Disclaimer: I don't own RWBY and Tales of Berseria they are the rightful property of Rooster Teeth and Bandai Namco.

Italics are thoughts

Bold and Italics are flashbacks

Bold are artes being performed

**Communications through scrolls and other devices

("Ozpin speaking through Oscar")

("Ozpin thinking in Oscar")


Chapter 78 Catalyst

(Location: Conference room Atlas Academy capital city of Atlas Solitus continent Kingdom of Atlas Remnant)

The group were all present as they were called in by Ironwood. Everyone from the Crowe siblings, RWBY, JNPR, Qrow along with Pietro. The Ace Ops were also present with Winter and the Atlas faculty staff. The purpose of the meeting was to discussed the plan regarding today. Election day was finally here and people will start forming a line to cast their vote early in the morning. At the nearest voting administration building. Every citizen from all classes will be attending knowing how important is the election. They turned the gaze to the teachers of the school, they have already met them since coming to the kingdom. Though they haven't ran into them during the two months they have stayed because of their busy schedule.

Starting from the right side was a man in his late fifties with brown and reddish hair, with a gray line on the upper side. Light complexion with dark green eyes wearing a white coat with a brown tie, white shirt and a gray dress pants with black dress shoes. This was Professor Victor Enstein who teaches Grimm studies. An enthusiast on the topic but he would never keep telling stories when he was young like Peter Port. The second a woman in her late forties with pale complexion with long chest nut hair reaching to her back with cobalt eyes. Wearing a light blue jacket with a white shirt and a long skirt with black boot with gray on the bottom. This woman was Professor Margaret Azure who is in charge of dust class.

The next professor was an older man looking in his early sixties with tanned complexion. Dark gray hair with a mustache and dark amber eyes. Wearing a pinstripe suit with a red tie and brown shoes. His name was Allen Fort who is in charge of combat class and strategy. Lastly, but not least the four professor at the end. A woman in her mid forties with fair complexion with boy cut dark short hair and light wine eyes. Wearing a short sleeve dress light blue shirt with a small blue bow on the center of the shirt with a long skirt below the knees colored black and black heels. She's Dorothy Opal and she's in charge of history class.

"Thank you all for coming so early in the morning. I know it's not easy specially, those that have to start working with class schedule" the General gazed at the four teachers.

The teachers didn't seemed to have a problem knowing James. They were always committed to their duty as Huntsmen and Huntresses. Plus they were very aware of what the kingdom has been going through for a while. And they understood their headmaster who is also the general of the military. He was the busiest of them all.

"First, I would like to hear the status of the communication tower" Ironwood turned to Pietro.

"We're making progress. The tower is in its final stages. We've been working harder than usual to finish as earliest as we can. At our current pace I say we might be done in one week, two tops. I promise the project will have the results you desire."

"Thank you Pietro I appreciate it. But please try not to push yourself to exhaustion. Now, to the reason for this meeting. As you all know today is election day and its a very important day. I want everyone and I mean everyone in Mantle aiding the security team. Every corner of the street, groups patrolling all over the city."

This really caught their attention. Of course they knew security has to be tight for anything but this felt a little exaggerated. And they knew this was about the killer that was still at large.

"The reason for this decision, it's because I am certain the killer will make another move tonight."

Everyone reacted at his words. His tone, clearly he was serious and that he was confident he's right.

"If his intentions are to divide the kingdom, what better way than to strike on election night?"

"That makes sense. Whatever the election results may be it will still cause a change in the power of the government good or bad. A sudden attack by a maniac will stir the people for the worse and negative emotions will be to another level" said Qrow.

Everyone knew very well what will happen. The number of Grimm will be off the charts. Even with the assistance of the Atlas military. There was also if more die at the hands of this killer, the people's distrust towards the military will resume increasing. Though it was impossible for things grow worse than they're already know. Riots have occurred in the past two months and more people have gotten hurt with a few casualties.

"The military will split into small groups and spread all over Mantle in different locations. I want the same for all of you when patrolling. As always drones and surveillance will be present monitoring the area. Mainly, the Convention Center where Robin Hill will held her party."

The group thought the leader of the Merry Huntresses was being overconfident with wanting to throw a victory party. Even if she was winning having a bid lead over Jacquess Schnee. Still, it was too early to celebrate until the official voting start and all the votes are counted.

"Team JNPR will patrol the eastern region, Oscar and Cardin the western region, Clover and Harriet the southern region, Vine and Elm northern region. Team RWBY the central region. Velvet I want you patrolling the streets near the Convention Center."

The older Crowe nodded she thought the same thing as the General. Chances are very high the killer might strike at the party. That was the one place where it can all go.

"Laphicet, you'll be with Marrow supporting security at the Convention Center."

"Yes sir."

The younger Crowe didn't hesitated as he always ready for anything. It was a good move to have him there. Ironwood didn't wanted to fill the Convention Center with his men due that Robin was still neutral. The Merry Huntresses weren't fond of the military so it was for the best to have a Huntsman and one member of the elite Ace Ops present instead of dozens of soldiers. The General was warned not to side with the leader of the group until after the election and she has officially won. It was for political reasons he didn't approved but it was done to prevent favoritism among council members.

"Qrow, you and Winter will be patrolling outside of the border for Grimm watch. Both of you are very familiar with the Tundra. After that, you'll be on stand by in the capital."

The last part really caught the Branwen off guard. He was expecting he will be added with the others in Mantle. It was a surprise that he and the Specialist will be staying in Atlas.

"Lastly Penny, you'll be the eyes above. On election night you will be on the Convention Center with Marrow and Laphicet."

"Yes sir!"

"As for the faculty staff, I have informed the electoral department you'll be helping them with the voting process. And after you'll be providing security for Atlas."

"We get the easy job. Not that I'm complaining" replied Professor Enstein.

"A Huntsman job will always be a job" said Professor Azure.

"General Ironwood sir?"

Everyone turned to Weiss who raised her hand to get the man's attention.

"Yes?"

"Is it all right with you. Can I be part of the team to watch over the Convention Center?"

They didn't saw this coming. It literally came out of nowhere. James was surprised to hear this. Never thought she of all people would want to volunteer. Maybe because she's the daughter of Robin's competition. Having her there will be noticeable by others giving the impression that she was either siding with the leader of the Merry Huntresses or that she could be sent by her father to try and possibly sabotage his opponent. As ridiculous as it sounds those weren't her intentions.

"I don't see a problem if you wish to change locations. What does your teammates have to say?"

"It's okay with us" said Ruby while Yang nodded.

"Then it's settled. You'll be joining Laphicet, Marrow and Penny."

"Thank you."

The former heiress nodded pleased with the choice. She smiled to the younger Crowe before turning to the faunus member of the Ace Ops. Marrow tried to avoid her gaze for some reason. This made the white haired girl raised an eyebrow. The man remained calm and collected yet, he refused to make eye contact with her. This only annoyed her thinking what was wrong.


Oscar and Cardin were trading blows unleashing his cross chain whip that collided with the boy's cane. The Winchester chose not to go easy on him knowing the farm hand has come a long way since he first joined the group. The force sent the teen further as he still his ground, charging at impressive speed countering with his own attacks. Thanks to Ironwood's training he's been able to control his aura more and he also started getting good at predicting his opponent's moves. Cane and whip chain collided once more as they were clashing weapons. A smirk was formed on the Winchester's features. He returned his whip back to it's inactive form.

"You've gotten pretty tough."

"Training with the General hasn't been easy. But it has given me results."

"I'd say you're ready to take on enough Grimm."

"I'd rather continue the training until I grow that confident."

The two saw someone arriving at the training facility. A surprise it was Blake. Looks like they must have spent too much time here. They have a mission after all.

"We were just getting some quick training before heading out."

"That's okay. The others haven't left yet" replied the raven haired faunus.

"Can we talk for a moment?"

"Sure."

Oscar noticed that he wasn't needed here. Somehow, what they might talk about could be personal.

"I'll see you guys outside of the school" he walked.

"Don't leave without me. We're assigned together for this mission!" the former leader of CRDL called, the farm hand nodded as he exited the training ground.

"It's weird that you would want to talk to me. I know we barely talk and never alone like this."

"You're right. The reason I need to talk to you is something I should have tell you a while back. For that I'm sorry" said the cat faunus.

"When you joined us I was hesitant, uncomfortable with having you around. At first I was having a hard time trusting you. It wasn't easy for me when you…."

"I get it and I understand. I used to be an ass and I'm not proud of my past actions. Specially to how I used to treat faunus. You have nothing to be ashamed off with not trusting me."

"But I should be ashamed. After what you went through I should have taken in consideration the possibility that you might have changed. It was a horrible experience one, I don't ever want to face."

"The only reason I hated faunus is because my old man was murdered by one. One he used to trust a lot."

Amber eyes widened at the revelation.

"I told Yang a while back. He was betrayed by a faunus he saw as a good friend. Ever since then, I started hating them. I'm glad she hasn't said anything. But I chose to tell you because you're someone worth trusting."

Blake stood still at a loss for words. So this is why he decided to unleash his anger towards her kind. I guess she should have expected something like that. But then again, most of the people that hate faunus are downright fools and ignorant.

"The more I thought of it, the more I hated the mentality. Hate all faunus because one was a psycho that took out my dad. It was wrong to blame it all on them."

"You were hurt, in pain and you wanted to cry out your heart. All that was left is anger" the raven haired girl teared up in one way, guess it was understandable.

"It's all in the past now. I'm done thinking about it because there's nothing that can be done. My old man was a great person who has always loved his family. I know he would be proud of my choice."

"Listening to you has made me so glad. Because it's true what my father has taught me for so long. People like you are the reason why he founded the White Fang. A chance that those humans who hates faunus will eventually come around and start seeing things differently. That they will realize they can accept those who are different by appearance. He has always believe in equality just like me. I'm happy you're with us on this journey."

"Thanks."

"I' sure everyone feels the same way. You even have new members to your family. Yang has also grown very attached to you."

"Was that supposed to be a compliment?"

She laughed. That wasn't all, he was a good person who can get along with others. The cat faunus realized she has misjudged him. Cardin was able to changed his way just like Ilia who chose to stay in the path of equality over the one of race superiority which was Adam's.

"Don't be like that. Yang cares a lot about you maybe, more than you think. I still don't know why she kissed me back at the barn-"

The Winchester was stunned for a moment before Blake gasped realizing her mistake. Her eyes widened, covering her mouth too late. The raven haired girl was blushing not believing she let it slipped when she promised her blond partner they will keep it a secret. Well, she messed up.

"It was an accident! I mean it wasn't an accident-we agreed not to talk about it, it was awkward-I like Sun, I'm constantly worrying over that dork-I-I-"

"Chill out. It's okay, I kinda thought something like that was going to happen…." he stood in thought.

"Like I said, it was awkward. We were talking about Adam and why I ran off from Beacon. The kiss was out of nowhere I don't think Yang's mind was right. She's still affected from losing her arm."

"I said it's fine. I know what she's been through no need to come up with excuses."

"But they're not excuses."

"Come on, let's be off. Don't want to keep the others waiting" Cardin didn't said another word walking off the training room.

Blake just sighed knowing she made a big mistake telling him. It was just an accident she didn't meant to say it. Wonder how Yang was going to take it when she finds out. That wasn't all. The Winchester sounded upset like he was trying to hold his anger.


Qrow used his bird form making it so easy to patrol the Tundra region of Mantle. Thanks to this ability he can do his job a whole lot easier turning it less time consuming. A Huntsman with his experience has learned to memorize the road like taking every bit of information and have the map in your head. Spotting some Grimm on his end he quickly changed back to his human form with weapon in hand. Firing at the Sabyrs, charging cutting others down. Those that charged at the Branwen were met with his scythe mode as they got sliced in half. Sabyr can be formidable and troublesome opponents. But if you have speed and strength, it's not so hard to beat them. It was a good thing there weren't that many of the creatures in the vicinity. After all, he has done a lot of patrolling since coming here explaining the reduced numbers.

He heard gun fire along with feral growls. Winter and the soldiers must have encountered Grimm too. It wasn't that far as the Branwen head to the sources of the noises. There stood the Specialist with a group of human soldiers fighting off more Sabyr. There was a pack of the saber tooth type Grimm. Qrow knew they would be able to handle it. If not, he won't mind giving them a hand. Many of the creatures were wiped out thanks to the older Schnee with her deadly and graceful moves. The Huntsman never gets tired of watching her fight. She was like an angel in the battlefield. But he refined from calling her snow angel. Once the pack was taken out the Branwen walked over to them.

"Split up! But don't wander too far. There could be more."

The soldiers nodded as they left dividing their forces into small groups. The white haired woman kept holding onto her saber just in case. She couldn't lower her guard while they were out here.

"Not that many so far. I managed to eliminate quite the lot, the last time I was on patrol."

"Grimm will always come no matter what. Whether its in small or large groups."

"True. Either way, we get to have the best job. I would rather be here than patrolling Mantle. Too boring for my taste."

"Better if it's boring because there's no hostile activity than having your hands full from fighting riots. There's a high possibility there could be riots on election day."

"It's easier dealing with Grimm than people."

"Agreed" she nodded sometimes people can be more complicated than the dark creatures.

"So, any plans after we finished here?"

"The General said we will be on standby afterwards. So we will be on standby."

"I know. I was talking what will you do after this?"

"Hm...I'm not sure. I might return to HQ and see if I have some paperwork to do in my office. Or I might get some training done, or maybe both."

Qrow stood with a straight face while in reality he was baffled.

"You know standby doesn't always mean you should do more work after doing work."

"I see nothing wrong. Standby means you should always be prepare for anything it is most common in my line of work."

"Same for me. But I always lighten up after doing Huntsman work."

"You mean waste your time by acting like a drunken fool and a pervert, is that your meaning of standby?"

"I no longer drink. I drink sociably at most. But ever thought doing standby as getting some rest, relax, read a book, take a nap, go somewhere nice?"

"I'm not like you that has the luxury to do anything you see fit. You're a Huntsman I'm an official of the Atlas military. I have rules and orders to obey, I have protocols to follow, I barely go to enjoy the scenery because I am always busy."

The Branwen stood stunned. He knew Winter was strict and proud as a soldier. But this, it was just crazy.

"Let me get this straight. You have never went to a store, a bar, a party or even live the life of any citizen of Atlas or Mantle?"

"That is not important. Point is Qrow we're both different. A Huntsman is a free agent that isn't obligated to help the people, a soldier IS and it will remain like that. There are serious consequences if you turn away from your responsibilities."

"You seem to forget the same applies to a Huntsman. If I'm a present in Mantle, it's under attack by Grimm and there's no military to help, I am obligated to help. Because if I don't I will have my license suspended and I go straight to jail under the charges of treason. In Vale, Mistral and Atlas treason is serve under the life sentence. In Vacuo, it's the death penalty. I'm shocked that you of all people don't know that specially an official of the Atlas military."

"I do know, I just forgot!"

"Too late to come up with excuses. Seems to me like exhaustion is getting the better of you and you might need a break. Learn from James who kept pushing himself until he was exhausted, living a life filled with stress. I'm glad he chose to change his routine for the better. You should do the same."

"What are you, my caretaker? I don't need your advice on how I get to live with my life Qrow."

I'm just trying to help."

"I don't need your help I never asked for it!"

Growls were heard as the two spotted a pack of Sabyr heading their way. This was the last thing the Branwen. Turns out helping someone can be a bad things when it comes a Schnee. Winter glared at the man before turning her attention to the pack of Grimm.

"This is your fault."

"My bad for trying to be a good guy."

"Good guy? Sometimes I wonder."

"What is wrong with you?!"

He blocked a claw countering as he cut down the creature.

"You don't have to lecture me! I get to do whatever the hell I want!"

Winter cut down two Sabyr while activating a glyph to push away another.

"Are we really doing this? This isn't the best time."

"I will talk if I feel like it. It's my life and it doesn't mean I have live it like yours!"

"Not my fault you chose to live an isolated one away from those that care for you."

The Branwen decapitated one with his scythe then changed it back to sword mode to block more attacks firing at another saber tooth type. He didn't looked at the Specialist but somehow she got ticked off by his comment.

"My life is to serve the people of Atlas, Mantle and Remnant. Not to drink, flirt and act like an ass whenever I feel like it!"

The white haired woman has actually grabbed a Sabyr by one of it's large fangs, stabbing it's skull with her saber. Then released the second one, cutting another in half. Yeah, she was pretty angry.

"I'm not asking you to live my kind of life. I'm asking you to live the life of a normal person NOT the one of a soldier!"

Qrow killed another as Winter eliminated the last one. They were now alone as the anger seemed to be leaving her system. She turned to him in thought as she was trying to process what he said.

"You're loyal to your cause and fulfill your duty to the end, I get that loud and clear. But for once in your life, take a break to have some time for yourself. Relax, have fun, do something you like or something you always wanted to do but you never got the chance to do it. Live as Winter Schnee and not some Specialist that has to overwork herself every single day."

"….…..."

"Tell you what, after we're done here, why don't we go somewhere nice? Let's go have a drink and talk. You could sure use some R and R. What do you say?"

"Are you...Are you asking me out?!" she stood shocked as her cheeks started getting red.

"Not a date. Let's not go there" he really didn't wanted go there.

"I-"

She didn't finished her answer as a roar got their attention. It was coming from above as they spotted a Teryx flying their way. So there were still flying types around. Winter summoned a Nevermore as the ice creature flew towards it, both collided as the raptor type with wings was trying to overpower it. Qrow took his chance changing to bird mode, getting around it because it was too busy fighting the summon. Changing back as he landed on it's back and slashed it with his weapon in scythe mode. Following it up with some accurate shooting. The Nevermore finished it off, taking it down. The Branwen changed to bird mode as he landed changing back.

"I will never get used to that" the Specialist was still shocked at the whole animal transformation magic.

"Ma'am!"

The soldiers returned as the white haired has finally sheathed her weapon.

"We have neutralized all hostiles on sight!"

"Good. It seems that was the last of them in this area. Let's move on to the next one."

They nodded getting back to their vehicle as the older Schnee turned to the Huntsman.

"Name the place and time, you better show up for your sake. And don't get the wrong idea."

"Sure thing" he couldn't helped but grin.

As the Specialist followed the soldiers her cheeks got red again. Her heart was beating a little fast and she was feeling embarrassed for some reason. Why, this is not a date and there was no way she would want to go out with Qrow Branwen of all people. But why accept his offer. This was confusing maybe she decided to catch a break because she needs it.


Clover and Harriet walked the streets as part of their patrol. It was somewhere around the afternoon so this will be the first of many of their laps around the perimeter. Their eyes were on the buildings where they were holding the voting. It was all doing good, no reports of riots or any display of hostility guess it was to be expected. It wasn't the increased numbers of the military for security. But rather that they knew how important this election is for them. It was essential for the betterment of Mantle. They desperate need a voice in the council, a representative of this city. They have never one. It was always people of the capital. Wealthy people with knowledge in politics or from a wealthy family.

Robin Hill is the first resident of Mantle who volunteer to be a candidate for the position of council seat. She has also proven to be someone caring who has been there for the people for a long time. It was so obvious everyone is going to vote for her. Showing why early polls have her on the lead over Jacquess Schnee. That wasn't all. The people of Atlas has also sided with her at least, the middle class. Leaving the high class to vote for the CEO of the SDC. While there were members who weren't fond of him and it leave them with the choice to vote for the opposition and others not voting, being neutral of the matter. Either way the chances of victory for the leader of the Merry Huntresses were in her favor.

Harriet was keeping her guard up as always. As an Ace Op, she has done many missions and most were patrolling. It wasn't easy keeping her eyes on the front when she has been stealing glances at her leader and ally. Clover wasn't paying attention because he was busy contacting everyone to know their status so far. The dark skinned woman was lost in thought trying to figure out the action. This wasn't the first time, it has happened many times before. For as long as she remembers ever since she met him at Atlas Academy. Something about him that will make her feel embarrassed and happy. It was hard to describe. Most importantly, she would always want to be by his side. Leaving him would upset her and she didn't like being away from the young man for too long.

That wasn't all that has been having her thinking. Velvet's words after their match with team RWBY. The mohawk woman was conflicted they still won so it shouldn't be bothering her. But it was, a lot. The all girl team had friendship on their side while they had strength and brains. The Ace Ops were the best in the kingdom of Atlas. Sure, they rely on each other as comrades but that was all. Should there be more, the older Crowe's words says otherwise. They were fine the way they are the whole friendship thing its just stupid. But she admitted that they were close along with the rest of their group. It's like they were a family even if they weren't blood related. The thought angered her, why is it a big deal. Maybe deep down she knew who was the real winner of that match.

"What's on your mind?"

Harriet turned to Clover staring at her. He was done contacting the others catching her off guard. His eyes on her, her heart started beating a little faster, as she felt her cheeks warming up. Luckily for her she has dealt with this many times in the past. So she calmed herself, bringing her usual body language.

"Nothing really."

"You've been way too quiet."

"It sure looks like everything's all right. I'll be surprised if we don't get a single riot today."

The Ace Op leader noticed how she avoided the topic bringing a new one. It wasn't like her something must be up.

"Sure its nothing? No need to remind you you're allowed to express your opinion on anything. It doesn't have to be business related."

Harriet knew she was wasting her time hiding it. There was something she wanted to talk with the leader of Aces.

"Do you think what Velvet said is true?" though she was sure that wasn't all she wanted to tell him

"This has to do with that exhibition match with Team RWBY?"

"It has been bothering me. I've been ignoring it but lately, it's been there and it doesn't want to go away."

"I feel like my opinion won't hold much weight, considering I wasn't there."

"…..…."

Though it was General Ironwood who spoke it was clearly Velvet's intentions for suggesting the match. It was a test to measure both teams performance and testing their teamwork. Sure they defeated the four girls but they were the real winners. It angered her when they're suppose to be more experienced.

"If you want to hear it, don't dwell on it too much. You learned something from the match right?"

"The more I think about it, the more I think she was right. I thought she was just looking for a way to humiliate us and I was wrong. The others weren't bothered by it except me. They seemed to deal with it while I…I don't like it. I just know it has to do with the whole friendship thing."

"Harriet you have to understand Team RWBY, Velvet and the rest have been through a lot. They fought in the Fall of Beacon, they fought in Haven, even in Argus. They're bound to become strong after fighting enough battles. I admit we haven't experienced something like it, yet. Even when the General took off to take back Vale from the Grimm he ordered us to stay and keep Atlas and Mantle safe. And throughout those battles they will eventually grow close and the result from it is a solid teamwork. So yeah, friendship has something to do with it. Pretty cliché but its the truth."

She chuckled as she stood in thought. They didn't had that. They have their training and some fights under their belt. But they weren't close like them. They will act professionally and it like that. They rely on each other during missions because they must if they want to succeed but that was it. Why was she troubled? Could it be that deep down she wanted the Ace Ops to be the same. Turning to Clover who only smiled at her, that smile that will make her heart go crazy. Good thing he was no longer staring at her as both resumed their patrol. The mohawk woman had her cheeks red as she dispelled the thought. Back to the mission and forget everything else.


Weiss was bored. She has been at the Convention Center for at least an hour and so far nothing. The Merry Huntresses were still making preparations for tonight's party. Not like she was expecting riots and trouble, she didn't wanted that. But patrolling has always been a boring job. All of Mantle was surrounded by the military as they were ready if anything turns up. Maybe she should have been with her teammates and come here during the evening. The former heiress spotted a familiar face that has recently arrived at the place. Marrow who took a glance inside trying to look professional and not bored. A smiled spread her features seeing the dog faunus of the Ace Ops.

"You're early too."

He turned with a smile ignoring the glares he received from May and Joanna in the distance. How happy to see someone who didn't hated his guts because his with the military.

"I wouldn't be a responsible Ace if I didn't."

"There doesn't seem to be any bad activity."

"Yet. Clover wants to keep our eyes open for anything."

The white haired girl nodded noticing the glares from two of the Merry Huntresses. Still they didn't lasted long because both were busy finish with the party preparations.

"I think we should head outside."

"Good idea. Was getting uncomfortable being here with no people" replied the faunus.

"I see the military is getting the usual treatment" the former heiress stare outside in the streets.

"It's worse during riots. People would find just about anything to use as weapons."

Weiss stared at the soldiers and drones passing by. Guess the people are still angry because the killer is supposed to be a soldier of the military. And they were sure that wasn't true due that they found the owner of the uniform the killer is using, and he's dead. It was all just a set up to trick the people showing the one responsible is clever. Or that he's having extra help.

"I hope everything goes fine. Don't want any more tension rising up."

"As long as that killer is on the loose tension will continue to rise."

"And even if we capture this guy, it's hard to know if they will return to trust the military. The hatred goes deep, maybe deeper than the one for the faunus."

"I'm sorry, I didn't meant to-"

"Don't apologize I'm the one who brought it up. I over reacted, it's not that deep."

The white haired girl stood in thought turning to the Ace Op member.

"Would it be okay if I ask you a personal question Marrow?"

"Yeah. I don't mind."

"It will sound dumb. Was it hard getting to the military as a faunus, I don't seem enough of them among the ranks?"

The dog faunus was a little taken back not expecting the question. True, there weren't that many of his kind within the Atlas military for obvious reason.

"You already know how hard it is to live in this kingdom when you're a faunus. In Mantle they're treated like dirt. It's been like that way before the whole thing with the embargo and all of this mess. In the capital…."

Weiss already regretted asking. Of course she knows how hard it is for a faunus to make a living here. Atlas was the most hostile towards the species. Vale and Mistral wasn't that bad with Vacuo being the only kingdom where they're treated with respect.

"My folks lived in Atlas, they're middle class citizens. Good people that work hard. Always telling me to give it my all and never feel bad if you gave it your best. I managed to be accepted at Atlas Academy I remember how happy I got when I received my notification. I eventually found out like all faunus the kind of treatment we get."

The former heiress kept on listening as glance at him. So much honesty in his tone but also, hurt and sadness.

"In Mantle they belittle, call you names and beat you up. In the capital, they glare, they talk things behind your back, come up with rumors so others can look down on you. You're inferior to them not worth their time. Sometimes words can hurt so much more than just physical hits. It doesn't help that there are places they don't allow us."

That was exactly what she was expecting. So either cities it wasn't going to be a pleasant experience for faunus.

"Things changed when I started school. I met Clover and Harriet and we became good friends, ended up in the same team too. They didn't care I was a faunus and right up accepted me. After that, nothing else matter. I was no longer bother how other will look at me. At least the ignorant ones, I really felt I belong here. We graduated and took the military exam together, passed and officially became part of the military. It wasn't that long General Ironwood chose us to be part of the Ace Ops. I admit, my life would have been a lot harder if I never met them. I'd say I had it better than others."

Weiss smiled glad that he was living the life he wanted without worrying about the prejudice.

"Why do you wanted to know?"

"Well, being from my family I was ignorant to many things, faunus was one of them. I had no idea how harsh they were treated and the kind of life they have to go through. I didn't trusted them and was rather hostile considering the Schnee's history with the White Fang. It wasn't until I started at Beacon and realize it first hand. My teammate Blake has been through a lot of ordeals and she's still the same person she is when I first met her. Not the same but better, she used to be very quiet secluding herself with books than talking with others."

"Sounds like you made the right choice."

"I did and I don't regret it. I'm no longer that person and I decided I will judge others by their actions instead of their race. The faunus deserve to be treated equally."

The white haired girl decided not to bring that Blake used to be a member of the White Fang. This kingdom hated faunus a lot and obviously they must feel the same for the former terrorist group. She was sure no one has told Ironwood or anyone from the military for the matter.

"I wish everyone could think the same. But that's easier said than done."

She nodded that was the whole reason the true White Fang was founded. They want equality with humans. But it has been a long and tough journey. Almost impossible.

"Hope I didn't bother you with my question."

"You didn't, I'm glad you asked. Most people wouldn't care. You're a lot kinder than you think."

Weiss felt her cheeks go red feeling embarrassed. She didn't minded spending time with the Ace Op member.

"You-You're not so bad yourself" she managed to get rid of the stutter.

To break any awkward or uncomfortable silence she knew exactly what to asked next.

"Say, I need to know. Back at our match, were you holding back against me?"

"No. Your teammates are pretty tough and even if it was an exhibition match I couldn't hold back because of pride. But at the end you guys won for having better team work."

"Flattery won't get you nowhere. You better not be lying or you will be in big trouble mister" she smiled.

"No ma'am. Dishonesty isn't in my dictionary."

The former heiress gave a small laugh. Being with him wasn't so bad. Now she was glad she chose to be patrolling this part of the city. She failed to notice Marrow's tail was wagging a lot.

"We can still patrol the near streets."

"That seems to be a good idea. I want to avoid those glares" Weiss pretended like she didn't noticed the mean looks from the Merry Huntresses.

"They've never been fond of the military and I don't blame them. Once we find this lunatic and prove we were right, they might start coming around."

"I don't know. People don't change from one day to another. This is the sort of thing that takes time."

"I know this coffee shop not to far from here. Maybe if you'd like we can get some or hot coco, or tea?"

The former heiress was a little taken back at the fact that he has asked her out. But she didn't minded as she gave him a smile. Mainly, because she does want to drink something hot.

"Hot coco sounds good. But you're buying mister."

"I asked you of course I'm going to pay."


Winter never thought in her entire life she would be doing this. She has agreed to accept Qrow's offer in getting a break, away from her job. Just relax and have a fun time off. Nothing like the usual when she will fill papers, do some target practice or train. Her pride was yelling at her for being a fool that her choice was unacceptable and she should have denied his request. The more reasonable part of her was telling her she did the right thing. Because she can't always live as a soldier and must think of herself as a person, as a woman. But she was not a normal person before becoming a Specialist she was the original heiress to the SDC as the oldest child to the Schnee family. Another voice in her head was calling her traitor was even giving someone like Qrow Branwen the time of day.

Another was only telling how embarrassing this was. It didn't matter what words one would used to cover it up. The truth is he asked her out and accepted to go with him. Those words were making her nervous as she felt her cheeks heating up. The mere thought of being on an actual date with the Huntsman sends shivers down her spine in a very good way. But luckily she kept her composure and expression erasing any thoughts that will distract her. The Branwen has lead her to a bar in the capital which it was the same bar where Clover found him. The older Schnee already had a bad feeling because she had the impression Qrow quit drinking without knowing the details. It was also quite obvious he will take her here.

"Usually, I'm not into the high class fancy stuff. But this place isn't that bad. It's got good drinks with quite a view."

"It's so like you to come here. Still drinking until you can no more"

"I no longer drown myself on the bottle. I still drink, sociably now."

She gave a nod. So something really happened to make him ease up on the alcohol. Whatever is the reason, she thought it's an admirable thing to do. Alcoholism is a deadly drug that can ruin your life and even take it. They took their seats while Winter was a bit conflicted. Why did she agreed to this specially when she doesn't drink. Not once has she picked a glass of any kind of alcohol. Could it be that she really needs a time off or maybe there was more. It made her nervous to find out but she wasn't planning to stopped. Qrow let her seat first as he shortly followed.

"You do know I don't drink?"

"That will soon change" he replied playfully.

"You're wasting your time bringing me here."

"Then why did you agreed to come?" he grinned.

He had her there but she already thought ahead. Coming up with a good counter and reason.

"I was expecting you would take me to that place where I can get that r and r you spoke off."

"Were you hoping I'd take you to dinner or the movies? Because that would be a date and you told me not to get the wrong idea."

The white haired woman avoided his gaze, she knew he was giving another grin. Trying to be a smart ass and once more her cheeks warmed up. Getting her composure she gave him a glare. And how's bringing her to a high class bar any different. Wait, why the hell was she arguing with herself over the topic. This was not a date and she would never agreed to such. Not with HIM.

"Two on the rocks!"

The bartender nodded immediately making them.

"I told you I don't drink."

"You'll thank me later."

"Why did you even bothered asking me?"

"Like I said, you deserve the time off better than anyone. You know how bad it went for James. Can't let you end up like that."

"The General's situation was a whole lot worse than mine. He was shouldering a great burden with all the responsibilities he has to fulfill."

The Specialist stood silent as Qrow didn't said a word. He knew her expression was one of stress.

"During the days he was resting and left me in charge, I finally realized how hard his job is. And let me tell you it was a real pain. So much to do, I could barely keep up with everything. I thought I would be ready I was so wrong. Those four days were the busiest and hardest of my whole life."

"Sounds like I was right all along."

The bartender returned with their drinks as the Branwen. They're so quick, one of the things he likes about this bar. Winter stood at the glass filled with her drink looking in deep thought.

"It was so easy to say no to my father and walked away from wanting to be the heiress to the SDC. But General of the Atlas military, those shoes are too big to filled."

"Good thing you're James' right hand. You did a good job during those four days."

"Don't flatter me. It was a position I never thought I would ever get. It would be understandable if he has chosen one of his high ranking officers but me."

"What's this, you're doubting yourself, that's not like you?" he took a quick sip.

"I have a lot on my mind."

"You can either talk it out or drink it out. You're here to rest and forget your problems at least, for today."

"Today is enough."

And she suddenly took her glass and drank the whole thing in one swing. Qrow stood with wide eyes thinking he saw wrong. Not even he would be that crazy to chuck the drink like that.

"Easy. Give it time to taste it or you won't be able to enjoy the taste."

"I wanted to give it away" she ignored then she signaled for the bartender for another round.

The Branwen just took another sip. It looks like the older Schnee had more problems than he thought.

"It's been a lie. I thought I wanted to make something of myself but all I've been doing is running away."

The Huntsman had no idea what she was talking about. She was probably one of the best officials of the military who can compete with Ironwood. It's like she regretted everything she's done.

"I was really running away from my own family. Because I...I didn't wanted to be there."

She got another drink and chuck it down again, telling for another glass. She even decided to open her own tab. Qrow wanted to interject but saw a lot of grief and pain in the young woman's eyes.

"My father wedded my mother because of her name, it was never about fall in love and live happily ever after. That caused her to sink into endless depression and she's been doing is drink herself to death. You're familiar with that."

The Huntsman said nothing.

"He said he wants to build a future for the family, everything he does is for the family. What a bunch of bull crap. He took my grand father's company and made it his own. Weiss and Whitley, he doesn't care. No matter how many times he said he wants a future for us, it goes back that's all about him and no one else. Money and power because he used to be a low class peasant with no future, working on the lowest of gutters in the capital."

Getting another glass she chunk it down, asking for yet another.

"It's not about resenting him, but resenting myself. I ran away and let my brother and sister alone. All I was thinking was me and not family. In a way I am similar to him."

Tears were forming as the Specialist chocked a sob. The Branwen had no idea she's been hiding so much for so long. Hiding it all on a mask that was fake. So she was carrying a lot of baggage and it all took a couple of glasses to make her talk.

"I hated myself, so I distance myself from my family. Weiss, Whitley and mother I'm sorry forgive your foolish older sister."

"I think you're putting too much blame on yourself. I'm sure you weren't the only one feeling that way. Your sister left Atlas because she wanted to live a life of freedom. Doesn't that sound familiar?"

The Specialist resumed to drink another glass.

"As for your parents, I really don't know what to say. Ever thought talking to her, see if she can quit the drinking?"

"I haven't seen her in years. Great daughter I am."

"It's never too late. I know better than anyone how hard the addiction is and the consequences that go with it. It took me a good lesson and a slap to the face to get my act together. Thanks to Velvet and the experience I could have lost both my nieces when I was right there."

The white haired woman turned to him as he took a sip.

"James must have tell you. I didn't took it nicely finding out the truth Ozpin's has been keeping from all of us. After, all I care about was drink myself to death. I feel asleep the next thing I see was the whole place we were staying burning with Apathy in it. Turns out they were all danger, even your sister."

"I failed them as a professional Huntsman. It was Maria who risked her life to save them, Velvet was there too but she gave the credit to her. She punched me and I had it coming, you're more than welcome to give it a try. Your sister could have been killed too because of my incompetence."

"Now I think you're putting too much blame on yourself. We both screw up on our love ones. Guess we have something in common" she chunk another glass an order another.

"Don't you think you've had enough?"

"I will say when I've had enough" she glared.

"My bad for asking. It's just, we can't stay here for too long. We're on stand by and James can contact us any moment. You can't report to him like this."

"I will stay for as long as I like. Turns out I do really need to let loose. You're not going to back down after convincing me, right?"

The Branwen sweat dropped as she drank another glass. She was already drunk and it seems she's more cranky and stubborn when she's in the state.

"Oh boy, this is going to be a long day."

"Okay, that's enough" he stopped her from drinking the next glass.

He only got a glare from the white haired young woman. This time he ignored it nothing good will come from drinking herself until she croaks.

"You've had enough and I'm not going to sit here watch you act like an idiot from being drunk. It's more suited for someone like me but definitely not you. Besides, what would James say or any of your subordinates if they see you like this?"

The Specialist stumbled only to be caught by the Huntsman. Yep, she was drunk. She had the large amount of glasses to put her in the state.

"They can...They can kiss my ass. If I want to drink today, I will drink today damn it. I have worked so hard to earn this break so let me drink. Don't look at me like that, it was your idea to begin with, I'm only following your lead…."

"So now it's my fault?" he shook his head she would never change.

"You were right, I needed this. Let loose, stretch my legs, live the life I've been missing for so long."

"I never said you should live your life drinking till you lose your lunch."

The Branwen decided to get her out of there because she was causing a scene. The people at the bar were all staring at him, murmuring. They have overstayed their welcome. The only things Winter should be worrying about, the amount she has on her tab for now and the incoming hangover she will have the next day. That's when he realized he will have to take her to her place and he had no idea where that is.


Velvet sighed her patrol has gone boring and it has been slow day. It was already dark and she lost count how many times she has passed the same street or buildings. The older Crowe spotted a reporter from the Mantle News Network covering the story on tonight. The election process was a success, there were riots, no attacks, everything went pretty smooth. This only made the former therion worried. She agreed with Ironwood that the killer will strike today if not, tonight. It was a very important event being celebrated and it was perfect to come up and cause some havoc. The other hadn't had any luck as their patrol has had the same result. She has already voted early way before the polls closed.

*Velvet, everything all right?* Came Laphicet's voice from her communicator.

"All normal on my end. Yours?"

*Same. It's been like that with the others. I don't like it.*

"You're not the only one. The longer this goes, the more anxious I get. Just keep your eyes open and don't lower your guard."

*Right. I'm almost to the Convention Center I spotted Weiss and Marrow. Penny should be here shortly.*

"Let me know immediately if you make contact with the killer."

She ended the communication as she resumed her patrol.


"I see you...Velvet…."

Tyrian was staring at the long haired woman in the distance from a dark corner of a building. The scorpion faunus was wearing his brown hood with a wicked grin. Finally, he was staring at the older Crowe after so long. Just imagining all the fun he can have with her. The adrenaline hitting his body eager to fight the person that stood toe to toes with Cinder as a Maiden and even putting her in her place. Even his own master warn them not to underestimate her. Now he was getting too eager, he couldn't resist anymore. He will catch her off guard and strike when she least expects it. Though it won't be easy, she has her guard up. All the better to attack now he chuckled as he activated his weapons.

*Don't.*

The faunus growled as he turned to his right and saw a surveillance camera on him. Damn, he was sure Watts wasn't watching. He was wrong.

*You're suppose to be at Robin Hill's victory party, remember?*

"I've been looking forward to fight her. Can't help myself"

*Leave it. There are more important matters to attend to.*

"Come on, just one short fight. It won't hurt except Velvet."

*We have a mission, get to it.*

The scorpion faunus chuckled licking his lips, readying his weapon.

*Tyrian….*

He wasn't listening and he wasn't planning to. He was hellbent in fighting the older Crowe.

*Do you wish to disobey Salem's orders?*

That was enough to make him changed his mind. Sheathing the bladed gauntlets and return to his normal self. Yet, his eyes were still on the long haired woman.

"On my way to the location."

*Good. Don't mess this up.*

"And Velvet? She will eventually be contacted of the attack. I will have no choice but to take her on" he grinned evilly.

*I'll handle her as planned. You focus on your task* he ended the communication.

A crazy chuckled escaped his lips staring at the young woman.

"What a shame. Our fun will have to wait Velvet. Heheheh…."


Velvet turned to Tyrian's direction but there was no one. She had a feeling someone was watching her. Shaking her head she resumed walking.


Laphicet smiled entering the Convention Center and it was quite lively. There more people than he thought. In each corner, a table with all kinds of treats and drinks. The auditorium area had a large holographic screen where it shows the election results so far. Jacquess has 44% so far and Robin has 65%. They were still counting the votes so it would be anyone guess on who will win. Any changes can happen at the last second. There was also a news reporter from MNN covering the story. With the crowd it would be easy to get lost. The younger Crowe spotted Weiss and Marrow near one of the tables. Still no sign of Penny though. The member of the Ace Ops was pouring some punch for the white haired girl.

"Hi! You guys made it?!"

"Glad to see you on time. Did Velvet ordered you to arrive early?" the former heiress has smirked.

"I'm only following General Ironwood's orders, I'm aware I have to be early. It has nothing to do with Velvet" he pouted getting used to the former heiress's teasing.

"It's quite noisy. All these people didn't hesitated to show their support for Robin" replied Marrow.

He noticed there was a big crowd of faunus among the supporters.

"If she wins, she will be the first resident from Mantle to have a seat in the Atlas council. It's a big deal and obviously there will be plenty of people cheering her on" said Weiss.

It still hasn't hit her that she was actually here. The daughter of Jacquess Schnee attending an event from his political opponent. Better not know how he will react to the news.

"Friends! You all made it!"

And just like that Penny ran to the three giving them a hug. This time, she made sure not to use all of her strength that will leave them gasping for air. She learned her lesson from the last time.

"So glad I could be around familiar faces. I honestly didn't wanted to be here on my own."

"We're here now. I feel the same. Not many people I know" started Laphicet.

"Excuse little lady."

The orange haired girl and the others turned to see that a man has suddenly bumped into her. Looking in his late twenties with dark skin a black short hair with bull horns, a faunus. Wearing a black leather jacket some shades folded on the left pocket with dark green cargo pants and black leather boots.

"Sorry, didn't mean to run into you. Too many people" he blinked staring at the long orange haired girl.

"You're…."

"Hello I'm Penny Polendina. I've been doing a lot of security for the military-"

"Yeah I know who you are. You're the military's ace in the hole."

"I'm not an Ace Op."

The group sweat dropped at her comment. Clearly she didn't understood the meaning that it was figure of speech. The bison faunus only sighed.

"I know you want to keep everything all nice and calm. But try not to screw up. General Ironwood's reputation has gone down the drain lately. So forgive me if I'm not that trusty of you, or you. Even if you're a faunus."

"Understandable but we're here to provide safety and security" replied Marrow.

"That's fine by me. If we have that cleared then it's all good. The name's Balthazar by the way. Just your average concern Mantle citizen."

"Marrow."

"Laphicet."

"Weiss."

"A Schnee here? Never thought I would see the day."

"I'm not here to spy on Robin's campaign or anything. My father doesn't even know I'm here."

"Hey, I'm cool. I said nothing. It's been swell knowing you" he finally took off.

"I'm not surprised this would happened. People have been giving me looks like I'm some sort of terrorist" said the former heiress.

"I'm sorry" said the younger Crowe.

"It's okay. I'm getting used to it. Not like many folks of the high class would bother taking their time to visit Mantle. I might be one of the first."

Marrow has suddenly got a communication answering, then gave a nod.

"Clover wants us to check things with Robin before the counting ends."

The four went ahead getting behind the auditorium stage. As they arrived they saw more posters of Robin. They spotted May and Joanna and no surprise neither were happy to see them.

"We got this covered. No need for any of you to be here."

"And we don't need the extra security either" followed Joanna.

"I know. But the agreement was made between the General and Robin. There's a chance that killer might strike tonight. We're only trying to be prepare and keep everyone safe" said the dog faunus.

"You think we're not enough? We can handle ourselves just fine" argued May.

"I believe the saying goes, strength in numbers?" pointed Penny.

"We want to help in any way. You don't have to treat us like we're the enemy" said Laphicet.

"There's no way that maniac is going to show his face here. He's not going to be that stupid" replied Joanna.

"Do us a favor and get lost."

"We're on the same side. Try to relax, we want to help too" frowned Weiss she really didn't like their attitude.

"Shouldn't you be with daddy, or are you ashamed he has this election lost from the start?" May turned to her.

"I'm a Huntress first, so I will be present where I'm needed the most" the former heiress got in the face of the Merry Huntresses locked in a glare war.

Laphicet didn't know what to say. The tension was growing stronger, pretty clear the Merry Huntresses didn't wanted them here.

"As we said, we have this place covered. Go somewhere else. Mantle is a big city" followed Joanna.

"Ahem."

The two women stopped as Robin arrived. The tension was gone as the atmosphere returned to normal.

"Sorry for any misunderstandings. I would like to thank you for your hard work. If the killer shows up, we'll be ready. After all, I'm taking General Ironwood's word that he's not with the military. If this all a plot to put the blame on them I would like for their name to be cleared. The people of Mantle have a right to know the truth."

The Leader of the Merry Huntresses was feeling confident. If they capture the killer and question him with her semblance it's all over. They will know who's really behind all of this. And it will be decided if she can trust the military for good or not.

"Just to let you know, I voted for you" Weiss went closer to her.

"You're secret is safe with me Weiss Schnee. I don't think your father will approve though."

"I do whatever I want with my life. He doesn't control me or owns me."

"If I get elected tonight we'll have to learn to get along" she turned to May and Joanna who were doing their best to let those words sink in.

Fiona was on stage as she tap the microphone giving a lot of feedback. It was heard through all over the Convention Center. The people started cheering.

"Ha-ha, well, that worked. I want to thank everyone for going to the polls today. This is Mantle's moment. I know that, like me, you're all thrilled that we chose Robin as our voice in Atlas. No one has fought harder for Mantle than she has. And...I know Robin will continue that fight on the Council. Will you share a few words?"

"If you'll excuse me" the leader of the Merry Huntresses walked over to the stage as the crowd exploded into more cheers.

"Come on, let's head back" said Marrow

They rest nodded as they went back with the crowd.

"I've never been much to public speaking, probably wasn't my best idea ever to go into politics. Thank you so much, everyone, for choosing me. You said you believe in me. But I'm the one who believes in all of you. You're proven to me that as individuals, we are strong. But together, we're unstoppable. So no matter what happens tonight, win or lose, we will continue to fight for our city, because it is this city that brings us together."


*Let's fight for our people, for Mantle, for the Kingdom of Atlas!*

"The words of someone that's about to be disappointed."

Watts stood in a dark room with a lot of scrolls before him. Touching a holographic screen the image of Penny was shown. In his hands were electronic rings in all of his fingers.

"Time for the first phase of the plan" he touched the screen.

A smile spread his features as the message" restart program protocol initiated" was shown.

"Nothing personal Velvet, just business."


*We're in the final minutes now, and it's looking to be a closer race than anticipated said the news reporter coming from the large screen showing the results of both candidates.*

Laphicet has suddenly got a bad feeling when he looked behind to see Penny frozen in place. The girl was standing there like she was a statue.

"Penny?"

Her eyes have changed color to red.

"Are you okay?"

No reply came from the orange haired girl. She has suddenly took off flying out of the Convention Center.

"What's wrong?" Marrow arrived with Weiss to the younger Crowe's position.

"It's Penny. She was acting weird and just left."

Both the Ace Op member and the former heiress had no idea.


Velvet has decided to take a break from her patrolling. Finally giving up on her urges because there was a cafe nearby and they have cheese cake. No matter how many time she kept telling herself she wasn't going to eat any, she failed miserably. The older Crowe ended up buying a slice and she didn't regret it one bit. She enjoyed every bite as she was currently sipping on her drink. It hit the spot as she was ready to head to the Convention Center and check on her brother and the others. Her eyes went up to see Penny heading her way with her sword summoned. The living weapon was in attack mode while the former therion had no idea what was going on.

"Penny-"

The long haired woman was able to dodged a green beam aimed at her. She fired again as Velvet dodged knowing something was very wrong with her. Whatever was happening Penny wasn't herself. No choice but to defend herself turning Vertex Rose to mini gun mode firing at the orange haired girl. She quickly went for her communicator to contact the others and get some support. However, there was no answer the line was dead. Great so she has no communication just when she was getting attacked by an ally, too convenient. Penny was about to fire her bean again when the former teacher has jumped at her unleashing her claw. It was enough to pull her down to the ground and pining her.

"Penny it's me!"

She immediately saw her eyes colored red and realized she was not herself. She was being controlled somehow. Did someone hijacked her system. It will explain why she wasn't answering and her hostile behavior. Not to mention communications were dead so she has no one to contact and give her a hand. Not like she needed it but she didn't wanted to hurt her. No choice but to fight her and hope for the best.

"Sorry Penny. I will have to knock some sense into you!"


"Phase one completed. Phase two. Are you ready Tyrian?"

*Always* the scorpion gave a chuckle.


*We're only a few seconds away before the counting ends and we get an official winner!*

The crowd couldn't be any more hype as they saw the countdown that will decide the fate of Mantle.

"Ten..Nine..Eight...Seven..Six..Five..Four..Three..Two…."

Laphicet bumped into someone. He noticed the person was wearing a brown hood and his face was revealed. His eyes widened in shock as the memory from Anima came back to haunt him. The man was very family staring at him with a maniacal expression and piercing yellow eyes.

"Hello Laphicet."

"One!"

At that instant the entire Convention Center went dark. The drones flying around fell to the ground dead. It followed by a chorus of people screaming in horror. Balthazar gasped as he felt the blood from those getting killed near him. Weiss and Marrow decided to stick together, unable to tell anything. The Ace Op tried to contact for backup but communications were down. How he wished he had the ability to see in the dark. Not all faunus has that handy trait because he could sure need it right about now. Unfortunately Tyrian has the ability and he was currently having a blast killing left and right.

The scorpion faunus has suddenly halted his steps as he sensed something behind him. There were growls like belonging to a creature. Before he could react, something sharp has hit him on his stomach. A claw piercing through his aura and skin. Impossible that his aura got broken already. He dodged multiple attacks and he was having hard time identifying whatever this thing. It was too fast for him to have a better look at. Tyrian opened fire but it looks like it hit nothing. A scream escaped his lips as the creature bit his left shoulder and dragged him all the way to the stage. With his aura broken he was getting seriously hurt, he was bleeding already. Just what the hell is this thing.

"Where are you?"

The scorpion faunus got hit multiple times what it felt like so many whips. His body being punished by the lashes. At the same time he was keeping count on the time limit. Watts will be restoring power any moment now. Meaning he couldn't stay here anymore. He did what he set out to do, not in the best shape though. Without giving it a thought he jumped to the ceiling and exited through the shaft above. Even in his condition he was excited expecting the creature will follow him. But it didn't in which in lead him to be disappointed. Either way it was a mission accomplished.

Right on time the light at the Convention Center were back on again. Communications as well as the drones and surveillance were online. The people present were only met by a horrendous sight. There were so many dead bodies and the blood everywhere. Robin went to Fiona who was stunned at what she was seeing. She was all right, the same with May and Joanna. Marrow and Weiss were fine too, the dog faunus has already called for backup to handle the situation. The killer has strike again. Eventually all eyes fell on an individual that was panting as he's been through a harsh workout. Laphicet stood calm, tired but all right. He so badly wanted to go after Tyrian but he couldn't. Because he needed to stay and heal the people that got hurt. It was too late for those that are gone.

Murmurs and whispers started as everyone's eyes were still on the younger Crowe. Robin and the Merry Huntresses, Weiss and Marrow were all shocked staring at the youth. Laphicet's mouth and teeth were covered in blood, the same with his hands. It was their interpretation that this boy was the one who did all of this. The teen has noticed the blood on him which it wasn't his but Tyrian's. His eyes widened thinking they will believe he's responsible for the attack. It didn't took long as a large group of soldiers arrived. Spotting the youth they immediately saw him as a hostile.

"Halt!"

"I….." Laphicet was speechless.

He wanted to say he didn't do this but they weren't going to believe him. Because of this they will see him as a murderer. There was nothing he could do unless he prove his innocence.

"Laphicet no…." whispered Weiss.

"Call paramedics now!" shouted Marrow to the soldiers as one got into contact with them.

"Hands in the air!"

Laphicet did as told as they approached him and handcuffed him.

"Wait!"

Robin has went to the boy and took his hand.

"Did you do this?"

"No! There was someone else!"

Her semblance activated as her hand glowed green. This shocked the leader of the Merry Huntresses watching him being taken away. The holographic screen was back online as it showed the face of Jacquess Schnee.

*And the final results are Jacquess Schnee with a total of 70% of votes making him the new council seat!

The program went to a live feed at the SDC CEO's rally at the front of the Schnee manor.

*I would like to thank everyone who voted for me, your support is very appreciate it. I promise I will fight for all of you. I will serve you as my company has always been faithful to you.*

Right now no one care that Jacquess won the election. No one paid attention to his speech. They were too focused at the tragedy that just occurred. The soldiers have taken Laphicet away as the dead silence resume.


Velvet was dodging Penny's green bean as she opened fire as the robotic girl blocked them with her blades. This was getting nowhere, she needed to knock her out. Something happened that turned her this way. It's like she didn't knew her. She already tried talking to her and it was useless. The former therion was caught off guard as the Atlas weapon charged at her flying, she struggled forgetting her strength is a big deal. The older Crowe might not have a choice but go malevolence mode if she wanted to break free.

"Penny you have to stop!"

She tightened her hold on the long haired woman making it harder for her to breathe.

"This isn't you. Someone is making you do this!"

Velvet went malevolence mode breaking free shoving her away. She flew back unleashing her sword about to fire another green bean.

"Wake up!"

As she was ready to release the attack she has stopped. Her eyes went back to normal as something fell off from the girl's back. The former daemon noticed it was a medium size device and it looked like it was busted. The black haired woman released the malevolence mode.

"I-What's going on? Where am I? Velvet…?"

"You're back to normal" she smiled in relief.

"Normal?"

Penny has suddenly got an incoming communication.

*Where are you Penny? You were suppose to be at the Convention Center, I need you here ASAP!* Clover's voice.

"I'm On it!"

"The Convention Center?" Velvet's eyes widened her concern growing.


Penny arrived first as Velvet ran as fast as she could. As she arrived she spotted Team RWBY, JNPR, Oscar, Cardin, Clover, Harriet, Robin and the Merry Huntresses. There were a lot of soldiers as well as stationed ambulances. The paramedics were taking so many wounded people. This shocked the older Crowe.

"What happened?"

"There was a massacre. Twenty people were killed and twelve were wounded. No sign of the killer anywhere" replied Clover.

The former therion mentally cursed for not being here on time. The killer struck again just like Ironwood predicted. But she couldn't be here because she was busy dealing with a controlled Penny. She started connecting the dots that whatever happened to the orange haired girl and the massacre could be somehow connected. Her eyes widened as she noticed there was someone missing.

"Where's Laphicet?"

Her answer was met by empty expressions. Weiss looked down as if she was overwhelmed. After what just happened. The others didn't know what to say but they were clearly not happy and Ruby was shocked and hurt.

The leader of the Ace Ops gave a sigh.

"I hate to be the one to give you the bad news Velvet. Your brother is a suspect of the massacre."

She was stunned.


Balthazar stood right on the same spot he was when the massacre happened. His eyes were still wide from the shock and the horror. So many faunus killed right before his very own eyes. This wasn't the first time he has witnessed tragedy like this. His expression turned to one of pure anger as she glared at the blood on the ground that belongs to his brothers and sisters. He tightened his fists it was always like this. The world is truly a screw up place. One thing was clear, whoever did this will pay dearly whether the military has something to do with this, or someone else.


To be continued

-Holy crap almost two months since the last update what's wrong with me?! I know I've been very busy but damn, I feel like laziness has something to do with it.

-Finally I have teased Laphicet's animal form won't say anything else. I will eventually reveal it later in this volume.

-The events at Robin's party really played out different than in canon. First I didn't wanted Penny to get the blame because it was so dumb how it was done. The fact that they didn't added blood to make it more realistic and convincing made it worse. So instead it's poor Laphicet that gets blamed and I added the blood.

-My OC Balthazar from the Valkyrie of Remnant is in this story. He'll be playing a minor role in the volume.

-I feel like I needed to make the Blake/Cardin conversation happened. She didn't like him at the beginning because he was the average human who hates faunus and now that he's changed she needed to tell him how she feels. With this she can finally get along with him. Too bad she spilled the beans that Yang kissed her lol. This might come back to bite her in the butt.

Yes I am making Clover/Harriet a thing in this story because I think it's pretty logical Harriet liked him in canon due to her intense anger towards Qrow for thinking he's the one that killed him (in a way he did killed Clover it was his fault thanks to the writers with their amazing writing skills). I've been laughing at fanatics on twitter saying she's gay because..wait for it, because she has a mohawk! LOL. They haven't realize that the intention of the mohawk is a makeshift for her rabbit ears. Harriet is based on the hare from the Hare and the Tortoise fairy tale. And here's another stupid take from them that tough women like Winter are gay because ONLY tough women are such. This is just...I needed to lie down before part of my brain cells die. The sheer power of the head canons from these people baffles me.

-Replying to reviews:

*RegularMuthias- GOT season 8 was a complete letdown I can agreed on that. But RWBY's writing quality has been falling ever since v4 more like after Monty's passing. Still I respect your opinion.

*The Professor Plum- thank you and it's okay to agree with Muthias. I'm not expecting everyone will agree with my opinions and view points regarding the show.

*joejav030706- yep Neo was turn into a plot device for Cinder instead of making her into an interesting character. There are fans who still love her because she can't talk lol.

*TheEmeraldMage- thank you very much for the constant support. I'm so happy you're still liking the story. Here's hoping you enjoy this chapter too.

*Dasgun- lol hope you like the chapter and this one too.

*Guest- God I hope NOT I will be pissed if they use more real world politics on the show.

*CT7567Rules- absolutely agree this is why fan fiction is so much better when it comes to canon shows like RWBY. You can make better version of events. As for your other comment there will be a Jaune/Velvet lemon in the future I did mention it a while back.

*Guest- thank you ^_^

*TPoynt- let me correct you that we're not arguing we're debating. I think both words have different meanings. I agreed with many of your points but what was the point of killing Vine? Yes he did it with the point of saving Harriet, Elm and the others but like I said what do we know about Vine, his character? Nothing we barely know a thing of the kind of person he was or is. Not a single flashback on him which I hate that the last time the writers has shown flash backs were back at the character shorts before v5. Blake, Yang and Adam had flashbacks in their respective shorts. Point is Vine's death was pointless because we never knew the kind of character he is and it leads me not to feel sorry he's gone in the least this is one of the things I hate about the writers. They keep failing in giving the characters proper growth whether it's the protagonists or side characters. When it comes to Penny's death it was the biggest middle finger the writers could give to the fans IMO. They bring her back, give her her own character arc, character growth, becomes a maiden, becomes human and then dies. It's one of the biggest WTF moments of the volume. I guess I could go easy and give v8 a 5/10 since there were things I actually like and enjoyed. It just it still angers me how this volume turned out.

*Guest-Questioner- understandable if you don't like certain things of the story I doubt I will ever change it though.

*Jacob9594- thank you I hope you continue to like the story as you read on.

*andrewtaylorpt37- lol of course she will think so. Yang is the only one who can pull it off. XD

-As always thank you very much for all the reviews, favs and follows I really appreciate it.

-I still haven't seen the RWBY episodes yet. I will try to make time to watch them since I've been too busy.

-Officially this story has reached over a million words and I still can't believe it. Here's hoping it goes beyond.

-Off topic FINALLY Bandai Namco has officially announced a release date for Tales of Arise September 10 baby. I have already seen all of the trailers including the latest ones that shows the official party and they're all amazing. We have the usual sword protagonist, the gunslinger female protagonist, a brawler type, a witch type, the staff user type and the female knight type that awfully looks a lot like Katalina from Gran Blue Fantasy maybe she was created based on her. I don't know a thing about them but I already love them. XD

-Another off topic just saw a few weeks ago season 4 of Netflix's Castlevania and the final season. And all I have to say is holy shit it was the last season but it was SO GOOD an amazing way to end the series I love it. Well written story, well written characters, intense action, nice cursing and the ending left me crying like a baby. CRWBY wish they could write RWBY this good. If you still haven't seen Castlevania go watch it NOW you're in for one hell of a ride.

Next time: Cataclysm