"Ah, there you are. I've been looking for you."
"It's been a while since we talked by ourselves. Of course, back then, I was...much less hospitable towards you and the others. And quite arrogant."
"No need to sugarcoat it. I admit, I was...rather unbecoming towards you all. It's funny, now that I think about it. If my old self saw me now, he'd question if I had forgotten my resolve. If such a meeting were to occur, though, I'd tell him that my resolve was weak. Flimsy. But, thanks to you, I've found a new one. A better resolve."
"Modesty is unbecoming of you, Nanashi. You truly don't understand how grateful I am towards you."
"...what is with that odd look?"
RWBY: Final Judgement
interludium VII: Unravel the Godslayer
Nanashi rubbed the bridge of his nose as he stared at three of the four members that made up Team RWBY. Behind him were his own teammates.
"Okay, so run me by this one more time..." Nanashi sighed. "Blake and Weiss had an argument, and Blake let it slip that she was a Faunus."
"Yeah." Ruby nodded. "I mean, it was-"
Nanashi cut her off. "And Blake left why?" The question hanged in the air. Weiss shifted nervously and turned her head. He narrowed his eyes. "Weiss... Why did Blake leave?"
"Whoa, hang on." Yang immediately jumped to the girl's defense. "Granted, there was a lot going on, and a lot of stuff being thrown around, and sure, Weiss said some things that Blake didn't approve of, but-"
"I was talking to Weiss. Not you, sis." Nanashi cut her off abruptly. The sharp glare in his eyes killed off any argument Yang would've made. Reluctantly, the brawler backed off as the Godslayer's gaze shifted back to the heiress. "...Well?"
The white-haired girl bit her lower lip. She had never seen the look on Nanashi's face before. It honestly unnerved her. More than that, she felt...naked. Exposed to him. "I..." She began. "I...screwed up. Blake and I got into a heated argument. The fight we had earlier today, we...well, we resumed it. She wouldn't drop the subject. She kept pushing and insisting that the White Fang were misguided."
"And they are." Walter grunted. "Sure, killing a few people on occasion is bad, but can you blame them? They've spent god knows how many years trying to get us to understand what it's like. To be treated like a freak. And we just kept turning our heads and pretended we didn't see. Way I see it, they were going to snap sooner or later."
Jonathan furrowed his brow. "Be that as it may, Walter, that still doesn't excuse what they've done. Still, though, I am curious. Even if she is a Faunus, why is Blake so insistent that the White Fang are misguided?"
"Wait, you serious, Jonathan?" Walter gave his friend a funny look. Everyone shared the same expression and looked at Walter funny. "...you have got to be kidding." He grimaced and ran a hand down his face. "Do you guys seriously not know?"
"Know what?" Ruby frowned. "Come on, just stop beating around the bush and tell us already!"
"The reason why Blake's so insistent that the White Fang aren't a bunch of murderous psychopaths is because she was practically born into it. Her father founded the White Fang!" Everyone's eyes widened in shock, except for Nanashi who's face remained neutral. "Ghira Belladonna, the Chieftan of Menagerie. Anyone would know him if they looked him up! Honestly, I don't know what surprises me more, the fact that she didn't come to Beacon using a different name or the fact that you guys, least of all Weiss, didn't know!"
"Wait a minute, her dad seriously founded the White Fang?!" Yang exclaimed.
"Yeah. Ghira started the White Fang not as the terrorist organization you see today, but a peaceful activist group. They would protest against establishments or services that discriminate against Faunus. He would even arrange peace talks to garner equal rights. No matter what, they were a group that would never resort to violence like what we see now." Walter explained. "However, like I said, us humans kept turning their heads. Even worse, some people responded to their peaceful actions with brutality and force. Eventually, some people within the Fang had enough. If humans were going to slap away the hand that reaches for peace, then they would retaliate with force. These members pressured Ghira towards taking a more aggressive approach, an action he adamantly refused. Soon enough, he was forced to resign as this radical faction, led by Sienna Khan, grew in power and influence. Sienna took leadership, and thus the terrorist group we see today is born."
Chris grimaced. "Guess that explains why Blake was so adamant about defending them. It was founded by her father, after all. Still, Jonathan does have a point. Sienna's been letting them get out of hand. If they keep this up, things are going to go downhill from here."
"What I don't get is why your argument started in the first place." Nanashi frowned. "I get the feeling Blake wouldn't have reacted so badly like she did if it was just about the White Fang. This was about Faunus in general, right?"
Weiss looked away. When she refused to give an answer, Yang spoke instead. "Weiss here kept insisting that Faunus were, well..."
Nanashi groaned. Rather than feel angry or disappointed at Weiss herself, he instead felt irritation at Jacques. Just how much had he hammered the idea that Faunus were evil? Regardless of his feelings towards the man, he was sure that someone with a brain big enough to manage a company as big as the SDC would be able to understand the difference between good and bad. Or maybe everything was just in the morally gray area.
Either way, this really needed to be fixed. She couldn't keep doing this. Especially not when a Faunus, one with seemingly good intentions, was going to be her partner for the next couple of years. "So then, based on what you're saying..." he started as he narrowed his eyes at Weiss. "Velvet Scarlatina, our senior and a girl who endures Cardin's abuse with the patience of a saint, has never once fought back against him and just takes it, is part of the White Fang by virtue of being a Faunus?"
"Of course not!" Weiss protested immediately, shocked that Nanashi would accuse her of such a thing. "I would never-!"
"Because that's exactly what Blake heard, even if you didn't say it."
"Weiss, think about it from her point of view, just for a moment." He continued. "She grew up in an environment where she witnessed first hand the cruelty and prejudice humanity hold for Faunus, and tried hard to change it. She's lived her childhood and grew up fighting for equal rights for her people. Even now, the Faunus still struggle to stand equal to humanity. In a sense, she's still fighting. Which is why she's quick to defend her fellow Faunus and the organization that her father built. By hearing you repeatedly claim that all Faunus were degenerates or evil, how did you think she would react?"
"Th-that's..." Weiss fell silent as his words sunk in.
"Weiss. I...I know that you didn't grow up in an environment that had a positive view on Faunus. But just know this. The ones that caused pain in your life don't make up the entire population. Just like how there are good and evil humans, the same are said for the Faunus." The girl was quiet as a mouse, head lowered and staring at the grown. Everyone in the room shifted uncomfortably from the lecture and scolding that a fifteen-year-old boy who, at this moment, sounded and looked older than he should have been. He sighed and shook his head. "What's done is done. You can give Blake some time to cool off and wait for her to come back, or you can try and look for her and clear all this up."
He turned on his heel and left, gently pushing his teammates away. They were left stunned by what they saw and heard and remained in the room for a few seconds before they snapped out of it and began discussing plans with Team RWBY. Thus, Nanashi was left to his own devices.
[Got to admit, you sure laid it thick.] Dagda commented. [Then again, the girl could use a reality check. So, what're you gonna do, kid? Go running after the kitty cat terrorist in hiding, or wait and see how this all plays out?]
"That's up to them." Nanashi shrugged. "They can handle this themselves, I'm sure. They don't need me for everything. I'm more interested in finding out who or what the hell managed to find its way into this world. Don't you see, Dagda? This could be the big break we've been looking for." An excited, hopeful look passed in his eyes. "If a demon found its way into this world, maybe it can tell us how we can get back to our world."
Dagda laughed. [Slow down there, Rambo. Don't get too excited. We need to actually find it, first. But I do agree with you. A demon finding its way into this world might lead us in the right direction. Speaking of leads, what do we do about the Relic?]
Krishna had informed him, much to his pleasure, that he had discovered what could be one of the famed "relics" created by the Brother Gods of Remnant. It was apparently hidden away within a vault in Mistral, below the school building of Haven Academy. This intrigued him greatly, and implied that perhaps the other Relics were hidden away beneath the schools. It was something worth looking into on a future notice, but for now he had bigger things to worry about.
"For now, ignore it. As interesting as it would be to see what the relic's keepers' reactions would be if it were to go missing, we should focus on finding our mystery demon." Nanashi decided. "But, that doesn't mean we can't study it." A smirk touched his face as he looked at his smartphone. "What do you say, old man? Feel up for studying a godly artifact?"
Dagda scoffed. [Well, look at you, developing into quite the little smartass. But I admit, this thing has me interested. Challenge accepted.]
Nanashi smiled. He resumed his walk, intending to return home and take a rest for the day when, suddenly, a sensation similar to the one he experienced before when Jaune and Pyrrha battled Odin overwhelmed him. He stumbled, nearly hitting the ground as his head became filled with white noise. He hissed and held a hand to his temple, attempting to steady himself and stop himself from falling to the floor. His green eyes flickered, briefly regaining their brown luster before reverting back to the green color that signified his being as a Godslayer.
"That feeling again..." Nanashi groused. "What the heck was that?"
[Wait, this happened before?] Dagda's voice changed to something he had never heard before. What it was, Nanashi couldn't tell. [When?]
"Back when Odin was fighting Jaune... Cripes, I feel sick. What is this...?"
[...it's your body. It's trying to turn you back into a human.] Nanashi's eyes widened and stared at Dagda incredulously. [Something inside you, I have no idea what, is trying to overwrite my power over you and break our contract. Whatever it is, it managed to briefly break my hold over you. You're still my Godslayer, but for a brief second, you were back to being human.]
He grimaced. "A side-effect of being in this world for so long?"
[I don't know, kid. But one thing's for sure...whatever's trying to turn you back into a normal human, it'll get stronger. More violent. You feeling sick is gonna be the least of your worries...]
The next day, Nanashi had woken up early in the morning and left before anyone had woken up. Thanks to the help of Krishna and Shesha, he was able to arrive in Vale without the use of an airship. Of course, he hadn't come alone. He chose to kill two birds with one stone by hunting for the mystery demon and bringing Cleopatra and Apsu out to tour Vale. Cleopatra could easily disguise herself by looking more human and lacking snakes on her body, while Apsu had chosen to be more covert by changing into a mist of water that followed after him, mostly unseen by passerbyers.
"So this is what the city of Vale looks like." The last of the Pharaohs mused as she gazed at the towering buildings and bustling populace.
"It sure is a lot liver than Tokyo, that's for sure." Nanashi replied. Back in his old world, such a sight would've been impossible due to the presence of demons and the canopy leaving he city in an eternal night. "Of course, it isn't perfect, since Faunus have a hard time living here like anywhere else."
"Oh, I can imagine." Cleopatra remarked as she trailed behind him. "By the way, when we do encounter our mystery friend, do we have a nice friendly talk with him or do we interrogate and torture him?"
Nanashi's plan was relatively simple. Simply searching for the demon without any clue where to start was useless. However, if it sensed the presence of another demon, that was another story. Cleopatra and Apsu, both of whom were disguising their forms to blend in with their surroundings, were bait. If the demon sensed their presence, it would be compelled to come out and seek them, if only to investigate. It was a long shot, but as far as Nanashi was concerned, it was the safest plan.
"We'll try negotiations first." the Godslayer replied. "If that doesn't work, we make them talk. Simple as that."
"*&^%$# #$%^*" Apsu gurgled. "*&^%$^%#$"
He frowned. "Well, I suppose that could be an option, but..."
"Ah! You are the boy from before!" Nanashi stopped and turned his head to the side. He had just reached the corner and found an delighted Penny standing there. "You are Nanashi Xiao-Long, yes?"
Nanashi nodded. "Yes. Penny, right? Nice to see you again. How are you liking Vale?"
"Oh, it is wonderful!" She smiled brightly. The buildings are so much different than those in Atlas. The temperature is much warmer and the skies are so sunny!"
"That's good to hear. Nice to see you're enjoying the city."
"Thank you very much." The girl nodded. She then took note of the woman next to Nanashi. "Oh? Who is this Nanashi? Is she your friend?"
"This is Cleo." he introduced the demon, who smiled back. "She's an old friend from back home."
"Visiting, mostly." Cleo said. "It is close to the Vytal Festival, after all." Nanashi grew troubled when he saw a glint in her eyes - a rather disturbingly familiar one as she leaned forward, examining Penny's face in greater detail. "I must say, you look beautiful. Especially your nose."
"Do you think so?" Penny tilted her head. "My father claimed my greatest feature were my eyes."
"Oh, they are beautiful, but your nose is simply exquisite. It makes me want to-"
The demon froze and glanced at Nanashi. He was still smiling, but his eyes were like the arctic north. An oppressive pressure fell upon her shoulders, his glare all but daring her to try anything with Penny, lest she receive punishment.
While the comment of Penny's nose being beautiful may seem out of the ordinary, what Cleopatra was truly referring to was the beauty of her body parts. When she was resurrected in Tokyo, she had claimed countless women and mummified them, all the while harvesting the pieces of their body that she believed to be the most beautiful. Slowly, but surely, she was crafting a body whose looks could rival the goddess. When Nanashi found her, she was attempting to claim Asahi for her nose - the last thing she required to complete her body.
Obviously, this desire had not diminished when Cleopatra was remade through the Cathedral of Shadows. She had found a few women who she felt possessed a beautiful nose and tried to do to them what she had done to many other women in Tokyo. In every instance, Nanashi and another demon was there to stop her, and promptly punish her as a warning.
Realizing what would happen if she would attempt to claim Penny's nose from her body, she pulled away. She dared not disobey her Master, much less the Godslayer who felled YHVH.
The red haired girl blinked in confusion at the exchange, not knowing what was going on in the slightest.
"I'm sorry about Cleo. She has...her unique interests. I apologize if she offended you in any way."
"Oh, it's no trouble at all. I had no idea what was going on." She answered innocently.
"By the way, have you seen something strange? Floating and green with a pompadour by any chance?"
Nanashi blinked. An image of Navarre, coupled with his stubby arms and legs, plus that cocky look, flashed by in his mind. "A long time ago, but that was before I came to Vale. Why are you asking?"
"Oh, I simply saw something of that nature. It was quite bizarre! It could even phase through objects like some sort of ghosts!" Penny exclaimed excitedly. "I tried to give chase, but I sadly lost track of it. Worse, I am now lost."
"You're quite the excitable little girl, aren't you?" Cleo said wryly.
Penny giggled. "My father said the same thing before. By the way, have you seen Friend Ruby?"
"Friend Ruby?" Nanashi parroted, a question mark above his head. When did Ruby and she become friends?
"Yes! Oh, now that I think about it, you two are siblings, are you not?" Penny leaned in and examined his features before she cocked her head curiously. "Odd. Yang and Friend Ruby share similar features, but you appear to be of Mistralian heritage."
He chuckled. "Because I'm adopted." he told her. "Their parents took me in when I was four or five."
"Ah, that explains it! Please forgive my rudeness."
"It's no trouble. Say, since you're here, want to explore Vale with me?"
"That would be sensational!"
The girl smiled cheerfully. Nanashi couldn't help but smirk at her enthusiasm. Looks like her sister made an interesting friend. Good for her.
But as they walked through the streets together, he was bothered by what she said. But it couldn't possibly be Navarre, could it? He slew him himself. Along with the rest of his friends back in the Cosmic Egg. Even if by some impossibility that he is alive, why would he even be on Remnant in the first place?
The chamber holding the Relic was as intriguing as it was impossible. The vault in which the Relic was held was a giant door, wrapped around a beautiful tree with glowing leaves that cascaded through the air, descending but never falling. The amount of leaves that fell seemed almost endless, as no matter how many fell, the golden leaves on the branches never seemed to lessen in number. It was almost as if magic fueled the tree.
It reminded Dagda of the Fairy Forest. Bittersweet, meaningless memories that he wished he could remove.
"So, this is where the Relic is?"
Krishna nodded. "Yes. As per Baghavaan Kalki's words, I have not interacted or removed it from its resting place. Curiously, the vault is locked with magic. I suspect by whoever designed it."
Dagda hummed and walked over to the door. He pressed his hand against it. The clover markings on his hand glowed, as had his eyes. The secrets that were before him unraveled and spoke of everything he wished to know. An answer to every question he asked was given. Such as the boon of a god of knowledge.
"...interesting. Looks like whoever made it did so in a way that only a certain type of magic can open the vault." Dagda chuckled. "Clever. Unfortunately for them..."
Magic swelled from his body and began to push out form his hand, seeping into the door.
"They never took into account the magic of a god."
Like a lock pick, Dagda's magic power bypassed and broke down the lock securing the Relic. The decorative branches and leaves of the vault door pulled back. Slowly, but surely, the door began to open. When it did, Dagda had to give credit to whoever made the vault.
"My word..." Krishna whispered, eyes wide. "This is..."
A desert. A desert laid out before them. No sun in the sky, not even a cloud. Just a clear blue sky. An entire world was sitting inside the vault, seemingly spreading out as far as the eye could see. Stone footholds sat in the sand, leading up to a pedestal. On top of that pedestal was a blue lamp, decorated in gold metal.
"They created a Domain..." Krishna said after a moment. "No. Not a Domain, but something incredibly similar to one. The amount of power this would take... Perhaps one of the gods of old?"
"Makes for a hell of a security system, that's for sure." Dagda commented. "You can't dig a tunnel under this. Even if you did, you'd just end up behind the door and next to the tree. An enclosed space..."
Now he was very curious to meet whoever built this. If it was a god, there was a begrudging respect there. But if this was made by human hands? Dagda sorely wanted to recruit them, assuming they were still alive. He stared at the Relic, that bizarre lamp that seemingly floated in the air. He entered the enclosed realm, feeling the air become uncomfortably warm and approached the lamp. Once he stood in front of it, he studied it. Outward appearance-wise, it looked like a very fancy lamp.
But what about what was inside?
He put a hand on the lamp. His magic rose to the surface, and to his surprise, the world around him changed. It evaporated like smoke, leaving behind a white void. Bluish-green smoke poured out from the lamp, growing in size before pulling in on itself. He watched curiously as the smoke began to take on a physical shape. A body with a feminine physique, decorated in gold accessories that seemed more like chains of enslavement than anything else. Dark blue hair spilled over its shoulders, elongated ears poking out from beneath the locks of hair. Its eyes were a mixture of colors, the sclera dark-blue and the irises a much brighter blue in comparison.
Dagda could not identify what she was, only that her existence was tied to the Relic. The woman let out a groan as she moved her body in a motion resembling one stirring from a long nap. Upon noticing Dagda, her eyes went alight with interest.
"Well, now... You're certainly a unique one." the woman remarked. "Neither human nor Faunus... What are you?"
"A god." Dagda answered. "One that detests this damned body."
"Interesting. And here I thought the only gods that existed were those two brothers."
"And you are?"
The woman smiled as if she heard something incredibly funny. "Me? I'm a creation of the God of Light, the spirit of the lamp meant to help guide humanity in it's pursuit of knowledge. I know every corner of this world. Every language that has ever spoken. Every war that has ever been waged. Every deal that has ever been struck. I am Jinn. And I know the answer to your every question." After saying this, her face turned sour. "Or rather, at least three of your questions. Due to the nature of the Relic of Knowledge, a person who comes seeking my wisdom is allowed only to ask three questions once every century. One of those questions has already been used."
"Three questions..." Krishna rubbed his chin. "I know of a being with the same name as you. Jinn, the genie of the lamp. Whoever finds and rubs the lamp shall have the genie's power at their disposal, capable of granting them three wishes. Of course, there are limits to what can be asked of them."
Dagda narrowed his eyes. "Let me guess... Those chains that are binding you?" Jinn nodded. Dagda scoffed. A tool with will of its own, meant to be bound in chains for the whims of the gods. How many times has he seen that in his long years, trapped in this body given to him through Observation? He clicked his tongue in distaste and raised a hand, eyes glowing. He swiftly closed it into a tight fist.
The golden bonds that trapped Jinn shattered to pieces as if they were glass. The entity of knowledge let out a gasp as the links that bound her broke apart with ease. Her eyes were focused on her newly free limbs before turning to Dagda. For once in her existence, she had no idea what happened.
The God of Light forged her existence, as well as her role and bonds. But this god shattered then as if they were nothing.
Dagda's jaw curved, forming into a grin. "I am a god of knowledge. And unlike those brothers you spoke of, I'm much more flexible. You said you had an answer to my every question, is that correct? Let's put your knowledge to the test, then."
Jinn gulped. Something told her that this god was not someone she wanted to make an enemy of.
"What do you know of something called the Axiom?"
Jinn's answer was almost immediate. "The Great Will. The progenitor of all that is and all that will be, observing its worlds and its inhabitants. There is nothing outside of its view."
"Why is Remnant closed off from the Axiom?"
"Because of the will of the god who reigns over it."
Dagda's eyes darkened. "One of the Brothers?"
Jinn shook her head. "No. This one appeared after they abandoned it. It is a being of arrogance and power. It could not accept the Axiom as a power far greater than itself. Thus, it took control of this Universe and enslaved it, separating it from the rest of the Amala. Something that the Brother Gods were forbidden from ever doing, lest the Creator God punish them for breaking their contract with it."
Krishna chuckled. "I see the news hasn't reached you. The Creator God YHVH is dead. Baghavaan Kalki killed him."
"And threw us to this miserable rock as he choked on his last breath." Dagda cursed the deity. "Why did the Brother Gods abandon Remnant?"
"Because they were disgusted with humanities arrogance. They gave their gifts and blessings to humanity. But in the end, they turned on them, led by a woman who tried to manipulate the Brothers and was in turned punished to live an immortal life until she realized the importance of life and death."
"Who is this woman?"
Jinn's lips curled as she waved her hand. Dagda's surroundings changed. The white void was blown away like smoke, replaced by a room decorated with various expensive-looking ornaments. In front of Dagda was a woman, back turned to him and sitting in front of a mirror. A beautiful woman with blue eyes and blonde hair that fell past her shoulders and down to the mid-section of her back.
"Once upon a time, there was a lonely girl locked away inside a tower by her cruel father. A girl called Salem." Jinn recounted the tragedy she knew all too well to Dagda.
"A prisoner at the hand of a parent. Hm...how cliche." Krishna mused.
Ignoring his words, Jinn continued. "Salem longed for freedom beyond the tower's walls. To see the world for what it was. One day, freedom had come to her. A young traveler that wandered the world, fighting tyrants and corrupt nobles alike. A hero called Ozma. It was love at first sight when they met. Salem was free from that tower, and more importantly, with the man she loved more than the whole world. They went on countless adventures, wrote so many stories...but there was no happy ending. Ozma died not in battle, but in his bed. His body weak and plagued by illness. Salem became filled with grief and despair, as she could not imagine a life without Ozma."
The dark-skinned man frowned. "I know where this is going..."
"She tried to bargain with the gods." Dagda muttered darkly.
Jinn nodded graveley. "That she did. First, she attempted to reason with the God of Light. She begged and pleaded for him to resurrect Ozma... But he refused. He believed that there must be a balance that must be maintained. To bring a life that had already been extinguished would upset that balance. But Salem was not about to give up. If the God of Light could not revive her beloved, she would seek help from the God of Darkness. Though his brother and he created the planet and created humanity, it was the God of Light who received followers and worship and gifts. None had vowed themselves to the God of Darkness, for it was he who created the Creatures of Grimm - the creatures that plagued their world. Salem bargained with him as well, but chose to keep her visit to his brother a secret out of fear he would not grant her wish. She begged for him to bring Ozma back, and in turn, she would become his most devout follower. Unlike the God of Light, he agreed..."
"But his brother learned of the deception." Dagda surmised. "And Ozma died again."
"And in accordance with her trickery, Salem was cursed to live an immortal life." Jinn sighed. "But she learned something when the God of Light confronted his brother. She learned that the gods were not infallible. And that the hearts of men could be easily swayed. She traveled to many lands, spoke with lords, kings and queens. She showed them her immortality, promised that they could live a long and prosperous life with their loved ones now and forever, but only if they cast off the shackles the gods placed on them. And so humanity rebelled against the Brothers... But it was all in vain. Angered and betrayed that they would use the gifts that he had given them, the God of Darkness killed every last human on the planet in the blink of an eye. All except for one. Salem, whose cursed would never be lifted until she understood the importance of life and death. And thus, seeing that humanity was not what they had hoped, the Gods left this world behind."
Krishna folded his arms. "I see... This would explain why magic is so increasingly rare. But you said that humanity was wiped out. If Salem was the only human left alive, how was humanity reborn?"
"A test, by the God of Light." Jinn revealed. "He believed that humanity still had potential. They were created because he and his brother had come to an understanding. That all things carry a balance. In which case, perhaps humanity could create something else, a new potential. And so, he recreated humanity...but they were not alone when they were reborn into a world without divine intervention. They had a new companion."
"Faunus." Dagda realized. "Hmph. I see. So all of this is one big test to see if humans and Faunus can reach an understanding. Shame how that's been going... Is this Salem still around?"
"Indeed. She believed that the black pools from which the Grimm were born could end her immortality, for anything that the pools touched would die instantly... But she did not die. The pools had not taken away her immortality. She still lived, but she had become changed. The power of destruction that laid within the pools had warped her humanity. She had become...something else. For all intents and purposes, she was now Grimm herself. A witch who could command the Creatures of Grimm themselves."
Dagda fell silent. While the story would have made any human weep in tears for the hardships and suffering Salem went through, he could only hear the story of a fool. What else could she have expected when trying to bargain with a god? Did she truly think that they would listen to their pleas? True, this God of Darkness had granted her request, but even he seemed quick to cow to the orders of his brother.
There could be nothing good from believing in a god. But this brought forth another question.
"Why were the Relics created?"
"They are part of the test. When the four Relics have been gathered together, the Brother Gods will return to this world and deliver judgement to this world. Should humanity have learned to co-exist with the Faunus and overcome their differences, then they will once again give guidance to this world. However, if humanity has not learned to overcome its differences...then this world shall be destroyed. And unlike before, there will be no second chances."
Dagda was silent. Krishna wondered if he was perhaps stunned or deep in thought. He stared at the Irish God, wondering what was going through his mind as he processed this when Dagda did something that surprised him.
"Hahahahahahahahahaha!" His guffaws stunned even Jinn. After several moments, the laughter of the Irish deity calmed down. "I see now...how amusingly pathetic..."
"This test of these so called Brothers...are nothing but a farce!"
The Avatar of Vishnu soon realized what he referred to. "Elaborate."
"No matter how it is, humanity and the Faunus are in a lose lose situation. This whole test was stacked against them from the start. If the two species come to an understanding, then the Gods would return and guide them. If they don't, which is what's happening right now, then they will wipe out both species again. It's so disgusting and pathetic to the point it's hilarious. The Gods had no intention of having Humanity pass at all! Should they co-exist and 'pass', they'd still be under the thumbs of the Brother Gods and are vulnerable to a repeat of their mistakes. And if they fail, they're killed. End of story. Truly, these Gods are just as pathetic and vile as YHVH. They claim to love their creations. But all they really do is manipulate and play with them like toy soldiers. And when they get bored, they simply discard them. It's nauseous... It's almost enough to make me sad, honestly." He scoffed and shook his head. "Earlier, you mentioned that a god appeared and took control of this world after the Brothers abandoned it. Who?"
"One who was shunned by the Creator God long ago, who attempted to take his place." Jinn said after getting over her shock. "In the tomes of the Gnostic faith, he was once a Creator God himself until Satanael realized his twisted ambitions. In one tongue, he was called the Demiurge. But here, he is known by another name. The God of Control, who Salem has sworn patronage to so long as she achieves her desires of punishing the man she once loved for his betrayal and to spite the gods themselves."
"The False Creator, Yaldabaoth."
As it just so happened, during their walkabout of Vale and chatting, learning a bit about Atlas and Penny's enthusiastic nature in general, all the while keeping an eye out for their mystery demon, Nanashi and Penny came across Ruby, Yang and Weiss all together, screaming at the top of their heads.
"Blake! Blaaaaaake! Where are you?!" Ruby Rose hollered out in the streets.
"Ruby...I don't think it's working." Her sister commented.
"Maybe she just hasn't heard us yet!"
"I don't think there's anyone that hasn't heard your screaming, Ruby." Nanashi started as he made his presence known.
"Oh, Friend Ruby! Salutations!" Penny waved enthusiastically.
Hilariously, the three girls jumped. "Aaagh! Nanashi?! Penny?! Where did you two come from?!"
"Around the corner. You just didn't notice us." He then took note of their numbers. Still only three. "...I take it Blake still hasn't returned yet?"
"No..." Ruby replied dejectedly. "Still no sign of her. She's not even picking up her Scroll."
Nanashi sighed. "Like I told you. She'll come back on her own, or when she wants to be found. Give her space."
Penny tilted her head. "Why are you all looking for the Faunus girl? Has she done something wrong?"
"No no, she hasn't done anything! She just-wait, how'd you know Blake was a Faunus?"
"The kitty ears!" She pointed to the top of her head.
Yang laughed. "She doesn't have ears on top of her head! She just wears a...bow..."
The group fell silent as the realization to those who were oblivious to the fact sunk in. The wind blow and a tumbleweed rolled by. "...she does like tuna a lot."
The green eyed teen shook his head. It was also at this moment that Weiss took note of Cleopatra. "Wait, who is she?"
"Cleo. An old friend."
"Really?" Yang frowned heavily and looked at the demon with suspicion. "She doesn't look familiar."
"Oh, we met when his darling sisters weren't around." Cleopatra replied with a smile. "He's told me quite a lot about you. Specifically about your horrible puns."
"My puns aren't horrible!" Yang snapped. "They're A-grade material!"
Ruby and Nanashi both gave her a flat stare. The former shook her head before speaking. "So, you came to see Nanashi?"
"Sort of. The Vytal Festival is rolling around." Cleopatra shrugged before she looked at Weiss. She examined the Schnee Heiriess, taking in every detail of her appearance, much to the girl's confusion. She liked what she saw. The last of the Pharaohs grinned. "So, you're Nanashi's girlfriend I take it? You're even cuter in person~"
"Wh-what?!" Weiss backpedaled with a flushed face. Girlfriend?! But they weren't even dating!
"Cleo. That's enough. Stop teasing her." Nanashi reprimanded with a frown.
"Aw...but her reaction was so cute."
He sighed. "You are impossible. Simply impossible."
'Ashi has just strange friends...' Ruby thought when she felt something cold wash up against her skin. She looked around for the source and even looked up at the sky, yet found no clouds. 'Huh. Weird. Why does the air feel wet all of a sudden?'
[Yo, kid. I'm back.] Dagda's voice rang in Nanashi's ears. [Ditch the kids. We gotta talk.]
There was no room for argument. The god's words were final, and the Godslayer obeyed them. "Hey, Penny. Got an idea. Why don't you help Ruby and the others help look for Blake?" Nanashi suggested, much to the surprise of the others. "If my sis really is insistent, I suppose I can help."
"Really?!" Ruby squealed. "Oh, you are the best brother ever!"
"But where do we even start?" Weiss asked. "Vale is huge. She could be anywhere."
"Then we split up. Me and Cleo will check any places Blake frequents. Weiss and Yang, why don't you guys try going to bookstores? I remember Blake saying she knew a friend who ran a store. Tukson's Book Trade, I think. Penny and Ruby, why don't you try checking the docks?"
"Okay!" Penny smiled with a raised hand. "Let us go, Friend Ruby!" Eager to help her friend, Penny grabbed Ruby by the arm and dragged her off. The red hooded girl was surprised by the orange haired girl's strength as she tried to keep up.
"Okay then. We'll meet up later and compare findings. See ya." Before the other two could say more, Nanashi and Cleo quickly left the scene. They quickly made themselves scarce and slipped into a nearby alley. He looked at the entrance before addressing Apsu. "If anyone comes by, give 'em a nice cold chill." The demon let out a garbled noise of affirmation and moved towards the entrance, ready to ward off anyone who could be listening. He raised his smartphone and found Dagda's face plastered on the screen. "Judging by the look on your face, I take it you learned more than you bargained for?"
[Oh, a hell of a lot more than that. Guess what, kid? I just found us a way to get the hell out of this rock, and maybe a chance to kill a pair of obnoxious gods who made a pact with YHVH.] Dagda informed him. Nanashi's eyes widened. [Open up your ears kid. This is gonna be a doozy...]
"Urgh, this is getting us nowhere..."
"Calm down, Asahi. I'm sure we'll find Leader eventually!"
The cap-wearing girl wished she could have such optimism. She looked at her companion, a roguishly handsome face with silvery-hair with a punk-like jacket over a business suit of all things, who carried a smile. He had been her voice of optimism ever since they found themselves in this world, looking for her childhood friend and adopted brother, even though things had started to become hopeless. They had been here for a few months, but up until recently, they had been no closer to finding him.
That is, until the slimeball said he saw Nanashi with a bunch of people around their age.
It made Asahi's heart leap for the first time in a very long while. She finally found him. And when she got her hands on him, oooh was she going to give that brat a piece of her mind!
"Hallelujah, we've been looking all over the city for hours. At this point, I think we should just try and start something that might catch Nanashi's attention." the girl pouted. "How hard is it to find a kid in green with weird tattoos?"
"That would be a good idea. Just one problem." Hallelujah frowned. "We don't exactly have any ID on us."
"We would, if you hadn't picked a fight with the bar owner!"
"I was well within my rights to! Did you see the way he treats his subordinates?!" the boy growled. "And don't even get me started on the prices. Even when Tayama was running things, the Ashura-kai weren't goddamn leeches. We kept our prices fair!"
"Hallelujah. You punched him. In. The. Face." Asahi stressed.
He didn't budge. "I am not apologizing."
She glared at him for a few more seconds before she hanged her head low. She supposed she couldn't fault him for that. That Junior guy did seem to run some pretty high prices, and he did treat his subordinates like crap. When they had gone in order to have him spoof up some form of identification, he was yelling at his men for apparently screwing up and getting themselves caught by a Huntress-in-training. By the way everyone was cringing, it seemed like this hadn't been the first time it had happened.
Regardless, without any forms of identification, if Asahi and the others got into trouble, they were pretty much screwed. They couldn't afford to get caught by officials, not when they were so close!
"Let's split up." she suggested. "I'll try asking around one more time. You go find Nozomi and see if she's got anything new."
Hallelujah nodded before his face turned serious. "And if we run into that blindfolded guy she met the other day?"
"Call us. Don't try and play hero, okay?"
"I'll do my best not to. But that's only if he gives me the chance to." Hallelujah replied. He didn't mean it as a jest. He didn't know much about the blindfolded stranger that Nozomi encountered. But if he was strong enough to force her of all people to retreat, he wouldn't take any chances.
There was a possibility he may not even get a chance to call the others. Given what the senior Hunter told them, this guy always went in for the kill no matter what. Let your guard down even once, and you were dead. He may have his half-demon heritage to give him an edge, but he had no idea how much of a help it would be.
"...Alright. Just be careful out there."
"You too." With a firm sense of agreement, the two teens split off to their respective tasks.
Now by herself, Asahi let out a sigh and pulled the goggles atop her cap off her head. "When'd I start giving orders...?" she muttered to herself. "Why are you even in this world, Nanashi?"
So lost in thoughts was she that she didn't notice she was on a collision course until it was too late. She smacked into the person and fell to the ground with a yelp, landing harshly on her posterior. "Ow!" She looked up at the person she bumped into and glared at them. "Hey! Watch it will you!"
"That's my line, sister!" the stacked blonde (Asahi totally wasn't jealous of her chest. She really wasn't. There's no way she was jealous!) snapped back. "You watch it!"
"Yang, stop." the white-haired girl next to her sighed. "You're being immature. It was an accident, I saw it myself. Though you should watch where you're going next time and not get lost in thought."
Asahi grumbled under her breath. "Whatever..." She picked up her hat and goggles and put them back on her head. She didn't have time to be wasting arguing with people she just bumped into. "Sorry. I'm kind of a hurry here."
"We can see that. By the way, you wouldn't have happened to seen this girl, have you?" The white-haired girl took out one of those Scrolls Asahi had been talking about and showed her a picture. It showed the two girls plus two more, one with silver eyes and the other with black hair and gold eyes. "Have you seen the girl in this picture? She's our teammate, and we're looking for her."
Asahi stared at the image and shook her head. "No, sorry. Haven't seen her." The two girls sighed in unison. Asahi felt bad for the two of them. They must care a lot about their friend. "Sorry I can't be of more help."
"Actually, I'm looking for someone too." Asahi told them. "You wouldn't have happened to see a guy around here dressed in green, would ya? He's got this weird tattoo on his hand and cheek. One's shaped like a clover and the other kinda looks like a scar."
The two looked at each other, odd looks on their faces. Asahi frowned. Had she said something wrong? They turned their heads back to her, eyes narrowed in suspicion. "And why..." the blonde leaned forward. "Are you looking for my little bro?"
Nanashi stared at Dagda for a moment, wondering if he heard him right, before he sucked in a breath. He closed his eyes and rubbed his temple, trying to sort through the chaos of emotions swirling in his head before finally speaking.
"...so, let me get this straight. Humanity became extinct hundreds of thousands of years ago when some woman named Salem lost her boyfriend and tried to get them to bring her back and started a rebellion when they cursed her."
"Yep." Dagda nodded.
"And Ozma, Salem's boyfriend and is apparently Beacon Academy's goddamn headmaster, was reincarnated as Ozpin to try and get humanity to play nice with the Faunus and left behind the Relics in order to see whether or not humans could work out their differences with Faunus."
"That's right." Dagda said in confirmation again.
"And apparently, because of the curse, Salem can't die and she and Ozpin have been at each other's throats for god knows how long, and she made a pact with the same god who's cut Remnant off from the Axiom. The same god that's keeping us stuck here."
Nanashi was silent for a moment, then growled. "...where the hell can we find him?"
"Unfortunately, not even the spirit who supposedly has the answer to our every question couldn't tell me that." Dagda grunted. "And it isn't that she doesn't know. It's more like Yaldabaoth doesn't actually exist in this world. He's a plain that normal humans can't enter. And apparently, neither can the Brothers. In short, if there is a way to get to him, she doesn't know. Of course, I'd wager Salem would. So, what's the plan kid? Ditch Vale and go straight to where she is?"
The idea was tempting. It'd be so easy, storming a stronghold and beating the woman for answers. Even if she couldn't die, Nanashi could make damn sure that she would beg for death by the time he was through with her if she didn't give him the answers he wanted. The Grimm? What could they possibly hope to do against someone who managed to kill the Creator God and countless other deities?
However, Nanashi was no fool. If they stormed Salem's stronghold, they'd be going in blind. And while Nanashi would have loved to toot his own horn, until he got an idea for how powerful Salem might be because of her contract with this god, he was more concerned about how powerful Yaldabaoth was.
"...let's wait until we know more." he said finally. "While I doubt she's as powerful as Satan, or hell YHVH, I'd rather not rush in blind and get blindsided. For now, let's try and get more information. What'd you do with the Relic after you finished talking with Jinn?"
Krishna chuckled. "Once Lord Dagda freed her of her bindings, she all but begged him to take her out of the vault. We happily obliged. Lord Odin is currently holding onto it for safe keeping. Unsurprisingly, they've hit it off."
"Makes sense, I guess." Cleopatra giggled. "In his myth, he was called the Allfather."
"Indeed. And it seems like Jinn will be rather cooperative with us from now on."
"Good. With this, we'll have more knowledge about the world and the Relics on our side. But what of the restrictions? Has she lost those along with her bindings? Or are they something ingrained to her very existence?
"So far, there haven't been any negative repercussions." Dagda shook his head. "The only restrictions she had were that she could only answer three questions every century. The God of Light didn't want her power to be abused constantly, so he built in a restriction."
Nanashi smirked. "If he finds out somehow, I imagine he'll be pissed. Not that I care." He looked up at the sky. It was already starting to dim. "Didn't realize it was starting to turn dark. Tch. If I don't get back, they'll probably start to worry."
'Wonder if they found Blake?' he thought idly before he prepared to leave...
...only to stop when he felt it. The emergence of a strange presence. Foreign, but familiar. Something similar to an existence he encountered before. He turned his head, trying to locate the source. "This is..."
Dagda narrowed his eyes. "It feels like the same thing that fought with our mystery demon." he remarked before looking at Nanashi. "What do you say, kid? Check it out?" He nodded. Dagda vanished and returned to his smartphone, as did Cleopatra and Apsu, her purpose now fulfilled.
Nanashi leaped up to the rooftops and began to head for the source, Kamikira and Peacemaker held firmly in hand.
The docks were devoid of life. Eerily silent with not a soul in sight. The waves gently crashed against the concrete paths, the shattered moon's light providing some illumination to the area.
Nanashi leaped down into the open space, sword held in one hand and gun in the other. He scanned his surroundings, keeping his eyes peeled for the source of the power he felt minutes ago. "Looks deserted..." he muttered. "And barely anyone around." Figuring his quarry was hiding somewhere, he raised his voice. "You picked this place because you didn't want anyone to interfere, or because your scared someone will find out who you are?!"
"Whether a person recognizes me or not is none of my concern." a voice replied, echoing in the air. Nanashi frowned. They sounded young. Male, perhaps close to his age. "What is my concern...is you."
Nanashi swiveled on his heel, Kamikira raised in defense.
Steel grinded with steel.
"You, who are tainted..." the pale boy with the blindfold hissed, a faint gold light emanating from underneath the cloth over his eyes. "You do not belong in his Paradise."
Nanashi grunted and pushed his opponent aside, sending him flying and leaping back to gain some distance. His opponent landed safely on the ground and stood up. He was around Nanashi's age, dressed in dark clothing, hair as white as snow and skin pale. In his hand was a sword far longer than he was, perhaps as the same length as one of Nanashi's upperclassmen.
"And who the hell are you?"
"I am Nemo. The one who will expunge you from this world."
Nanashi scuffed. "Let me guess. You Yaldabaoth's lapdog? Well, sorry to disappoint you..." His eyes glowed and swung his arm out. Three bursts of light poured out from his smartphone, demons coming to his side. One was Cleopatra, now in her original form. Another was a man clad in crimson red jester's outfit with black-and-red eyes, a devilish smirk on his face. The last was a dark-skinned man dressed in regal clothing, a headdress shaped after a dragon atop his head and holding a wine goblet in hand, eyes the color of blood. "...but I'm tough to kill."
Nemo stared at him before he lifted his hand. Suddenly, the wind around him kicked up and exploded into a whirlwind, followed by a pillar of light. Nanashi shielded his eyes from the light. When it died down and he lowered his arm, his eyes widened. Behind Nemo were three golden figures. They were mechanical in nature, carrying swords and shields decorated in gold and silver. Even their wings were seemingly made of blades. Silver masks donned their faces, showing the face of men and women with eyes closed and lips shut, tears running down the mock faces.
"What the hell...?"
"It is time to be judged." Nemo declared. He raised a hand, thunder cackling from his palm. "Thunder Reign."
Any further cries were silenced by cacophony of thunder. Massive bolts of lightning rained down from the heavens and swallowed Nanashi and his Demons in a destructive flash. The ground was torn asunder as the smell of ozone filled the air.
The attack had alerted everyone within several miles.
Nemo and his summons stood stoic. Their opponents were covered in a burning cloud from the electrical assault. He had hoped that attack was enough to finish the job. However, to his dismay, he still detected the life of the tainted.
Nanashi swung his sword and blew away the cloud of smoke, green eyes filled with fury. "My turn, jackass! Megidolaon!"
Almighty clashed with almighty. And the ground was ripped asunder.
"What in the hell?!" Hallelujah exclaimed in shock as he watched bright lights and literal thunder and explosions powerful enough to rival earthquakes go off in the distance, right near the docks. "Either somebody's having a hell of a time with a firework show, or that blindfold guy is really pissed at something!"
"Yeah, where everyone can see!" Nozomi hissed. "What the hell is happening?!"
"Nozomi." A woman made almost entirely out of wood appeared beside Nozomi, face grim. "I sense Dagda's presence where those explosions are being carried out."
"Dagda?!" Hallelujah gasped. "But that means-!"
Nozomi scowled. "Come on!"
Nanashi let out a cry as his body was sent flying, tumbling through the ground. The last of his demons, Mephistopheles, let out a death cry as the mechanical angel plunged its blade into its chest, forcing it to disperse and fall apart into bits of crumbling data, flowing back into Nanashi's smartphone in the hopes of recovering. He landed flat on his back, sitting in one of the freshly-made craters created in the middle of their skirmish. He tried to breath, but he sorely realized that some of his ribs were now broken and/or fractured.
'What... What the hell is going on...?' Nanashi thought as he tried to get back up, only for his body to groan in agony in protest. 'I know for damned sure my attacks were working, but he just pushed right through them. He must have died at least three times over! And those metal angels of his... They just tanked everything we threw at them! What-what are they...?'
"Impressive..." Nemo remarked as he approached. He looked like he had just endured the aftermath of a hailstorm and hurricane while being at the forefront. His clothes were in tatters, pieces of his body had been carved off, and a good portion of his cheek was torn off to reveal strands of muscle and much of his ivory-white jaw. "A heretic you may be, but I see now why the false creator fell at your hands. You are dangerous." The gold light behind his blindfold intensified. "You cannot be suffered to live."
"Y-you..." Nanashi growled. "How are you even alive? Those attacks should have killed you..."
"They did." Nemo acknowledged. "Four times over. But He shall not allow me to fall. Not until all who taint His paradise have been erased."
It clicked right then for Nanashi. Why Nemo's presence was so familiar.
It was just like his own.
"You..." he wheezed. "You're...a Godslayer?!"
"I am." Nemo nodded curtly. "I exist to slay any entity that dares to taint His Paradise. No matter who they be." As he spoke, his wounds mended themselves. Flesh regenerated as bones reformed. "You are simply another nuisance I must annihilate."
[Come on, kid! Get your ass back in the fight!] Dagda growled. In truth, he was internally panicking. Either Nanashi was out of practice, or this Nemo boy was far stronger than they had anticipated. [I'll give you more power, so kill this scrub!]
'Easy for you to say!' Nanashi shot back. 'My whole body fucking hurts!'
Nemo grew closer, readying his katana as if preparing for an execution. Nanashi attempted to get back up, but again his body refused. His mind was starting to go blank. At this rate, he was going to die. Again. And something told him that this time, it wasn't going to be a temporary thing.
'Come on, move! MOVE!'
He raised his sword, ready to kill the Godslayer. Nanashi glared back in defiance.
Two attacks, one a furiously blazing flame, the other a rising of wooden spires, forced Nemo to jump back. The attacks struck between the Godslayers, preventing the latter from finishing off the former. Nemo clicked his tongue in annoyance as the aura around his covered eyes flared.
More distractions decided to intervene.
Nanashi blinked at the sight. He noted how...familiar those attacks were. His head turned to the directions where they originated from. He felt his artificially-beating heart stop and breath hitch. 'What...? H-hey, is this...some kind of sick joke?' A bitter laugh escaped him. His vision started to go dark. 'Hahahaha... I must be hallucinating. Is...this what they call a near death experience?'
The pain finally breached the threshold. His head rolled to the side, mind slipping into unconsciousness.
Nemo growled as two people stood before him and his quarry. One was the woman from before, and the other was a human with tainted blood in his veins. His hair turned bright pink, eyes bloody red and his skin like ash. Fire and ice swirled around his hands while the woman pumped her shotgun.
"You just made..." Hallelujah glowered. "...a grave mistake!"
Unravel the Godslayer: END
"You're not our Nanashi, are you?"
"Jeez, Nanashi! What's with that look? You look like you just saw a ghost."
"You've been here for over ten years?!"
"So, this is Beacon Academy..."
"...Hallelujah? You okay there man?"
Next Time: The Reunion of Worlds
AN: So, Dagda kidnapped or maybe rescued Jinn. She can answer any number of questions. And she's with Odin, who in Norse myth was an avid seeker of knowledge or knew a lot of knowledge himself.
Why do I smell a very odd ship in the distance?
Jokes aside, I've officially unveiled RWBY: Final Judgement's antagonist. Yaldabaoth, or Demiurge, whichever name you wanna call him. Basically, to make a long story short, he wanted YHVH's position and got his ass whupped for it. By chance, he discovered Remnant and decided to make it his own domain, licking his wounds in the hopes of one day taking over. Then Nanashi derailed those plans and decided to deal with him before he could become a problem.
In short, Yaldabaoth pulled Nanashi into his world and trapped him there, both so that he could keep the so-called "usurper" away from what he thinks is rightfully his, and have a chance to kill him.
Naturally, there's a lot more to this, but I'll keep a lid on that for now. In the meantime, Nanashi's old crew is indeed here with him! But, which crew are they?
The fight happening offscreen was mostly done to leave it to your guys imagination, and partially because, well, I'm on a rush. I wanted to get this chapter done as soon as possible.
Nemo defeating Nanashi isn't so much as Nanashi being weak or out of practice, but more along the lines of endurance. Every time Nanashi does kill Nemo, he just comes right back in an instant. With Nanashi, his resurrection takes time. Not only that, but even if you can't die, that doesn't mean you can't be exhausted. In this case, though, Nemo wore Nanashi out without killing him. Which is probably a good thing, because considering who Nemo's patron is, if he kills Nanashi in the right way...
yeah. Nanashi dead, bruh.
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter. Special thanks go to Daemon of Wrath, who as usual takes time out of his busy schedule to help me pump this beauty out. And a biiiiig beautiful thank to you the bastard who went and made a TV Trope page for Chaldea in Remnant. You are the man.