It was morning, and Weiss was just barely beginning to wake up. Her dreams the night before had been lovely—walking along the Atlesian gardens with her sister on a gorgeous day with an inexplicably rainbow-colored sky, being praised by everyone they passed along the way for having become the greatest huntress to ever graduate Beacon Academy. She could see pride in her sister's eyes, even if she hid it well, and could not resist smiling as she walked on roads as soft as pillow down… before she woke up at last.
All in all, it had been an extremely satisfying sleep after the trials she'd gone through the day before. She felt refreshed, relaxed, and ready to start the day. She rose up, stretching out and allowing herself a dainty yawn… but she saw something out of the corner of her eye, and turned to look at it.
"GAH!" Weiss squawked, jumping up in alarm and toppling to the ground in the process. She caught herself before her face slammed into the hard wood of the floor, but only barely.
Mood. Officially. Broken.
"Gooooood morning, teeeeam RWBY!" A voice from behind her said with an enthusiasm that Weiss at present could only describe as disgusting. Turning to face the culprit, Weiss was entirely unsurprised to find the child that was 'supposed' to be her leader grinning at the room, hands at her sides and incriminating whistle dangling from a cord in her hand.
"What in the world is wrong with you?" Weiss demanded, putting on her most hostile frown.
"Now that you're awake, we can officially begin out first order of business—" The brunette continued, apparently ignoring Weiss completely, which only irritated the Schnee Heiress even more.
"Excuse me?" Weiss demanded, pulling herself to her feet and dusting off her shoulders, irritation winding up towards full-on infuriation. Her vision tunneled in on her supposed leader as her frown threatened to morph into an unladylike scowl. The rudeness, the absolute nerve of—
"Decorating!" Another voice said from her left, throwing off the Heiress' concentration with the surprise contribution. She turned to see the blonde-haired one—Yong? No, Yang, who she only just remembered was that menace's older sister—holding two armfuls of seemingly random items.
"—What?" Weiss asked, blindsided and confused. Decorating? Now? Why?
"We still have to unpack." The black haired girl—Blake, if Weiss remembered, the one who'd insulted her company's name—said, holding up what was presumably her suitcase.
It promptly fell open, loosing its contents onto the floor in a messy heap.
"…aaand, clean." Weiss' black-haired teammate continued, as if she'd always intended to finish her statement that way. She and the blonde girl looked at her for a moment as if they expected her to say something.
There were many things Weiss was considering saying at that moment, or shouting, or screeching, mostly having to do with expressing her complete and all-consuming fury at being woken up in such a way. Composing such a diatribe took her a moment, however—such masterpieces of wordplay could not be rushed—so she stood, simply frowning at them, preparing to unleash a verbal assault that would ring in their ears for weeks over this.
Weiss didn't even make a sound as she toppled over this time, falling flat on her back as she tripped over herself trying to escape that accursed whistle. Anger and embarrassment bubbled up inside her as she managed to get up onto her knees. Falling for the same trick twice—it was disgraceful!
"Aaall right!" Ruby exclaimed. "Weiss, Blake, Yang, and their fearless leader Ruby have begun their first mission. Banzai!" The girl said, raising a fist in the air.
"Banzai!" The other two echoed, mimicking Ruby, before all three tipped to the side at the same time.
Weiss could only groan… there was no way that hadn't been rehearsed. She had not signed up for this.
Nonetheless, she couldn't let these cretins decorate the room by themselves. So, she did what she could. After what felt like an hour of putting together the decor, then being overruled on the merit of bunk beds—which they proceeded to construct in a feat of insanely precarious engineering—the room was finally finished.
"Alright," Ruby said, pointing dramatically to the ceiling, "our second order of business iiiiiiiis—" She twirled in a circle in what Weiss judged a particularly ridiculous display before hopping up onto her bed and pulling out a book—"classes." Weiss could barely repress her sigh of relief at that. At least classes would feature normal people and require everyone to remain more or less silent.
"Now, we have a few classes together today," Ruby began, 'at nine we've got to be—"
"What!?" Weiss blurted out, hoping against hope she had misheard. "Did you say nine o'clock?"
"Umm…" Her useless joke of a leader said, looking side to side.
"It's 8:55 you dunce!" Weiss exclaimed. She'd been checking the clock every minute or so during the last stages of bunkbed engineering, just in case checking the time would make it go faster. It hadn't. Not quite believing the unbelievable airheadedness of her supposed leader and feeling a spike in panic at the thought of being late to her first class, on her first day, Weiss turned and sprinted out of the door and down the hallway. Luckily, she'd memorized the layout of the dorm building on her way in; it didn't take long to find the exit onto the main avenue. She heard the others begin to catch up behind her, but didn't look back—there was no time for that was ridiculous. How on Earth could a leader be so dense as to know that their team had a class together at 9 and then let them waste their time for a full hour on decoration and bunk beds, of all things? It was totally irresponsible. How could they expect Weiss to follow a person like tha—
Weiss stopped. Something had filtered into her brain through her eyes that simply could not be true; it brought her train of thought to a screeching derailment. She stood, stock still, not even hearing the panicked yelp behind her as her teammates and another team bowled over each other in an attempt to not run into her.
"Geeze, Weiss—what the heck was that for?" An angry blonde brawler shouted. Weiss couldn't bring herself to respond. She just stared down the road, far at the end—at the skydock.
"Weiss, is everything… okay…" Weiss heard Ruby come up next to her, and stop. "What's that?" Weiss's ignorant leader asked, confirming that she wasn't the only one who saw it. She could hear her heartbeat pumping through her ears, her palms beginning to sweat. It wasn't a stress induced hallucination. It wasn't a sign she was going insane. It was much, much worse.
"That shouldn't be here." She said, calmly.
"What d'you mean?" Ruby asked. Weiss turned to face her.
"Someone must go alert the school, right now." Weiss said, feeling the numbness begin to wear off and hearing the panic begin to seep into her own voice. She fought to keep it out.
"Why? Weiss, what's going on?" Ruby said, with what Weiss guessed was a concerned expression on her face.
"That's the Morrigan!" Weiss shouted, failing at last to restrain her panic. "That's the Morrigan." She said a second time, a bit more quietly. Ruby looked startled by this, but her expression did not hold nearly the terror it should have had. Neither did those of her other teammates, who now stood next to the two of them looking on in confusion. However, the other team—it was that bumbling fool Arc's team, Weiss now noted—had paled to a degree fitting the situation. Sans Arc, that is, not that that was particularly surprising.
"Surely it cannot be…" Pyrrha said, hands clutching at weapons that weren't there.
"It is." Ren said, softly. Nora was uncharacteristically quiet, eyes wide.
Far away, a behemoth descended slowly out of the sky. Its dark mass resembled a sea creature of the prehistoric past, drifting down onto its prey; its bottom half was a bright white, its upper half a purple so dark it was almost black, and it was highlighted all along by a bright violet. Two great fins sprouted out from its massive cylindrical body, drooping to either side; on each was mounted a gigantic mass glowing with pink light on one end. The entirety of it was dotted with protrusions, each at regular intervals, each appearing as a jagged tooth or claw. Two horns protruded from its head, going straight out and then twisting up towards the sky. One massive protrusion, like the horn of a unicorn, stretched out before it. It was as if it had jumped right out of the pages of Weiss' history textbook. It was right there.
"We… we have to do something." Weiss said, knees feeling weak. How had this fear swept over her so quickly—where had it come from? She was better than this. Suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Weiss—is it dangerous?" Ruby asked, voice more serious than at any time Weiss had known her before, but surprisingly calm. Weiss nodded in response, and Ruby turned to the group.
"Jaune, get back to the school and let them know about the—" Ruby gestured towards the aberration that was drawing nearer every second, "thing." she finished. Jaune nodded, setting off at a sprint towards the main school.
"Alright, whatever this thing is, we're going to have to hold it off until help arrives. That sound about right, Weiss?" Ruby asked.
"Yes. We need to move fast." Weiss managed, finding an unexpectedly reassuring strength in Ruby's silver eyes. Ruby nodded.
"Team RWBY—let's go!" Ruby cried, charging off towards it, followed closely by Yang and Blake. Weiss blinked for a moment, realizing what she had just done.
"Wait—no! Not without our weapons—" It was too late. She began to sprint after them, followed closely by 3/4s of team JNPR. She had to stop them, before it was too late. It was a hard choice, looking up at that thing as it got closer and closer, bigger and bigger, and her teammates looking so small in front of her. She was staring death in the face, maybe for the first time, and it made her want to vomit or turn and run. It wouldn't be hard to find a place to hide in a city as big as Vale—but she could never live down that kind of shame, and she refused to be a coward. If Weiss Schnee had to die honorably or tarnish her own name with cowardice, she would choose the former. Though she really hoped it wouldn't come to that. Dying on her second day at Beacon would truly be a disappointing end.
Adequately distracted by thought and insulated from the reality of the situation, it wasn't until she ran fully into and bowled over a mass of red cloth that she realized she'd caught up to her team, almost at the end of the skydock.
"Oww…Weiss!" Ruby exclaimed, and Weiss realized—to her horror—that she'd accidentally tackled her team leader. She tried to untangle herself, but the cloak the smaller girl wore constantly had gotten wrapped up in her legs and it took a moment of struggling to get them loose.
"Why were you just standing there, you lunatic? Also, what on earth possessed you to charge up at it without your scythe? We have to go get our weapons, now!" Weiss said, shaking her dazed team leader.
"But Weiss—" Ruby started to say, but Weiss cut her off. Whatever her 'brave leader' had to say was irrelevant.
"No 'buts'! Do you have some kind of death wish? What could possibly make you think that—"
"Ahem." A familiar voice intoned from nearby.
Weiss glanced over, and felt a wave of relief wash over her at the sight of Headmaster Ozpin, followed by a wave of confusion—the man was just standing there, idly nursing a mug of coffee in on hand and loosely holding his walking stick in the other. Glinda Goodwitch stood by his side, looking irritated, but not nearly as ready for a fight as she should have been.
"Professor Ozpin! Listen to me, we have to stop that thing—" Weiss began.
"Miss Weiss, your enthusiasm is admirable, but perhaps it would be best if you calmed down for a moment." Ozpin said, then took a sip of his coffee. "Also, I believe Miss Rose would appreciate it if you would release her."
Weiss looked down and realized she still held a still very dazed Ruby by her uniform's lapels. This seemed suddenly to be an extremely rude thing to do, and under the pressure of burgeoning embarrassment she helped Ruby to her feet. The girl gave her a dizzy smile in thanks, which made Weiss feel slightly guilty for having run her over like that. One glance at the behemoth that was almost directly overhead, however, replaced all the nuanced feelings with a fresh dose of anxious panic.
"Professor Ozpin, sir, you do know what that is—" She began to ask.
"Yes, I do." Ozpin replied, taking another sip of his coffee as he regarded the approaching monstrosity.
"T-then, you know we have to stop it." Weiss said. Ozpin shot her an amused glance.
"I'm afraid on that particular count, Miss Schnee, you are incorrect." Ozpin said.
Weiss felt confusion and panic begin to swirl inside her again, and added irritation at the continued emotional whiplash. Was it really so much to ask of herself to just feel one thing at one time? It was almost shamefully anarchic of her.
"Wait a second…" Yang said, standing with the rest of the group a few feet away, where Pyrrha, Nora, and Ren stood anxiously. "That's—that's not a Grimm! That's—" Yang began.
"A ship." Ruby said, gazing up with a far-too impressed expression. Naturally her and her bimbo sister wouldn't know.
"A nightmare." Weiss said, before turning back to Ozpin. "Professor—"
"Miss Schnee, calm yourself. We have been expecting this ship for the past week; there is no need to panic." Ozpin said. Perhaps he had intended to be reassuring, but this only increased Weiss' confusion.
"Expecting… what could possibly warrant that ship's arrival at Beacon?!" Weiss demanded.
The bespectacled headmaster simply gestured up to where the gigantic ship had almost made contact with the skydock, barely 30 feet away. It stopped, suddenly, and a segment of the hull lowered gradually down until it had become a gangplank. Weiss braced herself for the onslaught she was sure would rush out of the belly of that beast at any moment… but for a moment, nothing came. Then, a figure strode out of the darkness, and Weiss let out a small gasp. She hadn't known what to expect, but this was a surprise.
He had unkempt dark hair and was as thin as a scarecrow, but carried himself with the sort of undeniable gravitas that she'd only seen in men like General Ironwood. His violet eyes swept across the group of them; Weiss felt as if the shadow of a nevermore had just passed overhead, blocking the sun's heat. Chills ran down her spine. She almost didn't notice as he began to walk forward, his steps long yet measured. Weiss' eyes briefly scanned over his clothing—he wore an unfamiliar uniform, almost all in black with the occasional highlight of sharp crimson or bight gold, with a black half-cape that fluttered softly in the wind covering his right side and a sheathed sword hanging on his left. Seeing that, Weiss couldn't help but tense up. Two more figures appeared behind him, who Weiss only barely registered—one a girl with bright red hair, one a brown-haired boy, both dressed in unfamiliar but unremarkable fashions. It seemed like an eternity before the black-haired man reached the bottom of the stairs and approached, eyes fixed on Ozpin. Seeing that, Weiss drew closer to her headmaster, and felt the other students doing the same. The man stopped a few feet away, and it was only then that Weiss took in his features; he was handsome, it was true, although his features were so fine he might more accurately be described as beautiful. His eyes, however, were inscrutable. Weiss was genuinely alarmed when his lips pulled up into a polite smile.
"Prince Lelouch, I presume?" Ozpin asked, idly swishing his coffee mug. Weiss frantically dug around in her memory for that name; she'd heard it somewhere before…
"You're correct. You must be Headmaster Ozpin, then?" The black haired man—Lelouch—asked.
"Indeed—but 'professor' is fine. I must say, we have been eagerly awaiting your arrival for some time now." Ozpin said, smiling knowingly, as if he didn't know the chaos his words were causing in Weiss' head. They'd been expecting him? How… why would they be… She almost missed Lelouch's slight frown in response.
"Yes… I apologize if our lateness has caused any inconvenience. We encountered a village under attack on the way here, on the Anima coast." Lelouch said. Glinda looked alarmed at that, but Ozpin merely continued to smile.
"I understand—in fact, you have my gratitude." Ozpin said, bowing his head slightly. "Regrettably, however, you have missed the team assignment ceremonies by a day, and arrangements must be made in that regard; each team must have four members, and all present teams have been assigned."
"Ah, hopefully that won't be a problem. I've brought along an honor guard, each member of whom should be both at an acceptable skill level and the proper age to attend Beacon." Lelouch said. He threw out an arm, gesturing to the other two figures descending the stairs. Ozpin glanced over at them.
"Fortunate indeed—we shall see how they fare in training, but I will trust in your judgment for the time being. We will still have to arrange for a fourth member, of course." Ozpin said. Lelouch paused for a moment.
"I don't believe so—there are three members of my honor guard, after all." He gestured first to the brown-haired one. "This is Suzaku Kururugi," he gestured at the red-haired one, "this is Kallen Stadfeldt," he gestured to the green-haired one, "and this is C.C."
Weiss almost had a heart attack. Had that girl been standing there the whole time? How had she not noticed someone get that close—only a few feet away, out in the open—especially someone with lime green hair? Even Ozpin seemed taken aback.
"…Ah. So I see. Moving on, there's the matter of your battleship. I'm afraid we will require the use of our dock sooner or later, so it can't stay where it is indefinitely—and there is the fact that our Mistral-born students will likely be disturbed by its presence." Ozpin said.
"Ah—the Morrigan will be moving out shortly. I've left the captain with orders to patrol the region and cull any sizable groups of Grimm that she encounters. It will be returning to the city at intervals to resupply, but for the most part it should be out of your hair." The black-haired prince replied. Ozpin nodded.
"This is acceptable. Now, one last thing." Ozpin's eyes narrowed slightly. "I acknowledge that you have a high rank and a noble birth, but we do not assign preference to any student based on such things at Beacon Academy. Every student works to improve themselves as a student, and as a guardian of humankind from those who would threaten it; social position has no value to the Grimm. You will not be allowed to rely on prestige or wealth to succeed in these halls. Is this understood?"
"Yes." Lelouch replied, eyes narrowing as well.
"Wait—you're here to become a student?" Weiss asked, before realizing what she was doing. Suddenly, those inscrutable orbs were focused on her.
"Of course. What did you think this was for?" Lelouch said, raising his right hand—which Weiss had only just realized held a jarringly normal duffel bag.
"I-I—b-but—" Weiss stammered, getting a warning glance from Glynda.
"Good." Ozpin said. "Well, now that that's settled, let me be the first to welcome you to Beacon Academy."
"Thank you—it's truly a magnificent place. Were will we be staying?" Lelouch asked. Weiss could barely comprehend what had just happened.
"Right this way." Glynda said, before glaring at all of the others present. "I believe the rest of you have classes to be getting to, yes?" She 'asked'. The implicit threat of punishment in her eyes was motivation enough. Suddenly, most of their two teams was setting off at a sprint. Weiss felt hands grab her upper arm and drag her along.
"Come…on…Weiss! You were so worried about being late before!" Ruby—the owner of the aforementioned hands—said, and Weiss followed, glancing back every second step at the creature who had just joined their school. She noticed Pyrrha of all people doing the same, looking back with a deer-in-the-headlights sort of expression as Nora dragged her along. Weiss wondered if her own face looked the same.
Class wasn't important. A Britannian Prince had come to Beacon—this could spell disaster for everyone, for everything; all her hopes and dreams. How could this have happened?