– Weiss –
"Are you out of your mind, young lady?!" Her father shouted over the scroll, making her wince. "How dare you go behind my back and do something like this?!"
"First, your demands of wanting to become some barbaric huntress, then your insistence on going to Beacon and not Atlas." He cut her off. "Now this?! Haven't you done enough?!"
"I am TRYING to bring more profit to the SDC!" Weiss argued, trying her hardest not to blow up on him. "How can you not see the well of wealth that is Menagerie?!"
"Yes, why don't we invest in the terrorists that tried to have us all killed." He countered with a sarcastic tone. "I'm sure that won't have any side effects whatsoever."
"We can stop them that way." She said. "Provoking them won't get them to stop, alright?"
"I did not raise you to bend your knees to some animals." Jacques sneered, making her flinch. "You're the Heiress of the SDC and the second daughter of the highly esteemed Schnee Family. Act like it."
Weiss' temper flared at that, the overwhelming irony and lack of self-awareness this man had nearly giving her an aneurysm. How could he say that to her when he's not even a Schnee by blood? He's some dickless moron who tricked her grandfather and mother, married into the family, and drove said mother into chronic depression.
And now he wants to tell her how to act like a Schnee? This slimy bastard knew how to get on her nerves, but Weiss knew what he was trying to do. Rile her up, get her to do something dumb, and turn it against her.
It was then Reid entered the empty room of his mansion, where Weiss paced around while arguing with her father. She only gave him a glance, but went right back to the argument, feeling a bit calmer in his presence.
"I have. It's you who doesn't act like a true businessman." Weiss shot back. "You're letting an opportunity like this slide because, what, you don't like Faunus?"
"Don't you dare talk back to me." He scowled. "I've been far too lenient with you in recent years, but I've had enough of your disrespect. If you don't behave yourself, you can live in Vale for all I care."
Big warning. However, Weiss was unperturbed. She was more angry than anything really and was about to respond in a slightly immature manner, but then Reid snatched the scroll from her and turned on Facetime.
"Yo, Jacques." He greeted casually. "Nice to finally talk to you."
Her father was stunned.
"M-Mr. Reid Astera…" Jacques muttered, swallowing a lump in his throat. "It's my honor. Truly."
"I'm sure. Listen, let's just cut to the chase, since I'm sure you're pretty busy. Trust me, I know what a businessman's life is like." Reid said. "Simply put, I'm gonna need you to let Weiss here do her own thing for a bit, alright?"
"You know, netting you more money, becoming friends with Menagerie, that stuff." Her lover waved it off. "I'm sure you're very concerned about your daughter's life, but I'll be there too, and I promise I'll protect her from harm. She and I have gotten very close, y'know."
Weiss blushed as he put his hand on her shoulder.
"W-well, I appreciate the sentiment, but I can't in good conscience let my own daughter go to Menagerie." He responded, almost making her roll her eyes. "The White Fang is the prime enemy of the SDC, and perhaps Atlas as a whole. Who knows what kind of nasty traps they could've prepared for her."
Lying bastard. He couldn't have cared less if she died.
"Jacques, buddy, I will be there. Besides, that's why she is going to Menagerie, to put a stop to this war." Reid argued. "Wouldn't you want the attacks on your company to stop? To trade with possibly one of the richest continents on Remnant?"
"Then why not trust your daughter on this? I've seen how powerful of a businesswoman she could be." He praised her, subtly bringing her closer to him. "Give the authority just this once. The results might surprise you."
"Mr. Astera, I understand and fully appreciate the trust you have in Weiss." Her father glanced at her momentarily before looking back at Reid, composing himself. "But no matter what you say, I cannot betray Atlas or my family."
"So you'd rather be my enemy, then?" Reid's tone dropped, and so did the air around them. "Is that it, Jacques?"
Her father froze.
"You can pretend and lie about your loyalty to Atlas all you want, but know this: Make the bad decision here, and your entire company will collapse." The Titan Slayer said. "You can't fight me on this, Jacques, and you don't want to be my enemy."
"A-are you threatening me?" He narrowed his eyes.
"I'm warning you." Reid shrugged. "If you're truly loyal to Atlas, you'd listen to your daughter, because if you don't, your kingdom, and by extension you, will not get a whiff of my potions."
Jacques did not say a word as he glared at them.
"So for once in your life, do the right thing." He continued. "You will let Weiss do whatever she wants unless you want to go against me. Are we clear?"
"...I'll think about it."
Both Weiss and Reid knew that this meant 'yes'.
"Good, because I'm done talking," Reid said. "Who knows, maybe you'll re-earn some of the goodwill Nicolas had that you've wasted."
With that, her lover ended the call, and Weiss was very mesmerized by how he basically dismantled her father's confidence and arrogance.
"That was amazing!" She said, taking the scroll back. "He seriously couldn't do anything."
"The power of being a god. Politically anyway.." He shrugged. "Seriously, I don't think this would've been anywhere near as effective if I never killed the Titans. Also, I'm surprised you didn't lead with that."
"What do you mean?"
"Being in contact with me?" Reid raised a brow. "Would've probably made this entire thing a lot smoother."
"I don't think so. He'd refuse to believe me, and it wasn't what I wanted to start with." Weiss sighed. "And… I thought that maybe, just maybe, he'd see the bigger picture on his own."
"You still had faith in him?"
"I had faith in him as a businessman, not a father." She clarified. "I know that cold bastard doesn't have a shred of love for me or any of my siblings, but maybe I could've convinced him of the benefits of expanding to Menagerie. But apparently not, he's too stubborn to even entertain the idea."
"I see." Reid gently patted her head. "Well, what matters is that we 'got his approval', so we can make our preparations to Menagerie soon."
"Of course." Weiss nodded enthusiastically. "I've never been to Menagerie, so I'm a bit nervous admittedly, but I promise I'll do my best."
"Don't worry, I've never left Vale myself." He shrugged, then paused. "Well, technically I have, but that's a long story. Anyway, meet me in the battlegrounds so I can explain the second stage of your training."
– Reid –
I hate having to keep track of way too many projects. It's mentally exhausting and annoying, but I only have myself to blame. I barely have enough time already, with my work and the follow-ons from my recent meeting, but I just keep having more and more ideas.
First, my expanding business. The potions are being sold out at an amazing rate, but I'm able to keep up with the demands pretty damn easily, so this means I should finally start branching out. I've bought some lands to make farms for my magically-enhanced ingredients, like the Mana Apples and more.
I've also managed to automate battle golem production to an extent. They're not that impressive– only being made of rocks, steel, and some dust, but they're tough enough for the time being. Trying to automate elite golem production is going to eat up all of my materials very quickly.
So that's two branches ready to be shown to the public. The security branch and the farming branch.
Second, I need to deal with the slaver problem here permanently, and from what I've gathered, one of the councilmen is involved in it and needs to be put down, but so far, they've been as quiet as a mouse. Pig Emperor's presence simply vanished after that trap failed to kill me.
I've been keeping in touch with Roman, but even he's turned up nothing. According to him, he knew that the guy was pretty much related to one of the councilmen anyway, and he sent Neo to go information gathering, but she just found nothing on the guy, it's like he's never existed. I've even sent a few spy Golems around to follow the councilmen, but so far, nothing. He's incredibly careful, and I'm starting to get impatient.
Do I really have to wait for the Vytal Festival for you to do something? Just fuck up already. Jesus.
Third, my Stardust and the things I want to make with it. I turned one of them into a power cell for my mansion shield, but I don't know what I want to do with the rest. There are so many choices and my indecisive ass doesn't know what to do.
The common choice would be weapons, but unless I want to annihilate a few continents – possibly the one I'm standing on – there ain't much I can do with it. These things are too damn strong to be used as a base for guns or something.
They're best used as a power source. That's a start– turn them into batteries for something very powerful. I'd say a Giga Golem could work, but I'm gonna need a lot of high-quality materials to make it withstand the overflowing energy. Otherwise, it would just break instantly. I still have the ultra divine ice metal, but I'm using that for armor, and not a Golem.
I pause my work on the newest device as another idea forms in my mind. Why not both? Armor that can act independently like other Golems? Maybe refine the Stardust and turn it into a core or reactor for it. Add some self-repairing runes and I get unbreakable armor.
Wait, that's actually really fucking smart. If I make it repair itself fast enough, it'll be completely impenetrable. I'll be invincible inside it, and then I won't have to worry about going into high-tier dungeons anymore and continue racking up levels like it's nothing.
Theoretically, it should be possible to make it at my current level, but there's one problem. A very big one and that's the lack of good resources. I have Stardust and ice metal, but those aren't enough to make something that powerful. There are too many things I have to account for.
I need Manasteel to enhance the runes' strength and quality, another, equally powerful metal to pair with the ice metal for an overall boost in strength and ability, artifacts to improve the ritual of making the armor…
I need a lot of things if I want to make it my Magnum Opus.
Well, at the very least, I have a plan now.
…Wait, shit, that's just another thing to add to my to-do list. Fuck, how does this keep happening?
I think I should go dungeon diving soon. I don't need the levels, but most of the issues stem from my lack of magical materials and my inability to make my own. Also, I feel pretty rusty. Training the girls is fun and all, but they're still not nearly strong enough to make me get serious. I haven't had a real fight in a while.
I need to make some free time soon. I feel like I'm being choked.
Once I finish my newest invention, I step back and marvel at my utter genius. Finally, now I don't have to guess what kind of element my girls will have once I cum in them. Introducing the… Device-That-Knows-Your-Magical-Element. Pending name and patent.
It's a dark-colored rectangular pillar that reaches up to my stomach with a glass top. Using it is pretty simple– you just have to put your hand on the glass and it'll analyze your magical element. Once it's done, it'll tell you what kind of element you have by showing you the symbol of said element.
Now I don't want to test it out myself because I have four elements and I'm not sure how it's gonna react to that. But I'm in my secret-secret base that's underground, so I don't have any of my girls here to help me out…
I pause as I turn to look at my familiar, snoozing on a pile of pillows. I still don't know what elements Gwyn has.
"Oi, wake up," I call out, making him stir. "I need you to do something for me real quick."
Gwyn opens his eyes slowly before stretching with a yawn. He gets off and walks up to me, looking at me in mild annoyance.
"The hell is up with this look?" I raise a brow. "You've been at it for over twelve hours. Haven't you had enough sleep?"
He honest-to-god rolls his fucking eyes at me with an uncaring grunt. I don't know when or who he learned this from, but I'm almost in shock at his sass. I can sense his overflowing boredom and can't even criticize or chastise him for it. We really haven't been doing anything fun anymore.
"Gwyn, I've been busy with so much lately. I barely have time for myself." I groan, but he isn't convinced. "I get that you don't really comprehend these human things like business, but they're very important, you know."
His expression doesn't change, making me sigh deeply.
"Listen, we're going to Menagerie soon." I remind him. "When we're there, you can go out there and explore it at your leisure, maybe look for some dungeons we can clear out together. Sounds good?"
This gets him to react as his tail swishes behind him, licking me in the face when I feel the bubbling excitement from him. Said excitement is infectious as I start petting him with a smile.
"That's a good boy." I rub his chin. "Now I want you to do something for me. Put your paw on this glass."
Gwyn does as he's told, and the machine begins to emit a humming noise as it starts analyzing. My giant dog tilts his head at it as the glass starts to glow white, and once the humming stops, I tell him to put his paw away.
I see and quickly recognize the symbol. Three wavy lines on top of each other– Wind Magic. So on top of his wind semblance, Gwyn has wind magic.
"Oh, this is good. It works very well, and now we know what element you can use." I say. "And what you have synergizes very well with your semblance. Man, the things you'll be able to do are gonna be nuts."
I need to show this to Velvet soon. I'm dying to know what kind of element she has.
– Blake –
After the revelation that magic apparently existed, Blake thought Reid was done with surprises, not really expecting him to tell them about an entirely different source of power. How he kept discovering all these new and different things Blake didn't know, but at the very least he was willing to share this knowledge with them.
Haki, he called it, and the explanation for it was vague. Manifestation of Willpower? How did that even work? Whatever it was, she knew Reid wasn't one to exaggerate things, so if what he said was true, then mastering only one of those would make them stronger than Titans by themselves.
Of course, it wasn't as easy as it seemed. They'd been trying to unleash it for, what, five hours? And with nothing to show for it. But that was fine, they had all the time they could need, according to him.
"I feel like Reid is being deliberately annoying again," Ruby said with a huff, stopping her attempt at manifesting this power. "Why can't he stop being so cryptic all the time?"
"He likes being mysterious." Her sister shrugged. "Someone needs to tell him it doesn't make him look cool."
"Why won't you?" Blake raised a brow.
"No way, I don't have the heart for it," Yang said. "Plus, I think it makes him look kinda adorable. A bit irritating, yeah, but also cute."
"Don't let him hear you say that," Ruby replied.
"What? Nah, he's all the way over there." The blond pointed at the other side of the training grounds, where he leaned against the wall. "There's no way he could've heard me."
Unbeknownst to her partner, Reid glared at her from behind the glass for a moment before returning his attention to his scroll, impressing the Faunus with his sense of hearing. Both Blake and Levianna saw that and turned to Yang.
"I think he heard you," Levianna said with a whisper.
"So how did that meeting go?" Yang ignored her teammate and asked the heiress, who was in deep concentration the whole time.
Broken out of said concentration, Weiss turned to meet Yang's eyes.
"Hm? Oh, that. A lot better than I expected, honestly," Weiss responded positively with a smile. "I've managed to convince Ms. Khan to give me a chance at expanding to Menagerie."
"Wow, that good?" The blond's eyebrows shot up, as did Blake's. "Doesn't she have a mega hate boner for you and your family?"
Levi and Ruby snickered childishly at Yang's vulgar, but accurate description of Sienna's hatred as Blake and Weiss simply ignored it. Was she really able to get through to the High Leader? Sienna's main goal had always been to destroy the Schnee Family, seeing them as the biggest enemy and evil for the Faunus.
Convincing her of all people to let the Schnee Business into Menagerie was truly an achievement. More than that, it would also mean Jacques, who Blake knew for sure was the problem, if Weiss' lack of affection for him was anything to go by, would have to agree to that.
"How did your father react to this?" Blake asked in genuine curiosity.
"As well as you'd expect." Weiss deadpanned. "So not very good."
"Are you sure this is a good idea, Weiss?" Blake asked again. "You might very well end up losing your heiress position. Worst case scenario, you'll end up being wanted in Atlas for treason."
Blake wasn't sure why she suddenly cared that much about her team leader. A few months ago, she'd say it's either worth the sacrifice and try to support her or tell her to get the hell away from Menagerie. True, she'd grown very fond of Weiss, but the Faunus didn't realize it was to this degree.
Weiss was gonna end up hurting a lot if this didn't work. The media and most of Remnant thought the White Fang were terrorists, so giving them easy access to Dust would be highly suspicious and dangerous. From their point of view anyway.
This got the other girls to look at the heiress in concern. Of course, they personally know Weiss, so they wouldn't think that she was doing it out of malice. This couldn't be said for civilians and politicians, though.
"That's what I thought at first, too." Weiss nodded in acknowledgment. "I honestly don't think this would've been anywhere near as possible without Reid and his influence."
"Reid?" Ruby blinked. "What does he have to do with this?"
"He's giving me his support. Publicly." The SDC Heiress clarified. "And not even a kingdom as strong as Atlas would want to be his enemy. With him, I'm untouchable. Sure, it'll draw suspicions, but the media won't immediately try to tear his throat out, or even be able to, which will give us enough time to prove that what we're doing is genuine."
"The White Fang would still be out there, though," Blake argued. "Giving them your dust and Reid's potions will make them a military threat."
"Ms. Khan has agreed to stop her operations across Remnant." Her team leader said, shocking Blake. "That means no more White Fang attacks."
Blake almost couldn't believe it. How were they able to convince SIENNA to practically drop her own revolution? Just what the hell happened in that meeting? Was Reid really that politically powerful– so much so that even the High Leader would listen to him so quickly?
And not like he did it on his own. Having Weiss there would be disadvantageous to him because of her hatred for the Schnee. So not only would Menagerie be getting support from the Titan Slayer with his potions and Dust from the biggest distributor in the world, but this pointless war was just… done?
Was it really that easy?
"Woaaah." Ruby's eyes sparkled in admiration. "So wait, you basically stopped the White Fang without even having to fight? That's so cool!"
"W-well, I didn't do much." Weiss tried to act modestly, very much enjoying Ruby's praise. "As I said, Reid did most of the work. Without him, this wouldn't have held together even in my wildest dreams."
"Still though, you definitely did something huge there," Levi added. "Stopping the White Fang this way means fewer Grimm attacks overall."
"You've basically done your part as a huntress, too." Yang nodded, grinning at the heiress. "You probably saved thousands with that."
Weiss shuffled awkwardly with a smile, her face red from all the recognition she was getting. Blake thought it was cute how effective praise was on her and how it got her to melt. You'd think someone like her would bask in the glory, all haughty-like.
"Mrs. Belladonna was also there to help convince Ms. Khan. I think she's as tired of this song and dance as I, to be honest." Weiss continued, making Blake freeze. Then the heiress paused as she turned to the Faunus. "Now that I remember, she reminded me of you a lot."
Blake didn't respond, opting to look away.
"Yes, you share practically everything, not just a surname. Hair color, eye color, even the same cat ears." She frowned in thought. "...You're related, aren't you?"
She knew not changing her last name was going to come back and bite her in the ass. Common last name or not, she still looked nearly identical to her mother, and now that she had revealed her cat ears to them…
Well, there was no use hiding it now. Besides, it was fine, right? It was just her relation to one of the leaders of the White Fang. Not like they were dangerously close to finding out she had worked with them at some point.
"She's my mom…" Blake muttered quietly.
"I knew it," Weiss smirked, crossing her arms. "I thought you two looked too similar for it to be my imagination."
She looked so proud of herself for figuring it out.
"You're basically the princess of Menagerie!" Ruby added, then looked at Weiss. "And you are the princess of Atlas! What kind of team is your team?!"
"Yeah, next you're gonna tell me Levi is the princess of Vacup." Yang pointed at Levianna, who flinched at that. "Seriously, what is up with this high-profile team?"
"I-I know, right…" Levi chuckled sheepishly then cleared her throat, looking at Blake. "I didn't know Mrs. Belladonna had a child, though."
"I was kept a secret for safety reasons," Blake answered truthfully. "I'm sorry for not telling you earlier."
"You don't have to apologize, you're not obligated to tell us anything about your family matters. Some things should stay private after all." Weiss responded, surprising all of them. "Anyway, we've wasted enough time. Let's continue before Reid catches us slacking."
The rest listened and returned to focus on their training. Blake's gaze on Weiss lingered for a moment, reflecting on just how much closer they'd grown in these past few months.
Leaving the White Fang really was the right decision.
– Sienna –
"It's not like you to be this quiet." Her friend said, sounding curious. "You still haven't given me your thoughts about the Titan Slayer, or the meeting."
Sienna stared at her reflection in the tea, sitting opposite Kali in the latter's home. The High Leader was deep in thought since yesterday. She did not know what she was really expecting to get from that meeting, but this was certainly… something.
Merely getting the invitation from him had her genuinely panicking. True, he didn't seem malicious if how he casually acknowledged Menagerie as a kingdom was anything to go by, but getting personally summoned by the most powerful man in the world? Her, supposedly a terrorist?
Sienna was ready for this to be a trap, but she couldn't just afford to ignore him, because she knew that would have even worse consequences. There was no telling what he'd be willing to do if she offended him. He could very well raze Menagerie to the ground if he wanted to.
When the first announcement of his killing Fenrir spread across the world, Sienna thought this was some bastard child of that Schnee harlot who inherited Nicolas' incredible strength, but that didn't seem to be the case once he revealed to be very close in age to the heiress. Younger than her even.
Unless he was lying, of course. He was a giant, easily towering over her with an imposing figure. He was obviously extremely well-trained, from the way he held himself, so it was a bit hard to believe that this man was only a teenager.
However, one thing that seemed to convince her was his general idealism. It felt naive, like something a young person would have. For all his strength, influence, charisma, and his sheer commanding presence, he did somewhat sound like a child.
Sharp and intimidating eyes aside, there was a purity and innocence in them that Sienna found quite refreshing. Though, she wouldn't admit that to anyone.
"He's idealistic," Sienna responded after a moment. "Very idealistic. I'd say almost delusional."
"Yet you took his deal." Kali smiled in amusement. "He's quite charismatic, yes?"
"He's honest." She said, ignoring Kali's teasing. "Naive or not, he had no ulterior motives. He genuinely wants to help us. He understands us."
"He does, doesn't he?" Her friend nodded in agreement.
"I can't let an opportunity like this slip." Sienna continued. "If the most powerful man in Remnant is extending a helping hand to us, I'd be insane not to take it. Human or not, it doesn't matter."
"Even after what it cost you?" Kali raised a brow.
Sienna hesitated and didn't answer immediately. Ordering all forces to fall back to Menegarie virtually meant she'd stop fighting the injustice across Remnant, and this made her feel like she was a traitor to her own kind, but wasn't that the best option? For the greater good of the Faunus, listening to the Titan Slayer was what had to be done.
Though, she did know that this will also have consequences. Big consequences, because not everyone will be understanding her decision. There will be splinter groups of the White Fang disobeying her and continuing this fight with or without her support.
The image of a hot-headed, red-haired man crossed her mind for a split second, making her frown deepen. He's already back in Menagerie, isn't he? Sienna needed to find a way to get him off until after Astera's and Schnee's visit, or else he'll do something incredibly stupid.
And she admittedly didn't know how she was going to handle it. Sienna did not want to fight her own kind on this, but she knew this was probably their best bet at getting their deserved justice, or at least, stopping the prejudice of Faunuskind.
It honestly scared her, so much so that she's yet to tell her people. What will Astera do once those that disagree make trouble? Will he blame her for it and call off the deal, promptly becoming her enemy?
Sienna trusted he wouldn't do that, and she had a keen eye for spotting those who were disingenuous. The war she waged was more than just for resources, it was about stopping the abuse they'd been suffering from humans.
And she had to admit, the best way to make a difference right now was through him. Reid Astera was popular enough for cults dedicated to worshipping him to form. As much as she hated to admit it, his voice was several times more effective in stopping discrimination than her revolution.
Plus, if what he said about the Black Phantom was true, then this was more incentive to trust him. That vigilante was competent enough to annihilate most if not all illegal slaver rings in Vale. In less than six months no less, where it took them that much time to find one ring.
"Who knows," Sienna responded, sipping from her tea. "I think making an ally of the Blue King is wiser than becoming his enemy."
"That much is true." Kali giggled. "He certainly shocked us by bringing Ms. Schnee. I didn't expect you to listen to her, much less accept her offer."
Sienna's face twitched.
Yes, the Schnee girl. That almost ruined the entire meeting. Astera seemed very well aware of her hatred of that family, yet he still took this gigantic gamble by bringing in their heiress. Sienna did everything in her power to stop herself from lunging at the girl.
Because even if the Titan Slayer wasn't right next to her, Sienna knew the ramifications of killing or even hurting someone under his protection would have disastrous consequences for both her and Menagerie, and while her anger was overwhelming, she was rational enough not to do something as stupid as that.
…She could admit that the girl also lending a hand was as surprising as it was somewhat condescending. Now they wanted to give them dust? Still, her conviction was quite compelling, and with the Titan Slayer vouching for her, Sienna was willing to look past her hatred and onward to the bigger picture. For now.
Jacques very obviously wouldn't want to open up any place here, but if his daughter and the heiress of the company did it from under his nose… Well, Sienna couldn't imagine the rage he'd be feeling.
And that admittedly did make her feel very good, so she decided to humor them for now, only giving the heiress the benefit of the doubt.
"I was only listening to the Titan Slayer. The Schnee girl can go die in a ditch for all I care." The High Leader scoffed, making Kali chuckle even more. "And what about you? What is your impression of him?"
"I think he's rather handsome." Kali blushed slightly. "Do you think he'd be interested in older women?"
"Is this all you ever think about?" Sienna's expression twitched.
"But I've been feeling so lonely." She pouted, acting like a child. "I haven't felt the thrill of being a woman in so long, and someone as energetic and ravishing as him looks tempting. Just because I'm old doesn't mean I can't have a fun time."
Sienna sighed in exasperation. There was no helping a woman as desperate as her, poor thing. This cougar would eat him right up if he didn't put his guard up around her.
– Velvet –
Opening the door to her boss's office, Velvet peeked inside to see Reid spinning in his chair. He stopped once he saw her, though, and an excited smile appeared on his face. Velvet didn't know what the occasion was, but it must have to do with the strange device next to his desk.
It wasn't the first time he'd ask for her without giving her context, but most of the time it'd be him asking for sex. Of course, Velvet always happily obliged, because aside from how much she enjoyed it, there was barely anyone in the tower. Well, there were employees working, but most of them were on the ground floor. So there was nothing to really worry about.
Plus, she kind of loved the sinful feeling of fucking her boss on the clock. Something about it got her going.
"You need me for something, sir?" She asked, closing the door behind her.
"Yes, about your magic." He nodded, making her bunny ears twitch in interest. "I told you we're going to figure it out, didn't I?"
"But shouldn't we do this in your training grounds?" Velvet voiced her concerns. "I'd assume it'll take us a while to know what I can do."
"If anything, it could actually take us weeks. There are tens of thousands of elements, but nobody has the time for that, especially with our trip to Menagerie soon," Reid said, getting up from his chair and tapping the device. "That's why I made this thing. If you have magic, it'll figure out the element immediately. It'll take us seconds at most."
That made sense to her and was also smart of him. It'd be good in the long run whenever he decided to, well, add more to his ever-expanding harem. Velvet approached her boss and the device, inspecting it up close.
"Wow. How long did it take you to make this?" She questioned, impressed with his work.
"A few hours, if you could believe it." He shrugged. "Stuff like this isn't hard to make. The only issue was me running short on materials."
"Well, how does it work?"
"Put your hand on the glass on top." He instructed, and she did so. "Once the light dies down, you can pull it back."
She was about to ask what he meant before the glass lit up in several different colors. For a moment, Velvet felt something within her stir, but she was too absorbed with the beautiful light show made by this device.
Once it died down, Velvet lifted her hand away and saw a strange symbol on the glass. Reid saw it too, looking as puzzled as her.
"Hold on, what element is this?" He muttered to himself, pulling a book out of thin air as he began to flip through the pages at a rapid pace. "Alright so, Velvet, your magic is… Ink magic?"
"Ink?" She blinked.
"Yeah, ink." He nodded, continuing to read from the book. "That's so weird."
"Is it a bad one?"
"What? No, it's pretty versatile. Unlike most other elements, you can do a lot with it, and it even helps in your day-to-day activities." He said. "I just did not expect it at all. It's a very rare mixed element. Good for you."
Velvet smiled happily at that. She also hadn't expected this, but she was happy with the result.
"What can ink magic do?" She asked.
"Aside from having a limitless supply of ink, well, you can use it to bring things to life." He answered, clarifying a moment later. "Like say, you draw an animal with it. You can force the ink construct to fight for you."
"Wow, that sounds powerful."
"It does, doesn't it?" He grinned. "And the more precise your drawings are, the better the constructs become. Aside from the general mana control and all that."
"And my semblance–"
"–Is perfect for it." Reid nodded, patting her head. "There are probably other things you can do with it that even I don't know, so have fun figuring it all out. Learning what you're really capable of is part of the fun."
Velvet enjoyed the ear rubs but was more excited at the prospect of what she could do with her newfound power. Could she make constructs that could help her do her job? Like how Reid's Golems functioned? It didn't have to be all combat, right? He said it could be used in regular activities too, so that must be true.
"Hell, why not try something out real quick?" Reid offered, grabbing a blank paper from his desk. "Try drawing something."
"With what?" Velvet tilted her head, taking the paper.
"Your finger." He answered, putting a hand on her shoulder. "First, you're gonna have actually to use your ink. I'm not sure what it feels like but try to draw it out. Close your eyes and concentrate. Imagine the emotion you link with this element."
Velvet nodded and focused, trying her best. She had always associated ink with art– whether it was in drawing or even writing, so she channeled all those emotions that art could evoke into drawing out this power. To her surprise, it came very naturally for her as she felt something stir inside her.
"That's it." Reid encouraged. "Now just pull it out."
Velvet did so, and once she felt it, she opened her eyes and saw herself drawing, the ink coming from her fingertip. Her awe almost broke her focus, but she managed to finish drawing a small dog. To her shock, as she was done drawing, the dog made of ink leaped out of the paper and nuzzled her leg affectionately.
"T-this is…" In shock, Velvet couldn't quite make a coherent response. "...Wow…"
"You're a natural." Reid praised, patting her head.
Velvet crouched and petted the puppy. It felt like sinking her hand directly in liquid, but she was surprised that her hands weren't stained even then.
"I knew you were always telling the truth, but seeing it with my own eyes is…" Velvet said. "It still feels unreal."
"I get it. Magic isn't common knowledge after all. Only thought to be a fairy tale." He waved it off. "Remember, this is only the beginning. As long as you keep refining it, you'll be able to make a lot more impressive things."
Velvet smiled and nodded. She was so ready to start practicing right now, but that was when the door to the office opened once more.
The two looked at Weiss walking in holding a big box that barely fit through the door.
"Need help?" Velvet asked.
"It's fine," Weiss responded, putting the box down. "It's a lot lighter than it looks."
"What's that?" Reid raised a brow.
"I was hoping you'd know," Weiss said as she spotted the dog made of ink. "What… is this?"
"It's my magic!" Velvet's face lit up. "I have ink magic, and I can make constructs with it, like this puppy."
Reid hummed and crouched, a small light blade appearing and cutting the box for him before it dissipated. As he opened it, he visibly froze, but Velvet and Weiss were too preoccupied with each other to notice.
"That's incredible," Weiss said in amazement, approaching the puppy and examining it closely. "Aw, it's so adorable."
"I know, right?" Velvet's smile widened. "I wonder what else I can make with it…"
"If you can make animals that can act independently, then your options are endless. Maybe weapons and the like." The heiress said, equally fascinated as her.
"Does that mean I don't have to stack up on Dust for my weapon anymore?" Velvet wondered out loud. "Can I just draw on a flat surface and make any weapon? That's amazing!"
"What do you think, Reid?" Weiss asked.
The two girls looked at Reid, who slowly turned to them with the biggest grin of childish wonder and glee on his face. They were about to ask, but he answered by showing a plushie and a figurine of himself doing some sort of pose.
"I have my very own toys." He said as if it was the greatest news they'd ever receive. "Ohoho Ruby is gonna love this!"
If his immense happiness over the fact was any indication, it might as well be for him.
– Ruby –
"But why not?!" She whined, not caring about her current state of undress as she hugged Reid tightly, keeping her voice low so as to not wake up anyone in the middle of the night. "I always wanted to go to Menagerie!"
Reid made a half-hearted attempt at pushing her off him as she resisted by being glued to his chest, looking slightly dissatisfied as well. She was being truthful– Menagerie was a place she had wanted to visit since she was little, but her father never took her there.
Which was sad, but they also never left Vale after her mother passed away anyway. Her dad continued his work as a teacher in Signal and general hunter's work for the most part, and while they were relatively wealthy because of how high-ranked he was, most of said wealth was used to invest in their training and weapons.
Even visiting the city wasn't a usual occurrence, until she turned thirteen and was old enough to go there by herself. Traveling had still been out of the picture, though. Ruby and Yang only visited Mistral once when they were very little to pay respects to her grandparents.
Though thinking about it now, she could probably go wherever she wanted. The "allowance" given to her by Reid was enough to let her live comfortably for a few years at least. Unfortunately, she still had school to worry about, and her boyfriend wouldn't allow her to go on an extended trip until she was on vacation.
She understood his intentions of course. Ruby knew he meant well, and she appreciated him for it, but why did he have to be so strict? Damned Kaiju.
"Ruby, it's a business trip." He explained. "I'm not going there to have fun. It's all work and boring stuff."
"But that doesn't mean I can't go." She argued. "Please, Reid. I'll do anything. Take me with you."
He sighed, hiding his wavering pretty well, but Ruby was sharp when it came to these things. She'd made progress in convincing him. Not even Reid was immune to her puppy eyes. He looked more affected by it than her dad even.
"Look, it's only for a few days, alright?" He insisted. "Literally three days."
"That's more of a reason why you should take me with you."
"I'm not letting you skip three more days of school. You've been slacking off way too much recently." He deadpanned. "Besides, you have a camping trip with your class soon, don't you? Why not get excited about that instead?"
"I mean, yeah, that sounds fun too, but like…" Ruby looked away and pouted, her tone becoming considerably lower. "I wanna be with you way more."
She heard that sharp intake of breath from him, as quiet as it was. Critical Hit! He cannot handle her Charisma, for he is hopeless against her and her adorableness. Ruby Rose wins once again!
"I still can't take you with me."
No, damn it!
"Oh come on!" She whined some more. "Why can Weiss go?"
"We've been over this twice now. She has to." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "She's involved in the deal."
"Nobody is gonna give you a blowjob when you're in Menagerie." She said, raising a valid point. "You'll go three days without one. Doesn't that sound scary?"
"She's not as good as me~" She winked at him. "Admit it, you even think I'm better than Yang."
"Seduction is not gonna work this time." He said bluntly.
"Just give in to your desires already, damn it!" Ruby wailed.
"My desire is for you to stay here."
Ruby clicked her tongue. Worth a shot.
Well, she'd used up all her tactics, but he wasn't budging. That sucked– seduction usually worked on him really well. She'd bend over and wave her butt at him and he'd immediately cave in. Ruby absolutely loved him for it. Mind-numbing sex aside, it made her feel pretty.
She did not love him when he was this stubborn, though. It was rare, and only about what he deemed 'important shit'.
"Ugh, fine." She scoffed and pouted, turning her head away. "Have fun on your dumb trip. I won't talk to you anymore."
"Look, I'll bring all kinds of souvenirs." He promised, making her pause. "Doesn't that sound nice?"
Ruby squinted her eyes at him, but did not sound convinced, then continued looking away. He was just doing this because he thought she was easy. Well, too bad for him! She wouldn't fall for it this time. He'd have to be very sorry if he wanted her forgiveness–
"Fine, no souvenirs then."
"No wait, I'm kidding." Ruby instantly folded. "Just a joke, you know. I'm not actually mad at you. I just do that because I know you think it's cute."
That was half-true, of course. Sometimes, she did get annoyed with him.
"You'd be right." He snorted in amusement. "I'll be looking for portals there, so if I find one, then how about another trip to Teralos?"
"Yeah, but don't tell anyone about it, alright?" He said. "Let's keep it between us for now."
"My lips are sealed~" She whispered, doing a zipping motion. "Though, I think you should tell them soon. Yang would find it pretty awesome."
With that, the two fell into pleasant silence. Ruby gazed at the broken moon in the sky from the open balcony, now knowing how it would look if it were full. She never thought about how it was shattered– it had been like this since she was born, and according to some people, it had always looked like this.
But seeing a full one had given her a lot of questions. She doubted Reid would know any of it, though. Probably. He was a sea monster prince of another world, why would he know so much about the history of Remnant of all places? Sure, he knew about some fairly suspicious things, but she doubted his knowledge extended to how the world came to be.
As a matter of fact, why and how did he come here? Heck, he's even making a living on Remnant and not in his homeworld. Now Ruby didn't exactly want him to leave them, but it still got her very curious.
"Hey, Reid?" Ruby glanced at her lover. "There's something I want to ask you."
"Why did you come to Remnant?" She questioned.
Reid paused for a moment, frowning slightly in thought.
"Wasn't exactly my choice." He answered.
"What do you mean?" Ruby tilted her head.
"I randomly woke up here one day." He shrugged. "I don't even remember what I was doing before."
"Oh." Ruby felt a bit sad after hearing that. "I… see."
"Don't give me that look." Reid rolled his eyes. "I'm enjoying my time here, y'know. I see it as a win."
"Y-yeah, but like, I don't know." Ruby hugged her knees. "I don't understand how you can deal with it. If I suddenly woke up in a different world without you, Yang, and everyone else, I wouldn't know what I'd do."
"Pshh you don't have to worry about that." Reid waved it off with a confident grin. "If something like that happens, you can bet your cute butt I'll tear through the fabric of space and time to get you back. Nobody is taking you away from me."
Ruby felt her heart swoon at his promise, leaning against his shoulder affectionately as he brought her closer to him. She believed him of course, Reid would be that kind of person, wouldn't he? He was a hero straight out of a fairy tale. Her hero.
But Ruby still felt somewhat nervous, not knowing how he himself felt about it.
"...Don't you want to go back to your home one day?" Ruby asked anxiously. "I mean, you can do it whenever right?"
"Why would I?"
"To be with your family and your kingdom?" She said, noticing his slight flinch. "...Reid? What's wrong?"
Ruby saw his hesitance and squeezed his hand in reassurance, but it wasn't enough as he responded quite vaguely. She hid her dejection as he refused to tell her anything, but didn't want to press him.
"I don't have anything there." He said, deflecting the question. "Remnant is my home. I have too many responsibilities here to just leave like that."
Ruby knew very well that Reid had a lot of emotional issues that he kept to himself. She knew he didn't let himself go to sleep, because every time he did, he'd wake up shaking, in cold sweat, and nearly screaming. She'd never seen him have a good night's sleep even once.
He tried to hide it so much. Reid didn't want any of them to be worried about him. She hoped and wished that he'd one day tell her everything that'd been bothering him, but Ruby knew it wouldn't be so easy. She didn't know what to do. It wasn't out of distrust that he didn't tell her, she knew it wasn't.
Reid always looked so hurt and scared whenever his mask began to slip off, something she'd never thought she'd see from him.
"Yeah, but maybe after you're done?" Ruby replied, subtly trying to change the subject. "I dunno, what more do you want after you beat the Grimm?"
"Aside from living here with you all?" He smirked, quickly returning to his more confident self. "Well, would you believe me if I said I wanted to take over the world?"
Ruby paused and blinked.
"You sound like a villain when you say it like that."
"Exactly, and you have fallen right into my trap, Ruby Rose." He said dramatically, playing a bit. "I was actually the bad guy all along, and that I've seduced you, the hero, nobody will be able to stop me from conquering Remnant!"
"What?! Impossible! I've been fooled! Bamboozled!" Ruby played along, feeling in her element. She always liked roleplaying and acting. "How could you break a pure maiden's heart so cruelly?!"
"It is true that I may have lied, but nevertheless, my love for you is real." He confessed, tightly holding her hand and leaning closer to her face. "And together, we will rule this world as King and Queen."
"How wicked of you, still toying with my heartstrings as you force me to choose between doing the right thing or love." She looked away, 'unable' to meet his eyes while feeling him getting closer. "You fiend…"
Of course, Ruby couldn't, or more accurately, didn't want to stop him from kissing her, 'forcing' her to look at his piercing blue eyes. She enthusiastically reciprocated his advances, enjoying every second as their bodies practically stuck to one another, her still-growing breasts flattened against his chest.
He pulled back eventually and brought her closer to him as he fell on his back, gently running a hand through her hair once she lovingly nuzzled his neck. Ruby enjoyed the peace and quiet of this moment but still felt a bit curious.
"Were you being serious?" She asked.
"Kind of." He answered, slightly surprising her.
Reid paused for a moment, trying to articulate his answer.
"It was all about the glory. I thought too highly of myself, and deserved everything it entailed." He said, continuing to play with her hair. "The spotlight it'll get me, the power and authority I'd have, and all the beautiful girls I'd be able to sleep with."
"Implying that last bit changed." Ruby rolled her eyes with a scoff, teasing him in good spirits. "Typical Reid, thinking with his lower head all the time."
"Heh, yeah. I was pretty shallow, I'll admit." He snorted in amusement, which somewhat surprised the girl.
She thought he'd try to deny it.
"But now, seeing what's really going on out there– All the horrible things happening around the world… It kinda made something in me click." He explained. "I used to save people because I thought it would benefit me later, y'know? I'm not proud of it, but I put myself before the people who are hurting."
Ruby patiently waited for him to continue.
"I always thought that yeah, people dying from Grimm is bad, but it happens everywhere all the time. Big deal." He admitted. "But seeing people suffer from Grimm, bandits, or anything like that in person? Seeing kids and parents suffer from other people's greed? I realized I really hated it. It made me feel sick.
"And I hated it more every time I saw it, so if I had the power to make a difference, why wouldn't I try to do something?" Reid continued. "I didn't want to get rid of the Grimm because it made me famous anymore, I just wanted people to not have to live in constant fear. And the best way to do that is to unite every kingdom under a single banner."
"Yeah, a bit too idealistic, I know." He chuckled sheepishly. "I just think that I can lead Remnant to a brighter future. That's what I'm doing with my company. Spreading my influence and learning how to lead. Might sound arrogant or selfish, but I know I can do it."
"Since when aren't you arrogant?" Ruby replied cheekily, which had him flick her forehead. "Ow."
"Watch your tongue, you're speaking to the future Emperor of Remnant."
"Well, I am the future Empress, so I get a pass." She argued. "...I think you can do it too."
"You leading Remnant I mean. Becoming an Emperor or not doesn't really matter all that much in my opinion." Ruby said with a shrug. "I know that you'll stop the Grimm and save the world. I don't care how naive this makes me sound to other people, I know you'll do it."
For some reason, Reid looked stunned.
"And I know I can't really offer you much in that regard–" Ruby looked him right in the eyes. "But I'll be with you all the way, no matter how bad or good it gets. Always remember that, okay?"
For a few moments, her lover did not know how to respond, but Ruby could tell that he was genuinely moved by her words, which was all she wanted. More than that, she got him flustered for maybe the first time.
That wasn't really her intention. She did mean what she said, but seeing him like that was very rare.
"...Thanks," Reid answered, the flaring of his cheeks very noticeable to the smug huntress. "Well, what about you? What do you want to be?"
"I haven't told you? I wanna be a real hero, like you and my mom!" Ruby declared, puffing her chest proudly. "I know you told me that I was a hero when I beat that demon, but I wanna go out there and make a difference. Save all kinds of towns and beat all types of Grimm. You get it, right?"
"Then you're gonna have to keep up with your studies if you want that to happen." He replied, making her deflate and groan. "You can't exactly be a good huntress if you flunk out in school, alright?"
"Who cares about that? I'm stronger and better than all of Signal anyway. And Beacon too, probably." She claimed quite modestly. "Why can't I just quit and be your full-time apprentice?"
"Because I haven't gone to school, and won't be able to teach you what they have in books." He argued. "I mean, I would, but I barely have enough time as is. Knowledge is power too."
"Whatever~" Ruby was not convinced. "If knowledge is power, you'd tell me what's really going on with Ozpin."
Reid simply sighed in exasperation as he understood what she meant, but stopped arguing as he rolled to the side.
She knew he'd tell her eventually, but that didn't mean she wouldn't grumble about it.
Writing romance is hard. But it ain't a party scene, so I don't mind it.
I fucking hate party scenes.
Also, this chapter was supposed to be split in two, but combining them helped the pacing IMO.