A/N: Been a while since I've done this fic! Back in Fanfiction, they took this down because of copyright! The nerve of them!
But hopefully, AO3 will keep this fic. Enjoy the new chapter!
"Oh!" Penny called out and blinked a couple of times in slight surprise.
"What's wrong, darling?" Pietro asked his daughter.
"I just received a notification that this will be the last viewing for the day," Penny answered.
"Aww… I wanted to keep watching more…" Ruby pouted.
"As much as all of us want to keep watching, sis, there's some stuff I want to do while we stay here," Yang pointed out.
"I agree." Weiss nodded, then added, "I like to do some research in the library here.
Blake quickly nodded in agreement, as did Ren and Vine.
"I also want to try out some of the games in here, too!" Nora chirped in.
"Okay…" Ruby sighed with a smile. "I also want to see the R&D Room later."
As they finished talking, the viewing then began.
Chapter 7: Olympians
Ares, the God of War. From what Weiss had read about Greek myths, and from what the Amazons had told her, he was one of the Twelve Olympians, the major deities of the Greek Pantheon who lived on Mount Olympus. Each Olympian represented something either from the natural world or a societal concept. As his title would suggest, he represented war. It powered him, gave him life, and he would, in turn, spread it across the world.
"There are twelve of these Gods?!" Blake yelled, shocked that the Amazons worshiped so many deities.
"That's way more than the Gods we have…" Qrow muttered, idly rubbing his hand down his chin.
"Yes!" Penny happily informed them. "Just as the alternate Weiss knows that these twelve each helped shaped and taught humanity as they are now in the modern world."
"Sounds way better than our two good for nothings in our world…" Oscar mutters distastefully while those near him who knew the truth can't help but silently agree.
"And apparently a God that represents War is now in Themyscira." Vine grimaces.
And now he was on the island with them. An actual God was on her doorstep, not even twenty feet away.
"That would be a terrifying thought." Winter agreed, seeing that a God who represents wars is hiding among the Amazons.
The thought terrified Weiss more than she would like to admit, something her friends readily agreed with. None of them were particularly religious, at most believing that if the Brothers had existed, they had long since abandoned their home. They share similar opinions on other figures like the Dust Groom and Ash Bride. Ares' appearance was a marked development from that status quo. The only reason why they weren't freaking out more was because Diana and Donna had taken the time to calm them down.
"Good to know that despite the situation, the two can calm down their people in this kind of crisis." Robyn said then grinned, admiring the Wonder Duo. What she'd do to get the chance to meet them in person.
Although, judging by the look on her face, Diana was feeling enough for all of them combined.
Diana had sent a few guards to both spread the word and get her mother. Within ten minutes, the entire island lit up with bonfires and the sounds of marching feet and clattering bronze. Hundreds of Amazons, hastily dressed in their armor, had begun to rush towards the center of the island, Diana and themselves leading them from the front. They were led to a large cave, the mouth like an open maw and flanked by statues of the gods and goddesses of Olympus. At the top of the cave entrance was a statue of five goddesses, and as they descended into the cave, they came into a large room. The rocky floor gave way to tiled stonework, a multitude of columns reaching up towards the natural ceiling. Torches washed the room in orange light, and a large bonfire kept the room warm, the smoke drifting up through a hole in the ceiling. Several Amazons were already inside. Their weapons pointed at a large stone slab, held against what could only be an opening by heavy bronze clamps.
"Whoa… what is that place?" Jaune said, shuddering at the location, and the army of Amazon warriors didn't help him at all.
"Whatever it is, it's giving me the creeps." Marrow commented, also not liking the look of things.
As more and more Amazons filled the room and the cave entrance, each of them pointed their weapons at the stone slab, prompting RWBY and JNPR to do the same with their own. Despite not knowing exactly what that slab was for, it obviously spooked the Amazons, and as such, caution was warranted.
"Looks like we get to join in…" Yang lightly grinned but still felt a sense of dread.
"What could be behind that stone slab that would put all the Amazons on edge?" Ren asked, both wanting and not wanting to know the answer.
"Egeria, anything?" Diana demanded one of the Amazons already in the room. Egeria, a woman of tall stature, turned around and shook her head.
"Nothing as of yet," she revealed, "but Ares undoubtedly has his sight on the Doom Door."
"The Doom Door?" Harriet raised a brow with a skeptical look. "What kind of dumb name is that?"
"Donna, what's the Doom Door?" Jaune whispered to the Wonder Girl, careful to keep his voice low.
"The entrance to the Underworld," she whispered back. "It keeps the monsters of Hades at bay, preventing them from running amok in the world. All Amazons are sworn to defend it, keep it locked and prevent anything from escaping it."
"…oh." Harriet muttered, shocked to learn that the dumb name-sounding door was the entrance to Hell. Everyone was stunned into utter silence, various mixed emotions of shock and fear plastered across their faces.
Maria was the one who broke the silence, and commented, "Well… glad to know that there is an afterlife even though it's the kind you don't want to go to."
"I doubt anyone wants to." Clover replied.
"…oh." Jaune's voice went quiet as he stared at the Doom Door, beads of sweat beginning to drip down his brow. A quick look showed that, out of his friends, only Pyrrha, Yang, and Ren could say they were completely calm and collected. Blake's ears were twitching more than usual. Weiss' grip on Myrtenaster was intense, Ruby was fidgeting on her feet, and Nora's usual excitement was replaced with an intensity not usually seen on the girl.
"Can't say I blame their reactions." Robyn pointed out while feeling on edge herself. "Heck, even me and my girls would feel uneasy."
A sound of parting soldiers announced Hippolyta's arrival. The Amazon Queen strode to the front of the assembled warriors, clad in her golden armor, sword in hand. Her expression was that of utter seriousness. Given the situation, it wasn't hard to understand exactly why that would be the case. Taking a hard look at Doom's Doorway, Hippolyta turned to a dark-skinned woman to her side, and a maroon cloak draped around her dark red armor.
"Phillipus," Hippolyta began, "I want twenty Amazons guarding the Doorway at all times. Let nothing get out. I want an additional hundred outside of the cave entrance."
"Phillipus is a high-ranking Amazon general on Paradise Island and a long-time ally of Wonder Woman and her mother, Queen Hippolyta." Penny introduced.
"So they even have a general among their ranks." James said with interest.
"Yes, my Queen." Phillipus saluted Hippolyta. She then turned to a group of Amazons and began barking orders at them while Hippolyta turned to her daughters.
"Diana, Donna, a word," she requested. At once, the princesses nodded and followed their mother to the far side of the room, a wave of the Queen's hand staying everyone from following. Once they were alone, Hippolyta turned to her daughters and sighed.
"Diana, please tell me my suspicions are unfounded," she asked. When Diana regretfully nodded, the Queen groaned and shook her head. "Athena's grace…"
"It would seem that the queen has been informed about Ares." Ren commented.
"Who's Athena?" Nora asked.
"She is the Goddess of Wisdom and Defensive War." Penny helpfully answered, earning a few interested thoughts from the viewers.
"My thoughts exactly." Diana's expression hardened. "Ares is the one who gave Crane the formula. There can be no other answer as to how he got it."
"That would make sense…" Winter frowned at that possibility.
"But why would a god allow that?" Marrow questioned.
"They did say Ares is the God of War." Harriet reminded him.
"But how?" Donna asked, her voice much more alarmed than the others. "I thought you killed Ares?"
"Wait. She did?!" Ruby squeaked while everyone was stunned by that fact.
"I see… when you think about it, Diana does hold a godly status, so it would not be strange for her to be capable of that." Pietro pointed out, making the others agree to that while those who knew the truth recalled the time when the Brothers fought against each other and wondered if they could kill each other.
"But that doesn't explain how Ares survived." Jaune points out in confusion. "How did this happen anyway?"
"It was during the final days of the war Diana participated in." Penny explained.
"I did," Diana revealed with a scowl. She remembered the fight well. It had destroyed an airfield, killed dozens of German soldiers, and ended with the man she loved sacrificing himself to end the war. Ares died soon after, Diana killing him with her own godly power.
"That must have been quite an ordeal to end the war…" Weiss whispered sadly, seeing how many sacrifices were made to stop the war.
"But in the end, Ares survived." Qrow pointed.
Unfortunately, it didn't appear to have stuck.
"Then how did he come back?" Donna asked, only for Diana to go silent. Looking at her older sister for an answer, Diana shook her head, making the Wonder Girl sigh. As much as she idolized her sister, Donna always got the sense that Diana often hid things from her, mostly concerning Diana's time before and during the Second World War. Donna wasn't blind to how awful those conflicts were, and her time with the Titans showed her the darker side of Man's World at nearly every turn, so she would respect her sister's decision.
"It doesn't matter," Hippolyta declared. "What does matter is the safety of Themyscira. To that end, I will be canceling the festivities tomorrow."
"What!? Mother!" Donna objected. "You can't do that!"
"That would be a logical choice." James agreed with the Queen's decision seeing the threat is close, and inwardly regrated, not thinking of this during the last Vytal Festival, then maybe Beacon would not have fallen.
"As Queen, I am well within my right to do so," Hippolyta reminded her daughter, her tone commanding but not angry. "I don't like it any more than you do, but the safety of my people and the Doorway must come first."
"That's gonna suck for our others." Yang sighed. She didn't like the idea but understood what the Queen was talking about. While she recalled the Fall of Beacon, she only regretted not seeing that her and Pyrrha's other wouldn't be participating in the tournament.
"Perhaps another time then." Clover suggested.
"I disagree," Diana spoke up, drawing her family's attention. Seeing this, Diana straightened herself and looked directly into her mother's eyes. "Mother, if we cancel the festival tomorrow, what exactly will we be accomplishing?"
Diana's intervention surprised everyone, for they didn't expected Wonder Woman to do that.
"What is she getting at…?" Elm asked, furrowing her brow as she tried to understand why Wonder Woman was against the idea.
"The protection of Themyscira," Hippolyta answered, slightly confused as to where her firstborn was going with this.
"Isn't that the reason?" Vine questioned, still confused by Diana's action.
"No, that is not what we will be accomplishing." Diana shook her head. "Mother, Ares is not a God who acts directly. He plays upon people's fears, whispers into their minds, all to drive conflict. Him showing himself on this island is another of his tricks. He's trying to get us to act on his whims, to prove that he is superior to us. By canceling the festival tomorrow, we won't be protecting Themyscira. We'll be giving Ares a win."
Hearing that made a lot of the viewers think carefully about what Wonder Woman said. Granted, canceling the tournament would ensure the safety of the people from the threat, but after listening to the facts of the stated threat's intentions it made more sense to keep going as planned. But it was obvious that it was a risky gamble.
"I still say it's better to cancel the tournament. The safety of the island comes first." Winter pointed out while most of the viewers agree with her.
"I think they should continue with the tournament." Ruby countered with a look of surety. "If Diana is that sure that is what Ares wants, then they can't cancel the tournament."
"And how do you know that nothing bad will happen?" Harriet asked the same question again, not convinced of the reaper's answer.
"I don't." Ruby smiled. "I mean, I doubt anyone can even tell what will happen, but I'm confident that Diana knows what she is doing."
Harriet just stared at the young girl, then huffed and looked turned back to the screen. At the same time, she was growing more annoyed by these newcomers.
Hippolyta went silent at Diana's declaration, thinking her words over. She knew that Diana had firsthand experience at dealing with Ares, so she could trust her judgment. The more she thought of it, the more she came around to her daughter's thinking. She was right, as much as she didn't want to admit it. With a sigh, the Queen nodded to her daughter in acceptance.
"Alright, I concede to your point." Hippolyta nodded. "I will, however, be increasing the guard around the Doorway as a precaution."
"So in the end, they decided to continue it." James lightly sighed, but knew he had to accept the Queen's judgement at the same time.
"Yes! It's tournament time, baby!" Nora cheered happily that they got to see the festivities in action.
"I'd be alarmed if you didn't," Diana stated with a smile. With one final nod from the Queen, Hippolyta dismissed her daughters and turned to face her gathered Amazons while Diana and Donna returned to RWBY and JNPR. For a moment, Diana had thought the group would be curious as to what had been discussed, but the look on Blake's face conveyed the sense that the Faunus had heard everything. All of them had grim looks on their faces, but ones that also showed they weren't willing to let this development get the better of them.
"And of course, my counterpart would hear and tell everything to the others." Blake sighed as her ears twitched, not surprised in the slightest at what her other did.
"We really have a bad habit of eavesdropping with heroes, don't we?" Yang joked in an attempt to lighten the mood.
"So, I imagine you already heard everything," Diana asked, to which Blake nodded. "In the future, be careful not to eavesdrop on private conversations… Unless you are on a mission, in which case go ahead."
"Of course," Blake said, her ears slightly drooping. "Sorry, I didn't mean to…"
"It's fine, no harm done." Diana flashed a warm smile. "Donna, please take them back to the guest house to get some rest. You all will need it for tomorrow."
"At least she's not mad." Ruby said happily.
"I hope that either you or your counterparts don't keep doing that." Winter sternly chastised.
"You got it," Donna replied with a smile. She beckoned the huntsmen and huntresses to follow her, the gathered Amazons parting for them as they passed. Once they exited the cave and left the small army behind, Ruby paused and looked behind them in worry.
"Ruby, is something wrong?" Donna asked in slight concern.
"Oh… looks like my other is thinking the same thing I'm thinking." The viewing Ruby says, knowing exactly why her other just stopped.
"No, but…" Ruby sighed. "I feel like we should be in there, not fighting in a tournament."
"You shouldn't worry about that. This is an affair of the Amazons. Your others are guests in Themyscira." Vine pointed out but understands the young Rose's good intentions.
"I know… but still…" Ruby sighed.
"Nonsense." Donna shook her head. "You are Themyscira's guests. We cannot ask you to help defend her. Not when her daughters are more than able to do so."
"I know… but still…" Ruby kicked her feet, causing Donna to frown slightly before shaking her head.
"Oh! Another echo." Nora giggled.
"Trust me. I'm in the same boat as you. Still, I have faith in my sisters, and as Diana said, we can't let Ares win." Donna then smiled more brightly. "So cheer up. Everything will be alright, you'll see."
"Talk about confidence." Yang smiled at Donna's strong belief in her people and her sister Diana.
"Our others should put their trust in them." Ren commented, seeing that the Amazons have things covered.
Ruby looked at the Amazon for a moment, then sighed and smiled. "Okay."
Donna smiled back at the reaper's declaration. At that, the group continued down the path towards the guest house. Despite Donna's words of encouragement, however, they couldn't help but feel a sense of unease, like Ares' sighting was an omen of things to come.
Whatever it was, they all vowed they would be ready for it.
"So true…" Maria spoke from experience has she touched her artificial eyes. "Just because you are somewhere safe doesn't mean that you should drop your guard."
Jaune got up early the next morning, the sunlight beaming into his face from the glassless window of the guest house. Noticing that his friends were still asleep, he quietly got out of his bed and crept towards the bedroom door, grabbing Crocea Mors and his regular clothes on his way out. He changed out of his sleepwear, missing his blue Pumpkin Pete onesie in the process, then left the house. He paused at the sight of the burned Sign of Mars on the doorstep and frowned. Jaune had come to learn that the symbol was a representation of Ares, and it served to remind him just how close the deity was to all of them.
"Wait, the planet Mars? As in the former home of the Martian Manhunter?" Marrow said in shock that the lone Martian's home is a representation of the God of war.
"In ancient times, the Amazons of Themyscira named all the planets in the Solar System a representation of their Gods." Penny explained.
"Now, that's fascinating." Pietro comments fascinating at how their Deities are worshiped.
"Yeah… fascinating." Jaune says with a relieved look seeing that everyone was not paying attention to the fact that his other wore a Pumpkin Pete onesie and were more interested in planets being representations of Gods. Well, except for his friends as they covered their mouths, holding in their laughter, remembering a familiar sight of their friend's dorky side.
"Brothers, or is it gods now? Ugg, this is so confusing," he grumbled to himself as he continued on his way to Themyscira. His thoughts ran wild with the events of the past month. To say that his life had been a roller coaster would have been an understatement. So many things had been thrown at him that it was almost overwhelming at times.
"That would be confusing." The viewing Jaune admitted, seeing that his other needs get used to the fact there are more than two gods outside of Remnant.
His thoughts drifted back to the worst two days in his life, and he shuddered. The pain of losing Remnant was still there, a dull ache in his heart, but at the same time, it was growing duller and duller by the day. It no longer affected him as much as it did during that first week. Being with the League, it gave him a goal to work towards. He had always wanted to be a hero, follow in his family's footsteps, but it seemed as though fate had other plans. Pyrrha and Jaune actually had quite a few discussions on that very same topic.
"Glad to see that your other is getting better now." Ren commented, knowing that if his leader's other is getting better, the rest followed his example.
"Yeah… but I wonder what my other was talking about with Pyrrha?" Jaune asked.
"Jaune, do you believe in destiny?" she asked him a few days into their training with Batman, before the whole debacle with Scarecrow. He had told her that he didn't know how to answer that, even though, in actuality, he didn't really believe. How Remnant getting destroyed would be anyone's destiny and not the actions of a deranged madman was beyond him, but he would never tell his partner that.
Jaune violently flinched the moment those exact words were said. The same scene of it ultimately reminded him that very moment his Pyrrha asked him that very question. The very thing he regrated the most in his whole life.
He failed to understand her doubts and desperation of his late partner that day.
He failed to say the right words of encouragement to her that day.
He failed to see that she was forced to choose a destiny that she never asked for.
And because of his lack of foresight, the woman he loved was now dead, and he barely did anything for her!
It was his fault that he let his stupid, petty pride gave her late partner a hard time.
It was his fault he could never see her agai–
"JAUNE!" The said boy snapped out from his thoughts to quickly look up to see his first friend from Beacon giving him a look of concern. It wasn't just Ruby but the others as well, especially his closest friends.
"Wha…?" Jaune could only stutter in bewilderment but then felt something fall from his eyes. He touched his face, finally noticing that he was crying.
"Jaune… are you okay?" Weiss asked in concern for her friend.
Jaune didn't answer. For starters, he was wiping his face with his arms, and secondly, he was just too ashamed to talk about this particular topic to anyone.
"Jaune…?" Nora slowly spoke to her Fearless Leader with a look of concern on her face as he finished wiping his face dry.
Jaune took a deep breath and sighed, then quietly admitted, "No… no, I am not. This is something that Pyrrha and I talked about before the Fall of Beacon, and it's the greatest regret in my life."
His friends looked at each other in concern. Then they looked back at the blond, wondering what he meant.
"Do you… want to talk about it?" Ren gently asked, hoping that he can help his leader.
"Maybe after the viewing." Jaune smiled a bit, but there was still a bit of hurt on his face.
With that, everyone continued back to the viewing, but the young knight's friends were still worried for him.
She had told him that, to her, destiny wasn't some predetermined outcome that one could never escape from. Rather, it was a goal that a person worked towards their entire life. She always felt that it was her destiny to help people, and for a long time, she felt that was best served by being a huntress. But now that Remnant was gone, literally dust and rock floating somewhere in the middle of space, that was no longer an option. But being with the Justice League, becoming a superhero, that offered her a new avenue to fulfilling her destiny, which is why she leaped in with gusto. That he understood and agreed with.
This got the viewing Jaune to perk up at this slight difference of the question, but then again, this was before the time the Singles from the last Vytal Festival started.
"This is… slightly different." Jaune muttered.
"Well, what about me?" he had asked her afterward.
"Well, I believe that your destiny is to be the great hero that you always strive to be," Pyrrha had declared with such confidence and conviction that it surprised him. Jaune chuckled, reminding himself just how lucky he was to be partnered with one of the greatest people on Remnant. He doubted that anyone else would have done what she had done back then, outside of Ruby, of course. The others simply would have turned him into Glynda or Ozpin for his own safety.
"Well, isn't that sweet?" Harriet sarcastically said while getting bored.
"At least my other is having it good." Jaune counters getting a slight growl from the Ace-Op, but deep down the viewing Jaune couldn't help but feel jealous of his other.
It was only a few minutes after that conversation that the whole debacle with the Lasso of Truth ensued. Knowing what he knew now, Pyrrha's view of him might have stemmed from multiple sources, and he still didn't quite know what to think about that. Pyrrha was undoubtedly important to him, but he didn't know if he was willing or able to take that step. And a persistent little part of him that he tried his best to ignore asked if he really deserved it.
"Ugh… why is he recalling this?" Jaune whined as he blushed at the confession memory.
"I'm so sorry again, Fearless Leader." Nora squeaked.
"Not your fault Nora." Jaune lightly laughed.
Before Jaune could delve deeper into those thoughts, he reached the city limits. Before him, he saw Amazons beginning their preparations for the festival. Banners and torches lined the streets, and food stands were readying themselves for a busy day. Most of the Amazons ignored him. A few glared at him with unmasked annoyance, while a few more looked at him in curiosity and even waved. He waved back at those while he himself continued on to the arena, stopping by one of the practice areas on its outskirts. A few Amazons were already there, testing out their swords, shields, spears, and bows, and few acknowledged his presence as he strode up to a red-haired Amazon working on her bow.
"Nice to see most of the warriors of Themyscira are also up early to train." Elm smiled. Seeing those lady warriors are up early for their duties, she could help but feel a bit of pride in being a fellow woman herself.
"Nice to know that not all Amazon women are annoyed by us." Jaune deadpaned while a few of the men nodded in agreement.
"But who's the red-haired Amazon?" Yang asked, seeing that the alternate Jaune was walking up to her.
"Excuse me, Artemis?" he asked, causing the Amazon to turn and look down at him. She recognized him immediately, having seen his training there the previous day, quite a few times against herself and her sisters.
"That's Artemis?" Weiss said in surprise.
"My other sparred with her?" Jaune added, also surprised that his other trained with them but knowing how he was back then, he can only imagine his other's ass being kicked a lot.
"Well, look who came back?" the Amazon announced with a smirk. "Have to admit, surprised that you returned after the thrashing you took yesterday."
"Oh, I like her already." Harriet smirked at the Amazon's comment.
"Hah hah…" The viewing Jaune dryly laughed.
"I'm curious at what kind of person Artemis is." Blake says, curious to know what kind of person she is.
"Hah hah," Jaune dryly laughed. "Do you mind if I use one of the available lots before the others arrive? I'd like to get some practice in."
"Sure, you can use the one in the far back," Artemis stated while pointing back to the spot in question. Looking towards it, he saw a wooden practice dummy decked in crude bronze armor, a rough shield in one hand and sword in the other. The helmet it was wearing was comical, looking all misshapen and a stereotypical fanged mouth and angry eyes painted on its face, and he couldn't help but laugh. Rather than look irritated at his reaction, Artemis merely chuckled in turn.
"That looks weird." Ruby tilted her head and giggled.
"I think it's cute." Penny countered as she joins with her friend in giggles.
"Why would they make something like that?" Oscar asked.
"Probably meant for younger trainees." Vine answered.
"Yeah, it does look weird. Now hurry up! The combatants will be here within the hour."
"Alright, alright," Jaune said as he walked towards the assigned lot. "By the way, Artemis? Getting beaten up by women is not a new experience for me. Getting beaten up by you was nothing special."
Everyone stood silent at what the alternate Jaune said. Then they slowly turned to look at their own Jaune only to see that he just crossed his arms and nodded.
"Isn't that the truth." He said as if he had no problem with that and that made everyone think as if he had a second head.
"Um… Jaune?" Ruby calls, getting his friend's attention. "Have you… ever said that to any woman when you train?"
Jaune just raised a brow in confusion at that question, then answered "No? I don't think I did, but I do think about it from time to time."
This got everyone just staring at the blond in silence with various mixed emotions.
The men couldn't be sure if they should pity him for getting beaten up by women all the time or respect the fact that he could take a beating.
The women who are close to the blond can't help but feel somewhat guilty at the fact that they are much stronger than him, but at the same time, all of the women can't help but feel offended at the point he brushes the fact off he doesn't find it special being beaten down by women.
"Is that so?" Harriet asked with a grin and a dangerous look on her face. "Then I don't suppose you don't mind me joining in your next training."
Jaune blinks before widening his eyes, not liking the look on her face. He stammered, "I-I don't think…"
"Why not settle with Hare? Heck, how about I join in as well?" Elm added with the same look on her face as her fellow Ace-Op. "I was informed that you do need to train your physical resistance."
Jaune gulped as he looked around for help from his friends. The girls just gave him an apologetic/encouraging/a bit of dark smile while the boys just looked away, not wanting to add more fuel to the flames while a few just gave him a 'good luck' or 'Godspeed' look, making him realize that he was on his own.
"I-I can't wait…?" Jaune gulped with a nervous forced smile.
"Oh, is that so?" Artemis asked with an amused yet dangerous look in her eyes. "Perhaps I should join you today and help with your training?"
"There's no need for that!" Jaune quickly backtracked, causing Artemis to chuckle darkly.
"Seriously? My other has the guts to say no, and I can't!?" The viewing Jaune complaints, getting a few laughs from the audience.
"Just shows how much your other has a spine." Maria mused.
"Oh, but I think there is. You know what, I think I will join you today. Everyone needs a trainer."
"Won't deny that truth." Winter nods in agreement.
"That's something I'm sure everyone can agree on." Qrow added.
"You are absolutely right, Artemis," Donna declared as she walked to the lot, turning everyone's heads. "Which is why I will be working with him today while you work with your fellow Amazons."
"Oh, thank goodness…" Jaune sighs in relief, glad for Donna's timely intervention.
Artemis and Jaune both looked at the princess, Artemis' one of annoyance and Jaune's one of thankfulness before Artemis scoffed and walked away.
"Whatever, not worth my time anyway," she muttered as she walked to her lot. Smiling to herself, Donna walked over to Jaune, grabbing a sword and shield off a rack as she passed it.
"That's right, walk away." Yang grinned, liking how the scene played out.
"Yang! That wasn't nice." Ruby chastised her sister.
"I don't mind." Jaune added.
"Thanks for that," Jaune thanked the Amazon princess as she entered the ring with him. He wasn't lying that getting beaten up by the Amazons the day before wasn't something unique to him, but at the same time, he didn't learn anything from the experiences. At least when Pyrrha sparred with him, she took the time to help him out every step of the way, instead of just putting him on the ground.
"No problem. Artemis tends to be a little… aggressive in her fights." Donna readied herself, and Jaune did the same. After a moment, the two swung at each other, Donna expertly blocking his sword with her shield and swinging hers into his.
"Yeah, I noticed that pretty up close yesterday," Jaune agreed as he traded blows with the princess. He swung his sword in quick, heavy blows, each one getting deflected by Donna effortlessly. On his final swing, Donna ducked underneath while sweeping out his leg, tripping him up and sending him sprawled to the dirt with a jolt of déjà vu. "Oww…"
"Always keep track of your footing," Donna suggested while she helped the knight to his feet. She then tapped her sword against her shield twice and readied herself. "Again."
"Glad your other is branching out in his training." Ren comments to his friend.
"Yeah. Wish I could get that kind of training." Jaune said.
"You can if you want with the Simulator Room." Penny chimed in.
Jaune nodded at her then went on the offensive. Swinging his sword and raising his shield to block her blows, Jaune kept moving around in an attempt to put her on the back foot. He pressed forwards towards her, keeping her on the defensive and closer and closer to the edge of the lot. He then swung his sword down hard onto hers, forcing Donna to bring her sword up broadside to block it. Then, she suddenly punched into his gut with her shield, sending him staggering back a few feet and giving her room to breathe.
"Your shield is as much of a weapon as your sword, Jaune. Never assume that just because someone is on the defensive that it means they can't turn things around."
"I already know that. Pyrrha taught me that." The viewing Jaune pointed out.
"Of course, your defense can also be your best offense." Clover nods in agreement.
"Yeah, I know that," Jaune said as Donna rushed towards him. The two warriors continued to swing at each other, now throwing the occasional kick or punch into the mix as they continued to spar. Every so often, Jaune would get a few good hits on the Amazon, but most of the time, she was the one who managed to get past his defenses and knock him to the ground, whereupon she would immediately help him up to his feet, point out the flaws he had, and together work to get past them. This went on for nearly an hour of non-stop sparring, and by the end, both he and Donna were sweaty and panting heavily.
"Wonder Girl is one good sparring partner." Robyn comments liking how Donna is physically fit and a good training partner.
"Okay, I think we can call it a day," Donna declared between pants. Jaune nodded in agreement, and together the two walked to a nearby stone bench. A pair of Amazons handed the two of them wet towels, which they immediately used to cool themselves off in the hot Themysciran sun.
"Ughh, I'm glad I have Aura…" Jaune groaned as his Aura healed a fresh bruise on his chest from where Donna had kicked him.
"Aura is useful for this kind of thing." Oscar said, recalling the time during his combat training.
"But it's much different for those who don't have Aura." James points out the pros and cons for those who have not unlocked Aura. Then a thought accord to him. "Is it possible for people outside of Remnant to have their Aura unlocked?"
That question did get everyone thinking. They know that it is a common fact that Remnantians can unlock their Aura to create a forcefield and enhance their physical abilities and grant them a unique Semblance.
But after seeing the Justice League, the existence of another race like the Martian Manhunter and Superman and the Metahumans made them think otherwise.
"That is an interesting topic." Pietro hums as we are in deep thought. "From what I can gather, every race is unique to their genetics abilities such as Kryptonians and Martians, but in our case, we simply unlock our abilities, and there is the case of the metagene they mentioned before."
"We do know that all life has souls inside them." Vine points out. "But for all we know the process of unlocking one's Aura can only work for those born in Remnant or rather the genetics that we carry within us."
"I would very much like to research this when we have the time." Weiss says interested in this particular topic.
"Sorry about that. Kinda got carried away a little bit at the end there." She chuckled awkwardly before handing him a cup of water. Jaune greedily took it and began to drink the contents down, noting how refreshing it was. His body aches seemed to disappear, and he looked at it curiously. Noticing this, Donna laughed and took the cup from him.
"All water in Themyscira comes from a single underground spring," she began to explain. "It's blessed by water nymphs and is the closest one can get to ambrosia outside of Olympus itself."
"They even have enchanted magic water?" Qrow says honestly, not getting surprised by this trend anymore.
"Earth really has everything, don't they?" Nora chimes in.
"Ah." Jaune nodded his head and wiped off more sweat from his brow. The two sat together in silence as more and more Amazons, fully decked in armor, appeared at the training lot. "Lots of people taking part in this."
"Goes to show how much this tournament means for everyone." Yang commented.
"Yes, it's something that we have been looking forward to for some time. I actually came back from Jump City to take part in it."
"Jump City? That's a funny name." Ruby giggled.
"I bet that's where she lives in." Oscar added.
"Oh, you're going to be fighting in the tournament?" Jaune asked, only for Donna to shake her head.
"No, unfortunately. Neither is Diana, for that matter." Donna sighed wistfully at that, causing Jaune to furrow his brow before leaning back.
"Why not? I would like to see those two in combat." Elm slightly complained.
"Either because of Ares or for another reason." Maria points out.
"So," he began, "what's it like? Being the younger sister to the Wonder Woman?"
Donna hummed to herself before smiling. "Diana is… everything an Amazon should be. She's kind, loving, courteous, and strong in so many ways. I grew up hearing about her, who she was, and all that she accomplished." Donna sighed. "I met her for the first time a decade ago, when Diana rallied the Amazons to protect the world against Darkseid. She was… everything my people made her out to be and more."
"Talk about high expectations." Jaune comments in awe but also understands what Donna was talking about.
"A true role model to follow." Weiss sighs, admiring Wonder Woman's deeds.
"I can imagine how hard it is to live up to that," Jaune noted while looking at her carefully. Donna nodded her head and looked back.
"Like you wouldn't believe." Donna laughed. "It's not far from the truth to say that I idolize her. After the White Martians invaded five years ago, I set off from Themsycira to follow in Diana's footsteps, eventually finding myself in Jump City with the Titans."
"The Titans?" Ruby tilted her head before gasping in realization with her eyes sparkling. "Are they another superhero group?"
"The Titans?" Jaune asked. "Who are they?"
"They used to be called the Teen Titans, but after Nightwing, Cyborg, and Starfire turned twenty, they changed the name." Donna shrugged then continued on. "We're a team of younger superheroes centered in Titans Tower at Jump City. We formed shortly after the White Martian invasion. Actually have one of them in our ranks, in fact."
Nora gasps in awe. "You mean a group of young heroes who are like the Justice League."
"And Nightwing is a member too?" Harriet asked, interested in this group.
"Yes!" Penny said as she begins to explain who the Titans are. "As Donna said, they were once called the Teen Titans because the founding members Nightwing, who was originally Robin at the time, Starfire, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Raven banded together in Jump City when a group of alien fugitives tried to kidnap Starfire."
"Raven?" Yang said as her eyes slightly turned red at the mention of her bastard mother but quickly shook it off, knowing that it was just another hero with a codename.
Penny continued. "As time passed, they changed their name and began to recruit more members and even have joint missions with the Justice League."
"That's so cool! Both young and old working together to keep the world safe." Marrow says in awe.
"Even a White Martian is a member." Blake points out.
"Wait, you mean the traitor?" Jaune asked, remembering the talk with J'onn about the origins of the Justice League.
"Jaune!" Blake hissed towards the blond.
"My other said that! I'm sorry!" The viewing Jaune quickly said as he raised both his hands in his defense or his other.
"Yes. M'gann has been a tremendous help these past few years, and I consider her to be a great friend and ally. Though it's probably best if you don't call her that if you meet her." Donna nodded to herself before looking at Jaune, who winced apologetically from the familiar taste of his foot in his mouth. "What about you?"
"That's nice to hear." Blake smiled in admiration seeing someone who went as far as betraying her kind to save the lives of another race.
"Me?" Donna nodded, and so Jaune cleared his throat and continued. "Well, I have to say that I can understand exactly what it's like being surrounded by people you look up to. It's no secret that my friends are… much more capable than me. At one point, I was more self-conscious about it, but that was beaten out of my head a couple weeks into my first semester."
"And that was one hell of a year." Nora giggled while Jaune covered his face in shame and embarrassment at the memory.
"Let me guess, you got too prideful, and you ended up getting yourself walked all other by some bullies." Qrow guessed, getting a surprised look from Jaune.
"How did you know?"
"Lucky guess." Qrow grinned.
"I can imagine how." Donna smiled, making Jaune playfully glare at her.
"Hah hah, yes. I got my butt kicked. Given how I got into Beacon in the first place, it doesn't surprise me."
"Wait." Marrow said as he turned to the bond. "You didn't have any training at all?"
"No… no, I did not. I had no training. I did not know combat, Grimm, Aura, or Semblance. Heck, I had my Aura unlocked during the middle of initiation in Beacon." Jaune answered honestly, getting most of the audience's jaws to drop that a nobody with no experience what's so ever despite from well-known family managed to survive all that.
"You… are one lucky sonuva bitch, you know that?" Qrow said with his eyes widened.
"That's putting mildly…" Clover admits, even he doubts his Semblance can pull him through all that.
Jaune could only chuckle nervously and yet feel a bit of pride in making it this far.
"What do you mean?" Donna raised her eyebrow, and Jaune waved his hand.
"Well, like you with Diana, I grew up hearing about my family's exploits. My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, they were all heroes. My sword actually belonged to my great-grandfather, saw use in the Great War, and it was passed down the Arc family ever since. I grew up hearing about their heroism, and I wanted to 'continue the legacy' and join those ranks."
"Is that why you wanted to become a Huntsman?" Elm asked, seeing that it was just a childhood dream.
"Yeah… a dream and to prove that I can be much more." Jaune says with determination that caused a few of the audience to be taken back by his declaration while his friends smiled at their friend's dream.
"I take it they didn't take the request to train you all that well?" Donna asked, only for Jaune to shake his head.
"No, they didn't. I think it was because they didn't want me or my sisters to live the life my father had, and so they tried to get us to go into other pursuits. But I was stubborn and prideful and wouldn't take no for an answer despite no one training me."
"A common excuse from parents to not allow their children take up the role as Huntsmen." Maria comments.
"So you trained yourself and then lied your way to Beacon, right?" she asked, prompting a confused look from Jaune. Waving her hand around, Donna began to explain herself. "Pyrrha and I talked a bit yesterday. She let me know after I asked about it."
"I guess everyone now knows." Jaune sighs.
"Ah, I guess it is kind of a pointless secret now. Well, long story short, a guy named Cardin found out about my transcripts, threatened to turn me in if I didn't do whatever he wanted before I finally stood up to him after several weeks of hell and saved his life from an Ursa. Afterward, I finally swallowed my pride and let Pyrrha train me." Jaune smiled at this, prompting Donna to do the same.
"My gods, you were pathetic." Harriet bluntly comments.
"Harriet!" Clover shouted his fellow Ace-Ops, who shared his look, only for Jaune to hastily wave his hands to try and calm the situation.
"No, no! It's okay. I was being a prideful idiot back then, even I know how pathetic I was back then, but I'm just glad that I managed to pull through and became a better person out of it thanks to my friends." Jaune says, earning a smile from his friends, happy to see how much the knight has grown.
Harriet just mentally growled and just looked away as she mentally thought to herself, "Friends? Who needs them? They just slow you down." Tortuga appeared in her head when she felt those words, but she furiously shook off the memory as she tried to focus on the viewing.
"I see that you admire her a lot."
"I did." The viewing Jaune sadly smiles.
"Yeah, I do. Doesn't make things any less awkward between us right now…" Jaune noted, and Donna patted his shoulder.
"Trust me. You two will figure things out. After eighty years, I've seen more than my fair share of awkward relationships between friends."
"That's nice of…" Ruby paused mid-sentence and blinked a couple of times. "What did she say?"
"Yeah, I guess you're…" Jaune paused mid-sentence and slowly turned his head to stare at Donna. "Um, what did you say?"
"I've seen more than my fair share of awkward relationships?" Donna repeated, utterly confused.
"No, before that."
"Um… after eighty years?" Donna repeated, now beginning to realize where Jaune's surprise and confusion came from. She noticed how his eyes quickly scanned her, and she couldn't help but feel amusement.
"…She's eighty?" Most of the audience gawked at that fact while others were just stunned silenced.
Penny, however, was confused at their reaction. "Why are you all acting surprised? Have you all not been informed that the Amazons have long lifespans?"
"But… she doesn't look more than eighteen!" Weiss rebuked, still having it hard to believe that Donna is actually that old.
"Yes, actually." Donna smiled, growing more and more amused at the confused look on Jaune's face.
"…I thought you were only eighteen…"
"That's what we thought!" Nora shouted as she raises both her hands.
"Well, I am the youngest Amazon on the island, so that is understandable."
"And still looking good!" Yang joked.
"So she's like the youngest out of all of Themyscira?" Ruby asks.
"And I thought having seven sisters was tough…" Jaune says.
"You have seven sisters?" Marrow says in surprise, along with those who didn't know that small fact.
Jaune continued to stare at her before shrugging. "And I thought having seven sisters was tough…"
"You have seven sisters?" It was now Donna's turn to be confused, bringing satisfaction to Jaune's face at the turned tables. He nodded at this, prompting a look of worry to cross Donna's face. "What did your father do to your mother?"
"EW! TMI! No one needs to know that!" Weiss gagged as she blushed at the question along with a few of the younger others.
"I am very much curious about that question, though." Penny innocently asked.
"W-We'll talk about that later, Penny." Pietro stuttered a bit while thinking about he should give his daughter the 'talk'.
"You're assuming that my dad is the one who instigated all of that. You'd be wrong."
"Ooh, what's that!? Ooh, what's this?" Nora excitedly bounced around from stand to stand, openly gawking at the wide assortment of trinkets on display, much to the amusement of both Ren and the Amazonian shopkeepers. They had been like this for the past hour or so, ever since they woke up and entered the city. By the time they arrived, Themyscira was awash with activity as the festival was set to begin in just a few short hours. Amazon warriors, hoping to prove their mettle in the arena, continued to pour in from across the city and beyond while others merely mingled. It was quite an exciting sight.
"Look, Renny! It's back to us again!" Nora happily says as she hugs her boyfriend's arm while he just gives out a small smile.
"Looks like you're having fun." Yang smirked.
"How can they not? It's a festival they're in!" Nora says, pointing at her other's time in.
"But you can also see how on edge everyone is." Ren pointed out seeing how the Amazons are acting.
"Can't be helped seeing that there is a God of War hidden in their mist." Qrow points out the familiar feeling.
Ren wasn't fooled. Although it was carefully hidden, he could see the edge everyone was standing on. The number of guards was noticeably increased, and everyone had weapons nearby, often inconspicuously inserted into their stand's décor. Everyone was readying themselves to act at a moment's notice, just in case something went terribly wrong. He didn't blame them. After all, he had both halves of Stormflower locked and loaded, ready to be deployed at a moment's notice. Nora herself had Magnhild strapped to her back even now.
"Glad to know that our others thought of the same." Blake said, glad that despite being in the middle of festivities, they are being careful.
Still, seeing her excited again allowed him to put his fears aside for the moment. Now was a time for celebration and fun, not worry over something he couldn't control.
"Nora, wait up," Ren said as he hurried over to his partner. With a bright smile on her face, Nora waited for him next to a jewelry stand. The shop owner was nowhere to be seen, and Nora was busy looking at a gold chain necklace with a pink amethyst embedded in its center.
"Now that's lovely jewelry." Weiss comments as she eyes on the necklace.
"Ren, what do you think?" Nora asked as she put the necklace on and showed it off. Ren studied it with an appraising gaze before nodding.
"It looks good on you, Nora," Ren declared, causing Nora's smile to brighten even more.
"Aw! Thank you, Renny!" Nora says as she gives Ren a quick peck on his cheek.
"I'll say!" a woman's voice suddenly announced. Ren and Nora jumped slightly and turned around, only to come face to face with a woman behind the jewelry stand. Both Ren and Nora found her to be strikingly beautiful. Her black hair was long and silky, appearing to glow in the sunlight, accented by pale white skin with bright, blue eyes and perfect lips. The woman's body was nearly hourglass, her figure concealed by white robes that still revealed quite a bit of her features.
By all definitions, this woman appeared to be the living definition of beauty.
The viewers could not help but find her strikingly beautiful as well to the point they could only just stare at the woman in silent wonder as if she was an embodiment of pure beauty.
"Come now, there's no need to stare," the woman said through a warm smile, shaking Ren and Nora out of their stupor. "I don't bite."
The beautiful woman's words snapped the viewers out of their stupor.
"Wow… she's really pretty…" Ruby says in awe admiring the woman's beauty.
"I met a lot of women in my life… but this girl takes the cake." Qrow admits never seeing such a beautiful woman in his life.
Penny, however, blinked, recognizing the girl in her files but did say anything seeing that she waited for the right to reveal who the woman was.
"Sorry about that, ma'am," Ren apologized, knowing that the Amazons wouldn't appreciate what he and Nora did. Rather than appear irritated, however, the woman merely seemed to be amused.
"Don't be." The woman leaned forward across the stand with a sultry smile, causing a blush to erupt on Ren and Nora's faces and making them avert their gazes. Seeing this, the woman laughed and straightened herself. "Alright, I've had my fun. So, what brings you two to my stand?"
"Good Gods that smile!" Yang blushed, seeing such a beautiful smile making her and everyone else avert their gaze as well.
"Never thought I could blush like this after seeing such a smile like that." Robyn muttered, having a hard time looking back at the screen.
"Oh, well," Nora paused to regain her thoughts before handing the necklace back to the woman. "I was just checking things out, and this caught my eye."
"Ah, I see. Come here, both of you." The woman beckoned them over, which Ren and Nora cautiously did. There was something off about the woman, and so they remained on guard.
"Can't help but agree with them… she is rather suspicious." Weiss admitted, gathering her thoughts back.
"Which part? How gorgeous is she? Or the fact she seems way too perfect to be an Amazon?" Blake asks, also admitting that the woman seems off.
"Oh, that's adorable!" she exclaimed with a clap of her hands. "The way you two are protecting each other, making sure that you both stay safe! I can see that you two have been doing it for quite some time now!"
"What? How did she know that!?" Nora squeaked, seeing that she and her other's boyfriend's intention were seen through now.
"She doesn't seem bothered by how cautious you two are, though." Vine points out.
If Ren and Nora's alarm wasn't stricken before, it was blaring now. This only seemed to amuse the woman more as she studied the two intensely.
"Yes, I can see it. You two met as children after a tragedy took everything else from you. For years, you only had each other, but you never took that step until another tragedy put everything into perspective. Not what I would have preferred, to be honest. I've always loved heartfelt confessions in the pale moonlight, surrounded by candles and succulent food, but you can't contain love."
"How… how does she know that?" Ren says as he and Nora are stunned that this woman knows about their personal tragedy.
"This woman is more than she appears." Maria said, her eyes narrowing in suspicion.
"What does she even know about love?" Harriet skeptically says.
"What do you know about love?" Nora couldn't stop herself from asking. Before she could apologize, a glamorous look crossed the woman's face as she smiled haughtily.
"My dear, I am love. That most glorious of emotions is what I live for. I see it everywhere, try to spread it far and wide, and I see it within you both." The woman suddenly took hold of Ren and Nora's hands, and they could feel her warmth spread into them. "Never let that go. Never let each other go."
"How wonderful!" Penny happily says as she claps her hands together while the rest just found the beautiful woman odd.
"She is love? What? Is she saying that she is love personified?" Robyn skeptically says as she raises a brow.
"She should be, after all, that's Aphrodite, the Goddess of love and beauty." Penny answers, shocking everyone in the room.
"She's a Goddess!?" Ruby says in shock and awe.
"That explains why she can talk as if she knows about love." Elm says in awe.
"And I suppose a Goddess who is worshiped for love would be this beautiful." Oscar says with a blush on his face.
Ren and Nora looked at each other, then back at the strange woman, then nodded.
"We don't plan to," Ren declared with absolute conviction, and the woman smiled and clapped.
"We don't either." The viewing Ren also answered, getting a hug from his girlfriend.
"Spectacular! Ooh, I just love seeing two lovebirds together, ready to take on the world no matter what gets thrown at them!" She then closed her eyes and smiled warmly before waving them off. "Now go! Join your friends. The main event is about to begin, and don't let me keep you!"
"She certainly has a way with words." Blake says but smiles at the encouragement.
"Why can't we have these kinds of Gods in our world?" Yang lightly wined while the others agreed that if Remnant had similar Gods instead of the Brothers, their world might be a bit better.
"O… kay…?" Nora replied, thoroughly confused. Taking Ren's arm with hers, they turned and walked away from the lovely woman, who herself seemed content to wave them off. The two paused as a group of Amazons blocked their view of the stand and its owner, and when it finally passed they gasped at the sight.
Instead of seeing the woman and her stand, in its place was nothing but thin air, a red rose lying on the ground where it all once stood.
"She's gone!" Nora shouted in surprise.
"I suppose Gods like their vanishing acts." Qrow joked.
By the time Ren and Nora came back to the arena, the festival was already in full swing. A large crowd of Amazons had gathered, beckoning everyone in sight to fill the amphitheater. They passed the arena guards before entering the stands. They looked around to try and find where their friends were sitting, only to see a familiar mop of red hair waving at them excitedly. Smiling in turn, Ren and Nora quickly made their way through the growing crowd of Amazons to join Ruby, the others sans Yang and Pyrrha already with them. Thanks to them being the guests of the royal family, they were given their own private balcony to overlook everything while also granting them privacy from the assorted crowds.
"Looks like the festival is starting." Vine comments, curious if it will be anything like the Vytal Festival.
"I'm so excited!" Ruby says, can't wait to see her sister and Pyrrha participate.
"Hey guys," Jaune said as he scooted to the side and gave them a seat. "Took you two long enough. Was starting to think you got lost."
"That's mean, Jaune! Our other was talking to the Goddess of love and beauty." Nora pouted.
"Sorry." The viewing Jaune apologized.
"Jaune, just because you did yesterday doesn't mean we did," Nora lightly chastised, causing Jaune to blush with embarrassment and the others to chuckle.
"Ha! Look who's talking." The viewing Nora teased, making her Jaune blush even though it wasn't him.
"That's enough, Nora," Ren told her, causing Jaune to look at him with a thankful smile. That smile disappeared when Ren started to grin. "Artemis already gave him enough trouble yesterday."
Jaune sighed at Ren's joke while everyone laughed. "Honestly, no respect…"
"You too!?" Thew Jaune says in mock hurt to his friend, who just chuckled.
Ruby patted Jaune's shoulder before looking sternly at everyone. After a few more chuckles, everyone died down and sat down in silent comfort. Jaune then sat upright, his face showing that he wasn't offended, more embarrassed at getting lost in the city the previous day. He and Pyrrha had been walking back to the guest house after getting some food when he got turned around for a moment. When he turned back, he spotted a red-haired woman with a ponytail walking through the crowd, and he had assumed it was Pyrrha.
The woman he was following turned out to be Artemis on her way to the arena, and after his confusion was discovered, Jaune was subjected to the most brutal training in his life before Pyrrha finally rescued him.
"That's how you met?" Qrow raised a brow. "And here I thought I was the unlucky one."
"Shame on you, Jaune, mistaking someone else as your partner." Yang teased, making the boy groan in embarrassment at how his other would make that mistake.
"In all seriousness, what took you guys so long? We thought you'd be back like ten minutes ago," Ruby asked Ren, who shook his head.
"We talked to Aphrodite!" Nora chirped.
"Nora and I got caught up in the market," he revealed.
"Yeah, there was a whole bunch of stuff there," Nora added with her usual bubbly demeanor. "There was also this really, and I mean really hot lady who started talking to us about love. Said she gave us her 'blessing', whatever that means, then she and her stand disappeared, leaving behind a rose for some reason. She was weird."
"Not sure if it's okay to call a deity weird." Oscar nervously said, thinking about two particular Gods who might take offense to that.
"I doubt a Goddess who represents love and beauty won't hold up at that kind of comment." Robyn shrugged.
"You can't be too sure of that." Maria countered. "After all, people would do crazy things in the name of love, won't be surprised if Aphrodite might do something extreme."
That thought made those who knew the truth shudder as they recalled what happened to Salem before her descent to Grimmification if that's the right word they can say.
Ren and Nora couldn't help but feel that the entire encounter was abnormal. That woman did not appear to be an Amazon, but what she actually was, they did not pretend to know. They said nothing more, leaving their questions for a later, more private time with Donna or Diana, then turned their attention to the field as a large group of armored Amazons entered the arena. At their head was Queen Hippolyta, flanked by Diana and Donna along with a cadre of guards. Among them, they saw Yang and Pyrrha, wearing more typical Amazonian garb that was stylized to fit their own personal specifications. The crowd grew quiet as Hippolyta walked to a central podium, where an Amazon stood with a bow in hand next to a large pyre. The Amazon handed her Queen her bow as Hippolyta approached. The Queen nodded, and another Amazon handed her a single arrow. Taking and nocking it on her bowstring, Hippolyta ignited the arrowhead by inserting it into the pyre before aiming it upwards. Following her gaze, the crowd saw a large bowl on the top of the arena, filled with what they could only assume was oil.
"Is she planning to start the Festival by igniting that bowl?" Elm curiously asks, interested in how they would start their festivities.
"Whoa… that's so cool!" Ruby says in awe seeing how the Queen ignited the bowl with her ignited arrow.
"Is that how they start their Festival? It's truly breathtaking." Winter admits seeing that this is much more different than how they start the Vytal Festival.
"I'm sure Coco would love to see what our others are wearing." Yang comments liking what her other is wearing.
"Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt and Chastity," Hippolyta began to pray, her words causing the gathered Amazons to bow their heads. Out of respect, RWBY and JNPR did the same. "Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Warfare. Hera, Goddess of Women. Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth. Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty. Bless us on this most holy of days so that we may celebrate the protection you've granted us and that we may, in turn, extend your grace to the world."
"They even pause for a short prayer." Vine hummed, interested in such an action.
After granting a moment of pause, Hippolyta opened her eyes and let loose the flaming arrow. The arrow sang through the air, a trail of smoke following its arc into the bowl. It hit its mark, the fire igniting the oil into a high reaching fire. At once, the crowd cheered as the fire raged, and the Queen smiled in victory and raised her sword into the air. The assembled Amazons, along with Yang and Pyrrha, quickly followed suit.
"Let the tournament commence!" Hippolyta declared to a joyous crowd. Ruby couldn't help but cheer alongside her Amazon hosts, the fears of last night slowly ebbing away.
The younger viewers couldn't help but cheer in excitement while the older ones respectfully clapped while they felt their worries about the God of War going away.
For a brief moment, just beside the burning bowl on top of the arena, Ruby thought she saw five robed women looking over everyone, but just as soon as they appeared, they were gone.
With the opening ceremony conducted, the tournament started in earnest. Ruby had thought it would be similar to the Vytal Festival, with the actual tournament fighting starting immediately afterward. She was quickly proven wrong when several animals were led into the arena, which itself was changed to resemble a track. Obviously, they were going to open with a race, but they weren't using horses. Instead, they were racing on the largest kangaroos she had ever laid eyes on. Apparently, they were called kangas and were native to Themyscira.
The viewers gawked at the strangest thing they had ever seen in a race. They are familiar with horses and vehicles mainly used for racing but giant kangaroos? That took the cake.
"Their called Kangas, alien kangaroo-like species used as mounts by the Amazons of Paradise Island." Penny explained. "Fun fact they are also capable of limited flight through bouncing."
"That's so cool!" Yang gushed, seeing that her other and Pyrrha were riding these bad boys. She couldn't help but be super jealous right now.
"Again, why do our others have to be so lucky?!" Nora wined.
"Go, Yang!" Ruby cheered as her sister rode further on the track, her kanga hopping along as fast as it could. The sight of over a dozen kangas bouncing down the track, her sister leading all of them, was both thrilling and humorous at the same time. It was like the bag races she used to do when she was young, only now on animals and an actual sport.
"My goodness, they are so adorable!" Weiss squealed as she gushed at how adorable the kangas were as they hopped to the finish line.
Winter also secretly found them adorable but kept professional and did not say it out loud.
If Yang heard her sister's encouragement, she didn't show it as she continued focusing on the race. She had to admit it was difficult to get used to riding on a hopping animal. The first few races were an absolute disaster. But she was able to get the hang of it eventually, something that even Pyrrha hadn't been able to get at this time fully. Any chance she could get to prove one over the champion would be seized at a moment's notice, and so Yang continued to pull ahead with a smile on her face.
"Go me!" Yang cheered for herself while Blake waved a tiny yellow flag with Yang's name on it.
"Where did you get that?" Elm asked, not expecting the cat Faunus to have that.
"I make a lot of these in my free time." Blake shrugs.
"C'mon, Pyrrha!" Jaune cheered for his partner.
Beside her, a number of Amazons, each with more experience than her, were closing in on her lead and riding side by side with her. Their faces were scrunched in concentration, each determined to prove victorious in this contest. For a moment, Yang briefly fell behind, only for her to lean forward and grip her reins tighter.
"Come on, girl! Just a little more!" she urged her kanga, and with a snort, the beast bounded ever faster. They were in the home stretch now as the trio rounded the final bend. This was to be the last race before the actual tournament fighting would begin, and Yang was determined to win at least once. She continued to urge her mount to bound faster and faster, and as they reached the final few feet, the nose of Yang's mount passed in front of the others just as they passed the finish line.
"YES!" The viewing Yang cheered as she raised both her fists up in the air in triumph as her sister happily hugged her.
"Good for your firecracker." Qrow smiles, congratulating her niece.
"YES!" Yang cheered as she was declared the winner while the Amazons grunted in disappointment. Around her, the audience cheered at the performance, and from atop her kanga mount, Yang couldn't help but give a slight bow.
"Seriously, Yang?" Weiss scoffed as she turned to her friend, who just shrugged.
"What can I say? I just love to show the crowd how thankful of how supportive they are." Yang shrugs with a smirk.
"Of course, you would." Blake rolled her eyes but smiled, happy that her partner won the race.
"Seriously, Yang?" Weiss scoffed as the other racers passed the line, Pyrrha among them. She couldn't help but notice that, rather than appear disappointed, Pyrrha instead seemed to be happy despite her middling placement. It was then that Weiss remembered that Pyrrha hated being the center of attention, so her losing in this race must have been a nice change of pace. Weiss then saw handlers appear from the entrances to the arena floor, grabbing hold of the kangas and leading them out to the holding pens. Yang petted hers as it was led away, and her mouth appeared to move as she said something. Exactly what, Weiss couldn't hear over the crowd, especially as the warriors moved out of the arena to allow it to change once more.
"Wait. For real? Pyrrha Nikos hates to win?" Harriet said, surprised that the Invincible Girl does not mind losing.
"Pyrrha may have a competitive spirit, but she always hated being the center of attention." Weiss admitted and felt a bit guilty, as she recalled when she offered to team up before imitations at Beacon Academy without even getting to know more about her.
"And why not?" Harriet asks, genuinely confused by that answer. "She's the Invincible Girl! She's an icon in Argus! There's no way that woman can afford to lose, different world or not."
"You don't know anything about her." Jaune said as he narrowed his eyes towards her. "She may have been called the Invincible Girl back then, but did you know that she always hated that title?"
"What?" This caught Harriet by surprise, not expecting the late Pyrrha Nikos to hate her title.
"Ever since she earned that title, everyone around would always just see her title instead of the person behind it. Whenever she competes, she always gives her all, not caring about winning or losing. Still, every time she fights, her opponents would always forfeit or hesitate in facing her because of her winning streak. What's worse, whenever she interacts with people, they think it's cool to be with a famous person either for fame or just to represent some product or company. All she ever wanted was just to be a normal girl who wishes to be with real friends and to fulfill her dream as a Huntress." Jaune finished his lengthy explanation, getting a surprised look from everyone except those close to Pyrrha before her passing.
"If you still see her as only an 'Invincible Girl,' then your just as narrowed minded as everyone else was." Jaune finishes as he turns his attention back to the screen, ignoring the surprised looks from the viewers and the worried ones from his friends.
Harriet could only be gap-stunned by that revelation and couldn't find anything in her mouth to say anything. So the only thing she could do was just grit her teeth, growl, and turn her focus back on the screen, getting a concerned look from her fellow Ace-Ops, all knowing that there is something wrong with their speedster.
Through a complex inner working system, the tiles that made up the actual arena shifted and moved, turning from a racetrack to a series of circular rings filled with sand and lined with white marble stone. At the center of the arena was a large square fighting pit, also filled with sand. With a nod, Weiss and the others figured the actual tournament fighting would be on those rings, with multiple matches happening at once to start off with. Workers then moved towards the individual rings, carrying racks of weapons, armor, and shields on their shoulders before putting them next to the individual rings.
"Remarkable! Their preparations for preparing their arenas are much similar to how the Vytal Arena works." Pietro comments, seeing how he likes how advanced the Amazons are in their way.
"Hello, everyone!" she heard Donna proclaim as she walked towards them, proudly stepping through the red cloth marking their private balcony from the rest of the arena.
"Donna!" Ruby exclaimed as she moved over and offered a seat to the princess. With a warm smile, Donna accepted the invitation and sat down next to her and Jaune, looking down on the arena as warriors were divided up and assigned to separate rings. Yang and Pyrrha appeared to be split apart, each moving to separate rings, and Jaune smiled to himself.
"Pyrrha's going to win," he declared with utmost confidence in his partner.
"Without a doubt." Jaune agreed with his other.
"Yeah!" Nora shouted in agreement at the two Arcs while Ren let out a small smile.
"Says you!" Ruby protested. "Our other Yang is definitely going to win!" Weiss shrugged and smirked while Blake waved around the flag.
"Yeah!" Nora shouted in agreement while Ren let out a small smile.
"Says you!" Ruby protested. "Yang's going to win. You'll see!" Behind her, Weiss shrugged and smirked while Blake waved around a small flag with their team name embroidered on it.
"Blake, where'd you get that?" Donna asked, keenly aware that Blake did not pack that with her when they left the Watchtower.
"I made it last night."
"I'm starting to think you enjoy doing that." Yang smirked towards her partner, who just shrugged with a smile.
"Ah. Neat." Donna then turned her attention back towards the arena. A few matches were already underway, the Amazons showcasing their respective skills against one another in the grand tourney while those not currently participating merely studied their potential opponents. Yang and Pyrrha were among them, while at the same time, they were conversing with those on the bench with them.
Everyone watched, impressed by the skills of the various Amazons as they faced each other.
"Every one of them is skilled." James hummed as he placed his hand on his chin, and he observed their fights.
"Each of them is equivalent to a fully experienced Huntsman." Winter added as she witnessed the sheer skill and strength of the Amazon warriors.
"So, is it true that you came from another world?" an Amazon asked Yang as she watched two other Amazons brawl. Yang nodded.
"So glad for small talks." Yang sarcastically says but does not mind the small talks.
"I'm betting that's going to be a recurring theme." Robyn says, guessing that a lot of people will be mentioning Remnant.
"Yep," she replied with a pop. The Amazons around her nodded, then one leaned forward towards the match before them.
"What was it like?" she asked, and Yang thought for a moment. Part of her wanted to simply retreat into herself and refuse to answer, but at the same time, she knew that wouldn't solve anything. With a sigh, she decided to push forward.
"Remnant pretty similar to Earth, isn't it?" Jaune says.
"The only few differences is that there is no Grimm and that there is no Faunus." Vine points out.
"Remnant was… a lot like Earth really. Same type of environments, same animals for some reason, not to mention the people. Same problems, too. Violence, prejudice, evil monsters, you name it, we had it." Yang paused and sighed. "I miss it."
"So there is prejudice on Earth." Blake sighs, seeing that it's a universal fact that there is racism no matter what planet you're on.
"…yes," the Amazon who had asked the question softly said, feeling regret for bringing it up. "I'm sorry for…"
"Don't be. You weren't the one who blew it up." Yang's eyes turned red as she thought about the man who was responsible, only to shake her head. Her eyes turned back to their normal lilac, and she smiled. "Well, that's enough brooding for today."
"It's Brainiac's fault." Yang's eyes turned red but calmed down, remembering that it wasn't her or her friends and family that went through that hell.
"I can't help but wonder what the people of Remnant are now doing being trapped under that monster's cage." Marrow lightly growled, being angry at the alien invader and fearing for his fellow Remnantians' safety.
"Best not to think about, after all, we didn't go through an alien invasion." Clover points out, calming down his fellow Ace-Op.
"Yeah, we have our own problems to deal with." Qrow reminds them.
"Yeah! Let's not worry about that now, and let's watch the festival!" Ruby says with excitement.
Seeing that as a cue to drop the conversation, the Amazons turned their attention back to the fight itself. Out of the corner of her eye, Yang saw Pyrrha currently sparring against another Amazon. As she expected, Pyrrha was performing phenomenally, effortlessly parrying and dodging the Amazon's attacks and kicks and retaliating with her own. Yang could see a faint black field appear on the bronze weapons and armor for brief moments, indicating that the huntress was using her Semblance as she always did. For a while, the two women were worried that the Amazons wouldn't appreciate them using their Semblances, as none of the Amazons had ones of their own, only for Donna and Diana to specify that not using them would be taken as an insult. Basically, by not using their Semblances, they would be handicapping themselves before the Amazons, something the prideful warriors would not appreciate. With this in mind, Yang stood up proudly as her name was announced along with another Amazon.
"Oh yeah! Let's go me!" Yang grinned as she, her friends, and family cheered for her other.
"Do your best!"
"Represent Team RWBY!"
"Take this chance to learn from this Firecracker."
"May the best woman win," Yang decreed as she cracked her neck and grabbed a pair of armored gloves. They were no Ember Celica, but they would have to do.
"I intend to," the Amazon arrogantly replied as she grabbed a spear, causing Yang to scoff. She would enjoy bringing her down a peg. Together, the two of them stepped out onto the sand, their sandals making soft scrunching sounds as they crossed it to their starting positions. Another Amazon, playing the role of referee, held a red flag aloft. A pause ensued as both women readied themselves, hunched over and preparing to make their move. The referee yelled as she brought the flag down, and at once, the two exploded with activity.
The audience cheered and watched as the battle between the Remnantian and Amazon unraveled.
Yang yelled as she leaped forward, her arm cocked backward and ready to throw a haymaker while the spearwoman charged at Yang, her weapon hoisted forward. As the spear tip neared, Yang planted her foot on the soft sand and, with her free hand, moved the weapon to her side, making it harmlessly stab into the ground while she, in turn, threw a punch. The Amazon blocked it with her shield while kicking Yang away, forcing her back. With a scowl, the Amazon ripped the spear out of the ground and charged at Yang once more, thrusting her spear forward and aiming for her armored gut. Yang quickly grabbed the shaft before contact could be made, and with a confident smirk, she pulled the weapon and the Amazon wielding it closer to her.
Instead of being surprised as Yang expected, the Amazon used the added momentum to jump upwards and kick her leg out, striking Yang in the face. As the huntress clutched where the blow landed, the Amazon swung her spear in the wide arc, striking Yang in the arm and making her cry out in pain.
"Gaagh!" she exclaimed as she ducked underneath another stab. Her eyes turned red as she lunged towards the Amazon, tackling her to the ground and punching her a few times in the face. As she tried to punch again, the Amazon wrapped her legs around Yang's waist and flipped their positions. Quickly, Yang brought her arms up to cover her face as the Amazon began furiously pummeling Yang's body with fist and shield, determined to prove she was superior.
"No you don't," Yang declared as she suddenly planted her hands on the warm sand, allowing a few blows to land on her while she began pushing. Her legs still wrapped around Yang's waist, the Amazon was surprised as Yang began using that to her advantage to lift her off the ground and tried to slam her headfirst into the sand. Knowing what she was trying to do, the Amazon released her hold, only for Yang to smile and purposefully throw the Amazon off of her and across the sandpit. Puffs of dust came up, and both shield and spear were flung away as the Amazon skidded the sand. The warrior managed to stop herself with a three-point pose while Yang flipped herself back onto her feet. For a brief moment, the Amazon eyed her discarded shield and spear but decided against it as she marched towards Yang with her fists pumping.
Smirking to herself, Yang repeated the action in kind as the two women made their way over to each other before beginning to box. The two women punched each other as hard as they could, Yang's Aura taking the force while the Amazon merely endured hers. Yang was reminded that an Amazon was as durable as she was, even without Aura, and as such knew that she couldn't simply wait it out. She had to end this quickly. The blows were beginning to hurt more and more as her Aura was drained. The Amazon then delivered a flying knee to Yang's gut, knocking the wind out of her, and followed up by throwing Yang over her shoulder and across the ring.
"Damn, this is intense!" Elms says, amazed that a non-Aura user was standing her ground against Yang.
"It's amazing how that Amazon is keeping up Yang." Blake said in amazement.
"They're both in their last legs, though." Oscar pointed out in concern for the other Yang's condition.
"Oh, I wouldn't be too sure of that." Yang says as she grinned, knowing very well what her other is planning.
"Had enough?" the Amazon asked as Yang picked herself up. The huntress' eyes were closed, and for a moment, the Amazon thought she had this in the bag, only for Yang's hair to burst into flame. Yang opened her now burning red eyes and smiled brightly, her teeth clearly seen as she stood up and banged her fists together. As she did, a small explosion erupted around her, sending off clouds of sand that buffeted her Amazon opponent.
"Yang's Semblance!" Ruby cheered, almost forgetting what Yang can do when she keeps receiving damage.
"Have you?" Yang shot back as she leaped towards the Amazon with such speed that the woman barely had time to react. She tried to block Yang's outstretched fist, only for it to suddenly swerve and swing into her gut, knocking her to her knees and sending her skidding back. Yang followed up with a haymaker to the Amazon's face just as she got to her feet, sending her spinning around. The Amazon tried to retaliate, only for Yang to spin past her jab and elbow her in the face, stunning her long enough for Yang to deliver a final uppercut. The blow sent the Amazon flying a few feet upwards, and she landed in a heap. As everyone watched her with bated breath, they saw how the Amazon moved to try and push herself up, only to give up and collapse in defeat.
"Victor!" the referee declared while pointing her flag at a victorious Yang. The Amazon crowd cheered as Yang's fire burned away, her eyes turning back to their normal lilac.
The viewers cheered and clapped their hands that the alternate Yang had won her battle.
Yang cheered, feeling happy, proud, and pride being the first Remnantian to win her match against an Amazon from Earth. Plus, she learned a lot just by watching the fight.
"Whew, that was intense," she commented as she moved to help her opponent to her feet. The Amazon glared at her and slapped the offered hand away before hobbling to her feet and retreating to the barracks outside of the arena itself. "Well, that's rude."
"She was rude." Yang huffed, seeing how unsportsmanlike her other's foe was.
"I bet'cha she's just a sore loser." Nora says.
"Don't mind her. Airla has always been a sore loser," another Amazon decreed as she tossed Yang a towel. Taking it happily, Yang began wiping the sweat off of herself while sitting down. This day was going to be long, and it would be wise for her to save her strength.
"Guess even an Amazon can't take handle losing." Harriet scoffs.
'Look who's talking…' Her fellow Ace-Ops said in their heads, knowing well that Harriet doesn't like to lose.
Pretty soon, once enough rounds have been done, everyone would move from the circular rings to the large square in the center. She was confident she and Pyrrha would make it, but she wasn't so arrogant to assume that she had this in the bag. Seeing Artemis beat down her opponent in just a few seconds only made that feeling more apparent.
"That's right. I almost forgot that Artemis is participating." Marrow comments.
"I just noticed now that she has the same name as one of Themyscira's Gods." Blake points out. "Is she…?"
"Oh no, she's not the actual Goddess of the Hunt. She's just another Amazon named after the Goddess herself." Penny corrected.
"Ah. So it's a namesake."
After several more rounds of intense combat, with a healthy break in between for refreshment and rest, the remaining eight fighters had moved to the large square ring. True to Yang's prediction, both she and Pyrrha had made it to the final rounds, and despite herself, Pyrrha couldn't help but feel excited. It had been a long time since she had actually participated in a true tournament. It was one of the reasons why she had looked forward to the Vytal Festival back on Remnant, but there she had the enormous pressure of living up to her reputation as the Invincible Girl. Here, on Earth and Themsycira, no one even knew who she was. She was free to fight, to win or lose, without having to worry what people thought of her.
"All right! They both made it!" Nora cheered.
"And Pyrrha doesn't have to worry about expectations in this fight." Jaune says happily that this version of Pyrrha does not have to worry about people thinking about her reputation.
The possibilities afforded to her now were exciting. She only wished she got them through more pleasant means.
"She never liked her title, didn't she?" Robyn asked.
"She never did." Jaune answered.
"Artemis and Pyrrha!" the referee shouted over the roars of the crowd. Pyrrha straightened herself when Yang patted her on the shoulder.
"Yeah! Go get her, Pyrrha!" Nora cheered while Ren smiled.
"Show her what Remnant's got!" Jaune cheered as well.
"Show 'em who's boss, P-Money," Yang ordered with a smile. Pyrrha smiled back before walking towards the ring, her face turning back to a serious expression as Artemis entered on the opposite side of her. Without saying a word, the two warriors grabbed their weapons. For Pyrrha, a small, round shield and short sword. For Artemis, a bow and a single sword were more than enough.
"Are you ready, girl?" Artemis asked, an arrogant smile on her face. Pyrrha didn't deign her with an answer, merely content to place her shield in front of her, her sword resting on top of it, and pointed at the Amazon. Artemis chuckled as she grabbed an arrow from her quiver and nocked it.
"She's incredibly skilled." Qrow commented, not needing to fight her to tell what she's capable of.
"Let's see if she can live up to her namesake." James says, interested in what this Amazon can do as everyone observes for this fight, especially to those close to Pyrrha, excited and nervous to watch their late friend in a tournament fight again.
Pyrrha wasn't blind to how skilled Artemis was. Jaune was very clear on that front, and Pyrrha would respect her strength. If she wanted to win, she couldn't afford to let arrogance blind her.
"Begin!" the referee declared. Artemis reacted immediately by shooting the arrow at Pyrrha, who raised her shield to block the missile. The arrow bounced off with a loud clang, and Pyrrha could feel the impact jolt down her arm, a sizable dent appearing in the bronze frame. Pyrrha's brow furrowed as she realized how much power Artemis was wielding, and she noted that she would have to be careful.
Artemis grabbed another arrow and shot it towards Pyrrha, who ran towards it while knocking it to the side. As she neared, Artemis smiled and leaped towards the huntress, pulling out and shooting two arrows at once. Both hit Pyrrha's shield as she blocked the blows, giving Artemis a chance to use it as a springboard and jump off of her. As she did, she fired another arrow, this one hitting Pyrrha square in the back.
"Pyrrha!" Most of her friends shouted in concern.
"She has incredibly skilled with her bow." Robyn comments, amazed by her archery skills, granted she has a similar weapon, but the only difference is a crossbow.
"Grrgh!" Pyrrha grunted as she swung around and blocked yet another arrow. This time, she threw her shield with the momentum, hitting Artemis in the arm and making her drop her weapon. The Amazon clutched her wrist in pain as Pyrrha ran at her with her sword in hand. Smirking, Artemis drew her own sword and swung it at Pyrrha's blade. The weapons impacted against each other, and the two women braced and pushed against one another, trying to make the other give.
"You're strong. I'll give you that," Artemis noted with a smirk. She then kicked Pyrrha's knee, forcing her down and breaking the stalemate. She used the opportunity to swing the sword down, only for Pyrrha to roll away and cause the swing to strike against the soft sand. With an amused smirk, Artemis charged at Pyrrha once more, with both fighters swinging their swords at one another and aiming at exposed areas of their defense.
'She is good,' Pyrrha thought to herself as she continued to dodge and attack. At the same time, Pyrrha was studying Artemis' fighting style, noting the peculiarities of how she attacked and defended. She was starting to get a pretty good picture as to how Artemis fought. She was aggressive, constantly attacking and leaving her opponent little time to react or exploit the inevitable openings her assault created. At the same time, her eyes were constantly scanning Pyrrha's actions, looking for when she would retaliate and react accordingly. Those openings that Artemis created were purposeful. She wanted Pyrrha to try and exploit them, thereby allowing the Amazon to punish the attempt.
"This is so intense…" Oscar muttered in awe, seeing this was the first time seeing Pyrrha was fighting an official fight.
Pyrrha wasn't about to let that happen. If she couldn't exploit her opponent's openings, she would have to make her own. With this in mind, and as Artemis swung her sword from the right, Pyrrha subtly used her Semblance. A faint black glow surrounded the bronze sword, and it moved ever so slightly. It was enough to throw the attack off-balance, allowing Pyrrha to parry it, much to Artemis' surprise. This gave Pyrrha an opening, and she swung the blunt blade into Artemis' side.
"Yes! Pyrrha's Semblance." Nora cheered.
"Aagh!" Artemis grunted as the attack hit, which was followed by a spin kick which sent her skidding back. Pyrrha used the opportunity to run and grab her fallen shield, then back at Artemis, who had recovered enough to meet her attack head-on. The two warriors swapped blow after blow, Pyrrha blocking Artemis with her shield or parrying with her sword while Artemis, in turn, would do the same. At the same time, Artemis' mind was reeling, trying to figure out how her swing missed. It should not have happened.
She didn't have long before she kicked at Pyrrha's gut, only for her armored boot to go slightly again off course, allowing Pyrrha to parry it with a rising knee, followed by a quick kick of her own. Artemis skidded back in clear surprise, angry that it had happened again. In ire, she charged at Pyrrha once more, swinging her sword in a wild slash, and that's when she saw it. A faint, almost incomprehensible black glow surrounded her weapon for a brief second. As it did, her weapon changed course ever so slightly, allowing Pyrrha to parry it once more and stab her gut with the blunted blade. Artemis retreated, her mind reeling from what had just happened. Was this Pyrrha's Semblance, as they described their abilities? Was she able to manipulate her weapon?
"It would seem that Artemis is quickly adapting against Ms. Nikos." Clover said, impressed how fast the Amazon is adapting while in the heat of battle.
At once, things suddenly began to fall into place. Why hardly any of her Amazon sisters' attacks against Pyrrha landed, how she was able to effortlessly block, parry, or dodge oncoming attacks. She was using her Semblance to manipulate their weapons. Thinking back to her kick, Artemis realized that the same thing must have happened then. Pyrrha had manipulated her boot to make it go off course. As she thought about it more, she realized that the only real similarity between the two was in their composition.
They were both made of bronze. Made of metal. Her bow and arrow were not, as they were made of wood. That was why Pyrrha didn't use her Semblance on them. She could only manipulate metals.
"No way! She figured it out already!?" Weiss shouted in disbelief.
"It's honestly not too surprising." Winter says. "Any experienced or level-headed warrior would figure it out like how Artemis theorized, but it's still impressive to quickly discover one's Semblance by simply exchanging strikes."
"Then how come no one managed to figure it out back then?" Jaune questioned, not ever knowing that Mercury Black was the first to figure it out.
"My guess that no one really made an effort to figure it out." Ren comments.
With a wild smile, Artemis suddenly threw her sword out of the ring entirely, much to Pyrrha's surprise. It was followed by Artemis ripping off her armor, leaving her only clad in simple red cloth. For a moment, Pyrrha wondered just why Artemis would do that, only to realize it as soon as Artemis picked up her previously discarded wooden bow.
"I have to admit," Artemis shouted as he picked up a fallen wooden arrow, "the metal manipulation thing? Wasn't expecting that. But did you honestly think I wouldn't catch on?"
"Smart decision." Qrow nodded. "No need wear what's holding you back."
"This will make fighting Artemis more difficult." Vine comments, curious at how the battle will now end.
Pyrrha couldn't help but smirk as she readied herself once again. "You did catch on sooner than I expected."
Those close to the Invincible Girl smiled in both relief and excitement as they remembered that she never liked to win, but she wanted the thrill of facing against an opponent who gives it their all for fun.
For what may have been a lifetime for them, they finally could get the chance to watch their dearly departed friend the fight she ever wanted.
"I bet I did," Artemis smiled as she shot the arrow at Pyrrha, who chopped it in half with her sword. She charged at the Amazon, slicing any arrow shot towards her with ease. Now that her Semblance was out in the open, she had to remove any way for Artemis to attack her effectively. Destroying her ammunition was a good start.
When Pyrrha got into range, she swung her sword from the right, forcing Artemis to block it with her bow. Pyrrha then punched with her shield's edge, only for Artemis to kick it upwards. The Amazon then shoulder-checked her, twisting her bow to rip the sword out of Pyrrha's hands. With a victorious smirk, Artemis chucked the sword out of the ring, thereby removing it from the field. Pyrrha could easily grab it with her Semblance, and had this been an actual fight, she would have done so. But, this was a tournament, and trying to grab her weapon from outside the ring would have been against the rules.
She didn't mind. In all honesty, it was increasing the challenge, and therefore the fun.
With a smile, Pyrrha retaliated with a punch to Artemis' face, socking her across the jaw. She then followed with a shield punch to the chest, sending the Amazon skidding back across the sand. As she slid back, Artemis fired arrow after arrow at Pyrrha, who charged at Artemis with her shield in front. Each arrow bounced off the shield until Pyrrha slammed into Artemis with it. As Artemis fell to the ground, she kicked up her legs, grabbing Pyrrha by the waist, and used her as leverage to flip herself back upright while a surprised Pyrrha was now lying on the ground. Immediately, Artemis continued by grabbing hold of Pyrrha's arm, using her leg to pin the other as she took Pyrrha's shield and ripped it out of her hand, followed by throwing it next to her sword.
She was now effectively defenseless. She had no weapon, no shield, only the armor she was still wearing. This had never happened before in one of Pyrrha's fights, and it had been ages since she had been forced to fight hand to hand against someone. As skilled as she was, Pyrrha was not blind to her weaknesses. Yang and Ren, the primary hand-to-hand fighters among them, were actually better than her in this regard. Yang's punches had more power behind them than Pyrrha could match, and Ren's skill was far beyond hers. It entered her mind that she could indeed lose to Artemis.
The thought filled her with adrenaline, and she couldn't help but laugh. As she did, Artemis looked confused, which gave the huntress an opening to deliver a headbutt. Artemis reeled back, allowing Pyrrha to sweep her legs out from under her and knock the Amazon to the ground. At once, Pyrrha was on her, punching as hard as she could into the Amazon's face and chest. Artemis brought her arms to cover her face before grabbing hold of Pyrrha's hands. Using her legs, Artemis threw Pyrrha off of her, allowing them both to rise to their feet and size each other up.
As if answering an unspoken challenge, Pyrrha ripped off her armor and threw it out of the ring. The two women were now clad only in simple clothes, and Artemis smiled in recognition and respect. Together, the two of them charged at one another, fists reared back and thrown at one other. Each one hit the other's face at the same time, but neither let it stop them. They traded blow after blow, and as they did, the roar of the crowd grew louder and louder at the spectacle before them. Pyrrha was reminded of how fun these tournaments truly could be, and she was ecstatic.
Artemis grabbed hold of Pyrrha's shoulders, only for the younger woman to immediately break her grip with a swipe of her forearms. The two women then clasped each other's hands tightly, pushing against the sand as hard as they could. By now, bruises could be seen across both of their bodies, and Pyrrha could feel her Aura depleting. She didn't have much left, and once it was gone, she knew she would be finished. She had to end this now.
With that in mind, Pyrrha released her grip on Artemis and jumped upwards, angling herself to land on her back while kicking outwards into Artemis' chest. Having knocked her opponent back, Pyrrha reangled herself onto her hands and spring-boarded back to her feet, followed by a lunge towards the Amazon. Artemis was ready for her and delivered an uppercut that knocked Pyrrha skyward. The huntress wasn't completely blindsided, though, and moved with the blow into a backflip that snapped the other redhead's own chin up with her sandaled foot. When the Amazon lowered her head back down, a smile was blazoned across her face. She moved to retaliate, dodging Pyrrha's jab and hitting the huntress with one of her own. She punched her again, then grabbed her shoulders and brought her close to deliver a brutal headbutt. Dazed, Pyrrha retaliated by grappling into Artemis' stomach, lifting her off her feet, and repeatedly punching her in the side while Artemis elbowed her back as hard as she could. Pyrrha fought through the pain, trying to toss Artemis out of the ring, only for the Amazon to twist out of the move at the last second, pulling the off-balanced girl with her and lifting her completely overhead. She then slammed Pyrrha against the ground, the impact strong enough to create a small crater and knock the wind out of Pyrrha's chest.
Artemis was on her immediately, pinning her to the ground and angling herself to put her into a hold. Pyrrha struggled against the Amazon's grip, clawing and punching and kicking at everything she could. Artemis merely tightened her grip, and Pyrrha's strength began to falter. With heavy breaths, her vision beginning to blur, she acted out with one final strike with the back of her head, hitting Artemis in the nose. A crack was heard along with a howl of pain and a wet sensation that coursed down her head, but Artemis' hold did not break.
Finally, Pyrrha closed her eyes and tapped Artemis' arm twice, signaling her surrender.
Artemis released her grip immediately, allowing both of them to fall to the ground in leaden heaps. Both of them were breathing heavily, and from this position, Pyrrha angled her head back to look at Artemis. Her nose was misshapen, blood trickling down it, and Pyrrha realized she must have broken her nose with that last headbutt. The two women looked at each other for a moment before Artemis started laughing at the guilt-stricken look frozen on her opponent's face, which sagged in relief upon realizing that there were no hard feelings for the injury. The crowd roared in approval as Artemis stood up and helped Pyrrha to her feet, and together they bowed to the assembled crowd as the referee declared Artemis, the winner.
The audience cheered for the epic battle between the warrior and huntress. Before they cheered and applauded, they watched the whole fight in stunned silence, memorizing how fast-paced the entire struggle was. It was a happy and refreshing sight for those to see Pyrrha fight again, incredibly how happy she looked despite her defeat.
"THAT! WAS! AWESOME!" Nora shouted as she happily clapped at how hard her friend fought against Artemis.
"Wished she won, though." Jaune admitted with a hint of disappointment but was happy to see his late partner in action.
"That was awesome!" Oscar cheered, feeling all giddy and amazed at how seeing the Invincible Girl in action.
"So this was the Invincible Girl…" Marrow says in amazement, granted he has seen her fight in previous tournament matches, but this recent fight has clearly outdone them all.
"What's even more amazing was Artemis." Robyn points out. "Despite not having any Aura herself, she was able to hold herself throughout the entire fight and won in the end."
"It's not really unheard of." Maria points out. "These days, people with their Aura's unlocked would constantly rely too much on their Aura and Semblance thinking themselves as invincible and cocky, which leads to serious mistakes and even lethal ones."
Yang flinched at that comment as she held her robotic arm, recalling how her temper and belief that her Semblance: Burn, can take any hit, but that all changed when she blindly charged against Adam Taurus.
"Very true." James comments as he looks at his prosthetic hand. "This battle has clearly shown the main difference between a fully experienced warrior who trained for years and a huntress from our world who unlocked their Aura that simply boosts physical ability and endurance."
"But it's thanks to that we can hold our own." Harriet points out.
"And yet the people on Earth say otherwise." Qrow counters, getting a glare from the girl.
"That… was quite a match…" Artemis declared with a smile as she tended to her nose, stuffing rolls of cloth into her nostrils to stem the bleeding. Pyrrha smiled apologetically at her.
"That's must have hurt…" Weiss winced seeing Artemis's nose.
"She doesn't seem to mind." Yang shrugged.
"I haven't had that much fun in a fight in years," she stated as she turned to the Amazon. "I look forward to our rematch."
At that statement, Artemis turned to Pyrrha and smiled while clasping their hands together.
"I look forward to that day." Artemis then hoisted Pyrrha's arm skyward, and together they basked in the roar of the crowd.
"I wouldn't mind seeing a rematch." Elm said, excited to see another fight between the two.
"THAT! WAS! AWESOME!" Nora shouted as Pyrrha was escorted from the arena, likely to get whatever treatment for her injuries that were necessary. They had seen that her Aura broke, but Pyrrha was so into the fight that it somehow escaped her notice.
"Wished she won, though," Jaune admitted, disappointment clear in his voice. Still, judging by what he could see, Pyrrha didn't feel that way, so he would just have to feel it for the both of them.
"We are getting a lot of echoes." Nora admits even finding it a bit annoying now.
"Well, they are s so it wouldn't be strange that they would say the same thing after us." Jaune said but was also getting a bit annoyed by that.
"Wow, she had Artemis on the ropes. I didn't know who was going to win that one," Donna admitted. Like the others, she had been heavily invested in the fight, wondering just who was going to win at every moment. It was perhaps the most thrilling match she had seen all day. In years, even.
"Same. This may be the best fight Pyrrha has ever competed at." Ren comments, knowing this fact since he has seen all Pyrrha's past fights.
"Guess that leaves Yang to avenge her," Weiss stated while nodding to herself. She often forgot just how skilled Pyrrha actually was, given how the huntress didn't often go all out. Seeing her do just that was a healthy reminder of her skill and that even the strongest of them could still fall.
"She never goes all out?" Harriet says in surprise.
"Yes," Jaune answered. "It's like I said before, she always holds herself because of her title but having this chance to fight someone who doesn't care about any of that is something she can happily live with."
"Good for her." Pietro says.
"Yeah! Kick her butt, Yang!" Ruby shouted from the balcony edge, despite knowing that her sister couldn't hear her. Blake nodded in agreement but chose to remain silent, happily nibbling on a kebabbed smoked fish. Her mind wandered to Pyrrha, wondering if she would join them or merely remain content to stay down at the field.
"Yeah, me! Bring in the gold!" Yang cheered for herself.
As Pyrrha exited the barracks, feeling her Aura begin to come back and heal her wounds, the passing Amazons congratulated her on a spectacular match. Being the polite person she was, Pyrrha happily thanked them and continued on her way past the arena and towards a nearby grassy hill overlooking the sea. The sun was gleaming across the waters, and a cool breeze came by with the smells of salt and the nearby forest with it. Breathing deeply, Pyrrha sighed in contentment.
"She doesn't really care at all…" Harriet muttered in disbelief at seeing that the Invincible Girl did not care at all about winning.
"She really did her best." Ruby said, happy to see Pyrrha looking so accomplished.
"She finally got the fight she was looking for." Jaune said, happy for his partner.
It was then that she heard the sound of light footsteps. Turning around, she saw Diana walking towards her. A smoked fish held out in offering to her.
"I thought you might be hungry after that last match," Diana stated as she gave the huntress the fish.
"Oh! How thoughtful of her." Penny smiled happily for Wonder Woman to offer food.
"Yes, thank you," Pyrrha said as she bit down into the flesh. The two women remained content to sit in silence, staring out across the sea as the sun continued to set.
"Such a lovely view." Robyn says, admiring the view.
"A shame my eyes can't see any colors." Maria sighed, wishing that her goggles could be seen with colors than just colorless images.
"You know," Diana began, drawing Pyrrha's attention, "when I was young, I used to come up here after my studies. I would watch the sun set from this very spot. I'd forgotten just how beautiful sunsets in Themyscira are."
"She must have been away from Themyscira for a long time for her to say that." Vine comments.
"Being a member of the Justice League may do that to you." Qrow adds.
"Yeah, it is beautiful," Pyrrha admitted before turning back to the sunset. "How long were you gone?"
"Depends on which time." Diana chuckled. "When I left with Steve, my mother was forced to exile me. I remained in Man's world for ninety years, before Darkseid finally forced my hand to travel back and face my mother to get assistance."
"Diana was exiled from Themyscira during the war?" Ruby said, shocked and sad for the hero.
"It's true." Penny sadly said. "When Steve first arrived in Themyscira and explained what was happening outside of the island, which made Diana want to help aid him in the war."
"But her mother was against it." James said, understanding that there were laws that must be followed.
The Gynoid nodded. "With a heavy heart, Diana left Themyscira to help end the war until after ninety years upon her return to her homeland."
"What happened after that?" Pyrrha asked.
"The Amazons were… stubborn, for lack of a better word. Deep down, they knew that should the forces of Apokolips succeed, Themyscira would be put into harm's way. But there was no way for them to confirm that the injustices of Man's World wouldn't flow into their home. They were reluctant to provide assistance."
"The Amazons sure were stubborn back then." Maria comments not liking the rules but understands their reason for the risk of endangering their home.
"What changed their minds?"
Diana smiled and looked at Pyrrha. "I taught them what Steve Trevor taught me. He taught me that, although there is darkness in man, there is still good in them. That good was still worth fighting for, and that should Darkseid be allowed to extinguish it and replace it with his evil, all would be lost. I showed my mother the destruction his generals and armies wrought, the suffering that followed in his wake, and they were moved. On that day, my mother rode out with her Amazons to join the armies of man to defeat Darkseid, while myself, Batman, and Superman took him down ourselves. Afterward, I stayed with the Amazons for five years, helping to establish how they would interact with Man's World, only for the Imperium's invasion to spring me back into action. This is the first time I've been back since."
"Truly an inspiring woman." Robyn smiled in admiration towards the Amazon hero. "Atlas really needs people like her."
"I think every kingdom needs her." Blake says, admiring the hero who would rally her people to face a more significant threat. The cat Faunus did the same thing to her people in Menagerie to face Adam Taurus and his White Fang, but that was nothing compared to what Wonder Woman had done.
Pyrrha nodded at Diana's recollection and leaned back, allowing the sun's rays to bathe over her. Sighing once more, she was content to sit in silence for a long while. Her thoughts drifted over her experiences, ranging from Remnant's destruction to their meeting with the Justice League to their time in Themyscira. The more she thought about it, the more at peace she felt. The pain of losing her home would always be there, but she could not afford to let it define her. None of them could.
"This place," Pyrrha began, catching Diana's attention, "It is… so much like Remnant in so many ways it's almost unfathomable. You'd almost think they were twins. They're so alike. I think… that's why we've acclimated so quickly. Beyond the countries, the ideologies, the people, Remnant, and Earth are… one and the same. They are both filled with wonder and danger, hope and despair, love and loss, good and evil."
"Just goes to show you that no matter what world you end up being, there's nothing different at all." Pietro comments agreeing with the young woman despite the few noticeable difference between Earth and Remnant. The principles are still the same.
"Yes, that is true," Diana admitted with a nod. "That is why we are here. We protect the good in this world from those who would seek to harm others." She then looked at Pyrrha and placed her hand on her shoulder. "What you and your friends are doing, facing your fears head-on and not letting what happened to you dictate your lives? It is nothing short of admirable. Remember that."
Both RWBY and JNR felt a sense of pride hearing those words from the hero of Themyscira but also felt a sense of guilt for not telling the complete truth to Ironwood and his group.
"I will," Pyrrha replied with a smile. It was then that her smile disappeared as she focused on something in the distance, causing Diana to look at her in confusion. Turning her head to where Pyrrha was staring, she saw nothing.
This caused all the viewers to narrow their eyes towards the location where Pyrrha was looking at.
"What was that?" Penny asked, trying to find anything odd where Pyrrha was looking.
"I don't see anything." Jaune said but was growing nervous if Pyrrha would act like that.
"What is it? What did you see?" she asked while standing up, Pyrrha doing the same.
"I saw… I thought I saw an armored man," Pyrrha said with a great amount of worry. Diana's eyes widened, and she immediately took off. For a moment, the huntress wondered whether or not she should follow or head back to warn the others. She then narrowed her gaze and took off after the Wonder Woman.
"Aries!" Most of the audience shouted in shock and alert as they watched what would happen next, while those who knew Pyrrha couldn't help but worry about her decision to chase after Wonder Woman.
Jaune didn't know why but watching this scene made him grow more nervous than the others, and it didn't help but remind him of something… familiar.
She followed Diana quickly through the hills and forest, occasionally passing by odd marks on the ground. Each one filled her with dread, and she was increasingly happy that she decided to go out of the arena with her weapons, shield, and armor from the tournament. Whatever had spooked Diana, it wasn't anything good. As she passed through the forest, she began to hear something, and she paused just behind a tree to look out over a large cliffside, and she gasped.
There, not twenty feet away, she saw the littered bodies of over a dozen Amazons. Blood was staining the ground, pouring from the bodies from fresh wounds. Forcing herself to press on, Pyrrha took out her weapons and edged closer to a small cluster of bodies. Kneeling down, she inspected the corpses to try and determine how exactly they had died.
The audience gasped in horror witnessing the dozens of dead Amazons before the Invincible Girl.
"How horrible…" Weiss gasped as she covered her mouth with her hands.
"Did Ares do this?" Harriet narrowed her eyes in disgust by the carnage left behind by whoever did this.
"No…" Qrow says as he narrowed his eyes, taking a closer look at the deceased Amazon warriors. "Their injuries are shaped like that of animal claws."
"What kind of animal would be able to kill these warriors?" Winter questions she knows that it can't be Grimm, perhaps one of Earth's monsters.
"Animal?" she whispered as she took note of a large gash along the woman's side, far too jagged to be from a sword. A puncture wound along the throat was of a similar shape, likely from the fang of some beast. Hurrying to the other bodies, she quickly noticed how they too were similar, although a few also had arrows sticking out of them. She also noticed a large amount of shattered stone littered across the landscape, and she wondered exactly what had happened.
It was then that she noticed the bodies appeared to be forming a sort of trail. The Amazons were chasing something while other things were attacking them. Following the trail, she came across the body of a large, humanoid creature. The torso was as wide across as her outstretched arms, its skin was a pale white, and a large club the size of a tree trunk was lying next to its hand. On its face was a single large eye, glossy and unmoving. She didn't know what it was, but judging by the wounds across its body, it was dead. Recently, too.
"What are those things…?" Ruby gulped a little scared, looking at the countless corpses of what she could tell are monsters of Earth or perhaps in Themyscira.
"Those are the very monsters sealed away behind the Doom Door." Penny answered, narrowing her eyes towards the dead monsters. Thanks to the knowledge granted to her by Mr. Mxyzptlk, she wasn't that afraid of the demons.
Learning that these monsters came from the Doom Door made the viewers realize a horrifying revelation.
"Then that means…!" Ruby gasps in horror where Pyrrha is now in.
"The Doom Door," she gasped. She suddenly realized exactly where they were. She raced forward, passing by more and more bodies of both Amazon and monstrous creatures. A man with the head of a bull, a large serpent with multiple heads burned at the stump, even a lion-like creature with a goat's head and serpent tail. With increasing alarm, Pyrrha began to realize that the fears they had the previous night were not unfounded and that something recently had escaped. It must have happened so quickly that no one could raise the alarm.
"One of the monsters managed to escape from the Doom Door!" Blake shouted in worry.
"Did Ares allow this?" Clover questioned, confused if this was some form of distraction.
Pyrrha paused as she neared the entrance of the cave. She knew that, down there, the Doom Door was waiting and that something would likely be lurking there as well. Diana was nowhere in sight, and Pyrrha could only assume that she somehow lost her. She was on her own, and she couldn't help but feel frightened. At the same time, she knew that she could not let this continue, and so with a deep breath, she pulled out her scroll and activated the emergency beacon. She placed it on a broken pedestal where a statue previously stood. Then, with her sword and shield at the ready, she descended into the abyss.
"That girl is either brave or crazy!" Elm shouted, shocked, and couldn't help but admiringly respect the Invincible Girl's bravery.
"She's a Huntress. It's her destiny to do that." Harriet said.
That single comment triggered something inside of Jaune the moment he heard those words. Now he understood why all this seemed so familiar to him. His heart began to beat hard as the last memory and moment between him and his partner played back on his head.
Thankfully no one noticed his slight panic attack as everyone focused their attention on the viewing. He desperately tries to calm himself down as he continues to watch as he repeatedly tells himself that this was nothing like what happed during the Fall of Beacon and nothing terrible would happen to this Pyrrha.
He can only hope.
Diana chased after the figure, fury in her eye and sword in hand. She knew exactly who Pyrrha had seen, and she could only hope that she went back to get help. Moving past the underbrush, they continued up the hills and mountains to the center of Paradise Island. The armored man seemed to be taunting her, purposefully keeping within her sight and only disappearing for brief moments to lead her exactly where he wanted her to go. Likely to a trap, but Diana couldn't afford to leave him be.
"Back to Wonder Woman." Jaune said, still worried and a bit annoyed that it changed to Diana instead of Pyrrha, but that doesn't mean he's not concerned about the Amazon Hero.
Coming across a large stone cliffside, the same one Ren and Nora had described climbing the previous day, Diana leaped high into the air and landed at its top. She prepared to move again, only to pause when she saw a man standing at the edge, looking over the island with his arms crossed behind his back.
"Hello, Diana," the man said as he continued looking out over the island, unconcerned that Diana was now pointing her sword at him.
"It's him!" Ruby gasps.
"Gods, does he look smug." Qrow comments not liking the God of War already.
"Ares…" She growled, an action that only caused the God of War to chuckle as he turned to face her. From underneath his helmet, she could see his red eyes and thick beard. "What are you doing here?"
"Come now. Am I not allowed to welcome my half-sister back to her ancestral home?" he asked with a mocking smile. Diana responded by angrily punching the stone next to her, creating a large crack in the rock. "Anger does not suit you, my dear. You really should work on that temper. It's unbecoming."
"Their related?!" Weiss gasps in shock.
"Unfortunately so." Penny said. "Most of the Gods of Themyscira are related with one another."
"Like the Brothers." Blake comments, taking note that they are not the only deities that are related to one another.
"The only thing that's unbecoming is you," Diana spat, yet kept her distance. The two divine beings stared at each other in silence before Diana finally spoke again. "Did you give it to him?"
"She's fishing for information from him?" Marrow says, thinking about the formula that Scarecrow used in his Fear Gas.
"What makes her think that she'll get it from him?" Harriet skeptically said.
"Give what to whom?" Ares asked with that insufferable smirk on his face.
"Gods, I just want to punch that insufferable smirk of his!" Yang gritted her teeth, hating the God even more. The others wholeheartedly agreed.
"Did. You. Give. Crane. The formula." Diana emphasized each word with as much venom as she could muster, and Ares merely chuckled.
"So he did give the formula!" Nora shouts.
"I'm more surprised that he even confessed without a problem." Elm blinks surprised that the God of War just confessed like that.
"Perhaps he has no reason to lie to her." Vine guessed.
"Yes, I did," he admitted. Diana moved to lunge at him, only for him to hold up his palm. "Peace, Diana. I did not come here to fight."
"What's he planning?" James muttered, wondering why the Ares is doing this so casually.
"Then why are you here?" Ares laughed again, making Diana's blood boil.
"I came here to teach, not to fight." Ares disappeared into a wisp of smoke and reappeared right next to Diana, facing the opposite direction of her. "Besides, our father would not want siblings to fight on this sacred land, would he not?"
"Well, isn't that sweet of him." Maria sarcastically spats.
"Last I recalled, you killed him."
"He killed his father?!" Winter shouts in shock, but what's more shocking is that a God killed another God.
"He did, but Zeus came back to life afterward." Penny said, shocking them even more.
"You can bring back a dead god?" Ruby mutters both shock and awe.
"There are numerous methods to bring them back, but all information is censored and considered taboo, to begin with."
"For a time, yes. Until he reformed, at which point he immediately came back here and made your younger sister with the Queen." Ares chuckled to himself. "Of course, this one actually was made of clay and not an actual child."
"What is he talking about?" Jaune questioned, confused and somewhat angry how he could tell that Ares was belittling Wonder Girl.
"Donna is a unique case. Donna was born by Zeus and Hippolyta when they molded and created Donna through clay, and thanks to Zeus's powers, he brought her to life." Penny explains shocking everyone while at the same time she was also surprised by that revelation, but at the same time, she could feel a connection between herself and the protégé of Wonder Woman.
"Donna was born though clay?" Pietro says, surprised and marveled at such familiarity he has done with Penny.
"Do not speak of Donna that way!" she hissed as she turned to swing her sword at the god, only for him to turn into smoke once again and reappear out of reach.
"Yeah! Just because Donna is different doesn't mean you get to look down on her!" Ruby shouts, hating the God of War, seeing that he doesn't respect Donna at all.
"Oh, I'm not judging. Everyone knows how spiteful Hera can be, and making Donna as he and Hippolyta did was able to spare her Hera's wrath."
"There's a story there, isn't there?" Maria asks.
"Yes, but it's too long to explain." Penny answered.
"I did learn that even Gods and Goddesses can prejudice one another." Blake says, seeing the irony in it, and couldn't help but think of dark thoughts if they were responsible for the start of prejudice.
"Get to the point," Diana said, causing Ares to smirk at getting under her skin.
"Alright. Yes, I did give Crane that formula, the one your people safeguarded so closely. But do you know why?"
"Because you wanted to cause death and destruction to innocent people."
"I suppose that would be a good representation of the God of War himself." Winter spat in disgust.
"Sister, we both know that is an oversimplification," Ares countered. "There are no innocent people, especially in that squalor your friends call a city. Besides, once again, you are misappropriating blame onto me."
"Bastard! Just because Gotham has high criminal activity doesn't justify that you can just go kill people off!" Qrow shouts in anger and disgust.
"Even the God of Darkness didn't bother with human activity back then." Oscar muttered as he recalled the memories of Ozma, recalling the Brothers may have created everything in Remnant, but they didn't interact with the humans at all, but that changed when Salem went to them. The current incarnation of the cursed wizard couldn't help but notice that Earth's deities interact with humans all the time.
Diana remained silent, causing Ares to smile.
"Honestly, his mind was so warped that it didn't even take much for him to decide of his own free will to take that gas and modify it. You and I both know that Maru's discovery had many potential applications for the benefit of mankind. A simple change here or there and the chemical could be turned into a brand new medicine or anesthetic for surgery. But instead, that man did what man always does. He chose destruction."
"Which was why Ares chose him and gave him the formula that the Amazon's have kept after all these years." Vine says, seeing Ares's decision to choose a lunatic like Crane.
"I'm more surprised that something so destructive can actually be used to save people." Yang points out surprised that Maru's formula can be used for medical use.
"A true shame." Pietro shakes his head in disappointment seeing that there was good potential to use the formula but understands that it was too dangerous to use, seeing how Scarecrow used it.
"Do not absolve yourself of this, Ares. You gave Crane that formula knowing what he would do with it. Don't try to pretend that there was any other outcome."
"Was there, Diana? Was there?" Ares chuckled again. "Crane hadn't been operating for months at that point. He was on the path to "recovery", you would call it. But one simple whisper into his mind, one of a new formula that captured his curiosity, was all it took to start back up his obsession with fear. One spark. That's all it ever takes to get them to kill each other."
"Disgusting…" Robyn spat. "Scarecrow may be a psychotic criminal, and I'll admit I am a bit skeptical that rehabilitation is helping him. It doesn't change the fact that Ares gave him something to make him go even crazier."
"And I take it that he just sees this as a game to him." James glared in disgust.
Diana glared at Ares, and the God merely laughed before continuing.
"But, I'm not here to talk about the failures of Man. We both know how extensive that list is, despite your best efforts to change them these past few decades." Ares laughed again. "After all, they started the Second World War when I was dead."
"A war which started from the treaty you created!" Diana countered. "Had you not caused the Treaty to turn into such a cruel instrument as it was, the war might not have been fought!"
"He caused that war?!" Jaune shouts in shock and horror, much to everyone's surprise and disgust.
"I'm more surprised that there was a Second World War on Earth!" Oscar says in shock while he couldn't imagine what Remnant would go through if they underwent another Great War.
"Come now. Please tell me you aren't that naïve still? We both know that war was inevitable. If not against Germany and Hitler, then against the Soviet Union and Stalin. It was a powder keg waiting to blow. Besides, if I recall, you did nothing to stop it. Merely content to sit and wallow in—"
Diana threw her sword through Ares' head, the god dissipating into smoke as soon as the weapon made contact. It continued until it sank into the rock behind him, all the way up the hilt.
"Big mistake." Yang says, knowing that the Ares was about to cross a dangerous line.
"Do. Not. Speak of him," Diana growled once more.
"Touched a nerve, didn't I?" When Diana said nothing, Ares continued. "Still, you did eventually join in that war. Even killed the man who started it. Still, how ironic is it that the people you fought with created the very weapons that allowed me to be reborn?"
"What? Is that why he caused all this? So that he could come back?" Ruby says in complete utter shock that deities are capable of such feats.
"It's true. Depending on what representation a deity is, they will remain existing and impossible to destroy either it's the actions of humanity or the representations of what makes them Gods." Penny explains much to everyone's shock and fascination.
"So in the end… Salem never stood a chance." Oscar mentally thought as she recalled the true history of what Jinn revealed when Salem rallied the first civilization of Remnant to destroy the Brother Gods, only to fail in the end. At first, he was afraid that they could be brought back, but as long as their people like Diana and the Justice League can face these evil deities, there is hope.
Diana knew exactly what he was referring to. Even today, the power of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki terrified her. They truly had the power to end the world in an instant, and to hear that Ares was reborn in them when they were first used did not surprise her in the least.
"Atomic bomb?" James said, confused but couldn't help but feel wary of it, seeing how Wonder Woman was afraid.
"It's a very dangerous bomb that ended the Second World War but at the cost of millions of lives. Its creation was both an achievement and biggest mistake that was ever created." Penny says, shocking everyone again. Earth not only had amazing things but also had the most dangerous ones.
"Stop lecturing me on things that I already know," Diana demanded. "I am not blind to the darkness in Men's hearts, but you are blind to the goodness in them. Just as they are capable of terrible acts of cruelty and violence, they are also capable of heroism and love. You gave Crane that formula because you knew he would use it as he did, but there are thousands, if not millions of doctors and scientists the world over who would have used it to heal if they knew how. Now, give me a reason why I should not run you through right now. I killed you before. I can do it again."
"Despite all that, humanity still strives to grow and better themselves." Ruby smiles, seeing how the people of Earth would go to such lengths for the good of their world.
"The people of Earth sure have it good. The only reason they can achieve this much is that they have the numbers unlike the population Remnant has." Blake adds.
"Oh, I don't doubt that. You know, it's funny how peaceful and loving you Amazons proclaim to be, yet every single one is a trained warrior, ready to kill at a moment's notice. Not to mention how biased your people are in general, or ineffective they are at your supposed duty in the world."
"The price of peace and freedom." James admits even he knows that these things can't come without a price.
"Hate to admit it with our line of work we despite the good we do even we have to get our hands dirty to get the job done." Qrow grimaced, admitting that being a Huntsman isn't all sunshine and rainbows, a hard fact that both RWBY and JNR had to go through.
Diana stomped towards him while pulling out her lasso, only for Ares to laugh.
"Yeah! Go, Wonder Woman! Beat that creep's ass!" Surprisingly Harriet was the one who cheered, but no one complained since they also wanted to watch Wonder Woman fight against the God of War.
"Diana, you don't want to fight me. Not now." Diana ignored him, continuing to march towards him. "Not when your guest is about to fight a Gorgon."
The moment Ares mentioned Pyrrha made everyone's blood froze.
"Pyrrha…!" Jaune muttered in realizing horror, cursing himself for forgetting her for a bit.
Diana stopped immediately, a look of horror and concern appearing on her face before warping into one of rage. "What did you-!"
"On this, I did nothing, I assure you," Ares interjected. "Even if I wanted to, I am prevented from interfering on Themyscira directly, much less affect the Doom Door. No, that honor belongs to an Amazon."
Again, another unexpected revelation shocked the viewers' none of them expected an Amazon to be responsible for sabotaging the Doom Door.
"What?" Diana gasped as she looked to see the cave entrance. At the same time, she heard a loud rumble from the city as large warning drums began to pound, coupled with the blaring of a large horn.
"The girl followed my trail pretty well, actually, and I do have to commend her foresight to call for help before going in on her own. Still, I do not envy her having to face against Stheno on her own." Diana moved past him towards the cliff, terror for her friend clearly seen on her face. She could see hundreds of horses begin to ride out towards the cave, with more joining at every moment.
"So Pyrrha was able to call for help before she charged in by herself." Jaune sighs in relief but is still worried, no, terrified of what his later Partner was facing.
"So this Gordon, Stheno, is the monster that is loose?" Ren questions.
"Yes. Stheno the eldest of the three Gorgon sisters and the most independent and ferocious among her siblings." Penny answered, getting worried and curious reactions to what kind of monster and why even Wonder Woman fears this creature.
"But why would an Amazon do this?" Winter questions. "I thought the Amazons of Themyscira would never commit such a horrid deed."
"Oh, one last thing. The Amazon that sabotaged the door? She was not native to Themsycira, nor Bana-Mighdall for that matter. She was born in Man's World. Shaped by it, corrupted by it. I always told you man corrupts everything he touches. Even your own people."
"Of course! It would be unexpected if it were an Amazon outside of their homeland." James said, seeing the logic now how that no one would be able to piece it together.
"If you take away a child from their birthplace and make them grow in a different environment, they will become something no one would expect." Vine says understanding now such a simple action could have such a tremendous effect.
"And despite all that, I can't feel bad for this Amazon." Blake said, being a Faunus, she can probably understand it herself. She was born and raised in Menagerie, and all her life, she grew up in the White Fang trying to make a difference, and that was it, she was not only raised by her parent but other Faunus with their point of view that made her choose differently of what should have been her own choice.
It took a long to find out what she really wanted after leaving the Fang and leaving Adam to find her real family. Team RWBY.
Diana ignored him as she ripped her sword out of the stone and leaped off the cliff, turning her jump into flight as she soared faster and faster to the Doom Door, hoping beyond hope that she wouldn't be too late. As she did, Ares chuckled one last time before disappearing into thin air.
"Please hurry…" Jaune prayed, hoping that Wonder Woman would make it before… before he might see something he hopes that will not repeat.
Pyrrha recognized that something was wrong almost immediately. There were more bodies the further she descended, many of which had arrows sticking out of them. There were a few more dead creatures along the way. There must have been a fierce battle, the only relief being that there were far fewer Amazon casualties than their monstrous adversaries.
"Gods, despite not being there, I can literally feel the suspense." Marrow gulped while growing nervous about what kind of monster the Invincible Girl was facing.
"Suck it up, Marrow! This is a good learning experience for us." Harriet berated her fellow Specialist, annoyed by anxious e was getting, while noticing the glares from both RWBY and JNR, not liking the idea that their friend is being used as learning material when her life is on the line.
When she finally entered the main chamber, she gasped and quickly hid behind a shattered column. Peeking around, she saw perhaps the most grotesque creature she had ever seen, even with its back turned to her. The lower body was that of a snake, while the upper was that of a scaly woman. Hairs made of living snakes rested atop her head, and a large bow was in her hand. Jagged arrows rested in a quiver on her hip, and she appeared to be searching around the room.
The viewers did not fare better when they first saw the grotesque monster they had ever seen.
"Oum all-mighty… that's… a G-Gorgon?" Pietro stuttered in fear. He thought he had seen all kinds of horrifying Grimm in the databanks of Atlas's vast collection of information but seeing the Gorgon has genuinely changed his perspective.
"Yes. That's the Gorgon, Stheno." Penny gulped. Even with the data she had, she couldn't stop herself from being nervous.
"And I thought Salem was frightening enough." Weiss quietly admits Salem did appear frightening, but after seeing Stheno, she couldn't help but feel scared than ever.
"That thing is even capable of using a bow." Robyn points out terrified to think that this creature can use weapons and what's worst that it is intelligent.
"Where is she?" she asked as she turned over every stone in the room. "Medusa, where are you?"
"W-Who's Medusa?" Ruby stuttered.
"Another Gorgon and the youngest sister Stheno." Penny answered.
"That's right, that thing has two sisters." Winter says, dreading the fact that this horror has siblings.
Pyrrha kept staring at the creature as it continued to search. The name Medusa sounded like it should have been important, but she didn't know why. She turned her attention to the Doom Door, and she had to force herself not to gasp in alarm. It was cracked open along the outer edge, granting enough space for a few creatures to make it through. It appeared as though several Amazons had died trying to close it. Even now, she could see it shake as something larger tried to break free.
"Something is trying to get out of the Doom Door!" Ruby shouts in panic.
She then saw a faint movement against the back wall, and with a start, Pyrrha realized that one of the Amazons she had assumed to be dead was still alive. She was impaled to the wall by a thick arrow, yet she still managed to draw her bow with a single remaining arrow, aiming it at the creature. The Amazon then released her bowstring, striking the monster in the back and making it roar out in pain. Angrily, it turned round to see the smiling Amazon staring at her, and with its eyes closed, the snake woman slithered over to the defenseless Amazon. It stopped in front of her, and the Amazon defiantly spat blood against its face.
"A survivor!" Ren shouts.
"Get out of there!" Jaune shouts.
"She can't. She's too badly injured!" Vine said, seeing how close to death the Amazon was.
"At least she was able to hurt that thing." Harriet says, respecting the Amazon's last stand.
"Die, monster," she declared as the creature opened her eyes and stared the Amazon in the face. To Pyrrha's horror, the Amazon began to turn into solid stone before her very eyes, and with a huff, the monster shattered the newly made statue with her tail. As a few chunks clattered against her stone cover, Pyrrha crouched down fully behind it, her mind racing at what to do. That creature had just looked at her, and the Amazon turned to stone. That obviously meant that meeting her gaze was not something she herself could do, and with that in mind, she carefully ripped off a piece of cloth and wrapped it around her eyes. While she would prefer to fight with all of her senses, she would much rather not run the risk of turning into stone.
Everyone's blood froze the moment Stheno turned the poor unfortunate warrior to stone.
"S-She… she was turned to stone…!" Ruby stuttered in horror. This power was very much similar to the power of Silver Eyes but a more horrific version of it.
"This is the most iconic power of the Gorgons, with a simple eye contact towards their targets turning them to stone killing them." Penny explains, horrifying everyone hearing it. Those familiar with Silver Eyes could not believe something similar but more dangerous than turning Grimm to stone was at the hands of a monster such as this.
"A bastardized version of our gift…" Maria mutters. The thought of a monster using a similar gift of their own truly terrified her.
"Pyrrha made the right choice to blind herself for protection, even if only temporarily." James says, respecting Pyrrha's choice for this foe.
"But can she fight without her sight?" Harriet questioned as even she can't imagine fighting someone while being blind. The only best chance she could think of was Marrow's Semblance to paralyze that monster temporally.
"Don't you dare underestimate Pyrrha's skills!" Jaune snapped at the Ace-Op, much to her surprise.
"I suggest you listen to the boy. You can be amazed at what blind people can do." Maria says as she recalled when Tock blinded her but managed to beat her in the end.
Unfortunately, it appeared that the action of ripping the cloth alerted the creature to her presence.
"Oh no…" Jaune began feal cold sweat when the Gorgon heard Pyrrha.
"Who goes there?" she yelled out while pulling out her bow. As the snake woman slithered against the ground, Pyrrha honed her senses to try and identify exactly where it was. "I know you're there, Amazon. I can smell you. Come on out, and I won't hurt you. All I want is my sister, whom one of you murdered."
"The Medusa was killed by the Amazon's?" Yang says, both shocked and relieved that one of them is at least dead.
"But why is it that she is looking for her? Her corpse, perhaps?" Blake questioned.
"A long time ago, Wonder Woman thought against Medusa, but due to her ability to turn anyone to stone Diana had to fight her blind, but, in the end, she was able to win against Medusa by slicing her head off killing her." Penny explained, getting a cringe from the audience by that fact but glad that one of the Gorgons is now dead.
"But why would the Amazons still have the head?" Weiss questioned understanding that the Amazon's had obtained the decapitated head.
"Despite just being the head, Medusa's severed head can still turn people to stone, and it could not rot, leaving it as a dangerous object if left uncheck." Penny answered, shocking everyone learning that even in death, the Gorgon was still considered dangerous.
"And I thought Grimm are dangerous…" Elm gulped, afraid such a creature existed.
Pyrrha said nothing as she crept around her column, training her ears for any sound of movement. Occasionally, her hand would strike a rock, creating a small sound that made her wince. When the monster didn't get a response, she stopped for a moment then continued to move. The sound was getting closer, and Pyrrha knew she had to move quickly.
"I never knew Pyrrha was this skilled." Ruby says, surprised that her old friend was that skilled without her sight.
"She actually asked me to help train her with her Aura perception back during our time in Beacon." Ren comments
"Or maybe you're not an Amazon? Yes, I can smell it now. You're something different, something… fresher." Pyrrha could practically hear the smile on the monster's face but continued to remain quiet even as the sound got ever closer. As quietly as she could, Pyrrha grabbed a small rock and tested it in her hand, feeling the weight.
Nora gasp. "She knows!"
"Do you even know who I am?" Again, Pyrrha said nothing, and the monster took that as an answer. "I am Stheno, eldest daughter of Ceto and the first Gorgon."
"Ceto was the Goddess of the Ocean before Zeus banished her." Penny quickly explains.
Pyrrha responded by chucking the rock to the far side of the room. Stheno heard the noise and followed after it, allowing Pyrrha to move to hide behind a fallen column quickly. She slid across the stone floor, feeling chunks of broken statues as she did. A few rocks were jettisoned away, sliding across the stone floor, and she could only hope the Gorgon didn't find her. Knowing that these statues were likely the bodies of Amazons made her feel sick to her stomach, but she kept quiet and pressed herself against the column.
"Gods! This is driving me crazy!" Jaune seethed almost close to tearing his hair off, watching all the suspense while at the same time scared seeing his partner like this.
"Come out! I promise I won't hurt you," Stheno stated with a low hiss. Pyrrha again said nothing and kept quiet. A child could see that lie for what it was. Nothing she could say would convince Pyrrha to come out, not until she knew exactly how she was going to beat this thing. She was beginning to settle on cutting off her head. Her eyes were obviously her greatest strength, so taking them out would have to be a priority. She just needed a way to target it.
"A good choice." Clover nodded, seeing the best choice to kill a Gorgon was to slice their head. "The best way to kill that monster is killing it the same way Wonder Woman did."
"If she can get close, that is." Qrow said
Suddenly, the movement stopped, and everything became quiet. The silence unnerved Pyrrha immensely, and she strained her ears to try and find the Gorgon once again. When she felt a presence suddenly get close to her, a sense of dread filled her body and soul.
Everyone held their breath as they were filled with dread knowing that Pyrrha had been found.
"Hello there, young one," Stheno greeted, and Pyrrha responded by turning around and swinging her sword towards where she figured the neck was. Stheno countered by slamming her thick tail against Pyrrha, sending her flying through a column and shattering it into tiny pieces. She rolled as she hit the ground, managing to get to her feet, only to dive to the side as the gorgon fired an arrow at her. It missed and hit another stone column, sending shattered stone from where the missile hit. Stheno continued to fire arrow after arrow at Pyrrha, who continued to run and use her aura-enhanced senses to make sure she didn't run into anything. While Ren's may have been better than hers, she could still sense enough to get the job done.
"Look out, Pyrrha!" Jaune shouts in concern for his partner.
"You can do it, Pyrrha! Show that monster how we deal with monsters her in Remnant!" Nora shouts as she cheers for her friend.
"Stay still!" Stheno ordered as she grabbed another arrow, only for Pyrrha to use her Semblance on a nearby metal brazier, ripping it off of its foundation and hurling it towards the Gorgon. The monster raised her tail to block it, only to have hot embers wash over her leathery tail, making her screech in pain. Pyrrha took the opening to lunge at the monster, stabbing into her cut with her sword before cursing after remembering that it was blunted. It didn't sink very far, and she was forced to let go of it and backflip over another swing of the tail.
"Grr-AAGH!" Stheno screamed as she ripped the blade out of her body, blood beginning to pour out and hit the stone floor, hissing as it did. "You bitch! You think you can kill me!?"
The audience cheered that Pyrrha was able to injure the Gorgon.
Pyrrha responded by holding her shield out in front of her. "No. I will kill you."
Those who knew Pyrrha slightly winced at her declaration, not expecting the nice girl they know would make such a threat even if it's against a murdering monster such as Stheno.
"Pyrrha…" Jaune mutters in worry and fear as she recalls the time during the Fall of Beacon when she said something about bringing down Cinder before they went their separate ways.
"Such arrogance!" Stheno roared as she slithered towards Pyrrha far too quickly than a creature of her size should have. The Gorgon grabbed Pyrrha by the shield and charged her through another column before slamming her against the stone floor. As she moved to attack again, Pyrrha grabbed a fallen stone block and slammed it into the Gorgon's body, rocking her back and making her screech from the pain. Pyrrha took the opportunity to run off, carefully feeling out with her senses for anything she could use against the creature. She smiled as she sensed the abundance of bronze weapons scattered around the room, and with a deep breath, she reached out and attracted all of them. Beads of sweat appeared on her forehead as she angled the assorted spears and swords at the gorgon's general direction. At the same time, she could hear the sound of the stone slab continuing to shake as something heavy pounded against it, and her heart began to beat faster. When Stheno roared loudly, Pyrrha launched the weapons like a fragmentation grenade in reverse, followed by a series of wet sounds as the Gorgon was pincushioned by the Amazonian weaponry. Her subsequent screech was bloodcurdling, forcing the huntress to cover her ears as the Gorgon flailed in pain before it finally stopped.
"Did… did she, do it?" Petro says, hoping that it was the case.
"Let's hope so." Maria gulped even she was getting nervous with the silent treatment.
For a moment, Pyrrha smiled, thinking she had avenged the Amazon's deaths. That smile disappeared when she heard the clattering of bronze hitting the stone floor, and with shock, she realized that Stheno had ripped the weapons free from her body.
Stheno roared again as she raced towards Pyrrha, forcing the huntress to continue to move, leaping over any and all destroyed columns and avoiding the shot arrows. The few that hit were absorbed by her still recovering aura, but that didn't mean that stopped the pain.
"NO!" Almost everyone screamed or shouted, seeing that the fight was not over.
When the tail shot out and stuck her back again, Pyrrha was prepared for it. She twisted her body and grabbed hold of it, then swung it like a flail. Stheno's body hit the shattered columns like a wrecking ball, each impact causing the gorgon to gasp out in pain, but Pyrrha knew it wasn't enough. She could feel the tight muscles of the tail, which only hinted at the vast strength the creature had. Strength that was shown when Stheno contracted, bringing her torso to Pyrrha and wrapping her body around the huntress'. Her tail coiled around her prey, and the Gorgon began to squeeze as tightly as she could.
"AAGH!" Pyrrha screamed as she felt the constriction squeeze against her, her aura straining to prevent any actual injury, while Stheno merely laughed.
"PYRRHA!" Jaune shouted in horror and was beginning to panic. "No, no, no, no, NO! Not again, NOT AGAIN!"
"NO!" Ruby cried out in horror, not wanting to watch Pyrrha die again.
"Ohoho, how I love the sight of humans gasping for breath in futile struggle!" the Gorgon declared as she drew her maw ever closer. Seeing Pyrrha continue to writhe only made the creature laugh harder, and as she opened her mouth to bite down, a whistling sound caught her attention. She turned to face it, only to have a bronze dagger already hurling through the air stab her in the eye. She screamed, loosening her hold on Pyrrha while clutching at the dagger, and while Pyrrha gasped for breath, she leaped up and took hold of the weapon, grabbed the handle, and stabbed it into the other eye.
"Whoa! Who did that!?" Nora shouts, both shock and relieved.
"Who cares?! They managed to blind that sonuva bitch!" Harriet says, happy that the freak of snake monster bitch is getting what it deserves.
"AAGH! MY EYES! I CAN'T SEE! I CAN'T SEE!" Stheno screamed as she flailed her body from side to side, shaking Pyrrha off and sending her flying. As she did, a pair of arms gently caught her and brought her to safety behind an intact pillar, then removed the red cloth covering her eyes and revealing the relieved face of Diana Prince.
"YES! Wonder Woman is here!" Ruby cheered along with the others.
"Thank goodness…" Jaune sighed, relieved that Diana was able to save Pyrrha from a horrible fate.
"Diana!" Pyrrha proclaimed with joy while Diana tightly hugged her in relief.
"Oh, thank the Gods, you're alright," she said as she released Pyrrha from her embrace, then turned to look back at the flailing gorgon, righteous fury in her eyes. "Dammit, of all the things to get through…"
"You know her?" Pyrrha asked, and Diana nodded.
"Yes, but I'll explain later. Right now, we need to let her through that door."
"Shouldn't we kill her?"
"Yeah! I mean, Diana did it to Medusa. She can do it again." Yang said, seeing that there was no reason to let this monster live.
"Stheno's immortal. Any wounds we cause will only last a short time. You cut off her head. She'll eventually grow a new body to replace it." Diana shook her head. Pyrrha looked at the wounds she had caused on the Gorgon, and already she could see them slowly begin to heal. Pyrrha then looked at the Doom Door, seeing the gap continuing to expand ever so slightly with each bang.
"That thing is immortal?!" Blake shouts in shock. "Then how come Diana was able to kill Medusa?"
"Medusa was not immortal." Penny simply said. "And since that Stheno is immortal, the only way they could stop her is by locking her behind the Doom Door."
"I see… I suppose that is the logical way to deal with an immortal being." Clover simply said.
The moment the Specialist said, the ones who knew the truth widened their eyes in shock and realization and felt like their whole world just froze. That simple comment may have been the very answer they have been looking for to deal with an immortal witch of their own.
They silently looked at each other and mentally told each other that they must speak after this viewing.
"But there's things trying to get through!" Pyrrha proclaimed as Diana handed her a sharpened sword.
"I noticed. One problem at a time."
With a snarl, Stheno turned to face Diana and Pyrrha. Her eyes sealed shut through congealed blood. Even still, Pyrrha could see the grievous wounds continue to heal, something that severely limited them on time. Stheno hissed and launched at them, forcing the two women to dive away in opposite directions and causing the Gorgon to slam into the wall. A loud crack ensued as her head chipped the stone, red blood staining where she had hit it. When the Gorgon turned to face her once again, Pyrrha could see a sizable chunk of her skull was now caved in, but the fact that she was still standing alarmed her.
Everyone in the room cringed and hissed at the disgusting yet fatal injuries the Gorgon received.
"Gods, that is disgusting!" Robyn hissed, seeing such fatal injuries.
"I think I'm going to throw up…" Jaune held his mouth and stomach in the attempt to keep his digested meal.
"Immortal or not, she must be in agonizing pain!" Elm stated, not wanting to imagine what kind of pain that would feel like.
Stheno then roared like an animal, picking up a chunk of stone with her tail and hurling it at Diana. Rather than dodge it, the Wonder Woman merely slammed her shield against it, shattering the rock into tiny pebbles in a display of sheer strength. The Gorgon then leaped onto her, forcing the Amazon into a grapple. Stheno wrapped her tail around Diana, only for the Amazon to pry the coiled tail open with her legs, using her shield to keep the snapping jaws at bay and repeatedly stabbing into the gorgon's gut with her sword. After a relentless assault, Stheno finally loosened her grip, allowing Diana the leverage needed to hurl her across the room and into the far wall. The stone cracked under her weight, breaking the creature's back and forcing her to flop onto the ground uselessly.
"Ugh! I heard that!" Marrow winced, hearing the Gorgon's back break.
"This is so brutal…!" Weiss winced as she watched in morbid fascination. She used to kill monsters like Grimm, but the only difference is that they don't spill blood and guts out every time she cuts them.
"I'm amazed that she took that freak down so easily! She made it look like it was just child's play!" Harriet says both in awe and a hint of jealousy at Wonder Woman's skill in combat and the fact that she did it all by herself.
"It shows how much of a gap of experience there is." Clover says even with the thought of his Semblance might not be able to cut it if he were to fight a Gordon by himself.
"That won't stop her for long," Diana noted as she went back over to a flabbergasted Pyrrha. She had been having trouble facing off against the Gorgon, but Diana made Stheno look like she was nothing. Seeing how the Wonder Woman was now looking at her, Pyrrha shook her head and looked around the room, then nodded.
"I have an idea," she said as she ran over and ripped metal braziers out of the wall and chucked them into the central pyre. As she did, they began to glow hot, and behind them, they could hear the gorgon begin to stir, her broken back cracking as her body repaired the damage before their very eyes. Once she had enough, Pyrrha concentrated on the now glowing hot metal objects and pulled at them, the heat increasing their malleability and allowing her to form them into bands. Once they reached the desired shape, she flung them at the Gorgon, wrapping the still hot bands around the wrists and over the eyes. Stheno screamed and flailed, even as Pyrrha pulled the bound wrists together and slammed the hot makeshift cuffs together, fusing them.
Everyone in the viewing room dropped their jaws in utter disbelief. It was a shock to see how violent the Invincible Girl was against Stheno, which was understandable because of what she was facing against but watching her bind the Gorgon with burning metal bands was now crossing the line.
"Oh, my…!" Weiss gasped as she covered her mouth with her hands in shock, not expecting her friend to be that brutal, but then again, she did decapitate Penny once, but even she knew that was never her intention.
"I'm really started getting really scared of P-Money instead of the Gorgon now!" Yang admits not expecting Pyrrha to do that either.
"Pyrrha…" Jaune mutters in light surprise. Then again, this wasn't the first time his late partner did something extreme to fight an impossible fight. He was begging to think she was taking destiny way too far.
"There, that will hold her longer," Pyrrha declared before turning back to face the Door.
"I do hope you know not to do that against an actual person," Diana noted, and Pyrrha nodded.
"Our Pyrrha never did any of that when she was back in Beacon, just to let you all know." Jaune points out to everyone.
"I only did that because I knew she'd heal from it, however long it took." Pyrrha scoffed and pointed to the large metal clamps. "I think I can use my Semblance to pull the door open. If we time it right, we may be able to—"
She was interrupted by a loud clang as Stheno struggled against her brace, and the two women turned to look at her and then each other.
"That is one stubborn monster!" Nora shouts in fright.
"And I thought Hazel was stubborn." Qrow comments, recalling the trying fight against one of Salem's pawns.
"Hurry," Diana commanded while pulling out her sword. She walked closer to the Gorgon, banging her sword against her shield as she did, while Pyrrha breathed in deeply. She then concentrated, focusing her Semblance on the metal braces of the slab, then pulled. Her body strained under the pressure, threatening to keel over as the stone slab ground against the floor. She could only hope that her friends would arrive soon.
"C'mon, Pyrrha! You forced open an alien door. You can close a magical door!" Ruby cheered for her friend while the others followed as they watched the life and death battle.
Behind her, she could hear the sound of Stheno snapping her shackles and attacking Wonder Woman. The two engaged in a vicious battle, Diana stabbing and slicing with her sword as well as slamming the Gorgon against her shield. Stheno fought back with tooth and claw, scraping them against the metal shield while whipping Diana with her tail. Each swipe was accentuated by a loud crack, and Diana had to force herself to not grunt in pain from the blow, even as red marks appeared on her body. With a yell, Diana delivered a flying knee to Stheno's head, only for the Gorgon to snarl and wrap her thick tail around Diana's leg, then hurl her across the room and hit the wall next to Pyrrha.
As Pyrrha keeled from the strain of nearly overextending her Semblance while also keeping the slab from being fully opened, Diana lunged back towards the Gorgon, her sword piercing the chest and pinning Stheno to the ground. As the Gorgon wailed, she whipped her tail against Diana's chest, knocking her into the ceiling before sending her back down. Stealing a glance, Pyrrha could see that much of the wounds she had were mostly healed, exemplified when the Gorgon began to try and claw out band embedded into her eyes. Steam erupted from the scaled face, and the skin surrounding the eyes, what little Diana could see, was charred black and peppered by bits of exposed bone.
The audience winced at the severe injuries, but they all forcedly ignored it as they continued to watch in desperation for the good guys to win.
Knowing that she couldn't let that happen, Diana unfurled her lasso and flung its loop at the Gorgon, tightening it and binding the arms to her body. Stheno struggled against the magical rope, trying to drag Diana along, but the Amazon dug her feet into the ground then pulled. Stheno flew forward into Diana's fist, knocking the Gorgon upward. Diana followed, punching her in the face yet again, then throwing her down to the ground, followed by flinging her sword and shield at the Gorgon-like missiles. As Stheno bounced on the ground, Diana's sword pierced her stomach, followed by the edge of the shield joining it. Diana then slammed feet first into Stheno's body, only to dismissively tear her equipment out of their impromptu sheathes.
"She did it!" Elm cheered, followed by the rest.
"Oh, thank goodness it's almost over…" Pietro sighs in relief.
"Stay down if you know what's good for you," Diana spat as she grabbed hold of the lasso once more. Stheno struggled, but the Lasso of Hestia was too great for the monster to break free.
"Gaagh! Let me go!" Stheno demanded, but Diana only responded by tightening her lasso's hold. Behind her, she could hear the groan of the slab, as well as the sounds of Amazons running into the cave.
"Never, creature," Diana spat as the first Amazons sprinted into the cave. Several went to help Diana hold the Gorgon down, while more went to help Pyrrha pry the door open just wide enough to force the monster through and prevent any more escapes.
"Pyrrha!" Jaune yelled as he ran into the room, along with the rest of his team and team RWBY. Each of them had their weapons unfurled, and as RWBY pointed their weapons at the contained creature, Jaune himself went to go inspect his partner.
"Finally! Our others and reinforcements have arrived." Ren smiled in pure relief along with the others.
"Hrrg… Hey, Jaune…" Pyrrha grunted as she began holding the slab in place. In front of her, Amazons with spears began thrusting into the small space between it and the wall, preventing any monsters from escaping. Each thrust produced a monstrous roar, loud enough to rattle their bones and ears. "I'm sorry…"
"She always likes to say that word." Jaune chuckled while being happy that this Pyrrha was alive and well, which lifted a tremendous weight.
"She was always apologetic." Ruby giggled.
"Don't be," Jaune insisted as Diana and a few other Amazons dragged the Gorgon to the wall. "Are you hurt?"
"I'll be fine. Just… need a bit of rest after this…"
"She definitely deserves it after that battle." Maria says, nodding at the Invincible Girl's bravery.
"Yeah, I bet you do." Jaune couldn't help but chuckle at her response, then turned to look at the room. Already, Amazons were beginning to gingerly carry the bodies of their fallen sisters out of the room, likely to begin preparations for a funeral, and he couldn't help but sigh. "What a mess."
"Yeah," Pyrrha agreed as Stheno was violently hurled past the Doom Door. As soon as she did, Pyrrha pushed the metal clamps, forcing the door to close once more. More Amazons added their strength, helping to close the stone slab with a heavy clunk. Immediately, Pyrrha collapsed to her knees and panted while the Amazons began hammering in the clamps back to the wall. Jaune knelt down next to her, and she then saw Diana walk up to her with a stoic expression on her face.
"And there goes Stheno." Vine says, glad that monstrosity is now gone.
"Good riddance." Harriet sneered.
"You did well, Pyrrha," she said before helping the huntress to her feet. The two women nodded at each other, then stepped forth out of the room and to the waiting Amazons outside.
The rest of the day went by somberly. The festival, which was meant to take place over the course of a few days, was obviously canceled in the wake of the attack. It was hard to go to sleep that night, but eventually, everyone did. The next day, RWBY and JNPR were witness to something they hadn't thought they would ever have to see: an Amazon funeral.
"How awful… this just like after the Fall of Beacon…" Robyn somberly says as she recalled the large wake in Vale to mourn for all those who died.
"Did that happen?" Ruby asked her sister. Due to being asleep for days after the Fall of Beacon, she missed a lot.
"Yeah… it did." Yang somberly says, feeling ashamed that she didn't attend due to her trauma, she refused to leave the house.
Similar to ancient Greek customs, the day-long funeral procession was composed of three parts. The prothesis, where the bodies were displayed in their armors and drachmas placed onto their eyes, meant to pay the toll to cross the river Styx. Families and comrades mourned around them, remaining as stoic as possible while eyes watered. None of the Amazons wailed, although Yang could tell several were close to it. Afterward, as the sun set, came the ekphora, where the bodies were carefully transferred to the burial ground all fallen Amazons shared. Mourners watched the procession go, with RWBY and JNPR watching from atop their guesthouse as the procession passed them by. They joined the final part, a banquet called the perideipnon, despite feeling they had no right.
Afterward, they somberly walked back to their guest house, Donna joining them on its roof.
"How did this happen?" Ruby asked as she stared up at the moon. "Why would an Amazon do this to her own people?"
"Traitors exist everywhere," Weiss noted with a sigh as she joined her partner. "Themyscira's no different."
Ruby gasped in shock before she narrowed her eyes in rage and disgust.
"Ruby? What's wrong?" Qrow asked in concern, noticing her sudden change of personality.
"Cinder…" Ruby hissed the mere mention bright a lot of mixed emotions from everyone knowing that Cinder Fall was the one who orchestrated the Fall of Beacon, and to those who knew the existence of the Maidens knows that she is Salem's pawn and the current Fall Maiden.
"What about her?" Jaune frowned. Hearing that name just makes his blood boil.
"It's just… all of this seemed so familiar." Ruby says, feeling a bit hesitant but explaining herself. "The Festival in Themyscira, a traitor among them that didn't know off… it reminds me too much about what happened back in Vytal Festival in Beacon."
This revelation made those who knew and especially those who experienced it firsthand.
"Y-Your right… it does remind of it." Blake gulped nervously at that realization.
"But the only difference is that it didn't end in a catastrophe like in Beacon." Weiss points out.
"Best not to think about it, kids." Qrow says. "I won't lie that there is a frightening coincidence, but that's all in the past now."
"Yeah… I guess you're right. Sorry for worrying you all." Ruby apologized, but deep down, she couldn't stop thinking about how similar it all was, same for a few others, especially those who experienced the Fall of Beacon.
"My question is, where'd she come from? Diana said that Ares told her the traitor wasn't born on Themyscira, so how'd she get on the island in the first place?" Jaune asked with a grim expression.
"I don't know," Donna answered with a scowl. The thought that one of her sisters would do such a thing infuriated her. She knew that traitors existed but never thought that one would come from the Amazons. She thought they were above such a thing, but it appears they were wrong. Hearing the report about how a journal had been stolen from the royal vault during the attack was just the insult to this horrible injury. "In any case, my mother will be closing the island to outsiders. I'm afraid that you all will be forced to leave."
"Our others have to leave?" Nora sadly says.
"Not surprising." Ren said. "With all that's happened, they have to priorities in safeguarding their home."
"I understand completely," Weiss stated with a nod. "Queen Hippolyta must keep her people safe."
"Yes, but by now, it's obvious that you all can be trusted completely," Donna countered. "You shouldn't be kicked out like potential threats."
"We don't feel offended! I'm sure they all know that we are good people." Yang says with confidence.
"Indeed! I'm sure they will welcome you all back one day." Penny positively said.
"We're not offended, Donna," Ren stated. "We thank you for our time here. You have been a gracious host, and I don't think we can say that enough."
"There's no need." Donna smiled, only to frown immediately afterward. "Still, you guys were expecting to spend a week down here. You only spent three days, and something tells me that you don't want to go back up to the Watchtower just yet."
"Yeah… the Watchtower is great, and all but staying up in space too long can get boring." Jaune admittingly says.
"I wouldn't mind. I find it rather peaceful." Ren adds while the others had their own opinions but not negative ones.
"Yeah, that's not going to be the best," Yang admitted. "But, it's not so bad."
The others murmured in agreement, and Donna sighed. She had spent some time in the Watchtower before, and she had never liked it. It was too cold, too artificial. Nothing about it was real or natural. Not like Themyscira, or even one of the cities of Man's World. Even Gotham City sometimes had more life to it than the Watchtower.
It was then that the Wonder Girl perked up, a thought entering her head.
"Hm? Now, what would Wonder Girl have in mind." James hummed, seeing the thoughtful look she made
"Actually," she began, catching the other's attention, "I think…I have an idea."
The others looked at her in interest, cocking their heads as to what exactly was on the Amazon's mind.
"I wonder what Donna will do?" Ruby says with excitement along with her teammates and friends.
In a large living room, a phone began to ring. The noise echoed across the empty room, only to be joined by the sound of calm footsteps.
"I got it!" a woman yelled out as she picked up the device. "Hello? Friend Donna! How are you? How is Themyscira?" The woman paused as Donna repeated the events of the previous few days, and she gasped.
"Who's that?" Marrow wondered, seeing that the woman was not being shown on the screen.
"The place looks nice." Yang admits.
"Oh, that is most dreadful! Is everything alright?" she asked and waited as Donna explained that her home would be, in time. "Oh, that is good to hear. Do you require any assistance?"
"Looks like she's friends with Donna." Elm points.
The woman waited, nodding along and muttering in understanding as Donna explained her proposal. A smile steadily grew across her face, and she began to float steadily upwards.
"That sounds wonderful!" she proclaimed excitedly. "We will be more than happy to have them join us! I'll go let the others know right away!" Donna thanked her friend just as she hung up the phone, then the excited girl called out as loud as she could.
"Everyone, I have the best of news! Also, the bad news, but we will address both!"
With that, the screen ended, and the cinema room doors opened, showing that the viewing was done for the day.
"Welp, looks like that's it for today." Qrow says as he stands up and stretches.
"Aw… I wanted to see who those people are." Nora wined.
"Now, now Nora, we all agreed that to have time off." Ren says.
"I don't know about you guys, but I feel like doing some training." Clover says, earning the attention of his fellow Ace-Ops.
"I'm game." Harriet said.
"A bit of exercise won't hurt." Marrow adds.
"I'll be glad to join." Vine agrees.
"I always want to test the Training Room." Elms says in excitement as they all walk out of the Theatre Room.
"I'll be heading to the Library. There are things I wish to learn." James says as he begins to walk away.
"I'll join you, General." Winter says as she joins him out.
"I'll be in the R&D Room. There's so much I wish to learn!" Pietro says in excitement.
"I'll join you, father!" Penny says in excitement as the two left.
"Well, since you're all doing your thing, I'll just do mine." Robyn says as she walks out while in deep thought after everything that she learned these past viewings, she has a lot to sort out.
This leaves RWBY, JNR, Oscar, Maria, and Qrow behind.
"Guys…" Ruby says while making sure that everyone is gone. "We need to talk about what we learned."
To be continued…
A/N: At long last, this fic is back! I hope you enjoy this chapter! Looking forward to prepping the next chapter next time!
Next Update: RWBY Watches Ruby's Mansion (Until all chapters are done) (A03)