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As the doors swung shut behind them, Ruby and Weiss suddenly halted their head-long rush into the gym, when they realized that it seemed to be unusually….empty. Weiss folded her arms as she let off a pompous air, scowling at this waste of her time.
“This is it? An empty room after all that? What a waste of my time.” Case in point.
Indeed, the room they were currently in had no doors other than the one that they had just entered the room from. Its floor was tiled with grey metal squares and it had a rather high ceiling, almost as high as the hallways. However, it lacked the many paintings and murals of the ‘speed section’, being simply a bare and boring gray.
“Perhaps a ‘jumping’ section?” Ruby guessed, chewing her fingernail as she scanned the room, though she knew that her guess was wrong. Even if this was another section of the gym, where are the doors leading to the others? Also, didn’t that janitor say that someone came in here?
“We should go back to the dorm. I’m looking forward to getting back to my make-up, which YOU interrupted.” Weiss snorted. “So much for that idiotic, overly cheeky, rude janitor. I’ve had enough of this place!” Turning to strut away, Weiss grabbed Ruby by the cloak in an attempt to pull her away, much to her partner’s gagging throat while she struggled with digging in her heels to prevent herself from moving.
“Wa-wait, Weiss! Maybe the room has more than meets the eye! Ah! Wait!” Ruby tugged back, hands around the knot that held her cloak, straining to prevent it from driving into her throat. Yet, despite her physical superiority to Weiss, the amount of strength that Ruby could put in from that position was barely enough at best. As a result, Ruby could only sulk as she was pulled away towards the entrance door. Then, the tension on her cloak stopped and Ruby realised that she could breathe properly again.
Weiss had stopped pulling her.
"What the hell is this?" In fact, at that moment, Weiss was now using her two hands in an attempt to push the door open, but no matter how much force she applied, the double-leaf door simply refused to budge. Did the janitor lock them in? Weiss wondered. She was at first overwhelmed with horror at her inability to push the door but anger quickly filled her veins as she yelled, her arms banging on the door’s immovable wood. “HEY! STUPID JANITOR! LET US OUT OF HERE! ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO ME?!”
“GODDAMN IT! SO MAYBE I WAS A LITTLE LOUD, BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD LOCK US IN HERE?! HEY!”
“WHAT?!” Weiss turned back, her arms, reddened from the door-slamming, now shaking in utter rage. And then she saw what Ruby, who was now backing away to her side, was seeing. In the middle of the room was something that almost seemed like a trick of the light, a shimmering coat of refracted rays, which was now being slowly peeled off as the sound of rapidly beating wings suddenly became apparent in the background.
“Welcome to the Training Gym.” The camouflage completely lost, the little metal ball, about the size of one’s fist, stared at Ruby and Weiss with its glowing cyan cyclopean eye. Its little wings, each as wide as the main body, were barely visible as blurs, similar to that of hummingbirds.
“Is that a robot?” Weiss muttered under her held breath, her anger now defused by both curiosity and a little fear, especially with the way the ball seems to tilt its ‘head’, akin to a little baby examining his latest toys. Ruby, herself unfamiliar with this sort of technology, could only just utter a stammering “Uh…I don’t know-“
“Beep! Scan complete.” Its voice was terrifying, being not only very robotic, but also having a very low baritone-style tone, a gruff old man in a round shiny body. “Identification: Ruby Rose.”
“Wha?” Ruby’s eyes widened at the mention of her name and she almost freaked out over whether the robot was now going to ask her for some questions. It did not, instead droning on about the data regarding the student that it had just identified.
“First-Year student. Leader of Team RWBY. Age: 15. Weapon: High Velocity Sniper Scythe, Crescent Rose. Aura Semblance: Speed.”
Why is she feeling afraid? Weiss thought to herself as she realized that the robot ball had no intention of hurting them. In fact, now she feels kind of irritated that the drone is now just telling them things that they already know about. “Hey, can you just skip-”
“Identification: Weiss Schnee.” Totally ignored.
“Argh!” Weiss felt her teeth grind together as the image of crushing that little ball into scrap metal begun to form in the eye of her mind.
“First-Year student. Member of Team RWBY. Age: 17. Weapon: Multi Action Dust Rapier, Myternaster. Aura Semblance: Glyphs. Welcome.” The ball seemed to bow, tilting its ‘head’ forward and allowed its wings to briefly stop and lower in this polite greeting. “This unit’s designation is the Beacon Instructive Tool, or BIT for short.”
“An acronym for a name. How charming.” Weiss snorted. Ruby could only give a small giggle, her fear now wearing off as she began to warm up to the robot’s presence.
“This unit was designed by Dr. Vernier, Professor of World Technology, who has proven to be an invaluable asset with his years of experience to this establishment. Beacon Academy is lucky to have such a brilliant, dedicated, world renowned, pioneering professor at its disposal.”
“Huh?” Both Ruby and Weiss tilted their head to the side, surprised by how BIT was now praising its creator so profusely.
“Please note once again: This unit was designed by the mighty Dr. Vernier.” Weiss and Ruby simultaneously face-palmed. Of course, its creator has an ego.
At that moment, a roar of jet engines could be heard coming from above, over the robot’s beating wings. The two girls promptly looked up when a section in the ceiling opened, revealing the white pillows of clouds dotting the blue blanket that is the sky. Down they came, with their propulsive engines lowering in intensity while slowing their descent. Ruby and Weiss stared blankly as their lockers landed in a position against one of the walls, prongs rising from the ground to lock them in place.
“Your lockers with your gear have arrived. At your current level, you will be allowed access to one of the nine sections of the training gym.”
“What?” Weiss protested with her hands placed at her hips as she tried to stare down the unblinking BIT. “At our current level? Are you saying that you think that we cannot handle a simple gym?” How rude of the little ball to sorely underestimate them like that!
“This gym is designed specifically to place students in situations of extreme stress and pressure, enough to kill those who lack the skills and power to adapt. Restrictions on gym sections are thus placed to prevent such casualties. First-years are discouraged by Professor Goodwitch from using the gym for the first half of the year, unless they are already very strong. This unit asks whether you two regard yourself as such.”
“Erm…….I think I’m kind of normal?” Ruby gave a small hesitant smile, scratching the back of her head as she sheepishly looked away.
“Of course.” Weiss smirked, her self-confidence showing through when she snorted, looking as if the concept of weakness was something that was utterly foreign.
“This unit understands. But this unit must follow restriction protocol and hence this unit cannot allow access to gym sections that threaten your safety.”
“Umm….excuse me, BIT. We heard that there was someone in here. Is that someone in the same section as the one that we have access to?” Ruby felt herself pray a little, hoping that coming here was not for naught.
“Acknowledged.” Processing her request, the glow in BIT’s eye dimmed. “Searching. Confirmed. There is currently 1 student using the Cannon Ball section.”
“Cannon Ball?” Weiss murmured, wondering at the name, but her thoughts were interrupted by Ruby whooping in glee. “Wait, Ruby!” Having experienced enough of the gym to know its trickiness, Weiss attempted to stop Ruby. However, before she knew it, Weiss was once again being pulled along by the arm, this time towards the new, glass-looking door that had suddenly materialized on the wall opposite to the entrance. And right on top of that door, were the words “Cannon Ball” in a sporty font, with the ‘o’ being drawn as a basketball.
BIT’s voice came out from behind them, its tone now a little more urgent. “This unit implores those in attendance to please change from their uniforms into their battle gear or the gym clothes provided. Professor Goodwitch has explicit instructions to prevent the dirtying of school uniforms.” Both Weiss and Ruby turned back, giving BIT the evil eye. The only door that had appeared was the one that led the Cannon Ball. There are no visible toilets.
That meant that if they have to change, they will have to change under the BIT’s ‘vigilant’ eye.
“This unit does indeed have a ‘perversion’ function programmed by its brilliant creator, but that has been removed on Professor Goodwitch’s orders. This room is fitted with coversheets to protect the students’ privacy.” As if to prove its point, around each of the girl’s locker, a semi-circular set of curtains rose up from the ground, covering entirely from the floor to at least two times the height of the lockers.
However, Ruby and Weiss still refused to budge an inch. “You can camouflage yourself,” Weiss pointed out, “There is no way I am going to change while you are around.” Ruby nodded in agreement.
BIT almost seems to nod as well, its glowing eye blinking three times as it seems to be simulating a thinking position. “This unit understands your concerns. This unit will thus allow you to keep an eye on this unit while you are changing.”
“That just means you will see us in the first place!” Weiss exclaimed, the small scar over her left eye now feeling like it is bulging in the wake of her exasperation.
“This unit thus proposes the provision of cameras to allow remote monitoring of this unit.” BIT’s metal ball casing seemed to reveal a little opening, with a spindly arm carrying a snake-like camera. It was forced to dodge as Weiss took the camera and threw it back hard at the robot.
“Like as if I want to be forced to simultaneously look at you and see myself in the mirror!”
“Then this unit knows no other possible compromises. This unit can only relay this message from Professor Goodwitch, made for those who come to her with sweaty school uniforms.” BIT’s eyes then dimmed. Suddenly, to the surprise of Weiss and Ruby, the familiar sound of a riding crop smacking against a hand could be heard throughout the room. The pause between each slap only serves to further accentuate the intensity of the sound, sending shivers down both Weiss and Ruby’s spine as they fully understood Glynda’s warning. They had a taste of her crop before. Almost everyone in the entire first-year already had.
This time, however, she might give them more than a mere slap on the wrist. Should they really risk it?
“This unit thanks you for your cooperation.”
“Hmmph!” Weiss shrugged as she stepped out from behind the curtain around her locker, her hands still smoothing out her pale blue battle dress, feeling glad to be out of the Beacon uniform and back in her bolero jacket of the matching colour. To once again have the Schnee crest on her back reminded her of the future responsibility that she will have to bear. Weiss felt herself sigh internally. She sometimes wondered whether she will be better off without it.
“Hey, Weiss, look!” Weiss glanced towards Ruby, who was now spinning in circles in the Beacon gym clothes provided, a sleeveless black jersey with the white words “BEACON” branded on both sides and an equally black knee-length gym shorts with light green outlines. Weiss found it beneath her to wear such drab garb, but because her combat uniform was much more complicated in comparison, it took her a little longer to get herself changed. She found it to be a worthwhile disadvantage in exchange for something of true style. “I didn’t think that our Academy actually had something like this!” If only there was someone who could actually appreciate style, Weiss sighed to herself as she mutely watched Ruby going all-excited over her ‘clothes’.
“Now can we go in, you stupid robot?” Weiss snapped at BIT, who had frankly remained politely floating in the middle of the room for the entire time. BIT tilted its ‘head’ down, which Weiss now had enough experience to understand it as a nod.
“This unit sees no problems. You can proceed. Do have a good time. When you are ready to leave, return to this room and call this unit again,” BIT nodded again, or perhaps this time it bowed, before its shimmering camouflage coat began to wrap around it once more, giving off a brief vibrant display of refracted rainbow light, before disappearing in thin air.
“Well, I hope this gym does not have any more ‘surprises’. I’ve quite had enough of it. And this Professor Vernier, I’m so going to not like him one bit,” Weiss muttered under her breath.
“C’mon Weiss! Before we are too late,” Enticed by the excitement of seeing a new weapon and a senior student at the same time, Ruby was already rushing ahead, her thigh-high laced boots energetically pushing her off the ground. Weiss could only shake her head in disapproval at Ruby’s over-enthusiasm.
“You do know that even if the person is going to exit right now, he or she will have to go through the same door as us. We’ll meet that person either way.” Weiss pointed out, while at the same time feeling herself also pick up the pace, her mind pondering about what kind of person they are going to find. She was not without her own interest in the inevitable encounter, for while she has seen her company hire Hunters before, she has never actually seen any of them in real action. Well, perhaps excluding all of those tutors her family brought in for her, but she was young then; they did not really show her what they can really do. Maybe if this person was one of the best seniors, it might not hurt to make a powerful ally.
Oh, there she goes again, Weiss chastised her choice of word. ‘Ally’ just made her sound so scheming, but Weiss felt it would be a stretch to really say that she would be making a friend. She just hoped that they are not going to meet any Faunus; that would be truly sickening, senior or not.
Realising that her hatred was swallowing her common sense, Weiss hurriedly shook her head back to normal, just as Ruby had reached the glass doors of the Cannon Ball section, the tinted panels automatically sliding open to let them in. “Whoa…..” Weiss blinked blankly at Ruby’s voice, her partner suddenly halting on her heels, seemingly entranced by the sight of the section that Weiss had yet to see.
It must be just Ruby getting too easily impressed again. Weiss shook her head in disapproval as she strutted up to Ruby. “It’s just a training gym, Ruby…..I don’t see why you should….” And then Weiss saw it too.
Her jaw sagged a little. Okay, that was an understatement; her jaw dropped a good deal. She had no choice but to hand it to Professor Vernier; he had the ‘smallest’ right to have such an ego.
So, the training gym. It's gonna be the hub of a great deal of character activity in this fanfiction, so I have to plan it out quite a bit. There are nine different advanced sections, as you have read, and each section possesses a unique and deadly challenge designed to push the Hunters to their limits. Due to their danger, the nine sections have been specifically ranked to restrict entry into the sections to only those who are really ready for it and can take the punishment each section will dish out during the training.
BIT and his other units are all part of an information network that I had came up with in order to fit the fact that the staff members can seemingly watch their students wherever they are in Vale through their scrolls alone, so these camouflaging bots are always around the corner, keeping an eye on the students. Whether or not the students want it is a totally different matter.
So, stay tuned for a look at Section 1: Cannon Ball.
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