Actions

Work Header

The Secret of Blake Belladonna

Chapter Text

An eight year old, blonde-haired, lilac-eyed girl softly laughed in her throat from the corridor as she watched the eight year old, dark-haired, amber-eyed, cat-eared Faunus princess escape from her room, again. She compared it to a prison as that was where she was expected to be most of the time hiding away, like her secondary ears she hides in a bow. The young princess named Blake Belladonna, third in-line to the royal throne, behind her middle bother, Yuma, and oldest sister Heather. It was common for the male to rule despite who was first born.

The blonde-haired girl, Yang Xiao Long, was trained from a young age and bred from a precise ancestry, to attack, defend, use her aura and semblance to protect the royal family at all costs. Her mission was to Blake Belladonna personally, first and foremost. She was always trying to sneak away, past the guards and away from all eyes. Yang's mind was always focused on Blake's safety, second priority was the mischief the dynamic duo could get into.

Yang trailed behind, trying to keep her footsteps quiet, but they could never be silent enough to the Faunus princess with her excellent hearing.

“Agh.” She turned to face where the guard was attempting to hide. “Don't you have some poor damsel in distress to save, Xiao Long?” She complained with an eye roll.

“Apologies, Your Majesty.” The knight came out from her not so good hiding spot behind a silver knight decoration and bowed before her. “I cannot allow you to leave the premises of your room without an escort.” The young girl explained.

“Rise.” She sighed “Yang, it's just me, there's no need for formalities.”

“I apologize, Princess Belladonna, but my royal duties to you and country insist on good order and discipline.”

Blake rolled her eyes again at the right answer but one that wasn't completely truthful. “That, and if you don't, my cousin Adam will scold you. Not that he's around at the moment.”

Yang's head fell in defeat because the princess was correct. “And Duke Adam will scold me again.” She repeated her personal reason for being so formal to begin with. “What trouble will you get into today Young Princess Belladonna?”

“Oh please.” She waved her wrist down. “Now, you're sounding like how everyone addresses my older sister. Guard Yang Xiao Long, I order you to address me as Blake.”

“Yes Blake.” She nodded once in understanding. She loved how commanding Blake could be at times just to get her way, but it was usually for something small like how she was addressed, or-.

“I order you to escort me to the family garden.”

“Yes Blake.” She nodded once aggressively. The young guard followed Blake out, hiding in darker areas of shadows as not to be seen as they snuck out. “No visit to Tukson's Library today? I'm surprised you do not wish to attempt to scare Chef Lie Ren. I believe you are a few days overdue.”

“Not today. Chef Lie Ren is waiting in anticipation for something to happen. Not that he ever shows it with how controlled he is. When you expect something to happen, but nothing happens that is the worse anticipation.” The royal cat Faunus shook her head. “I just want a quiet spot to read without secretly being judged by the servants or found by my family for boring and sometimes painful lessons.” She glared at Yang. “And no trying to forcibly get me to attend or trick me. That was a bad idea.”

“Blake, I am ordered by Queen Kali to remind and have you present no matter what. Who would ever think of judging you? Your family loves you. They want the best for you.”

“Yang, I know you're not so naïve. You know what's going on better than anyone around her. You get along with almost everyone in the palace. You know they say things behind my back. Mostly about me being a cat Faunus, even though both my parents are feline Faunus, my father passes for human and most believe he is. That part matters to maintain order. Our world is fragile when it comes to the policies and politics of humans and Faunus co-existing. Humans feel Faunus should be slaves and Faunus see humans as lesser beings as they don't have features that make them adaptable to the outside world.”

Blake continued. “My parents marriage was arranged to bring the two halves of Menagerie into one, solidifying it as a small kingdom. It's only a matter of duty that they had to have heirs to rule the throne. Take Heather for example, born of two cat Faunus, turns out to be a Faunus with no physical attributes. The people of Menagerie think she'll sympathize with humans because of that. My brother Yuma is another prime example, a bat Faunus. He has wings and can glide, but also has hemophilia, If he bleeds his blood won't clot and so he has to have blood transfusions otherwise he'll die. He gets transfusions regularly. People don't even think they're my siblings because they weren't born like me. My mother was forced to get a DNA test done to prove they are my father's children and she didn't have an affair. The kingdom wants to see me on the throne because of it. I look almost like my mom and have similar features to my dad. I am the only child who was born as a visible cat Faunus. Of course I would have to hide my ears in the form of a bow.

You are the only human who doesn't judge me, my father, or my mother, even though she doesn't like you because you are human. Me being a princess who doesn't quite follow the rules, is a Faunus, and being royal, you treat me like everyone else.” She smiled. “You don't change your attitude or demeanor because it's me.”

“I'm not the only human. My father guards the king and he is growing on Queen Kali steadily. Nobody knows how Future King Yuma wasn't born of feline descent. Faunus DNA is complicated. Your father, King Ghira, never once doubted your mother. The nobles wanted a DNA test done as soon as they saw that Prince human as a bat Faunus. Your sister will have a hard battle gaining respect because she doesn't look like a Faunus. Your parents love each other greatly. I've only seen love like that once and it didn't last.”

Yang continued after taking a breath. “I just don't get what the big deal is between the conflict of humans and Faunus. Some could pass off as human while others have ears, tails, antlers, or something had makes them unique, something that adds something extra to them. I mean they're almost like humans, but cooler. I really hate the fact you are forced to hide your second ears at every gathering, event, family picture taken, and even roaming about. Queen Kali does not have the same torture in order to prove she is a Faunus to keep the peace. Your feline ears are as much apart of you as your human ears are. Only certain people are allowed to know about them. I just don't get why it's hushed.”

“Yang, while I appreciate the statement, not everyone thinks like you do. Also, you wish you were a Faunus for the features humans don't have.” She smirked. “Not to mention you are a Faunus sympathizer. Some might even call you biased against humans.”

“Yes!” She claimed excitedly bringing her hand down in a fist bump. “Could you imagine how much better I could be at protecting you if I had night vision, fangs, claws and possibly super hearing? I hope I would be a dragon Faunus...or a lion Faunus! Something cool like that.” She grinned. “It's not my fault I think Faunus awesome! I mean look at me, a regular human.”

“Actually, it is your fault you are biased for Faunus.” Blake pointed out. “I would call you anything but regular. I mean Yang, you light yourself on fire. You have punches that level thick trees. Your hand-to-hand combat style is rivaled by very few. But, just because you can light yourself on fire, does not mean you'll be able to breath fire or have horns. I do think a lion Faunus does suit you. Though, sometimes very rare, they are associated with cowardice. That is the opposite of you. You are strength.”

“I can dream. My father doesn't call me Sunny Little Dragon for nothing.” She smiled. “You really think I would be a lion Faunus.”

“You are reading too much into this conversation.” She couldn't help smile and laugh to herself.

Yang interlocked her finger behind her head now that they were in the clear and she could walk beside her. “I hope I never understand racist humans.” Blake smiled at her comment. “We've reached the clearing. I'll just-ahem-let you be then. I'll be in the tree line if you need me.”

“Yang, I'll always have a spot available for you to join me, if you want.” She allowed Yang to have that option as she knew how seriously she took her job. Even if she ordered her to stay beside her, Yang would protest as it she felt it would hinder her line of sight.

“I appreciate the offer princess, but it's hard to see around the area if I'm only able to see two hundred and seventy degrees around you as opposed to three hundred and sixty, plus I want a birds eye view to see distance. It would be limited in my sector line of sight.”

Blake knew that was the right answer, but it wasn't the complete answer, nor the answer she wanted to hear. “And because you want to look professional by staying hidden as we both know it will be a matter of time until someone starts looking for me, most likely Adam. Why are you so afraid of him anyway?”

“And yes, all that which you said. I'm not scared of Duke Adam. I'm afraid of his rank, power and authority it's gotten to his head as he can strip me of my title, deeds to any lands that allow me to stay around the palace, and displace me from being your guard as he's threatened on occasion. If it weren't for King Ghira, he would've done that already. Even Queen Kali see's reason in me staying around. He's is power hungry. To have someone else protect you would prove senseless. You hardly trust anyone as it is.”

“That's because you're the only one I trust. You wanted to know me for me. Everyone else pretends to, well most of them.” The princess counted on her fingers. “Scaring Miss Scarlatina into thinking you've drown in your bath, only to scare her from a hiding spot. Terrifying Mr. Rodenta by hiding in a vent then blasting it open with your gantlet shotgun. Terrorize Mrs. Peach as she tries to set the table, you're not allowed to have any fun, being a kid must be so hard.” Her voice sarcastic as she rolled her amber eyes.

“The only reason your father is as soft as he is in only giving us 'the look', is because according to my father, they were the same way, but worse. You've made your point though. That was unprofessional of me and it was wrong of me to not talk you out of it instead of joining you. That is for my own personal development and I need to do better as your personal body guard.” She started to walk toward a climbing tree.

“Yang, I'm glad we did those things together. We're kids. We should be allowed to have some fun before it's all stripped away from us. And you're so much more to me than just a personal guard. You're my friend, my best friend. I don't have or trust anyone as much as I trust you. I'm the one who got you into trouble with my father, mother and Adam in the first place.”

“You're also the one who bailed me out of trouble with your fiancé, King Ghira, and Queen Kali. You're a princess, it's expected of you to read boring books of authors who are dead rather than have fun and spent time with the living.” Yang joked.

“Shut up.” The cat Faunus laughed.

“I'm going to climb this tree now, so the cat won't get stuck later and I'll have to get you down or call the fire department.” She counted herself lucky she could joke with Blake, a royal princess, about being a cat Faunus with cat-like features and tendencies.

“That was one time and my hair was stuck. It's better than falling out of a dying tree.”

“Hey, I know what signs to look for so I don't fall. It was only one time. ”

The princess rolled her eyes. “Whatever you say.”

The blonde started to climb the fifty foot trunk while Blake took her seat on top of a fallen tree Yang secretly created for her noticing she sat in the same spot every time, leaving an indent in the grass. She maneuvered it where a branch was able to support her back. It was a natural seat, not anything from the castle. It was stress and anxiety free. It was like the environment around her. Quiet, still, a place where she could quietly read without the disturbance of people walking by or the chatter of mouths, just the quiet noises of the almost natural forest that made up part of the garden.

Yang always knew how to spoil her without being over-bearing the majority of the time. The princess wished her personal guard would join the seat beside her, but she took her job too seriously in her mind. Both of them knew Blake liked having her alone time without any of the palace distractions. The alone time she was granted anyway. While she was reading and Yang was nearby, Yang was quiet, only requesting that she would read aloud.

Yang sat up with her back against the trunk watching the young girl read. While she did want to join her, she had a job to do and the princess was engaged to her cousin Adam to keep the bloodline royal. Blake was third in-line to be Queen of Menagerie, her brother wasn't expected to live very long with his blood ailment, may fifteen and he was ten now. To speak of him dying was treason. Most likely, Future Queen Heather would be in charge, if her loyalty to the Faunus subjugation wasn't constantly in question. If everything goes well, Princess Blake would be able to marry whomever she pleases, as long a she has either her parent's, brother or sister's blessing. Whoever would be in charge during that time.

About three hours later, Yang spotted a small dot of red and tress swaying around effortlessly despite the thick brush and lack of wind. It was obviously Adam and his sword, Wilt, cutting away at anything in his path as he walked to his 'prize'. As a warning, Yang chirped five times of a melody that could be confused with a bird. The first and last beats being the longest with the middle four only half a beat. “Chhiirrpp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chhiirrpp.” It was the signal to let the princess know exactly who was coming and if she wished to hide. King Ghira, Queen Kali and Duke Adam were specialized while everyone else had a generic one as they rarely visited, if ever.

Blake responded with three longer notes in acknowledgment. The first and last were the same octave while the one in the middle was higher pitched. “Ooooo, ooooo, ooooo.” It amazed her how well Yang could see without being as Faunus as she didn't pick up anything with her hearing. She'd be that much better if she were a Faunus.

Minutes later, she heard a twig snap behind her and her ears twitched in response. She knew exactly who it was and would not give him the satisfaction of reacting to whatever he planned. She heard the 'intruder' creep closer, no doubt with his sword in hand. He dashed directly behind her and brought the red blade to her neck as if he was going to kill her.

“See, now what if I was a danger to you? You make it too easy for the enemy humans to kidnap and or kill you.” He gave her cheek a quick peck and sheathe his weapon.”

“I was warned you were arriving and chose not to move. I'm not alone, as much I want to be.” She referred to Adam rather than Yang. “If you were an enemy, you'd be dead.”

“Then where is your personal guard?” He asked with malice. He refused to say her name. It would only solidify her existence as human garbage.

“She's in a tree. Yang let me know you coming. If you want to sneak up on me, at least try to be quiet. I heard you coming. Your sword's results aren't silent either.”

“Alright, but not much gets past you. Will you come back to the palace with me?” Yang started climbing down, recognizing the familiar glint in his eyes.

“I'm reading. I'm not ready to go back yet. After I finish this chapter.” And the one after.

“What about your lessons?” He tried asking nicely.

“They're not for another hour. Yang keeps track of the time.”

“I'm sure your guard is bored, sitting around doing nothing, let's go.”

“No.” She stood firm.

He grabbed her bicep aggressively forcing her to stand. “That wasn't a request Blake. Come back with me.” Adam growled in his throat.

“Hey!” Suddenly, Adam was forced to let go as a rock came whizzing past him, narrowing missing. Yang sent a rock that was meant to miss the target, but not by much. “Princess Belladonna is not ready to return to the palace Duke of Weasel-ton.”

“How dare you!? It's Weaselton!” He snapped at Yang stomping toward her until he was inches from her face where he snorted through his nostrils. “Blake, did you see that!? Your guard just attacked me! Me! The Future King of Menagerie!”

Blake crossed her arms. “I didn't see anything. She threw a rock in my general direction because of a huge bug that was coming after me and managed to squish it. You're not the future king Adam, I'm only the princess. Yuma is first in line. You're duke. Goodbye Adam.” Blake always felt stronger telling him off with Yang around or defending her.

He flared his nostrils right in Yang's face knowing she was the reason for Blake's bravery. “You'll regret that.” The goat Faunus promised.

“Maybe.” Yang shrugged. “Right now I don't, Your Royal Heine.” The guard bowed respectfully. Adam stomped off in anger knowing he wasn't going to win this battle. When he was gone, Yang felt her knees wobble and collapsed on the ground. She had no doubt Adam would make good on his threat. Only reason she was still around, was because of King Ghira's kindness and Queen Kali's reasoning of the only person Blake would talk or listen to. They would even go as far as to defend her as she has no quarrels with anyone, humans or Faunus, Adam being the exception. Blake would try to be there to plead her case but she wasn't sure how well or if the Belladonna parents would listen. They'd rather hear Adam and Yang's side first.

“Yang!” Blake rushed to her. Yang remembered how to breathe again. The princess knelt beside her, a concerned a hand on her shoulder. “Are you okay?”

She hated making Blake worry. “You're...you're gonna...get your dress all dirty...” She managed. “I should be the one asking you that.”

“I'm fine.” She stated quickly, too quickly.

Yang didn't believe her for a second and gently reached for her arm before she could pull away. She pulled the periwinkle ruffles of her dress up to reveal nasty yellow fingertip-like bruises. “Blake, you have to tell your parents.” Yang wouldn't dare break her promise of telling them herself which she was reluctant to make no less keep. “This is the second time this week. He's getting worse. It could get out of hand-.” She chided herself for the pun.

“It's not even bad Yang. It doesn't hurt.”

“No Blake, this is how it starts. It will escalate and get worse. I get nervous every time he comes around and points his sword at your throat even though it's a joke. I get you love him, but what he's doing isn't love. I can't protect you from him forever.”

Blake stood and faced her. “I don't need your help! I can take care of myself! Just because we're engaged, doesn't mean I love him or want to be with him!”

Yang kept her voice calm as she stood. “You'd marry someone else if you could?”

All arguing stopped and silence hung in the air. Blake thought about the answer, the truthful answer. Yang deserved that much. “I...I don't know.” Her ears would've flattened against her skull if they could've as her eyes were glued to the ground. After several minutes, she found her answer, raised her head and locked eyes with lilac. “I mean, I know I'm only eight, Yang. At sixteen if Yuma or Heather choose not to be married, I will be wed in an arranged marriage with Adam, possibly. It's just a lot to think about. Spending the rest of my life with one person seems like a long time and too much to handle. Not to mention I'm expected to produce an heir or two by the age of eighteen. It's just feels like...”

“Your life really isn't yours. It's just run by other people.”

“Exactly! I don't even know how I feel about children. I'm just a child myself.”

“Blake, look at me.” Yang gently held her hand. “You're not the queen, you're a princess, Princess Blake Belladonna, the sassiest, sarcastic, most famous eye roller and glare giver in all of Menagerie, except maybe second if you count Queen Kali. She's scary when she wants to be.” Blake rolled her eyes. “Point is, you get a choice on who you want to marry where Future King Yuma and Queen Heather don't. You get to decided if you do or don't want children. Let your older siblings take care of the hard part. That burden is not yours to bare.”

Blake smiled at her and hugged her. “Thanks Yang. You're the best body guard and friend a princess could ever ask for.”

“You're the Yin to my Yang.” She smiled back. She stroked her hair and rubbed her back in a circle. “One life... Is not a long time...” Blake felt safe and warm in her arms, relaxing completely and almost giving into one of her feline urges. “When you're waiting...for a small sign. Patience... is hard to find. Shadows... Seem to fill your life. Don't be disappointed. Don't let your heart break. Don't spend another minute in this way. It's ok~ay. Dry your eyes now ba-by. Broken wings won't hold you down. You'll take flight soon ba-by. You'll be lifted up and you'll be there-ere-ere. “You ready to head back to the palace?”

“I guess I can't disappear forever.” They made the trek back.

Before they even saw it, Blake knew something was wrong. “Yang, something's not right. I smell smoke and gunpowder like after you fire Ember Celica. I think I hear faint screams.”

“Wait here!” Yang told her with urgency. She climbed up one of the tall trees and saw black smoke rising from the where the Imperial Castle of Menagerie stood. Her eyes widened in fear. Blake was right. Blake! Her one sole mission in life, to protect her. She quickly climbed down. “Blake, we have to go.” She reached for her hand only for Blake to fight her as she ran ahead. “Blake!” She activated her gauntlets, Ember Celica , as she ran after her. For that moment, she hated how Blake was a natural runner as much as she liked to sit quietly and read.

Blake ran inside not thinking about anything else. “Mom! Dad!” She cried out. Gunshots rang out, painfully ringing in her ears. People screamed in fear as they attempted for an exit. Glass shattered all around the stained glass windows. “Mom, dad!”

“Blake! We have to get out of here!” She tried to force the princess out.

“No! Not until we find my parents!” The dark-haired girl ran around several more corridors crying out for her parents. They found themselves in the ballroom where most of the chaos ensured. Yang swallowed hard at the sight before her. She was thankful Blake didn't see the sight that would haunt her for years. Everyone living in the palace tried to scurry to safety. Those who tried to escape outside, were met with armed, civilians with guns. She grabbed Blake's hand as it would be predictable what would happen next and didn't want Blake to see. They ran along another corridor into hiding.

They were too late as they were spotted by a taller figure with red hair and a white mask that hid his face. “Release the princess to me and I'll spare you.” He snarled. “Refuse and I will make it hurt.” He narrowed his eyes through the slits in his mask though they couldn't see.

“Never!” Yang shouted back. Putting up a brave front. “White Fang...” She knew a little bit history with them. Peace turned into controlled violence. She didn't think they would breach the walls in the Faunus paradise of Menagerie, no less the palace. She knew this is where they originated from, but they had no reason...to be here... “You brought the hateful humans here...” You were the one who falsely accused King Ghira of broken promises he never made. You're the insider threat... You're the traitor! You did this! I will have your blood for bringing plague upon the royal family!” Yang fired off one of her gauntlets. His red sword absorbed the shot. His hair and outfit glowed red. “You too...” Her eyes widened. It was that moment she realized Adam wasn't normal. He was like her, and she knew she was out matched. She gripped Blake's hand harder as they ran, ran to a safer place, a place they could escape.

Yang sprinted up the stairs with Blake trailing close behind, still linked. The guy hot on their trail growling in anger all the while with threats he intends to keep. Yang locked the door and barracked them inside the familiar room, Blake's bedroom “Blake, you have to listen to me.” She sat the terrified princess down in an attempt to get her attention and focus on her instead of all the destruction around them. The princess was in shock. Her pupils dilated and she panted heavily for breath. “Blake, snap out of it!” She shook her.

“What was that!?” She asked out of fear and pulled the blonde girl into her or her into Yang. It was all a blur. “He just absorbed your gunshot-?” There was a loud bang against the door as a bullet was stopped by the furniture.

“Blake, there isn't time. I'll find you, and I will explain everything. Don't trust him. Don't go with him.” She moved a large painted self-portrait of Blake, the princess hated it and now to Yang it has served its purpose. “Go through the tunnels and run. Run as far and as fast as you can. Don't look back, don't stop until you know you're safe. I'll come find you when this is all over. I'll come back for you, I promise.” She wasn't going to tell her, if she survived. Even if it took the next life, she'd find Blake again.

“No!” She held tighter. “I'm not leaving without you!” She already doesn't know the fate of her parents. She can't lose Yang as well.

“You have to, I'll buy time for you to escape. Don't look back, just keep running. Keep going until you can't go anymore.” There wasn't time as Yang could almost see the aggressor. He couldn't know where Blake was.

“How will I find you!?” She asked out of desperation.

“Escape Menagerie. Sail or fly to Vale.

“I'm not leaving without you!” She gripped her tan jacket tightly pulling her closer.

Yang held her for a second, making a memory. She stood up and opened the vent. “Yes you are. Go!” She pushed Blake inside who tried to push it back open for Yang to escape with her. She used her strength of pain that she felt and pushed it shut, knocking Blake back by several feet and locked it from the outside as she moved the portrait back.

“Finally!” The male made a hole just big enough for him to slide in. “You're mine!” He looked around and noticed someone was absent. “Where's the princess!?”

“She's gone. Long gone! Far away! I'm your opponent.”

“Aaaaahhhhh!” He angrily yelled.
---

Blake ran through the vent. It was large enough for her to stand up in. As she ran, she tried to process everything that happened thus far. The guy in the mask was somehow involved in her family's demise by rallying humans. Her family home, the only place she ever knew is on fire and being destroyed. Unarmed civilians were being shot and killed by unknown assailants. She had no idea where her family was, or even if they were safe. That man could somehow not only block bullets from Yang's powerful gauntlet's, but could also absorb the shot and glow red.

Even with her night-vision, it was still hard for her to see in the dark vent. Her best friend and body guard whom she assumed never kept secrets from her, somehow knew about this secret passage not even Blake knew about in her own room. They could've used this to escape on a regular basis. She was running. Yang should be with her, she told her to run. Something about finding her in Vale. Was that Yang's home? She never mentioned it before. Blake always assumed she was born in Menagerie. Her father, Taiyang, protected her father and they were close friends. Humans were rare as they weren't welcomed on the island Faunus paradise by many. What else was her best friend not telling her? She'd have to ask when they met again.

Blake hit the exit with her small frame and fell backwards landing on her butt. She tried pushing it open a few times, but it wouldn't budge. She felt along the metal wall and pressed what felt to be a button. The wall opened and she slipped into the crowd as they ran. The scared Faunus felt renewed with adrenaline as she made her way to the docks. The only way off Menagerie was either by boat or by bullhead. She kept running like Yang said. As fast as her legs would take her. Be damned the cool night desert air as it burned her lungs. The scattered moon lighting her way.

Suddenly, in front of her were two Faunus she knew. The Albain twins, Corsac and Fennec. Both foxes, one had ears while the other had a tail. She didn't exactly trust them.

“We've been waiting for you, princess.” One of them said.

“Our High Leader will be most pleased.”

Her world went black.

Chapter Text

A little girl with dark hair and amber eyes was waking up. She was alone on a moving train. “Mmm.” She groaned and held the back of her head where it hurt the most. She had a splinting headache. The young girl couldn't remember how she got on the train, no less who she was. There was no one next to her or around her to help. She felt terrified and tried to make herself as small as possible to blend in with her environment. The more she thought, the more her head hurt.

“Oh, you're awake.” A female voice called. “How are you feeling?” She asked concerned.

Maybe she knows this woman and trusts her. She seems innocent enough. “My head hurts.” Her eyes went wide by the sound of her own voice she didn't recognize.

“I'm not surprised with the large bump on the back of your head. What do you remember last?” She asked gently. The girl tried to remember, but it hurt her head too much. Not trusting her own voice, she simply shook her head. “Oh dear. Let me get this cart through, and I'll be in to check on you in a bit.”

“Mhm.” She hummed. She's not sure if she'd ever felt so exhausted in her life. Her head rested against the window as she simply fell asleep.
---

A blonde-haired lilac-eyed female woke up as her right cheek stung. There was a reason she was specifically bred and chosen from a family of generations as she received special training from a young age. Yang had a special ability, she could unlock her aura to take most of the damage. She also had a semblance. She could take damage and deal it back twice as hard. Her father's was similar to it, but he never told her exactly what it was. Yang wasn't sure, but she could guess that guy was able to absorb damage like she could and deal it back. If she got out of here, I'd be her only lead to finding him.

“Wake-up bitch!” A familiar malicious voice declared.

“I've been called worse.” She shrugged it off still waking up.

“Where's the princess!?”

That's right! She helped Blake escape. That's why he captured her. If he was asking where she was, that means she escaped. Now, it was a matter of keeping her safe. That question brought a smile to her face. Now that she was awake, she felt agonizing pain in her right arm. “Princess?” She pretended to think. “Which one?”

Slap! Yang was trained to deal with pain by her mind going to a more pleasant memory. She was fishing with her father at the family cabin in Patch on a dock.

“You know who, Princess Belladonna.”

“Not ringing any bells.” Slap! She was swimming in the ocean with her sister Ruby.

“Blake Belladonna! She's about this tall, black hair that goes to her mid-back, golden eyes and hides her cat ears in a bow. She's a pretty girl.”

Another lead. He knew she hid her ears in a bow. Something only a select few knew. Yang was glad to have pain in her face, because the pain in her arm caused her great agony. “And I thought I was pretty.” Slap! Yang was teaching Blake how to fish.

“You won't be desirable by the time I finish with you.” He took a breath to calm himself and start over. “Let's try this again. Where. Is. Blake?”

“I don't remember her.” Slap! Her sister came for a visit to Menagerie and her father joined the sisters in a group hug.

“You spent your last minutes of freedom defending her from me for no reason! Where is she!?” He seethe.

“Oh!” She acted like she suddenly remembered. “That Blake. Beauty Blake. Yeah, she's gone.” She smiled through the blood in her teeth.

“I now that! But where!?” He demanded.

“I know all the people you torture say this, but I really don't know where. We're separated obviously. So, I really don't know where she is.” She shrugged like it was a normal thing.

“Where did she go!?”

“Far away from you as Faunus as possible.” She knew it was a mistake to throw in a pun but her right arm was burning in pain, she didn't care. She needed pain to be directed elsewhere. Slap! She hugged Blake in comfort after her mom told her she was engaged to be married to Adam and she didn't want to be married so soon or even at all.

“Where is she!?”

“Is 'where is' meaning where she is currently? Or is it where she is going and 'will be'? Because I don't know either.” Slap! She kissed Blake's knee after she healed with her aura after she fell from a tree and scraped it after Yang freed her tangled hair.

“I know your type. You told her to meet you somewhere once you are free. Where!?”

“I didn't have time with you rushing to break down the door. She tried to fight me on leaving and tried to force me to go with her to paradise knows where.”

“That brings me to another question. How did she escape!?”

“The palace has lots of places for rats to hide in.” Slap! She jumped out of a pot that was turned off in order to scare chef Lie Ren, except he knew she was there.

“Answer the question!”

“There's tunnels throughout the entire palace for the royal family to escape in case of an emergency. Each royal bedroom has its own tunnel that leads outside. Some of the common areas have them. A last ditch effort to protect and get her the heck away from you!” Slap! Blake hugged her after forcing it out of her when she asked how a tree fell so she could sit comfortably. Able to support her without getting her dress dirty. Yang had used her strength and gauntlets to knock it down. “You killed Blake's family you murderer!”

Slap! Blake had asked her to go swimming as to get over her fear of water. Yang had refused as her weapons were not water proof and she would be unable to protect her if anything happened. Blake walked to the edge of the cliff, locked her knees and fell backwards. Yang didn't care about her weapons or jacket as she jumped in after her. It terrified her how far Blake was willing to push but a relief she was safe after clinging to Yang like a lifeline. Her weapon needed to be rebuilt after, but Blake was safe. She feared Ghira was going to kill her after hearing what had happened, but the king just chuckled and was thankful he couldn't have asked for a better guard to keep his mischievous daughter out of trouble. He probably cared more that Yang didn't think of her weapons or the removal of her jacket first, just that she went after Blake without fail.

Yang knew she was feeling pain by how long the memories were lasting now. The worse part was, it was charging her semblance. The part that made both her and this guy, Faunus, whatever he was, monsters in the world.

“Talk.” Yang narrowed her eyes and spit in his face. The Faunus wiped it off with a certain calmness that terrified her. “I will get you to talk.”

“High Leader...” A male voice called out with hesitance.

“What is it Perry?” He asked annoyed.

“The princess...escaped from Corsac and Fennec.... Fennec is dead.”

Yang's grin said it all.

“How!?”

“A swirl of red rose petals took them down and Corsac fired a lethal shot and accidentally hit his brother.”

Yang's grin turned shit-eating.

“What!?” He punched Yang in the temple, knocking her out.
---
“Yang?”

“Huh?”

“Have you seen snow?” The princess asked as she looked outside.

“Yeah, it snows where I'm from.”

“Will you help me build a snowman?”

Oh no. The night before, the princess had seen it in a movie with the girl with magical ice and snow powers. Now she wants to build a snow-person or Faunus. “Well...” How could she say no to the princess with her amber eyes that would fill with sadness? Not to mention possibly upset her parents with the fact Yang told her no. “It won't be a snowman,” Her ears drooped. “but we can build a sand or beach man. Maybe even add ears, claws and maybe a tail or antlers, if not add all of them into one.”

“Yay!” Blake cheered in excitement. Her smile reminded her of Ruby's before she was placed on assignment to personally guard the princess who was a few months younger than her, as opposed to a a two year difference. Yang was forced to mature while the princess could be kid. Blake tried pulling her along, but Yang dug her heels in the ground.

“Wait a little bit princess. I have to make sure it's safe.”

“But Yang... I told you to call me Blake.”

“Orders are orders Princess Belladonna.” She gave Blake the idea.

“Knight and my personal guard, Yang Xiao Long, I order you to call me Blake.”

Yang smiled. She reminded her of her younger sister Ruby. Maybe it was a younger sibling thing. “Yes Blake.”

“Yay!” She smiled and clapped. “Let's go!”
---

Yang groaned in pain when she woke up. That was going to leave a lasting mark.

“... A girl with a red hood knocked out Corsac and he shot hit his brother. We have no idea where Princess Blake Belladonna is now. Footsteps lead toward a train station. Unable to confirm with many other footprints as the disappears.

Despite how much pain she was in, Yang continued to smile.

“Who is she!?” He slammed against Yang. He just received the full report and did not like it.

“Ruby Rose. Number one in her graduating class. You'll never get her back now.” She mocked with all confidence.

His eyes narrowed behind his mask as he recognized her name, top student at Beacon Academy. Training the best or potential children into guards like Yang or protectors of the world like others. He knocked her out for a while this time. “I will enjoy breaking you.” He promised.
---

She had no idea how long she was down there. She knew it was more than a week. She felt weak. She knew there was a puddle of blood under her from her deep lashes if not the smell. Some of her fingers were broken and she had no doubt this guy would keep his promise on beating her until she was unrecognizable or undesirable. She didn't care. Blake is what mattered.

Yang heard the door open, then her cell door. Every fiber of her hair felt like fire as it was pulled and every bone in her body protested as she was dragged from her cell. A bag was placed over her head. Her hair had been cut short and she knew it was in terrible condition from not being washed. Later, Yang knew the reason she felt such agony in her right arm, or at least where it used to be. Her hands, what she thought at the time were hands instead of hand was bound behind her back. Not that she felt like fighting anymore. She would refuse to tell him what he wanted and she was too weak to fight. Maybe now, he would kill her.

“Oof...” Yang's body hit the ground, sand rather. She groaned in pain from being man-handled. She heard the vehicle speed off and away from where she was, wherever she was. She could burn the bag and ropes with her semblance, but she didn't care anymore to fight. Her burning spirit broken. “Blake...” The name that gave her strength to endure this, would now be her the last word coming out of her parched mouth. She closed her eyes and laid still.
---

The lady came back as promised. “How are you feeling?” She took a seat across from her.

“Much better, thank you.” She had something to eat. She doesn't remember the last time she ate. She was hungry though. The lady also gave her aspirin for her headache.

“Do you remember your name?” She asked gently.

How many times she asked herself the same question, only to come up blank. “No.” She said on the verge of tears.

“No need for a beautiful girl like you to cry. That's it! What do you think of the name Belle? It means beauty. At least until you remember your birth name.”

“Belle?” She sniffled. There are worse names in the world. She decided it would do until she figured out her birth-given name. “Yeah.” She nodded.

“Belle it is.”

Chapter Text

My name is Belle, it means beauty. I don't have a last name because I don't remember it. I was found on a train by myself. It's guesstimated I am eight years old. The food cart lady gave me my name and brought me to an orphanage in Vacuo. I am Belle, no last name. This is my story and I am sticking to it.

Once Belle had convinced herself she was ready, gave herself a confident nod and walked up the stone steps. She awkwardly knocked on the wooden door several times. A few moments later, a middle-aged woman with pale blonde hair answered. She kept looking straight ahead as if to find the person who knocked. She was about to close the door when she saw the young girl. “Hello child. What's your name?”

The child smiled nervously and any courage she might've had disappeared. “Belle.” She sheepishly answered.

“Well Belle, my name is Miss. Goodwitch. Are you alone?”

“Ah-huh.” She nodded.

“What about your family?” She asked gently knowing it was a sensitive subject.

“I was found alone on a train.”

“A train? Where were you going?”

“I...I don't know.” Her ears were flat against her skull as her eyes shifted nervously. “I don't remember anything.”

“Well...we don't have any vacancies right now.” Belle's ears pinned back. The woman gave her a smile and pushed her glasses up. “Why don't you come on in? I'm sure we can find room for you somewhere. Follow me.” She opened the door and led the girl inside.
---

Slowly, Yang opened her eyes, allowing them the adjust to the sunlight. She felt a light weight on her back. She freaked not knowing what it was. “Blake!” She shouted with what little voice she had. Footsteps were sprinting toward her location and she pretended to be asleep hoping they would go away.

“Yang?” A long lost familiar voice spoke.

Lilac eyes opened, meeting a familiar silver. “Ruby?” Her voice dry and cracked.

“You're alive!” Tears filled her silver eyes as rose petal burst from the door to her sister and embraced her. “I'm so happy you're alive!” She said with relief.

“I missed you too!” Yang held her tightly not caring she was in pain. “Where's Blake?” Ruby was raised by the same organization. Blake is Yang's assignment while the famous Weiss Schnee is Ruby's assignment. Ruby's seen Blake from afar, but Blake hasn't seen Ruby. That, and Yang's only talked about her a dozen times.

“You're thirsty and probably hungry. Let me get you something.” She used to her semblance to burst into rose petals and disappear at the speed of sound.

“Yang Xiao Long,” A familiar voice filled with snide remarked. Her demeanor completely changed upon seeing Yang. “We-Ruby's been worried sick about you.” She kept her own feelings out of it as her family taught her.

Yang smiled with understanding that Weiss missed her without saying. “Unlike Ruby, you don't sugar coat anything. Give it to me straight. How bad is it?” Her face winced as Weiss was about to be brutally honest.

Weiss noticed how reluctant she was to ask. “Can't you just ask-?”

“I'm asking you.” She croaked.

“If it wasn't for your blonde hair...we wouldn't have thought it was you. We thought you weren't going to make it.”

“Great motivator. Only know its me based on the color of my hair. Where's Blake? I know Ruby saved her.” She rushed.

“Shh. She's safe. On a train going to an orphanage outside the kingdom.”

“In Vale?” Sure, all she had to do was cross the water to get to the mainland.

Weiss tensed. “...In Vacuo...”

“Vacuo!? She's supposed to be headed to Vale! Patch in particular!” She went into a coughing fit. As if on cue, Ruby brought up her water.

“See, now you strained your voice by getting angry.” Weiss scolded.

“She's supposed to be headed to Vale, then Patch. This is our safehouse. How can I make sure she's safe if I can't protect her? It's my birth-given right to protect her!” She took a longer sip.

It's Ruby's job to protect me, not babysit a knocked out princess. “You know the protests were rising as well as becoming violent. You knew revolution was imminent. You should've notified us sooner. Say I don't know... A week in advance so we could take a bullhead and arrive in a few hours. Not us showing up just in time to save her! Just because she's your mission, doesn't me we don't want you to succeed! It's okay to ask for help.”

“I did notify you two weeks early! It's not my fault you two had just gotten back to Atlas that day.” Yang nearly finished her water. “She's not just a mission. Like you and Ruby, she's a person. ...Someone I failed to protect.” Her eyes didn't meet Weiss.

“No you didn't fail her. You saved her by putting her first, above pride and arrogance.” She paused. “You called for back-up in case. She's safe because of you. The fox Faunus would have collected her and brought her to their leader I presume.”

The heiress thought for a moment. “Speaking of...” Weiss continued. “Blake and I were born with the ability to unlock our aura and semblances. Ruby helped me unlock mine and I'm not defenseless because of it. She's taught me how to fight with Myrtenaster. I'm not helpless like Blake is. That is the difference between Blake and I. You wanted to protect her so bad, you didn't want her protecting herself. That was selfish of you.”

“I didn't want her to become a monster. Not like me, not like White Fang Leader. The aura unlocking I don't mind...but it unlocks your semblance too. She wouldn't be the same ever again. That's not what she wanted, nor what her parents wanted for her. She wants to be as normal as possible. I couldn't do that to her. She just wanted to blend in.”

“I'm not a monster, Ruby isn't a monster, you're not a monster. Just because we're special, doesn't mean we're monsters.” Silence hung in the air and Weiss realized she wasn't getting anywhere. “Speaking of selfish, what happened to you?”

“A smart mouth and a grin too good not to punch out.” She gave a fake chuckle.

“And your hair-?”

“Don't mention the h-word.” She held up her hand. “I beat the guy who who cut it by bashing my head into his nose. I flung my body back while I was restrained.”

“Well, your aura is healing your body nicely, you'll just have scarring.”

“Good. How long was I out for?”

“Three days.”

“Good.” She flipped the blankets over. “After I eat and I can go.”

“Oh no you don't! You are not leaving this house for at least another week!”

“Weiss, I'm healing. I've spent enough time healing. I've gotta get out there and I have to go to her.” Weiss wasn't going to stop her. “I don't know how much I missed already. I have to go after her. She's probably worried, scared, and lonely. She doesn't even have her books or anyone to keep her company.”

Weiss blinked. It was rare for guards to fall for their missions, but not unheard of. “She's more than a mission to you, isn't she? Worried, scared, lonely, and you think about her books!? You love her, don't you!?”

“Don't be ridiculous!” Yang shouted back but instantly regretted it as it proved Weiss's point. “I'm her guardian. She needs to be protected.”

“She's safe.”

“She'd be safer with me!” Yang's eyes snapped red.

Weiss backed a few feet away until she calmed down. “You love her.” She stated gently.

“I don't know if I do. We're too young to know what love is, aren't we? I mean romantically. You can't tell anyone, especially not Winter!”

“Relax, secret's safe with me. I don't think love has an age. I mean even people meet in middle school, and get married after high school and stay together until they die. You've...you've been missing for three months.” Weiss sighed. She couldn't tell Yang she can't fight with a missing arm or even in her current condition.

“Three months is too long. I have to leave this bed. I have to get to her.” Yang tried getting up, only to be with met with resistance. “She has to know about her family-.”

“Yang! Slow down,” Weiss used her ability to freeze her to the bed. “We couldn't save them. We tried, everyone is dead.”

She let the dark words sink in. “So Blake is the only survivor.” She slowly took the words in. Weiss simply nodded. “She's the queen of Menagerie...her greatest fear realized. No one can know she's alive. At least until I'm healed enough to protect her.” A darker thought crossed her mind. “What about my father? He was supposed to protect King Ghira and Queen Kali.”

“...I'm sorry Yang...”

“...Oh...” She smiled sadly. “Don't be. He always got the death he wanted. He died a hero.” A few tears fell from her eyes. “King Ghira was like my uncle. I called him Uncle Ghira before I knew better. I think because of that Blake called my father Uncle Tai.” She sniffled. “I'm happy Tai got the farewell he wanted. Laying down his life for his best friend. That is true loyalty. I don't think the king ever questioned his loyalty. I can't let either of them down.”

“Are you okay?”

“Once I get to Blake, I'll be fine.”

“And you say I took training too seriously once Ruby introduced me to aura and semblances. You take your mission too seriously. You won't do anyone any good if you go out there and die.”

“After I eat and shower, I want to see the castle for myself.”

“You can't even sit-up, no less walk. Traveling is out of the question.”

“I have to see it. I need to know. I need to feel it. Not just physically, but feel the energy of it. I was tortured for any information I had on Blake. I need to know what still stands.”

“Okay... but only when you have your strength. It's not what it used to be, or even what you remember. Whatever you remember, it's not the same. Forget what you know.”

“I can't do that. I'll keep my memories close to me. I believe you. I know it's gone and it's not coming back. Weiss felt like she was talking about more than just the palace. Yang gave her a small smile. “Let's go eat. Ruby made breakfast.” She could smell it burning.

“She did what!? Ruby can't cook to save her life!” The white-haired girl ran to the kitchen. “Ruby! Don't set off the fire-!”

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. “Fire. Fire. Activating sprinkler system.”

“Alarm...” Weiss stood frozen. Her hair completely flat from the water. “Ruby Rose!”

Yang smiled at their usual antics, she was glad she didn't leave her room so she wouldn't have to get wet. They were like a couple and it was cute. They were close partners who worked well together, even if Weiss was Ruby's mission being the heiress to the Schnee Dust Company.

Yang wouldn't mind a relationship like theirs with Blake, but she worked better on her own and Blake wanted to be normal. Yang wouldn't switch her mission up for a partner anyway. As soon as she would get attached, someone would move on to a single person mission. Disappointment would not describe the shame Yang would feel if Winter knew. Yang looks up to Winter like an older sister despite Winter being Weiss's older sister. She wouldn't dream of disappointing her idol, no matter how firm a hand she may have.

Now that she was alone in the bedroom for the first time since she woke, darker thoughts entered her mind. She thought about everything she lost and nearly lost. Blake being first, her right arm, her father and Blake's family she's learned to love. She couldn't fight, no less protect Blake anymore. This was the only life she knew, and it was taken from her. She couldn't beat the leader with both arms. She didn't stand a chance with just one. She was a goner, and Blake would be too. Blake had given her hope, a reason to fight, but now she was gone, her fighting spirit gone with her.

Tears fell from her eyes and she sat in her bed, hopeless to do anything. Her father was gone. King Ghira is dead. Queen Kali is dead, Princess Heather and Prince Yuma are both dead, and though Blake survived, she had no one. She never wanted to be queen, and now she may not have a choice.

Yang's eyes shot open. Blake didn't know. She had no idea. Someone had to tell her. Someone she trusts has to tell her the fate of her family. Yang found her purpose. She had to tell Blake exactly what had happened. She deserved to be comforted by someone she knew. Even if Yang couldn't do much, she could at least be there for her. She had to get to Blake...somehow.

While breakfast turned into a soggy mess, first task was to shower. She nearly punched the walls in frustration with trying to get her shirt off. She didn't realize how much she took her dominate hand for granted. It was a chore in itself to shampoo her hair, even as short as it was. Pretending for Ruby's sake that everything was okay, was more difficult than expected.

Tears flowed from her eyes. She used to be strong. She used to think she was invincible. She burned brightly, even literally lighting herself on fire. Now, she was slowly dying. She was an ember, floating away from the burning fire just to die in the sand.

If showering wasn't enough of a problem, dressing proved frustrating. Her less dominant hand had issues pulling a shirt above her head and getting her head, arm and stump of an arm into the correct holes. She growled in anger after knocking several things over and falling on the floor. She gave up and settled for a bathrobe.

Weiss had the place cleaned and breakfast complete when Yang forced her way down the stairs. Even the simple task of holding a fork and eating proved too much. She ate with her hand instead without making a mess. The reality of her new life slowly sinking in. She grew more depressed as the day dragged on. The worse part, it just started.

Chapter Text

The longer she stayed, the more hopeless Yang became. She had stayed with Ruby and Weiss in her childhood home for maybe two months already. Time was hard to keep track of. Training, the one thing she was good at, one thing she never faltered on, became too much of a task. She tried fighting Ruby or Weiss and she found it hopeless with one arm. She would try to attack as if it was still there, but it wasn't. It was never is, and it's never, coming, back. She spends most of her days on the couch watching T.V. if the news of the palace and the said weren't too much. It was dying down, but the Faunus were outraged not having any idea what really happened. Dressing isn't as hard as it once was, but showering was still a pain. At least her hair was getting longer, better, but worse at it became harder to wash.

“Yang!” Ruby's voice sang. “Something came in the mail for you.”

“From General Ironwood himself.” Weiss stated, pleased but proper.

“Ironwood?” Yang questioned. “What did I do to gain that kind of attention?” She narrowed her eyes at Weiss. “Or rather, who I know that can call in a special favor such as this?”

“I'll have you know I had no hand in this. You've earned this one on your own.” She smiled proudly as Ruby placed the box in front of her. Yang stared at the white box with a single golden bow for some time. “Well, are you going to open it?” She had to break the tension as Ruby was practically jumping up and down the walls in her mind.

Yang peeled the bow off using what was left of her right arm to hold it steady. Silver stared back at her. Her eyes shut tight as the image of a red blade invaded her mind. Knowing that was over, she slowly opened her eyes to find a prosthetic arm staring back.

“You don't like it.” Ruby pouted. She was more disappointed than she led on.

“No...it's fine...it's just... It's not me. I lost a part of me and it's never coming back. This isn't the same. Nor will it ever replace what I lost.”

“You're right.” Weiss agreed. “It can't replace what you lost, but it can help you move forward. It will help you spar, fight, and get you to where Blake is. You won't be pulled off assignment as long as you can fight. You know it's not easy to convince Ozpin to wait for you.”

“Weiss, I couldn't even protect her with two natural limbs. How am I supposed to protect her with one that's not real?”

Ruby knew it was her time to leave. “The White Fang Leader isn't normal. He's like us, a 'monster' as you say. He activated his aura and he has a semblance. He's a skilled swordsman. You weren't meant to fight alone. Like you also said, he sounded young. He probably took power...forcefully. He's good, but not good enough to earn that type of power.”

“He's better than me! Blake needs someone who can beat him! I-I...can't...” Tears left her eyes at the admittance of her defeat. “I tried...I lost...”

Weiss froze for a moment. She was too defeated. Any sort of reassurance would fall on deaf ears. “Maybe Adam did kill the fire-burning, hot-headed, determined Yang Xiao Long after all.” Weiss stood up to leave. “You are right about one thing. Blake deserves someone who is willing to fight, even if they lose. She deserves someone who is willing to fight for her, no matter the cost or limitations. Someone willing to fight past limitations.” She needed to stab the knife further. She needed Yang to be at rock bottom so she can climb her way back up. Weiss left Yang alone with her thoughts no matter how dark. It was how her resilience could kick in and she'd bounce back, stronger than before.
---

Belle had spent a month in the orphanage. She's picked up a hobby on reading chapter books of at least twenty chapters, if not books of three hundred pages or more, far exceeding the reading level of children her own age. She's also learned that she's a Faunus, two cat ears on top of her head proved so. She met more children who don't mind Faunus, but there are also children who picked on Faunus by pulling their ears, antlers, horns or tails. None of the other children except very few would do anything about it. She's chosen like a few others to hide her ears in the form of a bow.

Currently, she was wondering the grounds for a quiet spot to read.

“Hey Belle!”

Or at least it would be if not for a certain monkey Faunus hanging above her head by his tail in an attempt to surprise her with a jump scare.

“Hi Sun.” She replied in a dead pan.

“Whatcha doin'?” He grinned.

Belle couldn't help but get a deju-vu vibe from a warm, yet familiar smile. “Trying to read.” She slammed her book shut knowing she wasn't going to get any reading done.

“Lame.” He groaned. “Come on, have some fun, climb a tree. It's beautiful up here.”

Belle had no idea why, but the idea of climbing a tree made her nervous. She wasn't sure if it was the idea of getting stuck-Sun would come up with plenty of jokes of a cat getting stuck in a tree, or if it was the fear of falling.

“No thanks. I'll pass.”

“Awe, come on. I promise I'll catch you if you fall.”

“Not worth it.” She got up and moved to an area with little to to no trees. Of course, Sun followed. Why did he never get the hint? She wanted to be alone for a while.

“Don't be like that. Come one Belle, have some fun, loosen up.”

How is someone who is cute, so obnoxious. “Sun, please.” She sighed. “Just let me have ten minutes to myself.”

“Five.” He negotiated.

“Seven.” Belle replied.

“Three,” He used his fingers to count as he thought about it. “Wait. I did that wrong.”

“Ten Sun, just ten.”

“Fine.” He jumped down on his feet and started to walk off. “I'm starting the count down. Don't let Cardin bother you.”

“It's not Cardin I worry about.” She said low enough he couldn't hear.

She sat in a shady spot on a sunny day leaning against a tree and began to read. For whatever reason, the sparse tree in the deserted clearing was peaceful with the birds chirping, as annoying as they were, it brought a certain calmness. Something that felt familiar to her. A memory she couldn't place.
---
Four Months Later

Yang had healed enough to decide to wear her prosthetic arm. Once she got over the nausea of how it made her feel just by looking at it. She made it part of her. She turned the silver into gold with outlines of black. She was more than determined to go after Blake. She had wallowed in self-pity too long; Weiss and Ruby continued their lives and took on missions in Atlas, coming back every few months. Her training's improved drastically where she now was able to nearly able to beat Ruby and Weiss two on one on medium mode, but it was no where near perfect. There was always room for improvement. Decent enough to fight low life's and low skill level fighters yes, someone like the White Fang leader, no.

Currently, she was beating up another defenseless tree.

“Yang! Someone's here to see you.” Ruby called.

She really didn't want to stop what she was doing, but it had to be important for Ruby to interrupt. “...Coming...” She huffed, wiping sweat from her brow as she made her way inside.

“Hello, Miss Xiao Long.”

Yang had just closed the door behind her. “Good morning Headmaster Ozpin.” She repeated the greeting by second nature as she was in shock. “What brings you by our humble abode.” The words didn't come naturally, but it was better than asking 'what are you doing here?' as it sounds accusatory.

“A black bird informed me of what happened and it seems you are improving.” Yang hoped he meant a crow rather than another another black bird. “If you wish to consider, I have a gift for you.”

“I'm almost scared to ask.” Any gift from the Headmaster was a blessing though a curse from what another had said. In Yang's knowledge, he only gave two people 'gifts'. Both of them black birds. One loyal, the other...

“You've no doubt learned about your uncle's and your mother's abilities I've gifted them with through magic.”

“My uncle Qrow can turn into a crow and my birthmother Raven cam turn into a raven. Ironic enough as it is, with these abilities, they've worked as your spies-informants. Qrow is loyal to you while Raven abandoned everyone and went dark.”

“Precisely. Since your training is going well, I would like to give you the ability to shape shift as well. You would turn into a form of bird as well.”

Yang thought about it. Her mother told her once to ask questions and be skeptical, especially when it came to Ozpin. “This sounds one-sided. What do you get out of it in return?”

“My, my.” He chuckled. “Ever as curious as your mother.” Yang controlled herself not to narrow her eyes in being compared to her. She wasn't a mother. “I will have an extra pair of wings and eyes in the sky to keep me informed and in the the loop. If you so choose, Miss Belladonna will be your primary mission. You second mission will be to me, I would call you if I need you. It won't be often but it will have priority.”

Raven's warning echoed in her head. 'What Oz did to my brother and me.' Raven made it sound like a curse. Like she didn't want the ability she was given. Uncle Qrow never talked about it. As far he knew, maybe Yang didn't know of his transformation. Yet, Ozpin was sharing it out in the open now with Ruby and Weiss. She needed time to think about it before deciding. “Headmaster, I'm sorry you came all this way but...I'm going to have to decline your offer.”

“Yang!” Ruby gasped.

“It's alright Miss. Rose.” He turned his attention back to Yang. “May I be inclined as to ask why?”

“Raven implied that the 'blessing' you bestowed upon her and my uncle turned out to be a curse. Magic is unpredictable. It would be impossible to predict what type of bird I would turn into, if I would turn into a bird. Blake isn't weak but I can't afford to leave her longer than I already have, for any presented amount of time to assist you with other missions. That was selfish on my part for not going to her sooner when she needs me.”

“Miss Xiao Long,” He stood. “I respect your decision, but I do hope you change your mind. Should you change your mind, you know where to find me, even during summer break.” He walked toward the door. “In the meantime, continue to train and don't beat yourself up about the White Fang Leader too much. The outcome could have been much worse than what it was. You were not meant to face an enemy with that much power yet. Even some of our finest graduates would struggle to take him down.” He looked into her defeated face as she faced the floor. “The point is, you didn't give up any information leading to the capture of Princess Blake Belladonna. In that regard, you have succeeded. Also, Miss Belladonna is safe because of you. You could've ended your torment and perhaps the leader would've killed you, you could've ended your suffering but didn't.” He was nearly out the door. “You are still tasked with keeping Blake Belladonna safe, however, until she comes into the light, Menagerie's will be in chaos with the cabinet composed of nobles. I don't need to mention he has every White Fang Faunus alive searching for the princess as well as anyone who might've survived. The peace that has been maintained in the other kingdoms are now faced with a fragile balance. Be careful, all of you.” He grabbed his cane and walked out the door.

Ruby used the silence to address the elephant in the room. “Yang why did you do that!? You'd be able to fly!”

“Ruby, I like the way I am. I'm as normal as I can be. I'm a Xiao Long, not a Branwen. Raven made sure of that. I already look like her, the more I separate myself from her the better.”

“You're not her Yang. You'll never be her.” Ruby assured.

“Really Ruby? Because the way I see it, I'm here, while Blake is out there. Alone in some orphanage. I abandoned her, just how Raven abandoned me.”

“It's different. You bought her time to escape. You were injured in the process. You helped her escape. You gave her the valid time she needed to run. You're not going to help her or anyone else until you help yourself. You have the biggest heart I know. You will get back to her. You haven't abandoned her. You just need time to yourself.”

Yang loudly groaned. Ruby did make some good points, she was right. She smiled at her younger sister. “Thanks Rubes.”

“No problem.” She smiled at her younger sister. If Yang thought she had a shit-eating grin, the smile Ruby wore beamed. She couldn't take it and started ruffling her sister's hair. “Yang stop! Cut it out.” She swung her arms in vain.

“Oh yeah?” She moved her fingertips along her sides. “Are you going to stop me?”

“Yang! Stop!” The younger sibling laughed. “That tickles!”

“Well, when you two are done, help me set the table.” Yang smiled with malicious intent. “Yang, whatever your thinking, don't. Ruby, not you too.”

“Get her!” Ruby cried.

Together, the siblings nabbed Weiss and attempted to tickle her. “I am not ticklish. Not this foolish nonsense.”

“Awe, come on Ice Princess. It's all in good fun.” Yang helped her up. “Although...” She pretended to think. “I forget you don't know what fun is.”

“I do too know how to have fun... It's just not what you two consider fun.” Weiss smiled seeing Yang nearly back to her old self.

---

Months have passed, and Belle was getting used to Sun's antics. He followed her around, but left her alone when she requested it to read. It was always ten minutes. Something they called the ten minute rule. The thing that annoyed her, was the fact he was always asking questions to see if she remembered something, anything from her past. Belle's climbed a few tree branches, but it was never high enough where she didn't feel comfortable jumping down.

“Hey Belle?”

“Yes Sun?”

“Tell me what you think of this idea. We run away.” he had his heads together then broke them apart on opposite sides.

Sure Sun could be a little impulsive, but enough to run away? “Have you lost your mind?” A ridiculous question really. Sun lost his mind long before she met him.

“No.” He jumped down to face her. “We could do it. We could survive out there. Steal what we need to eat and finding places to hide. You're the sneakier of the two of us. You hate it here, I hate it here. It'd be like one of your adventure books. Two orphan kids traveling across Remnant, seeking adventure and longing for freedom.”

“Sun, those stories only work out in books. There's too many factors and unknowns.”

“How about we start in Vacuo, where I'm from. I could show you where I grew up-.”

“Slow down. I need sometime to think about it before we rush into anything.”

Sun kept going. “My best friends, and my favorite hangouts. We could also go to Menagerie where all Faunus are welcome or Anima, or Vale, while avoiding racist bigots in Atlas.” Her words sank in. “What's there to think about? I mean, this place stinks, there's mold forming, and most of the kids here are rude. I guess Glynda is okay in my book, she's stern.”

“Don't let her hear you say that.” She gave him a skeptical look.

“Look, just think about it, okay?”

She sighed with a smile. “I promise I'll think about it.”

“Great!” He beamed.

A thought crossed her mind since he brought up the less than pleasant children. “Sun?”

“Yeah?”

“Have you ever thought about joining the Faunus Right's Movement?” A reason to travel.

“No, why?”

“I was thinking about the way Velvet yelps when Cardin pulls on her ears. Humans like him make me sick. I want to do something about it.”

“I got it!” He jumped excitedly. “We'll be Faunus Right's Warriors! Traveling across Remnant, sharing our story and fighting in every continent until all Faunus are free. The White Fang is known for violence. We could just be our own team.”

She smiled at his enthusiasm. “That seems a little far fetched, but anyway we can help, we should. You've given me things to consider. I'll think about it.”

“Oh yeah! Belle and I are going to take over the world. One kingdom at a time.”

She smiled and shook her head. He was getting ahead of himself, but that was Sun. To not stroke his ego, Belle turned serious. “Don't push it.”

“Right.” He rubbed the back of his head. “Got it.”
---

Belle got up from her usual reading spot as the sun was going down. Sun walked in front of her as usual. She was thankful for her night vision, even if it didn't help her read, but it helped her see in the dark. As they walked down to their corridor, they heard a loud bang. Sun was stumbling around in the dark.

“That's for messing with Velvet you assholes!” Coco yelled before punching Cardin.

Coco, Yatsuhashi, and Fox were beating the snot out of Cardin, Sky, Dove, and Russel. Even if Fox was blind, he beat the stuffing out of Dove.

“Sun.”

“Yeah?”

“Remind me never to get on Coco or Velvet's bad side.”

“That's ridiculous. You would never mess with Velvet, and Coco is a fighter, but not too hot headed to cause a fight like this without probable cause. See, not all humans are bad. It's just the few that ruin it for the rest. Three humans against four to defend their Faunus friend. These guys had it coming. I'm surprised they didn't act sooner to be honest.”

“Yeah...” Sun's voice faded into the background of her own thoughts. Belle couldn't help but feel a familiar warmth from the protection of seeing Velvet's friends fight for her. She felt luike she knew someone would do the same for her, not Sun but... It felt natural, but she couldn't place the warm...friendly...familiar...

“Belle! Earth to Belle!” Sun waved his hand in front of her face to get her attention. He's never seen her have a far away look before. When she was reading yes, but she was further away, another time.

“Huh?” She blinked a few times and shook her head.

“You okay? You seemed a little out of it.”

“Yeah, I'm fine. Just feeling like I almost forgot something.”

“Something you needed to do?”

“No... Like a memory...”

“You remembered something?” He said excitedly giving her his undivided attention.

She almost became frustrated. “But I can't remember what it is I'm trying to remember. It's like I remember feeling warmth, but also that I was protected by someone close to me.” It didn't make sense to her, how could it make any sense to Sun? He was as dense as they came.

“That's really vague. I mean when my mom would hug me, I felt warm and safe with her protection.” He tried to compare.

“No. It's not like that. It's different.”

“What do you mean?” He wanted to understand.

“I have no-... I can't explain it.” Her feline ears nearly pinned against her skull if not for the bow.

“Okay... Well, how about we head to bed before the noise wakes up the cranky, old, witch. She'll be angry if she's woken up. Good night.”

“Night...” She sauntered to her room. Sun gave her some things to think about that night as she laid awake. She thought about his offer and it appealed to her even more. Not just joining the Faunus rights, but also possibly finding out more about her past. Who was she before her memory loss, and what caused it? She had to look like at least one of her parents, right? Even if one was a dog, or a fox, maybe a bear or even a reptile. It was known that to different Faunus species would have a child or children different from them. That was, unless both her parents were cats, doubtful. Still, there had to be a Faunus who knew who she was. Remnant seemed like a big place, but the more she explored, the smaller it would be, she hoped.

Chapter Text

Yang concluded her training was complete. Weiss and Ruby thought she pushed herself too hard, which is a Yang thing to do. They also agreed not enough time was spent on defensive maneuvers. Again, a Yang-like thing to do. Today was the day she would set out and look for Blake, she would bring the princess home if she desired. She packed a large rucksack which held food for a few days, a few change of clothes, pillow and sleeping bag. She would be gone only a day as that is how long it would take to arrive. When Blake arrived at the orphanage Ruby and Weiss spoke of, she had nothing. That thought only made Yang feel sick. That was all the more reason why she had to press on. If she paced herself right, she would arrive around dusk, at the latest, dark.

“I'm coming Blake. Wait for me.” She peeped talked herself, looking up, beyond the ceiling. “I promise I'll protect you and never leave you again.” After packing, she went downstairs for breakfast that Weiss cooked and quickly ate, much to the platinum's blonde's protests. She kissed her sister on the forehead after giving her a proper bear hug. She hugged Weiss, tight but brief. “Love you Ruby. Goodbye Weiss, I'll see you both in a few days and you'll be able to meet Blake too.” She waved behind her with a smile.
---

“You ready Sun?” Belle asked that morning.

“I was born ready!” He was fired up, ready to go.

“You're all packed and you have everything ready?”

“Yeap. Check, check and check.” He was too pleased with himself, crossing his arms and grinning his teeth as if he expected them to shine.

“Good.” She stated shortly. “We leave tonight.”

“Alright! This is going to be so much fun! Fighting for Faunus Right's while we discover who you are and where you came from!” He couldn't contain his excitement.

“Sun, our first priority is to our bothers and sisters.” She reminded him. “If anyone happens to recognize me, well...that is a shot in the dark.”

“Right, right. Sorry, just excited.”

---

“Come on, come on, come on.” Yang paced the station platform impatiently. She had shown up an hour prior from the short boat ride and the train was fifteen minutes late. If it wasn't for Ruby and Weiss insisting that she stayed until morning to rest, she would've taken the midnight train and could be there already.

Five minutes later, the train finally arrived. As much as she wanted to rush to get on, she waited until she was one of the last to snag a seat near the exit to be the first one off. She closed the door to her area as she didn't want to be disturbed by adults thinking she was lost. Just because she was considered a child, it didn't mean she was hopeless or helpless, like a real damsel in distress she knew. “I'm coming Blakey, just hang on.” She said to herself.

Just in case she would fall asleep, she set and alarm that was set to go off before the train was due to arrive. Yang stayed up all night as her mind refused to rest. She thought about Blake and the orphanage Ruby and Weiss kept her up to speed on. She thought about how lonely or scared Blake must've felt when first waking up alone. Yang indulged her mind as she researched everything she could think of. There had been no word, not even a whisper of survivors on the palace attack. The orphanage itself was a big cottage, a ways out of the way, but it seemed cozy.

Their records showed there was a girl named Belle with no known last name, amber eyes, black hair who wore a black ribbon on top of her head. It said that she had arrived the next day after the Menagerie Revolution what history would call it now. If she was trying to send a message telling someone she was there, it may as well have been a flashing neon sign. Belle, Belladonna, girl with no memory, a cover story for a princess in hiding. As lame as it was, it worked. A black ribbon on top of her head? She was covering her two feline ears. Message received. Surely Blake could've picked a last name though. Her first name meant black. She could've been Belle Black. Again, double b. Blake Belladonna, Belle Black. This had to be Blake. In any case, it's the closest link she had to finding her. Even where her train stopped and where she ended up wasn't too far. In Yang's opinion, Blake was too obvious, and it would only be a matter of time until the White Fang Leader found her.

There was a knock on her cabin door and on instinct, Yang answered by opening it, ready to fight. It was a young teenager with amber eyes, darker than Blake's, brown hair, and she wore a crimson dress. Long sleeves that looked like foreign language characters on her upper arms. Yang immediately grew suspicious of her, though she had no reason to.

“Is this seat taken?” The pre-teen asked. “All the other seats are filled.”

“No, go ahead.” Yang replied with a false smile.

“I'm Cinder.”

“Yin.” She offered her hand. She used Yin as a cover to prevent anyone from knowing her true name while a hint for Blake. Looking closer, she could see markings on her skin that look like tattoos were actually ruins of an ancient language, one that she was vaguely taught. This made her more weary of her company.

“No offense, but aren't you a little young to be traveling alone?”

“I could ask you the same.” She had no malice in her her tone, just observation. “I'm not alone. My uncle is around.”

“I hope he won't mind me taking a seat.”

“Not at all. He's probably at the bar if this train has one. He doesn't feel like babysitting a kid that isn't his. I only weight him down.” Uncle Qrow would be at the nearest bar, but he loved his nieces.

“One of those family members. My friends are nearby, they all wanted to sit together but not enough room.”

Yang sensed that Cinder was lying as all teenage girls travel in groups or with one or two male friends if not a boyfriend. It's possible she's an innocent bystander, but even strangers with no ill intentions are not to be trusted. She was hoping to get some sleep on the train, but with Cinder around, she didn't trust her enough to. She needed to sleep but she needed her paranoia to last the whole trip in order not to fall asleep. She stared out the window into a beautiful scenery.

Not soon enough, the train started moving. Yang couldn't contain her excitement, eagerness or anxiousness and her leg took the brunt of it as it bounced in place.

“You seem...energetic.” Cinder carefully observed.

“I'm excited.” She admitted holding her knees, acting as if it'll keep all the energy she has contained inside her. “I'm meeting a friend.” Cinder's face stiffened. “I haven't seen her in what feels like a year, but it's been almost a year.”

Cinder decided to go with it and cheer her up. “I'm meeting a friend to. One in Mistral.”

“Mistral, huh?” Yang hasn't been anywhere but the kingdoms of Vale and Menagerie. “What's it like there?” She asked with interest.

“Anima itself is home in its own ways. If you don't like the flatland, there's the snow capped mountains, or desert. Any type of environment you long for, Anima has it. Mistrial itself is busy with its own network of shops, plenty of places to visit for scen
ery and activities. It's definitely home. If you ever get a chance, you should visit.”

“Maybe... I'm headed to Vacuo. Anima is an ocean away.”

“You remind me of a rough and tough girl. With your uncle and all, I'm sure you'll have no trouble.” Cinder was amused with the short blonde child.

“Thanks. From what I've seen, I'm sure you'll enjoy being home. I'll try to keep my energy level to myself.”

“Don't worry about it. I miss having all that energy to expel and not feel tired.”

“It goes away?” Yang loved having energy for days. Being able to do what she wanted freely and no concern for how tired she would grow.

“No, it's more like you don't feel like doing anything. It's like you need a reason to get out of your bed in the morning. If you think about it like that, then yes, your energy levels lowers.”

Yang deflated. “Lame.” She complained. “No wonder they say teenagers are boring.”

“Hey.” Cinder feigned offense. “It's not all bad. How do you think we're as cool as you kids make us out to be?”

Yang shrugged. She didn't have a response. She's always looked up to Winter, but Yang was her own influence and one for Ruby. She didn't see Winter often. She had to be since her father was taken away and her birth mother left her.

The two continued talking to pass time. For Yang, it was to stay awake and learn more about the teen sitting with her. They avoided talking about themselves personally, they would rebound the question or switch to a new topic. More was said in what Cinder didn't say, her posture, and body language told Yang more than the way she dodged questions like, who she was meeting, what type of friend is he, only for acquaintance to be her reply, hobbies, almost nothing on him. That was the only thing she did get out, a male. The more they talked, the more nervous Yang became around her. Cinder was skilled. She was trained and Yang wasn't fooled. There would be no sleeping with Cinder around, no matter how tired she was.

---

Belle sat up against her shade tree as she continued reading the other half of her adventure book. She heard footsteps approach from her muffled Faunus ears but they didn't belong to Sun, if he wasn't in a tree. Their contact with the ground displayed a sense of urgency.

“Belle.” She turned her head when she heard Miss. Goodwitch call her name from beside her. “Someone's compromised of our records through cyber means. Myself and the Board of Directors have reason to believe you are in danger.” Belle's eyes went wide as she tried to process what she had been told. “The record the culprit was most interested in was you. I have no idea how they hacked through our firewall, but yours was the only one they were interested in. They agreed to keep you safe, it would be better if you went to Anima. Someone will be there to bring you to a safer place.” What she didn't say, was being a Faunus, humans in Anima treated them fairly and it was farther than Vale which means safer.

Belle had another thought. “Could it just be my family?” She didn't want to sound hopeful, but she couldn't help it.

“I wanted to think the same thing at first, but each child has a profile online that is public. The records they reviewed, it was in a private archive. That is why I think you are in danger. Also, whoever it was, didn't call. Usually, a family of a missing child will also call as ask questions like what the child was wearing when they were found, where were they found, any distinctive marks like birthmarks or scars. Questions like that. Someone attempted to hack the system secretly but failed.”

Belle felt her heart drop as her head did. Her ears would've if they weren't pinned by the ribbon. “When do I leave?” She asked, though her eyes lingered on the ground.

“I will drop you off at the docks at sundown. When you arrive, someone will be there to take you. We have all your documentation ready, all you need, is a last name.”

A last name? Belle couldn't even remember her first name. Now she had to pick a last name right there on the spot? She tried coming up with authors. Belle Dickson? Belle Oum? Belle Thorne? Belle Clark? Who thought coming up with a last name would be so...arduous.

“Miss...Belle, I'm waiting.” She stated impatiently. She could literally choose any last name she wanted. But as usual, she was being difficult.

“Wukong.” She said too quickly and regretted it the moment it left her mouth.

Goodwitch raised an eyebrow. “As in Sun Wukong? His sister?”

She couldn't come up with anything better for last minute? “...Yes?” Belle nodded. “Belle Wukong.” Though she seemed sure on the outside, she was screaming on the inside but she couldn't come up with anything better. It's like all words left her head.

“Okay...” Goodwitch sighed. Surely, a child who could choose her last name could come up with something original. Especially one who spends most of her time reading for paradise sake. Cross, Youngblood, Black, Saber... Something edgy like her, not...something else. Goodwitch walked away with just as much urgency as she arrived.

Belle hung her head in defeat. Goodwitch sensed it too. She could've chosen something generic, something hard to track like Morgan, Lee, Washington, Jones, Mack... She just gave herself a sibling, a brother nonetheless. She didn't know if that was a good or bad thing.

She pushed the thought aside as she had more urgent and pressing matters to deal with. Someone was after her, and not in a friendly I'm your family sort of way. She wanted so badly for her family to come for her. She knew it was false hope. They tried to hijack or did hijack secret information instead of asking. Point is, she and Sun had to move tonight. They would ride with Goodwitch, and sneak off from there.

Vale, a place where there were Faunus Rights moving forward, but they needed more attention. They were making progress, but it was slow. What better than two kids recalling how they are forced to experience subjugation because of how they were born? If there was anyway she could do to help, she would. Maybe, just maybe someone could tell her who she was or know her parents. She may even be on TV, but that would be bad as both family and enemy would know where she was. How did she have enemies anyway, she was what...nine years of age, guesstimated.

She left her tree in search of Sun. He was lazing on a branch of a few trees. “Sun.” She called up. She tried again when she didn't receive a response. “Sun.” She pressed urgently.

“...Yeah...” He cleared his throat. “Yeah.” He was surprised she came to him rather than him following her.

“Can you come down for a second?” She asked unsure.

“How about you climb up?” He planned to meet her halfway.

Belle took a few deep breaths to calm herself. She noted branches she could use to climb up. She nodded to herself, determined. She got to the fifth branch before her legs started shaking, her footing becoming unstable, and she hugged the trunk of the tree tightly. It was high enough to her standards. “Alright.”

“Alright, I'm coming.” Belle tried her best, the least he could do was meet her. “What's up?” He asked hanging by his tail upside-down.

She shook her head at the unintended joke. “Someone's after me.”

“Really? Who?” He was thinking in a family or crush sort of way.

“No idea. Goodwitch told me they tried hacking the orphan database and only pulled up my file. Based on the method they used instead of using the public site, she thinks it's not friendly. I'm due to arrive at the docking station at sundown. I'm to sail to Anima.”

“What!?” His tail nearly coming unhooked from shock. “I didn't think you were in danger-danger. Why would someone be after you?”

“If I knew I'd tell you.” She was slightly angry at the idea of the situation. “New plan. We're going to the docks and boarding the ship. Right before it leaves, we jump ship and I think we should head to Vale. Goodwitch expects me to go east, I say we go west.”

“Going west kinda seems obvious. Why not north where more racism exists? Why Vale?”

“The Faunus Movement is making more strides and further progressing in their rights for equality. Granted, the Menagerie Revolution didn't exactly help. If fact, it only divided humans and Faunus that much more. But, there is progress in Vale and after a few explanations were said, humans and Faunus are working together. We'll join their fight.”

“Belle, we're just two kids. What good can we do?”

Now Sun wanted to be pessimistic. “Share our story. Show everyone that it's just not adults speaking out, but show them how it negatively impacts us. One grain of rice will tip the scale from inequality to equality.”

He gave her a blank stare. “Um...Belle?”

She sighed. “We could be that grain of rice to tip the scale. We could be that final push that's needed to be treated fairly. Kids telling their story of being beaten, pulling our tails, ears, antlers, trying to force us to purr, comparing us to dirty, filthy animals and being physical beaten if not more. It's just rude not to respect other person's boundaries and just touching other people without their permission. Humans standing up to Faunus bullies because of stories being told and how it effects them. It might not be a lot, but even if it impacts human children, the parents might see if differently. In Vale, that could be the greatest impact.”

Dang was she fired up and passionate. It stirred feelings he wasn't sure how to express. He did know one thing, he'd follow her. “To Vale.” He cheered as a thought struck him. “Before we do, we can visit my friends in Vacuo. They'll let us stay, crash, eat, and sleep as long as we need. We can get the necessary supplies for the trip.”

Belle thought about it. She wanted to be in Vale as soon as possible, but he did have a point. Rushing into something is the last thing they should do. “I mean... we don't have a timeline. We could get backpacks, food, water and sleeping bags. It'll give us time to come up with a proper plan.”

“A few days?” He was exasperated. “No way. My friends are way cooler than that. They'll let us stay as long as we want. Their parents are almost never around. They're the coolest. When you meet them, you'll see.” He smiled.

“One thing is sure.” She narrowed her amber colored eyes. “We leave tonight.”

“Another thing. If you do make it on TV, do you think your parents will be able to find you. I have a hard time believing they left you on a train with no memory. There seems to be nothing wrong with you-I mean in a medical sense. Do you think we'll find them?”

“I don't know Sun. I have to keep my head down from my enemies. I'm not really looking for a fight.”

“No matter what Belle, I'm in!” He brought his hand down into a fist and she smiled.
---

As soon as the doors opened, Yang burst out of the train already knowing the path and memorizing where she needed to go. She did that the night before and on the train considering she didn't sleep. With backpack on her back, determination in her heart, she needed to do this. Not just for Blake, but to prove it to herself. Was she nervous? Yes. Was it anything she hasn't done before? No. She was excited to see Blake. That is where her energy was. Despite how tired she was, she couldn't wait to see her. She hoped Blake would recognize her and not to too mad. She was nervous about seeing her again,

Yang was thankful that the train ride went faster than planned and she arrived at the platform on time. She was a three hour walk, if she walked fast for sixteen kilometers to the last known living Belladonna heir. As excited as she was, she needed to pace herself as not to tire herself out too quickly. Who was she kidding? She had hours of pent of energy and excitement. Now, she could finally release it. She would be doing what she was born for. She would be talking, protecting and explaining everything to her.

What would she even say? Would she even want Yang back? There were no words to express how she felt in feeling like she abandoned her. That night, the one that replays over and over of the last time she saw Blake. The nightmares that keep her from sleep at times. It killed part of her inside to leave her alone, but she needed Blake to escape. She needed to buy her time to escape. She couldn't let anyone take her away again. Not even the White Fang Leader. She vowed to never separate from her again unless absolutely necessary for survival.

Her sole purpose is to protect Blake. One she vowed to the king and queen she would never fail. One to Blake herself, she promised to protect. Yang did her absolute best and even called in back-up just in case. She came so far after losing her arm. That accomplishment in itself made her proud.

Now that she was so close, it only spiked her nerves. Yang hadn't seen Blake for several long months. Almost a year, but she was about to get her back. Negative questions popped into her head. Would Blake even want her back? Would she feel any ill will towards her? No! She wouldn't think that way. She was so close now. She would get her back again. If Blake would have her, she would still fight. It's what she was born and trained to do.

Her thoughts led her to the door step of where she'd be. Yang let out a breath and heavily pounded on the door. Harder than what she meant to. She arrived sooner than expected. The sun wasn't completely down.

A woman with brown hair and brown eyes opened the door and surprised to see a child. Seems they've been taking them in rather than adults dropping them off. “Excuse me child? Can I help you?”

“Yes ma'am. I'm looking for a little girl, about yay high, black hair, amber eyes, two feline cat ears on top of her head possibly covers them in a back bow. Answers to the name of Belle? She came here less than a year ago by herself.” Yang described her to the best of her ability based on her picture but also as well as Yang knew her.

“Oh yes, Belle...” She couldn't think of her last name. “She left with Ms. Goodwitch a few hours ago.”

Yang's lilac eyes shot up in shock. “Where did she go?”

“I'm sorry, I can't disclose that information. Is there anything I can help you with? Do you need a place to stay?”

“Please.” She pleaded. Her best Ruby impression of puppy dog eyes. “You have to tell me where they've gone.”

The woman shook her head. “I can't tell you.”

“Please.” This time she stated with urgency. “It's a matter of national security.”

“National security?” Now this child was talking nonsense. A child involved in something like that? Maybe Belle is in more danger than they realized. “You're just a child.”

I am more than that. Yang held her tongue. She didn't have time for this or an explanation. “Look, she's in danger and I have to protect her.”

“You're just a child.” She said again in disbelief.

Oh my gosh! Yang wanted to pull her hair in frustration, but she loved it too much.

Maybe she knew more than she led on despite looks. “Someone hacked into our archive of secret files and attempted to pull hers.”

“Crap. They're onto her. Look lady, she's the Princess of Menagerie. The last known remaining Belladonna heir. She could very well be the queen. The enemies of the Monarch are after her in order to change the course of history. I was and am her personal guard. I have to know where she is.” This is taking longer than she expected. Why didn't this lady get that?

Now this child belongs in a psych ward. “If you're her guard, why weren't you with her?”

Gah! She wanted to scream. “I lost my arm in buying her time to escape. I was captured and tortured for several months. When I was freed, I was in a rut for many months after. Just tell me where she is!” Her eyes flashed red. She wasn't willing to entertain her anymore.

“She's on her way to the docks. She's going to Anima where it's safe.”

“Thank you!” Yang rushed off before she could be stopped. Geez lady. Was that so hard? She found a car and hot wired it as she had been taught. This chick is crazy!

The lady was banging on the windows trying to open the car doors and get to the blonde child inside. “You need to come out of there right now! I'll call the police!” She was given the Remnant salute by the child inside. “Urgh!” She yelled in anger and tried harder.

“I don't have time for this.” Yang muttered to herself. She adjusted the seat quickly and sped off. Cars were honking at her as she made passed several red lights. Drivers giving her the bird as she passed recklessly. Fifteen minutes later, sirens blared. “A littler slower than usual. I expected them at ten minutes. Thanks for the highway escort guys. Yang listened closely and followed the GPS route to where she needed to go. It blinked several times as she was going above the speed limit. “I don't care!” She spat. “I have to get to her!”

Yang nearly flipped over as she made a hard left to avoid a trap, watching headlights of oncoming cars. “Oh schnitzel!” She cursed as a bullhead came into view. That gave her an idea. It would be bad. It would be dangerous, but it would be worth it. Issue was, she didn't have her pilot license yet. Heck, the girl didn't even have a driver's license. Blake is more important.

Yang sped up to a tall building. A hospital. It had to be a hospital... She parked the vehicle outside, ran inside and bolted up the stairs. Her adrenaline pumping as she climbed the six story building. From the inside, she heard the bird land. She swallowed hard. “I'm just a child. There's no way they called in the SWAT Team. Her worse fears were realized when she heard a bullhorn.

“We've got you surrounded! Come out calmly and we'll talk this over.”

“Talk this over my bee-hind.” Yang muttered. She snuck up to the roof, avoiding all men in black and anyone who looked like they have a gun. She hid behind gurneys, blending in with innocent civilians, mostly other children. Of course her bright blonde hair was hard to miss. When she bolted for the roof, the opening of the door caught attention and she could heard them yelling to get her. She ran for the bullhead. If she wasn't going to make it in car, she was going to fly.

She ran inside, locked the doors. She heard footsteps and hid. One shined a flashlight in her face. “Hey, you can't-.”

“Yah!” She attacked. Sweeping his leg so he was beneath her. She brought his head up, pulling him by the shirt and slammed him back down. “Ouch.” She winced knowing she overdid it. She took her zip ties from her bag and restrained him. She ran to the cockpit as there was banging from outside. She snuck up behind the co-pilot and knocked her out. She needed someone to land the thing.

She raised the joystick. “Come on...Come on...” Sweat fell from her brow. “Yes!” She finally got it in the air and being so high, she could see the ocean. “I'm coming Blake!” She cheered to herself.

Along the way, another bullhead tried stopping her, not wanting to shoot as they could injure the people below. Yang could see the media now. Nine year old hot-wires a car and hijacks a bullhead. Oh Winter and Weiss would be... She did not want to think about it. Oh what Ozpin would do when he found out. Oh she wished...she wished if was a strong enough word, but when is the best term. She had to admit, they would have a great laugh about this later.

“Oh my-.”

“I need you to take over.” She said sternly.

“What!?” Her eyes went up in shock. “You can't be here! Where's John?”

“Tied up in the back.” Yang replied nonchalant. “That's if he's the pilot. I need you to land this thing on or near the docks.”

She came out of her haze. “I can't do that! That's unauthorized!”

Yang armed Celica. “So is me killing people but I can still do it.” She threatened with no real intent. She hasn't killed anyone, and didn't intend to start, ever. “Plus, if I attempt to land, I'll only destroy buildings and possibly kill someone or multiple people.” The child reasoned.

“Alright, I'll land. How in the heck did you hijack this airship?”

“Don't concern yourself with such trivial matters.” She waved off with a nervous smile.

Yang looked around for anyone in the area that might be there to arrest her. She unlocked the door, as made a break for the running crowd. When she arrived, she saw that the boat was already sailing and away from the harbor. She couldn't swim it even if she wanted to. She looked around, sirens wailing in the distance. She hopped a jetski and took off after The Pride. She refused to fail Blake again. She wouldn't let her escape this time. Adrenaline still in her bloodstream as she made for the jetski.
---
Goodwitch took the two down to the docks as promised. The smell of fish and salt from the ocean in the air. They had a few hours before sunset when she had to drop the 'siblings' off. Goodwitch didn't ask any questions 'the less she knew the better' and Belle didn't have any answers for her. Not even Sun's voice filled the silence.

Belle looked out the window. Memorizing the layout, street names, signs, and understanding her surroundings. She'd only been this lost and confused one time in her life that she could remember. That was when she woke up on a train alone. Why was anyone after her? How did they sneak into the confidential records? How secure were this records behind a firewall. Clearly someone out there knew who she was, the question was, what did they want with her or why did they want her? Belle had a year to decide the answers she was looking for, would never come. She needed to move on an figure out what she wanted to do with her life.

They arrived way too early. Goodwitch must've been eager to get them gone. She showed them onto the ship where they were introduced to the captain. The Faunus children had an alternate plan in mind, but, wanted to indulge the seaman. He was friendly in showing the orphans a tour of his ship. He started with the deck, game room, dinning area, concession stand and their sleeping rooms.

After the tour, he decided to let children be children as he went to double check hat everything was in order. The siblings decided to watch the sunset, not wanting to start a game or read a book in case they missed their cue.

As Belle watched it go down, it felt familiar. Like an ember of a memory that she couldn't remember. That can't make any sense right? But there it was, the color yellow. Familiar, warm but distant. No face, no name, just yellow.

“Sun, have you ever...?” Her ears would've folded as she wasn't sure if she wanted to share. “Have you ever had deja vu, where something seems familiar, but you can't place where it's from?”

Belle always picked the worse moments to be philosophical. He just wanted to watch the sunset, but of course she had a brilliant mind at the worse time. He thought about it as he just stuffed his mouth with popcorn. “Um...?”

“Like watching the sunset. Watching it set, but you're not alone in the memory. Someone is with you but only you don't know who, all you see is a color associated with that person. Just the person you're watching it with changes.”

His head hurt trying to think about it but he wouldn't show it in front of Belle. “I guess... I mean I used to watch with my mom and dad, then when I lost them, I saw it with my buddy Neptune. His color is blue. Like the color of the ocean or sky, though he's scared of the water. He's cool though, one of my best friends.”

“Best friend...” Belle mumbled. The words sounded right leaving her lips but it felt foreign, distant, like the sunset. She supposed she had one in her past. She couldn't have been alone could she? Something that was she supposed to know but she didn't know.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of sirens in the distant. A bullhead was coming towards the docks with another bullhead on its tail with red and blue flashing light telling the pilot to land safely and to come out with her hands up. Lights in the distance seemed to be getting closer as the color reflected off buildings. How many were there that were after this one bullhead? Better yet, what did the person in the bullhead do to gain so much attention? Even better...were they after her?

The captain did not feel like dealing with this mess. He honked the horn twice. The sound blaring in her Faunus ears. “All aboard!” He called.

Belle shared a look with Sun who nodded in agreement. They jumped ship in the midst of chaos, blending into the panicked crowd.

As the ship pulled out of the harbor, the airship landed yards in front of them. A blonde girl jumped out and immediate fell to her knees as the ship sailed farther away.

“No!” The girl who looked around Blake's age screamed out into the sky.

The piercing scream hurt her feline ears. Seems Belle wouldn't be catching a break today. Belle thought the girl was being overly dramatic for no reason. What intrigued her the most, was the yellow glint that the sun barely reflected off as it lowered, being blanketed in comfort by the shimmering water. It was a robotic metal arm. Spray painted yellow with hints of black. Usually they were reserved for hero's of war who experienced trauma to their body. For a child to have such a thing, maybe there was a reason for her dramatics.

Sirens flared around the corner and the girl panicked, remembering where she was for a moment. Her eyes narrowed as she looked around the marina. She bolted faster than Belle's ever seen. She knew kids at the orphanage who were fast, even one was a cheetah Faunus, but she was fast. The girl somehow managed to hot wire a jetski and sped off after the ship.

It was like she was invincible, like nothing could stop her. With her arm missing, maybe she was. Strong, invincible, powerful, agile, punch first ask questions later style, who knew no boundaries, stretched the limits. But the way she moved, it was fast, flexible, familiar, but Belle couldn't place it. Bright blonde hair that shined even brighter than Sun's. Oddly enough, it reminded her of the sun. She seemed...like an ember of a memory. Not really there, but small and...burning orange as it was snuffed out? No way. This was all so crazy. How did she manage to get a bullhead here anyway and with so much going on, she was trouble.

“Someone to avoid in the future. Let's hope we don't run into her.” Belle mumbled.

“Huh?”

She shook her head. “Nothing. Let's go before we get sucked into something we can't get out of.” Belle paced away.

“Belle are you okay?” Sun had to jog to keep up with her 'brisk walk'.

“I'm fine Sun.” She quickly dismissed him.

“You sure cause-.”

“Sun, I'm fine.” She lied. She let out a quick sigh. “Just a headache from all the noises. Take us to your friend's.”

“Alright, this way!” He smiled in excitement.
---

Yang was walking home...empty space...yet again. She was lucky the cops couldn't get enough jetskis to go after her. But now that the chaos ended, only her shadow to accompany her. She stopped up against a tree and slumped in defeat. She had checked the entire ship. Yang checked every nook, cranny and possible hiding place. The ship even had a library, but no Blake. Only Yang knew how well the princess could hide if she wanted. The captain and first mate helped her look. They knew exactly who she was talking about, even described a blonde, monkey Faunus as her friend...her companion. How the thought of her being replaced so easily stung her heart. She failed Blake not once, but twice now. Of course she would think Yang left her... abandoned her.

No! She yelled inside her head squeezing her palm shut in a tight fist. She refused to give up. Companion or not, Yang had a mission. Be darned if she failed again. She refused to give up. She had a plan, an idea. She didn't care what the cost was, she already sacrificed her arm. She would give up more if she had to. She looked around for transportation. Anyway to get back to Patch. Now that the adrenaline died down, she's never felt so exhausted in her time living.

“Fail again, did you?”

“No...” Her lilac eyes shrank as a tall dark-haired woman in white bird mask approached. “I-I didn't...” She tried to find her words. “I didn't fail the first time. She was safe even as I was captured. I helped keep her safe-.”

“You had to call in back-up to come help.”

“I didn't fail her then. I pushed my pride and arrogance aside. I put her first and called for help. What happened was far out of my control.” She remembered the conversation with Weiss.

“What about now? You failed to find her. You failed to get to her in time.” The woman dressed in red refused to tell the blonde she missed her target minutes as saw Yang from a distance. She removed her masked and she had red eyes.

No doubt now, Yang knew exactly who she was talking to. Raven, her birth mother.

“Yang, I know what you plan on doing?” She spoke softly taking a few steps forward. “It's not a blessing. It's not what you think it is. One you would do well to avoid. It's not a choice I had. I don't want you going down the same road.”

Yang matched her tone but held back her anger with clenched fists. “Raven, you've finally decided to show up in my life and the first things you tell me are that I not only did I fail to find her, but that I can't make my own decisions, even if it makes finding her and continuing my mission that much easier.”

“It doesn't matter if it's easier!” She stated sternly. “You're determined and strong enough to keep taking the harder road because it's the right thing. Yang, you don't want to do this.”

“Even if I don't want to. I'm going to do it anyway. I refuse to listen to you. You can't just show up when it's convenient for you and tell me not to do something I've got my mind set on. You went dark. You turned our back on my father, on me before I could even remember you. I thought Summer was my birth mother. She is my mother. More than you ever will be. Humor me this. Did you leave me when I was first brought to the log cabin in Patch, or did you give birth to me and snuck out of the maternity ward?” Yang didn't expect an answer. It was rhetorical. She didn't care about finding her after she nearly died the first time.

The question had its effect as the woman's face hardened. “Yang, once you do this, there is no going back.” Raven warned.

“I have a mission to fulfill from the headmaster. I took an oath to the king and queen. I made a promise to the princess. I refuse to abandon people who need me. I won't leave her behind. My father died protecting his life-long friend. There is no greater sacrifice than laying down your life for your friend. I can only hope to meet the same fate he did.”

Raven closed her eyes for several seconds before opening them “I knew I should've raised you with the tribe. You're just like your fool of a father.”

Yang felt her blood boil. Thankfully, she's learned to channel her anger. She still felt her eyes turn red. “Don't you dare talk about my father like that! He was a great leader, protector, warrior, friend, and husband to Summer! He taught me values, life lessons! He showed me how to live and now, he's shown me how to die.” She felt her anger ebb away. “You, you would've shown me how to get something to care about you, pretend you care about them, and abandon them. You would've shown me how to run away when things get hard. You would've shown me the best way to abandon your mission, have people think you're dead, when in reality, you went dark. Off the grid. No one knows where to find you. Best off all. No responsibility on your end.” It seems years of feeling like this are coming out.

“Watch your language and attitude young lady!” Raven grit her teeth.

“Why should I? Are you going to stop be from being the immature child I am? Because of the choices you made, the ones I've had to live with, I've been forced to grow up. Why not act my age now?”

“Because you're better than this!” She nearly shouted, losing calm her composure. She hated how much this little girl was right and getting under her skin. “It's like you said. You are your father's daughter. Kind-hearted, the ability to never give up, stubborn like both of us, giving your heart to who or whatever you believe in without asking for anything in return. If the roles were reversed, would she do the same for you?”

Yang didn't spare a second before responding. “It doesn't matter. I'm the one who's been entrusted to protect her. She's the princess, not me! Being a princess is her burden to bare. I'm the bastard child turned orphan because my mother and father died. She gives me a reason to continue to keep fighting. And I will continue to fight until I find her and continue protecting her until my last dying breath. I will continue to protect her. I refuse to leave her or have her think that I did.”

Raven had an idea and she would've smirked if not for her composure. “You don't have to be an orphan, and you don't have to be a bastard child anymore. You can come back with me. To the tribe. We could be your family. You'll be strong enough to lead them one day. To have a family. Or, you could continuing to aimlessly search for the princess who has a protector at her side and doesn't want to be found.”

Yang shook her head, shut her eyes tight and kept her mouth closed as she grit her teeth. “No!” Her eyes burned red as she shouted. “I'm not coming back with you! You left me! My family consists of Weiss Schnee, Ruby Rose and Blake Belladonna! You're not my mother, nor will you ever be my mother! That role forever belongs to Summer Rose!”

Raven swallowed hard. She didn't show it, but the words and her conviction hit her like a semi-truck. The sad part, it was true. That was not the answer she expected. She's her father's daughter. “Alright.” She narrowed her eyes. “You want to be a big girl and make your own decisions, that's fine. You can deal with the consequences. Don't say I didn't warn you.” She turned her back and dawned her mask. “We're done here.”

“Goodbye Raven.” Yang whispered before turning her back as a black feather swayed in front of her. “You can easily see from a bird's eye view and cover more ground that way. Can you blame me for wanting the same thing?” She said quietly to herself. “If I can protect my family, get to them faster, cover more ground, and see things I couldn't before, would that be so bad? Maybe I'm more Branwen than you, me or my father ever realized.” She hung her head and wished it wasn't true, but everything she said, she knew it hurt Raven no matter how right she was. Losing Blake twice hurt as the thoughts ate away at her. It wasn't fair to take it out on Raven or blame her for the failure that was hers. Yang continued her trek home. Her thoughts and shadow her only company.

As Raven looked on from the branch she was perched on, she wondered if she wouldn't go through with her plan if she had led her to her target when she was at the docks. She didn't dwell on it and flew away, flying away from guilt and shame that weren't hers, or so she thought.
---

“Are you sure you know where you're going?” Belle asked for the umpteenth time. Three hours later, and it seemed like they were walking in a circle.

“Belle relax. I know what I'm doing.” He grinned. Belle verbally huffed. Despite his confidence, she doubted he knew what he was doing. She honestly should've known better. “I'm not monkeying around.” Sun joked.

Blake just glared at the back of his head at his joke. The gesture seemed to be familiar, but again, she couldn't place it. The burning ember fading again. She shook her head to clear the thought and moved on.

She found herself in a suburban neighborhood. She couldn't believe after all their walking, they were still in Vacuo. Maybe Remnant was larger than she thought. She felt a bout of nervousness wash over her. Maybe this was a bad idea after all. Why did she go along with this?

When they rested, she walked a distance to clear her head. She clutched a fist close to her chest. Her heart couldn't fail her. All that heart she had at the orphanage, it couldn't go away. She had to keep going despite her fear and doubts. Now that she made it this far, her courage couldn't desert her, she couldn't turn back. She wasn't alone, Sun was counting on her too. She knew it was their choice to come out here, but her books never talked about the fear or how big the world is. They only mentioned the adventure, adrenaline and rush that came with it. Sure, they mention the world, they compared it to being small, not the vast circular globe it was. She needed to take this a step at a time, a day at a time, then one hope and another. They had to follow this road, no matter where it took them.

They continued their walk and when they reached a street, she saw Sun stop and think. “Now, was it the third or fifth blue house?”

“Ugh.” She groaned. She should've known this was a bad idea. Like she told herself, not turning back. They've come too far now.

“Neptune!” Sun shouted through his cupped hands.

“Sun!” Belle whisper shouted. “People are trying to sleep.”

“Sun!?” A boy with blue hair opened his second story window of a green house. “Sun!” He shouted again in excitement.

“Come on.” He called over his shoulder to Belle as he rushed to his blue haired friend.

“Come on in!” He opened his front door excitedly. They did some weird secret handshake then bro hugged. She raised an eyebrow at their antics. Neptune seemed too cool for that. She's been wrong before.

“Neptune, this is Belle. She was at the orphanage with me. We're on a mission to find out about her past, who's after her, and why.” Belle jabbed him. “Which is second to helping the Faunus protests in bringing them equality.”

“That first part sounds really cool, but why would you need to explore her past. Is she mute and can't talk about it?”

“She-”

“I can speak for myself, thank you Sun. I woke up about a year ago alone, on a train with no memory of how I got there and no past to remember. We know someone is after me because the confidential files were compromised and the perpetrator wanted mine specifically.”

“That sounds...dangerously cool. Can I come?”

“Sorry dude. We'll be traveling for days at a time with limited supplies.”

His scratched the back of his head. “Yeah... Not really my style. But I am happy you stopped by. You guys can stay as long as you need. My parents will be gone the entire weekend. Hey, did you guys see the news? A blonde-haired, nine year old girl hijacked a car and took it for a joy ride. After enough of a speed chase, she went to a hospital and knocked out the pilot, restraining him and knocked out the co-pilot. Then flew the bullhead to the docks were she avoided the police by hot wiring a jetski. Could you imagine?”

“See it? Dude, we were at the docks when she landed the bullhead. That girl was crazy. Goodwitch wanted Belle to take the boat she was after to Anima. She saw it in the water than that was when she took the jet ski... holy crap Belle... I think she's the one who is after you. If she can do all the crazy stuff she did, there's a possibility she hacked through the firewall.”

“A nine-year old blonde who stole multiple vehicles is after me? Just because she's good in the field, does not mean she's good with cyber security. And if she was, why would she be after me in the first place?”

“Hm... Why indeeded?” Sun thought. “This sounds like a job for...”

“Junior Detectives!” The boys exclaimed together.

Belle face-palmed.
---

A few train rides and sunsets later, Yang reached the familiar grounds of Beacon Academy. The very same school she was born to enroll into, hone her skills and master her personal technique. Professor Ozpin's school. She had no doubt he already knew of her presence on campus. What she did was on every TV screen she passed.

Yang walked past the familiar stone statue in the courtyard, walked into the building toward the familiar elevator. When she heard the familiar ding, her anxiety level raised as it brought memories of when she was called into his office for causing some type of disturbance. Seems nothing changed. When she got to the highest level, she almost knocked on the headmaster's office door politely. She paused for a moment, remembering Raven's words about what she was about to do, not a blessing, and how there would be no undoing what's been done. She took a deep breath and knocked. She refused to back down.

“Come in.” Came the voice on the other side. Yang risked entering and closed the door behind her. “Ah, Miss Xiao Long, what a pleasant surprise to see you here.” He smiled and drank from his cup.

She stood at attention, fists glued to her sides, legs almost straight except for some bending as not to lock her knees and pass out, each foot pointed at a fourty-five degree angle facing away from each other. Head and eyes forward.

“Relax.” He waved his hand.

At this, Yang stepped out, feet and shoulders parallel, knees slightly bent, hands behind her back, thumbs linked with her right hand over her left in the small of her back and elbows pointed out. “Permission to speak freely, Sir?”

“Headmaster or Professor please. Sir makes me sound old. Permission granted, rest.” Yang collapsed her heads in front of her at the command, rest. “Glad to know your training hasn't gone to waste.” He smiled. “Even the news know you haven't.”

She swallowed nervously. “Headmaster, no offense, but I don't believe my arrival was much of a surprise to you.”

He chuckled lightly. “And that you'd be right. Still pleasant nonetheless. How may I be of service to you?”

“Professor, I believe you already know the answer to that, however, if your offer is still available, I would like to reconsider.”

“My offer still stands, but tell me, why the change?”

“I was unsuccessful in finding Blake Belladonna. As you are also aware. This time, she is lost to me on the world of Remnant as she could be anywhere. If you wish to grant me some of your magic as a gift, the ability to transform, I could find her far easier than I could in y current form. I could see more while covering more ground in a fast amount of time.”

“A gift?” He raised an eyebrow. “Even if your mother warned you? There are conditions you must meet. The first being,” He took a sip. “That I will call on you while your main objective is to find your target, I will have secondary missions that must be accomplished immediately. Do you understand?”

“Yes Professor.” She nodded deliberately once.

“Even after you find her, I will expect you to continue the missions I assign to you. Do you understand?”

“Yes Professor.” She nodded once.

“What you must also understand is that magic is unpredictable. There is no telling what the results are. Do you understand?”

“Yes Professor.”

“After everything I just told you, do you wish to continue?”

“Yes Professor.”

“Alright. Relax into a neutral stance.” Yang did so, moving some of her muscles so they tension left her. “Here it goes.”

He sent a green ball of what looked like fire her way and her body absorbed it. Her outline glowed a bright yellow before disappearing. She looked around her a moment. “I don't feel any different.” She observed looking at her left hand which looked the same.

“Try thinking of flight, or the idea of flying.”

Yang thought about flying and jumped in the air, only to fall back down. This was embarrassing. She tried it three more times, determined to get it right. On the last try, she imagined flapping her wings into the sky. She soared above Ozpin and his desk, crashing into a few walls, but shaking her self out. “Woah-wah-oof.” She crashed landed after falling mid-air.

She heard him chuckle. “It takes some getting used to.”

“So what'd I turn into?” She asked eagerly.

“A magpie.” He said with a straight face, amused.

Yang's face flattened. “That useless bird? It doesn't even take care of its own eggs.” She was upset. Of all creatures, of all birds, a magpie!? Why couldn't it have been a dove, or a finch, humming bird, or robin bird? A cardinal would even be cooler. She refused to transform ever. Then again, she was that egg to be raised by another bird. It made since.

He noticed her sudden saddness. “Relax Miss Xiao Long. You transformed into a golden eagle actually. I'm quite impressed myself.”

She smiled as the headmaster never changed. “Ha-ha.” Her voice deadpan. “I forgot how to laugh headmaster.” Them her smile turned into excitement. “That's so awesome! A golden eagle. Thank you professor. Permission to leave?”

“Not quite. I want to hear from your perspective. What happened yesterday?”

The blonde swallowed hard. No way she was getting off the hook that easily. She told the Headmaster everything. Not leaving anything out. When she finished she heavily sighed. “Permission to leave professor?”

“Permission granted. I would research the bird if I were you. They aren't exactly small. Make sure no one see's you. You are somewhat a fugtive on the run after yesterday. While your efforts were for noble reasons. Try not to cause as much trouble as your father, or even in the future. I will call you when I need you.”

Yang bowed her head before exiting. She still took the elevator, choosing not to practice with so many students around. When she was alone, she transformed again, losing some balance before taking off back home. She soared as high as she could and wanted to know if she could sound like one. A piercing screech was heard below as the predator let its presence be known.

Yang understood what it was partly like to be a Faunus, like Blake. Her eyes were sharp. Even high as some of the low clouds, she could see mice scurrying in the forest. Even as the sun went down and the moon was out, she could see in the dark. As high as she was, she still heard the faintest of sounds. Being an eagle, she only needed to flap a few times, most of it was soaring, she was able to conserve her energy.

A trip that would take about a day and half walking, took nearly a few hours with flying. She should've accepted his offer the first time. The best part, she couldn't even tell her arm was gone. It felt foreign to her being without flesh for so long, but she felt the wind against it. One of the coolest feelings in the world. Something she wouldn't of appreciated before.

“Wah-off!” She crash landed on the ground nearly the cabin. “Still need to work on my landing strategy. Maybe soaring low until I transform back. The lights inside turned on and she must've woken them up. She never claimed to be quiet. She walked inside as Ruby was coming down the stairs.

Ruby rubbed the sleep from her eye and looked at the noise maker. “Sis!” She burst into petals and embraced her. “Where were you? How are you? How'd everything go? We saw the news and... Weiss isn't happy with you. Is Blake with you? Can we meet her?” She spouted off questions left and right. “I'm so happy your home and safe.” She held tight.

Yang hugged her sister back. “Sorry sis. I was in Vacuo where Blake was. She wasn't at the orphanage. Someone hacked the system and were able to see her file. They thought her in danger so she was to take a ship to Anima. I had to hurry, thus the car chase, air chase and jetski chase. She wasn't on the boat. I looked everywhere for her. She just jumped ship. I have no idea where she is.” She hated the pun.

“That pun wasn't funny.” The platinum blonde walked down the steps with a scowl on her face. “Are you sure it wasn't you who snuck to get her file?”

“No, I was careful. I didn't even hack into their system. That's more your forte. The website I checked, her picture, it was her. There was no need for me to go and hack the system. But somebody did and now she's gone because of it.”

“I saw the news Xiao Long.” Her face hardened. “What were you thinking? You know how many people you endangered?”

She scoffed playfully. “No one died.” Weiss was not assumed and the golden blonde straightened up. “I was careful. I had to get to her before the ship sailed too far. Turns out, that ended up happening anyway. The captain and the first mate, they knew exactly who I was talking about. They agreed to help me look for her. She was there, she just escaped...” Her voice trailed off as she was saddened.

“Humor me this. How did you manage to hijack a bullhead?” The white-haired girl asked with a smile to show she was still upset, but Yang was careful and no one got hurt. Except their pride of being outsmarted by a child.

“I hot wired a car as the co-assistant of the orphanage thought I was lost and tried to chase me while I locked the car so she couldn't get in. She was banging furiously on the window and trying to budge the handle. I took off. She must've reported it, or it was my speeding as cops were on me three minutes behind their response time. After enough time passed, several barriers I bypassed, a bullhead was on me with their stupid light. After their last barrier failed, I made a sharp left, saw a tall building... A hospital and ran to the roof. I knocked out the pilot, restrained him in the back and knocked out the female pilot and took off. Another bullhead was after me, but didn't fire. Shortly before landing, the co-pilot wakes up and I encourage her to land the thing so one one died. When I saw the boat leave, I saw the jet ski and sped after it. I used to jet ski to go around and hide as well. That's how I escaped the cops and SWAT team.”

“Could you imagine what Ozpin would say if he found out. He might be o his way over here now. You could lose your job.”

“Actually...”

Weiss narrowed her eyes. “You lost your job!” This was it, the end. “I can't believe you.”

“No that's the thing. I saw Ozpin.”

“You went to the headmaster!? What were thinking!?”

“That's what took me so long to get back. He had me keep my mission. I was focused on finding Blake. And... I have something to show you.” She backed away a few feet. Weiss panicked as a bird flew around the house where Yang once stood. Yang rolled to stick the landing. She'd do that until she stuck the landing.

“You...you took Ozpin up on his offer!” Ruby squealed hugging her sister. “You can transform into a bird! That is so cool!”

“Not just any bird sis.” She smiled with pride. “A golden eagle.”

It fit. Weiss was still pissed. “What changed your mind?”

“Maybe, if I had taken Ozpin up on his offer sooner, Blake might be with me. I might've been able to find her... But now, she's gone and this time, with no trace of where she could be. I'm only here to give you a report, rest and resupply before I go find her. I will bring her home.”

Weiss was playing devil's advocate. “What if she doesn't want to be found?”

“I will find her no matter how long it takes. I will continue my mission, princess or not.”

Chapter Text

--- 12 Years Later

A blonde-haired lilac-eyed blonde boarded a train. She had grown tired of flying and with no one around walk for miles, she wanted a break, a chance to sit and people watch. Her eyes focused on a dark-haired female with a black bow on top of her head.

Her eagle eyes didn't allow her to see through the material, but what are the chances it's her? She'd been searching for over a decade, now she was twenty, not getting any younger. Blake was supposed to ruling Menagerie, if not married with at least one child on the way if not born.

Yang shook her head of the false hope. There were some dark-haired females who wore bows, didn't mean they were secretly hiding a pair of feline ears under the ribbon material. It didn't matter human or Faunus. With all the others, Yang decided she would secretly follow her, only to have her theory proven wrong over and over. Still, she couldn't give up.

A few stops later, she followed her and her monkey Faunus partner off the station platform. Her eyes sharp, focused on not losing them, while at the same time not focusing on them so much they wouldn't be suspicious. They were good, disappearing into the crowd to blend in as much as possible. The female could, her blonde companion could easily be seen. Yang looked close enough and her heart fluttered when she saw the bow twitch. Slight, subtle, even still, she tried to be rid of the false hope this was somehow Blake and played it off as the wind.

She saw her cautiously stop and Yang was also able to blend into the crowd, using a black wig to hide her bright, blonde hair. Her best feature, but the one that stood out the most. She saw her whispering, but she couldn't read lips. She couldn't just turn into an eagle with everyone nearby in order to listen.

“Do you feel like we're being followed?” He simply shrugged. “Ugh.” Why did she even bother asking her oblivious friend?

“Are you sure it's not paranoia? You've been more agitated lately since we've run into White Fang members last time.”

The blonde female disappeared into an alley, transforming into a golden eagle. Still, she had to be careful, and she was, most of the time. She followed them for several days as they went into a forest, stepping from branch to branch when they were out of sight or footsteps out of earshot.

“Stop being so fidgety. It's just us.” He tried to assure her.

The dark-haired female looked directly at the bird that didn't quite fit in. Could be her migration or something as it was getting chillier. “I don't know. I still feel like we're being followed and it's... Not a pleasant feeling.”

When the other female looked directly at her, Yang saw those familiar amber eyes that reminded her of a cat. This was the closest she had been to finding Blake. Even as her sources of imaging indicate relative to what Blake would look like presently. It wasn't one hundred percent certain, but the way she sat to read, her glares to her blonde friend, eye rolls and sarcastic comments, she may as well have been her. None of the others Yang followed were even close to that. A dark-haired female with amber or yellow eyes that weren't Queen Kali or Princess Blake were one in a million alone, add cat-like features, almost no doubt this would be her.

Yang decided it was time to make an appearance. She fluttered to the ground, walking on two legs now. Ozpin wasn't kidding when he told her years ago to research her spirit animal. Her spirit animal was roughly fourteen pounds with over an eight foot wing span. Yang herself was five feet eight inches and her wing span was longer than she was tall. Kind of intimidating.

The dark-haired girl heard snow crunch, and assumed it was her friend's footsteps, but they were out of sync. She heard a twig snap from her five o' clock position. She gave a hand signal, he nodded as he knew.

Yang stayed in place when she saw the female open her hand and close it for her blonde male partner and he stopped. Of course she would have to alert them by stepping on a dry twig. Well, they were going to find her eventually, thus why her human and not bird form. When she brought her eyes ahead, she lost sight of them. She looked around, then felt pushed to the ground by a weight on top of her.

The long haired, blonde was on her back in a surprised...attack? She was pinned with a sword held to her throat. Her lilac eyes widened. Golden eyes on the top with an amber color on the bottom, dilated or turned to slits based on the amount of light, or in this case predator, like a cat. This was her. She'd found her! At last!

“State your name and purpose.” She spat, taking the woman's scroll out of her jacket and tossing it in the snow for Sun to look through after he searched the area for more spies. She would extract information.

“I found you.” Yang whispered. Of course there was still a chance she could be wrong. Using the shock of the other, she guided the sword from her throat, sat up and bear hugged the princess. “I finally found you Blake.” A huff of air left her lungs as she was forced to the ground. “Oof

“I don't know who you are or who you think I am, but that's not my name.” She growled.

“Blake, quit playing around. It's me. You know... You're the Yin to my...” She needed her to finish it. She had to know.

“I don't know you and Blake is a boy's name.” She kept her eyes narrowed.

“There's no one else a round.” Sun reported. “Who is she?”

What in the world? Blake had really no idea who she was? Maybe she got the wrong girl after all. But this was the closest she'd ever been to finding her. It was possible there was Blake out there, but she was the closest there was. “Yin Donna.” She gave her cover name. “My purpose is to protect and defend Blake Belladonna.” She figured that much couldn't hurt. She pushed the blade away with her mechanical hand.

Belle raised an eyebrow. “You've got your marbles mixed up.” She scoffed. “I'm not this Blake Belladonna, and I definitely don't need a protector. I am just fine on my own.”

Just as stubborn and doing things by yourself. Come on Blake, work with me. “Blake, if you're still mad about what happened in Menagerie, I'm sorry. I had to buy you time to escape. I was doing what I thought was the best course of action in the short time I was given.” She crawled backwards so Blake wasn't straddling her anymore, but stayed in the snow.

“You've got me confused with someone else. I was never in Menagerie.” She refused to disclose more information.

“Maybe you are Blake Belladonna, maybe you're from there.” Sun offered. “I mean you did lose your memory around that time.”

She glared at Sun. “I woke up in Vacuo.”

They way she glared, how could she not be. Vacuo. She could be her. Lost her memory... “So you did lose your memory.” Yang was relieved as her file said the girl had no last name and no memory of her past. “I thought that was a lame cover story to hide who you are.” Oh no... If Blake was glaring at Sun, there was no words to describe how furious she looked at Yang. It was then Yang realized how sexy she looked when she was mad at her. She swallowed her thoughts.

“Lame cover story? I have no idea who you are, or who you think you are, but I'm not this Blake Belladonna, I've only been to Menagerie three times in my life. And I certainly wasn't there over a decade ago.”

“Look, I've been looking for Blake Belladonna for roughly eleven-twelve years however you want to calculate it up. You are the only person who even remotely resembles her. And I don't just mean by looks either.”

Belle narrowed her eyes further. “What do you want to do with her?” Sun asked. She worked alone, there was no one else around and she didn't have any form of communication. “The only thing that is even remotely suspicious on here is that she told this 'RWBY' that she was in Anima and she thinks she found Blake Belladonna.”

“How long ago did she send that?” She asked pointedly.

Sun's eyes shot up. “Um... Let me just start by saying I'm sorry...”

“Sun!?” She said impatiently.

He swallowed hard knowing she wasn't going to like it. “...Three days ago...” He replied sheepishly.

She grit her teeth and felt her anger rising. “And you called me paranoid.” She addressed Yin. “You've been following us for three days!?” It bothered Blake that she didn't see or hear this 'human' sooner. She was a Faunus, she could see and sense both species from a mile away. How could she have been so careless not to notice sooner.

“What do you want to do with her?” Sun asked carefully. He could see her thinking.

This human was good at following, maybe she was good at tracking. They couldn't just knock her out only to be followed again. Wait, if she's been following them for three days, she chose to be seen. She wasn't quiet on purpose. She could've attacked both of them soon. She still wasn't fighting back. “What's your purpose?”

Yang kept herself from rolling her eyes. This again? “To find and protect Blake Belladonna. My sole purpose in life, as lame as that sounds. It's literally what I was born for.”

“Why would she need protecting?”

“Because... Menagerie was attacked by a riot of misled humans who attacked the royal family, including Princess Blake Belladonna, who was to be brought to the White Fang Leader that the humans led alive.” She stated history facts. A revolution that was known but not the small facts. “I know for fact, the princess escaped because I bought her time to escape from the leader. I don't know the results of some of her other family members.”

Belle read books. The revolution interested her as it had happened fairly recently and no one know what exactly happened that night, but here she was with a survivor of the bloodshed. She knew the attack was by humans, but to have a Faunus leader lead it, why? “How do I even know you're telling the truth?”

“You don't, but I don't have a reason to hide that from you. Unless I know one hundred percent for sure you are who I think you are. I can't disclose everything unless I know for certain. 'The less you know the better type thing'. I know who I'm looking for, and you are the closest I've come to finding her.”

Belle got her sword ready. “I say we kill her.”

Belle made a stab for her, only to to be met with metal. Her fist was met with a calloused palm. She raised her leg to kick her solar plexus, only to connect to her thigh. Suddenly, she was flipped on her back.

“Where'd you learn how to fight?” Yang asked impressed. She felt Sun run from behind her and tripped him to the ground. She offered her hand to Blake will a smile to help her up. “It's like I said, I have an on-going mission to defend Blake Belladonna. You're actually pretty good in street fights.”

Belle let herself up as she sent optical daggers to the other female. She was more weary with how easily she was taken down. “And I keep telling you, I'm not her. Your damsel in distress is somewhere else.” She helped up Sun then dusted herself off.

“She was never a damsel in distress. Look, Blake,.” She said calmly. “It wasn't funny when you tried to pin me, and it isn't funny now. I'm on your side. I don't know what Corsac and Fennic told you or what you witnessed before the girl in red arrived, but I promise I can clear it up if you trust me. “

“I'm. Not. Her. My name is Belle Wukong and I am Sun's fraternal twin sister.”

Yang would've chuckled if the she weren't convinced otherwise. “That's rich coming from you. Sun Wukong doesn't have any siblings. He's an only child that was rescued from a fire in an apartment building. Your documents may say Belle, but you don't have a last name. You already used your cover name. Belle-Belladonna. I mean you could've been Belle Black because Blake is translated meaning black. So until I'm convinced you're not her or I see someone who claims to be, is or resembles her more, I'll continue with my mission.”

“Do you promise not to kill us?” Sun asked with a raised eyebrow. They already had enough problems from the White Fang, they didn't need a human assassin. The White Fang would never use humans, only Faunus so that didn't make sense. Even with the attack on the palace from humans, why?

Yang figured she needed address this, then she'd say what was on her mind. She brought out her boot knife and held it in her robotic hand. She saw Sun flinch and Blake put her hand on her weapon. That part hurt. She cut into her left palm to make it bleed then squeezed it into a fist and watched the blood hit the ground and bowed, making herself vulnerable. “I promise to protect and defend Belle until I find Blake Belladonna or die.” She slowly rose to her feet and put her knife away.

Sun shrugged. “Good enough for me.” He turned to Belle who narrowed her eyes.

She wasn't convinced. A blood promise was usually done in old times, but she didn't state her full like she was supposed to. She's lying about that.

“What more is it going to take to convince you without me actually dying?”

Silence was her answer as she had no idea and shrugged. Sun intervened. “If you're not going to kill us, what is it you want?”

Yang addressed Sun. “If I wanted to kill you, I would've done it already. I've been following you since you departed the last train. I already said that. Do you not pay attention to conversation or even shut up? Listening to you-.”

“No he doesn't. He fills the silence of what would otherwise be longer hikes and his company is not only wanted, but appreciated. If I'm this 'Blake' as you say, then you would be in his role.” Belle felt her anger rising as she aggressively bared the blonde her teeth. “How'd you even lose her in the first place?”

Yang felt her anger rising at the accusation. She tried her best and everyday for the past twelve years without Blake reminded her everyday of her failure. She didn't need any reminders, lack of company or physically. She touched her arm out of habit remembering that night. “Unless you're her one hundred percent, I can't disclose that information.”

This brought the term cat fight a whole new meaning. Sun decided he needed to cool the situation down. Normally Belle was cool headed but dang, Yin gets under her skin. “Look, Yin, was it? Her name is Belle, not Blake. She doesn't have a last name because she doesn't remember it. She lost her memory before she was placed in the orphanage in Vacuo. You said Blake comes from Menagerie. Pretty sure she would've woken up on the boat ride or someone was bound to notice similar features to call Belle, Blake. You say you're on Blake's side and for whatever reason you can't find her. Belle isn't Blake, but you could've killed us if you wanted to and your attacks have no bite to them. I feel like I can trust you. Why not come with us, at least until you find her?”

Belle sharply turned her head to Sun with the most anger she's ever shown him. “Can you give us a second?” She addressed Yin, but never strayed her eyes from Sun. She grabbed his shirt and dragged him away out of human earshot before Yin could respond.

“No problem...” She stated quietly to herself. Blake was still scary when she was angry.

“What the hell do you think you're doing inviting a human to travel with us!?” She hushed whispered.

“We can't exactly escape her and she'll just continue to follow us in secret. She doesn't mean us harm as we would be be dead if she did. She never threatened us and she's a skilled fighter. At least with the Faunus protests, she could watch our backs.”

“The protests over Sun. We are on the run from the White Fang for whatever reason-.”

“Exactly why we could use her fighting skills. She is human and I know how you feel about them, but she could be our human companion, almost like loyal pet. A guard dog. If she's convinced you're this Blake, then she'll help defend you-not that you need it.” He added quickly not to anger her further. “You don't even have to remember or pretend to be this Blake. You can still be you, Belle Wukong or whoever. It's a win-win. We have an extra person who can fight when the White Fang finds us and she can continue her search.”

Belle lessened her anger, but kept her daggers for eyes trained on him. She saw his reasoning, and it made sense, but that didn't mean she had to like it. “Fine. But let's keep one thing clear, I don't like her, I don't trust her. We keep this companion around for our benefit, she's a pet. That's it.”

“Crystal clear.”

They walked back to Yang who drew some design in the snow. “You can come with us.” Belle sharply told her before walking past.

“Belle,” Yang sighed. “I have a question. Your answer depends on if you get rid of me and never see me again.” Yin had her attention. “Do you have feline ears under your bow?” She asked carefully. Based on the daggers for eyes she shot Yin with, that answers that.

“How did you know?” Sun was impressed.

“The woman I'm looking for is a cat Faunus. I wanted to double check.” She swallowed and tried to get on her less angry side but being careful. Yang remembered what Blake was like and Belle was that much more skittish and defensive. “What are your boundaries?”

Belle was thankful she asked. She had a few rules in mind. “First, my name is Belle, call me anything other than that, and I will cut your tongue out. Second, Sun fills the silence, not you. If he asks you a question, you are free to answer. Don't ask me any questions about my past and I won't ask about yours.” She made sure Yin noticed her glance at her metal arm. “Don't assume Sun and I are dating, we are friends. If you fall behind, we'll leave you behind. The moment you can't be trusted, I won't hesitate to kill you.” She paused to let it sink in as well as effect. “That's all I have, for now...” She narrowed her eyes as she walked forward.

“No problem Bla-Belle.” She cringed a little and received a glare for it. Blake... What the hell happened to you? Yin thought to herself. “Fair enough, Belle.” She needed to get used to saying that as it would take time. The less she angered her, the better.

Sun elbowed her as they walked on. “Don't worry about it, she hates humans.”

“That's good. I don't like them either.”

“What!?” Yin was full of surprises.

“When I was younger, I was biased against them, now... Some would call me racist against humankind. They're just so unkindly no matter if it's another human who has different skin color, hair, eyes, nose is too big, lips too small, different background, ethnicity and they're just...humans. Terrible people, but Faunus, wow! They come together as a community to help each other out because they understand the struggles that someone else faces. I mean the heiress to the Schnee Dust Company was nearly kidnapped, and you know who saved her? A Faunus. She thought them as the enemy because of how she was raised. No human even tried to stop it from happening. They would've been successful if not for him. He's awesome. He didn't expect anything for it. Just because it was the right thing to do.”

“Is he your idol or something?”

“Only for that instance. That's reserved for my self-adopted older sister Winter. Don't get me wrong, what Tuxson did was cool and awesome, but that was a one time thing. Winter didn't give up on me. She helped me become stronger while teaching me to care for others.”

“That sounds cool. My buddy Neptune is pretty cool. He was my first human friend and still is.”

The two continued talking until sunset when the group decided to make camp.

“I'll take first watch.” Yang volunteered and began to walk to a suitable climbing tree.

“Where are you going?” Belle accused with her hands on her hips. Did she know the White Fang were after them? Or did she have her own enemies?

“Climbing this tree to get a better view of our surroundings and keeping watch.”

This was a human. She had no night vision, couldn't see in the dark and was going to climb a tree to see what exactly? “No, you don't.” She stated sternly and Yin turned to face her. “You're staying right her where I can keep an eye on you.”

Yang really shouldn't have been surprised, but she was taken back. “Bla-Belle, I will sleep in a tree pulling some hours of guard and I can see my surroundings better.”

“Why bothering sleeping then if you're going to look out? You can't see in the dark.”

“It's a precaution. I have good eye sight. Not as good as yours or Sun's, but I can see. If someone was following you, I'd know about it. I'm paranoid and cautious enough for the both of us. You should try to relax. I only require six hours of sleep to feel regenerated.”

Belle didn't relax. How could she? “Must be nice to only need six hours.” She hated mornings herself and was not a morning person at all. “You're sleeping here, no exceptions.”

“Okay then.” Yang walked toward them. “Have it your way.” She gathered stones, sticks and leaves. She laid out a circle of stones, laid out the small twigs precisely and placed dry leaves on the top. Because she was in company, she used a lighter instead of herself to light it.

“Won't that attract attention of letting people know where we are?” She was grateful for the warmth, but her and Sun had enough problems.

Who? “As far as anyone knows, we are campers sleeping in the middle of the woods to get away from society. Trees would be warmer in keeping you higher as warm air rises and keeps the ground from sucking all of your body heat. Just use rope to secure yourself. If anyone's looking for random spots of smoke, well, nobody would really expect us to, if we were hiding. I'd rather be warm than wake up freezing or have a cold weather injury.” Maybe she'll trust them enough where she won't need her lighter.

“Well, if you're not worried, why stay up at all?”

“I was going to in the tree, but on the ground, you can't see everything. I'm going to get more wood for the fire.”

“I'll come with you.” Belle didn't offer. She wanted to make sure it wasn't a trap.

Fudge. “I was actually going that way to conceal myself while I take a leak.” Yang just had to make this awkward. If the ring leader would leave her alone for at least a little bit...

“Lead the way, Yin. I'll turn around.”

Yang was mortified. This couldn't be the girl. There was no way this was the Princess Blake Belladonna. She kept her face hidden and pointed down as they walked a little bit. What she really wanted to do was get a lay of the land which someone wasn't allowing her to do. “That's good there.” Why was she feeling like nervous kid? She walked behind a tree with bushes, dropped her pants. When she finished, she pulled them up and walked in front of...Belle so she knew to walk forward. She heard the cocking of a gun and turned around.

Belle knew she was lying because it wasn't that much. She didn't trust Yin and she said she would kill her. “Why did you lie?”

What the heck!? She kept her outside calm. “I just wanted to get some wood and check our surroundings. I would've done that in a tree, but you wouldn't let me so the best way is to walk around and get my bearings.

She didn't like her, didn't trust her, but was that reason enough to kill her? “Tell me what you know about the White Fang.”

“Alright. Their leader, a red headed black horned, I wanna say goat Faunus, was the reason the humans attacked Menagerie which is known to be a peaceful place for all Faunus. My father and I were the only humans, which is understandable given the history. He is power hungry and only organized the attack on the royal family so he could gather the remaining Faunus and start a war. But part of his goal is to become the king of Menagerie by any means necessary. He has his organization divide the rift of humans and Faunus while also searching for Princess Blake Belladonna. His fast track to becoming king.”

“Blake Belladonna.” She subconsciously lowered her weapon. The Blake Belladonna? The Princess Blake Belladonna?” She asked in shock. “You think I'm the princess?”

Yang sighed. She didn't want to start another argument. “It's like I said, you and her have a lot of physical resemblances and quite a few similarities. It would be easy for one to think you were her but not likely if you're out in public without any security. My turn for a question. Why would you ask a human about the White Fang?”

“Sometimes, Sun and I would find ourselves hiding or surrounded by Faunus in masks. The White Fang. It doesn't happen too often, but they find us and I've always wondered why. What you say about Blake Belladonna and her being a princess, I can see the confusion..” She put her pistol to Gambol Shroud away. “What did she mean to you that you want to find and protect her so bad?”

Yang chuckled a bit. “In a sense, you could say she's the reason I was born. Born and bred to specifically go out on missions and save lives. In this case, I was her guard. I allowed myself to be captured so she could escape. Of course I wanted to go with her, but I had to stop the leader from getting to her.” Memories flash of seeing her terrified eyes not wanting to leave as she held her close. Telling her to keep running and keep going until she has her go into the passage and pushes it closed only for Blake to push back against her. Yang forced it closed. She wanted to say more, but she would be too vulnerable.

At the mention of the leader, she noticed Yang was rubbing her right prosthetic arm. “That explains why the White Fang chase after us when they saw us. They think I'm her.”

You are her. “The White Fang has been chasing you? That explains why you don't trust me. I promise I'm on your side. You say you're not her, you're not her. Everyone else would be jumping for joy at the thought of being a princess, but with the history, not so much. I do want to show you something.” She reached into her pocket and pulled out a photo and handed it to Belle who cautiously stepped forward and took it. “This is a predicted image of what Blake Belladonna might look like today. It's not completely accurate, but close.”

Belle restrained herself and kept her eyes from opening wide. It was a female, black hair, with mostly gold but slightly amber twinged eyes, two dark black cat ears with dark purple fur, pale or tanned skin, thin cheek bones and small but tall neck. It looked almost like her with differences. She handed the photo back.

“This is her mother.” She passed another photo.

Her eyes went slightly wide when she saw a cat Faunus, completely black hair, ears with piercings and Belle almost looked just like her. “What? Is this supposed to 'jog' my memory or something?” She spat.

“No.” Yang gently shook her head. “It was to help you understand where the White Fang and my confusion are and why we would think we were Princess Blake Belladonna. Please don't tell Sun about the princess part. That is supposed to try to remain secret, relatively. Also the fact she's alive. Rumor says she died with her family. I want to keep it that way until I find her and she decides the type of life she wants to live.”

Yang took a breath. “I also wanted to say I'm sorry. I'm sorry for frustrating you and angering you on purpose thinking you were someone else. If you want, I'd like to do a reintroduction and maybe start over.” She requested hopeful.

Belle hated apologizing, but she owed it to Yin. “I'm sorry too for blowing you off without understanding.” She held out her hand embarrassed to be making the first move. “Hi, I'm Belle. I don't remember my last name so I used Wukong.”

Yang smiled. “Hi Belle. When in public I want you to call me Yin, including Sun. But my name Yang Xiao Long.” She knew this woman was Blake. She just didn't want to be a princess or even try. She just wanted to live a normal life.

“Yang Xiao Long...” She said quietly then gave a quarter smile. “That's for telling me.” Belle felt like she could trust Yang more now that she knew more about the White Fang, why they've been chasing her and more about Yin-Yang. “You picked Yin on purpose, didn't you?”

“Well yeah. Just in case I find the princess and she doesn't recognize me at first, but at the same token, hiding my identity. Puns are my specialty but with everything that happened earlier I didn't it was a good idea.”

“Mhm.” Belle acknowledged and started walking back.

“If it's alright with you, I'd like to scope out the area.”

“Sure, but at least be back within an hour. Not sure what you humans can and can't see.”

“No problem. See you in a bit, Belle.” That's gonna take some getting used to. At least I'm doing better. She saw Belle walking away, mostly her butt. Dang it! She's a princess I'm a nobody. She has Sun. Why are my thoughts focused on something else?

Yang found another climbing tree. When she reached as high as she could, she made sure she was out of sight of the other two. She transformed into an eagle and flew around. It took her about ten minutes to know the layout and she didn't see anything that stood out to her. Even if it took a days walk from any radius. They were safe. She flew back to the tree she originally planned on climbing and perched there.

The movement caught Belle's eye, but she didn't think anything of it as she checked her weapon. Yang was thankful she didn't look at her like prey even though it was racist, punny and not very good. Sun was snoring away. She stayed in her tree looking around and observing Belle without her realizing it.

Yang said I wasn't just her physical appearance, the way she sat to try and relax, the way she slouched to read. Her body had memorized all those stupid lessons, muscle memory. Even the way she moved was silent and graceful. The way she rolled her eyes, glared, and her quick wit. There wasn't a doubt in her mind that she was Blake. Princess Belladonna with no memory and nothing tying her up. Yang's mission was to keep her safe. It was obvious she liked living this life, other than being on the run from the White Fang. Something Blake craved but never outright said. Her new mission is for Blake's life to be as normal as possible.

Yang felt her heartstrings tug. She didn't realize how much she missed her dear friend until she was right in front of her. At least she gave Belle a hug. Even if she had no idea who Yang was, Yang would continue to support her no matter what. She just wishes she knew how to get in touch with any survivors to let them know Blake is safe. She has no memory of her past and doesn't want to come forward.

Yang decided after thirty minutes of spending to much time in her head, she turned back into a human and climbed down.

I still have no idea how Yin-Yang and Sun climb tree without the fear of falling. “How did you get up there from over there or even around the area without making a sound?”

It was nice she removed her constricting bow. “I can be quiet when I want to.” She shrugged. “There's nothing that shouldn't belong around as far as my eyes can see, which is pretty good. You should get some sleep. Good night.” Yang poked the fire with the stick.

Belle settled in her sleeping bag. “Good night.”

Chapter Text

In the middle of the night, Belle woke startled. It’d been a nightmare, only a bad dream. They happen from time to time, but she had no idea who or what it was even about. She can't remember anything when she wakes up. She knows she wakes in a cold sweat, her body cold from the outside temperature, her heart rate is pulsing, eyes fuzzy, and her breathing labored. She hadn't had one in a while and can't help but feel it was because of the female blonde joining them. The brunette sat up, holding her head from the pain and confusion in her brain.

She glanced at the other two, sleeping soundly. She still didn't trust te other female, she hardly trusts herself at times. Belle figured if the White Fang was after her, Sun would be better of without her. She didn’t want him getting mixed up in her mess. She didn't want to leave him behind, but if leaving meant protecting him, it' d be worth it.

“Leaving without a goodbye?” Yang sat up. She was a light sleeper. She heard Belle wake up and decided to speak before she could walk away. Even if she ran, in eagle form, Yang would find her.

“It's better this way. On my own where no one will get hurt.”

“And do what exactly?” Her tone wasn't accusatory. Blake felt she needed to learn to do things on her own. “Leave your childhood friend behind. He's been nothing but loyal to you and someone you can trust, if not the only one you trust. Leave him to pursue what exactly?” She needed be honest as much as Yang herself hated it, she didn't want to leave her warm sleeping bag to chase her, but she would if it came to that.

“How'd you know I was leaving?” Her cat ears bent down as she deflated.

“I'm a light sleeper. If I can't change your mind, I may as well go with you.” She started getting up and started slowly packing. She didn’t to want to have to do this, but it needed to be done. Belle needed to understand this.

“The idea of sneaking away is not to be followed.” She argued, holding her stance firm.

“If I weren't a light sleeper and you were a tad less suspicious of me, it would've been successful. I've got a mission and I know my orders. Until I find her, you are my prerogative.” She finished packing, standing up with her pack on her shoulders.

“I never asked for this. I never wanted this. Can't you leave me alone? Pretend you never found me? I'm not this princess you think I am. I'm just a regular orphan.” What part of this did the blonde not understand? She wanted to be alone. She needed Sun to be safe.

“That's the part that worries me.” Yang said to herself but knew Blake heard her. Blake secretly wanted a normal childhood and I thought could provide her with one as normal as possible. “I'm coming with you. You can't get rid of me. It gets lonely on the road and I've been traveling, searching for her for twelve years. I refuse to appear before anyone empty handed and a lame excuse. If Princess Blake is dead, I would be too. Instead, she's alive and I was captured in an attempt to save her which I was successful at. If someone from the family is alive, it would probably Queen Kali. She doesn't like me enough as it is.”

Belle was taken back when hearing the queen didn't like her. Belle had her own reasons, but Yang seemed like a likable person to anyone. “Why didn't the queen like you?”

Because she knew how I felt about her daughter before I even knew. “You and the queen have similar views on humans. Raised by her mother, The Grand Dowager Empress to think negativity, and from her own experiences. She would've preferred if a Faunus watched over her daughter, but my father and the king were best friends and they both wanted the princess and I to be the same. She also didn't like me because of my status. She was afraid I'd abandon her daughter when things got tough. Can you stop asking me questions so I stop talking about me?” She asked with annoyance. Yang wanted to learn more about Belle, not the other way around. She needed to get away from her, to get her to stop asking questions. “I'll follow you from the tree tops.”

“What if you fall?” Belle asked concerned. Why was she concerned? Why did she care if Yang fell? She's the one who is willingly following her.

“...We're...leaving already?” Sun groaned, he voice husked. He saw Belle already packed up and Yin was climbing a tree. “Hey girls, wait for me. Belle, you can't just leave me.”

“Don't worry about me.” Yang winked to Belle then started climbing.

---

A few days of traveling, Sun walking aimlessly while Belle guided the group. Yin insisted traveling from tree to tree. Sun offered to join, but she made up an excuse to keep him grounded. Belle got used to her a little bit and listened to her talk when there were no more trees and she was forced on the ground but then went back to climbing. Belle would never admit she liked having her on the ground. Since their first night, Belle felt more comfortable having her around. All it took was a little motivation to get 'Yin' to talk. Gambol Shroud made sure of that.

Even though Belle liked quiet, she hated deadly silence. When there were no trees around she was forced on the ground, Belle and Sun asked her questions and she would ask a question right back. Mostly Sun reciprocated with an answer. If Yin asked a question Belle didn’t know, Sun eagerly filled in the answer. If there was a question Sun asked and Yin didn't feel like answering, she would ignore it or rebound with anther question. If Belle asked her the same question, she would answer as honest as possible even if there was more to the story than she let on. Right now, there were plenty of trees for Yin to use though Belle never heard her jumping or shaking trees.

“Where are we going?” Sun asked.

Belle shook her head. She knew the relative direction they were going with her map, but in truth, she was following a mostly brown bird. It seemed silly, a cat Faunus following a bird, unbelievable. She would try to purposely walk off course, but it cawed at her and led her back on the relative path.

A few hours later, they entered a small town and Belle could smell the ocean. Her stomach growled as she imagined fish for dinner. Trouble was, they didn't have money and stole what they could to survive. She searched the sky for the bird she was following. As if on cue, the blonde jumped from a rooftop and landed in front of them. She started laughing and failed at hiding it.

“What's so funny?” Belle sent her a glare. She regretted her earlier thoughts. This blonde human is incorrigible.

You, a cat Faunus following a bird that lead you to a body of water where there's fish and most cats hate water but hunt fish. That's jokes for days. “You're thinking about the fish market.” She beamed. “Don't worry, we'll be eating good tonight before we head out. My treat. And no dine-and-ditch!”

Belle crossed her arms. “And pray tell where we're going?” She kicked her feet to follow, not really liking her idea but deciding to go along with it.

“I thought this was your adventure. You're get-away?” She chuckled. “Don't worry.” She pointed a thumb to herself. “Yin's got your covered.”

“That's reassuring.” Belle rolled her eyes with her arms crossed.

“This way.” Yin lead them to an all you can eat Japanese seafood restaurant.

Belle and Sun piled their plates while Yin was conscious of what she ate, not really caring for sushi while at the same time splurging but not enough if she had to spring into action. The 'twins' acted like they couldn't remember when they had their last meal. It brought a smile to Yin as she was happy to have Blake back, even if she was convinced it she wasn't her. There was no way it wasn't. Her file in at the orphanage even matches with what she's saying. Still, there were two ways to know for sure. One her memory comes back, or two...well, she didn't feel like involving Sun in all this.

“So Yin, where we headed?” Sun asked.

“Menagerie. I haven't been back since... I've been everywhere else. While Patch is where I'm from, I consider Menagerie my home.” Her head dropped at the mention of it.

“Even if all the Faunus there glare at you and shake their heads in disapproval?” Belle knew how humans wee treated in Menagerie. It wasn’t good before the revolution, but now, Yang wouldn’t be welcomed like the war hero she was. They’d do more than just scrutinize her.

“Even then. Just because I'm not wanted, doesn't mean it's not home...or what's left of it at least. Part of my heart will always be there.” She stared down at the table reminiscing good times at the palace and how it was more than a building. Ashes remain, not literally, but what remains. Her memories no more than fragments.

Sun thought about it. “We haven't actually been there yet. We'll protect you from anyone who doesn't think you belong.” He smiled brightly.

“Sun, the main two reasons we haven't gone, is because of Faunus peace and that's where the White Fang originated from. We've never had reason to go there.”

Not until now. “'Preciate it Sun. But, I can look after myself. The looks I don't mind. It's more of the physical stuff that hopefully don't escalate. I don't mind fighting, but they don't deserve to get beaten. It’s all a misunderstanding.”

Belle thought of another question. “While growing up there, did you get into fights?”

Yin nodded. “Yeah, most were three or four on one which was easy or slightly hard. I almost lost a fight to five on one. Poor Blake.” She chuckled. “She was so worried, she ordered me not to leave the palace unless absolutely necessary. She felt so guilty because I was checking out a book for her. Since then, she had a plan to avoid anyone by calling ahead to the library and the guy know we'd be there either early in the morning, around three, or well into the night. Tuxson didn't mind me, he admired how much Blake read. It worried him at times.” Though she was smiling, she felt forlorn, missing those days.

She notices because of her instincts, but she picked up on it. “You miss her, huh?”

Yin stared at Belle. “I guess more than I realized.” She shook her head of the negative thoughts. But I'm here now. It’s my turn to show you Blake, you’ll see. “As long as I know she's alive, I'll keep searching.”

“So... How are we getting there exactly?” Sun asked.

“I don't particularly like traveling by bullhead, so I've arranged travel for us by boat.”

“When did you do this?” Belle accused. Yes she's a cat Faunus, yes she liked staring into the water, but that did not mean she wanted to be trapped on it. “How'd you know it was going to be two additions to the tickets?” She narrowed her eyes.

I traveled by eagle and booked passage. Yin lifted up her scroll. “There's a thing called a scroll? Do you and Sun not have one?”

“No.” Sun spoke gently. They couldn’t afford on, nor the service of having one.

“No we don't.” Belle wasn't happy with her flaunting it.

“Well then, that settles it. Shopping! All expenses paid.” The blonde female beamed.

“Yeah!” Sun cheered.

“So what? You just throw money at people and expect them to like you?”

“No.” She stated defensively. “I just want to help you guys out as you let me travel with you and scrolls can help improve your lives.”

“We don't need your help.”

“I never said or implied you did. You two can take care of yourselves as you have been doing for years. I'm not here to help.”

Belle eyed her suspiciously but Sun was willing to take her offer. “How about we go shopping anyway. It'd be nice to get some new clothes anyway.”

“See, Sun gets it. You guys can shop for clothes, shower on the ship and change into them later on.”

“Fine. I guess we should.” Belle was still suspicious of the blonde and her intentions.

“Will you please stop looking at me like you're considering killing me?”

She liked seeing the blonde agitated. “Why? Does it make you uncomfortable?” The brunette smirked.

Yin scoffed. Why did she have to have Blake’s smirk of mischievousness. “Only slightly. If you're thinking about it, could you do me the favor and act on it? I prefer action and I'll know exactly what you're thinking when our weapons clash. Speaking of, where'd you learn to fight like that anyway?”

“You'll be able to read my thoughts when our weapons meet?” She didn't believe it but figured she'd indulge her in answering her question. “Fighting in Faunus riots. Peaceful protests turned violet when humans attacked so we defended ourselves. At first it was mostly humans.” She narrowed her eyes. “Then when the White Fang started chasing us.”

“I know we had this conversation. I get it. You don't like humans and I don't either, most of them at least. They’re dumb, stupid, bigot, ignorant ones to say the least. They destroyed this world. Supposedly, it's rumored Faunus were created from Grimm experiments which is how it started in the first place-.”

“What's your theory on that?” Belle interrupted with intent.

“I disagree. I think they were on the other side of Remnant and neither side knew the other existed until they found each other. Humans of course worried because they saw something that looked similar to them, but had something that reminded them of an animal. So they did what humans do and attempted to kill them off until they were forced to unite for a common cause. And it's like you said. Humans attacked the peaceful protesters. So much so they became violet just against those that attacked. When the majority felt it wasn't doing anything, they became violet and things started changing. Did it make it right? No. Did it work? Yes. Honestly, I think Faunus are so much better than humans. Night vision, fangs, claws, super hearing, camouflage and other adaptable features. Humans are normal and boring.”

“A human who doesn't like humans.” She eyed her suspiciously.

“Will you please stop looking at me like that. I mean I know I'm attractive and all, but dang.” Belle narrowed her eyes. “I've never liked humans. Once I find Blake you can ask her. She'd probably laugh, if she even speaks to me at all...” Now was not the time. “My family are all humans. My best friend is a Faunus. All I had was her. My father died trying to protect her father. I was captured trying to save Blake from another Faunus who wished to due her harm.” She's said too much. “We've got a boat to catch. Let's get some new threads then we can be on our way.” Yin laid down money plus tip and hopped out of her seat.

Belle stared in shock at how much she laid down on top of shopping and a boat trip. She would've continued staring if Sun wasn't urging her up out of her seat so he could pee. He didn't want to interrupt their serious conversation.

Belle decided her questions could wait until they were on the boat as she was honest with Belle when they were alone. They waited for Sun outside in silence until Belle asked her a question. “Yang, did you ever blame her?” She asked quietly.

“Huh?” The blonde asked confused. “What do you mean?”

“Did you ever blame Blake for losing your dad in order to save hers?”

Yang smiled. “Nah. He died like the hero he wanted to be. I have no doubt King Ghira did what he could to protect him despite whatever my dad said. Blake was the same way.” She laughed though it was empty. “She tried to fight me and have me come with her. It hurt me to leave her, but I had to buy her time to escape. I just wish I knew if she had any family left. I have no doubt my dad and King Ghira did all they could for the queen despite her protests. I've never seen two people more in love. Except maybe one time but it was too brief.”

Belle was about to speak until Sun came out. “Oh thank goodness for that. I thought I was going to pee myself. Lead the way.” He smiled at Yang but then saw the serious faces and knew he interrupted something. “Or I should just-.”

“We were finished.” Yin assured. “This way!” She said positively. Belle wondered how she could just act like they weren't just talking about death and continue to be positive. “Now, keep in mind Menagerie is an island so plenty of beaches-.”

“Surfs up!” Sun said excitedly.

“But, last time I was there, only a third of it is inhabited and mostly desert.”

“That can't be the only reason.” Belle stated blatantly

“No, mostly due to dangerous wildlife. More so than the other continents. Also where Faunus were given a place to call their own. Thus the peace.”

Belle was impressed with how much she knew about the history there. People live on the different continents and can only name some facts. Why would a human even bother learning about Faunus history, especially if she's from...Patch?

They arrived at the department store. It was a rather fancy building that was more like a spiral tower. This place was too fancy for Belle's taste. Sun couldn't stop gawking.

Yin walked ahead and turned around to talk to them. “Men on the first floor, men's swimsuits on the second. Women's on the third and swim swimsuits on the forth. We're not traveling with children otherwise they'd be on the upper levels. We'll meet on the first floor by the checkout when we're done. Price is not an issue but be conservative. Break.” They all parted ways to their respective floors.

Sun stopped and his entire face dropped with all the choices. Blake rolled her eyes and Yin continued. They rode the escalator to the third floor. “I'll be on the left side if you need me.”

She walked straight ahead seeing one of her favorite people. “Hey Neon.”

“Yang?” Her tail stood at attention. “Yang!” She came from behind the counter and hugged her. “What brings you here?” The orange haired cat tailed Faunus with light blue highlights asked.

“Just looking for clothes. I figured I drop by and check on you. How's business?”

“It's been great since Coco took over and with her girlfriend Velvet, the rabbit Faunus, business is booming since they took over.”

“How is Coco these days?”

“She's great! A bit harsh, but she is quiet the fashionista. How have things been going since...?” Her tail drooped a little bit but she mostly kept a happy expression.

Yang kept it positive for both of them. “It's been good. Ruby updates my arm for glitches every so often, but I feel like my luck's turning around. I'm glad things worked out for you.”

“Yang, I feel like I owe you everything. If it weren't for you-.”

“Hey,” She gave her a reassuring smile. “The past is in the past. You don't owe me anything. I'm glad I was able to help you anyway I could.”

Neon hugged her. “Selfless as ever.” She broke away. “I'm nearly a pro roller. I'm going to be trying out next year.”

“That's amazing! You were always so good at that.”

“And I never understood how you could balance.”

Belle's ears twitched under her bow when she heard Yang and someone else laughing. She drew her eyes to them. A cat Faunus! What, she's got a thing for cats or something!? She kept her eyes trained on them as she moved closer.

Neon gasped in surprise “Prin-!”

Yang stepped in quickly. “Neon, this is Belle. Belle, Neon.” She wanted to stop a potential cat fight from happening. No pun intended.

“Nice to meet you.” Neon smiled.

“You too.” Belle said.

Yang continued. “She used to put on rollerblading shows for the king and queen in Menagerie. She's one of the best rollerbladers in Remnant.”

“Oh stop it.” She chuckled. If she were a blusher, she would've. “And you took your job too dagum serious.”

“Still do.” The blonde and the orange haired Faunus laughed. “Maybe now people in Atlas will appreciate your talents.”

“You're still biased against humans? You haven't changed a bit.” She gently nudged her.

“Can you blame me? I mean Coco's good because she's dating Velvet and helping where she can-.”

Wait. Those names sounded familiar. “Do you mean Coco Adel and Velvet Scarlatina?” Belle asked the other cat Faunus.

“Well yeah! Who else could I be talking about?”

“I knew them from an orphanage. I didn't know they made it big.”

“You knew her before she became famous? That's. So. Cool!” She had stars in her eyes.

Yang shook her head with a smile. She was glad the two were getting along. “I told you I wasn't fond of humans.”

“Pfft. You are like how Atlas treats Faunus but how you treat humans.”

“Hey.” She said offensively. “I'm not that bad.”

“You kind of are.”

“Oh gee thanks.” She rolled her eyes with a smile.

Belle hated how much Yang was smiling and laughing with Neon. She didn't even care for Yang. Why was she feeling the need to protect or...jealousy? Nah. That’s ridiculous.

“I'll let you get back to work.” Yang stated.

“Hug for the road. We definitely have to hang out when you come back to town. Tell Duchess Ilia I said hi.” She hugged Yang tightly.

“I'm telling her you called her that.” She grinned.

Noen let go. “Nice meeting you Belle. I'll tell Coco and Velvet you said hi.”

“Likewise.” Belle's noise flared and she hated what Neon did.

“She scented me, didn't she?” Yang whispered as they walked away seeing the way her nose twitched.

“How'd you know?”

“She hasn't changed much either. Girl had a crush on me since I beat her in combat. She didn't like how much time I spent with Blake and would try to scent mark me every chance she got.” She chuckled a bit. “Either that or she was trying to see if the princess would get jealous.”

“And she thinks I'm Blake.” She crossed her arms. Of course this Neon would think she’s Blake. Everyone she comes in contact with thinks she is.

“...She did, but she did it to prove she's still into me and possibly see how you'd react.”

“Knew it.”

“I can shower with baby wipes or you...can cover it?” She stated carefully.

“You can shower on the boat. It doesn't bother me.”

“Good.” She said that way too quickly earning a certain look. “Did you find anything?” Yang tried instead.

“Not yet.”

“I'm gonna keep looking.” She walked off toward tank tops, leather jackets, boots, undergarments and sunglasses. She maybe took twenty minutes to pick. She didn't want flare, but she wanted to look natural. Looking around, she also might need a dress for an occasion. She totally forgot to tell Sun about a tuxedo. Picking a dress would take the longest.

“I didn't think you'd be one to wear a dress.” A voice said behind her.

She turned to see Belle. Are you following me? Did Neon's scent marking bother you that much? “I wore them every once in a while when it was called for, but I always made excuses not to wear one. But if Blake was forced to wear one at some fancy dinner or event, I wore one too. Misery loves company. It made hard to fight or emergency situations. I had it modified so I could move freely. You should pick one in case.”

“I'll think about it.”

“Can you let Sun know to pick a tux?”

“He won't wear it.”

“As long as he has one.”

“He'll just wear the jacket but leave it open for his abs and maybe wear a tie.”

“Lucky. I don't mind. He needs to have one in case.”

“In case of what?”

In case you remember who you are or be Princess Blake Belladonna. “I don't really know.” She shrugged. “Call it a feeling I guess.” She stepped away to glance at other dresses.

Belle couldn't help but feel like she should say something, but she couldn't imagine what. Instead, she walked to the other side looking at dress styles. She found one that was...likable?

Yang was frustrated. She didn't like any of the colors or styles. Her weapons were yellow bracelets for crying out loud. What matched yellow? Yellow, or black. Black says this'll look good on your floor come morning. She looked good in yellow, but not the type of yellows she was looking for. Even orange was pushing it. White it was. A slender white dress that shows off...dirt and any spills... She can't win. She took the dress anyway. The yellow one she wanted to not worth the price tag and the bottom fanned out too far. She put the white one back and took a black one. She didn't plan on having any kind of fun anyway. Any jerk that couldn't take no for an answer would be met with her fist. Only if they would touch her, of course.

Across the way, she saw Blake-Belle. Picking out her dress. It looked to be long and a dark purple color. Yang smiled. Purple was one Blake's favorite color. I miss her. I kinda have her back. But she's not her. Maybe I just miss the memories of what we had. I'm a little glad she doesn't remember. That night hasn't left me. The look on her worried, sad face when I-No. I can't think about that now.

Yang left to check on Sun and force him to get a tuxedo if necessary. She went to the second floor first and after looking, didn't see him. She went to the first and put on button down shirts with an opening in the middle to show off his abs.

“You like?” He showed off with a smile.

Yang crossed her arms. “Please.” She rolled her eyes. “I might, but you're not my type.”

“Oh? And what types that?”

“Bottom heavy females who like playing games.”

“So Belle.” He stated playfully but was completely serious.

“Pff. As if. I don't think she likes anyone, just chooses to tolerate you.”

“Good point. You're a little less than tolerable in her book.” He visibly sniffed.

“I was scent marked by a friend of mine.” She was brought back to simpler times.

“I'd cover that up before you-.”

“She already knows.” She scratched the back of her head. “She was kinda there when it happened. I offered to use baby wipes until we get to the ship or have her cover it up.”

Sun self-control not to burst out laughing. “You did not!”

“I did.” Yang laughed as quiet as possible. “Anyway, I came here to tell you to pick a tuxedo, tie and all. It can be a clip-on for all I care.”

He grew serious. “Way to ruin good vibe. A tux is way too formal. How about a nice dress shirt and slacks?”

Yin shook her head. “Tux. No exceptions.” She stated sternly.

“Fine. Whatever. But it'll be my style.”

“As long as you look presentable.”

“Presentable to who?”

“It doesn't matter.” Yang shook her head. “Just a tux.”

“Fine. But only so I can impress whoever.”

Yin walked back. Now that she had everything, she would spend time left talking to Neon until the 'twins' were ready. Five minuets later she feels eyes on her as footsteps approach.

“Ahem.” Someone behind her clears her throat.

Yin turns to see amber eyes staring at her. “Frog in your throat?”

“Yang, it's cat got your tongue. You always used to say that to me.” The cashier laughed.

Belle gave Yang her famous glare. “Not with this one Neon. She wouldn't appreciate my jokes like you do. That's why I haven't pulled a pun.”

“Why, because it's pun-ishable?” Neon asked.

“No because it's pun-ishment.”

“Ach.” Belle groaned. She did not need to listen to these two.

“What's wrong? It wasn't punny enough for you?” Yang smiled.

“It's okay Yang. She's just a punny cat.”

Yang forced herself to chuckle as not to make it awkward but even she knew that drew the line, especially for a Faunus like Belle. She studied the feline-eared Faunus carefully for any sign of a cat fight that might ensue.

Belle calmed herself down. If it was coming from Yang, it would be racist. Coming from an annoying cat Faunus, not funny. “What time does our boat leave?”

“Wow Yang. You found yourself a cat who's not afraid of water. I'd keep her around if I were you. But of course, we could always have fun.” She winked.

Belle didn't even know why she cared or even why she was feeling anger over such a trivial thing. Yang was human and she didn't even like humans. Why was Neon getting to her?

“Thanks Neon. But those were the old days of rollerblading. I still have my task and I still need to find Blake. The only place I haven't checked is Menagerie.”

“You're going back!?” Her green eyes shot up in surprise. “Yang, even I know it's not safe. You can't go back. Especially after what happened with the White Fang, the leader and your...arm...”

Her voice lowered but held stern. “There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about that night! This arm is only half of the reminder.” Their eyes lingered to the shiny metal. “I would've given a lot more to keep her safe. The other half is traveling alone knowing I failed. I have to find her Neon. I have to know she's alive and safe. The leader hasn't found her either.”

Neon leaned over the counter to whisper to Yang. “Are you sure she's not...you know?” Belle's ears twitched in her bow indicating she'd heard their conversation as she tried not to show it even as her eyes narrowed.

“She's the closest link I have and she's traveling too. It beats traveling alone and I can still look for her.”

“Yang...” Neon sighed. “Be careful. I know how easily you attach yourself to people you care about. I know you'll do everything you can to find her-.”

“Don't worry Neon.” She assured with a smile. “I'll be careful. I'll visit when I can.” She went over to the other side of the counter and gave her a warm hug.

“Ha. So your type is female cat Faunus. Or is it females with tails.” Sun interjected.

“She's equal opportunity guy!” Neon shouted back. Who was this guy?

Yin broke away to stare at Sun a moment. “I'm going to try ignoring that.” Her footsteps heavy as she got in his face. “What you said was not only racist but you made it sound like I have a fetish and comparing Faunus to novelty creatures. Make a statement like that again, or even one out loud and I will headbutt you so hard, my forehead will bleed.”

The two cat Faunus had no idea what she said, but Belle was amused to see all color drain from his face as Neon watched on with a smirk and approval. She kinda figure what she had said. She then turned to Belle. “She's a strong person. Her only weakness is that she wears her heart on her sleeve. If you hurt her, I'll hurt you.” Neon whispered loud enough for both of them to hear.

“You don't have to worry about that. She's got herself handled. I can handle myself.”

“Sure you do. She'll be the one to hurt you physically. But she knows who you are, try as hard as you want to deny it. That's why she won't hurt you. That's why she's got friends like me.”

“I'm not Blake. How many times do I have to tell anyone and everyone? I'm sorry you guys lost her, but I'm not her. My name is Belle, has been for years and will continue to be. You need to pick your battles wisely before you threaten people.”

“Oooo. Kitty's got claws.” She smiled playfully.

Yang sensed tension and called Blake over to pay for their items. She waved goodbye to Neon before disappearing down the escalator. Once their stuff was paid for, Yang handed them their documents. “These are your travel papers and tickets.” She looked directly at Sun with a warning. “Don't lose them.”

“Hey!” The monkey Faunus took offense. “I'm responsible. Besides, we could use some peace after the once peaceful protests turned violent.”

“I wanted to ensure you had your clothes picked out in case you lost your documents in an article of clothing and put it back on the rack.”

“You have to give me more credit than that.”

They boarded the ship while Sun was naming off reasons he was responsible. Belle noticed it was the same captain she had met years prior when her and Sun were supposed to head to Mistral. “Hey Sun. That's the same captain we escaped from years ago. You remember?”

“How could I forget? That blonde girl pulled up in a bullhead and exited like it was nothing. Then she fell on her knees and cried into the sky. She hi-jacked a jet ski for crying out loud. I will never forget that day.”

“Wait... You guys saw that?”

“How could we not? We were like twenty feet away.” Sun stated proudly.

Yin turned to Belle. “You saw me!? You saw me and you didn't even say anything!?” Yang felt her anger rising. She was so close! So close to finding Blake, only to have her be twenty feet away. She lost twelve years because of it! If she had taken Ozpin's gift sooner, she would've found her. She could've avoided all of this.

“That was you!?” Sun asked amazed.

Yin calmed down. “Right, the memory loss. You don't remember.” She sighed letting all her anger go.

“Belle, didn't vaguely state that you felt like you knew her but could only...remember...the color yellow. Yin's hair. Belle, what if you are-.”

“No!” She waved her hands dismissively. “Don't you dare Sun!? Look, I'm not her. That was a long time ago.” She addressed Yin. “You were a dramatic child.”

Yin smiled. “I'm still dramatic. I just known when to play it out now.” No sense in becoming angry at her own failure. “I got us all separate rooms. They're smaller than sharing rooms.” Blake liked her privacy, Belle liked her privacy. Granted, Blake wouldn't mind sharing a room with Yang, but Belle... Yeah... Belle needed her own room. Especially if she was going to be pointing a gun at her in the middle of the night to catch her by surprise. “You guys can shower and change when you want. The room numbers are on your tickets.”

“Cool! Thanks Yin!” Sun walked away.

Belle stared into Yang's face to get a read on her. She didn't immediately head for a shower. Her lilac eyes stared into the sunset. She had almost a longing, forlorn look in her eyes. It was hard to read her when she was like this. “What are you doing?” She asked softly trying to defuse any tension they both had.

“Watching the sun set while reminiscing.” Though she smiled, it was soft and small. Not like her usual predatory one. Belle felt like this was the real Yang, not someone she had to hide from.

Belle couldn't help but feel like this was familiar. Like she missed something. Even all those sunsets ago with Sun. “What are you thinking about?”

“I don't want to tell you.” Belle frowned. “Mostly because you probably get tired of hearing about her and other people including myself at first in wrongly comparing her to you.” She judged Belle's expression to determine if she should continue. “We used to watch the sunsets together. She'd either cling to my back while I climbed a tree because she hated heights since she fell, or most of the time we watched it along the beach as the water shimmered.” She reminisced old times then turned back to Belle who she was sure had heard enough of hearing Blake's name. “What'd you do for fun, other than read and travel?” Yang asked back to make her comfortable.

One of the best features about Yang, is that she didn't ask Belle to be the princess. Since that day, she's dropped it and even though it took a little bit, she acknowledged her as Belle. She didn't ask her about a past she didn't know, but rather about her travels, the protests, sign holding, running from the White Fang, her hobbies and favorite places. There was nothing really too personal or secret that needed to be hidden. Yang didn't need to hid behind Yin and there was no need for secrecy, even though Belle was still weary of her.

Belle had asked her questions in return. Her childhood, where she trained, how much Blake meant to her, things they did together, her travels, hobbies, favorite place and family. Yang left a lot out, but she also reciprocated questions back to Belle who shared as much as she felt comfortable with.

Belle told her about the stories she read, the appropriate ones, of course, the chapters Yang asked about, novels of series, any mischief she got into, and just normal but deep conversations. She found Yang to be quite philosophical and metaphorical. Belle was thankful Yang never tried to compare her to Blake since their conversations on the first day they met. She appreciated her correcting that Neon cat-tailed Faunus. Speaking of, Yang still had her scent on her. Not that it was the human's fault for not noticing because she didn't have a sensitive nose.

Sun showed up, hair still slightly wet, a white t-shirt that showed off some of his chest and abs. Sky blue denim shorts and white shoes. He was toweling his hair down when he approached. “Hey Yin, do you like that Neon chick on something?”

“She's cool and we have a kiss don't tell type of thing but I wouldn't date her or anything. Why do you ask?”

“Because you still smell like her. I surprised you haven't showered yet.”

“Oh... That explains why Belle was crinkling her nose. I'm sorry Belle I'll just head out.”

“Hey, you don't have to leave.” Sun offered. “What were you two talking about anyway?”

“Yin was asking me about some of the books I read. She listens to audio books and recommended a few because of the genre.”

“Oh well...” Sun scratched the back of his head. “That's cool. Say Yin, what is it you do exactly?” He wanted to find out more about her. Mostly because Belle hasn't talked to anyone but him but she seems to talk to this female blonde quite a bit and alone.

“I've already to you this and I can't discuss this in a public setting.” She was annoyed with Sun asking her the same questions over again knowing she couldn't answer in the full detail he wanted. This was a waste of time. She needed to end this. “For Belle's sake, I'm going to shower so she doesn't have to smell Neon anymore. If you need anything, my room is across from yours.” She didn't want anything to be awkward if they shared a wall, but wanted to be close in case.

Belle noticed Sun was a little off when he talked to her without Yang around, but she shrugged it off. He was in some ways biased against humans. He didn't think the two species should be romantically together. Friends yes, but nothing more than that.

Yang finished her shower and headed back up to the deck. She laid down on a bench with her hands behind her head to star gaze. She wore an orange tank-top with a yellow burning heart and black shorts that barely contained her legs.

Belle left Sun shortly after Yin did, mostly to talk to Yin alone as she was mostly silent with Sun around. She found Yin doing exactly as Belle predicted seeing her do it at night when she should've been sleeping. She approached the blonde. “Hey, Yang...” She spoke quietly. How was she going to start this?

“Woah!” Yang jumped in her seat as she didn't hear any footsteps.

Belle chuckled. “I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you.”

“Geez Bla-Belle! I felt my heart jump in my chest. I'm too young for a heart attack. Can't you wait until I find the person I'm looking for first.”

Yang had been careful about not confusing her with Blake, but she still had her slip-ups. Belle was thankful she corrected herself. “I guess.” She rolled her eyes. “We're all looking for that special someone. You just seemed at peace and you have relatively good hearing for a human. I didn't think one could sneak up on you.”

“While I appreciate the comment, you have silent footfalls that remind me of a-.”

“A cat?” Belle raised an eyebrow.

“No.” Yang shook her head. “I was going to say ninja, but if you want to me to say comments like that, I can.”

“Oh, like putting a collar on me or a leash so you don't lose me?” She stated sarcastically.

“No, I was going to say put a yellow collar around your neck and attached a bell so I can hear you walk and you won't give me anymore heart attacks.”

“You're terrible.” Belle joked giving her a small smile.

“I know.” She smiled back grateful that they could joke like this now. Whatever was on her mind that caused her to be nervous, Yang's scare seemed to put her at ease. “Is there something I can help with?” The human asked with concern.

“I was curious about something.”

Curiosity killed the cat. Satisfaction brought it back. Jokes would be too much for the serious moment. “That the night we met in the woods. Why did you pick Yin as your alias since your name is Yang? Isn't that pretty obvious?”

“I want to tell you because of an eagle that follows me. She's calm, but also skittish. I named her Yin.” She sighed. “It's because of Blake.” She studied Belle's expression to see if she would see annoyance. Instead, she say how much Yang really cared for her. “We were or still are opposites in a sense. We have things in common, but we're different. We balance each other out. I'm the outgoing punch first ask questions late while Blake,” She giggled at a memory. “She was calculating and patient, a perfect, sneaky predator. If she were in the same profession as me, we would've been an unstoppable team. Like the Yin-.”

“To your Yang.” Belle finished. Yang was going to say Yang, but yeah.

Why did she have to say that? It sounded nearly identical to what she heard so long ago. She blamed in on the age of not longer trusting her memory. “Exactly. So that way if she didn't recognize me at first, I would say I'm the Yin to your Yang. I would hope she would recognize me and correct it. That way so I wouldn't make the mistake of revealing myself to the wrong person.” She said the last sentence sadly. “It's been too long since I've last seen her. There's no way she'd know me, even if she did, she would probably hate me for leaving her. I couldn't say I would blame her.” Why was she being so vulnerable? She was open and showing her emotions. She needed to be happy for everyone, it's what she was used to. Not less to a possible enemy. Belle could easily turn her in with how much she knows.

Belle sighed and sat down next to her. Yang couldn't take her eyes off how beautiful she looked in her white jacket that shaped her body perfectly, her black shirt underneath with diamond shaped above her chest, most of her lean and slightly muscular form showing, purple pants and long boots that went up her mid thigh. “Yang, I know you briefly told me about that night in anger and didn't go into details, but from what you told me, you protected her. She could never be mad at you when you sacrificed yourself to save her-.”

“Yes, but I left her alone. She had never been outside the palace. Granted, she didn't make it very far because two fox Faunus brothers had knocked her out by the time my sister arrived to save her. She probably thought she could trust them as they were Adam's-.” The name tasted like venom in her throat. “Lackeys. Maybe she tried to run from them and that's why they knocked her out. The point is I wasn't there for her when she needed me. I was to busy fighting and stalling to allow her to get away.” Yang still remembers the horrified look on her face when she tried to push the vent shut. “She was so scared. She didn't want to leave me. I forced her to escape. She was alone and afraid. I left her Belle.”

“Left her or loved her?” She questioned.

“What?” Yang looked at her confused. “Belle, we were eight. Neither one of us knew what love was. She was engaged and was supposed to marry Adam.”

“Did she want to?”

“No... With her other siblings she could've married who she wanted, but she wanted to be single and free. I couldn't blame her. I think she was hoping given enough time she would learn to love him. But if she had a choice, she wouldn't chose to be a princess.” Yang chuckled. “You know how many times I had to assure her it was her older sister's job to become queen and give birth to heirs? Too many. Not that I minded. She was the coolest kid I knew.” Yang smiled.

“Yang, Blake wouldn't be mad. You nearly scarified your life to save hers. There's no way she could be mad at you for that. You sacrificed your arm to buy her time to escape. If she doesn't want you as her bodyguard, best friend or whatever, the loss is hers.”

Yang have her a small smile. “Thanks Belle.”

Belle smiled back. “You're welcome.” The wind blew and she suddenly shivered.

“You cold?”

“A little.

Yang patted the spot next to her and looked around seeing no one as it was late in the night. “Sit next to me.”

“Okay...” Yang punched her thigh to experience pain, triggering her semblance. Belle was concerned with why she hurt herself on purpose. She used her semblance to glow slightly and aura to keep warm. Not enough to draw attention or give herself away too much. “How are you doing that?” Yang felt like a campfire though she didn't burn.

“It's my...” Should she really tell her? No. “I was born with the ability to do this. Partly why my birth was planned. Trained to nurture the flame, trained to harness it, kind of?”

“Kind of?”

“Can you control fire?” Her voice was soft, not accusatory. “Fire is hard to control. It's powerful, hard to contain and burning everything in its path. As long as six conditions are met, it burns everything until a condition is lost. It's like me, one burning ember in just the right place, it burns. It takes concentration and will to truly control it.”

She's speaking in similes and metophores. “You're comparing yourself to a burning fire, then an ember that reignites and burns again?” She questioned.

“In a sense, that's exactly what happened.” She bowed her head. “I used to think I was strong, near invincible, and I burned brightly.”

Belle knew where she was getting at. “Until one day someone thought they snuffed out your fire, but you were a burning ember. Not as great as your former glory but still burning. You touched something that was flammable and your fire started up again.”

Yang didn't expect her to read into that much. “When I was an ember, I didn't know my fire still burned until something or someone triggered it.”

“Maybe it was you.” Yang looked at the woman sitting in front of her, really stared into her. “You didn't realize you were burning but just needed to remember what made you want to sacrifice yourself in the first place.”

That... That was exactly it. Yang wanted to say.

“Yang, you don't strike me as the person who gives up. Like you said, you haven't seen Blake in thirteen years and you're still looking for her. I really, really hope you find her.”

I already have, she just doesn't realize it yet. Yang thought but would never say aloud.

“She's a lucky girl.”

“Ha. If you met her, you'd realize I'm the lucky one. I thought her being a princess meant she was going to be spoiled rotten. Complete opposite. I'm just happy I got to know her early in our childhood so she didn't have to see me in awkward phases.”

“I'm sure she'd feel the same.”

What's happening? What's going on? Why do I feel such warmth when she laughs? I want her to do it again. Her smile is calming like the night. What's wrong with me? I need to leave, I have to go. “Hey Belle, I'm going to head to bed. Good night.”

“Night, Yang.”

Sun was walking up to Belle as Yin was walking away. “Hey Yin.” He waved.

“Hey Sun.” She smiled back though it was fake.

Yang knew there's be no way she would be able to sleep. She went to the gym to figure out her feelings. No better way than punching a bag. Belle didn't want to be Blake. She didn't want to be a princess. If Blake had a choice, she'd want to be normal. Yang couldn't take this away from her. She always wanted to have a normal life. Granted running from the White Fang wasn't ideal, but just because she looked like what she would've looked, doesn't mean she was her. Yes they were at the same place, and yes it was possible Blake lost her memory, but that didn't mean Yang could develop feelings for her mission... Mission. That's right. Blake is her mission, someone to protect. Belle and Blake deserved to be happy. She couldn't have feelings for her mission. Weiss asked her once if she loved her. At the time she didn't think she knew what love was, but it was always there. Burning inside her.

If Belle wasn't Blake, why was she sharing all these vulnerable moments with her? Belle couldn't know about any of this. She had no right to. And here Yang was, sharing it with her.

“Gaaahh!” She slammed the bag off its hinges tossing it into a wall. Her hands were on her bent knees as she was tired. Panting furiously as she closed her eyes. She needed to do whatever she could to squash these feelings she had for Belle and Blake. Yang was her body guard. Body guards were meant to be in the background, a distance away while the princess could relax and enjoy whatever event, dance or some boring meeting she had to attend with ease. Yang would watch from outside, the roof, a tree or ceiling just in case. She didn't belong anywhere near the princess. With Belle though-No. She wasn't fooling anyone. Belle would learn about her past when she wanted to explore it. She might chose to be Blake, if that happened Yang was destined to be her guard. If she chose to stay as Belle...No. She could chose to be Blake at anytime. Yang had to accept the dark haired, cat eared, amber eyed, pale skin, Faunus princess could never be hers. She needed to move on, no matter how much it would hurt to see her with her prince and heirs.
---

Sun had just said hi to Yin and decide he would talk to Belle. “Hey Belle.” He grinned.

“Hi Sun.” She used the light from the deck to continue reading.

“What book you got there?” Yin was always asking about her books and she seemed content to talk about them, why shouldn't he?

“It's A Man with Two Souls Volume Two.”

“What's it about?”

She raised an eyebrow. He never asked before, just thought book were lame. “It's about a boy who has no fighting ability, and way of articulating but finds himself leader of a team. One woman on the team is a world renowned fighter. She loves that he treats her like she was a regular person having no idea who she was at first. She loves that about him, but because of her fighting skills, she had a choice to make. The idea was to transfer a power inside her. Before completion, the previous wielder of the power is injured and near death which is why they wanted transfer the power, the wielder of the power dies because of the antagonist. The warrior is killed by the antagonist and the little power she received is given to the leader. It goes to him because he was in her last thoughts. He becomes the man with two souls. He discovered he loved her shortly before she fought the enemy knowing she was going to die. She loved him. He was too busy chasing after someone he couldn't have.”

“That's kind of depressing. Loving someone you can never be with. I mean good grief Belle, lighten up.” She frowned at his comment. “How does it end?”

“I don't know. I haven't gotten that far.” She had a prediction, but wasn't for sure. Yin would ask her how she thinks it might end or her thoughts so far and the most frustrating character so far. Sun was happy go lucky, but only skimming the surface. Dark moments like this he would completely avoid.

This was not going at all how he thought. The monkey Faunus had no idea she read depressing books like this. It would explain her attitude though. He needed to think of a way to keep conversation. “So, how are you liking the weather?”

Belle opened her book back. “It's fine.”

“Yeah. Not to windy, or cloudy or...”

Belle closed her book. She was not going to get any reading done like this. To be polite, she stretched before getting up. “I need to go to bed. Good night Sun.”

“Night Belle. Dang it.” He whispered, cursing himself. Yin always managed to get her to close her book while keeping conversation with her. She's even managed to get to smile. It took Sun years for Belle to finally smile. What was it about this Yin that captivated her so? Yin, what a dumb name.
---

Yang finished showering, towel drying her hair. She knew she lost several pounds in sweat alone. She found herself taking off her right arm as it was becoming more forceful and dominant. She closed her eyes and stopped thinking of a memory. She hated some of her flashbacks, but she'd have to get over them. 'What would you do in a fight without your left arm?' Winter had asked her when they sparred the first time after she... When Yang was getting used to it. 'Lay down and die?' Winter had meant to push her, but there was truth to her words. If Yang was going to survive another fight, she needed to learn to fight without it or not become too reliant on it. Yang dressed in sleep wear, ready for the night but not ready to fall asleep. She started a pot of hot water with slices of lemon on the side.

“I need to relax. I'm not on the trail. I'm on a boat in the middle of the ocean somewhere headed to Menagerie. Blake's...my home.” She sighed. “Or what's left of it.” She sighed heavily. “I don't belong in Menagerie because of the mistrust among humans. I don't exactly like humans either. Sunny little dragon... Yeah dad, a dragon. Isolated and alone, forever.”

Yang shook her head. She refused to stay in this mindset. The cup of hot water and lemon beside her nearly empty. She started listening to her own book, The Rouge Huntress. A lone traveling huntress seeking adventure, danger and thrill as she takes on odd jobs. She wanted to take a break from listening to The Women's Murder Club. She took out the track from the back, put it into her scroll, put on her earphones and stared listening. With her head in her pillow, she barely noticed she dozed off during the night.

Chapter Text

Yang woke early that morning as expected, stretching to help herself get out of bed. It was nearly sunrise. She went to the top deck as the colors started changing. Dark blue from the night still present, transitioning to sky blue, purple, pinks, oranges, red and yellow. Even as it was bright, she still looked into it as it didn't bother her. She waited for it to come all the way up.

When she looked around on the deck, she didn't see anyone and climbed up the pole to one of the tallest points. When she knew no one could see her, as no one was around. Most likely sleeping from their 'busy' night. She fell forward and transformed into an eagle she soared high above the ship as she slowly pulled herself back to get behind it. She had eagle vision, watching the dolphins keep in line, the fish that would occasionally skip the water and whales that popped out every so often. The moments of peace she could hardly get away with. No worries, no troubles. Just herself no one recognizes, the salty air and clear sky. Perfect getaway.

Feeling freedom, Yang decided to let out a screech. Oh yeah. She was free, although I'd be weird seeing a golden eagle so far from the north. Yang wanted to test her hunting skills and dove for the water upon seeing a fish. Her talon just grazed the water and with some footwork, she caught it. With everyone still inside, she landed on the deck fish in hand. Realizing it was too small, let it go. Her elbows were part way on the railing in a crossed position as she stared into the shimmering water. Breathing through her nose she sighed in contentment. She loved getting lost after turning into a bird.

She heard footsteps behind her. They weren't Bla-Belle's. A little bit on the leather side. “I'm surprised to see anyone up. You enjoy the sunrise?” The captain asked.

“Yeah. Every morning I try to wake up early to witness it. My body's gotten used to the habit, it won't let me sleep in anymore.”

The captain chuckled at first then noticed she seemed deep in thought, paying him no mind. “Well, I know the best stories come from the lone travelers. If you ever want them told, I'm not going anywhere.”

“Thanks. I'll uh... I don't really have any cool stories. Mostly sad and depressing ones no one wants to hear.”

“All right then. Those usually sound better after a drink. Welcome aboard and enjoy your stay. If you need anything, don' hesitate to ask.” He walked away.

A few moments later when the heavier steps were out of ear shot, she heard lighter steps. “I appreciate the warning this time.” She didn't have to look back to know who it was.

“I didn't want to disturb you when you look...distant.” Belle took a spot next to her looking out into the water. She turned her head to face the blonde. Wow... Her golden hair like the sun, lilac eyes like the color of the sky during sunrise, red lips like the sun's colors that first show. She is the embodiment of the sun. In her eyes, Belle noted that they look peaceful, almost lost. Not in a bad way, but distant like she lost herself somewhere and made peace where she was. “Where'd you go?” Belle couldn't help but wonder.

She turned her entire attention to Belle. “Huh?” She asked confused. Did she see her? Did she know? Oh please don't tell me she saw me.

“You were...absent when talking to the captain. Like you knew he was there, but you were distracted. Only polite to answer his question in the shortest way possible without being curt. Your eyes looked on as your mind wandered off somewhere. Where'd you go?”

“Oh.” She stated with relief. “I traveled farther than any human or Faunus could on foot. Sort of like being on a high mountain and being transfixed on the sky.”

“Huh...” Belle raised an eyebrow. She understood, but she couldn't compare any experience to what Yang described.

Yang thought about it, that was a bad example. “Imagine laying in tall grass where no one can find you and nothing to bother you as you stare hours into the sky.” Belle thought that made more sense. “Maybe the best way is standing on top of a mountain in the middle of a city. Looking down as people go through their day to day lives with an agenda, a schedule or a to-do list. A routine forms that habit human nature craves. Something to cling to as...” She didn't want to finish her thought. She thought of how the White Fang Leader had tortured her. How her routine had been either silence or the physical torment her body received. She stared back along the horizon.

The Faunus noticed sadness maybe hollowness in her eyes. “Like how you wish you could join them, but instead you long for them as you read or listen to books that tell you of adversity and better times, allowing you to become lost in the words or pages.” Belle finished.

Yang turned up one side of her mouth. “Exactly. Something you feel you should be a part of but don't belong.”

Yang is a human, sure she might be from Menagerie, but why wouldn't she feel like she belongs? “So, where is it we're going exactly?”

“Honestly, I'm not sure. After a few days, I'm going back to a dark time in history; for both humans and Faunus, but it was the Faunus who suffered the most, always is.” There was that forlorn look again. “I'd like to pay my respects. If you want to, I'd like you to come with me. I can't exactly know where you are if I can't find you.”

“A dark time in history, Faunus suffering the most, pay your respects. Yang... You aren't making much sense.”

The blonde let out a sigh. “The Imperial Castle of Kuo Kuana. You and Sun are more than welcome to come, but prefer there to be silence, if possible. I want to know what the place I once called home has become.”

“The ruins of the castle. You're going back?” Belle wasn't sure why she would be surprised. Maybe because Yang longed for the former glory it once was.

“Yeah. I want to know what's left. I want to see it for myself. You've probably done research on it, maybe Princess Blake or the family? You're a curious person.”

“What?” Belle scoffed. No curiosity killed the cat pun?”

“No, 'cause satisfaction brought it back.” She smiled but it wasn't entirely genuine.

Belle rolled her eyes. “King Ghira was known for not talking much which he was label as shy. He was actually very well spoken and drew crowds who would listen. He was the speaker for peace. He was arranged to be married with Queen Kali Belladonna as Menagerie was once split into two smaller kingdoms. Humans on one side, Faunus on the other. It was no secret how much the king loved his queen even if she was a Faunus with jet black feline ears. They had three children. Princess Heather who turned out to be a human, a middle child, Prince Yuma, who was born as a bat and the youngest, Princess Blake, your personal favorite. I've seen their pictures, and even without my... you know, I can see where you'd get the confusion, but no. King Ghira had no doubt that the youngest was his and ordered two paternity tests for his son as he was first in line to be king-.”

“So that's what history books are saying?” She rolled her eyes. “What other lies?”

“That humans didn't like the idea of the king marrying the queen and attacked the palace... But your anger says differently.” Belle was suddenly curious about the history was. She didn't care about what the books said. She wanted to know what really happened from someone who was there and survived. “So... Yin... What really happened? And I don't mean just for the revolution, I mean for the king and queen and their children, the DNA tests, what as it like?”

Yang smiled seeing as she wanted to know more than just the sob story. “To start, Menagerie was divided into two parts cultural-diverse wise. The land is composed of beach or desert. The desert is still uninhabited to this day because of all the dangerous wildlife. Anyway, there were little to no humans, if any. The discrimination was among Faunus. Those with physical attributes that make it easy to tell while the other side could pass for human. Prince Ghira was a Faunus, that I promise. The humans never cared about that until lies were spread by the White Fang Leader.” She let the words sink in, catching Blake's- Belle's surprise. “His kingdom believed they were better because they had no, as you say 'animal-like' features, the Faunus there could easily be mistaken for a human. Prince Ghira did not share the same feelings as his people. A Faunus was still a Faunus and should be proud, but he understood why there were those who wanted to hide their features. Still faced struggles and discrimination if anyone knew. He was a panther or possibly a dark lion, a big cat. Queen Kali was against marrying the prince. Her Faunus feature, feline ears on top of her head and no offense, but my no means small. Queen Kali's about...a head shorter than you. She was stubborn, independent, didn't need anyone and was just fine on her own. Anyway, they married and the queen basically ignored her husband like he wasn't there. The king knew how she felt about him, but he absolutely adored her. He gave her gifts at random just because they reminded him of her. There was no doubt in anyone's mind how he felt. Now remember, this is coming from my dad who was best friend's with the king. Well, eventually riots stared breaking across other kingdoms, even his home. King Ghira felt it was time to act. He gathered everyone together, and addressed everyone of the dire situation and how no matter if you have, ears, a tail, antlers, teeth, fangs, claws, reptile skin, passed as human or not, a Faunus is still a Faunus and 'we have to stick together. All we have is each other.' That speech, and that speech alone changed Queen Kali's mind on how she looked at her husband. That was the moment she flipped the script. She wanted to have...children.” Yang chuckled then continued.

“So they did. There's this DNA thing with Faunus I never quite understood, but nobody really does. A human and a Faunus can have a Faunus or human child. Two Faunus of two different...is species okay to use?”

“Origins.”

“Right. Two Faunus of different origins would have a child that would be randomized. For example, you and Sun-.”

“You're really using us an an analogy?” She raised an eyebrow crossing her arms.

“Okay... Well you could have a child that comes out a bird. Don't at me like that. I'm just explaining. As I was saying, because the king and queen both had feline origins, it was expected for them to have...” Belle looked at her like she needed to chose her words carefully. “Feline-like features. So, their first born confused no one. She was like her father. That's where your books are wrong. Again, history was askew due to the White Fang Leader and what he told the misguided humans. He saw his daughter for the first time and it was...as my father described, his warm heart was...not melted, but burned brighter. They raised Princess Heather, much to her disgruntlement to become queen. It wasn't until her brother was born that she started cooperating. Again, everyone was shocked, although a little less when he came out as a bat Faunus. Prince Yuma. Now, while King Ghira and Queen Kali wanted him to have a normal childhood as much as possible, he was also raised to be king one day in case.”

Belle gave her a questioning look.

“No one knows exactly why or how, but the prince had a blood condition. I'm not saying that because he was a bat Faunus with wings. A DNA test was ordered by the people of Menagerie and even the nobles. Not only was he a bat Faunus, but his blood ailment became know of public record. That didn't come out until later. See, the prince's blood couldn't clot and had to have blood transfusions due to his significant low iron levels. It was hard, but sometimes the royal family gave him blood pills. They found out about his clot when he saw his personal guard Trifa climb a tree and he thought he could too. She was a spider Faunus, shooting webs from her hands, she tangled the young prince a couple times after he got hurt the first time so it wouldn't happen again. He fell down the same tree he saw her climb and scraped his knee. Instead of stopping with a well placed web as they felt like sticky silk, it kept bleeding and it was after he drenched the first web and started growing pale that she took action. Due to our abilities, Trifa was able to heal him. Everyone who saw thought she was a witch. They wanted to see her hung or burned. The monarchy knew we were specially chosen as King Ghira knew what my dad could do. King Ghira tried to assure everyone, but they were unconvinced. In truth, he exiled anyone who thought she should be killed for saving his little boy. They didn't do it to everyone, just people who openly talked about her witchcraft. Not a bad fighter, but her webs gave her an advantage. We went toe and toe. I eventually figured out a way out of her sticky webs. She didn't want to spar much with me after that.”

She paused for a bit to catch her breath. “Now comes my favorite part. The monarchy decided to have a third child.”

“Blake.”

Yang smiled with a nod. “Princess Blake, because of her feline Faunus traits, everyone wanted her to rule, well, everyone but her and her older sister. Too much responsibility and too many expectations. Unlike Princess Heather who started taking her lessons seriously after he brother was born, Princess Blake was a natural. Standing proudly, sitting up straight, walking with perfection, there wasn't anything she couldn't do.”

Belle waited for it. “Except.”

Yang sighed. “I had to force her to go to her lessons. She was curious, always asked questions, wanted to know how she could help, but...her lessons. She hated them, absolutely loath them. I had to trick her into going, only successful once because she forgot the time. Since tricking her, she'd just glare at me and I'd carry her on my shoulder and force her to go. I was her best friend up until that moment and those hours. After that, we were best friends again.” She chuckled. “She'd kick me, yell at me and demand I put her down. When I did, I knew she'd try to run for it and I blocked her path only to shoulder carry her again. I think Queen Kali scolded me for making so much noise that first time. Princess Blake immediately felt bad and would just kick me and yell at me outside at that point. But once she began her lesson, she was saint and apologized to me afterward and offered to cover up any bruising.”

Belle raised an eyebrow. “And you want me to be her?”

Yang shook her head. “I don't want you to be anyone other than you. Who you are. I hoped your resemblance was enough where were her, but you're not.” Yang continued the story. “You don't get it. I was her best friend until it came to her lessons. When I was first told I was assigned to her, I was not a happy camper. I argued with the headmaster like an immature child. He told me that I had done enough traveling and I needed to set roots somewhere. He said I could go back to what I was doing before, traveling around on missions after six months.” The blonde laughed. “He asked me again in six months and I didn't want to leave. Princess Blake wasn't anything like the horror I had set in my mind. She...was different. Curious is how I would describe her. She'd try to escape the palace unnoticed to find a quiet spot to read. She didn't care enough about herself, she had the biggest heart always reading to find out how she could help someone else. She wanted to know about everyone else. She wasn't interested in the politics, she wanted to know how she could make things better for people. I think that's why we got along. I was friendly, outgoing and knew everyone. She was friendly but shy. She didn't like meeting new people but always wanted to know how she could help. It was about everyone but herself. I'm not sure who worried about who more. Those were the days.” She looked down at the water sadly.

“Then the revolution.”

She sighed. “Something like that. Princess Blake had a fiance. Duke Adam Taurus. He owned a sizable portion of land. He was also a goat Faunus. They were engaged when the princess was two. He's...four years older which is appropriate, but in some age groups, too old. He...wasn't a good person. The more he was around the princess, the more paranoid she became. Little by little she started raising her guard and I could see her ears trying to circle around in all directions. I hated what he was doing to her and recommended a bird call so she could relax and knowing I had her back and she could chose to leave the area. The duke wanted Princess Blake to return to the palace one day and she had told him no. I saw how tight he was grabbing her arm. Enough to leave yellowing skin with purple marks and threw a rock towards him purposefully missing by inches.”

Belle let out an unlady-like snort in disbelief. Yang chuckled in return.

“He threatened me like always but she stood up saying I squashed a big, nasty bug. He told me I’d regret it and when we returned, the palace was already in flames.” She had to paused and collect herself. “The castle was on fire when Princess Blake and I returned in time for her princess lessons. She smelt smoke and I climbed a tree to see fire. She ran into the palace when...I told her not to but she worried for her family. Gunshots rang out, windows were smashed, bodies were hitting the floor... Just...” Her fist was tense and she relaxed it as she continued. “We came face to face with the White Fang Leader. He was the one setting about nasty rumors and spreading lies to prepare for war against the humans. Hence why he had humans attack so he could take over the White Fang and have enough justification to rage a war the Faunus would lose. I took Princess Blake back to her room where I told her to go through a hidden passage.” Yang chuckled, though it was filled with sadness. “She refused to leave until I forced her to. That...” She rubbed her metal arm and started solemnly into the water. “That was the last time I saw her.”

Belle expected a lot of things. What Yang had described were more horrific than she imagined. She always seemed happy-go-lucky with a smile. She forced her voice. She was curious to know what happened after, also for Yang to talk about...what she went through. “What happened after?”

“...” She didn't want to talk about this, but a hand that touched her shoulder. “I was captured and he tortured me to tell him where she was. I told her to meet in in Vale, but she made it to Vacuo according to my sister when she saw me half dead on the palace stairs. She was knocked out by two fox Faunus when my sister saved her. I tried looking for her and I...I failed so miserably and badly. I spent years searching for her to make it up to her.”

“You couldn't help what happened to you.” Though Belle wondered what else happened other than her losing her arm.

“That's what you keep telling me. It's like you said, I did the best I could and though it wasn't enough, I can't blame myself when I did everything right. I keep telling myself that and though it helps me feel better, I keep wondering what I could've done differently.”

“Yin. You're not supposed to worry about that. The past is the past. All you can do is move forward. You're determined enough. You'll find her.”

Is that why you did? Chose not to remember? The past is the past, don't dwell on it.“I hope you're right.” Yang stared directly at her and with the lighting, the rays were shining on her at an angle. Has she always been this gorgeous? Yang, you're doing it again. “The princess didn't want to be with anybody. If it were up to her, she would've lived a normal life. If she doesn't want anyone to know who she is, I'll keep it that way. As long as I can continue to protect her when I find her, I won't care what she chooses as long as she's happy.”

“If she married this duke Adam, what would she have gotten out of it?”

“Princess Blake would've gotten land in Mistral, wealth, I guess he was handsome but I didn't like him, extra protection, maybe some playful jokes involving a sword to her throat, bruises on her arm and maybe a slap to her face for simply speaking her mind.” Yang remembers what he did to her and it tasted like venom as she spit the last part. She tried not to judge him too harshly when he wanted the princess. “Maybe some...never mind.” She turned away.

“He sounds like a keeper.” Belle replied sarcastic. “Did you...Do you love her?”

“We were both eight at the time.” Yang sighed. “I love the memories I have of her when she was innocent and we were children. I care about her, but I can never love her.”

“What if you could? What if you were just two random people?”

Yang snorted. “Nah. There's no way she'd fall for me. Her mother was against humans and she liked them a little more than I did. She'd probably fall for Sun though.” She laughed then saw Belle's face and remained silent.

Belle decided to ask her question before too many people would interfere. “How did you come across so much lien to pay for everything?”

“Seriously?” Yang chuckled. “I used to work for royalty doing one of the most important tasks in the matriarchs minds, protecting their youngest daughter. They loved all their children, but the way they looked at their princess, it was obvious who the favorite was. I was a child. I didn't know what to do with money other than spend it on certain things, so I saved it. Hid it away in separate accounts. That and Ozpin paid me for missions I did while trying to find-you-Blake.” She tried to change quickly.

Belle raised an eyebrow deciding to ignore her comment. “What about the secret organization you mentioned?”

“Classified, but they taught me techniques I was born with, attack and defend. Only kill as a last resort if necessary and all else fails.”

“Have you ever...?” She let the rest go unsaid.

“Thankfully not. I hope it never comes to that.”

“How old were you when you were recruited?”

“I was...before I was born, literally, born into it. Both parents expected to...Here I am.”

“Why were you specifically chosen and not someone else?”

“Man you ask a lot of questions.” In truth, Yang didn’t mind, she just wish that Blake would answer some of her more clearly. “My dad was best friends with the king. He tried to protect him, but in the end, both of them died and my dad got the death he wanted. While I'm happy for him, I do miss him. My uncle helped raised my-me. Ozpin also wanted me to have roots somewhere so I wasn't always traveling. He knows I care too much about people and wanted me to get attached. In the end, he got his wish.”

Silence followed again as the ocean breeze blew salt water. Their hair flowing with the breeze. Belle didn't like the silence and wanted the blonde woman to talk more. “How old were you when you were trained?”

“Soon as I could walk, or...at least I think so.”

“That early huh? If you think I'm Princess Blake, or even when you were following me, why haven't you announced it or said anything sooner? You could've been famous, even if fake.”

Yang laughed though it was hollow. “My task is to protect her. Announcing it publicly would've added more attention, more publicity and more enemies. It's like you said, because of your resemblance, you were already a White Fang target. If you want, ask me again if you choose to come to the palace for the monument visit. My turn to ask a question before you beat me to it. What is Sun to you?”

“He's a childhood friend, has been since I arrived at the orphanage. I don't know why he stayed when I wasn't even nice to him. Why do you ask?”

The blonde shrugged. “Just curious as to why you would let him monkey around.”

“That's racist.”

“It's the equivalent as me being your hu-man companion.”

“Ugh. You have officially ruined this conversation. I'm not done with you yet.” Belle walked off feigning anger.

Yang let out a sigh of relief. “That was way too close.” She whispered to herself. Thanks for the puns dad.

As they spent more time together, eye rolls, turned into smirks, into smiles, eventually into laughs as Yang told more puns. She tried to make as many happy memories as possible knowing they wouldn't last as they drew closer to the castle.

Chapter Text

As the boat had only so much space, the two kept running into each other. Yang would watch the sunrise and sunset every morning and evening. Belle would sometimes join her in watching the sunset, and only woke up when she could to watch the sunrise. Yang had a faraway look in her eyes when the sun would rise; it was still there with the sunset though not as much. Belle always wondered why or how she managed to be away for her scent to escape the ship. It wasn’t possible. They were on a vessel out in the middle of the water. One cannot simply disappear.

Belle would pretend to be reading the page while walking as they passed, or, following her as Belle took a seat on the deck while Yang stood and watched the water. Belle would eventually join her in conversation and Yang felt comfortable enough to tell her about her half-sister Ruby and her mission, Weiss Schnee.

It was then that Yang realized she didn't do everything she could to help Princess Blake. She didn't help her unlock her aura or semblance like Weiss's mom, Willow, wanted for Weiss while her father was against it.

“What's wrong?” Belle asked seeing a saddened look in Yang's eyes.

“You know when you asked me if I did everything possible to help Princess Blake?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, it turns out I didn't. The princess insisted she wanted to be normal like everyone else, so I indulged her and allowed her to be normal. Her father didn't care one way, but her mother was against it. I was wrong. I was so wrong...” She had to stop the tears gathering in her eyes. This wasn’t the time or place. “She wasn't normal. I never told her the abilities she possessed. The one ability she was born. She... It wouldn't have mattered. As you said, I can't change the past.”

“But you can learn from it. Does everyone have the ability you're talking about?” The cat Faunus asked curiously.

“No. My family was born with it. The Belladonna's, Schnee's, royal families, all born with it. Same with those who entered the academy.”

“Would you be able to check to see if I have it?”

“I can, but I won't.”

Belle felt hurt. It was a simple test. Why wouldn’t she do it? “Why not?”

“Because I'd be scared of what I'd find?” In truth, if Belle didn’t want to believe she was Blake, Yang would honor that, but to prove to see if she had aura… Yang didn’t feel comfortable knowing Belle like that.

“But you're just checking my ability whatever it is.” Why wouldn’t Yang do this small thing for her?

“It's aura. It works like a soul I guess. It can heal injuries and protect you.”

“And why would you be afraid of finding that?” In truth, Belle was terrified. Yang would be peering into her soul…?

“Because everyone has a certain color and I'm terrified to know what yours is.”

“Why, because you still think I'm Blake?”

“No! Because I'm terrified to think you aren't!” Yang's eyes flashed red a second before going back to lilac. She was scared. She was scared that this was Blake and she failed her. She’d found her, with no recollection of memory. “I'm sorry. That's not fair of me to yell at you. I'm just scared. I want so badly to believe after thirteen years I finally found her, but you say you aren't so you're not. You're not her. I still need to keep looking.” She paced a little bit away.

“Yin...” Belle had no idea Yang would freak out like this. It was just her aura color. Surely something small wouldn’t be that big a deal. Yang missed her friend, that’s all there is to it. “I know you've been trying to find her, but all this is seeing if I have aura. You don't even have to do anything else. You can even keep your eyes closed.”

“Yeah, you're right. You want to know, who am I to keep it from you? I'm going to take both-one of your hands. I want you to close your eyes and relax.”

“Okay.”

Yang held her left-hand face up, Blake mimicked her so they touched at the palms and fingertips. Yang and let some of her aura flow into Belle and connect with her soul.

Belle felt like she could feel everything around her. Every voice, every whisper down to the wind, waves, and every spec of energy. She could also feel Yang's uneasiness. “Yin?” She opened her eyes and stopped the process.

“Why'd you stop?”

She looked saddened, bothered by something. “Is it safe to assume I have it?”

“You do, it's light purple.” She slowly backed away.

“Yin?”

“I uh... I need to clear my head. I'll see you around.”

“Yin-wait.” She called after her even though she started going away. Why was she acting so weird? Did I do something wrong?”

“Hey, Belle. What was that about?” Sun greeted.

“I have no idea. Do you see anything weird?”

“You mean her taking your hand with you relaxed with your eyes closed wasn't weird?”

She hesitated, thinking about it. “I guess it was. We weren't glowing or anything?”

He frowned. “Glowing? Belle, what are you talking about?”

Her eyes turned away. “I'm not sure. She was acting a little funny.”

“She's been acting funny a lot lately. Maybe it's the confines of the ship instead of climbing the trees of the forest.” He offered.

“Maybe.” She turned to the water and held her left hand over her right arm.

Sun knew something was wrong with how nervous she was. “You okay?”

“Yeah.” She dismissed quickly.

“You sure?”

“Yeah-no. No-yes. Yes. I'm fine.” Her hand clenched into fists, lowering at her side.

“Oh...kay. You can talk to me about anything ya know.”

“I know Sun.” She smiled.
---

“No, no, no, no, no!” Yang threw a single punch at the bag knocking it off the chain. She was alone in the gym. “It wasn't supposed to be like this! Why!? No, not why, just...! Ugh! I have to be careful. I've told her too much already, it's just...she's so easy to talk to. No! I can't tell her any more than I already have.” Yang continued punching the bag until it proved ineffective from how much she’s done so. Next was one-arm push-ups then sit-ups.

After her work-out, Yang showered then went outside to look at the stars. Her arms were crossed over the railing in a relaxed position. She heard light footsteps behind her. “Hey. I'm sorry about earlier.”

“It's fine. I'm not worried about it.” In truth, she was a little concerned. “Anything you want to talk about? Did you see anything weird?”

“Nothing to mention. I was weirded out but nothing to talk about.”

“Okay...” She let a bit of silence hang between them. “What are you doing out here? There's a whole party downstairs.”

“I'm looking at the stars. I know their names and some of them are funny enough where I don't have to give them fake funny names.”

“Oh yeah, like what?”

She pointed up. “Well, that one there is Air Pump.”

“Air Pump? That's a real name?”

“Yeap.” She grinned. “That one is Pupis.”

“Pupis?.”

“Poopdeck.”. Yang stated nonchalantly.

“Okay, now I know you're messing with me.”

“I'm not kidding. Look it up.”

Belle pulled out her scroll using the ship's connection. She burst out laughing when she searched it. “No. No way! There's no way. Poopdeck. I can not.”

“See? I wasn't kidding.” Yang beamed.

“Okay, give me another one.”

“The square looking one there is Sextans.

“Sex-tan-is?”

“An instrument used in observation.”

“Wow. And I thought you were making stuff up.”

“Nah. I wouldn't lie to you.” Yang smiled, then turned away. How quickly Belle was there to replace Blake. No. Not replace, but talk to and be there for. If Blake did have an aura, there was no doubt it would’ve been purple or nearly a black, like her namesake.

“Show me more.” She stated excitedly.

“That one there is Crater, it means cup.”

“I am tempted to look that one up, but after pupis, I know you're not lying.”

For whatever reason, as odd as it was, Belle believed her. Perhaps Yang was easy to talk to. She answered her questions as honestly as possible, leaving out classified details. Now if Belle asked any questions she couldn't answer, she either straight up told her or rephrased it in a way she could. Even though it seemed like Belle was asking the questions, Yang reciprocated back. Yang didn't expect her to be or even act like the princess she thought she was. Instead, she let her be Belle. The ordinary orphan with no past. She felt safe with Yang, and not just in a protective way.

“You okay?” Yang asked. “You've been quiet for a bit.

“Yeah... I was just thinking about something?”

“Anything you feel like sharing?” Yang asked as Belle had many a wall and she wouldn't budge if Belle didn't feel like talking.

The brunette shook her head. “No. Nothing.”

It didn't seem like anything, but Yang knew not to push. Another trait Belle appreciated. She noticed the other woman start to curl in on herself. “You okay? You seem nervous.”

“Just a little chilly.” Unlike the last time where Yang was able to use her semblance in the morning, at night people would notice the orange glow.

“Here.” Without hesitation, she put her leather jacket over her shoulders showing off her orange tank-top and bicep muscles.

“No... I can't...” Despite her protests, she didn't fight as Yang wrapped her in the warm material that smelled like citrus. Probably from the shampoo and conditioner in the rooms.

“Better?”

“Yeah... Thanks.” She suppressed a blush by how warm she felt.

“You're welcome.” Yang smiled.

“But now you'll be cold.” Even as Belle took subtle whiffs of her jacket, inhaling the scent of lemon, orange, mostly, roasted almonds, coconut and a hint of gunpowder.

“Nah. I don't feel the cold.”

“Must be the way you light yourself on fire.” Belle teased.

Yang grinned. “I imagine it probably helps.”

The two rested in a comfortable silence as Yang star and moon gazing. She decided to do one last stretch by reaching toward the sky. Belle tried not to be obvious as she glanced at her abs. Yang noticed but didn't say anything to tease, feeling like it would make things awkward. “I'm turning in for the night. You can give me my jacket back when you wake up if it's not too cold in the morning.”

“Thanks,” Belle said softly. “Goodnight.” Belle watched her walk away, transfixed by the way her muscled tensed then relaxed at each movement until she was out of sight. She started reading as she didn't even open her book in Yin's presence. She meant to get something done, using the ship lights in the darkness as not to hurt her eyes but became distracted.

Sun watched a little of her display. How can she fall for someone so cocky, arrogant, and too focused on her superficial looks? He knew she was pretty, but he felt he needed to protect. “Hey, Belle.”

“Hey, Sun.” She replied not looking up from her book.

“What's going on?” The monkey Faunus smiled.

“Nothing much.” She shrugged. “What's going on with you?”

“Just finished playing some arcade games. So, how's it feel being a cat Faunus, on a boat in the middle of an ocean and all?”

Belle sighed. She expected better from Sun than an awkward, racist statement. “It's fine. I'm not afraid of the water.”

“That's good. Hey, it's kinda chilly tonight. How about we head to the game room or something. I'll win you a prize of your choice.” He beamed.

“That's alright Sun. The noise bothers my ears and I'm not cold. It's peaceful tonight.”

He scowled. Probably because you're wearing someone else jacket.

Feeling something feral he couldn’t quite explain, he came up from behind Belle and had both his arms on either side of her grabbing the railing. It was possessive, he was trapping her. Belle felt her breaths become heavy but shallow as she couldn't get enough oxygen to her lungs as his front pressed against her back.

Is he sniffing my neck? What is happening? Belle didn't like physical contact without permission or the feeling claustrophobic unexpectedly. This was not okay. “Sun...” She tried to say normally and catch her breath. She felt her anger rise and push him off. She spun to face him, her eyes burning. “What was that!?” She demanded, rubbing the back of her neck trying to get the feeling of hot breath off.

“I-I was keeping you warm.” He rationalized. “Was that not okay? I'm sorry Belle. I didn't mean to-.”

“I'm fine Sun.”

He knew that tone. Though she wasn't glaring, she might as well have been. She knew how to control her emotions and facial expressions. “I'm sorry Belle. I didn't mean it.” I didn't mean to upset you. The words would only upset her further.

Belle began to relax again. Taking a breath and let her shoulders relax. That was until Sun began filling the silence again.

“Did you know as soon as you touch the water, at least two hundred creatures know you're there?” He began small talk to keep the conversation light and going.

“I did. Yin told me.” Her tone was harsh, distant.

Of course, she did. He frowned, crossing his arms. The one book he looked at and Yin knew it better.

Belle did not feel like dealing with him or his attitude right now. “I'll see you tomorrow Sun. I'm going to give Yin her jacket back and turn-in for the night.”

“Belle, we hardly know anything about her. She refuses to tell us anything. Can we trust her?” He reasoned.

She told me her name after I pointed my gun at her and she tells me the truth as much as she can. “She hasn't given me any reason not to. If she was our enemy, we'd both be goners. In the forest when we were alone she had a chance. Here on a ship where there are limited spaces and plenty of hiding spots, she could've had us. She's answered my questions to the best of her ability without revealing classified information.” Though she reveals that.

“She's only doing this because she thinks you're Blake Belladonna, which you're not.” It seems like a fairy tale. The protagonist loses her memory, knight swoops in to help the princess remember and they live happily, ever, after. Saying it would only upset her. “I guess there's a slim chance, but it seems highly unlikely.”

“I agree Sun, but she can still travel with us. We can still accomplish what we set out to do and she can stay until she finds who she's looking for. She isn't hurting anyone. She's helping us. She told me things today that I never thought of before and it's a reason why the divide between humans and Faunus is colossal. History books only write so much and it's a bias point of view of human wash. Besides, she does more than her fair share. She creates self-contained fires, she hunts, cooks, shows us how to fight and defend ourselves better. Not only does she teach us how to survive, but thrive.”

“Not to mention she keeps you warm in more than one way.” He grumbled to himself.

“What was that?” She accused. She heard him perfectly and narrowed her eyes.

“Nothing.” He stated quickly and nervously. “Why are you so passionate about defending her suddenly?” He asked.

Belle gazed off to the side. Why did she? “I'm not passionate. Why are you so against her all the sudden? Seems like you wanted her around at first. Why the change?” She was trying to only be slightly defensive. Sun opened his mouth as if to say something, then closed it. Seeing as he didn't have an answer, she decided it was time to turn in. “Goodnight Sun.”

She paced back to her room. Jacket in hand. In some instances, he was right. They didn't know everything about Yang. She had her secrets, but so did Belle and they respected each other that way. For all Belle knew, Yang could be lying about everything, but it seemed unlikely as she could tell when someone was lying. Maybe being a cat Faunus, she could pick-up on certain vibrations. Besides, why did Sun all the sudden have doubts? They got along great at first. Heck, Belle was the one skeptical of the blonde female.

She found herself in front of Yang's door after some mental conflict with herself. She knocked twice and after hearing some rustling inside, the door opened all the way. “Hey Belle, is everything okay?” The look on her face said no.

“Yeah. Here's your jacket.”

Her words were short, almost uncertain. “Thanks.” She would make a joke about returning it tomorrow, but Belle was anything but okay. Her skin was paler and her eyes were dilated, almost like she was scared. “Would you like to come in?” Yang offered.

“No thanks.” She tried to back away to her room.

“Belle,” She spoke softly. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Sun and I had a bit of a disagreement.”

There was more to it than that. She needed to get her to open up. The woman was nervous and on edge. Almost like Blake when Adam was around her. “I could make you some tea or something?” Tea. Yang scoffed. Blake taught me to like lemon and water.

See, now why did she have to offer the one thing she couldn't refuse? “Just a cup.” She went into Yang's room.

“Lemon, green, black, jasmine, herbal, or early gray?”

“Seventy-five percent green, twenty-five percent lemon.”

“O-o. Papaya tea. Good choice. Have a seat anywhere and make yourself comfy.”

Why does she have to be so perfect and know the name of it? Belle took a seat and looked around the modest room. Did she seriously get me a room with an ocean view while she settled for a cabin? What is wrong with her?

Belle wanted to know more about this mysterious blonde. She found a picture she assumed to be Ruby and Weiss. Ruby had a hand draped over Weiss's shoulder, which was a bit awkward as the red hooded girl was a bit shorter. Weiss looked like she was rolling her eyes but still smiled. They looked and acted like everything Yang described.

“They were on their way to Mistral when that was taken.” Belle nearly knocked the picture off with how scared she was. The blonde was quiet when she wanted to be. Blake wasn’t expecting her to talk so suddenly. “Sorry. I didn't mean to startle you.” Something did happen if she's this jumpy. “Here.” She offered the steaming cup. “Just off the boiler. Give it some time to cool.”

“Thanks.” She stared at the floor as if looking for an answer to the question.

Yang wanted to ask, but she wanted her to feel comfortable first. “I warned you we look nothing alike.” She smiled.

“Huh?” Her mind was wandering.

“Ruby and I. We look almost nothing alike. Same dad, different moms.”

“Oh yeah.” She blew on her tea and took a sip. “Weiss and Ruby look exactly how you described. Weiss looks like she has an attitude but hardly means it while Ruby looks innocent.”

“Yeah. Ruby's too cute for her good, she's seen too many terrible things but keeps smiling anyway. She's mature when she wants to be. I'm still her overbearing sister. It's hard to balance the mothering side and the older sister side.”

“She'll never grow if you don't let her.”

“I know. That's the hard part. I know she needs to grow, it's just hard to let her.” I made that mistake with Blake in having her be normal instead of activating her aura or learning her semblance. She let the silence hang while Belle was taking precise sips of her tea.

“Yang, has... did anything happen to Blake during her childhood that she's afraid of?”

Yang was confused but tried to figure it out. “She wasn't necessarily scared of thunder, but the noise upset her ears-.”

“Nothing like that... I mean like, being cornered or physically touched in a way that wasn't particularly friendly-not inappropriately but something like being trapped?”

Oh... Oh boy... “Did something happen?” Belle had her undivided attention, but now she was attentive and conveyed seriousness.

“No, no.” She said too quickly. “Nothing like that. I was just wondering.”

She said that way too quick. “Well, Blake only accepted hugs from her parents, sister when offered and sometimes me when she-I needed them.” She tried to correct it. “I gave Ruby hugs all the time when we were younger, but Blake, she didn't care much for them.”

“If you don't mind me asking, why?”

“Is everything okay?”

“Yes.” She lied.

Yang knew she was lying and more needed to be said. “It was mostly because of Adam, her 'betrothed' it started with possession. He felt like he needed to know where she was at all times. It was sometimes scary to watch. It was like he was obsessed like he needed her to breathe. Then, she 'worried' him by trying to sneak out of the palace to find quiet spots to read without being judged by anyone. He'd aggressively grab her bicep and try to force her back to the palace. If it wasn't that, he'd try to sneak up behind her and hold his sword at her throat, just enough to threaten. He's also cornered her a few times. Then the aggressive grabbing led to bruising. Blake tried to be brave, but she became jumpy and paranoid. That was when I created our signal. I’d hide in a tree, if I saw him, I'd chirp like a bird and if she wasn't too lost in the story to drown it out, she chirped back to let me know she heard me. Her parents had their own, Adam his own and everyone else was generic. We used Adam's the most. She relaxed more and got lost in the stories more often while I was to keep a lookout.” A tear nearly escaped. She called me her best friend. “She didn't care much for socializing and stuck to books over people.” The guard smiled. “Sound familiar?”

“Yeah, whatever.” Amber eyes rolled. Her mind went to the moment when Sun blocked her against him and the railing. It bothered her much more than it should've. “Did she only have a problem with Adam or...”

“Anyone that wasn't King Ghira, Queen Kali, and at times Princess Heather or I. I would invite her just to be on the safe side.”

“Invite her how?” Belle raised an eyebrow.

“I would open my arms like this.” She demonstrated by opening both arms to either side. It was then she realized she'd taken off her prosthetic and hid her arm quickly. “She didn't have to do anything if she didn't feel comfortable enough to.”

Belle almost fell into the warm embrace. “Has she ever rejected your 'invite'?”

“Sometimes, but not often. I was able to pick up on her emotions, but she hated feeling vulnerable. Her pride would be the only reason she'd reject 'healing hugs' as Ruby called them.”

'Pride would be the only reason'. Sound familiar? A voice in her head spoke. Sun didn't touch or hug her much, even if he wanted to. Yang had Blake figured out down to a science and created math to help her feel better without forcing her. Sun hadn't thought of using an 'invite'. Maybe it would've helped. Sure she and Blake had some similarities, but that was just coincidence, right? Most people have some similarities. Belle was an orphan found alone on a train. Not some princess. Even Sun said there was hardly a chance. Belle had to agree with him there. But to hear him flat out deny it, Belle almost wanted to disagree with him.

Yang saw she was lost in thought. Whatever happened, it had her shaken, but, she seemed to be feeling better now. “You sure you're okay?” She asked carefully.

Belle responded with an eye roll. There she goes looking out for other people. “I'm fine. Thanks for the tea. I'm going to rest.”

Yang smiled. Oh, the puns she could come up within that last sentence alone. “I'd say get your beauty sleep, but you don't have to try. Your name means beauty.”

Belle let out a sigh that she didn't mean. She couldn't help the half-smile that cornered her mouth. “That's how my name was chosen. Goodnight Yang.” She said as more a warning.

“Sleep well.” Yang grinned when the door closed seeing her smile before she left. And she's back. Yang applauds herself.