"Leave me alone." He murmured as he pulled his blanket up to his chin and turned to his left were his bed met the wall.

"Ugh, Jaune, Mom's calling you down for breakfast." The exasperated voice of his younger sister Claire drilled into his blissful sleep but he ignored her.

"Fine, be like that." She said and left the room. Jaune could hear her yelling about him not getting up but Jaune didn't care; it was the weekend after graduating high school. He needed to enjoy the small break while he can.

"Jaune!" A new voice yelled as someone jumped on him, effectively ruining any chance to sleep.

He looked up to see the face of his youngest sister looking down at him with a toothy smile, though her upper front teeth were missing so it was pretty amusing to see.

"Good morning Nessa." Jaune said as he stifled a yawn, Nessa poked his chin.

"Mom made waffles!" Nessa replied loudly as she bounced on his bed, she was also holding a plastic bag in her left hand.

"Well you better get down there and have some Nessa; you know Miriya and Helena are going to eat them all." Nessa smiled as she stopped bouncing before reaching into her plastic bag and took out a waffle. The smell wafted towards his nose and he had to admit, it smelled really good.

"They can't eat what's not there." Jaune felt a smile split his face as both of them started to laugh. Sitting up he stretched his neck as Nessa hoped down and sat on his bedside, holding out a waffle for him.

"Thank you." He said as he grabbed it, the waffle was still really warm and just as the two of them were about to bite down, someone cleared their throat. Both of them froze as they looked up at Jaune's doorway.

Arabella Arc stood at the door in a knee length white skirt, with a blue cardigan and white shirt underneath. Her arms were crossed and she was tapping her foot impatiently.

"I was wondering where all the waffles I made had disappeared." She said and Nessa slowly put her waffle back into the bag.

"Nessa, dear, please put those back. The others would like to eat waffles as well." Nessa hopped off his bed and was already halfway to the door before she turned around. She quickly ran up to him and took the waffle out of his hand before finally scurrying out of the room.

"Rest in peace you poor waffle." Jaune said aloud, knowing that it wasn't going to make it back downstairs.

"And I was calling for you mister." Arabella said as she looked at him and Jaune shrugged.

"I was just taking advantage of my day off." She nodded.

"Fair enough but I need you to do something, when you're done then you can do what you please for the day." Jaune sighed.

"Sure, what is it?" She stepped into the room and idly started to tidy the room up. Folding his hoodie and pushing his chair into his desk.

"I need you to go get your father." Jaune tilted his head a little.

"Where is he?"

"In his forge tinkering with whatever it is that he likes to tinker with." Jaune nodded, his dad liked to spend time forging weapons and armor when he's not busy with Arcadia or with training. He talked it over with his sisters a little about why he did that and as far as they could tell he did it when he had something important on his mind.

As his mom left the room, Jaune swung his legs out of bed and stood up. The cool air felt surprisingly nice if not sharp as the heat from his bed disappeared. Looking at the foot of his bed, Jaune walked over to it and started opening drawers to take out some clothes.

With his clothes in hand he headed out into the hallway, the noise of his sisters and mom downstairs was much clearer now. The aroma of food was much more noticeable now as well since it made his stomach growl as he headed down the hallway and opened the bathroom door.

Closing it behind him, he stripped off his clothes and hopped into the shower. He smiled as he couldn't help but have the feeling that today was going to be a good day.


10 Minutes later…

Jaune walked into the kitchen wearing a pair of white shorts and a black V-neck with his black sneakers. His mom was at the sink cleaning a few dishes and he looked at the center of the room where a black marble island had an assortment of plates on it with food.

Nessa, Helena, Claire, Miriya and his older sister Mina were all sitting around eating food. The plates in front of them were filled with strawberries, blueberries, bananas, a bowl of whip cream, bacon, scrambled eggs, waffles, along with a pitcher of milk and orange juice.

There were also two boxes of Pumpkin Pete's cereal, though one of them was already empty as Jaune sat down at the counter.

"Took your time." Helena said as she munched on a spoonful of Pumpkin Pete's.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Jaune said casually as he took the other cereal box and poured it into a white ceramic bowl.

"Jaune are we still going later?" Nessa asked her words muffled since she was chewing on a piece waffle.

"Nessa, don't talk with food in your mouth." Arabella called out and Nessa swallowed it.

"Sorry mom." Jaune chuckled as he leaned over and ruffled her hair much to her displeasure as she straightened it.

"Sure kiddo just let me go get dad after I'm done eating and we can head out afterward." Nessa smiled as she bounced in her chair.

"Wait, where are you two going?" Claire asked from the other side of the counter.

"The creek, Nessa wants to see if she can catch a fairy." Jaune said with an easy smile. Helena and Miriya both started to laugh a little at hearing that.

"I'm telling you, I was this close last time!" Nessa said holding her index and thumb close together, which only made the two of them laugh harder.

"Jaune, be careful with her out there, you know that some people might cause trouble." Claire said her face was far more serious than the other two, Jaune nodded as he glanced over at Nessa. While he did see her as his little sister, she was technically not his biological sister.

She had red hair, gray eyes and red fox ears that were black at the tips, her trait showing that she was a Faunus. Since she was a Faunus though and the nature of where they lived meant that the Arc family had run into more than a few people that had less than pleasant views of her.

Most of them learned that the Arcs didn't tolerate that very well, so whenever they got wind of someone saying an awful thing. His mom and sisters would more than likely pay them a visit that they won't forget.

"Don't worry I won't let anything bad happen to her." Jaune said as he looked back at Claire before quickly finishing his bowl of cereal.

"Alright I'll be back!" He called out as he headed out the kitchen door that led to the backyard. The birds chirped and the cool air nipped at his exposed skin as he stood outside. At the far edge of the backyard was a white wooden fence that separated the house from the nearby forest.

In that forest was where his father was, he had a cleared a small section away from the house to work in relative peace without risking any of the children getting hurt by accident in his forge. Jaune headed towards the fence and opened a small gate that led to the path to his dad.

"And where do you think you're going?" A voice asked from behind him and Jaune much to his embarrassment yelped in surprise. Turning around he could see a woman with silver hair in a dark grey coat, black pant fatigues and boots watching him with her arms crossed.

"What the shit Areto, you scared me." Jaune said as he put a hand to his chest to calm his heart.

"Hmmph, I guess we still need to work on your situational awareness." She said and Jaune shook his head.

"I'm pretty sure you were just did that on purpose besides why would anyone expect to be attacked in their own backyard." Areto furrowed her brow.

"Why would you not expect that? The Creatures of Grimm are an ever present threat even in Arcadia that can kill an entire family without anyone noticing."

"Yea but it's less of a problem in controlled territories and we're in the Kingdom of Vale, so there's bound to be a Huntsman or Huntresses patrolling the areas." Jaune said as he crossed his arms but Areto shook her head.

"We're not in the Kingdom of Vale technically; we're an hour south of where they've marked their territory. Besides that Huntsmen and Huntresses aren't as effective as you may think." Jaune sighed; this wasn't a new conversation that he's been having with Areto lately when he told her about wanting to be a Huntsman.

"Look I know that Huntsman and Huntresses aren't like you or anything that we have in Arcadia but they've helped keep the Grimm at bay here in the Four Kingdoms."

"Maybe but they're no soldiers Jaune, at best their freelancers who just so happen to have a common enemy at worst their vainglorious people who play at being heroes."

"And soldiers and other military people aren't?" Jaune asked slightly exasperated.

"No, we're totally full of ourselves as well Jaune but the only difference is that we accept that about ourselves. We, at least in Arcadia, don't act like we're pure heroes; we understand that the glories we gain can blind us with its luster." Jaune shook his head.

"I think that's an unfair assessment, these people aren't beholden to any government or organization. Sure they're freelancers as you call them but that just means they can chose to act on their own accord and not be bogged down by normal rules and regulations. If you still can't see that then I'll show you that they can be a force of good even more than any army." Areto held a hand up.

"Look Jaune I know you want to do this and honestly I'm all for it if you truly feel like doing this but I'm not the one that you need to convince." Jaune sighed, she was right. The ones he needed to convince would be his family.

There had already been a lot of tension when his oldest sister Katherine had chosen to become a Huntress, much to his parents' dismay.

It seemed as though their parents didn't want any of them to become Huntsmen or Huntresses. As far as Jaune or anyone else in the family knew, his parents just didn't like them, whatever reason they had they weren't sharing with them.

Though in the end they had to reluctantly accept what she did but that just meant that it would be harder for him to convince them.

So Jaune nodded toward Areto and turned back towards the forest to find his dad. Walking through the forest was always a calming experience for him, the smell and sound of nature made him forget the worries of everyday life sometimes.

Though even in this forest the creatures of Grimm were out there waiting for their moment to strike. It was one of the reasons why Areto was with them, she was not only a bodyguard but a trainer and caretaker of the house as well.

However she makes a point to remind everyone that their father and mother could take care of the family alone even if she wasn't there. His mom however did like the extra pair of eyes on the younger girls whenever she was indeed busy.

As he stepped out into a small clearing he could see into the distance that the path lead to a small hill that was devoid of trees on or around it.

There the path ends at the bottom of stone steps that led up to his dad's forge. There wasn't any smoke rising out of the chimney at the top, so Jaune suspected that his father was either done or close to finishing whatever he was working on.

As Jaune reached the steps he froze and spun around to see two black armored Praetorians at the edge of the tree line. Jaune watched as the two Praetorians stood motionless as they no doubt watched him, nodding in their direction he turned away to continue up the hill.

Jaune finally reached the top of the stairs and reached out to grab the door handle of a wooden door that led into the forge but he paused to look over his shoulder once more. The Praetorians were gone now, no doubt returning to their original position in the forest.

Jaune pushed open the door and immediately was hit by a wave of heat. Stepping inside his eyes adjusted to the dimness as he followed the sound of a hammer striking metal.

Within moments he was in the heart of the forge, weapons and armor lined the wall to his right while tools were on his left. Jaune could see a number of well-crafted swords, maces, glaives, and suits of armors.

A large furnace at the far side of the room emitted a considerable heat that made Jaune start to sweat.

Standing off to the side was Alexander Arc; sweat glistened off his body even in the low light as he stood only in pants as he worked. He pulled a sword blade up from a tub of cool water, steam wafted off the blade and he set it on a table to his right.

Jaune could also see the crisscrossing patterns of scars on his father body, to have attained such scars would have meant that his father had seen more than his fair share of fighting. Yet he never really talked about them in detail, always skipping over the question to talk about something else.

"Does your mother want me to come home now?" Alexander asked with his back turned towards Jaune.

"Yea, I don't know what she wants other than that though, probably just wants you to eat something." Jaune said as Alexander put the new blade aside and turned to face him.

"Alright, tell your mom I'll be home soon, just have to clean up here." Jaune nodded as he turned towards the exit.

"Actually, wait." Alexander called out and Jaune stopped to turn to his dad.

"You've completed school now Jaune, do you have any clue on what you would like to do now? If you want I'm sure I can get you into an Officer Candidate School." Jaune shook his head.

"There's no need to do that dad." Alexander nodded.

"Ah so you rather go through enlistment, it's hard and takes a long time to become an officer but I can respect that choice." Jaune held up a hand and shook his head again.

"Wait, that isn't what I mean." Alexander tilted his head a little as he looked at him.

"I don't want to join the military." Jaune clarified as he glanced over at the wall where all the armor and weapons were. He couldn't help but notice a set of white rudimentary plates on the table.

"Ah, is there something that you had in mind Jaune?" Alexander asked and Jaune scrunched up his face in thought.

"I'm not really sure how to say this." Alexander walked up to him and put his hand on Jaune's shoulder.

"Jaune, you are my son and I'll support you always with whatever decision that you make." Jaune twitched a little as he took a deep breath.

"Dad, I want to go to Beacon." He said and closed his eyes. He could feel pressure from his dad's hand increasing a little on his shoulder, maybe now wasn't the right time to suggest that.

"So you want to be a Huntsman?" Alexander said, Jaune looked up to see his face devoid of emotion and he nodded.

"Did your sister put that idea in your head?" Alexander asked as he stepped away and leaned against one of the tables and crossed his arms together.

"No, what I do and want are for myself alone not because someone told me." Jaune said and Alexander hummed as he noticed the open implication of what he was trying to say.

"Fair enough, you are your own person." Jaune felt a wave of relief wash over him.

"That being said I will not approve of your decision until you prove to me that you can handle yourself." Jaune blinked.

"What?"

"You heard me, while it's true that over the last few years Areto has given you some training, it takes more than just conditioning to become a soldier let alone a Huntsman." Alexander walked over to the table with the plates on it and picked up a white diamond shaped breastplate.

"I was going to give you these to prepare for your career in the military but I suppose they'll work fine for your goal to be a huntsman." Alexander said and held out the plate for him to take. Jaune took it, the cool metal chest plate felt heavy even in both hands as he looked up from it. Alexander pointed his thumb the other pieces of similar armor.

"These are for you, I'll have Areto bring you a few training swords for you to pick from." Jaune furrowed his brow.

"Training swords?" Alexander nodded.

"I reckon a combat test would be a good show of how well you can learn new skills and you'll have only three months to practice." Jaune's eyes widen.

"Three months!? That won't be enough time for me to get trained properly in anything" Alexander nodded.

"Doesn't matter if you are a soldier or a Huntsman, you do what you can in the time you're given. No exceptions." Alexander handed more of the plates over to Jaune.

"Just so you know, these will only give you minimal protection; they're light weight and only protect a relatively small portion of your body. However if you can prove yourself to me Jaune then I'll get you your own set of armor along with a more permanent weapon." Jaune looked down at the chest piece and rubbed his thumb over the smooth surface.

"What if I don't make the deadline?" He asked looking up to see his father walking away from him.

"Then you'll have to give up your dream of being a Huntsman forever."


A Few Hours Later…

Jaune sat on a large stone rock watching his sisters playing by the creek. Claire and Miriya had come with them to the creek while Helena was stuck at home being tutored by their mom since she was struggling with school work.

"Jaune stop sitting like a loner and join us down here!" Miriya called out to him but he just shook his head.

"Nah I'm good!" Jaune replied as much he wanted to go down and join them he had a lot to think about.

With only three months to train he would be hard pressed in shaping up to a decent physical state, let alone a passable swordsman.

He wasn't out of shape or unfit, in fact he had some pride in having a slim but relatively well toned body. Sure he was far from being the strongest or fastest out there but he was still well above average in physical capability.

But if he compared himself to someone like Areto, he was nothing but a mewling baby. If there was one thing he truly learned when working out with her it was that there was a difference between gym fit and soldier fit.

"Oi, look what we have here!" A voice called out and Jaune snapped his head up to see a two teens coming from behind the trees across from him. One wore ripped up jeans and a long sleeve shirt while his friend wore a loose muscle shirt with baggy jeans.

Jaune frowned when he saw that they had their eyes on his sisters. So he stood up and walked down towards them.

"Say girls, why don't you hang out with us? We can have some real fun out in the trees if ya want." The one with the ripped jeans said, scratching his chest and Jaune could feel the sleaziness ooze off him.

"Wait a minute; they're hanging out with a fucking Faunus." The other man said with a snarl of disgust before spitting to the side. Nessa ran behind Claire and Miriya who backed away from the creek.

"I think it's time for you two to head off now." Jaune called out as he stepped out in front of his sisters and crossed his arms.

"Hey man if you like fucking wild animals that's fine but why don't you let those other two hang with us and we promise to take real good care of them." Jaune felt his eye twitch as a scowl grew on his face.

"I don't think so." One of them looked at him with a sneer of contempt.

"We didn't ask what you think; we're telling you to hand them over." They started to close in on him and he could feel the fear from his sisters.

"Jaune, we gotta go." Miriya said as she grabbed his arm and he quickly turned to them.

"Look I'm gonna deal with these guys but since there's two of them I want you three to run as soon as you can to get help and don't look back." Claire looked at him, outrage evident on her face.

"What about you?" He shook his head.

"I can handle myself but I couldn't live with myself if something happened to you three, so run. Got it?" The three of them nodded as Miriya bent down to pick up Nessa, Claire's eyes widen in horror as her mouth opened to warn him.

Jaune jumped backwards, hurtling into one of the guys as they tried to hit him from behind. The two of them fell to the ground and Jaune immediately rolled off to his right reaching out to grab the other guy's leg tripping him as he tried running past.

"You fucking piece of shit!" The first guy yelled as he grabbed the hair on the back of Jaune's head and punched the side of his head. There was an explosion of pain and his ear started to ring loudly as the guy let go of him in order to stand up. Jaune rolled away and got to his feet only to see another fist sailing towards his face.

Jaune's head snapped back as more pain flashed across his face and he stumbled back, nearly falling onto the ground again as he struggled to keep his footing on the rocks of the embankment. He blinked as he steadied himself again, the two teens laughed.

"Come on kid, you look like you're gonna cry any second now." Jaune took a deep breath to steady himself as he stood up straight again and raised his fists.

"Fuck off." They both frowned before charging him.

Jaune ducked under the first guy's fist and swung upward hitting him in the chin before turning to the second guy as he swung a wide right hook at him. Jaune raised his left arm up to cover the side of his head as he stepped inside the swing and gave a right hook of his own that hit the teen in the jaw.

As he stumbled back the first guy came up from behind and wrapped his arm around Jaune's neck. Jaune tucked his chin in and turned his head to the right to keep the pressure on his neck rather than his throat.

However the second guy was already back swinging for him again, his fist struck the left side of Jaune's face and again his vision exploded white with pain. He wasn't done as he immediately followed up with a second and third strike.

Jaune lashed out with a foot catching the teen in the groin. Yelling in pain he fell back as the second dragged Jaune back, he needed to think of something quick. He kicked backward and must have hit the other teen's leg as Jaune found himself being dragged to the ground.

The pressure around his neck however had loosened up enough that he was able to pry the arm off him as he rolled away again. Getting to his hands and knees he could practically feel his left eye swell up.

"That's it you little shit, you're fucking dead." The second teen said as he got up to his feet, Jaune looked over to see him pulling out a switchblade.

Jaune felt his heart sink at seeing the blade. As the teen got closer, Jaune tried to get to his feet, he needed to fight back and win. However the first teen was finally back up and kicked Jaune's head.

The next thing he knew was that he was lying on the cold wet ground and one of the teens was screaming his head off in absolute pain. Turning his head he could see the teen that had the switchblade was on the ground clutching his arm.

Jaune could see three blades embedded in his forearm. The other guy was kneeling with his hands behind his head; Areto was standing to his right with her longsword pointed under his chin at his throat.

"Easy there Jaune." A deep but gentle voice said and he looked up to see his dad.

"Sup." He croaked out, the older man chuckle but Jaune had already passed out.


Three hours later…

The first thing Jaune was aware of was pain, the pain in his face and head. Taking a deep breath he released it as he opened his eyes.

His left eye still wasn't opening fully and his bottom lip felt really stiff. Poking it with his tongue he winced at the stinging pain that was followed by a copper taste.

He was back in his room but the lights were off so the only illumination was coming through the window but it was muted by the drawn curtains.

"Jaune?!" A voice that practically sounded like thunder rang out and he winced as his mother came into view. She had been sitting silently to the side watching over him.

"Hey mom." Jaune said as he tried to sit up despite his head protesting the movement.

"Don't strain yourself honey." She said as she rubbed his back softly with one hand then held out a glass of water.

"Here drink this." Jaune took hold of the glass and drank it, the cool water soothing his headache from a hard beat to a soft tapping.

"I was really worried about you Jaune." Arabella said after a few moments of silence while Jaune finished the rest of the water.

"I'm sorry." Jaune said, unsure of how to approach this.

"I mean when your father brought you in with a swollen eye, a bloody nose and lip I felt the urge to find those boys and given them a piece of my mind." Jaune couldn't help but chuckle.

"But then the fear took root." She said softly and Jaune stopped chuckling.

"My baby boy was beaten and unconscious in his father's arms. It's been a long time since I had a true fear about losing any of you." Jaune looked down at his hands to see that there were scraps on his knuckles.

"I'm sorry." He said but his mother drew her arm around him, resting her smooth and cool hand on his cheek before pulling him close to her.

"It's okay Jaune, you may have gotten really hurt out there but you did it for a good reason. If you hadn't sent your sisters to get help something might have happened to them if they stayed there." Jaune closed his eyes, welcoming the relief it gave him to hear that.

"I'm proud of you."


An Hour Later…

Jaune was finally pushing himself out of bed when Alexander opened the door. His dad looked tired as he entered the room and closed the door behind him.

"You look as tired as I feel." Jaune remarked as he stretched his back, Alexander sighed.

"Well I just told your mother about our deal earlier so let's just say she wasn't very thrilled to hear about it." Jaune felt a grin spread across his face as he looked at his dad again but it fell when he saw how serious he looked.

"Oh." The image of his short mother lecturing the towering figure of his dad was amusing but he knew better than to show it on his face.

"I'm sure you find that funny but let's move on." Alexander said interrupting his thoughts and moved over to Jaune's desk to sit in his chair. Jaune winced at hearing the wood strain as his dad sat down.

"I'm not sure whether I should lecture you for being incredibly stupid or praise you for being brave enough to stand alone to let your sisters get home." Jaune felt his face heat up a little but Alexander held up his hand.

"I suppose in the end you're just stupidly brave however I must ask now. Do you still want to stick with our bargain?" Jaune blinked in surprise, he wasn't expecting that.

"Of course I want stick with it, I haven't even started in fact why would I quit now?" Alexander sighed.

"Because now you've gotten an unintentional glimpse of what life if going to be for you these coming weeks Jaune, pain will become a normal occurrence so I want you to think carefully on your answer."

"Oh."

"So knowing that, do you still think you can go on? If you say yes than once Monday comes around you'll be starting the training but if you say no then I won't fault you with that. Your mother and I will support you with whatever decision." Jaune shook his head.

"I still want to do it." Alexander nodded as he stood up again.

"I had a feeling you'd say that." He said before walking up to Jaune and held out a hand. Jaune looked down at it and blinked before grasping it. Looking up at his dad he could see the smile on his face.

"I proud of what you did out there Jaune, don't you ever forget that." Jaune nodded as the door swung open. Claire, Helena, Miriya, and Nessa stormed into his room.

"Jaune are you okay!"

"What were you thinking?!"

"Are you feeling better?" Everyone started yelling while Nessa jumped at him, wrapping her tiny arms around his waist as she cried into his shirt. Helena, Claire and Miriya crowded around him as they poured question after question while fussing over his face.

"Wanna help me out here?" Jaune asked as he looked to his father but Alexander grinned.

"This is your first lesson; learn to handle the emotions of those you love when you're injured." Jaune watched as Alexander left the five of them alone. He reached down to rub the top of Nessa's head as she cried, apologizing over and over again.

"Nessa, look at me." The young Faunus girl didn't look up at him as she just shook her head.

"Pretty please?" He asked raising his voice higher, much to chagrin he was able to do that easily but at this moment he was more than willing to live with it.

The younger girl finally let go of him and stepped back, he winced a little to see that her grey eyes were puffy from crying with a slightly runny nose.

"I'm s-s-sorry Jaune." The younger girl said as she rubbed one eye with a tiny fist but Jaune knelt down as he took hold of her hand and smiled at her.

"Hey kiddo, there's nothing to apologize for. I did what I wanted to do and that was protecting you girls." She sniffed.

"But you got hurt." Jaune shook his head.

"It doesn't matter to me, I found gladly go through that again if it meant that you stay safe. So cheer up little one." Nessa sniffed again before hugging him.

"Well it matters to us Jaune; you could have gotten really hurt." Claire said crossing her arms in a clear sign of displeasure, Jaune sighed.

"I guess I just felt like I should stand my ground, people like that only learn by one method."

"But those same people know how only to act violently and from where I'm standing, it would have been just as likely to find you face down in the creek as it would have been finding you beat up like that." Helena chimed in.

"I understand your fear Helena I was fully aware something like that could have happened but I was prepared for it." Helena scoffed as Miriya grabbed his arm, the look of rage evident in her eyes.

"Bullshit, you look like crap Jaune." She said as she dragged him over to the full length sliding mirror of his closet. Jaune could see how bruised and battered he was but he just grinned.

"I swear if you don't wipe that stupid grin off your face, you're gonna be out cold for another three hours." Jaune did his best to fight down the grin, though it was clear that Miriya was stilled annoyed.

"For it's worth Jaune you did an amazing thing today but you should really get some training from Areto or even mom to put up a better fight." Claire said as he walked up behind him and patted his shoulder.

"Well from what I heard going on between Dad and Mom that's already going to be the case." Helena remarked Claire and Miriya looked back at her before looking at him again.

"What?" Claire asked and Jaune sighed.

"Dad and I have a deal; I train for a few months and pass a test or something in order to go to Beacon." All of them looked at Jaune in surprise.

"What? Isn't that what you heard from Mom and Dad Helena?" Jaune asked but the other girl shook her head.

"All I heard was Dad having Areto giving you fighting lessons." Miriya gripped Jaune's shoulders and turned him to face her.

"You're becoming a Huntsman?" Jaune nodded.

"Yea?" She narrowed her eyes.

"Why?"

"Why not? I want to help people but I want to be free to go where I want and do what I want which I wouldn't be able to do if I listened to dad and joined the Arcadian Military." Miriya let go of him and shook her head.

"You're just like Katherine, so fucking desperate to be unique with your rebellious phases that it's pathetic." Jaune narrowed his eyes as the others looked between them, Nessa running to hide behind Claire.

"Guys I think…" Claire began but Jaune cut her off.

"What's your problem Miriya? I'm not doing this to spite mom or dad I just want to freedom to choose what I want to do with my life."

"You can do that in Arcadia as well Jaune; they fight the Grimm just as much as the Four Kingdoms and the Huntsmen." Jaune shook his head.

"Arcadia hasn't involved itself with the Four Kingdoms in decades Miriya; we're nothing but an isolated Kingdom that squanders our strength by not offering assistance to the Four Kingdoms. If we actually cared we would lend our strength to the other Kingdoms to help them grow."

"That's an infantile response Jaune and you know it. The Four Kingdoms want nothing to do with us since the Great War; they ostracized us, not the other way around. Not only that they're not exactly paragons of virtue, we weren't even invited to the Vytal Accords and we had to step in on the Faunus side during the Faunus Rights Revolution even then they didn't see us as allies. "

"It doesn't have to be like that Miriya; we can make a difference out there, we can change things for better."

"Idealism may be fine for you Jaune but from where I'm standing once idealism meets reality it's easily as forgotten as any other dream."

"Then it's our job to make idealism become the new reality." Miriya looked him in the eye and Jaune expected to see anger but all he saw in her eyes was sadness.

"Then you're gonna be chasing a dream till the day you die."


Monday Morning…

Jaune nearly collapsed to the ground breathing hard; he was covered in sweat that drenched most of his shirt. The cool air burned in his lungs as he steadied himself.

Looking up he could see that the sky was starting to brighten up as the sun came up from the horizon. Yet he had already been outside for nearly three hours.

Areto had woken him up a little before five to get dress and meet her in the backyard to start their training.

Immediately she had started him off by stretching his body. Afterwards she had him do ten sets of thirty lunges, followed by ten sets of twenty five pushups, when he finished with that he did two hundred sit-ups.

When he finally pulled himself up she allowed a few minutes for him to rest before handing him a weighted vest. Then the two of them did a twelve kilometer run through the woods, by the time they made it back Areto was barely even winded while Jaune felt like he was going to die.

"You're doing good Jaune." Areto called out as she walked up to him with a two water bottles. She held one out and Jaune took it then began drinking it slowly.

"Why are we doing this? I thought you were teaching me how to fight?" Jaune asked as he swallowed another mouthful of water.

"Well before we can start fighting we need to improve your stamina, endurance and strength. So that is what we'll be focusing on this for the first two weeks, afterwards I'll start giving you weapons training." Areto said as she set her water bottle on the ground and clapped her hands together.

"Alright let's continue."


Two Weeks Later…

It was already the afternoon when Areto decided it was time to change from working on his body to using a weapon.

Jaune felt elated as he watched Areto disappear to bring out the weapons. His body ached all over but he had noticed an improvement in it nonetheless. He was able to do most of the exercises twice over now without getting winded.

Though that didn't mean he was better than Areto. Every time she did the exercise with him she would beat him both in the speed and number of repetitions. Then when they did their running through the forest he still found it difficult to keep pace with her.

"Try not to overdo the training." Another voice said behind him and Jaune spun to see Arabella standing with a tray that had two glasses of lemonade on it.

"I'm fine." Jaune said and she laughed softly.

"I'm sure you are Jaune but trust me, if you push yourself too much you'll do more damage than good. If your body isn't given time to recover properly it will start breaking down then you'll be forced to rest anyways." Jaune sighed.

"I know but what else can I do? I don't have a lot of time before dads test and if I fail then I won't be able to become a Huntsman." Arabella gave him a sad smile.

"Is it really that important to win?" Jaune nodded.

"Yes." Arabella nodded.

"Then know that your sisters and I are behind you no matter what happens." She said before turning away to head back into the house. Jaune however slowly unclenched his fist; it was starting to get on his nerves at how it seems that no one in his family really thought he could become a Huntsman.

"Jaune?" He snapped his head around to see Areto walking up to him carrying a wooden shield and a bundle of what appeared to be swords in a sack.

"You looked a little tense there kid, everything alright?" Areto asked eyeing him as she set down the items.

"I'm fine." She gave him a blank stare.

"Don't lie to me Jaune; I'll make you run for the rest of the day." Jaune sighed.

"I was just thinking about what's going to happen when my training is over, am I going to be stuck doing what my dad wants me to? Or will I be able to do what I feel is the right thing for me?" Areto's face softened.

"You'll be fine Jaune, as long as your heart is in it I'm sure things will turn out in your favor." Jaune nodded as Areto started pulling sheathed swords from the bag and laying them out on a nearby table next to the lemonade.

"Alright so you've got a couple of choices, pick them up and unsheathe them, then tell me how they feel." Jaune picked up the first sword; it had a grey handle with a golden pommel and cross guard. Pulling it out of its sheath the sword was roughly four feet in total length.

"Now point it forward." Areto said gesturing to his right, he did has she said and he noticed that the sword felt heavy at the end as it was starting to dip.

"How does it feel?"

"It's a bit heavy at the end." Areto nodded as she took up another sword and pulled it out of its sheath. Gripping it with two hands she held it over head as she faced away from him with her right leg placed forward.

"Now watch what I'm about to do." She said, Jaune walked to her left and stood back watching. She swung downward with the sword and Jaune was awed to see how fast the blade went from above her head to straight in front of her despite him watching her.

"See my hands and my feet?" She asked turning her head over to look at him and Jaune nodded.

"I want you to try that." Jaune assumed the position; Areto adjusted his shoulders and feet before standing back.

"Alright, begin." Jaune swung down and he could feel the shift of his grip on the sword as it moved, the sword's weight was too off balanced for him. Areto clicked her tongue at seeing him swing the weapon.

"So, how did it feel?" She asked, Jaune sighed as he slid the sword back into its sheath.

"I don't like the feel, even gripping it tightly I had a hard time controlling it." Areto nodding as if she already knew the answer, she picked up another sheath. This one looked surprisingly familiar; it was a white scabbard with a gold trim and detail.

"As much as I want to stand here watching you try out swords, I'm going to skip to this one just to get it over it."

"Wait a minute, isn't this…"

"Crocea Mors? Yes." Jaune looked up at her.

"But why? Doesn't this belong to my mom?" Areto nodded with a knowing smile.

"Let's just say this is her way of approval for your training, when the time comes you'll need a weapon of your own but for now this is yours to use." Jaune wasn't sure what to say about this. Crocea Mors was created a long time ago before even the Great War, though his parents never told him much else other that his father had given it to his mother as a gift some time into their relationship.

"I'm not sure what to say." Jaune said as he gripped the blue handle and pulled the sword out. It felt light but not too light, he could tell that he was holding something that could kill someone in his hand.

"Alright get into position." Areto ordered and Jaune did his best to get into the stance that she had showed him; again she did what seemed like miniscule corrections to his posture.

"Commence." She ordered as she stepped back and Jaune swung down. There was a slightly whistling sound as he swung the sword and stopped it, though he was glad to note that it didn't feel off as before.

"So?" Areto asked and he looked at her with a grin.

"Much better." She nodded.

"Alright, let's do some drills."


Later That Night…

Jaune stepped out of the bathroom refreshed a little from the day's training, walking down the hallway he headed into his room. Spreading his towel on the back of his chair, he collapsed onto his bed.

The cool feeling of his sheets against his skin brought forth the dull ache in his body. Even his stomach rumbled a little but Jaune was too content on his bed to get up and head downstairs.

Even then dinner had ended almost two hours ago and his mom had started just leaving out a plastic container with leftover food for him to eat. He was about to close his eyes when there was a knock at the door.

"Jaune?" It was his mom.

"Yea?"

"You haven't come down to eat yet, I can still warm up your food for you?"

"What is it?" Jaune asked as he propped himself up on his elbows, Arabella was standing at the doorway with a smile on her face.

"It's a chicken and rice casserole." Jaune thought about it and his stomached rumbled loudly in response and his mother laughed a little.

"I'll take that as a yes." Jaune smiled as well.

"Alright, I'll be down in a minute." Arabella nodded as she left and Jaune slowly got to his feet before stretching his limbs. Walking out of his room, the smell of food wafted to his nose making his stomach clench in desire to be full.

Heading downstairs he saw Nessa with Areto playing thumb war, Areto was obviously letting the much younger girl win but it was still an interesting sight.

"Still up little brother?" A voice asked from his right and he looked to see his older sister Mina standing at the kitchen door holding a steaming mug.

"Oh hey sis, how was work today?" The older Arc sister shrugged.

"Ah you know, busy, people taking too long to order, being rude, that sort of thing." Jaune nodded slowly as he walked past her to get a cup of water.

"That must suck; I doubt I would ever be able to run a shop like yours." Mina started to laugh a little and Jaune turned to see her looking at him with a funny expression.

"What?"

"Actually someone interesting did come by?" Jaune frowned.

"Who?" Mina smiled.

"Why it was your good friend Myrna Rosewood." Jaune didn't say anything as he stared at the ground but before Mina could say anything someone appeared next to her.

"Did I hear grandkids?" Arabella asked, Mina, Jaune, Areto and Nessa looked at her confused.

"Uh, no mom, we didn't mention anything about grandkids." Mina said and Arabella looked briefly upset but smiled.

"Oh, well, how was your training today Jaune?" Arabella asked, changing the topic, Jaune glanced over at Areto who had turned away.

"It was fine, a bit swore but I'm learning a lot." His mother smiled.

"That's good to hear, how do you like Crocea Mors?" Jaune felt a smile grow on his own face and without saying anything he walked over to hug her.

"It's amazing, thank you mom." The moment didn't last as Alexander walked into the kitchen and saw them.

"Jaune." Alexander said and Jaune let go of his mother to look up at his father.

"If you're not practicing shouldn't you be resting up?" He said in a flat voice, Jaune stiffened a little but nodded.

"I know but I was just thanking mom for lending me her sword to train with." Alexander didn't glance over as he washed his hands.

"Fair enough but you still only have a short amount of time before your deadline, may I remind you that if you're not ready by then you'll have to give up your dream of being a Huntsman." Mina frowned.

"Come on dad, he's been training real hard, let him have an hour or two to himself."

"No." Alexander said firmly as he finally turned around.

"He's made his choice; let him handle it as anyone else would in his position. Sink or swim Jaune it doesn't matter but give it your all, do you understand me?" Alexander said staring down Jaune who nodded and headed upstairs. Arabella and Mina looked towards him, both obviously not happy while Areto lead Nessa back upstairs to her room.

"What was that about? Why are you being so hard on him?" Mina pressed again but Alexander sighed as he reached up to a cabinet that only he could reach and pulled out a crystal decanter with an amber red fluid in it. Opening it up, he set it aside as he pulled out a squat clear glass.

"I'm doing this because I'm worried." Alexander said as he filled the cup halfway and took a quick sip.

"Worried?" Mina said as she wrinkled her nose.

"Yes, worried why wouldn't I be worried?" Mina opened and closed her mouth a few times before responding.

"What you did right now, can't you see he's exhausted? He's pushing himself too hard, if you make him do nothing but training all day he's going to break, if not physically then mentally."

"I know that, which is why I sent him upstairs." Mina narrowed her eyes, Alexander turned to look at her.

"Do you think I'm blind Mina? I know my children almost as much as I know myself. I know you're annoyed by the way you're narrowing your eyes and popping your knuckles softly with your thumb. I know that you've always enjoyed baking as Sepherina has always enjoyed teaching, I know Helena has a mechanics mind while Claire is good at drawing and Miriya enjoys tending to that flower she has at her window. I know Nessa enjoys spending time with us all and loves to roam the forest even when we tell her not to. I also know that Jaune's desire to become a Huntsman is in part to show that he can do something and help those around him. I know of all these things about my children and I love them all." Alexander and no one spoke at first.

"And Katherine?" Arabella asked quietly, Mina looked between her parents but was surprised to see her father not looking at her.

"I understand why she chose her path as well." Alexander said quietly before looking at Arabella.

"However the difference between her and Jaune is what they actually know. Katherine is an intelligent young lady and despite her career choice I told her about things that I wish I had not, the same with you and your sister Sepherina." Mina frowned, she remembered what he was talking about, and it had been an interesting yet horrifying day of conversation many years ago.

"Alexander is there something you want to tell us." Arabella said as she stepped closer to him, he reached up and stroked her cheek with his thumb, smiling softly.

"Indeed but it can wait for another time." She frowned a little but Alexander ignored it as he looked back at Mina.

"I have to leave tomorrow, which is why I wanted to light a fire under Jaune one last time before I left." Mina nodded slowly running her tongue over her teeth a little as she thought what could drag him away from home.

"When will you be back?" Mina asked as she quickly emptied the cooling contents of coffee that was in her cup.

"I'm not sure, there's a number of things I need to take care of, till then listen to your mother and let Areto continue training Jaune as I instructed, no matter what." Alexander said as he finished his glass, looking out the window he could see nothing but darkness. He could see the looks of confusion and disappoint on Arabella's and Mina's face but it was necessary.

A storm was brewing; he could feel it in every fiber of his being. A storm that would change the landscape of Remnant, whether it was for good or worse, he wasn't sure but he had to be ready. Not just for Arcadia's sake but for his family as well.


Three Weeks Later…

Jaune smashed the incoming sword to the side with his kite shield, quickly following up with a counter thrust of his own. However Areto was already ducking beneath the blade and spinning to his right, her sword coming back around to strike at his knee.

Shifting his body he stabbed downward with his sword again just in time to block the strike but he didn't account for Areto head-butting him in the jaw.

Stumbling back, he worked his jaw as Areto stood up straight again. Without saying a word she lunge forward quick as a snake and Jaune angled his shield to the right in order to deflect her sword off it while returning with an overhead jabbed aimed downwards with his sword.

Areto however had already moved aside avoiding the blade and jumped back as Jaune quickly followed up with a backhand slash.

Pressing forward he stabbed with his sword then quickly slashed at Areto stomach as she jumped to the side. Knocking his blade aside she attacked with a return swing coming from his right, using the edge of his shield he punched the blade with the edge, knocking it back while leaning forward he jumped at her.

Hoping to use the shield to bash her, he would have quickly followed with another thrust had she not nimbly twisted to his left. Spinning around she launched a high kick at him but it wasn't truly aimed at him but his shield. The edge of her leather boot caught on Jaune's shield throwing him off balance.

Not wanting to roll onto his very sharp sword, he let go of it as he rolled on the ground and got up to his feet weaponless. Areto stooped down and picked up his sword with her left hand. Now she stood across from him with two longsword while he only had a shield.

Most people wouldn't pick two longswords as weapons to dual wield with, however Areto was one of the few that Jaune knew that apparently can do such a thing while still being highly lethal.

Slipping the shield off his left arm, he switched it to his right just as Areto lunged at him. His own blade flashing downward towards him, swinging his shield up to meet the blade as it descended on him. In the corner of his eye he could see the other sword racing towards him as she jabbed it towards him.

Bringing the shield down, he pinned it to the dirt, only to realize that was a mistake. Areto's fist smashed into his jaw again and he stumbled to his right. Only bringing his shield up in time to intercept the tip of Crocea Mors's blade, a sharp vibration traveled up his arm before pain exploded in his left thigh as she struck it with her sword.

Had it been a real sword instead of a training sword, then he would have had a long bloody incision in his leg.

"Focus!" Areto snarled as she appeared on his left, striking downward with her sword and hitting his right forearm before spinning backwards into a low crouch, she hit him in the back of his left calf this time. Jaune's left leg gave out with the strike and as he fell to his knee, he could feel the cold edge of Areto's blunted training sword at his throat.

"I yield." Jaune said slowly, only to wince as Areto smacked him lightly atop of his head with her blunt blade.

"You're reacting too slowly; you can't over think this Jaune. If you're more focused on what you could do then you'll miss out on what you should do." Areto said as she stuck his sword into the ground next to him.

"I know Areto and I'm trying but it's not easy for me, if I don't think then I don't know what I should do at all." Jaune said with a heavy sigh as stood up, wincing a little at the soreness in his leg. He was sure there would be an ugly bruise amongst the many others he had earned so far. Areto glared at him coldly, a shiver travelling down his back. If there was one thing that Areto hated it was excuses.

"Then keep practicing till you no longer have to think, practice till your body is heavy from exhaustion and all you can dream about is swordplay." Jaune nodded stoically, he knew that Areto was just looking out for him. He didn't have long until the deadline his father had set for him.

So every day Jaune woke up at four and trained his body, his skill with Crocea Mors, or his mind. Areto had upon instruction from his father had also set aside an hour after the end of their training session at nine to tutor Jaune on small unit tactics.

They were mostly based upon Arcadia Military history when vital moments of whole battles and campaigns rested on the shoulders of Arcadian Special Forces, the Praetorians or other elite units. Upon which she would quiz or ask him about his thoughts about they could have done or should have done in cases where they failed.

He did fine in that mostly, there were a few things that he fumbled with but that was just his gap in knowledge from a lack of experience. Training his body was becoming more and more easy, he was able to keep up with Areto for much longer now, even when she adds either more weights to his body or run a farther distance than the day before.

The only area he seems to struggle in is his swordsmanship. While he understood the fundamentals of what he should do, he couldn't quite make the decision on the fly when he dueled with Areto. He would strike when he should have blocked or blocked instead of pressing the attack.

"You're shield work is improving, though there's still room to quicken your reaction time but that just takes time which we can't afford to dedicate. No, if anything you're incapable of using your sword properly. You let go of your sword during this last fight and that's why you lost." She remarked before tossing a metal water bottle at him.

"I wouldn't say it was just that." Jaune said after taking several seconds to take a long swig of the bottle.

"You're also faster, more skilled and in general more experienced than me." Areto frowned.

"So? The Grimm are faster and stronger than most people as well, does that stop us from defending ourselves, has that speed and ferocity cowed Mankind and the Faunus? Do not give me that fucking bullshit about why you lost Jaune Arc; you have to keep trying no matter what. So letting go of your sword because you're scared you might cut yourself will only get you killed for real on the battlefield." Jaune said nothing as he slowly lowered his bottle.

"Now get ready." Areto said gripping her training sword again with both hands.

"Areto!? Wait!?" Jaune didn't get a word in edgewise as he pulled Crocea Mors out just in time to intercept the blade. Gripping his sheathe with his other hand he jabbed it into Areto's chest sending her stumbling back a few steps, much to his surprise and dismay; he could see her chest jiggle a little. She looked up at him with a stony face, seeing where his eyes had lingered for a few seconds.

"Crap."


Later That Night…

Jaune slowly eased himself down onto his bed; the coolness of his sheets brought a wave of relief to his aching body and his bare torso. He never understood why some people enjoyed going to sleep shirtless or with muscle shirts but now he did.

He still had to be honest that he would have much preferred to be wearing his bunny onesie that Nessa had gotten for him a few years ago. Helena, Claire, Miriya and Mina thought he would have been embarrassed in it but much to their chagrin he liked it.

Sighing he rested his head against his pillow and closed his eyes but he could not sleep. No, sleep eluded him as he couldn't help but think about when his father might return.

He had apparently left on some urgent business that eventually called his mom away from home as well. Which she brought in their aunt Lilly to help watch over the household while she was away.

Neither of his parents had told them why they had left but he knew and so did his sisters that it was serious, save Nessa who was too young to truly understand.

Something had happened in Arcadia, it was the only explanation as his mother rarely was called in unless there was something important going on. She had all but abdicated her position to their other aunt Sanian to watch over while she stayed here with them.

Now what exactly was happening, he had no true answer but could think of a few things that might have happened. A natural disaster could have occurred but then they would have explained that instead of leaving without a word.

An economic crisis on the other hand would have called away his father but it didn't have much concern in regards for his mother so that was ruled out.

Rebellion or a mutiny of some sort might be a possibility but Jaune couldn't remember the last time there was actually any discontent in the Kingdom to warrant that.

This only left warfare as an option. If a major Grimm Horde invaded then this would be something that required both of their attention as major hordes of Grimm have broken the defensive lines of Arcadia more than once. Hundreds of thousands died each time that happened, not only did the death toll of the fighting have an effect on the people but the aftermath as well.

Diseases tended to run rampart as clean water, food, medical and proper housing weren't enough to handle the load of refugees. Along with that the cleanup and reconstruction of towns, cities, and military positions took months if not even years to bring to full operation.

"Jaune?" There was a knock at his door and he propped himself up on his elbows, it was his Aunt.

"Yea?"

"You've got a guest." She said, Jaune frowned, who would come to visit him at this time of night?

That was answered when the door opened and a girl stepped into his room.

She was five and a half feet tall with loose curls of raven black hair, creamy skin, a button nose and violet eyes. The girl wore a black summer's dress that reached halfway down her thighs, which revealed shapely pale legs then heeled boots. It was his only friend, Myrna Rosewood, a girl who he's known since the start of High School.

"Uh, hey Myrna, what brings you here?" Jaune asked, his voice cracking a little as he realized that he still didn't have a shirt on.

"Oh, I thought that I would just, uh, visit and hangout." Myrna said her voice trailing away as she looked at his bruised covered torso.

"Jaune!? What happened to you!?" Myrna said as she stepped closer to him. Jaune looked at a nearby mirror; his torso had several dark bruises while his forearms had a trio of large purplish bruises on his chest as well.

"Nothing." Jaune said with a blank expression on his face, he didn't want to tell her about his training as it would raise too many questions. His family always did its best to hide their true identity, revealing it now wouldn't be the wisest thing for him.

"Are you getting bullied again?" She asked quietly as she sat on his bedside looking down at him. Jaune could smell the scent of strawberries coming off her. It was a pleasant smell to say at least, she reached out and placed her hand on his stomach. The warmth contrasting with the coolness of his bed sheets against his back.

Her violet eyes stared into his and Jaune could almost sense that longing in them as they stared at each other. Unsure of what to do, he was the first to look away.

"Jaune, how come we don't hang out anymore?" Myrna asked but he said nothing as he didn't know what to say.

"We're, friends, aren't we?" The way she said that made Jaune paused as he knew what she meant.

"Jaune, please, say something."

"Yes, we're friends Myrna." He rasped out, her hand started to move up and down his torso. Every time her warm hand passed over a bruise his eye would twitch as he didn't want to twitch his body since it would upset her.

"Jaune, how come we never got together?" And there it was.

"Myrna, please." He said but she pressed down a little hard to keep him from sitting up fully.

"No Jaune, I confessed to you during Prom when I found you sitting outside the gymnasium in the bleachers after being rejected again by Roxanna but you have to realize that it just wasn't meant to be, she had no interest in you and she probably never will. This to me means that she didn't deserve you, I know you far better than her and I know you're kind, funny, and loyal to your friends and family. I can see all the great things about you Jaune that others can't." Jaune closed his eyes.

"But you also can't see the flaws in me." He whispered.

"What?" Myrna asked.

"You're my friend Myrna and I'd do anything for my friends but I can't help you on this. This is beyond me." He said as he leaned back, welcoming the cool relief of the bed in comparison to her heated hands.

"I…I don't get what you're trying to say Jaune." Her voice was starting to crack a little.

"Is it because you still want to be a Huntsman?" Jaune stayed silent as Myrna crawled onto him, her hair brushing against his chest as she leaned over him.

"Jaune please, you're going to get hurt or worse. It's too late to become a Huntsman, I know you've worked hard and anyone can see that if they take a look at you now but for my sake and yours, you have to stop. You can become a chef, you're really good at cooking, just please stop this." Myrna pleaded with him but he didn't look her in the eyes, instead closing his own.

"I can't, this is something I need to do." Myrna gripped Jaune's wrists.

"No it isn't Jaune, please stay with me." She leaned closer to him with her eyes closed; he could feel his heart start to beat rapidly. Her rose colored lips came closer but before they met his, Jaune turned his head to the side. Myrna kissed his cheek and realized what had happened, she leaned away.

"Why?" She asked in a soft voice, Jaune could feel his heart break at the quiver he could hear.

"I'm sorry Myrna, it's for the best." Instead of replying she kissed his cheek again before whispering in his ear.

"My family isn't home for the next few days, visit me please." Jaune said nothing as she walked out of his room, stopping to look at him one last time before finally leaving.

Jaune groaned loudly.

"What's up bro? What did Myrna want with you?" Helena's voice called out as Jaune pressed his palms against his eyes.

"Don't be dense Helena; obviously she came here to confess her love." Claire's voice said with a hint of mirth.

"Why don't you stop being stupid Claire, she was on the verge of having a full panic attack." Helena snapped back.

"Really? Holy shit Jaune, did you turn her down?!" Claire asked, directing her attention back to him.

"I don't see how that's any of your business." He called out but knew that was a mistake as the door swung open, hitting his wall loudly.

"Jaune, if you don't cut that shit out right now I'm going to ask Areto to beat you up even harder tomorrow." Helena said to which Jaune chuckled a little.

"If she beat me any harder I'd die."

"So what happened?" Claire asked her voice more serious but Jaune didn't look at her.

"Look you've already guessed it, she confessed and I can't reciprocate her feelings."

"Okay, but why?" Claire asked.

"It's like this; her feelings for me aren't taking into account what I may feel. She needs me as an emotional crutch, nothing more."

"That's a little harsh, don't you think?" Helena asked but Jaune snorted.

"I think it's harsh that a girl, whom I consider a dear friend, has absolutely no faith in my dreams or aspirations. She doesn't want me to leave her alone because she thinks I'm weak. How can I reciprocate feelings which belong to someone who would force me from what I need to do?"

"Maybe it's selfish to chase after something that can or should never happen." Claire said softly.

"Get out." Jaune said simply.

"But…" Claire started to say but Jaune interrupted her.

"Out." His sisters left him alone and Jaune sighed as he quickly stood up to turn the lights off. The room plunged into darkness and he navigated his room towards his bed.

Laying back down on it he waited for a blissful, dreamless, sleep to take over.

But it never came.


The Next Day…

"Focus!" Areto snarled as Jaune barely parried another strike from her sword only to get knocked off his feet as she kicked his legs out from under him.

Rolling backwards he got to his feet again only to see Areto's sword closing in on him in a thrust. Swinging his blade now, he knocked it to the left then immediately braced with his shield. Instead of attacking again Areto spun with the momentum of her blade to his left, pushing forward he blocked one quick strike from her blade with his shield.

Shifting into a crouch he blocked the next strike as it came round in an diagonal overhead swing then immediately lashed with a short thrust of his own. However Areto had jumped over him, Jaune twisted around with his shield raised to protect his torso from a strike he was surprised to see she had already moved.

Circling around to his left, she sent a short jab followed by two quick slashes that he barely managed to block. However he was unable to send a proper counter attack as Areto practically danced around him, striking in one direction then immediately moving away only to come back in from another angle.

Jaune could feel the burn in his lungs as he struggled to keep up with her. Areto pressed in on him, alternating with the sword and shield, Jaune blocked or deflected her strikes.

Hammering her blade to the side with his shield, Jaune finally found the opening he was looking for. He swung down with his blade but Areto sidestepped, not wanting to give her a chance to break contact. Jaune quickly swung horizontally but she leaned backwards, her head almost touching the ground as the blade passed over her.

He knew he didn't have the time to bring the blade back to strike her, so instead he lunged forward with his shield to knock her off balance. Instead she pivoted into his guard, reversing her grip on her sword she pulled hard towards her.

With her sword inside his guard, the blunted blade tugged at his shield as she pulled, which put him off balance as he stumbled forward.

Jaune let go of the shield, letting it clatter to the ground as he rolled forward. Jumping up to his feet he turned only to see Areto's sword arcing down at him. Gripping his sword with both hands he intercepted the descending blade.

Areto broke contact and swung up from his left, Jaune leaned back, the blade whistling past his face. Jumping forward he lashed out at Areto but instead she bent backward, his blade missing her. Swiping up, her blunt blade hit Jaune's forearm and it went numb after an intense flash of pain.

Not letting go of the blade he jumped sideways, rolling on the ground to gain distance. As he got to his feet again Areto was moving towards him, slashing at him with her sword, Jaune was barely able to block her strikes.

Jaune raised his blade to knock aside an upwards thrust of her blade but instead of following through with it, she ducked and spun towards his right.

Jaune felt an intense pain as her blunted blade struck his chest and he fell to the ground. Pain echoed throughout his body and breathing became very difficult.

"Well I suppose that's enough for now." Areto said calmly, Jaune simply wheezed then nodded.

"The beginning was a little rough there but you got your act together towards the end." Jaune got his breathing under control and rolled to the side onto his knees.

"Holy crap Areto, that still hurts you know." Jaune said as he stood up with his sword and shield in hand before collapsing the shield then sheathing his sword.

"I know but for what it's worth, one day you'll be able to hit me."

"Yea, about that, uh, how come then I'm using a real sword while you're using a training sword which is blunted? Sure if you hit me hard with that it'll break my bones or give me internal bleeding but if I hit your with Crocea Mors then you'll be hit by an actual sword, which is very sharp may I remind you."

"Don't worry about it Jaune because let's be fair, you're not going to hit me at least not for a while." Jaune sighed.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence." Areto laughed lightly.

"It's got nothing to do with confidence Jaune; it's just a simple gap of where you are in comparison to me. I'm not going to allow myself get hit to just boost your confidence, you've got to earn that pride on your own." Jaune nodded as Areto handed him a water bottle which he took a long swig from.

"Alright, so your deadline is almost upon us, you're training is going to shift a little again. Now we're going to do tracking and wilderness training along with dueling." Jaune nodded as he furrowed his eyebrows in thought.

"Say Areto, what exactly will I be tested on when the deadline comes?" She shrugged.

"Who knows, maybe it'll depend on how much progress you made in these few months or maybe he'll have you try to beat me in a fight." Jaune wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Neither of them said anything as they rested, though Jaune was really the one that needed it while Areto was just being polite.

"So I heard you had a little visitor last night." Areto said casually and Jaune chuckled as he shook his head.

"Indeed I did."

"Was she pretty?" Areto asked much to his surprise.

"She is, you know who it is Areto." She nodded.

"Ah little Myrna wasn't it? How is she?"

"Fine." Areto laughed a little at how quickly Jaune answered but said nothing else.

"Actually, Areto, can I ask you something?" Jaune asked looking up at her, she looked back at him.

"Why were my parents called away?" Areto's face hardened a little.

"And what makes you want to ask this Jaune? Your father is the High Lord of Arcadia; there are things that he needs to deal with in person."

"I know that but my mother isn't normally needed for those sorts of things. She leaves most of her administrative duties to Aunt Sanian and only goes when something dangerous happened." Areto smiled softly.

"My, aren't you becoming more perspective now."

"Areto." Jaune said and she sighed.

"It matters not Jaune, you're becoming a Huntsman now. The business of the Arcadian State is no longer your concern." Jaune narrowed his eyes.

"Am I still not a member of Arcadia? I didn't abandon my family to become a Huntsman."

"I'm not saying it's none of your business Jaune but becoming a Huntsman means that you'll be working out and away from Arcadia." Jaune nodded slowly.

"Yes I'm well aware of that but it doesn't mean I can't be involved with my Kingdom and my people." Areto sighed.

"You're right on that account Jaune but I fear you're still too young to understand that you're trying to force the inclusion of two worlds that are vastly different and that may not want to combine."


A few Weeks Later…

Jaune sat still as he listened to the noise of the forest, the rustle of leaves in the wind, the light chirp of birds and the sound of something moving through a bush. Slowly rising into a crouch, Jaune peered out from behind the tree he was using for cover.

A large deer stood grazing on a small patch of grass. The animal was heedless of him, as Jaune had spent the last hour following it and it had yet to run away.

His ten days of survival training with Areto had essentially been her handing him some stuff and telling him to go survive on his own.

After being given two packs, one of which she strapped on to his back and told him to pull a cord on the left strap when the time comes. While the other was strapped to his front, his weapons tied onto the side of it.

They entered a waiting Valkyrie, an Arcadian Military aircraft similar in design to the Bullhead of the Four Kingdoms but like most Arcadian technology it didn't use Dust to power the transverse rotors on either side.

Once up in the air, Jaune learned quickly that fly didn't agree with him. So he ended up with three bags, one of which he noisily vomited twice in.

However Areto hadn't really cared about that instead giving him his objective. To make it home within the time frame on his strength and no help from them save in extreme cases.

Though he had to admit, he didn't expect Areto to push him out of the Valkyrie when she opened the bay door to show him the landscape that he would be traveling after telling him to count to thirty.

He could still feel the biting chill of the wind in his face and the sensation of free falling. When he finally pulled the cord, he was startled at the jarring feeling as the parachute unfurled. When he landed, his legs hit his chest painfully and he sat there for a few seconds catching his breath before sitting up.

When he looked around he could see nothing but long grass and trees. It wasn't an unfamiliar sight for him as he had explored the forests around his home plenty of times.

What made this time different was the fact that as far as he knew there wasn't a living Human or Faunus remotely close to him.

It wasn't until later that Jaune checked the backpack which contained a day's worth of food and water, matches, a knife, a watch, a compass, one pair of spare clothes, a small blanket, a pouch of basic medical supplies, along with a flare gun with three rounds to indicate that he was in trouble.

Strapped to the pack was also Crocea Mors which he put on his back instead of his waist so it wouldn't snag on bushes or branches. Surprisingly enough Areto had also given him another weapon in addition.

Jaune shook his head out of the memory; he looked down at his hands which held a rifle, one of the older models that had been retired from Military service in Arcadia.

A simple wood and steel bolt action rifle, Jaune had been apprehensive about using it since Areto hadn't given him time to practice. Aside from giving him a brief lecture on how to operate it, Jaune knew nothing else about it.

Raising the rifle slowly up, he trained it on the flank of the animal. His food rations had only lasted him two days, and as far as he was aware, he still had another five days to make it back home. Plus if he made it back sooner he'd have more time to get ready for his deadline that his father set down for him.

There was a snap and the deer raised its head. Jaune could feel his heart skip a beat when it stared directly at him. As much as he wanted the food, what right did he have in taking another creature's life, one with a soul for that matter?

Jaune shook his head that was a foolish thought. He wasn't killing this innocent creature out of spit or fun but the need to survive off the food it would give him.

He fired.


Three Hours Later…

Jaune sat by the makeshift campfire munching on the cooked meat of the deer. He had killed it with the rifle and taken almost an hour to make it back to his campsite. There he had skinned the creature, gutted it then cut portions of meat off to cook.

Now he saw against a rock chewing a mouthful of meat, the taste of cooked animal fat and meat just made him even hungrier as his stomach growled.

Sighing as he laid back onto the cold ground, he knew he couldn't have more. He needed to save enough for the morning and the trip home.

Sitting up again with a sigh he double checked to make sure that his rifle and Crocea Mors were close to hand. As he may have ditched the bloody carcass of the deer half a mile from where he was staying there may be a small chance a predator might come sniffing around. If that did occur he'd want to arm himself fast.

As the sun dipped over the horizon, the soft warm glow of light went with it. It left nothing but the weak light and slight warmth of his fire that crackled softly.

He was glad that Areto had advised him to dress warm and sturdy so he had worn a pair of heavy jeans, hiking boots, a wool shirt and a hooded jean jacket. His normal training clothes would have been next to useless out here.

Soon the coldness of night started to creep in, along with it the sounds of nocturnal beasts which dwell in that period. However Jaune felt some relief in the incessant noise, as it reminded him that for now, he was partially safe.

Wildlife on Remnant only ever stilled for the fiercest of creatures, such as the Creatures of Grimm. Without a doubt in Jaune's mind, he knew that they were one of the deadliest creatures to roam the world ever.

Though that didn't mean they were the only deadly creatures. As a kid Jaune would often listen to the tales of fantasy that doubled as warnings from his parents, making Jaune believe that there were much deadlier things than Grimm.

The difference between those nigh on mythical creatures and the Creatures of Grimm was simple. The Creatures of Grimm represented an actual present threat, which can and would wipe Humans and Faunus from Remnant.

While those dormant or rare beings could wreck as much death or carnage in a single day as a hundred Grimm could in that same span.

Yet the last supposed incident of these beings was almost a decade before the Great War happened. Despite this, it seemed to him that his family was much more concerned about fairy tales than the Grimm, he didn't know why but it sat ill with him.

Why was his family more concerned about these matters than uniting with the Four Kingdoms to fight the Grimm? They've shown time and again that they are the greatest threat to them all.

After a few moments of thinking Jaune came to the conclusion that this was indeed one of the reasons why he didn't want to join the Arcadian Military. There were too many secrets, too many lies, and not enough trust for him to listen to his dad about joining.

With a yawn, he closed his eyes. Though mindful enough to continue to listen to his surroundings, it wasn't long before he fell asleep.


A Few Days Later…

Jaune panted as he broke through another bush, the howling of wolves could be heard in the distance. Slipping on the wet ground, Jaune fell forward into a tree which he bounced off and finally fell onto the ground.

Rolling onto his back Jaune stared at the wet canopy of leaves overhead. A few water droplets splatted against his face from the recent rainfall as he sought to gather his strength. There was another howl, much closer now.

They had his scent.

Sitting up, Jaune looked around with his hand on the handle of Crocea Mors which was still strapped to his back.

Knowing he didn't have a lot of time, Jaune picked up his rifle and used it to help him stand, wincing as pain shot through his leg. Looking down he could see his pants were ripped and blood seeped from a bite wound on his calf.

That wasn't the only wound he had received that day.

It had been in the early morning as he made his way home when the forest had stilled.

Jaune had been afraid that it must have been a Grimm pack that was sighted which silenced the forest. Oh how wrong he had been, his fixation on the Grimm had blinded him to the more natural predators of the world.

So much to his surprise he ran into a group of wolves. Each one had to be at least as large as him, while the leader was even larger than them.

Jaune had tried to back away but they had already noticed him. One of them immediately sprinted towards him that Jaune barely had time to draw and fire his flare gun in panic.

The blazing shot startled and scattered the beasts, Jaune had taken that as his sign to get out of there.

His lead didn't last long as two of the wolves caught up to him. Jaune had turned around with the rifle in his hand but he failed to realize that they wouldn't come at him in a straight line but from the sides.

As such Jaune could only face one while the other took him from behind. His training with Areto had come in to help as he quickly fired a shot at a leaping wolf before rolling away. He could hear the whimpering sound indicating that it was still alive but hurt.

Standing up he had switched the rifle around, holding it by the barrel and swung it like a bat just as the other wolf came at him. He could still remember hearing the sound of something cracking, whether it was bone or the wood of his rifle he didn't get the chance to figure out as something tackled him from behind.

He released the rifle as he tried to roll to his feet and draw Crocea Mors which he had belted around his torso but something sharp latched onto his left calf.

Excruciating pain shot up his left leg as the first wolf had come back into the fray. Jaune knew he had only one chance to save himself when he pulled his sword out from behind his back, he switched hands and twisted at the waist, slashing downward.

It was strange, as in his mind he could see it happen in almost slow motion as the tip of his blade connected with the wolf's head. There was an initial resistance that quickly gave as the blade cut across its face. The wolf let go of Jaune's calf to howl in pain before snarling in rage, jumping at him once more. Jaune put his sword through the wolf's chest as it jumped on him.

The weight and his now injured leg meant that he fell to the ground from the momentum. Fear and adrenaline however made Jaune push the carcass off him in order to rise to one knee. With his sword in hand he faced the second wolf just as it pounced on him as well.

An explosion of mind numbing pain emerged from Jaune's left shoulder as the wolf bite down hard. Without thinking Jaune slid Crocea Mors across the stomach of the wolf as it shook it's head side to side, white hot pain flaring through his torso. Something warm and heavy landed with a wet smack on him as brought Crocea Mors back to stab into the side of the beast.

It finally let go of him as it stumbled to the side. The wolf was somehow not dead yet as he could hear its weak whine growing softer and softer till nothing but his own breathing could be heard. Looking down he could see the wolf's intestines splayed out on his stomach.

Jaune could feel bile rising in his throat; rolling to the side he had puked the contents of his stomach till there was nothing. In the distance he could hear wolves howling, he needed to get out of there.

So he ran, or ran as best as he could but his leg was proving more than just a little trouble in the forest terrain.

There was another howl, much closer now which was quickly answered by more howls. Jaune could feel panic flood his system as he took off through the forest.

As much as he wanted to just turn around and kill the beasts, he knew that he stood no chance in his current condition. He probably wouldn't be able to take them all down without having to reload then with his leg injured he had high doubts he could take them with Crocea Mors.

He was running out of time.

Jaune could see the ground starting to elevate as he climbed a hill. The slow ascent was nerve wracking as he expected to hear the panting of a wolf before it sunk its teeth into him.

The ground started to even out and he was surprised to see that he made it up the hill. Looking around he could see that there was a few large trees and a cluster of rocks. Scanning the environment further Jaune noticed a familiar river in the distance, a river which the creek near his house ran to.

He was almost home.

Those thoughts of home were interrupted as he remembered what was after him. Jaune turned around pulled Crocea Mors off his back and set it to lean against a tree along with the rifle as he took off his backpack and stuffed it under a bush.

He needed to fight off these wolves now otherwise if he tried to run they would just hunt him down on their own terms.

That's when he remembered the flares; he could use those to signal for help since he was so close to home. Going back to his bag, he pulled out the last two shells. Pulling the flare gun from his waist he opened it up, he slid a new shell in and with a snap closed it, pull back the hammer he aimed it towards the sky in the direction of his home then fired.

A bright red light trailing smoke shot up into the sky. Quickly opening the flare gun, he placed the last shell in and fired it as well. Tossing the flare gun aside he took a deep breath. Turning around he wasn't surprised to see the wolves watching him.

There were eight wolves all arrange in a semicircle facing him. Jaune could feel his mouth go dry and he glanced over at Crocea Mors and his rifle.

Jaune slowly made his way over and grabbed Crocea Mors sheath while his right gripped the handle of the sword.

The wolves started to move slowly towards him, all of them were growling or snarling at him and Jaune felt nothing but fear. He was going to die, there was no doubt about it, and even if his leg wasn't messed up Jaune knew he couldn't have taken on eight of them at once.

However there was a sharp bark and the wolves stopped as a much larger wolf appeared from behind them. This wolf easily was larger than him with dark fur and red eyes that watched him carefully.

Jaune gripped Crocea Mors but couldn't help but notice his hands were shaking and he felt really cold. Looking down he could see the color in his hands had faded as well, it was also then that he realized that he had another problem.

The bite on his shoulder must have been deeper than he thought; it was bleeding profusely and had been bleeding since he got bit. His shirt was tinted red and he could feel it sticking to his torso.

"Fuck." He whispered and looked up to see the larger wolf pacing back and forth while the other wolves backed away.

It was then that he realized that there was no way out, he was going to die and even worse, he failed to prove himself right to his dad.

There was a ping from behind him, looking up Jaune saw three cylindrical objects fly through the air to land between him and the wolves. There was a bright flash and bang that forced his eyes shut along with giving his ears a loud ringing sound that forced him to his knees.

He could hear the sound of metal and he tried to blink to shake off the effects of whatever happened but everything was still difficult to see. Slowly his vision and hearing turned to normal, slowly looking around he was surprised to see five people in the black plate armor of the Praetorians standing around him with their poleaxes held at ready.

"Can you stand?" A man's voice asked as the lead Praetorian turned around and held out his left hand. Jaune nodded as he gripped the cold metal gauntlet and stood up but immediately his vision began to narrow, the edges going black as he felt lighted head only to fall again. This time the Praetorian caught him, Jaune could feel the cold metal against his skin.

"Shit, he's bleeding pretty bad, find his stuff, I'm taking him back." The man said and Jaune slipped into unconsciousness.


Sometime Later…

Once again Jaune opened his eyes to see nothing as everything was black. For a brief second he panicked at the idea that he had somehow gone blind.

Turning his head however he could see the red glow of numbers on his digital clock, it was half past ten at night. With a sigh of relief laid his head back onto his pillow and realized that he was almost completely naked save for a pair of shorts.

However he could feel something wrapped around his chest, pushing the duvet off, he welcomed the cool air of his room touching his bare skin. Sitting up however was a bigger challenged as his body seemed to scream in protest at the movement, he had to take a few deep breathes before finally sitting up.

The exertion also sent a twitch of pain through his chest and shoulder, the bite from the wolf he summarized as his feet touched the cold wood of his floor. The previous heat of his bed was now fully dissipated as he slowly put pressure on his legs and nearly collapsed as sharp pain spiraled up his left calf.

"It's only been a day; I guess it'll take longer than that to heal." Jaune said as he limped over to his wall and turned on the lights. Narrowing his eyes a little, he made his way over to his closet and picked out a loose shirt to wear over his bandages.

Before he put it on, he looked over at his full length mirror to check himself out. He still looked a little paler than usual with obvious exhaustion in his face. A thick white bandage was wrapped around his chest and left shoulder with another covering his left shin and calf.

Not only that but there numerous smaller bandages around his hands and forearms. He didn't even notice getting anything else that would warrant the bandages but he supposed there was nothing he could do about it now.

His stomach growled and Jaune looked around to see if he had any leftover protein bars in his room but there was nothing. Opening the door he could see that most of the house was dark as well, limping slowly out in the hallway he placed his hand on the nearby wall to help guide him to the staircase. Reaching there he could see the light in the kitchen was still on.

Descending the steps proved to be an even worse experience for Jaune as each step just sent a jolt up his leg making him hiss each time.

"Hello?" A familiar voice called out in the kitchen and a small smile grew on Jaune's face as he finally made it to the ground floor then limped towards the kitchen. Stepping inside he could see Areto in a simple white shirt along with jeans while his sisters Mina and Sepherina were seated at the island counter.

"Jaune!?" Sepherina cried out and ran over to hug him, he hissed as she wrapped her arms around him. The elder Arc sister stepped back obviously remorseful in causing him pain.

Sepherina Arc was six feet tall with a heart shaped face, her dirty blonde hair tied back into a neat bun with locks of hair on either side of her face. She had on a smart business suit and high heels. Though Jaune could see that she had already checked out of work mode as her blouse wasn't tucked and her high heel were lying on the floor next to the chair she had been sitting next to.

"Are you feeling okay? Does anything hurt? Do you need to see a doctor? Are you hungry?" She asked, her eyes staring intently at his.

"Yes, a little, no and very." Jaune said answering the questions as simply as he could since he didn't feel like standing there to elaborate on every question she might throw at him.

Limping past her, Jaune made his way to the fridge and opened it. He pulled out a container for cheesecake and set it on the counter before grabbing a fork.

"Want me to get you a plate?" Sepherina asked but Jaune shook his head.

"Nah, I'm good." He said before picking up a large chunk and stuffing it in his mouth, Mina chuckled.

"I suppose you'd have an appetite after being out for so long." Jaune tilted his head a little as he chewed on the delicious dessert then swallowed.

"Seems so, I mean sure it hasn't been a day since it happened but I did work up quite an appetite from that close call today." He noticed that the three women exchanging looks before looking at him, he set his fork down.

"Is there something I need to know?" He asked quietly.

"Uh, Jaune, you've been asleep for… three days." Jaune opened his mouth to say something but realized that he couldn't think of anything to say.

"Jaune, do you need to sit down?" Mina asked this time, gesturing to the chair to her right. Jaune picked up the cheesecake and sat down next to her. Mina grabbed a fork and started to take a few bites as Jaune ate it silently.

"I think this is a clear sign that you should stop your training." Sepherina said as a few moments and Jaune snapped his head over to her.

"No." She scrunched up her nose in anger.

"No!? Jaune you look like a bloody ghost! Fuck you nearly died out there." Sepherina snapped as Jaune set his fork down once more.

"I can't stop Sepherina; I need to complete my training with Areto in order to go to Beacon." The Arc girl looked over at her; Areto had yet to say anything.

"And what do you think? Should he continue training now? He can barely stand on his own two feet but he still wants to become a Huntsman." Areto sighed.

"The decision ultimately lies with him, if he wants to continue training till the deadline, then I will train him to the best of my abilities."

"Your abilities nearly got him killed!" Sepherina yelled Jaune slammed his hand on the counter, rattling the dishes and utensils on it.

"Don't yell at Areto, she did nothing wrong. All that happened was a little…mishap, nothing to get worried out."

"Worried?" Mina broke in, turning to face him now as well.

"Yes, you don't have to worry, please trust me on this." Mina held a hand up.

"Jaune, I do trust you but I also know you. I know that you'll keep doing this to yourself even if you break every bone in your body." Before Jaune could say anything she held up her hand again.

"But Jaune, you've also got to realize how this looks to us. When I stopped by, I saw the Praetorians outside the house and I got scared, like really fucking scared. I run inside and I see Helena and the girls all in tears, I tried asking them what happened but none of them could answer me. Then I saw Areto talking with a Sister Hospitaler who had apparently given you medical treatment for your wounds." She pointed to his shoulder.

"Both of them are going to be leaving some very obvious scars as well now, so tell how can we not be worried?" Jaune rubbed one eye as he sighed.

"Look I know you are all worried and I don't want to make you worry but danger is just an inherent part of the work. If I joined the Arcadian Military then I would have still be in grave danger." Jaune pointed out.

"True but you would not have been given a few months to train nor would you be fighting by yourself." Jaune nodded.

"Maybe but I didn't get the chance to convince Dad to let me start training until recently. He wanted and assumed I would probably join the Military after I got out of High School but I told him otherwise so now I needed to prove myself before his deadline to get into Beacon." Sepherina frowned.

"Beacon?" Jaune nodded again.

"Yea it's the closest Huntsmen Academy plus probably the most prestigious one out there."

"How are you going to get into Beacon?" Jaune frowned this time, tilting his head at the question.

"Jaune, you do realize that you need to attend a Combat School before going to Beacon, right?" Jaune blinked.

"What do you mean?"

"It's just like going to a regular College or University. You need to complete a standard set of schooling in order to be eligible of applying to the Academies and you've missed the time period of joining such Combat Schools as they're supposed to double as a High School or Secondary Education as well." Multiple thoughts raced through his mind as he rubbed his chin.

"So, you're saying that I can't go to Beacon even if I pass Dad's test?" Sepherina and Mina looked at each other.

"Jaune, we talked and figured that if anything he wasn't going to let you pass anyway."

"Actually, you're wrong about that." Areto spoke up; the three Arc children looked towards her.

"What do you mean? There's no way Jaune can get into Beacon at this point." Areto shook her head.

"There are still ways to enter Beacon without having to go to a Combat School but don't worry about it." Sepherina frowned but didn't say anything.

"That still doesn't rule out the possibility that dad might still forbid you from going." Jaune smiled a little.

"There's only one way to find out." He turned to look at Areto.

"Speaking of which, had my dad told you any details about when or what the test is?" Areto nodded.

"I know what it is but I can't tell you. As for when, it'll be held the day he's supposed to come back." Jaune furrowed his eyebrows.

"When is he coming back?"

"He should be here the night before your deadline." Jaune nodded.

"Isn't there something else you're forgetting?" She asked as she looked toward Jaune but he just shrugged.

"Jaune, what's the biggest tool that the Huntsmen and Huntresses have?" Jaune scratched the back of his head for a little while but Mina got impatient.

"It's Aura, they have Aura."

"Aura?"

"How the fuck can you not know what Aura is Jaune?" Mina asked obviously exasperated at the ignorance of her younger brother.

"I know what it is!" He said indignantly but Mina crossed her arms.

"Then what is it?" Jaune scowled.

"It's the physical manifestation of the soul, used not only to protect the person but can also give them increased strength, stamina, increased healing or improved senses depending on their training and Aura. But it can also give access to abilities that are unique to each person called semblances." Mina waved her hand dismissively.

"Meh, lucky guess."

"Jaune, Huntsmen and Huntresses use their Aura to help them fight. In a sense, it's the reason why they can fight but you don't have your Aura unlocked. So a minor hit for them would probably be near fatal for you." Jaune nodded.

"Alright, can you unlock my Aura?" He asked turning to Areto but she shook her head.

"I don't have my Aura unlocked either." Jaune blinked.

"Really?" She nodded.

"It's not that I can't get it unlocked it's just that it's sort of a custom to not have it unlocked. While we understand its benefits we also don't want to become reliant on it."

"But if it's a part of you then it's not being reliant." Areto shook her head.

"Think of it like this, if you know that you can fight a group of people who all have guns, which will be painful but not kill you since you have Aura, would you tackle the problem with a cautious mind or go in guns blazing, heedless of the potential danger?" Jaune stayed silent then nodded.

"I suppose that depends on who I am as a person."

"Fair enough but from my experience the usage of Aura can lead even a normally cautious person to start doing things recklessly. While there are a few that can pull even that off without a hitch for most people including Aura users, that attitude will only lead them to get hurt or killed or even worse, someone else killed." Jaune ran a hand through his hair.

"Do our parents have their Auras unlocked?" Areto shrugged.

"I know the High Lord has his Aura locked as for your mother I think so as well but I'm not sure. I haven't seen her fight nor mention anything about it."

"She doesn't." A new voice said and the four of them looked to see a new person standing at the door way. She was six foot five inches, with short blonde hair, an oval face along with ruby red eyes. She wore black trousers, boots, and a grey blouse. She didn't look very happy to see him.

"Oh, hey Aunt Lilly, how are you?" Jaune asked out unsure of what to say.

"Oh, you know, fine, just having to think of how to tell your parents about their only son nearly dying." She said as she walked slowly towards him with her arms crossed, Jaune gulped.

"I-I don't think you'll need to bother them with something like that. You know no harm, no foul?" Lilly looked down at him.

"Do you understand what Arabella would do to me if she found out that I hid something like that from her?" She asked gravely, the look of horror evident in her eyes as she scanned the room almost as if expecting her to appear out of the thin air.

"Anyways, I think you should stop training and give up on going to Beacon Jaune; it's just foolish at this point. Indeed nothing but blind, stupid, foolishness dear brother." Sepherina said calmly and Jaune sighed.

"I'm sorry you think that but in the end it's my decision and mine alone." Jaune said firmly staring at both of his sisters before glancing over at Areto who nodded. He turned to face his aunt who surprisingly had a smile on her face.

"So be it."


Elsewhere…

Alexander swore silently as the ship rocked back and forth as he pulled the bandage around his hand off, the bleeding had practically stopped by the time Arabella had tied it. He couldn't bring himself to tell her that though, she had looked so worried that he had let her continue dressing his wound.

Looking to his right he could see his wife with her head tilted back and her mouth open as she was fast asleep. He couldn't blame her, neither of them had gotten more than an hours' worth of sleep a night in the last two weeks.

Being called away had been unexpected for sure but he hadn't expect the reason to be so, dire.

The full force of the Arcadian Military Intelligence had been brought forth to assess a developing situation near Argus Province. Three surveyor teams were dispatched to the Outlands to the north of Arcadia, none of them returned.

It seemed that the itch he's been feeling lately hadn't been wrong. It was an itch of death and carnage, an itch for war.

That itch ended up being justified when they finally arrived. A storm like which he hadn't seen in more than a century brewed up where the surveyor teams had been sent. Many assumed it was some freak phenomena, something not seen occurring normally in nature.

He and the other veterans of the long war knew otherwise. The Enemy was making its appearance once more.

Sighing he ran a hand through his hair thinking about the fighting that occurred in the forests.

Alexander had taken a Contubernium of Praetorians with him along with a light infantry battalion to provide additional support.

Arabella led a Commandery of the Sisterhood in tandem while two more Commandery groups being held in reserve along with the rest of the infantry regiment who Alexander borrowed a battalion from.

What they found was something that surprised even him. Standing on a hill in the middle of a grass field was a warrior in bulky red armor. The warrior wasn't alone for long as to either side of him, more warriors in red armor appeared from thin air.

He didn't recognize their armor from his old life. If anything they looked more akin to the plate armor that was worn when he first arrived here than the armor from his world. Also none of them seemed to be carrying any firearms; instead they carried large swords, axes, or maces.

One thing he did recognize was the symbol of the Lord of Blood carved into their armor; in his mind he could still remember the ruin of Murias. The cries of the dying and the look of despair in the Son's eyes as all he fought for was burned to the ground.

It was also at that time as the two forces were staring each other down when the Grimm made their move. The storm had covered their approach long enough that both sides were almost completely surrounded.

Soon a three way fight was underway, the Arcadian Forces, the Grimm, and the newcomers. Alexander however learned that these newcomers no matter how archaic looking their armor and weapons were, they shouldn't be underestimated.

When the Grimm attacked, they simply charged into them. Alexander could see each one was an adept warrior with the strength and speed as they crippled the initial charge of the Grimm long enough for a portion of their force to charge at them as well.

The Arcadian infantry however being bogged down by the Grimm as the appearance of several Death Stalkers meant a lot of firepower was focused on them. With that redirection of their already limited firepower the red armor warriors could only be challenged by the Sisters.

The bolt rounds as usual took a grievous toll on their numbers however Alexander hadn't expected that these warriors would just ignore the deaths in their ranks. When the two lines clashed, it looked it could have gone either way as Arabella joined the fray to support her warriors.

Alexander however could see that they couldn't hold out for long. As it seemed that in close combat these warriors seemed to thrive in, if the Sisters hadn't been wearing their armor then they would have been slaughtered.

Joining in with the Praetorian Contubernium at his back, Alexander also learned that it had been far too long since he's fought against actual warriors as well. As the first warrior of the Lord of Blood would have landed a direct hit if Alexander hadn't stuck his hand out to catch and redirect the blade aside before plunging his own sword into the warrior's chest.

The sword nearly split his hand in two and while his physiology could mend the cut he had over time, had it been split completely then he would be out of action for a while till it recovered or was replaced.

As soon as he died, Alexander rejoined the fight with renewed vigor at having a very worthy opponent. He could remember the joy that ran through his veins to be fighting once more but he was also aware that the presence of more Ruinous Servants was a bad thing in the long run.

Soon the red warriors pulled back having finally been broken but Arabella's warriors were also hurt gravely. Of the two hundred they had set out with, less than sixty would make it back to Arcadian territory.

Soon enough reinforcements arrived via Valkyries along with Close Air Support provided by three Avenger Strike Crafts from the Fort Fayyum Airfield.

After twelve hours of fighting, three of which had been the infantry and warriors of the Sisterhood either finishing off pockets of resistance from the warriors or chasing down the Grimm. Alexander finally called back the Arcadian forces. Night was approaching fast and he didn't want to be caught out in the forest where the Grimm has been heavily active.

Alexander had thought that would be the end of this endeavor and that he could leave it up to the local Military garrison at Fort Fayyum in case anything happened. He had been sorely wrong as it seemed that something had agitated the Grimm to an insane level.

Within the next twenty four hours, numerous calls for evacuation or reinforcements were sent to Fort Fayyum as the garrisoned units at border towns were overwhelmed one by one.

Alexander had Brigadier General Skoblin, the ranking officer of the region send activation orders for all active Military units to report for duty. The Argus Province was nearly eight hundred square kilometers of land one of the smaller Provinces of the Northern Arcadian Territories.

It still held nearly six hundred thousand civilians spread over it, making it difficult to consolidate their defense into a solid line.

So the full might of Military presence was drawn up, two Infantry Divisions, three Motorized Infantry Regiments and an Armored Regiment. Along with that, Four Avenger Strike Craft Wings, three Corsair Squadrons, and a dozen Valkyrie Squadrons were put on standby to support the ground forces.

Arabella also brought out to the field the entire Preceptory that was located in the Province while sending word to the nearby provinces of Irkalla, Sharlor, and Lemavi. They were also to put additional Commanderies from the Sisterhoods on standby.

There were more forces at play like the Praetorians who would be the key in the fight numerous times along with the Army or Sisterhood. Yet despite these forces at his beck and call, Alexander was barely able to hold the territory of Argus. As the Creatures of Grimm were tireless in their single minded determination, tens of thousands had died in the fighting with many more wounded or missing.

Four small towns would also be evacuated with three of them being destroyed by the rampaging Grimm. The smaller villages, Alexander had no true idea about what happened to them.

He sighed; things were still difficult even though he's already gotten word that local newspapers were calling him a hero. People were dead, lives ruined and homes destroyed yet the people of his Kingdom marched on.

Part of him felt sorry that had to be the case that his people were so used to these bloody conflicts that he would stitch back up long enough to heal just as another wound was dealt elsewhere. Even stranger he was almost happy to read about the discontent sometimes.

As quite a few people were starting to believe that the time for them to take control of the Four Kingdoms in order to save the world was coming upon them. Or to let them fail completely then start over from scratch. To them it seemed that the Creatures of Grimm were growing stronger because of the malcontent and turmoil of the Four Kingdoms which was bleeding over to Arcadia.

He closed his eyes and listened to the creaking of the ship along with the steady rumble of the engine. Standing up, Alexander draped his jacket over Arabella as he left the stateroom.

The two Praetorians standing outside his hatch stood at rigid attention and he nodded, gesturing for them to stay as he walked down the corridor. Sailors saluted or bowed to him as he passed by, locating another hatch, Alexander opened it.

Immediately he squeezed through the hatchway onto the deck of the Arcadian Battleship as it moved through the cold sea. Despite the misty spray of the cold sea water, Alexander could make out a number of the other vessels that comprise the Naval Group would bring him and Arabella home. Home, reminded him of one thing.

Jaune.

Alexander knew that in the end he would have to let his son do what he wants. A part of him really wished he would give up on being a Huntsman but if he was anything like him or his mother than Alexander knew that short of forcing Jaune against his own will then nothing will work.

Instead Alexander knew what he needed to do.

Even if it meant he was sending his son to his death.


Well, well, well, now ain't this a thing.

I don't know where I was going with that statement but anyways...

Hello person who's reading this, if you made it this far you either liked the chapter enough to reach the end, hated it but reached the end or just skipped to the bottom to which I must ask, why do that?

If you happened to like it then by all means I encourage you to leave your thoughts or a review in the Review Sections. If you hated it then go ahead and do the same as I would probably respond to both good and bad comments/reviews or you can also PM me in which case I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Also let's give a hand to Mr. Matthew Milne the guy I asked to draw a picture of a younger Alexander Arc if you haven't noticed the Thumbnail. If you want to find him then look to my profile for his Deviantart information.

And if you liked this or want to try reading a Zombie Fanfic go and check out my other story A Dance of Death.

Till next time!