Originally there were vast forests, beautiful plains, sparkling lakes, but they were all gone now of course.

Originally, the species known as Faunus thrived alone, strong, and happy. The many different races of Faunus lived together in harmony, even the predator and prey faunus managed to strike a tentative balance together, with great effort. Their lives were simple, joyful, usually without too much danger or risk involved beyond the odd natural problem, or any of life's other random risks and games. The Faunus and the animals got along well - as if one species didn't have hands instead of paws, hooves, or fins - and many thought it something spiritual or mystical.

Originally, there were no Humans to be seen in these lands. No creature without an animal trait, no creature that couldn't communicate with animals, and no creature that saw a problem or a vice in having these gifts.

However, the present time is not 'originally', a quite obvious fact. The original state of this land was completely destroyed by the humans and now exists only in myth and fable. No more, no less, and a fable is hardly something to effect changes on the world as it is now.

The tales of such a breathtaking land were lost in time, replaced by the history of how the Humans came and took the Faunus' land. They came aboard a massive wooden structure that sailed through the water, armed with better weapons and harder steel than a Faunus had any need for prior to their arrival. First, they wandered the land, just a few individuals at first. Then they grew an immense desire for the land, a lust to tame it and turn it into their own. They asked kindly if they could colonize, the Faunus kindly refused. They didn't take it well, as one would likely suspect of the Humans of today as a matter of fact.

They sent their armies, their ships and their warriors. They had mysterious metal sticks, first believed to be a form of magic, able to blow holes into the rebellious Faunus with ease, fire barking steel to smite enemies without respect or kindness. The land was taken by force, and a war ensued to take it back and take vengeance on the Humans, for their presence had already warped the Faunus. The Faunus fought tooth and nail for their freedom, but it was futile in the face of greater numbers, technology and knowledge of the arts of war.

Some faunus races were completely annihilated, extinct, lost to time. The remaining species were captured and sold as slaves, performing menial tasks and labors if they were strong, and serving lecherous needs if they were attractive. The Faunus were originally believed to possess magical abilities, but nothing was confirmed in the past nor has it been confirmed since, and the war ended a full century ago.

The forests were chopped down, barren earth and rock in most places where lush forest had once thrived. The lakes were polluted, clouding darkly and dimming. Beautifully green grass was covered with cement, buried under liquid rock for the slight increase and speed with which the Humans could traverse it. The land grew ugly, just as the Humans' home country was.

The Faunus were enslaved entirely and utterly. Metal chains bound them, and their freedom was lost… They worked under hopeless conditions until the day they died - be it through accident, deteriorated health or overly cruel masters - which is never far off. The body slaves tended to live a slight bit longer, almost entirely because of their services, but few appreciated that.

The children born into slavery were raised harshly by Humans, being sold off young and beaten both mentally and physically into submission. But, there are some who can escape sometimes, though the occasions were rare and far apart. It takes teamwork, sacrifice, and endless hope to do so, but it has been done a good enough number of times.

The few who manage to escape, and are able to survive the ensuing hunts, are known as Strays. The bounty hunter occupation arose as an answer to the requests to get the runaway slaves back to their owner. Bounty hunters patrol the streets, wanting an extra buck to help them get by. It is a job for the heartless, but there is never a shortage of them.

"Don't let her escape!" A rough, masculine voice shouted from behind her. Gritting her teeth in annoyance, she sprinted through the dark, littered alleyways in a bid to escape, cursing under her breath all the while. Gunshots echoed off the graffitied walls, and bullets narrowly missed her body, instead slamming into the brick and cement around her.

Men and women alike shouted at her, insulted her, infuriated her, but she refused to turn tail and attack - that would only lead to death or a return to servitude. She had not survived this long on ignorance, she knew how to make her way well enough. And throwing her life away because someone called her a 'cat call-girl' would defy all manners of logic.

She took a sharp turn, and saw her opportunity: a rotted, old shed. She silently dove in through a shattered window, hoping she was safe enough and that she hadn't been spotted. Her assailants fell for the trick, these were no bounty hunters they were an unruly lynch mob, so they ran right past the shed, into the web of alleyways that made up the ghetto. A few minutes later and even the gunshots were gone, their angry shouts and slurred insults having vanished long before.

She allowed herself a solemn sigh of relief, before pulling her prize from behind her and smiling sourly. It had been hidden in one of the many pockets in her ratty outfit, where she hid her stolen and oh-so-precious treasures.

A bright red apple, fresh and ripe.

For the humans, it wasn't much at all for even the poorer lot of them, but strays had to take whatever they could get, through any means of gaining possession of it that needed to be done. Fighting, stealing, some even turned on each-other and sold others out. A very, very few even worked with the bounty hunters, enslaving Faunus for tastes of Human life.

She bit into her prize, savoring the flavor of a fresh apple for the first time in a long, long time. She didn't allow a single drop of the sweet juice to make it past her chin, licking it up quickly off her hands when she caught it. The apple was quickly devoured, and the ache of hunger in her stomach was quelled briefly, if only slightly.

She examined the bullet wound on her bicep, grimacing sourly in dissatisfaction. Blood flowed freely, if slow enough not to cause alarm, from the injured arm, and splattered onto the ground in small ruby drops. Wounds like that one could easily get infected or worse, and could attract the attention of hounds and the like used by bounty hunters and police to find missing Faunus slaves.

Silently she searched through the half-collapsed shed, only finding worn out clothes and rotten tools to reward her efforts. Clearly, the shed had been an old workman's place of residence, possibly a Faunus slave not permitted to live in one of the buildings he serviced. He'd have likely died years ago, replaced by someone allowed to live inside. With no medical supplies, she weighed her options, between the bad and the , she turned her thoughts to the bad.

'I can visit him, and have him treat it… Or I could stay out here and hope that it doesn't get infected… And I don't get noticed by anyone...' With her home being a completely trashed series of alleyways, flies, mosquitoes and cockroaches, everywhere, there was little possibility for the latter option. Such wounds often saw Faunus strays to early, pain filled graves. She'd seen plenty of that to last her a lifetime and teach her what she didn't want to happen, above all. 'I guess I can...stop by for a little while…'

She crawled out of the shed, climbing onto the nearest building's roof, and stalking to her destination, the shattered moon lighting her path more than brightly enough for her sensitive, amber eyes to find their way through the dark.

She arrived at her destination a few minutes later, legs sore and tired. The rundown house looked no different from its collapsed neighbors. Broken, dirty and dilapidated. A den for slave, bound for the mines or for auction. Not a place of joy, as though it needed to be said. She dropped onto the ground and hesitantly knocked on the cracked, once-red door she'd landed in front of. She silently turned the knob after several long, tense seconds, and went in cautiously, ears flicking to catch any stray sounds. The darkness was no place to hide since her eyes saw through it as clear as if the lights were shining, but oft enough her ears were an even better tool for searching out enemies and treasures alike.

She glanced around, hand hovering over her cleaver in ingrained anxiety and nervousness. In one of the corners was where the object of her search was found, half-hidden under a ratty old rug. Hidden enough to allow the hiding of things, but not so much a guard would turn aside a bribe for thinking it a danger it wasn't if he showed up. She picked up the hatch, sucking in her breath when it squeaked, and climbed down the shoddy ladder, closing the hatch behind her with a quiet, dull thud.

All of a sudden the dark chamber she dropped into lit up, hurting her eyes from the suddenness. "Blake? I didn't think you'd stop by… Ever." She looked up, shielding her eyes from the blinding light. She relaxed when she caught sight of the bright red hair and creepy mask. He was a bull Faunus, evidentiated more than enough by the dark brown horns that protruded from his head. They were vastly different from her black cat ears, his unable to do much more than just harm unwary enemies.

"Adam, I got shot when I was being chased by some drunken tits after I stole something." She said, offering her bloodied arm to the man for inspection. "I got away, the morons are easy to trick. A real Hunter wouldn't be, I'm sure, but they were."

The man, Adam, inspected her arm for several seconds, hands gently roaming to look for wounds or other damages with practiced ease. "I'm guessing that was the only reason you came..?" He said, annoyance pricking at his voice.

Blake sighed. "I told you, the gang is getting too reckless. Some are even calling it a terrorist group now, and I don't want that. That's too much heat even for me." She could feel his glowering gaze even though it was hidden under the mask he wore always, his pursed lips telling plenty of its existence.

"Alright, I'll bring Jade over here. Doubt she'll be too happy you got shot again, but you need her." He turned away, walking into a door at the end of the hallway she was in. A shiny ladder was her only option to get back up, but that wasn't on her mind all too heavily currently.

Soon, the man came back with a lady, the gang nurse. She was a snake faunus, and was almost completely covered in scales from head to toe. At first glance she was often mistaken as some sort of demon, but she was used to such treatment, especially from Humans and younger Faunus. But none in the gang had anywhere near as many medical lessons as her. She glanced at the wound for several seconds, before bringing a pair of tweezers out of her pack.

Blake grimaced; she knew Jade hated her. The reason, however, evaded her knowledge to this very day. Doubtlessly, she'd done something the snake disliked, but asking never prompted any response save a glare. She pulled the bullet out after a minute or two, making extravagant movements to aggravate the wound painfully, but harmlessly. Blake narrowly avoided openly hissing at her. She wasn't sure of the procedure that professionals used, but she knew it wasn't anything like what Jade was doing doing to her. She sucked in her breath, and made an expert poker face, refusing to give the serpent the satisfaction of knowing she was in pain. She was the only option for Blake, after all, and beggars couldn't be great choosers.

The disinfectant didn't help with the pain, and neither did the absurdly strong bandages, but Blake still thanked her with a forced smile. Adam somehow convinced her to stay for a little while so her clothes could be washed and she could have a proper meal and some rest, though she knew he had to have some other motive. Everyone had other motives, it was the nature of things now.

She changed into some of his clothes - much too big for her. They hung loosely off her, but they did their job nonetheless. Adam brought her favorite, tuna. However, in the presence of people she abandoned, it was tasteless. She swallowed the pieces with a dry throat, eating slowly, her trademark poker face on constantly, while she silently wondered where he'd managed to get tuna in a place like this.

"If you ever have a change of mind, I'm still keeping your position clear." Adam said abruptly a few minutes after she finished her meal. He held out a mask to emphasize his point.

It was her mask.

Shaped like a cat's head, it only covered the top half of her head, just like Adam's own mildly esteemed mask. While some of their gang, The White Fang, may have thought of the mask as an honor, it was a prison to Blake. And that was why she left the gang in the first place.

Blake left as soon as she regained her clothes.

Her first and foremost goal was to get as far away from the base as she can.


To her mind, that was all she was good at.

She cautiously made her way through the streets, using the shadows as her cover. The trashed roads were simply a beaten path in the ruined city. The real city was miles away, lit up, with thousands of people. All the people that could be bounty hunters, or could call them and rat her out.

She didn't dare desire anything. Greed changes people. Change, meant she was no longer herself. So, she turned away from the brightly lit city, looking for a place to rest for the night.

EDITED BY Twisted Fate MK 2

Don't kill me for making another story… Please… This is a major AU. No Dust or Aura. Although I think I might add in the awesome weapons…...

Summer break is next month too… And the next month and a half after that… Two and a half free months to hopefully get farther in my stories..!

This story was based off a Bleach fanfic called 'Somewhere I Belong'. The idea suddenly popped into my head after I saw a weird picture, and it became this.

Please review….!