After Beacon Academy fell, Coco, Fox, Velvet, and Yatsuhashi made a vow: No one else is getting left behind. It's been more than a year since Team CFVY saw their school destroyed by the Creatures of Grimm, their friends felled in battle or scattered across the world of Remnant. Since then, they've been settling into life at Shade Academy in Vacuo, fighting hard to finish their training so they can reunite with their friends and save their world.
When a distress message comes into Shade, asking for Huntsmen and Huntresses to defend refugees from a never-ending stream of Grimm, Team CFVY answers the call without hesitation. But in the heat of the desert, they're forced to relive their former battles, both from the Fall of Beacon and from everything that came before.
The book opens with Team CFVY battling mole crabs in the Vacuan sands, having been on a mission by Shade Academy after receiving a distress call from the settlement of Gossan. It's been over a year since the Battle of Beacon, where they've since moved to the kingdom of Vacuo to continue their careers as Huntsmen. Following their encounter with the crabs, CFVY rescues Slate, the former mayor of Tuff.
Team CFVY escorts Slate to Feldspar, the a small oasis settlement where the rest of her tribe is. In the settlement, they meet various travelers, as well as Carmine Esclados and Bertilak Celadon, two professional Huntsmen who have been hired to protect the tribe.
Carmine and Bertilak had been traveling with Gus and Edward Caspian all the way from Sumire, a settlement in Vale which had also been destroyed by the Grimm. Slate reveals that emotions have been running at a high rate, which causes CFVY to realize something else is causing people to have emotional outbursts. The team begins to investigate.
Fox Alistair had been waiting to enroll at Beacon his whole life. Having grown up as an orphan in Vacuo, he was grateful for the tribe of Kenyte for having taken care of him, but left because he felt like he had a calling elsewhere. Fox uses his Ada device to help himself navigate through the Emerald Forest. There, he meets Coco and the two quickly grow fond of each other, deciding to work together.
Velvet encounters Yatsuhashi Daichi at the forest to her dismay. Having been harassed by people from Mistral due to her heritage as a Faunus, she immediately assumes Yatsuhashi would do the same. To her surprise, he doesn't, and offers to start over in a friendly manner. The two are ambushed by a horde of Boarbatusks.
Coco and Fox make it to the Relics, and encounter Velvet and Yatsuhashi, defeating the Grimm chasing after them with ease. They are ambushed by eight Ursai, eventually clearing a path and officially being formed as Team CFVY.
CFVY continues to investigate the emotional outbursts in Feldspar. People from the Gossan, Schist, and Tuff settlements all have been experiencing uncontrollable emotional outbursts. They realize that behind every outburst, Carmine, Bertilak, and the Caspians were involved, deciding that the two Huntsmen are hiding something.
Velvet and Yatsuhashi meet Gus and Edward Caspian, where Gus explains these "mood bombs" amplify current emotions and draw in the Grimm, destroying the settlements. CFVY realizes Gus also knows more than it seems, and Edward explains they had hired Carmine and Bertilak to protect them.
Fox thinks back on his past. Following his parents' deaths, Fox's honorary uncle, Copper, began to take care of him. However, Copper was killed, and Fox was then raised by the tribe communally.
Another mood bomb sets off in Feldspar, drawing in Grimm. Ravagers begin attacking the refugees, and the Huntsmen begin to protect the settlement.
At night, Fox spots Ed Caspian walking away from the settlement in his sleep. Bertilak confronts Edward about apparently leaving, stomping away. Fox notes that for whatever reason, he can't get in sync with his Semblance.
Chapter Five opens another flashback to CFVY's Beacon days, skipping into the beginning of their second year. Coco Adel watches Ruby Rose and Weiss Schnee argue, then later advises her on how to be a better leader to her team, and recalls some advice that Ozpin once gave her.
Meanwhile, Weiss accidentally bumps into Yatsuhashi and Fox. After a brief argument, Weiss leaves in embarrassment, thinking of how she would have crushed CFVY's high scores if she had been RWBY's leader.
Meanwhile, Velvet is followed by other students, who harass her for being a Faunus, drawing the attention of Blake Belladonna. Blake defends Velvet, intimidating the other students into leaving. The two discuss whether Faunus should fight back, and leave for drinks with Yang Xiao Long.
Back inside the Caspian's shed, Gus says that all of what's happening with the Grimm and the mood bombs is his fault. He explains the reason Fox's Semblance is being blocked is due to his own Semblance, which lets him block out others. Gus says he can't control it very well. He explains that he's been trying to use it to control Edward's Semblance - which amplifies emotions. This revelation causes arguing within Feldspar. Their arguing is interrupted by screams and gunfire outside.
The chapter opens with Yatsuhashi's backstory, detailing the discovery of his Semblance and why he chose to be a Huntsman.
In present day, the two Huntsmen decide to escort Ed and Gus along with Velvet to the city of Vacuo as they try to defend the citizens from the Grimm. In anger, Bertilak taunts Yatsuhashi about the Fall of Beacon, trying to start a fight. Carmine and the rest of CFVY break it up, continuing the fight against new Grimm, and eventually defeat them with minimal casualties. CFVY leads the travelers into the desert.
Another flashback opens as CFVY and RWBY prepare for the Beacon Dance, sharing a conversation about how they want the ball's atmosphere to be. Preparations are cut short as CFVY has to leave to go on a mission in Lower Cairn, a settlement near Mountain Glenn.
In the desert, CFVY realizes that Carmine and Bertilak, who are ahead of everyone else, are trying to cover their trailers. Fox is unable to contact any of them, and spots an incoming sandstorm.
The group reaches Velvet, August, and Carmine - Bertilak and Edward have gotten lost. Fox decides to go look for the two on his own. After a conversation about leadership with Carmine, Coco begins to think Bertilak leaving seems odd, considering how he was earlier about Edward wandering off.
Fox eventually finds Edward in the sand, where the elder Huntsman explains that the others are in danger Gus had lied to them about what his Semblance was, Ed's Semblance was blocking out others, and his grandson couldn't control the mood bombs. He explains it was in order to protect Gus from taking the blame of it all. Suddenly, something large and heavy crashes down onto Fox, throwing him to the sand.
Chapter Eleven reveals what team CFVY's mission to Lower Cairn was. CFVY was sent on a mission to the settlement of Lower Cairn near Mountain Glenn, supervised by Professor Port. There, they found the settlement to not only be wiped out, but completely flattened by the Grimm.
Coco goes into a cave, where she thinks about a childhood incident where she got stuck in a cupboard playing hide-and-seek with her brothers, Mate and Toma, which left her scared of confined space. She found six survivors; Linus and Rhea Gray, along with their kids, Leander, Phoebe, Helen, and Clio. While attempting to rescue the family, Linus was killed by an Ursa that attacked the Huntsmen, causing the mother and children to run back to their cave. To the Huntsmen-in-trainings' horror, the cave was then crushed by a Goliath that was rampaging nearby. Team CFVY evacuated from the settlement which had been completely lost, and their mission was considered an outright failure.
As the sandstorm approaches, CFVY spots a flatback slider, an enormous one hundred-foot tall turtle that swims through the deserts. Slate suggests that they could ride the slider to imply go over the sandstorm, to everyone's surprise. Another sandstorm covers the horizon, but they soon realize it is a gargantuan Blind Worm.
Fox and Bertilak begin to battle inside the sandstorm. Bertilak begins to rant about how his boss, the Crown, had been interested in people with powerful Semblances. He had actually been after Gus' Semblance the entire time, but had chosen the wrong target, having fallen for the Caspian's ruse. Bertilak comments how the Crown likely has files on all of Team CFVY, and rants about how he had grown tired of the Academies, thinking they treated him as a pawn.
After being thrown to the ground, Fox thinks back to his childhood as he drifts out of consciousness, remembering how his parents had died and what motivated him to be a Huntsman.
Eventually, Fox and Edward defeat Bertilak and carry him while trying to return to CFVY and help apprehend Carmine.
Following their return from the Mountain Glenn mission, CFVY tries to go by Beacon without being noticed, still thinking about their failure. Velvet stops to talk to Team RWBY, who worriedly ask what happened. In fear of frightening the first year students, Velvet lies to them as says there simply were too many Grimm to deal with. She comes across Glynda Goodwitch, who says Professor Ozpin would like to see her.
On the way to his office, Glynda and Velvet are stopped by Sun Wukong and Neptune Vasilias, who are waiting to start their crime scene investigation mission the next day. At Ozpin's office, she explains what hat happened.
Team CFVY goes up to his office, demanding to know why they weren't called. Ozpin explains why reporting to him is so crucial, and Glynda deems it that CFVY will be in need of faculty supervision for mission until they prove themselves.
As the Blind Worm approaches the slider, panic ensues and yet another mood bomb sets off. Fox and Edward arrive, carrying a defeated Bertilak with them. The group soon realizes that Carmine and Gus are missing, and spot them at the bottom of a dust devil.
Yatsuhashi begins to go after Carmine with Fox, Edward, and the unconscious Bertilak. He uses his Semblance to cause Bertilak to forget everything that happened in the day.
Once he reaches them, Yatsuhashi battles the Huntress, but is quickly subdued by her. He and Fox begin to realize her Semblance is Telekinesis, but note she doesn't compare to Glynda Goodwitch. Bertilak begins to wake up.
Noticing the Blind Worm, the flatback slider begins to swim away in a hurry. Coco is saddened when she sees Velvet use Roy Stallion's saws, being reminded how he had been killed by a Nevermore in the Fall of Beacon, and how the rest of Team BRNZ had been presumed dead. The Blind Worm throws Coco and Velvet to the ground, and swallows Coco whole.
Chapter Seventeen details team CFVY's life between the Fall of Beacon and moving to Vacuo.
On a break, they approach Goodwitch, asking for permission to transfer, who supports their decision to go to Shade. Glynda personally writers her letter of recommendation to Headmaster Theodore, stating she is proud of team CFVY's actions.
After a moment, Glynda recalls Ozpin's graduation speech, sharing the ideals of Beacon Academy with Team CFVY. After a moment, Glynda asks the team to leave for a moment alone, explaining how both she and Ozpin always hated goodbyes. Team CFVY leaves for Vacuo.
Inside the Blind Worm, Coco holds back her panic at being in a living enclosed space. Eventually, she and Velvet manage to injure the Blind Worm enough to cause it to flee. Team CFVY race to help Yatsuhashi, who had been busy trying to fend off both Carmine and Bertilak. Eventually, Team CFVY, Edward, and Bertilak are defeated once and for all.
However, they spot the Blind Worm circle back, and it begins to attack them. Team CFVY is saved by and reunited with team SSSN, who was just on their way to Shade Academy. The two teams successfully apprehend Carmine and Bertilak and safely take the travelers to Coquina, who now dub the settlement as their new home, as it is protected by Oscuro Academy.
Sun Wukong catches CFVY up on what had happened at the Battle of Haven, informing them of the attack and the defeat of the White Fang. After returning to Shade, the two teams agree to uncover who or what the Crown is, and to bring the Semblance trafficking ring crashing to the ground.
- Professor Rumpole (First Appearance)
- Professor Theodore (First Appearance)
- Slate (First Appearance)
- Bast (First Appearance)
- Hans (First Appearance)
- Topaz (First Appearance)
- Bertilak Celadon (First Appearance)
- Carmine Esclados (First Appearance)
- Iris Marilla (First Appearance)
- Vega Bleu (First Appearance)
- Amaranth (First Appearance)
- Ash (First Appearance)
- Opal (First Appearance)
- Jasper (First Appearance)
- Celestine (First Appearance)
- Beryl (First Appearance)
- Edward Caspian (First Appearance)
- August Caspian (First Appearance)
- Copper (First Appearance)
- Linus Gray (First Appearance)
- Rhea Gray (First Appearance)
- Leander Gray (First Appearance)
- Phoebe Gray (First Appearance)
- Helen Gray (First Appearance)
- Clio Gray (First Appearance)
- On the front cover of RWBY: After the Fall, Team RWBY's original designs for Volume 1 can be seen on Coco's sunglasses.