The last chapter of the epic, the long story. It's been a long time coming and I personally do think Professor Arc suffered by trying to follow the canon plot of RWBY, which people probably know I haven't enjoyed at all post V3-4. In hindsight, I probably should have ignored it entirely, but hindsight is 20-20 and I was at the time super hopeful for the show because I loved the ending of season three, how dramatic it was and how it set up for an action packed and conflict laden V4. Before that turned into a slow slog across Mistral with exposition on a hundred new core plot topics being forced down our throats.
Anyway, enough whining. On with the epilogue.
Cover Art: Mystery White Flame
Jaune Arc, headmaster of Beacon, was in hiding.
This wasn't so unusual. Many an illustrious headmaster of the academy had spent his or her time in hiding, be it from scheduled conference meetings, paperwork or just the exam season. Few were those who hadn't at one point or another feigned sickness when it came to deciding the team names, or who hadn't accidentally booked their holidays during parent-teacher conference time.
After talking down a Grimm invasion (as the legends had it) and rescuing a woman kept prisoner by the Grimm (as Salem had been claimed), no one could doubt the bravery of the one who ruled over Beacon Academy. None dared. Hopeful children came from all across Remnant to study under him, to experience the majesty of Beacon Academy. To grow, learn and flourish under the professionalism of its teachers.
"Jauuuuunnnnnneeeee. Where are you?"
Professionalism may have been exaggerated. As the sultry cry spread around Beacon, teams vacated the corridors, teachers found something else to do and girls hid their boyfriends.
Professor Yang Xiao-Long was on the prowl again, and no one was safe.
No one was quite sure what Miss Xiao-Long was a professor of. Kicking ass was her usual answer, and the thirty-or-so-year-old woman (Yang had referred to herself as being twenty-five for as long as most students could remember; no one had the balls to argue, certainly not Jaune) did enjoy giving personal tutelage in the matter to her students. With love, she would always say, smiling so prettily that the boys would swoon and the girls fume. It was always beating her students with love, so that they could learn through the school of hard knocks how to defend themselves when faced with an unstoppable force of nature.
Headmaster Jaune Arc had his own way of dealing with Professor Xiao-Long when she started hunting. A most brave and foolhardy solution, for as Yang herself often said, only an idiot could hide from her. Jaune was determined to give it his best shot anyway.
At thirty-two years of age, not a whole lot had changed, or so he thought. His parents continued to tell him just how much had, but wasn't that what every parent did? Oh, look how much you've grown, a whole quarter of an inch. Okay, so he was a little more angular in the face, a little broader and bolder. His chin bristled with stubble when he wasn't being threatened by death to shave it, and his hair had one or two streaks of grey that Neo took vicious pleasure plucking out. Superficial things. He didn't feel older, and he certainly didn't feel any safer with Yang on the hunt.
As the heels clicked closer to the closet he was hiding within, sweat began to creep down Jaune Arc's face. It was over. He was done. It'd been a good run but the students would soon mourn the death of a headmaster, whereupon they would probably welcome their new one who would be far more efficient than he. Ungrateful little shits.
Through the thin crack of light between the doors and huddled behind a janitor's broom, Jaune saw the shadow of Professor Yang Xiao-Long – or as the students called her outside her hearing, the man-eater – loom. Her fingers curled around the doorframe. Jaune whimpered.
The cold and calculating word cut through the air like ice, dousing Yang's ardour and Jaune's fear in an instant. The fingers left the cupboard door, Yang groaning under her breath as she turned.
"That's Professor Belladonna when we're on the clock, Professor Xiao-Long."
"Oh come on. We're teammates. Buddies. Pals. I was there when you got drunk and pole danced at Weiss' hen party-"
The sharp crack of something leather made Jaune and Yang jump. "That did not happen. I will thank you not to make up such rumours about me at school, Yang."
"Uh. It totally happened. Ruby has pictures-"
"Then Ruby will be losing a scroll tonight," Blake forced out. "What are you wearing? That's not professional for a teacher. What are the students going to think if they see you like that?"
Yang bounced up and down, as did other enticing parts of her. "I doubt they'll be thinking of much at all. At least not the guys."
"It's unprofessional. Change it."
"Oh come on. It's a white blouse and black skirt. Glynda wore this shit all the time. What's wrong with it?"
"Glynda didn't wear a blouse so tight around the chest I can only assume the buttons are made of titanium," Blake said with a heavy sigh. "Nor did her skirt look like it was about to pop off at any moment." Her eyes narrowed. "Are you hunting the headmaster again?"
Yang took a long second to answer. "No."
"Technically, it's Professor Xiao-Long. You said so. Don't be unprofessional, Blake."
"Damn it, Yang. If I have to file another complaint from the students-"
"Who would complain about this!?"
"Yet another girl whose boyfriend has joined the Xiao-Long Club."
"Heh. It's not only guys in that club."
"I've told you before that a) allowing a fan club of yourself is against the rules, b) using said fan club to hunt down illicit pictures of the headmaster is also against the rules and c) you are not to encourage my fan club to deliver me tuna sandwiches!"
"Why? You love tuna."
"Not when it's delivered by amorous teenagers confessing to me!" Blake hissed.
"You need to get laid."
"I am not hearing this from a woman who is strutting around Beacon in clothing several sizes too small hoping to corner her employer for a booty call!"
"Well yeah," Yang admitted. "Obviously, I need to get laid as well. What do you think I'm currently working on?"
"Go!" Blake pointed her hand out. "You have combat class in ten minutes. The Vytal Festival is four weeks away."
"Meh. They'll be fine."
"Cinder Fall's first batch of students are attending. If they win, imagine how much she will hold that over-"
"Sorry." Yang said. "I'm gonna have to shut you up there. I need to go beat my students into a murderous rage." She turned away as if it were Blake wasting her time. "That bitch things her students are gonna beat mine, does she? Get one up on Yang Xiao-Long? Hah. I'm gonna push her shit in."
Yang's heels clicked down the hallway.
Blake sighed. "You can come out the closet now, headmaster."
Brooms, mops and janitorial supplies spilled onto the floor as Jaune Arc stumbled out, tripping and reaching out for his beloved assistant. Blake stepped quickly aside, writing something on a clipboard as Jaune smacked down loudly onto the floor.
Black stockings, grey skirt, dark purple blouse and a grey cardigan over the top, Professor Blake Belladonna cut a tall and intimidating figure, a svelte femme fatale that could have send any man's heart racing, and who could then freeze said heart with one glare from her piercing yellow eyes. Her feline ears flicked to and fro atop her head, her old bow not nothing more than an accessory tied over her left breast pocket.
"You could have caught me…"
"You could have stood up to Yang like a man."
"No one stands up to Yang, least of all men." Jaune rose and dusted himself down. His Deputy Headmistress, having taken over after Glynda's retirement, hummed nonchalantly, boredly, like she was only vaguely listening to him. "I don't get why she's become so aggressive."
"Probably because Neo used her illusions to make herself look pregnant last week."
"Only to Yang. I didn't realise why she looked so jealous until I found out."
Jaune groaned. "Great. So, now I have Miss Biological Clock on the warpath."
"Right, anyway. Thanks for the help. I'll just go-"
Blake's hand gripped the collar of his blue coat fingers brushing against the back of his neck. "You will what?" she asked dangerously.
"You will go sneak off to have drinks with Port and Oobleck again? Fool me once, shame on me. There won't be a second time." Blake didn't so much pull him as start walking. Her iron grip forced him to stagger after her or be dragged like a dead animal. He chose the former. "Four weeks, Jaune!" she snapped. "Four weeks until the Vytal Festival. Are you aware what that means?"
"Considering we've done this multiple times before, yeah…"
"And every time your speech is inadequate!"
"Ruby said it was a good one."
"You could take a dump on stage and Ruby would call it a good one," Blake drawled. "That is no excuse. What's more, we still don't have all the spare rooms ready for the transfers despite me telling you to get the ball rolling on that a week and a half ago."
"I was going to-"
"And then there's Cinder."
"Is she coming?"
"Oh, she's coming alright, and you'd best be sure she intends for you to be coming as well."
"Ugh." Jaune grimaced. "Hasn't she picked a King yet?"
"You know that she has."
"Other than me, I mean."
"Then no. Speaking of, we have yet another diplomatic message from the Fall Kingdom. They are offering a free trade deal, military alliance and sharing of security information-"
"Hey. That's a good deal!"
"In exchange for your head on a silver platter."
"She wants me dead!?"
"Your other head."
Jaune's mouth hung open. His face burned bright red.
"The Council is deliberating."
"They better bloody not be!" Jaune cried out hotly.
"Well, you'd know what they were deliberating if you didn't keep welching off the meetings and sending me in your place, wouldn't you." Blake glared at him as she said that. Glynda had trained her disciple well, much to Jaune's horror. "The Councillors have been feeling rather neglected of late, so I assured them you would be present for the next two weeks' worth of meetings."
"W-Why would you do that?"
"Because I am taking a two week holiday."
The blood drained from his face. "You can't."
"Ahem? I am legally entitled to holiday."
"No, I mean you can't. The school will implode if you're not here. We'll all die."
"You are being dramatic."
He really wasn't. Ruby sometimes referred to Blake as Miss Goodwitch when she was panicked and not thinking straight, a throwback to all the times Glynda had caught Ruby out napping or late on homework. It wasn't something all too surprising either, as Blake had fully embraced the role of Deputy, which, as per the traditions Ozpin had put in place, meant she was really more of a shepherd trying to make the sheeplike faculty do something resembling the jobs they were paid for.
"It's two weeks," Blake said with a roll of her eyes. "I've done all my work for that period. All you need to do is attend the Council meetings, fend off Cinder-" Blake ignored the frightened whimpering of her employer, "and convince Yang to wear something professional for the event."
"How am I meant to do that!?"
"No idea. Also, try to rein Neo in, won't you…?"
Jaune blanched even further. "How is anyone meant to do that!?"
There were… rumours surrounding Professor Neo. The way she moved silently about the school, the way she would smile viciously at nothing, the way a huge, twenty-foot tall Nevermore would follow her around, squishing itself into and filling half a classroom with its feathery bulk.
To be fair, Miss Neo didn't exactly help herself with the rumours. Most people had the feeling she enjoyed them. Such a petite but buxom figure naturally attracted her fair share of admirers among the student body, and her exotic hair and eyes didn't hurt any. It was said that a few plucky boys even had the guts to ask her for private lessons.
What went on in those, people could only jealously imagine. The boys in question never told, leaving pale faced, withdrawn and remarkably quick on their feet. One of her private students won the last Vytal Festival held in Atlas, practically massacring an entire team before accepting his trophy and curling into a ball in the middle of the stadium and begging for no more.
Yes, there were rumours around Miss Neo. The fact she would often join Miss Xiao-Long on the `Headmaster Hunts` as the student body termed them, certainly didn't help. Nor did the way she'd sometimes show up to class with fuzzy hair and a wild grin, wearing a shirt or jacket about ten sizes too big for her.
Miss Neo and Miss Xiao-Long didn't get on all that well. It was common Beacon knowledge that you didn't want to be stuck in a corridor between the two of them. There was a reason Beacon enforced the learning of landing strategies in initiation, and most of the students used that knowledge to eject themselves out the closest window whenever Yang and Neo made eye contact.
As the students shuffled into class, many of them looked nervously at the Nevermore. It was tame, or so the teachers assured them, but then those same teachers had promised them many things and taught them the importance of paranoia as well. It was said that with age, Grimm could grow more and more intelligent. The experts were out on how much that meant, with some claiming it was mere animal instincts and others arguing Grimm could learn, could adapt and even remember things.
The fact the Nevermore would scratch off their names in a class register as they arrived sort of answered the question. The students filed in, sat and brought out their stationary. Miss Neo looked over them, nodded and turned toward the board.
"Squaaaa!" the Nevermore cawed furiously, making those closest by duck their heads. "Cawww! Kawww!"
Eyes narrowed, Neo stalked over to the Grimm, taking the clipboard it offered with its beak. She looked down it, sucked in a sharp breath of air through her nose and then looked out over the class.
Three members of a particular team began to sweat. They'd told their leader that skipping wasn't a good idea. They'd warned him, begged and appealed to his desire to become a huntsman. He had a girlfriend, though. A new girlfriend. He wouldn't shut the fuck up about it, and he was still in that newly together phase where he was shitting rainbows and gumdrops.
He'd skipped class.
It wasn't their fault, it wasn't Beacon's fault and it certainly wasn't Neo's.
The class waited in silence. They'd seen the Nevermore dispatched. They'd seen it crash through the window – often taking most of the wall with it – and soar over Beacon. They'd heard the screams, the howls and the gunfire, and they'd seen a heavily mauled and broken aura student tossed back in, crumpled and twitching at Neo's feet.
And that was if she liked you! Miss Neo's mismatched eyes closed, and her form shattered into glass. The missing boy's team shivered, whispering silent prayers for their teammate. Having the giant Nevermore sent out to collect you was a terrible fate, but Miss Neo going to get you? Personally? They were going to be missing a fourth member, they were sure.
Talons clinking on tile, the giant Nevermore waddled its way over to the main desk and reached over, delicately picking up the tiny hunk of chalk in its murderous beak and tapping it on the board. Without a word, textbooks opened as students read through the relevant section.
Honestly, being taught by a Nevermore wasn't even unusual for Miss Neo's class. It wasn't as bad as the last parent-teacher conference where she had the Nevermore stand in for her and squawk angrily at the parents of those students with bad grades.
In the distance, a huntsman-in-training screamed shrilly.
The class kept reading.
Headmaster Arc slumped over the staffroom table, cheek on the cold wood and arms stretched above his head. Doomed. Pressured. Exhausted. He wasn't sure how it was that with the Grimm now being a distant threat and Salem not wanting world domination, life was harder than ever before. It was like all those distractions before had been keeping the real toil away. Now, exams, paperwork and the Vytal Festival threatened to swallow him whole again.
A pair of hands came to rest on his shoulders, gently kneading his muscles and drawing out a pleased little groan. He let himself be pulled back into a sitting position, head tilting back to look up at a shyly smiling face.
"You're a lifesaver, Ruby."
"Hmm!" Ruby still looked young to him, even if she was thirty now. A little fuller in every regard was the only change for her, and that was literal. She still wore her red cloak even now, it trailing behind her as the Grimm Studies teacher massaged his shoulders. "You shouldn't stress out so much, Jaune. Rely on us a little. We're here for you."
"Blake isn't." he moaned. "She's taken a holiday."
"I can fill in for her!"
"Don't you have your own class?"
"The class is fine," Ruby said hurriedly. "They're great kids. I'd be happy to help you while Blake is gone." Her hands kneaded just a little harder. "We can stay up late at night doing paperwork, drinking coffee until the quiet hours of the morning. A-And if you get tired then you can rest your head on my shoulder."
"Or my lap."
"What was that?"
"N-Nothing!" she squeaked happily.
He must have imagined it. Ruby was still so innocent. So sweet and kind that even the most belligerent of students did her homework out of fear of upsetting her. Professor Rose had never given a detention in her class, and yet she also never had to deal with delinquency, not after a girl called her a terrible teacher and Ruby almost cried. Said girl had apologised on hands and knees, all her peers behind her with murderous expressions saying if she didn't stop Miss Rose from crying, she wouldn't survive to see graduation.
"I sorted out the dust with Weiss by the way!" Ruby said. "Weiss offered us the same discount as usual if we use SDC dust for the festival. I ordered enough to last, and she gave us two months' credit."
"Great work, Ruby," he said dreamily, sinking into her magic hands. "You're amazing."
"Hah… I-I didn't hear that. Can you say it again?"
"You're amazing, Ruby."
Something dripped on his shoulder. Jaune opened an eye to see Ruby with a thin trail of blood running from her left nostril. Her face was red, her eyes misty. "C-Can you say it again?"
As did Jaune.
Yang Xiao-Long stood in the doorway, thankfully now in clothing more befitting her body type and no longer looking like she was a muscle spasm away from complete nudity. Beside her stood Neo, somehow the two standing side-by-side without anyone dying, though given the way they were looking at Ruby, that might quickly change.
"Eh." Ruby's hands left his shoulders. "Eheh. I was just… Ahem." Her tone changed to completely professional. "The headmaster had some dust on his shoulder. As a teacher concerned for the reputation of our school, I have dealt with the issue."
"Ruby…" Yang growled.
Neo's eyes narrowed to pink and brown slits.
It wouldn't be the first time the staffroom had descended into a deadly catfight involving shotgun blasts, giant scythes and teleporting death, nor would it be the last. Professor Lie Ren approached, heard the sound and then spun on one heel, whistling and walking the other way.
The Vytal Festival was always an interesting part of the year. Three out of four times, it was a chance to kick back and watch someone else have to host the bastard event, kicking your feet up as another school struggled to balance all the arrangements. Jaune missed those years. Whenever it was their turn, everyone would suspiciously file holiday requests. As the one who processed them, Blake had taken advantage to skip out this year.
Now, however, the date had arrived and his Deputy was back. Somehow, the school was also in one piece. Tourists and travellers from across Remnant had come to Vale, business was booming, and Beacon was packed full of transfers from all the Kingdoms. Even Menagerie and the Fall Kingdom had sent representatives, though Cinder's fledgeling academy only had about a hundred students in total and had only sent two teams of four. Yang was still determined that her students would send Cinder's home in body bags.
If there was one good thing about the festival – the only good thing in Jaune's opinion – it was getting to meet up with everyone again. Glynda, Peter and Bart had come to spectate and commiserate on the good old days. Velvet and Pyrrha had come along to celebrate both the show and Nora and Ren's anniversary, while Weiss finally had a chance to take a break from the SDC and suffer the clingy reunion of her dear partner, who had attached herself to Weiss' left arm like a barnacle and hadn't let go since.
Cardin don't insult the faunus or I'll beat your face in Winchester was busy commentating from the main box, his and Velvet's daughter cheering her daddy's every word as if his commentary was the main show and not the students kicking one another's teeth in down below.
The hard work actually done, it was also a chance for the teachers of Beacon to relax, unwind and watch proudly as their beloved students put all their hard work and practice into action.
"Hundred lien says he gets his face kicked in," Yang said.
"I hope so," Jaune replied, placing the money on the table. "I heard him refer to be as a beta male the other day, whatever that's meant to mean. All this new lingo is killing me."
"We shouldn't be betting on our own students," Blake criticised sharply. "But yes, I expect Mr Onyx will get cocky and start showboating like he usually does. This will be a good learning experience for him."
"Why is everyone so mean to him?" Ruby whined. "He's so sweet."
"Everyone is sweet to you, Ruby," Yang said. "He's a little shit to everyone else. Yeah, hit him again! That'll teach him to drop the pencil in front of me. Does he think I'm an idiot or something?"
"Oh. He dropped it in mine, too." Ruby smiled innocently. "He looked really red when I bent over to pick it up."
Yang, Blake, Jaune and Weiss all looked at one another, then at the boy down in the stadium currently being used as a pinata by a huntress from Vacuo. Their eyes narrowed dangerously, and even through the miasma of pain and several layers of glass, the boy in the arena shivered, sensing impending doom.
"-and with that moment of hesitation, Onyx Coal of Team Obelisk are out! Congratulations to Team Citrine from Vacuo."
The crowd cheered and clapped.
"That's my daddy!" a small bunny-eared girl squealed happily. "Daddy is on the TV!"
"Our next match is going to be between Team Diamond from Beacon and Team Mine from the Fall Kingdom."
"Team Mine?" Yang scoffed. "What kind of name is that?"
"A name-" a dark and seductive voice spoke "-that represents their intention here in the Vytal Festival. To defeat some petty upstairs and claim what is rightfully mine."
Cinder Fall – Queen Cinder Fall – swept into the VIP box to the admiring looks of everyone else there. Tall and beautiful, her time at the top appeared to have mellowed her somewhat. Or maybe it was simple that with no more power to hunger for, she could simply bask in success. It was true that she always wore a smile, one that alternated between smug satisfaction and confident power.
Yang's lips peeled back, and she snarled warningly.
"Down, dog," Cinder remarked, sweeping past her and placing a hand on Jaune's cheek. Her golden eyes burned into his, crinkling slightly as she trailed her fingers over his lips. "Hello Jaune."
"Um." Jaune hated that he blushed and hated that he did it in front of his own teachers. Half of them looked amused. The other half looked ready to commit regicide. "H-Hey Cinder. How are you doing?"
"Oh, I'm doing wonderful. The Kingdom is coming along nicely now that the walls are done, and the hospitals are up. We found quite the nice dust deposit that the SDC are helping us mine." Cinder swept her red dress back and sat beside him, casually nudging Ruby out the way. "I put together a little stimulus package for those looking to move and our population has boomed. There are so many people looking for fresh starts, and it can be so expensive living in Vale or the other Kingdoms."
"Y-Yeah. I guess so. You're bribing people to come, then?"
"Bribing with low property costs, great healthcare and free education. If you want to hear more about it, I can think of a stimulus package for you as well," she teased, running a finger over his leg. "Or a way to stimulate your package."
"Aheh. Yeah…" Jaune leaned back from Neo and Yang's murderous gazes.
"Have you heard about our huntsmen Academy?" Cinder asked.
"Yeah. You've sent two teams."
"Only two," Yang said. "Kinda pathetic really."
"-and that's a crushing victory for Team Mine from the Fall Kingdom," Cardin announced, sounding more than a little surprised at the speed of it. "A truly one sided display. I've got a feeling a certain colleague of mine won't be pleased with that performance."
Cardin was right. Yang's eyes were bright red, and her hair was glowing.
"Oops." Cinder chuckled. "Well, I'm sure there's a quality of some sort in quantity, dear. Just like how you seem to think the inches around your bust can substitute for a personality."
"You man stealing-"
"Diplomatic incident!" Blake growled, hooking her arms under Yang's shoulders and hauling her back. "You promised, Yang. She's the ruler of an allied Kingdom. Attacking her is a declaration of war."
"I don't care! Let me at her!"
Jaune felt a bead of sweat run down his face.
"You know," Cinder said boldly, leaning into his side. "I convinced the other headmasters to agree to let us host the Vytal Festival next time. It's going to take place in the Fall Kingdom."
"Hmhm." Smiling cattishly, she leaned in to whisper. "I can't wait to show you the kind of hospitality I can offer, Jaune. Once I'm done with you, you won't want to leav-" Cinder gasped as cold juice splashed over her chest. She reeled back, dripping with grape juice.
"Oops! Sorry!" Ruby tossed her can away in alarm. "I'm sorry, Queen Cinder! I didn't mean to. Ooh, I'm so sorry, please forgive me…"
"You did that on purpo-" Cinder looked at Ruby's face, so close to tears. "I mean… I suppose accidents do happen… to the best of us…" Sighing, she stood. "I should go clean up. I'll see you later, Jaune. Perhaps we can have dinner."
On her way out, Cinder bumped into General Winter Schnee, raising an eyebrow and offering a polite, if cold greeting. The General returned it, moving past Cinder and toward them. Her eyes looked over an angry Yang, snarling Neo and grinning Ruby. "The usual?"
Jaune sighed. "The usual. How can I help you, General?"
"We need to talk."
"The security of the festival is-"
"Not what I am talking about." Her voice dropped. "It's about her, Arc. It's about a potentially world ending scenario."
Jaune stood immediately. The other teachers knew they could get it out of him later, so they didn't stop him. Instead, they went back to gambling and talking smack about the students behind their backs. General Winter Schnee nodded to the door and Jaune followed her out, the two of them moving away from the VIP boxes and toward a secluded conference room guarded by two soldiers. They saluted and opened the door, and soon the two of them were locked inside.
"This is about Salem, right?" he asked.
"Yes." Winter sat, Jaune doing the same. "I've had my people watch over her. Ironwood is manning the unit even in his retirement and they've been tracking her movements for the last ten years, as you know."
"I've had Qrow check in on her occasionally as well. I haven't heard anything bad."
Well, except for the time Salem found him and they got drunk together. Qrow's bad luck Semblance had come up spades, leaving him to wake up in bed with the ex-Queen of the Grimm. He'd never quite been the same afterwards, especially not once Taiyang pointed out Salem would class as a GILF, or maybe even further back considering her age.
All in all, Salem was having fun from what he could tell. She'd explored the world, indulged in a wide range of hobbies, visited numerous casinos, clubs and holiday resorts across Remnant and otherwise lived it large. The money from all the dust mines in the Grimmlands more than paid for it all and would continue to pay for hundreds of thousands of years like that.
"What's the problem?"
"Salem entered the Vacuo Red Light district six days ago. She has not yet left."
"Is that unusual? From all I've heard, that's kind of her thing at the moment. I don't see what is so-"
"Ozpin also entered said red light district. Or Oscar. We're not sure who is in control."
"Oh shit. Is… Is anyone still alive…?"
"The red light district remains whole," Winter said. "There has been no violence. At first, I was under the impression this might mean they hadn't come across one another. It's a large place after all. Unfortunately, my spies noticed them walking side by side this morning."
What was that? Bad? Nice? Good? Sweet? The end of the world? Jaune decided to take a lead from Yang's book. "That's a thing."
"It's definitely a thing, Arc. It's a thing that could very well mean a repeat of history. Imagine for a moment that they get back together. What happens after if they split again? We don't need Salem, Queen of the Grimm, to return."
"Well what can we do? It's up to them now, isn't it? They're adults – or they should be considering how old they are. Maybe we should leave them to their own devices. Trust them."
Winter Schnee raised an eyebrow. "Are you done living in the land of make believe?"
Jaune sighed. "Yeah. So, how are we interfering?"
"I've already booked an after-Vytal party for you and your staff. You're all off to Vacuo to celebrate a successful tournament. My sister and I will be going as well. While there, we shall `coincidentally` bump into Ozpin and Salem, determine what their relation is and – if necessary – deploy our ultimate weapon."
"Of course." Jaune sighed again. "And I'm the one doing it?"
"Great. Wait, this is a red light district…?"
Jaune paled. "You're sending me, Neo, Blake, Ruby, Yang and Weiss – along with the rest of our staff – to the Vacuo red light district?"
"I'm afraid so."
"I'll be eaten alive!" Jaune cried. "They'll devour me! And when Cinder finds out, she'll buy out the whole district to trap me! And if Velvet finds out Cardin is going then she's going to try and kill me! Not to mention Nora with Ren!"
"Mr Arc." General Winter said firmly. "That is a sacrifice I am willing to make for the fate of Remnant. Good luck. And if anything happens to my sister, I will personally hold you responsible and pin your balls to the CCT."
"Another martini, ma'am?"
Former Queen Salem of the Grimmlands leaned back on her deckchair, pure white body tightly wrapped in a skimpy black bikini. Her hair was loose, drifting down behind her as Tyrian Callows worked the kinks out of her shoulders. The psychopath had been reduced from a killer to a personal masseur, and he could not have been happier about the fact.
"My Goddess' shoulders. I'll destroy all the knots. None shall survive!"
Smiling lazily, Salem offered up her glass and let the man pour her another drink. An attentive woman was busy at her feet giving her a pedicure, while another offered her a menu to look down, picking out from the range of highly expensive treats and desserts.
"Having fun?" a familiar voice enquired.
Ozpin looked remarkably good in a pair of swimming shorts. Or rather his current host did. He'd gone without his cane and glasses and looked far younger than usual, in part due to the body but also due to the lack of stress on his face.
"I'm simply doing my bit for the betterment of Remnant," she said. "As long as I'm entertained, the world is a safer place." Sipping her drink, she moaned happily as Tyrian worked his elbow into her shoulder blade. "I'm only, ah, thinking of all those humans who I can protect like this. Oh yes, deeper, Tyrian. That's it."
"anything for my goddess!"
Ozpin chuckled and took the seat next to her, sipping his… coffee. Salem rolled her eyes at someone coming all the way out to Vacuo for coffee. Then again, she was still to busy sampling every drink under the sun. Such wonderfully creative creatures, these humans were. It seemed a waste in her mind to spend your limited life making cocktails, but she couldn't help but be grateful that someone had.
"So, any plans?" Ozpin asked.
"Stay here. Sample every delight Vacuo has to offer and then move on," she replied. "I'm on a journey of self-discovery."
"The self-discovery part being to collect every STD known to man?"
"I'm immortal, Oz. You know that." Salem looked over with a sardonic smile. "But is that a hint of jealousy I detect in your voice? My, I wouldn't imagine you would still hold a torch for me after this much time."
Salem looked to his waist and then up. "Your body disagrees."
"It's Oscar's fault. Not- ow, shut up, Oscar. You're the one looking."
Salem laughed delightedly, leaning back and letting the shades fall back over her face. The poorly disguised Atlas soldier watching from behind the bar caught her eye and she smiled crookedly. That Arc and the rest of his people would keep an eye on her was only expected. She didn't much mind. Even if she did grow bored of indulging in all the earthly pleasures Remnant had to offer, she could drop by Beacon and let them entertain her.
"To eternity," Salem said, raising her glass. "May it be a more entertaining one than the last."
Ozpin's cup met her glass. "To eternity."
Kind of sad to see Professor Arc go in a way, but it's also gone on longer than it probably should have. As I said at the top, I felt like I had a stronger idea of what I wanted in the Seasons 1-3 sections because Season 1-3 of RWBY were so tight and well planned out. Everything fit in nicely. I guess a story about someone being a teacher at Beacon was always going to get harder when the cast LEAVE Beacon behind and forget it ever existed.
Still, I had fun writing it, and I hope you all had fun reading.
Next Story Start: 7th January
P a treon . com (slash) Coeur