The head of the elephant had flown far into the central hall, its remains knocking over what booths that were still left standing before coming to a stop. Jaune rushes to the brutally and cleanly severed cockpit compartment and calls out to anyone inside it.
Jaune rushes to the brutally and cleanly severed cockpit compartment and calls out to anyone inside it.
“HEY, YOU OK!? You aren’t dead are …”
“So there was someone inside.”
The sudden voice from behind Jaune causes him to jump from shock.
The originator of the voice silently slips past Jaune to look inside the wreck. The person had wavy black hair, wore a black ribbon and amber eyes that gave off the feeling of apprehension.
“Um … Blake?”
Blake Belladona is the last member of team RWBY, the most agile of the four, she supported Yang in the previous fight, easily outmaneuvering the giant elephant.
Blake was a very quiet person, Jaune has the impression that she always has a book on hand reading. Or rather Jaune hasn’t been able to have a proper conversation with her yet.
“Blake, you knew? you knew there was someone inside?”
“Well, there is a noise coming from inside.”
After Blade said that Jaune finally noticed that there was a thumping sound coming from inside the cockpit. One had to strain their ears to hear it but the sound was definitely coming from inside. Blake steps closer to the cockpit and takes out her black blade hitting the head.
The sound of something inside breaking could be heard causing steam to jet out. The cockpit opens up and a girl wearing overalls crawls out from inside.
“Gwah, Uwooo, Ghaaa! I thought I was going to die.”
The girl’s chestnut hair was in complete disarray and she had bruises all over her body. As the girl lifts her goggles from her eyes Blake grabs the girl’s wrist and in one swift motion pulls her completely out from the cockpit.
“Ah, thank you very mu….”
Gazing upon the sight of the glaring Blake the girl swallows the rest of her sentence.
“What were you trying to do?” Interrogates Blake.
The girl’s face stiffens and her eyes freeze up. Blake expression told her that she will neither accept excuses nor deception despite the calm voice she used. Completely trapped and her wrist still being held by Blake, the girl naturally starts tearing up.
“I’m … I’m sorry, I just wanted to help Papa…”
“Papa?” Murmurs Jaune.
The girl turns her watery eyes towards Jaune begging him for help.
“Papa is an engineer at SIC but couldn’t come here today. I thought I could come and make the adjustments in his stead but instead, the thing went berserk. I tried to stop it but …”
The girl says as she starts crying, then full on bawling, her speech wracked with sobs.
Jaune starts feeling sorry for the little girl but Blake’s expression doesn’t change, she continues glaring at the girl who was covering her face with her hands.
“Did Adam tell you to say that?”
The girl stops wiping her tears and looks at Blake. A bewildered face that was clearly wondering “what is this girl with a black ribbon saying?”
“Who’s … Adam?”
Blake’s eyes continue boring into the cowering girl, strong and stern. Suddenly, however, she lets out a sigh.
“… No one, nevermind.”
Blake looked like she came to an understanding, to what, however, Jaune did not know.
“What did you mean by that?”
“A Trojan horse. But it seems it was just my imagination.”
Finally, Blake releases the girl’s hand then turns around and walks away through the fallen chairs and machine bits littered throughout the hall.
She headed towards the rest of her teammates who were surrounded by the SIC staff thanking them for their help. Jaune also wanted to be among that crowd giving thanks to Weiss and also maybe asking her out on a date.
Yes, that was his original reason for coming here. To scout out exciting places, come up with a fun schedule for a date and hopefully turn it around with Weiss. And yet he ended up riding a mechanical elephant and almost died when it tried to knock him off, how did it end up like …”
“Geez, who were those people.” Said the culprit with a sour face, the tears now nowhere to be seen.
“Even though it wasn’t made for battle, those four still took down a seriously heavy duty machine.”
“They’re Beacon Academy students.”
“Oh, so prospective hunters, no wonder.”
“I’m also a student at Beacon by the way.”
Puffing his chest while saying so, the girl looks back at him suspiciously
Giving Jaune a quick look over the girl rudely laughs at him with a brief ‘Ha.’
“It’s not a joke! I’ve defeated Grimms!”
“Oh yes, how you were screaming at the top of your lungs and yelling for help were great contributions to the battle. ….. Oh, I’m not blaming you though, you helped out by not being in those four’s way.”
That said the girl looks upon the remains of the destroyed exhibition with a satisfied look.
Jaune couldn’t help but feel uneasy at the fact that she showed no remorse what so ever.
“What you said to Blake just now, about your father and …”
“I was lying.”
Jaune jaw dropped at how easy she admitted to that.
“Then … Then you … you’re … a terrorist!?”
“Terrorist? No, I’m not a terrorist. How rude.”
“Even though you took over a giant machine and made it rampage around this exhibition?”
“……. I have something I just can’t leave be ok.”
The girl awkwardly looks down at the broken monitor by her feet.
Both Jaune and the girl jumped at the sudden loud voice.
The source of the noise was a man walking towards them with big strides, he had short cleanly cut hair and a face that seems it was beaten into shape with a hammer. From the uniform that he wore it was clear he was an employee of SIC.
“You know why I’ve come right? You ought to know!” Walking closer to the depressed disobedient girl, the man raises his voice more and more.
“What is the meaning of this? Explain! I need to understand!”
Jaune assumes this man was in charge of security for this event. His profound muscles stretched his poor uniform so much they threatened to rip.
Having an intimidating voice, with his clothes accenting his bulging muscles, Jaune knew right away that he would be a man that would be hard to deal with. Meanwhile, the girl already started the motion of wiping away tears.
“I’m … I’m sorry. I tried to bring it under control but I lost power to …”
Shamelessly saying such things while shaking from sobs the girl sneaks a look at Jaune from under her 2 hands.
‘Don’t say anything unnecessary’ were what her eyes said.
The large man raises his voice even further.
“You are responsible for the maintenance of the machines!”
“Uwuuu, I still don’t …. sniff.”
“It’s your job to figure things out and explain it to us!”
Having come even closer the girl stops pretending to cry and looks up at the man with an annoyed look.
“If you have a complaint with me then go ahead and contact the CEO and tell him.”
The man grabs the girl’s hair and pulls it back. Looking straight at her pained expression he continues on, annunciating each of his snarled words.
“I’m not as kind as the CEO, I’ll make sure you understand that if you ever forget.”
“OI, Stop! Leave it to the police!”
Jaune unable to watch any longer speaks up. Appearing as if noticing Jaune for the first time the large man rounds his eyes towards him, then looks down as if asking the girl to explain.
Never once did he let go of the girl’s hair.
“……. He’s just a normal visitor of the exhibition, I don’t know him.”
The boy who proclaims he’s from Beacon and the girl being held up by her hair glance at each other. The man looks at Jaune sizing him up. He then scoffs at Jaune clearly thinking that Jaune was no one special.
“The police? We didn’t call the police. Make sure you don’t say anything about what happened today, in fact, forget everything all together. Understand? If you say anything I don’t know what might happen. Got it?”
The man points his thick finger at Jaune using his entire body in an intimidating fashion.
Jaune finally realized why he felt a familiar vibe from the man, the atmosphere he gave off was almost the same as Cardin Winchester, a bully at Beacon Academy.
“If you didn’t call the police, what are you going to with her?”
“That’s none of your business, now excuse us.”
Pushing Jaune out of the way, Jaune couldn’t help but think how similar to Cardin the man really was and remembers all the time Cardin bullied him at school.
“….. I know.” Jaune mutters to himself.
Jaune then detaches the sword that he wears at his hip then points the scabbard at the man’s neck.
Jaune then presses a switch and the scabbard’s gimmick is activated, with the blade still inside, the scabbard transforms … into a brilliantly white shield.
Reeling from surprise the man closes his eyes and lets go of the girl’s hair.
In that gap, Jaune grabs onto the girl’s hand.
“Cmon lets go!”
Almost as if in a daze, Jaune runs away with the girl, and after running a bit Jaune looks back.
While the girl looked surprised she was still following Jaune, and thankfully the large man was not chasing.
He just stood there, unmoving, unflinching, staring at the two of them running away. It was the most ominous thing he could have done.
Pulling on the girl’s hand Jaune leads them to outside the event hall. They stop at the hotdog stand where Jaune was earlier today.
“….You’re safe now.”
As the girl vigorously gasps for breath hunched over her two knees, she looks back at Jaune.
“That wasn’t necessary … I didn’t need to run away…..”
“But wasn’t he going to like beat you?”
“In my position, he couldn’t do anything like that. Pulling my hair and threatening me, those were just an empty and childish show of violence.”
“I think that should be obvious.”
After straitening out her hair and sorting out her breathing, she looks at the sword Jaune was reattaching back to his hip.
“That’s a weird weapon.”
“This, well … it’s a hand me down from my grandfather. The scabbard can transform into a shield.”
Jaune really hoped the girl wouldn’t compare his plain sword with the weapons of the four girls that fought earlier.
“That seems convenient when it comes to carrying it around.”
“Yes! That’s what I say!”
“So other than that does it do anything else?”
“You can’t rely on either the weapon or its master.”
“Ok, I know I’m not the strongest guy around, you don’t have to rub it in.”
For sure the girl was making fun of Jaune, and yet she held a complicated expression on her face. Was it pity? Was it sympathy? Unable to keep seeing that expression Jaune says something to change the topic.
“That guy earlier called you Iona ….”
“Ya, my name is Iona Rockshow.”
“So Iona, who the hell are you?”
“I’m an official of SIC, you have just gotten yourself involved with an internal corporate quarrel. As long as there were no injuries the police won’t be contacted and everything will be swept under the rug.”
“You’re kidding me.”
“That muscle brain that was scolding me earlier didn’t chase us, right? He also couldn’t make a scene in front of someone on outside the company. As for what happened here, a small accident regarding the display equipment, the eye witnesses will be told to be quiet, and like that the incident will be over.”
Spoken as if it was a line prepared beforehand. Jaune could not understand the circumstances behind this incident, but whether or not Jaune could understand it didn’t matter, he would still not agree with it.
“An accident? That elephant tried to kill me and Ruby!”
“I was trying to save you. I was going to pick you up with the arm and put you down. But then the other three people attacked and I couldn’t do much after that.”
“You picked me up with a tusk!”
“Why would I try to do that? You just happened to get caught up on the tusk when the machine started up. If you had just ran away like everyone else you would have been fine, but you decided to follow me, what were you even trying to do?”
Saying that Jaune remembered why he worked so hard trying to contact this girl.
“I uhh followed you so that I could learn how to get invited to Sapang Island, but now ….”
“It’s not a pleasant place, please give up on that idea.”
Saying that Iona turns around and starts walking away.
For a moment Jaune thought about grabbing her, continue their conversation. But then decided against it, there was no point.
Jaune doesn’t think what she said was right, but there wasn’t much he could do if it was true. Furthermore ever since he started following her a lot has happened, it would be best not to get any more involved.
Jaune decides to first look for Ren who should still be in the assembly hall, and then quickly go back to the dormitories.
“…. Jaune Arc was it?”
Iona who was walking away suddenly stop and calls out Jaune’s name. Jaune so surprised at her call also stops.
For some reason, Iona was wearing her goggles which she had kept off up to now. It obscured her face making it hard to see the expression she was making.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Why did you save me back there?”
That threw Jaune for a loop. It was an unexpected question and not one that had an easy answer.
While waiting for his answer, Iona takes out a coin and starts flipping it while still staring at Jaune. 10, 9, 8, … she counted, again, and again, and again.
“Um, can you please not do that, it feels like a countdown to something and it’s making me nervous”
“But I intended it to be a countdown.”
“……What happens when time runs out?”
“Hm? Who knows?”
This child, with just a coin, came up with such a creative torture method.
“It’s not like I need a reason to help someone! …. No that’s not it. I just … that guard reminded me of someone that also bullied people, I didn’t like it then so I did something this time. That’s why.”
Even though Jaune explained it to the best of his ability, Iona kept silently playing with her coin. Although she stopped counting there was still a pressure being exuded from her.
Suddenly Iona stops flipping the coin and holds it up, tails side facing Jaune.
“Do you recognize the design of this coin?”
“Well, there’s a white side and a red side.”
“You don’t know? They’re Queen Apple and Marshmallow Crown. It’s a cartoon that’s pretty popular among girls these days.”
“I typically don’t spend my free time following girl trends.”
On the red side was drawn a girl with a clear face and on the white side a clown with a round face. Iona once again flips the coin, catches it and flips it onto the back of her other hand.
“Which side is up? Depending on the result I’ll hand over tickets to Sapang Island.”
“REALLY!? O…ok got it, just let me think.”
Given such a chance by the younger girl, Jaune goes deep into thought.
Choosing the correct side would be very difficult and Jaune didn’t have any particular attachment to either character. If the queen had been on the white side he definitely would have chosen that.
Frustrated and hesitant, Jaune finally declares, “Red, the red queen!”
“Ooooooook!” Iona then opens her hand.
“White clown. It seems you lose.”
Jaune crumples to his knees.
Striking the floor Jaune blames himself for messing up a once in a lifetime opportunity. If he had grasped this chance he definitely would have been able to claim Weiss’ heart!
‘I’m such an idiot!’ Thought Jaune.
Looking down at the defeated Jaune, Iona removes her goggles revealing her face. Taking the overly decorated laptop from her bag, Iona starts typing on the keyboard.
“Just as promised, here are your tickets.”
Using an attachment to the laptop, several rectangular pieces of paper were printed out. Iona offered these to Jaune.
“I never said I would give it to you if you won. I said depending on the result.”
“You’re really giving those to me!? Thank …”
The ticket was quickly pulled away, Jaune’s hand was left grasping at air.
“Just some things first. You’re only to go there with close friends and only as a vacation. Also are any of your friends Faunus?”
“Faunus …? Well, I do know one ….”
Born with special traits of animals, Faunus had excellent physical abilities. Any discipline that required strong physical prowess usually had many Faunus in them.
“However I’m not on the same team. Although why does it matt…”
“Here you go.”
Abruptly given the tickets, Jaune quickly takes them before they could be pulled away again.
Jaune holds the tickets up to take a good look at them. Showing the SIC star symbol the ticket also contains a map to Vale’s port. It was a lot easier getting his hand on these than Jaune thought.
“Thank you! Thank you so much! This …?”
When Jaune tried to give his thanks, Iona’s figure was nowhere to be seen.