Ruby Rose wasn't prepared for this!
She was just fighting off criminals! Was that really enough to get into Beacon Academy?
She just wanted to look at the weapon magazines because Atlas was developing the sixth iteration of mechashift technology, but she also needed some Dust to make Dust Rounds for her baby, so she tried to kill two birds with one stone and ended up knocking out four criminals and getting bombarded by questions from that Huntress later on! She got into Beacon Academy because she was looking at magazines!
Now, to make matters worse, Yang took off on her and she bumped into some crabby girl's luggage. She got snapped at and insulted and she just wanted the shouting to stop and gods this wasn't how she expected things to turn out!
"Welcome to Beacon," Ruby mumbled to herself unhappily. The ground was her only friend now. She would lay and die here.
"H-Hey. You alright?"
Her silver eyes flickered from a cloud that looked like Zwei's butt and met a pair of cobalt blue.
"Motion sickness is a really common problem!"
Ruby laughed at his childish anger, knowing full well that he wasn't really mad. He was funny, or at least tried to be (she'd count it as a win), and knew how to hold a conversation with someone as socially awkward as her.
Why had she decided to just lay on the ground…? Yang hadn't even bet her anything. Last time, she'd gotten a batch of cookies for laying on the ground in the middle of a museum.
Right, barfy. She couldn't get sidetracked while talking to people. Dad had told her to break that habit.
"All I could think when I saw you was Vomit Boy."
"Oh yeah?! Well, how about I call you Crater Face?!"
Wha-?! Crater Face?!
"That was an accident!"
"Well the name's Jaune Arc. Short, sweet, rolls off the tongue, and ladies love it!"
Ruby paused, looking Jaune up and down. Despite what Yang seemed to believe, she was still a girl. She knew what she wanted in a boy. Jaune was full of hope when he said it, and he way maybe a little cute.
Jaune's eyes bulged out of his head. Ruby decided to just stay friends.
"They… they will…"
Ruby just smiled when she heard her new friend about how him mom had said so. She was just prepared to contently follow him to the auditorium, as she had been since the minute they met, and quickly realized that she could only hear her own footsteps.
The fifteen year old glanced back to Jaune, whose eyes were directed at the ground. His hand was running over the hilt of Crocea Mors slowly, as if he was trying to reassure himself over something.
Ruby stopped and let Jaune know he had her full attention. He was her first friend at Beacon, and her dad always told her that her friends should be as important as family. She smiled awkwardly to the downcast boy. His blue eyes looked back with concern in them.
"Sorry, this might be a weird question… do you feel... tense?"
Tense was weird. Tense was on a spectrum, like the tastefulness of cookies and the effectiveness of explosive rounds on different materials.
"Tense, like, 'oh no, I left something important at home' tense, or 'my stomach is tearing itself apart at the seams' tense?"
She looked him in the eyes. Number two tense seemed to be overflowing in him.
"I don't know why, but I feel like something bad is going to happen. I just can't relax…"
"Well, I mean, it's probably nerves, right? The next four years of our lives are going to be spent with strangers that'll become closer than blood. We don't know anything about our teachers, who we'll be partnered with, how grades and everything will work, and how missions will fare. We're going into this blind!"
A solid three seconds of silence passed, and Jaune had to awkwardly clear his throat to return to talking like a human being.
"That doesn't really help, Ruby."
The fifteen year old cursed her lack of tact, and realized that Jaune might just be onto something. It would help explain the pit that was growing in her stomach.
She felt tense herself, but it didn't feel like nerves. It was like she was instinctively preparing herself for something.
"Initiation," she told herself. That had to be it. It was the reason why her stomach was doing flips and flops. That had been the answer for Jaune, hadn't it?
She tried her best to ignore Yang's snoring.
Ruby didn't sleep that night.
She felt the bone and tendons of the Nevermore popping and severing. All of the resistance of the Grimm's flesh suddenly vanished, and she found herself nailing the landing. The reaper smiled to herself and looked back to the cliff side, watching the reaction.
She killed it. Its body collapsed down the crevice slowly but surely. She could see her sister, Weiss, Yang's partner, Jaune, and the others all looking, waving, and shouting to her. Ruby disengaged Crescent Rose and waved back happily, hopping a bit to make sure everyone knew she was waving to them.
Normal knees! She had normal knees!
"Yeah! Oh yeah! That's right, Ruby Rose, heroic Huntress and decapitator of giant monsters! Lord upon my presence! Reward me with your cookies and strawberry shortcakes!"
She was just about to crash dramatically to her knees and shout happily to the heavens when she heard Yang's voice cut through the euphoria like an Atlas air fleet through a Vacuan Battleship. Then, surprisingly enough, followed up by Weiss and Yang's partner.
"You need to get away from whatever that is!"
The reaper blinked. Their words suddenly clicked in her head, and Crescent Rose came back out in a flourish. She turned, and her silver eyes widened in horror. There was the expectation of a Creature of Grimm: something easy like a Beowolf or an Ursa.
She didn't know what it was, but she knew that she needed to get away from it as quickly as possible. It hung eerily in the sky, a giant and nauseating green that hung just out of orbit, but felt so unnatural that it could've been in one of Uncle Qrow's crazy stories. It was an amalgamation, covered in various foreign parts that didn't seem to fit. One of the things attached had what looked like a giant ring.
But when she saw something in it that she recognized, all hell broke loose in her mind.
The moon and its various pieces were connected to the thing, but it didn't come to collide with them. It stopped in the sky and just hovered. The sky became a sickly green as it began to glow. Something descended from it, like an alien egg from that one movie that Uncle Qrow convinced her to watch when she was little that gave her nightmares for weeks.
It hit the ground, and tendrils sprouted from its webbed base. It was there for barely a second, about fifteen meters from her, and all Ruby wanted to do was run and never look back. Something came out of it, not a Grimm, not a human, but something green, red-eyed, and alive. The thing moved towards her, hopping as if it was in pain, and its toothy maw let out a snarl.
It lunged at her, and she forced her body to dash out of the way on pure adrenaline alone. She was shaking. This wasn't how things were supposed to go. She was supposed to be with her new team, at a new school, and able to make friends.
Instead, she watched in horror as the creature before her bore into the ground and came back out bigger. A white Dust Crystal protruded from its head and made it glow with power. The green became a cold white, and she barely realized it was attacking.
She avoided the blast of energy it let out like the plague, then realized that it was the attack. When the scream of burning skin and clothing coursed through her leg, she realized far too late that the Dust Monster had gotten backup. She was surrounded by the creatures.
She ran. She forced as much Aura into her body as she could and forced her Semblance to work. Ruby threw herself off the side of the cliff, avoiding the sticky and burning hold of the creatures, and dropped right into her sisters arms. She didn't concern herself with wondering how Yang had been able to feasibly catch her. Ruby just sank into her sister's hug and begged her to make everything better.
Another of the webbed growths popped out of the cloud layer, and Ruby saw it wide terrified silver eyes.
It was huge. A comet cascading down from the beast in the sky. The entire cliff shook when it crashed into the wall she'd run up moments earlier to kill the Nevermore. More goo dripped from it, pouring down in a miserable excuse for a waterfall right to the ruins where they thought their last stand would be.
Ruby couldn't help but whimper when she realized that the Nevermore, the creature she'd ripped the head straight off of, was moving, coated in the green slime.
Then, and only then, the blaring sirens started.
This couldn't be part of Initiation. No way any Huntsman school could bring whatever that was to test students. He figured that one out when the sky turned green.
Crocea Mors ran through another Grimm through as Jaune fumbled with his Scroll. A warning on it was flashing a bright yellow, demanding for all students to get to the school immediately.
The very second Ruby had gotten away from the cliffside, everyone had scattered. It was a scramble to escape from the hulking green mass in the sky, and the strange creatures that had popped out of the growths that had struck the ground with all the force of a piano falling through a house. He found himself right behind his new partner, the girl looking understandably terror stricken, cutting through any of the Grimm that were homing in on them without hesitation.
Jaune sprinted right on Pyrrha's heels, following the path that she was clearing out. It was pointless in trying to fight off the creatures. For whatever reason, their weapons didn't work against the goopy monsters. Nora had tried, as in she brought her hammer down on one of them so hard that Jaune had hurt just thinking about it, and it bounced off like she'd struck a trampoline.
They'd decided to just sprint directly back to the school. The decision hadn't come through nearly fast enough.
The webbed growths dotted the landscape that they charged past. The Nevermore that Jaune was positive had died was beating its massive wings once again, peppering the ground with razor sharp feathers that now melted whatever they touched, the black material that made up the beast now a dark green.
How was it that they'd only reached the ruins that held the chess pieces before they stopped?
He was shaking. The pieces of his armor rattled against one another when he felt Pyrrha's back against his own. She was shaking too.
He tried to fight. Crocea Mors slashed and poked, but was practically useless. He was able, however, to deflect the attacks of the monsters that had Dust Crystals in them. They crashed and pinged against his shield, and anything that wasn't green ended up getting tossed back.
Then one of the normal ones lunged at the monster.
He shoved her away from the attack, bringing up his shield and wincing when it crashed into the metal plate. He forced himself to breathe and tried to shake off the monster, whose red eyes snapped open and narrowed upon seeing him. Jaune felt his blood curdle when the sludge coating Crocea Mors' key form of protection began to grow and spread, covering the entire face of the metal.
He heard Ruby scream for him. Oh god, he didn't want to die like this! It was going to kill him, just like that!
"Jaune, your shield! Take off your shield!"
The blonde snapped out of his panic to realize what Ruby had meant. With shaking hands and fear soaking him, he pried away the leather straps that connected the metal to his arm guard just before he got enveloped.
His shield was absorbed into the green blob, and Jaune instantly missed its presence. A force seized his armor and pulled his exhausted form away, likely Pyrrha's Polarity that she mentioned earlier. He didn't have time to worry about the redhead's magic powers when he caught sight of the creature that attacked him begin to change.
The blob grew. It sprouted arms and legs in such a grotesque fashion that even his horror-movie obsessed sister would be horrified. The electric green color darkened and morphed into blacks and dark green, where only one part seemed to be unaffected.
It was holding the shield of Crocea Mors, and its mouthless face became something akin to a smug grin. The other limb had no substitute for his sword. It didn't need the blade when its arm became a serrated mass of green instead.
The blob had become an imitation of him.
It tried to lunge. It barely came close before they were separated by a glowing Glyph and it was sent flying back with a scream. Hands seized him by his clothes, and he felt himself get hauled onto the shoulder of what looked like Ruby's sister, who was as pale as the moon had been. Weiss was right beside her, nursing a long cut on her abdomen, and the black themed girl was firing potshots into the crowd that followed their hasty escape.
They didn't need to go far before backup arrived. A bullhead touched down just before the end of the clearing, and the stern blonde teacher that had glared at them the entire time Ozpin had made his speech on the cliff rushed out. Yang had just set him down and he was instantly ushered onto the aircraft alongside his fellow Huntsman and Huntresses-in-Training. It was already packed full of other people he'd seen before Initiation began, all pale, a few of them even crying.
Jaune was the first to see the state of Vale. He was the first of the First Years to see the city engulfed in chaos.
He felt Pyrrha beside him, desperately reaching for his hand, and he instantly grabbed it, taking the slightest comfort in having someone familiar beside him.
Ozpin, for once in his billions and billions of years, was speechless. Unknowing of how such a thing could happen; ill prepared to do anything to stop it. He could barely get the words he was regaled for to work and diffuse the situation at hand.
It was chaos. His students, years one through four, were scared to death of what was happening. It was an invasion in every definition. Gathering the children all into Beacon's auditorium had only aligned them with the fact that they had no idea what to do. That fact had become panic, and soon would become fear. Fear brought the Grimm, and likely these new monsters.
If anything, he imagined Salem would be screaming in mirth.
"Remain calm, everyone! This is not a situation where we should panic! That will only bring the Grimm!"
Glynda. It was Glynda who finally regained her voice. It was Glynda who knew him in and out, and it was she who could tell he had no clue on what to do. And he her.
"Remnant is being invaded," he finally managed to say, forcing his body to stop shaking. He couldn't betray the trust of his students. They believed in him and his cohorts, so it would be his job to make sure they…
He couldn't even bring himself to believe he could lie about this.
"Emergency contingencies have been activated. Everyone, this may be the end of the world."
It was too quiet. Ozpin gripped his cane tighter and watched as the fear that was on the students faces blossomed into full-blown terror.
The doors opened, and hundreds of aspiring Huntsman and Huntresses fled for their lives. He could only force himself to remain on stage for the few that hadn't run. The number wasn't many.
Barely over one hundred were left at the end.
Three Weeks Since Contaminant Invasion
Crescent Rose followed her, cutting lines into the concrete of Vale's broken and abused streets. Her home was covered in Contamination and Pods, what scientists had determined to be the disgusting green sludge that had coated her home and the egg shaped growths. A cringe of disgust was all she'd relegate it, as Weiss had aptly stated.
Many would think it would be smarter to pick her scythe up, as to not make any noise that could attract the monsters. They'd probably also say that it'd be safer at Beacon, currently the least infected place in all of the Kingdom of Vale. She'd agree on normal terms.
She wanted to make noise. She wanted to attract the attention of the monsters that faced her. And she wanted the mass of dark green that coated the entirety of the residential district to know she was there and spit out the one she wanted. The one that stood right in the middle, so absolutely normal, had red eyes that seemed to illuminate her like a lighthouse. He looked so human. The skin was the awkward pale of an introvert, and the size spoke of at least a Junior High student, or maybe a short Huntsman-in-training.
The blood coating him was another story. As was the dark green hair and patronizing red eyes.
He'd appeared one day on Beacon grounds and led a genocide. Efforts to reconstruct were cut off when Monsters barged in and began to attack and kill students and refugees. It had gone on for only a few hours, and in that time, she'd witnessed more death than the fifteen year old could possibly imagine.
Her friends were safe, but that was all she could manage to be happy about. Bodies still littered the destroyed halls, and the auditorium had become a morgue. She couldn't get her mind off of the fact that they were just people, killed because they'd been pursuing their dreams.
So she was going to kill him. She wanted her family to be safe, and he was in the way of that. No one was going to leave her alone. She wasn't having a repeat of her mother.
It was Ruby's plan to leave in the midst of the night. Her speed easily allowed her to zip past the teachers and soldiers on patrol, although she almost got spotted by Professor Goodwitch herself. The woman was worse for wear, devastated by how many people they'd lost within the three months. Every student that was left was worried for with such fury that an outsider would easily believe they were all her own kin. Thankfully, she'd gotten away, and used her weapon to descend the Beacon Cliff into the destroyed and disturbed image of Vale.
And that led her all the way here, right to the edge of a crowd of the green monsters. She clutched Crescent Rose harder when she saw his figure in the center of the horde. His red eyes were targeted so intensely that she could feel them cutting through her. The boy waved his hands, and a gap separated a path through the creatures to where he stood, a large radius between him and the monsters. He cockily beckoned her forwards, smirking.
With a scream, she charged.
Weiss woke up, and Ruby was gone.
The Schnee Heiress knew cold. Weather, her father, the emptiness of her house. She'd never felt her blood run cold in her life.
With shaking hands, she plucked her Scroll right off of her nightstand and called for Miss Goodwitch.
That smug grin regarded her once again, and a screaming pain erupted in her face. Blood poured from her now broken nose, and a blow came from somewhere hidden from her blurred, tear filled eyes. The ground caught her gracelessly, and she couldn't even begin to crawl away before her worst fear came and stomped on her skull, crushing it further into the ground.
He ground his boot into her head. Blood was pooling in her throat from his dirty fighting. She hated him so much, and he just laughed at her.
He took her cloak from her shoulders, looking it up and down like it was a trophy for the taking. He couldn't have it. Her mother gave her that cloak. It was more important than Ruby herself.
"Gibe… dat… b-back…"
The sneer returned when Ruby reached out to get her cloak back. She didn't realize his goal until it was too late. He pulled her most treasured object away and grinned when pain exploded through her hand.
She let out a strained cry and pulled her fingers out from the sole of his boot, whimpering as she looked at her obviously broken digits.
She cradled her hand and forced herself not to cry as one of the monsters lapped up her cloak. The sound of popping and expanding drawled out sickeningly, as if the creature had bone and flesh to move. She glared up to where a mimicry of herself stood, narrowed red slits for eyes looking down at her. The black corset and skirt it wore were stained a disgusting dark green; pale skin an almost booger green. Its hands were shaped like the blade of Crescent Rose.
Ruby forced herself to reach for the weapon, fingers barely managing to brush against it before her mimic kicked her away from her treasured weapon, right to the feet of the boy. He sneered down at her and drove his foot onto his chest, forcing a pained gasp out of the fifteen year old's lungs. Then the tightness and short of breath hit her harder than any blow.
She tried to pry the hands from her throat, clawing away at the skin on his fingers. His digits couldn't be pried away, especially not before she realized he was choking her to death.
Her eyes felt like they were boiling her brain, and she couldn't help but scream in some desperate attempt to quench the pain. Everything was just so bright. It felt like it deafened all of her senses and left her with just instinct.
She opened those eyes and connected them to the shocked set of red.
The constriction vanished, and everything went black.