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Fanfic / Four Deadly Secrets

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Four Deadly Secrets is an Alternate Universe RWBY fanfiction by OneirosTheWriter. Beginning with a training exercise with their new classmates—Team MAVM (Maven) replacing Team CRDL—it focuses on exploring the characters by extrapolating from their traits and attributes from the show.

The fic has not been updated since Chapter 15 on October 5, 2015.

Four Deadly Secrets contains the following tropes:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: While revealing the astronomical costs of maintaining her weapon, Ruby says that her scythe's blades are "laser sharpened," and she has them custom-made for her out of stronger alloys than she herself is capable of working. She uses Crescent Rose to chop up Ursai in the forest as easily and messily as she slices and dices Beowolves in the RWBY "Red" trailer, as well as breaking White Fang assassins' Auras and cutting them in half vertically for one-hit kills.
  • Academy of Adventure: Beacon Academy, as usual. Apparently, its standards are so high that only one out of five Signal Academy students are accepted into Beacon Academy, and various students are shocked at the difference in Super Weight between themselves and powerhouses like Pyrrha Nikos and Ruby Rose.
  • Accidental Murder: Yang killed one of Junior's henchmen when she crashed their club. Her intentional body count is much higher.
  • Accidental Truth: Weiss suspects that her teammates Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long are hiding something from her, and says to them that "the cat is out of the bag!", enjoying Blake's reaction without discovering that Blake really is a Faunus.
  • The Ace: Ruby was this to her classmates at Signal. She admits that in the end no one could keep up with her and it gave her a cult status among the Signal student body.
  • Air Guitar: Nora does this with her weapon at one point in Chapter 3.
  • Alice Allusion: Alice Sgathan is a young, blue-eyed, blonde-haired girl, clothed in a blue and white dress with rabbit and heart markings. Her surname Sgàthan is Scottish Gaelic for "mirror" or "looking glass," and (being a "Society girl") she is from a "different world" than Ruby Rose. She wears a silver heart/rabbit pendant that semi-secretly contains her personal supply of cocaine.
  • Alpha Bitch: Weiss Schnee used to be, and (less proudly) still is, "the tyrant of the Society scene."
  • An Arm and a Leg: After Nora Valkyrie's threat to castrate Mercury Black in Chapter 14, Mercury retaliates by threatening to remove one of Nora's hands. He doesn't succeed, either.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Faunus tend to dislike having these applied to themselves or other Faunus, even if the speaker themself is also a Faunus. When Velvet Scarlatina references tuna fish to indicate her recognition of Blake as a Faunus, Blake expresses disapproval of the "tuna stereotype," and Velvet apologizes for it. Also, after Velvet catches Miltia French-kissing the fox Faunus Sara, Miltia twice asks Velvet about fox girl stereotypes, and Velvet expresses offense about the stereotype even while claiming that it's true about Sara.
  • Anyone Can Die: Pyrrha discusses this with Melanie when revealing that she accidentally killed an opponent in a junior tournament because her attacks were stronger than expected and her opponent lacked enough Aura to deflect the hit.
    Pyrrha: When you take up arms, and express your aura, you know the risks. Any one of us can die here, be it fighting Grimm or even on the practice floor.
  • Anything That Moves:
    • Downplayed by Sara, the fox Faunus waitress at Velvet's parents' cafe. She asks Miltia and Ruby to give her scroll number to a handsome boy at Beacon Academy. Both of the latter two are lesbians; Sara lets Miltia deep-kiss her in an attempt to cover up Miltia's eavesdropping, with Sara surprised to find she enjoyed the kiss (but next time they meet, she expresses disappointment that Miltia didn't give a boy Sara's number as requested); later, Sara pokes fun at Ruby's attempts to flirt with "a straight girl" [referring to herself] until Ruby reveals that she caught Sara checking out her legs (and Ruby says she'll keep Sara's scroll number to herself).
    • Yang Xiao Long's previous dates included both boys and girls, both human and Faunus. They casually mention during a theater trip that they'd like to share the bed of a movie's male-human/female-Faunus lead couple, and eventually she hooks up with Blake Belladonna without minding that she's human and Blake's a Faunus girl.
  • Armor Is Useless: It's narrated that a powerful Aura is a Huntsman's/Huntress's primary defense, and that attacks capable of piercing Auras will likely pierce armor as well, but later narration contradicts this by claiming that proper armor can indeed complement the protection provided by Aura. This is demonstrated when Ruby Rose's scythe stab impales Miltia Malachite's Aura, battle dress, and torso in Chapter 2, but it's averted in Chapter 9 when another heavy attack from Ruby Rose breaks Alice Sgathan's Aura and knocks her unconscious, but Glynda Goodwitch confirms that the steel lining of Alice's battle dress (barely) succeeded in preventing another serious injury.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Ruby's scythe style includes several strikes designed to pierce an opponent’s armor and their protective Aura.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • When Weiss Schnee persists in telling Alice Sgathan that Weiss is glad to have started quitting the "Society girl special," Alice knowingly asks then why Weiss won't throw away her cocaine supply hidden in a secret compartment in Myrtenaster's pommel.
    • Just before a battle with the White Fang, Jaune Arc asks his friends are truly willing to endanger their own lives in such a manner. Aurea Perrault, without knowing Jaune's background, responds by asking why Jaune wants to become a Huntsman if he's not willing to risk his life.
  • Arms Dealer: Yang used to illegally traffic Dust as a White Fang sympathizer.
  • Arsenal Attire: Given the prevalence of "It's Also A Gun" syndrome in Remnant, hardly unexpected.
  • The Atoner: A few characters feel like becoming Huntsmen and Huntresses will give them the chance to balance out what they've done previously.
    • Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long for their involvement with the White Fang.
    • Weiss Schnee for her actions as a Society girl.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: A Grimm that lives for 1000 or so years rises to enormous heights. The ancient one in Chapter 11 was at least 30 stories tall.
  • Ax-Crazy: No one is, but Melanie uses the trope name when asking if Ruby will help save Miltia instead of finishing her off.
  • Bad Guy Bar: Yang Xiao Long's old watering hole is implied to be this, and Hei "Junior" Xiong's nightclub definitely is.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Miltia Malachite and Ruby Rose, to the dismay of everyone around them, including each other. It doesn't help that Miltia is accused of trying to seduce Ruby with the intention of breaking her heart, or that Ruby used to have "petting sessions" with other girls at Signal Academy for stress relief, and hasn't done so since transferring to Beacon Academy.
  • The B Grade: Weiss makes a remark of this nature in Chapter 9.
    Weiss: Passing grades may be fine for some people, but I want my A.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: Alice Sgathan’s two-handed sword splits into two separate blades with their own handles. It can also take the form of a pulse rifle.
  • The Big Board: Hei "Junior" Xiong has one in his Bad Guy Bar. He pins printed photographs of people he's investigating onto it, then projects a Holographic Terminal over it that can interface with scrolls. He muses that he's getting older and prefers the tactile printed photos even while dabbling with new technology.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Beacon students cover each other's backs several times.
    • Ruby is this for Weiss in Chapter 7, turning a life-threatening White Fang ambush into a one-sided rout in the girls' favor.
    • In Chapter 11's Grimm-hunt, Glynda specifically reserves the powerful Team RWBY for this purpose, as well as to provide the weaker Team MAVM an opportunity to demonstrate any improved capabilities.
    • Ruby Rose and Miltia Malachite later stumble upon India Tullamarine and Venus Carlton while the latter two are outnumbered while "Dancing" with Jaws of Menagerie assailants, though Ruby doesn't kill any of these.
    • Chapter 14 has Yang, Blake, Sun, and Taiyang serve this role; Nora references this trope by name.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Those Society girls always seem like such nice girls.... Alice even points out to Ruby that people get a more beneficial standard of reasonable doubt when the suspects look more like cute teenagers than when they look like, for example, Cardin Winchester.
  • Blatant Lies: Ruby Rose shocks people by telling many of these with a pure, honest, and innocent face and voice.
  • Blown Across the Room: Miltia Malachite is sent flying by Ruby Rose’s first sniper shot in Chapter 1.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Melanie and Miltia worked as these, both for Junior and other clients, until Yang got them blacklisted.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Ruby demonstrates this against Grimm.
  • Bouncers: Junior employs several. After firing the Malachite twins, he hires Coco Adel as a replacement.
  • Bounty Hunter: It's stated that bounties are offered for killing Grimm, and Beacon Academy students (among others) are allowed to claim such bounties. Chapter 11 featured a mission in which Ruby earned a hundred thousand lien by killing low-to-moderate Grimm like Beowolves, Boarbatusks, and Ursai, and Ruby later learns that she also got credit for wounding the giant elder Beowolf that was killed off-screen by professional Huntsmen and Huntresses.
  • Brainless Beauty: Melanie Malachite considers Society boys to be this trope.
    Melanie: Society boys are stupid. I wish they weren't so pretty.
  • Break the Cutie: Weiss Schnee has been targeted for assassination by Faunus terrorists since she was 12. After the recent White Fang attacks in Chapters 6 and 7, Blake expected to see Weiss as an ice-hearted Faunus-murderer and was surprised to find the heiress so unnerved and shaken by the assaults.
  • Bring My Red Jacket: Miltia Malachite wears a red strapless Minidress of Power and barely survives getting impaled by Ruby Rose's scythe in Chapter 2.
  • Bungled Suicide: Chapter 6 reveals Blake Belladonna tried to kill herself after her last mission with the White Fang by throwing herself off of a cliff. No one, not even her, expected her to survive.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In Chapter 13, Weiss explains that her abuses toward Melanie at high-society events were expected behavior for her as a way to keep "lower-class" people out of their circles. Melanie protests that it hurt her deeply to endure such treatment, but Weiss affirms that she never hated Melanie personally, and they manage to settle the matter and "normalize [Melanie's] status" so the bullying will stop.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": When Blake asks Yang if she's willing to bet against Ruby Rose being the secret lesbian Miltia Malachite was referring to in their meeting, Yang responds that she's not going to bet on that... and five hundred Lien says Blake's wrong.
  • Call-Back: The second time that the Ruby Rose vs. India Tullamarine video gets shown off online, Pyrrha notices and points out that Ruby spent most of the fight practicing her defensive maneuvers instead of fighting seriously against India. Melanie references the first watching of the video by admitting that Miltia was the only one to notice the same thing the first time around.
  • Canon Discontinuity: This fic diverges from canon RWBY between Volume 1, Chapter 14: Forever Fall Pt. 2 and Volume 1, Chapter 15: The Stray; the narrative acknowledges that Jaune killed an Ursa with Pyrrha's (unrecognized) help, but differs on the introduction of Sun Wukong and Blake's Faunus reveal. In addition, certain other elements of the canon plot are altered, such as:
    • This fic uses "Hunter[s]" as a gender-neutral term (which the official Japanese dub also does) instead of (and/or in addition to) the gendered terms "Huntsman[/-men]" and "Huntress[es]" (as in canon).
    • Most normal people have no Aura, and even police and others below Huntsman/Huntress-level Super Weight have weak Auras. In canon, everyone (even animals, but not the Creatures of Grimm) has Aura.
    • Melanie and Miltia Malachite were fired and blacklisted by Junior and enrolled at Beacon Academy after the events of the RWBY "Yellow" trailer, whereas Volume 2 Chapter 04: Painting the Town retains both in Junior's employ (and he even stops his goons from attacking Yang again). Also, Miltia is more often than not referred to as "Miltiades" - the "Yellow" trailer doesn't have credits, and V2C04's credits list the twins as "Melanie and Miltia Malachite," but a tweet from Monty Oum reveals her full name is Miltiades Malachite and "Miltia" is an official shortened name. Inversely, Ruby claims in Chapter 15 of this fic that the henchmen serving as bouncers in Junior's bar are the same ones who backed up Roman Torchwick in Volume 1, Chapter 1: Ruby Rose, whereas in the aforementioned V2 C04 Junior claims that none of the henchmen he had loaned Torchwick ever came back after that robbery attempt. Finally, Miltia is portrayed as having a Semblance that improves her agility with a visual effect of green crystals and Melanie is described as still learning to use her as-yet-undescribed Semblance, while in canon neither's Semblance has been named or described up to the end of Season 8.
    • Velvet Scarlatina is portrayed as a first-year student on "Team MAVM (Maven)" with the Malachite twins and an OC, and the rest of the second-year Team CFVY (Coffee) have different roles (except Fox Alistair, who has yet to appear). She is also portrayed as having a Semblance that allows her to cast Dust spells for both combat and healing, while After the Fall reveals that Velvet's Semblance is a photographic memory with enough detail for her to memorize other people's weapons and fighting styles, which she uses in combination with a camera/energy projector in Volume 3, Chapter 11: Heroes and Monsters to create temporary energy copies of her previously photographed allies' weapons and wield the copies with the same skill and techniques as the weapons' original owners.
    • Coco Adel becomes the replacement bodyguard at Junior's nightclub after the Malachites are fired, instead of staying with her team as detailed in RWBY: After the Fall.
    • Yatsuhashi Daichi attends Haven Academy instead of Beacon, but remains a friend of Velvet and her family.
    • Cinder Fall's plan for her, Mercury Black, and Emerald Sustrai to enter Beacon by posing as students hits a snag when Mercury unwittingly interacts with Team JNPR during a White Fang attack on Weiss, so Cinder substitutes Neo for Mercury in the infiltration plan.
    • Neo herself has spoken lines in this fic, described as having "a bright and cultured voice." In canon, all of Neo's appearances (from Volume 2 Chapter 04: Painting the Town... to Volume 8 Chapter 14: The Final Word) have no spoken lines at all (and therefore no voice actress listed in the credits), and even her appearances in RWBY Chibi keep her mute, only allowing for Talking with Signs.
    • One original character, Sara the waitress at Velvet's parents' (who are also OCs) cafe, is a Faunus girl with fox ears and a fox tail. Volume 4, World of Remnant: Faunus details that Faunus can have only one Little Bit Beastly animal trait. Furthermore, in canon, Faunus are rarely, if ever, referred to as "[Animal species] Faunus," as they object to being treated as animals (and the term doesn't specify the character's animal traits, such as ears or a tail).
    • When discussing mental training names for her attacks during a mission, Ruby claims that her Uncle Qrow had a "slightly different Semblance" from her own, while Volume 4, Chapter 08: A Much Needed Talk reveals that Qrow's canon Semblance passively and constantly brings bad luck to those around him, which is very different from Ruby's Not Quite Flight Super-Speed Semblance.
    • In canon, Nora Valkyrie's Semblance lets her produce and channel electricity into her attacks as well as absorb electricity to strengthen herself; in Volume 3, Chapter 02: New Challengers... and Volume 4, Chapter 07: Punished, she is hit by electric attacks and remains undamaged, using powerful attacks against enemies immediately after being hit. In this fic, Chapter 14 has Nora take damage from an electrified battleaxe without any reference to her Semblance or any display of its canon effects.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor:
    • Weiss admits to Ruby during their first practice run that she gets vicious after drinking (alcoholic) champagne, and that played a part in abusing Melanie Malachite and inspiring her resentment.
    • Junior becomes a mean drunk when he gets into his cups, one who can't quite remember what he did while under the influence. He actually drunk-dialed Miltia while threatening her with the information he gathered at Roman's behest, causing her to panic and to try to convince Ruby to kill him for all their sakes.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: A White Fang assassin invites Blake Belladonna to rejoin to the White Fang. Blake accuses them of killing runaways such as herself, but the assassin claims that Blake is too capable and valuable to be executed (unless she actively fights the White Fang, of course).
  • Casanova Wannabe: India Tullamarine is always accompanied by Venus Carlton, but he's far less successful at charming any other named female character. He meets with Weiss and Ruby in Chapter 7, Ruby and Miltia in Chapter 13, and Weiss, Melanie, Pyrrha, and Alice Sgathan in Chapter 15, none of whom are receptive to his advances.
  • Casualty in the Ring: Pyrrha tells Melanie about a mishap during her second tournament where the referee misjudged her strength and she broke her opponent's Aura, accidentally dealing a deadly blow.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Questioned and Discussed by Velvet's mother, but otherwise averted.
    Saffron: Do you have any straight girls in your class, honey?
  • Category Traitor:
    • One White Fang assassin mocks Blake Belladonna for fleeing the organization and pursuing peace with humans, but lets her live with an invitation to return to the fold. Later, Team JNPR are surprised to see Neo and Mercury Black, both humans, working with the White Fang; Blake Belladonna is even more shocked (and outraged) to see White Fang Faunus taking orders from Roman Torchwick despite him directly calling them animals.
    • One of Prof.- er, Dr. Oobleck's classes discusses human and Faunus criminals who might have taken the opposing side from "their own" in the conflict between the two, as well as those who would sell Dust or weapons to both sides in the conflict; given the mixed class composition, a heated argument quickly erupts between the students.
  • The Chains of Commanding: As the leaders of their teams, Ruby, Melanie, and Jaune get dressed down for the fight in Chapter 2. Ruby for her lack of discipline, Melanie for initiating the prank in the first place that nearly got her sister killed, and Jaune for not getting involved when he was in the best position to mediate their hostility and help them in the hunt (the Malachite twins' bodyguard weapons were not suited to fight the armor-carapaced Death Stalkers).
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: Ruby Rose tries this in her meeting with Ozpin over Miltia's injury. He decides she's not going to crack and lets her.
  • Character Tic: Since they wear battle dresses, the Malachite twins cross their legs when sitting to avoid panty shots.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Ruby’s second blade case turns out to contain sawtooth anti-personnel blades, the possession of which is highly illegal (it’s a war crime for the military to use them) and specially designed purely to break Auras.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: When Ozpin orders Goodwitch to assemble a team of professional Huntsmen and Huntresses to kill the elder Beowolf in one night, her team includes "a dark man in a dusty cloak bearing a scythe in sable with cardinal trim." Later, Goodwitch informs Ruby that, due to Ruby's successful attack that injured it earlier and "a persuasive argument by one of the Huntsmen attached to the party," Ruby got credit and extra bounty money for her effort.
  • Chick Magnet: Ruby says she was this at Signal Academy, to the point where she's got a longer list of exes than Yang. Considering how much Alice, Miltia, and Weiss argue over her, she's still got it.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Weiss sometimes comes across as this when trying to keep potential suitors away from Ruby.
  • Coincidence Magnet: Hei "Junior" Xiong. He comes up with a completely plausible chart in Chapter 11 of how all the members of Teams MAVM and RWBY (and JNPR) were in the same class and screwed him over, but the truth of it was that it was all a bunch of coincidences.
  • Colossus Climb: Ruby against an ancient Grimm in Chapter 11.
  • Combat Medic: Velvet wields a Dust-infused staff and can use Dust spells for both attacks and healing.
  • Commitment Issues: Miltia, according to Alice.
  • Consummate Liar: Ruby Rose, helped in no small part by her youth and cuteness.
  • Cool Airship: Downplayed; the Bullhead airships from canon RWBY are used both for general transport (like public buses) and specific assignments (such as on Beacon missions). The Schnee Dust Corporation has one permanently on standby in Vale to provide Weiss a ride away from potential or active White Fang attacks.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: One Faunus gang member was outed by Velvet, Ruby, and Miltia because she reacted to danger far too quickly to be an untrained civilian.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Malachite twins' weapons and skills were made for bodyguarding and facing off against other people, so they can't fight armored or otherwise tough Grimm effectively until they get an upgrade.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Several.
    • Most of India and Ruby's duel is just Ruby practicing her defensive stance. When she stops playing around, the battle's over in one blow.
    • When Ruby drops into the White Fang's ambush on Weiss, the White Fang literally come out in pieces.
    • The Jaws of Menagerie mooks who attack Ruby, Miltia, India, and Venus don't put up much of a fight.
  • Curse Cut Short: Pyrrha, several times via Last-Second Word Swap, starting in Chapter 2.
  • Danger Deadpan:
    • Ozpin can speak in "an even-tempered tone" after watching a surveillance drone video of Ruby sniping Miltia In the Back during a forest class assignment.
    • Nora can wave to a child and make idle banter while hanging by her hammer from a rooftop overhang.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: RWBY and more than a few of the supporting cast. It's the title and premise of the story, after all.
  • Darker and Edgier: The story is all about looking beneath the "glossy cover" of the Remnant we see in the show, with a greater emphasis on crime, human-faunus racial tensions, and violence.
  • Dark Secret: Every single member of Team RWBY has one; it's in the fic's title, after all.
    • Ruby Rose was formerly an assassin-for-hire, purely to pay for her weapon's tremendous parts and maintenance costs.
    • Weiss Schnee has a history of addiction to alcoholic champagne and cocaine, and she still uses them.
    • Blake Belladonna was a White Fang "operator" (elite assassin), and they want her to rejoin them.
    • Yang Xiao Long was a Dust runner for White Fang sympathizers, working under Roman Torchwick and with Neo.
  • Dead Fic: Four Deadly Secrets has not been updated since Chapter 15 on October 5, 2015.
  • Death Glare: Several characters do this to each other throughout the fic.
  • Decadent Court: The "Society," sons and daughters of Remnant's wealthiest families and most powerful businesses.
  • Deliberately Cute Child:
    • Ruby ruthlessly exploits her cute and innocent appearance to pull the wool over everyone's eyes or avoid awkward questions. Miltia learns to see through it.
    • Emerald Sustrai sticking out her tongue at Roman Torchwick is described as "a disarmingly childish gesture from a girl who had already made bones for Cinder's organization."
  • Depraved Dwarf: Neo, more than in canon; Yang Xiao Long calls her "Roman's right-hand death midget."
  • Diagonal Cut: Ruby performs several on Grimm and on the White Fang assassins.
  • Dirty Cop: The Vale Police Department officers label their reports of crimes between crime groups with the acronyms "FCA" and "NFCA." Velvet claims these stand for Faunus Crime Associations and Non Faunus Crime Associations, but Aurea Perrault adds that "NFCA" also stands for Not Fucking Cared About. To the VPD, when criminals take each other out, it means less work for the cops.
  • Disturbed Doves: When the giant elder Beowolf roars, the trees in the forest ripple as if shaken by a shockwave and birds fly out in all directions.
  • Don't Think, Feel: When Ruby stumbles while trying on high heels, she's advised to forget that she's wearing different shoes and imagine she's hunting Grimm on an unstable surface. She immediately improves, but still isn't perfect.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Ruby sometimes appears to miss the point when others make comments or ask questions regarding her sexual orientation, or when they try to separate her from other girls who seem attracted to her.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: In her duel with India, Ruby chambers a round once she stops playing with him, and her opponent barely has time to recognize her scythe is also a gun before he’s out cold.
  • The Dreaded: Alice claims that Weiss is this to the Society scene, including to Alice herself.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Society girls (among others) routinely indulge in alcoholic champagne with party drugs at their events.
    • Original character Alice Sgathan admits to Ruby in her first on-screen appearance that she drinks champagne and cocaine (the "Society girl special"), with Alice even keeping her own supply of cocaine in a pendant around her neck. Unlike other characters in this fic, she's not shown to suffer significant impairment due to drug use, though she does want her friend Weiss to fall Off the Wagon, to Ruby's shock. At one later point she refuses to share cocaine with Weiss, not to help her stay clean, but because Weiss would blame Alice and their friendship would be endangered. Miltia knows about Alice's drugs, but isn't bothered by them since she used to work in nightclubs full of drug users.
    • Weiss Schnee is (not finished) recovering from a habit of abusing champagne and cocaine (the aforementioned "special"), recognizing that these led her to act like (more of) an Alpha Bitch to Melanie Malachite; Weiss even claims to Ruby Rose that using these is so expected of Society people that enrolling in Beacon Academy cost the Schnee Dust Company 5% of its stock price, twice or more than they would have lost if she had "hypothetically" gone on an indulgence binge, directly trash-talked her father and the Society scene, and crashed a car while driving high and drunk. After fleeing with Ruby from a potential White Fang ambush and narrowly escaping to a hotel safe room, Ruby catches her drinking champagne and barely manages to convince her to hold off on the cocaine, pleading with her that the drugs can impair her combat abilities and get her killed. Weiss agrees, but demands that Ruby (and Alice) let her quit at her own pace; she notes that, even though Aura helps to prevent physiological addiction, the psychological stress and causes thereof that led to her use remain.
    • Another OC, Venus Carlton, comes into conflict with other characters on multiple occasions; two of those times, her company sees that she has bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, rapid breathing, and an agitated edge to her emotional state, and they recognize these as symptoms of drug abuse.
    • Hei "Junior" Xiong makes a big mistake while drunk that (after waking up hungover) he realizes he'll regret.
  • Dye or Die: Ruby and Miltia dye their hair as part of their disguises when they go scouting out Junior's bar.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted when Ruby Rose explains to her teammates the sheer cost of all her weapon's individual parts. Alice Sgathan is permitted to give Crescent Rose a detailed examination (without disassembling it) and later tells Weiss Schnee (while possibly exaggerating, but not implausibly so) that she'd price Crescent Rose at eight hundred thousand lien (an author's note provides a 10-lien-to-1-US-dollar conversion ratio); when Weiss offers to pay for one set of blades (in this fic, the three large blades consist of twenty-five smaller sub-blades locked together in the frame), it sets her back (a discounted price of) forty thousand lien. Ruby repeatedly avoids answering anyone who questions just how the money to pay for it all was obtained.
    Ruby Rose: My weapon's running costs are huge. These blade pieces are laser sharpened, that costs two hundred Lien each and I wear them down faster than you think. Two hundred to sharpen, mind you, it's two thousand to replace. Every round fired with a battle load of red Dust is ten Lien; I went through twenty today, and that was in a quick fight. I have to clean and regrease the moving parts weekly, or after every fight it gets dirt in. That's another three-hundred Lien in costs. And god forbid something happen to any of the motors. The principal barrel-crossbeam mechanism alone costs twenty-five thousand and not a half-lien less....
    Yang Xiao Long: Grimm and Dust, sis, how have you possibly afforded that weapon?
    Ruby Rose: Well, being able to raid Uncle Qrow's stockpile for second-hand parts always helped. But part of it was, well, forgoing buying anything else. Free canteen meals at every chance, or eating at home or with Uncle Qrow. And, well, as you can see, not buying clothes for a year or two at a time. Battle dress and Crescent Rose is all I've spent my money on for years now.
  • Eaten Alive: Subverted. Ruby Rose is caught inside the mouth of a giant Beowolf, which horrifies her classmates even after she shoots out one of its teeth to escape its jaws.
  • Elemental Weapon: India Tullamarine’s Dust-infused Flaming Sword and a White Fang Mook's electrified battleaxe.
  • Elite Mooks: White Fang "Field Agents" are these, meant to be their counter to regular Huntsmen and Huntresses.
  • Every Bullet is a Tracer: Many projectiles are described as being visible in mid-flight, but Coco Adel's suitcase chaingun is specifically described as firing "golden tracers" in Chapter 15.
  • Everyone Can See It: Weiss Schnee's hidden feelings towards Ruby Rose are guessed at by several classmates; the former vehemently denies all such suggestions, but the latter hopes "everyone" is right.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In Chapter 15, Yang berates herself for failing to notice that Blake's cat ears would cause the bow in her hair to twitch even when there was no wind blowing at the time.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Milita and a fox-girl Faunus in Chapter 6. It didn't work because Velvet Scarlatina suspected she heard anyway what she was eavesdropping on.
  • Fantastic Slurs: As in canon, racist humans often refer to Faunus using animal-related insults.
  • Fête: Pyrrha Nikos has learned about high society while being "tiresomely feted" at Mistral tournaments.
  • Fiction 500: The "Society" people in general, and Alice says this about her own and Weiss' respective families:
    Alice: The Schnees are ludicrously wealthy, we Sgathans are merely absurdly wealthy.
  • First-Name Basis: Ruby Rose and Yang Xiao Long understandably refer to Qrow Branwen as "Uncle Qrow," but other students informed of their relationship to the Signal Academy teacher are also shown calling him "Professor Qrow" instead of "Professor Branwen" or "Professor Qrow Branwen."
  • Flash Step: As in canon, Ruby's Super-Speed Semblance allows her to do this, and the advantage is usually decisive.
  • Flynning: Jaune's swordplay is lacking effectiveness because, as Pyrrha notes, he's too afraid of death and of killing other people to properly fight, as well as having cheated his way into Beacon with forged transcripts because he'd never gone to combat school. Pyrrha points out to him that he needs to stop holding back on his swings and aim for his opponents' bodies instead of at their weapons.
  • Forced Out of the Closet:
    • During an interteam meeting between Teams RWBY, JNPR, and MAVM, Weiss Schnee outs Miltia Malachite as a lesbian while insinuating that the latter would use her sexuality to seduce and emotionally harm Ruby Rose. The narration notes that Weiss's classmates suspect her of outing Miltia for malicious reasons, and Jaune Arc calls out Weiss for going "way over the line" as soon as he realizes what Weiss meant.
    • Immediately after the previous example, Miltia Malachite retaliates by implicitly outing Ruby Rose (without naming her) and leaving the others to figure out who she was referring to. She also (but later, not right away) gets called out for doing this to Ruby, but (unlike Weiss) Miltia expresses regret for having done so.
  • Foreshadowing: When Ruby compliments Jaune's eagerness to mediate between Teams RWBY and MAVM, Melanie stage-whispers that Pyrrha will suspect Ruby of trying to take Jaune from her. Ruby's muttered response, "That's not really a concern.", foreshadows her lesbian sexual orientation, which she tries to hide from her classmates, especially her sister.
  • Friendly Sniper: Ruby proves herself to be one, putting the sniper portion of her high-caliber heavy sniper-scythe to use, and almost never acting as anything other than a cute prodigy.
  • From a Single Cell: Mercury implies (in the form of a question) that Aura users can eventually grow back extremities, such as regrowing a hand in about six months.
  • Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter: Melanie uses a variation of this line about herself in Chapter 14.
  • The Ghost: Team CRDL are repeatedly stated to be left out of the events of this fic.
  • Groin Attack: During Chapter 14, Nora Valkyrie threatens to castrate Mercury Black in retaliation for Mercury getting a handful of Nora's butt as part of a Combination Attack with a Mook. She doesn't manage to do so.
  • Gun Stripping: Ruby does this to Crescent Rose several times on-screen.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: One swing of Ruby Rose's scythe, boosted with a sniper round, carries enough force to split Huntsman-level White Fang assassins lengthwise.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Defied by Weiss when India Tullamarine challenges Ruby to a duel (expecting Weiss to fight in her place) and he tries to bet Weiss kissing him if he wins against himself kissing Ruby if he loses. Weiss rejects that bet and tells Ruby to name her prize, and Ruby asks for a kiss from Venus Carlton if she wins.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • This is the reason Ruby nearly killed Miltia. Miltia recognized her killing someone before and mentions to Velvet the only reason she survived was because she knew what was going to happen and managed to get her defenses up.
    • Discussed between Neo and Junior regarding the Malachite twins. Neo tells Junior that she wouldn't have let them leave if she had been their boss; Junior initially assumes she would have sexual motivations to keep them, and Neo counters that Junior should have either kept the Malachites or killed them instead.
  • Hufflepuff House: Vacuo is mentioned a few times, but never treated as important.
  • Humiliating Wager: India Tullamarine (and Venus Carlton) wager against Ruby Rose (and Weiss Schnee) that the loser's partner gives a kiss to the winner. Ruby wins, but Venus is reluctant to actually do it; Ruby declines to force her to despite Weiss's protests, but the rest of the Society torment her relentlessly until she finally follows through and shows Weiss a video record to convince her to "call off the hounds".
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Miltia gets one from Alice in Chapter 10 regarding her treatment of and intentions toward Ruby Rose, which unnerves her just as her class is departing on a Grimm hunt.
  • I Am What I Am: Alice tells Ruby this. She acknowledges she's a Society girl and enjoys the decadent lifestyle.
  • I Call It "Vera": Ruby not only named her sniper-scythe "Crescent Rose," she also calls it her "sweetheart" (as in canon). This fic posits as justification that the tremendous financial cost of creating, maintaining, and upgrading Crescent Rose, as well as the means by which she attained those funds, makes her as acutely aware of the weapon's value, along with the mind-blowing feats of arms she can accomplish with it.
  • I Can't Dance: In Chapter 15, Ruby says this to Miltia while they're scouting Junior's nightclub in disguise.
  • Iconic Item: Ruby Roses's and Blake Belladonna's weapons are rare enough to be recognizable, allowing Miltia Malachite to know that Ruby's used it to kill before and for Velvet's father to warn her that Blake Belladonna might be linked to the White Fang.
  • Identical Stranger: The White Fang assassins that target Weiss in Chapters 6 and 7 include a rabbit Faunus with purple-dyed hair and wielding a chain scythe similar to Blake's weapon. In Chapter 13, a practically-identical Faunus named "Amaranth" with pink-dyed hair denies being that same person when confronted by Ruby Rose, to the point of claiming affiliation with the Jaws of Menagerie to explain her combat reflexes. The implications are just barely too inconclusive to prove whether the two are the same person or not.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Junior says this word-for-word about firing the Malachite twins after Yang trashed his club, his goons, them, and himself.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Yang tells her father that, when she was still working for Roman Torchwick and with Neo, Neo tried to make Yang kill someone who "wasn't firmly in the Underworld life" (as Taiyang puts it), but Yang "flat-out refused" to do it.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Ruby Rose uses a scythe attack so powerful that it runs Miltia Malachite through her torso (Aura, battle dress, and all) and pins her to the ground in the same swing. To save Miltia's life, Velvet Scarlatina has to tell Ruby to slowly remove Crescent Rose while Velvet uses healing magic to restore Miltia's flesh (including her right lung) as the scythe makes room. The scythe blade comes out completely dripping blood (Ruby has to clean it as soon as possible so that the blood won't rust the blade), and Miltia has nightmares about Crescent Rose impaling her for several nights afterward.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes:
    • Junior orders Coco Adel to wear a cream-and-tan-colored version of the Malachite twins' dresses as a "uniform" to blend in with the club atmosphere. While Melanie and Miltia liked their own respective white and red dresses (and so do other people), Coco thinks her brown dress is horrible, and even Miltia thinks of it as "crap-coloured" when she sees it.
    • Downplayed by the new outfits Weiss bought for Ruby or worn by Miltia. The outfits themselves are good enough for their wearers, but "Society" Upper Class Twits and those they deride as Lower Class Louts sometimes think or say aloud complaints that these outfits aren't good enough for the complainer's standards.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Ruby never seems to miss with the sniper part of her sniper-scythe.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: After Ruby comes out of a clothes boutique in a Weiss-picked ensemble and walks over to the rest of her team, Yang completely fails to recognize her own sister and complains about Ruby's failure to maintain her wardrobe until Ruby interrupts her.
  • Informed Ability: Literally. Ozpin describes Aurea Perrault's Semblance to Ruby as inflicting Forced Sleep on weak-willed or unsuspecting opponents, and claims it can also "generate a fierce light, able to illuminate or temporarily blind." These effects have not yet been demonstrated in action.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: Ruby Rose's Curb-Stomp Battle against India Tullamarine ends up posted online shortly after the battle; India is displeased to find that Alice's Team AKWA (Aqua) put a screenshot of his Oh, Crap! face on their webpage under a banner reading "Team [AKWA is struck-through and replaced with] Awkward" and tries feebly (and unsuccessfully) to stop Melanie, Pyrrha, and Weiss from seeing his humiliating defeat.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Weiss sees Ruby wearing outgrown clothes that now look like Painted-On Pants:
    Weiss: You're growing, Ruby, and what was fine three years ago now looks like something your sister would wear.
    Yang: Yeah, that's what I... Hey! What are you trying to say!?
  • It Gets Easier: Neo suggests that "after the first dozen the conscience gets limber" to explain why Ruby isn't overly bothered by killing the White Fang soldiers from Chapter 7.
  • It's Personal: The Malachite twins aren't fond of Yang because not only did she get them fired, but Junior also blacklisted them in the criminal underworld, leaving Beacon Academy as their only feasible career choice.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: Nora and Yang joke like this to each other while fighting Grimm in Chapter 11.
  • Jaw Drop: Melanie in Chapter 3, when Ruby exits the headmaster's office after the Chapter 2 disaster and immediately declares that Teams RWBY, JNPR, and MAVM will be the best in their year.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Part of Huntsman/Huntress culture is that they police themselves, including students in training, as regular channels (e.g. the police) are unable to handle such incidents. The only time they ever get a higher authority (e.g. the faculty) involved is if it goes beyond their ability to handle.
  • Knowledge Broker: Hei "Junior" Xiong does this both for hire and for his own business.
  • Ladies and Germs: Weiss has to deliver an unveiling speech to introduce and promote Atlesian Paladins to prospective buyers in Vale; the speech begins with this sort of address to various dignitaries and positions.
  • Lady in Red: Miltia Malachite wears a red strapless Minidress of Power and has a morning-after wake-up scene with Alice Sgathan, a Fake-Out Make-Out with until-then-straight Faunus waitress Sara, and multiple flirtations and later deep-kisses with Ruby Rose.
  • Left Hanging: Due to a lack of updates, we're not likely to see Cinder and Neo infiltrating Beacon Academy, Ruby's and Miltia's assassination of Hei "Junior" Xiong (Chapter 15, the last so far, promised "Next time around, the fate of Junior."), or any awesome (and hyped up in-story) sparring match between Pyrrha and Ruby.
  • Leg Focus: Exploited by Ruby Rose when she approaches the Scarlatina Cafe and notices Sara the fox Faunus waitress outside. Ruby noticed Sara checking out her legs and pointed this out when Sara claimed to be straight.
  • Little Bit Beastly: Few if any Faunus in this fic are depicted with animal traits other than ears or tails.
  • Love Triangle: Two, Alice-Miltia-Ruby and Miltia-Ruby-Weiss.
  • Mama Bear: Velvet's mother runs a cafe with a sign that reads "Peace Begets Peace" on the window, but she protests Velvet's attendance at Beacon when her classmates include Team CRDL, Weiss Schnee, and Blake Belladonna, and when she glares at Ruby during an incident at the cafe, Ruby finds her gaze scarier than the maw of a giant Beowolf that nearly ate her alive.
  • A Master Makes Their Own Tools: Ruby planned, designed, and built Crescent Rose (as in canon), even manufacturing a sizable portion of the parts herself, including all the wiring. She takes great pride in this, but making the blades are a problem, though. Ruby used to either make them herself or use Uncle Qrow's spares, but the current state of Crescent Rose requires alloys beyond her ability to craft, so she now needs them specially built for her at great financial cost.
  • Miles Gloriosus: While Pyrrha Nikos is the only student aware that Jaune Arc used fake transcripts to enroll in Beacon Academy, several students notice the discrepancy between Jaune's alleged combat skills and his demonstrated combat skills. His attempt to report a White Fang attack to Beacon faculty before trying to confront them with his team also exposes him to questions.
    Jaune: Are you guys seriously okay with risking your lives like this?
    Aurea: Risking...? Jaune, if you don't like risking your life, why do you want to be a Hunter?
  • Mix-and-Match Weapon: Not only does this fic carry on the tradition of every weapon also being a gun, but they have multiple attack forms and (sometimes) names.
    • Alice Sgathan's "Cheshire Silver" is a two-handed sword which can split into two separate blades or become a Dust-powered pulse rifle.
    • Aurea Perrault's "Sole and Luna" is a cudgel (Luna) which turns into a carbine rifle (Sole).
    • Venus Carlton's unnamed shotgun tonfas.
    • One of the Vale Faunus Liberation Movement's soldiers wields a Dust-infused Whip Sword disguised as a belt. Ruby enthusiastically refers to it as a "Flex-Segmented Dust-Active Blade."
    • Another VFLM member uses a combination longsword/energy rifle, which Ruby calls a "High-Energy Rail-Sword."
  • Muggles: It's mentioned in the fic that many of the police, and presumably many other people, don't have Auras. This is one of the bigger changes from canon where everyone (even animals, but not Creatures of Grimm) has an Aura.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Yang had a moment like this in the past when she attacked her father after he confronted her nine months ago about Dust-running with Roman Torchwick. Ruby barging in to defend her father and finding she was the one who attacked him was a key part of her quitting.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Yang is well-known for this at Signal and the reason Ruby doesn't tell her about her orientation and prior relationships at first.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Jaune is constantly shown to be completely unaware of Huntsman traditions and culture, managing to both be horrified by the way Huntsmen and Huntresses do things and to horrify his peers because both him and them mutually don't understand each other's interpretations of their words and actions.
  • Named Weapons: Averted by the Malachite twins, whose weapons remain unnamed, and used to demonstrate the differences between Huntsman/Huntress culture and that of more normal people.
  • "No. Just… No" Reaction: Ren to Nora when the latter compares hamburgers to pancakes.
  • Noodle Incident: Melanie rattles off a list of attacks that Society boys and girls have inflicted upon her, allegedly at Weiss Schnee's urging. They include being ambushed outside a weapons convention, having her dress set on fire at a gala, and even a random stranger walking up and asking her about a rumor that she had sold a kidney to pay for her dress. Rather tellingly, Weiss specifically denies blame for the last one only.
  • The Nose Knows: Faunus have good enough senses of smell to identify other Faunus or even specific individuals.
    • Blake Belladonna is discovered this way twice, despite making efforts to avoid it.
    • Ruby Rose successfully defies this in between a fight with Jaws of Menagerie gangsters and a visit to Velvet's family's cafe by chatting up a waitress who was smoking outside. The combination of her preexisting disguise (for looks) and used Dust residue and cigarette smoke (for smell) prevented Velvet from recognizing her until it was too late to keep her away.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Jaune sometimes struggles to keep his eyes away from the top of Melanie's strapless dress, but to his credit he repeatedly manages to remain serious and focus on their important subjects of conversation, which earns him some respect as a team leader.
    • Cinder Fall crosses her legs during a conversation with Roman Torchwick, who has to make a mental effort to resist her allure:
      'The woman is completely unfair,' [Roman] thought to himself in dismay. 'It's hard enough to match wits with her when you don't want to pin her ankles back to her ears.' But the infamous Torchwick was a gentleman thief, and those goddamned sinful legs could do as they pleased, she wouldn't get the satisfaction of knowing it affected him.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: Mark tells Trevor not to swear in front of Velvet, who uses a Precision F-Strike to return to their previous topic of conversation.
  • Not My Driver: Referenced and then subverted when Weiss, Pyrrha, Melanie, and Alice are driven by limousine to a mansion hosting a Society party. The narration notes that "[m]ore than one society kid had met a sticky end" when someone other than the driver opened the door at the destination, but that doesn't happen here, and everyone arrives safely.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Glynda Goodwitch and a team of veteran Huntsmen set out to kill the Ancient Grimm from Chapter 10, which had lived at least a thousand years. We see none of it, only receiving a notice that it was slain later.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • More than once in the story, multiple people are horrified to see exactly how dangerous the tiny and young Pintsized Powerhouse Ruby Rose can be with her Crescent Rose, especially when she deliberately aims to kill and humans and Faunus are reduced to Ludicrous Gibs.
    • India Tullamarine has a moment upon realizing Ruby Rose was holding back her scythe's sniper rifle function.
      India Tullamarine: Sweet fuck, a sniper scy-!
    • Weiss has one after explaining to Ruby what Society duels would consider an equal trade for a promise to avoid a third party when she realizes what she just revealed to whom.
    • Miltia Malachite "freaks out" (her own words) when Ruby reveals her alternate scythe blades with serrated edges.
    • Pyrrha Nikos is shocked when Melanie and Weiss let slip that Weiss used to use cocaine, as are Weiss and Melanie when they realize what they just said in front of her.
  • Oh, My Gods!: Real-world profanities are common, but some others are created for the setting.
    • Multiple characters use the phrase "Grimm and Dust" as a general imprecation roughly equivalent to "Damn it."
    • Some Faunus characters use "God's Horns" as an exclamation. Blake Belladonna is the first to use it in the story when she is surprised by Yang Xiao Long, and mentally remembers that "[t]he imprecation was an ancient Faunus one" that she should be careful not to use in front of humans such as Weiss Schnee.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: India Tullamarine is repeatedly reminded of how easily Ruby defeated him.
  • One Degree of Separation: Virtually everyone is connected in some way if they've got a Dark and Troubled Past, and that includes Team RWBY. Deconstructed when the many Contrived Coincidences convince Hei "Junior" Xiong that the Bar Brawl which trashed his Bad Guy Bar, cost him a lucrative underworld work offer, and motivated him to fire Melanie and Miltia was somehow The Conspiracy by the Malachite twins to betray him for riches and escape retribution by enrolling in Beacon Academy.
  • One-Hit Kill: Ruby Rose kills multiple adult White Fang assassins in one strike each, to the shock of Teams RWBY and JNPR.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: On Team JNPR's way to the Chapter 10/11 mission, Pyrrha gives Jaune a "cram session" of swordplay training. Ren jokingly tells Jaune to go easy on Pyrrha, which takes both Jaune and Nora by surprise.
  • Original Character: A number of original characters are introduced in this fic: Alice Sgathan, Aurea Perrault, India Tullamarine and Venus Carlton, Mark and Saffron Scarlatina, and various other background characters.
    • O.C. Stand-in: Melanie and Miltia Malachite, the twin girls who fought Yang in the RWBY "Yellow" trailer, and Velvet Scarlatina, the rabbit-eared Faunus student bullied by Team CRDL in Volume 1, Chapter 11: Jaunedice, are given more characterization in this fic than was provided before the point in the series (between Volume 1, Chapters 14 and 15) where this fic diverges from canon.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: The adjective "boxy" is used to describe Alice Sgathan's Cheshire Silver.
  • Painted-On Pants: In Chapter 3, Ruby's casual clothes are shirts and shorts that she bought when she was twelve, and Weiss says her outgrown outfit "looks like something your sister would wear." Yang is not quite pleased at the implied insult.
  • Parasol of Pain: While she isn't shown using it in combat, Neo's parasol is described as having "finger-thick steel reinforcing rails" and "sewn channels of Dust" woven into the fabric. Pyrrha predicts that she might be tougher than common White Fang Mooks, and Yang admits that Neo could defeat her if the two fought.
  • Pass Fail: Some Faunus try to disguise themselves as humans to avoid the Fantastic Racism they usually face, which gets varying degrees of support or opposition from other Faunus; they typically won't out each other to humans, though. Blake Belladonna defies this by wearing a bow over her cat ears and using extra deodorant and keeping her distance from other Faunus, but is still identified as such by smell on separate occasions by Velvet Scarlatina and Sun Wukong.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Common between Society girls.
  • Past Experience Nightmare: Milita Malachite had some nightmares about Crescent Rose after Ruby Rose nearly killed her with it.
  • Plausible Deniability:
    • Alice discusses this with Ruby, claiming that since Pyrrha Nikos would disapprove of Weiss Schnee's drug habits, other people would look for ways to clue her in to Weiss's problems without Weiss discovering who told Pyrrha.
    • Miltia begs Ruby not to use serrated blades in her scythe during the hit on Junior, claiming that normal blades will allow Ruby the excuse that she was warning him off investigating her, while sawtooth blades will unquestionably prove attempted murder.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • In Chapter 8, after Ruby explains the events of the Chapter 7 fight to Team JNPR, Jaune wants to tell the police and the faculty about the incident, as a normal civilian would. Pyrrha explains to him that Huntsmen and Huntresses have stronger Auras and greater fighting power than civil police, and that problems that are difficult for Huntsmen will be beyond the capabilities of the police.
    • In Chapter 14, when the police arrive to interrupt Beacon and Signal students participating in "the Grind" (picking fights with each other to test their own strength), Aurea mocks a former classmate "who thought he'd be the best Huntsman of them all and ended up a beat cop." The police cadet in question admits that he could shoot Aurea with all six rounds of his service revolver and still not break her Aura or even knock her out.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero:
    • Weiss Schnee knowingly outs Miltia Malachite as a lesbian to Teams RWBY, JNPR, and MAVM during a meeting between the three teams. Her expressed intention was to keep Miltia away from Ruby Rose, but "most of them suspected it was maliciously done."
    • Yang Xiao Long is not above mocking Neo for her short stature.
      Neo: This is going to be big.
      Yang: You're three feet tall, you think everything is big.
      Neo: Now that just hurts my feelings.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • While somewhat less antagonistic than other villains, Alice Sgathan more than once uses animal-related slurs to refer to Faunus. The first time, she apologizes to Ruby, admits that she and her friends have had recent trouble with the White Fang, and acknowledges that she should watch her mouth at least for Velvet's sake because Alice is a friend of Velvet's teammate Miltia.
    • As in canon, Roman Torchwick works with the White Fang, and he unapologetically insults the Faunus to their faces with animal-related slurs.
  • Precision F-Strike: Profanity appears several times, but some instances stand out, such as:
    Trevor: Really, fuck, Mark, honest, I had no fucking clue.
    Mark: Don't swear in front of Velvet.
    Velvet: For fuck's sake, dad! How are you possibly worried about that? Focus!
  • Professional Killer:
    • Ruby Rose tells Miltia Malachite that this is how she gets all the money to pay for Crescent Rose. Neo is one too, and when they meet, they drop hints that their paths have crossed earlier.
    • The White Fang "Trigger Teams" and "Trigger Agents" are these.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Yang's lilac eyes turn red when she gets angry.
  • Reformed Criminal: Melanie and Miltia Malachite, Blake Belladonna (as in canon), and Yang Xiao Long.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Alice Sgathan is introduced in Chapter 6 as being familiar to Ruby.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Miltia is personally outraged when she discovers that Junior not only replaced her and Melanie with Coco Adel, he gave their replacement a cream-and-tan ("crap-coloured") version of their dresses as a uniform! She even uses a variation of the trope name to complain about this.
  • La Résistance: Velvet's parents are members of Faunus rights organizations and still have some contacts and/or activity therein, but disapprove of the extremism displayed by the more violent Faunus gangs and the White Fang.
  • Rich Bitch: Every single "Society" girl ever seen on-screen. Weiss Schnee rules them all.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Melanie's and Miltia's replacement questions whether Junior will kill everyone whom he thinks screwed him over. Junior responds that he'd be considered a maniac if he did, and will merely hospitalize most of them, but he won't be so lenient towards those who used to work for him.
  • Scenery Gorn: The aftermath of serious fight scenes (those in which people get maimed or killed) are described as resembling war zones with heavily damaged terrain and buildings and large amounts of blood splatter.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Weiss pretty much admits she's bribed her way out of trouble in the past.
  • Secret Police: The Royal Secret Service, Vale's "secret happy fun-time people," whom you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley. Neo implies to Ruby in Chapter 15 that she works for "the Service" and has "official business" with Yang.
  • Series Continuity Error: Not counting discrepancies with canon RWBY, the fic contains some inconsistencies:
    • Alice Sgathan says in Chapter 6 that the "Society girl special" of Vale's high society would be known to Mistral's society scene as "sparkles;" however, when Pyrrha Nikos, a celebrated Mistral tournament champion, discovers that Weiss is using the special in Chapter 15, her third-person narration reveals that Mistral's upper class refers to it as "bubbles." Possibly justified as an in-character mistake, since Alice also mispronounced Pyrrha Nikos' surname as "Nikoh" before Ruby corrected her in the same conversation.
    • Also from Chapter 6, Alice is described as wearing a silver heart pendant. Chapter 8 instead describes it as a silver rabbit pendant. Either would match her clothes and Alice Allusion theme.
    • At the end of Chapter 7, Mercury Black unwittingly meets Beacon Academy students before Cinder Fall can begin her mission to infiltrate Beacon with him and Emerald Sustrai disguised as students. However, in the second half of Chapter 10, Cinder verbally complains about "Emerald's foolish exposure" when Mercury was the one who made the mistake and Emerald hadn't appeared in the story yet, even though both earlier and later chapters correctly attribute the error to Mercury.
    • In Chapter 8, Alice Sgathan obtains a video record of Ruby Rose's duel for "favors" against India Tullamarine and shares this video with Team MAVM. Miltia recognizes Ruby's attack pattern as mere defense-drill practice and points out that Ruby was holding back; a later paragraph in the same chapter erroneously attributes this recognition to Melanie, but a replay of the video in Chapter 15 correctly credits the recognition to Miltia.
    • In Chapter 11, the narration describes a confrontation with three Ursai that won't be killed easily as the scariest experience of Miltia Malachite's life to the point of threatening a Bring My Brown Pants problem, apparently forgetting her impalement by Ruby Rose's scythe and her subsequent nightmares about it from Chapter 2 onward.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: Sawtooth anti-personnel blades have edges like sharks' teeth, full of points specifically designed to overwhelm a human being’s Aura and kill quickly. Their use by militaries is prohibited in real life, Remnant militaries consider their use an outright war crime, and even the White Fang don't use them.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Weiss takes Ruby out shopping for new clothes at a high-class boutique after Team RWBY sees their leader in two- to three-year-old clothes that barely fit anymore. After Ruby is all dressed up with clothes that Weiss picked out for her, Weiss praises her own fashion sense using words open to misinterpretation, and even Yang (Ruby's own sister) doesn't immediately recognize her.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Despite being too similar to be Polar Opposite Twins, Melanie and Miltia do have some significant differences, canon and invented. Besides their different dress colors (Melanie's white, Miltia's red), weapons (Melanie's heel blades, Miltia's claw gauntlets), and hair lengths (Melanie has waist-length hair, Miltia has a bob haircut), this fic gives them different social-class employer preferences (Melanie bodyguarded for Vale's Society scene, Miltia bodyguarded for Vale's criminal underworld), sexual orientations (Melanie's straight, Miltia's lesbian), and even conflict with each other (both are protective of each other, but Melanie doubted Miltia's combat skill after the Chapter 2 incident and dislikes Society girls due to Weiss's influence, while Miltia doubted Melanie's ability to handle Junior's anger and dated Alice Sgathan and flirted with Ruby at least partly to needle Melanie).
  • Signature Scent: Alice wears a brand of perfume so hard to find that Weiss and Miltia immediately recognize that Ruby's been involved with her when they catch its scent on Ruby.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • In Chapter 8, Ruby complains that three major shocks have disrupted her life: she nearly killed Miltia and got in trouble with Professors Ozpin and Goodwitch and her classmates for it, was outed as a lesbian by Weiss and Miltia in front of her sister and friends, and had to fight with Weiss against a team of White Fang assassins. Nora notices about the latter that Ruby complained only about fighting the White Fang, not about having to kill them.
    • Similarly, in Chapter 12, Miltia asks Ruby to help her kill Hei "Junior" Xiong, but they get sidetracked into an argument about their Belligerent Sexual Tension:
      Miltia Malachite: Do you really want to do this now? I just asked you to kill someone, and this is what you want to talk about?
      Ruby Rose: No, no, no[.] You asked me to kill someone with you. You think it's the first part I should freak out about?
    • Finally, in Chapter 13, after the Faunus that Trevor contacted to investigate Blake claims to be a Jaws of Menagerie member (after denying being White Fang), Trevor swears to Velvet's father Mark that he didn't know the contact was a terrorist. Velvet's father tells him not to swear in front of his daughter, but Velvet uses a Precision F-Strike to get his priorities straight.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: Ruby Rose is somewhat put off by Sara's smoking habit, but takes advantage of it to cover herself in cigarette smoke in order to avoid identification by Velvet's sense of smell.
  • Spit Take: Neo is reading an information report when an unexpected detail makes her spit coffee all over the page.
  • Spy Speak: Neo and Ruby Rose, both in disguise, use Sign/Countersign when they first meet.
  • Squee: Ruby is such a fan of weapons that, in Chapter 6, she "gasps in awe" that "she's beautiful" when she sees Alice Sgathan show off Cheshire Silver, which pleases Alice until she realizes that Ruby's referring to her weapon instead of herself. In Chapter 15, Ruby gushes over the Vale Faunus Liberation Movement terrorists' weapons while identifying them by specific types and makes "a noise like a strangled whimper" when she sees Coco Adel's suitcase chaingun, earning her "a strange look" from Miltia.
  • Stealth Insult: Common between Society girls, though they just as often don't bother with the 'stealth'.
  • Stern Teacher: Glynda Goodwitch, as evident in the dressing down she gives everyone in Chapter 3.
  • Stripperiffic: Ruby's exercise attire in Chapter 9, a black sports bra and old, undersized red shorts (having previously removed her tank top when it got soaked through with sweat), "was far and away the least clothing that any of the other girls had seen Ruby in."
  • Stunned Silence: The response of all listeners when Ruby counters Professor Goodwitch's order to evacuate the class and flee from a great elder Beowolf with a suggestion that they face it and kill it themselves.
  • Stylish Protection Gear: Since armor is not completely useless, many characters wear outfits that provide acceptable protection while still looking fashionable, such as the Malachite twins' and Alice Sgathan's battle dresses. However:
    Chapter 14 Narration: Aura meant form overtook function when deciding upon armour, but well-designed gear could make Aura stretch in a fight. Fighters had to think long and hard about the trade-offs between protection, mobility, and aesthetics.
  • Sugary Malice: Any encounter between Society girls is filled with this once they drop the facade of polite etiquette.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Junior pokes fun at his new hire for wearing sunglasses indoors past midnight, but she shoots back that she has to make some concession to fashion because the provided uniform is not her style.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: The Magical Security Cam footage visible on Professors Ozpin's and Goodwitch's scrolls is explained in this fic as being provided by remote drones. Ruby points out to Miltia that they are used to record class excursions into the forest; Ozpin tries to use the footage to determine whether Ruby's impalement of Miltia was accidentally excessive force or intentional attempted murder, but he had to split the drones to watch four 1v1 battles between Teams RWBY and MAVM, and the one watching the Ruby vs. Miltia fight didn't get a good enough angle for Ozpin to deny Ruby reasonable doubt.
  • Take That!:
    • To Cardin's behavior in the canon Jaunedice episodes of Season 1. Miltia refuses to reveal the secrets she knows about Ruby, and Melanie lets her keep quiet as long as she doesn't try to blackmail Ruby into doing her homework.
    • An anti-Product Placement variation appears in Chapter 7. Weiss says she wants "a proper coffee, not the pod nonsense they have" in the hotel she's in at the moment.
  • Tennis Boss: The great elder Beowolf in Chapter 11 uproots entire trees and throws their trunks at the Beacon class's Bullhead. Glynda uses her Mind over Matter Semblance to throw them back at it.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Weiss says it almost word for word on two different occasions, both involving Ruby.
    Weiss (Chapter 3): Ha, it looks like a success from back here too. (Beat) Oh god, that sounded completely wrong.
    Ruby (Chapter 10): I'm single, my romantic prospects are completely hopeless[...]
    Weiss: What makes you think your romantic prospects are hopeless? (She then thinks to herself:) Wait, no, that did not come out right.
  • Theme Naming: The Original Characters generally follow the canon rule of having their own theme and (where applicable) their weapons' names drawn from colors and fairy tales. Alice Sgathan is covered under Alice Allusion above, while Aurea Perrault's first name is a Latin female name meaning "golden," her last name is derived from Charles Perrault, her Forced Sleep Semblance is a reference to Sleeping Beauty, and her main weapon's rifle form, its cudgel from, and her gauntlets are respectively named Sole, Luna, and Talia.
  • Those Two Guys: India Tullamarine and Venus Carlton are always encountered as a pair.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Not so much evil, per se, but each of the members of RWBY has a dark past that they'd prefer to keep secret, marking the team as this amongst the students at Beacon.
    • Inside of the team itself, Ruby could be considered this, as unlike Weiss, Blake, and Yang, she doesn't show any remorse over her past as an assassin for hire. She also doesn't hesitate to go back into the role of an assassin, unlike Weiss, who is trying to stay on the wagon, or Black and Yang, who definitively left and cut ties with their criminal associates.
  • Tomboy: Aurea Perrault likes being one but is still jealous of prettier girls such as Yang and Pyrrha.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Defied In-Universe by Lie Ren during the three-team meeting in Chapter 5.
    Jaune: At some point, we have to be able to work together.
    Ren: Otherwise, we'll not only end up dead, but the coroner will sign our certificates with 'Death by Stupidity'. Not how I'd like to go out.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: A moment of panic by Ruby Rose, leading to her attempt to kill Miltia Malachite, starts off the plot and gives the first few hints at the eponymous four deadly secrets.
  • Trust Password: Neo and Ruby Rose, both disguised, exchange one in Spy Speak.
    Neo: So breathe easy, sister.
    Ruby: Free air is easy to breathe, sister.
  • Underestimating Badassery: People are constantly surprised by just how dangerous Ruby is.
    • Weiss exploits this when Venus and India try to provoke her into challenging them.
    • India, despite being flattened by Ruby in two attacks, is still shocked when Pyrrha points out he's only alive because Ruby had no intention of killing him, and that she herself is a little nervous about facing Ruby.
      India: You know, suddenly she doesn't seem nearly so adorable.
  • Understatement:
    • After being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by Ruby's scythe, Miltia quickly goes into shock while the others try to save her life. The first words she says (with only one working lung) are to Ruby: "Bit much, you think?"
    • Blake is deliberately vague to Yang when describing her youth in the countryside with the White Fang as "a pretty hostile place to grow up."
    • On a potentially dangerous forest mission, Professor Port warns the students to do their best against the Grimm. "Or else you will die, setting back your chosen careers considerably."
  • Unflinching Walk: Ruby walks by Miltia when the latter is strung-out nervous about events earlier in Chapter 10. Miltia prepares to confront Ruby verbally, only for Ruby to simply walk by without stopping. Lampshaded.
    Miltia: You're really not going to say anything?
    Ruby: Of course I'm going to say something. (She continues walking without pausing for Miltia.)
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee:
    • Subverted in Chapter 9. Jaune begins to tell Yang he has a plan for their 2-vs.-2 against Weiss and Aurea, but Glynda calls the beginning of the match before he finishes, and his explanation is interrupted. Yang is the last one standing.
    • Chapter 12 has Miltia Malachite and Ruby Rose discuss their plan to scare Hei "Junior" Xiong out of investigating them.
  • Valley Girl: The Malachite twins still have the speech tones, word choices, and fashion sense, but it's noted more than once that they're not to be mistaken for vapid fools; they were successful Bodyguard Babes (before Yang beat them, and their boss's Mooks, and their boss himself) to Vale's "Society" scene and criminal underworld, after all.
  • Veteran Instructor: The narration notes this concept in Chapter 11, noting that the young age of Glynda Goodwitch's substitute is a sign to Beacon students that she either likes teaching or is recovering from mental burnout as a Huntress.
  • Victim-Blaming: As Weiss explains her reasons for the ways she and the rest of the Society scene harassed Melanie, Melanie accuses Weiss of this, as if Melanie's outsider status could "justify" their treatment of her. Weiss assures Melanie that that's not the point she's trying to make and it was never personal.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Yang Xiao Long, after Ruby Rose narrowly escapes being Eaten Alive.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A good number of people call out Ruby Rose on nearly killing Miltia Malachite in Chapter 2.
  • Windows of the Soul: Discussed in Chapter 6 by Alice, who claims she judges people less accurately by their eyes than by their weapons.
  • Worldbuilding: Plenty; extrapolating from RWBY's (early) presentation is the point of this fic.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!:
    • Miltia's reaction when Venus Carlton deep-kisses Ruby Rose immediately after they and India fight a group of Jaws of Menagerie thugs.
    • Weiss's reaction to a scroll alert about her classmates' fight with the White Fang in Chapter 14.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Neo is of this opinion with regard to the Malachite twins, namely that Junior should have instead kept them or killed them since they knew inside information about his business.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters:
    • Weiss Schnee and a group of White Fang assassins exchange affiliation-based insults along with their death threats before opening combat with each other. Blake Belladonna finds it hard to psychologically accept that the White Fang have changed from "freedom fighters" to "terrorists" even after she left, and the loss of Faunus life, even of White Fang members, pains her.
    • In addition to the White Fang, this fic posits the existence of other such Faunus rights/crime organizations, such as the "Jaws of Menagerie" and the "Vale Faunus Liberation Movement." These groups sometimes come in conflict with each other as well as with non-members and law enforcement, as shown by gang-style graffiti indicative of turf wars.