Hello everyone. This is the first story I've posted on here in... well, yonks, really. It's also the first story I've done for the RWBY fandom, so... wow. Lots of firsts.
This story is a spinoff of RoyalPsycho's GRAP, set in the same future in a different part of the world of Remnant, and is done with his support and permission. I'd heartily recommend reading his work, as it's a really nice potential version of the show's future.
Hope you enjoy this one, guys :-)
August 5th, 1460 of the Vytali Calendar.
Temple of the Revanchists. Vacuo.
Two men stood on a balcony overlooking an arena space, watching their prized student as he practiced his katas.
The first man - easily well into his sixties, with long greying hair and a thick goatee - watched with a neutral expression, hands folded behind his back. He wore a simple light brown kimono and dark brown slacks, brown boots finishing the ensemble. Girt at his side was the hilt of an extendable katana, the metal tinted green.
The other man wore black armour, matched by a black cloak. The man's face was clean shaven and scarred, his hair long and unkempt. His expression was colder and harsher, his arms folded as he observed the student's movements.
The student was a young man, maybe eighteen, who moved with fluid grace as he spun his own weapon - a katana nearly identical to the oldest man's save for its blue hue. He wore similar clothes to the oldest man: his kimono a slightly warmer shade of brown, perhaps, set off by a pair of bracers and a set of shoulder-armour. His short, reddish brown hair was cut neatly. His katas were not complex, and yet he would move from one to the next with speed, precision and an almost preternatural grace, his expression remaining calm, focused, controlled. He was moving through the spacious arena as though he were carving through a host of imagined foes.
"So," the older man said to his armoured compatriot. "Do you think he's ready?"
The armoured man snorted. "Can't tell with just katas. Good in theory is one thing. Good in practice is something else."
The older man smiled. "I couldn't agree more."
He raised a hand, and there was a clanking sound from deep in the temple. The student paused in his katas, spinning his katana once before holding it at rest, his gaze turning upwards to look at his observers with a questioning expression. Neither man gave anything away.
On the far wall of the arena space, a door slowly opened, parting from the ground and rising, to reveal armoured boots. Slowly, a group of armoured training robots, bone white and skeletal, marched into the room, their blank face-masks impassive as they advanced, raising their own swords.
The armoured man snorted. "Hardly a challenge."
The droids advanced methodically, spreading out according to prearranged patterns, raising their weapons into perfect imitations of classical fighting stances. The student brought his own blade up one handed, pulled back, the other hand extended forward in challenge. As one, they charged - and the student moved too. He blocked the first strike, a heavy overhand from the nearest robot, before kicking at the droid's legs, knocking it off balance, and then spinning to deliver a kick that sent it crashing into two more training robots. He gave a small, confident smile as two more of the robots advanced, and with one sweep, he cut them both in two, before dashing forwards. He jumped, landing one-footed on another droid's head, before bounding off, sending the thing crashing to the ground as he brought his blade to meet yet another robot's blade, before disarming and beheading the thing.
And yet, the armoured man looked unimpressed. "Is this the only challenge you have for him to face?"
"Keep watching," the older man said with a soft smile.
There was a growling from the depths of the chamber the droids had emerged from. As the student beheaded the last droid, he turned to look at the doorway… as a large, felinoid creature emerged, growling at him. It was jet black, highlighted in reds and whites.
It was a Rui-Shi, a lion Grimm. It's body was massive and covered in bone white armour plates that extended along its spine and down its ribs and shoulders. A thick mine of sharp, white hair surrounded its neck, flexing and extending as the creature breathed. Covering the Grimm's massive head was a huge armoured mask that was crossed, occasionally, be blood red lines. In it's eyes was a look of hunger and hatred as it locked its gaze onto the student.
The armoured man's arms uncrossed. "A… a Rui-Shi? You're serious?"
The older man said nothing, his expression not changing.
The student stepped back, reassessing his position, bringing his blade back into a guard stance, his hand extended outward more in warding now. The creature approached him slowly, growling menacingly.
And then it pounced towards him. At the same time, he bent his knees and bounded upwards, high above its head. His free hand twitched, and the blades of the defeated droids twitched, before floating upwards and then bounding towards the Rui Shi, slamming into it and impaling it in a half dozen places. With a scream of agony, it paused in its advance, only for the student, still airborne, to spin once, twice, three times in the air, before coming down, his blade meeting the creature's neck and slicing through the thick quills of it's mane.
There was a moment of silence, and then the Rui-Shi fell to the ground in two pieces, disintegrating into nothingness. The student held out his blade, the blue katana retracting into the hilt. He attached the hilt to his belt, before looking up at the two men. The older man looked down, before nodding at him, and the student, bowing gratefully, retrieving a dark brown cloak from a nearby bench.
"Impressive," the armoured man said quietly as the student left the hall. "Most impressive. Only a young one but still." He paused. "He's mastered the form."
"Indeed," the older man said quietly. "I suspect there is little we can do now to prepare him further for his destiny. Now, he needs only complete his final years of training."
"There's the trick," the armoured man said with a snort. "It's one thing to master a training ground, another to master life."
"Indeed," the older man said with a wry smile. "And yet I sense he will become a master."
August 12th, 1460 of the Vytali Calendar.
The Hut, Vacuo City.
The Hut was not known for being the most hospitable bar in the city. Actually, it was known for being the exact opposite most of the time - the owners were not friendly at the best of times, quick to have anyone they disapproved of roughed up… or worse.
Like most Vacuite buildings it had started out as a temporary shelter that the owner had tried to make more stable once it was clear he wasn't going to be packing it up and moving it again. Wooden walls, still left unpainted after so many years, were now propped up struts of stronger wood and steel and trophies and other items - the less valuable ones anyway - had been hung on them.
Across from the swing doors that led into the building was the bar itself, a long slab of reinforced wood. The owner had paid a large expense to import the rare hard wood that would protect him in the event of a fight breaking out. It was lined with empty glasses that a man was hurriedly, picking up, cleaning and then placing behind the cover of the bar to keep them safe and unbroken.
A boy of about eighteen was sitting at the bar, a smirk on his face as he downed a blue drink of questionable origin but definite alcoholic content. He wore a white shirt, open at the collar, under a black vest. This was set off by a pair of rugged blue military trousers, emblazoned with blood red stripes that ran down either side, and high black engineer boots. At his hips a pistol was holstered. He seemed entirely unconcerned
"Hey Juan," someone said from behind him. "What are you doin' back here?"
The boy didn't turn from his drink. "What's it to ya, Greene?"
"The boss gave specific instructions," the voice said. "If Ben Juan shows up, and he doesn't have the money he owes the house, the house breaks his legs."
The boy - Ben Juan - turned in his chair to face Greene. He was a short, ugly, wiry man, dressed in an unflattering brown jacket and yellow shirt, a hand on his holstered pistol.
"So, you want to - uh, "break my legs"?" Juan asked.
"That'd be the gist," Greene said with a smirk. "Been lookin' forward to this."
Juan smirked right back. "Yes, I'll bet you have."
Suddenly his pistol was out, aimed right at Greene's face, and then the man was thrown backwards, smarting from the impact. His aura had protected him from the worst, but he was still knocked flat on his back.
Juan brought his pistol up, moving to a ready stance, as the various other members of the Hut's staff moved to surround him, aiming their guns. Juan snorted.
"C'mon, guys, seriously?" he asked. "You'd think you'd know better."
"He's just some punk kid!" Greene snarled from the floor as he got up, drawing his own pistol. "Break him in two!"
"Lovin' the lyricism, boys," Juan said, as he moved forward.
Though every single goon started firing at once, Juan never seemed to get even hit. He dodged, ducked and weaved through lines of fire, his own pistol moving first left, then right, then back again, the high-powered rounds of the weapon blasting goons off their feet at every turn. He ducked, weaved, jumped and leapt, never letting a single blow get to him.
After a few moments, it was over. The goons were all stirring feebly, their auras depleted, many of them bruised and battered. Greene was the only one left standing.
"You…" the angry mob enforcer snarled. "You little shi-!"
A final bullet slammed into his chest, deleting his aura and knocking him backwards into a table. He hit his head, falling to the floor unconscious.
"Language, Greene," Juan said idly. He tossed a coin to the bartender, who had popped his head up as soon as the shooting stopped, a fearful look on his face. "Sorry about the mess."
Juan turned and walked out, leaving the bar in disarray.
August 15th, 1460 of the Vytali Calendar.
The Hut, Vacuo City.
Of course it was predictable that a few days later, a young man in loose white clothing would find himself at that same bar. His clothes, combined with his sandy blonde hair and open expression, made him look for all the world like a rabbit transfixed in headlights as he walked into the bar.
When he approached the bar, the bartender looked up.
"What'll it be?" he asked shortly.
"Uh… vodka and coke?" the boy said with a nervous smile. "Uh, please."
The bartender rolled his eyes. "Sure thing."
The boy kept smiling, trying not to feel too nervous. The bar was definitely seedier than he had been expected - he could see people smoking in some of the corners, some people talking and looking at others with dark expressions. Maybe it was his imagination, but some of those dark expressions seemed like they were definitely pointed his way.
"Hey, kid," a voice said from next to him. He turned to his left, to see a man in an orange shirt scowling at him. "You new around here?"
"Er, yeah…" the boy said nervously.
The man snorted. "What makes you think you can just come in here?"
"There wasn't a bouncer on the door," the boy said innocently, pointing back at the unguarded entrance. "I figured it wasn't a private clubhouse…"
He trailed off at the man's expression: it hardly looked inviting.
"Maybe I'm not being clear," the man said. "You. Aren"t. Welcome. Here."
The boy swallowed. "Right… well, I guess I'll…"
"Go?" the man finished. "Oh, I don't think so." He stood up and shoved the boy, who stumbled off of his chair with a shocked expression. "We don't like people comin' in here uninvited."
"I… I won't do it again," the boy said, almost timidly.
"No, you won't," the man agreed, drawing a knife. "You'll be dead!"
In a flash, the boy brought up a gun from his belt, the weapon discharging loudly. The man was knocked backwards, and the boy scrambled away from the bar, aiming his gun at the man, before moving his aim rapidly from one to another patron as several of them turned to regard him with scowls and other unpleasant expressions.
"Look," he said, "I don't want any trouble."
The man growled, before motioning. A half dozen others charged at the boy, who quickly fired at each of them, knocking them all off balance in turn, before taking a few more steps back, gun still held up.
"I mean it!" he said. "Stay back!"
They didn't, instead getting back on balance and rushing at him. The boy sighed, before shifting his grip on the gun. Suddenly it extended outward into a shining silver-blue sword, and with a quick succession of moves he had knocked each of his assailants off balance once again. He moved quickly, darting from one to another, lashing out with quick, precise movements. One man brought a table leg to the fight, but the boy blocked it. With a gulp, he pushed the man back, before lashing out with two quick strikes that broke the makeshift weapon in half before sending the man spinning off into a set of tables. This, unfortunately, only had the effect of angering even more of the patrons, who charged at the boy in turn.
With a grimace, he brought his weapon up and switched it back to its gun configuration, moving it hither and thither, shooting more and more of his enemies off their feet. With a sudden burst of energy, he bounded up, leaping over the heads of several of the attackers, before extending his sword again. They kept coming, but this time he was in a more favourable position. He blocked one strike, then another, then another, all the while lashing out with blows that knocked his attackers out or back, sending them reeling to the floor.
And then, suddenly, it was over. His assailants were all groaning on the floor, and he found himself breathing a sigh of relief. He stepped back, before jogging for the exit, the eyes of almost every other patron in the bar burning his back as he did.
The man who had started the mess groaned as he tried to push himself to his feet - in an attempt to give chase or simply to stand up, it wasn't clear. He wobbled listlessly as he tried to prop himself up with his arms. A hand placed itself on his shoulder, and he turned, groggily, to see a young, auburn haired man in a brown obi staring down at him with a friendly, neutral expression.
"That one isn't worth your effort, I think," the newcomer said politely.
The man simply groaned and fell back to the floor. The newcomer folded his arms and stared after the young man, a thoughtful expression on his face.
August 24th, 1460 of the Vytali Calendar.
A girl was running down one of the ramshackle alleyways of Vacuo City, a grin on her face. She was clad in what might have been a skimpy white dress, her hair done up in a stylish double-flower do that had taken far longer to do than was strictly necessary and her face covered by a domino mask.
"Hey!" a voice called from behind her. "Stop right there!"
She snorted. As if.
She stopped, before leaping up, climbing up towards the roof of the dingy buildings. She could hear the frustrated shouts of her pursuers, and grinned. She lived for this!
She landed neatly on the roof, before taking a breath, feeling the rush of her exhilaration fading somewhat.
"Hey, you!" a voice called. She turned, to see a group of soldiers in white armour aiming their guns at her from the opposite rooftop.
The Guard Troopers were a relatively recent political addition to Vacuo - the military's Supreme Patriarch, Nox Skye, had brought many innovations after his return from the war, all those years ago. These men in their Atlas-inspired armour were one of the more… aggravating ones. The girl snorted.
"Heya boys," she said, turning to face them. "How's your evening going?"
"Surrender, or face the consequences!" the leader of the group of Guard Troopers called. "We are authorised to use all necessary force!"
"Funny," the girl said, her hand twitching towards a small cylinder at her belt. "I was about to say the same thing."
She brought the cylinder up as the Guard Troopers fired, the ends extending outwards, one end tipped with a sharp spearhead, and the other ending in a counterweight. she spun the spear, the bullets deflected by the sturdy metal construct. With a grin, she spun the weapon into an aim, the spear-tip suddenly revealing a small hole. With a grin, she pressed a control in the centre of the spear, a hail of high-powered rounds lashing out, smashing into masonry and throwing the Troopers off balance. With the Troopers distracted, she turned and ran in the opposite direction - only for a dark, armoured figure to appear, a long katana extended towards her in challenge.
This was no ordinary trooper, or even an ordinary huntsman. This was Nox Skye, Supreme Patriarch of the Guard, finest warrior in Vacuo.
"Ah, shi-!" she exclaimed, before blocking the figure's first strike. She found herself staring up at the figure's mask, a frightening visage designed to intimidate its opponents.
"Hi," she said blithely, before shoving the figure backwards.
With a blistering hail of moves, she lashed out, forcing the figure back on the defensive. The figure gave a growl of frustration, before lashing out at her again, forcing her to somersault backwards.
"Great," she muttered. "Party's dying already."
With a grimace, she turned and ran back in the direction of the Troopers, some of whom had managed to leap over to her side of the alleyway. With a careless cartwheel, she dodged between them, before spinning on her head, her legs flailing and knocking two of the Troopers to the ground. She came out of her spin and blocked one man's attempt to hit her with a baton, before she grabbed him and threw him in the direction of the advancing Skye.
"Enough of this!" the man called, his voice deep and menacing, augmented by the mask.
She turned and threw him a quick, ironic salute, before leaping across the alleyway into the other group of Troopers. With a quick spin of her spear, she had sent at least half the small group careening around the rooftop, one man falling over the edge. She almost turned to try and catch him, only to see him dangling by his foot, the armoured figure's hand outstretched and holding him in a telekinetic grip.
The girl winked. "Not bad, old man. Catch you later!"
She moved to go, only to hear a sudden grunt of effort. With a slam, she suddenly stopped as the armoured figure landed in front of her, his blade once more extended outward in challenge.
"I don't think so," Nox Skye said, sounding irritated. "You're going to surrender now."
She growled, before stabbing forward with her spear. The man parried the blow, before bringing his blade down in an overhead strike that she dodged backwards to avoid. She aimed the spear, before firing at him, but he simply blocked the shots with his sword.
"I wasn't doing anything worth all of this," she said with a scowl. "I don't know why you guys won't just leave me alone!"
"You know full well why," Skye said, bringing his sword up and lashing out, managing to disarm her. She moved to go for her weapon, only to feel his telekinesis grab her and hoist her into the air. She grimaced as the domino mask slipped from her face, revealing brown eyes and a furious expression.
"Father," she said, surprisingly evenly given the discomfort she felt.
"Elena," Nox replied tiredly. "This is the third time this month. Why do you insist on coming to the restricted zones after curfew times?"
"Quality bonding time?" Elena Skye suggested. "I mean, this is the most I've seen of you in six weeks."
"If you wanted to spar," her father said with dry humour, "you could have just asked."
"Yeah, but this is more fun," Elena said with a grin.
She felt herself drop, and groaned as the Troopers approached her, their weapons aimed at her again.
"You've always been too much of a rebel for your own good," her father told her evenly. "Too much of me in you, perhaps. Still, a night in the cells will do you some good."
Elena scowled. "You're kidding."
"I'm afraid not," Nox said. He motioned to the Guard Troopers. "Take her away."
The Troopers grabbed Elena by the arms and hoisted her, before leading her off.
"Oh by the way, Elena," Nox added, and the Troopers paused, allowing Elena to look back at her father. "Good form. I'm proud of you."
Elena gave a smirk. "Yeah, thanks Dad. Really feels it."
Nox didn't reply. He motioned, and the Troopers took Elena away.
Still, she thought as they led her to an airship. Totally worth it.