Chapter 33

"Our next matchup is Adam Taurus of Beacon VS Mercury Black of Haven!" Professor Port yelled into the microphone, calling the pair of contestants to the middle of the arena. The other finalists made their way off the stage, Sun giving Adam supportive thumbs up. Adam returned it with far less enthusiasm, but it seemed to make the other Faunus happy.

Adam rolled his shoulders and prepared himself. His opponent, who seemed oddly familiar, smirked. Seems like he's cocky. Good. I can use that.

"I didn't know Beacon let in animals!" Mercury said as the arena floor began to rise. "Especially ones who can't even keep their girlfriend happy."

Adam's eyes twitched and his scar burned. "Is that so?"

"Yeah. I thought that if they were going to let in a terrorist, they could have at least brought someone who could satisfy his woman. Unless... you were into her going out with other dudes!"

Adam's entire body tensed. His hand shook as he slowly reached for his blade. "If I were you, I'd shut my mouth…"

"And if I was you, she'd have come with me." Mercury laughed and fell into his combat stance.

How much does this bastard know! I'm going to tear him limb from limb! No! He's using what he knows to rile me up! I can't let him control me. I'll beat him and then I can find out what he knows. Adam took a deep breath and stilled his shaking hand.

"Begin!" Port called. The pair launched into battle.

Adam fired Blush sending Wilt flying hilt-first towards Mercury and charged after it. The silver-haired teen kicked the crimson blade up and away from him. Adam jumped, brought one of his feet onto Mercury's raised knee and used it as leverage to return to the air. Adam grabbed Wilt and stabbed downwards one his way back down.

Mercury fell into a roll, avoiding Adam as he tried to impale the teen. Mercury jumped back to his feet and turned, kicking the air several times, launching a series of flaming white projectiles.

Adam's blade was a blur as it cut down each blast before it could strike. But they were merely a distraction as Mercury dashed in, sliding under his other attacks. He turned his slide into a sweep. Adam, distracted by the projectiles, didn't have time to react in any way other than to stand his ground.

That didn't work out too well.

Adam was sent tumbling to the ground while Mercury continued his momentum, using it to fling himself up and land on his feet. Adam managed to roll a second after landing, narrowly dodging Mercury's boot as it attempted to cave his head in.

Adam attempted to climb to his feet but scrambled to raise an arm to block Mercury's foot. His boots discharged a blast directly into Adam's arm, causing him to grunt in pain as his whole arm shook from the attack. Adam fired Blush, pushing his opponent back and giving him a little breathing room to regain his balance.

Adam took a short moment to gather himself before he rushed in once more. Wilt flashed as he performed a flurry of attacks. Mercury blocked with his hands or parried with his legs but was being slowly pushed back. A few blasts here and there from Blush kept him from trying to change the tempo.

But, with a speed he had yet to display, Mercury moved, ducking under several swings and landing a kick right into Adam's side. He grunted and moved with the blow, reducing its impact and turning with it to sweep his blade towards the bastard's face only for him to dodge it once more by ducking under the blade and countering by slamming a kick into Adam's stomach.

Adam bent over from the unexpected attack. Mercury capitalized, laying into Adam, each strike accompanied by a blast of his boots. Adam stumbled back under the assault, raising his blade to try and block some of the attacks.

Mercury let Adam pull back, smirking as he too stepped away. Adam spared a look at the board. Both their Aura's were in the yellow and around the same level. Adam was slightly lower, however. What was that move? It was as fast, if not faster than Ruby but without the tell-tale effects. What kind of Semblance does he have?

Mercury wasn't looking to waste time, however. After gaining some distance he leapt backwards, flipping onto his hands and began to… breakdance? His feet fired constantly, each round flew outwards before curling around. Within moments the bullets had formed a tornado of flaming white projectiles, all curving around the battlefield in an almost perfect circle.

Adam focused, suffusing himself and the world around him with red. One wave. A thin slash to focus the energy.

Mercury flipped once more, landing on one foot before slamming the other down. In an instant the tornado exploded into dozens of blasts, all hurtling directly for Adam. Moments before they struck he unleashed his own attack.

Adam was hit on all sides by Mercury's special move. His Aura tanked. Hard. But he managed to slash despite the pain, cutting down several of the bullets and saving him from being brought into the red and out of the fight. As the field cleared Adam could see Mercury pulling himself up, having been thrown down by his attack.

Adam huffed as he stalked across the arena. Mercury was shaking a little as he stood, not quite recovered yet.

"Give up." Adam grumbled through gritted teeth.

"Nah. Gotta look good for your ex." Mercury said smugly.

Adam's scar burned. He drew his blade. Mercury fell into his stance. Adam fired Blush. The bullet pinged off of Mercury's shoulder. A loud buzz sounded through the Colosseum. Mercury's Aura had entered the red.

The fight was over.

Adam sighed, letting the tension leave his body. Wilt clicked as it returned to its sheath. "You and I need to talk." He growled, walking towards his defeated opponent.

"I don't think so." Mercury said with a smirk as he drew a pistol. Adam's eyes widened. Mercury fired, but the bullet pinged off of Blush as Adam almost threw it in the way.

The fight is over! Why the help would he-!?

He tried to kill you! Slaughter him!

Adam hesitated for hardly moment before Mercury drew a red Dust crystal. With how low Adam was, that would cause permanent damage.

With a fluid motion, he drew Wilt and slashed, releasing all of his stored energy in a wild wave.

Mercury fell back with a cry of pain. Sounds of shock filled the crowd.

Adam panted as Atlesian soldiers and Knights entered the arena.

"Stand down! Now!" One shouted. Adam looked around in shock as the soldiers pointed their rifles at him.

"Wha-" Adam turned around, confused. "Why are you pointing them at me! He had a-" Adam stopped as he saw one of the screens which showed a replay. A replay of him attacking a downed Mercury with no provocation. "But that…"

"Taurus! Drop your weapon! NOW!" General Ironwood roared as he entered the arena, his weapon in hand followed closely by Winter Schnee.

Adam's heart hammered in his chest, his mind racing. Desperately trying to decide on his next action. He twisted as a presence appeared behind him. He stilled as Qrow stood there with his hands up.

"Take a breath kid. The fights over. Put your sword down on the ground. I'll personally make sure we get to the bottom of this, alright? I'd never hear the end of it from my nieces if I didn't." The older man spoke cautiously, but lightened his tone at the end. Trying to make a joke.

"I-" Adam cut himself off. Thinking for a moment. "I put myself in your custody, Qrow. Take me to Ozpin." Qrow nodded and Adam handed him Wilt and Blush.

Qrow took hold of the weapon in one hand and placed the other on Adam's shoulder, pulling him towards the exit. As they left Adam could see Mercury being put into a stretcher and carried out, joined by a green-haired girl. His teammate probably.

Adam didn't have a luxury of caring at the moment, however.

What the hell happened?

"This is exactly what I warned you about Oz! This monster maimed another student! He should be locked up for this!" James roared, slamming one fist on the desk and pointing to Adam with the other. The Faunus sat on a seat, staring out the grand window at Vale. Qrow stood next to him, warding Winter and James away.

"James, please, take a moment to calm yourself. We will figure this out but as it stands he is my student. You can advise me. Not make decisions about his future." Ozpin said, placing his elbows on the desk and steepling his hands together.

James growled but backed off. Winter stood behind him at the ready. "Damn it Oz. We can't be lenient about this! That boy could lose his leg!" Ozpin held up a hand, silencing the General.

"Adam, please tell me your side of things."

Adam turned slowly. Even without seeing his eyes, Ozpin could tell how he was feeling. He was still panicking, so he was analyzing each of them. Staying aware in case a fight broke out. But Ozpin could see that just behind that was a sense of horror.

While physically Adam was a man, his growth had also been stunted. Behind the body was a boy. A boy who had fought for what he thought was right and become a monster for it. Now he was on the path of healing and had just committed something horrible. Adam was worried he was slipping. And it is my job as an educator to assist him.

"He pulled a gun and Dust on me."

"Bullshit!" James interrupted. "Don't lie to me!"

"James!" Ozpin yelled. "If you cannot control yourself then I will have to ask you to leave!"

His eyes twitched but he nodded. Adam waited for another moment before he started again. "I saw him pull out a gun and shoot me. I blocked it but he drew fire Dust. With how low my Aura was I thought it could kill me. I didn't want any more scars. I attacked. But I panicked. I released all the energy I had stored. I didn't focus it so it was wild…" Adam trailed off.

Before James could speak Ozpin held up a hand. "The preliminary report I was sent informs me that Mercury Black suffered damage all across his body from that attack. His Aura was so low that he didn't have much protection. The attack you performed struck at the entire front of his body. His team has been pulled from the tournament and will be returning to Mistral tomorrow. We do not yet know the full extent of his injuries, but it is likely he will be permanently scarred." Adam's back straightened, his body tensing at the news.

"Mercury Black had no gun, nor any Dust that wasn't stored in his boots. You are attempting to fabricate a story to cover for attempted murder!" James said, a scowl dominating his face.

Qrow stepped forward. "Or he's a kid who saw things that weren't real. You should know well enough that in the heat of battle people see things that aren't there."

"Are you defending a monster that sleeps in the same room as your nieces!?" Winter asked, sounding horrified.

"I don't like him, but pretending there aren't other possibilities just because you want to nail him to the wall is against what we fight for!" Qrow fired back, looking squarely at James.

"Enough!" Ozpin interrupted. "We are allies. Adam." The Faunus stared at Ozpin, waiting for expulsion. "Due to your actions, team RSTY is disqualified. You, personally, shall remain in your dorm room for the remainder of the Festival, your meals will be brought to you by your team and you are not allowed to leave until after the Festival is over. Once it is you will also have to spend time with a psychiatrist at least once a week until both myself and the psychiatrist believe you to be of sound mind."

"You… aren't expelling me and throwing me in jail?" Adam seemed shocked and confused. Had he really believed that would be the outcome?

"I will not be expelling you. You are a student here. It is our job to assist you in improving yourself. In mind and body. Many here have personal issues. You helped one through his issues. We will help you through yours."

"I… thank you, Headmaster."

"This is preposterous! He has committed countless crimes!" James growled.

"James. I have made my decision. Your job is to keep the Festival secured. You may have someone stand guard at his door. But they aren't allowed to arrest him unless he tries to leave without permission. Understood?"

"I-" James started then stopped. "Fine." James gave one last parting look to Adam before he left. The elevator softly dinged as he and Winter were whisked away.

"I'll take him back to his room and explain the terms to his team." Qrow said, patting the Faunus on the shoulder. Ozpin nodded and waved them away.

Soon he was left alone with only his thoughts as company.

A/N: Poor poor Adam. Did anyone think it would go a different way? In some ways, this is probably worse than with Yang. At least she wasn't an ex-terrorist who has murdered people before. Hope the fight came out as good as I wanted it too. I'm pretty happy with it.

I hope you guys enjoyed and I'll see you next time!