In the Amity Colosseum, Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai face off against Coco Adel and Yatsuhashi Daichi in the doubles round of the Vytal Festival. Both teams are confident, trading compliments and taunts before the match begins. For the battle, the arena splits into four biomes - a geyser field, a forested area, a ruined city and a field of long grass. As the match starts, Emerald and Mercury casually back into the concealment of the grass. Coco proceeds to use her gatling gun to cut down the grass with sustained fire, but Emerald and Mercury are nowhere to be found. Suddenly, Mercury attacks from the sky, landing multiple hits on both Coco and Yatsuhashi.
Emerald takes Coco by surprise with Thief's Respite, dragging her deeper into the forested area where she has taken cover. Mercury and Yatsuhashi square off individually in close combat at the geyser field, in which Mercury consistently appears to have the upper hand. What initially appears to be Yatsuhashi appears behind Coco, but this is soon revealed to be an illusion, as he has actually been eliminated by Mercury on the opposite side of the arena. Emerald emerges from the shadows and knocks Coco out, ending the match.
Later, Weiss and Winter Schnee are seen speaking over croissants and strawberries at a garden pavilion. Winter tells Weiss that she is departing Vale that day, revealing that she was only there to accompany a delivery of Atlesian Paladin mech units. Winter reminisces about the day Weiss left home, and their father's reaction when he learned that Weiss was studying at Beacon Academy. They also discuss Weiss' progress with her Semblance, Glyphs, which is hereditary to members of the Schnee family. While Weiss has made significant progress, she has failed to master summoning. Winter demonstrates the power by manifesting a white Beowolf beside her.
Meanwhile, back at Beacon, Ruby Rose, Qrow Branwen and Yang Xiao Long are playing video games in Team RWBY's dorm room as Qrow recounts the events of his last mission. When Ruby and Yang remark on their experience, due to their success stopping Roman Torchwick, Qrow calls them naive. After Torchwick's capture, all criminal activity and violence in Vale abruptly stopped, which Qrow finds suspicious. He also reminisces about his time at Beacon and his former team, Team STRQ, which also includes Yang and Ruby's parents - Summer Rose, Taiyang Xiao Long and Raven Branwen. Qrow concludes that they both have a lot to learn before they can call themselves Huntresses.
Winter tutors Weiss in her summoning, but Weiss continues to have difficulty. They begin to discuss their common experiences and troubles with their family legacy. Winter reveals that she too had problems with their father cutting her off when she was in the Atlas Military. She gives Weiss the choice of either continuing to rely on their father for his money and support, or forging her own path and learning more about herself by exploring Remnant on her own. As they bid farewell and leave, the sword of the Arma Gigas that Weiss had defeated in the "White" Trailer is seen manifested on the ground before dissolving. That night, as Winter departs, Weiss again rejects a call from her father.
After the opening, the Amity Colosseum is still floating high amid the cheers of an excited audience as the two opposing pairs of partners for the match, the grinning Mercury Black and Emerald Sustrai against a confident Coco Adel and meditating Yatsuhashi Daichi, wait in the center of the stadium for the holographic roulette to pick the field.
The Colosseum chooses four fields to rise up from below in quarter sections: A patch of tall grassy plains which has a single tree and some rocks; the ruins of a city, complete with buildings holding shattered windows and rubble among the pavement; a hot spring containing geyser spots along a small river and some blue Dust crystal growths; and a familiar section of dense forest.
Coco: (lowers her sunglasses as she eyes her opponents) Hey! Love the outfit, kid!
Emerald: I'll try not to get blood on it.
Yatsuhashi: (getting up as he removes Fulcrum from his back) I can't promise you'll leave without a scratch.
Emerald: (stretching out her arm) I won't be the one bleeding.
Coco: Ooh, I like her!
Port: (along with the countdown behind the combatants) Three, two, one, begin!
Instead of charging forward, Mercury and Emerald slowly walk back into the tall grass and disappear behind the leaves. Coco and Yatsuhashi smile at each other before the leader pops out her Gatling gun and begins mowing down the field as the crowds of sunglasses-wearing fans roar their approval, even when bullets nearly hit them from the other side of the forcefield. Coco lets up as she and Yatsuhashi realize the two opponents aren't in the plains section anymore.
Mercury drops from the sky, aiming for Coco, but Yatsuhashi pushes her out of the way and blocks Talaria with his blade, pushing him back. Coco opens fire at him again, though Mercury is able to outrun each shot.
Scarlet: Yeah, but where's the girl?
Mercury reaches the two and kicks away Coco's weapon while dodging Yatsuhashi's blade, then delivering a double blow to the giant warrior before jumping over Coco's continued barrage of bullets. He lands on the barrels and kicks her in the face, leaping over another of Yatsuhashi's swings, only to let himself be hit so he can get behind Coco and force her to press the muzzle up to her own teammate. Everyone stands still until Coco compresses her weapon back into its handbag form and tries to hit Mercury with Yatsuhashi, but he deftly jumps back and launches two blasts from his boots that the members of CFVY deflect.
Coco is unfazed by the one shot, but looks surprised at the dozens of them now spiraling around the handstand-spinning Mercury until he sends all of them at his enemies, a barrage of light and smoke surrounding them that provides the perfect cover for Mercury to appear behind the two. He grabs the both of them by their arms and delivers a flurry of kicks that knocks them back, looking back as a chain comes out from the forest trees to wrap around Coco and pulls her back.
Yatsuhashi: (reaching out to her in vain) Coco!
Despite his cry, Coco disappears into the trees, and he has to endure a blow from Mercury before being able to grab and throw him into the hot spring area. He jumps high in the air as Mercury's still sliding back, but his blade only comes down on his opponent's boots, the shockwave from this clash causing the water to fly back, the earth to crack underneath, and multiple geysers to form around them. Mercury fires his boots and gets out of the hold, aiming a swipe at Yatsuhashi's feet that misses, then ducking around each of his sword's swings. One of his kicks loosens some stones from the ground, which Mercury kicks into Yatsuhashi who quickly recovers and attempts to retaliate. Mercury easily counters him and fires a couple of shots. Despite trying to block them Yatsuhashi is forced back, giving Mercury an opening to kick him to the ground. This leaves his head in a small super-heated geyser, that erupts causing him to scream in pain as he frantically gets up, opening his eyes just in time to see Mercury coming at him.
Meanwhile, Coco is still being dragged back into the forest until the chain makes her collide with the trunk of a tree. She shakes it off until she realizes her sunglasses are lying shattered on the ground.
Coco: (glaring angrily as she looks around) I take it back; I don't like her.
Just as she says this, a green shot rapidly comes at Coco, which she barely manages to jump back from as more come down on her from Emerald's position up in a tree above her. Coco unleashes her Gatling gun again and shoots high in the branches, but Emerald jumps around, using Thief's Respite to fire back and change them to sickle form so she can swing from each tree until she suddenly vanishes behind one of them.
Coco: (looking around for her lost opponent) Damn!
Yatsuhashi: (coming up from behind her, hand on his sword's hilt) Coco!
Coco: (calling back to him as she continues to glance around) Watch out, she's in the trees!
Port: (as a buzzer sounds around the arena, Coco looking up to see the footage of his coverage) Oh, and with that final blow, Yatsuhashi is eliminated!
Coco: (eyes widening in shock) What!?
She looks behind her, only to see no one there. Her hand is shaking on the handle of her gun, and she doesn't even see the blur between the trees moving in for the kill.
Little does she know that Emerald is rising up from behind her, blades raised, turning around a second too late. The weapon descends with a ringing gunshot, and Coco is seen flying out of the forest, landing all the way in the center of the stadium next to Yatsuhashi, also knocked unconscious. Emerald swings her sickles by their chains as Mercury looks over their defeated opponents.
Oobleck: (in the announcer's spot with Port) And with an amazing upset, Emerald and Mercury are victorious!
Velvet: (hand over her mouth as Fox shakes his head) Coco?
Fox places a reassuring hand on Velvet's shoulder as Ruby looks into the stadium at her "friends", no one noticing the smiling Cinder Fall behind them, getting up from her seat and walking away amid the combined cheers and boos from the crowds.
In an elegant twilit pavilion area of ivy-covered pillars, rounded archways, and lion-decorated fountains, Weiss Schnee and her elder sister Winter are sitting at a simple table with a plate full of croissants and strawberries. Winter is sipping from her teacup as Weiss repeats the news she was just told.
Weiss: You're... leaving?
Winter: (setting her cup down) Yes. I was merely needed to oversee the transport of additional units to Vale. Our last shipment was lost to an ambush. I believe you had a run-in with its cargo, actually. It's fortunate those Paladins were in the prototype stage; otherwise your team may not have fared so well. (as Weiss sighs and looks down dejectedly, she grabs her sister's hand reassuringly) Weiss, you've done... well, out here, on your own. You should be proud. I'll be honest, it was quite amusing seeing Father's face the day you left for Beacon!
Weiss: (straightening up and smiling now, arms crossed) I can't wait to show him what I learned!
Winter: Oh? Then what do you think you've learned?
Weiss: (not directly looking at her sister) What do you mean? I'm getting better and better with my glyphs! I've even started Time Dilation!
Winter: (staring intently at her sibling) And what of your Summoning?
Weiss: I... (sighs and looks away) You know I can't.
Winter: Don't be ridiculous. Every Schnee has the ability to summon. We have for generations.
Weiss: (splaying her hands as she exasperatedly cries:) I've tried! It's just... it's the one thing I've been having trouble with!
Winter: We Schnees are unique. Unlike many, our Semblance is hereditary. But that doesn't mean it will come easily. (lifts her hand to summon a small, elaborate glyph over her palm) Your Semblance is like a muscle. The more you practice with it, the stronger it will become. But if you only focus on one aspect of it... (the glyph expands suddenly in a bright flash, causing Weiss to turn away before looking back up in awe at the white-and-blue Beowolf now at her sister's side) If you fail to test the limits of what you think is possible, then you'll never truly grow.
Weiss smiles at this display of power she hopes to achieve, before cutting to...
Ruby: (as red action lines appear behind her with oriental battle music playing) You'll never beat me, old man!
Qrow: (with similar blue lines behind him) You're nothing but talk, kid!
Yang: (calling out her support as purple lines follow her) You can do it, Ruby!
Then the entire scene is revealed to be in team RWBY's dorm room at Beacon Academy, and the screen of the video game Ruby and Qrow are playing is shown just as one of the pixelated ninjas decapitates the other, with the announcer saying "SOARING NINJA WINS! TOTAL ANNIHILATION!" Qrow grins at his victory as Ruby lowers her head in shame.
Yang: (whispering) Ouch.
Qrow: And by the way, don't ever call me old.
Yang: (pushing her sibling out of her spot as she grabs the spinning controller from the air) My turn!
Qrow: (while the game begins again with "NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES!") Now, where was I?
Ruby: (popping up from behind the two players excitedly) You were telling us about your last mission!
Qrow: Right, right... (flashes back to his story as the art style changes to reflect the dark setting and eerie neighborhood the blade-wielding warrior is walking through) I'd come across a small village in the swamps west of Mistral. Right off the bat, I knew something wasn't right.
Ruby: What were you doing there?
Qrow: I needed information. Tired from battling Grimm along the way, I decided to start my search at the town's inn. The place was crawling with lowlifes and thugs, even a few Huntsmen that I could only assume had been hired by less-than reputable people for less-than respectable jobs. And that's when it happened.
Yang: (as Qrow looks at something in the shady inn, wide-eyed at what he sees) What happened?
Qrow: (kneels in his flashback under a spotlight) I was defeated... by the mere sight... (suddenly grins at what he saw is revealed) of the innkeeper's skirt length!
The vision of pink hearts, a beautiful maid with slightly-skimpy clothing, and the very happy Qrow is interrupted by a thrown dog-head pillow, which Qrow deftly catches much to Yang's ire (not helped by the game announcer calling out once more "SOARING NINJA WINS! TOTAL ANNIHILATION!").
Yang: You are the worst!
Qrow: (after he and Ruby laugh at Yang's anger) Best two out of three?
Ruby: (as she seats herself on Weiss' bed) So, Uncle Qrow, did you get in trouble with Ozpin?
Qrow: (waving the question off) Nah, me and Oz go way back. We're cool.
Yang: (scoffing) Cool for an old guy.
Qrow: (looking mad now) Not funny.
Ruby: So, what are you doing here anyway? I thought Dad said that you would be on a mission, for like... ever.
Qrow: (getting back into the game at the sound of "READY? FIGHT!") Well, a professional Huntsman like myself is expected to get results, as soon as possible.
Ruby: Yeeeeaaaah, I get that. (laughs) We're pretty much pros, too.
Qrow: Oh, really?
Yang: Psch, yeah! Read the news sometime. We totally saved Vale while you were gone.
Qrow: Funny, because I heard Vale suffered a Grimm attack after you almost managed to stop a train. (leaning over to rub it in his niece's face as she scowls at the repeated "SOARING NINJA WINS! TOTAL ANNIHILATION!") But they don't give out medals for almost.
Ruby: (resolutely) They do, and it's called silver!
Qrow: Sure, you may be acting like Huntresses, but you're not thinking like one. You really think four girls and their friends could end all crime in a Kingdom?
Ruby: (tapping her fingers together in embarrassment) I mean, I did until you said that...
Qrow: (sounding more serious now) Violence hasn't dropped since Roman got nabbed; it's stopped, completely. No White Fang activity anywhere around the city. You cut off the head of the King Taijitu, but now the second head's calling the shots. That's what Ironwood can't get through that thick metal head of his.
Yang: (exchanging a look with Ruby) You... know the General?
Qrow: (back to his usual joking demeanor) Hey, I know everybody to some extent. Remember, you're talking to a member of the coolest team that graduated Beacon! (reaches behind him into one of his pockets and pulls out a photo lined with stains and age of four figures - himself, Raven Branwen, Taiyang Xiao Long, and Summer Rose - as Yang's eyes widen and he sighs in remembrance) Hah, Team STRQ... That's where I met your parents. We were pretty well known back in the day.
Ruby: Well known for crummy fashion sense!
Qrow: Hey, we looked good! And I have a number of inappropriate stories to back that up! (wiggles his eyebrows suggestively, but notices Yang continuing to stare at the picture and puts it away) But, I'll save those for when you're older.
Ruby: (recoils in disgust) Oh, gross!
Qrow: (getting up and walking out) Anyways, I'm too old to be hanging out with a bunch of kids. You're gonna cramp my style. (pauses in the doorway and sighs before addressing his family, Ruby and Yang looking up to him and Zwei sleeping on Blake's bed) Look, just remember that you've still got a long way to go... (turning around and holding a finger up to express his seriousness) And don't think for a second that graduating means you're done. (hitches a thumb over his shoulder) Every day out there is worth a week in this place. You two, you're gonna go far. But only if you keep learning; if you never stop moving forward.
With these immortal words of wisdom, Qrow exits down the hall.
Back in the pavilion, a caterpillar is slowly inching around on the edge of a fountain at Weiss points her Myrtenaster at the ground, creating a rotating glyph made of blade symbols with Winter behind her, appraising the effort.
Winter: Excellent form! Now think to your fallen foes! The ones who forced you to push past where you were, and become who you are now. (as the glyph flickers in and out of existence and Weiss grimaces in concentration) Think of them, and watch as they come to your side.
Weiss: (doing her hardest to make the wobbling circle follow her will, but eventually dismisses it and stomps the ground angrily) I can't!
Winter: (her hand immediately comes down on Weiss' head in a slap) Stop doubting yourself!
Weiss: (turning around to face her sister) I'm trying!
Winter: If this is what you call trying, then you have no hope of winning the tournament, let alone succeeding as a Huntress! (suddenly smiling as if an idea has occurred to her) Why don't you just move back home? I'm sure Father would give you a nice job as a receptionist!
Weiss: (looking away) I don't need his charity!
Winter: (leaning in) But you do need his money, don't you?
Weiss: (surprised) What!? How did you know about that!?
Winter: (straightening back up) Lucky guess. I may have been in a similar situation when I joined the military. So what have you done this time?
Weiss: (as Winter circles around her) Well, that's the thing: I'm really not sure! I went to pay for lunch the other day, but the card didn't work!
Winter: How embarrassing.
Weiss: I know! (sees Winter shaking her head) Well, it was! Why would he cut me off like that?
Winter: Perhaps so that you'd stop avoiding him and call home.
Instead of answering, Weiss attempts once more to create a summoning glyph, gritting her teeth until Winter places a consoling hand on her shoulder.
Winter: Emotions can grant you strength. But you must never let them overpower you. (the attempted glyph flickers and fades once more, though neither of them pay it any attention) It sounds to me like you have two choices in front of you. You can either call him, beg for his money back, and explain once more why you would want to study at Beacon over Atlas, or you could continue to explore Remnant, discovering more about the world and honestly, more about yourself. (she allows Weiss a moment to absorb this information until revealing:) It's time for me to go. (she gives her sister a hug, which is returned)
Weiss: (breaking off from the embrace) It was really good to see you, Winter.
Winter: (smiling sadly) Until next time, sister.
The two Schnees walk out of the pavilion and go in opposite directions, neither of them noticing the caterpillar coming across a miniature, brightened version of a familiar-looking broadsword before disappearing into icy sparkles.
Later at night, Weiss is in the school courtyard, waving goodbye at the airship carrying her sister. She stops just as her Scroll starts vibrating with an incoming call from "FATHER", and her finger hovers over the screen in uncertainty until she closes her eyes and forces herself to press it. Suddenly smiling at the sight of her closed Scroll and the setting of a new path in life, she puts it away and walks back inside as the scene fades to black and the credits roll.
- Emerald Sustrai
- Mercury Black
- Yatsuhashi Daichi
- Coco Adel
- Fox Alistair
- Peter Port
- Bartholomew Oobleck
- Velvet Scarlatina
- Ruby Rose
- Cinder Fall
- Blake Belladonna
- Weiss Schnee
- Yang Xiao Long
- Neptune Vasilias
- Sun Wukong
- Scarlet David
- Sage Ayana
- Winter Schnee
- Qrow Branwen
- Summer Rose (Photograph)
- Raven Branwen (Photograph)
- Taiyang Xiao Long (Photograph)
- Qrow saying "never stop moving forward" is a reference to Monty Oum's personal motto: "Keep Moving Forward".
- The move Mercury uses to finish Yatsuhashi is identical to the one he performs in the Volume 2 Opening.
- When Winter berates Weiss for her failure to master Summoning, she suggests that Weiss should return to her father's company and work as a receptionist. Kara Eberle, Weiss' voice actress, used to work for Rooster Teeth as a receptionist.
- Main article: Lessons Learned/Image Gallery