It wasn’t even dawn yet. Four in the morning, in the middle of fall. It wasn’t going to be warm any time soon in Mistral. Streetlights illuminated the road all the way to Haven Academy, and the sides of the school were lit as well. Workers hustled from place to place to ensure that everything was in order for the first day of classes.
Plenty of workers, but only one student. A young man laid back on a bench just outside the school, his white jacket illuminated even more by the streetlights. It gave him a spectral appearance. The jacket opened at his thighs, to grey pants and normal combat shoes. He had holsters for his two pistols, Past and Future. There was a hood on the jacket, but today he didn’t feel like wearing it. His brown hair went down to his shoulders in this point, and the same color eyes just watched the sky. The kid was almost as pale as his jacket was.
“Hello!~” A young woman plopped onto the bench next to him. She had the strangest accent. “You know you’re not supposed to be here yet, right?”
“...what.” The boy looked over at the stranger. Orange hair done up in a braid, green eyes, purple dress that only went down to her knees. The dress had holsters containing some… flintlock pistols, maybe? At least she wore boots, too. Veritable rainbow of a person. She had a necklace on, silver with an assortment of colors on it. Because this is just her thing, he thought.
“I mean, being here at this time was only for students that are travelling! You look like you’re from around here!” She smiled. “Oh! I forgot! My name’s Aimee.” She reached out to shake his hand.
The boy ignored Aimee’s offer. “...oh, wow. This just had to happen today… I wake up at FOUR IN THE MORNING-” - his volume change startled Aimee “-to come here! I could’ve slept another two hours!”
“So… what’s your name?” Aimee gave the boy the blankest possible stare.
“...It’s Ghost. Johnny Ghost.” The boy, the same color as the saltiness he currently possessed, sighed. He looked back up. It finally paid off.
Several airships, all from different kingdoms, came to Haven every year to drop off students. Many of the ships came from Vacuo, some came from Vale… it was a miracle to see an Atlesian airship. And the first wave of those ships was arriving now, right as the sun started to rise.
“Does this mean I can get up and do things now?” Ghost asked quietly.
“Why didn’t you get up and do things earlier, Monsieur Ghost?” Aimee got a fast glare from Ghost.
“There wasn’t anything to do yet! Maybe I can meet some people now!”
“But you just met me!”
“I meant OTHER PEOPLE!”
Aimee was hurt. “You’re… rather mean, Monsieur Ghost.”
“Ugh, it’s,” Ghost buried his head in his palms, “this is just really hard and this morning has not been the best morning I’ve had!” He got off the bench and started walking off in the early morning light. “I’m just gonna go into the school, find my way around...”
Aimee watched her new friend(?) walk off. She waited for him to be gone before getting up and heading to the school.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
The first airship to touch down had no one of importance to this tale. The second, however, was a Vacuan ship with the best of friends.
One person bolted out the doors immediately, standing in fresh air for the first time in several hours. He then cried out, “Crys! Why is it really cold?!” The kid looked back at his friend with green eyes and confusion. His dark green and pink attire wasn’t suited for Mistral weather; the only thing even remotely warm he had on was a pink beanie on top of his ginger hair. He had a quiver full of Dust-laden arrows on his back.
His friend, Crys, stepped off the ship with everyone else. He also had a beanie, but his was a dark purple hiding black hair. He had darker skin and clear purple eyes. Crys had bothered to wear a jacket, the same shade of purple, on the flight. Under the jacket was wizard robes. He didn’t appear to have a weapon at all. “Well, Spooker, it was warm on the flight. Let’s just get inside.”
Spooker ran back and hugged his best friend, then they walked into the school together.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
The very last airship was Atlesian. It contained exactly one person.
Short black hair, blue eyes, attire almost resembling a tuxedo. But of course, that was also in shades of dark grey to black. He had the stubble of stubble on his face. A staff with Dust tips was sheathed on his back. He stepped off the airship before looking down at his Scroll.
You sure you’ll be alright?
You don’t have to worry about me all the time,
I’m perfectly fine on my own.
Are you going to call me, at least?
<read at 7:21 AM>
The man sighed, before heading into the school.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
The entrance room of Haven Academy was packed this morning. Everyone was heading to the school’s auditorium for the beginning speeches. No one wanted to wait that long, they just wanted to fight Grimm.
But to fight Grimm, as they’d already learned from previous schooling, they’d need this training. So sit down, shut up, and listen to a skittish old man try to explain why everyone’s here.
This was Ghost’s current task, as he’d snatched a cup of coffee earlier and was now at least 70% awake.
“H-hello, students,” the headmaster started. “I’m Leo L-Lionheart.” Leo’s Faunus tail twitched.
And everyone was bored already. Another professor, a silver-haired woman, went to the stage and whispered to Leo. He nodded, and then left the podium. The woman cleared her throat.
“I’m sorry, but Leo’s just not very good at public speaking. I assure you it has no bearing on his leadership of this school. You all can call me Professor Iridi.” She bowed slightly.
Ghost, instead of listening to the continued speech, looked out across the seated crowd. At the very least, Haven’s auditorium bothered to have seats. He was hoping to see some people he knew, but the only one that stuck out to him was Aimee a few rows in front of him.
There was also someone wearing a dumb pink hat. The people near him also looked at that hat. Who wears THAT to a school? That kid, apparently.
Something caused him to snap back to the speech at hand. “Tomorrow, you’ll have your first teammates. Myself and the other professors will explain the process to you all tomorrow. It will involve fighting. Be prepared. Tonight, you may sleep anywhere inside this building. You’re adults; we won’t stop you from making poor decisions. Just know that tomorrow will be one of the most important days of your life so far. But it’s still early. Try meeting peers and making new friends. You’ll need them.” With that, Professor Iridi left the stage. There was some applause.
Ghost shrugged and got up, exiting to the main hallway. The coffee guaranteed a lack of sleep until the proper time… which was unfortunately all he could think of to do. Maybe this “friends” thing Mrs. Iridi talked about was a decent idea. He knew he’d need to have a team, just so that he could fight Grimm. But he hadn’t given it much thought until now. Making friends hadn’t been required at Ghost’s first fighting school, Sanctum, due to a lack of teams. He did, but just enough to get by. Now the stakes are different.
Aimee seemed nice, but weird, and she had decided that fighting in a dress was a good idea . Ghost wasn’t sure she was going to last long. But she’d gotten here, right? She had to have been good at fighting.
Thinking in the middle of the hallway about other people was a bad idea, as someone shouted “HEY!” behind him and he nearly had a heart attack. Ghost whipped around to see the cause of his startle.
It was Pink Hat Guy. Oh no, I’m associated now, Ghost thought as he looked around. Yep, he’s associated. And the Pink Hat Guy kept talking. “I’m Spooker, what’s your name?”
“I, uh, severely doubt that’s your name… I’m Johnny Ghost.” People were staring . Ghost was trapped in this conversation now.
“No, it… definitely is!” Spooker was way too loud, more people were noticing.
A friend of Spooker’s, in dark purple, walked to the conversation. “I’m sorry, did he scare you? He can be a little ecstatic sometimes.”
“I… noticed. I was actually going to anywhere but here before I got into this conversation, bye!” Ghost was swift when he needed to run from his problems.
Spooker huffed. “That guy’s kind of a jerk.”
Crys put a hand on his best friend’s shoulder. “It’ll be fine! You just have to find someone who likes you!”
The pink boye leaned into Crys, which led to a hug. “Thanks, man, you’re the best.”
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Ghost reached the dining hall after about an hour of wandering Haven’s hallways, getting a feel for the place. The tables had been moved to the side of the room, and people were already nesting in the middle of the room, waiting for bedtime. Many of them were huddled in groups, chattering like birds. Those were the people who knew each other. Still more people sat in groups of two or alone, reading books or trying to pass the time in a productive way.
Joke’s on them, Ghost’s passed the time in the least productive way possible: not making friends and also not really paying attention to the layout of the school! Now would have been a perfectly good time to sleep, but alas, the coffee refused to allow such a notion. Ghost would just have to stay up until nighttime.
And he could swear that someone in this room was watching him. Ghost was just making an attempt to not do anything stupid today, but the feeling just kept growing. He turned around, expecting another person, but there was no one. He couldn’t pinpoint where the feeling was coming from.
People were staring again. Ghost got frustrated and left the dining hall. He’ll just have to find somewhere else to sleep.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Morning could not have come sooner for Ghost. Already he was out in the field with several other students, waiting on the professor. Due to the size of the class, groups of students were divided up and placed into different groups.
Eventually, their professor did arrive. He was a fiery-haired-- oh wait his hair actually was on fire. “Don’t worry, it won’t burn you,” he said calmly, as if he knew the reaction everyone had. “Now, all the schools had to agree on a method of team assignment. It’s fairer that way! This year, all of the schools decided on this rule: You’ll be paired with the first person you make eye contact with, and then your pair will be placed with another pair. That’ll be your team!” The teacher was enthusiastic about the whole arrangement.
Ghost was much less so.
“So, in a moment, Iridi’ll use her Semblance to teleport you all across the forest. If you look over…” the teacher paused, looking, and then pointed to a hill, “that-a-way, you’ll see an old village. Inside those houses, there’ll be some items-- look, you’ll just know what they are when you see them, alright? Just grab one with your partner and get back to Haven. Also, you should probably stay alive for this. Pretty important.”
Ghost had almost managed to ask a question before he felt light. And then he wasn’t near anyone at all.