Chapter 2

The locker beeped as Adam punched in the code, pulling the door open the moment it unlocked. Wilt and Blush stared back at him, ready and waiting to slay his foes. It's only going to be Grimm this time. No more people… at least if I can help it.

All around him students prepared for the coming initiation.

A ginger talked loudly about how her male companion was attractive, but how she also wasn't interested in him that way. A blonde boy flirted with the Schnee and some redheaded warrior woman. That one did interest him. She looked strong and capable but without any proper arrogance.

And of course, there was the red and black-haired girl next to him, chattering about her weapon without a care in the world. The weapon was impressive, a combination of scythe and sniper rifle she called Crescent Rose.

Ruby Rose went on and on, seemingly not noticing his annoyance. Apparently, she thought they were friends now because he hadn't told her to leave him alone yet. It didn't matter though, she didn't seem to care that he was a Faunus and it kept the local tough guy from doing something stupid.

He could do without the watchful gaze of Ruby's older sister Yang, however. She seemed to think he might do something to the young girl. He didn't know if it was his age, his gender or his race. He didn't like it either way, but he could always get back at her later. Now was the time to focus on making sure he got into Beacon proper.

The time came when Professor Goodwitch called for them to head towards the cliffside.

The cliffside in question sat high above the Emerald Forest, a great expanse of emerald green forest.

Are all people in Vale this obvious with naming locations? Adam wondered idly as Ozpin gave another speech, explaining the rules and goal of initiation.

The whole eye contact thing was a bit weird, but if that is what the Headmaster wanted to do then Adam wouldn't complain… well, he would but just in his head. Why? Is this about learning to work with anyone at a moments notice? But it's only once. Is it just to make things easier on the teachers? If they don't have to go through and choose pairs themselves then they avoid the risk of creating issues by leaving someone till last. Ugh. Humans come up with such weird things...

After Ruby's outburst and some blonde guy asking about landing strategies, the pads they stood upon launched them high into the air. The game was on.

Trees flew by below him as he soared through the air, pulling himself out of the spin the launcher had sent him in. Adam let himself fall closer to the trees before drawing Wilt and cutting through the branches in his way, grabbing onto the new stumps and swinging around them closer to the ground. After a minute he landed and rolled along the ground, sheathing Wilt and glancing around.

The area was thankfully clear of Grimm so Adam set off north. He had to find a partner and this temple, hopefully, he could find a partner he could get along with. He dreaded the idea of what might happen if the Schnee was the first one he made eye contact with. The very thought sent a shiver down his spine.

After a few minutes of walking, he heard the sounds of combat. Yelling and shotguns heralded the appearance of Yang Xiao-Long, the older sister of Ruby, as she burst through the nearby brush while slamming fist after fist into an Ursa while discharging rounds into its stomach.

The thing was dead before it hit the ground. Another roared and charged towards her, but Adam intervened, cutting it down with a single slash of his flaming red blade.

The pair shared a look. Adam shrugged, sheathing his blade and stepping over to Yang.

"Better you than the Schnee."

"Such high praise. I'm flattered." Sarcasm dripped from her voice. She wasn't subtle with it, but it still reminded him of Blake. He shook his head.

"Let's just go. I don't want to spend the whole day fighting Grimm when we have a goal." He stepped past her and continued north.

"All business huh? That sucks…" Yang muttered to herself as she followed. Adam pretended not to hear it.

The "temple" was an old ruin covered in moss and vines. It had likely been around for hundreds of years and used in plenty of rituals during that time. Now it was home to several pedestals, each holding a single chess piece. There were pairs of every piece, or there would have been if other students hadn't already been here.

"Two black bishops and a white pawn are missing." Adam muttered as he walked between the pedestals.

"How about a cute little pony?" His partner - and the word still brought to mind a very different girl - said as she held up a white knight piece.

"It'll do. Let's get out of here then." He followed words with action, moving back towards the south and Beacon. He stopped in his tracks as an Ursa burst out of the tree line and collapsed dead.

The ginger-haired girl riding the monster proceeded to whine about its demise while her partner caught up.

Then there was the screaming from above as Ruby fell from a Nevermore only to have a blonde man fly into her from an angle sending the two crashing into a nearby tree.

As the bubbly ginger grabbed a white rook, singing about being a queen all the while, the blonde jumped from the tree to try and catch the Schnee, who also seemed to have fallen from the Nevermore, only to have them both crash into the ground.

"Can everything just calm down for a moment!" His partner yelled as the black-haired partner of the bubbly girl arrived panting.

The forest exploded a few moments later as a Deathstalker breached the clearing, charging after a redheaded girl who was subsequently thrown towards the ruins of the temple with the swing of a claw.

"Great, now we can all die together!" His partner continued.

"Not if I can help it!" Ruby said as she dashed forward in a shower of rose petals.

"Ruby wait!" His partner dashed forward but was too slow. Adam wouldn't make it either.

The Schnee could… and surprisingly did. For but a brief moment Adam wondered if he had been too harsh on the girl as she risked her own life to save another, using Frost Dust to generate a wall of ice that trapped the massive Deathstalker.

But she could just be trying to gain a servant or an ally… or it would look bad if she didn't save someone when she could. He still couldn't fully trust her.

The group of eight convened with the blonde boy and Ruby grabbing their own chess pieces, white rook and white knight respectively.

"So, what do we do know?" Yang asked.

"The Nevermore is coming back around." The black-haired boy said.

"And the Deathstalker won't be trapped forever…" the Schnee reminded them.

"We already have the relics, let's just get back to Beacon."

"Adam's right. We can complete the mission. We don't have to fight every Grimm we come across." Ruby said and, for a moment, Adam saw something. It was a presence that reminded him of Ghira or Sienna. The presence of a leader.

Everyone nodded and they were off. Yang held back for a moment, a look of pride in her face. Adam clapped her on the shoulder and nodded to her.

The forest moved by in a blur as the eight rushed through, ignoring the gathering Grimm that could be heard around them. Adam wasn't sure how long it took them to reach the cliffside ruins, but when they did the Nevermore seemed to arrive at the same time, landing atop what was once likely a cathedral of some kind.

They took cover and breathed for a moment, but it was short-lived as the Deathstalker broke through the forest once again.

The group rushed once again, running onto a great stone bridge towards the defendable ruin…

Then the bridge collapsed as the Nevermore rimmed into its supports. Sending rocks tumbling into the chasm below. Adam rolled back into a stand and took stock.

Most had landed closer to the ruins but the redheaded girl and black haired boy were back on the other side holding the Deathstalker back. His partner and her sister had rushed forward to take potshots and the Nevermore while the Schnee sent bolts of Frost Dust, trying to freeze the beast's wings he guessed.

The ginger girl slammed her hammer into the edge of the bridge and sent herself and the blonde boy back over towards the Deathstalker. Adam pushed further into the ruins and jumped up to Yang's spot.

Blush didn't have too much ranged but something was better than nothing. He opened fire and his bullets joined the deluge his allies sent at the thing. This seemed to do little more than anger the creature, as it turned around and came right at them.

Say what you wanted about Nevermore, but this one's ramming power was impressive. Breaking through the ruin and sending most of it tumbling down onto the seemingly bottomless chasm was a good motivator to move.

Jumping from falling rock to falling rock, Adam arrived to the safety of the top the ruin. It was then that Ruby appeared in front of him… and she had a plan.

Ozpin watched in interest as the teens fought. Jaune Arc was shaping up to be a brilliant leader, instantly realising his allies strengths and capitalizing on an enemies weak point. His lack of experience and general attitude might become a problem, but those could be fixed. His talent was hard to find.

What interested Ozpin most, however, was the other group that had formed. Ruby Rose had been a stellar pick as she naturally slotted into the leadership role. There would be tension of course but the way the four worked together was impressive.

Weiss Schnee used her Glyphs to send Adam Taurus onto the top of the Nevermore so he could clip the overgrown bird's wings and send it crashing into the cliffs wall. Yang slammed into it and kept it still as Weiss froze the Grimms tail to the ground. Ruby followed it up by running directly up the wall, hooking her scythe under the neck of the monster and, with some support from more of Weiss' Glyphs, dragged the entire Grimm up the wall to decapitate it right at the top.

Ozpin smiled as he watched the footage again. The group had done very well. He wasn't surprised that Yang and Ruby had such skill and teamwork. They did embody the entirety of team STRQ after all. He was more surprised at how much Weiss was willing to work together, though that might have been because of how much required her abilities, and at Adam even working with a Schnee.

More proof that he was willing to change for the better. Ozpin hoped the boy could do it. His skills and talent would be good when Salem came knocking…

"Ruby Rose, Yang Xiao-Long, Adam Taurus and Weiss Schnee. Together you collected the White knight pieces. Henceforth you shall be known as… team rusty!" As Ozpin spoke the letters arranged themselves on the screen above him, spelling out RSTY.

"Lead by… Ruby Rose!" There were cheers and claps and the screech of an annoyed Schnee. If this was what Beacon would be like than Adam thought he could get used to it. He smiled, even as the Schnee fumed and his partner hugged his new leader.

It would be hard to live with a Schnee, but if he could just avoid her attention for the next four years…

Like that will happen. I already made a bad impression on her yesterday. This isn't going to go well, is it?

At least he had made it into Beacon...

A/N: Hope you guys enjoyed!