Chapter 1: Level Up!
“I’m not a jealous person!” Ruby quickly rushed out, hands waving wildly in front of her.
Yang paused mid press, arms akimbo as she went through her morning workout. “Uh...Huh.” She grunted, raising an eyebrow at her hyperactive sister’s antics. “Never said you were, Rubes.”
“But, well, I’m a little jealous.” She admitted, slumping back on the shoddily carved stump in a familiar pose. “I mean, you get to go to Beacon! Beacon! And I’m stuck at-!”
“Hey, now!” Yang shot to her feet, casually shrugging off the ensuing stiffness and sauntering over to clap a hand down on the petite girl’s shoulder. “You’ll be there soon enough! A year or two and you can make all new friends and become a proper Huntress, and Signal’s just another step you’ve gotta take!”
Ruby crossed her arms petulantly. “But I don’t want to wait a year or two!” She whined, shaking her head rapidly as the taller girl attempted to ruffle her dark red locks. “I wanna go now! I’ve slain Grimm and I’ve got a weapon and training and everything!”
As Yang smiled slightly she just knew that the blonde had shrugged off her outburst and, sure enough, her suspicions were confirmed a mere second later.
Relationship +1! (Yang: 94/100)
“Good things come to those who wait!” Her sister hastily blurted as though she’d read her mind. “Seriously, and it’s not like we’ll be totally separated; you’re coming with to see me off to initiation, right?”
“...I guess...” She reluctantly conceded, sulking a little less at the other girl’s warm smirk. “...Still, I’m so much stronger than everyone else in Signal.”
Yang’s smirk widened and she scoffed, shaking her head ruefully. “Don’t get cocky, sis.” She warned.
A part of her knew that her sister was right, but that small, small part was overshadowed by the part that casually pointed out that she could actively see how strong she was in comparison to her classmates.
Once more Ruby paused, Observing her sister.
Name: Yang Xiao-Long
The Sister of the Main Character, known for her Traits: Bold (+1 STR, +1 CHA), Intrepid (+1 STR, +1 VIT, +1 AGI) and Loyal (+1 CHA, +1 LUK).
Title: Sunny Little Dragon. (+1 STR, +1 LUK, +10% towards all friendships made. +1 CHA for every ten friendships made.)
To Next Level: N/A.
STR: 17 (25)
VIT: 12 (18)
CHA: 12 (16)
LUK: 10 (12)
Points remaining: N/A.
Semblance: Draws Strength From Hits. (+5 STR, +5 VIT, +2X Base Damage Afflicted.)
Not for the first time did the Huntress-in-training wince, comparing their Strength and Vitality and finding herself a little jealous. At least she had the speed advantage, she consoled herself, turning her silver gaze from her physical stats to pout at her sister’s Charisma.
Still, even her Charisma and Wisdom were among the top ten in her year, to say nothing of her superior skill and speed. Combined with her Scythe Mastery and Semblance and... “I’m basically undefeatable.” She sighed, ignoring Yang’s obnoxious burst of laughter as she fell back onto her makeshift seat. “Seriously, I’m too fast for the others to even try and keep up, and I’ve already got my Aura and Semblance so when I go all out I blow ‘em all out of the water!”
“Oh, what a shipwreck!” Ruby groaned, eyeing the grinning girl evilly. “Don’t be like that, sis! It’s not my fault that sometimes my jokes fail to lan- OHGODGETHIMOFF!” Yang yelped, darting across the clearing with a fervent zeal in her attempt to dislodge the sharp-toothed furry missile that had homed in on her arm. “ZWEI, BAD DOG!”
“Good boy Zwei!” She cheered in opposition, deciding that maybe it wasn’t all bad.
A minute passed in which the red-clad scythe wielder gleefully watched the fist fighter fail to get the much smaller creature off before, finally, she decided that enough was enough. “Zwei, c’mon Zwei, come on!” She coaxed, clapping her hands together and luring the innocent animal towards her. “Good boy!”
Yang paused next to a tree, shaking her spit-coated appendage and grimacing in the face of her good-natured cheer. “Eugh, can’t believe you and dad trained him to do that every time.” She griped, pursed lips twitching slightly despite her protests.
“He’s a good dog!” She cooed, patting the panting pet one final time and watching as he bounced back to the house.
“Yeah, yeah, good dog.”
Ruby stood, brushing off her combat skirt. “So when are you going to see Beacon, anyway?”
“Hm?” Yang blinked, lips parting into an ‘o’ as she remembered their previous topic. “Oh! Dad’s taking me in a week while we’re in Vale. There’s a whole transcript thing we’ve gotta get out of the way and then we’ll just be training for the next week after, so...”
“Well that’s... Fun.”
“Heh, yeah. How about you?”
This time it was Ruby’s turn to blink, the question catching her off guard. “What?”
“Well, I mean, we’ll be in Vale tomorrow and you don’t have school until next month,” Yang tilted her head to the side half-heartedly, raising her arms through the air to gesture at the sunny clearing. “So sun, fun and boys loom on the horizon baby sister~!”
“Yang!” She blushed, stepping away from her with a glare. “Don’t be weird!”
Relationship +1! (Yang: 95/100)
Yang barked out a short laugh, grabbing at the petite form of her younger sister and rubbing her knuckles against her scalp. “You’ll thank me when we get there, sister dear!” She crooned in that annoying way she did when she wanted to remind Ruby of her seniority.
“DAD, SOME OLD WOMAN’S TRYING TO SOLICIT ME!” She called in vindictive retribution, lips widening into an evil grin.
Yang sputtered as her sister ducked beneath her grasp, playfulness falling away in the face of embarrassment. “Ruby! Where did you hear that word? Ruby!?” She called after the fleeing redhead, quickly dashing after her.
The blonde’s footsteps disappeared as she activated her semblance and Ruby allowed her grin to drop, smiling contentedly as she sped past a myriad of trees and fauna alike.
Sprint EX +1! (23/100) (23%)
With a yelp Ruby crashed to the floor, silver eyes widening as she examined the new window. “WHA-!?”
Name: Ruby Rose
Traits: Trainee (+10% EXP), Shy (-1 CHA), Socially Awkward (-1 CHA).
To Next Level: 824
STR: 11 (12)+
VIT: 8 (9)+
DEX: 15 (16)+
CHA: 6 (4)+
AGI: 16 (26)+
Points remaining: 26
Semblance: Speed. (+10 AGI)
Perks: Silver-eyes – You were born with a unique trait: - +2 LUK, +2 CHA. (+???)
Junior Grimmslayer – You have slain over 10 Grimm: - +10% Damage against Grimm.
Huntress-In-Training – You have earned the title “Huntress-In-Training”:- +1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 CHA.
Scythe Mastery: - 65/100 (65%) (LVL 6)
Hand-To-Hand Mastery: - 21/100 (21%) (LVL 2)
Pole arm Mastery: - 11/100 (11%) (LVL 1)
Aura: - 10/100 (1%) (LVL 1)
Use Of Aura: - 5/100 (1%) (LVL -)
Acrobatics: - 32/100 (8%) (LVL 3)
Sprint: - 40/100 (8%) (LVL 4)
Sprint EX: - 22/100 (22%) (LVL 2)
Physical Resistance: - 11/100 (1.1%) (LVL 1)
Observation: - 22/100 (22%) (LVL 2)
The full window basically enshrouded her entire world in a haze of black-on-white, however Ruby wasn’t focused on that; she was more interested in “Points”.
Across the cabin her sister and dad were engaged in a fast-paced flurry of blows, training well underway already despite the time left for enrolment. She, however, was focusing on the large page before her, absently flicking a finger back and forth as she scrolled through her “Stats”.
“So this works like some sorta video game? Like... Hunters of the Old Republic?” She mused aloud, a surprisingly introspective approach for the normally hyperactive fifteen-year old.
With a hesitant touch she pressed on the plus sign beside the numbers, eyes widening as it changed.
STR: 12 (13)+ (-)
A quick glance and, sure enough, her Points had changed. ’25...?’ She pondered, narrowing her eyes on the new symbol and clicking it without thought.
STR: 11 (12)+
“But it says I’m level 6!” She finally huffed, unable to put together the numbers in any tangible form of order. “Is that five per Level? But that’d be twenty-five unless I get a free one?”
“Ruby, you okay?”
With a hasty flick of her wrist the redhead cast the screen aside, blushing as she took in the confused faces in front of her. “F-Fine!” She reassured them, scratching at her neck in an obvious tell.
Both Tai and Yang eyed her suspiciously, however as her father decided to act in favour of thinking Yang quickly found herself back in the fight, matching blow for blow and sweating as he launched another kick at her side. “Don’t let your guard down!” The grown man yelled, childishly sticking out his tongue at the growling blonde and gasping exaggeratedly as she dove after him. “Be gentle! I’m fragile!” He yelped.
Ruby giggled, watching the altercation with amusement and Observing her dad with a grin.
Name: Tai-Yang Xiao-Long
Class: Trained Hunter.
Traits: Father (+2 INT, +2 WIS, +2 PER), Loyal (+1 CHA, +1 LUK), Trainer (+1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 VIT, +1 AGI, +1 INT, +1 WIS, +1 CHA, +1 PER).
To Next Level: N/A
STR: 24 (25)
VIT: 21 (22)
DEX: 22 (23)
CHA: 10 (12)
INT: 14 (17)
WIS: 12 (15)
PER: 10 (13)
AGI: 11 (12)
LUK: 10 (11)
With a blink she roamed over his “Stats”, impressed but also a little... Disappointed. ‘Those numbers seem low for an RPG.’ Of course, maybe that was because he didn’t have Points, plus he’d been kinda retired for a while... ‘Mm, maybe.’
Still, the fact that his Intelligence and Wisdom weren’t that much higher than her own did make her wonder at just what the numbers might be based on.
“Alright then.” She breathed, brushing the thought aside as she called her own menu back. She knew how many points she had and she knew how to use them now, but where would she be putting them?
Of course she wanted to be strong, to be fast and agile and smart and wise, but... “Mmmmmmmm.” She groaned, gaze flickering across the cabin to the people milling around, trained Huntsmen and women alike conversing, living their lives without fear of the threats beyond their walls.
Attention ladies and gentlemen, we shall be arriving shortly in Vale; please ensure that all luggage is secured and that you vacant the airship in an orderly fashion-“
Ruby wanted to be strong.
STR: 11 (12) +0
26 POINTS Remaining.
To be able to take a hit to defend her team.
VIT: 10 (11) +2
24 POINTS Remaining.
To be skilled in her weapons.
DEX: 15 (16) +0
24 POINTS Remaining.
But... What she really wanted, more than anything right now, was...
CHA: 25 (23) +19
INT: 10 +2
WIS: 10 +3
0 POINTS Remaining.
Trait “Shy” has been removed. (-1 CHA)
Trait “Friendly” has been applied. (+1 CHA, +1 LUK, +10% Chance to succeed when engaged in social situations)
“Oh, now that I can get behind!” She grinned, licking her lips as she dropped the window and relishing in the feeling of pure, unburdened confidence that ran through her.
“Ruby, you coming?” Tai clapped a hand down on her head, ruffling errant locks hap hazardously. “Yang and I are gonna get some ice cream. How about it, chocolate or vanilla?”
Ruby breathed in deeply, concentrating on the warmth and familiarity burning in her core and pulling forth every bit of her newfound skill as she turned, voice smooth as silk and dripping with Charisma as- “I WANT STRAWBERRY!” –She burst her father’s eardrums.
Ruby was bored.
This, in and of itself, wasn’t an unusual occurrence; in fact she found that Signal academy pushed her into that state more often than not, even. However, the reason for her boredom was unusual, particularly in regards to her newest ability.
She didn’t have any quests.
Now, ordinarily this would be understandable, life didn’t just hand you tasks after all, but she had levels and stats and an inventory, so why would she not have quests?
“How’m I supposed to level up without any quests?” She queried the ceiling, absently leaning back on her arms and settling into the hotel bed. “Grimm, maybe? I mean I got that ‘Junior Grimmslayer’ title, but-!”
A short, sharp bang startled the redhead from her thoughts. “Do you mind?” Yang’s voice sounded through the thin wall separating them and Ruby awkwardly frowned, shuffling away in fear that the overzealous blonde may burst through. “Some of us are trying to sleep!”
“Sorry!” She called back nervously, scratching at her neck as the faint grumbling of her sister receded. ‘Maybe I should go for a walk?’ She mused, sighing as she climbed out of bed.
Ruby put on her headphones, stepping out into the open air and pulling the fabric of her cape a little closer. It was chilly out and while the material usually seemed excessive, tonight she found that she appreciated the added heat, however slight it may be.
The streets of Vale weren’t totally empty; it was only eight and in a city like this that meant that people were still milling about to-and-fro, going about their daily lives. Unfortunately despite the schedules of the people living there trade laws still meant that the shops were, for the most part, closed, and it took another ten minutes before she stumbled on an out of the way dust store. “Excuse me, do you sell comics?” She asked the owner, smiling as he nodded with an affirmative grunt and skipping down the aisle.
‘Ooh, X-Ray and Vav issue fourteen! I think this is the one where the evi-‘ She paused as she felt a tap on her shoulder, blinking as she turned to eye the suit-clad man gesturing at his ears. With a guileless smile she gave a thumbs up, turning back to her comic. ‘The one with the evil tentacle mon-‘ Another tap drew her attention and Ruby turned back, reluctantly pulling off her headphones. “Can I help you, sir?”
The average looking man before her preened slightly at the respect, lowering his- ‘Huh, that’s a machete.’ -weapon and nodding firmly. “I’m gonna need you to put your hands in the air, kid. No funny business.”
Once more Ruby blinked, brow furrowing in confusion. “Are you... Robbing me?” She asked slowly, lips twitching as she looked up at him.
“Yes!” He insisted, raising his machete back up to firmly point at her face. “Now put your hands in the air!”
The man’s arm was extended, grip too tight and head too close; it was child’s play to grab that arm, swinging him with all of her might and grinning as he was sent flying back the way he came.
“YES!” She cheered, the sudden number appearing with little fanfare. “Finally!”
Hand-To-Hand +1! (22/100) (22%)
“What’s going on over there?” Another of the mooks came sauntering over, unprepared for the flying dropkick that sent him back through the window.
“YESYESYES!” With a gleeful cheer she dashed towards the beleaguered thugs, swinging wildly and following them in their panic out the store.
Ruby paused, flicking off her scroll as she landed in the road and casually unfurling her scythe. “Wow, that’s really easy to level up.” She pondered to herself.
“Would somebody please take out the little girl with a giant weapon she can’t possibly wield?” The griping came from the only person not dressed like an extra and Ruby frowned at the insinuation that she couldn’t use Crescent Rose. With a sudden twirl she flicked the weapon open, twisting it behind her and lightly tapping the tip of the blade against the ground.
Intimidation +1! (6/100) (3%) (LVL -)
“Ooh, new skill.”
“Aaaaand she’s a crazy Huntress. Fantastic.” Her attention was drawn back to the orange-haired man and she smirked as he gestured at his thugs. “Well, Get her!” He ordered gruffly, rolling his eyes as the idiots stumbled over one another trying to rush her.
“Wow.” She winced as one of the men tripped, cracking his head on the curb and rending their numbers even less.
“Truly you were worth every lien.” The leader murmured, though not quite quietly enough for her to miss it. A flick of his wrist and the man levelled his cane at her, the end popping open to reveal an empty tube.
The fact that he had a transforming weapon and his clear lack of concern struck her and even as she leapt through the air away from the impact zone she was Observing him.
Name: Roman Torchwick
Traits: Confident (+1 CHA, +1 STR, +10% in social interactions), Cocky (-1 INT, -1 PER) and Partially Trained. (+1 STR, +1 VIT, +1 PER, +1 LUK)
Observe +1! (23/100) (23%)
“Roman Torchwick!” She called after him, pursing her lips as one of the men got in close and levelling both him and two of the others with a single swing.
+30 EXP! (150/854)
+30 EXP! (180/854)
+30 EXP! (210/854)
In spite of his henchmen’s fates the career criminal shot her a smirk, tipping his hat as he shot towards a nearby ladder.
Relationship +1! (Roman: 0/100)
‘Zero with a plus one?’ Her nose scrunched as she realized that a lowlife dirty criminal was now a part of her relationships. ‘Eeeeew.’ Her momentary confusion allowed another of the similar looking followers to grab her legs. “Hey!” With a crack she booted him off, hastily sprinting after the main threat in the area.
Sprint +1! (41/100) (8.2%)
“Aargh, how do I turn that damn noise off?” She growled, ignoring the lower rungs of the ladder and instead blasting herself towards him with her scythe.
Notifications Sound Disabled.
She gaped as the message flitted past her line of sight, an eager grin alighting her face as, once more, she blasted herself through the air.
Intimidation +1! (7/100) (3.5%)
“Better!” She called, landing with a flourish and flipping her scythe over her shoulder.
Relationship +1! (Roman: 1/100)
CHA Bonus +2! (Roman: 3/100)
‘A bonus?’ She blinked, brushing aside the oddity in favour of focusing on the battle at hand.
“Y’know, Red, you remind me of one of my associates, though she’s a little less chatty!” He called across the rooftop, nodding in acknowledgement. “Keep it up and you’ll start to grow on me!”
“Eeeeeeeew.”She voiced, earning a bark of laughter from the Hunter. Despite her words however she was tense, watching him for any movement and ready to move the instant he did so. She couldn’t afford to drop her guard around a Level 37, after all.
Relationship +1! (Roman: 4/100)
CHA Bonus +2! (6/100)
With a cringe she shot forward, swinging her weapon with all the force she could muster and yelping as he casually dodged. One, two, three, four-
With a sudden strike he batted her scythe aside, smirking as he closed in and kicked her away.
Scythe +1! (66/100) (66%)
Physical Resistance +1! (12/100) (1.2%)
“Eep.” She grimaced, sliding to a halt and glaring up at him.
Roman’s eyes widened and she felt a trill of vindictive amusement, however it ebbed slightly as an unfamiliar figure came up beside her, posture straight and face displaying a distinct lack of amusement.
“Observe.” She spoke without thought, watching the woman as she stared down the trained hunter.
Name: Glynda Goodwitch
Traits: Confident (+1 CHA, +1 STR, +10% in social interactions), Stern (-1 CHA, +1 STR, +1 INT, +2 WIS) and Domineering (+1 PER, +1 CHA, +1 WIS).
AP: 160/160 (260/260)
Observe +1! (24/100) (24%)
“Uh, please tell me you’re on my side?” She blurted, wincing as the woman shot her a bemused glance.
Relationship +1! (Glynda: 1/100)
CHA Bonus +1! (2/100)
“WE’VE GOTTA GO!” With a jolt she realized that Roman had taken the opportunity to flee, hopping off the roof with surprising speed. For a brief moment she was confused as to why the apparently suicidal man had decided on such strange last words, however the reason behind his order soon became clear as the bullhead came up, clearing the roof quickly.
A series of gunshots sounded, however neither she nor her new companion were caught off guard as they separated, gazes fixed on the departing vehicle.
A loud crack echoed through the air and Ruby turned, lips parting in surprise as she watched the other woman fling a sharpened slab of rock straight up. Nonetheless, her hesitation to go all out in a crowded area was clear and Ruby pursed her lips as she flipped her scythe, aiming the sniper attachment at the transport and returning fire.
Relationship +1! (Glynda: 3/100)
CHA Bonus +1! (4/100)
Relationship -1! (Roman: 5/100)
“DAMNIT RED, DON’T MAKE ME BRING IN THE BIG GUNS!”
Despite his words her weapon ran out of ammunition before he could follow up on the threat and the girl was forced instead to watch helplessly as the criminal vanished from sight. “Darn!” She cursed.
“Uh...” Her eyes shot up at the dry wit and silver met green with a guilty start.
“...I can explain!” She said for the umpteenth time.
“No need!” Yang cheered, clapping her on the shoulder and ignoring the wince the action elicited. “Dad told me everything!”
Ruby grinned nervously, gaze flicking away from the blonde’s purple stare. “Oh, cool. Well, that saves me having to tell you I guess.”
“Aw, look at you! My little sister’s growing up!” She cooed, ruffling her hair with a gloved hand. “I’m so proud of yooooou~!”
Relationship +1 (Yang: 98/100)
“Thanks, Yang.” Ruby giggled, settling into her sister’s hug with a soft hum and basking in her warmth.
The airship rumbled beneath their feet and she absently wondered how long it would take to get to Beacon; the trip had been last minute so she hadn’t exactly had the time to check on the flight.
Heck, most of her luggage wasn’t even onboard. Dad had to mail it and Zwei alike.
She voiced her concerns aloud and blinked as Yang released her, rubbing her chin in thought. “About half hour till we land, sis. And yeah, I guess Zwei’ll have to deal without us for a few weeks.” A smirk stole its way across her face and she shot Ruby a mischievous look. “I hope dad sends Uncle Qrow with him.”
A burst of laughter escaped her, however her confidence dropped slightly as she registered the stares being directed their way. “Y-Yeah.” She murmured.
Relationship +1 (Yang: 99/100)
“Hey, why don’t you go and see if you can make some friends?” The blonde spoke abruptly, both hands coming up with their thumbs up in what she probably thought was an encouraging gesture.
Ruby’s cheeks burned as she looked around, taking in the myriad of people wandering about and biting her lower lip in consternation. “I-I guess?” She offered half-heartedly.
“Excuse me, coming through!” With a jolt the redhead spun, almost tripping over her own feet in an attempt to get out of the way.
The unfamiliar blond stumbled his way past, heedless of Yang’s grimace and quickly she shot a look between the sickly figure and her sister, raising her arms in a curious gesture.
Yang paused, watching as the boy collapsed into the nearby seats and raising an eyebrow. “Maybe not this one.” She mumbled.
Ruby blinked, staring as limp golden strands fell across his forehead and his nervous gaze shot away from the surrounding students in embarrassment. A familiar shade of red ran through his pallid features and despite her sister’s frantic motions for otherwise she found herself dropping into the seat beside him, hesitantly reaching out to tap his shoulder. “Hey, I’m Ruby.” She smiled.
Relationship +1! (Jaune: 1/100)
CHA Bonus +2! (3/100)
‘3?’ She blinked, Observing him closer now that she knew she wasn’t unwelcome.
“H-Hi, I’m Jaune, Ja-” Abruptly he jerked back, flinching.
Name: Jaune Arc
Class: The Loser.
Traits: Nervous (+1 WIS, -1 STR, -1 DEX), Bold (+1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 VIT, -1 INT, -1WIS), Sick (-2 STR, -2 DEX, -2 VIT, -2 AGI, 30% chance of lingering sickness).
AP: 0/0 (110/110(220/220(?)))
‘Yikes.’ Slowly the petite Huntress reached out, rubbing his back in a vaguely comforting motion she remembered from her own sick days. “There, there.” For a brief moment she considered bailing, however then she caught sight of her sister, blonde locks swaying as she shook her head, and her resolve solidified. “Nice to meet you, Jaune.” She spoke firmly.
Relationship +2! (Jaune: 5/100)
CHA Bonus +4! (9/100)
Why was it going up so fast? Did it have something to do with his own insanely low Charisma or something?
Observe +1! (25/100) (25%)
Unlocked: Soothing Touch Level – (1/100) (5%)
Soothing Touch +1! (2/100) (10%)
Unlocked: Observe Tier Two.
“Huh.” She mumbled, repeating the circling motion as she felt his breathing begin to even out.
Soothing Touch +1! (3/100) (15%)
Relationship +3! (Jaune: 12/100)
CHA Bonus +6! (18/100)
“Th-Thanks,” The boy mumbled, leaning back and exhaling slowly.
Trait Change! “Sickness” to “Confidence” Relationship +5! (Jaune: 23/100)
CHA Bonus +10! (33/100)
Geez, at this rate she was gonna hit a hundred with him before Yang!
‘But I wasn’t-’ “Whoa...” Had she changed that? And what was with the relationship? Until now she hadn’t been given any sign that the numbers surrounding “Relationships” even had any bearing, yet...
Name: Jaune Arc
Class: The Loser.
Traits: Nervous (+1 WIS, -1 STR, -1 DEX), Bold (+1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 VIT, -1 INT, -1WIS), Confident. (+1 CHA, +1 STR, +10% in social interactions)
AP: 0/0 (130/130(260/260(?))
Ruby Rose: 33/100 (Great Friend)
Arylide Arc: 92/100 (Mother)
Ecru Arc: 88/100 (Father)
Jade Arc: 62/100 (Sister)
Viridian Arc: 54/100 (Sister)
Sapphire Arc: 58/100 (Sister)
Lavender Arc: 66/100 (Sister)
Amber Arc: 70/100 (Sister)
Hazel Arc: 76/100 (Sister)
Jasmine Arc: 68/100 (Sister)
‘That’s a lot of family.’ She shuddered, the image of seven Yangs crossing her mind in an instant. ‘I couldn’t even handle two.’ But she was a great friend already? This Charisma thing was off the charts! ‘I knew it would pay off!’
Her head spun as she tried to digest the sheer amount of information on display and Ruby nodded placidly as Jaune spoke, tuning back into what he was saying. “-And rolls off the tongue.” He grinned, deep blue eyes ablaze in excitement.
Despite his title and stats Jaune seemed like a nice enough guy; a little noodley and maybe kinda fragile, but still, if he already thought she was that close, then... “Nice to meet you!” She repeated, daintily holding out a hand and blinking as he leaned forward, pressing his lips to the back of the proffered appendage. “Uh...” ‘Why did I do that?’ Even as the thought crossed her mind however the smaller girl was returning his beaming expression with a pleased smile, mind awhirl with the possibilities. ‘My first friend! That’s one down and, like, a hundred more to go!’
Relationship +1! (Jaune: 34/100)
CHA Bonus: +2! (36/100)
And they said that Charisma was a dump stat; she was pretty sure she’d send any ‘Grimm Frontiers’ players into a fit if they saw her now! ‘Suck it, nerds!’
Still, even as she danced a victory dance in her head she was pondering. She knew that she could turn off the sound of the notifications (If she hadn’t she’d probably be deaf by now), but was there some way to turn off all of these windows?
After all, she didn’t really need to know someone’s Class or Relationships or Stats, now did she? Once she’d seen it once it really wasn’t all that necessary.
If only there were some kind of Menu(X)-
“Oh!” She jumped, staring at the new window superseded over the myriad of text boxes in front of her. She roamed over the simplistic box for a second and her eyes lit up as she spotted a green-on-red box beside. “Finally!”
Warning: Permanently turning off the Menu will auto-assign Skill Points and Perks! Skill Advantages will be turned on as compensation! Are you sure?
With a yelp she turned back to Jaune, flicking a finger through the “Yes” and playing it casually. “Just thinking. Sorry Jaune, you were saying something?”
Jaune’s smile quickly returned to the fore and the blond nodded once, angling his head towards the person eavesdropping on them. “Do you, uh, know her?” He spoke quietly, wincing as the lilac affixed to him seemed to flicker red.
“Oh! Yeah, this is my, ah, my sister. Yang, this is Jaune.” She quickly introduced the two, preening slightly as no tacky windows cropped up in her line of sight.
“Jaune, huh?” Yang’s expression didn’t quite meet her eyes as she watched the boy shuffle nervously on the spot. “Got over that sickness pretty quick, eh? So, you two seem familiar. Have you met before?”
Jaune’s gaze shot to her face and hastily he shook his head. “No, no!”
How far did this whole Relationship thing go? “I don’t think so. He just seems like a nice guy.” She quickly defended her new friend, rifling through her brain for some sort of excuse. “I’ve got healing hands!” She blurted.
The oppressive suspicion hung heavily in the air for a moment longer before, finally, Yang’s face fell back into her usual amused smirk. “Well, I guess that’s fair then. So long as you two crazy kids don’t have too much fun without me.” She teased.
Whew, there probably wouldn’t have been any consequences or anything if she’d kept suspecting but part of Ruby (A pretty big part, actually) really wanted Yang to like him. Maybe it was because he reminded her of herself before she’d gotten her sudden power-up?
Although he was a lot weaker than she had been even before the ‘level up’; weaker, even, than some of her old classmates.
‘And did he have ‘0’ AP?’
“Anyway, I think I’ve spotted a few of my friends over there so I’ll just leave you two lovebirds be!” Yang grinned, patting them both on the back. “See you later Ruby, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do~!”
With that the blonde dashed off, ignoring her sister’s futile attempt to grab her. “Yang, wait!” Ruby slowly dropped her hand. “Don’t leave me...”
“Well, I’m still here.” Jaune offered weakly, scratching the back of his head as she turned back to him. “Yeeeah, I should just... Go, huh? D-Don’t wanna bother you or anything.”
“No!” She rushed forward, grabbing his shoulders and holding the other Huntsman in place. “You’re fine, don’t you go too!”
“Okay, okay!” He nodded quickly, gulping as she tightened her grip. “I’ll stay!”
With a relieved sigh she settled back onto her heels, smiling up at him gratefully. “Thanks Jaune, I’m... Not great with people.” She admitted slowly, cheeks burning as his eyes widened incredulously.
“You? You’re not good with people?” He voiced in disbelief. “Ruby, I’m not good with people. I always act like a clown and then get stupid trying to be more confident. You’re golden, trust me.” He chuckled as she blinked. “You’ll be fine here. Me on the other hand, not so much.”
As much as she wanted to protest otherwise Ruby couldn’t help reluctantly agreeing with the statement; Jaune had zero ‘AP’ (Whatever that was), a low level and terrible people skills. He even got sick on the flight over, and with a title like ‘The Loser’... “Well hey, I’m a fish outta water too, y’know. We outcasts have gotta stick together!” She decided.
Jaune brightened, smile widening as she stared up at him. “Right! R-Right, and we can be on the same team! I mean-” His face fell slightly as he looked away, blushing as he nonchalantly watched the clouds pass them by. “If that’s okay with you, that is...?”
“Are you kidding?” Ruby gasped, stars in her eyes as she pictured it. “We’ll get super strong and fierce and smart and then we’ll battle our way to the top of Beacon, tossing aside all the other heroes until, finally, we become the strongest this place has ever known and then we’ll fight to save the city and- Well, maybe not that last part...”
“Uh... Huh.” Jaune’s pale face had become a more natural tan by now and as he watched her she found herself hoping that he hadn’t quite caught that slip at the end. She didn’t want to seem childish to her first friend at Beacon, after all... “So, you read X-Ray and Vav too?”
A/N: - Because some people were curious:-
Name: Ozpin (?)
Class: Primary Headmaster.
Traits: Masterful Strategist (+5INT, +5 WIS, +5 PER), Cunning (+2 WIS, +2 CHA), Multi-Skilled (+2 DEX, +2 AGI).
Level: 82 (142(?))
STR: 16 (26(?))
VIT: 16 (26(?))
DEX: 14 (16) (26(?))
CHA: 22 (24) (29(?))
INT: 28 (33) (38(?))
WIS: 28 (35) (40(?))
PER: 20 (25) (30(?))
AGI: 16 (18) (28(?))
LUK: 12 (22(?))
So yeah, I'll still be adding stats, however they won't be in the story proper so decision time; after posting a chapter should I post a page with the new stats you can't see or not?
Chapter 3: Partnerships
“-And then when the evil pirate guy used the tower to hypnotize everyone-“
“-And they blew it up with a massive laser blast! That’s my favourite part!” Ruby squealed, excitedly swooping in for a high-five.
‘I was totally wrong!’ She decided, grinning as he shook his hand slightly with a wince. ‘Jaune’s the best friend I could’ve made!’ Any doubts she’d held about the blond had swiftly evaporated over the past hour; he was nice, funny, treated her like an adult and he even liked X-Ray and Vav!
And hey, even if he was a noodle wasn’t she the strongest person in her old class? Heck, with her semblance and the whole ‘new’ ability she had she could probably cover for the both of them!
“Attention all passengers, we are now arriving at Beacon. Would all students please ensure their luggage is present and accounted for and make their way to the boarding entrance. Thanks you and have a nice day.”
With a brief crackle the overhead speakers cut off and she turned back to her new friend, grabbing him by the shoulder and rushing to follow the instructions. “C’mon Jaune, let’s go check out Beacon! I wanna see all the weapons!”
“W-Weapons?” He stuttered, blushing as she dragged him along.
“Yeah!” A thought struck and the Huntress-in-training spun, roaming over him with an assessing gaze. “I didn’t ask you about yours, did I?” She realized with a blink, shifting in place as she dropped his arm. “So is it a cool gun-sword or a spear or- Oh, is that it?”
Her finger pointed nonchalantly at the gold-on-white sheathe at his hip and Jaune winced, self-consciously pulling the aged weapon from its place.
Ruby Observed the ornate shield, narrowing her eyes as she took in the information displayed.
Crocea Mors (-)
A sword decades old belonging to the Arc family; Crocea Mors earned its name during the great wars of old as a powerful and reliable blade, equipped with a basic shield of the times capable of transforming into a basic sheathe.
+1 STR, +2 DEX, +2 VIT, +10% EXP to all members of the Arc family.
“It’s, uh, a sword and a shield. But the shield can... Turn into a sheathe.” He finished lamely.
With a short whistle she examined the presented weapon. “Not bad,” She admired, smiling as his back straightened in clear pride. “But not as good as my baby.” She bragged.
With a flick of her wrist she pulled forth Crescent Rose, twisting the pole to unleash the bladed scythe and spin it impressively in a motion she decidedly hadn’t practised several dozen times in front of a mirror. “W-Whoa...” The blond muttered, blue eyes shining as he watched her settle the death dealer onto her shoulder. “That. Is. So. Coo-!”
“DO YOU MIND!?” An irritated voice shrieked beside them.
“Eep!” Ruby gulped, careful not to drop her scythe as she turned towards the owner of the voice. “Sorry. I didn’t think about anyone walking past us!” She quickly apologized, silver eyes wide as she took in the regal figure.
With a huff the white-haired girl crossed her arms, scowling at the slightly shorter girl. “Well maybe you should be more careful! What if you’d hit me or my luggage?” She gestured towards the cart being towed by her (apparently?) employees, ignoring Ruby’s raised eyebrows as she took in the multiple professional looking briefcases. “This is high quality Dust! Explosive, volatile, multi-elemental Dust, mined from the Schnee quarries and hand-selected for my personal use!
She didn’t understand most of what she’d just heard, however she knew enough to know that Dust was expensive, and personally selected dust from source...? With a small frown the girl wilted, pulling out all the stops in her attempt to avoid punishment. “S-Sorry.” She sniffed.
The other girl paused, taking in the wide silver eyes and quivering lip being levelled her way and immediately folded like a house of cards, lips pursing as she hastily shook her hands back and forth. “I-It’s fine! I mean, there’s no need to cry over it or anything, nobody was harmed and...” She paused, inhaling sharply and straightening into a prim looking pose. “...Just be more careful in the future. Anyway, my name is Weiss Schnee of the Schnee Dust Company. What’s yours?” She pressed.
Ruby brightened, storing her weapon once more and raising her hand for a good shake. “My name’s Ruby! Ruby Rose, and this is Jaune.” She absently added, nodding towards the beleaguered boy who quickly and awkwardly waved.
Weiss’ nose crinkled, yet she still took the offered hand with a single, stoic shake. “Charmed. I’m sure we’ll work well together during our time at Beacon.” She said diplomatically.
With that the Heiress departed, beckoning her entourage to follow and ignoring the red-clad girl’s enthusiastic wave. “I think she likes me!” She smiled, clapping her hands together and rocking on her heels.
“I mean we’re not dead, so...” Jaune shrugged, half-heartedly stalking towards the building in the distance. “Wanna check out Beacon?”
“Sure!” She chirped, pushing the previous minute to the back of her mind in favour of meeting his wide stride. “I’m sure it’s- Wow.” She cut herself off, vaguely aware that at her side her friend had done the same.
Beacon was huge! Wide, swooping arches and a massive fountain sat in the courtyard; the flawless paths in and out of the area bordered by large trees and well cared for foliage. Even the doors were imposing, wide and large with a well engraved design across its surface.
“I love it!” She squealed, earning a fond chuckle from her companion. “And I can only imagine the weapons!” She repeated once more for posterity’s sake.
“Right.” He quickly agreed. “Anyway, any idea where we’re supposed to go?”
“I...” She raised a finger, feeling the boy’s intense stare follow the action. “...Don’t have a clue.” She drooped.
“Oh.” He paused, craning his head about as he attempted to find some clue to their destination. “Well, your sister’s over there. Maybe she’ll know the way?”
Ruby followed his finger, blinking as Yang sauntered into view. “Yang!” She beamed, nodding sharply as she dashed over to the blonde brawler. “There you are!”
“Whoa, where’d you come from?” She started, slightly cross-eyed as her sister leaned in.
Ignoring the question, Ruby chose instead to reach out and tap the blonde on the nose with a slim digit. “Yang, where do we go? What do we do?”
Yang shrugged. “Eh, I ‘unno, just follow the teachers sis.” She pointed casually, sidling to Ruby’s right as she did so.
Ruby followed her finger, smiling as Glynda Goodwitch walked by. “Yang, you’re a genius!” She cheered.
“Not really.” The blonde chuckled as her sister skipped off. “A-ny-waaaaay... You touch my sister and you’re a dead man.”
“What?” She blinked.
“Oh, nothing.” Yang clapped her hand once more on Jaune’s shoulder, pushing the pale teen after her. “You go follow that teacher, Ruby.”
Suspicious silver eyes flicked back and forth between her sister and her new friend, narrowing at the innocent grin on her face. “...Riiiiiight.” She finally nodded, grabbing Jaune’s hand possessively. “C’mon Jaune, over here!”
“So, sleep well?”
Yang casually reached out, grabbing her sister by the shoulders and pulling her aside. “I slept great! Could’a done without seeing your friend in his onesie though.” She chuckled.
“Yeah...” Ruby, despite her friendliness with him, had to admit that she hadn’t expected that to come into play. “I don’t think Beacon’s ready for that kinda fashion statement.”
“Ruby,” Yang patted her on the back, shaking her head with a rueful grin. “I don’t think anyone is ready for that kind of fashion statement.”
“Mm.” She agreed half-heartedly. “Still, at least he promised to make me some cookies after the exam. Jaune can bake!” The words were spoken with such reverent wonder that Yang couldn’t help snorting in amusement. The pre-exam back-and-forth calmed her slightly, but even so the petite Huntress-in-training was still a bundle of nerves at the thought of what awaited. “So, any idea what’s coming up?” She asked her sister nervously.
“Some sorta team selection. So, made any other friends you want to team up with?”
She shrugged anxiously, frowning at Yang’s back as the blonde went through the supplied storage locker. “Well, I kinda thought I’d team up with you.”
Yang froze, slowly turning and smiling tightly. “I mean, that’s great, but... Maybe you’d be better off... Teaming up with somebody else?”
Ruby gasped. “You don’t want me on your team!” She accused, pursing her lips as the taller girl hastily shook her hands in objection. “Your own sister! Well, me and Jaune’re gonna partner up and be the best team ever Yang, and then we’ll open a bakery in our spare time and you won’t get any cookies.”
“You realize that even if you open a bakery you can’t just eat your own product, right?” Yang smirked, waving off her betrayed glare with a small shake of her head. “And besides, the teams are four man squads anyway, Rubes.”
“Oh.” Ruby paused, squashing the firm disappointment as her plan for unlimited cookies was shot out of the water before it even began. “I probably wouldn’t have had the time anyway.” She sighed. “Wait, four man squads!?” She blurted as the second piece of news registered. “But I only know you and Jaune! Well, and maybe that Weiss girl, but she’s kinda high strung.”
“See!” Yang gestured up and down with abandon, grin widening at her perplexed expression. “Your second day and you’ve already made one friend and started on another! You’ll be out of your shell before you know it!”
“But I don’t wanna break outta my shell!” She whined, ignoring her sister’s pointed look. “I mean, yeah, talking to people’s funner than I expected, and it is kinda easier to make friends, but- Oh, shut up!” She finally huffed, crossing her arms and narrowing her eyes up at the unrepentant blonde’s smug face.
“Ruby, you’ll be fine. And even if we don’t end up on the same team you’ll always be welcome in my dorm room, you know that!” She smiled softly at her sister’s blush, reaching out to ruffle her hair. “Stop worrying so much, it’s- “Ridiculous!” “-Unnecessary.” She finished, glaring as a familiar boy stalked past, ignorant of the danger he’d nearly put himself in.
“Hey Jaune.” Ruby waved half-heartedly, resisting the urge to laugh as she heard him grumbling about locker numbers.
“Ruby! Hi, good morning! Uh, d’you... Know where this locker is?” He rushed out, pointing at the ‘636’ emblazoned across the top of the paper.
“Over there,” She vaguely pointed down the rows, blinking as he dashed off in that direction. “Somewhere.”
“Nice to see he’s got himself together.” Yang huffed, tilting her head as she followed his progress. “Still... He’s not a bad guy.” She reluctantly conceded.
“He’s cool.” Ruby corrected with a smug smile.
“Would all first year students please report to Beacon cliff for initiation; again, all first year students report to Beacon cliff immediately.”
“Welp, that’s our cue.” Yang nodded, taking a deep breath and rolling her shoulders. “Y’ready, sis?”
“I guess.” She shrugged, leaning back as Yang fixed her with a stare. “I mean, yeah! Totally ready! Born ready, even!” She quickly amended.
The cliffs of Beacon weren’t a great distance and the two teens smiled as they managed to get there in time. “I wonder what we’re gonna do?” Ruby pondered, standing on the tips of her toes as she stared into the forest in the distance.
“My dad said that during his exams they had to go into the Emerald forest and scale the cliff while fighting off a Nevermore.” Jaune spoke from beside her, quailing as both she and Yang shot him a sceptical look. “Yeah, it sounded stupid in my head too but I’m sure it’s something to do with the Forest anyway. I wonder how we’re gonna get down?”
“For years you have trained to become warriors, and today that training will be put to the test. In the Emerald Forest-“
“See, I knew that part.” He bragged, puffing up as the redhead giggled quietly.
“-Each of you will be tasked with obtaining an item of value. Glynda.” The three stopped speaking immediately as the complacent headmaster turned their attention to the stern blonde.
“I’m sure many of you have heard rumours about the assignment of teams; allow me to put an end to any guesswork and cut right to the heart of the matter. Each of you shall group up with three others for both the duration of this test, and...” She paused dramatically. “...For the rest of your time at Beacon.”
Ruby whined, the small glint of confidence she’d held towards the test dwindling as she locked her gaze onto the small box in the deputy headmistress’ arms.
“Each teammate,” Ozpin started once more, looking away dismissively even as he addressed them. “Will be with you for the rest of your time at Beacon, so it is in your best interests to be paired with someone with whom you can work well.”
Glancing to her left and right the girl nodded at both her sister and Jaune respectively, allowing the small spark of hope to blaze once more.
“That being said, the next person you make eye contact with will be your partner for the next four years.” Even as her dreams finally shattered she could have sworn that the apathetic man smiled at their despair.
“What!?” She breathed, aware of multiple other people around her doing the same thing.
“Once you’ve landed-“ ‘Not MORE!?’ “-Make your way to the Northern end of the forest. You will meet opposition along the way. Do not hesitate to destroy everything in your way or you will die.” ‘Yeah, he’s definitely enjoying this way too much.’
“You will be graded and monitored for the duration of your initiation, but our instructors will not intervene. You will find an abandoned temple at the end of the path containing several relics. Each pair must choose one and return to the top of the cliff. You will guard that item, as well as your standing, and we will grade you appropriately.” He paused, humming to himself as he lifted his cup to his lips. “...Are there any questions?”
“Yeah, um, sir-“
“Good, now,” He nodded. “Take your positions.”
The students hurried to center themselves on their pads and Ruby followed suit, sparing a raised eyebrow for the blond’s plight.
“So, this landing strategy, thing...” He continued, unheeding of the students departures. “...What is it? You’re, like, dropping us off or something?”
Ruby stumbled despite the lack of motion, levelling her friend with a bewildered stare. “Jaune.” She hissed.
“No, you will be falling.” Ozpin assured him.
Jaune nodded slowly. “Oh, I... See. So,” He glanced around. “Did you... Hand out parachutes for us?”
“WHOO!” Ozpin took another sip of his coffee, unaffected by the orange-haired girl’s rather exuberant departure. “No, you will be using your own landing strategy.”
“Uh... Huh, yeah.” He nodded, ignorant of her look of disbelief.
‘Tell me he’s kidding?’ She thought to herself, turning to her sister and watching as the girl offered a half-hearted shrug and a wink before, after flicking on her sunglasses, she shot off. ‘I could catch up to that.’ She reassured herself. “Jaune...”
The boy spared her a glance, nodding slightly and she relaxed as she realized that despite his fear he was obviously confident enough to stay on the pad. ‘Ha, like someone would be stupid enough to stay on that thing if they couldn’t make the fall.’ “So, um, what ex-“ With a brief whir the pad shot her forward, sending the petite girl’s steady form straight up.
The students weren’t too far apart, however as she turned in mid-air Ruby found herself staring, lips parted into a surprised ‘o’ as her friend’s screaming form ascended. ‘Oh. He’s not kidding, is he?’
There wasn’t a chance that she could slow down or catch him, so with a breathy sigh she spun, levelling herself in the open air and pulling Crescent Rose’s trigger.
Despite her training her speed caught her by surprise and she barely managed to push him in the direction of one of the higher trees before she was flying past.
Her last view before the forest cut off her line of sight was that of the unprepared Huntsman-in-training colliding with the tree line and wide yellow eyes meeting her own. And then she hit her.
“I am so sorry!” Ruby apologized for the third time, shoulders tense as she curled in on herself.
The black-haired girl shook her head once more, that same small smile she’d been wearing since the first apology firmly plastered across her face. “As I said, it’s fine. You were just trying to help your friend.” She chuckled awkwardly.
“Still, I should’ve been more careful. This is the second time this has happened in two days.” She lamented with a sigh.
“There’s a story there, I’m sure.” Her partner spoke, amusement lacing her tone. “I’m Blake. Belladonna.” She clarified after a second’s pause.
“Ruby Rose.” She returned shyly, smiling up at the stoic girl.
As the girl turned around Ruby Observed her back, running her eyes along the line of text that followed. “We should get to higher ground so that we can look for the Ruins, the Grimm are sure to have been attracted by our landing.”
Name: Blake Belladonna
Traits: Reserved (+1 PER, +1 WIS), Determined (+1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 VIT), Secretive (+1 WIS, +1 INT, -1 CHA)
STR: 10 (11)
VIT: 10 (11)
DEX: 14 (17(!))
CHA: 10 (9)
INT: 10 (11)
WIS: 14 (16)
PER: 10 (11)
AGI: 10 (13(!))
Weapon: Gambol Shroud (+2 DEX, +3 AGI, +10% towards Base Sword Mastery, Whips and Ropes Mastery and Shibari and Kinbaku Mastery).
Semblance: Shadow. (Copy Cat) (+5 AGI, +1 LUK, DMG = Base DEX + INT).
‘What’s Shi-ba-ri and Kin-ba-ku?’ She mused, mouthing the words and humming to herself as she reread the other Huntress’ stats. ‘Meh, probably not important. But I can see weapons now too! I wonder if I’ll be able to see more at some point? ’ “Yeah,” She agreed aloud, nodding in response to the other girl’s logic even as she winced at the HP and AP. “I’ll go up top first.” She volunteered guiltily. “I’m probably the faster of us both, so I can get in and out of danger quicker.”
“...Okay.” Blake said slowly, quirking an eyebrow as she narrowed her eyes.
‘Did I say something wrong?’ Shrugging off the strange girl’s suspicious behaviour, Ruby dashed up the nearest tree, relying on her semblance to carry her up without fail.
At the top of the tree she could see the area for miles around, dense forestry clouding the nearby area further and further away until, finally, she saw it. “There!” She spoke aloud in glee, the realization striking that her stunt had actually carried her closer than expected.
Quickly she ran down the trunk, twisting around a branch and landing in front of the startled Huntress. “We’re close. A mile or so North-East and we’ll be there.”
Blake slowly nodded, glancing back at the tree. “So, your Semblance wouldn’t be ‘Teleportation’, would it?”
“’Speed’, actually.” She corrected, grinning as the other girl released a breath. “Oh, and also there’s an Ursa behind you.” She spoke casually.
“I’m sorry?” Blake blinked.
“THERE’S AN URSA BEHIND YOU!” With a yelp Ruby dove forward, carrying the startled girl back and drawing her scythe.
Blake spared barely a second’s glance at the crimson scythe as she drew her own weapon, setting into her stance. Nimble footsteps carried the younger Huntress forward and she was vaguely aware that her partner was about to say something, however... ‘Observe.’
‘Same level as me, I’d better go all out then. One.’ The Ursa fell, head flying as she easily dodged the sloppy swipe, narrowing her eyes as she spotted another in its shadow. Two steps and she cleaved through its torso- ‘Two.’ –Allowing the momentum to carry her past a third and bury her scythe’s blade all the way in its back. A fourth and fifth stood behind and she cocked an eyebrow as they seemed to start, looking around in confusion; brushing the strange behaviour aside in favour of turning, Ruby flung her scythe out and almost launched the third at its fellows. ‘Uh, did I just...?’
Choosing to ignore the lucky blow the red-clad teen instead flipped through the air, marvelling in the ease of the motion even as she spun to take both remaining Ursa’s heads at once. ‘...OH MY GOD, WHAT DID I JUST-!’
With a jolt she fell to the forest floor, watching the five Grimm she’d just dispatched vanish into a thick, tar-like substance. “I- Uh...” She swallowed.
A hand entered her field of vision and she followed it, trailing up the smooth, pale skin to meet warm yellow eyes. “I see why they let you in early.” She chuckled.
Ruby blushed, taking her hand and allowing herself to be pulled to her feet. “Th-That? Naw, it was nothing, I just... I drink milk!” She tried to justify, cheeks reddening even further.
“O... Kay.” Blake nodded, releasing her hand and patting her once on the shoulder. “Well, keep drinking Ruby.”
Ruby allowed her attention to trail away from the amused yellow gaze of her teammate, instead lingering on the now clear space that the large Grimm had occupied. “I plan to?” She half-stated in awe.
‘I probably shouldn’t have closed the menu.’
Chapter 4: No Need To Get Yangry
A/N: So the poll results are in for adding Yang to the harem and after three days the results are as follows: 6-5 in favour of yes. (One person voted no but PM’ed me that they meant to put a yes out there. So sorry to those of you who voted no, it looks like I’m going to be adding her after all.)
Thanks for voting!
Blake’s bow twitched in the early morning light and Ruby blinked, narrowing her eyes at the accessory in suspicion. “Huh.”
“Do you hear that?” Her partner spoke, looking up into the surrounding foliage with a look of concern.
Her attention drew away from the bow and she focused on the sound of frantic voices in the distance, growing ever closer. “Yeah.” She acknowledged quietly, fingers twitching as they closed around the pole of her weapon. “What is that? Is someone coming?”
“RUN!” With a final hurried exclamation the source of the voice came darting through the bushes, yelping as he hastily avoided the startled Huntress’. “Hi Ruby RUN RUBY bye Ruby!” He said in a single breath.
“Hi Jaune.” She greeted absently, parsing his words just in time for the much larger shape to come darting out of the bushes. “Uh... Observe?”
STR: 12 (15)
VIT: 12 (17)
SCORPION GRIMM (+5 VIT, +50% Defence, + 3 STR)
“I can see it just fine.” Blake said dryly beside her, following the motions of the Grimm’s stinger with a sense of bemused wariness.
“RUBY!” Her sister called, flailing to-and-fro in the grip of the gigantic beast. “Help! Stuck! Stupid-” With a sudden jerk the stinger flung to the left, sending her yelping sister slamming into the ground. “-Jacket...” She finished.
“Hold on Yang!” She cried, bracing herself with both feet and darting forward.
“W-Wait!” Yang yelped as her sister drew closer, eyes wide. “Don’t-!” A single sweeping swing and the tail separated, falling gracelessly beside her.”-Do it...?”
Ruby swung her scythe back onto her shoulder, ignoring the frenzied Grimm as she lifted her sister to her feet. “There you go.” She consoled, patting the other girl down lightly and wrapping her in a hug.
“Um... Thanks.” The blonde murmured, gaze flickering for a second before, with a huff, she dove, dragging her sister with her.
Ruby grimaced in the awkward hold, twisting her head to see a claw bisect the air where they’d previously been standing. “Oh.” She realized dumbly, blinking as she turned back to the brawler. “...And then they were even.”
“Eyes on the prize, sis.” Yang quipped, falling into a fighting stance beside her.
“Right.” As she readied her weapon the redhead could see out of the corner of her eye both Blake and Jaune lining up beside them, blades drawn.
“Ready?” Blake tensed.
“Ready!” With a yell all four teens dashed forward, striking the Grimm head on at the same time.
To its credit the Deathstalker, despite being wounded and overwhelmed, managed to last slightly more than ten seconds, but- “Ugh, it’s in my hair!” –In the end, it just wasn’t enough.
Ruby ignored Yang’s griping in favour of turning back to her partner, grinning at the black-haired girl and pointedly ignoring the bow twitch this time. “Partners?” She reaffirmed, holding out a fist.
For a moment Blake continued to stand there, gaze flickering between her outstretched hand and hopeful face before, finally, she sighed. “Partners., She agreed, bumping the offered fist and closing her eyes in embarrassment as the younger girl let out a “Whoosh.” “Never do that again.”
“I make no promises.” Ruby grinned, relishing in the other girl’s exasperation and turning to regard the two brighter fighters. “So, team?” She offered, offering her hand.
“Team!” Yang agreed before Jaune could speak, clasping her wrist and pulling her into a hug. “Oh, my baby sister’s growing up so fast!” She squealed, ignoring the indignant squawk that resulted as the petite redhead attempted to lean away from her assets.
“Air, air!” Ruby protested, begging with her eyes for the others to intervene.
Thankfully Blake came to her rescue, bow twitching once more as she attempted to separate the two. “We should find the relics before relaxing.” She pointed out dryly, raising an eyebrow pointedly at the blonde’s pout.
“Point.” Yang agreed reluctantly, giving one last squeeze before she finally released her captive. “My life-“ Her sister gasped dramatically. “-It flashed before my eyes!” “So, any clue where we should start?” The buxom brawler asked the quiet girl.
Blake pursed her lips, glancing about briefly before, with a nod, she gestured towards their previous route. “Ruby said that she spotted the ruins somewhere over in that direction, didn’t you?”
Ruby finished composing herself, nodding quickly. “Yeah, I spotted ‘em over there; it’s not even that far. Although,” She paused, twiddling her fingers nervously. “The other teams might have gotten there already by now and taken their own relics...”
“Well, what are we waiting for!?” Yang stalked determinedly in the direction her sister had pointed, sparing barely a second to grab Jaune by the shoulder and drag the beleaguered boy after her. “Let’s move, people!”
Her partner shared a look with her and the Huntress-in-training shrugged half-heartedly, gesturing for them to follow the blonde’s lead. With a sigh Blake hurried after her.
“So Yang,” Ruby started when it became clear that her older sister wasn’t about to initiate conversation. “How’d you bump into Jaune, anyway?”
Lilac eyes glinted in the shade of the forest and the older girl didn’t even hesitate as they continued to march on, lips quirking into a smirk. “I guess you could say...” She paused and Ruby knew she had made a mistake. “...He decided to drop right in.”
“Yang.” She groaned, vaguely aware of her new partner shaking her head.
“What?” Yang raised an eyebrow at her blank expression. “You’ll learn to appreciate my humour one day. All tree of you.”
“Oh my god, stop.” She huffed, glaring as her sister regarded her with clear amusement.
“What, you want me to act my foli-a-“
“-Actually, do stop.” Blake cut across the pleasantries, narrowing her eyes as the trees began to thin out. “I can hear something coming.”
Immediately the three of them tensed, on high alert as they searched for the source of her wariness.
“There!” Despite her previous misgivings with his skill set it was actually Jaune, of all people, that noticed it first. “Not to make you panic or anything, but... Are those feathers?” He slowly pointed.
The grass gave way in the middle of the clearing beyond, rough stone and shoddily put together pedestals revealing a set of multiple different objects- ‘The relics’ She beamed. -and beyond that a criss-cross pattern of massive thick white spines, barely comparable to feathers in the same way you might compare a kitchen knife to a katana. “Big feathers.” She murmured, eyes flicking across the expanse in search of the cause of such massive plumage.
“It’s gone.” Blake said shortly, not quite relaxing but sheathing her blade nonetheless. “Let’s grab our relics and get out of here before it comes back. I’m not too keen on seeing the bird those belong to.”
“Retreat and live. Finally, an idea I can get behind.” Jaune quipped as he stored his sword and shield on his hip.
They didn’t rush as they walked towards the objective of their mission and the young Huntress-in-training could tell that they were just as wary as she was of the bird coming back; it was a relief when they all managed to grab both horse pieces without too much fuss and quickly they started back towards the cliffs.
“This feels...” Yang hesitated, gaze lingering on the ruins as they left their line of sight. “...Anti-climactic, somehow.”
“Anti-climactics’s good.” Jaune defended, crossing his arms as he stared over at her. “Anti-climactic means no running and fighting and possibly failing the test because we got caught off guard...”
The words were surprisingly insightful and Ruby beamed as she looked up at him, ignoring the twin looks of surprise shared by Blake and Yang.
“...Plus if you say something like that you might jinx us, I mean what next? ‘What could possibly go wrong?’” He joked.
All four tensed, gazes darting across the quiet forest clearing as they waited.
“Huh.” He spoke once more. “That usually doesn’t go down this well.” He noted.
“Let’s just get back to the cliffs.” Yang grunted, grabbing both him and her sister and speeding up.
“...Team PRWN, “Prune”, led by Ms. Pyrrha Nikos.” Despite all that they had been through the Headmaster still sounded entirely disassociated from reality, gaze lidded and glasses hanging loosely against the bridge of his nose. It really was anti-climactic, she reflected, narrowing her eyes at the older man and blinking. ‘Did he just wink at me?’ “And finally, Blake Belladona, Jaune Arc, Ruby Rose and Yang Xiao-Long. The four of you have retrieved the white knight pieces, and so, henceforth, you shall be known as team RBAY, “Ruby”, led by Ruby Rose.”
If the team name didn’t make it obvious enough then the tip of the coffee in her direction and slight nod made it clear that favouritism was at work and Ruby could feel her cheeks heat, even as Jaune shrugged at the syllable change and Yang nudged her with a smirk. ‘Kill me now.’ She whined internally.
“Looks like things are shaping out to be an... Interesting year.” Ozpin mused, taking a sip of his coffee and returning to his previous state of ambivalence.
The clear dismissal was obvious and Ruby had scarcely made to move when strong arms encircled her, yanking her off her feet into a powerful embrace. “I’m so proud of you!” She cheered.
The words shone in the air before her and Ruby groaned. “Not you again!”
“You’re never too old for a hug!” Yang scolded and the petite girl blushed as she realized that her sister had misinterpreted her words.
As a Huntress the “Menu” has now been re-activated; all skill and perk bonuses are now permanently applied to your stats, Title: “Beacon Academy Student” has been earned! (+1 VIT, +1 PER, +1 CHA, +1 LUK, +25% earned from all activities while in Beacon!)
Title Earned: “Team Leader”! (+3 CHA, +3 PER, +3 LUK, Party Unlocked!)
The bold black words hovering in the air weren’t entirely useless though and as she thought back on her performance during the test she had to admit that it was pretty clear that this thing came with some hefty advantages. ‘Party, for a start.’ She grinned.
“Who’s up for celebratory ice cream!?” Yang cheered, throwing a fist in the air.
“Ice cream!” Ruby caught herself before the childish cheer could escape and instead said the words with a strange warble that had her sister in hysterics. “Shut up Yang!” She scowled.
If anything her words made the blonde laugh even harder and with a sigh Blake stepped past them, vaguely mentioning something about heading to check out the dorms.
“How about you Jaune? Up for ice cream?” She smiled, Observing the boy’s stats out of curiosity.
Name: Jaune Arc
Class: Huntsman-In-Training. (+1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 CHA.)
Traits: Confident (+1 CHA, +1 STR, +1 LUK), Determined (+1 STR, +1 VIT, +1 CHA, +1 PER, +1 AGI, +1 LUK), Lovestruck. (+1 CHA, +1 PER, +1 LUK, Chance to Evolve Relationship(!))
STR: 11 (13)
VIT: 12 (12)
DEX: 11 (12)
CHA: 5 (8)
WIS: 11 (11)
PER: 11 (12)
AGI: 10 (10)
LUK: 12 (14)
Her face grew hot as she read over his traits again, honing in on “Lovestruck” and feeling her heart skip a beat. ‘Evolve relationship? D-Does that mean what I think it means? I, ah... I need to think about this.’ Silently she congratulated the boy’s progress, pushing the thoughts of romance purposefully out of her mind and wondering instead for a brief moment just how he compared to her own Status-
Name: Ruby Rose
Class: Huntress-In-Training (+1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 CHA).
Traits: Trainee (+10% EXP), Friendly (+1 CHA, +1 LUK, +10% Chance to succeed when engaged in social situations), Socially Awkward (-1 CHA).
To Next Level: 824 (855 EXP) (+)
HP: 220/220 (260/260(!))
AP: 110/110 (130/130(!))
STR: 11 (12) (15(!))
VIT: 11 (12) (14(!))
DEX: 15 (16) (40(!))
CHA: 27 (27)
PER: 11 (7(16)(!))
AGI: 16 (26) (44(!))
LUK: 12 (15)
Points remaining: 3 (Skill Points can be earned by levelling up either yourself or your skills, in addition to earning titles.)
Perks: 0 (Perks can be earned by Levelling up!)
- People Person! (CHA = 25! – You sway hearts and minds with your well-placed words! Earn triple the points for all social situations and pre-existing relationships are boosted X3! (To maximum 100/100)
- Smooth Operator! (DEX = 25! – You’re a dab hand with all weapon! Every weapon you wield immediately gives you a level in that weapon as well as a modicum of the previous user’s experience! (10%))
- Woman Of Action! (AGI = 25! – You’re a demon of speed on the battlefield and impossible to trip up besides! +10% to all Speed related skills and +50% to Weapon and Running Speed, all PERCEPTION afflictions related to your Speed are removed!)
- The Weapon Of Choice! (AGI & DEX = 25! – All Weapon abilities are boosted to the level of your current highest Weapon and you gain twice the POINTS from levelling an ability!)
- Idle Hands Are The Devil’s Playthings! (CHA & AGI = 25! – Social situations will naturally gravitate towards you! (Opens more dialogue options, + People Person opens HAREM Route, people will automatically feel better around you!))
- Yang: - 100/100 (Love) (Potential Relationship!)
- Jaune: - 100/100 (Love) (Potential Relationship!)
- Taiyang: - 100/100 (Love) (Familial Restriction)
- Qrow: - 100/100 (Love)
- Roman: - 15/100 (Fond)
- Glynda: - 12/100 (Fond)
- Ozpin: - 18/100 (Fond)
- Weiss: 5/100 (Tolerated)
- Blake: 22/100 (Good Friend)
“Uh...” She swallowed, going slightly cross-eyed at the mass of information displayed before her. ’40 and 44?’ That couldn’t be right, could it?
“You okay, sis?” Yang stared down at her, brow furrowed in concern. “You’re being awfully quiet.”
“Y-Yeah.” She stuttered, shaking herself from her reverie and turning back to her sister. “I’m fine. Just... Thinking.” She quickly reassured.
As Yang casually brushed off her awkward behaviour and made to drag her towards the entrance Ruby snuck a quick look at her stats, wondering if perhaps she’d become stronger as well.
Name: Yang Xiao-Long
Traits: Ecstatic (+1 STR, +1 VIT, +1 CHA, +1 LUK), Loyal (+1 CHA, +1 LUK), Lovestruck. (+1 CHA, +1 PER, +1 LUK, Chance to Evolve Relationship(!))
Title: Huntress-In-Training (+1 STR, +1 DEX, +1 CHA).
To Next Level: N/A.
STR: 17 (18)
VIT: 12 (13)
CHA: 12 (15)
LUK: 10 (13)
“Lovestruck!?” She blurted suddenly, startling both of her new teammates out of their celebrations. “I mean...”
Silently she stared up at her sister, unsure just what that even meant. ‘Maybe it meant Jaune, they do seem to be getting on well.’ She told herself, ignoring the two as they shared a brief glance.
“Maybe we should go out for ice cream.” Yang decided, reaching over to pat her on the back and shooting her a fond look.
Despite what the gesture was meant to symbolize Ruby found herself focusing on how her sister seemed to linger, mind going over their interactions over the past several days with a nervous zeal.
The quiet, contemplative looks at the end of their training sessions, the nervous stutter so unlike her as she asked if maybe Ruby wanted to join her while she went out shopping and the over-protective manner she behaved in whenever one of the local boys tried to approach her. But that was just normal sister stuff, wasn’t it? Right?
And all of a sudden a memory surfaced, going back to even before she’d had this existential-crises-causing ability.
“You leave my sister alone!”
Ruby winced as her classmates retreated in fear, a familiar head of bushy blonde hair covering her line of sight. “Yaaaang.” She whined, pouting as her over-protective sister wrapped her in a hug.
“Aw, Ruby.” Yang huffed, pursing her lips as the redhead stumbled back. “What’d they do to you?”
Milk dripped from short locks, dank, moist hair clinging to her face even as she shook her head in denial. “Nothing!” She lied, absently reaching up to wring out the offensive liquid. “It’s just some stupid prank, I should’ve waited until I left school before I had it.” She admitted, embarrassment written across her face. “I know better; they’re jealous cause Qrow’s my uncle.”
“Probably.” Yang confessed, kneeling down beside the small white puddle. She grabbed at her carton of milk and ruefully shook the mostly empty container before, with a sigh, she tossed it over her shoulder. “Well, it’s too late now.” Her brow twitched in suppressed annoyance and silently she turned to face the direction the younger boys had run off in.
“Yang, no!” Ruby quickly protested, cheeks puffing out as she glared up at the far taller girl. “I’m not a child, Yang. I can protect myself!”
The blonde stilled, regarding her tiny twelve-year old sister for barely a moment before, with a sputter she lost it. “Oh my god,” She wheezed, ignoring the silver eyes narrowing up at her. “Y-YOU- OW!” She winced, hopping on one leg and blinking down at the small girl. “You kicked me?”
“Y-Yes.” Ruby blushed, grimacing as the blonde burst out laughing once more. “S-Stop it, you-!”
“Oh, Ruby.” Yang finally gained enough control of herself to stop, shaking her head in amusement and wrapping the girl in a hug. “I know that you’re growing up, but that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna protect you! You’re my little Huntress, and so long as we’re Huntress’ I’ll always be there.” She cooed.”Your knight in shining armour.”
Ruby sighed, relaxing into the hold and glancing up at the brawler. “...Thanks, Yang.” She smiled. “You’re the best sister ever.”
Against her damp hair Yang’s chest stilled for barely a moment. “R-Right, damn right! I’m the best sister ever!” Her voice cracked slightly yet as Ruby looked up at her Yang’s grin had never been wider.
“But...” Yang blinked, staring down at her inquisitively. “I think you’re more like the dragon in that tale.”
“Wha- You-” As the smaller girl darted away she could almost hear the cogs in her sister’s mind whir. “Ruby you little- Get back here!”
“Wow.” She blinked, focusing on the here and now and the two older teens eyeing her with clear confusion. “I think I need ice cream. And cookies.”
And just like that the tension faded, a chuckle escaping the tall blonde as she grabbed her other teammate by the sleeve. “Well then, come on!” She ordered.
Ice cream, Ruby decided, would make everything better.
Chapter 5: Hey Sister
Ice cream did not make everything better.
“Ice cream didn’t make anything better!” Ruby whined to herself, flopping back into her bed and slapping a pillow against her face. “What do I do?”
“Something wrong?” Her stoic teammate finally asked, reluctance clear in her tone.
“Blake!” The smaller girl yelped, leaping out of her bed and into the empty one beside it. “I didn’t see you there and- Wow, we really need to do somethin’ about these beds.” She paused, shaking off her distraction and leaning forward with a suspicious glare. “How much did you hear?”
Blake stared at her, raising an eyebrow. “What was there even to hear? You came into the room, collapsed in your bed and spent ten minutes groaning something about “HP” and “Ice cream afflictions” and then you stared at a wall for another ten minutes before saying “Ice cream didn’t make anything better, what do I do?””
“Oh.” Ruby blinked. “Well, when you put it that way I guess it’s not suspicious at all.” She confessed.
Blake stared at her for a moment, briefly opening her mouth to speak only to close it when the words wouldn’t come. “Whatever.” She finally decided, shaking her head and silently raising her book back up to cover her face.
“No, wait!” Ruby hopped off the bed, settling back onto her own with an alarmed yelp. “I-If you’re offering I wouldn’t mind getting some advice...”
With a sigh the other girl snapped her book shut. “Alright, shoot.”
“Right.” With a quick nod the girl pulled her knees up to her chest. “So, have you ever known that someone likes you, but you weren’t sure if you liked them back, o-or...” Ruby paused, considering her words. “...If you should like them back, or maybe if they’d even like it if you liked them back-“
“Stop right there, Ruby.” Blake gently patted the younger girl on the shoulder, foregoing her usual distant approach in the face of her obvious issue. “I think I know what the problem is.”
“Y-you do?” Ruby swallowed, eyes wide as she looked up at the older girl.
Relationship +1! (X3) (Blake: 25/100)
‘Definitely gonna turn that one off for good.’ She decided as she looked up at the compassionate expression of her teammate, the number game somehow feeling like a betrayal when applied to her friends.
“Yes, I do,” Blake chuckled softly. “And there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s... Rather sudden, I’ll admit, but back home we saw these kinds of relationships a lot more than you’d see in Vale.”
“Really?” Ruby squeaked. ‘Oh my...’
“Yes, really. Society has certain expectations of you, and those kinds of things change overtime. What’s considered ‘good’ in Atlas or Vacuo might not be the same as what’s considered ‘good’ in Vale or it might change and be considered acceptable over time, but while ten or twenty years might change the public opinion it’s not them you have to worry about, Ruby.”
“I doubt ten or twenty years’ll change public opinion on that kinda thing in Vale, Blake.” She hedged, suddenly unsure if they were even talking about the same thing.
“That’s true, Ruby, and surprisingly realistic of you-”
Relationship +1! (X3) (Blake: 28/100)
“-But you’re a Huntress now, for all you know you and that special person of yours could be gone tomorrow. I doubt you will!” She hastened to say at the redhead’s aghast look. “But regardless of what other people say, you’ve got to ask yourself; “Will I regret not letting them know how I feel? Can I live with myself knowing that those feelings they have, they’ll never be requited, or even worse, requited but denied because of what other people expect”?”
“Wow, Blake.” Ruby stared at the other Huntress in awe. “That’s deep.”
Another chuckle and the dark-haired girl gently fingered her bow. “At the end of the day you have to decide, Ruby, how do you feel about this special person of yours?”
“I-I...” She hesitated, licking her lips and glancing out the window. “I mean, of course I care about her; love her even, but that kind of step... It’s just... I’ve never even considered it before, she’s always just been someone to look up to, even if some of the things she does are kinda stupid and annoying.”
“Well, I think that’s more her father’s fault.” Blake surprised her, giving her a look.
“Hey, I-“ She paused, considering. “-Actually yeah, probably.” She deflated. “So what should I do? How do I tell her how I feel? That I don’t care what other people think?”
“I-“ Of all the ways Blake thought she’d be spending her first day in Beacon, matchmaking hadn’t been one of them. “-F-flowers, maybe? Or just a straight forward confession? I don’t really know what a girl like that would want...” Her bow twitched.
“No, that’s fine! A confession is fine; she’s always preferred people to be straight forward!” Ruby assured her, ignoring her defences and going straight for a hug. “Thanks, Blake!”
“You’re... Welcome.” The black-haired girl responded, gritting her teeth as she leaned back from the girl’s vice-like grip.
And just like that Ruby shot to her feet, smiling as she dashed out the door. “Yang! Yang, where are you?”
Blake slowly settled back onto her bed, pulling her book back up and feeling a brief surge of relief that the younger girl hadn’t noticed the slip of colour peeking out from beneath the cover of the dry looking textbook. “Oh Kageyuki, you always- Wait,” She sat back up, eyes widening. “YANG!?”
“I’m here, I’m here!” The blonde brawler wasn’t exactly sure why her sister was running through the halls of Beacon yelling at the top of her lungs, however as embarrassing as it was to be shown up by her little sister in front of her friends she knew Ruby well enough to know that if she didn’t stop her now the girl could go on for hours.”Ruby, what’s up?”
Ruby looked up at her, face flushed with exertion and Yang pointedly ignored the twinge that struck at the thought. ‘She’s your sister, perv! Your fifteen year-old sister, too!’
“Yang,” She started, biting her lower lip and drawing her sister’s guilty gaze to the glistening, supple curve of her pout. “Can I talk to you for a sec?”
“Huh?” Yang’s eyes shot up to her sibling’s face, examining her nervous features and allowing a surge of protective instinct to burst forth. “Sure, sis.” The two hurriedly left the group of Patch kids behind with some vague excuse about meeting their team and stepped into one of the unused classrooms off to the side. “So what’s up?”
The younger girl fidgeted on the spot, foot scuffing the carpeted floor in a tell-tale sign of nervousness. “Well, it’s about, um... Us?” She squeaked uncertainly.
Yang slowly lowered herself onto the teacher’s desk, quirking an eyebrow at her sister’s strange behaviour. ““Us”?” She repeated with a blink. “I don’t follow, Rubes. Are... You breaking up with me?” She teased.
Ruby paused, roaming over her sister’s features and taking in the vibrant lilac of her gaze, the ruffled blonde locks feathering a trail down her back and the teasing, if confused, twist of her smirk. “Kinda... The opposite? I think?” She queried rhetorically, fingers twiddling as she glanced up at her through shy lashes. “I think, uh... IthinkthatIlikeyou!” She finally blurted.
“...Huh.” Yang slowly leaned back onto her arms, allowing the well-muscled appendages to support her almost lackadaisically and setting her gaze onto the ceiling. To anyone else her body language, from her vacant stare to her legs swaying to-and-fro, may have seemed casual, but Ruby knew that her sister always had to be dynamic when she was thinking. “I don’t follow.” She finally hedged, a familiar faux-innocent lilt to her tone.
This was how Yang got when she didn’t know how to deal with a problem; if she couldn’t pound the problem out then she’d just pretend until it went away on its own. “Yang, I know you’ve got, y’know, non-siblingy feelings, and I talked to Blake and-”
“What!?” The blonde hissed, sitting back up as she fixed her sister with a stunned stare. “I’m sorry, did you just say you talked to Blake-!”
“It’s fine!” She hastily insisted, small palms held between them pleadingly. “Where she’s from apparently this isn’t a massive thing; Huntsmen and Huntresses do this kinda thing. We’re risking our lives, after all.”
The acknowledgement of that responsibility drew her up short and as Yang watched her sister she took in the all-too-familiar tells, from her too-open expression to the quake of her knees right down to the awkward slouch, as though she were ready to curl in on herself. “Huh.” She voiced blankly, unsure what to say in the face of that particular revelation. A place where this kind of thing was normal, or at least more common than Vale? “That’s... Huh. That’s something.”
“Yeah...” Unsure what else to say on that, Ruby instead chose to meet her sister’s dull stare. “So, uh, you’ve... Got feelings for me? I mean, I’m pretty sure I read it that way but maybe not because I can be a bit oblivious-“ Yang snorted quietly. “-And I really, really hope I didn’t read this wrong ‘cause that’d be super awkward, I mean I had to talk myself into this and I was thinking about it even when we were at the ice cream place-“
“That’s why you didn’t eat your ice cream!” Of all the things she had expected her to blurt that had been pretty low on the list, and judging by the blaze of red spreading across her cheeks Yang must have been thinking the same thing. “I... Thought I had something on my face the entire time.” Her blush deepened and instantly Ruby burst into giggles.
The sound must have been contagious because before long her sibling had joined her, luscious locks shaking in time with wide bursts of laughter so awkward and unrefined and her, and she quieted as she watched her sister laugh, glad that she hadn’t just completely embarrassed herself because of some ridiculous announcement system. “So...” She started as the blonde quieted. “...You do feel, y’know, the same? Right?”
Despite the topic as Yang looked down all she could see was the anxious look across Ruby’s face and immediately she swooped in, ignoring the younger girl’s squawk as she wrapped her in a sisterly hug and pushed down that small, guilty part of her that insisted that this was surely as far as they could go. “I do, sis, I really, really do. How- How did you find out?” She asked hesitantly.
Ruby settled against her, closing her eyes and smiling as she rested her head against the larger girl’s ample chest. “I just looked back on things, y’know? And then it sorta just became, well, obvious.”
“Obvious, huh?” Yang exhaled softly, wrapping an arm around her cloaked shoulders and ruminating on her feelings. “Only you, Rubes, only you.”
“Heh.” Ruby chuckled nervously. “So, are we, like, dating or something now? Is that how this works?” She pondered.
Yang paused, blinking as she mulled over the question. “I-I guess we are!” She acknowledged, grinning for a split-second. “Unless you don’t want to. I mean, we couldn’t exactly go public and you know that if dad ever found out...”
No!” Ruby shook her head vehemently, narrowing her eyes up at her sister. “No trying to talk me out of it, Yang, I’ve made my decision and you’re stuck with me!” Her choice of wording hit her and abruptly the younger girl blushed, bowing her head slightly. “I-If that’s okay with you?”
Relationship Evolved! +10 (X3) (Yang: 130/200)
‘Really need to turn that off.’ Ruby mused once more, the announcement in mid-air doing nothing to curb the bubbling warmth pooling in her stomach.
‘So how does this even work?’ Ruby mused, fingers poking and prodding at the air seemingly at random. To the outside viewer she may have seemed quite insane, however the pyjama clad Huntress-In-Training knew enough, at least, to know that if she wanted some peace and quiet then she would have to figure out how to turn this menu off. (Preferably without hiding all of the upgrades she seemed to be getting.)
“Menu?” She tried, examining the blank space with a furrowed brow and smiling as the first part of her plan came up. “Uh... Options?”
As the air alit with a plethora of symbols she felt a grin begin to develop. Could this be it?
New Skills: ON/Off
With a casual flick she turned OFF Relationships and Skills, ignoring the other options as she shut the display. ‘Not making that mistake again.’ A small smile graced her face as she glanced across the room, spying all three of her teammates fast asleep. This strange new ability made it harder to become tired, but after the events of the past few days even she had to admit she was exhausted. “My first day at Beacon as a huntress.” She voiced aloud, leaning back on her arms and closing her eyes. “I hope everyday’s as interesting as this one.”
Blake wasn’t sure how to feel about her new team.
The first time she’d seen the tiny too-red girl on the airship she’d wondered if she was even meant to be there. Had this slip of a girl, perhaps, snuck her way onboard somehow? Of course, she was hardly one to talk on that score, so she’d simply let it be even after the loud-mouthed blonde had come along and she’d watched her altercation with the Schnee heiress.
At some point on their flight though she’d lost track of the red-cloaked girl and so had pointedly put her out of her mind; if she arrived at Beacon and the girl was there, so be it, if not then she’d obviously been caught out. Either way Blake Belladonna was going to keep her head down, earn herself a spot at Beacon and enjoy her books, unbothered and unmolested.
And then the girl had become her team leader, bringing along the social, nervous, clearly unqualified blond and the other, even louder blonde with her massive chest and massive mouth.
Thankfully they knew enough to respect her clear need for privacy and even the boy who’d nearly vomited over the side of the bullhead hadn’t bothered her too much. In fact, she’d enjoyed a nice surprise when the younger girl had shown her not just clear but exceeding competence, blasting her expectations out of the water and getting in her good graces all in one fell swoop.
The boy was going to be a work in progress of course, but her sister was clearly strong and cared enough to distract her. Combine the two and she had been hopeful that she wouldn’t even need to interact with her team that much; and then the redheaded girl who was way too fast and far too loveable had gone ahead and made friends with her, somehow ignoring the cold shell she’d been trying to hide inside and confessing her taboo feelings for her sister all in one. How was she supposed to react to that?
She’d (admittedly unknowingly) helped her out in that regard and even now, watching them from across the room as they shared a chaste hug, she had to admit that she wasn’t sure if she felt guilty about that.
Looking beyond the fact that this was a plot not entirely dissimilar to ‘Ninjas Of Love 2.5: The Kagura Twins Secret’, the two were clearly enamoured with one another and who was she to judge them for that?
And it wasn’t as though she didn’t have her own secrets.
So, yes, Blake could push down the slightly squicky feeling that came as she watched the two part ways and she could deal with the weakness of their third teammate. She could even deal with the gaudy posters and bunk beds! (She even kind of... Liked? The bunk beds...)
Put it all together however and, well... It drew attention. A boy who couldn’t really fight, toting around a sword and shield like a knight of old and two sisters, one extremely sociable and the other one of the youngest Huntresses in their year? They were lucky Pyrrha Nikos and Weiss Schnee were on the other team. But how long would that obscurity hold out if their forbidden relationship were to be discovered? Or even Jaune’s hidden means of entrance into Beacon?
How long until they started looking into her? Anti-faunus sentiment was still rife in the upper echelons of society, even in a tolerant place like Vale. Combine that with the White Fang portions of her past and she’d be lucky if they shipped her back to Menagerie with a blacklist and a cuff on the wrist. Very lucky.
Overall she... Didn’t mind the eccentricities of her team, even with the growing baggage such eccentricities brought with them. They’d have to take the time to train Jaune up, sure, and keeping up their grades alongside keeping Ruby and Yang’s exact relationship a secret was going to be a stretch, but they could... Manage. (If she could convince herself before everyone else, at least.)
...Was it worth the hassle though? If everyone was going to be pulling this kind of weirdness out of their collective hats then was it really worth struggling to hide her own uniqueness? She’d seen other faunus at the academy after all, and there were other people there that had strange features and attitudes towards others so was it really worth it going out of her way to hide all of this? How long until they began to look at her? Past the quiet facade of a bookish girl with a black bow?
Blake wasn’t sure how she felt about her team at all, however if she’d learned anything in the days since arriving at Beacon it was that maybe, just maybe, she could take refuge in audacity?
If the people around her were going to be this strange then maybe- “Hey Blake!” -she shouldn’t try so hard? “Remnant to Blake, anybody in there?”
Blake blinked, dropping her fork with the dull smack of metal-on-wood and turned to face her team lead- Friend. “Hi Ruby.” She said shortly, examining the girl’s relieved features with a curious eye for a scarce second and then looking back down to her breakfast. One of the downsides of having searing yellow eyes was the fact that staring for too long tended to make people nervous and she had the feeling that the red-cloaked girl was nervous enough as is.
“You feeling okay?” Despite her mental request for her to do otherwise Ruby took the seat beside her, brow furrowed in clear concern even as she cursed the girl’s caring nature. “You seem... Distracted.”
The cat-girl winced at her words, pretending she didn’t catch Yang’s worried gaze as she took the seat on the other side of her. “I’m fine.” She said shortly.
“Are you sure...?” Ruby hesitated and silently she cursed those big silver eyes, glimmering up at her with such obvious worry that she just had to console her.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” She repeated more for her own sake than anything else. “Just... Thinking.” She hedged. The intensity of those silver orbs didn’t let up and as she heard nothing but silence from the usually boisterous blonde she began to wonder if maybe they really did have some sort of special power. “I was just thinking about all the people around us!” She relented, giving something to finally stop that steely stare that seemed to look right through her.
“Oh.” Ruby hummed, leaning back and letting Blake realize that her intense interrogation may not have been as unintentional as the other girl would have her believe. “Yeah, I know that feel.”
Despite the levity of the words Blake still froze up, glancing between the sisters nervously.
“Yeah, I mean I’m the youngest person here, right?” She reminded her, allowing her to relax in her seat. “And everyone’s got something that makes ‘em special here, right?”
Again she froze. “What do you mean...?” She led, smiling dully as the observant girl’s gaze left her, glancing around the room at the people eating.
“I mean, look at all of ‘em,” Reluctantly she did so, brow furrowing as she tried to parse the ptite Huntress’ meaning. “Weiss is the heiress of some massive company, Pyrrha was on a cereal box-” Beside her Yang snorted. “-Those two haven’t left each other’s sides since getting here-” Here she nodded at a silent young man and his far-too-exuberant partner and silently Blake conveyed her deepest sympathies, empathizing with the experience. “-even Jaune’s totally shameless and rocking that whole ‘Knight in shining armour thing’, even if he isn’t too great at fighting...” Ruby trailed off and Blake winced once more as it occurred that maybe she’d underestimated her powers of observation.
“And me?” She pushed quietly, swallowing as the girl’s gaze flickered, unconsciously, to her bow.
“N-No idea! I’ve got some, uh, some pancakes for you!” The girl blurted, shovelling a couple of pancakes onto her plate in an attempt to change the conversation in such an obvious manner that Blake could only blink.
Was it really so obvious, even to a girl Ruby’s age?
The headmaster knew, Goodwitch knew, Ruby knew and, judging from her stare, Yang likely knew as well. She couldn’t expect the girl to keep such a secret from her sister after all, let alone whatever-they-were to one another.
As she sat there her mind cast back to the day before, assuring the younger girl that more people like her existed at Menagerie; at the time she’d meant same-sex couples, a type of openness that came when your entire race had already been persecuted for something beyond their control, but now, realizing that her secret was so obvious, she couldn’t help but begin to wonder just when the rest of the truth was going to come out.
If she couldn’t even hide her ears then how could she even hope to hide her past?
“Yes, they’re real!” Almost mechanically her gaze cast about the cafeteria, roaming over the faunus-and-humans alike to fall on a tall teen in armour, a cruel grin on his face as he laughed to his friends. “P-Please let go.”
The thought struck that if she stood up for her then the girl would never learn, that those bunny ears of hers would always mark her as someone to victimize, to ostracize and judge, that if she did stand up here and now then surely she’d be ousted as well. But...
But didn’t people already know? Her narrow-eyed gaze shot up to the staff table and she could see Glynda Goodwitch, lips pursed, Oobleck, distracted and staring off into space and Ozpin... Staring intently right at her, ignoring the other girl in need. Could he see what she was thinking?
Her too-observant teammate shot her a worried frown, sparing the briefest of seconds to scowl at Cardin Winchester and on her other side Yang looked between her and her sister, clearly confused and utterly oblivious.
Was this all that Beacon was going to be to her? A momentary sense of pride followed by shame as she stood by...? ‘Ah.’ Now she got it.
Glancing between her team leader and the headmaster she silently mouthed a thank you and climbed to her feet.
“What was that about?” Yang huffed, sidling into the broody girl’s seat and following her progress as she stalked across the room.
“No idea.” Ruby shrugged half-heartedly, watching the dark-haired teen as she pulled her bow from her hair dramatically, cat-ears free to the sight of the various students around them. “Huh, I thought she was keeping that a secret.”
“Hm,” Yang acknowledged her confession with a small nod, sliding her fork across the table to steal their teammates pancakes. “Well I didn’t know about ‘em. Still... Why would she? I mean even in Patch we’ve got a few Faunus teachers, and considering some of the things her home apparently approves of...”
Ruby blinked, slowly nodding as the other girl’s words registered. “Y-Yeah, considering...” Slyly she shot the blonde a look, a pale flush stealing its way across her cheeks. “So, uh,” Glancing around shiftily she leaned in closer. “You wanna go explore some of the things they, uh, approve of?”
The clumsy attempt at flirting was met with a burst of laughter that had her pouting and her sister choking on her breakfast. “S-Sorry,” The blonde quickly apologized as she thumped her chest, only vaguely attempting to mollify the redhead. “Just didn’t expect you to be so forward.”
Her blush deepened in embarrassment as her sister grinned down at her and Ruby had a moment where she wished she could sink into the woodwork. “Yaaaaang.”
“I know, I know.” Yang chuckled, dropping her fork onto the table and pulling into a one-armed hug. “This may be a thing Rubes, but you’re still only fifteen.” Was it even possible to match the shade of red she had reached? “Even in Patch I’d prefer to wait another year before doing something like that.”
As her sister leered at her Ruby had the sense that maybe she’d done something wrong in her attempt to flirt and silently she cursed her uncle Qrow. ‘I knew he was lying when he said that ‘In-you-end-oh’ was key!’ “W-Well, we can still kiss, right?”
Yang examined her seemingly innocent younger sister, blinking as she looked her up and down and pondered on the nature of her question. “Wow, fifteen years and I still misjudged you, didn’t I?” She mused aloud, ignoring the glare shot her way.
The sound echoed around the room and both sisters turned just in time to see their teammate level the leader of team CRDL, absently patting the bunny-eared brunette gaping beside her on the shoulder and ignoring the other three boys as they gawped up at her. “Huh.” Yang voiced. “Remind me not to annoy Blake.”
“And if I ever catch you doing that to another faunus again then I’ll do more than just punch you, Cardin!” The normally stoic girl hissed, standing above the much larger boy and shaking in anger.
“Wow.” Ruby agreed, eyebrows raised as their teammate laid out the other team’s pride in one fell swoop. “Same.”
As the dark-haired faunus swooped back in, dropping into Yang’s old seat and glaring down at her plate Ruby witnessed the amazing spectacle of her sister subtly trying to scrape her remaining pancake, unnoticed, back onto the girl’s old plate.
The comical attempt at an apology took the wind out of the girl’s sails and Blake hung her head, silent chuckles wracking her form. “...You can have it.” She assured the brawler, pushing it back over to her and pursing her lips as wide lilac eyes stayed on her even as a gloved hand went back to her fork. “He was bullying her!” She defended self-consciously.
“Well I, for one, welcome our new cat-girl overlord!” Ruby announced, reaching over to wrap the startled girl in a facsimile of her sister’s usual hold and pointedly ignoring the sudden stillness of her shoulders.
After a second Blake relaxed, reluctantly allowing her to keep a hold even as she silently shook her head. “Just this once.” She conceded.
Ruby grinned mischievously.
“Anyway!” Yang cut across before the younger girl could say anything else. “I’m glad you decided to stand up for her! Cardin’s a creep.” Her nose wrinkled at the thought of the teen even as she hurriedly forked the last of her meal into her mouth, pausing as the other two nodded along before she continued. “But unfortunately it’s also nearly nine now.”
Both girls squeaked as they followed her gaze to the fixture above the hall, following the hands of the clock as they ticked ever closer to eight fifty-one.
The thought struck that it was kind of weird for the other team to be hanging around at this time too, however as she turned Ruby could see the other team rushing out the doors, two of his teammates supporting Cardin’s lanky frame along the way. “F-Follow that asshole!” She commanded, refusing to even acknowledge Yang’s yelped “Language!” as she shot to her feet.
Team CRDL made surprising speed as they hurried through the hallway and Ruby could’ve sworn they actually sped up as they dashed down the corridors of Beacon; the innocent girl had no idea that they thought Blake was coming after them and so simply attributed it to them deciding that they might be late as well.
Because of this when they finally did arrive mere seconds after the other team they had no idea why CRDL seemed to be hiding in the back. Jaune, at least, was already there and Ruby released a breath as she realized that the team wouldn’t be penalized for tardiness on their first day. “Made it!” She gasped, sauntering over to the front row with her other teammates trailing behind her.
As they sat down she turned her attention towards the front podium, silently counting down the seconds remaining. A minute passed, then two, and three, and-
“Okay.” Yang huffed beside her. “Where the hell is-“
All of the students in the front row yelped in synchronization as the portly man shot in through the door, twirling his moustache between thick fingers as he came to a halt. “MADE IT!” He gasped, sauntering over to the podium without further aplomb even as Blake shot a look between him and her new friend.
“What?” Ruby hissed at the faunus’ piercing stare.
Silently she shook her head, deciding not to even try and bridge that logic gap. Some things were better left unsaid, after all.
“WELCOME TO GRIMM STUDIES, I WILL BE YOUR TEACHER TODAY AND FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR, PROFESSOR PORT!” The teacher boomed, hands swinging as he gesticulated wildly. “NOW, STUDENTS-” Mid-way through his speech Team PRWN burst through the door, Weiss’ red-faced visage the first to emerge from the sprawled mess of students, followed closely by Pyrrha’s guilty-yet-still-beaming features. “-VALE AND BEACON ARE SAFE HAVENS IN THIS GRIMM INFESTED WORLD OF OURS, POSITIVELY TEEMING WITH-”
As he continued on the other team beat a speedy retreat, hastily making their ways to their seats and Ruby even caught the other team leader mouthing an apology to the teacher. ‘Okay,’ She squinted, looking between the quiet teen’s guilty grimace and his partner’s beaming grin with suspicion. ‘There’s a story here, I just know it!’
Her teacher shot her sister a wink and suddenly she didn’t even care about the other team’s transgressions, instead pursing her lips and pointedly ignoring Yang’s gasped “Awww.” As she tuned in to what the older man was saying. “-THOSE WHO CANNOT PROTECT THEMSELVES! FROM WHAT, YOU ASK? WHY, THE VERY WORLD!”
The announcement clearly didn’t garner the reaction he expected and no-one (AY, YEAH!) save a single student near the back even bothered to try and fake interest, instead staring blankly as they watched the seconds tick by.
“...THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE TRAINING TO BECOME!” He continued, unbothered by the ensuing silence. “BUT FIRST, A STORY! A TALE OF A YOUNG, HANDSOME MAN!”
‘Oh my god, he isn’t-!?’ Her face slowly dawned with fresh exasperation and dimly she was aware of both her sister and Blake experiencing much the same. A quick look around and- Yep, there was Jaune in much the same state.
“ME!” He confirmed, and even as Ruby dragged out her notepad she knew it was going to be a loooong lesson.
Her pen glided over the paper before her and a grin began to emerge as she went to work. Draw up a circle here, a pair of lines here and a semi-circle here, representing the hair and-
Artistry Unlocked! (LVL -)
-She yelped, hand twitching to the side and somehow ruining her already terrible picture even as she focused her horrified attention on the girl beside her.
Yang grunted as she glanced down, shooting her sister a bewildered stare and looking between her guilty visage and the thin black line across her shirt in disbelief. “Sorry!” she mouthed quickly, spinning away and slamming her head into the desk so that she wouldn’t have to see the disappointment in her face.
“MISS ROSE! YOU’RE VOLUNTEERING I SEE!” The professor boomed and she shot up, nodding to whatever he had asked and avoiding her sister’s... Laughter. ‘Oh.’ She breathed out slowly, sinking back into her seat. ‘She’s not mad.’ “WELL M’GIRL, COME ON UP AND SHOW US HOW A REAL HUNTRESS DOES THINGS!”
With another undignified yelp she stood, dragging her heels as she stepped out of her row and onto the floor below.
“NOW TODAY, THIS SHALL BE YOUR OPPONENT!” With a flourish the teacher spun, throwing off the crimson tarp covering a hitherto unseen cage and earning a set of confused stares as the students, as one, began to wonder how they hadn’t noticed the shuddering, snarling beast in a steel-locked cage!? “A BOARBUTUSK!” He announced, turning to her and registering the lack of a weapon. “AND UNARMED? MY WORD MISS ROSE, SUCH CONFIDENCE!”
Before she could voice her opinion on that he spun with a grace that belied his age, swinging an axe and cleaving the lock off of the cage.
‘Why didn’t I bring my weapon?’ She hissed as she leapt aside, desperately avoiding the roaring mass of spines and tusks. ‘And why is this man a teacher!?’
The Boarbatusk charged past, heels sliding across the tiles with its momentum as it turned its back to her.
With a speed born of desperation she charged after it, grabbing the fur on its back and pulling it towards and... Above... Her. “Uh...” She shook slightly from the weight, ignoring the beast’s frantic squealing as she took in the other students gaping stares.
Shakily her sister gave her two thumbs up and a memory of a move she’d seen the blonde perform before struck, bringing with it a confidence that surged as she braced her knees, leaping back in a move similar to one she usually performed with Crescent Rose and-
“My word...” For once Peter Port wasn’t the loudest thing in the room as she slammed the Boar Grimm down into the floor, using its own weight against it and creating a crater. The moment passed, however, and immediately he leapt up, clapping furiously. “THAT’S THE TICKET MY GIRL! BRAVO!”
Ruby huffed, ignoring the clearly insane man as she looked down at the crippled Grimm beneath. “Observe...” She intoned quietly, looking at the Grimm’s stats with a dull sense of curiosity.
VIT: 6 (8)
AGI: 4 (5)
BOAR GRIMM (+1 AGI, +2 VIT)
Crippled: Spine, Skull, Tusks.
Bleeding: -3 HP Per Second.
Sure enough she could see fragments of bone and the Grimm’s mask at her feet and she flinched as she picked up its face, staring at the bone white material with a sense of morbid curiosity.
Thick, black smoke continued to waft up from the Boar Grimm and she swallowed, turning to watch it’s body begin to disintegrate-
Obtained: Boar Grimm Mask.
-before turning her attention to the mask that was still in her hands. “Um...” That wasn’t normal. Her gaze shot from her still classmates to her still yet grinning sister to her decidedly not still teacher. “...Where did you get the flag from?” Was all she could think to say.
A/N: Wrote this up at 3AM, so if you guys spot any mistakes be sure to let me go! Cheers! :)
Chapter 7: A Black Cat...
For a class full of teenagers the room was surprisingly silent; in fact the loudest thing as of that moment was the teacher, though he certainly seemed to be making enough noise to cover for every aspiring Huntsman and Huntress in there.
“YES, THAT’S HOW A HUNTSMAN DOES THINGS!” He continued to cheer, apparently finding nothing wrong with the sight of a fifteen year old girl suplexing a 120kg Grimm, nor the ornate cracked bone mask held against her chest.
“Um...” Ruby didn’t want to be the one to bring up the proverbial Grimm in the room (Nor, for that matter, the literal one) but as she stood there, red-lined mask as large as her torso clutched to her chest and a massive crater in the floor, she couldn’t help but try and think of something to say. “...I’m sorry about your floor?” She tried, though somehow it didn’t seem quite enough.
“PAH!” The older man waved off the apology, moustache twitching erratically as he jumped forward. “THE RISKS OF A HUNTSMAN’S PROFESSION, MY DEAR! AS YOU CAN ALL SEE HERE MS. ROSE TRULY IS THE EPITOME OF WHAT YOU SHOULD ALL AIM TO BE! WHY, SHE HIT THAT BOARBATUSK SO HARD SHE KNOCKED THE BEAST’S FACE CLEAN OFF!”
The reminder of black, inky smoke wafting off of a broken animal form made her cringe even as she blushed awkwardly under the professor’s over exorbitant praise. “I just did what anyone else would’ve done...” She tried to justify, knowing even as the words came out that they were quite false.
“EVEN NOW SHE CONTINUED TO BE SELF-DEPRE-!” The bell rang before the older man could continue to lavish her with praise and immediately the atmosphere lightened, eager faces turning to the door yet unmoving. “OH, UH... You’re all free to leave!” For once Port’s voice didn’t boom with the force of a thousand hammers and the students hastily gathered their gear, dashing to be the first out of the room.
‘So much for not standing out...’ Ruby’s blush deepened as she noticed the myriad of looks shot her way as the other Huntsmen and Huntresses began to leave and was so engrossed in her self-pity that when a heavy arm fell around her shoulders she wasn’t prepared. The Boarbatusk mask fell to the floor with a crack and she spun, lips pursed in terror as she looked up into the gleeful yet tense face of her professor.
“Ms. Rose!” He began, thankfully deciding to modulate his tone a little better than his usual fare. “Truly astounding work today! I haven’t seen such fantastic techniques from so young a student before since, well... Ever! Save once, of course, but that was before Beacon removed the mirrors from the dormitories!”
“T-Thanks, professor.” She squirmed, glancing around for help and finding only the stunned gazes of her teammates still affixed to her. “It was nothing! May I be excused?”
“Of course, of course! I just had one question; how did you manage to keep that Boarbatusk’s mask from disappearing?”
Open curiosity was etched across what little of his face she could glean beneath his thick brow and moustache and hastily she searched for an excuse. “I... Used my Semblance! Yeah, when I touch things while I’m using it sometimes they... Don’t disappear!” Nervously she cast her silver gaze to the floor and away from the blank face above her. “Yeah, that’s it.”
“I see.” With a ponderous tone the professor released her, sending her stumbling with a strong pat on the back and a riotous laugh. “Well, what an interesting Semblance! Excellent work Ms. Rose! Now of course you may keep it if you so wish, but I was wondering if, well...!” For once the shameless professor’s face twisted nervously and even beneath the thick silver-white hair that eclipsed his features she could see the embarrassment in his posture, fingers twiddling more alike a schoolgirl than a fifty-plus veteran Huntsman. “...What were you planning on doing with your spoils, exactly?”
“Keep it!” Ruby nudged at the bone-white Grimm mask with her foot as though it were diseased, pushing it between them and stepping away. “It’s all yours professor!”
“Excellent! I shall have it on the wall immediately!” Professor Port straightened, shaking with untamed energy as he grabbed the spoil from its place on the floor. “And if being a Huntress doesn’t work out I’m sure you could make a fortune selling the remains of your adversaries!” He paused. “Not that it will, of course! Imagine, a person of such high caliber failing to become a Huntress!”
As the rotund Huntsman boomed out a barking laugh Ruby nervously shifted away, feet scuffing against the scattered debris left over from her makeshift wrestling move even as she inched towards the door. “Thanks Professor Port! Anyway, I’ve gotta, uh...”
“We’ve got classes!” With a bright grin Yang threw an arm around her shoulder, dragging the bright red teen into a hug as she backed out of the room. Whatever response the no doubt vocal man may have had was drowned out by the older girl’s arm locked in place around her shoulders and Ruby whined as the blonde came to a halt, sparing one final enthusiastic wave for the equally enthusiastic teacher before he fell out of sight. “Alright, what was that?”
Ruby stumbled forward as her sister released her, blinking up at her in forced confusion. “What was what?”
Yang raised an eyebrow in disbelief and she flinched as she glanced around, sparing barely a second to be surprised when her other two teammates failed to appear. ‘Guess they’re not too bothered at least.’ Inwardly she sighed in relief, staring up into the lilac gaze of her bemused sibling. “Ruby,” Yang started, tilting her head as she observed her. “You suplexed a Boarbatusk; call me crazy but I’m pretty sure that’s not something you could do before arriving at Beacon.”
“I-”For a moment she considered how best to lie to her, however it passed all too quickly and as it did so the realization struck that she was considering lying to her own sister over her abilities because, what, she was afraid? Considering the monumental changes in their relationship lately wasn’t that kind of hypocritical? “-It’s something to do with my Semblance, I think.” She finally confessed, shrugging half-heartedly.
“Huh.” Yang’s lips quirked into a curious smile. “I thought your Semblance was just speed?”
“I thought so too! But then I woke up one day and it was all ‘Level Up’ and ‘Skill Points’ and ‘Titles’ and every time I got into a fight or did certain things I’d get, like, ridiculously stronger!” She huffed, glancing away in thought. “Before I knew it I was moving even faster than normal and noticing things I’d never noticed before.”
““Noticing things”, eh?” Yang leered, ignoring the younger girl’s stuttering protest in favour of leaning in and bracing her arm beside her blushing face. “That explains a lot, though. I thought I spotted you eyeing Jauney-boy and Blake earlier, I was just a little worried I might’a had some competition.”
The blushing girl pointedly pushed Jaune’s affections out of her mind as she denied the accusation. “O-Of course not, and besides that we really shouldn’t be doing this out in the open!”
“I did say “Just a little”.” Yang reminded her teasingly, nonetheless pulling away. “Who could compete with this after all?” With a smirk she flexed, pouting as she shot her sister a wink.
“Yaaaaaang.” Ruby cringed. “Stop it!”
“Okay, okay!” Leather creaked as her hands came to rest on her hips and Yang smiled at her sister, beaming with a kind of nervous cheer that she found usually belied some hidden question. “So, this ability thing, you didn’t go off and start hunting Grimm without your team just to try and get stronger, did you? No ‘hidden quests’ or ‘objectives’-”
Quickly the younger girl shook her head, suddenly recognizing the dangerous gleam in the blonde’s eye. “No! No, it just started happening all at once and there wasn’t even any warning! It’s not like there was a tutorial or anything.”
“Huh.” Yang considered that for a moment with all of the care it afforded. “Well, okay then. Let me know if anything else happens with your Semblance, ‘kay?”
Ruby blinked. “Okay. Wait, you’re not... Mad? That I didn’t tell you anything about this or that I didn’t ask you about it?”
“Ruby, I get it. You didn’t really have any idea what was going on and everything sort of came on at once, right? I mean there was the robbery then Beacon, new teams, class, sorting out our rooms, us... Huh.” Once more she considered the circumstances, brow furrowing as she raised a finger to her chin. “Now that I think on it, a lot has happened over the past few days, hasn’t it? I guess that’s what uncle Qrow meant when he said that the life of a Huntsman is always moving.”
“Y-Yeah.” Ruby chuckled, blushing as she looked away into the empty hallway. “I mean even Jaune and Blake have hidden depths to ‘em; I get that she’s a Faunus and all but when we were talking she even said couples like us weren’t that strange.” She paused. “Actually, I wonder if she meant the whole faunus thing now? Nah, if she meant that then she wouldn’t have been... So...” Trailing off, she slowly turned to look up at her still sister, swallowing sharply at the intense stare levelled her way. “Yang...?”
Blake Belladonna would freely admit that she felt a little guilty. She was trying to be a good teammate and become a great Huntress, but, well... She just couldn’t connect with her teammates.
She could tolerate Jaune of course, the boy was so nervous and shy that he was almost as quiet as she was, and Ruby had immediately managed to get past her defences; heck, even Yang seemed to respect her personal space somewhat. Put them together however and then things changed.
Across the cafeteria Pyrrha and Weiss quietly ate their meal, undeterred as Ren and Nora boisterously (Well, maybe more Nora) chattered on. It was enough to make her envious.
They weren’t the worst team though, no, that honour belonged to the team of boys sneering at the few unique students passing by. Cardin Winchester and his team of misfits didn’t dare act up though, they knew now how some of said students would react and even their arrogant pride couldn’t push them to make that kind of mistake again.
Unbidden a smile dragged at her lips and hastily she shook her head, scowling at the light flutter she felt at the thought. Beacon had proven that it wasn’t quite as bad as she had feared and while her team wasn’t exactly ideal...
Images flitted through her mind of powerful Ursa falling to the forest floor, a silver-eyed smile offered her way and three simultaneous uncaring faces watching on as her bow flew to the wind and she felt that same flutter her once more. Her team had its hang-ups, but... Maybe it wasn’t so bad.
A thud sounded to her right and Blake tilted her head, stoic as ever as she took in Yang’s narrow eyed stare, hands criss-crossed beneath her chin as she studied the black-haired teen. “...Hi?” She tried after a moment of the girl’s silent staring, flinching when her eyes only narrowed further. “Did you need something?”
Another few seconds passed before, suddenly, Yang slammed her hands down onto the table. “So Blake,” She started, smile a little too wide as she met the girl’s wide amber eyes. “How did you and Ruby meet, exactly?”
Blake blinked, shrugging half-heartedly at the strange question. “In the forest. During the initiation?” The statement felt almost like a question and she wondered for just the briefest of seconds if maybe she had misjudged the blonde. Absently she felt her ears twitch and she forcibly suppressed the sigh that threatened to escape. “Yang, is there something wrong?”
Yang stared her down, lilac gaze piercing her with its intensity. Still, she’d faced far worse than Yang Xiao-long and she didn’t so much as flinch as she met the glare head-on. “What has Ruby told you about her and I?”
And just like that her resolve faltered. “Told me...? Nothing! Just that you’re sisters and that you... Care about... Each other.” Despite her willingness to accept the two she still couldn’t quite say the words out loud and inside she scolded herself, awkwardness prevailing even as a swell of relief surged forth. “It’s none of my business.” She finished.
Another moment of silence and the blonde hummed, grinning stiffly. “So you two are friends, right? I mean, you’re partners so that’s kinda obvious but you’re also friend-friends, right?”
“Of course!” Once upon a time she might have wondered at the distaste that arose at the sheer concept of not being Ruby’s friend, but when she thought back on all of Adam’s double-talk and the agendas of the people that had surrounded her all her life it was easy enough to realize just why she wanted such a friend so much.
Just like that Yang’s expression eased into something decidedly more friendly, a warm lilt returning to the brawler’s voice that she hadn’t noticed was missing. “Then thanks, Blake.”
As the blonde stood, casually stepping away and walking back out of the room, Blake decided then and there that she had been totally right in her earlier conceptions.
Her team was a pain in the ass.