"Risk" is the eleventh episode of Volume 8 and the 103rd episode of RWBY. It premiered for Rooster Teeth FIRST members on March 6th, 2021 and was made public on the Rooster Teeth site on March 13th, 2021.
Citizens in the City of Atlas and Mantle continue to hide underground in the subways and mines respectively. The Ace Operatives discuss James Ironwood's ultimatum, believing that he is merely bluffing, only for him to enter the room and instruct them to ready the payload. Marrow Amin has enough and begins speaking out against Ironwood's actions. Just as he begins to walk away from Ironwood, he hears the sound of Ironwood readying his gun, but Winter Schnee tackles Marrow to the floor and arrests him before Ironwood can pull the trigger.
In the dining hall of the Schnee Manor, Team RWBY and Oscar Pine try to figure out what to do about Ironwood's ultimatum. With seemingly no options, Ruby Rose concludes that it is impossible, and the tension and distrust toward Emerald Sustrai momentarily rises. Ruby becomes frustrated, stating that they are still where they started, and she runs from the room. Yang Xiao Long runs after her.
In Weiss Schnee's room, Jaune Arc tries in vain to clear up Nora Valkyrie's scars with his Semblance. Nora and Lie Ren voice their feelings, and Ren apologizes to Nora and Jaune. When Ren's speech turns to a more romantic undertone toward Nora, Jaune awkwardly flees the room to give them alone time. The two continue to open up about their feelings, leading them to confess their love for each other. Nora explains to Ren that, for now, she needs time to discover and understand who she is as a person separate from him, and Ren voices that he is perfectly okay with that.
Inside the Atlas military compound, Qrow Branwen and Robyn Hill retrieve their weapons and continue sneaking around. Qrow wants to go up to Ironwood's office and "end this", but Robyn worries about the consequences if Qrow's idea fails. She attempts to talk him down, and just as Qrow begins calming down, they are interrupted by the arrival of the elevator that Robyn had stopped Qrow from calling. The two ready themselves for a fight but are instead surprised by whoever is on the elevator.
In the Schnee Manor's foyer, Yang attempts to cheer Ruby up. Ruby, sitting near the statue that killed The Hound, tells Yang her theory that Summer Rose fell victim to the experiments that led Salem to create The Hound. She then says that her plan to get the Amity Communications Tower into the air was a waste of time, and Yang explains to her that it is important to have hope and take risks.
Ruby and Yang's conversation is interrupted by the sound of a window breaking, and everyone hurries outside to find Penny Polendina once again struggling against the virus. Blake Belladonna and Ren use their weapons to keep Penny from flying away, Weiss Schnee pulls her to the ground with a glyph and Emerald soon joins in with her own weapon. In desperation, Penny asks Ruby to kill her so that she can pass the Winter Maiden powers on to her, but Ruby cannot bring herself to do it. Nora's insistence that only part of Penny is affected by the virus inspires Ruby to have Jaune boost Penny's Aura to combat the virus. The idea works, but it is only temporary. In her attempt to give everyone encouragement, Emerald admits that she has switched sides. With the mood lightened, Ozpin tells everyone that he realizes he should have trusted them with the truth and should not have run away when they discovered it for themselves. Yang, Blake and Weiss state that they understand that trust is a risk. The virus continues trying to force Penny to go to the vault, and Ruby gets an idea.
Ruby calls Ironwood and tells him that Penny will open the Vault. Somewhere in the City of Atlas, Arthur Watts connects a Scroll to a damaged Atlesian Knight-200, and a static-filled version of the call can be heard as Ironwood tells Ruby to send Penny to the Atlas Academy entrance alone. Neopolitan approaches Watts and points her parasol at Cinder Fall who is standing behind him.
Ironwood: If anyone tries anything other than what I’ve ordered, Mantle is gone.
On the billboard of a tall building, circled by Grimm, Ironwood’s message to Penny Polendina is being played.
Ironwood: You have one hour to respond.
Inside a mine in Mantle, many people, including Fiona’s Uncle, are listening and reacting to the speech with shock and fear.
Ironwood: I hope you live up to the title I gave you.
Ironwood and Winter Schnee are walking down a corridor. Two guards emerge from one of the side paths and, upon noticing Ironwood, salutes them while doing their best not to look Ironwood in the eye. Their reaction is noticed by Winter, who chose not to comment.
Somewhere else in the base, the Ace-Ops are seen talking with each other.
Elm: Of course he’s not going to do it.
Marrow: So what, he’s bluffing? With the whole city?
Vine: It may finally push the kids to see reason.
Harriet: Who cares?
A door opens behind them to allow Ironwood and Winter access to the room. The Ace-Ops line up and stand at attention.
Ironwood: Good, you’re here. I need a squad of drones in standby to drop the payload.
Winter’s eyes widen in surprise.
Winter: Sir, what for?
Ironwood: I believe I was clear in the broadcast. If they give me a reason, I’m gonna remove Mantle from the equation.
The Ace-Ops look in shock as he continues.
Ironwood: This is how we save Atlas.
Ironwood begins to walk away from the group. Marrow walks towards him, distraught.
Marrow: You call this saving Atlas? Doing Salem’s job for her?
Ironwood stops but does not turn around.
Marrow: I believed in you! I thought we could work towards something better. But now you’re throwing it all away.
Harriet grabs him by the shoulder and moves him in order to stand between Marrow and Ironwood.
Harriet: If you don’t shut your mouth, I’m going to do it for you.
Vine: If this is what gets the children to cooperate, then it’s worth it.
Elm: I don’t like this either, but the top priority is…
Marrow walks past Harriet to get closer to Ironwood.
Marrow: Do you even believe what you’re saying anymore? (turns to the Ace-Ops) Do any of you believe in anything? I used to wear this rank with pride. Now I see it for what it really is: a collar.
Marrow walks past the the Ace-Ops and away from Ironwood. His eyes widen when he hears a gun cock before he is punched in the face by Winter.
Ironwood pulls back his gun as Winter restrains Marrow.
Winter: You want a collar? Fine.
Winter picks up and holds on to Marrow as the Ace-Ops look on in shock.
Winter: I’ll throw this traitor in the brig. Where he belongs.
Ironwood nods and allows Winter to take Marrow away while he holsters his gun. He walks past the rest of the Ace-Ops, who get out of his way and stand at attention.
At the Schnee manor, Team RWBY, Emerald Sustrai, and Oscar Pine are in the meeting room. Weiss Schnee is pacing around the room, Emerald is leaning against a wall and Oscar is looking through the window. Everyone else is sitting at the table.
Yang: (sighs) Okay, Ironwood wants Penny, otherwise Mantle is done for. So, how do we stop him?
Oscar: And Salem isn’t going to stay gone for much longer.
Ruby: So then, it’s impossible.
Emerald: See? If Miss Hero with all the answers doesn’t have an answer, then we have ours.
Weiss: Shut up.
Yang: (Approaching Emerald) Okay, then why don’t you just leave?!
Emerald backs away in fear.
Oscar: Can we please just give each other a chance? Emerald’s not with Salem anymore, and Ozpin is back.
Ruby grumbles into the table while everyone else goes quiet.
Oscar: All of this doubt and worry and distrust, it isn’t getting us anywhere.
Ruby slams her hands on the table.
Ruby: (distraught) Then nothing has changed! We’re in the exact same spot we were yesterday. Arguing what to do while the Kingdom waits to die.
Yang lays her hand on her shoulder to try and comfort her, but Ruby shrugs the hand off and runs out of the room. Yang hesitates for a second, then runs after her.
Ren: I’m... glad you’re alright.
Nora does not respond. Eventually Jaune stops using his Semblance with a sigh.
Jaune: Ah, sorry. No matter how much I boost you, they won’t go away.
Nora: (Getting up into a sitting position) Don’t apologize. I got hurt doing what I always do, just another ditsy move from Nora.
Ren: (standing up) Th-that’s not true.
Nora: How would you know? We were supposed to be a team, but that didn’t matter to you. When things went wrong you pushed us away. You shove people out so you don’t have to feel things that are hard!
Nora gasps for breath before attempting to calm herself down. Ren looks away before replying.
Ren: You’re right. I should be apologizing, to both of you. W-when we lost Oscar and things got difficult, I said terrible things. (sits back on the bed) I’ve been so...angry, at myself. For not being as good as the Ace-Ops, for what happened at Robyn’s rally, for losing the lamp. I thought if I just focused on working harder, getting stronger, that we...I, wouldn’t fail. But, my biggest failing was as a teammate and as a partner.
Jaune looks between Ren and Nora several times before getting up in a rush.
Jaune: Ah ha! Ha ha! Uh...All water under the bridge, buddy! Ha ha! I’m uh...Gonna go see if Klein needs any help with Penny.
Jaune exits the room in a rush and shuts the door loudly.
Nora: Ren, I just wish, I mean, why didn’t you say anything? So we failed as a team, but we succeed as a team too.
Ren: I was the one holding us back. Not Jaune, not you. Me.
Nora: Well, you’re wrong. All I do is make dumb jokes and smash things with a hammer.
Ren: (moving closer to Nora) What? That’s not true.
Nora sighs while leaning her head back and closing her eyes.
Ren: You put everything you have into what you do. You support everyone around you, you help without worrying about how it might hurt. And that’s what I love about…
Nora’s eyes open in shock.
Ren: That’s why I... I love you.
Nora takes a deep breath and looks away from Ren. Neither of them say anything for a while.
Nora: When my mom ran from the Grimm and left me behind, you found me. We became Ren and Nora. But I realized on this mission apart, I don’t know who “Just Nora” is. And if I’m ever going to find out, then I have to do it alone. Because I’ve always loved you, Lie Ren, and that pretty head on your shoulders seems like it’s doing a lot better.
Ren chuckles at the last remark.
Nora: But I still got to get mine sorted out before I can be the partner you need. Is that...okay?
Ren looks at her with his Semblance. He sees whitish pink petals slowly falling off her, and gives her a small smile, and brushes her cheek as she starts to cry.
Ren: It’s definitely okay.
Ren removes his hand from her cheek and taps her nose.
Nora gives a small giggle, and the two rest their foreheads together.
Qrow and Robyn are in a locker room, looking for their weapons. Qrow finds his sword and pulls it out.
Qrow: You got those halfway cameras on a loop?
Robyn doesn’t respond, her eyes on a screen showing Ironwood's speech and Mantle.
Robyn: He’s... really gonna do it.
Qrow approaches and gives Robyn her weapon.
Qrow: Not if we stop him first.
Robyn grabs her weapon but looks away, unsure about what Qrow said.
The two stealth around the base, being careful to avoid being noticed by a couple guards taking the elevator. They make their way to one and Qrow tries to call it in, but is stopped by Robyn, who grabs his arm.
Robyn: There might be a better way.
Qrow shakes the hand off and glares at Robyn.
Qrow: I’m telling you there isn’t.
Robyn: Well, this isn’t just about you. It’s about everyone.
Qrow: I’m going straight up to the Academy and I am ending this.
Robyn: Or we fail and people get killed.
Qrow: He deserves this!
Robyn panics and covers his mouth with her hand. She looks around to make sure no one heard them before letting go.
Robyn: (sighs) Listen, I get it. You are hurting. You’ve been hurting for a long time. But let’s stop pretending that what you’re trying to do here is for anyone but yourself.
Qrow continues to glare but doesn’t say anything in return.
Robyn: Clover was a lot of things. You respected him, but I gotta tell ya, I think you’re the better Huntsman. Not because you’re the one who walked away, but, because you’re the one fighting for what was right.
Qrow's glare softens and he looks away.
Robyn: Don’t go telling me that’s changed.
They hear the elevator next to them ding, signaling someone's arrival. Qrow and Robyn ready their weapons, but when the door opens, they lower their weapons slightly with looks of surprise.
Yang finds Ruby on the stairs next to the entrance, hugging one of the stone poles. She slowly makes her way to the fallen suit of armor.
Yang: You know, that giant hound kicked us around like we were nothing. But Blake said you and Schnee's managed to take it down. (looks at Ruby) Still having to one-up your big sis, huh?
Ruby: Did she tell you what it was? Underneath?
Yang: (looks away) Yeah.
Ruby: You know what that means then.
Yang: (sighs) I wouldn’t worry about that--
Ruby: That’s what happened to Mom.
Yang tries to hold back tears, but grasps her head and crouches when they start to fall off her face.
Yang composes herself enough to look at Ruby.
Ruby: But why would that change unless, when she met Mom, she learned she could do something new.
Yang: (gets herself back up with a sniffle) Ruby.
Ruby: (lets go of the stone pole and looks at Yang) We shouldn’t lie to ourselves. I’ve wasted our time getting Amity up, thinking help would come, but it didn’t, and Amity fell.
Yang approaches Ruby while rubbing her eyes.
Ruby: (looks away) I was being childish.
Yang: (balls her fists) You were being optimistic. (crouches and grabs one of Ruby’s hands) Look, blind optimism isn’t great, but no optimism means we already lost. We need hope. We need to take risks.
Ruby: But mine didn’t work.
Yang: (signs and gets up) It still got a warning out. Ruby, they’re not called sure things, they’re called risks, and in case you didn’t notice, my plan for Mantle didn’t work either. But we got Oscar back, and did a lot more that was never in the plan.
Yang finally sits next to Ruby.
Yang: Mom took a risk the day she left, and I don’t think. I don’t think it went the way she wanted it to. (hugs Ruby) But she’s still my hero.
Ruby leans into the hug, on the verge of crying.
They are startled by the sound of glass breaking, followed by Jaune making a mad dash down the stairs.
Ruby and Yang follow him to the exit. Outside, Penny is seen laying on the floor. She gets up, her eyes red.
Penny: I can no longer be delayed.
She begins to walk away. Ruby uses her Semblance to get in front of her and grab her by the arms.
Ruby: Penny please!
Penny: (twitches uncontrollably) I...I must...open the Vault. (Eyes flashes between red and green) I, I do not want...Ah!
Emerald emerges from the entrance and looks on in shock as Oscar runs past her
Penny: Ruby, stop me!
Ruby grabs her by the waist as Penny's eyes settle on red.
Penny: I must open the Vault and self-terminate.
Penny takes flight with Ruby still holding off. Penny is stopped from her flight by Gambol Shroud wrapping around her right arm. Ren takes the moment to grab Penny’s other hand with the hooks from Storm Flower. Blake, Yang, Nora, and Oscar grab the chords, and together they drag Penny to the ground, onto a Glyph made by Weiss.
Weiss: I’ve got her!
Nora: What do we do?
Penny’s eyes flare, as she summons a tempest around her. The wind causes Weiss to recoil, canceling the Glyph. Penny tries to lift herself up with the summoned wind.
Penny: I must open the Vault! (eyes alternate from red to green) And self-terminate.
Emerald joins in, using the chain sickles from Thief’s Respite to grab Penny by the shoulders. She looks back at Jaune.
Emerald: Do something!
Jaune lets go of Gambol Shroud and heads towards Weiss. He powers her up with his Semblance, allowing Weiss to make a stronger Glyph, grounding Penny once more.
Ruby: Penny please. Tell me how to help you.
Penny narrows both her green eyes.
Penny: Kill me.
Ruby’s eyes widen in shock
Penny: Kill me. And I can make sure the power goes to you.
Ruby doesn’t reply as everyone else looks in in horror.
Penny: Please... Please! (eyes twitch red) I cannot fight it!
Nora: Yes you can! It’s just a part of you, remember? If you were only a machine, you never could have fought back for this long.
Ruby: She’s right… She’s right! Jaune! Boost her Aura!
Jaune runs from Weiss and begins using his Semblance on Penny. Her eyes continue to flash, but it starts to slow down and eventually disappears. Penny sits still, shocked, but eventually gives Jaune a nod.
The danger, having seemingly past, causes Ruby to hug Penny in relief. Everyone sees Oscar and Emerald approach her in relief, with Nora giving Penny another hug.
Jaune: Did... I stop the virus?
Penny looks at her hands, contemplating Jaune’s words.
Penny: No. It’s still there.
Ruby: But you’ve got an Aura, Penny, a soul. That’s who you are, our friend, not a machine.
The group enjoy a moment of silence, being happy that they didn’t lose Penny.
Emerald: I think you’re wrong, by the way.
They all turn around to look at Emerald, who was sitting on the ground with her legs crossed.
Emerald: I highly doubt you’re in the same place you started. I-I mean, yeah, y-you guys have been getting your asses kicked, some of that my fault, but like, you’re at war. You’re gonna take hits.
Emerald looks away, trying to figure out what she was trying to say.
Emerald: Look, I’m just going to be super pissed if you all finally decided to give up the moment I switch sides.
Oscar: (smiles) Switched sides, huh?
Emerald opens her mouth to reply, but is unable to retort.
The group begins to giggle at Emerald's look of embarrassment.
Emerald: Or like, whatever.
Oscar offers Emerald a hand, which she accepts, and lifts her up.
Oscar: If you all wouldn’t mind, I really think Ozpin would like to say something.
Everyone silently looks at Ruby.
Ruby: Go ahead.
Oscar's eyes briefly flash gold, and Ozpin walks forward.
Ozpin: I was recently reminded of an old fairy tale. A young girl flees the consequences of a choice, to a magical place. But, having never learned from her initial failure, she only succeeds in spreading it. I failed all of you. I should have trusted you with the truth and should never have run the day you discovered it.
Yang: It was rough, but…
Blake: I think after everything that’s happened here, we understand. Trust is..
Weiss: Trust is a risk.
Ozpin: And I hope it’s a risk you can take on me again.
Ruby silently nods her head at Ozpin.
Penny frowns, clutching her chest in pain.
Penny: I can still feel it fighting me.
Jaune: I can’t just keep amping her forever.
Ren: And we can’t keep Ironwood waiting.
Penny clutches her head in pain.
Nora: Guys, she has to go to the Vault.
Everyone looks down in thought, except for Ruby who looks around at everyone.
Ruby: That’s actually a risk we haven’t considered.
Some time later, Ironwood is standing in the Vault with his Scroll in his hand, in a phone call with Ruby.
Ruby: She'll do it.
In an alley in the City of Atlas, Arthur Watts attaches a Scroll to some wires inside a damaged Atlesian Knight. Static-filled audio of Ironwood's voice can be heard.
Ironwood: The Academy entrance. Penny comes alone.
- James Ironwood
- Fiona Thyme
- May Marigold
- Joanna Greenleaf
- Winter Schnee
- Marrow Amin
- Elm Ederne
- Vine Zeki
- Harriet Bree
- Weiss Schnee
- Oscar Pine
- Blake Belladonna
- Emerald Sustrai
- Yang Xiao Long
- Ruby Rose
- Jaune Arc
- Nora Valkyrie
- Lie Ren
- Qrow Branwen
- Robyn Hill
- Klein Sieben
- Willow Schnee
- Whitley Schnee
- Penny Polendina
- Arthur Watts
- Cinder Fall
- Main article: Risk/Image Gallery