Chapter 46

No More Secrets




"Scroll Communications / Tv"

Location / Date / Time Change

The streets of Mantle were a proper panic as people ran for their lives from Grimm. The Atlas robots did as their program forced them too, shooting even as the creatures overwhelmed them. Airships flew overhead and bombed the aerial monsters as one performed a kamikaze, making the ship burst into flames.

A herd of Goliaths trampled through the streets as they flooded in from the hole in the wall. Sabres hissed as the Happy Huntresses sliced them as fast as they could. One sniffed the air, the scent of fear luring it in. It charged and found a Faunus mother and daughter hiding in a panic.

It launched at the two before a black and gold blur captured it, taking it into the sky. "Bad kitty!" Natsu shouted before head-butting the beast. The dazed feline could do nothing as Natsu impaled it on a tv antenna, killing it. Marrow and Weiss lead the mother and daughter away as Natsu landed.

The rest of the pride sprinted forward as Natsu sighed in annoyance. "I told him to fix that wall."

"Fight now, 'I told you so' later!" Marrow replied, aiming at the monsters.

Blake ran from a Goliath and two Ursas before one charged ahead. It lunged at her just as she gripped her blade. She triggered her Semblance and Fire Dust combo, causing the beast exploded in flames and powder. Another jumped and she jumped to the side, making it trip over its own feet. The Goliath paid no mind and trampled it, killing the ursine.

Blake rounded a corner and the Grimm, unable to bank, crashed into a building. Recovering and resuming the sprint, Blake smirked as she slid to the side. Vergil dug his greaves into the ground and grabbed the trumpeting beast, lifting it in the air for a minute. Yang ran in from the side and peppered it with sticky grenades from her gauntlets.

"NOW!" Lady slid under and fired off a missile, launching the beast into the air. Seconds later, the rpg detonated, triggering a chain reaction that obliterated the proboscidea. All four panted in exhaustion before Blake turned around. "Head for the nearest shelter!"

A group of citizens came out from behind some cars and raced towards the destination. "Those shelters are gonna fill up pretty soon." Yang reminded her partner.

"We don't have a choice." Vergil declared.

A pack of Sabres raced down the streets as Lady fired off another missile. "We just need to hold off the Grimm." She replied, unaware of the nervous look in the other girls face.

Qrow stood atop of a building and blasted the flying Grimm as Clover put his hand to his head. "Yes, sir. Understood." He mumbled, walking away from the ledge. "Over and out."

"New orders?" Qrow asked, only for a screech to cut him off.

"Come on." The Ace-Op leader jumped off the building and Qrow followed in pursuit.

Marrow slashed at a Sabre before one jumped from behind. Gray blasted in the face with his gun before Natsu tackled an Ursa, ice claws digging into the stomach. Ryuko stood in front of the citizens with her weapons in gun form, watching the lights on the streets turn red.

The people backed into the wall in a panic, only to hit the cold stone. "Take us to Atlas!" The people begged as they swarmed around Ryuko.

"Hey, calm down." Ryuko replied. "All this panic and fear is gonna bring the Grimm to us! We plan to get you the safety, just give us some time."

A bright blue light shined into her face as everyone turned to the wall. A large screen appeared and Robyn was on the official news network. "Atlas, Mantle. I know you're scared." The camera pulled out to show Ironwood next to her, her Semblance glowing along their arms.

"I'm here with General Ironwood, and we have a message for you. What he has to say my sound unbelievable, but it is all true."

"An ancient and terrible evil has set its sights on our kingdom." The general started, capturing everyone's attention. "It was responsible for the destruction of Beacon, the attack on Haven, and the murders in Mantle. This powerful force goes by the name of Salem.

"Salem has only one desire: to turn us against each other. If she can insight hatred in us, then we will lure in the Grimm and destroy ourselves for her. But she does not work alone. The murderer stalking the streets of Mantle, and the man behind the rigging of the election are in her cabal. Arthur Watts and Tyrian Callows.

"But we cannot let ourselves give into fear and panic, because that is what she wants. We must unite and fight back together, every single one of us! This is why I was forced to divert resources from Mantle, for the Amity Communications Tower. The tower is now completed, and ready to launch. Once in orbit, the tower will allow global communications.

"However, starting now, I will begin the evacuation of all of Mantle into Atlas. I'm withdrawing all defenses from Amity to handle the Grimm."

"We must put aside our differences and band together to defeat this threat!" Robyn declared. "I fully support General Ironwood's plan!" The entire city erupted into cheers as ships started landing around them.

Tyrian roared in anger before punching the wooden steps, cracking the timber. "The Grimm were supposed to tear everyone apart, not bring them together!"

"Wait…" Watts mumbled, stepping away from the wall. "Ironwood's heart has just cost him his mind. I need you to keep their attention on Mantle for as long as possible."

"You want MORE chaos and carnage than a Grimm invasion?" Tyrian asked back.

"If anyone can Remnant could manage that, wouldn't it be you?" The scientist replied.

"If you managed to make it to your local shelter, help is on the way." Both turned to the projection of Robyn, an evil smile on the Faunus' face. "And for those of you waiting in sector 17, I'll be seeing you personally."

"Come to think of it, I do have an idea…" He chuckled.

With Cinder's Group

"How did those idiots beat us here!?" Cinder shouted as she marched over to the window. "Vacuo was supposed to be the next target!" Staring at her reflection, she shook her head in disappointment. "The timeline has changed. Nui, you said the farm boy has the lamp?" She asked, turning back to her new minions.

"Yep! I saw it all when I went flat." The blonde chuckled.

"Then find him, and take it." Cinder ordered.

"Hold on." Zeref stopped Niu from skipping out of the room. "What about Natsu? He's out there fighting this madness. It's the perfect time to capture him."

"And have a little fun." Ardyn chuckled.

"NO!" Cinder shouted. "First, we get what we NEED. Then we get what we WANT! Nui, go."

The blonde nodded and hopped out of the room as Cinder walked over to the men. "Ironwood has been hiding the Winter Maiden for years. Zeref, you're going to help me find it." Picking up the Scroll off the table, she studied the video feed. "The General is as predictable as he is egotistical.

"Threaten what he has, and he'll do anything to protect it." She chuckled as she closed the device and tossed it over the shoulder. Ardyn lazily caught it as Cinder turned to her. "Ardyn, be prepared to have some fun."

Mantle Streets

Weiss and Ruby smirked before a fleet of Atlas bullheads flew overhead. One turned and lowered to the street level and opened the side door. The people smiled before they started loading the ship up.

In the city, Yang and Blake motioned the people forward before a trumpeting caught them by surprise. A trio of Goliaths stormed down the street as Lady and Vergil moved in front. "We got this!"

Vergil dug his greaves into the ground as Lady aimed her launchers and fired both. The first two were blown to bits as the third continued to march. Vergil launched himself, digging up the concrete before punching the heavy foot, making it buckle. He jumped and pulled Rebellion off his back before stabbing into the eye, killing it.

Elsewhere, Ruby and Lightning guarded a group of civilians as another Goliath marched into view. It bellowed and charged the two as a green light flew over head. A green laser cut off the beast as the people ran the other way. Penny landed in front of them, much to Ruby's surprise. "You can FLY now!?"

"Ask questions later." Lightning ordered before charging in from the left. Penny did the same from the right as Ruby took a deep breath. All noise seemed to fade before the trumpet of the elephant destroyed her concentration. Gripping her weapon, she charged into battle and reached a perch before taking aim with her rifle scythe.

She fired off two rounds as Penny spun her swords like a disk, trying to slice the skull plate. Pulling her blades back, she fired them back and they dug into the plate. She pulled with all her might and managed to turn the head slightly, only for the beast to pull the other way and yank the android out of the sky, batting her with a tusk.

Ruby rushed after her friend and found her dug into the ground. "Penny! Are you okay!?"

The girls button glowed green before she turned her head. "Ouch." Was all she said before popping up. "Those tusks sure are dangerous."

"Yeah… they are." Ruby mumbled before a smile crossed her face. "I have a plan!"

Lightning stabbed upwards and tried to get the underbelly, only for the foot to kick her aside. She looked up as a green lazer blast the tusked beast. It turned to the side and charged Penny, who spun her blades around and fired off another beam square at the center of the head. Waving her hand, a trio split off and fired another beam, hitting the tusk.

The beast pushed against the force before Penny suddenly cut the power. The Goliath marched forward as Ruby rushed forward and sliced off the heated tusk. Penny took to the air and caught the marrow as monster bellowed in pain. Slamming it down, Ruby cut out the back ankle and the beast fell gut first onto its tusk.

Disintegrating, the beast faded as the people came out and cheered. Over the comms, the reports of ships coming in made Ruby smile. "Miss Hill, the southern sectors are cleared." Penny reported. "You may proceed with the evacuation."

With Robyn

"Great work, Penny. Over and out." The Happy Huntress leader replied before closing the comms. "Johanna, make sure you get these people to safety. I'm going to check for any stragglers."

Her follower nodded and went ahead as Robyn went into an alley. A noise caught her attention and she turned around to find Tyrian behind her. "Robyn Hill! For such a little bird, you have quite the sway around here." A bolt from her crossbow soared past his face. "Always a smile wherever you go." He walked forward and caught another bolt between his fingers.

"I find it… most revolting." He bent the bolt, threw it to the side, and let his blades click into place. He charged and batted two more bolts away only for a fishhook to force him back.

He sat on his tail as Clover and Qrow landed behind Robyn. "Sorry, Callows. I REALLY wanted to pummel you on my own. But between the generals order and Qrows vendetta, I feel like I need to share."

"So Qrow, you get the first crack?" Clover asked.

"Seems fair to me." He replied as Tyrian growled in annoyance.


Watts walked through the empty arena before stopping at the ring. Looking around, his suspicions were confirmed. "Sloppy, and I wouldn't exactly call it finished." The doors closed and locked shut, making him panic.

"Arthur Watts." Ironwoods voice bellowed from behind as he turned to the commentary stand. "Welcome."

"It was never finished." He surmised walking forward. "It was bait." The general jumped down and landed on the field. "You know James. This place has always been a technological marvel." He threw his briefcase to the side as the two entered the center ring. "Even before you went and… did all this.

"Different types of Dust, the vial system, and of course EVERYTHING that goes into controlling them." He waved his gloves, now glowing blue around the knuckle before slamming it down. The field randomizers popped and started spinning before blocking a shot with a shield made from Hard Light Dust.

"You always were a pain in the ass." Ironwood confessed as the fields selected. He fired off another shot as Watts jumped to the side, riding the platform up above the General.

"Forgive the cliché, James…" Watts pulled out a large pistol and spun the barrel, pointing it forward. "But I won't be going down without a fight." The rotation came to a stop and he pulled back the safety. Lava splashed like a wave of water as Ironwood did the same with his own gun.

Watts fired off his first at the same time James pulled the trigger, blasting him forward with the Gravity Dust. He pulled it two more times to dodge the shot and return to the original trajectory. He slammed his fist down and forced Watts back, leaving him open for a punch to the gut.

A kick followed up the fist, knocking Watts to another platform. Sliding to a stop, Watts blocked two shots before returning fire. The general rolled and avoided the hit, only to suddenly find himself floating. Slammed to the wall behind him, he turned to see Watts chuckle before turning and run away. Letting the air back into his lungs, Ironwood drew another pistol and gave chase.

Watts messed with the gravity again but Ironwood refused to lose stride. Jumping onto the hard light platforms as fast as he could, he was hit by a geyser and fell off. Turning quickly, he fired a shot and the Dust propelled him back on to the platforms. Defying gravity, the two started run up the walls and upside down.

Firing more shots, Ironwood soon jumped over. Watts smirked and triggered the Dust in the arena. It pulled the General back before he fired a shot, bouncing off the ground and finally hitting Watts. James landed and holstered his guns as Watts crashed down. He walked forward and punted the ex-scientist in the gut before landing a hook.

Watts flailed around and tried to punch back, but the General caught it and delivered a body blow. Gasping for air, Watts couldn't stop James from throttling his throat and lifting him off the ground. Watts fired a round, forcing Ironwood to let go. The traitor flipped over the general and kicked him in the face.

He ran from more shots, forcing the General to chase after. Watts reached the top of a column and triggered the gravity again. James reached up and hung onto the ledge before pulling himself up. Seeing Watts hopping away on hard-light platforms that he could not reach, the general turned and raced from the other side.

Once he caught up, a single shot to the shoulder caused Watts Aura to flicker. With a roar, Watts turned and fired a round himself, the ice dust freezing Ironwood's foot to the ground. He jumped and landed on the ceiling as Ironwood shot the ice, freeing himself. The two raced forward and traded shots before they jumped at each other.

They tumbled to the ground as Watts tried to escape. James grabbed the ankle and pulled him down, his Aura flickering even more. With a roar, Ironwood tackled him off the platform and the two crashed into the main stage, Watts Aura finally giving away. His own Aura flickering, he looked up just as the platform started rising up.

"You never appreciated my genius, James!" Watts shouted as the two circled each other. "You just stood atop it and called yourself a giant!" He charged and tried to punch Ironwood, only for the general to overpower him.

"I gave you EVERYTHING you asked for!" He shouted back, throwing him to the side.

"You choose those two IDIOTS over me!" Watts retorted, finally revealing his motives for joining Salem.

"I decide to go a different path one time, and you decide to destroy the world!?" James asked in anger. "You're pathetic."

Watts charged again, only to get hit with punch after punch. A body blow sent him into a metal truss before Ironwood went for another punch. Watts moved to the side before sliding his hard light through the arm, pinning the general to the metal. "I wouldn't do anything rash, if I were you." Watts teased.

James tried to pull himself free, only for the flesh to start burning. "That was far to close for my comfort. Rebuilding those rings is going to be a pain." He turned and walked away, leaving Ironwood to stare at his arm. "I didn't think you'd want more metal in that body of yours."

Coming to a stop, he waved his other hand and started looking through the building. "Power, power… where is it?" A groan caught his attention and he turned around. To his shock, Ironwood has ripped his arm out of the hard light, the flesh still smoking. The General charged, caught Watts by the throat and dragged him along the ground before holding him over the lava pit.

"I will sacrifice anything… whatever it takes…" Ironwood panted while glaring at the former Atlesian Scientist. "To stop her."

"I hope you do, James." Watts chuckled. "I hope you do."

Mantle Alley

"Tyrian Callows, you're under arrest." Clover formally declared.

The mass murderer laughed at the proclamation before Qrow charged in. Tyrian blocked the sword before sweeping the leg, forcing Qrow to jump back. The two traded swings and misses before a fish hook caught one of the Faunus' pincers, forcing him to turn. He caught another bolt, only to eat a closed fist from Qrow.

A knee to the gut forced him back before the uncle hit him in the chest with his pommel. Glancing at the other two, Tyrian shifted his weapons into gun mode and fired. Qrow blocked the barrage before the Faunus jumped at Clover. The fishing pole blocked the blades and tail before the Ace-Op slid between Tyrian's legs, tying his arm up.

Qrow jumped in and forced his other arm to block before he spun and kicked them both. Landing on a roof, he swiped another bolt with his tail before the fishing hook caught his tail and pulled him to the ground. He rolled out of the way of slash from Qrow before dodging half a dozen others.

He glanced to the side and avoided a thrust before Qrow hucked the weapon into his air. Confused, he was left open for a kick to the side as Qrow caught his weapon, transforming it in a slice. Tyrian dodged the slash and went for a cut, but Clover hooked the tail and pulled hard. Another punch connected and forced him back before he charged, meeting Qrow's weapon with his own.

Robyn raced over, still firing bolts that bounced off the surroundings. One refracted off the scythe and hit him in the face, crackling his Aura. Qrow swung even more and forced Tyrian to jump, letting him kick the Faunus in the gut. A slash finally connected before a shotgun blast, and then a kick.

Clover slid under Tyrian and tied him up completely, leaving him open for a body blow. Growling in anger, he threw off his shackles and spun around before standing up. Laughing like the madman he was, he saw Robyn fire a bolt straight at him. Catching it with his teeth, he chuckled a bit before the bolt started blinking.

A small explosion went off in his face, shattering his Aura and knocking him to the ground. He looked up just as Robyn walked over and punted him in the face, finally knocking him out. "Where's that smile now?" She teased.

The two men chuckled before Clover reached up to his earpiece. "This is Clover. Requesting prisoner transport. We have Tyrian Callows in custody."

10 Minutes Later

Atlas Airship

"I don't understand." Weiss mumbled to her friends. "The General just called us back without a reason. The evacuation is still going on. The people of Mantle still need us."

"Not all orders make sense." Lightning confessed from the cockpit. "But we can't question everything or else nothing gets done."

"Besides, the civilian transports won't be stopping any time soon." Gray added from the pilot seat. "If the General needs us now, it must be pretty important."

"He wants you three and Natsu." Ryuko said. "You go see what he wants, we'll go with Blake and check up on Oscar. He's been alone through all of this. Can't exactly be good for his self esteem."

The ship landed at the academy and the requested nine quickly reached his office, finding him in the dark with his back facing them. "General Ironwood?" Gray questioned.

The General spun his chair around and stared at the group before finally moving. "We have made a critical error." He placed a queen's chess piece on the table, shocking them all. "The Black Queen was the symbol Salem showed us before the Fall of Beacon. Her way of telling us she was inside. That it was too late. Stopping Watts… Stopping Callows… They were just distractions. Someone was in here. They put this in MY office to let me know that."

"Sir, it's going to be okay." Weiss spoke up. "Mantle is on our side now, and-"

"How do we know that wasn't part of their plan!?" The general interrupted, scaring her. "How do we know they didn't want us to bring in people by the thousands? Salem has been one step ahead of us this entire time!" He slammed his fist down on his desk and cracked the material, knocking the chest piece over.

"Glass…" Ruby mumbled, watching the queen roll off the table. "Black glass. Cinder…"

"SHE'S ALIVE?" Yang shouted in shock. "And she's here!?"

"This… doesn't make any sense…" Natsu mumbled, confusing everyone. "I don't remember everything while under her control, but I do remember that Salem doesn't reward failure. After what happened at Haven, there's no way she'd trust Cinder with a mission like this."

"Are you saying that she's working on her own?" Marrow asked.

"More like trying to get back into her good graces." Natsu replied before turning back to Ironwood. "Which means this over yet. We're with you."

Recomposing himself, the general looked up and stared at the five from Beacon. "Are you?"

"What's that supposed to mean?" Yang asked back.

"How did Robyn know about the Amity Communications Tower?" He questioned.

The Ace-Ops turned to the five in surprise as Ruby, Weiss and Blake were in shock of the revelation. "We told her." Yang said, stepping next to Natsu. "The night of the ambush."

"You what!?" Lady shouted.

"If you're gonna steal supplies that Mantle desperately needs to survive, supplies that WOULD have saved people's lives today, they have a right to know what it's for!" Natsu snapped back.

"Going behind our backs isn't the way to do it!" Gray angrily retorted as he walked forward. "Does that mean you let her escape?"

"Robyn is on our side. And always has been." Yang declared.

"We didn't know that for sure!" Lightning snapped back.

"None of this matters right now!" Weiss shouted.

"LOYALTY ALWAYS MATTERS!" Ironwood roared.

"Loyalty to who: YOU OR THE PEOPLE!?" Natsu almost went hoarse from his tone before the bag on Ironwood's desk exploded open, a Seer floating out of it.

Everyone readied for a fight as the jellyfish floated upward. "General Ironwood…" Natsu went wide-eyed at the voice coming out before the tendrils curled up and the being fell to the ground, dead. From a hairline crack in the crystalline head, a black cloud spiraled out.

"The brave huntsman who bested Arthur Watts." A corporal visage of Salem rose up, the chest glowing red. "Congratulations." She glanced over to Natsu, who nervously stepped back.

"We stopped Tyrian, too." Yang declared, her eyes glowing. "And we'll do the same to anyone else you send our way."

"Dear Maiden, their goal was never victory." Salem chuckled. "Merely to set the stage."

"…For what?" Ironwood questioned, his gun never leaving its target.

The cloud turned and looked at the scared general with a smile. "For me." Everyone was shocked at the statement as the cloud floated towards the General. "Time isn't on your side, James. It's always been on mine. The people of Atlas have suffered enough. Surrender the Staff and the Lamp to me, and they needn't suffer any further."

"That's… not going to happen." He declared, even as the ghost leaned in.

"You fail to grasp the futility of your situation." She replied. "This can all be over."

"We've seen what your capable of." Ruby spoke up for the first time. "The Lamp showed us. It showed us EVERYTHING." The apparition stood up and turned to the center of the room. "We've seen that you can't be killed, but we've also seen you fail. Again, and again, and again. We don't have to kill you to stop you. And we will stop you."

Salem reached the center of the room and stared down at Ruby. "Your mother said those exact same words to me." Tears started welling up in Ruby's eyes as Salem chuckled. "She was wrong too."

Ruby dropped to her knees and Yang was next to her as the image faded. "That… THING was Salem?" Marrow asked in horror. "That's what we're up against?"

"And she thinks she outsmarted us." Lighting added.

"Impossible. We'd be alerted if any forces were approaching the kingdom." Lady pointed out. "Long range proximity radars and-"

"Offline." Gray reported, holding up his Scroll. "With all of this chaos, we didn't even notice. Watts must have shut them down."

"Or they were destroyed." Ironwood said, walking towards the mirror.

"Isn't Amity Tower ready to launch?" Natsu asked. "That's what you said in your speech, right?"

The General said nothing, scaring everyone. "That was just bait for Watts, wasn't it?" Yang asked.

Again, nothing. "General… Ironwood?" Weiss questioned.

None could see the reflection of his eyes glowing ever so slightly. "I've sent your sister to claim the Winter Maiden's power." He declared, shocking Weiss. "When I realized we'd be compromised, I knew we couldn't win. The Staff and The Lamp have to be walked away."

"Wait, you said we could keep it." Natsu spoke up as Ruby wiped her eyes clear.

"Well, that was before you lied to me about the Lamp." He replied before turning around. "Before you betrayed me to Robyn, and before Salem was right on our doorstep. Before Mantle was nearly destroyed and my army were left exhausted!" He swung and knocked the bag off his desk in anger. "The timeline has changed, and so we must change with it."

"What are our orders, sir?" Gray asked.

"We take our plan for Amity Tower and apply it to Atlas." He answered, crushing the chess piece to ash.

"What!?" Ruby questioned.

"It was Oz's plan in a former life." Jame explained. "But he didn't take it far enough. We harness the power of the Staff and raise ourselves high into the atmosphere. The artificial climate will keep food and people alive, always out of reach of whatever Salem can send us."

"And the people of Mantle who aren't here?" Weiss asked. "What happens to them?"

"They would die so Atlas can live." He coldly replied. "We can't allow Salem to capture the Relics. This is our best chance to get the Staff, the Lamp and the Maiden as far away from her as we can."

"Run away and hide. That's your brilliant plan?" Natsu asked. "What happened to the guy who would fight tooth and nail?"

"He turned into someone who will do anything to survive." Ironwood answered. "And lead his people to survival too."

"And our chance to reunite the world dies with Amity." Ruby pointed out as the two squared off.

"Sometimes doing the right thing means making a tough call." He said, looking into her eyes.

"And I think the right thing to do is to stand and fight." Natsu declared.

"Me too." Yang added, as did Weiss and Ruby.

Ruby turned and found the Ace-Ops were dead silent. "We ran ourselves ragged, trying to save Mantle tonight." Lady pointed out. "We try that again against an even larger force-"

"You're Huntsmen and Huntresses!" Yang shouted. "You can't just leave people to die when you can do something to save them."

"Look, we get your point-" Marrow started.

"What about the council?" Weiss cut him off. "What will they have to say about this?"

"Nothing." Ironwood declared. "Once I declare martial law."

"And the people who helped us tonight!?" Yang asked. "Do just leave them to die after everything!?"

"We need to save who we can." He declared. "And you're standing in our way."

Natsu and Yang glared at him as Ruby had remorse in her eyes. Her Scroll started beeping as Vergil's voice came through. "We have a problem here!"

Ironwood glared at her as she reached for her Scroll. He drew his pistol and she zoomed around the desk, pulling out her tablet and opening every comm line she had. "Ironwood is abandoning Mantle and declaring martial law! Salem is coming and he plans to use the Staff! If we don't stop him, Mantle is going to be-"

The signal went dead and she looked up to see Ironwood had killed it. "I'm sorry it's come to this." He said before walking away. "But until Atlas and the Relics are safe, you are all under arrest."

"We won't just let you take us." Ruby declared.

The general reached the door as the Ace Ops stood behind him. "I know. Which is why I'm going to give you one last chance, Natsu." Everyone was shocked at the offer. "You've known what threat Salem has been longer than anyone else. You've been under her control, and now I'm offering you a chance to beat her. Will you take it?"

Yang turned to her boyfriend as he looked up at the General. "And now I see why my mom hates you." Natsu chuckled. "You really think I'd turn my back on everyone I care about?" He spat on the floor in disgust. "There's your answer." Ironwood only sighed as the door opened and he walked out of the office, leaving Ruby, Yang, Weiss, and Natsu with the Ace Ops.

Talk about shit hitting the fan. Some people think this ruined Ironwood, but I see this as leaning into his source material: the Tin Woodsman is supposed to be heartless. And this is the problem with merging EVERYTHING into one branch, one man has total power and snaps. I had only one real problems with what happens next that I will be fixing, but other than that, I enjoyed this part.

See ya next time.

Beta read by The ExcadrillComics