Ruby was blinded with pain, trying desperately to drag herself out of the thick mixture of mud, rotting leaves and severed monster limbs. Warm blood was flowing freely down her neck from the giant gash on her cheek. Gasping for breath, the girl with the torn red hood pulled herself onto a log, scraping at the mud in her eyes. All around her she could hear the low, bloodthirsty growls of the creatures of Grimm; monstrous creations of darkness with the sole mission of destroying everything in their path.
Ruby was a huntress; a member of a prestigious order of warriors who train for years to hunt and protect the citizens of the various kingdoms of Remnant from Grimm attacks. She, however, was still only a student huntress, studying at the world famous Beacon Academy. Along with the rest of her team; Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna and her sister, Yang Xiao Long, she had been exposed to the worst elements of the Vale.
But now she was alone in a cave, separated from the rest of the world by a rockslide. Her weapon; the Sniper-scythe she called Crescent Rose, lay broken a few feet away, sinking into the dark mud. With a flash of her semblance she pulled her scroll from a pouch on the belt of her red and black combat skirt. The cracked display showed that her aura was dangerously low, meaning that she soon would be taking the full brunt of the Grimm attacks without a protective aura or semblance to save her. She sighed, throwing the scroll into the mud.
She pushed herself onto shaking feet, facing the horde of black-furred beowolves with a furrowed brow. The bony protrusions that jutted out from the skin of the Grimm glowed with red markings, casting an eerie light over the scene. Ruby took a step forward, grimacing with pain. The growling got louder; the monsters understood the challenge. She kept going, one step at a time, closing the short gap. If she was going to die, then she would do it the same way her mother did; on her feet and fighting.
"COME ON THEN!” She shouted, activating her semblance for one final push. With a puff of red rose petals, Ruby vanished. Her super speed added to her momentum as she punched and kicked out at the thrashing creatures, breaking snouts and bloodying her knuckles. One managed to grab her leg as she leapt over it, blade-sharp claws digging into her flesh as it slammed her back down into the mud. She was too exhausted to cry out, instead resigning herself to death; staring with a blank expression at the ceiling, and a tiny hole through which she could see the full moon.
‘I’m so so sorry Yang. I guess I just wasn’t ready for this,’ she lamented, closing her eyes as her vision was filled with glowing runic symbols. Growling and gnashing filled her ears as she waited for the inevitable painful tearing of her throat.
But it never came.
Instead, the cave was filled with a high-pitched howling and screeching. Ruby’s eyes snapped open to find the Grimm that had been bearing down on her moments before now cowering behind a large boulder near the back of the cave. But it was what had scared the Grimm that interested the fledgling huntress. Floating in the air between the two parties was a glowing green ring. It spun slowly, as though it was on display in a jewellery store. On a wider part of the ring, there was a symbol etched into the metal or whatever material it was made of.
“I-Is that one of those old gas lanterns?” she asked no one as she slowly and stiffly rose to her feet. Ruby reached out toward the ring, feeling an increasing sensation of warmth as she got closer. When she was only a few feet away, the ring stopped spinning, flashing bright green once more before latching onto Ruby’s hand. She let out a scream as it tightened around the middle finger of her right hand. She grabbed it with her other, trying desperately to tear it off, suddenly fearing for her life. A deep disembodied voice then pieced the sounds of her screams, digging directly into Ruby’s mind.
“Ruby Rose of Remnant, you have the ability to overcome great fear. Welcome to the Green Lantern corps.”
With a sound akin to Weiss’ glyphs, a sphere of bright green energy began to form around Ruby, stemming from the ring itself. The teenager started to hyperventilate, never having been a fan of enclosed spaces. She began to punch at the bubble of light, her already bloodied knuckles rebounding uselessly off the force field. When it finally closed over, Ruby’ breath caught in her throat. She had no way of knowing how much air she had left in the sphere, nor how long she would be trapped within, slowly suffocating. Was this some kind of new dust weapon? A new Grimm trap made by one of her fellow beacon classmates, or worse, by one of the criminal elements within the kingdom of Vale?
The green energy held steady, pulsating faintly and sending a vibration all the way up her arm. She could no longer see the Grimm that had been attacking her only moments beforehand, nor hear their growls or cries. She was all alone in the green bubble. The disembodied voice spoke to her again, echoing from the ring.
“Lantern recruit secured. Returning to Oa.” And with that, the bubble of green light rose into the air; slowly at first, but as it approached the ceiling it put on a phenomenal burst of speed. Ruby screamed once more, fearing that she would soon become a red and green smear on the ceiling of the cave. It burst straight through the thick layer of rock, soaring into the sky like a Nevermore. Ruby continued to scream, even as she rose above the canopy of the Emerald forest and the great green lights of Beacon Academy shone in the distance. What she wouldn’t have given to be there at that very moment.
The bubble continued to rise, the school she called home being reduced to a dot in the distance and then completely invisible as Ruby became shrouded in cloud. Her voice cracked and broke after a time, her scream silenced by a few feeble coughs. The silence then hung in the air as she flew, the curvature of the planet laying out before her and every star in the universe above her. Tears rolled down her cheeks, mixing with the blood and dried mud. The girl in the red hood could not help but believe that this was the last time she would see her friends, her family.
To her, this was then end of Ruby Rose, and so... she relented, giving into the pain and blacking out.
It was cold, colder than even Weiss on a bad day. A frigid breeze rushed over her bare skin, goosebumps rising on her exposed belly. She opened her eyes, shutting them again as soon as they were met with an unnatural whiteness. She tried again, slowly this time, and as her eyes became used to her surroundings, she started to notice a few things. Firstly, that she was now only in her underwear, much to her own surprise and embarrassment. Secondly, that the room she was in seemed seamless, with no sign of an entry or exit and thirdly; that the green ring was still tightly fastened to her finger. As soon as she noticed the ring, it flashed green, as though happy for the attention.
Ruby let out a deep breath, trying to stop herself from quivering. With a lot of effort, she sat up on the edge of the bed, the super-thin mattress slipping slightly at the change in weight. It was the only piece of furniture in the room, sat dead centre.
Running a hand through her hair, Ruby could feel the cold touch of the ring against her scalp. She’d faced hordes of monsters, waves of ruthless criminals and yet nothing scared her more than the tiny piece of jewellery stuck to her finger.
"I miss my hood,” she pined, rubbing her arms for warmth as she curled into a ball. The hood was one of her most precious possessions. It had belonged to her mother, Summer Rose, during her time as a student. Ruby wore it everywhere she went. It was her safety blanket, her superhero cape and most importantly; a reminder of better times.
As if on cue, the ring flashed once more and Ruby immediately moved it as far away from her body as she could. The ring sparked and with all the speed of an inferno, emerald fire rushed up her arm from her hand. Ruby tried to scream, but her voice failed her, leaving her to do naught but desperately slap at the fire to no effect. It would take a moment for her to realise that the fire was not hot in the slightest, but a gentle cool, like the first breeze of a winter’s morning. As the fire covered her, it left behind something closely resembling cloth. It burned over her body, leaving black and green trails everywhere it went. Ruby stopped panicking, letting the new outfit shape itself around her.
When it was done, Ruby let out a sigh of relief. It was her regular combat outfit, albeit with some minor changes. Everywhere that had previously been red was now green; from the ruffles of her skirt to her boots and her symbol, which had been cast in metal on her belt, had now been replaced by the same symbol that was on the ring. The Green Lantern.
‘N-not bad. Still miss my hood though.’ She thought and as though her ring was reading her mind, the flame ignited once more; this time from around her neck. A glimmering emerald cape unfurled at her back and her head was quickly covered in a silky soft hood. She took a moment to admire the ring’s handiwork, forgetting her fear for the sake of being impressed. She wrapped the cloak around her body, bringing up the hems to her nose and inhaling deep. It even smelled like her red one.
"I like your style,” came a voice from behind her. Ruby jumped, tripping over her own feet and slamming down onto the floor. She shot a look over at the new voice and, much to her surprise, found another human. He was tall and muscular, with brown hair and a reassuring smile upon his face. His eyes were obscured by a strange green domino mask that looked a lot like the same ones her favourite comic book heroes wore.
“W-Who are you,” she asked, trying to hide her nervousness behind a thin veil of bravado, which was nearly impossible after falling on her backside. The man walked across the room, the door he had entered through sliding shut behind him, becoming invisible to the naked eye. He offered a hand to Ruby, which she reluctantly took and was pulled to her feet.
“My name is Hal Jordan,” he said kindly.
"My name is Ruby. Ruby Rose,” she replied.
“It’s nice to meet you Ruby Rose, welcome to the Green Lantern corps.”