Follow TV Tropes

Following

Fanfic / Knight of Salem

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/defncea_b13e087b_bc64_4f55_82d8_bceedcba1634.jpg
Of all the consequences of forging his transcripts, being kidnapped by Salem, Queen of the Grimm was not one Jaune Arc expected. Then again, she probably hadn't expected that the act might lead to her being "cured" of her Grimm affliction, either. Suddenly human and no longer in charge of her own Grimm, Salem will be damned if this idiot doesn't take responsibility.

Due to some poor timing and mistaken assumptions, Salem kidnaps Jaune Arc under the belief that he is Ozma's newest host. When she realizes her mistake and tries to kill him, something happens (possibly his Semblance, possibly actual Divine Intervention), stripping away her Grimm powers and turning her human again. Left with a horde of Grimm she can no longer control, Salem and Tyrian flee the Grimmlands—dragging Jaune along in the hopes that he will be able to reverse what he did with some training.

Unfortunately, it's been a while since Salem was out in the world. She's still not used to all this new-fangled "technology" (last she checked people were getting the hang of the wheel, and she thought that was pretty neat), and still assumes that she will automatically be given all the slavish devotion a queen deserves.

Meanwhile, Ozpin discovers that Salem is out in the world, and his agents scramble to keep up.

Knight of Salem is a RWBY Alternate Universe Fic written by Coeur Al'Aran. Complete as of March 28, 2022.


This fanfic provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    # - N 
  • 419 Scam: Part of why Roman has suddenly become broke after hosting Salem's party is that Salem herself fell for a Vacuan General scam and wired a bunch of his money into the scammer's pockets. Salem says she was not scammed, thank you very much, and the offer was legitimate but obviously the good Vacuan General's own ineptitude is why her investment has not seen return.
  • Accidental Hero: Salem accidentally stumbles on the Crown's operation while rescuing Jaune and is able to free all of their slaves from Jax's control. She later singlehandedly dismantles the Branwen Clan, first by sending Raven fleeing like a scared chicken and later commanding them into being her servants.
  • Accidental Proposal: Downplayed. Jaune goes overboard with complimenting Salem as part of his plan to diffuse a White Fang attack without her knowing. He's unaware of the fact he basically wooed her.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Salem's arrogance and obliviousness is highlighted by her constantly fumbling the names of anyone she doesn't consider important, like "Velma", "Michael", "Emily", and "Lionel" (Vernal, Mercury, Emerald, and Lionheart, respectively).
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Salem frustrates everyone else by insisting that any modern vehicle she rides be controlled as if it was a tame animal. When she finally finds herself behind the controls of an airship when no one else is up to the task, she manages to turn a fatal crash landing into a non-fatal crash landing and take out the Grimm Dragon at the same time, by literally driving the thing as if it were an animal with reins.
  • Acquired Poison Immunity: Cinder is hoping that something like this is possible with Grimm essence, so she can go through a similar transformation that Salem did without needing to be immortal to survive it.
  • Adaptational Badass: While Salem in canon is extremely threatening (not to mention immortal, which she was but quickly loses in this fic), there's little-to-no indication that she knows actual martial arts. Not only does she know that here, she was personally trained by Ozma at nearly his strongest and can trash Cinder mostly with her bare hands.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Salem, in canon, was at least able to be aware of modern technology as shown by her followers, and learned how to properly compose herself in a more dignified manner, cleverly manipulating words and situations when she needed it. Here, she acts as an arrogant, haughty Know-Nothing Know-It-All Royal Brat who is behind the times on technology.
  • Adaptational Jerkass:
    • Salem was certainly an evil villain in canon, but she at least was calm, collected, and polite (albeit insincerely) about it. Here, she behaves like an incredibly spoiled Bad Boss after losing her powers. Salem does begin to show more benign traits over time, though.
    • Ozpin is a subversion. He seems a lot less patient, and acts rather sardonic for a time after discovering Salem's unexpected activity and apparent human disguise. Case in point: his derision of Qrow’s suggestion that the Salem in Vacuo might not be the same person. He mellows out after a few chapters, once he gets over his shock.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Downplayed with Tyrian. He is still murderous and fanatically loyal to Salem, but here at least he can somewhat restrain himself, making him more of a Heroic Comedic Sociopath than an outright villain.
  • Adaptational Sympathy: Leonardo Lionheart to a degree. Rather than the P.O.S. Dirty Coward that canon made him out to be; although he's still that in this fic, the fic makes it quite clear how horrible and unenviable his position as Oxpin's ostensible top ally and Salem's secret mole is, even if it is Played for Laughs due to the fic's genre. Lionheart is caught between the most dangerous woman on Remnant (who would torture and kill him and anyone he knows without batting an eye) and the most dangerous man on Remnant, living every minute of his life in constant fear of having his cover blown, on top of all the responsibilities that come with his role as headmaster of one of the world's four prime huntsman academies; to say nothing of all the absolute chaos that gets dropped at his feet in the fic's present by Salem, Jaune and Tyrian's meandering across Remnant.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Raven in canon fought Cinder to a standstill, who killed Ozpin with relative ease. This fic puts her at a more reasonable skill level considering she's fought nothing but frightened civilians and militia for almost twenty years — that is, she's out of practice and Ozpin can push her shit in, even though she's the Spring Maiden.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Salem and Tyrian both play around with this trope. They are both a vain evil empress and Serial Killer respectively who show little concern for humanity. But the former can show some concern for those she considers under her care, while the latter develops a weird affection for Jaune.
    • If you're an enemy of Atlas, the White Fang can be surprisingly gregarious. When Salem demonstrates that she gave Atlas a hard time, including kidnapping Winter Schnee, they are incredibly welcoming and peaceful.
    • Despite being an enemy of Huntsmen, Hazel respectfully works with Nicholas Arc while looking for Jaune and Salem, even humbly accepting a dinner invitation.
    • Torchwick is a thief, but he's an incredibly cordial host to his guests, and instantly earns Salem's favor with his generosity and manners.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: Mostly a wacky comedy AU. Jaune's application to Beacon coincides with Ozpin disappearing from his post due to contracting a debilitating sickness — this leads Salem's faction to believe that Ozpin's current incarnation has died and Jaune is his new host, setting off a chain of events wherein Jaune is captured by Salem before reaching Beacon and he somehow restores her humanity.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Cinder orders Watts to recreate the experiment that gave Salem her Grimm powers so that she maybe the Queen of Grimm. Since Cinder could kill him, and he himself is a wanted fugitive who was only able to escape the authorities by working for Salem, Watts has no choice...although he has a small hope the experiment could kill Cinder.
  • Anti-Villain: Ironwood is genuinely trying to protect humanity by capturing/killing Salem and destroying the White Fang, yet the fact that he's willing to sacrifice Winter in the process and endanger Menagerie's civilians puts him in villain territory.
  • Anything but That!: The prospect of her biological mother just hopping back into her life again and getting back together with her dad distresses Yang so much that she begs him to hook up with literally any other woman, offering Miss Goodwitch and Blake as alternatives.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Qrow Branwen, Nicholas, and Hazel search for Salem in Vale's sewers, Qrow asks Hazel if his boss wanted to unleash her Grimm while in Vale. Hazel stops him short by pointing out that if she was seeking destruction, she could've just caused it while she was standing in the middle of the city even without her Grimm.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Carmine being a traumatised wreck and Gillian being stuck as a cat (completely unaware she can change back willingly) would be a sign of Salem’s evil... if they weren’t such terrible people, that is.
    • The above seems nice considering what becomes of Jax, who brainwashed women into being his sex slaves and tried to do the same to Salem.
    • Mercury killed his father, but since he was an abusive monster who crippled his son, even Kali and Ghira don't fault Mercury for doing it.
  • At Least I Admit It: It's only in his thoughts, but Lionheart makes no secret of how much of a backstabbing coward he really is. He proves it in chapter 12 by sending Jaune to Argus in the hopes that Salem would follow, just for the sake of getting them both out of Mistral even if they cause trouble elsewhere.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Leaping through the air at an opponent to gain momentum for a strike is very cool and dramatic, but if you miss, you are going to crash into something. Salem takes a single step to the left to dodge Weiss's attack and Weiss hits a table.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Discussed by Ozpin and Justified. Salem doted on their children so he knows she loved being a parent and expecting parents tend to question themselves and what they are doing. He believes Salem would at least defer any plans of war until after she gives birth.
  • Badass Boast: Salem takes extreme offense when Jax attempts to force her to obey him:
    Salem: I refused to obey the Gods when they walked on our world. What makes you think I would ever obey a pathetic creature like you?
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Winter pretends to "seduce" Jaune in order to catch him off guard and throttle him, but he isn't fooled for a microsecond. She even says the seductive giggle out loud.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Salem wavers between being this and a Benevolent Boss. To those who recognize her beauty and authority, Salem can be a genial, if somewhat pompous, employer. However, she starts out as a nasty boss to Jaune due to him accidentally removing her Grimm powers. But she becomes kinder to Jaune once he starts showing potential and especially after the guy takes a bullet for her.
    • Cinder is an even worse boss to Watts, bullying and threatening him into giving her Grimm powers, demanding he call her "master", and refusing to heed his advice. It gets to a point where Watts gives Cinder Grimm powers in the off chance it might kill her.
  • Bad Date: Ironwood and Glynda on the front lines of their stakeout in a restaurant they have reason to believe Salem may arrive at. While she wants to take the time to have a proper day out and catch up like they've been meaning to, he's more preoccupied with keeping abreast of anything that might be happening on the premises, like spying on any random couple that comes in to have a normal meal. Right as he's letting his guard down and starting to have real conversation, the dining room breaks into a fight due to a misunderstanding from some of her own students.
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: Salem forces Winter to serve as Jaune's maid. As part of the job, Winter is forced to wear an incredibly ill-fitting and revealing maid uniform that Kali uses for roleplaying. Salem even burned Winter's Specialist uniform so that Winter would have no choice but to wear it.
  • The Bait: When looking for Jaune, Tyrian uses a ten-year-old boy he met as bait for Carmine in order to locate her and get Jaune back. She takes the bait and Tyrian captures her.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When confronting the Crown, Salem takes a deep breath and tells herself that it's time for diplomacy. Naturally, it's followed by her shouting that they have captured her slave and if they don't return him then she'll have her Grimm feast on their entrails.
  • Batman Gambit: Jaune sets up a brilliant one: he tricks Cinder into thinking he accidentally brought her syringes of the Pool of Darkness, even hysterically crying about how she'll gain total power from it. Cinder, the arrogant woman that she is, immediately takes the syringes as he planned her too by counting on her greed and megalomania, condemning her to an excruciating death.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: After being giving TLC from the Belladonnas, Mercury becomes fiercely protective of what are functionally his adoptive parents, willing to guard the house during the White Fang's riots.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Lionheart really hates his position as a cowardly turncoat. He fears either being exposed as a traitor to his nominal allies or being killed by Salem. He even has to throw Jaune, the one person he can be honest to, under the bus to save himself.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Most people see Salem and Jaune's relationship as this: their constant bickering, Salem's proclamations of Jaune belonging to her, and Jaune's constant toadying to Salem is all taken as a sign of a deep and passionate romance.
  • Berserk Button:
    • What finally gets Salem to go all in on the Crown is when Gillian forces Jaune to refer to her as his Queen. Being a Queen would be one thing, but being his Queen is a title only for Salem, and the insult to her makes her unleash Tyrian.
    • The normally pacifist Belladonnas really don't like abusive parents. Kali lauds Mercury for killing his own bad father, and it is implied Ghira would've done it had Mercury not.
    • Disrespecting Salem is one for Tyrion.
    • Atlesian Black is one for Oobleck. Despite taking being captured and interrogated by team RWBY in stride he instantly starts screaming at Yang for calling the blend coffee.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Salem's schtick for most of the story is being a Small Name, Big Ego and Know-Nothing Know-It-All, always Comically Missing the Point, and overall acting like she should be feared and obeyed by default while she barely bothers to lift a finger. This makes it all the more shocking to people when she does bother, and shows that she's objectively the most powerful person in the world even in her current state. Not only does she have magic about as powerful as everyone else combined, but Ozma at nearly the height of his power personally trained her in combat, meaning she's good enough to manhandle Cinder.
  • Big Bad Wannabe:
    • Gillian Asturias is capable enough in canon, but only because her opposition aren’t the immortal Queen of the Grimm and her most loyal, deadly servant.
    • Salem considers Cinder to be this: an obnoxious brat who bites off way more than she can chew. It's telling how even after Cinder becomes the Queen of Grimm, Salem still doesn't take her seriously.
  • Birds of a Feather: Roman's narration namedrops the trope when he realizes with some horror that Tyrian and Neo instantly pair off and start bonding over stories of gruesome violence.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Salem insists that she did not steal an Atlesian vessel. She insists that she conquered it.
  • Black-and-White Insanity: While Ironwood is right to want to capture Salem, he's a little bit intense in how he goes about this. Despite his soldiers new dog-morphing abilities having incredible applications, Ironwood is horrifed just because the power came from Salem. He straight up tries to murder Jaune for his association with Salem, and gets mad when Salem's powers accidentally heal his limbs and make him fully human again.
  • Blatant Lies: When crying in catatonia to Ozpin and Qrow, Raven vehemently insists that she fought Salem and lost because of the Grimm queen's sheer power. The readers are privy to what actually happened; Raven fled the moment she learned Salem's name. Raven later comes up with excuse after excuse to not join Ozpin and Qrow when the latter two prepare to fight Salem in Argus, but it's only when she resorts to a truth (revealing herself to be the Spring Maiden) that they back down and allow her to stay.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: In an omake, Salem needs lessons on how to interact with modern commoners. The teacher is Tyrian Callows, whose idea of how to fit in is to murder somebody and assume their identity. Technically, getting help from Jaune wouldn't be much better, as Jaune is ignorant of a lot of common knowledge.
  • Bond One-Liner: Tyrian gives one after throwing a person off and into a bloody fight arena, leaving her a heap of bloody mess
    Tyrian: Now that's a blood sport. You're welcome!
  • Boring, but Practical: When Qrow questions why they’re not using Atlas’ aerial fleet to apprehend Salem at Menagerie, instead using their smaller and slower navy Ironwood points out that if she turns whoever is on the ship into animals there’s considerably less danger and potential loss of life on a slow boat than an crashing airborne vessel.
  • Bound and Gagged: The Terra-Cotta home suffers this when Atlas barges to take Jaune into custody. In a more humoristic note, poor Winter is constantly restrained during her time as Jaune's hostage, and with Salem either feeding her like a baby, or tied to a chair while observing how a cat turns into a human.
  • Brain Bleach: Salem is so mortified seeing Grimm porn, she immediately tosses the computer she's using out the window.
  • Briar Patching: Jaune defeats Cinder by claiming the briefcase he's carrying is full of the serum Cinder uses to empower herself, hamming it up and claiming all will be lost if she injects it. He drops the act instantly after she falls for it and injects herself with poison that leaves her Taken for Granite.
  • Broke Episode: Due to Salem and her entourage helping themselves to his account, Roman finds himself completely out of money a matter of days after their arrival.
  • Broken Pedestal: Vernal is understandably annoyed with Raven for basically ditching her with little hesitation.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Salem gets cleansed of her Grimm essence in the first chapter, removing many of her horrific abilities. She is still a survivor of humanity's first iteration complete with undiluted magic, but she's gotten so used to making people do things for her that she can't be bothered.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Salem brings Jaune before Jax so that Jax can undo his Semblance, Jax doesn't seem to recognize him even though he had enslaved him literally just the previous night.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Jaune. Getting kidnapped by Tyrian is just the start of his pain and misery.
    • Winter, after getting kidnapped by Jaune, goes through even more torment and pain.
    • After being accidentally turned into a Penguin by Salem, Ironwood keeps suffering through hilarious situations the are out of his control.
    • Team RWBY in particular whenever it involves Raven, Salem, Tyrian, or Jaune. The team is often been roped into crazy situations. Said situation usually are and not limited to; Tyrian attacking them as part of "training", multiple detentions from breaking the rules constantly, and starting situations due to misunderstandings. This changes under Tyrian's tutelage, at which point they most definitely stop being this and become the opposite...
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Salem watched a movie that featured a Training Montage, and believes that you can make someone fit in the exact timeframe of one. Having been disappointed with Jaune's fighting prowess after he was stomped by Ironwood, Salem orders Tyrian to train Jaune in this exact amount of time. Even Tyrian thinks this is odd, but obeys Salem out of reverence anyways.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Salem can't just dispose of Jaune on the off chance that he might be able to reverse whatever he did to turn her back into a normal human.
  • Captain Crash: Now that he's not allowed to kill anybody, Tyrian gets to transfer his homicidal tendencies elsewhere: vehicles. Everything he pilots tends to literally crash and burn.
  • Captain Ersatz: Pyrrha's parter and the team leader of Team JNPR... Juan. He looks exactly like Jaune, but he wears a sombrero, speaks in random Spanish phrases, and carries a guitar everywhere.
  • Captain Obvious: Tyrian tells Salem that he may not be a mechanic, but he can still tell that the bullhead they escaped the Grimmlands in is destroyed. Said bullhead is currently engulfed in flames after being slammed into a sand dune.
  • Career Versus Man: A variant. Salem has become completely uncaring about the loss of her Grimm powers now that she and Jaune have hooked up. As she justifies to Cinder, who acuses her of giving it up for a man, she never even wanted the power in the first place: she got it by accident when trying to kill herself.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Jaune and Penny continue their cordial conversation even after their match begins, honestly complimenting each other and talking about Jaune's ongoing mixed feelings about his new love life. This ends up being a vital mistake for Penny, as the conversation automatically pulls up relevant material from the internet into her view, and the subject matter sends her down a very distracting rabbit hole.
  • Cat Girl: Gillian has picked up some catlike traits after spending a month in cat form, including a vocal tick of meowing when pleased.
  • Child Hater: Carmine considers all kids psychopaths.
  • Clingy Jealous Guy:
    • Defied by Ozpin. When he learns about the potential romantic relationship between Jaune and Salem, Ozpin isn't at all jealous, having lost all affection for Salem long ago. But he will treat Jaune as a potential threat to Vale if it comes to it. In fact, Ozpin is thrilled by the idea of Salem and Jaune being together since it means Salem would be too focused on building a family to consider attacking Remnant.
    • Downplayed by Salem. Once she and Jaune get together, she makes it clear that Jaune is her man, but she has no problem with him taking on a concubine she approves of. She even encourages Jaune to take Pyrrha as a lover.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Cinder's Grimm form grants her strength, power, and control over the Grimm... but injecting the essence into her does immense harm to her biology and could even kill her.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Team RWBY begins to start falling into this after getting ambushed by Tyrian daily, up to planning to poison their opponents in the Vytal Festival.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Salem, a lot. Spending thousands of years without any well-adjusted human company has played havoc with her understanding of social and verbal cues.
    • Salem keeps twisting Jaune's attempts at insults into compliments, much to his frustration.
    • After demonstrating her power to the people of Menagerie, she's more focused on how she screwed up by missing her target, rather than everyone shitting themselves at the mountain behind said target having been demolished.
  • The Comically Serious: A lot of the comedy comes from Salem being absolutely, completely, totally humorless and taking everything 100% seriously, but having an understanding of the world and human behavior that is... skewed. She bumbles through the plot with unbreakable conviction and gravitas befitting a queen, with everyone but Tyrian pulling their hair out at her denseness.
  • Comic Trio: Salem serves as the navigator, Tyrian as the driver, and Jaune as the passenger.
  • Commonality Connection: Lionheart and Jaune both form a weird bout of friendliness over the shared experience of being stuck under Salem's thumb. Not that this stops Lionheart from throwing Jaune under the bus, albeit regrettably.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror:
    • After being held against his will so many times, Jaune has mostly given up on panicking unless his life is actively in peril. When he's arrested by Atlas in Argus, a legitimate lawful government, he sees no reason to freak out and acts totally nonchalant about being strapped to a table and interrogated. This Dissonant Serenity gives Winter the suspicion that he's some kind of hardened criminal psychopath.
    • The same applies to the rest of the party. Jaune getting kidnapped is simply the way of things, and there's no use getting worked up over it, or even trying to stop it before it can happen. Vernal and Mercury just let Jaune be taken hostage by Adam's White Fang without batting an eye, because it simply doesn't occur to them that stopping it is something they could, should, or might want to do until Roman incredulously spells it out for them.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Jaune's forged transcripts getting accepted happened at roughly the same time that Ozpin fell sick with a terrible flu, leading to Leonardo and Salem assuming that Ozpin had died and was making his way back to Beacon within a new host.
    • Qrow initially discusses this in regards to Salem stopping the Crown, claiming it might just be an Identical Stranger with a similar name. Ozpin defies this by pointing out she's with Tyrian Callows, a known associate with Salem and that the cat they have was clearly a transformed human.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Nicholas tortures Qrow over...by making him go through withdrawal by not letting him have his precious booze and using reason to make him understand why not attacking Salem is the best decision to make for everyone.
  • Covert Pervert: Weiss turns out to be a big fan of romance novels. Blake lampshades that she's supposed to be the one obsessed with them when confronting Weiss over helping Yang spy on her date.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Salem is an ignorant and petulant brat with an ego the size of Remnant, but she's still a magically potent villainess with a Serial Killer as her assistant. And she's prepared to make those who threaten her very, very miserable.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Cinder is ultimately killed when she's tricked into ingesting too much of the pools of darkness, slowly morphing her body into a Grimm statue that leaves her unable to move.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Tyrian and Salem vs. Gillian, Umber, and Argento? The Crown never stood a chance; within seconds, Salem turns Gillian into a cat and Tyrian takes down the other two.
    • When Ironwood threatens Jaune, Jaune decides instead to fight him with Crocea Mars, thinking his training with Tyrian will help him. Ironwood kicks his ass quite easily, since a kid who forged his papers is no match for a trained soldier.
    • Team RWBY vs. Salem and Jaune is a complete farce in the latter's favor. None of the girls can stand up to Salem's magic when she bothers with it, and even Jaune gets the upper hand against Blake by wrestling her in a pile of broken glass, outlasting her with his larger Aura. When Tyrian steps in, he echoes his establishing feat from canon by coming within seconds of killing them all without breaking a sweat.
    • After going through weeks of "training" with Tyrian, RWBY get another chance to show what they're made of. They're put against Team SSSN, what would before have been a decent matchup. RWBY then burn the arena to the ground, carpet bomb the remainder, and choke out the one boy who remained conscious afterwards, all without taking a hit. In the doubles round, Yang and Weiss set a new all-time record for having left a conversation, and defeated their opponents in the time it took for the people they left to continue the conversation for a handful of sentences. When the team is bribed by Jaune into going after Cinder, the only reason it isn't one of these is because Cinder is at this point is Made of Iron and is almost unkillable, and otherwise the fight sees her smacked around by RWBY like a pinball.
    • While Jaune is having his own battle with Penny, the end result of Gillian versus Ciel Soliel is the latter getting hogtied by her own weapon and the former casually sitting on top of the latter while doing her nails.
    • Armed with both the Fall Maiden's powers and her own magical might, Salem quite easily makes mince meat of Cinder. She's so strong, she can afford to torment her and prolong Cinder's suffering rather than finish her off.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Although it was meant as a punishment by Salem, Ozpin and Qrow are unsurprised that Ironwood’s soldiers consider Voluntary Shapeshifting into dogs to be something they can make use of.
  • Cute and Psycho: As always, Neo is small and cute, which she uses to hide her gleeful sadism. Naturally, she and Tyrian pretty much immediately become good friends.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Neon Katt's reaction to finding Gillian is to pick her up for cuddles and cooing over.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Non-video game example. Gillian figures out how to gain human form, but having spent quite a while as a cat, she still shows off cat-like traits, much to her annoyance.
  • Date Peepers: Ruby, Weiss, and Yang come to spy on Blake when she first meets her mysterious suitor at a restaurant. Unfortunately they butt heads with undercover Atlas soldiers who have the place under surveillance for their own reasons, and initially assume them to be stalkers and attack them. When Blake confronts them about it, she confirms that she knows that they didn't do it to protect her but to to just watch her date with Mercury... and then backpedals and affirms that Weiss and Yang did it for that reason at seeing Ruby's indignance at being lied to. She's able to leverage Ruby's guilt over the situation to have her make sure their partners don't continue to spy on her dates.
  • Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit: Salem gets away with pinning all of evil acts on the now murdered and petrified Cinder. Ozpin is so desperate to get Salem out of his hair for at least a few decades, he vouches for her.
  • Decomposite Character: Banesaw, the giant psycho White Fang lieutenant with the chainsaw, gets unceremoniously killed off in Mountain Glenn. Later, Jaune is introduced to Bane, the giant White Fang lieutenant (with chainsaw in that fic but not explicitly given one here) who wouldn't hurt a fly unless the fly was a Schnee. No, they have nothing to do with each other, what are you talking about?
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype:
    • Salem is this for Orcus on His Throne. She's spent thousands of years being cooped up in a tower, plotting to destroy Ozpin, and giving orders to minions. But once she's been robbed of her control over Grimm, her humanity is restored, and she's forced into the real world, she's functionally a socially inept, spoiled, and naive child unable to cope with a society that has changed beyond her comprehension. One of the reasons she comes around to Jaune is because he's the closest thing to any real human connection she's had in a long time.
    • Lionheart is this for the Regretful Traitor: the story makes no bones about how psychologically brutal it is to fear being exposed as a traitor to one side and being given death threats by another. One of the reasons why Lionheart likes Jaune is because he has someone he can be honest with about his situation.
  • Demoted to Extra: With the focus firmly on Jaune's misadventures as an unwilling member of the Big Bad's impromptu war party, and the Big Good's scheming and politicking in response to the latter's sudden aggression, the school setting of Beacon is all but ignored. Team RWBY are only briefly seen when the consequences of the main storyline happen to overlap with Yang's established family drama. This lessens once Salem's entourage finally reaches Vale, and RWBY keep sticking their noses in matters of national security as is their wont.
  • Description Cut: Ironwood wonders what horrific tortures Salem is inflicting on Winter. The next scene is Salem spoonfeeding a chained and bound Winter like she was a baby.
  • Deus ex Machina: Something saves Jaune's life in the first chapter by purifying Salem right as she's about to stab him to death, but so far it hasn't been explained. Salem hopes that it's the kid's Semblance, because then in theory he might be able to reverse it, but there's hints that it might have been Divine Intervention.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • After Jax denies there being Sibling Incest between him and his sister, Salem inquires as to how he and his sister were going to be King and Queen together; while he claims they were going to take concubines, Carmine realises that she and Gillian never thought through this part. Salem also claims this on his plan in general on how he thought to take over the whole Kingdom when his best warriors are barely any better than the standard academy graduate with only his Semblance to compensate.
    • As soon as Cinder has reason to believe that Salem is no longer around, she has Watts infect her with Grimm essence and successfully gives herself Salem's Grimm powers. However, since she didn't bother to double check her suspicions, Lionheart has to inform her that Salem is still very much alive and out there, prompting Cinder to realize that she's usurped the most dangerous woman alive without making sure she's dead first.
    • Emerald and Vernal invite Salem to sunbathe with them while their ship is en route to Vale. She does so. What none of them realize is that the former two are healthily tanned or darker, and applied sunblock, while Salem is famously fair and doesn't know sunblock exists. The end result is predictable: excruciatingly bad sunburn.
    • For the Vytal Festival early rounds, the terrain is randomized. Some of the terrain options aren't meant to be practical to fight on, instead being obstacles to put limitations on the competitors. However, the organizers neglected to program the system not to create the entire arena out of obstacle terrain. Team JIZZ versus BRNZ immediately becomes an undignified mess because they can't even stay standing on one half of the arena and the other half makes combat embarrassing for both participants and spectators.
    • Penny's creators saw fit to have her connected to the internet and have relevant information automatically fed into her user interface during conversation. They then neglected to implement parental controls, causing multiple distracting incidences of having her view filled with smut which contributes to her loss to Jaune when he vents about his romantic situation during their match.
    • Cinder kills Amber during her battle with Ozpin and Team RWBY, making sure to get right in her face as she dies so that she'll be the last face Amber sees. She neglects to remember that she currently looks very similar to how Salem used to look, so Amber, in her coma-fueled haze and delirium, mistakes her for Salem and ensures that power goes there instead.
  • Dirty Coward:
  • Distant Finale: Ten years have passed since Cinder's attack on the Vytal Festival. Jaunesville is a 'thriving' den of trashy entertainment and popular (though embarassing to speak of) vacation spot. Jaune and Salem have settled down there, and have one pre-teen daughter and another child on the way. Every year Ozpin's cohort send Pyrrha on an informal diplomatic mission to make sure Salem agrees not to conquer the world. Team RWBY have mostly mellowed back out after their bout with homicidal paranoia, but they still have a bone to pick with Tyrian and their old dorm is still uninhabitable thanks to their booby-traps. Salem's offer for Pyrrha to be Jaune's concubine has remained open, which she has always refused... but this time she goes for the booze after hearing that little Isabella Salem-Arc is interested in learning combat at Beacon, and she wakes up in bed with the two of them. Meanwhile, Beacon's staff hear this news and scramble to make sure nothing happens to that girl once she enrolls at seventeen, lest Salem destroy the world.
  • Distressed Dude: Jaune enters the story being held against his will by Salem. Then when he gets the opportunity to escape, he is trafficked and brainwashed by Crown. Then he is captured as ransom fodder by the Branwen tribe. Then he is inadvertently carried away by the wounded Nuckelavee. Apparently being yanked around by different kidnappers is going to be a recurring issue for him...
    Tyrian: By now, Jaune is experienced at being kidnapped. This is nothing new and I'm sure he knows what he's doing.
  • Doting Parent:
    • Kali and Ghira were this to Blake, having got to great lengths to take care of her. They also become this to Mercury when he shows up on their doorstep. Considering the kind of father he had, Mercury's appreciative of their kindness.
    • Salem becomes this to her own daughter Isabella, to the point where she inherits her mother's arrogance.
  • Do Wrong, Right:
    • Tyrian lectures Jax on how to properly turn his fight club into a "blood sport"; among his suggestions are adding blades, obstacles, Grimm, and above all, more blood.
    • Jaune hates Vernal for reasons that include her threatening to kidnap and ransom him... and her not even being good enough of a criminal to succeed at doing so, because it would have been really convenient for him.
    • Neo dislikes the White Fang's plan to have Grimm breach the city of Vale - not because of the civilian casualty involved, but because massacreing a bunch of defenseless innocent people really should be easy enough that they don't have to outsource the job.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Everyone who knows Salem’s history is unaware that her current state has left her bereft her Grimm-based powers; that’s without the uncertainty of whether she’s still immortal:
    • When Yang offers Blake to her dad, she says that one of her good points is that she won't just run off like Raven did. Anyone who's watched RWBY can tell the irony is tar-thick, and Taiyang (among other obvious objections) doesn't believe her on that point.
    • Because Jaune never learns that the cat he's carrying around is Gillian Asturias, he's consistently left Comically Missing the Point while we as the audience understand what she's trying to say; case in point, when she's trying to identify her name by pointing to a fish, right about where the gills would be, and Jaune just assumes she's talking about the fish itself.
    • When Lil Miss Malachite talks to Salem about her defeat of Raven Branwen, Salem mentions that she didn't even break a sweat and that the fight was over in seconds. She's half-correct in that she didn't break a sweat, but saying that the fight was over in seconds implies that there was a fight at all; Raven threw open a portal and yeeted herself out as soon as she learned Salem's name.
    • Everyone keeps lauding Lionheart as one of the bravest, most principled people they know of, and praising how he heroically fought a hopeless battle against Salem to protect his students when she assaulted Haven. Lionheart, and the reader, know that he's been a traitor for years and that the "battle" consisted of him passing out in fear at her arrival, deflecting her attention, then knocking himself out so he can put off having to talk about it to his good and evil associates for a few hours. Lionheart himself is supremely uncomfortable with the praise.
    • As Salem's group tries to escape Menagerie, the aquatic Grimm in the area begin targeting Salem instead of Ironwood's ship. Ironwood concludes that the Grimm are shielding her from their bombardment, while the audience knows that Cinder's trying to kill Salem and is instead only getting in the way.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Salem was already this, but special mention goes to Carmine, who after seeing Salem in action is reduced so lowly that she enters a panic attack at merely remembering her when Nicholas presses her for information in regards to his son's whereabouts. Raven immediately escapes to Vale after seeing her in Mistral. Jaunesville, a place that by all logic has no chance of surviving any length of time, is still intact ten years after its founding, in large part thanks to its inhabitants' fear of Salem punishing them for misbehavior. Every nation moves heaven and Earth to appease her.
    • As Team RWBY's "training" progresses, it becomes clear that sparring with them is not a good idea. CRDL are now in therapy after their match, nobody else will volunteer, anyone who is selected for it goes into a crying panic, and people only half-jokingly talk like RWBY might actually kill someone. Pyrrha notes that it's only her pride as the Mistralian Champion that's preventing her from withdrawing from the Vytal Festival early. Salem herself variously describes them as "merciless murder machines," a "team of psychopaths," and a "cadre of stone-cold executioners."
    • Jaune himself gains this reputation after being branded an international criminal. Pyrrha, of all people, believes Jaune is too dangerous to approach.
  • Dude Magnet: Yang had more than a few admirers back at Signal.
  • Egopolis: A rare example of this being done against the wishes of its namesake. Salem wants to name the rebuilt Kuroyuri "Jaunesville", in honor of his "triumph" against the Nuckelavee. Jaune hysterically protests this, but Salem insists upon it and the rest of the former Branwen tribe don't mind it.
  • Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn: Salem's first experience with sunbathing goes horribly, horribly wrong.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: The Branwen Clan's "survival of the fittest" ideology extends to stealing people's food. Vernal does this to Jaune while eating dinner with the Belladonnas.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Nicholas Arc agrees to team up with an apparent Huntsman because they are searching for the same group of people. Unbeknownst to him, Hazel Rainart is a minion of Salem whose mission is to kill Huntsmen. Were it not for the unusual circumstances of their meeting, Nicholas could have become Hazel's next victim.
    • Malik the Sunderer was such a disaster for Vacuo and the world that Salem and Ozma actually teamed up to kill him, with Ozma provoking a rebellion to distract the guards so Salem's Grimm could kill him.
  • Entendre Failure: Thanks to a long string of these, the caravan in Vacuo gets the impression that Salem and Jaune are together, he got her pregnant, and that forced them both to elope. Salem is so far removed from normal human conversation that she can't see the implications, when even Jaune can.
  • Entertainingly Wrong:
    • Upon finding Salem's tower in shambles with the Grimm going rampant, Cinder and Watts come to the conclusion that Ozpin led an assault on her in retaliation for the attack on Amber with Ozpin's self-isolation being a lie to cover his time away during said attack.
    • Nicholas Arc's conclusion about the events of the story from his perspective is that Salem and Jaune are trying to settle down and raise their incoming child(ren) in peace, and keep traveling all over Remnant to find a place where they won't be attacked unprovoked. While this makes perfect sense based on what he knows, and the story is quite possibly going in a similar direction, it's also totally wrong. There is no child (yet?), and Salem is actively trying to cause The End of the World as We Know It. The traveling is the result of wacky and improbable hijinks, as well as international travel restrictions and an incompetent navigator.
    • Coco and Velvet believe Salem is simply a forty-something year old who has decided to date after ignoring it in favor of her career, unaware of her true nature.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Tyrian attempting to get the group from Atlas to Vale fails in pretty much every possible way; not only does he crash the ship into the beach, but said beach is on Menagerie, meaning he landed on essentially the other side of the planet.
    • The hulking Banesaw doesn't survive the first Grimm attack after taking Jaune into custody... not because he got killed by Grimm, but because a Grimm bumped his weapon back into himself and it did what it does best.
    • While in a discussion about his past love lives, Ozpin reveals that there was one occasion where he died in his middle age, left a widow, and reincarnated in someone too different to possibly resume the relationship. Apparently the unkillable hero slipped in the tub and broke his neck.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Sometimes played seriously (like with the Crown), other times Played for Laughs.
    • Even Tyrian, the Ax-Crazy Blood Knight that he is, is disturbed when he discovers that Jax uses his Semblance to force his waitresses to prostitute themselves; when a fight inevitably breaks out, Salem orders him to subdue them non-lethally, implying a similar disgust on her end. Gillian and Carmine also claim that they would’ve put it to a stop had they known about it, but it's left ambiguous as to whether or not they're lying.
    • As petulant and vindictive as Salem can be, she is often pragmatic and not out to needlessly antagonize people (when she’s self-aware of it anyway). She too is disgusted by the Crown’s actions, and is reluctant to simply take over the Branwen tribe dishonourably when Raven tucks her tail and flees (only taking it when nobody else steps in).
    • Vernal is a self-acknowledged criminal, but she finds Tyrian putting Jaune through a Training Montage too cruel.
    • Torchwick is a self-acknowledged crook, but he's a bit angry at Vernal and Mercury for trading Jaune, their ostensible ally, to the White Fang to preserve their own safety. He's especially annoyed to find himself to be the most moral person. Additionally, in a bit of personal honor for the ruthless thief, he apparently still pays for his cigars.
    • Even Adam Taurus, the anti-human leader of the White Fang, is stunned when Mercury reveals that he mostly wants to date Blake so that he can receive her parents' affections, flatly asking Mercury if he's ever considered getting therapy.
  • Everyone Can See It: Everyone can see the romantic undertones between Jaune and Salem's testy relationship...except for Jaune himself.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Salem demands unflinching obedience from her followers, but she does find Tyrian's slavish devotion to her annoying and weird. When Tyrian spends all night watching her, it's implied she knocked him out cold. While not the symbol of emotional stability, she also finds Cinder to be a pathetic and petulant child.
    • On some occasions, Tyrian will break from his reverence of Salem when she does something especially dumb or ignorant.
    • Everyone in Salem and Jaune's entourage are understandably creeped out by Illia's fantasies of using Emerald to impersonate Blake and nearly every beautiful woman on Remnant. Salem also makes clear she thinks Ilia would not deserve Emerald as Emerald deserves a girlfriends who cares about her.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • As of the first chapter, Salem has technically gotten what she wanted: the opportunity to die. But she doesn't want to win unless Ozpin loses, so it's more an obstacle to her goals than a blessing, and she stays the course even with her power base drastically reduced.
    • After turning Gillian into a cat, Salem decides to taunt the hopeful Queen even further by implying that the chance of her being able to turn back is minimal (even though she knows that Gillian should be able to change back and forth at will).
  • Evil Gloating: When Salem falsely believes that she's captured Ozpin's new host, she begins gloating about how easy it was to see through his ruse and that he'll never escape.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Sienna believes that she can manipulate and con Salem into remaining on Menagerie as her personal weapon against Atlas. She is disabused of this notion when Salem turns her human.
  • Evil vs. Evil:
  • Evil Virtues:
    • Salem may be a vain queen, but she believes loyalty is something to be earned, not forced upon a population; incidentally, she does exactly that when she sabotages the Crown’s efforts at doing the latter. Despite Jaune losing horribly in his fight against Ironwood, Salem genuinely commends him for his bravery.
    • Tyrian is an out and proud lunatic, but he does believe in things like strength, courage, and tenacity, and tries to instill these virtues into Jaune, albeit against his will.
  • Eviler than Thou: Salem pretty much establishes who is top dog when she turns Gillian into a cat, and when she sends Raven running for the hills.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Salem might have handily “dealt with” a hundred Atlesian soldier (as she tells Sienna Khan), but she seems not to consider that Ozpin and Qrow could teach them Voluntary Shapeshifting between their dog and humanoid forms.
  • Fantastic Racism: Mercury and Emerald endure a lot of discrimination on Menagerie, being unable to find a hotel or restaurant that will serve them for being humans.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: Atlas choosing to go about arresting Jaune in a violent manner, instead of calmly interrogating him or bothering to understand his situation, only pushes Jaune toward Salem instead of making him cooperative in any way. Ironwood threatening Jaune with a life sentence just makes Jaune want to lash out at him more instead of surrendering peacefully.
  • Fatal Flaw: Cinder suffers from a bad combination of arrogance and megalomania. It drives her to make tactically stupid and reckless decisions. Like injecting the essence of Grimm into her body and loudly and boasting about her invasion plan to the Vytal Festival. It also alienates her from her nominal allies. Even Salem sees her as a pathetic child.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Salem has zero awareness of the technological and political changes of the last few centuries.
  • Flanderization: Not as if Tyrian is known for being calm and rational in canon, but his worshiping devotion to Salem is taken to the point that 99% of what comes out of his mouth is praise for his Goddess.
  • Foil: Cinder is this to Salem. Both of them are capricious, petty individuals with a propensity toward violence. However, Salem does believe that admiration and power are things to be earned, and can offer those who serve her boons and politeness. Cinder, by contrast, is an incredibly entitled and self-absorbed bitch who relies solely on brute force and threats to get her way. Furthermore, Salem is content to make a new life with Jaune as a relatively mundane person while Cinder willingly twisted herself into a monster.
  • For Want Of A Nail: Characterisation and other discrepancies notwithstanding, the plot is set in motion by Ozpin catching a virulent illness around the start of canon; with the press reporting his supposed demise, Salem concludes the young man with obviously-forged transcripts must be his next host and in turn kidnaps Jaune.
  • Forced Transformation: Salem turns Gillian into a cat. She was aiming for a crow, but a cat is fine too. Unlike the Atlesian Specialists who can now shift between from human/faunus to dog, Gillian has yet to learn how to change at will. Gillian finally learns to do this on Chapter 30. Pyrrha, when she gets to see it first hand, notes how scary it truly is for Salem to be able to do this.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes:
    • Everyone else in the group only tolerates Tyrian. He's extremely obedient to Salem and extremely competent at his few skills, but nobody actually likes interacting with him because he's a nutcase. Eventually they all come to the unspoken conclusion that his input on most things should be ignored unless absolutely necessary (read: unless Salem puts him in charge).
    • When Yang’s response to her mother’s arrival is (trying) to beat her to a pulp, the only person concerned is Glynda Goodwitch; Ruby herself is more confused than worried by the other adults’ lack of concern for Raven.
  • Friend to All Children:
    • Tyrian is a... weird example of this trope. He does show some sympathy toward one of the street children who was a victim of human trafficking and has a weird affection for Jaune's nephew, Adrian. On the other hand, he tries to drive the street child to violence and he is a terrible influence on Adrian.
    • Salem plays this mostly straight, showing genuine kindness and charity to children when she and Jaune go to a Menagerie beack festival. It helps she was once a mother.
  • Friendly Enemy:
    • Despite believing Jaune to be a dangerous felon, JNPR still behave cordially to him, with Pyrrha even giving him advice on how to deal with crowds.
    • Despite all the conflicts they've had Salem and Ozpin manage to have a cordial, if awkward, chat with one another. The conversation shows they have had moments of peace and even unity in their millennia-long Forever War.
    • Despite being obligated to arrest him under Atlesian law, Penny remains quite cordial to Jaune during their fight.
  • From Bad to Worse: Jaune's first escape attempt from Salem and Tyrian in Vacuo ends when he's captured by the Crown, who, unlike the other two, have no reason to keep him alive or in one piece.
  • Funny Foreigner: With Jaune not attending Beacon, Team JNPR is instead led by Juan, his Spanish-speaking, moustachioed, sombrero-wearing, guitar-playing doppelganger.
  • Gag Penis: Ironwood, who is sufficiently hung as to make Qrow feel distinctly inadequate.
  • General Ripper: Ironwood begins to drift more and more into this as the story goes on. He's willing to risk Menagerie and its people to take down Salem and the White Fang, and is all too eager to kill Jaune just because of association with Salem.
  • Gender Bender: Ozpin mentions that Queen Valeria was one of his past lives, implying that his curse also includes women too so long they are a "like-minded soul" with him.
  • Genius Ditz: Salem is incredibly ignorant about a lot of modern day culture and customs. But she not only has a lot of magical power at her disposal, but her past as a queen makes her very good at political games and power plays. Jaune notes she could actually be a great and popular queen.
  • Gone Horribly Right: After Salem defeats Team RWBY in the Curb-Stomp Battle detailed above, she instructs Tyrian to train them so they can Worthy Opponents against Jaune during the Vytal Tournament, thereby making him look good. Tyrian turns them into "merciless murder machines" who outright trash the field and leave Team SSSN out cold. Even Salem accepts Jaune would be screwed facing them, and changes the plan from Jaune facing them to avoiding them at all costs and hoping some other team knocks RWBY out of the running.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: When faced with the prospect of simultaneous calls from Ozpin and Cinder after barely surviving his encounter with Salem, Lionheart downs a bottle of brandy and knocks himself out by smashing the empty bottle over his head.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Jaune gets his testicles slammed against the Nuckelavee's horse neck several times during their battle.
    • Salem hits Cinder between the legs with a magically Enhanced Punch during their battle. Team RWBY cringe in response as they watch.
  • Grounded Forever: Goodwitch subjects Team RWBY to this after they blow-up millions of lien worth of Dust in a hamfisted attempt to stop the White Fang.
  • Guile Hero: What Jaune lacks in actual combat abilities, he makes up for in being able to manipulate Salem and Tyrian by playing to their ego. This allows him to restrain their more violent actions, and he actually manages to escape from them several times...only to wander into a worse situation.
  • Guilt by Association Gag: When Atlas arrests Jaune due to his connection with Salem, they also arrest Saphron, Terra, and Adrian simply for being in Jaune's vicinity.
  • Happily Adopted: Mercury functionally becomes the adopted son of the Belladonnas. He even proposes to Blake just so he can become their son-in-law.
  • Head Pet: Gillian spends much of her time as a cat perched on Jaune's head.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After being reduced to a janitor, Raven apparently decided to reconnect with Yang, implying she is trying to turn her life around.
  • Heel Realization: Qrow has one when Nicholas helps him realize he, Ozpin, and Atlas more or less attacked Jaune and Salem unprovoked when Salem (to his knowledge) was trying to turn over a new leaf and settle down with Jaune.
  • Heroes' Frontier Step: A major turning point in the story is Jaune taking a bullet for Salem. Salem's impression of Jaune improves considerably, and Vernal starts treating Jaune far better than she did before.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Not wanting Menagerie to be destroyed by Ironwood's forces, Jaune and Salem, with the former's prodding, willingly board a boat to lure Ironwood's army away from Menagerie.
  • Hero with an F in Good: Team RWBY mean well as heroes, but their efforts do a lot more harm than good. To the point where Glynda confines them to their dorm for an indefinite amount of time.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Jaune's relationship with Salem leads him to be seen by the authorities as one of his accomplices. Jaune ends up being attacked by Atlas and Team RWBY on several occasions. His bad reputation drops a bit after he shows off his dorky persona during the Vytal Fesitval.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • For all of her lazy and petulant behavior, Salem is actually a decent leader when she wants to be, giving solid orders to Roland on how to set up a proper camp and lecturing Jax on how to be properly loved as a leader. Also, when she decides to leave her new people behind, she wants to leave them as an established town. It's a good reminder that, once upon a time, she actually was the beloved queen she now claims to be. She's also aware of power plays and isn't blind to the fact that Sienna Kahn is deliberately trying to keep her on Mistral in order to have a siginificant asset, and is actually overwhelmed by the idea of ruling and administrating all of Menagerie. She sneers at Cinder for thinking having control over the Grimm automatically makes her adept at actual governance.
    • In Chapter 20, Tyrian shows himself to be politically knowledgeable on the subject of Faunus relations, even holding a debate with Winter over the issue. That scorpion tail isn't just for stabbing people after all, it also makes him a target of racism. It just doesn't usually come up thanks to him generally being a fanatic nutcase detached from society.
    • For all of Mercury's selfishness, he is surprisingly smooth with ladies, and manages to charm Blake on their first date.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: After Qrow becomes a victim of Team RWBY ambushing him in their dorm, the girls start talking about how Tyrian has been attacking them at random periods. When Qrow protests that he knocked before entering, Ruby says that Tyrian probably would too, prompting Tyrian to agree from his spot on Yang's bed.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Every time Jaune is about to escape from his torment, he ends up tumbling into an even worse situation than when he started. The biggest is when he manages to reach Argus and his older sister, only to be arrested by Atlas.
    • Winter rejoins the Atlas military when they arrive in Menagerie, and is sent belowdecks on the battleship to change and arm herself. By the time she comes back up ready to fight, her captors have won the engagement and captured the ship, so she's at their mercy again.
  • Hot Goddess: Salem is as close to a goddess as Remnant has and is quite easy on the eyes.
  • Hour of Power: Gillian can absorb aura from people and temporarily bestow it on other people. For the doubles round in the Vytal Festival, she drains Roman and Neo until they're unconscious and gives it all to Jaune. Jaune ends up with so much aura that all his abilities are magnified off the charts, he starts seeing in slow motion, and it seriously affects his emotional state. He ends up fighting and winning against Penny, and taking barely any aura damage according to the scoreboard, before Gillian takes it back.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The size disparity between Ghira and Kali Belladonna is noted by Jaune’s group wondering how they make it work (Kali’s response is that she’s very “flexible”).
  • Hugh Mann: Penny is very insistent that she is nothing but a normal girl. Gillian immediately realizes something is strange about her, but second guesses herself when Jaune indirectly points out that pretty much everyone they intract with is strange, so she's not noteworthy. Jaune himself is so refreshed to talk to someone who's just unconditionally polite to him that he suspects nothing until she gets her arm chopped off.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Vernal yells at Tyrian to stop threatening to fight her to the death every time she doesn't do what he wants. He retorts that he's just playing by the Branwen tribe's own rules and she's just upset that she's on the losing end.
      Tyrian: Make a society where I can win arguments by stabbing people to death and I'm going to start stabbing.
    • Raven disdainfully refers to her own daughter as a weakling...but acts like a cowardly asshole and runs from any real danger to herself.
    • Ironwood objects to graduated adult Huntress Gillian Asturias participating in the Vytal Festival, among other reasons because it's not fair to the student competitors. Ozpin confirms it's not fair, just like it isn't fair to have the students fight an experimental military robot with artificial intelligence and Aura. Ironwood shuts up.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling:
    • Tyrian's devotion to Salem often crosses into borderline Casual Kink. She tries to ignore it.
    • Emerald takes her devotion to Cinder to a romantic and obsessive degree.
  • Ignored Expert:
    • All attempts by Raven to make her subordinate Vernal shut up and stop taunting Salem fall on deaf ears.
    • Watts repeatedly tries to warn Cinder about the dangers of becoming Grimm, but to no avail.
  • I Meant to Do That: After demonstrating her power, Salem claims that she missed the ship and targetted the mountain behind it because she didn't want to destroy a perfectly good seaworthy vessel that only needed minor repairs, bypassing the need to build a brand new ship for her. Mind you, she's saying this days after the display, when at the time she was embarrassed by the mistake. Jaune immediately recognizes it as bullshit, but everybody else is too terrified to notice.
  • Immortality Hurts:
    • While she was transformed by the Grimm essence, Salem's Complete Immortality was complemented by Grimm-like durability and senses. Without it, she still might not be able to die, but she can now feel things like pain and discomfort, or bodily symptoms like a runny nose in the cold.
    • Cinder also gains immense durability from the Grimm pools, but it mostly allows Salem to beat her down horribly without killing her.
  • Implausible Deniability: When Penny is revealed to be a robot, she does nothing but flatly and weakly deny it and try to play it off. Despite having had her arm lopped off and there still being broken components spilling out of the stump. In this case it's at least justified, as her nature is still officially a state secret that she's programmed not to confirm, and she's fully aware that her denials are stupid and pointless.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: During her attack on Beacon, Cinder gets caught between Ozpin and Team RWBY, who proceed to debate the legal and moral merits of killing her right in front of her like she's not even there.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Even the stone cold Ozpin ends up asking for some of Qrow's booze when Raven shows up utterly terrified with news of Salem.
  • Insane Troll Logic: When Jaune goes missing in Vacuo, Salem assumes that he was so desperate to please her that he simply left to get their transport to Mistral early. She accepts no response from Tyrian, who points out that he left just slightly after midnight and was asking around for transportation to Vale instead of Mistral.
  • In Spite of a Nail:
    • Within an incredibly different set of circumstances, Jaune still ends up in Kuroyuri and helps kill the Nuckelavee.
    • Apparently Pyrrha still ended up on a Team JNPR and made friends with RWBY, only with a different J instead of Jaune.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: After being freed from Jax's control, Jaune yells to Salem that the police aren't going to thank her after she killed multiple people. The very next sentence is the chief of police thanking her with tears in his eyes and calling her an angel sent by the Gods.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Chapter 5 ends with Ozpin seeing Salem on the news in her pre-Queen of the Grimm form (not that he knows what it really means), and in turn so does his conspiracy.
    • Chapter 8 has Cinder, freshly transformed by Watts’ efforts, discovering from Lionheart that Salem wasn’t eliminated by Ozpin and is still alive... To her dawning terror.
  • The Internet Is for Cats: It's briefly noted that Penny's internet connection means that she has seen more cat videos than there are cats on Remnant, as well as other things.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: Salem attempts to use the internet for the first time on her own in order to discover modern dating rituals. Within three clicks, she's stumbled on a video of Grimm porn so disturbing that she throws the computer out of her window. Later, she mentions that one of the modern courtship practices she's been trying on Jaune is to crawl her upper body into a washing machine (a device which she assumes is meant solely for that purpose) and cry out that she's stuck...
  • In-Universe Catharsis:
    • Pyrrha gets a lot of joy at being allowed to vent and curse with no one to admonish her.
    • Salem enjoys physically punishing Cinder for her disobedience, treachery, and bratty behavior.
  • I Owe You My Life: Salem is mean-spirited and vain, but she isn't above gratitude. When Jaune is injured after taking a bullet for her, she insists on helping him get better. For obvious reasons, Jaune isn't exactly appreciative of her efforts.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Jaune’s habit of (both literally and metaphorically) getting battered is only slightly alleviated by his (barely burgeoning) Aura control.
  • Irony:
    • All that Jax does to try and become King of Vacuo ends with Salem, after dismantling his efforts, earning the kind of respect, gratitude and praise he could have only dreamed of netting.
    • It is Ozpin, of all people, who gives Salem the advice she needs to consummate her relationship with Jaune.
  • It's All My Fault: Jaune blames himself for his sister and her family getting arrested by Atlas.
  • Jerkass: Vernal. Aside from being a member of a nasty group of thieves, she gets a kick out of tormenting poor Jaune. She also decides to sabotage his escape out of pure spite.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk:
    • When Salem declares she will stop at nothing to find Jaune, the caravan people are moved by her apparent passion and love for Jaune. In reality, Salem sees Jaune as nothing but an asset to collect at first.
    • The only reason that Raven reunites with her estranged family is self-preservation, not any latent affection for Taiyang (who she looks to for protection) or her twin brother Qrow. She even mocks her daughter as having “gotten weaker” than when she was born because she at least left her womb then, as opposed to not even breaking her Aura now (never mind that Raven has herself gotten much stronger).
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Despite causing a millenia of chaos and terror, Salem gets to pin all her evil acts on Cinder and settle down with Jaune. And it's clear she hasn't really stopped being an evil queen. Justified in the same vein as Professor Arc, as Salem is so powerful that everyone else has to settle for peace with her because they can't punish her.
    • Leonardo never ends up revealed as a traitor who sold out dozens of Huntsmen to Salem to save his own skin. Ten years later, he is still Headmaster of Haven.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: After years of being a cowardly thief, Raven has been reduced to being a janitor to get by, with Taiying wanting nothing to do with her.
  • Karmic Transformation:
    • Well, Gillian Astorias was always haughty and arrogant, on top of being a human trafficker; her animal form being a common cat seems quite fitting.
    • Salem also does this to the Ace-Ops; since they behaved like Ironwood's trained pets, she'll turn them into dogs.
    • Salem turns Sienna human after being exasperated by Sienna's transparent attempts at stringing her along, and so Kali and Ghira can regain control of the Fang.
    • For trying to kill Jaune, Salem tries to straight up obliterate Ironwood...only to accidentally turn Ironwood into a penguin.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: While Salem is an evil queen, the targets of her wrath are unpleasant people who nobody will shed a tear for.
    • Salem putting the Crown in their place, turning Gillian into a cat, and killing Jax isn’t so horrifying, even given the power disparity, because they are megalomaniacs kidnapping children to enslave to their wills. Jax is guilty of mind controlling women into sexual slavery.
    • Raven and her bandits pillaged and destroyed whole towns and kidnapped people. Then Salem comes along and scares Raven into fleeing, and turns the bandits into her own servants, with Vernal being horribly tormented by Tyrian's "training". Even Jaune takes a little bit of joy from this, since Vernal had tormented him while keeping him hostage.
    • Kidnapping Winter and forcing her into servitude, turning Ironwood's forces into dogs and later turning Irownood into a penguin is pretty satisfying considering the hell they put Jaune and his family through.
    • Salem finally beating the hell out of Cinder, largely for being such an immature and traitorous bitch who is arrogantly convinced of her own superiority.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: As a radiant and flawless goddess and queen, Salem is supremely confident in her own competence. She thinks that water mills are the height of technology, vehicles are just strange-looking beasts of burden, and illness is caused by an imbalance of humors.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Nicholas convinces Qrow it is more or less in their best interest to stop hunting Salem, since she's (apparently) giving up on being evil and settling down with Jaune, and that killing Jaune would only provoke her incredibly destructive wrath.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • After abandoning her team out of cowardice to go back and lead her Tribe, all while accumulating as much strength as she could, Raven has to abandon it all and run back to her ex-husband as a broken, trembling wreck when she almost gets caught in a Duel to the Death she (believes she) cannot win. This was after slapping Jaune across the face for being a weakling who doesn't know his place. Later, Qrow and Ozpin fully intend to send her back to the frontlines against her will once she reveals that she is the Spring Maiden. Later Ozpin forces her to fight him publically, and she gets her butt handed to her by Ozpin, who dresses her down for choosing weak civilians to target and for abandoning her child.
    • When Salem flies into a rage after Jaune is shot, she declares that the soldiers that did so are all "dogs" to Ironwood's control, so she turns everyone on the base into literal dogs. Downplayed as in the next chapter, Qrow has taught them how to change back and forth at will and they actually think the ability is pretty cool.
  • Lima Syndrome: Salem and Tyrian start out wanting to murder Jaune after he has reversed what he did to Salem. Tyrian, however, gains a twisted affection for Jaune, wanting him to become much stronger. Salem initially treats Jaune like a lowly servant, but gradually starts showing him more courtesy and rewards once he proves his worth as a human being. Salem's affections grow into outright love and admiration when Jaune proves his skill, bravery, and potential for leadership.
  • Like a God to Me: As per canon, Tyrian views Salem as a Goddess, even after she's purified and loses her control over the Grimm. In fact, in his narrative segments, he capitalizes her pronouns, much like the real-world Catholicism does for God's pronouns.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: The recently renamed Salem Tribe believe that Salem and Jaune must be sleeping together, if not outright dating, because they constantly argue and insult each other yet she still keeps him around.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Actually averted; unlike the author's other works, a few offhand remarks from Qrow and Ozpin referring to Salem as Ozpin's ex-wife implies that he has actually told his allies the truth of his past. Much later, Ozpin reveals he is aware of Penny's nature, something which Ironwood seems to have kept from him in canon.
  • Logical Latecomer: Roman winds up joining Salem's crew after they reach Vale, and finds himself taking on the role of a second Only Sane Man.
  • Loophole Abuse: During the Battle of Beacon, Team RWBY arrive during Ozpin and Cinder's talk and announce that they're there to kill her. When Ozpin tries to point out that Huntresses don't kill humans, Weiss tells him that he won't be able to use insurance to cover Cinder's damages unless he says it came from a Grimm, and as an expert on Grimm, he's able to make that call on the spot - which he very reluctantly does.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Salem can turn people into animals (and presumably animals into other animals), but changing inanimate objects into living creatures is impossible. She also needs to account for the circumference of the planet when aiming at an object of any distance, as her blast at the grounded Atlesian ship is just off enough to fly right across the ocean until it hits a target... and literally punches a hole in a south Mistralian mountain.
  • Magic Misfire:
    • Salem attempts to turn Gillian into a crow to punish her, but the fact that she hasn't used her magic in a long time means she accidentally turns her into a cat instead.
    • She later tries to simply obliterate Ironwood, only to completely fumble the spell and transform him into a penguin.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Tyrian rather effortlessly convinces Vernal to attack the Nuckelavee for him by pointing out that by the standards of her former tribe, Jaune is much stronger than her since he managed to kill half of it already (albeit completely by accident).
    Tyrian: And Cinder said motivating people was hard.
    • Both Jaune and Vernal learn to manipulate Salem's ego for their own gain.
  • Martial Pacifist: Kali and Ghira prefer nonviolent methods of promoting Faunus rights, and the former resents Sienna for turning the White Fang into a terrorist organization. But they not only don't condemn Mercury for killing his violently abusive father after learning how he crippled Mercury, but outright praise him for it.
  • Master of Disguise: Played for Laughs; Team RWBY try to claim that Tyrian Callows is a master of disguise who can be anyone at any time, and when Team JNPR incredulously point out that he has never once tried to use this kind of strategy, Blake only responds that it's because he hasn't been successfully caught. He ends up interrupting the conversation with a horrible Glynda Goodwitch disguise that everyone can see through from a mile away.
  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Jaune starts out as Salem's captive, and ends up her new beloved.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: After being transformed into a cat, Gillian has to actively resist giving in and letting herself enjoy things like being petted or scratched behind the ears, because she's not a cat, damnit, she's a person! A queen no less!
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: Salem accidentally convinces the Del'Ashari tribe that she's pregnant with Jaune's baby thanks to a long string of Entendre Failures; because Jaune doesn't bother to correct her, the misunderstanding then spreads to his father Nicholas and Hazel Rainart as well.
    • Salem also manages to accidentally convince the Ace Ops that she's pregnant due to another, completely unrelated series of misunderstandings.
  • The Mole: Emerald is acting as this for Cinder.
  • Mood Whiplash: Salem continuing to not quite understand what's happening while dealing with horrible people like Jax and the Crown creates an extreme back and forth of humor and drama that's hard to keep up with.
  • Morality Pet: For all that she only started dragging him around so he could fix the situation he broke, Salem starts to genuinely care about Jaune in a way that she hasn't cared about anyone in thousands of years. She listens to his input to a degree, tones down the cruelty, and starts taking personal interest in his own life and dreams. By the time of the Vytal Festival, she's been so wrapped up in helping Jaune achieve his dream (in her own way) that she's all but forgotten the original business entirely, and when he brings it up she is briefly confused and then hurt by it.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Ozpin notes Salem has always been more capable of cruelty than him.
  • Mundane Fantastic: After dealing with Grimm for years, Huntsman see fighting them as little more tha an errand. Jaune notes his own father can easily fight them and be home in time for supper.
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • Carmine and Gillian kidnap Jaune because they believe that no one will look for him, unaware that he's currently under Salem's protection (and Tyrian's by extension).
    • Raven Branwen does the same thing, and finds herself confronted by the monster she tried to run away from.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Salem and company get picked up in Vacuo by a traveling tribe, which readers of Coeur's works will recognize as the Del'Ashari.
    • During Salem's fight with Cinder, she points out that even though she used to be immortal, she was always able to feel pain, prompting Ozpin to remark it's a good thing neither of them ever tried to torture each other into insanity. That is the exact premise of The Eternal Crown, one of Coeur's concurrent stories.
  • Named by Adaptation: Penny's team name is unknown in canon, here's it's called PXCL (Pixel).
  • Nice Lady: Kali is a cheerful and welcoming host, giving food to Mercury and Emerald after seeing them enduring discrimination for being humans before offering their group accommodation in the manor.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Cinder's attempt to kill Salem as she flees Menagerie only gets in the way of Ironwood's attempt to kill her, with Cinder's Grimm getting in the way of Ironwood's bombs and ensuring her escape.
  • Nice to the Waiter:
    • Played for laughs when Mercury, having endured Salem’s Accidental Misnaming for too long, proclaims he loves Jaune just for remembering his name.
    • While Salem is arrogant and snobbish, she can show genuine courtesy and favors to her minions, and is able to get loyalty in return. By contrast, Cinder is an abusive woman who bullies and mistreats those under her. Watts gets so sick of Cinder that he eagerly returns to Salem's employ as soon as he gets the chance.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Downplayed: while Aura does make Huntsmen incredibly resilient, they can still be knocked out by the searing pain from having their bones broken.
  • Noble Demon: Salem is an arrogant, violent, and bullheaded woman who wants to destroy Beacon and Ozpin. However, she can show courtesy toward those who show her respect. When Jaune takes a bullet for her, she becomes incredibly devoted to his welfare. Jaune is stunned to find that Salem can be a pretty decent ruler.
  • Nobody's That Dumb: Salem sees right through Jaune's deception of Cinder, stating that while he's clueless, he's not so stupid as to hand his enemy the key to victory.
  • "No. Just… No" Reaction: Jax, when Salem asks if he was going to marry his sister.
  • Nominal Hero:
    • Tyrian has only the barest minimum of sympathy for a Street Urchin whose sister was kidnapped by slavers. In reality, he wants to fight the slavers to collect Jaune (who he sees as a possession of his Goddess), and so he can have an excuse to indulge in his love for killing.
    • Team RWBY end up becoming this themselves towards the end, as their priority has become get Revenge on Tyrian over everything else. When the Battle of Beacon begins, they ignore the fact that its an Enemy Mine situation with Salem's group and seize the chance to attack Tyrian. Jaune manages to win them over by bribing them with an opportunity for a straight-up fight with Tyrian in exchange for killing Cinder.
    • When Beacon is attacked by Cinder and the White Fang, Salem immediately joins the fight... but not out of any heroism or protectiveness of Jaune, but because she wants to make Cinder suffer for her betrayal.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: After getting brained by a collapsing bunkbed due to Raven-induced shenanigans, Blake starts mumbling excerpts from Edgar Allen Poe.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Apparently, following Tyrian "training" Team RWBY, RWBY were called to spar against CRDL in combat class. Whatever happened in there, CRDL are now in therapy and the thought of facing Team RWBY in combat class is enough to make people cry.
    • Even years following RWBY's graduation, their dorm room is still uninhabited because when another team tried to move in, they got tarred and feathered by a trap the staff had missed.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Raven Branwen is a master at attacking defenseless villages, but when put up against Ozpin, she is completely outclassed.
  • No-Sell:
    • Being a demigod, the Semblance of a mortal, even one as powerful as Jax's, doesn't work on Salem.
    • Raven is so powerful, Yang can't even scratch her, despite Raven letting her go all out.
  • No Sense of Direction: Tyrian, sailing from Argus to Vale, manages to crash the boat on Menagerie. A quick look at RWBY's world map shows that he not only went in the opposite direction, but wound up practically on the other side of the world.
  • No Social Skills:
    • Salem, due to years of isolation, struggles to function in the modern world.
    • Mercury, as a result of his terrible upbringing, has no grasp at all of proper romance but he can function day to day. He also decides to marry Blake so her parents will be his as well.
  • No Sympathy:
    • After Vernal held a knife to his throat and treated him roughly during his kidnapping, Jaune has no sympathy for her when she ends up having to train with Tyrian. He even throws back one of her insults with a smile on his face, and briefly mocks her when she moves to attack him and ends up restrained upside down by Tyrian's stinger.
    • Qrow feels the same way about Ironwood after he dragged him into an unwinnable fight with Salem and nearly murdered Jaune in cold blood, and doesn't care as he's dragged off for "medical treatment" by Tsune.
  • Not in Front of the Kid:
    • Terra chastises Vernal for her use of strong language with Adrian around. Predictably, Vernal proceeds to swear even more until the kid learns his first word - "shit".
    • A preemptive example: Jaune forbids Salem from keeping the now petrified Cinder as a trophy so that his future kids will never see it.
  • Not So Above It All:
    • Hazel is easily the sanest of Salem's group, but as we discover when his group and Salem's reunite, he's still not above the odd moment from time to time, including admitting that he admires Watts' mustache and even trolling Salem by referring to the time that Jaune lathered "white cream" on her (read: put burn lotion on her sunburn).
    • For all her pretensions of dignity, Winter is shown to be inclined to the same Cultural Posturing Atlas elites indulge in: defending Atlas' morally dubious actions toward Faunus in an argument with Tyrian, and belittling the White Fang as a petty terrorist organization despite finding them threatening enough to sic the Atlas military on them. She also can't help but tell Ozpin to "go choke and die" when he compliments her maid outfit.
    • As the story goes on, Ozpin can't help but loosen up around his allies, eventually becoming just as wacky as the circumstances that surround him. He can't help but be exasperated at Ironwood's penguin transformations, implies to Glynda that she'd recognize a slutty maid outfit from online, and even trolls Winter by complimenting her forced outfit when the Fang attack Vytal.
    • During a discussion that brings up a list of Vale's most eligible bachelors/bachelorettes, Goodwitch of all people smugly coughs in with a comment about how she came first on the list.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Mercury and Emerald find that the Faunus on Menagerie can also be racist to humans who've done nothing wrong.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • Velvet first meets Tyrian in a way that immediately makes her think she's about to be kidnapped and sexually violated. Luckily for her, she was actually just going to be kidnapped and asked for dating advice, and even then, she gives the advice freely so she avoids the kidnapping entirely.
    • Team RWY are playing Date Peepers to Blake and her mysterious suitor Mercury, only to find that the premises are being watched and recorded by suspicious figures, assume something predatory is going on, and start throwing hands. It's only after the fighting is stopped that they find out that the creepers are actually the Atlas military staking out a venue they have reason to expect Salem to show herself at, and they've just trashed a restaurant and assaulted General Ironwood and Miss Goodwitch.
  • No, You: Salem's ship is about to be boarded by an Atlas warship. Tyrian's response? "We can't be boarded if we board them first!"

    O - Z 
  • Oblivious to Love: Jaune is totally ignorant of Salem's growing affection for him.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Raven when she realizes it was Salem who challenged her to a duel to death, causing the former to run away immediately.
    • Cinder upon realizing that, after attempting to take over the Grimmland as the new queen in absence of Salem, said queen was actually very much alive and still strong.
    • Qrow when he realizes that the guy who he was just trading rants with at a bar is Nicholas Arc, pissed off parent and veteran Huntsman who's just learned that Qrow knew what his missing son's been up to this whole time and participated in a battle that left said son near death.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: The various connected parties all have completely different impressions of what exactly is happening in the story, and none of them feel it necessary to speak in plain language about things they see as obvious and unspoken. Even when they all meet up, this trope ensues and they're all no closer to reaching the whole truth than before. Nicholas is very proud of his son for being a man and sticking with the woman he eloped with, meanwhile Jaune thinks it's really weird how chill his dad is about his son being kidnapped and enslaved by a megalomaniac monster-woman. Jaune wants to manipulate Salem by playing the part of the devoted servant, but his phrasing inadvertently matches a millennia-old noble's understanding of flirting, giving her very much the wrong idea.
  • One Drink Will Kill the Baby: Several people who think Salem is pregnant go to some lengths to dissuade her from drinking alcohol.
  • One-Man Army: Tyrian, who can take on the forces of Jax and the Branwen Clan and walk away with hardly a sweat on his brow.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Team RWBY root for Jaune to beat Pyrrha...if only because they want a chance to beat Jaune to a bloody pulp.
  • Only Sane by Comparison: By the end, Jaune has become just as insane as the rest of his posse in his own way, simply by being so unfazed by everything around him that nothing Salem does anymore can possibly surprise him. When contrasted to someone like Pyrrha, who is genuinely sane, Jaune still seems batshit crazy if only by accepting the insanity around him without question.
  • Only Sane Man: Jaune quickly establishes himself as this between the trio of him, Salem, and Tyrian.
  • On Second Thought: Glynda objects to Ozpin, of all people, wanting to use a tranquilizer gun on Raven...but after recapping her horrible decisions, she realizes Ozpin is more than justified.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
  • The One Thing I Don't Hate About You: Kali dislikes Sienna for transforming the White Fang into a terrorist organization, but she acknowledges Sienna's charisma.
  • Original Position Fallacy: Vernal yells at Tyrian to stop threatening to fight her to the death every time she doesn't do what he wants. He retorts that he's just playing by the Branwen tribe's own rules and she's just upset that she's on the losing end.
    Tyrian: Make a society where I can win arguments by stabbing people to death and I'm going to start stabbing.
  • Painful Transformation: As expected, being afflicted with Grimm essence is an agonizing process. Cinder is caught in a horrific tug-of-war between the Grimm sludge attacking her body and her own immune system going scorched-earth trying to fight back, with no guarantee that there will be a stable transformation at the end of it since she might not survive long enough.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Jaune breaks out of his timidity and gets mad when Atlas endangers his nephew Adrian.
    • Nicholas looks for Jaune after he runs away to join a Huntsman academy, then tries to rescue him along with Hazel after he hears the rumor that he impregnated Salem, wanting to ensure a future for his potential grandchildren. He gets pissed when he finds out Ironwood nearly killed Jaune and angrily pursues Qrow over it. Although it becomes somewhat downplayed when Nicholas simply forces Qrow through alcohol withdrawal and uses common sense to get him to understand why it is in the best interest of everyone to stop pursuing Jaune and Salem.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The entire cafeteria goes silent when they watch Tyrian walking towards Team RWBY while wearing some of Glynda's clothes and a "terrible" blonde wig while holding one of her spare riding crops. One of the watchers is even Glynda herself. Somehow, Team RWBY doesn't realize it's actually him until they're looking directly at him... at which point everyone else evacuates the cafeteria to avoid their battle.
  • Parental Substitute: Kali and Ghira quickly take a shine to Mercury, especially when they hear about his horrifying childhood - among other things, they feed him well and shower him with affection. By the time the group leaves Menagerie, they outright admit he's like a son to them.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Kali is a master at this, capable of throwing shade while acting in a motherly tone. It's for this reason that Sienna dreads any occasion when she has to interact with Kali.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Even after being depowered, Salem is able to turn hundreds of soldiers into animals and punch a hole in a huge mountain.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • When Jax is killed, Salem orders Tyrian to cover up the women he'd enslaved with his trench coat. It's a small gesture, but it's the first truly selfless act she commits in the story.
    • For what it's worth, Salem later shows some courtesy toward the captives freed from the Branwen Clan's captivity.
    • Tyrian becomes a weirdly kind uncle figure to Adrian, Jaune's nephew.
    • Salem knows Emerald is a mole for Cinder, but doesn't kill her and instead suggests that she move on from a woman who will never love her. After Ilia's Power Perversion Potential moment, Salem even vetoes her as a candidate and says Emerald deserves someone who will actually care about her.
    • Salem uses her stature to force the kingdoms to afford Mengarie the status of a kingdom.
    • Over their ages of feuding, the true hatred between Ozma and Salem largely guttered out and the battle became more a way to avoid going mad over their immortal existences. As such, they have had a few of these Pet the Dog moments.
      Salem: I did give you some freebies.
      Ozpin: I know. Queen Valeria. You didn't attack for a hundred years. I lived a long and peaceful life... You even let my children live.
      Salem: You looked happy. Didn't want to ruin it.
  • Plausible Deniability: Roman and Jaune's role during the armored truck heist is to set up alibis for themselves while it goes down; Jaune and Salem will go to a restaurant where they will be photographed, while Roman will go rob some frozen goods stores for ice cream and waffles.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Played for Laughs; when Jaune's group, Nicholas, and Hazel finally all reunite, it's the perfect chance to finally dispel the miscommunication that Salem is pregnant - and none of them do so, because they know their relationship too well, Nicholas doesn't explicitly refer to what he's saying, and both Jaune and Salem incorrectly assume that Hazel filled him in correctly.
  • Power Perversion Potential:
    • Played for Drama when it's revealed Jax used his semblance to turn women into prostitutes. Even Salem and Tyrian were horrified by that.
    • This is later played for laughs when Saphron and Terra want to use Salem's shapeshifting powers to indulge in animal kinks.
    • During a discussion between the group, Ilia brings up the potential for Emerald to look at herself in a mirror to inflict herself with her Semblance and live out her wildest fantasies. Salem immediately nixes the thought of doing so until "out of the earshot of those of us trying to sleep." Emerald meanwhile requests to be allowed to go to the bathroom, promising that it's not so she can report to Cinder this time.
  • Prodigal Family: Raven shows up after having ditched her family out of selfish motives; she wants Taiyang to protect her. All she does is act disdainfully and mockingly toward her twin brother Qrow, her daughter, and even Taiyang.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • When Lil Miss Malachite gives Salem a cup of tea, she has Tyrian sip from it first before trying it. When Malachite calls it out as paranoid, Salem responds that it's only paranoia if it's unwarranted.
    • Team RWBY become wildly paranoid and prone to overreacting after Tyrian starts to train them. Unfortunately for them, he really is out to get them. It's to the point where Ruby and Weiss only enter the school cafeteria after clearing it for hostiles, Blake starts moving around when peoples' guards are down, and Yang is hiding under tables.
  • Proud Beauty: Salem remembers the adoration showered upon her millennia ago, and has no reason to disbelieve it now that she is no longer Grimm. She brushes off Jaune's snark at her lack of modesty thusly:
    Salem: False modesty is an arrogance of its own. There's no point lying about what can be seen by the naked eye.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild:
    • Salem. She's fussy, egotistical, demanding, and throws tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants. She also has a dangerous amount of magical might and she's not afraid to use it against those who make her angry. This is justified due to spending years isolated in a tower from society. Jaune observes at a Menagerie festival how she wanders around with incredible naivete.
    • Cinder is even worse in this regard, bossing around Watts like a servant and furiously rejecting any criticism from him because of her colossal ego. Salem herself lampshades this, condescendingly referring to Cinder as an adorable little child.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: What begins as a trio of Jaune, Salem, and Tyrian eventually expands to include Gillian, Vernal, Mercury, Emerald, Saphron, Terra, Adrian, and Winter Schnee, yet despite how odd the group is individually, much less combined, they have a habit of succeeding despite the odds being majorly stacked against them.
    • Jaune's team for the Vytal Festival, Team... JIZZnote . Jaune himself is the leader, of course, and his fellow fighters include Vernal (a bandit), Gillian (a graduated huntress), and Ilia (an active member of the White Fang).
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Jax uses his Semblance to force his waitresses to prostitute themselves to their customers. Even Tyrian and Salem are disgusted.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Ozpin. While understandably at first suspicious of Salem, Jaune, and their entourage, as more and more evidence comes to light that Salem is changing for the better and that their actions are not part of some Evil Plan (or arguably even a plan), he increasingly pursues a path of de-escalation and ultimately gives Salem the encouragement she needs to pursue a romance with Jaune.
  • Recognition Failure: Velvet and Coco think they recognize Tyrian and Salem from somewhere but can't place them... up until they see them both on the TV as internationally wanted fugitives, at which point they nervously agree not to talk about having given Remnant's most wanted woman a makeover.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Gillian was clearly expecting Salem to value some measure of Jaune's happiness in their trade, and the fact that she outright calls him her slave and says she doesn't care about what he thinks catches her off guard. Of course, a large part of it is that she doesn't understand why it would be weird at all.
  • Regretful Traitor: Lionheart really, really hates the position he is in of selling out to Salem, and especially hates it when he is praised for his (nonexistent) bravery.
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: To explain why Tyrian looks nothing like Salem or Jaune, they pretend that he's Jaune's uncle. There are hints that he comes to genuinely believe that they're related (at least honorarily), as he refers to Jaune as "nephew" even when no one's around.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Ozpin caught a contagious virus shortly before the school year was to begin and decided to isolate himself to not spread it further. His sudden disappearance was assumed by the press to be his death, which tipped off the villains to start looking for suspicious people going to Beacon, leading them to find some kid trying to enroll with obviously forged credentials and get the wrong idea. Their mistake becomes apparent when Ozpin puts out an official statement later in the day.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Jaune's Aura, with in canon has healing powers, allows him to survive Tyrian's insanely harsh training because it heals his muscles faster than usual.
  • Retired Monster: Salem does settle down with Jaune, raise a family with him, and is willing to grow old and die with him. But she never truly stops being a tempestuous queen, and forces the kingdoms to pay her ransom in exchange for not going on a rampage.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The readers never do end up learning exactly what happened to Salem in the first chapter to purify her and kick off the story. Eventually, Salem stops caring about reversing it and doesn't push the issue long enough to come to an answer.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: Ironwood and Cinder both unknowingly want the same thing, to kill Salem, and the one time they both attempt it at once they end up ensuring each other's defeat; Cinder sends her Grimm at the same time Ironwood tries to bomb her, and Cinder's forces not only take all the hits but actively shield Salem from the bombs and ensure her escape.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: A plot-triggering but mostly background story element is that there happens to be a contagious disease outbreak happening in the world. It is recommended that infected persons quarantine themselves to avoid spreading it further, and it later is used as a justification to restrict international travel.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Mercury's problems stem from his horrifically cruel father and being drafted into working for Cinder. So when the Belladonnas effectively adopt him, his attitude improves considerably.
  • Royal Brat: Salem treats Jaune like a slave and even thinks a damaged Bullhead should obey her just because her word commands it. Yet, she still pales compared to the Asturias siblings...
  • Sanity Slippage: Once Tyrian starts "training" Team RWBY, all four of them rapidly become dangerously paranoid and unstable — moving through every location as if it's hostile territory filled with ambushes, building traps out of their own living space, demanding pass phrases from everyone they associate with, and hogtying anyone who can't produce it, assuming them to be traitors.
  • The Scapegoat: Salem decides to pin all of her atrocities on the now-dead Cinder. Ozpin, wanting an excuse to end her feud with Salem, rolls with it.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Raven yeets out of Mistral (and right into Taiyang’s strong arms) just before Salem accepts a Duel to the Death issued by the Branwen Tribe - to the tribe’s shock and the audience’s unrestrained amusement.
    • Two men at the restaurant Jaune and Salem dine at chug their drinks, vacate their seats, and get the hell out as fast as they can after Salem casually bats someone away with her magic.
  • Secretly Selfish:
    • All of Lionheart's decisions and actions are for the purpose of saving his skin from Salem's wrath, but are seen by his nominal allies as examples of his supposed bravery, much to his annoyance.
    • Sienna insists she Salem stay in Menagerie in order to hide from Atlas, but Winter spells out to Jaune that Sienna just finds Salem to be a useful weapon, and wants to keep her on Menagerie as long as possible.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Inverted. Salem regains a lot of bodily functions, and is incredibly unhappy about it.
  • Share the Male Pain: Gender Inverted. Team RWBY wince seeing Salem give Cinder a nasty kick in the groin.
  • Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: When Salem transforms Gillian into a cat, her dress conspicuously ends up in a pile rather than transforming with her, a la Qrow's ability he got from Ozpin. When Gillian finally figures out that she can change back, while sitting on a sleeping Jaune's lap, she's reminded that she's a continent away from the last outfit she wore.
  • Shapeshifting Heals Wounds: As the characters discover when Ironwood gets forcibly given a penguin form by Salem, at least one version of that spell has the effect of restoring lost body parts in the process. Ironwood himself will not accept anything if it comes from the ultimate evil and continually tries to re-mutilate himself, only to transform again and undo it.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Hazel himself likes the idea of Salem finding romance with Jaune.
    • Salem, despite becoming Jaune's wife, encourages him and Pyrrha to get together in a concubinage. In the final chapter, Pyrrha does so begrugingly.
  • Shipper with an Agenda: Played for Laughs. Roman uses Jaune's plan of complimenting Salem in order to advance their relationship toward romance under Jaune's oblivious nose, mainly for his own amusement.
  • Shock Site: Once, Port showed Ozpin a certain video featuring "two women with a cup and a complete disregard for personal hygiene". Afterwards, Ozpin couldn't help but contemplate whether Salem actually had the right idea wiping out the human race.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Salem asks Carmine for details regarding Jax’s fight club, Tyrian responds that she can’t give any; it’s the first rule.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man:
    • Gradually, Salem becomes attracted to Jaune's basic decency. His willingness to take a bullet for her and sacrifice himself to protect the people of Menagerie from Atlas makes Salem genuinely infatuated with him. Being surrounded by the likes of Cinder and Tyrian, Salem is drawn to Jaune's genuine courtesy.
    • After he gives a dorky tribute to Salem in front of the cameras, Jaune becomes desire among many women, much to his astonishment.
  • Skewed Priorities: Ozpin tells Team RWBY that they shouldn't kill Cinder, as Huntresses are meant to be better than that; instead, they must give her human justice. His resolve holds until Weiss points out that unless he uses his expertise to declare Cinder a thus-far-unknown form of Grimm and let them kill her, he won't be able to use insurance claims on the damages she caused, so he reluctantly goes along with their plan.
  • Skirts and Ladders: Salem climbs onto a ship using Jaune as a step ladder. Ironically he manages to not look up until she tells him not to look which he does on reaction.
  • Slave to PR: As a famous celebrity, Pyrrha is forced to play the good girl in front of the camera. Jaune allowing her cut loose is very satisfying to her.
  • Small Name, Big Ego:
    • Salem behaves like she is Goddess worshipped by all, despite the fact that her power base only consists of a Serial Killer, a handful of bandits, a few human captives, a rundown town invested with Grimm, and Jaune.
    • Gillian is even worse in this regard. Even becoming a powerless cat still hasn't deterred her ambitions or her ego.
  • So Proud of You: Played for Laughs. Salem is proud of Jaune for kidnapping Winter. Specifically, she sees Jaune performing his own kidnapping, rather than being the victim of one for a change, as a testament to his growing strength.
    • Tyrian is later proud of Jaune for getting kidnapped, freeing himself, and essentailly kidnapping his kidnappers. He actually cries over it.
    • Similarly, he weeps proud tears and applauds when he sees that his "training" of Team RWBY has successfully turned them into vicious killing machines with neither mercy nor restraint.
  • Spanner in the Works: Roman's plan to replenish his funds without bringing the wrath of multiple governments down on Public Enemies #1 and #2 is a decent enough scheme, but it relies on Salem and Jaune being seen in public elsewhere. What's supposed to be a quiet day out to create an alibi gets ruined by Team RWBY, who got wind the two had been spotted and decided to take matters into their own hands. Except Roman deliberately leaked it to RWBY because the Spanner would be less devastating there as opposed to in the Works that actually matter, which he's had to deal with repeatedly.
  • Spit Take: Ozpin spits his coffee all over his computer when he learns that Salem was responsible for freeing the Crown's slaves.
  • Spiritual Successor: Knight Of Salem could be considered one to White Sheep (RWBY), given the shared theme of Salem rediscovering love after capturing an Arc man and with Jaune still trying to become a huntsman despite his connection to Salem.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • After Jax is dealt with, Carmine tries to claim that she was also Brainwashed and Crazy like the rest. Jaune points out it's false since she isn't dazed and traumatized like the rest of the Crown's thralls are after being recently freed.
    • Jaune is the first of the main cast to figure out that not only are the Grimm attacking Salem, but specifically targeting her; not only did they completely ignore the Atlas fleet to attack her, but as he notices in Mountain Glenn, they're only attacking him and ignoring everyone else there, and the only thing that makes him noteworthy to them is his connection to her.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Torchwick's idea of carrying out Salem's orders to enter Jaune into the Vytal Tournament, a doomed endeavor that he'll nevertheless be punished for refusing, is to do exactly as she says, fail even harder than he necessarily has to by making the forged info a piss take, then grovel to Salem that he tried his best but Ozpin's ilk are too wily and saw through him. When Ozpin's ilk do find what he did, they come to the conclusion that playing along with Salem is the safest of all their bad options and accept his entry as submitted.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Mercury becomes obsessed with marrying Blake, even sending her tons of roses. However, this is not out of any infatuation with Blake, but because he wants to become Kali's legal son.
  • Stockholm Syndrome:
    • Many of the captives whom Salem frees have no problem worshipping her as a Goddess and acting as her servant. This is justified since she had freed them from captivity by the Branwen clan.
    • Jaune wholly defies this trope, only sticking around Salem either because he can't escape or because he needs to escape from people who are more of a threat to his well-being than Salem and Tyrian are, and he effectively becomes stuck with her after his association with Salem turns him into a wanted fugitive by Atlas. Jaune gradually does start to recognize the good in Salem, but only after she starts showing him courtesy. But he still doesn't overlook the fact that Salem torpedoed his life, with his nice behavior (mostly) being for the purposes of manipulating her.
    • Winter also completely defies this while being Jaune's captive. She constantly searches for ways to escape, make Jaune miserable, and/or strangle Jaune with her bare hands, and the only reason she hasn't done worse is because of what Salem would do to her.
    • Gillian also defies this: she eventually becomes Salem's minion, even helping ensure that Winter doesn't escape, but mostly to prevent from being arrested by the authorities. She still craves being made royalty again.
  • Stop Worshipping Me:
    • Ozpin disliked being worshipped as a god in the ancient past, especially because of the...tributes he got.
    Ozpin: "(They) even sacrificed a goat to me. I just… why is it always sacrifice? Why is it that people see a being they believe divine and above them and think slitting the throat of a defenseless animal is definitely what this being wants`. Why that? Why not a fruit pudding or a salad?"
    • Downplayed with Salem, who does enjoy being worshipped and admired, but she prefers the quiet and dignified respect of people like Hazel compared to Tyrian's fanatical, slavish devotion.
  • Stunned Silence: The White Fang are utterly speechless when they see Salem obliterate a whole mountain. All the way in Mistral.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: The Ace-Ops assumed their transformation into dogs by Salem are the work of some kind of Semblance. Ozpin and Qrow, not wanting them to learn about the existence of magic, just roll with it.
  • Surrounded by Idiots:
    • Salem feels this way about having to rely on Jaune at first, and is a little bit annoyed with Tyrian's zealous devotion. She and Miss Malachite have a bit of a rapport over getting good help.
    • Sienna Khan and her lieutenant are exasperated that the latter’s soldiers simply allowed Salem to walk free on Menagerie, too relieved by the fact it’s not an Atlas invasion they’re dealing with (complete with Winter Schnee being clearly a reluctant captive).
    • Ozpin frequently finds himself exasperated by his allies, especially Raven and Ironwood.
  • Survivorship Bias: Salem reveals that Traumatic Superpower Awakening is not really a thing. People either have a Semblance that lends itself well to saving them in life-threatening situations or they die. The ones who live tell of what happened and those that die simply are not heard from again, thus perpetuating the myth.
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: When Nicholas finally catches up to Jaune, Jaune's explanations do nothing to dispel the fiction of Jaune and Salem being hitched.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Once Gillian regains her humanity, she kowtows to both Salem and Jaune, knowing it is the only way Salem will put up with her.
  • Talk to the Fist: Yang's first act when meeting the biological mother who abandoned her is to punch her straight in the face.
  • The Starscream: As soon as Cinder realizes that Salem is missing, she usurps control over her organization, even forcing Watts to help her gain Grimm powers. Once she begins to gain some control over the Grimm, she tries (and fails) to order the Grimm to maul Salem to death. Based on Salem's conversations with Jaune, it's implied Cinder has deliberately fed the Queen of Grimm misinformation about the outside world in order to manipulate her for her own gain.
  • Take That!:
    • The author's notes at the start of Chapter 6 has Coeur ranting about how easily Crown went down in canon at the hands of a few students despite their resources, manpower, and Jax's Semblance. He then goes on stating that all the villains so far in canon have been defeated in completely anticlimactic ways (such as Roman suddenly getting eaten by a Grimm), or to random stuff rather than anything resembling the heroes’ competence.
    • The story essentially takes the idea of Cinder being this cool, badass, and terrifying villain and completely tears it to shreds: her canon behavior and failings makes her out to be a pathetic child who Salem and her other minions don't take seriously. Salem is also quick to point out the flaws in Cinder's canon plans to steal the Fall Maiden's powers during the middle of the Vytal Festival (i.e an international Huntsman Tournament):
      Salem: Sure. Attack Ozma when he is literally at his most prepared, when his security is at its highest, when there are more Huntsmen in Vale than at any other time of the year. That girl. Where did I go wrong with her?
      Emerald: C-Cinder knows what she's doing. She said it would be easier to sneak into Beacon when there are a lot more people there for the festival.
      Salem: As opposed to sneaking in before the school term started where she would only have to deal with five, maybe six, people instead of five or six thousand. Ah yes, that makes sense.
    • In the beginning of chapter 22, Jaune mentions that he feels like Gillian will disappear if someone doesn't mention her every so often, a clear shot of annoyance at the readers who keep telling him that he "forgot" about Gillian in certain scenes just because she wasn't specifically mentioned.
  • Taking the Bullet: Jaune ends up taking a bullet for Salem as they flee Argus. This act of noble self-sacrifice influences Salem's view of Jaune, and she starts paying him more mind afterwards.
  • Tattle Tail: The Faunus doctor Tsune when she insists to Ozpin that there's no ulterior interest behind her desire to test the organ donor applications of a perpetually-regenerating man afflicted with Salem's magic:
    "He could be the world's first perpetual organ donor. Think of all the lives he could save."
    "Tsune." Ozpin stated firmly. "We are not mutilating my friend for science. Nor are we turning him into some kind of organ-harvesting operation to sate your professional curiosity." His eyes narrowed. "Or what I dearly hope is professional curiosity."
    "Of course it is!"
    Her lazily wagging tail did not fill him with confidence.
  • Tempting Fate: As his group walks into a rural town in Mistral, Jaune wonders who could kidnap him in the middle of nowhere. Cue the Branwen Clan.
  • There Was a Door:
    • At one point, Tyrian smashes through a window in Roman's safehouse, prompting Roman to furiously gesture at the door right next to the window.
    • Despite Watts pointing out to Cinder that there is an elevator to get to the Fall Maiden, she insists on bursting through the floor violently.
  • Think Unsexy Thoughts: To keep himself from getting too flustered while rubbing salve all over a barely-clothed Salem while she moans in appreciation, Jaune forces himself to imagine he's doing it to Tyrian. He redoubles it by amending that his mental Tyrian is in a bikini. It works long enough for him to finish the job.
  • This Cannot Be!: Raven is left a shaking wreck when she learns who the spoiled, petulant woman her tribe kidnapped really is, stuttering a Little "No" in disbelief at her bad luck.
  • Three Lines, Some Waiting: The fic primarily follows three separate storylines - Jaune/Salem's arc and Ozpin/Ironwood's arc move the fic forward, plus there's a tertiary storyline of Nicholas Arc and Hazel Rainart trying to catch up to them and figure out what's going on. Once Nicholas and Hazel finish their objective, the third story becomes Team RWBY's as they butt their nose into Salem's business and end up on her radar, putting them into "conflict" with Tyrian as he then tries to "train them".
  • Title Drop: Jaune declares himself the Knight of Salem while challenging Grimm in Mountain Glenn.
  • Token Evil Teammate:
  • Token Good Teammate: In Salem's increasingly expanding group of outlaws, Jaune is the only person who isn't remotely corrupt or criminal. When Jaune is absent, Roman finds himself in this role, much to his horror and disgust.
  • Too Clever by Half: Sienna Kahn is the plenty-skilled leader of the White Fang, but she unwittingly hitches her wagon to Salem, due to reasonably disbelieving Salem's claims of being a mighty Goddess and Queen.
  • Took a Level in Badass: By the time he's on his own in Mountain Glenn, Jaune is capable of killing Grimm without help, even if he doesn't look especially dignified doing it. It isn't much, but that's still better than he's managed in some of the author's other stories.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Ozpin, of all people, becomes increasingly angry and vindictive over the course of the story. Justified, in that he's become exasperated and bitter at the way Salem consistently gives his allies the slip. On top of that, these catastrophes come cascading down on him like a waterfall in such a short amount of time that he hasn't had the time to properly restock his coffee. Once he learns of (the rumor) that Salem is with child and that she's in a relationship with Jaune, he calms down quite a bit, thinking that having a family again will be good for her... and for the rest of Remnant, since she won't be attacking it anymore. He ends up working to appease Salem, and allows Jaune and his team (Team JIZZ) to take part in the Vytal Festival.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Salem may be haughty and childish, but she shows nobler traits over time - freeing the people enslaved by Crown, treating her acquisition of the Branwen Tribe as a sacred duty, etc. More generally, she steadily shows more regard for Jaune’s feelings and autonomy as a person, if largely still through a personal lens.
    • Vernal, while ever-still prickly, becomes less abrasive; she also gives Jaune more respect after he’s shot protecting Salem, noting that one's first real injury is a rite of passage for her tribe but that few would take one so grievous. Not that it'll stop her from stealing food off his plate, though.
    • Mercury becomes a much nicer person after the Belladonnas consistently treat him with kindness.
  • Training from Hell: Tyrian's stock in trade.
    • He forces Vernal and Jaune to endure a harsh training regimen. Due to Jaune's massive reserves of Aura, however, this process is far less physically taxing than it would've been, however, it still isn't particularly fun.
    • Later, when Salem orders him to train Team RWBY, he carries out the order with great gusto, even going as far as breaking into their room to ambush them on multiple occasions.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    • Salem is...uncharacteristically quiet when she learns how Jax uses his Semblance to turn women into sex slaves. Carmine spends those moments shaking in fear.
    • Ozpin gets into this while speaking with the Ace-Ops after their defeat at Salem's hands and realizes Salem has gained control over a warship laden with weapons and is headed toward Vale. As with above, his sudden calmness scares a lot of people...until he finally explodes at Ironwood for failing and giving his enemy more power.
  • Transflormation: During the battle at Beacon, Salem turns one particularly unfortunate White Fang grunt into a tree to scare everyone else into compliance.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Subverted. This is seemingly what happens to Jaune, and it's a common theory in-universe. Salem says that it's not actually true, it's just that some Semblances lend themselves well to appearing and saving people when they are on the brink of death. If they don't have an appropriate Semblance, well, then they die. The lack of counter-evidence makes it hard to disprove the trauma theory.
  • Troll:
    • As per usual in Coeur's fics, Ozpin likes to mess with his allies whenever he can afford to. Special mention goes to telling Qrow that the Salem who scared Raven to oblivion and calls herself the Queen of the Grimm might not be the same Salem they're so worried about.
      Ozpin: Personally, I'm all for assumptions but you raised an interesting point the other day, Qrow. It could all be one fantastical coincidence.
    • Salem deals with these while playing a video game, and reacts with her own boisterous language, much to Jaune's annoyance.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: The Street Urchin Robbie that Tyrian interacts with when hunting Jaune's kidnappers is very much okay with murder as a solution for his own sister's kidnapping, and makes a deal with Tyrian to get his own licks in. Although to be fair, it is understandable he'd be a little bit angry about his sister being enslaved. Carmine classes the kid as a third psychopath in addition to the two that have her captured (albeit she considers all kids to be psychopaths).
  • Truth in Television: Jaune gets his testicles slammed over and over into the Nuckelavee’s neck when he ends up on its back. This is a big reason saddles were invented.
  • Try to Fit That on a Business Card: When Salem orders Jaune to write down a law banning sarcasm, she gives her full list of titles as "Queen Salem the first, Glorious and Everlasting ruler of all free people of Remnant, High Queen under the sun, Saviour of the people, the Lightbringer, She who must not be defamed, the Darkbringer, Goddess of all that is good, Merciful Queen, Tyrant of the Wastes, Scourge of the Seas, Bountiful Patron of the Harvest, The One, The Two, The Trinity and Bringer of the End Times" - and apparently, this is only the summary of her titles. Jaune just writes "ETC" and leaves it at that.
  • Tsundere: Salem wavers between belittling and bullying Jaune and praising him for his "devotion" to her. When Jaune takes a bullet for her, Salem reacts with varying degrees of anger, annoyance, and disbelief. She even gives Jaune a kiss while he's out cold, but also warns him not to tell anyone.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • Unlike Cinder and Watts, Tyrian remains loyal to Salem despite her losing her powers. Hazel also insists on trying to find Salem, although his loyalty is far more composed than Tyrian's.
    • The Del’Ashari appear to consider Salem’s group honourary tribesmen after their brief time travelling together; along with the paired aspect of respecting Jaune’s “taking responsibility” for (they believe) impregnating Salem, and her actions to rescue him and free the Crown’s slaves. As such, when Nicholas Arc comes calling, looking for his wayward son, they only confide in him what they know once they are sure he’s not going to come down too hard on Jaune for his (supposed) screw ups.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Nobody takes Salem's entourage seriously until they go up against her devotee Tyrian, one of the most dangerous men on the planet. Nobody takes Salem herself seriously except indirectly through the likes of Tyrian, until she deigns to demonstrate the full extent of the Gods' gift of magic. They stop treating her as a delusional egomaniac when they see her transform hundreds of soldiers into small animals, or destroy a mountain from across a sea.
  • Undignified Death: Not all of Ozpin's deaths over his millennia as an immortal were dramatic, glorious or even dignified — one of his past incarnations died when he slipped on a wet floor and broke his neck on a bathtub. And to add insult to injury, the next body that Ozpin incarnated into was a young female and this killed his marriage to his previous incarnation's wife due to incompatible orientation.
  • Unfortunate Names: Roman invokes this on purpose by making Jaune's Vytal Festival team be named Team JIZZ (Jaune Arc, Izzy Izzabelle, Zoe Zoeingson, and Zachary Zachary). Ozpin lets it through, and even temporarily believes it to be a team that Professor Port slipped past him!
  • Unishment: While Ironwood is horrified by the fact that his soldiers got transformed into dogs by Salem, said soldiers (which include elites like Ace-Ops) aren't at all concerned: with Ozpin and Qrow’s help they learn to turn back to normal at will, and being able to shapeshift into a dog has many practical applications they are eager to implement.
  • Unskilled, but Strong:
    • Salem still has tremendous powers after being made mostly mortal, but she lacks the finesse to properly channel it. While demonstrating her power to the White Fang, she tries to aim an energy blast at a boat, only to obliterate a whole mountain.
    • Raven may have the power of the Maiden, but since she's spent years only attacking unarmed civilians, she can't fight an experienced Huntsman like Ozpin in a fair fight.
    • The Grimm are powerful, but Salem notes they are functionally meat shields and incapable of higher thinking. Huntsman not only have trained for generations to deal with Grimm, but are capable of tactical planning]].
  • The Unsmile: Ironwood's is described as being able to make babies cry.
  • Unwanted Healing: Ironwood does not appreciate the fact that Salem, having forced a penguin transformation on him, has inadvertently returned him his lost body parts as a side effect. He declares it to be some kind of evil trick by Salem, and they have to sedate him to stop him re-dismembering himself. Even then, it only works for a while.
  • Unwanted Rescue: Jaune may get kidnapped a lot, but he tends to be more traumatized by his rescuers. All of his escape attempts somehow end up sending him back to Salem's side. It is for this reason that Jaune is openly terrified at the prospect of being rescued from prison in Argus.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: In such a comedic setting where even Cinder isn't taken seriously as a threat, Jax Asturias sticks out like a sore thumb, being a legitimately vile and terrifying slaver and rapist with hundreds of victims, several of which are children. Even Salem and Tyrian take him seriously, albeit out of disgust rather than his threat level.
  • Villain Team-Up: Finding themselves to be enemies of Atlas, Salem and Sienna Kahn join forces to resist Atlas together.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Salem earns tremendous public goodwill in Vacuo for crushing the Crown’s operations, exposing their ill deeds and rescuing their captives. Her goodwill is so great, it leads to Nicholas concluding that Salem is the one who is being unfairly persecuted by Atlas.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: It's seeing Jaune's basic decency and heroism that makes Salem start to fall for him.
  • Villainous Rescue:
    • Salem and Tyrian end up having to rescue Jaune from various enemies...not out of any love for Jaune, but so he can reverse what was he accidentally did to make her human again.
    • It appears that some of Salem's oceanic Grimm have come to save her, Jaune, and their crew from Atlas' forces...only for them to suddenly attack Salem under Cinder's orders .
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Once she and Jaune get together, Salem makes it clear she'll make anyone who hurts Jaune pay dearly for it.
  • Visionary Villain: Salem decides to turn the Branwen Clan and her captives into a self-sufficient town.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Vernal's relationship with Jaune becomes this after Jaune takes a bullet for Salem. While she still mocks him, it's more like good-natured ribbing between friends, rather than the pure contempt she had been showing him earlier. As far as Vernal is concerned, Jaune has become an honorary member of the tribe after such a ballsy move.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 8 has Cinder gaining a Grimm-like form similar to Salem.
  • Wimp Fight: Team JIZZ versus Team BRNZ in the first round of the Vytal Festival. Due to the randomized arena spitting out a battlefield that's half Slippy-Slidey Ice World and half water, the fight immediately degenerates into all eight participants ineffectually splashing around in waist-deep water. They can't even use their weapons; half of them use electricity of some kind (which goes out the window when they all agree to get in the water) and the other half get waterlogged pretty much immedately.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • The Crown "recruits" children that they kidnap off the street. They even specifically target orphans because no one will look for them.
    • Instead of trying to reason with Jaune, Ironwood decides to give him a straight up life sentence for associating with Salem. Even after Jaune is beaten up by Ironwood, the general still insists on straight up executing him.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Gillian, wanting to have her humanity restored, hopes to make a good impression on Salem by rescuing Jaune (recently captured by elite Atlasian soldiers led by Winter). Even with her lacking opposing thumbs she actually gets into the security room, disables the crucial systems, and is inches from opening the door to his cell... only for Tyrian to stride in, press the button, and take all the credit, with Jaune convinced he must have imagined her humanlike intelligence. Adding insult to injury, she could teach herself to change back but doesn’t know it.
  • You Are in Command Now: With Adam away, and the only other authority figure having got himself unceremoniously killed, the White Fang grunts in Mountain Glenn unanimously turn to previous hostage Jaune for leadership, on the grounds that he can kind of kill Grimm and they can't. He reluctantly goes along with it, at the very least because Grimm are presently bearing down on them all and there's no time.
    • It also serves as a Mythology Gag, because Jaune being made a White Fang leader after the previous one is killed is the premise of A Rabbit Among Wolves, another one of Coeur’s fanfics.
  • You Are Too Late: Played for Laughs, but Winter is literally seconds too late to warn Ironwood and Ozpin that the Fang and Cinder intend to attack the Vytal Festival with Grimm. They can't help but point at the Grimm literally falling from the sky at that moment when she delivers the news.
  • World Tour: In course of the story Jaune and Gang visited all kingdoms including Menagerie (Technically they don't visited Atlas itself only Argus).
  • Wretched Hive: What happens when you take Jaunesville, a town formed by and ruled by criminals, and just leave it on its own? Within a few years, it becomes Mistral's most obvious den of crime where the only two things that happen in it are drinking and gambling, and it only still stands because no one's willing to risk pissing Salem off and attacking it. It's rather popular to visit, similar to Las Vegas, with drunken ShotgunWeddings included.

Top