A shadowed figure sat in a cave, surrounded by odd shaped but docile creatures of Grimm. It paused in its machinations.
It felt the connection to its creation disappear as well as the creature itself.
'How long has it been since this happened? Decades? Centuries?' It could only feel disappointment.
One of its prized creations had been killed. Though it was the weakest, it was far stronger than what the current generation of humans should be able to face.
'It's time to conduct a little experiment.' It thought as it held up an object in its hand.
A small round and black object that seemed to absorb the light around it. The figure's enhanced ears could hear the faint pulsing of the object as well as feel it beating in its hand.
After the events of the mission he and Julius went on, the Grimm in the emerald forest gave little to no EXP.
He spent two whole nights culling them only for it to end in him not leveling up even once. He was currently in the school training room trying to figure out what to do next when Jaune came stomping in with Pyrrha in tow.
"I'm not sure I heard you right." Rowan said in a questioning tone at what Jaune just said.
"Fight me." The older blond repeated, causing Rowan to glance at Pyrrha who looked concerned.
He had told her to keep him away from Cardin while he was away and now the boy had come straight to his younger brother demanding a fight.
"Why?" Rowan asked as Jaune grit his teeth in silence.
The boy didn't answer but the look in his eyes didn't waver even once as he stood in front of Rowan.
Rowan could only sigh. "Fine."
It didn't take more than a minute for the two Arcs to stand opposite each other, blades drawn.
Though Rowan drew his blade, it was more of a formality than him actually needing it. He knew Jaune's level of skill and this was the only way to not hurt…too much.
Focusing on Rowan, Jaune let out a battle cry as he charged forward, sword swinging.
He simply raised his own weapon, blocking the attack. The older Arc stumbled back a bit before attempting once again only to achieve the same result.
Rowan could see the bitter anger in his eyes as he attacked. The frustration at the ease at which his younger brother handled him.
The young brother who was supposed to be a bookworm. The younger brother who would rather read a dictionary than play a sport had gained admission into a huntsman academy.
A few minutes passed as Jaune continued attacking only to be met with the same unmoving resistance.
"Why are you doing this?" Rowan asked as he easily blocked another strike.
"Shut up and fight!" Jaune screamed in frustration.
Though Rowan knew why Jaune was frustrated, it didn't mean he was automatically his biggest supporter.
As Jaune attempted another strike, Rowan leaned to the side, dodging for the first time since they started. A light punch to the back of the hand was what it took for Jaune's sword to fly out of his grip.
"Have you cooled off?" Rowan asked casually, angering Jaune even more.
The older boy swung his shield at Rowan only for the younger blond to throw a kick at it, the power behind the kick sending Jaune stumbling back a few meters.
Rowan could practically feel the worry radiating from Pyrrha who could only watch from the side.
Rowan's sensitive ears picked up Jaune's muttering as he stood to his feet. "…hy? Why? Why?!"
Jaune's face twisted into denial. "Why?! Why is this so unfair?! I'm the older brother! I'm supposed to be the strong one, not you!"
The boy continued his rant, causing Rowan to frown.
"Do you even hear yourself?" He had to ask. He wasn't going to try and coddle him since it could only make it worse.
Arguably, this could also make it worse but he also had some frustration to work out. "Did you honestly think you could just pick up a sword and be a hero? The knight in shining armor?"
Jaune had the decency to look away at that, not saying anything in response.
"That's not how life works. You have to work for something if you want it." He added as Jaune seemed to regain his voice.
"Shut up." Jaune muttered.
"What were you thinking when you decided to become a huntsman despite knowing nothing about how to fight?"
"Are you so prideful that you'd rather risk dying than ask for help?"
By now, Jaune was glaring holes into the floor as tears threatened to pour out of his eyes.
Seeing that it was going nowhere, Rowan sighed before making his way out of the training room.
"Where do you think you're going?" Jaune's voice came, still in denial.
"To my room." He answered simply, not pausing in his strides.
From the corner of his eye, he saw Jaune stand to his full height. The older Arc picked up his sword before letting out a war cry and charging towards his younger brother.
The moment Jaune was in range, Rowan spun in place, his heel smashing into Jaune's jaw and knocking him out flat.
He turned his attention to Pyrrha who rushed to help Jaune. "Please make sure he's alright."
He then proceeded to exit the training room. 'Why can I just have one day to relax?' He complained to himself as he felt his phone vibrating in his pocket.
Fishing it out of his pocket, he scrolled through the notifications only for his eyes to almost pop out of his skull.
Quickly dialing up a number, he waited as the phone rang. It didn't take more than a few moments for Julius to answer the call.
-"Hey kid. What's going on?"
"Don't 'Hey Kid' me. Explain." Rowan demanded, causing Julius to let out a chuckle from the other end of the line.
-"Oh right. I forgot to tell you about it before you left. It's your pay. It was an official huntsman mission and some of the participants are…unable to be around. There's also the fact that you contributed the most so it shouldn't be all that surprising."
Rowan's mind was still spinning from the number of zeros he saw in the alert. When he accepted the mission, he'd forgotten that Huntsmen actually got paid.
Since he contributed the most and also killed the Grimm, his portion was a large margin higher than the others.
"You can't just drop something like this on someone so suddenly." Rowan complained, having calmed down.
-"You'll be fine. Just don't spend it all in one night, if you know what I mea-" Rowan immediately ended the call with a sigh.
He was sure that huntsmen didn't get paid this much so he was more than curious on why he was. 'Ozpin's part of the council. Does he know something about the Cyclops?' Rowan wondered on his way to his room.
'I'll have to drop by the orphanage soon.' He thought as he reached his room door only to find a familiar cat faunus standing there.
"Can we talk?"
Sometimes, he regretted taking the post of headmaster of Beacon.
"James I cannot force the boy to do anything other than what he wants to do and I certainly can't force him to pack his bags and leave for Atlas." Ozpin said with a tired expression.
It seemed he had made a mistake by informing Ironwood about Rowan's ability to heal people.
"Ozpin, do you know how valuable that power is? There are soldiers who aren't able to fight due to traumatic injuries. With this, we can rejoin the fight and reduce the overall casualties." Ironwood argued.
"While that thought has occurred to me, you have to remember that you can't just force a budding huntsman to abandon his life here and move to Atlas." Ozpin countered.
"But you can. You're the headmaster of Beacon Academy and I'm the headmaster of Atlas Academy. It wouldn't be hard to arrange a transfer." Ironwood pushed, his stubbornness could be felt through the video call.
It was then that the silent man in the room decided to speak. "Need I remind you that this is my son you're talking about. I'm not going to just sit back and watch you argue about him like he's some toy." Julius said, making his opinion known as a frown emerged on Ironwood's face.
"What is more important? The happiness of one boy or saving hundreds of lives?" Ironwood asked in a matter of fact tone, causing Julius to explode in anger.
"Don't you dare make it sound so simple!" It was clear that the two men didn't like each other. "Now I'm warning you…both of you. If you even attempt to force him to do anything, Salem won't be your only problem."