5 months agoPaulHikari
Might as well post it.
6 months agoPaulHikari
The Last Preparation
It was finally time.
With the CCTs back online, communications flowed more smoothly than ever before, even unto tracking down Ozpin's location: the forbidden isle of Midna.
Very little was known about the isle, for though many had tried exploring it, none had lived to tell the tales of their exploits. The closest thus far to doing so had been Ruby's mother, Summer.
And now, here they were, Teams RWBY, SSSN, and JNPR, leading a legion of huntsmen and huntresses to retrieve their headmaster. But of course, they were not alone; the armies of Atlas, Vale, Vacuo, and Mistral stood united to cover them.
And leading the attack would be Jaune and Ruby, the newest great heroes of Remnant.
As Jaune prepared to board the last airship of the fleet that would take the army to Midna, he spotted Ruby sitting alone by the hangar door, reading a magazine about weapons and listening to her favorite music, her red headphones set snugly over her ears. Jaune hesitated, but then tapped Ruby's shoulder. Immediately, her silver eyes snapped up to meet his blue ones, and she slipped her headphones off.
"What is it, Jaune?" asked Ruby.
"Um, well..." started Jaune, eking a dull leer from Ruby. "I was just wondering."
"Well, after we rescue Ozpin...what do you want to do?"
"What? You mean as in for the rest of the school year?"
"I mean beyond that. After we graduate, what do you want to do?"
Ruby paused to pinch her chin. "You see, my mom...even after she had me, she wanted to help people wherever she went. That's what I want to do too. It's what I've always wanted."
Jaune smiled. "You know what? That's what I've always wanted too. More than even being like my ancestors before me."
"Yeah," chuckled Ruby. "Of course, we've learned that we can't do this alone, but..." Then, Ruby tilted her head and raised an eyebrow. "Wait a sec. Jaune, where's this going?"
Jaune caught his breath and twiddled his fingers. "Well, you see, wouldn't it be nice if, you know, we kept helping people together?"
"I mean, you and me...we could be...I don't know, more than just friends, or partners in hero work, or whatever you want to see that. I mean, I'm just talking hypothetically, but--"
"Jaune, wait," interrupted Ruby. "Are you saying that you...like me?"
"What, as a friend?"
"No. As in LIKE like me. As in...LOVE me."
"Um...then, yes," squeaked Jaune.
Without another word, Ruby jumped out of her seat, threw her arms around Jaune's neck, and kissed him. Jaune, at first shocked by Ruby's move, tried to squirm away, but soon eased off, closed his eyes, and returned Ruby's affection. As they broke away, Ruby wiggled her fingers across her lips.
"That tasted like melon soda," she dribbled. "With onions."
"You can thank Ren for that," said Jaune. "Now, come on. We've got a headmaster to save."
"I'm here if you need me," smiled Ruby, and together, they boarded the airship and let the hangar door close behind them.
6 months agoPaulHikari
Something spun wildly inside Blake's head as she struggled to open her eyes. The last thing she remembered was her old stab wound reopening while she was trying to fight her way out of a horde of Grimm, and then, she could've sworn she saw someone--or something--diving in to rescue her as she lost consciousness.
But who was it? Or what was it?
The first thing she noticed when she finally opened her eyes was the tree branches hanging overhead against the backdrop of a cloudy gray morning sky. Her hand reached for her side and felt a fresh set of bandages wrapped around her body, still damp from her own blood. Then, she heard a small campfire crackling nearby, the scent of cooking ham wafting to her nose. She strained to sit up, still aching from her blood loss or dehydration--she couldn't tell which anymore. And there, squatting with his back turned to the fire and a frying pan wrapped by the handle in his tail was...
"Sun?" groaned Blake, clutching her head. "What are you doing here?"
"That any way to greet the guy who saved your life last night?" snarked Sun.
Blake scanned Sun's uncharacteristically stern frown, then the bloodied bandages around her, and then the frying pan over the fire. "I told you not to follow me."
"I didn't." Sun's tone of voice was laden with sarcasm. "I was in the neighborhood and you happened to be in the way at the right time."
Blake scowled. "You should've left me."
"You should've left me alone."
Sun almost dropped the ham into the fire. "What are you? Stupid?"
"YOU'RE the one who's being stupid. I left Beacon to protect you. You and everyone else I love. Ruby, Weiss, Yang...everyone. And now, here you are, coming after me again."
"You're not protecting anyone by running away!"
Blake jumped to her feet and clenched her fists at her sides, heedless of the fresh blood seeping into the bandages. "Don't you get it?! You're all in danger because of me! You especially, now that you're here!" And she tried to jump away, but the pain in her side seized her up, forcing her to sit back down.
Sun set the frying pan aside and placed his hand beside Blake. "Don't move," he said. "That wound still needs to heal." But then, his concern was tinted with curiosity. "How'd that happen, anyway?"
Blake didn't answer.
"You don't want to talk about it right now, do you?"
Blake shook her head.
"All right. Fine. But let me tell you something, Blake Belladonna. It's been over 8 months since we've last seen each other, and I let you go because I thought you needed the time to think about what you were doing."
"I've thought long and hard about what I was doing," Blake replied. "You're all better off without me."
Sun's eyes narrowed to dark slits. "What if I told you that you're wrong?"
"You see, Blake, back in Mistral, Ruby issued a call for all huntsmen and huntresses in Remnant--"
"Sun, wait," Blake interrupted. "Did you say...'Ruby'?"
"Yeah," Sun resumed. "And she's trying to rally all the huntsmen and huntresses in Remnant to her so they can stop the three remaining kingdoms from going to war with each other."
"...Where is she?"
"She's in Mistral. Her, Jaune, Ren, and Nora. They need all the help they can get."
"So, why aren't YOU there, helping her?"
"Because I left to find help. And I found you." Only now did Sun begin to show signs of a smile. "Either way, you're not alone, Blake. You've got friends waiting for you around the world. They need you, and you need them. No. WE need you, and you need US."
Blake noticed that Sun had stretched out his hand to her, and reluctantly, she grasped it in her own. "All right," she said. "I'll go with you to Mistral. But if you get hurt, don't say I didn't warn you."
8 months agoPaulHikari
The sun hung high in the sky as the army of huntsmen and huntresses approached the outskirts of Vale. Standing near the front line were Teams RWBY, SSSN, and the recently reformed JNPR. Their work to rally the kingdoms of Mistral, Atlas, and Vacuo had been met with tension from all sides, but in the wake of the ever-increasing Grimm attacks and the legend of the silver-eyed saint, it had all been worth it. Now, what was once the city of Vale was just hours away from being reclaimed by this unified force.
Or so they hoped.
Out of eyesight from their respective team leaders, Weiss and Neptune stood side by side, poised to fight with their friends and allies.
"Neptune?" said Weiss, turning her eyes to meet his.
"What is it?" asked Neptune.
"I want you to promise me something."
"Look, I know where this is going."
"Yeah, yeah. Two people promise each other something before battle and one of them dies. I know."
"Then why are you—?"
Weiss put her finger across his lips to silence him. "I was getting to that. Now, I want you to promise me that if you see me in trouble, don't come to my rescue, okay? Save yourself. Find someone else you can make happy."
Neptune's face sagged for a moment as Weiss' finger fell away. "Uh...okay..."
Less than an hour later...
Having gone ahead of the main attack force to clear a path to the Central Communications Tower, Ruby and Weiss had just slain the last of a pack of Beowolves crowding the town square, but more Grimm were barreling down the streets.
“Any more plans?” Weiss panted, resting on her planted rapier.
But before her leader could answer, a Gryphon swooped down at them. In a flash, Ruby shoved Weiss out of the way, only to be plucked off the ground by her cape and carried away, flailing her scythe. Before Weiss could process what was going on, a King Taijitu burst out of the ground beneath her feet and tossed her into the air off of its head.
Her rapier lost, she tried to break her fall with a glyph, but she was too tired to muster such a feat, and the gaping maw of the monstrous Grimm snake awaited her below. Her sister, her friends, the promise she had made to the people of Atlas. Weiss closed her eyes and braced herself for the monstrous snake to snatch it all away from her.
"Weiss!" cried a familiar voice.
A firm hand clamped down on hers and jerked her to a stop partway down the King Taijitu's gullet. When she opened her eyes, she couldn't believe what she saw: Neptune, with his guan dao jamming the snake's mouth open in one hand and Weiss' hand in the other. He had sensed that she would be in danger and launched himself after her with help from Team JNPR.
"Neptune, what are you doing?!" gasped Weiss.
"Disobeying a direct order! That's what I'm doing!" strained Neptune as he pulled on Weiss' hand. "Everything's going to be okay! Now, take my hand and pull!"
Instinctively, she grabbed Neptune's hand in both of hers and pulled with all her might. In a blur, Neptune slung her out of the King Taijitu's mouth to the ground below. She only had a brief moment to witness the guan dao coming loose, freeing the snake to clamp its jaws down over Neptune. With a thud, she tumbled onto the ground, raised her eyes in horror, and opened her mouth to cry out Neptune's name, when...
BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BLAM POW
The King Taijitu lurched, rippled, heaved, and contracted to a series of sickening booms from within itself, until finally...
In a flash of electricity and black ash, the snake burst in two, leaving a shallow, smoking crater where it once sat. In its center lay a dazed and weary but still very much alive Neptune.
Weiss sighed in ecstasy and relief as she stood up, walked to the fallen Neptune, and pulled him to his feet amidst the fading remains of the snake.
"See?" he moaned. "I told you everything was going to be oka—"
He was interrupted by a slap in the face. "That's for scaring me!" snapped Weiss.
"Hey!" Neptune tried to object, only to be interrupted by a stomp to his toes.
"That's for disobeying me!" continued Weiss.
The furious Neptune hopped around on his unhurt foot, glared at Weiss, and opened his mouth to tell her off, but again, he was interrupted. This time, however, it was her hand stroking his face. The next thing he knew, her lips were planted on his in a passionate kiss. He soon set his foot down and reciprocated her affection.
"And that's for saving me," concluded Weiss as the pair broke away, taking only passing notice of Ruby crash landing her Gryphon captor nearby. "And Ruby."
"You're welcome," quipped Ruby, heaving the fading Gryphon off of herself and staggering to her feet.
“Well, if this is how our relationship is going to go down, I can live with it,” said Neptune.
“So can I, Neptune,” smiled Weiss. “So can I.” And the two of them reeled each other back in for an intimate hug.
“Hey, lovebirds,” said Ruby, forcing them apart. “I’d hate to interrupt, but…” She jabbed her finger toward an all too familiar monster flying from the ruins of the Central Communications Tower. “GRIMM DRAGON! 9 O’ CLOCK!”
8 months agoPaulHikari
The Hero of Remnant
Ruby awoke with tears in her silvery eyes, holdovers from a sad dream of bidding her deceased mother goodbye. Clearing these tears with her finger, she sat up and looked about her team’s familiar dorm room.
It had seemed like only yesterday when she and her friends had led the charge to reclaim Beacon from the creatures of Grimm, and to this day, she still could hardly believe that they had won. Even the combined might of the armies of Mistral, Atlas, and Vacuo were barely enough; it seemed that only the simple soul that was Ruby herself ensured that victory.
But that victory was not without its cost; many a warrior, hunter or otherwise–some who had seen too many winters, and others too few–had died, among them the former leader of the White Fang, Adam Taurus, who had sacrificed himself to slay the giant Grimm dragon and clear the way to restore the Central Communications Tower. Still, it had all been worth it.
But something was wrong; she was all alone in her room.
“That's strange,” she whispered to herself as she clambered out of her hanging bunk. “Where is everybody?”
Once she had dressed in her familiar black and white dress and tattered red cowl and brushed her teeth, she stepped out of the dorm room. Again, there was no one in sight. Not Jaune, not Yang, not Blake, not even her best friend, Weiss.
“Hello?” she shouted down the hall. “Guys?”
She searched throughout the building, room by room. She searched around the building, yard by yard. The lecture halls. The cafeteria. The CCT. There was still no one to be seen.
“Anybody there?” called Ruby as she headed into the city of Vale.
Everywhere she went, she saw no sign of anyone in the city, not even so much as a cookie crumb. The docks, the old dust shop, and even the city square were all desolate.
That is, save for a huge, triple-decker cake with silver glass icing sitting by the ornate stone fountain in the middle of the square. Its rims were decorated with red and black rose patterns of icing, and an index card that said “Eat me!” in tacky black handwriting sat perched atop.
Looking around, Ruby saw no sign of its maker and approached it, but as her finger all but touched one of the icing roses…
“Surprise!” shouted Yang, popping out of the cake.
“Surprise!” chimed in Weiss, Blake, and Viridi, jumping out from behind the still reeling Ruby.
“SURPRISE!” shouted everyone else, appearing from all over the town square. All except Ren and Nora, of course; Nora blew a long note on a vuvuzela while Ren simply brandished a tiny flag.
“What’s going on?” gasped Ruby.
“What? Don’t tell me you forgot your own birthday,” said Yang, stepping out of the cake.
“Oh, that’s right,” said Ruby, slapping herself on the forehead. “But why are all of you guys celebrating? Am I that big a deal?”
“Of course,” said Blake. “We can’t celebrate without the newest great hero of Remnant.”
“Wait. You mean…me? What did I do?”
“Let’s see,” said Weiss, listing her points on each of her fingers. “For starters, you saved and turned around Mercury and Emerald’s lives; prevented all-out war between Mistral, Atlas, and Vacuo; helped me come to grips with my family legacy; helped Blake come to grips with her faunus heritage; helped Yang get over her depression; made Viridi comfortable as her own being; and led us all to victory in the battle to retake Beacon from the Grimm.”
“I helped with that last one!” said Jaune.
“But…but we haven’t saved Professor Ozpin yet,” protested Ruby.
“Relax,” said Nora, setting the vuvuzela aside. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, but for now, let’s get this party started!” And she heaved a giant griddle over her head… “Ren!” …and slammed it down in front of her and Ren. “Get the pancake mix!”
“Gotcha covered,” said Ren, whipping out a spatula and kissing Nora on the forehead. “But go easy on the pancakes.”
Needless to say, the pancakes were a huge hit, as by the time Ren ran out of pancake mix, everyone–especially Nora–had more than their fill. But that was barely the beginning of the festivities ahead.
Viridi had a little too much fun with Pin the Tail on the Donkey, or rather, she had too much fun spinning in place to actually focus on the game. By the time she finished spinning, she was so dizzy that she looped around in circles and jabbed Scarlet in the rear with her donkey tail.
“YEOW!” yelped Scarlet, jumping into Sage’s arms and dropping his punch.
“Well…this is awkward,” said Sage, setting Scarlet down.
General Ironwood shook his head, unsure of whether to feel ashamed or amused at Viridi’s tomfoolery.
Later came a hot dog eating contest, featuring Sun, Nora, and at least twelve other students from around the world, all seated at a long table filled with pyramids of hot dogs, and each accompanied by someone holding a pocket watch-like click counter. Blake stood beside Sun, Ren beside Nora. Water pitchers sat near each hot dog pyramid.
“On your marks…” started Professor Port.
“I believe in you, Sun,” whispered Blake under her breath.
“I’m not cleaning up anyone’s vomit,” said Glynda to Qrow.
“You won’t have to,” said Qrow.
“GO!” trumpeted Professor Port.
And go, they did. 29 minutes later, the only two students remaining were Sun and Nora, each at 18 hot dogs eaten. Ren and Blake had their counters ready, but only Sun sat poised for another hot dog.
“19,” clicked Blake’s counter as Sun downed the hot dog and picked up another.
He stopped for a breath and a sip of water before looking at the timer to see less than a minute left.
“You're fucked!” he shouted at the lurching Nora as he jumped to his feet, gulped down his last hot dog, and beat his chest in triumph.
“20,” clicked Blake’s counter, snagging a sheepish grin from Sun.
Blake said nothing, instead setting her counter on the table, untying her bow from her head, and shaking her cat ears free. Then, with a warm smile, she threw her arms around Sun’s neck and shared a kiss with him.
“I told you to go easy on the pancakes,” said Ren, propping up the queasy Nora on his shoulder.
“I…couldn't…help…it…” gagged Nora as she and Ren limped off the stage.
Still later, Dr. Oobleck asked for a volunteer to be sawed in half. No one seemed to trust his judgment despite his apparent expertise in stage magic. That is, until Weiss raised Neptune’s hand while he was distracted by Ruby’s latest story.
“Ah, yes. Mr. Vasilias,” said Dr. Oobleck. “Come on down, if you please.”
“Wha–? Me?” protested Neptune.
“But I didn’t volunteer!”
“You’ll be fine,” said Weiss, kissing him and ushering him to his feet. “Now, go down there, and don’t forget your legs.”
“Oh, I won’t,” chuckled Neptune as he approached the stage.
Neptune stepped inside the oversized wooden casket and braced himself for Dr. Oobleck’s saw to seemingly pass through him. With the lid closed and his legs dangling, he looked to the crowd, and once the saw “touched” him…
“AAAAAH!” he screamed in mock agony, causing Dr. Oobleck to withdraw the saw in shock.
“STOP!” cried Weiss, jumping to her feet. “Stop! You’re going to kill him!”
But then, Neptune and Ruby both began to snicker, and Weiss’ panic shifted into rage.
“Keep going! Keep going!” sputtered Ruby, dragging Weiss out of the audience by the scruff of her top.
“I’m going to kill him!” shrieked Weiss, thrashing in Ruby’s grip.
Thus did the festivities continue, from the knife-throwing to the catapult ride and…well, there was so much going on that one’s head would probably hurt from trying to keep track of it all.
Finally, it was time for the cake: a multi-decker monstrosity of a strawberry shortcake that towered even over Yatsuhashi, who was watching Yang hoist it over her head and haul it to the long table at whose head Ruby sat.
“Are you sure you don’t need any help carrying that thing?” he said.
“Yeah,” strained Yang. “I got this.”
But a soon as she set it down…
…the table’s legs gave way, sending it tumbling down, and the cake collapsed into a flattened heap. For a moment, everyone gawked at the leveled remains of the cake and table, the silence broken only by Ruby’s giggling, which soon escalated into hysterical laughter. Soon, everyone joined in, even Glynda and General Ironwood, and especially Yang. Were one to look closely in the sea of laughing faces, they would notice Jaune and Ruby leaning on each other's shoulders.
9 months agoPaulHikari
It had been almost a month since her father had died, the time since spent working in the mines herself beside the faunus laborers imprisoned there, severing ties with the uncouth business partners of old, building new ties with cleaner ones, and overall contributing to the reconstruction efforts of Atlas’ capital city. The future seemed bright for the newly appointed president of the Schnee Dust Company, but Weiss still had much work to do ahead of her, especially in light of the plight of the three remaining kingdoms.
Standing tall atop the balcony of the Schnee Family manor, Weiss looked down at the crowd below, ready to give her parting speech, a farewell to the kingdom of Atlas before she would leave with her friends and teammates to rally Vacuo to the cause of unity. Flynt Coal and Neon Katt stood beside her, along with the family’s longtime butler.
She took a deep breath as she approached the microphone mounted there.
“Citizens of Atlas!” she said. “I am Weiss Schnee, President of the Schnee Dust Company. As you may all know, for years, my father has stained my family’s good name with his controversial business practices, but let me be the first to tell you that the rumors are true: that in his last days, he had plans to restructure the company, support the kingdoms, and get back on good graces—no, to make things right—with the people of Remnant.”
“Some of you may still not believe me. I certainly didn’t believe him when he apologized to me for all he had done. But I soon realized all too late that in spite of all that, he still loved me, not as his heiress but as his daughter. Sadly, he couldn’t put his plans in motion in his lifetime, so now, it’s up to me to see them through. I would like to thank you all for giving me the chance this past month to do just that.”
A hushed whisper washed over the crowd as Weiss paused for a sip of water.
“However, as much as I would love nothing more than to continue to give back to you, there’s a more pressing matter at hand right now: Mistral, Atlas, and Vacuo are at war with the creatures of Grimm, and as you saw with Vale, no one kingdom can stand against them on its own. Our only hope is to stand together.”
“Mistral, as you may know, has already offered to join our cause to take back Vale from the Grimm, but we’re still only two kingdoms in this effort. We need Vacuo’s aid as well. And so, I’ve decided to leave for Vacuo with my comrades—my friends, Team RWBY—to help them make that choice. In the interim of my absence, I therefore leave the company in the capable hands of Vice Presidents Flynt Coal and Neon Katt.”
Neon gawked at this decision, but Flynt, though equally surprised, managed to compose himself well enough to stay her hand.
“When I return, the Central Communications Towers will broadcast again, the kingdoms will be united once more, and I’ll do everything in my power to continue to reform and restore the Schnee Dust Company, and with it, my family’s name.”
Weiss glanced first to Flynt and Neon, then her butler, and then back to the crowd.
“Starting with the issue of faunus labor.”
Now, the butler almost jumped out of his skin. No Schnee had ever addressed the issue before.
“To any and all faunus subject to this cruel and unusual practice in our company, I have an important announcement.”
Flynt, Neon, and the butler all held their breaths.
“Go home. You’re free.”
The crowd stood stupefied…
“That’s an order.”
…and then erupted into thunderous applause as Weiss walked away from the railing. Neon shrieked in elation and threw her arms around Weiss.
“Thank you!” she cried. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
“Y-you’re welcome,” gagged Weiss. “Now, please, let me go.”
Neon complied, catching her breath and wiping the tears from her eyes, overjoyed that she could finally see her brother a free man again. Before Weiss went back inside the mansion, she looked back to see Flynt and the surprisingly proud butler.
“That was a gutsy move, Schnee,” Flynt smiled, peeling off his sunglasses. “I dig it.”
10 months agoPaulHikari
A Word from the Author
First of all, romance in general is at most the D-plot of the show, so for any ship to really work in my mind, it has to tie in to the overall narrative. That includes wrapping up subplots, like the faunus civil rights movement. In that regard, apart from Arkos and Flour Power, Eclipse has by far the most romantic development of any ship.
Second of all, there's Bumblebee. I see that ship as at most analogous to that between a mother (Yang) and her eldest daughter (Blake). Yang gives Blake emotional support, yes, but more so to Ruby. Either way, she acts as what TV Tropes calls the Team Mom. Why? Because that's her way of coping with her own mother, Raven, leaving her when she was a child; she acts as the mother figure she wishes Raven could've been for her. When Yang shut herself off as she was mentioning Blake in the last episode of Volume 3, that wasn't her lamenting the disappearance of a lover; it was her telling Ruby, "First, my mom, then, your mom, and now, Blake and Weiss. Go ahead and leave me. Everyone else has."
Third of all, some people call for Sun to die fighting Adam, but they all miss one crucial fact: Sun isn't stupid enough to try to fight someone that far out of his league by himself. Furthermore, he and Blake beating Adam together–and preferably sparing his life–would set up a very crucial twist in the faunus rights subplot: casting doubt in Adam's mind over whether or not he's doing the right thing after all. Depending on how he's written, that could be a fate worse than death for him. What follows here is more or less the logical conclusion to that fate, several volumes later.
And now, with that out of the way, enjoy the chapter.
Making Things Right
The desert air of Vacuo's landscape had done little to dampen Sun and Blake's spirits as they had spent the day together. For the first time in what seemed like forever, they could just wander the desert and relax. It had been such a pleasant day, and now, at last, it was coming to an end.
As the pair stood on the balcony of the outpost at the outskirts of town, they looked up to the starlit night sky. A faint series of meteors passed by, and then just as quickly vanished. Then, Sun and Blake looked each other in the eyes.
"Sun," said Blake, resting her hand on the nearby telescope. "Today's been such a great day."
"I agree," smiled Sun. "I never thought we could just have the day to ourselves. I mean between you, the fall of Beacon, the White Fang, the Grimm, rallying the kingdoms, and...well, that Adam guy."
"We've been over that. I'm done being a part of their violence."
"Yeah, I know. I'm very proud of what you did, sparing his life and all that." Sun paused to let a silly grin mar his face. "I would've just blown his brains out."
"Then I guess it's a good thing I told you to stay back." Blake let her hands creep up in front of her and clasp at her waist. "So," she started. "I...thank you, Sun."
"For what?" asked Sun.
"For everything." Blake squirmed in her skin as she continued. "For helping me find my way out of the dark back at Beacon. For helping me face my past. For...for helping me get back on good terms with my teammates...especially Yang."
"Yeah, and I'd like to thank you for helping me face my past, too," Sun said, raising an eyebrow. "Where's this going?"
Blake clasped her hands at her chin and caught her breath. "What I'm trying to say is," she said, "I love you, Sun."
"I love you too, Blake," beamed Sun. "Come here!"
They wrapped their arms around each other, closed their eyes, and locked lips in a warm, fervent kiss, their hearts almost leaping out of their chests. Time seemed to melt away around them until...
A crimson flare blasted off from the horizon and fizzled out in the air, the resulting noise interrupting Sun and Blake's tender moment.
"Oh, now, what?!" exclaimed Sun, urging Blake to peer into the telescope.
She looked down the sea of sand to glimpse the all-too familiar tattered banner of the White Fang advancing toward the outpost. Her hands squeezed the telescope as her blood began to boil.
"It's him," she hissed.
Vaulting over the railing of the balcony, she rolled to her feet on touching down and marched out to meet her old foe, Adam, accompanied by every member of the White Fang he could find. But even disregarding the Gambol Shroud-made scar running down his nose and the cloven horn, something was different about him.
Still, she kept on guard as he planted the White Fang flag at his feet. “What do you want this time, Adam?” she growled.
“…Convince us,” said Adam.
Blake eased back. “Convince you? To do what?”
“Well, word of that stunt you and your monkey friend pulled back on the outskirts of Mistral reached the White Fang before I could make it back to their fold. Now, they don’t know what to do anymore. Our revolution can’t continue with such division within ourselves, whether to keep fighting as we always have or to take a new path. Whatever you want us to do, convince us.”
She saw his hand creep to the hilt of his sword but then recoil. Then, she turned to face the still-masked army of faunus, all with their weapons cocked and loaded. But instead of cowering like so many times before, she stood firm, unfamiliar but welcome determination burning in her eyes as she took a deep breath.
“Brothers of the White Fang, hear me now,” she said.
Adam strained himself in his skin to hold back as Blake began her speech.
“My name is Blake Belladonna, and I used to be as you are now. Desperate, misguided, and unsure of what to do to get what I wanted most of all: equal rights for faunus. Call me a traitor if you will, but in my time since leaving you behind, I’ve learned just how wrong we all were.”
Someone in the crowd stepped forward to attack, but Adam signaled him to hold his fire.
“While we were being treated as equals, that treatment was only skin-deep. Beneath that facade were fear and hatred, weapons of the real enemy—not only of humans, but of faunus as well. I, of course, refer to the creatures of Grimm. And in your bid for revolution, you’ve only brought chaos and destruction, the ruin of the kingdom of Vale.”
Sun caught up and reached for Ryu Bang and Jingu Bang, but Blake stayed his hands.
“Even so, I don’t blame you. You were duped; what you did that night was under the false promise of a revolution that would only mean the extinction of both our races. Don't believe me? Ask him.”
“Him?! He’s a traitor, just like you!” shouted a young girl with small antlers in the crowd.
“He's proof. Proof that faunus can live among humans as equals, not out of fear but out of love and respect for your fellow person. Proof that they were wrong to call us monsters after all.”
“Blake, why are you dragging me into this?” Sun wanted to ask, but he instead kept his mouth shut and decided to trust her.
“Tomorrow morning, he and I will join the rest of our friends—Teams RWBY, SSSN, and JNPR—and the armies of Mistral, Atlas, and Vacuo, and together, we’ll move out to retake Vale from the very Grimm that you helped bring there. Join us and you can correct your mistake.”
Several White Fang members raised their guns…
“I’m. Not. Blaming you. I’m telling you that this is your chance.”
…but again, Adam signaled them to hold their fire.
“This is your chance to make things right. This is your chance to prove that your lives matter, that you are more than animals, and that you can stand in the light, free of shame.”
Blake reached for Sun’s hand and gripped it tightly.
She looked to him…
...and then back at the White Fang, a welcoming smile streaking across her face.
“WE…suggest you take it.”
The air was tense with deathly silence, broken only by a giant of a faunus stepping forward, planting his dormant chainsaw in the sand at his feet, and slowly removing his mask. His prominent snout and exaggerated lips showed his ape half as he dropped his mask and stomped it into countless shards.
The other faunus followed suit, first in ones, then twos, and then threes, until at last, they had all unmasked to face their new comrades.
“I thought you said the White Fang couldn’t be reasoned with,” said Blake.
“Guess we can add that to the list of things I was wrong about,” smiled Sun, “right after ‘You needed some time alone at Vale’ and right before ‘One of us is going to die when we go to retake Beacon.’”
Blake eked a blushing smile. “Don’t be so dramatic.”
Back at the outpost, Yang watched the spectacle through the telescope, her prosthetic arm resting on the railing. "That's my girl," she mouthed to herself with an almost motherly smile.
10 months agoPaulHikari
A Queen to Be
The night was young, and Weiss had finished touring what was soon to be her company. The recent Grimm attack on Atlas had taken its toll on many, including her and her sister, Winter.
Just when she had finally started mending fences with her father, she had learned that he died defending the city he called home. Then came the news of Dr. Polendina added to the list of casualties, the discovery of the spying Grimm parasite embedded in Penny 2.0's head, and whispers of the ghost of Pyrrha Nikos haunting the unified teams RWBY, JNPR, and SSSN. And on top of all of this, seeing just how far the Schnee Dust Company had fallen with her own eyes, from her chance meeting with Neon's one-eyed brother, Ebon, in the Schnee dust quarry, to reading the archives of business deals with anti-faunus groups and others in Atlas' criminal underworld, she didn't know if she could do as she promised. She didn't know if she could restore the Schnee family name.
And here she was, leaning on the railing of the balcony of her family's mansion and staring into the starlit sky.
"Ms. Schnee," said the butler behind her. "You have a visitor."
"Let them in," said Weiss over her shoulder.
The butler stepped aside, and along came Neptune, leaning on the balcony railing and staring into the same sky as Weiss, who took only passing notice of his presence.
"You miss your dad, don't you?" asked Neptune.
"How could you tell?" said Weiss.
"I heard you screaming 'No,' over and over again, for starters."
"I was that loud, huh?"
The two of them backed away from the railing and stood to face each other.
"You don't know if you can do it, do you?" asked Neptune.
"Do what?" said Weiss.
"Take over the company? Restore your family's name? Free the faunus 'laborers'? Make Penny cry any more? Take your pick."
Weiss couldn't help but crack an amused smile. "What? Am I that predictable?"
"Nah. I just see a lot of you in..." Neptune's shoulders began to sag. "...well, myself."
"Remember what I told you about my family back on the boat?"
"You mean before or after we were attacked?"
"Let's go with before."
Weiss cupped her hands behind her back and gently swirled her eyes inside their sockets. "...Are you telling me that you wanted to become a huntsman because you don't want anything to do with your family's name?"
Neptune sighed. "That was my initial reason. At first, I just wanted a chance to be myself. Somewhere along the line, I started enjoying being a hero. Seeing smiles on other people's faces, helping those who couldn't help themselves, and...and just...making a difference."
"But I take it that you couldn't shake the feeling that in the end, you're still Neptune Vasilias, right?"
"So, you made up that cool self image of yourself to hide from that?"
Neptune snickered. "Don't tell me you see some of me in yourself."
"How else would I figure it out? I mean, for the longest time, I didn't want anything to do with my father, but before I left for Mistral--"
"I know. I know. He apologized to you, you didn't believe him until Flynt talked with you, and then, Yang showed up, robo arm, Penny 2.0, and...you know the rest."
They both stared at the floor for a moment, and then looked back into each other's eyes.
"You do know that this means you'll eventually have to face your family again, right?" asked Weiss.
"Yeah, I know," said Neptune. "And knowing that, let me be the first to tell you this: you can do it."
Weiss paused to think over his words, and then waved them off. "You're just saying that."
"I'm serious. Whatever you've got on your plate with being the new president of the company, you can do it. And if you can face your flaws like that, then I can face mine too."
They shared a warm smile as they leaned together on the railing. There, Neptune's hand crept to Weiss'.
"But for now," asked Neptune, "you want to dance?"
Only then did Weiss notice Neptune's hand on hers. "I thought you said you couldn't dance," she softly objected.
"I've been taking lessons from Sun and Jaune."
"Then come on. Show me what you've got."
"With pleasure," Neptune replied, dragging her away from the railing.
Before either of them knew it, they were dancing the night away. For one brief moment, it seemed, they could be happy to just be their true selves. Happy to be free from the pains of the past. Happy to move on to a brighter future for the both of them and the world they lived in. Happy to just be alive.
"Neptune?" said Weiss, leaking a smile.
"Yeah?" asked Neptune.
"You're still bad at this."
Rooster Teeth/Let's Play Community SteamGroup
A Quote a Day
Rooster Teeth Podcast
Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures
No questions have been answered yet