Ruby ran as fast as both her legs and Semblance could carry her.
She couldn't even begin to imagine what reason that Crescent Rose and Penny would be fighting. But there was one thing she was sure of, that she had to stop them, at all costs.
Her sight started to blur as tears welled up in them, but she was still able to see the two silhouettes that began their final charge. Willing herself to go faster, hoping that she would make it in time. In a cloud of rose petals, Ruby managed to get between the two of them.
"PLEASE STOP FIGHTING!" Ruby screamed, the tears in her eyes now flowed freely as she bowed her head low and raised her arms, bracing herself for the collision. She mustered as much focus as she could, putting every ounce of her Aura into protecting herself, Crescent Rose, and Penny.
The impact came, sparks went flying as Penny's swords and Crescent Rose's blade connected with Ruby's Aura. Red, green, and white arcs of power surrounded Ruby as she tried her best to not be blown away by the force of the two attacks that weren't meant for her. Ruby felt the weight of their attacks and could easily tell that they were serious about hurting the other. But she couldn't waver here, otherwise their strikes would get past her and hit the other. Ruby's head felt like it was going to split open as she pumped and focused all of her Aura into her hands. The points of contact where their attacks connected to her hands felt like they were on fire. But despite all the pain she was experiencing, Ruby refused to move an inch.
A brief moment passed and in a flash of red light, accompanied by the sound of breaking glass, Ruby's Aura had finally given out. The hardened energy that was protecting her body was covered in scarlet cracks before dissipating into the wind.
But it was all too much for the small girl, Ruby's hands were numb, blood was dripping from her nose, and she was gasping for air as her heart pumped furiously as if she had just ran a marathon. When she looked up she was glad to see that she had been able to negate their attacks and that neither of them were hurt any further.
Ruby could barely stay on her feet and she soon collapsed, falling backwards and hit the ground.
Crescent Rose and Penny both stared at the prone figure of Ruby, both of them too shocked to completely process what had just transpired.
It was Penny that reacted first.
"Ruby!" Penny screamed, dropping her swords from her control and they clattered to the ground. She rushed over to the fallen Ruby and knelt, a million and one things rushed in her head; knowledge of the human body, emergency first aid, the effects of forcibly breaking through an Aura, and many other things. But despite all that information, she was completely flummoxed about what to do, even as she was running her hands over Ruby.
Weiss quickly ran over, coming to Ruby's side. "Ruby! Are you alright? Why'd you do something so stupid, you dolt!" She yelled, propping Ruby up a bit as she cradled Ruby's head in her arms, tears threatening to spill from her eyes.
"Friends. Shouldn't. Hurt. Each other." whispered Ruby, between heavy pants. She was exhausted, her eyelids felt like lead, all of her energy seemed used up. But she managed to gather just enough to look up at Penny who still had a panicked and guilty look on her face.
Penny gasped, seeing that Ruby's eyes were bloodshot.
"I'm. Glad. That. You're. Both. Not. Hurt." continued Ruby between breaths, as her vision slowly grew dark and her eyes closed, slumping into Weiss' arms.
"You dolt, getting hurt so others wouldn't. That's so like you…" mumbled Weiss quietly, then faced up to look at Penny and Crescent Rose. "And you two! What in the world was going through your heads?! Why were you fighting one another in the first place?!"
Penny was speechless, unable to respond to Weiss.
Crescent Rose too, was unable to reply, her eyes were locked on Ruby as she slowly collapsed to her knees, face filled with disbelief and regret.
It was during Weiss' berating of the two that Myrtenaster and Bumblebee finally managed to hobble their way to all of them. Their shocked expressions at the state Ruby was in were plain as day.
Weiss quickly pulled her Scroll out from her pocket and quickly pulled out Yang's contact and called her.
The moment Yang picked up her Scroll, Weiss immediately said, "Yang, this is an emergency. Ruby's unconscious and hurt. I can't carry her to the infirmary by myself. We're at the northeast courtyard close to the mess hall… There's no time to explain, I'll tell you once we get Ruby to the infirmary… If Blake's with you tell her to get Professor Goodwitch as well… Please, just hurry… Okay, thank you." Weiss ended the call.
"I-I can carry Ruby…" stuttered Penny before trailing off as Weiss shot her a furious glare.
"No." Weiss said flatly. "You're half the reason why Ruby ended up like this. I can't trust you not making this any worse."
Suddenly the image of her swords flying directly towards Ruby appeared clearly in Penny's mind. She averted her eyes downward, unable to say anything in response to Weiss' words.
It only took Yang a few minutes to arrive, running full tilt at the group. When she saw the state that Ruby was in, her eyes flashed red and a faint yellow steam seemed to flow out of her. She had so many questions regarding what had happened, seeing that everyone save for Weiss was hurt to some extent. But her little sister took priority and she knew that she would get an explanation sooner or later and when that happened, someone was going to pay for hurting Ruby.
Without saying a thing, Yang quickly picked up Ruby's unconscious form and ran in the direction of the infirmary.
Penny was about to stand up and follow Yang and Ruby, but Weiss placed a firm hand on her shoulder.
"Stop right there. Both of you are waiting here until Professor Goodwitch arrives." Weiss ordered.
Penny couldn't say anything to defend herself, she knew full well that what she had done was unforgivable and she had no choice but to listen to Weiss' instructions.
Crescent Rose didn't even respond, her eyes were locked in the direction of where Yang carried Ruby off even though they were out of sight already.
"Myrtenaster, please watch over them, just until Professor Goodwitch arrives. Answer any of her questions and afterwards get both yourself and Bumblebee to the infirmary as well." instructed Weiss.
Myrtenaster nodded, still supporting Bumblebee's weight. "Yes, Mistress."
After making sure that Myrtenaster received her instructions, Weiss ran off towards the infirmary to catch up with Yang and Ruby.
Myrtenaster and Bumblebee watched as Weiss left the courtyard before turning their gazes to the two girls that had just been fighting.
"Hey Myr, you can set me down for now." said Bumblebee, trying to remove herself from Myrtenaster's grip
Myrtenaster gave her a questioning look asking, "Are you sure?"
"Yeah, I need a bit of a sit down anyway." answered Bumblebee, "Besides, I don't think these two are gonna cause any more trouble for now." she said, jerking her head towards Penny and Crescent Rose. Both were now sitting on the ground in silence, a complete contrast of their behavior several minutes ago.
Weiss ran as fast as she could to catch up with Yang. Fortunately, the school's main infirmary wasn't too far away and by the time she reached it, Yang was already in the process of laying Ruby down onto one of the beds, having already unclasped Ruby's cloak from her shoulders.
The school doctor was already looking Ruby over, checking her pulse, breathing, as well as the injuries she sustained in her hands. A nurse on the side was carefully wiping away the dried blood from Ruby's face.
Seeing Ruby lying unconscious on the pristine white sheets of the infirmary bed made it almost look worse than when she had just collapsed in the courtyard. Weiss couldn't help but feel a pit form in her stomach at the state of her partner and secret crush.
Yang and Weiss both waited patiently as Ruby was examined by the doctor, and once he was done he turned to face the two girls.
"So would either of you young ladies like to explain what had happened?" he asked.
"I don't know what happened. I just got a call that my sister was hurt. I ran over then carried her here." Said Yang curtly, then jerked a thumb over towards Weiss, "She's the one who saw what happened. I also wanna know how she ended up like that."
By Yang's tone, Weiss could tell the simmering righteous anger that lay just underneath the surface. Well, that and her eyes were still red instead of their usual bright violet.
It took Weiss a moment to gather her thoughts to recall what happened in as much detail as she could. She took a deep breath and began to recount the series of events. "Ruby and I were walking back from the library when we heard the sounds of gunfire in the distance, we thought that there was some trouble or a fight happening and we ran towards it to investigate. When we arrived we saw two of our friends fighting one another. Then before I could stop her, Ruby ran straight between them trying the get them to stop, and she got caught in the crossfire."
Yang and the doctor listened to Weiss' story intently. Yang clenched her fists so hard that her knuckles turned white.
"It all happened so fast, and there was this flash of light and the next thing we knew she had collapsed." finished Weiss.
The doctor placed his hand on his chin, thinking. "From what you told me and from the condition Miss Ruby is in. It would seem that she has suffered from Aura Overload." He then turned around and went back to Ruby, opening one of her eyes and inspecting them briefly with a penlight.
"Aura overload? What's that?" Yang asked, having never heard the term before. Both she and Weiss began to grow ever more nervous at the unsettling name of Ruby's condition.
"It's a uncommon occurrence these days, but does happen occasionally." the doctor explained, "I'm sure you recall that you were all taught to be able to constantly have your Aura Cloaks activated to a certain degree at all times during a confrontation, yes?"
Weiss and Yang nodded.
"Well judging from Miss Ruby's injuries and your account of the events, she most likely focused all of her Aura Cloak into her hands to intercept your friend's attacks. They must have been of quite some scale if it managed to make Miss Ruby go through Aura Overload." continued the doctor.
"But what does that have to do with Ruby's condition?" Weiss asked.
"Well, when one uses the entirety of their Aura on defense and when it's forcibly shattered like in this case, it can cause intense backlash into the user's body unlike how when a regular Aura Cloak simply dissipates when your Aura becomes too depleted to maintain it. That's what Aura Overload is." the doctor explained. "Though it's been years since I've seen a case this bad."
"Is she going to be alright?" Yang asked worriedly.
"There's no long term damage, but she will most likely be asleep for a day or two and she may have trouble using her hands for a while. She will have to avoid combat class and allow both her Aura and body recuperate naturally." replied the doctor reassuringly.
Both Yang and Weiss let out sighs of relief upon hearing those words.
"Thank goodness." Said Yang, running her fingers through Ruby's hair, then looked up at Weiss, "It's just like her, isn't it? Always trying to be the hero like in her stories."
"Yeah, just like her." Weiss repeated, and despite the doctor's encouraging words, her heart still ached at the sight of Ruby's sleeping form.
Blake walked into the courtyard that Yang had ran off to earlier with Glynda in tow. She was shocked to see the extent of the destruction that had occurred while they made their way towards the group of four girls who were all sitting right in the middle of it all. She ran quickly towards Bumblebee and Myrtenaster
"Alright, what happened here?" asked Glynda in her usual stern voice riding crop in hand, looking down upon the four girls, her eyes widening slightly when she saw that one of them was Penny.
Myrtenaster immediately stood up and, after brushing some of the dirt from her clothes, gave a short bow to Glynda and began speaking.
"Allow me to explain, Professor Goodwitch." as Myrtenaster straightened, squaring her shoulders to make herself appear as presentable as her current state would allow. Gritting her teeth through the pain of some of her bruises. "It appears that Crescent Rose and Ms. Polendina had some sort of argument which devolved into trading blows. Bumblebee and I were in the area when we saw them fighting. We tried our best to break up the fight, but we were unsuccessful."
"Why didn't you try to call a professor?" Glynda interjected.
"We sincerely apologize Professor Goodwitch, but we had hoped to keep them from seriously injuring the other." replied Myrtenaster, putting a hand to her chest and bowing her head apologetically.
"Ms. Belladonna told me that Ms. Rose has been injured. Care to explain?" asked Glynda. Crescent Rose and Penny flinched at the mention of Ruby, turning their faces away from the older woman.
"Ruby and mistress Weiss had apparently heard the commotion from the fight and came to investigate. When they saw what was happening, Ruby went and stopped them but she had unfortunately gotten caught in the middle of their attacks. When Ruby collapsed, my mistress immediately called Yang on her Scroll and had someone call for you. When Yang arrived she and mistress Weiss left immediately to bring Ruby to the infirmary." Explained Myrtenaster, giving a fairly accurate summary of the events from her perspective.
Glynda nodded, quickly getting the gist of the situation. She walked over to the two girls what were sitting on the ground. "So, would either of you care to explain who instigated this fight?" Glynda asked, punctuating her question with a thwack of her riding crop in her hand.
As if broken out of a trance, Crescent Rose and Penny both began to speak at the same time.
"I told her-"
"And she said-"
The incoherent barrage of words coming from the two girls was starting to give Glynda a headache. The pair were so out of sync and incoherent that she could barely catch more than a couple of words from one before they were drowned out by the other. Unable to take their babbling much longer, with a fluid motion she struck the heel of her boot with her crop which let out a sharp crack.
The sudden noise caused both Crescent Rose and Penny to instantly shut their mouths. Something that Glynda was very thankful for.
Taking a deep breath through her nose, Glynda adjusted her glasses and began speaking once more. "Alright, for now the reasons of whomever started this fight are not important. But do the both of you understand the gravity of your actions?" Glynda waved her riding crop, pointing it at one girl then the other. "Not only have you broken school rules by fighting on campus grounds, but letting your emotions get the better of you along with your immature behaviour have caused your companions to be injured." She gestured her crop at Myrtenaster and Bumblebee. "And if what Miss Belladonna has told me is correct, even Miss Rose wasn't spared from the consequences of your reckless actions." It was those words that made Crescent Rose and Penny avoid looking at Glynda once more. "I have yet to ask the doctor about her condition, but until I do, Miss Crescent Rose you're hereby put under house arrest until further notice. As for you Miss Polendina, I will have to contact your guardian and inform him of what has happened and what you've done."
Neither girl could argue with her. With the guilt of having unintentionally hurt Ruby still floating in their minds they both nodded meekly at Glynda's words.
Glynda then looked over at the other three girls. "I'm sorry to have to ask you of this, but Miss Belladonna, could you please escort Miss Crescent Rose back to the dorms? Miss Polendina on the other hand will accompany me to my office. As for you two, please head to the infirmary as well and get yourselves checked out."
Blake was about to speak in affirmation, but Myrtenaster cut her off. "I shall accompany her to the dorm, Professor Goodwitch." she said.
Blake gave her a quizzical look, "But your injuries…" in which Myrtenaster replied.
"I'm sure you're worried about Ruby as well. So please help Bumblebee to the infirmary instead and go see her, and don't worry about my injuries, they're not as bad as they look." said Myrtenaster with her usual small pleasant smile. "Once I have escorted Crescent Rose I shall make my way to the infirmary post-haste."
"If you're sure…" responded Blake trailing off.
"Don't worry about her," said Bumblebee confidently, "Myr is pretty tough, despite how she looks."
With those words of confidence Blake nodded and helped Bumblebee to her feet, placing her arm over her shoulders.
With the arrangement settled, Glynda said, "Good, now please step aside." and with a wave of her riding crop she proceeded to slowly return the destruction laden courtyard back to its original state.
"Come on Crescent Rose, let's go." said Myrtenaster coldly, looking down on her while she was still sitting on the ground.
With a dejected look on her face, Crescent Rose got to her feet. Myrtenaster nodded and proceeded to walk in the direction of the dorms with Crescent Rose in tow. The taller woman not even saying a word of resistance as she followed Myrtenaster.
Blake, Bumblebee and Penny watched the two leave. "Let's get you to the infirmary." said Blake to Bumblebee as they both started walking.
"Or a mechanic?" replied Bumblebee with a grin, chuckling, wincing a bit as pain shot through her body.
A thoughtful look suddenly appeared on Blake's face, "You know, that's actually an interesting thought."
"Huh? What is?" Bumblebee asked, raising an eyebrow in confusion.
"If any of you get injured or damaged, would you need to go to a doctor or a weapon-smith." Blake clarified.
Bumblebee's expression slowly changed as she understood what Blake had just said. "I never really thought about it before. I just said it on a whim."
"Well, we can figure that out until after you get checked out in the infirmary." said Blake, readjusting Bumblebee's arm around her shoulders as they continued to walk.
They soon made it to the infirmary. They spotted Yang and Weiss both sitting next to the bed where Ruby was resting.
Blake's face paled and her hand flew to her mouth as she saw for the first time the condition that Ruby was in.
"Is she…going to be okay?" Blake hesitantly asked.
"The doc says it looks worse than it actually is." answered Yang, "She should wake up maybe tomorrow or the day after." she brushed Ruby's bangs from her face gently.
Blake and Bumblebee let out sighs as they finally let the tension out of their bodies.
"Thank goodness." said Bumblebee, practically slumping her entire body against Blake, causing her to grunt at the sudden weight.
A nurse soon arrived, she and Blake helped Bumblebee to one of the empty beds. After a quick explanation and inspection of Bumblebee's injuries the nurse proceeded to apply antiseptic to her scratches and ice-packs for her bruises.
"Just rest here until the pain subsides enough for you to return to your dorm." instructed the nurse before leaving them.
The four girls sat in silence within the infirmary. All their eyes were focused on the peaceful rise and fall of Ruby's chest as she breathed. They didn't say anything, not wanting to disturb the unconscious Ruby, not that they had anything to talk about. There would be time for that afterwards.
For now they were just thankful that Ruby was alright.
And for that moment, it was all that mattered.
Author's Notes: Hey everyone! Sorry for the shortish chapter, but I feel like this would be a nice place to stop for now. This chapter was a bit tricky, I wanted to write a bit more, but I decided to move it to next chapter. I had most of it written during April then I got stuck then busy with a lot of other stuff. So it was kinda unavoidable.
Again thanks to AyokaiW for helping me with this chapter, getting me unstuck and fixing my mistakes.
Another big thanks to Anonamos701 for the wonderful art of Myrtenaster! She's so handsome! (For my readers, if you want to see the Myrtenaster art, if you haven't already, please go to this chapter on AO3 to view it. Kinda sucks that doesn't support images, but what can you do?)
I hope you guys enjoyed the chapter! And remember
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