Chapter Seven: A Grimm Delimma
The Emerald Forest was bathed in sunlight and filled with the sound of birds singing, it was a perfect day for a stroll while everyone else stayed in their rooms studying. Qrow and Raven wandered through the forest in a very care free manner.
“Some might think we’re crazy, you know, walking around in woods full of Grimm.” Qrow commented. Raven said nothing.
“I mean, anyone else would be a sitting duck in this situation, but not us.” Qrow remarked. Raven said nothing.
“Do you even talk?” Qrow asked bluntly.
Raven turned to look at him, “Yes.” She said in monotone, then turned her head the other way, scanning the forest for signs of life.
“You know, I used to be like you; the strong, silent type. Never saying a word to anyone not even a friendly ‘good morning’ then I decided to open up to someone about my problems and it’s amazing how much better I feel.” Qrow said.
“We’re armed to the teeth and in a wood full of Grimm and you pick now to all of a sudden become so chatty?” Raven said, still not looking directly at Qrow.
“Fine, have it your way.” Qrow grumbled bitterly. He didn’t have time for the stubborn young girl anyway.
The forest grew silent as they trudged forward, most of the awkward tension coming from the two students. Finally Raven was the one to break the silence, “So, your friend Taiyang. Does he have a date to the dance?”
Qrow rolled his eyes, “Oh, so now you want to talk?”
“The Grimm are attracted to negative energy,” Raven explained as though citing a textbook. “With all of the stubborn pride you’re emitting you’ll have half of the forest population drawn to us in mere minutes. We might as well change the subject to something nicer to get them off of our scent.”
“Alright, that makes a little sense. And yes, Taiyang will be going to the dance with my sister.” Qrow said, trying to relieve himself of all negative emotion.
“That’s too bad; he seems like a nice boy, the nicest I’ve seen at Beacon so far.” Raven remarked impassively.
“And my sister isn’t nice?” Qrow’s temper began to fire up again.
“That’s not what I said.” Raven stated, her voice getting higher with impatience.
Suddenly, there came a low growl and the two teammates slowly looked back to see at least a dozen Beowolves gathering behind them, their mouths foaming with hunger for a meal they hadn’t had in weeks.
Raven’s eyes narrowed purposefully as she unsheathed her multi-action dust katana and charged towards the first wave of Beowolves, fire licking at the tip of the sword’s blade. With one mighty blow she skewered five of them in the stomach at once, their bodies already dematerializing into nothing. Qrow whipped out his high velocity sniper scythe and began hacking apart any Beowolf that came within ten feet of him. The two worked skillfully, and quickly defeated their attackers. Raven panted harshly, trying to catch her breath after the heavy bout. “We’d better get out of here before more show up.” As she spoke, a second wave of Beowolves emerged from the surrounding bushes, trapping them in from all sides. But as Qrow and Raven prepared themselves for battle, they noticed that these Beowolves looked different. Their teeth were longer and sharper, as were their claws. Thick and strong spikes emerged from their backs, like those of an Ursa. It was as though these Grimm had been upgraded, which could only mean one thing.
“Qrow, these Grimm have been cross-bred!” Raven yelled over the Beowolves harsh battle howls.
“What?” Qrow cried back as he beheaded a Grimm that had been foolish enough to break away from the pack.
“Grimm Breeders have taken a base in the Emerald Forest!” Raven shouted, turning a ‘Beo-Ursa’ to ice with a jab of her sword. “We need to warn the headmaster now!”
Qrow shot at a few more Grimm, backing up closer to Raven until he was right next to her. He planted his feet firmly on the huge blade of his weapon and grabbed Raven. “Hold on tight!” He shouted. He pulled the trigger and the scythe went flying high into the air with Qrow and Raven still gripping tightly onto the weapon for dear life. As the scythe began to lose momentum, Qrow angled the weapon towards the visibly high towers of Beacon and fired a second shot, carrying them away from the forest and shooting them at an incredible speed towards the school. They touched down hard on the grassy front lawn of the school, knocking the wind out of them and making their weapons fly into the air and land not too far away. Qrow laid there on the grass for a moment, thoroughly exhausted by the effort it took him to get them out of the forest alive. Raven, however, immediately recovered and ran to retrieve her sword. When she noticed Qrow had still not gotten up she ran over to him and knelt beside him.
“Are you alright?” Raven cried worriedly, checking him for any signs of injury. Luckily, he had sustained none.
“I’m ok.” Qrow rasped as he slowly sat up, still trying to recover.
“We have to let the headmaster know what has happened.” Raven said urgently.
“WHAT HAPPENED?” a sweet, but concerned voice called. Emily Ozpin raced towards the two students, dropped to her knees next to Qrow, and examined the boy just as Raven had.
“Grimm Breeders,” Raven explained, “In the Emerald Forest. There are creatures in there that can’t be matched by any students.”
Mrs. Ozpin looked even more worried, “You’re sure?” she asked.
“Yes.” Raven replied.
“Then, I’m afraid this might be the end of Beacon Academy.”
That night, everyone was gathered in the grand hall where Emily Ozpin was slowly pacing across the stage as students filed into the room. Roman was concerned, this was the most worried he had ever seen his mother and the absence of his father made things seem even bleaker. As soon as every student and staff member was accounted for, Mrs. Ozpin stopped pacing and walked slowly, sadly, to the microphone stand. “Hello, students and staff of Beacon Academy,” she began in a somber tone. “Today we have made a terrible discovery; Grimm Breeders have taken up residence in the Emerald Forest.” There was much gasping and chatter coming from both the students and the teachers alike, but it was silenced by Mrs. Ozpin clearing her throat for attention. “I know that Beacon is home to some of the best and brightest huntsmen and huntresses in Remnant and you have all held your own against dozens, maybe thousands of Grimm…but the Grimm that are out in the forest now are not the Grimm you have familiarized yourselves with. They have been modified to be bigger, faster, and stronger than any experienced huntsman or huntress and they will kill anyone in their path ruthlessly.” Mrs. Ozpin looked around the room at her terrified audience. “I know that you all would risk your lives to protect the people as you have sworn to do, but I can’t ask you to do this…a task that will most likely result in much bloodshed. I have no choice but to ask you all to pack your things and leave before the cross-bred Grimm overtake Beacon just as they have countless villages across Remnant.” Emily Ozpin hung her head low as the hall echoed with the disappointed and angry cries of the students. Suddenly, she could bear it no longer and ran off of the stage, trying to shield her face from the watching crowd. This only made the students even more distressed and their complaints and shouts got louder. Roman saw his teammates in the crowd and made his way over to them.
“What are we going to do?” he cried over the din of the crowd.
Glynda just worriedly shook her head while Ambrose looked at the stage as though a solution might appear there.
Summer’s eyes shifted back and forth, her mind working quickly, “I have a plan.” She said. Her teammates turned to her in surprise. “But we’re going to need to talk somewhere else in private.”
The team edged their way through the crowd and up to Summer’s personal dorm where they locked the door and gathered around a small table that had been placed inside the spacious room.
“I wasn’t going to tell anyone, but ever since I came to Beacon I’ve been working on a secret defense project with Raven Branwen.” Summer began.
“Raven?” Glynda asked, surprised.
“Well, you see, Headmistress Ozpin thought that it would be a good idea for us to form a defensive plan in case anything like this was to happen…only, we didn’t count on it coming this soon so we haven’t developed a full plan of attack.” Summer explained.
“Wait, wait, wait,” Glynda interrupted. “Out of all of the students in the school, the assistant headmistress asked you and Raven to come up with a defense plan? Why you, and why only two people? Why not create a whole team to consult in the matter?”
Roman snickered, “You’re just jealous because you weren’t invited to join.”
Glynda sharply rose from her seat, ready to punch Roman. Summer hurriedly stood and calmed her friend down before resuming the story.
“The reason Mrs. Ozpin picked Raven and me…is because of our Semblances,” Summer said. “Raven can create portals and uses them to transport Grimm to a…safer location. Though, I have a rather unique ability, Mrs. Ozpin told me that there’s nothing quite like it.” She paused to make sure that her teammates were listening; their eyes watched her intently. “My Semblance is harmony, it allows me to calm the Grimm and force them into a more docile state.”
Ambrose looked at her in shock, “With your abilities…you could truly bring about a time of peace in Remnant.”
Summer turned to him, “Yes, but unfortunately it’s not that simple. Like most semblances, I can only hold so many Grimm for a short amount of time before they become hostile again. I’ve been trying to improve it lately and made a great deal of progress.”
“Do you think you can stop the Grimm from advancing on Beacon?” Glynda inquired.
“I don’t think my powers would be as effective if they truly are superior to the Grimm we’ve fought before.” Summer sighed. “If we could only force them into a small clearing, then maybe we might be able to destroy all of them before the population gets too out of control.”
“Or…” Roman said. “If we killed the original mates, we could slow down the breeding process.”
“Roman makes a valid point,” Ambrose stated. “We would be wasting a great deal of time trying to fight the offspring when more are multiplying somewhere else.”
“True…but have you seen an elder Grimm?” Glynda asked in her usual haughty air. “Very few huntsmen or huntresses have survived because they are impossibly clever creatures.”
Roman stood and placed his hands on the table purposefully. “Okay, we could sit here all day and all night debating about how evil and powerful these Grimm are or we could risk our lives in a last chance search and destroy mission to kill every single hybrid Grimm in that forest and bring whoever is responsible to justice.” He looked around the table and understood what his mother had meant by using his semblance for a good cause; all three of his teammates, even the stubborn headed Glynda, nodded in agreement with him, an action that was aided by his powers of manipulation. “Now, does anyone have a plan?”
Ambrose slowly rose from his chair and took the spotlight. “Alright here’s the plan, I will go into the Emerald Forest to try to deplete some of the Grimm population, Glynda, Raven, and Summer will stay at the borders to try to keep the Grimm in a certain radius. Meanwhile, Roman will sneak into the Emerald Tower and use the surveillance system to try and pinpoint a location where exactly the Grimm Breeder’s hideout is.
“What makes you so certain that I can get into the Emerald Tower without being seen?” Roman asked in a suspicious tone.
“One, mother is upset and is most likely trying to calm down the rioting students below. Two, father is away on a rescue mission in Vacuo after a dozen Nevermores decided to attack a local village, he won’t be back for three days. Three, you’ve been able to pick a lock ever since you were-
“I get the point.” Roman interrupted, cutting him off. Roman smiled nervously at Summer, who looked at him with a frown on her face.
“So are we all agreed on our positions?” Ambrose asked. His teammates nodded.
“Hold on one second,” a voice called from behind. They turned in surprise to see Qrow and the rest of his team standing in the doorway. “What? You really didn’t think I had a key to my sister’s room.”
“Okay, first of all…that’s just creepy. And second of all, what are you doing here?” Summer marched up to her brother, hands on her hips.
Raven moved up beside Qrow, “Summer, I told them about the defense project.”
“Speaking of which, I’m going to need your help Raven. We’ve been discussing the situation and we may have found a way to beat these Grimm Breeders…at least for now.” Summer began.
“Don’t bother, we heard the whole conversation.” Qrow cut in. “Do you really think that four kids can take down two elder hybrid Grimm?”
“Actually we were just planning on sending Ambrose.” Roman said casually.
Qrow turned back to Summer with a doubtful look on his face. “You’re going to need backup.”
“I don’t need anything from you,” Summer groaned. “Will you please stop treating me like a child?”
“This isn’t about your age anymore,” Qrow stated calmly. “This is about teamwork and you need help. It’s not just about protecting you anymore. We both have obligations to guarding our friends and keeping them safe.”
“Does this mean that you’ll let me start dating?” Summer asked shrewdly.
“Don’t press your luck. Let’s just survive today shall we?” Qrow replied. He turned and addressed Ambrose, “What can we do, chief?”