A little over two months, eh? Not as quick as I had hoped it would be, but I guess I'll have to be happy with it, especially since life stuff got in the way.

Also, passed the 600 favorites and 800 followers mark. Wow, thank you to everyone, this makes me so happy that this many people enjoys what I wrote.

That does make a lot of people with, questionable taste… Anyway!

I liked Volume 9, it had some of the best writing the show's had, however hard some parts were to watch. Poor Rubes…

Weiss was the funniest part of the volume, and Ruby's downward spiral is some of the best I've seen written. Then the finale… Unfortunately, RT crammed the usual 6 last episodes into only two, resulting in having to rush the finale (which I'm pretty sure was a decision imposed on them by corporate, for quite a few reasons.) It kinda ruins a lot of it, and for every things I liked in it, there's something I hated.

After all the buildup, Ruby's turn around in the last episode was too fast and didn't have enough material to be a satisfying payoff. Summer's words that Ruby got were great, and was a great first step to open Ruby's mind to ideas other than the ones she poisoned her mind with, but it didn't feel like enough to justify her choosing to stay herself, not by its own.

Then there's Ruby coming back, and the shot of her with her cape flowing in the wind and the light behind her was an awesome shot, and then her fighting against Curious Cat following it was epic. This is the coolest Ruby has been in the entire show, and not because she didn't have really cool moments before.

Then there's Penny being completely unmentioned in the finale. With how much her death affected Ruby and Jaune, her not even being brought up in the finale when they get themselves back on their feet is frankly a travesty. I just wanted her character and the weight she's had to both the show and Ruby's character to be treated with the gravitas she deserved, but instead we got none. This sucks hard.

I did like what Jaune did after he got back into the fight, though. Of course he'd set the god-tree that created the gods on fire, that's such a Jaune thing to do.

So yeah… It keeps on like that, alternating between stuff I like, or either dislike or am neutral about. I end up having pretty mixed feelings about it.

But anyway, review time. Ilia, floor's yours.

Ilia: ''AlexFalTon says that it hurts to see Gemini being hated by people.''

Yeah, I can imagine. Unfortunately, being Gemini is being hated unjustly. Sucks to be him.

Ilia: ''Yog-sothsoth says that he hopes the next chapter will come quicker-''

Well this one took roughly two months instead of five.

Ilia: ''- and that he likes the fic being canonized as a story in-universe, something he rarely sees. He also says, that Ruby being decapitated felt like a tragedy when he first read it, but now feels like pure comedy? And that it's forever tied to the phrase 'It's not what it looks like' in his mind.''

Damn, that's awesome to hear I pulled the in-universe canonization off well, and even more so that I wrote something that'll stay as an exemple of a concept for a reader.

The idea of the decapitation scene being described as 'comedic' is incredibly funny to me. It's not like Gemini tripped on a banana and accidentally hit her neck as he fell, lmao.

Ilia: ''vastoisshin says they find my torment in the author notes amusing…''

Ilia: ''…''

*Ilia will remember this*

Ilia: ''Fumble Flute says that Gemini didn't commit IP theft because it all came from a dream and that makes it (and his future knowledge) pure coincidence.

That's a pretty good point. If Gemini ever gets sued for plagiarism, he's probably hiring you as his lawyer.

Ilia: ''MiharuTousaka just wants the misunderstandings to go away.''

They will… Some of them… Eventually…

That's all for Chapter 24's review, but there's one last thing I want to address before leaving you to this chapter. Ilia?

Ilia: ''Right, so, Viki909 said, and I'm quoting that one: ''Ch22 is… Ridiculous, it took any seriousness out of the situation, it basically destroyed your fic and any chapter before this one, I ask myself if you are mentally reatrded because no human with half a brain would write this piece of trash without killing themselves after''.''

Look, I know my story has flaws, and is far from perfect, but while I welcome any and all constructive criticism, and take such criticism with serious consideration, your review isn't that. By calling me mentally retarded and saying anyone with half a brain would kill themselves after writing this, you've confirmed yourself to be nothing but a toxic prick.

If you have problem with a story, fair, but your attitude is neither healthy, constructive, nor even reasonable. Rather than wondering if I'm mentally retarded, you might want to ask yourself if you are an asshole.

PS: If you're going to call someone a retard, you could at least learn to spell 'retarded' correctly.

PPS: Why the heck did I get a notification telling me you're following my fic when you hate it so much you told me I should kill myself over it? Ugh, this is why I can't stand tsunderes, the mixed signals are confusing.

Disclaimer: RWBY is the legal property of Rooster Teeth, and Yu-Gi-Oh is the legal property of Shueisha. I'm just dicking around with these.

Salem smiled darkly at the piece of cardboard in her hand, featuring Slifer. ''My, my… Cinder worked on that much faster than I expected.'' She said, pleased.

''Quite.'' Arthur Watts said, repressing a snort. ''If only the rest of her operations had gone half as smoothly.'' He said, unimpressed by how Cinder lost the White Fang so easily when, by all rights, the Blake girl should have been even easier to control than Adam was in Augur's tale of the future. Not only was the girl weaker than the one originally in her place, but she was also more cowardly, so how did Cinder managed to screw that up?

''It matters little anymore. Even if the plans concerning Beacon have been halted, the pieces in my hand will make the obstacles ahead trivial.'' Salem said, her smile not lessening in the slightest.

Cinder could stay in Vale and try to regain control of the situation, and ensure she had pieces in the city ready to react to Ozpin if he decided on making a move. For now, Salem was going to test Slifer's power.

''Watts.'' She said, and the disgraced atlesian scientific nodded, before turning on the duel disk in his hands.

The Grimm disk Sibyl created could make the holograms of the Yu-Gi-Oh network solid, but wasn't itself connected to it unless there was an actual duel disk around for it to engage with. A minor drawback that could easily be worked with.

Salem placed the card on the Grimm disk she had, a copy of the one Sibyl created for herself. Soon, she felt it, a shift in the air, as the beast descended from the clouds. It was an impressive sight, and she could see why the inhabitants of Atlas have been caught up in awe, loathe as she was to behold the familiar draconic shape of a god, bringing back memories of the God of Light's own true form. At the same time, she couldn't help but feel a dark satisfaction at seeing such a divine dragon bound to her will.

Then, as Slifer stared down at her, she felt something was wrong. The clouds shifted to that of a storm, and thunder boomed high above her head.

She barely had the time to realise that the so-called 'Egyptian' god was filled with wrath, before Slifer opened its mouth in a roar and blasted a hole in her castle, reducing her to ashes as Watts barely got out of the way in time to survive.

The Grimm disk was also destroyed, and with it Slifer's card, causing the temporary being to cease to exist.


''Don't look at me like that, I warned you it wouldn't work unless Slifer was won through a Duel.'' Gemini said smugly, sitting in a chair, as Cinder fumed. It was a good thing he thought of printing a replacement.

''Fine, then let's do this. Throw a game against me so I can actually control it.'' Cinder ordered. If she could get control of the card for herself, the power that would be in her hands… And Salem couldn't demand it from her if she was the only one who could control Slifer.

''No.'' Gemini said, and Cinder glared at that insolent little brat. ''Hey, there's not shortcut when dealing with this stuff. You want to take Slifer form me? Learn the game and get good.''

Cinder's eyes narrowed, and orange flames appeared around her eyes. She was the one with the last word here.

''Or you can go ahead and ignore my warning like you did last time. I'm sure Salem will tolerate you making the same mistake twice on her.'' Gemini leaned on his side, resting his face on his hand.

Both held each other's stare, neither flinching, until the flame-like magic around Cinder's eyes receded.

''Tch! Moving to other things.'' Cinder said, dropping the subject, for now. ''Have you found the White Fang's location?''

''Not yet. The White Fang have experience in remaining hidden. Ratting them out will take some time.'' Gemini said. ''We just need to stay patient.''

''Patient? I don't have the time to be patient.'' Cinder snarled. ''I am behind schedule already, if-''

''There was never any possible way to find them fast enough to salvage your plans for the Vytal Festival.'' Gemini said. ''You need other plans. Technically, you don't need to destroy Beacon, right? Salem merely need the Crown of Choice.''

Cinder scoffed at the brat's assumption. ''Wrong. Killing Ozpin to throw his inner circle into disarray, and the destruction of Beacon is crucial to demoralizing the kingdoms. These are not optional objectives.'' She said, neglecting to mention that killing Ozpin would neutralize him for a lifetime, due to his next host being already imprisoned in Evernight.

That was something Cinder didn't need Gemini to know, unaware that he already had knowledge of it.

Gemini blinked. ''Uh… Well, even so, I can't exactly make it happen faster. My father already collected all the information he could get from the underworld and bribed cops, but they don't have a clear location of where the White Fang's hideouts are. Our best bet would be to send a Faunus to infiltrate a recruiting rally.''

''That's it?'' Cinder asked, unimpressed. ''That's just the plan Blake went with in the future Augur spoke of.''

''And that plan from the other timeline's Blake was hatched up by someone who used to be an officer in Adam's cell, meaning she knows what works on the White Fang.'' Gemini argued back, and Cinder hated that he was making sense. If only he gave her an excuse to put him in his place…

''Alright, then, but if you waste the opportunity, there will be consequences.'' She threatened. ''Stealing the dust might not work anywhere near the scale I wanted it to, but if I am to infiltrate Beacon as a Mistral team, then I need Mercury.''

''Yeah, well we can't make Blake start the rally sooner.'' Gemini said. ''Beside, even if you had Mercury back in time, I've had a micro hidden in Ozpin's office. Unfortunately, it didn't take much time for it to be found and disposed of, but in the few days I've spied on Ozpin, I found out that not only is General Ironwood sending a team of Atlesian Specialists after me, but also that Ozpin and his circle are aware of Lionheart's betrayal.''

''What!?'' Cinder exclaimed. ''How did Ozpin learn this?'' That was bad, if she couldn't rely on Lionheart, then how was she supposed to infiltrate Beacon? Eyes and ears inside the school was a massive advantage to lose.

Gemini shrugged. ''Beat me. Things have changed so much, there's no tracking of the butterfly effect at this point.''

''Damnit all…'' Cinder let out under her breath, before giving him a suspicious look. ''How did you even manage to bug Ozpin's office?''


''… Excuse me? Ninjas?'' Cinder raised an eyebrow.

''Being wealthy has benefits.'' Gemini yawned. ''You'll have to accept that I can't divulge any further information, though. These guys thrives on secrecy.''

''I… Very well.'' Cinder nodded, her mind calculating how she could make use of that information. So Gemini could bring in ninjas if needed? And here she previously didn't even know the infamous Mistrali spies and assassins still existed outside of history books or unproven rumors. ''So infiltrating Beacon is impossible then…'' She said, unless…

''There's always the option of sending a single spy into Beacon's initiation.'' Gemini said, and Cinder nodded in return. This was what she was thinking.

''Yes, I'm aware.'' She said. ''There are some problems with this plan, however. Pretending as a lone student in a team of legitimate students is riskier. Emerald-'' because who else did Cinder have to use for this? ''- would need to keep her act up even in the dorm room, and she would have a harder time finding moments to relay information to me, and likewise I wouldn't be able to update her at will.''

As a full team from Haven, the dorm would have been a perfect place for her to keep herself and her minions organized.

''Not to mention that if she get caught, she'll have no help to get away safely.'' Gemini said, still looking uninterested. ''Well, the choice is yours. Do you even need a spy inside Beacon? It's not like the original timeline's plan can be salvage at this point.''

''Ruined those plans may be, Salem wants the shards of your soul Ozpin keeps in his school.'' Cinder says. ''Investigating Beacon from the inside to confirm their locations is a necessity, because when the time will come to take them, I'll need to know exactly where to go in Beacon to retrieve them. Time can't be wasted when raiding an enemy stronghold.''

''Makes sense.'' Gemini hummed. ''You have little cards left in your hands, so in the absence of moves you can take, you need to increase card advantage to have more options against Ozpin.''

Cinder resisted the urge to facepalm. ''Of course you'd liken the situation to your stupid card game. Sibyl is definitely your daughter.''

''Thanks.'' Gemini smiled proudly.

She did not mean it as a compliment.

''So, you're sending Emerald to Beacon, then?'' Gemini said. ''I'd suggest giving her a backstory as close to the truth as possible. Her being a thief who grew up starving in the streets, forced to steal to live, and decided to become a huntress to turn her life around, is hardly a unique story, and far from attracting suspicion, is the kind of stuff Ozpin lets happen, if not outright encourages.''

Cinder stared at the teen, surprised less that what he said was intelligent, and more that he decided to be helpful and say it. ''That… could work, yes. She doesn't have credentials or transcripts to get in, however.''

''Neither did Blake in the original timeline, and it didn't stop her. Anyone can enter Beacon just with passing a combat test to compensate for the lack of official combat school training.'' Gemini said. ''If you're worried about Emerald revealing her semblance, she can just claim to not have discovered her semblance yet. It's not uncommon, and she's a skilled enough fighter to pass the test easily and do well in Beacon.''

''True…'' Cinder said, musing over the idea. She wasn't certain how much she could trust Gemini to be helpful, but she couldn't tell what his angle was, if there was one, and his suggestions did help her to reach her objective. ''Very well, Emerald will infiltrate Beacon on her own. I don't believe this to be beyond her abilities.''

''Glad this is finally settled.'' Gemini said as he got up. ''Is there any other matter? I have something important coming up, and little time left to spare.''

Cinder was tempted to demand him to bug Ozpin's office again, but alas, the wizard would be on his guard after having disposed of the first one. Not only would the chances of being caught be higher, but the micro can be expected to be found much faster. Too fast to have the time to listen to anything.

''Fine.'' Cinder sighed. ''You are dismissed.''


I didn't know where Blake found the balls to backstab Cinder that soon, but it threw the woman in complete disarray. Ah, sucker.

I'd have to do something nice for Blake as a thank you for this one.

And now that Emerald was going to be at Beacon alone for an extended period of time, away from Cinder's lone influence, and would be there without having to hide her past, there was the possibility of her opening up to her peers and possibly changing side.

It was a long shot, but she had shown a few signs of discomfort in being on Salem's side, in canon, so the possibility was there, and I sure wasn't about to deny the chance of getting rid of an enemy without having to fight them. Emerald switching to good guys side was fine by me. And if she did stay on Cinder's side… Meh, Cinder still had no other active minions other than my family for the next few months.

My father was too scared of Cinder to oppose her openly, but her plans falling apart embolded him in sabotaging her a little. Truth be told, he had actually acquired the position of a few White Fang hideouts within Vale, but was pretending otherwise to buy me time.

Speaking of time, there was one for each things, and right now was the time to cheer on Penny.

''Yeah, there you go, Penny. You got to the finals, you can win this!'' I said, watching the TV displaying the live finals of the Mantle regional Yu-Gi-Oh tournament.

''Get that chump like you did the others!'' Ruby cheered.

On the screen, we saw Penny nod, determined, as her smile widened. She couldn't answer us in public, as the Chat of my semblance required talking aloud, but she heard us and knew we were with her and that was enough.

Then my father entered the room, looking stressed, as he often did since Cinder came into the picture. ''Son, you mind telling me why there's an atlesian politician asking to talk to you?''

I raised an eyebrow at that. ''What?''

''There is some big shot from Atlas waiting to meet with you, at Junior's Club.'' My father said.

''Uh. Any idea who it could be?'' Ruby asked.

''Don't know, don't care.'' I shrugged. ''Right now I'm focused on my little sister. Whoever it is can wait an hour.''

''Your- Oh, right. The Atlesian robot.'' My fahter pinched his nose. ''Why did you have to go out of your way to make everything more of a headache than it already is?''

''I learned from the best, namely you.'' I said, focusing back on the TV and Penny's duel. She was making me so proud…


''Oh, it's you.'' I deadpanned as I sat at a table in the corner of Junior's Club, where that Robyn woman and her three friends were waiting for me. ''What do you want?''

Robyn stared at me for a moment, and sighed. ''I know I should be thanking you. You risked yourself to protect people back in Atlas, and I respect that, but… After all of this, all you can give me is a half-hearted 'oh, it's you.'? Really?''

''Salem's minions aren't stopping their schemes. That's a much bigger priority to me than some corrupt politician from Atlas.'' I said, uncaring that my words made her tick in anger. ''I know your type, only ever after personal power. So again, what do you want?''

''You little brat!'' The green haired-one, whom I forgot the name off, got up with a clenched first. She looked like she was about to punch me, before Robyn stopped her by raising a hand.

''I just want to help.'' Robyn said, keeping her voice firm but even. She obviously didn't like the accusation, but took it in stride.

''Cool. What's the truth?'' I said, both my voice and face neutral.

Robyn blinked, clearly caught off guard by my reaction. Or perhaps it was less the question itself, and more how direct and tactless I was being. ''I'm here to get more information about the people who caused the Grimm attack on Atlas, so that I'll be better prepared to face them if they come to threaten Mantle. It's not a threat I want to ignore until it's too late.'' She said. ''Or better yet, if there's an occasion to take care of them before they attack Mantle again…''

''That's great. We can use having a few more allies.'' Ruby said. ''Especially if we're talking about real ones, instead of manipulated enemies. Seriously, you can't rely on that for long.''

I grimaced. ''Yes, I can't deny I need the help…'' I said, causing the Happy Huntresses to raise a few eyebrows as I seemingly thought aloud. ''But an ally I can't trust is worse than being left to stand alone, and I am not convinced I can trust the four of you.'' I told them.

''But… Why are you even distrustful of us?'' The sheep girl asked. What was her name again?

''Because you four claim to be on the people's side, yet are backed by the very political elite you claim to be defending them against. Your campaign is funded by their money, the Atlesian news, which they own, speaks kindly of you instead of slandering you, and one of your own Happy Huntresses is even the heiress to the Marigold family.'' I said. These were reasons enough to be wary, as far as I was concerned.

The heiress in question slammed her hands on the table, rising to her feet with a snarl. ''Don't you dare bring my family into this.'' She growls in anger.

Robyn raised a hand to signal her to stop, and she sat back down, though not without glaring at me with a scowl. ''I won't deny who is currently backing me, and that they do hold some influence over my campaign, but I assure you it is not proof of allegiance on my part. They think they can use me to weaken Ironwood's power, but two can play that game, and my endgoal is to reduce the influence of both, so that the people of Mantle can have more breathing room and not be relegated as second priority to Atlas anymore.''

''Also, I'm not heiress of anything. My parents disowned me.'' Marigold grumbled.

Now wasn't that interesting… If that was true, then that led credence to Robyn's claim that Atlas' oligarchs and her were only using each other, and that she held no loyalty to them or their money. An alliance of convenience and nothing more. It was sound political strategy, but…

''A couple years ago, you stole important supplies for a military base, without which the Grimm managed to not only overrun it, but make their way to Mantle, killing some of the soldiers stationed on its walls and then citizens.'' I say with a calm, and somewhat frosty, voice. ''You then went and claimed the credit for 'helping' to defend Mantle from the Grimm. You speak of having Mantle's best interest at heart, but with that blunder, I'm seeing the opposite.''

Robyn winced at my words. ''That's… It's not that simple.''

''Well that's what explaining things is for. Go on.'' I said, honestly not expecting much.

''Ironwood often takes resources Mantle needs, without care for how it affects the citizens. He claims everyone needs to make sacrifices to ensure the kingdom's safety, yet the only people he make do these sacrifices are the ones who can't afford making it, instead of-''

''Put the campaign speech aside and just give me the fact straights.'' I said, unimpressed.

Her eye ticked, and her three lackeys gave me glares, the green-haired one being the least subtle about it, openly scowling at me.

''I was told by an informant in the governement that this convoi wasn't transporting critically important supplies, and that taking them back for Mantle wouldn't cause any harmful consequences. I only found out after the Grimm attack that he had lied to me.'' Robyn said, to which I snorted derisively. ''What? I know I made a mistake, but-''

''A mistake?'' I barked a laugh. ''Spare me your lies, will you? Your semblance is a literal lie detector. How could you possibly be fooled?''

''My semblance works by latching onto someone else's aura. It doesn't work on someone who doesn't have their aura unlocked.'' Robyn said. ''Rest assured that this 'informant' has been blacklisted since then.''

Uh… Was that believable? I guessed it was. I'd rather not blindly take her word for it, though. ''Well, if that's true, then you can prove it easily with your semblance.'' I said, extending my hand.

Robyn didn't take my hand, and instead grimaced. ''Err, actually, my semblance only reacts to other people's words.''

I stared at her, unimpressed. ''So it allows you to reveal everyone's lies, except your own? Typical.''

''Hey! I didn't choose how my semblance works.'' Robyn scowled.

Perhaps, but even if I assumed her excuse was the truth, there were still things surrounding that past mess that remained shady. Like how Robyn never corrected the masses about her taking credit for defending Mantle from the Grimm, even after she learned she was the indirect cause of the attack, or how she claimed Atlas did nothing to protect Mantle despite the atlesian soldiers stationed on the wall, who fought and died to try and protect Mantle. Well, maybe on that last one, she meant that the wall was understaffed, if I was feeling generous. If.

''I think we should work with them.'' Ruby said.

''Absolutely not! Are you kidding? I know you like to try to see the best in people, but these guys are way too shady.'' I said back, as the Happy Huntresses gave me confused and weirded out looks as they watched me seemingly talk to thin air.

''But we need the help, and beside, they only need to be trusted enough to stay aligned against Salem, right? That shouldn't be too hard considering what she is and her goals.'' Ruby argued.

''That would be common sense, yes. Of which most on Remnant are unfortunately lacking.'' I said. Between Lionheart betraying Salem in the desperate hope he'll be spared… when her goal was to kill everyone which included him, and Hazel joining her, the Queen of the Grimm, to take revenge against Ozpin for his sister being killed by… Grimm

It said a lot about Salem and her inner circle that Tyrian was the most sensible one of the group.

''I really don't want to hear that when it's Earth who has people marrying colors.'' Ruby said dryly.

''Earth also has people marrying themselves, though these tend to end in divorce rather quickly. Either because it 'isn't working out' or they 'meet someone else'.'' The Cackler quipped.

''… I don't even want to ask.'' Ruby sighed, as the eldritch entity's amused cackle resonated within my head. ''Look, Gem, it's okay if you don't trust people.''

''It is?'' I said, befuddled. That was the opposite of what I expected Ruby to say.

''Yes. You have good reasons to be wary of others, I understand that much.'' She said. ''But Gem, you can't live your whole life like this. You at least have to give people a chance.''

Her words, and her pleading tone, made me freeze. I opened my mouth to retort something, but couldn't find anything to say, and closed it without a word. I… I had no answer to this.

''Fine.'' I sighed in surrender, and turned my attention back to the Happy Huntresses. ''I'll work with you four.'' I said, before revealing everything to them.

Well, not everything everything. I kept me having knowledge of the future, along with my origin, secret. But I told them about the Two Brothers, the Relics, the Maidens, Ozpin, his inner circle, Salem and her immortality, her using pieces of my aura to create Augur and Sibyl (well, Robyn already knew about them), silver-eyes, Ruby's pseudo-death and me being framed for it, and me needing to find Merlot.

They looked like they didn't want to believe what I said, but with everything Robyn and Joanna (yes, I bothered learning their name, since we would be working together from now on) saw during the battle of Atlas… It lent credence to my words, which Robyn confirmed as true with her semblance.

''But, if Salem is immortal, can we even win?'' Robyn wondered, disheartened.

''Meh, it just means that killing her isn't how we win. There are ways to get rid of an immortal foe for extended periods of time.'' I said. ''I have plans for that, to do more than just keep foiling her again and again and preserves the current status quo, as Ozpin has surrendered to doing. But my first priority is getting Ruby back on her feet.''

May frowned at my words. ''I know you care about your friend, but with how important the fight against Salem is, we can't really afford to put that on hold either.''

Excuse you!? How dare she imply that Ruby was less important than the rest of Remnant? Screw you, May.

Wait, no, she was actually being logical and smart…

''I don't really get a choice. The conditions for me to develop the tools required to defeat Salem are impossible while having Ozpin and his allies after my head. I mean, I'd still be priorising Ruby even if I had a choice, but in this case, I just don't.'' I said honestly.

''Right, but how are we supposed to help you without Ozpin and Ironwood bringing the hammer down on us too?'' Robyn said. ''If we are seen working with you, they'll think we are on Salem's side as well, and I'd rather not bring my friends into such danger.''

''I understand. Don't worry, I have a few ideas. The only time we'll be fighting directly together will be to stop Augur at Beacon's initiation. As long as you four and I hide our identities, it should be fine.'' I said. Then my lips widened into a wide grin. ''Tell me, how do you girls think you'd look in bodysuits?''

''Bodysuits?'' Robyn parroted, confused.


Ruby rushed through the halls of Gemini's inner castle, leaving her semblance's petals in her path.

When she stopped, she took out a timer she asked Gem to store in his semblance, so that she could use one, and clicked it, before giving a satisfied sigh. Her speed with Petal Burst was steadily getting better.

Crescent Rose was left on Patch, with… with her corpse, and she knew from the show that without the eyes themselves, then she wouldn't be able to use them with the artificial eyes of the robot body he was trying to get her. So that left training with her semblance. She was pretty sure increasing her speed was a good thing, even if it wasn't her ultimate goal. The objective was to master the intangibility aspect of her semblance.

A little before Tyrian's attack, she had managed to discover how to bring others with her, thanks to Gemini describing to her the way she used her semblance in the future he saw, but she still had a long way to master the ability. Perhaps she could use the objects in this castle as training tools, using them as stuff to burst with? That could work.

She wasn't sure how to train with the intangible aspect of her semblance, though. Gemini said that being able to dismantle herself at the molecular level should theoretically allow her to let attacks phase through her, even if he hadn't ever seen her use it that way.

Gemini had high hopes for her, and she didn't want to let him down. She wanted to be able to stand by his side as an equal. So she needed to work hard, because after having done so much, and risking his life against everyone else, while she just… trained… It made her feel like she wasn't contributing…

The moment she was out in her future body, this was going to change.


''Slept well?'' Jaune asked his sister, as she walked out of her bedroom rubbing her eyes awake. The young man was cradling his two months old nephew in his arms.

''I did.'' Saphron said, taking Adrian back in her arms. ''Thank you so much for babysitting Adrian. I'm going to miss the help once you're gone to Beacon.''

''It's a pleasure. Are you going to be alright?'' Jaune asked.

She grinned. ''I'll manage. I'm not the one who's going off to fight monsters, Terra and I are going to be fine. Good luck out there.''

Ansel was too small and remote of a place for Beacon's bullheads to come pick up prospective students, so when the Arc family visited Argus when Saphron gave birth, he stayed behind for when the school year would start in a couple of months, to take a ship from Argus to Beacon. In the meantime, he helped his sister and her wife in the house. Who would have thought a baby, small as it was, could be so tiring to take care of?


The bell of the shop's door rang as Jaune entered. He looked in awe at all the cards on display.

His hometown was too small and rural for a card shop to be established, so he had to make do with the episodes and looking forward to when he would come to Argus or Vale.

Browsing the cards on display, Jaune stopped in front of the Starter Decks, and picked up the Joey one. It had some cool warriors, like Gearfried… He was down to take that. Now, to see if he could find a few good cards that would fit well with those ones…


''Sis, where's my Pumpkin Pete's hoodie?'' Jaune asked in a panic.

Saphron peeked her head from around the corner of the room, a half eaten slice of buttered bread in her mouth. ''In the washer?''

What? But he didn't have time to wait for the washer to finish!

''What am I supposed to put on then? I'm going to be late for the tournament!'' He said, trying to stay calm.

He saw posters announcing a regional tournament of Duel Monster in Argus, and it would take place in only a few days, before he went to Beacon So he decided to try. Would he win? Probably not. Could this be fun to jump in anyway? It seemed fun to him.

Saphron blinked. ''Uh, you can borrow one of my jackets if you want.''

Jaune nodded, and grabbed a green jacket. It was only the very beginning of Spring, so the temperature in Argus was still a bit chilly. He couldn't go out in just a t-shirt. ''Thanks sis. See you later!''

''Good luck, little bro!'' Saphron said as he exited the house.

Then she went to the living room, where Adrian was in his crib. He was too young for her to go cheer on Jaune with him, but…

''Hey Adrian, wanna watch uncle Jaune play cards on the TV?''

The two months old was too young to understand what his mother said, but he laughed happily all the same.


''Ladies and gentlemen, the time has finally arrived! The Duel Monster Regional Tournament of Argus is coming to a close with our two finalists!'' The SDC announcer said.

How did this happen? Jaune honestly thought he'd either have been outed on the first rounds, or gotten lucky and get to the second rounds. He never thought he'd somehow manage to reach the finals. This was both exciting, and a little bit stressful, if he was honest.

''The finals will oppose the dark horse to the favorite. A round of applause for the Joey of Argus: Jaune Arc…'' The announcer continued, and Jaune gave the clapping spectators an embarrassed smile. Just because he showed up wearing jeans, a white t-shirt, and an open green jacket didn't mean he was cosplaying Joey Wheeler like everyone in the crowd or the tournament seemed to think… Even if his Deck also had quite a bit of overlap with the character's own cards. ''And for his opponent, a veteran who won locals all over Anima, the Traveling Duelist: Lie Ren.''

This Ren guy had his girlfriend cheer loudly for him from the crowd. Or at least Jaune thought that ginger girl may be his girlfriend. He saw Ren and her together before the tournament started, and he saw her glare at some girls in the spectating stands cheering for Ren while waving large pictures of him with hearts drawn on them. That Nora girl looked like she was about to break some legs…

Eh, maybe he was reading too much into it and they were just great friends?

Ren won the rock-paper-scissor, and chose to go first as Jaune and him drew their cards.

Jaune: 8 000 LP

Ren: 8 000 LP

Jaune looked at his cards. Island Turtle, Sangan, Call of the Haunted, Pot of Greed, and Time Wizard. Not bad. Not bad at all.

''I summon Neo the Magic Swordsman, and end my turn.'' Ren said.

Neo the Magic Swordsman: 1 700 ATK

The blond duelist frowned as he wondered why Ren only summoned a monster. This was a much simpler opening play than the Mistrali young man used in his previous rounds. Was this a trap, or did he really lack Spells and Traps to use?

''My turn, I draw!'' Jaune said, drawing Seven Tools of the Bandits. ''I activate Pot of Greed!''

''Pot of Green? Oh no!'' Nora yelled from the stands. ''What does it do?''

''It… it allows me to draw two?'' Jaune said back.

''Two what?'' Nora asked.

''… Two cards?'' Jaune was confused. What else could he be drawing?

''And where do you draw them from? What do you do with them? That card is really lacking in explanations, it's pretty confusing.'' She kept harassing him with a grin. Ren facepalmed.

Eh? Was she right? Looking at the card, it was pretty lacking in details. Did he only understand how the card worked because of bias and presuppositions? How wise must this girl be to understand this, she must be a genius!

Jaune drew his two cards, Spell Shield Type-8 and Big Shield Gardna, while the SDC commentator scolded Nora for hindering the duel.

''I set a monster and two card, and end my turn.'' Jaune said, setting Island Turtle, Spell Shield Type-8 and Seven Tools of the Bandits. He was putting his trap cards that could negate his opponent cards, but not Call of the Haunted, because leaving it vulnerable on the field while he didn't even have a target for it in his Graveyard didn't seem like a bright idea to him.

''I draw!'' Ren said. ''I summon Breaker the Magical Warrior, who gains a Spell Counter upon being Normal Summoned. That counter gives him 300 more ATK, but I can also remove that Spell Counter to destroy a Spell or Trap card on the field. I destroy your set card on the left.'' He said, using Breaker's effect to destroy Spell Shield Type-8. ''Now, Neo the Magic Swordsman, attack his set monster.''

Breaker the Magical Warrior: 1 600 ATK

The blond swordsman on the field leaped at the Island Turtle as it appeared, moving his one-handed sword. The blade bounced off from the large and sturdy turtle.

Island Turtle: 2 000 DEF

Jaune: 8 000 LP

Ren: 7 700 LP

''I end my turn!'' Ren said, unbothered by Jaune having drawn first blood due to his attack having backfired.

''My turn!'' Jaune drew Magician of Faith, and set Sangan. ''I set a monster and end my turn.''

He didn't have good options to destroy Ren's monsters and take control of the field, but he would get a second piece of what he needed for that next turn, thanks to Sangan. After that… It was either drawing the third piece, or drawing another of the possible outs he had in his Deck.

''I draw! Neo, attack the face-down monster.'' Ren said, as the magic swordsman cut Sangan in two.

''Thanks to Sangan's effect, I can add one monster with 1 500 ATK or less from my Deck to my hand!'' Jaune said joyously. ''And I take Baby Dragon!''

Ren's eyes narrowed. He saw Jaune use Time Wizard to win his previous duel, so if he was adding Baby Dragon to his hand, then he might be trying to fuse them. ''I end my turn.'' He said.

''I draw!'' Jaune said, before using the card he just got. ''I summon Sky Scout.'' The red winged man and the long red claws attached to his wrist appeared on the field, flying above the ground.

Sky Scout: 1 800 ATK

''Sky Scout, attack Neo!'' On Jaune's order, the winged humanoid lunged down on the grounded magical swordsman. Neo raised his left hand to aim at Sky Scout with his magic, but his flying opponent was too fast and his claws cut him in half before he could use his spell, destroying the hologram. ''I end my turn.''

Jaune: 8 000 LP

Ren: 7 600 LP

''I draw!'' Ren said. His eyes look at his card. It was a good one, but this turn wasn't the time to use it. ''I change Breaker to defense position and set a card, then I end my turn.'' He said, putting the Trap Card he had kept in his hand so far on the field.

Breaker the Magical Warrior: 1 000 DEF

''I draw!'' Jaune said, and smiled brightly in relief when he saw the card he just got. It wasn't quite the card he was hoping for, but it might as well be. ''I activate Fusion Sage, and add Polymerization to my hand!''

Ren's eyes narrowed. If Jaune searched for Baby Dragon earlier, then that must mean he already had-

''I activate Polymerization to fuse Time Wizard and Baby Dragon together, and Fusion Summon Thousand Dragon!'' Jaune exclaimed. Honestly, he'd have rather have two Polymerization in his Deck, but apparently there had been quite the uptick of fusion support coming out recently, so everyone was buying copies of the card and the shop didn't have any left. He had to make do with Fusion Sage to search for his one copy instead.

The fusing spiral of Polymerization combined the two monsters, and Thousand Dragon set foot on the field with a gruff growl, although it was drowned by the crowd's cheering.

Thousand Dragon: 2 400 ATK

''I set a monster,'' Jaune said, setting his Magician of Faith. He wasn't sure yet if he wanted his Pot of Greed or Polymerization back, ''Sky Scout, attack Breaker! Thousand Dragon, attack directly!''

Sky Scout made short work of the magical warrior, leaving Ren open to the elderly dragon's flames.

But as the brown beast was about to unleash its attack, he flipped his Trap Card, and two empty cylinders appeared in front of him. ''I activate Magic Cylinder.'' Ren said, intending to return the attack to Jaune.

''I activate Seven Tools of the Bandits!'' Jaune said, using his own Trap Card. ''With a cost of only 1 000 Life Points, I negate your Magic Cylinder!''

''Renny! Nooooooo!'' Nora exclaimed loudly from the stands. ''He was too young to be burned alive…'' She said, as Ren was hidden from the crowd's sight by Thousand Dragon's fire.

Ren sighed. ''Nora, you know it's just a hologram.''

''That fire was still meant for him!'' She said in pretend anger, waving a fist in the air.

Jaune: 7 000 LP

Ren: 5 200 LP

''Uh…'' Jaune blinked at the interaction. ''Well, I guess my turn is finished?''

Ren nodded, and drew his card. ''Then it's my turn, I banish Neo the Magic Swordsman and Breaker the Magical Warrior from my Graveyard to Special Summon Chaos Sorcerer!'' Ren said, and a black-clad figure with an unnatural skin tone stepped on the the field. ''I use Chaos Sorcerer's effect, and banish Thousand Dragon!''

Chaos Sorcerer moved his hands in a circle, one glowing with light, and the other with darkness, and a hole in space opened, dragging Thousand Dragon into it.

''Well, that's… not good for me.'' Jaune mumbled as his monster was taken out of the field. Since it was banished instead of being destroyed, he couldn't even use his Call of the Haunted to bring it back.

''Then I set two card, before activating Card Destruction.'' Ren said.

Both duelists had to discard their entire hand and draw as many cards as they discarded. They both discarded two cards, Mystical Elf and Magical Hats for Ren, and Call of the Haunted and Big Shield Gardna for Jaune. They drew their two cards each, and while Jaune didn't know what Ren got, he was glad at least that his cards weren't replaced by useless ones.

Scapegoat and Gearfried the Iron Knight. It was a shame that he had lost Call of the Haunted, since a resurrected Time Wizard could have wiped out Ren's monsters, provided he got lucky with the coin flip. Jaune wasn't too sure what to do with Gearfried, but at least Scapegoat was a good defensive option. He just needed to last until he got something that could get him out of this current pickle.

Then one of Ren's previous set cards was activated, a green card showcasing the image of a figure with a white and feathery wing on one side, and a black leathery one on the other side. ''I activate Change of Heart to take control of Island Turtle until the end of my turn, then, I sacrifice your turtle to Tribute Summon my own monster. Appear, Summoned Skull!'' Ren said, and Jaune's troubles just got much worse.

A tall, skeletal demon appeared on his field, with dark blue wings on its back, wicked claws, and horns protuding from the side of its head. It's chest was an inverted ribcage, its bones worn like muscles while the actual purple muscles tissues were below, in the bones' place.

Jaune gulped. How had he never realised how disturbing and horrifying Summoned Skull looked when he watched the show?

The crowd didn't seem to mind how scary it looked, though, and welcomed the sight of the iconic creature. Then again, they weren't the ones having to deal with the thing.

Summoned Skull: 2 500 ATK

'Summoned Skull, attack Sky Scout.'' Ren ordered. Lighting coursed through Summoned Skull's body, before the fiend directed it toward the flying humanoid.

Jaune: 6 300 LP

Ren: 5 200 LP

''I end my turn.'' Ren said, satisfied with having taken control of the game back. He had two strong monsters on the field. He should be fine as long as Jaune didn't draw Dark Hole.

''My turn!'' Jaune said, drawing Meteor Dragon. It wasn't his Dark Hole, which he had been hoping for, but with Meteor Dragon in his hand, he only needed to stall until he either drew his Red-Eyes, the Goddess with the Third Eye, or his Monster Reborn, which would allow him to re-use his Sangan to search the fusion substitute directly.

Man, he wished he could have bought more copies of his best cards, why did they cost so much?

Anyway, with Dark Hole, those were 4 cards out of his Deck that could get him out of this.

''Guess I'll just have to hope the 'heart of the cards' is on my side, uh?'' Jaune thought, chuckling in his head. If it wasn't… Eh, reaching the final was still really good for a beginner, he could hardly complain. ''I set a card and end my turn!'' He said.

''I draw, then attack your face down monster with Summoned Skull.'' Ren said, and Jaune's monster flipped to reveal Magician of Faith before she was struck by Summoned Skull's lightning.

''Thanks to Magician of Faith's effect, I can take a Spell Card back from my Graveyard!'' Jaune said, retrieving his Polymerization.

Ren's eyes narrowed. His opponent was going for another fusion? But the only other fusion Jaune used in his previous rounds was Alligator's Sword Dragon, which helped in the second rounds because Jaune's opponent was a fire focused Deck. It was of no use here.

What was he planning? What monster other than Thousand Dragon and Alligator's Sword Dragon might he have in his Extra Deck?

''Chaos Sorcerer, attack directly.'' Ren ordered, only for Jaune to flip his set card.

''I activate the Quick-Spell Scapegoat, to summon four Goat Tokens on my field!'' Jaune said, as the 4 colored ball of wool appeared in defense position.

''I continue my attack, to destroy one of the tokens, then I end my turn.'' Ren says. Scapegoat's protection wouldn't last long, but who knew what he might cook up with the extra turns.

''I draw!'' Jaune said. Unfortunately, the card he drew wasn't a very useful one right now. ''I set a monster, and end my turn!'' He said, placing the Masaki the Legendary Swordsman, which he just drew, on the field.

''I draw.'' Ren said. A shame he didn't get something that was of use, but he already had the control of the field. ''Summoned Skull, attack his face-down monster.'' The demon's lighting burst into Masaki, appearing with holding his katana to block. It was futile, though, and the eastern warrior was quickly destroyed. ''Chaos Sorcerer, attack a Goat Token. Then my turn is finished.''

With the Goat Token destroyed by the sorcerer's magic, Jaune had two tokens left to protect himself with.

''I draw!'' Jaune said, drawing a trap that was a welcome relief. ''I set a card and end my turn.''

''I draw.'' Ren said. ''Summoned Skull, attack a Goat Token.''

''I activate my trap, Draining Shield!'' Jaune said, revealing his Trap Card. Summoned Skull's lighting was stopped by a silver shield appearing in front of the Goat Token, and creating a barrier which absorbed the lighting.

Jaune: 8 800 LP

Ren: 5 200 LP

Ren narrowed his eyes. Blocking the attack was only stalling, but Jaune had enough Life Points that he might draw something dangerous before the Mistrali duelist could win. ''Chaos Sorcerer attacks a Goat Token, and I end my turn.'' He said, staying calm and focused. Jaune only had one goat left on his field.

Soon, his Life Points were going to fall, and fast.

''I draw!'' Jaune said, and grinned. This was a good one. It wouldn't be enough to get rid of both of Ren's powerful monsters, but it would get rid of one. The question was, which of Ren's monster should he use against him? ''I activate Change of Heart, and take control of Chaos Sorcerer until the end of my turn!'' Jaune exclaimed, and Ren's eyes widened.

He knew what was coming, as Chaos Sorcerer temporarily changed side to Jaune's.

''I use Chaos Sorcerer's effect to banish Summoned Skull.'' Jaune says, and the spellcaster opened another portal, which took Summoned Skull away just like Thousand Dragon had been. ''I end my turn.''

Chaos Sorcerer thus returned to Ren's side, and he drew. ''My turn. I summon Skilled White Magician.'' He said, summoning the white clad man he just drew.

White Skilled Magician: 1 700 ATK

''Skilled White Magician, attack his last token.'' Ren said, getting rid of the only defense Jaune had left. ''Chaos Sorcerer, attack directly.''

The chaos magic hit Jaune, the holographic system making the space where Jaune was look warped, as the spell shaved a large amount of his Life Points.

Jaune: 6500 LP

Ren: 5 200 LP

''It's your turn.'' Ren tells Jaune, who nods back.

''I draw!'' Jaune said, and feels relief when he saw the card he got. ''I summon Gearfried the Iron Knight, and equip him with Fusion Sword Murasame Blade!'' Jaune said, equipping the Spell Card to the monster whose effect destroyed any card equipped to it. But here, the knight's integrated blade melted away, and his armored arm changed shape to combine with the equipped sword, now fused to his being.

Gearfried the Iron Knight: 2 400 ATK

''Wait, what?'' Ren blinks, staring confusedly at Jaune's warrior as the judge flipped through the rulebook's pages.

''Gearfried destroys any Equip Card to it, but the Murasame Blade can't be destroyed while equipped, so it still works, right?'' Jaune asked the judge. He hoped he was right, because otherwise he was kinda screwed.

''Is that how it works?'' Nora asked from the stands. ''Because it feels more like cheating. It's totally cheating, right? I'm on to you, Joey!''

''My name's not Joey, it's Jaune.'' Jaune complained.

''Okay, Not Joey!'' Nora said, before muttering something about 'Not Joey' being a weird name. Ren, meanwhile, covered his face in his hand.

''Ahem!'' The judge cleared his throat. ''So, Gearfried's effect is a trigger effect, not a continuous one, so it only activate to destroy the Equip Card once, and only has the effect of destroying a card, not preventing it from being equipped. And since said Equip Card here is immune to effect destruction, it stays. It's a legal play.'' The judge ruled.

''Either way, you activated a Spell Card, meaning my Skilled White Magician gains 1 Spell Counter.'' Ren says. Two more, and he would be able to Special Summon Buster Blader.

Jaune grinned, he wasn't worried, not when he could just destroy Skilled White Magician next turn. But for this turn, however, there was a more urgent threat to take care of. ''Gearfried, attack Chaos Sorcerer!'' He ordered, and Gearfried cut the spellcaster down. ''Then I end my turn.''

Jaune: 6500 LP

Ren: 5 100 LP

''I draw.'' Ren said with a smile. Unfortunately, the card he drew couldn't be used without Dark Magician on the field, but Dark Magic Attack wouldn't be able to destroy Jaune's Fusion Sword anyway. That was fine, Ren already had the card he needed in his hands anyway. ''I activate Swords of Revealing Light.''

Three swords made of light appeared above Jaune's field.

''Oh… That's bad…'' Jaune said. ''A second Spell Counter on Skilled White Magician, and I can't attack for the next three turns…'' That was a problem. If a single Spell Card was played while Ren's monster was on the field, then Jaune could say goodbye to Gearfried, and would return to being on the back foot.

''Correct.'' Ren nodded. ''It's your turn. Good luck.''

Jaune nodded back. ''Then I draw!'' Jaune said, getting My Body as a Shield from his Deck. ''I set a card and end my turn.'' Hey, he wasn't going to waste a protection for his monsters. Even if it protected his monsters against effect destructions and Ren was about to bring a strong monster as a threat instead, at least he had that covered…

One of the three swords disappeared, leaving two.

''I draw, and summons Maha Vailo.'' Ren summoned the monster he drew immediately, the blue clad magician appearing on the field with his legs crossing, levitating over the ground, and strange, wide wing-like blades protuding from his back. The magician's headset had a pair of red orbs dangling from it, with crystal decorations attached to these orbs. ''Then I end my turn.''

Maha Vailo: 1 550 ATK

''I draw!' Jaune said. Maha Vailo was a scary monster to see on the field. His ATK was average, but since his effect gave him more ATK for every card equipped to him, it could go dangerously high pretty quickly. Hopefully, Ren wouldn't draw an Equip Spell, at least not before Jaune could destroy the blue sorcerer.

Jaune looked at the card he drew, Axe Raider. If only the Swords of Revealing Light weren't on the field, he could go on the offensive. As it was… If he summoned Axe Raider now, the monster would just be destroyed.

So Jaune stayed his hand for this turn, and did nothing. ''I end my turn.'' He said, and the second sword faded away.

''I draw.'' Ren said, a satisfied glint in his eyes. This card was the perfect card he needed. ''I equip Horn of the Unicorn on Maha Vailo.'' He said, and Jaune's eyes widened. The blond Valean knew what was coming now.

A golden unicorn horn appeared on Maha Vailo's headset. Normally, a monster would gain 700 ATK from Horn of the Unicorn, but thanks to his own effect…

Maha Vailo: 2 750 ATK

… Maha Vailo gained a total of 1 200 ATK instead.

''Then, thanks to the third Spell Counter on Skilled White Magician, I can use his effect to tribute him and Special Summon Buster Blader from my Deck.'' Ren said. The dragon-slaying warrior held his two handed blade, ready to attack. ''Maha Vailo, attack Gearfried the Iron Knight. Then, Buster Blader, attack directly.''

Jaune couldn't stop Ren's attacks, as Maha Vailo made short work of Gearfried, and Buster Blader slashed at the blond duelist, the holographic sword phasing through him as his life points crumbled.

Jaune: 3 550 LP

Ren: 5 100 LP

''I end my turn.'' Ren said.

''I draw!'' Jaune looked at his card. Penguin Soldier? That was a huge help right now, great! ''I set a monster and end my turn!''

''I draw.'' Ren said, as the last of the revealing swords disappeared. On his next turn, Jaune would be able to attack. ''I summon Gemini Elf.''

Two beautiful women with long, pointy ears and wearing strapless dresses appeared, each bearing an indifferent gaze.

Gemini Elf: 1 900 ATK

''Maha Vailo, attack Jaune's set monster.'' Ren said.

The magician easily got rid of Penguin Soldier, but… ''My Flip monster's effect activate, and I send Buster Blader and Gemini Elf back to your hand.'' Jaune said. Buster Blader was a high level monster, so he would be harder to summon back from the hand. Now he had gained himself some time, hopefully the next few draws would be decisive.

''Fine, I end my turn.'' Ren said, frowning slightly. He still had control of the field, but having Buster Blader back to his hands was… arguably worse than having him sent to the Graveyard. It was much easier to special summon a high level monster from the Graveyard than it was to keep its tributing material on the field long enough for a Tribute Summon.

The dragon slayer likely wouldn't go back to the field in this duel.

''I draw!'' Jaune said, hoping his Deck wouldn't let him down. It didn't, and could have hardly gave him a better card than this Spell. ''I activate Monster Reborn, and brings back your Chaos Sorcerer on my field.'' He said, as Chaos Sorcerer stepped out of the Monster Reborn card, ready for Jaune to use him. It wasn't just for one turn this time. ''Chaos Sorcerer, banish Maha Vailo!''

The black-clad man waved his hand in a circle, and the portail engulfed the opposing magician out of the field.

''With Horn of the Unicorn's effect, when sent to the Graveyard, it is put on top of my Deck.'' Ren said.

''But that's for next turn, right now, I summon Axe Raider in attack position, and attack you directly.'' Jaune said.

Axe Raider: 1 700 ATK

The barbarian warrior, in its gold and red armor, struck Ren with its axe.

Jaune: 3 550 LP

Ren: 3 400 LP

''I end my turn.'' Jaune said, he honestly wasn't sure who would win this. It was close, and this duel had already been going on for a while.

It was coming to an end soon, right?

''I draw.'' Ren said, Jaune's thoughts echoing within his own mind. ''I summon Gemini Elf, and equip them with Horn of the Unicorn.''

The two elven women returned to the field, and quickly gained the spell's electric horn on their forehead.

Gemini Elf: 2 600 ATK

Ren knew they were in the last part of the game, and he had full intent to finish it in his favor. Nora was counting on him after all. ''Gemini Elf, attack Chaos Sorcerer.''

'… In the end, I guess I still only had that monster for a turn.' Jaune thought as the spellcaster was destroyed and he lost Life Points along with it.

Jaune: 3 250 LP

Ren: 3 400 LP

''I end my turn.'' Ren said. Now he had the advantage back, but was it going to stay so? How many time had his opponent turned things around in only this duel already?

''I draw.'' Jaune looked at the monster he got. Big Eye. That was a good thing. After so many turns, his Deck had little cards left, so the chances of one of the two cards he needed being on the top five of the Deck were actually pretty high. ''I set a monster, and changes Axe Raider to defense position, before ending my turn.''

Axe Raider: 1 150 DEF

''I draw, and summons Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress #1.'' Ren said, summoning a small blue dragon.

Winged Dragon, Guardian of the Fortress #1: 1 400 ATK

''Winged Dragon, attack Axe Raider. Gemini Elf, attack the face-down monster.'' Ren said, and his two monsters destroyed Jaune's, the set one being a red humanoid mosnter with large eyes all over its body.

''Thanks to Big Eye's effect, I can look at the top five cards of my Deck and replace them in any order.'' Jaune said, taking the five cards in question.

Celtic Guardian. Mataza the Zapper. Giant Trunade. Command Knight… And Goddess with the Third Eye. Perfect. He couldn't have hoped for better than this.

Jaune placed the cards back on top of his Deck, making sure the fusion substitute was the first one he would draw.

''I end my turn…'' Ren said. His opponent looked a bit too happy to his taste, and it didn't bore well for him.

''I draw!'' Jaune grinned, before activating the Spell Card he had waited for so many turns to make use of. ''And I use Polymerization to fuse Meteor Dragon and Goddess with the Third Eye, to Fusion Summon Meteor Black Dragon.''

The gigantic, thick-bodied dragon made its entrance on Jaune's field with a deep, almost roaring growl. The lower part of its neck, its belly, and its articulations were a hot orange-red, and the rest of its body was covered in purple, armor-like carapace, with magma like cracks over it.

''Black Meteor Dragon! Attack Gemini Elf!'' Jaune said, and the stout beast buried the twin elves under so much fire Ren could feel the heat.

… Not that there was any actual heat, what with it being holographic. It was only a trick of the brain as it registered the sight.

''Hey! Renny's the one supposed to be doing to cooking!'' Nora yelled out from the stands, waving a fist in the air. ''Come one, Ren, show that big dumb lizard what a real cook looks like!''

Jaune: 3 250 LP

Ren: 2 500 LP

''I end my turn.'' Jaune said. He wasn't worried about losing Black Meteor Dragon. Even if My Body as a Shield was the only protection he had right now, and would likely have for the rest of the duel, Ren just didn't have the means to turns things around, not with Horn of the Unicorn back to being his next draw due to having been sent to the Graveyard when Gemini Elf was destroyed.

''I draw.'' Ren said. He didn't have enough monsters to summon Buster Blader, which would have been his only option to destroy Black Meteor Dragon with Horn of the Unicorn boosting the dragon slayer. His other monsters were just not strong enough even with the Equip Spell. ''I set a monster, and changes Winged Dragon to defense position. Then I end my turn.''

''I draw, and summons Command Knight.'' Jaune said, bringing in a female knight in a red armor, with sword and shield, and a dark cape flowing on her back. Her effect only raised the ATK of Warrior-Type monsters, which Meteor Black Dragon wasn't, but as long as he had another monster, she couldn't be targeted for an attack, making her a safe summon to put on the field.

Command Knight: 1 600 ATK

''Command Knight, attack Winged Dragon!'' Jaune said, and the knight bravely cut the dragon down. ''Meteor Black Dragon, attack his set monster, then I end my turn.''

''I draw.'' Ren said, before the hellish flammes who destroyed his face-down Ancient Elf even disappeared. ''I set a card and end my turn.''

''I draw and summons Mataza the Zapper!'' Jaune said. Time to end this. ''Meteor Black Dragon, attack directly!''

But right before the dragon's flammes touched Ren, he flipped his set card, and a small group of women in blue robes appeared, their prayers creating a barrier that protected him. ''I activate Waboku, so that none of your monsters can damage my Life Points until the end of this turn.''

Aww, really? But he was so close… ''Then I end my turn.'' Jaune said, hoping Ren wouldn't draw something that would help him out of the threat Meteor Black Dragon posed.

He should be alright, right?

''I draw.'' Ren took a look at the card, and the corner of his lips raised ever so slightly. With this, he'd win. ''I set a card, and end my turn.''

''Then I draw!'' Jaune said. He almost summoned Celtic Guardian, before realising there was no need. ''Meteor Black Dragon, attack directly!''

But then, as the dragon's fire was about to exit its jaw, Ren used his Trap Card, and that one was more dangerous than simple protection. ''I activate Mirror Force.'' Ren said. ''With this, all three of your monsters will be destroyed.''

But to Ren's barely emoted surprised, the reflected attack went and hit Jaune himself, instead of destroying his monsters. Then, now that the light of the reflected attack wasn't blocking the sight of it, the Mistrali young man noticed the Quick-Spell card Jaune had just activated.

Jaune: 1750 LP

Ren: 2 500 LP

''With My Body as a Shield, I can pay 1 500 Life Points to negate a card whose effect would destroy one or several of my monsters.'' Jaune said, and without Mirror Force destroying Jaune's monster or negating his dragon's attack… ''Meteor Black Dragon, continue your attack and finish him!''

With one last fire breath, Ren had lost…

Jaune: 1750 LP

Ren: 0 LP

''It was quite the struggle, but ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner!'' The SDC commentator said in his microphone, his voice booming throught the stadium. ''Joey Arc is now Argus' regional champion!''

''I- it's Jaune…'' Jaune tried to say, but his voice ended up being lower than he wanted, his mind still reeling from the victory. This all went better than he had dared hoping for.


''… Yeah, I'll be taking this.'' Jaune said with a grin as he looked in the mirror of the amory, taking in how he looked.

Years ago, he had wanted to save money for some plate armor, but after Onyx unlocked his aura and trained him, Jaune realised that metal wasn't strictly needed to protect himself against the Grimm. Sure, it was still better than nothing, since aura was spent far less to prevent damage from a hit on steel than it did for flesh, but… He quite liked this brigandine armor. It would give him a smaller reduction from damage to his aura when being hit by a Grimm, but it would still reduce it a bit, and didn't have as much weight as plate.

The brigandine armor he had over his black Pumpkin Pete hoodie was a sleeveless breastplate, white with yellow linings, and a yellow leather belt at the waist. It suited him well, he found.

It was also far easier to put on by himself than steel plates, which may or may not help in his decision to buy this instead.

Honestly, it was a good thing he kept the mobility. When he first started his training, he thought armor and his shield were the only tools he'd have to protect his life in fights. Then he found out that a shield wasn't a piece of armor, but a weapon.

… He had a lot of misguided assumptions about fighting and being a huntsman before his training, did he?

''Oh, do you also have whetstones and other sword sharpening supplies?'' Jaune asked the armorer, who nodded and started showing him through his stock. It was great to have lien. Thanks to the tournament's prize money, he could easily afford to buy whatever supplies he would need to keep on fighting.

And the leftover would probably goes into upgrading his Deck, because he was very much aware he only won because of well timed draws.

But card games were secondary to being a huntsman. Right now, he'd also need oil to prevent rust or the mechanism of Crocea's shield from jamming.


''The ship depart in 3 hours. All Beacon applicants, please come aboard.'' The airship's crewman announced.

Jaune stared up at the airship, larger than any he'd seen from his small village. He was making it, this was his ride to Beacon, his dream. After all his training…

Jaune walked inside the airship with a smile, despite knowing he'd be airsick through the entire flight. It was… It was just a bad moment to endure, right?


''Ah! It's him!'' Jaune heard a girl shout behind him, and turned around to see Ren and the redhead that seemed almost attached to the guy. ''Joey!''

He blinked. ''My name is Jaune?'' He said, raising an eyebrow.

Being called the 'Joey of Argus' during the tournament was kind of fun, but the nickname wasn't going to actually stick, was it?

''So you say, 'Jaune'.'' Nora said, pointing an accusing finger at his chest. ''What are you doing here, mister?'' The short girl said with a frown, before gasping loudly. ''Are you… stalking us?''

''What? No!'' Jaune exclaimed, hardly believing the accusation he was hearing.

''Well why else would you be here if not for a homoerotic romance with your fated rival?'' Nora said with a manic grin, her hands on her hips. ''Don't be dense, like some people can be.'' She said with a roll of her eyes, before giving a side glance to Ren, who didn't notice because he was busy facepalming.

''I- what? No, I'm not-'' Jaune tried to talk, before being cut off by Nora.

''It wasn't enough to leave us lienless, now you're after poor Ren's purity. You fiend!'' Nora growled, her shoulder hunched, and a wide grin constrasting her tone.

''Nora, I think Jaune here is just another Beacon applicant.'' Ren sighed. Nora froze, before straightening her back and rubbing the back of her head.

''Oh, yeah, of course. Make sense. Eh eh.'' She said, her tongue hanging out from the side of her mouth.

''… What was that about being lienless?'' Jaune asked, confused.

''Nothing of concern.'' Ren answered simply.

''Renny and I are orphans who've been living and training on the road, and we were counting on that tournament's prize money to eat well before Beacon started.'' Nora said, narrowing her eyes at Jaune. ''Money that you took. Well, what do you have to say for yourself, Starver of Orphans?''

Jaune paled. ''Wait, you mean you two haven't been eating since the tournament? That's terrible!'' He said.

Also, 'Starver of Orphans'? Jaune decided that as far as nicknames went, he liked 'Joey of Argus' better…

''No, Nora is just being dramatic. We have been living on duel tournament money for the past few years, but the runner up prize was more than sufficient for us two to eat and fund our preparations for Beacon.'' Ren said.

Jaune let out a relieved breath. ''That's good to hear. You guys wanna grab a bite on the way? I think I saw some vending machines over there, my treat.'' He said with a smile.

''Are you sure? I just said we're not hurting for lien, you don't need to do that.'' Ren said with a raised eyebrow.

''Nah, it's fine. It's what friends do, right? And my mom always said strangers are just friends you haven't met yet.'' Jaune grinned. ''Happy to meet you too.''

''I think I like your mom.'' Nora quipped happily.

''… Then we're happy to take you up on the offer.'' Ren nods, returning a small smile to Jaune's grin. ''You probably caught my name already, but I'm Lie Ren.'' He said, and Jaune and him shook hands.

''And I'm Nora! Nora Valkyrie.'' Nora said with a grin wider than Jaune's. ''Ren and I are together. Well, not together-together, but you know how it is, ah ah! Live long enough with someone, and you end up coming as a package deal.''


''… Are you going to be okay?'' Ren asked, watching Jaune hold his stomach. The blond boy's face was slowly turning green.

''P-probably.'' Jaune groaned. He was so happy at making friends that he forgot his travel sickness.

''So… Are you gonna eat your snacks?'' Nora asked, pointing her finger at Jaune's untouched snacks.

''Nora, have some respect.'' Ren admonished her with a frown.

''No, no…'' Jaune groaned, waving his hand dismissively. ''It's fine. I don't think I'm going to touch them anyway. Nora can have them if she wants.''

''Awesome!'' Nora started gulfing down on Jaune's share of the snacks, while his stomach wasn't able to endure the airship's flight anymore and he ran to a nearby trashcan, hunching over it as he barfed.

Ren sighed again. This sure was a start to their first year at Beacon.


As she waited for her servants to load her suitcases into the SDC private airship, Weiss brought her hand to her eye. The one she had lost…

It had been replaced by a cutting edge prosthetic, to her relief. She would have preferred not losing her eye in the first place, but she was at least glad she had a better artificial one than those old and clunky looking prosthetics, the ones that looked like large metal goggles. She didn't know how she'd deal with seeing such a mare on her face every day. The thick, scarred line going over her eye was bad enough.

As it was, her artificial eye looked practically identical to her original one, and someone would have to look into it at barely an inch of her face to be able to tell its nature.

Weiss looked at the small computer on her wrist, which looked like a watch, except instead of giving her the time, it allowed her to exert control on her eye. She clicked a button, testing the intensified light vision, and then the electromagnetic vision, and then the heat vision, and then the telescopic sight, up to eight times her normal sight… She was still getting used to these alternate visions. If she was honest with herself, she knew these would be quite useful as a huntress, since the Grimm are more active at night, but it still felt weird to use.

The sound of approaching steps took her out of her thoughts, and she turned to see Whitley.

''What do you want, Whitley?'' Weiss sighed.

''Why, can I not see my sister off?'' Her little brother answered, his voice smug.

If only he was here just for that… If anything, Weiss was surprised he showed up at all. Or that anyone did.

Winter was at work, and Weiss understood that it wasn't up to her that she couldn't come, but it was no surprise that her parents didn't. The girl doubted either her father or mother would have bothered unless a catastrophe had happened.

''Ah, yes, because you aren't here to denigrate my career choice and claim huntsmen are useless when Atlas has an army.'' Weiss rolled her eyes dismissively. They've had this discussion more than once, and she cared little to have it again.

Whitley snorted. ''I hardly need to have an argument about huntsmen when the divines have pronounced themselves on the issue.''

… Oh gods, please no.

''Whitley, don't start…'' Weiss said, rubbing the bridge of her nose.

''Start what? Speaking the truth?'' He sneered. ''The fact is that huntsmen are redundant now. What fear is there to have of the Grimm when Slifer protects us?''

Weiss groaned.

''Duels are a tribute to the gods, clearly Atlas has been chosen by Slifer from amongst the Four Kingdoms because Atlesian dueling is superior to that of the other kingdoms.'' Whitley continued, bragging shamelessly. ''You really ought to abandon the sword and learn how to duel, sister, because that is where the future lays.''

Could she have her old brother back? She liked Whitley better when he was just a smarmy brat trying to steal her inheritance, instead of the religious nutjob that replaced him.

''Look, Whitley, you can have all the fun you want with your… What was it called again?'' Weiss said, not even bothering hiding her disdain of the whole thing.

''Sliferism.'' Whitely said, holding up his chin in an attempt to look down on her. ''Really, you'd think the fiancee of the man through which Slifer revealed himself to us would bother learning at least the basics. We show our devotion and faith to Slifer by dueling, each game a prayer and act of worship in its own right, and I have been a very fervent believer.''

Right, his tournament thing he won. Weiss could only hope he'd get so into that life he'd give up on becoming the SDC's CEO, that would at least be a silver lining on the whole thing.

''Well in that case, you are showing enough devotion for the both of us. That's great, very much wonderful.'' Weiss said in an almost flat voice, if not for the hint of sarcasm poking through. ''So I'll just go do my own thing and let you be Slifer's favorite. Have a good day, Whitley.''

At these words, Weiss turned around and walked into her airship to Beacon, having decided this was the end of this discussion.


A cloaked figure looked at Beacon on the horizon, and the airship bringing this year's freshmen to it, standing on the other side of the Emerald Forest.

He lifted an arm, and a spider Grimm, with a round, almost ball-like abdomen, crawled out of the loose sleeve of his black cloak to stand on the back on his pale hand.

Augur smiled. Tomorrow, Beacon's initiation would turn to carnage, and the blood of heroes will taint the soil.


WICKED CHIBI (Actually canon this time)

Chibi Gemini stands on an elevated balcony, glaring at the booing crowd below.

He tried to have Dragon Ball's manga printed, thought it'd make for a neat side project to bring in money unrelated to Yu-Gi-Oh, which meant unrelated to the SDC since Jacques had linked his company to it, but then, Remnant proved to have no taste in art.

''Racist bastard!'' ''Go die in a ditch!'' ''We don't want you in Vale!'' ''Go suck Jacques' dick!'' Yellings came from the crowd, a little over half composed of Faunus, but also its share of human protestors.

All this because they had taken Goku turning into a Giant Ape, and then having his tail cut off to stop him, as 'portraying Faunus as feral monsters' and 'advocating for Faunus trait amputation'…

''Shut up! You people just can't recognize a great story when one's staring you in the face!'' Chibi Gemini yelled back, waving an angry fist. He received a tomato in the face in return.

It was absolutely bullshit that the series had to be discontinued because of their bullshit, and only the first and second books had been released, ending with Goku going to Master Roshi after the Pilaf Saga.

Goddamn cancel culture!

''Fine! You people sucks anyway, you don't deserve that story!'' Chibi Gemini yelled.

''Hate has no place in Vale!'' ''Race grifter!'' ''Gemini in Jail! Gemini in Jail! Gemini in Jail!'' ''Grimm have more class than you!'' The crowd kept on yelling.

''You can enslave me anytime!'' A feminine voice came from the crowd, from an unidentified faunus teenager.

The ghost of Chibi Ruby, translucent, popped next to Chibi Gemini, unseen and unheard by anyone but him and glaring angrily into the crowd.

''Hey, who said that last one? No, seriously! Keeps your hands off, hussy!'' Chibi Ruby yelled pointlessly at the crowd.

''You guys can kiss my ass!'' Chibi Gemini said, pulling on the skin below an eye and strucking his tongue at the crowd.

More yellings and tomatoes answered him, covering the whole front of his body in crushed tomatoes.

Hidden inside the building, Chibi Cinder stared in disbelief through the door, frowning and her mouth open.

''This is the kid who caught the attention of both Salem and Ozpin's side?'' Chibi Cinder said, making a face. To think her plans laid in shambles and could only be salvaged with his help. ''… I'm doomed.''

Then, suddenly, a gunshot was heard, and Chibi Gemini recoiled in pain, before glaring at a cat girl in the distance and flipping her off.

''Screw you Blake, shoot harder next time!'' Chibi Gemini said.

We're so close to initiation. We're so damn close, I can smell the oversized chess pieces.

Anyway, yeah, I did manage to find a title related to a game? I used the little nickname Jaune got this chapter, so that make the title of this chapter a Yu-Gi-Oh reference. That counts.

So yeah, Jaune became friend with Ren and Nora right before Beacon started. Game brings people together, that's why they're wonderful. Since Joey's Deck fitted Jaune well, I gave Ren Yugi's starter Deck, though they've started to take their Deck in their own direction.

I hadn't planned for neither to bring the mascot (Red eyes and Dark Magician) of their respective Deck on the field, as I've shuffled the cards, but thinking about it, it's oddly fitting that they haven't summoned Joey's and Yugi's ace, since neither are Joey and Yugi.

I don't know which name I'll give next chapter, but eh, see you then.

Ilia: ''Ahem.''


Ilia: ''What did you say about Blake, again? Please, refresh my memory. Something about her being 'straight'?''

Oh, uh…

Ilia: ''A certain kissing scene proves you wrong. Admit it.''

Yeah, yeah, Blake is bisexual, I get it.

Ilia: ''Ah! Damn right! That means I did have a chance.''

You realize this means the reason Blake never showed any romantic interest toward you wasn't because she wasn't interested in girls, but because she wasn't interested in you, right?

Ilia: ''Gurk! That's… That's…'' *Falls to her knees and cries.*

So… I guess I ought to address what I said, uh?


Okay. I freely admit it, I was in denial about Bumblebee being anything other than ship baiting. I swear I can explain.

Yes, the blushing and physical signs through V7-8 between Yang and Blake were genuine signs that they were falling for each other, and hard.

My problem is that every sign of attraction Blake showed toward Yang, she has been showing the same signs, and more, toward Sun ever since V3.

In fact, up until the very moment Yang and Blake confessed, Blacksun had progressed farther than Bumblebee was, even with all the signs put in V7-8. Not only had Blake shown every sign of being into Sun that she later showed toward Yang, but her goodbye to Sun in V6 was all but a confession of love.

The dialogue between Blake and Sun in V6 was basically a 'I like you, but I have too much stuff to deal with to enter a relationship right now', and then concluded with a kiss on the cheek.

It may have been on the cheek, but a kiss is still an intimate gesture. You could argue that it's not unheard off for someone to kiss a friend on the cheek, but unless you live in a culture where it's common, it's pretty rare. Rare enough that I don't think I ever saw it happen.

I live in Canada. Now, Canada is pretty large, so this might not be true of everywhere here, but in my little corner of the country, kiss on the cheek happens between lovers, or from grandma. So my obvious conclusion when seeing Blake kiss Sun was that it was a clear statement on her part that she likes Sun.

On top of that, not only is a girl kissing a guy as a friendship act is something I'd expect to be rare, but I can't imagine that a girl would give a kiss to a guy she knows is into her if she isn't into him in return, because the message it sends is obvious.

So yeah, my issue with Bumblebee isn't Bumblebee itself, but that if Bumblebee was planned from the start, which RT has confirmed, then why bring Blacksun that far? If Bumblebee was planned from the beginning, and Blacksun was never intended to be a thing, then Blake should never have shown clear attraction to Sun.

As it is, Blake spent roughly an in-universe year being into Sun, then after he left, she took less than two months to get with Yang…

Setting up two possible ships for a character is fine, but what happened here wasn't having both Blacksun and Bumblebee at the harbor, with Blake choosing which she gets on. What happened was that Blake got on Blacksun, the anchor was raised, the sails were deployed, then as soon as Blacksun started moving she used Gambol Shroud to hop into Bumblebee and that ship left the harbor while leaving Blacksun in an awkward state of both sailing and being stuck at the harbor.

Don't get me wrong, on its own Bumblebee is a pretty good ship, even if I'm personally not into it. It only stops working if you don't pretend Blake was never into Sun, despite confirming it on screen multiple times.

And I'll be honest, after so many years of being invested in Blacksun while Yang and Blake were only platonic, I can't bring myself to care about Bumblebee. All the emotional investment I was able to spare for Blake's love life has been drained by Blacksun and there's nothing left for Bumblebee. My apathy is the only thing I have left to give to Bumblebee.

Also, when I say Bumblebee isn't my favorite… Look, Yang and Sun have a lot of overlap when it comes to personality, and their respective dynamic with Blake, which is a solid A-tier dynamic, was the same. In theory, both ship would have been an A-tier ship no matter which the show would have went in.

So what's the difference between Blacksun and Bumblebee's writing? Well, despite both Yang and Sun having similar personalities… That was in V1-3. After losing her arm, Yang underwent a huge shift in attitude, for justified reason (not saying she should have stayed the same, that'd have been terrible writing), but cheerful Yang went away and we had dour Yang instead. So while Sun kept the same great dynamic he had with Blake, the one Yang had with her changed drastically (well, once they reunited).

Dour Yang and Blake worked well together as friends and partners, but as a ship, it was way less interesting, due to Blake not being a very cheerful character herself. Thankfully, Yang got her cheery self back in V9. Well, she started getting it back in V7, but it only had a few opportunities for it to shine, with them dealing with such high stakes, and then in V8 the high stakes had become too urgent for cheery Yang to make herself known. It was in V9 that the old, cheery Yang had a chance to really come back in full force, for which I'm thankful for. I did lowkey like her interactions with Blake again.

Bumblebee developped almost without being able to have the best aspect of their dynamic being able to shine, while Blacksun was at the best it could be through all of its writing.

So even though both ships are in theory the same dynamic, but one is straight and one is gay and that's the only theoretical difference, Blacksun manages to retain its quality in writing, while Bumblebee… Ends up being a decent B-tier to Blacksun's A-tier… And the main reason why…

Like, the ship still works well, but Blacksun's dynamic was much better than Bumblebee was for like, half the show? Eh, not quite half, actually, but you get what I mean.

That being said, despite Bumblebee's writing in canon having its share of issues that turns me off from it, I've seen many ridiculous criticisms of the ship. You'd think there's enough flaws for people to not need to make shit up, but there's still people managing to overhate the ship.

''Bumblebee only happened so that RT could get V10 greenlit.'' No. That's an unsubstantiated claim.

Bumblebee started showing clear signs of Yang and Blake being into each other since V7. In V6, you can argue they weren't in love yet and that it happened later, and the events of V6 are the set up, but the fact remains that Bumblebee has started being pushed in RWBY years before V9. So to claim that it was only put in V9 to get brownie points with the shippers in a desperate attempt to get the funding for V10 is pure bullshit, and you better have rock solid evidence if you want to make such a claim.

''Bumblebee erased Yang's and Blake's entire character and left them as only each other's girlfriend.'' Again, no.

Yang and Blake didn't have their personality wiped away for the sake of Bumblebee. Much of their screentime in V7-8 was focused on their developing romance, yes, but that isn't erasing their character. The ratio of focus was merely unbalanced due to them turning to love within 2-3 volumes, where Blacksun had 4-5 volumes. The rest of Yang's and Blake's character was still there. (And to be fair, Blacksun developed the non romantic facets of Blake's and Sun's friendship at the same time they got closer romantically. Bumblebee could afford to have the romance progress faster once it started because the other facets of Yang's and Blake's relationship had already been developed through the previous volumes. The depth of both the platonic and romantic facet of either ship is roughly the same.)

''Bumblebee is a bad ship because the trauma Adam inflicted on Yang and Blake is a core aspect of the ship, and it's a toxic foundation for a relationship, which irl, always ends up with one partner abusing the other.'' That one… Yes. It's correct that if the traumas from Adam was what held them together, it would be a bad foundation for a relationship.

However… The actual foundation of Blake's and Yang's relationship isn't them being held together by their trauma from Adam, but them learning they'll be there for each other when they need it the most.

Granted, it does happen through overcoming Adam together. There's no doubt that it's not the healthiest way for two people to get together, but it's nowhere as bad as the above criticism makes it sounds. Adam's toxicity and inflicted traumas does have their imprint on the relationship, but I doubt it'd be enough to lead to 'one abusing the other'. No, it's just something else for Blake and Yang to work through and have to discuss at some point.

There's still the Vacuo arc left in the show. That's three volume during which we don't know what'll happen with Bumblebee. So let's wait until we see what Kerry and Miles do with it before we throw wild accusations, okay? They aren't perfect, but they do have a good record when it come to treating LGBT characters as actual characters instead of tokens. Be patient, because of course a romantic conflict between Yang and Blake won't happen the millisecond they get together, duh.

Of course, RWBY is an action show, not a romance one, and with the final battle against Salem coming up, there's only so much screentime that can be given to Bumblebee. But as long as this is acknowledged and Yang's and Blake's have the bare minimum of addressing how their relationship operates through the vestigial hardships of Adam's mark, then I can accept it. If they do more than the minimum, cool, but don't forget Bumblebee is a side thing in the show, not the main focus. It's secondary to the main plot. It probably doesn't need too much screentime to be done well, though.

Now, yes, Bumblebee's writing is indeed much edgier than Blacksun. It's been conveyed via fighting and killing the abusive ex of one of the two girls, and who also freaking crippled the other. I don't mind edge, but not when it comes to romance, and that's a lot of edge for a ship. Yikes.

That's a matter of personal preference, though, not of the quality of the writing. I don't like it, because I like my romance warm and full of fluff, not cold and edgy enough to cut myself on it. Blacksun is the type of ships I like, not Bumblebee. Make Sun a girl and Yang a guy, and honestly, my opinion stays the same.

I've joked about it on Discord, but… If Sun joined the relationship and shared Blake with Yang… Yes, that'd improve the writing, lol.

Sun doesn't have any baggage to bring, and his bond with Blake is unrelated to the Adam inflicted trauma, so his involvement in the relationship would smooth over the trauma and means it wouldn't need anywhere near as much screentime for the relationship to be able to be believably portrayed as a healthy one.

Of course, with the limited run time left in the show, that would require Sun to have a few scenes to bond with Yang for a three-way relationship to work, since it also requires Sun and Yang to accept each other, but that's fine to have Sun and Yang have a few scenes with each other in between sharing scenes with Blake, since Blake has already bonded romantically with both and it just leaves Yang and Sun to bond together in that way.

Also, it would explains why the writers went and made Blake show so much romantic attraction toward Sun despite Bumblebee having always been the plan. It's because she is attracted to both. That would fix the 'mistake' of bringing Blacksun so far before 'pulling the plug', since that would all have been set up for a SunxBlakexYang relationship, instead of terribly stupid writing mistakes.

This… This would not only fix the issues with Blake's love life's writing, which is kind of a hot mess right now, but also elevates it into a S-tier ship, not only better than either Blacksun's or Bumblebee's writing ended up being on their own, but better than they were in theory (which is better than the writing it got.)

This comes from me, who have made no secret of being a staunch monogamist who's repulsed by polygamy: At this point in the show, SunxBlakexYang would be a better written and more natural conclusion than either Blacksun or Bumblebee on their own.

The pieces fits pretty damn well, and if this is what Kerry and Miles always intended for these characters and will do, then mad respect. Usually poly relationships in fiction are just a badly written hormonal teenager's wet fantasy, but here the writing would actually be gold. So…


Thank you for staying through this and listening to my ted talk on why I'm now a Sunnybees shipper.