"We really are opposites." Emerald said as they clashed once more. "You were given everything, and me?" They broke apart. "I was given nothing." She hissed.
Weiss paused to think about it before she dodged Emerald's next attack, skating around the edges of the room.
Emerald did have a point. From what she could gather, Emerald was born poor, her parents abandoning her and leaving her in the streets. She'd resorted to thievery to make her way in the world, out of necessity, until she'd fallen under Cinder's influence. She really had had nothing.
However, Emerald didn't know that you could have everything and still have nothing.
That was how Weiss had grown up.
They were opposites, even in how they had both ended up here: Weiss using her connections to access this place on the behalf of her team, Emerald using her illusions to sneak in like a thief.
Weiss snorted slightly at the thought. "That's not really a good excuse to let the world burn." Because if Salem won, that's what was going to happen.
"I don't care about the world!" Suddenly, all around Weiss there were dozens of Emeralds, making it impossible to tell which was the real one. "This is how you survive!"
With a slash of Myrtenaster and a single glyph, Weiss summoned her ice, shattering the illusions, but Emerald was still nowhere in sight. "What about Cinder?" She couldn't help but ask, because even with their limited meetings, Emerald's devotion to her was as clear as day.
"This is the best way to save her!" Weiss whirled just in time to catch Emerald's attack on her blade. This close, Weiss could see the crazy look in Emerald's eyes. "If I please Salem, even if Cinder goes against her, I can make sure she's spared!"
They grappled a moment before breaking apart once more, and Weiss caught herself as she slid back. "You cannot be that stupid." Weiss would roll her eyes if she could afford to take them off Emerald.
"Shut up!" Emerald screamed, her whole body trembling, though Weiss didn't know if it was from rage or exhaustion. She'd already performed many illusions and her aura had to be running low. "You wouldn't understand! Cinder is all I have! She'll come back! And look at you!" She sneered as she leveled her blade at her. "You're alone!"
Weiss looked at her opponent with a smidge of pity. She knew that probably wasn't true, but there were no words that she could give to convince Emerald of Cinder's true nature. People had probably already told her before, but Emerald was trapped in her own illusion.
But there was one point that she just had to correct.
"You're wrong." Weiss told her.
"No, I'm not! Cinder will - "
"I can't say much about Cinder." Well, actually, she had a lot to say about Cinder, mostly in regards to how she seemed hellbent on killing a certain person she cared about, but that wasn't important at the moment. "But you are wrong about something."
The two of them had been circling each other, but now Weiss stopped to give Emerald her full undivided attention. She straightened to her full height, her free hand coming up to her chest.
"I'm not alone." Weiss said. "Maybe once that would've been true, but it's not anymore."
"You look pretty alone to me!"
Weiss didn't even hesitate as she turned and met Emerald's attack, the illusion already fading away before her. Emerald growled, and Weiss flipped the cartridges in Myrtenaster. A small glyph imbued with some lightning dust was enough to get Emerald to back up. Weiss created some platforms and hopped up to gain the high ground.
"Maybe to you I am, but Ruby promised." Weiss launched herself at Emerald, and even as they exchanged blows, Weiss couldn't help but smile at the thought of her partner. They came apart once more. "If I call for her, she'll be at my side in the blink of an eye. Because she won't leave me alone."
That was certainly true. Since the day they met, Ruby had never left her alone. She'd been the one to initially push their partnership, their friendship, everything that there was between them. Weiss had been the cautious one, so unused to the genuine affection that she'd had no clue what to do with it when it was being offered.
Weiss was immensely grateful. Both at Ruby for never giving up, and herself for letting her walls come down around her even if it had taken a while.
"Oh, yeah? Well, same here!" Emerald backed off a bit. "Cinder!" She called.
It took a few moments, but Weiss wasn't about to break the reprieve in their fight. Then there was a telltale click of heels, and Weiss raised an eyebrow as Cinder entered the room. Emerald shot Weiss a smug look but it vanished the moment Cinder opened her mouth.
"You finally located that brat?"
Emerald took a step back from Cinder. "N-no, I - "
"Ugh." Cinder rolled her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. "I told you to call me only when you found her. I have Neopolitan on stand-by, and you summoned me just for her." Weiss found herself on the receiving end of Cinder's glare before she whirled back around. "Don't waste my time."
"I… I…" This time Weiss knew exactly why Emerald was trembling.
Weiss sighed and closed her eyes.
"Team RWBY won't leave your side for a second! I promise."
"Okay, I know we have to separate for this mission, but it's just like when we stole the airship. I'll be right here, and the moment you call for me, I promise I'll be there by your side."
Rose petals, as red as blood, filled the air as a whirlwind struck the room, windows rattling in their frames.
Weiss opened her eyes to Ruby standing before her, hair still fluttering from the force of her run and arms already outstretched to grasp her face as she took in the signs of battle on her person.
"Oh, my gosh! Weiss, are you okay? What happened? It seemed like everything was going fine, what exactly - "
Weiss smiled at Ruby's endless questions, not even noticing the situation around them, which was highly unusual for her. Her hand came up to press against Ruby's on her cheek, allowing herself one moment to bask in her presence.
Just because Weiss was perfectly capable of handling things by herself, it didn't mean she necessarily wanted to.
Weiss's eyes flickered over to Emerald, and her heart clenched for a moment as she took in the devastation in her eyes.
She could practically see Emerald's heart breaking at the contrast in greeting.
They were truly opposites.
"Ruby," Weiss cut off Ruby's worrying and took a step back, though she didn't let go of Ruby's hand as she dropped it down, "Cinder's here."
Ruby instantly switched into battle mode. She drew her scythe at the sight of the seething Cinder. In moments, she and Weiss were back to back, Ruby facing Cinder and Weiss facing Emerald.
"So I guess we're switching to plan E?" Ruby asked lightly as she studied her opponent.
"It certainly seems like it." Weiss wouldn't let her guard now, even with Emerald's current state.
"Are you ready for this?"
Weiss smirked. "Always."
Back to back, side by side, Ruby and Weiss leapt into battle together.
AN: Emerald and Weiss have been hinted at having a battle since what? Volume 2? Volume 3? I just remember that back in the Beacon Days when the main team was paired up against the villains in the opening, it was always Weiss vs Emerald. I also once read a really good meta on all the ways they're opposites/contrasts that I wish I could find again, but was really informative (though I think the point of that post was that Emerald/Weiss is a good pairing which I don't really see, but whatever).
Anyway, it's not just their backgrounds that contrast, but their relationships, too. They are the closest people to Ruby and Cinder, and it's their most important relationship. But Emerald and Cinder's relationship is unhealthy, with Emerald only truly caring about Cinder (though I'm a bit unsure as to how she views their relationship) and Cinder just using Emerald for her own ends, ready to discard her whenever she becomes useless. Ruby and Weiss's relationship, on the other hand, is genuine and has been slowly building over the course of the whole show. They truly care for each other and they will fulfill their promises to each other. Cinder's promises are just another manipulation tactic towards Emerald.
Unfortunately, if Emerald is going to listen to anyone about how bad her and Cinder's relationship is, Mercury is probably the best bet and we all saw how well that worked out.