After her disastrous Vytal Festival match, Yang Xiao Long has returned to her dorm room with the rest of Team RWBY. General Ironwood informs them that due to Yang's actions, Team RWBY has been disqualified from the tournament. He also expresses doubt in Yang's claim that she fought back in self-defense, instead attributing her actions to combat-induced stress and delusion. He also states that the public have drawn their own conclusions based on what they saw.
After Ironwood leaves, Yang asks the rest of her teammates if they believe her story. While Ruby Rose and Weiss Schnee believe her without question, Blake Belladonna hesitates. Deeply hurt by this, Yang begins to tear up. Blake compares her actions to those of someone else she was once close to, who gradually descended into violence after a series of similar incidents. However, with Yang's heartfelt assurance that she is telling the truth, Blake says that she believes her.
Yang decides to rest up while the rest of her teammates leave to give her some time to herself. When a concerned Team JNPR asks Ruby if there is anything they can do to help, Ruby simply asks Pyrrha Nikos to win the next match for both Beacon Academy and Yang. Pyrrha feigns enthusiasm and says she will try her best, but she remains troubled by the decision of whether or not she should accept the mantle of the next Fall Maiden. Oblivious, Lie Ren and Nora Valkyrie attempt to prepare Pyrrha for her match with physical training and "healthy" foods, but Jaune Arc realizes that Pyrrha is troubled by something and instead suggests they get some fresh air.
Yang, sitting alone in her dorm room, is visited by her uncle, Qrow Branwen. Yang unexpectedly tells Qrow that she saw her mother, Raven Branwen, when she saved her from Neopolitan in "No Brakes". Qrow reveals that he has actually been in contact with Raven, who asked him to pass on a message to her daughter – Raven saved Yang once, but will not do so a second time. Qrow muses that Raven is dangerous, with a worldview that he disagrees with, but he also offers some information that might help Yang find her.
Later, Pyrrha is seen sitting outside by herself. A falling maple leaf reminds her of Amber and the decision she must make. Jaune joins her with an offer of cotton candy. Jaune says that Pyrrha was the only one who believed in him from the start, and in return would like to help Pyrrha in any way he can. He sits next to her and the pair share a tender moment.
Pyrrha confides that she has always believed that her destiny, her life's goal which she should always strive to achieve, is to protect the world. However, she doesn't know if she should continue to pursue this goal at the cost of herself. Jaune, unaware of what she means, says that she shouldn't let anything stand in the way between her and her destiny. Left distraught by Jaune's answer, Pyrrha unintentionally flings Jaune against a wall with her Semblance. She tearfully apologizes before running off.
On the way to Amity Colosseum to watch the next Vytal Festival match, Ruby runs into Velvet Scarlatina, who commiserates with Yang's predicament. Velvet offhandedly mentions that her teammate, Coco Adel, also had stress-induced "hallucinations" during her match with Emerald Sustrai and Mercury Black, which rouses Ruby's suspicion.
While waiting in the stadium to watch the next match of the singles round, Ruby spots Emerald in the audience, even though Emerald and Mercury's entire team had allegedly returned to Mistral. When Ruby leaves the stands to investigate, she runs into Mercury, who is in perfect condition despite his supposed injury. Ruby reaches for Crescent Rose, but realizes she doesn't have it with her. At that moment, the next match is announced – Penny Polendina vs. Pyrrha Nikos. Mercury notes that Penny will not fare well against Pyrrha's Semblance of Polarity, which Ruby realizes with horror. Mercury then assumes a battle stance and prepares to fight.
Ironwood: (heard inside the room) I'm sorry, but you've left us with no choice.
Yang: (now inside the room, with her sitting on a bed angrily replying) But he attacked me!
Ironwood: (pacing around the room, not looking at her) Video footage and millions of viewers say otherwise.
Weiss: (gesturing to her teammate from the other bed) But Yang would never do that!
Ruby: (standing up from beside her sister) Yeah!
Ironwood: (he turns around as Yang sighs and places her head in her hands) You all seem like good students, and the staff here at Beacon are fully aware that you would never lash out the way you did... under normal circumstances. (continues as Ruby sits back down, the entire team looking despondent) What I believe and hope this to be is nothing more than the result of stress and adrenaline. When you're out on the battlefield, your judgment can become clouded in an instant. Sometimes you see things that simply aren't there. Even after the fight is past... (with that last statement, he looks to the right while rolling his right shoulder)
Yang: But I wasn't-
Ironwood: (angrily stern) That's ENOUGH! (when the room falls silent, he goes on) The sad truth is, whether it was an accident or an assault, it doesn't matter. The world saw you attack an innocent student. They've already drawn their own conclusions. And it's my job to inform you that... you are disqualified.
Yang's shock turns into miserable understanding when she looks to the ground, and Ironwood leaves the room.
Yang: (when the door clicks shut, she turns to her friends) You guys believe me, right?
Weiss: (shaking her head) You're hotheaded, but not ruthless.
Yang: (when she realizes one of their number hasn't spoken) Blake?
Blake turns her gaze away, earning a shocked look between Ruby and Weiss.
Blake: I want to believe you...
Weiss: What's that supposed to mean?
Yang: (eyes widening, tears forming instantly as she says in a hurt voice) Blake?
Weiss: (when Blake looks up at Yang, then back down) How can you say something like that? Yang would never lie to us!
Blake: (glances at Weiss, then takes a deep breath before starting) I had someone very dear to me change. It wasn't in an instant, it was gradual - little choices that began to pile up. He told me not to worry. At first they were accidents, then it was self-defense. Before long, even I began to think he was right. (she pauses) This is all just... very familiar. (as Yang looks up, tears now falling down her face) But you're not him. And you've never done anything like this before. So... I want to trust you. I will trust you. But first, I need you to look me in the eyes and tell me that he attacked you. I need you to promise me that you regret having to do what you did.
Yang: (wipes her eyes of tears, then says as calmly as possible) I saw him attack me, so I attacked back.
Blake: (lets out a deep breath as she closes her eyes and smiles, then looking back up at her partner) Okay. Thank you.
Yang: (still looking down) I think I'm gonna rest up.
Blake: (standing up with Weiss and Ruby, all of whom are smiling) We'll get out of your hair.
Cut to outside the room, where Ruby is closing the door, pausing only for a second to see Yang slump forward before shutting it completely. She joins Weiss and Blake in the middle of the hallway.
Weiss: (shaking her head and sighing) This is a mess...
Blake: She's doing the best she can.
Ren: If there's anything we can do, please don't hesitate to ask.
Ruby: (looking down) All right then. If that's the case... (turns her gaze up again) Pyrrha?
Pyrrha: (looks to the younger girl as she gets herself seated on on a bed) Hm?
Ruby: (holding her clenched hands up as she tries to put on a grin) You be sure to win one for Beacon, okay?
Weiss: (nodding as she and Blake also smile sadly) It's what Yang would want.
Pyrrha: (turns her head away before coming back with her attempt at a confident look) I'll... do my best.
Ruby: (excitedly) I'll be sure to watch tonight in case you're picked!
Pyrrha's smile dips down into worry as she looks away.
Blake: Sorry but, I think I've had enough fighting for one year.
Weiss: (nodding once) Ditto. (a moment passes before she says) Coffee?
Blake: (smiling) Tea.
The three members of RWBY walk down the hall, and Jaune only closes the door when he sees Ruby disappear behind the corner. Pyrrha continues to look forlorn, until...
Nora: (suddenly getting up in Pyrrha's surprised face, grinning madly) You heard the lady! No more moping around! (backs away to the other side of the room, now clad in pink workout clothes and sweatbands, as she points to Pyrrha) We gotta get your butt in shape for the big fight! (starts doing random exercises - running in place, pushups, jumping jacks - while she speaks) It could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be the most important fight of your entire life! (she culminates this demonstration by lifting a barbell tipped with 1000 pound weights on each end, holding it in the air and sweating profusely before falling backwards)
Pyrrha: (smiling a little in bewilderment) Um...
Ren: (from another part of the room) Nora's right. (Pyrrha looks to him in his pink apron reading "PLEASE DO NOTHING TO THE COOK") You can't let your concern for Yang hold you back. You need to focus. You'll be defending the honor of Beacon Academy.
Pyrrha: (nodding) Of course. I-
Ren: (cuts her off as he holds a glass filled with a green liquid making bubbling noises in front of her face) This blend of herbs and vegetables is filled with nutrients vital to your body's well-being.
Pyrrha: Oh, that's-
Ren: (stepping away, smiling) Please, there's no need to thank me.
Nora: (looking at her partner with a disgusted face) Thank you? Ugh, that looks like slime from a lakebed!
Ren': (turns away from her, cradling his creation) Algae contains numerous spectacular properties. See for yourself. (lifts it towards her mouth)
Nora: (sips it down and immediately regrets it, face turning the same sickly green as the healthy sludge) BLEGH! (she goes straight over to the waste basket and dunks her head in, getting all of the liquid out while continuing to make disgusted noises until she turns back around to Ren) WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!? Ugh...
Ren: (gesturing) Me? You're the one that wasted perfectly good juice.
Nora: We're supposed to help Pyrrha, not poison her!
Ren: There was absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Nora: (hands on her hips as she resolutely states) If it looks the same coming up as it does going down, then there's something wrong!
Neither of them notice Pyrrha's smile at their antics fade once more, though their leader does from the doorway.
Jaune: (coming over and placing a hand on their shoulders) Hey, how about we all get some fresh air?
Pyrrha looks up at Jaune, who grins at his troubled friend.
Yang, still in the dorm sitting on Blake's bed, looks out the window at the members of JNPR walking in the courtyard outside, Nora marching alongside Ren with Jaune and Pyrrha in the back, all of them looking happy to be with each other.
Qrow: (suddenly revealed to be leaning against the door, arms crossed and a small smile on his face) Hey there, firecracker.
Yang: (not surprised enough to turn around, she instead gazes down) Hey, Qrow.
Qrow: (snorts like her response was funny before becoming serious) So, why'd you do it?
Yang: (she takes a second to respond) You know why.
Qrow: (uncrossing his arms as he leers at her) All I know is that you attacked a helpless kid. So either you're lying or you're crazy. (he smirks)
Yang: (staring resolutely at her uncle) I'm not lying.
Qrow: (makes a disappointed noise) Crazy, got it. (walks to the center of the room, hands in his pockets)
Yang: Who knows? Maybe I am.
Qrow: (shakes his head as he continues pacing) And here I thought your dark-haired friend was the emo one.
Yang: I saw my mom. (she looks at Qrow's sudden stop and shocked reaction from the corner of her eye) I-I was in a lot of trouble. Took a pretty hard hit. But when I came to, the person attacking me was gone. And I thought I saw... her. Her sword, like the one in you and dad's old picture.
Qrow: (he laughs) You're not crazy, Yang. (he turns and nods, smiling sadly) That was your mom, all right. Let me guess - she didn't say a word, did she?
Yang: (looks up as he walks up to her between the bunk beds) How did you know that?
Qrow: I don't see my sister very often, but she does try to keep in touch... whenever it suits her.
Yang: (shaking her head at the revelation) Wait. You mean you talk to her? That was real?
Qrow: Yeah, she found me. Had a tip from my most recent assignment and wanted me to give you a message.
Yang: Why didn't you tell me sooner!?
Qrow: (lets out a sigh as he goes over to the window, not looking at his niece) I was tryin' to wait for the right time, and this sure ain't it. But I guess you deserve to know. (he looks back at Yang, gravely solemn) She wanted me to tell you that she saved you once, but you shouldn't expect that kindness again. Raven's got an interesting way of looking at the world that I don't particularly agree with. And she's dangerous. (points at her, back to smirking again) But you're a tough egg, kiddo. Shouldn't let this tournament thing get'cha down. You had a slip-up, sometimes bad things just happen. I say it's time you move on.
Yang: (stares up at Qrow) Move on to what?
Qrow: (leaning down on the dresser under the window) Well... Raven let some info slip before she took off. If you ever wanna track her down, I think I might be able to help.
He glances back at Yang, who looks at him with her full attention.
In the twilight, Pyrrha sits alone outside the dining hall, head bowed as the wind rises. She sees the air blow a single orange leaf onto the cobblestones at her feet, and she looks at the fall colors with a face of total fright, remembering the sight of Amber in her comatose state and the choice weighing her down.
Jaune: (cutting through her flashback) Hey. (she turns her head up to see her smiling friend with a large cone of cotton candy) I-It's no green goop, but I think it still might do some good.
Pyrrha: (stares at the offered treat while she comes back to the real world before hesitantly taking it) Um, right. Thank you, Jaune.
Jaune's beam fades as he sees her still-tormented face, and looks to the far end of the building as Nora and Ren come around, the latter carrying a cotton candy, a tub of popcorn, and a drink to sip on.
Nora: (knowing what's happening right as she sees it and gesturing to her distracted friend) Uh... come on, Ren. Let's go back to the fairgrounds. I'll win you another stuffed animal. (she drags him away from Jaune and Pyrrha's private scene)
Jaune: (looks back to Pyrrha and takes a seat next to her) You were the first person to ever believe in me, you know that? (he manages to get her to look at him as he laughs in sadness to himself) Even when I told my parents I was going to Beacon, they told me not to worry if I ended up having to move back home. How depressing is that?
Pyrrha: I'm sure they didn't mean- (her sorrow becomes surprise, eyes widening and dropping the pink fluffy snack as she realizes Jaune's hand is placed upon hers)
Jaune: I guess... I'm just trying to say that... you've always been there for me... even when I didn't deserve it. And I can tell there's something on your mind, so... I don't know. How can I help?
Pyrrha: (as her astonishment melts away into contentment, she leans over and places her head in a startled Jaune's shoulder, closing her eyes) You're already doing it.
Jaune quickly matches Pyrrha's smile with his own, and the two stay there for a long moment, but as an additional autumn leaf joins the first, Pyrrha's expression darkens once more.
Pyrrha: Jaune... (gets up from her nestling)
Pyrrha: (she suddenly takes her hand out from his, looking away) I don't know what to do.
Jaune: W-What do you mean?
Pyrrha: (glances up as she wonders what to say) Do you believe in destiny?
Jaune: (taken aback) Um... I-I don't know. I guess that depends on how you view it.
Pyrrha: (explains her opinion as the wind blows the two leaves away) When I think of destiny, I don't think of a predetermined fate you can't escape. But rather... some sort of final goal, something you work towards your entire life.
Jaune: Okay. Uh, yeah. I can see that, sure.
Pyrrha: (struggling to find the right words as she glances at him) Well... what would you do if something came along that you... never expected? Something that had the potential to stand between you and your destiny?
Jaune: Like what?
Pyrrha: (barreling on in stress) Or what if you could suddenly fulfill your destiny in an instant, but at the cost of who you were?
Jaune: (leaning over and attempting to place his hand on her shoulder) Pyrrha, you're not making any sense.
Pyrrha: (standing up away from his touch, holding herself as if on the verge of tears) None of it makes sense! This isn't how things were supposed to happen!
Jaune: (gets up as well, spreading his arms in confusion) I'm sorry! Please, I-I'm just trying to understand what's wrong.
Pyrrha: I've always felt as though I was destined to become a Huntress - to protect the world... (sighs) and it's become increasingly clear to me that my feelings were right. But... (she turns to look at Jaune) ...I don't know if I can do it.
Jaune: Of course you can. The Pyrrha Nikos I know would never back down from a challenge. And if you really believe it's your destiny to save the world... (he moves towards her, confident in his answer) you can't let anything stand in your way.
Despite Jaune's intentions, this doesn't bring relief. Instead, Pyrrha looks absolutely shattered, covering her mouth as she begins to sob.
Jaune: (realizing his mistake) Pyrrha?
Pyrrha: (turning away, face still in her hands) Stop...
Jaune: (continuing to approach) Did I say something wrong?
She holds her hand out, a black energy surrounding it as she unintentionally uses her Semblance to push Jaune's armor and its wearer into the dining hall column. He weakly watches her from his spot above until she opens her eyes and realizes what she's done.
Pyrrha: Jaune! (she lowers her hand and lets him fall to the ground, finally letting the tears come as he looks up) I'm... I'm sorry...
Jaune: Pyrrha, wait! (his outstretched arm does nothing to stop her from running away, and he faces the ground, cotton candy still discarded beside him) What did I say?
At the cliffside docking bays down the main alleyway and under the floating Amity Colosseum, Ruby walks up to the end of the line waiting to get in the transport up to the arena. She turns her head to see Brawnz Ni and Nolan Porfirio talking outside the line, and beyond that, Sun Wukong walking away, Ruyi Bang and Jingu Bang over his shoulder, with a familiar rabbit Faunus snapping photos of him. Ruby steps out of line and approaches her from behind as she continues taking pictures with her camera until she notices who's behind her.
Velvet: (turning around) Ruby, how you going?
Ruby: (raising a hand in greeting) Hi, Velvet! What're you up to?
Velvet: (rolling her eyes happily) Oh, you know. Just working on my photography. Do you wanna see? (she offers her camera to Ruby, looking extremely delighted. Ruby immediately notices that Velvet didn't even get all of Sun in her picture, cutting out his head and feet)
Ruby: That's... better. (steps away as she grins in forced approval)
Velvet: (decides to ask in concern) I'm... sorry about your sister. Is she doing okay?
Ruby: (looking away) Yeah, she's fine, heh. Thanks.
Velvet: (as she puts the camera away in the box on her back) I think it's just awful what people are saying about her. Yang's such a nice person.
Ruby: (laughs a little as she rubs the back of her head) Well, I'm glad someone thinks so.
Velvet: (shaking her head, arms crossed) Most people don't know what it's like on the battlefield. I mean, even experienced fighters can get scared and start seeing things. If it happened to Coco, it can happen to anyone.
Ruby: (cocking her head to the side) Coco?
Ruby: Yeah... (turns her head away in thought, only to look back at Velvet after a quick flash startles her)
Velvet: (lowering the camera from her face, smiling apologetically) Oh! Sorry.
Back in the Colosseum, people are back in the stands cheering and ready for entertainment as Ruby descends down the steps to an open seat. Despite everything that's happened, she's smiling widely, looking around at the assembled crowds... until her stupefied eyes see a familiar, glaring face on the other side of the arena.
Ruby: Emerald's... here?
As if sensing she's being watched, Emerald leans forward to glare at Ruby, who suddenly gets up with a worried expression and runs towards the exit tunnel. Checking to see if no one's around, she enters a door labeled with a yellow maintenance sign and finds herself inside of the Colosseum. She walks forward with determination as the announcers' voices are heard, muffled behind the brick walls.
Oobleck: All right, it's now time to begin the randomization process for our next fight!
The sound of the roulette is heard faintly, but what makes Ruby stop in her tracks is the sight of another unexpected "friend" stepping out from a nearby tunnel, completely unharmed and definitely not going home.
Ruby: (squinting as if making sure) Mercury?
Ruby: (her attention goes from the broadcast to the fraud) What are you doing?
Port: And her opponent will be... Pyrrha Nikos from Beacon!
Ruby: (her head dips in thought until she realizes the awful truth) No...
Mercury: (putting a hand to his chin) Ooh, polarity versus metal. That could be bad.
Ruby glares at her new opponent, reaching back to grab Crescent Rose, only to remember she doesn't have it on her. Mercury simply grins maliciously and sets himself up in a fighting pose.
Outside, the arena's center is lifting back into the air, and an oblivious Penny is grinning wildly, with her fellow redhead Nora cheering excitedly from the stands, even getting Ren to let out a reluctant "Yaaay..." The screen fades to black as Pyrrha, face and body still filled with depression, looks to the ground while the stage finishes being set up, and the credits roll.
- Yang Xiao Long
- Ruby Rose
- Weiss Schnee
- Blake Belladonna
- James Ironwood
- Jaune Arc
- Nora Valkyrie
- Pyrrha Nikos
- Lie Ren
- Qrow Branwen
- Amber (Flashback)
- Velvet Scarlatina
- Sun Wukong
- Brawnz Ni (Cameo)
- Nolan Porfirio (Cameo)
- Emerald Sustrai
- Penny Polendina
- Mercury Black
- Bartholomew Oobleck (Voice)
- Peter Port (Voice)
- Ren's apron which says "Please Do Nothing to the Cook" is a play on aprons that say "Kiss the Cook".
- Main article: Destiny/Image Gallery