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Nightmare Fuel / Ruby and Nora

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How much more disturbing could this series get than canon? Well, you'll see…

ALL SPOILERS ARE UNMARKED.

Ruby's Birthday

Appropriate for a story taking place on Halloween.
  • Keter makes just about every scene he's in very tense. Even when he's not doing anything bad, the fact that he takes so much pride in his gruesome crimes. After his escape, every scene is just waiting for him to do something horrific.
    • The fact that his Semblance is Teleportation makes it even worse. In the hands of this Ax-Crazy Serial Killer, that's basically a way for him to get in and out of places without effort. He can take any victims that he wants and get out without getting caught just as easily. He even mocks the guard he kills him by making that point. There's a reason he's considered one of Remnant's most dangerous criminals.
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  • The moment that Keter goes up to Sally Rivers is just a wait for him to kill her. He makes polite conversation while acquiring the scissors, however, we know how this will end. He plunged the scissors into her chest and he walked out of the store while she could do nothing but watch as she died. It has some Paranoia Fuel about it. The idea that some deranged man could just walk into the place you work at and stab you to death without a second thought.
  • Killing the Lock family involves him simply ringing the doorbell and is allowed in by the father. After pretending to be a trick-or-treater, he stabs the father and then goes to the mother and daughter. The scene cuts out just before he murders them.
  • The pure murderous rage coming from Pyrrha of all people is a little unnerving. She was right about to kill Keter had Ozpin not stopped her.
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Weiss and Pyrrha

  • Abigail's reveal seems like something out of a horror movie. She is described as having a deranged smile while preparing to kill Weiss with the morphine needle.
  • There is also Abigail's casual indifference to taking lives. She took nearly one hundred lives in one fell swoop with her Semblance, and she didn't even give it a passing thought.
  • As the doctor hears what Abigail tried to do to Weiss, he begins having the sinking realization that this wasn't her first attempt at this. She had been doing it for a long time. She was able to stay beneath suspicion by acting heartbroken about losing a patient and no one suspected a thing.

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Pyrrha's Past

Pyrrha's upbringing was not a happy one...
  • Lyra's abuse, while sometimes exaggerated, can become disturbingly realistic at first.
  • The fact that Lyra murders her husband Orion simply for siding with Pyrrha. She then forces Pyrrha to tell the police that she did it in self-defense because he was the one abusing them. It worked!
  • Lyra is so psychopathic that she was willing to torture an innocent Faunus woman to death just because she was a Faunus and she believed she had information on the White Fang, despite any evidence showing that the woman clearly wasn't a terrorist. Finding out that she was a mother didn't deter her in the slightest. In fact, she wanted to know where the kids were, so she could handle them herself.
  • The fact that Lyra is so paranoid that she bugged her office to hear that Pyrrha was snitching on her. In response, she shot one of Pyrrha's teammates, snapped another's neck, and decided to mutilate the other for her to see. All because she tried to expose her.
    • The treatment to Rachel deserves some mention since she cut off her Faunus ears just to get a point across to Pyrrha.
  • Again, we see the reason why you shouldn't piss off Pyrrha. Once her Semblance was awakened, she had nothing but murderous rage towards Lyra and struck fear into that diseased psychopath's heart just before beating her to death.

Field Trip

  • Scorch's first scene is ordering Ilia to murder her own lover just because they were gay. It is as heartbreaking as it is horrifying.
  • Scorch calmly ordering the murder of Blake and Yang's classmates along with his threat to show Yang Ruby's body shows how ruthless and cruel Scorch can be. Another show of this is when Trifa shows remorse for killing her lover. She snaps her neck without a second thought.
  • When Blake mentions the day that Adam snapped after finding out she was gay when Scorch preached his message about homosexuality being a sin against the gods, she said that he decided to murder every peaceful member remaining in the White Fang simply because Blake would never love her.
  • When Adam accidentally slices the bars of Blake and Yang's cell, allowing them to escape, Scorch shows that he isn't a very forgiving boss. He takes out his daggers and impales Adam on the spot for his screw-up. Couldn't have happened to a nice Faunus, but it is still quite jarring to see how easily he will turn on even his most loyal followers.
  • Ruby tries to save her friends, but she gets hit with a tranquilizer and can do nothing as her classmates are murdered and her friends are taken away.
  • The train-bombing plot is almost more horrifying than it is in canon. With the explicit change that people are actually shown to be getting murdered as it happens. Scorch looks on to it with fondness.
  • Ilia comes to Blake to turn herself in for her crimes… just as she realizes she has a knife in her side. Scorch takes her out simply to spite the heroes.
  • Another spiteful move that Scorch made was to kill Ren on his way out. The heroes are helpless to do anything as they watch him die.
  • While it was an amazing moment, seeing Ozpin leave Scorch to a pack of Grimm beasts was chilling. Especially with the Pre-Mortem One-Liner that he gives before tossing him to the beasts.
  • Finally, in this story, we see the main villains of the whole series, and they're already looking forward to wrecking Vale. Who knows how bad the Fall of Beacon will be portrayed…

Vytal Tournament

  • Neopolitan's introduction to the series truly brings some outright gruesome violence after an attack on the CCT tower. Skull's attacks were ruthless, but Neo's were outright sickening. It's no wonder that Ironwood calls her an animal. Anyone with a shred of humanity wouldn't do the things described when Ciel and Ironwood found it:
    Not pretty was an understatement. The soldiers had been massacred, bullet riddled corpses being the least grotesque of the bodies. One man had been flayed, and two had their body parts cut off and stitched back onto the other’s body.
  • Neo's response is also unsettling. She only sits in custody. She only smiles when she looks at Ironwood, and he immediately tries to choke her out while interrogating her... something she continues to smile at. While the reason she doesn't talk is that she is genuinely mute, that response shows that she wouldn't talk anyway even if she could.
  • Penny's death is made even more horrifying by the fact that she's human in this series. No Bloodless Carnage for this one.
  • As soon as the Fall of Beacon occurs, we see the return of Skull shooting guards making sure the shields are kept up over Beacon to keep Grimm out. He lowers the shields and all Hell breaks loose. Even Ozpin is at a loss for what to do.
  • The ending of this story is the Nevermore attempting to break the shield and succeeding just before the story ends.

Evil's Past

  • Emerald met Neo because she was trying to steal from Roman's shipments to pay for an apartment. After Roman admits that he wouldn't have a problem killing a child, he decides a fitting punishment would be to hand her over to Neo, who turns out to be a sadistic serial-raping Psycho Lesbian. Roman only leaves her be as he listens to Emerald screaming for help.
  • Neo’s muteness is the result of Cinder Mind Raping her with the Seer Grimm. The tentacles embed themselves into Neo's skull as she tries to struggle away and she becomes completely obedient afterward.
  • How Cinder finds Mercury, running through the forest with broken legs and his flaming house and dead father behind him. Not only did he kill his father, but he left his mother to burn alive in his house. His reason for becoming a Self-Made Orphan?
  • Cinder brings Emerald in for a kiss... only to stab her and throw her off the roof just because she's not ruthless enough for what Cinder has planned next. Her cold dismissal of Emerald's death as the loss of a valuable asset is chilling.

Beacon's Fall

The Fall of Beacon is even more devastating than it is in canon.
  • The first moment is when Jaune is impaled with a Nevermore feather just when he pushes Ruby out of the way to save her.
  • After Neo broke out of her cell, she takes the gunship for a joyride, blowing up buildings with nothing but glee. And she's the one who enables the paladins to kill people. Letting a maniac like her have the controls is a surefire recipe for disaster.
  • When Cinder bursts into the chamber, she first impales Glynda, killing her and then she has the seer Grimm with her to restrain Ozpin. And even with Weiss' best efforts, Cinder is still able to kill Amber.
  • Ozpin asks what Cinder could possibly have to gain by aiding in Salem's plans. Then the most chilling reveal comes when her appearance changes... showing that she was Salem the whole time. And now Salem has Maiden powers.
    • Then the Fridge Horror kicks in when you realize that Salem was hiding in Beacon the whole time. She was even in the tournament and had an Aura that could be registered. It makes you wonder what exactly Salem is and how long she could've stayed under the radar.
  • The full extent of Salem's powers has yet to be explored on the show, but this fic shows that she can regenerate limbs and grow to massive size. This version really plays up the Humanoid Abomination angle.
  • After everything that's been done, every sacrifice that has been given, every plan that has been laid down, The Bad Guy Wins. Salem has acquired the Fall Maiden's powers, discredited Ozpin, and even killed Weiss and Pyrrha. Hopelessness is an understandable reaction.note 

Recovery

  • The story really gets into the details of what was happening on the ground from the perspective of the common citizen. Everyone is terrified, running scared with little hope of rescue.
  • Even worse, Mercury decides to have fun sniping civilians.
  • The moment Qrow sees Salem frozen on the tower, he realizes just how screwed everyone is.
  • After being injured, Salem is not happy. And she's now on a warpath to get back at Ruby.

Attacks

  • It turns out that while Summer, Yang, and Blake were scared after finding out Ruby was missing, the Aswang was watching the whole time. And now he knows where they're going.
    The Aswang: At this rate, I'll catch them before they even make it to Mistral!
  • Seeing Nora in a blind rage while beating up a Grimm shows just how broken she is now. Especially when she accidentally backhands Ruby into a wall.

Bloodsucker

  • Ruby and Nora briefly see the Aswang in the woods, but when they try to tell the waiter, he is gone.
    Nora: I don't have a good feeling about this.
  • After Muzukasi being saved from the Grimm attacks, it turns out that the Aswang has killed everyone in the village. Everyone except Penwood — who is now paralyzed from the neck down and everyone is appropriately horrified.
    • The worse part is that it is revealed that he was looking for his mother. Oobleck and Qrow already know that this means Salem is still alive.
  • The Aswang's attacks on both Muzukasi and the train station left bodies strewn everywhere and not a single drop of blood. Most Grimm creatures are relatively mindless beasts, but the Aswang is a different thing entirely. The fact that It Can Think and speak like a human is terrifying.
  • The attack on the train is a main source of terror in the story:
    • The Aswang greets Ruby and Nora with a disturbing Slasher Smile just before breaking the window and tackling her. She has trouble breaking free before Nora rescues her.
    • His comments to Ruby as he holds her down are also pretty unnerving.
      "I must say you're not a difficult girl to track. Though you do smell delicious."
    • While the fact that Nora keeps hitting him while cutting him off provides some Nightmare Retardant, it kicks right back up as he tackles Nora and starts clawing at her to diminish her Aura. No other Grimm are smart enough to know this. He's able to recognize this and strategize for it.
    • Just as Nora is beating the tar out of him, he starts using a familiar voice: the voice of Ren. Not only does he strategize for how he kills his prey, but he can also engage in psychological warfare.
  • However terrifying the Aswang may be, we're given a cruel reminder of how much more horrifying his master is. When he returns to Salem without Ruby, Salem is furious. Even when Mercury tries to leave, she orders him to stay in the room. And as the Aswang was begging for forgiveness, Salem shows no such thing. Whatever she does to the creature isn't described, but even Mercury is horrified by it. All we know is that there's a sickening pop and it covered her in the creature's blood.
    • Even hearing the Aswang begging for forgiveness is terrifying. As much of a sadistic, murderous monster as he was, you almost feel sorry for the thing. Especially since he calls her "mother."
      Aswang: She cut my arm off, and I was too weak to fight!
      Salem: Yet, you’re strong enough to come crawling back to me, begging for forgiveness?
      Aswang: I can make it up to you! P-Please...Mother...j-just regrow my arm and I won’t fail you again!
      Salem: Oh, you won’t be failing me again. [moves closer]
      Aswang: W-Wait...Mother...please! Have mercy!

Atlas

  • Winter thinks it would be a bad idea to let Jacques be in charge of Atlas while Ironwood is gone. While Ironwood assures Winter that it will go well, the next scene shows that it's even worse than Winter could have anticipated. This was all part of Salem's plan.
  • What happened to Nova Ivy and her family. They were tortured to death in front of her and considering how traumatizing it was, it definitely wasn't pretty. She has been repeating nothing but the word "monster" for days after the attack.
  • Not long after Winter and Nebula leave, they find out the whole hospital was massacred. The sight of bodies being gutted and dismembered calls back to Neo's attack on the CCT Tower from Vytal Tournament. Only one nurse survived the attack... and she says that it was another sentient Grimm.
  • In a flashback to Winter's childhood, we see just how cruel Jacques can be. He convinces Nicholas to sign over the SDC to him and they prepare a toast. When Nicholas asks why he didn't drink his, Jacques casually responds by saying he's "not the biggest fan of drinking poison." He keeps up his civil tone as he allows the man to die. Horrified, Winter blurts out for her grandfather and Jacques catches on. He makes sure Winter doesn't speak up... by threatening to kill his infant daughter. Jacques was a scumbag in canon, but this version takes it to a whole new level.
  • Nebula's meeting with the culprit of the Ivy and hospital murders: the Wendigo:
    • He starts out by shutting the officers in his cave until nothing but darkness consumes them. This is when he reveals himself by gazing at them with his glowing red eyes.
    • He also reveals that he is one of three Grimm that Salem granted sentience. He kills for pleasure and isn't a mindless beast.
      "I'm a Grimm that enjoys the taste of flesh and blood, I'm one of three Grimm chosen to speak and think. Hello. I am the Wendigo."
    • Even his tone drips with menace. It takes a special kind of monster to thank their prey for walking int his clutches.
    • Unlike the Aswang which was Ax-Crazy, yet still followed orders, the Wendigo is a genuine sociopath who kills for sport. Salem didn't order him to do it in any specific way. She just allowed him to be able to think and speak for himself. This is what he chose to do.
    • This is further emphasized by The Ring when showing that the third Grimm was a subversion of Always Chaotic Evil. The Wendigo's choices seem even more despicable since there is now proof that he did not have to be a killer. His free will could have allowed him to be benevolent and act on that. Not only did he choose to be a random Serial Killer, but he also chose to be a malevolent monster.

Crash

  • To see how quickly Raven can turn from physically abusive to affectionate to Vernal is jarring. She backhanded her and basically got Vernal to apologize for it.
  • Raven is ruthlessly efficient in the way she kills. She doesn't bat an eyelash when blowing up the train to crash the train ordering her men to kill any survivors other than Ruby.
  • We see the results of the crash in the next chapter and Ruby has to pull a piece of shrapnel out of her leg. She laughs in response, but it is clear that she is in agonizing pain and this is her way of dealing with it. Shortly after, they hear another survivor... and Raven coldly shoots him in the head as he pleads for help.
  • "Nora's Life" deserves special mention.
    • The Branwen tribe attacked Nora's village when she was a child and her mother Ophelia is trying desperately to protect her. Shay cuts them off and points his gun at them. Ophelia attacks him and warns Nora to run and not look back. Seeing Shay being angered, she dashes out of there. And the whole time, she never even saw if her mother got killed, or worse...
    • When Raven's tribe comes for Kuroyuri, Nora panics once again. Raven hunted her down all because she escaped her last raid. An tries to reassure her and Ren that Li can handle himself. Unfortunately, Raven holds him hostage and threatens to kill him.
    • Raion wasn't nice, but selling out a village just to live is a new low as Li admits. But he doesn't get off scot-free. Raven doesn't hesitate to shoot and kill him.
      "Never trust bandits, pal."
    • Raven usually kills whoever escapes her raids, but since Nora led her to another village, she decides to let her live... to be sold into slavery.
    • Ren is faced with the same frightening ordeal of leaving his parents behind while they wait for death. The Ursas are closing in quick and there's nothing he or Nora can do.

Salem's Arrival

  • Another reminder of why Salem is so terrifying is provided when she meeds with Raven after the failed mission. Salem has the seer Grimm wrap around her neck and its pincers pointed at her head. She threatens to lobotomize Raven like she did to Neo, and Raven only avoids this fate due to quick thinking. Though, Salem makes it clear that she only has one more chance.
  • Mercury absolutely relishes in the fact that he has Lionheart's family at his mercy. He even hopes that the Fall of Haven fails so he can do whatever he wants to them. After watching the video of this, Salem's comments don't help the situation.

STRQ

  • Tyrian makes his appearance and he's just as Ax-Crazy as ever. He takes a lot of relish in threatening to kill Qrow with his stinger. However, he ends up stinging Tai instead.
  • Raven gets back to beating Vernal, but when Corbin hands her the branch, she declined. She goes for the sword instead and keeps recording it for Little Miss Malachite.

The Ring

  • To capture Ruby and Nora, Little Miss Malachite sends in her enforcers to go slaughter everyone in the hotel they were staying at just to get to them.
  • At first, the Spider seems scary due to being a spider-like Grimm, but it turns out that he's actually quite friendly when he meets a young Little Miss. It's the girl who turns out to be a ruthless monster. When the Spider threatens to kill her because he doesn't want to go out killing, she manipulates him by saying he wouldn't kill his only friend. Even though we were introduced to a sweet and innocent girl, it turned out to be all a ruse. And her first task is to go out and kill her village just so she won't be held back by things like love, empathy, or conscience. She even killed her own mother who seemed like a good parent and even offered her advice on how to get rid of her fear of spiders.
  • Just to show how far Little Miss has fallen, she ends up letting the Spider be found by Salem in exchange for power and making him more compliant. When we meet him in the ring, he's just as ferocious and mindless as a typical Grimm.
  • Just as soon as Little Miss realizes she lost the Spider, she goes into a Villainous Breakdown and releases all the Grimm they have held captive. They end up tearing up everyone in the brothel as Little Makes her escape. But the Grimm start targeting her because of her negative emotions. When she realizes this, she calms down and tosses her subordinate to the Grimm. All of this shows that she truly cares about no one but herself.
  • As an added measure, she stabs Nora with a poison that will kill her instantly. Little Miss gives Ruby a Sadistic Choice to either get her or take the antidote to save Nora. Ruby begs for Nora to stay with her as she tries to heal her.

The Road to Atlas

  • The destruction of Menagerie is nothing short of Hellish. Imagine the beautiful island of Menagerie seen in Volumes four and five turned into a fiery wasteland. That's what awaits the protagonists when they arrive. They find Sienna trapped under some rubble, still dying in pain.
  • The chapter "Light and Void" along with the eponymous characters deserves some special mention:
    • The brother gods were actively malevolent in this version. Jinn said they were the equivalent of Serial Killers. They went across universes destroying them for power. Void would kill the god in charge of that universe and Light would take the power from the stars, essentially condemning any life there to freeze to death.
    • They apparently destroyed so many universes that not even Jinn can correctly guess how many were destroyed. They discover this when they see the thousands of shattered orbs in Light's domain representing universes. It's a truly haunting image of what these two have done.
    • After being banished to Remnant for a week, Light already destroyed all of humanity. He may have been the calmer and more methodical brother, but he was still Ax-Crazy.
    • While Void was imprisoned in an orb of light buried in the earth's crust, Light ended up being imprisoned in his own mind via Heel–Face Brainwashing. His malevolent personality is still there, but he is trapped by the benevolent personality. While fitting for him, it is still a rather disturbing thought.
  • Salem has already demonstrated Adaptational Villainy up to this point, but her Start of Darkness seals it. The reason she was locked away in the tower was that she killed her sister after hearing rumors that she would inherit the throne because of the former's cruel behavior. Void was able to communicate with her and bargain for power. In her new form, she went back and decapitated her father.

Cold

  • In Ironwood's absence, Winter's fears have come true. Atlas has been turned into a dictatorship under Jacques' rule. Little Miss reveals that any surviving Faunus have been lobotomized into servitude and he's able to have the heroes detained on the spot for supposed treason. Tyrant Takes the Helm doesn't even begin to cover how things have changed.
  • Ciel and Jekyde's fate is the most horrifying in the series yet. Jacques has them sentenced to death by acid. First to take down their Aura, and then to slowly wither away at them until they died. Jacques only looks at them with a smug grin as he allows them to be sprayed.
  • The lobotomization process is disturbing in several contexts. The Faunus subjected to it only have Empty Eyes and suffer Death of Personality. And the reason they raided Menagerie is that Jacques was running out of Faunus to enslave!
  • Ruby and Nora find that death isn't a good enough fate for Little Miss. Instead, they decide to Pay Evil unto Evil and subject her to the lobotomization process. Malachite's scream is described as ear-piercing. Even Cardin is surprised at how ruthless Ruby and Nora were now when he sees Little Miss in her vegetative state.
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