Heroes represent the best of ourselves, respecting that we are human beings… A hero is someone willing to help others in his or her best capacity.
~ Ricky Martin
"How does someone unlock their semblance?" a 5-year-old Ruby asked her daddy enthusiastically. Her eyes glistened like stars as she stared at Taiyang.
"As you know dear, a Semblance is the manifestation of one's innate and personal power as an ability unique to each individual, with the effects varying greatly from user to user. It can appear anytime, whether you are in trouble or just sitting around. There's no telling when it appears." Taiyang Long replied with a fond smile as he looks up from the tests he was grading.
At least his little strawberry was still happy after Summer had died in that mission. Regardless of how sad he was, Ruby never failed to bring a smile to Yang's and his's faces. Such an innocent soul in such a world of horror. Actually…
"Why do you want to be a Huntsman, Ruby?" Taiyang questioned with a look of slight concern. "Is there any particular reason or is it because of me?" He lifted the giggling girl as she gripped her face. He'll protect that smile with every chance that he gets. For regardless of what he may feel, as long as Ruby still smiles, then he'll be happy.
"You know the fairy tales that Yang reads?" Ruby asked, her silver eyes peering into his with admiration. "I always wanted to be a hero like in those stories. The closest thing that we have are Huntsman, so I'll work the hardest to be the best one. Maybe, then nobody will have to cry with Ruby, Master Huntress!" She threw her hands up in triumph, giggling as her dad started to tickle her chest while he held her up.
"I'm 5, not a baby!" she retorted cutely with a pout as he jokingly let her down.
"You're still my baby." He smiled as he led her upstairs to bed. "It's time for your bedtime. Your uncle Qrow is going to visit tomorrow and I bet that you want to be up early to see him." Of course, he's going to let her sleep late. After all, Qrow was probably going to arrive drunk, and he couldn't let his girls see their drunk uncle, especially at their impressionable age. Just because Yang already has a predilection towards violence, it doesn't mean that she'll grow up to go busting up bars and being a depressed alcoholic.
Taiyang sat back down and stared down at another badly written essay about Grimm combat. One does not simply punch the Grimm in the snout, even if it works with a plethora of other animals. He gazed down in desolation at the paper, his red pen cradled between his two fingers. "Fuck this shit." he mutters under his breath, "I'm going to sleep."
Trudging upstairs, he closes his bedroom door behind him and consigns himself to another night without his wife's warm body sleeping next to him.
Yang peers behind the door that leads to Ruby and her's room as her daddy trudged into bed. Regardless of what he may believe, he had changed since her mom's death. He seemed more lost as if he was just going through the motions of life. Outside of Ruby's appearance, there was little that bring a smile to his face. However, there was still her mother, the one who abandoned them so long ago. Maybe… maybe if she could find her, then they could have their family back together.
"Ruby." She whispered to the no-longer slumbering girl, "I'm going out to find my mom. I found out that mom is my adopted mom, and maybe Dad will feel better with her around."
"Sure! I want Dad to be happy!" Ruby chirped as she hastily wore a bright cloak and followed Yang out of the door. Daddy always slept deeply when he went to sleep.
Yang pulled out a cart from the barn when both of them left the house. They piled some blankets onto the wooden vehicle and embarked on their journey, not knowing where to start. It was snowing.
"Errr, let's go west!" Yang pointed towards the general direction as she started to pull the horse, who passively trudged along.
"Yay! Road trip!" Ruby cried in delight as the cart started to slowly wheel through the beaten road under the shattered moon.
"What are we going to do when we find your mom?", Ruby asked as she stares into the inky blackness of the forest trail. There may be Grimm in there, but she doesn't see anything, so they should be safe. Yang continued forth, ignoring the nervous horses prancing from foot to foot.
"We're going to drag her here, with or without her consent," Yang replied with a determined face as the horse suddenly reared its legs up and ran forward in a sprint. "Hold up there!" Yang cried as she chased it while Ruby is unknowingly riding to her demise.
A loud growl caused horse and girl alike to freeze in fear as if standing before a predator. "Oh no," Yang whispered as she saw the pack of Beowulf stalking the defenseless silver-eyed girl. "Ruby!" She ran towards the pack as they slowly encroached the cart, growling in barely-disguised anger.
Ruby stared at the angry red eyes of the Grimm in fear, lying under the blankets in fear, praying that there is someone to save her. Someone like a hero. All she could do is pray. And a prayer returned.
[Child, take my flag.]
There was a battle standard in her mind-just floating there. There was a golden symbol like no other woven on a white canvas with golden trimming. There was a tassel tying the canvas to the pointed staff, something that looks pure as snow. Something cool and interesting to Ruby's currently fear-addled mind. It was floating in the recesses of her mind, enshrouded in a red glow. Was this…. Her semblance? She knew that her semblance can appear in times of terror and this certainly is one, but what was her semblance?
[I have seen your conviction… and I have decided to assist you in your admirable goal, in the name of the Almighty Father.]
"Who… who are you?" Ruby asked as she stares at the Grimm's skull-like mask. It was peering down at her eyes as if interested in them. Its claws were gripping the cart's thin wooden walls, causing it to crack under the weight.
[I had a name in my legends, but you may call me Ruler. Now grip the flag and call its name, the name that you know lies within your very soul!]
As if entranced, Ruby tried to grasp imaginary air, only for a glowing-white flag to appear in her hands. The Grimm's hate-filled eyes started to stare at the shining staff, a growl threatening to escape its throat as its haunches prepare to plunge into the cart.
[Now say its name with me…. Luminosité Eternelle: God is Here With Me!]
"Luminosité Eternelle: God is Here With Me!" Ruby cried out as the flag starts to glow an ethereal white, forcibly rebutting the Beowulf Grimm, causing them to disintegrate from the holy light as if their very existence is being destroyed by it. A glowing column surrounds Ruby, encircling the very flag that so many people follow in belief that it is their very salvation. Yang, upon seeing her little sister, swore that she saw a blonde-haired girl with a silver helmet standing behind the 5-year-old. Grimm howled into the night as gunshots can be heard in the near distance.
"Ruby! Yang! I'm coming!" Qrow yelled as he jumped to where Yang was standing in shock, only to also freeze in awe at the flag that Ruby held in her hands. "What…. What is that?" he croaked in confusion at the impossibly beautiful battle standard in his niece's hand, flying an unknown symbol proudly above her head. A shining cross was floating above her head. Ruby's shining eyes looked at Qrow before they rolled backward and she collapsed onto the ground. The battle standard disappeared into golden motes of light. He rushed forward, dropping Harbinger to grab Ruby with both of his arms.
Ruby woke up in a dark room, with 9 gates standing imposingly before her. Only one of them was lit up with a golden cross floating above it. She looked at the currently glowing gate. There appeared to be a straight crack down the center with a pair of scales engraved onto it. It's probably a Ruler. Ruby then walked about the empty and dark room, looking at the rest of the gates.
The first one she came to was a gate with a sword engraved on it. It wasn't shining at all, with a dark grey rose petal floating above it. Ruby frowned, the rose petal doesn't look pretty with that coloring. The arrogant energy behind the gate seemed to simultaneously brag over her existence and try to calm her down. If she pressed her ear against the gate, Ruby thought that she can hear singing. Horrible singing, but still singing. She continued forth.
The second gate had a bow engraved on it, hanging above it was an intact moon hanging over it. It was peculiar, seeing as Ruby has been used to seeing the familiar shattered appearance of the moon, but this moon is intact, as perfect in shape as a cookie. She could feel concern over her wellbeing, coupled with an animalistic hatred towards who dared harmed her. She continued forth.
The third gate had a spear engraved on it. Instead of having a symbol floating above it, this gate had ivy crawling up, crystal growth crawled up its sides. Ruby didn't like the feeling that the gate had. It felt like what she felt when she was about to die from the Grimm as if her very being is feeling scared. This contrasted from what was inside the gate. She could feel a sisterly sort of affection, something similar to Yang, yet like a harsh taskmaster, like her math teacher. Shivers. She continued forth.
The fourth gate had a boar skull on it? It reminded her of a boarbatusk, a Grimm that'll charge at anything. The gate had a bloody red blade, lighting the gate in a ghastly glow. Despite its ghostly appearance, all Ruby felt was a sense of laziness, as if the being insider doesn't want to deal with anything...
The fifth gate had a horse head engraved on it. Above it hung a surfboard. It seemed as if whatever was inside just came for the beach. She'll let it be. She continued forth.
The sixth gate had a skull engraved on it. There were four oddly shaped daggers above it. Intellectually, Ruby should be terrified of the blood dripping from it. But the sad energy within it just wants to hug her. Ruby is going to open that. But she should check on the others.
The seventh gate had a wand engraved on it. It reminded Ruby of one of those fairy tales about fantasy and magic. There was an image of a fox curled up within a sun floating suspended above the gate, the sun softly casting its light over the gate. The energy seemed to reach out to her eagerly as if wanting to be with her but being unable to. How is that? Is it not her semblance? Shouldn't she be able to use it regardless? She continued forth.
The last gate had fire engraved onto it. The gate terrified Ruby. It feels animalistic, radiating hatred towards everything and even her. A sickle is hanging above it, dripping blood onto the gate as if trying to erode the gate. She vowed to never upon that gate, even if her life depended on it. Ruby doubted that she'll ever survive whatever is inside it if she opens it.
One thing that all of the gates had in common was that they all emanated a terrifying amount of energy as if they were fully unleashed, the world wouldn't be able to deal with it. Something that her body and soul can barely channel. She shivered in fear before a warm embrace held her in the chest, like how Yang does it. Unconsciously, Ruby nuzzled into the warm body.
"Are you okay, child?" Ruby looked up to see the blonde-haired woman that was talking to her before.
"Where am I?" Ruby inquired as she looked around the dark void.
"We are in your soul." Ruler responded as she brang out Luminosité Eternelle. "Somehow, your semblance allowed you to bring heroes from the Throne of Heroes and gain the ability to imitate them."
"What?" Ruby glanced around, "This is my soul? But it's so… dark."
"It's your world." Ruler answered, "You decide on how to decorate it."
Ruby scrunched her eyes together, clearly deep in thought before the world expanded into a swirl of rose petals and the Yang/Rose household sprang into being along with lily and rose bushes lined it. "Good." Ruby nodded.
"So, just who or what are you?" Ruby asked as she sat on a bench that she summoned.
"I am servant Ruler, one of the nine heroic spirits that currently inhabit your soul." Ruler answered, "Heroic Spirits are spirits of heroes who achieved great deeds in life, have become objects of worship after their deaths. Essentially, we are existences that are removed from the cycle of Reincarnation and summoned. In your case, your soul connected with the Throne of Heroes and had brung 9 of them into it."
"Heroes?" Ruby continued asking as she looks at the flag, "Then what is your weapon?"
"Oh, this?" Ruler spun her battle standard around her before planting it on the ground, "This is Luminosité Eternelle, one of my Noble Phantasms. They are crystalized mysteries, the manifestations of a Heroic Spirit's legend. For this Noble Phantasm, I used to lead men to battle using this, being the flagbearer that inspired my army as a witness to the Holy Spirit."
"That's sooo cool!" Ruby exclaimed as her eyes start to sparkle, "I want to have a weapon but Dad would never let me near his or Uncle Qrow's."
"Well, you can borrow mine until you can wield one of your own." Ruler replied.
Ruby then noticed the tornado of roses is now going towards the gate with a sword.
"Bum, bum, bum! Saber has arrived!" A scantily dressed woman exited from the gate while Ruler humphed before looking at the lilies. "Greetings, master! I hope that we can the best of friends! Right, right." She grabbed the little girl and drew her sword like a hero of olden times.
"Is she your sister, Ruler?" Ruby asked in confusion as Ruler palmed her forehead.
"No. She is not." Ruler grounded out as she looks at the now happily-prancing Saber, who was perusing the rose bushes.
"These flowers are very nice, Praetor Rose." Saber remarks. "Not as good as the ones that I grew while being Emperor of Rome, but it shows that your soul is quite clean."
"Wha?" Ruby queried as Saber placed her fist in her palm.
"Umu! I have decided that you are worthy of my excellence!" Saber announced, "I hope that you do implement a sword within your weapon of choice when the time comes. Now you are free to leave!"
"Yes. As much as I want to disagree with Saber," Ruler said with a dull expression as Ruby was just standing about in confusion. "Your family is currently standing at your bedside in worry. I fear that they may take more extreme measures to wake you up, which we both know that you don't want to experience. So re-awaken, we'll always be by your side… and may your faith protect you. You will be seeing us in your dreams, after all, this is your mind."
Ruby fell into a torrent of rose petals as she flailed about in confusion.
"Ruler? Saber? Somebody?" Ruby thrashed about in a cottony covering before realizing that it was her blanket. "Is anybody here?"
"Ruby!" Yang jumped into the bed and started to hug her sister with the strength to break one's spine.
"Stop! Stop!" Ruby windmilled her arms about as she struggled to escape her sister's deathly hug.
"Arghh! Sorry, Rubes!" Yang cried out as she let go of Ruby and dashes out to grab their dad and uncle. "Dad! Uncle! Ruby's awake."
"Ruler? Saber? You there?" Ruby thought as she grabbed her red cloak and changed into her everyday clothes to go downstairs. She woke up in her pajamas, while she was unconscious.
[Yes, I am here.] said Ruler while Saber exclaimed, [Heya, Praetor!]
"Oh, thank Oum! I am just wondering, how do I summon your… Noble Phantasms, right?" Ruby asked, really wanting to play around with the non-conventional weapon.
[Just think about Luminosité Eternelle and raise your hands forward. Be wary about the "Aura" drain.] Ruler explained gently as the image of the flag materializes in Ruby's mind,
"Thanks!' Ruby chirped before holding her hand out in intense concentration. Her Aura starts to flare around her, rising off her in thick gusts, as something settles onto her hand. Opening her eyes, Ruby was pleasantly surprised to see the battle standard of Ruler in her hands and automatically fitted for her size. Cool!
"What was that!?" Qrow yelled as he barged in through Ruby's door with Harbinger unsheathed before noticing her with a battle standard, "And where did you get that, young lady?"
"My semblance!" Ruby joyfully answered as she twirled it around, imitating Ruler's style. The spearpoint got caught on her bookcase and went straight through it. With a yelp, Ruby subconsciously dismissed the weapon as she stared along with her uncle in shock at the now broken bookcase. She hears more stomps walk to the door and paused, before continuing to stand behind her.
"Aww, biscuits." Ruby softly muttered as her Dad's hand grips her shoulder lightly.
"Ruby dear." He began, "I know that it is morning, but can you please tell me what happened to the room?"
Eh, good enough. You should've seen the first draft of this chapter. It was a clusterfuck that just followed the same old same old. Anyway, I wonder if you guys can guess all of the Heroic Spirits that I mentioned. In addition, this is only the Pilot. This may not update unless there is a big enough following. Have fun with that, I guess. Anyway, this was inspired by Zaralann's "Once More and Ever After….".