So, the wedding is over, but I've been busy since coming back. I got a better paying job, but due to its location I had to move. Been busy with that, but now I'm finally getting settled in which means I can get back to doing what I love. Writing stories. That said, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone that has stuck to the story so far. You've no idea what it means to me, so again thank you.

Also, I would like to thank Modern Sky and Flux Casey for pointing out mistakes I've made that are need of correction. To that end I am searching for a BETA that wants to follow me to the end of this stories magnum opus. If you're interested then do not hesitate to send me a PM.

Now with that said...

Let's get on with it shall we?

Enjoy!


"Power. That is the one truth that defines this world. If you have power than you are able to lead, to rule nations, states, Kingdoms. You can command an army that will shake the world. However, those with true power need not such things. Marshal...he is an example of this. He lives his days hunting down the corrupt and monstrous entities. Each battle is a test for him. Each victory he gets stronger. And with every enemy he cuts down, he gets one step closer to realizing what he really is." ~Salem, Queen of the Grimm

Marshal

Chapter 7

The Security Cell of Vales most established criminal law enforcement institution was as impregnable as it was costly to build. It was a building built on the outskirts of the Kingdom so that the populace wouldn't feel threatened by what it contained, but was connected by various ports for bullheads to come in for transports of both prisoners, or personal. The building that held all of Vales and other international criminals from around Remnant was a work of the up-most modern of technology, and even funded by Atlas own General James Ironwood. Built with all the state of the art technology from Atlas own researchers and scientists, and augmented by Vales personal dust infused alloy that made the interior and exterior walls impregnable from any sort of damage.

Hell the only thing that could blast through these walls would be a Grimm Horde.

What made this building even more sophisticated was that the building was surrounded by a barrier that acted as both a sensory mechanism that would detect both organic and inorganic lifeforms, such as the Grimm, and such information would be sent to the wardens tower to identify those that were coming in. The barrier also acted on this because if the one coming in didn't have any form of clearance than they would be subjected to being disallowed entry.

And if push come to shove than the buildings automated laser targeting system would put them down faster then the intruders could mount up an offensive.

Although, to be truthful, with the disgusting amounts of lien invested into this prison it still held no candle to the impregnable fortress that was the Alcatraz prison of Atlas itself. At most, this prison acted as a wayward point for criminals in holding to be transported to Atlas own super prison in the farthest northern reaches. It was for that reason most prisons in the Kingdoms were all funded by Atlas to hold Remnants most dangerous criminals until the proper authorization could channel through for these criminals to be transported to Alcatraz.

Because once they went to that prison, no one would ever hear of them again.

However, with all this money put into such an impressive prison; people would begin to think such a prison was impossible to infiltrate, or even escape from.

And they would be right, normally.

However, there was one particular criminal in this prison that was awaiting transport that had very abnormal ally.

And she didn't do things normally.

XxX

They came from out of the shadows, in the dark of night, when all of the Kingdom was asleep and the security became lax. There was no warning, no preemptive knowledge that could have helped them prepare for what was to come. No alarms could have been reached in time, nor could a defense be mounted up against such a show of monumental force.

The barrier had been sabotaged by an internal software virus that infiltrated and torched the buildings defenses in just a couple of seconds, and when that barrier came down...

A sea of black washed over the entire prison.

Hundreds, no, thousands of Grimm rose up from within the darkest corners of the world and surged toward the prison with an intent unlike any other. Ursa's, Nevermore's , Beowolf's, Creepers. There was more, so much more, that came from the darkness, but it was impossible to truly account for them all as the soulless creatures rose up and charged toward the prison with a startling amount of intent that would have been terrifying for anyone to have seen it.

Unfortunately, no one alive would ever be able tell of what happened on this night.

Because for all of the staff and prison guards that were running the prison that night.

No one survived.

No one would hear their panicked mutterings as the Boarbatusks rammed against the walls, or when the Nevermores screeches echoed as they swarmed the ports that didn't allow any of the staff to escape. No one would hear their screams of terror as the walls fell and Grimm began to pour into the facility. No one would ever hear the wails and throes of agony as the Grimm all, but butchered every single member of the staff and military occupying the prison.

No, on this night, the only thing people would find the next day at the break of dawn was the prison in complete ruins, and the signs of a bloodbath as the Grimm feasted and gorged on their victims overnight.

However, that mattered little to one whom had orchestrated the entire invasion. The one who caused all of his would later be known solely as a woman, but beyond that her description would only be given from the camera's that barely survived the attack. Surviving camera feeds would only be able to give fuzzy images of her, but the way she walked along with the Grimm, and how they simply parted way for her would be something that would terrify all those that would seen these last recordings.

For it was the general consensus to the public that the Grimm followed no one and acted to their own accordance.

But the fact that there was someone that could lead them, possibly even control them?

Such a thought would and will strike horror into the hearts of all that would witness these last recordings. The last vestiges of what happened on this night. A night that will mark the beginning of a change. A night that would become the harbinger of something darker to come.

And no one would be prepared for darkness that was coming to wash over the world.

XxX

"Well...I can definitely say karma's a bitch..."

Roman Torchwick was an international criminal, there was no denying that, but he wasn't high up the proverbial criminal underworlds ladder to be seen as a true logistical threat to the Kingdoms as a whole. The highest he'd ever done in his criminal career was take part in a couple of slave trafficking rings, extortion's of several businesses, killing a couple of people here and there. Some may have been Policeman and other political officials, but that was it! He was merely wanted for petty crimes like that in nearly all the Kingdoms.

Besides Atlas of course, he wasn't crazy enough to attack that place.

However, it still stands to reasons, Roman knew his worth better than anyone else. He was just an upstart underworld criminal that was wanted by most of the Kingdoms for petty crimes at the most. He knew he could be incredibly cocky, but he knew his worth, and the value of which his services were in the grand scheme of things. He was a grunt among grunts in the best possible way; he was nothing special beyond every other criminal that led their own operations. It was miracle alone that his incredible charisma carried him so far, but there was only so much charisma alone could do to help him.

However, that all changed when he was approached by a woman who had proposed a change in his everyday criminal career. She came with two of her cronies, whose names he simply didn't care to remember, offering a proposal of sorts to join her in what she would call "The Biggest Operation Ever Seen". He'd been cautious at first, but once she began to explain what she intended to do he'd been interested. Then she'd shown him the full might of her influence. Of the incredible amount of connections she had and was willing to put into his hands to jump start this operation if, and only if, he would accept his role in being her partner and liason to the Criminal Underworld.

He'd been hesitant at first, but when she called in Adam Tarus through scroll, the Adam Taurus, to schedule a meeting in the next few weeks he'd lost all form of doubt he had for the woman.

Least to say he was on board with whatever she had planned.

If nothing else, it should be entertaining.

That was what he thought at the time.

But now as he sat in his prison, shackled and bound to the wall with the strongest and most secure methods Atlas could buy he was starting to think differently. Due to his recent ventures in robbing mundane dust shops around Vale and his other past crimes, the authorities took no chances with him and had made his prison cell to be of the biggest priority. His arms were bound behind his back and the rest of his body was bound and shackled the rest of the wall with metallic drills that kept him pinned to the wall. Along with that, there was a force field containment chamber around his prison cell that didn't allow anyone not under the authorized personnel to open his prison.

To put it simply, he wasn't going anywhere.

'And to think I would have escaped this mess if it wasn't for that...bastard.' Roman's face twisted into a frown as he thought about the one who brought him down to heel after trying to flee from his attempt to robbing that dinky dust shop. His eyes sharpened when he thought of the guy; for the life of him he couldn't rid the image of the man from his mind, and that frustrated him like nothing else.

Wild shaggy blond hair and piercing blue eyes. A towering figure that loomed over him like a Ursa about to rip him to pieces. His fist coming down his skull with all the force of a train.

Then darkness...with a slight taste of dirt in his mouth.

The bastard had beaten him swiftly and sent him, literally, head first into the ground with a single punch.

And since then he'd been detained and imprisoned here awaiting transfer to Atlas to be held captive for however long they wanted.

Roman knew he should have been panicking, but at the first he'd been fine. Thinking Neo would break him out, as she always did when he was in a jam, and he'd be off again doing what he did best. However, Neo never came, and soon after Roman started to panic when his wayward partner inc rime never showed up to save his ass.

One conclusion soon came forward.

Neo wasn't coming for him.

He should have seen it coming; he truly and honestly did, and the fact that he hadn't showed how low he had fallen. Neo was, and had never been, apart of his inner workings. She had only ever been his bodyguard when things took a turn for the worse. Sure, he could hold his own in a fight if it ever came down to it, but Neo's combat ability outshone his by an incredibly large margin, and added with her unique semblance to shapeshift into anyone she chose made her an incredible valuable asset to have close at his side.

Yet Neo had only been that, an asset and nothing more. A mercenary he hired awhile back to act as his bodyguard for the foreseeable future. But now that was he in prison she was more than likely gone, leaving him to whatever fate had decided for him. If he could have, Roman would have sighed, but see as everything about his was restrained he could only give the equivalent of a mental sigh in his mind.

'I guess this is what I get for being too cocky...'

One thing was for certain though.

If he wasn't transported to Atlas soon.

It would be Cinder that would end up killing him instead for his own foolishness.

A shiver crawled up his spine at the thought his benefactor. There was a lot of things Roman feared in this world, he'd openly admit as such. However, there have only been two instances in which he'd felt such fear that his very soul felt like it wanted to escape its mortal shell.

The first had been when he first met Cinder. The woman was beyond a shadow of a doubt the personified representation of sexy and deadly in one complete package. She could as easily seduce her way into a Kings Royal Court as she could bring an entire nation to their knees. The second of which she had done as easily as breathing when she'd confronted the Criminal Underworlds biggest known warlords and tore them down until they were at her feet.

And Roman had made the first and last mistake of annoying the woman when he'd made an offhanded comment about how she got the scars that marred her body.

….

He now lived with a fear of fire.

The second had been when the bastard who had was the reason he was locked up in the first place showed up. Sure he didn't come off as threatening as Cinder had, but it was the blondes eyes that haunted Roman at every single moment he so much as shut his eyes. Those glowing blue orbs were there, judging him for every single crime he'd ever been apart of. Those eyes that spurned his very existence and brought forth a cold rush of fear that was so intense his blood would freeze in his veins.

Everything about the blond bastard appeared normal, human even.

But Roman didn't believe that for a moment.

That blond bastard was not human.

No human or even faunus for that matter, had such terrifying eyes. Eyes that could show so much with, but a glance. Convey such a concentrated amount of pure murderous intent. There was nothing normal about it. It had been primal in every way, the fundamental instinctive desire to kill with no amount of restraint. There had been no mercy, no pity, no hesitation in those eyes when they looked at him.

And it was only when Roman, through nights of being tortured in his sleep by those eyes did he come to a realization.

That blond bastard would have killed him in that alleyway if not for the sudden arrival of Red. The blond would have simply killed him and left his carcass to rot in the shadows of the alleyway without batting an eye, but he had stayed his hand simply because of that girls sudden appearance. The girl might not have seen it, but Roman knew from the look in the blonds eyes.

He would have killed him with as much effort as it would take to kill a bug.

'But I'm alive...but the question here is...for how long?' Roman thought with a grim realization setting in his mind.

But just as he was about to close his eyes and undergo another round of torture from those hellish blue eyes.

Boom!

He woke with a jolt once he felt the building shake. His eyes widened because soon after the tremble a series of quakes started to shake the entire facility. The restraints against him rattled in protest as the quakes occurred. He blinked in surprise and growing horror when saw staff and security alike running past his prison cell only to be pounced on by multiple Beowolf's. He could only stare in terror as the beasts ripped the people who kept him imprison to piece and gorged on their flesh.

'Grimm?! How the hell did they get in?'

But then, as if things couldn't get any worse, the containment field shuttered before it went offline. Before he could make so much as a sound, the cell door was ripped off its hinges by another Grimm before it was tossed aside. And just as Roman saw those burning red orbs of the grimm looking at him like another meal to be savored.

The beast stepped aside...

'Ohhh I think I nearly soiled myself...'

And something darker stepped into his prison cell.

'….And there it goes.'

It was a woman, a very familiar woman at that, her long wavy black hair moved as if it had a life of its own. Falling past her shoulders in curls at the end whilst a few long bangs covered the left side of her face. Her skin was a healthy pale and her well endowed figure was only further pronounced by her form fitting dark red, off-the-shoulders, v-neck minidress with yellow designs embroidered along the outline. Her high-heels clicked among the floor as the woman continued to step toward him, and with each step her hips moved in such a manner men and even some women would begin to question their own sexuality.

But Roman would not be fooled a second time, he knew exactly how terrifying this woman was, and it showed as she came toward him and when the lights finally fell upon her it would be highly apparent as to why.

The right side of her face was perfect in almost every way, and even when her sole burning amber eye that stared at him made him quiver it did not detract from her beauty, but when she moved her head to the side one would see that the bang that covered the left side of her face showed something incredibly horrendous. Heavily scarred and burned flesh was all that remained of the left side of her face. Flesh, muscle, organic tissue, all of it was twisted, torn, burned into the left side of her face in such a way that it almost seemed like she'd been hit by a explosion at point-blank. Where her right eye was supposed to be was now just a black eye-patch that covered up what was now just an empty eyehole.

And that wasn't the only thing either...

"My my Roman, how did you ever find yourself in such a predicament, hmm?" the woman, Cinder, hummed as her left arm, covered by the only long sleeve of her dress, rose up to reveal a metallic hand that cupped his cheek in her palm. The twisted form of metal engineering was cold to the touch, and was quite unwelcome when Roman saw the promise of pain in her lone eye. Her touch should have come off as gentle in nature, but underneath it all was just a promise of a pain worse than anything Roman had ever experienced before in his life if he didn't become bend his knee to her will and hers alone.

If Roman could have, he would already be kissing the ground.

Self-preservation flooded every part of his body, and any excuse he could have and would have said began to flood his mind, but he could say nothing as the restraints held his mouth shut and only his eyes visible to the public.

Which were swiftly undone with a wave of her right hand; the restraints simply fell apart in pieces, and with nothing to hold him up any longer Roman let out his first noise since being imprisoned.

"Fuck!" he cursed as he fell to the floor in a heap. The pieces of metal that kept him restrained sprawled out around him. However, just as he tried to get his bearings a shadow soon loomed over him and he only looked up only to see the Grimm from before standing before him. And now that he got a closer look at it Roman saw a certain detail about the beast that completely separated it from the rest of its kind that he'd known them for.

This one was more humanoid in appearance as it stood on two feet. It was jet black like all other Grimm, but it's physique was terrifyingly similar to a humans. It was incredibly bulky in muscle mass, and its head looked akin to a Beowolfs. It also had what appeared to be to tendrils for hair that fell past its back in a dark red mane. It's mouth however was sewn shut, but it's eyes burned with a fire that seemed to come straight out of the pits themselves.

It was a grotesque thing in Romans opinion, but he did not voice his thoughts when said beast was looming over him with its glowing red eyes.

"Uh...Cinder...?" he cast his gaze to the scarred woman who simply offered a dainty smirk before her gaze fell on the creature standing infront of Roman.

"Vulcan, grab Roman, we've got what we came for." and with that Cinder turned away and before Roman could so much as utter a word he saw the Grimm, now named Vulcan, grab him with his monstrous hand and throw him onto his shoulder before following Cinder. And as it lumbered after the woman, and even with the smaller Grimm following in suit; Roman could think of one thing as he saw the Grimm nipping at the heels of the giant Grimm and the desecrated corpses around him.

'What have I got myself into?'

XxX

It was early in the morning before the sun had even began to break over the horizon, that Cinder had dispersed her Grimm horde back into the forests around Vale, besides Vulcan of course, and led their way back to Roman/Cinder base of operations. An abandoned warehouse outside the city limits of Vale. By the time they reached it Roman's head was filled with all sorts of questions, but among them all was.

Why hadn't Cinder killed him? He was completely certain he'd made the first and last mistake of getting caught in the first place. Was he more important to her plans than he originally thought?

When the warehouse was in sight Cinder stopped and looked towards Vulcan. "Alright Vulcan, you can let go of Roman now. You can go on back until I have need of you again." and without so much as a word the Grimm shrugged Roman off its shoulder causing the man to tumble and hit the ground with a grunt. Then it crouched and with a single leap Vulcan jumped into the skyline, the cement around the area he jumped from cratering from his leap. The grimms massive form soon disappearing as it fell into the forests.

Surprised by what he'd just seen he looked to Cinder who only offered a smile when she saw his gaze.

"Is there something wrong Roman?"

...Did she really just say that?

There was so much he wanted to say, but the only thing to come out of his mouth was.

"Why did you come for me?"

At that Cinder lost her smile and she simply stared at him for a good moment. The fire in her right eye smoldering with a hidden emotion that Roman couldn't decipher, but whatever it was hadn't been good from the scowl beginning to form in her face.

"Perish any thoughts you may entertain that I did it for any other reason than the operations continued existence. I did it solely because you still have some use to me. I'm willing to forgive this mistake on your part if you are willing to put forth your all into our plans. To lay down any doubts you may have left lingering in that head of yours. Prostrate yourself at my feet...and all will be forgiven."

Now Roman was no idiot. When he heard Cinder speak in that tone; he knew without a shadow of a doubt that this was his last chance. If he were completely submit himself to Cinder, and make another fuck up like this than he knew she would simply cut him off and kill him; then move on. That's the kind of woman she was; at least that's how he saw her. She rarely forgave anyone for making mistakes, and the fact she was giving him this chance showed how much she had to value his influence in the operation to come.

But he had to take into consideration that, if he were to do this he absolutely could not mess up and get caught again. He would be in too deep at that point, and from then on Cinder would be coming to kill him purely because he had failed her again, and that he would know too much about their operations for her to risk him spilling anything under interrogation or torture.

The criminal thought about this as he looked at Cinder before he closed his eyes. A sigh escaped him before he lowered his head.

'I may have my pride, but I know when to push it aside for the better part of my own survival. Cinder is dangerous and the fact she can seemingly control Grimm...'

His thoughts ended on that note. He simply lowered himself down before Cinder. Hands and knees bending before straightening. The front of his body flush against the cold and wet ground, his face literally kissing the cement whilst his legs straightened. He remained in this state asd Cinder watched him, and for a moment in that dead silence Roman could feel his heartbeat slowing down to a snails pace underneath the woman's oppressive presence.

Then finally, to his relief, Cinder spoke.

"Very good Roman. Seeing you do this has put faith in my heart that you know where your loyalties lie, and that whatever doubts you had are forgotten." she paused and Roman held his breath when the woman stepped toward him.

"Now, rise."

He didn't need to be told twice, and he stood up, but slowly so he didn't do anything else to agitate the woman in front of him, a woman who could easily kill him with as much effort as she would need to put down a dying mongrel. However, when he stood up, and he dared to look Cinder in the eyes he felt his heart stop when he saw her amber eyes literally burning like two hot coals stoked inside a roaring inferno.

"Now tell me, my dear Roman." she said moving her hand to cup his cheek in a almost lovingly manner, as if a mother were to her child.

For Roman? It was beyond terrifying.

"How did you ever get captured? What happened during your heist that caused you to get arrested, hm?" she asked and Roman could only speak the truth at this point. There was no reason to try and bend the truth or lie his way out of this. He was already on thin ice as it was, and if she caught him lying than that ice would crack and he'd fall into the tormenting hell that awaited him.

"Well..." He scratched his head for a moment. "The heist was going okay until we were interrupted by a girl in red wielding an overly long customized scythe that could shift into a long range sniper rifle. She easily dispatched my men and soon came after me. I admit, I toyed around with her for a bit, but she started to gain momentum with my attacks and with the police coming I decided to run for it. So I threw down a smoke bomb to distract her and ran towards the rendezvous point. I took a cut through an alleyway, but then I was stopped...by a...a man." he knew Cinder caught his hesitation at the last of his statement judging by the quirk of her right brow.

"A man stopped you? Well he must have certainly been formidable to have stopped a slippery one like you. You've give me a brief description of the girl, but this man. Tell me, what did he look like? I want a mental image of the man that's messed up our plans timeline." she said, and for a moment she was a bit surprised when Roman refused to answer. In fact he seemed quite skittish now as he looked from left to right as if he was searching for something.

Seriously. If this man was formidable enough to make even one as cocky and arrogant as Roman to quaver than it was someone Cinder needed to know of.

Finally he worked up the nerve to speak, and when he did Cinder felt her world come crashing to a halt when he began describing the man.

"Well...he was about 6'3 maybe a inch taller? It was hard to remember. He wore a mix of casual clothes consisting of black sneakers, worn out blue jeans, a black hoodie with two brown leather belts that were wrapped diagonally around his waist. Over his hoodie though he wore a black and gold chestplate that covered his torso and abdomen. He wore black and gold bracers with black gloves that were covered by black and gold trimmed gauntlets. He also had a pauldron on his left shoulder that was in the same color as the rest of his armor on the end of it looked like a crescent or the arching of a bow." he said while mentally filing the description he could remember from the man from his weary mind.

There was little he could forget of the man whose eyes had been haunting his every sleepless night since being arrested.

…..

However, when Roman hadn't heard Cinder say so much as a word he started to get a little worried, and when he finally mustered up the courage to look at her he was surprised, and more than a bit terrified when he saw her expression.

If the scarring wasn't apparent before it certainly was now as Cinder's face scrunched up and twisted into a look of pure unadulterated hatred of the most foulest kind. Her power seemingly burst from her form igniting the ground around her in a ring of fiery death. Flames licked her body, beckoned to to its master's will and surged with her anger.

Her lone eye however made Roman unable to move from what was happening to her and the effect she having on the area around them. The eye was burning with such intensity that it couldn't even been seen as an eye anymore, but rather an orbs of living flame that threatened to torch all of existence and reduce it to ash.

And then...she spoke. Her lips parted after what felt like hours, and her voice came out raspy, but nonetheless deadly.

"I...see...and did this man by chance...have a sword strapped to his back...and was he wearing a crimson tattered cape?"

Roman blinked in surprise when he looked at her, but his eyes lit up in realization once he thought back to the blond bastard.

"Y-yeah...he was."

….

What happened next confused Roman.

Cinder almost looked like she was on the edge of exploding, but at the last second a calm washed over her form. Her face went slack and her eye dulled for just a second before it went back to her normal amber. The flames around her swirled to life before being absorbed back into her body. And when it finished Cinder took a deep breath before letting out a sigh.

"I see...then that means he is here..." she mumbled to herself for a moment before giving Roman a sidelong glance.

"Thank you for this...information, Roman. If it was that man than it is no surprise to me you were arrested." she said causing the criminal to blink before crossing his arms.

"Oh? And why's that? Is he someone we should be aware of?" he said to just appease his curiosity, but he had already become wary to the threat level that blond bastard had. After what he'd done to him, and what he'd experienced by just being near that man had sounded off every single alarm in his head. He was going to avoid anything to do with the man as much as he could.

Cinder simply offered a cold smile before she replied. "Hm, do you remember when you asked me where I got my scars? How I lost my arm? Or how I lost my eye?"

At that Roman gulped when he saw the cold, dead look in Cinder's lone eye. Oh he had not forgotten. That had been his first and last mistake when he'd asked her that. Even now that had been an incident he didn't want a repeat of.

But still his curiosity was still alive from then on, and he could only nod in reply.

And Cinder's smile only grew colder.

"I got these scars in a battle with that very man a couple of years ago." she said to which shocked Roman to his very core when the woman admitted such a thing.

"...W-what?"

If Cinder saw his shock or fear from her admittance she didn't comment on it. Instead she seemed to gaze out to the ocean from the harbor.

"Yes, back then I was still amounting my resources. Hunting down various sources of power that could aid us in this operation, and one such source was someone of a particular...interest to me. So, I went after this person, and I found her. Emerald, Mercury, and I found her, and we ambushed her to try and coerce her into joining us, but she fought back. And so we tried to kill her, but at the last minute...he showed up."

Cinder's metallic left arm clenched at the memory.

"We didn't know who he was, or where he came from. All I remember was that he'd come from the woods. However, when he saw us attacking the woman...he came down on us Roman...and it was...unnatural." she said before raising her left arm to reveal her automail limb which clenched into a fist.

"He was akin to a devil, or a demon. He was a force of nature. A living embodiment of marshal power the likes of which I've never experienced in my life. He is the reason Mercury can no longer see; he cut out and cauterized his eyes in battle. He is the reason Emerald lost her ability to speak; for he made her illusions backfire on her in such a way that it tortured her beyond reason; she screamed and screamed and screamed until her throat tore and her vocal cords ruptured. And as for me..."

Cinder paused to look down at her hand and her shoulders trembled as the memory of what happened to her shook her very being.

"I made it so Emerald and Mercury escaped, and for making it so they escaped he ripped out my eye and burned my face as punishment for taking away his targets. I ignored the pain...I had to flee, I had to. There was no way I could fight the man. I blanketed the entire area, along with the town in a sea of fire just to give me a chance to escape, but before I could his sword came bursting out of the fire and it swung down on me, burning with a hellfire that still burns me to this day. He relieved me of my left arm that day, but did not give chase, and instead went to save those in the nearby village from my flames." she said before giving Roman a cold glare.

"And that, Roman, is how I got these scars, and for that matter how Mercury and Emerald are the way they are now. It is because of that man, and him alone."

Throughout her explanation Roman's face quickly began to drain of color as she went into detail of how she met the same blond bastard. To know that the same blond guy that punched his skull into the ground was the same person who did that kind of damage to Cinder and her two partners was very hard to take in. He could clearly see Cinder was struggling to even admit this much, but for her to do so spoke of one thing.

She knew the threat of the man better than even he did, and was telling him so that he avoided any and all contact with him as possible. The fact that he'd gotten away with just a simple arrest was a miracle within itself.

But still, her words brought forth a worry that he couldn't help, but express.

"Uhm...alright. So...who is this guy anyway?" he asked only to make Cinder turn and stare at him.

"The organization I work for, nor I know his true name. However, ever since he...defeated me, the organization has been taking a great amount effort to keep track of him. So far, he's made an enemy out of the Council of Remnant; they've even come to give him the moniker of the Devil, of all things. It is the same for the White Fang who has marked him as Flee on Sight order given by Sienna Khan. The White Fang have come to call him Wrath for the butchery he brings to their cells in the world. We all know him by these names, but the most common one we have is one even you know." she said making Roman quirk a brow.

"Oh? And that is?"

Cinder's cold smile turned into one of pure cruelty. "You would know him as the vagabond, the wandering swordsmen, the knight without a king. Some call him Berserker, but everyone knows him as...Marshal, the Slayer of Monsters."

….

….

'Well fuck me.'

Roman didn't so much as make a sound when Cinder told him the man who stopped him. He said nothing; hell he didn't even look fazed on the outside, but inwardly he was on the verge of having a stroke.

He knew those names carried weight, the Devil was the moniker the council gave the one who they labeled was the biggest revolutionary in all of Remnant. A man who killed corrupted politicians and councilors with his own bare hands. A man who brought down the Kingdom of Mistral and the state as a whole when he killed the Kings son and brought forth its corruptions to mistrals citizens' thus igniting a civil war that still to this day rages on. It was ironic seeing as the devil was seen in ancient scriptures as the enemy of mankind, but in this world he was the bane too the elite of the world.

Wrath, on the other hand, was one he'd come to know through the grapevine of his newest White Fang allies. They spoke of wrath as someone not of this world. Some call him a wandering spirit hell bent on bringing retribution of mankind and delivering it upon the White Fang. Others saw him as a bloodthirsty savage that wanted the extinction of all faunus. But Roman knew the truth, Wrath was a moniker given by the White Fangs current leader, Sienna, in due part because of what the mans done to them over the years.

The stories alone could not justify the terrors he's wrought on the terrorist organization.

But the name Marshal? Roman knew that name all too well. It was a name that echoed throughout the Criminal Underworld as much as it did the rest of the world. Marshal was a man that was both respected and feared by the criminal world for his actions in slaughtering monsters, but fearful of him for what he's done to criminal organizations in the past. He made the Warlords and Bosses of the Crime world look like mere babes to a lion.

Some even questioned if he was even human at all.

And Roman was inclined to ask the same thing.

He took a shuddering intake of air before he glanced to Cinder. Fear clear in his eyes as he spoke.

"Marshal, Cinder? The guy that stopped me was Marshal?! He couldn't have been 17!"

Cinder for her part didn't even look ruffled by Roman's reply. Instead she merely turned too look his way.

"And he couldn't have been 14 at most when he intercepted my team and I. Age means nothing to this man, Roman. His power and skill cannot be denied. I made that mistake and I paid the price for it, and so will you if you cross him a second time." she said, and judging by the tone in her voice she was serious.

The orange haired criminal didn't shrug off her warning as he knew when she was serious than it was best to listen to her.

But then that brought forth a worrying question that he couldn't help, but express.

"Alright, but if even you couldn't kill him and this is the Marshal we're talking about...then what hope do we even have for this operation if he's in the city?" he asked. He felt it was a valid question seeing as how the man was able to best Cinder, her team. Make an enemy out of the Council and elude them for so long and even be actively targeting the White Fang. And on top of all that, responsible for slaying so many monsters that would have slaughtered anyone else.

How do you even fight something like that?

At this Cinder's expression turned cold.

"That is quite simple Roman. The operation will continue as planned, but in light of recent events it will be sped to counter this new bit of information. As to Marshal himself, think about this...what is the devils worst enemy?"

And with that said Cinder walked away, leaving behind a curious Roman Torchwick who contemplated on what his partner just told him.

However, as she walked away Cinder entered the warehouse, and upon taking a turn to the briefing room just pulled out her right hand. Acting upon her will the darkness around her twitched and conformed before it swirled into her palm. The darkness began to take shape and given life until it was a floating orb made of black mass with pulsing red veins around its body. It's eye was solitary, and it looked to Cinder with clear reverence.

It awaited instruction.

And Cinder was all too happy to give it.

"Connect me to the Goddess."

The scrying Grimm floated out of her hand, and it's massive eye flashed before an image of a pale woman with deep red and purple veins pulsating from around her eyes appeared. The sclerae of her eyes bled black and her irises glowed a blood red. Her hair was pitch white, the color of the shattered moon, and held up in a bun with six offshoots that held ornaments from each one.

Once the woman's image appeared, Cinder instantly dropped to knee in reverence.

"Your grace."

The woman merely stared at her through the Grimms eye before she finally spoke.

"Rise, Cinder, and tell me, why have you contacted me?"

Although the pale woman was only seen through the eye of the grimm, Cinder still felt that overwhelming presence that threatened to snuff out her existence with, but a blink of this woman's eye. When she spoke, the world itself seemed to freeze around her, and the very realm paid heed to her every word.

The heavily scarred woman did as ordered and looked straight at her boss, her queen, her goddess in every way, and spoke.

"I am sorry to cut into your time, my mistress, but...I've found him. I've found the Marshal."

The only inkling of emotion Cinder could see from her leader after saying what she had was the slightest flicker of amusement in her eyes.

"I see...so you've found him. Judging by the location of your message, he's in Vale?"

"Yes, and I've come to a suspicion that he's been taken in by Ozpin for Beacons yearly recruitment period. Beyond that...I don't know much else." she said, and it was true. If Roman was stopped by the Marshal who was in the area with the girl with the scythe then it would be more than probable that he'd been invited to Beacon since it was noted in her other operatives reports that Ozpin was in the area the same day.

And Ozpin was her master's greatest enemy, and the man was known to be an oddball who'd invite anyone to Beacon if they proved themselves in someway to him.

Because of that, Cinder held no doubts Marshal was recruited into Beacon.

The pale woman on the other hand took what Cinder said in stride, but said nothing else as she closed her eyes in contemplation. Cinder could garner nothing from her queens expression, but didn't need to.

Her Queen's word was law, and she will act upon her will.

Nothing else mattered.

Finally, her queen opened her eyes and she looked to Cinder. "You focus on gathering the resources we need for the operation. As for the Marshal? He will be dealt with." she said, and Cinder merely lowered her head in acceptance.

"As you decree, my Queen. Should I amount a force to-"

"There is no need. You focus on the resources we need. I'll deal with the Marshal."

Cinder merely hesitated for only a second, but she gave a nod once more, and soon the connection was cut.

The pale woman merely waved her hand the Grimm, Seer, floated away by her will. As it did, the woman turned to look out her compound and reflecting in her glowing red eyes was a world of black and red. A world of shadow and blood that cried out for the destruction of humanity. The barren wasteland could only be seen as a never-ending battlefield that housed endless numbers of Grimm that all acted upon her will.

This was her world of which was her own.

A world fit for only the strongest.

A world fit for him as well.

The woman looked upon her reflection in the window, and began to think of what she could do.

"If I know Ozpin then he will be enacting the Beacons initiation test soon. He will be putting Marshal through a test along with the other initiates. Such a silly test will matter not to one such as him...no. He needs something more. He deserves something much much more."

Looking at herself once more, a strange expression started to form on her face, her eyes began to twinkle in a certain light that could only be derived as loving, and her mouth formed into a smile that could only be seen as...sultry.

"I think it's time I finally got to meet you, Jaune, Heir to the Elder Blood."


End

And that's a wrap for this chapter. It was a world-building chapter, and a set up for what's to come, but I definitely enjoyed it. Took some time to get out, but I'm pleased with it nonetheless.

Before anyone starts questioning me why Cinder or her team ended up the way they did. Did you really think they'd escape Jaune unharmed? This isn't Fairy Tail. People are gonna get maimed, scarred, burned, and brutally killed in this story, so you've been warned.

Anyway, I'm out. Gotta prep for new job tomorrow, so until the next chapter!

Have a good one!