Welcome to the prologue chapter of RWBY: Hunters, Heroes and Humanity. I am TacticalFallacy and I thank you for the time you spend reading this. It has been a while since I have started writing fanfiction again, so I am a little rusty, but I hope it isn't severe enough to disturb your reading.
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To the Story...
“Ruby Rose, are you even listening to me?! It’s the end of school and seriously, I am perfectly fine with handling my own training, thank you very much!”
“But we haven’t trained as a team yet and hence as team leader I have to make sure that we do so. Besides, I haven’t been to the Academy’s training gym and I just so want to see the weapons – uh I mean equipment that we will get! It will be so cool!”
On a perfectly good Friday, where the air is moist and cool while the sun begins to set away to mark the end of the afternoon, a certain energetic Little Red Riding Hood named Ruby Rose and a haughty Snow White named Weiss Schnee were dashing through the halls of Beacon Academy, the grandest academy in Vale located ever so nicely on the side of a cliff, overhanging its little port and the loud waves of water routinely smashing against the rocks below like an artisan chipping away at an emerging masterpiece. Of course, you can really only say ‘dashing through the halls’ if you consider ‘dashing’ to be a little red-cloaked girl rushing full steam ahead while the white-haired girl she is pulling along is trying, and failing, to pull back and stop her.
Perhaps if she managed to stop Ruby, Weiss might have time to admire the beautiful architecture of the Academy’s inner halls, with its polished square pillars that, made from stone so old that each pillar has a fantastic history, hold up the ceiling, which too had fantastic murals painted over it, depicting many Hunters on their escapades to protect the people of Vytal and to defeat their arch-enemy, the creatures of Grimm. Those monstrosities were nothing more than black stains on the otherwise vibrant paintings that lined the walls.
Many historical tales, glorious, pitiful or depressing, abound from every single picture, such as how the dashing Lord of Mistral, Jenivios Goneril the First, faced twenty Grimm creatures of massive size in single combat, all at once, how the menacingly cruel Vortigern bathed in the blood of the creatures of Grimm in cold madness, before assailing his own comrades and the Kingdom of Vale, or how the wise and beautiful Ekaterina Pierce had suddenly went mad and attempted to make peace with the Grimm, only to be struck down by her fellow Hunters when she threatened the safety of the four kingdoms of Vytal. In such stories, one can see a lot of things, if one just knows to take a look.
But Ruby, oh ever the modern girl, cared nothing for such pasts. She had something much more violent in her eyes, and Weiss knew it. “Don’t you dare try to hide it!” Weiss exclaimed at her partner, pausing between words to struggle the physically superior Ruby.. “You just…..want to see…..the weapons…..you idiotic weapon geek!” Of course to no avail for the heiress. It has been four days since their Initiation, so Weiss was not comfortable with being pulled around by Ruby, let alone stopping her.
“Oh pretty please!” Even as she seemed to be asking for permission, Ruby did not even slow down, her thigh-high boots barely touching the floor as the blur of a girl pulled along the struggling Weiss through the halls, pushed so fast by her barely held excitement at the possibility of seeing new weapons, her eyes already twinkling as if the Creator had picked off little stars from the night sky and with some celestial glue, pasted them over Ruby’s irises. Her wide grin was probably not helping in hiding her emotions. “Besides Weiss, you can get to scout out the competition!”
“I don’t ‘Scout out the competition’! I simply ‘Observe’.” Weiss pouted in complaint as she now enthusiastically ran alongside Ruby. Clearly, Ruby’s comment got the job done. Weiss had stopped pulling back, much to the gratitude of her right arm, which had been screaming under the tension between the two girls. “Okay, perhaps I do want to see other students inside the Academy. NOT that I’m not confident in myself, or anything. Just consider yourself lucky that I am in a good mood….” Weiss cringed under her flailing words, much to Ruby’s amusement as she voluntarily slowed down so as to not leave Weiss behind.
“Anyway, Ruby, if you really wanted us to train as a team, why didn’t you bring Blake and Yang along?”
“Well....." Ruby hesitated to say as she played with her fingers, sheepishly looking away from the now suspicious Weiss. "Yang was with her old school friends. She had such a huge crowd around her. It was like THIS big.” Ruby stretched her arms wide and tried to draw a circle as she ran, though it only caused Weiss to raise her eyebrows at Ruby’s attempt to gauge the size of a crowd with those small arms of hers. “So I.....kind of freaked out and did not try to invite Yang. I mean, she was in the very centre of attention. I’ll be in the spotlight if I tried to talk to her. Like, how do you deal with a crowd like that!? It’s just too overwhelming for me! You know what I mean?”
“Haaaaaa, well done, team leader, I’m proud of your skill of making tactical retreats.” Weiss could only palm herself in the face when she saw Ruby’s face lighting up at her ‘praise’. How could she forget that Ruby Rose was nigh immune to sarcasm, especially since she had tried it once on Ruby already? “That was not a compliment.” Weiss sighed resignedly when she watched Ruby’s expression drop. At least seeing that seemed to make Weiss l feel a little more cheerful. “And what about Blake?”
“Ummm……Blake was in the dorm, reading a book. She….seemed so intent in finishing that book. Her eyes were like drilling into the pages, kind of like me when I find a book about weapons, but of course, I’ll probably be more excited and dance around in my fantasie-"
"Ah hem." Weiss gave a loud cough. "You were saying?" Ruby winced in pain at the ice queen's cold reception to her rambling. She continued, this time getting back on track.
"Anyway, I thought that maybe I should not try to interrupt Blake. I mean, it’s really rude to interrupt someone when they are reading, especially when they are doing it so intens-AHHH!!!” Ruby felt her cute silver eyes almost pop out of her sockets as she gagged under the tug at her neck. Her red cloak was being pulled back, nearly strangling her. And the culprit?
“RUDE?! YOU THINK INTERRUPTING SOMEONE IS RUDE?! WHY DID YOU NOT APPLY THAT LOGIC WHEN YOU INTERRUPTED ME FROM POLISHING MY NAILS?! I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT YOU ALLOWED THAT BLAKE TO HAVE SUCH A RELAXING TIME WHILE HERE I AM BEING PULLED AROUND FOR YOUR RIDICULOUS IDEAS!” Unlike Ruby, Weiss has no problem fully expressing herself in public, so the full wrath of her booming voice was now washed over poor Ruby, like lava from an erupting volcano, its roars echoing through the unusually empty hallways.
Frightened beyond her wits at the sheer volume, Ruby could only stammer out a meek little “Erm…..sorry?” Poor girl. Perhaps on a better playing field she might actually stand up to Weiss as team leader, but of course, being choked via your cloak is not a very good source of courage. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
“SORRY DOES NOT CUT IT! THAT’S IT! I’M GOING BACK! YOU CAN GO WATCH YOUR STUPID WEAPONS ON YOUR OWN!!!” Letting go of Ruby’s cloak, Weiss gave a haughty ‘hmph’ as she turned, fully ready to storm off, steam rolling through her brain, creating so much mental pressure that she felt like exploding. Thankfully, a mental douse of ice cold water went over her, when suddenly someone called out from the other direction.
“May I know who made such a racket?”
Weiss and Ruby both now swivelled about to look to the other end of the corridor, just as a very tall janitor, dressed in the blue uniform, with matching rubber gloves and boots, came walking towards them, broom in hand, while a wheeled bucket with a mop still in it being pulled along behind him. Ruby had never seen anyone as tall as this man, whose hair and eyes was hidden beneath a neat little cap. He was easily a head taller than Cardin Winchester, the leader of Team CRDL.
At the same time, Weiss let out a breath of relief, glad that it was not a teacher that she had disturbed with her shouting. It was only a simple janitor. Her sigh of relief, however, betrayed her. “I take it you are the one, miss.” The not-so-simple janitor nodded knowingly to Weiss, who, caught off guard, gulped a little in embarrassment.
“Haven’t seen you students before. First-years, I take it?”
Weiss consoled herself back to normal and tried to put her foot down once again at this lowly janitor. Does he now know who she is? How dare he address to the heiress of the Schnee Dust Company like a mere little girl? Her voice came strong, each word clearly pronounced as Weiss tried her 'princess' charisma. “Yes, we are. And who-“
Unfortunately for Weiss, it did not work.
“Well, miss, you two are pretty far in the senior side of the Academy. I suggest keeping your trumpets down when you are here. If you irritate your seniors, they might not be as merciful as me. And if your screams crack a window pane, they will be more merciful than me.” Weiss puffed her cheeks in sheer irritation as the janitor completely ignored interrupted her attempt at setting authority. How dare he show such cheeky disregard to someone of her status? As she stared angrily on at him, the janitor blankly looked at her before giving a small smile, which only serve to cause the flames in Weiss to flare up even more.
As for Ruby, she was already getting excited.
“Senior side?! I didn’t know the Academy was divided between years?! So that’s why we weren’t seeing any people from the older years. Oh, I can’t wait…..the weapons…seeing them....so good….” Both Weiss and the janitor watched Ruby with weird looks as the scenery darkened around the innocuous-looking little girl, who is now murmuring to herself as she evillly plotted her next great foray into the senior side for a little peek of her most favourite things on Vytal.
“Miss, might I ask why are you two dwelling so deep into this side in the first place? Your Initiation only ended three days ago. You should be resting.”
“We just got lost. In fact, we were about to go bac-“
“We were looking for the training gym. Can you tell us where it is?” Weiss let out a breath of exasperation as she was interrupted once again, her arms shaking as she fumed at Ruby, who just ignored her and was now looking at the janitor, who lowered his cap as he gave a little guffaw behind it.
“Miss, you are right inside it.” Ruby and Weiss both felt their jaw drop as the janitor explained. “This entire corridor here is the entrance to the main gym complex, but it itself is also a part of it. Did you notice that the corridor was excessively long, yet it has no doors at all?”
Ruby frowned. It did not seem that long to her, but that was a result of her own sheer speed and excitement. However, Weiss understood what the janitor was referring to, having struggled a good way of the corridor. The corridor had been easily 500 meters long and yet had no doors, only murals and paintings.
“This whole corridor is the speed racing section. It gives a straight line for speed-users to push themselves to their maximum limit while in the middle of combat. The murals and paintings are there to test whether the students can minimize their collateral damage, especially important if you fight creatures of Grimm in an urban area. And I swear, having been here for so long, there is a lot of collateral.”
“But there is nobody here? Why is no one training? Where are the seniors?” Ruby asked, disappointment in her voice, her sad face looking surprisingly cute to the janitor. He forced himself to step back a bit, surprised by her face.
“C’mon Miss, use your head. I’m not going to be Mr. Exposition for you all the time.” The janitor joked, as he begun to walk back to the direction from which he came. “It’s Friday afternoon. You know what that means?”
"Ummm........." Ruby's head begun to look left and right in a blur-like fashion as she tried to think about why Friday afternoon was so important to the presence of seniors here. As expected, she could not draw any cards that make sense. The best that she could come up with was that the cafeteria sells dessert on Friday afternoon.
“End of school and the beginning of the weekends. Of course.” Weiss smirked triumphantly as she realized she finally got a chance to say what she wanted without any interruption. Her comment also meant that there was now no reason for Ruby to stay here anymore. “No one will be stupid enough to start their weekends straight off with training. They will probably be partying, playing games or even sleeping. No matter what, they won’t be willing to waste their free time.”
“That’s right. And even for the more hardworking teams, they usually do train now, but most of the time, they are also off doing assignments.”
“Assignments? Hardworking people don’t seem like the type to be bogged down by paperwork,” Weiss replied with a sceptical frown.
“Oh, you will see in your years ahead.” The janitor grinned almost evilly at the sight of Ruby suddenly shivering at the thought of even more paperwork. She was already having problems as it is; now she will have to deal with even more?! Oh, the horror. She could almost imagine it. From the ends of the corridor, a mountain of paper with Glynda’s toughest questions rushing in like an unstoppable flood and there is puny little her, being washed away under the sheer force that is called homework.
“Well, we are here.”
“Huh?” Both Weiss and Ruby blinked blankly at the janitor’s sudden comment. They turned their heads to where the janitor’s gloved finger was pointing, spotting a massive double-leaf door, easily five times their height, overshadowing them, with the words “Training Gym” emblazoned in gold on a large intricately carved wooden board above the door, which had two massive lions, roaring at once another, carved on it. “Wait, we were walking?” Weiss and Ruby gasped as they realized that when the janitor had walked away, the two of them had followed him as well.
“Well, Miss, you weren’t hopping or crawling or running, so I guess, yes, you were walking.” The janitor gave another small smile as his two fingers lightly pushed against the door, prompting its panels to slowly swing open. “So, do you want to go into the main complex?” Just as Ruby was about to say something and Weiss was also ready to do the same, the janitor nodded understandingly, “Well, I guess even with what I said, I do recall someone going in there, so I guess, you two coming here will not be such a waste of time after all. Why do you think told you to keep your voice down, if there was really nobody here?” The janitor grinned kindly at Ruby’s face suddenly lighting up at the revived prospect.
Her dreams of weapons were not yet dead. “Thank you, mister! C’mon Weiss!” Ignoring Weiss’ protests, Ruby bowed once to the janitor, who bowed back, before turning to hop straight through the doors and into the training gym. Her flowing red cloak was the last thing his cherry-blossom eyes saw as the door closed itself once again with a resounding bang, marking to the janitor that he was alone once more.
“What an interesting little duo. Wonder if they were the ones who beheaded that Nevermore and sent it into the canyon. That was a messy job.” The janitor mused as his rubber boots, in a little dance, scrapped over the floor he recalled cleaning year after year, as he dragged his little bucket with its mop along, deciding that he needed to hurry to keep up with his tight schedule. He felt a little lightness in his heart to be able to get away from the routine, but it is this very same routine that allowed him to work so efficiently.
However, that girl’s stunningly red cloak seemed to have an effect on him. It’s still there, the image stuck in his mind, like a broken projector. “I swear I have seen that cloak before. Or something like it?” He frowned in deep thought, his pale skin creasing over his brows while he attempted to recall. He scoured through the shelves of his memories, but nothing seems to be popping up.
“Maybe I should have asked for their names. Well, at least they know my name. Thanks to this.” The janitor grinned as he tapped at his heart area. However, he was not expecting the softness of flesh. He was expecting the hardness of cardboard. Cardboard, inked with fine words that truly represented him. His pride and joy, his one and true identity and the only thing that makes him stand out from all the other janitors in their gaudy uniforms.
“I take it I’ve been working without my name tag for the whole day?”
Well, how do you find it? Comment your whole-hearted opinion in if you have the time. Do you think I got the canon characters' personalities intact? Or did I botch it?
Oh and Mr. Exposition? Yeah, he will come back to do his job, both in-universe and out-universe. This is not the last time that you have seen him.
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