Death by Roses – Epilogue: Red Like Roses

“Man, three more witches,” says Soul.

“Yeah, and all of them appearing nearly the same time as Ruby. That can’t be just a coincidence,” Maka suspected.

“Well, whatever it is, we’ll find out when we get this one bac—huh?” Soul said to Maka before he looks over at his motorbike. Both he and Maka are stunned to discover that Ruby Rose had fled. “What the hell?! Where’d she go?!”

“No way! I knocked her out with that blow!” says Maka, who searched around frantically for the escaped Red Witch.

“Can you find her, Maka?” Soul asked urgently.

“Yeah,” Maka replied. Closing her eyes, she begins feeling for Ruby’s soul. Maka soon senses her; however, Ruby’s soul is weak not because she is still injured but because of how far away she is. “No way. She got that far?” says a stunned Maka.

“Where is she?” asked Soul.

“Ruby is almost to that mountain north of this town,” Maka pointed. Soul asks if they will be able to catch up to her if they fly. Maka shakes her head. “She’s almost out of range of my Soul Perception. Even if we flew at top speed, she’s already got a huge lead on us and with her speed she can be further out of range. At that point, it’ll be difficult to find her again.”

“Dammit.” Soul takes a moment. He’s frustrated that they lost the Red Witch; however, there is another reason behind his ire. ‘Perhaps things are not what they seem.’ The little demon’s words play out in his mind. Could they have been wrong about Ruby? Soul and Maka have fought witches before. Medusa and her sister Arachne were vicious. Ruby was not. Soul did not sense any bloodlust from her like he did with Medusa Gorgon. In fact, looking back at their battle, Ruby seemed very cautious with her attacks. She wasn’t fighting to kill. She was fighting to escape. The more Soul thought about it, the more it seemed that maybe Ruby wasn’t who they thought she was. He hates to admit it – that little demon could’ve been on to something.

“Soul?” Hearing Maka’s voice breaks his train of thought. “What do you want to do?” she asks him.

His instincts tell him to hunt down Ruby Rose. However, the last thing he wants to do is accuse an innocent girl of something she is not. That’s just uncool. “Well, she’s too far away right now, isn’t she?” he replied. “Let’s head back. Maybe we help deal with the other ‘Rainbow Witches.’”

Maka follows her partner as they head towards his motorcycle and hop on. With a turn of the key and rev of the engine, they drive off. Maka and Soul had arrived in Europe earlier today via a private plane commissioned by a DWMA contact in Sweden. The airstrip is about a three-hour ride from their current position. They could have tried to chase after Ruby Rose, but the lead she has on them is too great. Although Maka’s Soul Perception is powerful, she does have her limits. Tracking someone long distance is one of them. As they exit the town and continue down the road, a thought comes across Maka’s mind.

“Okay, I’m not too keen on the whole ‘Rainbow Witches’ thing. We gotta come up with something better than that,” Soul said.

“Well, Patty did come up with the name after all,” Maka replied.

“Yeah, yeah, but there’s gotta be something better,” Soul says dismissively.

“Well, Ruby’s the Red Witch and her friends are the ‘White, Black and Yellow Witches,” Maka says, thinking out loud.

Soul thinks about the witches “color scheme” and comes up with a possible acronym. “Hmm, ‘R’, ‘W’, ‘B’, ‘Y’,” he says. “How would we even pronounce that? The ‘R.W.B.Y. Witches?”

“’Ruby’, I guess? But the ‘U’ is replaced with the ‘W’?” Maka says unsurely.

They drive pass a farm full of cattle and horses. One of the cows greets them with a moo as they drive by. Thinking about it more, Soul bursts out laughing.

“That’s even more ridiculous that what Patty came up with!” he says, laughing out loud.

“Yeah, it is,” Maka said giggling. “It’d be really stupid if they actually called themselves that.”

“Yeah right,” Soul agreed, still laughing.

As they continue to their destination, deep in the forest north of the town she was taken to by Soul and Maka, Ruby Rose resumes her search for her remaining teammates. She leans against a tree briefly, placing a hand on her right side. She got lucky. If she hadn’t placed one of her empty cartridges in front of her chest, she would have been seriously injured. Looking at the imprint of Maka’s fist in the surface, the blonde girl drove forward with all of her weight. Ruby is just thankful she saw her at the last second. She stands up from the tree and trudges onward. She has to find her friends and a way back home. She only hopes that they have not run into anyone else like Maka.

Meanwhile…