This is a RWBY fanfic, an AU RWBY fanfic. I don't typically write heavy AUs because I generally feel there's no point, but in RWBY's case I really like a lot of elements of the characters and settings and feel compelled to try it out.

So just to clarify immediately, how AU is this? Very AU, but not highschool-level AU. The general of the setting and who the characters are is still there but everything else is up for grabs. I'll be expanding on the mechanics (especially Semblances) and the history of the setting is going to heavily change as a result. This is basically what I imagine RWBY could have been, for all the good and bad that implies.


Among all the existences of the world, there is not one who is nameless, for namelessness is the same as nonexistence. Throughout the world's creation, each and every piece was named and brought into being to give birth to an harmonious whole. At the last came the masterpiece of humanity, and to them was bestowed one of all the names that came before, for they alone held the right to choose what would become of them.

But beware, for to hold a name is not only to hold the power to act upon the world, but also to be restrained by the world.

The last of the scattered petals floated softly to the ground, and silence was restored to her hallowed ground. The one-sided slaughter that had occurred left not a single corpse to pay tribute to the defeated, the only evidence of their bloodlust the casing of the shells that had taken their lives. In the end, their struggle had amounted to nothing but two minutes of dream-like excitment.

Letting out a shaky breath, the girl took a moment to compose herself and sheath her weapon. It was a good thing she'd realized the Beowolves were coming - if she hadn't gotten some distance from it, the gravestone might have become damaged in the struggle; dealing with a few Grimm was no big deal, but avoiding collateral damage was a lot harder.

A metallic click alerted her to the fact that she wasn't alone, followed by a familiar voice.

"Overwhelingly one-sided as always, I'll make good use of this footage when programming battle routines."

The source of the voice was a humanoid automaton, or more accurately the transmitter that it was equipped with.

"So you were watching me? I thought it was strange that there would be so many Grimm around when you told me that the way was clear."

"Clear of humans and faunus, that is." The elder man showed no shame at all, and of course the automaton wouldn't show any either. "It is unfortunate that I had to deceive you, but if you knew of my intentions you wouldn't have felt true sorrow, and they wouldn't have been attracted to you so strongly. However that pack would soon have migrated toward a nearby village, so I thought you would approve of exterminating them."

"Even if they didn't, exterminating Grimm is always a good thing." Besides, it had made her feel a lot better after visiting her mother's grave. Sometimes she wondered if those kind of events were him trying to be nice, in his own way. "I'll be going back home then."

There was a moment of silence as she took a step forward, her red cape billowing in the cold winder winds, before he spoke up again, his voice stern and exasperated.

"Back home? Ah yes, to your sister who prepares herself to enter the prestigious Beacon academy and to your father's empty room since he's away on a mission. So you can pack your things up to go to Signal and learn nothing."

"That's not true!" She raised her hands in defense reflexively; somehow, his words felt much sharper than a Beowolf's claws. "I'm learning lots of things, like geography, and math, and..."

"And not how to be a better huntress." Mercilessly, he pounced on the only thing that mattered. "I have reviewed Signal academy's teaching methods. They are adequate beyond reproach, finely tuned to slowly prepare their students for field's tests, so that at the end of their training they can be expected to stand on their own against the average Grimm."

"Yeah! So it's not-"

"Grimm the likes of which you have just slaughtered by the dozen." The transmitter added a metallic tint to his voice that made it all the more final. "Did you know that the average senior student of Beacon academy is only expected to face such numbers when backed by a team of three? If you continue this farce of going to school, your talent will fester and rot in the mediocrity of the masses! Though our fields may be different, as a fellow genius I cannot overlook this waste of talent!"

"Genius is a bit much." Shyly bringing her fingers together, she fidgeted in place, sending glances toward the road behind her. She could probably outrun his words if it came down to it, but it would just be delaying the inevitable; he knew where she lived, after all, and she wasn't so lucky that Yang would smash the robot on sight. "It's true that I'm a bit ahead, but that's just because uncle Qrow home-schooled me."

"A bit much? A bit ahead?" He must have laughed then, because the transmission cut out for a few seconds. "Most huntsmen would be livid at the implication that one could reach your level so quickly by trying at little hard. Ruby Rose, those who say that they aren't special are the arrogant chosen ones who never have to try to prove that they are."

"A-anyway, it's not up to me. If I don't pass through Signal, I won't be able to enter Beacon, and if I don't enter Beacon I won't get to become a huntress."

"That's just the nonsense that they feed the masses. Formal education is required for those who can't obtain that strength on their own; anyone who passes a special exam in front of one of the four headmasters can be officially acknowledged as a huntsman. Do you really think that no one who lives outside the kingdoms ever became one? Those in powers have gotten soft and added an age limitation to the test in recent years, but if you wait a few years, even your current skills would be enough to be recognized."

If that was true...if she could avoid all those boring classes, start doing good now and still become a huntress later...

She wanted to say no, to tell him that he was wrong, but it was a silver bullet that he'd prepared ever since they'd first met. He knew more than he cared to about how boring she found the classes at Signal, and she knew what the other students said about her behind her back - that it was only thanks to nepotism that she passed her class, that the instructors gave her special help that they didn't give anyone else. It wasn't even completely false, though not in the way they thought.

"But what would I do? I can't take a Huntress' job without a license, so there isn't much point, and dad would be angry if I didn't complete my education."

"Naturally, I've thought of that." She could see him bring his hands together with a victorious smile in her mind, which was strange considering that she's never actually seen him. "You can assist with my research."

"...I'm not much of a scientist."

"But you like weapons, correct? To be able to take care of your scythe at your age is proof that you have potential in engineering, you're simply not much of a book reader." It felt good to be acknowledged, and she let out a smile for the first time today; she was usually more cheerful, but today had been a solemn occasion. "Besides, I mostly have need of...muscular assistance. My automatons can only do so much when it comes to confronting the Grimm, which has always been a limiting factor in my study of their strengths and weaknesses. I'll guide you to them, and in your battles I might obtain the answers. As for your education, I'll simply complete it myself! I may not be an expert in every field, but I'm sure I know at least as much as a retired huntsman who happened to flip through an official booklet."

She wanted to jump to the professors' defense, but he was painfully right again. It was a running joke around Signal that most of the teachers - not her father of course - tended to compete for which one of them would get to teach the classes on Grimm and Aura, because it was the only ones that they really had any knowledge about.

"It does sound pretty fun." In fact, it sounded like a dream; a wandering hero fighting rare and obscure Grimm, leaving behind the knowledge of their weakness for the future. It was everything she'd ever dreamt of, served on a silver platter. "I'll have to wait until Yang leaves for Beacon though, there's no way she'd let me go ahead of her. Or maybe.."

"You can't bring her with you, or tell her about this before you leave. She's already enrolled into Beacon; if word gets out that she's gone, it'll get to your father. Even if what you're doing is technically legal, the huntsmen won't side with a fifteen years old girl over someone who not only is already a huntsman but is also an instructor."

"Yeah...it's true that dad can be a bit of a worrywart." Besides, Yang was already at Beacon; she would get to start going on missions before she even graduated. "I'll just leave them a message explaining why I'm gone." She couldn't resist anymore, it wasn't in her nature to keep composed; a grin broke through all the worries and she all but hugged the robot. It would have been a hug if it hadn't been uncomfortably square-like in shape "I'm actually, really going to do a Huntress' job! Thanks a lot, doctor Merlot!"

"Think nothing of it, I live to let others reach their true potential."