Yang Xiao Long charged down Beacon Academy's hallways, Ember Celica deployed and loaded. Blake followed a short distance behind her, carrying an unconscious, limp Ruby Rose in her arms with freshly dried blood caking the hair on the left side of her head and face. Weiss Schnee brought up the rear of team RWBY, Myrtenaster drawn and held ready at her side. And all around them sporadic gunfire and explosions could be heard in and around Beacon. Yang reached an intersection, and checked around the corners, making sure their path is was clear from the soldiers that have invaded Beacon. Waiting for the rest of her team to catch up gave Yang a brief but welcome chance to lean back against the wall and catch her breath. Moments later Blake and Weiss stopped at her side, also resting their backs up against the wall. Yang looked down at her little sister, then back up at the faunus, her lover of over two years, who was carrying her. "Do you need me to carry her, give your arms a break?" Yang asked softly, her voice laced with concern for both her sister and her lover.
Blake shook her head and softly replied, her normally calm voice trembling ever so slightly. "I can keep going. Gambol Shroud is broken now anyways. It'll be better if you two can fight while I carry Ruby." Looking back towards Weiss, whose eyes were scanning the direction they came from to make sure no unwanted company were following behind them, she continued "How're your dust supplies, Weiss?"
Weiss, satisfied that there were no pursuers, turned back to face her teammates while glancing down at her weapon and spinning the revolving chambers to inspect her weapon. "I'm almost out," she sighed. "I have enough for maybe one, maybe two, more uses, if we're lucky." Staring at her weapon for a few more seconds, she finally let her arm drop down to her side, a look of deep exhaustion on her formerly white face, now splattered with blood, dirt, and grime. "What is happening? This morning we were eating breakfast as usual then…" she trailed off. She didn't need to finish. They all knew what happened next.
Yang shook her head, her wild mane of golden hair rippling from the movement. "I don't know exactly what's happening, but I know that the airships that are getting us out of here are out behind the school. Everyone rested up?" Her conscious team members nodded in confirmation. "Okay. Let's keep moving then. I don't want to fight anymore soldiers." The other nodded a second time. The soldiers were nowhere near as powerful as the huntsman and huntresses of Beacon, but there were so many. And a single mistake could leave you exposed to the hail of bullets, explosives, and blades that these soldiers possessed.
Seeing the rest of her team readied up, Yang rounded the corner at a brisk jog towards their objective. Yang could see the sunset out of the large windows to her left, the sky painted a fiery red with hints of yellow, but couldn't appreciate its beauty because all the sunset meant to her right now was that they were running out of time to reach the land pads at the back of the school before the last ships could take off. Assuming the soldiers hadn't found their way back there yet and driven off or destroyed the ships. She shook her head again to clear her thoughts. "They HAVE to still be there." She whispered to herself. She had to get Ruby to safety, no matter what it took. That's why she stepped up to lead her team after Ruby went down, even though she didn't think she was the best for the job- because if it was for Ruby, she WOULD be the best, and nothing would stop her.
Yang heard Weiss raise her voice from behind. "Hey, we should pick up the pace, I think I can hear something behind us."
Blake turned her head and nodded. "I agree, you don't have to slow down for me Ya-" Her agreement was cut off as the shockwave of an explosion rounded the next intersection, and team RWBY skidded to a stop a good distance away, waiting to see if they would need to fight, or if it was just a stray explosive. Weiss and Yang both shifted to stand in front of Blake and her unconscious luggage and then began inching forward towards the source of the explosion, their stance wary.
"Nooo! Ren!" a familiar voice screamed from around the corner. Team RWBY, recognizing the voice, immediately began running to the source of the voice. As they rounded the corner, they saw team JNPR lying on the ground through a haze of smoke and debris drifting around through the air. "Ren! Come on, we have to keep going! Ren!" As the smoke cleared, Yang saw Nora sitting next to the collapsed ceiling, hunched over something that Yang couldn't quite see. The sinking feeling in her stomach told her she knew what she was about to see as she approached Nora's crouching body. She could see Jaune and Pyrrha off to the side with their shields held together over their heads, the once pristine metal scorched from trying to hold back the force of the explosion for their teammates.
"Nora!" Yang exclaimed, as she ran up to the panicking Nora. She saw Jaune and Pyrrha stagger to their feet, climbing out from under the rubble that had fallen around them. They appeared slightly disoriented from the force of the explosion and falling rubble. Weiss began looking them over to make sure they were unharmed, but they waved her off saying they would be fine in just a moment. "Nora, are you hurt?" Yang asked, slowing to a stop behind her. "Nora?"
"Ren! Wake up! Come on, we're almost there! Wake up!" Nora pleaded, tears streaming down her face. She turned to Yang, sobbing. "Yang! You have to help me wake up Ren! I can't wake him up! He's too sleepy!" Yang went down to her knees to look at Nora and Ren, and her expression immediately softened and clouded over with sadness.
"Nora... " Yang began softly. "Ren's not sleeping. I'm sorry." The body lying in front of Nora was mangled and crushed, the lower half of Ren's body trapped under the rubble of the collapsed ceiling, and what was left of his jacket was soaked through with blood. His face, strangely enough, was fairly clean. He looked peaceful, as if he really was just sleeping. Nora was holding his upper body against her, resting his head in the nook of her shoulder and neck. "Nora, please, we have to keep moving." Yang felt terrible leaving their good friend here, but there wasn't anything they could do for him and they were running out of time. Yang turned to Jaune and Pyrrha, and shook her head mournfully. "What happened?"
Jaune answered while Pyrrha walked up beside Nora and tried to pry her away from Ren, gently speaking to her while Nora shook her head in denial. The tears were still pouring down her cheeks, leaving clean trails through the stains on her face. "We were trying to get to the landing pads through the north tower, but we found it collapsed and impassable. We backtracked here, fighting our way through these soldiers. We thought we lost them, but a squad of them came up behind us and fired some rockets. We," he gestured towards Pyrrha, "tried to deflect the blast from Nora and Ren with our shields, but the explosion collapsed the entire ceiling in the hallway. Last thing I saw was Ren diving to push Nora out of the way while the ceiling fell on us. Our shields kept us mostly safe, and Nora fell behind us from Ren's push. But Ren…" he looked at his teammate.
Yang could tell that losing Ren was taking its toll on Jaune. After all, he was their leader and was responsible for his team's safety. Not only that, but Ren had surprisingly been Jaune's best friend once they had become familiar with each other; the male companionship that they lacked in their respective partners was welcome. Ren even volunteered to assist in training Jaune when Pyrrha was busy or tired, and now the one that had turned Jaune into a deadly hand-to-hand combatant was lying under a pile of stone and metal, dead in a way no one saw coming.
"They were getting married this winter vacation, too." Blake commented softly, the sadness and trembling in her voice becoming more pronounced upon seeing the scene in front of them. Yang's shoulders sagged, having forgotten about their upcoming wedding amidst the events of the day. Poor Nora, she couldn't imagine losing Blake like that.
Pyrrha had finally managed to grab Nora's hand and lift her up by the arm. While Nora complied, her eyes were still frantic and looking at Ren's motionless body. Nora put up some light resistance as they walked back towards the rest of their teammates and friends, like a puppy trying to pull against a leash trying to return to the comfort of a familiar blanket, but she followed Pyrrha nonetheless. Yang had to turn away to look at someone else, anyone else, watching Nora was too painful for her right now. She took to looking at Ruby, making sure she was still breathing and that the wound on her head hadn't reopened. As she tended to Ruby, she heard Weiss open her mouth to try to say something to comfort team JNPR, but she closed it again, realizing that words wouldn't help right now. That, and she couldn't come up with the words to say.
"Let's take a moment to rest up, everyone. What happened to Ruby?" Jaune ask as he saw Yang fussing over her sister. He moved in to help but stayed a few steps back, recognizing the look in Yang's eyes, a look that promised pain to anyone who got between her and Ruby, regardless of how good of friends Jaune and Ruby were.
Yang explained while she moved from examining Ruby to examining Blake. "We were holding the front lines at the front of the school with Professor Port, team CRDL, and team SBLE. We were doing fine, but all of a sudden something happened. I didn't see what happened, but Professor Port went down and then our lines started collapsing. After that we tried to set up another line somewhere else in Beacon, but by then the damage was done and we had to retreat. Ruby got hurt somehow in the initial line break, and a squad of soldiers broke Blake's Gambol Shroud as she defended me while I was carrying her. We ran when we got word of the evacuation, and now we're here." Satisfied that Blake had no injuries she was hiding from her, Yang turned to Jaune again "Where were you guys at?"
Jaune gestured back towards the opposing end of Beacon. "The auditorium. Nora and," Jaune paused for a moment as he glanced at the body on the floor, "Ren were guarding it while Professor Peach treated the wounded. Me and Pyrrha were escorting first years and the wounded that needed to be evacuated to the landing pads."
When Jaune paused, Pyrrha continued their story. "After that was finished we went to join the front lines with you guys, but we couldn't fight our way there." She sighed, adding, "If the front lines collapsed, I suppose it makes sense why we couldn't fight our way there. You guys were doing so well; I can't understand why you guys had to fall back, even if Professor Port fell."
Yang shrugged, because she hadn't known about the collapse until it started happening around her team, but Weiss cut in here. "It was team CRDL." Everyone looked at her, confused.
"What about CRDL?" Blake asked hesitantly.
Yang, with her already low opinion of Cardin and his team already jumped to a conclusion. "They betrayed us?" She growled, her eyes shifting to red and the temperature of the air around her jumping up several degrees.
Weiss waved her hand dismissively. "Nothing quite so devious as that. They got scared and bolted after they started getting hurt during their rotation. Port tried to cover the gap and reform the line, but the soldiers took advantage of the gap and broke the line. That's when Port fell." She glanced over at Yang, before looking away uncomfortably. "… I think I saw team SBLE fall too, Yang. I'm sorry." Weiss knew that Yang was good friends with the boys of SBLE, and didn't want to be the one to break the news to her.
Yang's already unpleasant mood was made even worse at hearing this. "Damn it!" She slammed her hand against the wall, cracking the stone. After slowing her breathing, she turned back to those gathered around her. "We've rested long enough. We're running out of light, and we need to get out of here. Let's move." She looked at Pyrrha and her charge Nora, who was still looking back at Ren's body. "You got her?"
Pyrrha nodded. "I think we'll have to keep a hold on her. If we give her the chance, she'll go back to Ren. She's…" Pyrrha left it unsaid. Broken. Something had snapped inside Nora, and they didn't have time to wait for it to heal. And wounds of the heart took a long time to heal.
Jaune stepped up. "I'll take her. You're in a better condition to fight than me right now anyway, Pyrrha." Pyrrha nodded in appreciation, letting Jaune take Nora's hand from her. Pyrrha put her hand on her boyfriend's cheek for just a second, a touch of reassurance, before checking her weapon for ammo and grimacing at her empty chambers. Pyrrha just sighed and jogged ahead of them alongside Yang, who had gone ahead.
With their short rest, RWBY and JNPR made quick progress towards the landing pads with Yang and Pyrrha leading the charge, Jaune and Blake with their respective team members, and Weiss again holding the rear. "There!" Yang called out. "The evac pads!"
"Yang! Soldiers incoming behind us!" Weiss yelled from behind at the same time. "I can buy us some time, keep going!" Weiss stopped and pivoted, twirling her rapier and stabbing into the ground under the gate behind them. She activated her rapier, ejecting her last remaining dust as a spiked wall of ice before following the rest of her fleeing comrades.
Yang could see two airships strafing back and forth over the landing pads, firing their chain guns at a squad of soldiers, cutting them down, but not before a rocket fired by a soldier took out an engine of the lower flying airship, sending it crashing down into the cliff in a ball of flames. She waved her hands, trying to catch the attention of the last remaining airship, and her efforts are rewarded when the pilot sees her and swings down nimbly to the landing pad, side doors opening, waiting for its passengers. The pilot speaks to them over a set of external speakers on the outside of the cockpit. "Get on! Beacon is about to get cut off, we gotta move!"
Yang paused by door and waved the rest of her friends forward, gesturing with urgency. Blake leapt in with Ruby in her arms, placing Ruby in a seat and strapping her in to make sure she was secure before turning around and pulling Nora out of Jaune's hands and into the airship. "Where's Ren? Aren't we going to wait for Ren before we go?" Blake tried to appease her as she strapped the empty eyed girl in, telling her that everything was going to be okay; Nora just needed to stay still. Nora stopped fidgeting and just stared and the floor of the airship.
Pyrrha jumped in next, with Weiss close behind her. As Jaune leaped in though, his left leg suddenly collapsed under him, spraying blood. Jaune grunted in pain, falling to the floor holding his thigh. Yang spun around just in time to deflect the next bullets with her gauntlets, realizing that Jaune had taken a shot from behind to the leg. "Go go go!" She yelled to the pilot, leaping into the airship and bracing against the side. Pyrrha had lifted Jaune and strapped him into a chair, leaving herself, Yang, Weiss, and Blake standing.
"Copy that, lifting off." The pilot announced. Then, "We've got an enemy gunship coming up on us! Brace yourselves!" Moments after this warning, an explosion rocked their gunship, staggering its occupants and throwing Blake against the opposite, closed door with enough force to cave in the metal frame.
"Blake!" Yang cried, watching her girlfriend fall limp to the floor. "No!" she reached over to grab Blake, but Weiss reached the faunus before her.
"I think she's okay? Her ribs look broken, but she's still breathing." Weiss reported after a quick inspection. Yang kneeled down next to them as another explosion shook the hull of the ship.
"We're taking too much fire! We aren't going to make it!" The pilot reported while trying to evade the salvos of rocket being fired from the opposing gunship.
Yang looked down at her unconscious lover's face, then bent over and kissed Blake on the forehead and whispered, "I'm sorry Blake. I love you." Then she turned to look at her baby sister, still unconscious in the seat Blake strapped her in. "I'll keep you safe baby sister. I love you." Yang Gave her sister a quick hug, then turned to Weiss. "Keep them safe, Snow Angel." Yang grinned, giving Weiss a quick clap on the shoulder.
"Wait, Yang! What are you doing!" Weiss shouted in surprise, as she watched Yang work her way past Pyrrha to the cockpit.
Yang tapped the pilot on the shoulder. "When I tell you, hard turn left, got it? Don't come back for me." Ignoring the pilot's protests, she jumped back into the cabin.
A certain clarity encompassed Yang's mind as she focused on the gunship though the front window of their own ship. She waited. Pyrrha and Weiss were trying to talk to her, but she wasn't listening. She waited. She saw the gunship fire it's salvo, and yelled her signal to the pilot. "Now!"
The pilot, however reluctant he was, obeyed her command, and banked hard left, exposing the open door of their airship to the rockets, but also providing Yang with a burst of momentum she used to leap out of the gunship towards the rockets. "Get them out of here! Don't come back!" She yelled, and grinned and she heard the pilot swearing at her actions, but listening regardless and flying off. She thought she heard Weiss yelling after her, but she was committed now and it was far too late to turn back.
The rockets began to track and turn towards the gunship, but before they could make any progress towards the fleeing airship Yang landed on the foremost rocket and punched it downwards to maintain her height and momentum. Yang flipped off of it and landed on the next one, jumping off and leaping from rocket to rocket, ever closer to the gunship. The gunship finally caught sight of Yang, and attempted to backpedal away from the angry huntress. It was too little too late as Yang crashed down onto the cockpit, smashing her fist into the glass over and over, her other hand gripping the hull. After only moments, her anger-fueled strength shattered the cockpit and smashed the pilot's controls, sending the airship spiraling out of control back towards the landing pads Yang had just left.
Eventually the force of the spin was too much for even Yang, and she was thrown off the falling gunship towards the ground hard enough to feel some bones crack as she impacted. Seconds later she heard the gunship crash nearby, the heat from its explosion a comfort to Yang. She groaned and staggered to her feet, and grinned at the wreck of the gunship that she had just punched out of commission. "Nailed it." She looked around her and realized that she wasn't in the best position.
The soldiers had finally found their way to the landing pads and were staring at Yang, weapons at the ready. She looked at the different soldiers in front of her, getting a close look at them for the first time the entire day. She saw heavily armored soldiers in green-tinted plate armor with a variety of close combat weapons and shields, along with lightly armored soldiers in green-tinted combat uniforms carrying a variety of firearms. Yang smashed her fists together, emitting a burst of flame as her eyes shifted from the calm lilac they normally were to a blazing red. "What, you guys want some?!" And Yang charged into the mob in front of her, smile on her face.
Weiss looked back in shock in horror as her teammate and friend leapt out of the airship at the gunship. "No! Yang! No!"
"Weiss! Calm down!" Pyrrha grabbed onto Weiss, who was hanging out of the airship looking at her quickly shrinking friend as they retreated to safety.
"No! We can't leave her behind! She's invincible, she has to be here, she can't be left behind!" Weiss was panicking. "What will I tell Ruby? What will I tell Blake? I don't... I don't know what to do. I have to bring her back. I have to!" Weiss cried, collapsing into Pyrrha's arms.
Pyrrha had no words, for what could she say? Yang made her decision? It's too late now? None of it would help, so she just held Weiss as she cried into her shoulder.
Yang was lying on her back, staring at the evening sky. How had she gotten here? She could feel heat coming from somewhere to her left, as if someone had started a bonfire nearby. And what was she lying in? It felt warm and wet. She tried to lift her head to look, but it was too much effort so she just relaxed back into her previous position. She heard footsteps approaching from her right. She smiled. It must be Ruby, coming to tell her off for slacking off at school. A shadow fell over her and she looked towards the figure, realizing it was far too tall to be her adorable baby sister.
It was a uniformed man wearing a familiar green-tinted uniform. Ah. Something clicked back into place in her head, and she remembered. She wasn't slacking off, staring at the sky. She was dying. Staring at the sky. Small difference. The figure looked down at her, examining her, judging her. "You fight well, girl." He grunted.
Yang smiled, and coughed out a pained reply. "Damn straight I do." Her memory was clearing. She had fought the soldiers around her. She had killed a lot of them. They had hurt her, badly. Probably why she couldn't move. "The name's Yang Xiao Long, the girl who burns like the sun. Don't you forget it."
He continued staring at her unblinkingly. "Yang Xiao Long." He said the name slowly, testing it, committing it to memory. "I will not forget the huntress who slaughtered dozens-"
"Try hundreds." Yang interrupted.
"- of my men." He continued, unfazed.
"To be fair, you attacked us first." It was taking a lot of effort to speak. Yang could feel the life slowly slipping from her as she coughed out a response.
"True. Orders are orders though. I did not want to attack a school of children." He paused, and crouched down next to her, allowing Yang to get a closer look at the man above her. Leathery, sun-tanned, scarred skin with graying, peppered hair. Very powerful looking, very rough. "I am General Napier. I can offer you a medic, Yang Xiao Long. I admire your skill. You could join us."
Yang grinned a bloody grin. "Nah. I know I'm done for." She coughed up a mouthful of blood. "So. Are your soldiers back inside the school?" She said conversationally. Well, as conversationally as she could, given the coughing and gasping.
General Napier stood up, curious about the young girl who would chat herself to her death. "They are. You and your comrades did a lot of damage to my men. They are resting and recuperating inside."
"Might I ask why?" He inquired.
"Because… well, do you know what happens when a sun dies, General?" she coughed out, her grin getting wider.
He began to slowly back away. "A… supernova."
Yang laughed. "Exactly." She turned her head towards the general, who was still slowly backing away. "And a dying sun going supernova takes everything with it."
General Napier turned to run, but that wasn't going to save him. Yang laughed one last laugh, and then a fiery explosion, with Yang at its center, engulfed Beacon and the cliff it resides on, turning the entirety of Beacon and the land around it into her personal funeral pyre, along with all those honorable souls who fell defending Beacon.
Weiss and Pyrrha could see the flames consuming Beacon lighting up the evening sky, and the smoke blotting out the stars, but they had no idea that Yang was the cause of it, believing that the invading army had just set fire to the school. Weiss' tears had dried soon after they had landed in the encampment of evacuees, where the Vytal military had began to arrive and tend to the wounded and set up relief tents. She had immediately taken a position of leadership, directing people to care for her own team as well as JNPR. Only Weiss and Pyrrha remained awake, the rest of them had been put in the medical tents for treatment and sleep.
"Do you think she made it to safety?" Pyrrha asked Weiss as they looked at the faintly glowing horizon.
Weiss waited a long while before responding. "I hope she did. I really do. But… no. I don't think she did."
They stood in silence, trying to process what had happened throughout the night. They heard footsteps approaching from behind, and turned to see who their guest was. They saw Professor Ozpin striding toward them in the evening light, holding two cups of a steaming drink. "Miss Schnee. Miss Nikos." He offered them the two drinks.
Weiss took a sip, expecting coffee, but getting hot chocolate instead. "Chocolate?" she asked.
"It's good for the soul." Professor Ozpin explained. He waited, sensing that Weiss had something she needed to say to him.
"Professor… where were you? Beacon was attacked, and you were nowhere to be found. And now… our friends, our teammates… they're gone." Weiss struggled to get the words out, the emotions still running rampant inside her.
He waited a moment before responding. "This invasion started a few days ago. A meeting was called by representatives of the different lands and powerful figures- Professor Goodwitch and myself went to represent the huntsman and huntresses of Vale, trying to explain that we fight monsters, not wars. But the entire meeting was a ruse, and they launched preemptive strikes against the other countries' combat facilities." He explained. "I never thought they would attack Beacon. Not until Professor Oobleck arrived, having run all the way there at Professor Port's orders to tell us what happened.
"I… am sorry. I have failed my students, and my friends, and something terrible has happened." He paused, looking at the faint glowing light on the horizon that Weiss and Pyrrha had been looking at. His facial features hardened, and his eyes darkened. "They won't get away with this. They have no idea what I can do to them. What I will do to them." He turned back to the two students standing next to him. "But first, I need you to tell me what happened."
Note: Team SBLE, pronounced Team Sable, is just an original name I came up with to fill up a few more characters in the story. Won't be a major part of the series.
Extra Note: Sable is another word for black in this case.
Extra Extra Note: I realized some of the line breaks and formats I put in didn't come across in the upload, and tried redoing them to make more sense when the scene shifts, my apologies if that was a bit confusing at first.
This is my first RWBY story, I would appreciate constructive criticism in whatever form, as I would like to make sure my writing keeps improving as needed.