Chapter 5: Fifth Move

"Team RWBY, reporting."

"Thank you, Yang." Ozpin regarded them all for a second before internally sighing. Honestly, had the changes to his office over the years really made it so much more intimidating to new students? Though to be fair, the gears hadn't been his idea… "There's no need to be so tense."

Ruby, Weiss, and Blake all let out the small breath they'd been holding, their posture loosening somewhat.

"How was your first day at Beacon?" he continued, curious.

"Very good, Sir," said Weiss immediately. Blake nodded her agreement.

"Classes are boring," Ruby added, making Yang snort in mirth. She looked at her teammates defensively. Weiss in particular was giving her that look again. "He asked."

"They often can be," Ozpin agreed with a nod. "Though I encourage you to give them your all. We do have you take them for a reason."

"Yes, Sir."

"Now, as to why I've summoned you." Ozpin paused before continuing. "I assume Yang has explained, at least in some capacity, what this team is for?"

"Combat," said Ruby immediately. Even Ozpin could tell the girl was as ready for action standing before his desk as she could have been out in the middle of the forest.

"Indeed," he affirmed. "Teams are required to complete a minimum amount of combat oriented missions per year, regardless of their overall difficulty or duration. You are no exception to this rule, and in fact will push it far beyond what many may consider reasonable."

"You really do have a mission for us already?" asked Yang in surprise. At his nod she continued, "I wasn't expecting one for a week or so at least."

"Yes, that had been my plan initially as well, however circumstances have provided us with an appropriate task for you all to wet your feet with, so to speak," Ozpin explained. "There is a Bullhead being prepped for you at this moment, so please head there as soon as you are ready. Yang, I'll count on you to explain how general procedures go to your team. As to the destination, your pilot and support will fill you in. Understood?"

"Yes!" Team RWBY chorused.

"Then good luck."

Yang turned to her team with a grin. "Come on, I want to stop at our room for a second."

Ozpin let his attention move back to his desk, still somewhat covered in a mix of old papers and holographic information. He really needed to organize this junk. The more spartan the room looked the more at peace he felt there.

"Um… Headmaster?"

He looked back up to see that Weiss was still standing in front of his desk, the other three were gone.

"Yes?" he asked the lone girl.


"You'll have to be slightly more detailed than that," he responded, though he figured he knew where this was going.

"Why would you want us specifically to be on a team together? Why-" she broke off and took a steadying breath, her eyes narrowing in seriousness. "No. Why would my father encourage my being put in so much danger? That is what I really want to know."

Ozpin considered how he should answer for a few seconds before replying.


Weiss blinked in surprise. "My sister?"

"Yes, Ivan believes that you have the potential to surpass her by leagues." To say that Weiss looked shocked would have been a gross understatement. "Ivan has always taken the safety of his daughters to be paramount over the other things in his life, regardless of how that might have impacted your daily lives," he added. Weiss's expression took on a shade of anger, but he continued regardless. "For you to be safe, you either must be guarded by someone strong, or be strong yourself. Winter is a good example of this."

"And so I'm to be guarded?" Weiss ground out, fists gripping the sides of her combat skirt out of reflex. "By people like Yang? Like Ruby?"

"Of course not," Ozpin rejected with finality, enough to make the girl stand a bit straighter. "You are here to be trained. As I stated, Ivan has expressed to me that you have more potential than your sister."

"That's not true!" Weiss denied vehemently. "Winter is a high ranking member of the Altesian Military and works directly under General Ironwood. Not only that, she has abilities that far outstrip my own. She's been considered the most gifted Schnee in generations! How could I ever hope to reach something like that, let alone surpass it? Especially when I can't even..." She cut off, apparently losing whatever steam she'd built up.

"Whether you believe it or not, it was said," Ozpin continued, unaffected. "And I am more inclined to believe it. Beacon is a place for you to explore and surpass your limits. Being in this team will do that for you." His voice softened slightly and he leaned back in his seat. "We were both also hoping that you'd make some friends and have a little fun. Do not lose sight of your life as you rush through it here."

Weiss remained silent for a few seconds before bowing her head slightly.

"If that is all Headmaster…"

"Of course, your team is waiting for you." He hesitated for a few seconds before calling out. "Weiss." She came to a halt at the elevator door. "If you would ever like to speak about anything again, please don't hesitate to come visit me."

Weiss frowned for a second but nodded all the same, stepping into the elevator and letting the doors close behind her, leaving Ozpin in silence.

"Children will always be children," he sighed, pushing himself back and standing up. He pressed a number of buttons on his desk before looking back up, now facing a holographic screen. It was a couple of seconds before a face filled it, complete with flask. The man finished his drink before wiping his mouth on the back of his sleeve.

"Hey, Oz, what's up?"

"Qrow, we need to meet."


Weiss frowned as she made her way down the hallway to rejoin her team. Yang had sent her a message saying to meet them in the courtyard.

"I can be stronger than my sister?" she whispered to herself, looking down at her hands. Myrtenaster's hilt was easily visible behind them, sitting at her waist in eternal patience. It was almost amusing that she still had the weapon after all these years. She had literally been so unsuited for the thing and ended up sticking with it out of sheer stubbornness. Now they worked together quite well, if her general performance was anything to go by. Thank goodness she'd never taken Hilda's suggestion to switch to a more traditional Dust caster weapon. Like a staff or a handgun wand. Tacky didn't even begin to describe it.

It just doesn't seem possible.

Weiss had such mixed feelings about her sister. All the way from idolizing her to demonizing her. She was just so much better at everything, especially their Semblance, the ultimate proof of her Schnee lineage. Winter's glyphs were heavy with purpose and power. She even excelled at summoning, the one thing that Weiss had never been able to learn while most Schnee children had at least a rudimentary grasp by the age of ten, if her father was to be believed. And yet… Weiss knew her sister loved her to death, and was more than willing to act the fool (albeit in ultimate privacy) to cheer her up. Still didn't change the fact that outside of that small bubble she was a cold, unstoppable force.

"Weiss! Ready to go?"

Yang's voice cut out over the grounds easily, causing Weiss to look up. Her team was slowly approaching from the other end.

"Yes, I'm ready. Where are we going?" she asked once they finally grouped up.

"Dunno," Yang shrugged. "I really didn't think the Headmaster would give us a mission after one day."

"Should we be worried?" asked Blake.

Yang's face took on a thoughtful expression as she led them to where the Bullheads were docked. "Not really. It's our first time out as a team after all. Just make sure you all keep an eye on each other."


"Long way to go?" Yang spoke into the internal intercom with the pilot. She could see his back without trouble but it was easier to speak directly to his headset.

"No," the pilot returned shortly through the com as the Bullhead began to take off. "We're heading into the ruins."

"Oh. Not bad after all."

"Mind filling us in?" Weiss asked dryly, taking one of the seats along the wall and buckling herself in.

"Patience, Weiss," Yang replied, taking her own seat across from the girl. Whatever Weiss had planned on saying back was cut off by the windowed cockpit door sliding open, admitting a young man in a flight suit. He scanned the girls with an interested expression before stopping at the team leader, brightening noticeably. There was a small lurch as the Bullhead took to the sky.

"Welcome aboard, Yang, good holiday?"

"Hey Dillan, it was pretty good. We going to have enough time for the briefing? The ruins are pretty close."

"It'll be enough," he said, pulling out his scroll. Almost at once the four girls had received a notification on their own. "We've had a group of researchers from Vale doing this and that in the ruins below for the past few days. They're supposed to check in with us every twelve hours, but as of today they are forty-eight hours past due. You're being sent in to make sure everything is alright."

"Ruins?" Blake and Weiss chorused. They glanced at each other before Weiss continued. "There are ruins close by Beacon? Enough to seriously research that is? I don't remember reading about anything like that."

"Same," Blake agreed. Ruby was just sitting back in her seat with her eyes closed, listening.

"Well, it's not a secret but neither of you are from around here, right?" At their nods he continued, "Understandable then, they're more of a local interest than anything. There is actually a large network of ruins far below Beacon Academy," Dillan said with a nod. "We've only mapped a small portion of it, despite having known about them for decades."

"Dangerous?" posed Blake.

"Moderately," Dillan shrugged. "Not a place for first years at any rate. It's not just the Grimm either."

"What do you mean?"

"While we've explored a lot, it's not a place that anyone goes to regularly," he explained. "For that reason, there's no lighting down there at all, and nothing in the way of a checkpoint or safe zone. You could walk into anything at any time. Go too far into unmapped areas and you could easily get lost. Plenty of teams have gone there once and avoided the place like the plague since. Still," he added with a shrug, "it's not like any of them didn't come back in the first place."

"Should we expect much fighting?" Ruby interjected, drawing all eyes to her. She was currently polishing her weapon on her lap.

"I'd say better to be ready," Dillan nodded. "Grimm have absolutely no issue with darkness, unlike you all."

"We'll manage," Yang said easily, waving away his warning with her hand. "Uh, if you've got lights for us, that is."

"Of course I do," Dillan said, looking affronted. "High powered lights for you to carry and flares if you need to drop one and fight or throw it. That isn't counting all the stuff I usually go around with to support teams with."

"Feels good to be taken care of, right?" Yang asked her team at large, getting somewhat slow nods from the three of them. Meh, they were still adjusting.

Dillan let his eyes wander about the group once more before speaking again. "This is your first mission as a team, right?"

"Yes," Blake nodded.

"Well, best of luck then. I'll support you however I can," he said, flashing them a grin.


"Yeah, either that or get your ass fired," Yang laughed, causing Dillan to scowl at the girl. Suddenly he put a hand to the small headset he was wearing, clearly listening to something.

"Roger, I'll let them know." Bringing his attention back to the girls he continued,
"Anyway, your scrolls have all the details of what the research group was supposed to be doing, as well as where they should be. The pilot wanted you all to know that we're a couple minutes out from landing so sit tight. We've just got the descent now."

Suddenly Weiss sat up straighter, eyes snapping to the nearby window as she suddenly realized where they must be going.

"Wait, don't tell me-"

"That's right, we're going into the fog."


"This place is creepy," Ruby admitted, looking around their landing site slowly. The Bullhead's lights illuminated a good deal around them, but after a hundred feet or so the darkness crept in harshly. It was also distinctly colder than at Beacon, though nothing a little Aura application couldn't hold off. Just at the edge of their light an immense opening was cut into the rock, leading off into darkness.

"Yeah…" Blake's amber eyes caught the light, making them seem almost yellow as they scanned the darkness beyond. "We're not alone."

"Don't worry about them," said Dillan, coming back out of the Bullhead with the final pieces to the equipment he'd given everyone. Yang had their rations, but each had been equipped with a number of smaller items to help them in the dark tunnels. "Light is your greatest ally here. Most of the Grimm that live down here can't be exposed to it much at all, so make sure you keep a light on at all time. Can't imagine why you wouldn't, but we're supposed to say it anyway so there you have it."

"We'll be fine, Dillan," Yang said tiredly, rolling her eyes. She knew he was just doing his job but he was laying on the 'first team mission' stuff a bit too much. It wasn't like he hadn't already told them all of this before they landed.

"Where will you be?" Weiss asked.

"Back at Beacon," Dillan answered, making the girl frown. It clearly wasn't the answer she wanted. "Sorry, but it's the closest place we can be safely. We took our time getting here though, so if you needed an emergency evac, we could be here in under a minute. Hopefully it doesn't come to that."

"It won't, let's go," Yang ordered, eager to get started. He'd go on forever if they didn't leave. "Blake take point, Ruby and Weiss in the middle. I'll bring up the rear."

It wasn't long before the only light they had was coming from the flashlights hanging off their cloths.

"This is amazing," said Blake, pausing after a little while to stare up at the wall to their right. "Look at all these carvings."

"What carvings?" asked Weiss, repositioning her flashlight so it was pointing at the walls. With the direct light they were able to see the walls filled with carvings of what could only be described as animalistic.

"They look like Grimm," observed Ruby.

"That's because they are," said Yang, getting the attention of the three. "All we really know about this place is that it was built by people who had enough of an interest in Grimm to carve them everywhere into their really nicely made walls." She looked back down at her scroll, where a map was displayed with their current location. "Let's keep moving. Blake, take a right at the first intersection we get to, we've still got a ways to go before we get to where the research group is supposed to be."

"Okay," said the black clad girl, moving forwards again. Ruby and Weiss followed right behind her. Yang on the other hand hung back slightly to allow herself whatever privacy she could squeeze out of their current conditions, still looking at her scroll under the pretext of keeping an eye on the map. Instead of the mission however, her thoughts were focused on the girl in the group with the cute bow on her head.

"No, no, I guess I was just checking if you were."

Checking, she had said. Not wondering. The statement had stayed in the front of Yang's mind since it has been said a day ago. And just now… well it fit didn't it?

Yang looked down at the screen she held. Blake's small face stared back at her from a corner of her transcript.

Race: Faunus.

Thought so.

But what did it matter? She'd met a lot of Faunus in her life, and while they had more often than not kept to their own groups, none of them had made such an effort to hide what they were. To be on guard even in the most non-hostile situations. In a school for Dust's sake. To be perfectly honest, there was really only one group of Faunus that she could think of that would have anything to hide.

White Fang.

Yang's eyes moved from Blake to Weiss. There was no denying something would happen eventually. Beyond that, there were too many ways the situation could end up, muddied by the fact that there was just too little that Yang currently knew about each girl. Should she just let things play out, or force it into the open? Confront Blake, or respect her secrets?

Well, hopefully they had a long time before anything happened.


"Great, no one's here."

Weiss looked over at her team leader who was rubbing her forehead in irritation. They'd apparently arrived at the location the research team was supposed to have set up base, but…

"It doesn't appear that they spent much time here at all, if any," she said, looking around. The room they'd entered was empty, minus a couple of floodlights placed at the corners. Even those were the more portable kind with their own power source. Not something that would be set up for any kind of lengthy stay. She turned back to Yang, a clear question in her eyes.

"No, they weren't supposed to go in any further than this," the blonde said, shaking her head.

"It doesn't look like there was any trouble here either," added Blake, eyes scanning the ground. "They probably took a break here before continuing and left the lights for when they came back."

"Yeah." Yang turned back to Weiss. "Weiss, report in to Dillan. Tell him we're continuing further in."

"Ah, alright."

A little thrown off by the direction, Weiss pulled out her scroll, quickly locating the address they'd all been provided with for communication. She'd thought that Yang, as the leader of the team, would want to personally take care of things like this.

"This is Dillan, is everything alright?"

For some reason the tone of his voice irked her like nothing else.

"Of course it is," she replied in irritation. "The research team did not set up where they informed us they would. We are going to be moving deeper into the ruins to find them."

"Oh, well in that case just be careful." Dillan's voice carried easily to them all. "I'll pass your report along. Was there any-""

His voice cut off as Weiss ended the connection, stowing the scroll once more.

"What?" she said defensively, well aware the other three girls were watching her. "He's annoying."

"He means well," Yang said, though it was somewhat halfhearted. "Anyway, let's keep moving. Who knows what we're going to find now…"


Blake only hesitated for a second before dashing forwards, coming to a halt next to an unmoving body lying in a small pool of red. After nearly an hour of walking, with pauses for small scouting, they had finally arrived at the research site only to find it abandoned. Powered down flood lamps and other electronic equipment were lying around as if the researchers had just dropped it and run seconds ago. It was then that her eyes had picked up the fallen figure at the edge of the large room, near another passageway.

"Is he alive?" Yang asked from nearby, watching her over a computer station that had been set up. She was giving her such an odd expression but Blake honestly didn't have any idea what it could have meant.

"...No, I'm afraid not."

This wasn't the first time she'd been around death. The more recent years in the White Fang had been more than unpleasant at times. After all, they acted with the possibility of death on any mission. It also didn't help that the Schnee Dust Company had long since abandoned non-lethal defenses.


Was that small, uncertain voice actually coming out of Weiss Schnee's mouth?

"Yes," Blake continued, turning to face the girl. She truly did look afraid. "Death is something all Huntresses must face. If you weren't ready for that than you probably should have stayed safe with at home with your father."


The Faunus snapped to attention as Yang's voice cut across the room. Yang was giving her a clearly disappointed look.

"I- sorry," she mumbled, feeling suddenly ashamed. The whole point of being her had been to start anew and here she was surrounded by old thoughts and memories. She thought she'd buried that side of herself.

"I'm not-" Weiss was scowling as she shook off a concerned Ruby. Her voice was still unsteady but she continued regardless, voice tight with anger. "In case you haven't read any piece of reported news ever, home with my father hasn't been safe in the past few years. Terrorists can do that to a person's life. I'm not new to the the concept of death."

"Enough," Yang said sternly before anything else happened. "The report said there were three researchers and four guards. The rest must have gone somewhere." She looked around for a second before continuing. "Split up but stay in this room. I'd like to get a better idea of what might have happened here if possible. Ruby, see if you can get these lights back on. Blake…"

Blake winced internally as Yang walked over to her. Weiss and Ruby began moving to the other side of the room.

"Look," she said softly. "I don't know what your deal is with Weiss but that can't be a thing here. You're a team now, and doing this will just put everyone's lives at risk eventually. Understood?"

"Yes," Blake replied, subdued. She was just as disappointed in herself after all.

"Good, now let's see if we can contact Beacon while we're still in range. We should also do something about this guy too."


"The nerve of that girl! How dare she treat me like that!" Weiss fumed quietly, resolutely not looking back at where Blake was. She was still incredibly shaken by seeing the body lying the on the ground.


The young Schnee glanced to her left, giving her partner a scowl.

"Of course you're fine, aren't you…"

Ruby's voice died in her throat as her eyes found the generator she had been fiddling with to get the lights back on.

"Don't… don't say it like that…" she finally managed, clearly hurt. "I'm just worried about you."

Eyes downcast, Ruby missed Weiss knuckling her temples with her face scrunched up in aggravation.

"No, Ruby, I didn't mean that the way it came out, I'm sorry," Weiss said after a second. "I just- I don't like seeing dead people."

"Does anyone?" Ruby replied automatically, now looking slightly better after the apology.

"It's different!" Weiss insisted, fists clenched at her sides. "You don't understand- you couldn't understand." She turned to the younger girl with an unreadable expression. "I've had more people sacrifice their lives to keep me safe from harm than you could imagine. People that I grew up around, became friends with, and cared about. Everything would be fine, and then there would be an attack."

Her voice became bitter, almost mocking.

"The all important Weiss Schnee was safe, but the gardener who told me about plants whenever I asked was dead, along with the White Fang scum that murdered him trying to get to me and my family. The tall bodyguard with the mustache I used to pull on as a child took a crossbow bolt to the chest to keep me safe. His friend shielded me from an explosive package at the cost of his life. Do you see the theme here?" She let out a tight breath. "I don't want that to happen anymore."

There was a long silence. Weiss eventually shook her head, wanting to focus on their task, but stopped when Ruby began speaking in a low voice.

"My Uncle once told me that people either go two ways when something traumatic happens to them like that. Either you become more sensitive to it," she gestured to Weiss with a hand, "or… numb." Ruby looked down at her hands for a few seconds before returning to the generator. Two flicks and a button press later and the lamps sputtered to life all around them. She smiled, looking up at her wide-eyed partner. "I'm glad you care the way you do. I- hey!"

Her hands instantly went to her head where the knuckles of Weiss's right hand were digging into the top of her noggin, messing up her hair in the process.

"You are so annoying, you know that?" Weiss asked, sighing at the girl. She immediately turned and began to walk off, calling back over her shoulder, "Come on, we've still got work to do."


"Anything of note on your end?" Yang asked as the two girls reunited with their team. They'd swept the entire northern side of the wide room before heading back over. Ruby noticed that the body of the researcher they'd found had been covered with a tarp from somewhere.

"Nothing," said the scythe wielder. "No blood or anything to indicate a fight or struggle."

"With the exception of this guy," Yang said with a nod, motioning to the dead man. "Also, he wasn't killed by a Grimm, unless they've started using guns."

"He was shot?" Weiss said in shock. "Then that means-"

"Either the guards betrayed them, or there's another group down here with us all," finished Blake grimly. "Unlikely, I think, but anything else doesn't make sense."

"We've already informed Ozpin," said Yang. "He's giving us the go to continue but he's keeping CFVY on standby outside for backup. They'll watch the front entrance as well."

"Why not just send them in if he's concerned about us?" asked Weiss with a frown. "Who are they anyway?"

"CFVY is a second year team that has a good record," Yang explained. "Coco's a friend of mine too. Anyway, this is our mission and I haven't seen anything that would warrant us needing the extra help. I asked him not to send them."

"It's better this way," agreed Blake. "So what's our plan?"

"Nothing to do but explore the ruins," Yang said with a sigh.

"Should we split up?" Ruby asked. She wasn't opposed to the idea. Everyone in the team was a force in their own right.

"No I'd rather-"

The crack of a gunshot cut Yang off as they all turned to the passageway that led deeper into the ruins. The one the body was closest to.

"Go!" she snapped, suddenly a burst of movement. The other three were barely a second behind her, their rapid footsteps echoing off the high walls. It wasn't long before they came to another intersection, skidding to a halt in the sudden silence, waiting for any sign. Not that they had to wait long.


"This way!"

The second gunshot was so much louder than the first they had to be very close now. There! At the end of the tunnel-

Team RWBY pulled up short as they entered the new room. There, at the very back, was a single person, sitting against a portion of wall that was easily illuminated by their flashlights. In his hand was a pistol of some sort, held limply, but not enough to drop it. The area around him was flecked with red.


Weiss was the one that shouted, unable to maintain the stillness any longer.

He looked up in confusion, eyes moving between each girl with the same unseeing gaze. It almost looked as if he were blind. But then he grinned.

"Company," he sing-songed.

He raised the gun once more.



Author's Note: Hi, still keeping the chapters short. Have you all seen Season 3? Hot damn did that shit get dark. Kinda hard to believe it started out so innocently enough. Anyway, leave a comment if you feel like it. Thanks for reading!