Ruby Rose and the Shining Beacon (Edited)
It was a quiet evening in the Kingdom of Vale. A Dust shop called From Dust Till Dawn was tucked away on one side of the city’s streets.
It was growing late, and in preparation for the next day, the old shopkeeper was hard at work cleaning his display cases and sweeping his floors. He looked up at the clock. Only a half hour left before he could close.
He went into the backroom and put his broom, cleaning spray, and rags away when he heard his shop’s bell ring. He looked to see who it was and saw a short girl in a black combat skirt paired with a red riding hood and cape walk to the back of the store. The old man smiled. He knew who it was. She was probably just here to check out the new Weapons Monthly. The old man wasn’t worried, but he did note a strange crimson metal object hooked onto her lower back.
The shopkeeper still paid it no mind and went back to his nightly cleaning duties. Finally he walked back up to the front desk and started locking his display cases which were full of Dust crystals, the number one energy propellant in the world used in everything from weapons to technology and even used in its rawest form giving its wielders control over the forces of nature.
Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, there were five shadows just outside his shop window.
Five men strode brazenly in. Four looked like Junior’s men from Junior’s Club. But the one who led them—there was a dangerous air about him. He had shocking orange hair slicked over one of his eyes with a black bowler on top. He wore a worn white coat over a tacky, outdated suit and he carried a cane with red accents. But the thing that irked the old man most of all was that the man was smoking a cigar in the store.
The five walked up to the front desk and the leader tapped the ash from his cigar onto the display case. The old man gaped.
“Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a Dust shop open this late?” asked the man in white.
One of Junior’s men pointed a gun at the old man.
“Please!” he begged. “Just take my money and leave!”
The man in white shushed him. “Calm down,” he said reassuringly. “We’re not here for your money.” He smiled. Then turned to Junior’s men and demanded, “Grab the Dust.”
One of Junior’s men produced a case that was taller than it was wide. Inside were two rows of five canisters, each with a nipple on top. Three of the others each grabbed a canister and walked over to the glass tubes of raw Dust lining the store’s walls. Each put a canister beneath a different color of Dust and watched as a bar on the side of each canister began to light up telling them when the canister was full.
Another one of Junior’s men opened another case and demanded of the shopkeeper, “Crystals. Burn. Uncut.”
The old shopkeeper reluctantly reached into his display case and did as he was told.
As Junior’s men continued to perpetrate the robbery, one of them could just barely hear muffled music coming from somewhere. He looked toward the back of the store and saw the girl in the red hood reading a magazine.
The thief drew his red-bladed parang and demanded, “All right, kid. Put your hands where I can them!”
The girl didn’t respond.
The man sneered. “Hey! I said hands in the air!” He approached the girl and turned her by the shoulder. “You got a death wish or something?!”
The girl’s hood came off and she looked at the man surprised.
The man pointed at his ears.
The girl took her head phones off. “Yes?” she said casually.
“I said, put your hands in the air. Now!”
“Are you… robbing me?” asked the girl entertained.
“Yes!” said Junior’s man frustrated.
“Oh…” she said slowly. Her lips curled back into a smile.
The rest of Junior’s men continued the robbery while the man in white examined a Dust crystal. They heard a battle cry followed by a thump and the one henchman went flying past them and crashed into the front wall.
The man in white nodded at another and he charged the girl. This time a streak of red and mass of black flew past breaking the window out into the street.
The rest of the thieves looked out the window and saw the henchman knocked out cold while the short girl stood up proudly. The red metallic object hooked onto her back was now balanced on her shoulder and it extended into a large mechanical scythe. The haft was at least twice as long as the girl was tall, and its menacing, curved double blade was just as tall as her.
The girl looked at them and gave a confident smirk. She impressively flourished the scythe around hand over hand and arm over arm before bringing it to a stop on her other side letting its blade tip crash into the street.
“Okay…” said the man in white. “Get her.”
Junior’s men charged the girl. But using the scythe’s haft like a balance beam, she spun around it and kicked the first one in the chest with both feet.
The girl landed and held her scythe crossways behind her. She pulled a subtlety hidden trigger on it. A shot was fired and the recoil from the end of the scythe made the girl spin around with such force that when the scythe butt connected with the next henchman he was sent flying.
The third pulled a machine gun and started firing. But the girl kept pulling the trigger on her scythe and used the force of the recoil to dodge the gunfire not once, not twice, but three times. She dodged toward the henchman, swept him up with her scythe and then brought it around again knocking him back to the street. He landed pathetically at the boss’ feet.
The man in white looked down. “You were worth every cent. Truly, you were.” He took a step forward. “Well Red, I think we can all say it’s been an eventful evening.” He dropped his cigar on the ground and smothered it with the end of his cane.
“And as much as I’d love to stick around,” he continued, pointing his cane at the girl, “I’m afraid this is where we part ways.”
The girl gave him a quizzical look. Then the end of his cane opened up and revealed an aiming reticule. The gangster fired a shot from the end of his cane which exploded when it hit the road.
The girl managed to dodge using the recoil from her scythe to jump over the shot. She landed among chunks of broken road and looked for the ruffian. She noticed him behind her climbing a building’s fire escape.
He just barely cleared the top of the fire escape as the girl nearly flew to the top of the building using her scythe to propel her.
“Hey!” she called.
He growled. “Persistent little…”
The girl scowled and readied herself for combat when what sounded like an accelerating turbine engine reached her ears. A Bullhead-class airship shot into the night sky from behind the building. The girl recoiled from the wind it kicked up.
A hatch on the side opened up and the man climbed into it.
He turned and shouted, “End of the line, Red!” before throwing a burn crystal at her feet.
He took aim with his cane and fired. There was an explosion and he whooped with joy.
But before the explosion had gone off, a tall figure had dropped in front of the girl. When the smoke and fire cleared, a tall, middle aged woman, with glasses and short blonde hair was standing there holding a riding crop with a purple glyph held up before her to shield her and the girl from the blast.
The man in white growled.
The woman brandished her crop and several purple streaks shot from its end and crashed into the airship making the pilot lose control.
“We’ve got a huntress!” shouted the man in white to the airship’s pilot.
The pilot turned out to be a young woman in a red dress with long black hair. She rushed to the side door as the man in white tried to control the airship.
The huntress shot a purple light into the sky above the airship and a storm manifested. Shards of ice descended from the cloud piercing the ship.
The young woman in red appeared in the side hatch. She took stock of the situation and seemed awfully relaxed. The sleeves on her dress burned revealing embedded Dust. She activated the Dust with her aura and cast a fireball at the huntress.
The huntress defended herself with another glyph splitting the ball into many tiny fragments all over the roof. The young woman raised her hand and the fragments exploded, but the huntress was able to back flip out of it.
The huntress used her psychokinetic powers and gathered the shards of the roof into a deadly spike and launched it at the airship. The young woman fired several blasts from her hands trying to destroy it, but the spike merely reformed and continued on its course.
The man in white, being somewhat clever, tilted the ship and managed to ricochet the spike off the top hull of the ship.
Not to be outdone, the huntress separated the spike into three streams and threatened to slice the ship to bits. But the young woman summoned the fire from her dress and expended it outwardly blasting the streams apart.
The airship was offered a brief respite and began to turn away.
The girl, not willing to let these crooks get away, transformed her scythe into a more compact shape that allowed her to use its embedded rifle more accurately. She charged the bolt and began firing, but the young woman aboard the ship was able to block each shot. She then cast a ring of fire around both the girl and huntress.
The huntress threw the girl out of harm’s way with her telekinesis before barely escaping herself.
Finally, the ship’s hull closed and flew off into the night. Everything was quiet again.
After a pause, the girl turned to the woman. “You’re a huntress? Can I have your autograph?!” she gushed.
Somehow, some time later, the girl found herself on the wrong side of a table in an interrogation room used by Vale’s police department.
The middle aged woman paced the room. “I hope you realize your actions tonight will not be taken lightly, young lady,” she said sternly. “You put yourself and others in grave danger.”
“They started it!”
“If it were up to me, you’d be sent home with a pat on the back…”
The girl brightened.
“And a slap on the wrist!” The woman punctuated her statement by slamming her riding crop onto the table making the girl yelp in surprise.
“But… there is someone here who would like to meet you.”
The girl blinked, and in walked an elderly gentleman of at least sixty. He had grey hair and wore an old-fashioned, but still stylish, three-piece emerald green suit. He had blacked out glasses that sat low on his nose, and carried a mug in one hand and a plate of large chocolate chip cookies in the other.
“Ruby Rose,” he said, addressing the girl. He leaned in, “You…”
Ruby raised her eyebrows.
“Have silver eyes.”
Ruby looked away confused. “Um?”
“So!” said the distinguished man. “Where did you learn to do this?”
The woman took out a full-sized scroll and pulled up footage of Vale’s security footage showing off Ruby’s impressive combat skills.
“S-Signal Academy,” replied Ruby unsure of whether or not she was still in trouble.
“They taught you how to use one of the most dangerous weapons ever designed?” he asked intensely.
“Well, one teacher in particular.”
“I see…” he said, placing the plate of cookies before the girl. “Help yourself.”
Ruby looked at them both and hesitated. But only for a moment before shoving cookies in her mouth at will. They were delicious. Almost as good as her mother’s. In fact, they were strangely similar.
The gentleman continued. “It’s just that I’ve seen only one other scythe-wielder of that skill before. A Dusty, old crow…”
“Oh!” chimed the girl, and she tried to speak with her mouth full. She stopped and gave herself a chance to swallow and cleared her throat a little embarrassed. “Sorry. That’s my Uncle Qrow. He’s a teacher at Signal. I was complete garbage before he took me under his wing. And now, I’m all like…” Ruby’s description devolved into faux karate moves complete with soft kiai and battle cries.
The gentleman smiled at her taking a sip from his mug. He enjoyed her enthusiasm. “So I’ve noticed.” He placed his mug on the table and sat down. “And what is an adorable girl such as yourself doing at a school designed to train warriors?”
“Well,” Ruby began seriously, “I want to be a huntress.”
“You want to slay monsters?”
“Yeah. I only have two more years of training left at Signal, and then I’m going to apply to Beacon. See, my sister’s starting there this year, and she’s trying to become a huntress. And I’m trying to become a huntress because I wanna help people, and my parents always taught us to help others, so I thought, well, might as well make a career out of it.” She giggled nervously.
“I mean, the police are all right, but huntsmen and huntresses are just so much more romantic and exciting and cool and…” Ruby let out an excited squeal. “You know?!”
There was a brief pause. The woman blinked and frowned. But the gentleman’s stare was much more pleasant and understanding.
After a while, he asked, “Do you know who I am?”
“You’re Professor Ozpin. You’re the headmaster at Beacon.”
“Hm,” said Ozpin satisfied. “Hello.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“You want to come to my school?”
“More than anything.”
Ozpin exchanged looks with the woman standing next to him. She rolled her eyes.
“Well,” began Ozpin, “okay.”
Ruby couldn’t believe her ears as a euphoric smile crept across her face. She still couldn’t believe developments when she was aboard an airship with other students being ferried to Beacon.
Her older sister Yang still wouldn’t shut up about it. “This is the best day ever!” she cried, embracing Ruby tightly.
“Please stop…” begged Ruby between crushed lungs.
It was bad enough that Yang was infamous for giving the sort of hugs that could collapse airways, but it was made worse by the fact that she was incredibly strong and topped all her hugs off with the sort of exuberance that can only come from an over doting older sister.
“But I’m so proud of you!” said Yang, releasing Ruby. She bounced on the balls of her feet overflowing with enthusiasm.
“Really, sis; it was nothing.”
“What do you mean? It was incredible! Everyone at Beacon is going to think you’re the bee’s knees!”
“I don’t wanna be the bee’s knees. Okay? I don’t wanna be any kind of knees! I just want to be a normal girl with normal knees.”
“What’s with you? Aren’t you excited?”
“Of course, I’m excited. I just… I got moved ahead two years. I don’t want people to think I’m special or anything.”
Yang cocked her head to the side and raised an eyebrow. She shrugged and wrapped an arm around Ruby’s shoulders. “But you are special. A lot of people may only see you as just small and helpless. They may see you as just a child. But they’ll be surprised when a warrior soon runs wild.”
Ruby thought Yang was overdoing the big sister act, but somewhere deep inside, Yang’s argument was hitting home. This only made Ruby feel more torn between trying to appear normal and feeling guilty for not taking Yang’s praise.
Suddenly, there was a telecast on the airship. “The robbery was led by nefarious criminal Roman Torchwick who continues to evade authorities.”
Ruby looked up and recognized the man in the mug shot as being the one she had thwarted at From Dust Till Dawn.
“If you have any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Vale Police Department. Back to you, Lisa.”
“Thank you, Cyril,” said a woman with violet hair. “In other news, this Saturday’s Faunus Civil Rights protest turned dark when members of the White Fang disrupted the ceremony. The once peaceful organization has now disrupted—”
The broadcast was interrupted and a visual of the blonde haired woman from the other night showed up on the screen. “Hello, and welcome to Beacon.”
“Who’s that?” asked Yang.
“My name is Glynda Goodwitch. I’m a professor at Beacon.”
Professor Goodwitch continued, “You are among a privileged few who have received the honor of being selected to attend this prestigious academy. Our world is experiencing an incredible time of peace, and as future huntsmen and huntresses, it is your duty to uphold it.
“You have demonstrated the courage needed for such a task. And now, it is our turn to provide you with the knowledge and the training to protect our world.” The visual of Goodwitch disappeared.
“Oh, wow!” said Ruby, rushing over to one of the windows on the ship. The view of Vale’s cityscape was breathtaking. “You can see Signal from here,” she said to Yang. “I guess home isn’t too far after all.”
“Beacon’s our home now.”
There was a groan from the rear of the ship. Yang and Ruby looked and saw a young man with his arm around his stomach and a hand over his mouth. He wore a white breastplate over a blue hoodie and had a messy head of blonde hair. As the airship came to dock at a cliff overlooking a grand lake that was just outside Beacon, the young man ran to depart the airship as fast as possible.
“Well, I guess the view isn’t for everyone,” commented Yang.
“It was a nice moment while it lasted.”
“I wonder who we’re going to meet.”
That was just like Yang. She loved meeting new people, and had no problems making friends.
“I just hope they’re better than Vomit Boy,” said Ruby.
Vomit Boy heard her. He twisted to look back at her. Ruby turned red and faced away. Fortunately for her, Vomit Boy had to turn to a waste can just outside the airship with all haste enabling Ruby to sneak past with Yang.
Yang and Ruby made it to the courtyard just outside of Beacon and couldn’t stop themselves from a simultaneous gasp of awe. Beacon Academy looked more like a Gothic castle made of alabaster stone than a combat school. It was truly enormous and the CCTS tower, Cross Continental Transmit System, was at the center of it all.
Yang said, “The view from Vale’s got nothing on this.”
Ruby didn’t hear her. She was too busy geeking out over other students’ weapons. “Sis! That kid’s got a collapsible staff! And she’s got a fire sword!”
“Easy, little sister!” chided Yang. “They’re just weapons.”
“Just weapons?! They’re an extension of ourselves! They’re a part of us! Oh, they’re so cool.”
“Well, why can’t you swoon over your own weapon? Aren’t you happy with it?”
“Of course, I’m happy with Crescent Rose,” said Ruby. She swung it out and cuddled it like a stuffed toy.
Yang had the feeling Ruby would sleep with it if she could.
“I just really like seeing new ones. It’s like meeting new people. But… better.”
“Ruby! Come on!” Yang said, pulling Ruby’s hood over her head. “Why don’t you go and try to make some friends of your own?”
“But, why would I need friends when I have you?”
“Well, actually my friends are here now. Gotta go. Kay. See ya! Bye!” And like that, Yang was gone in a flash after some group of people Ruby had never seen before.
“Wait!” she called after her. “Where are you going? Aren’t we supposed to go to our dorms? Where are our dorms? Do we have dorms?”
But Yang was gone.
Ruby sighed heavily and stared forlornly along the path that Yang had disappeared. She groaned. “I don’t know what I’m doing,” she said, collapsing to the ground. Or at least she would have if a luggage cart hadn’t slammed into her heel and knocked her back into several large suitcases.
“What’re you doing?!” someone shrieked.
Ruby looked up and saw a girl about Yang’s age dressed in a white combat skirt complemented by a vest and had long white hair. It had been pulled back into a pony tail, but oddly, not at the back of her head—it was off to the side. Ruby also noted that there were two men in extravagant suits with her helping to transport her luggage.
“Um, sorry!” said Ruby.
“Sorry?! Do you have any idea of the damage you could’ve caused?”
The girl picked up one of her cases checking its contents. She pulled out a glass vial of red Dust. “This is Dust. Mined and purified from the Schnee quarry. What are you? Brain dead? Dust! Fire. Water. Lightning. Energy. Are you even listening to me? Is any of this sinking in? What do you have to say for yourself?!” the girl demanded, shaking the vial.
Some of the vial’s contents escaped and filled Ruby’s nostrils. She couldn’t stop herself from sneezing which would have been bad enough, except sneezing from the Dust created a fireball that completely engulfed the girl opposite her.
The vial of Dust was thrown across the courtyard into the ankle high boots of another girl who had long black hair and a black bow. She picked up the Dust with mild curiosity before returning to the book she held in her other hand. Finally, she gave the vial a good look and recognized the Schnee family crest.
“Unbelievable!” cried the girl in white. “This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about!”
“I’m really, really sorry!” said Ruby, looking at the ground.
“You complete dolt! What are you even doing here? Aren’t you a little young to be attending Beacon?”
Ruby hemmed and hawed.
“This isn’t your ordinary combat school. It’s not just sparring and practicing, you know. We’re here to fight monsters, so—watch where you’re going!”
“Hey! I said I was sorry, princess!”
Ruby finally had the nerve to look the girl in the eye and noticed a rather nasty scar across her left eye. For such a well primped girl, it was a unique oddity that should have been hidden, or at least attempted to be hidden. It was the girl’s only noticeable flaw besides her terrible attitude.
“It’s heiress, actually,” corrected the girl in the ankle boots. She walked up to them. “Weiss Schnee. Heiress to the Schnee Dust Company. One of the largest producers of energy propellant in the world.”
“Finally! Some recognition,” said Weiss, her tone changing.
“The same company,” continued the dark haired girl, “infamous for its controversial labor forces and questionable business partners.”
“Why you—! How dare—!”
Weiss let out a disgusted sigh and took her vial of Dust before walking off. Her servants attended to her luggage.
Despite her horrendous attitude and seeing how sweet it was for Weiss to get her just desserts, Ruby still felt guilty. “I promise I’ll make this up to you!” she called obsequiously. “I guess I’m not the only one having a rough first day.
“So…” said Ruby, turning back to the other girl. But she had already left.
Ruby was depressed. She collapsed. “Welcome to Beacon,” she said to herself.
Suddenly, someone’s shadow crossed her face.
“Hey. I’m Jaune,” said a boy. He offered her his hand.
“Ruby,” she said, unsure of whether or not to take it.
She did and Jaune pulled her up.
“Wait. Aren’t you Vomit Boy?”
The two walked off together and found themselves alone in a different part of Beacon’s enormous and maze-like courtyard.
“All I’m saying is that motion sickness is a much more common problem than people let on,” Jaune explained, defending himself.
“Look, I’m sorry. ‘Vomit Boy’ was the first thing that came to mind.”
“Oh, yeah?! Well what if I called you ‘Crater Face?’”
“Hey! That explosion was an accident.”
“Yeah. Because like anybody pukes on purpose,” said Jaune. “Anyway, the name’s Jaune Arc. Short. Sweet. Rolls off the tongue. Ladies love it.”
Ruby stifled a laugh. “Do they?”
“Th-They will! Well, I hope they will. I mean, my mom always says—uh, well, never mind.”
Ruby laughed nervously. Desperate to change the topic to anything else, she said, “So, I’ve got this thing,” and pulled out her scythe.
Jaune jumped back. “Whoa! Is that a scythe?”
“It’s also a customizable, high-impact sniper rifle.”
“It’s also a gun.”
“Oh. That’s cool!”
“So what have you got?”
“I got this sword,” said Jaune, unsheathing it.
“Ooh!” said Ruby genuinely.
“I’ve also got a shield.” Jaune took the sheathe off his belt and it expanded outwards in both directions into a classic shield.
“So, what do they do?”
“Um, the shield gets smaller,” explained Jaune as it did so. “So, when I get tired of carrying it, I can just… put it away.”
“But…” said Ruby, grabbing onto the obvious logical problem, “wouldn’t it weigh the same?”
“Yeah,” said Jaune, sounding defeated.
“Well, um, I’m kind of a dork when it comes to weapons. I guess I did go a little overboard in designing mine.”
“Wait! You made that?”
“Of course! All the students at Signal forge their own weapons. Didn’t you make yours?”
“It’s a hand-me-down. My great-great-grandfather used it back in the war.”
“Sounds more like a family heirloom to me. But, I like it! Not many people have an appreciation for the classics these days.”
“Yeah,” agreed Jaune bolstered. “The classics.”
“So why did you help me out?”
Jaune sheathed his sword. “Enh, why not? My mom always says, ‘Strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.’”
“Hm. By the way, where are we going?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I was following you.” Looking around, Jaune asked, “Do you think there’s a directory or food court around here?”
Ruby stifled another laugh.
“Is that a ‘no?’”
“That’s a ‘no.’”
Eventually, Jaune and Ruby found their way to Beacon’s auditorium. New students were milling about everywhere waiting for the headmaster to make his opening statement.
“Ruby!” called out Yang, waving. “Over here!”
“Hey,” said Ruby, turning to Jaune, “I gotta go. I’ll see you after the ceremony.”
“Hey, wait!” called Jaune after her. He groaned. “Great. Where am I supposed to find another nice, quirky girl to talk to?” He stomped off with his shoulders slumped forward. “Every time I think I’m getting somewhere, they always leave. My luck with women is terrible.”
Jaune looked at the floor and continued to curse his luck. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a girl wearing bronzed greaves over knee high boots. He looked up and briefly made eye contact with a tall, beautiful girl with long, red hair wearing a golden circlet and bronze breastplate with a red miniskirt. She gave him a smile and a little wave. But that was lost on Jaune.
Ruby joined Yang but gave her the cold shoulder. She hadn’t forgotten what Yang had done.
Sensing the tension, Yang asked, “How’s your first day going, little sister?”
“You mean since you ditched me and I exploded?!”
“Yikes. Meltdown already?”
“No, I literally exploded a hole in front of the school. And there was some fire, and I think some ice.”
Yang smiled. “Are you being sarcastic?”
“I wish! I fell over some crappy girl’s luggage and then she yelled at me. And then I sneezed, and then I exploded! And then she yelled again. And I felt really bad and I just wanted her to stop.”
“You!” said a shrill voice from behind Ruby.
“Oh, god!” cried Ruby, jumping into Yang’s arms. “It’s happening again!”
“You were lucky we weren’t blown off the side of the cliff,” continued Weiss.
“Oh my god,” replied Yang. “You really exploded.”
“It was an accident!” cried Ruby, jumping down.
Weiss stuck a pamphlet in front of Ruby’s face titled “Dust For Dummies.”
“The Schnee Dust Company isn’t responsible for any injuries or damages sustained while operating a Schnee company product….”
Weiss continued to ramble off the fine print legalities while Ruby just stared at the pamphlet blankly wondering if this situation could get any worse.
“You really want to start making things up to me?”
Weiss shoved the pamphlet into Ruby’s hands. “Read this, and don’t ever speak to me again.”
“Look…” began Yang, “it sounds like you two just got off on the wrong foot. Why don’t you start over and try to be friends, okay?”
“Yeah! Great idea, sis. Hello, Weiss. I’m Ruby. Wanna hang out? We could go shopping for school supplies.”
“Yeah!” said Weiss excitedly. “And we can paint our nails, and try on clothes, and talk about cute boys like… tall, blonde, and scraggly over there.”
Weiss jerked her thumb in Jaune’s direction. He took notice.
Weiss gave a consummate glare. “No.”
At last, Ozpin appeared on the front stage and cleared his throat. “I’ll keep this brief. You’ve travelled here today in search of knowledge—to hone your craft and acquire new skills. And when you’ve finished, you plan to dedicate your life to the protection of the people. But I look amongst you and all I see… is wasted energy, in need of purpose.”
Yang’s eyes narrowed. She had plenty of purpose if someone just cared to ask.
“You assume knowledge will free you of this, but your time at this school will prove that knowledge can only take you so far. It is up to you to take the first step.”
Ozpin stepped aside and Glynda stepped up.
“You will gather in the ballroom tonight. Tomorrow, your initiation begins. Be ready. You’re dismissed.”
Yang noted, “He seemed kind of… off.”
“Almost like he wasn’t even there,” added Ruby.
Jaune suddenly materialized next to Weiss. “I’m a natural blonde, you know.”
Later that night, all the new students had gathered in the ballroom as instructed. Bedrolls had been laid out for them. They changed into their pajamas and started going to bed, but some still milled around.
“It’s like a big slumber party!” said Yang, flinging herself down next to Ruby.
“I don’t think Dad would approve of all the boys though,” observed Ruby, writing something.
“I know I do!”
Yang looked up and saw several flexing their muscles, stretching, and horsing around. She growled amorously at them. But then Jaune walked into her line of sight wearing footie pajamas. She grimaced.
“Ugh. What’s that?” she said to Ruby.
“A letter to the gang back at Signal. I promised to tell them all about Beacon and how things are going.”
“Aw! That’s so cute!”
“Shut up!” cried Ruby. She pelted Yang in the face with a pillow. “I didn’t get to take my friends with me to school. It’s weird not knowing anyone here.”
“What about Jaune? He’s… nice. There you go! Plus one friend. That’s a hundred percent increase!”
“Pretty sure Weiss counts as a negative friend. Back to zero.”
“There’s no such thing as negative friends,” said Yang, her mood not dampening at all. “You’ve just made one friend and one enemy.”
Yang got another pillow, this time in the shape of a Corgi head, thrown in her face.
“Look,” she said, becoming serious, “it’s only been one day. Trust me. You’ve got friends all around you. You just haven’t met them yet.”
Ruby doubted that, but before she could really think on it, a flickering light distracted her out of the corner of her eye. Over by the wall was the girl with the dark hair and bow reading a book by candlelight.
“You know her?”
“Not really. She saw what happened this morning but left before I could say anything.”
“Welp, now’s your chance!”
Yang bounded onto her feet and pulled Ruby with her.
“Wait! What are you doing?!”
They approached the dark haired girl with all the subtlety of a dump truck.
“Hell-o!” said Yang in a sing-song type of voice. “I believe you two may know each other.”
The girl said to Ruby, “Aren’t you that girl that exploded?”
“Uh, yeah. My name’s Ruby,” she said, extending her hand.
The girl didn’t seem interested.
“But… uh, you can just call me Crater Fac… actually, you can just call me Ruby.”
“Okay,” said the girl, continuing to read.
Yang whispered to Ruby, “What are you doing?”
“I don’t know! Help me!”
Yang turned back to the girl. “So! What’s your name?”
The girl sighed. “Blake.”
“Well Blake, I’m Yang. Ruby’s older sister.”
Blake gave them a hard stare. They were sisters? One was tall with long blond hair, and the other was sort of short with short black hair and dark red highlights. Were they adopted?
“I like your bow!” said Yang.
“It goes great… with your pajamas.”
“Nice night, don’t ya think?”
“Yes!” said Blake, her patience wearing thin. “It’s lovely. Almost as lovely as this book.”
The sisters stayed where they were.
“That I will continue to read. As soon as you leave!”
“Yeah,” said Yang. “This girl’s a lost cause.”
“What’s it about?” asked Ruby.
“Your book. What’s the title?”
“Well… it’s about a man with two souls each fighting for control over his body.”
“Oh, yeah,” said Yang uninterested. “That’s real lovely.”
“I love books,” said Ruby. “Yang used to read to me every night before bed. Stories of heroes and monsters. They’re one of the reasons I want to be a huntress.”
“Why is that?” asked Blake, half laughing. “Hoping you’ll live happily ever after?”
“I’m hoping we all will. As a girl, I wanted to be just like those heroes in the books. As someone who fought for what was right and protected those who couldn’t protect themselves.”
“That’s very ambitious for a child. Unfortunately,” said Blake, tuning sad, “the real world isn’t the same as a fairy tale.”
“Well, that’s why we’re here,” reasoned Ruby. “To make it better.”
Yang couldn’t stop herself. “Oh! I’m so proud of my baby sister!” She embraced Ruby in one of those near death inducing hugs.
“Cut it out!” said Ruby, slugging Yang.
Blake giggled. “Well, Ruby, Yang. It’s been—”
“What in the world is going on around here?!” said Weiss, suddenly appearing. “Don’t you realize some of us are trying to sleep?”
“Aw! Not you again!” cried Yang.
Ruby shushed them. “Guys! She’s right. People are trying to sleep.”
“Oh!” said Weiss disgusted. “Now you’re on my side.”
“I was always on your side!”
“Yeah! What’s your problem with my sister?” demanded Yang.
Weiss stomped. “She’s a hazard to my health!”
Blake blew out her candle and walked away. They’d probably be squabbling for a while, and tomorrow was a big day for them all. Blake wanted to get an early start, but as she headed for her bedroll, she couldn’t stop herself from thinking fondly about Ruby and Yang. One was living her dream and doing it for the right reasons. And the other was trying to help her along, picking her up when she stumbled. If only more people were like them.
Weiss Schnee on the other hand—that girl… was still a problem.