"Creation" is the twelfth episode of Volume 8 and the 104th episode of RWBY. It premiered for Rooster Teeth FIRST members on March 13th, 2021 and was made public on the Rooster Teeth site on March 20th, 2021.
James Ironwood, Vine Zeki, Harriet Bree and Elm Ederne wait for Penny Polendina's arrival in front of Atlas Academy. Meanwhile in a docking bay, Qrow Branwen and Robyn Hill attack the Atlesian Knight-200s that are loading the bomb into an airship. Ironwood receives a security alert about this and allows the Ace Operatives to go stop them, with Winter Schnee volunteering to stay with him in case someone comes with Penny.
Soon after, Penny arrives alone, and Winter places a Gravity Bolas on her wrists. Once Ironwood lets his guard down, "Penny" reveals that she is actually Emerald Sustrai, who used her Semblance to disguise herself and hide Jaune Arc, Nora Valkyrie, Lie Ren, Oscar Pine and the airship they arrived on. Emerald takes advantage of Ironwood's surprise and disarms him before the others engage him in combat. During the fight, Winter assists Jaune's group and eventually breaks Ironwood's Aura, knocking him unconscious. She then takes the bolas off Emerald's wrists and instructs everyone to proceed to phase two. While this fight takes place, Marrow Amin traps the Ace Ops so that Qrow and Robyn can finish destroying the AK-200s.
Earlier that day, Ruby Rose had been struck with inspiration to open the Vault and use the Relic of Creation to save Penny and the citizens of Atlas and Mantle. While they discussed the idea, Winter contacted Weiss Schnee. At the time, Winter had taken Marrow into an elevator, removed his restraints and declared that Ironwood had to be stopped. Soon after she sent a message to Weiss, she and Marrow encountered Qrow and Robyn at the elevator door. After communication between Winter and Weiss was established, Ruby's group gathered inside the Schnee Manor to figure out a plan to reach the Staff of Creation, stop Ironwood and use the Staff to achieve their goals.
In the present, Klein Sieben pilots an airship up to the hole Oscar had made in the bottom of Atlas when Ironwood had shot him. Team RWBY, Penny, Willow Schnee and Whitley Schnee are aboard the airship, and Ruby uses her Semblance to carry her teammates and Penny up through the hole and into the Atlas Vault. They take Penny up to the door, and as soon as it opens, Ruby once again uses her Semblance to grab her teammates, rush in, grab the Staff and activate it so that time stops. Ambrosius comes forth from the Staff, and Team RWBY uses a loophole to convince him to save Penny by using her soul and her robot body to make two distinct Pennies - an empty, virus-infected robot Penny and a human Penny, who existed all along within the robot.
Once this is complete, Ambrosius recedes into the Staff, and time begins flowing again. With the Staff no longer keeping Atlas afloat, the city begins to descend, with its Gravity Dust keeping it from outright plummeting. Jaune's group has entered a broadcast facility and gathered near a computer. Jaune starts to send out a live broadcast to explain to everyone what is happening, but the signal is suddenly lost immediately after he states that Atlas is falling. In an undamaged part of the military prison, Winter locks Ironwood in a cell and tells Jacques Schnee that Weiss decided they would take him and Ironwood with them before Atlas finishes falling.
Weiss summons Ambrosius from the Staff, and Team RWBY explains that they would like him to create portals throughout Atlas and Mantle that will all lead into a pocket dimension similar to the Vault. From there, everyone will be able to travel to a singular portal that opens into Vacuo. With the logistics explained and maps presented to him, Ambrosius makes it so, and just before they enter the portal near them, he warns, "Do not fall".
Team RWBY and Penny head into their portal with the Staff in hand, hoping they have not overlooked anything. Unbeknownst to them, Cinder Fall is standing among the Atlas refugees, ready to enter a portal.
A small Manta makes its way toward Atlas through a lightly Grimm-infested sky. Some of the ship's occupants (Jaune Arc, Nora Valkyrie, and Lie Ren) are visible and look uneasy. Just outside Atlas Academy, Vine Zeki, Harriet Bree, and Elm Ederne look on as James Ironwood readies a large handheld cannon, awaiting Penny Polendina's arrival.
Ironwood: Be ready for anything. We don't know what state Penny is in.
Harriet: If any of those brats have the nerve to come with her, we put them down immediately. The General gave his terms. No more games.
Vine sighs, while Elm looks uneasy.
Harriet: Is there a problem?
Vine: Just... retracing the steps that led us here.
Ironwood's Scroll beeps with a security alert.
Harriet: What is it, sir?
Vine: Trying to stop the payload?
Ironwood: Or just looking for a way out.
Harriet: Not going to happen. I've been waiting to take my shot at those two.
With a spread of her arms, she activates her Fast Knuckles.
Harriet: Let's go, Ace Ops.
Elm: But...someone needs to stay here with the General.
Winter Schnee: I'll stay.
She enters from offscreen, coming to a stop beside Ironwood.
Winter: We lose the payload, we lose our leverage.
Ironwood: She's right. Contain it. Now.
Vine, Harriet, and Elm leave to deal with the fugitives. Winter's expression softens.
Winter: Sir, this course of action--
Ironwood: I hope you're not going to try to talk me out of it.
Winter turns to look Ironwood in the eye, her demeanor shifting to a resolute one.
Winter: No, sir. I don't think that's possible.
With a whoosh, both are alerted to Penny's apparent approach, and they watch her touch down before them. Ironwood immediately levels his cannon at her. Its barrel glows a pale green as he charges it.
Ironwood: I didn't think you'd actually come alone.
He pauses to hand Winter a set of Gravity Bolas, then continues pointing his weapon at her.
Ironwood: I expected at least some resistance from your friends.
Penny: I don't want anyone else to die.
Winter steps forward, securing Penny's wrists with the bolas.
Penny: I must open the Vault.
Winter steps back, drawing her saber and pointing it at Penny. Ironwood takes a deep breath and lowers his cannon, then moves forward to place a hand on Penny's shoulder.
Ironwood: You've done the right thing.
Penny cocks an eyebrow, her voice suddenly deeper than usual.
Penny: I have.
Emerald: Feels weird.
Ironwood only has enough time to widen his eyes in shock before Emerald's shoe connects with his chin. As he stumbles back, he drops his weapon. Emerald lands in a crouch, catches Ironwood's cannon, then uses her Semblance to disappear from view.
Jaune swings his sword at Ironwood, but the general dodges, grabbing his wrist. He lands a blow on Jaune's shield, and is blasted back by a wave of Gravity Dust. Oscar joins the fray, getting a few hits with The Long Memory in, but takes a hit to the stomach. One of Ren's grappling blades wraps around Ironwood's ankle, and he is pulled off his feet. Ren fires, but the general dodges, shaking off his tether. After a brief tussle, Ironwood sends Ren flying with a kick.
An ethereal glimmer is heard, and Ironwood looks skyward to find Nora being charged up by a lightning dust-infused Schnee glyph. Winter stands to the side, pointing her sword at Nora, clearly responsible for the glyph. Ironwood grimaces at the betrayal, then takes Nora's hammer to the face, tumbling bodily on the ground.
Meanwhile, in the hangar, Vine, Harriet, and Elm get ready to charge into battle.
Marrow Amin: Stay!
They stop in their tracks. Harriet painstakingly moves her eyes to see Marrow slowly approaching, pointing his index finger at her.
Winter and Oscar charge at Ironwood atop a Manticore summon, courtesy of the former. Ironwood is able to stop the Manticore by grabbing its horns, but its riders leap off. Winter hits the general in the back with icy projectiles as he slams her summon on the ground, destroying it. Upon landing, Winter summons a black glyph, which catches Oscar and propels him back at Ironwood. The boy unleashes a flurry of jabs at Ironwood's front, causing his Aura to shimmer.
Ironwood stumbles back, and Oscar presses on. However, the general catches his cane and prepares to attack with his free hand. Then, moving too fast for him to react, Winter slashes him across the chest with her sword, causing his Aura to dissipate. Ironwood's eyes roll into the back of his head, and he collapses.
In the hangar, the detached, sparking head of an Atlesian Knight-200 hits the floor, one of Robyn's crossbow bolts embedded in it.
Qrow: Sorry guys, but we don't wanna fight.
Robyn: We didn't wanna drop Atlas either, but we've all had to make some tough calls, huh?
Winter sheathes her weapon, and straightens up. Emerald shimmers back into view again, hands Winter the weapon Ironwood dropped, and has the bolas taken off her wrists.
Winter: Go! Move to phase two.
Oscar, Jaune, Nora, Ren, and Emerald hurry into the academy.
Flashback: Teams RWBY, JNR, and Penny sit together on the ground in front of Schnee manor. Emerald and Oscar stand behind Jaune.
Nora: Guys, she has to go to the Vault.
Ruby: That’s actually a risk we haven’t considered.
Jaune: We've been so worried about keeping the Vault closed that we never considered using what's inside.
Oscar: The Staff of Creation.
Ruby: Maybe we could use it to save Penny and get everyone in Atlas and Mantle back to safety.
Weiss: Well, you'll never guess who I just heard from.
Winter pushes Marrow roughly into an Atlas elevator. Marrow rubs his unbound wrists tenderly as Winter crosses her arms grimly.
Marrow: So, you're not arresting me?
Winter: No. Ironwood's got to be stopped.
Marrow angrily rounds upon her.
Marrow: Then why did you hit me?!
Winter pushes him back and jabs a finger in his chest.
Winter: Because you were about to get killed if I didn't do something.
Marrow grunts turning away with his arms crossed. Winter takes out her Scroll to contact Weiss. Marrow sneaks a glance at her.
Marrow: What are you doing?
Winter: (sighs) What I should've done ages ago, getting in touch with my sister. We're going to need help.
The elevator door opens. Qrow and Robyn stand on the other side, their weapons raised. Both parties look surprised.
Winter: Speaking of help.
The group has reconvened in the manor's dining room. Jaune has a hand on Penny's shoulder and is staving off the virus by boosting her Aura.
Weiss: So we've got people trapped in Atlas and Mantle that we can't evacuate unless we use the Staff which is located inside the Vault. If we open the Vault, Penny terminates. If Ironwood gets wind of any of this, he blows up Mantle.
Oscar: There's something else to consider. Once the Staff creates anything else, the city drops. Atlas has enough natural Gravity Dust to keep it from plummeting immediately, but, well, nobody's going to want to be around when it touches down.
Jaune stops using his Semblance.
Jaune: Okay, then let's use the Staff to teleport everyone to safety. Maybe even to another Kingdom.
Oscar: We can't just wave it like a magic wand and make our problems go away. And we haven't even told you about... him.
Oscar's eyes glow as control of his body is switched to Ozpin.
Ozpin: The spirit in the Staff. Like Jinn, but, well, he's a character. He can build you anything, but only if you can explain to him how. Like any craftsman, he'll need blueprints. Some sort of reference. It'll help if we have real world examples to show him.
Whitley: I've already gone through the city layouts for the SDC evacuation. Maybe I can help?
Ozpin, Weiss, and Ruby smile at Whitley. Ozpin drops his gaze and frowns.
Ozpin: There's still James and his bomb to consider.
Weiss: Oh, I've got a plan for that.
She catches Emerald's eye, who perks up in surprise.
A Manta haphazardly drifts up to a large hole in the base of Atlas' floating landmass.
Blake: So, that takes care of phase one.
Ruby: Meanwhile, the real Penny goes to the Vault, with help.
The door on the side of the ship opens, revealing a grimacing Penny being supported by Blake and Yang. Ruby casts Penny a worried look. Weiss gives a thumbs-up to Klein who is in the pilot's seat. Klein returns the gesture as her mother and brother look on.
Oscar: I blasted a hole through the bottom of Atlas and I highly doubt they've had time for repairs. That should take you straight to it. All of that is the easy part.
Ruby uses her Semblance to carry Penny and her team through the hole and up the shaft to the landing in front of the Atlas Vault. As they approach it, the steps leading up to it move into place, reacting to their presence.
Ruby: As soon as Penny opens the door, we go through, grab the Staff, and stop her termination.
Weiss stands guard with Myrtenaster as the others kneel by the Vault door. Yang has a steadying hand on Penny's shoulder.
Yang: Just hang in there, Penny. Okay?
Penny's Maiden's eye-flames flare weakly as she clutches her head, but she nods. As she reaches for the door, her eye-flames flare up to their usual strength. On making contact, the door's engravings glow ice-blue. The Vault door comes down piece-by-piece, and Ruby is in motion before it opens all the way. She picks up her team in a burst of rose petals, hurrying into the grassy area in the Vault. She deposits her team on a stone platform and rushes forward to grab the Staff.
As this happens, time slows to crawl and eventually stops. Jaune is seen in front of a broadcast terminal, and Winter is seen escorting Ironwood to a holding cell adjacent to her father's, while Penny goes through her death throes beyond the vault door. Cyan smoke billows from the jewel topping the staff as Team RWBY looks on in awe. A muscular, blue-skinned figure takes form before them and flexes gratefully.
Spirit: Ah! It seems someone has come to engage my creative wiles! All I'll say is it had better be worth it after my last project.
The figure crosses his arms. His disdain is evident.
Spirit: A floating city? (scoffs) How pedestrian.
Ruby steps forward, the Staff still in her hands.
Ruby: Hi, um, Mr. Ambrosius? Sir, listen, it's about our friend. She's... She's dying.
Ruby turns to look at Penny as Ambrosius inspects his nails, unconcerned.
Ambrosius: I'm going to go ahead and assume that you know it's against the rules for me to bring people back from dead so...
Ruby: That's not what we want. She's not your typical girl.
Ambrosius looks up, and he rushes over to the Vault door. With a snap of his fingers, he conjures what looks like a jeweler's magnifying glass, and inspects Penny.
Ambrosius: So she isn't! I'd love to meet whoever did this. Ah, I see.
He flies back into the Vault to rejoin the girls.
Ambrosius: There's something eating away at her. I'm guessing you think you have some clever plan to save her. Just know, I will give you exactly what you ask for and I don't want any complaining when it's not what you wanted.
Ruby and Weiss exchange meaningful looks, and the latter pulls out her scroll, projecting a hologram of Penny's blueprints for Ambrosius to see. The spirit is immediately engrossed in them.
Ruby: We brought her schematics. We want you to make a new version of her using her exact same robot parts.
Ambrosius frowns, peering over the hologram at Ruby.
Ambrosius: That was curiously worded, girl.
Ruby: An exact copy of her would include the virus. An exact copy of her without the virus would cease to exist the second you make something else, and we kinda wanna keep her around longer than that.
Ambrosius: (chuckling) You've done your homework.
Ruby: We want you to create a new version of her, using her existing robotic parts taking the virus with them.
Ambrosius forms a steeple with his fingers, deep in thought. He twirls in the air away from the girls to make a series of complex hand gestures, apparently doing some difficult calculations. Weiss stops projecting the hologram and Team RWBY looks at its leader, who can only shrug.
Ambrosius: Okay, but if I take the robot parts out of her, that would leave...
Blake: Penny. The girl who's always been there underneath it.
Ruby: You can't destroy, it's against the rules. But you wouldn't be destroying her. Her soul is who she is.
Yang flexes her arm, drawing attention to her prosthesis.
Yang: The mechanical parts are just... extra.
Ambrosius turns back to the girls, frantically gesturing as he speaks.
Ambrosius: But a soul without a complete body, what would be left?
Ruby: I don't know. I guess you just have to... get creative.
Excited, he flies here and there, doing calculations, clearly lost in thought.
Ambrosius: (laughing) I suppose I could do a little... Oh, add a touch of... But if I do that, how much of the old Penny would be my work and how much would be her? Just coming up to the surface.
He returns to the girls, amusement on his face.
Ambrosius: This is all very exciting. (sighs) And very dangerous. I don't know what the results are going to be.
Weiss: We don't have any other options. We believe in her.
Ambrosius: Then ready yourselves, to witness my artistry!
He makes an expansive gesture, before making some hand movements, a bright glow emanating from them. A stream of sparks and mist moves toward Penny and snakes around her, lifting her into the air. As time resumes for her, she blinks and the red glow of the virus disappears from her eyes. She glows brightly, causing Team RWBY to shield their eyes. Her extremities shimmer, and when Ambrosius gives a final snap of his fingers, two identical Pennys stand beyond the vault's threshold.
Ambrosius: It's done!
With a cheeky look and a wink, he disappears in a puff of cyan smoke.
Qrow and Robyn sheathe their weapons, trusting Marrow to hold the other Ace Ops in place with his Semblance. The military complex rumbles as Jaune and his group stand before the broadcast terminal.
Jaune: I guess that's the signal then. Seems like things are moving forward in the Vault.
He begins typing on the keyboard. The screen reads WELCOME BACK, and several windows pop up.
Nora: Hopefully Penny is going to be okay.
Oscar: If Atlas is moving, we need to get word out before people panic.
Emerald: Meaning hurry!
Jaune: I know, I know!
He jabs at a single button repeatedly, then taps another. A red circle followed by LIVE appears on screen. His companions give a start.
Jaune: Okay, this should be, um... That did, uh, something?
Ren: You're live.
Emerald: Everyone can see you.
In the subway, a mother watches the broadcast with her child.
Jaune: Oh! (clears throat) Citizens of Atlas, Mantle, what we have to tell you is very important. Atlas is falling but--
His image blinks out, to be replaced by a NO SIGNAL banner and a color test card. Jaune blinks in surprise.
Jaune: Wait, what happened?
Ren: It's dead! The entire CCT, it just went down.
Nora raises her scroll, which is displaying the same color test card.
Nora: And so did Kingdom wide communications. How?
Oscar: The bigger question is what do we do now?
Ironwood lies unconscious in his holding cell as Winter frowns at the sudden signal disruption on her Scroll. Jacque Schnee is in the adjacent cell.
Jacques: That boy said Atlas is falling. Is that true?
Winter: Yes. We're using the Staff to get everyone to safety. Salem can have the rubble. We'll all be long gone.
As she turns to leave, her father reaches out, only for the hard-light barrier of his cell to buzz against his hands.
Jacques: Are you... Are you going to leave me here?!
Winter: No. When we're finished, we'll move both of you to safety.
Jacques: Oh, Winter, thank you. I--
Winter rounds upon Jacques, annoyed.
Winter: Don't thank me. It was Weiss's decision.
Team RWBY approaches the two Pennys. One takes on her usual appearance while the other, the real girl, has no leggings or gloves, showing that her robot parts have been replaced with Human skin.
The real Penny blinks tentatively, and opens her eyes. She raises her hand to inspect it, then catches sight of the robotic copy next to her. It sparks and crackles in a clumsy, soulless attempt to move toward her, then falls to its knees. It clutches its head and convulses on the floor, its red eyes changing in size wildly before finally clanking to a halt, its eyes turning a lifeless grey. Penny looks horrified at the sight, and Ruby puts a hand on her shoulder.
Ruby: Are you okay?
Penny looks at the hand on her shoulder then back at Ruby, and smiles. She embraces Ruby's midsection, and the light coming out of the vault illuminates her face.
Penny: Do hugs always make you feel this warm inside?
Ruby slowly returns the embrace, smiling.
Penny: Wow! More!
Penny lunges at Weiss as well, wrapping her in a hug. The newly-made girl's eyes glint as she catches sight of Blake and Yang, whom she promptly hugs as well.
Weiss: We should probably make sure our theory works. And start the evacuation.
Penny stands by Ruby's side as Weiss twirls the Staff in her hands. Ambrosius appears in a puff of smoke, stretching in relief.
Ambrosius: Ah! Free to create and...
His expression falls.
Ambrosius: Oh, it's you guys again.
Weiss: We're not done with you yet.
Ambrosius: Ugh, fine!
As he crosses his arms and looks away, Yang steps forward.
Yang: Let's try the quick version. Can you make a bunch of doorways in Atlas that open at a single spot in Vacuo?
Ambrosius: Sure! I'll just need coordinates and specs for each door, an explanation for bending space and time to account for the much greater traffic on one side and the single point of exit on the other.
Ruby and Penny look confused and concerned respectively. Weiss clutches her forehead in irritation.
Weiss: Okay, that's about what we expected. So, we need to funnel everybody through a central location first.
Ambrosius: You're going to have to tell me more about this central location. For starters, uh, where is it?
Yang: Here. A place like these Vaults. Wherever they are, they're not part of Remnant. Only accessible if you know the right way in. Seems like a safe enough place for thousands of refugees.
Ambrosius chuckles, amused.
Ambrosius: You kids are either smart or much more foolish than you realize. (sighs) I'm going to need a reference?
Weiss: Oh, we've got one.
She pulls out her Scroll again and projects for Ambrosius schematics of the Snow Shoe Shipping pneumatic tube delivery system, as well as the Atlesian Military Compound where all the tubes connect. Ambrosius smiles and concentrates briefly before making some more complex hand gestures. In the doorway to the Vault appears a glowing blue portal bordered by a yellow frame. In extradimensional space, a network of these portals appear, linked by bridges, all leading to a central platform funneling into a particularly large portal. In the distance, a large wireframe of a globe and support struts are visible against the backdrop of a dark sky filled with cyan and orange mist.
Similar portals appear wherever the people of Atlas and Mantle are gathered: in the subway stations; and in Mantle Crater. One pops up near where May Marigold, Joanna Greenleaf, and Fiona Thyme are standing. Joanna experimentally reaches into it, and Fiona is shocked to see that her arm does not come out the other side. Joanna and May share a determined look.
Weiss: People enter from Atlas and Mantle on one side... and leave on the other side, with a one-way ticket to Vacuo.
Joanna moves through the portal, and after a rush of speeding light, steps into the extradimensional space. Following a brief look around, she turns to head back.
Ambrosius: Well, everything appears to be in order. You were quite thorough, disappointingly so.
He lazily settles into a reclined position midair, putting his feet up.
Weiss: So, it's done?
He waves the girls away, apparently bored. The girls trade looks of contentment before heading out of the Vault. Penny pauses to watch her dead robotic copy disintegrate before moving on.
Ambrosius: Oh, and one last point of clarification about this central location of yours.
He faces them with a serious expression on his face.
Ambrosius: Do not fall.
The girls look uneasily at each other.
Ambrosius: Okay, and with that dire warning--
He takes a bow and disappears in a puff of smoke again. Penny stands before the portal, looking at her hands in disbelief before receiving the Staff from Weiss.
Weiss: We did it!
The Staff collapses into a more portable form in Penny's hands.
Penny: What now?
Ruby: We go to Vacuo, all of us, and hope that we've thought of everything.
Elsewhere in the Atlas subway, a cloaked Cinder appears among the anxious refugees. She turns to face the portal with a dark grin.
- Jaune Arc
- Nora Valkyrie
- Lie Ren
- James Ironwood
- Vine Zeki
- Harriet Bree
- Elm Ederne
- Joanna Greenleaf
- Fiona Thyme
- Penny Polendina
- Emerald Sustrai
- Oscar Pine
- Qrow Branwen
- Robyn Hill
- Marrow Amin
- Ruby Rose
- Weiss Schnee
- Blake Belladonna
- Yang Xiao Long
- Klein Sieben
- Whitley Schnee
- Willow Schnee
- Jacques Schnee
- Ambrosius (First Appearance)
- May Marigold
- Cinder Fall
- Winter Schnee
- Eddy Rivas described this episode as being the moment in the "heist" where "everyone succeeds" and everything is " firing on all cylinders". This is the biggest victory for the good guys and the highest point in the volume.
- The scene with Marrow and Winter in the elevator was a moment that was moved around a lot during production before finally settling. Dustin Matthews can remember it being in at least three different places. It was eventually decided that having this reveal just after showing the fight with Ironwood would be the most effective.
- Early concepts for the interior of the Atlas Vault had it feature heavy distortion effects similar to the Haven Vault in Volume 5. This was toned down greatly due to the fact that Team RWBY spends a lot more time in the Atlas Vault than Yang did in the Haven Vault, and several full scenes of everyone "heatwave distorting" would have been too distracting.
- Figuring out how Team RWBY got the idea for the Central Location was a challenge. In early drafts it was going to tie into Fiona Thyme's Semblance, but as the Volume was shuffled around Fiona ended up not sharing much screentime with Team RWBY. It was decided that they would have it tie back to the Vaults so it would be more related to the Relics, which then gets combined with Snow Shoe Shipping to create a concept that could be explained to Ambrosius.
- When initially writing for the Volume, although they knew what the Staff did, the writers did not have the specific rules for it until much later.
- Main article: Creation/Image Gallery
- RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 12
- RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 12
- RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 12
- RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 12
- RWBY Volume 8 Directors' and Writers' Commentary Chapter 12