Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: What I Have Accomplished This Year


Hey, everyone.

So, to finish the year off, I wanted to take a look back at 2017 and all the things I accomplished this year, both professionally and personally. Why? To make myself feel or look good? Well, sort of.

On the Facebooks, all the writing groups are talking about what we've done and what we're going to do. I forget where, and it may or may not have been in one of the writing groups, but someone mentioned that it's too easy to get down on yourself for your failures and not see your accomplishments. It's a way of boosting your confidence and reminding yourself of what you're capable, which I think is a good point especially these days where everything, regardless of industry, is all about content, content, content. "You turned out a best selling novel? Congratulations! When's the next one? Hopefully, tomorrow. Any later than that and you can kiss your momentum and next big paycheck goodbye." And it's like, wait a minute, how many people have actually written a novel to begin with, and how many of those people have the balls to put it out into the world where people can publically love it passionately or hate it virulently?

So, it's kind of a double-edged sword in a way. "Hey. Look at all this cool crap I did! Aren't I amazing?! Aw, sh*t. I have to do it again this year? And I have to make it bigger-er and better-er? Aw, sh*t." So, let's talk about what I accomplished and how I plan to make myself bigger-er and better-er.

The Shape of Things to Come

I briefly mentioned it in one post, but I got serious about getting in shape this year. When I got my UTI back in January, I had to be weighed for the health examination, and the scale showed I weighed 292 which was a major blow since I had managed to lose 20 pounds back in 2015. So, I got pissed and decided to do something about my waistline. Not to mention, the few times I have managed to be in shape or do something athletically awesome, I quite enjoyed it. Plus, I want a fit girlfriend/wife with a tight ass, thin waist, and perky tits, and I ain't going to get a girl like that by being a fat f*ck unless I'm rich and/or got a great personality, neither of which I am/have. So, I got serious about working out and dieting, and although I didn't lose 50 pounds by August like I wanted, I did manage to lose 35 pounds. And by this May, I hope that number has increased to 70 or 80 lbs. I want to be a sexy bitch by summer.

Blog, Blog, Blog

Despite not making me any money, well, that is to say, I made less than chump change (bum change), I relaunched my blog and attempted to launch a vlog channel. The vlog channel fell by the wayside though due to working alone and technological limitations, but my blog took off. Since relaunching it in July, I've managed to get over 12,000 views and increase my monthly views by a few hundred each time. This month alone, I'm hoping to get somewhere between 3400 and 3600 views whereas last month, I did a little over 3100.

Also, I have 171 published posts covering topics that include RWBY, INTJ theory, cryptozoology and demonology, writing, 51 creative writing posts that include short stories, creative non-fictions, and poetry, and I've done one or two rants. I launched my blog with RWBY which helped me get 715 views in like three weeks or less, but when I started writing about MBTI theory and INTJ-ness, my views skyrocketed. Seriously, out of the top ten most popular posts I've written, two are RWBY related, the rest are about being an INTJ. And two of those INTJ posts are responsible for 1000 views by themselves.

 
 
Continuing into 2018, I'm going to keep up the INTJ posts and I'm going to experiment with a few more different kinds of posts, but my production probably will slow. I probably won't write every day anymore, but I will try to keep poetry and short stories on this blog.

Publish That Sh*t!

Most importantly to me though, is that I managed to self-publish four books, technically five, but I took one off the market when preliminary reviews weren't great. One book was a full-length fantasy novel, one was my magnum opus, an extra long Gothic Epic that took ten years to complete, one was a pseudo-Shakespearean play, and the last was a horror anthology which is the best selling of the four. Additionally, I've set myself up nice and pretty to have two more published almost right out of the gate in 2018 and a third to follow soon. And then, a few months later, I should have two or three more after that. But none of those will be novels. Hopefully I can get another novel published in 2018, and if I ever get a real job, I can get real covers for my current books and actually get serious about selling them.

RWBY!

This year I launched RWBY: The Novelization, my attempt to pay homage and make intellectual love to one of my favorite animes in a way similar to what fan artists do, but without all the crappy fan fiction plotlines.


I wrote 21 "chapters" altogether, most of which I had written previously and then went back and edited for a re-release. The total word count for those 21 chapters is over 62,000 which is novel length. (Hey, Rooster Teeth! Can't you assh*les hear me, yet?! Give me a f*cking job! I'll even take Miles' and Kerry's job as series writer.) But, once I've finished A RWBY Christmas Carol and once Volume 5 is over, I'm going to stop working on RWBY for a while. It's taken its toll on me and I need a break. I might write the random crossover here or there, but after RWBY-X and Volume 5, I'll be done for a while.

Damn

Despite my swearing, I managed to elevate my relationship with God, I think, and I managed to end a sinful habit I was having trouble with by starting a new, intense praying practice. I also got a lot of ideas for religious and Catholic articles to write that may just be my ticket into becoming a successful freelancer. As Jesus said, if I pursue righteousness, everything else will be given to me (Mt. 6:25-34). Also, I may begin a new old adventure as the head of a young adult group. It's new because I haven't been a part of a young adult group before, and it's old because I once was a youth minister, so this will probably be a familiar experience.

Brave New World

And lastly, I've come up with more story ideas and I'm working with my uncle on one that could be a doozy. Now if only I could get the damn story written.

So, that was my year in a nutshell. To be honest, I don't feel better. I feel like I could've done more and those things that I did do that I'm ashamed of still weigh heavily on my conscience. I tell you, it is utterly impossible for me to live my life without any kind of regret. I am forever haunted. But maybe some of you cats out there can try this for yourself and you'll get better results. So, to you and yours, Happy New Year. Let's f*ck 2018 up!

Keep writing, my friends.

More About Bryan C. Laesch:

My Works:

Amazon: My Author Page, My Influencer Page
Facebook: Bryan C. Laesch, Bawdy Scholar
Patreon: Bryan C. Laesch
Twitter: BryanofallTrade
Youtube: Bryan C. Laesch, Bawdy Scholar

Flash Stories & Poetry Day 51: Poem "Tempted by Forces Damned"


Merry Christmas, everyone.

Believe it or not, that's still completely accurate to say since it is still the Christmas season, though I will confess myself chuffed. I seemed to have gotten into proper Christmas spirit from the 27th to the 29th and I was finally able to relax from my problems, but now they're back. Damn anxiety. Anyway, seeing as how this is New Year's Eve, Happy New Year as well though I confess myself not excited for 2018. 2017 felt great, but 2018 feels like sh*t.

Anyway, before 2017 ends, I wanted to do one more "daily" writing exercise poem. This one is actually an edited version of the one I wrote for Day 48, although it still doesn't feel finished. I only feel like I have half it, but perhaps I can birth forth the rest of it. I also don't know what style of poem it is as it's a mixture of different things.

As for whether or not I'm going to continue doing daily writing exercises, at this time, I don't know. My anxiety and depression has hit hard, and I don't feel like doing them any longer. I feel it more necessary to focus on my other writings while trying to get a job. Plus, I want to experiment with my blog a little and branch out into other topics. So, we'll see what happens.

The Poem:

Tempted by forces damned,
To put my desires under command,
To use their powers dark,
Regardless of how my soul is mark'd.

With needs unmet,
   suffering for my art,
     poetry is born,
        art from adversity--the great irony.

Material is immaterial,
Goods are superfluous,
In the world, but not of.

Master passion greed is not,
Master passion desire is to be
Operatic Liberty

Forsaken by the Lord,
Suffering under faith, hope, and charity,
Tempted by forces dark,
Despite how I may be mark'd,
To use their command
And achieve my desires damned.

Forswear God to vow to Satan
To forswear the world and end my misery;
What great irony,
Deliver myself to the Deceiver
To be delivered from his deceptions.

What a wretched wastrel I have become...

***
 
Well, it's not great... Seriously, it's not quite what I want, but it's pretty close. Closer than it was a few minutes ago. It's amazing what a few simple changes can do to a piece of poetry. But anyway, if you're a little confused, it's meaning is pretty much this: I've been praying to God and hoping for some kind of deliverance from my problems, it's not happening, so I've been thinking about turning elsewhere to get what I want. But what's ironic about that is that if I was smitten with money from the Prince of Darkness, I'd then turn around and give most of it away while keeping what I need to sustain myself and jumpstart my writing career during which I would continue to praise God, write prayers, and talk mad sh*t about the Devil and his servants. So, it's kind of hilarious; God won't give me what I want despite my intentions for it because I wouldn't have earned it, and the Devil won't likewise because he would be out the soul he bargained for it. Ain't that a kick in the sh*t? Also, there's some angst in there about disowning the material world in general and not just the mindless pursuit of wealth and possessions.
 
Anyone who says religion is easy or an escape can kiss my ass.

 
But anyway, that's it for today. If you have the time, please check out my books for sale on Amazon which you can find through my author page. The link is below. Also, I reworked my Patreon page, so why not give it a look and consider becoming my patron. I would appreciate it.


More About Bryan C. Laesch:

My Works:

Amazon: My Author Page, My Influencer Page
Facebook: Bryan C. Laesch, Bawdy Scholar
Patreon: Bryan C. Laesch
Twitter: BryanofallTrade
Youtube: Bryan C. Laesch, Bawdy Scholar

Friday, December 29, 2017

RWBY Volume 5 Chapter 10 Critique and Review

 
Hey, everyone.

So, this past week, chapter 10, "True Colors" was released, and, well, I don't know how to put it. Stuff happened, and none of it was quite what I was expecting. And a lot of it has definitely left me conflicted. So, let's talk about it.

Critique

Scene 1: Questions

What I Liked: Not much of anything happens in this first scene. Even if we combine it with the scene involving Leo and Raven, there's still not much to report on. However, there were quite a few things that I liked. I really liked Ozpin's optimism surrounding the situation and his wisdom regarding evil, about how it doesn't take a lot of people to cause great evil. Obviously, that's something we can all see in our own world thanks to the Islamic State. And it's an important tidbit that we should all keep in mind.
 
Additionally, I liked the face Ruby made when she asked about Cinder. At first, she looked angry and then worried. While we may have gotten Ruby's feelings on what happened to Penny and Pyrrha, we haven't until now known what her feelings were on Cinder. She obviously resents but also fears Cinder. It'll be interesting to see their next battle.
 
Now, the small things I enjoyed in this scene are when Qrow and Oz begin to suspect Leo when he suddenly changes his tune, and I did like Leo's remorse for being a turncoat. Sure, there's nothing worse than a coward betraying his friends, a Wormtail, if you would, but I did appreciate the fact that he doesn't expect Oz to forgive him for what he's done. And I liked how Leo called out Raven on her apparent conflicting interests. Unfortunately, I don't think Raven really demonstrated them that well in that scene so it's a puzzlement as to how Leo picked up on them, but perhaps that's CRWBY's way of acknowledging in the show that Raven does indeed have her doubts about what she's doing.

What Could've Been Better: Alright, so there was one thing that really bothered me about this scene, and that was that Ruby didn't ask about her silver eyes. I mean, she has Qrow and Oz all to herself and has the floor to ask anything she would like, so why didn't she ask about her silver eyes? Seriously, this is driving me nuts.

Questions/Insights: This scene raised two interesting questions. The first and less important of the two is what sort of tricks does Oz's cane possess that he would claim the cane is precious to him? The second is what are the relics? I mean, we already know what they are, wisdom, creation, and destruction, and so forth, but what actually are they? I think we all assumed they were orbs of power due to Qrow's story in Vol. 4, but if Salem's forces really can't find the Beacon relic, then what is it? What does it look like? Is it something hidden in plain sight? I know it's the relic of Choice, and I thought that might give a hint, but it really doesn't. Although, I wonder if the relics' physical states can change or be changed. Perhaps that's how Ozpin has managed to hide it.



Scene 2: Choices

What I Liked: Okay, so here we are at scene two. The scene where real stuff actually happens. Unfortunately, this is also the scene that I have the most problems with, and there are a bunch of them. But first, what did I like? Well, I think the evolution of Blake's Semblance is pretty cool. She doesn't so much leave behind a shadow clone anymore as she fades in and out of existence like a ghost. It's pretty cool, but I'm not sure we can call them "shadow clones" anymore. I also liked Blake's ingenuity in deciding to shoot ice Dust at Ilia's weapon to freeze it, and the most dope part of this scene was watching Sun kick Ilia's ass. I was all like, "Yeah, Sun!" (Get it?) I guess that's where all the budget for this scene went (more on that later). And I like the fact that Blake killed Fennec. I mean, you might be able to argue that she didn't really kill Fennec, she was just responsible for his death, but that's really what murdering someone means.

However, there was one part of this entire scene that I liked that was bigger than the rest and that was Blake's speech where she addressed the Faunus of Menagerie telling them that Faunus are just as capable of hatred and destruction as humans are, and that they have to stand up so that Adam doesn't speak for them. This is a great lesson, especially for today when our nations, America and Europe, seem so divided between the right and the left. It's easy to lay blame on the other side for our lot in life, but when we point the finger, we forget to look at ourselves and see the iniquities and hypocrisies on our own side. Truth is, everyone's guilty for something, no one is wholly innocent, and destroying each other and spreading hatred isn't going to solve our problems. Which is why we have to make sure that those who stand up and speak for us are not hate mongers so we don't send ourselves straight to Hell in a hand basket.

I also liked it when Sun called out Ilia for stabbing him and pinched her. That was funny. I still wish he had killed her though.

What Could've Been Better: Alright, so are you ready for this? I've got a lot of problems with this scene, so if you need a bathroom break or a snack, do it now because this is going to take a while. I'll wait...

Alright. So, to start this off, let's talk about Kali. Number one, I can't believe she's standing out in the open and isn't behind cover of some sort. That's a good way to get your ass shot off. And then she picks up a tray and it's thick enough to deflect shots fired at her. C'mon! That's bullsh*t! And then she uses it to beat Batman senseless with. I mean, that's hilarious, but if an ordinary housewife can kick your ass with a tea tray, you know you're a huge jobber. And it raises the question of how the hell did that guy kill Ghira's messenger in the first place if he's so impotent and incompetent. Speaking of impotence and incompetence, why are the house guards ducking behind cover while Kali is risking her life? Holy sh*t. What jobbers. It's like, aren't any of them trained in unarmed combat or at the very least know how their aura works? I would expect every warrior on Remnant, whether they're a huntsman, bodyguard, or soldier to know how to use their aura and have some command over their Semblance because if they don't, what a huge waste! Are you telling me Vol. 1 Jaune could kick all their asses just because he had some elementary training with Pyrrha? What a sack of sh*t.

Moving on to Blake and Ilia's fight, there are several things I have to point out. For starters, why was Blake unable to see Ilia in the darkened room. I mean, I know Ilia was disguising herself, but Faunus can see in the dark. How hard could it be to find a moving shadow? Next, what bothered me was how quickly that fire Blake started spread and then abruptly stopped. I mean, it did grow some more throughout the scene, but when it started, it spread like wildfire before stopping. Why? The whole house is made of wood! Next, there was Blake's comment about Ilia being a "good person" but "making all the wrong decisions." I'm sorry, but once you start making wrong, bad, or even evil decisions, I don't think you're a good person anymore. Without a reformation and penance, that ship has sailed, honey.

Now, let's talk about when Ghira, Fennec, Corsac, and Sun landed on the scene. Number one, did you notice how anytime someone was fighting Ilia, they got to make use of the budget, but as soon as things shifted to Corsac and Fennec, the budget ran out? The fighting with Corsac and Fennec was so dumb and staccato. Every movement was big and jittery rather than smooth and seamless. And then Ghira saved Ilia--why? There was no reason for him to save her. Last he saw, she was fighting Blake and a part of the force that was attacking his home and family. Why didn't he let her be crushed? There's no reason for him to have saved her. Also! Are Sun's light copies good for anything? Seriously, they've proven to be more useless than useful. Next, why in the hell did Fennec attack Ghira while Blake was standing and armed? Sure, you could argue he was that pissed over what had happened to Corsac and Ghira was open, but Blake was completely free to stop him. He should've dealt with her first which would've distracted her and Ghira would've been crushed beneath the balcony. That would've been the tactically better thing to do.

And my last complaint is about the time discrepancy. At the end of the episode, Ghira mentions how they have two weeks before the attack on Haven, but in the last episode, Cinder mentions Adam's attack will happen in two days. Now, it is possible that Menagerie is on a different timeline from what's happening in Haven, meaning that they are 12 days behind what's happening in Haven, but that should've been better illustrated rather than running with it and hoping the audience figures it out. Who wrote this sh*t? Fire them.


Questions/Insights: So, despite all my complaints, there was one interesting insight about this scene. In the part where Ilia admits that she doesn't know what else to do, Blake asks her, right before that, if Ilia's actions is what she thinks her parents would've wanted. The fact that Ilia repeats herself and then begins sobbing demonstrates Ilia actually isn't a human-hating, card-carrying member of the Fang; she's just consumed with grief over what happened to her parents and doesn't know how to deal with their deaths. She wanted someone to pay for what happened, and because her "friends" laughed at the incident, she immediately assumed it was humanity's fault and joined the Fang as a means to get her vengeance. In truth, she's probably not actually evil or bad like Adam, she's just hurt and confused and looking for an easy answer rather than dealing with her problems. This would also explain her irrationality and poor debate skills. You know, she doesn't actually believe in what she's doing so her arguments are illogical, but she's hoping that the Fang movement could give her some solace. So, that's interesting at least.

Review:

So, what did I think of it? Well, it had a lot of problems and the main storyline doesn't go anywhere, but everything Menagerie-side wasn't too bad. At least now there will be a whole other army in the battle at Haven and on the side of the good guys. And Ilia and Raven are more interesting and more dynamic characters than they first appeared to be, so that's good. So, for this episode, the story is good, but the execution is terrible.

Speaking of terrible execution, I'm sorry I haven't gotten the next stave of A RWBY Christmas Carol out yet. I do have a legitimate reason, but I also don't. Christmas carried with it a lot of stress that I didn't know I was dealing with until a day or two ago when it all suddenly evaporated and I felt like I could breathe again. So, that's good that I can finally relax, but the problem is that it has made me super lazy with regards to my writing. I definitely need a break from everything, but hopefully I don't drop everything. But the way things are looking, A RWBY Christmas Carol probably won't be finished until after the Epiphany unless I make some drastic cuts to everything I was planning on doing. ...We'll see.

Keep writing, my friends.

More About Bryan C. Laesch:

My Works:

Amazon: My Author Page, My Influencer Page
Facebook: Bryan C. Laesch, Bawdy Scholar
Patreon: Bryan C. Laesch
Twitter: BryanofallTrade
Youtube: Bryan C. Laesch, Bawdy Scholar

Thursday, December 28, 2017

RWBY Volume 2: The Novelization: Breach

RWBY: The Novelization is not endorsed by Rooster Teeth in any way. Views, opinions, and thoughts are all my own. Rooster Teeth and RWBY are trade names or registered trademarks of Rooster Teeth Productions, LLC. © Rooster Teeth Productions, LLC.



At Beacon Academy, Team JNPR was busy preparing for their morning mission by getting a good night’s rest.
Jaune turned over in his bed, mumbling, “…Waffles. What? No, Pyrrha, not right now.” Suddenly his scroll rang, shattering his rest. “Hello?” But on the other end, there was nothing but static before the call cut out.
Jaune looked at the caller ID. “Ruby?”
In the morning after a filling breakfast of waffles, which Jaune was really excited to see for some reason, he shared his concerns about the situation with his team as they walked to their airship.
“I’m sure they’re fine,” said Pyrrha.
“You think?”
“Probably a butt dial,” said Nora, skipping.
“Team RWBY has always performed exceptionally in the field,” noted Ren. “We should be focusing on our own mission.”
“We’re going to be deputies!”
“I don’t know,” said Jaune. “I just got this feeling…”
“Jaune…” began Pyrrha.
But then she was interrupted when the emergency warning system went off in Vale. It didn’t take long for the alarm to go off at Beacon. Team JNPR looked around surprised while Nora shielded her ears.
Jaune made a split-second decision. “We’re changing our mission. Everyone on board.” As JNPR boarded the airship, Jaune turned to Ren, “We’ll make it out to that village another time.”
Ren nodded.
Jaune said to the pilot, “Take us into the city!”
As the airship took off, Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury came out into Beacon’s courtyard. “You don’t think…?” said Emerald.
“Sure, looks like it,” said Mercury.
“But that’s still days away.”
“So… what do we do?” asked Mercury to Cinder.
***
In downtown Vale in the central plaza, RWBY found themselves surrounded by Grimm on all sides. The Creepers and Beowolves nudged forward as the Ursae licked their lips, savoring the meal to come. RWBY held their ground and clutched their weapons, waiting for the moment to strike.
Suddenly, the King Taijitu screamed and all the Grimm charged.
Ruby jumped into a pack of Beowolves. She stabbed the ground with her scythe and wall-ran in a circle using the Beowolves as her wall. The triangular point at the end of Crescent Rose did a sufficient job in scratching the muzzles of the Beowolves, but then Ruby used them for her wall-running. She stomped on each one as hard as possible until her momentum finally swung Crescent Rose free and in a great arcing swing, she separated the Beowolves from their legs.
Yang jumped onto the head of a Creeper and used it to jump high into the air. As she flew back, she filled the ground with Dust shots from Ember Celica, blasting Creepers and Beowolves until three Nevermores came at her from behind. They knocked her to the ground. Yang was slow in getting up from her fall, but as an Ursa went to capitalize on her pain, her eyes turned red and she unleashed a fury of punches on the beast.
Blake meanwhile beat back a Beowolf with Gambol Shroud’s sheathe before stabbing it through the brain. She transformed her weapon and shot any and all Creepers as they got too close.
Weiss fended off a Beowolf before creating a giant sword out of ice Dust willing it into a pack of Grimm, slicing them apart.
Team RWBY’s fight was proceeding well, but the Grimm were many and they kept closing their ranks around the girls. Ruby inched backward while fighting off several Creepers to find herself front and center with the King Taijitu. It screamed at her. Ruby recoiled until she heard an incredibly loud shot above the city. That’s when Nora came flying in, riding her hammer right toward the gigantic serpent. She nailed it right in the head before jumping back and joining the rest of her team as they fell from the airship.
“Let’s move!” commanded Pyrrha, and they advanced.
Jaune was a little put out, but decided he should get to work. “Okay,” he said to himself. “Who’s first?!”
A giant Ursa dropped behind him.
Jaune laughed nervously. “Oh, okay. You’re first, are you? No, no, that’s fine.”
Pyrrha was a little ways off down the street. She committed herself with great brutality as she slashed and stabbed at a group of Creepers with her spear. She looked up and saw Jaune backing away from the Ursa.
“Totally fine,” said Jaune. “Done this before. Done this before.” He exhaled his doubt before inhaling for a mighty battle cry as he unleashed a fierce combination of cuts to the Ursa’s chest, neck, head, and body.
Jaune stopped after about twenty hits. He looked up and the beast twitched before it fell to the ground dead.
Pyrrha smiled.
Meanwhile, in a back alley Sun and Neptune were whispering to each other. “Alright, are you ready?” asked Sun.
“Totally,” said Neptune.
“Are you sure? We need to look cool. Can you look cool? You’re going to look cool, right?”
“Dude…” said Neptune. He stood back and smiled. His teeth twinkled.
“Alright. Let’s do this.”
Sun and Neptune pushed their shoulders back and chests out as they stepped into the street. “Nobody move!” said Sun. “Junior Detectives!”
“We’ve got badges so you know it’s official!” finished Neptune.
They then bumped fists knowing they had nailed it. Until from above their heads, they saw one of the giant air-dreadnoughts the Atlesian military had brought with them at the beginning of the semester. It was complemented by an entire squadron of the smaller, more personal craft flying around Vale’s skyline in trios. The almost unlimited might of the Atlesian air fleet overwhelmed Sun and Neptune so much that they actually dropped their badges.
The smaller Atlas ships flew just above Vale, filling the streets with machinegun fire, clearing out the larger Grimm. As they made their passes, they dropped whole units of Atlesian Knights. They landed in the streets and with their combined firepower, Ursae and Beowolves fell to them en masse.
And suddenly, there came a few new defenders in the way of the stylish and always impressive second-year Team CFVY accompanied by Professor Port. CFVY was comprised of the formidable Yatsuhashi Daichi, his teammate and rabbit Faunus, Velvet Scarlatina, the blind, white eyed Fox Alistair, and the supersonic princess in a million dollar car, CFVY’s team leader, Coco Adel.
Yatsuhashi drew the giant sword from his back, and as a group of Beowolves encircled him, he spun and smashed it on the ground, repelling them with immense force. Velvet and Fox meanwhile dealt with a couple of Ursa before an Ursa Major, its back bristling with spines, stepped forward. Fox ran to challenge it. His weapon, gauntlets that extended out from his wrists into curved blades parallel with his forearms, made him exceptionally dangerous as with every punch he could also slice his foes.
He released an unreal multi-hit combo on the Ursa Major. He then landed an uppercut on the beast, throwing it into the air. Fox stepped back and focused his strength into his fists. As the Ursa came back down, Fox punched with both fists into the Ursa’s head, and the force from the blow rippled down the beast’s body. It was thrown back and exploded, throwing its spines into other nearby Grimm and even back at Team CFVY.
Coco blocked the Ursa’s spines with her rectangular, spiked handbag. As she passed by her teammate, she smacked him on the butt. “Nice hustle, Fox. Good job.”
Coco then approached an Alpha Beowolf which was easily three times her height. She pulled down her sunglasses, and coolly said, “You just destroyed my favorite clothing store. Prepare to die.”
The Beowolf wouldn’t stand for Coco’s insolence and swung its giant paw at her. Coco merely whacked it away with her handbag before kicking it in the crotch, making it drop. As the alpha whimpered in pain, Coco delivered the coup de grace by smashing its head into the ground with her purse.
More Grimm started to swarm including a few death stalkers. Velvet ran to Coco’s side and grabbed the box hooked to her hip.
“Hey!” chided Coco. “C’mon. You used one all semester building that up. Don’t waste it here.”
Velvet deferred to her leader.
Coco advanced and gave her handbag a shake transforming it into a minigun as big as her. She then sprayed and prayed all over the battlefield, killing Death Stalkers, Beowolves, and even cutting giant Nevermores in half with single rounds.
Back at the breach, a corgi popped out of the wreckage and smacked into a Beowolf. Zwei landed lightly and began looking for other challengers as a wrecked Atlesian Paladin dragged itself out of the wreckage. As Zwei growled and barked at Beowolves, keeping them at bay, Doctor Oobleck managed to pull himself from the paladin armed with his flamethrower mace. At his side appeared Professor Port with his double-bitted, blunderbuss axe.
They nodded at each other and faced a pack of the Grimm. Taking careful aim, they fired several giant fireballs into the pack and set the Grimm ablaze, clearing the way for Glynda to arrive. She threw a couple of Beowolves out of her way with her telekinesis before stepping up to the breached train tunnel. She pointed her riding crop at it and the rubble from the accident replaced itself, resealing the tunnel.
***
 After the last of the Grimm had been dealt with, a few Atlesian Knights fished through the wreckage of the train and pulled out Roman Torchwick along with whatever White Fang they could find.
“Oh, I can’t believe you’ve caught me,” feigned Torchwick as he was taken into custody. “You’ve really shown me the error of my ways.” But as a knight placed him in handcuffs and put a hand on his head to lead him into the airship, Torchwick turned bitter. “Hey, hey, hey! Watch the hat!”
With the authorities cleaning up the mess, and after having been formally dismissed by Doctor Oobleck with his congratulations on a job well done, Team RWBY headed back to Beacon.
“Well, we did it,” Yang said.
“We did it!” agreed Blake. She felt the most relieved out of them all.
“If we don’t get extra credit for that,” began Weiss, “I’m going to be seriously disappointed.”
“Weiss, a two-headed snake literally crushed a bakery,” observed Yang. “I wouldn’t count on it.”
“Plus, I mean, we didn’t solve everything,” said Ruby. “A lot of people were hurt, and we still don’t know why they even did this or who that mystery girl was.”
“Well, not every story has a neat and tidy ending,” said Weiss.
“But it should,” retorted Blake. “Otherwise, it’s just sloppy writing. But, while we may not have all of the answers, we do have a lot of dangerous people behind bars. And I think that’s something that we can be proud of.”
“Yeah,” agreed Ruby, getting some of her spirit back. “And if someone tries something like this again, we’ll be there to stop them.”
Yang then added sarcastically, “Yay. Teamwork. Camaraderie. Good guys. Go team. Alright. Good job. So, what now?”
“I’d suggest training for the tournament,” said Weiss. “But I think we have it covered at this point.”
“So then…?” said Blake.
“Uh, time for bed?” suggested Ruby.
“Please,” said Weiss.
“Absolutely,” agreed Blake.
“I’m going to sleep forever,” added Yang.
***
Ozpin sat in his office, nursing his mug and ruminating on the recent events of the morning. Glynda’s report had left him uneasy. Suddenly, a three-way call came up on his monitor with Vale’s kingdom council and Ironwood.
“Ozpin? Ozpin!”
“Yes, councilman,” said Ozpin, swiveling in his chair.
“You’ve left us with no choice! The Vytal Festival Tournament cannot be broadcast, let alone held, if we are unable to ensure the safety of the citizens. Therefore, we have reached out to the Atlas council and together have decided that the best option is to appoint General Ironwood as head of security for the event.”
“Thank you, councilman,” said Ironwood. “Our kingdom is happy to lend as many troops as it takes to ensure that this event runs as smoothly and safely as possible.”
“And we thank you, General.”
“Will that be all?” asked Ozpin with a slight edge in his voice.
“For now,” warned the councilman. “But after this event comes to a close, we are going to have a serious discussion regarding your position at Beacon Academy. General Ironwood’s reports of these last few weeks have left us somewhat… concerned. I’m sure you understand.” The Vale council ended their transmission and left Ozpin with Ironwood.
“This is the right move, Ozpin. I promise I will keep our people safe. You have to trust me,” Ironwood said before ending the communication.
While Ozpin did trust Ironwood, he still wasn’t at ease with this decision. He had been the headmaster at Beacon Academy for decades and it had always been safe in his hands. But suddenly, things were beginning to unravel. Things that hadn’t been seen in quite some time were beginning to resurface. War clouds were brewing on the horizon, and Ozpin hoped that it didn’t mean what he thought it did.
***
On the prison deck of Ironwood’s flagship, he lamented his decision to go behind Ozpin’s back. But he tried to justify it. “You’ve brought this on yourself.”
Ironwood turned and headed for the cell of his freshly apprehended suspect. Two Atlas soldiers saluted his arrival. “Leave us,” commanded Ironwood as the door slid down and revealed the figure of Roman Torchwick, hatless. “I’ve been informed that so far you refuse to cooperate with the authorities.”
“I know this might be hard to believe, General, but, I’m not the biggest fan of local law enforcement.”
“How about the world’s strongest military power?”
“First impressions… not great.”
“I’m going to give you one chance,” said Ironwood, straining to keep himself composed. “Who’s really behind all of this?”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
Ironwood leaned it.
“You’re looking at him!”
“Very well, then,” said Ironwood, turning away.
“What’s the matter, General?!” shouted Torchwick. “I thought you wanted to talk.”
“Vale’s council has given me custody over you for as long as I see fit. So you can make yourself comfortable. I can assure you: we’ll have plenty of time to… talk.”
“Oh, wonderful,” laughed Torchwick.
***
Back in Vale, overlooking the chaos that had taken place and the clean-up effort required to get things back to normal were Cinder, Emerald, and Mercury. “All-in-all,” began Cinder, “I would call today a success.”
“Those stupid kids really made a mess of things,” replied Emerald.
“Yeah,” agreed Mercury. “A lot of Faunus didn’t make it out of those tunnels. Do you still think the White Fang is going to listen to us?”
“No,” said a new arrival. He had red hair, wore a suit, had two small antlers coming from his head, wore an impressive White Fang mask, and carried a katana in his left hand. “But they’ll listen to me.”


******************

 Keep writing, my friends.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

22 People Share The One Thing They Wish The INTJs In Their Lives Understood: A Response to Thought Catalog


Hey, everyone.

So, I know I said I was going to allow to the INTJ posts to suffer a little, but I still need to put something out on the INTJ front and I haven't done much with the blog in the past few days due to the holiday, so something is due despite my job search and the other thing I should be writing for RWBY. Anyway...

So, I was going to do another response post, but I got distracted by Pinterest and I found another article that got me really fired up from Thought Catalog called "22 People Share The One Thing They Wish The INTJs In Their Lives Understood." So I've decided to respond to this one instead.
1. “You’re a brilliant group of people. But sometimes things don’t need to serve a purpose to have a place in your life. Try to enjoy some things just because.” –ENFJ
 
This is a paradox because enjoying something just because is a reason despite not appearing to be a reason. Doing something or enjoying something for the sake of something is still something. And generally, whenever someone enjoys something for the sake of it, it's because they enjoy it to some extent meaning it's either fun or a diversion, which again, is a reason and not an un-reason. So, eat us.
 
2. “Emotions aren’t as scary as they sound. I promise. Stop being an android.” –ESFP
 
Sounds to me like this ESFP doesn't understand INTJs in the least. We do have emotions, but for several good reasons, we keep them hidden. And, being called an "android" offends me. So, eat me.
 
3. “Don’t be condescending to others, I know it is easy to write everyone off as idiots, but sometimes others have valuable points of views as well.” –INTJ
 
This is decent advice, but if you act like an idiot, expect to be treated like one.
 
4. “I get that feelings are weird for you to express, but you have to give me SOMETHING to work with here. I’m trying to get to know you!” –ENFP
 
Look harder. Emotion can be found within bland statements of fact. Both beliefs and ideals can be found in statements that don't possess any emotion, but looking beyond the surface can bewray emotion. And that is a way of getting to know someone. Sounds to me like you're not the most perspective or introspective person.
 
5. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, even you. Also, don’t be so hard on others. Everyone makes mistakes, even you.” –INFP
 
Sure, everyone makes mistakes, but that doesn't make them acceptable. Mistakes cost time, money, efficiency, understanding. They should be avoided and eradicated at all costs.
 
6. “Just because I’m an extrovert doesn’t mean you can’t hurt my feelings!” –ENFJ
 
I don't know what sort of knob did that to you, but on the behalf of all INTJs, I'm sorry. Though, it's not likely an INTJ hurt your feelings because you're an Extravert, it's more likely to be because you presented yourself as a people person or one of those types who are always happy or wastefully cheerful. If you want to be treated like a human, act like a human. Humans are not one-dimensional. 
 
7. “Your mind is incredible. Please share your thoughts with the world. Your mouth is quiet but your mind is loud with ideas and theories and ambitions. Don’t hide these from a world that so desperately needs them. And, please take it easy on us Feeling types. We need people like you to keep us together.” –ENFP
 
Well, I appreciate the first half, but if people aren't going to stop and ask for our advice, we're not going to share, and we're not going to be able to if you don't shut up long enough for us to jump into the conversation. As for keeping you together, we only have so much patience. Sure, we breakdown and lose it too, but if you're an absolute mess when you fall apart, we're not going to deal with it. Especially if it happens often or in cycles. We've got better things to do. Clean up after yourself.
 
8. “Don’t be so cynical. Try to access that introverted feeling function.” –INTJ
 
I don't have a response for this.
 
9. “You’re smart and I like that. But we’re never going to get along if you insist on behaving like a know-it-all. Please show some respect to the rest of us.” –ISFJ
 
While not even other INTJs will put up with INTJ know-it-alls, keep in mind that respect is earned, not given. You want to be respected, do something that is worthy of respect. On the other hand, if you're being perfectly reasonable and someone still isn't respecting you, walk away. You don't need to waste your time with that person.
 
10. “Warmth does not equal insincerity. If you take time and get to know us better, you will be surprised at how similar we actually are.” –ENFJ
 
True, but unless you're in a relationship with us or close to us, you're not going to get sincere warmth. You get one or the other, not both, especially in a professional setting. And unless we see the value in getting to know you better, we're not interested regardless of similarities.
 
11. “It’s ok to feel hurt. You don’t have to disguise your hurt with anger or by pretending you don’t care.” –ENFP
 
It's not okay. It's messy and time-consuming. It distracts from the business at hand. It's inefficient. As one who has suffered greatly from a sort of hurt recently, I can tell you that I would do and give anything to be over it. I hate it. I want it gone!
 
12. “People who are more vulnerable and candid are more likable; be more authentic, and you might get more accomplished.” –ENTJ
 
Well, I have heard this elsewhere, so it's probably true. And believe me, by keeping this blog, I have allowed a truly unique opportunity for others to see into the mind of an INTJ. This is a type of vulnerability and candidness that you cannot buy from INTJs. However, don't expect this intimate of a perspective out in the world. INTJs are better at expressing themselves through writing than through speech, and one of the reasons for that is because I'm not talking directly to someone. It's much more difficult to say these sort of things to someone's face than through a screen.
 
Also, INTJs will carve their own path their own way. We will force our way. Our wills are indomitable.
 
13. “Man I love you for your raw passion. Few people do intensity so well. But sometimes you hide behind these webs of rationalization, and you spin yourself so deep I can’t figure out where we started or where we’re going. Slow down. Feel the world, but don’t let its chaos overwhelm you. Drink water. Stretch. Take a walk. Cry. It’ll be okay.” –INFJ
 
First, you praise the strength of our intensity, and then you tell us to lighten up. F*ck you. Also, if you can't keep up, that's your issue, not ours. If we like you, we'll happily explain it again, but after a while, if you still don't get it, just go with it or, if you can't stomach that, walk away. We don't expect anything from you that we don't expect from ourselves.
 
14. “Don’t be so quick to assume that you are always the smartest person in the room. Being harshly critical of others is not always a socially intelligent move. And social intelligence gets you places.” –ENFP
 
I personally don't always assume myself to be the smartest person in the room. I mean, I do feel special in some way that is far and away very different from everyone else in the room, but I'm not usually thinking about other people's intelligences unless they've just said something smart or stupid. But, social intelligence, like I told the ENTJ, we'll carve our own path our own way.
 
15. “Lay back a little, not all of your time needs to be productive, some of the best moments happen when you are chilling and realize something.” –ENTP
 
Dude, we play video games and read. What more do you want?
 
16. “There is more to life than straight lines and lists. Some problems don’t have three-step solutions. And I know you know that, but please try to let it resonate in your heart, not just your cranium, as impressive as it may be. You’re more than your brains. Don’t be afraid to break rules, or at least bend them. Please.” –ISTP
 
The thing about this critique is that it inherently pisses me off because it feels like a direct criticism, as if we can't solve everything with our approach, even though, in theory we should always be able to. But on the other hand, I know all too well what ISTP getting at.
 
I don't always follow my rational mind when it comes to making to decisions. You know that "sort of hurt" I mentioned earlier? Part of its origin is that I was acting logical when I didn't want to act logical, and it made me feel trapped. And while there are a lot of big things you should never do an INTJ, taking away our freedom is one of the biggest and most important.
 
So, when we take away our own freedom, you can't imagine a deeper well and stronger form of self-loathing. My whole life, I've never related to the character George Bailey from It's A Wonderful Life, in fact, I don't even like the movie that much, but this Christmas, it hit me right in the feels. I was brought to f*cking tears. I know all too well the desire for escape no matter what the cost. Even at the destruction of my own life and the betrayal of everyone and everything I care about.
 
17. “Being perfect is an impossible dream.” -ISFJ
 
Hold my beer, and watch this.
 
On a more reasonable note though, there's a saying I like, "Aim for the moon, because even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." So, don't get in the way of my pursuit for perfection. Regardless of where I end up at the end of it all, it'll be somewhere far greater than if I had never tried.
 
18. “Sometimes you need to decide if you want to be right or if you want to be happy.” –ISTJ
 
No, I don't. I can't. I cannot be happy and wrong at the same time because that means something is fundamentally flawed, and therefore wrong with my thinking or my existence and that cannot be allowed to stand. Happiness, and therefore peace, can only exist when everything is properly in order and aligned. Ergo, being right and being happy are the same thing.
 
19. “It’s ok to not enjoy raucous parties and social gatherings. It’s ok to only be able to bond one on one. It’s ok to have high standards of friendship and value those few close friends intensely. Don’t be bothered by those who may fail to understand and appreciate you.” –INTJ
 
I don't know why an INTJ would say this to another INTJ. Now, if an INTJ didn't know he was INTJ, this advice would do him a lot of good, but once you know you're an INTJ, none of these things bother you any longer because of the revelation of being an INTJ comes with all this insight. 
 
20. “Do not be quick to write someone off if they appear unintelligent. You may miss opportunities to learn things from unexpected sources. Be willing to change your mind about people instead of sticking to your first impression.” –ENTP
 
I don't have a response for this. This is actual good advice.
 
21. “Your friends need your insight; it’s a precious gift meant to be shared. Let it out a little more often.” –INFJ
 
Like I told ENFP above (#7), if you don't ask for it or don't give me the opportunity to share it, you're not going to get it. If you need help, ask for it; if you think someone has something to say that's worth hearing, shut the f*ck up and listen.
 
22. “Not everything in life is factual.” –INFJ
 
That is factually untrue. Everything can be broken down into facts. Anger is anger, and sadness is sad. Those are facts despite being emotions.
 
What you mean to say is that not everything is rational, or at the least, factually rational. Again, going back to my freedom problem, it is rationally irresponsible for me to turn down a job that is such a sure thing especially when I don't have something more reliable lined up, but when I factor in several things about the job I vehemently don't like and I see that job itself as a huge loss of freedom and detriment to my existence in general, then I am compelled to ignore rationality and heed my intuition to flee it.
 
So, that was it. It was a rather interesting experience. The first time I read many of these, I was offended because they felt like personal attacks. It felt like they were telling INTJs to stop being INTJs, and if INTJs stopped being INTJs, we would not be INTJs, and that cannot be. There is no personality better than our own.
 
But, having worked on this for the past hour and a half, I see some of them in a much softer light. Some of them are just pleas for INTJs not to be so rough. Unfortunately, unless you're really close to us, that's not likely to change. But there are still some that just straight up piss me off (#'s 2, 4, 13, 15, 17, 18, and 22). These people either don't know what an INTJ is, don't understand what an INTJ is, or they're immature themselves.
 
But, that's it for now. I hope to have a post out sometime soon about how knowing I'm an INTJ has changed me life for the better as well as a post about why INTJs should be religious. But, I'd like to the former out first because I think it would go well with New Year's. And because I haven't said it to this audience yet, Merry Christmas. And no, it's not late. Ever heard of the twelve days of Christmas? Yeah, exactly.
 
Keep writing, my friends.
 
More About Bryan C. Laesch:

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Flash Stories & Poetry Day 50: Sonnet "A Christmas Sonnet"

 
Merry Christmas, everyone.

I know, I know. I'm writing this on the 26th. But, technically, today is the second day of Christmas. Christmas goes all the way until the 6th, known as the Epiphany or Three Kings' Day, so my wishes to you are not in vain.

Anyway, "today's" writing exercise is supposed to be a sonnet, and I was planning on doing a special Christmas sonnet. I tried working on it multiple times last evening and it hasn't come along very well yet. Maybe I'll write it now and share it tomorrow as I am so tired, I am dragging ass. But first, I wanted to mention some things. Because I'm still anxious about finding a job and there are other things I wanted to finish before the end of next week, I think this or the next poem I'm going to write will the last poem(s) of the year. I need to find a job and I need to distract my mind. And since I haven't been keeping good track of this little project, now would be the time for a break. I'm sorry to disappoint you. But maybe if this project goes rare for a while, I'll make a case for myself as to why people should support me on Patreon, not to mention, I'd like to turn out higher quality poems, short stories, and creative non-fiction posts. But if I have a major windfall, I will try to keep this up for as long as I possibly can.

Anyway, today's style is sonnet.

This day is the feast of Christ's advent,
The day of sinners' reclamation;
On this morn, let hatred and sin be rent
In the Name of our needed redemption.

At His Mass, His spirit we shall spread,
Every knee shall bend before the King;
He came to call everyone, living and dead,
Unto Him, every bell shall toll and ring.

Let us go forth and bear glad tidings,
And may the world come to Him and rejoice;
His message to our souls shall be guiding,
Blessings mighty to them who hear His voice.

Now, let us go forth and spread His cheer,
With family, dinner, gifts, and drinking beer.

***
 
I have no idea how long that actually took, but it must've been around a half hour. Anyway, I didn't mean to make the poem so religious at first. It was originally going to be about all the traditions and activities we do at Christmas and the twist at the end was going to be about how we can't do that anymore because of how snowed in we are. We got a buttload of snow here in Michigan. A true white Christmas.

But then, I was listening to all the really religious Christmas carols and it became one giant poem of worship with a slight sarcastic twist ending. I'm not attacking the commercialism or the other nonreligious things we do at Christmas, I just needed a twist because that's what sonnets are about in the last two lines. But besides that, this poem is alright. It did suck, but I changed some of the lines, and the timing is better.
 
But anyway, that's it for today. If you want to use the wheel I made, you should be able to access it here. And if you have the time, please check out my books for sale on Amazon which you can find through my author page. The link is below. Also, I reworked my Patreon page, so why not give it a look and consider becoming my patron. I would appreciate it.

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Fröhliche Weihnachten, Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad, Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia, and Mele Kalikimaka.

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Flash Stories & Poetry Day 49: Dramatic Monologue "The Torture of My Soul"

 
Hey, everyone.

So, today is Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas. I'll probably say the same tomorrow for tomorrow's writing, but you can't be wished a Merry Christmas too many times. Anyway, today's style is dramatic monologue. Now, technically, a dramatic monologue can be any piece that is read by a single person to an audience as if being spoken to another person or character. Audition-type stuff. But, when I was in high school, I was taught a dramatic monologue was a type of poem, formed in heroic couplets, and about 25 to 35 lines long. So, I wrote one just like that. I called it Mortal Sin and it was dynamite. Basically, it was the angel Uriel telling a douchebag how villainous he was and to repent. And as much as I'd love to show you the revised version, here and now, I really should write something original.

Thirty minutes on the clock: 30:00. And... go.

Behold the torture of my soul!
Give witness to the freedoms you stole!
Giving foul advice has led me here,
A life unrequited, how do I endear?
By sheer tenacity and on a dream,
I push through and write what I deem.
The morrow is barren of promises,
But I shall not fall and be dishonest.
Though I seek the easy answer,
I shan't sell my soul to that Dark Prancer.
For wherefore doth he want it so badly,
That he would strike a deal with me gladly?
I shall cuckold him and rely on One
Whose power can make the darkness shunned.
But being sworn to that great Halidom,
Is no easy task--what of my kingdom?
What of my opera? Shall I lose them
By paying my debts by mining for gems?
Alas, 'tis a wicked fate served upon me,
Served to one who only wants to be free.

***
 
Stop the clock! Forty seconds left. Phew! That took longer than I expected. I really thought I wouldn't finish. Point of fact, I'm really not. Twenty lines really aren't enough to express everything I wanted, but I was running out of time. But, for the most part, it's fairly decent as a poem. It only really loses the plot in the last four or six lines.
 
By the way, "prancer" is a word that means a "mettlesome or fiery horse." Seeing "fiery" in there, I was like, "Oh yes. The Devil's going in here." Plus, I never knew that that was what Prancer meant. Puts a whole new spin on one of Santa's reindeer. Puts an even more whole new spin on Prancer when I compare him to the Devil.
 
But anyway, that's it for today. I think I might keep it up with the poetry for a while. I find it very conducive for some reason. Plus, think of all the kick ass things I'm writing. And if you have the time, please check out my books for sale on Amazon which you can find through my author page. The link is below. Also, I reworked my Patreon page, so why not give it a look and consider becoming my patron. I would appreciate it.

Keep writing, my friends.

More About Bryan C. Laesch:

My Works:

Amazon: My Author Page, My Influencer Page
Facebook: Bryan C. Laesch, Bawdy Scholar
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Twitter: BryanofallTrade
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RWBY: The Novelization: Volume 3 Scenes

RWBY: The Novelization is not endorsed by Rooster Teeth in any way. Views, opinions, and thoughts are all my own. Rooster Teeth and RWBY are trade names or registered trademarks of Rooster Teeth Productions, LLC. © Rooster Teeth Productions, LLC.




Winter VS Qrow
Ruby sighed. “That was so close.”
“Looks like the dorks made it to the next round,” said Yang.
Blake looked down into the arena where Sun and Neptune were celebrating their victory with horrendous dancing—Neptune even tripped on his own feet. But Sun saw Blake looking at him. He winked and pointed at her.
Blake blushed. “Emphasis on dork.”
“That concludes the matches for today,” said Oobleck. “Please leave the coliseum in a calm and orderly fashion!”
“C’mon,” said Yang. “Let’s go congratulate them.”
As the girls began to leave, an Atlesian ship with a trail of four white streamers flew just over the coliseum. Weiss saw it and stopped, prompting Ruby to run into the back of her.
“What are you doing?” she asked, seeing Weiss look at the ship.
Weiss gasped and smiled. “She’s here!” She broke off into a run toward the docks.
Blake and Yang looked confused while Ruby yelled after her, but Weiss didn’t seem to hear her. Ruby chased after her and joined her on an airship that took them to Beacon.
“Weiss! What is the big deal? Who is it? Who is ‘she?’”
“Winter…” said Weiss with a smile.
“Winter? Wait, your sister?”
Weiss didn’t say anything more. Once the ship landed in Beacon, Weiss broke out into a run for the dock at the edge of the waterfall. Ruby ran after her.
They stopped some distance away from the landing platform where they saw a tall, young woman with white hair tied up into a bun and wearing an Atlesian officer’s military uniform and armed with a sabre. She was facing away from them, inspecting her Atlesian knights.
“Winter!” shouted Weiss.
Winter turned, and the girls ran up to her.
“Winter!” Weiss gushed. “I’m so happy to see you! Oh! Your presence honors us,” she said with a curtsy.
Winter approached them slowly, looking around. “Beacon. It’s been a long time. The air feels… different.”
“I mean, it is fall, so it’s probably colder,” replied Ruby.
Weiss, embarrassed, punched Ruby in the arm; she gasped in pain.
“So,” said Weiss to her sister, “what are you doing here?”
“Classified.”
“Oh. Right.” Weiss was used to that answer. She should have expected it. “Well, how long are you staying?”
“Classified,” said Winter, a slight twinge of annoyance in her voice.
“Of course,” said Weiss with a nod.
There was a pause.
Ruby felt quite uncomfortable. She prodded the ground with her toe and shrugged. “Well… this is nice. I think…”
Weiss didn’t acknowledge her. “You’re going to love it here! I know you travel a lot, but so much of Beacon is different from Atlas. Vale, too. The government and school are completely separate! Can you believe it? I—”
“I’m more than familiar with how this kingdom handles its… bureaucracy,” said Winter. “That is not why I came.”
“Right. I’m sorry,” said Weiss with a bow.
“Nor did I come here to watch my own blood fail so miserably in battle. But it appears I have no choice in the matter.”
“But… we won.”
“Only a novice would refer to that as a victory. I counted at least three strikes missed.”
Weiss cringed.
“Leave us,” said Winter to the two knights behind her.
They backed away a few feet.
Winter sighed and seemed to take on a much pleasanter tone. “How have you been?”
“Oh. Splendid, thank you for asking. I’m actually in the very top ranking of our sparring class. The rest of my studies are going wonderfully, too. I’m—”
Winter struck Weiss on the top of her head. “Silence, you boob! I don’t recall asking about your ranking.” She turned softer. “I asked how you’ve been. Are you eating properly? Have you taken up any hobbies? Are you making new friends?”
Weiss turned helplessly to her left. “Well, there’s Ruby.”
Ruby snickered. She gingerly rubbed the spot on Weiss’ head where Winter had hit her. “Boob,” she said fondly.
Weiss cringed in pain and embarrassment.
It was at that moment that everything about Weiss made sense to Ruby. Winter was Weiss’ idol. She wanted to be exactly like her sister in every way. The authority, the esteem, the standing. Unfortunately, that also included the condescension. Upon meeting her, Ruby became to Weiss what Weiss was to Winter, but that gave Ruby some hope for the future. Winter seemed to genuinely care about Weiss. Perhaps Weiss treated Ruby like the little sister she never had. While Ruby wasn’t thrilled about being someone else’s little sister in addition to already being Yang’s, it did bewray Weiss’ true feelings.
“I see,” said Winter. “So, this is the leader you wrote of. How appropriately… underwhelming.”
“Uh…” stalled Ruby. “Thank you.”
“Greetings, Ruby Rose. I wish to thank you for taking an interest in my sister.”
Ruby was caught off guard. “Oh, yes, of course. The honor is in my… court,” said Ruby with a curtsy. She lost her balance and almost fell.
Winter’s eyes narrowed. She turned her attention back to Weiss. “I have business with the general and your headmaster. But seeing as I’m early, why don’t you take me to your quarters?”
“Really?” said Weiss.
“Yes. I wish to inspect them and make sure they are up to my personal standards.”
“Of course. Just so you’re aware, the bunk beds only look unstable.”
Winter blinked. “Bunk… beds…?”
Winter and Weiss headed off for the dorms followed by an escort of four Atlesian knights.
Ruby called after them. “I’ll catch up—wait. I mean, I will… reconvene with you both… at a later… juncture!” Ruby fluttered her arms as she walked away. “At a juncture. Yeah.”
As Winter and Weiss walked through the crowds of students milling around, they had no idea what was quickly approaching them from behind. It staggered as it walked unsteadily shifting from one side to the next. The students it passed complained about the smell of alcohol reeking off it, but it just kept its eyes on the prize.
It caught up with the back two Atlesian knights and dismantled them in a single second. One of the knights’ head rolled forward.
“Hey,” slurred a man.
Weiss and Winter turned around.
“Yeah, I’m talking to you, Ice Queen,” said the man, dropping the decapitated knight on the ground. He appeared to be in about his forties, possibly older as his hair, which was black and spiky, also had patches of gray. He had a clear five o’clock shadow and red eyes. He wore black slacks with a white and gray long sleeved, button down shirt, and a tattered red cape. Hooked onto his back appeared to be a collapsed sword, and around his neck was a pendant that appeared to be a cross hung at an angle.
The other Atlesian knights raised their rifles and began to approach.
“Halt!” ordered Winter.
“Excuse me,” said Weiss annoyed. She walked up to the man. “Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?”
The man placed his hand on Weiss’ head and shushed her. “Not you,” he said, pushing her away. “You! Saw that gaudy ship of yours in town. Guess you’re here, too.”
“I’m standing right before you,” replied Winter.
The man squinted. He smiled. “So it would seem.”
“You realize you just destroyed Atlas military property?”
“Oh… Oh, I’m sorry. See, I mistook this for some sort of… sentient garbage.”
“I don’t have time for your immature games, Qrow!”
“Wait,” said Weiss. “You two know each other?”
“Geez. You Atlas specialists think you’re so special, don’t you?”
“It’s in the title.”
“Well, you know what you really are? A bunch of sellouts. Just like your boss.”
Winter struggled to keep her tone level. “I’m not sure what you think you’re implying, but I’ve heard enough!”
“Oh, I heard, too,” said Qrow. “I heard ole Ironwood finally turned his back on Ozpin.”
“Ozpin?” said Weiss.
“Weiss, it’s time for you to go,” said Winter, pushing Weiss away.
“What?”
“Better listen to big sister, Weiss,” said Qrow. “She’ll protect you, just like Atlas is going to protect all of us, huh?”
“If you won’t hold your tongue, then I will gladly remove it for you!” she said, drawing her sabre.
“All right, then,” said Qrow. He slicked his bangs out of his eyes. “Come take it.”
Winter dashed forward at such incredible speed that the vacuum left in her wake kicked up Weiss’ ponytail. She stopped a foot from Qrow and repeatedly thrust at his face, missing each time as Qrow barely shifted his head from one side to the next.
Frustrated, Winter went for a downward hack. Qrow anticipated her move and bowed with a gentleman’s flourish causing Winter’s sabre to clang loudly against the sword hung on Qrow’s back.
Qrow grabbed the sword and pulled a trigger which extended a blade that was at least five feet long and one foot tall. He drew the sword, tossing it in the air casually, caught it, and then waggled it in Winter’s face.
Winter took a moment to compose herself, but the moment was promptly cut short when Qrow began hacking and slashing at her. The two huntsmen traded blows back and forth, dashing across the courtyard so fast they appeared to be colored blurs.
Weiss watched on in horror as Ruby approached from behind.
“What’s going on?”
“Some crazy guy just started attacking my sister.”
“Oh no!” Ruby looked at the fight. “Who would do such a thi—at is my uncle!”
“What!”
“Kick her butt, Uncle Qrow!”
“Teach him respect, Winter.”
As the fight became rowdier and rowdier, a crowd began to grow. At that time, Mercury passed by and caught a quick glimpse of the action. He chuckled when he saw that an Atlas specialist was getting the business. But then he did a double take. He couldn’t believe who it was fighting the specialist. He quickly ran off in the direction of his dorm.
With neither combatant getting the better of the other, Qrow reached up with his sword and brought it crashing down, smashing the cobblestone path. He looked to see where Winter had gone and saw her flying backward through the air, a confident smirk on her face. In the time it took Qrow to wind up for his attack, Winter summoned a glyph beneath her feet and managed to launch away.
Winter landed outside the path next to a lamppost. She staggered on the landing, and had barely a second to spare as Qrow rushed her. Winter jumped into the air behind him as he slashed the lamppost. Qrow allowed his wild swing to carry him around in a circle, and he made two more attempts on Winter’s life. Winter managed to dodge the two cuts and jumped halfway up a pillar that made one of the semi-circular colonnades surrounding Beacon’s court yard. She impaled her sabre into the pillar and cast a contemptible look at Qrow before running up the column to the top and then running along the colonnade.
Qrow jumped to the center of the courtyard. He pointed his sword at Winter and his blade swung down revealing a large, short barrel. He proceeded to fire several rounds of Dust scattershot at her as he ran along the bottom of the colonnade.
One shot seemed to hit her and she became encased in a mist. In a single bound, Qrow jumped onto the opposing colonnade from where he could launch a better counterstrike, but that proved to be a bit of a problem as he couldn’t see what Winter was doing inside the mist.
Suddenly, Winter burst from the mist like a bat out of hell. Qrow smirked and held his sword at the ready in front of him.
Winter pulled a lever on her sabre and a smaller hanger slid out of it and into her left hand. She hit Qrow, but he was able to resist the force of her attack so well that the colonnade beneath his feet gave out before he did.
They shot to the ground and both rebounded expertly. They dashed back and forth several more times, exchanging blows.
Winter got the advantage and knocked Qrow back along the length of the stone path. Qrow impaled his sword into the ground and used it to stop himself from sliding back further.
Winter flourished her sabre with a spin and stabbed it into the ground. A glyph appeared beneath her feet and what looked like dozens and dozens of mini Nevermores materialized, flying around her in a circle. Some of them broke off and flew at Qrow, scratching his face and snatching at his clothes with their talons.
Qrow swung his sword killing a few, but they kept coming, a fact that pleased Winter.
Qrow looked beyond the Nevermores to Winter and released a ferocious blade beam, forcing her to surrender her ground and break the connection with her glyph which dispersed the Nevermores.
Winter had had enough of Qrow’s games and decided to get serious. A giant white glyph appeared behind her and started to spin. Winter crouched and prepared herself to be shot at Qrow.
Qrow, recognizing the danger Winter now posed, pulled another trigger on his sword. The cogs and gears in his sword’s hilt began to spin causing his sword’s blade to separate and bend backward.
But then, Qrow blinked with a slight start. He pulled the first trigger on his sword and it collapsed. He hung it on his back and with one finger, seemed to beckon Winter toward him.
Winter was put off by Qrow’s gesture. Why had he done that? What was he trying to tell her? And why had he sheathed his sword? What could make him suddenly change his mind like that? Winter stared at Qrow, and he did it again.
Winter sneered. He wasn’t trying to tell her anything. He was just mocking her. Qrow thought she wasn’t any sort of real challenge for him and that she should give up. Winter ground her teeth together and decided she’d teach Qrow some respect. He’d learn to appreciate the might of the Atlesian military.
With a mighty growl, Winter shot forward and closed the distance between her and Qrow in an instant. She raised her sabre and prepared for the strike.
“Schnee!”
Winter stopped immediately with the tip of her sabre just an inch short of Qrow’s throat. She looked over her shoulder and saw Ironwood with an entourage of Atlesian knights and the girl Penny.
“General Ironwood, sir!” said Winter, stepping to attention.
“What in the world do you think you’re doing?”
“He started the altercation, sir.”
“That’s actually not true,” said Qrow with his hands behind his head. “She attacked first.”
Ironwood looked at Winter. “Is that right?”
Winter paused. Clouded by her anger and in an attempt to protect her pride, she had spoken before she thought. She looked away.
Ironwood looked at the crowd of wide-eyed and open-mouthed students that had gathered. They looked scared and worried. Some even had their Scrolls out, taking pictures and video. This was certainly a costly blunder.
“And you,” said Ironwood.
Qrow jumped.
“What are you doing here?”
“I could be asking you the same thing.”
“I—”
“Now, now everyone,” said a new voice as Ozpin and Glynda arrived. “There is a sanctioned fight happening just around the corner at the coliseum that I can assure you has better seats and popcorn,” said Ozpin as if there wasn’t anything better in the world.
“Break it up, everyone,” ordered Glynda. “We will take care of this mess,” she said, taking out her riding crop.
Ironwood fixed his tie before turning to Winter. “Let’s go.”
Winter followed Ironwood and his entourage obediently. Penny was last in the group. She turned around and gave Ruby a cheerful wave as she left.
Ruby returned it, but then she jumped and latched onto Qrow’s arm. “Uncle Qrow! Hi. Ah! It’s so good to see you! Did you miss me? Did you miss me?!”
Qrow paused. “Nope.”
Both he and Ruby smiled, and Qrow ruffled her hair.
“Qrow!” called Ozpin. “A word, please.”
Ruby slid off Qrow’s arm.
“I think I’m in trouble,” said Qrow.
“You did kind of tear up our courtyard,” replied Ruby.
“Yeah, I did. Catch you later, kid,” he said, bumping her fist before walking away.
“And suddenly, your recklessness makes sense,” said Weiss.
“You’re just mad because he whooped butt.”
“That was a draw at best!”
Qrow Comforts Yang
Yang sat on a bed in her dorm, feeling sorry for herself. She had no idea what happened out there on the battlefield. Everyone had accused her of attacking Mercury. Despite what they said, not even her own team and teammate believed her. Yang knew what she saw, and she knew she wouldn’t have lashed out if she hadn’t been provoked, so what happened out there?
“Hey, there, Firecracker.”
Yang blinked. She didn’t know how, and while she was caught off guard, she wasn’t entirely surprised her uncle had just materialized in the room.
“Hey, Qrow.”
“So, why’d you do it?”
Yang paused. Not even her own family believed her. “You know why.”
“All I know is that you attacked a helpless kid.”
“He was not helpless,” bit Yang.
“What makes you say that? Are you saying if you hadn’t thrown your tantrum, he would’ve beaten you?”
Yang looked back at him, scowling. For a split second, her eyes flashed red.
“He was helpless without the aid of his aura and Semblance. So, either you’re lying, or you’re crazy.”
“I’m not lying.”
“Hm. Crazy. Got it.” Qrow began to pace the room.
“Who knows. Maybe I am.”
“And here I thought your dark-haired friend was the emo one.”
“I saw my mom,” said Yang suddenly.
Qrow stopped.
“I was in a lot of trouble. Took a pretty hard hit. But when I came to, the person attacking me was gone, and I thought I saw… her. Her sword. Like the one in you and Dad’s old picture.”
“You’re not crazy, Yang,” said Qrow. “That was your mom all right. Let me guess: she didn’t say a word, did she?”
“How did you know that?”
 “I don’t see my sister very often, but she does try to keep in touch. Whenever it suits her.”
“Wait. You mean, you talk to her? That was real?”
“Yeah. She found me. Had a tip from my most recent assignment, and wanted me to give you a message.”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?!”
“I was trying to wait for the right time, and this sure ain’t it. But I guess you deserve to know. She wanted me to tell you she saved you once, but you shouldn’t expect that kindness again.”
Yang felt her mother’s abandonment all over again. She couldn’t stop a few tears from coming to her eyes. The more she knew about her mother, the better image she got of her. And better the image, the more Yang didn’t like what she saw.
“Raven’s got an interesting way of looking at the world that I don’t particularly agree with. And she’s dangerous. But you’re a tough egg, kiddo. You shouldn’t let this tournament thing get you down. You had a slip up; sometimes bad things just happen. I say it’s time you move on.”
“Move on to what?”
Qrow walked to the opened window and leaned against the sill. “Well, Raven let some info slip before she took off. If you ever want to track her down, I think I might be able to help.”
Yang frowned. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to know her mother anymore. The pain of it all was just too much.
Qrow turned and began to leave, but he stopped at the door. “Yang, I think you deserve to know why she left.”
Jaune Comforts Pyrrha
Pyrrha sat on the ground outside the cafeteria, leaning against the wall. With the decision of becoming a Maiden looming over her and everyone counting on her to win the tournament, for the first time in a while, she felt like she was going to collapse under the pressure.
The wind blew a solitary leaf off a tree and it landed near her feet. Fall had arrived and she was reminded of Amber, the Fall Maiden. To take on her aura would mean taking her soul—stealing it from her. The thought sent a chill down Pyrrha’s spine; Amber would likely die from the procedure. And Ozpin, Glynda, General Ironwood, and the stranger Qrow were perfectly willing to go through with it if she said yes.
Pyrrha was no stranger to being alone. She had faced innumerable enemies before, and there was even a time when she hadn’t even had any friends. But despite her past battles, despite her friends, now she truly was alone. No one could understand the burden she now faced as Amber’s life and the future of Remnant rested in her hands. But, the thought that bothered her most of all was what would happen to her. How would she change? And would that mean giving up all her feelings for Jaune?
Pyrrha was alone.
“Hey,” said a familiar voice.
Pyrrha looked up, and for the first time, she wasn’t able to give Jaune a smile.
“It’s no green goop, but I think it might still do some good,” he said, handing her some cotton candy on a spindle.
“Um, right,” said Pyrrha, taking it. She appreciated the thought, but knew it wouldn’t fix her problems. “Thank you, Jaune.”
Jaune was hoping to brighten up her day, but she still looked sad. He looked up and saw Nora and Ren pass by.
Nora read the mood perfectly. “Um, come on, Ren. Let’s go back to the fairgrounds. I’ll win you another stuffed animal,” she said, dragging him away.
Jaune sat next to Pyrrha, and was quiet for a minute. “You were the first person to ever believe in me,” he confessed. “Even when I told my parents I was going to Beacon, they told me not to worry if I ended up having to move back home. How depressing is that?”
“I’m sure they didn’t mean—” Pyrrha gasped and dropped her cotton candy. She looked down; Jaune’s hand was top of hers, his fingers lightly wrapped around her hand.
“I guess I’m just trying to say that you’ve always been there for me. Even when I didn’t deserve it. And I can tell there’s something on your mind, so… I don’t know. How can I help?”
Pyrrha smiled. “You’re already doing it,” she said, leaning her head on his shoulder.
The wind blew again and a second leaf joined the first.
Although this moment was what Pyrrha wanted most in her life, it still didn’t bring her much comfort.
“Jaune,” she said, taking her head and hand away. “I don’t know what to do.”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you believe in destiny?”
“Um, I don’t know. I guess that depends on how you view it.”
“When I think of destiny, I don’t think of a predetermined fate you can’t escape, but rather some sort of final goal. Something you work toward your entire life.”
“Okay, yeah. I can see that. Sure.”
“Well, what would you do if something came along that you never expected? Something that had the potential to stand between you and your destiny?”
“Like, what?”
“Or, what if you could suddenly fulfill your destiny in an instant but at the cost of who you were?!”
“Pyrrha, you’re not making any sense.”
Pyrrha stood and wrapped her arms around herself. “None of it makes sense! This isn’t how things were supposed to happen!”
“I’m sorry!” said Jaune. “Please. I’m just trying to understand what’s wrong.”
“I’ve always felt as if I was destined to become a huntress; to protect the world. And it’s become increasingly clear to me that my feelings were right. But, I don’t know if I can do it.”
“Of course, you can. The Pyrrha Nikos I know would never back down from a challenge. And if you really believe it’s your destiny to save the world, you can’t let anything stand in your way.” Jaune smiled.
Pyrrha turned. Her hands went to her mouth as she began to cry.
“Pyrrha?”
“Stop…”
“Did I say something wrong?”
“Stop!” Pyrrha lashed out with her Semblance and she threw Jaune into the wall, cracking it and pinning him to it. She looked up horrified. “Jaune!”
Jaune fell to the ground.
Tears welled up in Pyrrha’s eyes. “I’m… I’m sorry,” she said, before running away.
“Pyrrha, wait!” Jaune looked down. “What did I say?”
Velvet and Weiss VS Paladins
Down in Beacon’s courtyard, the combined forces of Teams CFVY, SSSN, RWBY, ABRN, FNKI, JNPR, and BRNZ were not doing well against the turncoat forces of the Atlesian military. The knights fell easily enough, but the paladins were in a whole new league of their own. Weiss, who had experience fighting paladins, was shocked most of all by how difficult unmanned mechs could be. Nothing they did seemed to have any effect on the machines.
 Two of the paladins stood side-by-side and faced the weary warriors. Neptune fired on it. “Uh, this is bad,” he said, seeing how ineffectual his gun was.
Even Coco’s minigun couldn’t make a dent. She sighed, surrendering. She turned to Velvet. “Well, I guess now’s a better time than any.”
Velvet’s eyes got big. “Really?!” she said with excitement.
“Just make them count.”
Velvet nodded and sauntered up to the two big white mechs by herself.
“What’re you doing?” demanded Weiss, trying to stand. “She’s going to get hurt.”
“Just watch.”
Velvet held out her arm and from her camera’s case, an image developed into a hard light copy of Ruby’s Crescent Rose.
The front paladin fired on her, but Velvet leapt into the air, holding Crescent Rose behind her, mimicking Ruby’s signature move perfectly. She spun downward and slashed the paladin. The Crescent Rose wire frame disappeared, but a version of Myrtenaster then developed in Velvet’s hand.
The paladin struck, but Velvet defended with the Myrtenaster, and followed up with several dainty but precise slashes, beating the paladin back. Velvet then surged forward with a vicious punch wearing hard copies of the Ember Celica. She backed up, cocked them, and got several shots off.
The paladin swung its arm forward and tried to snatch Velvet, but she then developed the Gambol Shroud. She stabbed it into the paladin’s hand and with a great push, she swung around the paladin’s legs, allowing the spectral ribbon to wrap up its legs. She pulled the ribbon taut, pulling the mech’s legs together and managed to topple it.
The second paladin came to its comrade’s aid, but Velvet chucked the Gambol Shroud’s sheathe at it, managing to pierce the paladin’s thick armor and lodge the Gambol Shroud in it. She then fired with Coco’s minigun and got off a few hundred rounds before running dry.
The paladin attacked with its arm, but Velvet deflected the attack with Sun’s Ruyi and Jingu Bang in their bo form. She ran up the paladin’s arm and jumped into the air, creating Nora’s hammer. She somersaulted down and smashed the paladin’s shoulder off, disarming it.
While still standing on the paladin, hard light copies of Penny’s swords sprang from her back. She backflipped off and with two enthusiastic and graceful slashes, she cut off the robot’s legs.
Velvet then changed the modes of the swords into guns and began to spin them. A ball of energy began to collect and when Velvet threw her fists forward, a charged particle beam fired, destroying the paladin.
With one paladin down, Velvet turned to face the other, but she was too late as it smashed its fist into her face and launched her across the courtyard.
 “Velvet!” called Coco. She lifted her gun and fired. She was joined by Neptune, Reese Chloris, and Nadir Shiko. They let go a barrage of Dust rounds, but the paladin kept approaching.
Weiss stared at the fight before her. She had completely underestimated Velvet and her abilities. By herself, Velvet had almost managed to turn the tide of the fight. Why couldn’t she do that? She knew she had the power. And if there was anyone who could take down Atlesian technology, it would be her. So, why couldn’t she do it?
Weiss could do it. She had more than enough power. She could do something that no one else could.
Weiss growled. She hated her weaknesses, but most of all, she hated doubting herself. She made a decision to face her worst demons and with her courage found, she charged forward.
The paladin approached Velvet ready to finish her off. The others couldn’t do anything to stop it.
A series of white glyphs appeared on the ground. Weiss dashed past and aimed to stop in front of Velvet. But as she approached, a new feeling came to her. Not one of anger, but revelation. She had been holding herself back. She had been her biggest obstacle in her life. Not her father, not the world, not even her sister’s expectations. It was all on her—her failure—but also her success.
Weiss approached Velvet and a giant white glyph with four swords pointing in the cardinal directions formed behind her. She stopped in front of Velvet and saw the paladin swing. She held up her rapier to block but also called upon the Aegis. As the paladin swung, Weiss cringed and ducked, but instead of being hit, there was a metallic thud.
Weiss opened her eyes and looked up. Above her was a gigantic sword held by a solitary arm attached to the glyph. She watched as it deflected the paladin’s arm downward, swung up, and sliced the paladin in half.
Weiss looked up at her summon. It was only an arm, but it had made a real difference in the battle. Weiss was amazed by her own ability, but also elated she had pulled it off. She had stood with friends and wouldn’t retreat, she stared down death and the taste was sweet. Suddenly, there was a flash.
Weiss looked up and saw Velvet smiling at her, holding her camera up.
“I want to do that.”
Weiss gave a half smile.
But then, the ground rumbled. They all turned toward the end of the courtyard where another paladin ran down the path and slid to a stop fifty yards from them.
Sun sighed. “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
Pyrrha VS Cinder
The elevator doors opened, and out dashed Ozpin followed by Pyrrha and Jaune.
As they ran down the hall, Jaune looked around. “What is this place?”
“It’s a type of vault,” said Pyrrha.
“You’ve been here before?” said Jaune surprised. “What would this school need to hide?”
Jaune got his answer as they reached the end of the hall and he saw Amber in the pod. “What? Who?”
“Jaune, I—”
“Pyrrha!” said Ozpin. “Get in the pod. Mr. Arc, if you would like to help, you can stand guard here.”
Jaune looked at Pyrrha. She didn’t offer an explanation. Left with little choice, Jaune turned around and lifted his shield. He didn’t know what he could guard the machine from, but with the chaos outside, anything was possible.
“What do you we do now?” asked Pyrrha.
Ozpin went to the main controls and keyed in several instructions to get the aura transference program running. “We do nothing,” he said, as the other pod opened. “You Miss Nikos have a choice to make.”
Pyrrha looked from the pod to Jaune. She didn’t know what would happen to her, but she knew it would change her and her feelings for Jaune. Even if it didn’t, after possessing the powers of the Maiden, she’d no longer be allowed to love him. She wiped away a tear and pushed her dreams out of her mind as she stepped into the pod.
“Are you ready?” asked Ozpin.
Pyrrha gave a small nod.
“I… I need to hear you say it.”
“Yes.”
“Thank you, Miss Nikos,” said Ozpin as he pushed one last key.
Amber’s pod rose, and much to Ozpin’s dismay, she blinked awake as her orange aura was sucked from her body, led up a series of pipes, and then back down to Pyrrha’s pod.
Pyrrha screamed as she felt the Maiden’s soul enter her body. It didn’t want to go into her body; it fought against her. Pyrrha felt an intense burning all over her body accompanied by a psyche that invaded her mind with unfamiliar thoughts.
Hearing Pyrrha scream, Jaune turned and ran up to the pod. “Pyrrha!” His hand went up to the window and he clawed at it, helpless to ease Pyrrha’s pain.
Ozpin looked away. “I’m… so sorry.”
Suddenly, there was a light whistle on the air followed by the sound of breaking glass and a squelching noise. Amber gasped.
Ozpin and Jaune turned to Amber to see a glass arrow embedded in her chest. They turned around and there stood Cinder, holding up her glass bow.
The orange aura receded from Pyrrha and down the pipes back to Amber’s pod. It burst out of her chest, through the window, and hit Cinder. She was enveloped in it and lifted into the air. Her eyes burned with an orange outline and flames danced around her.
Jaune shouted at the top of his lungs and charged. He lifted his sword, but Cinder repelled him with a limp wristed blast.
“Jaune!” Pyrrha shouted from inside the pod. She ripped it open with her Semblance and shot the cover at Cinder who deflected it. Pyrrha drew her weapons to her hands and began to charge, but Ozpin raised his arm, stopping her.
“Take Jaune and get out of here! Find Glynda! Ironwood! Qrow! Bring them here right away! The tower cannot fall.”
“But I can help.”
“You’d only get in the way.”
Pyrrha looked at Cinder as she smirked and lowered herself back to the ground. Pyrrha wanted to fight, but she had experienced firsthand the power of the Maiden. It was unlike anything she had felt before. What sort of monster was this girl if she could withstand it?
“Go!” urged Ozpin.
Pyrrha nodded. She helped Jaune up, and together they ran off for the elevator.
Cinder watched them go with mild amusement, before turning back to Ozpin where her smile vanished for a scowl. “This whole time. Right beneath our feet. She was right about you. Such arrogance.”
Ozpin flourished his cane and took a step forward.
***
The stragglers that had stayed behind to fight the Grimm and haywire Atlesian tech had gathered at the Beacon docks where Atlas ships waited for people to board. Professors Port and Oobleck were overseeing the evacuation.
“That’s it!” said Port. “Everybody on board! This is a mandatory evacuation.”
“A safe zone has been established in Vale,” added Oobleck. “Please remain calm and listen to Atlas personnel."
Weiss was at the docks with Sun, watching over Ren and Nora as they sat on the ground, resting from their injuries.
Weiss heard footsteps. She turned and saw Blake come running up, carrying an unconscious Yang. Sun ran to help to her as she collapsed on the dock. Sun laid Yang on the ground.
“Blake. What happened?” asked Weiss.
Tears streamed down Blake’s face. “I’m so… sorry.”
“What do you—?” Weiss looked at Yang. Her hand went to her mouth in horror. She looked at Blake, but she just kept crying.
Weiss heard more footsteps and just past Blake, she saw Ruby running up from behind. Weiss ran to meet her. “Ruby!” she said, clasping Ruby’s hands.
“Thank god, I found you!” replied Ruby.
“Ruby, where were—?“
“Don’t worry. I’m fine. What’s going on?”
Weiss didn’t respond.
“Weiss? What is it?”
Weiss stepped out of the way and Ruby was horrified to see Yang unconscious with her arm cut off and Blake nursing her side, lying next to Yang, clutching her hand.
“I’m sorry,” wailed Blake. “I’m so sorry.”
Ruby took a step forward. “Yang…”
“She’s going to be okay,” said Sun. “The soldiers have a ship ready to take you guys to Vale.”
“But Jaune and Pyrrha are still missing,” said Nora.
“What?!” replied Ruby.
“Look, guys!” said Sun sternly. “That giant Grimm keeps circling the school. Even the White Fang are pulling out. We all have to go. Now!”
“We’re not… leaving,” said Ren, trying to stand but failing.
Ruby looked at her team. It seemed to be in shambles, but they were all alive and together; Ruby was so relieved. But when she looked at Ren and Nora missing Jaune and Pyrrha, she felt their pain and anxiety. Ruby had felt the same fear just minutes ago. She knew Ren and Nora wouldn’t leave without Jaune and Pyrrha.
“I’ll find them,” said Ruby. “I’ll find them, and I’ll bring them back.”
“No!” said Weiss. “We will find them. Watch after Blake and Yang. We’ll be back.”
Ruby and Weiss ran off back toward Beacon.
“You better!” called out Sun. “Man, idiots…”
***
Pyrrha and Jaune made it out of the tower and into the desolate courtyard.
“Okay,” said Jaune. “I think I have Glynda’s number,” he said, whipping out his Scroll. “Where is it? Where is it?”
Pyrrha looked back up at the tower, wondering if she should have stayed. Even if she couldn’t have matched Ozpin and Cinder’s level of combat, two against one would’ve tilted the odds in their favor. Should she go back and help anyway?
“Pyrrha… what was all of that?”
“I—“
The ground shook, and from outside the CCT, Pyrrha and Jaune saw a burning light ascend the tower. A chill went down Pyrrha’s spine.
“But… Ozpin.”
“There’s no time,” said Pyrrha. She turned to Jaune. “Go! Get to Vale and call for help!”
“What? What’re you going to do?”
Pyrrha looked at the tower.
“No. No, Pyrrha, you can’t. You saw how powerful she is.”
Pyrrha looked down ashamed. “I can’t just stand by and do nothing. I’m at fault for this.”
“What? No. No, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am. We led her down there. If I had thought I could fight without the Maiden’s power, she wouldn’t have died and Ozpin would still be...”
“Maiden’s power? What’re you talking about, Pyrrha?”
“Jaune… Just do as I say and get to Vale.”
“No, Pyrrha! I won’t let you go!” He grabbed her wrist. “We need you.”
“It’s because of everyone that I need to do this. The tower must not fall.”
“Pyrrha! She’ll kill you! I won’t let you do—”
Pyrrha seized Jaune’s face and planted her lips on his.
Jaune was shocked. He couldn’t believe what was happening, but ever since the dance, he had started to suspect Pyrrha’s feelings. Even he thought he began to feel something for her.
He put his hands on her waist and pulled her closer. Pyrrha pulled her head back, only to kiss him again. But then, tears began running down her cheeks.
She pulled away again. “I’m… so sorry, Jaune.”
“Pyrrha…?”
“It’s not fair. Goodbye.”
Jaune felt himself pulled backward into a rocket locker that had crashed into the ground. The door slammed in his face, and Pyrrha approached, tears still running down her face as she entered coordinates into the locker.
“Wait!” shouted Jaune. “Stop! Stop! Pyrrha, please don’t do this! There’s got to be another way!”
“I’m sorry…”
Pyrrha stepped back as the locker shot off. She wiped the tears from her eyes and looked back at the tower. Her face turned hard and she ran inside. She pried open the elevator with her Semblance and stepped into the car. She reached out with her Semblance and seized the entire car with her polarity. She then directed it toward the top of the tower, and under a great strain, the elevator shot to the top of the tower.
***
In another area of Beacon’s courtyard, Ruby and Weiss ran through, looking for Jaune and Pyrrha, and dodging any Grimm they saw. Suddenly, Weiss’ Scroll rang.
“It’s Jaune! Where are you?” she said, answering.
“Weiss! Please, you have to stop her!”
“What?”
“Pyrrha! She’s going after that woman at the top of the tower. She doesn’t stand a chance!”
Ruby and Weiss looked at the CCT.
“Jaune, what are you talking about? Where are you?”
“Don’t worry about me! Please… you have to save Pyrrha.”
“We will. Are you okay?”
But Weiss didn’t get an answer as she heard Jaune scream in frustration. There was a whooshing sound followed by a breaking sound and the audio quality became muffled. But, Weiss thought she could still hear Jaune on the other end in the distance, sobbing.
“Jaune? Jaune?!”
Suddenly, the ground rumbled as the Grimm dragon flew overhead and landed on the tower with a screech.
Ruby and Weiss looked at the Grimm surrounding the tower.
“Fighting them all will take too long!” said Ruby. “We’ve gotta hurry.”
Weiss looked at the tower and summoned a line of her glyphs, leading up to the top. “You can do this.”
Ruby nodded. She jumped onto the tower with a boost from her speed and landed on the first glyph before proceeding to run up the tower.
***
Cinder arrived at the top of the elevator, walking out of a cloud of billowing smoke. She walked over to the window overlooking Mountain Glenn, and smiled. Light impacts and the sound of crushing stone announced the arrival of the Grimm dragon as its head, bigger than the whole office, slid into view. It screeched.
Cinder hushed it like a mother hushing her child. “This is your home now.”
The dragon screeched again, but much more quietly. Its many eyes looked into the office and swiveled slowly.
Cinder stepped back and summoned a fireball into her hand. She raised her hand, but a rumbling through the tower and the sound of steel grating against steel stopped her. She looked back at the elevator as it pinged.
The doors were thrown open and Pyrrha’s sword came spinning out, aimed at Cinder. She casually side stepped it as Pyrrha leapt at Cinder with her shield below her feet. Cinder shielded herself with her arms and took the full brunt of the attack, and she pushed Pyrrha away. Pyrrha landed on her feet, summoning her shield and sword to her hands.
Cinder summoned her fire and threw a few streaks, but Pyrrha danced around them. Cinder shot a fire pillar at Pyrrha, but she blocked it with her shield and leapt through it at Cinder. Pyrrha twisted in the air and tried to stab Cinder, but she grabbed Pyrrha’s bare blade with her bare hand—Pyrrha was shocked.
Cinder countered with a hit to Pyrrha’s torso and sent her flying back. Pyrrha hit the wall, knocking the air out of her. She gasped for breath, and did her best to stay standing. Cinder flew at her, shooting flames from the palms of her hands. She attempted to tackle Pyrrha, but thinking quickly, Pyrrha jumped onto the wall, legs bracing against Cinder’s force, before locking her arm around Cinder’s, jumping, and throwing Cinder to the floor.
Cinder stood with flames in either hand, but Pyrrha dissipated them, throwing her sword and shield at her hands. As Cinder shook the sting from her hands, Pyrrha tackled her with all her might. They flew across the room and crashed into Ozpin’s desk.
The two combatants rose with Pyrrha holding Cinder in a choke hold, trying to lift her sword to Cinder’s throat. Cinder did her best to hold the sword back, but Pyrrha was stronger. Instead, she heated her hands and began to melt it.
The dragon screeched, distracting Pyrrha long enough for Cinder to succeed in breaking her sword and elbowing her in the gut with such force, the entire tower was ruined, causing gears to fall, and Pyrrha was shot back into one of the remaining walls.
Pyrrha ricocheted off the wall and hit the floor. She saw her shield just a few feet in front of her, but as she crawled to it, Cinder hovered just overhead, daring her to grab it.
Pyrrha remembered her old combat training and looked at her environment to see if there was anything she could use. She saw the wreckage of the gears, and tested them briefly with her Semblance. They reacted, proving to be metal.
Pyrrha threw a metal piece at Cinder, grabbed her shield, and managed to dodge and block a few of Cinder’s fireballs. Pyrrha spun and with great force threw her shield straight through Cinder’s fire. She knocked the shield away, but was distracted long enough for Pyrrha to lift all the cogs and gears into the air, surrounding Cinder.
Pyrrha motioned for her shield to hit Cinder from behind, knocking her off kilter, and then crushed her beneath all the gears.
Pyrrha thought she had done it, but a burning red light began to grow brighter. There was an explosion, and the gears were thrown off. One hit Pyrrha, knocking her into the only wall still standing. Pyrrha’s aura was completely depleted.
Cinder summoned her bow from shards of glass and drew back an arrow, aimed at Pyrrha. Pyrrha made one last attempt on Cinder and threw her shield at her. Cinder released her bow, and despite the shield hitting Cinder’s arrow, the arrow shattered and reconstituted on the other side of it, hitting Pyrrha in the ankle, piercing through her boot. Pyrrha let out a wail, and fell to a knee. She grimaced and tried to stand, but couldn’t, falling to the ground and breaking the arrow’s front and end off, leaving its shaft in her ankle.
“It’s unfortunate you were promised a power that was never truly yours,” cooed Cinder, walking up to Pyrrha. “But take comfort in knowing that I will use it in ways you could never have imagined.”
Pyrrha looked up into Cinder’s eyes. “Do you believe in destiny?”
Cinder lost her smile. “Yes.” She lifted her bow and summoned another glass arrow. As she drew it back, Ruby made it to the top of the tower and landed on the far side.
Ruby looked up and saw Cinder release the arrow. It penetrated through Pyrrha’s chest, sticking out her back.
Pyrrha gasped. The arrow’s head had ripped her chest apart and now, she could feel a burning sensation searing away at her throughout her entire body. She tried to breathe, but couldn’t. She tried to pull the arrow out, but the fire in her veins stopped her. A tear came to her eye, and she thought of Jaune, saying goodbye despite the pain.
Cinder grabbed her by the circlet just as Pyrrha’s constitution gave up and her head slumped forward. There was a red flash, incinerating Pyrrha to ash. A wind blew, and Pyrrha’s dust scattered into the night sky. Cinder smiled, dropping the circlet on the ground.
Ruby’s eyes went wide. She couldn’t believe it. She wouldn’t believe it. Pyrrha had just died. Cinder killed Pyrrha. And a new thought struck Ruby—Cinder had engineered Penny’s death. Ruby had lost two of her dearest friends to Cinder.
Ruby’s body shook as something within her chest broke. There was a mordant anger, but a soul-crushing woe surpassed it. Ruby felt it welling up inside her, and she couldn’t stop her emotions from overflowing. White hot tears hit her eyes, and Ruby screamed Pyrrha’s name. All she saw was a white light as a sanity splitting headache hit.
“What!” protested Cinder as she and the dragon were engulfed in the white light.
The white light dissipated and everything was quiet. There was only darkness now, and from somewhere very far away, Qrow’s voice echoed, “It’s alright. I’ve got you, kiddo. I got ya.”



******************

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