"Come on!" Yang shouted as they ran down the wide cave. "Jaune and the others are buying us enough time to get to the mastermind behind the fall of Vale."
"We know already," the ever acerbic Weiss replied, gripping her saber tight with one hand as she shifted its Dust chamber to ice.
"Adam may want to kill them, too. But he wants us dead almost as much," the third member of the team replied.
The last member, Ruby Rose kept quiet as she juggled options. Again she wished she could just sweep them all into her semblance to blast ahead, but that led to traps and getting killed.
The fifteen foot tall cave bent to their right, white light shining from up ahead. All four of them skidded to a halt, taking in the sight of the white-skinned woman holding her hand on Adam's face, his mouth opened in a soundless scream. Behind them stood a massive white stone. Twenty feet tall and roughly circular, jagged red veins radiated inward towards the center. A small sphere of blackness rippled or vibrated, a small tink sound of rock on rock.
Salem turned to team RWBY. "My, if it isn't the heroes of the day. Tracking me down for months after defeating Cinder just as she finished stealing the Fall Maiden's power. And those damnable silver eyes that have interrupted my cleansing of humanity from Remnant for too long. All your work to stop me from opening my portal to another world, where I can continue my work." With a flick of her left hand, she sent the powerful White Fang leader to smash against the white stone. His blood left a smear of blood in an arc before he landed bonelessly.
"She's the one that Qrow warned us about. The heart of darkness at the center of the Grimm," Ruby said, silver eyes flashing.
"I am Salem. You think you can freeze me, little girl? Far more powerful Silver-Eyed have tried." Salem smirked, her mouth too wide for her face. Her tongue flicked out, tasting a jagged stream of blackness off of her left hand's fingers. "His soul is delicious."
"You are one sick piece of crap," Yang shouted as she jerked her arms to rachet shotgun shells into her improved gauntlets. "And we are going to stop you."
"That... is impossible. Because this heart of the void has traveled to another world. And there is nothing you can do to undo that.
The four huntresses crouched down, only to blink as Salem's white skin flaked away as an invisible wind scoured her away. In just a moment, her body abraded away into nothingness.
"Hmph. That was anticlimactic," Weiss said, hand still on her saber's hilt.
"What did she mean?" Blake asked as she moved over to check Adam for a pulse. His chilled flesh felt like a man dead for hours.
"This feels like a Grimm," Ruby said, studying the massive flat-faced stone.
Weiss sheathed Bliztenaster and walked over to it. "There's something written in ancient Seraphinum. I don't recognize more than a word or two, but this says world," she said pointing at one pictograph. "And this one mean gate."
"So she wasn't likely to be lying about opening a portal to a new world." Blake put her hand on the stone. She felt a tug on her aura.
And tried to pull her hand away.
"Guys?" the faunus said, a note of worry in her voice as she tugged harder.
"Oh, hell no!" Yang shouted, running up and grabbing her partner.
"Yang!" Ruby shouted, running up to help as she slipped her weapon onto the back of her belt.
Weiss narrowed her eyes as she saw Blake's hand drawing into the surface of the stone. The chamber of her trusty weapon switched over to lightning dust even as a glyph appeared beneath her. She slammed the point of her saber down on the ground, unleashing a blast of lightning as wide as its curved blade.
Blake felt the force double under the attack. "Don't do that again! It increased its pull."
"Sorry," Weiss replied, not sounding very sorry at all. That, at least, had not changed.
"What do you mean, 'uh oh', Ruby?" Weiss said as her blood pressure skyrocketed.
"I can't let go to get a better grip," Ruby said softly as she struggled with both arms.
"Shit, me either," Yang said. "My left arm won't detach either."
Ruby turned to look at Weiss. "Get out of here. Someone needs to tell them what-"
"No. We did not go through everything to leave me the last survivor. I told you that I would follow you through the gates of hell. We'll either win together or lose together," the older girl said as she put her own hands around Ruby's waist. "Now pull."
They all started to follow her order, only to see all the red veins in the white rock pulse brighter. The force increased dramatically. Ruby flared her eyes, trying to fight the strange Grimm in front of them.
With that flash of light, they disappeared.
All four girls found themselves on their back in foul smelling, muddy water.
"Everyone alive?" Ruby shouted even as she swiped the nasty water out of her eyes. This smelled worse than the ocean.
"Yo! Still 5/6ths alive here," Yang called out as she sat up, pumping a metallic fist.
"I'm thinking of committing suicide over this smell, but I'm alive." Weis scrambled to her feet even as she reached in to her ever present fanny pack for a cleansing wipe. "Where are we?"
"Not the deep wilds of Vacuo," Blake said. "There's a city off in the distance. About the size of Vale."
Ruby looked around, seeing that they all had a liberal coating of muck and grime. "Let's get out of this mire. Blake, you lead."
She just nodded and headed towards the rising land towards the mountains.
Twenty minutes later, they found dry land and a path. Blake ignored the path, continuing past it to the scrub brush and stunted grass.
"What the hell is wrong with this place?" Yang said, hating how gross she felt.
"An arid region. Must be underground water." Blake narrowed her eyes as she looked towards the nearest mountains, the sun high in the air above them. "I've got a bad feeling-"
The roar of some engine filled the air, dragging their eyes to stare in surprise at a very odd airship. The long, bullet shape tapered to a point at the end. Angled wings adorned the sides and tail, with one lone vane standing at the tail. Two turbine engines dragged the large vehicle at a steep climb.
As the roar faded, everyone stared at each other.
"I don't think we are in Zo anymore," Yang said. "Zo very lost!"
Yang's pun caused all the other girl's to groan, exactly like she planned.
"That thing really moves," Blake said as she watched it fly higher and higher up into the sky. "About as fast as an Atlasian combat flyer."
"Weird," Weiss said as she watched it also. "Atlas built some non-hover capable vehicles, but they never really caught on as they were fragile."
Ruby scanned the air for any threats, her eyes alighting on the small moon just above the horizon with the sun at her back. "Uh, guys? Can I have you check the Moon right there?"
"It's too small and I don't see any fragments," Blake said.
"That's what I saw. We're not on Remnant any more?"
"So what do they call this place? The Whole?"
Everyone groaned at Yang's horrible pun again.
"Hmm. Well, we still need to head to that civilization." Weiss contemplated what sort of society they had.
Another half hour (and two landing and two take offs from the airship port) they made it to a main road. A main road filled high speed vehicles. One of the vehicles pulled off to the side of the road and back up seventy feet with its blinkers on. The girls shared a look and walked up.
An older man with gray hair and a business suit stuck his head out the window and shouted... something... at them over the road noise.
"Huh? Why can't we understand him?" Ruby asked the older girls.
"I dunno. Ask the genius over there," Yang said, gesturing at Weiss with her cybernetic arm's fist and thumb.
"There was that old story that before there were Hunters, blindness of the soul afflicted civilization with the lack of being able to talk to each other. Every kingdom had their own spoken language and writing system. Archeology actually supports this, as many strange writings exist before the Kingdom of Atlansis," Weiss explained while studying the concerned looking man.
"So... we unlock his aura and we can talk?" Blake asked.
"Only one way to test it," Yang said.
"Wait. Yang, with your gauntlets out you look ready to attack. Weiss and I have our weapons visible. So-" Blake said, only to be interrupted by Ruby.
"I need to do it!" Ruby put a smile on her face, walking up slowly and held out her hands.
The older man looked a bit suspicious, but let her put a hand on his sternum.
"For it is in passing that we achieve immortality. Through this, we become a paragon of virtue and glory to rise above all. Infinite in distance and unbound by death, I release your soul, and by my shoulder, protect thee." Ruby smiled, then looked worried. "Can you understand us now?"
"What the hell was that?" he demanded as he watched the glow around his hands fade away.
"Yay! Communications established!" Ruby exclaimed, pumping a fist in victory. "I awakened the light of your soul!"
"Dork," Yang called out.
"Are you kids alright? You look like you are in trouble," the stranger said, studying them closer.
"Uh, well, not really okay," Ruby said as her shoulders slumped. "I think we got thrown to a whole different world or something. So what's the name of your kingdom?"
The other three members of Team RWBY groaned theatrically.
"Um, the United States of America." The man looked really freaked out at this point. "Look, I'm going to call the police so you can talk to them, okay?"
The girls all looked at each other and shrugged.
Fifteen minutes, an official looking vehicle with red and blue lights on it pulled up on the side of the busy road. A sturdy woman in a uniform with a badge on the right breast pocket walked over. She started to talk to the first man.
"We still can't understand them. Are we going to have to awaken everyone's Aura?" Blake asked, frowning slightly.
"Hmm. Perhaps we need to get one of them to push their Aura into ours?" Weiss said. "But he did not seem to know anything about using an Aura.
The policewoman walked over and started asking them questions. After the third question, to which all the girls just shrugged at, she pulled out a note and started reading questions off the back.
"She's, uh, wanting to know what language you are speaking. And asking you all those different ones doesn't seem to work," the bemused samaritan said.
"You guys have more than one?" Ruby blurted out.
"Just call it the language of Remnant," Weiss said curtly.
He did tell her something in his language. That led to a short, intense conversation between the two as another police car showed up.
"Do you guys have any identification?" he asked for the policewoman.
"I've got my scroll! It has my hunter certification on it," Ruby said, pulling out her scroll. She stretched it out to the size of a large tablet and then pulled up her license.
"Okay, I may have to reconsider that you aren't nuts, but that I am. Because if we had $ !^# like that, I would have heard about them. Um, could you do that thing you did to me to her?"
"Um, I'm a little tired. Guys?" Ruby asked her team.
"I'll do it," Weiss said, slowing approaching the policewoman. She put her hand on her and intoned the mantra, pushing her Aura into activation. Afterwards, she turned her head back to her team. "Her Aura wasn't active either. Is it possible these people don't know how to unlock their Auras? But how do they fight their Grimm?"
"Huh, she has a pretty strong Aura with how much it is glowing," Yang said, tilting her head slightly.
"This is very disturbing, especially now that I can understand you." The policewoman visibly took control of herself. "But first let me get some information. My name is Officer Matilda Ayers of the Utah Highway Patrol. If I could get your names and what happened to you?"
"Um, can I go? I'm like late for work," the gray haired man said even as he pulled out a small cell phone from his pocket.
"Leave your contact information with the other officer. So, let's start with you," Ayers said, pointing her pen for the computer tablet she pulled out.
"Weiss Schnee. My team and I were chasing a monstrous villain. We thought she had been cornered, when she... disappeared. She had some sort of Grimm artifact that pulled us from Remnant to here. Wherever here is, mind you." The platinum blonde showed herself to be unperturbed by her disheveled state, covered in drying mud.
Ayers stared at the pale young woman. "What is Remnant? And what is the Grimm?"
Ruby swallowed. "Remnant is our world. It's always been called Remnant, since it is all that is left." And it had very little left at all after Salem's plans for the four kingdoms came to fruition.
"And you are?" Ayers asked.
"I'm Ruby Rose! This is my half-sister Yang Xiao Long. And last but not least is Blake Belladonna!" She cut herself off from blurting out their team name.
"And other than the computer tablet-"
"Scroll," Weiss corrected.
"-scroll, do you have anything else that might show you are from this Remnant place?"
"Um. Well, I suppose Weiss or I could show off our semblances. Weiss?"
"It was your idea. Besides, you like to show off your speed," her friend noted with a very small smile.
"Yes!" Ruby looked excited. She decided to head back across the field.
"Just so you are aware, I am recording this with my body cam and my phone," the policewoman explained even as she tapped buttons on the screen of the smart phone.
"Okay, I'm going to zip past that abadoned house and then back that way. Ready, set... GO!" Ruby kept it to a minimal speed as she left her signature rose petals behind her.
The honks of horns and the screech of rubber as drivers on the interstate fell into that worst of habits; rubbernecking.