I OWN NOTHING
Ruby grit her teeth as she sprinted through the field of Grimm. It was chaos, madness, and in a way, it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen in her life. Team CFVY carved their way through an endless rush of creeps and beowulves, each of the monsters dying almost instantly. Team FNKI held the line as their leader Flynt drew a line in the sand and stood on it four times over, his killer quartet creating a devastating wall of sound.
Team SSSN moved with a precision Ruby had never expected, or seen, from them before as an aura amped Sun directed a hundred and seven clones to destroy every Grimm in their path while the rest of the team formed up around their immobile leader to defend him. Team BRNX fought as a single unit, perfectly in sync, Blake keeping her promise after she returned to never leave her team behind or separate them ever again.
Weiss fought alongside her sister, both women summoning up glyphs and Grimm to kill more Grimm and in turn summon those Grimm to fight as well, their personal army growing larger and larger with every kill. Penny flew above the battlefield raining fire, ice, and lightning down upon the enemies, destroying them in vast groups. The Ace Ops fought with the practiced ease of seasoned huntsmen. Atlas airships flew overhead destroying as many of the monsters as they possibly could.
The White Fang no longer masked or in the colors of the Grimm fought to a man with the same zeal they put towards fighting for the sake of the faunus because this was a fight for the world itself. There was no going back after this battle simply because if this battle failed there would be nothing left. For this brief, glorious moment in time Remnant stood truly united against a common enemy that wanted nothing more than the extinction of all sentient life. White Fang fought alongside Atlas soldiers fought alongside Valean huntsmen fought alongside Mistrali cartels fought alongside Vacuan nomads for the fate of Remnant. Even team CRDL fought just at the edge of Ruby's vision as the rowdy boys put their personal flavor of brutality to work fighting the creatures of Grimm.
In the middle of it all stood the form of her lover Jaune Arc, former King of Knights, former holder of Excalibur, guest of Avalon, the Once and Future King, and most importantly to Ruby's mind some dumb, good-hearted kid from Domremy who just really wanted to help people and do his family proud. In one hand there was a sword of blue crystal and gold filigree yet it hung loosely in his palm, forgotten now in favor of the staff in the other hand.
Jaune's semblance poured out from him in a gentle pulse of white and gold light. The Staff of Creation granted him limitless aura for him to gift to all those around him at once. Their small army protected by a shroud of aura that poured into their bodies, revitalizing them, strengthening them, allowing them to be more than ever before for as long as Jaune could maintain it.
As for Ruby herself, Ruby was everywhere. Her semblance was enhanced just like that first time at Haven two years ago, but now she had the benefit of experience and hours upon hours of practice. Ruby scattered into a million little rose petals that filled the air and darted to and fro. She couldn't summon up her reality marble anymore due to the nature of the magic. She was no longer the same person as Shirou Emiya was back then, but still she had the memories and blue prints from Unlimited Bladeworks and so rose petals coalesced and took the shape of cursed spears and drill swords and falchions and arrows and swords upon swords upon swords in a uncountable number of shapes and sizes.
None of them were truly noble phantasms, lacking the strange and esoteric powers of the originals but they were all still VERY sharp and properly weighted and quantity was very much a quality all its own. Bladed weapons rained down on the Grimm in the battlefield before breaking apart and flowing to form new blades and fly at different targets. A nevermore seeking to divebomb Sun Wukong found itself run through by arrows from multiple angles at once. A beringel that managed to break through the lines and was coming up behind Weiss and Winter was pierced from toe to tip by a half dozen rose red stakes.
A hundred and seven copies of Ruyi Bang and Jingu Bang filled the hands of the hundred and seven copies of Sun Wukong as they tore through the ranks of the grimm smashing in the heads of those who opposed them and firing off blasts of aura hardened rose petals. Ruby herself would form her body out of rose petals and dip into the fray as well. In one hand she held her weapon Waxing Petal and fired directly into the gaping maw of an angry sobek. From the other hand Ruby threw Waning Thorn into an ursa, the blade of the scythe stabbing deep into the flesh of the monster and with a flick of a switch gravity dust activated, seeking to pull the two weapons back together
The ursa stumbled in Ruby's direction but it definitely had the weight advantage and Ruby wasn't interested in fighting physics. The Huntress let the pull of her weapon carry her as she jumped up and forward, feet pointing towards the ursa as momentum carried her past the beast. Ruby hooked Waxing Petal's brilliant white and red scythe blade around the monster's throat as she passed and grabbing hold of both handles Ruby planted her feet against the ursa's back and PULLED. Waning Thorn tearing out and dealing massive amounts of damage made pointless by Waxing Petal cutting off the Grimm's head entirely.
Suddenly a blast of flame tore through the ranks of the Grimm in front of Ruby and carved a path leading forwards through the horde of Grimm. Using the sudden reprieve to spare a glance up Ruby spared a glance up and spied one, two, three, four maidens working in concert to lay waste to the forces of the Grimm that surrounded their forces. Taking in the now glowing form of Arslan Altan in flight Ruby realised the plan had actually worked. Cinder was definitely good and the power of the maiden was to be feared and respected for a reason but she still wasn't, 'defeat the three other maidens by herself all at once' good.
Ruby and company moved as a unit taking the fight straight through the Grimm as for the first time in memory all four maidens simultaneously unleashed their full powers in unison to kill as many Grimm as possible, clearing the way for the final battle.
-When The Search Ends-
Jaune could taste blood in his mouth as he pulled himself forward, step by agonizing step. Every single nerve ending was on fire as he was overloaded by more raw energy than any human was meant to handle and still he took it in, processed it, and sent it back out to heal and empower the others around him. He kept pace with the march of their party as he coated the area around them in light. In a way it almost reminded him of his old sheath Avalon. Lesser in a way maybe but now he could gift the power and healing to others, a power to protect and strengthen his troops. Not the power of a champion but of a leader.
The power that had led them to this point and allowed them to not just hold the line but press on as well. Jaune was keeping pace with the group in spite of the pain, he held on and did his best to stay in the middle because at the end what was pain in the face of a battle of this magnitude? A battle for their very right to exist, to live.
So Jaune focused on his task and he continued on. Through fire and blood and one thousand evils surrounding them, he maintained his death grip on the Staff of Creation and poured out energy in a brilliant corona of white and gold light. Somehow in the middle of everything despite all the pain he felt a gentle, featherlight touch on his hand, warm and soft and comforting while simultaneously hard and calloused and rough. The hand he dearly loved to hold. The hand of one Ruby Rose pulling Jaune to a stop.
Looking up Jaune saw before them a castle and gliding towards them was the enemy. The black hearted witch Salem unfortunately corrupted into her current form by the very Grimm pools she now manipulated. This was it, a fight for the sake of humanity, surrounded by all the evils of the world given shape, and facing a broken woman corrupted to her core.
Gently, Ruby tugged at the staff in his hand but before Jaune let it go he let loose one grand pulse, stronger than the rest, to fill those around him with as much aura as they could physically handle. The rest of the teams sprang into action each taking their part in this desperate gamble of a plan. Salem was powerful, too powerful. Stronger than any one of them and stronger than all of them together so something needed to be done. The silver eyes, a gift and weapon of light and creation to burn away the destruction, would be powered by the staff of creation and Jaune's semblance to be more than they ever were before. The sword of destruction, still held in Jaune's grip, a crystallization of power that on the surface level of appearance looked nothing at all like Excalibur yet there was no mistaking the way it felt in his hand. The way it thrummed against his very essence and hummed with a conceptual power, not of victory made manifest, but true, overwhelming destruction.
It would take a moment for Ruby and Jaune to ready their respective attacks though and that was where the squad came in. Their teams. Their family almost. The most courageous group of people Jaune had ever been granted the privilege to know, any one of them would've been a welcome addition to the Round Table.
Team BRNX dashed to the fore as Jaune began pouring his own overcharged aura directly into the relic. Every blow from Ren, though gentle in appearance, made a crack like thunder as Grimm after Grimm exploded from the sudden and violent introduction of aura into their systems. Nora and Yang each dashed forward and every strike pulped a black and white monstrosity as the huntresses' already monstrous strength was enhanced to truly superhuman levels. And most impressive of all was their dear leader Blake.
The faunus danced around the battlefield leaving shadow clone after shadow clone behind her but surprisingly each was solid and carried their own weapons. A fact Blake took great advantage of when after four quick side steps at the front facing into the horde she took a page out of Flynt's playbook and had four clones make four simultaneous aura slashes carving four lines through the mass of Grimm in front of them.
Team Schnee's own personal horde of sparkling white and blue Grimm had apparently gotten large as they were willing or able to make it and so the sisters each took sword in hand and waded into the battlefield. Winter moved with a deadly efficiency as she dashed across the battlefield, the very image of a model soldier. Every time she struck a Grimm died. Every time she parried, an attack was turned away from her and into another Grimm nearby. No movement was wasted.
Weiss on the other hand, dear, darling Weiss, his eighth sister if ever anyone had earned that dubious honor, was wild. To and fro she flitted, bouncing constantly from one glyph to the next leaving trails of dead Grimm in her wake. Yellow glyphs of time dilation giving her the needed time and speed to set up bigger and grander effects of dust casting, because what was the point of conserving ammo now? Either they survived or they didn't. Gone was the prim and proper heiress from their first year of Beacon who sat unsure of herself but didn't know how to show it. This was a wild snow fairy or warrior princess and those who killed her partner, who scarred her visage, who had caused so much pain and suffering the world over would know the wrath she had been saving.
Even team CRDL did their part, Jaune mused, as they formed up around Ruby and himself. "ALRIGHT BOYS!" Cardin shouted above the roar of the battle. "NO MATTER WHAT NO ONE TOUCHES THEM! YOU GET HURT, YOU KEEP FIGHTING! YOU DIE, YOU WALK IT OFF!"
It would have brought a tear to the eye, if Jaune had had the time for such things, as he felt the power build within the blade and their target slowly come into range. They were all so very different from who they were even just those four years ago at Beacon but that was the nature of things wasn't it?
At every point of their lives they became different people. Not in the grand way Arturia and Shirou had as they lived life after life to reach each other, but in the small ways that every creature does to avoid stagnating. The way you decide to change your hair from a style you had for years, the way your tastes change just that little bit to complement a partner, or even just the way you (Cardin) eventually grow out of being a bit of an asshole as the real world shows you that in the end, we're all just trying our best.
And then there was no time left for musing in that detached way. The power was built and aching for release as Jaune felt the very concept of destruction itself start to leak from the sword in black, smoky wisps. Threatening to tear apart his very being as he held on for the opportune moment, and then it arrived. There the witch was, so sure in her immortality and victory that her hubris could let her do no less than show up herself to handle the nuisance. It was that hubris that Jaune and Arturia had counted on. That hubris that Shirou and Ruby knew they could capitalize on as long as they made it obvious that the Grimm wouldn't stop them.
Thirty feet, teams FNKI and SSSN dashed out of the way as she lashed out with magic, each beating a quick retreat.
Twenty feet, teams Schnee and BRNX swiftly pulled back but not before taking potshots at the Queen of the Grimm.
Ten feet and it was time. Team CRDL split and pulled back behind Jaune and Ruby no longer needing their protection and more importantly, no longer needing the larger boys to hide them from view.
To Jaune's left Ruby positively glowed with silver light as it cascaded off of her in waves and poured from her eyes like great wings made of brilliant light and polished metal. Jaune himself could now see his once pristine white armor stained a dark, insidious black as he became cloaked in destruction itself. Catching the recognition in the witch's eyes and seeing her visage turn to caution and anger, Jaune lifted the Sword of Destruction above his head before letting loose one last battle cry.
"THIS IS A BATTLE TO SAVE THE WORLD!"
And as those fated words echoed across the battlefield Jaune swung down as Ruby opened her eyes and unleashed their full brilliance. A pitch black curtain and a wave of silver brilliance struck Salem at the same time. The concentrated destruction wearing away at the curse of light and sapping the witch's life force. Pure creation set to attack burned away the corrupting influence of the Grimm pool across the woman and as the energy poured out Jaune's field of view was overtaken by shifting waves of pristine silver and pitch black.
In the middle of all this though, Jaune experienced something he hadn't in months. The familiar sense of deja vu washed over him and once again they were no longer Jaune and Ruby of Vale. Once again they were a hopeful boy and a hopeless king. Fighting a seemingly unkillable foe, each with hands on the same sword as they both poured everything they had into this one moment. This one attack to end it all. Somewhere in the midst of it all Jaune's left hand had slipped from the sword to reach toward Ruby. Ruby's right hand had apparently had the same idea.
And so spent and being greeted by a completely empty field ahead of them once their vision cleared, Jaune felt his vision go white again as he fell into unconsciousness. He felt he had earned a nap.
So there we are. I hope this doesn't disappoint anyone, I tried very hard to come up with a final battle worthy of both Nasu and RWBY and I think I did ok. For those paying attention I did make sure that I referenced seven of the restrictions of Excalibur being lifted for fun flavor over the course of Jaune's POV. A virtual hug, an internet cookie, and a shout out in the final chapter to everyone who can name the exact restrictions I used lol.
We're almost at the end now everybody, all that's left is the epilogue in chapter 6. The payoff that I've been building towards for the entire fic. I hope you all have enjoyed the ride so far. I know some of my choices have been unpopular but I stand by my decision and the story I wanted to tell. I hope you all choose to join me for the final chapter and I'm amazingly grateful for the love shown to a new writer.
Have a great day everyone, and don't forget to love each other.