Remnants of Equestria: SABR

by RhetCon

First published

Team Saber is a team of highly capable first years at Shade Academy. These four are aiming to show their talent at the Vytal Festival fast approaching.

Not many can claim to have a relationship quite like the members of team SABR (Saber). Spike Sparkle, Ember Abagail, Zecora Brooks, and Sunburst Rivia have been placed together, for better or for worst. Nevertheless, the team aims to be the best there is.

And that can only be proven at the Vytal Festival.


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“So, uh… How did this start again?”

“Ask this incompetent fool of a man.”

“Okay… Sunburst?”

“I don’t know what happened. It happened so quick… A-All I did was call her ‘Miss Abigail’—”

“Shut up, you twerp.” I sighed.

“Zecora?” I asked, looking at the woman in the corner of the room. She looked as if she was concentrating until I called her. “You wouldn’t happen to know what happened here, would you?”

“Sunburst speaks the truth,” she answered. “He did indeed call Ember by ‘Miss Abigail’. She lashed out at him, and it resulted in the situation before you.”

“Ah…” I turned back to the middle of the room where Ember was glaring Sunburst into a corner. I slowly made my way to Ember and put my hand on her shoulder. “Could you do me a favor?”

“W-what?” she asked, not making eye contact.

“Could you let him go just this one time?” She glanced from Sunburst to me, then stormed off towards her bed, sitting down with a bounce.

“Just this once, okay? And only cause you asked me.” Sunburst sighed in relief.

“Finally, I’m safe—”

“Don’t push your luck, twerp,” said Ember.

“N-nevertheless, thank you, Spike.” He got up and dusted himself. “Now if I remember, when you came in, you seemed very excited about something. Could I ask what it was?”

“Oh yeah!” I was filled with excitement, remembering the important thing I had to share. “I’m going on a mission!”

“What is so special about this mission?” asked Zecora, turning her complete… er, as far as I could tell, attention to me. “We’ve been on a few others before.”

“Yes, but this one is special,” I said, nearly bouncing with joy. “I was asked specifically by Starswirl to collect some gems for his research! And if I just so happen to collect too many gems...”

The room was silent. Ember coughed, and Sunburst scratched his chin, with no reaction.

“I don’t think we can share your enthusiasm,” said Zecora.

“W-Wha? Really?” I turned to Ember. “What about you, Ember? You’re a dragon too.”

“I can understand your excitement,” said Ember. “But doctors say that eating gems can give you some negative side effects.”

“I don’t know how something so good can be so bad,” I said sadly. I licked my lips just thinking about the shiny rubies I could find. “Anyways, I’m going on a mission!”

“Why only you?” asked Zecora. “You’ve been saying that you’re going on a mission, so I must assume you are going solo.”

“Well, I’m a dragon Faunus,” I answered. “We are really good at this sorta thing.”

“Then am I coming?” asked Ember, voice slightly shaken. “Just the t-two of us?”

“Oh, no,” I said, with a laugh. “I’ve got it. I could use your Digbot, though.” She looked sad as I finished my sentence, so I quickly added “But you can come along next ti—” She got up, retrieved a small black box from her drawer, then shoved it into my chest.

“It’s not like I wanted to go with you anyway,” she said, venomously. After she looked away, I gave the rest of my team a small smile.

“I should be back in a few hours,” I said, heading for the door. “Try not to stay up too late for me.” I opened and shut the door, taking in a deep breath.

My first mission alone. I wasn’t going to waste this chance to prove how ready I was—how ready we were for the Vytal Festival. After this, I’d have to be a candidate to compete!

You better watch out Twilight. Your cousin is coming back!

Eating gems was the best. Some were harder than others, and some were soft. Some had intense flavors, while others had milder ones.

Gem collecting wasn’t so fun.

For the third time, I hid from a Deathstalker roaming its sandy home. The hot sun beamed down, shining way too brightly. What kinds of gems would be out here anyway?

Shade Academy. A giant umbrella of a city. Atlas technology allowed Shade to be protected from the sun’s heat and deadly rays. Outside of the school, there were small settlements here and there, where people would shelter and live their lives in relative peace. That is if you could escape the Deathstalkers.

After ducking under a sand dune, I crawled out of the ditch behind it, holding onto the box Ember gave me. It’s technically called the Excavation Assistant, but I just call it the Digbot. It was too large to put anywhere, so I had to keep it in my hands.

Finding gems as a dragon is easy, as long as you know what you’re doing. I took a good sniff, smelling something a little ways down.

“Down there…” I looked down, where the smell came from. I fiddled with the box and pressed a red button on top. I threw it into the sand and it turned on.

“Initiating digging protocol...” said the box. Two blades came from its sides, and the top opened up. Once it was finished opening, it spun really quickly, spraying the sand from the top as it dug into the sand. I covered my eyes as it dug.

After a few minutes, the Digbot hit something hard, made a clunk sound, then beeped twice really loudly. I looked down the hole the Digbot had made, and saw a black plate made of metal.

“Metal?” I asked myself. I definitely smelled a gem. The Digbot beeped loudly again, meaning that I had to retrieve and restart it. I jumped down the sizable hole, and landed on the metal with a thud. Immediately afterwards, the metal collapsed and I fell farther into the ground.

It wasn’t that far of a fall. Once I hit the ground, the wind knocked out of me, and I groaned. I rolled over onto my knees before pushing myself up. Under me, I could feel the box, possibly broken. Ember would probably kill me if she found out. I turned and watched as the hole I fell through filled with sand.

“Not getting out that way,” I said with a sigh. I looked around. It was like an underground hallway, leading both ways. I scratched my head. “Did I stumble on something secret?”

“Hey buddy!” said a voice down one side of the hallway. “What’re ya doin’ down here!” It came from a Faunus with grayish skin and silverish hair. His ears were large and floppy.

“Uh, sorry!” I yelled back. “I accidentally fell down here! Where am I?”

“The wrong neighborhood,” said the faunus. “Eh, boys! We got ourselves a little lost lamb that needs some guidance if ya know what I’m sayin’!” More footsteps thundered in from both directions. I could realize that I wasn’t exactly in the best of places to be.

“Look, I just wanted to find some gems, alright?” I said, my words drowned out by the footsteps. “If you guys let me go, I could be on my way!” Finally, everything in the corridor came to a silent halt. I looked around.

“We know what you and your kind do,” said the first Faunus. “You can only be here to clear out our vault, eh? You think we Diamond Dogs are dumb or somthin’?” There were howls that echoed through the small space.

“I didn’t mean to invade, or anything,” I explained. “I just got wind of some gems. If they’re yours, you can keep them.”

“And if they not?’ said the Diamond Dog leader, I think. “What’chu gonna do about it?” The Faunus moved ever closer to me, pulling out weapons like bats and switchblades. I sighed and raised my fists.

“If you guys aren’t going to show me out…” I flicked my wrists downwards, three-foot long steel blades came from each hand. All of the Faunus in the room paused for a moment. “Then I’ll have to show myself out!” I took note of how cool I sounded right then. I’d have to keep cool tabs on myself.

“W-Whaddya guys so scared for?” asked the leader. “This guy’s just being’ flashy. Beat him down, guys!”

First wave of Faunus. It shouldn’t be too hard. When the first two approached me, I jumped up into the air, cradling my legs as close to me as possible, then shot them out, each one hitting a Faunus in their nose. Before I fell to the ground, I flipped upside down, digging the claws into the floor. I twisted my body clockwise, hitting both of the Faunus in their faces with the heel of my foot. When they were both disoriented, I pushed myself into the air, sending one foot forwards and one backwards, smashing either Faunus into the wall they were closest too. Once the Faunus slumped to the floor, I looked around me, then back at the Faunus on the floor.

“Think about that,” I said. “I didn’t even use my claws that time. You want to go again?”

“Okay, maybe this guy ain’t so bad,” said the leader. “B-But we got numbers, right? He’s only one guy!”

“You guys know I’m a dragon…” I took in a deep breath and blew out some ash. “If there’s one thing we dragons know how to do, it’s throwing around flames.”

“B-Boss!” yelled one of the Diamond Dogs. “W-we betta get outta here!”

“This guy’s j-just bluffin’,this time,thier” said the leader. “Come on guys! Let’s take this him down!”

“You asked for it,” I sucked in a bunch of air, and made a small ring with my index finger and thumb. I aimed it at the mass coming at me from the leader’s side. “I’ve got the air… just need the aura to turn to fuel…

“See? I toldja this guy was—”

NOW” I let all the air go, and blew the green flames all through that side of the hallway, when I was sure I heard the leader scream in terror and run away, I turned to the other side, scorching both sides of me in green flames. Finally, when I was out of breath, I gasped for air, allowing my lungs to fill again. Once I was sure I was fine, I walked over to one of the Diamond Dogs who fell over and picked him up by the shirt.

“N-No, please,I-I didn’t mean to—”

“Don’t worry,” I said. “The flames don’t hurt unless I wanted them too. If I went all out, there wouldn’t even be ash.” I exaggerated so that he would freak out some more. “Anyways, where is your treasure room?”

“So you really did come here to clean us out…” said the underling.

“Not at first. Then you guys put the idea in my head,” I explained. “And so I thought I should.”

“It’s that way,” he said, pointing to my left. “Down that hallway, and around the corner, third door down. You can’t miss it.”

“Thanks,” I said, dropping him to the floor. “Hope you didn’t lie to me.” I ran off in the direction he told me, the scent of gems getting stronger as I approached the door he told me was the treasure room. I took in a deep breath and sheathed my claws. I slowly twisted the doorknob and pushed the door open.

The scent filled my nostrils and my mouth watered. I slowly floated over to a vein of unmined rubies, uncut and completely original, I was thinking about taking a chunk to test its flavor.

“A dragon, huh?” The voice startled me, and so did his three throwing knives. They dug into the ruby I was staring at, creating cracks in its surface. “A good dragon, too.”

“I guess you’re the real final boss,” I said, unsheathing my claws. “It’s a good thing you use throwing knives.”

“Oh?” asked the boss, coming down from his position. “And why is that?”

“My partner,” I said, rushing at him. “She uses something similar.”

“Ah, I see,” I swiped the claws at him, but he blocked them with almost no effort. I jumped into the air, and dropkicked, but he glided out of the way before my feet could connect, sending me falling to the ground.

“Oof…” I scrambled up and tried to return but this time, he was onto me. His slashed only used one hand, and he attacked diagonally. Whenever I got too far, he’d use his other hand to barrage me with knives until he could get close again.

“One thing you should know about me,” started the leader, “is that I—” I swiped my claws at him, breaking the knife in his hand.

“—Talk to much?” I managed to grab the sides of his head and rocketed my knee towards his stomach. When it connected, he lurched forward and let me flip him over onto his back. I held him down with one arm and jabbed downwards with my claws with the other.

Suddenly, my claw took a swerve and dug into the ground next to him.

“If you would let me finish,” he said, bringing his legs up to my stomach. He tilted me forward, put his hands underneath me, and pushed me up, sending me crashing onto my back. “I was going to say that I have the ability to bend certain thingtheir will. For example, your claws.” He brought his hands up and placed them above my claws. Suddenly, the metal bent backwards, making them unusable.

“Why are you telling this to me?” I said, getting up. When I was on my feet, he smiled at me creepily.

“There’s no harm in telling a dead man my secrets.” He said, taking out a throwing knife. “Sadly, that would be you.”

“I’m not down with dying,” I said. “Plus, I’m not done yet!” He tossed a throwing knife—faster than before, this time—and I ducked to avoid it. His Semblance was tricky, and I technically had no weapons. I had to beat him using smarts.

“It’s useless.” He tossed two knives, one slightly above the other. Then, one titled downwards and smacked one below it. The one below it ran right into my face, cutting it. “You have nothing to oppose me with.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” I said, a smile popping up on my face. I grabbed one of the knives he had thrown and showed it to him. He smiled back.

“Oh this is rich,” he said. “Oh wait, did your teammate teach you how to throw these?”

“No,” I answered simply. “I don’t need to know how to throw them,” I pulled back my arm and hurled it in his direction. As I thought, the knife sailed over his head, not at him. He glanced up as it flew over his head.

“You could’ve had good future in knife throwing if I weren’t going to end it here!” He laughed. Very loudly.

“Gotcha.” I flicked my wrist down, the bottom of it facing outwards. A tether sailed from it and latched onto his stomach, locking itself in place.

“What?” He asked, glancing at the cable. “I suppose you forgot about my Semblance?” He placed his hand over it, but nothing happened.

“I suppose you didn’t notice my Aura?” I said, mocking his voice. “This cable isn’t a cable at all! It’s Aura. You can only control objects that are physical, can’t you?”

“Well, well,” he said. “Aren’t we clever?” In fact, I wasn’t. I based that completely off of luck. Good thing it worked, though.

“And you see this?” I showed him the motor that the cable was attached to. “This can string along a Beowolf on a good day. A human? No problem.”

“You seem to have eeeeverything set up, dontcha?” He said. “Well, If I kill ya first, everything will be for naught, won’t it?”

I brought the tether back, sending the leader zooming back towards me. Just when he was in reached, he swung his knife, and I jumped.

“You…”I kicked him in the face. The force from being flung towards me and my kick was enough to break his jaw. I released the cable and sent the poor guy sailing right behind me. “Lose.”

“So that’s how your claws broke?” said Sunburst. “Shame.”

“No, not really,” I said. “My new equipment’s is on its way.”

“This would never have happened if you brought me with you…” mumbled Ember in the corner.

“Think on the bright side, Em,” I said. “You can come with me next time. Then, for sure, nobody will stand a chance.” I onIy wanted to cheer her up, but I think I saw Ember blush before burying her face in her knees and returning to her aggravated glare.

“Yeah, w-whatever…”

“It is fortunate that you came back unharmed,” said Zecora. “For it would be very difficult to find a leader with your aptitude whose name starts or ends with S.”

“The way you say that makes me sound expendable…” I replied.

“I did say it would be difficult,” she said, with a smirk.

There were a few knocks at the door, which stole the attention from everyone in the room. I was the closest to the door, so I walked over and opened it.

“Uh, I’ve got a special delivery for Spike Sparkle.” A mile-wide smile spread across my face as I took the large box from his hands. He handed me a clipboard, which I signed on top of the box before returning it to him after closing the door, I set the box down on the floor.

“What’s that?” asked Ember, leaning in to see from the corner of the room. I chuckled a bit before answering.

“It’s my new gear! I mean, I expected it to come a lot later, but I’m not complaining!” I basically ripped open the box, revealing the interior to be a soft cushion after opening it up, the two beauties came into view.

They were more like gloves with sharp claws coming from the fingertips, just like real claws. They were shorter than the old ones, but these ones seemed to be sturdier. At the wrist, the aura tether device wrapped the whole thing together, making it feel snug on both hands. I showed them to my team.

“That’s something all right,” said Sunburst with a curious glare. Zecora nodded in agreement.

“Those look really cool, actually,” said Ember, dropping her aggravation. When Ii smiled in gratitude, though, she didn’t return it. “But not that cool.”

“With these, I can do a lot more,” I said. “I could just get us into the Vytal Festival.”

“Do not count on them too much,”said Zecora. “There are many other teams here at Shade who are thinking the same thing, but may not be so good-hearted as you.” I nodded and clenched my fist, bringing all the claws together.

“I know that,” I said, with a large smile. “And that’s why I am so determined. If we can make it past all of the others, we can be the best!” The rest of the team gave me a smile, and even Ember nodded in agreement.

Team Saber is heading for the top and isn’t slowing down for anything.


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There’s definitely a problem when, a few minutes after waking up, you feel like swearing like a sailor that just stubbed their toe.

“Ember? Are you there?” I couldn’t help but suck my teeth. I moved my mouth away from the scroll’s microphone, but apparently, these things are made state of the art, complete with the best pick-up-your-voice tech money can buy. “Don’t suck your teeth at me, young lady.”

“Dad, I’m 18,” I said, rolling my eyes. Luckily, he couldn’t see me. “I can do whatever I want.”

“Not with me, you can’t. I am still your father.” His holier-than-thou attitude was starting to annoy me like a small rock in a shoe. I ground my teeth as I heard him drag on. “Who do you think keeps funding your little adventures?”

“What do you want?” I asked, wanted to get this conversation over as soon as possible.

“Can’t I just talk with my daughter?” I sighed and leaned back, putting my back on the bedrest. “I just want to make sure my little girl is safe.”

“Well, can you do it sometime else?” I asked. “Besides, I’ve got a mission soon. I don’t want to hold up my team.” I could hear him snort in disappointment.

“Fine. Call me later. And be sa—” I ended the call early, tossing my scroll to the bottom of my bed. God, I hate talking to him sometimes.

“Why tell a lie?” asked my teammate, Zecora. I glanced over in her direction and found her sitting on her own bed, silently reading a book, using the creeping sunlight as a light source. “We’ve no missions scheduled for today.”

“Because,” I said, not willing to give her any more of an explanation. “I’m going to go train. Tell Spike I’ll be out, will you?”

“You always seem to be doing some type of training,” said Zecora, flipping her page. “You should relax. If you work too hard, you’ll—”

“You should mind your business,” I snapped. I know Spike told me to be friendly, but I didn’t expect it to be easy. I wasn’t used to having friends like he was. Nevertheless, I sighed. “Sorry.”

“Letting such a rage filled spirit power you is dangerous,” said Zecora, her tone unflinching. “You’ll only end up destroying yourself.” Although I wanted to comment on how she didn’t know anything about me, I held my tongue. I slipped out of bed and stretched out. I glanced towards the bathroom but voted against the shower. Instead, I removed my white t-shirt, replacing it with a blue and white one. I threw on some jeans I found hanging out of my drawers, then strapped up my black boots. After grabbing my scroll, I spared the room one more glance before walking out, closing the door behind me.

Vacuo is just a desert. Why anyone would ever think this was a good place to set up is beyond me. Being in this desert is still better than being on the outskirts, though. Shade, being Vacuo’s only battle academy still produced Huntsman and Huntresses like any of the other three great kingdoms. I sighed as I walked it’s bleak hallways, most of them dimly lit and darkly painted. Gotta save energy to power the large barrier around the town, I’d guess.

I walked outside into the bright outdoors. The buildings blocked it, but I knew that all around me was a clear barrier keeping us inside where it’s safe. The light from the sun still passed through, but it wasn’t as hot as it should’ve been under a desert’s sun.

I walked through the main town of Vacuo with a lingering sense of caution. Just walking down the street I saw a platoon of Atlas robots rushing to the scene of a massive fight. I kept my gaze low and walked past. After a few minutes, I stopped in front of a door like any other: Metal and rusted, connected to a building that was more-or-less run down and definitely uninhabited. I pushed it open and was introduced immediately to a pair of stairs leading down. Unfazed, I traveled down the stairs, a creaking sound echoing with every step. At the bottom, my ears picked up on low groans and loud pants.

“Here again?” asked an unfamiliar voice. I turned to find a human standing there. His hair was sandy, skin pale, and eyes a light hazel. His clothes were normal: a t-shirt and jeans with a small cap. His arms were prosthetic. He had a friendly smile on his face, which was the direct opposite of my default annoyed expression. “This is the third time this week, right?”

I didn’t respond, instead reaching for my Scroll. Of course, I couldn’t call my weapon locker down through the building, but if need be, I could probably slip by him and—

“Don’t put on such a scary face,” said the man. “The name’s Sandy.”

Why should I care?,” I wanted to ask, but instead, I calmed myself. I was still on alert just in case. “And the reason you approached me was...?”

“Just wanted to say a few words to you,” he said. “You know, just to say hello and all that. It’s kind of rude to interrupt someone while they’re training.”

“Well, hello,” I said, turning away. “And goodbye.” Surprisingly, he didn’t follow and instead turned his attention back to the door. I focused on doing my training, heading over to one of the large bars of metal that were scattered around the room. It was a large set of poles in an H pattern that had a seat underneath it. I slid underneath the bar and inserted my scroll and the pinnacle of the chair. After it locked in place, options popped up on the screen, showing different weight values. I clicked on my personal goal for now: 130. A few pounds above my own weight.

I slid under the bar and grasped it with my palms. Two sets of blue, holographic weights spawned on either side of the bar, weighing it to the appropriate number. I lifted the bar up and started pressing.

“Good work.” Sandy continued to talk to me even after all of my glares of annoyance at him prior. Whenever I’d desert a certain machine, he’d come over and start up a conversation. At that moment, I was slowly panting as he came up to me, chilled water bottle in hand. He handed it over to me. “Here. Have a drink.”

I took the bottle slowly, popping it open and glugging its contents. The presences of cold water down my throat made me feel a bit better. I wiped my forehead afterward, then handed him back the bottle.

“Thanks,” I said, getting up from my seat at the elliptical. “I think I’m gonna get out of here. I’ve done enough work for the day.”

“No kidding, said Sandy, glancing at his Scroll’s time. "You’ve been here for hours. It’s getting dark by now.” I got up and stretched one more time, the soreness in my muscles becoming apparent. I’d stripped myself down to a white tank top—wrapping my t-shirt around my waist— and rolled up my jeans’ pant legs.

“Goodbye, for real this time,” I said. “Though I’ll probably be around tomorrow.”

“Great then!” said Sandy cheerfully. “Maybe if I meet you outside of the gym, we could, you know, hang out.” I shook my head.

“Unlikely, but thanks for the offer.” I walked past him and made my way to the stairs up. I heard him chuckle a little as I ascended the ever creaking stairs. I pushed open the door out and was greeted by a beautiful sunset. It only reminded me how tired I was.

Walking back home was similar to walking there in the first place, with the addition of periodic yawns. Out of the corner of my eye, in a lone alley, a certain child caught my attention. I picked up on his near inaudible sobs. I stopped for a few seconds, wondering what, exactly, I should do. I sighed and walked over.

“What is the trouble, little one?” I asked.

“I-I’m hungry,” he groaned. His stomach rumbled to accompany his plea. “M-Mommy left a while ago and I can’t find her a-anywhere…” His cries grew once more. I gritted my teeth, telling myself that it was stupid to do what I was about to do and that I would end up regretting it later. I fished through my pocket and pulled out a small purse. I pulled out a Lien card: 200 Lien, to be precise. I poked the card at him, bringing his attention to it.

“Take it,” I demanded. He hastily grabbed the card from my hands. He looked it over in his hands. “Listen. Don’t waste this. Use it to feed yourself and your mom.” He started to cry again, making me, curiously, both annoyed and feel good. I sighed and got up, about to leave, when he spoke again.

“I’m sorry miss,” he said. I raised my eyebrows before someone placed me in a full nelson. I was caught so off guard, that I didn’t notice when the assailant even got close. I squirmed, but my soreness was fighting against me as well. “You are so nice, but… I’m sorry.” He fled down the alley, a larger figure replacing his. My heart stopped as I saw who it was. Then I gritted my teeth hard, trying to keep my composure rather than sling a slew of swear words at him.

“Long time, no see, Ember,” said Garble, his smile and demeanor causing my blood to boil. “Can’t even get a call after all these years, huh?”

“Go to hell,” I spat. He chuckled and shook his head.

“Been there and done that, Em,” he said. “It’s not so interesting. This place, though? I can make something of myself here.”

“Once scum, always scum!” I wriggled against my assailant even harder. “Let me go!”

“No can do, Em,” said Garble. “You see, after what happened all those years ago, I started thinking about what I could do to get you and your father back. But come on! The man is filthy rich.” He chuckled a bit more. “So, what better way to get at the boss man himself than to go for his young, precious, weak and naive little daughter?”

“What do you even want?” I asked, stopping my struggling. “No matter what you do to me, you can’t get back what you lost 2 years ago.” He shook his head once again, this time, absent of the chuckle.

“I can’t,” he said. “But that’s fine. I don’t need what lost.” Garble reared his fist back, rocketing it towards my stomach. I clenched my stomach to take some of the shock away, but his fist still collided with my abdomen. I felt my entire body lurch forward before the assailant pulled me back into position. “All I want is simple revenge.”

“Garble, I swear,” I said, rearing my knee up in an attempt to hit him. “I will kill you before you get the chance!”

“You’re right. I can’t hurt the merchandise.” He turned around. “How much money do you think Ol Torch’ll shell out to get his daughter back, eh?” The person behind me shrugged, causing Garble to laugh. “Yeah, I suppose sky’s the limit, hm?”

I took in a deep breath, closed my eyes, and focused. I imagined a flowing river, a large sea, a crashing waterfall. Then, an exploding volcano. When I opened up my eyes, I slipped into my secondary form in the blink of an eye. Now a speedy jet of lava, I zipped around on the floor, re-appearing a few feet away. Quickly, I pulled out my Scroll and clicked two buttons. Swiftly, in front of me, a large locker collided with the cement. I flipped it open, then grabbed my weapon—a three-foot-long scepter with a large blood red stone at the top.

“Ooh,” : said Garble with a slow clap. “Always so unpredictable and sneaky, aren’tcha?” He clapped a final time for drama, then widened the smile on his face. “But I’m not the same arrogant little kid I was.”

“I heard prison changes men,” I said, flipping the scepter around in my hand to get it to the proper position. “But you’re still the same dumbass you’ve always been. Just taller.”

“Cute,” he said. He nodded to my assailant—who I can now see was a large man. “Knock her down a few pegs.” He quickly stumbled towards me, with no kind of stance or form. He reached to grab my tank top shirt, but I jumped back in time. This time, he attacked, bringing the tip of his toe to my neck. I blocked it with the scepter, then moved it horizontally; under his leg. I pushed up, which made him fall back onto his butt. “Oh, wow. One point to the defender!”

“You’re next, hotshot.” I ran towards him, but the man grabbed my leg, almost tripping me. He reached into a pouch at his side and flung something at me. It was metal and sharp, seeing as it cut my cheek. As he reached for the next one, I jabbed the scepter down on his head, releasing his grip on my leg. He rolled over to one side and threw the metal anyways. I managed to catch it this time, allowing me to see what, exactly, I was fighting against. Boomerangs.

He didn’t feel like skipping a beat, apparently. He flung the boomerangs one after another, each one was thrown with so much force, I couldn’t see it. I didn’t have time to question it as I narrowly dodged one. In my shocked state, he was able to close some of the distance between us. I dodged his advance by ducking under his right swipe, then brought my knee up into his chest. Using what seemed like the last of my strength, I flipped him on his back and drove the scepter into his chest. His Aura shattered and he became motionless.

“Bravo, Abbey!” said Garble with that stupid slow clap. “It’s no wonder you’re a Huntress.”

“Shut up and fight me, Garble,” I said, taking my stance once again. “It’s just me and you, now. No more being a coward!” He smiled at me, hands in pockets. To be honest, I didn’t have much left in the tank. Just fighting the other guy made my muscles ache.

“That’s quite sloppy of you, actually,” he said. Making me confused also made me angrier. “I mean, sure, I lost all my crew when I went down, but surely I wouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight.” More people seeped into the street from the shadowy alleys, steadily gather all around me. My eyes raced around me, briefly locking onto each thug before switching to another. “So, you see Ember, you’re gonna come along with me whether you like it or not.”

“Actually, this whole brigade of yours was pretty sloppy,” I said, a smile finally painting my face. “Because just as you’ve had something up your sleeve, I’ve been keeping something hidden from you as well.”

I stuck the scepter into the ground, grasping the handle as hard as I could. I could feel my Aural force slipping into it like blood being sucked up by a needle. The stone at the top started glowing a healthy red.

“Whatever light show you’re trying to do, knock it off.” Garble nodded towards a few of the thugs. They closed in on my position, but a large red blast echoed out, knocking them all back. The look on Garble’s face changed from amused to serious in an instant.

“What happened?” I said. “Wasn’t I coming with you no matter what?” Garble showed an annoyed expression on his face. The scepter was done charging, and so I pointed the stone up to the sky, a loud laugh coming from me. “Now, Garble. Now… I am strong, and you are weak.”

All Aura left the scepter from the tip, a read beam of light blasting into the sky. It cultivated in the sky for a few seconds before raining down as a bunch of small red beams of energy.

I called it the Hail Storm from Hell.

I slipped down onto a knee when the beams collided. I could barely breathe, let alone stand up. I let go of the scepter and let it clatter to the floor next to me. Doing the Hail Storm from Hell took a lot of Aura. For just a second, I looked up to see what kind of damage I would do to Garble and his gang.

“Well, I have to admit,” said Garble, smile back on his face. All around me and him—encasing all the thugs as well—was a large white barrier. I could only stare at it, open-mouthed for a few seconds before it disappeared. “That certainly was a surprise.”

“W-what the…” He strode over to me slowly. “How…”

“I didn’t think my semblance was important when I was trying to raid the rich and pompous Abigail Household,” He said. “But that was two years ago. I already told you that I wasn’t naive anymore. Did you think I was just gloating?” I tried to reach for my scepter once again, but he picked it up and handed it over to another one of his guys.

“Give that… back!” I groaned, then tried to push myself back up. Unfortunately, that was all that my already overworked muscles could take. I collapsed onto the pavement with a thud.

“Aw, down so soon, Abbey?” He squatted down, grabbing my chin in his hand. “Disappointing.”

“I’d say she tried her best.” Garble narrowly escaped being punctured by two star-shaped metal weapons: shuriken. A third one found it’s home on his shoulder. Where he used to stand, someone else landed. I stretched up to see who saved me, but I couldn’t make out anything. Their voice also sounded muffled, but somehow familiar. “And isn’t that all you can really ask of a person?”

“Oh crap. Boss, that mask.” I heard Garble laugh nervously. “B-Boss?”

“I-It’s just one guy,” said Garble. “There are thirty of us, and one of him! He’s just trying to be a hero.”

“You’ve miscalculated.” A voice I actually recognized. The footsteps of my teammate became audible before stopping behind me. “I mean you, Ember.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I said, allowing Zecora to lift me up off of the ground. The person who saved me looked back at me, allowing me to see what mask Garble and his company was talking about.

A mask marking a member of the White Fang. From above it, two soft ears poked out of a mess of sandy blond hair.


“Are you with her?” He asked with hostility. I nodded slowly, and he turned back. “Good. Escape while I deal with these guys.” Zecora didn’t confirm before turning we around and leading me down the alley. The sounds of fighting echoed for a while before fading into the night.

“I was a little surprised when you pinged my Scroll with your location,” said Zecora. “I thought you needed someone to pick you up. Good thing I came.”

“Thanks,” I said tiredly. “I really appreciate it. I’m not so certain I deserve it, though.”

“Spike would probably lose his mind if he found out that you went missing.” An involuntary red rose in my cheeks as she continued. “We wouldn’t be able to function as a team.”

“Hehe. Am I really that important?” I asked.

“Very,” said Zecora. “We all think so. Although I feel you could be more outward, it’s not my place to really request that of you.”

“No, no,” I said. “Spike said I have to get used to you guys. At least until I could call you friends.”

“Maybe,” she said. “But you should really make these decisions of your own volition. Maybe then we could become best friends?”

“Don’t push your luck,” I said with a chuckle. Zecora also chuckled.

“I won’t.”

We wobbled back towards the dorms in silence.

“Here again? Is this the fourth time this week?”

I stared at Sandy as he asked the question. We were standing just outside of the door that led downstairs. He didn’t seem to be hurt in any way, and didn’t seem fatigued as if he fought with 30 or so men.

“Did you save me last night?” I asked straightly. His smirk was still prominent, but he didn’t meet my eyes. “And… are you a part of the White Fang?”

“You sure catch on fast,” he said. “What gave it away? The hair? I bet it was the hair.” I glanced up at his cap. I reached for it, and he didn’t stop me. After taking it off, two ears flickered and bounced happily. “Foxes are really good in deserts.”

“You’re a faunus for the White Fang,” I said. “What are you doing here? If people find out, they’ll—”

“It’s no problem,” he said. “I’m leaving tonight since I’ve already found what I was looking for.”

“Which is?” He pointed to me and poked me on my nose. He was still smiling, while I was annoyed.

“You,” he said. ‘Well, more specifically, new talent. So, here comes the question that’s really hard to ask.” He took his cap back and placed it on his head, blocking his eyes from mine. “Will you join the White Fang, Ember?” I sighed and looked down.

“Join an organization where you get to do whatever you want, and raise hell while you do it?” I asked. “Sounds fun.”


“I would accept your invite if there wasn’t one person keeping me here,” I said, meeting Sandy’s eyes once again. “My… friend. He’s intent on having the best team in the world, and I want to help him.” I bit my lip before mumbling, “And I think I’m in love with him.”

“Unfortunate,” said Sandy, his smile unwavering. “Well, that was your first and last chance, but I’m glad you did what you wanted to do most in your heart.” He started to walk off before stopping and turning back around to face me. “Oh, and the next time we meet, it’ll probably be under less than ideal circumstances.”

“And I’ll kick your ass when we do,” I said. “I didn’t ask for you to saving my life.”

“What a strange way to say ‘thanks and goodbye’.” He laughed, then continued walking away. I stretched and smiled once again.

Sandy was an okay guy.