Chapter 54

Leonardo swallowed, anxiety pumping through his body as the battle began. He was surprised to see that everyone seemed to innately know who everyone wanted to fight. They quickly fell into their own duels.

The Branwen twins rushed each other, throwing themselves into a clash of blades. Neither seemed to want to drag anyone else into their battle as they slowly drew themselves over to one of the walls, away from everyone else. They're evenly matched! Raven will need help…

He looked back over the room and paled. Pyrrha Nikos had rushed Cinder, a dozen daggers flying around the redhead. Cinder had formed a red short sword to parry the small weapons, but Pyrrha was fast and kept the pressure up with both daggers and her own sword. Despite seeming like she was keeping up it wasn't looking good for Cinder at all.

But help wouldn't be coming for her, as everyone else was busy themselves. Mercury and Emerald were stuck in a match with Ruby and Yang. He'd seen them at the festival. They were a strong pair and kept Cinder's allies on the backfoot.

Leonardo looked to Vernal for assistance but found her duelling the blonde knight, Jaune. The boy was mostly just keeping her attention. I doubt he'll win, but he doesn't have to. With the number of allies he has.

Looking to the door found Hazel battling with the other two who had arrived originally, Ren and Nora. He was winning, but slowly. The pair would be able to hold for a while at least though they were slowly drawing closer to the statue in the centre of the room. Thankfully for them, and everyone on that side, the Schnee was using her Dust effectively. Icicles flew from her position in the middle of the room towards almost every one of her foes. She took advantage of any openings she could find and with everyone occupied nobody could stop her.

She's controlling the battlefield. The only fight she isn't assisting is the twins. Incredible. But wait, wasn't there one more?

"Lionheart." A voice called to him. Leo turned to find a young boy at the top of the stairs. He's with them. He got up here quickly without me noticing!

"L-look boy. I-I don't want to h-have to fight you! If you surrender or leave we'll let you live!" Leonardo offered the boy an out and hoped he would take it.

The boy looked disappointed as he shook his head. "And you call yourself a headmaster? You should surrender!" He had a fire in his eyes that felt familiar.

"I-I gave you an out!" Leo called as he raised his weapon. With a spin he combined two Dust, Fire and Wind, to form a ball of red. With a wave of his off-hand the ball flew into the lad, exploding over him.

But the boy was unharmed. He stalked through the flames without a care, his green Aura was bright as it protected him from damage.

Leo let out a low whine as he mixed Dust once again. An exploding rock was thrown but battered away by a familiar cane. "N-no! Y-you can't be! I-its too soon!" Leo cried out.

The boy lunged forward, his cane slamming into Leo's shield. It retracted and then slammed in again with a speed greater than what the boy should be able to accomplish. But Leo knew it was no Semblance.

As his defences were slapped apart he knew what had happened. As the cane slammed into his stomach and then smacked his head he knew. As the boy danced back only to lunge forward, spearing the cane into Leo's sternum and pushing him back enough that he tumbled down the stairs he knew. He knew, even as he bounced off the bottom step and hit Hazel's back.

"Watch it." Hazel growled. "Hmph. Can't even beat a child." He sighed.

Leonardo turned with horror in his eyes. "That's no boy, it's Ozpin!"


Hazel's shout disrupted Pyrrha's concentration, causing her daggers to drop to the floor. They met the remnants of several of their brothers, melted beyond use. Cinder's flames danced after Pyrrha as she jumped back but even she had turned to see what was happening.

Hazel roared in anger and pointed at Oscar, who stood at the top of the stairs with confusion on his face. "OZPIN!"

Pyrrha turned back to her opponent as Hazel began to rip his shirt open and lodge Dust into his arms. "OZPIN!" The man roared again. Pyrrha reached out a hand and forced her daggers back up. The dozen blades slammed into Cinder, forcing the woman back. Pyrrha dashed forward and laid in the pressure with Milo. Her sword flashed as she spun, becoming a whirlwind of blades as she added her daggers into the mix.

It was taxing her though. She had to reinforce herself through affecting her armour or else she wouldn't be able to be so mobile for so long. Her leg was already starting to ache as it was. Thankfully Cinder didn't seem to know how to deal with Pyrrha's attack. She never did fight Penny and now I'm taking some of her fighting style and adding it to mine! You had trouble with me before, now face the might of both of us!

Pyrrha let out a roar as she flew into a flurry of attacks. Sword, spear and dagger cut into Cinder. The raven-haired woman looked shocked as her blade danced, blocking and parrying almost every attack. Flames popped up around her, melting some of the daggers. Pyrrha pushed through, drawing out some of her spares as she crashed through the fire and slammed her spear into Cinder's off-hand.

The woman hadn't been using it, so Pyrrha had assumed she'd lost the arm and was pretending she still had it. Pyrrha hoped to catch the sleeve and use it to throw Cinder to the ground. She wasn't entirely wrong, but the truth was even more horrible. Pyrrha caught the sleeve but then it ripped off, almost like it had been designed to if Cinder needed it, and revealed a horror.

It was pure black with slight wisps of smoke rising from it. There was no flesh, just bone with a slight amount of muscle over it. It was a horrid black arm with a clawed hand. Pyrrha's shock left her open and Cinder capitalized. Pyrrha let out a scream of pain as Cinder sent a blast of flame right at her open torso.

The spartan hopped back away from the monster in front of her. Cinder growled and tore the rest of the sleeve off, revealing the Grimm-like arm in full. Pyrrha felt sick just seeing it.

"You…" Pyrrha couldn't even finish. It was so terrible to look at.

Cinder let out a noise of annoyance. "I hadn't planned on revealing this… oh well." The strange arm came up and elongated. It lanced out at Pyrrha, trying to grab her. Milo cut through it with little resistance, causing Cinder to scowl in pain and pull it back.

Pyrrha's daggers shakily hovered around her as she stared at the Grimm arm. That's terrifying. Her mind quickly tried to figure out what its abilities were. It can stretch out to increase its range. Is it an Imp arm then? I've never seen one but Jaune mentioned they faced one that had fused with a horse-like Grimm. Though it looks more like a Geist's.

She ducked under a lance of flame. Is this the power of Salem? Grafting a Grimm onto a Human? If it is then that's a problem. Who knows what the others are hiding. Her shield glowed as it took the brunt of another wave of fire.

Sweat poured down Pyrrha. Not only from the heat but the exertion needed to control so many weapons. How did Penny do it? Oh right, robot. She internally sighed and jumped back. Her daggers returned to her, slotting back into her skirt. They were too cost heavy to rely on right now. She would be running on fumes if she wasn't careful.

Cinder stalked forward, blasting bolts of fire at Pyrrha. As the older woman got closer a wall of ice formed between them. Pyrrha glanced over to see Weiss giving her a thumbs up. Things had changed over there too.

Nora, Ren and Oscar were battling Hazel and Lionheart. Hazel's arms glowed with yellow veins as he unleashed lightning. Nora kept jumping in the way, however, taking the bolts and using them to attack back. They were surviving. Weiss however was knelt down, focusing on a large glyph next to her. A glowing blue knight was forming slowly.

Forming a summon and creating walls of ice to keep your allies safe. You are pretty impressive Weiss. Pyrrha was thankful the girl was here. The brief respite from Cinder was welcome.

The wall blew apart a moment later as Cinder charged through. Pyrrha was back into the battle.

"Argh!" Jaune cried out as he was thrown back, slamming into a pillar. His shield came up and blocked the laser that Vernal sent after him. The woman was strong. Really strong. It took everything he had to keep up.

He wasn't really keeping up, however.

The woman was just too strong. She was older, more experienced with a better weapon and probably more talent. Jaune was just, well, Jaune. He might be better than he had been, but he was by far the weakest in the group.

Even Oscar is better! I can't stay so weak! Fight Jaune! Fight! You're an Arc! Arc's are warriors! Fight! Jaune let out a yell as he charged Vernal. The woman raised an eyebrow and parties his attack with ease. Her chakram came in from both sides, ducking under his shield to cut into his legs

"Ahh!" He growled and slammed his shield forward, smashing it into Vernal's face. The woman smirked and took it, using it to cut into Jaune's side again. I'm going to lose… he thought, slashing again.

She dodged with ease. He was too obvious or not fast enough. He was too weak. So weak. He couldn't save anyone like this. He was just a waste of space. Everyone would be better off without him…

No! That's not true! Not anymore! They all care about me! I care about them too! I won't lose! I can't! Not if I ever want to stand beside Pyrrha! He screamed within his mind. Crocea Mors came in from the side towards Vernal's torso. She blocked it, but that was his plan. Jaune pushed forward, almost leaping, and crashed his shield into her.

He sent them both tumbling to the ground. He landed on top and forced her hands out to the side, keeping her from cutting him. She snarled and twisted her weapons, allowing her to fire off lasers. They didn't hit him full-on, but they still hurt as they glanced past his body.

Jaune grunted again and again as he took the blasts. Her leg came up beneath him. "Gaaah!" He cried out, tears in his eyes as her knee lodged itself into his crotch. There was a look of triumph in her eyes, but it died shortly after appearing. He wouldn't let go! He wouldn't surrender now!

A white glow came over him and Jaune felt strange. His injuries began to heal with a crazy speed. Strength returned to his limbs and he even felt like his Aura had strengthened. The glow faded and Jaune felt better than ever.

With a smile on his face, he smashed his head into hers. The headbutt caused them both to cry out in pain, but his Aura was stronger. He kept going, slamming again and again. His vision went weird, but he kept going. She tried to knee him again but he managed to catch her leg with his own.

Vernal spat blood into his face and then pushed her body up enough to try and bite into his neck. He tried to dodge, but that turned out to be a mistake as she used the chance to free herself, launching a kick unit his midsection.

The two were pushed apart. They pulled themselves up, weapons in hand. Vernal spat blood into the floor. "Fuck. I'll give you this kid, you've got drive. You'd have done well in the tribe."

"Shut up and surrender." Jaune spat back, his vision finally clearing. His head hurt, well really his entire body hurt. The boost he'd gotten just before was practically all gone now. But he didn't care. He'd kept her busy and landed plenty of hits.

I can do this!

"Where's your little bull friend huh?" Mercury taunted. "Oh, what's that? He left? Oh poor you. That must be soooo hard!" Sarcasm dripped from his voice.

Yang snarled but didn't rise to his bait. She lashed out as her father taught her to. His legs came up, blocking her punches. Nearby Emerald and Ruby traded slashes as Ruby sped around the green-haired girl. Sometimes it looked like Ruby purposefully attacked the air, but she always seemed to turn back quickly enough.

Mercury scowled once he realised his taunts weren't working. "You would have been so much more fun back in Beacon."

Yang ignored him and launched another series of blasts. He moved around them like a trained dancer. She remembered his fights with Pyrrha and Adam. His style was some mix of kicks with dancing. It was annoying, and almost a perfect match up against her. Sadly for him, she'd had extra training.

As he kicked out towards her face she stepped to the side, grabbed the outstretched leg and punched towards his face. Fire from her shotgun-gauntlets poured over his scarred face. He let out sounds of pain and tried to pull his leg free. Yang clamped down and pulled, spinning as she did.

Mercury let out a yelp of surprise as Yang pulled him into a spin before throwing him against the wall. His Aura sparked as he was smashed against the wood. Yang smiled and went to charge after him. She stopped herself however as Weiss' knight rose from its glyph. The massive creature raised its greatsword and swung at Hazel.

The large man tried to grab it and hold, but he was up against a strong being. He held on for less than a second before the power behind the swing threw him back. He spun in midair and crashed through the front door, sending splinters everywhere.

Yang's eyes were wide as she followed the flung man. He'd crashed outside. Looking through the broken door Yang saw something, or someone, she hadn't expected.

Adam looked back in shock.

A/N: And so we see the inside battle. It goes pretty well all things considered. Thanks to Pyrrha not dying Jaune doesn't rage and get himself beaten nor Weiss impaled. And Weiss doesn't fight Vernal and instead supports everyone. Overall they're doing pretty well I'd say. Cinder hasn't tried to go down to the Vault after all. Her arrogance hasn't had a chance to get involved and cause her to lose after being so close to victory. Instead, she's just losing! The next chapter will be the outside battle at least up until Hazel's exit. Or would it be entrance? Hm. Will it go beyond his appearance? Probably.

Meanwhile irl my chair broke. It sucks having to use a shitty dining room chair. Ugh. It served me well for the last few years but now I must buy a new one. It'll only take... oh about 7 to 10 days to arrive! Ugh... I mean it's a pretty good time but ugh.

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