"The dangerous man is the one who has only one idea because then he'll fight and die for it."
- Francis Crick
Chapter 4: Whatever It Takes
Adam nodded but kept his feelings under lock and key. He did know after the contingent he allowed Roman to oversee came back mumbling about the 'Red Wolf'. Kiba being in vale wasn't a social visit. Adam deduced that Kiba was here on orders and the only one Kiba listened to was Sienna. Their glorious High Leader.
"Then you should also know I am unable to comply with Sienna's request until after the Vytal Festival if everything goes well. Tell Sienna that when you return," Adam replied back with an undertone of dismissal. Adam partially hoped Kiba would take the hint.
Kiba hummed and sucked his teeth. "Knew that already too. I mean, if Blake", Adam couldn't keep the scowl off his face at the mention of her, "wasn't coming, it was almost guaranteed you weren't," he belted out a laugh like the shattering of a window. "No, I'm here for two things," he said and held up two clawed and red-tipped fingers before dropping them. "First, what are you doing? Messing with criminals? Recruiting Younglings? Stealing?! That isn't what we're about."
"Isn't it?" he rebuked and took slight pleasure at the confused expression that broke out on Kiba's face.
"What?" Kiba asked with a confused scowl on his face.
"Aren't we already viewed as criminals? As animals? What do we care about the law? We seek to change it anyway," Adam answered back fiercely.
Kiba shook his head quickly. "And we do that by not giving people reason to look at as the villains here!" Kiba retorted. "You're doing exactly that by associating us with a human thief! The White Fang are not thieves!"
"The human serves a purpose," Adam countered swiftly.
"What purpose?" Kiba almost screamed in disbelief. "What reason do you have to not only associate the White Fang with no good criminals but also bring Younglings into all this?" Kiba questioned heatedly with a hard glare.
"They volunteered," Adam said. "They willingly came to me and volunteered for the cause. Was I to just turn them away? What kind of leader would I be then to turn the cheek when my people wish for retribution?"
"They're Younglings, Adam! They shouldn't be out here stealing Dust and fighting the police. We agreed on this!" Kiba argued.
"You try telling a kid that he can't fight against the people that took his parents from them then, Kiba. See if you have the heart to do that. They wanted to fight, so I let them," Adam almost growled back. His decisions were not to be questioned. He knew what he did was right.
Kiba did growl. "I don't like it, Adam," he admitted sharply. "They're not us."
"I don't care what you don't like, Kiba. I am the leader and this is my branch. I'll run it as I please. I have plans that will change how the whole world treats Faunus, and the Younglings that have come to me will get to be able to say they were apart of it. These criminals can help me accomplish that goal," Adam explained.
"Oh, yeah? And what goal is that? Why do you need so much Dust, hmm? Cause I get the feeling it isn't for anything good."
"'Good' is subjective. You clearly wish to take no parts in it, Kiba, so I will grant you no insight into my plans," Adam rebuked.
"Why? Adam, if you're thinking about doing something crazy, we need to know," Kiba said, sounding almost pleading.
At this point, Adam was riled up. He wasn't about to be questioned in his own base by someone who wouldn't see reason. "We, it is always 'We' with you Kiba. When will you ever decide to think for yourself? I didn't know Sienna made your decisions for you. I didn't know our esteemed High Leader wished for blind followers," Adam snapped.
Kiba clenched his fists tightly at his side. "I'm no one's blind follower. We're partners," Kiba emphasized. "We make decisions together and make sure neither of us is in over our heads. Blake was that with you. Something happened between you two and it's got you all messed up, Adam."
"If you're partners, then why is she High Leader and you are...what? A glorified enforcer? The 'Red Wolf'?" Adam scoffed. "If anything, I'm more focused than I've ever been without Blake in my ear. I've become more than just muscle she can send to do the jobs she feels are beneath her," He finished with a slight sneer.
"You shut the fuck up," Kiba demanded quietly. "I don't have to defend our relationship to anybody - not even you. I came out here to bring you and Blake back, but that obviously isn't happening."
Adam had him then. "And I don't have to defend myself to anybody - not even you," Adam repeated, feeling a small sense of victory.
Kiba huffed through his nose. "As acting on behalf of our High Leader, who you still answer to, you do have to answer," Kiba said matter-of-factly with a stone-cold glare. "And I'm asking you one last time, what are you doing with a human criminal stealing all that Dust?"
Adam buried the irritation he felt about being reminded of his 'requirement' to answer to somebody. He quickly formed an answer. He knew he was toeing the line of treason in Kiba's eyes. He didn't want to give away too many details, but he also still needed them to think he was in their corner. How to turn this in his favor? He couldn't lie, Kiba had always had a weird knack for catching him when he wasn't telling the truth. A lightbulb went off and Adam had his idea.
"The people I work with are a means to an end. That's it. I have the Faunus power and they have the resources I need. I enjoy working with them as much as you enjoy the sight of Schnee," Adam admitted. It was true, after all. Working with Roman and that woman left a bad taste in his mouth. Her two little underlings were also an annoyance he had to put up with. At least Roman's flunkie was quiet.
"These aren't the types you should be messing around with. We're the White Fang, not some classless criminals."
"It's too late anyway. I won't back out of this deal. I am a Faunus of my word, and as long as they help me get what I want, I see no reason not to work with them."
"You don't see it? Adam, what kind of resources do these people have that you couldn't get by asking me or Sienna? We would've helped you!"
Adam let some of the trepidation he was feeling about his agreement with the humans bleed through into his voice.
"They are...skilled. Their... leader is powerful and ruthless. They have the weapons we need to even the playing field. The ones she has under her thumb aren't your usual run of the mill thugs. They specialize in areas the White Fang don't."
"What? Adam, are they threatening you? Is that what this is?" Kiba asked in a rapid-fire, eyes filled with something Adam couldn't place.
On one hand, letting Kiba jump to his own conclusions might help him, but on the other hand, Adam's pride wouldn't allow the idea of him, Adam Taurus, being threatened by anybody.
"No," Adam balked at the idea. Them threatening him? Laughable. "We have what each other needs and are helping each other get what we want by whatever means necessary as the White Fang always have."
"By," here Kiba hesitated and Adam was blown away by how weird it was to see, "getting rid of whoever is in your way," Kiba noted in a whisper as he gazed at his red-tipped claws.
Kiba stared at his fingers until Adam's curiosity won out.
"What happened?" Adam asked, eye locked onto the red fingers. Was it blood?
His stare must've been unwelcomed, as Kiba stuffed his hands into the pockets of his leather coat. It was kind of chilly this early in the morning.
"Don't worry about it," He replied in an odd voice that caught Adam off guard. "Just some thugs I fucked up thinking they can mess with a Faunus. They didn't know who they were messing with, heh," He explained cockily.
There was the Kiba Adam remembered. The answer put Adam's thoughts about the blood at ease. Humans were idiots. That was nothing new to him. He did have to wonder, though…
"I left nothing behind that will make them suspect it was a Faunus there. I know the deal," Kiba said with a lackadaisical shrug of his shoulders.
Adam nodded in slight appreciation. "Good, the police here are lazy and stupid, but they won't miss a chance to abuse their power and harras us. Once I succeed, no one in Vale will be mistreating Faunus again," he said with a tone of finality. Adam had said all he would.
"At what cost?" Kiba asked in that odd tone of voice he used earlier. The question made him pause. It was a simple question with a simple enough answer in Adam's mind.
A breeze blew through the training ground as the two friends faced one another.
"Whatever it takes."
Neither of them said anything for a moment, letting the antagonistic air between them settle into something peace-like. It almost reminded Adam of the times before all of this. The times when it was the four of them, together, and they were able to relax on Menagerie before another raid or rally. Nostalgia bubbled up with something heavier riding behind it. Adam stamped them both out before he could sink too deep. There was no use in looking back now. He could only look forward and keep moving.
"I'm done talking, Kiba. Tell Sienna what happened - like I know you intend to do. We've all got choices to make. If you won't help then you can watch as I lead the Faunus into a new era by myself."
Adam turned to leave and Kiba said nothing to stop him. The metal door creaked open and Kiba was left alone.
Kiba had gotten his answers. Adam was working with people that were bad news - bad enough to have possibly...murdered Tukson, an innocent Faunus. This made what Adam was doing bad news, and he didn't even seem to realize it. Kiba couldn't let people like that get what they wanted. It might ruin everything the White Fang has been working towards. He'd have to tell Sienna...
But first, he needed more information about what Adam was planning, but he definitely wasn't getting anything else from him. The way Kiba saw things, he had one option. Find that cane-wielding human and squeeze the answers out of him. Thieves like him are hired by somebody to do a job. In this case, it was stealing Dust. If Kiba found him, he'd find out why they were stealing Dust and who it was that Adam was working with. Then? Well, it would depend on what he found out.
His resolve solidified as he left the secret White Fang base. Finding that bowl hat-wearing fuck's hideout wouldn't be too hard if Kiba asked the right people. And who was the right type of person to ask? Well…
(End credits scene)
The chair creaked a little as Kiba sat on it. A comfy chair. Shame he wouldn't be in it for long. The office he was in was clearly one meant for a wealthy businessman. From the expensive-looking desk in the center of the room to the decorations. Was that a solid gold grandfather clock? What the fuck?
"You're Junior?" Kiba asked.
"Heard you were in town. Knew it was only a matter of time before you came here."
"Great, don't care. I need to know where that cane-wielding human's hideout is. You know, the one in the bowler hat? Now, we can do this the easy way or the-"
"His main hideout is downtown in the warehouse district. It's in an old Dust distribution warehouse on the Eastern side. It's the building with the broken window on the top floor."
"You're just gonna give me this information? Not even going to let me finish my threat?"
"I don't give a shit about that orange-haired jackass. Thanks to whatever he's been up to, I'm losing business. I've worked too hard to-"
"Yeah, yeah I've heard it all before. How do I know this information is legit and you're not leading me into a trap? How do I know you're not a part of this whole thing?"
"I've heard that you can tell when someone is lying. If that is true, you have the answer to your question."
There was a lull in the conversation and it took all of Junior's expertise to not let anything show on his face. The spell was broken abruptly as Kiba abruptly got up to leave.
"Have a good afternoon, Junior," Kiba called over his shoulder as he left. "And a good day to you too, ladies."
In the moments following Kiba's departure, the Malachite twins stepped out of their hiding spots and stood before Junior's desk with scowls on their faces.
Militia chimed in, "How'd he know we were here? If Neo catches wind that you sent somebodyafter them, I don't think we'll be able to protect you, Junior. She'll kill you in your sleep if she's feeling merciful."
"Yeah, Junior," Melanie agreed. "You know what she's capable of. Her Semblance is a bunch of bullshit."
Junior shrugged his shoulders in a 'so what' kind of gesture. "If. That's the key here, ladies, but I'm confident she won't. Neither of them will. So confident, in fact, that I'll take whatever consequences may come squarely on my shoulders alone, but I don't believe it'll come to that."
"Why not? And who's to say their new boss won't come and gut you herself if she finds out you got Roman taken out?" Militia asked him.
Junior didn't answer immediately. Instead, he reached into one of the drawers his desk had and pulled out a silver, gleaming box. It was about the size of a book and he placed it on his desk. He opened it with a soft click and turned it around for the twin sisters to see.
It was a set dark brown of cigars.
Militia scoffed and rolled her eyes. "What does your smoking habit have anything to do with this?"
Junior didn't answer, but he smirked as Melanie grabbed one to give a closer look. She turned it around in her hand as she examined one of the cigars. She rolled it around until she found something that made her raise her eyebrows in surprise.
"Wait, Militia," Melanie began. "These are from Mistral."
"So?" Militia countered.
"So, Mistral has only just started exporting their goods this year. Like, the last few months," She explained. "It's all high quality but expensive. How were you able to afford these, Junior? You're too cheap to blow a bag of money on something like cigars."
Junior smiled smugly and softly took the cigar back from Melanie. He pulled a lighter out from his vest pocket and began to light the cigar.
"They were a gift," Junior finally revealed after he had taken a pull from one of the cigars. "From somebody willing to do business. They came here after things were closed and you two had gone home. They were in my office with this and a business proposal. Direct trade with who was running things out in Mistral for nothing more than my 'help' when they needed it."
"That's really vague, Junior. How do you know they were on the up and up?" Melanie couldn't help but point out and ask.
Junior snorted. "If they wanted me dead, I wouldn't be here telling you all this right now," He said. "Plus, I've only benefited from this. And only for something I'd do for way less than what they were giving me? My old man would be rolling in his grave if I didn't take the deal. Well, if he wasn't cremated," Junior said after a moment of contemplation.
"Yeah, yeah, your old man is a bunch of ashes. Who is the big shot that's got Mistral's shit together? That place was a runaway's safe haven, there's no way they went quietly into the night," Militia pointed out.
Junior took and pull and blew the smoke up. He pointed at the door Kiba left out of. "Him. The Red Wolf. My men who talk with the Faunus workers who make the trip here and back tell me that you're right, Militia. The criminal element of Mistral did not go quietly. Some resisted the, let's say, occupation of the White Fang in their territory. They fought," He shrugged. "They died. Now, they say the White Fang owns most of Mistral."
The sisters gaped in shock and Junior couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of their faces.
"The White Fang control all of Mistral?" The sisters asked as one in disbelief.
"But you didn't hear that from me," Junior replied back as he eased back into his chair and smoked his cigar. Things were looking good.
AN: Mostly a dialogue chapter. Not much fighting to be had here, but I'm laying the groundwork for the world of Remnant we're in here. Things are mostly the same but the major difference being the White Fang. A competent White Fang are changing the way the game is played. This is a whole nother side to things that isn't Grimm and evil or Heroically naive. They're more than cannon fodder here, and that is shaking things up in such glorious ways. Real-life revolutionary organizations and movements have changed the world and how they operate. I want the White Fang to be one of them.
What do you think of the argument? What about the segment with Junior and the twins? Dots are connecting here people. You should pay attention so you're not lost down the line. Let me know your thoughts. Next chapter will be after GoHW, which will be in the next couple of weeks. Stay safe. Till next time!