"Tell me again why we're out here?" Neptune asked impatiently, again.
Sun looked over at him, obviously getting annoyed. "Dude, chill."
"I'm chill. This cold air has made sure of that."
Yang was starting to get tired of the whining herself. "Stuff it, or I'll stuff it for you," she growled.
Sun snickered. "Remember what I said about her bad side?"
Neptune was suddenly much quieter.
Yang returned her attention to the Club. The stakeout had been going on since they had left it. The only thing she was missing was classes and watching after Ruby. She told Ozpin directly she wasn't going to be in classes for the rest of the week, maybe longer. He could suspend her, even expel her. This was more important. She didn't know his answer; she hadn't given him time to. She knew Glynda was going to be pissed when she missed her classes. Assuming she wasn't expelled she wasn't going to enjoy her wrath. As for Ruby, she trusted Weiss to be there for her.
They took the stakeout in shifts with the other two occupying the room below to get cleaned up, rested, and fed. She'd given both Sun and Neptune a chance to back out when she decided her course of action. This wasn't their fight, it was hers. Both laughed at the offer. They weren't here for her; they were here for Ruby which eased some of the guilt of them being there. All there was for her was the mission. Junior was their best chance.
Junior was scared for his life when she had visited Wednesday. The pure number of goons proved that. The fact they were only there to slow this mystery man down proved how strong Junior thought this guy was. He overestimated the competence of his men, but that wasn't unusual.
Rewind to the last time she had been here. She hadn't been lying, there were more goons than normal. Just the bouncers at the door proved the difference. Normally there was only one waiting on the outside to check ID's. When she'd visited the last time there had been two, and when she went in Wednesday there had been six; four of them packing and all of them with better swords than their usual red bladed pieces of shit. The interior security had been upped as well.
So the question is who had him scared? It wasn't the usual gangs. Junior had always been able to play neutral and it was accepted. You went there you didn't fight, you drank, danced, and partied. It's why there were so many goons on a normal night, to enforce that peace. Besides some drunks who got kicked out regularly, all the gangs had come to respect that neutrality.
It was also why he was such an effective info broker. When you get drunk you talk, and who's the best person to talk too? The ever trusted bartender who brought you your next round. That information was something that Yang had taken advantage of multiple times now.
So if not the gangs, who? Not the police or any other official authorities. Like her they weren't killers. When she had asked for information this time he'd nearly wet himself (actually he had wet himself) fearing what she was about to do to him, yet didn't let a single piece of information slip. She didn't have an answer only a hunch, which was reason enough to watch him. It might be the White Fang, or it could just be some guy with a grudge. She was willing to bet it was the Fang though.
They were looking for any unusual activity. Either this big-bad was going to show up, or Junior was going to make a break for it. He had his own place, yet he hadn't left the Club in three days. He must have felt the safest there.
After four days they finally got some results. Sun elbowed her in the ribs lightly and she came out of her reverie. Looking down she saw Junior leaving along with three of his men in his car. When he got on the street two more cars joined them: one in front, one in back.
"I see what you mean about overkill," Sun commented.
Yang showed her agreement with a smile that clearly said 'And you doubted me how?' "Let's go."
The owner of the calm voice smiled. "It's time."
Yang, Neptune, and Sun ran from rooftop to rooftop at a speed only possible through a concentrated use of Aura. Their eyes remained on the car below them. Junior wasn't taking it slow either. Even with the speed boost they were having trouble keeping up. Ruby would have found this chase easy of course. There were times when Yang could be extremely jealous of her sister. This was definitely one of them.
The pace prevented talking between them, but they all knew what to do. Keep up with Junior and don't stop for anyone if they fell. They'd catch up later. There was never a contingency for them all falling at the same time.
They'd never expected a trap. There was no way someone could guess where Junior was going, and he was taking a circular route to wherever it was.
That made the trip line extremely effective. The placement made it even worse. It was about one step before they would jump up where that building went from three to four stories.
It would have been the perfect trap. First the trip line forced all three to land hard onto the roof. Then their forward momentum sent them into the wall in front of them.
For two of them it had been, but Yang was designed for such abuse. Landing that hard, and then the forward momentum making her run into the wall, was enough to activate her semblance. It absorbed the blow and added its force to her own already exceptional strength.
Sun didn't fare so well. His fighting style was highly acrobatic in nature. That made it possible to roll with the impact with the roof a reflex action; minimizing that damage. The wall in front of them, on the other hand, he didn't have an answer for. He put as much of his Aura to protect himself as he could. It was enough to save him from severe wounds, but between the impact and the massive amount of aura he had just used he was unconscious.
Neptune fared the worse. He fell face first on the roof, and then skipped across it like a stone on a pond. He was only half conscious when he hit the wall. His body looked broken like a plastic Huntsman figure that had been stepped on.
Yang wasn't sure what to do first. Kill whoever attacked them, take care of Sun, or see if Neptune was still alive. If it was a coordinated attack then the next blow would come soon. She looked around frantically for their attacker.
"Your strength means nothing."
She looked everywhere, but the source of the voice was nowhere. She growled in feral rage. Then the floor got taken out from under her, literally. It had been planned, all of it. She felt a familiar hand in the attack; the same that had been used on her sister and Weiss. She landed on her feet. Anyone trained in landing strategies wouldn't find a three-story fall even remotely challenging.
She looked around, but saw almost nothing. It was darkness everywhere, only lit by the glow of her hair. She looked up in time to see the hole in the roof being covered. They thought they could win by blinding her? She smiled. Maybe they weren't as ready as she had assumed. Thanks to the energy she'd gotten from her semblance her hair was glowing. She looked again for the source of the voice and she quickly realized that it wasn't just that it was dark. Every inch of this place was painted black. In the dim light of her hair finding the motion she sensed around her was difficult.
"Don't you have some friends to help?"
Shit. The building had no interior walls or stairs. It was as hallow as a hanger. Without a second thought she jumped towards the hole she'd fallen through. She couldn't have gotten more than six feet before she felt the impact in her ribs. It threw her sideways, away from her target, and into the roof five feet away. She bounced off of that point uselessly. The strength of the impact hadn't even been enough to add to her strength, nor the fall back down.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, she yelled at herself. I'm letting him taunt me into doing exactly what he wants me to do!
"Oh, too bad. It looks like you're too late." The hole opened briefly and she saw a body drop, blue hair obvious from the thin moon light. She ran to catch him instinctively and saw it this time; an arm heading towards her. She ducked the clothes line, and then heard the sickening crunch of Neptune's body hitting the ground.
"All your skills and strength and you can't even protect one person."
She knew the game now. The arm had been black, which made it perfectly camouflaged. Her hair made her like a candle in the darkness. He had the ultimate advantage.
"Cute trick," she taunted back, ready to remove that advantage. She was angry and she allowed that anger to burn, literally. Her fires only lasted for seconds, but it was long enough to find her attacker.
And long enough to light the dust directly below her. The explosion sent her upwards five feet, and back down in a heap. She knew it was already too late. He would have moved by now.
She desperately wanted to check on Neptune, but she resisted. This guy was using her temper and her emotions against her. She stopped everything and listened very carefully, forcing herself to a state of calm, or at least attempting too.
"And now you understand, you have no power at all."
Using his voice she could finally get a bead on him almost directly above her. Firing before he had a chance to move; she saw the round light up the room and miss him by inches, but that wasn't what caught her attention. The roof behind him exploded from her attack, and another body fell to the ground.
He didn't even taunt her this time, he just chuckled in amusement. That was even worse than the taunts, making it harder to keep her temper reined in.
She concentrated on the sound again. It was behind her and eight feet up. Before he could have a chance to move again her hips started to twist; amplifying the speed of her turn of her shoulders; which had started to move a split second earlier. The combination made the speed of firing Ember Celica nearly superhuman. It hit a spot she couldn't even see, but she was secure that even if she missed she wouldn't hit her friends again.
That speed didn't matter. As she aimed up the attack came from below. The last thing she saw was the knife. The wetness on her cheeks was not only tears.
"It is poetic to end your illusions as you lose your sight."
The pain was beyond anything she remembered. She wanted to fall to her knees screaming. That wasn't an option though. She worked through it; swinging repeatedly in the sightless dark at the voice in anger, frustration, and defeat. He kept taunting her the entire time, and laughing. The harder she tried to the clearer it was that she was at his mercy. Worse than the feeling of helplessness was the thought that Sun and Mercury might be dead. Sun by her own hands.
"We will meet again." Then there was silence no matter how hard she listened.
Falling to the ground on her knees she searched desperately for both of them. She couldn't find them. She found debris everywhere, some of it cutting into her knees and stabbing her hands. She didn't stop. She knew they were in there with her, somewhere. In a final desperate move she fired upwards hoping someone, anyone, would find them as she screamed out her anger.
He sat above watching her move around helplessly. That had gone better than he had expected. It was delicious. He knew she would regain her sight, eventually. The damage was mostly superficial. That hadn't been the point.
One down, three to go.
Yang jumped awake. She looked around quickly to be sure it had been a dream.
All that came back was darkness.
"No, no, no, no," she kept repeating trying to get up and felt hands pushing her back down
"Yang! Yang, calm down, I'm here," came her sister's voice. She fell back into the bed. She felt groggy. Then she remembered being put under as they brought her back to Beacon.
"Sun... Neptune?" she asked listlessly. Neptune had to have been dead, and she'd shot Sun herself.
"They're in bad shape. Very bad. Neptune's in a coma, but Sun is conscious. We know what happened until the trip line. After that he couldn't tell us much."
They were alive. 'And now you understand. You have no power at all.' He had the power. If he wanted he could have killed all three of them. Instead he had humiliated her. It made her angry; beyond angry. She wanted to rage and destroy the voice's owner. Right now she'd have trouble just finding her way out of this room.
"My eyes?" she asked, feeling her face and finding bandages over them. The bandages felt bulged outward oddly, and she couldn't feel any of the gauze against her eyes, just around them.
"They should heal pretty quickly," Ruby said encouragingly. "Doc said the damage is superficial. You are either very lucky, or whoever did it knew exactly what he was doing and wickedly good. If the strike had been either deeper or lighter it would have caused permanent damage or nothing at all."
"He played me," Yang said, her anger evident, but there was an undercurrent of something new to the brawler; fear. She was good at one thing, and that was kicking ass. Memories of a fight long ago against a pink haired brat were attached to the one time she had lost. It had been only slightly less of a total defeat than this one. She had vowed then and there that she wouldn't be pushed around so easily and had doubled up on her training. She became unstoppable, undefeatable, the perfect warrior. She proved it with her rematch the next year. As far as she knew Neo still had a limp.
Now she knew all the training hadn't been enough. She couldn't win a fight when someone else was writing the rules. "He treated me like a marionette, pulling my strings like an expert."
"I'm sorry to interrupt," came Ozpin's voice somewhere towards her feet and to the right. How long had he been there? she asked herself feeling a bit more vulnerable in that moment.
"Yes Headmaster?" Yang asked hoping none of that vulnerability showed. She had an image after all.
Yang heard a sipping sound, and knew that the headmaster had paused to drink his ever-present coffee. "Yang I need to know in detail what happened after the trip line. I know it will be difficult to relive, but it is important."
'Difficult' was an understatement, one of Ozpin's specialties, but Yang did exactly what was asked. The anger and frustration built with each word. Angry at the voice that had taunted her; defeated her. Angry at herself for allowing him to play her. During the telling she found out that the rest of her team was also in the room with her, all giving silent support. They kept her from going over the edge and she was thankful for their presence.
"Thank you Yang. That was everything I could have asked. I need to ask just a few more questions," the Headmaster said in that quiet voice that could be so calming, like now. "The most important is any detail you might have seen of your attacker."
Yang shook her head in frustration. "No. He used the darkness perfectly. Only thing I ever saw clearly was his arm, which was covered in black cloth. He planned the battlefield and used it against me flawlessly." She paused, realizing that wasn't entirely accurate. "No, I did see him briefly when I let my flames free and before the explosion they caused. He was completely clad in black, even his face which had a black grim mask. He was on the side of the wall, clinging to it like a gecko. He was big. I'd say six. Maybe a little bigger, but thin like a dancer. I can't remember anything else about him clearly."
"That is more than we had to work with than before," Ozpin said sounding pleased. Then he moved on to the next question. "Can you think of anything that was done that indicated dust was used?"
Yang replayed every instant of her fight, and replayed it again. "The wall... It should have been destroyed by our impact. I don't think it had so much as a scratch." She realized if the wall had given in to the impact Sun and Neptune wouldn't have been hurt as badly. She replayed the fight some more. "I know it was dust under me that exploded. Shouldn't that type of dust have been red?"
Weiss's voice, coming from behind where Ruby stood, answered. "Of course."
"Well this stuff had been black like the rest of the room."
Now Weiss started to sound indignant. "That's simply not possible."
"There's no other way I wouldn't have been able to see it," Yang said, some of her anger leaking into the conversation.
There was a pause. Yang had never felt more helpless. The lack of sound reinforced how little control she had over her environment. After a few seconds Ruby brought up the possible answer. "Maybe it wasn't there before. When me and Weiss were attacked she saw the dust moving."
"That is a distinct possibility Ruby," the Headmaster agreed. "I need to contemplate this. I think it goes without saying that this enemy is dangerous and should not be gone after on your own."
Silence fell for a second only broken by footsteps and the tapping of a cane, then the closing of a door.
"Whoever it is wants RWBY," her sister said flatly as soon as Ozpin was out of the room. Yang didn't think she'd ever heard that much anger in her voice since the day she could talk. "They went after me and Weiss: toyed with us and left. Now they've gone after Yang and done the same thing. Blake, you're next."
Yang wished she knew the expressions on her friends' faces. She needed to know what they were feeling. Blake's voice replied to Ruby. "I agree, however I have to return to town regularly. Phoenix needs my presence."
"And we need you alive!" Ruby yelled.
Yang stayed quiet. She wanted to chime in and help, but she was a mixed bag of scared and pissed. Whatever she contributed would be influenced by both.
That pause again that Yang was really coming to hate. "There are things bigger than us," Blake said into that silence. "The success of Phoenix is more important than anything else has in my life. Even RWBY. Even myself!"
More silence, uninterrupted this time for minutes. "We'll help you then," came a soft, unexpected voice. "I promised you that I would do all I could to end the prejudice against faunus. I may not be a Schnee, but I don't go back on my word."
"That proves you're better than a Schnee," Blake said quietly. Weiss didn't automatically deny that as she would have months ago.
Ruby's voice rose, excited and energetic yet oddly filled with anger. "Okay, everyone in favor of bringing about a world-changing organization in the face of insurmountable odds while being hunted by an unknown force intent on destroying us say 'aye.'" The speech was normal but the anger wasn't. Yang realized suddenly that the protective nature of big sister to little went both ways.
The two instant 'yes's' that followed was expected.
Yang stayed silent for several seconds, afraid. Then she let the anger fill her till there was no room for the fear. "Fuck yes!"
"I know you don't say aye just to mess with me!" Ruby complained.
Weiss sounded amused. "And yet it still works."
Ozpin stood just outside the door listening. He was unsurprised that RWBY wasn't going to just lie down after this. He still did not think they were ready for what was after them, but together they at least stood a chance.
RWBY was starting to get enough information together to figure out the nature of the threat by themselves. There were only a couple pieces they were missing. Ozpin seriously contemplated telling them, but went against it. He wanted to save Ruby and Yang that pain.
The enemy was being more brash than he had expected, or was it arrogance? From the skill that Yang had described, and the fact they had stayed undetected in a city as populated as Vale, indicated they had earned that arrogance.654Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡqYtNYOKReLns 22.214.171.124da2