While satisfying, the last battle had not been a complete success. He had underestimated his quarry's skill, and the faunus had recovered quickly from the deception. It made the fight more even than it should have been. His arm was a reminder of his hubris. It would be the last time.
He would break her, and her sorrow and pain would satisfy him for another eighteen years, but the others were not necessary. The loss of their emotions was acceptable and would only serve to break her faster.
Finding these White Fang had been simple. Negative emotions were like a drop of blood in the water was to a shark. These had enough hate and anger he could sense every single White Fang enclave in Vale. This was the largest, and it had been close to the last battle.
They were perfect. They were simultaneously an excellent food source and added muscle. With them he could finish his plans which were now on an accelerated pace. Unlike the black one's army, these had resorted to theft to fund them. That meant they had no need for jobs which made up for their smaller size.
They also already had a defendable lair. Unfortunately it was in an active neighborhood, so traps leading to the building could not be used. Instead they relied on blending in. There was nothing that indicated this was anything more than a large house from the outside.
When approached his new underlings were wary of them, then scared as they revealed themselves. One attacked out of fear and was quickly killed. This added to the fear and several tried to escape. Those had been stopped with warning fire from their forearm spikes. The fear was nothing like the Red one's hate and anger but it still was delicious.
Once they were properly cowed he spoke, which had only scared them more. Of course it had. In their limited experience grimm didn't speak, nor were they capable of reason for that matter. Revealing themselves was guaranteeing their deaths once they were no longer needed, but that was not for them to know. Instead when he spoke he made promises of power equal to their own.
The power of a hybrid which they would bestow upon them once they proved themselves worthy of that gift. He was not prone to mirth, but he did find this deception amusing. They were no hybrid. The possibility was ridiculous. They were grimm of the highest order, no closer to the ones just beyond this city's walls than a human was to a gorilla.
With a choice between death or power the decision had been simple. Naturally they kept an eye on all of them for an attempt to escape, and dispatched the couple who thought it possible. Two examples was all it took that night.
During this one of his subordinates secured the huntress. She was useful. The fact it would add to the faunus's anger and despair when what was left of her was put at her feet was a nice bonus.
Thompson was sweating in fear, but so was everyone else in the building watching the monsters in front of them. He had been searching for the White Fang cell as ordered. There was no doubt that these three were what had been his actual target all along.
He had been thanking his good luck at finding this group. More accurately, this group found Thompson to recruit him. His reputation as a hot head had served him well. He'd gone along with it to find their base of operation so he could report it back. What he found was a network of cells. It was nothing like Phoenix in size and scope, but it was growing. He had stayed hoping to find where all of them were. He really wished he had left right away now.
What caught his attention once the initial shock passed was the limp form over the big one's shoulder. The top half of the body was hidden behind him, but he could see the purple pants and the black leather soled shoes. For all that she tried to keep her appearance as normal as possible those shoes were rare. He kept his head facing towards the one talking, but his eyes stayed on her. He hoped his grimm mask would prevent anyone from noticing his interest. Once he got confirmation that it was Alice and she was alive he returned his attention to the grimm.
He didn't make any moves right away. Three bodies on the floor later made it clear his caution was warranted. They were not to be tested. They had Alice; it was possible they would know him too. He kept his grimm mask on and slouched slightly to change his overall feeling of confidence and his height. He hoped it would be enough to hide his identity.
All that was left was to wait for an opportunity to either escape or to get a message out. Until then he would observe them and learn. They weren't shy on showing off their abilities and it was impressive. The one he identified as the leader was missing one of his arms at the elbow, yet that wasn't enough to make Thompson think he had any chance against him.
"Are you sure about this Raven? I know how difficult facing them will be for you," Ozpin said with concern.
Raven had a stoic face at all times. She'd learned to control her emotions to such a degree that it took a mental effort to feel, and that was her greatest asset. "I will not be facing them unless my daughters allow them to escape."
Ozpin was quiet for several minutes. He came off as aloof to most people, but Raven's level of distance was miles further along. There was a chink in that armor though, which is what caused his concern. "Ruby and Yang being involved makes this personal."
Raven nodded. "Yes, but it has always been personal. This time none of them will escape me."
Yes, this was personal, for both of them. He had not wanted RWBY to get involved, but had to admit they had gotten closer to them than he had. Whether it was by luck or by plan did not matter. He would allow them to finish the job if they could and step in only if needed.
"They're ready," she said into the silence. Ozpin really wanted to know how she knew that. He had come to understand that she only could do it with Yang, so it was some sort of mother's bond. Perhaps she had figured out how to use dust to boost the natural bond most mothers had. Her time hunting the reapers had given her an understanding of dust that surpassed the greatest expert Ozpin had ever known, and that was far longer than most suspected.
"CFVY in position," Coco said into the com. Her team's position had been the easiest to get to undetected, and their entry was the one they were least likely to expect. She looked over at the roof hatch and gave a slight smile. No, not there.
A minute later she heard Jaune over the com. "JNPR in position."
"RWBY in position," Ruby said immediately after. "Entry in 3, 2, 1, GO."
Yatsuhashi brought his massive sword down on the roof while below them several explosions and one loud boom of Ruby's Scythe was heard. His attack had been restrained. Only the portion of the roof directly below them disappeared. Prepared for it, all four dropped safely. Each looked in a different direction to assess who was in the room and where. Of the rooms upstairs this was the one most likely to have Alice. It had no windows and only one door, making it the most secure.
They had been prepared for the floor dropping out from under them. The White Fang members had not been prepared for the roof falling on them. CFVY took advantage and rushed the six stunned members inside. "Room cleared but Alice isn't here. Sweeping the floor."
"Roger that Coco," Ruby replied. Like her semblance she was quick to adapt to the ever changing chaos of battle. It made her the best to lead and coordinate them on the field. It was why Coco had little reservations to her taking the lead, just as she hadn't during the grimm incursion last summer.
Jaune spoke up on his situation, which Coco tuned out in favor of her portion of the mission. The only thing that would bring the chatter on the com back to her conscious thoughts was mention of her name or her team's. Outside of the room they split, Yatsuhashi and Velvet went right while she and Fox went left. Her head count of the White Fang they encountered was higher than estimated, but they were easily defeated and didn't slow them. She cleared each room to the right and Fox took the left.
She only had a split second to react to the black and white blur barreling down the hall, but it was enough to roll into the room she had just checked. She finished on her feet, and turned ready for another attack. Calmly she reported to Ruby "Grimm located in hall, heavily armored." That last was to indicate which of the grimm she had found. During previous fights they had noticed that the reapers were of different sizes and body types, just like humans. It was part of the reason it hadn't been clear they were grimm until Ruby had seen one with her own eyes. No other known grimm differed in this way.
The plates on this one were so plentiful seeing his black skin was difficult, and thick as a Death Stalker's. What was also evident was his size. His shoulders nearly touched both walls in the hallway with the muscle to match.
"Coco engage, everyone else continue sweep," Ruby commanded instantly.
It was the right decision as far as Coco was concerned. Only herself and Yatsuhashi had any chance of breaking through that armor. Her teammate's sword was large enough that in this cramped environment he'd either destroy the walls around him, and whoever was on the other side of those walls, or have to go hand to hand.
Her handbag was going to have a similar issue in the hallway but not as badly. Heading into the hallway she looked to her left. "Velvet down," she told Ruby calmly, then at the grimm. "You are a fan of cheap shots I see. Let's see how you handle a fair fight," she said with a sneer, ready to remove the hindrance of the cramped hall entirely.
Ruby was issuing a command as Coco had taunted her opponent. "CFVY Continue your current objectives, retrieve Velvet once the floor is secure." The order was met with three roger's in unison.
The grimm took the bait as he gave a condescending laugh and charged her. She sidestepped him back into the empty room and was rewarded with him following. "Silly little fashion queen playing the tough girl. Without your gun you're nothing."
Coco took in his size a second time. It was more impressive up close. While not as tall as Yatsuhashi, it was only by a few inches and his shoulder span was easily wider. She was instantly itching to transform her handbag to its much more destructive gun form, but held back. She didn't want to bring the entire building down.
Taking one step forward she led with a snap kick using the forward momentum to add some extra force. He was quicker that he looked. He dodged backwards in time, then disappearing in a familiar ripple of black energy. Ignoring the incongruity, she pulled her leg back in then kicked backwards, feeling a satisfying crunch under her heel.
The force of the kick knocked the grimm down, his head hitting the ground before her. She rewarded his fall to the ground by swinging her bag up in a circular motion that ended on his head which left a hole in the floor. "I don't play," she said with contempt.
"Floor secure," Fox said over the coms.
"Yatsuhashi check on Velvet," Ruby said without hesitation to Fox's update. "If she needs medical attention get her out of here, otherwise assist Coco with the Grimm. Fox assist Coco immediately." The fact that Ruby was able to figure who was closest to Velvet based solely on their original plans, while in the middle of combat, was proof she was the most suited to running the operation. Coco had been hearing Jaune giving reports, and getting his own set of commands. She was keeping both teams separate in her head while commanding her own.
She couldn't tune out Nora's victory yell as JNPR found Alice and began getting her out. Primary objective complete, the secondary was still laying facedown before her.
Incredibly the Grimm was still moving. Every grimm she'd done the same move with was instantly dead. The armor was more effective than she had counted on. The itch for her gun went up several notches. She went to bring her handbag down a second time and encountered air as the Grim teleported again. Expecting him to learn from his last use of a semblance not his own, she jumped backwards two feet to where he had been last time. She was rewarded as he materialized to the right of where she had been.
If this is the same as Alice's semblance he won't be able to use it again for ten seconds. I'll need to make it count, she thought to herself. If Fox gets here after that he might decide he is outmatched and make a break for it, and we wouldn't be able to stop him.
She went at the Reaper quickly. The surprise of not finding his victim where she was supposed to be was enough to get the starting kick to connect with his gut. With him bent forward she followed up the attack by connecting with his chin in an upward strike. That returned him to a standing position, presumably stunned. She had noticed an unarmored spot on his knee and tried to connect with it. He recovered faster than she had anticipated though. He dropped downwards with all of his weight and connected a double fisted attack on her right shoulder. The added momentum of him dropping and the mass of his heavily armed fists made the hit massive. Coco heard her shoulder crack, and felt her handbag leaving her deadened fingers mid swing to fly to the other end of the room.
Fuck! She yelled mentally. Fox get your ass over here already! She managed not to scream from the pain. She wouldn't give this asshole the satisfaction.
She shunted some of her aura to her arm to deaden the pain as she rolled to her right. She used the momentum from the hit to speed the tumble trying to get some distance from him. She was unarmed and injured against something she hadn't made a dent in when at her best. The fight went from difficult to impossible in a matter of seconds.
"Ah, I broke my new toy already," he chuckled, obviously secure in his victory, and why shouldn't he be?
Those taunts are much more annoying when you're the one getting them, she thought irritably.
As much as she hated the role, Coco went on the defensive hoping Fox would arrive in time to help. Yatsuhashi had already left with an injured Velvet so he was her only chance at winning. No, he was her only chance at surviving. She eyed the window behind the Reaper trying to decide if she could make it their and out. It meant the grimm would have a chance to escape, but both her primary and secondary objectives were not a priority over her own life by Jaune's mission parameters. The issue was the booby-traps that were on every form of entrance and exit. Their exit strategy was her breaking it at range by throwing her now absent handbag. Diving through without it she had a fifty-fifty chance of getting killed from the explosion, but in here her odds were considerably worse.
She made a feint with her left fist then ran to her right hoping to get closer to her escape. The punch was awkward and without force. She couldn't put anything into it without causing more damage to her right shoulder, and her aura was barely holding the pain down to sufferable levels as it was. He didn't even try to avoid the punch. He knew just how hurt she was and had no fear of its impact. Instead his left hand shot out to block her true intent. Seeing the swing coming and lacking any way of blocking it she kept her forward momentum going. She dropped to her knees just in time to slide under the arm and still move past him.
It would have worked except her limply hanging right arm hit the floor and jarred her shoulder. The blinding pain was enough to stop her from popping back up to her feet and running at the window for two seconds too long. Feeling the fist coming down behind her she rolled again, this time to the left to protect her right arm as much as possible.
She was not quick enough and she felt his hand wrap around her left ankle. She attempted to pull that leg in to her chest so her right would be in range to connect with the offending arm. Coco didn't get the chance. He swung her upwards, making her head hit the roof hard enough to make a small hole, then back downwards to the floor. The second impact did more damage to her shoulder, but worse it broke at least three ribs. The attacks had done damage to both her right hip and knee. She wasn't sure how bad but she knew she wasn't going to be able to put any weight on it.
Damn, not the way I wanted to go out. "I'm done," she tried to say to Ruby, but all that was heard was a wet sounding moan.
Then the hand let go after a sound she had heard any number of times, and it was followed by the expected muted explosion. Fox had gotten too her in time and delivered his most powerful attack to the distracted and wide open Reaper. "Grimm destroyed," she heard him say in the odd slightly off stereo of him directly and through her com. "Coco is down and in bad shape. Getting her out of here."
"Roger that. Good job." CFVY was out of the fight but all of their objectives had been met. A painful cough forced its way out of her throat along with some blood, and Fox instantly doubled his speed.
Nora smiled with unrestrained joy. Fighting was more than honest, it was freeing. Nothing else mattered but the opponent before her. No worries, no fears, and that freedom was an aphrodisiac to her senses. This battle was going to be quick, but intense. She expected it to be better than sex, and the afterglow when it was over would be just as wonderful. On some level she knew that was a sick way to view a fight, but she had buried that voice very deeply years ago.
"CFVY in position," Coco said over the com.
They hadn't quite reached their position yet. Reaching the back of the building undetected required a longer route, but eventually they made it. "JNPR in position," Jaune said when they got there.
"RWBY in position," Ruby said immediately after. "Entry in 3, 2, 1, GO."
Ren instantly split his fire between the two windows on their right side, while Nora let loose with her grenade launcher at the blank wall to their left. The explosions would cause havoc to anyone inside. There were similar explosions happening in the front to complete the chaos. Above she heard Yatsuhashi's own entrance. Pyrrha and Jaune charged in through the hole Nora had created first, shields at the ready to deflect any attacks on their blind entrance. It was a good thing as several spikes flew at them faster than their target's reactions should have allowed.
"Grimm located at entry," Jaune said.
Ruby was quick on her feet as always. "Nora and Ren, proceed to secondary entry. Pyrrha disengage and proceed to objective. Jaune engage hostile."
Four rogers were met to the commands and Nora headed to the left window as Ren headed to the right. The explosions had caused the frames to be set ajar but whoever had set the traps had done their jobs well. The structural integrity of the wall had not been compromised. Both of them reached their windows at the same time and dove through.
When she landed Nora went into a roll that she ended in the center of four targets ripe for pummeling. Magnhild transforming mid roll into a war hammer. When she came out of the roll she swung a three-hundred and sixty degree arc around her, knocking the stunned foot soldiers onto their asses. It was less flashy than Ren, who was busy performing punches, kicks, leg sweeps, and any number of acrobatic moves. That didn't matter. Her hammer was god in this room and she took out her opponents with ease.
Pyrrha's voice came over the radio soon after. "Second grimm located and blocking route."
"Roger. Team RWBY in-route. Ren and Nora proceed to main objective."
An even match with the Reapers had been part of Jaune's contingency plans, and this was the expected response to the situation. Ren and Nora had the shortest route to the only room left that Alice could be in and were going to be there in seconds. They hadn't even slowed down their progress to get their orders.
Entering the room Alice was there looking physically unharmed, but mentally out of it. Only four Fang were in the room, one having already recovered enough to bring a knife to her throat. With another move planned ahead of time Nora jumped and swung downwards at the floor. She pulled the trigger at the last moment causing the floor to jump and buckle. Everyone still standing on it was instantly disoriented, if not outright knocked down. Ren had jumped a second before the impact to not be among them. He went headlong towards Alice and the one who would use her as a shield.
It was a calculated risk. It was possible that Nora's attack would knock him off balance in the wrong direction and slice Alice's throat. The alternative was not to attack and have it devolve into a hostage situation with enemies on all sides. That alternative would lead to all of them dying.
The odds landed in their favor as he fell forward, the knife moving away from her throat. Ren was on him before he had a chance to recover. "Woo hoo!" Nora exclaimed into the com. "We got her!"
"Proceed with extraction. Front entrance is cleared." The explosion she heard over the com came a split second later through the air. Some people get all the fun!
"Yes ma'am!" Nora replied with exuberant cheer.
Ren had already sliced the ropes holding Alice to a chair and thrown her on his shoulder. "Let's go," he said simply and ran towards the offered egress.
Nora took point clearing any enemies that got in her way. It was a bit of a downer though because there weren't many who were capable of fighting still. One managed to grab her ankle from the ground. He looked relatively well if you ignored the gash on his head that was bloodying his golden mane. Nora was starting to deliver the knockout blow when he pointed. Once she was sure he wasn't getting up she looked at what he wanted her to see out of curiosity. It was a hatch in the floor with a head just poking out.
She hadn't given any real thought about the fact there was more White Fang in the building than there should have been, but seeing a couple come out of that hole explained it. "They're coming in from underground," She said into the com.
That brought another smile on her face as she charged in and cleared out the guy unlucky enough to be getting out when she got there. She looked down with a grin that obviously scared the hell out of the next guy in line; especially when her hammer became a grenade launcher pointed directly down the shaft.
No human casualties was the command, and really she didn't want to take a life. She paused long enough for him to drop to the ground and run out of sight, along with a few accomplices who had been waiting below him, before she pulled the trigger. The tunnel was deep, but dust rose from the explosion to fill the room.
"Primary objective complete," Ren said through the com as he exited.
Nora didn't waste much time following, but she made sure all of the enemies were unconscious, of course. If anyone asked she was simply being thorough.
She'd been right; it had been quick, simple, violent and successful. Not quite as fun as she'd hoped, but it would do. The members of Alice's wing would be taking care of her from there. Ren and Nora would make sure no one else escaped, especially the Reapers, unless they got orders otherwise.715Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡVUREMGAYiPns 22.214.171.124da2