Ruby Rose trudged through the forest outside her home on Patch. She was looking for something and she was starting to get discouraged. Her older sister, Yang Xiao Long, had told her an incredible story about an ancient temple lost to time somewhere in the woods. She told the tale of a priestess and her followers, who tried to wage war against the moon, which was why the moon was broken. The cultist's temple was supposedly still out there, and some of its inhabitants were said to continue to wander its corridors, awaiting their leader's return. Ruby had been searching the woods for almost three hours now, and hadn't seen so much as a particularly large rock. She was starting to think that perhaps Yang had just been messing with her. It certainly wouldn't be the first time; Yang had a penchant for this sort of thing.
"Yang you jerk, if you tricked me again, you are so dead," Ruby mumbled to herself, ducking under a low-hanging tree branch.
Ruby was standing at the top of a steep hill, looking down over the landscape, still trying in vain to catch a glimpse of this elusive wonder. She decided it would probably be prudent to head back home. It was staring to get late, and she was pretty sure she heard Yang's voice calling her back from the house. Ruby turned around to go back where she'd come. That is when it happened. The patch of dirt she'd been standing on was soft and unstable, and her shifting her weight to turn around proved to be too much. The ground beneath her gave way, and she tumbled backwards down the hill. She saw flashes of light and dark as she rolled down the hill, kicking up leaves and twigs in her wake. She screwed her eyes shut against the pain and disorientation, grunting with every impact she made against the forest floor.
Just as suddenly as her tumble started, Ruby was met with a blinding flash of light, and she came to a stop. Ruby suddenly felt very, very cold. She opened her eyes and saw a grey sky, totally devoid of trees. She sat up, and saw that she had somehow landed in an enormous field of... snow? It was summer, why was there snow everywhere? For that matter, where were all the trees? The only thing visible aside from the snow were enormous glaciers towering above the horizon. She pulled out her scroll, which she had mercifully managed to avoid crushing in her fall down the hill, and opened the GPS app.
NO SIGNAL. CANNOT REACH COMMUNICATIONS RELAY. RETRYING IN 15s.
Was she in Atlas? It was the only place she could think of that would be snowy this time of year, and also didn't have trees. If she was, though, why couldn't her scroll connect? There were comms towers all over Atlas, surely there weren't any dead zones?
NO SIGNAL. CANNOT REACH COMMUNICATIONS RELAY. RETRYING IN 30s.
Ruby stood up and looked around again. She was still met with nothing but snow. No trees, no rocks, no buildings, nothing. Nothing except distant glaciers. She could feel panic starting to set in. What had happened? Had she hit her head, and was just dreaming? Surely not, given how cold she was. Was she dying? Was this what people saw when they died? And endless, snowy void?
NO SIGNAL. CANNOT REACH COMMUNICATIONS RELAY. RETRYING IN 30s.
Oh, gods! She was dead! She'd hit her head hard on a big rock or something and died! That was the only explanation! Was it? By now, Ruby's mind was abuzz with questions and no answers. She spun around again and again, hoping to catch some tiny detail she'd missed before. That was hard, given all the thoughts swarming around her mind like a hive of angry bees. Where was she? How had she gotten here? What would Dad and Yang say? Would she even see them again?
Wait... what was that? Something caught Ruby's eye during her wild scan of the horizon. Something dark and far away, on the horizon. It seemed to move down, then disappear. She blinked, and stared. Had she imagined it? Was this panic driving her crazy? No, there it was again. Much larger, this time. She was able to see it a bit clearer now and realized it was a snowmobile. There was someone piloting it, obviously, but it was hard to tell who. The driver was wearing a big, dark winter suit and a helmet. It disappeared behind another hill. Ruby hoped this person was friendly. She didn't need a fight on top of being lost.
Soon, the snowmobile was mere feet away, and Ruby could see the person astride it was hardly taller than she was. The vehicle stopped right in front of her, and the pilot dismounted. He took off his helmet to reveal 'he' was indeed a 'he.' He had jet-black hair, pale skin, and striking blue eyes. Before Ruby could ask for his help, he spoke first.
"Hello, can you understand me?" He asked. His voice had a strange accent to it that Ruby couldn't place.
"Y-yeah, I can understand you," Ruby replied.
"Very good. May I ask your name?" the boy asked.
"R-Ruby Rose." The boy turned towards his snowmobile and opened a box attached to the side. He pulled out another winter suit, much like his own, as well as a helmet. He gestured for her to walk over to him, and Ruby obliged. The snow was thick, and it took great effort to trudge through, but the distance was short. The boy handed the clothes to her and she gratefully donned them.
"Now, doubtless you have questions about your situation, Miss Rose," the boy said, while Ruby slipped on the jacket and pants. "I have questions for you as well, but this is neither the time nor the place. Such discussions would be better suited to a more... hospitable environment." The boy handed her the helmet he had retrieved, and was about to replace his when Ruby interrupted him.
"Wait, can't you at least tell me where I am?" she asked.
He sighed in frustration and paused, clearly considering this.
"Very well," he eventually said. "You are on a planet called Lastargavin's Shelter, in a universe completely different from your own." Before Ruby could interject again, he held up his hand, "As I said earlier, Miss Rose, this is neither the time nor the place for further questions. We should make our way to the settlement as soon as we can. Once we have returned and set your affairs in order, then I will explain as much as I know."
With that, the boy put replaced his helmet and mounted the vehicle. He gestured for her to join her, which she did with some difficulty. It was clearly not designed for two passengers, so Ruby had to crowd herself uncomfortably close to him and hold on tight to him so as not to fall off. It reminded her of riding on Yang's motorcycle.
Thus, the snowmobile turned around and headed back the way it came. Ruby's mind was still swarming with questions. Just who was this boy? Where was he taking her? Did he really say another universe? How was that possible? Was that even possible?
Once the two crested a particularly large hill, Ruby saw the answer to her second question. What looked like a town, situated at the base of a huge glacier, consisting of many small, shiny metal buildings. Warm light poured out of every window, and Ruby felt a little better, at least. There were people milling about the town, except... those weren't people. They didn't look human, and they didn't look like Faunus either. In fact, they looked like giant penguins.
As the snowmobile pulled into the town alongside one of the buildings, Ruby realized one thing was for certain; this wasn't Atlas.