Three hundred and twenty years have passed since the Coven sank in the dark. Revelation; a forgotten history. The veil is cast aside, allowing the shadows to break in the light.
The lights flickered in the hallway, giving off a very ominous feeling. The tunnels had been forgotten by the municipal government. Some time recently, a green haired witch by the name of Emerald was hunted in these very tunnels; the utility access tunnels in the slums of downtown Vale. A man sat solitarily inside of the tunnel wearing shaggy clothes. His white short sleeved button up shirt was torn at the edges and left open to reveal is abdomen, his blue jeans were torn off at the calves, and he wore a weathered pair of sneakers; he was homeless and this was where he slept. No one bothered him here because no one really knew about these tunnels.
He slept peacefully for most of the night, but he had no way to know what time it was. It may have been night, and it may have been morning; the fluorescent light bulbs that somehow hadn't blown were his only source of light. He was torn from his restful slumber suddenly by a whispering voice.
So alone are thee, the voice of a woman said. Thou reminds me of a time long since passed in mine own life.
"Wh-what?" he asked groggily. He looked around and saw no one. Standing up, he balled up his fists. "Who's there? Show yourself?"
I have no need to show myself¸ the voice said calmly.
"I don't have anything!" the man yelled. "Nothing you can steal from me! Leave me alone!"
The voice cackled, revealing a somewhat aged sound in its throat; the disturbing sound of a crazed elderly woman. I shall not take anything from thee. In that stead, I wish to give thee a gift.
"What?" the man asked. A sudden wave of nausea came over him and he fell to his knees. "Aaagh!" he screamed before the feeling left his body and he began to pant heavily. "What was that?"
The voice laughed again. Use it well.
~Witch Hunter Ruby~
Episode 9: Buikikaesu
A week had passed since Velvet had moved in with Ruby. Her wounds were mostly healed, and her doctor had given her the "okay" to allow her to drive her car once again. Her mood had greatly improved in that week thanks to the young hunter, though the truth of her position at Beacon was a closely guarded secret to the timid office worker. Even her powers were kept in check inside of her apartment, which Ruby was somewhat grateful for: it forced her to not rely on them for simple tasks such as lighting a candle, thus risking becoming addicted to the flames.
Ruby's apartment was originally meant for her and her alone, but Headquarters had gone overboard when they purchased it; it was a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with a massive living area, a dining room, and a complete kitchen, as well as a fully furnished laundry room. As she had explained to Weiss and Velvet a week ago, it was simply too big for her to live in by herself.
As promised, Weiss had purchased furnishings to be added to Ruby's guest bedroom, and she even picked up Velvet's clothes from her own apartment and had them delivered. Ruby was impressed by the business woman's resolve. All that being said, even Ruby was happy to have a roommate.
On this morning, she awoke to an aroma that she swore she could never get used to. Rising from her comfortable bed, she glanced over to her work phone; it was seven in the morning. Standing up, she approached her closet and got dressed. She had to admit that since she moved to Vale, her work load had increased quite a bit. Even though they had plenty of days where no witch activity would occur, the hunts they did participate in would often drag on for days, and many of them would involve calling her out in the pitch black of night and pulling her from her restful slumber. When she first moved here, she preferred to wear loose dresses and skirts to give her better freedom of movement, but those took effort to put on. Her erratic hunting schedule made her particularly lazy in the mornings, and she found herself purchasing more suits than dresses. Suits also took time, but it was better to spend five minutes figuring out her red tie than it was to spend almost half an hour preparing a dress; she was not the most efficient girl when it came to dresses.
Dress shirt button and tucked in, she quickly fitted the red tie around her neck, now done with practiced ease. I can see why Blake wears these all the time. Nodding her approval, she opened her bedroom door and found the source of the smell; Velvet stood in the kitchen preparing a pot of hot coffee. "Oh," she said. "Did I wake you?"
"No," Ruby said. "I just kinda...wake up, you know? I don't have a very efficient sleep schedule."
"Being in law enforcement must do that to you," Velvet commented, remaining blissfully ignorant of Ruby's witch hunting. Gesturing towards to coffee pot, she asked, "Would you like a cup?"
Ruby smiled slightly. "Absolutley."
"Good." The pot dripped its last drop of coffee, and the office worker picked it up and poured two mugs of the fresh morning nectar that drove the lives of so many people in the world. "I also cooked a simple omelet for you."
Ruby accepted the cup and stared in wonder at Velvet. "If you keep this up, I won't let you move out."
Velvet laughed. "I'm sorry. I know you have a career of your own and that you're out of school, but I remind myself everyday that you're still a child. I can't help but want to take care of you and help out."
Ruby frowned. "I'm supposed to be the one helping you, Velvlet."
It was Velvet's turn to frown. "I know. I'm sorry. I sound ungrateful, don't I?"
"Not at all. Just remember that just because you're living with me it doesn't mean that you need to work for rent or anything. I don't owe any rent. As I said, Headquarters bought this place for me." Ruby went into thought. "Now that I think on it, I'll bet it's because I'm fifteen."
"A fact that surprises me every time I remember that it's true," Velvet commented. "You want me to drive you to work today?"
Ruby was about to decline, but thought better of it. "Sure. That'd be lovely. Let me eat real quick, then I'll grab my work coat and we'll be on our way."
Mercury sipped at a cup of coffee as he watched his monitor intently. He had been doing research all night long and barely got any sleep. Feeling stiff in his joints, he stood and stretched. Making his way to the window, he looked outside and sipped from his mug once more, allowing himself a moment of rest and relaxation. He savored the flavour of the dark liquid. God bless Neo. No one makes coffee quite like she does. He paused in that thought. Well...maybe Militia.
Glancing down towards the road, he saw a white four door car pull up and stop. A visitor? He got an answer when he saw Ruby step out of the passenger side door. She turned and waved to the driver, whom upon very, very close inspection Mercury could barely make out that it was a woman. He smiled a coy smile.
"What's up with that creepy look?" came the voice of Jaune from behind.
Mercury chuckled lightly. "It's nothing."
"Ah. So, we got any cases today?"
"Not yet. But we've not been terribly busy this past week. Give it a few minutes. I'm sure something will turn up."
"How do you figure?"
"Because I'm convinced that if we go longer than five days without a witch sighting then the world must be about to end."
"Hm...job security? Or end of the world?" Jaune said in a joking tone. "Tough choice."
Blake and Yang entered the room from the elevator, with Ren trailing not far behind them. After a few minutes of the group making casual conversation, Ruby entered at long last to join her coworkers. The work day seemed to be at a slow start.
The blonde haired man casually strolled into the building, feeling very sure and confident. Today was playing out very, very differently from how he thought it would be. Last night he thought he'd just laze about as usual. Unable to find a job, he planned to find a corner to beg for money on, or should he get hungry he would just steal from the local farmer's market. That's how he always spent his days.
But then the voice came to him in the night. Everything changed in that moment. His life was turning around. He could help himself to whatever he wanted.
"Hello," came a woman's voice from behind the counter. "Welcome to the Bank of Vale. How may I help you today, sir?"
He smiled. "I'd like to make a withdrawal."
"Alright, and how much are you taking from your account today?"
He reached into his pocket and swiftly pulled out a pistol. "How much can you fit into a bag?"
The woman was startled, but her training kicked in and she tried to reach for the alarm. Her arm quickly reached outward...
And the man's arm grabbed and stopped her. It was odd, because it was his right hand; the same hand that held the gun. She looked up and saw five of him standing in front of her; one held the gun, the others stared menacingly at her. "I wouldn't try that again," they all said at once with the same voice. "We'll be taking that money now."
Militia sat relaxed in her empty cafe. Really, she wondered why she ever agreed to call it the Malachite Cafe; it was much bigger than a typical cafe, the menu contained more than the typical cafe, and how many cafe's actually had a bar for serving alcohol? Part of her wished that she received more business, but she had enough money flowing in the both keep the restaurant open and to live comfortably. As was the arrangement she had with Beacon. She sighed. Living the double life of a waitress and an informant did make her daily life somewhat stressful, but it was only rarely that she acted as the latter. Even then, it was always Ren who came to her, never any of the other Hunters.
She remembered her last business exchange with Ren; it was a couple of months back, before Weiss ever treated them to dinner. He had come asking about something that seemed very personal to him. Militia was very good at keeping secrets, so Ren was able to trust her with finding the answers to his questions. But that wasn't the part that she remembered most.
It was his parting line as he paid for his tea. He had donned his coat and he made a request. Not an official request for her job, but a personal one for her to act upon of her own accord if the need ever came. I know what it's like to have someone close to you be something else...if you ever seen that person, don't hesitate to call me.
She smiled. You clever man, Lie Ren. No one else knows, yet you saw right through me somehow, she thought. Sighing to herself, she decided to pour herself a glass of wine. The Merlot was quite nice, so she popped the cork and helped herself. I pay for it, so why shouldn't I indulge every now and then.
It was a few minutes later, when a delivery man entered that she felt surprised. At first she thought he was a customer, so she quickly hid the wine behind the counter. "How may I help you today, sir? Would you like lunch?"
He smiled politely, almost giving her an apology. "Actually, I'm here for work, Ma'am. I have a delivery for a...Miss Militia Malachite?"
"That would be me."
Nodding he handed her a brown envelope and a clipboard to sign. Confused, she signed and the man went about his business. She stared at the envelope curiously. Who could have sent me something? What could it be? Sipping once more of her wine glass, she pulled the tab to tear into the cardboard envelope and pulled out the paper within. There was a scrap of paper and a photograph.
The photograph stunned her. Only two copies of it existed; the other was resting peacefully on the wall behind her. It was a photo of her and her sister, standing together with mirrored smiles. Setting it down, she read the scrap paper several times, allowing the words to sink into her soul.
"I'll be visiting soon," .
Ren's words echoed in her mind. If you ever see that person...don't hesitate to call me.
Without thinking, she pulled out her phone and dialed his number.
"Hello?" he asked.
Taking a deep breath, she calmly said, "She's back."
Ironwood put the phone down. He had been standing in the office area conversing with Torchwick when it rang; the number on the caller ID was the Vale Police Department. He turned to Mercury with a grim expression. "We may have a witch sighting on our hands, and this one was a little more than public."
"Just great," Ren said dryly. "How many witnesses?"
"Hard to say at the moment, but initial reports indicate that there are no injuries. Everyone involved is safe and sound. VPD should be sending surveillance footage to you now, Mercury."
Nodding, Mercury checked his email. "Got it."
"Bring it to the conference room. We'll review it and begin our investigation," Ren ordered.
The team of hunters moved as one to their seats within the conference room, each one carried a look of dread at the concept of living witnesses. "I hate to say it," Blake muttered. "But I prefer corpses. They don't speak to the living and reveal secrets that should never be revealed."
"That being said," Ruby added. "I'm glad that there weren't any casualties. I'm not fond of...messy crime scenes."
Mercury typed away and clicked once on his keyboard. Everyone's holographic display popped up with a silent piece of footage. A blonde man approached the counter, said a few words, and drew a gun on the teller. "Looks like a human robbery to me," Jaune said. As the woman reached for the alarm, the man split into four additional bodies, creating a total of five. Only the original carried the gun, however. "I take it back," the blonde hunter corrected.
"He can clone himself," Mercury said with a whisper. "He must have just awakened. I've never seen anything like it before."
"Glad I'm not the only one," Ruby added. "I've hunted a plethora of witches, but that's definitely a first."
Ironwood turned to the tech manager and said, "Mercury, start searching our database for any similar powers that have manifested in history. Cross reference them, and also see if you can get us a photo ID match of the suspect. I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of our one man army."
"You got it boss."
"Everyone, stay safe on this hunt. I want you all to..."
Ren's phone rang suddenly, catching everyone off guard. He looked at his pocket and turned to Ironwood.
"Who could be calling?" he asked.
"Only three people have my number sir; you, Mercury, and Militia."
Ironwood nodded. "Answer it. It must be important."
Nodding, Ren retrieved the phone and answered, "Hello?" He sat silently for a moment before his eyes went wide. "Are you sure? You're certain that she's back?" He nodded. "I see. I'll send you a body guard immediately. It's best to not take risks. Call me tonight. Bye." He hung up the phone and stood. "Militia's sister, Melanie, has come back to Vale."
Everyone was silent for a moment. "Isn't that a good thing?" Jaune asked.
"No. She's not human, Jaune. She's a witch."
Mercury's jaw dropped. "You've got to be kidding me! How come we didn't know?"
"I only found out by chance. She left to avoid being hunted. It seems she's decided to come back now, and somehow Headquarters never ran into her."
Ren turned to Ironwood. "Sir, mind if I take charge for the day?"
Ironwood smiled. "There your team. Do what you need to do."
"Right. Yang, Jaune, you two are with me. We're going to investigate the bank robbery. Blake and Ruby, you two are going to stick with Militia. If Melanie shows up, hunt her."
"How will I know what she looks like?" Ruby asked.
"Look for Militia's double," was all he said. "Let's get to work!"
Weiss sat in her office, enjoying a cold glass of water. She had seen that Velvet was feeling much better now that she was living with Ruby. It brought her a genuine smile to her lips at the thought of the once distraught and damaged Velvet now feeling happy again.
There was something about that teenage girl that just made people happy. At least from Weiss's experience at least. The mere sight of her made Weiss feel like she herself was a teenager again. She was still young, but twenty-three was a sizable distance away from fifteen. As much as Weiss liked to currently entertain the notion of a relationship with Ruby, the thought of the criminal allegations alone made her shudder. She pushed the doubt from her mind, content with just being a social guide post for Ruby and allowing herself to aid the young hunter whenever needed.
Still, she wanted to do something to thank Ruby specifically. The phones were a gift to Beacon, not to Ruby, so that didn't really count. The girl had saved her from an assassination attempt, helped rescue Velvet, and gave the poor girl a place to live for a while. All of these things Weiss would be eternally grateful for, but she wanted the chance to prove it.
A thought occurred to her. She'd never really dabbled in cooking before, but maybe...just this once she'd try it out for Ruby. Smiling, she set her glass of water down and left her office. Seeking Velvet out, she informed the girl that she was taking the rest of the day off. I've got some recipes to study. She thought as she climbed into her car.
All the while, as she left, she never once noticed that the glass of water that she held moments earlier had a thin layer of ice on the side of the glass. It was room temperature when Velvet brought her the glass, and there wasn't an ounce of ice anywhere near it. Yet there it was, slowly melting off of the glass and pooling on the wooden desk, coming seemingly from nowhere.
Song: Buikikaesu-Maximum the Hormone
Hello again! Long time no Witch Hunter! How've you been? I've been doing good, for the most part. My work schedule has been stacked, so I've had to carefully pick and choose what stories to write for and what stories to let rest for a bit. I miss the days when I had enough free time to simply have three windows open and spend an hour or more per story a day.
No, really, that's what I did. I'm not joking when I say that I usually write several stories at once. Until my schedule got crazy as hell, I was writing this, Eternity Rising, The Melancholy of Jaune Arc, The Downward Spiral¸ my original work (The Shifted Universe), as well as several concept stories for both RWBY and my original work (I have an original Sci-Fi in the works now...it feels cool to be doing that.) Now every time I write, I am forced to choose a story and spend days writing a single chapter to release to you guys. I hate it.
So, to make up for it, can I reveal to you some concept stories? No? Too bad! I'm telling you anyway!
Keep in mind, there is no promise that these will ever come out. But I do like the ideas behind them.
Namely, I have two stories in the works that relate to my Shifting Remnant AU (The Longest Night and Eternity Rising)
The Darkest Night- The What If stories from The Longest Night story line. What if instead of Cerberus, a giant dragon like Grimm called Niddhog showed up that could control Nevermores? What if Weiss was the sole survivor of the entire Beacon Academy? What if no one had been prepare at all? I like these kinds of stories.
The Man Behind the Curtain- a series of chapters or short stories following Ozpin. I can't go into detail on why I like this one yet because of spoilers for another story, but trust me when I say it should be good...if I ever get around to writing it.
Side Note: This was Episode 9 of Witch Hunter Ruby: the reason I use the term Episodes instead of Chapters is because I have a goal in mind, and this part of WHR, which I call Awakening is only 13 episodes long. We're nearing the "end". However, I said this part. I plan to do a sort of Season 2 and hopefully stretch this bad boy out to 26 Episodes. Again, that's assuming I even can. I don't know. My plans don't usually pan out like I hope.
Fun Fact: My manager is kick ass. I spent an hour at work today doing nothing but talking to him about comic books. Me and my f**king manager were both nerding out about super heroes and about how we hope Batman vs Superman isn't a shitstorm of bad movie. I had a good day at work. :)
Till next time, when we Rush!