Edited by: Priapus, Old man of the mountain, Marethyu, Mike God of Lore, Cularus


– Ruby –

Sitting silently in the dressing room by her lonesome, Ruby twiddled her thumbs and shifted in her chair, nervous sweat rolling down her cheeks. She glanced at the door that led to the main stage of Beacon Academy, grimacing as she felt the tension on the other side of the door.

This was the first time she would have to do anything like this. The closest things were her presentations at Signal; even then, this was completely different. On an entirely different level. When she'd said she wanted to be a hero, having to make a speech to millions of people was not what she had in mind.

Perhaps in her idealized version of being a hero, she would have no trouble dealing with such things—she certainly daydreamed about it enough, but now, faced with the challenges, Ruby almost regretted it. Almost.

She could never regret her actions back there, fighting to defend her class and slaying a beast that had terrorized the lands for far too long. This was what she'd trained her whole life for, after all.

Even though she'd made sure to prepare as much as possible, from wearing a pretty red dress that Reid had called her cute in once to even wearing makeup. She knew she didn't have to as this type of event was a show of strength—her boyfriend certainly hadn't given a crap about his state of dress when he'd first defeated Fenrir, but Ruby didn't have even a sliver of Reid's social skills. She simply thought that looking great could help her earn some points.

She knew her attitude wouldn't.

It didn't take long for her to realize that being a Titan Slayer was actually really difficult. It was not just that achieving the status of one was that hard— although that honestly felt a lot easier— but maintaining the responsibilities that suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

Since telling Headmaster Ozpin about what she had done, there had been a lot going on. First, she was sent to Beacon instead of her home or Reid's mansion, told to sleep there, given a schedule for the day after, and so on and so forth.

At first, it made Ruby feel awesome and important. Damn, she was given a place to sleep in the most prestigious academy in the world? And it was nothing like the tiny dorm rooms Yang was complaining about. It was some kind of Ultra VIP professor room that looked fancier than even Reid's master bedroom.

The bed wasn't as comfy, though; that could just be her missing him. And she did miss him. A lot.

Speaking of, that jerk didn't respond to any of her messages or calls. She didn't know what was so important at Menagerie that he wouldn't bother saying something back, but it couldn't be as big as this, right?! She just had proved him right, and someone like Reid would love to just gloat about it until the end of time.

To make matters worse, she didn't have her scroll with her at the moment, so even if Reid were to call now, it wouldn't matter. She was truly alone and had no idea what to do in this situation. She wanted to die.

But she digressed. Ruby hated what this meant for her once she realized she was going to have to go to all these meetings, and conferences and other stupid crap. She wanted to be a hero, and as she said, she didn't regret killing that Grimm, but this was… certainly outside her comfort zone.

Ruby's train of thought stopped as she heard a knock on the door. The other door, not the stage door.

"May I come in?" The headmaster's voice asked.

"Y-yeah, sure." Ruby stammered.

With her permission, Ozpin walked in and closed the door behind him, looking at her with a smile.

"Are you nervous, Ms. Rose?" He asked her.

"N-no! Not at all!" She lied, clearly not convincing anyone. "But I mean, I wouldn't mind if you, y'know, canceled this. Or let someone else take over."

Ozpin chuckled at her evident anxiety.

"I know this is hard for you, Ms. Rose." He said. "But you'll only have to do this for a little while. You'll answer a few questions, give a speech, and I will send you back home afterward. That is all."

But that sounds so haaaaard. She thought, losing hope. I'm so going to mess this up.

"Okay…" Ruby responded quietly, not outwardly complaining.

She could do all that in the comfort of her home or around her friends. Easy. Not a problem. But in front of a crowd? No, she wished it was just a crowd—she had to do this in front of the entire world! What the hell was she supposed to do?!

The only nugget of comfort in this entire situation is that she was sure Reid would be watching, so she could imagine herself alone with him. True, he would make fun of her if she messed up, but Ruby didn't feel unbearable embarrassment whenever he did that—just annoyance.

Like he was any better, him and his corny one-liners, and whenever he was called out on them, he'd say 'You're wrong' without even trying to make an argument for himself, like he was convinced that he sounded like the most witty and badass person on the planet. He always knew how to get on her nerves. The jerk.

Ruby seriously missed him, though. It had barely been two days, but it felt like forever. Hearing his voice as he reassured her would be so nice right now.

"Though, I'm sure you would like to see some friendly faces before you announce yourself to the world." The Headmaster of Beacon added before touching his earpiece. "You may let her in now."

Ruby blinked in confusion, and after a few seconds, the same door Ozpin came from swung open, and in walked her big sister, who immediately ran toward her and brought her close in a big hug.

"I'm so proud of you!" Yang said, giving her several sisterly smooches on the cheeks and forehead. "I knew you had it in you!"

Ruby was very used to the crushing hugs of her doting elder sister, but it didn't mean they hurt any less.

"Owowow!"

"I'll leave you two for now." Ozpin chuckled. "Be sure to tell me whenever you feel ready, Ms. Rose."

With that, he left her alone with Yang, who only just noticed that she was hurting Ruby.

"Look at how much you've grown!" She cooed, backing off slightly just to squeeze her cheeks. "My baby sister is a hero~! Oh, if only Mom was here to see this!"

"Yang, stop!" Ruby pushed her away with a fierce growl. "Don't treat me like that. I'm not a kid anymore."

"Gods, you're so darn cute."

"What did I just say?!"

"Sorry, sorry." Yang snickered. "I'm just so happy for you. You finally did it, Ruby. You've finally become a hero, just like Mom was. A slayer of monsters and a baker of cookies."

Ruby enjoyed the comparison to her mother and the praise from Yang. Being likened to the person she looked up to the most meant a lot to her, but it didn't really help with the unbearable anxiety she was feeling.

"Y-yeah…" Ruby turned her head away.

As sharp as ever, Yang immediately picked up on her stressed tone, softening her expression to ease her sister's worry.

"What's wrong?" She asked. "Is everything okay?"

"What do you mean 'is everything okay'?!" Ruby snapped. "Did you see how many people are there?! I can't do this, Yang! I just can't! You have to get me out of here!"

"Okay, okay, calm down now." Yang soothed. "You're going to be fine. Breathe."

"It's not fine. I'm gonna screw this up." The younger sister whined, sitting back on her chair and covering her face. "And everyone's going to make fun of me for it."

"Oh, come on, it's not that deep." The blond said, putting a comforting hand on Ruby's shoulder.

"Easy for you to say," Ruby grumbled. "I can't do this type of stuff. I'm not like you."

"Don't say that. This is nothing to you." Yang said encouragingly. "I mean, you just killed a Titan, Ruby. Barely anyone can do what you did."

"And I'd rather fight it again than do this crap."

"This attitude isn't helping you or anyone else. You know that, right? You need to be more positive."

Ruby said nothing, making her elder sister sigh.

"I know it's hard, Ruby. I know you've always hated being the center of attention. I get that." Yang crouched, maintaining eye contact. "But sometimes, you gotta get out of your comfort zone."

"But I don't want to."

"Nobody wants to, Rubes. That's the thing." She smiled. "You're old and smart enough to know that sometimes, you have to do what you need to, not what you want to. That's life."

Unconvinced, Ruby tore her eyes away from her sister.

"And to be honest? You're already kinda doing something like that." Yang added, making Ruby glance at her curiously. "You hate unarmed combat, but you've been hard at work learning how to fight without your weapon."

"That's in no way the same thing," Ruby argued. "Fighting isn't the same as this."

"I understand, but—" Yang paused to think, then continued. "Okay, think of it like this. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You might not get the chance to do this again. Ever."

Ruby waited for her to explain.

"You've always been up to try new things, right?" Yang asked. "And barely anyone gets this opportunity. To have the whole world listen to you. Sure, you might not like it, but would you really want to waste this chance?"

"But Reid always gets to do this stuff." Ruby tried to make an argument. "All these interviews and conferences."

"Yeah, but the difference is Reid likes the attention. You see him doing all those things because he wants to do them. You don't." Her sister deflected. "And after this, nobody can force you to do anything. No silly interviews, no social media. Nothing. It's just this once that you need to make a statement."

That was a good point. Ruby couldn't really argue with it. After all, it's not like there was a law that forced Titan Slayers to answer to anyone. Heck, she was pretty sure that Titan Slayers were above the law completely.

The amount of time she had seen Reid break so many laws without anyone doing anything about it just to prove that he could was impressive. Ruby wasn't really a rebel like him, so she saw no reason to, but it was something worth noting.

"I don't have anything to say," Ruby said.

"Ah, who cares? Say whatever's in your mind." Yang waved it off. "As long as it's not too outrageous and you say it with confidence, people are gonna agree."

"It's not that simple. I refuse to believe that." Ruby deadpanned. "I don't care what you or Reid say. Confidence is not the be-all and end-all."

Though, she would admit, it was very effective when it came down to it. It definitely helped a lot when she was dealing with those bullies. They never bothered her again. Obviously because Ruby was known as 'the Titan Slayer's friend'.

Now she was a Titan Slayer herself. Time really moved fast.

"I didn't say it was." She grinned. "But who would dare disagree with the youngest – and cutest – Titan Slayer in history?"

Another good point. Reid barely had any enemies, and whoever tried to say something bad about him would get utterly annihilated by everyone else. On social media, thankfully. Not in real life. That would be wrong.

"I guess you're right." Ruby smiled. "Thanks, Yang. I needed this. You're the best sister ever."

"You bet I am." Yang ruffled her hair, standing back up. "I'm gonna go get the headmaster now. I believe in you, Rubes."

"Um, Yang. Before you go…" Ruby took her hand, looking at her worriedly. "Are you okay?"

"Huh?" Her sister blinked.

"You look a bit… I don't know, upset." She clarified. "Did something happen?"

Yang didn't say anything for a bit and then smiled.

"I'm fine, Ruby." She assured her. "Just stressing about school work."

"Oh… okay."

Stressing about school? Yang? As if Ruby would believe that. But it probably wasn't the time to talk about it, not with the giant elephant in the room.

"You got this," Yang said, walking away.

Ruby nodded as her sister left the dressing room, admittedly feeling much better. She still didn't feel confident, but she certainly felt less nervous after her sister's pep talk. Yang was right— this was an experience she might not get again, so might as well make the most of it. She'd undoubtedly feel better afterward, too. And when Reid came back, they could celebrate together or something.

Then everything would go back to normal. They'd start training again, like always, maybe hang out afterward or go on adventures in Teralos again. He promised her, after all.

Ozpin entered the room again, looking at her expectantly.

"Are you ready, Ms. Rose?"

"I am." She nodded, standing up.

"Excellent." He smiled, walking to the door leading to the stage. "Once again, you won't have to do much. Merely answering some questions and perhaps giving a speech."

"Okay."

Ruby hesitated a little as Ozpin opened the door but resolved herself with a deep breath and marched after him. She flinched as the crowd cheered when she presented herself to them but managed to keep her composure well enough, anxiously waving her hand and smiling.

She felt the regret creeping up, almost making her curse her own sister for being so damn convincing.

Being famous sucked.


– Salem –

Glancing at the Silver-Eyed girl on the screen of her stationary scroll amidst her work, Salem noted just how much she looked like Summer Rose. She was like a one-to-one replica of that stubborn woman, only younger and significantly more talented if the headline were at all truthful.

This girl was a Titan Slayer as well? Fascinating. She didn't understand what was happening in the world— for it to change so much in so little time… but it felt different. Intriguing. It almost made her think that this was the work of the gods.

But those two bastards couldn't care less.

As the cheering died, her ex-husband waved at the crowd and addressed the girl.

"Would our new hero please introduce herself?" Ozma said. "I'm sure the world is dying to know who exactly this new Titan Slayer is."

Anxiously, the girl gave a weak smile and did as she was told. Perhaps looks are where the comparison ended— Unlike her, Summer was fearless.

"U-um, my name is Ruby Rose…" She answered. "And I'm f-from Patch…"

How charming.

But a Titan Slayer at her age? This was unheard of. Before Reid, the youngest Titan Slayer was in his fifties. Plus, she was the second one in this generation, to boot. As if Astera turning the world upside down with his achievements wasn't enough.

Interesting. Salem hadn't seen the girl's battle with the harpy, as she was too preoccupied with Reid's struggle with that Dreadnought and its army. Neither he nor any of his friends noticed her Seer observing the battle from the ceiling. It was a little disappointing. Astera was sharp. He should've noticed it.

"And how old are you, Ms. Rose?"

"Fifteen years old. I'm turning sixteen in two months." She responded, still very nervous. "I, um, I study at Signal Academy."

The girl didn't impress Salem at all. For sure, it wasn't like the Harpy Queen was a particularly powerful Titan, but unless this Ruby had mastered her silver-eyes powers, she shouldn't be anywhere near strong enough to defeat it.

But she had anyway, meaning she had something Salem could find interesting. After all, Ruby stuck around Astera a lot, didn't she? Obviously, he was training her, but training alone, even from him, shouldn't be enough. It almost irked Salem that she'd observed Astera instead of this girl. Something intriguing must've happened.

Almost, because watching him and his friends showed her something she didn't think she'd see in a million years.

The Schnee girl… she used magic, and upon closer inspection, her mana felt strangely similar to Reid's. Otherworldly. Something that did not belong in Remnant. It made Salem think he was responsible.

Somehow, he brought back magic to the world. Oh, if only those two were here to see this— someone making a mockery out of their 'punishment'. When she first saw it happen right before her eyes, Salem laughed for the first time in centuries.

Unbelievable.

"Ah, Signal. One of the finest elementary hunter institutes in Vale." Ozma nodded. "Could you explain to us how you stumbled upon the Titan?"

"Um, we went on a trip."

"We?"

"M-me and my class, I mean. With our professor."

"And where did you go?"

"The Marbled Islands," Ruby replied. "T-the ones held up by massive gravity dust crystals above Vale."

"I see. That was where the Titan was seen last time." Ozma said. "And so? Then what happened?"

"At first, nothing. We saw flocks of Nevermores and Harpies flying away for some reason, but for the first night, it was peaceful." She explained. "It attacked the next day."

This made Salem pause the work on her version of poisons and raise a brow. It attacked? That was odd. Besides Fenrir's sadism and thirst for bloodshed, no other Titan bothered to go out of their way to strike humans, especially not in groups. They would defend themselves and act aggressively when approached or threatened, but that much could also be said for animals.

And sometimes, when Salem would try to wake up one of the more powerful ones, instead of destroying the nearest settlement in a blind rage, they'd just ignore her and leave to find another resting place. They were that careful.

Why would the Harpy Queen do that? And it wasn't like that one was unaware of silver-eyed humans, either. It knew they were the ultimate counter to Grimm and anything magical, so it would've been extra cautious instead.

This was strange. Something was most definitely missing.

Unless… She also has magic. Being attracted to the well of power mana would explain why an old Grimm like the Harpy Queen would bother, even if the girl was a silver-eyed warrior. But this doesn't explain how a silver-eyed warrior specifically was able to wield magic.

It's contradictory by nature. Descendants of magic killers using magic? Laughable. Ruby's very being should reject magic. How was this even possible? Just what the hell did Astera do to her?

But there was no confirmation, even if the evidence suggested it.

"Is that so?"

"Yeah. It came out of nowhere." Ruby nodded. "None of us saw it coming."

"Do you know why it attacked?"

Salem noticed the girl's hesitation, preventing herself from answering truthfully. Oh? Did she perhaps know why? Fascinating. Was Salem's hypothesis true? If yes, it would explain her unwillingness to share with Ozpin. Reid likely told her to keep such a thing close to her chest.

"N-not really." She shook her head. "But I recognized it immediately."

"I see. And how did you feel when you did?" He continued the interview without missing a beat, but Salem knew better. He noticed it as well. "I imagine it was frightening."

"Yeah. It happened so suddenly. We didn't know what to do."

"Yet you decided to face it head-on. On your own." Ozma said. "What made you think that was the right decision?"

"W-well, I mean, someone had to distract it. I just volunteered, I guess." She chuckled nervously. "I thought I could hold it off until everyone else escaped."

"Many would consider that to be highly irresponsible, Ms. Rose." Her ex-husband challenged, surprising the younger girl. "Ultimately, this was the responsibility of your professor, not yours. You should not have tried to fight it alone."

"What? B-but I had to," Ruby responded innocently, looking confused at Ozma's seemingly disapproving comments. "What else should I've been doing?"

Ah, Salem understood what he was trying to do—cunning as always.

"In a situation as dangerous as a Titan encounter, it would've been wiser to run away with the rest of your class." He replied. "What you did was suicide. You are not yet a registered huntress."

"Running away would've ended up killing everyone." Ruby's anxiety slowly vanished as she argued, getting a little annoyed. "I don't care if I'm not legally a huntress yet. Someone had to do it."

…Perhaps Salem was wrong. That sounded like something Summer would say.

"And that someone is you?" Ozma raised a brow. "Don't misunderstand me, Ms. Rose, but you aren't qualified or old enough to be facing such threats. You could've died."

Such infuriating responses. He played the part very well; seemingly, even the audience looked frustrated with Ozma—all part of a scheme to prop up the girl, perhaps at the cost of his own reputation as well.

Scheming bastard.

"I know what I was signing up for when I decided to be a huntress, Headmaster." She said, becoming visibly irate but keeping her composure very well. "I know I could've died. I thought I did so many times."

"Then you should've known you shouldn't have been fighting."

"And do what?"

"You have a speed semblance, no?" He added. "With it, you could've perhaps lured out further and got away. Then we could've sent a recall for Sir Astera—"

"Why does it have to be Reid?" Ruby cut him off. "Don't you think he's doing enough for the world?"

Mentioning Astera very obviously struck a nerve. Jealousy?

"Can't we do anything without him? Are we gonna have to rely on him to do everything for us? Isn't that kind of selfish?" She continued. "I understand more than anyone how incredible he is, how he's already saved countless lives with his ingenuity, made so many hopeful that things will get better, but he's not all-powerful. He can't be everywhere at the same time."

Concern for him. Salem felt herself smile. How endearing.

"As hunters, our responsibility is to fight the Grimm and protect people. It's been like this for centuries, regardless of how many Titan Slayers existed back then." Ruby added. "That's not going to change. I know I could've run or lured the Titan away, but then what? Call Reid?"

Ozma remained silent.

"Sure, but the time it would take Reid to return could've ended up with more civilian deaths. What makes you think it wouldn't just swoop down some poor village and kill everyone there? Someone had to take care of it." She said with a determined look. "And I'll be the first in line to do it. I don't care if I wasn't 'qualified' or 'old' enough. I don't care if I broke the law. A real hero would rather die than let it hurt any more people."

Once she finished her little speech, there was a long, pregnant pause. Ozma, Ruby, and the crowd were silent for some time until the girl realized what she had just said and did, blushing furiously as her anxiety returned tenfold.

"T-t-that's what I think, at least." She giggled awkwardly. "I dunno, everything's kind of fuzzy, but I mean, I did it, right? That's what matters, right? I don't know why we're arguing, haha."

Her stupid follow-up seemed to have shaken the crowd out of their shock as they cheered for her, chanting her name in unison. Ruby flinched at their reaction, not quite expecting it from the looks of things. However, the positive reception made her even more nervous as she looked down at her knees in embarrassment.

"Spoken like a true hero!" Ozma praised while clapping. "Truly, you are one of a kind, Ms. Rose!"

Salem snorted as she finally tore away her gaze from the stationary scroll, looking at the vial of dark liquid in her hand. She had seen enough for now, though; she would make sure to observe the girl as well.

"Tyrian."

In an instant, her most loyal follower appeared right behind her.

"Yes, mistress–"

Salem moved faster than even the most powerful hunters could see without missing a beat, grabbing the scorpion faunus by the throat and injecting the vial directly into his blood. She dropped the writhing Tyrian to the ground as he began to cough and scream in pain, looking at him apathetically.

Tyrian began to change— he grew several feet in size, his face morphed into something monstrous and unrecognizable, his limbs became bigger and denser, his skin became as pale as hers, and his eyes turned dark red.

But beyond the impressive physical growth she admittedly hadn't accounted for…

Tyrian let out one final roar as his magic exploded, shaking the entire palace with his own power. The windows shattered at the pressure as a gust of wind flung all the tools in her lab. She had finally done it.

…No, this was even better than she expected.

"Magnificent." She muttered to herself as Tyrian's screams ceased. "You are indeed my most prized follower."

"M-mistress…" He quietly said as he looked at his deformed arm, shaking violently. "W-what… is this…?"

Oh? She expected the transformation to melt his brain completely and turn him into a mindless beast. Though, hadn't he always been that way?

"Power, my dear Tyrian." She answered, putting her hands on his cheeks. "You've been blessed with the power I wield."

"Ah…" Still trembling heavily, her most loyal minion began sobbing. "...Thank you, mistress. Yes, I can feel it. Ah, how wonderful. My mistress's magic is… coursing through me."

Salem's smile widened.

The success of her prototype meant that she could finally start paying back Astera for all the trouble he was causing her. Of course, she was very much grateful for him— without him, she would've never bothered with her fun little project.

But still, he was an enemy, and Salem was still curious. Perhaps… 'lighting a fire under his ass', as some would put it, would result in exciting responses from him? Oh, she couldn't wait to see where his creative genius would take him next.

"Tyrian."

"Yes?"

"That girl." Salem pointed at Ruby Rose on the stationary scroll. "Bring her to me."

Tyrian grinned viciously, more so than he would before his transformation, and obeyed.

"Your wish is my command!" He giggled, rushing outside the palace.

Salem watched him leave, then turned back to her table, using her magic to return everything back to its place. As she grabbed the rest of her… transformation elixir, a Seer approached her, showing her the image of Adam Taurus in her prison cell.

"So he finally woke up?" She hummed, glancing at the vial of dark liquid.

Someone who was tormented with so much rage and contempt… Yes, the elixir would respond well to his desires. He would do well as one of her monsters. But she shouldn't rush. As he was now, he'd merely turn into an uncontrollable beast. This hatred and anger had to be given direction first.

If he refused her offer, then oh well. After all, he was nothing special.

And Salem had all the time in the world.


– Reid –

"You're saying this girl—" Sienna, who had just arrived a minute after me, asks as she points at the TV. "—Is your apprentice as well? So, is she part of Ms. Schnee's team? She seems young."

"Well, yes. Ruby is a special case, though, as she's two years younger than the rest. She's actually my first." I say. "Blake is one of my students too, and unlike Ruby, she's part of Weiss' team. I've been training them for… two months?"

"Three months," Weiss corrects me. "Almost four."

This means I've been in Remnant for about five months, even though it feels so much longer like I've been here for years. Hearing that I haven't lived for a single year in my second life surprises me every time.

I wonder how different everything will be after another five months.

"Four months?" Sienna repeats in shock. "Only four months?"

"Yeah. She's pretty talented, ain't she?"

"What? No, I don't care how talented she is— there is no way something like this is possible." She says. "Four months of training is enough for a fifteen-year-old girl to KILL a Titan-class Grimm on her own?! Do you not realize how insane that sounds?!"

…I guess it is crazy when you think about it. They don't know that Ruby has Senketsu, though, which is a massive boost, but to be fair to her, she's also currently the strongest student I have, even without it. She trained under me the longest and has the most magical potential.

Plus, the teaching profession I took a while back helped. I don't really know how it even works, but the system never really made sense in the first place. The best way I can even begin to explain it is with two words.

Reality Warping.

"Reid's training methods are a little unorthodox," Weiss responds.

"In what way?" Kali questions.

"He would…" She pauses, trying to phrase her following sentence carefully. "...push our bodies to their limits for hours. Five days a week."

She makes it sound a little dirty.

"That doesn't explain much." Sienna blinks.

"He would break our auras and restore them with potions. Over and over." Blake answers far too bluntly. "Until we retained our full strength even without aura."

And she makes it sound horrible. Jesus, I know I'm tough on them, but it's not like I'm abusing them. I actively make sure not to go too far.

"That's…" Even the High Leader looks a bit shocked, giving me a judging stare. "...A little inhuman, don't you think?"

"What Blake means is that we spar a lot. Usually five on one." I throw Blake a glare, making her smirk smugly. She's doing it on purpose. "Potions extend our training sessions and help them get used to not relying too much on aura. Besides, the results speak for themselves."

I nod toward the TV, showing Ruby sitting on the couch in her cute red dress. She is visibly stressed and anxious about herself even though people are cheering for her, fidgeting awkwardly. Still, it must've felt cathartic.

Poor girl. This must've been hard for her. I wish I was there to help. She probably needs this, though. She made a decent speech and didn't majorly fuck up in any way, even with Ozpin's little test. This will likely help her be more confident in herself.

I doubt it will make her more social, but maybe she won't be as nervous when talking to strangers. Now, of course, she has been making significant progress on that front even before this, but this must've catapulted her confidence to the next level. Hopefully.

God, I'm so fucking proud of her.

"Oh, and by the way, sorry for not telling you anything about your daughter." I glance at Kali. "I didn't know how to approach the subject."

"No, I understand." She smiles softly. "Blake already told me everything."

"Good things, I hope?"

"Oh, she couldn't stop singing your praises." Kali chuckles as her daughter turns her head sideways. "You have my utmost gratitude, Titan Slayer. For taking care of my daughter."

"You're welcome." I nod in acknowledgment, then look at Sienna. "Think I can have a look at the mine? I'd like to work on it as soon as possible."

I need that dungeon. The moment I'm back home, I'm preparing as much as possible before coming back here to clear it. I would bring someone with me, but I feel that the legendary tier is a tad too much for everyone else right now.

Hell, I think it's too much for me, but I welcome the challenge. I've been consistently clearing other epics and rares without much trouble, so I think it's about time I took it to the next level. I don't know what it will be about, but that's just part of the fun. I'll get so much more powerful once I clear it.

"Of course," Sienna says after blinking. "I thought you'd want to see the rest of the interview."

"Seen enough." I shrug. "Still have work to do."

I can always just text Ruby and ask her directly.

"Alright. I'll have some of my men accompanying you there at once."

"No need. I just need Weiss." I respond, glancing at my other student. "And you too, Blake."

Blake visibly hesitates, glancing at Weiss anxiously. I did this purposefully— I could easily feel the tension between her and Weiss, even with their eyes glued to the TV. Thankfully, though, she nods without complaining.

"Okay."

Progress!

"I wouldn't have asked otherwise." I grin and address my bodyguard. "Kiryu, stay here with Velvet and see if she needs anything. Velvet, take over for me. I'll be back soon enough."

"Yes, sir," Velvet says as Kiryu nods.

"Great. Let's go, girls."

Having Blake and Weiss with me is a ploy for them to make up. I'm not very sure what exactly happened between them to cause this tension to appear, but I'll take a guess and say it's primarily Weiss being mad and/or hurt that her teammate lied.

I don't think it has anything to do with Blake being an ex-White Fang member since Weiss had been a little more receptive to them after our date. Besides, she is literally making deals with their leader. It has to be a trust thing.

And I have a good idea of how to fix this. Plus, it would be a nice, comfy adventure after the hectic battle in the mines. Hopefully, it works— dungeons are still really fucking random, and it could put us in the worst possible situation ever.

Afterward, I'll have to take Sienna aside and explain her newfound magic to her. I need her to know about it before she accidentally activates it in front of others since it would cause an uproar that would very quickly reach Ozpin's ears. Worse yet, Salem's.

I can't have that woman, under any circumstance, know about this magic-granting power of mine. No matter how silly that process is, if Salem figures it out, things might get a lot worse, especially considering she probably has that old arm of mine.

Obviously, I can't hide it forever, but I will do so until I can't. I have to obtain as many advantages as I can and strengthen and fortify them until she decides to make her move. I don't know how strong Salem is exactly, but at the absolute least, I think she's as strong as a Titan Grimm. I assume she is much more powerful, though.

With the magic that rivals all four Maidens combined and thousands of years of experience, it should be safe to say that I'm nowhere near strong enough to fight her like this, besides the fact that I have zero knowledge of how she fights.

…Realizing I know nothing about Salem as an individual is making me anxious. I can't rely on what I initially learned about her in the show— my knowledge of the canon series hasn't always been 100% accurate. Hell, more often than not, it's been wrong one way or another.

The thought makes me chuckle, causing the girls to look at me curiously.

"What's so funny?" Weiss asks.

"Nothing. Just remembered something stupid."

It's still wild how these very girls walking beside me were just moving pictures and animated 3d models on a screen just half a year ago. And now they're living, breathing individuals with their own thoughts, feelings, and dreams.

It makes me wonder how different things would've been if I had kept that mindset. That these people aren't real, just some soulless NPCs made solely for my and the goddess' entertainment.

It's kind of scary to think about. I could've turned out way worse had I never realized that wasn't the case. But I don't like dwelling on these morbid thoughts. I'm glad I'm the person that I am.

After all, Ruby would be very sad otherwise, and that's the last thing I want to happen.


I forgot to say this, but I now have a thread - or a 'story' - where I keep all the snippets I write. Check my profile- Mirlnir's Snippet Chest. Right now there are three different stories in it, and it will continue getting new ones occasionally. Feedback is always appreciated.

Also, Remember to check that site for extra content.