This is the start to a story which came to me after reading the first chapter of Supernatural Affairs: Nine Cases by BrokenMimir. Go check that story out (after reading this one of course!). This story involves a tremendous amount of world-building and expansion on the world we all know and love with RWBY, with most of said world-building not even showing up in this story, at least for now. From the looks of things so far, each chapter should be a minimum 2000 words. Like my other story, if I fall below that number I'll let you know so you can publicly shame me to get my act together.
For now, I present to you this fun take on Ruby Rose. Here is:
REAPER IN RED
"I can't believe my little baby sister Ruby is coming to Beacon with me!" The blonde-haired girl -Yang. My sister's name is Yang- squealed, pulling me into a tight hug, shaking me from side to side while doing so.
It took me a second to remember emotions. "Ugh, Yang! I need air to breath." I fumbled around, pushing lightly against her shoulder to feign attempts at escape. Yang did seem to take the hint and pulled back with a sheepish grin. I took the time to suck in air and gasp for breath like a human would in such a scenario.
"Sorry Rubes. I'm just so excited to be going to Beacon with my sister! I thought I would be waiting two years for you to join me, but no way! The little scythe wielding prodigy over here just had to find a way to stay with big sis."
I turned from Yang's smiling eyes to those of her father. My father. Taiyang, who prefers to be called Tai, except by his daughter -now daughters- who call him dad. Dad was smiling just as brightly. Though there were hints of worry in his eyes. I knew I had a reason for choosing this family.
"My two beautiful daughters are all grown up. And becoming huntsmen like your old man, no less. I'm going to miss you both so much when you go. I better see lots of pictures of you both together, whether or not you end up on the same team. I want stories and letters. But most of all, I want you both to do as best as you can and stay your happy selves."
With smiling, tear-stricken eyes, dad rushed over to the both of us, wrapping us in a hug which put Yang's to shame. There was no doubt in my mind where Yang received her immense strength from. Even if she did not look like a young female copy of him, I would know the two were related just from hugs alone.
But for once, I did not seem to mind, wrapping my own hands around him and pushing my face deeper into his chest. I breathed in his smell. Fresh grass and wildflowers. He had been working in the gardens today. He smelled really nice. And warm. It was soothing. Seeing as how Yang returned the hug with the same ferocity I did; it was the smell of comfort and home. I was going to miss this place when I left.
I never thought I would miss anywhere.
Dad finally pulled back, grasping onto our shoulders with his strong, fatherly hands. His eyes were red, having been crying lightly in both happiness and sorrow. A small sniffle and a chuckle followed. "You both make me so proud. I know Summer would be telling you the same thing. I love you both. Now, off to bed. You have a long morning of packing before the bullhead to Beacon arrives."
With a final squeeze of my shoulder, he spun me around and gently pushed me off towards the stairs to the guestroom. My room. The Xiao-Longs don't own a guestroom anymore, it's now mine.
I did as commanded and walked up the stairs, turning left to reach the washroom I shared with Yang. The past week, Yang and I washed up together. Brushing our teeth like normal people and laughing at our silly faces in the mirror. To her, we had been doing so since I could walk. But today I asked Yang if I could wash up alone. She thought it was just the nerves talking. Not too often did one meet the headmaster to the most famous huntsman school in the world and then get accepted into said school mere moments later. I did not attempt to shake the notion from her head. For once, it was fairly close to the truth. She smiled at me and walked passed, towards her own bedroom to change.
I locked the door to the washroom, relaxing as soon as I heard the faint click. I placed my weight on the washroom counter, staring into the mirror ahead of me, breathing out a deep breath. I had done it. I was going to go to Beacon. I left that life behind me and even had a plan for keeping it at bay for at least a few months.
If all really went according to plan, then I would start feeling the pulsing-
My chest tightened as I gasped slightly for breath.
The pulsing began just on time. It was a similar feeling to a quickening heart. For one, my heartbeat did increase, although so too did the pressure and strength of each beat. Power seemed to flow from my chest outwards, ringing gently in my ears. I turned on the tap water to sound like I was washing up. Instead, I closed my eyes and allowed the pulse to grow. Fingertips biting into the ceramic countertop to keep from shaking.
The pulse was strong. Extremely strong. I had to put in everything I had to keep it at bay as the pressure grew exponentially.
In a moment of weakness, I let out a gentle squeak. My eyes were shut tightly, but I managed to reach for the sink and shut off the water. Between pulses, I let out a quick, "goodnight Yang! Goodnight dad!"
I rushed into my bedroom, slamming the door closed. Dad or Yang might have shouted to stop slamming my door, but I could not hear it over the sound of my own heart pulsing in my ears.
It was time. The pressure was too much to stomach and I felt the change coming upon me with such a force I had rarely ever felt. I allowed the change to take hold of me. The lights in my room began to dim as my body sucked in all the light, leaving just empty shadows remaining. My signature red hood and cape became a cloak, winding itself around my body and extending to the floor, hiding my feet from view. I pulled the hood over my head, just as the first tendrils of thick black shadow were absorbed into my outer garment. The red faded until only black remained.
I opened my hand, allowing the shadows to pull together into the physical symbol of my people. I closed my hand over the growing length of my weapon. It extended down to the floor and up over my head. The shadows pooled together, the long polearm finishing its growth over my brow and the blade extending well passed my side, finishing in a gleaming, sharp tip.
I lifted my scythe off the ground, holding it in both hands. Breathing out, I did something I rarely did while like this. I smiled.
This would be my last one. My last once for hopefully many months. The pressure in my chest was still building to a crescendo, but now in this form, it was easier to handle. I passed through the outer wall so that I floated outside in the cool evening air. Looking back at the Xiao-Long household, I saw as the electric lights in my room flickered on as soon as I departed. Just as the natural lights around me outside dimmed.
With a final breath of resignation, I moved forward through the setting sky, following the direction of the pulse.
Patch was a small island a boat-ride away from the mainland continent. It had fewer people than the major cities, but more than the outlier towns which popped up whenever the Grimm threats in the area were eliminated. That was mainly due to the huntsman trainee school in the center of town. Having on hand dozens of people who were hoping to become real huntsmen, as well as trained huntsmen teachers, meant that few Grimm or their more dangerous counterparts, Salemites, could gain a foothold on the island. Not that the island was bereft of the dangers. There were many old and intelligent creatures which hid on the island. Ancient Grimm lurked in the deepest parts of the forests to the North of the main town, but had kept themselves hidden for generations. Intelligent with age to know that only death awaited them and their kind if they attempted to attack.
Vampires lurked in the shadows as well. Some fed off humans who strayed too close to their layers, but most satiated themselves with rats and other vermin. The practice of creating new vampires had long since been used on the island. It was too risky a place to attempt it anyways.
There were other creatures which prowled the woods as well. Chimeras were common enough that Signal was known as the prime destination to practice hunting the allusive fire-breathers. So too did zombies inhabit the forests to the West, stumbling around in their pack of hundreds. They were generally left alone unless they wandered too close to civilization. But they were soulless, mindless creatures, so I did not think about them too often.
My mind and pulsing heart were focused on just one creature. As I hid within shadows, I was pulled towards an abandoned warehouse in the industrial sector of the island. The orange glow of old street lights dimmed in my presence. The only sign that one of my kind was there. For those few workers still walking around at this time of night, they assumed it was just the age of the bulbs, rather than any mystical presence. Not too often did one see my kind.
I found the warehouse I was looking for. It was old and rundown. The metal door was rusted heavily and the hinges had rusted through entirely, keeping the heavy door from swinging open to peer inside. The few windows almost twenty feet up, were glossed over and covered in grime. The warehouse must have once held oil drums or dirty car parts when it was in use. The roof looked to be partially collapsed, with the peak having buckled and collapsed in on itself at least a decade before. It was probably from many seasons of heavy rain and snow. The roofs had to be replaced regularly back then to keep the extra strain from the weight from breaking them. There was a side entrance. A heavy door with a sign on it reading,
Caution. Harmful gases and fumes. All workers must wear proper PPE and oxygen masks to enter.
Overtop the sign was fading yellow caution tape, warning those from even attempting to enter it. Not that that would be too much of a problem, seeing as the door was locked and deadbolted to keep shut. Nobody would be trying to get in anytime soon.
Except for me. I slowly wafted through the thick brick wall, allowing tendrils of smoky shadow to pull me through the solid barrier. There were no lights inside for my presence to dim.
The warehouse interior was mostly empty, save for a small bed and makeshift kitchen and washroom. Very much the antithesis of what could be assumed from the outside. Crouched on the ground, leaning heavily on the bedside was a coughing man. I crept slowly and quietly towards him. He coughed loudly into the crook of his elbow. He wiped the blood away from his thin lips. A final cough and he looked towards me. There was pain in his eyes but also hard anger.
"Come to finish the job, I see?" He growled at me, baring his fangs.
I said nothing, for there was nothing to say. I gazed into his eyes, allowing my presence to calm and sooth him. His hateful gaze relaxed slowly before another coughing fit overtook him.
"You are small. You must be young." The ancient vampire said. I nodded at his implied question. To that, he smiled.
"I'm quite old. Never thought you would see a vampire die of old age, did you?" He laughed, his laughter turning into a phlegm filled fit of rasping coughs. "Not often do we get the chance to go out this way. I'm glad I made it. Lost a lot of friends along the way, but they did tell me I was a lucky one."
I watched as he continued to reflect on his life. It was a common thing for those old beings to do so. So many years spent living. And now faced with death, it was cathartic to think back on the good times before venturing into the unknown. I allowed him to muse on. There was no rush. I just wanted to make his last moments as happy and relaxing as possible.
"I've been all over the world. Did you know that? I was there when Mistral rose as a kingdom. I missed Vale though. I was galivanting in Vacuo, painting pictures of the desert then. Was told it was a waste of time, but I enjoyed it. Young Reaper, if there is anything this old vampire can teach you, is that no time is wasted doing what you love. History can pass you by, but if you had fun during your time on this world, then it was all worth it. No regrets here. Not a one. Not many my age can say that."
He coughed one last time, spitting down droplets of blood onto the stone floor. With a shuddering breath, he gazed at the window, where faint moonlight was peering in, only to be disturbed by my presence.
"I think I'm ready. Reaper, what's over there?" He looked at me so full of hope.
It was a shame that all I could do was shrug and shake my head.
He sighed. "You don't know either, huh. Guess that means it's just one more adventure. Into the unknown, eh? If I'm going out, I want to do it gazing at the moon through my window one last time."
The ancient vampire took in a deep breath and looked straight ahead to the moonlight entering the room. With a serene smile and not even a hesitant view at me, I proceeded forward, my scythe tightening in my grasp.
With a soft nick on his shoulder, I pulled his soul from his body. The mortal body slumped forwards and I helped his soul start its journey into the next realm. Light tears streamed down my face as I did so. It was hard to see anyone go, much less one whom had lived far longer than I had.
Finally, with the dying soul reaped, the pulsing in my body slowed and stopped. It was over. My final reaping for now was complete. I was free to do what I wanted now. Without fear of the pulsing or discovery. I smiled as I waded through the warehouse wall once more and continued on my return journey to the Xiao-Long household.
Tomorrow I would be going to Beacon. To train as a huntress and learn as much as I could about this world and the creatures who lurked in it; both human and not. My time as Ruby Rose the Grim Reaper was at an end. I giggled happily at the thought as I settled in, in my bed. The black shadows of my form long since disappearing, leaving simple old me behind. Tomorrow I would be starting my time as Ruby Rose the huntress prodigy in training. Ruby Rose the little sister to Yang Xiao-Long, as the second daughter to Taiyang Xiao-Long. Daughter to a human Summer Rose and not Summer Rose, the Grim Reaper who died at the hands of that drunken monster.
Tomorrow, my new life as a human would begin.
Next week will be the next chapter in Rhodopis in Remnant. Stay tuned for the second chapter to this story. Still working out the posting schedule for this, so for now expect chapter two of Reaper to come out in 3 weeks.