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SIDE STORY The Garden of Remnant [Non-Canon]

Discussion in 'STORY ARCHIVES' started by Schnee Corp Lawyer, Mar 20, 2016.

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  1. (And so the longest epilogue ever to be posted and played continues)

    Immediately after the Sovionik Camp incident...


    Blake had quietly slipped into the seat behind shiki, and for a while just sat there even if the kimono dressed girl deigned to turn around, her brow furrowed in thought.

    This was not an action of harmless consequence she was about to take. Shiki may have been human, but she was nonetheless like nothing Remnant had ever seen. Who knew what kind of ramifications those eyes could have on the world around them, both obvious and subtle.

    And yet...

    It wasn't like Blake had been talking out her ass in her last words back at the canteen before Shiki was carted off to be judged by the mythical shack of judgement. Yulla had made it clear that the traitors hadn't been acting of their own free will, and for Shiki to be chosen, with her eyes and mindset... it was an injustice.

    Injustice never sat well with the faunus.

    "So what are you planning on doing?" She finally asked, her face not losing its pensive but calm expression as she finally stopped staring a hole into the back of Shiki's head.

    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  2. An injustice...


    More like an inevitability.

    So, here she sat. A broken toy, long past its expiry date, used up and discarded like so much trash. She had acted as bystander during the battle against Aku, despite having the power to end his miserable existence in a few short strokes. But why would she? She was nothing more than a pawn of his; she wasn't the victim here, she was a perpetrator. Vengeance wasn't hers to take. To do so would've been obstructive. Better for the people who had an actual score to settle to finish the wretch off.

    And, more than that... Shiki just didn't care anymore.

    She didn't care about anything anymore. There was nothing left for her, here or anywhere. She had fallen off the wagon, and there was no climbing back on; relapsed back to her old, murderous ways. The accident had just been a brief respite, if anything. There was no cure for the desire to murder.

    A desire she now felt again.

    For a while, she simply didn't respond to Blake; sitting with her head against the window, watching the scenery pass them by through the glass. Beyond the steady rise and fall of her shoulders, she was as still as the grave. In front of her, she held Bell's knife, absently toying with the blade without looking at it, turning it over and over in her hands with the sharpened point pressing lightly into one of her fingertips. What was she planning on doing? It was a question she almost had to ask herself. She couldn't return to her world, not without the risk of killing someone important to her, and she didn't care to go off on some multiversal hunt with the other catgirl. There was no place for her... so, the rational thing to do would've been to take the knife she was holding and plunge it into her own chest. Straight through her own central line, quick and easy. No margin for error, so she wouldn't botch it like her first attempt. She could do it. She had to do it.

    So... so why couldn't she bring herself to?

    "...I'll wander until I die."

    She finally gave her laconic, to-the-point response, not deigning to look back at Blake.

    "Tch. I should just do it myself, but even after everything I guess I still have a will to live. Go figure."
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  3. Blake seemed to mull those words over, glancing down to the floor as she thought with the silence only broken intermittently by the rumble of the bus and the occasional snatches of conversation from the others around them.

    "Its because you regret what happened. Because... you know what you've done is wrong, even if it was outside your control, forced upon you by someone or the world itself." She smirked slightly as she shrugged and glanced out the window, taking in the scenery in the dulled, softened hues of the night. "You think that maybe the world could have been better without you ever existing. And that's why you can't just leave now. There's scales to be balanced. To kill yourself or disappear into solitude would be to leave those scales tipped, and no matter how dark things get, those of us with a conscious can never rest easy knowing we may leave the world with our debts tilted the wrong way."

    She glanced back to Shiki, smirk fading to a soft frown as she shrugged. "Or maybe I just need to read less philosophy books. But so you have no intentions of returning home? No one that will miss you there?"

    After her answer, she slowly nodded and added in tones quieter but tenser. "And what if there was somewhere that needed people like you?"
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  4. It was a long time before Shiki gave any sort of response, before there was even any indication she was listening to Blake. It was almost as if she was giving the onyx-haired ninja the bumblebee treatment, shutting out her presence entirely until she lost interest and buzzed off. No such luck.Hmph. She forgot little kittens could sit around unblinking and unmoving for hours if something held their attention strongly enough. Maybe the gesture could've been taken as flattering, but it was a little lost on her in her current state of mind. She sighed in vexation after a few more seconds of sweet silence, raising her artificial left arm in front of her to slightly curl her fingers and flex them lightly, giving those prosthetic joints and tendons the stretch they needed every now and again.

    "...Sheesh, what's wrong with you? I didn't know having extra ears could make a person more nosy."

    She sounded more dismal than annoyed, mainly because she suspected Blake was, to some extent, right. She grunted petulantly, dropped her hand into her lap and let her head hit the window with a dull, muffled thump, not caring if it left a bruise above her brow. She just wanted to look out at the night, at the cool, empty black, where everything was shapeless and isolated and nothing truly persisted. What did it matter if things were set in stone if it was too dark to read it? She'd have liked nothing more than to simply wander off and become part of that evanescence, dissipate as though Shiki Ryougi never existed. But even if she could, it wouldn't be right. The things she'd done, the imbalance she'd be leaving behind... whatever remained of her, wherever she ended up, she'd never be able to rest. Even if she died now... the ghost of guilt would keep her alive.

    "If... even if you're right, it's not... it's not... it's not as SIMPLE as that!"

    She made a snap decision while she was speaking; if she was going to break with emotion, she was making it anger and not sadness. Tears of rage, not anguish, coursed down her cheeks, and she spun around in place to stare at Blake accusingly as she gripped the back of her seat hard enough to dent it, jaw tight.

    "You say I should balance the scales? How? How do I do that, knowing that for every feather of good I do I'll do a lump of lead's worth of bad?!"

    Her voice cracked and she looked away once again, grinding her teeth together. She took a breath, trying to normalize herself.

    "You still don't get it. There is no place for people like me. Don't you know what they say about dogs who get a taste for blood, kitten? I killed. I would've killed you next." She gradually turned back around in her seat, crossing her arms and slouching in it. Fine. Maybe what she had to say next would put things into perspective. "... I tried to fight it when that thing stirred my urges from dormancy. Tried to deny it, but its will was too strong. So I worked around it. I chose my first target. That man I killed was berserk; someone who relished in widespread violence and slaughter, his mind too far gone to feel remorse. If anyone here deserved death, it was him. I couldn't stop what I was doing... so I tried to justify it."

    There came a disdainful snort, the killer shaking her head.

    "But it was meaningless. It didn't make me feel justified, it made me feel frustrated. I watched him die. I held him until the light in his eyes went out, and you know what I felt?"

    She exhaled heavily through her nose.

    "Nothing. I wanted more. If I convinced myself a murder was impersonal beforehand, what was the point of it? It became... empty. I wanted a kill that'd make me feel something. I wanted... you." Her eyes drifted shut, posture tensing. "Aku's influence didn't make me want that. His voice in my head didn't tell me to watch you sleep that night after my first kill. I did that. I was on a leash, but I could've chosen anyone as my next victim... and I picked you. I stopped myself then, but if I hadn't gotten caught so quickly after?"

    She shrugged, trailing off. The rest didn't exactly need saying.

    "I slipped so easily back into the shoes of a murderer. I'm in my right mind now, but the compulsion is still there. Buried slightly closer to the surface than it was before. Who knows if I'll have another relapse? Who knows what'll cause it? It could just come to me on a whim someday; I'll decide "I want to kill". That's all it takes. That's why I can't go home."

    She paused, turning her head to the side slightly, mouth drawn into a thin frown.

    "And you think there's somewhere that needs something like that?"
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  5. Blake had actually fallen asleep with her eyes closed ages ago

    The faunus' stare, regardless of how objectively she wanted to avoid it, became a bit more guarded after that, her shoulders a little more tense. No matter how sympathetic she felt towards the other girl, or how much her sense of justice wanted to right the perceived wrong that had been dealt to Shiki, having a sociopath admit that she was the target in her sights set off a few old survival instincts that were still hiding in the back of the faunus' mind. She slowly nodded and leaned back into her seat, closed her eyes, and actually weighed Shiki's words.


    After a few moments she cracked one eye open, willing the tension in her back to disappear. She'd avoided talking about herself or Remnant as much as possible while at this stupid camp. Others had been keen to talk about theirs (She felt more educated about WW2 than she figured most kids actually from those guys' world was), and while they had been interesting she hadn't seen much of a point of doing so herself. It was clear that most all of them came from a world that was similar to the camp's, one without the walls, or grimm, or faunus, or aura. All it would have been if she'd share would be a crazy, fantastical sounding story from the far less friendly cat eared girl in the camp, good for a bit of entertainment or a laugh at best. There wasn't a reason for the others to care, and with murderers hiding in their midst she wasn't entirely sure she wanted anyone to know or care

    Plus needless to say she hadn't been in much of an entertaining mood during their little vacation here : |

    The aformentioned survival instincts still honed in her mind were currently beating over the head with the idea that 'the whole not telling murderers things applied in this exact situation', but she ignored it as best she could and forged onward. If she was really going to make this offer, there were things that needed to be explained anyway. And... maybe it'd help a little bit for Shiki to understand a bit more why Blake was offering in the first place.

    "I'm not going to act like I understand how that feels. There's no... monster in my head that I have to struggle with, some other side of me, or weird compulsion to do something I don't actually want to do or think is right." She smirked a little bit, mirthless as it was. "No, I did the wrong thing of my own, stupid free will."

    She glanced up and tapped one of her ears lightly with her finger, the appendage flicking of its own accord. "I think I mentioned earlier that these were the cause of a lot of grief for me. There's a whole race of people on my world like this, that have a little bit more than just human in their genes. We're different, a little bit animalistic. I, for example, am a pretty fervent fan of fish" she added dryly, an actual smirk this time before it faded. "...But most humans take one look at us and assume that little bit of animal makes us beasts. Monsters, slaves to primal desires and stupid animals of diluted intelligence. Anywhere we go we're treated as second class citizens at best, and slave labor at worst. Even after a war that ended with our supposed freedom, faunus still get shunted into jobs in mines working with extremely dangerous substances for pay that doesn't even cover the basics, and we still do the work because no one else wants to hire a filthy animal, and-" She took a deep breath, realizing that she was clutching the seat between them hard enough that if it was any harder she was gonna start tearing the upholstery. She was letting herself get off topic, and she slowly slid back into her seat and relaxed again.

    "...And while their are faunus who've given up and accepted the fact that things won't ever get better, there's others who were determined to stand up for themselves. I was one of them, or at least my younger self acted like I was. It was a protest group called the white fang. We picketed, went on strike, and basically made as much noise as possible, forcing people to look us in the eye and say we didn't deserve better. It started small, but soon whole mines started to shut down. And... it worked." She said with a small smile. "It was small steps, but things started getting better. faunus' started getting the rights to own businesses, the mines started promising better conditions. But it was slow. People still looked at us with fear or derision, and those who did get out of the mines found every step of the way impeded by bigotry and belligerence. Some in the white fang thought that meant we were failing, that we needed to do more than just stand in lines and shout if we wanted to get what we wanted. Enough that leadership changed, and with it, our tactics."

    The smile was gone again at this point. Blake tone and face was almost neutral, almost like a history teacher recounting something that happened long ago save for the frustration that was boiling in her eyes as she looked out the window or at her lap. It was silly to feel guilty recounting actions that happened in a world Shiki'd never been to, to an openly admitted murderer. But it was there.

    "It started small too. The harshest overseer in a mine might have showed up one morning with bruised ribs and a nicer attitude. A shipment might have gone missing, and the workers of that would have been able to afford their food for a whole month without worry. But that wasn't the change we wanted, it was just small works, fairy tale nonsense. It needed to be louder. People needed to know it was us, that we were sick and tired of being pushed around."

    She took a deep breath and stopped her little eye avoidance dance.

    "So we got louder"

    There was a bit of fire in her voice as she continued "Shipments were destroyed rather than stolen to send a message. Higher ups in the mining companies who continued their revolting practices despite that started to disappear. Safe houses and armories were set up, security footage stolen and doctored to make things seem even worse than they were, workers led to revolts rather than strikes, all under the white fang flag. And I was there. I was good at it too. security systems sneaked past. empty buildings destroyed. droids ripped apart and guards beaten down if they got in my way. And all that time I thought I was doing the right thing, that I was the hero of the story. I ignored the others that were killing, pushing it off as either rumors or necessary evils, right..."

    she laughed, slumping backwards in her seat and covering her face

    "... Right up until I had to pull the trigger myself. It wasn't till then that I opened my eyes. It was such a big job, a whole train's worth of dust, the stuff from the mines. I was nervous, and excited, with my best friend at my side. It went perfect too, the security robots not even a close to a match for us. And then... Well... we weren't there to steal it like I thought. He brought explosives, apparently to blow the whole train once it reached its station. I-I... it... it hit me like well, heh, a train. This wasn't some rumor or news story. This was me and my best friend, about to slaughter dozens, maybe hundreds of people. And not the people who'd put this awful system in place, not the people who were at the top and had their heel on faunus necks, just... people. With friends and family, just trying to live their lives and find their own happiness. And we were supposed to end that for... for what? To send a message? to the people who'd already shown they didn't care what happened to others so long as it pushed the bottom line? Why would they care? What was this going to do except make them angry? After years of turning a blind eye or rationalizing the evils that I helped along, it wasn't until I was forced to face my hypocrisy and do the act myself that I even considered what we were doing was wrong. What I was doing was wrong."

    She took a few seconds to compose herself before she let her hands drop, staring Shiki down and almost asking her as if she really meant the question

    "...So what was I supposed to do after that? I left, but that didn't make up for everything I'd already done. I'd spent my whole life fighting. It was all I knew. I couldn't just live a quiet life in some village or city knowing what I'd done, not without... doing something to make up for it. It may be for different reasons, but, well... you sound like you want the same. And, thankfully, in my world.... there's a place for that. There's something out there that needs to die, or it will destroy everything."

    She leaned back forward and rested her arms on the seat between them again, with her head atop. "The faunus aren't the strangest thing in our world, and the tension between us and the humans is far secondary to something else. Grimm. They're monsters, and I mean that in the most literal sense. They roam by themselves, in packs, or hordes of thousands. Some are wolf-like, others birds, or scorpions, or things that are beyond definition or understanding. They grow to the size of buildings, with rumors that some in the seas dwarf whole islands. And even with our auras, our semblances, the dust, our weaponry and technology, all of that, humanity and faunus kind have been forced back into four small kingdoms. The older grimm are smarter than even we are, and they outnumber us a hundred to one. They're a constant threat, to every living being on the planet, and only two things stand between us and them. The armies of robots and soldiers, who fight valiantly on the walls and die... and the hunters and huntresses. Thats what I'm trying to be. We're specialists. We get put where the grimm are the worst, in small numbers, and we destroy them. We protect the smaller villages the armies cant get to. We seek out nests and burn and destroy. We track the larger hordes and keep tabs on the alphas to ensure there's warning when they rise up. We fight, we protect, and almost universally... we die. Its hard. the grimm are terrifying. The task doesn't seem like it'll ever have an end, and there are cults or extremists who think to use the grimm as weapons. But we do it anyways, because... well... its right. Its justice, in its own way."

    She trailed off a bit after that, well aware she'd probably strung more words together in those five minutes than she had the entire time at camp before she cleared her throat.

    "So... that. You say there's nowhere for a person like you. But with your abilities, well... there's a whole lot of people who'd still be alive if someone like you had been there to defend them, to kill for them. Just because you're a killer, that there's only one thing you think you can do... doesn't mean there's no way for you to do good and make up for what you've done. Your story doesn't have to end in darkness unless you want it to." She finished, and was almost earnest in her look.

    "but you probably can't join the tournies if you do come sorry"
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  6. There was a sizable length of time between the beginning of Blake's story and the end. Long enough for Shiki's tears of embitterment to dry up and her impotent anger to ebb, and while at first she may have simply been listening because she had nothing better to do, in time she found herself listening because she was interested. Not excited, not even hopeful, but interested; Enough that she turned around in her seat partway through to face Blake directly, kneeling composedly against the backrest and crossing her arms atop it with the lower part of her face buried in her kimono's sleeves as she stared at the girl with dull yet attentive eyes and tried to discern where she was going with all this.

    Shiki maybe wasn't the most understanding of other people at times. Her misanthropic instinct from the early stages of her life was to reject them - though it was typical of young eyes to see only the good in people and not the bad, hers had recognized the capacity for both inherent in all living creatures from the very beginning. It was this state of duality that led her to dislike them, because for all they could like to believe otherwise, no one person was truly good or bad; they were an absolute of two parts, each distinct yet completing the other. One could choose to be good and to ignore the evil or vice-versa, but that didn't extinguish their potential to commit it. Fulfilled or not... That would always, on some level, be there. A "good" person would always have the potential to commit bad, and a "bad" person would always have the ability to do good.

    She didn't claim to be any better. The only difference was that her own duality had once been more literal.

    Nevertheless, a general dislike for humanity didn't make her heartless, just as an aversion to people didn't mean she couldn't like the occasional person. She had already decided she liked Blake, but hearing her story just affirmed it-- Despite it, ironically enough, showcasing the very trait of yin-and-yang morality in humanity that birthed her dislike for it. She supposed she just respected it when people could admit to that nature to some degree, rather than committing to whatever idealized image of themselves they might've had.

    She pondered what to say for a short while after the other girl was finished, maintaining her lethargic posture in the chair and stirring only to blink or rub her cheek lightly against the silken sleeves of her kimono, nestling further into the soft fabric as she finally broke her gaze from Blake and her eyes flickered away. She sighed quietly.

    "I don't get your world at all. It sounds made up," said the owner of the mystic eyes of death perception to the cat ninja, sounding almost irritable for a moment, though it was more likely she was just trying to find something to act aloof over. "But I believe you. And it explains why you broke my face when I tried to pet your ears..."

    The young woman gave an indignant pout and creased her brows, eyes shut, and for a brief moment she came off as a whole different kind of surly than she had before.

    "... Sorry you were forced to live that way. That sort of hardship isn't something I've experienced, and you... you've never killed, but you were driven to your actions. I didn't have anything to motivate me except a screwed-up head."

    Shiki snorted despite the rare moment of sincerity, raising a hand to nurse her forehead tensely.

    "I guess it's hard to tell now... that I grew up in a mansion. There was a bamboo grove just outside the grounds with trees that grew even taller than our house, you know? I had a servant named Akitaka who taught me to cook. I practiced flower arranging but only in spring when the cherry blossoms bloomed, and in my free time I liked playing the harp..."

    She trailed off, but in the strange, abrupt way that only comes about when you lose your train of thought for a moment and try to find it. After a second, she picked her head up and smiled, an unusual sight in itself made even stranger by the twin droplets of tears welling up at the corners of her eyes that made for a poignant contrast to the tears of anger from before.

    "I was learning to dance."

    She let her smile fade and her head drop back to rest on her elbows again, the surprisingly feminine onset of sentimentality slowly shifting back to the morbid mess of a person she normally was. When she could think of the words to continue, she spoke again.

    "Tch. I don't know why I'm telling you all this... I guess it's because I have to make sure you know exactly who you're trying to bring home with you. I wasn't some down-on-her-luck runaway or a tragic figure with motive to kill, Blake. I was an heiress."

    She blinked solemnly a few times before letting her eyes flick back to Blake herself, shifting slightly in her still-cozy looking position.

    "Maybe the trauma of Ryougi mental conditioning is what did this to to me to begin with, maybe it was something else. Whatever the case... being too weak or too unfortunate to resist it is my problem. I can't understand... I don't understand how you'd be willing to bring something like that into your world. Where would I even go?"
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  7. "You think any of your worlds sound like they make any sense to me?" Blake asked with a dull smirk. Sure, a lot of them had similar sounding home worlds or even countries, but that didn't make it sound any less bizarre to Blake. Worlds where there weren't any grimm certainly sounded wonderful, but on that same coin, worlds where you didn't have the surety of your soul's existence in the way of aura... that was honestly a whole different kind of scary than a monster that tried to eat you. A sort of existentialism that Blake's worldly sense of justice and equality barely had time for and certainly didn't understand.

    Of course, the sarcasm lost a large chunk of its edge with how Blake's fists were scrunched up in her lap, her shoulders a bit too tight as her feet tapped the ground. It was... really, really bizarre to be on the giving end of some sort of encouragement or asking for... whatever it was Blake was asking for here. She of all people knew the importance of words of course, but she tended to use them to question what she didn't understand or those she thought were wrong, or to incite those she thought wronged to action. This was... this was a Yang thing. Or a Ruby thing. Or even a Weiss thing. The people who actually went out and tried to be friendly instead of just letting others come to her like she had a bad habit of doing. So that earnestness that had crept in her voice had snapped to nervous, worried that she was either making herself look like and idiot or that Shiki had more truth in her objections so far than Blake cared to admit. Like she'd admitted earlier, Shiki and her eyes were something Remnant had never seen before. Who knew what kind of affect they'd have on grimm, or someone with aura, or... anything really?

    But she'd put too much into this to back out now, and while her eyes fell slightly and the shrug that came after was more subdued, she answered calmly enough when Shiki gave her condolences. "I've come to terms with my existence, if not accepting of it. and... sorry. About the breaking." she added with a sheepish, half embarrassed frown. She listened intently as shiki continued, and...



    really o_o?


    She slowly raised her hand to her face.

    And despite their discussion centering on Shiki's terrible inborn destiny, including a few tears from the until now almost frighteningly stoic girl, Blake's suffering at the hands of prejudice and her mistakes in trying to rectify them, she had to bite down a giggle. After whatever Shiki's reaction was (Unless it was her just socking Blake straight in the face or something), she shook it off as best she could and quickly apologized "I'm, sorry just... Well. You're not the first friend I've made with that... 'background.' There's a girl at my school who was born to one of the biggest mining companies on the planet. The heiress to the Schnee Dust Corp. She's very..." she trailed off for a few seconds, trying to find the right words to encompass the Weiss Schnee as her face scrunched up. "... Bossy. And entitled. And a bit of a brat honestly. But... that doesn't change the fact that she chose to take up the life of a huntress like the rest of us there. Its not really important what you are, so long as you don't let it get in the way of what you do."

    She shrugged, twiddling her thumbs at this point and far less sure how to make her point now that she'd said her past and done her speech. "So, for you... I can't claim to understand you. Not after just a few days and just a few words. So I can't in good faith I know entirely what I'm potentially unleashing on my world. But I do know what its like to have a past you want to make up for. I do know that sometimes its hard to do that unless someones there to give you a push. and I do know that there will never not be a grimm that needs to die for an innocent to be protected on my world. So that's why I guess. I just... I just want to try to help. You and whoever it is you might be able to save."

    She shifted uncomfortably, having strung more words together than she felt like she had for months at a time at points (:|), and honestly wondering how the heck Yang or Ruby could carry on like this at times as she took a deep breath. "And the best place to learn how to do that, and get a better understanding of our world and the grimm would be Beacon. Its a school. A very weird school. You learn how to fight grimm, their history, our world's history and get introduced to the huntress lifestyle. Or you could just... go independent. Or settle down in the city and just help out during the inevitable grimm attacks. Lots of things really its... well its a whole world. It'd be up to you."

    Another of their slowly growing customary silences filled the air, and while at almost any other point of her life Blake would have been completely fine, content, and honestly happy in a mutual silence, now it just left her feeling anxious. Probably because she just sounded like the world's most socially stunted travel agent, and after a beat she added quietly

    "The school has dances too"

    There was another beat as Blake considered how that would have come off if someone had said that to her.

    "Thats... thats not me... I'm seeing someone. Not really. But maybe. Um."

    She had no idea where the heck she was even half planning to go with that now so she just let it trail off and wallowed in the awkward misery to follow​
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  8. Well. Good enough.

    A few moments and one or two nonplussed blinks passed after Blake finished up, but in the end Shiki had to give a hoarse laugh of her own. Because awkward or not, funny was funny, and while it might've been a mildly cruel definition of the word she always got a kick out of watching people squirm around. Being a social apathist and a nihilist meant she was never one to shy away from awkwardness, which more often than not meant she ended up seeing the humor in it where others would've been too embarrassed to. That or she just got fed up, but that was rarer.

    "Good, because I am too. Or... I was, but it wasn't like... we weren't... hh. We were never like that... It doesn't matter now. That's all finished. A creature like me is incapable of loving someone."

    She flicked her gaze away and hissed out a frustrated breath, nails digging into the chair backrest a little as her fists tightened. Every time she reminded herself she couldn't go back the reality settled in and stung that much more, as much as she would've liked to believe otherwise. Funny. A few days ago she never would've imagined she'd feel much of anything in the event a situation came about where she couldn't see her friends, her boss, her brother... even her parents, any more. Now that such an event was actually happening... It felt just like before. Like losing SHIKI, the other half of her, all over again.

    "...Still. I think if it's a goal to keep me from killing anyone that I should stay away from any dances, but maybe I'll show up one night to cheer you on. That'd be worth a few laughs."

    Forcing a smirk and falling silent, Shiki perked up her head lightly and turned her gaze to look out the window once more, dull eyes grey as though she were far away. When she spoke again, her voice was a little softer, retaining little of its usual harsh bite.

    "Blake... your friend you mentioned just now sounds funny. The "dust corporation"? What, she makes money from not cleaning? It sounds like a maid service. I wouldn't want to inherit that." She guessed they had some other definition of dust she didn't know about, but the mention of it being a mining company linked back to the other girl's story from earlier. "...Is she who you meant? What a dramatic love story..."

    She huffed and rolled her eyes following her blunt inquiry, actually looking exasperated by the sheer sappiness of a pairing like that. What was this, Romeo and Juliet? Just what kind of ridiculous world was she chaining herself to?​
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
  9. Blake was squirming at first, but that leap of logic had her staring back blankly for a few moments before she slowly shook her head. "That... no. We're just friends. That would be a ridiculous mess. I don't even want to think about people would react to that." Having to deal with Yang's usual teasing and bickering with Weiss, or how awful it would be if Schnee himself found out who Blake was and what she'd done.

    ...Or if Adam found out who she'd left him for.

    An involuntary shiver crept down her spine at that, but she shook it off and took a deep breath to level her gaze at Shiki as calmly as she could in an attempt to get well away from the topic of her theoretical love life. "So... does that mean you'll come?"
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  10. "Is that your reasoning? How people would react?" she questioned with a curious cock of the eyebrow, not really getting it, ergo looking disapprovingly skeptical. Well, she supposed it wasn't her business either way. Turning back around in her seat to rest her elbow against the window and prop her chin up in her hand, she gazed out into the passing scenery once more with a distant expression, eyes slightly lidded. It had been a long few days; and, strangely enough, an even longer bus ride. Why were they on a bus, anyway? Where the hell were they going?

    As Blake sought a more direct answer to her question, Shiki huffed sharply and threw an irritated remark back in response.

    "Yes, already! Did you change your mind so soon or what?"
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  11. "No, the reason is that she's just a friend and a bratty one at that" she said with a dull smirk quirking through her serious stare before her eyes flicked downwards "Just that even if I did like her like that, the consequences would be... bad." She huffed and shook her head. "Not important anyways. You were saying?"

    She waited out the silence, perfectly still now despite the continued butterflies, content to stare down her opposite rather than the dreary scenery outside.

    If Shiki was expecting the faunus to jump at the sudden exclamation, she was greatly disappointed as Blake merely quirked an eyebrow and leaned back to finally settle into her own seat. "You were just objecting a few seconds ago. I wanted to be sure." She said blithely as he let her head sit back on the seat and closed her eyes.

    Shiki was right about one thing. These days had been exhausting, mentally if not physically, and time seemed to be moving very strangely on this bus. But she'd persevered through it to make her point, and while it wasn't exactly a bombastic reaction outward, inside Blake couldn't be more relieved that she hadn't spilled her guts to someone she could barely call a friend for no reason

    "...I'm glad" She managed, a small, almost goofy smile flickering across her tired features before she yawned and settled in. Maybe this had been one of the worst experiences of Blake's life. Maybe they all would have been better off if it had never happened. But maybe, just maybe, when she woke up... at least something good might have come of it.


    When Blake came to, she was left under the disconcerting effect of waking up with her head not resting on a bus seat but instead on a shoulder poof, a few golden strands of hair half caught in her mouth as her eyes slowly flickered open to a cocked sideways view of Beacon's training arena.


    Her eyes shot wide as she nigh bounced in her chair, gripping the chair's arms as her head whirled about. Yang smirked next to her, though her amusement was tempered by juuuust a bit of grossed out relief that her hair had finally been released by the napping faunus as she tried in vain to scrape off the strands between her fingers. "Ey, look who finally decided to rejoin the living-"

    Yang had seen some weird stuff in her time. Probably more than even most hunters in training could say they had. But her partner of half a year somehow waking up from her nap with some girl Yang was sure hadn't been there two seconds ago was definitely a new one. Both due to the obvious 'what the hell' factor and that Blake wasn't really a lap person. "Iiiiiiis this a friend of-"

    Whatever confused inquiry Yang was in the midst of making was cut short as the faunus nigh crushed her in a sudden hug, a quiet hiccup of a sniffle creeping out miserably from the Faunus' lungs before she muttered "I'm finally back! It's really over. It's....it's really over"

    As huggy a person as Yang might have been this was a bit sudden and bizarre as she slooooowly moved to console(?) her happy(?) friend.

    "...Do you mean Ruby's match???"
    #11 Schnee Corp Lawyer, Mar 20, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
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  12. [​IMG]

    Shiki didn't reply to Blake in the end, both too tired and too lost in her own thoughts. Her last words, whispered into the inky blackness of the night before sleep took her, acted as apology, farewell and peacemaking all rolled into one, her voice quiet and remorseful as she closed her eyes.

    "Kokutou... Goodbye."


    She woke up to light, noise, and sitting on a chair that moved and talked and actually wasn't a chair. Go figure.

    If she cared about first impressions she might've been embarrassed, but as it was she was just annoyed. She bolted to her feet and used her prosthetic left arm to practically throw Blake over onto whoever the blonde's lap was instead, brows furrowed irritably as she claimed the seat for herself. "Idiot! You didn't tell me it'd be like that!"

    It likely wasn't Blake's fault, of course, but she needed someone to be mad at. She put her elbow on one of the armrests and dropped her cheek onto it with a huff, closing her eyes and saying nothing for a few moments until she muttered over with slightly less contempt towards the very affectionate huggers next to her.

    "So it's this one, then. Kudos for aiming high."

    Sighing as though she was already exhausted after thirty seconds here, she blinked her dull black eyes once and turned her head to the left, her pupils locking with the icy blue ones boring a hole in her from the adjacent seat.




    "Yes, Ruby, congratulations!"

    The white-haired girl retorted distractedly, briefly breaking her gaze to glance towards the arena floor where a more familiar face-- at least from Shiki's perspective-- was standing over the floored form of what was probably the most stereotypical jock she'd ever seen, yelling to make her distant voice heard.


    "What are you talking about? He's fine."

    She sent a dismissive flap of the hand in the merely-groggy Cardin's direction, prompting a confused "Cardin? I was talking about the mace!" that she ignored before returning her attention to more pressing matters. "Now. You are...?"

    "Leaving," Shiki returned with a roll of the eyes, sitting up in her seat as she folded her arms and looked back towards Blake. "...Where are the monsters?"

    Killing those would be her comfort zone, she was certain of it. This... not so much.​
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  13. ake gave a very un-ninja like squawk as she was unceremoniously shoved farther onto Yang and tried to break the hug, ending up basically straddling the blonde with a hand on each shoulder to steady herself physically as she tried to steady herself emotionally, a few tears of relief still welling at the sides of her eyes warring with the general nonplussed feeling the whole situation was starting to induce. It was like barely any time passed. No one had any idea what sort of hell Blake and Shiki had just been subjected to, that she'd just been through a week of her life. She took a deep breath and wiped at her eyes with one hand before she rolled her eyes at Shiki with a toothless glare.

    "I'm not exactly the expert on multiverse public bussing protocol, sorry"


    Yang was frozen with her arms hovering just short of holding onto Blake's back, not even pretending she was going to understand of whatever nonsense had made up that sentence and deciding to focus on more immediate things. Like Blake Belladonna straddling her in a public classroom. Yang wasn'tembarrassed so much as moderately concerned for her partner's sanity and own embarrassment. She quirked an eyebrow as she shot Blake an amused (because as confused as she was and honestly a little concerned that being sleep deprived had finally cracked her partner this was kinda funny) grin "So, not that I necessarily mind the lap dog treatment but uh, maaaybe not the time, Blakey?"

    "What?" Blake said, barely able to focus on one thing at once right now, let alone the whole room as the words took an extra few seconds to reach the faunus' brain. Her eyes flicked back and forth to JNPR next to them looking as nonplussed as Weiss was-


    -well three of them anyways, and the smattering of various other students who were attending the class, more than a few noting the scene in the upper bleachers. That scene being her...



    She hopped back off of Yang so fast that she almost tripped backwards over the bleachers in front of them, face and both sets of ears burning as she tried to answer Shiki and Yang at the same time "I wasn't trying.... she's not... who... I... I'll show you." she finally settled on, haphazardly shuffling her way out of the bleachers to catch up to the former murderer and potential huntress. Yang tried to smother her giggles as she moved to stand as well, because as much fun as it was to watch the kitty squirm sometimes she was still confused about what the heck was going on and really concerned about those brief tears "W-wait, Blake I'm sorry but what the heck-"

    "-I'll explain in a bit, I promise, just... stay here, ok? This is gonna weird enough explaining things to one person at a time" she cut off before steering Shiki off towards Ozpin's office. Yang deflated but after a few seconds of wrestling with her options huffed and flopped back into her chair with her arms crossed, blowing a stray bang out of her eyes before she glanced as Weiss with one eyebrow raised in the universal sign for 'what the heck was that?'

    Weiss responded with a shrug of both hands that almost seemed offended that Yang thought she of all people was expected to explain strange girls Blake had made friends with in the span of what felt like two seconds after appearing out of thin air. "Do not look at me. Though frankly, I'm not exactly keen on Blake having another secret. Especially one this... weird."

    "...Wanna follow her?"

    Now Weiss arched her brow "She just specifically told us not to."

    Yang snorted. "Yea, but Ruby specifically asks me not to enforce her bed time every night, but I do because I care! 'Sides if we both do it the anger gets spread two ways! C'mon, we can grab Ruby on the way"


    Meanwhile, Blake was rubbing her forehead, trying to decide if she wanted to treasure that brief moment in her mind or burn it from her mental records and hope it was never referenced by anyone ever again as she led Shiki towards the headmaster's office. "While normally I'm not a huge fan of higher authorities in general, if you want to either attend the school or just get a freelance license of some sort, then our headmaster is probably your best bet. then you can either train or get right to the monster killing without worrying about some military mistaking you for some criminal" She huffed, letting her hand drop as she glanced over to Shiki with at least a bit of concern

    " I'm.... not sure how we'd go about, or if its even a good idea to explain what happened, but with your eyes being what they are..."
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  14. "C'monc'mooooooooooooon! Stay with meeeee! Ssh, little guy, it's ok! I can tell he doesn't treat you right... mineral oil only for the hydraulics, you... you BAD OWNER! MINERAL OIL!"

    If Weiss and Yang planned on following through with that, hopefully they realized they were probably going to have to pry Cardin's treasured weapon from their great and mighty leader's mouth first. CPR was way harder than Nora made it sound. Maaaaaybe it was her lungs...?

    And though it didn't pertain to any of these oh-so-lovable characters all that much, it was probably important to note that not all eyes on Blake and her mysterious new friend were entirely bewildered. No, one set of eyes in particular were narrowed in calculating scrutiny more than anything else, amber irises that almost seemed to flicker like candlewicks having tracked the whole commotion from the very beginning.

    "What a very interesting development."

    "Is it? Those four do something stupid every week. Stopped being funny around the third time."

    "That is something you would say. Always with your eyes on the superficial, Mercury..."


    "...Never on the bigger picture."


    In the meantime, Shiki was content to follow after Blake rather than wander off without any idea where she was going, a rhythmic sway in her shoulders as she cast her gaze aloofly around. You didn't really see architecture like this much in late-90s Japan.

    The mention of her eyes, however, pulled her interest back in, causing her to shift her eyes back over to Blake as her pupils began to pulsate, a blue energy overtaking the typical voidless black from the middle.


    "These eyes?"

    She let them probe Blake eerily for a few seconds before puffing out a sigh of indifference, disinterestedly tossing her hair back with a shrug. "Just pretend I'm someone you know from here. I'm not writing a resume for him." Couldn't she just let her combat prowess speak for itself? She didn't plan on going to school here; or attending any classes if she, by some misfortune, did.

    She hesitated again before speaking, voice growing a little uncertain.

    "...Everyone here... your lines of mortality are... different. They each have their own distinct color. No two are the same. The faults in everything are different, but for humans they are usually spirals of red and black; I was interested when I met you because yours were more like ebony silhouettes of what I'd come to expect. Like your lines of death were, themselves, invisible, but still cast shadows. In the past few moments, I've seen... streaks of intense gold like fire, rigid columns of frost... silver clouds so bright, they were... blinding."

    She shook her head somewhat groggily, closing her eyes and rubbing at her temple. The differences went beyond the mere aesthetic of it-- the very act of perceiving these new lines felt... strange. Not difficult, necessarily, but more... vibrant. It was like changing your television set and having to adjust to the new screen: times like this were when she wished she could ever stop seeing lines, or had some other way of limiting it, because having to process so many new shapes and colors at once had given her a splitting headache. Times when her head stung like this were when she regretted not giving those glasses Touko had offered her more serious thought, though she still couldn't have seen herself wearing them.

    And yet.

    "They're all quite pretty. Like living pieces of art. I wish I could show you."
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  15. Blake tried to keep eye contact with the look, but there was just something unnerving in those eyes. It wasn't like glowing eyes were a new thing to the faunus. Dust users often had a similar effect, and her partner's eyes turned that frightening shade of red when she was furious. But Shiki's... Whether it was because she already knew what they were, or because they carried the weight of their terrible power within those normally dead eyes in their fickle glow, it was impossible for Blake to stare more than a second before she blinked and shifted her gaze back forward with a huff as she listened.

    "Mmmh..." She hummed with a frown as her eyes narrowed slightly in thought. "I'm not sure how that will go over given his suspicions about me, but... I don't really have any better ideas. We'll see how it goes."

    She enjoyed the brief silence as Shiki looked for her words, but her ears perked up at the shift in tone as the other girl spoke, out of both curiosity of more hints to how Shiki's powers worked and also the outsiders viewpoint on aura and their souls. "Sounds like our semblances. " she murmured quietly. Hers, Yang's and Weiss' anyways. She had no idea who the fourth was supposed to be.

    Oh well. It probably wasn't important, just another classmate.

    She smiled quietly and nodded. "I wish I could see them too. But I'm content with knowing our souls are still there."

    She walked in relative silence the rest of the distance, until they neared the elevator and a subtle frown crossed her features.

    "Did I ever explain aura or semblances to you? this story isn't going to work if I didn't"
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  16. A flat chuckle was her only response to Blake's reservations about the mysterious headmaster, Shiki letting her eyes fade back to their empty state of gray as they continued their quiet trek through the halls. "He's already suspicious about you? Well, won't this be fun... But he'll see reason. One way or another."

    She kept her wording intentionally cryptic on that note, eyes wandering up the length of the tower to their presumed destination at the top as they came to a halt outside the elevator. At the question, she flicked her gaze back over to the other girl and gave a neutral shrug of the shoulders.

    "You've thrown the words around a few times. I wasn't in much of a state of mind at the camp to ask what they meant."

    Couldn't let that elephant in the room fade from memory.

    "I got that they're inexorably linked to your souls and that they're how you do the things you do. I'd say they're tied up with your existence, fate, and mortality, explaining why they maintain a presence to my Eyes; they're what tether you all to the root, Akasha... or whatever your equivalent is."

    Well, that's what Touko probably would've said. Shiki herself never much cared to understand the philosophy behind her eyes, focusing instead on their practical nature. That's what was palpable to her, after all; a vessel of the Akasha she might've been, but that wasn't something she could hear or touch or feel. Death was that.

    "Obviously, I have neither of my own. That said, I'm fast, strong, and I do things no one else can."

    As if to emphasize her point, she outstretched her left arm before her, artificial tendons and ligaments infused with a specialist's brand of magecraft moving into fluid action as she pushed the call button for the elevator. From about five feet away. And without actually touching it.

    "So if all else fails... I figure we can pass what I am off as what I'm not. Aura, semblance, whatever seems more likely. Right?"
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  17. Blake just nodded, glad to be on the same page as someone else for what felt like the first time in weeks. "Your aura is stunted, but you have a very powerful semblance. You grew up outside the kingdoms, and thats how we met. hopefully he doesn't ask any more than that." She muttered as she slid into the elevator and took a deep breath

    "We should be fine. He's bent the rules for us before as long as it helped him, and it's not like anything bad comes from having another fighter against the grimm"

    That was as much to herself as to Shiki as the doors slid closed. Ozpin may have been the most obvious solution to the 'give a magically appearing person a job' problem, but it didn't mean talking to the headmaster didn't make her nervous.


    "But Blake hates talking to Ozpin! why's she taking the new girl up there???" Ruby murmured from where she was peeking around the corner of the wall towards the elevator. Operations Stealth Master had been going smooth so far, but it had only given them more questions!

    Weiss huffed, stepping out from where she was uncomfortably straining her neck to peer above Ruby and shrugged. "Well, I suppose it doesn't matter now. There's no way we can listen in from down here, we'll just have to grill little miss secretive when she's done."

    "Hrmm...." Ruby muttered with a small frown. That sounded like it would take too long. And was definitely not exciting enough for what Yang had called a very important mission. She eyed the elevator, then the tower outside...

    "...Hey, remember my totally awesome plan to kill that nevermore?"

    "You mean the ridiculous one that relied almost entirely on me using all of my aura?" Weiss asked dryly, unsure where Ruby was going with thi- She narrowed her eyes when she saw where Ruby was looking. "You cannot be serious"

    Ruby just grinned like a beowolf that just caught sight of a huntress without her weapon "Super serious"

    When the elevator doors slid open on the top floor, Ozpin was seated calmly in his chair on the opposite end, mug in hand as a holographic message screen gave its last flicker before it faded from the desk he was at, and his eyes flicked up to peer over the two young woman from over his spectacles as he gave a short nod. "Ah, miss Belladonna. I've been expecting you."

    Blake barely had a foot out the elevator doors before she froze up, shoulders tense and eyes widened slightly in surprise "...You have?"

    "Well of course." Ozpin said, taking a sip from his cup before he set it aside and clasped his hands together to rest them on the desk. "While I don't claim to know everything that goes on within Beacon's walls, a girl appearing out of thin air in my second in command's class does merit at least some attention. I assume you know her?"

    There was a few seconds before Blake nodded and finished moving into the office, glancing between the two as she spoke. "This is Ryogi Shiki, a friend from... outside the kingdoms."

    Ozpin nodded to Shiki, surprisingly calm for apparently being aware of at least part of the circumstances of her arrival. "A pleasure, Miss Ryogi. What brings you to my school?"
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  18. "Ok well while you guys do that I'm gonna take the stairs!"

    Came a faraway voice, the third musketeer already making rapid strides heading up. :|


    Tch. "Stunted"? Just what was she implying, anyway?

    While it doubtless wasn't Blake's intent to offend, it was a sullen and darkly frustrated Shiki who stepped forth from the elevator as soon as the doors slid open, glowering lightly as she wasted no time whatsoever in pacing up to the headmaster's desk.

    And stabbing her knife down into it.


    She kept her left hand clasped around the hilt, the blade digging a gouge several inches deep into the hardwood as the jacketed woman established tense eye contact with Ozpin. Her hair was the only part of her that moved with her breathing, cut to shoulder-length with obvious indifference, and her eyes shifted into their brilliant hues of blue-and-fuchsia as they scrutinized every part of the bespectacled man.

    What she saw... wasn't important. What she had to say was.

    "You're in the business of killing things. I do that better than anybody."

    Swiftly, the knife was pulled free, the mark it left so thin and cleanly-cut that the grain didn't even splinter. Tucking it underneath her stark red jacket and into the back of her kimono, she continued in the same coolly disinterested tones, shutting her eyes and flicking her hair to the left.

    "Enroll me or don't, but I'll be taking care of grimm in your territory either way, with or without your approval. I thought I'd give you notice before I went ahead with that; you can endorse it, and I'll do it as one of you, or don't, and I won't. I don't really care which."

    It was quick, concise, and to-the-point. If a little intimidating. And rude.

    But it sure as hell got her message across.​
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  19. "I didn't even know Ozpin's office had stairs" Weiss murmured, honestly sounding a bit put out that apparently Yang knew more about Beacon's headmaster than she did.

    Then she chalked it up to all the detention Yang probably got and felt better, glancing over to Ruby with a shrug "I suppose your plan won't be necessary-"

    "-Can we do it anyways?"

    "....Are you stupid?"

    "...If I say yes can we do the thing?"


    Well Blake had been implying that Shiki couldn't get shot in the face and survive but it hadn't even dawned on Blake yet how that could have been misinterpreted, the faunus just standing there still slightly wide eyed for completely different reasons as Shiki brought her negotiation tactics to the fore.

    ozpin, for his part, didn't move much more than his eyebrow as Shiki slit through the desk like butter, watching the cut before his eyes flicked back up to the knife wielder

    "The business of killing?" He seemed to mull that over for a moment. "Well, death is certainly part of a hunter's life, but that is not my business miss Ryogi. We're not soldiers, killing to gain or give land or for some country's formless glory or honor. We exist as guardians of humanity. The first and last line of defense that serves them and the world themselves, without ties to politics or power. That is our business Miss Ryogi."

    He let that hang in the air a few moments before he sighed and pushed himself out of his chair and snatched his cane from where it leaned nearby before he walked to the window.

    "If that's still something you want to be a part of, then we'll be glad to have you aboard if you have miss Belladonna vouching for you. There will be a few tests of course, to ensure that you're not simply a girl with grandeur dreams that aren't backed by substance, but that's easy enough to arrange. If you're sure that you don't wish to attend here to learn about your foes first hand before being tossed against them though... I don't think thats something I can agree to."

    Blake frowned "Professor, I don' think-"

    "-that your friend's well suited for these halls?" Ozpin cut off as he turned back around, a friendly smirk on his features as he took a sip from his cup again."That would be problematic. Perhaps I could offer a compromise then. You can go straight out into the field so long as you pass your initial tests... but only under the mentoring of an experienced hunter. You get right to the hunting you seem eager for, and there will be someone to explain how things work to someone who's from... where did you say you were from again?"
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  20. "It doesn't matter. It's gone."

    She replied after a few moments, choosing her wording carefully despite the delivery being as tepid as ever. She folded her arms, falling silent for a few further moments as she went over the professor's words in her head, letting her eyes close and breathing out through her nose in mild exasperation. She spoke again, lifting her head up to regard the moving clock mechanisms above with a passing interest.

    "There's nothing more about your enemy I need to learn. They die, like anything else; knowing that, I'll have no trouble killing them. What you're suggesting would be a waste of your "experienced" mentor's time... and mine."

    Stretching her left arm out idly, she looked back towards Ozpin as he took another sip from his cup.

    "Humor me for a second. If I were to ignore you, leave this place without taking your test or meeting your hunter, and start operating by myself, what would the outcome be? Would I be left alone?"
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