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Nightmare Fuel / Vale's Underground

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"I know the Bull [Taurus] has one very bad temper, but if you make me angry and I have to kill you... it's not gonna be pretty. So, I suggest that you don't make me angry because I absolutely love to hurt people. Taurus might make you fear for your life, but I can make you wish I'd kill you."
Cinder talking to Dave Bronzewing as she tortures him

The story Vale's Underground features some very disturbing content. When dealing with the world of organized crime, things can get extremely brutal. It may not have the same fantasy horror-factor of RWBY, but it more than makes up for that with its own brand of real-world horrors.


SPOILERS ARE UNMARKED as per Nightmare Fuel page guidelines. Examples are listed in chronological order.

  • "Cinder" in general. The fact that no one knows her real name or anything about her background, and she's been allowed to run organized crime in the city for years. Her sadism is ramped up to a truly discomforting level by making it personal. A good number of examples on this page are the direct result of her actions.
    "Oh, please. That's just adorable. You think you know suffering better than I do? I perfected the art of causing suffering."
    Cinder talking to Adam Taurus in Chapter 6
  • When Robert is brought in by Mercury, he's begging for his life just before Cinder starts beating him senseless. She even grabs his injured hand (which Mercury shot earlier) and crushes it. When she beats him, there's a description of his bones and jaw breaking, making it very personal. The even more chilling aspect is how it is described as euphoric for her, especially when she breaks his jaw.
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  • Later in the first chapter, after that brutal beatdown, Cinder decides that isn't enough. She douses the poor man in kerosene and lights him on fire. She simply watches with pleasure while watching Robert struggle to break free. The next chapter only mentions that his foot was charred, but considering the extent of his injuries, a pretty sight it would not be.
  • There's something rather unsettling in the way that Raven interacts with Qrow. It seems like just plain Squick with the implications of Brother–Sister Incest, but with the way Qrow resists her advances by both violently shoving her away and then threatening to shoot her, it almost seems like Raven is forcing him into it. The real kicker is that his reactions seem to imply that this isn't new behavior at all...
  • Cinder's torture of Dave Bronzewing. She drills two of his fingertips while keeping up her Faux Affably Evil act. After he begs for mercy by promising to give her everything, she decides to pry out one of his teeth. Slowly. After promising to give him information to ensure a quick death... she picks up scissors and saying that she's not done yet. When asked about the promised quick death, she calmly replies, "I lied," before cutting his tongue in half and kissing him to taste the blood. This is the scene where the page quote comes from.
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  • Then, while on a field trip, a group of Nora's students sees the mutilated corpse hanging in a tree. Cinder really did a number on him, and the extent of those mutilations described in the next chapter are nauseating. Judging by Nora's reaction, it makes it more disturbing when you remember that children found this gruesome sight first.
  • While it was Played for Laughs in context with how blasé Penny was about it, she mentions a case where she caught a man who was implied to be... having sex with his daughter's dead body while trying to use blood as lube. Take away Penny's cheerful delivery and that story becomes incredibly disturbing.
  • Adam is shown raping a sex slave in Chapter 5 while choking her with a smile on his face. When he catches her escaping, he shoots her several time, but she doesn't die. The worker who was there shoots her in the head twice as a Mercy Kill. If she was left alive, Adam might've just used her again.
  • Hazel's fury when Roman forgets his daughter's name. Roman knows he screwed up and even he is scared for his life.
  • Hazel mentions that Tyrian is here in the series and was recently arrested. It might hit you later that Blake and Sun arrested some lunatic with a ponytail earlier in the chapter...
  • Remember when it was mentioned that Raven's advances on Qrow may not have been new? Chapter 7 shows Raven outright raping Qrow because she thinks she'll make him attracted to women. A flashback shows that this happened when they were younger.
  • Tyrian may be a violent lunatic, but the fact that Hazel has the power to strike fear into his heart really shows how terrifying he can be.
  • On that note, the reason Hazel had to threaten Tyrian is that he threatened to kill Hazel's daughter all just for fun.
  • Qrow is definitely very different from his canon counterpart. He shows this when he tells Senator Calvin that he knows where his family lives and where his son goes to school. He even shows a live video feed of Beacon to show that he isn't bluffing in the slightest. Even the way Qrow reveals it is scary. He starts off acting concerned about Calvin's family and then gets disturbingly specific about where Raven might attack his family.
  • During that scene, Qrow keeps having flashbacks to his sister's abuse. Even when he's in a position of power, the abuse that he suffered can still affect him at any moment. Even when he's the one making the threats.
  • Salem may not be supernatural, but she's still pretty intimidating. She is able to enter Vernal's secure lab and then puts a knife to her throat to get her to cooperate. When she goes to talk to Raven, she holds Shay hostage by holding a gun to his head and then points the gun at Raven as soon as she tries to attack her. And she somehow knows about Raven raping Qrow. She already adds an ominous atmosphere with her appearance and she's only human in this story.
  • The lengths that Cinder can take to obstruct justice are chilling. Having Cardin placed in as her mole allowed a secret operation to be completely blown (no pun intended) with a potential witness to catch her, several honest cops, and even more innocent bystanders killed in the process. Additionally, the bomb destroying evidence in the apartment was remotely activated. Cinder could have easily waited for Ruby to enter and check things out, but she only bombed it just in time for her to catch it. She is actively toying with Ruby and it shows that she could take her out at any time she wants. That really shows the influence that Cinder has in Vale.
  • Blake and Sun walk up to a crime scene where the bodies of a young married couple were dismembered and rearranged with each other, comparing it to Frankenstein's monster.
  • When Raven finally gives Cinder the message that Salem is coming, Cinder's demeanor changes from calm, sadistic satisfaction while watching someone burn to one of shock. Cinder being shocked about Salem coming is an instant red flag. She stands there motionlessly until rage consumes her and she crushes her matchbox. Considering that Salem says Cinder will know what she means and no one else seems to know, it may suggest some former connection between the two. If this is her reaction to hearing that Salem is coming, it makes you what exactly happened between them that would elicit such a reaction.
  • The end of Chapter 10 shows Tyrian and Hazel abducting and killing a young woman in the middle of the night.
  • The change in Cinder's demeanor after hearing about Salem really shows how fast she is losing her grip on sanity.
    • Near the beginning of Chapter 11, she starts using her worst workers to shoot apples off their heads like it's a sick game. When Mercury arrives, she pulls out a Hand Cannon and absolutely decimates their heads while playing Russian Roulette with them. The story describes the gory mess in rather graphic detail.note 
    • Sex with Cinder is something that anyone who likes women would have some interest in. However, not when she's in the middle of choking you to death.
      • While in the middle of having sex with Emerald, Cinder randomly starts choking her with her thighs for no apparent reason. It isn't her usual sadism. It was a spontaneous act of violence seemingly brought on by the stress of Salem's arrival.
      • In the next chapter, she starts strangling one of Branwen's moles with her bare hands while having sex with him. While she does display her usual sadism, it really doesn't have the same low-key feel that she usually has. She is on the edge of Ax-Crazy at that moment, and she slips off her controlled, seductive mask to give him a glimpse of instability underneath.
        "Don't lie to me. Or do lie… It's not like it'll help you."
    • Raven raises concerns about Cinder's sadism reaching Taurus' level of crazy. That can be seen when Cinder goes to him to ask about Cinder. She starts out as her usual Faux Affably Evil self, but that quickly drops as soon as they start talking about Salem in detail. She gets increasingly aggressive as she tries to confirm her appearance and then starts muttering about her when she finds out that it actually was Salem.
  • Cinder apparently was always a vicious sadist even when she was younger. And Salem, her mother, actively encouraged this behavior. Clearly, the question isn't if she'd be a criminal if she never got that coaching. It's more of a question of how bad would she be if she didn't have the proper guidance. According to Salem, Cinder enthusiastically tortured her father to death. Was Salem the difference between Cinder becoming a refined and sophisticated mob boss and a frothing-at-the-mouth, unstable madwoman?
  • The fact that many of Salem's interactions with Cinder mirror actual abusers can be rather disturbing. She never lies to her daughter, but that's her way of effectively Gaslighting her by relying on careful wording.
  • Cardin murdering a suspect just because he knew he was a dirty cop. Even the narration states that he basically got away with cold-blooded murder.
  • Not only does Nia rape the girls that Adam gives her, but she sends them along to Torchwick behind Taurus' back for organ harvesting. And as Watts pointed out, the girl was still alive when she was delivered.
  • Pretty sexy striptease from Cinder, right? Let's follow that up with the image of a stripper being Flayed Alive. The scene describes her as stumbling around with blood dripping down her muscles just before collapsing on the stage.
    • The amount of enjoyment Cinder gets out of watching Mercury do it is also disturbing. She had to have sex with Mercury and Emerald after committing the act, and she's still thinking about it when she's with both of them.
  • Taurus' fury at Nia just after finding out she works for Torchwick is definitely unsettling. Especially when she starts beating her up and raping her. While the author does say that she doesn't deserve a ton of sympathy since she is a Serial Rapist herself, the image is no less horrifying.
  • Dylan's arrest brings up a serious Adult Fear. Someone you know has done something illegal without you knowing it and now you're getting taken in by the police for their actions. Pretty scary to think about. And that's before even getting into the fact that the one arresting them is Cardin. Now, they're at his mercy.


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