RWBY: The Bloodied Thirty Pieces

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RWBY: The Bloodied Thirty Pieces

Post  LordTomyh on Thu May 12, 2016 11:49 pm

Yang, Blake and Weiss get ready for their second semester by investigating into the actions of the White Fang and Roman Torchwick. But when a young fighter wielding the weapon of their dead leader shows up and almost kills one of them the remnant of team RWBY have to figure out quickly who the fighter is before more bodies turn up.

Chapter 1 - Somewhere over the Rainbow

Yang kicked aside some snow and sat down, her golden hair blowing in the wind. She smiled sadly and reached down to brush snow off the headstone, revealing the dark ruby emblem and the words ‘Summer Rose. Thus Kindly I Scatter .'


“Hey mum,” Yang said, placing a bouquet of white roses in front of the stone before leaning back. “Sorry I haven't been to visit in a while. I’ve been busy with school and such. No that’s a lie,” the blonde brawler chuckled, a tear escaping her lids, “it’s just, still so hard to come and visit you, and-”


Yang looks over to her right, more tears starting to spill as she looks at the second headstone, this one fresher while the emblem, the same as Summer, and the words still stand out against the snow.


Ruby Rose. Red Like Roses Fills My Dreams .'


“I still can’t, I can’t accept that she’s gone. She was my baby sister, my little-” Yang cut herself of, trying her hardest not to give in to the pain in her chest and sob. “I should have been there, I should have protected her! We had one fight, we never fight! and it got her killed! Because I was an idiot. A stubborn, prideful, hot-headed idiot!”


Yang slammed her fist into the ground, a burst of fire exploding from the point of impact as her hair flashed a bright blinding gold. Clouds of steam hissed around her as the ice was evaporated instantly under her fists. Slowly these clouds grew quiet and disappeared, leaving just the blonde girl. Her whole body shook as she sobbed, hot tears falling from her face.


“I failed her! I failed you! I failed dad! I failed everyone!”


The wind suddenly picked up, wiping away Yang’s tears like a caring hand. The young girls eyes shot open in shock, and for a second there she saw a woman standing over her, cloaked in a great white hood and cloak with a warm, sad smile on her face. Yang blinked at the woman was gone again, but the air above the gravestone was full of rose petals, white and red dancing together as the wind shifted again, carrying them over the cliff.


A warmth started to spread in Yang’s chest, a smile mirroring the one the woman had touching her lips as she wiped her eyes and stood up. Looking up to the rose petals Yang whispered “thanks mum. Take care of her for me,” before with one last glance to Ruby’s headstone turned and walked back the way she came, tromping through the snow to the Bullhead parked just over the rise.


_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter Two - Way up High

Post  LordTomyh on Thu May 12, 2016 11:58 pm

Pieces of concrete go flying as the Atlesian Paladin-290 mech suit crashed to the ground. Standing up to its full height it looks up as Blake, Weiss and Yang land in front of it, their faces deadset with their weapons ready. Inside the Paladin Roman Torchwick chuckled and took a step forward, a bolt in the foot sliding down with a hiss of steam as he swung the other leg forwards. As the mech approached Weiss yelled out “Freezerburn,” and spun around in a circle, ending with her sword pointing straight down to the ground. Blake jumped backwards and disappeared while Yang jumped straight up, bringing her fist up ready to slam it down.

Weiss bent one knee, bringing her sword down into the ground. From the point of contact, a thin layer of ice erupted, covering the ground for a wide area under the Schnee heiress and the Paladin. When the ice finished spreading Weiss jumped backwards, as Yang came down on the spot she had been, bringing her fist down on the ice with an explosive fiery blow. The sheet of ice evaporated instantly, covering the area in a dense mist. The Paladin didn’t move, instead, dozens of bright red lasers appeared all over the suit, moving independently of the suits bodily direction. The Paladin started to walk forwards again, turning at the waist to look around in the mist as the lasers flashed through the whiteness. Inside Roman growled as he checked all the screens, keeping the gun-arms up. Outside the mech suit stepped further into the mist as it started to fade.

The Paladin stopped and turned around, a sensor inside lighting up as a shadow danced past, just on the edge of the dissipating whiteness. Another shadow danced behind it, followed by a third. The third shadow, however, stood out against the white mist and was too slow. Roman turned the mech around and fired twice at Yang, missing both times. Weiss danced past her teammate and the wreckage, catching Roman’s attention. The mech suit turned and fired again, the explosive dust round landing just between Yang and Blake as they ran, knocking them aside. Laughing Roman took a step back, looking for the white-haired huntresses.

The three girls landed in front of the Paladin, looking unscathed. This time, it was Yang to give out the command, yelling ‘Checkmate!’ as she jumped back. Weiss and Blake darted forward, getting inside the Paladin’s defences and attacking the legs, forcing it back several steps. While Blake continued to hack at the mech’s legs Weiss leapt up and stabbed one of the laser sensors with Myrtensater, taking out the entire laser system. As she fell Weiss placed a glyph under herself and jumped away as the mech continued to step back. Undeterred the Paladin lifted its leg, aiming at Blake who was charging towards the mech. Weiss was faster and placed a glyph under her teammate, forcing her backwards as the large mechanical foot came down hard on the concrete, cracking it into several large pieces.

Roman growled again and flicked some switches. Panels on the Paladin’s shoulders opened up, launching dozens of rockets into the air. As Blake lands, Weiss places another glyph under the two, the huntresses-in-training jumping backwards as the rockets landed and exploded. Weiss and Blake continued to leap backwards, somersaulting to avoid the rockets. On their second flip Roman saw an opening; taking a step back he brought up the gun-arms and fired. Both bolts hit Weiss, luckily having her weapon in place to block the explosive force, and knocked her backwards. As she flew Weiss fired a stream of pale golden light towards Blake.

The black-themed huntresses saw this and rolled to the side, landing inside a pale golden glyph as it started to form. A spinning clock-face formed under Blake’s feet, the hands growing faster and faster as she herself began to glow with pale golden light. Roman, not seeing the golden glow through the blue hardlight screen, fired another salvo of rockets at the young huntresses. Blake brought the katana of Gambol Shroud across in a broad stroke, an arc of purple light coming off the blade as she brought the cleaver half of her weapon down in a vertical strike, again an arc of purple light coming off the blade. The purple light speed forwards, cutting a rocket in half each. Blake swung her weapons around her as if attacking an enemy just in front of her. Purple arcs burst from her weapon, one after one after one, cutting rockets in half. A wall of explosives filled the air between her and the mech as the golden glow faded. The huntresses turned and charged at the Paladin while it was distracted, darting through the legs keeping ahead of the body as it swivelled to try and fire. Roman swore and fired the guns at the empty space in front of him. Blake slid to a stop in front of the mech and turned to attack again when the explosive bolts hit the ground in front of her, knocking her backwards into Weiss as she got to her feet.

Laughing Roman took a step towards the two when the whole mech shook as if something had just hit it. Growling Roman checked the screens when a loud banging sound started to reverberate through the mech-suit, the whole thing shaking with each sound and red warning lights starting to show up. Flicking a switch one of the screens shifted to a camera view of the Paladin’s back and shoulders. Yang was crouched atop the Paladin, bringing her fist down, bursts of fire accompanied each blow. With a scowl permanently etching into his face Roman pulled back on the controls, causing the Paladin to leap backwards through several support columns for the highway above. The mech's charge was stopped by a third column, the concrete block cracking under the force. Yang grunted in pain and lost her grip on the machine; as he fell the Paladin turned around. Part of its gun arm detached itself from the rest and flipped in front of the barrel, forming a fist. Just before the blonde brawler Roman swung with the now full-arm, slamming the large robotic fist into Yang's body and knocking her through the cracked column.

Blake and Weiss saw this, their eyes going wide in shock for their teammate. "Yang!" Blake called out and took a step to rush to the blonde's side while Weiss raised Myrtensater at the Paladin, the dust chamber swiveling around so the blue chamber sat in line with the barrel.

The Paladin looked up at Blake's call, and lifted the other arm, firing several salvos from the gun. Blake swore and jumped aside as the bolts came at her. However she didn't see Weiss swing her sword around, dust particles flying from the weapon and crystallizing the air into ice. The tip of the sword cut through Blake's unguarded shoulder, tearing deep through muscle and even nicking the bone. Blake screamed in pain and fell to the ground, dropping her weapons as she did so that she could place her uninjured hand to the wound. Weiss swore and dropped to her knees, still holding Myrtensater, but reaching for a vial of healing dust she kept on her at all times.

Roman laughed cruelly at Blake's misfortune, not caring that the bolts he had fired had missed. He raised the Paladin's main gun to fire again; however Roman had failed to notice yang get back to her feet, her hair starting to shine bright good as her lilac eyes burned red.

Roman, his scowl replaced with a cheery grin, lined the two girls up in his targeting sights. Gently he squeezed the trigger, wanting to relish the moment.
Without warning, the entire gun arm exploded. Red warning lights flashed all over the cockpit as the Paladin was thrown to the ground, tearing up huge gouges in the concrete as it went. Swearing Roman got the Paladin back to its feet and check all of the screens; besides the entire right arm and some minor hull damage, the Paladin was in the green. The criminal mastermind then caught on his visual screen what had caused the gun arm to explode.

Yang was getting to one knee at the bottom of a small crater in the ground, her body covered in cuts and bruises. One of her arms looked badly burnt, the yellow gauntlet gone, lying wrecked across the distance between the brawler and the Paladin. Roman guessed she had stuck her arm in the barrel and fired as he did, causing the explosive round to detonate in the chamber; the criminal whistled in admiration for his enemy, she was lucky to have escaped with just burns, cuts, and a broken weapon, her entire arm should be mush after that.

"Well I've got to hand it to you blondie," Roman said through the suits speakers as he shifted the other arm back to gun mode. "A stunt like that should've gotten you killed at the very least."

Yang shakily got to her feet, spitting out a wad of blood, saliva and the shattered remains of a tooth. Weiss watched her in shock, Yang SHOULD be dead or unconscious after that, and now she looked like she could barely stand. Weiss had never seen the blonde like this, looking so beat up and ready to collapse. The white-haired heiress glanced at Blake, trying to wrap her bow around the wound Weiss had made while her injured arm hung limply at her side.

The Schnee heiress swore and got to her feet, raising Myrtensater. This caught both Roman and Yang’s attention.

"So Ice Queen," the criminal laughed, "ready for the ball?"

"Weiss, take care of Blake," Yang shouted, dropping into her usual combat stance, "I've got the-"

An explosive bolt caught her in the stomach, knocking her through the air. Yang came down hard on her shoulder, screaming in pain that could not hide the very loud snap that resonated through the air as she rolled.

"Yang!" Weiss screamed, taking her eyes off of the enemy to follow her teammate as she tumbled. Despite her concern for the blonde brawler, the huntress realized her mistake and started to turn back. The world turned to slow-motion as she saw in her peripheral vision the flash of the gun discharging, the firework-like bolt coming towards her, a dead-on shot. Weiss tried to swing Myrtensater around to block it, but she knew she was too slow. Her aura would protect her from any serious injury, but she could feel how much she had left; she would survive the attack, but her aura would be all but gone.

Suddenly the bolt exploded in mid-air. Weiss looked to Yang or Blake in surprise, expecting one of them to be on their feet with a weapon up. The black haired huntress was in a crouch, holding her injured hand while Yang still was on the ground, groaning in pain as she held her shoulder. Neither of them could have destroyed the bolt.

"Then wh-" Weiss was cut off as a shadow detached itself from one the support pillars, darting towards the Paladin. Rose petals fell in its wake as the shadow jumped into the air in front of the mech suit. Roman saw it and swung the Paladin around, aiming to swat the shadow away.

With the boom of hardened steel meeting hardened steel the Paladin's gun-arm was blocked, by a large red and black mechanical scythe held by the shadow.
Weiss and Blake stopped frozen where they stood, eyes growing wide with shock. Oblivious to the two huntresses the shadow, a small petite human dressed head to toe in black with a tattered red bandana and hood, pulled a trigger on the scythe. The heavy recoil pushed the weapon, and its wielder, backwards through the air in a sharp somersault.

Roman growled and fired at the shadow, the firework-like bolt closing the distance between the gun and the shadow almost instantly.

The shadow fired the scythe again, this time, the recoil sending them rocketing to the ground out of the bolts path. As soon as their feet touched the ground the shadow darted forwards, fading into the darkness and the mist still lingering. Roman didn't have time to react when the whole suit shook again, warning lights flashing on his screens. The other arm had been cut off.

The criminal swore loudly, banging his fist against the now useless arm controls and started looking around for the shadow. Suddenly one of the screens to his left lit up and he turned to face it; the Paladin mimicked his movements, turning to face the shadow standing with the scythe slung over their shoulder, the massive weapon head / barrel resting on the ground.

"Son of a-, and I thought the cat was enough trouble," Roman muttered as he flicked several of the switches. The panels on the mech's shoulder opened up again, rockets launching out with gaseous THOOMPS and bouts of fire and smoke.

The shadow cocked its head and vanished in a cloud of rose petals. Explosions ripped through the air as each of the rockets were cut in half, all just inches in front of the suit. Inside Roman yelled in shock as the whole front of the Paladin was torn open, street and moonlight assaulting the criminal.

"SON OF A b*tch!" Roman yelled as he screaming klaxons started going off in the wreck of the cockpit. Looking to his left he pulled on the little red lever and felt the back of the Paladin blowout, dragging him with it. The criminal landed on his feet and slid to a stop as the mech suit exploded, showering the area with shards of twisted metal and torn cables. His shoulders falling Roman looks at the crater left by the Paladin in annoyance. "Just got that thing cleaned."

A sound made the criminal jump and turn around. The shadow stood a few meters from him, the tip of the scythe blade embedded in the ground so the barrel was around chest-height, and aimed right at him. Slowly he started to raise his hands, offering an uneasy grin.

The shadow pulled the trigger.

Roman went bug-eyed, his jaw dropping as the start of a swear word started to form in the back of his throat. As the dust bullet drew closer another shadow landed in front of the criminal and deflected the bullet. The first shadow looked up from the scythe's gunsights in shock. In front of her was a pink and brown lacy parasol, blocking Roman and whoever held it. With a sigh of intense relief from the criminal, the parasol moved to reveal a short woman with hair like the neapolitan ice cream, eyes that seemed to change colour from pink to brown to white, and dressed in a white vest with brown pants.

"Once again, impeccable timing Deary," Roman said to the ice-cream haired woman before lifting his eyes to the scythe-wielding shadow. "Well Black I can say this was an eventful evening, but as much as I would like to stay and chat, this is where we must part ways. Neo"

The ice-cream haired woman smiled and bowed towards to the shadow, never taking her eyes off the scythe-wielder. The shadow simply cocked their head in return and pulled the trigger. The dust bullet closed the distance quickly, hitting Neo just off centre of the chest. Neo's entire body shattered like glass, as did Romans. The shadow looked up again in surprise when the sound of a bullhead powering up dragged her attention to the right. Flying off in the transport vehicle Roman and Neo stood at the back doors, the criminal waving down to the shadow as the vehicle flew off.

The shadow rose to their feet and watched the bullhead fly off. They didn’t move to lift the scythe and shoot down the fleeing vehicle.

“Ruby?”

The shadow jumped at the voice, barely even a whisper and spun around, dragging the scythe with them. Blake and Weiss stood staring with expressions of pure shock, their eyes trying to make sense of the person in front of them, yet finding it hard to believe that their team leader, their friend, was still alive.

This close to the shadow they could see that it wore a red mask with two white lines running vertically down over the slit-like eyes. Blake noted it looked a lot like a Grimm mask with the colours reversed. Holding her injured shoulder the black-haired huntresses watched the shadow, her face shifting from shock to scrutinizing; something seemed off about the person in front of her. The way they stood, the way they held the Crescent Rose, even their body shape and size stood out in Blake’s mind. Weiss, however, saw none of this. She only saw the scythe, the petite statue, and the red hood.

“Ruby, is that really you?” the heiress said, tears starting to spill over her lids as she stepped towards the shadow. “You, you were dead! How did-”

Weiss was cut off by a sharp pain in her chest. Slowly she looked down and found the bottom spike of Crescent Rose protruding from her chest, her white dress staining dark.

“Wha-,” shock and pain mixing in her voice Weiss raised her head to the shadow, hands on the scythe as it regarded the heiress with the expressionless mask.
“Why?”

The shadow didn’t answer with words. Instead, it drove the scythe further into the young girls chest until the two were inches apart. Weiss started to feel faint, her vision dimming as the pain in her chest started to numb.

Blake was horrified, frozen in the shock if what had happened. She watched numb and mute as Weiss slipped into unconsciousness, the only thing holding her up now was the scythe extending through her torso and out her back. With a flat, bored ‘hmm’ the shadow ripped the weapon from the heiresses limp body, letting her drop to the ground; a sprout of blood erupted from the wound, coating the ground as more began to pool from Weiss’s body.

The sight of the red tide set out life and action in Blake. Screaming her teammates name she turned her raging golden eyes on the shadow and hefted Gambol Shroud with her good arm. The shadow turned suddenly at her cry, cold flat red slits meeting fire-filled amber. With another bored ‘hmm’ the Shadow stepped backwards, dipping its head to Blake, and disappeared in a flurry of red rose petals.

Blake swore and looked around for the shadow, raising her weapon. It was nowhere to be seen, and in anger she screamed and threw her weapon at the nearest patch of darkness.

“Blake!”

The black-haired huntress turned around, and all the pain and shock came flooding back. Yang was laying beside Weiss, hand on the heiress’s chest trying to stop the bleeding. Blake ran to their side, eyes darting over Weiss as she stammered, her voice sounding close to breaking. “What should I do? What should I do?”

“Ring Beacon, tell them to send a bullhead now!” Yang said, not daring move. Blake nodded and stammered out a ‘yes’ as she pulled out her scroll and dialed the number for the school. Someone picked up on the second ring, a cheery voice filling Blake’s ear saying "Hello Beacon front desk. How may I help you?

“My friend is hurt! She’s been stabbed through the chest, she’s breathing but barely and she’s unconscious! Please send help!”

The receptionist’s voice went from warm and cheery to serious in a heartbeat. “Are you a student of Beacon,” she asked Blake, the sound of keys being hit coming through as well.

“Yes yes! I’m Blake Belladonna, team RWBY. My friend is Weiss Schnee!”

Ok miss Belladonna, I’ve alerted professor Ozpin and Professor Goodwitch. A medical team is being put together now and should be with you soon. May I have your current location, please?

Blake gave the receptionist their location and asked them to please hurry before hanging up. Yang looked up from their teammate, her eyes showing how close she was to crying or flying into a rage, despite her shoulder, yet her face remained strong, showing none of the cracks as she kept pressure on Weiss’s wound.

“They’ll be here soon Weiss,” Blake said, picking up the heiress’s paler than normal hand, “just hold on ok, just hold on.”

“Just hold on.”

_________________

Facebook || DeviantArt || FanFiction.Net || ArchiveOfOurOwn || Wattpad

Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter Three - And the Dreams That You Dream Of

Post  LordTomyh on Fri May 13, 2016 12:04 am

The sterile calm of the infirmary waiting room was broken by the STOMP STOMP STOMP of Yang pacing the room, one arm in a sling while the other was covered in damp bandages. The blonde brawlers face was starting to show cracks now, worry, fear, anger, and shock starting to show. Her eyes flashed with a ‘will break the first person I see five different ways’ fire one second only to switch to ‘about to break down and cry my soul out’ darkness the next.

Blake shared her partner’s warring emotions; not to the same extent, but they were present in her face and her eyes boring a hole in the tiled floor. The black-haired huntresses, now with her cat ears hidden again by a bow, was sitting in a chair with her legs tucked up to her chest and her arms around her knees. Unlike Yang Blake only had a healing-dust bandage on her shoulder, the cloth glowing a pale green.

Amber eyes briefly looked up from the floor, fixing on the white door marked INFIRMARY in big bold red; a flashing sign next to the door read ‘SURGERY IN PROGRESS’.

With each flash of the letters Blake felt the fear and anxiety build itself higher and higher. Tearing her eyes away they settled on a plain black-covered sketchbook on the chair next to her.

Sun had brought it up to her after she messaged him what had happened. Within 15 minutes of sending the message the golden-haired monkey Faunus burst into the room, luckily with the sketchbook, and gone straight for Blake, his mouth running 100 times faster than normal and just repeating 'are you ok? What happened?' It took the cat-Faunus several minutes to calm him down enough to ask him to leave, saying that she just wanted to be alone with Yang while they wait. Sun at first tried to protest, but after a half-hearted joke from Yang asking him to help her vent and be her punching bag, and some reassuring words from Blake, Sun simply nodded, mumbling something about if it was his teammate and left with a backwards 'She'll pull through, she's Weiss. If you need me, if you need us, any of us, you know where to look.'

Blake let out a deep breath and opened the book. Autonomously she flipped through the pages, not stopping or really looking at the sketches and drawings, just enough to know which ones weren’t the one she was looking for; she stopped briefly on a sketch of a tall man from behind, looking back over his shoulder. Blake closed her eyes and flipped the page, opening them again and feeling all the pain and shock flood back through her.

The sketches cruel emotionless slit-eyes stared up at her from the blank faceless mask. The shadow lay on the page made of ink and shades, exactly as it had stood before piercing Weiss with Crescent Rose. Blake had drawn the sketch for Ozpin and professor Goodwitch when they came to question the girls, and as soon as she had finished the last line Blake had snapped the book shut and threw it on the chair, unable to contain the myriad of powerful emotions and fears warring to tear her head and heart apart.

The hissing of the infirmary door sliding open made Blake jump, snapping the sketchbook closed again as Ozpin and Goodwitch stepped into the room. The black-haired huntresses-in-training glanced from the silver-haired headmaster to the sign by the door and felt her heart plummet as she saw that it no longer was flashing.

“Weiss!” Yang all but shouted stepping in front of Ozpin; Blake slid to her side, staring at the headmaster, hoping yet fearful. “Is she ok? Please tell me she is ok?”
“Miss Schnee is very fortuitous that the medical team arrived when it did,” Ozpin said in a calm, flat tone he always used, his ultimate poker face giving nothing away. “They say that thanks to you keeping pressure on the wound miss Xiao Long that she managed to last so long with such a grievous wound.”

“But is she ok! Will she be alright?”

“Yes, miss Schnee will survive. She is a medically-induced coma at the moment while doctors and nurses apply the last of the dressings and dust to her. She should be awake within a day or two.”

Blake felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulder. Placing a hand over her heart she gasped in relief, a few tears of joy springing to her eyes. Yang fell to her knees, smiling and muttering something under her breath as her tears ran in rivers. Ozpin kept his poker face as he watched the girls, before helping the blonde brawler back to her feet and guiding her to a chair; Goodwitch followed behind him but made no move to sit down, instead opting to stand just off to the side as the headmaster sat down across from Yang and Blake as the faunus sat down beside her partner.

“Now,” Ozpin said, lacing his fingers together and bringing the conjoined hands to rest before his mouth. “Tell me what happened.”

Yang and Blake share a look of concern and worry. What they had been doing was not exactly endorsed by anyone at the school, but neither of them could see a way to fabricate a story and lie to the famed Ozpin.

“We, were investigating into the White Fang,” Blake said hesitantly, turning her gaze back to the headmaster. He simply nodded and gestured for her to continue. “I was with Sun Wukong at a rally when we were noticed by Roman Torchwick.”

“He was also present at the shipyards if I’m not mistaking. The same night you, your teammates, mr Wukong and a young girl were seen and reported fighting members of the White Fang, correct?” Ozpin interrupted, dropping his hands and sitting up straight in his chair.

Blake nodded. “Yes, sir. We believe that Torchwick and the White Fang are up to something more than just stealing dust, and we couldn’t sit idly by while they were out there.”

“I understand,” Ozpin said simply, a faint glimmer of approval touching his eyes while Goodwitch scowled at the girls, obviously disproving on their actions. “I would have done much the same in this situation. So how did miss Schnee end up badly injured and fighting for her life?”

“Torchwick chased Blake and Sun in a stolen combat-robot,” Yang said, drawing Ozpin’s gaze. “We managed to get it off the highway and were fighting it when things started to turn, bad.”

“Yang and I were badly injured in the fight while Weiss was unhurt, but she was almost hit by several rockets,” Blake added, rubbing her bandaged shoulder. “She was too slow to defend herself or move.”

“That’s when, they, showed up.”

“They?” Ozpin asked, lacing his fingers again as he dropped his head to stare over his glasses. Yang turned to Blake and gestured to the headmaster, and the faunus picked up her sketchbook and flipped to the page before handing it over. Ozpin took the book, his eyebrows disappearing into his hair as he studied it. Goodwitch stepped behind him and looked over the headmaster’s shoulder, her mouth dropping in shock as she did.

“Is that?”

“Apparently so,” Ozpin said simply as he closed the book and handed it back. His eyes locked on the two girls, “do you have any idea’s on who this person is and why they have the weapon of miss Rose?”

“Not just Cresent Rose professor,” Blake said, putting the book aside. “They also had her semblance.”

“Well my first question is how is this possible?” Ozpin said, standing up. “Semblance is entirely individualised, no two the same, and young miss Rose is dead. So how is this possible?”

As he talked, more to himself than the others, Ozpin started to pace, one hand on his chin while the other supported it by the shoulder. Blake and Goodwitch watched the headmaster as he paced, questions, fear and dark hope burning in the amber eyes of the young huntress while the veteran’s eyes reflected her cold calm, yet even she was questioning how such a thing was possible. The only one with eyes not on Ozpin was Yang. Instead, she was staring at the floor, cold anger and sorrow writing on her face as her good hand rested on her leg, a fist holding tight to her shorts.

Suddenly the blonde brawler stood up and storms out of the room. This goes unnoticed by none of the people in the room and Blake rushes out of the room after her partner, calling out for her.

“Yang, where are you going?”

“I’m going to talk to Pyrrha! She’s going to tell me the story of how Ruby died again!” the blonde yelled back, her hair starting to glow and smoke as she marched down the hall towards the dorms, scaring a path through the crowds.

“Yang!” Blake called again and went to chase after her partner when a hand held her back. She turned to see Ozpin regarding her, his face still the same poker blank. With a small shake of his head and a glance back to the infirmary, the headmaster lets go of Blake and stepped into the crowds, towards the dorm rooms.
Blake stared after the headmaster, her thoughts and heart racing in conflicting lanes, both confused, worried and simply afraid, yet at the same time relieved. Sighing out of tiredness and the headache she was slowly developing Blake walked back into the waiting room and took a seat, watching the door to the infirmary; she didn’t notice Goodwitch leave the room, nor did she really care. Right now she just wanted to curl up and go to sleep.

oOo


Jaune checked his scroll for the hundredth time. He had a really bad feeling that something was wrong, and after running into Blake's Faunus friend and finding out that the girls were in the infirmary the blonde knight was convinced the feeling was about them. Jaune had wanted to go to the infirmary to see if the girls were ok, but had been told to leave them be by Sun; hesitantly Jaune listened to the monkey-Faunus and headed back to his dorm, but not without sending a message to Blake asking what had happened and checking his scroll every ten seconds.

Sighing out of worry Jaune pocketed his scroll, knowing it would do him no good at the moment, and lifted his hand to grip the handle of his dorm room. As he did he noticed a pile of red rose petals sticking out from under the door.

"What?" the blonde knight asked to no one in particular as he bent down. Grabbing the pile his confusion turned to humour. "Pyrrha," he chuckled, running his thumb over the petals as he stood up, some slipping from his hand. Chuckling at his teammate's antics he dropped the rest of the petals and froze. A few drops of dark red marked his hands, something that looked like-

Jaune's head shot up and he gripped the door handle, turning it slowly as he moved his other hand to hover over his weapon.

Slowly he opened the door, peeking inside. Rose petals lay scattered everywhere, a few drops of blood splattered the walls, the floor, and Ren's bed. Pushing the door open further Jaune judged the risk and quietly called out "Pyrrha?"

Something moved just out of sight, something that didn't radiate his partner's aura. Pushing the door open Jaune stepped into the room, hand on the hilt of his weapon, and locked eyes on a red Grimm-like mask with emotionless slit eyes. The person swore quietly and turned around, hiding their face under tattered red hood and bandana and jumping through the open wind, Rose petals swirling through the air after them. Jaune swore and crossed the room in two large strides, standing up on Nora's bed to stare out into the night after the person. The person was nowhere to be seen, even their red hood swallowed by the darkness.

Jaune swore again and stepped off Nora's bed, pulling his scroll from his pocket as he did. As he started to type in his team's number something on Pyrrha's bed caught his eye. Raising his gaze Jaune's blood went ice-cold, the scroll falling from his hands.

Pyrrha lay on her bed, covered in blood. Protruding from her chest, right through the heart, was her weapon Miló in its sword form; a red jagged hole still leaking blood cut a path across the amazon's throat, and her face was contorted in pure horror, the glazed green eyes forever wide.

To Jaune, the world fell away into blurs and hazy shapes of black and white. Only Pyrrha's body stood out sharp and defined, the only colour the bright and somber red she was draped in. Slowly like dragging blocks of ice Jaune closed the distance between him and the bed, falling to his knees at its side. He tries to whisper Pyrrha’s name, but his voice catches in his throat. Putting his hand on the girls shoulder Jaune shakes her as if trying to rouse her from a deep sleep. With each movement he slowly finds his voice, growing louder and louder until he’s screaming her name “PYRRHA! PYRRHA! PYRRHA!” Jaune’s voice breaks. With his face wet from tears, he pulls his partner, his friend, into an embrace. The dam wall breaks and Jaune cannot hold back his pain and sorrow, sobbing into Pyrrha’s shoulder.

Someone screams. Jaune jumps to his feet, hand going for his weapon as his face turns into a furious silent roar. Ren and Nora are standing in the doorway, both locking their gazes on Jaune, the front of him bloodstained, and Pyrrha’s corpse now lying on her side, her face still set in the eternal horror. Students started to pile around the doorway, coming to see who had screamed and why. Someone else screamed as dozens of eyes found the corpse and the bloodstained knight. Nora, face screwing up like a child about to cry threw herself into Ren’s chest and started to sob. The stoic boy wrapped an arm around the girl's shaking shoulders as his usually calm face stared at Jaune in absolute horror and shock. Jaune, for the most part, ignored his teammates, staring past them with horror and blind fury at the wall above Ren’s bed. What he had passed off as random splatters of blood he saw now were letters, words. A message

Two flowers plucked. Their petals scattered.
Their graves with rose red I justly leave splattered.
Four more yet to go, the birds sacred dammed in their sin.
Repentance has but yet just begin.

_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter Four - Once in a Lullaby

Post  LordTomyh on Fri May 13, 2016 12:15 am

Jaune sat in a chair in Ozpin’s office, staring at the floor as if he wanted to kill it. He was still covered in Pyrrha’s blood, now gone a dry and sticky dark red. Next to him sat Yang, watching the blonde knight carefully with as much of a poker face as she could muster.

She had been among the first few people crowding around Jaune’s door after Nora had screamed and quickly deterred the curious by pushing to the front of the crowd and yelling at them to find a teacher, take Ren and Nora away, or simply ‘f*** off’, as she put politely. No one really heeded the last part, but a few fell over each other to find a teacher or two; some of the teams in neighbouring dorms led Ren and Nora away, the stoic boy trying to console his partner. The rest of the assembled group then surprised the blonde brawler by pulling out their scrolls and, pushing into the room, started to take photos of everything. Yang almost lost it then and went to beat some dignity into people, but it wasn’t her that started throwing people around.

It was Jaune.

He caught everyone completely by surprise by lifting two of the students off their feet and throwing them into the walls, another followed swift and the fourth almost went through the window. It took three students AND Yang just to hold him down long enough for someone to explain that they were photographing the room for evidence. Jaune calmed down after hearing this, slightly, and was let go, though Yang kept a firm grip on the boy’s shoulders. With a glance at Pyrrha’s body, the blonde brawler decided Jaune had had enough and started to lead him out of the room.

Jaune, for the most part, didn’t fight back. It was like he withdrew into himself after that and switched off, only responding with grunts, never lifting his eyes, moving in whichever direction Yang pointed him or doing whatever she suggested, such as sitting down. Yang, forcing down her anger and shock to keep her face and own emotions calm, was trying to think of a place to take the zombie vomit boy when her scroll dinged in her pocket. The screen was flashing with a message from Ozpin as she pulled it out; quickly opening it Yang’s eyes glided across the screen in one swipe.

<Please bring mr Arc to my office and please remain with him at all times. I shall be along soon. You will find another team of students waiting for you in the elevator>

Yang looked up from Jaune to glance at the other team. They were standing off to one side of Ozpin’s office, watching her and Jaune while whispering among themselves. Yang had seen them around school once or twice, but not enough really to learn their names or their team name before tonight; in the elevator the leader, a tall green haired girl dressed in a clothes Weiss or Ruby would wear, introduced herself as Serena and her teammates, Erika, Walt, and Nikolas, as team SEWN, and said that the headmaster asked them to watch over the two blondes. Yang had tried asking why they needed to be watched, but the other team hadn’t said another word to her since the introduction, and none of the others had spoken to her.

Yang was just about to get up and knock some answers out of the other team when the door swung open, everyone in the room beside Jaune standing to attention as Ozpin stepped in.

"At ease," the headmaster said, looking at everyone before settling on Jaune.

Quickly crossing the room Ozpin crouched down in front of the blonde knight, looking over his glasses. 'Mr. Arc?"

Jaune didn't respond, not even twitching in response.
"Mr. Arc?"

Still no response.
"Jaune?"

Something flashed in Jaune's eye, a faint hint of the boy still in there, but he didn't respond.

Ozpin sighed and slapped Jaune. The sound echoed through the room, the blonde Knights face going red as he was thrown from the chair. Yang jumped to her feet in shock, words to rip into the headmaster forming in the back of her throat.

"WHAT THE HELL?"

Again it wasn't Yang that said that it was Jaune. Crouched on the floor holding the red handprint on his face he glared up at the headmaster, mouth contorted in fury and outrage. Ozpin, having stood up at this point, returned the glare down his nose with his calm poker face.

"My apologies. It seemed the only way to bring you from your thoughts and back to reality," the silver-haired man said as he stepped back, taking a sip from his coffee mug that seemed to materialise from nowhere. Jaune climbed to his feet, still glaring at the headmaster as he lowered the mug and gestured to his desk "Now that you are with us mr Arc, shall we get to the bottom of this, catastrophe?"
"Catastrophe?" Jaune scoffed. Pushing past the headmaster the blonde knight stormed over to Ozpin's desk and sat down in one of the chairs. Yang followed swiftly, sitting in the other and putting her hand on the young man's shoulder; Jaune shrugged her hand off and locked eyes on Ozpin as he came around the desk and sat in the headmaster's chair.

"Now mr Arc," Ozpin said, putting his mug on the table and lacing his fingers together in front of his mouth. "Tell us what happened"

Jaune at first said nothing, instead looking away biting his lip while staring into space. Yang, with a quick glance at Ozpin, reaches out and rubs the blonde knight on the shoulder.

"It's ok Jaune, tell us."

"It's not that easy! You didn't just find your best friend dead in their bed! Her body just, laying there, covered in her own blood!" Jaune roared, knocking his chair over as he stood up and smacked Yang’s hand away, glaring down at the other blonde. Yang's face hardened, her eyes going red as she stood up and yelled back, "No, I haven't! I've just buried my baby sister, then had some psycho show up AND STAB WEISS IN THE CHEST!"

Jaune's eyes went wide, his jaw dropping as his face softened from shock to guilt. In the corner one of the room one of the other students whistled out of shock, followed by someone smacking whoever it was; Yang’s hair began to cinder at the noise.

"Yang, I'm, "Jaune stammered, saving team SEWN from her wrathful glare. "I'm sorry, I knew Weiss was hurt, but not how, and I, I forgot about-"

"It's ok," the blonde brawler said, letting out a deep breath as her hair returned to normal and her eyes faded back to soft lilac. "I know you're hurting, badly, and have the right to be angry. I'm sorry I snapped at you."

Jaune gave a weak smile towards Yang before bending to pick up his chair. Yang let her gaze fall to the floor as she fell back in own her own chair, retreating into herself. Someone clearing her throat stopped her however and the blonde brawler raised her eyes to Ozpin.

"Mr. Arc, Miss Xiao Long. Please do not think of me as disregarding your feelings and the pains you must be going through at the moment, but I have a student dead and another in serious condition, both on the same night, possibly by the same person. For the sake of the student body, I would like to stop this person, or persons before I lose anyone else."

"O-of course professor," Jaune stammered, his face growing redder and his eyes sadder; Yang simply nodded.

"Thank you," Ozpin said with a mentally and emotionally tired sigh. "Mr. Arc, please tell us what happened."

Jaune quickly explained how he had come back to his dorm to find it covered in rose petals, blood and with a stranger writing the sick poetic message in blood with Pyrrha’s body behind them. The blonde knight choked and stumbled around his teammate's name, and bowed his head when he had finished talking. Yang and Ozpin shared a glance before turning their attention back to Jaune, Yang rubbing his back. Ozpin, however, took a sip from his mug and reaching into his jacket pulled out Blake’s sketchbook.

“Is this the person you saw mr Arc?” the headmaster asked, throwing the open book on the table so that it landed in front of the young man. Jaune looked up at the book, and went rigid, his eyes turning from sorrow and pain to cold blind fury as he stared at the drawing of the masked shadow.

“That’s them!” Jaune looked up from the book to Ozpin. “Who drew this?”

“Miss Belladonna. This person.” Ozpin said, reaching over to take the sketchbook back, “is the one that put miss Schnee in the infirmary.”

“How the hell did they even get here?” Yang asked, her voice thick with incredulity. “Unless they hitched a ride on the medical bullhead, it’s impossible for anyone to even get up here?”

“Impossible, no,” Ozpin said, lacing his fingers, “just incredibly hard. Not to praise this person but this shows that they are skilled, even more so that they managed to do what they did to miss Nikos, an incredibly gifted and talented prodigy.”

“So we better figure out who they’re after next then!”

“Walt, shush!”

Ozpin, Yang, and Jaune looked over at the over team. The green-haired leader was glaring at the boy with a grey pointed hat like those found on a scarecrow. The boy waved his team mate off with a glance and stepped towards the three. “This guy's gonna come after more students, or so he said. I think we should figure out who he’s after.”

“And how are you sure of that, Mr Grey?” Ozpin asked, dropping his head to stare over his glasses. Walt raised his eyebrows in response and pocketed his hands in his jacket.

“The killer’s poem. Two flowers plucked. Their petals scattered. Their graves with rose red I justly leave splattered. Four more yet to go, the birds sacred dammed in their sin. Repentance has but yet just begin.”

“And how did you know of that poem Mr Grey?” Ozpin asked, his voice laced with calm suspicion. “You weren’t anywhere near the dorms at the time if I’m correct.”

Walt held up his hands in a mock surrender, “hey, I didn’t kill the Nikos girl, so don’t get any idea’s sir. A friend of mine was there and told me what happened. I told them I was asked to escort the Arc boy to your office, so they passed the poem onto me.”

"Well I must say your instincts are well placed, but your delivery could be polished," Ozpin said with the hint of a cheeky smile. "I do not suspect you Mr Grey, nor anyone on these grounds. Living anyway. But I do believe that our killer will strike again. Now we must find who their intended target is, and ensure that what happened tonight does not repeat."

"Sir," Yang said hesitantly, bringing the attention of the room to her. "I think they might be after team CRDL."

"Hmm," Ozpin mumbled as he laced his fingers again. "And what makes you say that, miss Xiao Long?"

"Well, the poem again," Yang said with a gesture to Walt who had stepped back to his team. "Four more to go. That could be a team,"

"Or it could be four people from different teams," Ozpin interjected, before with a flourish of his hand gestured to Yang, "but please, continue."

"Well, there's the next part of the poem, literally the next three words. The birds sacred. All the members of team CRDL have a name relating to a bird,"

"But again there are many students and even some teachers with a name alluding to a bird or bird motif,"

Yang gave the headmaster a narrow eyes look of disdain. "Are you trying to poke holes in everything I say?"

"No miss Xiao Long," Ozpin said with the calm reassuring but knowing smile he had. "I am simply challenging and testing your ability to analyze a situation, pick it apart and from there collect and construct your evidence and clues, as any good teacher should do."

"Oh," Yang said simply, taken back by the headmasters response; Walt chuckled from the side of the room while Jaune had a smile on his sad face as he shook his head at the headmaster, amused that even now someone could find the time and energy to fit in a lesson.

"Well, the next word is what sells it for me. Sacred, as in something important historically, culturally, or spiritually. Like the high-ranking position of a cardinal in some religions."

"Very good, miss Xiao Long," Ozpin said dropping his hands to his desk as he regarded the young woman with a warm smile. "I also suspected team CRDL as the next victims, along with a few other teams and students that fit the criteria. The necessary arrangements will be-"

"Actually sir," Yang interrupted, putting her hands on the headmaster's desk as she leaned forwards in her chair. "I think team CRDL is the next victim cause there is one thing connecting them to Weiss and Pyrrha"

Ozpin's eyebrows disappeared into his hair as he regarded the blonde brawler with his poker face while his eyes narrowed. "And what would that be, miss Xiao Long?"

"Ruby's death."

Ozpin sat up straighter in his chair, his poker face not slipping but his eyes showing he understood. Jaune swore and leaned back as well, looking out one of the large windows as his eyes glazed over, remembering the day his best friend hadn't come back. Yang, however, continued her point, his voice wavering for a second as she continued to speak. "Weiss, Pyrrha, and CRDL were the last ones to see Ruby alive. They said that they had frozen up in fear when the Grimm attacked, that they had watched Ruby die trying to protect them, then when more Grimm arrived they said they set fire to her body and ran."

"Thank you for the reminder, miss Xiao Long," Ozpin said sadly, his hands curling into fists as he bowed his head. "But I am sure you did not have to dredge up sour memories to point out a connection between the victims so far and team CRDL."

"Actually sir, that wasn't my point," Yang said bitterly, wiping her eye as she locked angry/sad eyes on the headmaster. "My point is, what if Ruby hadn't died? What if she had survived the Grimm, and the fire, and-"

"Stop," Ozpin said, holding up a hand to silence the young woman while he stood up, head still bowed. "Your, suggestion, that this killer is one of the most innocent and pure-hearted people I have ever seen or known while having its merits, is flawed."

Yang's eyes flashed red briefly and she opened her mouth to argue, only for Ozpin to cut her off.

"Simply alone her injuries from the battle and the fire could not have healed by now to allow for the combat shown to have taken place in team JNPR's room, nor for the task of infiltrating this school, without being seen once, and managing to escape when the alarm was sounded. Even if someone had tended to her or with her own aura healing.'

'Another point is the character of miss Rose. While I have not known her for quite as long as you have, miss Xiao Long I refuse to believe something as simple as having her friends and teammates freeze up in a battle leading to her being seriously injured, then her body set alight to prevent the Grimm from getting to it, could change Ruby's outlook on life and make her into a person that would kill her friends."

"Then how do you explain Crescent Rose?" Yang exploded, knocking her chair over as she stood up. "How do you explain this person having Ruby's semblance, or showing up to save us from Torchwick? How do explain that professor?"

"I don't know, miss Xiao Long!" Ozpin shouted, slamming his hands on the desk as he looked up to Yang, his poker face cracking with anger and sorrow. Yang jumped backwards in shock, having never seen the headmaster bite back, at all; Jaune and the other team jumped as well, all staring at the headmaster in shock. It seemed to be the emotion of the night.

With a long sigh, Ozpin bowed his head, "I do not know. That is why I intend to find this person. That is why I intend to sit them down and have a long talk with them. And when that is done, I intend to hand him over to miss Nikos and miss Schnee's family."

"Not before I have a few words with him, sir," Jaune growled, his hard wrathful glare focused into space, clenching his hand so tight the bones creaked. Ozpin and Yang glanced at the boy, mixed looks of concern and a Grimm agreement with him on their faces,"

"In due time, mr Arc'" Ozpin said as he sat down. Looking down from the students the silver-haired man waved his hand over the desk, bringing up a holo-screen and keyboard. Quickly the headmaster brought up a window and typed something in, something neither Yang or Jaune could see. The room waited silently, except for the whisperings of team SEWN, for Ozpin to finish whatever he was doing.

"I have made some necessary arrangements," the headmaster said, dismissing the holo-screen and turning his attention back to the two students in front of him. "Student teams GNRL (General) and ALTN (Alternate) as well as veteran team REBL (Rebel) who happen to be visiting have been assigned to team CRDL as bodyguards. Teams CFVY and PTFM (Platform) have been assigned to watch over miss Schnee while team SEWN and team APCS (Apocalypse) have been assigned to team RWBY and team JNPR respectively."

“Wha-” Yang started, looking at Jaune. Both the blondes had looks of confusion on their faces as they stared at each before turning their gaze back to the headmaster. “Why do we need bodyguards sir? Weiss sure, but why do me and Blake need them?”

“Or Nora, Ren and Me?”

“Because,” Ozpin said, his voice again calm and almost flat as he regarded the two with his poker face back in place. “Although we believe team CRDL is the next victims, I do not want to take any chances with you and the rest of your teams. Two members have already been attacked and I want to ensure that team RWBY and team JNPR are not attacked again. So to that end, you will be watched, at all times. The teams have been given orders not to interfere in your daily lives unless you so choose it, but besides that they will remain at your sides until this situation is dealt with.”

“But-”

“This is not a discussion, miss Xiao Long,” Ozpin said, turning his gaze on her as his voice remained the same as before yet still carried a hardness. “I have lost two prodigious students already and have almost lost another in a single night. I do not want more of my children dead while I could have protected them.”

"I- I understand, sir',, " Yang said quietly, lowering her head as she spoke. Ozpin sighed tiredly and stood up, lifting his coffee mug with him.

"That'll be all for tonight miss Xiao Long, mr Arc. I thank you for your cooperation during this difficult time. Tomorrow I plan to bring teams RWBY, JNPR, and CRDL together to discuss the situation and to see what we can do to find and capture this killer. But for now, I suggest checking in with your teammat and getting some rest. It has been a long night, for all of us."

The sound of the metal legs of chairs scraping across filled the silence following Ozpin's words as Yang and Jaune stood, bidding goodnight to the headmaster as they headed to the elevator. Team SEWN emerged from their spot in the corner of the room to follow the two blondes. Yang mostly ignored them while Jaune looked at the four other students with questioning but cautious looks as the six students stepped into the elevator.

"So who are you guys," the blonde knight asked as the doors shut behind them, "GNRL? ALTN?"

Yang groaned and facepalmed. She had forgotten Jaune had been a zombie from his dorm room to Ozpin’s office and had missed the other team’s introduction.
"Do I look like a bloody kangaroo to you?" Walt asked with a mock outraged voice and a cheeky smile. Serena and the tall, cold silent second boy of the team shaking their heads at their wheat-haired teammate while the short purple haired, dark-skinned girl rolled her eyes.

"Weren't you listening in the elevator on the way to Ozpin's office? We're team SEWN. Serena," she said, pointing to the green-haired girl standing with her arms crossed over her chest while regarding the two blondes with calm calculating salmon pink eyes.

"Walt," the purple haired girl continued as she pointed to the wheat-haired teammate, who put his hand on the rim of his hat and dipped his head towards Jaune.

"Nikolas," the girl said pointing to the tall brooding golden-eyes boy leaning against the wall looking down on the two blondes with a cold uninterested glare.

"And I'm Erika," she said with a cheery smile as she pointed to herself. Jaune smiled warmly at the short girl and nodded to each of the members of team SEWN. At the same time, Yang had turned around to face the other team, eyeing up each one carefully to try and size them up. She noted that Walt was the loudmouth obnoxious one of the group, probably keen to pick fights and cause trouble by the cheeky, cocky grin plastered across his face most of the time; Erika likewise was loud and energetic, but in a more childish, Ruby way as she hardly seemed to hold still, constantly swaying back and forth on the balls of her feet while smiling and talking to Jaune.

Yang’s eyes flicked to the quieter of the two, Serena and Nikolas. Serena was watching her teammates and Jaune, her eyes darting and moving ever so slightly, taking in every minute detail. Nikolas, however, had his eyes on Yang, watching her with a cold, piercing glare that left the blonde brawler feeling as if she had just been thrown into an icy lake.

"What do you think of that Yang?"

"Huh?" The blonde brawler asked caught off guard by the question as she tore her eyes from the icy Nikolas to Jaune. The blonde knight had a warm smile, the corners weighed down by sadness that filled his blue eyes as he regarded Yang.

"Serena, Erika, and Nik are going to take you to the infirmary to check up on Blake and Weiss. Walt is going to come with me until team APCS finds us. Is that ok?"

Yang cocked her head at the question and turned her attention to the wheat-haired boy. He had dropped the cocky grin, mostly, as he stared back at the brawler, and he didn't appear to be up to something nefarious or even mean if the look in his burnt orange eyes were anything to go by. Shrugging Yang turned back to her friend and said, "sure, I don't see why not."

"Great, then it's settled," Walt said loudly as he stepped forwards and threw his arm over Jaune's shoulder. "I'll escort pretty boy here where he needs to be and catch up with you lot later."

"Walt, don't do anything stupid, not tonight," Serena sighed with a voice use to a tired and annoyed tone. "Give the poor kid some time to-"

"I know, I know," the wheat-haired boy said, his face losing the cocky grin to a more somber frown. "I'll be good."

Serena muttered something under her breath that Yang couldn't hear as he leaned against the wall, glaring at Walt before turning her attention to elevator doors; her icy teammate, glancing at the wheat-haired boy, exhaled sharply through his nose but didn't say anything.

"So," Yang said loudly, starting to feel awkward in the small space. "What can you tell us about yourself?"

"Well," Erika began with a bubbly smile. She was cut off however by the elevator shuddering to a stop and the doors pinging open. The two quiet members of SEWN stepped out quickly, taking Erika with them. Yang chuckled and shook her head at the purple haired girl as she stepped out after the team. The blonde made it a few steps before she stopped and turned around, locking eyes on Walt as he stood in front of the closing elevator doors with Jaune, starring after Yang and his team.
"Watch yourselves ok," Yang said, shooting the boys a warm, almost motherly look as she turned and continued after Serena, Nikolas and Erika.

Walt smiled his cocky grin and waved to the girls back. "Don't worry, I've got it covered."

"That's what I'm worried about Walt," Serena yelled back, turning around mid-stride to her teammate. “Last time you had something covered someone ended up through a window.”

“Oh come on!” Walt yelled back with a chuckle. “You let me do that!”

Whatever Serena said next was lost as she and the others moved out of earshot. Walt laughed once more and waved his team and yang off before turning to Jaune. “Right. Follow me, I have an idea.”

Jaune didn’t like the sound of that, nor the glint in the other boy’s eyes. But there was nothing he could do as Walt grabbed him by the arm and dragged him away.

_________________

Facebook || DeviantArt || FanFiction.Net || ArchiveOfOurOwn || Wattpad

Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter Five - Somewhere over the Rainbow

Post  LordTomyh on Fri May 13, 2016 12:20 am

Walt pushed the door open, the moonlight doing little to light the darkness inside. Looking around, regardless of the darkness blanketing the room the wheat-haired boy smiled and stepped through the door, dragging Jaune with him. Jaune wasn't stopping the other boy from dragging him around, but he still had an uneasy feeling about what he was up to.

"Why are we here?" The blonde knight asked, gesturing around at the darkness. Walt didn't answer, instead letting go of Jaune's arm and flicking the switch beside the door. With shuddering clicks the lights came to life, illuminating rows of tiered benches overlooking a sunken stage flanked by two large screens and several garage-like doors. Jaune looked around the amphitheater while Walt strolled down to the bottom of the bleachers, and jumped over the railing.

"We're here to blow off some steam," the wheat-haired boy yelled back to Jaune who had stepped down to the first row of seats and looked over the railing. Walt was walking towards the center of the pit, pulling his Weapon, a large wheat and dark green quarterstaff crossed with a bolt action rifle, from his back and giving it a few practice swings before dropping it and turning back to look up at Jaune, a cocky grin on his face. "Vent a little, get rid of some of the anger I know is eating away at you."

Jaune glared at the other boy, some of that anger rising. Shaking his head the blonde knight turned to walk off. With two loud CRACKS bullets hit the steps just in front of Jaune, making him jump back, hitting the railing.

"It's not healthy to bottle up your anger, especially for us."

Jaune turned back to the wheat-haired boy, a scowl marring his normally serene face as anger flashed in his blue eyes. Walt lowered his weapon, his face now gone seriously as he stared up at Jaune. "Huntsman and huntresses should keep a calm and level head at all times lest they grow reckless and risk getting themselves hurt, or killed."

"And what about Yang!" Jaune shouted back. "I've seen her get angry dozens of times."

"From what I've heard, Goldilocks is a tough nut," Walt said, sliding the bolt back on his weapon, ejecting the spent cartridge. "But she'll pay for it one day. I've seen what anger can do to a person, trust me on that one. Now get down here pretty boy!"

"No-"

A bullet slammed into Jaune's shoulder, knocking him to the ground as he yelled in pain and shock. The blonde knight swore and put a hand to the injury, his curses turning to groans of pain as he stood back up. Removing his hand Jaune glanced at the injury, luckily feeling like nothing more than a bruise thanks to his aura, and turned his wrathful glare down on the boy who shot him. Walt still had his weapon up, trained on Jaune.

"Coming down yet?"

"Are you insa-"

Another bullet hit Jaune. This time impacting against his chest plate and bouncing off, not however without leaving a bruise and pushing the blonde back so his feet hit the first step. Jaune's eyes flashed with an anger and wrath you would find on Yang as he grabbed the handrail and leaped over the metal bar, landing hard on the ground and charging the wheat-haired boy.

Walt sidestepped Jaune as he tried to tackle him, spinning his weapon around and smacking the blonde on the back, knocking him off balance. Jaune fell to the ground groaning and swearing. Tearing at the tiled floor the blonde knight got to his feet and charged at Walt again, this time swinging a right hook. Walt sidestepped again, this time swinging his weapon low and taking out Jaune's feet, before spinning the quarterstaff/rifle around and bringing it down hard on Jaune's unarmoured stomach, knocking the wind from the boy.

"This is exactly what I meant," Walt said as he backed up swinging his weapon around so it rested on his shoulder. "You're so freaking pissed at the moment you just throw logic and reasoning out the window and try the blunt bullheaded charge."
"Well isn't that what you f***ing wanted," Jaune wheezed, rolling over onto his hands and knees as he held his stomach, turning his head to glare up at Walt. "For me to get f***ing angry and fight you?"

"No, I wanted you to vent, to get rid of this rage like a huntsman, not an ursa"
"And how the f*** do you do that?" Jaune spat, dropping his head. Something hit the floor with a clatter in front of him, drawing his attention. Crocea Mors lay on the ground in front of him, the hilt just a few inches from his hand. Jaune leaned back on his haunches, looking at the weapon. For some reason, the undrawn weapon seemed to be radiating an air of restlessness, like it wanted to be drawn, like it wanted to fight Walt.

Jaune looked up at the wheat-haired boy as he grabbed his weapon and stood up. "How did you get this? It was in my locker?"

Walt chuckled and brought his weapon around in front of him, grabbing it just behind the gun bolt with his other hand. "A friend of mine is a former thief. I told her what I was planning to do, so she got it for me."

Jaune growled and draw his sword, checking the blade for anything different or out of the ordinary. Walt saw this and shook his head. "Her name is Pacifica and she's part of team APCS, the team assigned to yours, so you can trust her to take good care of your weapon."

Jaune turned his gaze back to Walt. "And what, I should trust you and your friends? You just shot me so I would fight you."

"Yeah well I'm impulsive, brash and often deal with things through fights rather than words," the wheat-haired boy said simply, rolling his shoulders in a shrug. "My friends are a bit more thoughtful and polite."

"You sound just like-"

Walt darted forward, swinging his weapon around and aiming it at Jaune's head. The blonde swore and raised his sword, deflecting the strike as he sent aura down through his arm to his sheath, causing it to spring open into its shield form. Walt smirked and using the momentum of the deflected strike brought the bottom of the quarterstaff/rifle up, aiming to strike Jaune's stomach. The blonde knocked the strike aside with his shield and brought his sword down in a horizontal strike aimed at Walt's head. The wheat-haired boy ducked under the attack, spinning as he stepped away several feet, swinging his weapon around his body as he did. Jaune growled and followed after the boy, bringing his sword down in several strikes, all of which alt dodged with a surprising quickness and fluidity.

Pushing out with his staff Walt knocked Jaune away several feet, the blondes feet kicking up flecks of dust and ground tile as he slid. Taking advantage of the distance Walt spun his weapon around and grabbed it by the hilt, firing off several quick shots in rapid succession. Bringing his shield in front of him Jaune deflected the bullets as he charged forward, dropping his defenses when he was feet away from Walt and swinging a uppercut strike at the wheat-haired boys undefended midsection as he spun his weapon around to switch back to the staff.

Something solid blocked the sword, jarring Jaune's arm. Growling he pulled his weapon back, only to have the bulbous end of Walt's weapon hit him the face and knock him to the ground. Hitting the tiles Jaune rolled with the momentum of the strike and got to his feet, weapons raised as he returned his gaze to Walt. The wheat-haired boy stood on one foot, the other raised so that it covered his waist and legs; underneath the cuff of the pants, Jaune saw a slither of white sticking out from the skin.

"Nice, almost had me," Walt said with a chuckle, dropping his leg and swinging his staff around so it rested on his shoulders. Reaching down he tapped on his legs, making a dull knocking sound as if he was knocking on bone or wood.

"Who wears armour under their clothes?" Jaune spat, narrowing his eyes.

Walt chuckled again, "I do," he said simply, leaving the short answer hanging as he swung his weapon around again. Jaune tenses and raised his shield, waiting for the wheat-haired boy to try to shoot him again.

The bottom of the quarterstaff/rifle opened up, part of the casing flipping out while the two pieces below it moved aside and down, revealing a large spring going from the butt of the weapon and disappearing into the casing. Walt planted the weapon in the ground and stepped onto the piece of the casing that stuck out, standing on his weapon like a one-sided pogo-stick.

With a burst of air, the wheat-haired boy launched into the air, almost touching the roof as he fell victim to gravity and started to fall back down, right on top of Jaune. The blonde knight swore and raised his shield over his head, locking his arms and legs as Walt landed on the shield, pushing Jaune into the tiled floor.

Jaune heard the wheat-haired boy laugh as suddenly an explosive force knocked the blonde knight to the ground. Wincing as his head hit the tiles he looked up, his eyes watering slightly, and saw Walt in the air again, a cocky look in his burnt orange eyes as he started to fall again.

Jaune rolled out of the way as Walt hit the ground, bouncing back into the air quickly with a loud "ALLYOOP." Growling Jaune got to his feet, watching his opponent as they hung in the air for a second, regarding the blonde with a wild grin. Jaune watched Walt as he began to fall, and smiled. Raising his shield above his head again the knight waited, watching his opponent over the rim of his shield. Just when Walt was about to land on the defense Jaune stepped out of the way, dropping his shield and bringing his sword around. Walt, having just landed, saw what was about to happen and tried to twist out of the way. Too slowly.
Crocea Mors hit the wheat-haired boy on the back, just below the shoulder blades, and the blade bounced off with a loud crack. Jaune swore and leaped back, checking his weapon, rage and panic flooding his system. Crocea Mors, however, was undamaged, and even shone a tad brighter than when the battle had begun.

"What broke then?"

"My armour," Walt said, groaning in pain. Jaune looked to his opponent, surprised to find the wheat-haired boy on the ground, on his back, without his weapon; the wheat-haired boy's face was contorted in pain as he tried to prop himself up with his legs and shoulders, trying to get this mid back off the ground, right where Jaune had hit.

Concern and worry washed through Jaune, only to be quickly quenched by hot, molten rage that spread through the boy's body like a wildfire. Dropping his shield and sword Jaune ran and jumped atop his downed opponent, laying into him with a wrathful zeal. Walt tried to fight back, or at least, but pain, the flurry of Jaune's attacks and the blonde's dominating position limited his actions. Screaming in rage now Jaune pulled back his arm, his eyes locked on Walt, the usual calm blue screaming bloody murder as he brought his fist down, going for the face with a fatal force. Walt saw this and rolled, knocking Jaune's aim off just enough that he hit the boy's shoulder. With a loud, responding painful CRACK Jaune's hand broke.
Screaming now in pain Jaune grabbed his injured limb by the wrist, looking skyward as he swore loudly.

Walt bucked beneath him, throwing the blonde off to land on his bad hand, drawing more painful screams from the knight.

Walt lay on his back, breathing heavily. Everything from the chest up hurt, he couldn't see from one eye and he was sure his nose was broken. Swearing quietly he rolled his head to look at Jaune and found the boy on his knees, breathing just as hard as he glared at Walt. His eyes weren't as killer and furious as a couple of seconds ago, but they weren't devoid of the fiery emotion either. Walt chuckled and looked away. "Ok, yeah I deserved that thrashing a little. But do you feel better?"

"No," Jaune said deadpan, getting to his feet as he held his injured hand to his shoulder. Walt laughed, "Well it was a start. It's good to vent, isn't it?"

"That wasn't venting. That was trying to hurt you'" Jaune said as he walked away, leaving Walt on the ground. Again Walt just laughed. "Well, it's a start!"

Jaune ignored him. Grabbing Crocea Mors and his shield he swore and muttered something under his breath as he headed to the exit.

In the bleachers, watching the whole thing, the Emerald-eyed girl swore and shook her head.

"Well, that failed catastrophically Walt."

_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter Six - Bluebirds Fly

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:21 am

The cafeteria was unnaturally quiet. Normally packed full of students and the occasional teacher tucking into their meals, or just simply to hang out with friends; today the large hall was almost hauntingly empty, the air thick with sorrow, anger and pain of the heart and mind with only a couple of students or teams scattered across the tables, either heads down and eating their food or talking in hushed tones and sad words.

The two members of team RWBY sat at one of the tables closest to the door leading outside, eating their food almost autonomously, just staring at the wooden table blankly; Jaune sat with them, his hand in a cast as he picked at his breakfast. Sitting around the three students were team SEWN, minus a member, all three with their heads down eating while their eyes were anywhere but the trays in front of them. No one had questioned Walt’s absence, Jaune even looked glad the wheat-haired boy wasn’t there. The team assigned to watch over Jaune however were also absent, opting to stay in their dorm rooms with Ren and Nora.

Blake and Yang hadn’t questioned Jaune’s teammates absence, expecting the entire team to stay isolated. They were surprised however when the blonde knight showed up with a broken hand, muttering something about Walt when they was asked about it. The conversation quickly fell through after that, not even Walt’s teammates daring to break the silence as they looked amongst themselves, a look of annoyance shared between them.

Every now and then Yang would glance at the members of team SEWN, catching them watching the room as a whole while appearing relaxed and unobservant. The blonde may not be known for her academic intelligence like Weiss, but she was street-smart, and she knew how to read people. She hadn't really had time to get a good read on the other team in Ozpin's elevator, or in the infirmity last night as she had fallen asleep almost as soon as she stepped inside the door.

Yang settled her lilac eyes on Nik first, sitting on Jaune's left and across from Yang. Tall, broad shouldered, and he carried himself with confidence and a surety that usually came from a wealthy or reputable background; yet he looked like someone trying to hide or avoid this as he wore a simple clothes and let his Raven-black hair fall in a mess to his shoulders. There was no question he was strong going off his body type and the size of his arms, almost double his partners, but he appeared almost-defenseless, reckless even, as he wore a simple red shirt with navy blue shoulders, black jeans and black boots; something a civilian would wear. His tall, dark and brooding appearance spoke of a troubled past, and his icy blue eyes looked like a glacier that kept any and everyone out. Yang could see the hostility and shut-off frozen heart of someone from a cold, strict or abusive upbringing, having seen it on Weiss until Ruby's death. Yet like Weiss Yang could see a softness to Nik's cold eyes as well, particularly when he glanced at his teammates.

Yang chuckled, and turned her attention to the green-haired girl sitting on Blake's left. Unlike her teammate Serena was around Yang's height and lithe with a more agile build; yet she had a hidden strength if the giant trident/heavy machine gun weapon hanging from her back was anything to go by. Her hair was perfectly neat and straight, and her clothes without a wrinkle or fold out of place. Her outfit, a combat skirt with puffy sleeves, gloves and pirate-esq boots, all coloured between three shades of pink, was more extravagant and stylish; it reminded Yang of something that Ruby would wear. From what she had seen of Serena, Yang thought she would get along well with Weiss. Both were smart, academically-oriented and analytical, but they also seemed to be strict, uptight and methodical in their actions and ways, especially towards their more 'chaotic' teammates.

Yang chuckled again, thinking of how the two members of team SEWN seemed to encapsulate her teammate, as she turned to the last of team SEWN.

Erika sat next to Yang, appearing like an ordinary bubbly teenager. Her purple hair was braided into a long ponytail, parted at the front to hide one of her eyes of the same purple colour; her olive-tanned skin was unusual for Vale but common in and around Vaccuo. Her clothes stood as a halfway mark of her teammates, being simple in their design of a shirt and corset over baggy pants, slipper-like shoes topped with a mid-thigh jacket, coloured white, dark blue and red with hints of yellow and burgundy, while the material itself looked thick and more durable than Nik's.

Yang watched the girl, and couldn't help smiling with a pain in her chest. Erika was allot like Ruby; joyful in every twinkle of her eyes or every twitch of her mouth, energetic, could talk at a hundred miles an hour. Yet Yang also saw a haunting darkness behind every smile or warm look in Erika's eyes, a shadowed and painful past the girl tried to cover with a happy-go-lucky personality.
A platter of food fell on the table, snapping Yang back to the mess hall and making everyone else jump. A young woman, dressed in a black and silver long-coat with a quiver and compacted weapon slung over her shoulder ignored them all and sat down next to Jaune. Jerking her head to get her silver with black streaks hair out of her face the girl started digging into her food, not raising her eyes or even acknowledging the other students. Jaune, Yang and Blake glanced to each other and shrugged; Team SEWN on the other hand just returned to their meals and watching the room around them.

The girls of team RWBY and the knight of JNPR all turned their attention back to the new girl, Yang clearing her throat. The silver-haired girl turned her vivid emerald green eyes up from her food to the three starring at her, chewed a few times, then swallowed and leaned back.

“What?”

“Can we help you?” Yang asked.

“What, I can’t sit here?” The girl asked, giving the blonde brawler a look similar to one of Blake’s ‘not impressed’ glares. “Am I not good enough to sit at the cool persons table?”

“No, its just,” Yang looked to Blake next to her, then back to the girl, “we just, don’t know who you are.”

“So complete strangers can’t sit with you?” The girl asked again, putting down her knife and fork. Yang shook her head and went to say something, but the girl cut her off with a wave of her hand as she looked down to her pocket and back up with a deadpan look. “Pacifica Yale. Team APCS. I was tending to the idiot Walt last night so I was absent from the dorm room.”

“That would explain Jaune not recognizing you Pacifica,” the said idiot chuckled as he slid onto the bench next to the silver haired girl. Yang and Blake jumped at his sudden appearance, their eyes growing wider as they got a good look at the wheat-haired boy. Half of his face was hidden underneath bandages and packing, his right eye covered while what skin you could see was lightly bruised.
“What the hell did you do!” Serena yelled, making everyone in the mess hall jump and look around. The green-haired leader of team SEWN circled around Yang and Blake, hopping onto the bench across from Walt and glaring at him the way a parent would to a small child that just levelled the kitchen. “Did you fight Jaune?”

“Yes,” Walt said, chuckling.

“Yes,” Jaune, face turning red as he glared at Walt.

“Yes,” Pacifica said, cutting apart a piece of bacon.

The blonde knight lowered his gaze to the silver haired girl. “How do you know we fought?”

“I was watching.” Pacifica said in a bored voice, cutting apart another piece of bacon. “He went easy on you by the way.”

“What?” Jaune said in disbelief, looking up from Pacifica to Walt who was shaking his head with a cheeky smile. Jaune's hand fisted, the bones creaking from the strain as his mouth forming into a scowl and his eyes hardened and narrowed. Walt saw the glare Jaune was giving the silver-haired girl and chuckled, dropping his eyes to her.

“Didn’t have to let him know that Pac-”

A shrill banshee scream ripped the air. Everyone at the table jumped to their feet and turned to the scream, Team SEWN and Pacifica drawing their weapons and holding them at the ready. Students rushed past the doors while others pulled out scrolls or ran in different directions; people started to pour out of the mess hall, looking for the source of the scream.

Without a word to each other or their friends Yang and Walt jumped into the small crowd pushing through the doors, quickly disappearing from sight. Everyone still at the table looked to each other, alarm, concern and fear marring their faces.

Another scream rent the air, galvanizing Team SEWN and the members of team RWBY, JNPR, and APCS into motion. Rushing out the door at the back of the crowd the students ran towards the main parade at the front of the school. A large crowd was standing around the large statue of the huntsman and huntress standing over a Beowolf, some of the students pointing up at it while some held their hands over their mouths, screaming and yelling in shock and horror. As Team SEWN and the other three drew closer they saw what the commotion was about and stopped dead in their tracks, their eyes growing wide with pure horror and disgust.

A body hung by a rope from the outstretched claw of the Grimm. The skin had been peeled off the face, leaving a bloodied skull with the mouth wedged open in a sickening grin by large metal spikes. Every scrap of skin save for the front of the body was gone, showing muscles and tensions covered in scratches and deep red wounds, large metal spikes protruding from the body.

“Oh my dust,” someone whispered as Jaune, Blake and Pacifica pushed through the crowd, the blonde knight in front. As the trio neared the front they found Yang and Walt with a sobbing student, the wheat-haired boy holding the girl in an embrace as she wept into his chest; Yang was talking into her scroll, eyes locked on the body.

Glynda and Port will be there soon miss Xiao Long. I’m preparing a school wide lock-down and a message to all students to gather in the auditorium while the teachers investigate.” Ozpin said through the scroll.

“Oobleck and a few of the teachers are already here professor. They’re telling the students to go there already,” Yang replied, not taking her fiery red eyes off of the body.

Normally I wouldn’t allow this, but I am giving you, miss Belladonna and mr Arc, as well as the teams protecting you, right to partake in the investigation and the capture of this killer. You are all tied to this, and I have no doubts you would try and investigate on your own in any case.

“Thank you professor.” Yang said simply before the line went dead. Blake shared a look with Pacifica and stepped to her partner's side. “What happened?” the raven-haired girl asked, keeping her eyes on her partner, away from the body. She had seen enough deaths.

“We don’t know,” Walt answered, moving his hand up and down on the girls back as she continued to sob. “Missy here found the body and screamed. Though how someone hadn’t seen it until she did is beyond me.

“Walt, comfort.” Serena said, appearing behind her teammate. The green-haired student stared past him, locking eyes on the body with a grim look and a hard set frown. “Take her away, try calm her down. Erika go with him.”

The two nodded and walked off, Walt leading the girl towards the mess hall. Yang, Blake and Pacifica looked to the green-haired girl, waiting for her next commands. None of the three were team leaders, and while excellent at leading themselves and doing their own thing they quickly accepted the leader of team SEWN as their own until someone said otherwise. Serena looked down from the body to the three, her eyes darting amongst them quickly before jumping to her brooding raven-haired teammate behind them.

“Nik, get the body down. Carefully. Dust knows there was enough photo’s taken for evidence.”

The raven-haired giant replied with a simple nod and took a step towards the statue when a blur rushed past him and stopped in front of Serena, materializing into doctor Oobleck.

“No, no, no. The body must stay there for a little bit longer, grisly as that notion is. No photo’s were taken this time and the ground must be searched for clues on how the body made it there, what time and how was it moved.” The green-haired professor said quickly, his movements erratic and blurring as he looked around at the statue and the grounds around it.

“And to see how it managed to go unnoticed till seven in the morning?” Serena asked, turning her eyes to the now vacant school grounds, the crowds having dispersed quickly after Oobleck and the other teachers had cleared them out. The scrolls of the students buzzed in their pockets, but were promptly ignored, instead their attention on the green-haired teacher.

“Precisely. I have received Ozpin’s message that you students are allowed to help with the investigation. That is excellent, most excellent, If only we did not have a disfigured corpse hanging from our resident Beowolf.”

“So what’s the plan professor?” Pacifica asked, standing with her arms crossed as her emerald eyes switched between the green-haired speed demon and the statue.

“I shall need two to three of you with particularly good eyes to create a grid and search all of the grounds for at least 10 metres around the statue,” Oobleck said, raising one hand to point to the sky while the other rested behind his back like he was giving a lecture. “Next I will need another two or three to very carefully approach the body and investigate it, in particular the words that seem to be carved into the chest. While you are doing that look for any oddities on or around the body as well as possible signs of identification. That will help us find out who this poor soul is and create a rough idea of where they were taken from and killed. Also.” Oobleck moved in front of Pacifica, leaning down so their faces were a fingers width apart. “It’s Doctor Oobleck. I didn’t receive my PhD for fun you now,”

The silver-haired girl took a step back from the professor, her face contorting into a cringe at how close he had gotten in the flash of an eye. Oobleck ignored this reaction by standing up straight and stepping back, turning his head to regard the six students in front of him. Yang and Blake looked at each other, then to Jaune standing behind him. The blonde knight was staring at the body, visibly shaking with anger, his arms ramrod besides him, ending in tight fists. Oobleck seemed to notice the young huntsman as well, appearing behind the leader of team JNPR and putting a hand on the young man’s shoulder, breaking Jaune from his trance. The blonde knight looked down at the hand on his shoulder, his eyes narrowing to a glare as he turned his attention up to Oobleck’s face. He seemed however indifferent to the young man’s glare, the professor instead focusing on the other students in front of him.

“Divide yourself into groups ladies, and young man,” Oobleck added, nodding towards Nik; the brooding boy shrugged indifferently as the green-haired professor turned back to the girls. “I shall be back in several seconds. Remember to record and catalogue every and all finds, and report them to miss Goodwitch when she arrives.”

“And where are you going sir?” Pacifica asked, her face back to the deadpan glare she wore, something that could rival Blake’s.
“I am taking mr Arc here to the auditorium along with the other students as I do not judge his current mental and emotional state fit to help with the current investigation of the corpse,” Oobleck stated, turning his attention to Blake and Yang specifically as he spoke. ”You two appear to be holding up much better, so I find no need to deprive the investigation of young gifted minds.”

“I’m fin-” Jaune growled before all of sudden disappearing on the spot. None of the girls flinched at the blonde and the professor vanished into a gust of wind; instead Pacifica, Blake and Yang turned to Serena. The green-haired girl looked around the now deserted grand parade quickly before settling on the girls and her partner lurking at the back of the group.

"Pacifica, you have good eyes. Grid search," Serena said to the silver-haired girl who deadpan blinked in response.
"I also have good eyesight," Blake offered. Serena nodded and turned to the ravenette's partner. "Yang. You and Nik check out the body."

Yang turned around and smiled at the brooding 6 ft student behind her, he simply looking down at her with an emotionless face that could give Blake a run for her money.

"But first, can I get a boost?" Serena asked, bringing Yang's attention back to the green-haired girl. She was looking over Yang's head, pointing with her thumb over her shoulder at one of the posts holding the Beacon banner that flanked the long walkway. Yang cocked her head at the SEWN leader, wondering what was the point or what she would do up there. Behind her Nik sighed in a bored flat tone and pushed past the blonde, Serena falling in step besides them as they headed to the nearest post.

Yang watched them go, crossing her arms. Nik and Serena reached the base of the pole quickly, the black-haired giant stooping down and offering his hand as a platform. Serena said something and stepped up onto Nik's hand, steadying herself on his shoulder as he lifted her up until she could no longer reach his head. Reaching up Serena grabbed the metal cross beam holding the banner to the pole and pulled herself up, mounting the bar quickly and jumping to her feet. Yang watched the green-haired girl, still wondering what she was doing while admiring her acrobatic grace and balance. Looking down Serena waved to her teammate, then turned her attention to the surrounding area. Nik turned around without a word, walking towards Yang quickly with his arms crossed over his chest.

"Thought you would have started on the body rather than stand there and stare at us," the black-haired boy said as he got closer. Yang raised an eyebrow at the comment, and turned sharply on her heels to fall in step with the him. The two stepped carefully as they approached the statue, looking about themselves for anything out of the ordinary until they were standing under the corpse, it's feet just level with Yang's head as she looked up.

Up close the body was even more grotesque. It's muscles and tendons exposed to the open air with deep cuts and ravines carved over every one, the thumb-thick metal spikes sticking out a foot at odd angles and in random places; Yang leaned up on her toes to get a closer look at the closest of the spikes sticking out from the bottom of the left foot, and found it was covered in dried blood; it had been put in while the person was still alive.
"This man was tortured before death it seems," Nik said, now standing to the side and leaning in to look at muscles of the leg. "His skin was removed while alive, at least here on the legs."

"He was stabbed with these spikes as well," Yang pointed out, reaching up to rip the metal from the body. The spike came out easily with a sickening tearing sound; Yang's stomach lurched as the end emerged from muscles, taking several chunks with it. The ends were barbed. Yang threw the spike to the ground in disgust and took a step back, looking up at the corpses chest. Words had been carved into the chest, onto the last bit of skin left on the body. Some of the words were surrounded by blood, but as they went on the blood became less and less until the last line was bare of it.

'Da corpora eorum per XXX piece. Sit facies, quid quinquennial Judas, et dum seminat, atque inde lugentes, nunc igitur accepisti opus eorum.' Yang read in thought, not understanding the language or even the words save one. Judas. The word stuck in her head, but she couldn't think of why or where she had heard it before.

"This was carved into his skin while he was alive as well," Yang said, her eyes flashing red in anger and disgust.

"And it appears to be what killed him," Nik agreed, stepping to Yang's side. The black-haired boy cocked his head, his lips puckering in thought. Yang glanced between him and the strange letters that made no sense to her. "Can you read it?"

"It's old Atlesian," Nik said simply, his eyes moving back and forth as he read. "Give their bodies for 30 piece. Let the Judas face what they each, sowed and bled and wailing hence, bow to receive their recompense."

"Is that another poem?"

"It appears so."

Yang's world started to turn red as a pain stabbed at her heart. "So this psycho tortured and killed this poor bastard," she yelled gesturing to the body hanging in front of her, "just to leave us a f***ing poem!"

"A message actually," Nik said flatly, not taking his eyes off the body.

"Ah yes, a message," professor Oobleck said loudly as he appeared behind the two students, making them jump and spin around; Yang stepped backwards as she turned, receive a weak kick to the back of her head from the corpse. Oobleck, unfazed by Nik and Yang's reaction continued on. "The question is, what message?"

"It's in old Atlesian sir," Nik said in the same deadpan voice. "It says-"

"I am fluent in old Atlesian mr Themnosiniy, I can read it." Oobleck said flatly, cutting off the student. Nik flinched, the corners of his mouth twisting into a frown. Within seconds his face was back to the flat emotionless deadpan.

"I think it's message for Ozpin sir."

Oobleck said nothing, instead opting to take a sip from his coffee cup he pulled from his back pocket. Nik took this as a gesture to continue. "I think the person who killed this man was also the one that attacked Weiss Schnee and Pyrrha Nikos, and now that team CRDL is protected they are saying they'll kill innocents unless we hand them over."

Oobleck again said nothing, instead one of his eyebrows disappeared into his hair. His coffee cup shattered unexpectedly, his aura stopping the sharp ceramic shards or scalding drink from doing any damage as the professor regarded the two students.

"Message team REBL, mr Themnosiniy!" Oobleck said, his voice laced with venom and anger. "See if they noticed anything out of the ordinary around team CRDL!"

"Sir," Nikolas nodded. Oobleck glanced up at the body, his eyes flashing behind his thick lenses as he turned his gaze to Yang.
"Miss Xiao Long. I want the body and a three foot radius around it photographed, thoroughly."

"Yes sir," Yang said grimly,  trying to hold back her anger and outrage with deep calming breaths. Turning the blonde drew her scroll and began swiping at the screen, looking for the camera. As the tabs and apps flew past Yang glanced up at the exposed bloodied skull, it's wide grin and empty haunting eyes staring down in horror; Pyrrha's face flashed before Yang's shifting lilac/red eyes, the Spartans features contorted in the same horrific visage.

Yang shut her eyes, trying to block the image of the screaming skull, yet Pyrrha's face remained in her minds eye, the skin and soft things fading away, bone beginning to show through the translucent skin. The blonde hadn't particularly been close to the red-haired Spartan, but they were still friends. And her death. Yang knew that death was a part of the line of work she was getting into, but that was death of monsters who felt nothing, who meant nothing. This, this was beyond horrific, beyond monstrous. Yang could not find the words to express the rage and disgust she felt.

Yang opened her eyes with a snap and started looking around at the ground. The stone tiled floor and the base around the statue were impeccably clean save for a few stray leaves. There were no marks or indications that anyone had even been around, or that someone had dragged a body, hung it up, and then left; there wasn’t any blood either.

Gnashing her teeth Yang looked up to the body again when something in the bend of the stone beowolves knee caught her attention. Careful to not get kick in the head again Yang stepped past the body and crouched down besides the statue. A small rose petal was stuck fluttering in the join of the leg. A quick glance around at the grounds told that there wasn’t a rose bush around; the petal could have easily come from a flower carried by a student or a teacher and just got caught with the wind Yang thought as she plucked the petal from the joint and stood up.

“My point is, what if Ruby hadn't died? What if she had survived the Grimm, and and the fire, and-”

“Stop. Your, suggestion, that this killer is one of the most innocent and pure-hearted people I have ever seen or known, while having its merits, is flawed.”


Ozpin’s words danced through Yang’s minds as she turned the rose petal over in her hand, a horrible pain starting to form in her chest. She had seen the rose petals left behind by her little sisters semblance too many times to count, and had to clean them up a lot as well; she had seen them enough times to recognize the one in her starting to shake hand as one of Ruby’s.

"Simply alone her injuries from the battle and the fire could not have healed by now to allow for the combat shown to have taken place in team JNPR's room, nor for the task of infiltrating this school, without being seen once, and managing to escape when the alarm was sounded. Even if someone had tended to her or with her own aura healing.'

'Another point is the character of miss Rose. While I have not known her for quite as long as you have miss Xiao Long I refuse to believe something as simple as having her friends and teammates freeze up in a battle leading to her being seriously injured, then her body set

alight to prevent the Grimm from getting to it, could change Ruby's outlook on life and make her into a person that would kill her friends."

"Then how do you explain Crescent Rose? How do you explain this person having Ruby's semblance, or showing up to save us from Torchwick? How do explain that professor?"


Yang hadn’t really believed her words herself, she was just clinging to the hope that her little sister was still alive; she never believed that Ruby would, or even could, hurt and kill her friends like that, or had it in her to kidnap, torture and kill a complete stranger.
Yang closed her hand into a fist, crushing the rose petal as she brought her hand to her mouth, closing her eyes. She couldn’t believe it, she wouldn’t believe it, even if she had yelled at Ozpin about the very same thought. Her little sister was not a killer.

The world seemed to fall away from Yang as she retreated into herself, all the sound, the gentle touch of wind on her back and solid stone under feet, even the warmth of the sun vanished. In her minds eye she saw Pyrrha’s horrified death face again, hovering next to the skull with the same horrified expression.

She’s not a murderer! She’s not!

The image of Pyrrha and the skull shattered, dissolving into hundreds upon hundreds of rose petals. Yang watched  with her minds eye in numb shock, the pain in her chest growing as someone stepped through the roses, each step stabbing ice deeper and deeper into her heart.

Ruby, exactly as Yang remembered her stopped in the middle of the rose pile, her hood pulled down to hide her head as dried blood splattered her clothes from old wounds. By her sides her hands hung limp, dripping fresh blood.

Slowly Ruby lifted her head, exposing her eyes once as bright and pure as silver. Yang screamed as Ruby stared at her with flat, red, Grimm-like eyes. Then the little-red murderer took a step back and Yang noticed a corpse at her feet. Yang's own dead eyes stared up, the face contorted in the same horror as Pyrrha. Her throat had been torn out, by something with teeth.
Ruby smiled, her teeth stained with blood.

oOo

Nikolas read the last message from the leader of team REBL, a veteran hunter team who just so happened to be on campus yesterday, and pocketed his scroll when Yang screamed. Turning around he found the blonde on her ass trying frantically to get away from the statue while holding her arm out in front of her, her hand closed into a tight fist. Nik swore and ran over, crouching down beside the writhing girl speaking frantically in complete gibberish. Nik noticed that her eyes were closed and she wasn’t so much trying to get away from the statue, more so her own hand.

“What happened?” Blake yelled as she slid to a stop beside her partner, her amber eyes wide with panic and fear; Pacifica and Oobleck appeared around the three, not saying anything but watching intently with deep worried looks.

Nik didn’t answer the black-haired girl. Grabbing Yang’s hand and wrist he twisted it sharply, drawing a short cry of pain from the girl and popping her hand open. Nikolas quickly grabbed the object that fell from Yang’s hand and leaned back; the blonde immediately calmed down and fell to her back, breathing heavily with her eyes still closed and her faces scrunched up in despair and fear. Blake, with a glance at Nik, pulled her partner’s head onto her lap and rubbed her shoulder, whispering soft words to calm the usual boisterous and jovial brawler.

Nik stood up and held up the rose petal, turning it over and over with Pacifica and Oobleck stepping closer to get a good look at it.
“It looks like an ordinary rose petal,” Pacifica commented, stepping back and glancing down at Yang. “How did a petal set her off?”
“I’m sensing an aura in this petal miss Yale. Two actually,” Oobleck said, plucking the petal from Nik’s hand and running his hand over it. “Definitely two auras are imbued into this petal. One of them is the basis for this petal while the other has been added.”

“Ruby use to make petals with her semblance,” Blake said, her voice wavering slightly as she looked up from Yang. Nik and Pacifica looked to each other with deadpan glares while they eyes held a silent conversation.

“How long would one of these roses last after she used her semblance?” Pacifica asked, the tow looking back to Blake, who simply shrugged. “Bout the same as a normal rose petal.”

“Can you identify the other aura professor,” Nik asked Oobleck, turning to the green-haired teacher.

“No, I cannot, though I do believe it is what set off miss Xiao Long here. I shall have to take it away and sample the aura contained within.”

The rose petal disappeared with a blur As Oobleck shifted his arms to cross behind his back. “Right, Miss Belladonna. I shall escort miss Xiao Long to the infirmary to have the nurses check on her condition. I would like you to stay here and help with the investigation, however you do not have to if you don’t want to.”

“No, I’ll stay,” Blake said softly. Looking down to Yang again, the blonde’s face still scrunched up in fear and despair though a bit softer around the edges. Carefully the black-haired student lifted Yang’s head off of her lap and placed it on the ground before standing up and taking a few steps back, watching pointedly as Oobleck bent down, and taking Yang’s arm, disappeared.
Blake looked at the place her partner had been, biting her lip as her eyes started to fade, the last member of team RWBY standing retreating into herself.

“Don’t worry!” Someone yelled, snapping Blake out of her trance. Spinning around sharply she saw Serena still standing atop the banner pole, a scroll in hand. Her free hand was pressed besides her mouth, “She’ll be fine!”

Looking away Blake took a deep breath, and rolled her shoulders, a little of the worry and fear ebbing as warmth replaced anxiety. Glancing back up at the green-haired girl who had turned away  now, Blake turned to the other two students, a fierce, almost fiery determined glint to her amber eyes. Nik saw the glint and raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms. “Let’s get this done so we can get the body out of here,” he said flatly as he spun on heel and headed off, looking down at the ground. “I’m getting sick of avoiding looking at it.”

Blake glanced at the body, swaying slightly in a light breeze, and agreed with him. The two black-heads headed off to just past the statue, scanning the ground. Neither of them noticed Pacifica stood as still as a statue with her arms crossed and her legs at shoulders-width apart, staring at one of the buildings at the far end of the grande parade. Her eyes were glowing a bright and vivid emerald, which slowly started to fade. She still didn’t look and the and she held a look on her face that would have made anyone take a cautious step backwards. it wasn’t an scared or angry face. It was a determined one, almost murderously so.

_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter Seven - And the Dreams That You Dream Of

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:23 am

Yang sat in a chair in Ozpin’s office, staring at the floor as if she either wanted to kill it or break down in tears on it. In the chair next to her, in a complete role reversal of last night, sat Jaune, his hand no longer in a cast. The blonde knight was rubbing the still stricken girl’s back, not saying anything.

He had been standing alone in the amphitheatre, face hardening as he bore the whispered conversations and the sympathetic or fearful stares of the other students. He had been a hairs breadth from breaking down the doors and leaving when Oobleck showed up again, took him by the arm with a short "come with me," and dragged the young blonde across the campus to the headmaster's office several stories high up via the stairs.

Jaune was pushed through the door into Ozpin's office, almost falling flat on his face. Turning around he glared at the doors as they closed and looked around the room, wondering why on Remnant he was there. His eyes quickly found Yang sitting in the chair with three students standing besides her.

Every now and then Jaune would glance up at Nikolas, leaning against the wall next to Yang who would shoot the knight a deadpan glare before looking away. Next to Walt his partner Serena was messaging her teammates down in the infirmary with Blake and the young girl who found the body; the ravenette had decided to check on Weiss, the less anxiety-inducing teammate, as Pacifica had bluntly put it in the elevator ride to the headmasters office.

Jaune turned his glare to the silver-haired girl standing next to him, arms crossed and looking at a random spot in space, an uninterested expression on her face. Jaune had almost broken her nose over the comment, Yang almost murdering the girl on the spot; If not for Nik put a hand on her shoulder and for Serena stepping between the knight and the silver-haired student there would have quickly been another body, if any of the pieces survived.

A loud PING cut through Jaune’s thoughts and made him rise to his feet, everyone else staying in place only turning their attention to the elevator as the doors opened. Ozpin and Goodwitch stepped out first, the headmaster taking a sip from his drink as he walked with one hand behind his back; Goodwitch was head down in a parchment (tablet) as she walked, a irate frown and downwards curve to her eyebrows showing how angry she was. Behind them came the four first-year students of team CRDL; the copper-haired Cardin was in front, looking strong and mighty in his armour with his weapon on his back, yet with a haunting look to his eyes, as if he carried a great and painful burden. The other members of CRDL had the same look on their faces as they stepped further into the office, Dove and Sky standing close together with their eyes glued to their feet, while Russell shuffled his feet and stood with a slight hunch to his back, his body language coming off as weak and closed off compared to Cardin.

Next came one of CRDL’s three bodyguard teams, all wearing tan tank tops with REBL on the back, military fatigues and boots. A dark-skinned man with short black hair wearing his tank top tucked loosely into his Aqua camo pants came first, checking out the room; his eyes briefly lingered on the girls, giving each a wolfish grin before he moved on to stand behind Ozpin’s chair. Next came a couple of guys, having a quiet heated argument over something. The pair couldn’t be more different, one tall and lanky with short light brown hair neatly trimmed, his top and maroon camo pants all neat and tidy as well, while the other was shorter, fatter and a complete mess of a person with long dark brown hair tied up in a loose ponytail, a short scraggly goatee and an top and Orange camo pants that were more wrinkles that clothes.

Lastly out stepped a team of students, the four lurking at the back of the room near the doors. Jaune looked past the four students to the elevator as the doors closed, wondering how 13 people managed to fit in there.

"Tell me," Ozpin said as he sat down in chair, bringing Jaune's attention to the headmaster. "Where is the last member of team REBL?"
The dark-skinned man groaned and rolled his eyes, his two teammates stopping their conversation to copy him. "He was right behind us when we stepped in the elevator."

"Probably saw a butterfly or a crayon or something," the Orange-coloured man grumbled as he and his maroon-coloured teammate stood off to the side of Ozpin's desk, the shorter man with his arms crossed while the taller stood with his arms behind his back. CRDL, and the five assorted members of RWBY, JNPR, SEWN and APCS looked at each other, shrugging their shoulders and turning back to the adults.

"Well doubtless we shall require him for this meeting," Ozpin said in his calm flat voice, taking another sip of his drink as his chocolate brown eyes grazed the room, settling on the team of students. "Now. Do you know why you are here, CRDL? Or why I have assigned three teams to watch over you?"

The four boys looked amongst themselves, not saying anything but conversing uncertainty through their eyes.

"I, we, assumed it was because of the murders professor," Cardin spoke up, trying to keep his voice level and strong. His blue eyes danced around the room for a second before settling back on the silver-haired man regarding him with his hands locked in front of his mouth. "I'm not sure why we have bodyguards sir. We didn't do anything."

"You are not being accused of anything mr Winchester," Ozpin stated. "You, like miss Schnee, and teams RWBY and JNPR are being protected because your teachers, Glynda and I, as well as miss Xiao Long here, have come to believe that you and your team may be targeted next by the killer."

To say that it was quiet enough to hear a pin drop would have been an understatement. Team CRDL’s faces all dropped, their eyes growing wide with fear as the very colour drained from their faces; Jaune thought for a second he saw Cardin grow some grey hairs. There would have been a time when Jaune would have loved to see the fear, the weakness on the team that bullied him and half the school for so long, but now.

Now he felt sorry for the four.

Looking at the team of former bullies now they looked like children, only Cardin not shaking in his boots but the fear vivid in his eyes as he swallowed and kept his attention on the headmaster.

“W-what thinks t-this person is after us-s sir?” Cardin asked, wetting his lips every few seconds and failing to keep his voice level. The headmaster said nothing, nor gave anything away. Instead he reached down and typed something into his personal computer. Two holo-screens came alive above his desk, both showing five lines of words. Jaune felt his breath catch as he read the first one, his hand starting to hurt again as he clenched it into a fist and his vision started to turn red.

“These poems were left by the killer,” Ozpin stated. Pointing to the one on his left he said, “this was found in team JNPR’s room along with miss Nikos, dust rest her soul.”

Everyone in the room bowed their head in respect, Nik muttering something foreign under his breath; Jaune stayed silent, closing his eyes and seeing the room again, seeing-.”
“And this one,” Ozpin continued, snapping Jaune from the memory. The headmaster was pointing to the second screen now. “Was found carved into the body of a poor mr Browning of team HDBG (Hindenburg), while he was still alive.”

Team CRDL turned a paler shade of white, the orange and maroon hunters muttering something in discuss while their aqua leader uttered a low ‘damn,’ Ozpin however was unfazed, and simply kept talking. “Miss Xiao Long pointed out a possible connection between you four, miss Schnee, miss Nikos and the third line of the first poem. I deemed it plausible, enough so to deem it wise to assign teams to guard you. Now I am certain that you four are the next targets."

"Why?" Cardin asked. Ozpin bowed his head for a second, his features going dark.

"Because you the two students attacked already and your team were present when miss Rose died. And now it appears someone masquerading as her spirit has come for revenge."

"But, that's not possible," Cardin stammered, eye going wider as he looked from the headmaster to his team, likewise wide eyed and looking to their leader and back. "She couldn't have- She died!" Cardin growled, settling on Ozpin. "She died, and there is no way she could have still been alive!"

"I put forth the very same argument mr Winchester," Ozpin said calmly. "However evidence can't be ignored. Everything points to miss Rose."

The room fell silent as the headmaster's words sunk in. Team CRDL all bowed their heads, turning still as statues. Jaune clenched his hand again, his mouth falling to a scowl as he thought back to seeing the killer in his room. In his mind's eyes the blonde knight saw his friend, his first friend, standing covered in blood with Pyrrha's sword in her hand, a evil smile on her face as she turned and leaped out the window. Muttering a curse Jaune opened his eyes again and stood up, looking to Ozpin. The headmaster hadn't moved, still sitting with his hands in front of his mouth, his flat poker face in place and his eyes giving nothing away. Behind him Glynda stood buried in her parchment, running the investigation with her face locked in a furious but stressed expression.

"Now, mr Winchester," Ozpin spoke up, snapping the entire team from their trance and bringing all of the attention back to him. "I want to hear again the report of that mission. I want to hear everything."

"But," Cardin started turning around. His blue eyes passed over Jaune and settled on the zombie-like blondee besides him. "Are you sure you want her to hear it again sir? I think she's been through enough as it is."
'Considerate of other people. Never thought I'd see the day' Jaune thought as he nodded with his former tormentor. The knight opened his mouth to voice his agreement when Yang shot up suddenly, and locked red eyes on Cardin.
"Just tell the damn story!" She growled, tears starting to form as her shoulder shook. Jaune reached out to put a hand on her shoulder and guide her back to the seat, but she shook him off and took a step towards Cardin. "And if I find out you lied on anything, you won't have to worry about this killer!"

Cardin glared down at the girl, rage growing in his eyes as his face took on his almost signature scowl. He opened his mouth to yell back.

"Miss Xiao Long, please take your seat." Ozpin said, cutting Cardin off and gesturing to the seat behind the pair. Yang refused to budge; The headmaster dropped his head and sighed. "I have ways to ensure only the truth is spoken. So please, take your seat."
This got through the brawler. Slowly she stepped away from Cardin, shooting him one last glare before turning and falling into the chair besides Jaune, locking murderous eyes on the floor again. Cardin returned the glare and turned to the headmaster.

"We were on a exercise with miss Goodwitch. Professor Peach needed more red tree sap, despite only having got some three days before. However cause of the Valkyrie girl we had to go further into the forest to find some sap. We were assigned in three team groups, with us ending up with RWBY AND JNPR. After a couple of minutes our group was split up due to blondeie having a fight with her sister. We ended up with Rose and Schnee somehow heading towards the river.’

‘And that's when we found, it.”

oOo

Cardin growled in annoyance as he moved another branch out of his way and pushed further into the forest. He was pissed off with the whole damn mission, how does someone go through two months worth of sap in three days? But the real cause of his annoyance was the young obnoxious brat ranting angrily, quietly, about her older, just as obnoxious, sister to her white-haired partner. How did he, Cardin Winchester, son and heir of the second most powerful and important family in all of Vale end up dealing with a f***ing child who shouldn't even be there in the first place.

Hitting another branch out of his way Cardin stormed through the low bushes, and stopped dead. He stood at the edge of a wide clearing, a river flowing rapidly through the red grass. Sitting besides the riverbank was the largest Grimm he had ever seen, staring at him with merciless red glowing eyes. It sat coiled upon itself like a snake so he couldn't guess it's true length, but it stood as tall as an ursa laying down. It's reptilian body was covered in black scales the size of his hands, bony white plates as big as his head sat upon its shoulders and ran down the spine like vertebrae; its arms were as long Cardin and ended in three thick fingers ended with white claws as thick as his head and as long as his mace.

It's head was the size of two boarbatusks, the bony plate covering the top of its head as thick as a bulkhead door on an airship, with a crest of bony spikes erupting from the end and the around the side of the Grimm's head. Where the spikes ended the face split open, a growing red maw easily large enough to swallow the ginger-haired student in one go, three inch teeth lined it's mouth, bits of flesh, both rotted and new, stuck between them.

Cardin's face went white as he laid eyes on the Grimm, his legs locking in place and his voice catching in his throat. The Grimm smiled a predatory toothy grin and uncoiled itself. Powerful back legs, each the size of a car, slammed into the red-carpeted ground, pushing the Grimm to its full height of 23 feet. A thick muscular tail swung behind the Grimm, knocking over a tree growing besides the river as the Grimm locked it's eyes on the young boy in front of him and roared.

Cardin screamed in fear, but his body still wouldn't move. He was staring down a rare and powerful form of Grimm, something that had whipped out entire villages in the past.

Distantly he heard his teammates and the girls call his name and rush to his side, but he could not yell out to them, to tell them to turn and run like hell; even couldn't even move himself to run, his eyes locked on the great burning orbs in front him, tauntingly getting closer as the Grimm played with him, prolonging the fear.

A ear-splitting gunshot fired next to Cardin, snapping him from the Grimm to the little girl in red next to him, her weapon in its gun form and locked on the monster in front of her. The older student could see that the little red was shaking, fear gnawing at the edges of her eyes and mouth, but she still put on a brave face.

"Weiss, get around and flank it with some ice." Red said, firing her weapon again. Cardin followed the bullet, seeing it impact uselessly off the skull plate. The orange-haired student swore and lifted his mace, orders for his team forming in the back of his throat. His eyes settled on the Grimm's glowing red again, and the words died in his throat. His mace fell to the ground as his body froze with fear. Ruby must have realized this as she looked at him, then behind her.

"Guys, snap out of it!" She shouted, looking at each student in turn. Everyone was like Cardin, frozen in fear with their eyes locked on the Grimm's eyes. Faintly Cardin remembered professor Port talking about some animals and Grimm having a hypnotic stare that froze its prey in place.

"Guys! Please snap out of it!" Ruby pleaded, the fear growing on her face as she looked between her partner, CRDL and the Grimm slowly getting closer. Looking quickly around the little red aimed her weapon at the sky and let off several rounds before bringing it down, unfurling the gun into its scythe form, and disappeared in a cloud of roses.

Ruby appeared in front of the Grimm, bringing her scythe down on its head before disappearing and reappearing again behind it, swinging her weapon down on its foot. The first strike did nothing more than surprise and humour the Grimm; the second one sent a feeling shooting through so it's body it hadn't felt in alone time. Pain.

Roaring it turned around quickly, far quicker than you expect from a creature of that size, and closed its jaws around where Ruby had been. The little red appeared above the Grimm, scythe held above and behind her. Firing the gun the recoil sent the little girl into a spin, a bladed whirlwind sliding down the Grimm's left flank, digging through the scales and skin and drawing blood. The Grimm roared again, louder this time and turned in a full 360. Ruby jumped aside as the creature almost stepped on her, only to collide with the tail as it swung around. The little girl tumbled across the ground, managing to keep a hold on her weapon, and rolled to her feet. Barely a second after standing Ruby fired her gun again and shot forward, ducking under the Grimm's legs. The monster growled and spun around, trying to keep the little human in its sight. Ruby turned and launched herself with recoil again, darting through the Grimm's legs again. The Grimm growled, a animalistic curse word, and spun around again. Ruby smiled as she turned around and pulled the trigger on Crescent Rose for the third time, launching herself at the Grimm. This time the Grimm saw it coming, and kicked out its own legs, falling to the ground. Ruby went bug eye and tried to stop, but her momentum was too great. She crashed into the Grimm's unhurt side and bounced off, landing on her arse. She tried to get to her feet, but the Grimm was too quick. Its tail smashed into the little girl, sending her flying into a tree. Ruby screamed in pain as she hit the trunk with her arm pinned underneath her body, a clear and audible crack filling the air.

Ruby fell to the ground with another scream of pain; holding her limp arm she got to her feet, trying to contain the groans and cries of pain with clenched teeth.

The Grimm roared and got to its feet, turning around to face the little human that had hurt it. As it did it noticed her weapon lying at its feet. The monster knew the young huntress-in-training would be weaker without it, but also knew stepping on it would amount to little. With a toothy grin the Grimm took a step, and kicked the sniper-scythe into the fast flowing river.
"NO!" Ruby yelled as she saw her sweetheart land in the water and disappear quickly below the surface. Biting back tears of pain and sorrow Ruby raised her gaze to the Grimm. With the force of a freight train the Grimm’s head slammed into the little girl’s form. Continuing its charge the monster crashed through the tree and several others before it stopped, the young girl flying from its bony forehead to the ground, tumbling away.

Ruby screamed in pain, blood erupting from her throat. With every move pure agony the little red managed to roll onto her stomach. Propping herself up with her still-working arm she spat out a wad of blood and tried to get to her feet. One leg gave out, sending her back to the ground as another wave of agony wracked her body.
Something hit Ruby in the stomach, rolling her back over onto her back. Though tears of pain Ruby saw the taunting burning red of the Grimm standing over her. With a toothy grin the Grimm lifted its foot, and brought it down on the little human. Ruby could do nothing but scream.

CLANG

The Grimm stopped, confusion replacing playful malicious as it found its foot blocked. Shaking and groaning from the exertion Pyrrha crouched over Ruby, her shield between her and the Grimm’s foot while she held her weapon on its javelin form against the reinforced aegis for extra support. Ruby felt tears of joy mix with pain, fear and sorrow as she bit back another groan of pain.
The red-haired amazon, her face lined with worry and concern for her friend and anger for the monster above her, roared a furious warcry and shoved upwards with her shield. The Grimm growled in shock and surprise as it was pushed off balance and onto its injured side. Roaring in pain now the monster thrashed about on the ground, trying to get at the two girls with its feet or tail. A wall of ice erupted around its tail, pinning the limb in place as a white-haired girl sailed over the Grimm, landing in front of it with her weapon raised. The Grimm locked its glowing red eyes on the little girl; with a single swipe of its tail it shattered the icy prison and started to get to its feet.

Pain flared in the back of the Grimm’s ankle, bringing it back down with another agonizing roar. Cardin roared himself as he stepped out of the way of the creatures falling form and brought his mace down on the Grimm’s car-thick ankle. The mace head impacted with an explosion of orange colour and Cardin felt the bone give way under the strike.
Maddened by pain now the Grimm started thrashing about again. Weiss darted aside as the Grimm brought its massive mouth closed where she had been. The heiress raised her weapon as she landed, but didn’t move from the spot. From behind her Sky charged forth, embedding his halberd into the creatures eye. On the other side of the Grimm Dove did the same, charging forwards and stabbing the monster in its eye with his sword.

As Weiss and team CRDL fought the Grimm Pyrrha was carrying Ruby away, bridal style, from the conflict and towards the river where the trees were fewer. Tears ran down the amazon’s face as she listened to the cries of pure agony pour from her friend as every little jostle and bump ran through her. Suddenly Pyrrha felt the little red go slack in her arms and the cries stopped. Pyrrha froze, and looked down. Ruby’s face was as white as snow except for the blood around her mouth. Her eyes were closed and it looked as if she had simply nodded off to sleep.
“R-Ruby?” Pyrrha asked, her voice starting to crack as the tears started to flow even more. Slowly she fell to her knees and laid the little red on the ground. With shaking hands Pyrrha felt the young girls neck, her heart breaking as she felt nothing. Ruby was gone.
The last of Pyrrha’s resolve broke then. Laying her head on her friend's chest the amazon sobbed deep wracking cries of pain and sorrow. It felt like hours before Pyrrha seemed to remember the world and looked up from her friends corpse. Weiss and team CRDL stood in a loose semicircle around her, all covered in sweat and Grimm ichor as they stared at the little girl dead on the ground with faces of pure shock. Pyrrha looked to Weiss, her heart breaking further at the sight of Ruby’s partner. The heiress looked down at Ruby’s corpse in disbelieving shock; her legs shaking she stepped towards her partner, shaking her head and trying to call the little girls name but no sound emerging from her mouth. Her legs gave way. Weiss fell to her knees beside Ruby and Pyrrha, reaching out with a shaking hand to her partner.

A growl made her stop and everyone look up. The six students found themselves surrounded by hundreds of man-sized Grimm, all looking like the one they had just killed only leaner with longer arms and faces.

“ARE YOU f***ing KIDDING ME!” Cardin roared, turning around and braining a Grimm that got too close. His team spread out around Ruby’s body, weapons drawn and looking to take out their anguish on the monsters. Pyrrha rose to her feet, sword in hand, and looked around. Weiss did the same, positioning herself so she stood guardian over her partner.

“There’s too many,” Pyrrha said, her face falling as her eyes found only a growing swarm of black and white around them. “We have to get out of here.”

“What about Ruby?” Weiss asked, her voice faint and close to breaking. The heiress looked around at the swarm, knowing that taking Ruby with them would only slow the group down. “I will not leave her here!”
“We have to Weiss!” Pyrrha shouted back, hating the words as they tumbled from her mouth. “You know it as well as I that she’ll only slow us down, maybe even get us killed.”
“NO!” Weiss screamed, bending down to try and pick up the little red. Pyrrha swallowed a curse word and bent down to tear the heiress from Ruby.
“She’s dead Weiss! She’s dead and if we don’t get out of here we all will be as well. How can we remember and weep for her if we’re dead!” The amazon screamed, fresh tears falling. “I hate it as well! But we can’t do anything for her now!”
The white-haired girl fell slack in Pyrrha's arms, muttering incoherently. The redhead tried to keep the girl on her feet, to no avail.
"Weiss, you have to sta-"
"Give her to me," Cardin growled, not waiting for Pyrrha's response and grabbing Weiss from her arms. The muscular boy threw the heiress over his shoulder and turned to face the horde of Grimm. His team were struggling to keep the creatures back as he stepped to their side and killed one with a single blow to the head, catapulting the corpse into the mass of black, white and red.

"We're getting out of here!" He yelled and charged into the horde, one hand on the girl slung across his shoulders and the other carving a swathe through the Grimm. Dove and Pyrhha stepped around to his flanks, keeping the Grimm back with their swords, Sky stepping between the two and using the range of his weapon to reach over the heads of his comrades; Russell brought up the rear, deterring Grimm that stepped Within his short range with almost-blurring strikes and swipes from his daggers.

Though many in number the Grimm were no match for the students might and anguish. The group pushed through the horde easily, making it almost half of the way. Cardin swore as one if the a grim nipped his fingers, drawing blood. He was starting to fell winded and his arms was turning numb, yet there seemed to be no end to the creatures. When one died three more took its place with five more each badgering them. Cardin sucked in breath for another warcry when he felt Weiss move on his shoulder and and something hot appear behind him before disappearing just as quickly. He turned sharply, seeing a bolt of burning light streak over the group and the Grimm before disappearing. Cardin wondered what the Schnee girl was up to when suddenly a fire roared to life over the heads of the Grimm.

"Now they can't get to her," Cardin heard Weiss say, the girl slumping on his shoulder. A pain cut deep into the boys chest as he realized what the heiress had done. Turning back to face the front Cardin let loose a earth-shaking warcry, forcing all the anger and anguish to wash away the weariness. Cardin lost track of time, of reality, of everything save feeling the satisfying crunch and tear as his mace met Grimm.


oOo

With a shuddering breath Cardin opened his eyes. "I led miss Goodwitch and the other teachers back to the river, but we didn't find a body. End report"

Ozpin watched the Orange-haired boy step back in line with his team, standing tall and proud but looking anything but. The headmaster nodded and turned to Serena. "Miss Christianson?"

Everyone else in the room turned to the green-haired leader of team SEWN confused except for Erika and Pacifica, the two just staring at her expectantly. Serena ignored the stares and stepped forth, only paying attention to Ozpin. "He told only the truth. Nothing was fabricated."

"How do yo-" Jaune started, only to be cut off by Ozpin.

"Thank you miss Christianson." The headmaster took a sip from his coffee, regarding team CRDL, Jaune and Yang. Setting his mug down he went to say something when a muffled explosion shook the room. Everyone jumped to their feet in alarm, hands going to their weapons as they looked around the office, unsure of what to expect but waiting for something.

A muffled yell followed the explosion, and everyone looked to each other in confusion.

"What did they say?" Cardin asked, lowering his mace.

"I think they said-" Pacifica started.

"-OSE. THE MONSTER DESTROYER!"

The students looked to each other, even more confused, then to the three huntsman as they groaned loudly and sheathed their weapons. Ozpin looked among the three with an amused but annoyed smile. "I take it that was your teammate?"

"Yeah, sounds like it," the dark-skinned leader said as he pulled out his scroll.

Ozpin shook his head and sat back down. "Team REBL you can be excused to go deal with your teammate. I'm sure this meeting won't go on for much longer."

The three said a quick 'thank you' to the headmaster and rushed to the elevator, the Orange one muttering something along the lines of 'stupid blue' and the leader taking offense to that as the doors closed.

"Well," Ozpin chuckled, bringing the attention of the room back to him. "That was, how does miss Xiao Long put it? A thing," he said with a mirthful smile. Glynda rolled her eyes behind the headmaster and looked like she wanted to hit him with her parchment; the students shook their heads at the headmaster, not even Yang cracking a smile. Ozpin's smile faltered at this reaction so he adopted his poker face again.

"Well then. What are you-"

Ozpin's holo-screen started flashing, cutting the headmaster off. A twitch was the only emotional change he showed as the headmaster leant forwards in his chair and tapped the hard light screen.

"How can I help you mr Yatshuhari?"

"Team ALTN is fighting the killer in the infirmary!"

_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
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The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter Eight - Dreams Really Do Come True

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:24 am

Letting out a relaxed sigh Ace leaned against a bare part of the infirmary wall, across from the medical dorm room he was guarding. Blowing a lock of blue-grey hair out of his burnt orange eyes he looked around the room once, his large kangaroo ears swivelling atop his head to face the directions he wasn't looking at. The room was a large long room, filled with cabinets, drawers, a few desks and benches, everyone coloured white. Set at about every three meters in the opposite wall were doors leading to the individual medical dorms, all of them closed except the one he stood opposite from, a medical form sitting upon the face reading ‘SCHNEE, WEISS. TEAM RWBY' in big bold letters.

The room was peaceful, and except for Ace's team and the giant Yatsuhashi of team CFVY it was empty.

With another relaxed sigh the Faunus turned his attention back to open infirmary room door, chuckling to himself as his eyes settled in the brunette rabbit faunus Velvet through the open door. She sat in a chair next to the bed, her head resting on her arms asleep, having spent all her energy and aura on trying to heal the white haired girl asleep in the bed Velvet was using as a pillow. Her team had told her not to push herself, but Ace and his team watched as she did all she could to help the Schnee heiress.

Laughing through his nose the leader of team ALTN switched his gaze to the two students stationed besides the door, one copying Ace and leaning against the wall only with his arms at his sides, staring down the infirmary before looking the other direction, every now his forked tongue flickering from his lips and back. The other student was on one of the benches with a commandeered desk in front of him, tinkering with what looked like the stock and firing mechanism of a flintlock blunderbuss with the barrel replaced with a thick wooden frame with the front bar removed and slung underneath the weapon.

“Must you find it necessary to take apart your weapon Theo, just to grow dissatisfied with whatever improvements you are trying to make and put it back together?” the standing boy asked, glancing at his partner. Theo looked up from his weapon with a large prideful smile as he did up the last screw on one of the arms.

“Well besides it being already perfect Lavi, I want to try make it bigger, better. I was thinking of adding a dual firing mechanism so I could shoot two blades at once. Isn’t that-”

“No,” Lavi said, cutting him off with a flickering of his tongue. The smile on Theo’s face fell into a frown cross scowl as if Lavi had just insulted the boy himself.

Ace let out a annoyed sigh cross chuckle as he watched his team mates fight, again.

Lavi didn’t make any movement besides turning his head to ignore Theo and scan the room. Tall and lean he stood at the highest of the team, with short and curly dark green hair, dark chocolate skin and a narrow almost viper like face; his eyes were bright yellow and slitted like a snakes, and as they washed over Ace he felt a shiver run down his spine, despite being on the same team as him for half a year now.

Theo on the other hand stood up and started shouting dramatically and over-the-top. He was shorter, though a just a bit stocky, than Lavi, with longer white hair, tanned fair skin and a more hawkish like face and golden eyes.

Lavi said something Ace tuned out and Theo blanched, his feathers ruffling. Growing from under the back of his hair and from around his neck, back and forearms were large eagle feathers, coloured white around his head and brown from his body. With a fluster the faunus’s large brown eagle-wings unfurled, making Theo look larger and more menacing, a bluff that had no effect on the snake faunus as he turned his serpentine golden eyes from the room to his partner.

“Are they always like this,” the giant Yatsuhashi asked as he slid in next to Ace, towering over the kangaroo faunus and crossing his arms, watching the two arguing. Ace chuckled and nodded. “All the time. Though I suppose that’s what happens when a snake and an eagle end up partners.”
“An interesting combination,” Yatsuhashi commented, glancing down at Ace. “despite their squabbles they seem true friends."

"Every story needs a rivalry," Ace joked, listing off all the times the two had gotten in a fight over nothing. Yatsuhashi nodded, a slight smile to his face as he looked around the room. "And where is your fourth?"

"In there," Ace gestured to Weiss's dorm room. "Figured it'll be a good idea to have at least one person in there."

"A sound strategy," Yatsuhashi agreed, "particularly with Velvet asleep and my team out."

"Yeah, but we got you" Ace said, shooting the giant a wide grin.

The giant smiled and nodded, settling his eyes on his sleeping partner. The two stood in silence, both ignoring the argument coming from Ace's team-mates. Yatsuhashi Burke the silence. "I thought you were assigned to team CRDL originally?"

"We were, but we've heard their views on us faunus. Plus team GNRL was also assigned to them and if anything, they're worse than CRDL. So I spoke with my sister in PTFM and we swapped."

"And the headmaster allowed that? We do not get to pick and choose the missions we do not like."

"Well I didn't exactly-" Ace turned around suddenly, watching the room while his ears went crazy, turning every direction. Yatsuhashi saw the faunus's face turned serious and reached for his weapon. "Trouble?"

"Possibly," Ace said slowly, stepping away from the wall. With a click of his tongue he interrupted his teammates argument. The two turned to their leader, seeing the seriousness in his face and his ears going wild atop his head. Levi stepped off the wall and put his hands in his pockets, pulling them out capped in a pair of push daggers with gauntlet-like armour around his hands; Theo on the other hand turned back to his weapon and started reassembling it quickly.

"Yatsuhashi, Velvet," the faunus ordered. The giant swordsman nodded and stepped into the room, quickly but carefully picking up the rabbit-eared girl. She woke up in his arms, groggily looking around as Yatsuhashi stepped out of the room.

"Wha-"

"I've got a bad feeling Vel," Ace said quickly, not looking at the girl but instead around at the room. "Yatsuhashi's taking you out."

"What!" Velvet said, sitting up in her partner's arms. "I can help."

"You spent yourself, and we're not holding it against you, but you'll only get yourself hurt if you stay."

"But-"

Yatsuhashi didn't let her argue further. Jogging down the length of the room with his partner complaining in his arms Yatsuhashi disappeared out the main doors, leaving the three faunus alone in the room.

Ace took a step backwards to the door, drawing his weapons. Lavi stepped to his side, the two taking half of the room while Theo snapped the last piece of his weapon into place and leaped in front of the door. Suddenly the lights in Weiss's door went out with a shower of sparks and a metallic crash, followed by the door slamming shut.

"Ninja's got the princess!" Theo shouted, drawing an annoyed sigh from Lavi and a chuckle from Ace. Three pairs of eyes scanned the room, two scrutinizing every small space and possible entry point; Ace's ears never stopped moving as he gave more general scans of the room, leaving the finer detail to the his fine-eyed teammates.

"Lavi?" Ace asked.
"I'm not sensing anything. Besides us and Yatsuhashi's heat ghost we are alone," the snake faunus answered, his forked tongue flickering in and out every few seconds. Ace nodded, knowing the other faunus saw the world in heat-vision and had an extra strong sense of smell and taste; Ace couldn't smell anything as well, nor could he hear anything. He just knew that something was out of place.

Suddenly the dorm door at the end of the room opened up. The three faunus turned to the sound, three pairs of weapons being lifted as a masked young girl stepped from the room, a tattered red hood trailing behind them as they dragged a large black and red scythe behind them, the tip digging a gouge into the ground with a horrible grating sound.

"Oh man, that's a big scythe." Theo muttered. Ace ignored him and stepped forward, weapons held ready at the side. The masked girl turned to face the three, swinging her weapon so it rested on her shoulder.

"Alright mate, put the scythe down and put your hands on your head!" The kangaroo yelled. The girl cocked her head, and turned her body so that the scythe was aimed at the three faunus. All three saw the gun barrel embedded in the head and ducked as it went off, a high calibre round putting a hole in the wall behind Lavi.

"SONOVABITCH!" Theo yelled and lifted his weapon at the girl.

"Wait!" Ace shouted.

"Sorry Ace, negotiations over!" Theo said before yelling "BONJOUR COCKBITE," to the girl and jammed his finger down on the trigger. The girl blanched and threw herself aside into a roll as a three inch long 1/2 inch thick guillotine blade thundered through the air where her head had been and continued through the infirmary wall behind her. Standing back up the girl aimed her scythe/sniper at the eagle, and swore as he pulled back the hammer of the weapon, another blade already in the frame with another two resting beneath that one.

Scowling the girl dropped her head to look through the scope, only to have bullets impact off the glass and the scythe head. Looking up she saw the other two faunus flanking the eagle, each with a pair of weapons in hand firing at her. The kangaroo held a pair of boomerangs, the end closest to the girl folded back to reveal a battle-rifle. The snake only had his armoured push daggers, now with a magnum pistol barrel sticking from the sides.

"Look miss," Ace said, bring the girls attention back to him. "It's three on one, and you're not getting miss Schnee. So just give up."
"I will not," the girl spat back, her nasally young voice cracked and hoarse. "I will have her blood."
"Well that's not creepy or anything," Theo said to Lavi, the snake-faunus nodding in agreement. Ace ignored the two and stepped forward, lowering his weapons slightly.

"We're not going to hand her over, so why don't you just-"

A mask surrounded by Rose petals suddenly filled his vision. Ace swore and tried to back up, but was too slow.
"You talk too much. I want you to be quiet," the girl said as she brought her weapon around, aiming at Ace's neck. the kangaroo swore and managed to get his weapons up in time to block the scythe long enough to step backwards out of the way. The killer didn’t let up, using the momentum of her swing to strike at Ace with the bladed end of her weapon. He saws this coming however and jumped back, ending up halfway across the room.

“How did-”

A blade filled the killers vision, cutting her off as she danced back. Lavi glared at her, flickering his tongue as he darted forwards again. The snake faunus closed the gap quickly, stepping under the massive scythe as the killer swung at him. Inside the girls guard he unleashed a flurry of jabs and strikes with his twin weapons; the killer managed to dodge them well enough, but couldn’t bring her weapon around to strike at the student.

“Get away from me!” the killer shouted, kicking at the snake-boy. Her boot connected uselessly with the boys weapons. Lavi glared at her with cold merciless eyes, pushing his weapons forwards and throwing the girl off balance. It took only a moment for her to recover, but Lavi was on her again, jabbing and swinging like a boxer. Growling the killer jumped backwards out of the snake-faunus's range, then ran forward as soon as her feet hit the ground. She disappeared in a cloud of roses, only to reappear a second later in front of Lavi, swinging her weapon overhead. Lavi brought his weapons together to block the strike, but the momentum and force of the weapon and the girl behind it knocked him backwards. Lavi slid across the floor, stabbing into the ground to slow him down and digging two gouges in the linoleum. The killer tsked and brought her weapon around for her next attack; Lavi looked up at her, and smirked.
"You're all clear birdbrain, now shoot her!" He shouted and slid under the legs of Theo, smiling a wide toothy grin as he pulled the trigger on his weapon. The killer swore and brought her weapon around, deflecting the large blade, it lodging in the wall besides her.

The killer turned her attention to the eagle-faunus loading another blade into the chamber of his weapon and raised her own. From behind the eagle a pair of weapons came flying, spinning towards the killer. She sidestepped them easily, and with a tsk raised her weapon again; at this however Theo smirked.

"They're return to sender!"

“Wha-” The killer felt the two weapons strike her in the back, knocking her off balance. Swearing she regained her composure, watching the two fly behind the eagle-faunus. With a chuckle Ace plucked the pair of boomerangs from the air and appeared besides Theo, a annoyed frown to his face.

“We’ve heard rumors of who you are mate, and we’ve looked up the few combat vids we could find. We’re not some first year team either,” the kangaroo states, placing one of his weapons on his shoulder as he spoke; Lavi appeared on the other side of Theo, glaring at the girl with the cold merciless snake eyes of his. “Though I wasn’t expecting you to be that fast.”

“You’re just slow,” Theo laughed, never taking his eyes, or his weapon, off the killer in front of him. “Seriously let me show you how its do-”

Theo’s words cut off to a choking gag. Ace and Lavi turned to their teammate, eyes growing wide as they saw one of his fired blades extending from his neck. The gun falling to the floor in a clatter Theo reached up for the blade, ripping it from his body in a spray of blood and wrapped his hands around the wound as he fell to his knees. Ace dropped one of his weapons as he fell with his friend, trying to get his hands around Theo’s; Lavi turned on the girl, his eyes ablaze with frozen rage, and spat. The killer sidestepped the ward easily, giving off a bored posture. She went to pick up Crescent Rose when she heard a sizzling behind her. Turning to the sound she saw the wad of spit bubbling madly like boiling water or acid on one of the chairs, a foul acrid smell assaulting her nose.

The killer turned back to the snake-faunus, swinging a punch. Her fist smashed into Lavi’s face, shattering his nose and knocking him out before he hit the ground. Behind her mask the killer tasked and turned her attention to the last standing member.

Ace saw Lavi go down and let out a sigh. Standing up, white dust falling from his hands onto Theo unconscious at his feet, his wound closing up on itself quickly.

"I jinxed it, didn't I?" Ace asked as he picked up his other weapon. The killer titled her head at the question and did the same.

"That's one way to look at it'" she answered coldly, swinging her weapon around as she stepped over Lavi.

"You've got skill, I'll give you that" Ace said, taking a step forward and raising his weapons."Theo's not easy to get the drop on, and you managed to take him out with his own ammo, which weighs a sh*t ton. And you decked Lavi, which takes considerable reflexes to turn from his distraction and even register that he's there."

"It is a common strategy," the killer replied coldly, stopping a meter from the kangaroo-faunus. "I simply expected him."

Ace let out a annoyed puff of air from his nose and shook his head. "You have the speed to pick up a heavy guillotine blade and turn it into a speeding missile, and deck the fastest guy I know, yet you are standing talking to me."

"I am giving you one last chance to step away."

"No, you just haven't figured me out yet," Ace smirked. The killer said nothing. "Lavi and Theo you figured out pretty quickly. Me? You've almost beheaded me, I've kicked you and thrown my weapons at you. You don't know how I fight, right?"

"It doesn't matter me in the slightest. I will have her blood, even if I have to wash her in yours first."

"Yeah, Theo was right. That is downright creepy." Ace remarked, and threw one of his weapons. The killer sidestepped the boomerang easily enough, but found in the split-second her eyes were caught in the spinning weapon Ace had lunged forwards. The killer tsked and brought her scythe around, blocking his second boomerang as he swung at her. The kangaroo pivoted on the spot and delivered a kick straight to the killers side. The killer swore in pain as she stumbled away; Ace danced past her, picking his weapon from the air as he went. Spinning like a top the kangaroo turned and threw the boomerang at the killer again, this time the weapon bouncing of black, red and shining steel. The killer used her semblance to dart towards Ace, bringing her scythe around in a horizontal sweep, aiming for the boys midsection. Blade met blade as Ace blocked, and jumped up over the Scythe, round house kicking the killer straight to the side of the face, a loud crack filled the room as a large part of her mask flew off. Ace landed on his feet and jumped back, his powerful legs propelling him to the end of the room. The killer swore, touching her broken mask for a second before turning to face Ace. Red tinted black hair spilled from under the hood through the broken side of the mask. Angry red burn-scarred skin flashed through the locks, surrounding a broken dead white eye. Ace grimaced at the dead eye, but didn't let his guard down.

Wait for it, he told himself, flexing his grip on his weapon. She'll charge any second no-

The killer dropped her scythe and disappeared in a flurry of Rose petals. Ace swore and looked around for her, taking a step forwards.
Pain erupted across his chest as the killer appeared in front of him, his second boomerang in hand, already on the downswing from striking him. Blood erupted from the wound trailing from his shoulder to his waist. Ace toppled forwards, his legs giving out underneath him as his face contorted in a shocked expression, his eyes going blank as he passed out.

The killer stepped aside and let the faunus boy hit the ground. Glancing down at him, blood starting to pool around him, she tsked and dropped his weapon at his side, turning away. Activating her semblance the killer crossed the room quickly, picking up her own weapon along the way. Without a glance at the three bodies in the room the killer stepped in front of Weiss's dorm room and kicked the door open. White light spread over the darkness-covered bed, illuminating the person asleep inside. The killer stepped inside the room, a thin rectangle of light spilling through the door the only illumination in the entire room. With slow, bored steps the killer stepped up to the bed, spinning her weapon in a lazy circle besides her almost out of anticipation.

A line of pain cut across her arm, the Killer yelling in shock as she dropped the scythe and jumped back to the doorway, scanning the shadows. She heard a light chuckle to her left, almost melodious in its sound, and lashed out with her injured hand.

She met nothing, not even finding the wall.

Another line of pain cut across her shoulder, this time from the other side, and for the briefest second the killer caught side of a thing sword glinting in the light as it sank back into the shadows, being swallowed by the darkness. Again she lashed out, but found nothing. Another chuckle came from the far end of the room. "In darkness I hide. A silent step stalks the shadows. This is my semblance," the melodious voice sung out, seeming to move from one side of the room to the other. The killer tried to follow the voice, stepping into the room. Her foot found the end of her weapon, and with a hard stomp she bounced the red and black scythe into the air and her waiting hands.

"Show yourself," the killer said, twirling her weapon around her. "Or you'll suffer as the three outside did."

"To make me suffer you must see me," the voice said, coming from right behind her. The killer pivoted on the spot, bringing her weapon around. Something blocked the swing, sending jarring shocks up the killers arm. Growling she pulled her weapon back, the sound of plaster crumbling and falling to the ground following.

"A mighty weapon on the field of battle," the voice taunted, coming from the far corner again. "Finds its strength entrapped. What cuts bloody swathes through Grimm is stopped by close walls."

The killer growled again. Stepping as much into the centre as she could go she activated her semblance and spun around, her weapon cutting a red line at around chest height. Again the voice chuckled.

"When the winds roar across the high road, the farmer travels the low."

"Step into the light!" The killer yelled, stopping in her vortex. She faced away from the bed and the girl in it, staring out the door to the light filled hallway. The voice chuckled, and a shadow stepped from the darkness into the light of the doorway, standing in silhouette against it before passing back into the shadow on the other side of the door.

"Now why would I give up the advantage?" The voice sung out, coming from behind the killer. The scythe-wielder looked from the darkness where the shadow had vanished to the left corner behind, anger mixing with shock that someone could move that quickly that silently without giving off any indication they even existed. "I cannot be seen, thus I cannot be fought. Thus I cannot be hurt, and I cannot lose."

The killer growled, but smirked under her mask as she turned and buried the end of her weapon into the girl in the bed, the sharpened end going through the bed itself into the floor.

Drawing her weapon back the killer looked around at the darkness, "you lose."

At first silenced answered her. Silence broken as the voice began to chuckle, the chuckle turning into full-on laughter that seemed to echo through the entire room. The killer looked around confused.

"Congratulations, you managed to succeed in stabbing and impaling Buster, the crash test dummy," the voice laughed. The killer's eyes widened as she turned on the bed and threw off the covers. A tattered and mistreated looking leather-skinned man lay before her, his entire body looking like it had gone through hell and back only to be stitched back together or held by sticky tape.

"I don't know where Theo found it," the voice laughed, taking enjoyment from the killers stunned silence and growing anger. "But we agreed it was a sound plan to install it in her as a decoy."

"Son of a -" the killer raised her weapon to cleave the dummy in half. A flash of silver directly in front of her stopped the weapon, the force of the sword pushing the masked girl through the door and from the room. The killer slid to a stop, growling, and looked to the room.

Sliding from the darkness emerged the shadow, stepping across the threshold into the hallway. Long orange strands of hair fell fell from a top knot over a narrow tanned face, black piercing eyes staring out through elegant painted lashes. Free from the darkness the shadow now walked with the distinct noise of plated armour clashing against each other, the orange samurai armour covering the shadows chest and parting below the belt to form a long elegant skirt that ended just above the ankles. The shadow walked with one hand on her weapon at her side, her golden orange and white kimono sleeves swaying with each step. The killer glared at the shadow, at the tall samurai girl, in front of her and raised her weapon, ready to strike. The samurai chuckled and drew her weapon, a mistralian katana with a large discus-like circle around the hilt, in one swift movement, sliding into a combat stance with the blade pointed at the ground at her side, her whole body wide open.

"Time is up," the samurai said, glancing at the door at the far end of the room. The killer followed her gaze, just as the door burst open and the furious form of Peter Port charged in, blunderaxe in hand and with a small army of students and teachers behind him. The killer swore and stole one last glance at the samurai before turning and disappearing in a flurry of rose petals, a trail of red leading to the medial room furthest from the angry crowd.

The samurai smiled and sheathed her weapon, watching the rose petals fall. Port stepped to her side, likewise watching the petals before turning to the student. “Are you well miss Mahogani?”

The samurai frowned and turned around, “I am fine Port-sama, but my team-”

“Are being tended to,” the portly teacher said with a wave of his arm to the rest of the room. Each fo the three boys had at least three students leaning over them, glowing white dust filling the air above each of them. The samurai let out a sigh of relief and smiled to the teacher. “Arigoto Port-sama”

“There is no need to thank me my dear,” Port said back, his eyebrows rising in mirth. “You fought off the assailant, and saved the lives of miss Schnee and your comrades in doing so. You are the one who should be thanks miss Mahogani”

“Port-sama, I have told you,” the samurai said with a laugh and bow of her head, “please call me Natsumi.

“Now that would not be appropriate miss Mahogani,” Port said, bowing his head in return. The samurai gave an annoyed chuckle and turned again to the room. “How do you think the killer entered the building sir. I heard the doors open when Yatsuhashi left, but not again.”

“They probably entered through the staff room windows and came through the office at the end,” the boisterous teacher said, pointing his weapon to the door at the far end of the room. Turning around Port pointed at the door at the opposite end of the room, “and possibly left through the staff kitchen windows as well.”

I did find it strange that the medical rooms themselves don’t have windows,” Natsumi remarked, glancing at the pitch-black room she had been in; a pair of students were carrying the crash-test dummy out, shooting confused looks to each other. Professor Port raised an eyebrow at the dummy but didn’t say a word on it, instead turning to the samurai next to him. “I too have questioned this. Perhaps Ozpin or Glynda would-”

“Professor Port!” A student yelled. Both Port and Natsumi snapped to the call as a young man rushed through the door to the next medical room.

“Weiss Schnee is awake!”

_________________

Facebook || DeviantArt || FanFiction.Net || ArchiveOfOurOwn || Wattpad

Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter Nine - Someday I'll Wish Upon a Star

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:25 am

"She just woke up from a coma, and the first thing you do is crash-tackle and bear-hug her?"

"I'm glad she's awake."

"You cracked her rib."

"I was really glad she was awake."

Weiss let out an annoyed growl and started massaging her temples; listening to her team mates argue over her was giving her a migraine to add to the throbbing pain in her side every time she breathed. The heiress glared at the blonde and ravenette standing at the end of her bed, and smiled; they were driving her insane, but she was touched that they were concerned and ecstatic for her; that smile turned to a frown as the two continued to argue, or pun in response.

Another sigh of annoyance drew Weiss’s attention over to the two students sitting against the wall, a tall brooding young man and a shorter energetic young girl who had introduced themselves as Nikolas and Erika of team SEWN, two of Yang and Blake's bodyguards; the rest of team SEWN, Erika had explained, were out in the infirmary with team CFVY and Natsumi Mahogani, the last standing member of Weiss's second bodyguard team, ALTN. That they had people watching over them after she was almost killed came as no surprise to Weiss. What did surprise her was that three teams had been assigned to her and her teammates separately, and the fact that all of them were students.

Weiss had quickly turned a scrutinizing eye of the pair, finding it hard to believe by their appearance and the way they interacted with the three girls of RWBY and with each other that they could protect anyone, let alone Weiss's teammates and arguably the best first-year team in the school.

Nikolas, the heiress concluded, was completely open with no signs of armour or protection of any kind, his clothes being the standard sort anyone could buy so we're too thin to offer any sort of defense, his weapon nowhere in sight on his body, and he didn't have the appearance of a dust-user, and his attitude alluded to someone who did not get along well with others, making Weiss question how he could work well on a team with someone like Erika as the heiress's icy blue eyes moved from the brooding ravenette to the dark-skinned girl cleaning her weapons besides him.

Erika was the almost the exact opposite of Nikolas personality wise: she was calm now, cleaning her weapon, but when she had come in and introduced herself Weiss could have sworn the purple-haired girl could have been related to Nora or Ruby: talking a mile a minute, with wild body expressions, sweeping gestures of her arms and annoyingly the ability to jump from one topic to the next random thought completely without warning or any link between them. Her appearance were more huntress approximate with thicker more armoured clothes, but they seemed big and baggy on her, hiding her frame. Weiss's attention moved from the girl to the weapon she was holding, a combination that was almost as tall as she was of a harpoon, a box sword hilt, and an assault rifle stuck upside down to the top. The entire weapon looked too large and unbalanced with all the height in the middle and backend to be quick and nimble, with the hook on the blade and the gun on top looked like they could get caught too easily on things.

"You done?" A deep accented voice asked, snapping Weiss's attention to Nikolas. The boy had his cold piercing dark blue eyes locked on her, sending a shiver, and a wave of pain, through the usual composed and unfazeable heiress. Weiss looked away from the pair, Erika having looked up from her weapon, and took a deep breath.

"I was just questioning why two unknown team of students are protecting us, that's all," Weiss replied, turning back to lock eyes with the brooding Atlesian and raising her head ever so slightly so to stare down her nose at him. Nik remained stone face, only blinking in response. Erika put her weapon away in its sheath leaning against the wall next to her and turned to the heiress.

"There weren't any graduated teams available," she explained, pulling an apple from her pocket and biting into it between words. "And Ozpin couldn't spare the teachers who had to teach of course and investigate into the attack on you."

"It is also counting towards our marks," Nikolas said, crossing his arms over his chest as he played starring contest with Weiss. "We're all second year students, so we get time off classes for missions, and do not require a huntsman or huntress to chaperone us."

"And yeah, that," Erika finished, taking another bite of her apple. A frown formed on the girl's lips and she turned to her team mate. "Kinda sad excuses though huh. ALTN got put in the hospital and Walt got his arse kicked by the worst fighter in the first year."
"Team ALTN are too varied in their weapon and combat styles, and Theo's guillotine gun is idiotic, over-dramatic and useless outside of support. Walt, is an just an idiot."

"He was going easy on Jaune though."

"Still an idiot."

Weiss looked between the two, shocked. Not only were these two a year ahead of her and her teammates still bickering at the end of her bed, but the team protecting her were also her seniors AND had almost been killed by a single person.

'What the dust was Ozpin thinking! Weiss mused to herself as she forced her face to relax and returned to staring at the brooding Atlesian, wincing as the movement sent pain stabbing at her side.

"I thought a veteran team of Huntsmen were here at Beacon," the heiress said.

"They were assigned to CRDL," Nik answered boredly.
"CRDL? Why do they need bodyguards?"

Erika cringed and let out a low 'oooooh' before looking to her teammate. "No one's told her yet?"

"Told me what?"

"She woke up two hours ago," Nik said as he turned to face Erika, ignoring Weiss completely. "First she got a checkup, then Ozpin and Goodwitch talked with her for an hour and I'm guessing they left that part out"

"What part? What's going on?"

"And considering what put her here they probably thought it a good idea to wait a day or two before telling her,"

"Stop talking about me like I'm not here! Tell me what?"

"So why did you tell her CRDL has a veteran team of Huntsman protecting them?"
"She asked."

Erika shot a look at Nik before turning to Weiss. The purple haired girl's eyes went wide and she jumped from her seat, breaking through Yang and Blake's bickering. Nik shot her a confused look, when ice suddenly enveloped his body, ending just above his shoulders. The Atlesian looked down at the ice, raising an eyebrow, and looked to the heiress. Weiss dropped her hand, the glyph underneath Nik's feet vanishing, and turned an angry glare on Erika.

"Tell. Me. What?"

Erika looked from the angry white-haired girl to her teammate, who rolled his eyes and flexed. The icy shell cracked, spiderweb fissures and fractures spreading across its surface as pieces broke away and fell to the ground and shattered. Shaking himself free of the rest of the ice Nik brushed off his shoulders and fixed Weiss with a flat deadpan stare.

"It's believed that the killer is after team CRDL next, so they have been assigned two student teams and team REBL," the Atlesian stated, leaning back against the wall and crossing his arms.

Weiss's anger turned to shock. "What?"

"Team JNPR is also being watched," Erika added as she slid back into her chair. Weiss almost did a double take.

"JNPR? Why are they being protected?"

At this the entire room fell silent, everyone bowing their heads as hard frowns and sad eyes took residence in their faces. Weiss looked between the four, a feeling of unease forming in her stomach.

"What, what's happened?" She asked. No one answered, no one looking up from the floor. The silence started to weigh down on the room, the bad feeling in Weiss's gut starting to grow almost painful.

It was Yang who mustered the courage and broke the silence. "Pyrrha, she-" the blinds voice faltered, and Weiss felt her heart fell.

Surely not she thought, shaking her head to try and get rid of the very idea. She waited for Yang to finish, to say the red-head Amazon was imply in the hospital or in her dorm room, but the blonde had fallen silent again, unable to finish. The words surely not, she can't be started to circle around and around in Weiss's mind as her hands curled into fists, holding the blanket as her whole frame started to shake, fresh pain mixing with the breaking heart to bring tears to her eye.

"No, she can't be." Weiss stuttered, shaking her head more vigorously, trying desperately to dislodge the idea. "She's, she's Pyrrha. She graduated top of her class at Sanctum! She won the Mistral Region Tournament four times, a new record! She's one of the best warriors at this school!"

No one looked up from the ground as Weiss started to scream. She looked to each of them, tears streaming down her face, wanting them to be wrong, wanting this to be some sort of sick prank and that the redhead would walk through the door on crutches or in a wheelchair or something, shaking her head with an annoyed frown on her face.

"She can't be dead! She can't!" Weiss repeated, burying her face in her knees and sobbing the words over and over. Yang and Blake rushed to her side, the blonde climbing into bed besides the heiress and scooping her up in a hug, whispering something into Weiss's ear.  Blake stood on the other side of the bed, rubbing the heiresses back and trying to hold back her own tears.

Footsteps behind her stole Blake's attention. Turning her head she found Erika and Nikolas now standing besides the door, Erika having taken her chair with her, and was setting it down when the door opened, making the purple-haired girl jump in surprise and whoever was coming through the door mutter a swear word and step back out of the room. Walt poked his head through the door, shooting a 'don't do that' stare at his teammate as she stared it right back; Nikolas simply leaned against the wall and crossed his arms, ignoring everyone and everything.

Blake shook her head at the three and turned back to her team; Weiss was still crying but had calmed down a little as Yang rocked her gently like she would a young child, quietly singing to the white-haired heiress. The cat faunus lifted her hand to-

"-CRDL is on their way over here."

Blake stopped and turned to team SEWN, the three having a hushed conversation.

"Why?" Erika and Nik asked.

"Pastel just sent a text saying the killer found them near the dorms," Walt said with a grim look, his orange eyes looking like they briefly turned red. "And considering there's a small army of students camping out this building they figured it'll be a good idea."

"Where are they?" Erika asked, sheathing her weapon in its case on her back; Nik at the point was standing, hands on his belt.

The wheat-haired boy pulled out of the room for a second, talking with someone just outside before poking his head back in. "Round the corner. PTFM's escorting them, and REBL was meeting with Ozpin again, so they're on their way to back GNRL."

"So where's GNRL?" Nik asked, his cold icy voice growing even colder and harsher as his face darkened. Walt let out an annoyed sigh and shook his head.

"Where do you think, they're fighting the killer."

"Of course they are," the Atlesian said and leaned back against the wall. Walt and Erika shared a look, appearing to be thinking the same thing about their teammate and this team GNRL.

"He's what? Missing?" Serena yelled from the next room, making the Walt, Erika and Blake jump. Blake glanced at her teammates, thankfully not disturbed or even appearing to have heard the yell, and rushed over to the door.Walt and Erika were already gone, the door closing behind them. The cat faunus slipped through the gap without touching the door of the frame and found herself right behind the pair, flanked by Coco and Fox on the right, Velvet and Yatsuhari on the left and the girl from ALTN standing across from the door.

"SØN AF EN FROSSEN STEN TROLD!"

"Wanna swear any louder?" Walt asked his team leader as he, Erika and Blake stepped behind the green-haired girl, the two members of SEWN smirking for some reason.

Serena threw her scroll down on a nearby table and turned on the trio, shooting a death glare at The wheat-haired boy.
"Shut up Walt," she shot back. "That was Alexander. Jaune's gone."

"What!" Walt yelled, the smirk dropping from his face. Blake felt all the colour drain from her face and her heart skip a few beats; How could the killer have-

Walt slapped himself in the face suddenly, handing dragging down his face like he had just remembered something incredibly important. "He's going after the killer."

"He wouldn't." Erika said, "how would he even know there were there?

"Pastel sent the text to APCS as well, but Alexander wouldn't have shared that with JNPR," Serena said, putting her hands on her hips and massaging her brow.

Walt sighed, "Alex wouldn't have. Arc must have read the text over his shoulder."

"Pacifica's gone after him,"

"I'll go too," Erika said putting a hand on her weapons.

"Me too," Blake stepped forward. Both Erika and Walt turned on the faunus, not even realizing she was there, while Serena took on a face Goodwitch would wear.
"No! You're not going anywhere, the killer could be after you! And I don't care if you can handle yourself, It's my teams responsibility to make sure you stay alive and right here!"
"But-"
"You're staying here!" Serena yelled. Blake growled, baring her teeth with her hands clenching into fists

"I'm going! You can't stop me!" She yelled back, taking a step toward the green haired girl, tensing her body ready to pounce and sidestep the SEWN leader.

A pair of hands grabbed the cat by her shoulders, wrenching her back. "Calm do-" Walt started, trying to keep hold of Blake. The ravenette turned in his grasp, her fist slamming into the wheat-haired boys nose, breaking it and making him on reflect let go. As soon as his grip loosened Blake jumped up over the heads of team SEWN, her eyes glowing as she used her semblance to distract Erika, Serena, and Fox and Velvet who had jumped into help, and landed behind the green-haired leader running.

"Dammit!" Serena yelled as the clone disappeared, turning to see the door already swinging on the far end of the room.
Serena turned to Erika, standing by Walt holding his bleeding nose. "Erika, I've got him, after her!"

"Velvet you too," Coco yelled from the door to Weiss's room. The bunny-eared faunus nodded and took off running, Erika falling in step besides her. As the two disappeared out of the door Serena swore to herself and stepped to Walt's side, leading by the arm to a chair, Natsumi Coco and Fox crowding around while Yatsuhari tried to find a nurse.

"Girl's feisty," Walt muttered with a laugh. Removing his hand Serena saw that his nose was bent to the side, a clear break to the bridge and his mouth and chin drenched red. Despite the pain and blood Walt still cracked a sh*t-eating grin. "I like that."

"You should see the blonde," someone commented, drawing a short laugh from the room followed by a painful groan.

oOo

Jaune swore as another arrow clattered off his shield, a few bits of ice forming on the surface, and kept running. He heard a string of curse words behind him and shot a glance in the direction. The silver-and black-haired girl stood a few meters away, a massive longbow the same colour pattern as her hair raised with an arrow at the ready but not drawn. Jaune saw that this one had a glowing orange tip this time and swore again; he didn't know what the orange arrows did but he knew it wasn't more ice.

"Just stop already!" Pacifia shouted to the fleeing boy, watching the blonde with irritation. Jaune made no move that he heard her, just kept running.

"Imbécile têtu," Pacifica cursed. In one swift motion she drew back the arrow and let it loose, the bowstring slapping against her armoured wrist as the dust-tipped arrow spiraled through the air towards the fleeing boy's back, leaving a luminescent spiral in its wake.

The arrow hit Jaune in the shield and exploded, a brilliant red, orange and yellow fireball consuming the space. Pacifica quickly drew and nocked another arrow, this one glowing a insidious luminescent green, stalked towards the fireball, and waiting for it and the smoke to clear.

The fireball dissipated quickly, leaving behind scorched circle on the concrete, while the smoke curled up into the sky, growing fainter as it went. Jaune coughed weakly on the other side of the burnt patch, supporting himself on his hands and knees; his shield was still attached to his arm, covering most of the blonde’s body. Pacifica clicked her tongue and stopped.

“You done?” she asked.

Jaune muttered something under her breath, and in one fluid movement was back on his feet and running again.

How the hell did he get up?’ Pacifica flinched. Swearing under her breath the silver-and-black haired girl took off after him, switching the green arrow for another orange. As she nocked it on the string she glanced at the small dust crystal in the head, as if to make sure it was still there. 'There's enough charge to knock an ursa on its ass. How is he still running?'

Pacifica flickered her emerald eyes back to Jaune. The blonde knight was rounding the corner to the dorms, glancing back at her as he disappeared round the building. The silver-and-black archer tsked and jogged after him, raising her weapon and drawing the arrow back so it brushed her cheek.

A flying sickle almost took her head off. Swearing she jumped backwards, almost losing grip on the explosive arrow. Someone laughed off to the left, sending a rush of heated rage through Pacifica’s frame as she turned on the person.

“Should take better care comrade!,” a tall black-haired Atlesian yelled out, pulling on a long chain attached to his belt. Garbed in a closed maroon overcoat with yellow shoulders he stood and imposing figure, a yellow-handled chain sickle cut through the air, a low whistling sound like an old kettle boiling trailing it as it flew to his hand. “Particularly when entering a battle.”

Pacifica ignored the young man, turning her emerald gaze to the open courtyard. The three members of team GNRL stood around the masked killer, all with their weapons out at their side, circling slowly like predators; Grigori, the team leader who almost decapitated Pacifca, hung back from the group, lazily swinging his chained weapon around as he regarded the killer with a cheery but psychotically chilling smile. Jaune stood off to one side looking not at the killer but at the dark red hammer with a large metal tube protruding from the back sitting in front of him, partly buried in the concrete. Pacifica shot a glare at Grigori again; she knew he was a sociopathic bastard, but to throw his weapons at people entering a battle, possible allies or even civilians.

Grigori seemed to feel the archer’s intense glare boring into his skull and turned to face her, his evil calm smile never wavering. “Please stop with the evil eye, old woman. It is putting me off.”

“Then how bout not trying to kill us you bastard!” Pacifica yelled back, feeling so tempted to turn her weapon on the young man. The dark-haired Atlesian chuckled and turned back to the killer.

“Da, you are not worth the effort.”

Pacifica rolled her eyes and did the same, settling her emerald eyes on the killer. She hadn’t moved while Pacifica and Grigori argued, just watching the three walking around her, her weapon resting on the ground behind her legs. Despite being circled by three armed hunters-in-training the killer looked calm, relaxed even. A shiver ran down Pacifica’s spine; raising her weapon to the killer the silver-and-black haired girl looked to Jaune. “We need to-”

“YOU SON OF A b*tch!”

All eyes turned to the blonde knight as he charged the killer, shield held in front and sword raised. Almost bowling over a short grey-haired girl Jaune brought his sword down at the killer’s head; The killer, having up until this point being staring at a tall blonde-haired girl on her other side turned to face Jaune. With a flash of red and steel her weapon came up, deflected the strike. Jaune swore mentally, know standing overextended with all his balance on his front foot and now way to recover. The killer knew this, sidestepping the boy as his momentum carried him forwards, and bringing her weapon down at his back.

“I’m sorry Jaune.” Jaune could have sworn he heard the killer say just as the blade was about to cut him clean in half. Closing his eyes Jaune tried to move out of the way, or even twist the injury wouldn’t be as bad.

“What the-”

CLANG

Jaune landed on the ground and rolled, ending on his feet. Looking up he saw the grey-haired girl standing next to the killer, her long box weapon with a sword attached to the front holding back the massive scythe blade. The killer was looking at the girl now, who looked at the killer and Jaune confused. Jaune shot a quick mental thank you to the girl and turned his attention back to the killer, his hand tightening on the leather grip of his sword as he charged again.

This time he swung at the killer from the side, angling it so the arc wouldn’t hit the girl even if it was blocked. The killer saw this coming again and stepped back, shifting her scythe so it stood vertical to block the strike. Crocea Mors hit the shaft of the scythe and stuck, silver metal straining again black; the scythe took the hit, but the killer recoiled as well, her shoes sliding a few centimetres on the stone.

Up close Jaune saw the killer’s mask was broken on the left, however her black hair with red tips hid most of her face, only showing patches of scarred burnt skin.

The killer turned her head to focus all her attention on the blonde, a harsh angry stare coming through the hair and mask.
“You don’t have to get involved Ja-”

Jaune pulled his sword back and stabbed at the killer’s head; the killer fell backwards to avoid the strike, coming to her feet besides the blonde girl. The blonde smiled and lifted a light-blue morningstar with large orange dust crystals embedded in the head.
“GUTEN TAG!” the blonde screamed and brought the morningstar down at the killer. The weapon sailed past the hooded figure as she stepped back, raising her own weapon in turn. The morningstar made contact with the ground and exploded, a large orange fireball consuming the two figures and sending them flying apart. The killer landed on her feet, planting the point of her weapon in the ground to stop her slid. She swore and looked up at the blonde head standing across from her, both of them smoking with burnt patches to their clothes.

A sword blocked the killers view as it hurtled towards her face. Growling she threw herself under the swing and strike out at her attacker. Fist met metal as Jaune tucked his shield into his body and pushed with all his might. The killer yelled as she was pushed off balance, holding herself up with just her weapon.

Jaune didn’t let up, striking out with his shield he caught her foot with the face, keeping her from regaining her balance, and swung low at her remaining leg. There was no way the killer could block the blow or regain her balance in time to dodge the attack, so she did the only Jaune wasn’t prepared for. She jumped up, landing with both feet on his shield and jumped off, pushing the blonde knight on his arse and landing on her feet.

The killer tsked, cocking her head and staring down the the blonde knight as if smirking at him. Fresh waves of molten rage poured through Jaune’s veins, his body surging onto his feet and towards the killer, the whole world gone except the masked girl in front of her.

Jaune swung at the killer, again and again, throwing away all sense of reason or strategy and simply trying to swing and hit the girl as many times as he could. The killer blocked his attacks with ease, barely even moving her weapon to do so; she was toying with him, and Jaune knew it, which only made him angrier.

“YOU KILLED HER!” He yelled, continuing to swing and chop and hack at the scythe shaft. “YOU SON OF A b*tch!”
“You don’t understand,” the killer bit back, moving her scythe out of the way of Jaune’s next swing, his sword sailing past the killer, taking the blonde knight with it so he ended with his back to the killer.

Growling Jaune tried to turn back, swinging an uppercut as he turned. A foot kicked him in the back, knocking him to the ground. As he hit the ground his wrist landed on a piece of jagged concrete, his hand popped open on reflex and Crocea Mors slid across the ground out of his reach. Jaune swore and tried to get to his feet, but a heavy weight pushed him back to the ground, something cold pressing against his neck.

“I don’t want to kill you Jaune,” the killer said, kneeling down atop the blonde knight. “You were a good friend. But if you get in my way, I won’t promise what will happen.”

Fresh anger ignited the boys veins, the sight of Pyrrha as he found her flashing before his eyes as he tried to push himself up again. Turning his head he starred bloody murder at the killer kneeling on his back, his usually calm friendly blue eyes turning murderously cold.

“I’ll kill you! I swear on her f***ing grave I’m going to put you in yours!”

The killer stared down at Jaune, her own eyes hidden, and sighed. “She put me in mine already. They all did. Goodbye Jaune.”

“Dust I hate soppy moments.”

The killer looked up to catch a pillar of fire shooting towards her at alarming speed. Flinching she jumped off Jaune and out of the fire’s path, ending with her back to the dorm rooms.

Jaune jumped to a crouch quickly and turned towards the killer, raising his shield in front of him. With a skittering slid Crocea Mors appeared at his side, someone having kicked it over to him. Taking up his weapon the blonde knight cautiously got to his feet, keeping his shield up just in case.

“Not a fan of fire?”

Jaune glanced to his right. The grey-haired girl stood besides him, sword in front of her; on her other side stood the blonde, holding the handle of her morningstar in one hand but swinging the head around lazily by a thin chain.

“Shame, it’s is such a pretty thing.”

“Enjoy it for yourself then.” Jaune turned back to the killer as she pulled something from her belt and hurled it at the trio. Jaune saw a flash of crystal red and started to curse, turning to step in front of the grey-haired girl and put his shield between them and the crystal. Instead the girl pushed past Jaune, shooting him a sidewards glance as she stepped in front of him and raised her hand, letting the dust crystal impact against her palm and shatter. Fire erupted from her hand, consuming the shards and growing until it covered the girls entire top half, blocking her from sight. Jaune stared in shock, his eyes growing wider as the flames died down and the girl emerged from the blaze, smoking but unharmed, a smug smirk on her face.

“My semblance isn’t as flashy as other people's, I’m just fireproof," the girl said with a snicker, stepping back behind Jaune and staring at the killer her glowing dark blue eyes starting to fade.

“Am I supposed to be impressed?” The killer asked, taking a step towards the three. Something jerked on her arm, dragging the killer back half a step, turning about. A yellow handles sickle blade with a thick chain extending from the end was wrapped around the blade of her scythe, the chain pulled taut by the dark-haired Atlesian, smiling his sociopathic grin.

Jaune saw his chance. Screaming a warcry he took a step towards the killer, raising his sword in anticipation, only for something latched onto his hoodie, jerking him to a stop and dragging him back so he stood level with the grey-haired girl who simply turned to him and shook her head.

“Don't get in Regina's way,” she said.

“Wha-” Jaune started, only to be cut off by the blonde-haired girl screaming something and doing exactly what Jaune had done, charging at the killer swinging the head of her weapon around like a lasso. Smiling like a madwoman the blonde girl, Regina, pulled down on the chain in her hand, bringing the Morningstar head down at the killer. The masked killer turned at the warcary. Swearing she let go of her scythe and stepped back, dodging the large dust-embedded ball. Jaune raised his shield, bracing for another explosion as the weapon head neared the ground. It never touched the tiled stone. The killer danced forwards, her foot making contact with the weapon head between the orange crystals that started to glow as they neared the floor, and kicked it back at the blonde owner. Regina opened her mouth, and thats as far as she got; the head of her morningstar slammed into her chest with enough force for several of the dust crystals to piece her clothes, but not the armour underneath. And then the head erupted into a brilliant explosive fireball. The grey-haired girl stepped in front of Jaune and raised her sword, covering him from the worst of the blast as it washed over the two.

As the explosion died down the two stepped apart; Jaune was spared the worst ofit, coming out of the explosion with some scorched hair tips and the edges of his clothes. The grey-haired girl besides him, looking the same as she did going into the explosion muttered something under her breath and raised her eyes and sword/flamethrower on the killer in front of her. Jaune shot a glance at the girls team mate, Regina laying on the ground off to the side, covered in burns and her clothes blackened, before doing the same. As soon as his blue eyes fell upon the masked killer his vision began to cloud over red, his breath hitching as fire began to burn in his veins. His feet moved on their own accord, the left stepping forwards, then the right, then the left-"

Think! Don't feel! A voice shouted in Jaune's head, his legs locking in place and stopping him dead in his tracks. The words echoed through his mind, and Jaune found his vision clearing, his heart rate slowing. A feeling of annoyed contempt radiated through his mind, Jaune knowing it came not from him, the voice didn't sound like his voice, unless his inner voice sounded like a strict librarian.

Ignore that! Don't give into the rage. Charge but follow Lavender's lead!

It felt like something shoved against Jaune's back, forcing his legs into motion; again they started to move of their own accord. This time Jaune started to run, to charge at the masked killer who was dodging a kicking at mortar shells as they assailed her.

The grey-haired girl, the name Lavender popping in Jaune's head, reached the killer first, stabbing at the masked girl with her weapon; the weapon slid past the killers side as she sidestepped the attack. Pivoting on the spit the killer raised her leg to deliver a kick to Lavender's head, only to meet white and gold metal as Jaune got his shield between the two.

Pulling back his shield the blonde knight brought his sword around, aiming for the killers head; Lavender standing behind him pressed her body against his back, stabbing her sword under his sword arm at the killers stomach. The killer dodged, throwing herself sidewards into a roll and coming to her feet. The two swordsman stepped apart and launched themselves again at their enemy, Jaune on the right swinging high while Lavender on the left swung low. Again the killer dodged, jumping backwards, yet the pair continued their assault, hounding her with furious zeal.

Switch Jaune heard in his head and wordlessly obeyed, stepping behind and to the left of Lavender as she stepped in front and to the right. Jaune glanced to his partner, questioning the switch and how they had both wordlessly pulled it off; Lavender returned the glance, the same questioning look to her eyes.

Shield on the outside. Clear on the right for the fire.

The two flinched, eyes going wide in shocked surprise as they turned their attention away from each other. Jaune looked down at his arm and did find his shield was on the outside, where it would be more use without cutting off Lavender the knight realized.

'Ok strict librarian lady voice, anything else?' Jaune asked.

Shut up and pay attention. You're about to be kicked in the face.

'What!' Jaune mentally shouted and looked up. Black leather met his cheek with force, making stars flash before Jaune's eyes and knocking his body into a spin. Suddenly his sword arm lashed out on his own accord, swinging behind Jaune's back and landing a cut to the killers leg as she landed.

Jaune stumbled away, staying on his feet, with his vision swimming but clearing; he couldn't feel his cheek but the area around the dead spot hurt like hell.

Down!

Jaune's body responded on instinct, dropping to the ground and rolling aside. Jumping to his feet he found Lavender standing back from the killer as as mortar shell, bullet and glowing cyan arrows assaulted the masked girl. None hit their mark, the killer dodging or hitting them out of the air, but a small smile graced Jaune's face as he saw flecks of ice forming on the killer's hands and arms from the arrows.

Jaune, gripping his sword tight, stepped to the side and charged, coming at the killers flank; on her other side Lavender did the same. The ranged assault did not let up as the two swordsman reached the killer, Lavender's weapon drawing blood across the killers arm while Jaune's missed the killer's head by a hairs width.

Jaune drew back and pivoted on the spot, Crocea Mors cutting through the air with a low whistle. Just as it neared the killers stomach he felt his arm drop, now aiming for the girls leg. The killer brought her leg up, catching the sword with her boot, but not the arrow that buried into her stomach, ice erupting from the wound to cover her abdomen.

The killer stumbled back, blocking another strike from Jaune and leaning back to dodge one from Lavender, but a bullet impacted on her shoulder, drawing a cry of pain and spinning the killer around. Jaune saw his chance and swung at her exposed back. Time slowed to a stop for the blonde, everything gone still except his sword cutting an arc towards the Killer.

The killer started to turn, raising her arm to block the sword while raising her other in a fist. An arrow hit her ankle and her leg collapsed. The killer fell to a knee, her masked head now in the way of Jaune's swing. There was no way for the killer to get out of the way, or for Jaune to divert or pull the swing. So he didn't.

The edge of Crocea Mors hit the white and red Grimm mask, and bounced off, grazing the killers shoulders and hitting the ground next to her. The mask shattered, peppering Jaune with white and red fragments. The killer rocked from the blow, her head turning to almost a sickening angle. Jaune let out the breath he was holding and drew his sword back, lifting it above his head for another swing at the prone figure in front of him, her head bowed hiding her face.

Stop.

Jaune felt his whole body freeze, feeling like something had stepped into his bones and locked them in place.

"Ozpin would want to talk with her," Lavender said stepping to Jaune's side and putting a hand on his shoulder. Jaune glanced at her from the corner of his eye. He had the chance, the chance to avenge Pyrrha and they were holding him back. Screw Ozpin. She deserved to die.

Jaune looked back to the killer. All the anger, all the pain, all the fire went out of his body. The killer had shifted her head, not enough to completely reveal her face but enough for Jaune to see her looking at him with through her red-tipped black hair with a large silver eye.

Memories exploded in Jaune's mind, each sending knives to his heart as he remembered his friend with silver eyes, laughing, training, encourage, nopeing. Memories of when he held Pyyrha sobbing over her death, stopping Yang from killing Cardin, each memory doubling the pain in his breaking heart as the dawning realization broke over him and he saw the killer kneeling before him, covered in blood and ice, her eyes cold and cruel with the invisible blood of their friend on her hands.

"How, could, you?" Jaune asked through clenched teeth, his body starting to shake as the leather grip of his sword groaned under his tightening grip. Lavender dropped her hand and backed away, shooting a glance behind her. Jaune ignored her, focusing only on the person in front of him.

"How! Could! You!" Jaune shouted through his locked jaw and the killer looked down.

"You wouldn't understand."

The killer struck out, not at Jaune but at the arrows buried in her body, and stood up. A flurry of rose petals washed over Jaune as the killer disappeared. He heard her appear behind him, followed the others swearing and cursing, and then she was gone again.
Jaune's body unlocked and he fell to his hands and knees, Crocea Mors clattering against the tiles besides him. He took several deep breaths, the memories of his friend playing over and over in his mind, mixing with flashes of the killer, his blood-stained dorm room, the murdered student, Pyrrha. He had heard Ozpin and Yang’s theory that the killer was Ruby and thought them insane; how could someone so innocent, so good, do this.

“Come on, on your feet.”

Someone wrapped their arm around Jaune’s chest and pulled him up. Snarling Jaune slapped at their hands and turned, throwing a punch straight at Lavender’s face. His fist stopped just short of her nose, his entire body freezing again. The grey-haired girl narrowed her eyes and let go of Jaune, letting him fall back to the ground before stalking off. As he hit the ground Jaune’s body twisted so he lay on his stomach with his hands pushed together lying out in front; someone walked over and bent down beside the prone blonde, stabbing a pair of cyan arrows into the gap between his wrists and letting go off the shafts as ice erupted from them, encasing Jaune’s wrists in a pair of makeshift handcuffs.

A hand grabbed the back of his shirt roughly and pulled Jaune to his feet, his body unfreezing as it went. When he was on his feet Jaune felt the hand let go and glared at whoever it was besides him; Pacifica glared right back, her longbow compacting and folding inwards so that she could sling it over her shoulder.

The silver and black haired archer said nothing, instead putting a hand on Jaune’s shoulder and pushing him into a walk. The blonde tried to shrug of her hand, but her grip was too tight and Jaune started to lose feeling in his shoulder pretty soon.

“Next time you try something like this I’ll let my team hunt you down,” Pacifica said as she directed Jaune around the corner of the dorm rooms, ignoring the multi-coloured armour-clad team REBL and another team likewise armoured as they ran past. “They’re not as nice as I am.”

“Whatever,” Jaune growled, staring coldly forwards. Pacifica muttered something and shot a glance backwards. Grigori and the other guy of team GNRL were talking with some of the members of the two other teams while a couple in pink and brown armour checked on the downed Regina; Lavender was nowhere to be seen.

Pacifica turned her attention forward, just in time to see Blake land in front of Jaune and her hand on her weapon.

“Are you ok?” the black-haired girl asked, looking from Jaune to his ice-bound wrists then past the two to the three teams behind them. “Where is the killer.”

“Gone,” Pacifica said flatly, noticing what looked like a faint heat shimmer appear behind Blake’s shoulder. “I shot her in the ankle, Idiot here broke her mask. He froze, she disappeared, reappeared to grab her scythe and disappeared again. She was injured in the fight so I doubt she will attack again today.”

“I need to see Ozpin,” Jaune said his voice harsh. Pacifica and Blake turned to him as he just stared past them.

“Right now.”

_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter Ten - Wake up Where the Clouds

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:27 am

Ozpin placed his coffee mug down on the armrest of his chair and leaned back in the soft dark emerald green leather chair. On any normal day the headmaster would be standing at one of the many windows of his office watching his school and students or out for walks on the grounds, observing the students up-close, watching them train and bond and grow. Occasionally he would step up to one or two in their moments good or bad and talk with the or offer them advice or direction.

Today however he sat despairingly in his chair, his face heavy with the stress. In his hands was a parchment displaying his office's waiting room where Jaune paced furiously, his hands and wrists bound in ice. Pacifica and Blake sat around the room watching him, the black-haired girl with pained concern and worry while the silver-haired archer watched the blonde boy with a bored flat stare.

Ozpin's heart broke for the young man. He had lost friends and family, he knew how it felt to have them ripped away, some bloody and sudden and others quiet and peaceful, but yet Ozpin knew there was nothing he could do to lessen the burden on the young man's heart and that was what drove the deepest knife into the headmaster chest; to have all the knowledge and experience of a long life and yet being unable to do more than offer condolences and words to the boy.

Ozpin closed the parchment and turned around in his chair. Puting the device and his cup on the desk he stood up, his legs and hips cracking and popping from having been seated for so long.

The intercom on his desk buzzed, Glynda's voice coming through the speaker. "Mr Arc is demanding to see you again. He is growing rather hostile, shall I send him away?"

Ozpin sighed. As much as he hurt for the boy he was in no mood to put up with his surprising temper. The headmaster pressed a button on his desk and hunched over to speak. "No, that will only make him worse. I will see him, once I have read the report.”

Yes Sir.

With a weary sigh Ozpin let go of the intercom and hit a key on the holo-board hovering just above the surface of the desk. The screen blared to life above the desk with a picture of two emerald gears, one inside the other, against a black background. Ozpin sat down and typed on the holo-board, a small envelope icon with a blinking exclamation point appearing on the screen before opening up and expanding to fill the entire page. Ozpin read the words at the top of the page and took a sip of his drink, which with a disappointed look he found was empty.

“Hmm,” he muttered as he set the cup aside and started to read the report. Immediately something jumped out to the headmaster. In the encounters between his students and the killer she showed remarkable speed and skill in fighting and dispatching her opponents, yet GNRL and PTFM managed to save the life of Sky Lark and hold off the killer long enough for PTFM and CRDL to escape. And GNRL managed to hold their own against the killer even when she defeated three of their classmates within a minute.

So what is different this time’ Ozpin mused as he hit a key to turn the page. His eyes skimmed across the page drinking in the words until a single sentence made him stop dead in his tracks and rise from his seat.

-first-year swordsman and Pacifica Yale of team APCS joined the battle as well. The swordsman charged the killer and engaged her, which almost resulted in his death or serious injury-
Ozpin picked up the parchment again and opened the video feed to his waiting room. Jaune was still pacing the room but was having a muted argument with Blake while Pacifca was inspecting one of her ice-dust arrows. Ozpin however had eyes only for Jaune.

“Why were you there, mr Arc?” Ozpin asked himself as he lowered himself back into his seat and turned back to the report. “And how did you fare?”

Ozpin’s eyes danced across the screen drinking in the words like a man near-dead of thirst. Every now and then he would glance at the video feed on his parchment and raise an eyebrow at the young knight furiously pacing, a small sense of pride blossoming in the headmaster's chest. He knew of course that Jaune faked his transcripts, that he didn’t have the training nor conditioning for this school, let alone the dangers he would face if he made it to graduation. Yet Ozpin knew the young Arc was a natural fighter and leader; his father, his grandfather, his great-grandfather had all been great warriors, generals and Hunstman, and ozpin had seen the raw talent in Jaune during his trial in the emerald forest coordinating the future team JNPR and taking down a Deathstalker. And now Jaune had gone up against a dangerously skilled opponent capable of beating a skilled third-year team and actually managed to win the bout.

“I hate to admit it Miss Nikos, but it appears you motivated Jaune more in death then as his mentor,” Ozpin said; he of course also knew of the training sessions on the dorm roof. The headmaster let out a sad sigh for the slain amazon and dismissed the report with a wave of his hand as he stood and pressed the buttom to key the intercom.

“Send in Mr Arc,” Ozpin said. Letting go off the button he turned his back to the desk and walked over to the window, crossing both arms behind his back as he stared over his academy. There he stood until the door burst open as if it was kicked and turned calmly to face the furious hatred-eyed teenager storming across his office.

“Before you say or do anything there will be consequences for seeking out and engaging the killer,” The headmaster stated in a stern voice that showed how displeased he was. Jaune walked up to his desk, ignoring what Ozpin had said and slamming his hands on the headmasters desk.

“Ruby is the killer!”

If not for the chair Ozpin would have fallen to the ground as his legs almost gave out; his worst fear at come true. The usually stoic and unshakable headmaster was at a loss for words as he shakily lowered himself into his chair, not looking at the student in front of him as he tried to find any thought or idea to support the crumbling theory, nay hope, that the simple soul he had known was not behind these deaths and attacks.

“You, saw her face?” Ozpin asked with a shaky voice, unable to look up from his desk.

“I did!” Jaune growled, removing his hands from the desk and stepping back. “I saw her face, I saw her f***ing eyes! She’s the one who killed Pyrrha!”

“Your are absolutely, 100 percent certain that the person you saw was Ruby Rose?” Ozpin asked his voice going harsh as he finally locked eyes with Jaune while rising to his feet. “You swear that the person that took the lives two of my students and injured five more is the most innocent, purest and honest soul I have ever encountered in my life!”

Ozpin’s words softened Jaune’s face and filled his eyes with pain and sorrow that washed away the anger and hatred. Taking a step backwards Jaune looked away from the headmaster. “I swear.”
The room fell into silence as the two bowed their heads, their faces breaking with sorrowful realization as the horrible truth of Jaune’s words finally sunk in.

CRASH

Jaune jumped and uttered a colourful sentence as Ozpin picked up his parchment and threw it after the coffee cup. The headmaster threw his chair next before bending down and with a heart-broken scream flipped the heavy wrought-iron and clockwork gear desk.

The room again fell silent save for Ozpin’s laboured breaths. Jaune looked at the headmaster in fear; he had never seen the man lose his cool before even a little. But this, Jaune felt he was staring at another person entirely.

The door burst open as Glynda stormed in, riding crop in hand and looking like she was about to murder someone, possibly Jaune by the look she gave him before her eyes settled on the Ozpin and his destruction.

“Ozpin,” she started, dropping the crop to her side and taking a step towards the headmaster.

“Get, me, Yang, and, Blake,” Ozpin panted as he righted himself and turned away from the student and headmistress. Jaune and Glynda shared a look of shock before looking back to the headmaster.

“Sir-”

“Now, Glynda!” Ozpin yelled harshly, his voice wavering. The headmistress went to say something, but bowed her head and stepped back. With a distressed but collected voice she said “Yes, sir,” and left the room, leaving Jaune alone with the headmaster.

oOo

The doors to the elevator slid apart, allowing Blake and Yang to step into the room. Glynda stayed in the elevator and didn’t say a word to the two, only shooting a distressed glance over their heads as the doors closed.

“What the hell?” Yang asked as the pair stepped around Ozpin’s desk and looked around the office. Jaune was sweeping up the remains of Ozpin’s coffee cup and stood up when he saw the girls; Ozpin stood in front of the window his back to them standing as still as a statue but radiating a dark aura. The girls shared a look of alarm and concern and turned to Jaune as he walked up to them.

“What happened here?” Blake asked looking between the blonde and the headmaster. Yang looked around the room. “Blake told me you were mad but I wasn’t expecting this Vomit boy.”

“It, wasn’t me,” Jaune sighed, gesturing to the headmaster as he spoke. “I, gave him some really bad news.”

“What ne-”

“How is Weiss?” Ozpin interrupted, making the three look up. Ozpin turned around slowly, his face neutral and calm but his eyes at war between burning righteous fury and heart-breaking despair. “Is she well?”

“Yes, sir,” Blake said hesitantly. “She’s healthy, but just needs to rest.”

“That is good to hear. We have at least one shred of good news,” the headmaster said flatly. The girls looked to Jaune questionly. The knight was looking away from the pair, unwilling to meet their eyes and biting his cheek.

“Jaune?”

“Jaune knows the killer's identity,” Ozpin said taking as step towards the students. “He has seen her face.”

“What?” the girls yelled and turned on Jaune. Yang grabbed him by his chest-plate and dragged him towards her.

“Tell me who it is so I can hunt them down and beat the living sh*t out of them for touching my friends!” the fiery blonde yelled, his eyes flickering red and her golden locks starting to simmer with burning rage.

The blonde knight however dropped his gaze to the floor and bite the inside of his cheek. Blake stopped around her partner, careful to not get burned and stood in front of Jaune.

"Jaune, tell us. We need to know who this person is."

"Just," he started, putting his hands on Yangs. "Let me go first, and promise you won't punch me."
"Why would I waste a punch in you," Yang said fiercely but nevertheless let the knight go, even backing up a few steps. "Now out with it Vomit boy!"

Jaune didn't answer straight away, instead he stepped out of Yang's immediate reach and let out sigh before squaring his jaw looking the two dead in the air.

"The person I saw, the person who attacked Weiss and CRDL, who killed, Pyrrha, was Ruby."

The fires throughout Yang's hair died with a hiss and the temperature of the whole room dropped several degrees as if his words had let loose a frozen gale. Both the girls recoiled and their faces dropped as they shared a look.

"That's not," Blake started only to be cut off as Yang yelled furiously and turned on Jaune, her body beginning to shake as her voice wavered.

"You're lying! You son of a b*tch tell me you're lying!"

Jaune bowed his head, hiding his eyes behind his hair. "No Yang, I'm not."

"YOU MOTHERFUCKER!" Yang lunged at Jaune and lifted him off of his feet as her hair burst into a firefly inferno and her eyes turned a murderous shade of red. "SHE IS NOT A MURDERER! SHE COULD NEVER KILL ANYTHING THAT WASN'T A GRIMM. SHE, IS NOT, A KILLER!"

With each word fire erupted from her body, crawling up her arms like a tide. Jaune tried to pry her hands off of him, but touching her skin burnt him. Blake yelled and tried to put Yang back by her shoulders, only to be knocked back by another wave of fire.

"MY SISTER IS NOT A MURDERER! SHE'S NOT!" Yang roared as her tears evaporated into steam. Fire began to catch on Jaune’s clothes as he tried to pull Yang off of him, his hands blistering from the heat and burning from the flames. He however ignored all of the pain and focused on the girls red eyes. “Yang! I saw her! I saw her face!” He yelled, his voice cracking from the pain and the emotions warring in his heart. “She said she will kill me if I stood in her way! She tried to Yang! She tried to kill me!”

“LIAR!” Yang screamed, and the fire covering her died out as she fell to her knees, taking Jaune with her. Sobs wracked her body as she let out her anger, her anguish, her breaking heart in one great scream that shook the room. As the scream subsided silence returned only broken by the sobs of the young girl who had her heart ripped from her chest and shattered before her eyes. Blake stood besides the overturned desk, using it to support her shaking frame as she forced down the tears threatening to spill; despite her shaking the faunus forced herself to remain strong for her teammate, as she knew what had to come next.

As if on cue Ozpin cleared his throat, bringing Jaune and Blake’s attention to the headmaster. Despite the sight of one of his students sobbing her heart out in front of him Ozpin remained as still and calm as a statue with the same icy hardness he had when the members of team RWBY had walked in.

“As much as I hate to say it, but we must come up with a plan to apprehend miss Rose.”

“Sir,” Blake said with a glance to Yang who had quieted down but was still sobbing and murmuring incoherently into Jaune’s chest. “Perhaps it’s best if Yang is-”

“Think me cruel Blake,” Ozpin cut her off with a wave of his hand, not taking his eyes off the two the blonde brawler. “But Yang must come to terms with this quickly. Ruby is still out there and she has no signs of giving up her quest to murder my students. None know her better, so we will need Yang with us on this.”

“Yeah but sir,” Jaune said, carefully shifting his weight so not to jostle Yang but so he could face the headmaster. “She just found out Ruby is actually alive and killing our friends. Surely-”

“No.”

It was Yang who interrupted this time, pushing herself off the blonde knight and to her shaking feet. “Ozpin’s right. I know Ruby best, and we need to catch her. Alive,” She growled the last word to the headmaster despite the waver in her voice.

“I would have it no other way. She may have hurt my students and gained a body count, but she is still in my care. And I want some words with her,” the headmaster replied, his voice dropping dangerously low with the last few words.

Blake turned to her partner with concern. “Yang are you sure you want to do this. I know this is necessary, but still this is your sister.”

“I have to Blake,” Yang said, gaining strength and confidence with each step towards the headmaster, Jaune close behind her. “I lost her once, I’m not going to let her destroy herself.”

“So then Yang,” Ozpin said stepping away from the window to stand in front of the three students.

“What do you suggest?”

“We need to find her and isolate her, cut off anyways she could escape and make sure she stays where we want to. Once we have her I’ll talk to her. She may have gone dark side, but she’ll listen to me.”

“And if she doesn’t?” Ozpin asked. Yang glared at the headmaster.

“She’ll listen to me.”

“So how do we find her” Blake asked, hoping to keep the two from each other’s throats; tensions were running high she didn’t need Yang starting anything, nor Ozpin. The two looked to the faunus and backed down, the tension dropping in the room. None of them spoke however at they retreated into themselves to think.

After several minutes of silence, a hand rose up, getting everyone’s attention.

“Its risky,” Jaune said, lowering his hand now that he had everyone’s attention. “But what if we took CRDL somewhere out in the open, the main courtyard say, and use them to lure Ruby in.”

“You want to use them as bait?” Blake asked shocked that Jaune of all people would come up with a plan like that. :You want to give Ruby the four people she’s after on a silver platter?”

“Of course not!” Jaune shouted back, anger flashing through his eyes. “CRDL may be jerks but I’m not about to give them to a murderer. We use them to bring Ruby to us then get enough teams to spring the trap and surround her.”

“She would not be able to fight dozens of teams and the teachers,” Ozpin said, sounding impressed. “According to team GNRL’s report she barely fought off them and you.”

“Hold up,” Yang said putting her hands in the air. “I’m all for dangling a line to catch my sister, but these are people we’re talking about. Students. Shouldn’t we ask them if they’re willing to put their lives on the line for this.”

“They’re huntsmen-in-training Yang,” Ozpin said with a harsh tone, the tension in the room rising again. “If they aren't prepared at all times to put their lives on the line then they have no place in my school.”

“What is it you said after that food fight of ours sir,” Yang growled, her eyes flashing red. “They’re still only children, so why not let them play the part.”

Ozpin glared down the young blonde, Blake swore the two were about to explode and take the room with them. With a loud drawn out sigh ozpin bowed his head and backed down ,all the tension and anger draining from his body.

“It seems I still have much to learn if I’m being lectured by a young woman,” the headmaster said with a smirk. “You’re right. In my pain and impatient I forgot that you all are still only children who have had the cruel truth of the world dumped on your laps.”

Blake and Jaune copied the headmaster and let out a sigh of relief; Yang took a step back and nodded, the red fading from her eyes.

“We should speak with CRDL about this then,” she said.

“Yes,” Ozpin agreed. “Come, let’s-”

He was interrupted by the doors to his office bursting open as Glynda ran into the room, a panicked look to her usual stern face.

“Ozpin, miss Schenee and team CRDL are gone!”

“WHAT!” Ozpin roared, the room shaking with the force.

“Professor Oobleck went to check on Port and the students, and found the entire medical wing frozen in ice and her room empty.”

“What are those fuckwits thinking!” Yang yelled as her hair flared. Suddenly everyone was in motion heading to the elevator. Glynda kept talking as they piled in. “He searched the grounds and found several sets of footprints heading to the Forever Falls.”

“They must be going to the place Ruby died,” Blake said, earning another growl from Ozpin and Yang.

“Where is Bartholomew now?” Ozpin asked as the elevator doors opened and the group stormed out.

“Collecting teams to follow them, though he said he saw a team already heading into the woods.”

“Another team?” Yang asked. As the group passed the waiting room to Ozpin’s office Jaune looked inside, and slid to a stop causing the rest of the room to stop and backtrack.

The room was empty, and Jaune had a feeling he knew who the other team was.

_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter 11 - Are Far Behind Me

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:32 am

“We should go back,” Russell said with a waver to his voice. The mohawk-haired boy stood at the back of the group of five looking back through the red leaved trees in the direction of the school. Dove and Sky every now and then would glance back with him and held their weapons tight enough their hands had gone white; Cardin lead the group, mace in one hand and the other around Weiss’s waist as he supported her while she limped, determined to head further into the forest.

“Let’s go back.”

“Go back if you want Rus,” Cardin said loudly, not looking back. Like Weiss he had the same determined look to push further into the woods, but his face had a tinge of fear lurking on the edges. “No one made you come.”

“But we should have told someone what we were doing. Maybe bring another team along, or ten.”
“They wouldn’t have let us leave the building, let alone the school. No, we have to do this.”
The group fell back into silence as Cardin and Weiss forged ahead, Sky and Dove looking at each other before hurrying after; Russell had stopped walking and looked back towards the school again, before tightening the grip on his daggers and running to catch up with the group.

The five trudged through the Ruby-leaved forest eyeing every tree, bush or foliage. The tension and fear was thick enough to cut with a knife and sweat covered everyone as they pushed on. Russell looked backwards again, and thought he saw something black streak between two trees, leaving behind flecks of red. Stifling his scream he turned and ran to catch up with the rest.

"So how are we planning on capturing this guy? I mean he did take out a third-year team," he asked nervously as he held his daggers tighter. At the front of the group Cardin paused for a moment. What was the plan? He looked down at the girl at his side, she had sounded so sure and confident back in the medical wing, but now that they were actually out here the copper-haired team leader was having second thoughts that the white haired heiress had actually thought everything through.

Weiss seemed to sense his hesitation as she looked up at Cardin’s face and smiled. “Don’t worry. Nothing will happen to us.”

“How can you guarantee that,” Russell yelled again, walking backwards and watching behind the group. Another shadow leaped between two trees, only this time left no specks of red.

From the front of the group Weiss yelled “because nothing will happen to us,” and limped forward, pulling Cardin with her. Russell, with a glance between the group and the trees behind them turned and set his shoulders, ignoring the feeling that something was right behind him.

Behind his back the bushes rustled and another shadow streaked across the dirt path.

On the group trudged, pushing through bushes and low-lying branches that covered the path till they emerged from the tree line at a clearing with a river lazily gurgling through the grass covered ground. Although the thing was long dead Cardin still saw the terrifying King Grimm rising to its feet and bellowing a challenge at those that had disturbed it. Cardin closed his eyes to try drive the memory away, but this only made it more vivid in his mind, only reminded him of the young girl in the red hood who charged the creature, who fought it while they stood petrified, who-
Cardin opened his eyes and stormed into the clearing, startling Weiss and half dragging her with him. As he neared the centre of the clearing, where Ruby had lain as she drew her last Cardin stopped and shouted.

“ALRIGHT YOU BASTARD! YOU WANT US? HERE WE ARE!”

His words echoed throughout the forest scaring birds from the trees and startling the animals; the creatures of Grimm lurking in the forest looked up to the sky and the cry and began to move towards the source hoping for a free meal. A beowulf close to the clearing lumbered past the trees, its mouth starting to salivate. It never saw the black, red and steel that ended its miserable existence.

In the clearing team CRDL stood around the centre looking into the trees. Cardin had let go off Weiss and placed her in the middle of the group, the heiress standing as tall as she could with injuries with one hand on Myrtensater.

As the group waited and watched Russel wet his lips, flicking one of his daggers as he watched and waited.

As if she they had materialised from nothing the killer appeared in front of him, her scythe held behind her. Russell yelled and stumbled backwards, running into Weiss and sending both of them to the ground as the rest of team CRDL turned to the sound and raised their weapons at the the sight of the killer. The killer didn’t move, instead she just stood there staring at them with cold eyes, one silver, one white.

Cardin realised the killer wasn’t wearing her mask anymore, and felt his heart stop as he saw the face hidden beneath. Dove and Sky lowered their weapons in disbelief while Russell on the ground froze up, staring horrified at the person before him. Weiss stared up at the killer’s face, at the burn scars and dead white eye as she got to her feet, warmth and joyful disbelief spreading through her body as her mouth formed a word, a name.

“Ruby?”

The killer, Ruby, turned her head to look at Weiss, her cold silver eyes once full of joy and innocence boring into the heiress’s soul and freezing her in her track. Again Weiss called out her partner’s name, only this time with caution and confusion in her voice.

“Hello Weiss,” Ruby said, her throat hoarse and rough like sandpaper. “I thought you were dead.”
“So, so did I,” Weiss said slowly, looking past her dead friends face to study her body, her stance. “Ruby. Did, did you-”

“Stab you, intend to kill you?” Ruby cut her off, her eye narrowing. “Yes. It’s only fair for what you did to me.”

“What we did to you?” Sky and Dove asked simultaneously as they shared a look. Cardin had helped Russell to his feet and stepped in front of Weiss, lifting his mace cautiously. Weiss didn’t notice, instead her gaze was locked on her teammate as the shock of her words sunk in.

Ruby cocked her head and widened her gaze to the boys around her partner. “You betrayed me, left me for dead. Because you were jealous. You hated that I was better than you, that I got into Beacon two years early.”

“Ruby, no,” Weiss said shaking her head. Ruby turned her attention back to her and snapped.
“Be quiet!” she yelled, shifting her body and lifting her scythe. Team CRDL raised their weapons in response and grouped up on Weiss, knowing that they were losing control of the situation. All eyes turned to Ruby again, but the young girl wasn’t looking at them. Her eyes were unfocused and her head bowed.

“That’s the reason, you’re all jealous. I see it now. All the smiles, the happy moments. Lies. You never liked me. You hated me, you all hated me. Because I was better. That’s why you betrayed me. You all betrayed me, even Yang. Where was Yang? Why did she? Why did you betray me Weiss? I thought we were friends!”

“Ruby,” Weiss said, trying to push past Cardin to run to her teammate, her partner, her friend, but Ruby’s eyes focused again and she cut the heiress off again.

“NO! No more lies. I’m going to put an end to the lies! There will be no more lies!”
“Ruby!”

“I will end all the lies!” Ruby said with a sadistic grin as she tensed then ran forward, lifting her massive scythe to bring down on Cardin’s head. the copper-haired team leader yelled a war-cry and lifted his weapon to deflect the blow while Dove and Sky at his sides spread out and raised their weapons to support their leader; Russell at the back grabbed Weiss and pulled her backwards away from the three even as the girl struggled in her grip, calling out for her friend.

The weapons met with an almighty clash and bounced off each other, the three members of CRDL standing firm while Ruby slid backward with the momentum. Growling like a wild beast she took a step forward to charge again, but the ground before her was peppered by bullets kicking up tufts of grass and dirt, stopping her dead in her track.

“What the-” Cardin asked looking to Dove, the only member of the team with a gun in his weapon. The bronze-haired boy looked back and shrugged.

“Get them back!” A voice yelled; a pair of hands grabbed each of the boys and hurled them backwards behind a green-haired figure, a salmon and pink machine gun  with a blade on top in her hands. Cardin pushed the hands holding him away and turned on the person, meeting the brooding navy blue glare of Nikolas of team SEWN.

“Looks like we got here just in time,” Erika laughed as she drew her weapons and slid between Cardin and Dove, hitting the bronze-haired boy in the leg with the flat of her blade as she went. “Good thing I warned my team of your little escapade.”

“What?” the boys asked and looked amongst themselves. They were sure Weiss had frozen everyone in the medbay and no one had seen them leave. How had-

“Doesn’t matter!” Serena, the green-haired team leader yelled with a backwards glance. A gunshot split the air above the group and Ruby cried out in pain and shock. A bullet had hit her forehead and knocked her backwards, another impacting on her shoulder for good measure. Serena turned back to Ruby and for the briefest second smiled as she trained her weapon on the young girl.
“Don’t move!”

“Oh see’s not going anywhere Ser!”

Everyone except team SEWN looked up to the voice. Sitting high in one of the trees overlooking the clearing sat Walt holding his weapon like a rifle trained on the Little Red killer.

“You guys can clear out, I’ve got this!”

“You sure Walt?” Serena asked not taking her attention or her weapon off Ruby. “Remember she took out ALTN by herself and it took six people to fight her off when she attacked GNRL.”

“Trust me,” the wheat-haired boy grinned, reloading his weapon. “I’ve got this. I’ll play playmate with the little miss murderer.”

“Very well, cover us,” Serena yelled and turned her back to Ruby. As soon as she did she heard Walt’s gun go off and hurried over to team CRDL and Weiss.

“Move, head back to the school. Winchester, carry Schnee,” She commanded, ignoring Walt’s gun as it went off for the second time. Team CRDL looked amongst themselves, looking ready to argue when a murderous scream came from Ruby, followed by another gunshot. None of the boys argued and turned to run, Erika and Nikolas flanking them. Cardin grabbed Weiss, but the heiress stared to trash in his arms.

“No, NO! I am not leaving! Ruby needs me!”

Serena stepped up to the two and grabbed Weiss’s chin, locking the girls attention on her. “Your friend is trying to kill you. Our mission to keep you alive until reinforcements arrives to capture her. If you want to help her, stay alive!”

Weiss stopped thrashing in Cardin’s arms and tried to look over Serena’s shoulder. Cardin, however, wasn’t waiting around. Throwing the heiress unceremoniously over his shoulder, again, he turned and took off after his teammates and their escort. Serena waited for a second, looking behind her to Ruby as the young girl rose from  ground and locked eyes on the fleeing group, before turning and following the copper-haired team leader.

_________________

Facebook || DeviantArt || FanFiction.Net || ArchiveOfOurOwn || Wattpad

Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter 12 - Where Trouble Melts like Lemon-Drops

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:33 am

"NO!" Ruby yelled as she charged after the fleeing group, a stream of rose petals trailing behind her.

A bullet hit her in the shoulder, knocking the young girl sideways and to the ground. Snarling like a wild creature Ruby jumped to all fours, her aura having taken the impact without damage as she turned on the wheat-haired student who had shot her.

Walt hadn't moved from his spot in the tree, still with his weapon aimed on Ruby. With the quickness and ease of a well practiced moved he unlocked the bolt and slid it backwards, ejecting the spent cartridge before ramming the bolt back home and locking in place. All without moving the weapon away from the young girl locked in his sights.

"Already told you Shortcake I'm your playmate for tonight!"

"Try and stop me!" Ruby spat and turned again to run after the others, her eyes flashing silver as she felt her semblance flood her body with the sensation of pure electrifying speed.

She made it five steps before another bullet hit her again in the shoulder, sending her into a slide into a tree. Ruby lay stunned as her semblance faded. She had been traveling at superhuman speed, something that no other person could have the reflexes or even the skill to keep up with, let alone aim and shoot. With a growl the young girl got to her hands and knees and looked at the boy in the tree. He hadn't moved besides keeping his weapon aimed at her, hadn't appeared to do anything other than shoot and reload.

In the tree Walt grinned. "You're not getting away from me Shortcake, even if you hide behind a tree!"

"Gah!" Ruby screamed and again forced her semblance through her body, this time running towards the tree Walt was in. As she ran Ruby watched him in almost hilarious slow-motion; he was as sluggish as everyone else would be when Ruby had her semblance active, yet-

Ruby's eyes widening and she stopped, her feet sliding across the ground as she braced her body and her aura just as the weapon went off. Time sped up and the bullet impacted uselessly against the young girl as she stared up at the wheat-haired boy in the tree just meters ahead and above her, her eyes narrowing dangerously.

Walt watched her carefully, one eyebrow disappearing under his hair and hat, before breaking into a wide grin and lifting his weapon skywards.

"Figured it out have you?"

"Your semblance. Somehow you can see where I'm going to be and so fix your aim."

"Pretty much," Walt laughed. "I call it the Marksman. I mark a target to be my prey, and so can see when they're going to move and to where, even at super speed."

"Thus you can't miss." If Ruby wasn't furious she would have been impressed. With a growl she drew her weapon again and unfolded with a snap of her wrist, the scythe blade gleaming almost magically under the moonlight. Walt's grin grew larger at this, his eyes briefly flashing bright red that stood out in the shadows.

"Of course it's not perfect, no semblance is," he said, twirling his weapon around as he stood up. "I don't have super reflexes or such, so I can't always adjust my aim fast enough, and I can't predict things like wind and-"

Ruby spun her scythe around so the head rested in the ground and pulled the trigger, sending her rocketing towards Walt. The wheat-haired boy laughed and brought his own weapon around blocking the horizontal strike Ruby threw at him. The force of the swing cut cleaning through the trunk besides Walt, the force of the block knocking him out of the tree and to land with Ruby several meters from him.

Smiling like a child in a candy shop the wheat-haired boy brought his weapon up so it rested in the crook of his arms and fired, reaching up after every shot to masterfully slid the bolt clear and back to reload. Ruby swiping her scythe around her as she ducked, deflecting each bullet. When a pause came in the fire the young girl spun around and ran forwards, swinging the head of her scythe behind her and firing to augment her charge.

Laughing and swearing Walt fell back a step, letting his weapon spin around once before raising to again block the young girls murderous swing, this time an overhead aimed to split him in two. Pulling back Ruby stabbed at him with the bladed end of her scythe like a spear. Walt avoided the attack and brought his own weapon around aiming the large bulbous end at Ruby's leg. She kicked her leg up, almost catching him in the stomach, and angled her body so she spun around with her scythe out at a full arm's length; a single round from the high-impact sniper rifle ramping up the speed and velocity of the speed that the blade whistled as it cut through the air. Walt stepped backwards avoiding Ruby's first circle and raised his weapon, bracing it against his foot and shoulder. The two weapons met with a clash and stuck, Walt swaying with the momentum and stood on one foot before shifting his weight and pushing back against the massive scythe. Jarring vibrations run up the young girls arms, drawing forth a wince of pain. Using the momentum of Walt's push Ruby brought her weapon so that it rested behind her and jumped backwards so that she was a fair distance from the wheat-haired boy.

Rising to her full height Ruby stared Walt down. The wind picked up and whistled around the pair as they faced each other down. Walt chuckled and grinned and made the first move. Spinning his weapon around himself he charged forward and brought the bulbous end and jutting edge down at Ruby's head like an axe.

Ruby pushed the attack back and swiped at the boys exposed stomach; the small blade on the end of Crescent Rose nicked Walt's chest and bounced away as the boy fell back into a roll and ended on his feet, the grin ever-present.

Ruby charged this time and brought her scythe overhead to cut her enemy in half. Walt caught the weapon on his and knocked it aside, then jabbed the end of his quarterstaff into Ruby's gut knocking the girl back.

Growling Ruby charged again, swinging her beloved mechanical companion with deadly precision and whirlwind speed. Walt caught and deflected or dodged the attacks and landed blow after blow under Ruby's defense.

"See this is why, I picked, a quarterstaff, as my, weapon!" Walt shouted as the two traded blows. "Sure mine is heavy at the bottom! But the design is simple, versatile and you can attack, with any, side!"

Ruby screamed in pain as the rifle end of the quarterstaff hit her side and jumped away. As she landed daggers of pain laced through her side, forcing her to one knee; placing a hand to her side she winced, a rib must have been cracked.

"Giving up yet Shortcakes?"

Ruby looked up to the boy, a predatory growl escaping her lips as she rose to her feet and readied her weapon. He chuckled and raised his behind him, the bulbous end resting on his ankle.

"I could do this all day?"

Ruby lunged forwards, firing her rifle and bring Crescent Rose down at Walt's head. He laughed and spun his weapon around to take the blow, bracing it on with his arm. When the two weapons clashed Ruby let go of her scythe with one hand and grabbed Walt's quarterstaff. For the briefest second Walt's infuriating grin faltered, and Ruby's face split with her own. Pulling down on the trigger Ruby rode the recoil of her weapon as it drove her backwards, dragging Walt off balance and tearing his weapon from his hands.

Ruby threw the quarterstaff behind her, but as she did she heard a click. Ignoring the sound Ruby gripped her weapon with both hands and sunk into a combat position ready to charge, when the quarterstaff sailed over her head as if thrown by someone behind. Walt laughed as he plucked his weapon from the air and spun it around his body for good measure; Ruby looked behind her expecting one of his teammates to have returned, but found no one.

"Nice try that one," Walt chuckled, bringing Ruby's attention back to her opponent. She saw that the bulbous end of Walt's weapon had folded open, revealing a narrow bar wrapped in a spring which appeared like that of a-

"Pogo-stick," Ruby breathed as she realized what had happened. She had accidentally opened the bottom of the weapon exposing the spring which must have hit something and bounced back. Again if she wasn't furious Ruby would have been impressed.

Ruby growled at the thought and charged again, again swinging her scythed overhead. Walt stepped aside this time, the giant blade hitting the ground besides him, and threw his weapon into the air so that it spun; grabbing the weapon by the barrel end he swung the quarterstaff like an oversized mace and caught Ruby in the side of her head, sending the young girl sprawling across the red grass into the river.

Her vision swimming with stars Ruby rose to her feet and shook her head. Turning Ruby took in the landscape. Crescent Rose lay just to her right about a foot or so away, Walt stood several metres back, still with the arrogant grin on his face spinning his weapon around so he held it again as a rifle. Ruby knew he would see her next movement to dive for her weapon and aim to stop her by squeezing off a bullet. An idea popped in the young girl's head and she ducked left suddenly then jumped to her right. The move startled Walt and he tried to quickly lock on the young girl, the gun going off and the bullet veering off to Ruby's far left as she dove for her weapon. Lifting up the massive scythe she planted the blade against the ground and pulled the trigger, the massive recoil digging the blade into the red covered dirt as she pulled back the slide and pulled the trigger again and repeating the motion. Walt wasn't prepared for the first bullet, a hole appearing in his shoulder with a splash of red and a loud curse word escaping his lips as he recoiled from the pain, causing the second; the third bullet bounced uselessly off of his aura as the wheat-haired boy locked eyes again on the young girl and shot her a pained grin; did he ever stop grinning?

Lifting her scythe Ruby charged forward, and Walt raised his quarterstaff expectantly. The young girl stopped just in front of him however and jumped squeezing down on the trigger as she did and rising the recoil. The bullet hit Walt in the chest and again bounced off his aura, however the kinetic force of the round travelled through the boy's body, drawing a clenched teeth wince of pain from him.

Landing Ruby dug her scythe into the ground to stop her sliding. As soon as she ran out of momentum she was off again charging Walt at extreme speed. The wheat-haired boy, his orange eyes glowing trying to keep up swung with the narrow barrel end of his weapon, but found nothing but air as Ruby ran right past him.

Spurring a slew of curses Walt turns and just raises the bulbous end of his weapon to stop Ruby from taking his head off. The two disengage and Walt goes on the attack, swinging and spinning his quarterstaff in an impressive maelstrom of wheat, orange and green. Ruby managed to avoid or block most of the attacks in her own impressive storm of swings stabs and spins, but as the two disengage again both fighters come apart covered in bruises and small cuts. Both breathing hard the two stared each other down until Walt broke eye contact, hanging his head and giving it a slight shake as he let out a infuriating chuckle.

"I can do this all day Shortcake. Did I say that already?"

"Yyeaaaah!" Ruby growled and charged, aiming to sweep from below. Walt, eyes aglow, sidestepped and threw his weapon in the air, catching it by the barrel as it spun and swung. Ruby let go of her own weapon and grabbed the staff, stopping it dead. Before Walt could react the young girl shifted her hand and pulled the trigger. Her enemy realised too late as his own weapon discharged in his hands, a bullet cutting clean through his stomach. Walt staggered from the hit, letting go off his weapon to put pressure on the wound. Ruby had her chance; throwing away the quarterstaff she scooped up Crescent Rose and fired, the recoil rocketing her towards Walt. The wheat-haired boy looked up. The bladed end of the massive scythe punched through his gut, erupting from the end in a pool of red.

His eyes gone wide, his skin paling and the infuriating grin gone from his Walt dropped to his knees and grabbed hold of the charcoal black grip protruding from his stomach and tried to pull it free, but the pain was too much for him. Ruby her face twisted in scorn put her foot against Walt's shoulder and pulled her weapon free despite the cry of pain from Walt. The wheat-haired boy put his hands to his stomach to try and so the bleeding while attempting to rise to his feet; Ruby with a loud tsk spun her scythe around and hit him in the head with the flat of her blade, knocking him out.

Ruby watched the body fall to the ground and cocked her head. Her instincts were whispering murderously in her head, urging her to remove his head, but something else told her no. Ruby closed her eyes and tsked again before turning away from the body lying in a slowly growing pool of his own blood. Staring through the forest towards Beacon Ruby knew her murderers couldn't have gotten far.

A smile graced her burn-scarred face and she took off running; not with her semblance, she wanted to enjoy the hunt.

_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter 13 - High Above the Chimney Tops

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:34 am

Ignoring the pain coursing through her body Ruby ran. Her side burned the most and she found that every breath sent a fresh wave of pain lancing through her torso. She ignored the pain, willing a little of her aura to lessen the worst of the injuries while conserving the rest. She knew Weiss and CRDL would put up a, meager, fight before they died and there was still three members of the other team to contend with.

A glint in front of her caught Ruby's eye and she skidded to a stop, just as the forest air was split by twin gunshots and the trees on either side of her splintered.

Swearing Ruby drew her scythed and looked for whoever had shot at her. He wasn't hard to find. Standing between a pair of thick trees in a simple red shirt with gold trim and buttons over a navy blue shirt, black pants to match his hair and black boots that came up to his mid thigh and were capped in white fur. In each hands was a revolver pistol with a long segmented piece of metal hanging from the bottom of the grip capped by a thick piece of metal. His navy-blue eyes stared at her coldly, making Ruby shiver under her glare.

"Step aside," the young girl yelled composing herself. The young man didn't answer, instead drawing the hammers of his weapons. Ruby tsked and dropped into a combat stance; she didn't think much of the guy before her with his simple civilian clothes, but his cool confidence gave her pause.

"I said step aside!" Ruby yelled and took a step forward. One of the guns discharged and Ruby felt it impact against her leg. The young girl yelped and stepped back; where the bullet hit stung, but her aura protected her from any harm more than a bruise.

"Drop the scythe," the man said in a thick Atlesian accent, drawing back the hammer of the gun. "And lay down on ground."

"I won't tell you again," Ruby growled, dropping into a stance ready to charge; the man didn't move nor did he speak. Ruby shook her head almost in pity of the man and ran, her eyes glowing bright as stars as she activated her semblance and closed the distance between the two in a matter of seconds. Ruby brought her scythe to bear, the large head glowing murderously in the sunlight as it cut across the man's chest, knocking him backwards. Ruby darted backwards out of range and readied herself again, eyes locking on her opponent.

The man, who had not moved to defend himself rolled his shoulders and stood to his full height, locking stares with Ruby unharmed and unfazed by her attack; the only sign that he had been hit was the large open gash to his clothes.

Ruby's jaw dropped at the sight. She had felt her sweetheart hit, saw it cut into his chest. How-

Ruby forced those thoughts from her head and charged again, aiming to take off the man's head. This time the man did respond, lifting his bare arm in front of his head he took the massive scythe blade as if it was nothing. Again Ruby darted back, this time she didn't prepare for another attack. She watched as the man lowered his arm, again unharmed, and zeroed in on the spot she had hit. Again her jaw dropped as she saw the man's skin was hard and mottled and colored a grayish-brown with several small blisters. As Ruby watched the strange disfiguration slowly faded and the man's skin returned to normal. Flicking her eyes to the man's face she caught the last of the semblance glow fade from his eyes and she understood.

"I hate your semblance already," Ruby said to the man as she raised her scythe; she knew this man wasn't going to let her pass and he wasn't going to go down easily. The man rolled his shoulders in what could pass for a shrug and threw his weapons in the air, catching them by the gun barrels and with a sharp snap of his wrists brought them down to rest by his side. The thick segmented metal that had been swinging loosely from the bottom of the weapons unfolded and extended, turning into a pair of metallic whips capped by a piece of metal.

"It has uses'" he replied, flicking his wrists so his whips unfurled and cracked in front of him; a bolt of electricity flew from the end of each, striking each other and hitting the ground with a small thunderclap. "Now drop the scythe and lay down on ground. You have already lost."

"Not until they are all dead!" Ruby spat and charged forwards, going into a spin just as she reached the man. Again he didn't try to block or avoid the attack, instead his eyes lit up with a luminous glow like the summer night-time sky and he took the attack straight to his side. Darting out of his range Ruby danced around him delivering slash after slash, all of which the tall Atlesian took with no show of damage or effort. Again retreating to a safe distance Ruby swore as she saw that every bit of visible skin on the mean was now covered in the strange grayish-brown mottled covering, giving him the appearing of a man-shaped tree.

Ruby waited for the bark-like skin to fade to continue her attack. The man however sensed her hesitation and turned on her, one of his whips travelling straight at her head. Ruby swore and jumped back out of range of the weapon; a fat bolt of lightning jumped from the end of the whip to the head of Crescent Rose, travelling down the length of the weapon and jumping from the small blade at the end to the ground, along the way delivering several hundreds of volts straight into the young girl and making her scream in pain and on reflex tighten her hand.

After what seemed several hours the agony mercifully subsided. Ruby fought to regain control of her extremities, stumbling and almost collapsing. Cursing under her breath when her knees kept buckling she tried to stand up straight. Her hand felt like it was welded to the handle of Crescent Rose and twitches and spasms made the whole weapon sway unsteadily. With another under the breath curse Ruby pushed through the pain, though still could not let go of her weapon, and locked eyes on the young man as he paced back and forth before her, small sparks jumping from his weapons sporadically with small pops.

"That, hurt," Ruby growled as he voice stuttered and shook. The young man snorted in response and gave one of his whips a small twirl, an unspoken invitation for Ruby to attack again hanging in the air.

The young girl screamed in pain and rage and charged. A smirk played across the man's lips as he blocked her strike and danced out of the way, throwing a swing at Ruby's back as she sped past. The young girl just managed to get her weapon up to block, and finally managed to let go of the handle; the electricity coursed through the weapon a few sparks jumping painfully to Ruby's hand before continuing down the shaft of the weapon and jumping from the blade to the bark-like skin of the young Atlesian.

He recoiled from the shock, a low grunt of pain escaping his lips as he tucked his arm to his body.

Ruby landed and rolled; grabbing her weapon she brought it up and squeezed off a few rounds, but they simply bounced off the young man's dense skin as he gave his arm a shake and turned on her.

"Umnaya devochka," the man smirked. Giving his arm another shake he lifted his other and spun his weapon around in his hand, the whip closing as the weight pulled the gun forwards and his hand closed around the grip.

Ruby swore and threw herself to the side as bullets missed her just. Coming up the roll she returned fire before rising to her feet and spun her scythe so that it sat behind her. Squeezing the trigger again Ruby rocketed forwards, ducking under the man's swing and trailing her massive blade against his exposed flank. Sliding to a stop she changed direction and fired, shooting past the man's left and again dragging her scythe across his side; she didn't see the bar of metal coming but her forehead felt it as the man closelined her.

From the ground Ruby saw stars and felt the massive welt forming on her head. As her vision cleared she jumped and rolled to the side, the Atlesian's fur-trimmed boot missing her by centimetres. Rising to her feet, albeit slightly unsteady Ruby readied her scythe. The man, shifting his gun back to whip form, smirked and gestured towards her.

"Zhestkaya devushka."

"Go f*** yourself," Ruby spat and charged. The man shook his ready and copied her, the two meeting and engaging in a flurry of metal and bolts. The young man had the advantage for speed and damage as he swung and spun his whips around with almost lightning speed, fat blue sparks zipping along the metal and jumping between the two combatants with loud fat pops and cracks. Ruby had the advantage of reach, managing to keep far enough back to avoid the spinning and whipping metal but close enough to land some light blows on the man's dense bark-like skin. The two disengaged and jumped apart, Ruby breathing hard and wincing from the pain of this and the previous fight; the young man didn't appear to be breaking a sweat or even look affected by the fight.

Taking the initiative Nikolas charged, swinging both his whips. Ruby swore and raised her weapon, catching both of her enemies weapons on the shaft and the thick caps got stuck on the weapon. Ruby's eyes lit up and she shifted her hands so that they rested on the cool metal and started to to spin her weapon, wrapping the scythe in the segments of the metal whip and closing the distance between the two. The man scowled and tried to pull his weapons back, but Ruby was quicker. Pulling on one side of her weapon she pulled the Atlesian off balance and positioned the blade end of the shaft directly in front of his chest. Pushing with all her might Ruby shoved her weapon spear-like into the young man's dense skin; the blade embedded in the thick bark, the very tip finding a small crack and buried into the muscle below.

Pain crossed the young man's face as he registered what had happened. Ruby let go of her weapon and his, the weight of the massive scythe pulling the young man to the ground as he grabbed hold of the red, black and steel weapon. As the head of the scythe it the ground Ruby stepped up to the young man and kicked. Her worn and torn red and charcoal black boots connected not with him but with one of the pistol grips of the whips; a fat surge of electricity leaped from the wrapped up metal, pouring through the scythe and into the young man's chest as he let loose and ear-splitting scream of agony.

Ruby retreated to watch the light show as fat bolts jumped and covered across the three weapons and the young man, striking the ground rapidly and randomly until finally and mercifully they ended, releasing the young man from their agonising grip. Smoking, his skin returning to normal he started to fall forwards; glancing to Ruby he smiled weakly.

"Chto ukusy," he said before toppling sidewards to the ground. Still breathing hard and wincing in pain Ruby crossed the short distance and yanked her weapon from the young man's stomach as he lifelessly laid on the ground non-responding. Turning away Ruby looked towards Beacon and swore quietly.

A light wind picked up and played with the young man's hair as he lay alone in the forest, a scattering of rose petals raining lazily upon him.

_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter 14 - That's Where, You'll Find a Me

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:34 am

With the world whipping past her at high speeds, Ruby Rose, one eye a silver glow, ran into something and landed hard on her ass.

Groaning she rose to a sitting position and rubbed her head, feeling another small welt forming as she looked around for whatever shad had hit. There weren’t any trees near where she sat, the path clear for around a dozen metres or so and she couldn’t see anyone standing in the immediate area. So what had she hit.

A sound immediately in front of her made the young girl pause. A patch of red grass was pressed flat as if something was laying there invisibly and as Ruby watched the flat patch moved and shrunk to two patches shaped like a pair of shoes. A groan of pain and annoyance made Ruby jump and scramble to her feet, one hand going for her weapon instinctively as she watched the two flattened patches.

“Who’s there?” Ruby asked. The patches of flattened grass suddenly sprung up and she heard something land off to her right and disappear around a tree before the forest fell silent again.
Ruby looked around the red-tinted forest, taking several small steps towards where the invisible thing had disappeared.

She heard the air whistle to her right, and as she turned on the sound something hit her in the face, knocking her backwards several steps as whatever had hit her scampered away into the undergrowth, laughing like a child.

Her face turning red from the blow and the rage Ruby growled and spun around, looking for whoever was tormenting her. ”SHOW YOURSELF!” She screamed; she only got another round or childish laughter that seemed to dance through the trees, its origin untraceable.

‘f*** this’ Ruby thought as she turned sharply on her heel and took off running towards Beacon and her murderers. She made it about a metre when something caught the back of her shirt and pulled her back violently, again putting her on her ass.
Spurring a colourful sentence that would have made Yang blush Ruby sprung to her hands and knees facing the way she had came. In front of her, her legs still fading into view stood a girl with olive-tanned skin and a bright energetic smile to match his luminous purple eyes; in one hand she held a long bulky mitch-match weapon of a long harpoon attached to a rounded box with a gun slapped on top, a hilt sticking from the back of the box and a small spike at the end. In the other hand she was holding a half-eaten red shiny apple.

“Ok I admit I’m surprised you made it past Walt and Nik,” the purple-eyes girl said as she threw away her apple and stepped away from the tree she was leaning on, revealing another box-weapon-hilt sheathed at her side. “I was sure Nik could handle you, but I guess not.”

“Why are you getting in my way!” Ruby spat as she stood up; her hand reached for her weapon while she stood crouched over, staying low and ready to strike. The purple-eyes girl flashed her a smile and placed her free hand on her other weapon.

“I’m Erika, nice to meet ya,” the girl said, ignoring Ruby’s question. "What's your name?"

“Yyeaaaah!” Ruby yelled as she snapped her weapon opened and charged. With a great resound clashing the massive scythe met the strange harpoon sword as Erika with a smile drew her other weapon.
"That's a strange name," the purple-haired girl chuckled as she danced backwards and rested her weapons on her shoulders. "Would hate to hear your last name."

With a low animalistic growl Ruby fired Crescent Rose and ran forwards, dropping into a furious spin as she neared Erika. Without missing a beat Erika danced out of the way of the blade but stabbed and swung her own blades filling the air with the screech of metal and metal but doing little to slow or stop Ruby's whirlwind attack, the horrid metal screech barely covering the bubbly laughter of the purple haired swordsman.

The sound of Erika’s laughter made Ruby see red. She stopped and jumped back, the large head of her weapon shifting into gun mode as Ruby furiously shot bullet after bullet at her enemy. Almost mirroring Walt Erika’s joyus grin never slipped from her face as she danced, ducked and dodged every bullet with the speed and grace of a ballerina. The clip soon ran dry; swearing loudly Ruby lifted her scythe, the head snapping open and ran at Erika screaming furiously at the top of her lungs. Erika lifted her weapons in response the ends pointed perfectly at the little red murderer; on her left she lifted her finger and pressed a little button on the side of the body of the weapon while on her left she jammed down on the trigger, spitting forth a three round burst from the gun mounted to the top of the weapon while the entire blade of the left shot forth with blinding speed.
Ruby barely got her weapon up in time to block the harpoon and the bullets, the hooked blade flying off and over Ruby’s shoulder. With a low “oooo wrong move,” Erika brought the body of her left weapon down and pulled back on it sharply, the action trailing down the thing chain to the blade which hooked on Ruby’s shoulder and pulled her forwards into a short spin and throwing the young girl off balance. Recovering Ruby turned on the purple-haired girl with a growl; Erika just cocked her head, still smiling, as the blade of her weapon retracted.

“Come on, aren't we having fun,” Erika laughed, rolling on the balls of her feet as she lifted both of weapons and swung them around her, the blade of the left connecting with the body with a loud click. “A fight isn’t right if it’s not fun.”

Ruby didn’t reply. Lifting her scythe she took a step to the right, Erika taking a step to the left in response.

“Come on, say you’re enjoying this just a little bit?”

Again no answer. Another step to the right. Another step to the left.

“Look just stop ok. Even if you beat me you still have to get pass Serena,” Erika shouted taking another step to the left as Ruby took a step to the right. “I mean sure you’ve taken out half the team already but still, you manage to beat us all and what. They’ll have already been found and taken back. So why not just stop?”

“Because I have to keep going,” Ruby growled. Suddenly she charged forwards, leaving rose petals behind her. Erika swore and raised her weapons to block the red streak. The two collided hard, the trees either side of Erika shaking from the shockwave. Ruby letting go with one hand reached up and hit a button on Erika’s weapon, the bladed harpoon suddenly shooting up into the foliage above. Erika looked up as her blade disappeared into the leaves, not noticing Ruby switch hands and hit the button on her other weapon, the blade likewise disappearing into the leaves. With a dull THUNK the two hilts shook in Erika’s hand as she brought her attention back down to Ruby and tried to take a step back; the thin chains went taut, holding Erika in place and making her again look up, this time uttering “sh*t.”Ruby jumped back and raised her weapon, a evil grin plastered across her face as she charged forwards closing the gap quickly. Erika saw the glint of red, black and steel from the corner of her eyes and looked down.

Crescent Rose whistled through the air, biting into, nothing. Ruby stumbled forwards a few steps and turned around; Erika squatted on the ground with her hand and back perfectly parallel to the ground as if she was attempting to limbo. The little red murderer swore and lifted her weapon spear like; Erika smiled and put a hand on the ground, shifting all her weight to the limb as she kicked out her legs and basically break-danced out of the way of the strike. With a loud hoot of exhilaration Erika pushed herself up into the air and did a flip, landing on her feet and spinning around with her hands in her pockets and a wide grin plastered across her face.

“Damn you are good kid,” She laughed pulling an apple from her pocket and biting into the juicy red fruit. Ruby stared at the purple-haired girl in shock, partially amazed that she had gotten out of the way of the attack, partially furious for it and partially wondering what was with the apple.
“And nice thinking using my weapons against me in a way,” Erika continued, walking backwards as she spoke. “Gonna have to rethink the button placement now that-”

Rising from the ground and the suspiciously placed leaf litter rose a large wooden stick with a frying pan attached to the end which smacked loudly into Erika’s face cutting her off; written in large crude letters on the back of the frying pan was ‘Erika’s Trap #6’ with a crudely-drawn picture of the girl giving the thumbs up.

Ruby’s jaw dropped at the sight of the trap. Slowly it fell back to the ground, leaving Erika standing with the remains of her apple plastered all over her face and with a shocked expression. Slowly her eyes rolled back into her head and she toppled over backwards, knocked out by her own trap, throwing up leaves as she hit the ground.

Ruby could not believe what she had just seen. Shaking her head as if to clear a dream or something the young girl walked slowly over to her opponent,, weapon up, and kicked her in the side. Erika didn’t respond, didn’t even move outside of Ruby’s kicks.

Shaking her head again Ruby turned and carefully walked off, shooting one backwards glance at the purple-haired girl before turning and running towards Beacon, her thoughts on the people who had betrayed her, who had murdered her and who had left her, and what kind of tricks were up the sleeve of the last person defending them.

_________________

Facebook || DeviantArt || FanFiction.Net || ArchiveOfOurOwn || Wattpad

Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter 15 - Oh, Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:35 am

Sitting upon a rock in a small clearing with a textbook of all things Ruby found the last barrier between her and the people who had betrayed her. With the ends her seaweed green hair twitching in the slight wind and wither her massive pink-shaded trident with a heavy machine gun incorporated into the body leaning against her shoulder Serena looked up from the book as Ruby stepped into the clearing, scythe already in her hands, and the two locked eyes.

“I must say I’m disappointed,” Serena said with a sigh of annoyance, looking away from Ruby as she set her book aside and rose to her feet. Ruby spread her stance and raised Crescent Rose ready for the older girl’s attack; Serena rolled her eyes and gripped her trident as she stepped to the side.
“I’m disappointed that my teammates managed to lose to you,” she said as she lifted her hand to her face and pushed her glasses back so they rested right on her face, allowing her to see through the lens and down her nose at the young girl. “I’m also disappointed that it took you this long to reach me miss Rose.”

“What?” Ruby asked, caught completely surprised by Serena’s statement; she actually expected Ruby to beat her teammates quicker? Either Serena had no confident in her team or she was very confident in Ruby’s skill.

Serena rolled her eyes and tsked in that annoying way teachers and librarians do and lifted her trident so that it rested on her shoulder. “I, unlike my team or the others, have read your file. And no not because you returned from the dead and started all this. I read it when you didn’t come back from that mission.”

“Why,” Ruby asked, carefully taking a step to the left. Serena didn’t move other than to twist at the waist to keep Ruby perfectly in front of her. “Why read my file then?”

“I had seen the tape of your fight with the Nevermore at your trial. I had seen tapes of your combat lessons and heard of your skill from your inspired and jealous classmates.”

Ruby took another step to the left, Serena again turned but didn’t move.

“As well I was curious. Only through incredible skill and talent is one invited or accepted to Beacon, and you made it in two years before your time. Many saw you as a cheat and a upstart who didn’t belong, but I saw a young girl with a grand road at her feat and a bright future at her back.”

Another step, Serena finally moved copying Ruby by taking a step to the right.

“So when your classmates came back and reported you were dead, I was not glad, I was not mournful, I was not angry.”

“So what were you then?” Ruby growled. Serena cocked her head at the question.

“I was confused. How did someone so talented, with such promise, die on a simple mission as collecting sap? I was confused. So I asked Walt to borrow the mission files and reports for me, as well as yours. I talked to your friends-”

“They are not my friends!” Ruby spat, her vision going red. Throwing caution to the wind the young girl shifted her weapon behind her and ran towards the green-haired girl, a vicious furious scream bellowing from her lips. Serena let out a sigh of annoyance and brought her trident around in front of her like it was a door, blocking Ruby’s first strike, and moving it back again to block the second. Raising and spinning her weapon one handed like a conductor leading a parade Serena deflected or caught all of Ruby’s attacks, those that she didn’t stop she ducked under or twisted her head and shoulders under or around the strikes, all with an annoyed look that someone had when dealing with small tantruming children.

With another annoyed sigh Serena when the two weapons met reached up with her other hand and grabbed the shaft of Crescent Rose and pulled it and her weapon, taking Ruby with them by default, and delivered a roundhouse kick to the young girl's stomach, winding her and knocking her away leaving Serena holding both her trident and Ruby’s scythe.

Landing hard on the ground and had what little air she had gotten back knocked out of her; her entire body screamed from the pain of her last battles. Biting down to stifle her screams and drawing blood Ruby slowly got to her feet and turned on the green-haired witch who held her precious. Serena stared back with the disapproving librarian glare and again fixed her glasses.
“Although our weapons are more alike you are doing a very good impersonation of Walt,” she said as she threw Crescent Rose to Ruby, the young girl plucking it from the air with ease and looked between the weapon and the green-haired girl with confusion and suspicion.

“I’m a second year team leader of the third best team of the year level who got a score of 97% on my entrance exam,” Serena stated matter of factly as she spun her trident around her body several times. “You were put in the top 5 best first year fighters, leading what possibly is the best team of the year. You took apart the fourth best third year team and my own team and you will not stop in your suicidal goal until either they are dead or your body gives up. So let’s do this Walt’s way and fight since you will not listen to reason. I may as well see if you are what he calls the best damn combat experience we have had this year.”

“I don’t know if that’s a compliment or an insult,” Ruby said as she dropped into a combat stance, weapon raised and eyes set murderously on the green-haired girl in front of her.

“From Walt take it as both,” Serena deadpanned as she slid her feet apart and placed her weapon behind her head to the ground with her body lose and coiled. “Now don’t disappoint me miss Rose.”

oOo

Ruby, battered and bruised with blood dripping from her hand, stepped across the edge of the Forever Falls with a wide grin and a murderous glint to her eyes. Weiss and team CRDL stood just metres from her huddling together with team CRDL protectively around Weiss with their weapons shaking in their hands as they regarded their death with horrified realization that their last hope was gone.

Ruby's grin grew wider as she took a step towards the group, dropping Serena's trident at the edge of the forest and lifting her massive scythe so it rested besides her blade ready to strike and hungering for the kill.

"No, more, running," Ruby said, each word sending a lace of pain through her chest. "No, more guards. No, more, lies."

The ground between Ruby and the group erupted as something landed heavily, showering the young girl in dirt and red grass. Waving her hand to clear the dust Ruby readied herself for whatever had impacted, her grin turning sour as her face hardened.

As the dust settled a figure stood, his shadow framed by brilliant white light. With the sound of metal on metal the young man drew his weapon, a standard long sword glowing almost angelically in his aura; the sudden sound of gears clicking filled the air as the sheath expanded into a kite shield, and Jaune Arc stepped into the light his face set in a calm stern fashion but his eyes speaking volumes of the hatred and anguish he was feeling.

Ruby took a step back, dropping into a combat stance and raising her scythe as she regarded her first friend, her enemy, with a dejected weariness.

"You shouldn't have come Jaune."

"You should have stayed dead Ruby."

_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter 16 - Bluebirds Fly

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:35 am

Yang and Blake shared a horrified look as the Bumblebee pair ran to the open side of the bullhead and looked down.

“Did Vomit boy just-?”

“Yep.”

Behind the two girls Ozpin chuckled as he grabbed one of the handrails and leaned out with the girls to watch the blonde knight. The chuckle died in the headmaster's throat as he took in the sight below. Team CRDL huddled around Weiss while Jaune stood between them and the person that had attacked and killed his students; the same person he had personally interviewed and invited to his school, the person he had promised he would take care of to her uncle and father, and failed. Despite Jaune’s words Ozpin still found it hard to believe that the same 15 year old girl he had watched and buried was the one standing on the red grassy field below.

Ozpin closed his eyes and looked away, he couldn’t bear the sight of another of his mistakes.

oOo

The air between Ruby and Jaune was thick enough with tension it could be cut with a knife. Neither spoke as they stared each other down, both with hard murderous eyes laced with anguish and pain; memories played in their heads over and over and they tried to harden their hearts to them as they both thought of the sins and crimes against them but lamented that is had come to them, the closest of friends, fighting as bitter enemies.

The difference between the two was as obvious as the red landscape around them. Jaune, tall and lanky, armed with a family hand-me-down of a sword and shield with little skill in their use or combat as a whole, graded the worst fighter in the first year against Ruby, short and petite with a massive custom made high-grade scythe and high-impact anti-material rifle combination taught by one of the best Huntsmen of the kingdoms and graded as possibly the second or third best fighter of the first year.

Yet Ruby was worn from her previous fights. Her black clothes were cut and torn showing still-forming bruises, welts and small cuts while a large gash to her shoulder covered her arm and hand in blood. Underneath all the new damage Ruby’s body was covered in badly-healed burn scar-tissue, her right eye was dead and sightless and her arm was a horrid sight of blackened skin and badly-healed scars it was questionable how she could even use it let alone fight with her massive weapon.
Jaune on the other hand was fresh with no signs of injury or damage. He may of not been the best fighter of the school, but right now he had a pretty good feeling he and Ruby were pretty close in combat prowess.

It was clear that neither of them wanted to do this, to fight each other but neither would back down either. Letting go of the breath he was holding Jaune lowered his weapons.

“Ruby, please, stop.” the blonde knight begged, trying to find the young girl who had befriend him, encouraged him and noped him in the hard cruel and anguished eyes. “Please just, stop.”

“I can’t stop Jaune. They betrayed me and left me for dead. They deserve to die for what they did to me, for what they did to you and Yang and everyone else.” Ruby said with a harsh yet sad tone. The young girl raised her weapon and dropped into a combat ready stance, eye locked on the blonde before her. Jaune knew that words were a wasted thing now and closed his eyes. Images and memories of Pyrrha flooded his mind, they way her green eyes sparkled when she stared at him, the way her hair caught the sun, her laugh.

Jaune snapped his eyes open and raised his sword and shield. “What you have done Ruby is a thousand times worse then anything you think they have done to you!”

Ruby’s eyes widened in shock at the words, then narrowed dangerously so as she charged. Jaune caught the strike with his shield and pushed back, before dropping the shield and swinging at Ruby with his sword. Ruby dodged the attack and stepped back, raising her scythe to bring down at the blonde’s head. Jaune again caught the scythe with his shield, but the weight drove him to one knee. Jaune tried to push the massive weapon aside but he felt Ruby pushing down with all her might.

“THEY KILLED ME JAUNE! THEY ARRANGED THE FIGHT BETWEEN ME AND YANG! THEY SEPARATED ME FROM YOU AND YANG AND MY FRIENDS SO YOU COULDN’T HELP ME! THEY KNEW ABOUT THE GRIMM! THEY LED ME RIGHT TO IT AND STOOD THERE AND WATCHED AS IT BEAT ME! THEY DIDN’T EVEN LIFT A FINGER UNTIL I WAS ON THE GROUND IN A PUDDLE OF MY OWN BLOOD!”

With a grunt of exertion Jaune shoved his shield and Ruby's weapon to the side and the two stumbled away from each other. Recovering and rising to his feet Jaune swung at Ruby's exposed back; Ruby caught the blade with the shaft of her scythe without looking. Going on the offensive Ruby spun twice, almost taking Jaune's head off and spilling his guts. Backing up Jaune raised his shield and braced his sword against the side peering over the rim waiting for the next attack.

“Then they attacked the Grimm! To cover the truth of what they did and make it seem like they tried to save me! But that was their plan all along! Let me die fighting a Grimm then burn my body to hide the evidence!” Ruby shouted swaying on her feet. Jaune charged, feigning to the right then bringing his sword around and attack from over his shield. Ruby was caught of by the feint and just managed to raise Crescent Rose to clip Crocea Mors so that it sailed over her head, taking with with a small lock of hair. Jaune expected Ruby to backstep from the attack, but instead the young girl stepped towards and pushed her scythe against Jaune's shield catching him off-guard and knocking him to the ground. Jaune landed hard, wincing then raised his sword to stop Crescent Rose from entered his forehead, the sharp blade held at bay centimeters from his skin. Ruby again pushing down with all her might leaned forward on her weapon so she could see Jaune's face, a furious expression on her face.

“Everything they told you is a lie Jaune! Every word! Every breath! Every day! Another lie! Another moment that they lived with what they did and got away with it while I was dead! They deserve to die! They all deserve to die! And if you really want to defend them! To believe their lies then you can die with them!”

Jaune tried to push the massive scythe back or aside, but it refused to move instead creeping slowly towards him. Out of fear and the rising primal instinct of self-preservation and blonde fury Jaune started to thrash about while keeping the strength In his arms up. Kicking out his legs he managed to catch Ruby in the stomach, not enough to hurt her but enough to shock her into letting up on her weapon, allowing Jaune to push the scythe away. Ruby stumbled a foot or so from the sudden shift in weight direction but kept her footing. She looked down at the prone blonde knight, he lashed out with his leg again, harder this time and caught her in the stomach, winding the young girl. As Ruby stumbled back scream steps bowed over and holding her stomach Jaune jumped to his feet and held his weapon up ready to strike.

"None of that happened Ruby!" He shouted instead, allowing Ruby to recover and right herself. "Pyrrha, Weiss, they were your friends! They would never plan to kill you or even hate you! Pyrrha even called you the most beautiful innocent person she had even seen."

"Be quiet Jaune," Ruby growled taking a slow step back and raising her weapon behind her. "You don't know what you're talking about! They lied, they killed me, hated me because I was better than them"

“They loved you Ruby!" Jaune shouted. "For months following your death there wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t find Pyrrha in tears! She locked herself in our dorms for days crying over you! Over the fact that she couldn’t save her friend! She hardly ate, hardly slept; some nights she would wake up screaming from nightmares about you! Crying out your name!"

Without making a noise Ruby darted toward, bring her scythe around her body and firing the rifle to give it frightening momentum aimed at Jaune's head. The blonde took the hit with his shield and rolled around the attack, exposing his back for a second as he swung at Ruby's exposed shoulders and neck. The young girl shifted her wrist, rolling the head of the scythe and raising the bottom to catch the sword blade. The two weapons clashed and stuck, shaking from the strain of their owners trying to overpower the other. Jaune looked into Ruby's one remaining silver eye. "She tried to quit Beacon! She tried to take her own life! I found her in the bathroom one day with her wrists cut apologising to you! She tried to kill herself Ruby because she couldn’t save you!"

Ruby stared back with murderous fury and zeal. “It was a lie Jaune! To cover her guilt!” She said as she yanked back on her weapon and danced around Jaune's downward arc. Spinning around and uncrossing her arms which turned Crescent Rose into a quick single spin she aimed the head at the square of Jaune's back and pulled the trigger.

Jaune screamed in pain as the bullet tore through his body leaving a bloody hole in his chest plate and forcing the knight to his knees, teeth clenched against the pain. Ruby took several steps backwards and pulled open the slide, ejecting the spent cartridge before ramming the bolt home. Slowly Jaune rose to his feet and turned on the young girl, blood dripping down his white armour as he squared his shoulders.

“How can I call myself a Huntress Jaune, if I couldn’t save my friend!" Jaune said, taking a step towards Ruby. The young girl pulled the trigger again, the bullet tearing through Jaune's shoulder and making him stumble, but he didn't make a sound in pain. Locking his defiant eyes on the girl before him Jaune stood to his full height and continued to advance on Ruby. "She would say that every night before she cried herself to sleep! That’s what she had written on the bathroom mirror when I found her!”

Ruby fired again, the shot knocking Jaune back half a step as he put a hand to the bleeding hole in his side, but he kept moving forward.

“At your funeral she broke down in tears and threw herself at the feet of your family asking them to forgive her!"

Another gunshot, this one clipping Jaune's shield as he raised it in front of him and took another step forward. Ruby started to back step now, her hands shaking.

"For weeks she couldn’t look anyone in the eye!"

Another gunshot. Jaune winced as the bullet nicked his skin drawing blood, but he did not falter in his step, instead appearing to gain strength and stand taller as he walked.

"And Yang. Pyrrha couldn’t go near your sister or your team without breaking down!”

Her whole body shaking Ruby fired her weapon, the bullet bouncing uselessly off of his armour. Hastily she pulled back the slide and forced it back. However she did this too fast, catching the spent cartridge as it was ejected from the barrel and jamming the sniper. Ruby swore and tried to clear the jam, all the while keeping her eyes on Jaune as he advanced on her slowly.

“CRDL changed! They wear a red ribbon under their armour to remind themselves of you. Everyday I see them just reach under their armour and say something. They stopped picking on people, started being nice to the Faunus! Dust they even stood up for Velvet when she was being picked on! The only fights they pick now is with other bullies! They did, all of that, that for you Ruby, to honour your memory!”

“It’s lies. It has to be. They left me. There’s no other explanation.” The young girl shouted as she struggled to clear the jam, ignoring the growing waves of pain washing over her and the growing weakness in her bad arm. Jaune continued to advance on her, his strong confident strides closing the gap between the two.

“They did not kill you Ruby! They tried to save you and they failed and they have had to live with it every day since you died!”

With a loud snap the slide clicked back into place Ruby grabbed her scythe with both hands and jumped as she pulled the trigger shooting her backwards and widening the gap considerably as the young girl flew between the red-leafed trees back into the forest. As she landed she planted the massive head of her weapon in the ground and took aim at the blonde knight as he continued to march towards her.

“Weiss then!” Ruby shouted lining the blonde in her sights despite the shaking of her hands and arms, and sliding her hand over the trigger. “What did she do! She was the worst of them! She pretended to be my teammate, my partner, my friend! She planned it all! She convinced the others!”

“Weiss was worse than Pyrrha.” Jaune shouted back, crossing over the threshold into the forest with his head bowed, a shadow covering his eyes but not hiding them as they started to glow with a dull white light. “Weiss withdrew. She didn’t talk, to anyone. She didn’t cry or break down. She didn’t leave her dorm, she didn’t attend classes. She didn’t eat unless Yang and Blake held her down and forced her. A week after your funeral they put her into the hospital. Weiss was killing herself Ruby! Killing herself because her best friend was dead and she blamed herself”

Ruby faltered, the shaking of her arms starting to spread to Crescent Rose. Shaking her head to try clear it if Jaune’s words his lies she shouted back, but even her voice shook. “That’s, that’s a lie! It has to be! She hated me! She tried to kill me! It has to be a lie.”

“Pyrrha, CRDL, Weiss. They all tried to save you Ruby! They all tried and failed! All of them! They did not try to kill you!”

“But, but she said-”

“They tried to save you, and you tried to kill them for it!”
“No, no they’re lying! They tried- They tried!”

“You tried to kill Weiss! You tried to kill Cardin! You killed another student Ruby!”

“No I-”

“You! killed! PYRRHA!”

An explosive white force erupted from Jaune's body as he screamed his partner's name, crossing the distance between the two in seconds and blowing Ruby backwards, knocking Crescent Rose from her hand. The young girl landed hard on the ground, the wind knocked from her. Slowly she rolled over onto her hands and knees, breathing hard as she looked up to Jaune. Her body froze, her face twisting in shock. In between her and the blonde knight was a large translucent white shield identical to his, even with his symbol shining like a beacon in the air. Standing behind the shield, his whole frame alight with a brilliant white glow Jaune stood tall and proud the image of a knight of old, completely unharmed and unmarked, even the blood covering his eye was gone. Ruby looked on as the giant translucent shield began to fade, and the blonde knight began to again advance on her.

Still struggling for breath, with her body screaming in agony Ruby pushed herself upright, her body shaking from the effort. Standing hunched over clutching her stomach with her bad arm the young girl raised her eyes to the blonde marching on her and spat. “She, she deserved it. She did. She-”
“You killed her Ruby! She’s dead and she’s not coming back!” Jaune shouted cutting the young girl off as the white aura surrounding him flared brighter and brighter with each word, blowing away dust and leaf litter before him. Ruby tried to take a step backwards, but her leg gave out underneath her. Falling in a heap Ruby screamed in pain as she landed, having thrown out her bad arm to try and catch herself only to pin it beneath her. She tried to lift herself up to get her arm, but every movement even so small sent torrents of pain crashing through her body that almost brought her to the point of another piercing scream. With tears of agony stinging her eyes Ruby bit her lips hard enough to draw blood and tried again to get her arm free. Little by little she wiggled the bad arm out from under her body, steeling herself against the sheer agony each tiny movement inflicted on her. Finally Ruby pulled her arm free and collapsed on her back, choking down air greedily. Forcing the pain away, or at least to a manageable amount, Ruby tried to push herself into a sitting position, but stopped short when she felt the sharp cold edge of a sword at her throat. Flopping back onto the ground the young girl looked up at the glowing blonde standing over her, his luminous blue eyes staring down at her with a glacial fury.

“You, killed, her,” Jaune said with cold steel in his voice. Gone from his eyes were any compassion or sorrow for Ruby, replaced instead with a vengeful fire. Still Ruby returned the furious glare with her own defiant murderous glare.

“Pyrrha killed me. She deserved to die. They all did. She said they deserved it. Pyrrha deserved to die.”

"She respected you, looked up to you even!” Jaune coldly yelled, his sword starting to shake from the fiery emotions raging within him “The great Pyrrha Nikos looked up to you, the youngest to ever attend Beacon! You were her friend and you killed her Ruby!"

"What,” Ruby started, her one silver eye took on an emerald tinge; a choking sob racked the young girl’s body, her face twisting with horror and anguish. “did, I? No, no they lied!”

"Her blood is on your hands!"

“No! No they lied! They lied! She said! She said!” The murderous defiance in Ruby’s eyes broke, great racking sobs consuming the young girl’s body as he raised her hands to her eyes and screamed. “She lied! she lied! Oh dust tell me I didn’t! Tell me you’re wrong! Tell me they lied!”

Jaune stood and watched as Ruby screamed her heart out before him. Slowly he lowered his sword from Ruby’s throat and stepped away from the girl, unable to find the strength to lift his weapon from his side.

Someone put their hand on the young man’s shoulder; Jaune didn’t notice the gesture, his eyes locked on the sobbing mess of his former friend in front of him.

Ozpin let out a sad sigh as he removed his hand from the young man’s shoulder; he couldn’t look at Ruby, couldn’t bring himself to lay eyes on the young girl being pulled into the loving embrace of her sister. Ozpin turned and walked away, passing teachers and students as they ran into the forest or stood around weapons raised; he noticed as he walked that Pacifica stood apart from the rest of the students with her weapon sheathed on her back staring towards the place Jaune stood, her emerald eyes slowly losing their glow.

Ozpin shot the silver and black haired student a curious glance as he continued on to where a second group of teachers and students stood, Glynda standing key among them sternly informing the five people sitting before her how worried the headmistress was for them, in her own special way. A faint smile touched the headmaster’s lips as he stepped passed the students and teachers to Glynda’s side, relief swelling in his chest as he saw Weiss and team CRDL unharmed. The five all stared up at him in abject fear, for their actions, and overwhelming relief; tears ran down the faces of Dove, Sky and Russell, so happy they were.

Ozpin chuckled at that, and turned his attention to the Schnee heiress leaning into Cardin’s side as he still held her protectively. The smile on Ozpin;s lips grew wider as he saw his students, his children, safe. Turning to Glynda he said simply “Let’s get them home.”

_________________

Facebook || DeviantArt || FanFiction.Net || ArchiveOfOurOwn || Wattpad

Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter 17 - And the Dreams That You Dare To

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:36 am

The sliding hiss of the door announced Ozpin’s entry into the room. All but one of the occupants looked up from their parchments or clipboards as the headmaster of Beacon, his signature coffee cup in hand, stepped to the center of the room and stared past everyone to the large one-way window dominating the far wall.

“As you were,” Ozpin said trying to keep his voice level and calm. The staff went back to what they were doing and the headmaster lifted his drink to his lips, staring at the window.
“How is she?” he asked lowering his drink. A pair of faunus stood up from the desk to Ozpin’s right and approached him.

“Her body is 60% covered in scar tissue, 53% of that being burns,” said Velvet Scarlatina as she held out her parchment for Ozpin to take. The headmaster didn’t take it, instead taking a sip of his drink as he stared the window.

“Can the damage be fixed?”

“Some of the badly healed injuries could be, but she’s scared for life. Her right eye is dead, and her arm. We can’t fix it, it has to be amputated.”

“Then how did she manage to fight with these injuries?”

“Dust sir,” answered the second Faunus, a tall blue-grey haired girl with kangaroo ears named Pastel Williams who had come around to Ozpin’s left. “A concoction of energiser and healing dust mixed with powerful painkillers, which her body is still dependent on. I’m afraid sir, that she’ll most likely be for the rest of her life”

Ozpin said nothing. Taking another sip of his drink Ozpin nodded to the two Faunus and approached the window. Serena already stood there staring through the glass and the headmaster couldn't help wince as he regarded her, a crutch under one arm holding her up, her other in a sling and her head wrapped up like a mummy save for her lower face and one salmon eye.

“I remember ordering you to stay in bed with your team miss Laks-Christensen,” Ozpin said to the girl. Serena gave him a flat stare in reply and looked back to the window.

“I’m needed here sir,” she said in a weak voice. “I don’t have to remind you of my-”

“Yes,” Ozpin said, nodding. Looking to the window, feeling the slither of ice in his heart ache the headmaster asked “How is she? Mentally?

“Permission to speak freely?”

“Of course. This isn’t Atlas.”

“She’s a total clusterfuck of a mess, as Walt would say. When she is coherent, and not screaming from the agony, she continues to cling to belief that her friends stabbed her in the back and left her to die rather than accept the truth.”

“In this moment I would say this lie she has created is less painful than the truth.”
“We are trying to slowly walk her back and to come to terms with everything that has happened. However her body is degrading quicker than the doctors and Velvet believed; Pastel has tried to supplement the dust, but this only seems to speed up the process, and she refuses any surgery, believing we are with them against her.”

Ozpin let out a sigh and bowed his head till it was resting on the glass. For the first time in a long time he felt his tired to the bone. Here returned to him was the brightest most innocent student he had ever seen, the niece of a close friend, but also a cold blooded murderer who had taken the lives of two of his students, his children, and almost cost the lives of several more. The headmaster was at war at himself, joy and relief and hope clashing with anger and pain and cold fury; in the corner of his mind Ozpin could only imagine what Jaune was feeling if this was the storm the headmaster felt.

With another sigh Ozpin lifted his head from the glass. “Have the doctors prepare to operate, regardless of her opinion. We will not lose her again.”

“They’re preparing now sir,” Serena said flatly. “They don’t think miss Rose will last another two days.”
Ozpin nodded, then shot a glance at the green-haired student. “Is there something else on your mind, miss Laks-Christensen?”

Serena shot the headmaster a glance then looked back to the window. “I think we should bring them in, before the surgery.”

Ozpin said nothing, taking a drink of his coffee.Ozpin said nothing; Serena turned to look at him as she continued.

“It has been a week since we brought her in, and her team are growing more and more hostile; it is taken two teams to restrain her sister alone. I have confidence in the doctors and the surgery sir, but, as a precaution I think they deserve to see her.”

“You speak as if they won’t see her after,” Ozpin remarked flatly.

“If she survives, there is still the manner of what to do with her and her recent activities. Some may say it’ll be wise to keep them separate to spare her team the pain.”

“And?”

“And it will probably increase miss Rose’s chances of surviving the surgery.”

Ozpin again said nothing.

“But-”

“Ok”

Underneath the bandages Serena raised a eyebrow, not expecting the headmaster to agree so quickly, or easily. The corners of her mouth curling upwards as she turned to walk away. “Thank you sir. I’ll inform the team.”

Ozpin nodded to the young women but said nothing; he just stood there in silence staring through the window.

oOo
Yang took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. Physically she was a mess, bags under her eyes from the hour long power nap she had two days ago, her usual luscious golden mane was oily and hanging limply and her whole being was covered in scuffs and bruises from being restrained by several teams. Despite all of this she was dying to get into that room, to see her sister. She was ready to sprint through the school knocking down everyone in her way to get into that room.

For that exact reason Yang was the one pushing Weiss around in the wheelchair. Despite her wound being well-healed and the only damage to her internals being a punctured kidney and scratched liver the Schnee heiress had been bedridden for the week for rest and for doing something completely idiotic; Professor Goodwitch had even posted the entire Fourth year student body to watch her. The only reason Goodwitch had let Weiss out of her medical room was on Ozpin’s orders, and even that was with hesitation and threats of permanent detention.

Blake for the most part watched her two teammates bemused at their annoyance. However the cat eared Faunus as well watched her two teammates in worry, and rightfully so; the blonde in particular as her appearance distressed the ravenette and she was often the one who had the displeasure of forcing Yang to sleep. Blake also feared for her mentally, for both of them. The pain of losing Ruby and the emotional fallout that followed as everyone tried to piece their lives back together without the young, innocent leader. Yet now she was here in the academy, alive. And a murderer.
Blake could not to begin what was going through Yang’s mind as the three arrived at the doors Blake never expected to find in a school. With a low hiss the doors open, allowing the three into a room that looked like a command centre for an airship rather than something in a prison. None of the guards or doctors and nurses payed the students any mind as they stepped into the centre of the room looking around in awe and confusion. From the side of the room Velvet noticed them and headed over, with Pastel falling into line behind her.

“Yang, you look terrible,” the Rabbit-eared Faunus said as the pair approached team _WBY. Yang however ignored the two, looking around the room frantically.

“Where is she?” she asked, bordering on screaming as she took a step away from Weiss’s wheelchair. Pastel and Velvet took a step away from the volatile blonde, raising their hands in a non-threatening manner, a couple of sparks jumping between Pastels fingers, when a stern voice cut through the air.

“Miss Xiao Long! Remain calm!”

Everyone in the room jumped, expecting the emerald eyed headmistress as they turned to the figure standing at the far end of the room. Slowly, using her crutch to support her, Serena turned and leveled a deadpan glare on the three girls of _WBY. “Or you will be escorted from the room!”
Blake was the first to recover. Gesturing to the crutch and the bandages covering the second year students the cat-eared Faunus asked “what happened to you?”

Serena gave the three girls a flat state before before turning back to face the wall.
"She didn't disappoint"

Team _WBY shared confused looks as they stared at Serena and the wall; until they realised the wall was a window, through which they saw an assortment of machines surrounding a hospital bed containing.

“Ruby!” Yang yelled, running to the window. Weiss went to move out of her wheelchair, only to be stopped when Blake grabbed the handles and pushed the Schnee heiress after the blonde. As the two arrived at the window and laid eyes on the occupant of them room the air escaped both their lips in horrified gasps. Ruby looked peaceful laying there asleep, chained to her hospital bed in a simple white gown with tubes connecting her to an array of machines around her bed. First and second degree burns, most of them badly healed scars, covered her arms legs and face and neck, favouring the right side. Her right arm was a horrifying sight, covered entirely in third and fourth degree burns with the skin blackened and cracked, showing muscles, tendons and even the bone through large gaps.

“Dear dust,” Weiss stuttered, her fair skin going whiter than usual; her hands shaking, Blake fought the urge to throw up as all she could stare at was Ruby’s damaged arm. Yang put her hands against the glass her whole face dropping in absolute horror.

“We’re afraid nothing can be done for the arm,” Serena said matter-of-factly as she limped over to a desk. “The doctors are preparing to remove it as it is the biggest cause of agony for miss Rose. However they have run into a speed bump.”

“What, speed bump?” Blake asked tearing her eyes away from her teammates arm to the bandaged second year student. Serena turned back to the three, a clipboard in her bad hand.

“Miss Rose does not want any surgery, or anything, from us.”

“Fix her!” Yang spat turning on the second year student, her limp manky hair starting to smoke as her violet eyes turned red. “Fix her now!”

Serena turned her stern gaze to the blonde, “as I said the doctors are preparing for surgery, against miss Rose’s wishes. We are going to save her life, even if she is against it.”

“How?” Blake asked. “You said she wants nothing from us, even if it’ll save her life?”

“Us.” Weiss answered, bring all the attention to her. Unlike the others she hadn’t taken her eyes off of Ruby, just continuing to sit staring at her partner with tears streaming down her face. Serena let out a sigh and nodded. “I was hoping that you could talk to her and try help break this mentality that we’re her enemy.”

“But I thought Jaune broke that already,” Blake said, eliciting a shake of her head from Serena.
“Miss Rose is relying on the idea that Miss Schnee, Miss Nikos and team CRDL attempted to kill her just as I am relying on this crutch. It is keeping her mentality safe from the harmful truth of what really happened in that forest and what she did afterwards.”

“You mean the fact that she’s a murderer?” Yang asked, her voice breaking. Serena let out another sigh, this one softer, and nodded.

“I don’t know your sister as well as you do miss Xiao Long but what I do know is if she accepts what happened to her was an accident, the very idea that she not only took a life, but also the life of someone completely innocent it will destroy her to the very core.”

“So how can we help?” Blake asked, shooting the second year student a venomous glare. She knew what Serena was asking of the three, and she knew what it would do to Ruby. “And how can we do it it without killing our best friend?”

Serena let out another sigh and dragged out a chair for her to sit. “I’ve been discussing an idea with professor Ozpin and the head doctors to walk Ruby back to a safe mentality while also accepting what happened to her and what she did without her self destructing. However with Ruby’s state deteriorating fast and my belief that if she goes into that surgery thinking we are her enemy, she will die before we can truly help her.”

Yang, her eyes flickering between Violet and red with tears beginning to spill, turned back to the window, and saw Ruby was starting to stir. The blonde brawler looked to her partner, and the pair turned to Serena who was looking at the pair expectantly.

“Can we go in?” Yang asked. Serena lifted her gaze from the pair to the young girl starting to trash in her bed and nodded.

“But,” she said, cutting Yang and a lake off as they turned away. Serena pulled herself from her seat and limped towards a door set besides the wall-spamming window. “Let us just administer her medicine so she won’t be in pain first.”

Yang and Blake looked at each and nodded before turning and joining Weiss in front of the window. Together the three watched as several nurses entered the room armed with clear bags of liquids, followed by Pastel, Velvet, several more nurses, dressed in different scrubs than the first lot, and Serena who closed the door firmly shut behind her and stood in front of it, as if expecting trouble. Ruby, now fully awake but visibly in pain, tensed when they entered, starting to thrash in her bed and yell and scream, all of which was muted by the thick walls and window. Weiss covered her mouth as she gasped, more tears spilling over her lids. Besides her Yang watched with a face set in stone, fire danced in her hair and the bones in her hands cracked as she clenched them into tight fists; Blake remained impassive, putting a hand on each of their shoulders as she stared emotionlessly into the room.

The first team of nurses gathered around Ruby’s bed first, checking the machines, making corrections where needed and switching the bags of liquids with the empty ones connected to the young girl thrashing and snarling in the bed. Once they were done the first team of nurses stepped back to allow the second team, among them Pastel and Velvet, to gather around the bed. Looking like some sort of cult ritual everyone looked to the kangaroo-Faunus. Letting out a deep breath Patsel started to weave her hands around in front of her, growing faster and faster as she moved. To the shock of team _WBY her hands began to glow as dust, white glowing specks of dust began to fly from her hands. As more and more of the specks gathered in the air the nurses started to weave and move their hands, manipulating the dust coming from the Faunus and passing it along the line until the air around Ruby’s bed was swimming with glowing specks. Then, as one save for Pastel, the nurses and Velvet ceased their intricate movement and crossed their hands together in front of them, palms facing inwards, and pushed. On command the dust moved inwards on Ruby, covering the girl in white light as the specks to used her skin and sunk into it; before the shocked eyes of team _WBY they saw some of the badly healed scars and small injuries begin to close and heal over, and some of the worse scars faded ever so slightly.

In the command room the three girls stared slack jawed completely empty shocked and stunned until Yang broke the silence.

“H-how? What? T-that’s Dust? That’s Dust! And it, it came from her? How-”

“I’ve,” Weiss said, finding her voice. “I’ve heard rumors and legends, but I didn’t think they were true. People, as living sources of Dust. Able to generate and produce it from their bodies.”

“But, how? How is that even possible?”

“I don’t know Yang I don’t know.”

After several minutes the nurses and Velvet lowered their arms, the last of of the dust vanishing into Ruby’s skin. Pastel lowered her arms, not looking at all affected by what she just did. Slowly the nurses and the two Faunus left the room, the last to leave being Serena who firmly secured it behind her before stepping back into the control room. _WBY didn’t look at any of them, even the second year student and the Faunus as they joined the girls in front of the window. All eyes were on the young girl in the bed. Ruby laid as still and straight as she could, not moving at all except for the rise and fall of her chest and occasionally shifting her head. Her eyes stared into space vacantly, and every now and then she chewed the inside of her mouth deep in thought.

Blake and Yang looked away from the window to Serena, who simply nodded and limped back to the door leading to the cell, _WBY falling into step with Yang pushing Weiss and Blake bringing up the rear. With bated breaths and their hearts beating a heavy metal concert in their chests Yang, Blake and Weiss stood in the growing pool of light as Serena pulled open the thick heavyset door, and ushered the three inside the room.

As they stepped over the threshold each of the three girls froze just inside the room, unable to even breathe. Just a meter ahead of team _WBY Ruby came out of her thoughts and rolled her head ahead to look at the them. Her one silver eye flashed with recognition, then emotions warring as she started to thrash and writhe in her bed, throwing out insults and cruel words that Weiss, Blake and Yang had been ship from before. Mixed in with the words of heartbreak and betrayal was sounds and cries of agony, of her body dying.

In her wheelchair Weiss covered her eyes as she began to sob, tears of joy and grief flowing freely down her fair maiden face. Blake standing besides her remained outwardly impassive, only the deepening of her frown of the widening of her eyes any physical sign of the same joy and grief clutching the young Faunus’s heart.

Yang did not remain impassive, she did not gasp or cry or sob. She ran into the room, grabbed her sister by the shoulders like she did so many times when Ruby was suffering from her frequent nightmares and started talking, no yelling, to her sister, to her baby girl Ruby back from the dead.

“Ruby! Ruby it’s over! It’s Yang! It’s your sister!”

“Get your hands off me traitor! You sided with her! You sided with them. You left me for dead!”

“No! No Ruby I would never leave you! I would never leave you!”

“YOU LEFT ME FOR DEAD! You let them kill me and yet you chose them over me!”

“No! I love you Ruby! I will never choose anyone over you!”

“You chose them! You chose the-” Ruby’s words dissolved into a banshee scream of pure agony as she stopped thrashing and arched her back. The machines all around her began to beep rapidly and dangerously and Blake and Weiss were unkindly pushed aside as Pastel, Velvet and some of the nurses rushed into the room and surrounded the bed talking over the Blonde girl who had collapsed sobbing into her sister's chest. A nurse grabbed Yang by the shoulders and tried to pull her away, only for the poor man to end up on his arse with his nose shattered from a quick punch from Yang before she went back to holding her sister. Another three sets of hands gripped the blonde brawler this time, strong arms, and ripped her from Ruby’s bed, allowing the nurses to swarm in over the young girl who was too weak and in pain to fight back besides the weak insult or cruel word. Yang fought against those holding her while words flew through the hair but did not stick on her ears. Everything took on a nightmarish slow motion as she watched the nurses and two Faunus start again to pour clouds of white Dust into her sister. Yang’s world suddenly came cleared when Serena stepped into her field of vision, her words loud and clear despite the verbal thunderstorm brewing around her and the blonde.

“Yang! Ruby is going into cardiac arrest! We’re losing her! She needs you!”

Yang, now slack in the arms of the security stared at the green-haired second year caught halfway between fight or flight. She tried to look past the girl, but Serena grabbed her chin and with strength defying her injured frame kept Yang’s attention solely on her.

“YANG! Ruby needs you!”

“But,” Yang started, her voice breaking from the conflicting fear and anger and anxiety. “What, can I? How, can I help? I did this to her.”

“Think back, to when you were children. What would you do when she had a nightmare and your mother wasn’t around, or didn’t come back. What did you do when Ruby needed a mother to console her after a bad dream?”

“I, I would sing.”

“Then sing!”

Yang opened her mouth, but her voice caught, coming out as a pitiful croak. She closed her mouth and tried again, but the same happened. Her panic rose, her heart beating louder and louder as her head clouded over with the fear, the panic, the grief and sorrow and disparity. Until, through all the noise and emotion and fear she heard one weak voice.

“Yang.”

It was her voice, Ruby’s voice, and Yang was seven years old again. She could see Ruby on her bed, drenched in sweat with her big silver eyes wide with fear and tears. Yang wasted no times crossing the room and scooping up her baby sister into her arms, rocking her gently back and forth as she began to sing.

Red like roses fills my dreams, and brings me to the place you rest.

As Yang sung the security holding her and Serena let go and took a step back, the green-haired second year year and the blonde first year turning together to look at the young girl in the hospital bed.

White is cold and always yearning. Burdened by the royal test.

The machines stopped to beep as rapidly and as dangerously; the nurses started to calm down as their voices lowered. In her bed Ruby started to breath easier.

Black the beasts descends from shadows.

Pastel and the nurses lowered the arms, the white Dust fading from the air while the nurses by the machines read that Ruby’s vitals were in the clear, and rising.

Yellow, beauty burns gold.

As the last note hung in the air Ruby turned her head to look at Yang, a single tear hanging from the edge of her eye. Yang smiled at her sister, wiping her own eyes full of tears and approaching the bed; the nurses and the Faunus cleared some room around the bed but didn’t leave it completely, nor did the security leave the room.

“Hey,” Yang said quietly.

“Hey,” Ruby replied weakly. “You look like crap.”

“So do you. Where did you learn to swear?”

“You. Just didn’t like to do it before now.”

A laugh escaped Yang’s lips, a short sad laugh. She wiped away another tear and leant on the side of the bed. “I’m sorry for being a bad influence.”

This time it was Ruby’s turn to laugh, a short strained chuckle that quickly faded as her face hardened.

“Why did you leave me Yang?”

Yang's voice caught in her throat. Slowly she let go of the bed and took a step back, the clawing beast of anxiety rising again in her chest as fresh tears sprang to her violet eyes.
“Ruby, I-. I didn't leave you.”

“You sided with Weiss and Pyrrha. They killed me. You left me.”

“Ruby, please. You know I would rather die than leave you. I didn’t leave you,” Yang said her voice growing in strength as she shot a glance to Paste and Velvet. “And I didn’t side with them against you.”

“Then why didn’t you make them pay Yang?” Ruby asked coldly.

Yang's voice caught again, and she looked away from Ruby, at the horrible sight of her baby her skin burns and scarred. And her arm. It was taking all of Yang's strength not to look at the blackened and cracked limb resting limply by Ruby’s side, and all of her will not to throw up,from the thought of it

Letting out a deep breath, Yang found her voices again. “Ruby your, your body is dying.”

Tears sprung to her one silver eye as a choked gasp escaped Ruby’s lips.

“I know Yang.” She said, her bottom lip trembling. “I can feel it, and I’m scared. I don’t want to die.”

“Then please Ruby, let them help you. They want to-”

“NO!” Ruby shrieked, bolting upright. “They helped Weiss! They helped them! I don’t want their help!”

“Ruby please! I don’t want you to die!” Yang sobbed, trying and fighting to remain standing. With an agonized scream Ruby fell back in her bed, writhing and thrashing. Pastel and the nurses swarmed the bed, parting around yang who remained rooted to the spot. It took several minutes for Ruby to calm down again and for her to look to her sister, face scrunched up in pain and fear.

“Yang. I’m scared.”

“Shhhh, I’m right here,” the blonde brawler said, walking around to the other side of the bed and placing her hand on her sister's good hand. “I’m right here.”

“I don’t want to die again.”

“I won’t let you die Ruby. I won’t lose you again.”

“Don’t leave me.”

Yang showed a sad smile as she rubbed Ruby’s shoulder and said “never”. The younger girl let out a content sigh and closed her eyes, seeming as if she had fallen to sleep. A tear escaped the blondes lashes. Looking at her sister, ignoring the burns and the scars and her arm Yang felt a joyful sob building in her chest. Wiping away the tear Yang looked up from the girl in the bed, and settled on the white-haired heiress, the building joy shattering in Yang’s chest. She caught Blake’s eye, and leant down near Ruby.

“Ruby.”

“Hmm?”

“I’m going to call Blake over; she wants to see you. And, Weiss is with her.”

“No!” Ruby yelled as her eyes snapped open and she sprang bolt-right in her bed again, only for her face to immediately contort in pain. Yang pushed her sister back down as the nurses swarmed the bed again, not doing anything just standing there.

“Ruby, please.” Yang said, rubbing Ruby’s shoulder.

“No! I don’t want to see her!” Ruby yelled, thrashing her head to either side and trying to fight off Yang’s grip and failing.

“You need to see her Ruby. It’s the only way you’ll get better.”

“I don’t want to see her,” Ruby said  quietly as she stopped thrashing and tried to curl up into a ball, her eyes starting to tear as her bottom lip trembled. “I don’t want to see her.”

“Ruby.” Yang said softly rubbing Ruby’s shoulder. “I’ll be here, right beside you. I won’t let her get close to you.”

“I don’t want to see her. I want her to die.”

“Ruby, please. You need to see her if you want to get better. I’ll be right here.”

Ruby said nothing, instead she looked away so Yang couldn’t see her face. Yang’s voice caught in her throat as she tried to get Ruby to look at her, and she looked up to Blake and Weiss for help. Weiss was staring at Ruby in open horror and anguish, her light-blue eyes open wide but she was without tears; Blake was in what Yang called ‘Ninja Cat Mode’, face blank and emotionless with her eyes narrowed but alert. Blake caught Yang’s eye and nodded, to which the blonde returned the gesture and looked back to her sister. “What do you say? They really want to see you.”

Ruby said nothing, nor did she move. The air started to grow thick with tension as Yang and the nurses looked to the young injured redhead, knowing this was the make-or-break point. After several minutes Ruby looked to Yang.

“Ok.”

Yang let out the breath she was holding and gave her younger sister a reassuring smile as she turned away and waved the monochrome pair over. Blake nodded and gripped the handles of Weiss’s wheelchair tentatively. The jostling of the chair as it started to move snapped Weiss out of her anguish horror and she adopted a calmer face with a warm smile, but Yang could still see the pain in her eyes as the monochrome pair approached the side of the bed, the nurses parting to let them close/ Ruby looked away from Yang to the pair, to Weiss more specifically and adopted a deadpan expression with a cold deadly stare for the heiress.

“Ruby,” Weiss said warmly. Ruby just stared at her, which unearthed the heiress slightly and made her drop her warm smile for an anxious expression.

“Ruby, please speak to me. Please.”

Still Ruby said nothing, just continuing to stare at Weiss. The heiress shot a glance to Yang, who nodded comfortingly, and turned her eyes back to Ruby. “Please.”

“Why?” Ruby croaked, making Weiss jump. The redhead’s eyes narrowed at the reaction, and she continued. “Why did you kill me Weiss? Why did you let that Grimm hurt me and leave me to die?”
“Ruby, I” Weiss said shaking her head. “I didn’t, I didn’t kill you.”

“You didn’t help me!” Ruby said harshly, rising slightly in the bed only for Yang to hold her back. “You stood and watched as that Grimm destroyed me! You let it kill me then killed it and set me on fire to hide what you did!”

Weiss bowed her head under the accusations, and said nothing at first, a single tear escaping her eye. Wiping the lone drop the heiress found her voice and raised her gaze back to meet her partners white and silver eyes.
“We, froze, in fear. We had never seen a Grimm like that before”
“I don’t believe you” Ruby scoffed. “We hunt them, we fight them, we kill them! We train to destroy the Grimm, and you, Weiss Schnee, froze? I don’t believe that!”
“Ruby. I’m, I’m not fearless.” Weiss said sharply, the old Weiss pre-Ruby snapping at her partner. “All my life I have trained to be perfect. The best tutors, the best trainers, the best simulators. All my life has been one giant classroom. The first time I saw a Grimm outside of a controlled environment was in the forest for our trial. I had been taught of the common Grimm. But when I saw that monster in the Forever Falls I forgot all of my training, all my composure. I had never seen a Grim so large, so powerful, so terrifying.’

‘I was frozen in fear, and I could not break free until I saw you fall. I was trained to be perfect, and I froze. You, were a bumbling, air headed, childish dolt, and you were the better Huntress. I said I would be the best teammate ever, but I also aspired to be the best Huntress, by following your example. And when I saw you fall, the fear was gone. You saved me from my fear, but I was too late to save you.”

“You’re lying,” Ruby scoffed.

“No, Ruby. I’m not.”

“Yes you are. She told me”

Everyone did a doubletake at that statement. Weiss looked to Yang who looked to Blake who looked to Velvet and Pastel standing by the back wall, as confused and alarmed as _WBY. looked back to Ruby. “She?”

“She told you me you hated me!” Ruby spat, trying to rise from the bed again. “That you wanted me dead and you tried to kill me.”

“Ruby, who told you this?”

“She cared for me! She found me, in the river, after I crawled there from your fire!” Ruby screamed, her voice starting to break and to turn from anger and hatred to anguished, as if Ruby was trying to convince herself as well as Weiss, Blake and Yang.  “She took care of me, in a cave, and she told me you all hated me.”

“She lied Ruby, we don’t-”

“NO!” Ruby screamed, bolting upright with enough force to rip some of the IV drips and tubes from her good arm. Amid the beeping of the machines and the alarm of the Faunus and nurses Ruby continued to scream. “ No you are lying! You hated me! You loathed me! You lied to my face and stabbed me in the back! You killed me!”

“Ruby!” Yang screamed as she was shoved out of the way by the nurses
”Ruby I didn’t-” Weiss tried to say before she was cut off by Velvet pushing her backwards. Behind her Blake had her shoulder grabbed by Serena who dragged the cat Faunus and the Schnee heiress away from the bed and towards the exit.

“YOU LIED! TELL THE TRUTH WEISS YOU LIED!” Yang tried to fighter her way back to her sister's side, but she was forced back by a gust of frigid air from Pastel which coated the blonde in a layer of ice, shocking her and slowing her down enough for the security to grab her by the arms and drag her after her teammates.

“Tell me you lied Weiss! Tell me you hated me! Tell me you tried to kill me!” Ruby continued to scream as Yang was forced out of the room and the corridor. Blake and Serena followed behind her, walking backwards, leaving Weiss watching the entire scene of the Faunus and the nurses swarm around the bed of the screaming girl.

“Weiss! Tell me! Don’t let her be the liar! Don’t let her lie! Don’t let her lie!”

As she was being led from the room Weiss saw through a gap in the nurses Ruby, staring at her not in anger or hatred, but pleadingly with tears in her eyes as the door closed shut.

“Don’t let her lie,” Ruby sobbed. “Don’t let her lie.”

_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter 18 - Why, Oh Why, Can't I

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:37 am

The cafeteria was empty, eerily so. Team _WBY sat at one of the tables amid the large eerily silent hall. Yang and Weiss sat at the table with the faces vacant and their eyes hollow and dry with no more tears to shed while Blake sat between the two picking at a plate and shooting the pair glances.

The silence was broken by a door opening and two pairs of footsteps hitting the wooden floor, drawing closer to the girls. Blake looked up, Yang and Weiss failing to even register the noise, and saw Serena and Erika walking towards them with a purpose. Compared to her teammate Erika looked fine with only a linen bandaged wrapped once around her held holding a ice pack and cotton padding to her nose; also unlike her stern teammate Erika was smiling and eating an apple.

“Miss Belladonna,” Serena nodded as she approached the table and stood around the far side so she could face all three of the girls; Erika behind her jumped up onto a neighbouring table and crouched down, quietly eating her apple.

“I am sorry.” Serena said loudly, finally catching Yang and Weiss’s attention who slowly looked up to the injured green haired student. “It was my idea to let you in to see her. I wanted to see if you could change her mind of accepting the surgery and setting aside her goal.”

“Yeah, that plan went real well, didn’t it?” Yang scoffed, lifting her clenched fist and resting it on the table. Serena turned her head to follow the movement, then looked to Yang’s face and gave a slight smile.

“Actually, it did.”

Yang recoiled as if Serena had slapped her, as did Blake and Weiss. Serena smiled again and continued. “Once she had calmed down again, Miss Rose called for professor Ozpin. She has accepted the surgery, as well as a cybernetic arm and repairs to the damaged regions of her body; she has, however, refused an eye. As well professor Ozpin is preparing therapists and specialist to help miss Rose recover mentally, to break this untruthful notion of her death and to help her with her actions.”

“So,” Weiss started, wetting her lips and leaning towards the second year student expectantly “Ruby’s going to.”

“Yes miss Schnee.” Serena nodded and directed a smile to the heiress. “Miss Rose will live, barring any complications with the surgery.”

Weiss fell back in her wheelchair, her mouth hanging open and her eyes wide in shock. Blake likewise had this expression plastered across her chest, only she directed it towards Serena and Erika. Yang had bowed her head, her shoulders starting to tremble.

“That’s, that’s wonderful.”

“She’s going to live. She’s going to live thank God,” Yang said under her breath, a few tears darkening the surface of the table. Blake dropped the shocked expression as she reached over and rubbed the blondes back, a overjoyed smile touching her lips as she looked to Serena again.

“Thank you.”

“Don’t thank me miss Belladonna. I did nothing.” Serena said warmly. “Your teammates survival is all thanks to miss Williams, miss Scarlatina, the doctors and nurses, and you.”

However as soon as the words were out of the second year’s mouth her eyes then turned hard, and her smile dropped to a Goodwitch frown.

“However, do not celebrate yet. There is still that matter of what to do with miss Rose.”

The joyous air turned cold and dread as _WBY looked again as if Serena had slapped them, harder this time.

“What, do you mean?” Yang asked, the anger in her voice building. Serena closed her eyes and reached up to push her glasses back in place.

“She may have been misguided on a untruthful vendetta, but she did kill two students. Two students with friends, and family. Professor Ozpin cannot overlook this, nor can he simply bury it. The school knows of these deaths, and the media has now caught word despite the teacher's best efforts. Miss Rose’s identity has been withheld so far, but the description of the killer and their weapon has not been, and people might make the connection between the victims, the intended victims and miss Rose.”

“But, couldn't he? I mean, he could.” Weiss said, fear and panic lacing her words as she looked frantically between her teammates and the two second year students.

Serena gave her a flat look, and said “We can only wait now and see what professor Ozpin does.”

The weight of Serena’s words hung heavily in the air, bowing the heads of team _WBY and making their shoulders and their hearts sink. Of course this was no simple matter of getting Ruby back from the dead, no joyous return of the young innocent soul. Blood stained her hands, blood that everyone had seen and Ozpin and the three girls could not simply cover up and pretend it never happened.

A sigh brought the three’s attention back to Serena, who stood with a sad smile on her face. The green haired team leader looked at each of the girls in turn, and bowed her head to them. “Thank you, for helping change miss Rose’s mind.”

Blake, Weiss and Yang jumped at the gesture and looked to each other shocked and confused before turning back to Serena as she continued. “She will be heading to surgery soon. I will have one of the nurse's message you once miss Rose is out of surgery with her status. I suggest you all get some rest, you in particular miss Xiao Long. You’ll do your sister no good sleep deprived and smelling of a Boarbatusk in a summer mud pit.”

A laugh escaped Erika’s lips, along with some chunks of apple and juice. Blake and Weiss looked to the purple-haired girl then turned to their teammate who had grabbed a limp oily strand of her hair and brought it to her face, almost as if she was seeing it for the first time in the week. A warm bubbly feeling spread through Weiss’s chest at the blondes reaction, and she couldn’t help uttering a short clear laugh of her own. Blake did a double take on the heiress as if she had gone mad, but the warm atmosphere was contagious and the cat Faunus couldn’t help a smile of her own as she turned to Serena and Erika, and bowed in return.

“Thank you, Serena.”

“As I said, don’t thank me. Thank the ones that helped your teammate.”

“But you helped her as well,” Weiss said, turning to the second year student, and dipping her head. “So thank you.”
For the first time team _WBY had known her, a total of two weeks, Serena was taken aback and at loss for words. With a glance at her teammate the green haired student looked to the three girls, and smiled a genuine full smile.
“You’re welcome, miss Schnee.”

oOo

Stifling a yawn Yang headed back to her dorm, only waking from her nap of a few hours to shower before heading for a proper sleep in her bed. As she walked, no skipped, down the halls the blonde could not help but smile brightly as her eyes shine with joy and hope. The nurses had just messaged her, which was what woke her in the first place, with the news that the surgery was a complete success and that Ruby is resting now; Yang could go in tomorrow to see her sister, and to meet with Ozpin. To the blonde this message had been a bomb; in many ways it felt like she was really getting her baby sister back, the real Ruby not a misguided killer. There still was a long way to go to fix her mentally, but Yang felt she was closer than ever.

As she rounded the corner she caught sight of Serena limping towards her, a folder in her bandaged arm and a plate with a sandwich and a dust container balancing on her hand. Seeing the green-haired student Yang suddenly remembered something she had heard earlier and crossed the hall to block her path. Serena, with her Goodwitch impression, stopped and sighed. “Yes miss Xiao Long, how may I help you?”

“How did you know that our mother didn’t come back?”

“Excuse me?” Serena asked her face contorting into a confused look.

“Our mother, Summer Rose. How did you know she didn’t come back?”

“Are you seriously telling me that you remembered me asking you that, with everything that happened in that room?” Serena sighed and letting go off the crutch to pinch the bridge if her nose. “I read miss Rose’s file after her disappearance. It listed your mother as deceased and how she was killed. Now is that all you wanted to ask me? As you can see I am tired and hungry.”

“Wha-. Why would you read her file?”

“I was curious about her, and why she suddenly failed the expectations placed on her. I was, disappointed. But now I see she has more than lived up to her mantle, if through the wrong path.”

Yang didn’t respond, instead standing there in the hall trembling with her head bowed eyes hidden by her hair. Serena raised an eyebrow at the younger girl and moved to walk around her when Yang spoke, stopping her in her tracks.

“Why?”

“Why what, miss Xiao Long?”

“Why are you helping her? You don’t know her, she’s not important to you or precious to her. you’re strangers to her, you and that other Faunus. So why are you helping her?”

“We are helping miss Rose. Shouldn’t that be enough?”

“But after everything she has done?”

“Williams acts because she cannot stand by a broken soul, and as your saw she has a power to help; Scarlatina because Ruby stood for her and wishes to help the girl who helped her. Ozpin because it was his duty to care for her, for bringing her here and he will not fail again. The doctors and nurses because it is their code to help all in need, and because Ozpin has ordered them to help.”
“And you. Why do you help?”

Serena didn’t answer straight away. Shifting her weight she took a step back and looked to the window and out onto the main parade of the school.

“Because she is special, so very very special. The moment I saw her, dueling mr Winchester I saw in her the most honest, kindest and honest soul I had ever seen. The world needs people like her, people with her soul. She is special, and only time will reveal her true potential, it not if she is dead.”

Again Yang didn’t say anything, but this time she did not bow her head and hide her eyes away. Instead she stared with tears starting to form in joy, in relief, in thanks for Serena, who despite everything that had happened, everything Ruby had done, even what she had done to Serena herself, the second year student still saw in Ruby the same innocent soul, worthy of being saved.

With a sigh, Serena turned back to a genuine warming smile. “It’s late, miss Xiao Long. Get some rest, and I will try to do the same.”
Yang nodded and returned the smile before stepping aside to let Serena limp past.a tear sprang to the eye of the blonde and she stood rooted in place, everything Serena had said filling her chest almost to bursting point and warming her heart. Slowly she turned and yelled out “Hey, Serena?”

“Yes miss Xiao Long?” The green-haired student asked, not stopping or turning around.

“Call me Yang, please.”

This gave Serena pause, and slowly she turned around, giving the blonde another warm smile.

“Goodnight then, Yang,” she said, before turning back and disappearing into the shadows.

_________________

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Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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Chapter 19 - Well I See Trees of Green

Post  LordTomyh on Sat Jul 09, 2016 1:44 am

The air was thick with sorrow and grief across Beacon. From the tower came the tolling of a great bell as all the students and teachers lined the grand parade in their finest clothes of mourning. The students of Atlas and Shade were there to support the heavy-hearted students of Beacon, but it was those of Haven that shared the anguish and sorrow equally and stood tallest, standing vigil with eyes locked dead ahead and their arms crossed over their chests in ever salute. At the base of the statue of the Huntsman and Huntress watching over the grounds of the school was a large stage flanked by two large flag posts bearing red coloured banners. Upon the stage sat the headmaster and headmistress of beacon, as well as James Ironwood of Atlas and, surprising of all, Walter Schnee of the Schnee Dust Company. To the left of the stage stood Jaune and his team, their heads bowed unable to raise them to the object, a coffin dressed in bronze and red, lying in front of them on a pedestal wreathed with flowers. Nora stood with her hands locked before her holding a bouquet of white lilies while Ren leaned into the redhead's side, one arm around her shoulders as he whispered into her ear: it was the most Jaune had ever heard him speak, despite not hearing the actual words

A faint smile touched the blonde's lips, but not his heart. His thoughts were torn between the coffin, before him, and trying to avoid looking at it, and of Ruby still alive somewhere in the school while. He was glad however as he looked up and around at the crowds that Ozpin had shouted down the media's request to be present. And so, not a single journalist or camera was present on the grounds of Beacon

After all, who wants to make a media circus of a funeral

Movement on stage caught Jaune's eye, saving him from looking at the coffin in front of him. Ozpin approached the podium, cane in hand and his face set neutral, but his eyes spoke oceans of the pain he was feeling inside

"Today we have gathered to mourn the passing of Pyrrha Nikos, a great and noble young woman. Though blessed with incredible strength and skill, it was her heart, and her will to do good and ensure and safe and bright future for all that made her the warrior and Huntress we saw and admired. For many she was but a name, a reputation, a hero. But for some, she was a student, a friend, a sister. A daughter. She was all of these things and more. Pyrrha Nikos was a guardian of all that we hold dear; honesty, friendship and teamwork, strength, peace. There is not a heart or mind that she has not touched in some small way, and I hope that her spirit, her memory, and everything she stood for will be remembered for centuries."

While many around him looked to the headmaster in grief or with blank expressions Jaune glared at him with smoldering hate and fury. He spoke of Pyrrha and honoring her memory, yet he held Ruby in a cell and was was even pushing for her to receive surgery so she'll live. Jaune's hands curled into fists; how dare he fight to save her, to save Ruby, when Pyrrha lay dead meters in front of him. Jaune began to move towards the stage when the person who had taken Ozpin's place at the podium stopped him dead in his tracks and drove all anger and fury from his body.

The man standing on stage was tall and athletically built with lightly tanned skin bearing many scars of age and type. His short cut red hair and full beard trimmed to a point were just starting to show signs of grey, but his vivid green eyes showed an experienced veteran still with the spark of youthful bravado and spirit. Dressed in similar leather and red cloth clothes and bronze armour as Pyrrha the man cleared his throat and leaned into the microphone.

"When my daughter was five years old," the man said in a deep soothing voice thick with a Mistralian accent. "She came to me and told me that she wanted to grow up to protect the people. I had just come home from a hunt and I was cleaning my blade when I turned to her and asked 'would you like to be like your mother and brother and invent a way to protect the people?' She shook her head and said she wanted to be like me and fight the monsters. Even at that young age, she was driven to serve and protect the peoples of Remnant, not just Mistral. So I smiled and gave her my sword. I told her it's name was Miló, which meant 'Speak', for a warrior lets their weapons and their actions speak for them.'

'My daughter grew to become the finest warrior Sanctum academy had taught, and the finest Huntress still in training that Mistral had seen for many years. She indeed was as Ozpin had said a guardian, a paragon even. But although she had been placed atop that pedestal by her peers, she was still human, not a god. Many saw the invincible girl that none could touch or defeat, but I saw my little five-year-old girl, practicing with her sword and throwing it through the kitchen window on her first swing. Her mother was not pleased."

Laughter rippled through the crowds, and even a smile touched Jaune's lips as he tried to imagine a little Pyrrha practising with her sword and aspiring to be great liker her father, much like he had done in his youth. He wiped away a tear and looked back to Pyrrha's father, who now stood tensed gripping the podium till his knuckles had gone white. The man's face was lined with grief, and you could see the tears just barely being held back as he continued.

"I wish she was still here. I wish I could see her smile again. No parent should attend the funeral for their child. But. I am grateful, that my daughter lived the life she did, with no hesitation, no regrets, and no fears. She truly was one of the best of us, a shining beacon for all the world to see. Now her light has burnt out, and it is left to us to pick up the embers and light the fires that will inspire and drive the next guardians and paragons, and the torches that will guide us into a better, brighter future. Thank you."

No one applauded, on one cheered, but also, no one made even the slightest sound or noise. The entire crowd had gone silent, not a cry or a sniffle to be heard; even the great bells had fallen silent. But something had gone through the crowd, something that made them stand taller hold their heads high despite the grief and the mourning. Despite the same feeling settling in Jaune's chest, he bowed his head, looking to his open hand. Since he had found her since he had cradled her lifeless body he had carried this, a jewel from her crown stained with a single drop of red. Now the jewel shone dimly in his hand, like an ember slowly dying, or slowly returning to life. Slowly his hand closed around the jewel, his ember and he looked up, a faint smile, the smile of the old Jaune, touched his lips. He stood like that for several minutes, his mind going over all the times he had spent with Pyrrha, the good times before he realised that Nora was gently jabbing him in the ribs. The blonde knight looked to the orange haired valkyrie, who was gesturing towards the stage. The stage that Yang and Weiss, who was still wheelchair bound, were just leaving.

' Oh shi- '. It was Jaune's turn to speak. The blonde knight startled and took a panicked step forwards, before stopping himself. He took several deep breaths to calm himself, then stepped out of the crowd and made his way to the stage. As he climbed the stairs, feeling the warmth of Pyrrha's jewel in his hand he was greeted by Ozpin who simply gave the young man's shoulder a reassuring squeeze before stepping back and letting Jaune approach the podium. Each step felt like a needle to the heart, and the stage seemed to stretch forever before him. Wetting his lips Jaune stepped up to the podium and gripped it's siding, more to reassure himself than anything. He let out a breath, and tried raising his eyes to the crowd, but couldn't. Doing so would mean seeing her laying there, dead. Her face flashed before his eyes, as did the room the night she died. Her blood splattered everywhere, her horrified expression, her smile, her laugh.

Jaune flinched as he felt a familiar presence touch his mind. Rather than spread through his body and freeze his joints he felt the presence nudging at him, nudging at his thoughts, his memories. Warmth spread through the blonde's body as his again the good times he spent with Pyrrha came to mind, and he could lift his head to the crowds.

"For it is in passing that we achieve immortality. Through this, we become a paragon of virtue and glory to rise above all. Those were the words Pyrrha said to me in the Emerald Forest when she first saw in me the potential to be a great Huntsman. She was the first person to believe in me, to believe I could be a protector, a hero. She was, a great. No, an amazing, person. She was beauty, and grace, but she was deadly and strong, and powerful. But she wasn't arrogant, she wasn't rude, or let her fame and her reputation go to her head. She was, the kindest person I've ever known. She would go out of her way to help anyone, with anything. She would do acts of kindness, like helping me train, and become a better fighter and team leader, or helping a victim deal with their bully, and she would never ask for anything in return, and would refuse any tokens or gifts of appreciation. Pyrrha was, an amazing person. And I was fortunate to know her. I wouldn't be the person I am, the Huntsman I am, if not for her. And I miss her. I miss her so much. Her smile, her laugh, her way of kicking my arse and then helping me to my feet. I'll never forget her."

With tears starting to fall Jaune took a breath and lowered his gaze to the coffin. "Goodbye, Pyrrha. I hope wherever you are, you are at peace."

Wiping away his tears Jaune stepped away from the podium and turned to walk off the stage when a hand grabbed his shoulder and stopped him. Turning Jaune came face to face with Pyrrha's father, who had a proud sad smile on his face.

"Thank you, mr Arc. My daughter spoke of you often," the veteran Huntsman said with a bow of his head; Jaune returned the gesture and gave a weak smile. Pyrrha's father let go of Jaune's shoulder and handed the younger man a pair of silver coins.

"In Mistral, it is customary for the leader of a team to lay two two drachmae on the eyes of the deceased to ensure safe passage into the afterlife."

Jaune's body went rigid as his throat froze in his chest. The coins in his hand suddenly took a great weight and it felt like the whole world has been fell away. Slowly he turned and his eyes fell upon the coffin he had tried not to see. Looking as if she was only sleeping on a bed of white lilies dressed in her armour was Pyrrha, her arms crossed across her chest with her sword and shield placed carefully in her symbol atop. She looked so beautiful, but Jaune could only stare at her in furious grief. How could she be killed? How could she be taken from him, from them? How could-

And now he had to go down to her coffin, to her side and say his final goodbye. He almost threw the coins away in disgust and turned on Ozpin, wanting to know where Ruby was so that he could make her pay.

' No ', Jaune thought to tighten his hand around the coins and to turn to walk off the stage. ' No, I won't insult Pyrrha like that by bringing her up here, nor will I bring her father more pain '.

Jaune walked slowly off the stage to the coffin, wetting his lips with each step as his heart drummed louder and louder in his chest. His legs began to falter his breath began to hitch; letting out a shaking breath Jaune clenched his hand, feeling the jewel in one hand giving him warmth.

Jaune closed his eyes and drew in a deep cleansing breath before opening them again. Up close Pyrrha looked even more radiant, like the fairytale princess cursed to eternal sleep. Jaune wanted to reach down and shake her awake, or even kiss her like the prince of the story. But this wasn't a fairytale. Putting a hand on the coffins sides to study himself Jaune reached out, and gently placed the two silver coins atop Pyrrha's eyelids. As he drew his hand back his finger unconsciously dipped to stroke her cheek, but he froze at the touch of dead skin. Pyrrha was so warm and loving, that the lack of warmth coming from her was almost unbearable unnatural. Jaune whipped his back and took several steps away from the coffin, focusing on the jewel in his hand replenishing the warmth in his body slowly. Quickly Jaune turned and joined Nora and Ren in the crowd again, taking several deep cleansing breaths. Faintly he noticed Ozpin at the podium speaking again, but the headmaster's words blurred into incomprehensible droning for the blonde knight. Instead, Jaune focused on his breath, on getting his breathing under control. However, a colour change in stage caught Jaune's attention. Walter Schnee stood at the podium looking every part the stern businessmen Jaune expected him to be.

He cleared his throat and leaned into the microphone. "I never had the pleasure of knowing miss Nikos, but my daughter did. I have only heard good things about this extraordinary young women, and today I have come to understand to what degree of exceptional prowess as a Huntress and as a friend miss, Nikos commanded. And so, that's why I have decided to dedicate a statue of miss Nikos to Beacon, to Sanctum, and to the Nikos family so that she may watch over, and help guide and inspire the future Huntsman and Huntresses. Thank you."

Walter bowed his head to the coffin and stepped down from the podium for Glynda to take his place. "On behalf of the Nikos family and Beacon academy, the staff, the headmaster and I would like to thank all of you for attending today's ceremony. Please take comfort in each other, and do not let anyone be along today. Refreshments will no be served in the cafeteria. Thank you."

With the funeral over the crowd started to disperse towards the main buildings of the school. Jaune however turned and started walking towards the cliff face, wanting to clear his head. As he walked everyone he passed, even total strangers stopped and bowed their heads, or gave him a sad look as they gave their condolence; Jaune said few words besides 'thanks' and continued on. As he reached the edge of the crowd, receiving one last condolence the blonde knight paused and looked back. Surprisingly he found Nora and Ren standing right behind him, looking at him with warm smiles and sad eyes.

"Why- I thought you would have headed to the cafeteria."

"Professor Goodwitch said that no one should be left alone today Jaune. Especially you," Ren replied.

"And we're your team. We should be there for you," Nora added stepping forwards and wrapping her arms around Jaune to give him a surprisingly soft hug. "We miss her too."

Jaune hesitated for a second then returned the hug. With everything that happened, with the truth of Ruby, he had forgotten his team, forgotten his friends. Jaune broke the hug and stepped back, wiping away a tear.

"Guys, I'm sorry. I'd, I forgot you were also hurting, that you had also lost a teammate and a friend."

"I'm sorry too," Ren said as he stepped to Nora's side and wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "I was so focused on Nora that I wasn't there to support you as well."

"She needed you. I was fine."

"That's not how I would describe the last week Jaune," Blake said as she, Yang, Weiss, SSSN, CFVY and CRDL joined team JN_R. All of them were dressed in fine black formal clothes, the guys wearing white lilies in the lapels of the jackets of in the pockets of their suits while the girls wore brackets of the flower.

"We understand that you're in pain and that you miss Pyrrha," Velvet said stepping out from the group with a sincere smile on her face. "But you've been dealing with your loss violently, even towards us, and we're concerned for you."

' What was this, an intervention ', Jaune thought. Anger and disgust started to build in his chest. ' How dare they! He had lost his teammate, his partner, his friend. His-

Jaune's face turned hard as stone and his eyes shot venom at each and every one of them. "How dare you. How dare you! Pyrrha was my friend, and she was murdered! I found her dead in our room!"

"Jaune we-"

"And you come here now and say that my pain was wrong! That how I tried to deal with her death was wrong!"

"That's not what we-"

"SHUT UP! Shut up shut up shut up! How dare you call yourself my friends and pull this! How dare-"

Jaune was cut off suddenly as something strong and warm wrapped around him and pulled him into a strong hug. The blonde was stunned into silence, unsure what was happening for several seconds before slowly making sense of the golden tangle next to him.

"Don't let the anger consume you Jaune," Yang said softly, a tear hitting Jaune's shoulder. "Don't let that fire burn away everything that makes you Vomit Boy. Anger or hate, they won't take away the pain. They'll only make it worse."

Slowly Yang let go off Jaune and took a step back, meeting the blonde knight face to face. She gave him a warm smile, the kind his mother would give when he hurt himself and wiped away a tear from her own eyes.

"I know, it's hard to not see anything but the fire, the anger and the hate. But that's not who you are Jaune, and that's what she loved about you; you could see the good in everything."

"Good?" Jaune scoffed, his voice catching. "What good has there been in this week?"

"You," someone said from the back of the group. The group parted and Yang stepped aside as Cardin walked up to Jaune. The blonde knight tensed, this was the first time Jaune had seen Cardin face to face since that day in the Forever Falls, a day that seemed forever ago now. Yet Jaune saw something about Cardin had changed, something couldn't describe; the bullies eyes were softer, kinder. Cardin, actually looking nervous talking to Jaune, let out a breath. "You Arc, saved me and my team, you saved Schnee, and you didn't kill, her " Cardin said carefully picking his words. Only a handful of people knew Ruby's identity in the murders, and any word or rumors were being very carefully controlled.

"I know you wanted to." Cardin continued. "I saw it, I felt it watching you fight her. You wanted so badly to end her life and avenger Nikos. But you didn't. It may not have been the right thing by you, but it was the right thing."

"She deserved to die! I should have killed her!" Jaune snapped, drawing back his fist instinctively. He was however stopped by Ren grabbing his arm and spinning him so he faced his teammate.

"Jaune. Hatred begetter more hatred, violence more violence. Pyrrha wouldn't have wanted you to kill anyone in her name, even her killer."

"This anger and hatred are nothing more than poison killing you, Jaune-dono," Yatsuhari of CFVY added.

"Yeah, dude. The pain will never go away, but all these negative emotions will cause you more hurt. You got to let go." Sun finished, giving Jaune a bright smile and holding out his arms as if to give him a hug. Around the group, everyone nodded and agreed with what was said. Jaune slowly turned, looking to everyone. They were right, they were his friends, they cared for him and were worried for him, and wanted to help.

' But how can I just let it go, how I can let Pyrrha go like that. '

'What would she want? '

"I can't speak for her, but I'd say put all that anger and hate and pain in a forge," someone said outside the group making everyone turn.

"And make a Huntsman out of it," Walt finished as he and his team, as well as A_CS, ALTN and PTFM walked over. People winced as they saw team SEWN, minus Erika, and team ALTN, minus Natsumi, still in bandages, and Jaune remembered he wasn't the only one that had thought Ruby; he was the lucky one that walked away physically unharmed.

"We're sorry if we're interrupting," Serena said limping in front of her crowd. "We wished to give JNPR our condolences."

"And to let you know that if you ever need anything, we're here for you," said Ace with a kind smile, his kangaroo ears twitching once.

"Even if it's just to talk," Pastel added standing beside Ace. Serena nodded in agreement and opened her arms as she looked to the rest of the Jaune's group. "That goes for everyone. Please, don't hesitate to ask."

"Uh," Jaune looked to Ren and Nora who shared a look before looking back to their team leader. Ren took the initiative and bowed his head in thanks to the second and third-year students. "Thank you."

"Also," Walt said bringing all the attention to him. "I was wondering if I could speak to Jaune for a few secs."

Everyone turned to Jaune, who gave the wheat-haired student a flat stare. He didn't trust Walt, not after dragging him off to the amphitheater and starting a fight with Jaune the day of Pyrrha's death. He was going to say no, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ren gesturing him forwards.

"Fine," Jaune huffed walking towards Walt. The wheat-haired student flashed him a smile and led the blonde knight a little bit away so that they were out of earshot of the others. Jaune continued to stare at him flatly, crossing his arms.

Walt chuckled at the younger student. "I'm not going to do anything stupid this time, I just wanted to say, I want to do something for Pyrrha."

"What?" Jaune asked dropping his arms.

"Yeah. I want to do something for her, like her dad said and honour her memory, pick up her torch, or an ember of it at least. Make sure her good work gets finished."

"And what are you going to do?"

"I'm not 100 percent sure yet, but I have an idea. I just wanted to let you know first."

"That's, great. Thank you."

"You're welcome. I know what it's like to be you at the moment and how much it hurts to miss the person you lost. So whatever I do, it's for you too."

Jaune was lost for words. He had been wrong about Walt, thinking he was rude and idiotically uncaring. A smile touched Jaune's lips, and he nodded as he went to walk back.

"Hey, Jaune," Walt said stopping him. He went to say something, but hesitated, looking as if he was already regretting what he was going to say.

"I think, you should go and see her, Ruby."

"What?" Jaune spat his body going hard and his voice turning cold.

"I think it'll be good for you to go and talk with her, to express yourself and let everything out. And from what Serena's told me, it might be good for her as well.”

"I-"

"I agree."

Jaune jumped and turned to the new voice, finding Nora and Ren watching him carefully.

"Ren?"

"Walt is right, you need to let everything out this anger and pain so you can begin to heal. Seeing Ruby, and talking with her will be good for you."

"How do you two even know about her? Jaune asked in furious disbelief; he had been sworn to secrecy about Ruby's involvement, and yet Nora and Ren knew. They knew and were telling him to go talk to her, not joining him in demanding her death.

"Blake and Yang told us, despite being told not to. They said we deserve to know," Ren answered calmly.

"You should still go see her Jaune," Nora said letting go of Ren to walk to her leader. Taking his hand the Valkyrie flashed him a sad smile, "it's what Pyrrha would have wanted."

Jaune ripped his hand from Nora's hand. "How can you say that! She killed Pyrrha! And you want me to go see her! To talk to her! How can you two say that!"

"Blake and Yang told us everything that happened to Ruby, why she did this," Ren said fiercely, making Jaune take a step back. "We have not forgiving Ruby for killing Pyrrha, but we don't blame her anymore either."

"Jaune, please" Nora begged, grabbing his hands again and crushing them to prevent him escaping again. "Go and see Ruby. You need to let this out. Please. For Pyrrha."

Unable to escape Jaune dropped his gaze and fell silent for a long time. What they were asking was impossible, to go and see Ruby, to talk to her, to see her as anything but the person who murdered his best friend. But they were right. Jaune was holding onto the rage and hatred for Ruby to keep away the pain, and it was hurting him inside. He knew that deep down.

"Fine," Jaune said softly, looking up into Nora's eyes. "I'll go see Ruby."

More didn't say anything, only giving Jaune a small smile before pulling him into a hug. After several seconds, Jaune lifted his arms and returned the hug. As he did he saw Ren, a faint smile on his face, and the others behind him watching, smiling.

Jaune broke the hug and gave Nora a smile, a genuine smile. "Thank you."

Both Jaune and Nora jumped as Walt clapped his hands together, and gave the pair a cheeky grin as they turned and glared at him.

"So who wants lunch?"

_________________

Facebook || DeviantArt || FanFiction.Net || ArchiveOfOurOwn || Wattpad

Despite this mask of happiness I drown in dark despair.
The world may be your canvas but what you paint on it beware.
The pen is mightier than the sword. It has no limitations.
Imagination has cursed us all with life.


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