Chapter 3: Secrets, Revelations, and a Magical Lamp, Oh my!

Penny was happy that Ruby and her companions were not arrested. Technically, they are under arrest, just not in a rough manner. It was good that the gynoid's quick thinking gave her friends a small amount of fair treatment, and they were on their way to the General.

While thinking about it, before she could convince the Ace-Ops to hand over Ruby and the others in her care, she felt something swell inside her before suddenly disappearing. She didn't know why, but it was thanks to that she knew what to say, or rather, the confidence to say what she needed to say. Confidence that was similar to Haseo's.

"That was amazing, Penny!" Said gynoid, snapped out of her thoughts and looked up at a star-trucked Ruby sitting beside her.

"Yeah! You saved us!" Nora cheered. "If those bolas were still on my wrist, I would have tried to chew them off!"

This earned a few odd looks from everyone until Ren confirmed that. "Nora would have done that."

"It was nothing, friends! I'm just glad that thing did not go complicated from here." Penny says as she smiles, knowing that her friends look relieved now.

"Are we really heading to Jimmy's place?" Qrow asked, still feeling a bit doubtful after being caught by Ace-Ops. "Here, I thought we were heading to jail."

"You have my word, Mr. Branwen, we'll arrive shortly. No doubt the General has already been informed by now." Penny confirmed, but the scythe wielder didn't look convinced but nodded regardless.

"I still can't believe that fishing pole guy took us out like it was nothing." Jaune comments, still trying to figure out why he did all that.

"Do you mean Specialist Clover Ebi?" Penny chimed in. "Please don't hold it against him. Despite the rough treatment, he is a good and loyal man who follows his orders to the letter."

"Welcome to Atlas." Weiss comments. "Those were Ironwood's Ace Operatives."

"Hmm? You guys had a run-in with the Ace-Ops?" An unknown man says, getting everyone's attention. Penny was a bit surprised that she didn't notice him there, and seeing that bolas were bounding him, she could surmise that he was arrested for something. After a quick look at her database, she recognized him as Forest, a known supporter of Robyn Hill and her Happy Huntresses. "Ironwood must really have a bone to pick with you."

Weiss just rolled her eyes. "They're not that big of a deal."

Forrest looked at the Weiss as if she had grown another head. "Not that big of a deal?!" The Ace-Ops are the elite-of-elite military Huntsmen and Ironwood's personal attack dogs.

"So they go you too, huh?" Nora says with an unimpressed tone.

Forrest just smugly smirks. "Pfft! I wouldn't let myself get caught by them. I'm here because I've been speaking out against Atlas' exploitation of Mantle, and General Ironwood is trying to silence me."

"You threw a brick at her ship!" One of the pilots said.

That didn't seem to affect the man as he smiled proudly. "It's worth it if it gets people talking about our cause!"

The pilot sighed in annoyance while Blake couldn't help but notice what he said. "Our cause?"

"Yes, the fight for better conditions in Mantle! Lead by the charismatic, talented, lovely Robyn Hill and her Happy Huntresses!" Forrest says with much devotion, describing his leader. However, the primary pilot gets tired of the man talking and presses a button, causing the window between the cab and the back of the ship to close slowly. Forest notices this, stands up and begins frantically shouting to the window so the guards can hear him. "They were all top Atlas Academy graduates, who could've signed up for the military, but Robyn and the Huntresses chose to stay in Mantle. She's gunning for a seat on the Kingdom's council, and when she gets it, she's gonna put an end to Ironwood's tyranny!"

Oscar looks confused, not recognizing the name. "Happy… Huntresses?"

"Is that their real name?" Yang questions, not finding the name to be original.

"Don't you think "tyranny's" a little dramatic?" Weiss comments.

Forest turns around to respond and looks surprised upon realizing who had just spoken before frowning at her. "Easy to say for a Schnee heiress, living comfortably up in Atlas."

Weiss sighed sadly and looked down, but someone else beat her to the punch before she could say anything.

"Mr. Forrest, I would greatly appreciate you not taking that tone with my friend." This got the man to turn to the voice, but he was surprised to see who it was.

"What the… When did you get here?" Forrest questions as his eyes widen, recognizing her, not expecting the gynoid to ride in the exact vehicle with him.

"Uhm… ever since we got onboard?" Ruby says with a raised brow.

"So what? Why is the General's pet robot in here? Don't tell me you're under arrest?" Forrest comments as he questions her. The comment calling her a pet robot made Penny's friends, mostly Ruby and Blake, angry, but that didn't bother Penny as she kept a stoic face.

"If you must know, I am personally escorting this group of Huntsmen to the General. We should be arriving at Atlas Academy shortly." Penny says, getting a surprised look from Forrest.

"We're not going to the police station?" Forests question.

"Correction. We are going to Atlas Academy. You are going to the police station." Penny corrected.

"Yeah. If you haven't noticed, none of us are cuffed up." Yang smirked as she showed her hands, showing that what she said was true, getting a shocked expression from Forrest as he finally took a good look at them, then back at the gynoid, earning an angry, scoffed reaction from the follower of Robyn Hill.

"Of course, I'm going to jail. Unsurprisingly, Ironwood's pet robot would follow his example in keeping me silent." That comment was the last straw for a certain red reaper to snap.

"Hey!" Ruby shouted angrily as she stood up from her seat and approached the man. "Stop calling my friend a pet!"

Just as Ruby was close to the startled man, Penny stopped her by raising her arm as she stayed where she was sitting while also that similar feeling in her was coming up again. "Ruby. Let me handle this."

Ruby looked at her friends with a confused expression. "But Penny–"

"Trust me, Ruby." Penny cuts in with a smile. When Ruby heard the word 'trust', she was conflicted after everything that had happened to her and her friends before their arrival to Atlas, but she trusted Penny, so she reluctantly stood down for her.

Penny nodded in thanks and then turned back to Forrest with a stoic expression. "Mr. Forrest. You can insult me and comment on what you believe, but it doesn't change the fact that you've committed a minor crime, thankfully not enough to give you a serious punishment, but still enough to send you a short time in prison."

"Wha-! You expect me to ignore the right thing for Mantle?!" Forrest angrily said.

"So throwing a brick on a ship and potentially hurting Mantle's citizens is right?" Penny counters, getting the man to blink in surprise.

"What are you–" Forrest tried to, but Penny continued.

"What if the brick you threw accidentally injured a civilian? With enough force, it could potentially leave a fatal injury for those without Aura. Or did you not think that if it was airborne, the pilot might have accidentally crashed the ship by the sudden action, potentially killing more than one Mantle civilian?" Everyone listening could only watch in the horrific realisation that a small, simple action could cause a tragic incident. Even Forrest took a step back from her words.

"I-It wasn't even airborne! Heck! There wasn't even anyone near it. No one even got hurt!" Forrest protested, but it didn't help that he stuttered.

"And thank goodness that it never happened. As the Protector of Mantle, I would not have hesitated to apprehend you for it. You should be glad that you're just arrested for property damage." Penny calmy said. Forrest looked as if he was beginning to regret his action, but he shook it off and then glared back at her.

"Okay… I'll admit I didn't think of that. But I don't regret causing a scene if that's the only way to get Robyn Hill and the Happy Huntresses to be recognised for the cause! And I don't accept a machine like you to understand that!" Forrest says with a determined expression, thinking he was not wrong.

Ruby and the others didn't know what to think or say. On the one hand, this man did seem to want what was best by showing everyone that Robyn Hill wanted to do right for Mantle, but on the other hand, after hearing Penny's words, it would seem that Forrest just caused more harm than good. A feeling that Blake understood doing her time with the White Fang and the countless mistakes they made by using violence just to prove their point. But either way, none of them were happy that he was still insulting Penny.

But Penny thought overwise as she recalled two guilds from her time in The World R:2. Moon Tree and Kestrel. When she first heard of Moon Tree and its righteous motives by restoring order due to growing Player Killers. At first, Penny was pleased that a peacekeeping guild existed and was happy with their leader, Zelkova and his idealistic ways. But she was disheartened that the guild collapsed due to Sakaki's twisted ideals in taking over Moon Tree by using an AIDA and an AIDA-infected Atoli. After the ordeal, Penny learned that even if you have a great leader and wonderful ideals, it won't come true as long as there are people in the said group with nefarious schemes, but she was glad that people like Kaede stayed true to the guild as she did her best to restore it.

As for Kestrel, she learned that thousands of Player Killers are membered to the group due to a lack of control over its members. This made Penny dislike the guild at first, but when she first visited the place along with Haseo and Kuhn, she was surprised that the guildmaster, Gabi, was nothing like she thought he was. Gabi was not a PKer but deeply valued freedom, so he allowed his members to do how they pleased in The World, not even forcing or stepping in to stop them, but all members were fiercely loyal to him. In other words, his words are absolute. The gynoid was also surprised that the leader was an upbeat and joyful man. It was hard to dislike someone like him in a guild she didn't like. She quickly learned not to judge a guild despite its members and realised that even a questionable guild could have positive ideals.

Thinking about it now, Penny thought it was funny since Ironwood's and Robyn's groups are the same as these guilds, except it's all the opposite. She would compare the Atlesian Military to Kestrel, except they focused on order and loyalty. The Happy Huntresses was like Moon Tree except that through peace and order. Their members would do anything to obtain it.

So, in a way, Penny understands what Forrest is talking about, doing what he believes is right for his group's cause. The gynoid won't reprimand him for that, but it doesn't change the fact that he was still wrong. So, in her confidence, she began to say what she believed was right.

"You're right. I can't possibly understand what you and the Happy Huntresses are going through." Penny admitted, getting the man to blink at the unexpected reply. "But that doesn't give you the right to cause damage or potentially hurt others to prove a point."

Forrest was getting furious at the living robot, but before he could yell at her, Penny asked him a question that shut him up.

"And do you truly believe Robyn Hill would approve of your actions and claim that it was all under the good of her name and the Happy Huntresses?"

"I-I…. wha…" Forrest stuttered, but Penny didn't stop.

"I can see through your passion that you truly wish the best for Robyn Hill, but is that what she wants? Granted, I do not know your leader since I have never encountered her, so I can't tell what kind of person she truly is aside from all the video messages she made and all the comments from your fellow members. But what I do know, is that she would never potentially endanger Mantle or its citizens, and I doubt she told you or any other of her members to cause damage that could potentially damage her chances for the votes."

Everyone listening could only gap and listen in stunned silence, seeing the gynoid reprimanding that man as if he were a child. Even the pilots brought the window down and listened to the whole speech in stunned silence. And said man took a step back, bumping into the edges of his seat. He nearly fell over as he stared at Penny with wide eyes and gaping mouth, not knowing what to say to her.

"If you truly wanted Robyn Hill as a Council Member, you would have never abused her name and title and weighed it on your action, claiming it was for the good of Mantle." Penny finished, leaving everyone stunned in silence. And as for Forrest? He just stared in disbelief before looking down and slowly sitting back in his seat in the horrific realisation of the weight he had done.

"…Damn." One of the pilots broke the silence of the one who wasn't piloting. "That was… I didn't think the Protector of Mantle had it in her."

"I was only speaking the truth." Penny said, looking at the pilot before returning to the know-shamed Forrest. "Hopefully, he learns to be more careful with his actions next time."

Ruby and the others could only watch the entire conversation with awe, shock and disbelief. Seeing how Penny got the Ace-Ops to hand them over to her was one thing, but to see her completely reprimand one man for one action was something else. They all can't help but wonder how it is possible for a robot girl who recently came back to life to be so mature.

'Penny… just what happened to you after all this time?' Ruby silently questioned, wondering how her best friend's personality would suddenly change so drastically.

As Penny breathed out to calm herself, she looked out the window, perked up a bit, and smiled like usual. "Oh! It looks like we are approaching the city."

This made everyone look out the windows except for Forrest, who was still sulking at his mistake, making Ruby gasp at what she saw.

"Whoa, it's gorgeous up here!" Ruby says as Jaune and Nora leave their seats to look out the window with her.

However, Weiss just looks away from the sight. "Don't let that fool you."

Penny turns to look at Weiss, silently thinking how right she is. During her time in The World, she had met specific individuals who were good at masquerading their true intentions. Those being Sakaki and Ovan. After coming back, she was beginning to see the black and white of how Atlas was.

"Looks like we're at Atlas Academy." Her thoughts were snapped when Qrow said those words. She looked out the window and saw they were just by the Academy as the airship dock on the landing pad.

As they landed, the guards outside opened the double door of the ship's rear.

Penny was the first to step out. She happily turned to them and stretched her arms out. "Welcome to Atlas Academy!"

Teams RWBY, JNR, Oscar and Qrow exit the vehicle, but before Penny can guide them inside, she notices that Forrest is still sitting in his seat with a broken expression. An expression she once saw on Endrance after Haseo defeated him. She later explained the reason for it and couldn't help but feel sad for him, but she was happy that Haseo could reach out to him and become a better person after that. Seeing Forrest like this made her decide to do the same.

"Mr Forrest?" Penny called out, getting her friends to look at her in confusion, then turned to the arrested man. He didn't move from his spot, but it seemed he was listening. "Believe me when I say that I understand the reason for your actions. But if you truly want what's best for Mantle and Robyn Hill, you have to think of what she wants and not what you think she wants. I can tell you never wanted to get anyone hurt, but if you want to make the change, I suggest you help her with what she wants. In times like these, everyone needs to help each other. And I'm sure Robyn Hill would be happy to help you when you need it."

After hearing her speech, it took a moment for Forrest to react by turning to the gynoid. He looked a bit better and gave a small smile and a nod. "…Thanks."

With that, the guards outside closed the doors, and the ship took off. After it was gone from their sight, Penny sighed with the satisfaction that she could help the man in a way. She clapped her hands, getting everyone's attention. "Alright, everyone! I will be going ahead to explain the situation to the general! The two guards will personally escort you there. Isn't that right, boys?" The gynoid turns to the guards with a sweet smile. Surprised by the order, the guards looked at each other, then turned to her and saluted.

Penny nodded in approval and then turned to her friends. "I'll see you all later!" With that, Penny makes a one-eighty and marches towards the Academy, leaving the others behind as they look at each other. The two guards then guided them as the group followed them.

"I guess we will be seeing the General. For better or worse." Ruby comments

While on the way, the group awaited their arrival in the lift.

"So, what do we do?" Ren asked.

"I don't know yet." Ruby admitted. "But we should be careful with what we say."

One of the guards looks over his shoulder at them before turning back.

Noticing that Blake whispers to Ruby. "We'll follow your lead, Ruby."

Ruby smiled, grateful for the support, but frowned, unsure what to do next. She knows she can trust Penny without question, but with how things are currently in Mantle and how the Ace-Ops captured them, she is deeply thankful Penny saved them. But it didn't change how they didn't listen to them when they were arrested and took their weapons and the Relic. Hopefully, she could make the right choice when she meets the General.

As they finally reached their destination, the group exited the lift as the guards escorted them out into the hallways and down a flight of stairs. They arrive in a room just as Ironwood walks through, followed by Winter and Penny.

"I swear if I have to sit through one more council meeting like that…" The General said in annoyance as the latter of the three noticed that the group had finally arrived.

"Yay, you're here!" Penny happily greeted them, getting the attention of the two and surprising them. Then Weiss, who was behind Ruby, stepped out and approached them.

"Winter." She calls out, getting her older sister to gasp lightly. This would have been a heartful reunion if Nora hadn't leaned in with a grin and unintentionally ruined the moment.

"Isn't this a touching reunion?" Winter takes a moment to compose herself but then notices the guards and gives them a stern look at them.

"You two are dismissed." The said guards looked at each other in confusion but immediately got the message and left, not before saluting.

Ironwood smiled, glad to see familiar faces, before gesturing them to enter his office. "Please, come in."

The group follows Ironwood, Winter and Penny into Ironwood's office.

"It's good to see all of you." Ironwood says as everyone enters his office.

"Our reception didn't really convey that." Yang comments, recalling how they were captured by the Ace-Ops without question at all.

Ironwood sighed, understanding what the blond girl was talking about. "I sincerely regret how you were treated by my team. It was fortunate that Penny arrived to clear up the misunderstanding."

As Penny and Winter stood at either side of the General's desk, she noticed Qrow rolling his eyes. She didn't comment on it but did understand that what the Ace-Ops had done did not give them an excellent first impression.

The General walked behind his desk to sit down and then continued to explain. "When a rogue airship entered our airspace, it raised some… red flags. We assumed the ship was stolen."

"Stolen?" Ruby spoke with an awkward laugh, then proceeded to talk apologetically. "Okay, yeah. It was stolen."

Penny blinked a couple of times when she heard that. Did she listen to her right? Her best friend and friends stole the airship and illegally arrived in Mantle? She looked at Ruby for confirmation and said the girl noticed, blushed, and awkwardly looked away with a chuckle.

Penny stared briefly but then giggled as she covered her mouth with her hands. Truth be told, she didn't care about any of that. She's just glad that Ruby is here with her.

Fortunately, that didn't seem to bother the General. Granted, he was surprised, but he just smiled and chuckled silently.

But Winter was another story.

"You stole an Atlas airship?" Weiss watches with a frown as Winter approaches her with much disapproval. "What were you thinking!? You might've been shot down! How unbelievably irresponsible–"

Before Winter can continue her rant, Weiss surprises and interrupts her by hugging her.

"I'm sorry I worried you. But we did what we had to do." The younger Schnee says with a tone filled with emotions, making the elder calm down with a sigh and hug her back.

"I suppose I understand." Winter says before turning her head to glare at Qrow. "But I cannot believe that you allowed this to happen, Qrow."

Qrow just shrugs, not bothered by the glare at all. "You try stopping these kids when they have their minds set on something. Speaking of which…" Qrow, along with the others, turned to Ironwood. "We have some important information for you that's… confidential."

As Winter finished embracing her sister, she returned to her post while Penny realised what Qrow was talking about. "Oh, is it about the Relics?"

Qrow and the others were surprised by what the gynoid said. "You told them?"

"Hm." Ironwood nodded as he stood up from his desk and retrieved the Relic of Knowledge from the drawer, making it grow to its average size as he held it up. "Did you really think you were the only one who got to work on a new plan after Beacon? With Ozpin gone, I needed my own team of people I could trust. So yes, I told them. The Ace-Ops too. Which is why I'm so glad you're here… with this."

The General explained as he gestured to the Relic in his hand.

Penny listened throughout the entire explanation. She had already known this from the start after her revival, so it was all old news for her, but she was pleased that her best friend and other friends were now learning what was happening here in Atlas. She even mentioned that the Staff of Creation is perfectly safe inside the Vault.

After explaining the status of the Winter Maiden and the military and embargo, it was all due to creating a brand new tower for Remnant by turning the Amity Colosseum into the Amity Communications Tower.

"Isn't it great? We're not going to just replace Beacon Tower. Building a new tower on top of Amity Colosseum will re-establish global communications!" Penny cheerfully says as she is pleased to see the awed expressions from the newcomers, especially when Ruby says it is a great idea.

After explaining the panic that's to follow for revealing Salem to the world, Atlas will be willing to aid the other kingdoms to repel Grimm due to the negativity it causes. Oscar then revealed himself to them. Penny wondered who the boy was, but then, to her surprise, he was Ozpin's next incarnation. But she was surprised to learn that Ozpin was gone at the moment.

This revelation greatly confused Penny. But that's when Ruby said things that stunned Penny in disbelief.

"That's not normal." Ironwood said as he lowered his head in confusion before looking back up. "How did he–"

"We don't know." Ruby said with a toned expression that Penny was very familiar with.

A tone of a liar.

Penny didn't show it, but she was in disbelief. Her best friend, Ruby. Lying? That must have been a mistake. How could the gynoid tell that Ruby was lying, you ask? Thanks to all the experience with AIDA in R2, she developed a keen eye for telling who was lying. It took her a couple of years to develop and understand it after her infection with AIDA and how it affected one's individuality. Thanks to that, she could keep the peace in Mantle from unsavoury people.

But to hear that from Ruby? She needs to listen more.

"We were in a train crash. And ever since, well… suddenly. Oz wasn't there anymore." Ruby continued while Penny carefully listened to her best friend. Most of that was true, but her pause told her she was leaving something crucial out.

"That's the worst news yet." Ironwood said as his hopes were slowly dashing. "Did you learn anything from him about the Relics before…?"

Ruby then answered. "He told us the lamp can answer three questions. But all the questions were used up already."

At those very last words, Ruby said. Penny immediately knew that was a lie.

The gynoid couldn't believe it. Ruby Rose was lying. She lied about the Relic of Knowledge. She was informed that the Relic could no longer answer any questions from the General, but hearing from Ruby? The gynoid took a quick look at her best friend's friends' reaction and noticed that Yang and Blake had surprised reactions on their faces, which instigated that they knew the truth as well. So many questions began to steer inside her. And a dark question appeared inside her. 'Is Ruby Rose on their side?'

Penny immediately shook off that question in pure disgust, wondering why she would think that. The only way she could know the truth was to ask her personally. But how?

"Penny?" The General's voice snapped her out of her thoughts as she realised that only she, Specialist Weiss and the General were the only ones left in the room. "Is everything alright? You haven't spoken for a bit, even after they left."

"My apologies, sir. I was… deep in thought in what Ruby and the others just revealed to us." Penny explained to her, surprised, granted it wasn't a lie.

The General sighed. "I understand. There was good and bad news along with what they brought, but I still believe this is a good favour to our side."

"I'm just glad that my sister is here and safe." Winter sighed in relief.

Penny could tell the two were clueless about the lies, but she didn't want to say anything to get her best friend in trouble. But then, an idea occurred to her.

"Sir." Penny started getting the Generals' attention as well as Winter's. "With your permission, I would like to give Ruby and her companions the tour of Atlas Academy."

Ironwood nodded with a smile. "Of course, you are allowed."

"Thank you, General!" Penny smiled with a salute before heading to where Ruby and her friends went.

As Penny enters the room outside General Ironwood's office, she sees Ruby's group along with the Ace-Ops, and it seems they are getting along, at least how Penny sees it.

Just as she was about to greet Ruby, Harriet immediately saw her narrow eyes towards the gynoid and pointed a figure at her.

"You!" Harriet shouted, much to the shock of Ruby's group, the annoyed and uncomfortable looks from her fellow Ace-Ops, and Penny herself looked the most confused.

The gynoid simply tilted her head and then pointed a finger at herself. "Me?"

"Don't pretend you don't know! You got a lot of nerve in protecting these kids when they were the ones who stole and illegally arrived with that ship!" Harriet explained, getting nervous looks from Ruby and her group.

"Harriet, that's enough. The General has already explained the situation to us." Clover calmly says, trying to avoid a needless comment.

"It doesn't change the fact she was defending them." Harriet retorted.

"To be fair, I honestly had no idea that Ruby and the others did steal that ship." Penny calmly says.

"Oh? What makes you think I believe that?" The mohawk girl scoffs as she crosses her arms. She was starting to get on Ruby's and the others' nerves at how she treated their gynoid friend.

But Penny didn't seem to be affected at all and simply shrugged. "You don't. It's not like I forced you to do anything. I just gave my honest opinion, and you followed it without a problem. And if you think about it carefully, I did all of you a favour."

Harriet took a double take and blinked a couple of times at that last part. "A wha–, a favour?!" The girl slowly said, much to the shock and confusion from everyone.

Penny nodded with a smile. "Yes! I did you a favour! Think about it. Sure, they did break the laws and all, but seeing that these young group of Huntsman are top of the line VIP of General Ironwoods acknowledgment from Beacon Academy, he might compliment you all for doing your job, but he might have scolded you for arresting valuable assets to our cause. But instead, you, along with the Ace-Ops, double-checked that there were no intruders within our borders and had no doubt pleased the General. I unintendedly saved you all from an embarrassing mistake!"

Everyone was utterly silent at the logic the gynoid just said. Ruby and others were once again stunned that they dropped their jaws while the Ace-Ops were doing the same. As for Harriet, she was a stuttering mess. She didn't know what to say as she kept opening her mouth and closing it as if trying to say something to counter the gynoid's words.

Seeing that there was nothing else to say, she nodded and saluted to the Ace-Ops. "As much I wish to talk to you more, Specialist Bree, I have been granted permission to give our newcomers the tour of the Academy."

Before anyone could say anything, Penny happily dashed to where Ruby was. Ruby quickly took her by the arm and skipped away with the little girl in red, who was being dragged along.

"P-Penny!" Ruby squeaked as the gynoid dragged her along while the rest were still frozen at what Penny said.

General Ironwood enters the room, planning to talk about Qrow, but stops in confusion as he sees not only the said man he was looking for but also the newcomers and his Ace-Ops, all frozen still with gaping looks.

"Did… something happen?" Ironwood slowly questioned but was still met with silence.

After the awkwardness back in the room, Penny and Ruby were joined by the rest of the newcomers while the gynoid happily showed everything she could show to them.

This was her plan so far. She knows they are all tired, but she needs to be extra sure if it is safe to ask them why Ruby lied to the General. A large part of her felt guilty that she was purposely making Ruby and her companions further exhausted so that they couldn't properly fight back if violence got involved, but a small part of her had to make sure that Ruby had a genuine reason why she lied. Their friends, right? Surely Ruby can tell her the reason.

After introducing the location of the cafeteria and classrooms, the gynoid hears Ruby yawning, showing that her plan of tiring them out is working.

"This is looks great, Penny. But where are we staying?" Ruby asks in evident exhaustion.

Penny turns to the group with a happy smile. "Remember, you're in Atlas now. As the most well-funded school in Remnant, every teen at Atlas Academy gets their own room! And if that wasn't enough–"

"So we're staying in the dorms?" Ren cuts in while he is holding a sleeping Nora, who is leaning on him.

"It'll be just like Beacon again!" The gynoid says with an excited dance and hop. The reaction? Nora falls off Ren.

Penny giggled at the scene but inwardly knew now was the time to get answers. "Oh! I almost forgot one more place."

The gynoid said, acting like she had forgotten something while the others groaned in exhaustion.

"Penny, please, can you just take us to our dorms? We are really exhausted." Weiss begged in exhaustion.

"It's just one more place. I promise. I will take you all to the dorms after." Penny insisted while she held her cheerful smile.

"What could be so important to show us that can wait for next time?" Yang questioned as she tried to stay awake.

"My room, silly!" Penny cheerfully says while inwardly knowing that her room is the perfect place to question them, knowing well that the General respected her privacy and that it was large enough for all of them to fit in.

That answer got Ruby to wake herself up temporarily. "Really?! Your room? That's cool! Are you sure you want to show us?"

Penny nodded enthusiastically. "Of course! What kind of friend am I if I don't?"

The moment she said those words, her synthetic tongue felt a bitter aftertaste, and her chest felt heavy with the guilt of tricking her best friend. But deep down, she had to know. She had to, or she would probably regret it for the rest of her life.

And thankfully, Ruby was making it easy for her.

"Please, guys. I know we're all tired, but just one quick look, and then it's off to bed." Ruby begged the rest while Penny silently hoped that they would listen.

Qrow groaned in exhaustion/annoyance and was the first to cave in. "Fine… if it's to get shut-eye, I'll do it."

Slowly, one by one, they all agreed, making Penny start her plan. "Okeydokey! Follow me!"

After a couple of minutes of guiding them, she finally showed them the door to her personal room before unlocking it with her Scroll, causing it to open. She then turned to her friends and guided them in.

"Please come in." Penny said as they all entered one by one. Ruby was the last to enter before Penny did.

Inside her room, it was large, but not much to see. There was a large pod, no doubt, for Penny to rest and recharge, a desk and table, and a large computer set for either Penny's personal use or for her use of her Cybernetic parts.

Everyone looked around, not seeing much to see.

"Your room is–" Before Ruby could finish her sentence, in commenting her gynoid friend's room. She and the others heard the sound of something locking.

They all turned to see Penny's back closing the door and the screen on the lock glowing red with a lock symbol on it.

"Did… Penny just locked the door?" Jaune slowly said in confusion, asking anyone around him who was equally confused.

"Hey, Penny…? Why'd you lock the door? Are we staying in your room for the night?" Nora, drowsing, asked but was answered with silence as Penny didn't say anything or turn around.

The others were slowly waking themselves up and were both equally confused and starting to be concerned towards the gynoid's sudden silence.

Ruby slowly walked up to her friend. "Penny? I-Is something wrong?"

The gynoid finally moved by raising her shoulders before dropping them, indicating she was taking a deep breath. Then she slowly turned around, surprising everyone, seeing that Penny's face now had a desperate look on her face.

"P-Penny…?" Ruby started in confusion and, for some odd reason, a growing sense of dread inside her. She didn't know why until she finally found out. As Penny took her hands with hers, she raised them to their chest levels and asked her a question that shook her to the core.

"Ruby… why did you lie to the General?"

To be continued…

AN/ Special Thanks to RGQC for helping me fix mistakes with my fic!