RWBY – Volume 3 Chapter 7

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All aboard the Neo ambulance!

We get quite a lot of content in this chapter of RWBY, but surprisingly little plot progression.




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Cinder and her recruits.

The chapter opens with flashbacks to Cinder recruiting henchmen for her cause. Emerald’s flashback suggests that the thief’s semblance may be an ability to create illusions, as I had initially suspected in my chapter 4 review. It’s not explicitly shown, but we can infer that Emerald stole the ring by picking it up at the jeweler’s behest, and then leaving an illusion of herself behind while she simply walked out the door. This is reinforced by the trio’s attack on Amber, during which we repeatedly observe illusions that are all associated with Emerald. As for Mercury, we learn that he is the son of an apparently well-known assassin. For reasons unknown, he killed his father just as Cinder found him. More importantly, we see that both of Mercury’s legs have been replaced with metal prosthetics due to injuries sustained in the battle with his father. This means that the framing of Yang in the previous chapter didn’t even cost the bad guys one of their fighters; Mercury was never in danger of losing use of his legs in the first place. The fact that Mercury’s legs are prosthetic also suggests that the blasts he creates are dust-based, and that his prosthetic legs double as guns (like many other things in the RWBY universe) that shoot these blasts from the feet. I rather enjoyed these flashbacks as they provided deeper insight into Emerald and Mercury, whom we did not know much about until now. Mainly, we learn that Emerald desires to be powerful and even feared. This is likely a reaction to the impoverished, street rat life that she lived until she met Cinder. Also, Emerald is made out to be the impressionable type, as she seems to look up to Cinder and went along with the villainess after hearing her story (the details of which we are painfully kept in the dark about). On the other hand, Mercury is a simpler character. He is self-centered and looks out only for himself, going along with Cinder only because he stands to gain something.

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Adam is convinced.

We then see Cinder attempting to recruit Adam and the White Fang to her cause. Even though it is suggested that she had already won over Roman Torchwick before paying Adam a visit, we know that Roman doesn’t have any forces of his own and always employs hired muscle (like Junior’s thugs) to aid him in his raids. So winning over the White Fang would grant Cinder the manpower to enact plans on a global scale. It’s worth nothing that Cinder succeeded in turning Adam through intimidation (with her newly stolen powers) and a show of the resources available to her group (thanks to Roman). But I think there’s more to it than just that. I suspect that Adam’s falling out with Blake played an important role in his decision to accept Cinder’s offer. Adam probably felt a sense of loss or even betrayal after someone he had been close to for such a long time suddenly walked away. He didn’t openly admit it, even to the White Fang lieutenant (who appears to be his right-hand man), but I think that Blake’s departure was a strong emotional blow that led him to search for new allies to fill in the void left by his old friend. And that is where Cinder comes in. In any case, all of this seems to confirm that Adam is actually one of the leaders, if not the leader, of the White Fang. Which puts a much more personal spin on Blake’s circumstances regarding the radical group. It’s also important to mention that the chronology of the flashbacks suggests that the White Fang had been stealing and hoarding dust even before Cinder came along. This makes good sense, as dust is made out to be the universal power source on Remnant. So the White Fang would be interested in stockpiling it to shore up their own forces. Cinder, on the other hand, is probably interested in depriving those who would challenge her of dust. She is all about taking power from her enemies or targets, after all. Thus, stealing dust is a common cause that unites Cinder’s faction and the White Fang. Though I am sure there are other things at play.

Now You’re Playing With Power

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Amber is not amused.

And then we have the eye candy of the chapter: the showdown between Cinder’s faction and Amber. We finally get a taste of what a seasonal maiden is capable of, and it is quite fantastic. Amber is able to call and manipulate natural elements like fire, wind, and lightning. She is also shown to freeze objects and create barriers with her hands to block attacks. Notably, a burning aura emits from Amber’s eyes when using these powers, so we can infer that Cinder is using her stolen powers whenever the same aura emits from her eyes. And as we’ve only ever seen Cinder summon fire and use the same blocking ability (against Ruby and Glinda in the very first chapter), it’s likely that those were the only powers she was able to steal. As fantastic as these abilities are though, Amber was still unable to overcome her attackers. This is interesting, as I thought that a seasonal maiden’s abilities were supposed to be so powerful that the only ways to take one down would be by surprise (with one fatal blow) or by overwhelming numbers. Yet, Amber fell to a sequence of well-planned attacks from a party of only three. Perhaps the seasonal maidens are not as powerful as we were initially led to believe? Because as it stands, I find it hard to believe that the abilities Amber used could be so devastating in the wrong hands when a well-coordinated trio could overcome her. All it really took was for one of the attackers to land a hit powerful enough to break through her aura, and the battle was over. Why wouldn’t the good guys be able to do the same against a baddie in control of said powers?

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Whatever is going on…

Anyway, Cinder was able to steal Amber’s powers using a mysterious white glove. There are a few interesting things about this glove. A visual effect similar to Raven’s “portals,” which also shows up in several of the opening animations, appears at the palm of the glove when used. It’s not clear if this is just a motif connected to the seasonal maidens or if a portal of some kind is actually created in all instances. We see one appear under Amber and Cinder when the latter steals the former’s powers, and we also see the effect whenever Cinder uses her new-found fire summoning abilities. But we just know too little to draw any conclusions. In any case, the glove functions with the help of an equally mysterious insect that seems to crawl through the palm of the glove. Again, we are left with many questions. Is the energy-sapping insect part of the glove somehow? Or is the glove merely used to summon the insect and then channel the power being taken by the insect into the wearer? Moreover, how does the power even travel from the insect to the wearer of the glove? I can understand the insect sapping the powers of the victim as it may be some sort of parasite. But the second leg of the trip from the insect to the glove bearer is less clear. Whatever the case, I believe that this energy-sapping insect cannot work its magic while the target is protected by his or her aura, which explains the need for Cinder’s faction to defeat Amber in combat. Moving on, Amber appeared to recognize the glove and what it is meant for. So perhaps it might be some ancient and forbidden method of stealing abilities. This leads me to believe that Ironwood’s new aura transfer technology mentioned in the previous chapter is not the same as what Cinder used on Amber. There is no indication of an aura transfer involved in the use of the glove. In fact, the victim’s aura must be broken before it can be used.

When all is said and done, this chapter actually doesn’t move the story ahead much. But it does provide some backstory for the antagonists and serves as a tantalizing peek into the affairs of the seasonal maidens. Beyond merely seeing Amber in action, we hear Cinder describe the fall maiden’s powers as “an emptiness that burns like hunger.” I’m not sure if this is meant to symbolize her partially stolen powers yearning to be made complete, or if the emptiness is meant to link directly to the season of fall. I fail to see the connection as fall is typically the time of harvest, when food should be plentiful. Moreover, the description does not mesh well with the fall sister in the fairy tale, whose words to the old man were to be thankful for what he has. But it’s possible that different individuals might interpret the maidens’ powers differently. Moving on, we are teased by the idea that Cinder is working on behalf of someone else. Who is this person that Cinder answers to? There may be a hint in what the villainess says when addressing this unseen mastermind: “I will claim what is ours.” It’s not a lot to go on, but my best guess is that Cinder and the person she serves may be wayward descendants of the mythical old man who for some reason want to reclaim the powers that he gave to the four maidens. It’s a bit of a stretch, but it might provide an idea as to the “truth” that Cinder said would make Emerald question everything she knows. Maybe that truth is something that overturns the fairy tale of the four seasons and reveals a darker side to the maidens and the world they protect. At the same time, it’s possible that whatever Cinder told Emerald was just a lie and doesn’t matter. Finally, I return again to the question of who the remaining maidens may be. Now that we have seen the dark, red orb linked so prominently to the seasonal maidens, I have to wonder if perhaps Raven is actually a maiden since her portals use the same effect. This might explain why she might abandon Yang (to go into hiding), but as usual we just don’t have enough information to draw any conclusions.

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The Grimm are on the move.


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