Duties in Beacon is the second chapter of Ignis æterni, detailing the daily lives of the MAIDs in Beacon. It's narrated by Ivory Dietrich.
I stood in Headmaster Ozpin's office.
The headmaster adjusted his glasses "You understand, correct?" he asked me.
I nodded, understanding the mission he gave me "Yes, Professor Ozpin. I will see what I can do." I answered.
"Very well." he stood up, taking a sip to from his coffee. "I trust you will handle this with careful consideration. There is a reason I named your Team, MAID."
I nodded once again. "Yes. I will do what I can."
This is the beginning of our long-running mission. And I'm the head of the entire operation.
Act 1: The First Day
"FUCK!!! Uniforms?! Seriously?!?!" Maki complained, throwing a tantrum.
Besides her undergarments, she wasn't wearing anything. That's her 'sleep wear'.
I sighed as I looked at her "It is a combat school..." I pointed out. I'll be blunt, I did not expect that she would be fairly difficult to work with.
Noname and Azalea already wore their uniforms. Likewise, I also did so earlier. It was only Maki, who woke up late, who didn't put on her uniform.
"Fuck. That. I'm wearing my casual clothes or I'll wear nothing at all!" Maki shouted. I'm confused by her reaction. What's on her mind that she doesn't want to wear the Beacon uniform?
Turning the chessboard over, perhaps she's insecure? Or she wants to stand out, rather than blend in the crowd? It's a debatable issue. But what I cannot debate in is the fact that she was wasting our time.
"Alright. Up to you entirely. Class is beginning in a few minutes so we'll leave you be." I replied coldly.
Azalea looked at me, surprised at how direct I can be. "Wow. Captain Coldheart over here. Why suddenly serious?" she asked.
I sighed. I feel like I'm surrounded by halfwits. "Consider that you're under my jurisdiction. Don't expect I'll go easy. We are students of Beacon, right? Best of the Best?" I answered, before walking out of our dorm.
I walked through Beacon's dorm, seeing some team rooms left opened.
Notably, I saw Team MANA as I walked by. They had a little commotion between Miss Lorelei and Mister Zarruq. I didn't listen in, I'm not a scumbag. Miss Aurelius looked at me. I accidentally made eye contact as I passed.
I waved at her as if to say 'good morning'. She did the same, not changing her expression.
Strange, I thought Noname was quiet, but Miss Aurelius is something else.
I never heard her speak once.
As I focused on her, the rest of MANA noticed me and the waved at me in return.
Notably, Miss Lorelei approached me. "Good morning, fellow leader! Fancy seeing you here!" she said, raising her hand to shake hands with me.
...At least she's nice compared to my teammates. I shook her hands and said "Yes, a good morning to you as well, Miss Lorelei."
As I did so, Mister Pella gave a subtle glare at me. He eyed me for a bit before his expression calmed down. "You don't seem like you're up to no good. That's fortunate for you." he said. "Alexander Pella, I'm Margie's cousin."
"Yes, nice to meet you Mister Pella." I replied, nodding at his introduction. "I really have to go. My classes begin in a few minutes."
The MANAs looked at each other then to me again. "Grimm studies or Dust basics?" Miss Lorelei asked.
"Dust basics, Professor Rudolf." I answered.
Me and the rest of the MAIDs sat on the third row. Chatters in the classroom. Professor Rudolf is late...
Maki can be seen talking to a member of Team OGRE, Miss Juliet, I suppose? Their conversation isn't very clear. But it seems they met earlier today.
"Hmm... Where could Rudolf be?" Azalea asked as she leaned on her chair.
Meanwhile, Noname is scribbling some notes beside me. I glanced a bit and it seems to be a report. Perhaps for Ozpin?
The door opened, and a blonde-haired lady wearing a white dress and an azure coat came in. She was carrying a large luggage.
"Good morning everyone. I'm Professor Maxwell."
Act 2: The White Demon
I'll be direct. Professor Maxwell seems young. Too young. Even Professor Goodwitch looked older than her.
"Professor Rudolf called in sick today, so I'll be his substitute until then. Today is your first time studying the basics of Dust, right?" she laid down the luggage on the desk. It notably made a *thud* as it did. When she opened it, a variety of Dust can be seen.
Cut, uncut, vial... Of all different colors.
"So you wanna learn Dust? Alright let's begin. In this luggage is every known form of Dust besides the expensive ones. Anyone who tells me every kind of Dust earns a plus on their grade." she said, without even pausing.
Quickly, a brown-haired girl raised her hand to answer. It was Miss Turid of Team OGRE. "Fire, electricity, water and energy." she answered without waiting for Professor Maxwell to even call her.
The Professor sighed as she took out a red Dust Vial... And slammed it on the desk, causing an explosion that scared half of the class.
Meet the scariest Dust Professor in Beacon, the White Demon, Professor Elena Maxwell.
As the entire class grew silent, she dusted off her coat and wrote 'Dust' in elaborate letters on the blackboard.
"I'll be teaching you greenhorns, Dust! We'll be learning how to use Dust, how to survive against Dust and how to protect yourselves against Dust mages. I'll warn you kids in advance: I'm not gonna show any mercy. You wanna pass? You gotta strive." she lectured, starting the class with a bang. Literally. "Can you introduce yourselves? Starting from the back row, please."
"...What in the actual fuck..." Maki muttered, huddling together with Azalea.
The class began introducing themselves. From their voice, you can tell some of their most likely lost their bowels at Professor Maxwell's explosive introduction.
As everyone finished introducing themselves, the Professor cracked a smile. "I'll be handling quite a few interesting teams today. Please let's make this a lively class... okay?" she 'requested'. But it might as well be a demand.
Azalea straightened up in her chair and whispered to me. "Wow. She's officially high on my avoid list."
I gave her an expression of disgust. "Don't talk right now, Rappaccini. I'm not up for any stupid conversations."
She crossed her arms and pouted on the opposite direction. "Hmph. Jerk." she muttered under her breath.
The lecture eventually began, with Professor Maxwell detailing the basic history of Dust and it's everyday uses, the usual bells and whistles. It's irrelevant because it's merely a recap of what's already taught in other combat schools. That is, until she moved on into combat usage of Dust.
"So who here specializes in using Dust for combat?" she asked, holding a vial of yellow dust. "Like, advanced usage of it. Bullets don't count."
A few raised their hand. One of them including me.
"Hm, there's actually quite a few..." Professor Maxwell pointed out, before she pondered what to do. "...I suppose I'll pick two at random. Mister Dietrich and Miss Turid, step forward!"
And step forward we did. We stood in front of the class, switching to our combat attire for the practice.
"Sadly, due to Professor Port using up our Grimm cages, I was not able to provide a viable test subject. To compensate, I will be personally fighting you. That way, you will be able to apply all three of our main topics today. Using Dust, surviving against Dust and defending yourselves from Dust Mages." she said as she took our her weapon, an ornate gun of sorts.
[remain of old world - Cyber Rainforce]
"Prepare yourselves!" she shouted as she shot once, releasing a red streak of light towards us.
Miss Turid avoided the attack and retaliated by throwing a shuriken towards Professor Maxwell. A set of claws emerged from her hand and she looked at me.
"Don't hold me back, maid." she mockingly said as she ran towards Professor Maxwell.
My left eye twitched. Did she seriously just call me 'maid'? That will not stand. I made a swift hand motion with both hands, drawing out all of my daggers, following Miss Turid's lead.
Professor Maxwell gracefully sidestepped the incoming shurikens, even catching one by hand and tossing it back at us. I managed to dodge in time.
Miss Turid came within melee range towards her and began her attack. She slashed sideways, upwards, downwards. Several directions at once. Professor Maxwell parried them all with her feet.
As this occurs, I managed to get my daggers in range to hit her in the distance. I sent only the purple ones. I'm not entirely sure how serious Professor Maxwell is. Sure enough, she was forced to block using her gun thing. Using this temporary opening, Miss Turid used the armanents of her claw and began shooting at her. Explosions. Eventually, it died down and only smoke remained.
"Is she...?" Maki muttered, anticipating what will happen next.
A golden glow emerged from the smoke. It was a Dust glyph, coming from Professor Maxwell's bow. She held the string backwards, with a Dust Crystal visible on her hands.
Wait, bow? So her gun is also a bow? What?
Miss Turid didn't see it coming, Professor Maxwell released a surge of lightning that arced throughout the classroom, before landing between me and Miss Turid. It's as if lightning literally struck.
"Hm... Looks like we're almost out of time today. A decent performance, you two!" she said, as her weapon retracts back into a gun. She holsters it before speaking again. "Your silent teamwork was impressive. Though it was a quick glimpse of what you two can do, I can say you know how to fight, especially you Miss Turid!"
Miss Turid smiled back, most likely happy that Professor Maxwell recognized her worth.
We cleaned up a bit since we made a bit of a mess. Eventually Professor Maxwell dismissed us. After a while, Maki and Azalea went ahead to eat lunch, while I stayed to help Professor Maxwell in gathering the Dust she used back into her luggage.
[CIRCLE - Rengoku Teien]
"Oh, by the way," Professor Maxwell said out of the blue while I placed the last Dust Crystal on her luggage. "You're a detective in training, right, Mister Ivory?"
I nodded, before replying "Yes. Is something the matter, Professor Maxwell?"
"No, no. Just curious. You see..." she stood up, pacing around the room, before settling at the window. "I like smart people. I'm not the brightest bulb in Vytal, but I can assume I'm brighter than the others... but real smart people? They're like the sun."
I listened to her nonsensical analogy. Then, she began to tell a story of how she used to be when she first arrived in Beacon.
"...Well, it's just how it goes. So keep it up." she said as she returned to the desk to gather her stuff. She waved goodbye as she left the room, leaving me with Noname, who waited for me.
I sighed. First day in Beacon and I'm already well-liked. I hate that much attention.
Lunch. Me and the rest of the MAIDs sat in the table close to the exit. A fair distance away was Team MANA.
I only pointed them out because Maki is overflowing with hate for them. Such as when she smashes her spoon on the salad she's eating.
"Geez, what's wrong now, Maki-Maki?" Azalea asked, calling her by an odd nickname.
Maki glared back at her "Nothing. Shut the fuck up. I'm eating."
I sighed. Azalea and Noname? No big deal. Maki on the other hand? A loose cannon. "We seriously need to work on your attitude." I whispered.
She slammed her left hand on the table, bringing the attention of another team next to us.
"You think I have issues with attitude?! Say that again you fucking dickwad!" she shouted, standing up.
Some of the dining room fell silent. Maki looked around to see many eyes looking at her. She sat down, albeit forced.
"Talk about attitude." the blue-eyed girl beside me said. She notably had black hair with red streaks. "Oh, excuse me. I'm Alice Weston, of Team BLAM!"
Ozpin looked at his scroll, watching Team RWBY's battle against the Nevermore and took a sip from his mug. He looked at the student in front of him. "You understand, correct?" he said to the student.
The student bowed in return. "Of course, Headmaster. I know I can do it."
"Good. I expect great things from you." the headmaster replied. "It's a few minutes past noon. You may be able to take a break before your next class."
The student shook their head. "It's fine, Sir. I already ate before coming here."
Ozpin nodded in return, taking another sip from his mug. "As you wish. Tomorrow, I expect a full report of their activities."
The student held a folder, documenting several teams, one of them being Team MAID.
Act 3: The Sense of Doubts
I was face to face with Alice. Not a really comforting feeling, being surrounded by the opposite gender. A guy looking off in the distance came by, assisted by a different guy wearing black. They eventually sat down next to Alice.
"Brother! You came back!" she exclaimed, hugging the guy wearing black.
Alice's brother returned her hug, but broke it in a few seconds. "Settle down, I just helped Logan order his food, sheesh." he said as he took his seat.
Azalea turned her attention to them. "Are you three teammates?" she asked.
The guy looking off in the distance replied, but didn't bother looking at her. "Yeah. Because we wouldn't be sitting together if we weren't right?" he answered, before his face turned into an expression of curiosity. "I heard someone shouting earlier. What's up with that?" he asks.
I sighed, before answering his question. "Just my teammate, being herself. Please excuse her attitude."
A few seconds of silence. Then he replied. "Wait, who are you? I thought we were sitting next to Team RWBY?"
Alice's brother looked at him quizzically. "What are you talking about? You're talking to Team MAID. I thought you can hear really well, Logan."
Hear really well...? I think I'm putting two and two together. Logan... as Alice's brother calls him, is likely blind.
Azalea looked at the BLAMs again. "...Well, is your team incomplete or something? Where's your fourth member?"
On cue, the sounds of utensils and plates crashing on the floor can be heard. Logan visibly felt that one.
"And there's your answer." he replied, standing up. "Fearless leader, guide me to Marianne! Because she most likely fell asleep again."
With that said, Logan and Alice's brother stood up to find their runaway fourth member. Alice, just finishing her meal, stood up as well to follow them, but not before turning around to look at us.
"Well, I hope we can talk again! Bye~!" she said as she walked away and... did she just wink at me?
...Beacon is weird.
Maki and Noname silently ate. This is a strange change of pace, given how noisy they were last night. Maki, especially. They ate silently and quickly we didn't even notice the wrapped up their meal and left.
"So Miss Giacomo Rappaccini, how much do you know her?" I asked Azalea. "How much do you know Miss Kuronami?"
She frowned when I referred to her by her surname. "Please, just Azalea or Az. I'm... not much of a fan of my surnames." she requested.
"Alright then. Restating my question, Azalea, how much do you know her?" I asked again.
Azalea shrugged, twirling her spoon in her hand. "Nmot mhuch." she swallowed her food before she continued. "All I knew about her is that one time we met when she was defending a small village. She got a massive cut on her back. It did not look good." she paused to drink some water. "If she didn't have a strong enough aura, she would've died from blood loss. She was lucky I passed by."
"I see... an interesting story." I remarked as I finish my meal.
"How about you?" she suddenly said, giving a serious look to me. "How much do you know her?" she asked.
Shit. Now that's a difficult question to answer.
"Let's be clear here, as I'm a detective in training, I have no obligation to lie, so I will say it bluntly. I don't know Miss Noname. She never talks about herself. All I know is that she's a skilled user of the sword." I answered.
Azalea tilted her head at my question. "Huh. Then why'd you bother pairing up? I heard rumors that Miss Schnee walked out of Jaune Arc even though they made eye contact."
"That's rumors. Miss Schnee made eye contact with Miss Rose first." I replied. "Besides, being paired with a scholar would be beneficial for our team. You have some knowledge in medicines and botany, right? You're automatically invaluable to our team. Meanwhile, Miss Noname is the all-around jack-of-all-trades of our team. And I'm the tactitian. Surprisingly, Miss Kuronami is our vanguard. Though she has nothing to contribute in intellect, she contributed strength..."
The bell rang, signaling the end of our break.
Act 4: The Cycle of History
"...With that said, they founded the Schnee Dust Company, establishing one of the largest producers Dust in Remnant." I finished, reading the history of the SDC to class.
Small claps erupted from the classroom. It was less of a cheer and more of a forced clap.
"Thank you, Mister Dietrich. You may take your seat. As you know..." Professor Herodotus said, continuing his lecture afterwards.
I returned to my seat, sitting next to Noname. Only the two of us are in this class. Maki and Azalea are attending PE.
The Professor's lecture encompassed the room. He talks about how the SDC became the eventual target of White Fang's terrorist attacks and how violence breeds violence.
...Great, now I have that song in my head. As the discussion grew longer, Noname eventually fell asleep.
"Miss Noname!" Professor Herodotus exclaimed, causing her to bolt upright. "As I was asking, do you think that history is important?"
Noname looked down on the table. "...No. Though we learn much from the past, often, it's all just a conflict between two different factions." she answered.
"Hm! An interesting answer." the Professor said, clearly surprised at her answer. "Professor Oobleck would be hearing that from me. Your assignments will be sent on your scrolls. Don't forget to check them later tonight. Class dismissed!"
The classroom began to disperse, leaving very few students left.
Noname stood up, ready to leave. However...
"Wait." I suddenly said, stopping her in her tracks.
"...Why say that about History?" I asked.
She took a deep breath before she replied, without even turning to look at me. "The past is the past. Looking back at them will bring nothing but tragedy."
I stood up. "But without history, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past."
With my answer, she turned to look at me. Her gaze full of both anger... and sadness. "Which is why history is nothing but pain. If we are blissfully unaware of it, then there's no reason to feel bad, right?"
A guy in a row above us suddenly spoke up. "Girl, you're not making any sense. You don't like history, because it brings bad memories. So you're fine with repeating the mistakes of the past? That's some twisted logic."
It was Pan Everest, Team Leader of Team OGRE.