Author's Note: Wow. You all certainly voted with your reviews. I'm absolutely blown away by the amount of interest this has received. I can't thank you enough for the feedback and inspiration. So here's a chapter 2.


Consciousness slowly returned to Jaune as he laid in his bed. The sound of a feminine voice filled his ears. He could feel a finger annoyingly poking into his ribcage. All in all, it was a typical morning for the boy. It was probably Saphron trying to get him to wake up so he wouldn't be late for school.

In an instant his weary mind snapped awake. No. It wasn't Saphron. It couldn't be his dear older sister. If only that were the case. The poking and prodding of his body would have been far less threatening.

"Jaune come on and wake up!" Ruby called out energetically. "It's time for class!"

Eyes burst open to reveal a brand new room. One he had fallen asleep in for the first time last night. It had taken quite some time to achieve that, being in the same room as... her. A moment later his eyes opened wide suddenly registering the sight before him.

Leaning over him was his new roommate Ruby, the only possible saving grace he had in this school, and she didn't have a single stitch of clothing on.

Ghostly pale flesh in all its curves and glory were revealed to him as he was starkly reminded that while his roommate may be a monster she was also a rather voluptuous young woman as well. The black veins which ran down portions of her skin did surprisingly little to detract from her beauty. Jaune did his level best to ignore the skeletal black lower right arm, and especially the necrotic flesh where it fused with the rest of her body.

"Ruby...why are you naked?" he managed to stammer out as waves of nervousness crashed over him.

Nervousness was putting it lightly. Jaune had never been this close to a naked girl before. Never in the same room as one. Time spent with his sisters when he was younger of course didn't count. No, this was nothing like the innocence of childhood with his family. This was... he didn't know what to call it. What to call her. Other than some sort of Grimm monster.

He wanted to look away. He knew that he should. If this was any other situation with any other girl, his normal manners would have taken over immediately. Yet there was something different about Ruby. It wasn't just the fact that she didn't seem to possess any shame in her exposed body like this. There was just something about her, the unnatural pale flesh, those glowing red eyes, that was alluring. Like he couldn't look away from this strange, curious, horrifying, yet attractive creature.

"'Cause I am?" she tilted her head to the side curiously. "Also you smell really good again."

The words would have sounded creepy on their own. But seeing a nude, horned girl standing above him while they were uttered? It wouldn't have surprised him if Ruby viewed him as some sort of steak dinner right now, and was about to devour his still living flesh.

His manners finally managed to get the better of him. Horrifying Grimm monster or not, Ruby still possessed the body of a human female... right arm notwithstanding. He shouldn't be gawking at her pale curves, even if she didn't seem to mind it.

"Why are you covering your face like that?"

"Just... don't worry about it." Jaune closed his eyes tighter. "Please don't tell Yang about this." The last thing he needed was to be on the receiving end of her wrath like that other poor student had been yesterday.

He still couldn't believe he had slipped on their guts and fallen on the floor. What was even harder to believe was that this sort of violent and murderous behavior was deemed okay by the faculty.

Ruby snorted, an image that would be quite adorable to imagine if the memory of her current status didn't come flowing back with it. "As if Yang would care. Sometimes she forgets to even wear her top to class!"

And of course Ruby had to put that image in his head. Yang had a large, and he was being honest, attractive looking chest. The clothes she wore only emphasized it. He wondered if the sight of a bare-fleshed Yang would still be attractive even with that hulking monstrous arm of hers.

He quickly forced himself to stop imagining such a sight. "That's... great to know," he managed to force out. "Didn't you say something about getting ready for class?"

"Hmm. Oh right!" She jumped up and away from him, causing bits to jiggle all around. "I need to get ready!" The Grimm girl dashed into their adjoining bathroom.

Jaune breathed a sigh of relief as he watched her go. With her no longer invading his personal space he sat up, taking in the room around him. It was fairly small, with only a few pieces of furniture occupying its limited space. Their bunk bed sat against one wall, while a desk and chair sat on the other side of the small open area in between. A short book shelf sat against the third wall, with a window above it to provide some natural light during the day. At least it would have if the sky wasn't a mixture of purple and red...

He moved to get out of bed, only to notice something as his legs shifted. His eyes wandered down to his crotch. "Traitor," he grumbled before getting ready to start his day, unsure if his heart could take anymore.

Swinging his feet off the bed, he had to suddenly stop himself from planting them on the floor before they stepped on the tiny dog that also shared a room with Ruby and him.

Zwei, as Ruby had called him, was a black and white corgi. The fact that a simple, normal dog existed in this sort of environment with these Grimm-human hybrids was perhaps the most absurd thing Jaune had seen yet at this school. He had no idea how it had come to live here, and more specifically with Ruby. Had it belonged to one of the human or faunus professors he had met yesterday, that might make sense. But Zwei seemed to be Ruby's dog. It was a question he would have to ask her someday. When things finally calmed down.

If things ever calmed down.

Jaune scooped the dog up in his arms and brought him to sit on his lap. Zwei peered up at him, his mouth open and tongue hanging out in what he could only describe as a smile.

He ran his hand through the fur on the corgi's head. "I think you're the only connection to the normal world I have in this school," he said softly.

For a moment he wondered if the dog would respond. If maybe, just like everyone else here, he was some sort of freak of nature and would be sentient. Thankfully, Zwei merely stared at him with warm gray eyes.

Jaune continued to hold him close for just a little bit longer. A normal dog may not have seemed like much, but it was one of the few pieces of normalcy he could cling to in this strange, terrifying world.


For the first time since arriving at this school, Jaune actually felt a sense of familiarity. The classroom in which he sat was much like any other he had attended during his life. On one side of the room were rows of desks, each occupied by a fellow student of his. Sometimes it felt strange to even consider these things students. Normally his peers would not be eager to tear him apart with their claws, fangs, or worse, if they ever discovered his true nature.

In the front of the room stood a man, and Jaune was thankful that he could indeed call the professor a man. Dr. Arthur Watts was tall and lanky, sporting an impressive mustache which added to the air of sophistication around him. His voice was deep and proper, his words crisp and eloquent. It was a nice change of pace from everything else Jaune had so far experienced here.

It was just a shame the subject material of the class could hardly be considered normal.

When he had first arrived in the class, he had been surprised to hear that the course would be on human politics. It was an ordinary enough subject that many students would learn about as they went through their high school and college careers. The way that Dr. Watts spoke about politics, however, was unnerving.

"Humans," the man spoke with a hint of disgust in his voice. "For all of their accomplishments, are nothing more than a collection of fools. For all of their intelligence, are easily manipulated. For all of their strength, are easily crushed."

What was stranger was how the man spoke of humanity as if he was not a part of it. He looked down on his fellow man as weak and foolish despite being a human himself. Or was he?

Jaune knew that Ruby and Yang believed him to be wearing some sort of "disguise". That he was a hybrid just like they were, and he was merely hiding that fact by posing as human. What if the same was true with Watts? Or Tyrian? Or any of them?

The fact that he had confessed his own humanity to the man who appeared to be a faunus worried him. What if the professor decided to expose him? He would be killed in a heartbeat if his humanity was revealed. Killed if he was lucky! What if they tortured him? Or ate him while he was still alive?

He snapped out of his panicked thinking when he noticed the eyes of several of his peers gazing at him. Shaking off the odd feelings that they gave him, he focused his attention on the man in the front of the classroom. Watts had to be human. There was no reason for him to be hiding his true nature like everyone believed himself to be doing.

"In this class you will learn the history of humanity and the politics which have both united and divided them. Domination does not always mean having to physically destroy your foes. Often it is beneficial to keep your enemies alive in order to use and manipulate them in order to further your own ends."

"Yeah but that's a lot less fun," he heard the voice of Yang chime in.

Sitting to his right was Ruby, and to her right, the blonde girl in question. Jaune was extremely thankful that there was a buffer in between him and the frightening girl who yesterday had been ready and willing to crush him in her giant Grimm claw.

"Service to our queen is just that. Service," Watts explained. "Having fun is not the priority here at this school, nor is it your objective once you are sent into the civilized world. You would do well to remember that, Yang."

Jaune had half expected Yang to fold her arms in frustration at being rebuked by their teacher. Then he remembered that she would be physically unable to do so. Craning his neck, he could see that she held her arm across a series of seats, supporting its incredible mass with notable creaking protest. Jaune wondered briefly if it ever got too heavy to lug around.

It was nice to see that Watts did not refer to the headmistress of the school as a goddess. Only a queen. While still unsettling, his experience with Tyrian had shown that things could be far worse. Jaune had no idea who or what exactly that terrifying woman had been, but he was beyond happy that she would most likely not be teaching any of the school's courses.

"Now let's begin with the basics," Watts continued as he opened up a textbook. "In order to properly integrate with humanity you must learn the fundamental knowledge that any ordinary person would know. Can anybody tell me the names of Remnant's four kingdoms?"

It took him a moment, but Jaune rattled off the names of the kingdoms in his mind. To his surprise, however, no one else around him seemed willing to answer. Looking around he saw how none of his peers seemed to have any idea. The overbalanced, armored man from the entrance ceremony was the first hybrid he recognized off hand. Jaune realized, looking at him again, that he had short dirty brown hair and his face seemed to be covered in aged, faded scars. Some feet away was another student wearing a heavy trench coat, who seemed to be watching the clock more than paying attention.

He felt a soft nudge from Ruby's elbow into his side. "Do you know the answer?" she whispered.

He nodded. "Yeah," he whispered back. "But... I don't exactly want to draw attention to my-"

"Jaune," Watts interrupted. "You seem like a chatty one. Do you happen to know the answer?"

That was just great. It was unnerving enough when the glowing red eyes of those around him seemed to stare at him for no reason at all. But now being called out like this by their professor, the eyes of every student in the room were focused on him. Some of them, he came to realize, did not have the normal amount of eyes one would expect.

He swallowed, and summoned up the courage to speak aloud. "Y-yes. The kingdoms are Vale, Atlas, Mistral and Vacuo."

A thin smile spread on Watts' lips. "Correct."

Jaune looked back at Ruby, remembering his earlier assumption that she had been a gazelle faunus. "Oh. And Menagerie, even though that's not technically a kingdom."

The smile widened. "Very good, Jaune. Menagerie is often overlooked in the geopolitical landscape due to the fact that they are faunus. However, it is indeed its own sovereign state with an elected official at its head."

As Watts continued with his explanation of Menagerie, Jaune felt Ruby lean over toward him again. "Wow, you're smart," she smiled. "My roomie is strong and smart. This is awesome!"

Apparently at this academy knowing basic world geography made one a genius. If not for the fact that he was surrounded by monsters, this would be the best school ever.

"While we're on the subject, I feel this is a good opportunity to discuss one of the more recent events in human history, the founding of Menagerie. Humans are terribly petty creatures, willing to overlook all of their similarities and bonds over minuscule differences. If you didn't know any better you would think that they wanted to divide and fight among themselves. The war which led to the formation of Menagerie is a primary example of this foolish infighting. Can anybody tell me what led to the Faunus Rights Revolution?"

Jaune didn't know the answer to this one. He sunk lower in his seat, desperately trying to avoid becoming the center of attention once more.

To his delight he would not be singled out again. The hand belonging to a feminine creature with snow white hair and a single long horn coming out of her forehead shot up into the air. She gave Jaune honest pause, as he couldn't see any unusual distortions. It made him wonder what horrors lay behind her clothing. Perhaps snapping teeth where a supple back was?

"Yes, Weiss?"

"Because a human ate their pack leader," she stated confidently.

An audible sigh slipped through Watts' lips. "No, Weiss. That is incorrect."

Incorrect would have been an understatement. Jaune had absolutely no idea where the girl could have gotten such an idea.

Jaune saw how an angry frown formed on the lips of the girl. Her hand rose up once more, confident and defiant in its rigid posture.

"Yes?" Watts called out again.

"It's because..." she said slowly. Like she didn't have an answer in mind, but was determined not to stop until she guessed correctly. "Because humans migrated into their hunting grounds and devoured all their prey, causing mass starvation to the faunus population and starting a war over resources."

Jaune blinked. Was this girl for real? More importantly, did she represent the mindset of all the students in the room? Or was she merely a special case?

"No, that is incorrect as well," their professor said.

Yang snorted. "And she's the one who keeps going on about how brains trump 'fatty flesh'. Guess she doesn't have much at all going for her, huh Rubes?"

Ruby only shushed her sister in turn. Jaune wondered if the one named Weiss had heard the insulting commentary.

Well, at the very least he wasn't the only one who was completely ignorant about history. However unlike him, his peers had a reason not to know about human history. The fact that his lack of knowledge was comparable to that of inhuman monsters was not at all flattering to the young man.

To Jaune's surprise, Watts perked up again looking right at him. Only, he realized, Watts was actually looking just behind him.

"Blake?"

Craning his neck, out of the corner of his eye Jaune saw a sight which he did not think possible. A writhing tentacle waved lazily in the air, its slithering form moving slowly as if performing some sort of hypnotizing dance. He couldn't help but feel entranced by its horrifying form.

"Because the faunus got uppity and someone needed to put them in their place?"

He twisted to catch a glimpse of this girl, who seemed to be so close behind him. Yet, making the turn, he could find no one. Nothing was behind him any longer. A shadow moved across his peripheral.

He was distracted when a soft chuckle left Watts' mouth. "That is one way to put it, Blake. There is far more to it than that, but in essence, yes. After centuries of institutionalized racism against the faunus race, they decided that enough was enough, and rose up in revolt against the humans who controlled their lives."

"Faunus racism is a good thing," the girl, apparently named Blake, said warmly. "The negativity associated with it makes me feel warm and tingly."

Her voice was close. Eerily close. He looked to the right, but only saw the bored, near comatose Ruby idly poking her sister's shoulder with her horns. Yang was polishing her shotgun. Jaune felt a hot breath against the nape of his neck, but turning, found nothing. Was he just losing it?

"Racism is indeed one of the cornerstones of humanity's folly. Something as simple and trivial as having different physical characteristics from one another will lead to violence and hatred. Bigotry and oppression. It is a prime example of how they will always fight among themselves even over the smallest of reasons. And a prime example on how best to divide and conquer them."

Divide and conquer. Great. Saying that he was in the wrong school would be an understatement. He had enrolled here thinking that he would be able to protect humanity. Not destroy it.

Still, he did wonder who exactly Dr. Watts was. If he truly was a human just like him, and not some sort of Grimm hybrid in disguise, why was he so keen on bringing humanity to its knees? Furthermore, why was everyone listening to him and allowing him to instruct them?

He decided to ask the only person in the room he could call a friend. A part of him wanted to laugh at the very thought. Friend. Sure, Ruby proclaimed him to be just that, but would she change her tune if she found out the truth about him?

He would need to choose his words carefully. Deciding that taking them straight from one of the faculty's mouth would be the wisest course, this time it was he who nudged Ruby to gain her attention. "Hey, Ruby?" he whispered.

The girl ceased her prodding of Yang's normal arm and turned to him. "Yeah?"

"Since we're, uh, blessed by the goddess," he said, the words feeling awkward just by leaving his lips. "Then why do we listen to normal people like Watts?"

Pale lips spread into a smile. It would have looked normal if not for her prominent Grimm features. "You sound like Professor Callows," she giggled softly.

Well that was a bad sign. That man scared Jaune half to death, and that's saying a lot being in a school full of monsters. "Oh. Sorry. But... why do we follow humans instead of kill them?"

A part of Jaune hoped that her answer would ease his mind. An answer such as how they don't actually want to kill humans, and they just want to get along and live in peace and harmony. It was a pipe dream to be sure, but in his situation he needed to be able to dream.

"They're not humans. They're servants of Salem."

Salem. Was that the name of the headmistress? No one had ever actually referred to her by name before. Goddess. Queen. But never her actual name.

"What's the difference?"

"Salem would kill us if we ate them," she said matter-of-factly.

The fact that she had just uttered those words without hesitation was telling. She had very specifically said ate, rather than kill. Or destroy. Or any other kind of word that could describe taking another being's life. Nope. She had spoken of eating the human faculty members.

These creatures apparently had no qualms with eating humans. What a wonderful lesson to learn on the first day of class.

Speaking of lessons, Jaune's attention finally returned to Dr. Watts, who had apparently been lecturing in the time in which he an Ruby had been speaking.

"Another fine way to incite violence and revolution is what's known as a false flag operation," the man said. "Does anyone know the definition of that phrase?"

"Oh, I know!" the familiar and enthusiastic voice of Yang shouted a couple seats down from him. Her hand raised into the air, and in doing so, connected squarely with the face of the boy sitting in the row behind her.

An audible slap of meat hitting a slab, a hideous crunch of bone, filled his ears, followed quickly by the cries of pain from the struck student. Jaune turned to see a boy with brown, rounded hair clutching his hands to his nose. Thrown backwards into the wooden row directly behind him, Jaune winced at the splintering damage such a minor hit had caused. Black ichor dripped through Dove's fingers and down his chin from what was undoubtedly a shattered nose. Nothing could have taken a blow from Yang's massive appendage and come out in one piece.

To his surprise, however, no one seemed affected by the action or injury. No one made a move to help. No one attempted to stem the bleeding or find any sort of towel to clean it up. It was surreal. Like it was nothing at all.

"Whoops. Sorry, Dove," the blonde girl said sheepishly. At least Yang appeared to be apologetic. Sort of.

Muffled moaning was the only response. At least until Dr. Watts spoke. "Yang, do please try and use your left arm from now on when raising your hand. I would prefer not to have my class interrupted every time you wish to answer a question."

"Can do."

The man nodded. "Now then, where were we?"

The rest of the class was like a blur. Its subject material was bringing about the downfall of humanity. Violence, even accidental, was acceptable. And he was surrounded by a collection of the most bizarre and frightening creatures he had ever seen in his life.

All he could do until he was dismissed was continue to lay low and hope that he would not be called on again.


Ruby could barely contain her excitement as she bounced up and down in her seat. She didn't even care about the disgusted looks that some of her nearer peers were giving her.

They didn't matter anymore. She had found someone who was able to look past her flaws and see her for what she truly was. Jaune was the best friend she ever could have hoped for. He didn't judge her for being positive. He didn't think the aura she gave off was weird or off-putting. In fact, he was a little bit weird himself. And weirdos needed to stick together.

As for why she was excited, her time had finally come! No more boring and stuffy politics classes. No more dull and droning young women teaching you how to infiltrate human society and seduce those in power. Gross! Who would ever want to seduce a filthy, ugly human anyway?

None of that mattered now, because it was time for combat class with Professor Callows! Sure he may have been a little bit off in the head, but that didn't matter. When it came to close quarters combat he was second to none when it came to faculty members. Perhaps the only one who would be able to best him was Salem herself. Not that such a contest would ever happen with the way the scorpion faunus worshipped her like a deity.

Finally Ruby would be able to show off her stuff to the rest of her peers, and hopefully put a good dosage of fear into them. She would show them that she wasn't one to be messed with, and that with her dreaded black-bone scythe she would be able to take on all comers.

Stealing a glance to her left, she confirmed that Jaune was indeed not repulsed by her cheerful demeanor. Or if he was, he did a fine job of hiding it. Just like he was able to conceal his true Grimm nature. She was so happy that they were roommates. She wanted to be able to pick his brain on why it was so easy for him to maintain his human form for so long. Was he really so strong that he could hold it at all hours of the day? That was certainly the goal when it came to this school. To be able to perfectly and indefinitely pose as a human in order to engineer the downfall of their kingdoms.

Ruby had to bring her hands up to suppress and excited squeal. Maybe she would get to see him fight today! She wondered what kind of cool appendages or claws or horns he had in his Grimm form. Or maybe... maybe he would fight in his human form! That would be a sight to see, and it would certainly impress the other students as well. Everyone would know that the strongest, smartest and coolest guy in class had picked her to be his best friend. Their envy and jealousy would make her feel all warm and gooey inside.

Of course, her first partner and dearest sister Yang had her back. Their relationship had started to fray as Ruby had gotten older and clung to her cheerful nature, but Yang would never abandon her. Said elder sister was first to bat, her monstrous limb firmly planted into the ground. Yang was actively leaning against her own arm, resting her weight on it while she inspected her weapon. At times Ruby wished she could use her arm as a rest spot, but she was plenty happy with what she had. And what it could do.

Yang had not been called down, instead just going directly into the ring. She always began class as the first fighter, to weed out any weaklings that Professor Callows wanted removed, or to settle grudges she inevitably gathered. One grudge made itself known quickly, Dove volunteering to be her sister's dance partner. Ruby snorted.

Flourishing his black, feathery wings, Ruby wondered if he believed he looked impressive. A foolish thought if so. Flight was not common for hybrids, though Ruby pondered that Salem probably gifted him it as a joke for his name. Dove jumped down into the ring, stretching. His wound had already healed, as would be expected of any hybrid. Injuries did not last unless they were quite severe. Yet Ruby knew that wound, more the injury to his pride, was what drove this encounter. Touching down, he brandished his chained spear, whipping the weapon through the air with a marked mastery that could have almost impressed Ruby.

Yang yawned in response.

With the sharp gunfire from Professor Callows, the fight was on. Dove instantly took to the air, his wings giving him enough lift to rise several feet quickly. Yang was not concerned. Twisting, he immediately went into a divebomb, pulling up at the last second to unleash his spear at her. A spear that was easily sidestepped, Yang using her arm as leverage to leap up and let the spear hit where she had been standing. Landing atop the spear, Yang tilted her head up at Dove.

"We going to fight or what?"

Dove, growling, yanked the spear back. Yang, for her part, fluidly dropped off of the retreating projectile, landing with practiced ease back on the ground. She fluffed up her hair with her giant limb, letting the pale blonde locks shine in the candle light. Sweeping low at Yang, Dove was unprepared for her to plant her giant limb into the ground and spin her entire body sideways, her feet smashing into his face. Blackened blood pouring from the wound reopened, he rolled through the air away from Yang. Ruby saw this as his opening-one that he took, launching the chain of his spear out.

With Yang in midair she had no way to avoid the length of metal. Nor, Ruby saw with a grin, did she even bother to. Striking her with as much force as it could, wrapping around her normal limb, Yang did not show any sign of being hurt. Instead, she tore the chain spear from Dove's hands, tossing her shotgun into the air as high as she could. Catching the spear, she flexed shattering the chain length.

"I think you dropped something."

Yang smiled as she impaled Dove's left leg at the knee with the spear, the limb nearly severing in half in one clean blow. His howling could be heard across the room, reverberating ever so sweetly. Yang's grin widened, her black limb still planted in the ground flexing. Abruptly, she was up in the air, higher than Dove had even managed. Snatching her shotgun from its freefall, she leveled it at him.

"I might have let you live, but really what kind of example would that be for my lil sis?"

Dove didn't get a chance to respond when the shotgun blast tore away his left arm and wing, sending blood and gunfire across the sky spraying the bleachers. Dove, blown clear away, smashed into the ground with a wet thud, bones shattering. Ruby watched, eyes wide, when she saw that he was still alive, too injured to even scream any more. Clutching, uncomprehending, at what had been his left arm, the boy did not notice the shadow overhead.

Nor did he notice when Yang's massive limb slammed into him, her descent violently ending, obliterating Dove from this world. Yang's smile dimmed.

"You got blood all over my hair, bastard." Rearing back, she unleashed a flurry of blows from her giant limb, reducing the remains of Dove to so much meat and shattered bone. "Not even worth my time."

As a pair of Beowolves dragged the bloody and dismembered corpse of one of her former classmates out of the ring, she noticed how Jaune too had placed a hand over his mouth. Perhaps he was just as excited as she was. She couldn't blame him. The previous fight had been a bloodbath, and she now understood why the first couple rows of the seating in the room were known as the 'splash zone'. Yang, flipping her bloodied hair with her shotgun, sauntered off without even waiting for Mr. Callows to acknowledge her victory. No doubt to take a shower.

She would definitely have to sit up front with Jaune tomorrow for a closer look at the action.

"A fine bout," Tyrian announced as he made his way to the center of the arena. "Brutal. Savage. Bloody. You do our goddess proud when you give in to your feral nature." He raised his hand, wagging a single finger at the seated class. "You may be attending this academy to perfect your human sides, but you must never forget who you are! You, the children of Salem, are superior to mere humans in every facet! Stronger! Faster! A perfect blend of human and Grimm! Rejoice in the bloodshed of those weaker beings who would dare stand in her majesty's path!"

The speech filled Ruby with a sense of pride. Half-crazy or not, Professor Callows certainly had a way with words. His theatrics could wake her even after spending a few boring hours with Professors Watts, Rainart and Fall. This was the main event. The main course. Her blood was flowing in her veins, and blood was flowing in the arena. The only thing better than sitting here enjoying the show with her bestie would be to be down there taking part in it. She hoped that she would be picked next to fight.

"Now then," the faunus continued. "Who's next..." Tyrian held his fingers up against his forehead as he peered out dramatically into the crowd, scanning for the next combatants. "Master Cardin," was the first name he called.

A few seats to her left, the hulking brute named Cardin stood from his seat and made his way down to the arena. Hulking may have in fact been insulting to the boy's true size. Arms as thick as her own torso hung down awkwardly from his body as if they had come straight off of a Beringel, while the armored plates fused to his pale skin made him look like a walking tank rather than a humanoid Grimm.

Hefting a cruel black maul, he would certainly be a tough opponent for anyone to go up against. Herself included. Ruby however relished the challenge. The thought of her scythe tearing through his comically thin legs and forcing him to fall over onto the ground made her lick her lips in excitement.

"And..." Tyrian continued as he continued to peer into the sea of students. "Master Jaune."

Ruby gasped, looking over to her friend happily. He would be able to show off how strong he was against who was pound for pound the physically strongest guy in their class. Jaune would have the respect of the whole class after wiping the floor with Cardin!

So then why did he look utterly mortified? Stage fright, perhaps? He was still so new to this school and barely knew anyone. Maybe the idea of performing in front of them all was a little bit unnerving to him.

In any case whatever pheromone he was giving off smelled wonderful. Or was it more of that... 'deodorant' stuff he had mentioned yesterday?

"I'm so jealous!" she gushed. "Go down there and bring back a win for Team Jauby!"

She smiled proudly at the name she had come up for the two of them on the spot. Despite the academy having no official teams, she felt that she and her best friend and roommate deserved a special name just for them.

He didn't move. Was he stuck? She gave him a soft nudge to try and earn his attention. "Jaune?"

Finally his head turned to her. His eyes were wide. He must have been super excited for his eyes to be that big!

His mouth moved a few times, but it took several seconds before words finally came out. "I... I think I'm gonna throw up..."

Crimson eyes lit up with excitement. "Oh! Do you have corrosive stomach acid as one of your abilities? That'll burn through Cardin's armor really good!"

He stared at her for several more seconds without saying another word. His breathing had become heavier, probably preparing himself for the impending battle. She hadn't noticed this when they had first met, but for some reason right now he seemed really, really attractive. That human form of his would be sure to grab the attention of all the ladies when they were someday sent to infiltrate the human kingdoms.

"We're waiting, Master Jaune," Tyrian said impatiently.

Ruby was impatient as well. She wanted to see Jaune fight. It was going to be so cool! And he would undoubtedly win. Then afterward they would celebrate with a nice meal in the cafeteria.

Jaune stood, and if she didn't know any better she would say that his legs seemed a little wobbly as he did so. "I... I don't feel so well, Professor. May I be excused?"

Red eyes widened in horror. No. No no no no no...

"Excused?" the man asked. His head tilted sideways in confusion. "You do not wish to take part in this fight against Master Cardin due to illness?"

"Y-yeah," he confirmed. "If that's okay with you."

"But of course," Tyrian smiled. "You will indeed be excused, if that is your desire."

Ruby stood up in an instant. "No!" she shouted. "I-I'll fight him, Professor Callows!" She grabbed Jaune by the flesh of his arm, squeezing it hard as she began to pull him behind her toward the front of the classroom. "Come on, Jaune. Let's go down there and have a match. It'll be fast and easy!"

"Ah ah! I'm afraid the young master has already made his decision," Tyrian said sadly. And with about as much sympathy as a viper had for devouring its prey. "He will be excused, just as it is written in the school's rules."

"No, please! He's new! He doesn't know what he's saying!"

Tyrian giggled with delight. "Yes, he is quite new. Now would be the perfect chance to show that he... belongs. Don't you agree?"

Something about Tyrian's voice must have finally snapped Jaune to attention. "What does that mean?" he asked.

Clapping his hands together merrily, Tyrian seemed all too pleased to carry out his duties as a professor. "Why, it means we're going to the nurse's office, of course. We can't have a poor sick or injured student in our fine academy, now can we?"

Beowolves, perhaps even the two who had cleaned up the arena following the previous fight, came to flank either side of Jaune. Low and guttural growling sounded from their throats as they sidled up next to him. One snapped its jaws at his hand. The boy was quick to retract it.

"Relax. They're not here to harm you."

"They're not?" Jaune asked.

"But of course." The faunus wrapped an arm around Jaune's shoulder as he led him toward the door. "Fret not, young master. You shall be taken care of. After all, weakness must be culled from our fine academy, and you are no exception. So says our glorious goddess."

Ruby's hands curled up into tight fists as she watched Jaune be led away by their teacher. Her first friend. Her only friend. He was about to be fed to the wolves. Perhaps even literally.

She only hoped that he was as strong as she believed him to be.


Author's Note: Thanks to Burkion and Lightningstrxu, my partners in crime writing this fic.

And thanks to all of you for the awesome support you've given so far. Jaune's journey in this strange new world is just getting started. Plenty more to come, and even more classmates to meet.

I hope you enjoyed it.