A/N: Please read this note, would you kindly?
As ever, we're following the Ember's Rule here.
If folks don't like this, it'll be deleted. Poof! Gone! Every bit of feedback helps. Reviews are the fuel which keeps me writing in these crazy times. That's no joke. Without them, my inspiration cannot take wing and I can't write a word. So by all means, speak up!
Now lets answer a few questions, eh? Onward!
Q: Update schedule?
A: *Checks list* Lemme see here, should be Kiss of Death and Embers of Hope...but I'm open to updating stuff early if folks want.
So? What do you want to see? Can't rightly know if you don't tell me.
Q: Are the bad guys down and out?
A: Oh, if only...
Q: All hell's about to break loose, isn't it?
A: In some aspects, wrong you would be...and yet right you are~!
Q: Please, m'lord! Mercy! Spare her!
A: Spare who? Emerald? You know I can't reveal her fate...
Alright then, I've kept you long enough. Lets get into the meet of the matter and have some fun!
Once more, I own no quotes, references, or memes. Not a wit or a one. NOPE!
Papa!Naruto is best Naruto, and woe betide anyone who hurts his kids.
Minor verbatim for last chapter~!
"That man tamed Raven Branwen. Ask yourself this. If he could make a murderous, cold-hearted psychopath like her feel love...
...well. What does that say about him? That he redeemed her? No, no, no. You misunderstand."
It means he's even more dangerous than she is. Yes. That's right. If she's a monster...
...then you know what that makes him? That's right. A demon.
THAT is the enemy you have made."
"Rise and shine, sleeping beauty."
"Hrrngh...no...don't wanna...lemme sleep...
"I have. Its been three days. You've slept long enough."
As far as wake-up calls went, those were hardly the words Yang wanted to hear. Three days? She'd been out that long? Lilac eyes fluttered open as wakefulness came back to her in fits and starts. She tried to formulate a reply, or barring that, swipe at persistent bastard nudging her shoulder. She only accomplished some uncoordinated flailing and rolled over in bed.
The very moment she did, her stomach revolted as her poisoned-addled body betrayed her.
Horror dawned. No. Absolutely not. She wasn't about to get sick like some...some little kid. She clenched her teeth, knees tucking into her chest as her stomach roiled. Resist! She wouldn't be subject to this humiliation! A frustrated whine escaped her clenched teeth. She tried to fight it. She really did.
Her face turned green; then her gorge rose.
Someone thrust a paper bag at her.
She sat up and heaved into, retching violently. Once. Twice. Thrice. A hand held back her hair as she convulsed, gently keeping the golden mane out of her face until she had nothing left to give. Just like dad did. She had time for that thought and little else as her stomach cramped anew. Deft hands prized the bag from her grasp and disposed of it. She whimpered a bit; to which someone pressed a glass of ice cold water to her lips. Sweet ambrosia! She drank greedily of it.
"Slow sips, now." that strangely familiar voice cooed. "Careful."
Yang did as she was bade. It helped a little until she drained the glass dry.
"Feel like shit." she rasped
"You're going to." an almost nostalgic voice called from her bedside. "You had a pretty rough time."
She turned to find someone sitting on a reversed chair only a foot away, arms sprawled across the worn wood. Blurry eyes blinked, not quite comprehending his face. She scrubbed at her eyes with the back of hand, trying to see straight, but her vision refused to comply.
"Right on the money." came the reply. "Morning, kiddo."
Her vision swam back into focus and she found that blasted baker there, sitting before her. He looked...tired. About as bad as she'd felt really. Dark bags loomed under his eyes and there was a thermos of what she hoped was coffee clutched white-knuckled in his right hand. As she looked on he took a long draught from it.
"Yo." he waved at her with a rueful grin. "I'm your father. How're ya feeling?"
"Excuse me?" Yang croaked.
Naruto's grin didn't waver. "You're excused."
"No, no," she shook her head, grimacing a little as a fresh dizzy spell hit her. "That last part. Say it again!"
"Sure, that's the part you latch onto. I just wanted to get it out there." His shoulders slumped when she snarled. "You're going to make a meal of this, aren't you?"
"Of course I am!" she I almost died!"
"Eh," he waved a clawed hand at her. "Almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. You'll be fine." his eyes narrowed to thin sapphire slits. "Better, even. Nearly dying gave you a nice little boost."
Yang glowered at him anew as he sat there. "Seriously? That's response?"
"You're my daughter." Those azure orbs hardened. "A little poison ain't gonna kill ya."
Everything in her recoiled from the very concept of those words. She'd always suspected something, of course. Even as a little girl, she'd been stronger and faster than she had any right to be. Then there was the way he'd reacted after meeting her. The way he'd fought her, beat her to the ground, picked her apart like she was nothing. But to hear the words, to actually have them spoken...!
Denial clamped down. "You're lying."
"Nope." he looked almost sad to deny her denial. "I had some blood tests done while you were out. Could show you, if ya like."
Yang's heart sank into her stomach. This wasn't happening. This couldn't be happening. Her world had begun to fracture; a good hard blow would shatter it completely.
"So, what?" She growled, fists tightening in her sheets. "You saved me...because you wanted me to owe you, or something"
There it was again. the look. "Yang, Raven may have saved you, but I didn't do a thing to heal you."
"Thanks ever so much!"
She said it to spite him, to get a reaction. All she received was a low laugh.
"That's not what I meant, ya cheeky brat." he flicked her forehead. "I did nothing because there was nothing for me to do." he leaned back in his chair, causing the worn wooden frame to creak. "By the time I got you out of that warehouse, your body had already started to flush the poison out on on its own."
Her brow furrowed. "It did?"
"Yup." Naruto-Dad?-smacked his lips with an audible pop. "Tyrian hit you with enough to drop an elephant, and you survived. You gave me quite the shock!" He slapped his knee with a mighty guffaw. "Hell, you managed to get stronger from it, too!" those keen eyes locked on hers. "Is that your Semblance or something...?"
She frowned. "No...?"
"Huh." he thumbed his chin. "Might be a new bloodline. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...
Yang grit her teeth.
Damn him for being so blase about this. She wanted to slug him in the face. It was only experience -and the knowledge of what he would do- that stopped her cold. She was no match for him in a fair fight. He'd picked her apart last time. He'd do the same now if she tried to start something. Who did he think he was, waltzing back into her life like this? Everything had been fine before she'd met him. Now she was questioning everything. She hated it...
"My father," she all but spat the words, "Is Taiyang Xiao-Long. He raised me. Not you."
"True, he did." Naruto nodded. "But he's also me. Its complicated."
"Bwuh?" Her head began to spin. "Bullshit!"
"Language, young lady."
A pall of silence stretched between the two blonds. Neither budged...until one did.
"Maybe," Yang forced the words out through grit teeth, "You should start from the beginning."
He told her everything, summarizing it in a matter of a few minutes.
...so in conclusion, he's me, but not me. By that logic, Ruby, is...also technically mine, thought not by blood. So you're still sisters." he clapped his hands, startling her. "Nothing has changed. You just have another dad to look out for ya. I wanted you to know."
Her lower lip trembled.
To admit it was weakness, yet she was a truth in his words all the same; one she couldn't deny.
"I failed you, Yang." here at last, he looked chagrined. "I didn't know about you. I didn't even try to find out. That's on me. I should've done more. To be fair, I didn't even know you were mine until your mother dropped in awhile back. Even then I kept quiet. I didn't want to ruin your life. You were happy." his hand came down on her head, stroking her hair in a way that felt painfully nostalgic. "I wanted to preserve that. You may be my sunny little dragon, but I wanted you to enjoy your youth."
He didn't want anything from her? He was just...taking responsibility?
She'd thought it a trick, that he was using her, trying to get something from her. And yet there wasn't so much as a hint of duplicity in his words.
She looked away. "So why tell me now?!"
"Because I have enemies." the smile slid from his face like water off a duck's back. "They came after you to get and me and your mother. You have a right to know why. And your mother cares, too." He reached out to tap her shoulder. "I know you and her don't see eye to eye, but-
She turned her head aside and spat. "Bitch."
"She can be one at times." Naruto didn't deny it. "She loves you in her own way. Just ask Pyrrha how she reacted when Cinder took you." His smile returned tenfold, beaming with pride. "You should've seen her, Yang. She was ready to start a war. Just to get you back."
It was the final blow, the last straw that shattered Yang's worldview forever.
No. Not possible. Raven didn't care. She'd never cared; not one bit.
Because if she actually did...if she allowed herself to believe...!
"Bastard." She hiccuped. "You missed a lot of birthdays."
"I really did, didn't I?" he scratched at a whiskered cheek with a clawed finger. "I'll make up for it. Starting now. If its more proof you need...
He touched a hand to her stomach. Yang yelped as something deep within her responded. A faint light in her pulsed blue. There was no pain; more a faint itching sensation from within accompanied by light. She watched it thread up through her arms, across her chest, to the very tips of her fingers and marveled at it.
"What is this?" she asked, turning her hands end over end. "What did you do?"
"Me? I didn't do anything." the whiskered warrior withdrew his hand, allowing her to squirm back as the glow faded. "You wanted proof. There it is. You have chakra, Yang. That's exclusive to me. Tai doesn't have it. Raven doesn't have it. Summer certainly didn't. Hell, you've even got a little Kurama in you."
Her eyes flashed red. "What's a Kurama?!"
"See!" He exulted! "There it is!"
"Not the point!"
"You're right. The point is, I'm going to be here for you from now on. I've got nearly two decades to make up for." His point made, he withdrew a Scroll phone from his pocket and laid it at the foot of her bed. "Here's the footage of everything. Neo was kind enough to record the whole shindig." he stood with an effort, knees creaking as he did. "Take your time. Enjoy it. We can talk later."
He paused at the door.
"Oh, and I nearly forgot. You have visitors."
He wrenched the handle and a cloud of red petals crashed through. "Yaaaaaaang!"
Ruby crossed the room in an instant, a red missile that struck her headlong.
Weiss and Blake were right behind her.
In the chaos, he slipped away.
Emerald opened her eyes.
That was her first clue that she was still alive, but the pain alone made her wish she weren't. Sparks of harsh, stinging agony shot through the back of her shoulder, mingling with those in her skull to create a cacophony of pain from which she couldn't possibly escape. She she closed her eyes again with a whimper and curled inward on herself.
Pain. Much hurt. Feels very bad.
Her mind was a tangle of sights and sounds that she couldn't understand, yet somewhere in them she felt a keening sense of loss. It clung to her like a petulant child denied their desert, refusing to let go no matter how hard she tried to wriggle free. Why was that? She couldn't remember. She wanted to, but when she reached for the memories, when she tried to remember why she found only a yawning void.
She rolled over and felt soft sheets tickle her bare skin. The hell?
Emerald sat up with a start, clutching them to her chest.
"Who took my clothes...?!"
The room that lay before only confirmed her suspicions. It wasn't her dorm; little more than a guest room, really, replete with a small dresser and a mirror alongside the bed in which she found herself. Little more. Yet for all the sparse furnishings, it was warm and soft in an almost parental way, so much so that the sight of it ignited a strange longing in her chest. She struggled to sit up again, gasping a little as her upper body protested in equal measure. She glanced down and beheld the grisly black stitches running down her collarbone. Weak. She was so weak. She could barely move.
A fresh pair of clothes and underwear awaited her at the foot of the bed, just out of reach.
Emerald grasped at them with fumbling fingers and dove under the covers, dressing herself quickly. She didn't dare emerge until she was decent again.
Bare feet padded to the floor, gingerly testing her weight. Her legs held. She stood with an effort, curtailing a grimace behind a veneer of sheer will.
"Huh." she muttered, considering herself int the mirror. "Green sundress. Not bad." Someone had excellent taste. Almost like...oh.
Realization struck her like a stinging blow and she remembered.
There had been a battle. She'd been stabbed...hadn't she? Yes. She remembered that. She touched a hand to her knee, winced as her fingers massaged the still swollen joints. Hadn't her leg been broken? She recalled the terror that was Raven Branwen; remembered a savage kick, an awful pop, punctuated by a scream...
Her eyes widened.
Panic bleated to life in Emerald's chest. Where was she? What had happened? Moreoever, why was she still alive-
With neither word nor warning the door creaked open, revealing a familiar, terrifying face. Him! No! Not him! Anyone but him! Worse, he was carrying a tray loaded with cookies. Poisoned, no doubt! Emerald took one look at them, gulped, and clamored backward. Her foot caught on something and she pitched back onto the bed. Her shoulder screamed and a gasp tore itself from her lips.
Naruto's head snapped in her direction.
"Oh, good. You're up." Whiskered cheeks dimpled in a smile; one that didn't quite reach his eyes. "That makes this easier."
Emerald glowered bloody red daggers at him, even as she crawled backward on the bed like a drunken crab.
"That's all you have to say?" his brow climbed higher. "No, thank you for sparing me? Thanks for saving my life? Nothing at all?"
He glare didn't waver.
"Alright." he plonked the tray down at the foot of the bed and sat beside her. "Hard way it is, then. If you're looking for your boss...well. She's here, there, everywhere." a cold spark of pleasure flashed through those ice blue orbs as waved a hand to and fro. "I sent her head to Salem. The rest of her...well, lets just say she's resting in pieces." he steeped his fingers and laid his chin to rest atop them. "I needed to send a message to some old...acquaintances of mine."
Emerald's world shattered. "She's dead...?"
"Of course she's dead, you dolt." The baker scoffed at her. "She took my kid. What did you think would happen? I'd give her a spanking and send her on her merry way?"
Emerald scarcely heard him. Everything was crumbling. Dead. Cinder was dead. Dead, gone, torn apart and scattered to the winds. Anger sparked to life in her chest, only to be swallowed by sorrow. Bitter tears burned at the edge of her vision; she was powerless to stop them. She wept for her, for what she had never been, never would be, what was always dangled before her yet never given unto her. She wept for it all. Some say crying is a beautiful thing. It really isn't. Its loud. Sad. Pitiful.
Emerald did not simply weep. She wailed.
Cinder had been her life. Her world
And now?Now she was gone.
"How could you...?!"
Her gaze snapped to his. "Bastard!"
"There it is." Blazing blue eyes met hers. "The anger. The hate. You think you know what loss is. You think you've suffered." his hand flew out and seized her by the chin. "You don't know what loss is." he gave her a hard shake, causing her neck to protest viciously. "You have no idea what loss is. I can tell you right here, right now, that you meant nothing to her." his forehead struck hers, sending a thin line of blood running down her face and over her cheeks. "She didn't love you. She didn't care. The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can move on-
"You don't know that!"
In hindsight, Emerald didn't even realized she'd moved.
She blinked, startled to find her arm extended; that she'd actually struck him...and broken three fingers. Naruto hadn't budged an inch.
"I know her type." he took her hand and set the broken bones, fingers flowing with a gentle green glow. "You were nothing more than a pawn to her. Tell me, what would you do if someone kidnapped your family. Humor me and pretend you have one for a moment. What would you do to someone who took your kin away...?"
There could only be one answer. "I'd kill them."
He released her. "Then you understand."
It galled her, but she did. She could recognize the spirit behind his words if nothing else. She still didn't like it.
His nest words stole that thought away. "Now, then, what should I do with you?"
Dread reared its ugly head anew. "I was just following orders!"
"Best not to be glib at this time in the proceedings, Emerald." his voice left no room for argument. "You were a willing participant in this. You followed Cinder's orders to the letter, and while you may not have harmed any one person, you still caused all sorts of havoc.
"What are you going to do with me?"
"That's the question, isn't it?" he frowned down at her. "I'm not emotional about the havoc you caused, That said, there is a price indebted to me," a clawed finger poked his chest, "For the blood I've gotten on my hands restoring order to the untidiness you created. You have three options to repay that debt." That same single finger rose. "You can pay with your life. Just like Cinder, just like Mercury...
'So that's what happened to him. Stupid bastard got in over his head...
She was alarmed to find that she didn't want to die.
Even now after all she lost, she wanted to live.
A shiver stole over her.
"N-No." she stammered. "I don't want to die."
"Understandable." He patted her head, ignoring her angry growl. "Most kids your age want to survive. Which brings us to the second option." the hand fell away, leaving her feeling strangely bereft. "I turn you over to the authorities and let them deal with you. They won't be kind. Not after what you've done."
She imagined not. Once word got out, she'd by lynched.
...and the third?"
Naruto pulled a vial from his pocket and set it before it her. It was filled with clear liquid.
The baker held it out to her, intentions clear.
"This is a potent potion I made three centuries ago." he waved it back and forth, watching as her eyes tracked it. "The only one of its kind, made from ingredients that no longer exist in this world." the contents swirled before her eyes, alluringly. "Think of it as something of a hard reset for you. Mental and physical. Total wipe. You'll forget everything you've experienced in the last few years, be given a stipend of lien, and...well." his lips pursed. "From there, your destiny is your own. Alternatively, you could stay her after the wipe. It might do you some good."
"You keep using that word. Wipe. What does it mean? How far back are we talking about?"
He told her in no uncertain terms and her heart skipped a beat.
...they'd hate me."
"Not really. Only Raven knows who you are. The others never saw your face.
Emerald winced. "Can I think on it?"
"And give you the chance to take revenge?" Naruto shook his head. "No. Not with that Semblance of yours. Choose. Now." he set the vial down on the tray before. "Death, imprisonment, or a fresh start."
Vengeance was pointless, even as a small part of her cried out for it. She'd lost to Raven. That one was already a monster in her own right. This...thing was leagues above her. Worse, he somehow knew of her Semblance, somehow. She wouldn't put it past him to kill her for using it on him. And what could she do to him. Yet the question remained. Did she want to live? Or die? She had no purpose left to her beyond hopeless revenge. She knew it. He knew it. And yet for all that, the decision lay with her.
Red eyes locked with his. "Will there be pain?"
His stern visage softened. "No."
Emerald made her decision.
There was a gift at her door.
Salem didn't want to open it. Against her better judgement, she did.
A severed head awaited her. There was a red apple shoved into its open mouth.
"Somehow, this doesn't surprise me." Salem sighed at Cinder's severed head. "Foolish girl...
Idly, she wondered if Ozpin was having better luck than her. Maybe he'd managed to get himself killed? A girl could hope...
Ozpin considered himself a rather open-minded individual.
And yet, in all his lives, he had always held an innate distaste for those who preyed upon others. Bandits, in particular. Call it the legacy of a misspent youth or human decency, perhaps even the fading embers of an old knightly soul, but he simply couldn't abide them. He'd once devoted one life to ridding Vale of their ilk. In that at least, he'd succeeded.
Not so in Mistral.
Truly, the vagabonds here were the lowest of the low, veritable scum of the earth; those who only took from those weaker than themselves. They weren't strong. They weren't trained. Their strength lay in numbers and sheer savagery; nothing more, nothing less. They contributed nothing to society and fought only for themselves, for their base greed and lust. It made them a plague upon outlying settlements, a constant source of negativity; which in turn attracted Grimm. Fell monsters even more cruel than the bandits themselves.
Bandits were worse. Because, you see, bandits were so uncivilized.
He simply couldn't abide them where he saw them.
And he was among them now.
Ozpin exhaled slowly, striving for calm as he gazed at the men and women blocking his path. For the first time in a long time, serenity eluded him. You see, he was rather cross at the moment. He'd been comfortable in Vale. Happy, even. Secure in the seat of his power, free of surprises and other unpleasant business.
At least he had been, until a certain blond and his Branwen barreled back into his life.
He'd tried to be civil about it. Decent, even. And yet the very moment he sought to speak with them, the latter threw him through a portal. Now here he was, far from home. Without hope, without a plan, without his coffee, among one of the very few things he loathed in this rotten world. So yes, Ozpin was feeling rather cross at the moment.
Quite understandable, really.
He'd almost forgotten what anger felt like.
It twisted in his heart as he gazed upon his foe, a great hulking brute of a man who'd seen fit to bar his path. Really, he was quite large for a bandit, and his sword larger still. Perhaps he was compensating for something; or maybe he simply enjoyed large swords. Regardless, it didn't change the fact that this fool was in his way and currently preventing him from leaving the tribe. Unfortunate, that.
"I'll say this once, son." Ozpin tapped his cane once against the ground, splintering it. "You do not want this fight."
"Oh, but I do." came the rejoinder. "I'm gonna break your back and feed you to my dooooooow!"
His words piqued into a high-pitched shriek as the Immortal's cane swept up and obliterated his nose, rendering it a lumpy red smear against his visage. The poor fool staggered back, clutching at his face. He was clawing at it still when a second sweep ended his life. His head flew from his shoulders and his neck besides. The bandit's body tipped backward like a fallen and struck the ground, producing a harsh crack. A crimson puddle crept outward from his fallen form.
...oops." Ozpin considered his cane with a put upon sigh. "That was unfortunate."
Just as he'd forgotten what it was like to be angry, so too had he failed to remember what happened when someone with Aura hit someone without. Really, the result was quite messy. There was a reason Huntsman and Huntresses were bound by some many rules. Civilians were squishy. And these bandits, for all their numbers and cruelty, were no Hunters.
"So uncivilized." the sage sighed, wiping a bead of blood from his hair. Well?" He pivoted on one heel and planted his now crimson-cane in the ground. "Does anyone else care to try their luck?"
No one moved. Not a single soul.
Ozpin tittered softly. To think, he'd almost forgotten this feeling. The simple thrill of combat; the joy of cutting down the wicked and the unjust. Really, he felt decades younger. Perhaps he had been foolish to coop himself up in Beacon all these years. Yes, most certainly. He should be taking the fight to the wicked of this world, not wasting away behind a desk.
For the first time in eons, Ozma felt alive again.
"What's wrong?" the ghost of a knightly smile plucked at the corner of his mouth. "I'm just an old man. Surely you're not so weak as to be afraid of me."
That did it.
One plucky soul rushed him with a rusty mace. Ozpin didn't even deign to dodge. The crude weapon struck him and shattered on his aura. Still the impact was enough to make him turn the other cheek, head snapping to the right. He looked back with an almost fatherly smile.
"Please." he scoffed. "Your technique is all wrong. Use your wrist. Like this."
His fist blurred and the man became so much paste.
Another rushed him, a young girl not yet in her twenties.
"Screw you, old man!
Vernal never saw the cane until it was too late.
One moment she'd been mocking what she thought was an old man; the next her world turned upside down and she found herself seeing stars.
"Honestly, children these days." he clicked his tongue. "It seems you all need a firm hand to guide you."
Ozpin sighed as he regarded the horde of cruel men and women before him. He stepped over Vernal's prone form, knowing she wouldn't attack him again. Such a waste. She could've dedicated their talents to helping the people of Remnant. Instead she chose to be...this. This entire tribe did. Well. Since Raven had been so kind as to strand him here...he may as well make use of it.
"I'm sorry, I'm a terribly foul mood right now." His cane came out with a flourish. "Prepare yourselves."
He'd have to thank Naruto for this gift...
And if he laughed a little as he butchered the bandits?
Well, it was the laughter of a righteous man doing good work. Nothing wrong there...
A/N: I suppose Emerald's fate depends on you, the readers. By all means, lemme know!
As ever, reviews are my lifeblood. Without them, I cannot write.
So In the Immortal Words of Atlas...
...Revieeeeew, Would You Kindly?
They keeps an old man alive.
And enjoy the previews.
SPOILER! SPOILER! SPOILER!
PLOT DETAILS AHOY!
YE BE WARNED!
Get ready to smile~!
Obvious references are obvious~!
(POTENTIAL!) Previews! What can I say? I've been busy.
Vanessa had a glazed look in her eyes.
"I want you." Her lips ghosted across his neck, leaving a line of fire in their wake. "Its always Raven, Raven, Raven with you. I think its high time I had my turn...
"That's a fair proposal-ah!" Naruto gasped a little as her bit his ear. "You make a good argument...
She pushed him back to the bed and crawled atop him. His fingers fumbled with her shirt even as she ripped his belt away.
Pyrrha opened the door. "Mother, are you in here-MY EYES!"
"Hello, dear. Do you mind?"
Raven tugged at him. "Come back to bed...
"Oh, and Blake's parents are here...?"
The cat in question whimpered.
"So! You want to date my daughter, do ye?!"
Pyrrha groaned. "Daddy, why...
A timid knock sounded on the door.
Deery poked her head in, one hand over eyes. "Is it safe?"
"One time, oi...
Neo clapped happily.
"Zip it!" Roman glowered at her. "Can't believe I've got a sister...why her?! Of all people?! Bloody redheads making me look bad...
"Alright, Nora. Hit me with your best shot."
The grenadier dithered. "You sure that's a good idea?"
She couldn't call him Dad. The word lodged in her throat.
Sapphire tapped her foot. "Unfair."
...you three are going to be the death of me...
"I can't wait for the festival!"
Watts hummed softly as his fingers worked the keyboard.
"So he thinks himself clever, does he? Lets see how he fares with this."
It was oh so kind of Cinder to leave the groundwork for him. Her plans just needed a bit of...tweaking.