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RWBY: Roman Holiday is a RWBY novel published by Scholastic featuring Roman Torchwick and Neopolitan.[1] It was released on September 7th, 2021.[2] While authored by E. C. Myers, the book isn't a continuation of the previous novels Myers authored for RWBY. According the RTX 2021 panel with Meyers, is set a very long time before the start of RWBY.[3] The ending of the book takes place 3-5 years before the events of Volume 1.[4]

A preview of the book was released on August 5th, detailing the chapter names and first two chapters of the book.

Description

Before she was a criminal wrapped up in the end of the world, Trivia Vanile was the daughter of disappointed parents who wanted nothing more than for her to be normal. Locked away and pushed into the shadows, Trivia has no one to keep her company. No one, that is, other than Neopolitan, her best and only friend.

But things change after a chance encounter with the young Roman Torchwick, a criminal on the run trying to make a name for himself before his mistakes have a chance to catch up to him. As an uncertain alliance slowly turns into a true partnership. Trivia finally begins to grasp the freedom that she had always longed for. And while her parents always insisted that Neo was nothing more than a figment of her overactive imagination, Trivia realizes that she might be a larger part of her that she ever could have guessed...[5]

Development

The book concerns the beginning of Roman and Neo's partnership.[6] Furthermore, it will touch upon Roman's past and moments in both of their childhoods.[3]

Summary

Chapter One: Imaginary Friends

In the early morning hours of her eighth birthday, a young girl named Trivia Vanille plays Tiptoe tag with another, wilder girl named Neopolitan through the halls of a dark mansion. As the two play, Neo enters the family room, which she was not allowed to go into. During this, Trivia inadvertently knocks over an expensive Akaibara vase, shattering it, and alerting her parents. When the two arrive – her father, Jimmy, angry and her mother, Carmel, concerned – Trivia finds Neopolitan has vanished, and cuts her hand on a piece of shattered glass. Enraged, Jimmy pulls Trivia out from under the couch by her ankles, shaking her upside down. Jimmy demands her to speak for herself and tell him what happened, but Trivia is only able to produce a rasping sound. Carmel asks her daughter what happened, so the girl uses a communication board to spell out the name "Neo", blaming the other girl.

At this, the two parents argue amongst themselves about their daughter's condition, Jimmy is impatient with her and Carmel says Trivia has an overactive imagination, and that her doctor, Mazarin, told them to give the young girl space. As her father leaves, ranting about the things to provide for his family's wealth and ordering somebody to clean the mess, Carmel sits with Trivia. She asks her daughter if she knows that a friend who does something bad and leaves her to take the blame is a bad friend. She begs Trivia to say something, but when she gets no response, Carmel leaves Trivia in the room to clean up after herself, leaving her alone once more. However, as she looked up, Neopolitan has returned, and convinced Trivia to leave somebody else to pick up the pieces...

Chapter Two: Lie

At age eighteen, a young Roman Torchwick sits on Sakura Park in Mistral Below, the lower levels of Mistral. He’s keeping an eye on a local nightclub, The Luck of the Mountains, where he plans on seizing any opportunity he finds. Roman thinks about the club's activities, both illegal – gambling in the basement, and legal – the entertainment. The club's star is a woman named Honey Wine, who has the Semblance to make those who listened to her song feel good and prone to listening to her suggestions and ignoring their surroundings, making them easy to pickpocket.

Roman spots a drunken, wealthy man stumbling out of the club, and Roman decides he really wants the man's coat. Roman pickpockets the man's wallet, and pretends to have found it on the street to return it to him after following him into an alley. The elite is distrusting of Roman, calling the young thief's bluff. Roman beats the man with a cane, demanding he surrender his coat and gloves.

As he reaps his rewards, Roman is flanked by two gangsters, Brick and Mortar, members of the Spider, an organization run by a woman named Lil' Miss Malachite, who frequents The Luck of the Mountains. They tell Roman he is stealing from the mob boss by stealing from her patrons, and the former of the two is goaded into a fight which Roman wins. He escapes, but is found by a small army at the Happenstance Hotel days later. Roman is dragged to see Lil' Miss, one of the most powerful people in Mistral, second to Leonardo Lionheart, who had managed to overthrow the organization's leader. There, Lil' Miss decides that she sees enough potential in Roman Torchwick to find some work in him, and gives him a choice of what sort of person he wants to be.

Chapter Three: Painting the Town Pink

Trivia, with encouragement from Neopolitan, has left her home without permission while her parents Jimmy and Carmel are busy hosting a large party at the Vanille residence. At first, the twelve-year-old feels apprehensive about disobeying her parents, but the dazzling wonder of Vale's commercial district at night and the fact that she'd have just been held up in her bedroom alone quickly overpowered these feelings.

Trivia freely explores the food carts and was enjoying a milkshake when three older girls, Cookie, Mags and Heather, confront her about her heterochromatic eyes. When Trivia is unable to explain to them that she cannot speak and tries to leave, Cookie trips her and ruins her milkshake - and outfit. In retaliation, Trivia uses her Semblance to frighten the trio, and is surprised when they notice Neopolitan, as her friend had not been so clearly visible to others up to that point. Neopolitan punches Cookie in the nose and the illusory girl shatters from the impact, leaving Cookie's nose broken.

The commotion catches the attention of the police, whom Trivia unsuccessfully flees from. After preventing Trivia from falling into a construction site, Officers Arad and Cloud bring her back to her home where her parents' party is still ongoing. Carmel greets them at the door and is shocked to learn that her daughter had snuck out and gotten into a fight. Her mother instructs Trivia to return to her room quietly, but she instead pushes her way into the party when she notices Neo beckoning her inside. With Neo's encouragement, and frustrated with the lack of attention her parents gave her, Trivia uses her Semblance to trash the party and ruin Carmel and Jimmy's evening. However, when Trivia catches sight of her father, she is overcome with fear and halts her rampage. Realizing that she would need to take responsibility for the things Neopolitan goaded her into doing, Trivia prepares to confront her father. He instead motions for her to go to her room, and she follows his silent order.

Chapter Four: Steal

Four years into his service with Spider, Roman had survived long enough to become Lil' Miss' right-hand man. He was rewarded for is efforts with the 'privilege' of being the only person Malachite trusts to protect her twin daughters, Melanie and Miltiades. A job he was at this moment working full time due to a gang war that Spider was currently participating in. After over a week under lockdown in a safehouse the twins finally take interest in Roman's scheming, more out of boredom than curiosity. The two critique the various heist plans Roman had drafted before taking and playing with his hat. He was not enjoying his time with them. At this moment he receives a tip from Chameleon, one of Spider's less competent fixers with a Semblace that allows her to camouflage. After deciphering her frustratingly flirtatious riddle, Roman quickly gets to work scribing a new heist plan with the cooperation of the twins.

Some time later, Roman takes Melanie to the Parrot & Mouse, a seedy club operated by the Parrot gang, one of Spider's biggest rivals. With Miltia hiding separately from them as insurance, Roman and Melanie are led inside to meet Paul Parrot, the crime lord with which Lil' Miss is warring. Roman offers the twins as a peace offering and as an application to join the Parrot gang, which fails to impress Paul. When the conversation begins to stall, Paul reveals that his men had caught Miltia sneaking into the club's basement, which was rumored to house a stash of valuables, and punished her by not intervening and allowing her to succeed. A scream sounds off from downstairs, prompting Roman and Melanie to charge through the club towards the basement. None of the Parrots do anything to stop either of them, a detail that disturbs Roman as he uses Melodic Cudgel to blast the basement door open. At the bottom of the stairs they find Miltia facing off against a Capivara, a Creature of Grimm Paul had imported from Menagerie. The three of them fight the creature as Paul taunts them through the cameras and screens he had mounted in the room, only for Roman to quickly turn the tables and counter his verbal assault. Paul's confidence fades and his excitement is quickly replaced with frustration and anger – a pair of emotions that Grimm find particularly appetizing. The Capivara halts its attack against the trio in the basement and scampers up the stairs, slaughtering the Parrots as Paul fled. Roman congratulates the twins for their part in pulling off this successful mission, suggesting that it would probably be for the best that Lil' Miss not hear about this just as a squad of Spiders storm the building.

Later, Roman is contending with the most terrifying thing he'd ever encountered: an unhappy Lil' Miss. She is angry that Roman pulled this stunt without her permission and without informing her, but the fact that it had somehow worked out meant that she was going to spare his life for now. Chameleon had already been punished for her part in informing Roman of the opportunity, and Roman's punishment was the loss of his privilege to take care of the Malachite twins. Though this didn't really feel like a punishment to Roman, as it was his intended goal from the start.

Chapter Five: Hard Lessons

At the Vanille residence, Trivia is being taught dry history by Aurelia, a former combat school teacher hired by her parents as a tutor. While taking a break from the lesson, Trivia offers Aurelia a cup of tea that has been spiked with sleeping pills. Falling for the trick, Aurelia quickly nods off and falls unconscious. After hiding her under the bed covers, Trivia takes Aurelia's appearance with her Semblance and uses it to sneak past her father and leave the estate. Drawing from her experience playing video games, Trivia takes Aurelia's car to Vale for a "shopping spree".

With Neo's encouragement, Trivia uses her Semblance to rob several clothing stores throughout the day, ignoring her father's calls and acquiring a sizable wardrobe of colorful garments that clashed with the clothes her parents provided for her, as well as a cute pink paper parasol.

When Trivia finally returns home in the evening, she is surprised to find that no one is waiting for her at the door. Quietly making her way through the house, she finds her father in his study, who has just finished speaking with the Chief of Police. When he notices her presence she quickly disguises herself as her mother, a ruse he quickly sees through as he has the automatic door close behind her. After revealing that Aurelia had quit as Trivia's tutor, Jimmy explains that he had paid off all the stores Trivia had robbed throughout the day so as to avoid any legal troubles for the family. He then tells her that he will forgive everything she'd done that day if she simply says something, anything, to him; with her voice. She responds by hurling her parasol at him like a javelin, nearly hitting him in the eye and leaving a scar through his eyebrow.

Chapter Six: Cheat

In Mistral, Roman approaches Broken Memories, a black-market shop which reverse-engineered Atlesian technology, owned by a man named Bisque, who owed him. He comes to the shop, with several customers still inside, and threatens Bisque. When a young boy attempts to record footage to send it to the police, Roman destroys his Scroll and threatens to kill him. The shop owner interrupts, convincing Roman to let his customers leave. Roman presses that Bisque needs to pay Lil' Miss his debt, and when he readies to bash the shopkeeper's knee in, Roman is interrupted by Chameleon – who'd fallen back into his boss' good graces.

Chameleon tells him to stop and reveals that she and Lil' Miss know about his betrayal of Spider's trust, collecting double payments without his boss’ permission. The woman asks him why he continues to double down on his dark deeds, to which Roman boldly exclaims that he wants more, he wants everything, and that he wants people to know his name. Chameleon tells him he's already got that, and that now he has a bounty on his head. She attacks him, and as the fight continues, it becomes clear Chameleon lacks a killing intent, which allows Roman to defeat her. After Roman knocks her out he makes for his hideout, taking what money he could from Lil’ Miss and making plans to escape the city.

Roman considers his options. After quickly crossing out Vacuo and Mantle, he considers Vale. With lots lots of territory to carve out, and enemies of Lil’ Miss, Roman sets his sights on Vale's capitol city.

Chapter Seven: Falling Out

An 18-year old Trivia, having been locked in her room, attempts to pick a new lock her parents had installed on her bedroom door in order to keep their daughter contained while they were out on business. After becoming frustrated with the lock's stubborn tumblers, and upon Neo's suggestion, Trivia creates a makeshift flamethrower to heat up the lock, inadvertently setting her bedroom on fire. Possessing no means of putting out the blaze, only material to feed it, Trivia leaps out the window and uses her paper parasol to slow her descent. Not able to reinforce the parasol with her Aura for much longer, Trivia lets go hoping that what is left of her Aura will cushion the landing. Instead she is caught in Neo's briefly tangible arms and breaks through them as her Aura reaches critically low levels for the first time. Not wanting Neo to disappear, Trivia uses what little remains of her Aura to keep her Semblance active and her friend close.

Trivia listens as the sirens get closer and waits for her parents to find her. Her mother is concerned about Trivia, but her father seems more worried about the house, and the police that could potentially search the premises – exclaiming that the family could be “ruined,” to Carmel's confusion. When they ask what happened, Trivia gestures towards Neo. Both her parents become enraged, with Carmel striking Neo, shattering the girl - and the last of Trivia's Aura. Trivia breaks down into tears as she is unable to piece her scattered friend back together. Afraid that she may never see her friend again, another voice sounds off in Trivia's head. It was Neopolitan. For the first time, Trivia felt like herself, like she was complete.

After Jimmy declares that he never wants Neo to manifest again, Trivia wordlessly sasses him much to his own astonishment. When her father’s anger rises again, Carmel intercepts before he can strike his daughter as Trivia's body language dares him to try. Her father storms off, and her mother expresses that it is obvious that Trivia does not wish to be a part of the Vanille family anymore. With that, Carmel coldly tells Trivia there's a place they could send her, where she could find friends and become a whole person. This initially excites Trivia, until her mother mentions that she’d also learn to control her Semblance. It seems that rather than offering Trivia freedom, she is moving her into another cell.

Chapter Eight: Survive

Roman is greatly pleased with himself for choosing Vale as he looks for a penthouse to rent. Taking one with a clear view of Beacon, he plays the role of a tourist to learn information about the city, with the plan to hold the First Bank of Vale hostage. On the day of his first planned heist Roman pickpockets random passersby on his way to the bank, replacing victim's wallets with signed calling cards.

Later, at the First Bank of Vale, Roman finds himself struggling to intimidate the bank teller, Fred, who is at best confused by the crook's antics. A baffled Torchwick finally gets his due attention when he pulls his gun and fires into the air, capturing the attention of police and two Huntsmen, Kandi Floss and Roch Szalt. Through subterfuge and outmaneuvering, Roman humiliates the two Huntsmen, who ultimately cause more property damage than he does. The robbery runs smoothly, and Roman returns home.

There, he watches the Vale News Network as Lisa Lavender and Zhu deliver a report on his crime. With his name known to the public and the two Huntsmen under fire for their recklessness, Roman is pleased and oddly grateful for Lisa's report, making a mental note to send her flowers. However, he nearly chokes on his drink when Professor Ozpin appears on-screen, talking of how he wishes the Huntsmen would learn from their mistake, and addressing the criminal himself: warning Torchwick that the Huntsmen would be watching him. When the report cuts to news on the Vanille Estate, Torchwick flips off the TV. In the midst of basking in his victory, Roman finds himself missing the friends he’d made in Spider, but sets those feelings aside to lookforward to repeating everything he did at the bank the very next day.

Chapter Nine: Arrival

Carmel takes Trivia to Lady Browning’s Preparatory Academy For Girls, much to her horror. When she finds Carmel to be largely unresponsive to her calls, Trivia hardens herself. Noting the expressionless faces of the girls and their proper yet unflattering uniforms, Trivia and her mother are led deeper into the academy. There, Trivia meets the headmistress of the prep school, Lady Beatrix Browning, or Lady Beat. The woman's height and posture at first seem imposing to the diminutive Trivia, but Lady Beat's demeanor quickly disarms her. Trivia learns that Carmel had attended this school in her own childhood, and had continued to donate to it since, at which point Trivia remembers the Triscellion pin that her mother wore on special occasions matched those that the students and Lady Beat sport on their lapels. After her mother gives her a warm farewell, which Trivia does not reciprocate, she is welcomed to her new 'home'.

Chapter Ten: Rival

In the morning, Roman finds two officers, Dunn and Matte Looney, outside his apartment. Handing them breakfast and turning himself in, Roman tells them he wants to speak to their boss. They do not take him to a police station, and instead bring him to a club. Just as he'd hoped, Roman meets with Hei Xiong, the head of the Xiong Family in Vale. When Hei fails to intimidate Roman into shrinking back to petty theft, the younger criminal tries to goad him into a fight. However, Xiong realizes that Roman was a Spider, and ends the confrontation. Hei orders him to tell Lil’ Miss to honor the deal he and she had made about their organizations keeping away from each other. Later, upon realizing his Spider tattoo would cause him trouble, Roman has it remade into a pumpkin emblem.

Chapter Eleven: Trivial Pursuit

At Lady Browning's Academy, the initial excitement of living away from her parents quickly wears of for Trivia. The lack of privacy and cramped atmosphere is already starting to grate on Trivia and she was already missing her old bedroom, much to her surprise. She sits alone at meal times, not able to acquaint herself with any of the others she instead passes the time eavesdropping on the overbearing din of shallow gossip constantly emitted by the crowd of girls, much of which was about Trivia herself. Trivia began to analyze the behaviour of the other girls, which she attributed to Neo's mental influences growing stronger.

What enjoyment Trivia got from the more physically-focused classes was overshadowed by the boredom generated by the others. To make matters worse, Melanie and Miltia Malachite, the popular girls, had singled Trivia out and turned the rest of the student body against her. After the pair stole Trivia's uniform, which she simply replaces with her Semblance, they destroyed it after Lady Beat had reprimanded Trivia for using her Semblance. Forbidden from using her Semblance to alter her appearance, Trivia spends the next sewing class and many of the hours following it in her pajamas stitching the torn fabric of her uniform into something new, into a set of garments tailoured for her. Thoroughly satisfied with the results, she briefly uses her Semblance to make half of her hair pink to complete the look.

As Trivia sneaks her way to the shared bedroom she catches sight of Miltia and Melanie sneaking out of the academy. Overjoyed with the prospect of catching the twins breaking the rules and getting them punished for it, Trivia follows them. Making their way into the City of Vale and to the Harmony Club, Trivia employs her Semblance to inconspicuously tail them and gather evidence. Trivia watches them enter the club from a nearby alleyway and is caught off-guard when a man with orange hair is thrown out the front window shortly afterwards, to be cornered by the twins and a large group of thugs.

Chapter Twelve: Double Trouble

Over the next few months, Roman has since ignored Xiong's warnings, enjoying the comfort of Vale. At the Harmony Club, he has dinner with Honey Wine, a now-former associate of Lil’ Miss who had since started her own club in the city. When Honey Wine begins to talk about how she finds his action reckless, the Malachite Twins appear, looking to assassinate Roman under Lil’ Miss’ orders. Torchwick fights the twins, despite not wanting to hurt them, only to be thrown out the window. Just as Roman decides to stop holding back, several unmarked cars pull up, and a dozen armed men pile out to assist the girls, causing him to realize Lil’ Miss plans to make a move on Vale.

He finds himself cornered when a young girl aids him, casting an illusion on herself, now appearing as Roman, to throw off the Spiders and allow him to escape. After the two part ways, Roman sets out to find the identity of the strange small woman who had helped him.

Chapter Thirteen: New Girl

The following day, Trivia arrives late to her class, finding herself subject to judgemental looks from other students. With new hair, she gets odd looks from students, but spends her time in class using her Scroll to look up keywords related to the previous night. After class, Lady Beat tells Trivia to stay, notes that the girl has changed, then asks Trivia why they have a rule about strict uniforms.

When Trivia suggests it is to discourage individualism, Beatrix explains that the principle that she wanted students of her academy to learn to find balance within the rules. She tells Trivia she is not supposed to break the rules, but bend them instead. With this, Lady Beat tells Trivia that Roman Torchwick is a threat to her institution, and that Trivia could be of help to get rid of him. Beat offers Trivia a deal: a new room and new teachings if she helps her kidnap Roman, to which Trivia agrees.

With this, things in Trivia’s life change for the better. She is enrolled in new courses such as Self-Defense, Social Engineering, The Art of Escape, and Fencing. Trivia takes the time to go about shoplifting again, stealing hair dye, spy’s tools, lock-picking kits, and so on. On the streets, she runs into Roman, who asks the girl what her name is. Trivia chooses to identify herself as Neopolitan, and finds herself to like it. With this, Roman asks Neo to follow him.

Chapter Fourteen: Tea For Two

In a Mistrali tea shop called the Laughing Dog, Roman asks Neo about the pin she is wearing, a triple spiral. He mentions he recognizes it from the Academy, and sees through her plans. Roman realizes he can use her powers, charming Neo and warning her that others may try to use her. Neo asks Roman about how he’d met the Malachites, so he explains his story to her. When he learns of Neo’s intent to expand her horizons, he offers to show her the ropes. Neo, however, declines the offer, still wishing to be with Lady Beat. Roman understands, and she gives him his iconic hat.

Chapter Fifteen: Fight and Flight

At the Academy, Neo trains against a Huntress, Manda Rin. Since becoming a spy for Lady Beat, her schooling had become a dream. She struck a friendship Melanie and Miltia, where she learns more about Lil’ Miss Malachite. The twins invite “Trivia” to go clubbing with them, revealing that they also have assignments from Lady Beat to assassinate Torchwick. Neo realizes she has to get to Roman first, and declines their invitation, planning to look for him herself.

Chapter Sixteen: Partners in Crime

Roman hears a knock on the door, and finds Lil’ Miss Malachite waiting for him on the other end. Building up his nerves, he quickly realizes that it was actually Neo, seeing through her disguise by identifying mistakes. After letting her in, Roman and Neo start sparring, where he advises her to use her Semblance less in combat. Later, the two go out to dinner.

Over the next few months, Roman and Neo would strike a bond with one another. Roman eventually gives Neo her signature weapon, Hush, whilst Neo gifts him a dashing outfit. As they discuss plans for future crimes, Roman decides to put Neo to the test: the two would go on a coffee heist together.

Chapter Seventeen: Brewing Trouble

The two criminals plan to heist a Magic Beans coffee franchise warehouse, memorizing maps from the warehouse district and planning their route. The plan goes awry when they miscalculate and run into Roch Szalt, who had lost his Huntsman license as a result of Roman’s bank heist. Roch corners Roman in a fight whilst Neo prepares a getaway vehicle. Stealing a truck, she runs into Roch, slamming him against a pillar and knocking him out. The two manage to steal a large quantity of coffee and escape before the warehouse collapses on itself. Feeling as though the heist went the best out of every one he’d done, Roman offers Neo a partnership, who accepts his offer.

Chapter Eighteen: Panopti-Con

Neo was beginning to have doubts about the arrangement she'd made with Lady Beat. She was enjoying her time with Roman more than her time at the school, and Lady Beat had become increasingly impatient with her. It was on this night that Neo decides that she will break into The Room, a secluded chamber of the academy that Lady Beat would spend most nights in. The Room was not occupied currently, however, because Lady Beat was out on business. After picking the lock Neo quietly enters to find a large computer station, which she manages to log into by tricking the facial recognition software with her Semblance.

Neo discovers that this station had been monitoring and recording footage from tiny cameras inside of each triskelion pin adorned by every student or graduate of the academy, giving Lady Beat instant access to deeply personal and compromising information on high-ranking members of society all over Vale. With this revelation came the horrifying realization that Lady Beat had been able to see exactly what Neo was doing when she spent time with Roman, and knew where to find him. Neo quickly texts a warning to Roman with her scroll before noticing a pair of cameras, obviously belonging to Melanie and Miltia, heading towards The Room. In a panic she tears the hard drive from the computer and attempted to sneak past the twins, who see through her disguise. The three of them fight briefly, and Neo learns from the twins that Lady Beat's surveillance network was a plot orchestrated by Lil' Miss Malachite to gain control of Vale's criminal underworld.

After escaping from the pair Neo attempts to contact Roman. When he fails to respond, Neo resolves herself and vows not to let this friend disappear.

Chapter Nineteen: Torch Song

Roman studies the schemes he and Neo were working on, reminiscing over the fun he and Neo had had with each other. As he considers what their shenanigans had been doing to Hei Xiong's business, Roman hears a knock at the door. Seeing Lil' Miss on the other side, he at first assumes that Neopolitan is playing games with him again and taunts her-only to be greeted with gunfire tearing the door apart. Lil' Miss and Lady Beatrix Browning enter his apartment and he worries that they may have done something to Neo, only to be informed that it was Neo who had led them to him. To prove this they play a recording of Neo agreeing to lead them to Torchwick, without mentioning that it was made before she had befriended him. Feeling betrayed, Roman braces himself for a fight. To his surprise, Honey Wine enters. She owed Lil' Miss a favor, which was being called in now. Honey incapacitates Roman with her Semblance as a pair of Spiders beat him and break his Scroll. Unable to control his actions while being influenced by Honey's song, Roman is led to a van and tied up.

Chapter Twenty: Boss For a Day

Neo arrives at Roman's wrecked apartment and ponders what she could possibly do to help Roman. She blames herself for getting him captured, though she makes the assumption that he likely would not come to her aid had their roles been reversed. Unable to come up with any workable ideas, Neo approaches a cop car that was parked outside of Roman's building.

After informing the cops of what had happened and identifying herself as Trivia Vanille, they offer her a ride. To Neo's surprise, they do not take her to a police station and instead go to a nightclub called Junior's. Officers Dunn and Matte quickly lead Neo through the club into a back room where she encounters Hei Xiong and Stella. Hei explains that his men had been searching for Trivia for a while, and that he intends to use her as leverage against her father who had been increasingly cutting Hei out of his business deals.

Neo decides to go 'all in' and informs Hei of Lil' Miss' plot to overthrow his criminal empire and fibs that Roman has the data drive she needs to do it. Hei immediately orders Stella to prepare a team with a Bullhead to go after Lil' Miss and capture the data drive. Once the two are alone, Neo incapacitates Hei and takes on his appearance. She boards the Bullhead and studies Stella as she pilots the vehicle. Using the tracker Neo had installed in Roman's hat, they set off to intercept Lil' Miss' convoy. When they get in range to attack the convoy, Neo opens the cargo bay door and ejects both Hei's men and Stella. Neo briefly wonders if Stella had a parachute before steering towards Malachite's convoy.

Chapter Twenty-One: Fury Road

Roman awakens tied up in the back of Malachite's convoy. After getting over his disorientation, Roman overhears the Spiders commenting on an approaching Bullhead with a strange girl hanging out the back. It was Neopolitan, who quickly manages to descend upon and land on top of the van. The Spiders open fire upon her as she cuts a hole through the vehicle's roof, none of their rounds hitting their mark. She manages to break in and cut Roman's bindings. Returning his cane to him, Neo and Roman briefly battle the remaining Spiders shooting at them from across the convoy before grabbing the Bullhead's towline and climbing their way up to the craft. Once they were out of firing range, Neo uses texts to explain the situation to Roman and hands Roman the data drive. When Roman questions where they could possibly go to safely take advantage of this opportunity, Neo steers the Bullhead in a southerly direction.

Chapter Twenty-Two: Two For Tea

Neopolitan pilots the Bullhead towards the Vanille estate, seeing her childhood home for the first time in six months. As they get closer, she notices that the damage from the fire had been completely repaired, erasing the mark she'd made on the mansion. As she touches down on the lawn, her father storms out to reprimand whoever is trespassing on his property. When Neo seems nervous about confronting her parents again, Roman reassures her, and encourages Neo to show them who she really is. Jimmy recognizes Roman immediately, but takes a moment to realize that the young woman with Roman is his daughter. After Neo briefly explains that she had befriended Roman, Carmel rushes out to embrace her daughter and invites them all inside.

Roman and Neo lounge in one of the meeting rooms, briefly remarking on the delusion of normalcy promoted by an inaccurate family portrait depicting a young Trivia with matching brown eyes. After Neo uses her Semblance to correct the error, Jimmy and Carmel come in and serve them tea, which they accept. Jimmy declares that Roman will leave the manor the next day, leaving Neo behind, to which Roman responds by destroying his teacup. When Jimmy explains that he cannot harbor criminals in his home, Neopolitan breaks out laughing and exposes his involvement with Hei Xiong. Roman chastises Jimmy, who does not react the way Neo would expect. Just as she realizes that something is wrong, the paralysis powder her parents had laced the tea with takes effect and she loses control of her body. She sees Roman on the couch, also unable to move, as her father starts to drag her out of the room.

Chapter Twenty-Three: Meeting the Parents

A motionless Roman watches as Jimmy drags Neopolitan away. As Jimmy deals with his daughter, Carmel works to tidy the room showing clear disdain for the effect Roman's friendship has had on Neo. Without prompt Carmel runs her mouth, revealing her involvement in Lady Beat's little operation and chastising her husband's parenting decisions behind his back. She explains that she intends to return the data drive to Lady Beat so that Malachite can ruin Xiong's operation, leaving the Dust trade in shambles and ripe for her husband to seize. Having heard enough, Roman gets up and knocks Carmel unconscious, revealing that he had not drunk the laced tea. After he restrains her, Jimmy enters the room oblivious to the situation announcing that he had contacted Hei Xiong who was coming over to claim the data drive and Roman. He looks up just in time to see his wife tied up before Roman clobbers him with Melodic Cudgel. Taking back the data drive from Jimmy, Roman begins planning his way out of this situation and heads off to find where Neo ended up.

Chapter Twenty-Four: Falling In

Shortly after paralyzing his daughter, Jimmy drags Neo's motionless body through the house, and runs his mouth trying to explain how all of his actions have been for the betterment of the family, which fails to resonate with her. He describes the nature of his dealings with Hei Xiong, how those arrangements have been making his life increasingly more difficult over time, and how the data drive Neo stole is the key to getting Hei off his back. He drags her back to her old room, which had been restored to its original condition-save for the heavy blast door operated with a fingerprint scanner-and locked her inside, taking the data drive with him.

Still paralyzed, Neo can do nothing but wait and listen as cars approach and gunfire erupts outside the estate. As her mobility slowly returns, Neo crawls toward the window and sees Xiong and Malachite's forces clashing outside. Finding that the window has been reinforced with a Hard-Light shield, she stumbles towards the heavy door and finds it to be impervious to any attempts at opening from the inside. When door opens unexpectedly Neo launches herself through it, bladed parasol first, narrowly missing Roman who was on the other side. She notices her father's limp body on the floor, which Roman had dragged there to open the door. Roman explains that he has the data drive, and that Xiong and Malachite's little gang war had stopped, suggesting that they were likely to team up and storm the house together.

The only way to get them off of Neo and Roman's backs would be to expose their crimes. To accomplish this, Neo leads Roman to Jimmy's office and gives him access to the computer so that he can upload the contents of the data drive. Neo remembers what her father had said the night she'd set fire to her room, and realizes that he was more than likely hiding something there aside from an imprisoned daughter. She runs back to her room to find that her father had opened a secret compartment under her bed and was pulling out crates of extremely valuable-and volatile-Dust crystals. Jimmy, seemingly unconcerned with the threat his daughter currently poses towards him, explains that he had been stealing this Dust from Xiong for some time and currently intends to use it as a bargaining chip to get his family out of this situation. Neo uses her Semblance to create a fake match that she tosses at the Dust to distract her father as she runs out of the room and shuts the door behind her, which can only be opened from the outside by the very person now trapped on the inside.

Chapter Twenty-Five: Smoke and Mirrors

Roman works quickly to access the files on the data drive and get them ready to upload to the CCT, and phones the Vale News Network. After revealing his identity Roman is quickly transferred to Lisa Lavender, who is excited to receive a scoop from The Roman Torchwick. Once he had explained what he was sending to her, Lisa has Roman sent the credentials to upload the data drive's contents to the VNN.

Elsewhere in the house Neo works to distract the thugs searching the house for Roman, taking on his appearance to accomplish this. She comes across Lady Beat and Hei Xiong in the sitting room where her mother was still tied up. Roman texts Neo to inform her that the files were uploading just as Hei and Beat spot her and give chase, thinking it's Roman.

Back in Jimmy's office, the files are done transferring and Roman heard gunshots elsewhere in the house. Thinking quickly, he copies files regarding Jimmy's crooked business dealings onto the data drive, which he wagered would be almost as valuable as Lady Beat's spy-cam footage. After this second transfer is complete, he rushes out of the office and quickly finds Neo, who is distracting Hei with an illusory image of Roman cowering on the floor. Using the sound of Hei's gunfire as cover the two bolt out of the house and through the front door, only to be illuminated by a Bullhead's spotlight. Lil' Miss Malachite was staring directly at them, the craft's weapons trained on the pair.

Assuming that this was the end of the line, Roman is surprised when Lil' Miss doesn't open fire, and quickly notices that Neo was using her Semblance to disguise them as her parents. Not convinced that this ruse will last long enough for them to escape, Roman tries to convince Neo to drop the act so that he can act as bait to let her get away. Neo refuses to let go, and extends her Semblance to project images of him and her in the window of her former bedroom. Neo and Roman run to one of the cars in the driveway while Lil' Miss is preoccupied with the fakes that were taunting her from the house. Malachite opens fire on the window with the Bullhead's guns, and after that fails to penetrate the window's Hard-Light shield, launches a missile straight into the room-and the stockpile of very explosive dust it contained. The shock wave levels the house instantly, throws the Bullhead into the treeline on the opposite side of the driveway, and launches the car Roman and Neo are taking shelter in.

Chapter Twenty-Six: Friends to the End

Staggering out of the crumpled car, Neo checks on the unconscious Roman, who was flung from the vehicle by the explosion. She sits beside him, watching the sun rise behind the rubble of what was once the Vanille Estate, before he springs to life a moment later. The two confirm that nobody escaped the mansion's destruction, including Neo's parents. Torchwick tries to reassure her, but Neo isn't concerned by her role in her parents' deaths, only feeling a sense of freedom. As far as she's concerned, Trivia died in that explosion too. When she turns to Roman, he catches a lock of Neo's hair and shows it to her. It's now white, through a subconscious use of her Semblance.

With sirens growing louder, the partners in crime decide to make their escape before the authorities arrive. Neo prepares the Bullhead they used earlier, but stops when Roman suggests that he can be dropped off anywhere. When she shoots him an anxious look, he asks if she wants to stick together, which is an offer she accepts. When Roman brings up the possibility of her becoming a Huntress, Neo laughs him off.

Roman teases Neo some more, before finally admitting that he couldn't ask for a better partner. In response, Neo kisses Roman on the cheek, causing the smooth talker to blush, much to her delight. With Lil' Miss retreating back to Mistral, and Hei Xiong dead, Torchwick starts making plans to tighten his grip on Vale. When asked, Roman gives Neo the choice of where to go next, and she steers in the opposite direction of approaching ships at full throttle. Riding off into the distance with her partner, Neo is content with a single thought: no one was ever going to catch Roman and Neo.

Characters

Original Characters

Trivia

  • A "roman holiday" is an idiom related to an occasion on which enjoyment or profit is derived from others' suffering or discomfort.
  • The novel may be a reference to Roman Holiday, a 1953 American romantic comedy film which depicts a girl stuck with boredom in a luxurious confinement, who escapes from her guardians and falls in love with an American news reporter in Rome.
  • Before the novel’s release, Meyers confirmed his support for a romantic viewing of Neopolitan and Roman’s later relationship.[7]
  • The age difference between Neopolitan and Roman is about 10 years.[8]
  • Behind Roman on the cover is a wooden wreath with two hatchets, the Emblem for the Kingdom of Vale. This might reference how Jimmy Vanille was the city manager for the Capital city before his death.
  • The novel was partly inspired by artwork made by Courtney Brenek, a designer at RoosterTeeth. She also designed the front cover.
  • Some of Roman Torchwick's scheme ideas in the novel reference his schemes in RWBY Chibi such as his "Death Ray" idea he used in his first episode appearance in Chibi. Neo even thought he was a "Dum-Dum" for the scheme, a reference to her calling him "My Dum-Dum" in the same episode, additionally referenced in an exchange between two police partners in the book.
  • In an early draft Roman asks someone, "Have you ever wondered what a pinata feels like?" This threat was later changed to, "Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be a punching bag?" because pinatas do not exist in Remnant.[9]
  • E. C. Myers got the idea for the coffee heist in the novel from sleep deprivation and the King's Coast coffee collaboration with Rooster Teeth that created the "Mistral Mountains Huntress Blend" coffee. According to Myers, once he had the idea it seemed fun and was a little reference to the Team CFVY books "RWBY: After the Fall" and "RWBY: Before the Dawn".[10]

References

Media
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