Chapter 9: Second Gift

Vale had fallen years ago.

After the Grimms had taken over, the military lost control over the people until it was declared martial law to maintain the riots and panic. It was fight to survive. Or die a useless prey.

Signal and communications fell along with the tower knocked over by the scorching battle of gunships and Nevermores crashing at the beacon, loosing precious contacts with Remnants allies.

A small portion of Vale though, had been fought over. Again and again to keep the Grimms from destroying what was left of it, unsure about how long they were able to hold such a force that had matched up to Hunters and Huntresses. It wasn't until Team RWBY has been dispatched as a unit did they resource the remaining townspeople the safety and sustainability they've been protesting for, and avenge an old Hunters death. Team RWBY has long been proclaimed to be under Atlas military. Not the Team of girls they use to be from Beacon Academy. Things have changed instantly rather than a gradual pace when chaos was in control.

While they thought of them as the rising salvation to the cause, others thought it was discriminating in its own way. Much like bashing a Faunus's features, they blanch on what they have become, hypocritically telling them off as experiments; the Military's lap dogs who gets all the comfort while they on the other hand lives on the wastes and rubbles, fighting for their home. Their country. Of course, we think of it as quite the contrary.

RWBY repelled invasions, from point A, to point B. And quite often than not, it wasn't Grimms they have to be handling as well, but the terrorists who are using the advantages of the havoc to rebel even stronger. Their activities grew and the way they hid even smarter, working in and out of the safe zone like rats under sewers, and stealing like they always have to cripple both humans and soldiers. And like before, Blake was disturbed more than she had been since Roman's leadership.

They were on their way back to HQ, hoping that there were no protesters at their gates that'd spit foul languages on their way inside. It wasn't their job to push them back as much as Ruby would want to calm the innocents looking for peace and shelter.

They were near the outskirts of Vale's safe zone until Blake's keen observation spied on a White Fang's symbol, etched on the walls like carved paintings. It was an abandoned lot where it used to flourish with people and a lavish street market in the center, where buildings were whole and freshly matted with hanging gardens. It could be imagined, perfectly picturing the constructions, where it never looked awfully run down as it is now. Untouched yet marked by civilization, nature had gobbled the area, just like the rest of Vale's now ancient city. The growth of plants had never been this fast, not until the Grimms that harnessed the skill of it made it happen so.

Discovering trucks that weren't husked away into extinction-and in fact, rumbling under the engine-team RWBY splits into two to scout the perimeter in hopes to spot something in different angles. There was definitely White Fang activity in the area as the uniformed hooded men and women were moving crates into the backs of the four mobile transportation. It looked ready and loaded.

When the first truck had started to move, the remaining followed suit, each on their tarpaulin covered crates a crouched team member.

The plan was simple and gathered quickly. They were going to follow the White Fang straight into their territory; steal information and report back to HQ, and then wait for command orders from the highest position on the chair that wasn't the General.

Now things took a turn however when the trucks went into their own separate direction. Now the plan wasn't quite that simple. So the White Fang had different locations they didn't know of, and it was their job to intercept, pick, and/or destroy (without lethally neutralizing of course, Blake would be furious).

It felt like the first time to go individually as they were more used to pairs or as a whole. Though it was inevitable, they were expected to execute their movements discreetly even without the other.

Blake had reached the first base. A medium sized, square building still intact, but old and very much tampered on. Something she can work around without being detected even if there were a thousand Faunuses and security watching the whole premise.

Weiss was second. She sees a camp, undoubtedly sprayed widely with odor block to reeve the Grimm's smell of them. Nothing she can't handle with the help of her summoning.

Then there was Yang. The truck stopped with a few more trucks, transferring what they had on the first to another. In the middle of a circle of them all, a small fire with White Fang soldiers gathered around chatting. She was reminded not to engage. At least not now.

Ruby hasn't yet stopped and night time had fallen strangely fast. It felt like a trip off to patch and it worried her how long it was going to take to get there. She didn't worry about their communications pulling further away as it wasn't signal dependent as long as they were still within Vale. She was worried that she had to do all the waiting and if command would not wish to intercept yet, with or without the crew of backups, she would have to go back alone, and it would bore the soul out of her until she reached a far distance for the stealth ship to carry her away.

Command had told her to go on radio silence, a cautioned order to avoid detection from enemy radars if the target they were following were straying too far from the LZ.

She lost track of time. Maybe it was thirty minutes. An hour, or even more. Ruby didn't even bother to take a look at her scroll, a custom worn between her wrist and elbow as a brace when turned on, would represent a holographic screen rather than a physical one like they had in Beacon. She couldn't risk putting her eyes away from studying the change of environment.

Her eyes were already drooping though in spite of all that lookout. She didn't notice the change of wind velocity and truck speed until it ran over a hump, jolting her awake and almost losing her grip on the tarp.

She glanced around quickly hoping no one saw a dash of red on the moving transportation. Expecting maybe a small base or a camp that they'd stop on, she spots a bigger, more damaged building. It looked oddly familiar when it resembles more of broken glass than it was on cement and concrete.

Ruby dug deep in her memory. She knows at the back of her head that the place she was going into was familiar, that she was here before. It started with walking with her teammates. The excitement, the budding curiosity. Then horror that obscured her thoughts.

Oh yes, she remembers well. With all the shattered parts of the building and moss covering the cracks from the now dirtied, white paint, it was almost hard to tell. If she were to put a snowflake insignia right there, in the middle of it all, maybe it wouldn't be a challenge to remember that this was Vale's Schnee Dust Company. The first company to have fallen.

Before the truck parked in front of the building, Ruby hopped off, landed on a roll, and moved to the side of the building's walls. She climbed and jumped into the holes to sneak into the second story where a balcony was supposedly perched that overlook the first floor. Thankfully, a part of it was still intact, enabling her to maneuver without jumping too much.

She watched the Faunus carry the crates in one by one, escorted by rifle men at their sides. A peculiar girl, a small one. Dressed in pink galore combined with white and brown and holding an umbrella, was observing them. Roman's little associate, Ruby remembers. If she was here, Roman was too and that these crates must have something important to them. Something that needs to be told over to HQ.

Each box was carried by individual members, some of them by two, being lead to the elevators.

"But they aren't working," she thought. They slide open regardless, the lights inside fully functioning. "And so it seems."

The pink girl didn't follow though. She left as soon as they entered like she was in a hurry. It was best to leave her for now. Intel was important than to face the enemy at the moment. Those crates captured her innate curiosity and where they were going-in this building-made her paranoid.

The arrow blinked downwards. But no numbers showed.

The basement. What could the White Fang still be doing in there where everything was destroyed?

Figuring she couldn't get in and out without being spotted, she was going to have to land on top of the shaft. And to do that of course, she was going to take out two of the guards standing in the middle that separates the two elevators.

Giving out a last survey for any more potential threats that could ruin her cover; she climbs the roofs held out in lumps for a platform. There was a misstep and tiny rubles of rocks tapped to the floor. She plasters herself to the wall, if she could see them, they could definitely see her. Faunuses have good sight in the dark and excellent hearing, but nothing compared to Blake of course. Holding out a few seconds, she peaks slowly. They must have heard the little noise, but dismissed it, thinking maybe it was a random bird who thought to perch itself.

A good spot over them, she drops a stone a few yards in front of the guards, drew their attention away from the post until one was watching for the other's back. Then as good timing permits, she strikes from above.

A heavy drop on his back turned the other Faunus around with the rifle on his hand.

With the rifle on the ground actually, when Ruby had jabbed his wrist… her wrist, painfully enough to let go of the weapon, she gives a quick thrust of a fist to the face that already rendered her instantly unconscious. Hopefully her strength was tamed to leave anything unbroken.

There was a third guard who had come into view with his eyes attached to the scroll, who then jumped in shock after looking up. The trigger was a sure pull to end her little operation until Ruby stomped on the rifle near her feet that spiraled in the air towards her eye level, and punched it.

The barrel shot him on the nose and sent him backwards. Probably bleeding, and most likely knocked stone cold once he hit the ground.

It didn't take a lot of time to hide the bodies in one of the big empty crates they just threw at the side. It was funny to Ruby, how they all squished together. Hopefully they didn't have any memory of this.

The doors were as easy as opening a lid from a container. It held no straining effort.

She realized then what she was going to do. The lack of someone pulling her shoulder away to tell her to think twice about the plan was unsettling. She waited for that pull even though she knew that it was her plan after all to follow the trucks individually. The thrill of doing a mission alone always felt accelerating to Ruby. But that was before she went in and during her Beacon Academy days. Now it felt less exciting without one of her teammates, even more so if it was without Weiss flicking her ear off to never go in alone. It was a processed, repetitive action and without it, felt empty. A little frightening that she was not hearing her voice over her shoulder. Empty like the pits of her stomach.

"Or maybe. I'm just hungry. Really hungry." She says in her mind before stepping to the empty space and falling down the elevator shaft.


"Some eavesdropping, grab a few intels if possible and maybe snap some pictures to 'appease' them after going in alone." She thought after slipping through the shaft and crawling through the vents. "It's not like I'm going Rambo and start fighting by myself… I think."

If there was something she learned about stealth, it was from her Faunus teammate that vents have always been a good hiding spot, Crescent Rose has been slung over her back in this case, thankful that these vents weren't so cramped compared to the last time she actually had to squeeze through without making stupid noises.

"And prepare a good reason why I didn't report." Because it wasn't Command that'll be disappointed, but rather a certain Ice Queen who will do the disappointing for them.

The place was reconstructed, built anew with working computers and labs heavily guarded with rifle men and baton wielding soldiers. The workers inside looked human so far, tinkering on their stations that were watched by these guards. Their patrols were repetitive according to Ruby's observation, a known pacing that they were guarding something restricted even to personnel.

Kidnapped by the terrorists. Of course they would. But for what?

Through the grates, Ruby used her visor like goggles to store captured photos and later transfer them to her scroll brace. The goggles also provided night vision for a scout like her. Other quirky abilities and technological upgrades were still in the process of being implemented. So for now, even protecting her eyes from vicious winds and sandstorms will do.

The vent unfortunately did not lead to the restricted rooms, but it can get inside offices. She would have to be extra careful since the walls were see-through glasses.

Another thing she learned when collecting intel via training in her field was that computers and things around it were good examples. The thing is however, hacking wasn't quite her expertise other than tearing it down and maybe tinker it as a weapon for humors sake. It was building deadly weapons. Not programming. Weiss was the ticket for all that as she was the main proxy for the company, and therefore was able to handle complicated codes in and out of business.

She tried though. But as it asked for a password she gave it up altogether and just looked into the cabinets for anything significant.

Files. Files. More files. Cigar packets. Files. Every file she flipped through was blah blah blah to Ruby's mind. She skimmed, she read, she threw back. Words repeated in each of the papers sparked a clue. She recalled reading Weiss' encyclopedia of dusts and happens to stumble upon the same meaning. Yet again she didn't understand why they were mentioned in the files more often. This building was a dust company, but everything in it was destroyed.

Then she came across formulas that gave her sore eyes just by looking at it.

In the event of putting them back, the door opened and someone was kicked in.

"You will find it. Again. Or you won't get any rest tonight."

"What you're trying to make me do is impossible. Don't you get it?" The voice was raspy.

Ruby hears a hard baton hit him.

"Don't make me say it twice."

Then the door was slammed shut.

The man was grunting, his footsteps coming closer. He slowly sits on his chair, unaware of the red-head hiding under his desk.

Ruby had tried to bite back the words, but hiding under the desk was almost beyond ridiculous to her. "You alright?" She says anyway.

The man jumped in his seat, throwing his head around to find the voice.

"Down here."

He looks down to find Ruby waving.

"Hi. I'm a Huntress. And I come in peace. So please, do not be alarmed. Like, don't alarm the guards. Stuff like that. You know."

He sighed heavily in relief, jittering from sure fatigue and nervousness. Then he looked surprised more than anything. "Hey… I know you. Ruby? Ruby Rose from Beacon Academy? Holy mother of all is that you?" He sits back on his chair; glancing around to be sure no one was looking and leaned closer to the desk, "It is isn't it?"

Ruby squints her eyes at him to get a good look on his detail. Familiar, but his feature is not recognized. She knows no man with three huge scars that reached his scalp down to his left bearded jaws, and the clear cut on his throat marked with past stitches, the result of his words being hard to voice out.

"I'm sorry." Ruby replied. "I don't think I know who you are."

Waking up from the coma long ago jagged her memories, she wasn't sure if it was jagged up to now, although she could remember if thought about it long enough. But time is of the essence.

"Miss Schnee's former Command officer. Adalhard." He says.

Ruby had to think again. It clicked in an instant and she gasps in surprise. "Mr. Davin!" She clasps her mouth hoping no one heard her.

Davin coughed loudly in the hole of his clasped hand, covering up the noise Ruby had made.

"Yes." He replies later. "It's the scars and everything. But what's important is that I am so glad you're here. I don't know how long I can stow off the formula they've been trying to take but you have to stop them from making me answer correctly. I'm this close, but I cannot let them know."

"Formula?" Ruby asked. "For what? What's happening?"

"Reverse engineering. Picking up where Weiss' Father left off. A dust that can bend mankind to their knees. I can't let them have it."

The door banged. "Hey! Who are you talking to?"

Davin recoils. He puts files on his table and unlocked his computer. "Myself!" He shouted back. "If a man talks to himself because clearly he had no rest for years, he shouldn't be asked who he is talking to!"

"Then shut up and keep working!"

Davin watches him go before pretending to work on his computer.

"Turn off your communications. Quickly."

Ruby wanted to ask why, but she accessed her scroll and shuts off the systems linked to her ear piece and goggles.

"You cannot trust the Atlas military. There was something they did with the White Fang and they must not know about the operation here. Everything must burn. Even if that would include me and my former men here."

Ruby did not like the last idea. "Davin you know I won't let that happen to you and the others. I swear to it that you'll get out of here in one piece. I just have to tell my team-"

Davin cuts her off, "no, don't tell your team about this. Not even Miss Schnee. And that device around your neck… I would advise that you remove it soon."

Prying the device would hurt for Ruby. She tried it once when she had herself out of the containment unit. Ironically she felt like a leashed dog with it which she wasn't very fond of. But the General told her that it would help regulate and contain the dust from losing her aura, and herself.

"I don't understand. One I can't trust the military and now I can't even tell my friends about this?"

"I trust you, Ruby, and this is why I'm telling you all these, apart from wanting to be saved. But this is something I can only give to you, and only you. Can you promise me that you won't?"

Ruby remembers the day that Weiss' father told her to promise to care for his daughter, and as team leader to be holding responsibility to guide them safely. There was something about Davin that was father-like, and it ached in her heart how this felt like a recreated scene of the time. But she didn't know if she can listen to Davin about the military. General Ironwood was a good hearted man, almost like an uncle, and she couldn't imagine him doing bad things.

"I don't know." Ruby replied, unsure. "But I will try. I think."

"You have to promise." Davin said in a hard, serious tone.

It took a little while, but Ruby answered. "I promise then."

"It takes good faith. And you have to hold on to that, no matter what. Now you have to trust me for what I am about to do."

"Well it depends on what you are about to do actually."

"Tell no one. Stay in control. Get out alive. They know you're here, but not where. In advance I deeply apologize."

Ruby's brow furrowed. What in tarnation is he talking about?

"Um…?"

It wasn't until Davin had shouted "Help" did she jump in surprise and hit her head below the desk.

"What are you doing?!" Ruby whispered in a hiss. "You're blowing my cover!"

"Trust me." He said lowly before backing away. "You'll be alright."

He runs out the door, screaming like there was a bloody murder.

"Dang flippin. Dang it, darn!" Ruby was cursing as she scrambled out from the desk. Guards were running to the office and she had to make a quick escape.

She made a run to the door and kicked it open. The hinges flew and so did the door against a White Fang's body. Ruby hops on it, the soldier under it grunting.

Baton wielding men charged forward and workers fell backwards. Ruby swung her foot into the air and brought her momentum with it, twirling once in midair that avoided a charged swing and landing on the door.

She steps back when a soldier stepped in on the platform, brought a front kick and returned the weight forward. Poor guy under the thing was being crushed.

Men with rifles started shooting and she had to back away. She side rolls over one of the desks and hurled it forward with a foot to it. It flailed them inwards and held off their bullets for the shock batons and swords to drive in.

Learning a few techniques from Yang, she knocked their weapons away, shunned their shins to the floor, and delivered blows here in there. Broken bones was of the moment, permitted, and excused.

"Wait, why am I even fist fighting?!"

She bows her upper body, the sword landing on her Crescent Rose stored on her back. She twirls around and brought her beloved scythe still in rifle form on her hands, bringing the metal to the masked face of the soldier bashed away and to the ground. She shoots and it pushed her back against an unsuspecting rifle man knocked away.

The White Fang have heard of Team RWBY with their weapons. And one way or another, they feared them when they were a whole. Coming face to face with one particular red-head made them confident. But as soon as they started being trigger happy, they came into a conclusion that fighting a red-head was also scary.

Crescent Rose flipped around her body in a dance that flicked off the bullets from ever touching her, and in rhythm she returned the favor by pounding and slicing them in kind.

In a mighty finished and grand finale, her semblance awakened and a flurry of roses blinded their vision. And when they have come into their senses, they were on the ground groaning.

Ruby thought this was it. That she can free the prisoners and call it a success-kick Davin's butt for all this-and get some answers.

It was just a thought, and a thought can get you cocky. And when it does, an unsuspecting rifle fired from the corners. It took Ruby through the arm. She knew how to reverse that pain in battle, but taken by surprise it stunned her.

She fought and noticed it was a spear arrow, attached to it a chain, and the arrow had hooked to her skin. She hears a whisk in the air and she managed to stray away from its path. Ruby latches on to the chain and pulled. A White Fang member was thrown forward with his hand coiled around the metal clinks.

Multiple clusters of whizzing arrows flew at once, and not every arrow was avoided. Through the leg, one of her arms and even through the side of her abdomen, and when the arrowhead flicked into four hooks, she shrieked. She didn't intend to drop her Crescent Rose, and when she tried to take it back, the chains pulled her away from it.

In an effort she swiped away an arrow with her scroll brace in a fighting attempt. But it took five hooked arrows pulled taut to render her immobile and almost paralyzed.

She collapses to her knees. Her healing factor kept the red-head alive, but it wasn't able to keep the penetrating, painful impulses from throbbing miserably.

"I think I hate you Davin"

The elevator opened.

Cane. Cigar. Bowler hat.

"Oh little red! What an unexpected surprise, I was hoping I'd see you again. I hope they made you feel at home. Did you boys and girls?" He was expecting a response. When he heard nothing, he repeated in a low, sarcastic and threatening voice. "I said. Did you. Boys and girls?"

"Yes. Mr. Torchwick." The members said in an unsnycrohinzed manner.

"Good!"

Roman walks in, stopping before the girl pulled in chains and smirking all the way as he played with his cane.

"A new kind of change is coming, little red. Now that you're here, we can finally make use of the gift in that heart of yours."

He held the cane in the opposite direction. "But first, have a good night's sleep, Red."

Pitch black consumed her vision just as Roman bashed the handle of his cane to her head.


Ruby didn't want to wake up. She deserved a good, full-time rest and if Command wants her awake then they were going to have to bring one of her teammates in to drag her off bed. She had just fought the White Fang and goodness sake she was hauled by… arrows. In chains…

She forced her eyes open and a blaring light blurred her vision momentarily. She tugs at her arm to shield away the light, only to realize it was bounded by locks to a chair.

That's easy. She can break them away effortlessly. Nothing but strings to Ruby, she pulls without much strength as they would break away in seconds.

Odd. They didn't even budge. She pulls again, this time with force.

Ruby was struggling until the wasted effort turned into a squirm for freedom. Her ankles, too, were locked in place. She lunges her body forward in an attempt to break way, but was held taut by her restrained limbs.

"You'll be fine. Just don't fight it. You'll hurt more if you do."

Davin went out behind her, files flipping on his hands.

Ruby growled. She was going to shout at him and probably curse for the first time, until Davin eyed her carefully without putting the paper away or moving his head, and whispered. "Trust me."

Roman appeared in the entrance, she had taken to account about the surroundings then. She was in a room, all grey and sparse. Spacious. Cold. And haunting.

Her neck twitched, some kind of weight held at her nape that made it heavy to drag it back to the center. She turned her head to inspect what was and only sees wires and loose metal pipes hanging behind her. Was it connected to the device on her neck?

Her back, for some reason, had ached, each vertebrae wanting to move like it hasn't in a long while. Something was latched into her back. She could feel the cold thing, maybe metal-which she was hoping that it wasn't-within her back. They were uncomfortable at most, but surprisingly they moved flexibly.

On each side of her neck at her upper back connecting to her shoulders was also a mysterious feeling. She discovers then that it was some kind of plating, with medium-sized screw holes, two of them, on both sides.

Roman was watching in amusement while Ruby was looking at herself. Wondering what they were for, why they were on her, and how they managed to put them in made Roman look evilly excited. Ruby catches his eyes and turned to stare at his with venom in hers.

"Ohh, a threatening stare, make it more murderous for the opening soon." Roman claps, "Mister Adalhard, Command Officer, and also an extraordinary scientist in hiding." He says in aloof. "If you may finally begin your successful research, we can be on our way to show the whole of Remnant the new order."

Davin nods with no reluctance in the gesture while Roman stands near a panel full of buttons of the sort.

Davin tightened the pipes, tapping on the metal to inspect its durability. "Remember, stay in control." He whispers while eyeing closely at the device around Ruby's neck, "and also, a kind favor if you manage this. If you can find my son. Please tell him I'll be home soon."

As he pulls away to join Roman, Ruby looked at him, his back already turned at her.

A metal ring locked her upper chest and abdomen in place.

Truthfully, Ruby felt scared and helpless. Trapped.

It takes good faith.

Alone

And you have to hold on to that.

But she has to fight it.

No matter what.

Four vials were inserted into her shoulders. Green, blue, red and yellow. Then from top of her spine to the bottom, she feels a sharp drive of whatever it was into some kind of sockets. She yelped, then screamed. Squirmed, struggled, and gasped. It was extremely painful to have your spinal column be stabbed, with a challenge not to have a single tear roll down your cheek.

She grits her teeth, eyes squeezed shut. There wasn't just one tear, but several; traitorous salty drops dripping away.

"Stay in control. In control..!" She shouted repeatedly in her mind as Davin have told her. "All the milk drinking must not go in vaaiiiinnnn."

Ruby howls pain.

She was breathing with a prowl behind it, something animalistic beyond measure, and her vision was straining to adjust to the eerie colors she was seeing. Her forearms suddenly ripped with two protruding spikes, and her knuckles bearing plates.

Little by little, she felt the pain fading, but she also felt herself degrade. Like she couldn't find herself living without a master to dictate her actions.

Then it stopped entirely. The throbbing sensation, the electrifying shock, the awakening dust that rumbled in her chest falling back to stasis. The locks on her body unlocked and she was free to move again.

"What?!" Roman shouted, and then he laughs. "Oh you've got to be kidding me. Calling in animal control."

White Fang Soldiers poured in from the door and pointed the same rifle-crossbow weapons. Before any trigger had fired, the workers crept at their backs and wrestled at their necks, creating riots and a sudden chaos between factions.

Roman groaned loudly, "do I have to do everything myself?" He barked. He pointed the end of his cane to take a shot at Ruby, but Davin swiped it away that made him fire elsewhere. "Run. Take it with you! We'll take care of this!"

Roman kicks him away. Ruby stepped forward, but Davin punched him aside and points for her to leave, "don't put my sacrifice and hard work in vain."

"I can help!" Ruby shouted, surprised that her voice was strained.

"Leave!" Davin bellows.

A worker pulls Ruby, and she couldn't pull away or try to stop herself. Even if she did, she found that the worker-a woman-was stronger than her. It was war inside the premise. Davin's allies pushed away the enemies for Ruby to pass through.

"How are you guys going to get out of here?" Ruby shouted through the crossfire as she was continuously being pulled.

"We can't." She shouts back, and punched the elevator button. The other had been destroyed.

"What do you mean we can't?" Ruby demanded. She was going to protest until the woman had Ruby's weapon in rifle form shoved against her and into the elevator. For the first time, the weight of Crescent Rose brought her down.

"Only you can." She finishes and pressed the button going to ground level. Ruby had trouble lifting her weapon off and before she can stop the elevator from closing, the woman bashes the buttons while the door slammed shut.

Ruby had herself thrown to the doors from being too late. She bangs her fists at it.

"No!" She yelled, her fingers trying to pull away the metal doors to no avail. The elevator had already started to ascend and she knew it was hopeless.


"Don't put your sacrifice in vain huh? It's official. I hate you." She stations Crescent Rose where it ought to be, the weight almost bending her knees. She told herself how she could turn the tables if Davin could just give her the chance to do something. She hated the fact that even though she'd do anything, the losing side weighed insignificantly and she was going to be a drag to everyone in the area who tried so hard to make their own sacrifices just give way to her. "But why.. why me? I don't understand."

The elevator stops and the doors slide open. She took a few good steps out of it before she fell to one knee, the ground under this ruin rumbling harshly from the battle below. She can feel it as clear as her vision. Then she hears running bootsteps coming at her direction, the sound so specific she can probably tell their sizes.

It wasn't a surprise really, that a rally of White Fang soldiers had come for backup. They blocked her front in a semi-circle, weapons aimed directly at her, one of them uneasy and straying from the line. And she liked it? No, dislikes it at how she can feel one of them was shaking, two having their teeth chattering, a few heart racing, and one sweating profusely.

"Cinder wants her 'alive' do you hear me? A few shots will only immobilize her but do 'only' that, or I will rip your Faunus gifts from your body!"

Their ear piece was clear for her to hear. So Roman was still there being a suck-up and she has no idea if Davin was alive. And Cinder. She heard that name. She knows that name.

There was a first shot. It smacked into her shoulder, the second on her chest, and the third on her stomach. Ruby falls on her front.

Honestly she felt like sleeping again.

Arms hoisted her to her feet and her head hang low.

But she also didn't feel like giving up.

Ruby pulls the soldier over her right and throws the soldier on her left. Weapons were set off and it rammed them against her body, one of the vials exploded and rang into her ears. It created a smoke and she used this to push through. One of these days, the White Fang should be called, trigger happy maniacs, because they were shooting aimlessly into the fog hoping they'd get a shot at her. In an effort to stop them she half-wittedly raised her arms to shield herself, and in replace to bullets penetrating her, it slapped on shell.

The forearms, she remembers. She stumbles forward and breached through the circle.

"The hooks!" says a guy.

Ruby turns around in luck to slap away the arrow, back-fisting another one and moving away. Her semblance came into action, enough for her to dodge behind the walls but unable to function well enough to stop on her feet. She gathered herself again and started running. The weight of her weapon was becoming encumber some, but Ruby Rose will never ever leave her glorious work behind, even if it meant death!

She got out through the back. The front for sure was being patrolled by members she didn't want to fight now. The forest engulfs her, swarming into the bushes and trees and into the wild of who knows where. She hears men shouting, the running steps gaining faster than hers. A tree trunk bursts into wooden chunks by the fires of their bullets and another by an arrow.

Ricocheted sparks sent off from her back and she only felt ticked more than shot. Whatever it was they put in her, she was going to take them off. Especially the one around her neck.

Her ankle twisted around the edges of an unsuspecting cliff that sent her rolling against the steep hill. Her body hits a rock and she desperately held onto it to stop her fall. She slipped from the lack of a strong grip and tumbled a few more feet before coming to a dead stop.

Ruby groaned as she climbs to her feet numbly. Staggering and stumbling on herself before getting another run for it. Trees caught her fall, but the more she tried to regain her balance it was as if it gave more time for the White Fang to reach her. So she pushes herself as far as her legs can go, dust she wished they stopped following her.

The forest suddenly began to be spacious and not clustered with trees and shrubberies together. Roaring, angry engines rang through it.

Dirt bikes rushed into the open and circled around Ruby. She kept going though, pushing through the woods as they followed her.

Ruby was then rushed by a driver that punched her across the face and fall harshly onto the ground. Stars riddled across her mind and the world was spinning. Going on one knee, she took out her weapon, unfolded it in front of the biker's path that fortunately for her, had ran through the blade and threw him across the land and knocked to a tree. One down, plenty more-she can't count-to go.

She re-stationed Crescent Rose and made another move, pulling herself back sharply that luckily avoided another smack to her being.

The need for breathe soon got the better of her and she stood panting like mad for air, hands on knees and head swimming.

They circled, round and round. Taunting, maybe, and started pulling out there rifles. Ruby held her stance, the lack of air moving her body to and fro. She stood, although groggily, invited them to come at her. A bike skidded to a stop and instantly took aim and fired.

Ruby's arm moved without thinking and the plates covering them slapped the arrow away. While the shooter reloaded, the second took fire, and Ruby moved her upper body to the side and was able to catch the chain attached to it. With a heave, she jerked him out of the seat.

A vroom came behind her and she took the most, lazy turn with Crescent Rose on hand and knocked over the biker, letting the momentum swing back to its station.

She heard a shot, but her energy lacked to avoid it. She shrieked and yelped when they pulled. Then another, and another, sinking into the flesh. She fought them, forcing to move and pulling them from their seats. The tires of a bike reeved and she was instantly bracing herself for what was going to happen. The hooked arrow yanked her back. She did not fall, her back slowly arching from the intense motor pulling her.

Ruby's grunt turned into a shriek, a shout, to a cry. She screamed from the top of her lungs like screaming was the only thing left to do as she fought. She didn't want to go back. She didn't want to be anyone's test experiments.

So she screamed louder and poured her frustration into it.

The pulling suddenly stopped and she was thrown on her hands as she heard the vehicle being smashed.

Ruby glances at the bikers in front of her. Fear spread across their face covered masks and was frozen still. She hears a growl behind her. From experiences, she knows it was no ordinary dog growl. But a specific growl that came from a Beowolf.

She didn't turn to look at it. She wasn't even afraid. Didn't even care. If the Beowolf wants to haul her away, she would let that happen instead of hooks spraying in her body and dragged to a chair. Not like she wanted to die though, quite the contrary. She'd just rather fight for her life against a Beowolf rather than fighting on restraints.

She braced for it. Ready for a mouth to take her wide and open. It never came.

Air whipped vigorously past her, and she sees white and blue instead of black and colored dust. It ripped and barged and slammed. Brutal hauls and throws with clawing ice and breathe that disabled their bikes. Soldiers that tried to escape fell short.

Ruby stands another time even though she'd rather pass out by now. She turns around, and fought back a grin when she sees her get close and caught her from falling again.

White hair, pale skin, blue piercing eyes. Man she didn't know how much she misses them until now.

Weiss gently guided Ruby on her knees with her. She looked more worried, more concerned than Ruby have ever seen in their time of partnership. It was as if she was going to cry too.

She wanted to wipe away the worry. But even she can't lift a finger. And that's alright, she felt so much safer without a care to be embarrassed by her invulnerability. Now if there was one thing she learned about fast and painless treatment, it was from Weiss.

Below her was a ring of light, rejuvenating the pain she felt everywhere in her body. Weiss was buffing her status. Or more preferably called, pain tolerance and magical anesthesia. One that wouldn't catch you for being drug dependent, but might make you sleep more than you should for a temporary amount of time. Ruby didn't mind sleeping for a few days though; she needed it more than ever. But she can't let that happen now, not yet. She stops Weiss from completing the healing process and looked into her confused eyes.

"Can you help me with this?" Ruby asked, pointing a thumb at her back.


A/N: You guys deserve a long chapter. So here it is. I am also trying to practice giving long ones like this so I can avoid multiple parts.

So stuff is getting gritty with Ruby. Story is all mapped out in my mind so if you find yourself wondering, then I guess it's a good sign? *wink wonk"

Soon enough this story will come to a conclusion and I hope to see you around when that happens. This story has been going on for long, and it's been through a lot. A story and yet I hadn't given up on it. I'm thankful that I still have the courage to write on.

If you have a review, a detailed critic on how I can improve my skills, please don't hesitate to tell me. I want to know what I did wrong and how I can fix it to further push myself.

I have taken heed of previous advices and so far this is how I am trying to change it up. If you find it still wonky, again, tell me which, what and how. And I'll gladly put it into work for the next chapter.

Thanks for coming by and see ya!