A/N: Happy New Year! This is the first chapter of the year that I have made! Let's have a wonderful time for the coming year!


Chapter 4: Secrets of both worlds are revealed! (Part 1)

The entire room was in pure, utter silence when Penny asked Ruby that particular question.

Everyone aside from Ruby had no idea what to say. They were frozen like dears in a headlight. But Ruby was taking it much worse.

Her eyes were widened like saucers. She slightly trembled and felt like she was about to collapse, but holding Penny's hands felt like a lifeline for her, and her heart shook rapidly while Ruby tried to do everything she could to calm herself down.

"W-W-What…?" The nervous, recked girl asked in a muttering mess, but the question was heard.

Penny slightly gripped Ruby's hands and kept looking at her in the eyes. She repeated the question and was much more evident. "Why did you lie to General about the Lamp? And about Ozpin?"

Everyone's eyes widened and jaw-slaked in disbelief. How did this girl know that Ruby lied? And what will happen next? Oscar was trembling, scared that his secret was revealed, while the others all looked at each other, nervous and confused. Still, they all turned to Ruby, seeing that she was being asked the question, and they all silently waited till she provided her answer as she did to the General.

Ruby was slightly trembling, not knowing what to do. After everything she had gone through, she thought keeping secrets was the best solution, but to tell Penny the truth? She didn't know what to do. The pressure was getting to her. She couldn't think properly, so the words rolled out her tongue without thinking.

"I… I-I don't know… what you're talking about, Penny." Ruby nervously says while she looks away.

The moment she said those words, she felt Penny's grip loosen.

She turned back to see Penny, only to widen her eyes again to see that her best friend no longer had the look of desperation but the face of a terribly hurt girl. She immediately realised that she had just lied to her friend.

"P-Penny… I…" Ruby tried to say something but was short on words. On the other hand, Penny closed her eyes and took a deep breath before opening again with a sad smile.

"It's… okay, Ruby." Penny said, but with every word, it hurt Ruby even more. "I don't know why you're keeping secrets… but if it's so drastic that you would lie to me to keep it safe… then I understand."

Every word that came out of her mouth became even heavier because they all knew there was no malice or lies in the gynoid's words. And Ruby was taking it more heavily than everyone else.

It was made even worse when she followed up with this declaration. "I swear under our friendship that I won't tell General Ironwood or anyone else what I just learned, even if I don't know the full story of it."

Penny declares as she lightly grips Ruby's hands, but to her, it feels like they are being crushed, but not as crushed as Penny would say next. "I just…" The gynoid looks down, still holding her hurtful smile. "I just hoped you'd trust me with your secret as I trusted you with mine back in Beacon."

And with that, something inside Ruby Rose shattered.

At that moment, Ruby remembered when she accidentally discovered Penny's secret, her promise never to speak of it to anyone else, and how happy the gynoid looked when she accepted her.

But now? She sees the face of a heartbroken girl who has been shunned away.

Ruby began to hyperventilate, and her mind was close to shambles. From her point of view, all she could hear was the rapid sound of her heartbeat and the sound of her breathing. Her vision grew blurry, and all Ruby saw seemed to be in slow-motion. She slowly sees Penny about to turn away and is about to let go of her hands.

'No…' Ruby slowly said in her head as she watched Penny's hands slowly let go of her hand. Seeing that made her recall many bad memories after the Fall of Beacon. Especially Penny's death.

"NO!" Ruby screamed, shocking everyone, even flinching at the sudden outburst and making Penny turn back to Ruby in shock but was cut off-guard along with everyone else before they could react when the little girl quickly hugged the gynoid as if her life depended on it.

"I-I'M SORRY, I'M SORRY! I DIDN'T MEAN TO LIE TO YOU! I WAS JUST BEING STUPID! I DIDN'T WANT TO LIE TO YOU. I'M SORRY!" Ruby shouted as she tightly held Penny while crying and sobbing, not wanting to let go of her best friend.

Penny quickly snapped out of shock and hugged her first friend, trying to calm her down as the two dropped and sat on the ground.

Snapping out from their shocks as well, the rest of Team RWBY quickly dashed towards their leader, and all kneeled to their level as they tried to comfort her while the others just stood there worried for the girl.

"Shhhh… Ruby, it's okay… I'm not angry or upset." Penny whispered as she gently rubbed Ruby's back as she slowly began to calm down from her crying.

After a few minutes, Ruby finally calmed down and let go of Penny. Seeing her face, she held a tremendous amount of guilt.

"I'm sorry Penny… I shouldn't have lied to you. You are my best friend and…" Ruby sobbed as she wiped away the tears from her eyes, but Penny simply smiled and shook her head.

"I forgive you, Ruby… whatever secret you are hiding must be heavy for you not to tell me."

"You have no idea." Yang comments as she rubs her younger sister's back.

"Yang!" Both Blake and Weiss reprimand their friend and teammate.

"It's okay everyone…" Ruby sniffed before she finally calmed down and then looked at Penny.

"I'll tell you the truth… Penny." Ruby says with a bit of reluctance but is determined to go ahead with her words.

The others seemed worried and nervous by Ruby's declaration, but after witnessing what happened earlier, they had no right to say no.

Penny gave a small smile and nodded. "Tell me everything from the start, and please take your time."


Before Ruby told her the whole story, Penny arranged seating. Thanks for preparing the chairs for them to sit on that came from Penny's hidden rooms for her to keep her belongings.

When everyone was already comfortable, Ruby began her story. And it floored Penny a lot.

From the Battle of Haven, Leo's betrayal, the journey to Atlas, the train crash and meeting Maria Calavera, learning about the Lamp still had two questions at the time and Ozpin and Salem's greatest secrets hidden by him.

Sitting next to Ruby, who was now done telling her story, Penny looked at her nervously, followed by everyone waiting for Penny's reaction, who seemed to be in deep thought.

The gynoid finally broke the silence as she looked down at the ground. "Ozpin lied about the Lamp… and Salem… can't be killed."

"Y-Yeah…" Ruby gulped, waiting for whatever kind of reaction her best friend will show.

Penny took a moment to look at the floor before taking a deep breath. She raised her head and leaned back on the chair, now looking at the roof. "Well… that certainly complicates things."

Everyone gaped at the gynoid as if she had grown a second head. The others just looked at each other in confusion. They were expecting Penny to get angry, sad, or have some kind of outburst, but not like this. Not her showing… annoyance?

"That… that's it?" Yang slowly said, making Penny look at her as she tilted her head. "You're not angry or upset at all?"

Penny thought about it before shrugging. "No. Not really."

"Huh. She's taking it much better than I thought." Qrow muttered as he recalled how badly he, Oscar and RWBY reacted when they learned the truth, followed by JNR in Argus.

"How… can you not… be freaking out or anything?" Jaune slowly said, still not understanding how Penny was not affected by this revelation when he first learned about it. He took it out on Oscar, which he was not proud of.

"Yeah! I had no idea what to think about it when I first heard about it." Nora added, recalling how she felt all her and her friends' efforts were wasted when they learned the truth.

"Make no mistake, it is affecting me. I'm just being reasonable about it." Penny admits that, besides, she knows a group of Waves that are immortal back in The World, so she's not freaking out that badly.

"Reasonable?" Ren raised a brow.

Penny explains further. "After hearing your side of the story, I can understand why you didn't tell the truth to the General. After what Leo did, you found it difficult to trust anyone else, and the fact that the General has been making… difficult choices clearly showed if it was the right choice to tell him, but I promise you he is doing the best he can for everyone. And I think you are probably sparing him and others about Salem's immortality and not crushing the hope they've been holding on to so far."

"You're… taking this really well, Penny." Ruby slowly said, still processing her friend's logical explanation.

Penny blinked a couple of times before giggling. "S-Sorry! It's just… I said the same thing to you when you discovered my secret back then."

Hearing that, Ruby blinked a couple of times herself before giggling. Penny did say that. But then she looked down in guilt as she gripped her skit with her hands, knowing how right the gynoid was and starting to think she was a hypocrite herself. Then, she felt a hand over her hand as she looked to see Penny giving her a small smile.

"Ruby, none of it is your fault; you only did what you believed was right." Despite what Penny said, the little reaper still didn't feel convinced.

"But Ozpin said–"

"And that's the thing!" Penny gently cuts in. "This is Ozpin's fault."

Everyone could only blink in surprise at that declaration. "W-What?" Ruby said.

"It's his fault that he didn't say the full truth. Granted, parts of his story were tragic to the point that he was too ashamed to tell his past, but the real fact is that he never said anything about Salem's immortality. If so, we might have a chance to think of a plan to fight her." Penny explained, surprising everyone, that the gynoid was still willing to fight against Salem despite learning the truth.

"You're still willing to fight against Salem? Even if she's immortal?" Weiss questioned.

"Immortal or not, that doesn't mean she's unbeatable." Penny declared with much confidence, surprising the group again, not just with her willingness but with her maturity.

"That's great, but how will we fight her without Ozpin?" Oscar asked, reminding Penny how Ozpin had locked himself away from everyone.

"We don't need Ozpin." Penny answered, shocking everyone with her answer as she let go of Ruby's hand. "Ozpin may have had his secrets, but that doesn't mean he had to choose the coward's way out and leave us to fend for ourselves. He made his choice, and he gave up. Not on us, but on himself."

Penny looked towards Oscar with a sad look. "I'm so sorry you had to carry such a burden, Oscar. But know this." Penny then gave him a warm smile. "You are not alone. We can all pull through this as long as we stay together. I know this might not be much, but I promise you, we can do this with or without Ozpin's help."

Oscar was slightly tearing up hearing such comforting words. "Thank you…"

Everyone smiled, glad that Penny was very accepting and understanding of the reveal, and they all knew now that telling the truth to Penny was the right choice. And hearing her encouragement made them feel somewhat safe here in Atlas. But there was one lingering question among the group they couldn't get their heads out of.

Ruby was the one who asked that question. "Penny?"

The gynoid turned to her friend with a smile. "Yes, Ruby?"

Ruby fidgeted a bit but then calmed herself. "How… how are you so… mature?"

When she asked that question, everyone wondered how a sweat-looking girl acted, from all girlish and playful to serious and logical—those who knew her were also curious about her drastic personality change.

Penny just smiled and spoke. "I grew up!"

Honestly, that answer didn't make sense since she was technically built as a teenager.

"That doesn't really answer the question." Blake points on, a bit confused. "I mean, you've been gone for less than two years."

Penny giggled, getting the others confused before looking a bit shy. "Since we are talking about the truth… after my… death… I've actually been gone for eight years."

That confession took a moment for everyone to pause a bit before they all shouted in unison.

"EIGHT YEARS?!" Everyone shouted in shock and disbelief while Penny just giggled as she scratched her face with her finger in embarrassment.

"B-B-But that can be right!" Ruby squeaked, not understanding at all what Penny had just said. "You've been gone for two years! How is it possible for you to be gone for eight?"

"Well…" Penny nervously smiled while fiddling with her fingers. "I know the revelation of magic and all the stuff from Ozpin and Salem's history is a dream in itself, but believe me when I say that what I have been through after the Fall is… borderline impossible."

"Penny, I doubt anything could surprise us with everything that's happened to us in the past two years." Jaune intercepts with a bit of confidence.

"Would you believe me that I was sent to another world after I died?" Penny bluntly asked.

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…Okay, I was wrong." Jaune owlishly blinked, not expecting that at all after breaking the short silence.

"HUH?! You were sent to another world?!" Nora shouts in disbelief as she stands up from her chair. A surprise that no one here had expected upon their arrival in Atlas. Seeing the gynoid alive again was one thing, but claiming that she was sent to another world? That's unbelievable!

"Okay, okay, wait! Just wait!" Qrow cuts in, trying his best not to look for something to drink to wash away all this constant craziness. "I've been working for Oz for as long as I can remember, but this is something even I know is new for him."

"Penny, you're our friend, but even I find this hard to believe." Weiss said. Back then, she would have never believed in the existence of magic, but after the Fall of Beacon, she believed it all. But in Penny's case? She doesn't know what to believe.

"I don't blame any of you. The only one aside from you who knows this is my father." Penny says with understanding. She sighs in reminiscence. "I wish I could show it to you all. The things I've seen… the activities I've done… everything I've learned… and many good people I've met and befriended after all those years…"

Penny looks down with a smile of happiness and sadness before taking a deep breath and looking at them with a genuine smile. "It's all thanks to that I came back. Better than ever!"

The others could all see how happy Penny looked with the various emotions she had shown. This was enough for them to be convinced that the gynoid was not lying.

Ruby could see how happy she looked. A part of her was both happy and relieved that Penny was able to be happy in a way after her death and is glad that she is back, and the other part is sad that the gynoid wanted to explain, but it would seem too long to tell. If only her best friend can show–.

At that very moment. Ruby immediately came to an idea. It would seem stupid, but at that very moment, she thought of it very carefully, and it made her smile.

"What if you can." Ruby emphasised getting everyone's attention.

"What do you mean, Ruby?" Penny tilted her head.

Instead of Ruby saying anything, she pulled out a particular Lamp as it grew large on her hand.

"We can ask the Lamp for it to show us what you've been doing for eight years." The moment she said, everyone looked at Ruby in pure shock.

"What?! Ruby, you can't be series!" Weiss shouts, wondering why Ruby would suggest that.

"Yeah, sis. You do realise that it has one last question it can answer." Yang added.

"I know, which is why it's perfect." Ruby smiled confidently while the others looked at her in confusion as the girl began to explain. "We all know that I told the lie to the General about the Lamp not having any more questions, right? And Ozpin telling him beforehand was enough to convince him. But what if we can turn that lie into the truth by using it up here and now?"

Penny realised what she was talking about. "By asking it to show my story from eight years of my life?"

"Yes!" Ruby nodded, but the idea didn't make the others pleased.

"Ruby… I get what you're doing, but is it really okay?" Blake said as she questioned her friend and leader. "I understand why you want to use it for Penny, but what if we need it for something important?"

"Blake's right, Ruby. The moment we ask it the last question, we will have to wait for another hundred years to use it again." Ren pointed out while the others nodded in agreement.

"Ruby, I appreciate the gesture, but I can show it to you all instead via my memories in video form." Penny said. "We don't have to–"

"We have to use up the Lamp!" Ruby immediately cuts in on Penny's idea, shocking her and the rest with her sudden shout.

Ruby slightly panted before realising what she had done and looked guilty as she held the lamp close to her chest. "I'm sorry… but I really think we should use up the Lamp now."

"But why Ruby?" Oscar questioned.

"Because I realised that we don't need the Lamp. We never did." Ruby answered, getting the others to be off-guard by her answer. "Sure. The Lamp did help Ozpin answer many questions in the past, but right now, my stupid question got Ozpin to lock himself away."

"But Ruby… we had every right to know." Jaune tried to counter, but it sounded weak.

"And I feel guilty for it." Ruby countered, making him flinch. "Just this once, I want to make things right. I… I just want…"

Ruby's eyes began to tremble in tears as the others could only watch in hurt seeing the poor girl act this way.

Penny could see that this burden was hurting her first friend and made her decision. She stood up from her seat, approached Ruby and hugged her.

"Okay, Ruby. We'll go with your idea." Penny said, getting Ruby to look up at her.

"Really?" Ruby whispered. The gynoid hummed in approval as she let go of her.

"Yes. I see the benefit as well. As you said, it won't just turn the lie into truth but also render the Lamp useless even if our enemies would take it." She then turns to the others. "If the rest are okay with that decision."

The other looked at the two before they looked at each other and made a silent agreement.

"…okay, Ruby. Will go with your idea." Yang says, giving in to her sister's idea while also not liking seeing her sister look so hurt.

"Like I said, Ruby, we'll follow your lead." Blake nodded with a smile.

"This is going to bite us back, but then again, I suppose this plan does have its merit." Weiss sighed in defeat but agreed as well.

"I… trust Ruby's judgement, and I am curious to see this new world Penny was in." Jaune admitted.

"Yeah! Let's wash away all this dread and watch something nice for a change." Nora positively chirped, wanting to see Penny's past.

"I will follow what you all plan." Ren simply said, agreeing with everyone.

Qrow was the last, and he thought about it so far, but he decided to put his trust in Ruby like he always had. "Do what you think is right."

Hearing their approval, Ruby smiled and nodded. She pulled the Lamp and lifted it up in the air as Penny and JNR looked in anticipation of what Relic would do.

"Jinn."

When Ruby said those words, Penny immediately noticed that her programs, connections to her father's lab, security cameras in Mantle and her room had been disconnected. The gynoid immediately recalled Ruby's explanation about using the Lamp of Knowledge. When used, time is immediately frozen except for those who are close when saying the password to the Lamp, leaving her and her friends to move freely.

Ruby then lets go of the Relic as it floats from the group. Cyan smoke emanates from it. Suddenly, the Lamp is enveloped in the smoke, and a giant, semi-nude feminine figure emerges. Her skin and hair are blue and decorated with gold jewellery and ornaments.

Penny could only watch in awe at the being before her, known as Jinn. Seeing the blue figure, she couldn't help but compare her to Genie from Disney's Aladdin. At least he was wearing pants, something she wouldn't point out from the female blue girl. Come to think of it, there are other stories and fairy tales that somewhat reflect here in Remnant, like a certain Red Riding Hood girl—something to look up at another time.

Additionally, she immediately noted that Jinn was in the nude but didn't comment because she was in awe at seeing the Relic in action—something to tease them for another time.

Jinn then opened her eyes. She stretched her arms while gazing around her new surroundings before gazing at Ruby.

"I certainly hope you're asking a question this time, young lady." Jinn mused as she crossed her arms in amusement, seeing the little girl chuckle nervously.

"Actually… it's my friend who wants to ask the question." Ruby said as she pointed at Penny, knowing that it should be best for the gynoid to ask the question.

Jinn turned her gaze towards Penny, but at the very moment she looked at Penny, she lightly gasped with widened eyes before quickly approaching the gynoid's personal space face to face, slightly staring the gynoid as she slightly leaned her head back from the intense gaze from the blue spirit much to the surprise to everyone present.

"Remarkable…" Jinn whispers in awe before she takes her distance from Penny, much to her relief. While the spirit did not look away from the gynoid, she smiled as if she had discovered the universe's secrets before her. "You… are truly unique. Never in my whole existence have I encountered such a marvel such as yourself."

"Oh, um, thank you?" Penny simply said, both happy and confused by the compliment.

Jinn giggled before looking at the gynoid with an amused expression. "What is it you like to know? For I have one last question to answer for this era."

This was it. This was the moment when Penny could finally show everything she had gone through ever since the Fall of Beacon. In one part, she still didn't want to waste the last remaining question but made her decision at the request of her best friend and the other was overjoyed that The World would be revealed to them.

Before she said anything, she must be cautious about what to ask. From what she gathered from Ruby's explanation, the Lamp simply answers the question that was only worded to her. She concluded that Jinn may have only answered some of the truth when Ruby questioned what Ozpin was hiding. So, to get the correct answer, she needed to say the right question word per word.

Penny looked at her friends, who all simply nodded to her. She turned to Jinn and took a deep breath before looking up at Jinn with confidence. "What is my life story after the Fall of Beacon?"

Jinn raised an amused brow from the question before chuckling. "You truly are unique."


The last thing Penny remembered was hearing Jinn's last words before the sudden change in scenery, as everything around her was all white, just as Ruby described it.

"Huh… this place almost reminds me of the Creator's Room." Penny comments as she looks around.

"The what room?" Penny turned her head towards the voice and saw Ruby and the others.

"Hello, Ruby!" Penny says as she approaches her and the others. "I thought you said you were all separated when you asked a question from Jinn."

"I did!" Ruby answered, also confused but glad that everyone was together. "Maybe Jinn made it that way?"

"Wow! Everything so white!" Nora chirped as she circled to see nothing but white.

"Where is this place exactly?" Ren questioned as he looked around since it was his and his team's first time in this place.

"Where is Jinn?" Jaune asked.

"Once upon a time," Jinn suddenly started around them as the white area turned black around them. "There was a wondering soul who was taken away from Remnant far too early due to forces she had no control over."

The group then sees a small orb of green light float before them as if wandering in the darkness.

Penny initially didn't know, but then her eyes widened in shock as she recognised the orb. "Is this… my soul?"

This shocked everyone as they gazed upon the floating soul orb as Jinn continued.

"Due to unexplained universal circumstances, Penny's soul wandered in the darkness, not knowing or feeling anything." Penny remembered that feeling, and it scared her at first.

"But then, an unexpected encounter appeared before her." Jinn said as a flash of light suddenly appeared before the orb, making the viewers slightly gaze away from the brightness, and before them, they could see a figure within that light.

"What is that…?" Weiss whispered, trying to figure out what that light was.

"Is that… a person?" Oscar questioned as he could slightly make out a figure inside the light.

"Aura…" Penny whispered in nostalgia.

"And with this short encounter. Penny was saved." Jinn said as the light shined brighter, causing the area to brighten up and making the viewers cover their eyes away.

Then, after the light dies down, the group slowly opens their eyes and sees that the scene changes. They now see Penny, the memory, wearing her old clothing from Beacon, lying on the ground sleeping while they see two men standing in front of her with confused and curious looks at them as they gazed down on the prone gynoid.

"It was here and then that Penny Polendina's life would forever change in… The World."

To be continued…