Well, that was a turbulent first chapter with the site having massive errors and issues, lol. I got so many PMs asking me if I'd deleted it and why. Such things seem sorted now so let's hope adding another chapter doesn't cause a repeat.

Keep in mind this chapter and probably the next one are definitely the honeymoon period for Jaune. Everything is going to seem perfect, everything easy, because the premise really requires Jaune to commit to the unwise decision of only maxing Charisma. Don't worry, this isn't going to become some weird wish-fulfilment harem thing.

Who'd even want a harem irl? Imagine how annoying it'd be to have to balance it all.

Chapter 2

If life was a game then why wouldn't you play?

Jaune obviously knew it wasn't a game and that it was very real, the consequences too, but if you suddenly developed the power to treat it like one, then he didn't think anyone would be able to resist having a little fun.

The doors to Ansel High School slammed open and Jaune Arc sauntered in, smiling confidently and basked in every set of eyes looking his way. Gone was the slumped and tired demeanour, gone was the nervous aversion of his eyes whenever he saw a pretty girl. Gone was the microscopic tension of his muscles when he passed one of the bigger, tougher boys in the hallway.

This school was his playground now.

"Hey Sally." Jaune clicked his tongue and winked at the first girl, who blushed and looked back at her locker. "Hi Rachel. Brogan. Abigal, new hairstyle? It suits you. Rosemary, I love what you've done with your nails."

The girl, with orange hair, glasses and freckles, blushed and fidgeted with her fingers. "Thanks, Jaune."

A meaty hand slammed on the locker in front of him. "Oi," snarled Brett, six-feet tall and built like two men squashed together. "You making a move on my girl, Arc?"

Jaune stopped, aware of the sudden hush that had fallen over the hallway. Everyone was tense, nervous. Everyone except Jaune, Unknown Saviour of Ansel, Arc. He looked up at the bigger boy who had, in times past, dunked his head in the toilet and grinned.

"Yo! Brett. Killer game last night, eh? I heard you were top scorer."

The muscle-headed jock cracked a smile. "It was a good game. And yeah, I did."

"That's my man!" Jaune had to stand on tiptoes to hook an arm around Brett's neck. He turned him around to face the school at large. "A round of applause for the best athlete in school!"

Against all odds, everyone started clapping. Brett flushed, smiling bashfully, and Jaune slipped off him, the two sharing a fist-bump. Jaune sauntered on down the corridor, winking, pointing and flirting with just about everyone.

"Mrs Greene!" Jaune staggered when he entered the classroom. "You look stunning today!"

"Mr Arc." His homeroom teacher, thirty years of age, waved her hand bashfully but did turn a little pink in the cheeks all the same. His new title did wonders on making everyone in Ansel just a little more favourably disposed to him. "I wish you'd stop flirting with a woman almost twice your age."

"Twice? I'm sixteen and you can't be a day over twenty."

"Oh, please. You are the worst, Ja—Mr Arc. Sit down. Ahem."

As class filed in and Mrs Greene got to work, Jaune let his mind wander. It had been a pretty fun week since he unlocked his Semblance and saved an unknowing village from a bunch of bandits. His father had been interested in the story and set out to track the Branwen tribe, but they had indeed left for greener pastures. It hadn't stopped him upping the guard and sending a message out to every person young and old to be cautious outside the walls.

That was outside, though. Inside, Jaune had continued to play with his Semblance and watch his numbers, his stats, trickle on upward. It was never anything special in class or his free time. The game system felt a little too "realistic" in terms of wisdom and strength, requiring literal hours upon hours of working out to give him a single increase, and a full week of class to get a single point in wisdom. At that point, was a game-based Semblance even necessary? It felt like anyone would be stronger after working out that much.


Jaune Arc

Lvl 2.

Title: Unknown Saviour of Ansel

HP: 110/110

MP: 60/60

Str: 6

Con: 5

Dex: 5

Wis: 7

Cha: 21

Aura: Locked

Semblance: The Game


It was telling just how easy it was to raise Charisma compared to his other stats that it had gone up so much in just a couple of days. He figured it was because he could do more of it. Asking someone out and being turned down was emotionally draining, but it wasn't physically or mentally exhausting like working out or studying was. He could only do those for so long a day before losing his mind or being too tired to move, whereas he could power-level his Charisma by just flirting and interacting with people.

The whole thing was pretty broken, but he supposed the combat stats were things you were meant to level up fighting Grimm, like a character fighting monsters in an RPG. You didn't expect the hero of your RPG to be working out in a gym to level up, and his Semblance looked like it worked on similar rules.

Except that life wasn't a game, so going out and fighting Grimm when he could sit here and turn Ansel into his own personal paradise was a pretty dumb move.

Besides, I can power-level Charisma to get the level ups and then allocate the free stat points into other things if I want to. That way I can get an even spread without having to risk my life against the Grimm. Win-win.

"Mr Arc!" called the teacher. "Are you paying attention?"

"Sorry, Mrs Greene. I was too distracted by you. Is that a new dress? It really shows off your figure."

The teacher flushed, and the class giggled. "M—Mr Arc!"

Through repeated flirting and flustering a woman, you have earned +1 Charisma.

Heh. Too easy.


His family had noticed the subtle (and not so subtle) changes surrounding him as well. His mom kept commenting how handsome he looked nowadays, and how confident he acted, and his sisters were a little fonder of him either because of his secret title or because he wasn't such a pain in their butts.

That didn't mean everything was perfect, however. His new Semblance demanded a little experimentation here and there. It was a whole new world based on a game system, but there were a lot of game systems out there and not all of them worked the same. It made sense to test a bit of each and keep a checklist of what did and didn't work, right?


His mother began to worry when he decided to see what low HP looked like by repeatedly throwing himself against a wall until he was badly bruised, battered and limping. In hindsight, that must have looked a little insane, and he had to deal with a visit to the doctor in which the kindly old man continued to ask him how he felt about school and life and whether there was "anything you want to share, son" with him.

Jaune didn't think the excuse of "I'm testing what happens when I'm near death" would go down well, but such was the cost of science, and he had to see what his Semblance could and couldn't do. Which was why he was in his family's garden, on his hands and knees, munching on an assortment of grass, dandelions and thistles.

"Okay," he garbled around a mouthful of plant litter. "So... this didn't work."

"Moooooom!" Jaune's younger sister, Lavender, yelled into the house. He flinched. "Jaune's eating weeds."


"But my herbalism! My alchemy!"


"Pft." Jaune obediently did as he was told, though not without a little sulk. "Awww, there's no crafting system. Lame."

In hindsight, the excuse of "I'm trying to find what plants are poisonous by eating them" wasn't the best excuse he could have given, and he'd been grounded a whole two days for that one. His dad had bought him a book on herbalism too, which wasn't exactly what he'd intended but how was he meant to explain that he'd been putting things in his mouth to discover their properties? It was probably for the best he couldn't actually do that because, as his mom pointed out, there wouldn't be much use in discovering a plant was poisonous by dying to it.

Science was hard.

And his Semblance didn't even reward him with a point of wisdom for figuring that out.


Once his grounding was over, his father asked him to come down and meet someone from the city of Vale who had apparently come all the way out here to meet him specifically. That sounded bad. He really hoped it wasn't a psychiatrist, and that his family hadn't decided his habits of late warranted an intervention.

It was anything but.


Qrow Branwen

Lvl: 60

Title: The Drunk

A skilled huntsman and former student of Beacon Academy, he is now one of the strongest huntsmen in all of Vale. Loyal to Ozpin, headmaster of Beacon, Qrow serves as his right hand and completes various tasks across the kingdom and beyond. Despite that, he is past his prime and worn down by loss and grief, and in many ways only goes through the motions.

The loss of his teammate and the betrayal of his sister, Raven Branwen, weigh heavily upon him.


"Ah!" Jaune pointed. "You're that bandit woman's brother!"

Qrow blinked. He'd been stood in the kitchen area looking bored, but he was now much more alert, and focused on Jaune with worrying intensity. "How did you know that?" he asked, in a deep, raspy voice. "I haven't even introduced myself."


He really needed to stop relying on information his Semblance presented him. Luckily, his Charisma was practically made for lying convincingly. "Raven told me. She was drinking and mentioned you and showed me a picture of you."

"Did she now?"

"Yeah, she said you were a traitor who let her down and picked some old man over her." It was knowledge cherry-picked from what he remembered of Raven but also what he could read on Qrow right now. "And she also said you're a useless drunk."

Qrow sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Yeah, that sounds like her. Sober as a brick now, though, so cut me some slack, eh?" He smiled weakly. "Well, you know who I am, and I'm here to make sure my bitch of a sister isn't causing your village any trouble. Since you're the one who spoke with her, I asked Ol' Nicholas here if we could have a chat. That alright?"

He wasn't here because he was suspicious, then. That was a relief.

"Sure." Jaune took a seat and Qrow did the same after a moment's thought. "Do you want me to just describe it as it happened?"

"That'd be helpful."

Jaune did the best he could to paint the scene without giving too much away. His Semblance was a walking privacy violation and he didn't feel comfortable with everyone knowing about it just yet. They might make demands on how he use it and tell him to stop boosting Charisma even though it was making his school life a thousand times better.

"You... flirted with my sister..."

"Y—Yes?" Jaune laughed awkwardly. "Sorry?"

"I feel like I should be the one apologising." Qrow groaned into his hand. "And she kissed you? How old are you again?"


"That... That neither answers my question nor makes me feel any better about this." He groaned. "Damn it, Raven. One more reason to bring you in, as if I needed any. Ugh. He's Yang's age for crying out loud. I'm sorry about what happened, kid."

"It's fine. I'm just glad she left."

"Me too. But there's one thing that gets me. How did you know she was a bandit? How did you know about the others waiting outside? It's not like Raven would have up and told you, but you knew instantly and reported it."

That was a good question, wasn't it?

How had he known?



Qrow Branwen is suspicious as to your story, and suspects there is more to this. As an agent of Ozpin, he always has his eyes out for unusual cases or individuals of interest. Your immediate aversion to Raven has caught his eye, and he now has his on you. Avert his suspicions or be caught up in things much larger than you.

Success: +Exp.

Failure: +Exp. +Rep with Ozma. +Ozma's Attention.


Well, that wasn't good.

At all.

And what was with that wording? Most games didn't reward you both ways, and there seemed to be a lot of very ominous wording in there. Who was Ozma, anyway? Jaune began to sweat as he looked around for an excuse.

"Uh. Well, I didn't recognise her and she had a sword and she looked like the wrong sort," Jaune fumbled a little. "And when she gave me her name, I did a little search on my scroll, you know? See if there was anything I could learn about her, then I saw her name in loads of crimes and ran to tell my dad. I didn't know what she was straight away, but she was asking me to come outside the walls with her. That's a no-no for anyone, right? I'd be dumb to go outside the village with a woman I've only just met."

"Hmm. I guess it would be." Qrow let it go. "You've got a good head on you, kid. We'll be keeping an eye on the local area and stationing one or two huntsmen here for a week or so. Do yourself a favour and stay inside the walls as much as you can. If I know my sister then she'll expect I'll come knocking and have moved on by now, but that's no reason to take any risks."

"Yep. Totally. I won't be going anywhere outside if I can help it!"

"Good." Qrow smiled and stood. "So, son of Nicholas Arc, eh? Any plans to become a huntsman?"

"Uh. No. Dad refuses to teach me to fight. He hasn't taught any of us. I did ask for a while several years back, but he kept saying he wouldn't and that was it. I think it's a little too late at this point for me to become one."

"Oh." Qrow's smile had fallen. "Sorry to hear that, kid. If I weren't so busy..."

"It's fine. You've got to hunt down your sister and save Vale, right?"

"Yeah, I guess I do." He laughed. "Good luck, kid. And stay out of trouble with scary ladies next time, eh?"

"I'll do my best, Mr Branwen!"

Once the man had left, his father nodded at him, apparently pleased both with how he'd handled himself and also how he hadn't asked Qrow to train him. Jaune could tell the whole "not training him" thing was a big deal, but he hadn't ever bothered to ask why. Dad had his reasons and obviously didn't want to talk about it.

But at least I avoided trouble—


Quest failed.

Qrow Branwen is literally talking on his scroll about you right now, and he's highlighting a whole range of discrepancies in your story.

You have gained +1 Level.

You have gained +5 Stat Points.

You have gained + Rep with Ozma.

Ozma's attention turns on you.

You have gained +1 Perk.


Jaune's eye twitched.

Well... maybe that wasn't the end of the world. Bad stuff happened, right? It just meant his lies hadn't been good enough to fool Qrow – and that could only mean one thing!

He needed more Charisma.

Jaune opened up his stats page and dumped all the points.


Jaune Arc

Lvl 3.

Title: Unknown Saviour of Ansel

HP: 120/120

MP: 60/60

Str: 6

Con: 5

Dex: 5

Wis: 7

Cha: 27

Aura: Locked

Semblance: The Game



He'd hopefully be better at convincing Qrow, Ozma, or whatever people they sent that he wasn't anyone special now. But what was this about perks? Was this a skill? Jaune excused himself to run to his bedroom, too excited to check them to talk with his father. Maybe it'd be flight? Or super-strength? Or x-ray vision? Or telepathy? Jaune closed the door, locked it, then raced to his bed and sat down.

"P—Perks. Show me perks!"


Perks: You have (1) free perk slot available.

Available Perks:

Steel Soul: Any weapon becomes an extension of your body for a set time. Duration increases based on Str Stat.

Immunity to Disease: Greatly bolstered immune system against regular diseases, poisons, and status effects. Efficacy based on Con Stat.

Detect Evil: Area-cast spell that detects presence of monsters, Grimm or those who would mean you harm. Accuracy and range dependent upon Wis Stat.

Parkour: Move freely and effectively over terrain. Also provides a passive chance to detect and dodge incoming attacks. Percentage chance increases based on Dex Stat.

Speak With Animals: Passive ability to communicate with animals and other living creatures. Translation quality improved based on Cha Stat.


"Actual magic!?" Jaune quietly gasped, kicking his feet in the air. "I mean, it's not fireballs and lightning but I'm only level three. I could get fireballs and lightning at higher levels. This is so cool!"

It was annoying to see they were all effected by his stats, but that was only natural for an RPG system so he couldn't complain too much. If he'd been planning to become a huntsman then Steel Soul or Parkour sounded like they would have been good, though Detect Evil could have let him become the ultimate sentry for his village, protecting it from any and all harm.

"But my stats in those are so low. What if Detect Evil only has, like, a four-foot range because my Wis stat is so low? Ugh. And parkour always looks like fun, but if the quality of it is determined by my low Dex then that sounds like me falling off a roof or crashing my balls on a metal railing."

He'd also seen videos of parkour fails and couldn't quite get the image of his own cross-eyed, squealing face set over the person who had misjudged their timing and landed testicles-first on a balcony railing.

In fact, they all sounded gated by his stats. It only made sense, then, to focus on the stat he was working on. The ability to speak with animals sounded like it could be cool. Not world-changing or game-breaking, but then the others probably wouldn't be either given his low scores in their respective attributes.

And these are just cantrips. I can level up my other stats later and get cooler abilities with those. No one bothers using their first-level spells once they get stronger anyway, so it's not like this will really matter.

Without a second thought, Jaune accepted his new perk.

Satisfied, and a little excited to explore his new ability tomorrow, Jaune turned off the lights and climbed into bed. Another level up, more Charisma and his first perk – which he couldn't wait to experiment with tomorrow.

He had a feeling tomorrow was going to be the best day ever.



Jaune jerked out of bed and fell off the edge, thumping onto the wooden floor and groaning as pain lanced up his spine. That didn't stop the panicked screaming outside, however. Swearing, and noting it was only a little past dawn, Jaune trudged to the window and slid it up, leaned out and yelled, "Will you shut up!?"

Except that there was no one there.

No prankster. No strange doomsayer. No itinerant preacher.

Only a small songbird on a nearby branch, which looked at him, flapped its wings in a huff and opened its beak.


"Argh!" Jaune cupped his ears. The trilling of the bird was painfully shrill and sharp, like a small child screeching. "Can you stop? You're giving me a headache."

The bird froze and turned to him, then hopped over. It spoke in a thankfully quieter voice. "You speak the bird tongue? Truly, it is the end times just as I foretold. The sky turns red, and the fire comes to swallow us. There is no boundary between us now, featherless one. We shall all die the same, screeching as our pinfeathers are burnt away and out insides cooked—"

"The fire...? You mean the sun?"

"The fire in the sky. The burning conflagration. Look at it rise, flying higher than any bird can—"

"It's the sun!" hissed Jaune. "That's what it does! Also, we're orbiting it, but that's the least important thing here. This isn't the end of the world."

"What?" The bird hopped closer. "But the fire went dark, and the world was cast in shadow, and now it rises again, angry at our hubris."

Jaune groaned. "That's called night and day. This is the sunrise. The sun..." he sighed. "The ball of fire. It isn't coming to kill us. This literally happens every single day. How have you not noticed this?"

"I have noticed, human, but the fire-god is angry today. For every day before I have sacrificed in its glory a vole or fieldmouse and presented its still-beating heart to the divine flame, and yet I have failed in my solemn duty. Now, the fire-god is angry and all shall pay the price."

Sighing, Jaune slumped on the windowsill, eyes bloodshot, face pinched, as the bird hopped away and went back to screeching about the impending end of the world and their imminent, fiery doom. Closing the window didn't entirely cut out the noise, and Jaune sank to the floor, beginning to regret his hasty choice.

Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap.

"Ugh." Jaune stood and glared at the bird tapping its beak on the glass, then opened the window. "What?"

"H—Hey, so. We're still alive. I think my apologies reached the fire-god's ears and pacified it."

Jaune's eye twitched. "Good for you."

"So... featherless-one-that-speaks-as-bird. You uh..." The animal clacked its beak. "You got any mice in there?"

Jaune slammed the window shut.


"Is that a no?" the bird called, its shrill voice muffled through the glass. "We can share them!"

"Earplugs," Jaune hissed, staggering to his feet. "This... This can be solved. I just need to sleep with earplugs, like, forever now. Forever and always. This is just a teething issue, Jaune. You got this. Don't let one bad experience ruin your cool new perk."

His elder sister, Coral, poked her head out her bedroom door, hair frizzy and eyes lidded. "Jaune. It's not even – ahhhh—" Coral yawned into her hand. "It's not even six in the morning. Why are you shouting at a random bird?"

"You're asleep, Coral. This is all a dream."

Her middle finger and the slamming of the door suggested his Charisma wasn't high enough to convince her of that. Jaune sighed and poured himself some cereal, too alert to sleep, and ate it with mechanical bites with a glass of orange juice. His mother found him like that, coming down around seven in the morning to cook breakfast for them all. Or for the girls today, since he'd eaten.

"Oh, Jaune. You're up early."

"Loud bird outside my window," he grunted. "Woke me up."

"Hmmm. They are noisy today, aren't they? It must be that season." Juniper Arc cast the kitchen window open. "Ah, listen to them sing. Isn't it majestic?"





Jaune's forehead thunked down on the table. "It sure is something," he groaned out. "But I'm not sure if majestic is the right word. Hey mom, would you be upset if I cut down every tree within, say, ten metres of the house? Hypothetically speaking."

"Yes," replied Juniper, all smiles. "I would be furious. Hypothetically speaking."

Welp. Earplugs it was, and maybe a quick check online to find out when the breeding season ended so he wouldn't have to keep listening to this. Thankfully, his sisters created noise enough to drown out the birds, and they naturally quietened down once the sun had been up for an hour or so. By the time he got to school, the birds were just sporadic background noise, begging to sex and mating and trying to attract a mate by being as loud as they could manage.

At least his class didn't have a pet. He didn't think he could have focused if the class hamster was busy telling him secrets about his classmates.

I am deeply regretting my choices already. Talk with animals, Jaune. It'll be cool, Jaune. As if there aren't literally hundreds of animals all across the village shouting at one another. Ugh. I'm such an idiot.

It was a learning experience. That was all. These things happened. He'd do better and think things through next time, but there was something else he wanted to try today, something that would thankfully drown out the sounds of the wildlife. A lot of games that focused on a stat with Charisma intertwined that with music, mostly because the typical Charisma Class was the Bard.

And Ansel High did have a musical class with a lightly stocked music room.

"Mrs Greene." Jaune approached the homeroom teacher, who smiled for him and smoothed her dress down. "You're looking wonderful today," he said, and watched her reluctant smile grow. "I was wondering if you could help me out. I've been wanting to pick up a new hobby and I'm interested in learning an instrument. I know I'm technically a few weeks late on signing up, but do you think you could do anything...?"

"W—Well, I'm sure I could talk to the music teacher for you, Jaune. He's always passionate about getting more people into music. Let me just have a word with him at lunch, and I'll tell you what he says after. I'm sure he'd be happy to have you but I can't make any promises."

"That'd be great, Mrs Greene. Thank you so much."

Did he feel bad? Not really. He was a little late on sign-ups but it wasn't like he was forcing them to accept him. The music teacher would say yes or no, and it might not even work. Eating plants hadn't taught him alchemy, so there was no guarantee having an instrument would let him learn bardic magic or whatever it was called.



The lure of music calls to you, and your destiny awaits. Pick up your instrument of choice and become the bard you were always meant to be."

Success: +Musical Skill. +Title: Bard. + Bardic skills. +Rep with classmates.

Failure: - Rep with classmates.


Jaune Arc's smile grew.

On the other hand, maybe he was onto something here.

It begins. Embrace the Bard, Jaune. Embrace it. Nothing can ever go wrong with a bard part of one. Never. It simply does not happen.

Next Chapter: 31st October

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