Fipp: I've come up with a new story, the first multi-chapter story with a coherent timeline in a few years. I hope to have this finished by the time RTX comes around, and RWBY Volume 2 premiers.
Dreamscapes of Roses
Chapter I: Trip to the Dust Field
Grimm are creatures without souls, monsters born of the darkness, at the dawn of man, for the purpose of dragging them back into said darkness. They lack things like mercy, compassion, and even a heart or soul; they are mankind's greatest threat. The purpose of Huntsmen and Huntresses is to protect man from the Creatures of Grimm. Uniquely forged weapons, and refined Dust are our tools to defend ourselves, and fight them off.
Throughout the world there have been over two-hundred recorded species of Grimm, many of which are common, found in most places. They are harmless by themselves when dealt with by a competent Hunter. Beowolves, Ursa, Boarbatusk, Equine, and Longhorns are a few of these of creatures.
Another subgroup, which stand above previous ones, are much larger, solitary creatures pose greater threats. While a skilled Hunter can deal with these Grimm, some make require a team to execute. Such examples include the King Taikitu, Deathstalkers, Nevermores, Abaias, and Wyverns.
There is however another subgroup beyond these monsters, and they are referred to as End Beasts. End Beasts, though much smaller than the average Grimm, often no larger than a man, they are perhaps most of the most dangerous creatures to exist in our world. However, they are extremely rare, so rare that most people will likely go their entire lives without even seeing them. Due to the rarity of these creatures, there is some debate is sightings of particular specie may even be one of a single individual instead of different Grimm. There is even some debate that they are more intelligent than the average Grimm, possibly even capable of thought and reason
Several of these creatures are Gilgamesh, who is known to steal the weapons fallen Hunters, Aerico, who cares toxins of many incurable incurable diseases in its fangs, and Baku, who feasts on the dreams of their victims until their very life force is drained away.
This chapter, we will be explaining in detail the End Beasts. We will start with-
"Ruby! Go to bed!"
"Huh!?" Ruby's head shot up, almost with enough force to knock her out of bed. Thankfully, it didn't. She'd already had that happen once too often thank you very much. Setting the book to the side, Ruby peered over the edge of her bunk, and peered down at the ground below. "You say something Weiss?"
Weiss shook her head. "As much as I love that you're taking the extra time to study, we really need to get to bed. We have to wake up early for the trip, and I don't want to be late."
Ruby rolled her eyes. "Yeah, yeah, I got it." She then rolled back onto her bed, and happily giggled. "I can't wait! I've never been to a natural Dust field! I wonder what it'll be like?"
Below her, Weiss also rolled her eyes. "Don't get too excited. They're not too interesting. It's just large unharvested Dust crystal sticking out of the ground. There's honestly nothing too special about it."
"Are you really that much a killjoy?" From the bunk on the opposite side of the room, Yang poked her head over her bunk. "How can you honestly not think there's anything too exciting about GIANT MULIT-COLORED CRYSTALS!"
Turning around, Weiss glared at Yang. "I don't mean to sound rude Yang, but have you forgotten who you're talking too? For as long as I can remember, I've been lectured repeatedly on everything there is to know about Dust. It's early history, how to mine it, proper and effective refinement techniques, and applications that range from flashlight batteries to jet fuel." She frowned, and turned back to her bed. "So excuse me if I don't find it to interesting. At this point, it's just a matter of fact than anything else."
"You're being cynical again." On the bottom of Yang's bunk, Blake had her blankets drawn to her chest, and had just set aside her novel on the nightstand. "I've been to Dust field before, lots of time actually, and I've never found them anything less than beautiful."
"What were you doing in Dust fields?" Weiss asked, slipping beneath her covers.
"Do you really want me to answer that?"
For a moment, the agitation that marked Weiss' face flickered, and was replaced with a look of uncertainty. It was brief however, and Weiss gave short grunt before rolling over onto her side, her back facing Blake.
"You think they'll let us take any home? You know, as a souvenir?" Yang's bunk shifted and creaked as she adjusted herself into bed. Despite trying to get into a comfortable position, she doubted she would actually be getting too much sleep, she was rather looking forward to this field trip, and was much too excited. Oh well, if she overslept Weiss would just wake her up. "Weiss is just a big alarm clock if you think about it."
"How am I an alarm clock?"
"I was thinking the same thing!" Ruby said, sitting up with a grin, looking back at her sister.
"Really?" Yang also sat up and happily looked back at her sister. "I just really love it when our brains think up the same stuff."
"Quick! Think of something!"
Ruby blew a disappointed raspberry, and flopped back down onto her pillow. "I was thinking about rubber ducks."
"You two are idiots," Weiss said, pulling at her sheets and pulling them over her head.
"Goodnight you three." Reaching out, Blake pushed the button on the lamp that lit up the room, and flooded the it with darkness. Normally when she did this, it was a means to silence her teammates, so that she could read in peace in the dark. However, this time she had to agree with Weiss, it was time to go to bed.
On her bunk, Ruby pulled her blankets over her, wrapping them around her shoulders. Rolling over, she found her face hitting something hard. Blindly reaching out, she felt the cool hardcover of her Grimm bestiary textbook. She was a little upset that she wasn't able to get more studying in before bed, Grimm study was one of her favorite classes, learning about all the different kinds of monsters was something that interested he. It always made her think of stories she'd read as a child, about heroes slaying monsters, and she'd always imagined her being the one to put the monsters down, saving the people and being the hero of whatever story was going through her head.
She threw the text book to the foot of her bed, a soft thud confirming that her had not missed, and accidentally thrown it to the floor. Stifling a soft yawn, Ruby hugged her blankets and corgi pillow to her body and buried her face into her pillow. Soon, she was dreaming sweet dreams about being a hero who defeated the fierce monsters that wanted to eat the innocent.
It was her favorite kind of dream.
The room was large and spacious. Around the walls were columns, and pictures, and signs. Holographic displays were also present, the screens flickering to something new every few minutes, a soft female voice accompanying the images. There were a number of people already here, admiring the exhibits and enjoying the varying tidbits of knowledge that they were learning.
It was then a group of people walked through the open doors. The group consisted of teenagers, mostly seventeen-year olds, and the odd fifteen-year old one, all being led by a blonde woman with an overly professorial demeanor to her.
"Dust, as many of you know, is one of the primary tools against Grimm," explained Glynda Goodwitch, hands folded neatly behind her back, as she walked into the room, leading the students. "However in the years since its discovery, it has gained many more contemporary means, such as power sources, and because of that Dust mines have become a industry in themselves. There are of course who see naturally spawning crystals as something a of a natural beauty and do not wish to see that beauty destroyed, so natural preserves have been set up to insure that they are not tarnished." She then sharply turned on her heel and faced the large group of students that trailed behind her. "Does everyone understand that?"
There were varying nods and groans of clarification came from the students.
Glynda sighed, and slightly shook her head. "Today you are going to learn about Dust from first hand experiences. The nature preserve is ten square miles with plenty of natural forming Dust shards around. To start things off you will be allowed a two hour free period to explore the grounds as you see fit. After that, we will all meet back here in the main building, where we will meet for lunch, and the scheduled tour. If any of your have any questions, please come to either me, or the reservation employees.
"I should also note to please be careful, large dust fields such as these have been known to attract Grimm, so best be on your guard."
When there was no more to be said, Glynda dismissed the students, who then wandered off the varying exhibits inside and outside the room. Out of all the student, a small group in particular walked off to the side and ended up next to a column that held a collection of small blue crystals that gave off a chilly air.
"Well, two hours is a lot of time," Ruby asked, turning to the person next to her. "What could we do in two hours before he have to make it back?"
"We could look around, I guess," Jaune said, a bit unsure. "I've never been here, so I'm not too sure what else we could do. I'm open to suggestions."
Ruby nodded in agreement. Being the first friend she had made when she had come to Beacon, she liked to spend time with Jaune when she was not able to with her own team, and Jaune felt likewise. The friendship they had was enough for Team RWBY and Team JNPR to often be seen around with each-other, and both leaders had hoped that it would spark similar relationships between the two. Though nothing to that extent had formed, they were rather friendly towards one another, and for the moment, that was fine enough.
Both leaders turned around and saw the remaining members of their two teams before them; Weiss, Blake, Yang, Nora, Pyrrha, and Ren.
"So, does anyone else have any suggestions?" Ruby asked, taking a step to the group. "If not, I think looking around might be fun."
"Yeah, Nora?" Jaune said, looking to Nora, who was rapidly waving her hand madly.
"How 'bout the giftshop?" she asked, jumping forward so that she was inside the group. "Those are always just so much fun! Last time I went to one I got this giant rubber snake!"
"She hid it in my pillow as a joke," Ren said, rather nonchalant. "But yeah, a gift shop sound interesting."
"I was thinking we learn more about the exhibits here." Pyrhha gestured to the varying collections around them. "Dust is a very interesting subject, so there's no harm with looking at what is here."
"I still want to see some of these giant crystals." At this point, Yang was already heading towards the door that lead to the preserved lands.
"Do you even know where you'd be going?" Blake asked, a hand at her hip.
Yang stopped in her tracks. "...No. I don't think I do." She then shrugged casually. "But how hard can they be to find?"
"You have no idea how natural Dust is formed, do you?" asked a rather annoyed Weiss. "Dust just doesn't pop out of the ground in fully formed crystals. It's often found deep below the ground in thin veins."
Yang turned back to Weiss, and folded her arms over her chest. "Then what's so special about this place?"
"This place has unusually large deposits of Dust, as well as oddly-sized naturally forming crystals," Weiss explained. "Because of these formations, the potential mining of this land could could be potentially worth tens of millions."
"What?" Ruby gasped out a chocked response.
"If it's worth that much, how come no one has been allowed to mine here?" Pyrrha asked.
Weiss opened her mouth, as if to answer, but Blake spoke first.
"It's because this land was the sight of several of the early battles after Dust's discovery, and many of those battles were what let mankind take its place in the world. It's considered a historical landmark, so no one is allowed to touch it, not even the Schnee Dust Company." Blake seemed rather proud of this fact, while Weiss seemed a bit annoyed. "They've certainly tried."
"Don't have to tell me that," Weiss replied, a bit of a growl at her throat. "Last time I was here, my father spent hours trying to negotiate with the land owners, but nothing he offered was good enough, and they turned down everything."
"So, you've been here before?" Jaune asked.
Weiss nodded. "Yes. I was thirteen at the time, so I was never actually able to sit in on the negotiations. I did spend some time wandering the grounds though."
"And you know your way around here?" Ruby asked, stepping up to her.
"You could say that."
Yang stepped between Ruby and Weiss, and gave the heiress almost no personal space. "Know anything about giant crystals then?"
"Just take the directory. They're marked there."
"Yeah! But those will just be covered in people!" Yang spread her arms and gestured to the groups of students and tourist around them. "I'd never get to see anything good! I mean, unless you know of some quiet place with giant crystals."
"You do, don't you?"
Weiss averted her eyes slightly. "I might. Last time I was here, I found a grouping of crystals with no one around them, It was rather out of the way, off the beaten path as you might say, so there's no real reason for people to be there. Even I have to admit it looked impressive."
"Then let's go!" Yang cheered. "If little Miss Jaded Pants found it cool, it's got to cool!" She turned to Ruby and Jaune. "What do you say, Team Leaders, want to check it out?"
"But Weiss doesn't wear pants..." Ruby said simply, minding the annoyed Weiss in the corner of her eye. She then looked to Jaune, who shrugged. Ruby, in response, shrugged back. "Yeah, sure, it sounds like it could be fun."
After leaving the main building, Ruby was able to get a better look at the landscape of the preserve. It was mostly gray rock on a dusty plaine, with a few clumps of small forests spread throughout the small hills, as well as a few rivers.
What caught her eye the most however were the small crystal sticking out of the ground. Many of them were large, thought not as large as Yang made them out to be, mostly they were the size of large rocks, maybe a bit bigger than a cat. They were shiny though, coming in various colors, if a bit rough-looking. They stuck out of varying places, out of the ground, between tree roots, beneath water, and out of cliff wall. They were very pretty.
Being the only one who knew where the spot was, Weiss was the one to lead them. She took them down the designated trail first, before eventually leading them into a small forest, and even though she complained about mud getting onto her boots, they still persisted on. Eventually, the forest led them to a small ravine, where they passed a babbling brook, until eventually they made it to a small opening in a stone wall. They entered the opening, and Ruby was presented with some of the most beautiful thing she had even seen.
The cave was large, with smoothed stone walls, cool, and glistening with condensation. However, what really caught their attention were the large veins of glowing crystal which stuck out of the wall, as well as the sharp crystals that jutted out of the ground, some taller than even Jaune.
"Wow." Ruby awed at the sights, as well did the others. She walked up to one of the large crystals and carefully put a hand on the rough surface, and she could feel a soft energy pulsating from within.
"Now this, this is pretty cool," Yang said, walking into the center of the cavern. She spun around on her heel in order properly survey the room.
"It's beautiful!" Pyrrha knelt down to a vein in the floor, tracing a hand around the edged where the crystal met dirt and rock. "I've read about mines like this, but I've never had an actual chance to see them."
Nora laughed excitedly as she bounced between the crystals, Ren following close behind her. "Careful Nora, you don't know what kind of power those things have."
She stopped in mid-skip, and on one foot spun around to meet him. "Are they dangerous?"
"Of course they can be dangerous," Weiss chastised. "Dust isn't like coal, iron or even diamond, you can't just hack away at it with a pickaxe."
"She's right," Blake continued for her. "Large crystals can have some power to them, and if treated in an incorrect manner, it can fire potentially harmful discharges."
"Really?" Jaune asked nervously, stopping her hand before tapping the crystal. Cautiously, he began to slowly walk backwards, and away from the crystals, and ended up walking right into Ruby. With a high-pitched yelp, Ruby tumbled down, landing right into a wet patch of dirt. "Sorry!"
Ruby groaned as she pushed herself up to her feet, wiping the dirt off her hands.
"Watch where you're going!" Weiss walked up to Jaune and thrust her finger at his chest, pushing him back a step, almost causing him to fall backwards.
"Weiss, don't, it's okay," Ruby said, wiping more dirt off her corset and skirt. Looking over her shoulder she saw more on her cape. "Well that sucks. I like this cape."
Jaune apologetically looked down at the ground, and scratched his neck. "Really sorry Ruby."
Ruby's response was to shake her head. "No problem, Jaune. It's just some mud, it won't take too long to get off." She then looked up, and right towards the cave exit. "Wasn't there a river or something not too far from here?"
"Yeah, about fifteen minutes away," Blake said, looking between the cave opening and Ruby. "It'll be about a half-hour round-trip, just to get out some mud?"
The small girl gave a little smirk as she walked towards the exit. "I'll be back in five minutes, ten if I decide to look around first."
Weiss tried to say something, but before she could get anything out, Ruby was gone, a trail of rose petal floating in her wake.
"That dolt," she said, looking at the spot where she had been. With her gone, Weiss turned around to look around at the crystals in the game, but her attention was caught by a strange crunching sound. Turning around she saw a small section of the stone and dirt floor shift and collapse slightly into the ground. To her confusion, a small dark shape emerged.
Then there was darkness.
It was not long after when Ruby found herself walking back down the rough path, wringing the remaining water out of her cape. She had managed to find the river rather easily, and soon the mud was washed out of her cape, though it was heavy and damp with cold water, though with the sun shining bright, she didn't have to worry about that for long as it began to dry. Grabbing along the edges of her cloak, she began to wave her arms back and forth, flapping the fabric in the air in an attempt to dry it further before she reached the cave where she had left her friends.
Dirt and gravel crunching under her boots, the cave came into her view. For a moment, she considered just speeding in, just to see if she could scare anyone, but decided against it. The bright light outside, combined with the darkness inside made it difficult to see the interior of the cave, and she might run into someone by accident, and she didn't want to end up hurting someone.
Then again, it was always fun scaring Weiss and Jaune...
Crouching down slow to the ground, she aimed directly for the cave. Her muscled tensed in her body, the legs in particular, as she began to increase the flow of her aura, and she suddenly burst forward. The scenery became a blur as she post past everything, Soon, she had flown right into the cave, and she ceased her aura, and her stuck her feet out and allowed herself to stop.
"BAM!" she cried out, after she and slid to a stop, arms in the air and cape waving behind her.
No on screamed in shock, no one fell back, no one angrily called her name, and no one laughed at the joke. Just silence.
Instead, what she saw only confused her.
Her seven friends were all on the floor, none of them moving. Ruby had began to intimidatingly worry, seeing them like this, and she began to think the worst. The worry then turned back to confusion when she saw that there was something else in the cavern.
Sitting between them, in the center of the room, was a Grimm. Or, at least something that could have been a Grimm, Ruby didn't know because she had never seen anything like it before.
It was small, maybe no larger than a medium-sized dog, a thick body standing on four legs, dark black fur that faded into a purple near the bottom. The head was large, with large floppy ears atop, a bone-white mask with red markings covering its face, and glowing yellow eyes, like all Grimm, with a long trunk peeking out from the under it, and two large tusks sticking upwards from the bottom jaw.
She stared at it for a moment, simply trying to figure out what she was seeing, when suddenly it opened its mouth, and let out a long, wheezing groan.
Instinct taking over, Ruby reached behind her back and grabbed Crescent Rose. In the brief moment from her back to being pulled to her side, it had shifted from the compact rifle form, to the large and threatening scythe it was. She pointed it directly at the Grimm, and put her finger on the trigger, ready to fire, when her hands lost all feeling to them.
Her vision became blurry, and her eyelids became difficult to keep open. Her body started to feel like rubber, and it felt like too much effort to simply hold them up. With a head that felt as though it was no longer attached to her neck, Ruby fell over, her weapon coming down with her, and landing between her arms.
Ruby was not certain how long she was on the ground, be it either only a second or an hour, but she was certain that she could see the creature creeping towards her, its truck extending to her face.
She wanted to do something, to fight, to scream, anything, but she couldn't. All she could do was sleep.