DISCLAIMER: RWBY is owned by RoosterTeeth.
Forever Fall forest. Situated right outside the City of Vale, this lush woodland covers a large part of the kingdom (also of the same name as the city), and is home to several Grimm species.
However, the female figure (as evidenced by the noticeable shape of a modestly-endowed chest area) clad in a long, flowing red silk robe with voluminous sleeves accentuated by black and silver, seems to pay that tiny fact little to no mind.
A large, white umbrella with red edges shielded the figure from the sun's rays. Its head was tilted slightly downward, several locks of hair blocking the face from view. However, there seems to be something... off... about it.
She silently walked forward, head tilted down as if paying careful attention to her path, amidst the red-brown falling leaves in her way. She made her way to a medium-sized clearing, roughly a hundred feet wide, and carefully sat on an evened-out stump in the middle. Her movements were slow, deliberate, executed with the utmost grace and finesse, seemingly indicating an upbringing of strict nobility.
Once she had settled herself, her other hand moved to lay down a long, thin object, one end significantly wider and more circular than the other. After laying it down, her hands moved to fold the parasol and lay it on her other side. As the white fabric of the umbrella collapsed into a cylindrical form, the figure's head was revealed. She was wearing an alabaster white mask, painted in red with a grinning demon's face; the top part of the mask, near the forehead, had three horns tipped in red. Two long, thick locks of silver hair - contrasting sharply with the choppy, unruly black shock of hair that erupted from above the mask and cascaded well below the figure's back - framed the mask from the top part flowing down.
With the same grace as before, she picked up the first item she laid down: a long-necked shamisen, and started tuning the silken strings. Once the instrument was tuned to her satisfaction, she reached her right hand into the left-arm sleeve, and pulled out another pale white object - a plectrum. This lacked any marking, just the plain creamy white material shaped like an axe head, but with both ends flat instead of curving. She then gripped it and started plucking the shamisen's strings softly.
All the while, several pairs of eyes watched her, staying within the cover of shadows.
'We are ready... She will go down today.'
With a barely perceptible nod, she started playing a slow melody, her left hand deftly pressing on and switching strings every second or so. Her right hand moved in accord, plucking strings and resting against what appeared as catskin stretched across the instrument's circular frame.
The faint rustling behind the figure did not cause any worry whatsoever to the playing figure. She calmly continued playing, and abruptly stopped as the figures came within ten feet of the clearing.
She stood up, the plucking continuing as she turned around and faced the being hidden directly behind her. After a second, the grinning demon mask tilted to the left, then swung to the right, a little towards the figure's back.
'How... How did she know where we are? No, there are four of us, and she has only looked at three areas; she does not know about the one to her rear right yet.'
Slowly, the figure's hand moved up. Everyone's eyes were on the upraised arm; a second later, the white object descended rapidly and struck all three strings, twanging noisily. Her left hand started to move from string to string, the fading notes slowly becoming far too soft for normal human hearing.
The red-robed figure started walking forward, still playing the shamisen. Her eyes seemed to force the being hidden in the shadows to take a shaky step out.
A boot came into light under the sun. The shamisen struck an ominous set of notes, its player taking a small half step back.
The black combat boots shook slightly, before another came into the light. Both were connected to a pair of combat pants with a dark military camouflage pattern. These were overshadowed by a bulky upper body, garbed in a tight black shirt with several knives strapped all over his chest, stomach, and arms. Looking directly at the alabaster grinning mask was a pair of sky blue eyes, under a shock of light brown hair and a slightly gaping mouth.
'What the hell is he doing? We told him to avoid eye contact at all costs!'
A short burst of rustling leaves from the left was all the warning the figure had, before a sweeping blade whistled. It was enough to make the red-robed figure pause in playing, and make an equally fast hop backwards. It was enough to save her from having her legs cut out from under her, but not fast enough to avoid the weapon. It cut through the front of her red robe, just slightly above the knees, revealing a white-stockinged pair of legs and straw sandals.
The masked female let out a soft sigh as she landed from her short jump, flicking her alabaster white plectrum to the still-gaping man in front of her. It struck between his eyes, embedding just enough to make him register the pain and unintentionally slam it in further when he reached out to his eyes. It was enough to draw two voices out: one from the person who revealed herself with an attack, and another - from her right, the robed figure thought - the first one being female, the second being a male.
Just as everyone's eyes left her, the red-robed woman seemed to disappear from their sights completely, all in a span of a second.
"Where is she?!" The small, lithe figure who swung the blade called out in a panicked voice. She turned around ,whipping her head back and forth, before spinning back to the clearing -
- only to appear a second later in the female's peripheral vision, a thin string of razor wire glinting immediately before it tightened around her throat. At the same time, she felt her back being pressed against another, warmer back, the wire tightening rapidly and cutting off her breathing. "R-Red Qu-Queen," was the last thing she thought before darkness descended.
Without letting go of the wire, she seemed to disappear again from view, only to appear directly in front of the now-blind, black shirted man. Her hands were clasped together, seemingly in prayer; however her next action surprised the remaining two. Her arm shot up at an impressive speed, her arms and body twisting to create a spinning effect, aimed at the man's windpipe. The strike hit squarely, crushing the organ and causing the man to choke and fall down on his knees. This gave the red-robed woman just the leverage she needed, and whipped her left hand out in a tight circular motion. The glint of razor wire landing around the man's shoulders was all she needed; she quickly spun on her feet and placed a sandal against the back of his head, and yanked on both arms.
This caused the wire to tighten against the man's windpipe further, cutting off breathing. As soon as she felt all resistance leave, her left hand let go of the razor wire. It went taut, and dragged the dead woman's body along with it, at the same time causing wire burn on the man's throat. When the two dead bodies were side by side, she gave a few yanks, tugs and jerks on the wire to position the bodies as she saw fit.
With a flick of her wrist, the wire zipped back into her right arm sleeve, droplets of blood gently spattering on the grass. She then stepped forward and a bit to her right when a bullet whizzed by her face, nicking her ear.
'Damnit! I missed!'
The figure proceeded to kneel down and retrieve her shamisen, before tossing it towards the direction of the shooter. As he avoided the instrument, he never noticed the length of red silk flying at his face, cracking loudly as it whiplashed at his face.
That was the last thing he remembered as his neck snapped with a soft breeze to his chin.
Four. Five. Six minutes passed.
Olive was starting to get really nervous. The entire clearing had become silent since the deaths of her three teammates, licensed and accomplished Huntsmen and Huntresses tasked to track down and eliminate either the Red Queen or one of her "generals", her allies. And of all the possible ones they would have the fortune of meeting, it just had to be the Red Queen's first and most dangerous "general": the Spirit of Blood, Sanguis Anima, designated as a S~ ranking threat, just under the Red Queen herself.
Olive was pretty sure it was the Bloody Spirit; the Red Queen always had her pet Beowolf at her beck and call, and used a scythe; the one in her sight used whatever she had around, and a length of razor wire. Although the Bloody Spirit was known to wield a polearm, there were also reports of her using only the moisture present and the blood of her victims; if there were any available items she could use, the Bloody Spirit never failed to at least try and use them to inflict a wound.
And she did it all in absolute silence. There were no recorded sounds on any of her sightings, attacks, or retaliations. And she never wasted any effort, not even trying to get any info out of her targets.
Why couldn't they have gotten Angel instead? At least she was more chatty, more merciful, more... humane.
A rustling broke Olive's thoughts; there, several feet away, was the Bloody Spirit, her hands covered in blood. She had resumed her earlier grace and poise, sitting down on the stump again and picking up the umbrella. Her hands moved quickly, and the umbrella was again blocking out the afternoon sun. Likewise, Olive's hands worked - although it was in a rather hurried and nervous fashion - to lock her sasumata into place.
"H-Hold it right there!"
The nervous call made the red-robed woman pause. What is it this time? I've given her the chance to leave...
"Y-you are t-to c-co-come with m-m-me, Bl-B-Bloody S-S-Sp-Spirit," Olive stuttered as she trained her sasumata to the red-robed figure standing with her back towards the weapon wielder. "Y-Y-You a-ar-are un-u-under ar-arrest -!"
Olive was surprised, to say the very least, when the red robed figure slowly spun on her heel, right hand on the mask, the other holding the umbrella on her left shoulder.
A soft click was all Olive heard; her eyes were locked onto the white demon mask in front of her, being taken off slowly by the person who was not in any way intimidated by the long weapon.
Red-brown eyes met bright green, a small satisfied smirk contrasted against the other's nervous expression. "So you know who I am," the red-robed woman mouthed. She let go of the mask, and tugged on the umbrellas' nose cap, revealing two narrow short swords. "I am sorry about this, but if you had left while you still had the chance..."
Olive's eyes hardened as Sanguis' smirk widened. Somehow she had gained the confidence and will to at least try. This will be cakewalk, for the red-robed woman at the very least.
Sanguis slid the two shortswords out and parried the thrust aimed at her neck, letting the umbrella tumble down to the ground. She then allowed Olive to twist her weapon, and let one of the blades fall. She then spun on her heel again, allowing the sword in her other hand to sweep in a tight arc and cut deep into the sasumata's pole, and using it to counter-twist the weapon away from its wielder's grasp.
As she stumbled, Olive couldn't track what the other woman was doing.
The last thing that she remembered was the glint of steel flying towards her neck, and Sanguis' sad smile.
"So here's where you went. No wonder we couldn't find you."
A soft, clear voice announced the arrival of a red-cloaked figure. She had a large Beowolf standing right beside her, growling at the red-robed female figure at the other end of the clearing. "Dinah, heel. Sang is not food."
The other female's shoulder shook slightly with a smile, as if chuckling. She reached into her right hand sleeve, pulling out a notepad and a pen. "I admit I was curious about your mask, so I made one according to my memories. And since I had nothing better to do, I decided to read up on the culture behind the mask and throw in a little music practice," she wrote on the pad before showing it to the red-cloaked figure. "Can I keep the mask?"
Ruby sighed, shrugging her shoulders. "Do what you want. It's not like I can even get you to put on any underwear, even if I don't allow you to keep the mask."
The sound of soft slapping made Ruby turn her head. Sang was slapping her hip, a look of complete mirth on her face. After a few minutes, Sang scribbled furiously, "Oh, what would Sanguis give to actually get you to write about getting me to wear something."
"Gaaaah, stop it Sang! You're driving me crazy!"
Yup, so that happened. I wonder how many of you guys initially thought it was Ruby at the start.
Anyway, I'm still alive, yes (please note heavy sarcasm), although I admit to having a severe case of writers' block. Part of it is caused by the fact that the account I was under got pulled out by the client from the company I was working for, and all the other alternatives weren't as good (or were just that darned hard). Good thing I landed a new job shortly before everything went all sorts of mucked up.
I am still intent on finishing the stories on my list though. My Muse and I have not been meeting eye to eye, although she just recently chucked me a bit of inspiration in the form of a gyroball aimed between the eyes at 220mph. Which means, I just got a small bit of inspiration but it's still jumbled up and all that lovely stuff.
If you didn't get the first reference, go read Dravyn LeCrux's "The Red Queen" and its sequel, "The Red Queen: Crusade". Both are infinitely better than my crappy "works".
The second reference came in the form of Wagakki Band (thanks to my former officemate). Three songs, in fact: Senbonzakura, Ikusa, and Hanabi. Let's see if you can find the specific scene/s I drew from those three.
... And for the life of me, I could not remember where I read about a sword being hidden inside a Japanese umbrella's tube. Oh well, no use stressing about it now.
Oh, and before I forget, a sasumata is sort of like a two-pronged, nonlethal version of a trident. It was used in medieval Japan as a tool to apprehend criminals (actually, it still is). You can go to Google or Wikipedia for more info.