He watched the next wave of fodder come up through the tunnel. This was an added bonus he had not counted on. Members of this group's network were starting to swarm in with visions of power. Not all of those summoned would come, but that was acceptable. At most they could tell others they were told of talking humanoid grimm, and no one would believe them. They would most likely not believe it themselves.
With the inclusion of intelligence meant individuality. While most grimm were identical, if you excluded overall size, they were above such limitations. Each had chosen the level of their protections.
He had his heaviest but slowest hitter go to the second floor to be sure none of their new army was going to try escaping. Before he went he fed on their captive's essence and gained a fraction of her power to help offset the limitation of his speed. He could have fed more, but would risk killing her if he had. Her talents were too useful to lose yet. Besides, it would mean less for him.
The last was near the rear exit to again prevent possible escape. Where the one upstairs was heavy but powerful he was lightly armored but faster than any of the others.
He himself was in the front room keeping the bulk of the army cowed. Perhaps allowing it to grow to this size had been a mistake. While they could overwhelm their prey with sheer numbers now, those numbers were getting uncomfortably hard to keep control over.
Equally troublesome was his dust reserves were getting thin. Feeding on their emotions nourished them and added power, but direct contact had another benefit. If the mortals knew where their precious dust came from he wondered if they would still use it? The dust crystals they created within themselves were bound to them in a way similar to a huntsman's accursed weapon. It allowed for limited control of it, and the ability to intensify its strength.
He decided to solve both of his problems. He started heading back to tell the agile one of his plan. He reached the back hall when the attack happened. He saw the light flood the room at the end of the hall from where a wall used to be. An explosion up front and a deep boom upstairs told him this was a coordinated attack.
The sound of the smaller arm spikes whistling in the air was met with the sound of metal, and he knew his henchman's attack had failed. Half way down the hall he saw the red head charge, stop, then retreat quickly at the sight of him. He was bothered by the lack of fear in her retreat though. Giving chase he kept an eye for an ambush and was grateful he had when he met the blonde. The two were coordinated in a way that made him think they may be telepathically linked. This would be a worthy battle.
Jaune felt a few of the crumbled brick debris hit his shield but didn't slow his charge. The bone like spikes that hit a split second after did give him a slight pause. He gave Ruby the update on which reaper he had encountered. He knew the play in this situation, he'd written it out himself, but Ruby called it anyways. A year ago he wouldn't have had the confidence to put himself against something as deadly as these monsters in a one on one fight. Honestly he wasn't sure he could beat one today, but he didn't need to win. He only needed to hold him off, and that he knew he was capable of. Pyrrha was the faster of the two so it was logical to send her in after Alice. Every second counted before the surprise of their raid wore off and they started meeting real resistance.
Pyrrha gave a parting shot though. Her shield flew, ricocheting off the walls. It hit the only two faunus in the room, then heading towards the back of the Grimm's head. A larger, longer spike flew from the reaper's arm at Pyrrha assuming she was open without her shield. She wasn't of course. It would have been a simple move to pause and knock it out of the air with her sword, but she didn't. Her trust in Jaune was absolute, and it was validated again. He deflected it with his shield in a spinning move that brought his sword slashing towards his opponent's abdomen. His sword and Pyrrha's shield reached their target at the same time.
If he hadn't seen it himself he wouldn't have believed the speed which the grimm moved. He was shorter than the Grimm Ruby had fought. He was barely taller than Jaune, and much lighter armored. If Jaune had hoped this meant he was weaker those hopes were proven wrong. The twin blows weren't blocked, nor did they land. He simply moved out of their way at the last possible second. He sent a counter attack towards Jaune as Pyrrha reached the door to the connecting hall, her shield bouncing back to her arm.
Dropping to a knee Jaune dodged the attack as he converted Timo to an arm shield. The smaller size allowed for maximum maneuverability against his quicker opponent. He sent the sword arced upwards in an attempt to catch the arm that had been meant for his head, and once again missed.
The grimm didn't miss as he brought his other hand upwards, connecting with a forward thrust of his claws just below where his chest plate covered. It had been a hard fought trick to learn, but he gave no indication that the attack had caused any damage. It definitely hurt though, and he was doing his best to not let the blood escape his mouth. His gambeson was red for a reason. It hid the blood and the extra padding was designed specifically to absorb it like a sponge
He used the impact to speed up his retreat. Hearing Pyrrha report that a second reaper was near he was glad he had.
A few seconds later and his semblance kicked in. His breathing stopped burning and the metallic taste in his mouth disappeared. Pyrrha wasn't the only one who hid her semblance's true power to gain a psychological advantage. She was his teacher after all. She was 'the untouchable warrior.' He became 'the unbreakable tactician.' He could heal anything short of a mortal wound within two seconds for as long as he had the aura to do so. Pyrrha had been right all those years ago. He had a lot of aura.
Pyrrha would be retreating back here so they could use their greatest strength, each other, to keep their enemies at bay. Knowing that he retreated to the door, ducking and blocking two more impossibly fast attacks. He placed his back against the wall on the left side of its frame. The shield flew out the door towards his opponent and he knew the play. He knelt to one knee and swung his sword at knee level blindly towards the entrance. His swing was three quarters of the way around when Pyrrha entered by jumping over it. A split second later her pursuer reached the door and his sword edge.
Pyrrha landed in a roll and came back to her feet as the shield bounced three more times. It missed each time but kept him busy. Taking that opportunity she converted Miló from sword to rifle and fired off three rounds towards his center of mass. Her opponent, no matter how fast he was, had no choice but to step back to avoid the strikes from two different directions. In a practiced motion Pyrrha extended her left arm to have her shield attach to her forearm as she spun. In her right hand she converted Miló back to a sword as she stepped forward into the spin. Her wrist extended at the last moment to give the most impact from her attack.
His own attack had surprised the grimm who managed to avoid it but was thrown off balance. Jaune expected that the Grimm would turn on him, so he was a bit surprised when he continued his charge towards Pyrrha. It didn't' matter in his overall plans though. Pyrrha and Jaune were 'the unit.' They were most effective back to back and that was where Jaune had already been heading.
Filo converted into a gun faster than most people could blink, so without missing a step he fired off two rounds towards the monster's head, paused for the barest of moments, and then fired off another shot. Naturally he wanted to hit him, but more importantly he wanted Pyrrha to know the next play in their arsenal. He missed with all three shots, but she did get the message. She cleanly sidestepped and swung towards the enemy she couldn't possibly know was charging from her blind spot. Jaune ran in a circular motion until he had both targets lined up, then fired off another round simultaneously with her attack.
Their enemies were good, and they were fast, but you can't dodge what you don't know is coming. The new contestant managed to dodge the bullet, but his partner wasn't so lucky. With any luck the damage to its shoulder would slow it down at least a little.
The beasts had a split second of confusion from the attack allowing Pyrrha to fall back and join up with Jaune. From there the fight really started. The bullet had indeed slowed Jaune's original opponent. That didn't mean he was beaten, and Pyrrha's ex-dance partner was just as formidable, if in different ways.
Their coordinated attacks were the only thing that was keeping them from dying, and even then just barely. They managed to circle around so that their retreating steps would bring them to the hole Nora had made rather than trapped against a wall. And there was no mistake, they were being pushed back.
He had been right, they were indeed worthy opponents, but victory was going to be theirs. Or it should be. There was an annoying drain on his strength that hadn't started to interfere with the fight yet, but it was growing. A spare moment of consideration and he knew that the other attacks were reducing the White Fang's numbers, and doing so quickly. With them gone the negative energies he was feeding off of were also waning.
There was nothing he could do about that though. He couldn't even feed off of the two in front of him. They were true huntsmen. Like the rest of their ilk they fought without any trace of fear or anger, just determination. Unlike the red one and her team he hadn't put any hooks into them to get past that armor.
It felt like acid, but he did notice a bond between the two, which only made sense with how they fought. Perhaps if one died the other would break? With that thought he decided to concentrate on the female when from behind he heard "Bumblebee!"
The red one was here. He knew at that point not only was defeat possible, it was likely. He held on to his last ace and faced the prey that had suddenly lived up to their titles of huntresses. Like the other two these three had none of the emotional tells that he had worked so hard to instill. Even the blonde showed no hint of anger. He suspected that quality was the deciding factor on who became huntsmen.
Well, my plan had merit before, I'll just need to switch targets, he decided as he contemplated which of the three new aggressors he would kill. It's a shame the white one isn't here.
Ruby sat with Crescent Rose ready, mentally preparing herself for what was coming. Coco was already in position, and when she heard Jaune say "JNPR in position" the mental prep was over.
"RWBY in position," Ruby said immediately as Weiss formed a glyph before them. "Entry in 3, 2, 1, GO," and she pulled the trigger. The ice shot hit the door a split second after Blake shot out the single window facing them. As the door flung inwards from the impact, somehow not triggering its trap, Yang fired off a round from Ember Celica. Her attack connected with the ice and causing an instant steam induced fog.
She didn't need to tell her team what to do next. They knew their parts perfectly. Originally they were going to enter split between the door and the window. With the trap on the door not going off they didn't risk it, and went through the window as one. It had been a large picture window so they entered shoulder to shoulder.
Unlike the other two teams their mission was not to rescue Alice. They were there as a distraction, and to assist either of the other teams if it became necessary. RWBY used this fog to their advantage many times before. It caused no confusion for them. Those inside were completely god smacked with the combination of it and the initial explosions making them easy targets.
Into her com she heard Coco report "Room cleared but Alice isn't here. Sweeping the floor" just as she entered the building properly, to which she gave a quick acknowledgement. They were proceeding to plan and didn't require her to change anything.
Before she had a chance to attack the first enemy Jaune was reporting his own situation. "Grimm located at entry." She didn't pause as she drove through that enemy to issue the switch in plans.
From the corner of her eye she saw one of the Fang's members drop to his knees with his hands in the air in surrender. Blake paused in apparent shock, which surprised Ruby. Yang ran past him and almost in an absent minded action knocked him out with a backhand. Surrendered or not you didn't leave an unhindered enemy behind you. Blake should know better.
After three more targets went down in as many seconds Pyrrha's voice came over the radio. A second grimm was in the back of the building as well. It was a wonderful feeling when you could do what was needed and what you wanted at the same time. She gave the rest of RWBY the order to converge on Jaune and Pyrrha's position. They would need the backup, and that was RWBY's secondary objective. Chaos was already achieved almost before they had entered the building.
A quick hand gesture to Weiss told her she was to stay behind and clear the front entrance. They didn't want any more to escape than necessary. With her foot still injured she wasn't up to the headlong charge the other three were about to perform. She was the best choice to complete this part of the mission. The evil look that Weiss gave indicated she didn't agree, but she followed orders. Ruby expected to get an ear full after the battle though.
Reaching the entrance to the back half of the building Coco confirmed the location of the last Reaper. That meant both objectives were within reach. Things were moving well. That's always the worse thing to think at times like this. "Velvet down," Coco said
The room was chaos before her. Pyrrha and Jaune were fighting a defensive battle and being pushed backwards despite their skill. It wasn't a lack of talent that was the problem. The monsters before them were simply better designed to kill. "CFVY Continue your current objectives. Retrieve Velvet once the floor is secure," Ruby said from the part of her mind not occupied with the battle before her. She knew any hostiles would have to go through the rest of CFVY to get to Velvet.
A split second after assessing the fight she called Bumblebee and pointed towards a familiar enemy. His arm was still partially missing though it had regenerated to just short of his wrist. It may have been motivated by vengeance, but it really didn't matter which grimm they went after. It would allow Pyrrha and Jaune to not have their concentration split. Their fight was now winnable, and so was hers.
Blake and Yang went at him with a purpose equal to her own. Ruby sat back in reserve, prepared to intervene in either fight, and able to coordinate all three forces.
Being complete to the wrist was apparently enough for a long sword-like spike to protrude from the back of the grimm's arm. She recognized it instantly as the same type of spike that had pierced Weiss's foot.
There was something different about this fight from last night's, and she realized what a split second too late. There had not been a single taunt yet, or attempt to anger her. He was fighting with purpose. He was fighting to kill. Their guard was not complete, expecting that for them at least it was not a life or death situation. "Fall-"
The attack was quick. Faster than she had seen last night, and Blake never had a chance to either block it or avoid it with her semblance. A spike mirroring the one on the right fired from his left. The force of the attack propelled her back and pinned her to the wall, the spike protruding from her stomach. She wasn't dead by some miracle. Her continued screams proved it, and it brought the anger she knew he wanted.
She pulled the trigger on her scythe, propelling herself between his legs in a headlong slide. She intended to use the blade to hook and then slice off his leg at the knee. Immediately the difference was obvious as his speed increased. He easily avoided her strike while sending several powerful punches at Yang. Each attack was blocked yet pushed the powerhouse back several feet with each hit.
She tried to regain her cool, but couldn't. "You won't break me!" she screamed at it in a rage.
"Ruby!" Yang cried out desperately. "Control yourself!" Her hair was glowing and if Ruby had been herself she'd have known the mistake her opponent had just made. All she wanted though was vengeance by her own hands.
"Assist Jaune, he's mine!" she said beyond reason.
When Weiss got there Ruby wasn't sure, the tunnel vision for her hated enemy had become absolute, but the slap upside the back of her head caught her attention. "Dolt." It was only one word, and that was all it needed to be as sanity instantly returned.
Under her breath she muttered "I'm going to keep him distracted, go check on Blake. Yang's got this asshole." Regaining control wasn't the same as quelling her temper, but that was good. It would make the deception more believable. "Move it Yang!" She yelled at her sister who hadn't moved a step. She dived into another attack allowing her anger to add strength and speed to it. That anger was going to do the same for her opponent.
She knew Yang and Yang knew her as only sisters could. The deception wasn't going to fool her for a second. Ruby purposely pulled the Reaper's attention so he faced away from her and saw the smile on Yang's face.
She got the good news that the second floor was cleared except for the Reaper Coco was facing. She gave the new orders to face that threat. Being able to do two things at once was a gift. Being able to do it without losing her breath was the blessing of her semblance.
A split second after she finished that command she got the double reward of Alice's rescue from Nora. Weiss here meant the front had been cleared so she gave the go-ahead to extract her in that direction.
The news quelled her anger and her opponent found his own strength lacking potency with its loss. Yang chose that moment to strike hitting him fully from behind. This grimm was only lightly armored, but he did have a solid white shell on his back. Or he had one. The armor split and cracked under the impact, driving him towards Ruby with a waiting swing of Crescent Rose. It encountered nothing but a cloud of black that he disappeared into.
She spared a look towards Weiss and Blake as she swore under her breath at his escape. Her friend was now silent with Weiss over her performing emergency first aid. Then she shifted her gaze to Pyrrha and Jaune's battle, which had already ended it appeared. Both were running to their assistance.
The sounds coming from upstairs worried Ruby, and then she heard the wet moan over the com that was unmistakably Coco's. A sound she'd never heard before, or ever expected to hear. She was about to give the order for everyone to get there double time when she got the welcome news that it wasn't needed.
"What happened?" Yang asked. Ruby was confused by the question at first until she realized the dead reaper was still there, and it showed no sign of dissolving into the nothingness that was a grimm's end.
Ruby approached it, scythe at the ready. She couldn't comprehend how it could still be alive with the damage she could see, but she wasn't going to take any chances. Looking down she saw its mask was intact, lying on the ground next to him as if it was the grimm mask from the White Fang. Unsure if this was a ruse or an abnormality Ruby quickly used her scythe to remove its head. It still didn't dissolve but now it was undeniably dead.
"Keep an eye on it," Ruby said unnecessarily. "I'm calling in the authorities to bring in the Fang, and the Headmaster to make sense of what this corpse means."
That huntress's semblance had been useful, even if it was uncomfortably limited. Without it his defeat would have been total. Forced to use short jumps, he kept himself hidden to get around the two who were waiting to catch him outside. He felt the last of his comrades fall and knew that his mission was going to end in humiliating failure. He wondered if avoiding the finality of that defeat was the cowards escape. Facing his peers was certainly not a pleasant thought.
"That will be far enough, monster," he heard behind him, while a familiar form appeared in front.
"The one that got away," he told the woman before him.
"The ones, I believe you mean," the voice behind him said. Looking back he recognized him as well. His hair was grey now and he walked with a cane, but it was still the same man after a thousand years. So that's the reason feeding on him had never led to absorbing his semblance. Absorbing immortality did little when you were already immortal.
He looked back at the woman. Her sanity was clearly restored, yet he felt nothing from her. No hate or anger, nor joy. She said nothing as she approached him, silent as her nonexistent emotions. He understood now what it felt like to be the prey. He knew fear.
"Is your vengeance satisfied Raven?"
Raven looked at the swirling black wind that was the disintegrated remains of her quarry with a detached expression. "No. He was the one that killed Summer. Of that I have no doubt. He was not alone though."
He felt a bit awkward suddenly with his left hand lacking its traditional coffee cup. He could use a drink. "Your children did well tonight."
"You trained them well, all of them," indicating not only her children, or even RWBY, but all of the huntsmen who had participated that night. "Vale is secure for this generation. I'll leave it to them. I have a job to finish."722Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ6vmbYatLAXns18.104.22.168da2