RWBY Book 2: Echoes - The Descent | Penana

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RWBY Book 2: Echoes
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Writer Polydragons
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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RWBY Book 2: Echoes
A - A - A
The Descent
May 12, 2016
14 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!mt0TcXincBz0Ack02rqQposted on PENANA

After five days of travel, one day longer than planned, the tension between Coco and Velvet had not lessened in the least. It's pervasiveness had caused open animosity at times, including the fight that morning.130Please respect copyright.PENANAv3ydRpdK1d
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Coco was actively pissed and to the point of not caring if they fought. From her viewpoint Velvet was loyal to a fault normally, and that was turning into her undoing as she was feeling her loyalty split between Coco and Blake. She'd thought Velvet had accepted the change in loyalty her position in Phoenix had necessitated. Coco certainly had, and with no feelings of betrayal. She was happy for her friend and teammate to find something that was so dearly important to her, and to Remnant as a whole.copyright protection126PENANArpHriToAhA

So the fact that Velvet hadn't, in fact, accepted that change in loyalty was aggravating. It was a betrayal to that trust Coco had given her. And if she had done it for a reason other than her loyalty to Coco it would be worse, much worse.copyright protection126PENANAbQAL3VM5nd

Velvet was doing her best to hide in Yokahashi's shadow, which wasn't hard with that man's monolithic size. Coco was glaring through him however like he wasn't there, and the faunus was curling in on herself like she could feel that gaze.copyright protection126PENANAWhxhuN2HO5

It was making everyone uncomfortable. That was unavoidable. The two trapped spectators were Hopeful that when JNPR was on board they could help buffer them and raise the spirits of everyone on the way back. Victory was good for the soul after all.copyright protection126PENANAUfuCGMw4mN

"Uh... we may have a problem," Fox announced from the cockpit.copyright protection126PENANAFyEgjHc6Mz

Taking her eyes off of Velvet's hidden form, Coco headed to the front to understand what he could mean. Looking through the windshield she didn't see anything, so she looked down at the instruments instead, particularly the radar. "Shit."copyright protection126PENANAjIRQ0mE33s

Thinking for a second, she decided the immediate problem was uniquely suited to her. "Set us to hover and open the side hatch," she told Fox.copyright protection126PENANA8YHCAoo6tL

Nodding his understanding, both at the orders and at her unspoken plan, he pulled the bullhead to a full stop, then turned ninety degrees to place the hatch forward as he opened it. Stepping out Coco waited until she caught sight of them, then changed her purse into its massive Gatling gun form.copyright protection126PENANAU9jyqDfCJ2

Seven nevermores flying together, let alone in formation, was an unusual sight to behold. Any other rescue craft would likely have gone down, either by its own preference or by force. This wasn't most rescue craft however. It was a craft with Coco who specialized in taking down large heavily armored targets at a distance. She squeezed off the trigger and sliced all seven down in a matter of seconds.copyright protection126PENANAc3K4ULqyOu

That threat wasn't what had caused the earlier exclamation. That there were that many nevermores meant the area must be crawling with grimm. That could be bad for JNPR who were stuck on the ground with them.copyright protection126PENANA1WsJy37X9A

"Scan the ground, I want to know how many grimm are in the area," she said, walking back up front as the hatch was again closed.copyright protection126PENANAJ4J2C9FSMp

Fox shook his head. "I already did. There's nothing down there but wildlife."copyright protection126PENANAUYtF2nqtVe

Now that didn't make any sense. "How far until we reach JNPR's position?"copyright protection126PENANAXWbqFKtNID

"We'll be in radio range in about fifteen minutes," Fox supplied. "Radar range at about the same time.copyright protection126PENANAnrH7tjh9c3

She nodded one last time. "Let’s move it. I don't like the smell of this at all."copyright protection126PENANAz622L5pczl

Sitting cross-legged, back of his wrists on each knee, Ren struggled to find his center, and the sense of balance that came with it. Closing his eyes did nothing to block out the sounds around him. Once he found that inner peace the noise could be removed from his perceptions, along with any other physical sensation that could invade that peace.copyright protection126PENANArwhCWXnqK5

He was ready to beg for that inner peace now.copyright protection126PENANA38wKfZ4x9g

Calm living, even when fighting, was almost a religion to him. It brought him joy, and he had trouble understanding those who actively worked to encourage it's antithesis: rage. Cardin, as an example, had made no sense to him their first three years at Beacon. Why disrupt everyone else's enjoyment? What could someone gain from that?copyright protection126PENANABInDK8Jali

JNPR had seemed to be a place where he would never deal with such issues. They were strong together, each complimenting the other and finding harmony in the whole. Jaune and Pyrrha, in particular, had brought him a great measure of confidence in that stability.copyright protection126PENANAvMPMoMKLcu

Certainly Jaune's need to talk to him, a lot, could be distracting or uncomfortable, often both. Those talks, however, were Jaune's attempt to find answers to continue the cohesiveness of the team. For that reason alone Ren could accept those talks.copyright protection126PENANAQgCn0Sm5pw

So when did this happen?copyright protection126PENANAm0eJEZSo9d

"Pyrrha, get up in the bird's nest until you're ready to talk, will you?" Jaune was yelling. Yelling. Loud enough that he was certain the grimm outside the walls could hear.copyright protection126PENANAGEZwroibav

For her part Pyrrha wasn't saying much of anything. "Yes Jaune," was her only verbal soft reply, but the waves of conflicting emotions radiating from her were nearly as loud as Jaune's voice.copyright protection126PENANAG1LioMaLRA

Very conflicted emotions. Depression was the largest one, and easy to pick out. Ren could understand that emotion. To watch the physical representation of your center crack and lash out at you would cause anyone to be depressed. The loss of his metaphysical center was threatening to do the same to him, and being intangible it was less necessary to maintain calm.copyright protection126PENANAheAwYfvRDF

There was another emotion however. One she was trying her best to hide from everyone, especially Jaune, but with each verbal attack it was coming closer to the surface: Anger. Ren had more trouble understanding this emotion. It wasn't simply because she was feeling it. That was to be expected. Ren had ways of dealing with that emotion, his current attempt at mediation included. Pyrrha did to, and that was where the confusion lay. Why was she not simply talking to Jaune? The last shot from the current battle proved that was actively being looked for from her partner.copyright protection126PENANA5kj5QLt9WE

From her perch above Nora climbed out of the nest to give room for Pyrrha. She gave a single pat on Pyrrha's shoulder as they passed in sympathy and comfort. It was ignored, the warring emotions clearly both in agreement at rejecting it as no hesitancy was shown in shrugging it off.copyright protection126PENANAECFpV3b6P3

That was the other troubling development: Pyrrha was isolating herself. She seemed most comfortable up there, taking everyone else's shifts until she was physically incapable to do so. Avoiding Jaune was becoming understandable, but why the rest of the team?copyright protection126PENANAG6ihDgw879

With the fight over, at least for the moment, Ren had some hope of being able to slip into a meditative state. Only some however. It was possible Jaune would come to speak with him and work through his problems. That it would be so personal this time would make it unusually awkward for Ren, but it wouldn't be the first time. Ren wondered how their leader could be oblivious to how awkward these little talks made him feel.copyright protection126PENANANct7ikSLtP

Either Jaune hadn't reached that point, or he had gone beyond that point, as he simply walked over to their artificial cave. That was good, at least for Ren. At last able to turn his attention fully inward, he reached the deep meditative state he had strived for.copyright protection126PENANAq8s5xn9JtZ

Once every other aspect of reality was driven from his mind, he opened up one sense: the sixth sense that allowed him to feel the dust around him. Like their physical appearance dust radiated in many different colors to his mental sight. In this state their energies were as clear as the blue sky above.copyright protection126PENANAM954qJlWSt

For the first five hundred yards around him it was easy to pick out their energies. beyond that it became difficult more difficult, doubling every few feet. His vision was mildly obscured by the physical objects around him as well, but only mildly.copyright protection126PENANA6GGANYVGJo

So far he had looked around them, finding only what he had found the first day they were here: traces of dust all around them on the ground. None of it was concentrated as far as he could tell. None of it was of a particular type or element either.copyright protection126PENANAwaxYf4lpOO

As an abandoned mining camp, there were of course mines below to check, but when he had looked there were fewer traces there than there was on the surface. Today he was checking underground again, but away from the quarry. Was there perhaps a source that had gone unnoticed when the facility was still in use?copyright protection126PENANAoAYuFpd1m5

He looked thirty feet down, and found nothing except the same traces of dust. Pushing harder, he looked another ten feet, and got no closer. Though sensing through solid matter didn't cause much trouble, it did make forty feet about his limit. So, he could accept there was nothing there and return to the emotionally raw environment he was entrenched in, or he could go the extra mile.copyright protection126PENANAusLa3z8YgS

The extra mile it was then.copyright protection126PENANAnM2UKiZ6HN

At fifty-five feet, a distance beyond his limit normally, he received the shock of his life. It was far enough beyond his limit he was almost ready to discount what he'd found. As he pulled his consciousness back to the physical world, he saw Nora's cute face inches from his. "So, did'ja find someth'n this time?" She asked playfully.copyright protection126PENANAV6oTA3jO5F

He felt a reaction headache coming on quickly, the consequence for pushing himself so hard. What he found was going to prove that coming pain an acceptable consequence.copyright protection126PENANAUz8FJbfSaw

Behind Nora, obviously still angry, Jaune sat with his arms crossed and his eyes closed in frustration as he leaned against the dilapidated structure supporting Pyrrha's blind. Above the slight sounds of sniffling could be heard.copyright protection126PENANAKxiMr34r9M

That extra mile was looking really good right then.copyright protection126PENANAe5SCZsGigL

Nodding once, Ren indicated where one of the mine shafts was with his eyes then got up. Smiling with relief Nora followed suit, ready to go to the mine he'd indicated.copyright protection126PENANAXal5Q4h6Wr

"Hey boss man, we're heading out. Ren found something. We got our radios on if you need anything," Nora said in her chipper voice. Leaning forward towards the team leader, she continued to talk in a hushed tone he doubted Pyrrha would hear. He had no doubt that was intended. "Talk, and I mean talk, to her before I kill you."copyright protection126PENANACHYVtqYyS8

Ren blinked several times. That was not the cheerful voice he was used to from Nora. He'd only heard that dark voice from his friend a handful of times since they had met at childhood, and each time had indicated she was past her breaking point. Watching two of her best friends at each other for this long was putting her there.copyright protection126PENANAk6dcJcFquW

Splitting the team up was a bad idea. Everyone knew that, or would if they were thinking straight. Jaune wasn't at that time with his brooding introspection, Nora wasn't with her own unexpected anger, and Pyrrha wasn't paying any attention at all, a state Ren never would have guessed was possible of her. For his part Ren thought he'd only be down there for a half hour at most. That was an acceptable risk if what he found was correct.copyright protection126PENANAcs7xyYCP4z

At least this way they were still in pairs. If something happened they could hold out until the other pair reached them. Even at their worst he doubted anything could defeat Jaune and Pyrrha quickly.copyright protection126PENANAhHggCKHBiz

Pausing for a few minutes at the entrance to the mine, he looked over the map posted there to be sure he knew the correct route before moving on. As if nothing had happened before Nora had returned to humming happily as she followed in his wake.copyright protection126PENANAJDGXQp9vPE

Normally Ren didn't get into gossip or talking about his friends when they weren't there. Was this a good time to make an exception? He certainly needed to know what was going on. He was equally sure Nora could explain it in a way he understood, and doing it when the couple was near could cause their turmoil to increase.copyright protection126PENANAs17zzFxbvC

Whether he was going to make that exception or not was a moot point. Nora made sure of that as she launched into a monologue. "Those two still love each other Ren, don't worry so much. They're just having a rough patch. Everyone does. When people don't appear to have one is when they are at their worst. Which I think is why I should be kicking myself for not seeing this coming. I mean, when's the last disagreement those two have had? I'm not sure how I didn't know something was wrong until it blew." Nora was starting to sound a bit peeved at herself as well as at the couple above them now.copyright protection126PENANAKMj03WLKx3

"I think there's been some baggage those two haven't been working on, and more stuff has been getting piled on top of that baggage until no one could see it, especially them. And well, now it's all coming up and it's had time to fester and really stink."copyright protection126PENANAjgH0dxpn3f

That didn't really explain much, yet it did reassure him that this would pass. From a purely selfish perspective that was good. Contrary to what most said being selfish wasn't a bad thing. If you didn't take care of your own needs you inevitably would stop being able to help others with theirs.copyright protection126PENANA2vh95QOD2k

It wasn't a bad thing, but in that view it was so he could be better able to help others, so the next question was only logical. "Can we help?" he asked simply.copyright protection126PENANAfM7zNavyU3

"Not really. I mean, I can continue to give Pyrrha advice, but it's up to her if she's going to start talking to Jaune on what's going on. Jaune for his part needs to start being clear on his needs and wants, which really aren't all that unreasonable, without going into Neanderthal mode. I could try helping there, but I'm not sure he'd understand any better than I just put it to him now."copyright protection126PENANACekjexREVU

Showing more of the stress this had put the redhead under, Nora pinched the bridge of her nose while walking to alleviate an apparent headache. "I'm not going to play middle man for them. That may fix it short term, but I'm not signing on as their personal relationship councilor for the rest of my life. They need to learn to do it without me."copyright protection126PENANATXqb7w2V94

"So they just need to work on communicating?" That both did and didn't make sense. Those two communicated at a level beyond the mystical most times, yet every word Jaune yelled at Pyrrha was about her talking more.copyright protection126PENANAgoRnYFxudr

"Oh, they communicate fine when it's something they want to talk about. It's the stuff they don't want to that became a problem."copyright protection126PENANAxQFRaUp1yk

Aaaah! Now that was the key point he had been missing.copyright protection126PENANAWsinDpTGl2

The walls in the artificial cave system were well made. Any collapses that would have occurred happened a decade ago so beyond some treacherous footing there was little to worry about.copyright protection126PENANAKBrCYqhwUu

"Here," Ren said to indicate the end of the descent. Without ceremony he went into a sitting position and began dropping back into a meditative state. Though completely failing at being able to do so herself, Nora was well accustomed to Ren's routine and let him at it while she settled in for a quiet (And boring as far as she was concerned) time in the dark.copyright protection126PENANAXrlDivxIx6

Looking first within, and then without, the shorter distance to his discovery made all the difference. "What's that doing there?" he whispered in awe as he came back to himself.copyright protection126PENANA3tylRbLKR6

"That was quick!" Nora exclaimed with some of her good cheer returning.copyright protection126PENANANCIfeHFvdA

Before he had a chance to explain their radio's came to life.copyright protection126PENANA0b1mPkRm2p

"Team JNPR, this is team CFVY, do you read?" came the welcome voice of CFVY's leader. The strain in her usually cool voice wasn’t reassuring. The unwelcome sounds of her Gatling gun firing off immediately after was even less so.copyright protection126PENANAt5S1rKdcv4

That made it a combat situation, so Ren waited for Jaune's reply. "This is Jaune, Coco. Sit-rep?" He sounded calm at least. Maybe him and Pyrrha had finally talked? It didn't matter right then. Both Ren and Nora had started moving as quickly as the uneven ground would allow back to the surface the moment the sounds of combat had registered.copyright protection126PENANAjiH1yWIesW

After the initial attack from the nevermores, the remaining trip had become nothing less than hellish. Every type of flying grimm Coco had ever seen, and quite a few she hadn't, were constantly attacking from every side. The trouble with this tactic is it meant no matter which way the bullhead was facing there was three sides that Coco couldn't strike down. Fox was taking down as many in front with the bullhead's armaments, and the rear hatch had dropped so Velvet could work on slowing down the grimm giving chase. copyright protection126PENANAOt7QPWaHjd

That left one side they couldn't effectively protect. It would be enough to bring them down. It was simply a matter of time. What had JNPR gotten themselves into?copyright protection126PENANA6MjZOLJ1Xe

"We're within radio range!" Fox said into her headset, the stress of the situation showing in his voice. "Patching you through now."copyright protection126PENANA6gxNi6J1kc

Without pause Coco established contact. "Team JNPR, this is team CFVY, do you read?"copyright protection126PENANAX9F5Zv2acl

There was only silence on the line for two heart beats, then "This is Jaune, Coco. Sit-rep?" came the voice she had prayed for. copyright protection126PENANAoi8HhWs1Xq

"Fifteen minutes from your location. Under attack by grimm and we may not be able to repel them long enough to reach you. We will be coming in hot if we do. Any assistance is welcome."copyright protection126PENANAg3HNRZTB0e

"Roger that," Jaune confirmed. "You'll have all we can provide, but be aware we are currently pinned and unable to travel from our location."copyright protection126PENANANYnt3mY5wa

That news was just peachy. Once again Coco asked herself, what the hell have you gotten yourself into Jaune?"copyright protection126PENANArUtACLw5Nu

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