Two Sides to a Coin Ch. 23: Talks
Back! It's been a little while I feel, sorry about that. But thanks to everyone for getting this story to 150 followers and 110 favorites! I seriously cannot thank y'all for the constant support, and so let's get to it.
Ruby stayed on the floor. She made no attempts to stand, no attempts to do anything other then stay on the floor. Onyx remained silent, as did Ruby. She just let the tears fall silently from her eyes as she remained on the floor.
The door opened up again, and Yang rushed into the room. She found Ruby laying on the floor, and Yang let out a breath. She very calmly got down to the floor, and propped her sister up.
"Oh, Ruby," Yang said softly. "I'm so sorry." Ruby curled up into her sister, and started to cry into her. Yang slowly stroked Ruby's hair, and rocked her back and forth.
"I hate it," Ruby cried. "I hate it so much."
"I know," Yang whispered. "I wish I could get rid of Onyx too."
"No," Ruby muttered. "Not Onyx. I want to get rid of the other side of me, not Onyx." Ruby continued to cry into Yang, while she just held her sister close.
"I don't know what you mean," Yang said silently.
"I am beast too," Ruby said slowly. "It's not just Onyx, it's me too. I want it to only be Onyx, I just want me to be me." Yang nodded, and kissed the top of Ruby's head.
"We're going to help you," Yang asked. "Okay?"
"You can't," Ruby said. "Weiss tried and she... It was wrong. Just... Please don't try anything more then I let you. If you do, then someone's going to get hurt." Yang sighed, and kissed the top of Ruby's head.
"Too bad," Yang whispered. "I'm going to help you. Weiss... Weiss is going to be better now, and Blake will too, okay?"
"Please don't do this right now," Ruby requested. "Just... Just let me cry." Yang nodded, and pulled Ruby in a little closer.
"Sure thing little sis," Yang whispered. "Sure thing."
Weiss knew exactly where Blake and Yang would be, since they all had discussed this ahead of time. After Weiss left the dorm, she went straight for the library to fetch Yang and stay back with Blake. Now the two of them waited around for the signal to come in from Yang.
"What happened?" Blake asked finally. Weiss looked up at Blake, her eyes strained from the heiress' efforts to avoid tears.
"I messed up," Weiss said softly. "I did something really bad..." Blake maintained her silence, waiting for the heiress to make her response.
"Ruby declined my offer," Weiss finally said. "And I thought that it was because she was worried, or that she didn't want to hurt me, but then... She... It was..." Weiss took in one deep breath, and kept her eyes glued to the table. "Ruby truly didn't want to," Weiss finally said. "It's not her that wants this, it's not even Onyx, it's the part of her that is animal." Blake waited for more, but Weiss kept quiet.
"What happened?" Blake asked. Weiss looked at Blake, and had a very sad look in her eyes.
"I tried..." Weiss said sadly. Blake's eyes widened, but then narrowed at the understanding of what Weiss was telling her.
"So you made a physical effort on her?" Blake asked, furthering her interrogation. Weiss nodded, and Blake sighed. "You do realize what that is?" Weiss nodded again, and Blake shook her head.
"I can't believe what I did..." Weiss said, her voice becoming more strained. "I tried to... I'm... I'm no better than Onyx."
Ah, Weiss Schnee, princess personified, wrong again, a voice said. Weiss visibly tensed up, and she looked around her.
"Onyx," Weiss said again, her voice sounding less resentful and more angry.
Ding, ding, ding! Onyx replied. I don't know how big of an accomplishment guessing the only entity that can materialize in your head is, but it's something.
What do you want? Weiss fired back, completely out of the mood to even try and humor Onyx. Blake recognized what was going on, and waited patiently for Weiss and Onyx to finish conversing.
Well, heiress, Onyx began. I identified that it'd be better if I left Ruby and Yang to their own devices, and saw what was going on here. Now I find that both parties are under similar thought processes at this moment. So I will simply tell you this, you are much 'better' then I am.
What? Weiss thought in surprise.
Morals are of no value to me, Onyx replied offhandedly. I do what I need to survive, and sometimes a little more. Your intentions were, as far as I can understand, pure.
You're here to argue the morals of my actions with me? Weiss fired back.
But of course. Ruby still needs you, same as before. This rift will very quickly become so much more, and then where's my fun? Weiss remained silent, just thinking over what Onyx had told her.
Night is fast approaching, Schnee, Onyx said finally. It'd make sense if Ruby was tired and she had to sleep soon.
What're you saying? Weiss asked.
Give me time, Onyx said. Ruby will be asleep by the time you return to the dorm, and tomorrow I can guarantee that Ruby will have words to say.
Why are you doing this? Weiss finally thought. Why bother?
Survival is what matters to me, Onyx said definitively. Survival means Ruby must survive and thrive. I thought you understood that, Schnee. Before Weiss could continue to pursue her questions, she felt Onyx leave her mind.
"Ruby's going to sleep soon," Weiss finally said. "We should go back." Blake, knowing full and well what Onyx could do, didn't question anything. More answers would come in due time, they always did.
Team RWBY's Dorm
Ruby remained curled up in Yang's arms, grateful that the blonde had neglected to pursue any further questions about what had happened. All Ruby wanted to do was mindlessly cry her emotions away, because then it would make dealing with the causes much easier.
"You feeling any better?" Yang asked softly.
"A little," Ruby replied. She yawned loudly, and then looked up at Yang.
Feeling a little tired?" Yang asked with a slight smile. Ruby nodded, and Yang sighed. "C'mon champ, let's get you tucked in." Ruby nodded, and stood to walk to her bed. Yang gently helped Ruby down into it, and looked at her worriedly.
"Want me to stay in the same bed as you?" Yang asked.
"No, these aren't Onyx issues," Ruby said calmly. "Just... Don't leave tonight." Yang nodded, and kissed the top of Ruby's forehead. "Night big sis."
"Night lil sis," Yang replied softly. Ruby closed her eyes, and let the sleep wash over her.
When Ruby opened her eyes, she was exactly where she had anticipated being, in the snowy forest. Ruby sighed, and collapsed onto the ground instantly. Rest was the only thing on her mind, and in her dreams she was going to rest.
"My flower," Onyx's voice echoed. Ruby reluctantly brought her stare up, and focused down on the figure of Onyx.
"Not tonight Onyx," Ruby said. "Just... Not tonight."
"But I simply must speak with you tonight," Onyx said simply. "That is why I pulled you into this sleep." Ruby's eyes widened, and she rose to her feet. "Yes, rarely do you get so tired so fast without my interference."
"You've done enough today," Ruby said cautiously. "Just... Just leave me alone."
"Not until I've spoken about what I need to," Onyx said. Ruby sighed, and looked worriedly at Onyx. "Weiss."
"We're done here," Ruby said, throwing up mental blocks towards Onyx. It walked forward easily, completely ignoring every effort that Rub was making to stop Onyx.
"It's cute that you still believe you have control in this dream state," Onyx said simply. "Really, it amuses me to no end." It stopped just in front of Ruby, and got down to eye level with her.
"Go away," Ruby requested. "You told me that you'd do what I wanted you to do, so go away."
"Not tonight," Onyx said simply. "As I've stated, I'm concerned for our survival. This is simply the best route that I must take." Ruby looked up at Onyx, and gave into it's wishes.
"What?" She asked. "Just... Tell me what."
"I think that you are fully aware of exactly what Weiss attempted to do," Onyx said. "She offered something, something that you did not wish for, and you very clearly said no. Not only did her verbal advances not cease, but her physical advances began after that. Tell me, what exactly is that classified as?" Ruby was silent, and Onyx got down in front of Ruby. "Tell me."
"She tried to..." Ruby just let her sentence trail off. She didn't want to say it out loud. Somehow it was better to be unspoken. But Onyx saw where this was going very quickly.
"It was attempted sexual assault by definition," Onyx said. Ruby flinched at it's words, at how casual they were. "You clearly stated no, she clearly tried to change that to yes."
"Why are you telling me this?" Ruby asked shakily.
"Because you're thinking it," Onyx replied simply. "I do not care what the literal interpretation of the action was, I simply care that you understand the true intent behind it and that you do not take this too harshly."
"What the hell makes you say that?" Ruby shouted. Onyx simply stood there, and smiled.
"Weiss did something that you yourself have done multiple times," it stated. "She confused you with the animal. She assumed that there was a piece of you that wanted to do it, and she was not mistaken. The heiress merely picked the wrong piece. The intent was pure, the actions were... Less so."
"I don't care," Ruby muttered.
"So you're simply going to blame her?" Onyx asked. Ruby nodded, and Onyx pressed forward with it's thoughts. "Hm, I suppose it's fair, except for one piece."
"I don't want to hear your twisted logic," Ruby said angrily.
"You won't," Onyx said easily. Ruby let her breath out, and almost smiled. "You'll hear yours."
"What?" Ruby asked instantly.
"I took it from you," Onyx started. "I directly went against everything you told me to do, even many of the things you physically resisted, do not mistake what happened for a lack of physical attempts. Yet what I did, you are not only willing to forgive but rebrand. How is that?"
"You didn't..." Ruby said.
"Oh, but of course not," Onyx said. "Not according to you. So what Weiss did, was it worse?" Ruby was silent. Dead. Silent. "Or is it simply because when worse comes to worse, you can be rid of Weiss but not me?" Ruby still did not utter a word. "I will not dispute what you tell me," Onyx said. "Merely request for you to reconsider your position on Weiss."
"Why are you doing this?" Ruby finally asked. "What do you care if Weiss lives?"
"Typically I don't," Onyx said simply. "Human life isn't... Important to what I am. What's important is a pack. I am still a Beowolf, no matter what wolves are pack animals. You, you are the leader of the pack, that means you get your pick of a mate. While I may not approve, I must respect the leader's decision."
"I'm not the leader, you are," Ruby said instantly.
"I am no leader," Onyx replied simply. "You have more control then you may ever know." Ruby opened her mouth again, but quickly found a hand over it. "If you even begin to dispute what you desire, remember that I am in your head. I know exactly what you want." The scene began to fade, and Onyx smiled.
"It is time for you to wake and me to rest," Onyx said. "And this time, I will actually be resting, I promise you that. Do what you will with Weiss, just think it over before you do it."
Ruby's eyes snapped open, and she found herself in the midst of her dorm. Everyone was already awake, the group talking quietly amongst themselves. Ruby slowly rose, and rubbed her eyes.
"Morning Rubes," Yang said instantly, sounding as casual as she possibly could. "How'd you sleep."
"Well," Ruby replied. She looked over at Weiss, and saw how sad the heiress looked. Ruby could easily see how pained she was by looking at Ruby, just from the consequences her actions held. Ruby knew that all she had to do was say the word, and Weiss would be gone. She would leave Ruby alone for the day, and maybe even longer.
But then Ruby realized some of the meaning behind Onyx's words. Weiss would leave Ruby, because no matter what she would do what she could to help Ruby. Just like she had thought she was doing the day before.
I know exactly what you want, Onyx had said. Now Ruby could appreciate how right Onyx was.
"Weiss," Ruby said softly. In an instant, the heiress was almost out the door. "No, don't go." Weiss jumped slightly, and looked back at Ruby. "Come here, please." Weiss very nervously walked towards Ruby, stopping just in front of her bed.
"Y-y-yes?" Weiss asked shakily. Ruby grabbed onto her arm lightly, and pulled her close.
"I understand what you did," she said. "I don't want to hate you for it. Onyx... Onyx talked to me. I understand." Weiss' expression changed instantly to one of relief, and she gave a light smile towards Ruby.
"Thank you," Weiss said. "But I'm sorry Ruby, I acted without properly considering what you were thinking. It was wrong of-." Ruby cut Weiss off by pulling her closer and kissing her. Weiss' eyes widened, and then closed slowly. The kiss lasted for several moments, and then Ruby backed out of it.
"Don't apologize," Ruby whispered. Weiss nodded, and smiled at Ruby.
"So is it definitive now princess?" Yang asked, trying to lighten the mood.
"Yes, I think so," Weiss said finally. "I think it's definitive now." Ruby gave Weiss a wide smile, and silently thanked Onyx. For once, it took a bad thing and made it better. Perhaps things were finally turning around for her.
The headmaster looked over a new file that had been sent in that morning, and sighed. A new string of attacks had happened, all of them matching what the normal pattern of those he was tasked with keeping track of.
It was a very short period of time from when the last one had happened, but his hand was being forced.
"Glynda," he called out. "Please inform the Phantom that we wish to arrange another meeting. RWBY will go there, I will pay for all of the information ahead of time."
"Yes sir," Glynda said. Ozpin leaned back in his chair, and sighed. The more you paid the Phantom, the more of a threat he became. Things certainly weren't going the way he had hoped for. He had to let himself believe that the Phantom was doing exactly as he was instructed, nothing more.
The Phantom Zone
The Phantom looked out amongst the bar, and smiled. Early mornings it was rarely busy. The mornings that it was were typically business days, the days where it was dead silent were days he had made other arrangements. This morning, things were silent.
His ear caught onto the sound of soft footsteps, one that normally wouldn't even be picked up by most people.
"You're much quieter than I anticipated," he said casually to whoever was behind him. "I had heard about your wardrobe choices and I really didn't expect anything close to stealth."
"Stealth is an advantage in combat," a rich, deep voice replied. "I simply had to adapt to gain it." The Phantom turned to face his guest, greeting him with a large smile.
"I like your work ethic," he said simply. "Please, have a seat." The Phantom gestured to the couches laid out for them, and watched as the man took a seat in the one closest to him. The Phantom sat down as well, and looked directly at his visitor.
"Let's just get down to business," the Phantom said instantly. "You are a man who is quite interesting to me. When you are working, you do everything from gathering intel, to guarding, to kidnapping, to killing. You complete your task as efficiently as possible, and you always do exactly as you're told. When you're not employed, you seek fights to continuously prove that you are the best."
"It is the best way to ensure that I remain at the top of people's priories," the man responded easily. "If nobody can defeat me, why bother looking anywhere else?" The Phantom smiled, realizing more and more that he had picked the perfect person.
"Then how about I give an opportunity to do both," the Phantom said cryptically. The man leaned forward, and tilted his head slightly.
"You have my full attention." he said.
"I am currently dealing with a wide variety of people," the Phantom said. "Some of them are... Intriguing. A small group, all of them very good fighters, but one of them is... Something else. In my field, knowledge is more business and more business is good. I want you to learn their secret."
"What makes you assume they have a secret?" The man asked casually, picking a tone that did not show any disbelief, just mild curiosity. "I have never lost, but my secrets are non-existent. I train every moment I get."
"Of course not everyone has a secret," the Phantom said apologetically. "But this person is... Well as I stated, she is something else. She attends Beacon Academy, she's 15 years old, and her name is Ruby Rose, also known as the Half-Faced Terror." The Phantom tilted his head quizzically at his guest, and the man slowly nodded.
"Her name has circulated in my circles, yes," he replied. "She has always intrigued me as to what is fact and what is fiction about her."
"I can assure you that the fiction is rarely too far from the fact," the Phantom replied. "I've seen what she can do, and looking into the files that I have been able to get ahold of just makes me more curious as to what it is that she is hiding."
"She wears two gloves," the Phantom continued. "Two full sleeve gloves on top of her long sleeved top. Not only would this be considered uncomfortable, it's also unnecessary. But she also wears a half-mask, nobody wears a half-mask unless you're planning on attending some sort of costume party. The most intriguing parts about her, however, is the fact that her voice will lower and she'll refer to herself as Onyx." Now the man tilted his head to the side, and the Phantom's smile widened at the intrigue of his potential employee.
"I believe that this secret is hidden underneath her mask," the Phantom continued. "My task for you is simple. I will hire you as my 'bodyguard,' and you shall appear by my side. They'll ask about you in any future business meetings, and you'll just stand in silence, look intimidating, and speak when you're called upon. For some reason, I feel as though you can do this quite well." His head shifted to the other side, and the Phantom shrugged. "Right, of course."
"But then," the Phantom continued. "One day, once they're more comfortable around you, you'll be gone. I'll rant about how you 'took my money and ran.' Then, I'll comment on how I have five of my own men out 'looking after you,' really they'll just be in another part of the bar that they cannot see. When those four, since she is apart of one of those teams that Beacon just loves so much, leave, you're going to intercept them. You'll state how you're working for someone else, then you're going to take all of them down, but keep them alive the information's no good if they're dead."
"I then return to you, deliver the information, and leave," the man said. "Nobody will know a thing."
"Wrong!" The Phantom said. "I'll say that I simply bought you out from your prior employer, since you cannot dispute that you're a mercenary and most mercenaries only owe their allegiance to their pay, and assure them that you will not be causing any issues as long as you're under my pay." The man leaned back in the couch to ponder the plan for a few moments.
"The increase in pay will actually happen if you do this correctly," the Phantom said. "You'll have proved your worth, and having a man as talented as you on hand would be immensely helpful." The mercenary took several moments to think over what the Phantom had said, and then rose to his feet.
"I will defeat the Half-Faced Terror," the man finally said. "I will get you the information you desire, and then you and I shall work hand in hand in the future. Is this the plan?" The Phantom nodded, and the same let out a small laugh. "I look forward to working for you." The Phantom smiled again, and rose to his feet. He calmly extended his hand, and felt it be met with the other man's.
"Only one more thing that I have to ask," the Phantom said. "Information about those working for me is completely vital. I did some digging with you but... Well the path ends. What is your name, you real name."
"My real name," the man said slowly. "Does not apply to me anymore. Where the trail ends is where I end. I am not influenced by anything that has ever happened to me before that trail ends, and rarely am I influenced by anything after it begins."
"Humor me," the Phantom said. The Phantom could only guess the smile that his new guard had, since he was wearing a full black helm to conceal his face. It matched very well with his very traditional black armor that shielded the rest of his body.
"My name, my real name," he said slowly. "Is the Black Knight, and I am here to do as I am instructed." The Phantom's smiled got to the widest point it possibly could, and he shook hands with his new hire one more time.
"You and I are going to have a very long and healthy relationship together," he said simply. "I have a meeting later on this afternoon, do you think that you're ready to begin our plan?" The Black Knight released his grip on the Phantom's hand, and moved to the other side of the couch. He stood directly behind the Phantom, and looked out into the open.
"I am always ready to do what I must," the Black Knight said easily. The Phantom smiled, and moved back to the railings of the top floor.
And so the game begins, Ruby Rose, he thought.
End: The Black Knight makes his return! He's an old OC of mine that is being retooled, redesigned, and repurposed in this story (my profile picture is actually the design for him). Otherwise, things are going to continue on a little... Differently from here. External conflict will now be a thing, and we will get to see just how powerful the Black Knight really is, along with how well this plan will work. Questions, comments, follows, favorites, and feedback is always appreciated.