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A New Challenger!

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Yang, so used to standing at least eye level with even her fiercest opponents, had to crane her neck skyward to glare into the snarling mug of the man who towered above her.

Ghira Belladonna, the gargantuan Faunus man whose hulking frame seemed to be chiseled from a mountain, glowered at her with his arms folded across his broad, exposed, fur covered chest.

“So, you're the famous Yang Xiao Long I've heard so much about?” The newly reappointed leader of the White Fang growled through gritted teeth.

“I wouldn't say 'famous'.” Yang smirked. “More like...infamous!

Ghira's right eye twitched as the boulders stuffed into tree trunks that were his arms flexed and tightened.

“Is that so?”

“You know it, bro.”

The pair of warriors exchanged intense glares, and a bolt of electric energy passed between them. Bright yellow flames radiated off Yang's tensely coiled body, matched only by the deep purple aura storm that engulfed Ghira the moment this blonde brawler strolled into his home.

“So what exactly makes you 'infamous', Miss Xiao Long? If I may ask?”

“You may. And, well, I could tell you – or I could show you!”

A broad, cocky grin broke out across the young brawler's face as she lowered herself onto one knee in front of the coffee table. She propped her left elbow on the table and offered her open palm to the grizzled veteran fighter and chieftain, taunting him by wriggling her fingers.

Ghira grunted and lowered himself into a cross-legged position opposite Yang, mimicking her gesture and engulfing her hand in his frying pan sized mitt.

“Are you sure you wouldn't rather use your...other arm?” He offered with just the tiniest hint of a sneer.

“Heh, this'll be fine. Figured I'd be a considerate guest and give you a bit of a handicap, Big Cat.”

“Hmph. Your arrogance will be your downfall, little dragon.”

“Oh I'll show you how 'little' my dragon is, old man!”

“Bring it!”

Both warriors let out fearsome battle cries that shook the rebuilt Belladonna Manor to its foundation – and the battle began!

Yang squeezed and pushed with all her might, deciding to go full-strength from the get-go and hopefully get a surprise first fall against her much larger and far more experienced opponent.

But to her grim realization, the old man was even stronger than he looked: Despite giving it everything she had, Ghira's arm didn't budge! In fact, his lined, bearded face didn't seem to register that Yang had even started trying to pin him! She grunted, pushed, and strained, but the mountain refused to bow!

“Hmph. Is this all you've got, child? All that bragging and boasting earlier, I expected you to present some sort of challenge! But this?”

In a single fluid motion, and seemingly with almost no effort, Ghira slammed Yang's hand onto the surface of the table.

“Gah!” Yang let out an exaggerated howl, pulling her arm away and shaking away the sharp, stinging pain. “Damn it!”

“Never call me 'old man' again, young one.” Ghira smirked. Getting to his feet and standing his full height to look down his nose at Yang he added, “I do rather like 'Big Cat', though.”

Yang gritted her teeth and glared, humiliated, at her girlfriend's father. Ember like sparks crackled throughout her suddenly billowing hair and even in the air around her. Her fingers and muscles twitched with determination. The Branwen blood coursing through her veins had been ignited by the flames of an insurmountable opponent – and she loved it!

Turning her glare into a sharp grin she offered, “Best two out of three? I'll even really try this time!”

“Those types of taunts may work on younger, more hotheaded enemies. But I see right through you, Miss Xiao Long: You're decades too young to challenge me!”

An idea flashed in Yang's mind.

“Then, let's make it interesting. Are you a betting man, Big Cat?”

Ghira arched one eyebrow.

“I'm listening.” He stroked his beard.

“Give me one more shot to take you down. If I win, Blake and I get to sleep in the same bedroom while we're staying here.”

An expression of fatherly concern and anger rippled across Ghira's face, but it vanished and smoothed into a confident grin.

“That's quite a high wager. What could you possibly have to offer me that would be of equivalent exchange?” He demanded.

“Simple: If you win then I get a hotel room, and every date Blake and I go on while in Menagerie can be a double date with you and Kali – ya know, to make sure that we don't get up to any 'funny business'.”

She winked, and when Ghira's eyes widened to roughly the size of milk saucers she knew that she had him!

“Interesting.” He stroked his beard once more, attempting to pretend that he hadn't already made up his mind; but Yang could see through him just as easily. “But you do realize that I can make both of those things happen even without playing this silly game, don't you?”

“Sure, but I also know that you're a big soft kitten who would never do anything to upset his daughter, like kicking out her girlfriend or spying on her dates.” Yang shrugged. “So, I'm giving you a legally binding excuse to do both those things! I mean, unless you're afraid that your first victory was a fluke!”

Ghira snarled, then grunted as he resumed his sitting position across from the smooth talking blonde.

He propped up his right arm and said, “You're going to regret this, child.”

Yang interlocked her prosthetic fingers with his to the best of her ability, and set her jaw in a determined grin without saying a word.

Ghira bared his fangs and uttered a low, guttural growl as he set out to end this fight just as quickly as the last.

But this time, Yang didn't budge.

Granted it still took everything she had to remain vertical while pushing against her much more powerful opponent, but this time she had a bit of extra fire fueling her: The desire to sleep in the same room as her girlfriend for a whole week, and not some lousy guest room on the other side of the estate!

Her yellow mane erupted in a burst of golden flames. The lilac pools of light drowned in deep, boiling crimson. Electricity coursed through her veins, which she gathered and forced into her prosthetic arm.

Ghira's fierce facade cracked and crumbled away, exposing the expression of a frightened and concerned father fighting to keep his daughter safe from a hungry young dragon. Eyes dilated and jaw set in a menacing snarl, he bellowed a thunderous roar and focused all of his fatherly determination into his right arm!

But despite the shaking of the table, of the house, and the trembling of Yang's own body, she refused to back down!

For the honor...of Bellabooty! And Kitty Titties!

“!!!” She cried, drowning out Ghira's roars with a ferocious yell of her own!


With a final burst of strength, she slammed Ghira's arm onto the table; the distinct sound of wood splintering under such sheer force were drowned out by the giant's own vanquished cries.

Ghira pulled his arm back, blew on it and tried to shake away the burning pain, then shot daggers at the smugly grinning Yang.

“I'll be moving my stuff into Blake's room now, if that's okay with you Big Cat?” She winked, standing up and wriggling her prosthetic fingers to make sure they still worked.

For a moment you could cut the tension in the air with a knife as the defeated elder jungle cat and the vibrant young dragon stared at each other.

But then, Ghira's eyes widened – and the giant tossed back his head and roared with laughter; the noise caught Yang off guard, but she quickly joined in.

“Well, I lost fair and square so a deal's a deal!” Ghira chortled, getting to his feet and walking over to Yang. He placed one massive arm around her shoulder, gave her a gentle shake, and exclaimed, “I knew right away I was going to like you more than that monkey-tailed idiot!”

“Right back at ya, Big Cat!” Yang laughed, playfully slugging Ghira.

The two warriors continued their boisterous laughter and exchange of friendly jabs as they strolled off to the guest room to collect Yang's bags to move them into Blake's room.

Once they were out of sight Kali turned to Blake; they had been watching this ridiculous macho display from the couch the whole time, quietly sipping tea.

“I like her.” Mrs. Belladonna announced, offering her daughter a tender smile.

Blake returned the smile and replied, her cheeks flushed and eyes lowered in slight embarrassment, “Yeah, me too.”

Kali took another long sip of tea then asked, “So...are her abs as nice as Sun's, or better? And about that arm...”