Can not wait for Volume 4, that finale was too devastating; I needed to write an epic fic again, like I did for KND with Operation: Stardust. I don't know how long this one'll be, could be anywhere between 100,000 to 200,000 words and over. It'll be big, dark, funny, adventurous, scary, filled with action and drama. Maybe it'll be even longer than my last big fic.
This is in the same universe as my previous Arkos grief oneshot 'I Never Even Told You' think of it as a much bigger, more epic sequel. Fanfiction has become my mental therapy.
EDIT: I know this opening chapter isn't my best, but I promise you it gets better, I just needed the time to improve, so I hope you'll keep reading. Please.
RWBY is owned by Rooster Teeth and created by the late and great Monty Oum.
Read, review, and tell me how I can improve, what you liked and what you didn't. Your feedback is appreciated, thank you!
RWBY: Destiny of Remnant
Chapter 1: The Journey's First Step
In the grand palace that was both terrible and wonderful at the same time, ugly and beautiful, both a ruin and a grand castle, in this place a great evil resided. This great evil was the biggest threat to life in the world of Remnant, all other evil was but mere paltry in comparison to the Mistress of Grimm, Salem.
Salem looked out to her subjects with her piercing red eyes and her face of pure white. She gave off a feeling so oppressive and commanding that all but those who served her would feel terror in their hearts while those who were familiar with her would feel oddly comforted by her gaze.
Cinder Fall bowed down to her master. Salem looked upon her student and smiled with something resembling pride. "You have done very well my dear Cinder. Your handling of our great announcement to the world went over marvelously." She praised.
"Thank you my Master." Cinder said, trying to be modest and calm, but underneath her exterior she had a burning question that needed to be answered.
"The loss of the Wyvern was a disappointment, but there will always be more Grimm." Salem assured her student.
"Master, that girl; Ruby Rose, How did she kill the Wyvern?" Cinder asked, trying to hide her anxiety over what had happened on the top of the tower.
"I have had my eyes on that girl for some time, ever since she attracted the attention of our dear friend Ozpin over there." Salem said, gesturing to where the unconscious man known as Professor Ozpin was chained to the wall until he awakened.
"Yes, but what is she? How did she kill the dragon? How did she nearly defeat me?" Cinder demanded.
"That child is one of the last of the silver eyed people. They are among the great mysteries of Remnant, old legends say they are connected to the great catastrophe that shattered the moon and nearly destroyed our world and they were also responsible for its rebirth. I have seen these silver eyed warriors in action many times and I have personally slain dozens of them. Their eyes give them a special power over the creatures of Grimm, a power even the mighty Wyverns are helpless against."
Cinder could not believe what she was hearing; silver eyes rendered all Grimm helpless? What was that girl?
"She is a threat to us." Cinder stated.
"Yes, but not entirely." Salem said.
"What?" Cinder asked, confused.
"Your actions have created a schism within her team. Her sister's arm has been cut off, driving her into a depression. Her remaining teammates, the Schnee and the Faunus, have been taken and fled respectively. But I have kept my eyes on this child, she determined and not likely to give up. What you did to Pyrrha Nikos has awakened a rage inside of Ruby Rose as well as Nikos' teammates. She will band with them, and they will hunt you down." Salem said.
"Let them come. I will destroy them all." Cinder said defiantly.
"Maybe, but not completely, you took the Nikos girl from them. Taking away loved ones creates avengers; believe me I have put down more than a few in my time. However, some avengers will not stop until their appointed tasks are completed and they believe justice has been served. They think you are in command of our machinations, so they will hunt you, hound you and your followers, and if they do, they will discover my plans. They are but children, I know, but children can make the biggest changes in life. Look at you my disciple," Salem gestured to Cinder, "you were but the 'future guardian' of the Aura Crystal when I found you."
Cinder cringed. She rarely thought about her old home, her family, her heritage, the destiny that Salem had saved her from. "And with the proper training I made you into my greatest apprentice, my burning messenger, my Fall Maiden." She praised.
"Thank you my Master, without you I'd be the silly girl in that old temple wishing for a better life, but you have given me a grander purpose and for that I will always be in your debt." Cinder said.
"I know my child. Tell me, when you were disguised as one of the student teams you became acquainted with Ruby Rose and her team did you not?" Salem questioned.
"We did." Cinder confirmed.
"Where do they think you are from?" Salem asked.
"Haven." Cinder answered.
"Then that is where they will go. Take your followers, Emerald, Mercury, and that Neo girl. With Beacon out of the way and Vale in chaos the criminal element of the city will not be a priority for now. Roman Torchwick's death was a loss, but a minor one, and he has given us a great tool in the form of his pet. Go to Haven and take control of our operations there and wait for further orders." Salem instructed.
"But Haven means I'll have to put up with..." Cinder began in annoyance.
"I do not care for Damien Ante any more than you my dear, but he and his thugs are necessary pawns for now. You will watch over Dr. Sherizawa as he constructs our new army and give him any assistance her requires." Salem said.
"I assure you Mistress, whatever aid Lady Cinder and her band of orphans can give me is quite minor." Said a calm, thin looking man with slicked back hair. This man was Dr. Toma Sherizawa, a scientist that Salem had recruited to help her with technological experiments as well as her biological ones.
"I agree with the doctor, I think my powers will be needed on the front lines." Cinder objected.
Salem smiled and shook her head. "No my disciple, the Arc boy and Ruby Rose both had good looks at you. You will be the most wanted person in all of Remnant, especially since the military and the hunters now suspect that you are the grand master behind the Vytal tragedy. I cannot have my Fall Maiden fall to the lowly hunters. Therefore you shall lay in wait and stay hidden until the time is right." Salem instructed.
Cinder nodded, not fully wanting to go along with her Master's plans, but understanding the need for subterfuge, but she also felt frustrated, because with her newly whole Fall Maiden powers she felt as though she could destroy an entire legion of Huntsmen and Huntresses without much effort.
"Doctor, tell me about the progress on our mechanical army." Salem instructed the thin scientist.
"Well, all is going as planned. Thanks to the information, schematics, and data that Cinder and your spies have collected I will be able to make our army a grand one. While they will be similar in design to Atlas' robots, they will be improved; thicker armor, better weaponry, and most importantly our enemies will not be able to turn them against us like we did with Atlas' drones." The doctor said, allowing a small sign of pride to shine through his stoic face.
"Excellent. That is all for now, go to Haven and await further orders." Salem said. Both of her followers bowed, turned and made for the exit from Salem's open throne room.
Cinder stopped before she reached and door and turned to ask her Master one last question. "What if Rose and Nikos' team find me?" she asked.
"Kill Lie Ren and Nora Valkyrie, but bring Ruby Rose and Jaune Arc to me. They have parts to play in this story." Salem answered simply. Cinder would have asked why she should spare the pathetic Arc child, but knew better than to ask too many questions, so she left her Master.
After Cinder left Salem brought up a hologram of a dark looking man. "Victor, are you happy with your new subject?" she asked.
"Oh yes Mistress, she is perfect for the fourth Grimm Commander." The man, Victor Giger promised the Mistress of Grimm.
"Good, start her conditioning as soon as possible. And Victor, have her bond with the Wyverns." Salem said.
"As you command." Giger said obediently, looking a bit excited at the prospect.
"Also, how goes your Chimera?" Salem asked.
"It goes wonderfully." Giger said proudly as the hologram deactivated.
Salem then turned to another holographic generator as she brought up another figure. "You placed it within him?" she asked.
"Yes Mistress, the fool doesn't even suspect a thing." The figure assured her.
"Wonderful, now is the time for subtlety, after the Vytal Tournament, the people have lost faith in Atlas' military and we can use that fear and paranoia to manipulate and control the populace and with us manipulating a man of his standing into our hands, the world will fall into an even greater pit of chaos and fear. The politics will do half the work for us." Salem said.
"I need to go Mistress, they cannot suspect me."
"Go then my soldier, keep up the facade." Salem permitted him.
Salem then turned to her guards that held Ozpin in place. "Take him to the infirmary and keep him in place until he shows signs of awakening, then have the doctors alert me once he begins to stir." She ordered. The guards both said "Yes Mistress." In unison and dragged the comatose Ozpin away.
Salem sat on her throne, smiled with satisfaction and said "I told you we'd destroy you Ozpin, but I can't destroy you, not yet anyway. Although I can destroy the ones you love and trust."
Cinder followed Sherizawa out to a large courtyard where her own students, Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai waited for her, joined by the mysterious quiet girl known as Neopolitan, or just Neo for short.
She saw Emerald looking down to concrete ground, her hands shaking somewhat. "Emerald, are you alright?" she asked. Emerald's head shot up.
"I'm fine. Just thinking." Emerald said.
"You regret what we did at Vale, don't you?" Cinder asked, causing Mercury to glance at Emerald suspiciously.
"A little. I... I wonder did we really have to cause the deaths of so many people?" Emerald asked.
"You knew what our mission would cause. Why do you regret it now?" Cinder asked, "Because she gets the basic concept of chaos and murder, but when it comes to the act she chickens out." Mercury taunted.
Emerald jumped up and held her twin gun-sickles and pointed them at Mercury's smug face. "Go ahead Mercury. Push it one more inch." She dared him.
"One jump and a well placed kick and your neck is broken in a second flat." He said to her, his smirk growing.
"Enough." Cinder said, her tone was not angry but loud and commanding enough to get them apart from each other. She looked at Emerald and said "Dear Emerald, the world must change, the world must no longer tolerate the suffering people like you two had to go through. With Salem in charge she can make sure it never happens again. The road to a perfect world is hard but the rewards are very satisfying." She promised her student, affectionately rubbing her cheek.
Emerald nodded and said "I understand."
"Good." Cinder said in return.
"What now?" Mercury asked. "My Master has instructed us to go to Haven with Dr. Sherizawa and help oversee the construction of the new mechanical army." Cinder explained.
"You gotta be kidding me." Mercury muttered.
"She has ordered us to lay low for the time being. Our actions at the Vytal Festival have made us criminals wanted by the Atlas Military, every Huntsman and Huntress in Remnant, every law enforcement office on the planet, and a plethora of bounty hunters. So we should stay hidden until the time is right." Cinder explained.
"What about Team RWBY and what's left of JNPR? We told them we came from Haven, so if they come after us for revenge that's literally the first place they'll look for us." Emerald pointed out.
"I am aware of that, and so is my Master. She wants us to capture both Ruby Rose and Jaune Arc if they come after us." Cinder elaborated.
"Arc? That moron? I get taking Ruby but what the hell does the all powerful Mistress of Grimm want with a failure like Arc?" Mercury asked, dumbfounded.
"We shall wait and see. Ours is not to ask why, but to do and, if necessary, die." Cinder said.
"Well that's encouraging." Mercury snarked.
"Neo, order Roman's gangs to head to Haven and to wait for us, once there we will put them under the control of Damien Ante." Cinder said. Neo looked as if she wanted to protest, but said nothing as usual.
"Damien? That idiot? I think I'm beginning to miss Torchwick." Emerald said. "I know, but as I said Emerald, the road is hard." Cinder agreed as she led them to the airship.
Weiss Schnee sat on her bed in her nightgown, feeling miserable. She was back home at the Schnee mansion, safe in her room, but she would give up her family's legacy and fortune just to be back with the amazing trio of girls who had changed her life; Ruby Rose, the absentminded, powerful, goofy, wonderful, clumsy, funny, cheerful girl who had proved herself worthy of leading Weiss into battle. Blake Belladonna, the quiet and mysterious girl who had taught her that Faunus weren't bad and that humanity, her family chief among them, was responsible for many injustices against her kind and made Weiss determined to change that and be a better person. And finally Yang Xiao Long, the brave, once unstoppable, girl who had shown Weiss what a fun time could be with common people, and how powerful a commoner could be.
But they were gone now, after the battle of Beacon had ended, the dust settled with her friend Pyrrha Nikos, the girl Weiss had once selfishly planned to use for her own ends, dead, Yang's arm being cut off by a monstrous White Fang commander. 'Just another reason for me to hate the White Fang.' Weiss thought to herself. Blake had ran away, why she had done that Weiss didn't know but she suspected Yang's injury had something to do with it.
Weiss felt so helpless. She wanted to stay and help her friends, but her father gave no choice in the matter. Before she was forced to leave however her father did allow her to visit the surviving members of Team JNPR.
Nora, easily excitable, optimistic, kooky, was in the most depressed state Weiss had ever seen her in. Lie Ren, the calm, strong, stoic, Ren who looked after Nora had been forced to speak for her.
And Jaune. Poor stupid, lovable, persevering, Jaune. Weiss had hugged him in his bed, intruding upon the privacy between Jaune and his seven sisters. She felt like that, a hug from the girl he had a crush on would cheer him up, but it did no such thing. He said he was in love with Pyrrah and he didn't fully realize it until it was too late. Weiss, feeling a little hurt that Jaune no longer harbored romantic feelings for her, understood. Pyrrha loved Jaune, that much was obvious, and that Jaune could no longer love anyone else but the girl who died for destiny.
Destiny. Such a stupid thing. If Pyrrha was to die against that crazy Cinder witch then what was her destiny? Was her destiny to continue her family's legacy of cruelty, corruption, and harsh business? Was it to redeem the Schnee name? Was it to be a pampered Princess who tried to be something she wasn't and would never be? And for that matter what was Ruby's destiny? What was Yang's destiny or Blake's destiny or Jaune's destiny or Winter's destiny or anyone's destiny?
Weiss didn't have the answers. No one did.
As Weiss set down to sleep she had two hopes for her future; that Team RWBY would be reunited and that destiny was not set in stone and if it was, she'd chisel it away.
Winter Schnee walked with her father, Willow Schnee to the control room of the Atlas Military Command Headquarters.
"Is Weiss alright? I didn't get the chance to speak with her." Winter asked her father.
"She'll be fine. She's like you, she'll recover and some day she will understand why I took her away from that mess." Willow Schnee said.
"She wanted to stay with that Ruby girl, didn't she?" Winter guessed.
"Yes. That child has had quite the effect on Weiss." Schnee said.
"I hope the girl's pathetic Uncle doesn't have the same effect on her." Winter muttered as the door to the command room opened.
"I heard that Ice Queen." Said the mocking voice of the new Headmaster of Beacon, Qrow Branwen who was there via video screen.
"I know." Winter said, uncaring.
"Lady, if I was ten years younger I'd actually find you attractive." Qrow said, with that cocky smirk of his.
"Oh please. Like you could handle me." Winter shot back.
"You'd be surprised what I've handled in my life." He said, his eyebrow cocking up.
"Cut the pillow talk you two, we have more important matters to discuss." Ordered General James Ironwood, his half-cyborg body now mended thanks to the technicians under the Atlas Military's employ.
"You're welcome to join in any time Jimmy." Qrow joked.
Ironwood shot him an annoyed, dirty look before continuing. "Our spies, information gatherers, and scouts have made no such progress in locating Ozpin. We've infiltrated White Fang bases, crime syndicates, pirates, but we have found no link to Ozpin or to our priority target Cinder Fall." Ironwood said, before he looked to Qrow, "Any luck on your end?"
"I got my best spies looking as hard as they can. Top to bottom and everywhere in-between, in every back alley, every seedy tavern, every establishment of questionable ethics, old ruins, Grimm infested forests, and under every rock they could turn over. I even had a forensics team scan the vault, try to see if that witch bitch killed Ozpin. No luck so far." Qrow answered.
"And what of said witch?" asked Winter.
"Nothing but rumors and scuttlebutt. Most of the White Fang thugs we managed to capture are too scared of her to speak; they say we can't protect them against her now that she's taken the Fall Maiden's powers. Torchwick's gangs and the criminals connected to them have all gotten out of dodge. I have my spies looking for them, but so far nothing. If anyone knows anything they're probably like the White Fang, too damned scared to talk, and considering what she did right under our noses, turned your tin soldiers against you with the press of a button, murdered a champion like Nikos, and did something to Ozpin I don't blame them." Qrow admitted.
"Damn it." Ironwood muttered.
Willow noticed the distressed looks on both men's faces and decided to intervene "Yes, well things are not all bad gentlemen; my Dust intake from the mines has gone up, the Dust is ready to be weaponized and be to be used to protect the world in your capable hands." Schnee said proudly.
"Yes Mr. Schnee, we know how well your business has been going over. Our contracts are still in place, we will purchase it from you as long as you supply it to us." Ironwoods assured the rich man.
"Yeah, not like a little less military is what we need right now." Qrow remarked.
"What are you saying?! After the disaster at the Vytal Tournament we are needed now more than ever." Ironwood objected.
"Listen Jimmy, after your toys got turned on us, only to be taken down by a bunch of teenagers, the common folk, as Schnee here would call 'em, is scared. They don't fully understand what happened, hell we barely know what went down, I'm not suggesting you cease operations, but be more subtle about it, teach your boys and girls to be more friendly to people. Anyway it's like I said earlier Cinder Fall was right in front of us, we could have stopped her had we the common sense to notice the subtle warnings. I've had some of the schools tech teachers look into the tournament's records; they show signs of being sabotaged. Someone manipulated the pair ups so that my niece fought Mercury Black, so that your android girl went up against Nikos. Security footage also caught Black walking around the arena just before your little robo-girl got sliced." Qrow said.
"This is most troubling. If we did not catch on to their plans as they happened, then how can we catch them now?" Winter asked.
"We'll just have to keep a tighter look out. Increase patrols, put out curfews, tighten security, investigate homes, at this point anyone could be a threat." Ironwood said.
"A wise idea sir." Said one of Ironwood's men, known as Ulysses Cy. Several of Cy's colleagues voice agreement.
"No, bad idea, stupid idea." Qrow objected.
"How so?" asked Schnee.
"Well for starters, the people out there are already wary of the Atlas army, we don't need curfews and patrols to make them even more paranoid. Some people think you're even in league with Cinder Fall, that you told her how the robots turned against us to get to the vault to kill Ozpin." Qrow said.
Winter glared at the man, who was surprisingly sober, a rarity to be sure, so this ridiculous theory couldn't be drunken ramblings. "How could you even say that?!" Winter demanded.
"I know it's not true. Jimmy might be a jackass, but he's no traitor, especially not to Ozpin, but you can't tell that to scared people. People are afraid, you can't really talk sense into them until they calm down." Qrow reasoned.
"Why would they think I'm a traitor? I got shot down, the Atlesian Knights turned against me too, I was forced to shoot my own soldiers." Ironwood pointed out.
"Classic misdirection, because of movies and TV shows some people are becoming more familiar with military tactics." Qrow explained.
Ironwood sighed, there was no denying the hacking of the Atlesian Knights and the Paladins was a blow to both the military's ego and credibility as well as a mighty blow to the faith the people of Remnant had in them. Ironwood knew that Qrow was right and the fear of the populace was not unfounded.
"It will not come to that." Cy objected, "We will not let Atlas subjugate the world and force a police state into effect. That will only give Cinder Fall power that we cannot let her obtain." He finished. There was a small chorus of agreements.
"At least there's someone with sense on Ironwood's elite." Qrow muttered.
"While I do agree with Branwen that we cannot bully the people of Remnant into our rule, I think General Ironwood is right when he says we must remain vigilant." said another one of Ironwoods loyal officers known as Jackson Chamberlain.
"I'm not saying we should let Fall and her cronies do whatever they please, I think we should lay in wait, watch for them, and the moment they set their foots out a door we jump 'em." Qrow said.
"Yes, all well and good except for the fact we don't know where they are." Winter reminded him.
"You are a constant downer." Qrow chuckled.
"Enough. We already have several new battalions of Atlesian Knights, a new model, the 300." Ironwood said, bringing up a hologram of the new model of the robotic soldier. It was the same size as the previous one, but its color was a dull gray, its arms and leg looked to be more flexible, and had built in blasters on the wrist. "The new model will be able to infiltrate enemy bases, get intel, and sneak out without being seen. We've spared no expense on it; new weapons, new camouflage system, new flight tech, new everything." Ironwood said, as he noticed a skeptical look on Qrow's face.
"You sure that's such a good idea?" Qrow asked.
"Yes, we are taking new extreme precautions. It will no longer take orders from a central computer, only a biological leader and even then the only ones who can change orders are those among my chose staff, such as myself, Miss Schnee, Cy, Chamberlain, and hopefully you Qrow if you'll agree to it." Ironwood explained.
"I'll think on it. How soon until their ready to be publicly announced?" Qrow asked.
"Within the week." Ironwood stated.
Qrow sighed, he knew there was no changing Ironwood's mind on this "Just be careful Jimmy. I'll contact you if my spies find anything." Qrow said.
"One last thing before you leave, how is Glynda?" Ironwood asked, trying to keep it casual.
"As well as you can expect. She took it hard, we all did. My niece Ruby woke up the other day in case you were wondering, she didn't take any of it well and before you ask Jimmy don't you dare approach her and recruit her into your special division because of her eyes. Qrow out." And with that Qrow's face, which now had a serious and stern expression on it vanished from the screen.
"I cannot believe Ozpin worked so closely with that drunken fool." Schnee said.
"I had my doubts, still do, but I trust Qrow and I will do my best to earn his trust." Ironwood said.
"On the note of our robotics division, how is progress on the reconstruction of Penny Polendina?" asked Winter.
"We'll have to speak to Joseph in person about it. He didn't take it well." Ironwood said grimly.
"And what of the security increase?" Cy asked.
"Do it for Atlas. At least our own people know we'd never turn on them." Ironwood permitted.
An old man rubbed the metal head of the destroyed Penny Polendina. "I can rebuild you Penny. I... I promise. You'll never be hurt again. I'm sorry I let them use you like that but I had no choice in the matter. And it's likely they'll take you away again. I failed you my daughter. Forgive me."
4 Months Later
Night had fallen in the woods thirty miles away from the city of Haven, snow covered the ground. It was quiet, birds had flown south for warmth and what little birds that had stayed were sleeping in their nests. Rabbits and other animals of the forest hibernated, so they were blissfully unaware of the four teenagers that trekked through the barren woods with brown, leafless tress surrounded by snow that covered miles of ground.
The young girl in front looked behind her to her fellow new teammates; Lie Ren was behind her, calm and stoic as always. She knew his face hid a mind filled with thoughts about what the future could hold and one that mourned for his fallen friend.
Behind Ren was his partner and best friend Nora Valkyrie. A small smile was on her face, the cold seemingly not bothering her despite wearing shorts. She looked around, admiring the beauty of winter. Despite Nora's constant cheerfulness Ruby could tell there was an inner sadness like Ren as she mourned the late Pyrrha Nikos. Out of the three survivors of the team she hid her grief the best, as Nora's eccentric personality could practically trump anything.
And bringing up the rear, walking slowly behind the other three at his own pace was Jaune Arc, the former leader of the now defunct Team JNPR. He did not bother to hide his grief, his face wore a frown, his eyes looked down, his face somewhat rugged with a small growing beard (a thing no one could see him with prior to him quitting shaving), hair uncombed. He looked up to the girl and front and gave a smile. She smiled back as she knew out of the three surviving members of Team JNPR he had suffered the most from Pyrrha's sacrifice.
After Jaune and Pyrrha had ran so Professor Ozpin could battle Cinder they quickly saw Cinder had defeated the Headmaster of Beacon Academy, whatever had happened to their Headmaster they hoped he was alright, and Pyrrha had revealed her love for the goofy Arc boy by kissing him, and then shoved him into a rocket-locker and launched him off into another part of Vale, so she could go and fight Cinder. Fighting Cinder with her newly acquired Fall Maiden powers was suicide, but the brave, 'invincible' Pyrrha Nikos went to her destiny without any hesitation but a kiss to the boy she loved.
Her sacrifice had driven Jaune into a depression, causing him to feel guilt over it, blaming himself for not realizing her feelings for him until it was too late but he had somewhat bounced back, willing to go out and avenge the girl he loved. His depression was still there, he mourned her, regretted his naiveté that had cost him a potential relationship with the redhead beauty, but he still moved on, he still lived his life and knew his purpose. At least Jaune handled depression better than the lead girl's sister.
As for the girl who led this group, her name was Ruby Rose, the former leader of the now disbanded team RWBY. She had came up with this idea, this personal mission to hunt down Cinder Fall, Emerald Sustrai, Mercury Black and anyone else working with them and bring them to justice. Those three people had caused the deaths of Pyrrha, Ruby's friend Penny Polendina, and over a hundred other innocent people who had been killed by the Grimm that had attacked the city.
Ruby's friends were gone; Blake had ran away, as she had when she had revealed she was once a member of the White Fang. She had asked Yang what had happened, Yang had said some guy from the White Fang had stabbed Blake in the gut and when Yang tried to save her said White Fang thug had severed Yang's arm off from the elbow down. She did not blame Blake at all for running away, who could? Blake had finally found a home, friends, a family only for her past to rip it away and maim Blake's best friend. Ruby knew Blake blamed herself for this, she just wished Blake trusted her more. The loss of Yang's arm had caused Ruby's beloved sister to sink into a depression the likes of which Ruby had never seen her sister in. Yang had been one of Ruby's many inspirations growing up, her strong, brave, beautiful, cocky big sister, always rushing into things, always trying to look on the bright side. However Yang Xiao Long was now nothing more than a broken shell of the woman she once was, sitting in bed for hours on end, only getting up to go to the bathroom, letting their father bring her food and drink. It broke Ruby's heart to see her big sister like that.
Yang was another reason she was going on this mission. Her sister might never snap out of this, so Ruby had to do it for her. And finally Weiss, the girl that Ruby had so desperately tried to befriend their first few months at Beacon. She and the rich Schnee girl had made progress, a lot of it. Weiss was no longer the spoiled, pampered, snooty, prejudiced, stuck up girl that had come to Beacon expecting herself to be treated like royalty by everyone, now she saw herself as equal to almost everyone. Her father had taken her away to their home in Atlas. Ruby understood why her father had done so, any father would do the same, get their daughter to safety as fast as possible. She smiled as she briefly thought about her own father, Taiyang Xiao Long, the man who had lost two wives but carried on regardless, raising two little girls almost entirely alone and no matter what the situation would always give his daughters a smile and tell them everything would be alright. Ruby was going on this mission to prove to her father that he didn't need to make everything right by himself. She and her friends would do it this time.
As they continued walking through the woods, with the only source of light being the shattered moon, Ruby's thoughts strayed to Emerald Sustrai, the illusionist who tricked people into thinking Yang was a mindless brute. She thought of Mercury Black who had cruelly taunted her over tricking Pyrrha into destroying Penny. But the woman her thoughts would often go to was the monster responsible for the deaths of her friends, the woman who was behind this, the monster known as Cinder Fall.
These three, these murderers, were responsible for the deaths of two friends, and possibly an untold amount of people prior to Ruby meeting the evil trio. Earlier, when the three and the forth one, the girl who Ruby had fought on Ironwood's airship, had infiltrated Beacon academy as students in for the Vytal Festival, they told them that they were from Haven Academy, the academy in Haven City, a large and very populated city that Ruby's friends Sun and Neptune of Team SSSN as well as Team ABRN, the team her old team had fought in the Vytal Tournament, had all hailed from.
She had never been there, neither had Ren or Nora, but Jaune had been there once on a family vacation and he described the city as gigantic, metropolitan, by the sea but only with a few sunny beaches while the rest of the border between sea and land was covered with harbors and docks. Large towers that towered above the city and giant factories dotted the sounded bigger than any city Ruby had ever been to, but that failed to impede her determination. Cities were just cities, they could be big or small but it was the people of that city that mattered, and if those buildings contained the people they were after, then they mattered. It would be hard and tedious looking through such a gigantic metropolis, but Ruby hoped and prayed that it would be worth it.
Ruby felt her legs ache; it had been three hours since their last break so her legs naturally begged for rest, plus the night and the falling temperature signaled the need for the night's camp.
"I think we should stop for the night." She said to the other three, making them stop in their tracks.
"Fine by me." Jaune said simply.
"Eh, I could go for some on my butt or on my back time." Nora admitted, kneeling down and rubbing her sore knee.
"I could use a rest as well." Ren added.
Ruby nodded, they were all in agreement. "Ren, scout around for a suitable camping sight." She said. Ren nodded and walked off into the woods. Nora and Jaune sat down, taking a load off their tired legs.
"How much further to Haven?" asked Nora.
Jaune took out Pyrrha's scroll, which Pyrrha's parents had allowed him to keep. He checked a map on the device and said "About thirty, maybe twenty-nine miles. We'll make it by tomorrow." He said, feeling a sense of relief.
Nora leaned down and picked up a wad of snow. "Anyone up for a snowball fight until Ren gets back?" she asked.
"I'll pass." Jaune said, "Besides, you'd cream me." He added.
"You better believe it." Nora teased; she then looked to Ruby for her answer.
"Sorry Nora, I'm way too tired, maybe in the morning on our way to Haven." Ruby said. She knew that Nora was trying to cheer them us, it was a talent for her. Ruby remembered that Blake suggested Nora's overly cheerful persona hid something very sad underneath, but she kept up her silly antics to cheer up everyone as well as herself.
Ren walked through the snowy forest and breathed in and out. Despite hours of silent contemplation, well it would have been silent if not for the interruptions of Nora, he didn't really know if this mission would truly succeed or not. They could be captured by the Haven police and sent back home to Vale, or even find nothing and this entire expedition would be pointless.
But Ruby and Jaune and Nora seemed to believe they'd find something, and that was enough for him.
Lie Ren was always a follower, when he was young he always followed his parents instructions, and when they were killed in a horrible Grimm attack caused by that... thing, he had been hidden safely and left a helpless child, but he hadn't been alone. In that dark hiding place, he found another hidden child, the girl who would go on to his best friend and partner; Nora Valkyrie. He used his own Semblance to hide them from the monsters outside and they stayed together, sitting in the rubble of the village for several days until they were found by a rescue group and when they took them to their camp the two discovered that their parents were indeed dead, and so they decided that they would stick together for as long as they could, they had both lost their families, so they would start a new family, just the two of them.
It had been Nora's idea, and when she proposed the simple idea to him, asking if he wanted to stick with he, he had decided to stay and joined the energetic redhead. They had been together ever since, with her making most of the big decisions for them, but he would occasionally have to jump in and talk her out of something when it was particularly dangerous or crazy.
Ren did not mind the life of a follower, but he knew occasionally he'd have to make decisions of his own. This quest was one of them. He wasn't doing it because someone told him to go; he was doing this because he wanted to go. For his friend Pyrrha.
Just then he heard something that sent a chill down his spine; a scream from nearby, one that was not any of his teammates. The scream was male, and he knew Jaune's screams and this wasn't one of them. He ran forward, looking to find the source of the scream.
Yang Xiao Long sat in her bed looking out the window. She watched as the night wind occasionally carried snow off the roof, but that was all.
She stayed in isolation, alone in her room. No Blake, she had run off because she was too damn guilty and sorry for herself. 'Just like you are.' Her subconscience told her. Yang ignored it. No Weiss, too pampered, too much of a daddy's girl to try and fight anymore. 'Look who's talkin'.' Her inner self snapped at her. Again, she ignored it.
And worse of all no Ruby. She had run off as well with Jaune, Ren, and Nora on some idiotic crusade to avenge Pyrrha and Penny. Going out into the dark and dangerous winter to bring the new Fall Maiden to justice. Stupid kid. She'll get herself killed. 'Your little sister, is alone in the world. She's trying to save Remnant, you should get up and go after her, join her, help her bring down that witch and her lackeys.' Her inner self said to her. Yang continued to ignore her urges, the burning urge to get up, put on one of her gauntlets again, and go out and fight with Ruby and her friends, and bring that bitch down.
Instead she sat in her bed, wallowing in self pity. She hated it. She hated Blake for running, she hated Weiss for leaving with her dad, she hated Ruby for going on a impossible mission, she hated her dad for nursing her too much, she hated Pyrrha for stupidly sacrificing herself, she hated Ozpin for allowing this to happen, she hated Jaune for being too weak to do anything, she hated Nora for that cheery attitude that she wanted to have again, she hated Ren for just going with the flow, she hated Ironwood for letting his army get turned against him, but there were five people she hated in particular; Mercury for making her look like a thug, Emerald for fooling everyone with that illusion, Cinder for manipulating everyone and murdering Pyrrha, that White Fang scumbag that stabbed Blake and had taken her arm from her, rendering her helpless in this damned bed in this damned room.
She hated her mother for abandoning her twice. 'You left me alone as a kid, you broke dad's heart. The only good things to come from you leaving were Summer, a better mom that you'll ever be, and Ruby. Why didn't you help us at Beacon? You saved me on the train from the girl with the umbrella, why couldn't you help when I really needed you?' "You dumb bitch!" she said aloud, gritting her teeth and digging her nails on her remaining hand into her palm.
The last person Yang hated so much was herself. She hated herself for losing to that White Fang asshole, hated herself for being so angry at everyone, hated herself for letting Ruby and the others go alone, hated herself for being so useless, hated herself for just laying in her bed all day, hated herself for being so pathetic, hated herself because she was no longer the boisterous, pun and fun loving, take the world head on come what may girl she used to be. She was now just a hollow shell.
She looked down besides her bed and saw her dog Zwei. She reached down with her remaining arm and gently rubbed the spot behind his ear that he always loved to be rubbed. He quietly barked, a gentle and happy bark. She smiled, something she had done a total of three times since that night in Beacon. "Sometimes Zwei I feel like it's just you and me." She said sadly.
She heard the door creak as it opened and she looked to see her father, Taiyang come in with her scroll. "Yang, honey, a friend is calling you." He said.
"Is it Jaune? Or Ren? Or Nora?" she asked, daring to hope for news on Ruby.
"No, it's someone called Sun, says he knows you." Her dad said as he placed the scroll in her hand.
"Sun?" she asked, curious as to why her former friend's boyfriend would be calling her. She looked at the scroll and said "Hey Sun." in a melancholic voice.
"Hey Yang, you doing any better?" he asked, hopefully.
"Not really. Still the same as the last four months." She answered sadly.
"Aw man, you gotta snap out of it! Blake said that you could..."
"Well Blake's gone. She ran off like the coward she is." Yang snapped angrily.
"Don't say that about her! She'd never abandon you or anyone for no reason! There had to be a good reason why she left without telling any of you guys or me where she'd go." Sun tried to reason.
"I don't care Sun. She left, that's that. She can go and do whatever she wants." Yang said bitterly.
"I can't believe you'd say that! She never had anything bad to say about you, aside from the puns, she said you were her best friend! She loved you Yang!" Sun argued.
"Not enough! It's her fault I'm like this! Bound to this stupid room all day without my fucking arm!" Yang yelled at him. "
"Yang, please calm down." Her father pleaded as Zwei backed up to the door.
"It's not her fault! It was that White Fang bastard that did this to you, not Blake! Yang, hear me out okay, I'm gonna try to find Yang, find out what's going on with her and if I need to, help her out with whatever she needs to do. Please Yang, I need your help." Sun begged, sounding desperate.
"No." Yang said sternly.
"Come on Yang! She deserves another chance! And you can't let yourself rot away like this! Come with me, please!" Sun begged again.
"No, I'm not going to help the bitch that left me. If you find her, tell her Yang said 'fuck you.'" Yang said, her eyes glowing with rage, shocking her father with her harsh words.
Sun sounded like he was holding back tears. "Yeah? Well fuck you too!" he shouted as he shut off his own scroll.
Yang threw her scroll to the ground and broke down crying. She pounded the bed with her only fist, tears pouring out of her eyes.
Her father sat down on the bed, grabbed his daughter and pulled her into a strong hug. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!" Yang began to chant as she buried her head in her father's chest.
"I'm sorry too Yang. I wasn't a good enough dad. I never was." He said as he cried with his daughter.
Yang cried for Blake, for Sun, for Ruby, for Pyrrha, for Jaune, for Penny, for her dad, and for who she used to be.
Taiyang cried for the broken daughter he held in his arms, for his brave younger daughter that was off on a journey to avenge her friends and save the world, for his love Summer Rose who had died, for his first love Raven Branwen who had left him. He cried for his broken, scattered family.
Zwei came back in, jumped on the bed, and cuddled up next to Yang to comfort her.
"Yeah? Well fuck you too!" Sun shouted as he cut off the call. He tightened his grip on his scroll as he tucked it into his pocket. He ran over to the wall and punched it, hard enough to shatter the plaster wall.
"You'll get in trouble for that." Said his teammate and best friend Neptune Vasilias. Sun glared at Neptune before looking down to the ground in defeat.
"I'll cover it with a poster so Sage and Scarlet won't bitch at me." He said miserably.
"Didn't go too well did it?" Neptune asked.
"What was your first clue?" Sun snapped.
"She won't help you will she?" Neptune guessed.
"Got it in one." Sun answered dryly.
Neptune sighed, sat on his bed and said to Sun "Take it easy on Yang. She's been through a lot. What that creep did to her was horrible and Blake leaving was salt in the wound. It takes a lot to turn someone like Yang into a broken shell." Neptune said, remembering Yang's constant bravado at Junior's Club or at the Vytal Tournament.
"Blake said Yang was her best friend. That team was the family she hadn't had in years! How can Yang just give up on her like that?!" Sun cried in frustration, his tail swinging furiously.
"Loss does a lot to us man. We all have our ways of dealing with it. This is Yang's way. Let her go." Neptune advised, trying not to provoke his Faunus friend.
Sun lay down on his bed and buried his face in his pillow.
"You really do love Blake, don't you?" Neptune said, knowing what Sun's answer would be.
Sun raised his head up from his pillow and said "I remember the first time I saw take off her bow in the streets. How miserable she looked, how sad and tired of running she was. I wanted to help her, I needed to help her. Those eyes man, they were just so haunting. It's cheesy, I know, but I knew then and there that I needed to help her. I love her man." Sun finished.
"And your going to go out into the world and look for her, with or without help, aren't you?" Neptune asked.
Sun nodded, "I don't care if you report me, I don't care if you try to stop me. I'm going to find her and help her. I will never abandon her. I'll take on the entire White Fang on alone if I have to, but I will find her." Sun vowed.
Neptune shook his head and said "You won't do it alone. I'm going with you."
Sun looked at his friend and smiled. He walked across the small dorm room and hugged his best friend. "Thanks bro." he said.
"Don't mention it. Thick and thin, rain or shine, we'll do it together." Neptune promised.
Sun smiled and said "Now the hard part will be to find out where she is and to find out who that White Fang shithead was."
"The other hard part will be to convince Scarlet and Sage to go along with us." Neptune added.
"Even if they don't, it'll be the two of us." Sun said to his guy he was proud to call his best friend.
Sun looked out to the night sky and promised "I'll find you Blake."
Blake Belladonna watched from afar as Glynda Goodwitch, Bartholomew Oobleck, Peter Port, and the other teachers and some the senior students of the once grand Beacon Academy slaughtered the Grimm that now tried to invade the ruins of the school and the capital city that surrounded it.
She watched as Port blasted the head off of a Beowulf, as Oobleck impaled a Deathstalker's head, as all of the teachers and students encircled Goodwitch as she used ever ounce of her power to repair the once great city of Vale. Blake knew it wouldn't be enough. The fallout of the disaster had caused so much fear and grief that the Grimm were stronger than she had ever seen them.
Blake had been in hiding, out of shame, out of guilt, out of fear. She just needed to get away. She had been moving about the Kingdom of Vale for the last four months, killing the occasional Grimm, helping the stragglers out of danger, and would secretly return to the capital to help out every now and then but she knew this was not enough to undo what had been done. What she had done.
It was her fault. Her fault Adam had allied with Cinder, her fault Yang's arm had been cut off, and her fault Team RWBY was no more. It was her fault Adam had taken control of the White Fang; she thought things weren't getting done. Humans still held prejudice against innocent Faunus, Faunus children were still bullied and tormented for their animal traits, humanity needed to be taught a lesson.
But Blake had realized that it was herself that needed to learn, and she had learned at a great cost, she had learned that Faunus and humans could both be just as bad as one another.
What Adam had done to the once peaceful White Fang was monstrous, turning its agents into killers, banishing and exiling, even executing any who spoke against him.
She remembered that day when that mysterious woman came and offered Adam assistance if he allied with her. That was the morning of the train robbery, the last time the two former lovers had fought as one. It was then she realized that Adam wasn't going to change. She abandoned him and that drove him over the edge, it turned him to the woman Blake now realized was Cinder Fall. It had made Adam into the monster he was now. The monster Blake wanted nothing more than to hunt down and make him pay for what he did to Yang. She couldn't face Yang, or Ruby, or Weiss, or Jaune, or Sun, or anyone. Blake had never felt so helpless in her entire life.
She watched as the teachers and students worked together, successfully fending off the Grimm together.
'Teachers and students.' Blake thought to herself. An idea popped into her head and she now knew what she had to do. She jumped to another building behind her and began running to the city's exit with precision and grace. She needed to get to him.
A man she had not seen in over two years was the only what who could help her now. She needed to go to the man who founded the White Fang, the man who she once looked to as a father figure, the one she had helped Adam overthrow as the leader of the White Fang; Claudandus.
Qrow sighed as he listened to Goodwitch's report on the situation. Over two hundred and eighty-six grim had been killed today by the combined efforts of teachers and the few senior students that were allowed to stay and help. Repairs to the city were coming along slowly but surely and they would take months to get the city presentable again, even with her powers.
Qrow shook his head and said "I am way too sober for this shit."
"Stay sober, until we locate Ozpin you're stuck here as our new leader." Glynda scolded.
"Trust me, I'd like nothing more than to find Ozpin and for everything to go back to the status quo, but things aren't that easy." Qrow shot back.
"How are your nieces?" Glynda asked, ever the good teacher.
"Yang's still in a rut. Ruby's still out there with the Arc kid and what's left of his team. I'd send someone to find them and bring 'em back, but we're too busy looking for Ozpin and that witch bitch that fancies herself a Maiden." Qrow said. He had lied about Ruby, he knew where they were and where they were going, but he knew that his silver-eyed niece was their best chance at stopping Cinder Fall and her mysterious master.
"I wish I could do more Branwen. I feel so damn helpless!" Glynda said, breaking her normally calm exterior.
"We all do." Qrow said in agreement with her.
Glynda looked down and said "It's our fault. It's our fault that Pyrrha Nikos is dead, our fault that Ozpin is gone... if we had paid more attention. If we had been faster, stronger, better..."
"We'd only delay the inevitable. There's nothing we can do to stop it for now, until we fully understand what the hell we're dealing with we can't do anything. I know we gave the girl a death sentence when we chose her as the new Fall Maiden, I know Ozpin is God knows where, but I know that for now we can only wait for the right time." Qrow said.
There was a silence between the two teachers.
"You know, you can be quite profound and wise when you not drunk." Glynda said, and with that she walked out of his office.
Qrow heard his scroll beep and he answered it. "Hey Taiyang, Blondie doing any better?" he asked his brother-in-law.
"No." the blonde man answered sadly.
Qrow sighed once again and said "Well that's to be expected. And before you ask; no, there is still no word on Ruby."
Taiyang's face darkened and he answered with "I feel like a failure Qrow."
"You aren't a failure man, you did your damn best to raise these girls, I think Yang will snap out of it in time. As for Ruby, well she's Ruby. She's like her mom, the unstoppable girl with silver eyes. They'll be fine Taiyang, I promise." He said to the worried man.
"I hope so Qrow, I can only hope for now." Taiyang said as he hung up.
Qrow felt sorry for his former teammate, but knew there was only one thing that could get everything back to normal. He activated another communications line on his scroll and said to the person who answered him "Get back here, we need to talk."
Voices. He heard voices. "He's waking up! Go get Mistress Salem!"
Salem? What...? Ozpin could not process the thought as he slipped back into sleep.
The young man and a few dozen other people were surrounded by Grimm of all kinds in that hellish pit. "Help us! Please somebody! Get us out of here!" a young girl yelled before a duo of Beowolves slammed her into the cliff wall so hard they broke her neck, ending her life instantly.
The young man witnessed it, he screamed in terror as he blasted the beasts with his weapon; he turned around to blast away another Beowulf before it could pounce on him. He heard a middle aged man scream as Blood Lusts, Grimm Leeches, began to tear him apart limb by limb, feasting on his blood. "Hoyt!" the young man yelled in horror at the sight of the man's bloody demise.
The young man looked up and saw a friend of his climbing up the rocky cliffside. "Rex! No! It's too dangerous! Get down!" he called to his fellow young soldier, but it was too late, as the claw of a crab-like Grimm punched out of a small, thin cave opening, grabbed Rex and pulled him inside, snapping his spine in two like a twig to do so.
He heard sudden screams be silenced by gunshots. He turned around to see the only officer left had begun shooting his own people, putting them out of their misery and giving them merciful deaths. "What are you doing?! Stop!" the young man cried, before the officer brought the revolver to his forehead and pulled the trigger.
The young man fell to his knees and screamed in terror and woe as chaos reigned supreme around him.
Then there was a light.
Ren found the source of the screams, a tent in the middle of the woods, in what was the perfect camping ground for the location.
Ren drew out a flashlight, as well one of the StormFlowers and made sure they were ready, just in case.
He ran towards then tents opening flap and ripped it open and shone the light on a man who had just woken up.
The man had dirty grayish-black hair, appeared to be in his late twenties or early thirties, his body was covered with sweat and his eyes were wide with terror.
He looked at Ren and demanded to know "Who the hell are you?"
"My apologies sir, you were screaming and I thought someone was in trouble. My name is Lie Ren." Ren answered calmly, putting away his weapon.
"Sorry to scare you. Just having a nightmare, old ghosts." The man apologized in return.
Ren heard footsteps in the snow, he turned to see him team, with Nora in front naturally, running towards him. "Ren! Are you okay?!" Nora cried as she ran forward and hugged him with a crushing bear hug.
"I'm fine! I need some air though!" he managed to gasp out.
Nora dropped her partner, blushing, and said "Sorry!"
Ruby looked to the adult coming out of the tent, wearing a gray hoodie to protect himself form the cold.
"What are four teenagers doing out in the woods at this hour?" he asked.
"We're on a mission." Ruby said vaguely.
The man looked at Ruby and said "I know who you are, yeah; you're that girl they've been talking about. I've been hearing all kinds of rumors." He said, recognizing her face from a news report on TV.
"People are talking about me?" Ruby asked, confused. She knew that people had been shocked by her somehow killing the Wyvern, but rumors about her?
"Who are you?" Jaune asked suspiciously. The man looked to Jaune; before he answered him he paused and looked Jaune in the eye, but continued on.
"Name's Ashe. Now how about introductions all around? I know two of you are Ruby Rose and Lie Ren, but who're the other two?" Ashe asked.
"My name is Jaune Arc." Jaune said, wondering why the man had looked at him like that.
"And I'm Nora Valkyrie! Pleased to meet you!" Nora said, shaking the stranger's hand.
The man, now known to the group as Ashe, chuckled at Nora's forwardness.
"So what are you doing out here?" Jaune asked,
"You kids are on a mission, I'm looking for a mission. I'm on my way to Haven to find my sister. Haven't seen her since our parents died." He explained.
"Why are you looking for a mission?" Ruby asked.
Ashe smiled at the young girl and said "Purpose. Something I've been lacking for five years."
"You said you were going to Haven to find you sister. What else do you need for a purpose?" Jaune asked, confused.
"Oh, sorry, my life has no consistency so neither does my mind." Ashe joked.
"May we camp here with you for the night? It's the best ground I can see for it." Ren stated.
"Of course you can. I don't own the forest. Besides, it would be nice to have some company for once." He agreed.
And with that the four teenagers were able to get up both tents, one for girls and the other for buys, in no time with the help of Ashe.
And with that all of them went to sleep, feeling safe with this new, strange man. Ren did, however, sleep with his weapon under his pillow just in case.
Ozpin woke up. He felt terrible. Thoughts slammed through his mind instantly. Cinder Fall attacking, Amber's dead, Jaune and Pyrrha run off to get help, fighting Cinder, he gets slammed into a wall, a sharp pain in his lower back, a feeling of numbness... then nothing. What had happened? Had Cinder won? Where was he? Not a medical station or an infirmary that was for sure. The ceiling was dark and made up of gray, decaying bricks.
He tried to move, but realized his movement was impeded by chains. "Not good." The man muttered to himself.
"Oh Ozpin, you don't know the half of it." Said a voice that Ozpin had not heard in a long time and one he never expected to hear from again outside of his nightmares.
His upper body forced itself up and he looked to the other end of the small, damp cell. An older man, matted and ratty white hair with dead, haunting looking blue eyes, skin so pale it was obvious this man had not seem natural light in decades, a beard that went down to his chest, and a body that had multiple old scars was tied to chains as Ozpin was, although his own chains were longer and gave him room to move while his cellmate's chains were short and restricted most movement.
Ozpin knew why this man's movements were to be restricted. This man was a killer, a cannibal, a psychopath, a monster.
"William Ozpin, the one who got away." Said the man.
"Norvik the Hunter." Ozpin hissed out in horror and disgust.
"Surprised to see me? After all, you did shoot me in the back and throw me off that bridge, and that was what? Forty years ago? Forty-five?"
"Forty-four." Ozpin answered.
"That long? How the time doesn't fly when you're locked in a cell." Norvik joked.
"How are you still alive you monster?" Ozpin demanded.
"Salem, the Master. She saved me from a watery grave. Even then she knew what a threat you'd be Ozpin and who better for her to recruit against you that the man who murdered your entire team?"
Read and review and wait for the next chapter. All chapters of this story will be at least as long as this one, as I plan to make this story a big one.