Oh look, Mecharic managed to get this out within his desired timeframe too! Seriously, where did the real me go? I hope this chapter can live up to the previous one, and to head off the inevitable "Why did Ruby not stand out more" keep in mind she's in the middle of a burning city for most of this. She's literally obscured by smoke, meaning only those she fought directly were able to see what she could do.
Hak sighed rather heavily, not liking his choice despite knowing that it was necessary. Leaving behind everything he held dear – from his Tribe and Capital Fuga to his adopted grandfather and the person he cared most about in the world – was no easy task. But it was a necessary task. Even had the foreigner not killed Fire Tribe soldiers it would have been necessary, but he may have taken longer to realize it. In a way he owed her, preventing him from getting to comfortable in Capital Fuga. Now he just needed to slip out before Yona or his favorite mysterious stranger took notice of his absence.
[Leaving so soon,] Hak?"
"Sonofa… where did you come from?!"
The silver-eyed woman only laughed softly at him, not even bothering to answer a question she probably only understood a small bit of. She then turned towards the rising sun and simply went back to watching the inbound dawn. Hak paused, also choosing to watch the very beginning of the dawn, a more than a little lost in the color of it all. The finality that it seemed to bring, and the immense tension that could be felt almost as a physical presence.
"Well… I guess I'll be off then. Best of luck, even if you can't understand anything I'm saying."
And with that decidedly lackluster – though not out of character – statement, the Thunder Beast walked off into the world, striding at no small speed down the stone and dirt path that would take him away from his childhood home forever.
Ruby watched the young man walk away from the home he had worked so hard to reach. She could understand his actions, assuming she got the basics down. The girl he'd brought with him, this Hime Yona, was of great importance. Probably a noble or even royalty, if the castle theme was anything to go by, and had been on the wrong end of a revolution or coup. Hak was probably her bodyguard, and she probably had family here in … Shi-Hon? Fuga. This language was a pain in the ass to learn, but she'd need to figure it out. She was getting annoyed at not knowing anything.
That aside, if Hak couldn't sense the tension he was either very distracted or less competent than Ruby had original thought. Then again, he was leaving, so he could think it not his problem, or perhaps thought it was just him. Regardless, he was gone, and she had the distinct feeling she was being entrusted with Hime. Ruby would have anyway – she knew what it was like to be betrayed – multiple times, in fact – and she had no idea where she was or what she could do in this strange world with it's whole moon and its warriors that could have fought a Huntsman without using Aura, so she had no where else to go and every reason to stick around. Still, she would've liked if someone had asked her first – even if there was a language barrier.
All of that would become moot about two hours later as the sun cleared the horizon and Ruby was forced to squint to watch it rise. In that moment of squinting she heard something. It wasn't overly loud – not yet – but it was clearly the sound of a great many feet on march. An arrow, lit with a fire upon its tip, flew overhead out of the dawns light. Then another, and then a hundred, a thousand. The sky was a wall of fire-lit arrows, all of them headed for the town behind her that made up the lowest level of Fuga.
"ATTACK! WE'RE UNDER ATTACK!"
Ruby could do nothing else but shout in desperation to alert people of the incoming arrows, even as most of them were still just waking up. The first dozen or so arrows landed even as the Huntress leapt into the city to do her job: save lives and protect the weak. Even if it meant annihilating the attacking army once she was done evacuating people.
Yona woke to the sound of screaming and the smell of smoke. It was not a pleasant awakening, to say the least. Stumbling onto her feet she rushed to the window overlooking the majority of Capital Fuga and found a sea of fire and chaos, barely visible through the thick layers of smoke rising from the madness. Through the screams of terror and rage the Princess could hear the sound of metal on metal, just as horrifying as that day when her world came crumbling down.
'Not again! Not again not again not again!'
There was no way… even here wasn't safe?! Even here she was in danger? As another scream, this one louder than the rest and cut terribly short, pierced her ears Yona had an epiphany: she was the danger. Fuga had been peaceful when she arrived, but everything had fallen apart mere days later. This was all her fault! She had to leave. If she left the Fire Tribe would follow her right? She was what they wanted, right?!
Yona didn't stop to think her actions all the way through, she didn't even stop to switch out of her sleepwear. She simply rushed for the door and bolted out of the castle. Stumbling a little, she lifted the long sleeping gown up so she could run, ignoring the pain of the stones on her bare feet. She needed to draw the Fire Tribe away… somehow. And then, an idea.
Yona rushed towards the battle, foolishly forgetting what had happened the last time she'd been surrounded by enemy soldiers.
A spray of blood, the thunks of a body cut apart, the screams of agony as another lost an arm, the roars of anger and shouts of fear as the scythe continued it's relentless journey through soldier after soldier. Ruby was in her element. She was doing what she had been born to do. Pity it was in battle against humans, rather than Grimm, but that was something Ruby had long since gotten used to. The White Fang at Beacon and Mistral, Salem's assassins, the Atlas Civil War, the Tribal Conflict in Vacuo, and then the complete anarchy back in Vale again… Ruby had long since gotten used to killing people. It's what had earned her the title "Crimson Harvest" by all those who knew her. She was a monster after all, feared even by her closest allies for the lives she had taken and the sheer threat level she posed on the field of battle.
And right now the Fire Tribe was learning the hard way exactly what it meant to attack the Crimson Harvest and her allies.
Body after body, life after life, Ruby was in her full battle mode. There would be no survivors of this battle, for survivors could return to strike again. She would not allow her allies to suffer because she became careless. Not this time. Not on her second chance. The bodies continued to pile up, and she had hit one hundred lives ended this battle. By now the Fire Tribe had realized she was no easy target, and were seeking an easier way to win. One that came in the form of a red-haired princess with a desire to do one good thing even if it killed her.
[It's the] "Hime!"
[Get her! Bring her to me! Alive!]
And once again, Ruby Rose pulled forth her Semblance, and the world grew slow. She could watch without fear as swords sluggishly moved through the air around her and arrows rained down on the battlefield. She saw a Fuga soldier fall, stabbed by an enemy soldier. In the time it took that soldier to hit the ground, Ruby had carved through a dozen enemies – including the Fuga soldier's killer. Carving through more soldiers in the seventeen seconds it took her to reach Yona than she had in the entire battle thus far, Ruby was reminded that sometimes even her speed isn't fast enough. Not when her charge was trying to be caught.
Yona had been rushing forward, trying to get the attention of the Fire Tribe, when she had seen both her savior and the Fire Tribe commander. She didn't recognize him, but the regalia was impossible to miss, even for someone like her who had no real experience with battle. She began making her way towards him desperately trying to ignore the muffled sounds of battle and death that could get past the pounding in her ears and the harshness of her breathing. She'd seen things she had never wanted to see – things that told her exactly why her father had hated weapons so much. Why he had avoided war.
It drove Yona to struggle even harder to reach the enemy commander. If she could just surrender herself, ask that he spare Fuga in exchange for her obedience, it would be okay. She could live with that. She could face her father with that.
And through sheer determination, she pulled it off.
She was here. Tae-Yun could see her. His Princess. HIS Princess, who had run through a raging battle to reach his loving arms and give him the throne he deserved. She was standing in front of him, in a sleeping gown, beautiful beyond compare even as her chest heaved from the effort and sweat beaded on her forehead and neck. Her hair a wild blaze around her shoulders, the gown torn a little, an alluring fire in her eyes that he'd never seen before… all of it just made him love her even more… and she had come… to him.
'On the battlefield? Well if you-'
"Take me with you, but leave Capital Fuga and the Wind Tribe alone! I won't fight if you leave them alone!"
'Oh… right. That's what she meant. Well, there will be plenty of time for taking later…'
"Very well. We didn't intend to do much more than this anyway. ALL FORCES, WITHDRAW! We have what we wanted, and a little revenge to boot!"
Ruby could only watch as Hime was taken away, sword at her throat, hands tied behind her. The younger woman – a girl in Ruby's eyes no more – had taken the effort to surrender herself for Fuga. Ruby would not waste that effort, that sacrifice. Not that she had as much of a choice as she wanted to think – even with her speed, getting Hime to safety would have been no easy task and no certain thing. She had failed. Completely.
And now she would need to explain that to the people of Fuga without even knowing their damned language.
Hak had seen the smoke – no mere accident or tragedy could have led to such smoke. It had to have been intentional. And so he had rushed back to Capital Fuga at his best speed, covering several hours of travel in about an hour. By the time he returned, however, the battle was over and the fires were already either being put out or burning out. Hak arrived to find the city surprisingly intact – stone walled houses and a recent rain storm had left the city more durable than it should have been. Even so, what had burned and burned completely, and had burned with thick black smoke, making it seem larger than it had been.
In the end, it wasn't the fire damage or the lives lost that truly brought Hak to his knees, but rather learning that Yona had traded her freedom – and possibly her life – to protect his city, his tribe.
'I should have been here damnit! I should never have left her side! What was I thinking?!'
One little word, his name, and his head snapped up. The accent could not be mistaken, and it wasn't. Ruby stood before him, uninjured though dirty with smoke stains, blood splatter, and dust from the rubble she had been clearing before he had spoken with Mundok. He knew she hadn't sat back and done nothing, but even so… he was angry. She had one job – to protect Yona – and she had failed. She… had clearly not taken it well, if the expression on her face was anything to go by.
"Hak. [I wasn't able to protect her. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.]"
Hak wanted to be angry, he wanted to hit her and rant and rage against it all but… he couldn't. He didn't need to understand her language to know she was sorry – the tone alone made that terribly clear. Nor did he need to ask her to know that she would be coming with him to rescue the Princess. An army takes far more time to move than a pair of warriors, and without needing to guard a city retaking Yona would be easy. Hopefully.
"It's… not okay. But we're going to save her. The Princess."
A note – the reason that "Hime" (Japanese for Princess) is not translated is because Ruby think that it is Yona's name, since where she comes from people have a first & last name (Lie Ren, Jaune Arc, Glynda Goodwitch, ext) while in Kouka they only have one 'real' name (Hak, Yoon, Ik-Soo, Yona, ext). As such, having heard "Hime Yona" paired so much Ruby thinks her name is "Hime" with her last name being Yona. Gonna have fun with that one later.
On a different note, this chapter was originally going to be VERY different from what I ended up with. Like, Yona gets Aura, Ruby uses her eyes, Hak shows up mid-battle, among other details. Then, about halfway through the Yona parts, I paused and realized that the entire story of Akatsuki no Yona is basically about how she grows as a person, a warrior, and a Princess. Giving her Aura would damage the basis of the entire series by skipping much of that growth and removing most of the danger to her (Hak is already basically immortal at this point, "oh a cliff? Meh, I'm standing ten minutes after waking up", "oh, a stab wound? Pashaw!", "snake bite? Is it Tuesday already?") so I removed it and redid the chapter. I think it worked out better this way.
Anyhow, I'll cya'll when I pop out the Rose of the Stars chapter, hopefully later today, maybe tomorrow evening after work.
Review, Follow, Fav, it keeps me motivated :D